Want to see what I am wearing today?
Let’s talk clothes.
I’ve been mixing prints for a while now. I grew up in a world where you wore print as an accent, and always with a solid, never mixing stripes with dots, or plaid with florals, but I think all those cute little, mixed-print dresses you see in the Zulilly type ads for girls seeped into my brain and suddenly, I find myself actively seeking prints to mix.
For me, the trick to mixing prints is color and size of print. Your colors have to match or blend impeccably, and your prints need to be of very different sizes. For example, I wouldn’t match a big floral to a big plaid. I would match a tiny floral to a big plaid, or a big floral to a tiny plaid. I probably wouldn’t match florals and plaids at all, actually, unless I was using the floral as an accent on the plaid. I could see a floral necktie, or waistband/belt on a plaid jumper dress, but not a floral top with a plaid skirt. Chloe Sevigny? She can see that, and it looks good on her. Not on me.
The other night, to the play, I wore a mixed-stripe cardigan over a floral dress. I liked it. Thor approved of it. It certainly got some looks. Whether or not other people liked looking at it is up for grabs, but I was happy wearing it, and that’s really what matters.
Fit, when you’re wearing prints, is also very important. If it is a rosebud, you don’t want it stretched out to the point it looks more like a carnation. (I used to have this glorious gored skirt–it was white with huge pink rosebuds on it. Apropos of nothing, other than that I love rosebud prints.) Now, I am not one of those “never wear horizontal stripes unless you are thin” people, however I am a “wear white whenever you want to” person, so take my opinion for what you think it is worth. If you are going to wear horizontal stripes across your hips, make sure the fabric drapes smoothly from the widest part of your hip, otherwise you can end up looking like you have big rubber bands wrapped around your body. My look, today, comes courtesy of teensy stars and chevron stripes, and the Misses and Maternity section–my skirt is a maternity skirt. No, I’m not pregnant, I just like some maternity clothes. I think it is actually a well kept secret that the only difference between maternity pants and skirts, and regular pants and skirts is the waistband, and the ease across the hips and thighs. There is some cute stuff in the maternity section! Maternity pants/skirts are cut to fit an expanding belly (by offering stretchy, often fold over waistbands–think about your favorite yoga pants), and wider hips and thighs (by offering a more relaxed cut across the bum.) Thus, if you’re looking for a fit that accommodates some junk in the trunk, and you don’t mind a more casual waistband, the maternity section might have something for you. This is especially true if you aren’t quite big enough to fit well into a Plus Sized cut, but are a skosh too big to be comfortable in a Misses Sized cut. (Now, if someone will just make a button down shirt that fits a big bust without looking like a button down tarp…)
I thought I had lost all of these!
I talk a lot about style and fashion, and I speak from the perspective of someone who has been small enough to wear sample sizes, and large enough that I couldn’t shop at Express. I know a thing or two about dressing a tiny, cute body, and a thing or two about dressing a larger, cute body. What I know best of all is that it isn’t the size of the body making it cute, it’s the attitude wearing the body, wearing the clothes. Nothing I like better than a sharp dressed attitude, so I was excited to find Natalie Perkins.
Jezebel.com introduced me to Brisbane native, Natalie Perkins, an artist (portfolio here), fashion blogger, and joy to behold. Natalie came to my attention when Jezebel reposted her blog article about having become a focal point of a Facebook group dedicated to mocking larger bodies in skinny jeans. Refusing to be bullied out of hers, Natalie took the gospel of greatness at any size into their group and invited them to get to know her as a human being, rather than throwing internet eggs at a nameless soul. Kindly and gently, and with excellent syntax probably wasted on that lot, Natalie suggested that hating her figure wasn’t the key to happiness, but that it could be found in learning to love one’s own.
What I love about Natalie’s blog and twitter feed is that she posts about style (fashion/home decor/art) in a way that makes you feel like you could be just as much a bon vivant as she. Rather than just drawing back the curtains to allow you a peek behind the runway into a world exclusive of you, she flings open the doors and invites you to experience the color and texture she found there.
