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!


Shopping! (All Bloomin Day)

You know when you're being bullied by your kids in to do something you really don't want to do, well that was me today. My daughter featured here, decided it was high time that we went shopping. Today. Not tomorrow. Not Sunday. Today. And it had to be Manchester. A reluctant sheep, I followed and actually it wasn't so bad, the sun was shining and it was far less busy than a weekend.

We walked from the train station (a mere 5 minute stroll) and hit Primark, her first point of call. My lucky girl has 4 holidays booked abroad over the next 5 months and was in search of beachwear. Primark did not disappoint.

Here are a few shots that I've found online. I simply adore the 1950s inspired swimwear.

Ruffles on bikini tops also seem to be the order of the day. Indeed, this one found it's way into my daughter's basket.

Sadly my days of picking up cheap swimwear are a thing of the past so I partook only as a spectator.

Check out this gorgeous print skirt and top (the top was £8 and skirt £6)

Daughter decided that the print was too distinctive to buy both top and bottom and declared 'everyone will be wearing them' so she just bought the top to wear with white shorts and jeans. I like her style.

There were also skorts similar to the Zara ones in a multitude of colours and only £10. I have to say the quality was ok, even the white (which were purchased) are fine although as with all things white, nude underwear will be required.

I wish I had seen this but I didn't. Apparently it's £25

But I did see this ivory blazer and it really is fabulous. A slightly waffle texture, collarless so takes on a tuxedo feel if you get my drift. You know those stupid fishing net baskets that Primark have and you tend to fill with absolute rubbish (and then look for somewhere surreptitiously to off load aka dump what you don't want)? Well this jacket was right at the very bottom and didn't crease at all. I think it was £18 - a complete steal. After dithering, I decided not to purchase it as it was slightly dressier than what I'm looking for. This photo really doesn't do it any justice.

I did however purchase this ivory dress which has a slight embossed pattern in the material. There isn't a photo floating around on the web so you will have to make do with my bathroom shot. It was £13. THIRTEEN pounds! And it isn't see-through.

And the back showing the gold zip

Feeling faint after being in the shop for well over an hour, we decided to have lunch early. Salvi's Mozzarella Bar is a tiny Italian deli down by Selfridges and Harvey Nics specialising in da da da daaaaaa, mozzarella! Sorry I forgot to take a photo of our mozzy starter as I was starving but I think you can get the ambience from these shots. In fact, I could have quite easily spent a small fortune on all the gorgeous delicacies.

And to eat, we had fresh tuna, tomato and cream pasta. Calorific!

It was a shopping trip dominated by my daughter's needs so we had the obligatory round of Top Shop, River Island and H&M but I did manage to whizz into Next to try on these sandals that I had seen in the directory. For some reason, the heel is a covered heel, not a wooden stack so I wanted to see if they were still as nice. Sadly they're not in the shops yet. I guess I'll just have to order them online.

Yellow Block Heel Sandals £30

Oh dear! And then it was Top Shop time. I'm not adverse to Top Shop online but being in the real thing gives me a very bad headache. Turn. The. Music. Down. And, there's a sale on at the moment so it was somewhat hectic. I did however spot a few little items that I would like to share.

I always make a bee-line for linen tops as they wash so well. This one is in charcoal blue and would look great with white jeans and skater shoes (yes I do like them).

Slouch Linen V Tee now £10

If anyone is looking for a cheapish denim dress then this could well be the one.

PU Tee Dress now £28

And I adored this bodycon dress but not for me (I don't do bodycon very well and the print is too busy for my colouring - you lose my face!!)

Lux Palm Zip Bodycon Dress now £20

Anyone in the market for a straight, printed skirt? The black band running down each side is a great slimming illusion.

Orchid Print Midi Skirt now £15

Here is what I actually bought, not that I need another dress but I have a pair of navy and emerald shoes sitting in their box at home, waiting to come out and play.

Seamed Textured Tunic Dress now £20

There were many other things purchased although not for me. It's my 12 year old's birthday next week and he can just about fit into 'mens clothes' well XS size at a push so I reckon we cleared out River Island restocking his wardrobe. But shhhhh don't tell him.

And this is me without a coat in March. Unbelievable.

