Dilemma: how to change a wardrobe that suited my working life to fit with retirement?
In 2014, I officially retired from my position as a school librarian. As I had been off work for some time with illness, this was the obvious next step. Over the subsequent weeks and months, I began to realise that I needed to make some changes in my clothing to fit with my new life.
In last week’s Wardrobe Planning #01 post, I talked about how this major change to my lifestyle might affect my current wardrobe and future clothing choices. This post will look at how I began to streamline the colours that I wear.
As I said last week:
- A lot of my clothes were black, navy, blue, grey, with turquoise, purple and loads of other colours. In fact just about every colour under the sun was represented in my wardrobe – I love colour!
- now that I have been taking shed loads of meds, including steroids, for many years, my body and hair have changed. My skin tone and hair are fading with age and, although I still dye my hair, I cannot bear the feel of makeup. Colours like black no longer suit me.
New life, new me
With all the above in mind, plus all of the reading, I had a look at my wardrobe. Over a few weeks, I tried everything on and put clothes into three piles: keep, charity shop or bin. When I looked at what was left, I could see that my main colours were similar to the chart below:
(By the way, the cream colour shows a bit too yellowy in this image – what I have is more like a creamy white.)
As it turned out, these were, and still are, my favourite colours. Over a long period of time, I have consistently chosen clothes in blue, purple and turquoise and have used these hues in decorating schemes for my house and also on a long-ago website – the first version of Strongest Links.
From reading The Vivienne Files, I knew that I wanted two “base colours” (navy and brown). These would be the main colours and kind of anchor my wardrobe with a range of items such as jumpers, cardigans, t-shirts, trousers and footwear. I would then have the “accent colours” turquoise, purple, and coral with some off white or cream. These choices would give me enough variety to be interesting, whilst at the same time ensuring that most of my clothes would go with each other.
I am not at all wealthy, so I have not changed my entire clothing collection overnight! Instead I have weeded (nice librarian word) out items in the “wrong” colours because they were tatty or didn’t fit and have replaced items with new ones in the “correct” colours over time – more than two years at least.
The chart above shows the balance of colours that I was trying to work towards. I have shaded each section to try to show that I don’t stick to this rigidly. Of course in real life, colours have nuances – not all navy blues are the same and not all actually suit me. The same is true for other colours.
So, what I have in my real wardrobe after following this plan for a couple of years is as follows:
- Navy as a base colour with items in other blues which suit me – cobalt, bright navy, mid blue. Handbags and footwear in navy, replacing black items.
- Brown as a base colour – generally camel or another mid-tone with items such as handbags and footwear in tan.
- Turquoise as an accent colour with other shades I like such as aqua, teal, blue/green.
- Purple as an accent colour with shades from lilac to violet to royal purple.
- Coral as an accent colour, mainly for the summer.
- Creamy white as an accent colour, mainly for the summer.
- Some clothes which are not in this colour scheme, but are ones that have a special place in my heart, for example, a gorgeous lace dress in emerald green!
The chart below shows what the balance of colour actually looks like now:
Next week’s Wardrobe Planning post will discuss how the balance of colours is developing and how I work out where the gaps are so that I can make sensible purchases. Well, that is the plan…