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  1. Finishing School: Clothes

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    One of my favorite vintage blogs is Lottie Loves, run by Brit-turned-California super-mom Lottie. One regular feature of her blog is Finishing School, where she alphabetically runs through goals and post challenges for her followers to complete. Since I'm late to the game, I am going to start posting backwards from the latest, starting with O and then try to catch up. She posts them one a month so if I'm on the ball I will catch up in no time!

    Your Challenge:
    Today I am going to ask you to sort out your wardrobe in the next two weeks using the tips below. I would love to hear how you get on with this, what your personal challenges have been to achieving this, obstacles that you have overcome to complete this task, the finished result and how you feel about it.

    TIPS
    Go through your wardrobe and throw out everything that is too big/too small and that you really shouldn’t be seen in public in. Be honest about yourself. It does not matter one iota if the labels in your clothes say size 8, size 12, size 16, size 20 or any other size. It DOES matter if you wear clothes that are too small or too big for you. There is nothing worse than seeing an evidently size 16 woman squeezed into a size 14 dress or pair of trousers. Truly awful. You are kidding yourself if you are wearing clothes based on a label. You need to wear clothes that fit and flatter regardless of the label size. Sizes should be used as a guideline only, not least because every shop has a different idea of what a particular size is. A Topshop size 10 is completely different to a Next size 10 and there are various examples of this. Select clothes in the size you feel is best for you and work from there. I have clothes in my wardrobe from a size 6 to size 14. I don’t care, what I care about is that they all fit me and look good!
    If you shouldn’t be seen in public in it you shouldn’t be seen in private by your family in it either. This includes underwear and nightwear. It’s painful and hard and you may well end up with a wardrobe of three things but better that than a wardrobe full of nasty horrible clothing. If it’s not there you can’t put it on. I did this, it was painful but it felt soooo amazing to never have to look at the mountain of awful stuff I had and better still never have to put it on again. My husband LOVES the fact that I no longer wear shoddy clothes and my kids are constantly telling me I look beautiful now – that is all the assurance I need to know it is the right thing to do.

    Go out and buy basics. Initially just buy cheap, Primark, Tesco, anywhere where you can fill your wardrobe full of basics for very little. Five outfits will see you through a week easily whilst you start to fill your wardrobe with key pieces. Basics should include an attractive pair of Pyjamas (this is important for you and your relationship They don’t have to be ‘sexy’ just well fitting and pleasant) a well fitting pair of jeans, a white t-shirt, a good belt, a black cardigan, a DRESS! and a couple of flattering jumpers/blouses (depending on time of year), and a skirt that can be dressed up or down.

    Stick to two or three colours initially that can be mixed and match. Try not to fill your wardrobe with black as it’s terribly dull and depressing to look upon a wardrobe of black clothes and won’t help revitalise your image or enthusiasm.

    Sit down and think about whose dress sense you admire and why you admire it. Do you like matchy matchy, do you like retro? Do you think someone looks good when they wear statement jewellery? Is there a type of dress you like? Think about it and write it down if it helps. What sort of image would you like to have? Are you a Christina Aguilera in the making or a Victoria Beckham or a Helena Bonham Carter? It doesn’t matter what image you choose as long as you are comfortable with it, it makes you feel great and you are committed to carrying it through. I am not talking about copying someone, you merely need to have an idea of how you would like to look on a day to day basis.
    I have a friend who wears exactly the same style skirt, in varying patterns with a white t-shirt every day. However, the cut of the skirt and t-shirt are incredibly flattering on her and every day she has a different statement necklace. Her wardrobe is so simple yet everyday she looks fabulous. By knowing her style and sticking to it she has managed to buy and easy wardrobe full of clothes and can look fabulous every day with very little thought or effort. This is the way to go for any busy Mum. We don’t have the time of our non mummy counterparts so we need to make it easy.
    Think about which parts of your body you are comfortable and happy to reveal and which bits you aren’t. We all have parts of us we don’t like, it’s an unfortunate by product of being a women but the trick is to embrace the bits you do like and cover the bits you don’t. If you feel uncomfortable showing your legs wear long skirts, if you hate the tops of your arms wear three quarter length sleeves. By developing your own style rules shopping will be made so much easier as you won’t waste your time trying on pieces that may well look inviting on the hangar but you know you won’t really like as the sleeves or length of skirt aren’t right. Lets face it, trying on clothes with a whingy toddler or baby is no fun so the easier we make it the better.
    So there you have it – hop to it girls!

    Ah, clothes. I've gone through a real style revolution in the past few months and I must say I'm 90 per cent content with my wardrobe. That last 10 per cent has nothing to do with my clothes but with my self confidence in wearing them and, of course, my wishlist.

    I recently had a chat with a former j-school professor who asked me how I came to wear vintage and retro clothing, as it's not how I dressed two years ago when I was still in college. I wasn't sure how to answer then and I'm still not sure. I think the answer I gave was that during my high school years I tried to sort of emulate what everyone else was wearing, but with my own little twist. This carried on through college, but I basically had no unique style that was "me". Even now I think I'm still on a bit of a style revolution.


    My first retro-feeling piece I had was the summer of grade six. It was a white eyelet peasant blouse and a red and white plaid skort. I love it - my favourite book at the time was Anne Frank and it just seemed very much like something she would have worn. I was gutted when one day (for my birthday!) I went swimming and the skort was stolen. I'm still rather sad now. :( I wish I had a photo of it handy!

    Like most vintage gals (or so it seems) I went through a bit of a punk period in high school. (SO NOT PUNK)
    This is me in Grade 12, with long brown, red, blonde hair, blunt bangs and my bright yellow bunnyhug with skulls on it. I still rather like how I looked then, which I don't think many people can say when it comes to photos from high school!

    Winter 2008

    I loved my Ramones t-shirt - I wore it all the time. When it came time for the ragbag (last summer!) I actually cut out the logo and made it into a framed wall hanging. Shockingly I don't have a decent photo of it. I think my next decent style leap was what I wore for graduation.

    In college I continued the faux-punk trend with a faux-hawk. I also loved that bunnyhugs. See a theme?

    HA as if Morgan and Emily would escape my blog. Nov. 2008
    My hair changed a lot. This is the photo that's on my press pass right now. As if that actually looks like me!

    Fall 2009
    Then I fell off the turnip truck and had a major style revolution. I honestly don't know what happened. It may have been moving into a mid-century home, it may have just been going back to those Grade 6 roots.  Regardless, I'm really glad that I did. I love my style now! Although now I realize why some people may not recognize me when I come back home... :/

    xo Laurie

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  2. 1 comments:

    1. Kerry said...

      Haha you are completely right! I had a punk/goth phase when I was 16-17. All black clothes, dyed my hair bright red, big black boots - got called all sorts of things but I loved it.

      It really looks like you have changed a lot, but I guess everybody has to go through all that to find what they feel right in. I know this time last year there is no way I would have touched half of the things in my wardrobe and now I love them.

      Lottie's point about getting rid of other clothes is so crucial as well - if it is there you can't fall back into old style ruts. I've got a clothes swap planned with some friends next Saturday, am very excited to see what it brings!

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