I wore my navy Zara jumpsuit (shortly due to be retired as it's bobbling like mad after 6 or 7 wears), navy and black suede ankle boots from M&S, Modalu Pippa bag in Shark (I'd say pebble coloured but I'm not arguing with a shark). This appears to be the actual bag which has come back into stock yeay!

Pippa Grab Shark

Hope you all have a lovely weekend. Are we still due for good weather? Mother's Day on Sunday, I'm wondering if I can wriggle out of the Sunday morning dog walk. I'll let you know.

Until next time

Donna x


Blazers And Building A Capsule Wardrobe (boring title but it gets better!)

I do love a good blazer. Indeed I have several many. They are just so darn versatile and for me, always money well spent because I know I will wear. I can put on a pair of skinnies and a t-shirt in the morning and feel, well it has to be said....plain! But, as if by magic, adding a blazer (and a few accessories) into the mix, suddenly the outfit is elevated to a whole new level. I feel smart, put together and dare I say stylish (well more stylish than hacking on my old cardi that's for sure).

Last week, I talked about a couple of really great neutral colours, navy and charcoal here. Now, think how a neutral blazer (let's go for charcoal) could really work hard in your wardrobe.

I would wear it with

- skinnies, a white t-shirt and pumps
- skinnies, a nude shirt and heels
- boyfriend jeans (oh yes I am with BFs didn't you know), a navy Breton top and Adidas Gazelles
- boyfriend jeans, a pink shell top and ankle boots
- pale grey harem pants, denim shirt and Ash wedges
- grey animal print day dress
- charcoal blue dress

And the list could go on....and on....and on.

See what I mean, a blazer really is versatile. Every look that I have listed is completely different. I could wear each outfit and I bet you no one would notice that it's the same jacket. Having items like this in my wardrobe makes it so easy to get dressed in a morning. That to me is a capsule wardrobe. I'm so not interested when I'm told I should have 4 jackets, 5 blouses, 2 pairs of smart trousers blah blah blah. How do the people who write these things know what I do in my life? Why would I need suit trousers when I live in jeans? I prefer to collect good basics and mix them with current trends.

I honestly believe that if you have several items that work with each other, it makes it so easy to put an outfit together. And of course the blazer is key, regardless of your style personality.

And now the fun bit, for research purposes only you understand, I get to have a look at what's around at the moment.

Let's take a trip to Zara first of all. I know that I have moaned about overall quality but I must say that I've never had a problem with their jackets and I love the idea of this black blazer featuring zips and part-leather arms. I've chosen this picture as it looks soooo much better on than off.

Combined Faux Leather Blazer £69.99

A total classic next, the navy blazer with gold buttons. This would be a great 'starter' jacket. I really love the idea of wearing a longer length shirt or a dipped hem. Heels, flats, your choice

Blazer with gold buttons £49.99

Staying with Zara and this jacket is gorgeous. I love the slightly textured fabric (mainly polyester but obviously very cleverly woven). I reckon everyone can wear this colour too. Ladies with a stronger look need to wear a stronger colour underneath eg. navy or black. Again it looks much better on than off.

Raffia Blazer £59.99

Oasis are carrying a classic little number which I can guarantee will be in your wardrobe for many seasons, that is if you can wear black.

Cotton Blazer £52

This one from Top Shop would work really well in the summer with cuffed jeans and a simple white t-shirt. I really love the simplicity and cut of the neckline. It would also look great in the evening with a pair of black cigarette pants and a black silk top.

Skinny Tailored Blazer £48

And if you want to be bang on trend, this Mango oversized blazer will do just the job although I have to say in a couple of seasons it will probably end up in the charity bag. Just enjoy wearing it now!

Oversized Pique Blazer £59.99

Something that will take you right through the summer season and beyond is his jacket from Mango. I have it on good authority from my pal Helen over at The Flaky Fashionista that after being crumpled in a suitcase for a trip to Milan, there wasn't a single crease. Now that's what I call a super jacket.

Crepe Blazer £39.99

A really easy wear jacket from Whistles is the Julia Ponte Blazer. The material is very fluid so is really comfortable. Apologies for the minuscule photo, you can barely see it!

Julia Ponte Blazer £135

Of course there are other shapes of jackets too. I chose the blazer purely because in one guise or another, it never goes out of fashion. I'm still partial to a bit of boucle or leather but I have my basics to fall back on when I can't decide what to wear.

