Monday, 31 August 2015

Girls will be girls.

Dress, Kimono & Sandals - Topshop
Bag - Vintage
Necklace, Ring & Bracelet - Swarovski

I could write another post about the dying of summer, the way the grey skies remind me more of October than of August, or waving goodbye to the holidays and getting ready to head into uni again, but I feel like getting on my feminist high horse for a bit. I can't claim to understand what some women go through since I'm hardly part of a minority, but it feels like I am constantly bombarded with instances of misogyny and women being given the short end of the stick. From needing to have "a man" on to work in bars to girls being sent home from school for showing their shoulders, from sexual assault being blamed on clothing to an obvious wage gap, there's always something to raise about the clear inequality between men and women (and it gets increasingly evident if you look into the treatment of minorities, especially trans women). I could probably write a dissertation on how frustrating I find the result of this natural lottery - being born a woman places you at an immediate disadvantage. 

"For most of history, anonymous was a woman." - Virginia Woolf

As well as being an incredible writer, Virginia Woolf produced one of my favourite quotes because it's true that it has always been safer to be anonymous than to be a woman. Or at least up until her time it was. I like to think we have come a long way: in the last hundred years we have won the vote (and eventually started to use it), we've got out of the kitchen, we've burned our bras and started to speak for ourselves, we've become powerful in many ways, and we now boast some of the most influential people on the planet. But there's still a long road to traverse before we become equal. And that's what I'm here for - equality. I don't hate men, I just want to feel equal. I want to be equally safe walking home at night, I want to be paid the same for the same work, I want to be judged upon my abilities rather than my appearance, and I want us to share the same rules and restrictions because there are far too many double standards. 

I'll try to stop myself from descending into "angry feminist" territory (a description which annoys me because it belittles feminism) because I'm sure I'm just another girl complaining on the internet. But most of us don't have the power to change the world individually, so maybe if we all keep complaining we can make a difference together. The wheels are in motion, and it feels like a new wave of feminism is building, and it's exciting.

Finally, a postscript, that I imagine this will be one of my last summery outfits.. and I'm sad because it feels like I barely got to break out my warm-weather wardrobe! I love this kimono and I've worn it a handful of times. I've even gone back to black already. But I enjoyed floating around in this to go out to lunch, and if there's even another peek of sun I'll be back in my summery ensembles - but I won't hold my breath.

Tara India xo

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Anticipating autumn.

 Coat - New Look
Top, Skirt & Sandals - Topshop
Bag - Chanel

 This typically awkward British weather has me in a bit of a spin lately - I can't plan my outfits because whenever I do I end up unable to wear what I intended! I'm sure this falls greatly into the realm of first world problems, but I've had some cute outfits planned which have ended up being ridiculously impractical and have had to be sidelined. I suppose I'm just hoping we get another last minute burst of summer so I can wear them before resigning myself to another oncoming autumn..

Honestly, it felt like autumn on Monday when I went out in this outfit because even though it is nominally August I had to wear a coat and tights. I may be annoyed at having to wear my autumn wardrobe so early, but I've remembered how much I love it. Yes, I'm praying for a little more sun, but now I'm anticipating golden leaves, snuggly jumpers and opportunities to wear this coat again... Despite being petite I love a long coat, especially in this pastel shade which keeps me feeling chirpy even as the skies darken. I also rediscovered this velvet skirt recently lurking in my wardrobe - if I keep making finds like these it will be a lot easier to keep my spending in check!

Tara India xo

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Casualty of fashion?

 Jacket, Sunglasses, Socks & Shoes - Topshop
Dress - Forever 21
Necklace - Vintage
Ring - Swarovski

Jokingly or not, I've heard the term 'fashion victim' bandied about and it's become quite a cliche. It's all too easy to get caught up in the idea of fast fashion, the seemingly never-ending cycle of seasons with increasingly quick drops - there seems to be an obsession these days with having the best, newest thing as soon as it comes out. It's not just in fashion. Everything seems disposable, made to be bought, squealed over, used up, and either thrown out or replaced within a few months or years. I feel like I've been vocal lately about avoiding this for the sake of others, but how about for the sake of ourselves?

Unsurprisingly, most of us don't have the budget for this kind of constant purchasing and it can be quite depressing. Levels of clinical depression and anxiety have risen with the increasingly fast, consumer society, so I don't think I'm out of place saying that whatever the adverts say it won't make us happier to buy buy buy! The best way to feel better and happier in ourselves and our lives is to escape this constant pressure to have the latest items, the need to impress with newness. I reached this point a few years ago when I realised that paying my bills and eating dinner has to take priority over it-bags, and honestly I feel much better when I just wear what I want regardless of whether it's exactly on trend. Sometimes to be honest I really hate certain trends (pool sliders - ugh!) and I'm never going to give up my personal taste just because something is a "must-have"! And I always find my favourite looks come from people who don't follow fashion - 'fashion fades, style is eternal' - because trends die in months, but beautiful things will last a lifetime. So, after a bit of rambling on, I'd say it's easy to become a fashion "victim" as such, but it's far more stylish to buy what you like and wear what makes you feel good. Rewear your favourites, ignore trends you hate, and develop your own personal style instead of blindly following the crowd. It's difficult to do, but you'll feel ten times better when you escape the pressure.

This outfit is one of the reasons I rambled on in that vein today - it has become one of my go-to combinations over the past few weeks, and it mixes cute classics that might not all be totally current but make a look that feels fresh and festival-ready (if only I was going to one!). This dress is one of my favourite easy-wear pieces, it's totally versatile and florals will never go out of style! To prep for this incredibly temperamental English weather we're having I opted for my current favourites - the denim jacket and cute metallic sandals with socks!

