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.
What 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.