Category Archives: Outfits

Minimalist

Today was definitely the kind of day when the only sensible clothing strategy was to wear loose lightweight woven garments, and as few of those as possible.

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Linen dress, sandals, done. Even if the dress did already look wrinkled at a quarter to seven in the morning when I took this picture (that’ll be because you never iron things – Ed.).

Tucked in

I’ve never tended to wear tops tucked in (well, I probably tucked in my school blouses when I wore school uniform, but I think that was about it). I’m not sure why. Was it just so much the fashion when I was growing up that I never even thought about it? Did tucked-in tops remind me too much of school? Did I hope that wearing a longer top would hide my stomach? I really don’t know, but whatever the reason, I have spent most of the last 40 years wearing my tops untucked. So I’m not quite sure why I suddenly seem to have started tucking things in.

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I don’t think it looks bad, and it’s probably better with these rather shapeless blouses I bought from White Stuff in the hope that they would look smarter than t-shirts (which I think they do, though possibly not when untucked as they’re linen and wrinkle up). It’s just rather a departure from my normal look.

Green and purple, and a new necklace

I love my Lyttelton shrug. It’s a really nice shape, perfect to throw on when I want a bit more than just a dress but it’s too warm for a cardigan.

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I think that what I like about the shape is that unlike a lot of shrugs, it isn’t just a pair of sleeves without a jumper attached – you knit a few inches of the back before casting on more stitches for the sleeves, and cast off the sleeve stitches and then knit the same length again on the fronts. I’d like to knit more shrugs, because it is very wearable, but there seem to be very few patterns that have that; most are basically a rectangle with the long side seamed at the outer edges to create sleeves, and they tend to have a rather stretched look at the armpits which I don’t particularly like. Maybe I should just substitute another stitch pattern, and maybe rework the stitch counts and shaping for a different gauge, and make another Lyttelton…

I also wore my new necklace, which I bought on Saturday from Yellow Bear Wares.

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Because really, how could I resist a green and purple knitting needle necklace?

Simplicity (or maybe dullness)

I keep thinking I should get back to posting more outfit pictures, but then it’s summer and it’s hard to come up with interesting outfits when my main priority is generally staying cool. Today’s outfit is about as basic as they come, but I quite liked it anyway – it almost felt “classic”, if such a thing was possible for me. Or maybe it was just a bit dull.

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Me-made

Yesterday’s outfit was unusual for not including anything I’d made. Today’s was unusual because I’d made both the skirt and the top; my Afternoon Blouse got its first airing and I was very pleased with it.

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My knee feels much better after a day in comfortable flat shoes, though still not quite right. That’ll teach me not to put appearance before comfort again in a hurry!

New dress, new start

Back at work today after a week and a bit off sick because the headweasels had just got too much for me and I simply couldn’t cope any more. I spent most of my time off knitting. I find the act of making stitches and following a pattern very therapeutic, though I found that I needed a certain amount of complexity to keep my mind focused on the knitting; there was one point where I found myself getting horribly muddled over the toe decreases on a plain sock because I’d ended up knitting away on autopilot and my brain had wandered off into a spiral of anxiety and lost track of what my hands were doing, whereas when I was working on more complicated things I had far less trouble. And, as a bonus, I finished two of the knitalong projects I was working on and am now pretty much back to my normal three WIPs (socks, a shawl, and a cardigan) which is good as I was feeling a bit overloaded. There will be pictures soon, once things are blocked!

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I have actually gone back to a different job for a couple of months, as another department was desperate for some assistance in an area I know well and things are fairly quiet on the project I’m seconded to. I think this is a good thing, as I wasn’t really enjoying the project work and didn’t feel I fitted in with the office culture in the department where it was based, and it’s nice to be doing something different and getting to meet new people and experience a different part of the organisation. I wore my new Boden dress to make a good impression (it’s actually one of two new Boden dresses, as I originally bought the same dress in navy blue and loved the fit so much I couldn’t resist buying it in pink as well), though the smart shoes were a mistake as I had forgotten just how uncomfortable they are; after walking three-quarters of a mile from the old office to the new one, and then spending 45 minutes standing up while I had an induction to the building, and then walking half a mile into town at lunchtime, the bottoms of my heels and the balls of my feet were throbbing, and by the time I got back to the office again my right knee was stiff and sore (though that may be a stress reaction, as it has done it before when I’ve been under stress or going through difficult times). Back to flat shoes tomorrow, I think!

I am a strong woman, not a spineless jellyfish

I wasn’t looking forward to work today, so I decided to wear a brown dress and an orange cardigan and channel my inner Chalet School girl.

