When I was 8 I was subjected to what I considered torture for 2 months. Under Doctor’s orders I had to wear knee pads to school. Not the potentially cool, “I just parked my skateboard” type, the surgical type, to protect clumsy fools like me. That summer I had fallen over many times – not during a spate of extreme sporting activity, just while walking along. Convinced my sight was impeded my parents dragged me several times to the optician, who confirmed their worst fears, I was just a bumbling idiot! As a consequence of inability to remain vertical & mobile, my knees never got a chance to heal, hence the aforementioned addition of the pads.

Where is this story going you may ask? Is there a fashion twist to this tale? Well, there is. As an adult, I’m now left with some strangely scared knee caps. If the summer sun is kind & offers my pallored pins a hint of brown (most likely red,) they look slightly better. Spring is their worst moment. So when I see midi skirts that do not require a war-wound-hiding denier opacity in order to be worn, my excitement reaches fever pitch. The image above by The Sartorialist gave me hope & Vogue furthered it with a feature on midi skirts in Milan. The Sartorialist shot also opened my eyes to the potential of navy & bubblegum pink as a colour combination; not one I’d ever venture to mix ordinarily.

Now, I can feel your concern about my current stability. Plus enfant, I’m sturdy as a, well, whatever creature you’d describe as sturdy…an elephant maybe? As soon as he leaves my side, the vertically challenged Rachel returns. I had a suitably embarrassing fall before Christmas in front of enough people to redden the old cheeks. My knees split open immediately in a show of surrender against the inherent clumsiness that has scourged their existence. Post accident, I didn’t have to wear knee pads but even 120 denier couldn’t hide the plasters.

Anyone with actual serious injuries please ignore my trivial fashionista moans, the post hopefully offers some jest coupled with a trend. If it brings none of the above, enjoy the beautifully shot image courtesy of The Sartorialist.

Hi ho, hi ho…

Returning to work after baby production was one of the strangest experiences I can remember; birth will always still trump it though! Heading back to an environment in which I previously felt comfortable and in control, felt like a hideous leap into the unknown. For months I’d stumbled around in the style stakes as I regained confidence and my body changed shape. Suddenly, faced with the knowledge I must interact with only other adults, any security in style and taste I previously had seemed to evaporate. This process of diminishing self esteem was gradual – think lone deflating lilo in autumnal swimming pool. It culminated in a frenzied credit card assault on Zara online one week before I went back to work. I bought numerous coordinating outfits that pleased me simply because of their newness and size, matching the number I was before my rotund days of pregnancy. I only wore those clothes that first week! They weren’t really “me”…just the me I thought I should be in the eyes of my colleagues i.e. organised, composed and prepared. In reality I was none of those things. I was simply nervous, shambolic and lonely without my new extra little human at my side.

So this week my thoughts are with Lorraine Candy as she returns to work as Editor in Chief of ELLE Magazine. I had a stylistic melt down at the thought of returning to work with fellow humans whose hearts and minds do not live for fashion…so I staggered to think how Lorraine would cope. Of course I now see that Lorraine has many strategies to deal with the return to work process, as it is after all the 4th time she has done this and she does have a team of über-fashionistas at her fingertips. Through her new Editor’s Blog on Elle, the What The Editor Wears feature and her Twitter feed, we can all follow her tentative steps back into the workplace. I love the honesty with which she writes and look forward to seeing her show all new mums how seamlessly it can be done.

(All images courtesy of ELLE Magazine)

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