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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!

6.20.2016

Using Accessories To Give Your Outfit A Bit Of Oomph

Don't you just love a good accessory. Jewellery, scarves, belts, handbags and shoes (yes I include shoes in this category) all feature heavily in my wardrobe. You know, sometimes I look in the mirror and think ugh, rubbish outfit. And then just by adding a belt or a bag, it's suddenly transformed.

Take this dress for example. I bought it a while ago but in hindsight felt it was a bit frumpy. But I liked the length and the v-neck and the colour. Oh and it has pockets (life is good with pockets especially for blogger photos - make you look really cool!).

Ichi Dress (now reduced to 27.48€

We had a hot spell a couple of weeks ago (yes really, it lasted about 3 days) and I wanted to make the most of every moment and wear dresses. So I added tan shoes, bag and belt (not shown).



And voila, I think it works. Well anyway, I felt very grown-up for once.

Dress - Ichi
Bag - See By Chloe
Sandals - Top Shop (similar)
Hat - Accessorize (similar)


So, let's have a think about why accessories are our friend.

They:

1. Pull an outfit together
2. Give a polished look
3. Add interest to an outfit
4. Add colour to an outfit
5. Useful (hats for keeping warm, bags for junk, you get the idea)
6. Can dress an outfit up or down
7. Instantly update an old outfit
8. Embrace a current trend

Lots of reasons actually.

Here's how I've accessorised recently:


A blue and white outfit is lifted with a pop of pink and cobalt shoes.


A fairly chilled outfit is pulled together with a yellow bag.


White jeans and a classic shirt is given an injection of red.


Add a leopard print bag to neutrals for a bit of texture


Got to admit, I'm not a big scarf wearer in the summer. In fact, I prefer a thicker wool scarf to the thinner cotton ones so they're obviously kept for chilly Nov-Jan. I wear jewellery EVERY day but tend to stick to smaller necklaces of late so I guess they don't really provide as much impact anymore. Although I do like to layer up a few bracelets

Anyway, here's a few bits to get your teeth into.

Top Shop Navajo Strappy Sandals (reduced to £30)





Top Shop Lucy Snaffle Loafer £29



Mango Restructured Leather Sandals (now £24.99)



ASOS Dynamo Suede Trainer £22



ASOS Yaz Cross Body Bag With Lock Detail £45


Mango Cross Body Bag (now £6.99 - yes you read that right)


Mango Double Compartment Cross Body Bag (now £8.99)



Massimo Dutti Split Suede Maroon Tote (now £59.95) (this is a stunner)


East Vera Pelle Cross Body Bag £49


It's been another busy one over here, the weather hasn't helped. Gave up counting after the fourth drenching. Dogs have to be walked, shopping has to be shopped, you know the drill.

Husband and I had a very in-depth chat about......mouse mats last night. He popped his head around the door and asked, 'black or white.?'
'Black or white what' I replied.
'Mouse mat, what colour shall I order?'
'Oh I prefer grey'
Nope, not doing grey'
'Oh, I like grey'
'So what's it to be, black or white?'
'Why do we need a mouse mat anyway, we never use them?'
'Because the Mac mouse won't work on the new desk'
'Oh right. White then, let's do white'

God help us when we have major decisions to make. And I realised this morning why the mouse won't work - because it's a white desk and the beam under the mouse doesn't like white. That'll be going back then. Told him we should have had grey.



6.19.2016

Sales Shopping: Items To Buy & Items To Avoid

Following on from my last post, I thought it might be fun / useful / different / totally useless (cross out as appropriate) to look at what we could buy in the sale and what we should possibly avoid.

So here goes.

Yes

See by Chloe Vicki Tassel Cross Body Bag
Was £295
Now £177

I bought this bag at the beginning of the season, it's sold out in most places but Very Exclusive still have stock (and now with a good discount). I think it's a bag that I'll be very happy to pull out each summer for a few years. So, it passes the longevity test. The leather is buttery soft and it sits really well as a cross body bag or just on one shoulder.



