Posts tagged ‘fashion’

January 14, 2014

A Year of Ethical Fashion

The brainchild of the famous Pip Lincolne of ‘Meet me at Mikes’, the Year of Ethical Fashion is a blogger challenge that I first came across when Ruthy of Minibreak Mummy wrote this post about Who Made Your Pants? – an ethical underwear company.

Pip’s challenge is for people to:

  • wear clothes you already own
  • buy from ethical companies
  • make your own clothing
  • buy second-hand and vintage
  • swap with other folk

This subject resonates heavily with me, as I have long raged about cheap fashion. The nasty truth is that if you’re paying very little for your clothing, the chances are that someone, somewhere is paying a far heftier price. A lack of regulated working conditions, no sick or maternity pay, no regular breaks for food or the toilet, not to mention horrific factory disasters such as the recent fire in Bangladesh; the worst disaster in the garment industry’s history. And this is even before we start talking about child labour.

My own rules for clothing purchases have long been this:

  • Only buy what you NEED – and then wear your clothes, don’t leave them languishing in a wardrobe with the tags still on because you’ve got so much stuff!
  • Only buy what you LOVE – that way you’re not wasting money, resources and someone’s work on something you’re ambivalent about. (I realise that necessary clothing might not fit into this – but I think that work clothes that make you feel good do actually make life better…)
  • Look after your clothes properly. Wash according to the instructions. Take proper care of your belongings. Realise that resources are not infinite and treat them accordingly.
  • Get stuff repaired – I had my beloved (only) pair of jeans repaired at the end of last year, and they have months of life in them now.

One final point. The campaigning group Labour Behind The Label, suggest that one thing we could all do, regardless of where we shop, is to write to clothing companies and ask them about their labour policies. The more pressure they receive, especially from their customers (because that’s where their profit lies!) the more likely they are to improve their supply chain and those people who are making our clothes for us will receive a fairer deal. Sounds like an excellent idea to me. Take a look HERE for their guidance on doing this. 

I’ll be following this challenge with interest this year (and wearing what I already own) and I’m really hoping to come across some new ethical companies in the process.

A Year of Ethical Fashion

November 22, 2013

What’s in my Wardrobe? #BEDN 22

I missed the ‘fashion’ prompt for Blog Every Day in November, but I thought I’d return to it, even though I’m late! Goodness knows what subject I’m missing today, but it’ll all work out one way or another. Anyway, here goes.

Last week, I was listening to a podcast about simplifying your life. It’s a subject that I return to often, and the podcast, about a simple capsule wardrobe, promised to be interesting. After a few minutes, the woman who was speaking on the subject – who was basically offering instruction – mentioned how many pairs of shoes she had in this ‘capsule’ wardrobe.  Forty pairs. Forty… Needless to say, I rather took offence at this and, after a little rant about how the hell she was supposed to lecture anyone on simplicity owning forty pairs of shoes (and eighty items of ‘workout gear’, apparently) I stopped listening.

My shoe list?

  1. Red Converse All Stars. Worn almost daily.
  2. Sam Edelman sandals for the summer.
  3. One ancient pair of Office sandals, much loved, falling apart and destined for the bin, as I don’t think I can mend them again.
  4. One much loved and oft-repaired pair of knee-length boots for the winter
  5. One pair of smelly, yet comfortable trail running shoes. I should probably replace these, as I think much of the support in them has been all compressed over time.
  6. My new walking boots.
  7. One pair of red, painfully expensive Bottega Veneta intreccio flats. Cared for as though they were my third child. Worth every penny.
Favourite red shoes.

Favourite red shoes and black trousers.

Take that, simplicity lady! I will admit though, I have a handful of other pairs of designer shoes that I keep in storage for my daughter. I was planning to sell them off, but second-hand shoes don’t sell well, even those as barely worn and well looked after as mine. So, we’ll see if she ever wants them…

These Louboutins are in storage for my girl!

These Louboutins are in storage for my girl!

When it comes to clothing and fashion, I think I’m an odd combination. I love fashion, utterly adore clothes and yet I have a tiny wardrobe. I was reading yet another article about capsule wardrobes recently (I’m on a bit of a roll with this subject) and the author stated that you should take your ten favourite pieces to use as a basis. In all honesty, I think I’d struggle to come up with ten things that I own that I really love.

