Confidence to dress differently

(39 Posts)
MadameLeBean Fri 04-Apr-14 15:37:48

I used to think I was quite a confident person even had a pixie crop at one point, sexy dresses, etc but I've recently realised my attempts to look "classic" don't render an average looking English girl into phoebe philo, but rather just make me look a bit frumpy and boring!

I sold lots of my cool clothes on eBay, leather jackets, DM biker boots, and threw out my washed out ripped skinny jeans and regret it now!

I now have a "uniform" of cashmere jumpers and blue jeans and have shoulder length brown straight hair. I am a size 6-8 but look quite chubby stocky as I have thick legs and a big bum and 30D boobs although my waist is small.

Any ideas how I can revive my style?! I think I may want to cut my hair short again but will get a fringe first because I need to lose some weight before the pixie looks good again. But what about clothes? I just feel so boring!

(I mean off duty clothes in general - my work outfits are generally suits/shift dresses and I'm sorted in that dept)

libertychick Tue 08-Apr-14 15:54:14

I like dresses with brogues for a casual look or with ankle boots.

OP some great advise on here. I would add that 'dressing up' is a habit and especially after having babies it's really easy to get into the habit of dressing more casually. I am also slowly realising that I don't need lots of clothes. 5/6 work outfits, 2/3 weekend outfits, 1/2 going out outfits is what I need. That way you can also justify spending a bit more on really nice things as you will wear them all the time.

Bodicea Tue 08-Apr-14 15:43:22

Your figure sounds a bit hour glass. Have you seen modern family ? The character Gloria has a wardrobe to die for that would prob suit your figure. But it is glam
I have large breasts like you and the French chic look is hard to pull off if you don't hand tiny tiny boobs.

I think skirts look good with knee high boots for casual in winter. As we're coming into Spring I'll be wearing mine with ankle boots / plimsolls / sandals.

MadameLeBean Tue 08-Apr-14 15:31:01

Right, I'm taking a jeans detox. Today at work I feel lovely in a navy tweed pencil skirt, a bright purple cashmere jumper and grey sledge heels. I am tanned from holiday and wearing tiny pearl earrings smile

Need to see if I can make the skirt / dress / heels thing work at weekend. Perhaps day dress with wedges? How does one wear skirts casually?

Slackgardener Mon 07-Apr-14 14:13:41

When I had my colours done, my consultant told me I was definitely dramatic in style, she encouraged me to go for, be brave and I'd feel like me and she was right. Classic clothing is so very dull and grown up looking on me, being given permission to avoid the classic and wear quirky clothes again was very liberating.

TheJumped Mon 07-Apr-14 13:47:08

Amber you are a font of wisdom on this thread - love the idea of finding what your own personal classic items are. Think mine are decent jeans in a mid blue with distressing, with a low rise. I've had a variation on them since I was 20 and then I can add whatever but feel 'me'.

I like 'life's too short to pretend to be Parisian' too - please get some tees knocked up and flog them on your blog wink

OP I would add to the wise words already posted - make sure you truly love anything you buy. It might not be as out there or as expensive as you might ideally want, but you need to feel like it's going to be your 'new favourite' item before it deserves a place in your wardrobe. And I don't think you necessarily need to get your colours analysed, but I'm sure you know what colours make you look amazing so seek out a couple of tops in good fabrics and shapes in those colours. They will feel 'you' - I realised tomato red makes me look ace and bought a cami from Topshop and a cowl neck top from H and M and they are my fave 'going out' bits just because they make me look deceptively young and awake.

Floisme Mon 07-Apr-14 13:28:32

noviceoftheday fair comment and apologies, op if I was one of those jumping to conclusions.

Back to the discussion: I agree with Amber that the secret is to find your own personal version of 'classic'. In fact it sounds as if you do know what you like but just don't trust your own judgment any more? Apologies if that's yet more cod psychology!

Buy not high.

OP - I still wholeheartedly agree with spending on quality classics but the need to be your classics.

