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!

8.30.2015

A Review Of Violeta By Mango For The Curvier Lady

Ok I'm trying to stay awake. It's Saturday night. I'm staying in and I can't even have a bloomin drink. The son is at a party and I'm designated picker-upper at 1am. A 90 minute round journey. Hey ho. So, I thought I'd have a look at Mango but this time the Curve sizes, Violeta range.

I wasn't terribly impressed when it first launched in January last year (see my review here). So, let's see what's on offer a few collections down the line.

First of all, bravo Mango for calling the range 'curve sizes'. So much more informative than plus size. I mean what is a plus size???? Sounds quite derogatory to me. Sizes go up to a 22 but I don't know how true these are. Perhaps someone wouldn't mind letting me know if they find Violeta true to size. I'd be interested to know.

Secondly, let's run through quickly what the curvier lady should be looking for.

1. Fabric matters.
I've mentioned this before. Stiff, crisp fabrics will stand off your curves making you look bigger than you really are. Look for soft, drapey fabrics that skim your curves.

2. Your waist
If you have a waist, make sure you show it off. Curvy hourglasses and pear shapes, I'm talking to you. Boxy jackets won't do you any favours but jackets that nip in at the waist will work well.

3. Watch where the hem lines finish on tops and bottoms
Avoid any hem line finishing at your widest part. It gives the illusion of you being bigger than you are. If you are at your widest at the hips for example, wear a top that finishes slightly higher or lower. But if you're doing a full block colour eg. black, this won't be so important. It's only if you're wearing a contrasting top and bottom. Similarly watch where the skirt and coat hem finishes. Again avoid the widest part of your leg.

4. A column of colour is very slimming
Wearing the same colour top and bottom elongates your frame. Generally darker colours are slimming (eg. black, navy, charcoal, brown) but totally boring in the warmer months so don't be afraid to try white. You can wear a pop of colour by way of a cardigan, jacket or coat to pull an outfit together.

5. Print size
Prints can be brilliant in disguising a wobbly tummy for example. But, a delicate ditzy print will look lost and totally unbalance your frame. Look for larger prints which will look amazing. Avoid geometric patterns as lines won't lie straight over your curves. Opt for more fluid shapes such as florals, paisleys, circles and spots.

6. Watch the neckline
If you're blessed with a big bust then you probably know that a high neckline isn't great. It creates a kind of shelf effect - hmmmm not your best look. A lower neckline is much more flattering.

Ok, let's go....

What do you reckon to this first offering?

Suede Dress £169.99


It's certainly a trend piece. But it's suede and suede does it's own thing. There's absolutely no give in this fabric. There's no waist definition either and if you have hips, you can forget it. And if you size up, you're going to look the next size up too!

Well, we can fix the fabric with this next dress.

Cupro Dress £59.99



So much more flattering. The drape will work really well on your frame. For a rectangle shape (that's ladies without a waist), this is THE PERFECT shape for you. Regardless of what Gok Wok says, you can't create a waist with a belt if you don't have one. The belt serves only to hilight the absence of one! Hourglasses and pear shapes, I know you want this dress too because it's lovely isn't it. Add a jacket with a nipped in waist and you too have the perfect little number. To be honest this type of dress works with almost any footwear - dress down with trainers, pointed ballet pumps (points elongate the leg) and ankle boots (but be careful they can cut your legs up) or go all out with your best heels.


If you have the urge for the dark green, how about this one.

Flowy Belt Dress £59.99



The clue is in the title (flowy) and in the product description (fluid). Can't get much clearer than that. I think this is one to show off the waist. And a Brucie bonus, a lovely deep neckline that can be filled with any jewels of your choice (or just leave it naked, you brazen hussy).

Cowl Neck Dress £44.99


A lovely dress that's covering all the right bits (upper arms, upper legs) but that cowl worries me. If it's resting on an already voluptuous bust, well, we're talking Katie Price-esq proportions. The model doesn't look very amused either!

A quick look at patterns.

