Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Making a statement - bags of style

Creating the set for this post using Polyvore proved to be an interesting exercise. I have been trying to select items that the average reader could afford while "making a statement", and this wasn't too much of a problem with the previous sets that I created. When it came to bags though I found myself drawn to the more expensive ones, such as a cute Valentino shoulder bag, a delicious raspberry tote from Rochas and a stylish Victoria Beckham mini tote in new blue.  It took me a while to find a selection of colourful bags that I liked and that didn't cost hundreds of euros - however the good news is that only two of the ones shown below cost over 100€.

When it comes to buying bags we are spoilt for choice, with so many different styles and colours available in the shops. You may notice that all of the ones I have picked either have handles that can be slung over my shoulder or straps that allow it to be worn cross-body. I do a lot of walking, in case you haven't guessed, and I do like to keep my hands free! Even though I set myself a budget, there were still many lovely bags to select from.

I have to admit that there were some very stylish bags in neutral colours, but in my view they would have made a rather boring outfit when added to the neutral basics shown above. However, going back to my original decision to limit the budget for this set, if you do intend to splash out on a new bag you would be wise to choose one in neutral colours that won't date and that will go with the majority of clothes in your wardrobe.

A final word of advice for petites: take care not to choose too large a bag as it will dominate you. Please note though that I don't always follow my own advice!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Making a statement - best foot forward

I've already hinted at it, so I'm sure you're not surprised to discover that this post is about wearing shoes and boots to add some colour to your basic outfit.  I'm using navy and dark grey for my basics, but you could always use brown and cream if you have warmer colouring.

If you wear brightly coloured footwear, which is making a statement in itself, you may want to pick up the colour in a scarf or necklace, but keep it more subtle than the examples in my earlier posts or people won't know where to look! If in doubt, stick to simpler styles in silver or gold as in my example below.

If you enjoy wearing brightly coloured shoes and like a sporty look, you are in luck at the moment as they are fashionable, so snap them up while you can! You probably don't want to spend a lot of money on your new purchase, which may very well look dated by this time next year. You could easily spend well over 100€ on a pair of Kenzo sneakers for example, however all of the shoes shown above cost less than 60€.

If you want to spend a bit more money on your footwear, you're better investing in a pair of good quality shoes in a classic style and in a neutral colour. In the meantime, I'm off to Decathlon sports shop in Murcia tomorrow, hoping to buy some comfortable (and possibly colourful) walking shoes to take me through the summer months. Hmm. Should I buy a pair of ballerinas in silver and pink, or the denim lace-ups or how about the red Skechers? As I do a lot of walking, the decision will have to be based on comfort rather than colour - though I'm hoping that I can combine the two!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Making a statement with jewellery

If you're not into scarves but you're looking for something to add interest to your basic outfit, how about wearing a statement necklace or some attractive arm candy (I'm talking bracelets here, in case you're deliberately misunderstanding me!)

Using the same basic outfits as shown in my previous post, I have added some necklaces and bangles to illustrate what I mean.  Please note though that I'm not suggesting wearing a statement necklace and a bangle at the same time, especially if you're a petite. If you prefer ear-rings to necklaces, you might like to add an interesting pair that either blends with or contrasts with your bracelet, which could be a flattering look if you need more colour near your face.

As I've pointed out before, wearing shoes that are a similar colour to your trousers is particularly helpful for petites, as it helps to draw the eye down and give the illusion that you are a bit taller. On the other hand I'm not know for sticking to fashion guidelines - and I might very well be tempted to wear a pair of red shoes with a red necklace or bracelet, just because I love a pop of red!

I'm very much aware that some of my over 60 readers may have retired and not have the disposable income that they enjoyed while working. If you click on the following link, you will be able to see the items that I have chosen from Polyvore when creating the above collage. Only two of the necklaces and one bangle cost over 100€, which I hope demonstrates that it is possible to create interesting outfits even when you're on a limited budget. The other pieces of jewellery shown are from cheaper stores like Forever 21.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Making a statement with scarves

All right - you've been following the advice on my blog (and many other bloggers' fashion-based websites) and have built a wardrobe based on neutrals. You reach into your wardrobe in the morning, confident in the knowledge that you have a coordinated collection of clothes and that every top will go with every skirt and pair of trousers. You decide to wear a navy top with charcoal grey trousers and slip on a pair of navy brogues before checking your outfit in the mirror. You look smart enough and reasonably stylish, but something is missing. Perhaps you should wear a skirt and loafers with your top instead? Your problem is that your outfit is a little bit - dare I say it? - boring. It doesn't reflect either who you are or who you want to be.  Looking at you, people wouldn't have a clue about your style personality.  So what can you do?

I enjoy wearing scarves and have built up a reasonable collection of different coloured scarves, some of which are more suitable for the winter months, but I also have many lightweight scarves that I can wear any time of the year. This is what I would probably do with the above outfits to give them a bit of oomph.
I enjoy making a statement with scarves, and I find them particularly helpful when I'm going on holiday, as they are so light and don't take up much room in my case.  I know many of you aren't fans of scarves though. However don't despair as you can make a statement of your own and liven up your basic outfit with other accessories, as I'll show you in the next post.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Pesky pop-up ads are driving me crazy!

