Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Contrasting views

It all seemed very straightforward: I knew my body shape (rectangular or H), my face shape (oblong), my features (a combination of round and angular) and I was waiting for my colour swatch to arrive so my colours could be sorted. I understood what shapes suit my rectangular body, how to create a column of colour to make me look taller (always a bonus!) and what necklines flatter me. Once I had my colour swatch, I would be ready to shop.  Imogen's 7 Steps to Style course had taught me so much and soon I would be as stylish as all the other bloggers out there!

I was feeling very confident - perhaps a little over confident? - until the words "value contrast" and "colour contrast" came into the equation.  What did this mean?  As Imogen had promised to write a blog post on the subject and was looking for volunteers, I sent her a photo as soon as I read the request.  Here it is:

I was delighted when I saw that I had been included as I knew this would help me progress even more. Imogen said that I am high value contrast but low colour contrast. I have dark hair and eyes, however my skin is fair making the value contrast high. On the other hand there is no obvious colour in my face as my hair, eyes and skin are all neutral, which is why my colour contrast is low.

If you click on this link you can look at the other volunteers, who have different levels of value contrast and colour contrast, plus outfits that Imogen has suggested would suit us all. I think Imogen explains the concept very well and I agree with how she defines my contrast levels.  Now comes the tricky bit! When I'm putting together an outfit and I know that the colours and designs all suit me, I also need to take value and colour contrasts into consideration. In my case I will look my best if I wear either a monochromatic colour scheme or dress head to toe in neutrals, both in a high value contrast. I will also look my best if I wear more dark colours than light ones, just using small amounts of light colours to add the contrast.

This is the outfit that Imogen suggested for me:

I love that outfit, however I won't be making any purchases until I receive my colour swatch and have confirmed that the colours suit me. In the meantime, I am using my current wardrobe to try and work out suitable combinations. I may treat myself to some new additions once I have identified which colours work best for me, but the looks below will have to do for now!

This was yesterday's outfit. The trousers are a bit too loose though the colour seemed right.  Once I have the swatch, if the trousers look good with it, I'll be taking them to be tailored so they fit better. When I went out I wore a much lighter blue scarf, which provided a better contrast than the necklace I'm wearing in the above photo.

Today's outfit seemed to meet the criteria a lot better. The colour of my top blended well with the colour card and I think the white stripes help with the value contrast, so this is a definite keeper. I posted this photo on the "7 Steps to Style" facebook page and it met with general approval, so I'm confident that I'm going in the right direction.

It is often said that the most stylish women make it all look effortless, but trust me behind the scenes there's a lot of hard work involved.  Having said that, it's also great fun. For all you over 60 women out there, I hope that you will start creating new and more flattering outfits with your own clothes. With Christmas coming up, what better time to add some style and colour to your wardrobe?

Monday, 10 November 2014

Style - the whole package

I enjoyed taking part in the different challenges during Imogen's Evolve Your Style 31 day style challenge and in particular I enjoyed being a member of the closed group on facebook. I was inspired by the other participants, many of whom were incredibly stylish and creative, and I appreciated their positive feedback on some of my more successful outfits! It was interesting to find out which of my outfits worked, which needed a bit more working on and which were destined for the recycling bins.

I then took the big decision to enrol on another of Imogen's programmes: 7 Steps to Style. For any of you who have always wanted a colour and style consultation but don't have any image consultants living near you, this is a very good alternative. If your budget won't stretch that far (and I do think it's incredibly good value for the amount of advice Imogen gives you) then I would suggest going through the different categories on her blog: Inside Out StyleShe helps you to identify your face shape, body shape, colouring, personality and the many other aspects of developing your overall style personality. Imogen also gives lots of good examples of clothes and colours to suit your body shape, colouring etc.

As I've mentioned before, there are inevitably a few limitations to how you can express your style personality. If you are rebellious but happen to work in a very traditional working environment, you may have to rein in your rebellious streak until you get home. I'm short, so I know that dramatic clothes will tend to overwhelm me, but I also know that I can add a few dramatic touches via my accessories. 

I'm still working through the 7 steps to style and at the moment I'm stuck on colour. What's interesting is that when I did my colour analysis last year I was definitely cool rather than warm i.e. a jewel winter.  However at the moment there seems to be uncertainty within the group about whether my colouring is cool or warm so Imogen is sending me a set of colour cards that we're hoping will make it clear. Watch this space!

