Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Happy Christmas!

Just lately I have been very busy and also very tired - hence the lack of blog posts. I can't believe that Christmas is next week! I still haven't bought all my presents and then there's the food shopping to do but somehow things always seem to come together and Christmas happens. For me though, it's not about the turkey or the presents or the chocolate and alcohol consumption, it's about the reason for the season. Also this year, I'm looking forward to having our little granddaughter here who's nearly one. 

I hope by now, if you're going to parties this Christmas and New Year, you will have decided on what you're going to wear. If you don't have the time or money to buy something new, why not 'shop in your closet'? Have a good look at your tops and skirts or trousers - can you put them together in different combinations? Is there a dress from last year or a couple of years ago that you think you can't wear again as the same people will be at your social gathering? Why not wear it with different jewellery, or boots instead of shoes. How about some patterned tights if the dress is plain? Have you got a cardigan or shrug you could top the dress with that you hadn't thought of before? Experiment and see what you come up with.

On Christmas Day itself I like to wear fairly comfortable clothes (to accommodate the Christmas lunch!) but I still like to feel that I've made an effort, so I will probably wear a dress. On Boxing Day I'm hoping to go for a walk so that will be jeans and a jumper.

This will be my last blog post until after Christmas so I do hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a great 2016.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

My Kettlewell Picks

If you have been colour analysed, or even if you haven't, Kettlewell Colours is a great company that stocks a variety of tops, cardigans, dresses, tunics, camisoles etc in colours that will both flatter your colouring and fit well. The clothes are available on line and they produce a catalogue two or three times a year. I have been buying Kettlewell Colours clothes for a few years now and have mostly been happy with the quality, particularly the basic tee shirts and tops that they do every year. Their sizing is quite small, e.g. the LL is a 16 which is fine if you are between a size 10 and 16 but they don't really cater for those above a size 16. 

Here are some of my picks for Autumn/Winter 2015:

Firstly, this cardi coat in Poppy. I have this cardi coat myself and it is very warm as it is made of merino wool. This particular item does come up big so I ordered a Medium and it's fine. Quite expensive at £125 but it should last for years!

This jumper is also made of merino wool, is £59 and comes in 12 colours. It looks very cosy and would go with a lot of things. If you are allergic to wool next to your skin, wear it over one of their long sleeved tops as in the photo.

This Zoe tunic can be dressed up or down - it would look great with jeans or smart trousers. £59.

I really like this Arabella dress, which comes in attractive plain colours. I like the crossover top and a contrasting camisole looks great worn underneath. £75.

Finally, this is a lovely silky scoop neck top, which can be worn with jeans, smart trousers or a skirt. It comes in 24 colours so there is sure to be one that fits the bill. £37.

If you've never tried Kettlewell Colours, have a look at their website and I'm sure you'll find something you like, maybe in a colour you've never worn before.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Winter coats

It's November and soon the weather will be turning colder so time to think about winter coats.  This winter it's all about the military style coat and there are lots to choose from. If you have a large bust then either look for the rows of buttons to be close together or go for a single breasted coat as most double breasted coats have a widening effect.

This military style coat from Wallis is below the knee so would be perfect for covering various hem lengths. Good for straight body shapes.
Another military coat from Wallis - shorter in length and the buttons are closer together. Very classic in style and won't date.  Again good if you are a semi straight or straight body shape.

This coat from Wallis still has a military look but is single breasted and above the knee in length. The more fitted style would be good for those who are semi straight or curvy body shapes. 

I also like faux fur coats. They look very cosy to wear in the depths of winter and would be useful to wear in the evenings.

The above coat would be good for those with Light or Muted colouring. This coat from Wallis also comes in black.

Another coat in fashion this winter is the Parka.

Khaki seems to be the colour of choice at the moment which is fine if you are Warm in colouring, otherwise look for a colour that flatters you. 

