Style meets art

I have spent many a happy hour going out to see clients and doing personal shopping for them. I’ve been self-employed since 1995, working for many years as a mangement and leadership coach, enjoying both the ‘luxury’ (it was for me) of a city centre office and the convenience of working from home. Both working environments have something to recommend them. My husband and I now live in the heart of rural Northumberland in a spacious barn which at the weekend is an art gallery. Plenty of lovely space and, of course, lovely art to look at. A perfect back-drop for my style rejuvenation business. The advantage of having this space is it acts as a fabulous environment to show case my French clothing, plus my office can be easily and quickly converted into a changing room.

Open House and personal styling

Styling tips

I am having my 3rd ‘open house’ event to launch the AW17 mid-season collection on the 26 October. Instead of the crowded High Street you can come and shop at your leisure and enjoy personal service. In my last post I wrote about social shopping and while I would hate to see the High Street go there is no doubt that when it comes to retail fashion there is a sameness that can be wearying.

AW17 Collection

Sizes 6 – 22 Flattering clothes for everyone

Having an open house is the original ‘try before you buy’. You can see and touch the clothes. Many items in the collection have been designed to form a core capsule wardrobe. Speaking to many clients they say their chief challenge is putting an outfit together. We like to think we can do the hard work for you. The open house provides a relaxed environment, in stunning countryside, and of course refreshements and nibbles (Prosecco fo the non-drivers). Come and discover if this is for you. It might just change how you shop for clothes. We open at 11.00 and close at 19.00. Those of you on my mailing list will receive an invitation. If you prefer a more personal approach then contact me to arrange a one-to-one session. Either here or in your home.

If you need details about the location please email me. Hope to see you soon.

Social shopping & why it’s taken off

I have always loved shopping for clothes. My earliest memories are of going with my mother for a new coat each year. This stopped when I was 12 as I was starting to get caught up with the fashion of the moment. Short skirts, block heels (didn’t get a pair until I was 15!) and white tights.

Captain Tortue AW16

Captain Tortue AW17

One of the reasons I was drawn to the Captain Tortue collection was the casual chic style that had some ‘edge’ or quirky details, as the 2 images above show.

Since I started my business, ‘Style Rejuvenation for Women’, the one thing that has astounded me is how many women don’t like shopping, some even going to so far as to say they loathe it. I even have one client who literally had to be dragged to the shops (I had done all the research so we – or rather I – was focussed) complaining all the way. She said she ‘desperately needed a new wardrobe but couldn’t stand being in the shops for more that 1 hour. Reality check needed. I countered with, “That’s rather like saying you must get your hair cut but under no circumstances are you going to the hairdressers”. Surprisingly she agreed.

Not keen on this?

There is an alternative

You can imagine my delight when, in February this year, I joined Captain Tortue – the French clothing brand I am promoting – and realised I could take the clothes to her. A pop-up shop in her own home. Worked a treat. She really enjoyed it and is looking forward to seeing the AW17 mid-season collection which will be available on 13th October.

My client is not alone in finding High Street shopping frustrating and time consuming. Added to that, online shopping is not always the answer and can be very disappointing; with poor fabrics and garments that are not well made.

Enter social shopping. Drum roll please! The idea of going into customers homes or business is of course not new. My attraction to CT was and still is the amazing styles and versatility of the collections. The clothes are designed in-house in France and shipped directly from there. Sizes are from 6 to 22, so all shapes sizes AND ages are catered for. If you can’t face the hectic High Street, cramped changing room and ‘limit’ to what you can take in – then hosting a pop-up shop in your home or at work may be the answer. Invite a couple of friends and enjoy an evening (or afternoon) of fun and fashion, together with some styling tips.

So if you live or work in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Co.Durham or Teesside email me for more details. As hostess you will receive, as a thank you, a considerable discount.

Sixties and style

Ah, admit it. I fooled you with the title. As I am in my sixities I remember ‘the sixites’ as an exciting time where ideas of accepted female fashion were turned on their head. Those micro minis, white tights (in fact tights themeselves), painting on my lower lashes and the palest lipstick imaginable. I loved it all.

So hardly surprising that I have never wanted to be put in a box with regard to style. The expression ‘age appropriate’ really annoys me. I refuse to be told by some young (usually) stylist what is and what isn’t appropriate for me based purely on my age. The key for dressing as an older women is to remain contemporary and yet be true to yourself. Don’t allow the media, your family or friends to put you in a box.

Casual yet stylish

The above image is classic but not old fashioned. The reason it works is because of the colour combination. In neutral shades it could vere into the boring. A blazer is a key addition to any wardrobe, just make sure the cut suits you and that the length of the blazer is in proportion to your body shape.


Totally unflaterring

As women get older their body shape often changes – waists thicken and weight can be gained. Sadly many women think all they have to do is throw on a shapeless dress or top and they are good to go. This rarely works.

