Wednesday, 20 April 2016

I will wear what I like!

This week Catherine has chosen the trench coat as her theme for wearing what we damn well like. Take a look at the fabulous one she is wearing on her blog Not Dressed as Lamb: it's definitely making a statement and in Catherine's case it's probably saying "Who wants to be age appropriate anyway?"! I wouldn't wear it myself, but (and it's a big but!) it's not because I feel that, as a 60+ woman, it wouldn't be age appropriate. The only reasons are that the colour and pattern wouldn't particularly flatter me,otherwise I would happily wear it too.

The trench coat is usually on any list of "10 essentials that chic Parisians wear", or articles and books on a similar theme, however it tends to be accompanied by words emphasising the importance of it being in a neutral colour such as black, navy or beige. Would a Frenchwoman wear Catherine's gorgeous trench? I'm guessing that they would if they really loved it and knew they would look as good as she does wearing it.

In the photo below, I'm wearing a trench coat that I bought last autumn. It's not in a traditional neutral colour, however the copper isn't a trendy colour that will date, so hopefully it will last me several years.

I'm wearing the trench coat over dark brown jeans and shoes, plus my tan bag doesn't provide a lot of contrast. My colouring is low colour contrast, so the combination is good, however I am also high value contrast, because of my pale skin and dark hair and eyes, which is why I wore this particular scarf. What you won't be able to see is the pair of green earrings I was wearing, so I will point out that the green earrings went beautifully with the green in my scarf. It's these little details that makes choosing an outfit more fun.

Finally, this is me wearing what I like, but what about you? Do you worry about wearing clothes that aren't age appropriate?  On the other hand, do you want to ignore what so-called fashion experts decide are the styles that chic women should wear? By the way, I include myself in the latter category!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

I will wear what I like!

Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb fame (see under Recommended Blogs on the right) started an Instagram campaign in August last year, after a journalist published a list of 24 things 30+ women shouldn't wear. I have to wonder what that journalist would make of certain things this 60+ woman has worn! Catherine has continued her popular campaign with a weekly link up where women of all ages wear what they like. I thought it might be fun to join in, as the only criteria is to wear whatever you damn well like!

This week's #iwillwearwhatilike theme is yellow, and I have to say that Catherine looks amazing in her yellow outfit. My own outfit of the day is shown below, but do take a look at Catherine's blog and see what some of the other contributors are wearing.

Yellow isn't a colour that I've worn much in recent years. Having done several different colour consultations and been told that I was a winter, yellow wasn't included in my colour swatches. Then I decided to do the 7 Steps to Style course and to my surprise I was told that I was an Enigmatic: deep, smoky and warm. More recently I requested a colour dossier from Maria of Looking Stylish, who confirmed that my dominant colour characteristic was warm with a secondary of soft: so welcome back yellow - and other colours that I haven't worn for a long while!

I remember buying a lovely yellow knitted dress many years ago, though I don't have any photos of myself wearing it. I also bought the trouser suit shown below. This photo was taken in Northern Ireland so I reckon it must have been forty eight years ago. In those days I'd never heard of colour analysis, so I definitely wore what I liked.

What about you? Do you sometimes wear outfits that some people may say are "inappropriate" for your age? If so, don't worry about it. In the link that Catherine gave on her blog, the journalist said that leopard print wasn't appropriate for over 30s - so that includes quite a few of us. Trust me, I'm not going to throw away my favourite leopard print top. So long as you are happy, you should wear what you like, just as I do.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Adding to my capsule wardrobe

The last few posts have been about the importance of choosing the right accessories for your wardrobe, taking personality, colour, shape, size and contrast into consideration . It is now time to add more items of clothing to my basic capsule wardrobe using the same criteria. For any new readers, my dominant colour characteristic is warm and my secondary is soft. I have dark hair and pale skin so I also need some contrast in my outfits. I have chosen neutrals of brown, sand and stone, however I love to add a dash of colour.

The pictures below show some of the tops and bottoms in my capsule wardrobe, with a couple of cardigans. Did I mention that I am vertically challenged, being only 5' and half an inch tall? My favourite outfits often feature a column of colour to make me appear taller and - even more important! - slimmer. The sand cardigan and trousers are really flattering when worn with a contrasting top, and I also love the brown cardigan and jeggings in the last picture for the same reason.

The following picture shows some of my latest purchases, which will blend beautifully with my existing capsule, as well as working well together. These tops will be perfect for early spring with my brown jeggings and sand trousers - as well as with the linen trousers and cotton skirt shown below, once it becomes a bit warmer.

Did you spot the gold trainers by the way? I love them, as they fit my casual chic style perfectly! The accent colours are red, orange and green, in keeping with the accents in my original capsule. This capsule was created for me by Maria from Looking Stylish, who has the knack of finding the perfect pieces to add to my wardrobe. You will find lots of good advice on her website, as well as examples of different capsule wardrobes.

