Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Presenting my prize outfit!

Last year I entered a "Complete the Look" competition organised by Catherine of "Not Dressed as Lamb" in partnership with Kaleidoscope.  Catherine had selected three items with the theme "Autumn Shopping Days" and we had to pick a fourth item to complete the outfit. Other readers then voted for their favourite of the four looks that Catherine had chosen and I was delighted when I heard that I was the winner. I didn't receive the prize until my recent visit to London because it had to be sent to a UK address so, as I'd already arranged to visit my daughter Vicky in January, I gave Catherine her address in Greenwich. One of the first things I did when I arrived at Vicky's house was to try on my prize outfit.  Here it is below:

To be honest, I'm not 100% sure about the poncho on me.  What do you think? The colours aren't particularly good for me, though I could wear it with a scarf or necklace in more flattering colours.  Also, as I'm only 5' and a bit (the bit is very important, so don't you dare forget it!) the style makes me look even shorter than I am.  However it was a prize and I'm very grateful to receive it, plus there's nothing like throwing on a poncho before going for a walk in the countryside or into town on a chilly day - so I'm sure that I'll be wearing it a lot.

Did you notice my bag? You're not the only one. I was sitting in a café in Marks & Spencer while I was in London when I heard a voice say: "Isn't that bag lovely!" I turned to see the two women at the next table staring at my new bag. Yes it's a lovely bag, ladies - and I won it in a competition! Aren't I lucky?

How about these boots? I chose them myself as the fourth item in the competition, so I'm very happy with them too. I took them for a test drive this morning and, apart from a wobble or two on an uneven piece of pavement, they were fine for walking to our regular Tuesday morning get-together for coffee.  I have real problems finding shoes and boots that are comfortable and stylish, so it's good to know that I can wear these for short walks into town to go to the theatre or out for a meal with friends, whilst hanging on to John's arm in case of wobbles.

The jeans in the top photo are the ones that I won (the bottom picture shows the pair I'm wearing today). They fit well apart from the length, but I suspected this would be the case. I take UK size 12 but I need short and not regular jeans and these are way too long for me. As Vicky isn't much taller than me she would need them shortening too, however my step-daughter Sarah said she needs a new pair of jeans, and she's a lot taller than I am, so I think Sarah may be getting an early birthday present!

Monday, 27 January 2014

My Personal Style Session

There weren't any major surprises in store for me when I returned to see Fiona Ingham of The House of Colour for my Personal Style session, however I still found it very helpful and I came away with some excellent guidelines for future purchases.

The Style session included many elements such as body shapes, body geometrics, proportion & balance and personality, but it also focussed on my  individual requirements. Obviously I don't need to build up a work wardrobe or worry about dressing for success now that I've retired, but other women might find those topics helpful.

My objectives were to understand my shape and proportions so that I could choose the most flattering clothes to create a balanced look. Our bodies change as we get older. Even if I was still as slim as I was in my 20s and 30s (sadly I'm not), I am now an inch shorter, so it was helpful to have an informed opinion about what suits my changing body. Early in the session Fiona asked me how I would like to be perceived,  to which I answered "stylish", so that was a definite challenge for her!

Having spent some time recently looking at body shapes, I wasn't surprised to be told that I was a straight rectangle with an oblong face. My body proportions are fairly well balanced, though I have a long neck so my top half is half an inch longer than my bottom half. It was great to be given guidelines for my best shapes for expensive items such as jackets, coats and dresses. As I'm only just over 5' tall (by the half inch mentioned earlier!) I know that there are certain limitations to what I can wear. With Fiona´s help I now have a list of the best lengths and the most flattering shapes on me for tops, trousers, skirts, dresses, jackets and coats. Armed with this information and the wallet of my best colours, I expect to find clothes shopping a lot easier in future.

I enjoyed the exercises on understanding your personality, where we looked at my Yang and Yin personality. This was my second session with Fiona, so when we were looking at certain questions she told me how she perceived me,  which proved very interesting.  As someone who can be very disorganised and indecisive, and who is a bit of a hoarder, it was good to know that I appear to be more organised and decisive than I really am! I was also reassured to be told that, at the grand old age of 66, I still come across as natural and youthful rather than mature and sophisticated. I scored slightly more on Yin than Yang, however I am clearly not a Romantic or Ingenue (both are more Yin) and I'm a long way from being a Dramatic or Classic, which are more Yang.  Natural and Gamine both came in the middle.