Some women go to the other extreme by wearing the latest ‘trend’ and start shopping in H&M, Top Shop and River Island. Let me make it crystal clear that there is nothing wrong in shopping in these shops. I have done so myself and continue to be a hugh Zara fan. The secret is to be selective. Choose a key item and then wear with other pieces in your wardrobe. I’m sure you have seen the recent plethora of over-embellished sweaters and tops that can look like fun on a twenty year old but somehow make older women look like a care in the community case.

On trend (!)

 

Leather is ageless

There are many myths around what you should wear as an older women. Along with denim jeans there is ‘anything’ in leather. Not so. If you wear a leather jacket as long as it is a good fit (never buy a leather jacket that is too big for you thinking you’ll be able to get a sweater underneath!) it will look stylish and can also be worn with a skirt or dress.

A little bit of restraint perhaps

Just because you’ve decide to become more modern please don’t become a fashion victim. This is excusable when young but as we get older rarely works.

Chic with attitude

 

Classic navy and white

Whatever you choose don’t let your age get in the way. Embrace how you are now and enjoy your clothes.

This is what being in your nineties can look like

 

Clothes for real women

As many readers probably know I have been working with French ladies fashion brand, Captain Tortue, since March this year. Their collections are very chic yet recognise that most women lead busy lives so they want to be casual too. What also impresses me is the versatility and adaptability of the clothes. My clients are all ages (although mainly over 40), shapes and sizes. This is where the CT brand comes into it’s own. Consider the images below.

Exactly the same jacket looking equally as good on both women. Provided you keep the proportions right it really doesn’t matter what size or shape you are.

The image above shows a curvy and classy look. If you want to find out more these great collections email me.

Perfect timing – I don’t think so!

As some of you know my role with French brand Captain Tortue is really gathering speed, with lots of events in the pipeline. Tomorrow I am hosting the AW17 collection launch. Many of you have replied and I thank you.

24 August 11.00 – 19.00

IMPORTANT NOTE The road from the A69 which most people take is undergoing works by Northumbria Water. Guess what – they have closed the road tommorrow. If you are arriving after 17.00 than Northumbria Water will not be working on the road.

If before 17.00 then please use alternative route coming through Whitfield; that is the Alston road. Your SatNav will get you to us from this road. NE47 8JP.  ALSO The yellow and black Art Gallery signs will guide you to us. Please email if you need directions & most of you know my mobile number.

Nibbles, refreshments & Prosecco. Shop in a relaxed environment and try on as many combinations as you like. I look forward to welcoming you.

Comfortable in your own skin?

Temple Spa Skincare Range

Glowing, clear healthy looking skin isn’t just a preserve of the young. Your skin care regime, the products you use and some professional tips can make all the difference. As you know I work with award-winning Temple Spa luxury skin care and deliver skin care classes or, which some people prefer, a one-to-one session.

A one-to-one session, which can be held in the privacy of your own home, provided you live in the North East (I only travel distances for classes), or here in the heart of Northumberland, will involve a skincare analysis, to determine what kind of products in the range you should be using, then I can provide the facial or I can talk you through to ensure you use the products correctly.

From the 24 July to the 31st July I am offering a FREE one-to-one pamper session AND, on those dates ONLY, you will receive a free full-size Toning Essence (worth £16.00).

What do you have to do to book? To receive the free Toning Essence you need to book before the 6th July. Leave a message here on my blog and I’ll get back to you. There are only so many one-to-ones available so don’t delay. Oh, before I forget (!), you will be able to take advantage of special offers only available from me. The products are used extensively in Spas and are not on the High Street. This is the original try before you buy. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

The away weekend

I was recently going away for a long weekend to stay with friends in the UK and travelling by train. This was late April. The last thing I wanted was a cumbersome suitcase which I would only trip over or bash into a fellow travellers legs. I wanted to arrive refreshed and unencumbered with luggage.

So – what to take; bearing in mind my small ‘cabin size’ suitcase and the unpredictability of our British weather? I set myself the challenge of creating a suitable range of outfits from six core pieces. Not including my underwear as this takes up little space (I’m not yet at the stage where my underwear is about the same size as my outerwear!)

White jeans (packed)

I tend not to travel in white as I seem to be an absolute magnet for dirt, coffee stains …… you get the idea. For comfort I travel in posh leggings, in either black or brown, of which I have several pairs. Making sure at all times my bottom is covered. I’m blessed with a small backside but if it isn’t covered I feel I look as if I have forgotten my skirt.

Flat ankle boots (to travel in)

I really can’t travel in heels so I always wear flats. There is nothing worse than arriving at your destination in pain!

