I have never been one of those people who “got it” when it comes to fashion. Or anything else about trends really. When conversation turns to music, or clothes, or celebrities, I’m the one in the corner laughing a second too late, blindly echoing what somebody else has said, praying nobody asks me for an opinion. I’m sure I’m not alone in this; I think it’s probably an element of “imposter syndrome”. I also know it isn’t important in the big scheme of things (I understand global poverty and the trends in climate change research instead – officially more important), but it makes feeling like I fit in anywhere that bit more difficult.
I may not be naturally cool, but what I can do is follow instructions. And research. I really am the fucking queen of research – we have amazing holidays, all down to me and Mr Google. There’s a lot of criticism of the Internet; but for the socially just slightly awkward, it beats desperately stealing your friends Smash Hits, reading it from cover to cover, and hoping for a conversation about Kriss Kross’s view on backward clothes.
So now I read magazines, and I follow fashion blogs. Not scary ones; almost all mum ones. And I just buy anything reasonably priced and not ridiculous that they recommend. It takes out the stress of decision making. And the best ones are enthusiastic, and make me feel like clothes could be fun again, after the frumpiness of pregnancy and breastfeeding and maternity leave financial restrictions. The Spike, the follow on from the life-saving Recipe Rifle. Dresslikeamum (makes me want to lunge in all photos! Why is that so entertaining?!) The Frugality, which despite being all fashion-week focused is surprisingly accessible.
This is all at odds with the recent articles about micro-decisions. The most successful people are starting to talk about wearing the same thing every day. They will have to make so many decisions during the day, that removing that first choice actually does make a difference. Some days I think I’d love to embrace this; days when nothing matches, when the little man is crying and the train won’t wait. But I’m not that important yet. And my workwear at least still feels a bit like war-paint. Heels and a blazer: my head is just a little higher in that big scary meeting. It does separate the women out from the men; for the time being, I’m ok with that. If I become important enough to change my mind, then I’m sure I can do enough research to pick the perfect outfit. But not quite yet.
When the bigger man and I first got together, I’d just started an exciting graduate job in the big city. He was a sales rep in the north, doing a relatively low paid job because he wanted a job that involved a lot of driving and gave him a company car. Oh, and kept him close to his university girlfriend (of whom we should not speak).