A merry and marvellous March

Not only is it now definitely Spring-like here which is in itself decidedly uplifting and joyful, but it’s also Day One of my new wardrobe ūüėÄ ¬†I confess was a bit fed with clothes during the last week of my Season Four. ¬†I was bored and fed up with pretty much everything and completely lost interest in making any effort whatsoever.

Shame on me ?

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Not really, I think most people will become a tad bored after 92 days of ¬†trying to make up outfits from the same items when for over two thirds of those days, it’s essential to dress for one location and situation (work) and with the main purpose of keeping warm. ¬†Meaning that whatever I may have been wearing underneath, I was often having to wear the same top layers so I felt like I didn’t have so many options for different outfits ūüė¶

Never mind, it’s over now and I don’t like to dwell on the past; I prefer to revel and luxuriate in the present whilst keep one eye on the future. And the future is looking not only sunny and bright, but crucially, warmer too – hurray ! ¬†I’ve had the most lovely three days sorting out my wardrobe, drawers, trunks and also completely re-arranging the furniture in my bedroom to maximise space for mediations and yoga practice, the flow of energy and also to ensure I get as much light and brightness as possible. ¬†It feels wonderful in there now and a completely unexpected bonus was that when my delightful (yet unbelievably messy) Teen saw my room, she decided to follow suit and ¬†cleared out and rearranged the furniture in her own room. ¬†Lesson learned by me : leading by example had almost instant results whereas nagging and sniping has got me almost NOWHERE, for YEARS.

Throughout February I’ve been taking part in a mini challenge with a couple of friends, the object of it being to get rid of as many times as possible from our homes. ¬†I managed 50 by myself and Teen has probably doubled that so we DO have a lot more space and calm in our home. ¬†One of the items on its way to the charity shop is that pink skirt I mentioned previously. It just isn’t ‘right’ for me and bedsides, the Teen declared that she would be unable to talk to me if I ever wore it.

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My workwear is casual so I wear trousers/jeans a lot. These are the ones I’ve selected for my capsule for the next three months, and the angle I’ve photographed from makes some of them look a bit of a strange shape, however, I’m showing for colour rather than cut! ¬†I dithered over the white ones until I remembered that my season includes May and that can be deliciously warm; the same reason for including those mad print palazzos which I’ve had for years and often think of getting rid of until I remember they’re pretty much the only reason I have for using the word ‘voluminous’ and on reflection I believe that is reason enough.

A varied selection of colours, prints and plains for tops and blouses (tank tops for warmth and laying aren’t included in the numbers for my season) ¬†and I’m full of wild optimism that I’ll be able to make up many different outfits for both work and play days

IMG_5818          IMG_5823using a cunning combination of imagination and large dollop of incautious concern as to what others may think of my dress sense!

IMG_5820¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†IMG_5825I’m keeping some woolly jumpers and scarves in the collection for a few weeks as I really feel the cold and I’m not convinced that the calendar and the temperature are in agreement just yet.

IMG_5822 Just look at all those hangers, waiting for their turn to be removed and then switched round the other way!

I havent photographed everything, because frankly, I got bored and hungry so went off to make some toast and then snuggled down with a book for while… I certainly won’t win any style awards and it’s probably not a very cohesive collection but I’ve done my best with what I had to work with. I think I counted 35 items, not including footwear, scarves or jewellery.

IMG_5826¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†IMG_5817It’s the majority of the items I have to choose from ( haven’t included coat, blazer, biker or warm jackets – too dull) and these are the remnants from my first year of practising my version of P333. I shed so much during that first year and ¬†I’ve pledged not to buy any new items of clothing this year although if necessary I can replace a much loved and worn item which is either worn out or no longer fits. ¬† And when I say no longer fits, I mean too big.¬†I have a bundle of clothes in a bag marked “too small” and the date: 25th May. ¬†On that day last year, I declared that if I could still not fit into those clothes on the same date in a year’s time, then I HAD to get rid of them.

I admit I’m scared, but I shed 4 lbs during February so I can easily shed another 5 lbs in March.¬†She says, somewhat boldly.

I think this whole movement towards minimalizing and simplifying my wardrobe is going to end up being a three year process. ¬†The first year was about starting to sift through everything¬†I had, buying more of what I felt I needed and then working through each season and getting rid of everything I didn’t like or which didn’t suit me at the end of it. ¬†That has brought me to where I am now at the start of Year Two, whereby I’ve got rid of most of the dross and now I have to see what stills works, and really nail the styles, shapes, colours and cuts which are perfect for me and my life.

I won’t promise to post pics of every single outfit, every single day, but rest assured I’m making a note of it in my book and also keeping a tally of how often each item gets worn.

And for the record, today I’ve been wearing distressed jeans and a grey top – prefect for doing furniture shifting and trips to the shed !

 

 

 

 

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The winter wardrobe is waning – come on spring!

When we first moved abroad, ¬†I remember that each morning my parents would look out the window, grin at each other and say ” it’s sunny again today”! ¬†It became a bit of a thing and we all used to dread coming back to the UK each summer; having to pack for every possible weather condition known to man. ¬†I say ‘we’, but I expect it was actually my Mother who used to do all the dreading as she was probably in charge of the packing.

