Thursday, 24 November 2016

Black Friday anyone?



It started early this year: my Inbox is already full of amazing offers for Black Friday and I'm writing this the day before.


It's even spread to Spain!


So am I going to take advantage of any of these amazing offers? It's so tempting, especially with the incredible discounts - but wait! Do I really need any of the items that are being sold at such low prices? Are these offers genuine, or were the prices hiked up a week ago?  What do you think?

As regular readers know, I've been trying to restrain myself over the last couple of years as I build my capsule wardrobe of clothes that flatter me and work for my lifestyle. I may buy new clothes, but I'm working on the "one in - one out" basis. I've had my eyes on a couple of items though that will work well with my existing wardrobe, with the idea being that I would wait for Black Friday to see if any of them would be offered at reduced rates.

If I make any purchases tomorrow, I will update this post with photos of them. Do let me know whether you are tempted on Black Friday or able to resist all these fantastic offers.


PS Just to let you know that, if you click on any links here, I won't be getting a penny!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

My Journey to Chic Style

I should start this post with a disclaimer: I'm not claiming that I do have chic style and I admit that I'm still on the journey, however I think I've made a fair bit of progress over the last four years. I was prone to impulse buying, especially if I spotted something in a colour that I loved - regardless of whether the colour loved me back. I have always admired the effortless style of Frenchwoman and, judging by the number of Francophile blogs, I'm not the only one. Reading the many style blogs - one of my favourites being The Vivienne Files - I'm now more aware of what colours and styles suit me, also helped by taking part in 7 Steps to Style and having had various colour and style consultations over this period.

Me in Paris - trying to look Parisian!




An example of a dress that I loved the look of when I saw it in the sales, but on reflection it didn't really flatter me.

Too long, too dark and an unflattering shape


I've realised that I was wearing red accessories in both these photos, which I think helped to improve the overall look of the outfits, especially as it is a colour that suits me. Four years ago I was wearing mostly cooler colours, having been told that I was a "winter" or even a "jewel winter" in seasonal colour analysis. I went for a style analysis too and was told that I am a "Natural Gamine", which I definitely think describes my style. My current style recipe, developed whilst doing the 7 Steps to Style, is "Colourful Casual Chic with  a little bit quirky and a Parisian influence." Note that I said "current", as I reserve the right to change it over the next few years as my style develops.

Apart from creating my style recipe, which takes into account my lifestyle as well as my personal style, I have learnt about value and colour contrast, which helps explain why some combinations are more flattering on me than others. I am high value contrast (dark hair and eyes with pale skin), but low colour contrast. I also know that softer, warmer colours suit me more than brighter, cooler colours now that I am becoming older. While doing the 7 Steps to Style, I was told by Imogen that my colouring is warm, deep and smoky: in her system I'm an Enigmatic. This was reinforced by Maria of Looking Stylish, who said that my dominant colour family is warm, with a secondary of soft, and Karen of Colour Elements who told me that I am Earth:air.

Once I discovered the best colours and styles for me, I had to look at my existing wardrobe to see which (if any!) of my clothes met these criteria. Obviously I couldn't afford to throw everything out and replace them with more flattering choices, so how could I make the most of my wardrobe? I gradually realised that the key was to build a capsule wardrobe of clothes that suited me and went well together, plus accessories in my most flattering colours, especially when it came to necklaces and scarves worn close to my face.

I mentioned The Vivienne Files earlier and most of my inspiration came from Janice's helpful posts. The one that I linked to above is the first of a series showing how to build a capsule wardrobe from scratch. This particular capsule is perfect for someone like me, as the colours are ones that I like and that suit me, plus it's very casual whilst still looking chic. There aren't any dresses in it, however having shown a dress above that didn't suit me I thought it would be interesting to post a photo of one that is far more flattering. I may very well wear it tomorrow as we're going out for lunch and dancing: one of the few occasions when I don't necessarily wear my "uniform" of trousers and tops!


I hope this post explains how my wardrobe has evolved since I first started blogging in 2012. My journey to chic style is far from complete, and I plan to continue sharing it with you all. As always, I look forward to reading your comments.

Monday, 31 October 2016

What are your Colour Elements?

No, I didn't know mine either - until I went to Stylist Live in London recently! I discovered the Colour Elements stand when I went to the Lead the Walk stand to buy our dog Lisa a stylish collar, although I had already made a note to look for it, as I was intrigued by the name.

I had a very enjoyable and enlightening chat with Karen from Colour Elements as she increased my knowledge of how colour works, as well as identifying my element of Earth:Air. I particularly like her aim of helping us to create a Lean Colour Wardrobe where clothes work together, which is what I hope to achieve in my own wardrobe.

The clothes that I was wearing were definitely right for my Earth element however Karen showed me how adding a touch of Air would look even more flattering. I loved the silk scarves that she had on display: the one in Earth colours is now on my Christmas present list (Santa, please note!)

Air

Earth

Fire

Water
Aren't these scarves lovely? Do you feel drawn to one in particular? The chances are that it is in the colours of your individual element.

