The style issue...

posted on: Sunday, 9 March 2014

I have decided that the style issue is not what to wear but whether what you wear matches your life. I see a myriad of pictures on Pinterest of these fabulous outfits and I notice two things; the wearer is model-pretty (see this analysis of how to get snapped by The Sartorialist as proof!) and the location is exotic and/or a cool metropolis. I live in the South of England; it's not rock and roll. It's more seaside-pretty and pedestrianised streets. My town is home to every facet of the British population, from the elderly to the teenage. Let's just say: it's hardly a fashion mecca. There is a lot of beige. Beige is the scourge of the mature generation; I fear beige.

What is the key to that innate style that bloggers so often write of? The ability to look not just stylishly dressed but also in keeping with one's surroundings. Would street style look as cool standing in a dreary British high street (in all is commercial regularity) as it does standing next to a Carrie-esque Brownstone in New York?

When I was growing up I used to babysit a couple of local children, collecting them from school a few days a week. I observed the 'school mums' of the time; women who were probably younger than I am now, arriving each day to collect their kids. There was one mum I vividly recall who had obviously decided that she was not going to bow down to the ordinary-ness of her location and would resolutely wear OUTFITS -  heels and dresses, she generally would rock an ensemble every day on the school run. Now, I think: good for her. But then, I have to admit I thought she bordered on the ridiculous! There is something incongruous about a woman tripping round the school playground with a pushchair, in heels.

Such a shame that as a woman's years advance, the ability to dress outrageously diminishes. The ceiling on outrageous dressing comes, I think, at 36. I wish I could revisit my 33 year old self and tell her to throw caution to the wind when it comes to clothes. Beyond 36 and certainly by 39 the need to be more 'appropriate' comes into play. And I know there are ways round it and I know that I shouldn't be so inhibited but I go back to my previous point: looking ridiculous is not the aim, surely?

I suppose the fact is that of all those school mums I saw, it was the ridiculous one I remember, whereas the rest pale into the mists of time. Should this be a lesson?!

There is now very little call for outfits in my life and I am sure that all those years in a corporate job were tolerated, in part, because of the possibility to dress up for business meetings.

What should I make of this? I clearly spend too much time on the web looking at clothes that I have no business coveting! For the first time I have the funds and the self-confidence to wear the clothes. I just have NOWHERE to wear the clothes!

Hilarious irony.

Back to Pinterest then, to live vicariously... ;-)


  1. I wore power suits for work and I made myself promise that I would never become a track suit mum. I wrote in my work diary a number of notes for my new self also reminding myself that corporate life was hard and sometimes bitchy. Of course I wear track suits and certainly dress down when walking the dog but I do wear makeup most days, put on jewellrey , make sure my hair and nails look well. I am a much more casual dresser now but I love to dress up on special occasions. I think Helen Mirren who is much older than I has the right attitude she wears fashion well is often on trend but wears what works for her. I hope I am like her when I am older and as myself and my sister say shoot me if I turn into a beige woman.

  2. Life certainly is ironic isn't it Lou ? Just when we start to have a little money to spend, we start to get older and don't really have the need for ball gowns etc. BUT ….. I always find the need for leather jackets, and anything All Saints and Bolongaro Trevor { age appropriate only though ….no bodycon dresses for me now !!!! } I have always loved fashion and err on the side of quirky. I lived in Biba in my 20's and, when I was young, I didn't spend fortunes on clothes but Biba was really the first shop to cater for the young and be different and, working in Mayfair in the 70's, there was a mecca of individual shops to find something different. Obviously ones clothes change for the different phases of our lives.
    I have NEVER worn beige in my life ….. it's not obligatory when you pass 40 !! haha. I think that it's lovely to keep ones passion for fashion alive.We have to try and get it right though ….. as my friend always says ' As a nation, we spend millions { probably billions } of pounds on fashion every year and yet, how often do you see someone who looks fantastic ….. very rarely but, we can all look right in our own way.
    Keep your passion for fashion alive Lou ….. it's frivolous, yes, but, a bit of friviolity sometimes never hurt anyone. XXXX

  3. I love how you are putting words on my own feelings those days... Thank you, I am not alone !


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