Some years later when I came back to school in the UK I took charge of my own packing and at the end of each terms I would fold all my school uniform and mufti clothes away in my school trunk at the end of each term and it would be stored in the basement until the next term. It didn’t phase me at all and I was quite used to ¬†living by this regular three month ritual. ¬†Thinking about it now, I did have have four separate wardrobes back then; a very British school uniform ( pinnies, boaters, white and brown gloves and an actual cloak) mufti to wear after school, summery clothes to wear when at home abroad and another set for the summer holidays, mainly spent on the Dorset coast in the UK. That probably sounds far more glamorous than it actually was; it’s not like I had fancy ‘collections’ or anything; I just had climate and occasion appropriate clothes to suit the various aspects of my life. On reflection, it’s no wonder that for so many years since, I’ve had such a bizarre, eclectic collection of mismatched clothes and have struggled so to find my own style ūüėÄ

Somehow, over the the years and with most of my time being spent in just one location and with a far less interesting and varied lifestyle,I slipped in to the habit of just having two season’s worth of clothes and swapping over twice a year. It didn’t really work that well and what with all the different styles and personalities I was trying to wear, it all became a bit manic and out of control. ¬†I kept on buying stuff in the vain hope that I’d manage to find myself somewhere in amongst all the bizarre collections of clothes. ¬†I had so many outfits which I’d co ordinated prettily from pieces I’d found from various places but they frequently disappointed me. Either ¬†the style of the outfit was wrong for my height and shape or the colours were wrong for my colouring. The more I failed to achieve what I sought, the more pieces I bought…

Well, I’m so happy to have finally stepped off that wheel of continual want and waste. Of all the separate pieces I had in my winter collection, there is only one item I haven’t worn at all and that’s the red jeans, because they are ( still) too tight. ¬†Although, I’ve only worn my navy dress ¬†the pink tweed skirt ¬†and my pink wool coat just one time as well. ¬†I like the idea of the tweed skirt, the colour and the style are fine but I’m just not sure ¬†how it looks on…

Perhaps I’m not dressing it with the right things so I’ll keep it a while and try to find some new ways to wear it. ¬†I LOVE my pink coat but I’ve decided that it’s more suited to spring. ¬†I don’t need two knee length wool coats for winter and I’d rather not wear a black one in Spring so I’ll have it¬†cleaned and then store it away until Autumn or Winter and keep the pink one for use in early spring.

There are quite a few items I’ve let go. For the first time, I think, I shall be ending a season with less than I started and would you believe that it’s now nearly two months since I bought any clothing … the pair of tights I bought to replace a worn pair doesn’t count.

I’ve donated three scarves, ¬†a cardigan, a jumper and two tops and swiftly returned a pair of shoes which I loved and wore about the house for two days until I finally conceded that I just cannot comfortably wear heels over two inches. However fabulous they may look and no matter how much they may elongate my legs, I SIMPLY WILL NOT SUFFER for appearance’s sake. Had I not injured my foot as a child then I may well be able to wear heels now and for a long time I did wear them; ignoring the pain, but I value my health and body so much these days and as my (imaginary) modelling career is probably also on the wane, I shan’t worry too much!

I’ve already had a peek in the trunk (the very same one I’ve had since school) at my Spring ¬†and Summer selection and I’ve already donated a pair of jeans, a tunic jumper, top, skirt, leggings and dress from it so I’m expecting to start off with a collection of items in which I like every single pieces.

I’ll admit that I am ready for a change now, I’m starting to feel just a bit bored with seeing the same items each time I open the wardrobe and as I honestly haven’t worn a pair of shoes in months, I’m quite looking forward to seeing something other than boots on my feet.

I’ve kept my diary free for next weekend, and thank goodness I don’t work Fridays, this seasonal ¬†wardrobe swapping is definitely a Three Day Event!

Winter Solstice already!

