I’ve collected clothes since I was about 20, that’s 40 years of shopping. Its also 40 years of donating to charity shops as I curate my collection and get rid of the evidence of impulse or imprudent purchases. I’ve always considered my wardrobe to be my palette for creating my style on a day to day basis. Not much exists that is actually 40 years old, but many items have been replaced like for like as they have worn out. In some respects this is counter to the current trend for fashion bloggers, or influencers who highlight what is available to buy now and indeed Fashion and Style magazines. Real life is not about buying everything new each fashion season. It is about knowing what works for you as an individual and buying a couple of bits to replace worn out things or to add some new colour. Just as I have favourite products and colours to create abstract paintings, I have favourite clothes that can be combined to create the style that I feel comfortable in. I have made some expensive mistakes both in art and fashion shops.
All my previous working life I wore a uniform, clothes shopping was for commuting and weekends. Now I have a new life, as a full time artist and writer, clothes have become a lovely every day creative process and I rarely put the same two things together.
I’ve become more careful about wearing normal clothes to paint in. I managed to buy a massive pair of 1970’s dungarees on Ebay a couple of years ago. I wear old t-shirts underneath. So on painting days my #todayimwearing clothing style age is about 45 years.
The inspiration for this blog was an outfit I put together recently to deliver some paintings to a client. I was aiming for an arty look. As I put the composite parts back into the wardrobe I realised I’ve been putting this look together since 1977. In turn it was inspired by my mum in the 60’s. I can be that accurate because I wore this look to attend my Viva Voce exam in Russell Square London. At the time I thought this look reflected me as a sensible professional. I realise now it was just me being me.
I am still a fan of a knitted cardigan, but now it tends to be Seasalt that make them rather than my mum.
Here are the four pieces that inspired this piece of blogging.
The Straw Hat- I love hats, my grandmother bought hats from a gay milliner called Francis Golightly ( seriously) I longed to wear hats , as she did, every day. That was never going to be possible so a straw hat in the summer is the best I can do. This one is about number five and is possibly the cheapest ever as it was bought in a hurry from New Look after number four met a watery grave during a storm in Cuba.
Big Sunglasses- I suffer from sweaty eyelids, big sunglasses are the only answer.I have no idea how many pairs of these I’ve owned. Usually they are cheap fake ones from Greek supermarkets. Age has caught up with me and now they need to be prescription lenses. Ollie Quinn makes these beauties.
Scarf- I may have the national Collection of scarves. Simple reason. I’ve never been a size zero and any woman no matter what size can buy a scarf even in the most sizist of shops. Blush pink, I’ve learned to love it, inspired by a fellow blogger. This member of the scarf family came from Oliver Bonas.
The black and white dress. I love this dress, it is the latest iteration of my black and white dress family and is probably the closest to the one my mum wore in the 60’s . I used to make these for my Sindy. This one is from Marimekko.
It’s strange that I’ve never realised that my clothing choices have not really evolved greatly throughout my adult life. I suspect I could trace all my clothes back with similar stories to these four pieces. What chaos could I create in my life if I ever used a personal shopper?