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Style me, please?(47 Posts)
I’m not new to mumsnet, but I never usually venture on to this board because I have never really bothered with style and beauty. I’m 56, overweight, haven’t had a professional haircut for 5 years, and spend my entire life in jeans, t shirt and fleece. I know, I sound gorgeous!
Anyway, I was recently traumatically widowed. I have been clearing out my husbands wardrobe and realised I hate all my clothes (or can’t fit into them). So, I’m ditching 75% of mine, too.
So, I need a complete new wardrobe of comfortable, practical clothes. I don’t really like shopping, so I’d like them to last, be mix and matchable and me feel a bit less like “Vera” from the tv series. Without posting a picture, the Vera character is actually quite close to my colouring, age and shape.
Which shops would you recommend? Can you link to some “looks”?
I don’t have endless funds, but willing to spend a couple of thousand if it will last me for a good while. Thanks for your help.
Why don’t you book an appointment with a stylist at somewhere like John Lewis, they’ll really be able to show you what works for you.
Definitely go and get yourself a stylist appointment with John Lewis. It's impossible for us to help you when we can't see you.
Chocolate emergency beat me to it
If you are starting again with your wardrobe, I’d also be tempted to get your colours analysed by House of Colour or similar first. Knowing what colours suit you should help you narrow down your options when you are shopping and hopefully make you feel more confident in your choices.
I'm so sorry for your loss.
To begin with, I'd probably start with:
A new pair of jeans - once you find a pair you really like, buy the same pair in a couple of colours
Long sleeved basic tops
A couple of cashmere, merino or cotton mix jumpers
A good coat and a good jacket for spring
Boots and either trainers or casual shoes
A couple of dresses
I am sorry you’ve had to endure such a loss. And can understand why you want to start afresh with something.
May I ask what you need your new clothes to do? Occupation, hobbies, social life, travel, walking dogs, entertaining, relaxing at home? I know you’ve stipulated comfortable and practical ...
I’m a similar age to you - and have found it necessary to make wardrobe changes to accommodate widely different careers and periods of study. So I‘d be reluctant to plan more than a year or two ahead, clothes-wise. Do you very much want to buy everything at once - or might you turn the re-wardrobing into a longer term project?
I don't know who Vera is but if you say what colours you like and what size a range needs to go up to for you, that might help people suggest things. Also, what kind of length/shape do you favour for dresses?
Agree if you get a good stylist it's fab. I had a crap one at House of Fraser and a good independent one.
Go and get a decent haircut.
Do you wear makeup?
There's nothing wrong with jeans and a fleece!
Sorry for your loss 💐 This sounds like a great project to mark a period of change and hopefully be uplifting.
I’d second what other posters have said about having your colours done before you start. Both of the main companies I know of for colour analysis (I like Colour Me Beautiful, there is also House of Colour) also offer a style consultation to help you think through size, shape, taste and help you find the type of clothes you’ll enjoy and wear the most.
There’s also a great thread on here at the moment - I’m not sure how to do a link but hopefully someone else can - on building a really thoughtful wardrobe from scratch based on her lifestyle. I will look for the title in a sec.
I am your age too . I mainly live in jeans , which I would like to change , but it’s the most practical. I.like black/ dark gray ones. I pair them with cashmere jumpers, pr3erably a looser fit. I also love blouses - there are a lot around this year. I would wear a cotton blazer or leather jacket over them. I also love all the long loose dresses around.
I had a personal styling from John Lewis which was great , and I use their website a lot. Also jigsaw, whistles and massimo dutti . I used to like mint velvet but not at the moment. White company has some nice things but they arc a bit overpriced.
Attempting link to the thread I mentioned:
Wow! Thanks for the responses. I am quite shy and never really considered an actual stylist. They aren’t going to try and make me buy a lot of stuff, though?
Never heard of having my colours done. I’ll look into that. I do love colour.
“ May I ask what you need your new clothes to do? Occupation, hobbies, social life, travel, walking dogs, entertaining, relaxing at home? I know you’ve stipulated comfortable and practical ...”
I don’t have much of a social life, though as the weather improves I hope to work on that too. I do pet sit for a couple of dogs, and I’d like to do more walking on the coast near me. I work part time, but have a supplied outfit for that (jeans, polo shirt, fleece 😃)
I’ll search for the other thread. Thank you all.