Blessings to all this cheery day. I love Yule; it’s peak darkness, the heigh of the festive frenzy for me and the day on which I always aim to have everything sorted for the impending christmas and new year feasting and fun. ¬†I shall be shopping for groceries later today and then we can just rela-a-a-a-ax ūüôā It’s actually ridiculous quite how many attempts I’ve made to write a post; only to have the time slip by, then think of something else to write about, ¬†plan to add that in to the original post, only for the time to slip by again… ¬†and so on! ¬†So many things to chat about and they get lost in time so to get some routine in place for next year, I plan to set aside two specific time slots each week to write blog posts… ¬†We’ll see how that works out ! So, the first post was to be about my end of season 3 wardrobe round up and starting the next season on December 1st… yeh, I’m very aware it’s now the 21st ¬† I mentioned that I was so happy with the autumn one that I probably wouldn’t change much… and I didn’t. ¬†When I opened up my clothes trunk I discovered that I didn’t much like some of the clothes I had in there. ¬†I had ( what I previously thought was ) a lovely warm wool dress which I admit I held on to as it was partially made from yak wool ! ¬†I never even knew such a thing was in clothes. ¬†Anyway, the colour was a bit like porridge and not great on me – understatement ¬†– but the Teen’s calm and considered reaction to it went along the lines of ” Burn it, burn it now”. ¬†Ohhhh it was so soft soft, warm and snuggly and I briefly considered dyeing it… but I tend not to do that unless I’m guaranteed a good result. So it went on ebay, and now has new home and I had some money to buy something more suitable – yay! IMG_5307 ¬† And on that subject of dyeing; see that ticket ^ there, that’s from a fab (and too expensive to simply get rid of) pair of suede boots which I loved when I bought them… until I realised that their brown tone really didn’t go well with my new wardrobe odour schemes. ¬†A fine and fancy cobblers has opened up in the next village from me so I took them in to enquire if it was possible to dye them. ¬†They had them for about 2 weeks and I started to lose hope but eventually, after many coats and drying out in-between they were ready. The cheery man gave me a can of suede colour refresher and the price of the actually dyeing process and the can of spray was just ¬£20. ¬†Which, if you knew the original cost of the boots ( mumble mumble mumble pounds) is well worth the money. They’re now my favourite pair of throw-on boots and have been worn more in the last 3 weeks than in the previous 2 years of ownership. ¬†I very much agree with the little mantra on the ticket and it’s something I have always lived by. ¬†I am perfectly happy to buy cheap and/or pre-loved clothes, but I don’t buy cheap shoes. ¬†Feet often carry the weight of your entire body and if you use them to move about all day they deserve to be supported by a good sole and covered in quality material as well as a pretty design. Anyway, back to the wardrobe; ¬†I think I said the only pieces I hadn’t worn during the last season were 3 frocks. ¬†I decided that one was just wrong for the season – removed to another season – one was too clingy – ahem, still is – and I was wearing the other that week. ¬†The occasion I was wearing it for was a funeral. Not a formal drab funeral, but a memorial and farewell type funeral at which I was reading a eulogy so I chose this navy dress with small beige dots on. ¬†The bodice fit beautifully, the neckline was perfect and I’d previously altered the sleeves to a more flattering length, but when I out it on I still wasn’t overly happy with it. ¬†It just didn’t seem to hang right at the back but it was too late to come up with another outfit so I wore it and was perfectly comfortable. ¬†But after I’d washed it I decided that it seemed ‘right’ to let it go. I’m certainly not suggesting that it’s necessary to get rid of an item that’s been worn to a funeral, purely for that reason. Although I admit I’ve always felt a bit uncomfortable with wearing clothes after… However, on this occasion it was the thing to do and I feel no shame in letting go a piece that I wasn’t completely happy with anyway. IMG_5438¬†^ That’s an outfit from the previous seasons which I’ve continued to wear as the temperatures have stayed fairly warm for the time of year. The shade of the cardi isn’t ideal for my colouring but with the scarf and wearing it open I can get away with it and the good fit along with the softness of cashmere is enough to make me stick with it for now, looks great with the boots too. Had either of my girls liked it I would have let it go to them, but neither of them were taken with the colour either hmmm… IMG_5439 This is another set I like wearing; black skinny jeans, black slightly fitted cardi with a bright pink top underneath to cheer it up. The scarf is black and white check rather than the grey it appears to be and ¬†does a great job of distracting the eye from my somewhat generous generous curves as well as elevating ¬†a few items of clothing to an ‘outfit’. ¬†I’m a great believer in the power of scarves, they add interest and tend to either lie flat against clothes or create some texture around the neckline. I used to try long statement type necklaces to pull an outfit together but found they’d just bounce against my boobs when I walked which just emphasises rather than detracts from their abundance! IMG_5462 I used the same scarf in a more casual way when wearing bf jeans and a loose jumper. Quite a lot of different colours going on here and I was a bit unsure when I first wore it. ¬†I’d originally tried it with a plain black scarf which hangs down but then it felt a bit too heavy and didn’t sit right as the jumper neckline is wide so needs a lighter scarf that sort of sits more like a collar and the colours felt a bit ‘two by two’ / ‘matchy matchy.’ ¬†I LOVE those shoes and really dont wear them too often. ¬†The reason being that in spite of sturdy construction – solid platform wedge sole with absolute no flexibility and a bugger to drive in – they are suede all over ¬†and those flowers are embroidered and I am so scared of damaging them so they can’t be worn again. ¬†I almost tip toe about in them. ¬†I’m not precious about most things but if I really love an item I will wear it carefully in order to prolong its life with me! IMG_5443 Above is another regularly worn work outfit. It’s a casual work place which is great as suits and buttoned up shirt collars really don’t look good on me. ¬†So, a plain black top, the ubiquitous black skinny jeans and new favourite boots topped off with a cheery red cardi and lightweight black / white owl print scarf. ¬†I suppose I could have worn this scarf with that jeans and jumper… not sure, I’ll have to try it out another time, see if I like it. So, I have 35 main items in Season 4. ¬†This includes my 5 coats: long smart black wool coat, long smart pink wool coat, short black wool jacket, short brown tweedish jacket and black leather biker jacket. I’ve not yet worn either of the long coats, it hasn’t felt cold enough yet. My 35 doesn’t include foot wear – 2 pairs of wellies, ¬†2 long black boots; 1 smart leather, 1 more casual fur lined wedge sole suede ( NOT ugg-ly boots ) 1 long brown riding style boots and the newly dyed black ankle boots, the pretty black ankle strap shoes & red patent heels. Nor does my 35 incorporate scarves : 3 wonderfully warm pashmina style in black, winter white and red, ¬†the 2 black/white ones pictured above, 2 pink ones, navy spotty one, or the thick snuggly yet rarely worn wool ones in pink or sage green – gifts that may not last be one this season… I dont include underwear, hosiery, pyjamas or leggings either, or vest tops worn under other things for added warmth/ layering, I have 5 of these. Nor do I include sloppy T or yoga pants worn for exercising. My 2 pairs of leather gloves and my 2 wool hats aren’t included either, nor are my 2 pairs of comfy/ warm/slouchy sweatpants which don’t leave the house – ever! Party/occasion frocks still don’t count either. So, what exactly does my 35 include then ? IMG_5032¬†Err no! My 35 is made up : 5 x coats¬†: as mentioned above 6 trousers/ jeans:¬†2 pairs of black skinny jeans, 1 x indigo smart ¬†jeans, 1 x faded, slightly distressed boyfriend jeans, 1 x red jeans. 1 x dark undistinguishable brownish, reddish colour which I’m dyeing black. Cant have too many pairs of black skinny jeans! 10 tops : 2 x black tops, 2 x red tops, 2 x grey tops, 2 x stripe tops, 1 x pink top, 1 x white top 2 dresses : 1 x black wool dress, 1 x navy jersey dress – still too clingy… 1 skirt : pink -purple tweed style – carried over from last year. Teen detests it, I’m undecided…. 5 cardigans : 3 x cashmere – black, red, mouseish brown, 1 x long cream aran, 1 x long navy 6 jumpers : 2 x pink jumpers ¬†(1 smart, 1 slouch) 2 x black jumpers (1 cute bow neck, 1 v neck) ¬†1 x navy slouch, 1 x red So, I still have far more items overall than I truly need. I estimate I’ll be shedding between 3 and 5 items by the end of the season and I already got rid of 5 before narrowing it down to the ones above. Interestingly, I’ve found ¬†that now that I’m dressing for my real life – work, riding, shopping, family and occasional social forays, as opposed to my fantasy life – wild nights dancing, weekends in country hotels, Paris in springtime, weekend city breaks, tea at The Ritz, tropical holidays, torrid steamy afternoons, Breakfast At Tiffany’s ¬†etc… I need a lot less!

