Tuesday, 25 January 2011

I Am Not My Hair...

"I Am Not My Hair" is a song written by one of my very favourite artists India Arie. After hearing that song, it was then I decided that my hair, should be able to change with the seasons, with my moods, with my emotions. Why shouldn't my hairstyles take on the "chameleon-like" quality that is synonymous with fashion and beauty trends? Why should I be terrified to sport my hair in its natural, untouched condition? Everybody else does. If I suddenly decide to become outrageous in my fashion sense, or I decide that all of a sudden, I want to wear orange lipstick every single day, I now live in an age where, in that respect, I answer to no-one. People accept wild fashion sensibilities as original and intriguing. But it appears, that when it comes to hair, particularly afro hair, I am put in a box either by myself or others. Why?

When I was younger, hair was a little bit of an issue. I was your average, cutie-pie little black girl, wearing with pride, the little individual plaits Mummy used to spend hours doing. I remember my self esteem rocketed as a primary school kiddie, when my hair was freshly done, the partings still new and crisp. It was okay when it was loose and in a pony-tail but tiny little individual braids were in my eyes, beautiful. They moved when the wind blew, and I could flick them around, I could have a fringe over my eyes. It was almost like having... everyone else's hair. Therein lies the problem. In fashion, difference is encouraged, not as much as it should be don't get me wrong, but encouraged all the same. With hair, if it isn't long and flowing, or short and spiky, loosely curled, or your 70's afro to add comic value to a social group, it isn't beautiful. I went through most of senior school, thinking my hair was crusty, dreading school photos and mourning over the fact that I couldn't have beautiful hair unless I relaxed it. When I was super miserable, I even assumed that I couldn't get a boyfriend because my hair was "nappy"(Turns out it makes no difference; I added 16 inches of hair to my head and still, no sign of a man).

Then one day I had an epiphany whilst washing my hair.

I was in my Mum's house at that time and I was maybe half way through Year 12 perhaps a little further along. I had just rinsed the shampoo out of my hair and applied a random conditioner meant to detangle, smooth and soften my hair and I noticed for the first time in 16/17 years that my hair had a defined curl pattern. I was in awe; it was beautiful. It bounced. My hair journey started then and I have not looked back. I went to London with my Mum and began the hunt for the products that would help me keep that curl pattern I had found, all day! People were unhelpful in the salons that I went to, so I got online, and found people facing the same dilemma as me; heck! some ladies had made a business out of it! I discovered hairstyles that I could try at home, which led me to my now infamous Frohawk, liked by some, and not much liked by others. I discovered I could wear a weave (also liked by some and not by others), wear wigs (loved by a few but generally hated by many), have my hair short one day, and 20 inches long the next day. It's been liberating.

So I would say that this year, I aim to appreciate all kinds of beautiful, because there is no set text on what is attractive in a physical sense so I refuse to limit myself. I have learnt very clearly, the importance of beauty from within. A cliche I know, but if I am focused on being beautiful from the inside out, I can make it so it is the substance within me that defines who I am and not my hairstyle, my makeup, or my fashion sense. 

"I am not my hair,
I am not this skin,
I am not your expectations, no.
I am not my hair,
I am not this skin,
I AM the soul that lives within."

Hugs and Kisses

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Cape today, Cape tomorrow.

ASOS Hooded Military Cape

Okay so this bad boy has been my absolute Autumn/Winter staple. It's surprisingly warm, and in most cases quite practical. It pretty much suits anybody. I procured mine in a size 16 and I fretted until it arrived because I definitely believed it wouldn't fit around my breasticules, but they come up huge so even if, at the time of me purchasing this, they had the size 18 in stock, I wouldn't have been able to keep it; it definitely would have been too large. The hood is huge which is adorable; it does a little of the Scottish Widow drape and it's a weighty coat so it doesn't flap off when placed lightly over the shoulders unless there's a fair amount of breeze.

Okay so here are my self imposed rules for the wearing of my superwoman cape; I'll sling it over my shoulders after a night out because I normally wear some kind of legging or I wear a dress that finishes an inch or two above the knee (I know...saucy :-P). Then it looks awesome. I have to see enough leg for my cape to work for me otherwise I do tend to look like a walking marquis. So for me, leggings, jeans/jeggings, shorter dresses and trousers are really cute. Tailored trousers are better I find, otherwise there is fabric overload, but sometimes its the first coat I lay my hands on when I'm leaving for work in a hurry so bog standard New Look bootleg trousers are what the cape gets paired with. In fact I don't care as long as my legs are two separate entities to the naked eye.