Tara India xo

Sunday, 16 August 2015

So over fast fashion.

 Outfit - Topshop
Bag - Asos

I'm currently sat staring down the mountains of clothes that I need to organise - to hang, to pack, to take this weekend, to store for winter, to retire from the summer - and it's honestly a bit overwhelming. I can't believe quite how much I have accumulated, and the scariest part is that I don't really want to say goodbye to anything! I've always said that as soon as I throw something out it comes back in style, and then when it comes to choosing which clothes accompany me back to uni I struggle even more because I just know that whatever I leave behind will be the very outfit I want to wear. And this leads me on to wondering why I feel such a need to keep buying more?! Of course, I know why.. I love new, fresh things, and I love the feeling of wearing a new outfit, and I get so easily bored of the things that I own. I suppose I have fast fashion to thank for this, because I've grown up knowing I can have new things every week, and a myriad of outfits hanging in my wardrobe(s) to choose from. I can't even imagine how it was before high street shops and mass production.

But I think I would like to. Not only is the current fashion cycle so unsustainable in terms of cheap labour, our natural resources, and creativity itself, but I honestly am getting quite fed up with it. Everything becomes a little easier when you stop focussing on needing the latest look as soon as it drops, because frankly it's impossible to keep up these days! I'll never say I'll stop buying, but I'm less and less interested in buying things that are only on trend for a few months - it's a colossal waste of money, time and resources. I want to buy more carefully, and develop a wardrobe that's not about trends but about my own style. I've noticed that the people who look the best don't follow trends, but dress for their body, their inspiration, their mood, their own self expression, and that's where I want to be. Before this sounds too over-the-top and like I'm up on my high horse ready to boycott the high street, don't worry I'm still in love with the affordable end of the spectrum! I think the entirely-Topshop ensemble above should prove that.... I just mean that I'm going invest in my clothes, instead of buying things off-the-cuff. If I don't fall in love with something, I don't want it in my wardrobe.

This outfit above features two of the three items of clothing I've bought in the last two months - a classic denim jacket, and this gorgeous pleated midi skirt. I fell for the skirt as soon as I saw it, circling the store until I gave in and tried it on. I've been wary of midis for so long that now it feels like a whole new world of skirts is open to me, and I'm getting a bit obsessed with this length! Colour was another big draw for me here, because I'm quite girlie at times and this pearlescent shimmery hue reminded me simultaneously of mother of pearl and mermaids, and fairy lights and tinsel - expect to see me wearing this a lot in the coming months! 

Tara India xo

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Prints charming.

 Jacket, Top, Sandals & Sunglasses - Topshop
Skirt & Necklace - Vintage
Bag - Asos

Print used to be one of the biggest features in my wardrobe, but as I've grown older I've simplified things a little -  meaning that this print clash, which would have been so safe when I was seventeen, is pushing the boat out a little now! Clashing prints is always a bit controversial because it can look so good, but it can also go so badly.. I think the key is to keep one of the prints simple and classic, then pair it with something a little bolder. I knew I wanted to play up the gorgeous floral pattern on this skirt, so I kept my top half fairly classic with a monochrome check. This outfit also falls into my failsafe category of 'retro with a twist', with the off-shoulder top, midi skirt and costume jewel necklace, all of which are staples in my wardrobe. If you know me at all then you know I'll pick retro over modern and vintage over minimal any day of the week!

Also I've got another (slightly sad) life update for you all: I've graduated from Conde Nast College after four amazing weeks! I met so many incredibly creative and talented people, really came to love life in London, and was so motivated and inspired by the course itself, so I'm sad to leave but so happy that I spent my summer at CNC. And now I'm back flitting between Birmingham and Somerset for the remainder of my summer.. I'm sorry about the inconsistent posting, but I had to set up the wifi at my new house in Birmingham - and it's been a busy few months!

Tara India xo

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Who'd want to wear somebody else's clothes?!

 Shirt, Sunglasses & Necklace - Vintage
Skirt - Topshop
Shoes - New Look
Ring - Swarovski

It's no secret that vintage shopping is one of my favourite activities, and I have previously posted my tips on how to buy vintage (here). But now I'm more interested in why it's such a good idea, and honestly it has so many benefits. I hear countless people say they don't like the idea of wearing somebody else's clothes, but a quick wash and there's honestly no difference. I fully understand the appeal of new clothes, believe me, but vintage has had a revival for a reason - I'd say it's the best way to go. On the most superficial level it's probably the only way to make sure nobody else will have your outfit (unless you can actually afford haute couture that is!). Since fast fashion really kicked off in the last few decades it's been nearly impossible to be entirely individual, and however much you love an item it really does lose it's special quality when seen on six other people. Vintage is entirely unique, and that also makes it a lot of fun to shop for because you never know what you might find! It's also usually a lot friendlier to your bank balance, especially if you mix shopping in "official" vintage stores and hitting your local charity shop, which makes it easier to live on a budget and easier to try new styles.

Going in a little deeper, I will just say that this week I watched 'The True Cost' and was truly shocked at what goes on in the production of clothing and just how damaging the industry can be to people and to our planet. Obviously we can't boycott clothing, but it has me thinking that with the sheer volume of secondhand clothes around it isn't necessary to be producing new product at such a high volume and such an unsustainable speed. So maybe, just maybe, buying vintage can help. There are so many beautiful clothes out there already that are just dying to be worn! Reusing what we already have makes so much more sense than churning out more and simply trying to find ways to get rid of the old items. Giving something a new lease of life can be fun, can help you find your own style, and it takes a little pressure off the industry. I'm not trying to say we can't - or shouldn't - buy new, I'm just advocating a healthy balance of vintage and new, and maybe a little more consideration when we buy because clothing should not be seen as disposable!

Tara India xo