My Birthday & 12th Blogiversary: My Style Evolution

1990: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

Back in 1982 when I was about 10, my 19-year-old sister bought one of those pie-crust-collared Princess Diana blouses and I thought it was amazing.

(Oh, and today is my birthday and blogiversary; more on that in a second…!)

It was the most beautiful item of clothing I’d ever seen up to that point, and it made me ponder the contents of my own wardrobe.

With a sudden desire for something flouncy and fashionable, I went and threw a fit at my poor mother because apparently I wasn’t allowed to wear fashionable clothes. This wasn’t true of course: my mother didn’t dress me like a Quaker in some sort of weird restricted-childhood way (for example, I had my ears pierced at 3½, certainly not the usual actions of self-confessed “old-fashioned Victorian parents” at all). I just hadn’t shown any interest in fashion-fashion – the contents of the dressing-up box don’t count – up to that point, so my rantings came as a bit of a shock to my poor, unsuspecting mother.

My sister, bless her, went out and bought an almost identical blouse as a gift for me. It became the first treasured item of ‘fashionable’ clothing I can remember having.

 

[Reading time: 5 mins]

 

Thus began a long love affair between me and my wardrobe. Now although that blouse was the height of fashion at the time, not everything I chose after that point necessarily reflected the same fashion savvy my sister showed.

(Or maybe it did, but it’s so awful to look back at them now that I’m just… assuming they were hideous then as well as now? Isn’t that what we do with ALL outfits from the past?)

Having gathered together a number of near-embarrassing photos of myself for a post in the early days of the blog (I published a similar-ish post back then but I doubt anyone reading now remembers it), I thought I should re-hash the contents and share some of the best (worst?!) ones with you. I’ve featured outfits from 1977 (aged 5) to 2011 (aged nearly 39), just weeks before the blog was born. Everything after that is recorded in great detail in my regular outfit blog posts…!

 

Happy birthday and blogiversary to me

It’s my 51st birthday AND my 12th blogiversary today. I’ve not missed a blogiversary post yet, and I didn’t intend to break the tradition this year (despite my general absence round here this year so far, there’s a post coming next month explaining what’s been going on). With every blogiversary that goes by I wonder where the time has gone, and I’m now doing that thing of thinking “I can’t believe I was still in my THIRTIES when I started this… I’m now in my FIFTIES. Oh. Em. Gee”.

Anyway – enjoy this trip down memory lane… gird your loins, there are some shockers!

 

A trip down memory lane: My style through the years

1977: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

1977, aged 5

That dress, that dress (it’s so awful it’s kinda fabulous). This is also the most perfect bowl haircut I’ve ever seen – there’s NO way my mum wasn’t hovering behind the photographer with a comb. Although the dress looks like an explosion in a haberdashery department, it’s quite cute. Sort of.

 

1982: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

1982, aged 10

This was around the time of the Princess Diana Blouse Debacle. (Who remembers “bog chain” necklaces?!!) This was also the era when ‘Shy Di’ hair was everywhere, unfortunately for my boyish-looking 10-year-old self.

 

1986: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

1986, aged 14

At this age fashion had properly entered my consciousness, albeit in a flowery, drop-waisted bad 80s dress kind of way. I’m looking much more grown up at this point.

 

1988: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

1988, aged 16

Oh, good GOD. I’m sooooo shamed of this I can barely look at it; it’s probably the most horrific photo here. All I’ll say is that the band Bros had a BIG influence on what I wore, so not my fault. I just… couldn’t help myself, for some reason.

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1989: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

1989, aged 17

Wearing denim short-shorts in Paris. That wasn’t a good idea as I kept getting my bum pinched. A LOT. (Does that still happen to women in Paris now…?) And I paired it with a “nice blouse”, which was probably my mum’s. Cute socks though.

 

1990: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

1990, aged 18

WOW. Wearing denim shorts again; I think it’s all I wore in my late teens. This time with tights and the tiniest silver crop top you’ve EVER seen in your life. I can’t believe I actually went out like that. And yet, NOT ONCE did my dad ever say to me “You’re not going out dressed like that, young lady”…

 

1990: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

1990, aged 18

Oh, sooooo serious…! By this time I was really into photography and shot photos of my friends and family all the time – and that included taking self-portraits. Unfortunately it’s hard to actually take it seriously with the massive, untouched eyebrows and Deee-Lite hair. Though I will confess I’ve always rather liked this photo of me, what can I say?

