I’m going back to work soon, and my next job is in a banking environment, so I have been researching more formal office attire. There’s a few problems I’m trying to solve:
Firstly, after a year of chemo, surgery and radiation, I have gained weight. (Lying around all day will do that). Not much, and I’m hoping to lose it once my radiation is done, but it is unprofessional to wear ill fitting clothes. So I’m looking for work outfits that flatter my shape – tall, broad shouldered, with a larger waist than usual.
The bits of my existing work wear that still fit are fairly casual. So I’m trying to work out how to smarten up my existing wardrobe with minimal purchases.
If you are tall and broad shouldered like me, suits aren’t very flattering or comfortable. Sleeves are often too short. Jackets big enough for my shoulders look like sacks around my middle. Looser open jackets look better but it’s hard to find ones that fit a more formal environment.
My hair is still short after chemo. So I have to wear styles that make it look like this was a deliberate choice, rather than something I was forced to do. My solution is to go for the minimal, all black, arty look. I think it hides that I have cancer.
For a short time (hopefully) I will need to cover up my décolletage as the skin there has been damaged by the radiation. So I need high collars and necklines.
I also think the more arty look helps disguise a small budget. So some interesting shoes and jewellery can distract from really plain, baggy, loose clothes.
I found some inspiration for the kind of style I’m looking for at Eileen Fisher:
I don’t think I’ve ever loved my body as much as when I had my daughter. I was just so astounded at the whole craziness of creating another human being, that I forgot all the being thin stuff, and I was just in awe of what my body could do.
Now, after my brush with cancer, my body image has taken a knock. I hate my short hair. My fitness levels have crashed. I’m just feeling a bit self conscious about it all, and desperate to look “normal” again.
One of my rules for my collection of Over 40 Style blogs is that the person has to post relatively frequently.
However recently I have been questioning the value of posting frequently, over waiting until you have something interesting to say.
Posting frequently and writing interesting stories is, I believe, impossible in the long term for one person.
Obviously posting once a year is too infrequent. That blog is dead to me.
On the other hand there is nothing worse than someone wasting my time with a rubbish post because they have decided they must post every day or even every week. It’s the same with OOTD bloggers who post increasingly odd clothing choices in an attempt to wear something to post about.
This season though they have a cracker collection. They have interpreted the tricky trends of the season into a lot of wearable pieces.
I went “window shopping” online at River Island today. There are quite a few things that I would buy. My favourites below.
This mustard jacket has great detailing and a good sized collar:
A really nice, flattering LBD:
A classy nod to the mixed pattern trend in a grown up bag shape:
I do like this version of the white vest trend. The buckle detail and deep neckline really make it work for me.
Long tanks are a wardrobe staple for me, thanks to my wide shoulders and solid middle.
The 70’s are back! This denim skirt is a flattering nod to the trend.
This handbag would work well with a 70s look.
It’s worth having at least one pair of shoes in the “flesh coloured” neighbourhood – pink or brown or cream. Sometimes it looks weird to have shoes in dark or eye catching colours, especially in summer.
I think she actually looks her best with short hair.
I have a style crush on her because I think she chooses clothes that work well wth her short hair and curvy shape. She uses long skirts and jackets to lengthen her body. She uses deep necklines and or raised collars to avoid the pin head look.
Given my buzz cut hair style, the look for me, until my hair grows, is all black (or navy). I have a few events coming up and my pre-chemo clothes just don’t work with my very short hair. I either look very butch or very ill.
So I went shopping!
Before you get too jealous, you have to picture this as an act of desperation. I spent years weaning myself off black clothes. So being forced to go back now is hard. After much trial and error I found that it really is the only style that makes my buzz cut look stylish rather than cancer patient.
Luckily for me I looked in at Veronika Maine and basically could have bought half the clothes. Or at least spent a good $1000 more than I did.
(You have to picture these clothes with someone with a buzz cut).
These are not black but they were a flattering cut:
I also bought a pair of cropped, skinny jeans from Country Road. I can not compliment these jeans enough. Super stretchy. They sit about 2 inches above my ankle so work well with shoes with ankle straps.
I saw some other good basic tops at Country Road too, but I’d already blown my budget at Veronika Maine.
Ever since I was a kid I’ve had a thing for ponchos and capes. Given my wide shoulders they don’t suit me at all. But I still love them.
Some more street style inspiration for my new minimalist look:
Spending the money was painful but it had gotten too hard to go outside while feeling so conspicuous. Fashion as therapy!
The main goal is to avoid “the pin head” look. A long neck, or the illusion of a long neck, should be the main aim. You also don’t want a sack or box body shape, so you need to either emphasize your waist, or wear a tight skirt or pants.
After looking at a lot of pictures, I’ve noticed that the successful looks share the following features:
Long lines – long pants, knee length (or longer) skirts and dresses.
Necklines are often low to lengthen the neck.
Jackets, scarves or long necklaces can be used to draw the eye down.
Long sleeves or thick straps reduce the shoulder width.
Nothing too frilly or girly.
Option 1. The Hippy.
I’m thinking harem pants, flat shoes, clogs:
Option 2. The Minimalist.
This means structured clothing. No patterns. Lots of black:
Option 3. The Apple.
