10 December 2009

Getting it right

I thought I'd take a break from wardrobe planning to write about a few things I've been reflecting on lately. A comment from fashion addict on an earlier post 'whenever i dress or shop for these occasions i try to remember the times i felt i got it right, and try base my look on that particular occasion' got me thinking about times that I've got it right in the past. I'll admit that I completely drew a blank at first, and it took me a while to think of some outfits that are memorable for the right reasons.

I think part of the reason why it took me so long to think of some successful outfits is that a lot of days pass in a blur of going to work and doing the same old stuff each weekend, and admittedly I don't put a great deal of effort into dressing for work, and tend to rely on a striped tee and jeans combo at weekends. There's nothing that's wrong about these outfits, but then again there's nothing remarkable about them which would make them stand out and for me to think 'I look great, that worked well'. I tend to rely on fail safe outfits, and although I hope I always look presentable and put together, I'm not likely to get stopped and photographed by Scott Schuman any time soon!

Then again, I think I'm ok with this. I don't like to stand out, I'm not extroverted, I don't want to look 'sexy' and have men looking at me, that's not what I'm about……its just not in my nature.

Anyway, back to the original point which was dressing for those awkward (for me anyway) smart/casual occasions, and the idea of basing outfits on the times I got it in the past. On these occasions when I make a bit more effort, I'd say I have a success rate of about 50%. I always feel that there's more pressure to get it right, to try something new, and so it seems to me there's a much bigger chance of getting it wrong. I don't know if that makes any sense, so I'll try and clarify. It's easy to blend into the background in an office full of people in drab outfits, and when I'm going for a walk in the park and a coffee on a Sunday, I don't feel any pressure to look great and wow anyone, I just want to be comfortable and warm mainly! But when I'm invited to a party, go to see a band or go to a bar, I know that I'm probably going to be surrounded by people that have made an effort, and are dressing in whatever hipster style is currently in, and I feel that it's harder to measure up.

I know that for me, often this has little to do with what I'm actually wearing, and what it essentially boils down to is self confidence, which I think I lack big time. I feel like I never measure up against other people, I feel awkward and unstylish and just 'not quite right' a lot of the time. I'm way too self critical, and I pick over minor faults and magnify them in my head.

There are 2 things that I need to sort out here really, the first is that I need a few outfits that I feel fantastic in and that I know I can rely on because they've worked in the past. The second is that I somehow need to try and work on becoming more confident and to stop being so critical of myself. I think I've always assumed that as soon as my wardrobe was 'perfect' that I would immediately feel confident in everything I wore, and every outfit would look great. Its about so much more than having the right clothes or bag though, its about being comfortable in your own skin and accepting yourself, faults and all. I'd never envisaged this blog veering into oprah/self help territory and this is becoming an epic post so I think I'll leave this particular rambling train of thought for now.


  1. Thought of you the other day when I came across 3 books I had purchased years ago. They are from the Simple Chic series and although written in the 1990's, they are classic outfits that address "what to wear, when" and how to build a wardrobe for every occaision. The theme of the book is still relevant...with basic colors, flats, cashmere and white shirts. There is nothing "trendy" in these books and the designers are still sought after today.

    I understand how you feel and I think that it's normal to question style, etc. as you move through different phases of life. How wonderful that you're addressing this now and identifying your core.

    If I sound a bit like your mother, it is perhaps that at 55, I have gone through these stages. When you move away from familiarity (as I did when I transferred to a new state, new job, etc.) you are bound to feel a lack of confidence. But one thing I know for sure, your true self will always stay the same. Just be you and take little steps towards growing your confidence. You're on the right path!

  2. Thanks so much for your thoughtful response and the wise advice. I think I was just having one of those days when you start to doubt yourself, and negative thoughts creep in.

    Those books sound great, I love reading books on personal style. It sounds like pretty timeless advice, sometimes its good to be reminded of the essentials and basics. Easy to forget I find!

  3. i can identify with the struggle, especially when there are times i feel like my outfit is a rut, even if i love it. these are usually temporary though. but as i've grown to be more judicious about shopping, because if i love the items i own, i tend t look forward to wearing them.