59 In Style/ Substance

From a chrysalis to a commute

Orange Coat

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.

Hugo Boss Trousersuit

Turquoise Hugo Boss Trouser suit

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!

Maestra interior

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!

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59 Comments

  • Reply
    MT
    March 3, 2020 at 11:30 PM

    Crying and cheering you on at the same time Lisa. As much as I’ll miss your regular posts, I’m grateful you haven’t called time on the blog entirely. It’s a hard decision and one I wrestle with too.
    Going back to work outside the home, with a child who is still 100% dependent on you, is a BIG deal! I think you’re awesome Mama.
    As for your piece on fast fashion and conspicuous consumption – Well, I don’t need to tell you how much I agree with your sentiment on the future of “fashion”.
    I think all we really need is a sense of our own style and even that could or should be fluid.
    Buying something new every week is for the feeble-minded sheep who would do better working on their self worth instead of copying so-called trends.
    Bloody ridiculous way to live and many of them have children! Don’t they see the future they’re leaving them? Ack, it drives me mental thinking about that kind of logic or lack there of.
    So my darling Sparkles, go forth and conquer. You are a warrior and I’m very proud of you xx

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 4, 2020 at 5:51 PM

      Thank you so much, my friend. I know I’ll always have you on speed dial for anything. Having you as my blog wife from the get go has been a privilege. xx

    • Reply
      Estelle
      June 21, 2020 at 1:29 PM

      Hi, I just found your posts while searching menopause & I like the fact that you are honest & not trying to sell me lots of things all the time but you give good advice which is personal to you. I have been in Menopause for 11 years, 9 of those in surgical menopause & suffer more the mental problems. I enjoyed your articles on sleep & anxiety. Good luck in your new job too

  • Reply
    Nancys Fashion Style (@nancybaten1)
    March 4, 2020 at 10:37 AM

    Congratulations! That’s is a big decision. Good luck, you will find your way!

    • Reply
      Malinda
      March 4, 2020 at 11:23 AM

      Congratulations and I cannot wait for blog updates x

      • Reply
        Lisa
        March 4, 2020 at 5:47 PM

        Thank you, my love! xx

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 4, 2020 at 5:47 PM

      It IS a big decision, but I’m really thrilled about it. Thank you, Nancy! xx

  • Reply
    Emma Peach
    March 4, 2020 at 12:11 PM

    Congratulations! I’m so glad that you’ll continue blogging. Looking forward to reading about this exciting new chapter in your life!

    Emma xxx
    http://www.style-splash.com

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 4, 2020 at 5:47 PM

      Thank you, Emma. I’m excited to see what the next chapter holds. I feel if I don’t make some moves I’ll stagnate! xx

  • Reply
    Tracy Patil
    March 4, 2020 at 1:26 PM

    Congratulations Lisa!! This is fantastic news. Can’t wait to hear all about the new job xxxxx

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 4, 2020 at 5:46 PM

      Thank you, Tracy! I can’t wait to get cracking! xx

  • Reply
    Ann in Missouri
    March 4, 2020 at 2:18 PM

    SO EXCITING! Self-initiated change is so energizing. And all those other things you said. 😉 Break a leg. I’ll have my ear cocked for your continuing posts.

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 4, 2020 at 5:45 PM

      Thank you, Ann. Yes, you’re right, it is so energizing. That’s exactly how I feel right now. Thank you for all of your wisdom and kindness xx

  • Reply
    Vivian
    March 4, 2020 at 2:37 PM

    Congratulations on your next exciting adventure! I look forward to hearing all about it! And it’s always fun to bring a little bling to the world of high finance 🙂

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 4, 2020 at 5:44 PM

      Thank you, Vivian. Finance needs a little bling, no? I feel like a 50 year old Elle Woods, hahaha. xx

  • Reply
    Susan Blakey
    March 4, 2020 at 3:12 PM

    Congratulations on the new job, Lisa! I’m glad you’ll continue blogging periodically; I do so enjoy your voice and viewpoint.

    • Reply
      Susan Blakey
      March 4, 2020 at 3:34 PM

      Oh, and that Senreve bag is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for to use as an everyday bag, thank you!

      • Reply
        Lisa
        March 4, 2020 at 5:40 PM

        The smaller Maestra? Isn’t it amazing?!?! xx

        • Reply
          Susan Blakey
          March 4, 2020 at 5:44 PM

          Yes!

