Thursday, 31 December 2015

Farewell 2015 - 2016 is beckoning!

I hope that you have all had a wonderful holiday. No matter whether we celebrate Christmas Day or not, most of us enjoy a few days of relaxation with friends and family at this time of the year and for many of us (including retirees who blog!) the festive season is a welcome break from work.

Looking back over 2015, I am grateful that so many of you commented on my posts. We bloggers love to know that people out there are actually reading our blogs! My most popular posts, both for the comments made and the number of views they had, were those about the 7 Steps to Style system and the recent No Repeat November challenge. I believe - from comments made, plus looking at photos I've posted here - that I have made giant steps in developing my style by following Imogen's 7 Steps system. I'd started on my journey by having a colour analysis in 2013 followed by a personal style session in early 2014. It was established that I'm a Natural Gamine, which suited not only my personality but also my lifestyle.

Before: picture 1
Before: picture 2
The two photos above show where I started out from style-wise. I look casual and comfortable, however my body is cut in half, especially in the second picture, so I look shorter and (being honest with myself) a little dumpy. The trousers are a bit baggy too, which doesn't help matters.

This year I learnt that there is more to creating stylish outfits than discovering my best colours and finding clothes that flatter my H (rectangular) shape, important though they are. I found out about the importance of value and colour contrast, plus values, lifestyle and style personality. I even created my own style recipe: "Colourful casual chic, with a little bit quirky and a Parisian influence." 

Below you can see what I like to think is the new improved and more stylish me. The cardigan and trousers in picture 1 create a column of colour, which helps to make me look taller and slimmer. In picture 2 I am wearing a dress (not my usual look as regular readers will know) and I'm showing off my legs. Enough said!

After: picture 2
After: picture 2
Have you made any New Year resolutions? I'm hoping to find a theme for 2016 rather than the usual resolutions that inevitably get broken. I will continue my pursuit of becoming more stylish and plan to add to my capsule wardrobe in the spring. In the meantime, I need to decide on my Winter 33 items of clothing to get me through the colder months. 

I also intend to eat more healthily, specifically to find an anti-inflammatory diet, having been told by my doctor that I have arthritis of the jaw. My husband put it down to over-use! I'm hoping that a new healthy diet will help me look younger - I'm an optimist in case you haven't realised! - plus I'm starting to use shiatsu face massage so i will report back on whether it works.

Finally, I'd like to wish you all a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year. If you've made any New Year resolutions, or have chosen your own theme for 2016, please share it with us.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

No repeat November - conclusions

Surviving 30 days with a more limited wardrobe (my Autumn 33 items of clothing) wasn't as difficult as I thought, even though I had the additional challenge of not repeating any outfit during November. Layering was the answer, especially as one of my tops was too warm to wear and another one was on my shopping list rather than physically in my wardrobe, which clearly limited my options. Luckily the weather was perfect for short-sleeved tops worn with different cardigans or jackets. You can see one example of this in the outfit I wore on day 29 and another in day 30's outfit.

Day 29
Day 30
The following photos show the winning outfits from each week. Where readers have liked several different outfits I have chosen the one with the most mentions. In the case of a tie, I had the casting vote!

Week 1 winner
Week 2 winner

Week 3 winner
Week 4 winner

Honorable mention
Honorable mention
Looking back over the month and seeing which outfits were my (and my readers') favourites, it was clear that warmer colours flatter me the most.  When I wore neutral outfits I needed a dash of colour to lift them such as my "hero" cardigan. My style recipe is colourful casual chic, so not surprisingly most of the outfits I wore during November consisted of tops worn with trousers. I did receive several compliments though the one day that I wore a dress, which was the week 3 winner.

I realised that I tend to wear the same bottoms and accessories each time that I wear a particular top, so this challenge was particularly good for helping me create different outfits. It proved to me that having a more limited wardrobe can work if you have neutrals for your basics, with accent colours to add some variety, that can be mixed and matched.

Which of the above outfits do you think should be the overall winner? Or perhaps we should award a gold, silver and bronze medal to the three favourites. The outfits I wore on the last two days of November can also be considered, if that makes it any easier (I suspect not!)

I'm going to vote the dress that was week 3's winner as the overall winner. In second place is the outfit that I wore on day 29. Finally, in bronze medal position, week 4's winner.  Do you agree?

Monday, 30 November 2015

No repeat November - week 4

This is the last week of the challenge, which I'm pleased to say hasn't been too challenging, though I have had to think hard about how to put together my daily outfits. I don't know about you, but when I decide to wear a particular top I have a habit of grabbing the same bottoms and accessories each time I wear it. As I don't have 30 tops in my capsule wardrobe, I have had to create different combinations to ensure I didn't repeat any outfits.

