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!


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


Not On The High Street

I don’t know about you but come the end of November, I am totally bored of all things High Street. What I mean is every single outlet seems to have a sparkle and dazzle mannequin in the doorway which continues right through the store. I’m talking party season! And I am b-o-r-e-d.

I’m probably feeling more fed up than normal because I’m not in the market for a party dress this year. There are more than a few of these taking up valuable space in my wardrobe. Some have been good friends and have had an airing at least once a year. Others, well lets just say they’ve missed the boat and really should be on the ‘no longer fashionable 99p starting price Ebay’ pile. I actually have a rather nice navy number from Baukjen still bearing tags which I really should debut soon.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still a few gems to be had but you have to search for them and quite frankly I really don’t have the time or inclination right now. So roll on Spring, that’s what I say.

In my despair to avoid anymore spangles and sequins, I have spent a delightful couple of hours surfing the web looking at the smaller independent retailers and have been VERY pleasantly surprised, not a single sparkle in sight. So here are my picks of what’s not on the High Street...

Starting with a favourite of mine, Bill Skinner. I had never heard of Bill until Kat at Does My Bum Look 40 In This featured him on her blog earlier in the year. To say I fell in love with his jewellery is an understatement and I’ve since bought (or had gifted by very kind family) several pieces. My current favourite is the Snow Leopard Running Bracelet. This stunning piece takes my breath away.

I also love the Art Deco range and particularly these earrings (don’t you think they look like mini skateboards?). Love ‘em

ASOS also stock some Bill Skinner pieces - I missed out on their vastly reduced Emperor Coin Necklace and I’m still kicking myself.

A great source for finding independent retailers is through Twitter. My next recommendations for my picks of what’s not on the High Street have all come from Twitter (either me following them or vice versa)

First up is Spinning Wardrobe, a London based pre-owned fashion site selling one off pieces at remarkably good prices. This Michael Kors gold/black jacket caught my eye and would look great teamed with pleather jeans and a plain black top (yes I do wear black sometimes) for a City Chic look - have a look at my previous blog post for the meaning of this.

Of course sods law, it will be sold before I publish this post but have a look at the website - it’s really well put together. The photography and blurb is excellent.

A larger company now but definitely different to the High Street, ME+EM. I think it was my mother-in-law who introduced me a couple of years ago - I use to steal her catalogues until doh! I figured I should get my own. Just look at this gorgeous Pocket Swing Dress.

So very, very cute. Obviously the model is much braver (and younger) than me and is able to wear it bare legged. Hmmmm I’m thinking more opaques and long boots with heels. Whichever way, it’s something that would be in my wardrobe for many years. And indeed in many of the Style Personalities that I talked about last time as you can make it your own.

Love how ME+EM actually clarify the measurements so we know that a Medium is a UK 10-12. Take note High Street, this is valuable customer service!

Moving on to a small online fashion company based in Scotland, Tallulah Belle Fashion stocking a small number of must have little numbers. I think this website is probably geared more to my daughter’s age but there are certainly a few items I would love to have in my wardrobe, particularly this nude faux fur coat,

Actually, if I hadn’t bought my John Rocha winter white coat last year, I would have given this a whirl and what’s not to like aobut it for £35.99. The simple style wouldn’t look out of place in Zara and I’m betting the quality is better too (don’t get me started on Zara’s workmanship).

A lovely little on-line shop now from Avril at School Gate Style. Avril stocks a small number of scarves and jewellery but these are regularly updated and chosen personally. The quality is excellent (I have two myself) and the prices very, very competitive. I'm particularly loving the Fabulous Harlequin Squares Scarf which comes in two different colourways.

You can see her styling the scarf here.

And finally, a shop that I’ve seen featured on a couple of other blogs, Gemini-Woman (sorry I can’t recall which blogs and in my haste to get this posted before that Michael Kors jacket goes, I don’t have the time to research).

Gemini stocks the likes of Sandwich Clothing, Great Plains, Hunkydory (check out their knits) and more. I discovered a brand they stock, A Post Card From Brighton last year and to say their long vests are a godsend is an understatement. I have several with and without sleeves which I use to layer up under jumpers.