What I actually need…

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… is just a glossy pair of lollipop red shoes which make every outfit look fab and my feet want to dance !

Ok, maybe a few more pieces than that, just for decency’s sake.

I absolutely loved challenging myself to purge my home of 100 items during September and once I’d achieved that, I immediately set myself another goal for October; to get rid of an item a day, or 31 items during the course of the month. I flung out about 10 items in the first few days and was utterly overjoyed. I’ve slowed down now though and barely gave the challenge a thought during the last week but was secretly delighted to hear from my eldest daughter, that after having been here and seen how few clothes I now have in my wardrobe, that she then spent a day clearing out her own enormous pile of clothes and has got rid of anything unloved or that doesnt’ fit. – Yay !

Obviously, I never suggested that she should do it ( I’ve been the parent of girls long enough to know that anything I suggest has the opposite effect !) I merely allowed her to look through my depleted clothes stash and casually mentioned how much easier getting dressed each day is now, how much lighter and simpler that area of my life feels. How I don’t have to think about it too much anymore, how much less time I spend washing, ironing and crying that ” I have nothing to wear” !

I’m now in Season 3 of my version of project333 now and whilst I’m excluding shoes, accessories and jewellery from that figure, the figure itself is arbitrary and while by some miracle I do happen to have 33 items in my wardrobe this time around, even now, half way through the season I realise that I probably have more pieces than I actually need.

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So, there above is my 33 and the colours really work for me; ¬†mainly black, navy, white, red a couple of grey pieces and a couple of coffee colured pieces too, which, while I’m not 100 per cent sure about the exact colour, do seem to work surprisingly well with quite a few others. One is a very well fitting ¬†and flattering tweed ish blazer which make me feel terribly jolly and as though I should have a shooting stick and a black labrador called Bunty. ¬†The other is a cashmere cardi so that rather has to earn its ¬†– ahem – original cost for a while … The items obscured in the plastic covers are my ‘fancy or dressy pieces’ for all seasons ( cocktail frock, wedding outfit, formal event, party etc.. which I just prefer to hang rather than fold in storage. And anyone who has managed to iron the creases out of a linen shift ¬†which was misguidedly worn for an event a 2 hour car journey away, ¬†will I’m sure, fully understand my reluctance to do anything other than hang it gently within its own space !

I started off this season in September with more summery stuff – capri trousers, lightweight cardi’s, short sleeve tops, but I have gradually replaced these with almost identical but more seasonally appropriate pieces,. Longer sleeves for the tops,. full length for the trousers and jeans, wool / cashmere rather than cotton for the knits. My feet are pretty much encase in boots ¬† I know that most project 333 ers don’t start their autumn changeover until October, but I prefer the gradual change during September and then I can break into my full ¬†heavy weight winter wardrobe in December and wear it through to February, and hopefully start swapping in the lighter weight stuff in March.

I dont tend to switch to my everyday handbag until October and this was one of those so-called investment pieces so I do really look onward to this event.  I think this is my third autumn / winter with this bag and I expect it to do me few more years still.

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Aside from being a gorgeous glossy patent leather with silvery coloured hardware, and a gorgeous interior lining, it is well structured and incredibly roomy; if necessary I can even fit my laptop in there. I don’t carry my laptop about, I just wanted to see if it would fit ! ¬†There’s room for a small make up bag, my 2 purses, a notebook, other book, a sandwich, picnic bar , ¬†mini umbrella, glasses case and sunglasses and a scarf. My only issue with this bag is that the phone holder ¬†is too small for my phone. ¬†However, it does work extremely well as a lipgloss and pen holder so I’ll forgive it.

If I’m out ¬†shopping for fun, ¬†or meeting a friend for coffee, lunch or some fun I tend to use this little self-gifted beauty instead.

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A lot smaller and lighter but still with enough room for a phone, purse, make up bag, sunglasses, umbrella and a light scarf. I get a lot of admiring glances and sometimes people approach to talk or ask about it, which is very cheery and always welcome.

My other bags aren’t quite as fancy, I have a brown satchel style bag which is great for slinging a couple of things in when I’m going somewhere more casual – riding for one – and a lovely red bag which I don’t use as often as I should. ¬†I don’t have a black bag at all, I keep looking at black clutch bags, but I’m not sure I’m quite minimalist enough yet so might wait to treat myself once I’ve mastered the art of NOT carrying round everything bar the kitchen sink !

Anyway, back to the clothes… I spent about ¬£200 updating and restocking my wardrobe for this season and all the new items will be used into winter and some for other seasons as well; so for what I actually got for that investment I’m really pleased and consider it excellent value for money. So here are my purchases :

1 x red stripe top, 1 x red silk tie neck top, 1 x ladybird print T, 1 x navy print top, 1 x plain white top, 1 x plain red T, 1 x navy jersey dress, 1 x black tunic shift dress, 1 x pair red jeans, 1 x pair high waist black jeans, 1 x pair high waist navy jeans, 1 x red cashmere cardi, 1 x cream wool aran style long cardi, 1 x navy cocoon style long cardi, 1 x red / white polka dot scarf and 1 x pair black suede brogues.

