Category: Clothes Maketh the (Wo)man

A t-shirt with a story

Row of tshirts hanging on washing line

I still have the t-shirt I was wearing on the day my Dad died. I remember dressing in a mad panic after receiving the early morning unexpected phonecall that I needed to get to the hospital. Most probably I grabbed it from the floor (I’m an untidy person); fumbling as I got dressed, pulling on my jeans and trying to fasten my shoes. Every second was precious, I needed to jump in my car and get to my Dad before it was too late.

As it happened my Dad’s last day was a long one. I wore that t-shirt right through into the early hours of the morning, after he’d died and we’d left the hospital. In the rush I hadn’t showered or brought a change of clothes with me, but none of it seemed to matter.

That t-shirt sits in my wardrobe, and I see it every so often when I flick through my clothes. It’s survived a house move and multiple wardrobe culls but I haven’t worn it since that day. I guess I can’t bring myself to, but I also don’t want to part with it.

Last night

Last night, getting changed to potter in the garden and have barbecue food for dinner, my fingers skimmed over the t-shirt. On a whim I pulled it on with a pair of jeans. I’m not sure what I expected to feel, but I decided not to think it through too much. Instead I went out into the evening sun, tidied up some of the garden beds, drank wine and laughed with my husband.

close up of t-shirt with feathers

Now that t-shirt is more than just a distressing memory to me. It’s also a nice memory, of a Spring evening doing what I love. My Dad would have liked that.

Clothes, for me, are more than just clothes. They’re memories, thoughts, happiness, sadness, upset, drama. I closely associate clothes with emotions. If I”m wearing an outfit I don’t like it can ruin my whole day,.

But clothes, like feelings, can change. And last night I changed that t-shirt to a nicer thing. I think I’ll wear it more often.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

1+

“I can’t believe you’re still wearing a bikini at 40!”

So said my husband as I tried on a multitude of options for our impending holiday and asked his opinion a couple of weeks ago. Not in a rude way (at least I hope it wasn’t!) More in an incredulous way. As though women of 40 don’t wear bikinis.

(Sidenote – the postman could have also chipped in to this conversation, because I was in the lounge modelling my new bikini. And the postman has to walk past both of our lounge windows to get to the front door. The husband told me to hide behind the sofa. Maybe he did mean his comment in a rude way after all.)

Here’s the thing – I don’t like swimsuits. I find them claustrophobic. They cling a lot. They don’t dry quickly enough when you’ve been in the pool or the sea. They make your skin feel clammy while they’re still damp. They’re a pain in the ass to pull up and down to go to the loo. They generally have too many straps and are too high at the front and back leaving tan marks where you don’t want them.

I like a tan on my stomach and my lower back. It freaks me out a little bit if my middle bit is completely white and my arm/face/shoulders/legs are brown (I don’t mind white bum and boobs, that’s the norm, unless you’re a nudist). And I like the feeling of the breeze on my stomach at the beach, or the cold sea as I ease myself in, or the first freezing hit of the pool when I jump in. And yes there’s a bit more of my stomach to experience those feelings than there used to be. And no I’m not as young and lithe as I once was (although nothing seems to be drooping so far!) But I still prefer a bikini.

Why is it that we’re so keen to put women in boxes when they reach a certain age? Shouldn’t wear short skirts, shouldn’t have long hair, should dress in classic neutral colours. I’ve been guilty of it myself in the past. I probably didn’t think I’d be wearing a bikini at 40, because that’s not what 40 year old women do, is it?

Well fucksticks to that. Neither my age or my “less slim” stomach is going to shame me into wearing something just because other people think I should. Whether that be the husband, the postman or the media.

This is not (misplaced) body confidence, by the way. I know I don’t look as good as I’d like to. But I refuse to be uncomfortable just to suit society.

