Sunday, 3 January 2016

A Confession and A Challenge..

Generally speaking, everything is going brilliantly over here at 'The Great Escape'.  My income is tiny compared to this time last year but I'm happy and healthy, and the maths that underpins my two year transition budget is holding up.  I've got another piano pupil starting this week and a couple of enquiries for harp tuition to follow up once the new term is under way.  Things look fine...
....Except for one thing - my clothes!  I feel that I've completely 'lost my way sartorially' since I gave up work.  When I was classroom teaching I developed a comfortable winter uniform of boots, leggings, a smart Alexon or Precis dress and a dark jacket.  These dresses were a bit 'old-fashioned' but they were fine for my job role.  When we got back from France at the end of September I just embraced my Saturday wardrobe of boots, jeans and a Fat Face top or Cuba hoodie.
Ladies... I have worn nothing but three hoodies, two tops and a couple of pairs of jeans (on a washing rotation!) for the last three months.  I've barely worn make-up.  I've ignored all my lovely vintage 1950s jewellery.  I've used the same soft black leather rucksack for every trip out of the house.  I've sometimes remembered to put on perfume but, to be honest, I am not the smart middle manager that I was last year.
Hmmmm.... This was my wardrobe at around 2.00 pm yesterday afternoon.  You can see that I'm in a state of crisis because this is a very 'un-Jan-like' muddle.  (Just before Christmas I even managed to lose a boot completely in the drifts of stuff at the bottom.) 

The top shelf - where I keep my hoodies, scarves and soft bags - is in complete chaos.
You can even spot one of my favourite tunic tops on the bottom right (which normally always lives on a hanger)

Some 90 minutes later everything looked a bit tidier again.  I've moved all my super-smart dresses to the left hand side of the wardrobe, then there's a sliding scale of smart to casual across the hangers.  This means that my 'smart-casual' clothes are now straight in front of me when I open the doors.

I can see all my winter footwear again (and found the boot that I believed lost)

Stuff that I won't need until Spring has been piled at the back of the shelf, while my beloved hoodies are in one, easy to access pile at the front.  I've also collected some of my favourite handbags together on the right hand side....

So that's the confession side of this post over and done with... now it's time for the challenge.  I realise that I've become a slightly lazy dresser.  There's nothing wrong with jeans and hoodies, but I need to work at finding a 'smart/casual' style that suits my new role; makes the most of the clothes I already have (since I can't afford new ones!) and accepts the fact that I'm going to be 50 next birthday.
I am going to go 'cold turkey' on the boots, jeans and hoodie combo, and to prove it I'm going to post photos of my outfits as regularly as possible.  Bearing in mind that I really prefer to be behind the camera, this is really taking me out of my comfort zone..

So this is what I wore to my Quaker Meeting this morning - ankle boots with a proper heel, leggings, a short (but not too short??) grey skirt, a Laura Ashley soft top under a grey wool jacket, a chunky grey plastic bracelet and vintage necklace.  I also ditched my black leather rucksack for a black bag with fabric flowers.   As soon as I walked in one of the clerks admired my necklace - which gave me some confidence that I'm heading in the right direction!
I'd love to read how other people are managing the style/fashion/age challenge.
Do any of you fancy joining me in some January posts?


  1. I'm at home a lot of the time and gradually drifted towards the frumpy. But when I realised that a dress or tunic with tights, leggings or jeans were as comfy and practical as anything more slouchy I defrumped almost instantly. I am thinking of writing a few clothing posts so may join you.

  2. Check out Curtises's blog at She has great style yet so confy and retools items for mix and match. I too have gotten very lazy in the wardrobe area so every now and then I remind myself that comfort and style are not opposites.

