Perfect pleats

maxi navy pleated

Maxi Navy pleats

The transition from winter into Spring doesn’t mean putting away all your winter layers. If you have never done so before why not try a long pleated skirt. They are, as the fashion media tell us, very ‘on trend’ this season. But this is not why I suggest them. If your legs are looking less than perfectly smooth and you think the only option is to wear jeans or trousers – think again. Maxi skirts are not just for holidays or evenings. They can look both smart and casual depending on what you wear with them.

blush pleated long

Very simple yet chic!

maison marg grey blk pleated

Two-tone maxi

Keep accessories plain and take care not to wear a voluminous top or you will look swamped. Keep your footwear fairly flat. No stilettos please.  Either ankle boots, ballet flats or loafers. If you have read my post last week about looking at your wardrobe as an investment, rather than a cost, then the Russell and Bromley loafers below are worth considering.

russell and b loafers

Russell & Bromley Loafers – not just for jeans

texture flats

Neat & comfortable flats

grey suede

Good transition item

This can be a difficult time of year when deciding how to ease yourself into spring. Long pleated skirts offer you variety. Now is the time to get into the shops and start trying some on.

Get rid of winter skin

in the beginning

It’s at this time of year with Spring just around the corner (although the view from my office window is of thick mist!) that attention usually needs to be paid to our skin. Months of central heating and cold winds tend to take their toll. Allied to which we don’t drink as much water as we do in the warmer months.  As you know I’m now a firm Temple Spa fan  and have been using their ‘In the Beginning ‘ cleansing melt for the past 2 weeks. This handmade product is an absolute dream to use. A small amount blends in and the tiny beads literally melt into your skin. Remove with a damp muslin cloth and your skin looks and feels really clean. It’s ideal for dry skins. My new best friend!

The three year rule

If you have made the decision to rejuvenate your style, either by going all out and creating a new capsule wardrobe, or you want to add a key piece, such as jacket or coat, then you will need to spend some money. This is a fact of life. How do you know if the item, or items, you buy represent good value? If you have read my previous posts on the 10 style essentials then you will have some basic guidelines in making the right choices. You may also find it useful to look at my article on’The Art of Shopping’, where the tips given can save you a fortune.

Over the years I have adopted a rule of thumb when making style choices. I do not have a huge budget nor do I have unlimited credit. Aside from layering tops and basic T-shirts, or my occasional jaunts into Zara,  I always consider clothes to be an investment not a cost.  As with any investment I want a good rate of return.

buy less etc vw

 

My three year rule

When faced with a purchase choice (except footwear) of over £250.00 I ask myself one simple question. ‘Will I wear this for 3 years?’ I don’t mean once per year, by the way! To give some examples; I have a Italian fine wool blazer in a marvellous deep chocolate brown which I bought 9 years ago at the staggeringly (or at seemed so at the time) cost of £350.00 which I still wear regularly, I have a cashmere sweater bought 7 years ago for £110.00 which comes out every autumn and I wore only last week. I also have a Diane Von Furstenburgh black wool dress, which is my ‘to go to’  item when a stylish simple dress is needed, purchased 6 years ago for £295.00 which I’m still wearing and still enjoying wearing.

lkb claudine

My most recent purchase

LK Bennet crochet dress £295.00

I will definitely wear this dress for more than 3 years. It flatters my body shape, looks good with flats, heels and boots and it works with 3 of my  ‘smart’  jackets, both my leather jackets and both my ‘posh’ black coats. Plus, as I travel around quite a lot it doesn’t crease!

dvf wrap navy

Diane Von Furstenberg matte jersey wrap dress £308.00 – the ultimate wardrobe staple

max mara classic

Max Mara £365.00

Max Mara is renowned for style and quality. The jacket above is an investment piece which will work with tailored trousers, jeans, a dress or skirt. Depending on what you team it with it will look good and give you versatility.

hugo boss coat

Hugo Boss spring coat £580.00 – timeless

Investing this amount of money in a coat may seem quite high. The style is timeless and the colour can be fused with other neutrals, worn with black and other deep colours. You can also create a more casual look with white jeans and a colouful top. You are only going to be limited by your imagination. You should never be bored with the same clothes.

