Come into the light – why neutrals work

I don’t know about you but it’s around this time of year when I get a little bored with winter clothes. I do love my knitwear and big scarves, to say nothing of a really lovely pair of leather gloves, yet I find myself yearning for something lighter and more chic.

Enter those elegant neutrals. I have a whole pin board devoted to them!

TAN coat with neutrals


It’s a pity that neutrals often get relegated to summer or spring weddings when they really come into their own in these still dark days before spring. The above outfit is relaxed but very chic – and still capable of keeping you warm.

sweater and wht jeans

A neutral top with white jeans works well for most body shapes. If you have a less than perfect middle then wear a longer top which suits your body shape.

grey long sl cardi

If you don’t want to go completely neutral then why not try a pale grey, or soft beige, knitted jacket and make the transition gradually. Check out Zara for some very stylish examples. Or, how about some neutral nail polish?

A call to arms

In a remarkably short period of time it will be spring (ever the optimist) and we will no longer be able to hide underneath layers of clothes, even if they are lovely and cosy and made from cashmere! The time for hiding will be over. Now is the time to take a good long look at your arms. Even thin women can have flabby arms. If you are post menopausal then the chances are your arms may need some attention. Until my fifties I had what I thought were ‘naturally’ well-toned arms. I’ve always exercised – sporadically sometimes – but I take my body seriously. I now have some ‘flab’ on my upper arms so I’m using 5 lb weights to re-dress the balance. I started 3 months ago and it is working. If you want to face the warmer weather feeling confident enough to expose your arms then some exercise will be needed. Obviously use your common sense and seek medical advice if you feel it is necessary.

5434fb51926169ac9d1b723be8583f78ernestine in white vest

Ernestine Shepherd

If the gym is not for you invest in some dumbbells and get those arms toned in the privacy of your own home. I can’t promise you’ll look like Ernest Shepherd, who by the way started exercising in her fifties having never done exercise before, but I promise you’ll feel better about that challenging area of the upper arms. Believe it or not Ernestine was born in 1936! No excuses now. Most of us don’t want to start body building but we do want to feel confident in our clothes.


Technology. Just grin and bear it!

The road to hell, we are told, is paved with good intentions. I’m sure the journey there involves a brush with technology in some guise or other. On the 6th of January I launched my blog. On the 29th of January my internet service provider decided to up grade the service – to make it quicker – resulting in no service! Hence no new posts. I’m sitting in my local Cafe Nero (who do understand the value of good customer service) posting this and hopefully more posts.

I should be sitting in my lovely office surrounded by inspiring paintings and my fabulous collection of style books. Still I’m nothing if not flexible. Normal service will, apparently, be resumed in 10 days. Yes – 10 days! So, I’ll keep you posted. No pun intended!

Style Essentials – No 9

The Dress

Although many wardrobes will boast a ton of separates and no one can argue that separates aren’t versatile, a dress can make your figure look splendid. Get the shape and the fit right and you can  show off a good pair of legs, disguise a thick waist, hide a less than perfect tummy and highlight a neat derriere. A dress is also the last word in femininity.

Satin v-neck

Classic and Timeless

The above dress  is ideal for larger busts a the v-neck draws the eye down. Also, notice the length. Just right.


Flattering and Chic

The ideal dress. That is the dress that is right for you is out there. Should it be black? I believe every women should have a LBD. It is timeless, capable of being worn with a cardigan, jacket, coat or a pashmina. What’s not to like. If you never wear black then choose a colour that suits you. Either a dark intense shade or a soft neutral.

marine draped shift

Marine Blue Draped Shift

The dress above shows how the use of clever draping creates a waist and the deep blue colour will suit most skin tones. This style will not go out of date. No matter what style or colour you prefer, the dress, like the jacket, must be  a good fit. This is particularly true with shift dresses. An ill-fitting shift dress looks dreadful. As with the jacket you may need to find a good tailor who can make some subtle alterations. I know a couple of decent tailors and have helped clients find a perfect fit. When you wear a dress that has been altered to fit your body, not the standard 12, 14 etc., then the difference it makes to how you look and feel is immense.

amanada W mink drape

Amanda Wakely Draped Dress

If you prefer a less structured approach the above dress works well for both day and evening. The mink colour can take both neutral and bold colours so how you accessorize can change the look of this dress.

orange shift with boots

Boots with Orange Shift

print wrap

Flattering and Informal

blk draped lanvin

Perfection – then it is by Lanvin!

If you rarely wear a dress why not make 2016 the year you change your mind. Have fun choosing different accessories. A belt, brooch, necklace, lace gloves, patterned stockings – the list is endless. You can transform your dress from day to evening. The way you use accessories can individualize your look. Remember, style is how you put it all together.


