In this series ‘Girl Talk With,’ I’ll be chatting with the amazing women in my life about how they inspire me. This week, I sat down with style icon Phoebe Gipson, about the inspiration behind her incredible sense of fashion.
Phoebe’s sense of personal style consistently impresses me. Not only are her outfits objectively on point, but her confidence and ability to pull off any look never ceases to inspire me. So where does her journey to the perfect look begin? Phoebe tells me, ‘I’ll see a trend, like the pinafore dress, but I’ll take it and make it look how I want it to look instead. I like to look at street trends, as we live in East London, there are a lot of fashionable people around. I don’t follow celebrity trends because I don’t think they reflect normal people’s budgets or normal people’s fashion; it’s always the extreme.’ The fact that Phoebe looks to others around her for inspiration is interesting, as I look to those around me, too. However, when it comes to style, I might be guilty of looking more to specific eras and styles for ideas, rather than looking around at my environment. Nonetheless, I love the idea of turning to our friends for inspiration; after all, isn’t that what this series is all about?
Our East London living actually inspires Phoebe in more ways than one; when asked where she gets her clothes, Phoebe turns to East London’s charity shops and vintage stores, ‘I do use online shops like ASOS, but when I’m looking for a statement piece, I’ll go to charity shops. Not only because you can get a bargain, but you can find things that you won’t find in high street shops. You go to Westfield, and you go to H&M, River Island, New Look, and it’s all more of the same. Whereas in a charity shop, everything is a one off item, or vintage stores like Beyond Retro or Rokit (although they are kind of pricey so they are more for the occasional buy).’ This explains Phoebe’s originality. There is no point asking where she got a specific piece, it is probably a one off vintage item found among the crowded racks of a cool charity shop. Although, if you are lucky, you might just get a hand me down. Phoebe is a big fan of recycling her clothes, (which meant in the summer I was lucky enough to get a whole new wardrobe… Thank you, Phoebe!)
So why is it important to Phoebe to give away her old clothes? To save the world, (and your bank balance), of course. ‘Fast fashion is a problem, and clothes wastage is a problem. I buy from charity shops and I give to charity shops, so all of my clothes go through a cycle. It means you can still do the ‘fast fashion thing’ and keep up with current trends, but you won’t spend a lot of money and you’re not being wasteful. If you’re really into style and keeping up with trends it’s easy to bankrupt yourself. So I think charity shops are the way to go.’ While most of our home town charity shops might not be what we think of when we need a new party dress, East London’s stores are a little different. You only have to spend five minutes walking in Bethnal Green to find a few gems, (think Ayoka and Lama’s Pyjamas,) which are full of cool and quirky pieces.
As it is unrealistic to do a huge clothes haul every time you want to try a new look, charity shops are also perfect if your style is constantly evolving, like Phoebe, ‘My fashion sense does change quite quickly, but it’s more to do with how I’m feeling. In the past few months my fashion changed completely. I’m wearing things I wouldn’t have before; I’m not afraid to take risks now. I don’t think I have a style, none of my clothes are the same, I just wear what I want on any given day.’
This is advice that we should all be taking; do not just restrict yourself to a specific style; try out new looks, look to those around you for inspiration, take risks, and ultimately, dress how you feel. Fashion should be fun and something to embrace. Phoebe inspires me to experiment with my style and pull off outfits I might not have dared to try otherwise. What’s more, is all her advice is entirely accessible. Everyone has a stylish friend and a charity shop around the corner; just arm yourself with a big bag, a few pounds and a load of inspiration and you are good to go. Soon you will be rocking vintage Molly Ringwald Pretty in Pink vibes with a killer wardrobe and attitude to go with it. And if you can save the environment and some pennies along the way, what’s stopping you?
all photo credit @pipson_ on instagram