Thursday 8 November 2012

Clothes horse or fashion victim?

Seasons like fashions come and go. Two weeks ago, here in the UK, saw the end of British Summer Time, as we put our clocks back one hour. Winter does not officially start until after the shortest day on December 21. Consequently, it must now be Autumn. Our first really cold day of this Autumn/Winter was two days before the clocks went back.  So I was rather surprised that afternoon,  to receive an e-mail offering me a preview of the Spring collection from a mail order catalogue whose clothes I sometimes purchase. Especially as earlier in the day a copy of their Winter catalogue had come through the letterbox. I know that fashion always has to work a season or two ahead but I have never bought my clothes much in advance of the current season. Now I find that I have to buy clothes earlier than I used to or I am left with very little choice. My initial reaction to viewing next Spring’s clothes was that I was not going to look. However, I did sneak a peek and even worse I saw some things that I liked, but I shall not be buying any Spring clothes until next year. We have Winter to get through before we even begin to think about next Spring.

Since retiring I have found deciding what to wear to be a bit of a headache. When I was working I had a ‘uniform’ of blouses, jumpers, cardigans and trousers that I wore for work. Those clothes were not usually worn when I was not at work. At home I would invariably be gardening, decorating or doing housework which meant wearing old clothes, that did not matter if they got dirty. Looking at my wardrobe, a year ago, I probably had more old clothes than anything else. I soon realised that I needed to smarten myself up. I noticed that many of those in my flower arranging class dressed themselves better than I did. It was not that I did not know how, it was more that I had got out of the habit. I have always had an interest in fashion and the challenge now is to dress fashionably without looking like mutton dressed as lamb. When I was a student my dress sense could be quite Bohemian and I could get away with anything such as purple velvet loons, home made smocks and a multi-coloured waistcoat made from oddments of wool.  Those days are now long gone and even if the clothes fit, they are better on someone else.

Fashion today is a mine field. There are so many different styles and looks, whereas in years gone by there would only be one.  When we were on holiday in Bordeaux, a few weeks ago, I noticed the young French women  wearing anything from shorts with boots to  scarves with  flip flops. So how does the mature woman dress herself? I am not sure that I know the answer. However, I do know that I am not yet ready to embrace polyester blouses, crimplene trousers and elasticated waist bands. I try to avoid anything that is too tight, too thin, too short or too cheap. Even if it does fit, it will not look good for long. I do buy a few bits and pieces from Primark, but I would never buy anything overtly trendy from there. The chances of seeing the item walking around on another are too great.  My aim is to buy well made and fashionable clothes at a reasonable price. Recently I have started to buy some of my clothes via the Internet. This actually came about when I needed some clothes to take on holiday and did not have the time to go shopping. It is easier than I thought, but I have to say that returning items that are unsuitable is a hassle, but then so is returning unwanted clothes to a shop. I do not end up cold and wet, hot and bothered, or worn out from walking around endless shops. I can do it all from the comfort of my own home. I understand that the Duchess of Cambridge is a fan of Internet shopping, but I suspect that she has a more generous clothing allowance than I do. I like to see what is in the shops and I do not think that you can beat feeling the quality and seeing the width. I am sure that most women get a buzz from shopping and we all have that impulse buy in the wardrobe that we never wear.

Years ago I was colour analysed. The concept of colour analysis was developed in the US.  At that time the colour palette was divided into the four seasons. Winter and Summer for the cool colours. Autumn and Spring for the warm colours. The concept of colour analysis has been further refined and is now categorised slightly differently, but the original principals must still apply. The analysis is based on skin tone and hair and eye colour. As it happened I was already wearing the colours from the correct season, but it is another aspect of fashion that we need to be aware of when we go shopping for clothes, as the wrong colours can be as bad as clothes that do not fit or a style that does not suit.

Then there is the thorny issue of make up. I am amazed by the number of women who do not wear any. The woman who looks good bare faced, has not been born. I need a bit of help to feel human. Hair is another dilemma, which is as much in the lap of the gods, and your hairdresser, as anything. It is a matter of what you are given and you have to make the best of it. However, we owe it to ourselves to look our best at all times.

I believe that some of you know that I have been having problems with my laptop, especially after I have been blogging. I wrote this post a week ago. I had intended to put the finishing touches to it and publish it last Friday but my laptop had other ideas and would not to work. Husband kindly sorted out my laptop and in doing so lost most of my settings which meant that I was unable to access my blog. It has taken a bit of time to find it and complete the post. I wonder if the laptop is trying to tell me something, but for now I will soldier on and hope that things work as they should.


the fly in the web said...

