Just a girl

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What I wore last Wednesday: dress: gifted; long-sleeved-T-shirt: Primark; tights: Charnos; cardi: Matalan; boots: Footglove

According to the Company Magazine email that landed in my inbox today, I’m going to be channelling 90s Gwen Stefani this Spring/Summer. I can’t help but ponder that I might have outgrown Company Magazine – seeing as I channelled 90s Gwen Stefani back in the 90s…

I am, without doubt, too old for this look. I am no longer wearing my Friday night rock-club uniform of mini skirt, knee boots, bindhi and tiara, nor the cargo-pants and fitted tees with Converse and bunches inspired by Mrs Gavin Rossdale in her Just a Girl phase.  Likewise, I am over my New Year’s Eve 1997 look of platform shoes, mini-dress and full-length coat with faux fur collar (thanks Spice Girls), and my sixth-form favourite orange tartan mini-skirt with matching jacket has long-since hit the rail of the charity shops from whence it came (thanks, Clueless!). The 90s as a whole are, in my opinion, far beyond my reach now. I must embrace a more mature silhouette.

When I got into the car last Wednesday morning wearing this lace-trimmed ditsy print dress with knee boots and long socks, I commented to Dapper that I had felt too ancient for this look for a good while. But I was feeling a little more like my old self for once, a little less exhausted by motherhood, a little less worn-out by working, and a little – just a little – slimmer. I often feel that this dress references the nineties without actually taking me back there. When you’ve already followed a trend once, a revisit can run the risk of leaving you looking more than a little stuck in the past…

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Hits (and misses) of the 90s

Ahh, the 1990s – my teenage years! At work yesterday I updated my Apple ID security questions, and a flashback to my first ever gig – Shed Seven – sent me hurtling down a black hole of nostalgia…

This is one of the dresses Kelsey sent over for me, and always puts me in that 90s frame of mind. The boots may not be Doc Martens, and the longline cardi may not be a flannel shirt, but I cannot help but nod to that Britpop-drenched decade with a black velvet choker, the gentler side of gothic…

Hands up if you recall the great Britpop battle of ’95: Blur vs Oasis, Country House vs Roll with it? Hands up if you can remember the winner of that great face-off? Nope, me neither. But I do remember that fated GCSE history coach trip to the Imperial War Museum, the bus split in two and ringing with the raucous sound of teenage voices raised tunelessly in song. I was a Blur girl, but some of my friends were team Oasis – and the entire student body of the history department spent the 3 hour journey attempting to drown the other team out. I’m sure the coach driver loved every minute of it!

Hands up if you progressed from Britpop to slighter heavier music, frequenting the rock clubs, traipsing around the countryside following your mates’ band from working man’s club to town hall in search of the latest battle-of-the-bands venue, faithfully clad week-on-week in knee boots, bindhi and tiara, whilst secretly wishing you could be Gwen Stefani in No Doubt, pink hair and all…

Just me, then? I somehow doubt it…

But you know something? I loved every smoke-filled, beer-drenched, sticky-floored minute of it! I Even when I nearly got trampled in a Prodigy mosh pit at Reading ’98… I wouldn’t erase one single moment.

Of course, not everything about the 90s was especially appealing, as I was reminded whilst checking my emails yesterday afternoon…

Ahhh, I remember this trend last time around! It wasn’t great then (althought I did have the belly button ring for it – sorry Mummy – I promise it’s long-gone now!) – and that was pre-obesity-epidemic…

Nostalgia trip stopped in its tracks. Thanks, but no thanks, Topshop!

*P.S. Yes, this does mean no “What I wore last Wednesday” post next week. But I wanted to share this with you sooner rather than later. I’ll try to find something else to share with you instead…

Wishlist: Joe Browns Easy Livin dress

Easy Livin’ dress, £39.95, Joe Browns

No matter how far and fast I run (though let’s be honest here, it’s a long time since I ran anywhere…) I cannot escape the fashion of my formative years. And if this doesn’t look like something Angela Chase would have worn in the mid 90s I don’t know what does. Which is, naturally, why I love it!

