How To Wear White

28 May 2015


Believe it or not white is a strong colour, up there with black actually. You know when you see a whole host of gorgeous A-Listers on the red carpet at the BAFTAs, all in their exquisite gowns, reds and blues and silvers...and then there's one actress who has chosen to wear a white tuxedo and suddenly everything else seems to pale into insignificance. That!

That's the power of white.

One of the most powerful dresses a woman will ever wear is her wedding dress and invariably it's a shade of white. But, there are many shades of white and not everyone will suit every shade.

First of all, you need to identify your own colour palette. Click on any image in the side bar or here to find out more or here if you want a personalised service.


Light

This is a great colour for you. Wear it on it's own or mix with one of your deeper shades. I'm not a fan of brilliant white against your hair - unless you are totally platinum. If you're blessed with golden tones you might find that it looks yellowy against the starkness of a pure white. Try a softer shade or ivory or cream.

Here Naomi Watts has chosen a soft white for a grown up look with a modern twist. Adorable!





Deep

Against your dark hair and strong look, most shades of white will look amazing. Generally soft white and ivory can be worn by all Deeps. If you have a warm skin tone you can also try cream and cool skin tones try a bright white. Wear it on it's own, with one of you dark neutrals such as black. Avoid wearing with a pastel or insipid lighter colour as you could look slightly washed out!

Halle Berry looks incredible in her choice of cream (she has a very warm skin tone).




Warm

As a warm, a bright white won't do you any favours so stick to creams and soft white. The creamier the colour, the easier you'll find to wear. Team with flat neutrals such as navy and charcoal to warm them up. Or mix with coral and terracotta for a wonderfully rich look.

Love her or loath her, Sarah Ferguson made a fabulous choice for her wedding dress. A bright white would have been so wrong against her golden skin tone. The rich cream is perfect.




Cool

One of the very few palettes that looks amazing in a bright or pure white. You are the total opposite to the Warm above. Cream will do nothing for you - it will fight with your hair colour. If you're looking for an alternative try a delicate rose beige (this is your cream!?!?). Soft white is also your friend but personally I'd opt for a brighter shade. Another shade you could try is a white with a blue undertone. You can wear white with any of your stronger colours to give contrast.

Judi Dench, just wow! How stunning does she look in this palest of blue-grey, verging on white outfit.



Clear

White will look stunning on you and can be worn on it's own (it looks fabulous against your dark hair and bright eyes) or with a bright colour from your palette such as emerald, scarlet and sapphire or a strong colour such as black.. Try soft white and ivory. If you have a cool skin tone (porcelain and ebony skins) a pure white is an absolute must.

Kate Middleton is wearing white with black contrast. I wanted to show you how the slight addition of black really lifts the outfit on a clear - totally appropriate, totally beautiful.




Soft

Having a soft, blended look, you will of course look your best in a soft white. But don't forget cream which can look equally fantastic. Wear on it's own or team with your lighter neutrals  such as taupe and pewter to give a blended look. A pure white may overwhelm you (believe me, I've made that mistake...several times). Looking back on photos I realise that it wears me instead of the other way around.

Felicity Huffman knows her colours. She's wearing this soft white so well. The texture around the neckline allows us to see her skin softening the white even more. I love this dress!! But imagine adding a black contrast to it as Kate has above. A classic case of allowing the dress to wear you where as it is, it looks classy, it looks expensive and perfectly complements her colouring.



So that's white! It's actually not that difficult to adopt the rules is it? There's so much of it out there at the moment giving everyone an excellent choice. I say, go forth, shop and fill your wardrobe!!





I'd like to take the opportunity to introduce a new on-line service that I've developed. Please do take a look at my new page if you're interested in finding out more about your own colour palette. The link is here.



Back next time with my Baukjen and Esprit order updates. Praying everything is pants and will have to go back as I've spent far too much this month already. Mind you, June is in a couple of days. If I don't open the parcels until then, does that count....?
















When Selfies Can Be Helpful!

23 May 2015
What I mean is, since writing this blog, taking regular photos of my outfit has probably been the most useful aspect of developing my wardrobe. Without even realising, I work to a theme; smart casual in neutral colours. Although I  deviate occasionally (life would be boring without the occasional shake up), this is what I feel most comfortable in. 

So my wardrobe staples are skinnies and a top with the addition of a blazer.  It's only when I look back on past photos that I realise how much I stick to this. It's probably why I feel more at ease in spring and autumn. I've yet to find my own summer style (although I'm working on it). Maxi dresses are ok but a couple of days wearing them and I yearn to climb back into skinnies. I don't do skirts. Having no waist means it's difficult to wear them. And there seems to be a lack of choice of day dresses for a woman who is getting on a bit. 

I've loved seeing fellow bloggers and women in their 40s embrace the dungaree trend. Have I been tempted? No actually, I haven't. Over the knee boots. Nope. Birkenstocks. Definitely not. Ten years ago, I would have tried everything and my wardrobe would have resembled a Next store at 5pm on Boxing day. A total mess. You see, I really believe that your wardrobe should tell a story or have a theme. It makes dressing so much easier if you have lots of neutrals with a few brighter colours that can be injected. Your story might be made up of casual clothes or maybe you're drawn more to classic business dress or are you a total fashionista? Whatever, I honestly believe that you're less likely to find yourself saying this if you have a wardrobe story....





