After a morning of immersion into the artistry of the medieval world at the V&A on Saturday, Jeff and I re-entered modern London and went our separate ways for the afternoon. I have recently been taking a new interest in the fashion world, carefully considering the way I show up in the world. Where do I conform, comfortably or not? Where do I rebel? Who do I want to be when I grow up? Because we work from home and most of our ventures out into the world are of a casual nature (and because I’m always cold), I tend to wear a standard uniform of jeans and sweaters. I think I clean up pretty well, but I don’t show up with the character and verve that I admire in others. I’m lucky enough to be living into old(er) age, so I’m thinking I might as well show up in colour!
This all started when I was walking through Covent Garden with a friend last year and stumbled onto a colourful storefront that drew me like a magnet. Gudrun Sjoden. We went in and tried on a few things, but I was overwhelmed by the character and choice. And then the same thing happened in Stockholm in September. Same store, same experience, different country. The moment I crossed the threshold, I knew it was Gudrun. Again, I tried things on, but couldn’t decide… so I came home and studied my Gudrun catalogues carefully.
I looked at women wherever I went, and I experimented with my existing wardrobe. Biding my time, I designated Saturday afternoon as my style pilgrimage. I went back to Gudrun’s Covent Garden store alone, tried on piles of clothes in varying styles and colours (to the point of exhaustion), squinted at my reflection with what I hoped was a lovingly critical eye. For hours. I probably drove the saleswomen nuts…. but in the end I had a good sense of my Gudrun profile, and I bought a couple of pieces that feel both edgy and perfectly right for me. For once, I didn’t settle, didn’t listen to anyone… I chose.
Gudrun has taught me some things: 1) it’s ok to be true to ourselves, even when we’re past 60. Or maybe especially when we’re past 60! One of her models has long grey hair… 2) Style can be playful and fun; 3) I can wear dresses and leggings; 4) it’s fun to show up in the world; 5) I really look best in darker clothes with colourful accessories; 6) I look best in clothes with a little shaping (who knew?); 7) I like my colour and style to be a bit coordinated, with an elegantly funky undertone; 8) I don’t like frills and ruffles; 8) layering is a life-altering experience.
Although my body has some sags and bumps, it tells my story. It’s a good strong body and I have a creative spirit who wants to play with colour and style, now more than ever!