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Think You Can, Think You Can’t. Either Way, You’re Right

 Olivia Phillips beach Indonesia boat

I was asked to do a few blogs for Stylist’s website (you can check them out here should you be so inclined), and since I’m writing to represent the ‘career climber’ tribe (•cough•), I naturally had a few words to say about my new-found funemployment. Here they are, below…

I’ve never questioned my dedication to my career. It always seemed like the most natural thing in the world to want to have a goal in mind and go after it relentlessly. My parents, despite not particularly being cut from that kind of cloth, were instrumental in that they supported me every step of the way. They even allowed me to live at home for longer than was probably wise while I suffered the unpaid internships deemed necessary to break into the fashion industry. It wasn’t completely out of character, then, when I decided to make the leap from full time at Stylist magazine to fully-fledged freelancer; a career move that I thought of as empowering, if a little reckless. Still, exciting all the same.

The older I’ve got the more I’ve realised the meaning in creating something of your own, and the importance of constantly challenging yourself to progress and grow into who you really want to become. Cheesy, yes, but true nonetheless.
A leap of faith was required, a gamble and a prayer, but there are three mantras that have kept me going when I’ve woken up in cold sweats, plagued with self-doubt and wondering what the hell I was thinking…
1. “Think you can, think you can’t. Either way, you’re right.” Henry Ford said that. I’m ever-so-slightly ashamed to say that the first time I came across it was on Twitter. Regardless, it’s a quote that stuck with me and I love it’s pithy accuracy. It reminds me of the importance of positive thinking and having faith in yourself.
2. “If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.” This little gem was written by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female President. And yes, I discovered this via another extremely high-brow source; Pinterest. To me it means that a little fear is good, it keeps you moving forward.
3. “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” So said golfer Gary Player. I’m inclined to agree. I think that a total belief in fate can be dangerous; if you want something, graft until you get it – don’t wait for it to fall into your lap. That, and be nice. Simple, effective and brilliantly summarised in Anthony Burrill’s poster that now hangs in my makeshift home office. (See below).
Anthony Burrill Work Hard
Buy it here.
I’ll go now before I start quoting ‘with great power comes great responsibility’…

More inspiring artworks of the wordy variety…
Buy it here.


Buy it here.


Buy it here.


Buy it here.
Buy it here.
Buy it here.
Buy it here.
Buy it here.
Buy it here.
Buy it here.
Buy it here.
Buy it here.
Buy it here.
And finally (well done to the stoic among you who actually scrolled to the end), this little number. I found it on Pinterest ages ago and have no idea where I can buy it. A drink to the first person who can tell me.

All Change



CLIMB DOWN OFF THAT LEDGE! I’m back! And I plan on being back a lot going forward. Not gone and then back again, back. Just back back. Back for good back. So, yes. You can all rest easy.

Life’s changed quite a bit in the past month. I finally moved out. I left Stylist to go freelance. I grew some cojones. I even cleaned a bathroom. (My own, should you care).

Olivia Phillips London Fashion Week


I also, whilst in the process of packing up what seemed like a small country, (or at the very least the equivalent of 3-4 Zaras), realised that I have quite the denim addiction. Interesting, since I didn’t even like jeans all that much growing up, preferring diabolical Moschino tracksuit-bottoms or badly-fitting, bumster-effect black trousers from Pilot. And not in the good McQueen kind of way. More like the low-slung enough to proudly display a crystallised thong and a strong sense of indecency kind of way. Denim, by comparison, seems like a strangely sensible place to have ended up. But nonetheless, here I am, with no fewer than twenty-two pairs of jeans in my possession, a total convert. More than that; utterly, hopelessly dependent.

The indigo numbers in the above picture are probably the hardest-working ones in my wardrobe. They hail from edgy New York brand Siwy who do the best collection of skinnies – hugging in all the right places and ending at exactly the right place on your ankle, flashing just a little bit. Miles better than flashing a thong, any day. They’re getting a bit sad and old, though, and should probably be retired to the big wardrobe in the sky. These ones from K&Co are an amazing alternative I’ve found, and since I live in my jeans they tick the essential box of being super-comfy to wear all day long. I’m also slightly obsessed with these patchworked babies and will most probably be getting my Liz Hurley on in these white spray-ons as well.

New job, new flat, new life. Same old shopping habit, though. Some things never change.