Great fashion is about art, and art has nothing to do with your height, weight, hair color, or shoe size. Great art has to do with passion. Natalie is full of that.
Name: Natalie Perkins
Age Range: On the cusp of my 30s
Preferred Job Title: Artist
Industry: Graphic design/ illustration
Who are you?
I’m Natalie, and I feel like I’m working out who I am every day. The things that characterise me are friendliness, my laugh, my real-world ditziness, and my passions for self acceptance and art. I was born in Brisbane, Australia and I’ve only really left this town on short trips interstate, but I’ve wanted to visit or even New York one day (something I’ve wished for since I was little!)
Describe your family:
My family is very big, welcoming and loud. We like to argue and laugh, and this can be a little bit intimidating for new people but we always want to include people and bring them in. We don’t shy away from hard issues, and I can credit my family for pushing me through some really awful mental health times.
When I wake up I usually go into the bathroom and splash my face with water, then go and make myself a coffee. I sit down with emails and try to plan out the rest of my day. Sometimes I’ll eat toast (buttered with a little bit of strawberry jam) but it’s a struggle, I have never enjoyed eating in the mornings.
The last hour?
Preparing for bed usually consists of a hot Milo, some stuffing about watching tv or browsing the internet, and then I brush my teeth and wash my face.
Finishing a drawing that achieves the things I set out to achieve. Solving problems (usually visual/ spatial problems!) When I’ve been of assistance to people. Receiving praise!
What brings you joy?
I feel joy when marginalised people receive equitable treatment; when I’m formulating a creative plan (for a client or for my personal work); when I’m laughing with my friends and family; and when I am alone, working. Also… puppies! I am unapologetic about my love for dogs, and even though I can’t have one in the apartment I currently live in, I will lavish attention upon any puppy I see.
I admire my female friends and my Mum and Nana. I also admire countless many activists and artists: Beth Ditto, Nomy Lamm, Charlotte Cooper, Tori Amos, Marianne Kirby, Marian Bantjes, Hazel Dooney, Lesley Kinzel, Kate Harding, Sia Furler, Aimee Mann… I could go on forever!
My closest friend is my husband. I love that he is open to discussing really sticky issues, and that he understands my need for alone time.
I like that I am more concerned with personal growth and self awareness than I am with being wrong. I don’t mind admitting I have thought or said or done something hurtful because I am so mindful of all the things I don’t yet know in the world. I want to learn and be taught by people who know more than I do.
What advice would you give boys about girls?
Girls are human beings, boys are human beings. Girls don’t all exhibit the same behavioural traits, we are a gender that consists of billions of different, beautiful characteristics. Instead of assuming a woman will react a certain way, give her the opportunity to react how she wants.
Adversity is so varied for everyone. In my life I have had access to a huge range of privileges (I’m white, middle-class, uni educated etc); I have had some very dark times that perhaps weren’t as awful because I did have certain privileges. I found that having a strong support network really helped me, and talking through problems was a key factor.
I think I’d like people to remember me for being myself, to the full extent of my being, including all the nice and the not so nice bits. I want to have challenged people and nurtured unconventionality!
The purple skirt on the right is on sale now for $17. Today, I am wearing that skirt as a top, with black satin tuxedo style trousers (can’t remember where these are from), and a black cropped shrug (from Target–about $12). If I had plans for the evening, when 5 o’clock rolled around I could just whip off the shrug for a strapless look, or pull the skirt down into place and put on a cute top (like the sweater above, bought at Ross for $9.) Voila! Ready to roll. (Always keep an extra top and pair of shoes in the car. You never know when someone is going to invite you out for fun.)
I have accessorized with a purple pendant on a leather strap (Big Lots, with matching earrings, $5) and little sterling earrings shaped like roses (Avon, by way of Granny. Priceless.) The shoes are black patent ballet flats, so the shoes and pants have a similar sheen. That’s my rule about patent leather–don’t wear patent leather unless your fabric has some sort of sheen. It’s entirely made up on my part.