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I WON'T WEAR SLUDGE BROWN

A fashion and style blog for the over 40s covering body shapes, colour palettes, how to wear neutrals, style personality and capsule wardrobes. Come on in!

11.15.2018

A Few Notes On Building A Capsule Wardrobe

This post contains affiliate links.

I've been asked a few times to talk about the elusive capsule wardrobe. What even is that? I guess it means different things to different people. A couple of readers tell me often that they're evangelical about having a certain number of jeans, tops, jackets etc. Wow, I'm always in awe, I have visions of these fabulous colour co-ordinated open wardrobes that you seen on Pinterest. Me? Nah, I like a little bit more choice.



11.11.2018

An Answer To My Creaky Joints?? Yep Getting Old Sucks!

This is a sponsored post but no affiliate links are used. All comments are my own and I was asked to write an honest review. I like that, it shows confidence in the product!

It hit me recently that there are more people that are younger than me in the world, than older. Wow. That hurts! Yep, I don't handle this age thing very well.

See I told you, look at this graph. There are only 29% of people that are older than me (weeps into her tea). Oh to be 3 years old again.


11.06.2018

Doing Casual At Home Dressing Without Frightening The Postman

This post contains affiliate links. 

Bit of a risky one this as I'm talking leggings, come on now, fess up, I'll bet you have a pair tucked away in the back of your drawers somewhere. May be even two pairs 😲 Like Monopoly Boards aren't they, every household has a pair of leggings.

Thing is, sometimes I get up in a morning and all I want to do is wear something totally cosy. My pyjamas for example. But I don't really do casual very well. Smart casual, yes, that's easy. Casual-casual, I just can't pull it off. Never knowingly underdressed, it's not really in my nature.

Ath-Leisure, tried that one, look as if I'm about to work out with Patsy and Edina. Looser jeans aka boyfriend cut...how does anyone cope with the voluminous fabric around the crotch area? Harem pants ditto.

So leggings it is. Except I have a pet hate for black leggings, the ones that Primark sell by the bucket load. A little bit too closely related to 80 denier tights!! I need something with a bit of texture and as if by magic, I spotted these in M&S. Which is rather good news as my non-smart trouser drawer has somewhat depleted.


Jumper - Next
Leggings - Marks & Spencer
Traines - Vionic Shoes

11.03.2018

Moving House, Buying Less, Lashes & Brows & Clothing Rails (yep, it's a busy post)

This blog post does not contain affiliate links. Gifted items are disclosed.

Moving On


We moved house a few weeks ago, the kids are all grown up (one is in London, the other will be going to Uni next year) so we upsized as you do. 🙈 It wasn't intentional, well not on my part anyway, we just fancied a change and there was very little to choose from. We put our old house up for sale back in March, had 4 viewings and 4 offers. Yas!!! We chose the people who we thought would be the least complicated (in terms of chain, not character). They pushed for an early exchange and completion so much so that I was left breathless, chasing my tail and running around Cheshire viewing houses that bore little resemblance to our wish list. Got to exchange day and the blighters dropped out! That's fickle footballers for you (I'm not naming any names but.....Championship League). Left us with a rather hefty lawyer's bill for what? Nowt!

8.30.2018

An Alternative Approach To Weeding Your Wardrobe

This post does not contain affiliate links.

How the devil are you? Long time no speak and all. My blogging brain simply withered and died back in June, a bit like the pot plants in the back garden. But a bit of R&R and I feel ready to go again.



And to kick off, here's an idea that I came up with whilst travelling over the top of the Peak District where radio stations are somewhat limited. It was either The Vinyl Years on High Peak Radio or The History of The Beard on Radio 4. I'll pass thanks.

6.01.2018

Yoga Wear Is Not Just For Yoga

*This post contains affiliate links and a gifted item*

One of the most worn items in my summer wardrobe is a jumpsuit from Baukjen that I bought several years ago. It's both comfortable and versatile. So when Asquith asked if I would like to choose something from their current range, it was a no-brainer really. Except Asquith is all about the yoga. And activewear. I don't do yoga so yeah call me a fraud but I chose their pebble jumpsuit because as much as I'm a partial to a bit of loungewear (and they do it so well), I love this jumpsuit to wear outside of the yoga studio.