A pretty good haul for the money spent I reckon, achieved with a cunning combination of sales, online shopping using discount codes and the ‘brilliantly bargainous but sometimes a gamble’ online cornucopia that is ebay ! ¬†Mostly brand new items, some used but in excellent condition and all a whole bundle less than a trip to the shops would have been. High waisted jeans are a bit of revelation – although to be fair, pre-1990 they would just have been jeans. You remember – back in the days before a perfectly normal and healthy sized person had to with half starve themselves or get their hips liposuctioned in order to not look like a muffin in a pair of jeans with a rise so low and a zip so short it must have been made by fairies – sorry rant over … Anyway, yes ‘high waisted’ jeans are those wonderful things that enable anyone with curves to wear a pair of jeans with a fitted top, and look and feel ¬†FABULOUS. And, more importantly not¬†stand in front of a mirror and want to beat themselves up over the fact they are not a size zero, and do actually enjoy food. Eating food that is.

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I bought a pair of these high waist jeans in navy and was so delighted with how they felt (no need for a belt or constant hitching up) and looked while wearing a stretchy top which I was previously too self conscious to wear either with any degree of confidence or without a long cardi or coat that I immediately bought another pair in black and have been wearing them at least twice a week since. ¬†I’ve only tried the ones from Next, but let me assure you ladies,that not only did I buy the skinny fit ones, but I actually went down a size from my usual skinny fit jeans too. The Teen said how fab they looked too and although I’m not entirely convinced that my backside doesn’t appear so huge that it could be mistaken for China in a dim light, they’re so damn comfy I really don’t care!

So, my wardrobe is complete and (thank you Cheri for the brilliant picture) the spendy elves can get back to dealing with other far more important things ( like mobbing reindeer or helping the fairies sew tiny zips into jeans) Yay !

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Or rather, it was and then I realised that I don’t have a biker jacket and I really need ahem ¬†I mean want one. And¬†¬†although I wasn’t absolutely positive that I could carry it off, I was certain that I’d have a damn good try if I found the right one. So I set about searching for one that was perfect and amazingly I found one; perfect length, perfect fit, perfect colour, perfect amount of detail without looking too busy ,real leather so it will actually last longer than just this winter and perfect coloured zips too ( can’t abide brass or gold on buckles, bags or belts either – yes, I’m very particular ) . ¬†So, I thought hard and decided that it really wasn’t an essential item for my wardrobe project and I really couldn’t ¬†justify the spend out of my usual budget so if I really wanted this jacket I would have to spend the money from next years’ clothing fund. ¬†Hence next year’s clothing fund now has just ¬£122 in – boo hoo ūüė¶

But on the upside this is now mine and yes, I do carry it off,  and more to the point yes, it does indeed have the most awesome purply aubergine lining !

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So, the minimalistish wardrobe project…

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It’s not so much that I’ve been avoiding the subject, more that I wanted to be absolutely sure that I am happy with what I’m ¬†doing before I shared it. ¬†I mean, if I’m not convinced myself that this is how I want to live, then there would be little point in telling anyone else about it.

I’m using the word ‘minimalistish’ ( yes I have just created another new word and please if you find it useful too, go ahead, you’re welcome) because it fits with how I’m operating my wardrobe. And yes, it does still require ‘operating’ and monitoring at the moment, ¬†although I have high hopes that one day it just will ‘be’… Back to business; whilst I utterly admire, applaud and am in awe of those practising project333, I know that right now, it’s not for me. ¬†However, I have wasted no time in adopting many of the principles used to pare down my own clothes collection.

I’m using the ‘backward hanger method’ so at this stage, some 6 weeks into my Season 2, ¬†I can tell you that I have yet to wear 16 of my carefully chosen items. ¬†The majority of these pieces are white and the main reason they haven’t been worn so far, is that until this week I didn’t have the appropriate under-accoutrements. At odds with the challenge, I’ve just spent an undiclosable figure on updating and replenishing my bras and knickers. ¬†There is little point in holding on to an item I can only wear when I have the right underwear, if I’m not prepared to invest in the underwear. ¬†If I’m happy to get rid of the unwearable pieces, then fine. I wasn’t and having invested in new frillies,

I also took the opportunity to invest in a bottle of ‘delicates’ washing liquid. ¬†It seems that I have finally accepted that if I put my frillies through the washing machine along with everything else and use the same detergent, then they won’t last very long and I will either be back to spending far too much money on replacing them every couple of months or I’ll be continually having unwearable clothes hanging in the wardrobe.

I’m long beyond my 20s and 30s so declaring that this is how I intend to behave for the ‘rest of my life’ isn’t that daunting anymore ! Some smart people adopt this understanding of how to protect undergarments early in life, but to be honest it’s only about 5 years ago that I stopped buying mine at M&S so it didn’t seem necessary before. ¬†Since discovering figleaves.com ( via topcashback of course) and trying out a plethora of sizes and styles, I now have a very good idea of what suits and supports my assets, looks pretty, fits well and is comfortable… so it would be very silly to have gone to all that trouble only to throw such lovely pieces in the washer along with t shirts and towels.

As well as having organised my wardrobe by colour so I can easily see what goes with what and I have not only counted all the items, but ¬†then write down each piece in my book and every time I wear it, I mark it off. ¬†At the end of the season I’ll know which pieces were only worn once or twice and will then have to ask myself why and whether it’s worth keeping it. ¬†Often, an item is just worn for a few hours, but if that happens 2 or 3 times over the course of the season, then I reckon it is worth keeping as it’s clearly serving a purpose. ¬†A couple of weeks ago I really challenged myself by needing 3 separate outfits in one day. ¬†First I took Chess to her riding lesson in the morning, it was wet so I opted for striped 3/4 sleeve top, cream lacy cardi, skinny jeans and boots.

IMG_3984¬† Then we went for lunch out with all the family so I changed into a pretty summer frock with sandals. ¬†Silly really, it teemed with rain, there were rivers running through the car park and I’d chosen a spot next to leafy bush so before I even got in the car I was soaked, my lightweight dress sticking to my legs and my sandals were only held on by the straps.

In the evening I met up with some friends for a meal and wore black skinny jeans, a cream and black spotty frilled top with a black linen blazer and black heels. ¬†I was very comfortable, and the blazer kept me warm once we’d left the restaurant and walked back to the car.