And so, as if by magic here is my before and after shots showing how a plain, boring outfit can be made to look slightly more glamorous by adding just a blazer (oh yes and jewellery and heels, I was hoping you wouldn't mention those).

The blazer is from Mango similar here and here and the jeans are the ones I blogged about last time here.

Must dash, more spring cleaning to do (I am so rock and roll).

Donna x


Boyfriend Jeans Again!

Some of you may know my ongoing saga with boyfriend jeans. I absolutely adore the look just not on me! Which is a problem given I am me. You see in my rose tinted glasses this is how BFs should look

Which means that either you are a twig so they positively hang off you in a 1980s vibe or you have a proper waist, flat tum and a defined bum to give them a more contemporary look. Trouble is I am neither. I have very little waist definition carry a little weigh on my stomach and have no backside whatsoever (God forgot the a*se when he made me). The volume of material around the middle just ends up making me look 2 sizes bigger than I really am. In order to pull this look off, you really do need to 'go in' at the waist. Clearly I don't It's been an issue that I have spent many a fretful hour pondering. How can I get the ruddy things to work on me? Three pairs I've bought, three pairs and I hate every one of them so off to ebay la-la land they go.

But I still felt I hadn't scratched that itch fully so I gave it one last shot. I remembered seeing a few pairs of relaxed skinnies in Next a few weeks ago and in the back of my mind I wondered if I could a) get them to work on me and b) pass them off as BFs.

So without further ado let me introduce you to my new faux-boyfriend jeans. They do what they say on the tin, skinnies but slightly baggier. They're cut narrower than BFs from top to bottom so there's much less volume. Eureka! For a girl like, that's pretty damn good.

Next Mid Wash Distressed Relaxed Skinny Jeans

A great colour for summer with just the right amount of distressing and oh boy they are comfortable.

The relaxed skinnies come in an array of colours although I do think that the distressed ones above are as close to boyfriends as you will find.

Blue/Black Vintage

These would work for an evening with a smart blouse and blazer.

Bright Mid Wash

Not really me but I do love seeing them on other people. Great to wear with all the pastels we are seeing this season.

Ecru Vintage

I love these and I would have bought them but I purchased a pair of straight leg ones from Uniqlo recently with the intention of cuffing the bottoms. I do prefer the Next ones though.


They look a little formal in this picture but I'm sure rolled up and worn with a slouchy top, they'll serve very well throughout the summer.

And then just for the hell of it I bought a pair of BFs (shock horror). That said, they are slim fit and I actually sized down, just for experimental purposes mind you. And this is the result.

Next Distressed Slim Fit Boyfriend Jeans

They fit like a glove. Yes. Yes I know BFs aren't suppose to fit like a glove but you know what I mean. Again there's less volume due to the fact that they are a smaller size and a slimmer fit - a big thumbs up from me.

They also come in,

Pale Wash

Rinse Wash

So I am now in possession of not one but two pairs of fake BFs. This makes me very happy indeed.

And what did I learn from this exercise? Don't be a sheep! Just because something is a must have item, it does't mean it will work on you. I knew the shape was wrong for me but I still went out and bought 3 flippin pairs until I realised, it was fruitless. Conventional boyfriends are never going to suit my shape. When I came to terms with this fact I was able to move on and work with what I've got.

I'd love to know if you have boyfriend (of the material sort) problems or indeed any other style issues. Do tell.

Donna x


Two Amazing Neutrals That Every Woman Can Wear

As much as I break the rules (not I hasten to add intentionally, it just seems to happen), I am a huge advocate for building a cohesive wardrobe that is wearable, practical, exciting and age-appropriate. Hmmmm I don't half set myself some challenges with this blog, how on earth do I write about all that! Actually it's not that difficult and you may be disappointed to know that I'm not giving away trade secrets that you don't already know.

What is a capsule wardrobe? Hell, I don't know. If it means that it ticks all the boxes above then I have one. So where do you start? Well with neutrals of course. Simples! Correct me if I'm wrong but a lady with a huge wardrobe is the first people to turn around and say "I've got absolutely nothing to wear" and that's because she has jackets in every colour of the rainbow and patterned tops and 10 green shirts, long skirts, short skirts and don't even get me started on jeans. Chaos, I'm talking sheer and utter chaos! She can't see the wood for the trees.

