Tuesday, 14 October 2014


A little spontaneity never goes amiss. In fact, nothing like a day seemingly stale – productive in a lacklustre way, with too many interludes on twitter – then lightened by an on-the-spot decision to go out and do something.

On this particular evening, about a month ago (when I was still back at home before returning to university), the ‘something’ was relatively simple: a drive and stroll in the early evening light. I’d spent the afternoon moping around feeling a bit under the weather and generally sorry for myself. So after umming and aahing over dinner, I agreed to go out – only stopping to grab a pair of socks and the nearest cardigan. As dad drove, the slant of the sun grew ever more spectacular – the car winding its way higher into the hills, the golden wash of grass and valley beneath.

I had on what I’d been wearing for a day of work – no make-up, and (I have a feeling) with my hair still un-brushed. There’d been no suggestion of anything other than a walk, and, possibly for dad, some wildlife photography. But I couldn’t help myself: “daaaad, look at the flowers, they match my dress – just one shot!” Well, one shot – and then another, and another, and another…

At first, I’d been hesitant. Here I had nothing to hand – not even a belt to shape up the saggy dress, or a stray eyeliner hidden in a pocket. Nothing. Just the surroundings and the sunshine and some very messy curls. But it felt liberating – all the more freeing for the lack of care or perfectionism. Yes, I had spots on my chin. Yes, this was an outfit more practical than planned. Yes, my throat was killing and my chest hurting for some unknown reason (I’d woken up with it that morning) – but here I was, swept afresh by the breeze, standing and smiling on a road that felt almost abandoned.

There’s a difference, as there always is, between the experience at the time and the photos that then appear on my blog. The latter captures something of the former, but only a condensed moment or two – something shaped and framed for a specific purpose, and a specific platform.

So here I am, as it is with every post, showcasing an outfit and appearance, a visual identity. I’m a little less groomed this time – but no more or less real. It’s how I spend roughly half my days, depending on what I’m doing. Sometimes I’ll dress to the nines for a morning spent writing in my room – or spend a day without even dragging a comb over my head (they are rare though...)
Yet it feels like all of this gains another context on a blog ostensibly devoted to style and culture. 

Does appearing without make-up and other accoutrements become a more political choice, contradicting the usual ‘perfection’ often expected of style bloggers?

To me, it’s just another way of looking. It lacks the accentuation or playfulness of red lipstick, mascara and the like – the potential to flatter or highlight certain aspects with colour, kohl and powder. Instead it’s another angle, another mode of presentation – albeit one with less effort involved.

But I don’t feel any real ‘liberation’ in it. It’s no sacrifice. It doesn’t feel brave, or that I’m saying anything particularly beyond the fact that I’m comfortable enough in my own skin (most of the time) to put this up.

But maybe it’s easy for me to say that? I sit (and fit) relatively close to various societally constructed ideals when it comes to appearance. My skin is mostly pretty clear, my features – apparently – noticeable. I’m happy to play dress up when I want, but also to go out and about with a face unadorned. Perhaps that’s a privilege afforded to me. But it certainly shouldn’t be one based on how near or far you rest from the bizarre cultural tally of what constitutes ‘beautiful’ or ‘acceptable’ – but just how you view yourself.

All items worn here are second hand, amassed from various charity shops. The cardigan is vintage Jaeger. 
In other news, it was Day of the Girl on Saturday October 11th and I wrote something for All Walks Beyond the Catwalk on young women, violence and damaging fashion imagery - you can read it here



Rick Forrestal said...

Nice series of pics.
Photos #1 and #3 are magnificent!

Ivana Split said...

If you haven't said so, I probably wouldn't noticed that you weren't wearing any make up. You've written most interesting things too...and raised some good questions.

It seems indeed that not wearing make up has become almost some sort of a message. Perhaps it is...and even for those that don't mean it as a message, there is a question mark...do we feel comfortable enough in our skin to appear without make up? and more importantly...if we do why we do?

