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[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.


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.

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