The longer length is brilliant - it finishes at the bum and NOT AS IN THE SECOND PICTURE. I mean really we’re talking dress length here! Even if vertically challenged, you can hoick them up to perch on the buttocks! Just make sure the v-top is a snug fit or it will slip down and look like this....

Last year I bought several cropped jumpers that sat just below the waist, ok when wearing jeans but no good with leggings and jeggings (urgh). And given we’re all wearing pleather leggings this year, these may be a good investment. The vests cover my modesty and keep me toasty warm whilst the lace edge softens the look somewhat. I've only worn these tonally so far - grey v-top with grey jeans but I think the pink would work over a pair of jeans and my new pink fluffy jumper. Bit marmitey I know.

So that’s yer lot for now. I have really enjoyed taking a turn off the High Street, sometimes we forget there are more shops than Zara!!

Oh and this is me, I had according to Mr Sludge just 8 minutes to get ready for our first family Xmas get together earlier today. Nb. excuse the hat hair, we had just got back from our son's football and even Mr Babyliss Big Hair failed me today! More than thrilled with my Primark pink duster coat. I missed out on the M&S one but in hindsight, this is probably a one year wonder so happy to fork out thirty odd pound! An investment piece it ain't.

Until next time

Donna x

Does Your Wardrobe Really Reflect Your Style Personality??

I love people watching! I'm not a stalker, really I'm not, I just love pigeon holing people....whether it be into their colour palette, body shape (favourite past time on the beach as you can really see the shape of someone - oh god I do sound pervy now) or working out their style personality. Yes really, your style says a lot about you and it's your personality that dictates how you dress.

The thing is, most of us go through our lives without giving this a second thought so why put a name to it? Well, I think if you understand your own style preference, you can build a cohesive and versatile wardrobe that suits your lifestyle and ultimately save those ghastly mistakes.

It doesn't matter what shape, size or colour you are, style personality comes from within. I mean a full-on-in-your-face-diva-babe is not going to wear a little love heart locket and carry a straw shopping bag. No sireee. She's going to find the biggest baubles to drape around her neck and carry a full on diamond encrusted leopard print clutch. Do you see where I'm coming from?

I've debated long and hard on the best way to help you find your own style personality and figured visuals are always better than words. So, have a look at the style boards below. The scenario is, you're getting ready for a Christmas party at a swanky hotel (it's not a full-on ball gown evening but it is smart). Ok, have a think about which outfit you would feel the most comfortable in (not the one that you like the most but the one that you would put together and feel really happy with). I've added a few notes as well to help!

If you shop at vintage stores, like nothing better than visiting unusual markets and mix your finds with High Street purchases then you are a CREATIVE. For you, shopping is an art form and you can spend many an hour on holiday finding interesting pieces of jewellery and scarves. You would be horrified if you wore the same dress to the party as someone else but hey that's never going to happen as what you wear is often a one-off.

Your style icon is Vivienne Westwood but Kate Moss can be a creative too in the way she puts together some of her outfits.

You are the one that has Grazia delivered every week. You will make a special journey into town to buy the latest pair of leather jeans that all the celebs are wearing. As a DRAMATIC you may not worry too much that they need dry-cleaning. You are the girl that can wear heels all day even though they are killing you because they look too good to take off! And as for jewellery, well it will be big and bold and you carry it off with aplomb and style!

Your style icon is Victoria Beckham.

If you love pretty things - bows, ruffles, appliques, patterns, then you are a ROMANTIC. You love matching underwear and always, always wear perfume. Textures will feature heavily in your wardrobe and you can can't resist stroking a beautiful fabric when walking past a rack of silk blouses. If you're wearing jeans, then a pretty top will be added to make it more feminine. Jewellery will be delicate with lots of flowers. It also takes you forever to get ready!

Your style icon is Nicole Kidman.

Your wardrobe will have lots of tailored pieces in neutral colours Black, navy and grey will feature heavily although you won't find much pattern in there maybe a scarf or two. You prefer shoes and bags to match and jewellery will be understated and classic. You prefer to save up to buy the best - quality over quantity. You very rarely wear jeans, preferring something a little smarter, maybe a pair of chinos and blazer. Above all everything will be neat, neat, neat if you are a CLASSIC

Your style icon is Condoleezza Rice. Martha Stewart is also a classic.

