An ad for Filofax, the paper personal organisers, describes them as:
Will old-fashioned be the next big thing I wonder?
I think I've spotted a new trend!
An ad for Filofax, the paper personal organisers, describes them as:
Will old-fashioned be the next big thing I wonder?
I fell in love. With this hat. Waited (im)patiently, and sure enough they reduced the price, from £45 to £12! Hurrah! I am so often lucky in sales.
The brim was huge, and would have looked fabulous on someone 5 foot 10 inches tall, so I started to unpick it, thinking it would take an age - but it unravelled beautifully and I kept going until I felt the brim was more in proportion to my 5 feet 0 inches - looks like spaghetti!
Am now all set for that wedding....
I've been enjoying Love, Loss and What I Wore written and illustrated by New Yorker Irene Beckerman, a slight book which briefly tells the author's life story through the clothes she wore from the 1940's to the 1990's. Starting with her Brownie uniform and dancing school outfits, through home made skirts to party dresses ( 'I almost got into trouble at that party. I think it was the dress.' ) to bridesmaid dresses and the trouser suit she wore to her first job interview, and more. Her memory helped I assume by the fact that she kept so many of her clothes!
The fun of course, is in remembering your own nearest equivalents. Best read in little bits, and had me looking through old photographs and asking my daughters what clothes they remember - both mine and their own. It will be fun to check this out with my sisters too. A nostalgia trip kind of read....
..which clothes in your life so far stand out in your memory ?....
I was talking with a friend about what to do with those clothes which bring back memories of happy occasions.
If you have plenty of room in your wardrobe then of course it's fine to keep them there, but if you don't?
If you know you won't actually wear them again but still want to keep them, I think you treat them as memorabilia rather than as clothes, and put them somewhere other than in the wardrobe.
They could go in a box or second wardrobe to be brought out and looked at occasionally. Or you could make a decorative feature of them - hung on the wall, or on a pretty hanger on the back of the bedroom door or the front of the wardrobe door, or, my own preferred option, they could be photographed - on you, or on a hanger - this certainly takes up less space!
If you like keeping things this way click here for Gretchen Rubin on organising keepsakes (it's just not for me - more boxes in the loft?!)
Shoes, oh coloured shoes!
I do tend to keep old ones....What for? Well because I loved them of course. (Note the past tense.) I went out on my first date wearing lace up school shoes. My Mum promised me a new pair of gunmetal, pointy toed slingbacks with a kitten heel 'but not his week' she said, and my heart sank into my black lace-ups....(he did ask me out again though - a lesson there..?)
My favourites? Audrey elegant, coloured plimsolls, jellies with sparkles, soft leather sandals. I've photographed them for fun and will get rid, finally, of the old ones I know I'll never wear again.
I've just realised that great shoes and a good haircut are the two things that do it for me! What, fashion wise, does it for you? do share....
The underwear drawer is where one must be ruthless! Is it grey? Baggy? Past it? Never worn? OUT! No hesitation. Same with tights and socks, and how many pairs do I need anyway?
Nightwear, dressing gowns - I'm so fond of that worn out old tartan one though....
Make note to have a nice shopping expedition. Line the drawer with scented paper. Fresh start here, pretend it's my birthday..
..I find it really hard to be ruthless or extravagant!! is this some kind of personality disorder I wonder, and is there a cure?
(Favourite fashion book - the Kate Hogg edition is years old but somehow doesn't date.)
An odd assortment is what's left after I've selected my favourite clothes from the wardrobe. A few things I just never seem to wear - do you have some of these? I bring them out, try them on, but somehow they always go back on the hanger. I ask myself why? Here are some of the answers I came up with:
I just don't suit cardigans no matter how nice the fabric. Buttoned, unbuttoned, draped around shoulders, whatever way I try to wear a cardigan I look frumpish. So why do I have two, just taking up space?
Acrylic - why do I ever buy acrylic? Because the style was good, the colour was good, BUT it only looked good for a few wearings before it started to 'bobble' and I HATE bobbly fabric! Give/throw it away! Same with top which is a little too big - it was the right colour, a nice drape, a little bit different and a bargain to boot - but I'm not planning to get any bigger - so why did I buy it?
And fleece.. I just don't like the feel of it. But it's so handy/washable/uncrushable/cosy/lightweight I might keep it for now.