So my question to you is, have you found your wardrobe story yet? I think I have.






Four photographs from this week. See what I mean. Neutral colours. Smart, casual. I'd love to be less neat but that's not going to happen. I'm freaking out at the first picture but in real life it looked smarter. I'd love to be cool but nah it's just not me. So I'll stick to what I know best, it makes me happy.

I urge any woman who wants to explore her own style to take a daily photo. OK, you don't need to get out the tripod and stand in the garden feeling a fool. Use your phone, take a picture in the mirror. Do it for a couple of weeks or more if you can.

Go on, do those selfies. You'll be amazed at what emerges. It will really help focus your mind....and your wardrobe. You'll be able to work out what you've got to work with, where you want to go and what you need to buy. 

Which brings me to my current dilemma. We have a bit of a do coming up in two weeks. Last year I wore a Baukjen dress. I felt totally comfortable even though it isn't the dressiest of dresses - we're talking full on sequinned numbers. I'm too long in the tooth to go there. Mind you, most of the ladies wearing them were too!?!? So, do I go for another Baukjen which I'll wear over and over again or should I push the boat out and step out of my comfort zone. This is the dress I've ordered in coral (which apparently is more scarlet when I emailed them for clarification) and black. As well as two jumpsuits, a pair of slouchy trousers and something else which I can't remember. Hoping they aren't all amazing. There's 25% off Baukjen at the moment using code FF515 until Monday.

I promised that we'd talk about wearing white...it's on the next post, I promise.



Finding The Right Dress For Your Body Shape

20 May 2015
Over the years, I've written, discussed, debated and presented more times than I care to remember on this subject but feel I should revisit on the blog as I've had several requests.

Finding the right dress - shouldn't be too difficult should it? I mean, we've got literally hundreds of shops that we can choose from these days. I guess that's part of the problem, too much choice. Totally and utterly overwhelming.

So, let's strip it right back (not literally because that would be rude) and work with just one shop. I've chosen Boden as unlike some retailers, they do seem to cater for different shapes.

Google body shape and you're bombarded with pictures of apples and vases and funnels and cornets. Confused much. Basically it all boils down to the same things with different names. A bell, a triangle and a pear are all identical body shapes. For the purpose of this exercise let's keep it pretty simple and work with the following terms:

Neat Hourglass - Full Hourglass - Triangle - Inverted Triangle - Lean Column - Rectangle - Round



1. Neat Hourglass

The clue is in the name - 'neat'. Everything is neat...bum, bust, shoulder line. All evenly proportioned so you wear the same size top and bottom and typically you're a size 10 or smaller. Think Kylie Minogue. If this is you, I hate you (lol).

You obviously have a cracking figure and so should show it off. I'm not talking Nell Gwyn naked or anything but your best dress is one that hilights your figure (let's say skims as opposed to clings). Wearing a sack style will actually add pounds to your lovely frame. You don't need to correct any proportions as you're perfect in every way!

I've chosen a simple style dress that will really make the most of your figure. Nipped in at the waist (always a winner on neat hourglasses), neat over the bust and hips.

Boden Daisy Dress 



It's quite a structured piece but to be honest you can do a softer fabric too. The choice is yours. I do actually think you have it easy as there are so many styles you can choose from.


2. Full Hourglass

So you're this shape if you are curvy and evenly proportioned. That means, shoulders and hips are the same width, you have a defined waist and a full bust. We're talking Marilyn Monroe.

You'll look your slimmest when you show your waist. I can't tell you how many ladies I've come across that cover up in sacks because they're too embarrassed to show off their curves. Your dress should follow your body line but not cling. And fabric is key. Stiff material will stand off your curves and add pounds to your frame. Look for fluid, soft fabric without too much volume. You don't need to correct any proportions, your main aim is to concentrate on not building up any area at all.

This dress ticks every box. The fabric is perfect - soft and fluid.

Boden Broderie Jersey Dress



The neckline is low but not so low that you risk falling out of it, nipped in at the waist and skimming  over the hips. Honestly this is a fabulous cut for a full hourglasses.

3. Triangle

Also known as a pear shape. You're this shape if your shoulders are narrower than the hips. You'll have a defined waist and full hips or thighs. Your top half will appear smaller. Leona Lewis is a typical triangle, as she gains weight it tends to go on her bottom half.

Right, there's a few secret tips that we need to discuss here. What we are trying to achieve is a balanced top and bottom half, obviously you don't have this. So, we need to create the illusion. How? Easy. We can build up the shoulder line through use of wide necks, patterns on the top half, brighter colours, detailing on the shoulders such as epaulettes. One really easy fix is the cap sleeve which widens your shoulder line. Turning to your bottom now, you'll probably be quite curvy. A soft fabric is essential so it drapes over your bottom and thighs. Dark, plain colours are excellent as they minimise. Oh and show off your waist. Be grateful you've got one, some of us don't!! In essence, show of your waist, highlight your top and minimise your bottom half.

