Clothes maketh Man

Or, in this case – woman. 

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I’ve just had my colours done. You may well ask why I feel this way and, in truth, what I actually feel is a bit daft. Daft that, at my significant age, I doubted my ability to select a wardrobe for myself without outside aid. Especially as it wasn’t that many years ago I felt entirely smug about my capsule wardrobe.

A key problem is that I’ve been working from home for over 10 years now and don’t feel I ever quite got the hang of looking put-together-andprofessional casual. I’ve no problem with down-the-pub casual, and walking-along-the-beach-taking-pictures casual, but dressing for this increasingly important part of my life continues to elude me.

Last year’s preponderance of Zoom calls brought this home to me in a big way and, as I’m going to be doing some live promotional work on various social media platforms, I want to avoid what I call “clothing drama”, for I’m going to be nervous enough as it is. On top of that, having recently lost weight, I need to fill lots of gaps and, being fussy about quality of fabric and cut, I don’t want to make expensive mistakes. 

I know at least some part of my wardrobe problem relates to what Himself calls my catholic guilt. I’ve always bought more expensive items – entirely without guilt – on a cost per wear basis, as I happily wear the same small wardrobe year after year after year. But if I’ve made a poor choice, or haven’t worn something to death yet, I’ve a tendency hang on, forcing myself to wear those items, even if they make me look less than great. 

In preparation for my social media marketing, I’ve done a fair bit of work to get me past the stage fright I’ve suffered since a schoolgirl, but knew what’s been missing was that extra buzz of confidence you get from knowing you look your best. It’s been so long since I last gave it any serious thought that I decided to invest in the outer me too. While thinking about what form that could take, a pattern emerged among my fellow budding online entrepreneurs, that those who’ve moved most comfortably and confidentially onto social media are the ones who’ve had their colours done.

My report has now arrived, so we can move onto the “did I learn anything useful” question?

Well, yes…

Having allowed myself to be persuaded into making my wardrobe more colourful, I find it’s drifted away from capsule into multiple coloured separates which don’t work with each other (and in some cases, with me). I’d also fallen for the stereotypical belief that by joining the ranks of grey-haired old ladies, I’d suit paler icy tones whereas, it turns out that my long term style choice of “black with pops of bold colour” is what actually suits me best. No wonder I’ve been suffering from wardrobe drama. Having already carried out a weight-loss related wardrobe cull for sale online, I’ve added those items which are just OK rather than flattering.

But before you think otherwise, this isn’t an excuse to have a shopping binge – oh no… for I’m not a fan of clothes shopping at all. However, I am finding that by confidently sticking to a narrow palate of colours, I’m able to speed up the browsing process to a level which is bearable. Knowing the reason for my consultation was the upping of my presence on social media, my consultant helpfully suggested I focus on accessories – scarves and jewellery predominantly – in other words, items which will appear close to my face. This advice also allows me to make only few major purchases while my weight is in transition.  

The report also addressed make-up. Now, I’m a very low maintenance gal in terms of skincare routines and make-up, nevertheless I like my little effort to have the maximum effect. Having always been all about the eyes, I’ve now learned the power of just wearing the right lippie – especially if one also wears glasses. It’s only taken me 60ish years to learn that one… Having not even touched my make-up bag for the past year, this is one area where I am allowing myself a bit of a binge, as it turns out most of the contents are either well past their best by date, or have completely dried up. 

The report gave me the confidence to say (if only to myself): “I do know what suits me” and so ignore well-intentioned advice sent in my direction. It also reminded me that while putting effort into working on the inner me, it’s not a good idea to totally neglect the outer me. Balance in all things.

How important are clothes to you? Does your appearance impact on how you feel about yourself?


© Debra Carey, 2021

16 Comments

  1. LA

    Hmmmm. Appearance doesn’t really matter to me. I wear make up, but more because I like it. My wardrobe is mainly black, and I go for a basic, (black dress or black pants and shirt) and I try to add interest with another piece, jacket, sweater, vest or scarf

    Liked by 1 person

  2. debscarey

    LA, I’m so with you on that as a style choice. I’m still wondering how I got talked out of it… I’m happily back in a black dress with big silver earrings today while trying to keep cool 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. debscarey

    I do like colour – but am happiest in black. My daughter went out of her way to tell me she was entirely happy for me to wear black to her wedding 😀 Others were shocked at my choice though. Hey ho.