One of the exercises is to define your style personality and I discovered that I was a mixture of several styles, though my main personality traits are relaxed. I do like many elements from the other styles, such as dramatic colours, creative jewellery and elegant chic textures. The style statement that I eventually decided upon, with the help of others in the group (especially Juhli!), is: Casual Chic with a dash of Colour and Drama.

Does this outfit tie in with my style statement?
The outfit shown above is definitely casual and I'd like to think it is chic as well. The bright pink colour adds a touch of drama as well as colour to my outfit. Although they're not very clear in the photo, my toe nails are dark blue to match my necklace and bag.  The length of the top and trousers aren't ideal as they split my figure in half, however the white sandals help to compensate for that as they draw the eyes down. This may not be a particularly stylish outfit in the eyes of the fashion world, but this is me wearing clothes that I feel comfortable in and that I feel express my personality.

When I went for a style consultation earlier in the year, Fiona and I agreed that I was a Natural Gamine. I have created a board on Pinterest reflecting this, however I now feel that there are other elements to add in as a result of embarking on the 7 Steps to Style. So far as my personal style is concerned, I believe that I now have the whole package. Once I have finished this new journey in style, I will post an update on here.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Fashion, Style and Elegance in Women Over 60

If you think that this sounds like a good name for a book, then you're quite right.  I've just read the e-book with that title, written by Patrizia Molechino, and found it refreshingly different. Unlike many style books it doesn't give you just one way to dress stylishly: you know, that list of 10 or 12 essential items including the infamous LBD, which to be honest is too harsh a look for many older women. Instead Patrizia encourages you to express your own individuality.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I'm not exactly elegant or indeed fashionable, though I do have my own style that can loosely be described as casual chic - with the emphasis on the word casual! I am a woman over 60 though, so I decided to take a look at Patrizia´s book in the interests of research for my blog.  Patrizia's aim is to give more exposure to a large selection of the female population that has been somewhat neglected by fashion and the media in general: yep, that's you and me.

To begin with, the purpose of this book is not to make you look younger (hurrah!) but to help you make the best of yourself. Women with a strong sense of style have never cared about a few wrinkles anyway and have first and foremost always been themselves - think of Diana Vreeland, Anna Piaggi and the amazing ladies of "Advanced Style". However, much as I admire them, my goal isn't to look as fabulous as they do, turning heads whenever I go out. I would just like to be a more stylish and elegant version of myself.

Most of the women in this book aren't famous, which is fine as most of us aren't famous either. They are portrayed as an example of how to achieve looks and styles suited to your own personality. One of the women in the book is tall, slim and blonde - stunningly classy - and as I am short, not-so-slim with dark hair, clearly she isn't the obvious role model for me! I liked the photo of Carlotta with her poodles (the dogs look as elegant as she does) but Cécile and her dog both looked more casual, so obviously I identified more with her style.

Pages from the book
What image do you want to present? As you look through this book, you should consider the different looks as guidelines to inspire you to be yourself, though hopefully a far more stylish version. There are even suggestions on clothes that you can wear to achieve a certain look, with links if you decide to purchase any items - not that I want to encourage you to add to your wardrobe! As an aside, the challenges in Evolve Your Style suggest shopping your own wardrobe rather than rushing out to buy new clothes, so if you have been doing EYS you should have a good idea of how to make the most of your existing wardrobe.

Patrizia is planning to update this book with more examples of over 60 women who have developed their own style. Keep it quiet for the moment, but I may be making an appearance in the next edition! Why don't you submit your own photo and biography and join me there?

Take a look at Patrizia's blog for more details about her book: Patrizia Molechino.360° Fashion. I'm sure this guide to the style and elegance of women in their later years will inspire you just as much as it inspired me. As I state in the side-bar, we may be over 60 but we're definitely not past it!  Even if you are under 60 - and I know some of my readers are - I think you would enjoy reading Patrizia's book and seeing how women of a certain age enjoy expressing their individuality through what they wear.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Evolve Your Style - final part

Have any of you joined in the Evolve Your Style challenge, either by joining the facebook group or by following via my blog? I've just finished and will miss the daily challenges, although Imogen has given us a sheet of additional ones to complete in our own time. I will certainly do them, if only to make getting dressed in the morning a bit more interesting!

