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!


I Have Black Trousers.....Finally!

It's a quick one from me!

First of all, I would like to make an apology to Next for ordering every single pair of black straight leg trousers that they have in stock, sending them all back only to reorder again a few weeks later. I'm a nightmare. So, sorry Next. Thank you for your patience.

You may recall that I've been on the hunt for a pair of cigarette-thingy black pants for ages. I thought I'd found them here. If truth be known, they were a little tight on the waist so I sized up and those were too baggy on the leg. So I didn't buy them in the end.

Since then I've been on the hunt. I've tried Me&Em (fantastic fabric but huge sizing), Zara (can't get on with their trousers), Mango (same as Zara), Marks & Spencer (a little frumpy), H&M (cut so low they were positively indecent)....I think you get the picture. In sheer frustration I went back in to Next last week and ta-da-da-da....I've found some.

Black Slimline Trouser £30

Oh the sheer relief of not having to look for black trousers again this year!

They're a slightly heavier fabric than I've been trying (think workwear) which in my mind is good a) they're warmer in the cold weather and b) they drape much better. They also come up slightly large - I went for a 10 and probably need a belt. If you're in-between sizes, go down. I also went for a standard length to give them a more modern feel. I honestly can't recommend these enough for the money.

It's not a wonky photo by the way, it's a wonky garden!

I 'accidentally' shrunk another of the husband's jumpers that I'd taken a liking to. Look, he's got loads of grey jumpers, he's not going to miss this one is he! Channelling the sharp tailoring look today which I'm not sure I'm pulling off. Oh well, I'm wearing it now.

Oh and the shoes? They're Next too. Honestly they don't pay me, I promise. For value, fabric cuts and age appropriateness, I think Next have got it right. And it's about the only decent shop in my locality!

So, last year, I didn't buy any black high heels and suddenly the ones I have seem a little dated. They're all platforms because I need that extra height (lol). Back in the box they went and a quick purchase was made at the same time as the trousers.

Point Shoes £28

They actually come in a whole host of colours, these are black snakeskin with a little gold tip at the base of the heel (which itself is 10cm). Of course they're not leather but £28 for goodness sake.

So that's your lot. I'm pleased with my two bargains. The trousers are already filling a huge hole in my wardrobe.

A couple of outfits worn over the last few days. All seen before. Loving my Damart coat (which is still current stock here)

Back with a delicious skirt next.

Donna x


Well I'll be darned! Damart

Let's play a game. Let's play word association.

I say Marks, you say......Spencer
I say bacon, you say.......eggs
I say Morecambe, you say.....Wise

Ok, got it? Let's try another.

I say Damart, you say.....thermals

Noooo! That's the wrong answer. Try gorgeous cobalt blue colour block coat. I know, I know I didn't realise Damart did ladieswear too until they sent me this image...

Damart Colour Block Coat

Erm, hello where have you been all my life! How utterly cool to layer a formal-ish coat with a sweat top. So, I fell in love immediately. Honestly, it didn't have anything to do with the fact that it's our local town's football team colour and it would be perfect for sitting in the terrace on a Saturday afternoon. Ok, I lie, it did influence me a tad. But can you blame me?

It's generous in size, I ordered a 10 and is roomy enough to add a couple of layers underneath, perfect for those chilly, nay freezing days. The coat is mainly polyester (with a little stretch) and is machine washable at 30 degrees. You don't often hear that these days. It's also fully lined in cobalt blue. The lighter bit is actually pale grey, not white as I thought from the promo shot. At £75, it's a lot of coat for the money.

I've teamed it with a column of black (roll neck, cigarette pants and court shoes) so I definitely have winter football in mind here.

 So look there's no sleeve rolling up, no jewellery, just the coat on a black silhouette. I'm getting very, very brave in my old age. Me wearing black with a bright colour. I did say that I break the rules sometimes.

And a catalogue shot (I'm going to use this part of the garden more, I like it!).

So, which colour palettes is it suitable for? Actually, I'd say everyone. Although it's a fairly bright blue, the fabric absorbs the light so it's not as strong as it could be (as oppose to a shiny fabric that reflects and makes colours seem stronger). Lights and Softs should perhaps keep the colours underneath lighter (whoops!). Pale grey or a soft white would work well. Deeps, Clears and Cools would rock this. And even warms as it's not such a cool blue - look at the model above, who is just too gorgeous. If you want a quick reminder of your colour palette, click here and here.