Paisley Print Dress £69.99


This is a great pattern actually. It keeps everything in proportion. A fabulous little dress for autumn that can be layered up for warmth. And I think it would work for those of you who wouldn't want the belt, just take it off.

Overall, I'm quite impressed with the dress selection. There's enough choice with only a few bad apples.

Tops next. Most of the tops seem to be in lovely fluid fabrics. Even the denim shirt is described as a 'soft denim'.

This caught my eye.

Stud Textured Blouse £44.99


The neckline has a hint of Michael Kors about it. You'll need to work out where your own widest part is at the hemline but this top has the option of doing a semi tuck as above (if you dare - go on you know you want to) or leave it loose.

If I'm honest, I'm not sure about this scarf print blouse.

Scarf Print Blouse £59.99


I do think that the 'squareness' of the print works against your curves but the shape is great for some of you. And a really pretty arm length. Juries out!

But this one is a yes - go out and buy it!

V-neckline blouse £49.99



You can't see from the photo but there's little tie things at the wrist line. Details such as this are great at drawing the eye as they're interesting. Which of course means that they eye is concentrating on your wrists (we all have beautiful wrists) and not on your bad bits. If you're short legged I'd avoid cuffing your jeans, it really does shorten the leg.

Next top. The colour! They say lilac, it's so not lilac. It's verging on berry - totally wonderful for this season and most can wear this (red heads might struggle).

Flowy blouse £44.99


This shape is such a good wardrobe basic, for work, for casual, for dressing up.

And the dress in a top.

Paisley Print Blouse £59.99



Works doesn't it. That little tassel is a really important feature. It forces the eye to look up and down as opposed to settling on anything in particular which really does work the verticals and automatically tricks the brain into thinking you're slimmer. Try it for yourself it really works.

So, we'll leave it there for tonight. It's now midnight, so a quick cuppa before I set off to pick the little one up. Couldn't deny him this party, we were invited too but have family over for the weekend. It's amazing. A house party with 300 people, V-fest D.J.s, free bar, catering vans. The lot. Now that's one way to see out the summer!

I'll look some more at Mango's Violeta but so far, I'm pretty impressed. They've come a long way. I love their use of fabrics and the hem lines have been dropped. The designers have really thought hard how a woman would like to dress regardless of her size. Disappointed that the price point seems on the face of it to be more expensive than the normal range though.

It was a harrowing afternoon. Our beloved football team conceded 2 goals in the 90th and 94th minute so we lost 2-1. I felt sick. Anyway, this is what I wore.

Sweater - Mango
Blazer - H&M (similar)
Cropped trousers - Mango
Shoes - Boden (similar)
Bag - Coach (similar)
Scarf - old


Hoping for a bit of a lie in tomorrow <----- family please read this!




8.27.2015

Stripes the other way!

BREAKING NEWS: The beloved Breton is being usurped by vertical stripes. This can't be happening!

I visited 3 shops today, just 3 and each one had a similar pattern. Look!

My first destination was M&S and I saw this dress in the doorway. It really is so much nicer in the flesh. 



The styling is getting ever so slightly better - love the idea of teaming this with trainers and a navy blazer or denim jacket. 

Then I popped over to New Look with the daughter who has been eyeing up a few skirts (they're gorgeous by the way) and saw this.




It does have red in the pattern too although you can't really pick that out in the picture. This would be great with white skinnies and trainers now and then layered under a navy jumper for a preppy look later in the season.

And finally, it was over to River Island.


So of course I had to come straight home and look at what else is on offer.



A slightly easier option to wear as the colours are less intense. 

This next one is even easier to wear (especially for Softs & Lights) AND it's in the sale.





Well priced at Zara and it's all about the neck tie this season which has given me an idea of an outfit with my culottes. 




How I wish this next one was a shirt and not a playsuit. I love the idea of wearing a longer shirt over skinnies. Wonder if I could snip the crotch?????




A nice little easy wear black and white top. Bit of a flat colour for me though. I'd have preferred it in navy and white. 




