Girl's Got her Mojo Back
Of all the pictures I could have chosen or taken to support this story - these are the ones I went for...really!? But you know what, I love them. The "Frenchy Vibes" picture in particular - no make-up on, wet hair, untidy room in the back ground, taken in a temporary home I have been "squatting" in until I find a more permanent place to hang my hat. Getting dressed everyday at the moment is like a Crystal Maze challenge, foraging through draws, boxes, suitcases to find the one pair of knickers that doesn't show through my clothes (note to self, buy more neutral coloured underwear). All this aside - now, almost 5 years after having Charlie, is a time when I feel my most "self" again. A time when I feel like I can dress the way I want to dress with confidence and dare I say it, even fun. Well you'd have to have a sense of humour to go out in the above outfits, let's be fair.
Don't hate me, please, but I've always been pretty skinny. It annoys me when people think it's ok to comment on your weight when you're slim, but know to leave the subject well alone if you're overweight. The same rules apply. If I'm "too skinny" as one might point out, it's usually because I'm not feeling my best. It means I've felt too anxious to eat much or have been running around trying to keep up with life, too worried about feeding everyone else and have neglected to look after my own tummy. If you know me at all, you know that for me food is life, so if I'm looking a little underweight it is because I've lost my appetite (for food and momentarily life) which is always, always unintentional. That said, when I had a child, this girl went and got a bit of junk in the trunk didn't she?! Oh yeeaah. Although the junk may have congregated in some of the wrong areas of said trunk to begin with, after a period of time and when some semblance of "normal" life resumed, I was back to keeping active and the body you see now is the one I was left with. It took us a while to get properly aquatinted, this new body of mine, as some serious changes had occurred. I used to have what my dad affectionately called a "straight up and straight down" frame - i.e. you'd find more curves on a ruler. Thanks for that Dad. Now I know I'm hardly a Kardashian in stature, but to have hips of any sort is a novelty. With the welcome addition of those, however, my flat tummy sadly left the building to be replaced with a much "softer" counterpart - but I accept her and love her all the same. I suppose what I'm trying to say is stuff has shifted and evolved, as it does, child or no child and there's no point in trying to wear the same clothes you always did and hope for the best.
So many women I know have a pair of jeans or an outfit in their wardrobe that they bring out of hiding from time to time and attempt to fit into as if they are training for an olympic sport. Dieting, juicing, breath-holding, karma sutra-ing their way into these damn jeans to prove to themselves that they're back to their former weight or skinnier/younger/pre-baby body. Bugger that. Accept that the ship has sailed and move on sister. If you have boobs that weren't there before, work with them and if you have a moustache now - put a bow in it! Ok, so maybe not that one, but you get the idea.
I like my clavicles. An odd part to celebrate maybe, but I think there's nothing sexier than an exposed shoulder or collar bone. So you'll note, that this gal gets em out often and without apology. I have many an off-the-shoulder sweater or sweetheart neckline to make those puppies shine. Instead of worrying about my slightly-squidgier-than-before parts, I rock the good bits. Its such a cliche, but it's so about how you feel in something. That's no doubt the most unoriginal line I have ever written, but it's so true. If something doesn't fit quite right or clings to the wrong areas, you'll find yourself fussing with it the whole time you are out and wishing you were back at home in your pjs. Maybe this is why I often do the school run in my pjs... but that's another story.
With the food styling work I do, and existing in a creative industry, I am a very visual person. I am constantly looking around for inspiration and ideas; colours I love, textures, tones, fabrics and objects that are interesting. The more I have grown in confidence in the work I do, the more I have felt empowered to experiment with my personal style. I suppose it comes down to a growing understanding of myself as well as the shape and body I exist in. Immediately after I had Charlie I think I felt this self imposed pressure or misplaced responsibility to dress a certain way because "I am a mother now". Again, this is nonsense. I'm not saying I should have thrown caution to the wind and gone out there in PVC thigh highs, it's more that I came to the realisation that I am still ME and I'm only 33. My time for wearing pearls and a twin set is far down the line and I'm in no hurry to get there. Although, we all know I'll be the granny in the leopard print coat and dungarees.
Anyone that has ever asked me where I get a certain item from (flattered by the way, that you'd care to know) will see that I have a handful of mainly high street brands that I go to time and time again. I know the sizes that fit my shape, I like the collections they come up with, the way the clothes hang and mostly the prices are such that I can enjoy styles and fashions as they arise without being too concerned about "will I be wearing this in 5 years time" to justify the expense. Any high end items I own, of which I can count on one hand, are "investment" pieces - timeless classics that I combine with the lesser more "fad" items. One being a pair of boots which I spent half a months wages on and that I love dearly. If I could I would marry said boots, black slinky knee-high, suede little numbers that they are. They're the sort of boots that deserve a more salacious life than I can offer them - they should belong to some "Bonnie & Clyde" type, living a life on the fringe of society, running from the law. Alas, they came home with me to Surrey and they get the odd outing to Soho or South London on date night...sorry boots you win some you lose some.
But boots or no boots, the point here is to dress the body you are in now not the one you inhabited years ago...and for goodness sake choose the items that fire up that appetite of yours, I'll be right there with you.