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!


Happy New Year

I would like to wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2014. Thank you so much for dropping by and your very kind comments.

There's lots planned for the blog in 2014 so I hope you will continue to visit now and again.

Enjoy your evening, love to hear what you're getting up to. We're just off out for a little French cuisine.

Donna x

Skimlinks Test

Sales Swag

Well I hope everyone had a magical Christmas. It's been a busy one here in the Sludge household. Far too much food, even more alcohol and lots of fun resulting in me grinding to a halt at 8.30pm last night. Literally, I couldn't move. Safe to say, it's salad and water all day today ready for round 2 tomorrow evening.

So, I did very well on the present front. I must have been a very good girl this year! Perfume, clothes, wellies, the usual (well not the wellies but I did need them). My very favourite pressy though was the Hunter umbrella - absolutely love it.

The sales started very early which was particularly distracting as I was trying to plan the Xmas food and drinks shop at the same time. I'm not a great end of year sales shopper - the thought of having to share personal space with others who are invariably suffering from seasonal coughs and colds really doesn't do it for me. So, the majority of my haul has come via the more palatable internet.

First of all the ones that got away.

I bobbed a Massimo Dutti antique brown bag into my shopping bag on Boxing Day morning, went for a wee and when I got back someone had stolen it right from under my nose. I can't even show you a picture of the wretched thing but I shall be checking back everyday for the next month in case someone returns it. I remain hopeful.

My second sad failure happened at Hush on-line and is totally my fault. Hubby bought me the Freya Shirt Dress (a left over from my birthday list). He did good! Sadly it's huge so has to go back. Checking the website, I noticed that the drop waist jersey dress had come back into stock in my size! And even better, there was a 20% discount on Boxing Day. Whoop Whoop! Again, I popped it into my shopping bag but instead of checking out, I waited. Why, I don't know. Distress no. 2 ensued later that day when I came to check out and once more it had gone!!! I'm on the waiting list for the next delivery! I absolutely adore this dress and wouldn't style it any differently to the model - it has my name written all over.

The moral of this story is check out before you go for a wee or whatever else you need to do.

And so on to the successes.

Mango did good this year. I placed an order a few days before Xmas and it was delivered today.

Having identified 3 items and missing out on the H&M Isabel Marant collaboration, I am delighted to take ownership of this little number. It's not dissimilar to the IM one in style. I thought it might work in the summer too but perhaps at my age looks better with thick opaques and shoe boots. I'll try to make it work for our Easter hols so haven't ruled it out just yet.

It's sold out now but similar here.

This blazer is an absolute steal at £19.99, yes I said £19.99. It fits like a dream, finishing shorter than a conventional one. I ordered the black and the beige and will keep them both. The dip at the front is particularly flattering as it draws the eye down and away from the tummy (my tummy!). It's also nipped in at the waist, again very flattering. I will be semi-retiring my beloved Burberry black blazer for a while. I'm just a little fed up with it at the moment and I'll replace it with the Mango one.

The beige will be great to wear with jeans and a white shirt come spring.

Love this metallic polka-dot knit t-shirt. It really isn't a t-shirt more of a thinnish knit with a slightly wider neck which definitely suits my body shape. It will be a little hard worker in the wardrobe.

I did bob into Next this morning to return something, totally forgetting that they don't do returns over the sale period. It would have been rude to walk out without anything so I bagged these boots which I had my eye on last week, reduced from £70 to £35.

I need a new pair of boots like a thorn in the bum and haven't a clue when and where I'll wear them but hey, they're a neutral light grey colour (tick) and have a heel (tick) so they will do nicely thank you very much. Sorry no link but they had several pairs left in the branch I went into (Manchester, Arndale Centre)

Staying with Next, this is not a top I would normally choose but it's toasty warm without adding bulk. It's quite a relaxed fit and covers the bum so is ideal to wear with my brown pleather leggings. I may be needing warmth next week as a cheeky trip away is on the cards.

Ok a bit of a punt this one from Whistles. Forest green is suppose to be in my colour palette. I have only ever bought one thing in this colour, a shirt from Zara. I think it suits, it just doesn't do it for me. That said, I love this dress so it's on it's way to me. Can't promise I'll keep it.

Don't you just love how Whistles colour co-ordinate their sale stuff - this attention to detail appeals to my OCD tendencies (although the green dress was slightly out of sync, in with the navy but I can forgive that)!