Jumpsuit - Asquith
Jacket - Next (old)
Sandals - ASOS (old)
Bag - Boden (old)
5.22.2018

Because We All Need A Dependable Dress

*This post contains affiliate links and a gifted item*

You know, one of those dresses that you can always rely on and reach for time after time. One that seems to work for lots of different occasions. And more importantly, one that you enjoy wearing and feel good in.

This is one of those! It's the other gifted dress from Sosandar.

Dress - Sosandar
Shoes - Next (similar)
Bag - Aspinal of London

5.17.2018

A Classic Shape Dress That's Had A Makeover & More Comfy Shoes

This post contains affiliate links and gifted items.

You need a back story to this post....

A few weeks ago, the husband dragged me to an Investors Show in London. ON A SATURDAY. What's all that about? I guess the exhibitors are too busy making money during the week so weekend it is. As we pitched up, I realised it was going to be a very long day. Stockbrokers, Venture Capitalists, Mining Companies. Urgh!

But I spied with my little eye, amongst a sea of suited and booted men, a little ray of sunshine. A stand with ladies clothes and shoes. Oooookay, this needs investigating further.

It was a brand that I'd come across before on Instagram but didn't really know much about it. Sosandar. Have you heard of it? So, I got chatting to co-founder, Julie and Susie, the social media manager, turns out their offices are just down the road from me. Julie explained that the brand is aimed at women who have grown out of Top Shop but still want to look current. So there will always be an element of trend but each piece is made in such a way that it will appeal to the real woman. For example, sleeves. You'll always find some dresses with sleeves because hey, we need a little sleeve coverage from time to time. And there are no nasty surprises. We've all done it haven't we, ordered something that looks flippin fantastic from the front and when it arrives, it's backless almost to the point of showing bottom cleavage. As Julie said herself, 'you can wear a bra with all of our designs.'

I was thrilled to be sent a couple of dresses to try out for myself, although looking at the samples that they had taken to the trade show, I knew then, that this is a brand that I will be buying from in the future.

So let's look at the dress first of all.

Green Floral Print Shirt Dress £69



5.16.2018

Holiday Day Dresses, When A Beach Cover-Up Just Won't Do

This post contains affiliate links.

I did that thing again today where you pop in to Marks & Spencer for a bag of carrots and come out with everything but. That but being three daytime holiday dresses. Hubby and I are likely to be going to Portugal in June for a few days and whilst I have several (nay many) options for evening wear, my day wear is all a bit tired. Sure, I have lots of Kaftans and cover-ups which are more than adequate for lounging (read that as lolloping) around in the Caribbean. The hotels are slightly less formal during the day and we tend to eat at the outside restaurants. But I need something a little less kaftanified for breakfast and lunch in the Portuguese hotel.

So, as I was meandering my way to the food hall (it's impossible to walk in a straight direction in M&S isn't it?), I had a quick look at their beach dresses and was pretty impressed. They've really upped their game so I thought I'd share them with you along with a few body shape tips. Now given the fact that I was there for no more than 4 minutes, it's safe to say that it was more of a sweep than a carefully considered purchase but I picked up three to try on at home.

First thing to say is how bloomin cheap? I didn't look at the prices and was surprised that the most expensive item was £19.50.

Forgive the photos as this is me doing a quick try-on session back home. Anyone else end up with bed-dump? Mind you, forgive their photos as well, it's safe to say that the dresses are far nicer than they look online.

Flippy Beach Dress £15


5.10.2018

Finding The Perfect White T-Shirt

This post contains affiliate links

Ho hum. Let's skip over the fact that I've been AWOL. I could provide a list of excuses as long as my arm but we'll just sum it up in one word. TIME. Anyone else seem to be short of it at the moment?

I started researching and writing this post weeks ago and I fully intended to order lots of white t-shirts so that we could discuss the colour and cut of each one but quite honestly, that's not going to happen in the foreseeable future and I really don't think you want me to talk about t-shirts in December. So, I'll share a few tips that I've picked up over the years and you can do the trying on yourselves. Deal?


