I left ‘style’ as the last category of this week because I have been unsure what to write about. A lot of doubts have crept up in my mind, in part through things people have said but also because I have a few insecurities of my own. I was about to delete the category and come up with something else when a wise friend advised that I should absolutely keep it because I find it difficult – and that’s what I should write about!
One of my concerns has been that I’m not exactly fashionable. I haven’t read Vogue in a long time and I haven’t actually tried to copy anything from a fashion magazine since a disastrous attempt to knit my own version of a particularly nice Joseph scarf when I was 17!
I’ve been wondering whether fashion is exactly the same thing as style. I think someone’s style can be ‘fashionable’ in that it reflects the current trends of the catwalk or the current season’s must-have item but equally, I can think of people that I would consider stylish that do not possess those features. In fact, I would suggest that everyone has ‘style’ – it’s just I would admire some more than others!
I should be clear that I do not consider myself an authority on style but certainly pursue it – and that’s what I shall attempt to share.
I have never found it easy to choose clothes. Sometimes I hit on a work wardrobe that I am really happy with, but it usually means that all I have for casual wear is a pair of tracksuit bottoms. I’ve also gone through phases of just getting everything from one particular brand with the idea that at least things will match somehow. However, it’s very rare that EVERYTHING from a particular range works with my body type and I quickly find that no matter how much I’d like the simplicity of going into one shop, it just doesn’t work for me.
After having Thomas, I hit upon the ‘genius’ idea that I would follow a blog that documented a capsule wardrobe, thinking it would be sensible to just have a few outfits that were easy to pull together. I pulled forgotten clothes out of boxes and trawled the sales online to try and find items similar to the bloggers. Whilst this has brought a few things that I really do like into my life, in my enthusiasm I overlooked a few key points.
Firstly, I live in a different climate. I know I’ve mentioned it before but it rains a LOT in Edinburgh. A good raincoat is essential if one wishes to avoid the drowned rat look (never a good style).
Secondly, linking to the first point – I didn’t own any coats that actually matched her wardrobe to begin with and lacked the budget/time/energy to go find any. I also began to question that given I like the coats that I do have – should I really be pursuing a wardrobe that doesn’t work with them?
Finally, in the cold light of day, I am not the same size or shape as her. My lifestyle is incredibly different. What suits and works for her would not, if one thought logically, work for me.
Some while ago, some generous friends gave me a session with a personal stylist. It was the most wonderful present because aside from helping me work out my wardrobe – it was a really good confidence booster. Unfortunately, time and fashion move quickly and my size, lifestyle and likes have changed over time. So what was relevant and ‘worked’ six or seven years ago may not be true now! However, one thing she said had more impact – wardrobes don’t work when you try to be something that you categorically are not.
For example, whilst I could physically wear something like a floaty skirt, or a lace dress, I won’t ever feel right because it’s not me. So, I guess I’m on a quest to work out exactly what is me. Not copying someone else but finding things that work for me now… and building my own ‘capsule’ from there.
As a starting point, I selected items from my wardrobe that I find comfortable, I would be happy to be seen out in and would work for my everyday life:
Today my life consisted of a coffee date with a beautiful Mummy friend along with our babies, the (pre)school run and then the park with all three of the kids. It was a fairly Autumnal day – so the sun was shining in parts but there was also a chill in the air at some points during the day. Thomas has learnt to hold on to things – hence the teether which he has gripped and dropped with equal measure today!
I felt good in this outfit and thought that it was a good reflection of my style.