Another week of dressing up and taking pictures – MMMay 2017

Enough already! I am bored of dressing up deliberately in me-made tops and bottoms, and taking pictures. I suspect that you are bored with looking at them too. So, just a quick post.

I am still obeying my own rules – one sewn and one knitted item per day.

It’s still pretty cold in London although I did have bare legs one day (under trousers, on Thursday).

It was not difficult to wear knitwear, to be honest. Looking at these pictures I realise, although I know lighter colours suit me, that I wore a preponderance of deep colours this week – deep petrol blue and forest green Heavenly sweaters, a navy jacket and a slightly lighter blue jacket. I always wear something lighter too  – pink, white, yellow or light grey. Deeper colours have a higher authority rating so I tend to wear them for work. The yellow trousers and the pink tights were worn on days without too many external meetings.

My weekend wear was soft and comfortable. We were with my Mum this weekend and the Saturday picture is in her living room; Sunday was in the garden. I was pleased to be able to wear my Cyrene jacket on Saturday. My Mum was interested in the hand knits and loved the moss stitch on the Cyrene. My knitwear is holding up well. I am especially  pleased with those sleeveless tops! They are just the job at the moment (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday). Soft, comfortable and warm, and versatile – spanning smart to casual. I may revisit my vow not to do another one. All that lovely yarn from Jo makes me think I should have another go.

However you can tell from my poses I am getting a bit annoyed with this project. Not just the posing. I am also beginning to feel dissatisfied with my wardrobe – I am not sure why. I want a refresh I think. I haven’t been sewing much and although the corduroy pants are new everything else is considerbly older.  I feel my wardrobe is getting a bit dated. Or is it that my outfits are being more defined by my footwear?

The trainers are, embarrassingly, getting lots of use and I may need to buy a replacement pair. I put them through the washing machine every few weeks as they get smelly,  and they are wearing out as a result. Lots of interesting “trainers for work?” views came from you, following last week’s post.

  • Bele says she walks much better in trainers and I have to agree. I use public transport rather than driving and this involves a fair amount of walking. And I walk pretty fast. It is just not comfortable to do this in hard leather shoes.
  • Annie notes the value of the sockless look. And again I agree. I especially like shortish trousers or “kewlots’ with sockless trainers, but of course the fabric shoes can get a bit cheesy.
  • Catlinda and others say OK to trainers with trousers but not with skirts and I agree the look is better with trousers (but needs must)
  • Ceci is looking for some slip-ons that look good with a skirt, so that will be interesting
  • And Caroline endorsed the look, adding there is plenty of choice out there now. But I am not sure I agree. My ideal work wear shoes would be
    • leather,
    • flat,
    • cushioned,
    • comfortable (especially in the toe area as Kim remarks),
    • dark (navy, black, dark brown),
    • classically shaped trainers,
    • stylish and up to the minute. Esme kindly accommanied me last year to all the shoe shops in Oxford street and we couldn’t find any.
  • Helen remarks that all the young people in her office wear trainers and it is the same with me. I have started looking down and I would say in London today, across all age ranges, probably as many as 50 per cent are wearing trainers. Here is a snap I took in Vauxhall on my way to our office on Friday morning. I think one of them is in leather shoes.They look cold, don’t they?
People in a London street wearing trainers
London Footwear Friday 9.20am


Will there be a MMM2017 next week? I don’t know. If the weather doesn’t improve I will have to recycle some of the old outfits.


23 Responses

  1. jay

    My eye was drawn to the silver skirt with the pink top and tights – I can see why you might have to be more formal for external meetings though. The constant photography was enough to put me off MMM, I sympathise – and it must be something in the air, because I’m feeling distinctly bored with my wardrobe as well. In London I exclusively walk or use public transport, and find I can wear a flat mocassin style of shoe (current ones Hush Puppies). I whizz along at speed, and am ok in these, but not everyone’s gait suits these. Other good sources for flats with comfort are Clarks, Hotter and Waldlaufer.

  2. Anita Steiner

    I love “Footglove” shoes from Marks & Spencer. For me they have all of the points on your wish list. I have quite a few and will try and buy some more next time I’m in the UK.
    Anita from Basel

  3. Peggy

    I have to say I am not at all a fan of “trainers,” or athletic shoes, running shoes, sneakers as we call them in the US, for work, especially on women. (Men have better choices of shoes that bridge the gap between running shoes and dress shoes IMHO.) Actually, I never see athletic shoes on women for work here. I would not even wear them out shopping, unless I had to stop at the grocery after going to the gym.

    I have also gotten to the point that I want comfortable shoes for work, rather than 2 1/2 inch heels, but have been able to find flats, ankle boots, and low heeled shoes that work for me from Thierry Rabotin and Pas de Rouge. I would think these brands would be available in the UK. They have a memory foam footbed and good arch support, even in the flats. They may be a bit pricey, but they are extremely well made and last a very long time — thus the cost per wear is quite low. I am wearing a pair of TR ballet flats I have had for six years, and I wear them at least three times a week to work. A couple of other comfort shoe brands to try are Beautifeel and Salpy.