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  4. Ally Bean

    I’m not a clothes horse. I attempt to look pulled together and like you I’ve discovered I do well “by confidently sticking to a narrow palate of colours.” I had my colors done years ago and that wisdom has stuck with me. I’m a Summer with a hint of Autumn. As for style, I go for what I’ve come to call tailored suburban casual. That is, a relaxed look with some texture, but structured. With simple jewelry. And flat shoes or sandals. No trends, no black, no drama. Works for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. scr4pl80

    I don’t do makeup anymore and even when I did it was mostly just eye shadow and mascara. I definitely think that being comfortable in your clothes is so important for confidence levels, but I’ve also never been one to buy designer clothes or follow fashion trends. I’ve been working from home for 20 years now and my wardrobe is quite casual. It is fun to go shopping for new clothes in smaller sizes though!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The Widow Badass

    I love seeing a woman, especially an older woman, who is well put together and looks totally at home in her skin and her look. I am not that woman…LOL! But sometimes I can get close. Now that I am retired, I am rethinking my wardrobe. I can now dress how I want at all times, instead of for my position at work. It’s play time!!!

    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

  7. debscarey

    Ah, another believer in the colours methodology 🙂 Mine was broken down into the four seasons, but with the added extra of a cool or warm sub-category. I’m a cool winter. Tailored suburban casual sounds fab. I’m more flowing lines, skimming of curves, but equally with simple jewellery & flats. My Mum loves a trend and despairs that I’ve never shown any interest, but she’s high maintenance and I’m the exact opposite.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. debscarey

    Oh yes Janet, you must make the most of your shopping opportunities to celebrate your weight loss 😀 I’m not one for designer brands either, it’s more about (natural) fabrics for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. debscarey

    Deb, I agree. I’d lost my way somewhat, so am very happy to have navigated back. My problem is it’s always been about comfort (hence my fussiness over fabric), so this was a timely reminder that a bit of effort makes quite the difference 😀 Enjoy your play time! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. snakesinthegrass2014

    A timely post because I was just recently accused of being a clothes horse. Except I’m really not — I’m a former clothes horse. Although I donated a huge chunk of my work wardrobe when I retired, I still kept a significant amount thinking that I’d want to wear nice slacks with a jacket out to dinner now and then. Except the number of times I’ve done that in the last seven years is probably still only on one hand. So I have too many “nice” clothes and probably not enough of the regular leisure ones I wear most often. It makes me dizzy thinking about it, but no one is going to solve this but me! – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

  11. debscarey

    Excellent Marty, your opening line made me actually LOL 😀 I too am guilty of having more “good” or “occasion” clothes than I’ll ever need, but they were expensive and I really like them, so it’s proven hard to part with them. When I’ve finished the current selling of my culled wardrobe, I’ll be moving into that previously sacrosanct area. Next week my subject is decluttering – maybe that’ll inspire you to take on the challenge. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. retirementconfidential

    I like color but wear a lot of black and accessorize with silver and/or turquoise jewelry. While I used to be somewhat of a clothes horse, these days what I wear fits in a laundry basket. Step one for me is feeling good about my body. Everything is easier after that.

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  13. debscarey

    Donna, turquoise is such a good call with black. I used to wear gold, but have converted almost entirely to silver which is another great match for turquoise. I avoided it for a while as it was my daughter’s birthstone, but she looks good wearing mine, so why not eh? I think that’s what I like about going back to black, it means I need a much more pared back wardrobe. I’m not good with too many options. But good call on feeling good about your body – that is where it starts. I’ve too many injuries & so too much weight at the moment – all of which meant I needed the extra help.

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  14. debscarey

    Ha ha! How right you are Alan. I’d have been horrified to be forced into uniform in my younger days, now I can totally see the value and ease it offers 🙂

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