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Friday 22 September 2017

A Life Less Tailored

Hello, my dearies.  How's your belly off for spots?
Don't fret, I'm not going all medical on you, it's an old greeting from the North of England.  Dunno why that sprang to mind. Maybe it's because my head's in a bit of a mess.  I'm facing a dichotomy, dear reader.   Potentially, you may be too, so I'm sharing with you today.

It's this.
When I go shopping, I find myself drawn to


or even

Tailored. Business wear.  But I don't lead that life now.

This is what I should be gravitating towards if, indeed, I need a jacket at all.  Slouchy, to posh up jeans.  But slouchy doesn't excite me the way tailored does.  Oh I love even the sound of that word!

Then we have the supposed slightly less tailored jackets.

Something Chanel-like.

Or military.  I love military but it doesn't love me, sadly.

But it loved my cousin! During our Southampton Zara scavenge she bagged herself the jacket, a blush top and these gorgeous floral trousers.  We wanted a look at them back at the hotel. She looked amazing, even during this quick throw-on in the foyer!
She's younger and still whizz-kidding it.  I'm guessing she still moves in the world of business meetings and corporate entertaining so I can see this jacket fitting into her life just perfectly.

You see, my dear reader, I realised when walking around Zara that my head is still wanting to dress the old me.  The old working me.

These days, if I'm thinking "jacket", it should be preceded by "biker", for retirement life is more biker than business.   I should be getting excited when I see this.  But no, I want neat, tailored.

Perhaps I should not be thinking jackets at all.  I'm retired, therefore my eyes should be lingering over Zara's slouchy cardis and not dreamily dressing Business Pout, she no longer exists.  Yet I found myself wandering around Zara's, mentally dressing myself in a tailored mustard frock coat, perfect for the me of 10 years ago.

And what about evening wear?  I have a special occasion event popping up next month and I believe my jumpsuit is going to jump into my suitcase again.   My no-longer-tanned arms need cover.  Again, I think cover and I think tailored jacket.

I fell for this embroidered jacket.

But the reality is that I should be thinking along the lines of an embellished cardi.

See what I mean about a dichotomy? Whatever part of the brain makes outfit decisions is doing me no favours, it is seriously lagging behind where I am, right here, right now.

And so it continues ...

I was drawn to Zara's frilled shirts.  There were many!

But hey, I think I may just be making a breakthrough here.

For I came out of the store with this far more practical embroidered stripe.  More everyday casual.  A shirt that requires NO IRONING.  Good lifestyle choice, Pout!

Have I finally got it?  That my life is casual?  It has been for some years.  Have I finally caught up with where I am?

No!  For I fell at the next hurdle. I would like a new winter dress.  But my mind wandered ...

... right back to tailored, in dress form!   Event poshwear.  Love this 1940s vibe.

But this is where I should be heading.  A sweater dress.  And maybe a cardi is about as posh as I need to get with dresses and cover.

And don't talk to me about shoes!
I need new ankle boots.  My faithful Gabor nubucks of 4-5 years are starting to look a bit oldbucks.
So I went a-boot-browzin'.

Immediately I am drawn to something like this ...

... heels.  1940s style again.   V. smart.

Or these.

But my brain should be steering me to chunky heels.

At the very least, steering me to a heel like this.

Or more realistically, these warm flatties.

But no, I want those 1940s heeled booties, which will be so impractical for the stomping sort of retirement life I lead these days.

My issue seems to be that I am not transitioning well from classy corporate to relaxed retirement.  Even after all these years.  Is this a taste of the Brexit transition?! 
Maybe I should just go with what I like and stand out from the crowd in my differentness.  Is tailored a look that fits in with a life less corporate?  Is tailored my natural style, my signature look?  Should I listen to my inner tailored lady?

Or should I love the life I'm in and dress in my feared smart casual, something I struggle to "get" even after some years of A Life Less Tailored.

  So, dear reader, my dichotomy: do I dress for the life I have ... or the life I no longer have?!
How have you fared during the transition from workplace wear to retirement wear?
Do you find yourself dressing the Old You?

And now, a song.
Stephen Stills wrote this one with other things in mind but my take is to accept the "now" in life, work with what you've got.  I've found the song somehow calming over the years and calm is what I need until I crack this transitioning from corporate to retirement wear, from tailored to slouchy.  So I give you ...

Love the One You're With

And to paraphrase Stephen's message, "If you can't live in the life you dress, dress the life you're in".

