Monday, 21 March 2016

Style Musings-Yes, It's a Bloody Long Post so Skim It

                        Style Journey Musings-The Picture Part and another Grimace

I call this look Androgynous Professor on casual Friday. If I add my glasses then it’s Androgynous Grandma Retired Professor.   The hair is in it’s usual state of no particular style but off my face so that’s good.  The jeans are Men’s Levi’s which is my latest favourite thing.  The shoes are Hush Puppies, oxfords thus man-style but actually women’s shoes.  Shawna signature style= cardigans and cross body messenger bag.  You can't tell by the photo but I'm wearing silver earrings, necklace a few rings and my usual tiny nose stud, also ubiquitous for my style.  So here's a quickly snapped close up to show my new favourite necklace. 

Style Journey Musings-The Babbling Part

I have mentioned before that I have essentially come full circle in my personal style journey.  At first that seems a bit disappointing but I suppose it is also reassuring.  I was getting it right before, I strayed, I got confused, I explored and then I found my way back.  It sounds a bit like marriage issues but it doesn’t surprise me at all that I would have deep emotional connections to what I wear.   Some of what I wanted from clothing, or at least thought I wanted, was a bit conflicting.  Some of it was just unavailable or required too much effort.  If money were no object or I possessed a magic wand, what I wear might certainly be a little different from what I have settled into but I have neither the wand nor the large bank account.  I also find that I have little interest in putting much thought into putting together outfits to wear on a regular basis.  I would love to style someone else. I would enjoy dressing mannequins and creating window displays.  I could be one of those people dressed in head to toe black jersey who works in fashion with wild colours and quirky accessories.  I want to create the art but I don’t want to be it.

Black is not my best colour though so although I briefly did consider dressing in nothing but black and found the idea of a goth-witchy look rather appealing, it wasn’t quite going to work for me.  I am already sensitive to the fact that I can look a bit pale, grey and tired due to living with the plague and wearing black makes me look that way even on a good day.  I made note of the appeal of the simplicity of an all black wardrobe and moved on.

I also tried dressing in mainly jersey fabrics.  I love the comfort, the easy movement and the draped effect they provide but I disliked the way I ended up covered in cat hair and lint within five minutes and how they could look a little too similar to pyjamas.  Head to toe jersey was not the best option but I still wear leggings sometimes and I would like a good quality jersey dress.  Thin, poor quality jersey clothing looks cheap, wrinkles easily and is sometimes expensive despite these drawbacks.

I prefer natural fibres and these are harder to find, especially if I am also being picky about style, colour and fit and I do not have the extensive shopping options a city provides.  With these preferences informing my buying, I just naturally buy less and have a smaller wardrobe.

I have a very casual lifestyle which equates to my mainly needing casual clothes and leisure clothes.  I spend most of my time at home and either sitting down or puttering around my home doing chores.  I go out to the grocery store, I might go for a walk and I have no more than five social engagements per month, usually an hour or two at a cafe.  I like skirts and dresses and wear them whenever I feel like it, which is more than most of my peers, but I am also quite content to live in jeans and sweaters or well made tee shirts.  Cardigans are my best friends.  I still tend to layer my clothing as a damp climate can be chilly.  We don’t quite have four seasons it’s more like three with the potential for four in some years, so my wardrobe has to accommodate that.  It also has to accommodate lots of rain.   When I find something that is comfortable and works well I wear it often and am tempted to have more than one of it if that is possible.  Sometimes I panic thinking I am never again going to find a soft, well made, scoop-necked, long-sleeved tee shirt in just the right shade of off white. 