  4. Kerry

    Does the lack of warm weather make it harder to do MMM? I’m guessing the opportunity to wear some warmer weather clothes would make it more fun for you? I’m ok with trainers but they need to be stylish and not too chunky. I have relied on a pair of black leather Campers to dress up casual outfits and when I have been travelling. I was given a (very) white pair of Nike sneakers for Christmas from my gorgeous 20 year old daughter and I’ve been so surprised at how nice they looked over summer with shorter pants and light coloured casual dresses, and oh-so-comfortable!

  5. helen

    I love the silver skit and pink tights! I didn’t sign up for MMM17, I thought about it but never got around to it. Neither did I do 16 but did 14 & 15. After 15 I looked at my round-up photo and thought it all looked a bit dull and that I needed more colour in my wardrobe. I’m not sure I’ve made much of an improvement over the last two years.

    • fabrickated

      Ha ha! That is too kind Patricia. I think the most recent photos capture my embarrassment and slight cringing having asked family, friends and work mates to please take my photograph, “including the shoes”. I am not a natural or comfortable model. Also I just looked at your lovely blog, full of fitting detail and a love of 1960s designs. I also very much enjoyed the Valentino exhibition.

  6. Linda K

    Hi Kate,

    I really do enjoy your blog, so thank you! A couple of suggestions on your recent questions – I just bought a pair of leather Clarks shoes, sort of moccasin type, and they are very comfortable. Rubber soles, too, so you might check them out. Re:the wardrobe ideas, I was recently gifted a book called The Makers Atelier by Frances Tobin. She is British, and I’ve seen very little coverage of this book in the US. She has quite a sophisticated look, and the book includes some of her patterns, modeled on real women. They appear to be easy to sew yet sophisticated. Maybe the book or her website would be interesting to you.

    • fabrickated

      Thanks so much Linda for your suggestions. I do like Clarks – and on the basis of your suggestion today I popped into the shop on my way home. They have some very nice “retro” “archive” styles in there and some very nice unusual trainers. I follow the Makers Atelier and I do like their aesthetic. I met Frances at one of the sewing shows. I was wearing my silver leather skirt (worn on Friday) which was inspired by one of her designs.

  7. Dagmar

    Firstly, I have to say that your work photos convey soft and feminine authority and that you look well put together and accessorized. If you were a man, you would feel that you were the master of your daily uniform which this week focused more on knits. Workwear tends to be very uniform like as there are wardrobe expectations that quite narrowly define what is acceptable. Therefore it is easy feel as if you tumbled into a bit of a rut sartorially (even if it does not look that way to others, i.e. your readers). That being said, by switching up your footwear from trainers, and jackets or cardigans to more varied styles, you may feel that your look is less “boring” . Another area that might give you a feeling of change is to switch out of dark tights as a grounding layer and move into skin toned pantyhose which where I live in Canada is again very popular. What also really works for me is changing my hairstyle which is the one reason I still hang on to a hair length that permits me to wear it up, down, straight or curled.
    I feel your pain on the subject of shoes. I also notice that I am beginning to prefer a more comfortable shoe however I am loathe to give in to this desire as I really feel that it detracts from my professional look. I have invested in some really comfortable but stylish footwear for days I have to walk a fair bit and my shoemaker is my new best friend, stretching out anything that feels snug on me or changing insoles for padded ones to give greater comfort when I need to wear a higher heel. That being said, I think there are so many stylish, yet comfortable brands out there these days although they may be in smaller, independent boutiques. As you are in a somewhat more creative/dynamic field I think you could get away with many of these looks quite easily.
    Anyways, I have to come back to my first point which is that, overall, I think your daily looks are great and always feature an interesting element or two. 🙂

    • fabrickated

      Thank you for your thoughtful response Dagmar. Funnily enough in my current mood of dissatisfaction I have been pondering both the idea of a uniform (ie more or less the same outfit every day) and the idea of something a little more masculine eg white shirt, dark trousers. I do wear dark tights routinely, although sometimes a colour, and very rarely the skin shade ones. I would normally only wear those with a short dress or suit for the most formal of day or evening events. Mainly because I always ladder them. I am going to keep looking for suitable shoes, or I am going to plan the wardrobe around the shoes!

      • Dagmar

        I love the idea of a slightly masculine vibe contrasted with feminine elements. It makes me feel as if I have a bit of an edge to me and I am sure you will feel the same. It is for the same reason that I love smart trouser suits.
        I hope my comments did not read as negative…any suggestions were made in the spirit of trying to help you isolate which aspect was generating the dissatisfaction you were feeling. Re nude hose – don’t you wonder why they can’t make some with the same durable qualities of dark or coloured tights? I used to buy Donna Karan nude hose and I found they lasted forever due to being thicker yet still appearing very sheer. Unfortunately, they are very pricey in my local hosiery shop.