As an example I invested in an equipment silk shirt. So far, so classic, except mine isn't a sensible navy or cream one, it is the signature shape but has little zebras running across it. It is beautifully made and I know I will keep and love it forever. Likewise I invest in shoes, but rather than something sensible I high glitter Jimmy Choos high tops which I wear all the time. Obviously everyone needs basics but I do tend to really invest in the things that make my heart sing, and it is leading to a happy (if eclectic) wardrobe.

MadameLeBean Mon 07-Apr-14 12:17:25

Thanks novice and twinkle.I am avg height at 5'5" and look good at 54-57kg where I am a 6 but still curvy. Currently I'm 57-60kg and size 8 (10 probably if it weren't for vanity sizing!) which really shows and I feel chubby.

I used to have a bit of a problem addiction with clothes shopping but 3 years of living with sensible DP have meant Ive become very careful to buy items that are "classics" and only very occasionally shop - I don't impulse buy. If I like something I write it on my wish list then think about it for weeks or months / until I can afford or justify it.
The downside of this is that I do not buy anything frivolous or just because I love it. Rather it needs to go with as much stuff as possible and be part of a carefully considered wardrobe, this is making my wardrobe boring!

Need to find a balance - I don't want to go back to spending sprees on unsuitable things that don't last, but want to branch out a bit from "safe".

Twinklestein Sun 06-Apr-14 11:22:29

I can corroborate what you and the OP say Novice. I'm 50kg which is the right weight for me (about 7 stone 12). At 55kg (which is around 8 stone 9) I would look quite chubby, albeit a size 8, and wouldn't be able to fit into all my clothes.

OP I would just take pleasure in building up your wardrobe again. Get another biker jacket, and some nice dresses etc...

noviceoftheday Sun 06-Apr-14 10:43:31

It really pisses me off when people on MN say if you're size 6, you can't be a few pounds overweight. I am 5'1 and a size 6, though creeping towards an 8. I have a very thorough (takes 3 hours) annual medical test every year - it's an insurance requirement for my job. Last year, it said, at age 41, I am very fit, if there were 100 people my age, I would be the 98th to have a heart attack. But it also, said my body fat had crept up in the last year and to watch my weight as my ideal was 51-53kg, and I was at 54. I am currently at 55, I can see it in my face, so yes, I could do with losing a few pounds, it's not a judgment on anyone else who isn't a size 6/8. Jeez.hmm

Sorry for jumping on my soapbox on your thread OPthanks. I have changed my style over the last 18 months by trying colours I wouldn't have tried (brighter), new brands but also I have looked at Pinterest a lot and been inspired to try new things, some of who have been great (and a real surprise) and others have looked hideous and gone straight back! Although I have a different style to Amber (I really am a classic dressergrin) I agree with her posts.

MarshaBrady Sun 06-Apr-14 10:39:03

Back then I was in a studio/office in Covent Garden and I'd shop in the high st stores around me. No underlying thought I'd just buy what was out and new. I'd get rid of it quickly too. I look back and think my wardrobe looked unhappy, probably because I felt constrained at work.

MarshaBrady Sun 06-Apr-14 10:35:38

I really like Frugal's post. If you are happy with the small things it will start to show in how you dress. You'll naturally think hey I feel good I'm going to try this etc

And Amber you really are smashing your style atm, the P&J is perfect for you.

I cannot do drama so I'm never going to dress flamboyantly. But I can do scruffy chic and I love getting the middle ground by turning up scruff/grunge one day or a bit more streamlined the next.

No one else would notice probably, but I feel happier with my style than I did in late 20s. Much happier.

ADifferentKindOfMum Sun 06-Apr-14 10:26:30

This thread really cheered me up last night. At 41, I've spent the last year in some kind of perimenopausal funk (hair loss, peri oral dermatitis, food cravings). As a result, I've become bizarrely uncomfortable with the image I project.

Like Amber I like non-classic bits of clothing. I wouldn't say I look "out there" but ppl often say I look "young" and I think it is by virtue of my cclothes more than anything else. The last week or so ive felt like I look dreadful, daft, wacky etc. Truth is, I like the clothes I choose (denim and trainers being at core) and while I wish I could carry off very classic style, it just makes me look like I'm dressing up in my Mum's stuff!