Another ASOS offering is this oversized boyfriend shirt. It would work really well over the cropped trousers that I picked up in Mango recently (here). Now am I cool enough to button it up at the neck. Nope! I'll leave being cool to the son. 




A delicate little number from Next which is ideal for cooler skin tones (i.e. those with pink or yellow complexions). Although me thinks it needs careful styling to prevent it looking like work wear!




There's so many to choose from, I'm feeling rather sorry for my little Breton friend. Any favourites above? I love the ASOS oversized one although it would have been the playsuit had it not been a playsuit (if you get what I mean).

And here I am wearing an upside down stripe shirt that I bought in the States. I didn't run home and change by the way. No I'm down there with the kids and totally knew that vertical stripes were the in thing. Obvs!

navy ASOS maxi cardi now a silly £19
white Nike Honey Los
navy Mango trousers
mustard Fiorelli bag - old (similar)

Couple of things. First of all, I've been stalking this jacket from FatFace for like.....ever and it's just gone into the sale.



Now this is the type of jacket I get so much wear out of. Perfect to wear a grey t-shirt under now and replace with a black thin knit later in the season. It's charcoal grey - everyone get's charcoal in their colour palette (well they do if they come to me). Easy to dress up with black cigarette pants and down with jeans. Consider it ordered! It's only available on the web by the way. 

Secondly, I've just noticed that Boden have a girl fit blue shirt. They've probably had it ages and I've never noticed. Anyway, it's  slightly easier to wear than the longer boyfriend shirt which I have. 




I'm feeling a little more inspired after browsing the web. Bugger the boho trend, I'm all for basics this season.

That's it, I'm outta here. There's 101 jobs to do and it's already mid afternoon.


8.26.2015

On a misssion to stay warm!

Gosh I am so in to knitwear at the moment. Nothing to do with the fact that I froze last year having cleared out nearly everything knitted that I owned. I think I ended up with two cardis - yes I was that ruthless. A few jumpers were bought before Christmas and that was it. The rest of the time, I froze.

So my quest for a toasty warm winter continues. Having rediscovered Esprit this year, and being so pleased with the dresses that I bought, I thought I'd have a look at what was on offer in the sweater department.




Woh! Something really different. A biker cardi-jacket (my words not theirs). Love it. It's one of those items that looks nothing on the hanger (or on the web) but teamed with a pair of skinnies, sweatshirt and ankle boots, not only will it look good but you'll be totally snug as a bug in a rug. A perfect colour for Softs and Lights. If you have a more dramatic look, you'll probably need to pop a black top underneath to balance the beige. And if you don't do beige, it also comes in a light grey.




And staying with beige, this is a really easy wear. Either on it's own or over a white shirt. I'd be tempted to size up for a slouchier look. It comes in a host of colours from rust orange (for all you warm skinned women) to mauve (obviously for the cooler skin tones amongst you). 





Love the idea of teaming this with a black leather skirt, thick tights and boots. Mind you I think the navy just edges it for me. 

Reckon the 'fam' would let me wear it as an alternative Christmas jumper? I mean it's far more tasteful than the usual festive offering isn't it!




I might as well wear what I scream at the kids every day. And this is so much more forgiving than a pure white. 


And saving the best 'til last, a snuggly wuggly cardigan. I so need this in my life. A neutral colour that can be teamed with tan, berry, khaki, navy....the list is endless. It's on the wish list my friends.

Anything tickling your fancy? I'm totally smitten with Esprit at the moment. The quality is great without the silly price tags. Credit card is twitching as I type.






8.24.2015

There's still some little gems in the dregs of the sale

I'd completely forgotten about Mango's sale and it's usually a pretty good one. Well for us the consumer, that is. Not sure the buyers at Mango are feeling the same way as there's always lots left over for the sale even at this late date. And with free delivery on orders over £30, it's worth a last dib.

Here's what I've ordered (and kept)!