Day 1
Day 2
The first time I wore the red top shown above during November, I added my brown jeggings, brown shoes and a necklace. It's one of my favourite outfits, but as it's No Repeat November I needed to try a different combination, so this time I wore it with my new sand trousers and a red patterned scarf that includes a smidgeon of sand. The purple top is also getting its second outing of the month. I wore it with my sand trousers last time and a necklace that has stones in many colours including purple and sand. This time I decided to wear it with my brown jeggings and a turquoise necklace. So far so good.

Day 3
Day 4
The last time that I wore the yellow top that I wore on day 3 this week, I paired it with brown trousers and a patterned scarf containing brown and yellow. This time I was wearing navy blue jeans and my scarf contained blue and yellow. On day 4 my lobelia top appears with sand trousers and a gold necklace, whereas before I had grey trousers and a silver necklace.

Day 5
Day 6
The previous time that I wore the jumper that I wore on day 5 it was with grey trousers, so this time I paired it with navy jeans. I love the stripes, however I think the overall look is a bit dark, even with the white of the pendant. I'm not sure about wearing my "hero" cardigan over a navy top and navy jeans. Clearly the cardigan stands out more against the dark colours, but I do like wearing it with warmer colours such as the brown top and trousers that I wore with it during week 1.

Day 7
The top shown above that I wore on day 7 is making its second appearance, this time with brown jeggings and boots whereas last time I wore it with grey. I don't know whether it is because brown is a better neutral for me than grey, but I definitely prefer this outfit to the first one.

I'm pretty good at my times table so I am aware that 4 x 7  = 28 and November has 30 days,so this won't be the last post on the November challenge. I will show my final 2 outfits in my next post, plus the favourite outfits from this week and the previous three weeks, allowing you to choose an overall winner. My own favourites from this week are the outfits I wore on days 1, 3 and 6. Which ones are you going to vote for?

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Perfect Style for Over 60 Women

This post was triggered by a comment from Lorette on one of my earlier posts. Like many of us, Lorette uses Pinterest for inspiration, but finds herself leaning towards what she feels are younger looks.  I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, especially if we don't want to end up looking frumpy, however some outfits may need adapting slightly for over 60s.

Tish Jett (A Femme D'un Certain Âge) did a five-part series on Transgenerational Dressing, which I really enjoyed, particularly part V where Grandmère, Mère and Fille all wear the same outfit. If you look at the first four parts, Tish takes one item of clothing and then creates three different outfits with it for the three generations. Search on her blog for "Transgenerational Dressing" to see how she changes the outfits to suit each generation. I found the posts very thought-provoking, especially when I discovered I preferred the Mère's and Fille's outfits to the more appropriate Grandmère's outfits in a couple of posts!

I have set up a Pinterest board that I hope will inspire us all and would welcome your suggestions for other stylish over 60 women to add to it. Before you correct me, I know Inés de la Fressange is still in her 50s, but I think her style is ageless and suspect she will be wearing similar outfits once she is over 60. I also apologise for including myself, but my style recipe is "Colourful casual chic with a little bit quirky and a Parisian influence" so I thought I would include some of my favourite outfits as an example of an ordinary over 60 woman rather than just featuring the superstars! Here's my Pinterest board: Over 60 Style. I hope that you enjoy looking at the different styles and can find one that inspires you. Remember that you don't necessarily want to copy every detail of an outfit, but add your own touches to make it suit both you and your personal style.

Regular readers of my blog, who have seen many of my outfits, will know how the emphasis is usually on colourful and casual. However chic is what I aspire to, I do love to find something unusual and whenever I visit France I try to buy clothes with a Parisian look. This could explain why I have so many striped tops!


Finally - striped tops! Do I look Parisian in them?

Parisian 1
Parisian 2
The most important things for over 60 women to consider in finding their perfect style are: first to identify your personal style; then to choose clothes that suit your lifestyle as well as your personal style; finally make sure your clothes fit you properly and are in colours that flatter you.

I'm definitely not saying all over 60 women should look the same. The photos above show my personal style, which I feel suits me, but your style may be completely different. You may be more elegant than me, more bohemian or more classic. You may love the flamboyant look of the ladies in Advanced Style, or you may prefer something a bit more subdued (dare I say Parisian?)

