The ultimate style accessory

Put on a pair of sunglasses and suddenly you are Jackie Onassis or Grace Kelly. Well, perhaps not, but they do confer a sense of glamour on the wearer. Apart from the practical benefits of keeping the sun out of your eyes, which prevents you from squinting, thus causing fine lines, there are also very good at hiding older eyes and a tired face. I’m speaking from experience! Unless you have very small features a pair of large sunglasses can look stylish and, at a stroke, make your outfit more appealing. Yes – really!

As we are now ‘officially’ into Spring we should be having more sunshine. As I live in the North of England this isn’t always the case however I would be lost without my sunglasses. When it comes to sunglasses you really are spoiled for choice. They come in all shades (no pun intended), colours and prices.

older woman

Timeless glamour

Chanel black whit arms

Chanel classics

The Channel brand offers good styling and provided you take care of them (no throwing on the back seat of the car or leaving on the sand in the mid-day sun – holidays obviously!) they will last. They are an investment and should be treated as such. That means when not worn they should be kept in their case.


Me wearing sunglasses from Mango

You do not have to spend a fortune on sunglasses. The pair I am wearing in the photo above I bought last year for £18.99 at Mango in York. I had forgotten my Chanels (which I have had for 8 years) and can’t bear strong sunlight in my eyes.

black prada classic

Prada Classic Black

The above shape suits most shaped faces and if black is too strong for you try in dark brown.

Classic Ray Ban black

Ray Ban

Ray Bans, I have read, started the demand for sunglasses in the UK. The quality is very good and if you are not comfortable wearing large sunglasses they are just the thing. If the solid colour doesn’t appeal why not consider a lighter frame, as shown below.

ray bans

More Ray Bans!

 vintage shape

Vintage shape – very classic

tom ford

Sunglasses by Tom Ford – variation on the vintage theme

Unless you know exactly what you are looking for you can’t buy sunglasses on-line. You need to try them on. If you live near to TK Maxx they often have a wide variety of styles. You can pick up a designer brand at a reduced cost. Avoid ‘gimmicky’ frames and mirror lenses. They are not stylish and will get you noticed for all the wrong reasons.

How to keep warm in Spring

There’s no doubt that our weather here in the UK is weird to say the least. A few days ago I was in my local town and the temperature was 13 degrees. Oh good I thought, Spring must be around the corner. The next day it was 2 degrees! This unpredictability can make it a nightmare when planning what to wear the next day. Do you stick to the winter coat you are sick of the sight of, or choose a lighter weight jacket?

One way to ensure you keep warm is that fabulous perennial – the scarf. Large, small, silk, cashmere or cotton you can have a scarf for every occasion and every temperature.

blue blanket

Blanket Scarf

A blanket scarf is ideal for keeping you warm on chilly Spring days. Make sure your bottom half is kept slim or you may look too bulky. It can be carried over your arm if the temperature rises.

street style pale blue

Street style

blue liberty

Liberty silk

chanel pink

Chanel silk

Never underestimate the ability of a light silk scarf to keep you warm. If you become too warm then remove it and tie it around the strap of your handbag.

orang and white silk

Fabulous with a white shirt or dark jacket

The simple introduction of colour and a different fabric really can transform what you are wearing. Experiment with tying a scarf in different ways. If you feel your efforts are not producing the right effect there are plenty of infinity scarves around. Just put it over your head et voila!

blue patterned

Infinity scarf

It is possible to look stylish and keep warm this Spring. I must say I can’t live without a scarf. Larger scarves or a pashmina are excellent for travelling. Or is it just me finds railway stations drafty and air travel chilly?

Your clothes say a lot about you

white jacket and bag

Relaxed and confident?

Your appearance communicates a message about you to everyone you meet. All clothes convey a message. We tend to think in stereotypes. We see a smart tailored jacket and good accessories and think successful business women. A too short skirt with overly made up face? Well, what do you think? Not helpful, but sadly true. We are visual beings and we take in information through our eyes. For me, the above image says ‘I don’t need to try too hard and I’m happy in my skin’. It may say something very different to you.

sweater and shades

So chic and in control?

dapne silver jeans

Style with attitude!

The older model above exudes confidence and a ‘what do I care’ attitude. Of course it helps that she is reasonably tall and very slim!

safe and sureplaying safe

Playing it safe?

There is nothing wrong with the two outfits above. You may see women dressed like this on every high street in the UK – and elsewhere. The outfits shown don’t say ‘look at me’ or give any kind of definite message. Perhaps that’s the point. Many older women do not want to ‘stand out’. If you are serious about rejuvenating your style you can’t be content to fade into the background. The two simply don’t mix.

eccnetric - good

Eccentric? I think This works, despite the mix of fabrics.

eccentric bad

Eccentric or simply messy?

While style is a very personal expression, being stylish requires some effort and thought. Dress head to toe in designer bling, or animal print, and you look as if you’ve made the effort (albeit in a desperate way!) but given it no thought.

layered look

Balanced and poised?

When you get dressed tomorrow morning stop for a moment and consider your outfit. If you were a perfect stranger looking at you what message do you think you are giving?

The trench coat

short burberry

Short Burberry – timeless

pale trench

Pale trench fabulous casual look

Timeless and classic the trench coat is just right for this time of year, when we are no longer freezing but still need an outer layer. There is something both enduring and alluring about the trench coat. All those films over the years with Hollywood stars, both female & male, wearing a trench coat with turned up collar and sunglasses. Will wearing one make you look like Audrey Hepburn or the female lead in a James Bond film? Probably not. You will however have an item of clothing which is stylish, versatile and absolutely feminine.

classic trench

Casual yet chic

new look trench

For those on a budget – trench by New Look

If the thought of tying the belt doesn’t appeal then leave it untied. Leave it open or closed. Wear it with jeans, capri pants or a skirt – the trench coat adapts perfectly. Accessorise with a clutch bag or over-sized satchel. Jump into your loafers or a smart pair of heels. The trench is the ultimate in versatility. You can buy it in different colours too, so there is no need to restrict yourself. I have a bright pink one which always gets attention, but then I am a bit of a show off!

silk burberry

Silk Burberry – I wish!

Powder blue – or not?

boring blue

Too much!

Oh dear! Pale blue is everywhere at the moment heralding in Spring and demonstrating that a pastel pallette is the new ‘must have ‘. There is a school of thought (mainly younger stylists) that say older women should keep away from pastels. If the pastels in question are creams, pale taupe and soft greys I don’t agree. These colours can look very chic. Whilst I’m not against the pale blue in itself, if you are over 50 you need to be careful in case you drift into frumpy waters. If you have grey hair you can look very faded especially with fair skin. I was reading an article last week about pale blues and saw an item of knitwear described as serenity blue. I don’t know about you but that conquers up an image of a home for the elderly! Do you really want to be walking about in a shade called serenity blue.

with pale blue

The above outfit looks good because the style of the knitted jacket is contemporary and it is worn with dark jeans and a white top.

pale blue gold pants

Very stylish 

The plain sweater above is elevated from being boring when teamed with gold textured trousers and heels. Also the dark blue bag adds some depth.

If you are determined to have some pale blue in your wardrobe – and it can look very good with a light tan – then please avoid the head to toe look. Wear with white jeans, denims or a ‘statement’ skirt. That is don’t team with a classic A-line because you may end up looking very old fashioned and I’m assuming that if you are reading my blog this is something you don’t want.

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 – 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?


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.


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.