This bag is following me around!
I appreciate that advertising is a necessary evil.  In the UK, independent TV channels rely on advertising to pay for all the programmes that their viewers enjoy. It's the same with Spanish TV, where they often tell you how many minutes you have until the programme that you are watching returns, so at least you know whether you have time to make a cup of tea during the break for adverts. Occasionally, TV adverts are entertaining and actually worth watching!

My son is one of four young people who have launched a free newspaper in London called "The Peckham Peculiar", and they are obviously relying on advertising to cover their costs. I don't have any problems with this and neither will their readers, as this is what people expect, especially with free publications.

I buy women's magazines from time to time (living in Spain, I find it helpful for improving my Spanish) and most of these are full of adverts.  That's fine, as all I do is turn over the pages until I reach the articles that I want to read and for the most part I ignore the adverts.

We are surrounded by advertising in the modern world, so why do I find it particularly annoying when I come across adverts on-line?

I go into my email account, and I see sneaky little adverts there that are based on the content of my emails. Facebook is even worse: currently I am being tempted by mobile phone deals in both English and Spanish as well as shoes, jeans and car insurance. Sometimes the offers are so embarrassing that I couldn't possibly share them with you!

How about the La Redoute advert above, that popped up on my screen when I was looking at another blog? Is it just a coincidence that I had looked at the La Redoute website last week? If I want to buy something from their website, I don't need them to send me not-too-subtle hints. I'll make my own mind up, thank you.

I swear that the bag I've shown at the beginning of this post is following me around. I see it everywhere and I'm convinced that I'm going to start dreaming about it soon. There's no escaping from it, however it's a pointless advertising ploy, as I've already bought a different bag from that website and have no intention of buying another one.

Does anyone else find these advertising tricks really annoying? Far from encouraging me to visit their websites, it actually has the opposite effect and makes me want to avoid them like the plague. I considered signing up for adverts on this blog, in the vague hope that I might earn a few pennies from them, but I don't want to annoy my readers.  If I did so, would it put you off and stop you looking at my blog? Am I the only one to be annoyed by all these adverts that keep popping up?

Friday, 11 April 2014

Tips for looking taller

If I'm being totally honest with you, although I would like to look taller (as I'm only 5' and a bit), what I would really like is to look thinner. As I've said before, when you're short every extra pound shows. I'm not helped by the fact that I'm rectangular in shape, so when I do put on weight it makes me look dumpy rather than curvy. My view is that if only I were a little bit taller, then I would appear to be a lot thinner!

One of the first tips that I have found when researching this topic is to wear a column of colour. The obvious example is a black top with black trousers, however this isn't a good combination for most over 60s as black can be too harsh a colour. Another possibility, which is a bit more flattering for most women of a certain age, would be a navy jacket or cardigan worn with navy trousers or skirt plus a brightly coloured top in your best colours underneath. The general aim is for your eyes to be drawn downwards, creating an illusion of being taller than you are. It will of course be a bonus if this makes you look thinner at the same time.

It's clear that the model in the photo above is tall and slim anyway, but hopefully this illustrates the point that I am making. Wearing shoes that match the colour of your trousers also helps to elongate you.

Another tip is to wear outfits with vertical lines rather than horizontal ones. The trousers from Zara shown below are a good example, however I think a more subtle stripe would be better for petites, who can be overwhelmed by bold patterns. I own a pair of navy and white striped trousers that I usually wear during the summer months as they are cropped. The slight stripe means that they are more flattering than ordinary cropped trousers would be on a shorter person. As mentioned above, wearing cropped trousers with shoes of the same colour helps to create a longer line. Alternatively, they can be worn with shoes that match your skin colour.

I love stripes, but most of my striped garments are tops with horizontal stripes, which goes against all the rules for looking taller and slimmer. Take a look at the outfit below, as an example. I usually avoid monochrome outfits, so although I am wearing navy jeans, a navy and white striped top plus a navy and white floral scarf (scoring points for the column of colour), I have added a red belt and red shoes. These of course break up the slimming effect and make me look shorter! Does this really matter? I don't think so, as I enjoyed wearing this outfit and that's the most important thing in my view. At the end of the day I am a short person, so though it's good occasionally to create the illusion that I'm a bit taller, I'm not really deceiving anyone!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Spring holiday capsule using warmer colours

I know!  I've been a bit single-minded when creating my spring holiday capsules, concentrating on the colours that flatter me the most, and totally neglecting those of you who have warm colouring and don't look as good in cooler shades. Better late than never: I have now created a holiday capsule using warmer tones.

Navy and grey can work for women with warm colouring, depending on the shade chosen, but I decided to ignore navy and grey this time and use different neutrals, which will blend better with the other colours that I've chosen.

Without further ado, here is my spring holiday capsule using warmer colours.

The majority of the tops and bottoms will go well with each other, especially if you look at the two pairs of trousers that can be worn during the day-time, and the flat shoes will be perfect for sight-seeing. I have included a pencil skirt, pair of heels, clutch bag and necklace to create a smarter look suitable for the evenings. There is also a jacket for when it turns a bit cooler.

Do you think that this capsule would be flexible enough for you if you were packing for a spring holiday?