And as if by magic Boden have designed a near-perfect dress for the triangle.

Boden Summer Sun Dress




Look at the cap sleeve how it broadens the shoulder line and balances wider hips. The neckline detailing in this area also helps. Nipped in at the waist and draping softly over the hips and bottom. I'd grab this in both colour ways (it also comes in white but the top half works so hard at balancing that a lighter colour will be fine) if you're a triangle.

A final note, this is one area where I could really have an argument with Gok Wan. He ALWAYS recommends a halter neck. No No No. What is the shape of a halter neck dress? A triangle. Why would you want to put a triangle on a triangle shape. All it does is hilights your.......triangle.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    


4. Inverted Triangle

You've probably guessed that this shape is the opposite to the previous one. Your shoulders will be wider than the hips. It's unlikely that you will have a defined waist and your bottom will be quite flat. Rebecca Adlington is this shape, quite typical for a professional swimmer.

This time we need to minimise the top half and build up the bottom. Forget wide necks and details across your top, they really will make you look wider. Look for plain, dark fabric with possibly a v neck that draws the eye down and away from this area. A simple, uncluttered top half. You can go to town with your bottom half by building up the hip area...pockets in dresses, stiffer fabric that stands off the hips, patterns and bright colours.

The dress I've chosen has some of the elements that you should look for. A plain upper and patterned below the waist. Absolutely no detail at all at the top. The eye won't settle on a plain, boring area when there's something much more exciting going on on the skirt. Result! We've diverted the eye from the shoulder line.

Boden Zig Zag Dress 



Had this been a halter neck, it would have been the perfect dress for an Inverted Triangle ;-)


5. Lean Column

We're talking skinny gazelle catwalk models here. Narrow shoulders, small waist (possibly non-defined), narrow bottom and a small bust. Erin O'Connor is a lean column.

To be honest, some women love this look and why wouldn't you, it's so gazelle like. But if you're hankering after a few curves, then there are a few tips you can take on board. If you're flat chested, look for dresses with detail in this area - ruching and frills are good (as is pattern and any detail). Use texture and layering to cut up your torso. Wearing say a plain green midi pencil dress can make you look a little runner-beany, adding a knitted cardigan and textured tights breaks up the 'long' effect and creates interest. Obviously a winter solution (a.k.a. today brrrrrrr!). Hilight your waist, belts are great and use a stiffer fabric that stands off the hips giving the appearance of curves. Soft drapey fabrics will literally hang from you as you don't have curves - avoid like the plague!

The Elsa dress has detailing around the bust area, making it difficult to see whether there's actually anything there or not so that's the boobs sorted. It hilights the waist and the skirt stands off the hips giving the illusion of curves.

Boden Elsa Dress


All in all, not a bad choice for a lean column.


6. Rectangle

I often hear ladies saying that they're an apple shape when in fact they're a rectangle. It's important to identify your shape as wearing 'apple' clothes will do you no favours at all. You'll have a straight shoulder line, flat bottom and straight hips, no waist and a straight ribcage. You may carry weight around your tummy and have a defined bust. This is where ladies go wrong, they automatically think 'apple'. I'm struggling to find a celeb with a rectangle body but probably Susannah Constantine back in the day of Trinny & Tranny. Oh and me! I'm a rectangle.

Avoid detail at the waist, stomach and bust. Really this area should be kept uncluttered. Simple clean lines. Your dress should have a straight line (think pencil dress) or a loose shift. As a general rule, I've found these two styles are the most flattering. With regards to fabric, a drape will hang from your frame (in a bad way) so a slightly more structured fabric works best. BUT if you have a bust then you might want to consider a slightly softer material to accommodate. Tricky one I know. The most important thing is to ensure that the dress line is straight overall and that you feel comfortable in it.

This dress is pretty much working for a rectangle. The lines are straight and uncluttered (if you ignore the pattern) and the neckline is a simple v.

Boden Bluebell Dress



If your smallest point is just underneath your bust, an empire line could work really well for you. It gives the illusion of curves without having to hilight the non existent waist.


7. Round

Also known as the apple shape. You'll have a rounded shoulder line, curved back and carry all of your weight around the middle with a flattish bottom. But oh boy, do you have great legs. Dawn French is a typical round.

The single most important point for rounds is fabric fabric fabric. It should always be soft and fluid that hangs well. Stiff material will stand off your curves making you look bigger than you actually are. Look for dresses that hang from the shoulders with a straight line that follow the body but don't cling. Too much volume will of course add pounds to your frame. Keep everything simple and uncluttered but use lots of chunky accessories to make it your own.

The Pintuck dress is not far off the mark. I would have preferred to show you a sleeved version so you can see it hanging form the shoulder line. Can you see how it drapes from the top and the line is straight.

Boden Pretty Pintuck Dress


And as I suggested, keep the dress simple, you can then accessorise it with lots of chunky bangles and an oversized necklace.