The Mia Cashmere Boxy sweater is a great addition to the capsule wardrobe (whatever that means). I've gone for the burgundy although the camel would probably be more sensible looking towards spring.

I adore these Whistles boots, what's not to love. The colour, the heel, the suede detail. But A) I don't need boots and B) £20 off isn't really a bargain. Let's see if they are reduced again in January. Had they been in a stone colour I would not have hesitated after seeing those gorgeous ones over in Mint Velvet earlier in the season. I am in the market for stone boots, there's an exception to every rule - hohum back to the drawing board.

And that's it for now. I'm kind of bored of A/W 13 now and looking forward to seeing what is out there in the spring.

I am such a bad blogger, I keep forgetting the photos of my outfits so here is a selection from Christmas Day.

On the way over to the family. We saw snow....

It's probably the highest point in the Peak District - wild it is up there, I say wild.

Yes, I wore a dress for the first time ever on Christmas Day - only because I couldn't face wearing a tight waistband. Have a look below and you will see what I mean.

Dress is from ASOS (current season).

Me, daughter and mum-in-law

And our lunch (beef, two turkeys and pork)....my MIL doesn't do small portions. Mr Sludge is chief carver.

How have you all done with the sales shopping? Any bargains I need to know about? Do tell.

Until next time.

Donna x


Christmas Stockings??

Actually, more chunky monkeys!

Well I'm sure I'm not the only one to thank The Lord that coloured tights/stockings/hold ups are not a must have item this year. Oh dear, I can remember wearing bright orange ones with a black tube skirt, black top and orange plastic belt in the 80s (very early 80s) and boy did I think I looked cool. Errrr no.

These days I stick to just a few colours - black charcoal, brown, nude and beige. Boring yes, but nice and neutral just as I like them. Actually if I'm honest, I don't wear them that much as my preference is jeans and trousers. But sometimes, needs must and sometimes I just need to ring the changes.

The return of the brogue probably necessitates wearing chunkier hosiery with skirts as does the long boot. I thought these were suppose to be making a massive return this year but we still seem to be favouring the ankle boot.

Having legs bordering on skinny (this is not a good thing by the way - I break out in hives shopping for long boots), I would NEVER wear a denier less than 80 in black. I can't tell you how bad a sheer pair of dark tights look on my legs - think 'man' in hosiery and you can conjure up the image. It's not good is it. I can just about get away with a sheer nude.

Actually, ladies with skinny legs or tall, lean frames can, if they are clever use tights to their advantage. A good pair of ribbed or textured ones will break up the length and add a little thickness around the leg which balances out the body proportions. So for all you runner beans try it and be prepared to be surprised!

My very favourite winter tights are by Falke. They cost around £30 so don't break the bank, stay snug to the leg all day ie. no baggy knees and last for ages.

Tip: try TK Maxx at the beginning of the winter season. I've been lucky enough to pick up some great Falke tights for less than a tenner. They don't seem to do them online.

So let's see what the High Street and the internet have to offer this year (no brights please)

Love these from Luxury Legs. I can't think how I would style the Ecru with my current dresses but I really like the look. An excuse to buy a new dress or perhaps a leather skirt hmmmmmm. I think some careful styling is necessary - bandage legs aren't the most flattering. Or just stick to the black. These are actually quite clever as the thickness is good to help our skinny ladies but the tramlines are also good for adding height to smaller ladies frames too (working the verticals).

Moving swiftly over to Falke, these soft merino tights are beautiful. There will I'm sure be no bulk around the top which is just awful if wearing a tight dress. Maybe slightly too plain for me given what I said above but I think most ladies could wear these very easily.

From Next, a plait pattern but only in black. Shame they don't come in charcoal

But these do...a delicate herringbone pattern

Wearing a slightly different tone can also break up a long, lean column. So a totally black outfit can make you look even taller (great for petites). However replacing black tights with grey, breaks up the runner bean look!

Very few words needed for these Woolford ones - gorgeous! Can be dressed up with a little shift dress and heels. Perfecto!

Love the chocolate brown ones from Castaluna

Ok, not the most fashion forward picture but actually these Tesco leggings used as tights with boots would look great. Erm, do people really wear leggings like this? Tell me no.

And that's your lot.

Just received an ASOS delivery which I had to reorder yesterday to take advantage of the 25% flash sale that Joanna at Poppy's Style mentioned. Trouble is, the dresses are huge so I'm going to end up sending them all back. Another trip to the post office!

We had another busy weekend where my feet didn't touch the ground - I paid for it yesterday and today.

