Winter has dragged this past season and in the last few weeks we’ve had snow which is rare London these days and with the passing of vernal equinox, someone needed to remind Ostara her winter break was over and get to work! But as I sit here writing this there is faint hint of spring in the air and it has got me thinking about my wardrobe, switching it over and what to plan making for the warmer months. I’ve written about seasonal wardrobes before but in this post I want to talk about something a little different.
Over the years I have done many purges for the usual reasons; stuff never gets worn, overly ambitious, the yeah I’ll lose an inch and fit into that dress that is still patiently waiting for you to lose what is now two inches dress! Trends come and go and style is ever evolving, some of it stays with you and others it changes due to time and circumstance. As a rule I think the dressing for your age is a load of bollox, wear what makes you happy and as I wander aimlessly into my 40s, I veer further away from the twin sets and wooly skirts I wore during my Miss Marple phase in my twenties and more towards something I’m not sure what yet.
My days of vintage dressing I think are well and truly behind me! There is a dedication to vintage that I no longer care for, not in a bad way so that might be a bad choice of words because I do truly admire those take the time to ‘dress up’ in fact in any style, not just vintage. It takes time and dedication, it is an art form. I have a book called Self-Styled and part of me wishes I could be that creative when I dress and yes I could but the true reason I do not is because that is not me. I buy stuff because I have all these ideas and then they just sit in the wardrobe or draws. If I’m honest with myself I’ve always preferred and felt more comfortable in the casual look on myself, its probably why my wardrobe is full of stretchy, jersey based clothes. When I think about the clothes I loved most during over the years, I mean the ones that actually got worn to death, one was a jersey style baseball jacket/cardigan thing which my parents had to remind me to wash because I never took it off o and then there was the black velour J Lo style track suit which was a choice that I think confused everybody, including me but again I wore it to death. There are the dresses that had to be restitched together, trousers I mourned over when the inner thigh seams gave way to chub rub but all have them were worn because I felt comfortable and confident in them.
After years of the beauty and fashion industry feeding our insecurities, it’s easy to become obsessed with our body shape and staying young-looking, it can be hard to hang on to reality. The Radical Self Love and Eff Your Beauty Standards movements have taken off for a reason, we’re sick of living in constrictive norms. Our worth will no longer be defined by our gender or the size or shaped of our bodies, or the youthfulness of our skin. I won’t lie, some of my body/clothing hang ups have been caused by careless comments by others. Skirt too short, too much cleavage on show, you’re getting too fat! I even got asked by someone if was putting my bra on correctly because I was complaining about saggy boobs, like every woman has perky, pert and perfectly shaped boobs and if you don’t it’s because you’re not putting your bra on properly! FYI boobs come in many shapes and forms and yoyoing weight is never kind to your kind to your body.
But I digress, as I said I have regular wardrobe clear outs, more recently I have been trying to focus on building a wardrobe for keeps but when rifling through the racks the other day I noticed that most of my clothes go unworn and I had a think why. My default answer is I’ll wear it someday, or you never know when you’re going to need that. When it comes to my vintage clothes I let go of them easier because they have already been ‘preloved’ and will go onto another collector who will get more wear out of it, it’s the cycle of vintage. But when it comes to my off the rack clothes, I tend to hold onto them longer and part of me thinks it’s because I’m trying to be sustainable with my clothing choices and another part of me if I’m honest is convinced she’ll lose the weight and fit into them at some point! It took a why but I also hold to my handmade clothes out of sentimentality but recently sent them off to charity because they are no longer me.
I tried on some clothes the other day as I have a wedding I’m going to coming up and even when something is staring glaringly obvious in front of your face, you can still be blind to the issue. The issue being that I’ve been reluctant to accept the fact that this is not a weight issue but a change of body issue. I’m older now and with all of the issues I have with food, flare ups, stomach bloating etc my body, it’s shape and how it works has changed drastically from when I was younger. I eat much healthier than I used and I exercise regularly, and my goal health wise is keep the strokes and heart attacks that plagued our family history at bay. I periodically have to remind myself because it is so ingrained in our society, that thin does not equate healthiness no matter what the body fascists bark at you! It has also dawned on me that it’s not just time that makes your style evolve, it’s circumstance. I now work from home as a self-employed creative. Where vintage dresses and smart clothes were practical for an office, they are not so much for a creative work life, no one wants to get paint or glue on their favourite vintage dress. I also just prefer comfy and simple clothes these days, band t-shirts and jeans are what I like and then you realise that you’ve gone full circle back to your grunge/riotgrrl younger self because the first you you discover style wise stays with you regardless.
So I decided to strip out my wardrobe again! Some items have gone into seasonal storage, others have gone to be sold, I’ve kept the odd dress for special occasions but I’m really taking my time before adding new items. I know I want to head over to a more handmade wardrobe, it’s why I started making my own clothes. I know I want to be more sustainable and ethical in my choices. I also want to ensure the things I buy or make get worn and therefore need to be practical in the sense that I like them and they suit my lifestyle. So whilst I thought my clear out was complete, I guess it never really is!