If you would like a new coat this winter then you might like to consider the above options, which are reasonably priced. If you invest in a winter coat made from good quality material it will last you years without going out of shape and if you buy a classic style such as a military coat, different coloured accessories (scarf, gloves, hat) will change up the look.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

How to flatter a small bust

You may think that someone with a small bust is lucky but I'm sure that would not be the case if you asked them! Here are a few yeses and nos for those with an A or AA cup size:


  • Wear a good fitting bra in the correct size.. Get measured properly at a good store This information is the same as for those more endowed than yourself. 
  • You can wear tops with pockets and embellishments on the bust such as frills, ruffles and logos (if that's your style).
  • High necked tops or dresses. 
  • A bright or stronger contrasting colour around the bust area, which will make it look bigger.
  • Empire lines and yokes gathers at bust area.
  • Don't be tempted to go braless, even if you have an AAA cup! Like those with a larger bust, you need to keep your boobs in the correct place and only a good bra will do that for you (see above).
  • In my opinion, wearing very plunging necklines only makes those with a small bust look completely androgynous and flat chested.
  • Avoid cross over tops - generally they will be too baggy for you and  will make you look like you are wearing an old-fashioned pinny!
  • Anything too clingy.

I do hope these tips will help you to make the most of what you have!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Which earrings suit your face shape?

When it comes to wearing earrings, those that echo your face shape will be the most flattering. There are three main, basic face shapes: Angular, Combination and Curved. These can be broken down further as follows:

Angular - square, rectangle, triangle, diamond.

Curved - round, heart, pear, oval

Combination - some of each of the above

When assessing someone's face shape I also take into consideration their features - eyes, nose, mouth, chin, cheeks and forehead. For example, a sharp, pointed nose is angular; a more rounded nose is curved. Almond shaped eyes are more angular; round eyes are curved. Thin, straight lips are angular; full soft lips are curved. A pointed chin is angular; a soft, rounded one is curved etc.

Earrings for Angular face shapes

Earrings for Curved Face Shapes

Earrings for Combination face shapes

Next time you buy earrings, why not try looking at the shape of your face first and then make your selection based on that. The above earrings are all from Stella & Dot.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Style Inspiration - The Duchess of Cambridge

As far as I'm concerned, the Duchess of Cambridge rarely puts a foot wrong when it comes to fashion and style. From her perfectly styled hair to her fab shoes, she always looks appropriate for every occasion. Okay, Kate may have a stylist, but I'm sure some of the clothes she wears are her choices too.

Just concentrating on The Duchess of Cambridge's casual looks - the photo on the right shows her looking effortlessly stylish wearing skinny jeans, a striped Breton top, flat shoes and sunglasses. This look can easily be copied fairly cheaply and easily as follows:

You could buy similar items to these on the High Street - just add sunglasses and a baby!

The Duchess of Cambridge recently visited The Anna Freud Centre in London (for children and young people with mental health issues). I love this black and white houndstooth dress she wore - nothing stiff and starchy about it; she was certainly approachable wearing it.

With her hair and make-up perfectly done, we could all perhaps take a leaf out of her book and aim to be as polished and 'finished off' as Kate and not just rely on clothes to get us by. So for me, she is certainly a Style Inspiration and I always like seeing what she wears either formally or casually.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Pattern mixing - yes or no?

Just lately I have seen some great pattern mixing going on and, while I like it on others, I'm not sure I would be able to pull it off myself. So perhaps the best thing to do rather than launch into full on pattern mixing mode, is to take it a step at a time.

It seems that stripes would be a good place to start. So let's start with this navy and ivory striped tee shirt:

Add a navy skirt:   

Now let's add a tartan scarf:

This is pleasing to the eye because there is blue in the top, skirt and scarf.

Instead of the scarf, we could add a leopard print bag and shoes:

These items don't have navy in them but they still would look fine with the basic tee shirt and skirt above because the pattern is quite small..

Let's get a bit braver and maybe try this combination:

Mixing a smaller pattern with a larger pattern can work whereas mixing two large patterns wouldn't work as well as, in my opinion, they seem to vie with one another..

 So can we mix two small patterns together? Let's see:

To me this looks too busy but again it's only my opinion and I most likely wouldn't wear this. I think also pattern mixing would work better in the summer than in the autumn/winter. 

If you want to see more about mixing patterns, prints and colours then blogger Hello Katie Girl does this amazingly!