The gilet was bought from M&S a few weeks ago. I always feel huge in fur so both top and bottom have to be snug fitting. I don't actually look as big as this in real life - darned 2D pictures! Saturday night was party night at a fab little restaurant called The Yard in Alderley Edge. We took the whole place over for the evening. I felt distinctly under dressed in my Zara jumpsuit (most of the girls had their party dresses on and looked fab) but I was very comfortable. It's a tricky one to style as it's quite voluminous on top due to the bat wing sleeves so I kept it very simple with navy and black wedge ankle boots and dark accessories.

And Sunday we finally got to visit the Xmas markets in Manchester. They were even bigger and better this year. First stop was a glass of Prosecco of course followed by a simply delicious strawberry cider. I dressed for warmth and boy was it warm (14.5 degrees apparently).

And I'm still trying to work out if the family deliberately colour co-ordinated their outfits!!

Not sure I'll squeeze another post in before the big man comes next week so I hope you have a fantastic Christmas. See you on the other side.

Donna x

I won!

A few weeks ago, Avril at School Gate Style ran a competition in association with Kaleidoscope. Now I've vaguely heard of this company but can't say I've ever looked at the online shop. The idea was that Avril chose an outfit from Kaleidoscope and entrants had to add one item to finish the look. I was rather taken with the zebra loafers that Avril used, and they prompted me to take a look online. Anyway, I chose a long cardigan which complemented the model's colouring and City Chic look. Guess what, I WON! £200 of Kaleidoscope vouchers.

Here is the winning look...

I think the target market is probably aimed at the more mature lady and if you remember my style personality post here, I also think the lady they have in mind is a Classic, way beyond my comfort zone. That said, I was still really surprised at what was on offer. We're not talking high fashion here, but there are some excellent wardrobe staples to be had.

So this is my haul....

1. Fiorelli Large Hobo Bag

Slightly more mustard-y than in the photo. It reminds me of the antique brown one on the Massimo Dutti website last season that wasn't actually for sale (work that one out)! Obviously not leather for this price but wow, I'm really pleased with it. It's a great size and holds it's shape but doesn't look too structured. I can see lots of use in the summer with white, navy and black. A great holiday bag too. This was a last minute decision as something I had chosen sold out so I was asked to choose something else. And, I'm so pleased I did. Was £65, now £35

2. Colour block sweater

I took a punt with this navy and white summer sweater, I knew it would work either really well or look like poo on me as it is very bold! Luckily it's the former. It looks great teamed with white skinnies. I'm not sure the wider leg crops that the model is wearing do it justice although I totally get that she has been styled this way to appeal to a more mature shopper. I pulled out the summer footwear for a try-on session. It felt strange being back in sandals again and reminded me that my toe nails are vile and need attention but my white flat toe posts are ideal. The yellow Hobo bag above completes the outfit. Can't wait to wear it in 6 months!! Was £35, now £17

3. Tweed Fringe Detailed Jacket

A lightweight longer length jacket verging on coatigan territory. The colours are exactly as you can see in the photo, a hint of blue coming through, perfectly muted for my colouring. So far I've have only styled it one way - (see my photos below). My preference is to style it in a much more casual way than the model to keep it current. I think it will work well with double denim, BF jeans and shirt. Let's face it, it's a really easy wear piece of clothing and I'm sure come spring I will wear it to death. Only problem is, my 18 year old has her eye on it. We shall see! Was £85, now £42.50

4. Knitted Tunic Sweater

The colour should be perfect for me, I like the loose fit - it's similar to a Cos one I bought a while ago. The covered buttons down the back are fab and the sheer trim panel is that little bit different but it's not working!! In my head, I knew how I would style it (I have a pair of fab brown leather-look jeggings and gingery coloured heeled ankle boots) but reality is a very different matter. It's rather wide and a tad too long. Actually the length bothers me more than the width so I'm going to ask if I can swap for a smaller size in the hope it comes up shorter (can you do that with a competition win?). Was £45, now £39

p.s. I am pleased to report back that since writing this, I have MADE the top work by wearing with leggings as oppose to jeans or skinnies - for some reason, it works much better.

