The vintage blazer and some life lessons

This is probably my favourite outfit combination and photo shoot in a looong time. Even though the weather has yet to make its mind up (apparently it’s meant to snow again?) spring is slowly starting to appear with the odd sunny day and some colour returning to the world outside. Despite the shock of losing an hour – not ideal when you’re panicking about a deadline – clocks going forward have officially marked later sunsets which gets me so ready for summer nights, no matter how far off they may be.

I tested the waters with some open-toed shoes (ambitious, I know) and my feet managed to remain a normal temperature so that’s a positive sign that warmer weathers are on the horizon! The yellow flowers in the park right now are beaaautiful and the thought of being able to sit in a beer garden is pushing me to finish my last lot of uni work. Since the end is nearing (which I equally can’t wait for and am scared to death about) I thought I’d share some of the most important life lessons I’ve learned throughout my university experience.

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But first, lets talk about this blazer. For a while I’ve felt it’s something my wardrobe has been missing. It’s a staple piece year-round: for layering in autumn/winter and then as a lighter jacket in spring/summer. The humble blazer is smart enough to wear to work or for a dressy event, it’s cool enough to be worn casually and it looks great slouched over the shoulders. However, I’ve never been able to find one I love. I think that stems from the fact I’ve been hunting high and low for a high street style, when really it’s the oversized, retro vibe from the vintage versions that suit my personal taste better.

So began my search to find the dreamiest vintage blazer, which I think I’ve nailed with this incredible gem from Sue Ryder which is by far my favourite charity shop ever. I love going in and eyeing up their incredible antique furniture and amazing ever-changing vintage selection. The deep brown colour, pinstripes and ombre buttons caught my eye, and the masculine style and oversized fit won me over. Even better – it was only £8!

I like how striking it looks here when paired with an all-white outfit, and the heeled mules keep it balanced with a feminine touch (although it looks fab teamed with my black loafers too). The teeny-tiny cats-eye sunglasses trend is one I’m all over right now – my tortoiseshell pair were a steal from Zara and I pretty much haven’t taken them off since ordering them. Even when it’s been cloudy.

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Finding a bargain is one of the major things I’ve taught myself since leaving home – I’ve never been good with money and so shopping on a budget has broadened my horizons as to where I get my clothes and what I choose to invest in. But there’s a lot of other things I’ve learnt along the way and I’ve grown up massively from the little fresher I started out as. While I still have a long way to go in life, I’ll forever be thankful for all the experiences, good and bad, that have shaped who I’ve become now, about to move on from university.

Take every opportunity. If there’s one thing I wish I had done more, it would be this. University life is kind of overwhelming and in the midst of the partying, socialising and trying to get work done, it’s easy to forget that there are things going on outside your bubble. Don’t be afraid to go to events on your own – sometimes this is the best way to get out of your comfort zone and meet people that can have a positive impact on your life. I’m awful at saying ‘no’ to things, but that’s not always a bad trait and I’ve had some cool opportunities because of it. If you have agreed to something but don’t feel like you’re enjoying yourself or personally achieving anything by being somewhere you can always leave.

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Don’t leave anything to the last minute. The oldest cliche in the book, but so true. Usually I manage to stay on top of my workload (somehow) and tend to start assignments or planning early to avoid last-minute panicking. When I have put things off because I’m scared to start, or would rather spend a week watching How I Met Your Mother tucked up in bed, I’ve regretted it immediately. There’s no worse feeling than knowing you have a week to complete something that should have been researched over months and spending that time freaking out over it.

Be open to new friendships. I was super lucky when moving into halls that my flat of twelve got on really well and I found some friends for life among them (that other cliche about uni that is again completely true). Other people aren’t so lucky and I’ve heard some real horror stories about nightmare flatmates. The best thing about uni life is the people you meet, and there are so many chances to get to know like-minded individuals. Don’t be afraid of growing apart from people either; some friendships seem right and others aren’t made to last, but it’s a two-way thing and it’s about appreciating those who make you happy. Often we stick with the first people we meet but it’s good to branch out and talk to others. A few of my closest friendships have only really blossomed since the start of third year because I started socialising with other groups of people on my course.

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BLAZER Vintage from Sue Ryder | T-SHIRT H&M | JEANS Cos (old, similar here) | MULES ASOS | SUNGLASSES Zara (sold out, similar here)

It’s okay to change your mind. I don’t think there’s one person I know who still wants to pursue the same career they did in first year. I have friends who have dropped out, friends who have changed course, friends who plan to enter a completely different industry to what they’re studying and some that don’t have the foggiest about where they want to go and that’s okay. My own aspirations have altered over the last three years and all I really know for sure is that I’d like to get some travelling done before starting my career. There’s a lot of pressure on young people to decide early on exactly what to do with our lives, but honestly we have our whole lives to figure that out and it comes down to following your gut and doing what’s right for you at any specific time.

Make the most of it. Whenever someone said ‘those three years will fly by’ I took it with a pinch of salt. Now, it genuinely seems like yesterday I packed up my belongings and made the long drive from Wales to Nottingham following behind my parents in my little car (I had a lot of stuff). At the time, everything from learning how to wash your clothes without dying them pink to crying over boys seems like a big deal and it seems like forever until you head home for summer. But, in the blink of the eye all those memories have passed and I’m sat here writing about them – and without sounding soppy I’d give anything to go back and make every mistake and relive every good time all over again. So living in the moment and not taking any of the time you have for granted (because it is basically three years of putting off real life) is the best advice I can give!

Lily x

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