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My conscious uncoupling from Topshop

I’ve never thought of myself as one of those fashion bloggers. Someone introduced me to Tavi and I thought she sounded like a decongestant tablet not a world famous fashionista. However, I thought I’d give it a try. So…

Like every young (ALRIGHT youngish) woman, Topshop has always been my wing woman. My bezzo, my homegirl, my…Jennifer Lawrence.

However lately, whenever I walk into one of my beloved brand’s stores, they feel more like well, the Heathers to my Veronica.

I don’t know whether it’s constantly being hit by a tsunami of crop tops. Or maybe it’s being offered a buffet of tiny bleached denim when all I want is just a pair of nice jeans. But somehow I feel we have unknowingly drifted apart.

Perhaps I should admit that I’ve outgrown it but am I the only woman my age who feels like she has lost one of her best friends?

The thing is, me and Toppers (Yes, Toppers) have history.

When I was seventeen I worked in the then Manchester city centre store. That store is now a Clas Olsen. It still feels strange stepping off the escalators there to find rows of amenities and utensils instead of bangles and beads.

It was my second job and my second job in retail. The first had been in a posh Children’s department store at Christmas which looked a far more magical place to work than it actually was. Snow, tinsel, nutcrackers, holly, rocking horses and baubles adorned every shelf and bannister. It felt like working in Santa’s workshop, if in Santa’s workshop the other elves were trying to get off with each other, the pay was bad and they played S Club 7’s ‘Never Had A Dream Come True’ continuously on loop. I wonder if Elves have their own union. They should really get extra pay for unsociable working hours and at the very least a shoe allowance.

I really didn’t like working there. The manager would frequently tell me off by using the fact that I was sixteen as a constant point of reference. It made me retreat into myself and when my temporary contract was up, I was so happy I could have Fuzzy Felted FUCK YES! Across the arts and crafts department.

It was my next job at Topshop, those little sixteen contracted hours that was to be most definitely, my making. My work mates were again, so much older than me but they treated me like I was an adult, an actual person with ideas and thoughts. They were also properly stylish. I’d never been around people like them before. Some were exotic, some were sophisticated, and some were downright outlandish. I was a tiny grey fish emptied into the middle of a tropical pond.

Armed with a heavy discount card and a new found confidence I shook off my awkward eyeliner smudged shackles and headed for fashion self discovery. Don’t get me wrong, I made some terrible choices. Head to toe neon is only acceptable if you are a lollipop lady or a late night cycling enthusiast. Otherwise you are basically a human traffic cone. Alerting the general public to the potential danger that you pose to their eyes.

The 90s era is currently enjoying a renaissance but when I was a student it was the 80s that had fearfully returned. The clothes rail in my little university halls bedroom was filled with that much animal print and stripes, you would have thought you’d wandered into Knowsley Safari Park. Oh and the hairstyles. I cut, dyed, curled, shaved and even glued extensions bought for a fiver at Manchester market onto my poor barnet. Boy did I thoroughly enjoy every minute of it. Maybe not the bit were I accidentally paid homage to Rod Stewart but that’s why the ‘untag’ option on Facebook is such a blessing.

But we made those terrible choices together, Topshop and I. Through the triumphs and through the disasters, Topshop held my hand and often accessorized it while she was at it.

I don’t really experiment with my ‘look’ that much these days. I don’t even think I’m someone who can get away with saying the phrase ‘my look’.

This is all I think I really know about fashion.

I suit most hats, surprisingly. I like a good shirt. Charity shops are hard work but worth it. Palazzo pants are not for everyone. You can improve any outfit if you add a belt with a brass Pharoah’s head to it. The sale bit of Asos is pretty smashing. You can never have enough frocks. Layering is great. Stevie Nicks layering not Helena Bonham Carter layering.

That’s what I know about fashion…so far. It isn’t much, granted but then I am only twenty-nine.

In my head when I get to thirty-five I’m just going to dress like Margot Tenenbaum anyway. Then when I’m forty-five, Katherine Hepburn.

I’ve already grown out of a lot of outfits I used to adore. Not physically grown out just, I dunno grown without them? As you get older you leave bits of that self behind. A bit like how Dr Who always has a different style when he regenerates. You evolve so your taste and needs change.

In this marathon of life, all those items and outfits I don’t wear now or have discarded feel like lovely little arrows. Pointing to the journey onward.

So I now pass the sequinned covered baton onto the next lot proudly clutching their handbags and waving their store cards.

Farewell Topshop. I won’t be sad, we had a good run. I’ll keep in touch. Visit from time to time.

Hey, we’ll always have shoes.

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