Is travelling changing my style identity? A 7-day photo diary of proof
I’m in another airport. Another mundane waiting area with dull, oat-coloured terminal chairs and carpet that can only be described as stale. To further add to the dreariness, on my feet is a pair of justly-heinous sandals that serve their purpose as a podiatry aid but not much else thereafter. I’ve worn these battered, double-strap sandals for 40 days straight and, in realising that, I’ve also worn the same outfit (or a rendition of the same outfit) for 40 days too.
The popular argument I hear, at least what I’ve found from several social media DMs, is that travelling does change your style, at least temporarily. It’s true, I now spend my days with sand from my toes to my neck, wearing a bikini and over-shirt that can best be described as Bohemian, but in the least cool way possible.
Working in fashion, I’m regularly asked about my personal style to which I would answer is colourful and maximalist, loose-fitting and tailored. My look is determined by my mood and environment but is more often maximalist through and through. My wardrobe is more than a collection of clothes: It’s a multifaceted, frugal –and at times vulnerable – and chaotic space.
“I’m a Friday night mule worn to the office on Monday morning. I wear the brightest shades on the darkest, wettest days because that’s what colour is for. Layering is my seductive power and jewellery is my drug of choice”
I tried, for a long time, to fit into the parameters of the Instagram fashion frame. That is, to have a wardrobe and lifestyle dominated by neutral and monochromatic tones. But I’m not cream-on-cream chunky pair of Zara trainers: I’m a Friday night mule worn to the office on Monday morning (why should all good things be restricted to Friday??). I wear the brightest shades on the darkest, wettest days because that’s what colour is for. Layering is my seductive power and jewellery is my drug of choice. You bet I’ll pair an oversized pair of chandelier earrings with an equally oversized hat, a pair of standout frames around my eyes and a bag that doesn't actually hold anything but is the perfect companion to my ear decorations.
With travelling, I feel like I’m trying different personality styles on for size, mainly because I’ve had to be precariously meticulous in packing my 12.6kg bag. I created a kind of template in my head of necessary items suitable for jungle/beach/city terrain, as well as pieces that are polymorphic (can that T-shirt be worn as a dress? Will that scarf double as a top?? Is this item essential?). Though limiting myself was ambitious, fending off the fads was refreshingly simple. It really was a case of ‘ditch anything that doesn’t bring you joy’. Luckily for me, I’m the same size as Cupl other half Jake, so his 12.6kg has also become mine.
I’m hoping this trip will encourage me to go home and find the contents of my closet new and exciting again. At present, I find myself wanting less and less (unless I’m in Singapore, then I want IT ALL). Maybe it’s because I have less things and I’m surrounded by communities who, for the most part, have nothing.
Living with less is energising, invigorating and empowering. It allows creativity to break through the mould of frivolous spending. And I think I’ve developed an emotional connection to my underwear like never before having washed them in so many different bathroom faucet’s. Ready to see the consequences of my curtailed packing?
Day 1. I’m starting this with my favourite accidental travelling outfit. It has been the one ensemble that near-perfectly encapsulates me without having access to me ‘drobe at home. This top is actually a full-length dress that both me and Jake wrestled into position for a night at the markets. I bought it when I started my first styling gig at Topshop almost 8 years ago. A delicate silk fuchsia scarf from Seagreen.ie kept my sea-salt hair at bay and matched my eyes and lips harmoniously.
Day 2. Don’t I fit in well for Chinese New Year?? An old velvet leotard (Topshop), ear chandeliers and corresponding eye and waist accoutrements is today’s choice for a jaunt around Singapore. Spoiler alert: you’ll see these Uniqlo indigo jeans at least two more times during the course of your scroll.
Day 3. Don’t be fooled by my top, it’s actually a slip dress that was bartered from a tiny corner boutique in Malaga, Spain (for €2). The camo pants? Not mine. His. I particularly admire my necklace layering skills here.
Day 4. Here’s a prime example of me wearing one of Jake’s Avanti shirts. The real question here is who wears it best?? Oh and look, the same Uniqlo jeans again…but with a different, upgraded belt!
Day 5. I call this one the rodeo water-polo cowgirl referee look. Here, I’m still in the violent throes of Bali Belly and so a day by the pool is necessary to recoup (and to ensure I’m within 5-feet of a toilet at all times). An old felt hat from H&M keeps the 36- degree heat off my head and this lightweight, kaftan style dress (with pockets!!!!) from Next is incredibly comfortable. I’ve worn this outfit on several flights.
Day 6. By now, much of my clothes are waiting for laundry to be done so my only solution is to wear a pyjama top. Luckily for me, this one (from Primark circa 2017) has a delicate satin-effect finish that looks exactly like a silk slip. Fooled you. It’s fair to say I matched my surroundings on purpose for this one and my resulting confidence levels were sky-high. Prolly one of my favourite lewks.
Day 7. Here is a basic lesson in wearing a bathing suit to the carnival post-beach. This classic, tropical print one is from Om Diva Boutique and I bought it on their end-of-year sale for €10. Paired with cotton, high-waist, loose-fitting shorts form Mango (circa 2016), the silhouette is clean with a healthy heaping of vintage appeal.