I'm sorry for your loss OP.
I think that an amazing hair cut and colour will go a long way. Plus eyebrows and make up - going into a Bobbi Brown or Nars concession in a dept store is a good start.
for clothes, I don't know about stylists (I think I may be slightly anti- stylists as I think they all dress you up to be mother of the bride type looks, but I accept I could be biased there!). , but if you look on pinterest or Instagram you can find people's look you admire. And blogs etc also give lots of ideas. (They are often linked on here).
And then, of course, losing weight will help in both looks and confidence. I also find exercise is (for me) completely essential in keeping my mental health in a good place.
I'm sorry for your loss, is now the right time? I'm just wondering if you are reacting to grief? Don't throw everything out, maybe bag it all up for a few weeks.
Anyway, when I realised I hated what I looked like and my magpie approach of buying stuff I liked and never wearing it didn't work, dh sat for a couple of hours as I tried everything on in my wardrobe.
Do you have a friend or family you could ply with coffee to do the same? I realised cap sleeves, bright colours, turtle necks, midi skirts etc all looked bad on me. Also allowed myself a couple of 'don't leave the house outfits' for slummy days.
Less stressful than the idea of a personal shopper for me.
Woolovers is good for plain jumpers.
Sainsbury's has become better and better for slightly quirky blouses.
I'll probably get hounded out of style and beauty for this but these trousers are good for walking. There is a bit of shape to them and they aren't flappy at the bottom. https://www.decathlon.co.uk/trousers-nh100-khaki-id_8554842.html
Maybe book yourself a bra fitting at Bravissimo and get yourself a couple of new bras?
And Jaegar and Hobbs sales might be worth a punt for coats.
The John Lewis stylusts are not at all pushy and mine was quite good with colour. Uf you do feel you have to buy something and then regret it, you can always return it.
I think a good place to start is plain basucs, like black jeans and plain grey top, and then have really nice, more distinctive hacket and boots. It's takes the pressure off if style isn't really your thing and you just want to look good.
Finding a neckline and a length and style of jacket or coat that suits is really helpful. If you already own a top or coat that you keep going back to, it's probably that one. Getting proportions and shapes right is really important but not as hard as it can seem.
I wonder if looking at pics of the actress when she's not being Vera might help. I don't know if she's stylish though.
Marks and Spencer jeans are fine if you don't really like shopping but be prepared to try in lots. If I'm jeans shopping, I don't do anything else or it gets me down.
I've just had a look at images of Brenda Blethyn. In my opinion, she gets her necklines right but could do with shorter jackets that are more nipped in at the waist
I'm sorry for your loss, OP.
Looking well dressed to me has a great deal to do with:
suitable clothes for the occasion
clothes that fit you well
clothes that are good quality
My deepest sympathies on your loss
I think you’re doing something really positive, it’s amazing how much treating ourselves nicely can help.
As others have said I’d start with a good haircut and maybe a colour. Then get yourself to a make up counter, Bobbi Brown perhaps and get them to advise a good basic set which you can use every day. A good pair of flattering jeans (try NDJ at John Lewis), a couple of tops and a jersey blazer - as comfortable as a fleece but much more flattering.
Is there a friend who could go with you and make a day of it?
I think Vera is cool so you may wish to take my advice with a pinch of salt. My point is that if that's your preferred style then there's nothing wrong with it and no reason why it can't look good. I would look to 'upgrade' rather than throw everything out and start again.
I think Remus's list is a good one (plus a mac like Vera's - which I really like). I would be very picky about fabric and about making sure everything fits properly, particularly jeans which are notoriously hard to get right. It'll mean trying loads on and, if you don't like shopping, it'll probably drive you nuts but stick with it.
I'm sorry for your loss. It must be hard.
Also remember you can get stuff altered. There's nothing worse than finding something perfect except for the sleeve shape or hem length. I can't sew at all butI found a good, cheap alterations place and do this all the time now (I'm quite short so I often find things I like but they swamp me initially). Also anything cheaper and every day that you like - buy 2 of them.
I strongly agree with getting your colours done. It took me a bit of courage to go in the first place but gives you much more confidence when shopping. I'm outdoors a lot and feel better if my waterproof jacket/scarf/jumper are in colours that suit me, even though they're practical, not dressy.
Get a good haircut first though, again for confidence and maybe some advice about skincare and light makeup.
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