Style rejuvenation may require that you change how you think about buying clothes. Invest in essential pieces, at your own pace and no doubt guided by your budget, that all work well together and you will have a wardrobe that works for you. Get rid of the items you no longer wear and when you look in your wardrobe you will feel good about what you see. No more ‘what on earth am I going to wear?’ moments.

Do you want to look classy?

lauren bacall wht shirt

Lauren Bacall – who never looked anything other than classy

Remembering my love of old Hollywood films there was often a remark made by a male actor about a ‘classy dame/broad’. You may have your idea of what classy is. The French, no doubt, would consider the word ‘chic’ to be more appropriate. If you look stylish then you are for more likely to be classy. How do you achieve this? One sure fire way is to wear black and white.

I have had an enduring love affair with black and white for as long as I can remember. Sometimes patterns and bold colours can look cheap. Despite what you pay for them! Not so black and white. And there’s no need to dress like an old fashioned movie star.

skirt and shirt

Simple and elegant

marc cain blk and wht

Marc Cain dress – you’ll be wearing this for years

kate hudson

Kate Hudson looking very good

louis vuitton

Although the above outfit is by Louis Vuitton (and yes – it is out of the reach of most of us!) this can be easily replicated. White trousers and a plain black coat with simple top. Or, black trouser and white coat/jacket. Very wearable.

chanel

Chanel – what else?

nike trainers

Nike – I love mine!

With black or white jeans a casual and relaxed look can still look classy. Jackie Onassis was frequently seen in white jeans and a black T shirt and she was the epitome of class. Follow me on Pinterest and look at my board ‘Obsessed with monochrome’.

Is it Spring yet?

leaves

Time for some softer colours

It’s around about this time of year that most of us are just a little fed up with our winter clothes. The nights are getting longer – the clocks leap forward at the end of the month and we all need a boost. It’s time to start thinking (if you haven’t already) about what to wear. Pastels seem to be every where at the moment and whilst head to toe pink or blue may not be for you, introducing a spring-like note will lift the spirits.

shirts

Check out your lighter coloured tops

pink chiffon sleeveless

The pink chiffon top above introduces a spring-like note and will work as well with jeans as it will with a skirt. Just remember to wear a jacket or cardigan! If you can’t face putting off your sweater than go for a silver grey or soft tone.

silver grey sweater casual

Silver grey and white look chic

grey suede Isb mar

Isabel Marant – grey suede

There are some spectacular sale bargains in footwear at the moment, particularly with ankle boots. Now is the time to choose a softer tone and grey goes with virtually any colour. Or introduce some colour with the simple, yet effective, clutch bag below.

pale turquoise clutch

If you don’t want to spend a fortune on accessories then Zara (as I’m often reminding everyone) is a good place to start. You can pick up leather bags for a fraction of the cost of most high street brands. Another useful outlet is TK Maxx. It’s time to lighten up.

Fashionable or frumpy?

baroness s g  

Baroness Susan Greenfield – 65 – An inspiration

Professor of Pharmacology at Oxford University

When sitting on a train last week I caught the headlines on a fellow passenger’s newspaper. ‘Fashion is not for the over fifties’. Which begs the question, ‘What is for the over fifties?’ As they get older some women do lose the plot with regard to what to wear yet to make the statement that fashion is somehow denied older women simply because of their age seems ridiculous. Older women have helped to shape the workplace and their contribution in all walks of life is immense. Baroness Greenfield (above) is working on a cure for Alzheimer’s and always looks modern and stylish.  We are not prepared to become invisible, because some fashion stylist doesn’t know what to do with us, and descend into the wearing of frumpy boring clothes.

cindy joseph 64

Cindy Joseph – 65

Founder of the cosmetics brand ‘Boom’

Cindy Joseph has endless energy and is always stylish yet very casual. No older woman wants to be a slave to fashion but we do need to be contemporary and this means adopting some of the elements of current fashion.

barbara alberti 71 write

Alberta Ferreti (writer) – 71 – The Epitome of chic

 

sleeveless jacket

Stylish & modern – sleeveless jackets work well

Women in their fifties and beyond have more than earned the right to choose whether they want to be fashionable or not. We can adopt the style that suits us, while keeping in mind some style guidelines.  Keep your look fresh and blend in the modern with some essential pieces. Do this and you will always look good.