I should add a disclaimer at this point: I'm not suggesting for a moment that my style is perfect, though I guess that it's perfect for me! I'd love to hear what you think and am happy to answer any questions. If any of you would like to pin your favourite outfits on my Pinterest board, please feel free to do so. As far as I'm concerned - the more, the merrier.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

No repeat November - week 3

Week 3 of the challenge was when I knew things would start to become tricky. I had shown 17 tops in my capsule wardrobe, however one of those I haven't purchased yet! Once my "No Shopping November" comes to an end I intend to purchase the "missing" top, but in the meantime it brings my actual choices down to 16. Another problem has been the lovely weather, which meant that one top was far too warm to wear. I brought in a substitute, however that top has now gone in the recycling (on the recommendation of my readers) as the colour and shape didn't really suit me. That meant a total of 15 tops available to wear and 14 days had already passed - dear reader, I could have a problem in week 3!

Day 1
Day 2
You may think that you recognise the outfit I wore on day 1, as it is similar to one I wore in week 1.The differences are that I'm wearing a coral and gold necklace instead of the red patterned scarf plus navy moccasins instead of black lace-ups. Same top and bottoms, but the outfit is different, so I'm ok. On day 2 I wore the blue camisole again, partly because this top has a low neckline and also as an extra layer. The bottom of the top is ruched, however I think it would have been more flattering if I'd ruched it a bit more as my tummy seems to be highlighted! I've worn the grey trousers and blue camisole before but not the top.

Day 3 look 1
Day 3 look 2
Day 3 illustrates how to use a column of colour to look taller: I am wearing a navy tee and navy jeans, with a red and blue cardigan over the top. For going out to meet a friend for coffee in the morning, I added a scarf, changing the look slightly.

Day 4 look 1
Day 4 look 2
Day 4 was again warm and sunny, so I wore one of my short-sleeved tops for its second outing of the month. Last time I wore it with brown trousers, so this time I wore it with my sand trousers. Going out for coffee in town I needed a second layer, so decided to wear my sand cardigan.

Day 5 - senderismo (hiking)

On day 5 we went out for the day with the "Centro Social de Personas Mayores" of Jumilla. I prefer the Spanish version to the English translation of "Social Centre for the Elderly!" We started out just before 9 in the morning and went for a 11km hike after which we enjoyed a long lunch at Jacoba and Fulgencio's house in the countryside. This wasn't really a cheat day as I wore a short-sleeved top from my capsule wardrobe, last seen on day 5 last week, with trousers that I only wear for hiking, plus a lightweight walking jacket. Although you are restricted to 33 items of clothing in Project 333, you don't have to include sportswear or nightwear. No doubt you will be relieved to hear that I don't intend resorting to nightwear during this challenge!

Day 6 - out for lunch
& dancing
Day 7
Luckily I had a wild card to use one day this week. I only have 32 items of clothing in my wardrobe - and we had an event to attend during week 3 - so I was able to add in a dress to make my total of 33. I probably won't wear this dress again during the challenge, but I enjoy dressing up occasionally even though my style recipe is colourful casual chic and my lifestyle is really casual. Day 6 was the day I used my wild card and then I reverted to my usual style on day 7.

One more week to go and I need to plan very carefully for my final week to ensure I don't repeat any outfits. My favourite outfit this week has to be the one I wore for going out on day 6. Apart from that I liked my outfits on days 3 and 4. Do you agree?

PS Apologies for technical problems in this post. I couldn't persuade the last two photos to appear side by side!

Monday, 16 November 2015

No Repeat November - week 2

The weather has been beautiful here in Spain and it's hard to believe that it's now November. It's lucky that I've included some short-sleeved and lightweight tops in my Autumn capsule wardrobe as a few of my long-sleeved tops are too thick to wear at the moment, and I only need a cardigan or jacket when I leave the house.

Day 1
Day 2 AM
I was meeting friends at lunch time on Day 1 as it was my friend Jacqueline's birthday. That's why I was wearing a glittery top and silver shoes! Day 2 started off fairly warm, however by the afternoon there was a cool breeze, which is why I'm wearing a long cardigan in the photo below. I think it also illustrates how easy it is to change your look by adding just one piece.

Day 2 PM
Day 3
Day 3 was a slight experiment for me, as I decided to wear a blue camisole, which you can catch a glimpse of, under the red top. I love red, and I love the style of the top, however the red I wore last week was a warmer shade, therefore I think it flattered me more.

Day 4
Day 5

The lobelia top I wore on Day 4 was one of Kettlewell's winter colours, so a bit cool for me. I wore it with gold earrings and necklace to make it slightly warmer. In contrast, the teal top in Day 5's picture is far more flattering.

