breaking the rules in my head

My parents - who met at a teachers' college - believed, in theory, that people are born with infinite capacity to excel and succeed and create and achieve. And that, somewhere along the way, people (parents/teachers/other kids) kind of cut off the branches of possibilities, by telling these little people that they're stupid and they can't. And instead of teaching them to be brave, and explore the realms of possibilities, they teach them the Rules.

My parents believed that, just like water will find its own level, if you let children just be, and don't tell them they are stupid and are failures - and you try as much as possible to keep them from killing themselves by doing something that truly is stupid - that eventually they'll find something they enjoy doing. And doing well.

That said: even my parents weren't perfect, and I can remember some rules. Like one time my mother said, while I was getting dressed: 'You can't wear plaid with stripes.' I was really young at the time, and in general she let us wear whatever we wanted, but she made this pronunciation out of the blue. 'Why not?' 'Because it doesn't go.' 'Why not?' 'I don't know.. because it clashes. You can't wear prints together, because they clash.'

I made a mental note then and there. It became one of my Rules.

So when we did the shoot in December at My Wardrobe HQ, and the Tala inadvertently snatched up the dress Natayla had her eye on, we started playing around with things. Every time Nat would show me something - like this See by Chloe top and the Paul and Joe's Sister skirt - and she'd ask me what I thought and I'd just shrug my shoulders and say 'Try it on.'

Because - this is my New Year's Resolution - every time I have a rule in my head, it's just crying out to be broken.

And 2011 definitely feels like the year when pattern on pattern is going to be explored in new ways. And if you have the budget to wear Chloe and, say, this belt by Alice Temperly (I think it's the same one - in gold)- great, go for it. But sometimes people have more money than sense, or courage. Or creativity. This look could just as easily be achieved using a mish mash of thrift shop and high street and hand me downs. Fashion is meant to be fun. I mean, if we can't have fun getting dressed, I just don't know what else to say.

Except that this morning I saw Shini tweet that she's such a perfectionist she hasn't done a New Year's post and now it's too late. That's another rule I'm breaking: I've just decided it's not too late for a New Year's Eve post. Ever. Not even in July. So watch this space.

My New Year's Eve Sushi by Wasabi, to go. All Natayla's clothes, borrowed from My Wardrobe (Thank you, sweet Susie Q!). Fireworks images, shot by me off My Telly, courtesy of the BBC. Oh and Natayla's Wasabi Sushi skirt, courtesy of My Photoshop.


Penny Dreadful Vintage said...

Too right, isn't it silly how many 'rules' are only in our head. This outfit is wonderful, and I'll look forward to your New-Year-in-July post!

Carrott said...

You are so good with photoshop! I thought it was a real skirt!! And I did my NYE post yesterday so... it's never too late! xxx

slowdownapproaching30 said...

I read a great article the other day that the said that January should be used in full to decide what goals and changes you want to make for the year! So that's my excuse for not doing a new year post yet... Here's to breaking rules in 2011!

Meg said...

Ahh rules....I've only just started having the confidence to start breaking those rules. As such, I've started wearing blue and green (without a colour in between) and black and tan together.

I feel a little bit daring!


the nyanzi report said...

Life in general is more fun when one ignores 'the rules' and sets their own path (as long as they don't break the law). Sinatra said it best - "I did it MY WAY."

As for Natalyla's style, it's superb.

p.s. your story about the john rocha show was great!

Shini said...

Not sure if it was placed like that on purpose, but that plate of sushi + pattern on Natalya's skirt on last pic... PERFECT juxtaposition.

You're right about breaking rules, and I like to think of it this way, you need to know the rules before breaking them, that makes you a cool rebel, else it'd simply be ignorance ;)

Unknown said...

Gorgeous photos- I love your outfit!

Matthew Spade said...

well that's quite an interesting rules, it does seem to make sense on some levels. i was bunged in the bottom classes with all the naughty kids, my dyslexia wasn't recognised and they just thought i was dumb. i just needed extra help, but i managed it on my own anywho.

jill said...

Ah, see, that's what I mean: that makes me so angry! Someone decided that you were dumb because you didn't perceive words the way most people do (my husband has it - mildly - his brain works in a way where he kind of scans a page fast instead of reading words in order - or he'll walk into a room or someone will say something and he'll get impatient because he already gets it.)

Someone in a position to make a decision should have been able to recognise what you had - and instead of punishing you by slamming you in with the naughty boys, should have given you special projects (my brother is a really talented musician but he can't do normal schoolwork to save his life -so he basically graduated by doing all his history/literature/etc on his interests: music).