Ponte Trousers were £34.99, now £10.49 (in black and navy)




Honestly these are just brilliant. A good thick trouser with a stitched front seam. They remind me of a pair that I ordered from Me&Em and were 10x more expensive. They also remind me of a pair of trousers that my nan used to wear but let's not think about that. I was a little unsure about the length when I ordered them (I mean we're not talking ankle skimmers here, more calf lickers) but they look great with white trainers and Ghillie lace ups. And, they seem to work ok with heeled ankle boots although I need to do a proper try on to check I don't look like a goon.

p.s. they're not as short as they appear in the pictures although I suspect the length has put many a people off.


Jogging Trouser was £34.99, now £13.99



These were a last minute 'chuck in your basket' item. I thought they might be ok for lounging (read: dossing/can't be bothered) days. Another fairly thick fabric and they drape beautifully. Problem is, they are ginormous so mine have gone back and I've ordered the size down. Also available in black.


Fine-knit Striped Sweater was £29.99, now £14.99


Ouch this picture messes with my head! That said, the sweater is gorgeous, gorgeous. A lovely fine knit which I sized up in as I wanted it slightly slouchy (a high neck, tight number doesn't work for me). It really does feel like a quality garment and I'm so, so pleased with it. Being thicker than a normal cotton Breton, it will be perfect for the cooler months to wear under a blazer with jeans. Oh la la c'est very French.

Sequin Message Sweatshirt was £19.99, now £9.99


I mentioned last time that I wanted a couple of soft white tops (probably more of the blouse variety). Ha! That went out of the window, well for now it has anyway. I have a vision in my head what I want. Sadly it isn't the same vision as the designers so these have been parked for now. Instead I kept this top which was more than a little surprise. Not that it's only £9.99 (seriously???) but that it was only £19.99 to begin with. Ah well, I'm not complaining. It's a perfect shade of white for a Soft colour palette (ecru but without that horrid grey tinge).


Mademoiselle Plush Sweatshirt Was £24.99, now £12.49


So this went into the no pile, then the yes pile, then the no pile. I slept on it and decided yes. Why? Because I really struggle with a pale marl grey. It's such a difficult colour to wear (well for me). But sod it for that price, it's a lovely warm sweatshirt and I can wear it under a navy jacket to 'rescue' it. I'm a fool aren't I???

I can tick the trousers and sweatshirts off my A/W wish list. I make no apologies for the joggers (a necessity as in bread and milk) and Breton which I will wear lots.

Given I've had to reorder the joggers, I also threw in a couple more bits to take advantage of the free p&p.


Premium Ribbed Fine-Knit Sweater Was £29.99, now £14.99



To go with the joggers! Blame Cameron Diaz. I watched The Holiday last night for the 27th time and always admire her loungewear except those cashmere numbers are itchy so I have to improvise.

Premium Ribbed Fine Knit Sweater Was £29.99, now £14.99


To go with the joggers again. Gosh, I'm going to be so laid back in my new loungewear!!!!!


Panel Suede Sneakers Were £44.99, now £13.49




You see I figured that given my wardrobe this season is full of neutrals (navy, black and white with a little camel and khaki), an injection of colour is needed. I saw these and bingo, red it is. And for that price for leather, well how could I resist. They also come in navy too (tempting).

So after my whinging and whining the other day, I've managed to add quite a bit to the wardrobe and all in the sale too. That means more money towards a lovely camel coat which I'm holding out for until I see what everyone has to offer.

We've had a champion couple of dog walks in Macclesfield Forest and Wilmslow this weekend (thank you weather) although a tentative bbq was cancelled on Saturday night when it bucketed down. I think the cushions for our outside furniture have seen the light of day just 4 times this year. Totally in need of another holiday. Anyone else?




8.23.2015

Nothingness

I went shopping a couple of days ago! With the 15 year old into Manchester. Very, very much looking forward to browsing the new autumn stock.