As a NATURAL you feel much more comfortable in jeans and a jumper or a top. You will either have worried yourself silly what to wear for this occasion as you have nothing suitable or on the other hand it won't have entered your head until that evening. You hate waistbands that dig and pinch and as for high heels, why on earth would anyone want to wear those is beyond your comprehension. A scarf is for keeping warm, not for co-ordinating an outfit and jewellery, well if you must....a small offering of a chain. You will probably only have a couple of handbags - one for the summer and one for the winter!

Your style icon is Julia Roberts (woohoo).

A CITY CHIC will have probably tried many styles in the past but now knows exactly what suits her. So if you fall into this style, you will invest in basic, classic pieces such as a white shirt, well-fitted jeans and a blazer but always look current. You never leave home without your sunglasses, even when it's cloudy they're on your head. You tend to opt for classic tonal shades but there will be flashes of colour in your wardrobe, maybe a scarf or bright red shift dress. Your accessories are stunning and are used to take a plain outfit to a whole new level. Think Italian lady walking through the streets of Milan.

Your style icon is Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. Claudia Schiffer also leans towards the City Chic personality

So have you found your style personality? You may see yourself in more than one category. That's fine, it means you have a split style personality. You may need to decide whether one is more appropriate for your present lifestyle than the other. If you see yourself in more than two categories then I would suggest that your wardrobe is a bit chaotic and no doubt bulging to the seams as you haven't found a winning formula yet. You're probably the person that says, 'I've got absolutely nothing to wear' because nothing goes together properly. As I said in the introduction, finding and sticking to your personality will provide you with a versatile and very wearable wardrobe.

Sometimes, it's dictated by our lifestyle eg. mum at home with baby may find it easier to move into the natural category (yes I was the one that turned up to NCT classes in wedge heels along with all the other earth-mummies in their Birkenstocks and hairy legs - it was 18 years ago!) but then when returning to work, she may become more of a city-chic. Some ladies never deviate from their style personality particularly Dramatics and Creatives - they would be utterly miserable in sweatpants and trainers.

What I find interesting is when someone consciously tries to dress differently maybe trying to emulate a style icon and in doing so is moving herself into a different style personality. Sometimes it works really well and as she embraces this new look, her confidence will sore. Other times, she looks awkward and uncomfortable. An example of this is me below trying to do the shirt/sweatshirt thingy and feeling crappy all day - I really don't do casual very well. In which case I say stick to what you know!

Anyway, this post is long enough so I'll leave it there but we'll pick up on this sometime soon as it's fascinating stuff (well I think so).

Oh by the way, for all you fashion bloggers reading this, I have identified the style personality of SOME of you. It can be a little difficult as by the nature of the blog you're trying different things but I have worked out a few of you!! My lips are sealed.

Until next time

Donna x


Half A Dozen From Atterley Road

Apologies for this self-indulgent post - I’m afraid this one is all about me! In my defence it is my birthday this week so figure it’s ok to do this one.

I can spend many a happy hour oohing and aahhing over Atterley Road’s offerings much to hubby’s annoyance as I thrust the ipad between him and Sky Sports to gauge his opinion on the height of a heel or the gorgeous edging on a jacket. His stock reply is usually mmmmmm or nice or HOW MUCH? Not particularly constructive.

So, in the absence of any sense at home, I set myself a fantasy shopping challenge of choosing just 6 items from Atterley Road’s current collection which I will share with fellow fashion enthusiasts - husband said, I hope it’s a ‘picking’ list and not an ‘I definitely want for my Birthday’ list. We shall see.

Anyway, if I had a few bob burning a hole in my pocket, this is what I would buy.

In 6th place is the Whistles Diamond Print Silk Sweatshirt

Now if you saw my last post about fabric, you will know that this is a straight cut and suits straight up and down body shapes (me in fact). The pattern is a little bolder than I normally go for but I think I could make this work a treat with a pair of cigarette pants and a very simple necklace to keep the look contemporary. I love the crispness of the print and the interesting hem line. The neckline looks quite high and this is something I have to be careful with (busty girls, you’ll know what I mean). Overall, this little number would sit very happily in my wardrobe. Yes sireeee.