Jeans can be challenging and while most people have some difficulty finding a good fit I think I have slightly more difficulty than average.  I am higher -or is that longer-in the rise so low rise pants are not an option, mid-rise is low rise and most things being sold currently as high-rise are just barely mid-rise on me.  Mid-rise gives me muffin top and in most cases just slides down.  I also hate the way most jeans these days are a blend of polyester and cotton with the polyester content increasing rapidly.  I don’t know how these can be called jeans but they are and now one has to look for something called ‘denim’ jeans which means they are actually made of cotton.  Cropped jeans are a thing right now and really don’t suit me, but regular length is cropped on me anyhow so not only do I need a longer rise I need a longer leg length.  I’ve got one pair of boot cut jeans that are nice and long and the rise is reasonable-just reaches my belly-button (I think this is the first time I have mentioned my belly button in this blog!) but I’ve not been able to find another pair like them and I’ve even tried shopping straight from the manufacturer online.  Everything I like seems to get discontinued. So, I’ve been sticking to men’s Levis which I can get in the length I need and which are at least a generous mid-rise on me.  They are also significantly less expensive and come in a basic slightly faded blue which I like, straight leg and no polyester. 

Earth shoes, combat boots, granny boots or mary-janes are still my favourite footwear, though at home I am barefoot.  I have a pared down boho look but I eschew the overly contrived, Mall-boho look which admittedly I like but find too predictable, cheaply produced and mainly screams “I’m a twenty year old California girl or I wanna be.”    I might wear cut off jean shorts and a peasant blouse but I can’t add the cowboy boots and floppy hat without feeling like I’m wearing a costume and I don’t wear Navajo-inspired anything.  This is a whole other topic-ethnic prints and how I love them but feel weird about them at the same time.

Well that’s a fair bit of rambling about clothing.  It’s not a subject I spend as much time thinking about as this blog might make it appear, but I try to keep the topics here light which means I censor myself often.  I get into trouble when I talk about religion or politics or social issues although those are the topics that occupy most of my mind space.  (My love of literature is connected to my love of philosophy and psychology and that is what occupies most of my non-creative time) I think that is why the experimenting grew tiresome after awhile and I realised that clothing was not where I wanted to put my energy or the way I wanted to express myself.  I do that in my writing (whether you see that writing here or not) and in my painting.  I also grew quite weary of taking and looking at photos of myself and either I was not wearing an outfit that had not been seen before and thus no photo needed to be taken, or I was wearing something different but the taking of a photo was too troublesome.  I rarely wear anything now that I think is photo-worthy and I wear the same things over and over.  I am developing something that resembles a capsule wardrobe or a minimalist closet without really aiming for that.  I’ve got roughly 70 items of clothing, not counting underwear and pyjamas, and some of those are for warm weather and some for cold weather.  I’ve pared down my scarf collection to three or four favourites and the same with hats.  I have not counted boots and shoes lately but it’s around 12 pairs altogether.  It’s more than I’ve owned at previous times in my life and it feels like plenty. 

The daily uniform:

jeans, a neutral coloured tee shirt and cardigan, or a light weight merino sweater


a couple of blouses, two skirts, three dresses for warmer weather

hot weather: shorts, tee-shirts or blouses, cotton tunic dresses with leggings

Most things are taupe, fawn, off white, brown, grey or blue.  Something in a soft pink, green or mauve sometimes makes it’s way in but everything goes with pretty much everything else though I may not like every possible combination.  I’ve got one pair of red shoes I still love and they are essentially summer shoes.  I wear more colour in summer as it seems to come naturally to me to work with the environment. 

I find myself no longer wanting things, no longer desiring to go shopping trying to find something to make a creative outfit with, trying to find the right layering pieces.  I have a few things in mind that I am looking for, but not desperate for.  I will just keep an eye out until eventually I find them.  I have yet to find my ideal cardigan, so I’m always looking for that, and long sleeved scoop necked tee shirts are hard to find locally.  I’ve got it into my head that it would be good to have a really good cashmere sweater, but I could be fooling myself.  I’ve got light weight merino wool knits, frustratingly moth nibbled recently so they are not dine-with-the -Queen quality, but then I remind myself that a few holes or darned spots certainly don’t bother Matty and she is my most likely dining companion. 

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