I Will (Hopefully) Not be Living in Skinny Jeans this Winter

Skinny jeans winter denim cold chilly cullottes trousers pants

Despite what I told my mother when she bought me first pair of skinny jeans in my early teens, I actually HAVE gotten down with the skinny jean trend, and very, very much so. Sorry mum (but calling them “drain pipe jeans” wasn’t really helping…). In fact, I liked the skinny jean trend so much I moved in with it and we share a Netflix account and a toothbrush. We’ve been living together now for more than a decade for better and for worse. And to be fair, there are a lot of positives to skinny jeans – I feel confident and comfy in them (I think I’ve just gotten used to not having circulation in my feet when I sit down), and it’s oh so easy to throw on some black skinny jeans and a cute sweater and still look put together.

In terms of downsides though, there are a few, like when the crotch completely rips out of your skinny jeans as you crouch down in a very public place (‘cos that’s not just me, right?), but I think the main one, for me, with the delightful Scottish climate I live in – is being FREEZING cold in skinny jeans all winter long.

I actually take dressing for the cold quite seriously – I own thermals, multiple pairs of thermals – I am almost certainly not leaving the house without a scarf between October and March, and I wear more chunky socks than… ok, I’m not sure where I was going with that tbh. But anyway, my point is, that generally I consider myself quite a sensible (read: old lady) dresser when it comes to the winter months, but I always feel like a bit of an idiot, because my head is warm, my toes are toasty… and I can’t feel my legs. Damn you skinny jeans!!

Now obviously, depening on the type/fit of skinny jeans you go for, maybe you can layer thermals/leggings under them, I wear mostly Molly Jeggings from River Island and they do not take kindly to me trying to layer them. I look like a sausage with too much meat inside the casing. And I can’t bend my knees so I sort of walk like a cowboy. It’s a weird look.

Anyway, the point of all this is to say that this winter I shall not be alternating between numb penguin shuffle and robot cowboy walking, this winter, I shall be wearing other trousers.(I’m listening to quite an intense piece of piano music as I write this, so in my head I’m getting this climactic build up… so just pretend with me, ok?).

So far, I don’t own an awful lot of other options – I have one pair of very retro style mom jeans that I thrifted earlier this year, and I definitely look forward to tucking some knits into them – but other than that, it’s skinny jeans all the way. Having worn nothing but skinny jeans for about 13 years, it’s hard to know where to start. Do I want something with a paper bag waist? Do I want cullottes? What are cullottes?

I’ve turned to good ol’ Pinterest and put together a board that is oh so creatively named “Trouser Inspo”, and I’m beginning to get a feel for what I’m drawn to. Problem is, a lot of what I’m drawn to seems to involve exposed ankles – and that’s not going to work around here in winter. Do you have any tips on making ankle-showing trousers wearable in the cold? Do I get “statement socks”, do I get taller boots that can go, like, under them? Is that a thing? Send help pls.

So, yeah, please have a rummage through my Pinterest board and let me know what you think – I’m open to all tips, tricks and pointing out the obvious: such as the fact it’s concerning that at 27 I don’t understand the basics of trousers. That’s it for now but I’m sure I’ll report back soon with some photos of me looking confused while wearing what may, or may not, be cullottes.

What Does Sustainable Fashion Look Like?

Sustainable fashion fast ethical fair eco style shoppinh

If you’d walked up to me in the street a couple of years ago and asked me to describe what sustainable fashion looks like I know exactly the image I would have had in my head.  Long, flowing layers, a very washed-out, neutral colour scheme, lots of linen – basically a very wholesome, hippie, Earthy, boho look. And you know what, I have always liked that look, it can be completely beautiful… on other people.

What can I say? I’m short and curvy so I need mo

re structured pieces to emphasise that – I look about 10 stone heavier if I wear loose, flowing layers. I’m very, very pale with darker features and so I best suit stronger colours – jewel tones and charcoal over here – I look positively ill in pastels or muted shades. And you know, because I was so utterly convinced by this singular image I had in my head of what sustainable fashion looked like, for years, I just assumed I couldn’t have any part in it.