5th place goes to the Des Petits Hauts Eglatine Jacket

This jacket is right up my street, I love how when fastened the edging is slightly off centre but open, it sits perfectly parallel. Ok the grey is not my perfect shade - I prefer a deeper charcoal but I can live with that. The edging is actually navy (and a sparkle navy at that). The pop of tangerine in the bag shows how easily this jacket can be paired with lots and lots and lots of colours!

Bit of a sensible option in 4th place, Day Birger Et Mikkelsen Day Outing Coat

Ok, I know it wouldn’t be at the top of everyone’s list but I’m in the market for a new dog walking/junior football watching coat this year. My long one has been banished to the charity shop and I’ve been making do with a random ‘old’ ski jacket for the last year or so. I’m not sure a warm coat can be seriously stylish but as they go, this one is the best I’ve seen.

I kind of visualised a fur trimmed long floaty number in winter white (Aspen apres ski style) but let’s face it, I would look a bit of a dork walking the dog in a boggy Peak District field wouldn't I! I love how the Day Birger looks as if it will fit snug on the shoulder line and the dip at the hem is sure to keep the bottie snug and warm. It doesn’t look overly down stuffed which can only be a good thing. But can I really justify paying £340 for a dog walking coat?

A well deserved 3rd place goes to the Nocturne Char Necklace

Such a pretty piece of jewellery that would be part of my wardrobe for a very long time. I don’t really venture into the pricier fashion jewellery that often as I’ve always been able to find something in the likes of Zara, New Look, Top Shop etc. However, over the last few years, I have bought a few pieces with birthday money (all donations welcome thank you family). What is there not to love about this little piece. The soft muted colours would complement many outfits in my wardrobe although Atterley Road describe the colours as bold and beautiful - I agree on the beautiful bit. Great length too. Love how the little stones look like coloured woodlice - is that too weird?

Second place has to be the Sam Edelman Shay Colour Block Boot I kind of figured you need to see the detail hence the huge picture...

This is so difficult. It was nearly going to be the Soaked In Luxury Rydana Shirt but it's just gone out of stock - I can't even show you a pic! And anyway I couldn’t not include these boots. No matter what angle you look at them, they are one good looking pair of footwear. So what do I love? The colour blocking (obviously), the black zip but gold pull thing (my son would probably know the correct term for this - he told me that the end of a shoe lace is called an aglet!!). I love the heel height and the straight cut at the top. But most of all I adore the fact that the heel and boot is one seamless piece of leather with continuous stitching from top to bottom. Just glorious!

And first place, da da da dahhh, goes to the Saks Crepe Red Dress

A nod to the sport luxe trend although admittedly not in the traditional sport luxe fabric - it’s crepe so not as relaxed. I fear the red will be too bright for me but I want it to work. It will just mean taking my hair off my face and a little extra blusher! If dresses were professions, this would be a multi-tasking global manager....I mean it’s casual, it’s dressy, it’s current, it’s well, everything really. Wish wish wish there was a picture of a model wearing it on-line so I could see the fit (I’ve trawled the web without success). Even a mannequin would do! The length at 94cm hits just above my knee - perfect. I have in mind night out coming up: black ankle boots (again), black clutch and that’s it. I wouldn’t wear a necklace - just keep it simple.

So that’s it my top 6 picks from Atterley Road. If truth be known, it could easily have been twelve (in fact much to my dismay I’ve forgotten to include the Beckondergaard Brown Wintertime Bird Scarf - a work of art in itself. T’would make a fab Xmas pressie (Mr Sludge are you reading).

I had a week at home last week and to be quite honest felt a bit of a slob every day (I don't do casual very well). So judge me if you wish...

The navy Reefer jacket (more a coat really) is from H&M and cost me only £39.99. It's since come down to £19.99. Honestly £19.99 - bargain! Here's the link. Most sizes still available. It does come up quite big so don't size up.