No

Was £49.99
Now £39.99



I do actually love this bag, the different tones of brown and tan but honestly, I think fringe has had it's day for now. Put your £40 towards something that you'll get more use out of because I'll bet my last dollar, you'll be fed up of it by the end of August. 


Yes

Was £59.99
Now £39.99


A timeless jacket yes? So, so useful to wear with everything; jeans, trousers, jumpsuits, skirts and dresses. Ok this isn't leather but it's is a good option if you're on a budget. And let's face it, pleather has come a long way over the last couple of years (ie. you don't squeak when you walk). 

No

Was £29.99
Now £22.99


Couple of points. Firstly Zara couldn't shift these at the relatively cheap full price of £29.99 and secondly, how many wears will you get out of it? It's quite a statement piece and, the pattern limits what it will go with. Definitely a summer jacket and probably won't be in fashion next year. Price per wear is likely to be pretty high.

Yes

Was £22.99
Now £15.99


A cute little top that you'll reach for year on year (well subject to quality, we are talking Zara here). It's certainly a high summer piece and will I'm sure, be packed away after August but that's ok because you'll get it out again next year. Lovely with shorts on holiday, jeans and a little blazer in the UK. The colours are really easy to work with too. Team with tan or metallic accessories for example. 


No (Or Maybe)

Wallis Floral Cold Shoulder Top 
Was £35
Now £20


Difficult one this because if it were up to me, I'd make cold shoulder tops compulsory for every woman's wardrobe. Thing is, our shoulders are lovely (regardless of our size and shape) so we should show them off. But are they a one season wonder? Hope not. I can only tell you what I would do and that is, if I see one that I absolutely adore in the sale that's a really good price and, I'm likely to wear it at least 6 times before the end of the summer, I would probably buy it. 


Yes

Was £56
Now £30


I think we can all agree that Top Shop shoe buyers have been on fire this year. Can't wait to see what they have in store for us next season. These slingbacks have got a lot going for them. Metallics are likely to be around next season (so we're told). They'll take you well into autumn and the rounded fronts aren't dissimilar to the Gucci Lillians. Might give these a whirl myself. 

No

Was £39
Now £20



 Are we over these yet? How many seasons have they been around now? At least 4 since the Aquazurra Christie took the world by storm. I've got a couple of pairs of Bodens that are past their best. They won't be replaced.

Yes

Was £69.95
Now £34.95


Gosh I could do so much with this dress. I am a stripe magnet!! Navy blazer, a pair of white loafers. Sorted. Let's face it, the weather isn't kind to us and as much as I'd like to wear strappy dresses all summer long, one that can be layered is so much more practical. And it will look just as fresh next spring and the next one and the next one.

No

Was £68
Now £35

Boho yawn. Although I do quite like this (oh fickle me). It's no holiday dress though, those long polyester sleeves. Stick-eeeeee!! It would work in the UK though. But next year...would it be as fresh and exciting to wear as the one above? Probably not. That'll be a no then. 

Yes

Was £140
Now £98


I have this and adore it. 



Perfect for spring and autumn and those warmer winter days (or cooler summer ones she says, sat here with the heating on). This is a beautiful timeless twist on the classic trench. And pale grey goes with everything (wear warmer tones underneath if you have a warm skin tone). 

A cheaper alternative here or a more traditional version here, both great prices. A trench coat is a perfect wardrobe staple that you'll reach for time and time again. 

No 

Was £49.99
Now £29.99


Mango are awash with sleeveless jackets, there's no coincidence that they're in the sale. I have a khaki one that I thought would be so useful when I bought it. 




Truth is, I've worn it once. It's too warm to wear on sunny days (and I have other things I'd prioritise over and above this) and on cooler days, it's difficult to style. It really needs a close fitting top - volume doesn't work with these jackets. Lots of my tops are loose at the bottom and don't really work. So, I'm saying a big fat no (from experience). It was a bad buy!