A la perchoine.

Photo credits: Zara, H&M, Ellos, Woolovers, Gabor, Cotton Traders, John Lewis, Poshmark.


  1. I bought quite a smart navy jacket (Planet) in a charity shop for £7. hav'nt worn it yet though. Do you ever when out visiting antique, craft or certain clothes shop see things and think I would love that, then suddenly think hang on, Ive got that or something similar at home.

    1. Oh yes, Polly. So pleased I'm not alone on this one. It's happened a few times in recent months. We hoarders are saving ourselves a small fortune eh! Bet you'll do some lovely looks with your tailored jacket. Hugs, x .

  2. I empathize. I have been retired for almost ten years, and still struggle a little with clothes. For a few years I found myself with a lot of new clothes that were barely worn because - surprise - I had few occasions to wear them. So much money wasted, as in the small town I live in, if I went around dressed like that, people would be asking where I'm going. So it's a work in progress I think; I'm getting a bit better at it. The trick, though, is having just enough that you can find something in the closet that you want to wear when those occasions do arise, because there is no shopping close by!

    1. Hi Janie. Sounds like you've been there too. I too look at all these business suits and evening dresses and think "I just cannot throw this out".
      I expect online helps a little when there are no shops in the neighbourhood.
      Wishing you a super week ahead, hugs, x.

  3. I completely understand where you are coming from. I have resorted to wearing clothes that I used to wear to work (smart jackets and trousers, tailored skirts etc.) to things like our weekly tai chi session (really funny to be wearing a tailored jacket with a smart linen dress when everyone else is in jogging pants and fleeces - they all asked was I off to a wedding afterwards). I have been retired 6 years and still look at corporate fashion when clothes shopping, I wonder how long it takes to get out of this or as you say is it our true inner fashion self "look"? I think you would look lovely in any of the clothes and boots you showed and a tailored jacket can definitely be worn with jeans and other casual trousers. I have invested in a biker jacket and have got lots of wear out of it, much to my husband's delight, he's always had a thing for the Suzi Quatro/Chrissie Hynes slightly ageing biker chic look. I also have an oldish Chanel lookalike jacket which has been such a good friend, looks great with either casual or smart. I honestly would not worry too much about the whole conundrum, you look great in all your outfits. I love the music choice as well. Regards Sue H

    1. Hi Susan,
      Oh so funny, tailored suits for Tai Chi! It sounds like we are in the same boat. And I love that "slightly ageing bike chic look" too, thanks to your clever hubby for penning it - that will be my character next time I wear mine! Thanks for popping in with your wise and funny comments. And do you know, I think you are the first to comment on the music I add. Music has always been with me through life and sometimes when I'm writing, a particular song whirrs around in my head and it just HAS to land at the end of the post!
      Hugs, x.

  4. Hi Pout, Well, first of all, almost everyone needs jackets, unless you live in the tropics. A third piece is what makes your clothes into outfits. Why don't you experiment and try some more tailored items with jeans and some boots you really love? Jeans + blazer could go some of the super restaurants you have showed us. Try stuff on and show us some pictures. We will tell you the truth! Maybe your signature style is tailored, and if it is then make it work. I agree that you would probably look silly wearing a suit to the garden supply store, but again, if you are wearing jeans, you can pair them with almost anything. Good luck!

    1. Hi Susan. well, when I look out of the window today I can confirm I definitely do NOT live in the tropics! Ipso facto, I must need those jackets after all.
      I hear you on the try-ons and the truth-speaking, Susan, sounds like fun! Funny you mention the suit and the garden shop, when I was discussing this conundrum with TP he said "that would look funny walking around the supermarket". But that's what I wore popping in for supplies on the way home from work, so why should if feel any different now? I expect it's because I KNOW I haven't been anywhere else before the supermarket these days. So maybe I need to imagine I've just finished a high-powered meeting with my lawyer when I stroll around the aisles. Dress with purpose!
      Hugs, x.

  5. I have had the same struggles for ten years. My solution is similar to Susan's above. Tailored jackets with jeans or khakis and tailored pants with jean jackets. Summer is easier: white jeans with black tees, dark jeans with light tees. I can still recognize myself. Crafted jewelry rather than pearls with a tailored jacket and white tee. A fringed suede jacket in taupe rather than a motorcycle jacket gives me a bit of cool, according to my granddaughters.

