My aim is to achieve sustainable change, not just make a cute little makeover.
Jamie Oliver, British cook & food activist (b.1975)
Having made the decision to set out on a Journey to Style (see why here), I've been thinking about what exactly my aims for the project are.
Well, my first and biggest aim sums everything up, I think.
It's extremely - and quite deceptively - simple:
I want to be happy with how I look.
Moreover, I want to achieve this blissful state within a budget and with a reasonable (rather than extreme) level of effort and time. Oh yes, and I want the whole process to be fun!
Certainly, to achieve this from my present state seems like it might be a big ask... So let's break this overarching aim down into six smaller aims to make it seem a little more 'do-able'.
Aim 1: To take the stress out of getting dressed
To achieve this I'm envisaging a closet of beautiful, wearable and practical clothes that fit, flatter and suit both my body shape and my lifestyle - thus making getting dressed a breeze, whatever the occasion.
It doesn't have to be a particularly extensive wardrobe however. In fact I'm pretty sure it's easier to get dressed if you have a small to medium number of clothes. They just need to be clothes that I feel attractive and confident wearing (obviously that goes for accessories and shoes too).
And of course no wardrobe stays static, so it's crucial to work out a strategy for future purchases based on what I look good in, what I enjoy wearing and what brings that little extra pizazz to the everyday.
Aim 2: To have fun with my clothes & how I look!
This might sound frivolous, but I think it's really important. After all, getting dressed is something we do every day. So shouldn't it be an area of our lives that we're really good at, something that enhances our day to day existence and actively brings us pleasure?
I'm tired of struggling over clothes issues and how I look. Instead I want to feel in control of this aspect of my life.
And if it's fun too, so much the better!
Aim 3: Not to let the onset of 'a certain age' get the better of me
When does middle age start these days? And is a woman really only as old as she feels?
Whatever, knowing that I won't see 40 again - reflected in my greying hair and expanding hips - means that clearly something needs to be done! It's time to up the ante, shape up to stop my body sliding into an early decline, and arm myself against the dreaded 'dowdiness' that overcomes so many women in middle age.
Aim 4: To demystify make up, skincare & hair care... and make them work for me
How I've managed to reach my early 40s without having a clue about any of this, I don't know. But somehow I have!
I doubt this is ever going to be an area that I get excited about. But as I'm getting older I do acknowledge that I need to educate myself about the basics at least, and discover products and techniques that are easy, practical and work for me.
Aim 5: To achieve all this without falling into any traps
The pitfalls facing women who want to be happy with how they look are many... and in particular the media often seems to be setting us up to fall. We're expected to 'compete' in so many areas of our lives: to cook like Nigella, to have a beautiful (spotlessly clean!) home, to bring up clever, well behaved children, and of course to 'look our very best every day'. With this last one in particular, the criticism can be vicious when we are perceived to have failed.
Many, if not most of us have no hope of reaching the long-legged, slim but busty media 'ideal'. So we need to find another way, a way to be at ease with how we look, to present ourselves on our own terms, and to our own satisfaction.
Aim 6: To create a practical resource for women like me
What I hope to create with this Journey to Style website and blog is not just a rehash of old ideas and clichés, but something practical and genuinely helpful. Much in the way that numerous websites have succeeded in demystifying issues surrounding money and finance for a general audience, I am aiming to demystify the art of looking good - stripping it down to something we can all achieve.
Broadly (and audaciously!) speaking, I'm aiming to step into the breach and try to use this website to fill some of the gaping holes left by the fashion mags, the cookie cutter 'this is what you must wear' style guides, and the 'this is what I'm wearing today' personal style blogs (not that there aren't some of these that I enjoy).
So, that's the plan. Wish me luck, and I hope you'll come along with me!