Thursday, July 12, 2012

We are not 20

In my LGO post the other day, I showed you pictures from the 2012 White Stuff catalogue and observed that it looked exactly like me in 1981.  I suggested that I should forget about all this self-re-invention sewing and revert to wearing clothes I recognise as "like me".
Beate commented: "But we are not 20..."
I have been pondering on that point.
Do we have to try harder as we get older?

Is it the old chestnut about becoming invisible as an older woman and having to wear more flamboyant clothing in order to be noticed?
Do I want to be noticed?  (Answer:  No thank you.  Leave me alone.  I don't like most other people.  Especially the male sort.)

Christine said she doubted I really wanted to wear shop-bought clothes.
Oh... but sometimes don't you just want to give up trying so hard?  Just take the easy option and pick some clothes out of a catalogue and wear them and not even think about it?  Not worry if they are a bit too big, but are basically comfortable and warm and washable?

One skirt.
One pair of trousers / jeans.
Three t shirts.
A cardigan.
A crew-neck sweater.
Canvas shoes.

Isn't that enough?

And with that as a blank canvas, get on with your life?

Read and knit and crochet and paint pictures and write poetry and embroider and dance and paint the walls beautiful colours and grow vegetables and pick wild flowers and drink cups of coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon.

I would love to just... get on with my life.

Why is that so hard?

The book I will buy before the day is up


Anna said...

I liked my early 20's, but I really don't want to go back to being a dreadlocked crustie wearing German army boots and patchwork trousers, it's just not who I am anymore (although I do admit I miss the dreads a bit and contemplate doing it again from time to time).

My late 20's I was working in jobs I didn't really like and wearing very boring business attire and basically jeans or sweatpants when I got in from work, again not something I want to repeat.

My early 30's I wore more hand made but it was still very sweatpants and jeans based as I was at home with kids. It's taken me until my late 30's to try and figure out what I really want to look like as an adult and what clothes I need to do that.

But yes, I do wish I had a certain capsule style (Angelina Jolie sprigs to mind, she wears a certain style that looks fab on her and she always looks put together). My wild clothing (was Goth before Crustie) never had anything to do with wanting to be looked at, I'm not a fan of people a lot of the time, but wanting to look like 'me'. If me now was still the me I was then I would go back to wearing what I did without a second thought, but I'm not so I'm trying to figure out day by day how to dress to express the me that I am now.

Lovely embroidery, wish I had the patience for it!

beate said...

oh roo! It is difficult to explain in a foreign language - I did not mean, of course, we would have to rig up more when we get older. I meant it live on a houseboat and serve in the café - with this old bones. and to live alone. would you really?
but - i did cancel my "job" (in fact it was my own business) because i was not happy with it anymore. now i have a hard time to find something new to catch some money.....

Jasmine said...

That phrase--'get on with your life'. It usually applies to leaving behind the baggage or aggravations, yes? Are you feeling that your sewing (and sewing-related dreaming and planning) is becoming unwanted baggage? You make such beautiful, uniquely 'you' items...and watching you find your way into the styles and fabrics that make you happiest (purple velvet culottes! elephants!!) is certainly fun for me. My birthday is coming up, and I'm pregnant, and as such have been thinking often about my clothes and style and age lately--it's amazing how an imposed 9 plus month hiatus on sewing 'good' clothes for myself has made me obsess over what I'd like to be sewing for myself next year. Personally, I am finding that as I get older it gets easier to dress in a way that makes me happy. I am more familiar with the shapes of my body, the textures and colors that make me beam, the styles that I reach for again and again. I feel as if I am slowly chipping away the old bits of societal nonsense that became stuck to my ideas of myself: what 'should' I wear, what look 'should' I try to attain. Not necessarily easier in terms of time spent, perhaps, but I am certainly not needing to try as hard to meet OTHERS goals or opinions as far as what I should look like/wear/do with my hair, face, or butt :). And Roo, I don't think you HAVE TO do anything you don't want to--but then, I suppose it may be easier for us out here in the internets to see how fiercely independent you are, than for you to see it from where you are. (I've been reading your blog with great enjoyment for years, but I've never left a message before--your ruminations made me think this morning!)

dottiedoodle said...

I think we need to be as kind and fair ourselves as we should be to others. Selfish in a good way. I love, love your style but maybe you need a holiday. See how the capsule wardrobe feels for a while, be creative in other ways.

Snickerdoodle Smith said...

I hear ya Roo! I'm going through the same thing with my knitting- wondering if it has to be so all-consuming. Do I HAVE to make ALL my knitted clothing- sweaters, socks, etc.
Or can it again become something I just do for fun?
Because really, it's time for me to - as you say - get on with life.
(And it doesn't mean I want to give up knitting entirely- just that it needs to go to the background while things that really are important- family, exercise, food, etc- take their proper place.)

Linda said...

Good questions! Since I'm incapable of sewing or knitting I've no choice but to buy clothes. And the White Stuff catalogue is full of desirable things. But what am I wearing? Jeans and a fleece. The thing is, we've spent most of our money on private school fees, so my clothes are vastly out of date (tho not quite at the 'coming-around-again-therefore-vintage' stage), supplemented with a few very random updates that I've bought because something wore out.

Right now we're away from Edinburgh and up on Speyside, and the RELIEF at just being able to put on clothes in the morning and not fret about whether they are 'suitable', as I do in Edinburgh, is incredible. Part of me longs for a stylish, non-fashionable, classic (but not in the Marks & Spencer) sense wardrobe. And part of me just wants to be outside and be myself and not bother remotely with what I put on other than that it is comfortable for what I'm doing.

christinelaennec said...