I don’t always change when I come home from work unless I intend to wear the skirt or trousers again, in which case I’ll give them a quick spray with fabric refresher and then hang them by the window before putting back in the wardrobe.

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That cream cardi is the hardest working piece in my wardrobe and I love it.  It was a Topshop via ebay bargain and the cost-per-wear must be almost nothing by now, it goes with so many of my other pieces and is light and pretty enough not to look too frumpy, which a cardi often can.

The other item I’ve noticed I wore a lot is a dull and terribly boring pair of pale stone linen trousers. Brace yourselves :

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Again, they seemed to go with so many of my tops and are an easy/lazy option when I can’t think what else to wear. The reason I say I ‘wore’ them a lot is because the errm ‘joy’ of writing about this, taking pictures etc… is that I can see now see just how dreadful and shapeless they are and I have rejected them forthwith. It’s ok, they’re now in the bag for charitizing ! ¬†I’m sure there are many more items that people are cringing at, but that’s ok. How dull would life be if we all looked the same !

I’ve learnt that I LOVE a shift dress for wearing to work when it’s hot. ¬†I feel smart enough for work but also casual enough to feel like me. I have two of them; one black and one red, both linen and with a bit of detail around the neck or bodice. The red is not bright enough to be shouting “look at me”, ¬†but fun enough to wear anywhere else after work and the black is infinitely practical and can be re-dyed to refresh the colour when it’s faded ( it just has been and I was very pleased with the result and will try to remember to hang it inside out form now on) ¬†These simple dresses keep me cool in the office and are also practical for when I need to go into other areas of the business. They’re light and summery but not too revealing or frilly.

I do have a couple of sun dresses but they’re for wearing away from work; fun floral in cheery bright fabrics with straps and perfect for playing hostess in the garden and for days out. ¬†I also have a couple of maxi dresses, but one hasn’t ¬†been worn yet. ¬†One is a simple black jersey ¬†with ruched bodice and ties around the neck and the other is a far more colourful affair, typical print fabric and perfect for wafting about in the garden and attending bbq’s. The last bbq I attended didn’t seem to be the right place though, everyone else was wearing a variation of jeans and a vest top and I would have felt overdressed ! I’m not sure if I’ll get much wear from it this year…

We’re away on holiday next week and that of course, is a whole other kind of wardrobe challenge. ¬†I ordered 3 new swimsuits to try on, believing that neither of mine from last year were any good. ¬†I sent all 3 back and resolved to ‘make’ my existing ones work for me. ¬†I cut the too-long halter strap on the biking top and knotted the ends so now I can tie it to uplift my assets rather than have them pulled down towards my waist it which is where the designer apparently thought they should be.

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The swimsuit had the same issue but to a greater degree as it seemed really short in the body so when I cut the strap it still didnt work, merely squeezing my assets together in an unseemly blob. ¬†After a bit of contemplation I tried stitching the now severed straps to the back of the swimsuit so they tok the same format as bra straps and that meant they pulled the blobbiness apart more. Uplift and separation achieved, yay ! ¬†Still not 100 % confident that my hand stitching would hold though, I bought a string bikini from a very cheap high street store in exactly the same colour as the background and having discarded the tiny triangles masquerading as ‘cover’ I threaded the string through the loops on my swimsuit where the straps used to go and so I still have the option to wear it as a halter neck if I choose, or use the extra strap as added support / feature if feeling a bit ‘insecure’.

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So, for just ¬£3 and about half an hour of my time with a needle and thread, I have turned two items of swimwear ¬†with a style & prints that I loved ¬†but didn’t feel comfortable in, into pieces ¬†which I am both happy and confident to¬†now¬†wear. ¬†Yay!

Having gone through my pile of holiday-specific clothes I discarded some tops which were too small, one which can only be worn with something underneath it as it gapes ( that’s against the rules; each item needs to be able to be worn without need for another piece to make it non-see through, or no revealing) and a pair of white linen trousers for no longer be white enough I came across a skirt which again, I love the style and print of, but don’t wear as it feels too long and frumpy. ¬†I was all for hacking a good 5 inches off ¬†and making it summery-short, but then remembered I’m not in my 20’s or 30’s any more so I just removed a couple of inches ¬†and it’s now a much more stylish but still age-suitable on the knee length. It remains to be seen whether it gets worn or not…

I still have a small pile of summer clothes which are a bit too small, namely a few blouses which are too tight across the bust and some jeans and trousers which can only be done up when lying down and then give me the appearance of an upside down cottage loaf.  Not great and just reminds me how much I love bread.  Oh how I love bread, hot from the oven and slathered in butter mmmmmm

Oops got distracted then, sorry. ¬†The small pile of clothes will hopefully become ever small until completely non-existent as I myself become smaller too. ¬† Not too small, just a size or maybe two ( depending where I’m shopping) and meaning I’ll have full use of all my wardrobe, rather than the 70% I have available now.

Right, I hear a chicken salad calling and a pair of so far unused jeans yearning to be worn so I’m away to eat and study travel & style blogs for advice on how many, or rather, how few pieces I should be taking on holiday !

A bient√īt,

x Lula x

 

 

 

 

 

Wardrobe update

So, it’s a week ago that I finalised my selection of clothes to wear for the next few weeks, how am I finding it ?

I’m finding my clothes a lot easier that’s for sure, I have a much tidier wardrobe now !

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Seriously though, I’m finding that it suits me very well ūüėÄ ¬†Let’s make no mistake here; ¬†I’m not a fashion bunny and whilst I may have my own thoughts on what looks good and what doesn’t, ¬†this is definitely not a style blog! I don’t necessarily wear the right colours, shapes, lengths or styles to be ‘of the moment’, but I do enjoy clothes; choosing ¬†and trying out different pieces and colours to wear together, creating different looks and sometimes that may coincide with what is currently ‘hot’, ¬†although more often not !

