Stylesheet 026: When I see zebras fly 🦓 • on my animated, youthful style

I think it was only in recent years that I learned that I could pull off mixing prints. It’s not something that suits everyone and it does sort of work better for people who have a more youthful appearance. When I was younger I really disliked that I looked a lot younger than my actual age. Getting carded/ID’d made me feel self conscious, but as I’ve gotten older I do think that I look closer to my age, and I definitely have leaned into my youthful appearance when it comes to my style. Again, this doesn’t work for everyone, and many people attempt to look more mature to give the appearance of being older, but it’s not something I’ve ever thought much about – mostly because I felt awkward, or, I knew that it generally wasn’t worth the effort because I look younger than I am.

image 1: Me, Georgie, an Asian woman with short dark hair, sitting on a concrete step surrounding a small planted garden. I am wearing a sleeveless top with black and white zebra stripes and dark green shorts with a tartan pattern. One of my hands is touching my hair and the other is on the step for balance.
The animated look of mixing prints

Since leaning into my youthful appearance, it’s a bit funny when I find myself in a store where all the “kids” are shopping… there are some stores that focus on bringing trend pieces to the teenagers and people in their early twenties, but I find that some of those pieces are actually my style as well. 😆 I can’t help it that I tend to wear 90s looks! 🙈 The top is from Glassons, which is one of those stores that I see lots of women in their early twenties shopping at. They do have a lot of trendy pieces, and really verge on fast fashion to be honest, but I really liked the cut of this top and I wanted to try it in a pattern. It actually looks and feels much better than the solid colours, which have a ribbed texture and don’t contour the body as much. So I’m really quite happy with it, it’s easy to put on and stretches enough over my head and muscular back. 😂

image 2: Me, in the same outfit as the previous photo, also showing my white shoes with colourful specks, standing by an illustration of a peacock on a wall.
The full outfit

I love that I’ve mixed an animal print with a “preppy” print in the checkered shorts. I’ve always loved checkered print, but depending on their colour, they can look a little like school uniforms, so I am pretty selective about them. I like that this dark green colour mostly just gives off a formal look, without looking too much like a school uniform. I actually didn’t really think it would work well with many other prints, but the zebra print turns out to work alright, and I don’t look strange in it. Mixing prints seems like it’s a bit more flattering on people who are younger or, at the very least, look youthful.

Many people have pointed out to me that I can pull off looks that they couldn’t possibly pull off themselves because it looks like “too much” or the outfit is “too busy”. Everyone is definitely different, and while you can think from a pretty objective point of view and say when certain outfits suit someone and don’t suit others – I think everyone should be free to experiment and be open to trying new styles. For some, I get it, it’s more of a confidence thing, and there are some clothes that don’t make them feel like themselves, or they feel uncomfortable. For me that is probably the exact opposite of my somewhat bold style – I actually feel uncomfortable in clothes that are simple in style or classic. For some it’s the other way around.

Some people are worried about judgement from others, and I understand that too. It took me years to “come out of my shell” and wear what I felt like truly expressed myself – finding your style and the things you like wearing is a journey and it takes time. 😌

image 3: A close-up of me, in the same outfit as previous photos, standing by the same wall in a previous photo.
Showing off like this peacock 🦚

I had to get the shorts taken in because they were a bit loose at the waist and I didn’t like the look. I think it was supposed to be a bit more of a paperbag style waist, but it just wasn’t very flattering and I couldn’t get it to sit properly so the lady at my local alterations was able to fix it up for me. It comes with a belt that is in the same fabric as the shorts but I don’t always like that look – I like the contrast with a thin and pretty simple belt. There are pockets in these shorts but they are unfortunately not too generous so I don’t feel like I can safely put my phone in them. I could probably get them made bigger with extra fabric though, so it’s not the end of the world.

I’m wearing my rainbow speckle derby shoes, which have softened up over time. I occasionally get the feeling that these shoes aren’t loud enough, but they definitely add to even the most neutral coloured outfits, in the most subtle way. Also, something I’ve learned recently is that I don’t need my outfit to be so incredibly loud in every aspect. It’s something I’m trying to balance, especially because I tend to gravitate towards more “statement” pieces than “basic” pieces, but it’s pretty important to have the latter. 😅

image 4: Me, in the same outfit as previous photos, sitting on a concrete step.
All of the prints!

I generally don’t think about my nail art and how they match my outfits – if at all – but I like to have a photo of them when I have some new designs on. This one is rather geometric and it actually made me realise that I don’t think I like geometric designs as much anymore! I always find it interesting when I wear something I’m pretty used to wearing but notice a shift in how I feel about wearing it. These moments are pretty important to take note of, because when our tastes and our style changes, we should take the time to reflect on what has changed and why something isn’t working out for us anymore. For me I think it’s that I’m generally moving away from less geometric prints and styles, and embracing the small amount of curves I have on my body and bringing them out in a subtle way. This means that I don’t find sharp lines as flattering anymore, even on small areas like my fingernails. 😅

image 5: A close-up of my nails on my hand. The design on my nails consists of different coloured blue geometric lines with gold flecks.
A geometric design that I don’t think I like as much as when I first saw it.

Overall I think the likelihood of me repeating this particular combination could be pretty low compared to others, but I really love this top with other more plain (less patterned) bottoms, and vice versa with the shorts and other simpler tops! It was still fun putting this look together and I would not be against wearing it in the future.

image 6: Me, in the same outfit as previous photos, sitting on a concrete step with my sunglasses on. My body is angled slightly away from the camera but I am still looking at the camera.
All sun no shade 😎

Outfit details


📸 All photography by Nicholas Cooke. (on his iPhone 14 Pro)

We took these photos around the new park The Drying Green. A hundred or so years ago, wool was laid out after processing to dry on the lawn, which is where the park gets its name.

I named this edition When I see zebras fly, sort of after the song When I See Pigs Fly, off the latest Last Dinosaurs’ album From Mexico With Love. It’s definitely one of my albums of the year, but the mention of an animal in that song, and it being in my head, made me want to go back to my little habit of naming blog posts and outfit posts after songs, or at least inspired by them. Hope you like. 🦓

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