Goodbye 2016: A mini review of the year

Tower Bridge at sunrise. © 2016 LHSmith

2016 has been a hell of a year. Before attempting to put aside the news of the rather frightening racist homophobic right-wing uprising which made many in both the UK and US take a serious look at moving to Canada, plus the sadness of the extraordinary number of celebrity deaths, it can be tricky to see the positive side of the last 12 months. Still, there is much I can be thankful for.

This year I have: done more pointe classes; handed over the reins of the Costume Society’s blog to a new editor; poked around in lots of archives; given a guest lecture to undergraduate psychology students; attended conferences and study days; co-founded The Underpinnings Museum; kept in touch with some wonderful friends; given a talk at the V&A; co-organised an academic conference; attended many wonderful queer fashion/history/art events; got a tattoo; mentored a colleague; learnt how to make shoes; saw Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen on stage; helped host a pub quiz; plus I visited Ghent, Berlin, Glasgow and Manchester.

The Shard at sunset. © 2016 LHSmithLooking back over my Google Calendar to see what I’ve done over the past year has become an annual ritual now – for my Super Humans List and the Year Compass – so it was nice to do it again for this post. I’ve perhaps been blogging less often than I have in previous years, plus I’m using social media less and differently too. Facebook is just a sea of noise and so I now mainly use it for Underpinnings Museum stuff. Twitter has become a broadcast only medium for me, with my academic account becoming home to discussions more often than my main account.

Just as I have properly fallen in love with Instagram, I now discover that I’m now doing it all wrong. According to The Guardian’s fashion editor Jess Cartner-Morley, I need to up my game as “Instagram is now LinkedIn for the beautiful people”, which is clearly bollocks as no one has signed a £10.2m deal to be the face of a global brand on the back of their mega following on LinkedIn! However, just like my recent top nine post on Instagram, I also fancied revisiting my favourite blog posts of 2016. Here are a few links, in case you missed any of them the first time around.

1) How to find your personal style – By far my most popular post of the year featured a bunch of tips on how to find your personal style. Having spent a while working out how I found my personal style and how I’d helped others on shopping trips, I thought I’d blog about it. There are some great tips from readers in the comments too!

2) Lumps, bumps and Agent Provocateur – My next most popular post was inspired by an interview with Agent Provocateur’s creative director. Why does she talk about curves being sexy yet not show this in her brand’s imagery or really and truly design for it? Apparently it’s something that a lot of people have been wondering.

3) Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear – Although my announcement that two of the bras from the collection I donated to the LCF Archives were going on display at the V&A was an extremely popular post this year, I didn’t actually review the exhibition itself until earlier this month. I’m rather pleased with the review, so please go and check it out.

4) The Body Studio at Selfridges – In shock news, another underwear-related post has been popular on Rarely Wears Lipstick! Back in April, I visited Selfridges’ huge new department devoted to lingerie, swimwear and sportswear, getting a review typed up in record time due to my excitement. Their bra fitters are excellent, so it’s well worth a visit.

5) How to find your “perfect bra size” – That same month I also wrote a post on bra fit and how sizes aren’t magic. Just like with the rest of your clothes, being a particular size in one brand or style doesn’t mean you will be in another. There are a few tips here to help you find what’s right for you though.

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