Day 25: wear a gift (one you don't wear much).  Day 26: wear green.
Day 27: wear a print (not your favourite one though!)  Day 28: wear feature earrings.

Wearing green
I like the cardigan and the green top on me, however the Evolve Your Style group felt that the cardigan didn't look quite right over this particular top. They suggested either a navy cardigan or a different top under the grey cardigan.

Wearing a gift
This combination wasn't quite right either and some people thought the shirt wore me. Suggestions included wearing the shirt without the cardigan, using it over a plain tank-top as a jacket, wearing a more structured jacket or vest over the shirt. I'll have to try these out to see whether they work!

Day 29: wear a hero piece.  Day 30: wear two parts of a triad.
Day 31: wear neutrals.  Bonus day: wear something old and something new.

Wearing my hero piece - the jacket
Wearing two parts of a triad (purple and green)

Wear neutrals
I received some very positive comments on the last three outfits. The neutral outfit surprised me as I thought it lacked a touch of colour, but it was voted a winner just as it is. Maybe adding more neutrals to my wardrobe isn't such a bad idea after all!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Autumn 33

It's autumn (aka fall!) and for most of us in the northern hemisphere it's time to put away our summer clothes and bring out our cold weather items. Two years ago I decided to start doing Project 333 while I was sorting out my clothes for the colder weather, and it has proved eye-opening in many ways. I learnt to discard clothes that didn't fit me, didn't look good on me or were unsuitable for my lifestyle now that I have retired. I ended up with just 33 items of clothing to last me for the next 3 months and have to confess that at first it seemed very daunting.

After my first attempt I decided to bend the rules and exclude shoes, handbags and accessories, but the beauty of Project 333 is that even if you don't stick strictly to the guidelines you will still be learning to live with less.

So, better late than never, here is my Autumn 33. Most people started their Autumn 33 on October 1st, however it was still warm enough in Spain for me to continue wearing items from my summer 33, although I did bring out some autumn clothes for my trips to the UK. Now it is definitely autumnal, so I've cleared out the wardrobe for my Autumn 33.

Autumn outerwear
I haven't included a winter coat as, hopefully, it won't be needed until winter arrives. Anyway the navy trench-coat should be enough over a jacket or cardigan if it does turn very chilly.

Jeans and trousers
I know the bright pink jeans are - to be frank -  a bit bright, but they cheer me up when the weather is particularly dismal. Since I have introduced more neutrals into my wardrobe, I do have a few more tops that I can wear with them. The navy jeans, grey trousers and black trousers are of course a lot more versatile.
Skirts for autumn - will I wear them?

I have decided to include three skirts even though I wear trousers most of the time. This is because I have had several compliments about my legs, so I bought two pairs of Wolford tights when I was in London (I dare not tell you what they cost!) and I plan to wear skirts far more over the next few months.

Dresses for going out and parties at home
I don't wear dresses very often, but I've already worn the first dress when I went out for dinner in London and we are going out for dinner on Sunday so I plan to wear it again. If it's a bit warmer I may wear the polka dot dress instead, which I also plan to wear for any parties at home. My reasoning is that, by including three dresses in my Autumn 33, I will have to find occasions to wear them!  I'm hoping that we will have several events over the Christmas holidays but, if I find that I'm not wearing all of these dresses, I may replace one of them with another pair of trousers.

A dozen tops, with seven different bottoms, gives lots of possibilities. Admittedly not every top will go with the bright pink jeans and the cranberry skirt, however if you multiply the twelve tops by five, that still gives me at least sixty different outfits. I've shown two short-sleeved tops in case we have the occasional sunny day - they can also be worn with one of the seven cardigans shown below or either of the two jackets. No doubt you have cottoned on to the fact that the cardigans give me even more permutations, so if I want to I'll be able to wear a different outfit every day over the next three months.

I know that when I first started doing Project 333 I wondered if I would become bored with a more limited wardrobe, but I'm finding it becomes easier each season, possibly because I am making sure that any new purchases will work with my existing clothes. Removing clothes that I am no longer wearing, and storing out of season clothes, is also a great help. I can now see what's actually hanging up in my wardrobe!

