BACK in Australia when I was picturing myself in London, in my imaginings I was always excellently dressed. I would skip down Portobello Road wearing printed leggings, a vintage man-sized button up shirt and Manolo Blahniks, with some tribal jewelry I just ‘picked up for a song’ on a ‘buying trip’ to Morocco. People would shoot me admiring glances, mentally noting my casual yet stylish thrown together look, and roving Vogue reporters would stop me to photograph me for their ‘scene on the street’ section.
So convinced was I, about my transformation, I essentially threw out/gave away my entire Australian wardrobe and turned up (to seven degree weather) with little more than a pant suit for interviews (two sizes too small — I guess I also imagined I would be thin in London) and a determination to buy the entire contents of Topshop (of course only so I could pair High Street basics with designer pieces).
What I didn’t count on was that one doesn’t suddenly develop a sense of style when your passport is stamped by a reluctant Customs Official (“No, I am not an illegitimate arrival from the Caucus States smuggling a balloon of heroin up my bum and two impoverished children in my overcoat pockets, thank you very much! I am legit. Ancestry Visa. Right there, lady. I even have a couch to sleep on. Suck it!”). Years of living in Canberra (a fashion wasteland) and a predilection for Cotton On basics (plain white singlet with plain blue shorts and thongs anyone?) means it is going to be a long road to Sartorialist glory, if I reach the holy grail at all.
Realisation number 1: I am never going to pull off a white lace miniskirt. Doesn’t matter how hard I try to team it with a sheered paneled peach vest and some chunky gold chain.
Basically shopping has proved to be much the same experience as in Australia. An exercise in indulging in deep insecurities and eventual capitulation towards the plain t-shirt and 20 pound jeans rack. Vogue is a long way off.