Audrey Hepburn is one of my style icons, so I was thrilled to be told that I'm a "Gamine" like her. Other well-known Gamines include Zoe Wanamaker, Danni Minogue and Victoria Beckham - though I don't think Victoria Beckham and I have a lot in common! Words to describe a Gamine include: quirky, boyish, witty and fun, youthful and French Chic. Oh la la!  I'm a Natural Gamine, which means I should add a natural or textured look to my clothes.

Fiona gave me loads of tips to make the most of my body shape and proportions and enhance my personal style. In the photo below I am trying on a long bold necklace, which looks totally wrong on me. The small delicate necklace I tried on first wasn't much better.

This long bold necklace doesn't suit me

My medium scale necklace is far more flattering
I was pleased that Fiona approved of the medium scale necklace above, as it was the one I had chosen to wear to my style consultation. The Mango jacket with rolled up cuffs  that I was wearing also won the seal of approval as did my grey ankle boots and my new Clark´s bag, which will feature in my next post. I also brought along a top that didn't really work for me, so Fiona explained why it wasn't working and what I could do to improve it.

Having worn a couple of dresses that are above my knees recently (albeit with dark tights), and having been complimented on these looks, I was delighted to be told that dresses and skirts on or just above my knees are perfect for me. I usually wear trousers during the day, which is typical of a Gamine, and I enjoy using accessories to add contemporary, funky, quirky or fun details to my look. My short hairstyle is ideal for a Natural Gamine, so it looks as if I was instinctively making some of the right choices.

The Women's Personal Style booklet contained some very helpful charts, such as the one about creating interest, where you can work out if you are underdressed or if your outfit is too distracting and you are overdressed. The mix and match chart is also useful and is similar to the Wardrobe Clusters that I wrote about earlier in the month.

Thank you for all your hard work Fiona in helping this Natural Gamine become more stylish. I would recommend a style session for any of you who are in a style rut or not really sure what looks flatter you the most.

Stop press! Fiona has just sent me an update advising which of the current trends will work for Natural Gamines. Time to hit the sales, I think!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Using make-up to enhance your style

Day 9 of the New Year Style Challenge and the theme for today is: How can make up enhance your style? In my case, as my style is best described as (would-be) casual chic, less is definitely more. One of the most unexpected compliments that I've received was many years ago, when a guy that I worked with told me that he had seen me hurrying across the square first thing that morning and that I had looked really lovely. I'd had an urgent phone-call that morning and all I had time to do was brush my hair before rushing out sans make-up. Having said that, nowadays I need to work hard to achieve that same natural glow!

In the photo above I'm not wearing a lot of make-up apart from a bright lipstick. When I went for my colour analysis last year I was pleased to be told that Winters look their best wearing bright lipstick as I'm definitely a lipstick girl - that's the "chic" part of my look!  Interestingly enough my consultant suggested that I wear a light tinted moisturiser rather than a heavier foundation, which appeals to the "casual" side of me. Over 60s should take care when applying foundation to hide their wrinkles, as too heavy a layer can settle into their wrinkles and emphasise them instead.

Do you remember the days when we matched our eye-shadow to our clothes? Nowadays women don't worry about that, however what is important is to choose the most flattering shades for your colouring, so now I know to choose cooler tones.

Here's a photo of me where my lipstick seems to have disappeared and without that colour on my lips I look a bit pale and tired:

I usually add a touch more make-up for the evening, but rarely wear blusher as I'm never sure that I'm applying it in the right place! I do wear eye make-up, though it's usually just eye shadow and mascara because I don't have the patience for eye-liner. It's quite clear that I wouldn't be very successful if my style was sophisticated, dramatic or edgy as my make-up definitely wouldn't enhance my style!

Do you wear make-up? If so, how does that work with your personal style?


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

My challenging hair

Day 8 of the New Year Style Challenge asks us to consider whether our hairstyle enhances our style.  This is a tricky one for me, as my hair has always been challenging.  I had hoped that once I was over 60 my hair would turn a lovely silver colour and would become thick and coarse.  It may sound strange to anyone with thick hair, but if your hair has been fine all your life you will probably sympathise with me.

It wasn't too bad when I was younger because although my hair was fine it was reasonably thick, which tended to confuse hairdressers when I walked into their salon. It used to take me a long time to dry my hair so,  although I kept my hair long when I was younger, once I started running in my late thirties I tended to go for shorter styles.