If I had to describe my style (which I sort of hate doing because I’m bad at it), I’d say I dress sort of urban-edgy with maybe some grunge or goth vibes thrown in. I like tartan and (faux) leather, ripped denim and graphic tees – are you getting the picture as to how far away I am from that “typical” sustainable fashion image I had in my head?

Well, the good news is that I was very wr

ong about the whole thing. Turns out, shockingly enough, that there are many people all over the world with an interest in sustainable fashion and that they are all individuals with different tastes and styles. The more I actually looked into sustainable fashion – rather than just flicking through my mental slideshow of 70’s hippie outfits with Fleetwood Mac playing on a loop in my head – the more I realised that you can dress in basically whatever style you want – and still take a stand against fast fashion. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Sustainable fashion eco ethical fast fashion shopping style

1. Shop second hand

I actually always loved charity shops – just not for ethical reasons. I loved finding quirky pieces and not being dressed the same as everyone else, and most of all I loved the prices. But one thing that is always annoying about charity shops is that if you’re looking for something specific, sure, you might find it in the first shop you go in… or it could take you months to find the right piece in the right size, in the right condition.

For that reason, I strongly suggest trying out second hand shopping online – whether that’s using an old classic like eBay (link to my shop, if you’re interested), a more modern app like Depop, or, the one I’m still finding my way around – ASOS Marketplace.

Rummaging through boot sales or charity shops can be so fun, but it can definitely be easier to find a super cute, fun piece, than say, a pair of jeans in exactly the wash, style and size you need – so definitely familiarise yourself with some online platforms and save yourself a lot of frustration in the long run!

Shopping second hand might not seem as intensely sustainable as shopping from a brand that produces locally, ethically and is high quality – but the thing to remember is that even a product that is produced in an environmentally friendly manner still uses resources – whereas buying something second hand uses no additional resources.

If you have concerns about buying second hand pieces in fabrics that may release microplastics in the wash – you can purchase a pretty affordable Guppyfriend laundry bag for all your synthetic materials, that will catch those microplastics during the wash cycle and stop them from entering the water supply.

 

 2. There ARE a range of brands out there producing different styles, and even some brands you may have written off may sometimes contain hidden gems.

If I’m being honest, I have to admit that when I’m browsing online and looking at sustainable fashion websites… I don’t like most of what I see, or rather it’s just not “me”. People Tree, for example, is a brand that I love – in theory – but most of their designs really don’t call to me. Sometimes I’ll love the print and not the cut, and sometimes, it’s the other way round – but every once in a while, there is a piece that would work for me.

For example, these trousers I would totally wear, and I’ve actually had my eye on this tee for a while now. My point is, that even if an overall brand aesthetic doesn’t match up with your own, if the quality and the ethics are something you support then it’s worth keeping an eye on them – seasons change, cuts and styles and colour palettes change, and as with People Tree, every so often you might find something that makes you go all heart eyed emoji.

On the other hand, doing further research may mean that you find a brand you love the look of and are therefore overwhelmed with choices! It took me quite a long time to stumble across sustainable UK brand Rapanui (and even longer to work out how to pronounce it). A lot of what they make is much more “me”, including some great basics like hoodies, and some super-awesome graphic tees – they’re definitely not a brand I’ve heard much about but I’m so glad I came across them – this octopus tee for example, it’s like they know me!!! I (definitely) don’t currently need any new tees, but when the time comes this is definitely where I’ll be heading for some cute graphics and environmental messages.

3. YOU get to decide for yourself what constitutes “sustainable” and what brands and products you’re happy to support.

We seem to be living in a time where sustainable fashion is finally (finally) starting to be talked about by influencers and brands in the mainstream. While it’s great to think that big brands are catching on, if you’re going to be shopping more “Eco” ranges from bigger brands, I definitely recommend checking out this video from My Green Closet on Greenwashing, to familiarise yourself with what it is and why it’s such a problem.

My point though, is that it’s pretty much impossible to buy clothing that is perfectly ethical. Maybe the workers are paid fairly but it’s not organic cotton or eco dyes, maybe it does use great materials and fair labour… but you have to ship the products half way around the globe to get them. Everyone has the right to decide for themselves what cause they most support, or what their number one priority is, and to shop in line with their own beliefs.