Last time we were in Greece there were two Greek women on the beach. Both large ladies, both probably in their 60s, and both wearing a bikini. Not a skimpy tie sided, triangle top affair, admittedly. There was a decent amount of fabric and underwiring going on. But they were there and they were chilling and they were talking and sunbathing and swimming. I assume they were comfortable. I do notice a lot less body consciousness in non commercial Europe (hence the male budgie smuggler not being extinct!)

I’ve blogged about this subject before, 2 years ago, post holiday. I talked about the difference between my early 20s self in a bikini and my then late 30s one in one. And I stand by what I said then:

“My body looks how it does because of the life I lead. I enjoy life. I enjoy food. I enjoy drinking. I don’t enjoy exercise!”

Anyway, here are my two new bikinis, both from George at Asda. And I will be coming home from our late summer holiday with a tanned tum, so there!

Asda ombre blue bikini

Asda melon bikini with straps

What’s your approach to swimwear? Are you a cover up or stuff it kind of person?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

0

Going green

If you’ve happened upon this post thinking it’s something to do with recycling or living a more sustainable life then…soz! It’s actually just a vacuous post about clothes (“just”, she says, as if clothes aren’t part of her life blood!)

I realised recently that I didn’t really have any green in my wardrobe. Then I realised that I wanted some. So, in true shopaholic style, I bought not one but FIVE things.

Have a lookie, why don’t you?

Teal sliders – George at Asda

Asda teal sliders

Crinkle top with white floral embroidery – George at Asda

Asda George green embroidered top

Frill sleeve pearl trim blouse – Everything 5 Pounds

E5P green pearl trim blouse

Floral frill hem ditsy print tea dress – Peacocks

Peacocks green floral dress

Palm print tie waist shift dress (WITH POCKETS!) – Peacocks

Peacocks palm print dress

Are a green wearer? What colour do you have most of in your wardrobe? Let me know!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

 

0

Some Everything Five Pounds buys

I don’t know about you, but I tend not to shop very much in February and March. The shops are full of new season stuff but it’s still too bloody cold outside to wear anything less than 10 tog quilted clothes and hide under blankets at all time.

Come April though, I start to get a hankering for shiny new spring and summer clothes. Probably because I haven’t dared to unpack all of my previous year’s spring and summer clothes to avoid jinxing any good weather we might have. Or, more probably, because I get the fear when I don’t buy new things.

With that in mind, here’s a round up of my cheap and cheerful E5P buys which have ticked my new clothes box without breaking the bank.

Red ruffle hem trousers

Lesser mortals may think these are only for special occasions. I’m going to wear these bad boys whenever the mood takes me, even to work.

Everything 5 Pounds red flared trousers

Peacock print leggings

Ditto the above. I’ve already worn these to work, but certainly not with a top tucked in (who wear legging like that?!)

Everything 5 Pounds peacock print leggings

Navy and white spot shirt dress

I’ve had a soft spot (pun intended!) for dotty dresses ever since I saw Vivian wearing her brown and white one at the croquet in Pretty Woman. Hers shows more arm and less leg. I’m thinking of teaming this with a red bandana headband and white sandals.

Everything 5 Pounds polka dot shirt dress

70s print chiffon top

I love easy to wear pieces like this (by easy to wear, I also mean easy to wash, by which I mean no ironing required!) Great for chucking on with jeans.

Everything 5 Pounds retro print chiffon top

Frill sleeve blouse

I’ve waxed lyrical about my love of a fancy sleeve in the past, and this little lovely also has a fancy frilled front for extra dandiness.

Everything 5 Pounds frill sleeve blouse

Empire line denim dress

This is thicker than I expected so will probably get more wear in winter with tights and boots. Anyone else annoyed by her haphazard cuff folding?

Everything 5 Pounds denim dress

Embroidered cheesecloth smock tops

Again super easy to wear and no iron (they’re designed to look crinkled!) I couldn’t choose k=just one colour so I got two. Sorry not sorry

Aztec print chiffon cover up

I’m sure I will be asked why I’m wearing a dressing gown over my clothes when I wear this but that’s ok. As you may have noticed, I’m very much of the don’t give a fuck camp when it come to other people’s opinions on my clothes!