The Tyranny of ‘Age Appropriate’

Am I alone in thinking the expression ‘age appropriate’ is patronising and completely out of step with the reality of being an ‘older’ women? Who decides what is appropriate anyway? A few young fashion editors who promote some very strange ideas about what it means to be stylish? I for one, do not need or require anyone telling me I’m too old to wear that lovely sleeveless coat I’ve just seen in Zara. Actually, Zara is a case in point. When I want a quick style fix (and funds are low) I always head there. There are usually just as many older women shopping there are there are younger.

Being a baby boomer I’ve had a reasonably good education, a wide and varied career (I’ve changed careers 5 times!) and I’ve never relied on anyone else to support me financially. I look after my health and take regular exercise. Older women have more disposable income and take greater control of their lives. they are also working longer. They do not need to be told what is appropriate and what is not based solely on their age.

What is ‘appropriate’ is that we dress well and for the body we have, rather than the one we want or think we should have. To be stylish is in essence having a decent hair cut, knowing what cosmetics to use (and how to use them) and being able to put together items of clothing in ways that help us look our best. Any women, of whatever age, can look good. You don’t need a huge budget, although you will have to make an investment. Not just in terms of money but in yourself. Let’s redefine what it means to be a stylish older women!

CC beauty

What is style rejuvenation?

DSC_0025 A

Style Rejuvenator!

The answer to this question is largely down to what you want to achieve. Perhaps you need a complete wardrobe ‘wake-up’. If you have so many clothes and accessories cluttering up your closets that you’ve actually forgotten what may be lurking in there, then the time may be right to take action. Or, you realise your clothes no longer suit your new lifestyle. There again you may simply be fed up with wearing the same thing day in day out and want a fresh pair of eyes to give you a fresh perspective. That’s where I come in. How do you know that my service is for you?

I offer a completely free 20 minutes style consultation either by phone or email. This will involve me asking you a few questions about your lifestyle and style preferences. This will give me a good idea about what will work well for you and how we can work together. This is also an excellent opportunity for you to ask me some questions. This service is entirely non-obligatory.

Contact me today.


10 Style Essentials – No 8

A well-fitting Jacket

Reiss classic grey

A classic style will have versatility

Do not cut corners when it comes to choosing a jacket. It must fit you well and suit your body shape. I am not a standard size so over the years I’ve used a decent tailor to make alterations. Sometimes by adjusting the length of the sleeves a jacket can be transformed. Single breasted styles suit most body shapes and do not have to be buttoned up.

blk blazer classic

A tailored jacket ‘lifts’ this casual outfit

burberry with wht jacket

Burberry scarf with white jacket

As your jacket is part of your 10 essential items keep to a neutral colour palette. This will ensure your jacket has longevity thereby giving you a good return on your investment. Colour can be introduced using accessories.

fuschia agate

Statement Necklace for Daytime

gold braided nlace

Gold-braided Necklace Ideal for the Evening

Classic blk jacket

The Classic Black Jacket

hermes orangecolbalt blue

A Pop of Colour!

Although the above jacket is plain it is ideal for dressing up or down. A statement necklace, bright scarf or colourful bag will help to crate whatever look you want. Find a brand that works for you with regard to fit. A good rule of thumb, particularly if you are pear shaped, is to make sure the hem line does not end at the widest part of your hips. This will tend to draw attention to your hips and may have the effect of ‘cutting you in two’.

VW blk jacket

Vivienne Westwood Red Label Black Jacket

Vivienne Westwood knows how to design for women with curves and her jackets are a real investment. Yes, they are pricey, but you can, with some effort, find outlets where last years styles are available at discount prices. Another two good brands are Reiss and Hugo Boss as the quality, and therefore the longevity, are usually good.


 Isabel De Pedro

If you prefer your jacket less structured then Isabel De Pedro, a fabulous Spanish label, is ideal. Her designs are very feminine yet have an ‘edgy’ quality. Take the time to choose this style essential. Find a brand that works for you and make sure the fit is as good as you can get. Happy shopping!

10 Stylish Essentials – No 5

The Leather Jacket

There is nothing that makes a statement like a leather jacket. I’m talking chic and flattering not ‘distressed’. For older women nothing you wear should be distressed. If you have a pair of ripped distressed jeans please get rid of them. Yes, they make a statement but it has nothing do with looking stylish.

The key to wearing a leather jacket is to pair it with good quality jeans, a tailored skirt (very French), a feminine dress – the contrast looks stunning – and your white shirt of course.

No one could accuse Christine Lagarde of ever looking anything less than stylish.