Colour Elements have a free app that you can use if you have an iphone or ipad (sadly my smartphone uses android, though I have an ipad at the top of my birthday present list. Family, please note!) 

Don't despair though as there are still lots of ways for the rest of us to enjoy Colour Elements. I already have my colour script and have recently downloaded my colour profile, which is packed with helpful information. Every two weeks I will receive Instant Outfits for my element, which will provide me with inspiration for creating outfits in the colours that flatter me, plus the opportunity to click and buy. I will need to resist temptation most of the time though if I aim to keep my wardrobe "lean"!



Saturday, 22 October 2016

Building my autumn 33 capsule

I'm a bit late in putting together my Autumn 33 capsule: partly because of two trips to London at the beginning of the month and partly because of my new purchases, which I have included in the capsule below. For any new readers, I am following Project 333, which means that I have a capsule of 33 items of clothing to last me for the next 3 months. If you click on the link above to read more about Project 333, you will realise that I bend the rules a bit and don't include any shoes, bags and other accessories in my 33.

These are all recent purchases that blend well with my capsule

The blouse on the left is new

My new striped sweater is in the second photo

The brown tweed jacket bought on my last trip to London


I have seven new items in my wardrobe, some of which were for my birthday and the rest were bought on my two recent visits to London. That means that when I next do a clear out, I will aim to throw at least seven items out with the recycling: we have bins locally that are destined for a charity.

You probably realise that I have only included 32 items above. My wild card will be a dress to wear on Christmas Day and for any parties that I want to get dressed up for, though that will be weather dependent! I have included a couple of sparkly tops in my 33 that I can wear when going out if it's too chilly for a dress.

Six of the tops are short-sleeved so I will gradually replace them over the next three months. As I have four cardigans and two jackets that can be layered over my tops, plus a trench-coat as an outer layer, I doubt if I will need to wear a coat until winter.

Looking back at previous posts showing my Autumn 33s, it's obvious that my colours now are warmer than in the past, plus there are more neutrals. This helps to make the capsule more versatile as the majority of my tops can be mixed with all of the bottoms. In fact I've calculated that I could wear a different outfit each day until the end of the year - how's that for versatility?


Thursday, 20 October 2016

Getting the most out of your wardrobe

After watching the Stylist Live Catwalk show - with all its tempting new clothes! - it seemed sensible to attend this talk: "The secret to getting the most out of your wardrobe". We were in the capable hands of Stylist's Fashion director Alexandra Fullerton and Candice Fragis, the Buying and merchandising director of Farfetch.com, both of whom I have to say looked very stylish.

Image courtesy of Stylist Live.

The first point that they made was that most of us wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time, so how can we change this so that we wear most if not all of our clothes?

1.  Edit your wardrobe. Remove things that you don't wear.  Arrange it so that all your clothes are visible. Every three months pull out your favourite clothes and build a capsule around them. Three months is ideal as you will be moving into a different season. Note: most of my summer clothes are being put away as it is cold and raining in Spain! 

2.  Have a method: you might like to hang up all of your shirts together, all of your skirts and trousers, all of your winter tops. Alternatively, you might like to organise it by colour. Make sure there is method to your madness though!

3.  Think in terms of your outfits. Shop for your outfits: when you buy something new make sure that it will go with several existing items to make new outfits. Hang up in outfits (unless you have gone for a different method as described above). Definitely pack in outfits, and have at least two tops for every bottom when you go on holiday. 

4.  Invest in timeless classics, such as white shirts, a good blazer or biker jacket, plus quality jeans. They made the point that these aren't necessarily the classics that bloggers tell you must be in your capsule wardrobe! Candice's classics include cowboy boots, so create your own classics. Spend less on trends, though they are useful to make your classics look up-to-date. 

5.  Look after your clothes. Wear something till it wears out and then replace it, instead of being tempted to buy more of the same just because you love it. 

6. Choose quality over quantity. It's worth spending money on a good pair of jeans that will last longer than a pair of ripped jeans, or whatever the latest trend is. 

7. If it doesn't fit now, it probably never will! Harsh words, but true. If you haven't worn something over the last six months, you should either put it in a "holding pen" if you love it and it fits you, or discard it. 

8. When it comes to sales "bargains", ask yourself if you would still buy it if it was full price. Do you have anything in your wardrobe that it will go with? Do you really love it or are you contemplating buying it just because it's in the sales?

9. Their core essentials for working in an office are: a good pair of trousers; a pencil or midi skirt; a classic shirt, which doesn't have to be white if you don't look good in white; a blazer; a trouser suit that can be mixed and matched separately; a shift dress that you can wear with different accessories if going out after work: a crew neck jumper and a selection of blouses or tops. If you don't work in an office environment or, like me, are retired, then you might have different core essentials in your wardrobe.

10. Remember that you can be both practical and stylish! Buy a bag that can hold all your essentials, though you can also choose it in a colour that will update your outfits. Flats work well from day to night, so you can be comfortable as well as looking stylish.

I thoroughly enjoyed the talk and thought that Alexandra and Candice gave some excellent advice. Now all I have to do is put it into practice!






Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Latest trends: Stylist Live Catwalk

Stop press! Hold the front page! I've just returned from a flying visit to the UK to help my brother celebrate his 65th birthday. While I was in London I managed to visit Stylist Live, in order to discover the latest trends to share with my readers. The trends were: intergalactic, velvet goldmine, sportswear, the navy coat and spice world and all outfits are available on the high street plus on-line.

You may feel that over 60 women shouldn't be bothered about looking trendy - and I certainly don't recommend wearing the latest trends head to toe - however a nod to fashion can liven up your basics and (dare I say it?) stop you looking boring.

The catwalk show presented the trends in reverse order, so the first photos show Trend 5: Spice World. I wondered if the clothes were going to be outfits from the Spice Girls (Victoria Beckham?) however they turned out to be spicy colours. This is a great opportunity for those of us who have warmer colouring to go shopping.

 

 














Trend 4: The Navy Coat is good for those over 60s who are finding black a bit too harsh for their complexions. I'm the first one to put my hand up and admit to this! In some of the photos below you can see the navy coats being worn with accessories in warm colours, as navy looks good on people with warm colouring as well as cool colouring.

 

 














Trend 3: Sportswear is one that will appeal to those of us who like wearing casual, comfortable clothes. You probably wouldn't wear these outfits to the office or for going out to dinner, unless it was somewhere very casual, and it might not appeal to everyone. I'm tempted by the Adidas trousers, though knowing my luck they probably won't have them in petite sizes.

 

 














Trend 2: Velvet Goldmine is perfect timing with Christmas only a couple of months away! Why o why did I throw out that green velvet jacket? I'm trying to console myself with the thought that it was probably the wrong shade of green..... Wait! I do have a pair of burgundy velvet trousers, so I can still look trendy at any Christmas parties that I attend. You don't have to buy a velvet trouser suit to look on trend, as there are velvet bags in the shops that add a trendy touch to your outfits without spending too much.

 















Trend 1: Intergalactic isn't one that I'm likely to follow, as it's a bit too shiny for me. I don't need my wrinkles highlighting, thank you very much! I'd be surprised if many women of a certain age will be buying into this trend, though shiny bags and shoes are a good way to add a touch of silver to your outfits.

 

 



























What about you? Do any of these trends appeal to you? Are you likely to be purchasing any of these outfits? As I've said before, even if you're not particularly interested in looking fashionable and prefer to just look stylish, it is useful to know what the latest trends are, as it provides clues to what you'll find in the shops. If a colour that suits you is trendy, then look for classic styles in that colour so that your clothes don't look outdated the following season. Don't spend a lot of money on something that may look out of date in a year's time.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

My autumn capsule wardrobe




Autumn colours

I do love the idea of a capsule wardrobe and have blogged on numerous occasions about the advantages of creating one. I've talked about the 10 item wardrobe, which is great for holidays but - if I'm being totally honest! - a bit limiting for me otherwise. I've also followed Project 333 for just over four years and find that a lot easier to stick to, as you are allowed 33 items to cover 3 months, though I have to admit that I do bend the rules slightly.

I bought an e-book recently: The French Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe, which falls in between the above two capsules as it suggests a total of 26, consisting of 22 items of clothing and 4 pairs of shoes, to cover you for 3 months.  The French Minimalist Capsule is built around neutrals of black, white, ivory, grey, denim and camel. In my case black and white are too harsh and cool for my colouring, which is on the warm side. My neutrals therefore are brown, camel, beige, olive and navy.

Being a rule breaker, plus having to work with my current wardrobe items, I have included a few other colours in the selection below, however they will still blend with my neutrals and hopefully be equally versatile . I have also allowed myself 24 items of clothing for this autumn capsule. In the e-book, the capsule consists of 9 tops, 6 bottoms (including skirts), 5 outer layers, 2 dresses and 4 pairs of shoes. I have chosen 12 everyday tops, plus 1 dressy top (as there aren't any dresses in my capsule), 5 bottoms (but no skirts) and 6 outer layers, which includes a trench-coat.  I'm hoping that I won't need the trench-coat for a while here in Spain, but it proved invaluable on my recent trip to London for my son's wedding! 

    






The items shown above are definitely autumnal and reflect the colours in the photo at the top. With twelve tops and five bottoms to mix and match there is plenty of variety in my wardrobe, plus there are four cardigans to ring the changes. Accessories also have an important role to play in making my outfits more interesting.

The blue jacket below doesn't really fall into the warm category, however I've worn it over my orange top and it also goes well with brown and camel, especially with the right coloured accessories. It adds a touch of colour to my wardrobe, which is why it will be part of my capsule. Finally, my dark navy jeans and breton top are both classics and as such deserve a place in any French inspired capsule wardrobe.














My French Minimalist wardrobe consists of 24 items, without including shoes and accessories. If I want to extend it to an Autumn 33, as part of Project 333, that gives me another nine items that I can add in. Keep it quiet, but I am going to London next week, so I may very well make a few purchases there to complete my autumn capsule wardrobe!

PS Update: I've just read that brown is one of autumn's It colours - so for once I'm going to be on trend!