  3. Tidy! So tidy! I spend my life trying to get my clothes organised and tidy but since they live in 2 wardrobes, 2 chests of drawers plus 6 large drawers/boxes under beds to say nothing of all the coats on hooks downstairs and a seperate underwear drawer block, it seems it will never be in my grasp! So nice to see what you look like!!! I can understand that sense of not being at work and thus wearing more casual things- I wear lots of dresses for work and going out but I wonder how much I would do that if I weren't at school? I would say, making use of scarves and accessories like belts etc is a good way to sort of change outfits but you did that above (nice outfit by the way! I like the combination and the bag is cool!)
    I agree with Thrift-deluxe's comment above too!xx

  4. ...and yes, back to school tomorrow- I am so gloomy! Poor CBC has to go straight back into class without an INSET day! So much to do -sigh! He had reports to do and couldn't get into SIMS, the network to do the reports and access his work sheets- finally managed to get a log in from his IT person when she was back from holidays!
    I am trying to name all the hundreds of recordings from the last few weeks of term!x

  5. You look great. I left the full-time working world over 30 years ago with only a few months here and there in that time, so I'm not one to advise you. But I do remember that I said (while still working and with no children) that when I was a full time SAHM, I would not leave the house without being dressed in smart clothes, full make-up, and hair fixed. I did that the first day as a SAHM, and the next day I gave birth. After that, I was lucky to leave the house wearing clean clothes.

    Now, my usual attire is jeans, tennis shoes, and a knit pullover top. I did see a young woman at the grocery store yesterday and not only was she wearing cute clothes, but her hair had obviously been styled and she was wearing makeup. And I wondered why. So you see how low I've slid.

  6. I live in jeans and t shirts. Comfort before style is my motto these days, though I could definitely do with smartening up a bit.

  7. I have enjoyed having a bit of time over christmas to actually wear some of my clothes and make more of an effort although you can not prise me away from my jeans. I quite honestly live in jeans. By the way you look very smart! Xxx Leah

  8. Jeans, leggings and tunics. I tend to swap one uniform for another home uniform. My wardrobe is up for a sort out this week.

  9. I know how you feel, I've lost my way a bit in terms of my attite. The first thing I did when I stopped work was have a good sort of my wardrobe and I didn't buy any new clothes for the next year, but I tend to just stick with jeans and tops every day which is dull. I think maybe I need to have a little rethink?! Your outfit looks great so you've obviously got the know how and items to make up some great outfits :)

  10. I love being comfortable, but I'm not fashionalbe in the least, but do miss dressing up a little. I still try and look nice, except at home where I opt for stretchy type things, which are easy to do housework, sewing etc. in. I still use perfume and love to change my earings. You look lovely in the photo and how lucky to be only 50. Don't I wish (66 now). Happy new year and take care.

  11. I'm in uniform at work all day and have been full time for almost 29 years so when I get the chance I just want to be comfy although I do like to dress up when I can...I still like to wear a bit of make up and perfume every day though. By the way my wardrobe looked like yours a couple of weeks ago but I have been good and had a clear out mainly as I couldn't find a jumper I knew was in there!!! Happy New Year to you...and Thank you for your kind comment about Stella. xx

  12. The wardrobe is looking good again!
    Dressing sensibly when working from home is a hard one; I suppose you're just after the chic equivalent of a hoodie and jeans, really. I love ballet flats and ankle length trousers.

  13. It is so easy to get into the habit of dressing casually. I retired 6 years ago and my wardrobe is mainly comfy black trousers, jeans and assorted T shirts worn with a fleece or hoodie! I struggled to find a decent top to wear on Christmas day and my GD kindly pointed out that I wore the same top last year :/ Out of the mouths of babes.... You look fab, by the way, and don't forget that 50 is the new 40!! Happy new year, Jan x

  14. I'm like a lot of your commenters - jeans/jumper or fleece combo. I go out teaching, but generally jeans are accepted as okay here in France as long as everything is clean/ smart(ish)
    I would like to go down the route of tunic/dress + warm tights route, but I'm afraid I would need to buy stuff and keep looking at things online and thinking I'm not paying that! Sigh.
    You look like I would like to look like though. Smart-casual. Good for you.