I didn't mean to imply that you wouldn't be happy if you had some shop-bought clothes (I certainly am glad I no longer have to make everything except underwear and shoes, as I did for quite a few years in my own 20s). It just seems to me that making clothes (knitting and sewing) is a very important part of your self-expression. I certainly don't think you should hold yourself to a solely-me-made standard if it isn't, after all, the right thing for you. Life does go on, but I think it goes on better if you're kind to yourself, and goodness knows you have a lot to contend with just now.

Embroidery looks like a great thing to do. And I certainly don't think we (meaning me at 51) have to "dress old" - whatever that means.

Lizzi said...

Ooooh - you have opened a can of worms. I absolutely hear what you are saying - I wonder if we put too much pressure on ourselves to look a certain way - and if we have crafting skills it makes sense to make stuff to wear so that you can enjoy the hobby. But if the process is not enjoyable anymore (is it?) then why do it.

As for getting older - I do find that I have to try harder just to stay the same. A pair of jeans and a nice T doesn't cut it anymore - they have to be really nicely made to flatter (costing a fortune) .

I don't want to have to think about clothes and how I look all the time but I don't want to look like a tattie bag tied in the middle and I don't want to end up wearing clothes just to be comfortable.

I see people wearing the same stuff, M and S trousers with an elastic waist (comfy) a round necked sweater with something underneath that has a collar - a -pair of lace up shoes - sensible and comfy - and a fleece if it is colder - it could be a man or a woman - hard to tell cos even the hairstyle is similar - 'just cut it short, dear, it is easier to keep." Not a lick of makeup.

I know I am describing what I would think of as an older woman but the truth is, I see a lot of women who are not much older than me and that is how they dress.

I don't want to go down that route - or anywhere near it but I just want to be able to get dressed in the morning - look half-decent and not have to think about it for the rest of the day.

I think a capsule wardrobe is great but you will always tweak it to give it your style if you are that way inclined. You do have a sense of style, Roo otherwise you wouldn't be asking the question.

Twelfthknit said...

I found myself accidentally wearing an 'outfit' a few weeks my surprise, I like dit and am going to try to get a few more. But....I don't consider things the way that you do....and I don't think that is a good or bad thing for eother of us, it is just that we are different. I know that I am never going to be seduced into Crimpelene and if, as I age, others think I should leave the bright colours behind I'll just ignore that and get on with it. So I might be trying to be a bit more of a cohesive whole, but I don't care what anyone else thinks about that. Go with what you want to is too short to do otherwise.

indigorchid said...

Mmm... style. I want exactly that. Clothes that feel effortless, and that makes me feel comfortable, and are the background noise to who I am, something that underscores it, and "allows" it, so to say (allows it to show is what I mean I guess), but doesn't ever take away. They only add, and they are easy. I want that.

I think I'm still searching and finding out what that is, and what that means to me. Sometimes I feel like it's all too much, and it's all taken too damn seriously. They really only are clothes, after all.

Katy47p said...

I love your style, its cute, fun and flattering and should have no constrains put on it by age. You still look very young and can pull anything off in my eyes. I love looking through your pictures for inspiration of what I can make for myself and I am 29, passed the early 20's but never intend to change how I dress because I am aging :)

Sigrid said...

This reminds me of an observation that a teacher once made that those who are trying to live with less money and outside of the system, often end up spending as much or more time thinking about money and the economy. I do wonder sometimes how much the blogging ends up driving my creative process instead of just documenting and sharing it.
As for not being 20, sometimes it really is hard to know that when you are on the inside looking out. How much do we have to dress for the way we are perceived and how much for how we feel? I guess I like reading your blog because your style really does seem to fit your spirit and isn't tied into some boring idea of what is age appropriate. Face it Roo, you are a style icon!

jessica said...

"Face it Roo, you are a style icon!" Amen - sing it, sister!

OK but seriously. I'm only 28, but I often feel that I'm not really getting older, it's just that the rest of the world is getting younger (;-P) ... but as to clothing and age, I think there are ways of being true to your style and creating a statement, that aren't necessarily flamboyant and over the top ... and "flamboyant" is going to mean something different for each person! If you were to go back to wearing what you wore in your early 20s I have a feeling you'd subtly adapt it for the Roo of today - maybe in the colors you choose, or print vs. solid, bit of accessorizing, which skirt, which boots, etc.

And on that note, I think there's absolutely nothing wrong with putting the "trying so hared" on temporary hiatus (or permanent hiatus). You've taken up a big pledge, after all! And done pretty well by it. I'm a big fan of the 80/20 rule (flipped) -- 80% of the time do right, 20% of the time cut yourself some slack.

So go embroider! (gorgeous book) Read books! Take strolls with FL and the dog to the end of the lane! Buy yourself some items out of a catalogue! If you find yourself wanting to come back to make more handmade wardrobe items, we'll be here. And if you move on to doing other things in your fabulous capsule wardrobe, we'll still be here :-).

Jane said...

I've come back to your post a few times.

I think you had the stuffing knocked out of you a bit on the Wednesday hospital trip, and you're tired of the things that are out of your control. I think creative things we do are in our control, mostly (unless we have a client who wants something different from what we think!), and without belittling the process at all, your creative endeavours, which result in beautiful and original clothing, are your way of getting a bit of control, quite apart from being part of and deriving support from the sewing blog community. I think if you had a shop bought capsule wardrobe, you'd soon be customising it; with lovely embroidery, perhaps.

I am great at half-baked psychology. Hope it's not annoying for you. I wish I could make what you make. Maybe one day!

Roobeedoo said...

Oh crumbs! Thank you everyone for your thoughts!
Yeah, Jane I think you're right. It's been a bit of a week, this one.
Thank goodness for knitting!