I love this little bag, a surprise find in a local shop where I was just passing time till the bus came... Italian leather £19.95
Both the bag and the hug were very cheering!
Ah yes, getting dressed. I was reviewing how my life is simpler on a daily basis since I started writing Live Simply Simply Live... From when I open my eyes in the morning, listening to the first sounds and getting washed and dressed..
Isn't life easier in good weather? Cotton underwear, loose chinos and a linen shirt with sandshoes have been my 'uniform' for six or seven weeks now. So easy. So simple. Old comfy ones for gardening, newer crisp ones for going out for meals with friends - all in great colours with perhaps an added string of beads. I am treating this heatwave as a holiday at home and as we now have a village restaurant within walking distance I am taking full advantage of it.
I've loved having worked out what I like and what suits me and have pretty much stayed with that look since this post.
Have you figured out your style? And thus simplified your wardrobe? And your life?
There are quite a lot of posts to browse under Simply Stylish (clothes are my fun!)
I love this top from COS. Clever tucks and folds have created a lovely shape and the disjointed pattern on the fabric adds to the complexity, yet it is not fussy. Deconstructed is the word that comes to mind!
I plan to make it the foundation of a capsule wardrobe, something I've always liked the sound of but never really focussed on before.
I've been on this theme for well over a week but it has led me to such interesting places - sociology, psychology, history, nostalgia.... There are some great books and blogs to explore.
I reminisced in yesterday's post about my family's interest in making things, clothes included. The things they made were more homely than fashionable but in my father's family (coal miners) Great Aunt Jen, Aunt Nan who worked in the fashion department of a big store, and Aunt Margaret who was very pretty had style.
Aunt Jen was housekeeper to a wealthy family, and when she visited home, a two roomed house (that's not two bed-roomed, that's two-roomed with outside toilet shared with another family) I remember her furs, hats, discreet make up, jewellery and perfume - all in the best of taste, and understated, never flamboyant. The lovely thing was she was perfectly at ease about these things and shared her pleasure in them with us all. I think ease with whatever you are wearing is a hallmark of real style. She was quite a character, with a great sense of humour, and I wish I knew more about her. She holidayed in Switzerland. Switzerland!! It might as well have been the moon.
We were thrifty and frugal but knew quality when we saw it. I remember my Mum showing me how some cloth was full of dressings which would wash out and leave the fabric limp. She would also examine the weave for closeness (thread count though we didn't call it that).
Studying Printed Textiles at Glasgow School of Art further refined my eye for good quality, design, and style and when I see someone or something with style I always do a quick analysis - it's fascinating to me, and fun.
What were your influences?
My Mum knitted me this beautiful jacket to a Kaffe Fassett design.
I love the comments on this blog! I like that it's a conversation and exchange of ideas - interesting ones from interesting people. Thank you for that.
Guilt! With regard to clothes it's usually that we have spent quite a lot on something and hardly worn it. Evil? Immoral? Wicked? Criminal? No, we just had a splurge for whatever reason. We didn't let our children go hungry to buy it, or risk losing our home. We just splashed out a bit more than usual and now it is sitting there unworn.
a) wear it again, altered perhaps (and practice chutzpah)
b) give it away so several people benefit (charity shop worker has a job, purchaser gets a bargain, end user of charity service gets help and we ourselves no longer feel guilt every time we see it
c) sell it on eBay or similar and buy something we will wear and enjoy wearing.
And I think we can forgive ourselves. That's what you'd tell your best friend, wouldn't you?
Lucille mentioned 'chutzpah' even the sound of it suggests supreme self-confidence. I have looked at my collection of seldom/never worn things to see if there are any that I am simply not wearing because I lack the confidence, and I intend to gradually learn to have more chutzpah. Let's be a bit more daring and not take our clothes too seriously! It won't hurt. Join me?
The interesting question was from Linda who asked in yesterday's comments where our interest in clothes originates. This sent me on a nostalgia trip....which I'll elaborate on tomorrow.