What she really needs are basics that she can build on. Do you remember my Stan I Have A Plan post (read it here). Well, the clothes on this rail would see me through the whole year if need be. They all work with each other and that's because I chose a neutral colour, navy blue.

A neutral doesn't date unlike fashion colours which are bang on trend eg. pastels for Spring/Summer 2014. I bet we will be sick to death of them come Christmas. The idea is that you invest in neutrals, so spend a little more on them as they will last, I promise and then update each season with fashion colours. If you recall I chose mustard and in the end I bought just one scarf in this colour, that's all that was needed. I do fib a little because the mustard on the High Street was more ochre and I didn't like it so I ventured into yellow instead (but only one top and another scarf).

I've picked out two fantastic neutrals that I think everyone can wear with a little tweaking, there's just a few points to note.

1. Ladies with a dramatic look - dark hair, dark eyes (DEEPS) or dark hair, bright eyes (CLEARS) or grey/silver haired (COOLS)
You can wear the following neutrals with deep colours, don't be afraid to pull black into your outfit. You can also wear a strong crisp white too (white is a dramatic colour). Less successful would be wearing these colours tonally - you need contrast to balance out your own strong look.

2. Ladies with red or golden tones and a warm skin tone (WARMS)
These neutral colours can look a little flat as you're all about 'richness'. Team with warm colours such as coral, aqua, yellow and lime. When you're looking at a colour, think back to mixing paint at primary school. Is there a lot of yellow needed to make the colour. If the answer is 'yes' then it's probably a warm based colour.

3. Ladies with mousey or mid-dark blonde hair (SOFTS) or very blonde hair (LIGHTS). These are stunning neutrals on you and worn tone-on-tone with little contrast (eg. sky blue) will look amazing.

So, first up we have, drum roll, surprise surprise


Tell me this is not a stunning jacket! I don't know what's happened to Warehouse this season but they've produced some stunning pieces.

Warehouse Blue Quilted Cropped Jacket

It works with jeans, it works with white linen trousers in the summer, it works with a dress in the evening. By golly it even works with a jumpsuit. I reckon that's £45 well spent.

Definitely an investment buy this next one but I've had leather jackets in my wardrobe for 15 years and more, price per wear has got to be in the single figures now. This leather jacket is by Jaeger and is stunning. Perhaps not zipped up! Dress up, dress down. Dress warm, dress cool. It's one of those jackets that you can wear differently every single day of the week.

Jaeger Waisted Leather Jacket

You don't have to keep your neutrals to jackets and coats either. I love this little number from Next. Such an easy-wear top that can be styled many ways.

Next Layer Embellished Top

Or this v-neck top which I'd be tempted to try with a thin white shirt underneath and sleeves rolled up and chinos

BHS Navy V-Neck Top With Stud Detailing

And finally, every woman should have a navy dress in her wardrobe. It's a great alternative to black, still just as slimming but not as severe on the complexion. This is a typical Whistles under-stated dress that will look sensational on.

Whistles Blake Dress

Lets have a look at our next colour,

Charcoal Grey

I've really fallen for this jacket. In the 'olden days' we would most certainly have kept this for 'best' but now it can be dressed down with boyfriend jeans and a slouchy t-shirt. I love this idea.

House Of Fraser Trimmed Textured Jacket by Mango

I can't write this post without mentioning the Queen of Neutrals, Mint Velvet. This dress would be my go-to dress for anything. I adore it. In fact, had I been a festival goer, this would have been my pick to go with hunter wellies and denim jacket. But of course it would work equally well on a date night with the hubby or even sat harbour side in St Tropez. The opportunities are endless.

Mint Velvet Slate Double Layer Georgette Dress

Staying with MV, what a striking top this is. Another piece that won't date and you can wear over and over again.

Mint Velvet Jasmine Print Biker Top

And I think we'll leave it there for today. The whole idea with neutrals is that you can team them with your favourite fashion colours to achieve lots of different looks. So are you a neutral lover? Or do you prefer to fall into your wardrobe every morning and see what comes out. Makes life interesting I suppose.

Of course I practice what I preach and here I am wearing none of my neutrals (doh)! Everything old other than the sweater which is H&M this season (sorry no link)

See you soon