In defence of…my wardrobe! Day 8

The Phase Eight Cardigan

The questionable cardi

There are 19 days left in January. I know because I counted…and I had to count twice through my squinted, tired eyes. Another 19 outfits to somehow cobble together from odds and sods. Safe to say I’m waning.

Plus, I have to apologise for the photos today – they’re a little grainy (but they look how I feel so I suppose they’re appropriate). My official photographer is on a business trip!

Today's Outfit

Those FCUK trousers again

Today, I was absolutely desperate for a casual day. I just wanted to throw on a pair of jeans and go…but after tipping the entire contents of both my wardrobes (yes, I have two) onto my misfit body and then (in a rage) onto the floor, I had to relent. Once again, I submit. I just don’t do jeans. I can’t actually fathom how jeans became such a fashion staple – they’re impossible to wear unless you’ve got golf clubs for legs and the average size of women in Britain is a 16. It’s infuriating. Remember, this garment is the origin of the phrase ‘muffin top’. Why would we befriend such an obvious enemy?

The Clashing Patterns

Clashing perfectly…or just clashing?

This Phase Eight cardigan has been squashed into the orphaned corner of my wardrobe since I was a size 10. I don’t even remember when that was…it seems unfeasible now that I ever was! I do remember buying it…at a time when I thought I was a bit of a kooky dresser but instead of adding a touch of quirk to my wardrobe it just ended up looking a bit frumpy with everything I paired it with. Sometimes I’d look at it adoringly but that’s as close as it got to fulfilling its sartorial purpose.

The blouse is from Hobbs…again. It’s one of the lucky ones – sometimes, it actually gets called up for duty but I’ve never been satisfied with the way it fits. It’s one of those fashionably short things that does absolutely nothing for the biscuit box (aka my mum-tum). Another example of fashion designing for the fortunate few. Why, when so many of us are wearing muffin-top jeans already, would we want a cropped blouse to add to the horror?

The Top

Just a hint of Les Dawson

To prove I’m not being melodramatic (excepting the fact that this whole 30-day blogathon is dabbling more than a little bit in that genre), I feel the need to show you what it looks like without the previously-dowdy-but-possibly-now-cool cardi. Not bad but I do resemble that frumpy bosom-nudging battleaxe Les Dawson used to play. You know the one. It’s those damned giant apples yet again.

But maybe the cardigan has at last found its calling. I can’t tell whether the fairisle is expertly clashed with the shoe-print blouse or whether they just make a bizarre couple but at least the cardigan gives me back some shape. How do you like them apples?

Shoes and Trews

Scruffy Suede Cons

In defence of…my wardrobe! Day 7

For those of you who are just joining me, catch up with why I’m on this little tangent into fashion blogging here.

Today's Outfit

Harrumph! It’ll do…

Up-to-date? Then let’s begin. 2013 was momentous for me – in triplicate. Firstly, I cooked an 8lb bun (not easy when you’re 5ft 2in…and a smidge) but being a bona fide masochist, that wasn’t challenge enough for me. As well as carting my truly enormous bump around for nine months, I did an MA in journalism – much to the amazement of all and sundry. And to complete the perfect triple, I deserted my reasonably paid job as a teacher in favour of motherhood (and, if I’m impossibly lucky, a little freelance writing).

Eye Make-Up

A little Lancôme

The maternity pay has dwindled to nothing and it’s only now I look at the many outcasts in my closet that I realise just how much I took money for granted when I was working. Whistles and Hobbs were staple workwear and nothing was saved for best or put on a pedestal. All clothes were created equal. And it didn’t matter if I seldom wore a statement dress. I could afford to wear it once and store it for later…for posterity maybe.

Now that I’m no longer earning a daily crust, the way I think about clothes has changed. Everything has to come out and play. Dresses need to be versatile enough to wear and re-wear. I no longer get an invite to a wedding and immediately consider a shopping trip (well, not every time!) I still buy from my favourite shops – although more sparingly and usually in the sale but, these days, I’m much more likely to buy cheap and experiment with brands. Sadly (for me), I do find that fabrics or shapes tend to be less flattering on my figure – as with this ASOS skirt.