Meanwhile..I am loving these
but they squeak!
A chance lighting effect. Flowers under a lamp are always lovely. These little roses remind me of summer. Yes, as is my habit, I am still resisting autumn!
What I thought was going to be a 'tweaking' of my wardrobe has turned into something more.
It seemed a good idea to put all the things I rarely or never wear - you know the ones you put on but always put back on the hanger - into one pile -it's huge!
Now how ruthless do I want to be? I suppose the answer will be in looking at the pile and asking myself of each thing 'How does it make me feel?' and 'Would I buy it today?'
Reminding myself of how I want my clothes to make me feel....
I think my favourite charity shop is about to get a big donation.
Thank you for sharing your good ideas!
Back to clothes. (I know. From decapitated whales to dresses and skirts is a bit of a leap - you never know what you are going to get on this blog!) Yesterday's post reminded me that a much ignored part of my wardrobe that needs my attention before winter comes is my outdoor outfits...I'll get to that later.
It is fun sharing ideas and from Julia's comment yesterday I got a new one. I will put aside, all in one place, the things I just never wear or use then I will go to that place as if it is a shop and shop there as though I hadn't seen any of it before. And report back! A variation of 'shopping your closet'.
But back to the matter in hand. It will be the work of moments to deal with skirts and dresses. I have two of each! One skirt I never wear - into the 'shop' with it.
Something that I knew would come up and want to find a solution to is the matter of 'good' clothes and in my case 'dressy' clothes. I'm rather fond of dressy clothes but as an artist and gardener living in rural Scotland I very rarely have the opportunity to wear them. Not that I have very many but I'd like to wear those I do have, and I'd like to wear them out!
The secret I think is not so much finding occasions to dress up (though a few would be welcome) but devising ways of dressing down so that I don't feel uncomfortably overdressed but still get the pleasure of wearing my 'best' things.
Today I did jackets and to my surprise find that I have quite a lot of them. But I also realise that I wear them less often as I no longer have a car - I tend to need a coat - though some are thin enough to wear under a coat. I need more time to think about these...
Rather a muddled post today - too many unresolved questions - but that's what the process is about I guess. My little style notebook which I began using in 2013 has been invaluable. Sizes, stockists, quotations, lists of needs and wants....do you have a style notebook?
I'm taking the wardrobe sort quite slowly this time. I've considered how I feel now and how I want to feel. (One person I helped felt 'confused' to start with and 'delighted' when we finished. Nice result.)
I've removed everything from the wardrobe that is not ready to wear for whatever reason. I'll examine one category at a time.
I'll start with my problem - trousers. I have many shabby pairs and not many that fit well
There is one beautiful pair I have had for 11 years and not worn for the last five, maybe six? Why am I keeping them? Because they are beautiful, they were quite expensive, I felt so nice in them once....but I try them on but always take them off again and choose something else. I realise they are a bit dated but I could go looking under the same label for an update....
What kind of trousers suit you and your lifestyle best?
Being very small, I suit narrow slim leg or straight leg, full length - jeans/jeggings, one summer dressier pair and one autumn/winter dressier pair, and the one pair which really fit nicely - I am off to buy two more the same to swap with some of the worn ones - that will be the answer for me. I do wear trousers every day.
Because I tried them all on, that took about an hour on yet another rainy day. An hour well spent. Three to donate, one to recycle, two for gardening folded in a drawer, one summer pair to put away elsewhere, five wearable pairs hanging in the wardrobe and one pair on. Nice result.
The tee-shirts took five minutes! Six on the hangers, one on, one in the wash. Some fading and stretched at cuffs and neckline. Could do with three new ones. Standard length, cotton, long sleeves, self colours - a shopping list is developing and the search is on for the right colours. That's my basics.
Are you making progress?
I will change the subject tomorrow - a gruesome tail....
A slightly different angle on questions about your wardrobe ... How do you want your clothes to make you feel?
Comfortable/confident/ attractive/ warm/ dry/ stylish/ creative...