But you know, all that said, there's always exceptions to every rule. Sometimes I look at women and the dress they're wearing and think, 'how on earth does that work'. Because sometimes it just does. But hey, you know me, I love a bit of rule breaking.

I'm actually on a dress mission myself. We've got a big event coming up in June and of course I have nothing to wear. Last year it was full on sequinned ball gowns. It's not my bag. So I have to find something that I love but won't look too out of place. Any help gratefully received. Anyone...? Have you seen anything that would be appropriate for a rectangle with a Soft colour palette. See! It's not easy is it finding the perfect shape in the perfect colour.

Think we'll tackle how to wear white next time. Off to do a bit of research. I may be a while.






Patchwork Jeans Buy Or Customise?

15 May 2015
I keep seeing these patched jeans from M&S.


M&S Patch Cinch Back Boyfriend Jeans (currently reduced to £36)


If I'm honest, the juries out. Not that I don't like patchwork, far from it. I'm just not ever so sure about the boyfriend style and the deep turn ups. See what I mean...


Are they cool or overly done. Is it the classic case of M&S styling or am I way out of touch. They seem a little contrived - neat patches on a slouchy jean (clown-esque???). I don't know, for some reason I think they're going to be hard to pull off unless you have the right body shape. Maybe I should try them on before dissing?

Anyway, it got me thinking. Would it be better to customise your own? You could choose where to put the patches (i.e. avoiding your bad bits, let's face it no one wants to hi light a slightly chunky thigh with a huge pale denim patch). I remember Susie So So's post a while back which is a brilliant tutorial on how to do this. She's got it so right hasn't she? And the more I look at the M&S ones, the more I dislike them. Take a look at Stylonylon and The Frugality in Sue's post. Love these!

So I think for now I'll stick with my old Noisy May unless I can be persuaded otherwise!!




Jeans - Noisy May (similar)
Shirt - Fat Face 
Blazer - H&M
Sandals - Primark (old)


Nb. I might not be as clever as Susie So So but I have this morning chopped off the hem of these jeans. Can't wait for them to start the distressing process!!

Nice short post from me today - makes a change!

Has anyone bought the M&S jeans? Do they look much better on? Maybe I should scratch the itch and go and try them for myself.

Have a lovely weekend.












If you're looking for a new foundation, you may want to read on...

13 May 2015
The Introduction (Everything needs an introduction - my English Language teacher told me)

I don't do beauty posts. Why? Because make-up, lotions and potions don't really float my boat. They're the necessary evil that I have to fork out for month on month. I'd much rather buy a pair of shoes or a nice top but for fear of upsetting the neighbours' children, I begrudgingly apply make-up every bloomin day.

The Snobby Bit

That said, I'm a bit of a make-up snob. If it doesn't come from a sparkly white counter in the make-up hall of Selfridges where prices are NEVER displayed, I won't buy it. Perish the thought indeed. I've gone through more make-up brands over the years than I care to mention especially where foundation  is concerned. They're never quite perfect. I even attempted Estee Lauder Double Wear thingumabob a couple of years ago. A bizarre experience I have to say. It kind of sits on the face. By early afternoon I was willing it to disappear into the skin but oh no this baby was going nowhere. And then there's Mac Studio Fix with buildable coverage which I was assured would give me perfect skin. I gave up after 5 coats.


The Revelation Bit

And then a few weeks ago, I read 3 reviews in the space of a few days about Vichy Dermablend. All gave it 5 stars. I'm a bit of a sucker for this sort of thing and after a bit of googling, discovered that Boots stock this brand. I also noticed the price. £18 (yes eighteen pounds), half of what I normally pay. The inner devil came out immediately, 'Pah that stuff will be rubbish then' but those 5 stars just wouldn't go away. So I gave in to my inner-snobbery and popped to town to have a look at this Dermablend stuff. Given we only have one shiny counter in our local Boots it soon became apparent that it wasn't classed as a premium brand. Please don't let it be next to Barry M and Rimmel. Please no. I really couldn't take that. But nope, not there either. I eventually found it in the moisturiser section (near Soap and Glory and all those other over priced Christmas stocking fillers).

It took me another 10 minutes to persuade an assistant that if they actually wanted to sell the damn product that maybe they could provide testers. Begrudgingly I was told to choose two to check the colour. Thankfully the first one was a perfect match. Feeling ever so slightly guilty, I even offered to buy it but she had the audacity to say sorry that's not for sale, it's a tester!!! The mind boggles sometimes.

Vichy Dermablend Fluid Corrective Foundation 
Oh the irony!! Try me - if only!!


Anyway, onto the review.

It's brilliant.

...oh you want to know more. Honestly and truly I have never, ever used a foundation as good as this. It's described as high coverage. I'd say it's good coverage without being too thick. I have minor imperfections and some skin discolouration. The foundation seems quite thin when you squeeze it out of the tube but oh boy this makes it so easy to work around the face and it actually does have great coverage. Half the price of my usual and twice as good.

