What I loved about Bristol when I moved here from London seven years ago was that, when meeting someone for the first time, what you did for a living was never the first topic of conversation. People were much more concerned with what you did for pleasure, what you did at the weekend, and whether you liked cider.
Bristolians, by and large, place more emphasis on inner happiness than the outer trappings of success. That’s why the city has a reputation for being nonchalantly stylish, and that’s why I love it so much. It’s not about being immaculately groomed – it’s about carefree dressing. You need clothes that will take you from work, to the pub, to a gig, or to the coast at the weekend, at a moment’s notice.
So most of the Bristolian women whose outfits I have blogged about have a certain ‘Bristolian essence’ which I would best describe as nonchalant, cool, a bit scruffy, occasionally androgynous, and infinitely versatile.
And as a means of showing what I mean, and showing off a bit because I’ve learnt how to make an online collage, here is a quick snapshot:-
And then this morning I met a woman whose outfit again sums up all those things I have come to love about my city’s style. Yes, it’s a new ‘I fancy Your clothes!’
I love this look – everything really works, the bleached out grey jeans and the battered Bertie boots are perfect together. The woven belt, bird-print Gap shirt and soft cardie have a Little House on the Prairie feel, updated with an edgier vibe – which can only be a good thing.
CarolAnne’s Quick Style Tips:
“When you’re a mum, don’t try to dress for anyone but for yourself – you can still wear what you love, you don’t have to worry about dressing ‘like a mum’. Even I was a pregnant this was something I’d aim for, I never wore maternity clothes, I’d just buy bigger sizes and wore everything really tight! If you loved fashion before, don’t give up on it now, and sooner or later you’ll feel comfortable in your own things again.”
CarolAnne’s bird-print shirt was the killer for me, and who would have thought it would come from Gap? Now there’s a shop I haven’t thought about or visited for a couple of years. This bird-print shirt made me rethink my bias and am I glad I did.
A quick scroll through their printed shirts online shows that someone, somewhere in Gapland knows how to design a good printed shirt. And to top it all off, some of them are on sale. Here are my top 5:
Shrunken Boyfriend Shirt in Blue, £29.95
Teacup Print Shirt, £29.95
This is beautiful, £29.95:
This Polka Dot shirt has a seventies feel that I dig a lot. £19.95 on sale:
This has got a Cat Print. Need I say miaow? £29.95
You can see the whole collection here and remember – hanging up a shirt in the bathroom while you have a hot bath is almost as good as ironing it.