Monday, 31 March 2014

Spring holiday capsule - staying neutral

If I'm still dithering when I have to pack for my Spring holiday, I guess that I'll settle for neutrals. This will be a lot easier that it used to be, as I have been gradually building a more coordinated wardrobe since starting this blog, inspired by other bloggers such as Janice of "The Vivienne Files" and Tish of "A Femme d'un Certain Âge".

The beauty of a neutral wardrobe for a lover of bright colours like me is that I can pack lots of colourful scarves and other accessories to change the look of my outfits according to the mood of each day. If I have packed pinks, blues, greens or another dominant colour, then I have to live with my choice for the duration of my holiday. However if I have packed a rainbow of scarves and other accessories I can wear a different colour each day.

With so many colourful accessories to choose from I would probably pack a neutral dress for going out to dinner, so that my evening look could be as different as my daytime look.

A younger, blonder version of me!
This dress can be worn with pink accessories, or maybe blue or green - in fact, I could choose any colour of the rainbow to give it a pop of colour.

Alternatively, I could take my neutral bottoms and jacket then wear them with a host of different coloured tops. That sounds like more fun to me - what do you think?

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Spring holiday capsule - evergreens

The third colour option for my Spring holiday capsule is green, which was one of my favourite colours when I was younger and which is gradually working itself back into my favour. Green always makes me think of Spring, with green buds appearing, and it will go well with my navy jeans and charcoal trousers.  I used Polyvore to put together this capsule, so some of the items shown aren't mine but are very similar.  You will probably realise that there are warm greens here as well as cooler shades, which of course means that you should be able to find a green that will suit you, whether you have warm or cool colouring.

If the forecast looks promising when I'm packing in June, I may take some linen trousers instead of jeans and replace the long-sleeved tops with short-sleeved ones.

I don't have any green dresses to wear in the evening, however I have a green and gold top that might be suitable worn with a black skirt and a pair of heels. I have a lovely gold cuff that would go well with this too.

On the other hand, none of this is set in stone - and I might just decide to take my new blue dress as seen in the previous post!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Spring holiday capsule: singing the blues

Of course I may have become bored with pink by the time June arrives, so I thought I would look at other holiday capsule options for our late Spring holiday.  How about using blue? The jeans and one of the tops are navy by the way, as is the striped jacket, while the other pair of trousers is dark grey.

If you have cool colouring, blue can be a very flattering colour close to your face, especially once you are over 60. I have received many compliments recently when wearing some of my blue tops and in particular my new blue dress, which is shown below

The clothes shown above are the same or similar to ones that I have in my existing wardrobe - except for the blue and black shoes on the right.  My navy slip ons need replacing, so I am hoping to find another pair of shoes similar to the ones shown.

I will probably need to dress smartly for dinner on our holiday, so guess what I will be wearing in the evenings? I will pack my double strand pearl necklace too, plus a pair of (comfortable!) heels.

If June in northern Spain turns out to be hot, I will swap some sleeveless or short-sleeved tops for the long-sleeved ones and pack linen trousers instead of jeans.

Does this holiday capsule make you feel like singing the blues?

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Spring holiday capsule: in the pink

On Wednesday I revealed my Spring 33 - the 33 items of clothing that will (hopefully!) take me through the next 3 months without feeling the urge to buy new clothes. I do have one item in reserve though, which I am planning to be a pair of white jeans or white linen trousers and which will also form part of my Summer 33.

John and I have a holiday booked in June, which is going to be a luxury train journey in northern Spain (I can't wait!), so I thought it might be fun to work out a couple of possible travel capsules using my Spring 33. I hope that this will inspire you to look at your own wardrobe and see the potential you have to create various capsules.

I have used Polyvore to put together this capsule, so some of the items shown aren't exactly the same as mine, but I think it is close enough to illustrate how I can mix and match my existing clothes to make many different outfits.

You don't have to be a mathematical genius to see that with the five tops and two bottoms shown above, all of which will go with each other, I have ten possible outfits. By adding the jacket I can make any outfit look smarter, as well as creating more permutations, and with two different coloured scarves and bags I can ring the changes whenever I want.

As this is a luxury train trip, I suspect that my usual casual chic style that is based on smart trousers might not be enough for going out to dinner, even if I add a statement necklace and other jewellery. I have decided therefore to include a skirt, a pair of heels and a clutch bag for dining out.

Obviously I will need to check the weather forecast before actually packing for our holiday, however northern Spain is usually cooler than the region of Murcia where we live. If it looks as if the weather is going to be hotter than usual, I will of course pack lighter trousers and replace the long-sleeved top. I do have other options though, using different colours from my Spring 33, so my next post will look at an alternative holiday capsule.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Spring is almost here!

According to my diary, Spring will be arriving on Thursday. The last couple of days the weather has been so lovely that I've started sorting out my Spring 33, however my husband (being a pessimist at times) thinks that's a bit premature and is muttering about lower temperatures next week. Needless to say I'm ignoring my DH and continuing with the planning of my Spring wardrobe.

For any new readers who are wondering what "Spring 33" is referring to, take a look at last year's post about my Spring 33. Briefly, I am taking part in Project 333, the idea of which is to have a wardrobe of 33 items of clothing to last you for three months. This year's selection is shown below.

I have been doing some shopping for the warmer weather and, in line with my recent burst of being sensible, I bought three short-sleeved t-shirts from Gap's on-line store in neutral tones: heather grey, navy and black. Shock horror! They will go nicely with my bright pink jeans and my cranberry skirt, in case you're worried that I've totally changed my style. As part of Project 333, I will have to throw out three tops from last year to make way for my new ones.