Everything 5 Pounds long chiffon kaftan

Off shoulder cheesecloth mini dresses

More non iron beauties! I was hoping these would be long enough to wear as dresses, what with me not being of clothing model proportions, but I might be pushing it on the decency front. But they’ll look great with leggings or over denim shorts.

 

Has the good weather sent you scurrying to the shops? Let me know!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

0

A classic case of need vs. want

We all know the drill; you see something that catches your eye, your inner magpie is on full alert, but you know deep down you don’t actually need it.

But you really, REALLY want it.

Let me introduce my multi coloured sequin skirt from H&M.

H&M multi coloured sequin skirt

I only ordered it to be nosy (honest). Then when it arrived I couldn’t bear to send it back.

It was such a bargain.

And so pretty.

Just look at those colours!

Multi sequin skirt close up

So I kept it.

And then, on Monday, I wanted to go out to lunch so I needed something to wear. And while it might not scream bank holiday in the pub, I made it work. The husband didn’t laugh when I came downstairs , AND he held my hand publicly.

Dressed down with my new snuggly star jumper, opaque tights and flat buckle boots.

I even briefly sat outside to watch it sparkle in the daylight.

Sequin skirt outside

And I’d do it all over again, oh yes I would! Next stop summer with a black t-shirt, denim waistcoat and gladiator sandals.

If summer ever arrives, of course.

Do you do eveningwear for daywear? Sequins in summer?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

0

One size DOES NOT fit all

A big well done today to ASOS, who have announced plans to start showing the same clothes on different sizes and shapes of models.

Because we all know that a dress we buy online isn’t going to look the same as it does on the model…don’t we?

So, won’t it be nice to see the effect of wider hips or a bugger bust or shorter legs on clothes before we buy them?

ASOS different sizes

More importantly it’s a recognition that women do come in all shapes and sizes, and that we want to see all shapes and sizes reflected in our decision making process.

Naturally it’s going to take a while to roll out across the entire website, but it’s already a great start. Other retailers take note!

Read the full story here.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

0

Is Harry Styles the next David Bowie?

So asked The Guardian a few days ago, referencing an article from the NME.

(for the uninitiated, Harry Styles is a member of boy band One Direction, who were put together by Simon Cowell on TV talent show X Factor)

The very short answer is, quite obviously, no.

We don’t need another David Bowie. He was one of a kind, a visionary, with an eclectic history, back catalogue and chameleon like appearance. He started out at a time when making it in the music industry meant slogging your guts out, writing your own songs and being original.

Harry Styles was thrust into the public eye along with 4 other good looking boys in a manufactured, made for TV group, singing songs written by other people, not playing an instrument and with his career shoehorned into the public eye by the very powerful Simon Cowell. That isn’t music legend calibre.

Not to take anything away from Harry Styles. In fact I think his new song is absolutely amazing, and was truly shocked when the husband played it to me and told me who it was. I think it has the makings of becoming an epic song for a long time to come. But it isn’t 100% his song. He’s co-written it. I’m sure it’s been very carefully put together and orchestrated by Harry’s management company with a view to distancing people from his boy band past and turning him into a credible and respected artist. And maybe it will work. Maybe he’ll become a hugely respected solo star. Who knows?

But the media need to stop trying to recreate and replace music legends who have been and gone. Let singers be an artist in their own right.

David Bowie was an immense artist, with a career spanning decades. He’s an artist that I’m proud to wear across my chest (and did so today!)

David Bowie tshirt flared jeans and clogs

Will I ever wear a Harry Styles tshirt? Doubtful!

Read the for and against arguments of the Bowie likeness from two different columnists for the Guardian.

What do you think?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

0

Oh Topshop, what were you thinking?

Have you ever put on a pair of jeans and wished there was a window to your knees?

No? Then you’re not the target market for Topshop’s latest denim design.

I can’t think who they think the target market is, but somebody somewhere thought there was a gap in the market for a pair of jeans with see through plastic knee patches.