Sometimes my choice works and I’m pretty confident that I look good. Other times I’m not so sure and this is usually when my extremely honest Teen will voice her opinions. ¬†I don’t mind this at all, after all, it’s just an opinion and I’m happy to listen to it. If I agree then I’ll go along with her suggestions, if I don’t then I won’t ! ¬†In fact, both my daughters will be brutally honest with me and I can’t complain; this is my own fault as I’ve raised them to be honest and to feel able to voice their opinions !

What is quite amusing though is that over the last couple of years I’ve noticed that some of my colleagues will now also offer opinions on clothes, current and past trends, mine and each others ! ¬†I’m always keen to offer a compliment and people are usually pleased to receive them. I’ve learned that not everyone is comfortable with having an opinion offered and I try to choose my words carefully so that people realise I’m not judging their appearance, I’m just saying that I personally really love how they are wearing a certain piece.

Whilst ¬†I know now that I love it if someone praises a dress or outfit I’ve chosen, ¬†I admit it has taken quite some time to learn to just accept the compliment with a simple smile, ‘thank you’ and then step away. ¬†I don’t see it as judgement on my whole being, and I’m no longer in contact with those people who used to use compliment with exactly that very passive aggressive, self esteem destroying intention.

Mine is a very informal work-place, and having all spent a large part of each day with each other over some years, we are all confident that we can express an opinion on items of clothing without it meaning a slur on their character. ¬†Let me just reiterate here that I work in a mainly male work environment, I don’t for one minute think this would be quite so harmless in a largely female dominate environment … ¬†where I’m not sure I’d be so happy to be on the receiving end of my boss’s joyfully given opinions, ¬†his favourite phrases and my frequent responses as below :

Him : “What the F*** are you wearing, get dressed in the dark, did we ? ”

Me : “Yeh, you don’t pay me enough to keep the electricity on”

Him : ” Going to a funeral, are we ?”

Me : ” Yes, yours ” *cue stabbing motion with whatever is closest to hand*

Him : “Looking smart, got a hot date, have we ?”

Me : ” No, a job interview”

You get the picture, it’s light-hearted banter, there is no harm intended and no offence is taken. When discussing how we’d spent our weekends, he was mesmerised by the fact that I chose to spend an entire day sorting through my wardrobe and making a conscious choice about which times I was going to wear for the next few weeks though. As a man who prefers muddy wellies, and a Barbour with a pocket full of dog biscuits you can see why. ¬†The complexities of clothes, the almost uncontrollable urge to keep on buying them and the thought of spending an entire day sorting through them was just baffling to him and the other guys at work.

It wasn’t exactly ‘easy’ making my selection as I had to think about a wide range of possible temperatures, think about clothes that are practical for both aspects of my job, clothes to wear while I’m off work and the variety of things we’ll be doing – a day in town on Monday as opposed to gardening yesterday and taking care of horses today. Packing away the autumn and winter stuff was fairly simple, I won’t be using any of that for a good few months. I took 3 coats to be cleaned, my boots and Chess’s school shoes to be re-heeled / soled. ¬†I did falter slightly at the bill of ¬£55, but this is still cheap in comparison to replacing those items and I love both my coats and my boots enough to want to keep on using them for at least a couple of years.

Having emptied the wardrobe I realised I now had a lot less storage space and it was a struggle to squish stuff into my old school trunk.

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I refused to fold up frocks and cram them in too – I don’t believe in unnecessary self-inflicted ironing, so I admit that my summery dresses and party stuff is actually now hanging on a clothes railing one corner of my room until I can find another space for it – probably behind a screen as I’m determined they won’t go back in the wardrobe until their time!

Even as I was splitting clothes into spring and summer sets, I found myself changing how I viewed them. ¬†Items I’ve been keeping with thoughts of ‘I’ll keep it as I probably will wear it some time, after all, I’ve worn it in the past” now showed up in a different light and were put in the charity bag. ¬†As I finally put my chosen pieces in the wardrobe I still continued with putting the hangers facing the wrong way, so at the end of the season I can re-assess the selection again and I can imagine that I’ll be getting rid of yet more unworn items.

My tangle of belts that had previously lived in a basket on the floor (shame face) are now all hanging too. ¬†I didn’t count them, shoes or jewellery and I ended up with 35 items which includes 4 jackets of varying degrees of warmth and smartness. ¬†Probably too many, but if they’re not all worn then they’ll be re-appraised and dealt with accordingly

Choosing work clothes for last week was simple and I didn’t actually wear anything that I hadn’t previously, but the actual selection process was a lot simpler as rather than being faced with a huge volume of items, many of which were not suitable for the season, occasion or size of me, everything was an option. Some of my choices below…

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So, yes so far ¬†I’m loving this simpler way to dress and store my apparel and I can imagine that over time I’ll end up with a much more streamlined clothes collection; one that suits me and my life even better than it does now. ¬†Right now though it’s time to throw on those old jeans and ¬†t-shirt, there’s horses to be mucked out, groomed and fed.

Have a lovely day

xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

The relief of a rainy Sunday

I didn’t realise so much time had passed since my last post. ¬†I saw the reminder on my phone but this has honestly been the first chance I’ve had to actually write. ¬†I often have ideas in my head; things I want to say, ideas to explore or just share the good things that are happening, but I need to be in the right situation to get it on to the screen. ¬†I need to be sitting somewhere comfortable for a start ( I’m not a percher) I need a good cup of coffee and most importantly I need the headspace. ¬†So, a quiet Sunday morning while Chess is still asleep, the neighbours are quiet and it’s raining outside is perfect.

Sometimes I just love a drizzly rainy Sunday; the perfect excuse to stay home and potter about.  No need to feel guilt about not working in the garden, no need to make decisions about where to go, or indeed to go anywhere at all.  We can wear pyjamas or sweats all day long.  The sort of day the parent of a young active child dreads, but that the parent of a slothful teenager relishes.