For example, if organic materials is something you’re really passionate about, H&M Conscious Collection might really speak to you. If you love wool, but don’t support buying it new because you’re a vegan, then some of the pieces from Mango’s new Committed Collection – like this recicled skirt – might be a great fit. Personally, I’m still conducting my own research into what big brands I will and will not support – and like I said, it’s everyone’s individual decision anyway. One thing I did pick up recently which I thought was quite cool, these gloves from ASOS that are made from 3 recycled plastic bottles. Pretty neat.

Sustainable Fashion Fast Fashion Style Shopping Eco Environment

So, that turned out longer than I was expecting – 10 points if you made it this far – but I hope it gave you some food for thought if you’re new to the world of sustainable fashion and not really sure what to make of it or where to start.  As always, I love discussing all aspects of style and the fashion industry, so if you have any questions, comments or corrections you’d like to put to me – comment down below or come say hi over on Instagram!

 

 

Waking Up is Hard to Do

 

dark silhouette of a cup of coffee - waking up morning mental health issues anxiety depression

I think most people can relate to that feeling of the alarm going off long before you’d like it to or to the discovery that somehow the air in your bedroom is below 0c and the reach for your dressing gown is just so, so far. Waking up can be difficult for a huge number of reasons, but today I want to talk specifically about why waking up can be hard if, like me, you suffer from anxiety and depression – and share some thoughts on how I make things easier for myself.

I’d like to preface this by saying, like I always do, that anxiety and depression are complex and unique, and just because these are my experiences does not mean I’m qualified – or have any intention of – weighing in on anyone else’s. I write these posts to share my thoughts and feelings on a subject I’ve been silent on for too long, and I really, sincerely hope they help someone else – but please remember, your emotions and experiences are valid, and are your own.

Waking Up Scenario One: Got a Big Day Ahead Tomorrow

You know the sort of day I mean: maybe you’re getting up earlier than usual, have a long train journey to go on, or are jammed in meetings all day – or heck, maybe it’s even your birthday and you have super awesome fun birthday plans.

But from the night before, anxiety kicks in and your mind starts wondering if that’s a headache coming on? Is your tummy feeling a little off? You get into bed and falling asleep seems about as easy as running an ultra-marathon; come to think of it, given the amount of adrenaline in your system right now, the marathon might be easier.

I think a lot of folks experience the whole “if I fall asleep now I’ll get 5 hours sleep” countdown phenomenon – and I think we all know how delightfully zombie-esque that leaves you feeling the morning after but, when anxiety and adrenaline are heaped on top of that, it’s pretty much a recipe for utter exhaustion and burnout the next day – which sucks if you’re destined to spend the day stifling yawns at work, and sucks even more if it’s your birthday but instead of having a good time you just want to hide under the duvet.

When I’m in this situation, I go into all out self care mode – and for the record, I’ll generally be the first to point out that mental health issues can’t be fixed with a cup of tea, but in this particular scenario, the little things really can make the difference. So, I’m laying out my outfit the night before, I’m charging my phone, packing snacks and asking Kenny to give me some support in the morning. I’ll have a bath, do some breathing exercises and crack out the Pukka Night-Time tea. In this situation I am all about trying to reduce the feeling of overwhelment – I chip away at the mountain of little tasks and thoughts flying around in my head to give myself the best chance possible of getting to sleep… and staying asleep.

Waking Up Scenario Two: Tomorrow is Going to be a Great Day

Bonus fun fact: I’m currently experiencing this one as I write this post. Oh, yay.

I’m very much a planner in life; I use Google Calendar for everything, I love the feeling of being productive and getting shit done in a day – in other words, I am not someone who is great at having un-scheduled down time. So, possibly the most frustrating of all the mental health waking up scenarios for me is this one: when I go to bed excited for what the next morning will bring, totally buzzing to get started on my work and on being creative… and then in the morning I wake up feeling like I’ve been hit by an emotional truck.

