I hate shopping!

Created without going anywhere near the shops!

When I first launched my style business I was genuinely surprised (and even a little shocked) the hear clients say they hated, and in one case detested, shopping. I have one client who tells me what she needs and then asks me to source it. This does not work for me as all brands have a slightly different cut and this results in massive differences in sizes, meaning outfits need to be returned, as they invariably never fit or don’t suit her body shape, and refunds made. Time consuming, and for both me and the client very frustrating. So, what to do?

As this particular client likes smart casual clothes I have eventually found the perfect solution. Phew! The solution? Taking the clothes to her. No, I don’t mean a couple of outfits, as I’ve already said, I’ve done this before with little success.

Classic yet relaxed

Casual chic at it’s best

I’ve discovered a French company, who use a direct selling model, and specialise in chic (they are French after all) casual clothes for women. I take the season’s collection with me to her. Result! I’m also planning to have open days and invite contacts to come to me. They can try on the clothes, mix and match and make style choices in a stress free environment. I can now offer affordable French styling with pieces that build into an everyday casual capsule collection in the comfort of your own or a friends home.

Relaxed shopping

The company were first launched in the UK in 2004 and business is certainly booming. Choosing your capsule casual wardrobe just got easy. I’m officially launching on 27 February and I’ll keep you posted. Very excited to be adding another brand to my portfolio.

But it was in the sale!

sales window

Time was when there were sales in January and June with the odd mid-season sale at some department stores. Not surprisingly women could go a little bit mad queuing up and rushing to get that bargain, only to find when they got it home that it really wasn’t all that great. Those days have long gone. Hopefully.

flower shirt

You don’t ‘do’ florals and this is too big for you

motif sweater

But it’s casual and would go with my jeans (No!)

Like most people I love a bargain. There are about 3 independent fashion retailers I shop in and always pop in when their sales are on. The reductions are genuine and do represent good value for money. In 2015 I bought a lovely black cotton coat (Spanish label) reduced by 50% – cost £100 and you can take the collar off or (and this is the bit I love) you can attach a pearl necklace which works as a collar. Later that year I bought a pair of dark navy jeans (German label) reduced by 70% – cost £30. Last year I bought a pair of ankle boots in a closing down sale for £49.95 – reduced from £195.00!! And so it goes on.

How do you prevent sales panic? I have frequently commented on the advantage of knowing what is in your wardrobe (so you can mix and match) and having a list of items you actually NEED. These two points will help to ensure that you really do get a bargain.

but it's designer

But it’s designer and such a bargain. Don’t go there!

Shop in the sales as you would at any other time. With a plan, a budget and a list. This will make sure you really do get a bargain which means you will wear your purchase with pride. Good shopping.

On the flat

Woe is me! My high heel wearing days appear to be over. My feet protest too much! I can still wear wedges so all is not lost. Many of my contemporaries are in the same situation. I love heels and I like the extra height you can gain. Oh well – onwards and upwards. Time to check out some stylish flats.

cognac riding

The riding boot

The riding boot is possibly the most versatile piece of footwear you will ever possess. Most people, even women with fairly chunky calves, can wear them easily. Great over leggings, skirts and dresses. Oh – and jodphurs too. Now is the time to buy a pair as the sales are on and there are some great bargains, with many shops and stores giving a 50% discount.

fitflp riding

Riding boot by FitFlops

If you have challenging feet why not  try FitFlops? I bought a pair of their sandals in the sale last year and they were ideal. Comfortable yet stylish.

blk-animal-skin-loafer

Stylish – good with pants or dress

I really can’t remember the last time there were so many flat shoes available. You are quite literally spoiled for choice.

drk green studded loafers

Smart and business like 

Dark green is still around and looks really good with dark denim jeans or wool tights. Even in the workplace they would not look out of place. If you want something more colourful the Jeffrey Campbell (not cheap I know) ankle boots below are fabulous.

red

What about a dinner date or night out with the girls? You can’t face heels but the embellished shoes below look elegant and would work well with pants or a posh dress.

gold-velvet-embell

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that flat shoes and boots are all around us. I believe it is because older women are more interested than ever in looking stylish but years of wearing ‘stylish’ heels may have taken their toll.

Are your clothes past their sell by date?

sequin joggers

Time to go! What were you thinking about?

As we all step boldly (or cautiously) into 2017 there will be some areas of our life we want to change, embrace or lose. As this site is all about rejuvenation lets start with your wardrobe or closet. If I asked you what is the oldest item of clothing you possess would you know? Mine is a Max Mara black pleated skirt bought in 1987 for the staggeringly high price of £110.00. It’s timeless, versatile and as I look after my clothes (I know I’m such a goody two shoes!) it’s still in excellent condition. So, is this item past it’s sell by date? No. Because I love it and get pleasure from wearing and looking at it. I know – I’m clothes obsessed. Why do you think I write this blog.

4 slvless coats

Do you really need 4 sleeveless coats?