 

1993: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

1993, aged 21

When I went away to art college in 1991 [to do my photography degree], I dyed my hair black and got heavily into wearing grungy clothes. By ’93 I’d cut it much shorter and decided that my eyebrows needed to be plucked away to nothingness. Regrets, me? Give me back my 1990 eyebrows, pleeeeease…

 

1994: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

1994, aged 22

A grown-up outfit I wore to my brother’s wedding, very different to all the black and denim I wore all through college. It was a matching maxi dress and long sleeveless jacket… what you can’t see is my cropped blonde hair under that delightful straw hat.

 

1998: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

1998, aged 26

The year I cut off my hair really short (it had grown long again after the short hair of ’94, though I couldn’t find any photos) – and from what I can remember of my friends, so did many other girls. It was the 90s era of pixie crops (thanks, Gwyneth in Sliding Doors) with little hair clips, glitter lip gloss and sheer, patterned tops with cargo pants. You can’t see my Spice Girl-style platform trainers under the table though. Eeep.

 

1999: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

1999, aged 27

Here’s the proof that yes, once upon a time I used to wear all black. Dare I say it, but I think I’m vaguely beginning to develop some sort of sense of (my own) style from hereon in.

 

2000: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

2000, aged 28

Does anyone else remember making denim skirts out of pairs of jeans? I made this skirt out of my (much older) brother’s 70s flares. Plus I had transparent plastic shoes with a matching bag. Plus I think Mel Gibson’s waxwork is politely not mentioning the temporary blue streaks I’d put in my hair. Well played, Mel.

 

2001: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

2001, aged 29

I’m wearing my dad’s vintage 70s Adidas tracksuit top here – maybe my love of vintage started around this time? I do treasure this photo (it was a Polaroid) because it was literally the first EVER photo taken of me and Keith together. And Keith still wears that top of his now, LOL.

 

2003: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

2003, aged 31

On holiday on a Greek island, and I think this might be the oldest “I’d still wear this today” outfit. Plus I still have (and still wear) those Adidas trainers: I think I’ve found The Oldest Thing in My Wardrobe I Still Wear Now… 20 years ain’t bad!

 

2003: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

2003, aged 31

Ignoring Keith’s “Drunk Husband at His Wife’s Office Christmas Party” face, I think I was going through some sort of rockabilly stage here. Though I rather like the hair and makeup (and I still have – and wear – that black vest top. It can share the prestige bestowed upon the Adidas trainers, above).

 

2006: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

2006, aged 33

Our wedding day… I love this just as much now as I did then. It was January, hence the faux fur coat. The whole outfit was bought in the January sales the week before the wedding, and I still think it’s lovely.

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2008: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

2008, aged 36

I feel like I’m more and more like “Today’s Me” here: the bright bag is the giveaway of what’s to follow style-wise. And oh my GOD I loved that Karen Millen dress. I’d still wear it now, though I don’t think it’d fit. [=cough= it DEFINITELY won’t fit, Catherine]

 

2009: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

2009, aged 37

=Wince= The most matchy-matchy (Keith too!) of wedding outfits, and a fascinator. Wow. I mean, WOW… no words. The dress is lovely, but what was I thinking with all the matching Barbie pink?!

 

2010: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

2010, aged 38

WHO EVEN IS THIS?! It’s not me, that’s for sure. Is there ANYTHING about this look that’s not utterly “vampish”?! I’d totally forgotten about this outfit, but to be honest I’m quite impressed at how I had the courage to go out in public dressed like this. Not sure I’ve ever dressed like this before, or since.

 

2010: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

2010, aged 38

Notice anything about this photo and the last – not the outfits, but the pose? Can you tell I was gearing up for starting a fashion blog and was kinda… practising?! So yes, this layered 2010s eyesore was the sort of thing I went to the office in: a bit try-hard, if you ask me. But it was the start of me wanting to wear All The Colour and All The Patterns, so I’ll forgive myself.

 

2011: My Style Through the Years | Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb Over 50 Blog

2011, aged nearly 39

Taken just a couple of months before I started my blog, I’m adding this as the last one before Not Dressed As Lamb came into being. This dress appeared on the blog once or twice, and my signature style of bright colours and patterns is clearly coming through. Those were the days of little cardigans, layers, full skirts and brightly coloured tights. Not forgetting the butterfly clasp belts – hands up who had them in every colour like me?

 

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So in summary…

I do apologise for some of the horrors featured above, but I thought it was about time I gave you all a laugh and showed you how wrong, so very wrong, I used to get it.

Was it merely because of the fashions at the time, or was I actually quite hopeless at dressing myself? I wasn’t known for being a trend-setter when I was younger, though I was always interested in fashion from that fateful day with my sister’s Princess Di blouse. When new trends come out they’re embraced like they’re the best thing since sliced bread, worn to death and of course we then inevitably laugh at ourselves about 15 years later.