Let’s see…

  1. Arcteryx softshell jacket. A gift from my lovely boyfriend. Perfect outdoor gear. Not exactly on-trend but cut really flatteringly around the waist and hips unlike so much outdoor gear.
  2. French Connection skinny jeans. Recently repaired. I love these, and I can’t find a replacement pair. Fingers crossed that they make some similar ones soon. Often skinny jeans are cut so low the world can see your underwear when you sit down. Not so with these.
  3. Reiss sequin-backed long sleeved grey top.  Not really everyday wear, but perfect to put with jeans to make me feel dressed up yet comfortable. Gorgeous.
  4. Long sleeved navy blue dress. Also from Reiss. The kind of dress that works equally well with my red flats in the summer as my long boots in the winter. Plus, it has pockets. Dresses with pockets are awesome.
  5. Whistles stripy linen top. Worn all summer, now full of holes. I have no idea where the holes have come from, but I’ve sewn one of them up twice now. Destined for the bin. Sad…
  6. Black Calvin Klein jersey wrap-around dressing gown and matching trousers. Because being comfortable at home is very important. I quote often get changed into these when I come home after work, it helps me feel as though I’m in a place to relax. Plus, feeling a tiny bit put-together whilst curling up on the sofa watching a film and eating chocolate is rather nice. Obviously the elasticated waist helps with this too! Ha…
  7. Ancient black biker-style jacket from Next. Cost per wear must be utterly nothing now. It’s falling to bits but I like it so much.
  8. Black slim capri trousers from Gap. Also ancient. Worn with red Bottega Veneta flats to fool myself that I’m gamine in an Audrey Heburn-like way. I’m laughing out loud as I write that. I’m about as gamine as a hippo. Still, they feel flattering, and go with lots of other things. I think they’re in dire need of replacement though as they’re rather a faded black now.
  9. My underwear. I have a thing about matching underwear, and I know I’m cheating a bit here as it’s not one item, and feels more of a philosophy than is practical, but I feel like I’m a properly organised grown up if I can get my underwear to match everyday. This includes socks, which more often than not I fail at.
  10. My brand-spanking new Whistles jumper, which is a beautiful blue with black lace cutouts.
  11. Ooh, look, I’m on eleven! My, also-new, peter-pan collared top from Hobbs. Black, with a white collar, it goes well with both jeans and black trousers.
  12. Old green belted mac from Zara. Torn in a handful of places and in need of a bit of TLC. I love it, but I think it’s time might be up.
  13. Yup. That’s it…
Whistles navy jumper with black lace cutouts.

Look at my giant hand! New Whistles jumper.

So. I can get to twelve things, if I include my nightwear, my underwear and a top that I’m about to throw away.. And, really and truly, that’s about all that’s in my wardrobe, save a couple of vests, dresses and jumpers, a couple of old things that I use for working on the allotment and more specialist stuff like running or horse riding stuff.  There are a handful of reasons behind my tiny wardrobe, which I think I’ll return to later in the month.

But for now, I’d love to know what your favourite pieces of clothing are…

November 9, 2013

Blog Chat: BEDN #9

Today’s blog post is about the subject of blogging itself. I’ve had a day off from #BEDN because yesterday was a bit of a crazy day. If I’d done a post on the prompted subject, which was ‘A Day in the Life’ you’d probably just have needed a lie down after living vicariously through my dashing around.

Anyway, after a day off it was time to get back in the ‘Blog Every Day in November‘ zone, and I did that by reading one of my favourite blogs, Espresso Coco. On there, Dave had written his post using questions from Janet (who writes a blog that I’ve just discovered because of #BEDN) and so I was cheeky and asked if I could use them too. And because they’re clearly both fabulous, they said yes.

So, here we go…

How and when did you decide to start blogging? Um. I have utterly no idea why I started blogging, if I’m honest. Other than for some misguided feeling that the world needed to know what was going on in my head, perhaps? Seriously, I think it was more that I wanted to write, and couldn’t get my head around the idea of being a ‘writer’ (still can’t) and so I thought that starting a blog would be a good way to have a go at writing about things that I was interested in, in a safe and accessible way.