One of the things I would say is that we are very, very spoilt these days and allow retailers to do the styling for us. I'm not saying we'd wear something as they've styled it but it does help us make a decision whether to buy or not. So, when you're faced with  pared-down shots of garments as on the Damart website, we don't automatically flex the credit card. I was sent the Autumn Look Book which has some stunning images...

Garnet Jacket £45 & Garnet Trousers £29

By the way, garnet really shouldn't work on a red head but I guess this girl looks fab in everything.

Faux Fur Gilet £39 & Peacock Dress £49

Ecru Cable Sweater £32 & Multi Print Tie Collar Blouse £35  & Camel Wide Leg Trousers £29

Look she's got cute little socks with sandals on!

All I'm saying is use your imagination. I'm really lusting after the last look although I might pass on the socks as I think the husband would think I've well and truly lost the plot (I still like them though).

What's the verdict then? Do you likey-like what Damart have to offer. I'm impressed and would like to say a big thank you to them for giving me this opportunity to review the coat. I'll be championing Macclesfield Town Football Club this season (please make me the mascot, please make me the mascot).

Back in a couple of days, I need to tell you about the trousers and shoes that I'm wearing with the coat.

Donna x

Show And Tell! Altuzarra for Target

So, as promised the results are in and here is my full review of Target's new collaboration with Altuzarra (c/o Net-A-Porter for UK readers).

I ordered it last Sunday for next working day delivery i.e. Tuesday. Unfortunately I missed the delivery man so didn't actually take receipt until Friday. Well that was a waste of the £8 super quick service wasn't it (partly my fault, partly NAPs inflexibility to change the delivery address). You can see where this is going can't you.

Even though it's a cheap collaboration, NAP doesn't disappoint. You still receive a little black box!

Ok, I'm going to give you 3 prices here. The UK price, the USA price and the USA price conversion to sterling. Judge for yourself whether you think it's good value.

Warning: bad photography and looking rough but I needed to get them done tonight as there may be returns involved!

First up is the Embellished Georgette Top. Now I thought this would be my favourite as I love the colour and it's in my colour palette.

UK Price: £45
US Price: $45
Conversion: £27.50

Size: Medium

The top is see through so a cami would be needed. Not a bad thing really but thought you ought to know. The embellishment is actually finished off really well. Put it this way, I've had worse for a lot more money! The size is generous - I could easily have got away with a small. I think my biggest disappointment is that it's really voluminous. You can see the excess fabric underneath my arm. I don't think it would be any different if I sized down either. That said, it's a good shape for an apple as it flares out gradually from the bust downwards.

Verdict: It's a return I'm afraid.

Next is the Pinstriped Crepe De Chine Shirt

UK Price: £30.00
US Price: $29.99
Conversion £18.30

Size Medium

I thought this looked ok in real life but now seeing it on camera, it's slightly see-through and again on the large side so I look bigger than I really am. It would fit into my wardrobe very well but I think there may be more flattering versions (for me) out there.

Verdict: Another return

The third item is the Python Print Georgette Pussy-Bow Blouse (try saying that when you've had a glass of wine or two!!)

UK Price: £35.00
US Price: S34.99
Conversion: £21.40

Size Medium

Ok, I'm looking particularly fed up now, I know. I couldn't even be bothered to tuck it in. I mean, the blouse is ok as it goes. I like the deep cuffs and the colouring. Because it's such a classic cut, I think it will need careful styling to stop it from looking mumsie. I'm not sure I can be bothered.

Verdict: Back it goes

And finally, the Orchid Print Georgette & Cotton Blend Sweatshirt

UK Price: £30.00
US Price: $29.99
Conversion: £18.30

Size Medium

This should be all wrong, it's dark, it has a bold pattern and a high neck. All no-nos in my book but it's actually ok. With my hair and make-up done, a pair of black cigarette pants (I may have made a purchase today along with some new shoes - more on that another time), I think this has the makings of a nice outfit. It's never going to be fabulous on me, but it's a change. It's described as a sweatshirt but the fabric is thinner - a plus point as it's less bulky for smarter wear. The front panel is a silky georgette, I need to check it's not see-through but it doesn't look as if it is going to be on this photo. All in all, very pleasing indeed.

