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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