Style Transition - My Style Self - The Practical Me.

Do you ever find that it is time to review your style to suit who you are now, and where you are now in your life?  I need to do this - I still wear clothes that are appropriate to the person I was 20 years ago.  I've suddenly realised I need to make some changes.

I decided to post some of the garments I like to start assessing what to make for the Me I  Am Now.  I guess it is always hard to describe yourself , but I sometimes think clothes can tell the story about who you are very well.

 I love practical clothes by the designer Margaret Howell. The following are from her Autumn/Winter 2013 collection:

Margaret Howell designs classic British clothes - and has said that fashion is for silly people.  Her shows are always well patronised after the glut of unwearable clothes on the fashion runways.

I don't know if fashion is for silly people or not.  I do know that I like this eminently wearable and practical clothes.  And yes, I was born in England and I like my heritage and the part of my cultural identity that is British (the other part is Australian, as I have lived here for years). 

Howell uses quality, traditional fabrics like flannel and twill.  The sort of fabrics I love - if I can get them.

Tomorrow I am going to think about my other Style Self - the Elegant Me.

In the meantime, I would love to hear whether you have gone through style transitions, or whether you want to go through one.

Until later,

Sarah Liz :)


  1. The majority of my clothes are still in the style that I wore before my first child was born. Considering he is now almost 9 years old and we have moved from London to Brisbane in the mean time. I have changed shape, or rather my pear-shapedness has increased, the weather is completely different, and I don't work in an office anymore.

    I find it hard to get my head around the new me and I feel my clothes show this. There is an internal war going on inside me between the desire to be comfortable and the desire to look nice. Somehow my understanding of what looks nice is still kinda stuck in my prekids UK life, so of course it is ill suited to life in Brisbane with small kids, and if I wear it, it consequently does not look nice (because I am uncomfortable and hot).

    I have over the last year realised that I should plan on sewing what I actually wear and I like wearing jersey and stretch wovens. I like wearing flowing clothes that feel cool in the summers heat, so perhaps I should actually look for patterns that accommodate those things rather then the tailored frocks that I seem to be drawn to when looking for patterns.

    In short I am going style transition at the moment and I actually feel that both your blogs are very helpful with it, so thank you :-)

  2. This is a really interesting - I have the same sort of tug of war going on for very different reasons. And somehow we have to merge the comfortable and the nice so that they become one and the same. Let's keep working through this together on our blogs - quite a few of us are in the same boat (I'm not going to name names, of course:)).

  3. PS I'll also be trying to make some cool frock this year for the humid weather - I love the tailored classic look too, but as you say, it doesn't work - so I'll be trying to merge the two ideas.

  4. I have tried many times to find a look or style that is "me" - always unsuccessfully as I like many things depending on my mood. However I am gradually realising what shapes work well on my body, so that however I feel like dressing on a particular day I can make sure I emphasise my good bits.

    I also feel that in ready to wear clothing at the age of 43 I now fall in between the ages many ranges seem aimed at. For example, too old for the "young" fashions, but a lot of those styles aimed at not so young I find too old or too boring. That of course is the beauty of being able to make your own clothes!

    The Margaret Howell designs you've shown are gorgeous, particularly the dresses, and I've long been an admirer of her classic British style. I do not agree with her though that fashion is for silly people!

    1. Hi Sam - the phenomena of too "old" for young and not old enough for the "not so young" clothes is a dilemma that is hard to solve - my sister in law, who is very conservative, many years older than me, and living in a retirement village thinks the old clothes are too old and boring - so maybe we want stylish elegant clothes as we age, not old, frumpy styles.

      I think Margaret Howell is talking metaphor with her statement - and certainly with current debates about disposable consumer fashion I think she may be making quite a point. However, a little bit of fashion gives us all a "lift" from time to time, and we all need that as well.

  5. This is a really interesting post - and I am pondering about what I think about this whole issue.
    Like you I grew up in the northern hemisphere with ice and snow during winter and temperate sunshine during summer. I then lived in tropical Brisbane for 20+ years and my dress sense was totally out of whack. There, after being a farmer when the children were young, I pursued a professional career which required smart office attire. Again, for me, there were huge contrasts in style.
    I am now retired and living in Perth. I no longer need the smart dresses and suits, yet I like that classic look. My shape has also changed a bit and the waist I once had is no longer so trim. I don’t know what style suits me best being a retired woman living in the suburbs.
    Many of the sewing blogs are written by much younger women, and I love their style and great bodies, but I have recently found more blogs written by women just like me. I am gradually learning about different styles that are smart yet styles that suit the older body. I am actually starting to accept my new and different body – slowly – and hopefully in time I will have found designs and styles that suits the new me.
    I will be following this conversation with great interest and I will treasure every opinion and suggestion that will be expressed in this discussion. I want to learn!!!!!

    1. Hi, yes, changing bodies and changing roles are certainly challenges to the way we think and feel about ourselves - and how we consequently want to dress. How we redefine ourselves into new ways of being as we get older. I agree, I love reading the young bloggers post - and am thrilled when they find something of value in mine - but we are the first generation of long lived women that the world has ever seen - so how does style adapt to this phenomena? We still have many years of productive life ahead of us and need clothes that reflect this new part of our life.

  6. I have a silhouette in my mind when I dress. I know what is most flattering and simple to wear for my casual and retired lifestyle. BUT, I trip occasionally over a trendy item or a style that "everyone" is wearing or sewing. An example is the Marcy Tilton French house dress...I did actually prepare everything to sew this-I bought fabric, I altered the pattern, I asked for help from others...then I woke up and saw what a disaster I would be in that dress.

    If I sewed only my uniform of tees with 3/4 sleeves and loose pants, I'd die of boredom.

    1. I am familiar with the die of boredom from wearing a comfortable outfit around the house - I tend to do the same. Functional, but really no fun to go and make.

      Isn't it funny how we fall in love with someone else's style, and then realise it just isn't us in any way. It's so important to wear clothes that reflect you.

  7. I think everyone goes through this stage. I cleared out my wardrobe recently and thought Geez, why did I buy this?! About a few things. The items weren't anything that would alarm the fashion police, they just so aren't me anymore!

    Wow, a fashion designer that designs for practicality!

    1. Hi Zoe - yes, we all keep "growing" in life and changing, which is a good thing - but then clothes need to reflect that too, as you have worked out.

      Yes, few and far between, the practical designers. Stella McCartney does some quite practical garments as well.

  8. I can relate so well to this post and the responses.

    I still gravitate towards the tailored suits, fitted jackets, classic coats, nipped in waists and slim fit skirts that I so loved and wore successfully as a size 8/10.This was my working 'uniform'.

    Fast forward xkgs gain in weight, no ankles and no waist, along with several career changes and now retirement, nothing feels 'put together'. I can't pull off the loose flowy look, or an arty look - I always feel the clothes are wearing me!! - being 5'2" doesn't help either.

    I think accessories may be my friend, though, as I'll often get compliments when I've added a scarf/unique necklace. One thing is for certain, being able to sew is definitely an advantage - my non-sewing friends struggle even more.

  9. Yes, being short is very tricky. I agree, the later years are a challenge - equally so for the SAHM's I suspect. I quite agree, if you have a classic style personality - which I suspect you have, from the comments above about your office attire and how you liked it - that the garb that often seems to be worn - the loose tops, the flowing pants, the boho/eccentric look, only work on those people who like that style! It looks as though we will be working on this together over the next few months. Accessories do work wonderfully well for some people - and it takes the eye up to the face and away from the no waist, no ankles :) Just make sure they don't overwhelm you, being petite.


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