"if there is anything I have come to realise over the past year, it is that fashion isn’t just for the camera"

My friends will be the first people to tell you that I am a wreck in front of the camera. I love to think I can strike a pose effortlessly, or to be able to tilt my head to the perfect angle, such that my jawline looks sharp – but, that’s not me. I get quite shy – nervous almost – when people flash their camera in my direction. It’s a shame because my style is a big part of who I am, and I often wish I had more pictures to do it justice. Of course with the pandemic, and Lockdown 1.0, all photo opportunities were axed. But if there is anything I have come to realise over the past year, it is that fashion isn’t just for the camera.

Lockdown 1.0

I’d lost all interest since I wasn’t meeting anyone new or doing anything exciting

Pyjamas. Sweatpants. Hoodies. (Maybe) some sports leggings, if I was feeling particularly proactive. These all became staples of my wardrobe. I was feeling kind of despondent during these months, at home with only the banalities of everyday life to keep me entertained. I feel most at home in a busy city, in a heaving bar amongst friends, or meeting new people at various events – so as you can imagine – I was feeling flat. My outfits showed. I’d lost all interest since I wasn’t meeting anyone new or doing anything exciting. The only people I was Zooming were my friends, and they aren’t strangers to me on a Saturday morning, hungover and with Friday night’s makeup still intact.

“Being my own photographer, I got used to seeing myself through my own lens”

It’s not really surprising I wasn’t making any effort. As ever, the camera was nowhere to be seen, apart from maybe the humble reappearance of the mirror-selfie. Being my own photographer, I got used to seeing myself through my own lens – not that the outfits it captured were particularly spectacular.

Lockdown 2.0

fashion, at this point, was giving me a reason to live

By November, I was really used to seeing friends, to putting on clothes that made me feel like the main character again, the kind of outfits you’d hope to get a Crushbridge with. But then it was back inside, and normal-ish life over. But fashion, at this point, was giving me a reason to live. Being back in Cambridge, I was surrounded by friends (who I hasten to add are all stunning, and can comprise outfits like no-one else), they made me hold my own. Still camera shy, I steered clear – but I was making much more of an effort, nonetheless. Even if I was just nipping to Mainsbury’s for bread, or going for a socially distant walk, they had becomes occasions. I was beginning to realise that the power some outfits can give you is unparalleled – even if you just wear it while running errands, or around college. 

“the power some outfits can give you is unparalleled – even if you just wear it while running errands, or around college”

Amid feelings of frustration with being trapped indoors yet again, there was something fulfilling about feeling and looking good. My college husband and wife proposed to me in this lockdown too (on Bridgemas Eve) – so something was going right. Fashion for me became much more of a statement in these weeks. It was a way of showing myself that I can get it together, despite the outside world crumbling around me.

Lockdown 3.0

I think I would have died if it weren’t for the Urban Outfitters sale this winter

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Mountain View

What's in our bags?

Colourful. A bit more daring. This is the only way to describe the new lockdown. After a year of screens, the four walls of my college room and the Coronavirus still tearing up the UK, there is very little to live for anymore. There is a certain joy I have found in clothes, though. It seems to be the only avenue of my life now that I can go a bit crazy with. I’m was (and always will be) a lover of an all-black outfit. But something has to give – and with this lockdown, it’s that. There is always something exciting about ordering clothes, but I waited with a new anticipation for an orange gingham mini-skirt suit I bought. I think I would have died if it weren’t for the Urban Outfitters sale this winter. My bank account has a serious hole in it, but I have a new purple quarter zip, and a bright red V-neck, a lime-coloured camisole – all items that would have never of made it anywhere near my wardrobe before. This time has really let me get experimental – probably something I wouldn’t have done if it weren’t for the lockdown.

My confidence has grown, and sense of style has evolved over the year. I’m still a nightmare before the camera. In fact, I haven’t even tried a self-timed home photoshoot. Fashion has been a way of finding, and creating, meaning in a life that has been quite devoid of it. Creating an outfit is something by me, for me. If someone gets a camera out now, I quite like the fact it captures this.

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