I wrote a blog called ‘Daisy, Daisy’ on Typepad for a really brief period of time, which has now been mothballed because I lost heart with it. Then, after a while, I decided that I wanted to try again, and started ‘Margot and Barbara’ in May 2011. If you asked me now why I blog, it’s basically because I have to. I often go round in circles, loving and hating my blog with equal force. I’m always on the verge of quitting and always on the verge of self-hosting to make it more than a hobby; two completely opposing views about my blogging future. For now though, you’ll find me here, writing because I don’t know how to stop.

What’s the story behind your blog’s name? For those of you of a certain age, Margot and Barbara will be synonymous with The Good Life, and indeed, that’s where my blog name comes from. You can find out more about why I chose the name over on my About Me page. Really, it’s an odd name and I accept that. People often think that there are two people writing it, and if I ever get unsolicited spam emails about ‘working with your blog’ they’re always, but always, addressed to Margot.

On the plus side, many of my Leeds-based Twitter friends now call me ‘Babs’ and I love them for it.  For the record, my name is Elizabeth. You can call me Liz, if we’ve met and you’ve bought me a beer…

What’s the best post you’ve ever written? Dunno. You tell me? In terms of the number of hits it has received since it was published, it’s this post about equestrian influences in fashion. I’m clearly not a ‘fashion’ blogger though, despite my love of clothes, so it’s an unusual post for me. I might write more fashion posts, as I do love the subject. But I’d write from the perspective of a 37 year old woman with a strong belief in sustainability, small wardrobes of clothing, long sleeves and looking good on a budget, so not sure I’d have much of an audience! What do you think? The other things I’d quite like to write a bit more about (at least at the present time) are cycling and beauty. I appreciate that makes this blog a bit odd, but at least it’s honestly who I am. My favourite posts are those that feel true to me. When I feel as though I’ve been open with people, and it’s got a good response, then that’s a good post.

What are your favourite and least favourite things about blogging? Hmm. The worst things are probably trying to fit it into my life. With a full time job, two small kids, one very important lovely boyfriend (with a blog of his own!) family and friends to spend time with, an allotment, loads of hobbies and a to-do list as long as my arm, it’s always a juggling act to find the time for it. It’s partly why I sometimes struggle with blogging and decide to quit, only to return after a few days off, with yet another plan, post or series that I want to write. It’s like a bloody drug… I’m also trying to make more time for finding, reading and commenting on other blogs. Being part of the blogging community is important, yet because I don’t fit into an easy niche, I do sometimes feel a bit lonely.

The best thing about blogging, without question, is the people I’ve met. That, and finding a place where I can be just me. A place that I can talk about the myriad of different things that interest me, and generally find at least one other person on the whole planet who is interested too! I don’t have any great advice for would-be bloggers other than this: if you want to blog, then do. Find the things that you care about, write about them as often as you’d like, as well as you can. And above all, enjoy it…

September 26, 2012

Bill Cunningham New York

I finally managed to watch the ‘Bill Cunningham New York’ documentary this weekend. I’d been meaning to buy the DVD for a while, and then, joy of joys, I found it on Sky Anytime. I do sometimes think that on-demand TV has changed my life.

Anyway, onto Bill. What an incredible story and what an incredible man. I already knew of his legendary status as pretty much the world’s first street-style photographer but what I hadn’t appreciated was the utter single-minded way he approaches that life. Living in a tiny, bathroom-and-kitchen-free studio in the legendary Carnegie Hall (at the time of the documentary; all the artists have since been sadly evicted) his main furniture is rows of filing cabinets filled with the negative of every photo he has ever taken. And he’s taken a lot.

Working for decades on the streets of New York, photographing everyone from young hipsters to Lady Astor, Bill Cunningham has developed relationships with some of his subjects over many years. Even Anna Wintour says that people dress with Bill in mind. Although I firmly believe that every aspiring fashion blogger should be made to watch this documentary, we can all learn something from him, not just the people aiming to be the next Scott Schuman, aka The Sartorialist. Who is really emulating Bill Cunningham, it seems, anyway.

As someone who flits shamelessly from one interest to another, the completely blinkered approach he has to life is completely alien to me, and yet amazingly compelling. Even living in Manhattan, he has an ascetic, almost monastic life. Shunning other things such as fine food or music, or even interest in clothing for himself, (preferring to wear the same kind of blue jacket as the street cleaners) Cunningham rides his bike from one New York society event to another, photographing all evening. Then he’s up in the early hours of the next day, on the streets. In his own words, there are no short-cuts. Just many, many hours of graft.