          • Lisa
            March 4, 2020 at 6:02 PM

            As a fellow Spring, I’ll need to know which colour you’re considering! I think that butterscotch one (in the large version for my commute) could be the warmest and most practical colour. But the orange one is my favourite. xx

          • Susan Blakey
            March 4, 2020 at 8:23 PM

            Lisa, I had to go with the orange. 😉 If I were doing a work bag, I probably would have gone with the butterscotch. But I have a few brown/tan bags and have been looking for something with more pop. I’m hoping they add something in “our” aqua in the future, maybe one of the smaller evening bags.

          • Lisa
            March 4, 2020 at 9:53 PM

            Ha, I was also thinking why don’t they have “our” aqua or turquoise when they have lavender and all of those other blues. The orange is killer though, actually. I think it looks best in that colour. I’ll have to steal it when I see you! xx

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 4, 2020 at 5:43 PM

      Thank you so much, Susan. I hope I’ll find the time to do it; I really enjoy the writing aspect of it. The photographs, not so much! xx

  • Reply
    Mithra Ballesteros
    March 4, 2020 at 3:28 PM

    I’m raising my cup of tea to you, Lisa. You are teaching your son a valuable lesson in adaptability. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he became a bit more independent as a result of this change. You have built a nice audience here at The Sequinist. You’re a true original with the ability to express — rare! And we all reap that benefit. But who knows what the future holds. Perhaps a whole new creative endeavor will emerge in your new life. We will be here for you, whatever it looks like! Best to you!!

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 4, 2020 at 5:42 PM

      Thank you so much, Mithra. I always have you in my head when I write blog posts. I appreciate your blog (and you and your life path) so much, as well as the thoughtful comments you leave. Here’s to twisty roads, creativity, and new chapters! xx

  • Reply
    Dawn LucyDawn Lucy
    March 4, 2020 at 3:34 PM

    I’m excited for you! And yes, I agree that the blogger atmosphere is changing. I’m looking at my blog as a hobby now. If I think of it as a business, I put too much pressure on myself to take collaborations that don’t really suit me. This more relaxed pace has been more fun for me! For me, blogging as fashion should be fun! 😀

    Best of luck to you!!

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 4, 2020 at 5:39 PM

      Thank you Dawn Lucy! I totally agree, you have to be true to your own needs and values for blogging and fashion to be fun. xx

  • Reply
    No Fear of Fashion
    March 4, 2020 at 3:38 PM

    I am so glad you are contemplating on orange and bright blue for a business suit. As I think times have changed and you don’t need a dark blue corporate suit anymore to be taken seriously. You don’t have to be one of the guys. Use your femininity in a good way (not flaunting skin left and right), be proud of being a woman. A lovely dress is OK as well. Although… this might be the case in the Netherlands and not in other countries. You do look the part in that first photo. Being you and being business-like at the same time.

    The bag you want to buy would be too heavy for me to carry. Like you, I am schlepping all these things with me to work. But I do that in a carry-on suitcase. That thing has wheels so I can pull it instead of carrying the weight and hurting my shoulder.

    As for buying something new every week… I don’t do that, but I do buy a lot and I know I am being condemned for it. Michelle even calls me a feeble minded sheep. Don’t get me wrong, I love and admire Michelle for her environmental fight. But we all have our faults. Be careful in judging too quickly or too harshly. I might be a lot better with other (environmental) things.
    Greetje

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 4, 2020 at 5:38 PM

      I’ve definitely always veered to the bright and blingy side of business suits. If my suit was black, the heels would be shocking pink, or there would be some quirky detail.

      A carry on suitcase would be great except for all the up and down stairs at the tube stations.

      I used to buy more; I just don’t need much anymore. I do think times are changing, awareness is changing, and thankfully the younger generation that never lived through the 80s doesn’t do nearly our level of conspicuous flashy consuming. xx

  • Reply
    Chicatanyage
    March 4, 2020 at 4:22 PM

    Wishing you all the best for your new adventure. I also look forward to future posts.

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 4, 2020 at 5:34 PM

      Thank you so much, Josephine. It was great to see you yesterday 🙂 xx

  • Reply
    eva
    March 4, 2020 at 6:53 PM

    Aleluya…you put a term to a concern of mine…THE PURSUIT OF NEWNESS…yesssss…been looking for a name for that thing that seems to be a need nowadays.

