As a freelance journalist, my working wardrobe is now very different from what I used to wear when I was a full-time magazine editor-in-chief.
My nine-to-five wardrobe was mostly tailored: pantsuits, cashmere sweaters, white shirts, minimal accessories, a fashionable shoe, an expensive handbag.
And then the wonderful world of freelance journalism opened up and everything changed. I was diligent at first, setting the alarm, showering, getting dressed, putting on makeup and then sitting down to my laptop on the kitchen table by 9.30am.
Fast forward eight years, and I am writing this wearing a floral kimono, lying on the lounge. It is bliss.
All my high heels went to charity, bar one pair of black patent high-heeled sandals if I have to go somewhere fancy or black tie. I edited by bags down to about dozen I really love, but most of the time I just carry a slightly battered tote, or in summer, a basket.
Jeans, easy silk pants, blouses and sandals are my daily go-to, topped with an oversized cashmere cardigan if it’s cold. But I joined a fashion magazine last year as the features editor and am required to go into an office a couple of days a week and attend meetings.
And I realised I now look like an out-of-touch nana. I noticed in my first meeting the staff were largely wearing black, with messy hair and no makeup.
I had forgotten about the committed minimalism of the fashion office girls. White singlets, T-shirts, black pants, simple sandals, no noticeable jewellery. The right bag – at the moment that’s a Bottega Veneta clutch, which retails for about $3800 and I cannot for the life of me work out how they afford one.
Black blazers. And big black oversized cotton dresses.
Meanwhile, I’m sitting in the corner in a bright floral blouse, jade earrings and red lipstick with a pink leather handbag. I may as well have worn a senior’s card in a lanyard around my neck.
At the office Christmas lunch the beauty editors were handing out Kris Kringle gifts and one of them cooed, “Oh, I thought you’d like this, I noticed you like to wear colour” and gently handed me a beautiful Gucci red lipstick like it was a hot water bottle for my arthritis.
But I don’t want to dress in black with no makeup at my age. I need hits of colour to make it more pleasant for people to look at me – turquoise earrings, scarlet nail polish, a bright neck scarf, a leopard skin bangle, I think it’s polite.
But last week I walked into a meeting with all the editors in the building and I obviously didn’t get the memo because I was the only person in a floral print.
In sea of black and white I was wearing an aqua blue and orange blouse, gold silk pants and pink velvet sandals.
I looked like Estee Lauder in Palm Beach. I wonder if I can work from there…