More food for thought in this site - lots to browse if you have the time and the inclination -
Scarves are my favourite accessory and I have lots, hanging on their own set of hangers, ironed and ready to wear. I spend more than I used to on lovely quality fabrics (though I do buy in the sales) and the quick addition of a fresh scarf and perhaps a pair of earrings makes me feel ready for anything!
I am taking out from the wardrobe everything that is not ready to wear now. So, those things that need altered or dry cleaned and the many pairs of trousers that don't fit, as well as the ones which are only fit to garden in because I have way too many gardening clothes.
Do you have things in the wardrobe that you can't or don't wear? Getting them out of there is a great step forward!
Have you thought about your feelings regarding the clothes you have? It's a good place to start. (See yesterday's post.)
So, How do I want to feel when I look at my wardrobe?
Quietly pleased, maybe a little excited? Relaxed, knowing that I have something for every occasion, and that everything hanging there is ready to wear. That I can dress things up or down with accessories I love.
I'm happy to say I don't need to Kondo it - that was indeed a one off - I just need to tweak it a bit.
No big deal.
Just pleasure. If I sound a bit smug, and maybe I am :-) it's because I worked on this some time ago (engaged brain!) and it has really paid off.
Fashion is still my fun!
More favourites. Scarf: The White Company. Necklace: Cos.
Scarf: White Company sale. Necklace: Sahara.
I've spent this rainy day re-reading my own posts under this heading and sorting out, or 'curating' my wardrobe.
There are quite a lot of posts under Simply Stylish. See especially Aug and Oct 2014 if you are also planning a wardrobe sort.
I took my own advice and looked at my wardrobe and asked myself how I feel looking at what is there. Because it has worked so well for me over a few years now I was a little surprised at how many negative feelings came up...
There is the nice dress I wore to Barry's funeral. Will I really ever want to wear it again?
I feel almost taunted by the unworn summer clothes (we have really had no summer to speak of!)
I feel a bit guilty at the number of things I had meant to get altered and never got around to.
I feel enbarassed likewise that there are several things there which are overdue a dry clean.
I feel so frustrated that I cannot buy exact replacements of my real favourites which are wearing out.
And I have to confess there are many things hanging there which I have loved and which have served me well but which I have to accept are past their best :-(
And I may just have crossed the line between subtle and drab!
Work to do, and to enjoy.
Not waving but drowning?
I like the birds shadows on the bed!
Favourite necklace (Topshop) and scarf (Sahara).
Will you join me in an October revamp?
I could not resist this. People have an occasion coming up and go shopping for something to wear. I bought this on impulse and now must find or create an occasion...
I wore it to the preview of the latest exhibition, though I thought I might feel overdressed (more on that later). I also wore a coat I have had for seven years or so and have worn once!
It felt such fun after what seems like weeks in waterproofs and gardening clothes that I have decided to wear out all my 'good' clothes!
On an entirely less trivial note my daughters and some of Barry's swimming friends are swimming A Mile For Barry (in a quarry, in the sea, and in Dunoon swimming pool!) in September to raise funds for Ardgowan Hospice where my husband was wonderfully well cared for before he died of cancer last year. I know we all have our charities we like to support, but should you feel moved to give a small donation to help others be equally well looked after, I have added the giving page details below. We would be most grateful.
I am even wearing yellow! I could not resist this jacket.
Though I know I don't suit it - yellow makes my skin look sallow, but..
,, with a colour that does suit me next to my face, I think I can get away with it....just.
A little search through the wardrobe uncovered a surprising number of yellow/lime/amber accessories.(photographed on the yes, golden yellow duvet cover on the bed). There are two yellow paintings on the walls, yellow pears and lemons on the dining table, a yellow cushion on the sofa. I'm obessed!
Yellow is fun I've decided.
What is your fun colour for spring?
There is a huge selection of rucksacks on this new-to-me site called Zalando - easy to use, free delivery and returns....I have ordered a small size not dissimilar to this one which I posted about recently.
