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  • Writer's pictureBen Pechey

The Knack

I read somewhere (watched a TikTok) that not styling clothes is a wasted opportunity. Just putting things together is not styling. Not customising, putting countless layers together, or turning an egg box into a fascinator, you’re not getting the full potential out of your clothes. 

Now I am exaggerating a little - the video wasn’t that strong - but as a self-confessed fashion lover, I suddenly felt like I have been missing the mark, that I haven’t been styling at all. Instead, I have simply been putting clothes on, wasting the potential of my wardrobe.

I’ve thought about that video for months, it is beginning to affect how I feel about styling and getting dressed - both as a person and also my work as this is my job. It has led to much overthinking to the point of feeling stuck in indecision, feeling like a failure, and making me give up. 

I bought this dress from Joanie in the winter sales. They had sent me a black velvet dress with a white collar, and I loved that one so much, I wanted a less formal version for the day. I saw this navy dress from their collaboration with Laura Ashley and fell in love. 

I knew I wanted to use this dress in content - because it has a great fit, lovely print, fabulous collar, and pearl detail buttons. This dress is putting in the work. However, I felt I wasn’t styling it enough, that somehow I was doing a crap job. As a consequence, I spent hours trying to make a ‘look’.

I wanted to avoid the obvious of pairing it with tan. I didn’t want to look like the Princess of Wales (Diana or Kate) just after they’d given birth - both wore similar blue dresses. I was losing my mind - over something that is simple enough, and that I have been doing for years. 

So I came back down to earth - from wild I-can’t-do-my-job emotions - and decided to look at colour. Blue and yellow oppose each other on the colour wheel - making them complementary colours. I also saw my Ikea bag full of coat hangers - which pushed the combo further into my head. But it looked like I wasn't doing anywhere enough when it came to the styling. 

Yet, I persisted. I put the dress on, added yellow shoes, and a simple yellow neckerchief. It looked great - it looks great. It is simple, classic even (a space I rarely enter) and I love the way it turned out. Just because someone else would approach this differently to me, doesn’t mean the way I was doing it was wrong. 

Advice is there to complement your guiding principles. When it comes to mental health, doing my accounts, or trying to learn to crochet - I will of course admit I need all the help I can get. But when it comes to matters of passion, things I have skills and experience in, maybe just maybe I can take advice with a pinch of salt.

So don’t doubt the things that you can do - you do have the knack of it. Use advice sparingly, and don’t let it confuse things that you have figured out!


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