    1. Hi Sharon, Oh how I love all the tips you've given in your comment. I like the idea of wearing the same elements and just taking them down a notch. I'm going to work on that. Thanks for popping in with your wisdom.
      Hugs, x.

  6. This post certainly rings a bell with me and I can only reiterate what other commenters have said. I live in the mountains of BC but there are the odd occasions when one has to put on a bit of glamour so don't throw everything away and as others have said jackets in particular can be mixed with more casual wear.

    1. Hi Christy, agree, you never know when some glitzy invite is going to land on your hall mat, so best be prepared eh?!
      I need some serious jeans and jacket work this autumn, that's for sure. Thanks for popping in. Hugs, x.

  7. Yes, I found it difficult to stop buying 'work' type clothes when I first retired but I soon realised they weren't going to get worn...

    If you want to wear tailored every day - do it! Or you could wear it alternate days.It's what you feel comfortable in and what you like the look of - have fun with it!


    1. Hi Vronni, well you seemed to learn quickly, unlike me! Like your approach and ideas, and yes, dress to feel comfy in oneself, eh? Thanks for popping in, hugs, x.

  8. This is so interesting because I have gone the opposite. Being an art teacher for over 30 years, I never did dress business like, in fact, I dressed rather badly. Why wear something that looks corporate and expensive just so I could get tempera paint, chalk, acrylic paint, etc (I am a very clumsy person!)on it. Even when I got neat stuff, I didn't have time to wear it. Things have gone opposite since retiring.I have more time to go to art openings and lectures and don't have to worry about coming home a spotted mess.

    I would just put one of those great jackets over a pair of jeans and just look your cool self.

    1. Hi Terri,
      So interesting that you've taken retirement as the time to wear what you want, not what the job dictates. There's a lot to be learned in that. And it's lovely to hear that in retirement your life is going in the direction you would choose. Your retirement sounds very glam!
      Yup, jeans and jackets. here I come. Thanks for popping in, hugs, x.

  9. Of course I understand my dear friend. My head is drawn to all those tailored,corporate looking pieces but my reality is I work in an elementary school and there's never a need for a business suit. On top of that I can no longer wear the beautiful heels I once did and so it seems a good portion of my wardrobe is uwearable. I'm trying to make the best of it and wearing what I like on the weekend meaning I often hit the grocery store dressed to the nines, ha! In all honesty I say wear what you like and stand out from the crowd!

    1. Hi Mrs R, you seem to be where Terri was prior to retirement. So you are a weekend posh suit wearer! Good on you, I have told TP it's OK to walk the aisles in businesswear even though you have no business to go to. So keep doing what you're doing, sista and stand out from the crowd, despite plantar fasciitis or any other heel-preventing foot issues. Happy week ahead, hugs, x.

  10. Go for any smart Blazer with jeans Mary. It's going to be the biggest winter trend. I like the idea that you can slouch in jeans and T-shirt or jumper and then pop on a Blazer and viola! Super smart! xx

    1. Wow, Laurie, you make the idea sound fun, elegant and easy, so I'm going to give it my best. Hope you post some blazer and jeans inspiration to kick start this old bird!
      Hugs, x.

  11. Maybe you are just more comfortable in smart and should build a lifestyle around your wannabe wardrobe. Golf club, theatre, lunches out with ladies who wear channel. Perhaps you are drawn to the right clothes but now need to get that Gucci smart lifestyle. Joking of course.
    I'm the other way. As I do still work I'm drawn to casual. Work clothes are an after thought. That's why Sainsbury's is so useful.

    1. Love it, AM, I'm going to give thought to my wannabe Gucci lifestyle and wardrobe when on my upcoming short break. Maybe at my age it's time I finally find myself.
      You surprise me with your afterthought approach to workwear because your IG outfits seem thoughtfully put together. And you look equally good in your fave casuals, like your biker jacket beauty.
      Hope all goes well with the family. Hugs, x.

  12. Seen some lovely blazers here Mary, I'd love any one of them, I have so many dressier outfits so I do try to incorporate them into my everyday outfits, although dragging washing about etc in posh clothes sometimes seems silly! But I still do it - lol. Jacqui

  13. Oh, I can totally relate! Actually, I felt this way I worked too for I had to wear a uniform. I hated it! I just wanted to wear regular clothes and feel human! This is why I dress up just to go shopping or go to church. Most people don't do that (probably cause they have to dress up all week for work) but I don't care because if I didn't dress up for those two things, I'd never do!