Working as a fashion assistant in London, Sian Wilkinson has first-hand experience of the transformative power of clothes – this is why dressing differently brings her so much joy…
We all know the feeling.
You’ve spotted something on the hanger that’s a little bit out there. Something slightly different from what you’d usually wear, but that’s really caught your eye.
You’re on the point of buying it, but then that nagging doubt kicks in – what if people think it looks weird? What if your taste-radar has temporarily deserted you and it doesn’t actually suit you at all?
Well, if you ask fashion assistant Sian Wilkinson, you should probably take the plunge – especially if you’re worried about what others might think.
Here, she tells us all about her experiences of dressing differently, and shares her tips on how to stop worrying and wear the clothes that make you happy…
“I think when I was younger I had quite a basic sense of style. I would always look at things that were a little bit different, but I wasn’t ever confident enough to buy them.
I grew up in Essex, and everyone around me tended to dress in a certain way. People would all wear the same kind of thing. The attitude was always, ‘She’s wearing that, so I’m gonna wear that.’ I feel like I had a vision in my head of what I wanted to look like, but I was young, and it was hard to break away from that same uniform.
Then when I moved to London to study, that was when I thought, ‘OK, I don’t know anyone here and now I can start experimenting with things and if it doesn’t look nice, it’s not the end of the world.’
I was 17, in a whole new environment, and my look started to change a little bit. I started getting a bit more rebellious with my style. It was only little things to start with, like buying a pair of jeans with white dots all over them, rather than the standard blue. Now that seems like nothing, but at the time, nobody else in my old group would ever have thought to buy them, or just wouldn’t have felt comfortable enough to buy them and wear them.
I felt so much happier about myself, and was finally able to express my creativity through the way I dressed. I’ve done a complete flip from how I looked at school, even more so now that I’ve done my hair.
It’s weird, because I’m the exact opposite to how I was back then – instead of feeling scared about looking different, now I get a kick out of it. That’s the whole point of this campaign with Tu clothing – it’s about wearing what you want to, not to fit in with anyone else’s idea of how you should be dressing.
I think it’s normal to feel anxious about clothing sometimes, but the trick is to work out exactly where that anxiety is coming from. Then it becomes easier to make a call on whether or not you should listen to it.
If I get the feeling that I’m scared to wear something, I normally sit on it for a day and think, ‘Am I scared because I’m not 100% confident in this thing that I really want, or am I worried about what other people are going to say?’
You have to get that straight, and if it’s the latter, push through it. I’ve had situations before where I’ve said to somebody, ‘I’m going buy this’ and they’re like, ‘Ooh, that’s so disgusting’ and I’ve stuck to my guns and been like, ‘I adore it, I’m getting it.’ Then I’ve shown them a pic of me wearing it and they’re like, ‘I want it.’
Now I just laugh because it’s happened so many times. People are so adamant about what they think other people should be wearing. It’s so funny.
Dressing for yourself
I feel like people really underestimate the power that clothes can have when it comes to making you feel like you, particularly if you’re not having the best day. If I’m not feeling at my most outgoing or upbeat, the clothes I wear often do a lot of the work for me.
I have a blue velour two-piece I’ll often wear in that scenario. It’s like joggers and a matching bralette top with diamantes on it. If I’m not feeling my best, I put that on and know that I don’t have to do too much more because it’s quite fun and makes me look kind of put-together. It helps me project a version of myself that I’d like to put out there, even if I don’t have much energy that day.
I do feel a little bit of pressure on me to look like I’ve put some effort into my outfits, because of the industry that I work in. I think when I arrive at a shoot, people kind of decide the minute they see you what you’re capable of. As though what I’m wearing would reflect my ability to dress other people, which isn’t really fair.
I try to put that out of my mind though and just dress for myself, because if I’m not feeling confident in my clothes or makeup, it can really affect my day. I see it a lot at work too. You can always tell if someone’s not comfortable with how they’re looking, whereas when I dress somebody in something that they feel at home in, their whole energy changes.
Dress well, feel good with Tu clothing. No matter your shape, size, style or budget, you’ll find an outfit to boost your mood and leave you feeling good in the clothes you wear. Shop the collection here.