And yesterday, much more like me (I'm a jeans and jacket kind of a girl). I'm really pleased with this navy H&M Admiral cropped blazer. I've had it in my wardrobe a while now although until yesterday, it was unworn so can't find it on the website! (Nb the close up is to show you the detail on the collar - unfortunately my face kept getting in the way too). The black jeans I am wearing (I know you can't really see them) are pure genius. I'm trying to find a supplier so that I can introduce them to everyone. Still working on it.

Your choice next time....shall we do

1. Patterns - which patterns for your bodyshape
2. Style personality

Until then

Donna x

Body Shape Bedlam

Apples, Pears, Triangles, Rectangles, Strawberries, Bananas, Diamonds, Tubes, Sharp Straights, Soft Straights, Vases, Cellos, Bricks, Lollipops, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!

Is there any wonder that many women are confused when it comes to body shapes? I mean would you be happy describing your shape as a brick?

Well for the moment, let's just forget all that. It's far too complicated. We'll go into more detail further down the line.

I'm going to ask you just TWO questions today:

1. Are you curvy or straight up-and-down?
2. Do you ever consider the type of fabric you wear (yes it really does matter)?

Let's get down to business.

For some women it's so obvious which category they fall into. Take Kelly Brook for instances. This woman doesn't have a straight bone in her body. She oozes curves and I'm so not jealous! Now look at Mary Portas, she has a much straighter line. Both understand their body shape and dress to flatter (well most of the time anyway).

But it isn't always as obvious as that so here is my guide to working out which camp you fall into...

You have a curvy shape if you have

- a defined waist
- a full bust
- a rounded bottom
- full hips
- no defined waist but a very rounded top half including sloping shoulders

You have a straight shape if you have

- a straight shoulder line
- a straight bottom
- straight hips
- no waist definition
- either a full bust or no bust
- you may carry your weight around your middle

Some ladies fall into both categories for example pear shapes (curvy on the bottom and straight on top so you will need to pay attention to both sets of rules below and adapt accordingly).

You may not fully fit into either category. Don't fret. Just look in the mirror, what do you see? Curves and softness or a much straighter frame? And, you don't have to be a skinny minnie to fall into the straight category. Look at Jennifer Saunders, she has a straight shoulder line, carries her weight around her tummy and has little waist definition (regardless of her current dress size). So she's a straight!

Ok so you've decided which camp you're in, let's consider the next question...types of fabric.

Curvy Mamas

We need to use an analogy for this. Let's suppose you have bought a curvy vase as a gift for a friend. You pop to John Lewis and buy that gorgeous luxury wrapping paper - you know the stuff I mean, it costs an arm and a leg and is nearly as thick as cardboard. You start to wrap the vase and the present looks a right old mess. The stiff paper won't mould around the vase's curves. In fact it looks much larger than it really is!

Now let's apply this to a curvy lady. She tries on a crisp cotton A-line skirt and starchy box jacket What happens? The straight lines stand off the body making her look much larger. In fact upto 2-3 dress sizes larger! Her waist, if she had one has totally gone. Why would anyone do this???

So what should she wear. I think this sums it up nicely...

So we're looking at soft, drapey fabrics preferably that don't cling but follow the bodyline. If you have a waist, your tops should always nip in or you will add pounds. That is unless you are very rounded and don't have a waist in which case the fabric should hang from the bust.

Straight Bodied Gals

I couldn't think of an analogy for this one so you'll have to trust me! Well other than the other day when I went shopping with a friend and she tried on a beautiful drapey top (she's a Kelly Brook) and looked stunning. Being straight-bodied, I wondered if I could get away with it and let's just say it wasn't good. I didn't come out of the changing room!

Drapey fabric often means 'more' fabric. This can give a bulky look to someone with straight lines particularly if it's a thicker fabric. Soft shoulder lines can look as if she has bad posture - take Mary Portas. Sometimes her posture looks a bit dodgy and invariably this is down to wearing the wrong fabric. And let's not even go there with a belt. If you don't have a waist, don't try to create one if you are thick-set in that area (I'm thinking the Tina Malones of this world - yes do Google her). The belt will just gather the fabric around the tummy and hips making her look much larger than she really is. Much better to have either a straight line or slightly nipped in style.

