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I ditched most of my clothes and now I have nothing to wear...

(28 Posts)
EoinMcLovesCakeJumper Sun 16-Feb-20 15:08:09

Yes, I'm an idiot! Basically, I used to have a very quirky, distinctive style which consisted of wearing bright colours, patterns, and tactile fabrics. I liked skirts and dresses with coloured or textured tights, and didn't even own anything in black.

I decided recently that I'd outgrown my style a bit. I put on a lot of weight over the last couple of years, and one day I looked in the mirror and realised that I was an overweight, 40 year old woman who was dressed like a toddler. I have a fairly professional job and I decided I needed to look more grown up.

I gave away about 70% of my wardrobe to charity and left myself with just neutral coloured basics, like navy, grey and cream. I had an idea I was going to go for a classic, French look and avoid patterns and garish colours.

Well - I got as far as getting some black wide leg trousers and a couple of cashmere tops, but my efforts have kind of ground to a halt now. I don't think the style I wanted to go for actually suits my body shape. I have wide hips and a big bum, and they don't really work with the whole "clean and sleek lines" vibe I was looking for.

What else could I try? I don't like having any part of me on display, like my legs, arms or cleavage. I am a size 16 with a small bust and I'm only average height. I also have a pale, freckly complexion. My hair is generally light brown but I'm dyeing it auburn at the moment. Any advice welcome!

OP’s posts: |
BobbyGentry Sun 16-Feb-20 15:18:01

Have you looked in COS for some scandi well cut pieces? www.cosstores.com
The model are beyond unrealistic but the clothes are nice, clean & modern.

Fannia Sun 16-Feb-20 15:22:56

Are you going too different from your original style? Maybe you could still include a bit of quirky and colourful but in a more grown up way. Something more flattering but still fun.

ClementineWardobe Sun 16-Feb-20 15:23:34

I'm no fashion maven (is that the term fir someone good at it?) but I'd say it's better to update the look you already had, not change it so drastically (the two styles ate so far apart that it's no wonder you're struggling). I bet you looked fabulous in patterns, maybe look for pattern in your new wardrobe on a smaller scale than a full dress. I'm 43 and I'm just considering buying my first popsy dress in a dog print, so I'm headed in your old direction.....

Laurie01 Sun 16-Feb-20 15:29:02

What you have given to charity is gone now so don't dwell on it. Perhaps continue with your streamlined neutral clothing but add pops of colour with accessories like a bright cross body bag or colourful scarf or footwear. I love to wear all navy with a bright earring and lipstick. Wide leg trousers are stylish. If you're wearing a dress, wear a belt to create waistline.

thedevilinablackdress Sun 16-Feb-20 15:31:43

Seconding the PP who mentioned Cos. Sleek but not boring.
Usual Cos caveats - do not be put off by weird website styling and try to get to one IRL

DianaT1969 Sun 16-Feb-20 15:38:57

I would start with the type of shoes/boots/sandals you want to wear as they dictate the rest.
I have heels in my wardrobe that I never want to wear because I rush around and need to be comfortable. So brogues, low heel boots, trainers and fitfliops are my essentials. That rules out the 'hourglass' look, because those skirts and dresses require heels. I like cotton next to my skin, which means I often layer. H&M cotton vests, long sleeve and t-shirts. I'm average height, so try not to 'split' myself into 2 colours on top and bottom. The same, or similar colours elongate me and I look more together.
I used to be guilty of only buying half an outfit - a skirt, but not a good top, a coat but not a good bag/shoes. I try to never do that now, as it just sits in my wardrobe.

I second that you try the Scandi look - Cos, Arket, Kin. They have some retro prints sometimes to break up the block colour.
But start with the footwear...

Floisme Sun 16-Feb-20 15:48:35

I would go back to what you liked, op and send the bill to Marie Kondo.
By all means tweak your style if you want to but, from what you've said, I see absolutely no reason to ditch pattern and colour. Lots of women do not suit navy and cream.

EoinMcLovesCakeJumper Sun 16-Feb-20 15:54:20

Yes, it was a big change from my old style, but I suppose that was the point for me. I think the colourful, quirky look was cute when I was younger and slimmer, but it's now a bit too try-hard. I have a dread of falling into the "fat and jolly" trap of 50s style dresses with cheerful prints on them, and spending too much time in White Stuff.

I like Cos but I don't have a shop in my town. I might have to have a shopping trip to Leeds so I can do a bit of trying on. I find Kin difficult to get right - it's all enormous, oversized smocks and shirt dresses at the moment, but perhaps their summer collection will be more wearable!

OP’s posts: |
Dozer Sun 16-Feb-20 16:00:44

Would be practical and list the most needed items for your life, and seek to buy those first. Sounds like that will be workwear.

Have you got some money to spend? If so what about seeking advice from a stylist/shopping service or two?

Annasgirl Sun 16-Feb-20 16:59:33

Hi OP,

Don't be too hard on yourself. I totally changed my style following a Marie Kondo clearout a couple of years ago and it has taken me some time to find a new style (I'm still not 100% there). In my case it was ditching skinny jeans, my uniform of over a decade, as my middle aged tummy made them hugely uncomfortable.