Trousers which were a favourite for a long long time - too long - now the fabric is so tired they look good for only about half an hour after I put them on - wipe away a tear and put them in the recycle bin.
A beautiful classic coat - I haven't worn it for years. But it is lovely quality, timeless, warm, hmmm, don't know. I've just realised it's a town coat - I don't wear it now because I live in the country. Also, if I'm really honest it's a little bit neat....
I got rid of twelve items. So much more space
I'm not going to berate myself for my mistakes, or for having too much or not having enough. I'm just going to put back the things I'm really happy in and give away the rest.
This should be easier than last year. It's interesting to note that i never missed any of the items I got rid of then...
I'm planning to take a few hours and take out everything from the wardrobe, and put it on the bed. I'll clean the space - vacuum and wipe down with a lavender scented cleaner.
The plan is to take each item, starting with my favourites, apply brain and ask myself
a) do I love it?
b) do I need it?
c) does it give me good energy/no energy/neutral energy?
d) when did I last wear it?
I'm going to take my time over this, have a coffee and a think now and then, a glass of wine perhaps. The aim is, when all my favourites (which fit and don't need repaired or cleaned) are hanging there, to look for the common denominator - what is it about these things that makes them favourites?
That will define my preferred style - what really works for me. Choosing once you get to the shops is a worse dilemma than choosing food in the supermarket - too much choice!
It turns out my favourites are simple shapes, self coloured in 'my colours' - navy, colourful greys, raspberry, fuchsia, purples and blues. (see Simply Stylish 7 July 2010) long sleeved, nice quality fabrics, mainly cotton, linen, wool. Well made, plain, unadorned but hopefully not boring...
Another look over them to see if any of them are getting a bit worn out - stretched necklines, baggy knees, thinning fabric etc and make a note to look for replacements if needed.
....next, a look at the rest..
Before I start on the wardrobe sort, I will wash everything in the wash basket and iron everything in the ironing pile, collect the items hanging in the downstairs cupboard and at the back door, and get the out of season box from the loft.
It's a big job, but it's only done this thoroughly once a year, and in a few days time I will have a wardrobe full of things that fit, things I love, and things that are ready to wear! Yay!
I'll also pamper my gardening hands, fingernails and toenails, eyebrows and whatever else needs a bit of attention. It's important to make this a pleasurable experience, and feeling well groomed helps.
I'll make a hairdresser appointment, and an optician appointment.
Join me in a makeover? Just for fun? Doreen? Laura? Anyone else?
....am getting ready to look objectively at every single item of clothing I own..nice notebook at the ready..
I'm moving with New York City Ballet Workout 2 - Part 1 (www.youtube.com)
What curiously clunky shoes they wear.
How beautiful the dancers are, how strong!
I fancy a pair of funky legwarmers, and one of those little short wrap around cardigans? Maybe not the tutu though....
I need to exercise!
I hate exercise and have managed to avoid it till now. The last horrible truth that struck me in a changing room was that I needed to lose weight - I did that, and have pretty well managed to keep to my new healthier weight - but exercise! That's a different matter. I'm not sporty. I walk a bit. I never run if I can help it, and I don't like swimming. I can't think of any exercise that would firm up the flab that wouldn't bore me out of my mind. Don't mention exercise bikes or gyms! All that ugly equipment and televisions and noise reminds me of torture chambers. I like yoga, but that's more about suppleness than toning - though it's probably better than nothing, which is what I do at present.
I'm not often stuck, but I'm stuck on this one....
Some of the fashion books and magazines give lists of different 'styles' which can help you analyse what you really like, which in turn helps you when you go shopping for clothes: Classic/Romantic/Natural/Chic/Arty/Sexy/Dramatic or a recent category Eurochic - Oh, I think I'd love to be Eurochic! It sounds so elegant!
Your style of course should be compatible with your lifestyle - I adore dressy clothes, but I am a painter, gardener and garden designer and live in the wilds of Argyll - but a girl can dream....and arrange a few 'elegant shoe events' in her life.
I'd like to think my style is Classy with a fun twist/Arty not tarty...
I like to wear classic good quality trousers for example with slightly funky jewellery from Top Shop, or a beautiful piece of jewellery (I've bought recently from a website called www.scandinaviansilver.co.uk - vintage scandinavian designs) with jeans and plimsolls. Mixing styles is an art, and fun, and I think the secret is in the proportions - if you wear half and half of two styles it just looks as if you don't know what you are trying to do - but if you wear predominantly one with a touch of another - it's kind of piquant! (Well, I think so anyway.) I like the book More Dash Than Cash by Kate Hogg for inspiration - it just hasn't dated, though later versions have I think.
