I’ve been quiet on the blog and social media lately. I feel as if I’ve been tucked away inside a chrysalis of my own making, away from the noise of the world… processing the need for a big change but not knowing exactly what that change is and what it will look like.
All I know is I need change and a challenge. To set things in motion, at the end of 2019 I started sifting through jobs back in finance… partly for my own financial reasons, and partly to reconnect with my pre-Mom identity. My son turns 7 this month; in some ways it feels just a little too soon for me to go back to full-time work. However, I’ve been out of finance for 12 years and I’m 50 now, so if I don’t go back now, then when? Sure, I could do something else besides finance, but I have inherited my love of the financial markets from my grandfather. It excites me, and I’m good at it… also, let’s be honest, it pays better than the writing and editing roles I also explored.
Of course I thoroughly enjoy writing and blogging, but now as a hobby. I’ve never made enough money on the blog for it to be anything like a full time career, unfortunately. There are a few reasons for this– One is that my sense of style isn’t, shall we say, ‘universal.’ Not everyone in my demographic wants to wear bright colours and sequins. Another reason is that I don’t push readers to buy, buy, buy through affiliate programs. I’m not a weekly or even monthly clothes shopper myself, so it feels unnatural and dishonest for me to suggest otherwise to you. Another reason is I’ve always found ads and banners to be an eyesore, so I don’t make coin from those on my website either. Lastly, the British retail industry is having a HARD time right now, so some brands I’ve worked with have gone / are going into administration (the most recent being Pure Cashmere). Many of the small, ethical, or woman-owned brands that I love to champion often don’t have budget to pay. I do turn down some larger brands who can afford to pay me because I genuinely wouldn’t wear their clothes or use their products; my integrity is not for sale. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, there is a sea change in consuming, both mine and yours. Or at least there should be. New clothes every day on Instagram and new ‘drops’ every 13 days at Zara is not sustainable for our planet.
To me, it feels really tone-deaf and cringe-y to see influencers gushing over a new must have face cream, another pair of trainers, or a new bag every week, only to be replaced by an apparently better one the following week. Conspicuous over-consumption, especially fast fashion, is the new cigarette smoking; both are equally unhealthy and dated. It doesn’t feel right in my guts for me to be a part of it, which is why I have dialled down my presence on Instagram considerably over the last year. There is a way to enjoy fashion, style, and beauty in a principled way; the pursuit of ‘newness’ on Instagram isn’t it if the tons of clothing in landfill are any indication.
So what now? Next week, I’m returning to finance where I’ll work for a large hedge fund/asset manager as a trader. I’m SO EXCITED! It’s incredibly rare to find a women’s returner role (jobs for women who have been away from work for a while) in trading, and I suppose equally rare to find a woman with a lot of trading experience, so I grabbed this job with both hands. I’m not sure exactly where the path will lead as it is only a six month contract, but I’m on the path now and excited to see what is around the corner. I have my occasional moments of imposter syndrome, my moments of feeling old and out of touch, but mostly I feel like a horse at the start of a race, chomping at the bit and prancing to get going.
What will I wear?! I donated most of my old finance wardrobe to charity, so eventually I will need to buy a few things to get me through the week. Right now I have my eye on this orange trouser suit and this turquoise trouser suit from Hugo Boss (below), a brand which I know from experience lasts me for years and years. For my interviews, I’ve been wearing a Hugo Boss dress I bought in 2006 with a newer jacket from Winser London (seen here). My two pussy-bow silk blouses from Winser London have also been in heavy rotation for interviews and meetings. They’re elegant and professional (seen here in 2016, and still going strong!); a good option when I don’t want to wear a blazer.
I may decide to do a few posts on investment buys for working women on the blog, like this commuting bag, from woman-owned brand Senreve. The bags are expensive (not Chanel expensive) but worth every penny if you are a daily commuter lugging around a pair of heels, fruit, a laptop, a reusable coffee cup, in addition to the a phone, wallet, makeup, etc. If I didn’t need the space in the large version (or if I was petite)(I’m not!) I’d be verrrry tempted by this smaller one in bright orange. The pockets, pouches, and organised interiors make my neat-freak heart race. The stain-resistant light-coloured interior means you can actually FIND your stuff in there. Maestra bags can be carried as a backpack, a shoulder bag, a cross body bag, or a handbag. You can tell I’m keen to get one of these eventually!
They also offer a lifetime warranty on all of their bags. I’m debating between the Sand or Butterscotch colour (above). It is definitely an investment bag, but I need much more space for commuting than a regular handbag provides, and a big floppy canvas tote is just not my bag (ha, sorry!).
I may also write posts about topics like how to keep a strong sense of your personal style while still wearing corporate-appropriate clothing. I’ve got years of experience at that! I may write about what it is like to go back into the work force at 50… the highs, the lows, and the peacefully mundane moments. I’ll definitely still write about beauty and health issues, like the perimenopause or sleep posts that so many of you have liked.
I’m not at all sure where all of this is going to lead but I’d like to take you along with me and share the things I learn and find along the way. Here’s to the next chapter!