After a long month of “Me Made” in May I wanted to reassert my style choices. So this month I have mainly worn ready to wear options that I feel are more stylish and contemporary than my old home-made suits and tops.
I announced my intention to find clothes that are
- Stylish and fashionable
- Rather plain
- Work appropriate
And I decided on a “uniform” made up of
- White shirt
- Small jacket
I was warned that my idea of a working wardrobe/uniform might be too restrictive.
Let’s have a look at some of the outfits I actually wore (you have seen two of these already) in a month that had some really hot days. On those days I reached for handmade summer dresses, of which I have a few. Otherwise I more or less stuck to the plan.
It is kind of samey, yes. But that was what I liked about the look. It was so easy to select, to wear, even to look after. The white shirt doesn’t even need ironing if it is hung up to dry, straight from the washing machine. The turquoise shirt is an early “Pink” version of these stretch shirts – a present from my brother. In fact I wore this shirt when I started at Notting Hill Housing 13 years ago! It is still a really nice, comfortable shirt.
Overall looking at my choices I would say the wardrobe is much more colourful and varied than I think you feared.
Here are my observations.
- Having a set of rules and a very much reduced wardrobe is liberating
- I don’t think about what to wear – I have been going for an almost random selection
- Each top goes with each bottom and both pairs of shoes
- The uinqlo stretch shirts are amazing and don’t need ironing
- I love neutrals, especially lighter colours on me (white and stone/beige)
- I seem to have worn more colour than I intended
- While trousers are not my very best look (as I am curvy with hips) they mean I can avoid hosiery and feminine footwear
- I feel a bit like a 1970s lady golfer or sports woman in some of these outfits
- In the sales I bought a light lilac trouser suit (Topshop) and a pair of wide turquoise trousers (Finery)
- I still need some better navy shoes…
So what do you think? I have had very good feedback from the family especially my husband Nick and son Gus. They both really like the new look. Somehow looking youthful, like a young man, is a better kind of youthful than trying to look like a young girl. The boyish look – with short hair, flat shoes, trousers, shirt and jacket – is somehow age appropriate but also fashionable. Gus made the point that this is a confident look on a par with men choosing a floral shirt or a pink suit. You have to be comfortable with your sexuality and self-image to depart a little from the rigid norms.
I maybe being very judgemental but I feel that many women my age do look a bit dated and old-fashioned. They stick with what they know – hair cut, hair colour, make up, colours and wardrobe. Although my look is far from radical it is slightly unusual, but I am getting very comfortable with it and plan to stick with it.
None of this is “me made”. I could make most of these items. Indeed I have copied the Vivienne Westwood jacket and I have a good pattern for trousers. But RTW seems to fit me at the moment, and I like the opportunity to try before I buy. Also making a nice jacket, say, is time-consuming and rather expensive in terms of fabric and other materials. My beige jacket cost less than £25 and the new lilac one cost £30. And most of the trousers above cost about £25, as did the shirts. I can’t justify the expense or time to make these items which fit as good as I can fit myself. For now I am only going to make something if it is amazing, interesting, completely unique, or for a special occasion.
On the other hand I don’t see RTW jerseys that I like very much and I am finding handknits great fun to make and wear. I am getting towards peak jersey now (although I want to make a cardigan and most of the Elizabeth Zimmerman options seem to involve cutting – eeek! or should I say steek!)
There will be sewing on this blog, but maybe not as often as others. I have got some patchwork to show you – but it is a bit underwhelming. The course ends this week so I will show you what I have done. And then I will be choosing my autumn course!