Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Roobeedoo Remix

As the new month approaches, I am considering whether or not to "do" Self-Stitched September.  I have noticed a lot of sewing bloggers expressing photo fatigue, but it is hard to get into the swing of the thing if you don't feel compelled to show the evidence of daily outfits. 
 Photo:  Day one of Me-Made June 2011
I find myself at a point where I have sufficient me-made garments to survive a month without too many repetitions.  I already know from the previous exercises, last September and this June, that my big downfall is the warm woolly layer - which is crazy when you consider that I spend every evening of my life knitting!
The weekend's windstorm had me itching for a seasonal wardrobe purge.  I feel ready to do something radical and ditch all the "unhappy" items in my wardrobe:  the too-big skirts, the droopy-waisted trousers, the starchy 1990's work shirts, the mouldy shoes (which still stink of mildew after being cleaned and polished - ugh!)  Some of these items were me-made but they either don't fit or are just hopelessly dated in a non-vintage way.  I never wear them, or if I do I don't feel like "me" and catch sight of my reflection looking a bit slumpy with sunken shoulders and no smile.  That's no good!
Time for a confession:  at every key stage in my life I have found myself confronting the same character flaw:  I do not have the confidence to invest in "a look".  So, when (aged 17) I saw the cool girls mooching around the University campus wearing a leather jacket, vintage cotton dress, creeper shoes, jet black floppy-fringed hair and massive eyeliner, and looking effing fabulous, I responded by tying a length of stretch lace round my enormous mousey 'fro and buying a pair of black plimsoles.  Yeah, Roo, a real style statement!
My best style moment was probably Leeds in 1985-6 (aged 21) when my boyfriend gave me his black leather biker jacket and I got my hair cut into an edgey platinum blonde bob at Snipperfield's Circus, the (scary) arty hairdresser.  I had two pairs of black leggings, a couple of mohair jumpers, a black jersey tube skirt, monochrome stripey t-shirts and big boots. Less was definitely more!  I looked fierce!  And I have no photos to prove it, dammit!

But then what happened?  The pressure to find and hold down a job (aged 22 onwards).  I quickly learned that the boss would call me into his office to "turn around" if I was not smartly dressed, i.e.  no trousers (let alone leggings), no t-shirts, no Doc Marten's.  So I conformed to the accounts clerk uniform of straight knee-length skirt, freshly-ironed blouse, skin-toned tights and low-heeled shoes... and obliterated my personality in the workplace.
But you know what?  I am not that girl anymore!  I am Roobeedoo (aged 46 and three quarters) and I am not going to be squashed into corporate anonymity! 

There is still a dress code of sorts where I work now, but I have noticed that I receive only positive comments when I push my look that bit further, red lipstick and all!

Photo:  the day I pushed my look, Me-Made June 2011

And it occurs to me that, contrary to what you might expect, the person who has shot through the ranks fastest in my current organisation is the girl with the strongest look - and I know that her rapid promotion is due to the confidence she exudes.  OK, she is 20 years younger than me (and has amazing legs and a filthy laugh), but I am not aiming to emulate her, I am aiming to have the confidence to simply BE MYSELF at work!  That's enough - I don't want the spotlights thank you!

So watch this space.  This is the Roobeedoo Remix, Vintage Edit!
Maybe that is the focus for my Self-Stitched September!  :D

15 comments:

Anna said...

I'm 38 and still working on finding a look again. I was a Goth, then a Crusty Traveller type (complete with waist length dreadlocks and patchwork trousers) and then, like you, I had to get a job. The dreads surived tied back for a while but the clothing had to change.

When I became a full time Mother 8 years ago my style just disappeared and I'm still working on getting it back. I will have to leave the house a bit more this year as my kids are both going to be in full time school (sob!) but figuring out how I want to look is really hard...

Looking forward to seeing your Remix, I think your look is fab!

grannypurple said...

Just watched the series "South Riding" from the Winifred Holtby novel, and thought of you in nearly every scene, as the clothes--and even a couple of handknit sweaters--were definitely the Roobeedoo look!

Karen said...

Roobeedoo- I love this post. I'm also 46 and am trying to look a little more dressed up than required in my job! I am looking forward to your remix to see what you come up with!

Sølvi said...

What a great post, Roo! Love that you´re remixing your wardrobe - it´s so uplifting that this can be done, simply by making stuff yourself! I find that feeling immensely liberating! :-)

Andrea said...

I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months (and really enjoying it) and this is the first time I comment. Great post. I struggle with letting my personality through my very boring corporate work attire so I look forward to the inspiration that Roobeedoo Remix, Vintage Edit will no doubt bring during SSS’11.

Scruffybadger said...

Go Roo! I know exactly what you mean. I think that sewing and blogging truly uplifts confidence in finding a personal style that #shock# might not look like the normal work or casual wear. Arent we lucky to have so many more opportunities to experiment. But it does take courage some times! I adore what you make and your " look". I shall enjoy seeing all your beautiful makes being worn with a smile :-)

Kestrel said...

Good luck with your remix, am sure it will be fun to explore some looks and decide which one is 'you'.

I felt the same about SSS - I love the idea and participated for the first time in June but have been in two minds about whether to take part this time. I've decided not to as I feel I've got other priorities this month, and I definitely want to join next time, when I feel more excited about it. It wouldn't do to start the month feeling meh about the whole thing!

Urban Rustic said...

Your thoughts echo mine exactly.Both myself and my daughter had a serious purge of our wardrobes a few weeks ago and I ditched lots of stuff.Feel so much better.
My style is verging on the eclectic (eccentric?) I think as I seem to always go for longer length stuff at the moment.I just love swishing about.
And finally,my life seems to have been one long hunt for the woolly layer.

Roobeedoo said...

I seem to have a struck a chord with you all! Maybe we should have a pact to "be ourselves and proud of it"!

Roobeedoo said...

Ooh meant to say to Grannypurple: "South Riding" has had a big influence on my emerging "style". That and "Glorious 39" and "Cracks" - amazing costumes in all of these!

mooncalf said...

I've always thought of your as having a distinctive style of your own. I think that picture probably captures it perfectly!

You might be growing and refining it and perfecting it but there's a definitely always been a Roo-style on this blog!

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Roobeedoo,

Yours is a most refreshingly frank and lively site. I check in every day for the lift one feels at your 'bring it on' style.

And, if I may say so, you have a smashingly unique look. the 'push' works...

Penny said...

Before I went to Uni, I read in an NUS guide to pick a style whether it was "anarchist black or Rupert trousers". Mine was a black cape: incredibly practical for public transport and could even be used as a blanket on cold nights. It now only gets used at Halloween...

This summer, on holiday in France, I thought as I bought some clothes that I could imagine you wearing them, Ruth, so you must have a distinctive look, even if you don't know it

Roobeedoo said...

Penny - I love the choice of Rupert or anarchy! I also have a cape in the deepest recesses - mine is purple velvet!
Intrigued to know what you bought!

jessica said...

Oh Roo, I definitely understand this sentiment! I love the looks you have been cultivating and have told you so many times already =). Truly so much of the power of what we wear comes from within (confidence), doesn't it? But I think the best thing about embracing this and speaking out about it is that it encourages other people who are not yet so brave to also be themselves, find that increased confidence, etc. Look forward to your weekly SSS updates =). I wanted to participate but decided it was beyond what I could handle at the moment, so I am just living vicariously through you =).