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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!

3.31.2017

Soft Bikers

As in jackets, not those hairy tattoo-bodied men.

And that's a contradiction in terms isn't it? Soft. Bikers. We're used to those leather creations that add a certain amount of edge to an outfit, great for toughing up a more feminine line. But I'm all about the non-leather today (and that includes wanabee-leather too).

So why would we possibly consider exchanging a fabulous leather biker jacket for a fabric one? 


Well.....

1) A fabric biker gives the comfort of a cardi but smartness of a jacket - no matter how soft and supple leather is, it's always going to be stiffer than it's jersey counterpart and at my age, if I can cheat here and there to achieve a look, well, I'll take that.

2) Leather can look heavy at this time of year even in lighter shades. But, a fabric one has a much lighter look meaning you can wear it from Spring right through to Autumn. Perfect for those chillier days and late summer evenings. It provides a bit of warmth without the heaviness.

3) Leather stands off the figure if left unfastened, not something curvy ladies need as it can add pounds to the frame. Jersey being much softer and more fluid follows the body line and drapes beautifully.

4) They're soooooo much cheaper than the leather versions!

I wore a grey sweatshirt fabric one today. It's old but hey, there's still life in the old bird. It provided all the elements for a spring piece; it was warm enough in the morning before the sun came out but I didn't boil in the afternoon and I don't think it looks too heavy with this outfit. Oh and you try pulling up the sleeves on a leather jacket - impossible!

Biker Jacket - Brave Soul (similar)
Pinstripe Culottes - Zara (similar)
White Printed Tee - Ichi (old)
Bonnie Studded Flat Shoes - Boden (now in sale)
Hobo Bag - Aspinal of London

And here are a few options for you to ponder.

This is very similar to mine which I find such a useful neutral colour. Works equally well with jeans and smarter black.

Vila Jersey Biker Jacket £40



Be still my beating heart. Now had I not already got a grey one, this would be winging it's way to me as I type.

Miss Selfridge Textured Biker Jacket £39 


Fist in mouth and trying to convince myself that I don't need khaki (I do, I do). Another really useful neutral, fab for chucking over a midi dress.


Khaki Green Soft Biker Jacket £45



I've struggled to find navy - rocking horse doo-doo springs to mind. This is a slightly more classic shape for you ladies who prefer this look.

Kaleidoscope Lace Biker Jacket £55


Oooh super super useful in ecru. This wouldn't look out of place at a smarter occasion. Ideal for slipping over a dressy-dress for a day at the races. Not sure I'd do the whole space cadet look below!

Mango Zipped Biker Jacket £49.99



Colour? Citrine can be a hard one to pull off if you have a cool skin tone so take a big mirror to the window and have a look what it does to your face. If you look fresher and brighter, this is the colour for you. Citrine looks fantastic with navy as well as black, charcoal and white.

Next Citrine Textured Biker Jacket £55



Soft coral. Again looks great with all the neutrals including the white jeans (as Barry White would have said in his dulcet tones, oh yeah).


Vila Biker Jacket £40



I was going to stay away from prints as they're not so versatile but then I wasn't actually expecting to see something like this. A.D.O.R.E. The slogan t-shirt underneath looks ace 💖💖  Print perfection.

White Floral Print Lace Biker Jacket £45



And I wasn't going to include suede either (it being a variation of leather) but this was too cute to leave out. A cropped mac-cum-biker hybrid jacket. Mwah. Breaks all the rules but sod it!

Miss Selfridge Suedette Biker Jacket £45



There are stacks of them out there if you look. I'm happy with my grey one and I have a cocoa brown one lurking in the back of my wardrobe somewhere that I should really fish out too. How about you? Do you wear fabric bikers or are you happy with leather for every season? Do tell.

Stress levels (mine) are going through the roof at the moment. Why will boys not revise? Or more to the point why will my boy not revise for more than 20 minutes? He's self diagnosed himself as having ADHD and says he needs a fidget toy (yes they're really a thing). And no, he doesn't have ADHD. Roll on 21st June, his final GCSE. I've taken to sneaking up the stairs (if you walk on the outsides, they're less likely to creek - true fact), with a homemade periscope to check he's not watching Tom Syndicate on YouTube. Apparently Sybil Birling from An Inspector Calls isn't half as interesting as Tom!