It comes in a tube without any fancy packaging. In fact I doubted it would last very long as it felt as if there was nothing in it. There's 30ml, the same as a normal size. My inner Scrooge is gleefully looking forward to the day I can snip open the end to extract the dregs. Beats chasing that last drop around the bottom of a Mac bottle with an ear bud. Oh and a tip I've picked up over the years - I always go ever so slightly lighter with my foundation, not Casper-esque but a smidgen lighter than my skin. It's much more flattering to use bronzer to bring out your colour. I went for number 25 which is the second lightest (I don't have light skin but it's a great match).

Chuffed to bits with it I am.


The Weird Co-incidence Bit

So having never used a Vichy product in my life before, a couple of days later an email pinged into my inbox from....Vichy. For a few seconds I couldn't work out how on earth they knew...knew that I was using their foundation. Definitely no hidden cameras in my house. So it was obviously nothing but a co-incidence. Anyway, they asked if I would like a sample of their Liftactiv Supreme cream. I normally politely say no as to be quite honest, I can't really be bothered. I'm the one that realises when my legs are cracking due to lack of moisturiser that maybe I should do something about it - this extends to looking in the back of a cupboard, finding a tube of Yardley lavender cream that the son won 5 years ago at the Christmas fair. I was also scarred by one brand who asked if I would review a black head picker. I don't have black heads I said. Well, couldn't you talk about it 'generally' they said. Not really I replied. Well, do you have a friend you could test it on they asked. Errm not if I want to keep my friends, I said.

Anyway, this time, I was intrigued, so said yes and received a very generous 50ml pot.

Vichy Liftactiv Supreme 





Now, I'm not going to bore you with the science bit (it's very scientific - I got all the blurb). Suffice to say, they singled me out because I'm old and need a little help miracle. It's supposed to boost radiance, make wrinkles look smoother and skin feel firmer. Now look, nothing's going to sort out my wrinkly forehead (years of squinting when I should have used my glasses). Only an elephant strength double shot of botox works there. But, yes my skin does feel, how can I put it... different. It's really, really smooth, all day actually. I can't stop stroking it (take note - foundation described above is still in tact after multiple strokes). I don't have that many fine lines around my eyes so I can't comment on this but my skin does feel firmer.

Has anyone commented on my skin? Not a sodding person. But that's ok because I can feel a difference. I think the proof of the pudding is; will I replace it when it's all gone? I can hand on heart say yes I will.


The Conclusion Bit

1. Stop being snobby about brands
2. Be prepared to take on the assistants in Boots to get your tester
3. Barry M still looks like a gift with purchase product from a 1970s Patches magazine
4. Vichy Lifactiv Supreme is much nicer than using Sudacred


Fabulous weather here in Cheshire today. Top down on the car and everything (well I had the bum heater on, it wasn't that hot). But I did forgo a jacket. Dashing around trying to keep everyone happy and achieving very little.

Top - Me&EM (similar)
Jeans - M&S
Trainers - Honey Los
Bag - Next Clearance 

Little things give me enormous pleasure. This bag for instance. Picked up in the Next Clearance (online at the present - click here and it's the top left one). Reduced from £22 (bargain) to £7 (even better bargain).

It's so lovely. So much better in the flesh.

Mini Envelope Across The Body Bag £7 (clearly I got a kick out of wearing it on just one shoulder today)


I also bought this one for the hols (I was thinking pool side glamour - you know upgrading the old £1 bikini bags to put sun creams in etc) and then it came and actually, it's a lovely little clutch that will brighten up a few evening outfits too. It's on the same page is the one above.

Print Zip Top Clutch £7


Randomly, a blue fur coat was also in the parcel! No idea why.

Back soon






Summer Style For The Over 60s

07 May 2015
So Mum's off on her holidays with friends next week (and I'm left behind said Dad whilst doing a little dance behind her back - a fest of watching football I fear).

Of course every outfit is meticulously planned even down to the pants (and that's the UK equivalent of pants not the US). And no doubt there'll be a 'spare' outfit, just in case.

You've met her a couple of times before on the blog but to recap, she's a Cool and very much a 'Classic' style personality with a little bit of Romantic thrown in there. I'll cover these again sometime soon.

Here are her evening outfits.

Outfit 1


White Trousers - Wallis
Blue Cami - Debenhams (similar)
Cardigan - Roman Originals (now £15)
Necklace (Similar)


I can't tell you how stunning this little cardi is in real life. It's gorgeous and is now reduced to £15. She's under strict orders to buy the  emerald colourway too. Oh and if it's too hot in Majorca - tough! I've told her she has to keep it on as it's so pretty. The strong blue looks great against a cool skin tone. Also suitable for Deeps and Clears.




Outfit 2

White Trousers - Wallis
Floral Top - The Collection @ Debenhams
Necklace - Ebay
Love these colours on a Cool - they're so uplifting. Mind you, I'm slightly worried about the white trousers - it seems she's planning on wearing them twice. I mean it only takes a jug of Sangria...

Here's a close up of the top.



A really flattering cut!


