Style notes…

The other way you know i’m feeling better is that i have now begun to worry about what to wear again.

Nah. Not on a day to day basis. I’d say i have that one more or less pegged and even if i come in for a bit of criticism from others around the house, its criticism based more on rejection of the style i opt for, rather than “Jane…you’ve got it totally wrong”.

i mostly dress well, neat and appropriate for my shape and age. I’m even – weird one this – beginning to grow a sense not just of what is currently in fashion, but also what is likely to be in fashion in the coming months.

Another area, perhaps, for a little quiet grieving? I’ve said – wholly without irony – that had i been born and always lived female, i’d quite happily have gone down the beautician route. That whole area fascinates. And so do clothes. I could sit for hours in a cafe, now and size up the women who enter, deconstructing how their look “works”: what they’ve done; and what they haven’t.

So sad. Another of those worlds that remained hidden for me throughout most of my life.

But i do have a problem. It lies in the more formal areas of attire. I noticed it a month or so back when i did the evening awards ceremony, and realised i don’t have a full evening dress, and had to improvise. Was totally on tenterhooks right up to the moment i arrived and checked out what the other women were wearing.

Too, i am not sure about work wear. Again, not everyday. Most of my work, nowadays, is as a journalist and i know to a T exactly what works for me, what is appropriate, and so on. I do smart casual quite well – and it works fine for press conferences, one-to-one interviews and House of Commons receptions.

But i also still, sometimes, do consultant work. I have a meeting in early september that i will need to attend and…i am ever so slightly worrying already. Its difficult. Consultant in front of client seems to involve blokes wearing suits and quitye smart work attire for women. I have a few formal work-y pieces, but nowhere near enough. Or maybe i haven’t the courage, yet, to shift outside plain navy skirt and blouse.

Still, that’s fairly clear. It gets complicated when it is consultant meeting consultant (as this meet will be). Then, the blokes seem to drift back towards jeans, chinos and polo necks of one form or another. You can tell they are consultants by the way it is all clean and neatly pressed…but otherwise, its not terribly distinguished.

And at that point, my own dress sense goes to pot. What’s the female equivalent? Its certainly not as casual as my journalist get-up. But its not exactly formal either. He-elp!

Need to build the wardrobe here without spending a small fortune!

Hints, tips and anything else very, very gratefully received.



11 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Jennifer said,

    Not that I’m full time you understand but a nice trouser suit might fit the bill. I have a loverly grey suit that has a simple plain sleeveless top (back zip) and very slightly flared trousers, it came from M&S. Warn with a moderate heel (black looks good, grey I think would be difficult as you would need to match the frets carefully).

    • 2

      janefae said,

      thanks…and maybe i fret too much about this sort of thing. However, it feels to me like there’s a very subtle bit of grading going on here and whilst the trouser suit would work for formal formal (when i’m employed to go talk to clients) it would be just a smidgeon too formal for meetings with other consultants.

      But maybe i’m wrong about that.


  2. 3

    Jennifer said,

    IMHO Jane, I woul put formal formal as a dress suit (ie a dress & jacket) or skit suit (skirt, top & jacket) but a two piece trouser suit I see as simply “formal”. OK I could be wrong but I am a people watcher and have been fasignated by cloths for a long time.

  3. 4

    sophia said,

    The shades of difference you’re talking about might be covered by jewellery / accessories. A formal trouser suit toned down with some fun earrings, say.

  4. 5

    Sabine said,

    Grab a female (consultant) colleague to advise you, top up your credit card and go shopping.

    I seem to remember there are even professionals to help people with styling themselves. “Style coaches”? or something like that. You might want to look into that.

  5. 6

    Lois said,

    some of the ‘better’ shops have personal buyers who will guide you through the intricacies of the proper attire for different situations

  6. 7

    Suzanne said,

    Get Gok to give you a make over ! He recommends 10 pieces from which you can construct and entire wardrobe by swapping it around.

  7. 10

    kathz said,

    This is absolutely terrifying. I don’t understand any of this at all – and tend to panic at occasions when there will be any focus at all on what I’m wearing. Buying clothes is something I dislike – I have to promise myself a reward if I last more than thirty minutes in a clothes shop. Jane – one of these days I may summon up the courage to ask you for style advice. Meanwhile it’s jeans and T-shirt for me (again). And perhaps I should note that, although many women do like clothes, fashion, make-up, etc. – it is definitely not compulsory.

  8. 11

    aerynne said,

    I did my first formal ball last night, and while the long frock thing was fun, i have to admit i probably look better in skinny jeans and a fitted t-shirt (which is my standard uniform). Work-wise, my office is completely informal (the MD often comes in in shorts and flip-flops) but the women tend to make more of an effort, so in my case the jeans are often flared and teamed with heels, and in this weather i’ve been doing short dress over the jeans. Works well, and to paraphase gok, you can dress it up or down… 😀
    I have to do a presentation next week, its going to be wide leg trousers, silver sleeveless top with a ruffle on the front, mid heel sandals, and biker jacket..! I work in an IT firm of the type that blends over into media, so smart-funky is allowed and often expected… 😀

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