With reference to yesterday's post, this post epitomizes the 'style' or character I am now working towards in the garden. Simple (if not simple to actually do!).
Katherine asked which garden design books I would recommend. John Brookes Garden Design Book is a favourite. Based on sound principles, he really spells it out. Excellent.
Anything by Beth Chatto is worth devouring. She is an artist with plants, and her word descriptions are poetic. While wonderfully knowledgeable she does not spell out her design princlples in the way that Brookes does - you have to analyse her photographs to figure out what it is that she is doing that makes her work so good. In The Dry Garden is a little diagram of overlapping asymmetrical triangles which represent a system which she has developed and which earned her a string of Gold Medals at Chelsea...
Architectural Foliage by Jill Billington has very good illustrations of design elements.
Rejuvenating a Garden by Stephen Anderton is invaluable if the garden you are working on is not a blank slate. Completely trustworthy advice.
For inspirational design ideas you can't beat Andrea Jones The Garden Source (especially as it has ten photos of our garden in it! Thrilling!)
On a final style note I had my hair cut today. Yay!
I've not posted anything in this category for a long time. (There are lots of posts in August 2014 - see sidebar.)
That may be because since the last time I sorted out my wardrobe I've been very happy with it and needed to buy very little but the odd replacement T-shirt.
However circumstances change and as I have an eye condition that means I can no longer drive and find myself using public transport more often, I am having to re-learn travelling light. (There was a time when I could go away for a weekend with a change of underwear and a toothbrush!)
I found this beautiful Danish backpack in a new shop in Great Western Road in Glasgow called Hoos.
Well, maybe not forever..
If you have picked out your favourite outfit from your clothes and analysed it (see yesterday's post) now you simply need to replicate it.
I know what suits me, what I feel comfortable and confident in and am now asking myself -
Do I have a dressier version of this/a warm enough version/a different coloured version/a smarter version? - whatever my/your lifestyle requires.
This is a good time to make a needs/wants list to take with you when you go shopping.
Phew! My brain is hurting a bit but I think it's been worth it, and I won't have that wedding experience again ever (see here).
Which makes me ask myself what might the wedding or party version of my look be? Narrow silk trousers, silk top, cropped dressier jacket and coloured shoes with a heel? I have three of those items already so might add narrow silk trousers to my shopping list....
Now of course you might say 'but fashions change'. They do, but fashion is about trends and novelty, whereas style is about your personality and about self expression, and your style could be tweaked a little over the years as fashions change....
Tomorrow I will change the subject - promise!
.. now apply brain!
Here is my (current) favourite outfit -
Everyday clothes - nothing very out of the ordinary - but I feel good in it, I feel myself in these clothes, these colours and these proportions. I think they suit me. They are my 'look'.
Applying my rather tired brain (decision making fatigue?) I analysed the outfit -
narrow trousers (jeggings)
standard length T shirt,
short cropped jumper
All in a similar colour range, close in tone, ie not too much contrast to divide up my five foot frame, one pattern maximum. I think proportions are often overlooked - narrow/wide, long/short. Look at the silhouette.
My friend's look is -
short pretty cardigan with three quarter length sleeves
thin patterned scarf
She can put several patterns together successfully, likes skirts with a swirl or seam detail or diagonal cut, and always wears several bracelets. (And always looks lovely.)
What is your look?
I expect you can see where I'm going with this....
My wardrobe and me! (See recent posts under Simply Stylish and Simply Eat)
My posts have been very wordy of late so, simpler today...
Out of my slimmed down wardrobe I've picked out my favourite things
And from these I'm going to pick my very favourite outfit.
Then, I'm going to apply brain!
Meanwhile creating some autumnal still lifes as I move things around in the house..do you change things as the season changes?
EXTRA! EXTRA! A four minute video on why you should spend some time reading today! (Thanks Julia.)
Still clearing! So far we've removed things that don't fit, things that are the wrong season and things that needed fixing (I hope your cupboard isn't bare).
Two more passes and you will have a wardrobe with only things that you can wear and like to wear!
