Given that it’s the been the hottest summer in four decades and we’ve all been utterly spoiled, I’m not exactly sensing a stampede back to school/university/job or a life without school children clawing at your knees all day- actually that last one may prove the exception.
We’re not supposed to write about resolutions on VH (look away now Gill!) but September has always struck me as a rather sensible time to reassess how we navigate life- more so than January, even on the simple premise that everything feels a little easier to contemplate with a sun tan than after a two week Lebkuchen eating fest.
Partly I’ve been inspired by how we all could live a little happier – so shoot me, I always want to know how to be happier, as well as look and dress a bit better for that matter too. Look on this as your bi-annual emotional/wardrobe MOT in the run up to –yikes- Christmas.
You will not put off life for a minute longer. Just do it.
Aren’t you fed of the endless procrastination? I know I was. Often the things we dread are never a fraction as hard as we imagined. And yet, so many of us constantly put limits on ourselves. You don’t know what you are capable of until you’ve tried it. Think of all that time wasted dithering. That Nike slogan is incredibly powerful. Equally motivating on a sluggish day is:
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
But what if I fall?
Oh darling, but what if you fly?
A word about martyr women
Please can we stop being martyr women and learn to put ourselves first sometimes. Granted my view point is a little skewed having spent a lot of this summer meeting harassed mothers. Far from being selfish, when you put yourself first you are taking responsibility for yourself, which has always struck me as a very wise thing to do. Also, when you put yourself first, EVERYTHING in your life benefits. Taking the time to sleep properly, eat well, breathe, switch off , exercise means that we can all live up to the many, many roles we take on. We often talk about keeping the spark going in a relationship and that eye-rolly notion of ‘date night’ but frankly that isn’t as important as keeping alive the spark in yourself.
Learning to go with the flow
Life changing and also age-defying, even more effective than Botox is learning to go with the flow. This is otherwise known as accepting and acknowledging that life is Shakespearean and that sh** happens often. Things sometimes don’t pan out as you wish no matter how organised/efficient/punctual you are, so is it time to learn to let go?
Also, have you ever noticed how when there is a light hand on the tiller (controlled, calm and confident) that everything just runs more smoothly, everything just IS better.
Not caring what others think
I’ve learned to stop the endless internal dialogue – why have they not got back to my email? Have I done something wrong? And on it goes. There is nearly always a rational explanation like er, they’ve been busy. Don’t automatically assume that everyone is on your timetable. Are they having a rough time? Has their cat just died? Learn to see beyond the end of your nose.
September also heralds the moment to put away your summer clothes. Except while you’re at it, now is possibly also a good time to re think what is in there exactly. Life is about people not stuff and personally, I’m fed up with organising it, washing it, tidying it, putting it away, getting it out again. Now might be an opportune moment to get rid of more stuff.
Clothes – the good news
Thankfully, there don’t appear to be any major sartorial shifts on the fashion-scape, no pressure to go and buy an entire new wardrobe. And to be honest, adding vim and verve will not require anything drastically different from last September. No one wants to look as if they’ve tried too hard but conversely, no one wants to look as if they haven’t tried at all.
What might possibly need an update is that skirt/dress lengths are longer, skimming the ankle if you want to be fashion forward. Also very long trousers (check out Raey’s wonderful chinos) although granted this is more of a weekend look. And designers are still very much in love with checks.
Good news for many is that dresses are here to stay, so much so that my friend Isabel Spearman, Telegraph columnist and brand and image consultant was inspired to start @dailydressedit featuring a great dress a day. Check it out for some fetching inspo. There aren’t too many rules here other than high collars, ruffles, a splash of ditsy florals, polka dot and a nod to Victoriana still feel current. Toughen up with patent lace booties.
What else should you be doing on the shoe front? Very high up on my lust list is Jimmy Choo’s Eighties influenced, net and black suede ankle boot which makes your foot look like a sweet waiting to be unwrapped (albeit of the gothic Liquorice Allsort variety). But if you really can’t do heels then a pair of monk strap brogues from Church’s are always worth the investment as they look smart and are indestructible.
And finally, nothing really to do with anything but please can we sort out our kids. I have never seen so much pandering to young children as I have this summer. What is it with the parents who ask their toddlers permission to do something? Parents who have become so scared of upsetting their offspring’s feelings that they rarely assert what needs to be done that day. Since when do three year olds set the agenda? Please can we get over the idea that it’s old fashioned and out of touch to expect kids to behave appropriately in public? Why do we set the bar so low, couldn’t we aim a little higher?