Finally, how many outfits can I create from the clothes in my expanded capsule wardrobe? There are eleven tops and four bottoms, which gives me enough options to cover six weeks without repeating an outfit. However there are also four cardigans to add in, not forgetting my all important accessories, so that shows how versatile a capsule wardrobe can be. No reason to be bored with what may, at first glance, appear to be a limited wardrobe. This capsule is for spring, so I'll be using it in my Spring 33, which I will be writing about soon.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Accessories for your capsule wardrobe: shape, size and contrast

My previous posts on accessories have covered what I consider to be the main criteria when choosing accessories for your capsule wardrobe: colour and personality. However, as I hinted last time, there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration.

If your face and your features are rounded and you choose accessories with straight, sharp lines, they might not flatter you. I'm fairly lucky in this respect as I have combination features, however I'm still better wearing necklaces, for example, that are a mixture of round and sharp shapes and handbags that aren't totally square or round. The one shown below has straight edges, so isn't ideal.

I'm petite, so large handbags tend to dominate me. If you're taller than me, or big-boned, you will probably look better if you choose larger accessories rather than delicate pieces. You can also choose bigger, bolder patterns, which would overwhelm me and other smaller women. In the photo below I'm carrying a large bag that doesn't particularly flatter me, however sometimes you have to be practical - and this bag is ideal when travelling as I can put so much into it!

In the photo above I am wearing both dark and light neutrals (with a touch of turquoise, as I love colourful accessories). This combination is flattering on me, as I have high value contrast, though low colour contrast. Just look at my pale skin and my dark hair and you can see what I mean. If your personal contrast is medium, you should be looking for medium contrast in what you wear. If I was wearing dark trousers with this top, I would need lighter accessories to provide the right contrast. What I need to avoid of course is high colour contrast, which is why neutral colours are the best choice for me, even though I can't resist a dash of colour in my accessories!

Now you can take a look at the accessories in your wardrobe with a more critical eye. Are they a flattering shape and size for you? Do they add the right contrast when worn with the items in your capsule wardrobe? If you're buying new accessories, these factors should be kept in mind, as well as making sure they suit your colouring and your personality.

If you want to find out more about accessories, you might want to join Sylvia of 40+ Style's latest course, which I'm finding really helpful. This may not be my last post on accessories because I'm learning so much more about accessories from the course, however the next post will be about adding more items of clothing to your capsule wardrobe. I've been shopping for clothes in London, looking forward to spring and summer, so I will share my latest purchases with you.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Accessories for your capsule wardrobe: adding personality

Have you ever worn a necklace or scarf, or tried on a pair of shoes in a shop, and felt that they weren't quite right for you, but you didn't know why? The scarf might be in a colour that flatters you, so why don't you love it? You saw the shoes in a magazine and thought they looked great on the model, so why don't they work for you? The answer in both cases could very well be that they didn't suit your style personality.

Perhaps you have a fairly strict dress code where you work and you feel bored in the clothes that you wear during the week. Maybe you are retired, like me, but want to look a bit more stylish in your jeans and t-shirt "uniform". If you add accessories that reflect your style personality, you will look better and feel happier in your outfits. That is why this topic deserves a post of its own.

Let's assume that you look good in pink. You may decide to buy a pair of shoes to go with your favourite pink necklace, but what style are you going to choose? Here are a few options, some of which may appeal, but I'd be surprised if you love them all, as I've deliberately chosen different styles to suit different style personalities.

My style is colourful casual chic, so I would be drawn to the pair of Vans trainers on the right rather than the high heeled pumps below them. I also like the ballet flats,  as my style recipe includes the words "with a Parisian influence", The boots appeal to the "little bit quirky" part of my style personality, but it would also depend on how comfortable they are to wear! If you are more of a dramatic, you might choose the boots or perhaps the pumps in the centre. Classic personalities would probably lean towards the ballet flats or the loafers at the top.

Pink of course looks better on those of you who have a cool colour palette so it wouldn't be my first choice for accessories, as it wouldn't match my warm neutrals. Orange however would look fine with my brown and camel basics.  The bags below would be better options for anyone with a warm colour palette, though not so good with cooler shades.

I'm sure by now that you've got the hang of this and can see how the bags won't suit everyone's style personality. The two bags on the top row are pretty casual so classic or feminine personalities are more likely to be drawn to one of the bags in the centre. I like the bag in the bottom row on the left, as it is a little bit quirky in my view, however anyone with a strong dramatic personality might find it far too ordinary.  It's all a matter of what appeals to your individual personality.

Have you identified your own style personality? Are you relaxed, feminine or more of a classic? Perhaps you are dramatic, creative, rebellious or even elegant chic. If you're not sure, take a look at my post from last year on Style Personality and in particular the last paragraph.

We've covered colour and personality, but that's not the end of the accessories story. To give you a clue: I'm just over 5 feet tall, so even if I find accessories in a colour that flatters me and a style that suits me, they might not look right on me. Why do you think that is? I'll give you the answer in my next post!