Key to this look is loose tops and tight pants:
Option 4. The Dandy.
A masculine feel due to the style of trousers. Softened with a scarf:
Option 5. The Simplified Girl.
Skirts and dresses are doable but need to be fairly body hugging (no sacks unless you are Jennifer Lawrence):
I know that these pictures aren’t of buzz cuts, but I have looked and looked, and this is the best I could find. I don’t think it is unintentional that most pictures of women with short hair only show them in close up. Often short hair flatters the face but not the body. It’s a hard look to pull off, especially if you are not a model or actress.
My style blog mojo is returning in fits and starts.
Yesterday – like the KonMari convert that I am – I culled my List of Over 40 Style bloggers down to 44. When I started the list, I think there were about 100 sites on it? I don’t know. There were a lot more to start with. It seems like many, many bloggers ran out of steam. Other blogs no longer brought me “joy”.
I have turned into the Goldilocks of style blog readers. This blogger was too designer / dressed like a clown / ridiculously different from my life. This blogger was too dull. This blogger made me feel sad for me. This blogger made me feel sad for them. This blogger was just right.
This is where the KonMari method is magic. You aren’t just chucking stuff. No. In the process of culling, you learn what brings you joy. It helps you to get a better idea of what you actually like, so that when you go looking, you have a better understanding of what makes you happy.
Today I have been hunting for new (to me) Over 40 fashion blogs. I found a few goodies that you might like to look at too:
Next, I went to my old favourite, PopSugar. The target audience is younger than me, but I like the fashion edits. I found this post on what fashion trends are coming in 2016. Perfect! Exactly what I’m looking for. Or not.
Athleisure? Old school sneakers with skirts? Bum bags? Silly sunnies? No rules? Capsule wardrobes?
I haven’t been to Elle in ages, and I have to say they’ve got a lot of interesting articles on their main page. I found an article listing some Pre-Fall 2016 trends that “you might like to try”. Not very convincing. Even they aren’t sure by the sounds of it.
The trends are:
Navy (like, literally The Navy)
Black and sheer
Well. It will be interesting to see what trends actually go big.
Part of the problem is of course that it is summer in Sydney, and it is a hot, wet summer this year. A lot of these trends could be big in the stores, just not yet. Maybe later in the year?
I will keep on looking but for now, my money is safe.
A useful tip I found today was to name your emotions rather than suppressing them:
Gross found that people who tried to suppress a negative emotional experience failed to do so. While they thought they looked fine outwardly, inwardly their limbic system was just as aroused as without suppression, and in some cases, even more aroused.
But labeling, on the other hand, makes a big difference….
…. describe an emotion in just a word or two, and it helps reduce the emotion.
Since May 2015, I have been under treatment for breast cancer (honestly, it hasn’t been that bad). My lack of posting here doesn’t reflect how difficult the treatment has been. I am ok. I have had no real reason to not post… apart from not feeling like it.
Some of my favourite bloggers don’t post all the time – Mimi Smartypants – so I don’t feel so bad about it.
Is it just me, or are the outfits outside fashion weeks more silly than ever? Did so many people dress so crazy at fashion weeks in the past? Or has it got a lot more silly in recent years?
I do enjoy perusing the Philip Oh photos in Vogue. They really give you a sense of this other world – the Fashion Week world. It’s entertaining, but not inspirational. Fun to look at, but also they look like a bunch of conformists rebels – like a bunch of emos or punks.
Recently I had the revelation that the world of runway shows is a dying industry – runway shows themselves no longer garner the same amount of attention that they used to.
I do wonder if we are finally seeing the result of the fashion industry sabotaging themselves – by ignoring the complaints about anorexic models and unwearable, unflattering clothes made by gay men for flat chested girls who resemble young boys?
The rest of the world has given up. We have voted with our attention spans.
Old school fashion magazines and designers like to think the world is still interested in their anorexic, women hating vision. But I don’t think it is.
People pay more attention to what people wear TO the runway shows than to the shows themselves.
Bloggers and instagrammers are more influential these days. They drive the fashion agenda. They decide what is cool.
Fashion designers have tried to keep runway shows relevant by inviting bloggers to their shows, and gifting them their overpriced goods.
Presumably it is only a matter of time before they do away with the runway altogether and just photograph bloggers wearing their goods in the street.
I see the runway world as having less and less relevance as time goes on. Like VHS video or vinyl or something. The world has moved on and the fashion industry is changing.
You need an umbrella in Sydney. It doesn’t rain as often as in other cities, but when it does rain, it absolutely buckets down. In London there’s often a gentle drizzle which hardly wets you at all (just wrecks your hair). It doesn’t rain like that in Sydney. Ever.
A raincoat is a good idea (especially if you walk a lot) because an umbrella will often not cut it. My raincoat is an old Calvin Klein one that I bought at Century 21 in NYC in the 90s. It gives me such pleasure that I still get use out of it. Imagine what the cost-per-wear is?!
Gumboots (Wellingtons. Rain boots) are optional. They are fun to wear, but impossible to drive in. I have a pair but don’t get much use out of them. Maybe once or twice a year? Given how much space they take up, they aren’t worth it really.