My face shape is long, closest to an oval shape, so I looked at the guidelines for that shape and was delighted to see that one of the celebrities with a similar shaped face was Anne Hathaway. Yes, Anne Hathaway of the cute pixie crop. Having fine hair, which sadly is a lot thinner nowadays, as well as being short in stature, long hair is no longer a good style for me. A short layered cut seems to suit me more now that I'm over 60.  You may notice that in all of these picture I have a fringe (or bangs as some people say). For those of us with long faces, a fringe makes our faces look more balanced. Luckily it is particularly good for over 60s as it hides some of our wrinkles and disguises a receding hairline!

In my late teens, with my youngest brother

In my late thirties - not a flattering outfit!
My style is casual chic, so the shorter hairstyle shown below is ideal for both my lifestyle and my fashion style. What about you ? What influences your choice of hairstyle?

Over 60 and over here!

Putting my best foot forward

The theme for day 7 of the New Year Style Challenge is: Do your shoes shine? My immediate response was "yes, I always polish my shoes"! but obviously this isn't what Sylvia was getting at. She was emphasising the importance of the shoes you choose when you are planning what outfit to wear. The simpler the outfit, the fancier your shoes can be and vice versa.

I love wearing funky shoes, however most of the amazing trendy shoes that I try on don't love me back, so I often have to settle for safe and boring shoes that I know will be comfortable. As I'm just over 5' tall, very high heels wouldn't look right on me anyway, which is fortunate given my fussy feet! I'm always looking for fun shoes that are good for walking in and as my style is casual chic, low-heeled or flat shoes suit both me and my lifestyle. If I'm wearing an outfit in neutral colours, my favourite way to add a pop of colour is with my shoes, which is why I have red laced shoes, green laced shoes and leopard print ballerinas as well as the usual grey, black and navy shoes and boots.

Our challenge for day 7 was to pick an outfit and create three different looks in Polyvore by varying the shoes to go with it. If I was looking in my wardrobe for the shoes I would probably pick my grey low-heeled booties, navy loafers  and black medium-heeled shoes, however I thought it would be more fun to use shoes that I don't own to see what I could come up with. The top and trousers above are already in my wardrobe, so I've used these for my basic outfit.

I will be using Polyvore first of all to create my three looks, however once I've finished there the outfits will appear on my Pinterest board. Hopefully this will be completed by 18.00 Spanish time as I also need to complete today's challenge!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Using the full potential of accessories

We've reached day 6 of the New Year Style Challenge and the theme of the day is: do you use the full potential of your accessories? As an additional challenge, we have to choose an outfit and accessorise it in three different ways - how could I resist?

This is the basic outfit: my new lobelia top from Kettlewell and a pair of charcoal trousers from Marks and Spencer. It's an outfit that is ideal for wearing for both casual and slightly smarter occasions.

These are some of my day to day accessories:


However sometimes I prefer a dressier look, in which case I might choose the following accessories:

Or how about these funky accessories?
It's all too easy to get into the habit of wearing a particular outfit in a particular way. It's either a casual outfit or one of your smarter ones. Even a pair of jeans can be worn in the evening with a dressy top, some killer heels and a statement necklace - and look completely different. I already own the silver cascade cardigan, so now all I have to do is buy those wedge shoes and the handbag to create a totally different outfit! Or maybe the zebra cuff, gorgeous rose silk handbag or skull print scarf?

Friday, 10 January 2014

Adding interest with prints

Today's assignment for the New Year Style Challenge is to add interest to your outfits using prints and texture. Click on the link above if  you want to join in. It's free, there's a lot of helpful information and you may even win a prize!

My first reaction was that I always use colour to add interest, but then when I started thinking about it I realised that I do use prints on a regular basis too, particularly with scarves.



Most of the prints show above are stripes. I do love stripes and they have become a wardrobe staple of mine, however a word of warning here. I'm just over 5' tall and the accepted fashion advice is for petite women to avoid horizontal stripes. Yes, you've noticed, these are all horizontal stripes. Did I once say that rules are meant to be broken? If you are over 60, short and not as slender as you used to be, maybe horizontal stripes aren't the best look for you but hey, you're over 60 - if you like them, wear them!

It may be the way that I'm standing in the photos, but I think the third photo, where I'm wearing the navy and white striped jumper with bright pink jeans, makes me look wider and shorter than the one on the bottom row with navy jeans. What do you think?

If you look closely you will see that the dress in the first photo is navy with tiny dots, and you can't miss the polka dots on the blue top in the bottom row.  I also have a shorter sleeveless empire line dress in navy with dots. My other favourite pattern is, in case you haven't guessed, polka dots. Like stripes, polka dots don't really go out of fashion.

