Thursday, 29 August 2013

A question of scale

No, I'm not talking about de-scaling kettles, though where we live the water is very hard.  Vinegar is the answer to getting rid of limescale, in case anyone is disappointed that the topic of this post isn't what they expected.  The scale that I'm talking about is for patterns on clothes and whether small-scale,  medium-scale or large-scale looks best.

I'm a petite (I'm talking height-wise - before anyone comments that I don't look that tiny!), so I have to be very careful with patterns. I've written several posts on the subject of colour and making sure that the colour doesn't wear you rather than the other way round. This becomes even more important when it comes to patterns: too large a pattern and you notice the clothes rather than the individual person wearing them. Bearing in mind the fact that I'm short, which of the two looks below do you think is better on me?

I love the colour of the first shirt, which is why I bought it in the first place, but if I'm honest I think the check is probably a bit too large for me, or it could be the contract between the turquoise and the white which makes it appear that way. What do you think about the two outfits below, showing different patterns?  

The first photo is interesting because I am wearing a chunky necklace as well as a patterned dress, so that stands out as much as the pattern on my dress. In the background, by the way, you can see my husband wearing a checked shirt. Although it has large checks that is fine for him, as he is over 6 feet tall!

In the second photo I am wearing a less chunky necklace and, although there is a fair bit of contrast between the blue and white of my top, I don't think it dominates in the same way as the checked shirt did.

As I said earlier, it's not just a matter of colour: those of us who are smaller also need to make sure that any patterns don't overwhelm us. Of course any larger and/or taller ladies will get away with medium to large scale patterns, but they will need to take care with small-scale patterns.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Packing with Four by Four: navy and coral

I have borrowed this idea (ok, "pinched"  it if you want to be pedantic!) from the imaginative Janice of "The Vivienne Files". I'm sure that I'm not the only fashion blogger who has been inspired by her blog and I bet that I won't be the last. Her latest post made me think of my upcoming holiday to Ávila and Madrid and what to pack.  I suggest that you read her post first and then come back to see how I've interpreted it using my own wardrobe - Janice's version.

This is what I will probably wear for travelling. I haven't quite decided between this cardigan or my new coral jacket. It may be cool on the train if the carriage has good air conditioning, plus we have been told it could be cooler at night in Ávila because of its high altitude. I will certainly need only one of them, as it will be hot during the day.

The navy and white striped trousers are good for travelling as they hardly crease and the navy sleeveless top is loose and lightweight, making this a perfect combination for the train journey.

Here are my own versions of the four dark neutrals and the lighter four that Janice showed.

I don't have many lighter neutral tops, as I do love wearing brighter colours, so I have included a yellow vest. Reflecting on this, it might be a good idea to add a tan or light khaki top to my wardrobe. I do have a cardigan that would have matched the bottoms shown, but I'm hoping it will be far too hot to need it!

Janice added a pair of jeans, but I think it will be far too hot for them even in the evenings, so I have included a dress in my final four items, plus a dressy top for going out at night. I will be carrying a beige tote bag that has a clutch bag attached, which I can unzip and use in the evening. My other additions will be a pair of low heeled shoes for a smarter look at night and a couple of pairs of shoes for traipsing around during the daytime, similar to the ones from Decathlon shown below. I have an older grey and turquoise pair plus a dark brown pair, that are ideal for my delicate feet when doing a lot of walking on holidays.
Although I haven't gone through the number of possible combinations the way Janice did, I suspect that my version has far too many clothes for just one week, even allowing for the fact that we like to change if we are going out for the evening. My final version will probably have just a couple of pairs of trousers and maybe one skirt, though I may be tempted to take all the tops so I don't have to wash clothes while we're away! 

I think this is a good exercise to do prior to packing for any trip and particularly helpful if you are flying to your destination and don't want to exceed the airline's weight limit. I laid all the clothes out on the bed prior to packing for our UK trip to see which tops and bottoms went together and I even removed a couple of items once I could see all the possibilities I had for different outfits.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

A Woman's Prerogative?

