Stylist for a week

During a conversation with a friend at work a few months ago I was told about a blogger Summer Bellesa who had let her toddler and then later her husband dress her for a week with a view to learning more about his likes and dislikes when it came to her outfit choices and also to discover what he thinks she likes. It turned out to be a really interesting read and it inspired me to think more about it.

My long-suffering husband, Jorden has always taken a very active role in supporting me through my body hang-ups, healthy eating pursuits and style dilemmas. He has been on many a shopping trip with me and quite the opposite to hanging back and slouching outside changing rooms, he has very sweetly and helpfully picked out clothes for me to try and on and encouraged me to be brave and experiment with styles that I wouldn’t normally give a second look. His enthusiasm hasn’t always had the desired effect, it sometimes left me feeling pressured and out of my comfort zone but as my confidence has grown I’ve realised that it doesn’t matter if I try something on and I’m left looking back at myself thinking how utterly ridiculous I look, at that point it’s only me whose been witness to it and I’ve learned something about my body shape and what styles suit or don’t suit me. On the flip-side, if I try something on and it looks good then it’s a real confidence boost!

I’ve always had a bit of a passion for vintage clothes but have always struggled with how to make them wearable. I would wander round vintage shops and markets and pick out amazing shaped pieces and wild fabrics knowing that I loved them for what they were but if I bought them they would then sit in my wardrobe for years either because I lacked the confidence to wear them, not wanting to draw attention to myself, or because I was unsure how to wear them without looking like an extra out of some kind of TV drama.

Since I lost my baby-weight after having Molly I have indulged in more shopping than probably Jorden has been entirely comfortable with and I now have a beautiful wardrobe that I genuinely enjoy wearing. As Jorden has been so instrumental in this happening and I know he does take an active interest in what I wear, I thought it would be a nice gesture to let him style me for a week, and who knows it might even inspire me to see some of my clothes in a new light and maybe mix things up a bit.

So, here’s what happened.

Day One…

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Jorden knows that I am self-conscious about my legs and this is why he rarely sees me without trousers or thick black tights on. He immediately took advantage of this and put me in a dress with no tights. At this point I was slightly starting to regret giving him all this control, but I went with it and actually it has given me some renewed confidence in my ability to bear my legs, I did it this once and nothing happened, the world didn’t end, no one pointed and laughed. Okay so we’re all good, maybe I can do this again? The dress is a vintage 1970’s summer dress which is super comfortable and light to wear so it was perfect for a mild August day. On this particular day I was going to work so the length was suitable and the shoes were probably sensible, although I think I personally would have teamed this dress with sandals of some kind on an off-duty day. Overall though, for day one, I was quite impressed (and relieved!)

Day Two…

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“Legs out again” was his policy with this outfit which panicked me slightly that I wasn’t going to see a pair of trousers for the rest of the week. However I absolutely loved this outfit, the striped T-shirt (Zara basics) and the trainers made it feel fun and relaxed but also like I’d made an effort at the same time. The dress is actually a fairly recent purchase from Topshop and the trainers I discovered in a charity shop. The only slight issue I had with this outfit is that the dress is quite fitted thus limiting my stride and making it difficult to get anywhere quickly. As I was running around from work to home to hairdressers appointments and trying to get Molly to bed it perhaps wasn’t the most practical choice but I did very much enjoy wearing it. At the end of day two I was learning that Jorden liked me in dresses, he liked me in bare legs and he liked me looking fresh and fun.

Day Three…

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My heart sank a little when I saw that Jorden had pulled out these shorts for me to wear, as it was a really nice sunny day I was really hoping that he might have gone for cropped trousers or another nice summery dress. I knew straight away that he’d be expecting me to bear my legs again but once we’d established that under no circumstances would I be wearing these shorts without thick black tights, and after I’d explained that no, tan tights would not cut the mustard as my legs were not “summer ready” yet, I won the argument and we were good to go. I did really enjoy wearing this outfit as it felt quite young and fresh but I was a tad warm at times. I love these little leopard print boots though as they’re so comfortable and therefore perfect for walking around with Molly all day. At the end of day three I was learning that Jorden thinks I’m actually a bit more hip than I actually am!

Day Four…

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This was probably one of my favorite outfits of the week as it was so easy and comfortable to wear. The dress was actually brand spanking new and purchased in the sale at Sainsbury’s would you believe! The jacket was a charity shop rummage bargain and the boots are my beloved TK Maxx find gifted to me by my lovely husband at Christmas last year. As much as I love the boots, and I do love the boots, I have to admit that I initially vitto’d them based on the fact that I knew it was going to be a fairly warm day and we were going to a Summer fete on a farm so I wasn’t sure they’d be the most practical footwear in the world. I also wasn’t really sure that they would go with the length of the dress if I’m honest. A pair of sandals were then dutifully selected but I felt a bit bad for not giving him the benefit of the doubt and after all, one of the objects of this experiment was to try and see some of my clothes in a new light, so I reverted back to the boots and I’m so glad I did as the totally go! I felt a little more sophisticated than I’d felt all week but still quite fresh and quirky and the length and stretchy fabric also made this outfit really wearable (a bonus when running around after a 2 year old all day – I didn’t show my pants once!). I’ll definitely be pairing these items up again. At the end of day four I was learning that Jorden also likes me to look feminine now and again but still with a bit of that hip edge that he seems to think I have. Another great outfit banked up and ready to be worn again!

