Photography: Kaye Ford | Words: Zoe London
I think you’d be surprised to know you’re already more empowered than you think. Here’s to you, and to us.
It’s been so amazing to see women all over the world stand up and say Times Up to those who’ve abused them, and let them control them for years. To make a stand and make a wave of impact felt all across the globe has not gone unnoticed by men, and I think even though we have so far still to come – time is changing to be a woman. I wanna talk a little bit today about being an empowered woman, what that means to me and how easy it is to spread that with others. How simple it is to make changes, and already be more of a powerful woman than you already are. So many young girls are growing up today consuming everything online, taking in all that the world has to offer and it’s even more valuable now than ever that we say to our young girls – whatever you dream of in life, however big or small it may be, you can get it. And no man should stop you in your tracks. Empowered women, really do, empower women.
I’ve always been into androgynous dressing. As a kid in the 90s it was referred to a little wrongly as ‘tomboyish’, but now it’s prevalent in fashion and style to dress exactly how you see fit. Gender fluid dressing has always been part of our psyche, but it’s up to us as and how we wish to portray ourselves. I’ve been looking for a corduroy suit for ages, one that struck the right balance between 80s and power dressing, when I saw this wide leg mauve taupe Topshop one on their site. To me, it was perfect. Casual enough to be worn separate, and dressed down – but strong enough to be worn all together, and in my own unique style. I paired it with a graphic tee that symbolises everything I want to portray at the moment – it simply says ‘Girls’. Girls are not young, or naive, or worth any less than boys. They know what they want out of life now, they know how to get it and they know just how they want to dress and do their makeup. Girls now are so empowered it makes the Spice Girls look like faux feminism. Young girls look up to not only those who fought before them, especially with the 100th year passing of the suffragettes, but they also look up to their idols, currently participating all over the runways and red carpets in the Times Up movement. Girls needn’t be a derogatory term, it’s a symbol of our status, our goals.
I think you may already be more empowered than you think. Empowerment does not mean marching in the street nor fighting all the time. It’s strength from within yourself, the strength to know you are capable, and you are worthy. You might not know your path yet fully in life, but you do know what you love, and you know what you wish to pursue. You know exactly what you struggle with, what battles you face and you know how to begin to overcome them. If you don’t just yet – you will. These things become apparent quicker than you think. When you know yourself and you know what struggles you face, you find making decisions is easier. It doesn’t always come to fruition at first, and it’s not always right for all, but when you know what you face – it’s easier to say yes, or to say no. Saying no might seem hard sometimes, but you can find within yourself the strength to allow your body and your mind to take what you want, and deny what you don’t. You can say Times Up to those who have played you at this game in the past, you can be fearless.
You don’t ever have to explain yourself. If you want to do something, or you don’t want to – it’s no one else’s business but your own. You never have to apologise for that. Be strong but don’t be cruel, don’t be ruthless in your delivery of things – but remain integral to yourself. Walk away from things that don’t make you happy, situations you aren’t enjoying – toxic friendships, relationships, or negative jobs that are affecting your happiness. Anything that’s taking a knock on your mental health isn’t worth keeping up. I’m constantly inspired and amazed by the strength of the women around me, walking away from toxic marriages, finding the strength to end things when it must have been so difficult to do so. Removing themselves from situations they’re no longer at peace with, even if it means lengthy court battles or behind the scenes troubles. Quitting their jobs in the face of adversity, knowing they have the strength behind them to fight for a better career path. All of these things can be fought. Women before us have fought them, and women behind us will do so too – it might seem like the hardest and most tough thing you’ll have to face, but your mental and physical wellbeing is worth more. Don’t look for love to just be somebody’s wife. Look for love to be a team, to be a partnership in navigating your way through life. Let men know your self worth, your support to them must always be reciprocated and if you find that’s faltering – they’re probably not right for you. My ex was horribly dismissive of my blog, saying it will never become a career nor be something I should ever pursue – one of many things he did amongst his many other faults. The minute I met George – he was taken aback in amazement that I ran this blog, thought it was the coolest most exciting thing ever and has supported me 100% in my endeavours.
Life is tough, it will be tough. Every single person on this planet is facing battles most of us will never even know about. The easiest thing we can do is make it easier for other women when women already face so much. Cheer for your friends, support them in their decisions. Help them when they need it, whether it be with dressing for an event, or life advice in a marriage they’re miserable in. Encourage young girls and women to stand up for themselves, to dress and play with whatever toys they wish – no, pc brigade, it’s not the world ‘gone mad’ – it’s a status symbol of the way the world is moving now. Catch up or get lost behind. It’s not news for girls to want to play with ‘boys’ toys, or the other way around – they’ve been doing it for years. It’s about time you caught up, really. Lending an ear or a minute of your time to help other women empowers us all to be better, happier versions of ourselves. But don’t give too much – should you find you’re reaching out, helping as much as you can but being ignored or not called back, don’t waste your time. You too have the same battles to face, your own race to run.
Power dressing isn’t all about attention grabbing. It’s a state of mind. It’s about knowing within yourself you’re more than capable to smash whatever it is you have to do that day. However dressing makes you feel to achieve that – you go right ahead.
For me? I wore this suit because this day I was battling not only a bout of nasty flu, but also endometriosis. That’s right, my nose was running, as my ovaries were so loudly protesting and shredding apart my insides. I had fashion week shows to go to, this photoshoot to do and a long day on my feet shooting a job on camera with only one set of painkillers I could choose to take. Either I dealt with the running nose, blocked sinuses/pressure headache – or I dealt with the crippling abdominal pain that often lands me in A&E. I chose the former. There was no way of winning. I couldn’t talk properly, I couldn’t look right in any photos (still don’t think I look right) and I nearly collapsed into my Addi Lee car home. But, I did it. Bad days will come, bad months will come. But they will pass. And empowering yourself to get through that is the least you can do to help yourself, and the very least you can do to help other women, too.