Given that I am (largely) avoiding buying any clothes in September, I have gone all in on organising and editing what I currently own. (This is prime cashmere-hunting season in my area thrifts, so I will make exceptions if need be, because CASHMERE.) On a whim, I bought one set of drawer organisers, since I’ve long suspected that they don’t really work effectively, but I was willing to invest five quid in finding out. I found out I was wrong; they do work, and they’re far sturdier and easier to use than I would’ve believed. I’m doing it UFYH-style, in short bursts, so I don’t get overwhelmed, and so far, it’s going well.
I love UFYH. My habitat is not in terrible shape, by any means, but I do find UFYH incredibly useful for cues, and encouragement in tackling the nasty jobs I put off. I gave FlyLady a go, a few years back, and while I truly admire what the FlyLady is doing there, and believe her system would work well, I am not a good personality fit for it. The more profane and easy-going style of UFYH is much more my speed. Plus, I get a vicarious thrill from seeing other people’s triumphs pop up on my Tumblr dashboard.
Anyway, onto the clothes. I think the shirt is a bit too long and possibly a bit too big for me to 100% love this ensemble, but that flaw only takes my love down to about 95% or so. I love the colours, and I love this silhouette; I feel as if it’s making a virtue of my rather rectangular shape. I look really tall and straight in this, and I feel good about it. I suppose you could argue that the shirttails are sort of creating a peplum effect, but that’s purely down to camera angle; in motion, this really doesn’t do a thing to conceal the narrowness of my hips. All curves are pretty much viewable only from the side.
I also have fallen hopelessly in love with very fitted below-the-knee pencil skirts. This one I’m wearing in the photo is stretchy ponte, so the lack of a side or back slit doesn’t really impede my stride to an annoying degree. Yes, I do take smaller steps in it, but I kind of liked that; it made me very present in my own body today, and in a positive way. I am also playing retail chicken at TK Maxx with a beautiful mid-calf Ralph Lauren stretch wool one in a lovely shade of brown that would fit very well into my neutrals wardrobe. However, I absolutely will not pay £70 for it, although it’s very well-made, and probably would make a pretty good so-called investment piece. They have 4 of them in my size (and no other, which is kind of the way of TK Maxx) and have for at least a week or two now, so I’m hopeful at least one of them will make it to the clearance rack in the end.
Pullover: Deane & White, remixed. (Pretty recently, too; this is a good weight for this time of year, and the 3/4 sleeves are excellent for that as well.)
Watch pendant: Urban Outfitters, remixed. I initially had a shorter complimentarily-coloured bead necklace on with this, but I thought it pushed into Frumpville, so I switched to the long pendant. Glad I did.
Skirt: Topshop. I expect you’ll see this frequently this winter.
So my issues with non-denim pants are no secret to people who’ve been following my blog for a while. I want to like them, I want to wear them, but fit is a huge issue for me, and they often make me feel old and dowdy, and like I’m not trying hard enough. I don’t think my feelings are right or fair about this, but nonetheless, they exist, and my commitment to body positivity doesn’t extend to me wearing clothes that actively make me feel bad about my body just to prove a point.
All the same, I am not willing to give up, because when I do get a pair of pants that fit and make me feel good about how I’m presenting myself to the world, I am SO HAPPY about it.
These work for me. I’m not trying to hide or camouflage my figure as it actually is. Yeah, long torso, narrow hips, verging-on-skinny legs. They aren’t the problem; the problem is ill-fitting pants, which these are not. The fit on these is perfect, and I got that fit by sizing down. Every single pair of pants I own and like, as it turns out, are a size smaller than I think I am. I don’t think I have an accurate grasp on the actual size of my body sometimes, and I automatically assume that I cannot possibly be any smaller than my “real” size, which is a modern UK 12/US 8. Why I should be fixated on that number to the point where I find it hard to size down, as necessary, when I will cheerfully, and with no drama or bad feelings, size up, as needed, is beyond me.