Do you think you will try mixing patterns? I'm going to experiment and see what I think!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

My favourites from Boden AW '15

If money was no object and I could buy exactly what I wanted, here is what I'd choose from Boden this season:

Boden Velvet coat in Atlas Blue Currently £129

I really like this coat, which would be great for Autumn and Spring. You could add a scarf if you need the extra warmth. It comes in two other colours.

Breton Tnnic in Navy/Ivory Currently £34.30

I really love Breton tops and will probably buy this tunic as it will go with so many things in my wardrobe!

Elena Fixed Wrap Dress £89

To be honest not many of the Boden dresses really grab me this year. Some are too highly patterned and too short - I prefer mine knee length. On the plus side,this dress has long sleeves and you could wear a cami underneath it.

Navy Jacquard Top £59

I sense a navy and white theme going on here! I love the symmetry of this top and you could wear another layer underneath to keep warm.

Navy and Red Check Coatigan £129

 This would again be a very useful item to have in my wardrobe in the above colours (it also comes in grey and blue check) and can, of course, be worn instead of a coat when it's not too cold outside.

Red Mia Jumper $59

This Mia jumper caught my eye. It's a good everyday type of jumper that can be worn with jeans, a denim skirt (as above), black trousers etc. Available in lots of colours.

Keira Boot £119

Lastly, these boots have a lot going for them - the heel height is good, I like the touch of leopard print, the shape of the toe and the buckle trim.

There are a few more items I like and I may do another blog post about those sometime. What do you think about Boden clothes? Is there anything you like for Autumn/Winter?

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

What to wear if you are pear shaped

The definition of a pear shaped (or triangular shaped) body is narrow shoulders and larger hips. Usually you will have a small waist as well and the distance between the top of your hip-bone and waist is usually (but not always) quite long.

The obvious solution to balancing a pear shaped body is to emphasise the shoulders or top half of your body more than the hips. Here are some tips to do that:

1. Wear lighter and brighter colours on your top half, taking into consideration your own natural colouring. For example, darker coloured trousers or skirt with a bright red top.

2. You can go to town on patterns such as stripes and florals, frills, interesting sleeves etc.(if you have a small bust), which will draw attention away from your bottom half. Most pear shapes do have a small bust but of course there are exceptions.

3. Keep the bottom half plain with few details on trousers or skirts such as pockets, studs etc. The photo above is an example of what not to wear if you are pear shaped! Ideally, bootcut jeans are better than skinny jeans but you can wear slim legged jeans with a tunic top. Avoid straight skirts, which will be too tight around your hips.

4. On your bottom half wear fabrics which are soft and fluid and drape easily such as jersey, silks and bias cut fabrics.  On your top half wear medium to heavy weight fabrics and texture e.g. linen, cotton and woollen fabrics. Jewellery also draws the eye upwards.

I hope these tips will be helpful. Please let me know in the Comments if there is anything you would like me to blog about in future.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Autumn Shades

Later this month it will be the start of Autumn. In fact the Autumnal Equinox will be on 23 September this year, when day and night will be of equal length and then, a month later, the clocks will go back! As the evenings and mornings draw in and become cooler, I thought it would be interesting to look at the Pantone colours suggested for Autumn 2015 and how each colour direction can wear them.


Deeps mostly have brown eyes and dark hair, giving them a rich look. Marsala, Reflecting Pond, Stormy Weather and Biscay Bay will be fine. If you have a warm skintone then add Cadmium Orange and Oak Buff as they are warm colours. Wear two deep colours together or contrast a light with a dark colour.


If you are Light in colouring (pale skin, hair and eyes) then you can wear Cashmere Rose, Desert Sage and Amethyst Orchid. Add Cadmium Orange if you are warm skintoned. 


If you are Cool then Amethyst Orchid, Cashmere Rose, Biscay Bay, Stormy Weather and Desert Sage would be fine.


If you are a Warm, Autumn is indeed your season! Of the Pantone colours you can wear Oak Buff, Cadmium Orange and Dried Herb. However, there will be other autumnal colours around that would be great for you.