Anyway, I have a full day out with t'hubby tomorrow (yeay). At Borehamwood watching the football (booooo). Oh well, we might catch an early dinner before getting the train home.


3.21.2017

How Do You Do Casual?

This is the only way I can do it. One dress down piece (very maximum two) and the rest is kept fairly smart.

So today I'm wearing a new hoodie (go me), navy coated skinnies, heeled boots, my favourite red bag and a slick of bright pink lippy. Had I worn say a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans, well that would have been my day ruined. How can a wrong outfit put you in such a foul mood? Style Personalities hey???

So I'm used to the hubby peering over his newspaper, eyebrows cocked at my half hearted attempt at causal wear. He knows me too well to comment (or maybe he's been at the receiving end of my wrath for too long).

White Oversized Hoodie - Next
Navy Coated Skinnies - Next
Midnight Jalouse Ankle Boots - Ash (old)
Red Crossbody bag - Coach (old)

If truth be known, I was anticipating a quiet day at home before we go out later this evening. Of course I forgot that the fridge doesn't fill itself, the son seems to be incapable of taking his Depop parcels to the post office  (and paying for his own postage) and a friend asking if I have time to meet for coffee. I think I'm just about passable although at 50, I didn't expect to be wearing a hoodie in public ever again!


Navy Coated Skinnies - Next
Keke Ankle Boots - Nine West
White Oversized Hoodie - Next
Studded Chain Bag (love this) - Mango 

By the way, I picked up the sweatshirt (it's big, size down) on the sale rack in Next when I popped in to exchange a jacket. It's online and reduced but for some reason, not in the sale section but the regular one (the link is here). I paid £14 yesterday, it's £9 online so grab it quick in case it's an error!! You need to put it in your bag to pick up the price as the published one is wrong (well it might be right and the bag price is wrong but you know what I mean).







3.17.2017

Goody Two Shoes...Because I Don't Drink, Don't Smoke

And that's why you don't wear a blazer in March. It's chuffin freezing today so after getting sodden wet through this morning, I'm back in a jumper and big coat. Pah, our bit of sunshine didn't last very long did it?

It doesn't however prevent me from shopping for shoes. I don't smoke, I don't drink much (unless it's a special occasion such as a Wednesday) and I don't have expensive hobbies such as flying a plane (apparently you can pick up an Aeronca Chief for less than $20k 😱 ) so I feel more than justified in adding to my shoe collection. You know me by now, I love a good shoe and what better to update and trusty old outfit than with footwear.

These caught my eye.

Next Black Pom Point Babouche Shoe £32



Fun aren't they? Let's not skip over the fact that they're also serious game changers. Add them to a simple black midi skirt and lace cami top and you've suddenly got a very interesting outfit without trying hard. I mean let's face it, you don't even need to bend down to buckle up. Slip 'em on and you're off. It's always good to have a pair of front door shoes. You know, ones that you can get on and off easily. Yes, life is better with front door shoes.

And let's bring down the tone of this whole place by talking aeroplanes, more specifically the loos on planes. I want to slap people when I see them walking into the cubicle in stocking feet or worse, bare feet and I'm not a violent person. There's something not human about standing on a filthy floor that has been sprinkled with pee-pee. I know, I know. Here's where these cuties come in, because you can slip your toes into them in a jiffy and be in the loo before you can say potty time.



Surprisingly versatile too, they look equally good with a pair of jeans and a smarter dress. Yes I've already planned and tried a number of outfits around them.

I have them in my usual size 6. They're comfy and surprisingly easy to walk in.




Shhhh don't tell the daughter that I've got my feet on her wallpaper. Speaking of which, I sent her a picture of them last night. "They're just gross Mum" she replied. But hey, we've never seen eye to eye about shoes which can only be a good thing because she won't be borrowing them. Right?

Next Black Pom Point Babouche Shoe £32

p.s. I know that it looks as if I have dodgy fake tan on - I don't. And let's not discuss my scummy real tan that's flaking off!

Ok now Mr. Sunshine let's be having you.

