Monday, 12 September 2016

Style Crisis (Averted)

I have been here before.
With autumn whistling through my letterbox, and the jangling of empty hangers in my wardrobe, I was struck down by an attack of Seasonal Wardrobe Disorder.

Here's the thing:  I have changed shape.  I am eating less and moving more.
I am a Jazzercise addict, bay-bee!
Oh how FL would laugh if he could see me in my trainers and racer-back top!
I have lost a couple of inches from bust and hip, while my waist seems to measure the same.
Maybe I am turning into a boy.

Why am I not sewing?  Because the styles I used to rely upon are no longer my friends.
Too close-fitting and I look as angular as a coat hanger.
Too loose and I look like my clothes are wearing me.
Skirts now slither downwards to sit on my hip bones.  Trousers sag and bag.

So this weekend I hit the High Street.
After all my worthy words about only buying ethical brands?  Yup.
I needed to try things on, to find out what suits me now that I am older and leaner.
I gave myself an hour.  I knew I would not have the stamina for any longer.
I wandered in and out of several shops and saw nothing of interest.

And then I went into Zara.
Ethics went out of the window.
I was actually excited by the clothes - oh my goodness!
It all looked so fresh and new after years of avoiding the mainstream.
Years of the same few mail order booklets showing me the same clothes in a slightly different colour palette, year after year.
No wonder the catalogues ended up in the recycling bin!

It helped that they were blasting out the beats.
But every which way I turned, I saw actual Fashion.
70's looks, grunge a-plenty (oh lord:  an episode of "My So Called Life" was right there in front of me!), oversized sweaters, prints, textures, colours...!

To be layered over the leggings and under the shirt, apparently.  I didn't buy it! 
So I took a deep breath and scooped up the things that called to me and almost ran into the changing room.
Clever lighting and tilted mirrors - I looked great as I was!
And they were playing my song.  That always helps.

Imagine this in blood red...
The scarlet crushed velvet slip dress was predictably hilarious.  Young people's chests are several inches higher than mine.
So that came off pretty sharpish.

Cropped, pinstripe, turn-ups, narrow

But the narrow cropped tailored trousers?
Oh my word, those had to come home with me.

The back pleat
And the weird Japanese reconstructed-looking mannish shirt, with the collar spun round on its axis and buttoned down the shoulder?
With a big pleat at the centre back?
Hell yeah!

The shoulder / neck
Of course there was a moment where I thought "I suppose I could make that...?"

But it gave me a cold hard knot of anxiety to even contemplate hunting out a similar pattern, getting the fit right, and sourcing suitable fabric.

So I bought them:  the shirt and the trousers.
Not only that, but I wore them to work today, to a big scary Important People meeting.
And even though I was conscious of my exposed neck, it didn't frighten me.
I felt... empowered, actually.

I got my hair cut too :)
Much easier to look after in between exercise classes!


  1. Congrats on the purchases - they look great! On the sewing front, now that you have the shirt you could attempt to copy it (if you find a second colour would fit into the rotation!)

  2. You look great - very stylish. Now you just need a job in a design museum :-)
    Maybe find fashion mavens who have a similar body shape to you, then filter through for the ones whose style you admire, then copy ruthlessly.
    You seem to have gone from Katherine Hepburn to Audrey Hepburn: AH had some great angular looks with cropped trousers.
    Charlotte Gainsbourg? Carine Roitfeld? 60s Twiggy?
    I'm picturing you with a leather jacket and capris...

  3. Sharp looking outfits and the shoes really work with it.
    It's okay to buy some things.

  4. Great! So glad you had a successful shopping trip. You've put together a great outfit. Enjoy.

  5. Well done! I just keep buying the same old jeans in M&S...

  6. I love your look and don't feel bad about buying some new things, it's too hard to make everything. Of course, your new exercise regime means you could make exercise wear! I only say that because I started going running recently and am excited by the prospect of making my own garishly-coloured leggings to put my own stamp on my exercise outfit.

  7. You look fabulous. So glad you had such a successful trip x

  8. The thrill of finding clothes for the new season that actually make you excited, how wonderful! Don't feel guilty about updating your look, we all need to do it every once in a while. I"m looking forward to seeing what's in fashion when I visit the UK in October, living somewhere with high temps rather takes the fun out of fashion.

  9. What a successful shopping trip! Looking very chic.

  10. Beautiful! Wow... I have been working on losing weight, and suddenly I am excited now about buying clothes again, soon-ish, enough that the end is in sight! But very wow and happy for you, and inspired!