Monday, 11 March 2019

My Irregular Day & Why I Chose What I Did

When Irregular Choice approached me with their idea of Irregular Day, I was really unsure of what to do for it. Initially I read it as a day of doing something a bit topsy turvy until I watched Dan's video where he talked in more detail. I realised yes, it could be something a bit unconventional like walking backwards or eating ice-cream with chopsticks (eating ice cream was the big draw for me there!), but I could see the day being interpreted in a number of other ways. You could choose to do something challenging, something that most people would see as a challenge or adventurous, like skydiving or mountain climbing. You could set a personal goal, something perhaps not as universally challenging, but beating your personal best or something random like seeing how many hats you could knit in a day or how far you could walk in a certain amount of time. It could be something completely new to you or different to your taste, something you've always wanted to try but haven't, like learning a language, eating different foods or wearing something you wouldn't usually and so on. My family were little help as I discussed possible options as the response was "you're already irregular, you'd have to wear/do something 'normal' for the day". Ok, thanks! I toyed with a few ideas, including wearing something "normal" like jeans and trainers (wouldn't you all have liked to see that!), but it seemed a bit wasteful to buy new things I'd never wear again. We considered celebrating Christmas or eating doughnuts all day-a fun concept but not really meaningful to me. There's so many things I want to do in daily life that I'm not really capable of, so it was hard to find something manageable and I did want it to have some meaning, because what I took from Dan's video was that although this day came about to commemorate 20 years of the brand, it was to celebrate our (the IC community) irregularities, what makes us different. In the end I chose something that wouldn't be considered 'irregular' to some people and didn't used to be to me, but nowadays is massively irregular in my world. It's something I've longed to do for years, but been too scared to attempt and that was to sew. collage of process making black lace ankle cuffs

