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I used to read a lot of fashion blogs and magazines. Nowadays, I just stick to my tried and true favourites, especially in regards to magazines. It gets expensive otherwise! One blog I’ve been reading for a while and have never veered from is Hel-Looks. Based in Helsinki, it’s street photography at its most different. I never feel it’s one homogenous sense of style; everyone looks different and seems different. There is a huge trend for op-shop clothing and being ‘anti’ fashion, but other than that, there is so much variety there – young, old, fat, skinny, conventionally attractive, and not so conventionally attractive.

Something I also enjoy is the people talking about their style. Where they got their outfits, what their mood is, how they feel about fashion in general. It helps to create a context and I think fashion is very much linked to personality, tastes in music and place. Without the context, I feel the outfits exist in a vacuum and I find myself scrolling by.

Men, in particular, seem to express themselves a lot through their clothing choices. Where I live, a number of the men featured on Hel-Looks would be subject to stares, comments or outright hostility. I’ll admit, some of the looks I’ve seen have either taken me aback or have made me raise an eyebrow, but I still admire the commitment to a look and the versatility of style.

I find different clothing styles to mine an inspiration. There would be outfits I’ve seen that I would never, in a million years, ever wear, but the person wearing the clothing looks so damned awesome that I’d be tempted to try. Or I’m so interested in what they’re trying to express that I stop and look.

I’m into style and how subjective it is. One person’s ‘wow! is another person’s ‘ugh’. And that’s fine; we all have different tastes after all. I’m interested in exploring that link between self-expression and fashion. I’ve noted before about these links and how difficult it can be when you’re fat. You often have to spend a lot of money, be a savvy op-shopper or learn sewing skills. And sometimes, you don’t have any option. Your self-expression, your sense of style can be stifled. For people whose self-expression is through fashion, either entirely or partly, this can be upsetting. How I work around this when it happens is to try and express myself in different ways – by writing, by talking about the issues with clothing with friends, in person, to commiserate, to complain. How do you?

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3 thoughts on “Hel-Looks

  1. Hel-looks is one of my favourite street style blogs for those reasons you mention – so different!

    re: style – I guess I do a lot of talking about (mostly bitching really) about the lack of suitable clothing for the larger ladies. I also try not to focus on it too much which has days that work and days that is makes me pretty sad. Internet has been an amazing thing when I have the money to spend on it for finding great clothes. When I wasn’t an internet shopping fiend though I was an accessories person.

    I have so many handbags, scarves, hair accessories and shoes. I wore plainish clothes but I use my accessories to express my style/fashion self instead. I guess I was just focussing on what and how I could do things rather than on what I don’t have. It isn’t easy all the time though. Just sometimes 🙂

  2. It’s great to remind ourselves what fashion can be. I have noticed for a lot of my friends that having children really upsets the way they express themselves. Their identity changes, their body changes and their wardrobe doesn’t work. It’s often seen as a frivolous thing to focus on, but as you say -for some, that’s their creative outlet and it’s important to acknowledge that.

  3. I have a BUTTLOAD of accessories because of that very issue, Laurie.

    Sarah, that identity loss in relation to fashion and new motherhood (perhaps could substitute weight gain/loss, monetary concerns etc etc) is definitely something important to be acknowledged. For so many of us, that’s how we define ourselves. Whether “right” or “wrong”, it’s still how we do it and the loss of definition can be scary and upsetting.

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