Verdict: A keeper

*A note...given that most retailers mark up approximately 3 times, it means that the sweatshirt was bought in at around £6.10. It's actually cost me £38 as I was stupid enough to pay for swift delivery. Wow! That difference hurts.

Joanna over at Poppy's Style called into Target last week to do a proper recce of the new collaboration. From her photos, it looks horrendous. I have to say that there must be extra quality control measures over at NAP as I found no loose threads. In fact the make-up of the garments seems pretty good. Ok, there were a few creases in the blue shirt but the other 3 items were perfectly fine. Look at Joanna's picture of the black sweatshirt and then look at mine - no creases! Interesting that, isn't it!

I guess my final verdict is it's ok-ish. And I think that's what the general British public are saying too as most items are still available at NAP unlike the previous Peter Pilotto which sold out pretty quickly.

Anyway, here is what I wore today.

Autumn is ace isn't it. I loved getting my slightly warmer jackets out although it was VERY warm in the afternoon.

And to shop my style....

A beautiful coat next time on the blog.

Until then, have a good week and no kicking those fallen leaves, you don't know what's underneath them (says she who had to stand in the river and clean doggy do-do off my wellies today).

Donna x


Bill Skinner, He's Your Man...If You're In The Market For Costume Jewellery!

Toby at Bill Skinner Studio contacted me recently, last month actually to let me know that the new Autumn range would soon be available. Thanks Toby, I was on a spending ban at the time. Seems tantalisingly cruel doesn't it!

I came across Bill Skinner jewellery sometime last year as I was browsing ASOS. They had a small collection and I immediately fell in love with the fresh, quirky designs. A purchase was made...

Bill Skinner Mini Panther Charm Pendant £50 

I love the back of it so much so that I occasionally wear it back to front.

My next purchase soon followed. It's the honeycomb necklace.

I would be a very rich lady if I had a pound for every time someone has commented on it. I'm a little bit over statement necklaces, preferring something smaller at the moment.  The detail is beautiful, you can't actually see it on my photo. Sadly this one isn't available anymore but there are similar ones.

Baby Bee and Honeycomb Orb Gold Pendant (love this so much)

You can really see the exquisite detail on this one

Baby Bee Pendant Gold

I put this bracelet on my Christmas list last year (or birthday, I can't remember now).

Snow Leopard Running Bracelet

Isn't it just the most beautiful thing EVER. Anyway, suffice to say, I didn't get it. My husband doesn't do internet shopping. To be honest I don't blame him as I'd find a way of getting into the parcel to take a peek. Of course it would be perfectly sealed back up when he arrived home! Don't tell me you've never done that.

Back in May I was fortunate to meet Bill and his wife at the Spirit of Summer Fair in London. It was lovely to see the whole collection on display and the couple are truly delightful.

So, what's caught my eye in the new Autumn Collection.

White Tiger Bracelet £95

Stunning isn't it. It's one of those pieces that you would wear over and over again.

White Tiger Tassel Necklace £95

Mrs Skinner was wearing a similar tassel necklace in blue when I met her over a blue patterned kimono style top (yes these things register with me). She looked simply stunning and I have to say, a flat photo like this really doesn't do this piece justice.

Rabbit Pendant £95

How utterly cute and fun is this. And the attention to detail is extraordinary. I love it.

Rabbit Bangle £90

And I think I might love the rabbit bangle even more.

If gold is more you thing...

Acorn Pendant £45

A gold tone crystal set into 18ct gold plated pewter. Gosh, it's just fishing for compliments this one isn't it. Love love love. I think this is going on the wish list.

Dog Charm Bracelet £75

Another fun piece. You know when you're sat on a train bored out of your head. This is something that would keep you entertained, I'm sure you would find a new detail every time you look at it.

Squirrel Nut Locket £85

And when you open it up.....there's a baby squirrel all curled up inside.

That's just a small selection of Bill's designs. Go and have a look for yourself. It's a really beautiful range inspired by nature and wildlife. Pure craftsmanship. Items you'll have for ever and ever.

Toby has also provided a discount code for me and you to use. Quote IWWSB14 at the checkout to receive 10% off your order (valid until the end of September 2014). Thanks Toby.