Brights will find it difficult to wear this year's Autumn Pantone colours as they are quite muted but they can wear Biscay Bay, Amethyst Orchid (if cool skinned) and Cadmium Orange (if warm skinned). If you wear Stormy Weather and Reflecting Pond as neutrals, remember to contrast them with a bright colour.


If you are predominantly Muted and Soft then all of the colours will be fine for you. Wear these colours monochromatically for a sophisticated look.

Of course, as I have found, it depends whether these colours actually are in the shops or not but I hope you are able to find some Autumn shades for your colouring.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

How to flatter a large bust

If, like me, you have been 'blessed' with a large/largeish bust there are various ways to wear clothes that will flatter what you have so that you don't look matronly!  Here are three tips to get you started:

Firstly, and most importantly, you must wear a good bra that fits you properly.  I have seen a lot of ladies who have a large bust and are wearing an old, ill fitting bra that does them no favours.  A good fitting bra will make you look instantly slimmer and younger because it puts your bust in the right place so that it doesn't look like your boobs are sitting on your waist. Go to a specialist underwear shop such as Bravissimo or to a department store where they will measure you or correctly estimate your bra size. Try on different styles to see which is best for you, as the sizes vary from one manufacturer to another.

Secondly, do avoid drawing attention to your bust by creating horizontal lines across that area.  So that means no to polo necks; high, round necklines; sleeves that end at bust level; wide horizontal stripes; pockets on bust.

But yes to v-necklines; boat necklines; vertical stripes; edge-to-edge cardigans or jackets creating vertical lines; necklaces ending above or below the fullest part of your bust.

Thirdly, fabric - don't wear stiff, structured fabrics (such as a stiff cotton button up shirt that will gape) over a full bust. Keep to medium weight, fluid, stretchy fabrics that drape well such as jersey, polyester, silk, fine knits and chiffon. Nothing too clingy though - you may need to size up if the top you want to buy is in a very clingy material.

The advantage those of us with a larger bust have over our more flat-chested friends is that we have cleavage, so let's aim to flaunt it without looking tacky!

I hope these tips will be of some help if you are well endowed in the bust department.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Shopping Survey Results

A while back I sent out a survey to quite a lot of ladies over 50. It was about clothes shopping and their experiences. Here are the results from the ladies that filled in my survey:

Where do you prefer to shop?

A: Cheltenham, Gloucester, Bristol, Birmingham

Which shops do you prefer to shop at?

A: M & S came out top, other popular shops were Monsoon, East, Next, Phase 8, John Lewis, Laura Ashley, Bon Marche and Primark.

Can you usually find what you're looking for?

A: Most people said yes, a couple said no.

How satisfied are you with what's available in the shops?

A: Most people are 8/10 satisfied, a couple said 2/10.

Do you shop online?

Only 2 people in the survey shop on line, the rest don't.

Supermarket brands?

Generally people like Asda, Tescos & Sainsbury's & feel they are good value for money.

A big thank you to all the ladies who filled in my survey!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

August Sales - yes or no?

August is such an uninspiring month for clothes buying despite the shops being full of 70% and 50% off 'bargains'  I trawled around the shops this week just to see what was there: rack upon rack of printed tops,quite a lot of maxi dresses and shorts. Good If you are going on holiday soon and there are still swim suits to be had. I even managed to get my daughter a kaftan in Marks & Spencer's sale for her holiday but, in general, everything has been well picked over and only a few good things remain.

If you have a wedding or special occasion coming up, there are some dresses in Planet and Precis in Debenhams which would be a bargain late summer buy at £50-£60 off the original prices:

The above dress is from Planet and is now £49.00 reduced from £99.00.

This dress is from Precis and is £39.00 reduced from £99.00.

I'm trying not to buy anything much this month. The only thing I've bought for myself is this blouse in Marks & Spencer's sale:

I don't usually buy this type of top, as it's quite Romantic (and I'm Classic) in style but I quite like the lacy trim on it and it will go with quite a lot in my wardrobe - blue jeans, white jeans, black trousers as well as skirts, providing we have some warm weather!

Have you managed to bag a bargain in August or are you going to wait until the sales have finished and autumn clothes are filtering into the shops?