4.20.2018

Comfy Shoes (Not Something I Thought That I'd Ever Write)

This post contains affiliate links and a gifted item 

As much as my mum had the most amazing sense of style from her colour choices right down to her accessories, shoes were a different matter. I used to look at her footwear in despair and can still hear her now, "I don't care Donna, I need to be comfortable." I mean we are talking practical Jesus sandals in the summer and Clod-hopper style ankle boots in winter. Just no. Why ruin a good outfit with sensible sandals? It was foreign to me.

And then I turned 50 and got it. The trainer has been the ruin of me. I open my cupboard, ignore all the lovely mid-heels that I used to wear on a daily basis and dive right to the back for a pair of trainers. For me, that was the defining moment that I realised I no longer qualify for the 40-49 age category in surveys. Nope. I've been ceremoniously dumped in the 50+ category. God. Sensible shoes, warm vests and a tissue stuffed up the sleeve of my cardi. And an endless supply of Murray Mints except in my case it's Maynards' Sports Mix. That's what I have to look forward to.

So yeah, it's comfortable shoes 90% of the time. I'll still wear a heel when I go out-out though.

You may have seen the last post about a brand that I was introduced to, Vionic. Totally smitten with them I am. They're on ration wear at the moment because I've worn them almost every day. Anyway, I thought we could have a look at some cheaper price points today and what makes a shoe comfortable.

I pulled a few pairs out of my wardrobe that aren't boots (hopefully they've been banished until at least October) but not full-on summer shoes either. So, appropriate spring footwear. Because although we may be in flip-flops right now, you can bet your last dollar that the weather will be back to normal next week!


4.12.2018

Tan Outfit Inspiration & Vionic Shoes

*These shoes were sent to me in exchange for a review. Lucky girl I know! This post contains affiliate links.

If you visited my home, it wouldn't take you long to work out that I love shoes. They are everywhere. In fact I discovered eight pairs tucked away in a spare room wardrobe the other day. Imagine my delight. That same feeling when you find a tenner down the back of a sofa.

Thing is, I'm not always practical when it comes to footwear. If I love a pair of shoes, by god, I'm going to squeeze my trotters in to them regardless of the size. Yup Cinderella's sister I am. I bought a pair of ankle boots about 18 months ago that were a size and a half too small and spent a fair few weeks bedding them in. A pair of thick socks and a daily blast of the hairdryer seemed to help. Those boots are now pretty comfortable but I wouldn't recommend it.

Over the last few weeks, there have been a few occasions where comfy shoes have been necessary. Take last Saturday. Hubby and I bobbed down to Kent for the football. We tend to do the train into London and then tube/train out depending on the venue. Invariably it means lots of walking between stations and sometimes to the ground. I mean it's a bit embarrassing getting in a cab and being driven a couple of hundred yards to the stadium isn't it? Yes Ebbsfleet, I'm looking at you. Cost us £7.50 that journey. Trainers are a no-go in most boardrooms and looking through my shoe collection, I realised that comfy shoes are very thin on the ground.

And then as if by magic, I received an email asking if I would like to review a pair of Vionic shoes, a brand I had never heard of before. They got me at 'style doesn't have to hurt'. I must be getting old because suddenly those leopard print shoes that look great and maketh the outfit, suddenly didn't seem so appealing anymore.

Vionic asked me to choose any style of shoe to review so as my body is still firmly planted in early spring, I went for a backless loafer in tan. I mean you can't get any more classic than that can you? Timeless I tell you, timeless. I know regular readers will agree that these are very much my style. Blazer, white jeans, loafers, done! Don't you just love white and tan together? And don't worry about matching shoes and bag, tan goes really well with navy, black, red and leopard print to name but a few colours. Pretty versatile then, so there's no need to buy a new bag.

They're called Adeline, come in tan, navy and black and are £85.

I've teamed them with white jeans and a grey loose turtle neck here. I mean I'd rather not be wearing a turtle neck in April but needs must I suppose. Add a tan belt (it's more of a brown-tan than tan-tan but that doesn't matter) and leopard print bag.