So, I advise finding some style icons on TV, look at Nicola Walker and the lovely other dark haired star who plays her sister, in The Split - they always look professional but relatable. The sister character pairs really funky patterned blouses with sober, dark, wide leg trousers and I personally think she is the most stylish on the programme. Maybe this will help you - add in some funky patterned silk tops with those wide legged trousers? But in a tone of the trousers, so dark blue with a pattern with navy trousers, grey or charcoal with a pattern with black trousers etc.

Then head to Pinterest and find some looks you like - so search work style trousers; work style dresses; winter coats; wool jackets; wide leg trousers; etc etc - I start here then I build a few pictures of looks I like, on women who look a bit like me, and I buy clothes to match.

Finally, if you have a John Lewis near you I would get a personal stylist consultation to give you some fresh inspiration.

SwansGlide Sun 16-Feb-20 20:07:26

It sounds like you've gone from one extreme to another.

Why not combine some classic tops and bottoms with more quirky tops and bottoms?

There is a middle ground smile

DailyMailcanfuckthefuckoff Sun 16-Feb-20 20:19:07

Hi OP, I would suggest having a look at Uniqlo's stuff, for inspo if nothing else. The clothes are all relatively simple, made with sleek lines in mind, and they wash and wear well. As a bonus, Uniqlo have fairly regular sales and you can pick up some real bargains!

Also, if you want clothes to skim you at the moment, I suggest having a look at the mid-axi dresses which are really popular right now. I've put on some weight over Xmas and the empire-lines of the mid-axis means it's not at all noticable around my waist grin

AdoptedBumpkin Sun 16-Feb-20 20:30:48

Maybe you can still be quirky in a more elegant way.

userabcname Sun 16-Feb-20 20:33:19

I reckon wear what you love! You could incorporate colour into a more toned-down style as pp said e.g. a patterned blouse with a navy skirt/trousers or a jacket in a bright colour over a neutral outfit. I went through all my clothes today and I am the opposite - literally all my clothes are navy or black (I have 3 of the same navy dress and didn't even realise!!!). I've decided I need to jazz it up a little!

IHeartKingThistle Sun 16-Feb-20 20:39:40

This makes me sad. I'm 40 and wear bright retro clothes. You would never tell me to tone it down, would you? wink

Zebracat Sun 16-Feb-20 20:57:20

I am watching with interest

Time40 Sun 16-Feb-20 21:17:53

Yes, its sounds as if you have gone too far away from your original style. I think you need some colour and quirkiness back.

Interesting, colourful boho tunic tops with plain mini skirts and leggings or plain trousers, and knee-length boots. Interesting tops with plain bottoms, and a long cardigan-coat. Also, I agree with the pp who said start with the shoes.

EoinMcLovesCakeJumper Sun 16-Feb-20 21:48:42

I think the style is fine for other people, but not for me any more. I don't have the strength of personality or the confidence to pull them off.

I will have a look at Uniqlo. Do they have shops or is it all online?

OP’s posts: |
IHeartKingThistle Sun 16-Feb-20 22:51:31

OP that wasn't the reason you gave earlier and if you were my friend I'd be a bit worried about you. No strength of personality? Where's it gone? Are you OK?

If you are, ignore me and feel free to either way! I can't give you advice on classic neutral dressing, though, and I don't want to!

(This is meant to be kindness but I'm expressing it VERY badly grin)

Aughrim18 Sun 16-Feb-20 23:51:08

I looked good in fitted classic clothes but hated wearing them
I felt constrained and uncomfortable
But I looked scruffy and shapeless in my comfortable clothes
I had a house of colour style day and everything clicked
Now I feel happy in my myself and look good when I wear my style
It would certainly be worth a style consultation
I think you have to do colour analysis with or before the style day
It gave me lots of confidence in dressing that I had lost

EoinMcLovesCakeJumper Mon 17-Feb-20 08:17:53

IHeartKingThistle bless you, yes, I'm ok. I have lost a lot of confidence with the weight gain, and I have some anxiety issues, but I am dealing with it. I do genuinely want a change of style that I feel better reflects where I'm at, but perhaps I've gone to unnecessary extremes!

I had a personal style session a while ago but it was before the weight gain and when I was still keen on patterns, so maybe I could do with an update. I'll get onto it.

OP’s posts: |
Floisme Mon 17-Feb-20 10:02:51

I'm not sure now whether you still like pattern and colour? If you've got bored with them then fair enough - move on and enjoy the ride. But if you do like them but want to look more sophisticated then that can still be achieved with colour. We don't have to wear neutrals to look elegant - some of us look like shit in them.

EoinMcLovesCakeJumper Mon 17-Feb-20 14:13:20

Sorry, I haven't been very clear on that. I like colour to an extent, and I'm still open to wearing pastel blues and aquas with navy and grey, but patterns make me feel self-conscious. I've probably spent so many years absorbing fashion advice that tells you to stay away from prints if you're a bit bigger that I don't know how to "do" them now and still look stylish. I was feeling like it was easier to achieve the look by not including patterns at all.

Navy and cream do suit my colouring. Black doesn't so much, but it's ok for trousers and skirts, as long as it's not next to my face.

OP’s posts: |
FaceClothParty Mon 17-Feb-20 14:16:07

Get to John Lewis for a styling session. It did wonders for me, as did a bra fitting and an honest hairdresser.

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