Last year I declared that "cute" wasn't a good look for the over 60s and maybe it was time for me to grow up. This is the original post: is cute a good look for over 60s?. However I'm a woman, and we women are allowed to change our minds, aren't we? Over the last 12 months I have been looking at Dressing Your Truth (DYT) and, according to their guidelines, I am a type one. Guess what? Type ones are described as bright, animated and cute!

So was I right in saying that cute wasn't a good look for over 60s? I think it's probably a matter of how much cuteness we over 60s should allow ourselves. I had already thrown out some t-shirts with really cute pictures on them, and clothes that had far too many frills, which I think was the right decision. There is a thin line between cute and juvenile, especially for the more mature woman!

Pre DYT outfit
I had discarded black and brightly coloured tops as well, which I think was also a wise decision. These colours wore me rather than the other way round and black in particular is too harsh for most women of a certain age. If you look at the photo above I look a bit washed out, even though I was wearing make-up, whereas I think I look far better in the following photos where I am wearing brighter colours.


Many of my trousers and skirts stayed, however they are mainly neutral colours such as the navy, stone and brown trousers in the photos above. In these photos I am wearing DYT colours - the three tops are all purchases from the DYT type one store - but that is only part of the story. What I like about type one colours is that they are tints, i.e. pure colours with white in them, which are flattering against more mature skins. All of these tops are very light to wear, which is a feature that has always influenced me when choosing new clothes. In the three outfits I am wearing light, colourful accessories, which is very much a type one trait too.

With DYT, unlike some seasonal colour analysis systems, clothes don't have to exactly match your colour card, so long as they are in harmony with it and "pop".  If I go shopping without my colour card, but I am wearing a top or scarf that I know is the right colour, all I need to do is check whether my new purchase goes with what I'm wearing.

The shapes for type one are circles, stars and hearts, so design lines should reflect this e.g. rounded jacket bottoms, round or v-necklines. Pushed up sleeves and skirt lines that flare are also good looks for us.

Chunky textures are out - clothes should feel crisp and have a light weave. Light to medium weight fabrics are the best choice, with fabrics that look crisp and feel light and fresh on the body. The best patterns are animated with small and/or medium shapes and light, upward movement in the designs. A lot of these features work well for me as a petite size.

I've said it before - but it's worth repeating - that too many of these colour and style systems are overly prescriptive and you do have to use your own intuition and a bit of common sense. When I've looked on-line at the DYT store, there have been many items there that didn't appeal (either the colour wasn't one of my best colours or the style was a bit too fussy for me) but equally there have been many items that I have loved.

One type one tip that I have deliberately avoided though is wearing a flower in my hair. The look of horror on my daughter's face when I suggested that I might try one for the recent family wedding was enough to reassure me that this idea was best forgotten! I wore the flower on the lapel of my jacket instead, so everyone was happy.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Warm or cool colours - does it matter?

Many of us have tried colour analysis in the past and been defined as either a warm or cool season. In my case I was described as a Winter, which apparently was because I had cool, deep colouring. Maybe I did when I was in my late 30s - though none of the icy colours suited me - but I certainly don't have now!

Things have moved on since then and I recently decided to try Dressing my Truth, which is based on your energy type and your nature rather than the colour of your skin, hair and eyes. I am a type one bright, animated woman, which means that I look better in light tints rather than deep tones. I don't have a colour swatch to match up with clothes like I did with colour analysis, just a colour card to hold up against any items that I am considering buying to see if they 'pop'.

What I've noticed is that both warm and cool tints are included on my card (the main absentee is black!) so I thought I would carry out an experiment. Do you think that I look better in the cool tints or the warmer ones, or do you agree that both groups suit me equally?

The above are cooler shades, though I think the second green top has a warmer look to it than the green and navy striped top - and the orange scarf is obviously the odd man out.

The second group of photos shows me wearing tops in the warmer shades, with blue or navy trousers and a turquoise scarf as contrast.

As I have already mentioned Dressing Your Truth, I should point out that the third photo in each group, counting from the left, is of an outfit that I bought from the DYT type one store. Both the purple top and orange scarf in the top row are right for my type, plus the coral top in the second group. Unlike seasonal colour analysis, dressing your truth is more that just wearing the right colours: design lines, texture, fabrication and pattern are also important. At the end of the day though, if you follow your own instincts, you will hopefully choose the right colours and garments to suit you as an individual.