The sweater the better

I feel like my outfits are starting to feature a lot of colour and rainbow stripes recently – maybe it’s a subconscious tactic to encourage spring on its way, but most probably it’s because I’m just really enjoying embracing clothes that make me feel happy at the moment. Either way, I’m cool with it.

Big, baggy, retro sweaters have long been treasured items in my wardrobe; I started picking them up at vintage sales in uni and the obsession has snowballed from there (I don’t think I’m at liberty to disclose how many sweaters I actually own…).

I love how although they’re ridiculously slouchy and comfy, the funky detailing somehow still makes you look like you’ve got your shit together. Especially when worn with some sassy hoops and a messy bun.

Personally I think they’re too cool to be reserved exclusively for lazy days (don’t get me wrong, there are days I will wear only a baggy sweater and refuse to leave the house) and deserve some recognition for being everyday heroes when your brain isn’t ‘with it’ enough to pull on a fancier outfit.

This blog is a truthful slice of my fashion inspirations and daily outfits, so it would be wrong not to share a mixture of clothes including what I wear on more casual days. Any friends reading this will protest that I never dress casual – it’s a bit of an oxymoron really, to have the words ‘Lily’ and ‘casual clothes’ in the same sentence.

This is the girl who will have three outfit changes to suit how she feels throughout the day and freezes her tits off in winter because she places higher regard for fashion than health (definitely not a good trait, but something I can’t seem to help).

My idea of casual does seem to be slightly different to everyone else’s – I’ll go somewhere with my mates and be the most overdressed person in the room. But I don’t really mind as long as I feel comfortable and at home in my outfit, and usually it’s dressing up that makes me feel my most powerful and gives me that invincible attitude towards life.

However, when I do tone it down with jeans and a sweater, I like to still keep it interesting and quirky: hence the groovy colours and detailing of this incredible Puma jumper.

When I get home in the evening and gladly sink into my joggers (which, may I add, are canary yellow) and dressing gown it’s a sign that I’ve finished working for the day and have my own approval to slob out, fill my wine glass up and do sweet FA. This is my idea of casual wear. What I have on tends to reflect my mood and so I try to keep it formal during the day if I need to be productive, and associate cosy items with down-time.

My style has always seemed to rotate back towards retro, nineties fashion. I’m a child of the nineties, so it makes sense that this is what feels natural to me: I grew up around the band t-shirts and hooped earrings and eyeliner, so my wardrobe includes a mix of Britpop and grunge influences as a result.

I also think it’s the last real era that had a cool, nostalgic sense of fashion identity, so that’s probably why I cling to it – no one feels any long lost passion for the wonky fake Ugg boots of the Noughties (unfortunately I was not exempt from partaking in this ‘trend’ – my pair were in fact from Aldi).

This outfit reminds me of that 90s ‘mum’ look; some of these photos wouldn’t look out of place if I was skimming through an old family photo album. Faded jeans and a cool, threadbare sweater is all my mum seems to be pictured wearing when I was just a baby in her arms.

My naturally wavy, unruly hair (unintentional – the weather was awful when we shot this and my fringe could really do with a trim) adds to that candid, carefree vibe. I’m lucky I don’t need to do much with it to look like I’m fresh out of the 80s.

For me, this look encapsulates my ideal ‘Sunday style.’ Comfy enough for driving back down the M1 after a heavy Saturday night in Nottingham and getting the tube into London; effortless enough for wandering around Mercato Metropolitano market and treating myself to a Sunday supper of prawn Pad Thai and a craft ale (as I did the day these photos were taken).

As much as I revel at the thought of a Sunday in bed, I get restless and crave exploring new places – so an ensemble like this suits that no end (but ditch the jeans and trainers and you’re sorted for a duvet day).

SWEATER Puma at ASOS | JEANS Topshop (similar here) | TRAINERS Adidas | HOOPS Belmto

My best friend bought me this Puma dream for Christmas (after bookmarking and stared it longingly every day for months). It’s actually a plus size XXL, because that was on sale while my size wasn’t. Obviously this means it’s pretty baggy (even for me) but when worn tucked out it skims my thighs so I think it’ll look great in warmer weather with bare legs and big boots. I’m already dreaming about festival season and you best believe it’s coming with me there.

Tucked into high-waisted jeans though it comes off as cropped with the overflowing of material enhancing that laid-back look. I can’t get enough of the rainbow cuffs – they remind me of those strips of fizzy sweets you got when you were a kid (100% would still eat now) and the bright lettering emblazoned on the front is the icing on the colourful cake. I have a very similar Benetton jumper with fancy lettering like this and love it equally.

Being the clumsy human I am, I spilt red wine all over the white material while drunk and literally cried because I treasure it so much (and had only managed to make it last about 2 months). Miraculously my nan, being the total babe that she is, worked her magic with Vanish and left no trace that any wine had even touched the surface. Long live the white jumper!

Ph. Abi Thomas

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