Is it too late for me to find my (own) style?

denimfreeWhen I last changed jobs, long before going freelance, I decided that it was also a good time to update my style or, rather, try and find some.

I was in a new city, didn’t really know anyone and felt like suddenly, in my mid 20s, I had a chance to reinvent myself – at least in a fashion sense.

On my first day in my new job at a much bigger newspaper, I wore a black top, skirt and kitten heels – hardly revolutionary, you might think, but I had worn a shirt, trousers and flats every day for three years before that.

I decided my new image would be corporate smart but feminine (think Ally Mcbeal but with MUCH longer skirts and without the odd toilet set up, for those of you who remember that show). I envisaged pinstripe dresses with blazers and crisp fitted white shirts with pencil skirts. I was going to take care over my appearance, straighten my hair every day, wear a full face of makeup and look put together rather than pulled together.

So there I was on my first day, tottering about on heels I wasn’t used to, when my very nice new boss asked me to take on a job.

At a building site.

Where I needed to climb a ladder.

It wasn’t quite a disaster but it certainly took some of my concentration away from the job at hand.

And, as a result, the following day, and for pretty much every day for the next 12 years, I went back to my trusty shirt/top, trousers and flats combo – even though building sites were few and far between.

Now, of course, female reporters are perfectly capable of wearing skirts and heels (or whatever else they want) – the others in my office always did – and it has little or no impact on their job but it just…wasn’t me. Perhaps it was too much effort? Or maybe I just felt out of my comfort zone? I’m not sure. What I really wanted was a change, I suppose.

Fast forward to 2013 and when I went off on maternity leave, I wondered whether this was a new opportunity to find my style  – after I had delivered the 10lb plus baby, of course.

However, while I had a brief dalliance with floaty scarves, here we are, nearly 20 months on, and I’m living in jeans. And, while I never thought I would say this, I’m getting a bit bored of them.

daughterdressWhat I recently also realised was that while I might not be paying attention to my own appearance, I am dressing Freya in clothes that I would like to wear myself –  and in fact, rather embarrassingly, have completely copied several of her “looks” (hopefully I will have stopped this by the time she is in high school or things could get embarrassing).

Anyway, I have decided to set myself a challenge. From Saturday, I’m not going to wear any denim for five days. Now, you’re probably sitting there thinking. Really? That’s a challenge? But for me it really is. I have clothes (as my bulging wardrobe shows – although most of them are pre-pregnancy so we will see if I can even get in them) but I never usually take the time to put together an outfit. It’s easy to just pull on jeans, even though mine are either too big or too small and I spend all day hoisting them up (why don’t they do half sizes?) and a top.

Could this be my second (maybe third) chance to reinvent myself? I look at some of my friends and they are always so well put together. They seem to  know just what style suits them. My plan over the five days is to try things and see if I can find a style or at least a look I like. Maybe then I could start picking up (pre-loved) bits and bobs to work towards it – or at least not wearing denim every day. Maybe.

Pinterest, here I come.

What do you think? Anyone have any experience of finding or changing their style?
Fashion Friday on MummysGotStyle.com

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20 thoughts on “Is it too late for me to find my (own) style?

  1. I think I’m only really developing an adult style now I’m in my 40’s. Above the knee skirts and relaxed tops, or leggings and tunics, or cotton dresses. Fairly clumpy boots, or black vans for summer. I’m 6 ft tall, athletic-ish looking – broad shoulders, big feet – and this seems to work. For the last couple of years I’ve only bought from charity shops, which has made me more adventurous I think. I cant get away from looking slightly scruffy most of the time, even with hair tied back and make up on.

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    1. That’s good to know Caz. I will be 40 next year so maybe there is still hope. I think you’re right about charity shop clothes but I wonder if that’s why I feel like I don’t have a style just because what you get is so varied?

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  2. Honey, I’m sitting here reading this, dressed in my Aztec onesie. You are talking to the wrong woman.

    I totally understand what you mean though. In February, I stopped working in an office and if the Heavens and all the deities within get behind me on this, I will never work in an office again. I’ve been looking at my wardrobe and there’s much within that needs to GO.

