I was on the escalators out of the tube yesterday and the girl in front of me was wearing a black suit trimmed with white ribbon, pearls and a padded Chanel bag.
When I was walking past Liberty on my way back to work, I saw a trio of tall, skinny teenage girls in battered leather boots and jackets, skintight print leggings and Ramones t-shirts.
I was queueing for my lunch a few weeks ago, and in front of me was a group of girls clad in camel coats, khaki trousers and brown brogues, their hair elegantly, messily topknotted.
If there's one thing that's only been reinforced as the fashion seasons go on, it's that there's a very strongly defined series of 'looks' going around, camps to fall into. I don't know if it's because of the proximity of my place of work to Vogue House, or because I'm just off Oxford Street, but you can't move for a shearling jacket and boot, a beautiful camel coat (tried on a gorgeous French Connection one and while it made my heart melt, it's not my style) or a messy-haired Balmain rock chick. Pick your side, ladies.
Or you can pick a defining look and stick with it, like some of the fashion pack's most watched celebrities. Alexa, taking centre stage on her second Elle cover, continues in her vein of tomboy-girly-sexy-cute, while Coco Sumner is constantly in the 'What Were They Thinking?' pages of low-end magazines for her fine line in granddad cardies, shorts, skinny limbs and socks'n'brogues. They have clearly decided on an aesthetic, and are sticking to it like glue, skillfully selecting the new season's take on what they already wear, and adding it to a growing arsenal of items in their perfectly coordinated, yet still evolving (Alexa's now less cutesy and more girly chic, and Coco has reverted from messy band groupie to, well, just a bit, loveably odd) wardrobes. Like the Chanel-a-like girl on the tube or the Ramones girls, they have their look nailed. (And yes, I did pick these photos to highlight how much they resemble eachother.)
But for the rest of us, who are still embracing the simple joy of a new item to try, it's a lot less appealing to stick to our guns. Over the past few weeks, I seem to have acquired an impressive number of 'girly' items - vintage print dresses and a pair of pink chiffon flares (see below) which has totally messed with my whole capsule wardrobe concept of 'black, black and maybe some grey' (and my plan not to shop, but along with my many many f*ck-ups and flaws I have accepted and acknowledged my natural urges). While cute, and lovely, and making me smile, I have to wonder how well they will translate to the rest of my wardrobe.
That's the problem with trends. If it doesn't slot seamlessly into how you already present yourself, it does you a disservice.
But hey, fashion's about fun. And some days I feel the need for a cute dress, some brogues and a beanie hat and pretending I'm some sweet girly girl, or Alexa Chung.
Though sometimes, in pursuit of a certain aesthetic, one takes it too far. I was walking along Carnaby St when I saw a clump of teenagers, almost all of whom were wearing those thick, Joe 90 glasses often seen on American Apparel models. Yet I'm willing to be that they all have perfect vision. Being a d*ckhead's cool, it seems.