I'm someone who loves clothes, but who has somehow never figured out how to make them work for me. It's not that I've lost my way, but rather that I never found the path in the first place!
Here, then, is a peek into the wardrobe crisis, and the chronic clothing stress that has inspired my Journey to Style. As my husband will all too readily tell you - I never have anything to wear. He doesn't understand it, and frankly nor do I. Just why is it that after several decades of adulthood I still can't manage to clothe myself successfully?
It's not that I don't have enough clothes. And not simply, I think, that I have the wrong clothes. It's more complicated than that. Here's a brief look at some of the issues:
I have a good number of fairly ordinary clothes, plus a few really nice things... But everything is random and mismatched. I have plenty of tops, but very few 'bottoms' (the reason being that with my short legs and broad hips they're harder to buy). Having said that, I'm a trouser girl all the way. I do own two (no, wait - three!) skirts, a couple of which I occasionally wear when I'm travelling. I never wear dresses. In fact I don't own a single dress, and haven't done for at least a decade. My underwear drawer is an utter disgrace (she hides her face in shame)!
My day-to-day 'uniform'
So what do I wear? Well, basically the lazy girl's uniform of jeans, jeans and more jeans, paired with a T-shirt or sweater, or both, depending on the season.
Unsurprisingly this means that I'm unequipped for anything other than being at home and casual weekend outings. I work from home, so office wear isn't an issue, but nevertheless whenever a formal or 'special' event comes up it inevitably leads to:
These are a depressingly regular occurrence, because I often find that I have - quite literally - nothing appropriate to wear. Several times recently I've been in the situation of having nothing that fits my bottom half except jeans or velvet evening trousers - neither of which were appropriate for the event I had to attend.
When the situation is desperate (for example, my second child's christening, or a swanky anniversary dinner I was invited to) my strategy is prolonged denial, followed by a last minute dash to Marks & Spencers to pick out something (anything!) serviceable and cheap that will get me through the event. Oh dear!
I love to help friends shop - I felt completely confident recently helping a friend choose a gown for a special event (she looked stunning!). But my assurance and 'eye' completely desert me when I try to shop for myself. The things I pick out have a definite tendency to look awful when I try them on. And I'm mysteriously drawn towards things that are variously: aging, too 'obvious', don't suit me, and even - in the cold light of day - don't fit properly or are downright ugly. I've come to the conclusion that there's an awful lot of awkward baggage and tricky psychology wrapped up in clothes shopping.
Make up & 'beauty' failings
My approach to make up is, shall we say, minimal. In other words I hardly ever wear any, and never have. (The contents of my cosmetic bag currently extend to one lipstick, one mascara, and an eye pencil that was free with a magazine). I do apply a quick dab of powder - if I remember - when I go out. And as for skincare routine... hmmm, what skincare routine?
Similarly I don't pay a great deal of attention to my hair. Added to which I'm quite wary of hairdressers (how do you find a good hairdresser?) However, I've recently given in and started to get my roots done, due to the sad fact that:
I'm not getting any younger!
Well, obviously none of us are :-) But having slid gently into my 40s, I suddenly feel that things are getting a touch more serious. Not only am I older, I am suddenly faced with also being greyer and larger... Oh my!
Altogether I've realised that I'm fast approaching the point where I can no longer rely on my jeans and T-shirt combos and make-up free face to respectably pass. In other words my 'head in the sand' approach which has allowed me to survive and even thrive up to now, is finally failing me.
I need more exercise
Something I'm particularly aware of is my expanding waist line - I've gone up a full trouser size in the past year. Not so surprising when you consider that I no longer have a child that needs carrying or a buggy to push, and that I spend altogether too much time 'desk bound' at my computer.
The way I've kept fit and active has always been to walk everywhere. But then we moved from living in the city and using public transport, to living in the suburbs and owning a car. Bang went most of my walking opportunities and I'm paying dearly with my increasingly flabby stomach and broadening hips. Not only that, but two episodes of lumbago (which I thought belonged in Victorian novels!) have made it very clear that I need a rescue plan for my poor neglected body... before it's too late.
Things I've never done
The list of fashion and beauty related 'musts' that I have never experienced is pretty long, and ranges from beauty treatments, to things other women seem to take for granted, such as wearing a bikini or buying lots of pairs of shoes! Am I missing out? That's something I intend to find out...
So there you have it - the not so pretty picture of where I am at the beginning my Journey To Style!