The last thing I added, was heaps of attitude. I was aware that I was wearing a cape in an everyday setting; it took some getting used to as a cape is synonymous with fancy dress so a pinch of attitude is needed. My life became a catwalk from that point; I decided that I needed to constantly look like I had things to do and people to see and then people, I found, subconciously recognised me as a no-nonsense FASHIONISTA with a purpose and fashion-filled life. Of course, I had nowhere to go except Tesco and nobody to see except the McDonald's staff but nobody else needs to know that.

Just as a by-the-by do not for one second think you can fling a bag across your bosom in an easy fashion with this style of coat. It wont happen easily if at all. It tends to bunch up on you and look ridiculous so I stick to bags I can carry in the crook of my arm in a "diva-ish" manner. In addition always carry a bag big enough to carry a 99pence H&M lint roller because the black one picks up white fluff like a BEAST and it'll really get on your nerves. Lastly, keep an eye on the quality, the shoulder detailing on the left side fell off; its nothing a needle and thread won't fix but even so it is quite expensive especially if you're on a student budget. Which reminds me, get an NUS card and type in the number across the front of it to get 10% off all ASOS purchases. That can't be bad right? You can still get these on the ASOS store just here:-


I also found this cape from Dorothy Perkins that I completely adore. As soon as there's some money in my bank account I do believe it will be mine. At a later date I'll add some pictures of me in my cape looking rather disheveled after several months of endless wear. Seems excessive to have several coats but ah...you only live once. 

Camel Military button cape

So size 16+ ladies and all the other ladies be bold, be daring, and be beautifully caped.

Hugs and Kisses

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Time to find out who I am, and love whatever it is that I find. Bring on 2011.

So here we are, facing the beginnings of new year, packed with all kinds of unknown adventures. I have in fact gone through phases where I find the unknown quite scary, and others where I find it, fun and exciting; it's all about finding a balance. It's always difficult to know when you should leave life to chance or take the reins yourself and create your own opportunities. Either way the purpose of this particular blog is to make this discovery in style.

This time of the year, you can hear the murmur of said new year's resolutions, with the top one being "I want to lose a few pounds in time for summer; I'm going on holiday." I decided to completely disregard THAT particular resolution because well... I love food far too much to relinquish it in any way and besides it rarely works for me; I tend to lose weight by filling up my time. Being a size 16-18 for the past 3 years has had its ups and its downs. In school most of my friends stop around the size 12 mark so that common ritual of swapping clothes before a night out was something that was entirely lost to me. Depending on the time of the month sometimes it would get me down. However, I stumbled across my ability to dress for my body shape without too much thought thanks to the television help offered by Gok Wan and even his pre-decessors Trinny and Susannah. Admittedly, at first it was a little "hit and miss" but after a little practice my efforts to dress well produced more consistent results and sometimes I would feel mildly attractive.

I have come a long, long way since then but have not been diligent in logging my progress so here I am ready to track my fashion and beauty habits. Which habits will I keep? Which ones will be added? Which will be discarded as a bad experiment, obsolete or simply unnecessary? It should be fun because as you will see in the coming days, being a size 16-18 (UK) is not without its perks. Ample breasticles and a fairly defined figure in general make it one of those sugar coated pills that are easier to swallow. In fact, now I am at a stage where I very much embrace my shape. Smaller sizes tend to look good in everything but where's the fun in that? A keen eye is what it takes to look at a top on a hanger in H&M and think "with a belt, that'll look de-lightful." or "for the sake of the random people in the street who have to see you, leave it exactly where you find it...".

Being only 19, I've noticed that I am changing at an alarming rate as a person. As such, my fashion and beauty senses are changing as well, like tastebuds suddenly appreciating a good wine as more than just a disgusting adult drink. This first quarter, my theme is oh-so-cheesily called "Romance and Femininity". I want to evoke a romantic air with my hair, my makeup, and my clothes as well and celebrate becoming a woman. The aim of this is to unlock and reveal a girly, mysterious yet still vulnerable side to me; its no coincidence that my "theme of the quarter" encompasses Valentine's Day and the beginning of spring. Ah, the imagery of it lifts my mood and my spirits already. So bring on 2011, whatever it may hold.

Hugs and kisses until next time...