5. Short Sleeve Jersey Top

Now, this is a little beauty. How can a fairly plain top bring so much joy? I ordered ivory but I'm tempted to get the blue too (there's also bright purple). It's slightly looser at the top but fits snug at the bottom - you can just see the hemline band. Personally I think it looks more current pulled up slightly so it finishes on the hips. The material is excellent quality, a silky jersey feel. I searched everywhere for something like this to wear with a maxi skirt in the summer. And now I have found it! I want to try it with the boyfriend jeans, the fitted bottom should work well. Cross fingers they bring it out in more colour ways - nude would be great! £19 (it's not in the sale but a great price for the quality)

6. Platform Shoe Boot

I have a gorgeous pair of black suede shoe boots that I bought from Daniel Footwear a couple of years ago. I love them but feel like a giant when I'm with my smaller friends (I am only 5ft 7 1/2 by the way but my pals don't always wear heels) so when I saw these with a smaller heel, and at this price, it really was a no brainer. I love the heel height and the faux-suede front. For me, they would have worked better had they not had the snake print detail but that's just me being pernickity. Was £39, now £25

And that's it. I'm really pleased with my little windfall. I think lesson learnt here, never judge a book by it's cover. Kaleidescope have some real hidden gems.

I had a lovely, busy weekend of kid's sport, shopping and the annual village street party. Once again the weather held so it was a fab Sunday evening. For 2 whole hours, the main road is closed to traffic (by golly it causes chaos) and all the restaurants, pubs and shops set up outside serving food, drink and Christmas stuff. By far the most popular are the local Thai restaurant and Charlie Lawson's (Jim McDonald in Coronation Street) farm shop - he certainly had a red face barbecuing all those sausages. The church is open in it's full glory and the choir sung beautifully in their red robes outside. It is a stunning church yes? And, it's always warm(!)

Here is what I wore for shopping and then later for the Christmas street party (except it's the other way round in the photo -doh! Second outing for both the navy jacket and pink coat and a virgin outing for the new navy and black wedge boots from M&S (Autograph)

And here, I would like to say that I have styled the bag and boots in 2 different ways....in reality, I'm a lazy toad and couldn't be bothered to change over bags so both stayed put the following day.

I wore the new tweed Kaleidoscope jacket for a birthday lunch with friends (the small friends - I was a giant) and a quick trip in to Manchester all in black (rule breaking again). Very pleased with my School Gate Style scarf which was needed to break up the black.

Have you ever come across a shop that has surprised you?

Until next time

Donna x


A Pattern Conundrum

So far we've touched on colour, fabric and style personalities. I did promise that we would look at patterns next which is a good thing as it has rescued me from doing a Christmas jumper post (god forbid). Don't get me wrong, I haven't got anything against them in theory. It's just that I've never, ever found a decent one!

The rules for patterns are really easy to follow so let's crack on.

1. Your Body Shape

To achieve your best look, work out your body shape here. The idea is that you 'go with' your bodyshape...

A straight body looks best in straight shapes and geometric patterns In fact this is your season as there are so many checks and tartan fabrics in the shops at the moment.

As well as stripes, checks, tartans and geometrics, you can also do animal print (think about it, the print is a little geometric isn't it) and finally abstract florals, the ones that are quite angular. I'm also loving the spooky forest prints that we have seen in the likes of Mint Velvet. This one is excellent.

And this, perhaps not so angular but I think you could get away with it.

If you are a curvy lady you are undoubtedly going to look fantastic in paisleys, florals, circles, squiggles, spots and animal prints (actually anyone can wear animal print). Stripes and geometric patterns won't sit properly over your curves - yes we've all seen the stripe in a shirt suddenly start to slalom over a large bust. What this is doing is drawing the eye down to the imperfection - we really don't want the eye there. See, here...

Erm, let's not go there!!!

So here are some patterns that you may like to try.

2. Your Scale

I can bet my bottom dollar that 95% of ladies reading this blog have never considered the size of the print in relation to their scale. And it kind of does matter.

Someone who is big boned or carrying excess weight will undoubtedly look better in larger prints. Small ditsy prints just look wrong somehow. I don't know why, maybe because there's much more pattern repeat so you see much more of it as a whole. Whereas for example a large floral design balances out the figure and is easier on the eye of the beholder. Am I making sense?

On the otherhand, a smaller, petite lady will suit a smaller print as it balances her out - a large print is overwhelming.

3. Your Colour Palette

A refresher here if you have forgotten what colour palette you fall into.

Ladies with a strong, dramatic look can carry off much bolder patterns than those with a more muted look. So a Clear, a Deep and a Cool can really go to town. This little beauty from Boden for example

Whilst ladies with a more muted look would look better in something with a softer pattern (Softs, Lights and some Warms). The feather print on this Mint Velvet dress are so subtle and wouldn't overwhelm any muted complexion.

