About ten years ago I saw a colour and style consultant. It means I know what colours suit me (deep jewel colours and icy tones), and what styles (scoop neck over v neck, sweetheart neckline best). It means I can swoop into an opshop and quickly identify any decent options by colour, feel of fabric (fabric must breathe), style and size. For many clothing shops I know there is no point entering because there is nothing inside for me. It was a good investment; one I wish I had made earlier.
Last week, feeling that spring has sprung, I was looking for my pink shoes with the flowers on them. I bought them about two years ago and had never worn them, but decided this was the day. I couldn’t find them. I must have given them away, in the cold of winter, feeling that, being mid-forties, I’m too old to wear cute clothes and pink flowered shoes.
I want those shoes back!
My fashion faux pas these days is giving away clothes then later regretting it. I regret giving away the long dress I made. After having three kids it would have fit well with a good bra and a pair of spanx. Why didn’t I think of that? I now have no garments that I have made in my wardrobe. I’ve given them all away. I regret giving away the blue polka dot dress. And the steel blue tencel pants. And the yellow mini-cardi that tied up under the bust, Regency style. So cute. I regret giving away my grandmother’s dress. I’ve never again seen a dress cut like that. And my mothers’ Fletcher Jones skirts I gave to a French exchange student. What was I thinking? I gave away the clothes that weren’t practical to wear while breastfeeding, or cooking with toddlers underfoot. How short-sighted of me. No long dresses or flared long sleeves in my wardrobe anymore.
I wish I had time to style each day. My fashion sense as a teenager and young adult was ‘theatrical’. I went to fashion school. I made my own clothes at a time when it was cheaper to do so. Now clothes are so cheap, there isn’t much point. Clothes at an opshop could cost more than new, but they’re more interesting, and, for me, buying from a charity shop is more ethical. When the children were younger I was in danger of my main fashion influence being Hi-5. Now, my main fashion influence is Lionel Shriver, because, she says, she wears the same thing for a week. That’s what I do. The truth is, I don’t have time for anything else. Every day I wear a bag that crosses my upper body, so my hands are free when we’re out and about. It’s very practical. Not very fashionable.
I care about fashion. Not high fashion but day to day wearable fashion. I just look like I don’t. But I don't want to look like I've given up (a reference to my partner's comment when I popped on a big blue poncho). Wearing all black now makes me look like an Italian widow. I'm taking a cue from Cherie, by Collette, where Cherie says softer pinks are kinder when you age. Will I be an eccentric-looking old person, when I have more time to be stylish? Do I have to wait? I don't want to wear tight clothes, or lots of accesories or anything crazy. I don't want to go all Carrie Bradshaw. But can I still wear cute clothes in my mid-forties, or would that be mutton dressed as lamb?