FrugalFashionista Sat 05-Apr-14 19:01:35

Mme I went through this a couple of years ago when my children were very small. Dressing in a dull, safe way that had nothing to do with who I was. But a lot of it was also just general midlife stagnation.

There are two ways to come to terms with it.
1. Start doing things that you have always wanted to do, aiming for a fuller life but also small daily sensory pleasures (for me: delicious coffee, great perfume, good food, buying flowers every now and then, engrossing novels, cuddling my children, a poem on the subway...). When you see more people and do more things that you really enjoy, your style will fall in place naturally. (I find that dressing stylishly will not necessarily make me happy - it can even make you extremely unhappy if you are constantly comparing yourself to impossible norms. However, being 'me' and savoring all those tiny moments of happiness does make me happy.) Exercise in a way that makes you feel great, but not with a weight loss as the main goal. Hope this does not sound to new agey but also spend a few moments contemplating yourself and others in a loving, accepting way every day.

2. Check out a few fashion magazines, spend an evening on Pinterest, or pay attention on the street what people whose style you admire tend to wear. Then start implementing the changes step by step. Dress the body you have today, not a fantasy body - everyone has some great bits, make them the focal point, and nobody will notice the rest. Think about what makes you feel great / flirty / sexy/ confident (lots of us somehow let that part of us languish when we get a bit older). Make a list of clothes that you think you will feel good in, then go and try them on. Some of them might feel wrong for various reasons but many will feel great. Go for those!

Good luck!

charitygirl Sat 05-Apr-14 14:17:02

Agree with Amber again - over the last 2 years I've massively toned up my legs and am so much happier in skirts and dresses.

I've had the same analysis as Amber and am a Ingenue Natural. Basically I haven't a 'classic' bone in my body - put me in a A line skirt or a Breton top and I feel frumptastic. So liberating to know I can just stop trying with all those 'wardrobe essential' items.

MadameLeBean Sat 05-Apr-14 13:26:00

Thanks theoldhag! smile

Amber - that's great. I am doing Bikram yoga once a week and it's helping but also gonna try to run and cycle more (used to do it lots).

And I'm going to bring in lunch to work (which will save me £150 per month!) and use the spare cash to buy myself some new clothes... Not classics only!

I've spent SO long hating my legs. This year I decided to do something about it, so I started running. Nothing will change my fundamental body shape but they're more toned and I feel happier. As a result I am today wearing a Paul and Joe playsuit with little white rabbits all over it.

Theoldhag Sat 05-Apr-14 13:16:23

Sometimes I feel that as we grow older we loose our sense of play and fun, I sometimes suggest to other women who feel that they have become 'stuck in a rut' and 'not confident' with regards to clothing, that in order to break this feeling to go out with a friend and have fun trying on all different clothing items, try out different looks in shops. Have fun and play dress up. Nothing has to be bought but the feeling of freedom this can give is positive.

Have fun and play!

MadameLeBean Sat 05-Apr-14 13:06:27

And I know this is crazy but I am going to email the girl in Australia who I sold the acne shift dress to two yrs ago and ask her to sell it back to me!!! It's purple and short and made me feel like Audrey Hepburn smile

MadameLeBean Sat 05-Apr-14 13:04:11

Love that Amber! Life is too short indeed. If one is not naturally twiggy and French, it can only lead to heartache!

Buskersdog - YY that's exactly it.
And I have a v slim top half and carry all weight on hips and legs.

I find skinny jeans and a big jumper looks better than a fitted jumper bc the small jumper just accentuates my petite top half and highlights the chunkiness of my lower half in jeans. But wearing big jumpers doesn't really solve it cos then I hide my waist boobs and arms, which are my best bits.

Going to experiment more with day dresses...

Coumarin Sat 05-Apr-14 12:09:43

Life is too short to pretend to be Parisian

I'd quite like that on a t-shirt. (A grey one with fluorescent pink lettering.)

Spookey80 Sat 05-Apr-14 12:07:02

Oh my, I could have wriiten yr op, but I'm there now and because it works with my life as a mum I am trying to be so classic and think through every purchase really carefully, but actually I feel totally boring! What has happened to me?! So jo advice, but watching with interest.

charitygirl Fri 04-Apr-14 23:00:00

Amber's last sentence = true genius.

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