Bill Cunningham. Photo from The New Yorker

That is something I can learn from. Putting in the hours, instead of expecting instant gratification, will be important as I think about what career moves I might want to make,

I was completely struck throughout the documentary by his decency. Parting company with  Women’s Wear Daily because he didn’t like the way they used his images to criticise people, he seems to be such a genuinely good person, believing that if you don’t take money from people, they cannot dictate to you – even if that means you have to walk away from work. He doesn’t use his images to mock or ridicule, but only to celebrate the joy that is fashion. In an industry that can be horribly bitchy, this is a wonderful truth.

I suppose he can be summed up by the words of the French Minister for Culture at the time he was presented with the Legion D’honneur in Paris. I’m paraphrasing, but the essence of his speech was that Bill really didn’t believe he deserved such awards, and that really summed up why he did deserve them. He credits his success to his subjects, rather than his own eye for style. Although on their own, his images are not considered iconic shots, as a chronicle of style, they cannot be bettered.

He is a very special character ( can you tell I’m half in love with him!) and I really do think, regardless of whether you’re interested in fashion or photography, you’d find something worth watching in this documentary.  It is heart-warming, funny, uplifting and poignant. I’d better get that DVD bought after all, I will be watching it again and again…

August 17, 2012

Weston Scarves and Burt’s Bees collaboration

A Weston scarf is firmly on my ultimate fashion wish list. Founded by Professor Richard Weston, the scarves are a remarkable fusion of art and science, with stunning digital images taken from nature, such as rocks and minerals, being used to great dramatic effect. The end result is something not purely to wear for one season, but something you would love forever. Perfect for someone like me, who wears a scarf like an adult comfort blanket almost every day (honestly, ask my friends) and cannot bear throw-away fashion. (I’ve written quite a lot of blog posts about scarves actually, if you want to look…)

This summer, Weston Scarves are collaborating with Burt’s Bees in a campaign to support the British Beekeepers Association, with the creation of a stunning ‘Wild for Bees’ floral printed scarf and matching, special edition version of their 24 hour Milk and Honey body lotion.

The beautiful yellow, purple and green scarf, which is over a metre long, is being sold exclusively through the Burt’s Bees website, with all proceeds going to the British Beekeepers Association‘s ‘Adopt a Beehive’ project. It’s a seriously gorgeous scarf, I covet it so much. If you bought one, not only would you feel great about supporting the charitable campaign but you’d never want to take it off!

You can buy the body lotion nation-wide from Debenhams, the Burt’s Bees website and independent stores. I’ve tried the lotion and it feels very light, absorbs easily and really does soften the skin very well. Along with the milk and honey, it also  contains shea butter, coconut and grape seed oils and vitamin E, so there is no surprise that it does such a good job. I liked it a lot.

I’ve written before about the plight of bees and every single project that is making a contribution to their recovery gets my full support. As an allotment holder and keen gardener, I’m only too aware of the importance of all bees as pollinators. Approximately a third of the food we eat has been pollinated by bees, so whether you think it matters to you or not, the survival of bees is vital for everyone. This campaign, working to support honey bees in particular, will hopefully raise the profile of the British Beekeepers Association and the work they do in supporting bee colonies. The limited edition scarf and body lotion will be available throughout August and September.

With thanks to Burt’s Bees for the body lotion sample.

April 13, 2012

A New Bag: Mary Katrantzou for Longchamp.

I’ve been a fan of Mary Katrantzou for a long time now and so when I heard she was collaborating with Longchamp, another firm favourite company of mine, it felt like a match made in heaven.

I’m a bit feeble when it comes to wearing bold print or pattern in my clothing, as much as I adore to see it, so having a bag with a bold print on seemed like a great way of brightening up my wardrobe without taking that final brave step of really wearing it! Although, having said that, I have got bolder in my clothing choices, which I will tell you about in a blog post another day soon, I promise.

I bought this bag, which is the fourth of my little collection of Longchamp bags. I love my ‘Le pliage‘ range of nylon bags. Many of them fold up so they’re great for travelling and they’re robust enough to use all the time. Over the years, I’ve used them for a variety of things, from city breaks to nappy bags (the glamour…) and they’ve all lasted really well.

Photo from, where I bought my bag from. (Incidentally, the delivery was impressively quick.)