So many questions. The main one being “why?” Followed by “why, why, WHY?” Followed by “wouldn’t they make your knees sweat?”, “wouldn’t they steam up?” and “WHY?” quite a few more times.

I could write at length about how fecking ridiculous these things are, but what would be the point? I think everyone reading this knows how ridiculous they are, without me helping you along in the thought process!

(Do take a moment to read the product reviews though, if you fancy even more of a giggle)

Not quite as bad, but still downright ridiculous are these party skirt jeans, which are also available on their website.

Topshop skirt overlay jeans

Topshop – Twit of the Day!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

0

GIG REVIEW: The Counterfeit Stones

I have mixed feelings about tribute bands. On the one hand I think it’s pretty good that you can go and see a band who look and sound like a real band that you like, but in a cheaper and more accessible way (generally smaller venues and playing more regularly than the originals). On the other hand I’m like “but it’s not the real band and they’re just pretending”. Although that’s what actors do and obviously I’m ok with that.

A dichotomy, no?

What I don’t have mixed feelings about, is how great the Counterfeit Stones were when I saw them on Saturday night!

I’d never heard of them before, but the husband told me they’re classed as one of the best Rolling Stones bands out there and, according to their website, Mick Jagger classes them as “The Most famous Stones band in England” (apart from the originals, obvs!)

“The Counterfeit Stones have successfully toured the globe for nearly twenty years, and during that time have played shows with audience capacities of up to 60,000. Their many fans include Bill Clinton, Prince Edward, Lemmy, Mick Jagger, the Gallagher brothers, Jerry Hall and many many more.”

None too shabby!

Playing all the hits, the ticket was real value for money with two sets of around 45 minutes each. Front man Nick Dagger has the voice, the look and the mannerisms of Mick – he struts, he swaggers and he sounds ridiculously like Jagger himself. Close your eyes and you could be at a Stones gig. Each band member is very tight and plays immensely, which was obviously helped by the really great sound at the venue.

counterfeit-stones-at-the-robin-bilston

There’s a comedic element to their performance, with a bit of audience banter and not taking themselves too seriously, certainly enhanced by the terrible wigs worn by “Keith” and “Ronnie” but for a singalong, rousing fun night out, you can’t go wrong! If you like the Rolling Stones and you see these guys advertised at a venue near you, my advice would be to go and have a great time.

I wore my new red velvet paisley flares from Forever 21. Aren’t they great? They got a lot of love!

forever-21-paisley-velvet-flares

Read about the time I went to the Rolling Stones exhibition at the Saatchi gallery here.

What are your thoughts on tribute bands? Yay or nay?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

6+

Mind the Gap

Gap is one of those places I just never think to go in or look at online, much less buy anything. But I recently decided, in a Pinterest style marathon, that I needed some crop flare jeans – to wear now with ankle / calf boots and in summer with wedges and clogs. Here are my inspo pics.

I especially love the ones on the bottom left…swoon

Simultaneously the husband declared that he needed some new jeans for work, and with Gap 1969 being his preferred style and me being his personal shopper (!!) I headed on over to the website.

“Ooh,” thinks I, “I may as well have a look at the women’s sale while I’m here.” (always dangerous). “I wonder if they have any cropped flares?”

Which is how I came across these beauties.

I love the two tone denim. They’re pleasingly high waisted (I can tuck my post dinner tummy right in!!) and pleasingly similar to my faves above. I might let down the hems for that raw edge finish too but I won’t be wearing them with black courts (sack the Gap stylist!)

The husband told me they look like clown trousers, which made me love them even more!

I also spied these two pairs of distressed jeans, which I’m currently deciding between, to replace my beloved ASOS Saxon battered jeans, which are now more battered than jean and only fit for slobbing around the house (something I do well).

I’m erring towards the ones on the right as they’re a slightly looser fit, and in my head I will look as cool and cute as this when I wear them (in a less young, less slim kind of way).

distressed-jeans-leather-jacket

What are your favourite denim styles? Let me know!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

 

 

0