Yes

 H&M Crinkled Dress
Was £29.99
Now £17.99


 A simple black day dress that can be worn with strappy sandals on holiday and layered in this country. You know, we're not talking a boring number here, it has enough detail to give it interest and is easily updated each season with the 'it' shoes (whatever they may be).

No

Massimo Dutti Pinstripe Dress
Was £29.95
Now £19.95


Ok, lots to talk about here. First of all, it's bloody cheap for Massimo Dutti even at full price. Why hasn't it sold???? Well, imagine unpacking this from your summer box next year. Is it going to fill you with joy and excitement? Errrrrrrrr no. What a boring dismal colour. I know the black one above is well, black but it's a cute dress. I'd be excited to wear it again. And my all time pet hate, the pattern match at the seams. Seriously, how bad is this? I genuinely couldn't wear it if someone paid me. A.Big.Fat.No.

So there you have it, an inside view of how my brain works! Hopefully it makes sense.

Want to know what I've ordered in the sales? 

Coconut Sling Back Shoes for the reasons stated above!





Hendon Strappy Sandal I need a pair of strappy sandals for the hols in a neutral colour. Metallics are really versatile and can be worn with almost any colour. These caught my eye in Top Shop, sadly not leather but they'll be a great addition to my summer wardrobe. I'll give them a whirl. 



 H&M Crinkled Dress another holiday purchase but will also be suitable to wear in the UK. We've got a week of sightseeing and I prefer to be covered in the sun when we're out and about so this will be perfect. I'll also look forward to wearing it with the sling back gold shoes and a white boucle jacket back home. 



Joseph Jean Double Breasted Jacket  Certainly an investment purchase but honestly, I don't mind paying more for items that will be in my wardrobe for years to come. I'm a bit iffy with double breasted jackets though as think they look far nicer fastened than undone. Hoping that the longer length will somehow balance out the double breast. 


So 4 items. I looked through my wardrobe and Instagram feed for gaps in my wardrobe and these are the result. Can we call them informed purchases??

How are you getting on. Are you in full throttle or abstaining from sales shopping this season? 

It's been a quiet Father's Day at this end. We decided not to eat out so bottle of wine and takeaway it was. I need to get my head around the holiday which is creeping up on me at a rate of knots. Less than 3 weeks to be precise. Realised that our U.S. ESTA forms had expired so sat down to reapply - I honestly can't remember each one being 6 pages long last time. It's not a 5 minute job when you have to do it for the whole family! And we have a depressed dog - he's just come back from my mother-in-laws and sis-in-laws (shared custody) after a 3 week holiday. I think he might hate us. No other doggies to keep him company, no titbits and big sloppy cuddles. Kinda get where he's coming from. Nay mind, he'll be back down there again in a few weeks. Except, when I try to explain, he looks at me blankly with those big doggy eyes.  

Right, off to sort out school uniform and praying I don't need to cut the arm of the son's shirts to accommodate his cast.


6.17.2016

Sales Shopping: Buy Now, Wear Forever

It's silly season again, yes the sales have started before summer has barely begun. Charge up the laptop, flex that credit card girls, because it's time to rumble. Time to buy those tassel sandals, that boho dress and cropped wide leg trousers. How bloody exciting.

But STOP

Hang on, let's just remember one thing. That stuff is everything that the retailers haven't been able to shift this or previous seasons. Sales = leftovers. Ok, I know the likes of John Lewis 'buy in' special clearance lines but in the main, we're talking leftovers. So my biggest tip when shopping in the sales is buy with caution.

Will those tassel sandals still be as hot next year as this? Doubt it. Will the boho trend still be around? Possibly not. And will the cropped wide leg trousers look tired and dated? Maybe. So basically we're filling our wardrobes with one season wonders???

There's always exceptions to every rule, for example holiday shopping. Now is a perfect time to pick up little dresses and shorts for an absolute song.

Personally, I look to the sales to stock up on basics or wardrobe staples or as I call them hard workers. There's something rather nice about picking up a blazer or pair of jeans that are vastly reduced.

