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The key to doing it your way – chase the experience

Updated: Mar 7, 2019

Out Work It events bring together a group of Dressing Room followers for an intimate evening of networking and shopping. Each month we host a special guest and ask them to share the story of their career and thoughts on their personal style. January kicked off the series with our absolute fashion crush Julie Alpine aka @She_wears_the_trousers.

Alpine really got us thinking about how we move through our working lives, “I’ve always tried to make life choices based on experiences I want to have and that includes my career. I made a travelogue for Channel 4 because I got to spend a summer exploring Syria, Jordan and Lebanon with a handheld camera, recording my discoveries. I pitched another assignment about roller skating so I could indulge my Boogie Nights fantasy and have one-to-one lessons with a pro roller skater! In the ‘90s I took a job editing Mayfair men’s magazine because I was intrigued – what would it feel like to be a successful woman in this male-dominated arena?”

Guests at our Walthamstow shop got to hear Alpine talk in her effervescent way about a whole world of contradictions: how her fashion inspiration comes from her two wildly different, beloved grandmas; how motherhood crippled and then evolved her creativity; how moving to the suburbs reduced the narrative of her life and simultaneously opened the door to days spent hunting for new stories in charity shops, car boots and flea markets.

‘I'd sit there looking at these people trying and failing to park their excessively massive cars… and I’d want to scream’ said Alpine, on making the move from the diverse melting pot of the City Road roundabout, where she’d lived and worked for over a decade, to the leafy reaches of SW London.

Alpine captivated our guests with her open and often humorous reflections. The role of suburban wife and mother left her feeling alienated, isolated and depressed. Having spent all her adult life writing, travelling and mixing in sub-culture and creative circles, She Wears The Trousers was established as an outlet of self-expression for the good of her own ‘sanity’.

We found one of Alpine’s most inspiring characteristics is her boldness to simply put herself out there. Looking at her fashion portraiture you’d assume she works with a photographer and art director. Her pictures feature locations from beaches, to grand hotels, to a weirdly sinister chain ferry. Props cover everything from horses, fire hydrants and even a troop of the French foreign legion. Alpine admitted to our shocked audience that she uses only a tripod with her camera on self-timer, or entices her young son and daughter to take these astounding pictures.

Instagram, she concluded, has surpassed any expectations she had when starting She Wears The Trousers. The form of picture-plus-caption, far from being vapid, pushed her creativity to new places. Also unexpected were the relationships forged on the platform, daily interactions with followers that have given immeasurable satisfaction and validation. Perhaps fittingly, one of our event guests was a long-time follower of Alpine’s – making the brave move from online to offline, she came, stayed, shopped and made new Dressing Room friends along the way.

(Thanks to @nicoleneedles for the use of her Instagram picture)

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