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As you have probably gathered, I haven’t been having an easy time of things lately. I’ve been very down, and very anxious, and was getting increasingly worried that I might no longer be able to manage my mental health well enough to hold down a job. (Given which, it’s no wonder I haven’t really been feeling in the mood to post chirpy things about crafting and what I’m wearing – it’s all felt a bit trivial, really.) But I had a conversation on Friday which made it clear that in fact the thing I had kept telling myself I was ridiculously paranoid for even thinking might be going on actually was what was going on, and while the downside of that is that my current work situation is really ridiculously bad and I’m not sure what to do to improve things, the upside is that actually, I haven’t completely lost my ability to relate to people or understand other people’s behaviour and I’m not actually paranoid to the verge of being delusional. I’m actually OK, just in a bad place.

So maybe now I’ll get back to posting about outfits and crafting. Not that I seem to have finished anything in ages – I currently have half a dozen knitting WIPs in various stages of progress, including two knitalong projects, and I’m considering casting on for the Coopknits mystery sock knitalong as well. I haven’t touched my spinning wheel in ages and although I have done most of the work on sewing an Afternoon Blouse my attempt at finishing it yesterday ended up with the neckline sitting very oddly, so I ripped the stitching out and will try again another time, probably next weekend now. Why aren’t there more crafting hours in the day?

Scarlet and lime

This felt like a particularly colourful combination, even for me!

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Ginger!

As I mentioned yesterday, I finally got round to making the Ginger skirt I’ve been planning to make for a couple of years and for which I traced all the pattern pieces last summer and then never got any further.

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The fabric is a quilting-weight cotton I bought three years ago, when I was first learning to sew, with the intention of making a dress, but later decided that I’d prefer it as a skirt. I lined it with a purple polyester anti-static lining, which is great except that I kept sliding down the seat of my chair at work. I definitely think it’s worth taking the time to line skirts, though, they hang so much better and look smarter.

Because I traced and cut the pattern pieces so long ago I can’t actually remember what I did with the sizing, though I suspect I graded from a 16 at the waist to an 18 at the hips, and I know I lengthened the pattern by several inches because I prefer my summer skirts to hit well below the knee.

I think I made a pretty good job of my first invisible zip, and if the back hem dips slightly I’m jolly well calling it a feature.

Ginger back view

I really like the vintagey look of the skirt paired with this blouse, though I suspect it didn’t quite fit in in my office, which tends towards being rather more corporate in culture than I prefer, but it felt like the perfect outfit to wear to see The Two Faces of January at the cinema this evening. I might well make more skirts from the pattern, as it was very straightforward to follow and I like the fuller A-line shape compared to the McCall’s skirt pattern I’ve made before. My next sewing project is going to be an attempt at the Afternoon Blouse, though; I’ve printed and traced the pattern so it might even be this coming weekend!

Crazy cat lady

Today I ended up wearing a cat print dress and a cat shawl pin, which might be verging into crazy cat lady territory really…

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Crazy is about right, really. My mental health has been pretty dreadful over the last few months; I may be out of the job that was actively harmful but it takes time to recover, and meanwhile it’s been winter and I’m in a new job that doesn’t really suit me working with people I’m not really getting on with and my skin is very, very thin, and my thoughts have been whirling round and round in the same old patterns and I don’t know what’s real from moment to moment, whether I just need to change everything about my life and things will be perfect or whether the black dog will always follow me and it’s like being in the final section of Fire and Hemlock and everything I try to use to defend myself turns against me, so in the end the only way to win is to lose. Which probably brings me back to mindfulness, which I have been neglecting horrendously. I should start practicing again. I need to learn to do nothing, to accept that there will be times when I’m feeling depressed or anxious and that’s just part of how I am and making precipitate decisions to change this or that normally only makes things worse.

That isn’t an easy thing to learn, though, and it’s an even harder thing to remember. I’ve been here before. My thoughts circle rounds and eventually come back to the same place, the same realisations, though every time I have a few more facts to back them up. It’s really, really hard to keep remembering that depression isn’t a message, especially when for some people it is; I recently read Gwyneth Lewis’s Sunbathing in the Rain, because I wanted to try to draw comfort from sharing someone else’s experience of depression and recovery, but Lewis is very clear that her depression was a manifestation of a crisis of her career and personal ambitions for life, and recovery was about learning how she should be living her life. And maybe that’s how acute depression is for most people. Actually, that’s how acute depression is for me, too, or at least in my experience acute episodes of depression are always triggered by something – the loss of a pet, a change in life circumstances, bullying. But most of the time my depression isn’t acute, it’s chronic. There’s actually a proper term for it, dysthymia, which I have only just learnt after suffering from it for thirty years or so; chronic, low-level depression, not the debilitating kind of depression that means I can’t get out of bed but a persistent, soul-sapping sadness. It’s worse in winter and can be better in summer, but it’s rarely far away. And I can think of at least two episodes of more acute depression in the last ten years that were triggered by the repercussions of decisions I’d made while in the grip of dysthmia and desperate to change whatever I could to get away from the black dog, only to find out far too late that I was much better off where I was before and I can’t get away from the black dog anyway, because it isn’t really a black dog, it’s just my own shadow and it’s always going to be here. So I need to learn to live with it.