I had a lovely day in Manchester yesterday with a couple of friends. We ate at Tattu in Spinningfields, fine dining Chinese style. The food was delicious and well worth a visit even if only to marvel at the interior which is stunning. Sorry no pictures of the food, I mean, c'mon it's there for eating not photographing.



So that's another week gone, do you realise we're almost a quarter of the way through the year. Yikes. I'd love to say that we have a long lazy weekend at home but the whirwind daughter is back from London, a fashion show that the son is in tonight, a very important football match to win (c'mon Macclesfield), errands to run and that darn ironing pile has been breeding again. And no doubt we'll squeeze a takeaway and lunch out sometime too. A duvet day sounds very appealing right now.

By the way, is potpourri a thing again? I keep seeing it in different shops so I bought some last week. Crikey we only need paisley boarders and swags and tails to come back and we'll be full on back to the early 90s again.

Have a good one.





3.15.2017

Those Debenhams' Dresses - The Verdict Is In

Delusional me. Ok, I am so not a size 10 in most of the Debenhams range. I've learnt that today. I'm not that bothered about having to size up but I wish I'd known before ordering the dresses that I mentioned the other day (in this post).

If you recall, I ordered four dresses and kind of warned you that a little vision might be required!! I mean we're not going to break any style awards with this lot are we?


So the dresses arrived earlier today, 5 days after order which isn't too bad considering 2 of them were the weekend. And, here's how I got on.

By the way apologies for these more-than-normal amateurish photographs, they were taken in about 5 minutes flat and yes there are two suitcases that the daughter seems to use as surplus storage (god help us all when she brings all her clothes back from London in the summer).



1. Principles By Ben de Lisi Black Geometric Print Dress reduced to £22.50


This is probably the only one that I don't need to size up in. It's actually a fab little dress which as I said previously, you can do lots with it. A pair of killer pink heels (these ones which I saw today and think I might need to get) and a black clutch would give you an easy wear, smart outfit for a day at the races, christening or wedding. And let's face it, there are no frills or pompoms or anything else that will date it so you'll have it for years. For anyone who struggles with black, it's a great way to wear it as it doesn't cast shadows under the jawline and wash you out.

And since ordering, it's gone down 50% to £22.50.




2. Mantaray Dark Grey Floral Print Tiered Maxi Dress reduced to £28


I suspected that this one would look better in real life. You remember the cropped wellies that the model was wearing 😮   Well, I left mine in the cupboard and tried it on in bare feet. The 10 looks a perfect fit doesn't it? It isn't. The cut across the back was a tad on the narrow side. If you're broad shouldered (me), you may need to size up. Shame really because it fits really well everywhere else and I love the length. I'm going into Manchester tomorrow so will do a detour into Debenhams to try on the 12 although I fear it's going to be less flattering. Such a wearable day dress too.

Tip: keep footwear modern (trainers or flat mules would look great) as I think you could go down the route of frumpy hippy if you're not careful.

And since ordering, it's been reduced to £28



3. Nine by Savannah Miller Pale Pink Bird Embroidered Dress £75


This is a serious dress for the money. The detailing is exquisite and I would have expected to pay more than double for this standard of quality. Ok, so I shoe horned myself into the 10, the zip went nearly all the way up to the top and had I not needed to breathe, I reckon I could have got away with it.

Alas, the length! It's too short as I thought it would be (it looks longer in the photo). If you're 5ft 6 or less, I think you'll find it will hit the right point on your leg.

It's unusual, it's gorgeous, it's really well made. Someone please, please buy it.



Gorgeous detailing!



And check out those cuffs.



A really pretty brand with a hint of boho. There are some lovely things online, I'll be keeping my eye on this one!



4. Studio by Preen Pink Floral Print Tea Dress £69


And then we go from the sublime to the ridiculous. Ridiculous because I couldn't even get this next one on. But in the interests of fair and equal reviews, I squeezed most of my body into it. Trouble is, my arm got stuck!


Let's just skip over that point, I mean there's no law or anything about using both arm holes is there? To be honest, I can't make my mind up about this one. Preen is such a cool brand but  it feels a bit nightie-ish. Even the fabric is that slippy polyester stuff. The quality seems ok and the dress has a detachable full length slip although you could probably get away without wearing it. I didn't really notice the dipped hem, probably because I was stood like Hunchback of Notre Dam.