Day 6
Day 7
If you think that you saw Day 6's outfit in week 1's post, you're wrong! It's a similar top however it has a sequinned neckline, which is why I'm not wearing a necklace with it. The cardigan and trousers though are the same. Finally, a ray of sunshine in my last outfit of the week. It's one of my new tops worn with dark brown trousers, turquoise earrings and a scarf that pulls all the colours together.

Let's have a vote again, to see which of these outfits is the most flattering. I think my own favourites are the one I wore during the afternoon on Day 2 (because it makes me look taller!), Day 5 and Day 7.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

A sad day for Paris

Like the many people who have commented on social media, I was saddened when I heard about the devastating attacks in Paris yesterday. It's a city that I love and which I've been lucky enough to visit several times. It's a city where I have always felt safe and happy.

I celebrated my 65th birthday with members of my family in a Parisian restaurant and I will be returning to Paris as part of my 70th birthday celebrations in two years' time. Maybe this is why I was particularly upset when I watched the news unfolding yesterday, as somehow it seemed so close to home.

Many bloggers write about Parisian women and their sense of style, however there is much more to them than that. I would like to pay tribute to their bravery, solidarity and defiance. I have read how Parisians queued up at hospitals to donate blood. I have also read how many Parisians offered to open up their homes to provide shelter: they used the #porteouverte on Twitter to do so. Today, many of them determined to carry on with their normal routines. Cora, a resident of Paris, was quoted as saying "I'm not scared to go out in this area now, because you can't just stay at home as this would mean to give in to fear." Bravo, Cora.

You may be interested in showing solidarity not only to the people of Paris, but also to the citizens of Beirut and around the world. If so,please click on the link below. Nous Sommes Unis.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

No Repeat November - week 1.

I knew that week one would be easy, with over a dozen tops to choose from as well as several cardigans and bottoms to wear with them. I don't have all the clothes shown in my Project 333 capsule yet - and I'm not buying anything new this month - but I should still have more than enough in my wardrobe to cover me for the next four weeks.

I am hoping that this month's challenge will help me be more creative when I'm deciding on my daily outfits. I'm posting the ones from week one below - and would welcome any suggestions on how to improve them.

Day 1
Day 2

I think the green top in day one's outfit is a bit cool for me, so I decided to add a warm golden scarf that is more flattering for my colouring. This top is a cheat as it wasn't in my capsule wardrobe, but I found it when sorting out my winter clothes and decided to try it as I like the fit. Is this one for the recycling do you think? Although it's a slight cheat, it's too warm at the moment to wear one of the long-sleeved tops in my wardrobe, so I'll swap it once the days turn cooler.

Day two's outfit: as you can see, my cardigan and short-sleeved top are a warmer shade of green. Do you agree that this is a more flattering colour?

Day 3
Day 4

I was wearing cooler colours again on day 3, though with a gold necklace. I know vertical stripes aren't advised for petites, however I do enjoy wearing them. Rules are made to be broken, aren't they? I think the navy stripes in the jumper worn with navy jeans does help make me look a bit taller too.

Day 4 illustrates the beauty of having a hero piece (the patterned cardigan) in a capsule wardrobe. I'm wearing my cardigan with a  brown top and jeggings in this photo, however I could also wear it with coral, teal, yellow, green or pink as all those colours are in the pattern.

Day 5
Day 6
The original photo for day 5 looked fine, but every time I tried to crop it I lost the top of my head. Put it down to minor technical problems - and at least you can see what I wore! The red is a warm shade, so although it's quite bright I think I can get away with it.

I wore my new chocolate brown lace top and sand trousers for Day 6. This outfit is one of my favourites as I feel elegant wearing it, and elegance doesn't come naturally to me. My style recipe is colourful casual chic with a little bit quirky and a Parisian influence. Perhaps it's the Parisian influence at work here?

Day 7

Day 7's outfit consists of clothes that I've had a while, including another of my favourite striped tops. I'm wearing a red scarf because, when I went out to meet friends at lunch-time, I was wearing a poppy brooch on the lapel of my jacket. Plus - regular readers will be aware of this - I do love a splash of colour!

So for week one I succeeded in wearing seven completely different outfits, though as you can see I did repeat the trousers. The outfits that I wore were a mix of new clothes and pieces that have been in my wardrobe for a while. There was also a mix of outfits in cooler colours and warmer ones. I think my favourites were the ones I wore on day 2, day 4 and day 6 - I'd love to hear what you think too.