A little while ago, I was approached by fellow blogger Katie Lou who wondered if I might be interested in collaborating with her on a post. Checking out her blog, I was immediately struck by the similarities between us. Our names are nearly identical, and of course we're both passionate about fashion and beauty. We even got into blogging around the same time, in the Spring of last year.
However, there is one big difference - at sixteen, Katie is two whole decades younger than me.
Age isn't something I think about too much, or at least I try not to. I have always felt quite strongly, ever since I was a child, that I want to remain young at heart, and not get old before my time. However, the way I dress and do my makeup has obviously changed a lot since I was Katie's age, so I thought it might be fun to make our collaboration about that. How much influence does age really have on our style and beauty choices? Obviously there is nothing scientific about this as it's just me and Katie, but we both thought it would make for an interesting post nonetheless. It was Katie's idea for us both to pick an outfit and makeup for a casual summer day, so without further ado, here's mine.
I've been loving dewy skin at the moment so that's what I went for. I'm wearing Clarins Extra Comfort foundation with a bit of Benefit Dallas - an old favourite of mine in the summer months. It's basically like a bronzer and blusher in one and is a gorgeous "sunset" sort of colour. Then a generous sweep of good old Watt's Up across the top of my cheekbones, Rimmel Nude Delight on my lips and that's pretty much it. I kept my eyes very simple - just a creamy colour across the lids and a soft mid brown through the crease, then a little liner for definition and Rimmel Wonder'full Wake Me Up mascara.
Back when I was Katie's age, I was pretty clueless about makeup. I think my collection consisted of a single brick red lipstick that I would slap on as and when I felt like it. It was only in my twenties that I started to wear makeup on a regular basis and only much later with the discovery of YouTube that I started to really experiment with it. In my teens and early twenties I would happily go out without makeup on, but not now. Does age have something to do with that? Well, yes in the sense that as I've got older I've definitely started to prefer a more polished and put-together look. But truth be told, I've never had particularly good skin, and I've grown to really enjoy playing with makeup! If those two things were different, perhaps I'd still be happy to go bare-faced from time to time. Who knows?
Well, here I am, strolling casually through my Aunty's garden with my handbag, as you do. This is what I wore for a family gathering last weekend. I bought the top from Zara just before I went to Cyprus and I love it. It works well with denim shorts and flip flops, but I've equally enjoyed wearing it like this too. It's a nice, wearable take on the whole boho/peasant trend. The grey jeans make a change from blue and the sandals and bag are old but still much loved. I added my River Island cat-eye sunglasses (still obsessed) and some delicate silver jewellery that you can't see in the photo.
I'm by no means an expert but I think I have learned something about putting clothes together over the years. When I was Katie's age I was really only just starting to get interested in fashion and when I went into Topshop or wherever I just loved EVERYTHING. Now I'm a lot more discerning and I have a better idea of what's going to look good on me and what isn't. Even now, though, I still sometimes make a point of trying on clothes I'm really not sure about. You just never know. We're changing all the time, and sometimes that means that something you wouldn't have dreamed of wearing before suddenly looks good on you.
Let's take a look at Katie's photos now!
My first thought when I look at this, other than how gorgeous Katie looks, is that I wouldn't have had the first idea how to do this when I was sixteen. I suppose I was a bit of a late developer, but honestly I don't know how any of us figured out anything to do with fashion or beauty before YouTube and blogs came along. Katie clearly knows exactly what she is doing and I love that she still looks totally fresh-faced and age-appropriate - she's accentuated her lovely eyes and lips without looking at all like it's "too much". Would I wear this makeup? Actually, I probably would! A nice sharp liner and a pink lip - what's not to love, at any age? I'd probably tend to wear it as more of an evening look, but that's just me.
I love Katie's outfit. Like me, she dressed for a casual summer day - hers involved a spot of shopping and a barbecue. She looks stunning and I love the way her makeup compliments the colours of the dress. I'd wear those gorgeous sandals in a heartbeat, but much as I love the dress, I have to admit that it wouldn't work on me. Is it because I'm too old for the short hemline? Well, that's the obvious answer, but I think there's more to it than that. There are certain contexts in which I would happily wear something that short - on a beach holiday, for example (I was literally talking about denim shorts a few paragraphs ago!) or perhaps for a dressy evening out (a short cocktail dress with heels? No problem!) I think with this dress it's the length combined with the girly simplicity of it that makes it, quite simply, too young for me. Wonderful on a sixteen year old, yet somehow slightly ridiculous next to a more mature face.
This collaboration has made me think quite a bit about how my approach to clothes and makeup has developed over the years. The conclusion I've come to is that it's a continuous learning curve. We are always changing and adapting and always picking up new skills and ideas. Katie is so much more clued-up than I was at her age and my advice to her would be, keep doing what you are doing, girl! Have fun with it, experiment, and basically milk being sixteen for all it's worth! But I'd also say, don't dread growing older. I'm not going to get all deep here because I do know there's more to life than clothes and makeup. (Like, seriously.) But we're all here reading and/or writing blogs because we love clothes and makeup, and my personal experience of the journey from 16 to 36 is that I've gained a lot more than I've lost. Yes, there's certain things I probably wouldn't wear now I'm "older", but the list is really not that long. (There's nearly always a different way to wear something if you think outside the box!) At the same time, there's so much more I can wear now that would have looked too "grown-up" on me when I was in my teens and early twenties. Add to that the years of practice that have led to me finally being able to apply makeup and style my hair properly, and I'm pretty happy where I am!
How has your approach to fashion and beauty changed over the years, and how influential has the Internet been in teaching you what you know? And finally, please head over to Katie's blog for her thoughts on our style choices!