    I dress for comfort first, style second. But then, this is the benefit of working from home. My cat won’t care if I stay in my onesie all day as long as I feed him and cuddle him when he wants.

    Have fun with fashion. It’s not meant to be taken seriously and you’ll rock whatever “look” you choose! Confidence is the key. Wear it. Own it. Strut it!

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    1. I think we just cross commented! Hehe. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, confidence is key. Just need to find that. Hopefully it will be rolled up in a ball in the bottom of my wardrobe along with the skirt I bought in 1997 🙂

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  3. Excellent challenge, Tara, I’m looking forward to seeing how you get on. I agree with you about half sizes, shopping would be a lot easier! The only way to find your style is by experimenting, which can be fun! A tip I read is to try to sort your wardrobe in to outfits, which helps find combinations you hadn’t thought of and makes it easier in the morning.

    Oh yes, I remember Ally McBeal – and your story about climbing the ladder at the building site reminded me of that scene in Bridget Jones where she slides down the fireman’s pole… xx

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    1. That’s a great tip, Leigh. Thank you. I’m going to do that tonight. It should make things a lot easier. Now I just need the weather to play ball 🙂

      Hah! It wasn’t quite Bridget Jones but it had the potential to be.

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  4. Do we get a photo diary? I adore my jeans and anything that will erm hold it all in! 😉
    I do experiment with tops though, I’d wear a dressy top for the school run if the mood strikes – no point in saving it for best because I rarely go out!
    Looking forward to seeing your results 😀

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    1. Hehe, yes, I thought I might do photos – although looking in my wardrobe, it might just be me in a black maxi skirt every day!

      I’m sure someone who walks as far and as often as you do has no need to worry 🙂 I love that you wear posh tops for the school run. One for the future, I think.

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      1. I challenge you to wear a slightly too dressy top for your day….
        For me it just helps me feel a bit nicer about the fact my day is full of school runs and chores. Wear it with jeans and the look is instantly more casual.
        Maxi skirt as a signature style rocks, I’m sure you’ll wear it well! 😊

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  5. This is a great challenge! Please let us know how you get on. I know what you mean, I go through different phases/ ruts. Yes I remember Ally McBeale ha! I also agree about the building site sounds like the Bridget Jones scene hehe! X

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  6. Yep, looking forward to your update! I want ideas and inspiration! I have no style and am pretty unfashionable, my mum is great at it, which makes me feel even worse. Every now and again I will find something quite classy and nice, but I usually pair it up with something odd that doesn’t work. I will have another bash at the whole thing in a few months, see if I can overhaul my wardrobe a bit. Tom is expecting ‘milf’ now….Haaaa! Once I can get back in my jeans I know ‘comfy’ will win out 😀

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  7. Oh and by the time Freya is in high school…well if you are copying her look then, she’ll certainly let you know about it 😀

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    1. I hadn’t thought of that but it could be just what I need to give me some tips on what suits me. Thank you for suggesting it and letting me join your linky 🙂

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  8. Turning fork moment…your post, and the comments below, resonated with me so much!

    I rediscovered leggings during pregnancy four years ago, and wear them with a fab variety of dresses (with pockets!) whatever the season. I also created my Size15Stylist blog because I was fed up with being uncomfortable in a 14 and roomy in a 16. I’m now freelance and sold my office-wear on eBay haha. Life’s too flipping short to worry about what you’re wearing…invest in some funds to treat yourself to a new look, and you’ll never look back. Debenhams have a good personal shopping service and if you buy a £50 or £100 gift card you get extra goodies. Ahem, and you could always check out my blog for additional advice!

    I laughed at your photo, too – yesterday Daughter wore a pink stripey dress and leggings and kindly pointed out that I wore the same, but a navy stripey dress. #greatstylebadmemory

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    1. Thanks Emma! I’m looking forward to finding some inspiration from your blog, it sounds ideal! At least your daughter didn’t seem to mind you being outfit twins, I’d take that as a compliment 🙂

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