A very flattering colour for blondes and mousey browns. I think I need to try on a 12 to make a proper judgement.

My verdict then? Look through the styling on the website because it can be off putting, as demonstrated by the crop wellie dress. And if you're in between sizes, go up not down (doh! I wish someone had told me that before I placed the order).

 There's always tons of discount codes around for Debenhams so it's worth having a look. I like this site, Codesium which gives you the top offer along with any other discounts/savings that are around. It's worth bookmarking this site if you like to save a few pounds!

Talk to me about Debenhams, what's your experience?

Well it was certainly dress weather today therefore I wore jeans (slaps forehead). I'm off to Manchester tomorrow for a spot of shopping and lunch with friends. No doubt it will pee it down all day (I've just googled - it's cr*p!). Brolly at the ready then.

See you later this week, I've got a few things on order which I'll report back on.



3.13.2017

Shedding The Layers

Ah yes spring. My second favourite season because autumn will always be up there as #1. You know how swallows instinctively know when to fly back home from their extended vacation in South Africa (I think the technical term is migration), well, my body seems to know exactly when to start shedding those layers. Suddenly polo necks repulse me, Ugg boots are errrr ugly and big coats that served me so well last month seem far to heavy on the shoulders. Of course there are blips here and there. Snow in April for instance sees me diving full on back in to the winter woolies but this is merely a temporary measure. 

Anyway, things are certainly looking up because I've worn a blazer for 3 consecutive days and haven't felt the least bit cold. And tackling the mammoth ironing pile this afternoon with nothing else to think about but jackets, I came to the conclusion that notwithstanding style personality, a blazer sits very nicely in anyone's wardrobe. We just wear it in different ways. You can find your style personality here

So take a City Chic for example. She'll wear it in a simple way with dark jeans, breton and maybe loafers. A Creative might wear a heritage check blazer with a bright floral blouse, clashing skirt and leopard print boots. A Dramatic will squeeze those bell sleeves and ruffles into the arms of her blazer while a Natural will be all about the comfort factor so she'll be looking for stretchy fabric such as ponte. A Classic will team hers with matching classic pants or skirt and a Romantic will be all about the velvet because she loves touchy feely things. 

See, it's a versatile piece of clothing the humble blazer. And long time readers of this blog will know that I have a soft spot for this type of jacket. I don't care to count how many I have, far too many but honestly I wear them all. 

Just a small selection (please don't judge). 



And so, so useful too. Great for inbetweeny weather, I wore mine over the top of a thin knit today but I'll also wear it over a vest top on chillier summer days. One blazer can cover many different occasions too. Throw it on over a formal dress, wear with trousers and heels for a night out or pair with jeans and a t-shirt for a casual look. We are talking pence per wear. My Burberry one is 15+ years old. I cried when I parted with the cash but oh it's served me well. Mind you, you don't have to pay mega bucks. I have jackets from Mango, Zara, M&S, Next to name but a few. The key is in the fit. Make sure it's bob on, don't compromise on the fit. 

Here are my tips:

1. The shoulder line fit is the most important. Don't super size to accommodate your boobs or hips because it will always look too big on you. You'll probably not be able to fasten the button but is that a deal breaker? Nah...leave it open. 

2. Find your perfect length. Avoid the hemline finishing at your widest point. Go higher or lower. If you're long waisted (short legged), look for a shorter jacket that will give the illusion of a higher waist/longer leg. Conversely, if you're short waisted, you can go longer in the length. Petites should buy from the petite range as the jacket will be cut proportionally for your size. 

3. Most of us benefit from a little waist definition so take advantage of blazers that nip in. I use this lots to give myself an albeit pretend waist!

4. Double breasted always look fab in pictures but are so hard to wear in real life because they often don't sit right when they're undone. Far better to find a single breasted style. 

5. A classic blazer will always last longer than one that has been messed with. Zara I'm looking at you. Over sized lapels, embroidery, puff-a-luff sleeves, pockets linings stitched on the outside. Ok, I made the last one up but you get my gist. 