Tunic top (to travel in)

This is a key piece for me as it goes with virtually all leggings and pants/jeans. It also has the advantage of keeping me warm. I usually wear a vest or camisole underneath. Unless the item is going to be on show (perhaps some lace or trimming) I buy cheap. Asda and Tesco do very cheap ‘basics’ as do H&M. For packing purposes I class vests and camisoles as underwear.

Plain vest (Asda) and Lacy trimmed camisole (H&M)

I really don’t ‘do’ cold so, apart from mid-summer, I travel with a fairly large scarf to keep my neck and shoulders warm. This also has the advantage of adding some colour to my travelling outfit.

Rarely without a scarf

Sleeveless coat by Mango (to travel in)

Some time ago I discovered the advantage of a sleeveless coat – particularly for travel. You don’t feel so encumbered and they can look stylish.

Blue skinny jeans & long white shirt (packed)

The blue jeans work with the white shirt, tunic, sweater and the coat. Plus they look good with the ankle boots and sneakers.

Sneakers (packed)

I learned how to pack from my Mother who in her youth had a job which involved a fair amount of travelling. She always used to roll up knickers and socks and put them inside shoes. She also said you should never wear the same footwear two days in a row. The reason? To allow the footwear to dry out! Our feet do to some extent sweat.

Light sweater & bold tunic top (packed)

So, there you have it; 6 key pieces and still space for toiletries and cosmetics. The key is to lay out your six pieces to be packed on one side of the bed and on the other side the items you will be wearing when you are travelling. They should all form a small capsule wardrobe.

 

Casual chic anyone?

The simplicity of black & white

There is no doubt that dress codes are far more relaxed these days. On a personal note I rather regret this as I love dressing up and do not at all like the sloppy unkempt way many people present themselves. Sorry to sound like a Victorian school teacher.

Far better, especially for older women, to adopt a chic yet relaxed way of dressing. The French do this perfectly. Yet they do take the time and effort to look good and well groomed. They may ‘look’ as if they haven’t tried but believe me they have. So what is French casual chic? In my view it is the ability to look well put together but retain some individuality.

Silk scarf & pearls

The above image shows a contemporary approach to two old classics – and note the cuff. Worn with jeans or casual pants the scarf and pearls don’t fall into the trap of looking too traditional.

French ‘yummy-mummy’

The trench coat

To me the trench coat is as french as champagne. It can be worn as above with pants and needs little embellishment. There are plenty of low cost trenches around and one of the best I have seen is my sister’s and she bought hers in Zara.

The scarf

To add instant chic you can’t beat a scarf. It is a low cost way of improving most outfits. Casual chic is not too difficult to achieve and certainly doesn’t involve you spending lots of money.

The rise of the poncho

Who would have thought that the poncho (remember those spaghetti westerns anyone?) would now be regarded as a key addition to your wardrobe. It is a great transitional piece when the weather isn’t warm enough to bare your arms but you don’t want to wear a heavy coat. If you are anything like me by April I am just a little sick of my coats.

With buttons

Without buttons

Ponchos provide warm and increasingly some style to your overall outfit. They are best worn with jeans or leggings on the lower half of your body to keep the proportions in balance.

Neutral colours are versatile

Summer poncho

More designers are coming up with lighter materials which are ideal for the summer. The above poncho would work well as an extra layer on your flight to sunnier climes and be ideal if the evenings needed another layer. They are many variations on the basic themes. The one above is by Captain Tortue (as my regulars will know I’m now working with the company who specialise is chic casual collections) and is in a light patterned yarn.

So forget any qualms about ponchos you may have had!

Living in loafers

If like me you find that you can no longer walk about in heels but find ballerina flats make your feet ache (apparently it’s because I have a high instep) then loafers may be just the thing. As they are often lined in leather you have the added advantage of wearing them with bare feet. I know you can get those strange socks which are not meant to show under your shoes but the thing is – they usually do.

I’ve been looking at some various styles.

Classic beige loafers

The classic loafer, and there are many about, everything from mid-price at Dune to top end from Tod’s, was made for jeans.

On trend

At the weekend I had a pre-holiday shopping trip. Which means I had not intention of buying but wanted to know what was on the shelves. There were many flat styles with bows and elaborated cloth trims. Think twice before wearing them with the cut-off wide trousers that are popular at the moment or you may make yourself look too short.

Russell & Bromley

No one would suggest that Russell and Bromley are cheap. They are however one of the best brands around. They also do half sizes (on some styles) which is great if, like me, you take a 5 and a half.

Smart enough for work

If you work in an environment which expects you to look smart the style above is ideal as is the colour. Loafers are now worn with skirts and dresses and you have the added benefit of not having to totter about on heels. So, start loafing about (sorry couldn’t resist!).

I don’t usually recommend buying on line when it comes to footwear but I make the exception with regard to The Bias-Cut.com an incredible company and website aimed solely at older women. Here are 2 styles worth investigating.

Comfort and style

If you thought loafers were just a tad old-fashioned then think again.