(I’m talking about you, 2009 wedding guest outfit with the matchy-matchy pink accessories.)

Something blogging HAS taught me, however, is what my own style is and to dress however the [sausage] I like. Doesn’t mean I get it right every time, but I have fun trying. This blog will provide some belly laughs I’m sure come 2040…

 

Which look is your favourite?! And what is the oldest item of clothing in your wardrobe that YOU still wear? Tell us in the comments!

(I’m off to eat birthday cake and sing IT’S MA BIRTHDAY, IT’S MA BIRTHDAY, I’M GONNA PARTY LIKE IT’S MA BIRTHDAY…🎂)

 

Thanks for reading! xoxo

Catherine signature

 

Linking up to… Monday: Stylish Monday (second Monday of the month), Inspire Me MondayMy Glittery Heart, On Mondays We Link Up || Tuesday: Style With a Smile, Trend Spin/Walking in Memphis in High Heels, Turning Heads Tuesday, Spread the Kindness, Confident Twosday, Happy Now Blog Link Up || Wednesday: WowOnWednesday || Thursday: Chic & Stylish, Ageless Style Linkup (third Thursday of the month), || Friday: Neverending Style, Fancy Friday, On the Edge, Fabulous Friday’s Link Up

32 Comments

  1. 11 August 2023 / 9:15 pm

    A wonderful look back at how your style has changed! I love the photo of you aged 18 – you wear the big stretchy headband better than anyone I’ve seen! I started blogging just after you – my 12th blog anniversary is later this month. I look back at some my early outfits in horror…some of them are just so boring! I’ve got loads of clothes from my teens still – and even a cardigan and jumper from childhood that I can just about squeeze in to. Going through my stuff ay my mum’s has unearthed some old treasures! Thanks for linking up!

    Emma xxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      11 August 2023 / 9:35 pm

      I do secretly love that Dee-lite headband picture, Emma, I will admit…! 😉

      And where has 12 years gone?? It’s so long now that our early blog outfits are all sorts of cringe, not just our outfits of the past. But how amazing to find your old stuff at your mum’s, mine has long since got rid of mine!!

  2. 29 July 2023 / 8:18 am

    Loved your trip down fashion’s memory lane. It jogged many memories. I loved your wedding outfit. Do you still have the faux fur coat? Here’s to many more blogversaries. Thanks for linking x

    • Catherine
      Author
      29 July 2023 / 11:37 am

      I do, Gail – it’s lovingly hanging in a special clothes bag with all my other “posh” clothes…! 😉 Thank you lovely x

  3. 27 July 2023 / 1:54 pm

    2009 aged 37 is my favorite. You and Keith look nice, and I like the Barbie pink! Happy Blogiversary! Your post was fun to read!

    • Catherine
      Author
      27 July 2023 / 9:12 pm

      Thanks Debra! It seems you and quite a few others think my 2009 wedding guest outfit is quite nice: I don’t know why I’m cringing so much at it! I think I just can’t get past the fascinator 😉

  4. 26 July 2023 / 11:17 am

    Happy Birthday and Happy Blogaversary, Catherine! I LOVED seeing all your pics here. You were so cute when you were little, weren’t you?! There were some things you wore, above, that I wore at the same time too…although I was always a bit more of a goth. I did the grunge thing, just a little bit, in the 90s but Michael encouraged me out of that style choice lol!! I have to say, even though you are very matchy matchy with the pink, you do look very beautiful in that photo! I also love that photo of you aged 18. It’s absolutely gorgeous! I had a big Deee-lite hairband phase then too! Unfortunately I have very few photos of me in my teens and early twenties (or perhaps I should say, fortunately?! lol).
    Great post, Catherine. I’m looking forward to your next one!
    Big hugs
    Suzy xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      26 July 2023 / 2:08 pm

      Thank you Suzy! Goodness knows where 12 years have gone…?!

      Goth was something I never embraced, maybe I was always a bit too girly! I have to admit I loved that Sixties and Seventies influence on early 90s fashion… I don’t know how I managed such impressive flick-ups with my Dee-lite hairdo but I do remember them being very Lady Miss Kier-worthy!!!! 😀

  5. 25 July 2023 / 8:47 pm

    Happy Birthday, friend! I’ve missed your blog posts so much – it’s lovely to have you back, taking us down Memory Lane…the height of fashion in high school was Adidas tennis shoes and men’s Levi’s 501 jeans. I wore mine with a red Adidas t-shirt that did my curvy figure NO favors (my father asked me if the company was paying me to wear their name on my shirt and I was horrified!) My mother DID say “you’re NOT going out in THAT!?!” many a time, which of course, I did. I love to have many items back, that got lost, left behind or donated in a fit of madness. Hmmm…perhaps a future blog post.