Now if you had your colours done properly, you would be told whether you had a muted or strong look but to be honest, all you need to do is hold up a really bright pattern (in your colours of course) to your face. What does it do? Does it enhance your features or drown them. Then do the same with a softer pattern - does it seem to balance out your features or do you pale into insignificance? Therein lies the answer (Clears and Softs you already know what you are so follow the pattern rules accordingly).

And that's it really, pip squeak. Of course there are always exceptions to the rules. I don't know the answers, I just know that it works, it shouldn't do but sometimes it does so please don't shoot me down!

Hope your Christmas shopping is going well. Off to try and style the wretched navy knit jumpsuit from Zara that I've had sat in my wardrobe for 2 weeks - can't decide whether to keep it or not.

I want to look like this....

But fear I look like this....

And finally, a quick drink and bite to eat in the village with friends ON-A-SCHOOL-NIGHT. And, yes I paid for it the following day - such a lightweight.

P.s. this is the jacket that set the whole colour thing off for me - I realised I looked poo in the black one but the tan looked ok!

Until next time....all about my competition win.

Donna x

To Ski Or Not To Ski, That Is The Question

The excitement usually starts at the beginning of November. The planning, the anticipation, the what shall I wear dilemmas - oh my head is just full of it. No I'm not talking about Christmas, I'm talking about our annual ski trip. For a person adverse to anything remotely energetic, I do make an exception for all things snow.

Alas my planning has been well and truly scuppered this year as my 'supposed' sporty husband and kids have decided they want a hot weather winter holiday. Light weights! They are still searching for the perfect holiday whilst I keep my head down hoping and praying this silly idea of theirs runs it course.

So as there is still a slither of a chance, I find myself looking at ski-wear, not an unpleasant way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon.

I love browsing in the resort shops - there are so many brands that we can't get at home. In fact I get really frustrated at the lack of choice and quality on offer over here and every year vow to wait until I get there but never do! Here is the best of what is on offer.

Now, I’m not in the market for a ski jacket at least not for a year or two as I had a new one recently. However, I positively drool over Moncler. This is my current favourite, the Melbreak jacket

But at £1,199 it’s not going to happen. I mean, yes I love the colour, the nipped in waist, the racoon fur trim (shoot me now, yes it’s real fur) but £1,199 just wow! I’ve tried on a few Moncler numbers - this particular one is an updated version of a style from last year that had a fur trim down the front but I can’t see what you’re paying for that justifies taking it over the thousand mark. What really annoys me is that the Moncler shop in Puerto Banus will no doubt be charging 1,199 euros. Doesn’t seem fair somehow. Anyway, hubby says it’s far too expensive and he’ll buy me one when it’s below £500 (he thinks it’s in my dreams but I spied a designer outlet shop at the opposite side of the marina so we shall be visiting next time we are over). Bit bizarre shopping for ski stuff in 80 degree heat but needs must.

I love this Bart’s beanie which has the added bonus of a little bling detailing. So cute and a reasonable £32.99. T’would make a nice stocking filler!

Or the Barts Fur Cable Bandhat again £32.99. It also comes in charcoal but cream would be my preference.

Being a sensible sort and not adverse to dive bombing into trees head first (my skis don’t seem to have brakes), I always wear a helmet. I saw a girl in this last year and it looked fab, faux fur husky ski helmet band. I will be investing in one to jazz up a boring white helmet.

Adding a little luxury to the slopes by way of a Hush Cashmere Ring Scarf. Slightly more of an investment piece at £65 (for cashmere, I think this is a good price) but would work well at home on those frosty days so not just a ski-piece.

Turning to apres ski, my favourite bit, I adore this Zara long sleeve sweater in a winter white. Zara calls it ecru, I call it winter white. How did I miss this before. I adore the long over-sized sleeves and the length is perfect.

And the Next Snowflake sweater in charcoal, red or cream. If I were to go skiing this year, I’m very much taken with a cream/charcoal theme.

And the dark grey marl Poncho from Hush. The longer line vest from Gemini Woman that I mentioned in the last post would work well with this.

Staying with Hush, I love these textured knit mittens They will be going on my Christmas list. Perfect for keeping the hands warm whilst still managing to hold on to the gluhwein.

And finally, this is how I want to look on the ski-slope

In reality, this is how I really look (I'm not that big by the way, it's just the layers)

We'll be looking at suggested patterns for body shapes next time.

Until then

Donna x