Man, I look like I’m boring!

Dianephoto2 A guest post by Diane Shipley

I don’t know how they do it. People like Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera and Dita von Teese almost always hit the right sartorial note: they’re different, but (assless chaps aside) rarely scary. They’ve mastered the art of letting their clothes do the talking and expressing their personalities through the way they dress. They’re individuals, no matter what anyone else thinks. And I admire them for it. I really do.

I just don’t seem to be able to follow their example, however hard I try.

I have a quirky kinda perspective on life. Conventionality scares me: I hyperventilate at the thought of mortgages, marriage and children, and I’ve always thought I’ll end up as one of those crazy/cool old ladies who lives alone in a penthouse apartment, still hanging out with twentysomethings and taking salsa classes even as I’m gripped by dementia. I hate to be the same as everyone else and in my heart I wear flaming red hair, nostril piercings, satin fishtail skirts and 6-inch platform boots.

But if you looked at me, you wouldn’t know that. You’d think: Huh. Or: Blah. Or: Wow, she likes Marks and Spencer, huh?

Why is it so hard to make my outfit match my outlook?

Partly it’s a fear of standing out. At school I was noticed for developing early, and the spots and braces that followed. That led to a lot of body consciousness and a desire to disappear. (Those were the all-in-black years). Not only that, but I was a great clothes experimenter as a pre-teen until some bad experiences set me back: being laughed at in the street is no fun. (Stonewashed jeans with bows up the legs, circa 1990. Ouch.)

Partly it’s because I’m a bit fat. Yes, I want to lose weight, but it isn’t always easy, and I’d like to look good in the meantime without being swathed in voluminous satin.

And of course, partly it’s a money thing: looking as good as Gwen is expensive, although if I was truly committed I guess I could trawl vintage shops for hours. Maybe I just don’t want it enough?

Perhaps one day the way I feel inside and the way I look on the outside will match up. But in the meantime, I have found a couple of ways to express myself: fabulous coloured eyeshadows (thank you Bourjois and Urban Decay) and bold and beautiful earrings (thank you Betsey Johnson and Plastic Bat).

In the meantime, I’ll have to let my personality do the talking, instead of the way I look.

Or I’ll carry a billboard everywhere I go, inscribed with the following:

“Please imagine I look fabulously quirky. Someday, I just might.”

Diane Shipley is a freelance journalist and blogger who’s written for The Guardian, The Telegraph, Company and a whole bunch of others. We don’t believe she’s nearly as unstylish as she thinks she is…

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9 Comments

  • January 10, 2008

    The Fashion Police

    Great post, Diane, as always 🙂 And trust me, you are anything but boring!

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  • January 10, 2008

    Polly

    *High Five* Diane, I’m not the only guest blogger anymore!!

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  • January 10, 2008

    DIANE SHIPLEY

    Thank you both! I like it here 🙂

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  • January 10, 2008

    Keris

    You have summed up exactly – EXACTLY – how I feel about my own sense of style (or no style). Maybe we should go shopping together, hmm?

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  • January 10, 2008

    DIANE SHIPLEY

    LOL, Keris! (I did wonder if you might identify with me – er, no offence…) We definitely *could* go shopping together, but would we challenge each other to new heights of fabulousness, or end up a sobbing heap in Dorothy Perkins’s changing rooms…? x

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  • January 11, 2008

    Rachel

    Oh my gosh this is me! I am really struggling with my style.
    I sorted out my clothes this week and took out everything I don’t like, looks terrible on me and is just not ‘me’. I now have a handful of clothes left. And they aren’t great either.
    I am overweight with an hourglass figure so the current loose fitting clothes make me look pregnant.
    Good post!

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  • January 11, 2008

    Caroline

    I am with you 100% on this Diane – great post!
    I always used to be a bit nervous at the prospect of standing out – am a curvy size 16 and very self-aware. But then I started doing my blog and got some nice comments back, and have found as a result that I’ve become more and more experimental and brave. So when I spoke to a friend last night and told her I’d been at work in a taffetta evening dress she still guffawed, but was not exactly surprised anymore…

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  • January 11, 2008

    DIANE SHIPLEY

    Hi Rachel and Caroline,
    it’s so good to know that other people identify, thank you for your comments 🙂
    Rachel, you totally described my wardrobe – in fact, there’s more bags, shoes and boxes of DVDs etc. than there are items of clothing…
    Caroline, kudos to you – will have to use you as my inspiration!
    xx

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  • January 11, 2008

    maz

    What on earth is wrong with voluminous satin?!!! Especially pink. Mmmm, shiny!

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