Saturday 16 March 2019

How 90s TV Characters Subconsciously Shaped My Wardrobe

Growing up, we experiment with our identity and appearance constantly, channelling a range of subcultures and buying into every fad and trend that crosses our path until we eventually find what suits us best. When I think about the photographs I've seen from my childhood, there are clearly phases and I've tried it all. Tomboy, glam, emo, chav, you name it, the subcultures came and went and whatever era you grew up in, the same would've applied. With each passing craze, you take the bits that you like and start to build your own style and own look.

At 27, I'd like to think that where I am now is a true reflection of what I like and what suits me. And reflecting on the earliest of the childhood photos, it seems I'm kind of back right where I started. Toddler Terri would always don pinafores, plaid checks, big t-shirts, frilly socks and dungarees and I'm not ashamed to say that twenty-something Terri absolutely still does all of the above. But as a regular Urban Outfitters buyer, I find myself looking for nostalgic, vintage vibes in all that I buy and recently, whilst watching TV re-runs, it became apparent just who might've been responsible for subconsciously embedding the styles I love into my current wardrobe.

I mean, one of these ladies had THE most wanted hairstyle of the 90s so it's completely understandable that these three would influence a generation. Despite being only 3 years old when Friends first hit screens, I tapped into as I grew up and like most people, still find myself watching the re-runs now. The only difference being, style savvy, adult me has a new found appreciation for the outfits that Rachel, Monica and Phoebe rocked in the earliest seasons. Every time seasons 1 - 3 are on TV, I am desperately longing to have the pinafores, the crops, the sweaters, the patterned maxis and tea dresses, the jewellery and the layering techniques that these three had.

The queen of the clashing print. Clarissa Darling, played by Melissa Joan Hart in Clarissa Explains It All was easily one of the coolest females to grace my screen growing up. I loved her bedroom, her sarcasm in each little monologue, I totally fancied her next door neighbour and wanted her hair and wardrobe all for myself. Her outfits were so outrageously 90s with big bold colours and patterns but in grungey, slouchy fits and my goodness, she loved a scrunchie. Whilst both Clarissa and Melissa's later role, Sabrina, were my youth idols, Clarissa Darling definitely had the upper hand in the style stakes.

The dry, witty, often shy Brit who kept the 3 Crane men in tow on a daily basis. Daphne Moon of Frasier fame was relatable in more ways than one but her style was made up of the prettiest patterned dresses, statement skirts teamed with cardigans and slouchy blouses all in the most graceful, flattering fits. Her layered hair, often in an up-do with effortless fringe was very much of the decade, as were her accessories.

And let's not forget the fact that quite a lot of my viewing during the 90s was in fact animated and the cartoons of the decade certainly were not without their quirky bad-ass females. Spinelli (Recess), Daria, Jane (Daria) and Debbie (The Wild Thornberries) were three that I loved and three that I think are probably now responsible for my subconscious love of boots, over-sized shirts & jackets, plaid and baggy/ripped jeans. Probably also responsible for my sarcastic, pessimistic and slightly passive aggressive nature but this was the decade of irony and girl power so I'm owning it!

Sunday 10 March 2019

Solo Travelling - London Called

For some reason, in our judgemental society, there are certain experiences that are often considered odd or some sort of social suicide if you dare to do them alone. Going to the cinema, going to gigs, eating in restaurants, drinking in bars, going on holiday - all of these are seen as things that are typically done in pairs, in groups, with family and so of course, that becomes the norm. 

But as a twenty-something singleton, opportunities to plan these kinds of activities with other people are often few and far between. We've all been there; your coupled up friends naturally do a lot of these activities just the two of them (and rightly so), some of your friends have family commitments meaning it's hard for them to make plans (understandably) and there are other friends whose schedules and finances just never match up with your own, meaning you always struggle to pencil each other in.

On the other hand, if you actually take some of the aforementioned activities at face value, it's hard to see why they are social activities. Going to the cinema and to gigs, particularly, as you are engrossed and watching something the whole time and only afterwards would you consider chatting anyway. And let's face it, if you're going on holiday to relax or to sight-see rather than for parties and chaos then again, other humans are somewhat surplus to requirements.

For a long time, I probably missed out on many things because I'd assumed, naively, that I needed someone else to come along with me and I couldn't possibly do them alone because what on Earth would people think?! But when you realise that actually you're missing out on a hell of a lot of films, gigs and chances to go away because you're forever waiting for your peers' plans to align and that a little anxiety on your part should not be enough to stop you from having amazing experiences.

Once I realised this, I got out of a rut and started being spontaneous and making way more memories. It started with going to see a few gigs I'd been putting off and then a few films and most recently, an off the cuff few days in London. This was something I'd wanted to do for years and had planned with other people at varying different times but never actually pulled off. I rarely go on holiday because growing up, I didn't go on many with family and so I'm not too savvy with airports, currency, bookings etc. and this mixed with a variety of anxieties has meant that I haven't had the opportunity to get away, relax and rejuvenate for quite a long time. Recently, a few chats with friends who had been solo-travellers made me realised how daft I've been and relinquished some of those anxieties. This was evidently the kick up the backside that was needed because it led to me booking this last minute trip to London entirely on my own. 

Now, London might not exactly seem like a jet-set adventure but as I'm not too street savvy and travel savvy, it made sense to venture around the busiest places in the UK before embarking on anything any further afield. If I could master the independence, sense of direction, common sense and street smarts required for these places, then I'd be well away.

All in a day's work
 (Natural History Museum (Kensington), Trafalgar Square & Tower Bridge)

So two weeks ago, off I popped, on the 2 hour LNER for three days away with my backpack, an Oyster card and a little list of personal to-dos. And honestly, it was THE best thing I've done in years. I was super nervous, excited and a little scared but once I got there and started doing my little Dora the Explorer bit, I had not a care in the world. I felt so relaxed and couldn't wait to get out every morning and see the sights. I spent Thursday to Saturday in the capital and properly thrashed the to-do list, fitting in Kings Cross, Camden Market, Oxford Street, Fitzrovia, London & Tower Bridge, Tower of London, South Kensington, Knightsbridge, Chelsea, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street, Carnaby Street, Covent Garden and racking up a good 50,000 steps across the 72 hour period. I can't honestly understand why I didn't get out of my comfort zone and do this years ago, it was the easiest and most liberating trip and has opened doors to the possibility of going further. I had serious travel blues when I got home and can't wait to book something else. 

Shopped til I dropped
(Camden & Carnaby Street)

The moral of this post (and hopefully this forthcoming series of posts) is that the judgemental stigma of doing things in solitude is inevitably restricting people and preventing them from living their best lives. 
Don't be afraid - Go see that film on your own, eat at your favourite restaurant alone, go see your favourite artists and musicians alone, book that holiday on your own. Sometimes, you need that TLC, the alone time, the space to think, to process things and sometimes you want to be sociable and have all of the conversations, life is about balance and you can most definitely have both in moderation.

Liked this? Check out Solo Travelling: Living My Best Life in Liverpool, the second post in this series.