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 4, 2020 at 9:49 PM

      I really blame Instagram for the acceleration of this “pursuit of newness”. There is such a need to have something new in your square every single day. Ridiculous, really… and so bad for the planet and the low paid workers who fulfil our need for new and cheap.

  • Reply
    whatlizzyloves
    March 4, 2020 at 6:58 PM

    You will rock!!!! I’m so proud of you and so excited for you. It’s the start of a new chapter for you and those boys in your life! I can’t wait to see your work outfits. I know they will have as much “Lisa” in them as your non-work ones do. My own career break was eight years long and I’ve now been back for 15 months. I have never looked back. Good luck xxxxx

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 4, 2020 at 9:50 PM

      Thank you so much, Liz. I’m just following your lead, really! You’ve been such an inspiration. xx

  • Reply
    melissa williams
    March 4, 2020 at 7:06 PM

    How exciting Lisa! I am so inspired! You will of course do amazing things and I’ll be so happy to hear of them whenever you get the chance. Best of luck in the new career.
    ~Melissa xx
    https://freshairandfalselashes.com

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 4, 2020 at 9:51 PM

      Thank you, Melissa! I’m so excited to see what happens next. xx

  • Reply
    Catherine, Not Dressed As Lamb
    March 5, 2020 at 12:34 PM

    Lady I am SOOOOOOO proud of you! Although it’ll be a wrench to be away from A I think it’ll be great for him to see what a strong, independent woman can achieve – and still be a wonderful mother. He’s already seen you achieve great things with the blog (like winning at UKBA!) and this will be another thing for him to admire about you.

    Cannot wait to see your work outfits. I can only imagine you breezing in on your first day in a pink or blue or orange suit… though if it were me and I had to start that early, I’d be crawling in looking a hot mess, haha 😉

    Good luck, you’ll be totally fabulous (and yes we’ll have to change our breakfasts when I’m up in London to brunch or lunch round your new area)!

    Catherine x

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 5, 2020 at 2:14 PM

      Thank you so much, Catherine. You’ve been a guide and inspiration all along the way for the past five years on the blog.

      It will definitely be a new dynamic for my wee bairn, but I agree, he does need to see that women are achievers as well as (overly doting!) nurturers.

      I’m quite excited about the workwear challenge; I will find my way with that, along with everything else! I’m sure it will all fall into place. And YES to new spots in the City for our brunches and lunches. xx

  • Reply
    LA CONTESSA
    March 5, 2020 at 6:22 PM

    OFF YOU GO!YOU will be a breath of FRESH AIR to ALL IN THAT OFFICE!
    I smiled at your REVIEW of BLOGS and INSTAGRAM……..I can’t STAND THE ADS!OR YOU MUST HAVE PUSHY YOUNG THINGS……….its a complete turn off for me.
    I think of Instagram as my diary of the year…….watch my grey hair come full force and the wrinkles appear!I DO LIKE TO SHARE PEOPLE I have bought from in the past as to HELP THEM but I make NOTHING from THAT!Just a GOOD FEELING I have possibly helped another person!
    I too have thought of LEAVING……………..still thinking!
    BEST OF LUCK TO YOU!!
    YOU WILL BE FINE!
    XX
    WEAR COLOR!!!!!!!!!!

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 6, 2020 at 8:53 AM

      Thank you, Elizabeth! I think I will enjoy blogging AND Instagram more when I don’t feel pressure to ‘perform’ economically on either. You have been a total joy to meet through blogging. I shall definitely wear colour xx

  • Reply
    1010ParkPlace
    March 6, 2020 at 7:50 PM

    Brava, Lisa! Like you, I don’t sell my integrity so I work with few brands. I, too, felt the need for a challenge, so I’ve stepped away from blogging full-time and am writing a memoir. The subject is very difficult and includes my kidnapping in Guatemala. I’ve waited until I’m 70 to tell this story so I understand your age concern. Here’s wishing us both luck, plus we’re both hard workers who create a lot of our own luck. Be bold. Be confident. xoxox, Brenda

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 6, 2020 at 8:53 PM

      Wow, a memoir Brenda! Look at you!! I can’t wait to read it, you’ve had such an incredible life story. Love to you xx

  • Reply
    Samantha Blair
    March 8, 2020 at 5:56 PM

    Good luck venturing back Lisa… being a working mum is tough but you’ll smash it!
    I love the bright coloured suits, they look like they’ll last for years and always look fresh.
    I’m in the process of trying to make a few changes to my work/blog/life balance too.
    I wish you every success and I’ll be popping back when you post to covet your sparkles!!
    XXX