    • Catherine
      Author
      26 July 2023 / 12:05 am

      Oh MK that makes me so happy that you’re glad I’m back, thank you!! 😀

      I’d forgotten about Levi’s 501s… I went to Kensington Market in London (at the time a very cool covered market full of vintage and secondhand clothes) to go buy a pair of old, RIPPED ones in about 1988. I can remember I paid £23 for them, and my mum was absolutely horrified that I’d spent money on something ripped. Thank you for reminding me of that!

      I’d love to have many items back too… oh well, I’ll just have to continue to buy vintage and pre-loved! x

  6. Deborah
    24 July 2023 / 2:58 pm

    Hi Catherine, happy birthday!

    Long time lurker on your great blog, but just had to comment when I saw your very young photos as they could have been mine! I had that dress you had at five, only mine was navy, same god-awful hair as well! The Lady Di hair and blouses didn’t do me any favours either. And I totally loved my 60s up flicked hair and wide hairband when I was at art school in the very early 90s! Happy days!

    • Catherine
      Author
      26 July 2023 / 2:13 pm

      Deborah I’m so glad you’ve left a comment, thank you so much!

      The bowl haircut was truly a thing of wonder, wasn’t it??!! I’m assuming you’re about the same age as me from what you’ve said… I’m now wondering if you too went through a Madonna stage with the lace fingerless gloves and tons of necklaces, LOL ;D

  7. Lise
    24 July 2023 / 12:55 pm

    Happy Birthday! Happy Blogiversary! Nice surprise to find a post. Although I am not a subscriber your blog was the first fashion blog I stumbled upon dealing with cold winter boredom after having moved to the Black Sea from South Africa in 2015 and I was immediately hooked on your fun and intelligent style of writing. Looking forward to more! Rgds, Lise

    • Catherine
      Author
      27 July 2023 / 12:30 am

      Oh Lise what a lovely comment – that makes me so happy, thank you! I feel like I’m back for good this time, I have a month’s worth of blog posts lined up and in the draft stage so I’m definitely not going to drop off the face of the Earth again…!

  8. 24 July 2023 / 7:03 am

    Happy birthday and blog anniversary! What a lovely throwback! When I think back I remember a lot of clothes that I wished I still had. It seems to me that clothing was so much more interesting decades ago. It’s all so basic now. Enjoy your day!

    • Catherine
      Author
      27 July 2023 / 1:17 pm

      Thank you Nancy – I often think back on pieces I wish I still had too…!!

  9. Liz P.
    24 July 2023 / 12:20 am

    Happy birthday, Catherine. It seems many things have changed over the past few years, so I was really happy to receive your blog email and glad to see it hasn’t fallen by the wayside. It always brings good cheer. On that note, happy 12th blog year! The little hair clips in the short haircut brings back memories. I never got my hair cut that short, but I had it chopped about an inch above my shoulders with some sort of Gwyneth type layering and used all those little bejeweled clips. Not long ago opened a small decorative box, and there they were! I can’t believe that was 25 years ago! I remember wearing adult sized “Gerber Baby” T-shirts under apron dresses at that time too, and also long black column skirts with a draw string waist. I even whipped up a long black sleeveless column dress with my sewing machine that year (1998.) The oldest items of clothing I have – you will laugh – are a few Izod polo shirts with that little alligator patch from 1981 (high school.) In fact I wore a green one yesterday, it just looks much tighter now but it’s long and I can get away with it. I found a few more on Thred Up. I wear them with skorts instead of shorts. Makes me look like an old dame who plays golf. (I don’t.) Your dropped waist dress with the leather flats is how I dressed in college. What a beautiful look. The end of The Age of Innocence, in a way, to be followed by Grunge. I sewed a few dropped waist dresses and short-sleeved summer suits for my first real career job. Bought very beautiful fabric at Watergate Fabrics in Washington DC in the late 1980s (imported Swiss cottons and real Liberty of London cotton lawn, and Irish linen.) It was ages ago!!!!! Thanks for the memories! Looking forward to your next blog post!

    • Catherine
      Author
      27 July 2023 / 1:20 pm

      Aww thank you Liz – I too am glad it hasn’t fallen by the wayside… the blogiversary post whipped my arse into gear, thank goodness!

