What Women Wear during lockdown: Jan Carrington
Jan Carrington is a personal image consultant who has been running her own business for over 20 years. We met an event in London at the end of last year – Jan’s super-cool elegance immediately caught my eye – and bonded over a shared affinity for flat shoes and faff-free fashion. Before launching her consultancy business, Jan worked in training and development for global financial corporations, and travelled the world extensively. In her mid-40s she was offered a redundancy package at around the same time that her father died. ‘It was the first time anyone close to me had passed away. It made me realise that life is too short, it’s time to do something different’ she explains. ‘My background was all about connecting with people and building relationships and I’ve always loved clothes, so image consultancy was an ideal route.’ This midlife career change proved the perfect move for Jan and she has worked with clients on personal impact, image and branding, ever since. ‘We look at how to market their unique skills and talents, and use style and clothing as a means of communication. I make sure they’re remembered for the right reasons!’
Jan on personal style
Style for me is all about feeling authentic and comfortable. My mum tells me that I have always had very definite ideas about what I want to wear! When I’m moving around I walk swiftly and with a purpose so I love my trousers, brogues and trainers. Because I know what suits me, the clothes I wear make me feel uplifted and confident.
I like to be understated and minimal, I don’t like anything overt. That said, I do like a twist or a little bit of a surprise. I’m a bit mischievous, but I don’t always show it, so it’s nice to have that playful side coming through in my clothes. It’s usually one little thing, it might just be a particular pattern on a scarf or an accessory. With style I think you should be brave. With everything going on right now what’s the worst that could happen? Be prepared to get out of your comfort zone; just try it on – feel the fear and do it anyway.
These Massimo Dutti trousers (below) are my favourites, they have a beautiful weight to them and the huge turn-up on the hem adds flair. I love flat shoes with wide trousers, and often wear them with these Ecco trainers. And although I prefer muted tones, I love playing with colour and mixing opposing shades. I like the contrast of this snakeprint blouse from SET against the checked trousers. When it’s one colour palette head-to-toe, I use fabrics of different textures and weights to add interest.
How Jan is looking after herself right now – in body and mind
I’ve had cancer for two years, so because of that it’s already been about eight weeks in isolation for me. At the moment I’m concentrating on eating healthily, getting enough sleep, recuperating and healing. Because I’m in the vulnerable category, I’m not going out at all. Fortunately, we have a garden so I’ve been spending lots of time there; watching the birds, seeing spring come alive. It’s something I’ve never had much time to do before and it’s such a beautiful time of year. From a mental perspective, doing Reiki healing once a day, and having a distance Reiki session with a healer once a week really helps.
And I’m still working from home but doing virtual classes and meetings via Skype or Zoom, so I still want to feel professional and pulled together. I have to be disciplined, I can’t be in my PJ’s all day! I need structure so I’m getting up, getting breakfast and having lunch at a certain time every day. Making sure that I have a routine.
Recently I bought a few pieces online from Massimo Dutti and H&M, I want clothes that are comfortable but that still look stylish. When they arrived, I raided my wardrobe and found several items I’d completely forgotten about. Putting all these pieces together on a rail, I created several outfits and this has become my self-isolation wardrobe.
Coping and managing my cancer for two years now has put everything into perspective for me. Staying in is the best thing, at the moment. It’s been an interesting journey. And in a weird way I’ve taken lots of positives. You learn a lot about yourself, other people and about your own path when you’re going through it.
What to wear when working from home during lockdown:
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Pre-lockdown photography: Claire Pepper.
Hair & makeup: Louise Heywood. Louise does one-to-one makeup lessons in her south London studio for ‘women who like to keep it subtle’.