Updated on Sunday 19 October

I wrote this post on Wednesday, when I planned to remove my summer clothes and hang the clothes shown above in my wardrobe. These clothes are still lying on the bed in our spare room as it has been very warm over the last couple of days.  Today I am wearing a short-sleeved top and cropped linen trousers - so I'll post this now in the hope that it will turn a bit cooler and I can start the changeover!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Evolve Your Style - part 2

Two recent trips to the UK - one planned and one unexpected - have meant that I'm a bit behind in the Evolve Your Style challenge.  If you've decided to join me in it, apologies for the delay. Here are the next 10 challenges, with a few photos of my own outfits to inspire you (or not!)

Day 15: Wear a hat.  Day 16: Wear an everyday outfit
Day 17: Wear complementary colours.  Day 18: Wear new eyeshadow colours or lipstick shade

Wear a hat

Wear an everyday outfit

I have to confess that the two photos above were cheating, as they weren't taken on the actual days that I did the challenge. The photo of my hat was taken in Madrid and the everyday outfit was from the final day of our holiday last month, The lack of photos was due to a technical problem (I'd left my camera in a friend's car!) however I made sure that I wore these outfits on the relevant days.

Day 19: Wear red.  Day 20: Stack on the rings.
Day 21: Jeans and a jacket.  Day 22; Wear flowers.

Jeans and a jacket
Wear flowers

Day 23: Style a skirt.  Day 24: Wear a feature belt.

Style a skirt

Wear a feature belt
I've had some very constructive criticism from the Evolve Your Style facebook group. One person commented that the skirt would have looked better if the top had been a bit shorter and I have to agree with her. Not everyone liked the pearls, especially with the belt I was wearing: some people thought they would look good with a plain belt whereas others liked the belt but thought a metallic necklace would have been better with it. This was the outfit I wore in London for a family night out, though I wore a gold watch instead of the black one, plus higher heels. Also I had to leave one accessory - the lovely Lisa - behind with my husband.

Now it's your turn for some constructive criticism on the above outfits!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Packing for autumn in London

The plan for this trip was to travel hand luggage only on the flight to London, but put my case in the hold on the flight back. This was so I could add items of make-up that I planned to buy, plus presents of some skin-care products from my daughter, which obviously wouldn't be allowed in hand luggage. Did I also mention that I was planning to buy a couple of items of clothing, so I had a canvas bag for my hand luggage on the return flight to accommodate the extra items?

These were the clothes that I packed for my trip.

I wore the patterned trousers, a blue top and some casual black shoes for travelling from Spain, where it is still quite warm, and I carried a navy trench-coat to wear on arrival in London. The jacket was useful as an extra layer under my trench-coat on cooler days, though there were a couple of days when I ended up carrying the trench-coat as it was unseasonally warm (I'm not complaining!)

On the right of the above picture you can see four other tops plus a camisole and on the left there is a pair of grey trousers and my black jeans as well as the patterned trousers I wore to travel in.

Not shown in the photo above is the dress and pair of heels that I wore for a family night out: dining in Brasserie Zedel followed by a show in The Crazy Coqs starring the amazing Marilyn Maye. I also packed underwear, socks and nightwear, plus jewellery, a couple of scarves and black walking shoes. Needless to say an umbrella had also been packed, which was required on a couple of days.

These are my new purchases, which worked well with the clothes I took with me and which will also fit into my autumn/winter wardrobe. Those of you who have been following my blog for a while will know that I am gradually building a more cohesive, versatile wardrobe - especially when compared with the rainbow-hued assortment of clothes from two years ago. Next week I hope to work out my Autumn 33, which will involve me selecting 33 items of clothing to wear over the next 3 months, as part of Project 333.  I will have to be tough with myself and throw out at least four items to make way for my new purchases!



I had a bit of a scare on my return to Alicante airport: when I spotted my case on the conveyor belt, it was unzipped! I usually pack the smaller items - such as my camera, toiletries, underwear, shoes and scarves - in the bottom of the case and put my clothes in plastic carrier bags above them. I knew I had a bag containing trousers, another one with my dress in and two with the tops that I had worn. A quick glance confirmed that everything seemed to be there, but I still sat in the car worrying all the way home. Two days later and I am pretty confident that nothing went missing, but it does make me determined to fly hand luggage only in future!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

French dressing

Like many bloggers, I do love a good pun, so what does French dressing mean to you? Something you put on your salads - or the way that French people dress? After my recent birthday holiday in France, I guess that this post could refer to either.

