Sunday, January 12, 2014

Best of 2013 - Fashion

2013 was a strangely quiet year for me on the fashion front. Looking back through my archives, I haven't posted any outfit shots since summer 2012. I haven't bought much in the way of clothing since then either. I wear fairly conventional office clothes to work and pyjamas at home - there isn't much to see. Ok, occasionally people manage to lure me out of my hermitage with promises of food and/or alcohol but I have aggressively narrowed my social wardrobe down to black-skinny-jeans-or-DIE.

I am totally sick of all my work clothes, despite having added bits and pieces in the last year, but they are functional and not falling apart so they power on. There is no justification for throwing them out and starting again even though I might do things totally differently in that situation. I can't afford it obviously and the thought of such extravagance fills me with residual, genetic Catholic guilt. They fit me, they don't have any glaringly suspicious holes or stains, they're fine, says the voice of common sense.

I had to wear school uniform fo'eva, right through sixth form, and in the first five or so years after I left school I bought a lot of clothes. Not a grotesque amount and nothing expensive, just an enthusiastic collection of all-sorts from the highstreet/charity shops/vintage/ebay, and I revelled in the freedom. I have always loved clothes, as objects and as modes of self-expression, and I had a great time trying out every sartorial iteration of who I could be in this brave new world. It was super fun. But. But now I have lots of clothes, perfectly nice clothes that I had loads of fun in but which I no longer really wear, and you can't just buy more clothes when you have lots of clothes.

I genuinely wore through a couple of things, I sold some on ebay, passed on a couple of bits to my sister (although the overlap in our Personal Style Venn diagram is smaaaaall) and gave some bags to charity but I still have a lot of clothes. [Truly, this is making me sound like a rich, spoiled hoarder which, I think, is unfair. Well, maybe not the hoarder bit. But certainly quite a lot of the problem is that I live in a small flat with very limited storage space.] And I don't want to get rid of what is left - I am fond of these clothes. They hold memories of parties and new friends and images I had of myself. Also, although I know it is largely untrue, the irrational part of my brain thinks maybe I'll wear them again one day. Perhaps a morning is going to come when I really want to wear that perfectly nice dress that has hung unworn in my cupboard for the last two year (it won't)(but what if it does?)(it won't, I know this, please be rational). There is nothing wrong with the dress.

So, despite the fact that I only have maybe 5-10 pieces of weekend clothing and 10-15 pieces of work clothing that I actually wear (the home clothes willingly, the work clothes begrudgingly), I do have lots of clothes and I can't buy new things. Which brings us back to the beginning - I haven't bought much this year. But wasn't the scenic drive beautiful?

COS coat: When I was trying to think back on 2013's fashion purchases the only thing I could think of was my coat. So much thought went into it and I remain thrilled by it. I love the colour, I love the texture, I love the sleeves and neckline. I don't love trying to do up the knee-ish level zip while walking, the shape is not always flattering to my midriff and the pockets are gaping a little from heavy wear but it is still love. I have worn it probably four days a week since I bought it and it makes all my clothes look better. I feel like a grown up in it and did I mention that I pretty much want to lick the colour? I suppose this level enthusiasm is the pay off for two years tentatively searching and a further year's hardcore coat hunt. I did all the research, I thought hard, I put my money where my mouth is and it paid off. Is this grown up shopping?

Whistles jumper: This was a fairly instinctive ebay purchase in what is clearly my favourite colour. The pictures were rubbish but I got a decent sense of it and Jane Shepherdson's Whistles is pretty reliably my bag. The burgundy is great, I love the nubbly knit and the pleather adds a hit of interest while still being machine washable (I am not a fan of pleather generally but, man, it gets points for ease of washing - one day I'm going to track down a specialist dry cleaner for all the non-pleather items I own, I swear it). It is hot for something that isn't thick and I have done some heavy duty sweating on the tube in this bad boy but it just slid into my wardrobe so seamlessly and I wear it most weeks.

Dominic Jones earrings: I wore my Maria Francesca Pepe spiked hoops maybe every day of 2012 but then tragedy struck and one fell out. [This may or may not be a habit. I wore my beloved Zoe & Morgan My Darling earrings maybe every day of 2011 but then tragedy struck and one fell out. The clasps on the Z&M earrings were rubbish though while the MFP ones were great and I'm sure what happened.](N.B. MFP tragedy has been remedied by R who bought me a replacement pair for Christmas. Heart) I am quite obsessive about jewellery (and many many other things) and I will wear the same things day in, day out. Occasionally I will make a conscious choice to wear my some of my more statement-y jewellery, beautiful things I've bought in India and Oman and Istanbul, but on a daily basis I have staples - fine chain, bracelet, plain earrings. Sometimes I wear silver but mostly I wear gold. My necklaces and bracelets are all going strong but I clearly have a problem with losing earrings and another problem replacing them (fussiness). Real hoops don't suit me, I want something more interesting than studs, since I'm wearing them daily they have to go with everything so no stones/colour. I like real design and a bit of toughness. These Dominic Jones saw blades fit the bill - they're exactly what I wanted and I've worn them so so much. Btw, all three named earrings were ebay purchases because I'm clearly mad good at ebay jewellery.

So maybe it doesn't matter that I didn't buy much? (Hell, ethically and financially it is a great thing but this is a fashion blog. Kind of. A bit.) I completely adore my main purchases and have/will wear them to death. Eventually the clothes I do own and feel little for will wear out or I'll work out a way to archive the things that actually mean something and give away the things that I don't adore or wear. Maybe three proper purchases a year is the right number to slowly and meaningfully build a lasting wardrobe on?

In the interest of honesty: On top of the above, having browsed my ebay and asos history and my admittedly patchy memory, I bought a pair of boring black work trousers, a pair of beautiful leopard print heels that are slightly too small and live under my desk at work and a slubby baseball top. There were probably some other things I've forgotten - I walk past a Gap regularly and they are forever having ridiculous sales and I can't remember if I bought my heavily reduced camo jeans in 2012 or 13 and my magenta waffle knit jumper in this year's January sales or last year's post-Christmas sales. But I think that is about it. Nothing from Topshop or Zara or H&M, no more real vintage (ebay doesn't count - I'm only really buying relatively contemporary clothes on there are the moment).

Does this mean I'm finding my style? It doesn't feel super exciting but, actually, it does feel pretty comfortable/good... Seriously, pretending to be an adult is so weird.

Chuck x

P.S. This is so long! And I didn't even talk about fashion, not really, just 'my clothes'. Might do another 'Best of' for that. Although, I really should be directing my word supply somewhere more productive.


  1. tbh I didn't buy much either but I do kind of need to. Well I say need, I guess that's used out of hand but a lot of my stuff doesn't fit so well anymore / not right for the temperature. Sounds like you're going through a weird patch but realising maybe it's just not a priority these days?

    Buckets & Spades

  2. It does feel like you're finding your sense of style. I'm so over my work clothes as well - I refuse to wear work clothes outside of work (shoes as well). PS - I really want some jumpers from Whistles now