And I came back with......nothing, gar nichts, nada, rien. Regardless of the language, it doesn't change a thing. My bag was empty and my purse was full. Well, other than a mild heart attack paying out £50 for 2 pairs of school trousers for the little one in Top Man.

It all just seems so samey. Winter boho tops, nondescript ankle boots and blanket capes. I'm. So. Bored.

So, I came home and made me a list. This is what I want to buy this season:

1. Camel coat
I returned a lightweight camel coat to Next on not one but two occasions earlier this year as both bobbled within a few wears. The next purchase will be an investment one. After all, I threw away a perfectly beautiful wool camel coat about 18 months ago as it was over 20 years old. And that was the only reason. It was over 20 years old. What a tool! It was beautiful.

2. Khaki skinny jeans

3. Black trousers (cigarette pants, ankle grazer length)
I bought a perfect pair last year from Next (again), sizing down to an 8 (whoop whoop). Alas even these kept falling down. In fact I can honestly say that a slight tug and I'd be stepping out of them. And I can't wear with a belt as there are no loops. Braces would work but fearing total abandonment by my kids, I think I'll start again and look for a pair that fit. By the way, I'm under no illusion that I'm of a svelte figure - the sizing is obviously waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy out!

4. Shoes
A camel or black loafer. I've found a few on the web which I'll share shortly

5. Two cream or soft white tops - blousey types, maybe Victoriana

6. Two sweaters / sweatshirts
I've been on a quest to increase my cardigan stash lately (previously documented). I bought a lovely cream jumper last year that I wore lots so I'd like to add a couple more.

7. Black ankle boots
I put a picture on Instagram yesterday of 'some' of my shoes and boots. There are rather a lot but I do wear nearly all of them. Other than the loafer above, I think my only other purchase this year will be a black ankle boot with a mid-heel.

And that's it other than replacing a couple of pairs of skinny jeans. I might check out that little Boden denim military jacket when it's released as well. Oh and trainers, I might sneak a pair of black trainers in there.

Boring blogger that I am!

We popped into Selfridges so that the son could browse some of the 'hip' brands and start his own wish list. A Bathing Ape (or Bape as it's apparently known) and Billionaire Boys Club to name but two that the son currently loves. Actually, I found his stuff far more exciting than any of the shops I visited.

My first post without pictures because that's how fed up I feel at the moment. Why do I feel so uninspired when this is my favourite season?

Hope you're all having a better one.



8.17.2015

I'm a sucker for a uniform

Well the title only applies to the military jacket, not full on army apparel. I'm not really partial to multi-cam windproof pants and tin helmets. But I was very excited to see this...



It's verging on fancy dress isn't it and I love it! For those of you who have stuck with me for a while, you'll know I struggle to do the full on laid back casual look. I'd love to be cool, I really would but let's be realistic, it's not going to happen at my age is it. I buy in to all that polishing and ironing that a soldier is expected to do. I mean, look how evenly spaced those buttons are and ohh the symmetry. I love symmetry. Sadly this one isn't going to be mine any day soon. At £1165, it's a tad expensive even though I did point out to the husband that I look after my jackets and I've had one of my military ones for oooooh years so think of the pounds nay pence per wear.  In fact to prove my point, I dashed upstairs and did a quick sweep of my wardrobe to show him.

All ex-season (read ancient)
L-R top row: Navy Captains Jacket H&M, Brown Military M&S, Navy Embellished jacket Zara
L-R bottom row: Green Leather Mint Velvet, Khaki Cotton River Island
See, I pointed out. That one there (the brown one), it's nearly 10 years old, I so look after them. It would be a wise investment yes? He took a withering look at my stash and suggested I try 'dressing up' as Popeye tomorrow for a change! Charming. 

I probably would have left it there but I have it on good authority that Boden are bringing out a denim military jacket very shortly. It's been niggling away in the back of my mind all day so scratching an itch and all, I had to look what else is out there. It's a trend that keeps on coming back over and over and over again. 

Humour me readers, humour me...