Jumper - Uniqlo (old)
Jeans - ASOS
Belt - Diesel
Shoes - Vionic
Bag - Boden (old)

4.08.2018

Let's Start At The Very Beginning

*This post contains affiliate links 

Imagine if you lost all of your clothes and had to start again. Terrifying thought I know. For the purpose of this exercise I'll give you a starter pack of twelve items. Pants, socks and bras are gratuitous. So what would you choose? Would you buy replacements for items that you already have? Or would you take advantage and reinvent yourself? I think the answers to these questions says a lot about you. If you're very much a yes to the first question then you obviously feel very confident in your existing style and no doubt enjoy your wardrobe.

If it's a no to the first question, then are you still searching for your style? Do you sometimes struggle to put an outfit together?  Do you have lots of items in your wardrobe but they only go with one or two things. Do you buy items that are not practical for your lifestyle? Chances are, you'll take advantage of reinventing yourself.

Just a theory I have, not backed by science or anything.

Anyway, I did this exercise myself and was surprised to note that all twelve pieces are replicas of everything that I already have. As my Dad would say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Here is my starter pack:


1. A Plain White Shirt


I have several white shirts but one firm favourite. It's an old one that I pinched from the hubby about 5 years ago. He asks for it back every time I wear it. Obviously jealous that I wear it so well 😜 So a like-for-like replacement would have to be:

- slightly oversized but not voluminous because I like to wear them under a blazer ( a man's slim fit seems to fit the bill)
- minimal creasing
- a collar that isn't too tall (because no one wants to see grubby make-up stains)
- must lie flat across the bust without any gaping

Mine  is an old Charles Tyrwhitt shirt. It's taken me years to wean the hubby off his beloved Hugo Boss because their shirts are pretty rubbish. Have you ever tried to iron one? God. Charles Tyrwhitt are 100% cotton and 100% better than Hugo Boss (in my humble opinion).

Brilliant for layering under knitwear and blazers.


3.28.2018

A Mega Long Post About Social Media (Instagram), Fast Fashion, The Blog & Transparency

I wasn't sure how to start this post after the response to the last one;

Oh lordy?
Totally gobsmacked?
Blown away?
Golly gosh?

So we'll stick with flippin Nora (with the emphasis on FLIPPIN - yep you're going to go back there and read it again aren't you with that emphasis.... FLIPPIN Nora), that sums up how I feel quite nicely.

Just thank you, thank you, thank you so much for all of your comments and emails and direct messages xx

I mean, there was no skulking out of the back door for me was there? If you don't know what I'm talking about, you might want to read this post. Because I choose not to follow the fashion band wagon, I was feeling somewhat irrelevant and wondered who on earth could be interested in reading what I had to say.


3.23.2018

I Almost Pulled The Plug On My Blog This Week

It's been creeping up on me for a while but I'm a little bit over blogs. I don't read any so why would someone want to read mine? The blogging world in general seems to be tarnished, bloggers are dropped in to the bucket with traffic wardens, timeshare sales people and the tax man and it's not something I want to be part of anymore. Vilification seems to be the order of the day, you only have to read threads on parenting sites to see this. And I'm merely an amoeba in a gigantic ocean.



3.09.2018

Red White & Blue

I'm an absolute sucker for a bit of red, white and blue. There's lots of it around at the moment although I cobbled this outfit together from my wardrobe.


Jacket - FreePeople
Spot shirt - Next (old) similar here and here
Trousers - Marks & Spencer (old) similar here and here
Shoes - Next
Bag - Coach (old) similar here

3.06.2018

Wedding Dresses For The Mature Bride & The Best Bridal Book Ever Written

Oh golly gosh, where do I start with this one? Kaleidoscope asked if I'd like to have a look at at their new bridal range, this was a while ago now and I didn't really know what to expect. Okay, I've been meaning to do a bridal post for years, maybe this will force my hand. So yes I said, I'd love to have a look.