Anyway, enough of the waffling, let's have a look at what's out there at the moment.

1. A Striped Shirt

Massimo Dutti Light Blue Striped Shirt Now £25.95

Styled in a very current way with culottes and loafers but this shirt will see you through not only seasons but many years too. Team with a pair of jeans and a blazer for a timeless look. Equally lovely with a skirt and heels for workwear.




2. A Denim Shirt

A bit like a Monopoly board, I put it out there that there are few wardrobes that don't have a denim shirt lurking. This is from All Saints and is gorgeous in real life. 100% cotton and lovely and soft. There's something about an all press stud shirt me thinks!

Styled a little too casual for me but this would look lovely (done up) with white jeans and heeled espadrilles now for a city chic look and layered under a jacket with black jeans later in the year.

All Saints Octavia Military Shirt Now £68



3.  A Plain Shirt

I tend to stick to basic blues and whites when it comes to shirts but honestly any neutral colours would be super useful. Really drawn to this khaki one from Massimo Dutti. Ok I know khaki is having it's moment but even when the fashion pack have moved on to the new 'it' colour plum or teal or whatever they deem it's ok for us to wear, I think there's still mileage in this one.

Massimo Dutti Plain Shirt With Pockets Now £19.95


Not for everyone as there's quite a lot of yellow in this particular shade of khaki but warm skinned girls will be fine. Love it with black, or dark wash jeans and ankle boots but of course for me, I'd wear it now with.....yep, you've guessed it, white jeans.


4. An Emergency Dress

**Top Tip** everyone should have an emergency dress in their wardrobe. You know for those occasions that crop up when you're least expecting them. A dress that fit's perfectly, that you feel comfortable in and makes YOU feel good is worth it's weight in gold. The sales are perfect for picking something up now and stashing it for later.

I have this dress in blue and coral. I also had it in black but sold it as part of a wardrobe cull. Baukjen really know how to cut a dress for the real woman.

Baukjen Daria Dress Now £62


Also available in black, coral and pale opal (which is a silvery grey). It's a really easy wear dress that can be dressed up or down. I think they even teamed it with trainers last season to show it's versatility. I've never been brave enough to do the 'cool' look so always do heels:




5. A Popeye Top

I was chatting to a lady the other day and she admitted she didn't own a single stripe anything. My face was a picture. How can anyone not own a stripe t-shirt. That's the same as not owning a toothbrush!!! Isn't it?

There's a small discount on the Boden ones at the moment (all sizes available). And if you don't own a breton or a toothbrush, you really can't go wrong with these to cut your teeth on (ha ha ha, I'm so funny.....)

Long Sleeve Breton Now £23.85


I adore every single one of mine and I have quite a few in different colours. And, as I sit here typing, I'm wearing a red and white one from Kettlewell. Worn in a bit of a classic way with black pleather leggings and blazer and yet would be equally nice with boyfriend jeans and sandals.



6. A Pair of Non-Jogging Trainers

Don't worry about white, most can be put in the washing machine (I've washed my Adidas Honey Los three times on a 20 degree wash / 800 spin and they come out looking like new). Just pop them in the airing cupboard to dry thoroughly.

I love a pair of trainers teamed with a blazer for a mixed up dressy/casual feel. I'm no trainer queen and don't yearn for the newest release. In fact I only own 3 pairs in white, grey and red (plus running trainers that don't count) but I wear them lots. They're so useful for bringing a youthful look to an outfit without looking mutton or as if you're trying too hard.

Adidas Stan Smiths Pony Hair Now £49.99



My red ones aren't even a brand as such. They're from Mango and are now only £19.99 here and yes I tie the laces much to the amusement of my son! "What, you actually tie the laces Mum, seriously, you're weird"



And if I didn't have the Honey Los, I'd be clicking the button on these. In love with the chunkiness of the flatforms. My finger is twitching big time. Hang on, let me get wine.