This is the third time I've seen Dc Martens in shops that you really shouldn't see them in!!! I used to sell them as a Saturday girl in Timpsons many years ago. Lacing those 12 eyelets played havoc with the nails I can tell you. Anyway, onto the jacket. It's got everything going on hasn't it; pockets, epaulettes,  braiding....meaning everything else can be kept quite simple. Jeans, ankle boots (definitely not long boots unless you want to look like a Kenny Everrett extra). I'd be ever so tempted to put on a more delicate cream top underneath just because!

Devoid of any detail is this next one. I'd be getting out the sewing basket to stitch on a medal or two (jokes, I wouldn't really).



This is the private version to the Brigadier above. Not wild about the mustard cropped top underneath but love the styling otherwise. It's a much easier wear than the previous one. 

Probably my favourite is this duster coat



And a much easier to wear jacket all around. The stiffness of the traditional military jacket can add pounds on curvy ladies as they don't follow the body shape. This is much more fluid. I don't have anything like it in my wardrobe. Perfect with jeans, ideal to pop on over a winter wool dress, thick tights and ankle boots. It's quite a deep olive so I personally couldn't do black underneath but a navy and white breton would work really well. Probably not one for the very cold-cold days but given it's timelessness, it could be brought out every autumn and spring and even summer (let's not go there). 

And a coat version.



I don't think I've ever owned a long version although I do have a dipped hem blue-grey coat that I'm thinking of changing the buttons. It might just work. The problem I find with double breasted is that they always look better fastened. It's that symmetry thing again - one side is bigger than the other and it messes with my head! Maybe I should get this just in case the Queen invites me to church on Christmas Day?!?

And that my friends is that! A very poor offering indeed. It would appear that the High Street has gone down the utility jacket route which is often confused with military wear. A utility jacket was actually introduced in the 1940s for civilians to wear. Limited in material, in pockets, in colour etc it became the people's uniform and is a much more simple garment to the soldier's equivalent. Love a bit of history I do. 

This one from ASOS is quite clever, left open it looks an altogether more casual affair but zipped up, it takes on a smarter look. The nipped in waist is super flattering too. 




I quite like the shape of this next one but what in dear God's name is a shacket (ha my auto-correct changed it to shake out - even it doesn't know what one is). But fear not, I've Googled it. A shacket is a shirt-jacket! Ok without further ado let's look at this shacket (auto-correct is still correcting!!!)



Not really sure where they're coming from if I'm honest. It doesn't really look very shirty does it? More like a cropped mac if you ask me. Regardless, it's actually quite a useful little number. Chunky jumper and jeans for those cooler days. Or pop on over a t-shirt now. It's one of those boot jackets isn't it, chuck it in, just in case. 

The next one totally works over a prettier dress. For me, it's more of a shacket than the one above. 




I'd have to wear it with my beloved white jeans and a white top. It's a lovely Sunday jacket this one, navy and white breton, jeans and whatever darn footwear tickles your fancy.

Next have similar at a cheaper price

Next Khaki Utility Jacket £45



If you need to show your waist, it's probably a better option as it has a drawcord. 

And a final offering from River Island



I'm not sure what's military about it. Oh it has epaulettes! Maybe you and I should give these designers a lesson in military and utility wear hey?

I only wore 2 of my jackets last year. It's my mission to wear all of them this coming season. Let the fancy dress commence.

An update on the ASOS 2 pack men's basic skinny trousers which have since been reduced to £21. The son declared them to be too wide even though they measure exactly the same as his old ones. So my plan was to order the smaller waist (26 inches) in the hope that they're slightly narrower at the waist and hem. Plan foiled when I tried to order them earlier - there's only a 38" waist left. I'm feeling ever so slightly school uniform panicky particularly as he tried his old blazer on today. Bless he looked like one of Fagin's brood. Let's hope that arrives in time. Why does everyone buy their uniform so early? It means there's nothing left for people like me!

Dentist tomorrow for my check-up. Of course I managed to cook a very smelly curry tonight ;-)