First of all salads, preferably with home-made French dressing rather than shop-bought mayonnaise, can be delicious if you use your imagination when creating them. Don't worry, I haven't suddenly turned into a cookery blogger. I'm just saying. One of the important things I noticed in France though was that, as well as seeing lots of interesting, tempting salads on the menus, the portion sizes were quite small. Is this the reason why French women don't get fat? Having read several books about this phenomenon, including the best-seller by Mireille Guiliano, I've realised that the common factor does seem to be portion control. You can drink wine and eats lots of delicious cheeses and even chocolate, but moderation is the key.

Back to fashion and my observations on the way that French women dressed in Toulouse and Bordeaux, assuming of course that the majority of the women I saw were French! I was a bit surprised at the lack of colour in French women's (and men's) outfits.  Yes I was visiting cities rather than coastal resorts but, although this was towards the end of summer, we had lots of sunshine and warm weather and we are after all talking about the south of France, not the northern city of Paris. Neutrals obviously rule in France - unless anyone has experiences elsewhere in France to say differently?

I can't recollect seeing any fat French women, although they weren't all skinny by any means. No doubt that was down to healthy eating and portion control, as mentioned earlier. I suspect that the dark neutrals helped a bit in this respect too.

Fashion-wise, I noticed lots of women including "femmes d'un certain âge" wearing skinny jeans plus stylish flats that looked really chic on them. As well as not wearing bright colours, most women seemed to wear a maximum of two different colours.  They also wore few accessories, although the scarf was omnipresent and I regretted not packing one. I felt slightly naked in comparison! The look of the French women that I saw walking about could best be summed up as "chic plus simplicity". The fact that I saw so many French women who were walking everywhere could of course be another clue to why they don't get fat!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Evolve Your Style

I just love a challenge, so when I read about Imogen's latest style challenge, Evolve Your Style,  I didn't hesitate to sign up for it. It costs $5US to take part and you will receive a daily email from Imogen, plus you can join a closed facebook group where you can post photos of your daily outfit for comments and advice from the other participants. They're a lovely, helpful bunch, I can assure you!

I'm not quite half-way (I've received 14 emails so far) and already there are people who are way ahead of me plus a few that have only just started.It's fine to go at your own pace.

These are the challenges so far, with a few of the outfits that I have worn.

Day 1: wear a Statement necklace.  Day 2: wear something you've had for a long time
Day 3: wear a scarf all day.  Day 4: wear something pink.

Wear a scarf all day
Wear something pink

Day 5: wear a dress.  Day 6: sparkle today
Day 7: mix textures.  Day 8: double up on necklaces
Day 9: wear a bold lipstick.  Day 10: wear 2 prints or patterns
Day 11: wear arm candy.  Day 12: change your hair

Double up on necklaces
Day 13: Be blue.  Day 14: wear coloured shoes.

I'll post more of the challenges plus some of the outfits I wore on particular days in a future post.  In the meantime, even if you don't officially join the Evolve your Style group, why not try a few of the challenges yourself?

Monday, 15 September 2014

Share in Style: Skirts or Pants?

I spotted this question on Une Femme's blog and couldn't resist joining in.  I'm sure that any regular readers will know my answer to the question: skirts or trousers? Pants is the American version of trousers by the way, and I used it above to make the title a bit snappier! Yes, my choice is definitely pants, trousers, jeans etc rather than skirts. I occasionally wear a dress and I do have a few skirts in my wardrobe but most times when I open my wardrobe I automatically reach for a pair of trousers.

There are several reasons why I opt for trousers. My style is natural gamine, so I tend to look more like me when I wear pants and jeans. My lifestyle is pretty casual, which again makes them the obvious choice. I am short and I think that wearing trousers gives me a longer leaner line than if I wore a skirt, which is why I will opt for a dress rather than a skirt on smarter occasions, as it has a similar effect.

I took a look at the photos that I've posted on here and, not surprisingly, there were very few of me wearing a skirt, so here's one hot off the press as it was only taken yesterday.

Featuring the lovely Lisa
Here's one that was taken over a year ago, showing how often skirts feature in my daily outfits!

The first thing I noticed was that I appeared slimmer in the more recent photo, in spite of over indulging with delicious food and wine on my recent holiday in France. I think that's because the top is more flattering on me.  I love stripes but vertical stripes (or hoops as my OH insists on calling them!) make me look broader rather than taller, plus I think the contrast between the pale top and darker skirt cuts me in half.