If you've followed my blog for years then you'll likely know my history, but I wanted to be a fashion designer when I was little and I mean really little. I don't even know how I knew what it was, but for as long as I can remember that was what I wanted to do (think I drove the careers advisers nuts with my lack of "backup plans"). As soon as I could hold a pencil, I'd sketch and I'd often get wacky designs in my head. I thought up high heeled, patterned welly boots long before they were a thing. I just couldn't understand why nobody had made them cool yet. I wish I had a picture of this to hand to show you, but I think I was maybe 7 at the time and had a vision for a cocktail dress shaped like a Christmas cracker (it had a puffball skirt that tapered at the ankle with a big bow-I didn't say all my ideas were brilliant!) and I sent it to Sindy magazine and it got published (they used to have a Sindy dress-up doll each issue with designs from readers), honestly it's my proudest moment-I even put it in my portfolio! I thought of a swimsuit with middle section made of clear PVC with liquid inside and little plastic fishies, I always had something strange going on in my head! I made little bits and bobs, but by the age of 12, I'd started making my own clothes and this made me stand out. I made these floral pyjamas with the most massive sailor collar you've ever seen, trimmed with broderie anglaise and gathered at the ankles and wrists-they were hilarious. I remember making a maxi length circle skirt for school that I wore with little Victorian lace-up ankle boots-I LOVED it, but other people didn't.  I hated school for many reasons, being forced into a shirt and tie for one, having to sit through subjects I had no interest in or weren't of use to me (like was catching insects in a margarine tub shoved in the ground really beneficial to working in fashion? Or any profession for that matter!), but mainly because I got teased a lot and Dan spoke about this in his video, because to be honest, I think it's something that likely goes hand in hand with IC. The chances are if you like the weirdness of Irregular Choice, you'll have suffered some form of negativity over the years from people you know or strangers, when wearing IC. Being picked on, teased, bullied, whatever you want to call it, happened all through primary and high school for me, from different people. I don't even think they really hated me, they never got as far as getting to know me, they just hated that I was different. I was an easy target because I liked to wear unusual things and that doesn't really fly when you're 13. I was always very sure about my look too, despite the hammering I consistently received and I think this only annoyed them more. Being confident and different and refusing to conform, it didn't make for an easy life. sewing materials, scissors, tape measure and lacepom poms, ribbons, lace, cord and fabric materials for sewingblack lace fabric being sewn on a machineholding the gathered, sewn lace material in hand
Charity non-uniform days at school were something I loved and loathed in equal measures. It meant I could wear what I wanted (yass, no tie!), but also that I'd have to endure taunts all day and I did, every single year. I expected the bullying to die down the older and more mature (!) we got, it did lessen, but never really went away. I recall having a dreaded whole afternoon of torture P.E. when I was 17; it was volleyball with boys in the year above us, but after class we went back to the changing room and one of my boots was missing. Every winter I'd save up to buy new boots for school and these were knee high, black patent platforms (very"Spice Girls", it was the late 90's). After having to involve the teacher (which I didn't want), we found the boot stashed in the boys changing room. They went and rifled through my stuff, because it was instantly recognisable as mine, nobody else wore things like that, so it was easy to target me. Pick on her, she deserves it for being weird or thinking she's above everyone else wearing that! Now I've had far worse things said or done to me over the years, but the idea was to humiliate. I knew they'd be waiting outside school to see what happened and had I left with my head held high and one boot on, I'd have looked foolish. Had I walked out with two boots on, they'd know I'd spent time looking for it and I'd still be humiliated. It was a lose-lose situation. I was desperate to leave school, get away from stuff like that and hopefully be around like-minded people at University. I was accepted onto the course I wanted and I loved my time at Uni, I really did. I was still pretty much the weirdo by the way, it turns out not everyone studying fashion wore stuff like I did! Being 21 was the best year of my life, I really pushed myself-I went to London on my own with a giant suitcase for 3 months to work (for a fashion magazine) and it was the making of me, it really was. I had to move back to Scotland for my 4th and final year of Uni and basically when I turned 22, my life went downhill. holding holographic ribbon in a rosette shape against the black lacesparkling pink tulle made into a bow shape pinned to black lacebronze metallic ribbon tied into a bow held against black lacegold wired ribbon pinned into a rosette shape on the black lace cuff
I started feeling very unwell, to the point I'd stopped eating and drinking and was diagnosed with glandular fever. I was whisked home, without saying goodbye to anyone, having a last day in Uni or in my house or even packing my things and I don't remember much about the next couple of months as I was so poorly. This was June and by December I still wasn't better. The GF symptoms had gone, but I was knackered all the time and weak. My GP said he thought it could be M.E. and that didn't come as a surprise to me. I knew a little about the illness, having known a couple of people with it and the worst case scenario for me at that point was that I'd be ill for 10 years. That was the longest I'd known anyone personally to have it and I didn't think I could cope with that, but nearly 17 years later and here we are! The first couple of years felt like a temporary thing; I'll get better next week, next month, next year. However as time has gone on and I've passed massive milestones like 10 years, I do realise now that the chances of ever recovering are extremely slim and I'm no longer focusing my energy into "getting better" (but that's a blog post for another day). It's no exaggeration to say my life paused completely back at age 22. Everything I was interested in, everything I did, just stopped abruptly and that included sewing and designing. A lot of people are surprised that I don't do that now because even people who didn't know-know me, always knew me as "the one into fashion".  I struggle with basic everyday tasks, so tackling something  that not only involves motor skills, but my brain too is just too much. I didn't give it up willingly, but it's just not manageable now, but that's why I wanted to push myself to try it for Irregular Day. hand holding gold ribbon rosette with needle and thread stitching it togetherplacing silver frame on gold rosette rimFramed kawaii cameo girl in centre of gold ribbon rosettegold rosette sitting alongside black lace cuff and other sewing materialshand holding finished black lace ankle cuff with gold ribbon rosette trimBlack lace ankle cuff sewn by myselfFinished pair of handmade black lace ankle cuffs sitting on white shelf