I’m not saying that all old clothes should be thrown out. Perhaps you have kept the dress you first met that special person in. Often clothes have emotional meaning for us and provided that emotion is positive why not keep the garment. A note about keeping something because it reminds you of when you were two stone lighter. This will not make you feel good. Only keep clothes if they make you feel good and, if you still wear them (my skirt has an elasticated waist as all good pleated skirts should), they still fit you.

massimo dutti cardi

That favourite cardigan – so versatile


MaxMaraPureCamelIconCoat1030

Keep the classics

If you have started the year being less than enchanted with the contents of your wardrobe time for some ruthless shredding (not literally I hope). If you can’t face a complete overhaul – I’ve written about this in previous posts – select at least two items every week until your wardrobe is only full of items you will actually wear. De-cluttering is really cleansing and also makes you feel virtuous. Make 2017 the year when you look in your wardrobe and like what you see. If you don’t then your clothes are past they sell by date. I will be posting about key steps in creating a capsule wardrobe on a budget later this month.

I think it is officially winter

grey-winter

Simple and easy to wear

The clocks go back this weekend so I ‘think’ that means we are officially into winter. I live in the Northumberland hills and we appreciate the changing seasons probably more than town dwellers. I really don’t ‘do’ cold. However, I’m certainly not ready to start wearing heavy coats just yet. Sometimes a light jacket is all that is required. So, one way of ensuring you are never out in the cold is to have a scarf or pashmina with you at all times. When not in use it can be put in your bag or tied around your handbag strap.

winter-beige-stylish

Worn with knitwear – not a coat in sight

Another benefit of carrying a scarf is that if you are going through the menopause and experiencing hot flushes the thought of wearing a heavy coat or jacket is simply awful. Pashminas are great at wrapping around your neck and your shoulders and back. They also look stylish.

pale-blue-tassel-wool

Feminine and fresh

valentino blk & wht

Lighter weight scarf – beautiful detail

If you are not a fan of pashminas or heavier scarves then they are some really lovely light weight ones around. Check out smaller independent shops. I recently bought a fake Hermes in great shades of gold and teal for £10 in the sale, at Sassi (Market Place) in my nearest town, which is Hexham. They sell great bags and costume jewellery too.

orange-and-pink

givenchy-red-blk

Never underestimate the ability of a light silk scarf to keep you warm. It can also add a hint of colour – which is always appreciated in the dark days of winter. They also make great Christmas presents!

Can you have enough knitwear?

I’m back from the lovely Greek Island of Rhodes where I discovered a creative designer called Ioanna Kourbela. I purchased a ‘versatile’ cardigan, shown below, which I know I will wear for many a year. Mine is in a mocha/coffee shade. There is even a video on her website showing the many ways to wear it. I shall experiment during the dark nights of winter!

ik-basic-2550-ways-to-wear

Even given the current exchange rate (don’t get me started) it only cost £53, which I think is good value for money. I’m a big fan of Sarah Pacini who has lovely knitwear designs, however, they are more expensive.

sarah-pacini-metallic-twist-jumper-p801892-1914017_thumb

Sarah Pacini – yarn has a metallic twist in it

Fine knitwear is a good transitional piece as we go into the colder weather, but it’s not cold enough for heavier yarns. Plus they can take the place of jackets or coats.

relaxed

Simple Cardigan – with well chosen necklace

navy-gilet-cable

 Navy Gilet – for colder days

I am a self-confessed knitwear addict. The versatility is second to none. You can wear the gilet above, for example, with jeans, tailored trousers or a dress. Can you ever have enough knitwear? No, is my response.

Don’t try this at home!

We all want to spend our money wisely (well sometimes!) so it can be tempting to go for the do it yourself approach. Cut your hair? Of course you wouldn’t. Practising at home dentist? Never. Whatever you do not be tempted with DIY face masks believing that as they contain ‘natural’ ingredients they will work. They may do but it’s unlikely. As regular readers will know I work in partnership with Temple Spa who make luxury spa award winning skincare. This means I get to spend great time with women who amongst other things are interested in good skincare. I recently spoke to a friend and noticed her eyes were red and puffy and looked very uncomfortable. The cause? She read on-line that eye makeup remover was a waste of money and using olive oil worked just as well! Your skin is precious and can easily be irritated.

naked-face

Your skin is the largest organ in your body

Obviously I recommend Temple Spa’s ‘Go Easy’ eye makeup remover as it is effective and very gentle, also caring for the delicate skin around your eyes. I looked online and was amazed at the concoctions people were advising.

face-mask-with-cucu

Many years ago someone told me that placing a slice of raw cucumber on each eye prior to a night out made your eyes sparkle. The only thing this did for me was to make my eyes itch!

home-made-mask

Please don’t try these at home

I am completely intrigued by the recipes above, particularly the moisturiser. How on earth would you keep this on your face? Also, as moisturiser is used prior to make up application then I think you’d end up looking most strange. I have nothing against natural products such as honey, olive oil, eggs etc. – but I think they are better eaten with our meals! When all said and done stick to reputable brands.

 

 

Me time!

