Thursday, 14 November 2013

Wardrobe ruts and frustrations

Time for a new look?
I’m feeling in a wardrobe rut again. I did the same at this time last year - in early autumn I get excited that I can get all my favourite woollen skirts and jumpers out of the wardrobe, then by November/December I get all glum. I can think of a few reasons for this:

1: The weather is getting to me 
Perhaps the dark nights are just inducing feelings of gloom, and it’s creating a general dissatisfaction. Also, I've been ill since getting back from Burma/Myanmar, and that's guaranteed to dull any enthusiasm for clothes. (I found myself wishing for a onesie at one point, erk!)

2: Christmas is coming 
And that means parties. I’m nearly 40 and I really don’t know what to wear to get ‘dressed up’. I wear things like shift dresses with diamante jewellery to work, so the standard middle-aged partywear option feels like workwear to me. I feel anything especially girlie or sexy is probably a little ridiculous on me. This causes me masses of stress as I’m constantly aware of my age and weight (neither of which bother me on a day-to-day basis the rest of the year) and despairing of both. And I get invited to very few events anyway, which makes it all doubly stupid.

3: I do actually have a boring wardrobe 
This is a real possibility. After all, a tweed skirt and a jumper makes a nice change from summer clothes in early autumn, but rotating the same few tweed skirts and jumpers for months can get a tad dull. I do suspect I wear the same combinations of garments most weeks, and that my colour palette is limited. To this end I’m going to note down what I’ve been wearing day-to-day and see where things could be lifted, and where I could remix outfits.

I asked on Twitter whether people had advice for perking up a wardrobe, and one answer, which made me laugh and then think seriously, was Ankaret Wells’ comment that I should get a denim waistcoat. My response was that I can’t remember the last time I wore denim. (Seriously, I haven’t owned a pair of jeans for 20 years.) But why not step out of the comfort zone? Simply changing jewellery or adding a scarf doesn’t seem to be enough, so perhaps wearing something completely different is the answer. Yes, it might be a fashion disaster, but at least it won’t be boring.

Do you have any tips for perking up a tired winter wardrobe? What gets you out of your rut? I'm honestly not sure whether to trawl the chazzas for more of my usual sort of thing so I can mix and match more of what I currently own, or whether to try something completely out of my usual style (print! embellishment! modern!)

13 comments :

  1. I am wearing a perfectly respectable tweed skirt and woolly cardigan myself today! But there are very few outfits I wouldn't at least consider wearing a denim vest with. I was delighted to find that plus-sized fashion writer Lesley Kinzel does it too.

    http://www.xojane.com/clothes/fatshion-plus-size-denim-vests - warning, link is to xojane, any articles not by Lesley Kinzel or Marianne Kirby will probably be the boilerplate xojane article which could all be summarised as 'Don't Judge Me Because I'm A Whiny, Overprivileged Twentysomething Who Is Definitely Judging You'. Also, I am not seriously trying to convert you, I just thought the existence of the article was funny because generally nothing outside my circle of friends validates my taste in clothes.

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    1. I think the denim vest suggestion made me laugh because it's so not me - and then I realised that only buying things within a narrow scope has probably caused this problem to start with. I have avoided denim in any form for a couple of decades; perhaps it's time to give it a second chance.

      I have never read xojane... *goes to look*

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  2. Coloured tights always make me smile, they cheer an outfit up and work well if you go for a 1960s look. I also think the sudden onset of winter gloom and having been ill won't have helped you.

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    1. I'm kind of sliding into a 60s look - it has the simplicity of line I appreciate about the 20s, which makes sense as there was a 20s influence to some 60s styles.

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  3. I love winter dressing - for me it's all about layers and textures and rich colours. I wear a lot of coloured tights, a lot of scarves and shawls, and always have at least two layers so I can play with colour combinations. Summer is the season that leaves me in a wardrobe rut, once I've got over the joy of being able to go out with bare arms, because it ends up being the same skirts and tops and dresses over and over again.

    Sorry, that probably isn't much help! I'm sure the dark nights and illness and post-holiday blues aren't helping any, either.

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    1. I think it was mostly the post holiday lurgy/blues. I find layering difficult; I'm a very minimalist dresser and my ideal outfit is simple dress (probably in black or grey) or skirt and plain top, brooch, shoes. Anything more than a cardigan over the top and I start to feel swamped by bits. A bit of work on the accessories or bringing in some prints would probably take things out of the rut.

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  4. I have just started to wear trousers after being a skirt/dresses person all my life. I only have one pair so far but find them surprisingly comfortable. They took a bit of getting use to and I got a few remarks from my work colleagues like "look at Rebecca - she's wearing trousers!" I am looking around for some more pairs now and hope to wear trousers quite a lot during this winter. If you don't wear trousers you should give them a go.

    I am not sure about jeans though. I don't like the image of skinny jeans. Did you have flares 20 years ago?

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    1. Nah, when I gave up wearing them they were skin tight, snow-washed, with zips up the ankles to get them over my feet! Kids into the whole 'Madchester' thing wore very wide-legged jeans, and there was a lot of that about too. I remember when 'bootcuts' started coming in; I've never worn that cut in trousers because it's just another word for flares, and the part of me that grew up in the 80s still regards flares with horror...

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  5. I know what you mean, I have periodic bouts of that, had the first one for a long while the other day! I usually dress to suit my mood on the day, what era do I wish to inhabit sort of thing. Lately been finding myself drifting back to the hippy/boho look again a la Holy Clothing dresses....I have to do controlled shrinks with them because they are so long.....but worn as pinafores with a blouse underneath, all flowy and dramatic, which isn't much cop when it's pissing outside but there you go! Yesterday was tweed today is velvet. I used to wear jeans often but since putting on weight and my natural hourglass becoming somewhat more pronounced, the words cold, day and Hell come to mind, haven't been in anything bifurcated in about nine years now.
    Charity shop trawling is always fun, though.

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    1. Ah, tweed and velvet! If there's one thing I appreciate about winter, it's the fabrics!

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  6. I like tweed and I think I don't wear it often enough. I stopped wearing jeans because I couldn't find fitting ones in the last years and besides they do not match my autumn colour based wardrobe. Maybe you can find inspiration for interesting combinations at the Tweed Run events all over the world. They inspired me to wear more tweed cause tweed always gives your outfit a touch of vintage in my opinion. If you want you can look at these posts. Maybe they will be helpful.
    http://mapletrueheart.blogspot.de/2012/05/london-tweed-run-6-may-2012.html
    http://mapletrueheart.blogspot.de/2012/05/tweed-run-london-tea-break.html
    http://mapletrueheart.blogspot.de/2012/09/tweed-run-london-and-paris-2012.html
    http://mapletrueheart.blogspot.de/2012/11/berlin-tweed-day.html

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    1. Interesting. I do wear a lot of tweedy things, though I only have one tweed jacket.

      I love your tights in the second tweed run post, they're fantastic!

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  7. I'm a real fan of your wardrobe, and I like your commitment to trying new ideas too.

    I have to go careful at this time of year not to just wear leggings with frocks and long boots, but I do think the addition of coloured tights is a great way to change the look of an outfit.

    Mim, you look about 20 in the photo here - you most definitely don't look your age!

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