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