Outfit 3

Dress - Phase Eight (similar)
Sandals - old biddy shop!!

Soft draped fabric is perfect for ladies with curves. Stiffer material would stand off her hips and make her look at least one size bigger. The pleating across the tummy works really well as it disguises wobbly bits. The sandals are far nicer in real life - silver sparkle but gosh Mum, they look like old lady shoes in this photo!! (She'll be horrified).


Outfit 4

Floral Top - Matalan (similar)
Mint trousers - Matalan

So, here she's cheating a little with her colours - see the fern green in the top. That's not in Mum's palette. But hey come on, we're talking minor detail here. There's no way, I'd ever deny anyone for something so insignificant. Because the top is predominantly white, it works just fine.


Outfit 5

Dress - Wallis (similar)

Sadly sold out now, this white dress with a black print should last Mum for years and years. She can throw on a coloured cardi in this country on cooler nights and swap for a blazer in winter.


Outfit 6

Dress - Kaleidoscope (similar)

A white dress with red and pink flowers. This isn't a fluid fabric but it has some stretch in it so doesn't stand off the body. A risky choice Mum - you've managed to pull it off!


Outfit 7

Trousers - BHS (similar)
Floral Top - Wallis (similar)

So outfit number 7 - this must be the spare as by my calculations Mum is only away 6 nights! Back in familiar territory she is with this. I kind of get why she wants to ring the changes sometimes and wear a dress but I do love this sort of outfit. Perfect length, fabulous Cool colours, great arm coverage but still very summer-like. 

And before anyone points it out, yes the borders need weeding - sack the gardener. Stern words will be had tomorrow or else there'll be no tea and 2 sugars!!

Think that's Mum's evening outfits sorted. I can bet my last dollar that someone will come up to her and say how nice she looks - they always do!!

I'm off to Leeds to see the daughter tomorrow - her first year at Uni is almost complete. Golly! Let's see if I can get a few photos for the blog (I wouldn't bank on it).

On Tuesday I'm going out with a really experienced buyer for the day - so excited to see how she chooses stock. She's already sent me an autumn/winter look book which has some truly gorgeous collections. I want it all!! 

I've got quite a few posts to chug through over the next couple of weeks. A few people have asked for dress shapes, I need to tell you about a fabulous foundation (it must be good as I rarely do beauty posts), we need to look at how to wear white and I've got a little something up my sleeve. 

So I'll be off now. Have a lovely weekend.






How To Work Out Your Colours (Part 2): The Rules & Wearing Black

04 May 2015
Not wanting to be at all prescriptive because we are after all our own people, so please don't think this is the only way to wear colour. It's purely a method that I find works for me.

So last time we looked at how to work out which colour palette we belong to. Refresher here or click on any of the beautiful ladies in the menu bar of this blog. Now that we know where we belong, we need to know how to apply this knowledge.

I'll take each palette individually and give you

  1. The rules!
  2. A few colours to play with
  3. How to wear black (because admit it, you can't live without it
By the way, we're only talking about colour 'up top', you can wear what you like on your bottom half. And, there are always exceptions to the rule for example everyone looks better with a tan so can get away with a lot more. And beautiful people are exceptions to all of these rules - they look good in everything (cows).

And I should point out that we're only looking at colour here, not the shape of a dress or top - that's another story!

Light

1. Your rules

You have a very delicate look so theory dictates that to achieve balance, your clothes should have a very delicate look too. So, two light colours can be worn together (eg. soft white and nude), a light and a deep together (eg. navy and mint) but never two deep colours (e.g. black and burgundy). If you're wearing a dark coat or jacket, try adding a lighter colour next to your face by way of a scarf or top.

2. A few colours to play with

light grey and pastel pink
light navy and primrose
rose brown and nude
stone and light teal

Arrggghh why do they do that! Totally ruins my theory. Anyway, this next top should have a Claudia Schiffer head on it (not a Deep). She looks okish but don't forget, she's young, has great lighting and no doubt lashing of make-up on. This is a perfect Breton for a Light - the soft colours won't overwhelm your delicate look.

Gap Modern Stripe Boatneck tee £12.99



Yes Dorothy Perkins! This little top is a fab pattern for a Light. The colours are spot on and the pattern won't overwhelm.

Dorothy Perkins Tile Print Tie Front Top £15


The colours and pattern of the next top could easily over power a Light. I'd perhaps suggest you leave this one for a Deep to wear.


Dorothy Perkins Neutral Aztec Tile Print Top £24


NO!


3. Wearing Black

Ok, now don't all go yelling at me at once but the bad news is that you don't get black (I'm sorry). In fact the nearest is light navy and medium grey. Rubbish isn't it. I always throw in charcoal grey (believe me, it's light black!) as I think worn with a lighter colour, it gives, particularly for business dress, many more options. That said, I think a Light can look stunning in black (I'm nothing but a rule breaker) - the contrast against light blonde hair is just gorgeous. But and this is a big but, keep it away from your face so look for lower cut tops and dresses.

And as if by magic, a black, low cut dress.

