Yesterday was a pretty full on day. If you’ve seen recent posts, you know that I’m starting to emerge from a pretty tough time, helped by Linda at Release Counselling, and transitioning back to ‘life back on track’, which has included decluttering my bookcases, desk, things in storage, etc., and taking time to get life into a better balance, e.g. through guided retreat.
Yesterday was detox the wardrobe day with Hannah Jean of Find My Style. In my quest for transparency/authenticity, we will note that Hannah is my cousin (we lost touch for years, and got back in touch via Facebook), but this was a paid gig. One of the blog posts that convinced me to go for it was:
In image consulting, body shape is interpreted through the line that your shoulders and hips create. Ultimately this means that your body shape is based on your bone structure and alignment not on your weight. It does not matter how much you exercise to tone your muscle or how much weight you put on/take off: the basic frame of your body will remain the same. Read full blog post.
Post Beyond-Chocolate I have also been working on only having things in the wardrobe that I (kind-of) liked, but I was feeling I was getting stuck. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the day – was it going to be Trinny & Susannah, or a bit more Gok Wan? I’ve stayed with Hannah a few times recently, and we’ve talked about her work with Diva-Licious and Dove Self-Esteem, so I knew about her work with those who need to build up confidence in what they’re wearing.
It was quite an emotional experience, and I think took us about 6 hours in total (Hannah totally earnt her money, but we had fun too!). Over the past few weeks I’ve collected a few images relating to colour, etc. onto Pinterest, so we started by talking about those, with Hannah noting down the kind of words that were emerging as to what I want to see in my style, e.g. professional but not corporate, take me seriously, etc., with comfort still underlying it (otherwise I won’t bother wearing it, except for special occasions!).
We then went through my wardrobe, coats, then trousers, then skirts, then tops, then cardigans, etc. Hannah very much believes that wardrobes should work as wardrobes, so a load of stuff I had stored in the shelf above I have to find another home for. Occasionally we’d take a picture of something to see if there’s was an outfit in something I otherwise hadn’t worn much:
We then moved onto the stored stuff in the cupboard that doesn’t fit (I was keeping it for when/if I lose weight, but once we actually looked at it, it’s not great quality, or was suitable for a time in my past, but not now). It was, however, OK to keep some things that had memories attached to them ‘the posterity bag’. By that stage it was much easier to chuck things out. We came back to belts, bags, etc. and yes, I had a lot of cotton/hemp bags, scarves and all sorts, and as we’d done with t-shirts, could only keep enough that they would fit OK in the storage space I have (otherwise I don’t use them). A number of things have gone into storage cupboards, so that everything that’s accessible is ready to wear now. We then ensured that all the hangers were ‘size free’ – doesn’t matter what size it is – does it fit?! See here Hannah with the pile of stuff we moved out (sorry if you see anything you gave me, but we had to be tough!)
After 4.5 hours we’d had enough so decided to head into town, for a meal & the 45 minutes that the shops were still open for. Hannah’s a big believer in getting rid of things from the flat asap, in case you’re overcome by temptation to go back through and take things out (believe me – no – I’ve paid someone to come & do this, it’s taken ages, I don’t want to take it back out again… but apparently I’m unusual in that), so here you see – 4 bags into the clothes bin (they can make someone else happy) – there was also another bag of useless clothes into the rubbish bin:
Having bought a new top, cardigan, and some underwear (it’s important!), we zoomed off to 40th birthday party, where Hannah got to remind herself of how to Tango. We got back about 11ish, with my shoes/jewellery still to do! Whilst I uploaded final content for the new version of The Big Bible Project, Hannah lined all my footwear up (about 35), and we assessed which I wear. Anything that causes discomfort, or that I don’t really like (“but they were expensive”), went into another clothing bank bag, 4 went into a ‘wear them in with socks & see how you get on with them’, whilst all the rest were polished up, and lined up ready to wear!
The jewellery box that was rammed full of lots of “big” jewellery, tarnished stuff, things that people have given me that aren’t really me, mixed in with the bits that I like! We were pretty ruthless by this point (it was pretty late!), but I was introduced to the silver polishing cloth that I didn’t know I had… and suddenly things are back to life. Anything that looks past it, or is something that I no longer wear… off it went – someone else can enjoy it!
SO: now all I have left to do is sew back together a couple of things, ensure I keep things hung up, iron some stuff (IRONING?!), and make a collage of stuff I like to look out for future shopping trips!
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.