In the rush of life – family, work and keeping everything ticking along, something women are very good at, it can be all too easy to forget about yourself. As you know, if you have been following my blog, I offer style services. Everything from creating a fabulous capsule wardrobe to dressing for that special occasion. What you may not be so aware of is that I offer a bespoke skincare service in partnership with Temple Spa, who have created Mediterranean inspired skincare using essential oils, anti-aging ingredients and lush botanical ingredients.

ts-cleansingtsbody-therapy

Over time our skin can change and certainly if you are going through the menopause then it is likely you have experienced some challenges. Break-outs, enlarged pores, dry patches and discoloration. Hopefully not all at once! Although there is a plethora of skincare companies in the beauty departments of our high street stores the consultant is usually young and may not fully appreciate some of the concerns older women have, or that how we look can affect our self-esteem. I can offer a personal skin care consultation, or if you prefer, get a few friends round to your home (up to 8) and I can coach you all through a quick yet effective skin care routine. The ultimate ‘Spa To Go’. If you prefer the one-to-one session then I can give you the facial, all you need to do is sit down and relax, or I can coach you through the process. There is plenty of time to ask any questions you want.

facial-chin

It’s a real treat to go to the spa although hardly practical, or affordable, to do so on a regular basis. If you are busy or stressed using these spa products (they are used in some of the most prestigious spas in the country) will be an opportunity for some ‘me time’. It’s not ‘hope in a bottle’ but used regularly your skin will look and feel amazing.

TS Skin Truffle

This service I offer is an opportunity to try before you buy in the comfort of your own (or a friends!) home. This is why the service is free. Yes that’s right – it’s not a typo. I want every client to experience Temple Spa products and I know from recent experience you will buy because your skin tells you to. Whether you go for the class experience or the one-to-one, you will be able to take advantage of the special offers not available on the website. Go to www.templespa.com/brendakilgallon

Oh and if you decide to host a class you get a lovely free gift as a thank you from me. Interested? Simply leave a comment and send your message, together with your contact details.

 

Don’t know what to wear?

easy

Quick view

How many of us have stood in front of our open wardrobe and said to ourselves, “What am I going to wear?” We may be running short of time grab something we are familiar with – or the first thing that comes to hand – jump into our clothes, take a quick look in the mirror and groan. Perhaps we didn’t notice the missing button the last time we wore the jacket or the fact that the jacket doesn’t really go with our skirt. Still, no time to change so off we go to wherever we need to be, not really feeling we are looking our best.

I’ll let you into a little secret. Those women we know who invariable look well put together, with great accessories etc actually take the time to make it happen. Style never happens by chance it requires some thought, inspiration and, importantly, time. But I haven’t got any time I hear you say. Here are some pointers that will help.

  1. Put your clothes out the night before. Underwear and accessories included.
  2. Have at least 4 outfits that you know work well and keep them at the front of your wardrobe, or easily accessible.
  3. Create storage order. Whatever works for you. It could be all knitwear together or everything colour co-ordinated.
  4. Spend 10 minutes once a week checking any items that need cleaning or repairing.
relaxed older women

Well put together

mono chrome coat

Everything thought through

The next time you look enviously at a women who looks good remember, she took the time. You need to create some kind of control to have effective style options. Without this you spend time looking for ‘lost’ items.

I am not a morning person so I always lay out what I’m going to wear the night before. I have been doing this for years and it only takes a few minutes. Most of the storage I use is from Ikea so you don’t have to go out and spend a small fortune. Put the effort in and you will get results.

 

Why grey hair is a matter of choice

Many women of my mother’s generation (she was not one of them!) accepted grey hair as a natural progression – as indeed it is. Increasingly we are seeing women in their forties having grey put ‘into’ their hair. Unthinkable even 10 years ago. Should you let nature take it’s course or are you not prepared to give up the colouring sessions at the hairdressers. As in all matters of style it is a personal choice. My hairdresser who has been cutting and colouring my hair for over 20 years beautifully describes her clients hair as ‘the gown you always wear’. Very true. If I have a bad hair day it doesn’t matter what I am wearing I just don’t feel right.

trench coat and jeans

Relaxed & confident

One thing to bear in mind if you have grey hair is to keep your style contemporary. It’s interesting that a women, say in her thirties, can wear very classic clothes and yet look fresh, whereas a women in her fifties and beyond can look too staid.

curly with glasses

If you have grey hair and wear glasses choose frames that actually ‘frame your face’. Darker frames have more definition and tend to look better with grey hair.

young with glasses

Good use of jewellery

jeans and white sht

tweed jacket

Both the above outfits are relaxed yet in very different ways. Having grey hair does not mean twin sets and pearls. If you decide to go grey bear in mind this will take a while, depending on how quickly your grows, so you may need to hang in there. Talk to your hairdresser and get their advice. Also bear in mind that as our hair goes grey so we experience a loss of pigmentation in the skin. To prevent looking ‘faded’ wear tinted moisturiser and lipstick. If you don’t already, now may be the time to consider a natural colour blusher.

good quote

Accepting your grey hair can be liberating as the image and quote above shows. Will I be letting my hair grow out? Not yet. I still have my ‘original’ brown colour at the back and I think I would look odd. Some day, but not now.