Haha you guys - see how much I like wearing office clothes again? This much:
That's my face for "f*** this getting appropriately dressed at 7am sh*t". Yes, back to the office = back to the dress code. In my case it's not a particularly demanding dress code, but there is nonetheless a line - it falls somewhere in the middle of business casual - that can't be crossed. As I've expanded slightly around the waist since last winter (outrageously and inexplicably!*), some new clothes have been called for.
(*ok it's not inexplicable. I'm outraged nonetheless).
Now here's the thing. While I was off work last year, I enjoyed a long run of highly successful sewing. Almost everything I made during that time was a hit one way or another. I chalked it up to good luck and did my best not to tempt fate by getting smug. And, as expected, in the end that luck has started to turn: recently, the inspiration-sewing-wearing process hasn't been turning out quite so serendipitously well. Not badly, but still. And as I was sitting down to write this post, it struck me that that's probably not a total coincidence.
You see, from May until December I'd pretty much had time and free reign to both sew and wear whatever I wanted. Which I did. (I was going to say that I did so with relish - but honestly, relish didn't come into it. At some point in early June my incredibly helpful doctor advised me to find a hobby or creative pastime to keep myself occupied, not knowing that I was already spending my days obsessively, maniacally sewing as if my life, or at the very least my sanity, depended on it. I just sat there thinking: oh, I'd laugh - if only I could.) It's hardly surprising really that with the time to plot, fit and sew, I turned out a bunch of things that could be worn immediately, comfortably and often. The clothes I sewed last year were clothes to put me at ease and make me happy. While I won't credit them with saving my mental health (thank you, pharmaceuticals and therapy!), they did give me a real sense of my own style: those clothes were and are 'me' in a way I'd never quite been able to identify before.
They're also, pretty much without exception, not office appropriate.
This might sound blindingly obvious, but I'd never really thought about it before: I don't have a 'me' to wear to the office. For all the time over the years I've spent there, I've never been able to just get up and get dressed for work without agonising over it. I know what I want and what makes sense - some kind of uniform of my own, a mix and match bunch of things I like that'll take the stress out of dressing - but I just can't quite get there. And those recent makes, the ones that've felt like my luck's running out? Of course, they've all been attempts to fill exactly that gap.
Take this skirt. It's a Colette Zinnia. I've made it before and really like it - the shape of those pleats really works for me. And woop woop check matching! I won't exactly call that a disaster.
Indeed, all elements of this pointed to success. Inspiration hit immediately when I saw the big gingham in Ikea - I KNEW it was meant to be a mini-ish Zinnia. The pattern was tried and tested, the shape pairs well with cardis & simple tops, and in monochrome too - this should all add up to an ideal work skirt. And yet... I re-measured myself and went up a size. Guess what? It's slightly but irritatingly too big. The fabric of course is meant for upholstery, and as I should probably have guessed, it neither holds the pleats nor drapes particularly well. Worse, it wrinkles and doesn't iron nicely either. My buttonhole placement isn't great and all in all it feels a little, er, homemade.
None of which means I don't wear it. Maybe none of it is even that bad. I have come to realise that part of my problem with 'waisted' skirts is that I need the waistbands curved when they're frequently not (coincidental recent tutorials on that by Heather and Sunni). Or perhaps it's simply that given the choice I'd ALWAYS rather be wearing jeans, a sweatshirt and loud trainers instead of pretending to be tasteful in dresses.
Either way, I think it makes perfect sense that ambiguous feelings about the wearing will translate into mixed success in the sewing. While I can muster up plenty of enthusiasm to sew pretty things for work - wrap dresses, shirt dresses, and plenty of excuse to wear them! - I can't help but feel that my underlying feelings about office wear in general might let these projects down.
What do you think? Would you agree? And what do you, wise readers, think I can do about it??
Because, let's face it - business casual is never going to get as casual as I want it to.