Here are my suggestions for a straight body...

So in summary, we're looking at straight cut fabrics with some structure. These can be straight up and down or slightly nipped in at the waist to give the illusion of one. The only time I would suggest wearing a belt is underneath a jacket - this is a little tip that tricks the eye into thinking that you have a waist (eye sees belt, eye relates to the brain, brain thinks waist)!

And that's it really. I would be really interested to know if anyone has ever considered fabrics when buying clothes. Or maybe you have tried on something but just can't put your finger on the reason it doesn't seem to work. Could it be the fabric?

As always, this is just one way of dressing your body shape. I'm sure there will be some readers who think I'm talking gobbledygook and they look fantastic in everything - these ladies are probably neat hourglasses and they do indeed look fantastic in everything.

Until next time

Donna x


One of the very first things I leant when training to be a stylist is how to dress slimmer. It's just a matter of understanding your body shape and dressing accordingly.

However, there is one rule that I believe is the god of all slimming rules and that's columns! Hmmmm how can these help? Actually I'm talking columns of colour - wearing one colour top to toe. Simples!

Not only does a single colour give the illusion of height, it also takes pounds off your frame, not literally of course but in the eyes of the beholder. With me so for?

Let me explain....a pear shape (wider at the hips than shoulders) wears a pair of jeans and a black top. The eye is immediately drawn to the contrast of colours. And where is that? At the hemline, her widest part!! She has succeeded in drawing attention to her 'worst' bit!

This also has the same effect for ladies carrying weight around the tummy, knees, bottom and calves. So by having a contrast of colour in these problem areas, it immediately draws the eye down - a big no in the art of dressing slimmer.

Oh yes the eye is a fickle thing - it needs to settle on something interesting, a column of colour is so not interesting, it therefore seeks out something else - a necklace or pretty neckline maybe. Result! You have succeeded in directing the eye upwards.

So what should these columns of colour look like. It could be a top and trousers or a dress with hosiery and shoes - all in the same shade.

So let's see whats on the High Street at the moment.

A maxi dress is an obvious choice for the slimming column look.

Next Embellished Drape Maxi Dress

I really rather like this dress from Next. The drape is excellent for skimming over curves and a great price too. Ladies who carry their weight around their tummy may struggle with the elasticated waist. Pair with some sky scraping black sandals and knock 'em dead at the Christmas party.

Sticking with the black theme, I think this combo from Mango would suit most body shapes. You may wish to substitute the leggings with a pair of matt black ones if you carry weight on your legs.

Mango faux suede leggings and shirt

The long line floaty blouse covers a multitude of sins and there is of course no where for the eye to settle. Team with black heeled ankle boots for an even more streamline look.

So that's great if you have black in your palette (Deeps, Cools and Clears). Let's move on to some more shades....

Mint Velvet Tabard and Jeans

Not quite a seamless column but this Mint Velvet combo would work as there's very little difference between top and bottom and where are your eyes settling? On the stripy sleeves???? Told you they look for something interest.

Next have made this easy for me, mid blue top and jeans, a perfect combo for casual wear

Next scoop neck top and jeans

Grey, one of my favourite colours, so contemporary. Love this Wallis studded shirt teamed with the Moto Grey Jamie Jeans from Top Shop. Again, the floaty shirt will serve to cover up!

Wallis studded shirt

Top Shop Moto Jamie Jeans

With these Mint Velvet ankle boots (I could get soooo much wear out of these)

Mint Velvet shoe boots
Dead easy foundations for you to jazz up as you please - go crazy with necklaces, scarves, earrings, anything to lift the eye from those not so perfect bits! You take control of what the eye sees with these simple tools of the trade.

Finishing with a very grainy Iphone photo (I've lost the Nikon charger) of me doing a kind of column look in neutral shades (the top and jeans are actually much closer in colour in real life)

Nude and Snake Print back top: Mint Velvet
Necklace: New Look
Pewter coated Skinnies: M&S
Nude sling back shoes: Christian Louboutin
Pewter Clutch: Dune

So what do you think? Am I talking a load of twaddle or do you think the column of colour is actually slimming. Have you adopted any of your own slimming tips. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time

Donna x