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Accessories for your capsule wardrobe: adding colour

My basic capsule wardrobe is already well under way with fourteen items of clothing, ten of which are in neutral colours. I already have some accessories that will go with my wardrobe, many of which are in neutral colours as shown below. The first pair of shoes and the bag are warm neutrals so will go perfectly with my capsule, however the last two pairs of shoes are black and navy, so they are far from ideal. Although my new neutral colours are brown and camel, I still have a pair of navy jeans, for example, so I'm not quite ready to discard these shoes. It's more important to choose warm colours for tops and scarves, which are worn close to my face, before I think of replacing all my trousers, skirts and shoes. Of course when I do need to replace any bottoms or shoes I now know to look for warm colours.

I would recommend spending more money on accessories in your neutral colours, as they are unlikely to date, so long as you choose classic styles. However once you have your basic neutral accessories covered, the fun can begin! I have to admit that a few years ago I didn't give much consideration to my accessories but nowadays I appreciate how much they can add to an outfit.

I will be writing about choosing accessories to suit both your personality and your lifestyle at a future date, but for the moment I'm going to concentrate on using accents of colour to make your capsule wardrobe even more versatile.

Hopefully you have worked out your best colours, whether through an in-person colour analysis, an on-line consultation, trial and error or using your own judgement. The important thing is to know whether you look better in warm or cool shades. Once you've established your neutral colours, you need accent colours that flatter you and blend well with your neutrals. Consider using accents that bring out the colour of your eyes, contrast with your hair colour or match the colour of your lips.

My signature colours
The picture above shows some of my signature colours, which blend with my hair, eyes, cheeks and lips. As you can see there are blues, greens and reds there, however I have to make sure that I wear warm shades of blue, green and red and not cool versions.

Look through your existing accessories to see if there are any colours that you love, especially if people compliment you when you wear them. If they look good with your neutrals, they can be the start of your accessory beauty bundles as defined by blogger and author Brenda Kinsel.  Beauty bundles are a collection of accessories of similar colours that go well together, which you can use to brighten up your wardrobe. Please note though that it is not advisable to wear every item in your bundle at the same time!

As an example, if your neutrals are warm, you might like to create one of the following beauty bundles in warm accent colours.

If your neutrals are in cool shades, then your accessories should be in cool accent colours that go well with your neutrals. Maybe one of the bundles below would look good on you?

I don't like to dictate what everyone should wear, even though I advise you to discover what colours flatter you the most and base your wardrobe around them. What if you love red but red doesn't really love you? It might not be the best colour to choose for a scarf or top, but you might get away with a red bag or red shoes. Sometimes you have to follow your heart.

Remember what I said about needing to consider your personality and your lifestyle when choosing your accessories? You also need to think about your body shape, face shape, colour and value contrast. Looking at the sets of accessories above, you may have noticed that the shoes are flat and the bags are fairly casual. I chose items that appealed to me, so even though some of the colours wouldn't suit me, the styles certainly would. More of that in my next post!

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Building a capsule wardrobe - MORE neutrals

I'm guessing that many of you may groan at the idea of more neutrals, however others may be thinking "great"! Remember that one of the benefits of a capsule wardrobe is flexibility and that some of you may have wardrobes like mine used to be: crammed full of clothes in a variety of colours that don't go together. Hopefully you will see the advantages of adding more neutrals and will bear with me. If you have warm colouring and chose brown, for example, as your dark neutral, then choose a warm but light neutral such as camel, stone or cream as your second neutral. Below are pictures of my light neutrals plus the dark ones from my previous post, which can mix and match with each other.

My light neutrals
My dark neutrals
For those of you who look better in cool colours, stick to a cool neutral like a light grey or white, mixed with dark grey or navy for your dark neutrals as shown below.

Light grey neutrals
Dark navy neutrals

If you do have lots of different colours in your existing wardrobe, don't worry as I'm not going to suggest throwing them all out. Look at the examples above, which are either warm or cool neutrals, and imagine them worn with red, orange, yellow, green, blue or whatever colours you love. If you suit cooler shades, you will obviously need to wear a blue-red top rather than an orange-red one and vice versa. Here are some examples from my own wardrobe, which go beautifully with the neutrals shown in the first two pictures.

A touch of colour
For those of you who look better in cool colours, you might like to choose accent colours similar to those in the following picture.

Cool colour accents

I've shown 14 pieces from my warm capsule wardrobe: 7 tops, 4 bottoms and 3 cardigans. As all of the tops can be worn with all of the bottoms this makes 28 different outfits, however don't forget that there are also three cardigans that can be worn with them, giving over 100 possible combinations. You can do the same with the light grey and navy neutrals, combining them with the cool accent colours to create numerous different outfits.

Don't forget that these are only examples of some of the pieces that you might want to include in your own capsule wardrobe. You may prefer skirts or dresses to trousers. Softer, more delicate colours might flatter your colouring more than the shades I have shown. When you add in your personal style, body shape and colouring you will be creating a capsule wardrobe that is unique to you. You don't even have to include accent colours if you're more of a neutral, monochrome sort of person. I have the occasional day when I wear neutral outfits, however these days are rare as colour is part of my style recipe.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you will know what's coming next. Accessories! Your neutral shoes, bags, necklaces and scarves are an essential part of your capsule, however you can totally change the look of each outfit with not only accessories in accent colours but also in different styles. Classic, feminine, dramatic, sporty. elegant - choose whichever style suits your personality. More on that in my next post!