I have been a bit wary of embracing the animal print trend, but it's fast becoming a classic like stripes and polka dots. I have a leopard print scarf and some leopard print ballet shoes, both of which are great for preventing an outfit from becoming boring. Talking of animal prints, I am being very tempted by the latest clothes and accessories in houndstooth. I think I'll leave space in my suitcase when I go to London in 8 days' time - just in case!

The final photo above is the dark brown dress that I bought for my 60th birthday party. It's a very subtle pattern, which is ideal for petites. The best advice on wearing patterns is to stick to small or maybe medium prints if you are petite and go for large or possibly medium prints if you're taller. Like many things in life, it's a matter of balance.

What about florals? I do have one or two summery items of clothing in floral patterns, but I tend to avoid florals as they can be a bit "old lady".  I know! I'm 66 years old, so I officially count as an "old lady" - but I don't have to advertise it, do I?

Thursday, 9 January 2014

My colour dilemma

Do you find yourself drawn to certain colours? I do and they tend to be bright shades, which doesn't make life easy if you then realise that they just don't flatter your colouring. Last year I bought a coral jacket from the Wallis on-line store.  I tried it on when it arrived and I thought that it looked fine on me - that's my husband's favourite word, by the way. When asked for his opinion about a new item of clothing, inevitably he says that it looks "fine".  I tried the jacket on in August when my hair had been tinted a golden shade by the sun, and my freckles were showing up too, so I think that helped me look "fine" in it!

When I went for my colour analysis session in October I fully expected to be told that I was one of the warmer seasons and was somewhat surprised when I discovered that I was a Winter. There is nothing remotely like coral in the wallet of my best colours!  Should I throw out my coral jacket? This is my dilemma.

Today's challenge in the New Year Style Challenge is all about colour and includes advice on how to wear colours that don't really flatter you.  Maybe this will provide a solution to my dilemma?

The idea is that, if you wear any unflattering colours, to also wear colours that do flatter you and these should be close to your face, such as a necklace or scarf. It's unfortunate that the unflattering colour in this instance is the colour of a jacket, which is also close to my face. Perhaps I can get away with wearing the jacket if I wear the black t-shirt and dark grey trousers shown above with it, and this scarf around my neck?

I could also wear the jacket with navy or other shades of blue that I know suit me.

My blue bead necklace would contrast well with the jacket, or maybe the cobalt scarf below would help distract attention away from the bright coral colour.
Apart from its colour this jacket was a good buy, as it is in a petite size and it fits me well, so I'm reluctant to part with it. What do you think? Do you have any clothes, particularly tops, that aren't in colours that flatter you? If they are perfect for you in every other way, would wearing your best colours near your face allow you to keep the offending garment and be confident that you look good in it?

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

New Year Style Challenge: 10 pieces, 1 week of style

This mini challenge within the New Year Style Challenge is timely, as I will be flying to London a week on Saturday. The idea is to select ten items of clothing, including shoes, to create interesting outfits for the next week. Although most of the tops shown below are colourful, the trousers, shoes and shoulder bag that I will be taking are all neutral.

A couple of these tops are fairly basic, however I will pack some chunky necklaces and scarves, which will help to add some interest. The silver grey cascade cardigan will be worn with my blue three-quarter sleeved top and also with the pink short-sleeved top,

The trousers shown above are charcoal grey and the shoes are navy blue.  I now have to confess that, although these are my clothes for the week, I will also have the outfit that I plan to travel in, giving me my favourite navy denims and a pair of grey boots to add to the mix. I will check the weather forecast before I pack: if it shows cold weather in the UK, I will wear a thicker cardigan under my winter coat as well as warm gloves and a scarf.

As you can see my travel capsule is a casual one, which is consistent with my personal style of casual chic.  I would like to think I am going to look chic too - no doubt my daughters will give me their verdict on that!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Creating wardrobe clusters - clusters 3 and 4

I started so I thought I'd better finish! Here are the last two clusters, based upon my black jeans and grey pencil skirt.  In the previous post I showed you my completed form, which Janice of The Vivienne Files kindly sent to me. If you click on the above link and ask her nicely, I know she'll oblige you too.

It's interesting to look at the differences between Janice's clusters and mine.  Hers are based more heavily on neutrals (though she's not averse to a pop of colour) and ooze class and elegance. Mine are far more casual and you can see how much I love colour, though there are neutrals there too. Vive la différence!

