As a teenager I never massively thought about my career but I believed that whatever I ended up doing, I would get up each morning, put on a pair of super-duper Manolo Blahnik’s like a certain Miss Bradshaw. I would then layer on all the colours like the pro Carrie is and walk out the door.
Turns out, as I edge further into my late 20’s, I’m no such pro. I don’t know where to even buy Manolo Blahnik’s and I’m sure as hell all about the comfort. Which is shown by this Barnardo’s comfy shirt/jeans/boots combo.
Along with owning those Manolo Blahnik’s and being able to clash patterns and colours flawlessly, I also thought that, naturally, I would become a writer and spend my days in writing witty words from cafes and bars whilst people watching and daydreaming.
Things turned out a little different.
I didn’t think about the career I wanted throughout school, college or university. I plodded along (albeit, comfortably!) and next thing I knew, I was 18 and had decided to go to university to study Maths. By my early 20’s I was out in the big ol’ world and I was working in an office. There was no excuse for my converse (albeit, a smart black pair..), oversized jumper and the nostalgic American Apparel Disco Pants rolled up slightly. Possibly one of the reasons for my lack of progression in such an industry. The other reason was that I wasn’t enjoying the work. I learnt pretty quickly that the office environment wasn’t for me so I started to look into other options.
It turns out that it wasn’t written in the stars that I would end up a writer, heading from one book launch to the next all whilst being disgustingly well dressed.
When I hit 25 I had a mid-20’s crisis, or reassessment (to be a little less dramatic), and thought about where I wanted to stay until I was 85 because, let’s face it, that’s going to be the age at which those my age will retire.
I looked up courses online and, as when I was 18, I still couldn’t bloody decide what I wanted. So I thought I would start slowly. I knew I loved history and I knew I loved clothes.
I saw a costume construction course online. It stated that the course would involved making a historical garment. I thought it was the perfect way to incorporate history with fashion whilst hopefully learning a little about sewing. I applied and a few months later I was cursing at the sewing machine and having a daily fight with a mannequin. But I was enjoying what I was doing on a daily basis so it was a winner.
Fast forward almost two years and I was out of college and in the big ol’ world – again. This time round I was after costume jobs. I began by looking online for suitable jobs in London.
After a few months of a little freelance work in the theatre, and Sweeney Todd becoming one of my new favourite shows (working on it was so bloomin’ fun!), I did a 2 month internship at a costume house. 1 year and 3 months after starting the internship, I’m still there. In a few months, it will become the job I have stuck out for the longest. And I think that’s all down to taking the plunge in my mid-20’s.
By leaving a safe job to go back to college and work in retail at the weekend whilst my friends were climbing their career ladders successfully with weekends free and a hell’uva lot more of a disposable income than I had.
By doing a little research and thinking about what topics I really enjoyed. History, Fashion and Sewing.
And by finding that job where it is socially acceptable to just chuck on the comfiest clothes and head out the door . I’ll save the Manolo Blahnik’s for the weekend, ey?