And part of this is just the bizarre sizing inconsistency favoured by modern retailers: You just can’t tell anymore. Like, I know that (for me! your experience may be different! bodies are unique!) Gap tends to run big (except when they don’t) and Desigual and Mango small (except when they don’t), and Zara and H&M are all over the damn place, so I tend to start with Mediums at Gap, Zara and H&M, and Larges or XLs at Desigual and Mango, and then I hit this wall, when something like the Mediums are too big at Gap, and I just flat-out refuse to believe I could possibly need to size down beyond Medium because, frankly, I am a Large person. (No, seriously: 6’0”,with the kind of bone structure you might expect of one descended from a long line of giants.) And then I either pass it up, or end up with yet another garment I look at, in one of my pictures, and comment, “yeah, that’s too big.” And either I ignore that, or off to the charity shop the offending garment goes.
I am really, really sick of this cycle. I don’t mind a loose fit, if that’s integral to the style of the garment, but slim-fitting stuff that bags on me, simply because I haven’t bought the right size, is incredibly irritating.
Which brings me, in a long-winded and ranty way, to these pants. I found them at TK Maxx, after trying on a pair of the same size in a 14 (they had no 12s, and 14s do, in fact, fit often enough to be worth a try) which literally fell off me, once I’d buttoned them up. I was a bit morose, because flat! fronted! chinos! with! no! goddamn! pleats! and when poking around through the rack again, I came across the same pants in a 10. I held them up in front of me, and then against my hips. They looked like they’d fit. Maybe a bit of a squeeze doing the buttons up (button fly!), but they’re cotton, and they’ll give and stretch out, much like jeans, I reminded myself. Oh, and also, the 14s were just so crazily big on me that I wouldn’t be surprised if the 12s (if they had any) would be too big as well.
I seriously had to psych myself up to go and try on a pair of pants I was 99% certain would fit perfectly (hey, I thrift, I can eyeball-size pretty accurately), just because they were a size smaller than I think I wear. Like, I dunno, there’s a LAW that says you can’t possibly wear a garment that’s a size smaller than the one you’ve decided you are. It’s as if, for all my awareness of and bitching about sizing inconsistency, I totally forget it exists.
So I tried them on. They fit. I LOVE them, I immensely enjoyed wearing this ensemble today, and I am going to learn to buy pants that fit and then wear them, whatever the label says.
Cardigan: Jackpot, remixed.
Knitted linen tank: Zara, remixed, although it’s been a very long time.
Pendant: Urban Outfitters, remixed.
Cropped chinos: All Saints, via TK Maxx.
Belt: Ganked off a different pair of pants. This is just cheap-o polyurethane pleather, but it fit the loops and the style worked for me.
Scarf: I put this on after the photo was taken. For some idiotic reason, I carried that thing around draped over my arm for a good twenty minutes before putting it on, completely forgetting to wear it in the photo. I don’t know where my head was this morning.
Moccasins: Klackson. I truly wanted to wear heeled sandals today, but the weather was too changeable, and exposing my bare toes to filthy water is something I try to avoid.
I’m just about done with the seasonal wardrobe swapping; all that remains is to pull out my heavier scarves, and put most of the lighter ones away. Given the size of my scarf collection, this may actually be the biggest part of the job.
As is my custom with seasonal wardrobe changeovers, I’ve done some editing. I find it’s easier to be a bit ruthless when I’m pulling things I haven’t seen in months out of storage. Maybe my heart has grown colder whilst they’ve been stuck in Rubbermaid limbo, but I can look at things I was on the fence about at the time I put them away for the season and instantly make the stay-or-go decision, instead of the usual agonising. It seems as if I always end up thinking, why the hell did I keep this? Why didn’t I just chuck it into the charity shop bag last spring?
I suspect what gives me this emotional distance from my clothes is the fact that they’ve spent five or six months out of my sight. I forget about them for that time. I forget to feel guilty that I haven’t worn them. I forget so well that every. single. year. when I do this, I find at least a few garments I don’t actually remember owning. Oh yeah, I mean, when I see them again, I can usually remember where and when I bought them but over the course of the seasons they were not being worn, I’ve literally forgotten they exist.
