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Updated: 7 days ago

-the practice of deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources

Fashion is inherently Eclectic, only we have different words to describe it, such as juxtaposition. A popular tip making the rounds on Tik Tok is the unexpected shoe theory, this usually involves swapping out a formal shoe for a casual one and vice versa, my favourite combo is a chunky trainer with a patterned skirt or dress. Eclecticism is not too dissimilar to a trend, an amalgamation of different styles and periods over time, to have an eclectic style, is more about looking inward, essentially making your own trends from the world around you. It's like walking into someone's house and they'll have a mix match of items, a hand painted artwork from their GCSE art days, nick-nacks from their travels, vases or candles from Christmas gifts. Little clues which tell a story of who we are.

Fashion is no different, whether we like it or not, what we wear in the morning reflects our personality and how boring would it be if we all looked the same. To be eclectic is to go against traditional norms of what is deemed correct, ignoring arbitrary rules like 'blue and green should never be seen'.

Great personal style is an extreme curiosity about yourself. -Iris Apfel

Iris Apfel Glasses, Teal looks, accessories, eclectic style
Iris Apfel's enduring personal style- Photo credit Peabody Essex Museum

Now finding your personal style can have it's ups and downs, sometimes how we feel within and how we display ourselves outwardly are very different things. Whether because of lifestyle, location, financial reasons or confidence. For me, the style I want to portray is a heightened version of myself, it's what a better, more fun version of myself would wear if I had the place, or lived in a place to wear it. It sounds very sad in writing, but I'm sure I'm not alone in that thought. However when we tap into that dream it can open up something inside us, it's like putting on armour, not only that, but engaging with our style or 'perceived style' can open up new avenues, you might find that it isn't the heightened version of yourself in the end, it's something in the middle, a truer version.

Eclectic fashion is all about you. But here are some pointers which can help us to find our path.

What is your favourite clothing item and why?

Ever find yourself struggling to find something to wear? Heading to an event and creating a bomb site of clothes all over the bedroom only to go back in the end to a tried and true favourite. As annoying as it can be, I kind of love it when that happens, it shows that our choices are innate. That's a great place to start, with your favourite clothing item and reflect on why you reach for it time and time again, is it the pattern, the shape, fabric? when we apply it to our shopping habits we start to curate a collection of our favourite things, some will match and some will not and that's part of the fun. Having your favourites as a core part of that collection will always help in grounding your look.

Eclectic vintage lace layering knit, florals Reese and Molly Blutstein outfits, street fashion, twin models
Reese and Molly Blutstein in layered outifts

Something old,

something new

Vintage fashion is a great place to experiment with styles and letting your imagination fly away. Unlike a regular store which is carefully curated and colour coded, second hand clothing shops are full of variety, it can help to push your boundaries on what is correct to wear. Combining vintage items with modern and existing pieces in our wardrobe help in giving old pieces a new lease of life.

When it comes to accessories, keep them on and add more!

One of the easiest ways of elevating an outfit from drab to fab is to accessorise, and the more personal the better, having a wide array of jewellery, bags, scarves, belts etc, it can make your outfits feel more personal without having to change out your clothing all the time. These accessories don't always have to be expensive and can be collected over time. When you take the time to curate these accessories you will appreciate them that much more.

Elinor Charlotte expertly blends patterns and textures, always brought together by bold accessories.

Try indie brands

It's sometimes difficult to find that item which says, 'this is me' doing some research on indie brands can give you a fresh perspective, with so many talented designers out there, there will always be something for you. As designers we build our own world and perspective, we are seeking to find people who want to be a part of our tribe.

Elin Manon Brithlen Colourful patchwork scarf, balaclava, mittens, artisan accessories
Eclectic style is at the heart of the Elin Manon brand bringing together a mix-match of styles from different sources

Do the unexpected thing

Use a variety of pieces from your wardrobe, combining formal and casual attire (remember the unexpected shoe theory) this is a guaranteed way of adding depth and a point of difference to an outfit, it's also sustainable as we are using our whole wardrobe and not just a small part of it.

You can do this by layering, layering is like a collage for our bodies, we can create so much more dimension and combinations by layering, combining patterns and textures in a new and exciting way. Be bold with colour, the movement towards seasonal colour analysis is challenging our ideas about what is deemed a neutral. Experimenting with colour can help us find our colour palette but also form a theme which can tie eclectic outfits together.

Sarah Jessica Parker, eclectic outfit, filming sex and the city
Sarah Jessica Parker proves that Eclectic style is as timeless as anything, a style icon for all ages-

I hope I have inspired you to delve back into your closet and be bold

Hwyl Fawr


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