Atterley Road Agata Black Layered Dress £58



Deep

1. Your rules

Totally opposite to a Light, you have a very strong look so theory dictates that to achieve balance, your clothes should have a strong look too. So, two deep colours can be worn together (eg. black and burgundy), a deep and a light (eg. navy and white) but never two light colours (eg. beige and pink) - you'll look washed out and pale. If you wanted to wear say a beige jumper, team it with a dark coloured scarf - maybe leopard print which you can get in a whole host of colours these days. Or wear a really dramatic necklace in a darker colour.

2. A few colours to play with

charcoal and teal
black and emerald green
scarlet and white
black and primrose yellow
charcoal and burgundy

Love this Gap top for a Deep. Shame the model isn't one as I think the colours would look so much more intense on someone with dark hair.

Gap Modern Stripe Boatneck Tee £12.99



I defy any Deep not to look fabulous in these next colours. And how stunning is she!

French Connection Jersey T-Shirt £35





This next top a no! It will no doubt wash you out unless you're young and beautiful. Mind you I think the model is struggling to pull this one off! Probably the reason why it's in the sale (all sizes available)! Softs, Lights and Warms, you can do this!

Gap Split-neck Hoody £12.99

NO!


3. Wearing Black

Go for it girls! You get black in your palette and I bet most of you have a wardrobe full of the colour. Don't be afraid to mix it with other deep colours too. Oh, and for those that have warm tones in your hair, try black-brown. It's difficult to find but if you come across it, buy it. Looks stunning!

Take this particular dress for example. Very few women can get away with such a high neckline in black. You can (although big busted women might struggle with the shape). She looks amazing!




Warm

1. Your rules

You have such a golden and rich look that you should balance this by wearing gorgeous warm colours.  And, your look is neither light nor deep so medium shades are your friend. If you're wearing a 'flat' neutral such as navy or charcoal, warm it up by adding a warmer contrast colour such as orange or sage or aqua. Stay away from baby pink, raspberry, violet - they won't do anything for you.


2. A few colours to play with

chocolate and lime (no you won't look like a sweet, I promise)
bronze and amber
aqua and mint
orange-red and cream
khaki and yellow

The traditional Breton of navy and white isn't rich enough for you (although you can add jewellery or a scarf to warm it up). Try this one as an alternative.

Gap Modern Strip Boatneck Tee £12.95



A lovely summer top that would work equally well on it's own or underneath a navy or charcoal jacket for business wear.

Dorothy Perkins Lemon Embellished Bubble Top £28

Or how about mustard - stunning on Warms and just the right depth of colour for you.

Next Poet Top £30



I'd leave this next one on the shelf - the pinky-blue undertone won't do you any favours!

Mango Dolman Sleeves T-shirt £11.99


NO!


3. Wearing Black

Oh heck, you're another one who doesn't get black - eek! It's too boring on you. I mean why would you choose black when you could go for brown? It's still as slimming you know.  But don't despair, there are options. You can sometimes pick up black lace dresses that have contrasting nude or bronze linings. Far gentler on the skin. Make sure you always wear a gold or warmer toned necklace with a black dress - it will reflect warmly under your chin.

Wearing a brown leather belt and wooden jewellery is a great way to wear a casual black dress.

Next Black Boho Dress £26


With this...

Top Shop Triangle Crystal Stone Wooden Collar £16.50



Cool

1. Your rules

Totally opposite rules to a Warm, you have such a cool skin tone that in order to achieve balance, your colours should have a cool blue undertone. This means that every colour you wear should have lots of blue in it (eg. your red will be a raspberry and your green will be a blue-green). Your look is strong so consider some contrast especially if wearing lighter colours next to your face.


2. A Few colours to play with

dark navy and sky blue
charcoal and rose pink
black and icy green
teal and icy blue
raspberry and white


You don't actually get yellow in your palette - worn next to your face, it can really make you look sallow. That said, this is a perfect example of how you can incorporate yellow into your wardrobe.

Wallis Striped Colour Block Top £24



Similarly, you can pick out accents of 'forbidden' colours in bags and shoes. Honestly, it won't matter.


This pink Hush top worn over a white cami illustrates my point of wearing contrast. The shirt is absolutely fine on it's own and so is the white but together with the colour of your hair, you'll look sensational.

Hush Classic Silk Shirt £112



And if you're wondering about green, this is yours! Peacock or blue-green is perfect. Fantastic on it's own or under a  navy blazer.

Dorothy Perkins Green High Neck Cami Top £12



Sadly this next top is a no. The acid yellow undertone won't do you any favours. Leave it for your arch enemies, the Warms.

Next Print Frill Sleeve Top £26


NO!



3. Wearing Black

What a lucky girl you are, black is in your palette and it's quite important too. You wear it well. Try it with pinks and blues and lilac or on it's own. I'd stay away from combining it with deeper colours such as royal blue, charcoal and pewter as you'll lose that little bit of contrast that really makes you look lovely and fresh.


You're always going to look better in silver jewellery so this dress wins on both fronts. Let's not talk about the length though (it's a tad short). Might be ok if you're less than 5ft 5.