The Stolen Belt

The Stolen Belt

The paisley pattern has an almost vintage, tea-stained quality and the heavy jersey makes it feel more luxurous than it should for the price but the elasticated waistline is a dead giveaway. It just doesn’t forgive misdemeanours (of the biscuit variety). That one minor detail robs this skirt of its true status as a wardrobe wonder. You see, it just makes me feel fat. Let’s be absolutely clear: being slightly thicker around the waist than your average catwalk model is perfectly acceptable to me. Feeling it, on the other hand, simply is not!

A trio of accessories

A trio of accessories

I just about managed to salvage the skirt with a very old Warehouse top, and a belt stripped rather unapolegitcally from a Whistles dress I love. The slightly witchy Aldo shoes I got (rather fittingly) on a trip to see Wicked and they always make me click my heels with Dorothy-like tenacity. Those, and a bit of colour around the neckline, certainly help re-route my mind from my midriff but I wouldn’t say the ensemble was a total success. I like the way it looks but it still doesn’t make me feel like a supermodel. And, even if I will never actually be one, I absolutely demand that every stitch I wear makes me feel like one! Am I being unreasonable?

Today's Shoes

My ‘defying gravity’ Aldo shoes

In defence of…my wardrobe! Day 6

Gieves and Hawkes Shirt

A little something blue…and borrowed!

While the cat’s away, the mouse will play…with his clothes! I’ll admit, the whole ‘boyfriend look’ passed me by. I was under the mistaken assumption that one had to be waspishly thin to pull it off but, today, with only a full-bodied bumble bee in sight, I’m giving it a go. Except, this pilfered Gieves and Hawkes shirt really should be classified as the ‘husband look’. He’s on a business trip so he’ll never know. Although, worryingly, he has started following me on Twitter…

This morning, I got up an hour before my daughter, full of energy and ready to start our day…excited to ransack wardrobes. So there you have it, there’s something in this clothes malarkey. For the first time in months, I have beans! Okay, coincidentally, Little G started sleeping through the night recently – after nine relentless months of sleep deprivation – so that may have something to do with it too. But, seriously, this little experiment of mine is definitely working. Like any other day, I have a ‘to do’ list (what I have where my brain used to be)…and, at half past ten in the morning, it’s almost complete!

But back to the outfit. I never thought I could rock a buttoned-up shirt. When I was little, my family used to refer to me as ‘no-neck’…I know, how I suffered(!) And remember those giant apples I told you about? There need be no further explanation than that. But, here I am, embracing it…the merest hint of my no-neck on display.

NW3 by Hobbs SkirtThis tweed girl is the main event though. She has been a bit forsaken and had only flirted with fresh air a couple of times even though I’ve had her for about two years. She’s a little bit bell-shaped and, sadly – at certain angles – makes me look ever-so-slightly bell-shaped too. But, sod it. Ding Dong. With a belt and the shirt, I’m happy to tinkle.

Ring and Plait

Scruffy elegance

Accessories are simple today. Just this French ruby and diamond ring I bought from Ebay for £90. I love me some bling, especially paired with the casual scruffiness of this unkempt fishtail braid. You have to give me kudos for trying with that – I’m definitely a hair rookie and don’t have any of the necessary kit (spot the huge hair band in the main pics?).

This outfit is also giving the kiss of life to a pair of Dickins and Jones shoes. They’re just a little bit tap-shoe esque and haven’t really had their moment on the dance floor but one shouldn’t neglect one’s shoes! So here they are…ready to rumba.

Dickins and Jones Shoes

Ballroom glamour

And there you have it. Not changing the world but changing my world…just a little bit. One outfit at a time. Now, Little G and I have some shapes to sort and I’m pretty sure I just heard the Boden catalogue land on the door mat! Old habits die hard.

Today's Outfit

My best bent-legged model pose