Christine L wears leather

A key benefit to the leather jacket is of course it’s longevity. This is one item in your ‘essentials’ where you do not want to cut corners. Buy quality and it will last. Quality does not always mean ruinously expensive. I bought a collar-less black leather jacket form Zara 8 years ago and I’m still wearing it! It actually looks better with age.

jacket with feminine skirt

Pair with a feminine skirt

jacket with full skirt

So if you think you are too old for leather think again. One thing to bear in mind is the fit. Always chose a close fit – you will rarely fasten your jacket – with slim sleeves and not too much embellishment. This will ensure your jacket has staying power. A leather jacket is possibly the most versatile item of clothing (apart from jeans) as it changes personality depending on what you wear it with.

chunky blue with leather jacket Wearing leather jacket

Elegant in leather

Winter lips?

Although we have had the warmest year on record –  allegedly, we have had some cold days recently and the first casualty can be our lips. Not only is it uncomfortable to have sore and perhaps chapped lips but it makes the application of lip stick difficult, particularly with dark or bright colours. Prevention as we are told, is often better than cure, so here are some tips for ensuring your lips remain in tip top condition.

Step 1 – Cleanse

simple micellar water

A budget product kind to the skin

elemis eye and lip cleanser

A top end truly luxurious treat for eyes and lips

Micellar Water is quick and easy, as are cleansing wipes. However, if your lips are chapped then something kinder may be the answer.

Step 2 – Exfoliate

If you have never exfoliated your lips before this may seem a little strange. The difference it makes is immense especially if you have dry patches. Exfoliating means you are preparing your lips for whatever balm or cream you will put on them

body shop lip exfoliator

Body Shop Lip Exfoliator – Excellent Value

philosophy lip exfoliator

Philosophy Lip Exfoliator – A Real Treat

Step 3 – Moisturise

You need to moisturise before you go to bed – this is an excellent time to slap on the product, and of course first thing in the morning and before you go outside. Although most good lipstick brands will moisturise your lips, in the winter you will need a little extra help. Whether you go for luxury products or tried and tested favourites make sure you do moisturise.


Ideal before you go to bed

Nuxe lip balm

Beautiful honey flavored balm!

chap stick

Cheap as chips and it works!

Don’t forget to carry a lip balm or cream in your bag – always. This is essential if you spend time out of doors.

nivea lip care

My all time favourite when I’m on the go.

As my blog is all about sharing tips and ideas I’d love to hear what beauty products you wouldn’t be without. Please get an touch and share.


10 Stylish Essentials – No 4

Black trousers to suit your shape

wide pleat front

If you wish to look stylish then a pair of black trousers has endless appeal. If  well cut and well made they should last a few years. They can be dressed up and down. With heels and flats, high boots, ankle boots and sandals. What’s not to like. Like the perfect jeans you need to take the time and trouble to get the right pair. Shop around carefully.

The classic cut of the Stella McCartney trousers shown below, would suit most body shapes. More affordable styles can be found at Reiss and Max Mara are always a good choice. Remember, your classic black trousers will not be a cheap purchase. There are many high street brands but the quality, fit and cut is often poor. Added to which they tend to crease.


classic shape

I don’t subscribe to style ‘rules’ however it is important to buy black trousers that suit your body shape and take into account whether you are short-waisted or have a long body, and the length of your legs. Here are some basic guidelines:

If you have long legs then wide pants will usually look good.

If you have short legs and want to wear wide pants then make sure the legs cover your footwear, and preferably wear heels.

If you have fairly chunky legs stay away from cut offs as your legs will look shorter and heavier.

If you have very thin legs then – rather counter intuitively –  skinny cut trousers will make your legs look like sticks. Better to buy straight cut.

Don’t wear trousers with front pleats unless you have a flat stomach.

If you have thick ankles keep them under wraps. Don’t be tempted to wear cropped styles.

There are many styles around that stop at the ankle. Consider carefully what to wear on your feet. Heels, flats, ankle boots or wedges will all work but are dependent on the ‘bulk’ of your footwear. Too bulky and your feet will not be in balance to the neatness of the trousers leg. The image below is ideal.

reiss slim ankle JBrand trousers blk

The above boot cut trousers balance the body, particularly if you have heavy thighs, and help to lengthen the legs.

belt loops classic

The wide leg trousers above, with belt loops, are a good buy. To hang well you will need to wear heels of some kind. If you tend to favour flat shoes either try a modest wedge (easier to walk in) or if you insist on flats make them as neat as possible.

Take the time to do your research and buy the black trousers that suit your shape, in a good quality fabric and always hang them up when you take them off!