parthenia: (Default)
[personal profile] parthenia
One of the memes I picked up on a few weeks ago was the Personal Style Statement. Or words to that effect.

What I wear tends to be governed by its ability to meet the following tests:

1. Ability to flee from a falling building

This used to be 'run for a bus' but my paranoia has increased. I cycle to the station every day, so I like wearing things you can cycle in without being blown over. I have osteoarthritis in one of my toes, so I cannot wear heels now. Not even a bit. The solution is to wear flat boots with very chunky soles. Indeed, I have a wardrobe of army boots. I wear these with everything, especially skirts. I worried about this for a few days when I started work (because there are some women who wear extremely beautiful high heels and it can look a bit odd), and then I thought, fuck it.

2. Toasty comfort

No gaps. Scarves, woolly hats with pom poms, boots, warm padded jacket. Mostly comfort blankets scarves. I have the same blue and white scarf wrapped around me from September to April. Really need another one.

3. Primark aversion

I hate cheap clothes. I really, really hate scratchy, sweaty artificial fibres. I will put up with cuddly artificial fibres, at a push, but eww.

4. Flattering pt. 1 (Body Shape)

I am wee and curvy. The curvy part is more problematic than the rest, which is saying something. It is tricky trying to find reasonably flattering tops that show a bit of neck without exposing vast, terrifying billows of cleavage. Hence all that black jersey.

5. Flattering pt. 2 (Mutton Factor)

This is an odd one. Clothes fail on this if they are too young and thin, fashion-wise (frills, glitter leggings, Peter Pan collars, lace, milkmaid dresses). They also fail if they are horribly ageing (boxy jackets, shoulder-pads, tapered trousers, milkmaid dresses). You want a kind of ageless elegance. Arty is a reasonable solution although when that goes wrong it can be horribly menopausal.

Shopping

I find shopping hard work, although when I find the right thing, I am liable to splurge.

Clothes shops that work: Fat Face (casual tops and jeans), Jigsaw (wrap dresses and cardigans at an enormous price), Pepperberry (special clothes for busty people), M&S (selectively), Laura Ashley*.

**Clothes shops that usually don't work but I don't know why: White Stuff (too casual, baggy and skin-revealing), Boden (yummy mummy), East (little old lady), Monsoon (decrepit bridesmaid), Gap (horrible fit), Next (trainee accounts clerk), Phase 8 (mother of the bride).

Mail order: No.

*Laura Ashley is a very odd shop. Lots of their clothes look absolutely hideous on the hanger, but quite nice on. Very much mutton territory, though. Needs care to rootle out the nice things from the dreadful mistakes.
**This is entirely personal and down to the effect when I put on their clothes. Other people look great. YMMV. Etc.

The current work uniform:


Random multicoloured skirt in corporate pattern, knee-length, slight flare
Black long-sleeve jersey top
Black opaque tights
Tackety boots

This is pretty much what I wore when freelancing. I used to call it the Bohemian Lady Researcher. It's not bad.

It remains very hard to find the right things for work. I've decided that the dominant look for senior managers is Power Casual. For men, this is the mass uniform of stripy shirts, dad jeans, and brown brogues. For senior women in Marketing, this translates into silky tops, Armani jeans and spike heels. This is many things but it is not casual. Women in IT: Little dresses. Women who are going nowhere: Mum jeans and a comfy top.

I think I sound very calculated when I write all this down but a) I am honestly fascinated and b) it's kind of fun to crack the code. I am working on the components of my Power Casual look right now, down in the fashion lab. What is the chunky flat-shoe equivalent of a spike heel? Is it even possible? Answers on a postcard.



Date: 2014-02-17 05:19 pm (UTC)
antisoppist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] antisoppist
I am enjoying your code cracking. I think Jigsaw stopped its cheaper Kew brand (where I got all the best things in my wardrobe) in order to force people back to expensive Jigsaw again. I am not sure this has worked as now I can't afford to buy anything from them at all.

I would hate to have to be corporate and crack a dress code, particularly as I have never worn heels, but my dresses, tights and boots* seem to come across round here as being smarter than I need to be for someone who can wear what they like and people tend to stop me on the school run and ask if I am going anywhere interesting when all I am doing is going to sit in my office by myself.

I suspect White Stuff's plunging and baggy necklines (my bust measurement does not match my hips) of being a desire to make everyone buy camisole tops as well to go underneath. I buy quite a bit from them but it depends how twee they are being. At the moment everything is covered in toadstools, which I do not want.

*sometimes at the moment these are wellies

Date: 2014-02-17 06:00 pm (UTC)
ruric: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ruric
The only time I ever did corporate dress code was four about 6 months in the revenue. Since then I just can't be arsed *G*

When I first started at Lambeth I went though a phase of long skirts paired with my cowboy boots and fluid tops. But I've spent the last 9 months living in black boot cut gym or yoga pants (I buy in USA Pro in bulk twice a year from my local sports shop!) with a combo of short or long sleeved to shirts, vest tops, tunic tops of East floaty cotton shirts.

I hate trying to find clothing lines that fit me. Wide shoulders, longer than usual arms and a fullness in the chest area mean that baggy mens shirts are much often a better fit than women's stuff which tends to be way too narrow in the shoulder and short in the arm! GGGRRRRR

Like you I prefer natural fibres - cotton, linen, silk. But there's SO MUCH polyester tat out there which not only is uncomfortable to wear but feels godawful too.

Things that work for me:

East (though you may have to dig around). I've found some fab East tops, skirts and dresses over the last few years. I tend to wait and hit up their sales and I've found someone local who does warehouse sales of their end of line stock.

Gap Men (Gap Women tend not to cater for larger chicks - though I do occasionally find pieces for those of us not built like Tilda Swinton).

White Stuff - but again I have to hunt and I suspect they blow out of the larger sizes quickly.

John Rochas at Debenhams has some nice things - though I do find him a bit hit and miss (I either love or loathe his stuff) and the Jasper Conran Debenhams line is good too. Maine and Mantaray are sometimes worth checking out.

M&S can be good but again a bit hit and miss and sometimes over-reliant on polyester!

I used to love Laura Ashley, Monsoon and Next - alas all seem to have gone off the boil and started making clothes which are (a) polyester only, (b) badly made (c) hideous patterns. So disappointing!

Monsoon do occasionally still do some decent clothes (or at least the Wimbledon branch does) and they cater for larger sizes.

I'd like to like Boden but don't and sadly FatFace and Jigsaw tend not to recognise that people of my size exist!

I'd never heard of Pepperberry but will be checking them out!

Alas most plus sized clothing manufacturers seems to work on (a) make everything our of polyester because hey, who doesn't love a hot, sweaty, itchy fat chick, and (b) designs to make you look like a walking couch.

Bah and humbug.

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