It has a Chinese lantern print on it, which you can see more clearly in the photo below and the handle is long enough to carry over your shoulder. It’s a bit larger than I was expecting (my maths isn’t great and I ordered it online!) so it will have a slightly different use than I originally intended – it’s my carry-on luggage for my Italy trip. As I have the Cambridge Satchel for everyday, this one will be reserved for overnight trips or longer days out.

Although I haven’t exactly replaced my Mulberry bag, I’m really happy with my two new additions. As I mentioned in a previous post, I really need to love the things I buy and surround myself with so it’s taken me a while to make my decisions, but I’m happy that I made the right ones and look forward to creating lots of memories with them…

January 6, 2012

Almost Haute Couture…

Those of you who have been here before will remember that I promised myself a blogging schedule that included a ‘Margot Friday’ post, about the rather more glamorous of my interests. So, what I am I doing talking about sewing then? Surely that is more of a Barbara kind of activity? When it is sewing up holes in old clothes and re-attaching buttons, that is.

When your sewing instructor asks you what, in your wildest dreams, would you like to create and you say ‘Haute Couture?’ it suddenly becomes a Margot activity. Even if I’m the one sewing it, there is nothing more luxurious than having something handmade and therefore unique.

On Wednesday I had the great pleasure to finally meet Abi Manifold from Sew You who designs and makes the most beautiful pieces – bunting, ipad cases, purses and all manner of pretty things. I highly recommend you take a look at what she has for sale here. She makes bespoke bunting too, which is my absolute favourite.

The other thing she does is teach people like me to sew. People who have never even sat in front of a sewing machine, let alone used one. I met Abi through the power of Twitter, which I am beginning to think has changed my life. The odd thing about Twitter is that we never get to meet many of the real people we chat to each and every day. I am lucky that I have already met two – and they’ve both been wonderful.

In her bright and colourful studio above the street in wet and windy Saltaire (where I’d appeared like the proverbial drowned rat, and been given restorative tea) she showed me everything I needed to know about a sewing machine, and let me loose. Despite my squeals, I did manage to keep in control of it, and had a great deal of fun in the process. Now my mind is spinning on all the things that apparently, I can make with my new skills. Not to mention what I will do with all the beautiful fabric that I’ve seen in the past and walked away from because I didn’t have a clue what I’d do with it. No more!

What it made me realise yet again, is that being unable to sew wasn’t due to my lack of innate ability, it was purely because no-one had ever taught me how. What I particularly liked about the session was that Abi asked me how I like to learn and then taught me in my preferred way. Her understanding of how we all like to learn in different ways makes her such a great, natural and empathetic teacher. Not to mention that she’s funny and warm so the conversation flowed really easily and I was stunned when the time was up. I hope to return to make a couple of pieces under her expert guidance, having come away from the session with a big smile, a sense of great optimism and lots of plans for clothing for myself and the kids.

‘Margot & Barbara Designs’…now there’s an idea!

Beautiful colours at Sew You

November 17, 2011

Fashion Maths: A few failures.

I’ve talked recently about  few of my Fashion Maths successes. Sadly, it’s now time to share my failures. Basically all my fashion failures are down to one reason and one reason only: the inability to see the different between My Real Life and My Fantasy Life…

My Fantasy Life is a place of parties, sunshine (except on a fabulous winter ski trip) and high heels. I traipse around in a fog of loveliness surrounded by kittens, cupcakes, fluffy clouds and afternoon tea. I have innate chic, an unlimited budget, no fixed schedule and perfect hair.

My Real Life is a place of deadlines, school timetables, tight budgets, Cheerios, lost socks, headaches and curly hair that basically does what the hell it likes with no thought for me what-so-ever.

Which means that my worst fashion failures (apart from the ones where I’ve bought something a size too small to diet into, we all know how well THAT goes) are when I’ve shopped for parties, not the school run; for afternoon tea, not a hectic breakfast eaten stood by the kitchen sink, whilst pleading with my daughter to ‘please, please for the last time put on your socks’ or for dinner out in stylish restaurants instead of dashing to the supermarket before getting the number 40 bus.