Fast forward a few weeks down the line and 6 huge boxes delivered to my front door. They'd only gone and sent the whole range! I didn't know whether to jump up and down in glee (I mean, who doesn't like a bit of a dressing up session) or curl up in a corner and cry (how can I put myself out there on the internet in a wedding dress? I'm 51 for goodness sake). I needn't have worried, as soon as I opened the first box, I realised that these dresses have been designed for the 45+ woman. That's not to say that a younger girl wouldn't want to wear them, in fact my 22 year old daughter was eager to give them a whirl. Gerroff they're mine. Well, until I send them back that is.

Ooooh I was like Bruce Forsyth opening the boxes; you're my favourite, no you're my favourite. What struck me was the quality and exquisite design of each dress. Quite honestly, they're stunning and as I write this, I still haven't decided which is my favourite, I promise to make a decision before the end of this post. I asked for size 12s in each of the dresses, there's nothing worse than an overstuffed sausage of a wedding dress is there?

So, let's have a look at them.

The Zinnia Peplum Bridal Dress £199


The Zinnia Peplum Bridal Dress £199
3.04.2018

A Scoot Around Next And My Favourite Spring Pieces

I felt as if I was emerging from a cocoon this morning when I ventured out. I mean let's not get excited or anything, it was still only 2.5 degrees but it felt positively spring-like. I've loved looking at all of the snow pictures over on Instagram but in reality it sucks doesn't it. The wind blew a 3ft snow drift right outside the front door and every time someone opened it, a shovel was needed to throw the darn stuff back outside. Coupled with the fact that the bay trees kept blowing over and now there's wet, slushy soil everywhere. **Tip: don't try to sweep up slushy soil, you'll make a worse mess. 😫 And, I can't tell you how many times I ran outside to retrieve the garden chairs from the hedges, they were literally skating across the patio. Nope not fun at all. Gosh us Brits like to moan about the weather don't we?

Anyways......let's talk about spring. I've had a good old browse in Next to bring you my picks for the season and I CANNOT WAIT TO WEAR THEM.

Apologies for the grainy photo, there was no way I was walking through the dirt at the front door in new shoes!!


2.28.2018

Caring For Your Underwear

I guess I'm a bit middle of the road when it comes to caring for my smalls. I don't throw them in the washing machine on a 60 degree cycle with jeans and towels but I don't hand wash them either. In fact hand washing is my bug bear, give me a toilet to clean any day. It's enough to put me in a bad mood that lasts all day, when I'm forced to wash the accumulation of jumpers (think small mountain). I swear most of them would survive a quick blast in the washing machine. 

Anyway, back to the smalls. 

Sienna  Lace Bra - Fantasie Lingerie
 
I have some really pretty underwear as well as the every day functional stuff and it's about time that I started looking after it. So research I have done (also aided by the very knowledgeable ladies over on TEAM TOMM which is an amazing community group that share household tips - who even knew that sunlight gets rid of curry stains!). 

First up; why does white underwear look grey after a while? This doesn't really apply to me as I don't tend to wear white. I don't get it? You can see a white bra under a white shirt and I certainly wouldn't wear it under black. So when do you wear it? I tend to stick to nude shades. But if white's your thing then you may be interested in this:

Manufacturers of man-made fabrics use 'optical brighteners'. These are chemical beads that stick to fabric and reflect the light, making whites (which are really quite grey) look white. The process of washing removes the brighteners and once they've gone, the true 'grey' of the fabric is what is left. And of course, the more we wash, the worse it gets. So, what can we do? Well quite a lot actually and this goes for any colour of underwear.

Marianna - Fantasie Lingerie

1. Hand wash, hand wash, hand wash. Urgh!!! Rigby & Peller, the font of all bra knowledge are quite adamant that this is what we should be doing. But it doesn't have to be hard work. They suggest filling the sink with cold water, dropping in a small amount of delicate washing powder (ie not biological), adding your smalls and gently swirl. Then leave to soak for 10 minutes. A quick rinse and leave to dry naturally. This means not on a radiator or in the tumble dryer. 

**Gossip** Did you know that Rigby & Peller are no longer the Queen's brassiere supplier. They recently lost their royal warrant after former owner of R&P published her autobiography, Storm In A D-Cup and talked about visiting HRH. OMG, is nothing sacred? I really don't want to think about my beloved Queen having a bra fitting!!

