Back to the Future #eighties #boots

I’ve never felt able to wear leggings of any kind. I haven’t had the right legs for them, not since they were invented. My calves have been far too big; my thighs elephantine; my bum… well, the less said about that, the better. I’m not perfect yet – not by a long way – but lately I’ve been converted. With my steadily diminishing frame, I’m embracing the leggings culture.

A Kind of Magic

It turns out, that with the modern-day application of hefty doses of elastane/spandex, good-quality leggings are tough, really tough.  It turns out they can constrain my wobbly bits quite adequately, with no challenge to fragile seams. Elastane is truly a miracle fibre. Careful selection of tops can minimise the look of my far-from-flat stomach, and the overall result is… not bad.

Mirror Mirror 

Do I sound vain? If I do, I make no apology. For years, I’ve stared at myself in the mirror, overwhelmed with defeat and negativity. For years, my response to my own image has been ‘that’ll have to do’. I’ve always dressed carefully, presented well… for my size. But big, is big. And in the privacy of your own bedroom mirror, you can’t escape it.  So, as my size continues to diminish, work-in-progress though I still am, allow me the thrill if you will, of looking in that mirror and… feeling good about what I see.

West End Girl(s)

Back in the day, in the eighties, when I was in my twenties and hovering around the 11-stone mark (that’s 154 pounds/70 kilos), I had a wardrobe full of what we used to call stirrup pants. The forerunners of leggings, these were stretchy, up to a point, but instead of tightly gripping the calves, they were held in place by the addition of elasticated stirrups, which hooked around your heels.  Pop these on and pull on a pair of knee-high boots, and the effect was exactly like you see today with leggings. I loved my stirrup pants – I had several pairs. I worked ‘Up West’ (London’s West End). I went out a lot in those days – and I wore them all the time.

Here Comes the Rain Again

2016-11-21-18-39-20But as my calves expanded over the ensuing 25 or so years, knee-high boots became impossible to wear. If I could get the zips up, they would cut off the blood supply to my feet, but more usually, the zips wouldn’t even meet.  I went into my new favourites – calf length ‘slouchy’ boots. These look like boots that are meant to be knee-high, but are slouched, ending just below the widest point of the calf. As the leather around the ankles is rumpled, the look, even for someone with fairly large calves, is quite nicely balanced. They’re also pull-on, no zips. I wore these for years until… yes, you guessed it, my calves expanded beyond the fit of even this style, and I could no longer pull them past my widening feet.

I’m Still Standing

I ended up in ankle boots, as I could usually get the zips up. When I could no longer achieve even this, there were stretchy pull-on ankle boots, which looked okay, so long as you covered them with boot-cut trousers, which I always did. Eventually, with ankles permanently puffy and the zips on even these short boots straining, only shoe-boots, which finish below the ankle, would achieve anything like the boot look for me.

Alive and Kicking

With the arrival of leggings in my wardrobe over the last month or so, I realised that in my transitional (and still quite cuddly state), the leggings-and-ankle-boots look preferred by the slender ones and teens, wasn’t going to work for me. They seemed to magnify the proportions of my calves and thighs – the opposite of what clever styling is supposed to achieve.

I found a pair of flat suede booties, loose fit, Ugg/Emu style, which worked ok with leggings, but only in a very casual, outdoorsy way. But earlier this week… I tracked down a pair of old-style slouchy calf-length boots at John Lewis. They fitted!  They pulled on easily; they slouched stylishly around my ankles; they even reached the right point of my calves, balancing the look just as it should be. Better even than that, I had £80 worth of John Lewis vouchers squashed into my purse, itching to be spent.

I bagged my prize boots and hauled them home.

Forgive the vanity of this very modern in-the-mirror selfie. I may be embracing the trend, but I refuse to pout.

Walking On Sunshine

I can’t describe how comfortable I felt, trying on my leggings with these new boots; trying on a variety of tops and jackets, just to see what worked with what.  It all felt so… natural… harking back to the type of outfits I would put together in my twenties and thirties; things I would wear all the time, modified just a little for the few more pounds I still carry, and for the extra two or three decades I’m also wearing.  I felt more confident, more poised, more relaxed, more… sexy.

Never Gonna Give You Up

I spent the rest of the day breaking-in my boots at home, and they were immaculately comfortable and supportive for hours – I just didn’t want to take them off.  Every time I passed a mirror, I stopped to reassure myself I wasn’t just imagining it.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

And with those wonderful slouchy calf-length boots, my winter wardrobe… is complete.  Now all I need is to take my worked-in-the-eighties-but-is-somehow-also-weirdly-on-trend-today look for a rocking good night-out.

When you can’t have it all #shopping #fashion

autumn-1649362_1920Autumn, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness 

I love autumn, for so many reasons.

Beyond nature and being outside as the weather chills and the colours burst, it’s my favourite fashion season; and this autumn’s new styles have begun to show up in the shops.

What used to be my most loved and thumbed mail order catalogue has clattered through my letterbox.  I say used to be, as, yes, you guessed it, I have for several years been beyond its size-range.  With my healthy lifestyle commencing last September, and now 5 stone (70 pounds/+30 kilo) and around 5 dress sizes smaller than I was back then, I’m back in their range – comfortably.  Browsing its pages, I felt (oh, the irony!) like a child in a sweet-shop.

I wanted everything, you see.  Everything. Not only the beautifully cut jersey dresses (I haven’t worn a dress in two decades), but the shapely jersey tops, casual jackets, funnel-neck jumpers, button-through blouses, gilets and knitted sleeveless jackets, and the lovely tailored trousers (with actual zips and buttons instead of elasticated waists).  Everything.  By the time I’d scanned right through, front-to-back, twice, I had the corners of no less than 18 pages turned down and a little trail of drool running from the corner of my mouth.

This year’s autumn season fashion is rich with one of my very favourite colour pallets too, variously presented as berry, plum, burgundy, cerise, port or magenta – a deep dark red with a range of subtle blue/pink/purple undertones.  I am in fashion nirvana.

But.  But.  But…

You see, every year for the past two decades, I’ve purchased pretty much anything that looked remotely pleasing on my ample frame. Common sense and budget tells me that whilst I might want everything, I can’t have it.  Today, there is so much… MORE… that not only fits, but looks nice too. And I mustn’t forget that I’m still on the weight-loss path, and hopefully only passing-through my current shape and size. Next autumn, I might need a size, two perhaps… maybe even three… smaller.

I also know that I believe I look better in some things than I actually do – simply because I look so much better than I did this time last year. It’s a question of perspective. Others wouldn’t go where I would go with fashion, because they would feel too large and lumpy at the size I am now.  But that’s what being on the way down does to you – because wherever you are on the downward journey, it’s a big improvement on where you were.

This year, I have to establish a new strategy – restraint, selectiveness, a purchase plan for items I absolutely need – genuine essentials for the autumn/winter season, missing from my current wardrobe. That means… (sigh…) more moderation, self-control and indulgence management.

I’ve got reasonably good at indulgence management on the culinary front. But I’m not so sure I’ll be implementing the required degree of retail restraint with the same level of commitment.  That’s because I’m a woman, and women were born to shop.

Pssst…. I’ve been away to a fabulous healthy retreat holiday in Spain for the last week. Watch out for my next post for more on my experience.  But for now, if you’re curious, check out D-Toxd, here.