6. Similarly neutral colours (black, grey, brown, navy, camel, beige will last far longer and you will be able to do so much more with them than fashion colours. So if you're new to blazers, concentrate on neutral shades first. And then you can throw in a red or a pink or whatever later. 

7. I stay clear of linen blazers - creases do nothing for me. As soon as I buy a new one, I hang it up on the back of my wardrobe. If it's still creased after 24 hours, it goes back. 

8. Think of the blazer as a basic. It's what you do with it that makes it special!

Here are a few that have caught my eye. 

I have this one so can vouch for it. The Ponte fabric gives it amazing stretch so it's as comfy as wearing a cardi (will appeal to ladies who prefer a more relaxed style). And machine washable too! Also available in black and a fabulous drake (a greeny teal) which would make a wonderful neutral if you wear autumnal colours. 




A summer option from Mango. I've had a few jackets from here over the years and they've been more than fine for the money. White t-shirt, jeans and footwear of your choice for an easy win classic outfit that will never date.

Someone tell her she's forgotten to take her apron off. 





A little twist from Zara (they can't help themselves can they) but to be fair, I'd buy this if I needed a black blazer this year. The twin buttons are different without being out there. 




Love, love, love this one from Next. A brilliant option for summer. 




A longer length one now. A good bum-coverer-upper! 




And a shorter grey option with a stripey shirt under 👍




I know that I mentioned this one last time but I can't move passed it (arrrggghh, someone slap a Next ASBO on me now). 




And when you've finished filling up your wardrobes with neutrals, you can move on to proper colour. This is a bit special....



A close up is needed me thinks. Obviously I'd wear a top underneath. 



And here I am in one of mine today, an old one from Me&Em. 



Ok, I'm going to sign off now as Broadchurch is calling me on catch up. Do you have a blazer fetish? Which one is your favourite? 

Catch up later in the week. 


3.12.2017

Let's Not Judge A Book By It's Cover

Dress season is coming. Whoop whoop. I love a good dress and wore mine to death last year (weather permitting of course). They're so, so easy to wear, well that's if you can find them in the first place. A good 75% are of cropped proportions: thigh skimming, knicker flashing specimens that are even shorter on my frame. Nope, my days of the mini are well and truly over. The hemlines must drop! Thank goodness for the midi.

Let me tell you why I personally favour a dress particularly in the warmer months.


1. It's comfortable. Well it's more comfy than a pair of skinnies and a stiff shirt

2. It's far easier to style than a skirt. I really struggle to find the right tops in my wardrobe. Most of mine are loose at the bottom and don't look particularly great with skirts or culottes for that matter. You can chuck on a dress without worrying.

3. It's easy to change the look of a dress with different accessories. I mean, really easy. And, the plainer the dress, the more ways you can wear it. Take this dress that I mentioned last time. You could dress it up or down and add different colours and textures. For me, this is the ideal. One dress that I can wear different ways.

4. I'm far more likely to use a wider selection of my accessories and shoes with dresses as I experiment with different looks (see #3 above).

5. I think they're less trend driven. You can wear an old white dress at the height of summer, add a pair of 'on-trend' sandals and beaded clutch and Bob's your uncle, Nellie's your aunt, you've brought that dress right up to date.

6. It's good to bring out your feminine side once in a while yes? Well it is for me. I can be guilty of dressing quite androgynously especially in winter; trousers, shirt and flat shoes. So it feels nice to ring the changes with a dress.


I had a little moan over on Facebook the other day. It seems that the High Street is only able to produce florals on a black background. Pants for us ladies that have mousey and blonde hair. It takes work to pull off a heavy floral - stronger make-up for starters. And then holy moly the very next day, I spotted a dress in the new Studio By Preen collection for Debenhams. More about that later.

Anyway, browsing the Sunday papers earlier, this supplement caught my eye, or rather the front cover did.



Now, that's a lush dress I thought. So for the second time this week, I popped on to the Debenhams website. I'm not a huge fan of Debenhams to be honest. Although they did offer free engraving of the Viktor & Rolf perfume bottles last Christmas and, the staff were terribly nice. But the website! Shudder. It's up there with the now defunct BHS site.

