I started to develop a personal sense of style when I was around 18. A lot of what I wore was unconsciously inspired by what I saw around me. Coincidentally this was around the time I started to watch YouTube. Bear with me as I try my best to paint you a picture.
I was quite girly (minus the heels). All my tops were very feminine and I hardly had basic silhouettes. Because I wasn’t comfortable wearing skirts in Qatar, most of the time I would wear some sort of skinny jean and sometimes trousers. Living in a Muslim country, I was always double cautious with my choices because I didn’t want to show too much skin.
After moving to London for uni at 20, this developed. I didn’t feel as restricted and began to incorporate a lot of dresses into my wardrobe and experiment more with my clothing. YouTube impacted my style a lot with my favourites like Erica Fae, Patricia Bright and Samantha Maria serving as inspirations. My closet was populated with lots of heels I never wore and plenty of worn once fast-fashion items. The only trainers I had were my running shoes, and casual clothes were only to stay at home. My go-to staples became fitted tops, my black heeled boots and dresses with tights for the winter. I was content in what I wore. You can see some of the look books I filmed at the time here.
Style continually evolves. About 6 months ago, even though my wardrobe was full, I started finding it very difficult to find stuff to wear. I realised that I had many statement pieces but not enough basics to pair them with. I also began to fall in love with more masculine silhouettes including loose fitted, oversized shirts and t-shirts. At the same time, I became drawn to trainers together with sweatshirts and hoodies which I started actively wearing outside the house.
I felt like my wardrobe no longer expressed who I was anymore, and I no longer felt comfortable in a lot of the clothes I had. I wanted my wardrobe to have comfortable and versatile items, which is what I wanted to be reflected in my style.
To start with, I began a closet clear out. I gave away/sold everything I no longer liked and had not worn in the last 8-12 months. I also began to carefully shop for good quality basics that fit well. This included a few good fitting pairs of jeans and tops with simple silhouettes. Previously, I would buy something just because it was cheap or on sale. When clearing my closet out, I found that a lot of the clothes bought for such reasons were hardly worn.
So I began to only buy items I couldn’t part with and could pair with already existing stuff in my closet. Currently, if I don’t love everything from the pattern to the fit, it’s a no-no. If I can’t incorporate it into my current wardrobe, then it’s also a no-no. This has allowed my style to be more versatile without having too many clothes. Nowadays, I no longer feel overwhelmed at shop sales, nor do I leave with baskets full of shopping that I don’t like 4 months later. It doesn’t take me 20-40 minutes to pick an outfit. It takes me 5. I stopped stressing about what to wear. It is now simple to pick because I love everything I own.
Importantly, I also stopped worrying so much about what other people were wearing. Even though the media does impact certain things that I like and wear, I try and stay grounded in what I feel comfortable in. More and more, I have become my own source of inspiration. Somedays I dress like a complete girly girl, other days I’m very casual, but most days it’s a mix of both.
To me, style isn’t a certain type of dress or a certain colour palette in your wardrobe. It’s more about having clothes that make you feel good, which then becomes your style.