2. Use cold water, certainly nothing higher than 30 degrees celsius.

3. Always use gentle washing detergent that lathers without the need for rubbing (remember those little optical brightening beads that you're damaging!!).  The old fashioned Perla Soap Bar would be ideal if you can get your hands on it. I'm reliably informed that it's being produced again. 

4. Use a towel to absorb the excess water and then lie flat to dry.  Or use a salad spinner!!

5. Don't iron your bra's and pants - do people really do that? 😳 The heat will damage the delicate fibres and rot the elastane.

6. As much as you may be tempted, never use bleach as it breaks the fibres.

7. To revive white underwear, try soaking in Glow White (normally used for net curtains) for 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a couple of teaspoons of distilled white vinegar diluted in water, again leave to soak for 20 minutes before rinsing well (no one wants to smell like a bag of chips). Or if you're right out of Glow White and vinegar, try denture tablets. Apparently, they work! I'll leave that one with you. 

8. Another tip is when washing any colour underwear for the first time, follow up with a 10 minute soak in white vinegar and then wash again which will preserve the colour for longer. 

9. If the straps of the bra are looking grey, try mixing a paste out of baking soda. Rub in to the straps and rinse with cold water. And if they're a little bit bobbly, use a lint remover or defuzzer.

10. So if you still can't be bothered to hand wash your smalls, you could always wash them in the shower (I'm A 'jungle' Celebrity style). It's up to you whether you wear them at the same time. Don't use Radox shower gel though, take an appropriate laundry detergent in with you (this is when Perla Soap Bars come in to their own because they're 50% coconut milk, great for the old bod. 

Rebecca Lace - Fantasie Lingerie

11. Ok, you've discounted hand washing and shower washing so the only thing left is the old machine wash. Low temperature, gentle programme and placed in a laundry bag. It's also suggested that you fasten the bras to prevent them from tangling. around each other. Separate colours - obvs! And use a detergent for delicate fabric, preferably alcohol-free (apparently alcohol dries out the elastic). 

12. Or there is a 4th option, one that Rigby and Peller recommends. And that is....to wash your bras less frequently (every 2-3 washes). Ooooh I'm not sure how I feel about that one! They also suggest rotating your bras as the elastic needs time to return to it's shape.  Obviously you're pants will need washing more frequently!! Let's move on.

13. Never tumble dry, I repeat, never tumble dry (unless it's in a salad spinner). The heat is ruthless. It ruins the fabric, fades colours and causes shrinkage. 

14. Storage. Stack your bras (known as spooning) rather than folding each one in on itself. You could also hang them but who has the room for that!


15. And finally when you're travelling, don't fold your bras. Spoon them (as above) and stuff the bottom one with socks in each cup. Alternatively you could invest in special underwear travel bags. 

The Brags & Panty Paks - The Brag Company

These excite me more than they should! I really need to get out more. 

Go on, tell me you knew all of this already and I've wasted my time. Any other tips for caring for your underwear, please feel free to share xx






I am a retailer's dream, I swear. Fantasie Lingerie have gifted me some of the above pieces but since working with them, I've been so impressed with the quality, fit and design that I've bought items for myself. You can order direct from the website (here) or John Lewis has a nice selection (here)














2.13.2018

Getting Spring Ready With A Few Purchases

It's snowing here again. It's not even the good stuff, wet soggy excuse of a snow shower. So why would I even contemplate writing about spring when I'm wearing the same half a dozen jumpers on rotation?

Because the lighter nights are just around the corner. It's not that long until we do that funny thing with the clocks - move them on forward/backwards an hour - I haven't a clue, I just go with the flow (or what my iPhone tells me). And because the weather will creep un on us, we'll wake up one Sunday morning and it will be glorious which will make me very happy. So, it's nice to plan forward and dream a little. 

I've made a few purchases over the last few weeks in anticipation, some you may have already seen. Nothing ground breaking but they will freshen up my staples of trousers, coated leggings and jackets.