Where does it come from? Why does it happen? I have no idea, but wow, I wish I did. I wish I knew how to prevent my mood doing a 180 as I sleep, I wish I could understand what’s going on inside my mind so that I could help myself… and yes, get more work done. Waking up with the ghost of self-belief and motivation dissolving faster than cheap bath bomb is a truly devastating feeling. I want to be my best self, I want to be a bad ass boss bitch, I want to live my life to the fullest – but I also can’t keep my eyes open or remember why I thought silly old me would be capable of carrying out the plans I put together the night before.

This is the scenario I still struggle to deal with most because I think the best solution is to accept the feeling, and slow down – and that does not go well with my Type-A personality.  Sure, you can tell yourself off and force yourself to stick to all the plans – but in my experience, the result is usually frustration, increased anxiety and a mood rapidly spiralling downwards. When I feel like this, everything I draw is shit, every task takes me three times as long as it should, getting a text message triggers my anxiety, and yes, of course, we can’t just all take the day off work every time we feel like this, but compromise is usually an option.

For me, it means I get the most basic “needs done” admin tasks under my belt (which usually takes me about an hour in the morning) so that I don’t freak out completely about “what am I even doing with my life?!”, and then, I curl up with a book and I read for a while. Or, if really I have to do what I have to do in a day – at the very least, I speak to myself with kindness. I am gentle with myself. No, maybe I’m not feeling the spark I had the night before, and maybe I’m not working at the pace I should be, but I showed up, I’m fighting the anxiety, and I am doing my best. As cliche as it is, that really is all you can do. Here’s another post for if you need some more support on feeling like your best isn’t enough when it comes to anxiety and depression.

person holding coffee cup - anxiety depression mornings are hard

 

Waking Up Scenario Three: What’s the Point?

Ah, hello depression, my old friend.
This is probably the scenario we see most often depicted in TV shows, or how I imagine a lot of people picture depression – and while it is sort of cliched, it certainly does happen.You know how some mornings your alarm goes off and you know you should get up… but you don’t? Well, that is not this type of morning. On a morning like this, your alarm goes off and there is not a single part of you that thinks there’s any point in getting up.

Energy levels are so low they seem to have fallen into a deficit, self-worth is not something you can relate to and frankly, the world would probably be better off if you just stayed in bed today. This is a dark day.  This is the kind of day where eating, bathing and dressing are very real achievements (although, I’ll admit, I’ve still to earn my “I got dressed” badge on a day like this).

Giving advice on this scenario feels a little pointless, as I know when I have days like this I couldn’t care less what some woman on the Internet says, so I’ll just tell you what I do, or at least, what I try and do. First things first, I mentally re-adjust the bar and set it much lower for myself. If you are genuinely in such a bad place that you are struggling to feed yourself, then thinking about making a difficult phone call to a family member or trying to get your inbox to zero is probably not helping. I make a list for myself with actual, achieveable tasks that I can realistically accomplish – I mean, sometimes a task might be “charge phone”, but they’re still little tasks that will allow me to build momentum and possibly get back to a more rational state of mind, and if not? Well, hey, at least my phone is charged so I can lie and play Dots in bed for 7 hours.

These days are definitely the most difficult for me to “salvage”, but they’re also the days where I can come to appreciate the little things. Okay, yes, being to depressed to leave the house isn’t great – but at least I have a warm, safe home to stay in. Reading for 4 hours might not have been the most “productive” use of time, but I did learn a lot, or laugh a lot, or cry a lot – all of which can be valuable. If you’re having a dark day, please just hang in there; that’s the most sincere advice I can give.

So there we have it, just three of the many wonderful wake up scenarios that can occur when you’re battling with anxiety or depression. Maybe you’ve experienced these, maybe you’ve experienced others, but either way, I hope that reading this post gave you some reassurance that it’s not you, or a lack of willpower – when anxiety and depression are involved, waking up is hard to do.

Please feel free to reach out to me in the comments or on Instagram (@timorousminimalist), if you have any thoughts or questions about this post. Any obvious scenarios I missed? How do you cope when you wake up on a bad mental health day?