I actually love this. This is the part of the seasonal switchover that I look forward to most. There is always something awesome I bought, usually at the end of the season, reeeeeeally cheap, because either the charity shop was making way for the new season’s stock, or it was yet another end-of-season-final-no-we-really-do-mean-FINAL-clearance at, like, Hobbs, or someplace like that, where I am normally far too damn cheap to even consider paying full price, but where I have been playing retail chicken all season long, and I’ve put it away for next year, thinking, as I do it, oh god, can’t WAIT to wear this, and then, of course, I put the lid on the Rubbermaid box, and promptly forget the item I’ve been stalking for months is now mine. (That was one long-ass sentence. Sorry, drinking a glass of wine. You should imagine that long-ass sentence being delivered by me, dramatically, with lots of gesticulating.) So, really, I do enjoy that part a lot.
Something else I forgot, while I was blithering away up there, is what the hell I’m wearing in today’s post. So I’ll just pop open preview, and here we go:
Boiled wool duster: Lands End, thrifted, remixed. Making its first appearance of the season.
Dress: Thrifted. This had no tags, not even a size. This is a bit too big on me, ok, more than a bit around the bodice, but belted and duster’d, it wasn’t a big deal. Very autumnal print, including some of my favourites like rust, olive, and a muted sort of aubergine. Worked fab with the burnt orange duster. I could remix this thing a lot, I suspect, given the colour palette.
Cami: Primark, remixed.
Necklace: Thrifted. Subdued-but-rich colours on the pendant, just like the dress. I like subdued-but-rich colours very much.
Belt: Gap, remixed.
Tights: Dorothy Perkins. DP does make great tights, I have to say.
Boots: Misa, Duo, remixed. Yeah, you will definitely be seeing these. So comfortable and endlessly remixable.
Bag: Fossil. I am on the verge of developing a Thing for Fossil bags. I seldom develop Things for brands, but wow, Fossil turns my crank in a big way.
So what I said about my not being terribly bothered about my whites matching perfectly? This is what I meant. I liked this outfit, we were still in the middle of that stretch of hot, sunny weather, and I decided to go for it. Besides, I thrifted this cardigan a while back, and wanted to wear it before the weather went totally to hell for the year.
While I liked the outfit, I felt very Lady Who Lunches in it, which is fine, but usually I feel like Lady Who Buys an Apple at the Fruit Stall and Eats it on the Bus, which is probably how I’m most accurately described.
My cold apparently decided to sock me in the face one more time before starting to go away, so the weekend, while including me getting dressed and going out and doing things, didn’t include much else once that was done. Urgh, this was a nasty one. I’m perking up now, though, and will get busy with my usual reading/replying/commenting rounds this evening, assuming I don’t faceplant directly into bed after having a glass of wine, in which case, I’ll be around in the morning.
I did manage to listlessly click through my blog reader a few times, though, and you’ve all been looking awesome. And healthy, you lucky lovelies.
Cardigan: Boden, thrifted. I like this a lot, but the 3/4 sleeves on the fairly heavy cotton knit are going to limit its seasonal options, I think, but really, it looks pretty spring/summery anyway, so no big deal.
Necklace & Earrings: These are lapis lazuli beads, gifted to me by my husband, on our honeymoon. So beloved, so remixed. (Which reminds me: in most things, I much prefer semi-precious stones to actual gems. Many accessorizing-friendly colours! Often made into jewellery by independent craftspeople and artists, whom I like supporting! Also, if you lose or break them, it sucks, but not nearly as much as it would suck to break or lose, say, diamond jewellery.)
Tank: Gap, remixed.
White denim skirt: M&S, thrifted, remixed. I’m trying the midis, and I think it’s going to require some experimentation, but I felt OK in this, both times I’ve worn it.