First up is my Cluster 3, where I started with my black M&S Sculpt and Lift straight legged jeans. You must admit that is a tempting description for any over 60 woman who isn't as firm as she used to be! I selected another three tops specifically to go with these jeans, though I can wear many of the tops in the other clusters with them.

Coincidentally, when I looked at Janice's blog for the link, I spotted that she just written a post based upon a Picasso painting, though not the one above.

Finally here is Cluster 4, starting with a grey pencil skirt, which I wear for the occasional smart occasions that I attend. I've only shown a couple of accessories from each cluster - the full list is given in my previous post.

As regular readers will know, I am trying to stick to 33 items of clothing for the next three months as part of Project 333. I have used 21 garments within these 4 clusters and as you can see I could easily swap them around to form different clusters and obviously create even more outfits.

I have to admit that when I first started writing this blog my wardrobe was not as versatile as it is now.  I suspect that a year ago it would have been impossible to create one cluster from my clothes, never mind four! If you are planning to clear out your wardrobe (New Year's resolution anyone?) then this system could prove very helpful in selecting your best pieces to keep and working out which items aren't working and should be discarded. Or, like Robin, next time you are planning a holiday you can use it to assemble your travel wardrobe.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Creating wardrobe clusters - clusters 1 and 2

This is the post that I promised you yesterday. The best place to start reading about this concept is on Janice's blog: The Vivienne Files. I love her idea of enjoying some wine while you clear out your wardrobe, but if you're a red wine drinker like me it could end up in tears, with red wine spilt on your favourite dress. Better to wait until you've finished and reward yourself with a celebratory drink!

Janice also posted about her helpful Wardrobe Cluster form, which she has kindly offered to email to anyone else who would like to use it. Click on the above link to Janice's blog for details on how to contact her.

Please note that there is a final column for outerwear, however I have hidden it here as the font would have been so small that I - for one - wouldn't have been able to read it! Janice didn't have any problems with her form so make sure you take a look at her example too. In case you are curious, my outerwear consisted of an indigo down jacket, a black and white wool coat and a navy trench-coat, all of which can be worn with every cluster listed below.

I started with one of my favourite items of clothing: dark navy jeans anyone? I then pulled out of my wardrobe some of the tops that I like to wear with these jeans and finally I selected some accessories to complete the outfits. If I was going away for a casual weekend I could begin by packing the garments in Cluster 1, throw in a scarf and couple of pieces of jewellery from the next two columns and then choose a pair of shoes and a bag from the final column.

Cluster 2 is a bit smarter than Cluster 1 and would be ideal for a city break, with the addition of a skirt or a dress for dining out. I have plenty of tops that I can wear with my charcoal trousers, so this Cluster also works well. I don't have a huge wardrobe so you will notice a bit of repetition with the accessories, but I still have lots of options.

Hopefully by now you will have spotted the cunning plan behind this method of sorting out your wardrobe. If you select a skirt or pair of trousers and can't find any other items to form a cluster with it, you will have identified a wardrobe orphan and will know why you never wear that piece of clothing! With luck you will also discover that many of your favourite pieces are ideal as garments to form the basis of different clusters and you may even find several new outfits without the need to hit the January sales.

The Vivienne Files Cluster Collector
garmentssoft accessoriesjewelleryleather goods
Cluster 1
Dark navy jeansBlue fantasy scarf setGold link chokerNavy loafers
Green and navy striped topShades of blue wool scarfTurquoise necklaceGreen laced shoes
Red and navy striped topGreen ring
Navy and white striped topRose River cotton toteGrey and navy satchel
Green cashmere cardiganGreen satchel
garmentssoft accessoriesjewelleryleather goods
Cluster 2
Charcoal straight trousersBlue fantasy scarf setGold necklaceNavy loafers
Purple long sleeved topPink wool scarfSilver link necklaceGrey short boots
Blue long sleeved topBlue bead necklace
Fuchsia short-sleeved topSilver ringGrey and navy satchel
Lobelia long sleeved topGreen satchel
Silver grey cascade cardiganRose River cotton tote
garmentssoft accessoriesjewelleryleather goods
Cluster 3
Black jeansBlue fantasy scarf setGold link collarGreen laced shoes
Green long sleeved topBlack wool scarfSilver flower pendantBlack low heeled shoes
Raspberry short-sleeved topPicasso print scarfBlack and silver choker
Pink long sleeved topGold braceletGrey and navy satchel
Black cardiganRose River cotton toteGreen satchel
garmentssoft accessoriesjewelleryleather goods
Cluster 4
Grey pencil skirtBlue fantasy scarf setSilver tear necklaceBlack shoe boots
Red jumperBlack and white zebra scarfPearl double strand necklaceBlack low heeled shoes
Purple, black and grey topGrey animal print wool scarfRed watch
Navy peplum topGrey and navy satchel
Grey cardiganRose River cotton toteGreen satchel 

These photos show you some of the items in my Cluster 1:

Below you can see some items from my Cluster 2:

The scarf shown has made four appearances as it's so versatile. It's actually two scarves - one in shades of blue and the other in green and purple - and they can be worn together or separately. Talking about versatility, I could easily have swapped some of the tops in cluster 1 with some of the ones in cluster 2. 

