Hi I'm Kate.
"Let me introduce myself"
Hello, and welcome to Strawberry Vintage! Let me introduce myself, my name is Kate, I'm in my early 40s, I work full time in ladies fashion, I'm a mum to a 6ft 2 , 15 year old boy who has just sat his GCSEs and is soon about to embark on college life, and I'm a writer. I write about what I love, what I feel and what I see. To say life is hectic would be an understatement. I think anyone in my position has earned their place at the travelling circus with juggling skills to rival the most seasoned entertainers. The hardest part? Well that's doing the aforementioned juggling and still presenting yourself to the world outside as someone who has got their life together! Trust me, some days that's a challenge.
So hopefully I've now got you wondering, "well how on earth do I achieve this mythical illusion that I'm on top of everything"? The answer is simple - you dress to impress! Now I'm not telling you that I go out everyday in a ball gown, or my Sunday Best, far from it, but I never go out without putting some thought into what I'm wearing. The age old saying "you never get a second chance to make a first impression" is substantially based on the way we look and how we physically present ourselves. What we choose to wear speaks volumes about who we are, and is a huge part of how we can express ourselves.
So, how do I describe my style? If I'm honest, I dress for me. I'm not a trend setter, I'm not a brand junkie, but I do invest in a few key pieces that I can use to build outfits for every occasion. I guess you could label my style as "individual". One of my favourite sayings is "Being normal is boring", a quote by style icon Marilyn Monroe, a woman who oozed self confidence, dressed for her body shape and was adored by millions in her heyday and worshipped just as much today. What even is normal? With so much diversity in size and shape, who is anyone to tell us what we should be wearing?
When I hit 40, I had a tiny, almost unnoticeable identity crisis. How do 40 year olds dress? In my 30s, I worked mainly with people who were considerably younger than me. On staff nights out, I could never get the dress code right. My colleagues would look effortlessly cool in jeans and a tee, but if I wore the same, I'd look like no effort had been made. So I opted for dresses, and ended up looking far too dressed up for a night down the pub for a few pints. I was determined not to make the same mistakes at 40, and not to be an embarrassment to my effortlessly stylish son, who is making Retro brands such as Adidas and Kappa look like high end designer clothes without even breaking out in a sweat. So I embraced what I felt more comfortable in, and, most importantly, what was more practical for my lifestyle. I need to be able to walk to and from work feeling comfortable. I need to be able to transition from work to a quick drink with the girls. I need to be able to jump into a car at a moments notice to go the the cinema with my other half. So I experimented.
A simple dress, fitted to the waist, then flared out at the hips, not only flattered my shape but it screamed "I'm a grown up, and I've got this". My work wardrobe is now built around timeless pieces, classic jackets and blouses that will stand the test of time, and can be the key item in just about any outfit. A lot can be said for buying something that makes you feel good. If you are happy, the world can see it and the feeling is infectious.
The main thing I've discovered on this style journey I've embarked on with me, myself and I, is that when it comes to fashion, nothing has an expiry date. With hints and tips I hope to bring to you in future blogs, I hope to inspire you to not be afraid to express your individuality. In the meantime, if you need me, I'll be the girl at the bar after work in a maxi skirt and Converse trainers, and yes, I'll be rocking that look!