Hailey Logan at Debenhams Black Sleeveless Crystal Embellished Cocktail Dress £70 
(winner of longest title ever - it's them, not me!)



Clear

1. Your rules

So you have lots of contrast between your eyes and hair colour. In order to achieve a balanced look, you should wear lots of contrasting colours. Or bright colours on their own. I call this the jewel palette - ruby, sapphire and emerald are all colours that you do well. If you're wearing a sludgy colour such as tape, you really need to wear an uplifting one with it. Oh and I need to mention that it's all in the material for you. Look for fabrics that reflect the light (eg. satin) , they'll look fabulous on.


2. A few colours to play with

black and white (of course)
cornflower blue and mint
scarlet and light apricot (red features a lot in your palette)
royal blue and light grey
emerald green and white


Of course you can do huge contrasts so go for it on the Breton front.

Gap Modern Stripe Boatneck Tee £12.95


She looks truly horrified doesn't she. Well being a Soft, she would. So much better on a Clear!


A perfect, perfect top next. Bright teal (tick), satin (tick), go and buy it (tick), lie to hubby how much it cost (tick)

LK Bennett Rhodes Sleeveless Top £125


You'd also look great in the pink top in the Cool section above.


This is a no I'm afraid. The soft muted pattern will wash you out. It's doing a fine job on the model - another one who looks thrilled! You'll lose the intenseness of your eyes in something like this.

Zara Printed Blouse £25.99

NO!


3. Wearing black

Yeay - you get it. It's an important colour to you and rightly so. The stunning simplicity and depth of colour totally, totally makes your eyes shine bright. Pick a perfect shape for your figure, long or short, high or low neck, you'll rock it. You can do a contrast if you want but it's obviously strong enough on its own.

I'm not even going to say anything about this dress. I'll leave you to salivate.


All Saints Alex Dress £79




Soft

1. You're the opposite to a Clear. You have a vey blended, muted look or you may have been confused and find that you have characteristics from some of the other palettes. I call this the dumping ground! Sorry. But hey, we're in good company, Kylie Minogue and Kate Winslet are Softs too. So to achieve a balanced look, you should choose soft, muted colours in fabrics that absorb the light such as wool and cotton. It doesn't mean that you have to wear sludge colours - jeez, I hate sludge brown (ha ha ha). You still get all the colours but tone it down a little. So geranium red instead of scarlet. Jade instead of bright emerald. Finally, look for colours that you can wear tone on tone. If you wear say charcoal, balance it with another colour that is only one or two tones lighter such as sky blue as oppose to going full on white.


2. A few colours to play with

mocha and turquoise (see me in these colours here)
pewter and nude
stone and soft white (far nicer than a brilliant white)
charcoal and light periwinkle
light navy and jade

Breton's are often VERY LOUD which of course isn't what we're all about in this palette. Try to find stripes where the colours are much closer in tone to one another. Because yeah I practice what I preach. This is the best one I could find and would work really well on a Soft although I'm not sure about that pocket. Can you see how much softer it looks compared to the Clear one above?

BHS Blue 3/4 Sleeve Yarn Dye Stripe T-Shirt £7



The Breton in the Light palette above would also work but I didn't want to use the picture twice. See, I'm giving you all variety.

And this my friends is how to do pattern, soft and muted but not at all boring.  I do find that Mint Velvet really cater for Softs season-on-season. A.D.O.R.E.


Mint Velvet Bluebell Printed Boho Top £69
And one more because they're so good at what they do. Look how the pattern is very tonal in two greys but not so much so that they contrast with each other. Tone is what we want, not contrast.

Mint Velvet Sylvie Print Double Layer Top £69




Erm, just no. Leave the next one to the Deeps, Clears and Cools. It's too loud and vibrant for you to pull it off. Buy the one above.

French Connection Shadow Bloom Tunic Top £70


NO!


3. Wearing black

No you don't get black so let's leave it there.


I'm kidding! How could I deprive you of black. Ok it isn't in your palette but I'm not going to wean you off it anytime soon so the least I can do is give you a few tips. Think fabric first of all. Full on shiny black ain't doing you any favours no matter how much bronzer you cake on. Look for lace, chiffon, velvet, texture, anything that is softer to the skin. Next, colour. Yes there are different tones of black. A deep charcoal grey will look tons better than black any day. Similarly a washed-black. Thirdly, keep your neckline low, we're not talking indecent ladies of the night low, just enough to keep it away from your face.

This dress fits 2 of the 3 criteria above (it fails on the colour) but that's not so important in this case as the fabric is away from the face. The pleats in the material give it a lovely soft feel. Go on, I give you permission to buy this one ;-)

Attorney Road Britta Black Pleated Dress £38


Well, that's me done. I'm outta here. These posts are epic (as in long, not as in fabulously fantastic) and I'm about to lose the will to live. So I'll scoot off now - the ITV drama, Safe House is beckoning. Allie has something fishy about her, mark my word. I've seen many a Columbo movie to know these things.

I'll be back with something a little bit lighter later in the week.












 
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