Buying into a trend

Although I try to stay away from being too trend-driven, I do find trends interesting.  I track their journey to the high street in New Zealand via the occasional jaunt into stores clearly designing for women who don’t sweat profusely in the presence of polyester. I’m not there to buy – I’m 100% there to be shady and see what the kids of today are interested in wearing.  With spring starting to enter stores it’s getting particularly interesting/painful – lots of floral, you guys.  Eye-burningly bright floral prints (and that’s coming from me) or more DEEPLY BORING millennial pink and grey, alleviated with an occasional shot of red. That’s what your 15 year old daughter will want to wear this year.

It was on one of these jaunts around Wellington that I happened across this visual assault of a shirt – there is a LOT going on here, I realise.  Ruched sleeves. The button up back.  Stripes.  A massive bow.  It mesmerised me immediately, but I was sure it would be synthetic aka like wearing a greenhouse.  I touched it (usually a mistake).  It felt…okay?  So I checked the care label and learnt, again, not to make assumptions.  This shirt is 100% cotton.  YASSSSSSSSSS.

Every so often a trend comes along that accelerates into my consciousness so quickly that I can’t trace where it’s arisen from.   The wrap front, ruched sleeve blouse is an example of this – it seems to have spontaneously exploded from the high street, fully formed.  I am not keen on the wrap version, although I do wear wrap blouses as a general principle, because this style feels too shoulder and décolleté baring for my day to day life (work).  What I love about the wrap blouses that are everywhere is the ruched sleeve (a continuation of the statement sleeve trend that has had women everywhere dipping sleeves into cups of tea for the past year) and the fetching bow effect.  Aha! Here was my chance to get the fun things without scaring children with my rather bony chest.

I was pretty torn on whether to buy this shirt, which is inexpensive and is absolutely going to be out of fashion by this time next year.  I will have to thrash it this summer to make sure I get decent wear out of it, and then I will hoard it until it’s so far out of fashion that it’s no longer connected with the trend and becomes a fun blouse of its own right.  That could take some time with a trend this strong.

It’s also intensely memorable.  Do I want to be “that woman in that crazy black and white striped shirt thing”?  I mean, there are worse things to be, but I definitely needed to be able to mix this up with various things to make it look quite different, in order to get a good amount of mileage without this turning into a uniform.

This is my first outfit with this shirt – with my red lipstick, these huge earrings from Ruby and a ladylike skirt and heels, I felt my favourite feeling: stereotypical Italian lady.  I’ve also dreamed up these combos for this shirt:

  • Untucked (but belted with the bow) with tailored red trousers and my transparent shoes
  • Tucked into denim shorts with my red slides for the weekend, also featuring an as-yet-unpurchased straw bag
  • Tucked into my hot pink vintage pencil skirt with my black satin Teegan pumps from Wittner (this makes me think of licorice allsorts.  I consider this an excellent inspiration)
  • Untucked over the Night Bloom dress from Wilson Trollope, again belted with the bow, and my metallic gold heels from NineWest
  • Tucked into dark denim flares with a pair of tan platform sandals and an array of bangles

That’s the thing about something so unabashedly trendy – it can be like a shot of adrenalin for your entire wardrobe.  It’s not something you want a lot of, but a very small amount at just the right time can really get you going again. I’m legitimately excited to wear this shirt, and as we grind through the back end of winter, with tempting spring stock in store but still-freezing temperatures to contend with, I need a bit of excitement in my wardrobe.  Stay tuned for more adventures in my stripy friend.

Shirt: from Mirrou, cheap wrap shirt examples here and here (it’s on you).  I’m very scared to wash it and then have to deal with ironing/steaming those sleeves.  Skirt from Made in Auckland.  Shoes are Skin from Ultra Shoes in Wellington.  Earrings are from Ruby – I wanted these all the way back in summer but wussed out.  Then they sold out.  Then I regretted my sookiness.  Now I own them.  Truly, it is a story with all the drama you could ever hope for.