I did see the heading appear earlier....and what you had to say was well worth waiting for!

I despaired of shopping for clothes in rural France, except from the end of line shops where all sorts of wonders could be found from Thai fishermen's trousers (great for the less than wonderful figure)to silk/cashmere mix just had to be lucky on the day.

Now, in Costa Rica, I have recovered the urge to shop for clothes.
The windows are attractive, the shop assistants helpful and one's indecision is not taken as an insult as it was in France.

I've managed to find clothes and accessories to wear to embassy dos which are comfortable without being mumsy...and have rediscovered hats!

I have just found a proper tailor near my house in San I'll be visiting him shortly!

Hair is another matter!
Most salons here cope with the local hair...thick. Mine is thin.
I hope to have tracked down a salon run by an English woman who has more chance of knowing what to do with my hair...we shall see.

Lovely post....very cheering, thank you!

Maggie May said...

As you say....... anything seems to go these days regarding fashion.
I also had a colour analysis and I was also tending to naturally wear my Winter palette without needing to be told.
These days I tend to wear what I feel comfortable in and what I like.... that is very casual!
I think at my age I can get away with anything..... (purple hats and all that!)
Maggie X

Nuts in May

imbeingheldhostage said...

It could be my age, but I just don't care about what is in fashion anymore. I wear what's flattering or comfortable. Comfortable usually wins out, to my husband's dismay ;)

cheshire wife said...

fly - thank you for your comment. I am sorry that you had to wait a week for the post.

Maggie - I think that when you get to a certain age you know what suits you.

imbeingheldhostage - being comfortable is important. Men should try wearing women's clothes to see how uncomfortable they can be.

Sandi McBride said...

Okay, when I am forced to wear something 19 seasons out of date I can honestly say I am going "retro". Works for me, lol!

cheshire wife said...

Sandi - yes, if you keep something long enough it comes back into fashion!

Rob-bear said...

Sorry to learn of your dilemma. As a Bear, I am of absolutely no use to Humans on the matter of fashion. There are only so many things one can do with one's fur, when one is a Bear.

Sorry also to learn of your computer. I hope it lasts long enough that you can gather up a few bob for another one.

Vagabonde said...

I used to care about my wardrobe when I worked on the Champs-Elysées and walked on the boulevard during my lunch break – then again while working here in Georgia for a large corporation. Now that I am retired I survive on jeans and tees but I try to keep somewhat of a wardrobe for our many trips. Actually I fit right in last month in Italy and France wearing black – it’s so easy. My mother when she was young worked for the house of Worth – so she was aware of fashion and tried to give me an eye for it – but in Paris now, the most fashionable women are the tourists – who believe they have to wear nice clothes there (just go to the street markets, post office or banks in France and watch the clothes…)

cheshire wife said...

Rob - the laptop is only a few months old. If it goes wrong again, it is going back.

Vagabonde - it is OK wearing black if it suits you, but it does nothing for me.

LindyLouMac said...

A great post that I am sure many of us can empathise with. I was also colour analysed many years ago but still find it really helps when choosing clothes.

Gill - That British Woman said...

I never wear makeup and I have no interest in clothes and going to the hairdressers is also a pain!!!

Gill in Canada

Hilary said...

I used to put makeup on just to get the mail. Somewhere along the way, I stopped worrying about that and only tend to apply it if I'm going to a party. It's quite liberating. The same with clothes. I don't wear any unless I'm going... no that's not right. ;)

I just don't worry about keeping up with styles anymore. If I have clean, comfy well-fitted jeans and a few tops.. and one or two better outfits, I'm good to go... for the most part.

cheshire wife said...

LindyLouMac - colour analyses gives you the confidence to know that you are wearing the right colours.

Gill - I agree with you on going to the hairdresser.

Hilary - I am looking for something in the middle that it is not the latest fashion or very dated.

Fire Byrd said...

I adore clothes, make up,perfume, hair being right.
The only day you'll catch me looking scruffy is Sunday when I'll have had a beauty bath and a face mask etc so no make up, unless of course I'm seeing other people.
My wardrobe is about making the most of the good bits, so short skirts work to show off the legs. And no cleavage so not to frighten the horses at lack of one boob!!!

cheshire wife said...

Fire Byrd - I am pleased to read that I am not the only one taking an interest in clothes.