There’s something about gingham that immediately makes me think of summer. It’s the same sort of thing that makes me associate tartan with autumn and winter, which means that somewhere down the line I’ve bought into a very effective marketing strategy aligning my checked pieces to one particular season. Historically it’s probably something to do with fabric weight…
But before I start tangent-ing about what was used in different parts of fashion history, let me show you one of my favourite new additions to my wardrobe. The gingham top of dreams.
I’ve seen some of my favourite fashion gals style up various gingham pieces already (see Hello Miss Jordan, The Kitty Luxe, and Love, Style, Mindfulness), and couple that with the amount of pretty gingham gracing the rails of the shopping district in Korea… I’ve had some serious fashion envy.
And I hate it when I get fashion envy. It’s like FOMO but for my wardrobe… the creeping feeling of absolute need is so strong, and sometimes I have such a pitiful lack of willpower.
So it was only really a matter of time till something typically gingham check found it’s way onto a hanger of mine. In all honesty I thought it would be one of the ruffled skirts that I’ve been umming and ahhing over for the best part of two months, but I surprised myself instead. The first gingham piece is actually this super cute top.
It’s in an ‘off the shoulder’ style (get a paper and pen, we’re going to play ‘trend bingo’), but has netting around the neckline so you don’t have to keep adjusting the shoulders every three seconds. Fab. The sleeves are probably the part I was most attracted to, they’re not as extravagant as some of the tiered bell sleeves around right now, but they’re puffed, cuffed, and have the cutest ribbon tie I was kind of fawning all over it.
top – 210 (edae) // skirt – chuu -5kg jeans // shoes – new look // sunglasses – edae street stall // bag – new look
The material is probably not the best choice for summer – especially as Korean summer loves to be a humid lil’ thing – because it’s a light polyester blend. It keeps its shape and wears wonderfully, but ayy I can see myself needing to stand by an air con unit if I’m wearing this for a long time. Thankfully it’s a bit on the oversized side (if you read my last outfit post you’ll know that I’m totally into that vibe currently), so air can at least travel through. It also means that there is definitely more room for gingham in my wardrobe.
It was weird watching my photographer retouch some of the shots from this shoot once we’d finished. Usually, we’ll shoot, and then I’ll pick a few of my favourites for him to upload to his facebook page and naver cafe to add to his portfolio. I get all the raws to do what I want with, rinse and repeat. Generally I’ll tweak the brightness and saturation a little, my photoshop skills don’t really go beyond the basics of retouching, as that’s all I really need. But it’s really interesting to watch someone who knows what they’re doing work.
And weird. Weird in the sense that I liked how I looked for this shoot; there was no need to go in hard with the ‘undereye baggage removal’ (I’ve found a concealer duo that is now my holy grail – more on that later – and also I’d managed to sleep a normal amount), yet there are almost always things you sort of know but don’t really want to mention, that are instantly magiced away by a photoshop action.
I’ve seen enough Americas Next Top Model to know how to work my angles. I’m not tall, so low-angle shots are my bae of baes, and generally anyone who’s taken shots for me knows that I’m veeeeeeeeeery particular and will tell you to crouch. Other tricks to increase the way you appear in photos if you’re slightly vertically challenged include: standing on your tiptoes, as it will both make you look like you’re all leg, and work the right muscles to make them look more defined; doing more with your hands also helps distract from the lack of height. I’m also lucky in the sense that I have quite long limbs proportionally for someone that’s barely 160cm tall, so I tend to deceive people that I’m a more ~regular height~ in shots.
But when I’ve done all of this and there are still things that you can see in photoshop… your confidence takes a knock. My legs have always been a bit of a problem for me. I used to dance, and dance hard, as well as swim, run (short distances), and do martial arts. That means that I developed thigh muscles and calf muscles… and they’ve always been a source of… not necessarily body hatred, but boy do I wish they were smaller. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve also felt conditioned to try and reduce the size of them. Long distance running was always something I’ve been monumentally shit at (hi asthma), but last year I decided to fuck it and start. 2k three times a week, which gradually built to 5k, then 7k. Long distance running is great for leaning out your muscles.
It’s a struggle. Not just for me as I see the question posed across social media of ‘how can [one] be body positive if they’re not positive about their own bodies?’ a lot. And I feel that being body positive and confident in our own skin – however we look – is one of the most important things that fashion and beauty bloggers can bring to the table. Be the strong, positive people that a lot of us lacked growing up, because the media we consumed was so prevalent with a certain type of ‘pre-approved’ completely retouched, sometimes completely altered, bodies.
|have a completely unedited photo from this shoot. It’s actually possibly my favourite.|
It’s also something that I worry about. As blogs move more into the realm of editorial, with professional photographers with professional cameras taking professional, beautiful photos to upload to the internet at large, we kind of trust that what’s being shown is what is there. I know there was a bucketload of controversy over the magic skin filters in youtube videos, and I know that the same happens in fashion blogs… so it does concern me that young girls, guys, and those who identify differently, are feeling like they now have an extra layer of pressure, since bloggers are marketed at ‘the everyday person’.
Does anyone else feel like this?
It’s like, I want to portray an image that is definitely me. Even the parts I’m not keen on, and want to change (and am trying to), but also in the way that says that I’m learning to love my body. Because I think that’s one of the most important things we can show.
[what I’m wearing
I’ve talked about the top already, so it’s just the skirt left, I guess? I love Chuu as a brand, they have some great collaboration lines, and their jeans are pretty damned fab. This skirt is from their -5kg jeans line, and it fits really nicely, as there are integrated shorts. So I don’t have to keep worrying about if it rides up. The only thing I don’t like is that the shorts inside create a weird gapping problem at the zipper, but I think I could sort that out with some nifty adjustments.
The bag is from New Look, and I’m still so in love with it, although I don’t get to use it much at the moment. When I go into Seoul, I generally take a massive bag that can fit my whole life in, so the need for smaller bags right now isn’t exactly massive. But I love the pop of colour on the sides, it’s so cute.
And you all know these trainers are practically my life right now, so I don’t have much to say about them that you haven’t already heard. Whoops. Show us some other shoes, Fii, since you bang on about how much you loves shoes so much, ey.
Till next time]
Let me know what you think about this outfit! And if you have any advice on the body confidence thing, I’d really love to hear it. I’m trying to make content that is as true to me as a person as possible, and I think it’s important to let you know that even though it seems really vain to post images of yourself on the internet, I’m not always happy with everything I see in the mirror, or in photos, but I’m trying to learn.