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Help - I am a boring dresser

(81 Posts)
hippospot Tue 30-Dec-14 20:59:51

As I turn 40 I realise my style is dull dull dull.

I have always been attracted to neutral colours and clean lines in the hope of being "elegant" and "chic". But suddenly I wonder if I have strayed into "older lady" territory by being a "safe" dresser.

I see other women my age who have a flair or an edge about them, and I suspect I'll never have that. I am definitely not, nor ever have been, trendy. Yet I don't want to look back in 10 years and think I dressed older than my age and didn't have fun with clothes.

In brief, I am tall and slim, short hair with a few greys that I don't dye, but the cut is good and hair is in good condition. I am a "winter" and unfortunately in winter 90% of my clothes are grey, black or navy (I find summer dressing much easier and wear more colour then).

I mostly wear skinny jeans, riding-style boots, stripy tops and cardis, knitted tunics or dresses, a scarf, nice naice leather bag, classic boring wool coat...

Please can someone give me some ideas! Any help much appreciated.

TheRealMaryMillington Tue 30-Dec-14 21:03:12

Hmm, well, who's style do you like?

There is a lot to be said for dressing in a classic way for longevity and style, but you can always insert a twist or two

hippospot Tue 30-Dec-14 21:11:28

That's the thing, I can't think of anyone famous whose style I admire, really. I see people in the street who look good but I guess they put stuff together that I wouldn't think of doing. I try copying but it never feels right!

I know confidence is part of it, and an upbringing of being taught not to draw attention to oneself...

peasandlove Wed 31-Dec-14 00:21:59

you sound like a better dresser than some who come here looking for help.
Not helpful I know, but bumped the thread for ya

Asleeponasunbeam Wed 31-Dec-14 00:46:36

You sound scarily identical to me. In every way. I have no advice! I'd like to try more jewellery maybe, but don't know how.

Thelovecats Wed 31-Dec-14 05:43:45

If classic style works for that's great. I think you need more colour. Why not a red coat or bag? Print could be good too, like houndstooth or leopard scarf etc. the good thing about being a winter is you can do high contrast ie brighter colour with black/grey.
Re jewellery then one statement piece in a colour is great. Look at this example here. Very classic outfit with bright necklace.

HarveySpecter Wed 31-Dec-14 06:44:06

Possibly take a look at Midlife Chic's blog. I think she writes well and always looks good in an "I could achieve that" kind of way. Her blog might reassure/inspire you.

GeorginaWorsley Wed 31-Dec-14 08:25:13

I like the polished chic look at my age, (47)
For me that means
Perfect but understated make up,so good flawless but not cakey heavy foundation, groomed and slightly darkened brows but no Scouse brow,neutral eye colours plus mascara, blusher and lipstick.
I tend to use browny reds in winter as I am an autumn colouring but you could perhaps do a more dramatic red.
There was a thread on here a few weeks ago re red lipstick.
I think that can lift an outfit.

Re clothing, your style sounds lovely and I agree with pp who suggested adding perhaps one statement piece of jewellery or colour .
I know some on here groan when scarves are mentioned but they can lift a plain outfit although I'm loving my marks and Spencer grey cashmere one at the moment smile.

I also like well kept nails,diamond stud earrings and silver bracelet for everyday chic[grin
Oh and am loving my coated skinny black jeans at the moment, as near as I will get to the famed leather or pleather leggings mentioned on herewink

ResolutionDonkey Wed 31-Dec-14 08:50:38

How about a trip to Zara? Your present syle could be pepped up by a few well chosen items - necklaces, colourful knitwear. And take the good advice of Georgina

I think your style just needs tweaking, rather than transforming.

hippospot Wed 31-Dec-14 09:01:18

Thanks for the tips, really useful.

I think reading blogs is a good starting point, I hadn't thought of that.

Last night I agonised over buying a pair of wide-legged navy trousers for the summer, they would suit me but I did wonder if I needed yet more navy, plain, classic stuff!

GeorginaWorsley Wed 31-Dec-14 09:09:30

I love navy and am guilty of buying too much [blush
However I think they could look fab with fitted white tee or vest and huge sunnies in a Riviera Chic kind of waygrin
My only reservation is one I have just expressed on the Frugal thread and that is if I but things too far in advance I never wear them!

chanie44 Wed 31-Dec-14 09:19:21

I agree with a previous poster, add some colour and accessories to update your look like statement necklaces, bags or shoes.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Wed 31-Dec-14 09:38:25

You sound very organised ... And you mention seeing how other people dress etc. I don't get a sense of you.

What do you want to express? And what do you covet? (Unless you're rich enough for covetousness to be an impossible emotion.)