First pass isn't too hard - anything that's just worn out. Stretched necklines or cuffs, baggy elbows, saggy knees or bottoms, bobbled fabric (pet hate of mine - no more acrylic for me..). Let it go! You've had your moneysworth - no need to get the last gasp out of everything. No need to relegate it to gardening/painting either if you've already got plenty in that category like me. Recycle bin.
Take a good look at what's left. And ask if there is anything in there you simply dislike.
This is a hard one for me. I think - but it's perfectly good/I paid good money for it/it was a present from..../so and so made it for me/it's too wasteful to get rid of it, and so on, and on.
Then I remember the reason for this clearout is to have only things I really like to wear.
I can - Keep it as a memento (just not in the wardrobe)
Pass it on to someone I think would want it
I forgive myself and move on.
Feels even better if you can donate it where it's useful. Here are some links to charities which can make really good use of your quality items. The first two help outfit people who are going to job interviews, and the last is a very efficient service to make it as easy as possible for you to donate to a whole range of charites. I'm sure other countries will have equivalent sites.
..as I sort my wardrobe for the new season.
Have you noticed I have stuck with one category - Simply Stylish - for six posts in a row? Amazing for a grasshopper brain like me!
If you are sorting your wardrobe along with me, the next step (last but one before the fun bit!) is to take a few minutes and remove anything that needs fixing before you can wear it. ie anything -
missing a button
needing shortened/lengthened/otherwise altered
The options once you've removed it are -
fix it now
fix it later
get someone else to fix it
get rid of it (donate/recycle....)
To take a walk in the Botanic Gardens click here..
The next step..is easy! Go to your wardrobe and remove anything you won't wear till next summer (or winter if you live in the southern hemisphere).
Here in UK, unless you are planning a sunshine holiday this winter (I wish!) put all the summer clothes in a bag or box clearly labelled and put it somewhere out of the way.
In our very variable climate layering clothes is almost essential so some summer items can be worn all year round under an extra layer.
You might take this opportunity to do some weeding out, or you could just put them all away and make those decisions next summer. It depends on how you're feeling, how much time you've got and maybe on how much extra storage space you've got.
But now you have more space in your wardrobe/cupboard/drawers.
Just two more sleeps till you have a wardrobe with only things you can wear!
Have you time today to go to your wardrobe and take out anything which doesn't fit you?
Warning - this will probably bring up uncomfortable feelings! Guilt at the wasted money/shame at the diet failures/anxiety at the unwanted, univestigated weight loss/anger that you're not as well organised as you want to be.....(add your own).
The key to doing this without angst is Forgive Yourself. If you were with your best friend as she was doing this would you berate her and give her a hard time?
Be kind to yourself.
You made some mistakes along the wardrobe way. We all do! And beating yourself up about it isn't going to help. Neither is looking at them every time you open the wardrobe door, or the drawer or the cupboard shelf!
So, lets try to get some perspective on this, get rid of the things you can't wear, and make more space for the things you can wear and perhaps some replacements that do fit.
If you plan to lose or gain weight and you really like these items put them elsewhere - out of sight - labelled with a date a few months from now when you can review your decision. Nothing's set in stone! This is an ongoing process, and the more you practice the better you'll get at it. And the fewer mistakes you'll make.
More on how to get rid later, but remember the quickest, easiest way and a way which helps others is to give the good items to a charity to deal with.
Tomorrow - more space, more clarity - lovely!
I'm short on photographs in these Simply Stylish posts, but I hope you like the new header. It's a tree I haven't heard of before - Cladrastris kentuckea or Kentucky Yellowood - photographed today at Benmore Botanic Garden which is a beautiful half hour drive from home.
Two questions for you!
First question: What are your feelings when you open your wardrobe door and look at what's in there? Try it, and give yourself a minute to think..
Second question: What, exactly, would you like to feel when you open your wardrobe door? Take as long as you need to answer this one - two minutes, two days, two weeks....
Share your thoughts?