Sartorial brass!

Now we all want style on the cheap. If you don’t, and you’re happy to spend top-buck then go for it. I’d rather always save my pennies for cocktail plotting and city hopping! When I talk cheap, I am not meaning sweatshop exploitation for the sake of keeping up to date with fashion. Nope, never! I’m not fussed about fashion, I’m concerned with style.

To me fashion is easy. To nail fashion you simply buy the best you can afford as it arrives in Primark, Topshop, Selfridges or Harvey Nics, depending on how silly you are with money and how ok you are with capitalist hangovers. Damn it I like to look good, and see my outward appearance as an extension of my inward amazingness (yes man I AM amazing, just look at how many bangles I’m wearing). My inward amazingness has nothing to do with fashion, because that is always dictated by someone else.

 To nail fashion you simply buy the best you can afford as it arrives in Primark, Topshop, Selfridges or Harvey Nics, depending on how silly you are with money and how ok you are with capitalist hangovers

Don’t get me wrong I’m not daft enough to think I am totally unaffected by current trends, of course I am; and if current trends are damned snazzy then I’m all for it. But for me, my style is all about visualising whatever is going on inside (I’m talking esoteric, metaphysical inside, not physical biological inside, that would just be grim). We are visual beings. All the things I do cannot be portrayed in a spilt second. For that reason, my outfit is like a shortcut to me.

I know this will sound hideously vain to a lot of people. After all why is it important that people know who you are? Why can’t clothes simply be a practical way of keeping the rain off your back and the sores off your feet? They can. But if that’s your relationship with clothes you’re probably not going to be reading an article about style. I’m writing an article about style because to me, clothes can be so much more than that! They’re a daily creative opportunity; a porthole into what I’m thinking and feeling, and into what is exciting me about life!

Clothes offer a daily creative opportunity; a porthole into what I’m thinking and feeling, and into what is exciting me about life!

SO, back to being cheap. My favorite clothes buying methods are charity shopping and ebay. When I was about 13, in return for a big weekly house clean, my parents started giving me increased spends from which I had to buy my own clothes. I LOVED this! I could buy what I wanted and quickly learnt that the best way to get as much as possible for as little as possible and still have money left over for goodies, was to go chazzer! And so my chazzer shop chic was born and curating a style out of what was available became a mental norm on which I thrived!

And so my chazzer shop chic was born and curating a style out of what was available became a mental norm on which I thrived!

First of all it went like this: “There is one thing in Cancer Research that both fits me and is pretty cool, how can I make that work?” The results were inventive and unusual, sometimes cool, sometimes bag lady, always different! Once this became the norm, and I grew accustomed to being the person who ALWAYS wore something a bit dodgy  – “Is that an old ladies dress” –  and that smelt a bit musty – “Uurgh is that second hand?” – I quickly found myself liberated from style expectations, and free to experiment.

Once in charge of my own pockets, I could not get my head around the idea of buying one River Island jumper – which would be a variant of the same jumper in every other High Street shop – when I could get a whole outfit from Barnardo’s, that nobody else had! Yes the fact that this was probably because nobody else wanted it was not wasted on me. However, soon enough, and with enough experimentation, chazzer shop chic became my signature style. A guilt and debt free path of exploration; if you buy something that doesn’t quite work, donate it back, you’re giving money to charity after all! Getting dressed was like playing dress up when I was little. Remember that? A box of cast-offs with which to make yourself look like Madonna? And even though you knew Madonna never wore bright orange paisley, if you hung it off your shoulder, and added a few rips, you felt great regardless!

And even though you knew Madonna never wore bright orange paisley, if you hung it off your shoulder, and added a few rips, you felt great regardless!

Nowadays, if I want to recreate a look, or better still, create a look, I will get into the zone and either head to the charity shops, or in the evening, trot along to ebay! Now getting into the zone means tapping in to a vibe. That specific vibe that gets you all excitable. Inspiration can come from anywhere, and when it’s found, tap into it big style and see what you find.

It could be anything, for example, I am currently obsessed with Peaky Blinders on BBC2. I love the fellas suits, the caps and the matriarchs smoky, heavy set make-up. So to develop my hybrid androgynous blinder (I shouldn’t use that term really, it’s a bit grim) I start with a shirt. I’ve a ton of shirts of all different shapes, but if you haven’t they are easy to get, one of the easiest and most reliable charity shops staples in the menswear department. Next up is pants! For this I’d prob try menswear too. Men’s trousers are cut in the right style, but not suited necessarily to female figures. So change the look a bit. Wear them low, or pull them in tight with a belt and allow the bagginess. I’d accessorise this blinder look with a ton of blingage, but then I ALWAYS do. For the hair, if it’s already short then cool, angle it over and give yourself a heavy fringe. If it’s long, go for a low side bun and imitate a short angled ‘do by sweeping some shorter hair around your face. I always have to backcomb this. It is my way.

If nothing current or cultural is inspiring me, sartorial inspiration is guaranteed from a heavy listen of Bjork, Prince or Bowie! My adage of life is WWBD: What Would Bjork Do? Asking this is a pretty safe method of ensuring I will not follow the safe path! Comfort zones: Pah!! An iTunes repeat or a YouTube session will send me into the zone of awesomeness. I do not necessarily want to emanate their style, but to release mine, and channel it through things that inspire me. It’s like someone stoking themselves up for a big old fight only what is unleashed is full-on amazingness!!

My adage of life is WWBD: What Would Bjork Do? Asking this is a pretty safe method of ensuring I will not follow the safe path! Comfort zones: Pah!!

Now I’m sure amazingness can be found in the high-street, if you know how to look and don’t mind the environmental dilemmas, but cheap is what I am, and confortable with developing world abuse I am not. I fully support Fair Trade buying wherever possible, but on a budget I struggle with it, so second hand for me is a more conscience-calming alternative. Plus, with everybody’s cast-offs, you are certain to look distinctive. Where there’s second hand muck, there’s sure to be sartorial brass!

Today i’m listening to: Bjork, ‘Homogenic’.
Today i’m watching: Peaky Blinders & Bjork interviews on YouTube.

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My other good half at the Jeremy Deller exhibition at the Venice Biennale during the summer. Because i’ve been writing elsewhere and not uploading here for AGES< my pics that are always nothing to do with the article, are also very out of time! But still, nice pic.

About annelouisekershaw365

I’m Anne Louise Kershaw a freelance writer. I’m Music Editor of Blankpages and Manchester's Finest. I write, design & edit for Carel Press an educational publishers. I usually have my fingers dipped in several creative pies. I’m a feminist, occasional poet, enthusiastic taker of pictures and constant tea drinker and artist. I love music, dancing, running, mountain biking, going off in my campervan, dressing up in a totally over the top fashion and making myself dizzy. Often, all at the same time! If you know of anything interesting going on in the world of music, fashion, gender, equality or film get in touch. I can be emailed at [email protected] and am @Anne_L_Kershaw on twitter.
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