PS: Does anyone know where the article referred to was published? If so please let me know.

 

Are English women vulgar? What do you think?

BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 07: Kristin Scott Thomas attends the European Film Awards 2013 on December 7, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Clemens Bilan/Getty Images)

Kristen Scott Thomas

On the 24th February (an important day in our house as it is my husband’s birthday) Kristen Scott Thomas DBE caused something of a furore in the Mail newspaper when she said that English women, with their fake tans and short skirts, were vulgar. What a fabulous word, and one which we don’t hear very often. Vulgar. If ‘some’ women are vulgar then what does it mean? My blog is very much about style rather than fashion. I love fashion and have been subscribing to Vogue magazine for years. However, the extremes of fashion usually don’t transfer to the realities of a woman’s life. But I don’t think that fashion is the culprit here. I believe it is the cult of youth allied to that really rather absurd obsession with celebrity. I have mentioned before that some degree of restraint is necessary to be stylish and elegant and I think the French could give masterclasses on this. Kristen Scott Thomas has lived in France for years so not unnaturally the French culture, values and attitudes have left a strong impression. The French seem to embrace age with  an openness that we British find hard. Tottering about on ridiculously high heels wearing a short skirt, too much make-up and sporting an ‘orange’ glow can never be stylish. Whatever your age.

Are English women vulgar? In my opinion some are. I’ll leave you to make up your mind. Please let me know then we can find out how much support Kristen has.

KST Award French

July 2015 receiving her Officer of the Legion d’honneur on Bastille Day

Why results need passion

For as long as I can remember I was intrigued and fascinated by creams, lotions and potions. My mother had a very puritanical and functional attitude to skincare, whereas an aunt had a much more hedonistic approach. Her bathroom was full of gorgeous bottles and heavenly smells. I spent hours there. I am incapable of walking through the beauty hall of any department store because I’m looking for skincare that not only produces good results but is also an experience in itself!

At last I’ve found the holy grail of skincare. I’ve been trialing some of the Temple Spa range and quite frankly I’m astounded. The products are exceptional and, guess what, when your parcel arrives there put in some chocolates. Now that is attention to detail. Having worked in the corporate world for decades I know that success is determined by results and results need passion. It’s passion about your product or service which really makes the difference.

TS Skin Truffle

If you can’t get to the spa this is the next best thing!

First Impressions – or are you invisible?

As someone once remarked, ‘You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression’. Various studies have been made on how long it takes to make that first impression. Ranging from 3 seconds to 20 seconds. Pretty daunting! Should we make an opinion based on how people look? Probably not-  but it is what we do. Many older women complain about being ‘invisible’ in the media with undue attention being focused on images of young, well-toned slim (naturally!) females. As you get older there can be a loss of confidence about your looks. It’s not unusual for women to say they don’t want to stand out or look ‘ridiculous’. Possibly this is about a fear of being judged and regrettably women are judged by how they look; far more than men.

The challenge? Overcoming what amounts to ‘fear-based’ dressing. This can take the form of wearing the same type of  clothes, sticking to dark colours or wearing what your friends do, so that you won’t stand out. If this sounds like you then there are some steps you can take to help you realise and celebrate your uniqueness. How you look matters and, yes, you will be judged by how you look. If you feel confident and at ease with what you are wearing then it really doesn’t matter what others think.

Bring some colour into your life

Colour can change your mood as any colour therapist will tell you. How often have you seen a friend or colleague wearing a bright colour and it transforms how they look. I have 2 friends who can’t wear black next to their face as it completely drains them. Putting it brutally they look ill. When they wear colours that suit them they look healthy and full of vitality. The red coat below makes a definite statement. If this is a step too far, then choose a bright colour that you like for trousers or a skirt.

blogredcoat

turnups fuschia cardi

The fuschia cardigan transforms denim jeans and a white T-shirt. Worn with the scarf it looks stylish and chic.

Accessorize!