Day Five…

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This was probably my least favorite outfit of the week. The dress, from Tesco’s (another supermarket bargain!) is quite short and so I spent the day really self-consciously tugging it down and wondering whether everyone could see my pants. I’m also not the biggest fan of my legs, unlike Jorden it would seem, and so I ended up adding a pair of black tights to this outfit again to make it work for me. I’m all in favor of an experiment in the name of blogging but I do think feeling comfortable and confident is always important! I asked Jorden in the car on the way to work, what his motivation had been behind the outfit’s he’d picked so far as I’d noticed that he’d picked a lot of dresses. His answer was that he’d tried to pick things he knew I would like, but had fundamentally gone for things that he enjoyed seeing me in and that I didn’t wear very often. He pointed out that because I work full time and change into a different outfit when I get to work anyway, I tend to select the same boring jeans and jumper combo most days and as a result the rest of my wardrobe is being drastically neglected. He may have a point, and not wanting to be accused of wardrobe neglect I may have to start following his lead and trying to be a bit more adventurous in my selections, even if it is only to work and back. I’m sure my work colleagues would appreciate me making more of an effort!

Day Six…

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I was originally unsure about this outfit as the shirt is quite short and I’ve always been a little concious of my midriff area, but after some failed attempts at persuading Jorden to change the top and then a spell of sulking I decided to give in not-so-gracefully and just wear it. It was probably the most casual outfit that he’d picked all week and as I was just hanging out with my parents and Molly and doing a fair bit of walking this was welcomed. As the day went on I was bothered less and less by the shortness of the shirt which has taught me a valuable lesson that sometimes it’s best just to give things a go and you never know, your confidence in yourself might grow from doing just that! I also enjoyed wearing more accessories for a change as usually I don’t bother. This is mostly because I have a magpie for a daughter and so bracelets and necklaces become just another thing for her to attempt to extract from me (along with my lunch, shoes, money etc…) but actually she was fairly well behaved with them and I felt more feminine and like I’d made an effort for wearing them. I will definitely try to accessories more in the future!

Day Seven…

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As it was the last day of the experiment, Jorden had been promising to “make it a good one” which made me quite nervous but at the same time I was really looking forward to seeing what he would pick. In the end I need’t have worried as he did pick well. I love this play-suit as it’s really fun and playful but also quite feminine and sophisticated at the same time – bit of an oxymoron I know! It is a bit revealing in the neckline though  and I pointed out to him that I would normally wear it with a jumper over the top, his response was “not today!” As I was wearing it to work I did feel a little self-concious that I was over-sharing with my colleagues and I would have liked to have seen him accessories this outfit up a bit more, although he did select a simple gold necklace which my Sister gave me a few Christmases ago and I love. He did have a minor melt-down over the shoes for this outfit, informing me that the problem with my shoe collection was that they are all independently lovely but don’t actually go with anything that I own. This was a revelation to me because I’ve always thought that my shoes went quite nicely with my clothes. Who knew I’ve been walking around with clashing footwear all this time?! He did eventually manage to settle on my favorite burnt orange boots which had made an appearance earlier in the week so I’m now wondering if they’re his favorite as well!

So what have I learned during this experiment? Well I now have renewed enthusiasm for my wardrobe and have several outfit combos in my head that I can wait to try when I regain control of my dress sense. I also vow to do the following:

  1. when choosing my outfit for the day I will look very differently at how I put things together and will probably be a bit more adventurous with my choices.
  2. I will accessories to the max…well more often anyway!
  3. I will actually wear ALL my clothes, not at the same time you understand, but I will not abandon items in my wardrobe for months/years on end.
  4. I will not dress blandly just because I am at work or doing nothing particular. I will try to make an effort every day. Or nearly every day (everyone’s entitled to a jeans and T-shirt day!)
  5. I will listen to my husband more as he clearly does have some sense of style after all.

I am actually quite sad that this experiment has come to an end, there’s something quite liberating in having choices taken away from you, granted it was sometimes a little nerve-racking waiting to see what I would be presented with, but as the week went on and my trust in Jorden grew, I started really enjoying not having to think about what I was going to wear. In fact when I realised that today was the last day I did suggest that we carried on for another week but this idea was shot down in flames. Perhaps the responsibility became just too much. I am, in all seriousness going to suggest, however that he picks my outfits every so often, maybe for date night or on the occasional day off as I actually think it’s brought us a little bit closer together.

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