So, bye- bye McQ little black dress, farewell orange platform heels and au revoir giant Aviator sunglasses. I am trading you in for things that work in My Real Life. This is not to say that I am giving up on glamour, not at all. It’s just that I will wear sequins on a jumper that I can pair with jeans, instead of on a party dress. My fabulous shoes will be of a height I can walk in. I will wear my other, more sensible sunglasses on my long-awaited -for-and-bloody-hard -earned trip to Rome (in April…which I wish would just HURRY UP).

Plus, selling some of the clothes from My Fantasy Life will help to pay for a glittery jumper and a fabulous pair of flats. A success then, in the end.

September 27, 2011

Fast Fashion.

Fashion designers used to produce two collections a year. Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter. Plus sometimes a Cruise collection to appeal to those lucky folk who were escaping to the Caribbean during the European winter. These days, we have mainline collections, pre-collections, limited editions, diffusion lines, accessories, shoes, collaborations with the High Street. It feels relentless to me and I bet they’re exhausted!

The number of these collections has the effect of making everything feel as though we’re speeding up, although for what I’ve never been sure. Making more money, presumably. There is little time to appreciate the clothes of the season we are in, before thinking of the next. At the moment, my body is in need of a new winter coat, but my mind (having seen some of the collections) has already been thinking of what I’ll be wearing in Summer 2012. Which, for the record, will be florals. As I said in a previous post, it’s time for me to embrace some more colour and print.

One of the other things that has created the feel of speeding up is the way that we are now exposed to so much more of the fashion shows. Recent weeks have seen the major fashion cities of Paris, New York, London and Milan host their Spring/Summer 2012 catwalk shows and we have been lucky enough to see photographs, read reviews and in some cases watch live streaming as it is actually happening. Whilst I applaud the opening up and democratisation of this (and I was as excited as anyone to see some of the shows, especially Jonathan Saunders and Prada)  it does mean that there is less mystique and anticipation around what’s coming up. By the time we actually see the clothes in store to buy, they will feel like yesterday’s news as we will already have moved onto Autumn/Winter. I don’t want my new clothes to feel old before I’ve even got them on my back!

There has been something of a backlash against this. Tom Ford, always a leader, has closed his shows to wider publicity for the past few seasons. Clever marketing, but none-the-less, it has caused a huge buzz of anticipation. However, I do think that we have reached a point of no return, and that we will continue to see, via various media channels, many of the collections as they are being shown.

I just hope that we also take the chance to slow down and embrace the season we are actually in, and the clothes we are wearing in it.

A bad photo of a great winter coat!

(My winter coat is the London Coat, by French Connection)

September 7, 2011

My Daily Uniform.

I’ve never posted an outfit photograph before, but this photo taken by David at Sandsend on our camping weekend pretty much sums up my daily wardrobe. I tend to wear a uniform of sorts. I try to shop so that everything in my wardrobe can be worn with everything else, which means that there is always something that I can throw on without much thought, and that I can chase after my two year old son in! It’s mostly black or other neutrals, and as I’ve written before, very rarely do I wear a print or anything bold. I’m going to try to change that, but it will mean that I have to put more thought into my daily uniform…

I am wearing:

Navy wool cardigan and trousers from Gap.

Cream (washable!) vest top with broderie anglaise edging from J Crew at Net A Porter.

Mulberry Antony bag, which is usually slung diagonally over my body so I can run around without losing it. The hands-free bag is a totally necessity when you have two small kids. Honestly, I have worn this bag every day since my lovely husband bought it for me one Christmas.  So, as far as fashion maths is concerned (which, as we all know, is cost divided by number of times worn) it’s one of the best bargains ever!

3.1 Phillip Lim sunglasses – giant glasses hide a multitude of sleepless nights, especially useful after sleeping in a soaking wet tent, which was my misfortune the night before this photo was taken.

A grumpy expression. Hmm…again I think this is lack of sleep. Or possibly hunger. We got fish and chips shortly after this was taken which were lovely.

Ash high-tops, I love Ash shoes, they’re always a slightly quirky but comfortable choice. Is it wrong that I need comfortable shoes? I do buy heels too, but I wear them less often, my life just isn’t cut out for them at them moment. The current season of Ash high tops are available from and I’ve already got my eye on this pair.

Seal Virgin High Top Leather Trainer by Ash

Ash | Seal Virgin High Top Leather Trainer by Ash.

What is your daily uniform?  Are there pieces of clothing that you couldn’t live without? Do you find it liberating or stifling to wear the same thing every day?