I can see it worn, Angela style, with leggings and Docs, or baseball boots. This not being my personal style, I peronsally would pair it with dark green tights and my lovely “boozy” t-bars:

The perfect dress-down Friday outfit!

Pretty Poetess

It’s Ralph Lauren’s fault. He sent these beautiful, ethereal looking women in autumn tones down the AW10 catwalk and I fell in love. It is what Vogue is calling the Pretty Poetess look, and it’s one I’ll most definitely be emulating this coming season.

Funnily enough, it’s a retro 90s look in many ways that I already had my eye on. You may remember me posting in January about the 90s grunge revival, a look I’d picked out from the opening credts of US TV show Being Erica. At the time I also saved this still to my “inspiration folder” for reference:

Definitely a look I’d like to play with. So all I need is a good, floaty, autumnal maxi dress, right? How about this one, from the Monsoon Fusion range.

Fusion Flora Maxi Dress: £60

This dress has the added bonus of being a great modern take on the 30s look, with those puffed sleeves and the open back. A versatile piece for layering!

Now I just need a beanie hat!

90s revival

I was a teenager in the 90s. As such there were a great many of the fashions in which I indulged. I wore embroidered waistcoats with long skirts and loooong pendants as last seen on Ace of Base. I had a rolled fringe and wore my hair sides-up, pushed forward and clippped in place with my tucked-in lumberjack shirt and straight-leg high-waist jeans. I let my slash-necked cropped jumper hang artfully off one shoulder as we checked out the ice-age’s effect on the valleys of Cannock Chase on a geography field trip. And I remember the Christmas I unwrapped that brilliant green Reebok sweatshirt that I just knew would make me slot right in with the cool kids come January 5th (or whatever date school started that particular year!).

But there were some styles I missed out on, fashions I was just that bit too young to cash in. One of these was the floral dress, denim jacket, doc martens combination. And lately I’ve been noticing a bit of a revival…

It started when I sat down to watch the first episode of Being Erica. For her first assignment she went back to 1992, where she was sporting this look:

Image from the Being Erica website

Image shamelessly stolen from the opening credits
– hence the appalling quality!

I loved it, marked it for later inspiration and started checking out denim jackets on ebay. Then, while watching Being Human last Sunday we met Daisy, who rocks a very similar look:

Images shamelessly stolen from Being Human on the iplayer

So, the main components of this look are very simple: denim jacket, floral dress, boots. Ideally, the dress needs to be button-through, but I’ve had no luck finding one of these, either in the shops or when thrifting. What I have found is the following:

1.) Dress:

Ink ditsy tiered skater dress, £30 from Dorothy Perkins

This dress combines the body-conscious fitted top half with the slightly fuller skirt. And the print provides a modern take on the classic floral look.

2.) Jacket

Levis denim jacket, £80 from ASOS

Denim jackets are actually readily available right now, and ASOS has a great range. To be true to the look you’ll need stone- or acid-washed, but a darker wash is far more flattering, as is a closer fit. This almost shirt-like style is a better shape for pretty much everyone, as well as being a far more versatile addition to any wardrobe.

3.) Boots

Brown Riding Boots, £90 £75 from Dorothy Perkins

Again, to be true to the look you’ll need to go down a slightly different route and get yourself a pair of Doc Marten’s (or maybe some Cats or Timberlands). It will doubtless prove well worth it, as Docs last a lifetime and are ridiculously comfortable to wear, not to mention practical in the winter months… But I prefer these lovely riding boots, because they are far more flexible, will ride out the winter storms and take you from snow plough to office on white days.

So that’s it – how to recreate this early 90s classic style! It’s definitely a look I’m going to be considering come Spring – now I just need to learn how to volumise my hair to epic proportions… Cheryl Cole can probably help me out with that one!