Here I am wearing a bright pink top with black linen trousers  - I'm not sure why my arms are like that! - which I think makes me look taller and slimmer than in the photo above it. Yes, there is still a contrast, but between two darker colours this time.

Finally, in the photo below I'm showing off my recent purchase, the patterned trousers, and trying to look slim with the help of a long scarf. I think I need a professional photographer though, or perhaps I should take more care with my posture, as my top half looks a lot bigger than my bottom half. However in my view this is the most flattering outfit.  I wonder if you will agree!

 What is your verdict? Skirts or trousers?

Monday, 8 September 2014

Time to shop or time to stop?

No doubt you've heard the expression: don't do as I do, do as I SAY! I try to give you good advice on this blog, but that doesn't mean that I'm perfect myself - far from it. The message I hope to get across is that you don't need to constantly buy new clothes, however that doesn't stop me from spending money on my wardrobe, though nowadays I always consider how any new purchases will fit in with my existing items of clothing. Believe me, that is a huge improvement!

Most of the summer sales are over now, so did you manage to resist temptation? I have to confess to a few additions to my wardrobe, but some of them were birthday presents, so they don't count do they? Being petite, I have problems finding clothes that fit me well. I know that I can turn up trouser legs and shorten sleeves, but that doesn't mean that the clothes look as good on me as if I buy from petite ranges, where the proportions are right for shorter women.

We were in Alicante on the first day of our holiday and it was two days' before my birthday, so John persuaded me to look in El Corte Ingles department store, as they stock Jones New York Petite and Zendra Petite ranges. It was the last day of their summer sales and he had no idea what I wanted for my birthday, so it was a desperate ploy! John bought me a striped top (I know I have several already, but not in this colour) and a pair of navy trousers, so he was relieved (especially at sale prices) and I was happy.

Here I am, wearing the new top with black linen trousers, when we went out walking on my birthday.

While walking around Toulouse city centre I spotted Jacqueline Riu, one of my favourite French stores, so we popped in for a quick look (OK, I dragged John in!)  I still wear a red sleeveless top that I bought in one of their Paris stores around 10 years ago, so I know that their clothes are well made and good value.  I found a black and white cropped cardigan, which John insisted on buying as an extra present, because the top and trousers had been such good bargains. The photo below is from their website, but as I'm petite and not a tall, slender model it doesn't look so cropped when I'm wearing it. I must admit that it's very convenient having a birthday just after the summer sales.....!

We also visited Monoprix where I made my final purchases: a blue long-sleeved top (similar to the blues in the Pantone palette below) and a blue and black patterned scarf.

If you didn't buy anything in the sales, are you being tempted by the new clothes arriving in your local shops for autumn and winter? Don't worry - I'm not going to tell you not to shop, however I'm going to advise you to look carefully at your existing wardrobe before making any purchases.

If you have warm deep colouring, autumnal colours in general will flatter you so it's a good time to make additions to your wardrobe. However I have been looking at Pantone's Autumn palette and it appears that those of us who suit cooler shades may find some of the new season's colours are suitable for us, though there are warmer shades there too and even a couple of lighter colours.

So to answer my original question: is it time to shop or time to stop? You are the only one who can answer that question. I've been trying to encourage you to build a capsule wardrobe and only to buy clothes and accessories that fit in with your current wardrobe and that also suit your personality and lifestyle. If any of the new arrivals in your local shops meet those guidelines, then who am I to tell you not to shop?

Friday, 29 August 2014

Packing light for France?

We're starting our holiday tomorrow morning.  We will be spending one night in Alicante before boarding a train to Barcelona, where we will have time for a leisurely lunch before catching the train from Barcelona to Toulouse. The good news is that we are travelling by train so we don't have to worry about the weight of our cases or put all our liquids into a small clear airline-approved bag. There isn't any bad news, except for the fact that the apartment we are renting in Toulouse is on the second floor and there isn't a lift!  Still, weight training is supposed to be good for women of a certain age.

This is my capsule wardrobe for our holiday in France.