I still get ideas to make things or see things in shops and think "I could do that", so it's really frustrating for me not to be able to. The passion is still here, I just can't act on it. So I figured something like a dress was maybe a bit ambitious considering it's been 18 years since I've touched a sewing machine, so I thought an appropriate Irregular Choice related thing (not that it had to be), would be to make accessories for my shoes. Little ankles cuffs or things to put on straps etc, which would also tie in with me doing the #365daysofIrregularChoice challenge on Instagram. I wish I could say I was looking forward to it, but honestly I was very apprehensive about the whole thing. What if I couldn't do it? What if it looked rubbish? What if I didn't finish? What if I end up hating sewing? I had a routine check-up at the dentist earlier in the week and felt awful since, so I was beginning to think I wouldn't manage to do it at all. I think my family were getting a bit exasperated with me, because they were trying to make it fun and get me excited, Mum kept buying bits and pieces, but I was in so much pain and so tired, I just couldn't even think about it. The eating doughnuts all day thing started to seem like a missed opportunity to be truthful! I was also a bit worried that everyone was out doing fun things and I was going to be sitting on my own in my PJ's with a needle and thread (literally was btw) and that nobody would think any of it very irregular. side angle of legs in fishnet tights wearing pink satin shoes with black lace handmade ankle cuffspink Miu Miu shoes worn with handmade lace ankle cuffsback view of high heeled pink satin shoes worn with handmade black lace ankle cuffs
Saturday came and I was feeling a bit more mobile and after a slow start, I did get cracking and managed to make something. I'm actually really pleased with how it turned out and after a wee while, I started to really enjoy myself. I anticipated making more than one thing, but I didn't realise how slow I'd be! I took some photos along the way-I didn't really have a plan with exactly what I was going to do. I didn't intend to make the cuff that shape initially and the trim, I just kept playing around with different cords and ribbons until I found something I liked and in the end made this gold rosette out of some wired ribbon I had. As it was late until I finished, I had a try-on with shoes on Sunday and I love my little lace cuffs! With my M.E., I feel useless at least a dozen times a day. I feel like a hopeless friend, sister, daughter, blogger, everything, so it was important for me to be able to look at those cuffs and be like "I did that, I made those, on my own"! I've definitely lost confidence in my skills or even just in myself, when I feel so useless day in, day out for 17 years. There's never a day where I don't have symptoms or feel like I can tackle anything. I doubt myself, I doubt what I can do, so I think it's understandable I was anxious, even although to other people (and to the old me) it seemed like a pretty simple task. I definitely want to try and make more things, it's just not something I can do as often as I'd like, but if it hadn't been for Irregular Day, I wouldn't have pushed myself to try it.  I also worried that once I got a taste for it, I'd feel really down on myself for wanting to do more, but not being able to.  I know I get like this when I get out of the house-I wish I could do it all the time and it's really deflating to realise you can't.   black shoes with gold stars worn with fishnets and black lace handmade ankle cuffsback view of legs in unicorn heeled shoes with black lace hand sewn ankle cuffsblack ruffled lace ankle cuff worn with gold star shoes with unicorn heelgold metallic platform shoes with large bow worn with fishnet tights and handmade lace ankle cuffscut out heart heeled shoes with platform worn with handmade lace cuff with gold rosette
I think and hope Irregular Day has been a huge success for everyone, it's been wonderful to see the diverse range of things people have been doing. Like I say, I took from it, that it was about coming together and celebrating our little quirks. For as long as I live, I'll never understand the reasoning behind picking on people who look or dress differently and I don't understand why people feel the need to comment negatively on something someone else is wearing and worse, to think it's acceptable to do that. A few years ago when I was seeing a clinical psychologist for my M.E., she was asking all about my childhood and school etc and why I didn't change how I dressed, if it made my life so difficult and where my confidence came from to keep being me. Do you know, I didn't know how to answer her because I'd never even considered that. I couldn't imagine changing to fit in, I just wouldn't be me. My Dad always says if there was a rail of clothes, I'd pick the thing that either nobody else was interested in or turned their noses up at. They used to know when I was younger that I'd pick the unexpected (my Mum would remind me here of the ditsy floral, frilled duvet cover I insisted on getting when my sister's were choosing Victoria Plum and Postman Pat-I was 3!). I think we all, as we should, have different tastes and you should wear what makes you happy or feel good or what you like the look of and don't let anyone drag you down for it. Yes, it can be hard, especially at school age and especially when it gets physical (getting kicked and punched by 5 boys in my class because the teacher said she liked the French pleat in my hair springs to mind) and in my adult life, I don't think I've ever left the house without receiving at least one negative comment, dirty look or (my favourite) being pointed and laughed at (do they think I can't see?), but although I find it rude, I don't let it hurt me. I want to add it's not an exclusive thing to young people, I've had old ladies tut and call me a disgrace, but as sad as it is that they feel the need to do that, it won't change me and that's why (I've said this before), I love Irregular Choice so much. They don't apologise for being over the top or loud, they embrace it.  They are the only brand I've ever felt so perfectly in tune with. I've definitely been aware of styles becoming more commercialised or watered down in the last few years, but thankfully there's still plenty of the insane stuff that appeals to me too. I mean we got proper snow globe heels last year, I don't know another brand that would attempt that! So my advice is to just keep going, keep being you (no matter what that is) and stay irregular. gold unicorn heeled shoes worn with fishnet tights and black lace ankle cufflegs wearing unicorn floral shoes with handmade black lace ankle cuff with rosettelegs wearing fishnet tights with red fluffy heart peep toe shoes and black lace hand sewn ankle cuffgold New York skyline shoes worn with fishnet tights and black lace ankle cuffMiu Miu teacup heeled shoes worn with handmade lace frilled ankle cuff
Shoes worn from top are; Miu Miu pink satin courts SS08, Irregular Choice Eternal Friend, Irregular Choice Ring O Rosie, Irregular Choice Trixy, Moschino Cheap & Chic heart peep toes, Irregular Choice New York and Miu Miu teacup heels SS08.   


