The next Challenge....Wardrobe overhauling!
I'm not massively interested in clothes, if I'm honest. Now I can imagine several fab stylish ladies of my acquaintance falling over backwards at that one, and I should point out that what I'm about to write is NOT directed at anybody in particular (in exactly the same way as the lovely Singlegirl wrote about Cleaning recently), but is something that I've been debating about writing for a while, based on my experiences as a whole...
I don't like the way that clothes are often used to define people - the way that so often people are judged by what they are wearing first and foremost, and that if you're not wearing the right thing then you'll never be one of the cool kids. Back at school in the 1980's the sportswear labels of Fila, Lacoste etc were all the rage, and if you didn't have something with one of those logos on you were effectively dismissed as a second class citizen. When you add to that the fact that I quite often wore hand-me-downs from a girl along the road - a girl who was extremely quick to loudly point out whenever I was wearing anything of "hers" - usually in words along the line of "Oh look, there's that skirt I threw out as it was past it!" - it's no massive surprise that I rapidly learned to see clothes as something to be used to make people miserable - a few years of bullying saw to that.
Don't get me wrong, if I see someone walking down the street looking a complete sight, (even I know that calf length skirts and ankle socks don't go!) and they don't have their entire life's possessions in carrier bags and a dog on a string, then (uncharitably, I know) I'll have a titter with the rest of them, but mostly I simply don't notice what people are wearing. If I have any distance to walk, you'll find me in walking boots or trainers, and if I have heavy stuff to carry then I'll have the lot in a rucksack, as it's just easier. My jeans and fitted tee-shirts (ALWAYS either a V or deep-scoop neck though - I did take some notice of what Trinny & Susannah told us!) are comfortable and suit my lifestyle, so for everyday I'm quite happy to wear them, and workwear is trousers with a smarter version of the same tops, or a shirt - I don't work in an environment where being dressed very fashionably or glamourously would be particularly appropriate - a lot of the people I see on a day-to-day basis have just suffered a bereavement or split with a spouse, so understated is the way to go. I'm as pleased as the next girl to find a fab pair of jeans but have never, in spite of years of searching, ever found a pair of heeled shoes or boots that I can walk any distance at all in. I have no idea what I'm "supposed" to wear a lot of the time. I find people endlessly fascinating, but for the most part I'm more interested in what they have to offer conversationally, what we have in common, and whether we get on, than what shoes they are wearing or whether they could grace the cover of Vogue. It just doesn't bother me - if someone is dirty, or smelly, then I'll let them spend time with other people, thank you very much, but if they're wearing trainers, or last season's jacket, or the same top they had on last time I saw them, they're welcome to share tea & cake any day! I know from conversations with other girlfriends that I'm far from the only person who feels like this, so why are the pressures out there to conform with a certain way of dressing that is deemed to be what we should be aiming for, so great, leaving so many of us feeling as though we're "letting the side down" by dressing in a way we find comfortable, and that suits us?
Now as a result of all this, (and finally coming to the point!) my wardrobe does seem to be cluttered with a mix of failed attempts at walkable footwear, garments bought in a wild effort at being "stylish" (because that's what we're all supposed to aspire to, isn't it?) and that are deeply uncomfortable as a result, and items that I don't actually fit into, but have kept because "I might one day". (I won't, obviously!). Oh, and scarves. I do love scarves, and gloves in fact, and I have an AWFUL LOT of both. If I say so myself I do have an eye for a lovely scarf. Maybe that is destined to my my only area of successful foraying into style?! Anyway, THAT is my next target for the "Simplify It" challenge - no, not to give myself a personality transplant and become one of those "Chic, Stylish, Glamourous" women (I wouldn't know where to start!), but more to sort out the clothes I do have, throw out or charitise anything that genuinely shouldn't be there either because it is past it, or because it doesn't fit, or that I hate wearing because it makes me self-conscious or uncomfortable. To overhaul my knicker drawer and replace anything that is showing its age, to lose socks with holes or those with no friends left in this life, and to replace items where needed. I even have plans for a remake on a dress that I rarely wear which may hopefully mean it will see the light of day more often! I also want to use the process to overhaul my own issues - to remind myself that if people want to look at my clothing and find me lacking then that's their problem, not mine. When I have done all this, then I hope to be left with a set of clothes that I feel comfortable in without (hopefully) looking like I need a dog on a string of my own. And you know what, once I've done it, if you're the person walking down the street behind me sniggering at my 'lack of style' - well I DON'T CARE - it suits me, and in any case, what makes you so certain that behind you, someone else isn't doing the same?