I needed a rainy day today, it’s been a busy week and my home is a MESS. ¬†Last Sunday my two girls were here, bearing flowers, chocolates & gifts. They know me so well; they both (separately) bought me the same bead that I love, for my charm bracelet ! ¬†We had treats and tea and cakes.

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Work has been very busy this last week but I’m relishing that.

A few months back we heard that my favoured client was to take on another company to provide their fulfilment & I’d struggled to find enthusiasm since then. ¬†I was disheartened and I admit, a bit demotivated. ¬†I wondered what role I could take on within our company after the work had finished. We had no firm dates of when it actually would finish. ¬†No one would give a definite answer and managing the stock has been extremely challenging; a constant juggling of being told to keep the levels low by my manager, against the unpredictable requirements of the client and my being utterly determined to provide the absolute best service until the last day. ¬†I had thought I’d have to find another job but couldn’t think of anything else I particularly wanted to do.

I’m sure the uncertainty and sense of defeat has played a huge role in my general feelings of malaise & misery since the beginning of the year. However, I’ve kept my head down and I’ve worked my socks off to keep on providing the best service and that’s not easy when I’m having to fight for the time on the print machines against other client’s demands. I’ve had to wheedle, cajole and at times bribe the guys with cake. ¬†They couldn’t be bothered to give my requests priority as they knew the client was leaving. ¬†Somehow though, having to motivate them to keep going helped to keep me focused too. ¬†I’ve taken to doing a lot of the physical production work myself and you know what ? ¬†I’m enjoying it. ¬†I’m getting stronger, fitter and the guys respect me for mucking in rather than just giving them more orders to fulfil. ¬†I’ve cut my nails short and only wear clear polish & I certainly won’t get asked to do hand modelling and on Thursday I actually took pair of trainers in to work ¬†and wore them. The utter horror and shame of it ! But ¬†I had to, I could hardly bare to stand up after spending the previous day wearing my very stylish but damnably uncomfortable boots.

Wednesday was the sports awards presentation evening at school. ¬†That was a hugely inspirational event; to see how much talent and determination there is, how hard the kids train and just how proud the teachers are of them all. ¬† My daughter didn’t win an award herself but was so delighted for her friends who did and has since announced that she’ll be taking up rugby in the autumn. ¬†Well, she certainly has strong legs from all the riding and I’m so relieved that she has gone off the idea of becoming a jockey. ¬†There may be more news on the horsery front coming soon, but nothing is confirmed yet…

The other thing I’ve been working on this last week is my wardrobe. ¬†Having successfully shed 7 lbs during March, I determined to sort out ‘once and for all’ my sartorial concerns and space. ¬†I’m a hunter gatherer when it comes to clothes. I seek them out, collect ¬†compulsively and then squirrel them away for a possible future event or imagined lifestyle or body ! ¬†Not any more. ¬†I think I mentioned before that a ¬†friend was ¬†was working on a capsule wardrobe and listed the items she was seeking. ¬†This made me search up capsule wardrobes and the wonderful Project 333 came up. ¬†Whilst I do have a ‘summer’ and ‘winter’ wardrobe and swap these over twice a year, it had never occurred to me to spilt those two collections of clothes even further in to smaller and more defined collections. ¬†What a brilliant concept!

Before I started my wardrobe looked like this:  And yes, inspite of that pole being a very solid hardwood, it is definitely bowing, and no, I rarely could find new combinations to wear as there was so much in there ( and yes, that is only half the stuff I own)

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So, on Thursday I started the daunting task of stripping every single item from my wardrobe until it was bare. ¬†It wasn’t easy, and there was a definite possibility that I may never get to bed that night – I mean, all that I removed had to go somewhere …

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But finally at some point in the early hours of Friday morning, I finally achieved a higher state of wardrobe cleansing and purification.

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Choosing my 33 (or whatever other arbitrary number suits me best) items is going to take a bit longer to perfect but I’m really enjoying it so far. ¬†The simple process of breaking down what I’m gong to wear for just 3 months is so liberating and has made me view my clothes with a much more discerning and realistic ¬†eye. ¬†I’ve decided to sort my seasons into the following groups : 1 is December through February , 2 is March though May, 3 will be June through July and 4 will be September through November.

I’ve chosen them like this so that what I think of as being ‘high summer’ is the easiest season to sort with a lot of white, linen and summery sandals involved. ¬†It also helps that having already gone through March, I really only have April and May to get through before the next change. ¬†Yes, I’m going easy on myself.

The original project does not include lingerie, sleepwear or gym wear but takes into account accessories, shoes, jackets the lot. ¬†Whilst I utterly admire and respect the discipline that requires, ¬†I’m probably going to be leaving some categories out of the mix. For example I don’t often attend events that require dressing up, but if something comes up, I want to be able to choose something from my small collection of ‘fancy dress items’ but not to have to include them amongst my set amount of items each season.

I probably won’t include basic layering items such as vest or tank tops as these are mainly worn under outfits for either modesty or warmth purposes. I’m still undecided about jackets and coats. ¬†Obviously I won’t be needing full length wool coats to be available for some time, but I do like to have a choice of outerwear, although I suppose that rather depends on whether the jacket is part of an outfit to be worn all day, or whether it is something that will be taken … hmm… see, it’s not that simple. ¬†But that’s what I like about this. ¬†I’m having to really think about what I include and leave out.

Ultimately, I think I’ll probably end up letting go of even more stuff when it becomes apparent that pieces I’ve desperately clung on to for so long, really have no place in my wardrobe or lifestyle and I just keep them from habit or sentiment.

So, it’s still raining, I need to do some ironing and then I’m getting on with it, no point having an empty wardrobe but 2 hanging rails and various piles of clothes !

If I’m not back within a week, come rescue me please !

xx