As we aren't having to travel with hand luggage only, I decided to indulge myself and so I've included a top for every day of our holiday.  You may have spotted my new patterned trousers, pink short-sleeved shirt and blue camisole, which I will wear for going out in Alicante on our first night. At the top on the right I have shown a striped dress, with a red belt, which I wore in Paris for my 65th birthday. I always feel chic when I wear this dress, so I'm taking it to wear for dinner on my 67th birthday in Toulouse.  I am packing the white pair of trousers and will be wearing the black pair for travelling, with one of the tops and possibly the cascade cardigan.

I am hoping that I won't need to wear the Mango jacket, however it will be colder in the evenings in France, so it's being packed "just in case". Next to the jacket is my navy cascade cardigan, which is lightweight and ideal for slightly cooler days. The white wedge-heeled sandals are comfortable for walking but smart enough for evenings, whereas the grey pair of Decathlon shoes are ideal for walking around town in the day-time when we're doing a lot of sight-seeing. I'm also taking a pair of navy ballet flats and the navy shoulder bag.

As well as the above items I will be packing underwear, nightwear, toiletries, jewellery and other essentials like my tablet and camera.  Plus - don't tell my husband John! - there is still room for any purchases that I may make in France. I have noticed that there is a Monoprix in Toulouse as well as a branch of Longchamp!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Visible Monday - warm-weather layers

I've just spotted an interesting post on Not Dead Yet Style (don't you love the name of her blog?) regarding warm weather layers. I must admit that, during the summer months here in Spain, the idea of wearing layers isn't very tempting, especially during the day-time with temperatures at over 30 degrees centigrade.

However the other evening we were going to be sitting outside one of our favourite restaurants watching the Cabalgata Tradicional (traditional wine procession) in Jumilla, so I decided to wear layers in case it became cooler at midnight! This was my outfit - the photo was taken after we returned home at 00.38.

The top layer was a short-sleeved pink shirt from the Ines de la Fressange collection in Uniqlo, which I spotted on my trip to London in July. Underneath it I am wearing a blue camisole top and the patterned trousers that I bought recently from Kettlewell Colours, ready for my holiday to France next week. You may spot the dark grey wrap tied to my bag, which would have been an additional layer apart from the fact that it wasn't needed. I loved wearing this shirt as it skims over any wobbly bits and, though the angle of the photo doesn't do it justice, I think this is a flattering look for women of a certain age.  This outfit is definitely going to be packed for our trip!

Why not click on the link and have a look at Not Dead Yet Style?  I love Patti's outfit and I also love "Une Femme's", which is where I discovered the link for Visible Monday.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Creating your wardrobe: time to expand

The summer sales are in full swing here in Spain, and I know from the countless emails in my inbox that there are sales in most on-line shops, so no doubt there are sales in your area too.  Before giving into temptation and buying everything that catches your fancy, look at your wardrobe and identify pieces that will go with your neutral and accent colours and add to its versatility.

I've already ordered a couple of pieces from Kettlewell Colours to take on holiday. Kettlewell sell colours for all seasons (I'm a Jewel Winter), so I am confident that any new purchases will go with my existing wardrobe. I've decided to embrace the printed trouser trend (I know, I'm a bit late!) as I'm sure it will put me into the holiday mood.

Assuming that you have a basic wardrobe in your most flattering neutrals with some accent colours, this is a good opportunity to expand it.  Please note that I am not telling you that you have to go on a spending spree, just advising you that,when you buy any new clothes, you should make sure that they help to fill in any gaps.

You can see the individual items shown above in more detail on Polyvore: just click on this link. As you may have noticed, I've added some more accent pieces, including a blue dress and a top that combines the accent colours. Bearing in mind that this wardrobe is intended to cover the whole year, I have included some linen tops, linen trousers and a pair of sandals for the summer months, plus a pair of shorts and trainers/sneakers that are ideal for holidays and weekends. To start with our neutrals were navy and white, but another neutral makes the expanded wardrobe more interesting as well as more versatile, so I have added some grey pieces including a navy and silver striped knit.

Depending on your climate and your individual taste, you might want to add in a winter coat, get rid of the dresses and skirt or replace most of the jackets and cardigans with cotton blouses. What I'm hoping to do is inspire you to look at your own wardrobe more objectively and design one to suit both your personality and your lifestyle. Bearing this in mind, here is my version of an expanded wardrobe for those of you who look better in warmer colours.

Here is the link if you want to see these items in more detail on Polyvore: link. You can even buy some of these clothes on-line, but don't tell anyone that I told you!