What your clothes say about you, part three

How will you deal with your fashion future?

Part three of the intial questionnaire in ‘You are what you wear: what your clothes say about you’ by Jennifer Baumgartner covers your future. Obviously, depending on your circumstances, your future may either long or short, but however long you’ve got, you’ll still need to get dressed every day. I’ll be 50 soon and can reasonably expect to live to 75 (83 would be normal in France) provided I’m not felled by something along the way. That means I have to think about how I’ll dress for the three, maybe four decades to come – a scary thought. 

Here’s the questionnaire:

Future

* For every decade of your life, how would you like to dress?

* Do you have a style icon for each stage of your life?

* What major transitions will you make in the future?

* Do you have a wardrobe to match these changes?

* What would your ideal wardrobe look like?

* What changes would you like to make to your wardrobe in the future?

* When would you like to complete the change? 

* What is keeping you from having the perfect wardrobe? 

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And here, for interest, are my answers:

* For every decade of your life, how would you like to dress?

Elegant, sophisticated, a little arty, different. I don’t think it would change from one age to another.   

* Do you have a style icon for each stage of your life?

No. I can’t think of anyone I admire. It is very hard to even find images of women my age in the media. My style inspirations are much younger than me and often from different eras. I suppose I could say Helen Mirren, Lauren Bacall as older women but I’ve only really seen them in Oscar frocks. 

* What major transitions will you make in the future?

Probably working less, but otherwise I expect to remain pretty much the same – I can’t retire as I have no money. Widowhood and living alone, unfortunately, given the statistical probability. Old age, illness, disability, death. I’ll probably be moving house in the future, to something smaller and will have far fewer animals but I hope to always live in the countryside. 

* Do you have a wardrobe to match these changes?

Yes – my current wardrobe works pretty well on a practical level and I’ve already switched from tailored waists to pull-on styles, and from heels to flats. 

* What would your ideal wardrobe look like?

Black jersey pants and skirts, white silk blouses and tunics, long, flowing layers, beautiful stoles with metallics in. Soft tweeds, cashmere and Aran knits. Whisper-thin linen. Really beautiful and elegant flat shoes in coloured leathers and suedes. Beautiful flowing coats with lots of colour. Slightly mad hats – I’ve always worn hats. 

* What changes would you like to make to your wardrobe in the future?

I’d like to find jeans and cords I feel comfortable in and that look good – I once had some by Boden but they don’t make them any more. I’d like to find knickers that actually fit, and I’d like French knickers to come back into fashion. I’d like to find tees that don’t disintegrate in our water. 

* When would you like to complete the change? 

Now! But realistically, in two years. 

* What is keeping you from having the perfect wardrobe?

A cold house, a country life, mud and mess, the woodburner and the animals, not enough money, (currently) my weight, the dificulty of finding many of the clothes I’m looking for. 

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Well, after filling that section in, I found it interesting to realise that I have no, or few, role models for how to age stylishly. It’s bad enough when you’re young and the models are all six feet tall and thin as a rake, which is, to say the least, nothing like my shape or size. But as you get older, the complete invisibility of women becomes really noticeable. Those I do see – characters in dramas, newsreaders actresses, etc – don’t lead my kind of life. What I want and need are beautiful country clothes, not smart, urban clothes. I need to cast around more for inspiration – come to think of it, Country Living magazine quite often runs the kinds of clothes I’m after. 

I have been trying to track down a film called ‘The Grass is Greener’ starring Deborah Kerr because, if memory serves, she wears some beautiful country clothes in it. I also like the way women dress in the Marple series – really good tweeds, proper knitwear that keeps the cold out, etc – the sort of thing you could get back in the 50s before everyone got central heating. The urbanity of fashion clothing isn’t just a question of style for me, it’s a question of substance – a modern fashion cashmere knit may look lovely but it doesn’t have the thick, insulating quality of the old stuff. I think I need to focus more on finding good country retailers. 

I have also decided to invest more in my basics – merino teeshirts, coloured leather boots and the correct style of underwear, as what this little list tells me is that I need to have nicer everyday clothes – really good jeans (I like velvet, moleskin and soft corduroy for winter), maybe some nice pull-on wool tweed trousers, better-quality teeshirts etc. 

I’ve taken a look at Toast, and Wall again, and found some bits and bobs, and also found velvet jeans on Lands’ End, so have ordered a couple of pairs in the sale. But I think I’ll also be getting out my sewing machine and running up a few pairs of pants for winter (since it is apparently going to be winter until May, for Christ’s sake!). How about bias-cut pull-ons in soft wool tweed, full leg, with pockets, fully lined, machine washable? I could even line them with silk or cashmere, for a touch of real luxury. 

Oh well, onward and upward….  

 

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