So a close up of the dress in the supplement:


Gorgeous isn't it? Tan ankle boots and biker jacket now. And swap the boots for sandals or flip flops in the summer. Salivating at the mouth I was. I should have known better really because here's the website picture.

Nine By Savannah Miller Pale Pink Bird Embroidered Midi Dress £75



I am not loving the styling. At all. But in the interests of keeping an open mind, I choose to believe that the dress looks like the first photo in real life. It's going to be longer and dreamier and drapier. Of course it is(n't). I'll keep you posted when it arrives.

The dress I spotted the other day was this one.

Studio By Preen Pink Floral Print Tea Dress £69


Not this picture, it was a styled one over on an email. And she certainly ddn't have green socks and orange shoes on. Not terribly keen on the prissy sleeves but I've got a feeling that for a wide shouldered bird, it's going to be quite flattering. Let's not judge until the postman arrives.

For an inbetweeny dress, I love this darker print which isn't as strong as some of the winter florals that we've seen. Grey is so much more flattering on mature skin (regardless of the colour of your hair). I'm going to break you in slowly and show you the print first of all because again the styling is shocking.

Mantaray Dark Grey Floral Tiered Maxi Dress £40


And this neckline is dead easy to wear under jackets and cardis - no flapping collars to worry about.

Ok, brace yourselves, here we go....


WTAF are those boots? They look like cropped wellies. And her face says it all "are you seriously expecting me to model this look?" or " I'm wearing it, it wasn't my choice you understand but hey I'm getting paid for this".

But it's a great length and a flattering cut. Three quarter sleeves are always a winner in my book. I won't be trying it on with wellies though.

This next one is the type of dress that I could do lots with. Change the belt for a skinny leopard print and team with tan sandals and bag. Or navy blazer. Or white trainers and denim jacket if that's your thing. Also a great option for a day at the races or wedding. The dropped sleeve is ideal for pear shapes who need to broaden the shoulder area to balance out the hips. Actually, it's a really great dress for pear shapes as the soft drape is perfect to disguise the bottom, hips and thighs.

Why does her face look like a blow up doll though?

J By Jasper Conran Coral Split Front Belted Dress £59



You can't go wrong with a stripy dress can you? And Debenhams have done good here and kept everything simple.

The Collection Havy Striped Print Midi Dress £20



It's also available in larger sizes here. I've got a few of these dresses and never tire of wearing them. Love adding a splash of red by way of shoes or bag. But I've also done a monochrome navy look and mustard looks fab too.

Ok, not a midi but this next dress is a versatile little number, you can add so many different colours to it; red, green, pink, cobalt blue or stick with all black accessories for a classic look. It's much easier to wear than full on black as well and is a far lighter option for spring/summer. Also available in petite here which incidentally is a great dress for the smaller lady as the pattern isn't going to overwhelm your frame.

Principles by Ben de Lisi Black Geometric Print Dress £45




Something slightly unusual, a contemporary slant on the shirt dress. Personally, I'd open the neck, stack up the bracelets and add a pair of yellow strappy sandals. Or trainers minus the socks for a dressed down option.

Studio By Preen Light Blue Shirt Dress £69


 Anyway, I've ordered the first three for starters and I'll do a show and tell. Things may get a little ugly around here!

Dad and I had a fabulous day in London yesterday. Zero shopping (it's not his thing) but we did get to spend time with the daughter. After a tour around Sky (which Dad declared amazing) we spent the rest of our time between Notting Hill and on the River Thames around Hammersmith and Fulham. The weather was kind to us too so a good day all round. I wore the pink blazer from Next and I think he'll prove to be a versatile kinda guy.

Jacket - Next
Culottes - Zara (similar)
Slogan T-shirt - Ichi (old)
Trainers - Adidas
Bag - Village England

Right now, I have a roast in the oven, a glass of wine by my side and a roaring fire (possibly the last of the season??). Life is good. Well that is if you ignore the vertically challenged ironing pile (where the heck does it all come from?), two pairs of filthy football boots that need cleaning and a hallway that looks like the last day of Glastonbury. Yep, the gardener has been to do his first mow of the season. Most of the cuttings are now in my house.

I'll be gone then as the Yorkshire Puddings are a' calling.