I must say you look very beautiful in these photos...lovely dressed and cardi..even if they weren't intended for display, I do like them:)

Closet Fashionista said...

I love this outfit! You look so amazing! I never would have guessed that you weren't wearing makeup/hadn't planned the "perfect" outfit.

Pilgrim at Kerjacob said...

You look lovely and that is to be celebrated when you are young and have all the joys that youth holds for your appearance. You don't need anything else.
Its when you get older ( like me ) that the confidence is helped by the make up.
I wouldn't want to go out without my eye make up for example but don't always bother if I'm working in the garden.
It is sad though that women of my age are not celebrated more - if only we were more visible in the media. I however continue to keep up the effort and am not going to give in to being regarded as invisible .

You are a beautiful, talented, creative young woman- keep enjoying your youth.

Anonymous said...

You look absolutely stunning. Very Wuthering Heights! And if you hadn't said anything, I'd never have thought they were impromptu photos. What a beautiful setting!

Ida Ayu Melati said...

Lovely as always <3

Vix said...

I didn't notice that you weren't wearing make-up, that your hair was unbrushed or you were dressed down, you look as stunning as you always do.
When you're older you'll look back at photos of your young self and wonder why you wasted time with make-up, I know I do. xxx

Melanie said...

Your dad's photos are brilliant and you were clearly inspired to suggest them. I didn't notice you were not wearing makeup or had forgone intensive styling - things look natural on you all the time. Rare gift. The first photo is like a painting. You ask yourself - you is she?

Carlota Antolin Vallespin said...

Well, What can I say? I just love your un-brushed hair. And, you know? I think is important that you do post like this one. Post where is shown what we really are: humans made of bones and flesh, Humans that don't really need to be uncomfortable to be beautiful.

I am also really concern with my inner fight between my desire to be glamorously wonderful and my feeling about being natural and accepting reality how it is.
I love ornaments and unnecessary beauty (like pots with fresh flowers), but in the other hand I reject a bit this world of appearances where we live: in most of the cases (people, art, political and social speeches...), after the "make-up" there is nothing else; there is nothing real to feel and to keep.

....I don't know what I am saying, if it is clear my point of view. But it doesn't matter anyways. I just love this post, and that's all.

Kisses and love, Rosalind.

Carlota Antolin Vallespin said...

PD: The first and the last pictures are just pieces of art! I'm completely in love with the atmosphere you make us feel.

Emma Carney said...

great blog post! As a feminist in the working world myself, I'd love to go out without any make up on unfortunately as I work in a very sexist industry I kinda have to make sure I have no fleshy parts on show to get stabbed by my competitors...basically I have to look well groomed, dress well AND be twice as good as the boys at what I do to get ahead. Not wearing make up would be a dream but I know from personal experiments that the world hasn't moved on that much. x


I think it's good sometimes just to go about barefaced, often I have no time or allergies take over and all I can do is put on a good lipstick! :)You look marvellous, and I like the ethereal quality in the entire look!

Willow said...

'Beautiful'is an adjective that fits you inside and out, with or without make-up (sorry if that sounds cheesy). Very interesting thoughts on how going sans make-up can be seen as a statement (and sometimes IS a statement, and this huge, brave thing - which is sad because it shouldn't be), and also as you reflected: "But maybe it's easy for me to say that?" - something that I often wonder myself, as I hardly ever wear make-up but always wonder what would make me feel the need to other than just for a bit of fun. And yes, absolutely: the choice should be based on how we view ourselves. As always, you've given me lots to think about. Your dad's photography is excellent; such gorgeous, gorgeous images.

Lola Byatt said...

You look absolutely stunning! The location does go so well with your attire :)

I can tally up a total of two posts on my blog where I am wearing make up and apart from those I never wear it. It may be that I haven't found the combination of products that suit my skin or that I am poorly equipped to apply it on myself, but I find that I look better without it. I am sure many would disagree as I my skin is a victim to adult acne which make a frequent appearance on my blog.


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