        • fabrickated

          I really appreciated your comments, and did not find them negative or unhelpful in the slightest. In fact negative is not a problem anyway – I said I was unhappy with my wardrobe at the moment and you fed back some ideas which were rather helpful Dagmar and in tune with some of what I was thinking. I think the ‘nude hose” point was well made. I always used to wear bare legs in summer (suitably de-haired and fake tanned!) but I don’t really feel comfortable with this any more because as I have aged my skin tone has suffered and I do feel the need to cover up, even in summer. So I think I have moved more towards trousers which cover up more skin. I am so appreciative of every comment on my blog and positively welcome critique and challenge. Thank you.

  8. Naomi

    I love that silver leather skirt. It’s really got me thinking!
    There are some great shoes that I am going to purchase in the next while called All Birds. They are merino and rubber and little nicer looking than trainers. They have a slip on too. I’m not sure if they ship to the UK or not.
    I certainly couldn’t wear trainers to my current job, but in my new job, I should be able to wear nice trainers depending on the outfit. Whether I do or not remains to be seen.
    Re skin coloured pantyhose, I ladder mine too. I have taken to wearing nude fishnets which don’t ladder as easily, give your leg a lovely finish, hide leg hairs and super white skin (which is my legs 90% of the time), and have a nice vintage vibe also.

  9. Stephanie

    I wear trainers or plain sneakers to get to work, as it’s a half hour walk, but change into leather shoes when there. I’ve taken to wearing nice ballerinas that are made with a foam layer inset for comfort or loafers. For meetings I will generally wear a nice flat or a low heel (max 1.5 inches), depending on the outfit. I have been wearing trainers here in Italy as we are always walking. The ones I have look OK with trousers but terrible with my skirts!

    Your style is always very you and has interesting touches. I know what you mean about wanting to jig and reboot though, as I feel the same way. Sometimes it just requires a slight twist in perspective I suspect so I like the idea of different tights. I used to wear a lot of patterned tights as a slight play on fishnets.

    • fabrickated

      I used to change out of the trainers I walked to work in (via the gym), but some days I didn’t get around to changing (and some days I don’t get around to putting make up on either). I enjoyed wearing them (a bit like slippers but not quite so homey). I don’t want my whole outfit to be slobbed out or anything and I would never wear leggings at work, but somehow comfortable footwear really is important to me. I also really appreciate your remarks about the reboot. I have found subjecting my daily look to closer scrutiny to be quite enlightening. I am not really pleased with what I see. I may try a week without any rules (other than the rules of my job) and photograph my outfits, and see what I think when it is less contrived.

      • Kerry

        I like your idea of a week without MMM rules, photographing your outfits (you are so very brave!), and allowing yourself the opportunity to see what resonates and works for you. It should be enlightening and will hopefully inform your future hand made outfits. In your reply to Dagmar you mention not liking to have bare legs during summer any more and I get that, but I do hope that you will get over it. I am learning to embrace my older legs and even go without fake tan! I’m figuring that nobody but me cares about the state of my veiny, very white legs (ugh, sounds awful!)

        • fabrickated

          Thank you for the vote of confidence on white legs Kerry! I am conscious of skin quality issues, shall we say. I have found a longer summer skirt with bare legs can work well. My arms and back still look fine so if I want skin to show this is what I reveal.

  10. Sarah

    I’ve loved your looks for mmmay17 so far! I work from home a lot so sometimes spend all day in slouchy scruffs and no shoes at all, but I’ve enjoyed putting together me-made outfits on the days I’m out and about. I’m also a public transport user, or choose to walk, so glam footwear isn’t always practical. But I actually think trainer style shoes can look great with a well considered outfit.

  11. ceci

    I remember fishnets as making the bottoms of my feet sore? Of course that was way long time ago….perhaps they are finer thread now. I ordered some slip on canvas shoes (which I would call sneakers even tho they don’t lace up….) from Hotter; it will take them quite a while to get here but we are just at the beginning of summer. I know their shoes fit my wide feet, so it will be an experiment to depart from the leather I have gotten from them in the past.


  12. Sue

    I really like all your looks. I bought myself a pair of Birkenstock leather shoes and have decided that they are going to be my go to shoe whenever I do any serious walking. They are not elegant, but they are nicer than trainers. I am also really bored with taking my photo every day, especially as I’ve been wearing the same thing almost daily, so I do feel your pain. However, I think you need to remember that your followers enjoy seeing how you pull your different outfits together, so please don’t stop.

  13. Brenda

    I can relate to the desire for a new look. My old look literally won’t fit me any more!

    I completely understand the uniform approach, but you have experimented with so many silhouettes and styles. Would you be happy with a narrowed approach? I look forward to seeing how this unfolds.

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