Now it's your turn: select four of your favourite items of clothing and create four clusters around them. Keep these in a separate part of your wardrobe so you know you can grab anything from a particular cluster and have an outfit that looks good on you and that you enjoy wearing. I only wish that I'd known about this idea in my many years of working full-time with three growing children: it would have prevented a lot of early morning stress!

New Year Style Challenge

I know that I promised to tell you more about Janice of The Vivienne Files' great idea for helping you to sort out your wardrobe - do not fear, I will be posting again later today! - but I wanted to give you all the opportunity to take part in a New Year Style Challenge.

This is a challenge that my younger readers can take part in too - so long as you are over 40 - so no excuses.

The good news is that Sylvia is generously offering some prizes, so I am hoping that I may win my first prize of the year! You are encouraged to use Pinterest to help you to develop your style, though it isn't compulsory, and Sylvia explains how to do so on her blog. If you would like to check out my Pinterest board to give you some idea of what it's all about, just click here.

Sylvia's style assignment for day 1 is to answer the following question: how happy are you with your current style and why?

In my case I now love most of the clothes in my wardrobe, but that is only after blogging for about 18 months and, in the course of doing so, starting to think about my style. This was an early post of mine describing my wardrobe, which just about summed up my style at the time: my schizophrenic wardrobe. I do feel my style is developing in the right direction, but I still have some way to go. I'd probably give myself 6/10 now, whereas before it was more like 1/10.

Today's outfit is one that surprised me.  I'd seen lots of photos of peplum tops but didn't think it was a trend that would suit me. I tried this Hobbs top on out of curiosity: partly because I was looking for a navy top and partly because it was in the sale. It is now one of my favourite pieces, so the moral of the story is to try on different clothes and you too may surprise yourself.

Two trends in one: peplum top and coloured jeans!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Wardrobe review

In my previous post I looked back over the year, however in this one I am looking forward to the next 12 months and in particular to having a wardrobe that works for me. I am following Project 333 and have sorted out my 33 items of clothing to cover me from now until the end of March and I'm hoping that some of you might join me in this project. Click on the link Project 333 to find out more.

The official version of Project 333 includes shoes and other accessories and also jewellery. My cheat's version of Project 333 means that I have limited myself to 33 items of winter clothing that are hanging up in my wardrobe as we speak, however I have excluded accessories and jewellery. The rest of my winter clothes have either been donated to charity or stored away as "maybes". If I don't pull out any of the "maybes" on the basis that I have realised that they are "must haves", they will be donated next time round.

There are a lot of temptations in January shopping-wise, both on-line and when walking down your local high street. I'm talking about SALES or REBAJAS as they say here in Spain! The capitals are deliberate as most shop windows (or tempting emails in your inbox) have dramatic signs that you really can't miss, with the promise of amazing discounts to lure you in. I'm not trying to spoil your fun, but before you hit the sales why not do a review of your wardrobe to see what you really need? This is particularly helpful if you are taking part in Project 333.

When sorting out my wardrobe, I realised that it is starting to look a lot more coordinated than a year ago. About half of last winter's 33 has been retained (16 items to be precise); some items have been replaced (for example I bought a new pair of navy jeans), three tops were thrown out as they were past their best and a few things are now in the "maybe" pile.

Although you are restricted to 33 items of clothing, it doesn't mean you can't buy new clothes. Just remember the rule of one in, one out.  If you do decide to buy something new, make sure that it goes with other clothes in your wardrobe.  I have printed out photos of my winter 33 as an aide mémoire for when I go shopping and it really helps me to avoid those impulse buys that never really go with anything else.

Does this all sound a bit daunting? Are you put off by the idea of removing everything from your wardrobe and sorting it into 3 piles: things you love; things that should be thrown out or donated; your maybe pile? Do not fear, in my next post I will share an excellent way of clearing out your wardrobe with an idea borrowed from Janice of The Vivienne Files - so watch this space!