I am the type of person who will approach something full on. I become almost obsessed with it, the trouble is I’m a bit like a child; I lose interest easily and move on to something else. I get over this by having more than one ‘project’ on at any one time. I call these ‘projects’ my pet projects.
One of my pet projects has been planning for a couple of nights away in London with a super stylish fashionista friend and some of her very stylish friends to see a Dior exhibition at the V&A. Couture is something slightly alien to me as I’m a bit tomboyish, however, that said I do still appreciate fine gowns and admire women who take pride in themselves and how they look. I deep down would love to be like that. And, let’s face it who wouldn’t love a bit of Dior couture in their life?! I have a rose tinted view of how women were in the 50’s and 60’s perfectly made up, matching accessories, and overcoats that matched the dress underneath. All very perfect and largely unattainable on a daily basis I should imagine.
My fashionista friend is an all-round lovely person. We met years ago when we lectured at Pershore College in what was the Business School at the time, and have remained friends ever since. We have both had very different lives since we left the college but we have kept in touch. I hadn’t seen my friend for almost 8 years, the last time I saw her was at my wedding so you can imagine I was very much looking forward to seeing her again. As my friend is a stylist and has recently written a book on style, of which I’m very much looking forward to receiving a copy. She has helped me in my painful quest to find my own style. It is a work in progress but I’m learning. She is never rude, or critical. She will offer advice but will never push, just encourage and this is just one of the reasons why she is such a great friend and such a good stylist.
My trip to London meant I finally had some ‘me’ time but it also meant I would need to at least attempt to be somewhat stylish and put together – not bedraggled like normal. We decided on doing coffee and cake at the V&A, seeing the exhibition and then out for dinner at The Ivy in Kensington where wine was guarenteed to be consumed. Day 2 was planned for a little bit of shopping in the morning, in very posh shops where a dress costs the GDP of a small country but it’s nice to look, and then we planned on making our various trips home or to hotels. On this basis alone I was thinking it was going to be an interesting couple of days!
Now this ‘event’ wasn’t until May but as I mentioned I was meeting with VERY stylish people most of which run their own style blogs and have their own style businesses and I couldn’t just ‘wing’ this one, I had to be planned. I’m not naturally stylish and I am very much a work in progress project. I also don’t have a great deal of confidence when it comes to putting an outfit together. I often have great ideas but when I come to try them out I feel it just ends up making me look silly. I need to have inner confidence in myself.
I have an eclectic taste in books, music and style but I seem to feel I should dress more conservatively, I also think this stems from being overweight as despite being bubbly and seemingly confident on the outside, inside I’m thinking I just want to hide away from the world. When I was younger and slimmer I would wear really ‘different’ clothes, I didn’t want to be like the others but as I’ve got older and plumper I haven’t that ‘devil may care ‘ attitude to clothes (I have in my vocal attributes though!). I digress…
So what was I to take? It find helps to look at pins on Pinterest and get ideas for outfits, I usually make up a new board and then amend to suit my own evolving style and fit in with what I already have in my wardrobe. It’s nice to run outfit ideas past the ladies on the 40+ communities I’m part of as they all have great things to say about style, and of course we all have our own interpretation of what style is.
I have a mixture of brands in my wardrobe already, some expensive and some high street or supermarket brands so I like to mix and match a lot. I believe in spending money on good quality investment pieces that will last but adding in cheaper fashion items or accessories that brighten up an outfit. Many of my clothes and some accessories are years old because I’ve spent money on making good choices. I love my Armani watch which is at least 10 years old but just goes with everything and looks sophisticated and understated but you know its quality just by looking at it. I suppose you could say it’s timeless – excuse the pun!
I love a bit of vintage too. I do however struggle to find plus size vintage so choose instead to buy modern vintage from the likes of Polka Dots and Petticoats or Collectif London which have the cut and style of vintage but allow for larger sizes.
Putting together some ideas in a table helps me as I can visualise what I already have and what I may need to buy. There’s never any harm in buying additional clothes to go with something I already have, although I know those who love a capsule wardrobe will say otherwise!
Along the way I have lots of ideas of what I can put together as outfits of which are constantly evolving as I asked for input from my friend and the 40+ communities. So when it came to packing on the day it all makes it so much easier – well thats what I kept telling myself in the run up to the ‘event’.
I also like to put outfits on a tailor’s dummy/old mannequin I have so I can see the outfit put together without having to faff with actually getting the whole ensemble on and off if I decide something doesn’t work. This also helps to see what the colours look like in different lighting as it’s portable but also I can keep it together all day therefore seeing it in differing light levels. I can then take photos of the outfit which then also helps with packing as I’m always forgetting something! The final step for me is putting the whole outfit on and then seeing what it’s like fit wise. I have often found that an item may look good on the tailors dummy but might not quite hang so well on me because of a larger tummy or bigger bum – let’s face it a tailors dummy does have perfect perky boobs and a smooth flat tummy! But it all helps as I get a much better idea of what works or doesn’t as may be the case.
This list was looking quite long at the time and I was only going for 2 days! I can’t help myself I always over pack, except when we go to see the in-laws at Christmas with the kids. I only ever pack lightly as there’s never enough space in the car for much luggage and presents, not the ones we take but the ones we bring back with us! My kids are spoilt rotten.
I just love the relaxed jeggings and slouchy cardigan looks at the moment but not sure if I’m trendy enough to be able to pull off the long socks under long boots look. I would probably replace items like Chambray/Denim shirt with a slightly longer line floral one or striped one, but whole appeal of the style of jeggings and slouchy cardigan outfits is due to its simplicity. It’s comfortable for travelling, looks modern and on trend but also covers the bits you want to cover especially as I’m not anywhere near as slim as some of the models you see on Pinterest where I get a lot of inspiration from. I do have many of these items (or similar) already in my wardrobe but I haven’t thought to put them together. It’s down to having the confidence again.
I see myself as being quite frumpy as I still don’t know what my style actually is; this is quite disheartening at times especially when I see other women of the same age as me who look younger and much more stylish. I saw a woman the other day, I would imaging that she’s slightly older than me, and she was wearing leggings and pumps with a nice long line tee and a duster length cardigan. Honestly she looked great and she was the same size as me! Ok, she was taller I admit, and didn’t have a paunch like mine but she looked good and this is something I can take away with me and try to replicate the look.