      I can’t believe you found your hair clips, they must have brought back memories! I had several dropped waist dresses too, all sewn by my mum. But no Liberty fabrics though, lucky you!! <3

  10. Lynn
    23 July 2023 / 4:26 pm

    Happy birthday and blogiversary as well. That means cake *and* gin (or extra cake if you don’t do booze).

    “Was it merely because of the fashions at the time, or was I actually quite hopeless at dressing myself?”

    Hmmm. If we were all to play Bad Fashion Top Trumps, you may find your not so far off the mark. Mind you, maybe GoFugYourself has already got there.

    When we’re younger – gawd, even just typing that! 😀 – our money, sources, and opportunities are limited. Perhaps we’ve yet to pick up on what works best for our body and our self.

    With age comes wisdom – and wrinkles -but we’re still here. So raise a glass – or a cake fork – to Outfits of Nightmares Past and enjoy how far you’ve come.

    • Catherine
      Author
      27 July 2023 / 1:22 pm

      Thank you Lyn – yes we did extra cake (AND cupcakes AND apple crumble with custard AND Magnum ice creams AND sweets… it was a sugar fest)!!

      You’re right about wisdom coming with age… wrinkles too… but hey, let’s have fun while we’re doing it, yes?!! 😀 x

  11. Rona
    23 July 2023 / 2:12 pm

    What a fun traipse through(all of our!) fashion faux-pas through the decades, it gave me a good giggle! I thought you looked quite fetching in some and am VERY glad you’ve stopped shearing off your lovely locks. Happiest of birthdays and please do enjoy stuffing yourself with cake and ice cream. xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      27 July 2023 / 1:24 pm

      Rona thank you… I think that was actually the last time I had short-short hair – it may well be the VERY last time!bI had a giggle putting this together too, though I also cringed a lot LOL x

  12. 23 July 2023 / 1:31 pm

    Many happy returns, Catherine. Loved looking through your pics, happy memories are to treasure, especially when they make us smile. I have quite a few items which are very old in my wardrobe, not expensive things, more sentimental than anything – and I still wear some of them. Have a great birthday!
    Alison xx

    • 23 July 2023 / 1:56 pm

      Happy birthday darling. Hope it was good fun. Love seeing all your outfits, I’d have a ball going through all my photos!
      Well done in the blog anniversary too! Jacqui x

      • Catherine
        Author
        28 July 2023 / 12:44 pm

        Thank you Jacqui! 12 years sounds so long but it went so fast!! x

    • Catherine
      Author
      27 July 2023 / 1:26 pm

      Thanks Alison my lovely – I have a few sentimental items too, one being my Duran Duran tour t-shirt from seeing them at Wembley in 1983… there’s NO way I’d get in it now, but it might be the oldest thing I have!!

  13. Cate
    23 July 2023 / 11:49 am

    My wardrobe is mostly filled with jeans and casual tops but I’ve held on to a vintage magenta silk boatneck dress for more than 25 years. My favourite (and possibly biggest splurge ever) item is a pair of Oscar de la Renta shoes which I purchased in 2003. I don’t wear them often but can’t imagine ever parting with these beautiful shoes.

    Wishing you a very happy birthday!

    • Catherine
      Author
      28 July 2023 / 12:46 pm

      Cate that magenta dress sounds incredible…! Hold onto it won’t you, that AND the ODLR shoes, oh my <3

  14. 23 July 2023 / 11:41 am

    Happy birthday Catherine. I just received an email link to your blog after 5 years or so of missing it ‍♀️Good to catch up. My oldest item is a pair of Levi 501s now more patch than original denim which I have worn for 50 years! Happy that I’m the same size as I was at age 16, now 71. Hugs, Sarah aka Badassbabyboomer x

    • Catherine
      Author
      30 July 2023 / 1:07 pm

      Oh Sarah that’s so lovely to hear, thank you (though I don’t know why you haven’t been getting them for several years… maybe they were going into your Spam folder for a bit??)

      But WOW to being the same size at 71 as you were when you were 16 – that’s unheard of!!!! Wowsers <3

  15. Sarah Clarke
    23 July 2023 / 9:57 am

    Happy Birthday Catherine! Oldest things in my wardrobe (a couple of my mum’s 50’s and 60’s cocktail dresses) don’t fit me anymore but are too hard to give away. Great post, I always enjoy your blogs, whatever the subject. Have a great day from Sarah

    • Catherine
      Author
      30 July 2023 / 1:08 pm

      Thank you Sarah for those kind words! Oh I wouldn’t give those dresses away either, whether they fitted or not. Some things are just too precious, I know they would be to me if I had anything of my mum’s from the 50s or 60s (or even the 70s, my fave era)!!

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