Dressing up the Dictionary: Engulfed

Do you ever feel like your surroundings are engulfing you? I know I do. They influence how I think, how I feel and certainly how I dress. Over the years my style has adapted to the surroundings I have been in and as a result, it has changed invariably. I like exploring how an outfit can fit in with it or go against the grain.

When I was at an all girls secondary school, everything I wore was about fitting in with the people around me. I fell into the awful trap of brightly coloured Ralph Lauren polo’s-shoot me-that epitomises that private school “chic.” Moving on to sixth form college is where my style really started to come into it’s own, it has definitely evolved six years on, but they were the years that taught me a thing or two for the now. I was surrounded by kids whose bank accounts knew no bounds. An example of this was girls with a different Birkin bag for each day of the week, believe me, that is no exaggeration. My love for luxury goods was born here (and never died, LOL) and it marked the occasion I bought my first timeless piece, the Chanel 2.55 bag which I still use to this day, duh.

Being at MPW, the college in question, taught me so much about how my individuality could be expressed through my outfits. I wanted to have a part in all the luxury but I didn't necessarily have the funding for it like the rest. So, I learnt how to make any outfit I wore look luxe just by how I presented it. I practice the same thing today by mixing high end with the high street. Style is, in my mind, all about adapting to where you are while maintaining your individuality. Clothing aside, I definitely felt being at that college started to engulf my entire identity. With hindsight, I can see how it did that, but I can safely say because of that it has taught me not to be entirely eaten up by everything around me. Instead, I use my surroundings as muses to inspire how I want to look at any given occasion, place or time.

Speaking of feeling engulfed, for this weeks look I have gone for an elevated and up to date version of what I would have put together if I were at college. From the jacket to the boots, everything is from Zara, a definite favourite high street store. The accessories are where the luxe comes out to play, wearing the very Chanel bag I mentioned and have had for 10 years. I decided to visit the area the college is in, exploring all the mews’s once more to shoot for this post. A place I was once engulfed and encapsulated by, revisited with a new stance and a fresh set of eyes.


Shop the Look:

  1. Teddy Jacket, Zara

  2. Faux Leather Trousers, Zara similar here

  3. Boots, Zara

  4. Sunglasses, Le Specs

  5. Bag, Chanel Sloane St

Dressing up the Dictionary: Identity

5ft 4, brown skin, mid-length dark hair, big eyes, slim(ish), resting bitch face with an air of ambiguity are some of the things that sum up my external identity. Who I am isn't just what you see on the surface, and that is something using social media has really got me thinking about. Instagram in particular creates this overall sense of “black and white,” only two very extreme versions of yourself are put on display - your image and what your selling through your image to all your followers. It begs the question, what happens to all that grey matter which makes up who you really are? 

Well, my grey matter is composed of being 24, diagnosed with Bipolar, a Muslim woman, South Asian, a sexual assault victim, a sister (of THREE brothers), an introvert, shy, quiet, anxiety ridden, hyper organised, a mental health advocate, a campaign assistant, list obsessed and so so much more. You don't get to see those things in photos, you probably wouldn't even guess it. Of course you can’t see these things duh, nonetheless, they make me who I am and effect how I choose to portray myself. Having worked in environments where identity was heavily scrutinised made taught me I don't need to focus in on just one aspect of who I am - for example being a Muslim woman - instead I want to explore my identity as a PERSON on a whole. 

Sharing my looks and my lifestyle isn't a matter of falsifying elements of my life. I tirelessly put tonnes of energy into what I put out there. Every image is tied to a mood, a feeling and a thought, all of which I set out to share with you through my writing. In that respect I am trying to set myself apart from the usual “look at me and my amazing life” set we see everywhere. My life isn't always amazing. I don't always look how I do on the days I shoot my looks. The days that aren't so great like when I am just running errands, working and even sometimes being incredibly lazy and watching too much Netflix, make me all the more grateful for those where I am doing what I love: writing, shooting my curated outfits and seeing it all come together on my blog. 

This weeks look is just one example of many to come, inspired by my thoughts on how identity is portrayed on social media. As the saying goes “nothing is ever black and white” hence this monochrome ensemble. I’m making my point, even down to the stitching in the garments everything is black and white. See, all that thought! Theres definitely always more than meets the eye. 

A. x

Shop the look:

  1. White Shirt Body, Zara - Similar here

  2. Trainers, Golden Goose Deluxe Brand

  3. Bag, Fendi

  4. Sunglasses, Fendi

  5. Libra Coin Necklace, Vanity and Rose

  6. Amelia Gold Necklace, Cinco Store

  7. Oval Ring, Annina Vogel

  8. Crown Ring, Annoushka

Photography by Hayley Ku'unani - Instagram @thoualone