Youthfulness – My style journey – article 2

You’ll have learned in my last article that I’ve been working with Alex from Stylepeg for a kind of style makeover. This isn’t intended to be a glitzy quick fix that I’ll enjoy momentarily before sloping back into my old habits, but more a gradual adoption of a new style. For someone who doesn’t like to attract too much attention, this is a good thing.

 

Shop until you drop

Armed with the shopping list of essential items to complete my look, we set plans for our shopping trip. Living in Cambridgeshire, we decided to target Cambridge for a decent range of shops. As two busy mums, it had to be a day when our kids were taken care of, so we ended up going on New Year’s Eve, of all days! Luckily it wasn’t too busy and there were also still some sale items for the taking.

As well as searching for specific items, the aim was to do lots of trying on, to get a good idea of what styles, cuts, materials, brands, etc. fit and suit me.  It’s great to be able to do this in a department store, especially one with some lovely brands, so we headed straight for John Lewis.

We spent the first 30 mins walking around the store. I wondered if I was ever going to make it to the changing room, let alone buy anything. I felt a little awkward and as though I was learning to dress myself again from scratch. My natural inclination (black) was out of bounds, so I was drawn to navy – which soon also became off limits to get me to broaden my sights. Alex was also keen to show off my figure with some sharper lines than I usually dare wear.

After three hours I was totally shopped out and came away with a few choice items that I’m pleased with – a coat, a jacket, a dress and a shirt.

 

New habits

Over the next few weeks I picked up a few other items, on my own, now I’m more informed about what I should be wearing. But true to my frugal ways, I’ve not spent an arm and a leg, and all my purchases are still well within my original budget: I’ve picked up a few items in the January sales; a couple in Circles (a wonderful local pre-loved clothes shop); and even a £3 jumper in a charity shop in one of my colours, which I can mix and match with various other items. Love it!

 

Personal shopper

In the meantime, Alex has been looking out for items that might interest me online. A couple of times a week, she’s been sending me links to check out various items. This is mainly to check my opinion at this stage, rather than to make outright purchases.

 

Bringing it all together

The penultimate stage of my style journey is a second review of my wardrobe: bringing together my existing garments and the new purchases. I’ve already been wearing some (not all) of the new items, but I’m aware that I’m not necessarily wearing the right combinations e.g. the right jean and boot combos to elongate my legs. I’m looking forward to knowing exactly what goes with what so I can suitably piece it all together.

Alex came over again this week. She started by pulling out the all remaining offensive black or other non-suitable clothes that had remained temporarily after the first cull. This resulted in another satisfactory pile for the charity shop! She was pleased with the new items I’d acquired (with and without her help) and especially some of the bargains I’d found, being the frugal shopper I am!

This allowed her to see what combinations I have to make up a number of different mix and match type outfits. This included a certain shirt and dark jeans in winter and with lighter ones in summer. I also tried a few things on, to check lengths and lines etc.

Next week, I will be brave and try some of these combos in public!

The grand finale

The final step will be bringing it all together:  I’m expecting some style cards – as well as a photo shoot. In the meantime, I’ve attached a couple of photos for now.

Benefits of a personal style journey

Love what you’ve got

A good stylist will help you work with what you’ve got and make the most of your assets and playing down any areas you’re less keen on. It’s not aspirational in the sense of, “you could look good if you lose 10 lbs”, but rather loving your body as it is today.

Confidence

As I’ve started to dress differently, I’ve received various compliments. Admittedly, some of these have been about the clothes themselves, but really, it’s about how I look in these clothes. This gives me a real boost and makes me feel more confident.

Savings

Although I have spent money to acquire my new wardrobe, I have kept to the budget I set myself. As the spend has been more targeted, there should be less waste over time. And hopefully some of these clothes will last me a while too due to their classic style and quality.

Efficiency

Although I’ve invested time upfront, I hope this will mean that I won’t have to shop again soon, or rather incrementally add complimentary items to my wardrobe over time. I also hope that I’ll spend less time faffing about what to wear more generally.

Declutter

My end result is that I now have fewer clothes, but more that I truly love. This has created some space in my previously bulging wardrobes. Hopefully my ironed clothes will get less creased as a result.

 

Top tips!

Ditch the black and wear colours and textures that flatter me more!

Don’t be scared to try something different – colours, textures, styles etc. You could really surprise yourself here!

Although I’m petite, I don’t always have to dress in petite clothes, opening me up to a much greater range of clothes!

Dress from the top down – this is twofold.

  • I have broad shoulders, so make sure the garment fits my shoulders and it should hang nicely
  • Decide what to wear on my top half first and then the bottom half should follow

Love it or leave it.

  • If I’ve not worn something in a while, even if it still fits me (big deal) – get rid of it!
  • When buying something new, if I don’t absolutely love an item, don’t buy it as I won’t wear it.

Washing instructions are a guide. They are not the law. A couple of the items I have bought have turned out to be Dry Clean Only. “OMG I thought, that wasn’t my intention.” However, I’ve successfully managed to wash them – in my washing machine – on ‘delicates’ and ‘hand wash’ cycles. It’s often worth a punt. Stay clear of the dryer though!

Start planning what I wear. You probably know from other blogs that I’m a planner. On a weekly basis, I plan family meals, kids’ activities, my activities, my training etc. I’m now also going to plan my outfits. This will be based on what I’m doing each day and how I want to look, whether I’m going to the gym on route, to London etc. But this will force me to take more proactive control in this area, and not just cycle through the same few outfits!

 

Wrap-up

Overall, I have really enjoyed the journey so far. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t like clothes or shopping that much. Maybe I was just in denial? Anyway, over the period of a couple of months, I’ve build up more confidence in this area and am rediscovering a lot about myself and how this can manifest in the way I dress.

I can thoroughly recommend working with a Stylist for expertise and guidance. Alex has been very supportive and patient with me, as well as giving me confidence to step clearly out of my comfort zone.

 

Thank you for reading. For more interesting articles, visit my blog at www.agelifebalance.com to learn more.