Your basic palette sounds fine. You might have fun focussing on one thing you care about and seeking out the best, most extravagant example you can manage, Manolo Blahnik or New Balance footwear say, a piece of jewellery, a belt or a silk shirt ... Someone wise once said that it's good to choose one ridiculous and unnecessary accessory every season / year that will enliven all your sensible purchases and bring old things up to date.

Perhaps you don't need to be buying your summer wardrobe quite yet? (Economy aside.) Won't you be bored with things bought now by the time summer comes?

One thing that I find helpful re self expression is to wander around a gallery as often as possible. There are so many ways to be beautiful that might not be reflected in contemporary media.

pinkfrocks Wed 31-Dec-14 09:57:57

Beg to differ but think a statement necklace can look a bit cliched. It's what loads of women MPs do to try to 'lift' their boring suits and TBH sometimes it just screams 'middle aged and trying to look trendy with a big necklace'.

I think accessories are the way to go, but not a necklace that is out of keeping with the outfit. But don't stick to boring gold chains or safe diamond pendants all the time- very ageing.

I think ONE stunning piece of jewellery looks good- like a chunky silver bracelet, or lovely earrings etc. Maybe with a scarf and a bag that is not quite so 'safe' as normal.

And being very groomed with subtle make up and good nails, hair etc makes a huge difference.

MilkThistle187 Wed 31-Dec-14 09:58:54

One thing that I would do is swap the knee high boots for ankle boots, that will instantly update how you look.

Acne pistols are really popular and all the high street shops have done a version of them

Mrsgrumble Wed 31-Dec-14 10:00:55

I wear very safe clothes too so be interested in ideas

motherofluvlies Wed 31-Dec-14 10:11:28

I am presently aspiring to your style(48) innes de fressange is my inspiration ...her collection is out in January as she has designed for Uniglo. ....she is 57 which is not good but I am from the other point of view I am fed up having clothes in my wardrobe that I don't feel nice in.i felt liberated this christmas by deciding that I would only buy 2dresses (suggested by mumsnet)in dark green &same in black in October &wore them in different ways e.g tunic &leggings (casual)dressed up with a necklace &heels as a dress ....I felt nice as I liked the dresses & loved that I didn't have to think....next have a lovely red ,navy scarf at the mo which my instinct is to go for but am also questioning ...too classic ?its the red I think that brings it back to the 80,s !

ZeroSomeGameThingy Wed 31-Dec-14 10:15:47

fhmmWhat is not good about being 57?

Picastyle Wed 31-Dec-14 10:16:07

Your style sounds fabulous and similar to mine! grin

I hate animal print but find as a fellow winter that a bit of brightness in lippie helps. I also have a wardrobe of navy grey and black but I add cobalt blue and fuchsia pink as accent colours. That way everything works together.

Picastyle Wed 31-Dec-14 10:16:58

Smiley fail grin

WalkingInaWhippetWonderland Wed 31-Dec-14 10:17:24

I think you have got the basics right, you just need a few more exciting things. This year I have bought a few items that have added to my basics- like biker boots, a new jacket which seem to have updated the plain stuff.
Whilst I wear most of the clothes you mention except scarves and I don't like those stripy tops personally- every single one I have tried on makes me look frumpy, so prefer plain ones.
I agree with pinkfrocks I don't like statement necklaces - prefer a simple one or even better a cuff bracelet.

hippospot Wed 31-Dec-14 10:31:53

Thanks everyone.

Lots of good ideas. I think I might start by digging out my chunky silver jewellery and cleaning it. I forget to wear it!

I have ordered the navy trousers... I like the idea of Riviera chic smile
The only reason I was looking at summer clothes already is that there are bargains to be had at the "wrong" time of year. I have been known to buy knitwear in August, it is often very cheap as it's left over from the previous sale period.

I really don't suit lipstick. I must paint my nails more often though as I love the look of them when I bother.

I am also wary of statement necklaces, I think they can work or really not work and I don't trust my instinct at all to get it right!

As for finding out a sense of who I am, well I am about to turn 40 and feeling a bit lost to put it mildly... I guess that is why I started this thread!

ZeroSomeGameThingy Wed 31-Dec-14 10:36:06

How do you want to look?

GeorginaWorsley Wed 31-Dec-14 11:33:40

I like 'pared down chic' and 'elegant with a twist ' I suppose.
Have recently been wearing more shirts but I hate anything that creases so have to have certain fabrics.
I got compliments when I wore a pale silvery grey silk shirt and black coated skinny jeans recently, an outfit I hadn't worn together before as I always reach for tees with jeans or fine knit sweaters.
Perhaps have a look at the Ines Uniqlo range when it is out as that is that sort of look?

MarshaBrady Wed 31-Dec-14 11:35:27

Go on pinterest and just pin stuff you like. No rules, just think yep that looks good and soon a style will emerge. Doesn't matter how pared back it is.

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