If there’s one thing I love, it’s an outfit that requires absolutely no bodily preparation. I grow weary of outfits that require me a depilate, buff or moisturise in advance. (Side note: Before we dive head first into this post, let me mention that I don’t wince at the sight of another woman’s hairy leg but I do choose not to embrace my own fluff. Each to their own follicular preferences.)
The amount of upkeep that goes into being a standard, fairly presentable woman is nothing short of exhausting at times. Hair dying/styling/cutting, eyebrow shaping, skincare, make-up, waxing, shaving, plucking, exfoliating, moisturising, nail painting, toe nail painting, buffing, tanning, toning; all of these are classed as parts of a standard beauty routine. I consider myself to be fairly low maintenance but even doing a small portion of these things is like playing a never ending game of catch-up. Nails chip, hair grows and the cycle starts again. Sometimes a girl needs a break. Enter, long hems, long sleeves, high necks and the art of leaving absolutely everything to the imagination.
This blouse called to me from the rails with its free-hand paint style bird print, high neck and flouncy front to back frill. It speaks to my love of all things flamboyant and, when paired with my new vintage corduroy flares, answers the question of how to cover 95% of my body without looking like I’m trying to cover 95% of my body.
The flares were tucked away in a corner in a vintage shop, hidden behind another navy pair with an impossibly tiny waist that only surgery would have given me access to. Not only are they the perfect colour to match almost everything in my wardrobe but they make my legs look about 8 feet long. The super exaggerated flare, in all its leg elongating glory, makes them feel suitably dramatic but the corduroy brings them back to earth with a geography teacher spin.
Moving onto yet another piece of vintage, this blue skirt doesn’t get nearly enough wear for reasons unknown. So seldom does it leave my wardrobe, in fact, that I put it on to discover it is now a good two inches too big for me (it’s bulldog clipped at the back for photographic purposes – the most common stylist’s trick). After a trip to the tailors I’ll be making a concerted effort to wear it more because such a shade of blue deserves to see the light of day. The structured shape is particularly suited to being worn with a turtleneck, and the void of colour left by the abyss of black Lycra stretched across my torso left room for me to layer over a plisse leopard print top.
Onto accessories: The ‘kerchief is my new favourite. Firstly, because how often do you really get to say ‘kerchief? And secondly because it instantly improves any outfit tenfold. I’ve worn it with shirts, off the shoulder tops, t-shirts and now a turtleneck and it’s never failed to provide exactly the finishing touch I was after.
Despite the outdated notions of ‘preserving modesty’ that come with it, there’s a lot to be said for leaving nought but your face and fingers on show. Some say leaving everything to the imagination creates an allure; I say it’s a beauty regime shirker’s dream.