HOW TO TONAL BLOCK THE HELL OUT OF BEIGE

(Without looking boring)

Originally published on Into The Fold Magazine

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So, beige is back. Truthfully, it never really went away, it just came under the guise of ‘camel’ or ‘nude’, but you’d certainly never refer to it as beige. Ah, beige – the colour of your dad’s cargo shorts, the hue of every piece of furniture in a new-build 00’s home – “Season’s neutrals,” my mother used to utter under her breath every time she stepped into one. Beige is the colour of towel that you keep in the utility room to dry the dog with, it’s the colour of cotton brief you reserve for the fervid days of your period, it’s certainly not a colour synonymous with fashion. Or at least it wasn’t, until now.

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In fact, beige has become so dramatically popular in the last 6 months that not only are we wearing it, we are tonal blocking full outfits of it. During fashion month this past February, street stylers and fashion insiders championed beige’s renaissance in head-to-toe renditions of the colour. Perhaps in response to ‘Yeezy Gate’, Kanye’s odd attempt at post-apocalyptic nude tonal blocking that sparked heavy criticism from the fashion world? Or maybe we just decided that like dad trainers and bum-bags (or fanny packs as the Americans rather uncomfortably call them) beige, too, was due a comeback? Whatever the reason, I’m glad of it.

I’m a full-on beige convert. My boyfriend bought a beige plant pot last week and I made him return it to the shop. “I’m not having beige in my house!” I said, horrified. While that remains true with the furniture, I find myself rapidly buying beige item, after beige item for my wardrobe. I’m actually addicted to it. I feel fabulous in beige. Pair it with gold jewellery and you look impeccably chic, pair it with an edgy T and you look wonderfully Danish (i.e. also chic). You literally cannot go wrong with a bit of beige, I have found.

I'm now only wearing beige clothes for the rest of my life...

Camilla, ITF Editor and general style guru, pointed me in the direction of a H&M beige linen blazer, when I mentioned I’d like to give beige tonal blocking a go. I don’t think I’ve loved anything more, its boxy fit and tortoiseshell buttons make for a blazer that can truly be dressed up or down. Here, I’ve gone for ‘up’ and paired it with a pair of kick flare chinos, gold hoops and silver pumps. (N.B. Futuristic metallics work very well with ye olde beige.) By day, I’ve worn the same blazer with an oversized T from streetwear hot-spot Palace, and it looks equally cool with my signature black turtleneck.

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For my second look, I’ve gone with a pair of tailored Mango flares (which I have only just managed to fit into after overcoming dramatic festive weight-gain). Given, these are more ‘camel’ but what I’ve noticed is that every hue of the nude family works well together, regardless of its Christian name. I’ve paired them with a flattering beige ribbed long-sleeve courtesy of Weekday and a pair of gold mules I got in the Zara Sale last year. Again, this is beige in its Sunday best, but pair this same outfit with a pair of sneakers, or swap the flares for tracksuit bottoms and voila – immediate edge.

So what have I taken away from this little sartorial exercise? Well firstly, I’m now only ever wearing beige clothes for the rest of my life. Secondly, regardless of the hue, beige-on-beige outfits are forever chic, completely fool-proof and impossible to screw up (finally, an outfit formula that will ALWAYS work). And thirdly, I have written the word ‘beige’ 25 times in the last 30 minutes, I currently have an ASOS Wishlist of exclusively beige items waiting to be purchased, and am even reconsidering that beige plant pot.

Forever a fashion victim, and beige is my new master.

HOW TO WEAR PRINTS

(If you hate wearing prints)

Originally published on Into The Fold Magazine

As someone who has, on various occasions, been forcibly removed from not one, but several venues across London for ‘excessive musical performance’, its safe to say I’m a far cry from introvert. And I, like most, relay this information via my personal style: thigh-high boots, neon fur coats and dramatic sunglasses are just a few of the peacocky items in my wardrobe that I feel most at-home in. That being said, I simply cannot rid myself of an irrational fear of the most extroverted garment of them all – the print. Be it polkadot or paisley, ikat or florals, I just can’t bring myself to wear any of them – even the Breton Stripe brings me out in hives, and I’m really not sure why.

Perhaps it is that my mother used to dress my younger sister and I in matching print outfits up until the age of 10. As an older sibling desperate for a sense of individuality, do I have some kind of fashion PTSD? Or maybe its that I just find prints unsustainable and fleeting. Aside from leopard print in the winter and florals in springtime, other prints seem to occupy such a short tenure in the world of fashion, before they’re kicked to the kerb next to adult jelly shoes and Bieber merch. One minute gingham is all the rage, and the next month its only fit for table cloths (I know this because I dared to wear a gingham skirt a few weeks ago, and more than three people asked if I had come dressed as a picnic).

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But the most likely answer for my avoidance of prints, I suspect, is that I never like to look too ‘done’. I’m not a girly dresser, and I feel prints are often too feminine or too busy to work into my usual wardrobe. I wear a lot of blacks, whites and neutrals, and I like to stick to statement pieces or clean-cut basics that won’t go out of style in a hurry. Prints just seem too tricky for me – but as someone who wears almost every other daring trend with ease, that sounds a bit silly, doesn’t it?

I’m lucky to have been afforded the opportunity to write about new trends for Into the Fold, and it has challenged me to try styles that I never normally would, but when it came to tackling prints, I knew I had to ease myself in with something that still felt ‘me’. So when VOGUE named zebra print as one of the hottest trends of 2018, I thought I’d give it a whack.

Here, I’ve paired a zebra midi dress (£19.99) from Zara with my signature black turtleneck and sneakers: simple, cool, and I actually very much like how I feel in it. Perhaps zebra is a print I can get down with, and its monochromatic colour means that it’ll go with just about anything. In the summer, I’ll wear this dress with a white t-shirt underneath, or over bare skin on hotter days, and I may even pair it with a neon oversized blazer and gold mules, if I’m feeling particularly brave.

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I felt my second look needed to involve a bit of colour, otherwise it would‘ve been cheating (black and white prints are too easy), so I went for this Balenciaga-esque floral number – also from Zara (£12.99). I don’t think I’ve everworn florals, but I’ve got a bit of a penchant for anything reminiscent of the 60s and 70s, which this top definitely is, so I thought, ‘Why the hell not?’ I’ve paired it with vintage jeans and red sock boots here, but it also looks surprisingly elegant with my cream tailored kick-flares and a tan trench coat. Again, I’m pleasantly surprised at how versatile a print can be, and even more so how confident I feel in a bold pattern – maybe prints aren’t that scary after all?