As you can see, I have included a good sprinkling of brighter tops from last year, with just a few neutrals. My neutrals are grey, navy and black, with different shades of blue, green, pink and purple to liven things up, and a pop of red. I haven't included accessories in my 33 however these will be used to prevent my neutral outfits from looking too boring. I think that bright (but not too bright) colours near my face are more flattering now that I'm over 60, so I will use colourful scarves or necklaces with my neutral tops

Because I have to admit that John is sometimes right - even in Spain we get occasional cold and wet days in Spring - I am keeping my navy down jacket and navy trench-coat in my wardrobe for a while. I have included two dresses for smarter evening dos over the next couple of months, plus two skirts. I will probably swap a few lighter summery tops and dresses for a couple of these once the weather becomes warmer.

If you are mathematically inclined, you will realise that there are only 32 items of clothing here.  So what will my extra item be? I'll let you into a secret: for the moment it's a pair of black jeans, however I am hoping to find a white pair of jeans or, failing that, white linen trousers for the warmer months. Watch this space!       

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Over here - fiesta de cumpleaños

John and I have been living in Spain for almost six years and, in spite of our limited language skills, we are proud to say that we have made many Spanish friends in our local town of Jumilla.

John celebrated his 70th birthday party on 1 March with friends and family in London, however he decided to have another party in a local bodega (winery) back home in Spain the following weekend. As well as prolonging his birthday celebrations, John wanted to say thank you to all our Spanish friends for welcoming two foreigners, who hardly spoke a word of Spanish, into their community.

Our neighbours are very patient when we try to speak to them in Spanish, which is of course essential when you live in a mainly Spanish-speaking town. They have seen our ability to speak their language improve slowly over the years that we have been living here though, being over 65 (in my case) and over 70 now (in John's), we often forget or mispronounce words.  If only we had been taught Spanish when we were at school.....!

Me with Andrés Junior
One thing that I love about Spanish people is how generous they are with their compliments: everyone greeted me with "guapa" when they arrived, which as you can imagine was very much appreciated! They were very generous with their presents too, though I have to say that my favourite one was the picture that our friend Angel had painted.

I'm happy to report that everyone seemed to be having a great time, partly because of the delicious food and drinks provided by Pascual, from one of our favourite bar/restaurants Bar Paraiso, as well as from Bodega Viña Campanero, where the party was held. Partly because our good friend Johnny Sax entertained us with his great music, which had everyone up and dancing. Oh yeah!! But mainly because Spanish people know how to enjoy themselves, which is one of the joys of living here  in Spain. I'm already looking forward to the next fiesta.

Spanish friends at the party

Saturday, 8 March 2014

My number 1 fashion rule

I hope that you're ready for this? My number one fashion rule is: there are no fashion rules.  Funnily enough, while I was thinking about what to write for this post, several other fashion bloggers came up with a similar theme. 

Fashion is a bit like food in the way that things that are good for you suddenly become bad for you. If you avoid all the "bad" foods, you end up with little or no choice about what to eat. If you discard clothes or accessories once they are deemed to be out of fashion, you may end up with an almost empty wardrobe and little or no choice about what to wear! If you buy only what fashion pundits tell us are essential items ("Your 10 basic wardrobe items" is a popular title) you may have a wardrobe full of clothes that aren't right for you. We are all individuals and what suits me may not suit you, which is why I encourage you to find your own style.

I think I read a long, long time ago that you shouldn't mix patterns, or wear navy with black - but look through the fashion magazines and what do you see now? Exactly. Or how about not wearing jeans over 60, or even over 50? That's one rule I am definitely ignoring at the grand old age of 66, with no plans to retire my faithful denims - ever.
Fashion hit or faux pas?
Double faux pas?
I read a post recently by Janice, one of my favourite bloggers, on The Vivienne Files (click on the link to read it), which really resonated with me. She states that she would never ever tell us that we have to buy anything, but makes a good case for having a core of basic neutral clothes. You can liven up your neutrals with your favourite bright colours if you wish, which is what I tend to do. What do you think?

I have to say that Janice has been a good influence on my wardrobe and I have a lot more neutrals in it than I had a few years ago, which means that I can create far more outfits with my bright, colourful clothes.  On my recent trip to the UK I bought several neutral items: a navy v-necked cashmere jumper when I was in Scotland (what better souvenir of Edinburgh?!); plus a pair of  Clarks black suede brogues and a navy-striped petite jacket while shopping in London. I was bearing my current wardrobe in mind when making these sensible choices, however if I had decided on a bright pink jumper or a pair of red shoes they would also have fitted in. Apparently my new black shoes are trendy, however I bought them because they look smart and are comfortable to wear - so I hope to be wearing them still when they are no longer in fashion.
My "trendy" flatforms from Clarks
Before I bought the jacket shown below I tried on a lovely black one, but decided the navy stripes looked better on me, even though navy striped blazers don't appear on any fashion gurus lists of must-haves. 

This isn't me, in case you're wondering - she's a model!
Here's another interesting article from Already Pretty (a thought-provoking blog that I always enjoy reading) encouraging us to ignore the fashion police, who tell us what to wear as well as what not to wear. I've mentioned in previous posts that the essential little black dress may not be a good choice for many of us over 60s, who would be wise to choose a more flattering colour than black. The dress that I bought to wear for my husband John's 70th birthday celebrations is this deep blue dress from East.

It's as versatile as any LBD would be, but the colour is more flattering for ageing complexions!  It proved suitable for a day-time party in London but can also be dressed up for evening occasions. I received many compliments on the actual dress as well as being told how well I looked and that living in Spain obviously suited me.  I rest my case!