Monthly Must-Haves is a series highlighting the pieces that capture my attention and steal my heart each month. See the first post in the series here.
May 2020 will forever be etched into my brain as the month I finished my Bachelor’s degree. On May 21st, I submitted my final assignment – a 3,500 word essay on how different mediums affect a narrative. I may be graduating and trying to enter the world of work in the toughest job economy in a very long time but I’m focussing on the positives. Six years of almost fortnightly stress-induced breakdowns later and it’s finally over. And, trust me, it’s been a battle to get here. I struggled with the creative constraints of academic writing. I didn’t particularly enjoy the content of my degree. And, having chronic fatigue syndrome made it really difficult to balance my uni work and social life. But, it’s finally over and I couldn’t be more relieved!
Alongside being free from deadline pressure, I also feel free from the pressures to fit into the student mould. When it comes to fashion, Manchester students have a very specific sense of style, one that I’ve never been particularly enamoured by. Think dirty trainers, vintage sports sweatshirts and oversized polyester shirts in hideous prints. Yet, I felt like I needed to dress this way in order to fit in with the people around me, buying and wearing clothes that didn’t feel like me in order to look like everybody else.
So, with my recent departure from student life, I’m pressing the reset button. In the coming weeks, I plan to purge my wardrobe of the pieces that don’t ‘spark joy’ and rebuild it with items that do. That’s the inspiration for my May monthly must-haves – pieces that feel like me and the person I want to become.
I have somewhat of an obsession with blue at the moment. The icy tone of this cardigan by Acne Studios seems to sit somewhere between blue, grey and lilac, and I absolutely love it. I’ve looked at other pale blue pieces but nothing has compared. It might seem strange to be lusting after knitwear during a heatwave but these temperatures won’t last forever and when things cool down a little, I foresee myself wearing it all the time.
When it comes to shorts, I used to exclusively own the denim kind. I’m not entirely sure why, but I thought they were the only acceptable kind to wear. As it turns out, they’re actually really uncomfortable and heavyweight denim is an absolute bitch to wear in hot weather. So, I’m changing my ways. Gingham is a classic summer print and these shorts from Topshop are a great price. I picture styling them with a crisp white t-shirt and chunky sandals.
A pair of classic tortoiseshell sunglasses isn’t so much of a want, but a need. I have plenty of black pairs but am in desperate need of something a little bit softer. I’m not one to spend too much on a pair of sunglasses (mostly because I’m known to lose them at festivals) so this pair by Le Specs provides the perfect balance between style and a reasonable price. They’re not in stock right now but you can bet I’m keeping my eye out for when they are.
As a competitive cheerleader, I need a lot of activewear. My love of fashion and aesthetics means it needs to look good. As such, Varley is one of my favourite brands. Their leggings are incredibly flattering, buttery soft and come in the most beautiful patterns, such as this light cheetah print. A matching sports bra is also available.
In my attempt to become a more sustainable consumer, I try to steer clear of trend items. However, I just can’t get Jacquemus’ ‘Le Chiquito’ bag out of my head. I’ve loved it since it was first released in 2018 and the pink checked print that came out as part of the brand’s SS20 collection is simply adorable. I know it’s impractical but I don’t think I can resist any longer.
I think it was the 2019 film adaptation of Little Women that first sparked my love for feminine midi dresses and this lilac style by Dôen fits the bill perfectly. I’m considering buying it to wear for a wedding I’m attending next summer but it could also easily be styled with smart boots and a leather satchel for work.
We’re in really troubling times at the moment, so it’s more important than ever to look after ourselves. For me, there’s nothing I love more than bubble baths and scented candles. The Baies candle from Diptyque is a favourite of mine, scented with blackcurrant leaves and Bulgarian rose.
Miu Miu will always be a favourite brand of mine. It feels both youthful and elegant and if I had the money to fill my entire wardrobe with it, I definitely would. But, if I were to pick just one piece from their current collection, it would be these floral printed leather sandals. The retro-inspired wooden sole makes them unique while the tan leather makes them completely versatile. They’re simply perfect for summer!