Ha! I'm clearly on a rant ; )

Will send this to you some other way in addition to this - in case you don't happen to see this..

thanks all! I don't dare address you one by one, my laptop's running out of steam, and so am I. xx

SabinePsynopsis said...

... and when there are no more rules in our head we are free! This breaking of all (fashion) rules made for some beautiful photos, Jill. How about wearing red and orange???

Love Food said...

I think fashion and style is all about individuality, so if somebody wants to wear prints together or anything else for that matter and wears them with confidence, I think they look great.
On paper, Natayla's outfit wouldn't work, but seeing her wearing it like this she looks amazing and it works!
That first picture of the fireworks on the TV reminds me of a cartoon, actually like the disney version of Peter Pan!

Lydia xxx

Style Odyssey said...

this is one of your best posts EVER.
first, natayla is gorgeous. look at that hair! and even though it's not my style, i think her outfit is superb, (hey, i can deeply appreciate something even when it's not something i'd wear/own...you get my drift.) we've been seeing red orange nails a lot- and that IS something i'll wear, come spring.
breaking the "rules"...i hear you. i'm not too crazy about rules for the sake of rules, either.
and lastly, i want that delectable array of sushi! (cooked fish for dinner tonight will have to do instead. it's a tough life!)

Style Odyssey said...

wait a minute...that second skirt is photo-shopped?? you clever woman! :)

adrielleroyale said...

Man, this must be the year for it!! Or last year for me...but continuing into this year too Lol! :) My rule breaking isn't per say in fashion, but in many other significant parts of my life. Anyway, cheers to your new found freedom! :)

Kazuko said...

this post speaks from my soul. breaking rules is my only new years resolution for 2011. i'm still a bloody beginner and i find it so hard. i just don't see all the possibilities - like that top with that skirt and that belt and that... oh man, i think i still have a long way to go. lovely post!

daisychain said...

For me this is totally gonna be a year of challenging and breaking rules.



LOVE the last ensemble. And I'm all for breaking the rules!


Ariska said...

I love the shoes in the first picture <3

Fashion Limbo said...

here's to breaking the rules, and I shall now proceed to watch the recorded BBC NYE fireworks. 'cos I'm in bed, with the flu, and who cares- Oh and my miniature dachshund is lying in bed next to me, and that's another rule broken oh well :P

May Brady said...

Your pictures are gorgeous!!

...and rules are made to be broken.

Adorngirl said...

It is those rules why we don't reach the potential that we can. My rule or misconception was that I wouldn't do well in the blogging world because I didn't look like those tall slim girls in all those outfit shots, but I am chugging along doing my own thing , and its working out fine.

p.s the best outfits are the ones that clash a bit, it looks so wrong that its right Anna Della Russo has just been interviewed in the latest galmour, and one of her top tips is do more, and be bold, why not? life is too short.

Miki said...

I think I haven't said this before, so here I go, "HAPPY NEW YEAR, JILL!" Of course it's never too late to celebrate the arrival of a new year ;).

Your parents' approach was so wise! I hope I can apply it when I have my own kids in the future.

Yay! Patter on pattern is becoming fashionable this year, seriously? That's what I've been doing ever since I started choosing what to wear, haha. I'm the worst person on earth when it comes to matching patterns, textures and colors, but oh, who knows, I might be able to pull it off this year, hehe.

Thank you SO much for your good wishes! I'm sending you an e-mail in a few minutes.

Hope there're lots of happy moments in your life in 2011! :D


Fashion File said...

Hey Jill, firstly Happy New Year to you! I feel, this is your best post till now for me...also maybe because i have been thinking about 'rules' and what is 'supposed to be done' for a while. your post just brought all my thoughts together!

P.S i love your blog...street style or no street style, even though street style was what brought me here. i've been reading your blog since nov, 09!

mtg said...

oh, I must DIY that belt!
The firework shots look like beautiful watercolors! Awesome!

Anonymous said...

the sushi looks awesome. i'm starving.

UnoCosa said...

hello, dearest - i just read somewhere (i think new york time) an article written at end of 2009, predicting a growing trend of stricter parenting, meaning more rule at home ... i don't know if it will be true - but i remember how it is to grow up with a very strict Chinese family :-)

btw: love love the last photo - the outfit was starling w/ mixture of print.

also, BTW: keep me posted on your schedule here in new york - we definitely have to meet up ...


TheStylistRobertCassidy said...

Are you or Nat in NYC for their Fashion Week?

Heather Fonseca said...

You're right, fashion should be fun. I'm trying so hard to throw away the old rules and try new things.