A quick outfit update. I promised to style the H&M Joggers with a blazer. Got to say this was such a comfy outfit and a lovely change from skinny jeans. And they've washed really well for £14.99!

Styled with an old military style blazer, Boden cross the body bag, yellow sandals and Breton from Next.

Anyway, the Net-A-Porter package has arrived (I paid £8 for next day delivery on Sunday, it's Friday today!) so I'll do a show and tell of the Altuzarra for Target next time. I'm not holding out much hope to be honest.

Have a good weekend.

Donna x


Altuzarra For Target Has Arrived At Net-A-Porter

But you'd better get your skates on. I've missed out on the satin trimmed stretch skinny pants and the satin trimmed velvet blazer in crimson (looks more claret to me but hey what do I know).

So what have I ordered. Well these...

Altuzarra For Target, Net-A-Porter

The collection is all a bit dark and moody except for the flash of white and pale blue that makes an appearance in 3 different garments. I'm not bowled over but thought I'd give it a go out of sheer nosiness more than anything!!

The blouses and shirt will all sit very nicely in my wardrobe. The sweatshirt oh lordy, what am I going to do with that - black and bold!! But given my dress challenge in yesterday's post, I'll try it and do a show and tell.

I contemplated ordering the khaki trench but took it out of my basket before checkout. I like it, I really do but in hindsight khaki is a bit blerrrrr for me so small doses only. I know it wouldn't be my first choice - I'd always find something better to wear in my wardrobe.

Contrast Sleeve Trench Coat £90

Anyway, here is what I wore yesterday for a day out shopping with mum. The top is black, yes black. I don't really do black (what's going on!) but I'm a little fed up of charcoal and navy at the moment. It's from ME&EM and is currently in the sale. You can't really see from the photo but it has quite a long dipped hem at the back. Mine is a Medium and it is very slouchy (in a good way). Jeans are M&S and bag Fiorelli (no longer available).

ME&EM V-Neck Oversize Tee Now £19

Are you going to give Altuzarra For Target a whirl? Which items are you coveting?

Enjoy your Sunday, off for lunch shortly yum.

Donna x

Jingle Bells, I Have A New Dress

Yes, yes I know we're in the middle of an Indian summer but I think I may have found my Christmas dress. It wasn't planned, I promise, let me explain. 

 A couple of weeks ago, Joe Brown's got in touch and asked if I would be interested in choosing a dress from their brand new Autumn Shangri-La and Sovereignty collections. On first glance I thought I might pass on this challenge as the colours and patterns are quite bold. Being a Soft palette, strong colours can really overwhelm me, that coupled with a busy pattern, well I might as well not have a head for how much it pales into insignificance.

So I slept on it. But one little dress kept pinging out at me, this one actually.

Mythical Moments Skater Dress £39.95

Challenge yourself woman, I said. I've never owned a skater dress aka sticking out from the hips number. I tend to choose pencil dresses. I try to stick to lower necklines as they are more flattering, this is quite high. The colours are very deep but actually claret is in my palette. So, I put in my order and looked forward to trying something different. Eeeeek!

And it arrived and I did a double take. The dress is beautiful. It's structured enough that it holds its shape without being too thick. It's a viscose/elastane mix, I can only describe it as bordering on scuba material without the bulk. I ordered a size 12, I'd say if you are in-between sizes, go up in this.

I teamed it with an old claret and gold necklace and the black leather cage shoes from Marks and Spencer. 

The dress didn't feel as short as it looks in the above shot, I'm 5ft 8 1/2 and am comfortable with this length.

A back shot, you can really see how it holds it's shape.

Teamed with my Zara pleather jacket and sunnies although I doubt I'll be wearing sunnies on Christmas Day!

Have to say, I'm thrilled. Thanks Joe Brown, I would never have chosen this for myself. 

And because I'm in love with burgundy/claret/berry tones at the moment, I also clocked these on the Joe Brown's website. Love them both equally. The coatigan would work so, so well in my wardrobe, layered over nude and pink tones, distressed jeans and boots. The coat would be super dressed up or down but I'd love to put a column of colour underneath (I'm think charcoal actually). Hmmm sorely tempted!

What do you think? Did I choose a good 'un? Do you ever challenge yourself? Try it, you might be surprised.

Donna x