So what's your style Laura? And Lynne? and yours.......?
Rather belatedly I'm trying to define 'style' - it's actually quite hard to define, but I know it when I see it! (That sounds suspiciously like 'I don't know much about art but I know what I like'....)
As most of us do I suspect, I love to people watch, and I get great pleasure from seeing someone with style, someone who looks really good, really together. They may not be beautiful, or even fashionable and their clothes are often simple enough, even understated but stylish people wear them as if they are utterly at ease in them. I think it was Diana Vreeland who said something along the lines of 'You must make a great effort, then forget all about what you are wearing'. I love that someone makes an effort, then wears the clothes unselfconsciously, and without vanity. That is very attractive. That is style.
A really good fit, quality fabrics, good proportions, flattering colours - these things are worth making an effort with I think, rather than fretting about what is 'in' this season - though that can be fun to watch....
And it is about fun, and is not to be taken too seriously in the end!
Donatella Versace said 'Fashion is all about happiness. It's fun. It's important. But it's not medicine'
Nothing simplified my wardrobe and my clothes shopping more than knowing which colours suited me, and sticking to them. Everything goes with everything!
Take a look at Colour Me Beautiful by Carole Jackson. It's a clever system that really works. The basic theory is that you will look best in colours which harmonise with your natural colouring - hair, eye and skin colour.
Shopping is simpler. I know which colours to hone in on and just ignore the rest - a real time saver. If I stick to 'my' colours I know that any new item I buy will harmonise with everything else I've got. It saves me time and it saves me money. Simple!
(The original version is available for 1p on Amazon - used, like new - I don't know what the later versions of the book are like, but the principles remain the same I'm sure, though of course the illustrations are dated - and the title always was a bit naff! But it's really worth having........)
next - what is style anyway, and why would I want to look stylish?
I don't know why it took me so long to apply my brain to the business of clothes!
When I looked at what I had left after the first thinning out, and analysed why I liked the things I felt good in, the whole thing became so much easier.....I know what I like and I know what suits me (and what doesn't suit me - white shirts and rounded shoulders). It's worth spending a bit of time on this - the information becomes the basis of your new wardrobe and a look that is 'you' and unique to you....
Here's what I like (what's on your list? - do share...)
Quality basics - slim leg trousers and crew neck long sleeve t shirts
Uncluttered lines - no tabs, flaps, buckles, embroidery, logos (pet hate), motifs, frills, pleats, buttons or bows
Underwear that fits and flatters
Nice watches/men's watches
Scarves - especially linen ones from Hobbs
Small scale stripes and spots
Coloured shoes (I've put that twice, haven't I - that must be because I love coloured shoes!)
Similar colours, different textures
Slightly drapey fabrics for dressy things
Oversize beads/scandinavian vintage jewellery/rings, from handmade to acrylic/brooches
Very plain bags, not too big
Narrow belts in bright colours
next posting - colour is the key....
Did you find there were things in your wardrobe that you try on often when you are going out, but never actually wear? You always put them back on the hanger? This time I thought about why I do that - those white shirts - the classic that is supposed to be everyone's perfect stand by for any occasion? - they make me look washed out and sallow - sad but true. The classic shirt for me is the raspberry coloured one I always end up wearing. OUT!
And those little coloured short sleeved cardis - I love the colours, I love the soft fabrics, I love the layered look - but they make me look round shouldered - not a good look when you are five feet tall! (Not a good look at any height.) I suit a fitted sleeve and a neat shoulder line. OUT!
What did you discover? - leave a comment, do......just click on 'comments' above right
next posting 'clearing the wardrobe clears the brain' (see comments 29 June)
Ouch, that was hard to do - it's the give away/throw away bit that hurts. Thrift is in my DNA and I'm thinking of ways of making do.........but you know what? I'm going to stop beating myself up about it and I'm going to allow myself a bit of a fresh start! Why ever not?
Are you with me on this? Have you started on your wardrobe? Are you there Laura? Doreen? Anyone else?
Have you got rid of everything that was in there (see 22nd June) that you can't wear/don't want to wear/have accepted was a mistake? (be kind - forgive yourself and move on....)
Have you now got in your wardrobe:-
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)