  1. Hi,
    unfortunately I'm not having enough energy nor time for reading the whole of this post right now but I'm really excited to read this!
    I read the one on instagram and I couldn't agree more.
    like, there's too much disparity between enthusiasm and dynamism, without a such choice of own...
    and there's tons of stock (also restock every now and then) of creative ideas. but just not able to do, and if finally get a tiny chance, there's tons of things that takes priority (like showering and eating etc), and even when finally after taking care of the priors, pretty scared of ruining that chance.
    there's always the feeling that I couldn't do it like how I actually want to and that would make me feel just miserable. specially with knowing that I CAN but just not able to...
    good or bad, I at least know there's you too...
    well I wish that you had a PO Box many times since I find some stuffs that I think would be nice to give you as presents. (the little exclusive stuffs from Japan.)
    I believe joy is medicine, although it's just my wish for mind to stay healthy at least so it helps to deal with physical issues.
    wishing you the best always<3

    1. finally I read it all and I really feel you.
      and I couldn't agree more about all the school stuffs as well. fortunately I hadn't really gotten bullied but they always hated me pretty much for being different, plus I was a new kid many times since my family was moving often as well. another easy target.
      I also used to enjoy sewing and many other crafting stuffs but after getting so sick I just couldn't keep myself going nor just stay focused to do those things anymore, and it's very irritating to not be able to do things specially when it's not because of skills but health issues like's really heart breaking.
      and so sad to think that we are may not be even able to wish our health issues to get better. still couldn't say it's hopeless though, many times it seems more hopeful to just look for how to deal with it and coexist.

      by the way I'm enjoying your #365daysofirregularchoice on Instagram!
      I feel like you've been playing more of combination with tights and stockings even more than used to since (quite) while ago and love that a lot too (specially the one from Day 73 from latest ones) <3 it gives so much different touch to shoes.

  2. BRAVO, WELL DONE to you for doing this and braving the pain and the worry of how it would turn out to do this! YOU made some AMAZING shoe cuffs- they are brilliant and I think they should catch on, I really do!!! I got my friend Lara to make me a pair of orange crocheted spats for my turquoise boots because I wanted to look a bit quirky so I am all in favour of it.
    I am so angry at those who tease people and bully them because they are different. My gifted and talented musician boy who left at the end of the year was like that. He was picked on for being different and I HATED it- he was so mature and talented and KIND and I didn't understand how these really nasty children had friends and he didn't.
    You are amazing, wonderfully irregular!x


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