AM I TAKING THE FASHION-FREEDOM THAT COMES WITH YOUTH FOR GRANTED?

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Good God if the me of ten years ago could see me now: talking about fashion like I've got a clue. Okay, so maybe I don't have a clue, but I want one, so here goes. This is my absolute favourite time of year, mostly because it's so nice not to sweat the whole time and to finally leave the hair on my legs to grow in peace, but also because of the clothes. At no other time of year is looking fabulous so easy. It's not yet cold enough that you end up in so many layers you resemble the robot from Big Hero Six but it is cold enough for you to introduce different layers and components to one outfit without overheating the minute you take a step. The opportunities right now, are endless. And yet so many of us let them pass us by.

For as long as I can remember my winter wardrobe has consisted primarily of jumpers and skinny jeans. I like the idea of skirts but can rarely find comfortable shoes to wear with black tights and as much as I'd like to 'layer' I never get around to doing that. I'm my absolute laziest during the colder months; I never really wear anything that isn't baggy, and usually black. A pair of black boots is all I needed to smarten anything up and my jumpers range from 'totally tattered and disgusting' to 'very much acceptable attire for a night out'. Not only does no one see my legs during winter, they also don't see my arms, stomach or chest. They basically don't see my figure. 

But a couple of months ago I had a bit of an epiphany. How many times have I heard my mum coming down the stairs asking if she was 'too old' to wear a certain something? Although the answer is of course always, 'er, no!' it has got me thinking: am I taking the freedom that is 'being young' totally for granted where my fashion is concerned? Will I look back in 20 years at photo upon photo of me in black skinny jeans and various boring jumpers and kick myself for spectacularly wasting my youth on fashion-laziness? 

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I've come on a long way in terms of dress sense it's got to be said. I would let entire trends pass me by, I don't think I even got a pair of skinny jeans until everyone else migrated to a looser cut and I lived for that Topshop bodycon skirt that we all had, wearing it until even the charity shops had had enough of them. I never tried anything new, since I disliked my figure it never occurred to me that clothes could help me to love it, and so I stuck to what I knew. And I got it so, so wrong. Winter when I was at school usually consisted of a white denim skirt, thick black tights, brown Ugg boots and some branded hoodie. At least I've finally ditched the Ugg, but I can do better, and I will.

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Living on Twitter and surrounded by the hottest damn women in the world (bloggers, obviously) it's easy to feel incredibly uncool, particularly when you're sitting at home with frizzy hair and no makeup on and the same jumper that you've been wearing for like, ever. Even more so when you have literally no cash and can't afford the Gucci bag that everyone has or those £300 boots that look like heaven on the feet of six fashion bloggers in a row. It can actually be a bit overwhelming; looking at everything in your wardrobe and realising that absolutely none of it is right - whatever that means. But as it transpires, that is absolutely, 100% not the case. Since I shifted my perspective a little bit, and worked out exactly what I wanted to achieve, I've been able to upgrade my whole look without actually having to upgrade everything that I own.

I want to start dressing with effort, I'm bored of being lazy and I want to take advantage of something that I won't have forever: my youth. 

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And that does not have to mean tiny short skirts and outrageously revealing mesh t-shirts. For me at least, it is just taking a bit of pride in my appearance and having a bit of fashion fun. I'm still monochrome as hell, I mean, even this outfit is totally black, but I'm still learning. So let's talk about the baby steps taken thus far:

Stocking up on the basics. 

Whether that's buying some new ones (and they will be cheap, I promise - I'll get to that in a minute) or simply locating the ones you already own, make the most of the simple things. When I began my search I found two black vests, a grey one, two long sleeve striped tops, two short sleeve stripped tops and a long sleeve navy tee. That theoretically would have been enough but, cause I'm greedy, I continued the search and picked up a little more. ASOS have great multi-packs and THESE ONES (£14 for two) have proved to be the most practical purchase I made this year - I'm wearing the black one in these pictures.

A simple top, long sleeved or short, depending on the weather, and if you are digging your arms that day, can be used in a million ways. With a long necklace, a blazer or tucked into some jeans you have instantly made yourself look 100% more on it than you had first pictured when you looked at them in your wardrobe and imagine them over a pair of skinny jeans.

Getting away from the skinny jean

Don't get me wrong, I bloody love skinny jeans, I probably own about 10 pairs, but that doesn't mean I should wear them every day. Although it's easy enough to make them look smart using a blouse or tailored jumper, it's a bit of a faff, particularly when you're using the basics that you already own. I'm obsessing over different things on my bottom half right now. My latest fascination is the Mom Jean - the Farleigh design from Asos are my all time fave, (the ones in thees pictures) but I would suggest going for a size up. (I am a 26" waist but the 28" fit me perfectly). With a pair of trainers you look chilled as hell (but still cool) and with a pair of heels or boots you look ready to boss the shit out of life. With a t-shirt tucked in you're rocking the perfect 'I don't really care but I'm not a total slob' look that I absolutely live for.

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Adoring accessories.

Probably the easiest of all. And it's never been easier because the tassled earring is everywhere right now and that instantly gives you a POP. Imagine me saying that with all the sass in the world for full effect. I like the idea of a long necklace but big tits make that a little more complicated so I'm still on the hunt for the right one. At the moment I'm opting for funky earrings, my cross the body bag from Asos and a big belt. I had always assumed that accessories were just jewellery and I was a damn fool - it's amazing what a difference adding something so small to your outfit can make. 

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Nailing the footwear.

Thank God summer is over - I can let my toenail nail varnish chip away to its heart's content, ammi right?! To be honest, I haven't really switched up the shoe game in the last few years (other than ditching the Ugg boot, thank the lord) and still live in one of two things: trainers of which I have a million pairs- my Adidas trainers are my absolute staple at the moment, but I got these Graceland ones for like £17 and they are fabulous too, and then black boots, all the time. I have worn the same pair from Asos for about three years and although they haven't lasted the whole time, at £30 a go I replace them about once every year. They are outrageously comfortable and I can walk for miles in them without really remembering that I am wearing boots. 

For years and years I always hated kitten heels, if it wasn't too high to walk in or too flat then I simply wouldn't bother but recently I've noticed some unlikely choices catching my eye. I think my next focus will be a pointy little pair like this which I am pretty sure will make me look like a boss. 

Being confident.

I was at a party last weekend and a girl rocked up using a netted laundry bag as a handbag as if it was literally the most normal thing in the world. She literally exploded the kind of confidence that meant no one even really noticed. That is the kind of confidence that a lot of us struggle to locate, particularly when we're wearing something new and slightly out of our comfort zone. But there are two main components to any outfit that ought to be remembered: if you look like you meant it, people will believe that you did and if you can muster a smile, you've got the best accessory a girl can have.

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This is a great time for fashion. Sure, we'll probably look back at our obsession with highlight right now in the same way that we look back at the terrible days of blue eyeshadow and Rhinestone sunglasses, but can we not admit that that was at least a little bit fun? I don't want to waste all the fabulous clothes out there right now and I definitely don't want to let my youth, and the opportunities that that brings with it, pass me by. Whilst it's probably important to say that age is just a number and ultimately you can wear and do whatever you want, whenever you want to, it will never been easier to dress how you like than when you're in your twenties. 

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So I'm making some changes, and I won't stop until I can confidently wear a pair of fishnet tights under my ripped jeans - although by the time I'm brave enough for that, I fear that trend will be dead and buried alongside elasticated belts. We'll see.

Have you made any changes fashion wise recently? If so, hit me up!