Dare you to tell me you’ve come across a funkier suit than this. You can’t can you? It ticks all the boxes that I could ever dream of: it’s green (I’ve admitted defeat trying to battle my obsession with the colour and am fully embracing it), it’s corduroy and it’s the perfect fit.
Boden is the champion of colour, I can wholeheartedly vouch for that, but they’ve seriously outdone themselves with the rich, woodland green of this two-piece. It’s delightfully bold and eye catching and is defies traditional suit culture. There’s nothing boring, drab or office-like about it.
Saying that though, it’s a firm new entry into my work wardrobe. With kitten heels or loafers it’s formal enough to get me through the 9-5, and when swapped with Converse for the evening it’s cool enough for chilled evening drinks. It’s also one of those outfits that makes you seem as if you’ve got your shit together, which I most definitely don’t in my head. It generates colleague compliments, which lead me to smugly sip my americano with the knowledge that I at least look good, even if my day isn’t going so great.
Another point goes to Boden for sizing. Every item I have from the brand hugs me perfectly – especially trousers which I always find quite difficult. I’m a UK 8 and 5 foot 8 and the length always is just right. I went for a 12 in the jacket as I like them slightly oversized to squeeze a jumper underneath and that has worked like a charm here! The thin polo is old from Mango but there’s space for a thicker one if needs be.
In this suit I feel I can do everything, but I’m slowly realising that I don’t need to. Throughout life I’ve always been that person that says ‘yes’ to everything. Drinks on a Monday? Sure! But I’ll pay the price the next day. You need a lift? No problem! Don’t even worry about fuel money. Need me to cover a shift? You got it, let me cancel all my plans!
Saying ‘no’ is an option I never knew I had. My diary has been packed for I can’t remember how long and it’s especially taken its toll since getting a full time job. Every weekend sees me travelling to a different location for an event, a birthday, a gig. I’m not saying I don’t love being busy, but the constant travelling means I’m never settled and I’m wearing myself thin.
I want to be able to do it all but realistically I can’t, and I have to reclaim some time to rest in order to be able to give my all when I really need to. How can I expect to be the best version of Lily when I’m using all of my energy and resources all of the time?
So I’ve started using that one little word I’m so afraid of. The one that I think people will judge me for: I’m boring, I’m lazy, I’m disappointing. And you know what? ‘No’ pretty addictive. And those who care about you understand that there’s too much on your plate and forgive you for not being able to make it.
I’ve stopped making unnecessary plans to fill my week with. I used to think having a full diary was a sign of a full life, but it doesn’t work like that at all. One major influence in my change of thought was an episode of the High Low podcast where Dolly Alderton expressed her tendency to get caught in the same trap.
I now rejoice in a free evening to reconnect to the hobbies I’ve been neglecting. I’m able to invest time in activities that contribute positively to my mental and physical health rather than just thinking ‘fuck it’ and heading to the pub after work for one spontaneous drink that, let’s face it, always turns into 5.
I’m practising yoga again, and this time ensuring I dedicate that time to self-care and valuing the benefits it brings rather than slogging through for the sake of it. I’m reading more than ever and relishing in the escapism to another world, which leaves me prepared to deal with my own when I put the book down.
And with one slight change of vocabulary has come a different perspective on other areas that need work. I read a LinkedIn article about what the language we use says about us and discovered that I’m using pointless words that probably give off the wrong impression, especially in work. Throwaway comments like ‘hopefully’ and ‘just’ are my big offenders, that play down what a really mean. For example, ‘I’m just enquiring’ makes a situation seem less urgent than it may be and can threaten credibility. ‘I’m hoping to get this done’ shows a lack of responsibility and determination to complete a task. Since consciously applying these filters to emails I can see how little worth they hold and how often I fall in the trap of including them in sentences.
So no, I’m sorry, I can’t come to your party. I really want to, but I need some time to rest (and I’ll probably do it while wearing this suit).