If the thought of wearing a completely different colourful piece of clothing is too daunting then consider your accessories. A plain outfit can be brought to life with colourful accessories, as some of the items below clearly show.

ugg orange great with white jeans

large blue paisley

grey and gold necklace

kate spade flats coarl suede tassel

Getting dressed should be a pleasure. There should be some joy in knowing you look your best and you are getting noticed. My blog is all about celebrating the amazing contribution that older women have made, and continue to make, in the world. Lose that cloak of invisibility that dreary dull clothes provide. Stop hiding. Step out and stand out. You deserve it.

7 Tips to keep you looking stylish – No 7

Tip No 7 – Commit to being stylish

Here we are at the last of my 7 tips for keeping yourself looking stylish.

Whenever we set ourselves goals we need to believe in the ‘why’ of the goal. What is the purpose of achieving this goal? How will this goal benefit me? What do I get out of it? Perhaps you’re just fed up with how you look or you’re not sure exactly how to become more stylish. If rejuvenating your style is important to you then you need to commit to making some small changes. The first commitment is making the time.

Are you up for a challenge? If you are I’d like you to take each of the previous 6 tips and work with them for at least 6 weeks. You can take one tip per week or more. It’s up to you. But you do need to invest some time. I would suggest you do them in numerical order. Although tips 4 and 5 can be combined

Tip 1 – Being Organised

Take everything out of your wardrobe (s) and sort into 3 piles. Clothes that you never/rarely wear, clothes that are old and worn, and clothes that you wish to keep. The first pile you can give away or sell the second pile throw out. Using the suggestions in tip 1 (see previous post) sort out the clothes you intend to keep. When you look at the remaining items you should feel uplifted. If you don’t then perhaps you may need to shop for some key pieces.

easy

Tip 2 – Be well groomed

Take any items that need cleaning to the dry cleaners and any items that need repairing (if you are not good with a needle) to a reputable dress maker. Carefully look at your footwear, polish or brush where necessary and take into a show repairers if required. If your hair needs attention check in with your hairdresser. Throw out all old hair, skincare and makeup products. Book a manicure. You can observe how she does this and replicate at home. Keep your nails filed and always use a hand cream. Now you are good to go!

cocoheader

We can’t all be Coco – but isn’t it worth trying?

Tip 3 – The importance of lingerie

Get a professional fitter to check your bra size. You may be surprised. When I go to buy new lingerie I always take a close fitting top or camisole. Why? To put on over the new bra to see how well it fits. Any lumps or bumps will be spotted instantly. Once you try on a bra that really fits you will never want to go back. Your breasts will be lifted and your posture instantly improved. When you are in the changing room you could also try on some shape wear if you feel you need it. Again, take the garment you intend wearing with the shape wear with you. If you need to buy new panties check that don’t produce any obvious lines/marks.

PrimaDonna_Divine_Venus_sm

Tip 4 – Take good care of your skin

Make a commitment to review your skincare regime. Is your cleanser doing a good enough job? How happy are you with your moisturiser? Do you feel a beauty serum would be a good idea? To help you answer these questions, and any others you may have, visit your local beauty counter and ask for advice and for samples. I’m a big believer in trying before you buy.

chic make-up

Tip 5 – Up date your makeup

This links in neatly to tip 4 and follows more or less the same process. Be honest. Does your makeup need an overhaul? If your makeup technique and the products you use have remained static for some time the answer will be yes. Re-visit tip 4 (previous post). Check out the recommended Youtube videos and hit the beauty counter.

fab at 60

Tip 6 – Surprise people

Having decided on the clothes you are going to keep (tip 1) spend some time trying on different combinations to create a variety of outfits. What would lift a particular outfit? It could be a pair of patterned tights or an ‘in-you-face’ piece of jewellery. What about a great looking pair of sunglasses? Stylish women get noticed. Not because they glaringly stand out – but because there is always some small unexpected aspect to how they look. Something that takes people by surprise.

Chanel black whit arms

 

Wear a fabulous pair of sunglasses

wht top with blk skirt

Add a gorgeous bracelet

This is your 6 week challenge and I look forward to hearing how you have got on. You can become more stylish in 6 weeks by taking some small steps. Once taken I hope you won’t want to go back.