Friday, 9 April 2010

Choices, choices....

Packing for three months away in a warm climate with a 23 kilo weight limit.  This is quite a challenge for me.  Out of my sprawling options (now strewn across our bedroom) what on earth do I take and what do I leave behind??

It has been so cold in London that I have resorted to wearing a uniform of several layers of wool topped up with the warmest coat I can find with scant regard for style.  As I hail originally from warmer climes I am super sensitive to the cold and feel more at ease in light summery clothing.  Ironic then that I am always more inspired and excited by the Autumn/Winter collections in Europe.  Nothing gets me palpitating more than a beautiful coat or a perfectly cut wool suit and don't get me started on boots.  Having to dress for cold climates does encourage better dressing.  I generally find I buy more of the Autumn/Winter collections and pass on Spring/Summer trends as I find I never get to wear them unless I go on holiday somewhere where good weather is guaranteed.

Yet I find my creativity in putting together outfits has been completely stifled by a fear of feeling cold.  This fear is only quelled when I exit the house looking like the Michelin tyre man with rainproof footwear rather than one of those style savvy Londoners who would probably be comfortable in far fewer layers and open toe shoeboots.  My new years resolution was to be more creative with what I wear - and then the mother of all winters hit the country and I fled to Australia till the worst was over.

Now although it is British summertime I am still in layers of wool and contemplating what to take with me to the south of Spain.  A complete about face of climate and culture.  It is doing my head in.  Opening up suitcases in which I store all those floaty summer dresses and tops I never get to wear eight months of the year I am overcome with a desire to take all of them.  No more of the dilemna of what to put over a thermal.  And yet I can take so little!!!

Up until now I have been wearing nothing but black and grey.  Now as I survey my summer archive I am struck at the cacophony of colour before me - turquoise, crimson, violet, lavender, tangerine, blues, pale mint, aqua and bright whites in soft silks, brocade, cottons and chiffons - and a feast of girly details like silk fringing, floral embrodiery and prints, beading and lace and broderie anglaise trims.  Some of these pieces I have owned for over a decade.

This little pale aqua chinese silk blouse with floral cut out embrodiery pictured above is one such piece.  I found it in a vintage clothing store in Paris and it became one of my favourite items in my wardrobe.  I wore it so often that the silk is now shattering at some of the seams and at the edges of some of the embrodiery.  Despite this it is of such sentimental value to me that I cannot bear to part with it.  My grandmother died some years after I bought this blouse and around the time of her funeral my family dug out some old photos of her in rememberance of her life.  I discovered a photo of her as a young woman in which we bear a striking resemblance.  She is wearing a very similiar blouse to this one and in almost exactly the same colour.

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