Daniel Anchorage White Leather Contrast Heel Flatforms Now £69.99



Ok I'm back, let's move on.


7. A Pair Of 'I'm Excited To Wear These' Black Heels

Not just a court shoe, something that you really look forward to wearing. That funny feeling you get in your tummy all day in anticipation (oh just me then?) Anyway, like these...

Daniel Palm Springs Black Leather Woven Sandal Now £84.99


Perfect for now and later in the year. Ideal with jeans and dresses and the best bit, they'll be in your wardrobe for years.


8. A Perfect Pair Of Jeans

Please God don't let skinnies go out of fashion. I'm banking on them being with us for a while longer. Although I keep hearing mutterings from above that they're on their way out. It will probably take a couple of seasons though (she says with her fingers crossed). And has there ever been a finer specimen than these from Mint Velvet.

Mint Velvet Stamford Super Stretch Jeans Now £49


A good rise - tick
A dark rinse - tick
Stretch - tick

Yes, they pass the Donna test. Think I'll wing my way into John Lewis to try them on.


9. A Bloody Good Blazer

One that you can wear over and over and over again. We're talking years and years in your wardrobe. It's worth paying more for these things (although I have a couple from H&M that I love and wear often, they cost me peanuts).

Grey is a great neutral for everyone and this is a little beauty.

Massimo Dutti Grey Wool Blazer Now £99.95


Keep everything fairly neutral as here or add a pop of colour by way of a top or bag. There's so much you can do with a blazer.


10. A Piece Of Cracking Knitwear

Now is definitely the time to buy a decent sweater. I'd like to say it's because it's an ideal time to pick up a bargain for later in the year. In reality, you'll end up wearing it now, I'm sure. I need to work on my sweater stash as I cleared out a load of old knits last year. Praying that Boden do their off duty jumper again. This is one area that you'd be wise to spend money on - natural fibres. As much as I hate itchy, scratchy jumpers, even I concede that they're far superior in keeping the body warmer than man made ones.

A couple have caught my eye.

All Saints Rola Twist Jumper Now £68


I've got a feeling that this will be very flattering on and great for busty ladies who struggle with high or roll necks. Those sleeves. Big love! Can be layered up or worn under a jacket.

Ok, let me explain this next one before you berate me for not being practical. You know in the depth of winter when you're off out with friends to the local wine bar. You want something that's smartish but age dictates it has to be comfortable and warm too. This next jumper fits the bill. It's a little unusual, won't date and fit's many other occasions, not just the wine bar. What I'm saying is, we all need a smart sweater in our wardrobes.

All Saints Silk Twist Jumper Now £89



I wanted to keep this post to 10 points but can't leave out the black trousers so...

11. A Pair Of Killer Black Pants

Because I can't think of an occasion when I wouldn't wear them. With trainers for a casual look, heels for going out, ankle boots for shopping. They are a proper wardrobe staple.

Mango Contrast Trim Trousers Now £29.99


And look, these have a side stripe (whoop whoop)



It's so easy to fill up the virtual baskets with stuff that will no doubt be worn once or twice. STUFF. That's all it is. Isn't it much more sensible to have a carefully edited wardrobe that you can throw in the occasional bit of frivolous fun?

So basics, that's my tip when sales shopping. Oh and take photographs of your outfits. I post them on Instagram as it's such an easy way to reference back for outfit inspiration and to work out what I actually need to buy. Yes I'm the anal one that makes sure that my flat lays are perfectly in line on Insta (it makes it easier to scroll through). You could do the same and if you prefer not to share your wardrobe with the world, make your account private.


Happy shopping peeps!

You know back in January, the husband said that 2016 is going to be our year. It's been one thing after another and another (there's obviously stuff I don't share on here) and poor him, he keeps getting it in the neck as I remind him that it's not padding out how it's supposed to. We've had one disaster after another this week and I'm totally hot footing it into the weekend without looking behind. Anyway, chin up, we're here, privileged to be living and all that. And there's always wine. Chin chin.

Have a good weekend, I'm outta here.