    • Reply
      Lisa
      May 10, 2020 at 7:01 PM

      Hi Sam, thank you so much! I’m struggling to find the time to post at the moment, but hopefully I’ll settle in at some point! Love to you xx

  • Reply
    mireilleftm
    March 10, 2020 at 5:26 PM

    Good luck with the new job and embarking on this new endeavor!
    http://www.chezmireillefashiontravelmom.com

    • Reply
      Lisa
      May 10, 2020 at 6:59 PM

      Thank you so much, Mireille! xx

  • Reply
    Abby
    March 13, 2020 at 11:31 PM

    Wow, that’s some exciting news! I’m really happy for you Lisa and incredibly proud of the Leo in you! Go get them Girl! You deserve all the happiness in the world and all the fulfilment that I’m sure your new job will bring you. You’re such an amazing human being, mum and friend. Wishing you all the best in your new adventure. xx Abby

    • Reply
      Lisa
      May 10, 2020 at 6:58 PM

      Thank you so much, darling! It is an adventure for sure, and gosh, what a crazy time to return to finance. Sending you love and light xx

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Midlife and Beyond
    March 29, 2020 at 2:27 PM

    Congratulations Lisa and lots of luck for your new adventure. Your new position sounds so exciting. I’m a part timer, I still love the buzz work brings, as well as the regular pay check! I’ll look forward to your future updates. Love, love the suits. HThank Alison xx

    • Reply
      Lisa
      May 10, 2020 at 6:57 PM

      Thank you, Alison! The buzz is what it is all about, isn’t it?! xx

  • Reply
    kerry
    March 30, 2020 at 11:48 AM

    oh Lisa I cannot believe I stumbled across this post! (we met at the London get together Sharon arranged) I too am toying with going back into working in my old career. I was an (blinking good) investment advisor pre kids. I write my blog as a hobby and toyed with seeing if I could make it my job. But, exactly like you said, I am not one for ads, the sell sell sell mindset or, (as I write travel and sustainability) going on press trips that are not my agenda and giving a highlight reel. That decision made, I need another challenge. I am so interested to see how you get on back in the corporate world. I am excited for you!

    • Reply
      Lisa
      May 10, 2020 at 6:56 PM

      Hi Kerry! Thank you for your kind words. I enjoy blogging so much, but I needed more and I feel like if I can manage to swing both finance and blog on the side, it would be great. I just have to see how much time I have and how much head space I have for blogging. A couple of months back into finance, and I’m really loving it. The excitement of the markets has always thrilled me. Maybe dip your toe back in and see if the challenge of returning still appeals? Hope to see you again, post lockdown! xx

  • Reply
    Abby
    April 13, 2020 at 4:04 PM

    Hi Lisa! I just wanted to check in to see how you are. I hope that you and your family are well. Also, I wanted to wish you Happy Easter despite the situation. Sending you lots of health and love. xx Abby

    • Reply
      Lisa
      May 10, 2020 at 6:50 PM

      Hello darling! Apologies for the super late reply, we are all well, and I sure hope you are too! Sending you love and I hope to see you when all of this lockdown stuff ends! xx

  • Reply
    Stella
    May 1, 2020 at 8:31 AM

    I am so happy for you Lisa! I remember that we talked about this option of you returning to finance one day, when we met in Paris. What a wonderful day. How are you doing now with the quarantine? I hope everyone in your family is doing well. Did you start at your new position or is it postponed for after the quarantine? Looking forward to an update! xoxo
    Stella

    • Reply
      Lisa
      May 10, 2020 at 6:42 PM

      Hello beautiful! I’m actually really enjoying the quarantine and work right now. I’m working from home after all of 6 days in the office. It is a weird time to be sure, but somehow I felt very ready for all of this change. I can’t wait to see you again, and I hope you and Maxime are doing brilliantly. xx

  • Reply
    dottiepoole
    July 1, 2020 at 2:08 AM

    I’m catching up on your blog and I see that a lot has changed! (With a full-time job and a blog, I don’t always read some of my favorite blogs for long stretches.) Congratulations on your return to work. I’m happy to read that it is going well and that your almost immediate transition to WFH is working out. The very best wishes for your continued success in the world of finance. (That navy blouse with the bow that you linked to is stunning. When we get a vaccine you can wear it to work again.) You have the best taste in clothes! Dottie

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