Saturday, 25 November 2017

Building a capsule wardrobe

There are many bloggers, writers in fashion magazines and successful authors extolling the virtues of a capsule wardrobe -  especially if you aspire to be as chic as French women! I've been one of them, talking about the Ten-Item Wardrobe, Project 333 and other capsule wardrobe plans, but how do you start building one? Why should you do so?

Ideally a capsule wardrobe should ensure that you always have an outfit to wear without having to spend hours thinking about it! This means building a wardrobe around colours that suit you and go well together, so that nearly every top will go with every bottom, creating dozens of flattering outfits.  One way to start a capsule is to choose a scarf in colours that appeal to you and also flatter you, then use the colours as a basis for your wardrobe. Below is my Colour Elements scarf in Earth colours, with a selection of tops in colours that will blend with my scarf.


Most of the tops in my wardrobe are colourful, so ideally the bottoms should be neutral or in colours that go well with the tops. I know that I need some contrast in my outfits too, so I would probably choose lighter trousers (like the camel pair) to wear with darker tops, and vice versa.

Being vertically challenged (i.e. short!), I often opt for a column of colour, which in theory will make me look taller and slimmer. You can see below that three out of my four cardigans will match bottoms to create that (hopefully) slimming effect!


Looking at the scarf again, I can see that there is some red in it too. Regular readers will know how much I love red, so I do have lots of red accessories that would work with the above capsule, especially when wearing neutrals or dark colours. I also have some red clothes that will be added in to the basic capsule, as shown below.

Since I bought a red trench-coat from good old Marks & Spencer in the summer, I've had numerous compliments whenever I wear it. Red clearly has an important role to play in my wardrobe!

My M&S trench coat
My complete capsule includes ten tops and five bottoms, which will give me fifty different outfits, though clearly some combinations will work better than others. With four cardigans to choose from, plus accessories, the possible combinations are endless.

So here is my recipe for creating your capsule wardrobe: first of all choose colours that you love and colours that flatter you (preferably the same colours!) and make sure that these are colours that go well with each other. It is important to add in neutrals if you haven't included them already: it is worth spending more money on these as they shouldn't date, especially if you choose classic styles.

Talking about style, it is important to create a capsule wardrobe that suits your lifestyle, your personality and that flatters your figure as well as your colouring. That is why my capsule wardrobe consists of mainly casual clothes as I no longer work in an office, plus my style is casual, colourful chic. I'm short and rectangular in shape, so loose (but not baggy) or ruched tops over slim bottoms suit me.  You may of course look better in cool colours, be tall and slim, work in a corporate environment and love bohemian styles, so your capsule wardrobe will be totally different to mine. As a footnote, if your personal style isn't really suitable for your workplace, you may need to create two different capsules: one for work and one for play.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Over 70 and Over there!

Yes, on September 2nd I celebrated my 70th birthday in London, with my family and with many friends. As it was a "big" birthday, I had made plans to go on what some people referred to as our "Grand Tour" afterwards.

Most of our journeys were by train. We started by catching the train from Alicante to Barcelona, where we stayed overnight before continuing our journey to Paris for another night. I'm a fan of Eurostar, and it's definitely worth paying a bit more to go first class from Paris to London. We always travel first class in Spain too, as we can buy an annual tarjeta dorada for just over 6 euros, giving us discounts on trains of between 25% and 40%.  Many Spanish stations have what they call Sala Clubs for first class passengers, where you can relax and enjoy free refreshments while waiting for your train. Very civilised!

The day before my birthday I had a lovely day out in York, meeting friends there for afternoon tea in a railway carriage. It seemed very appropriate considering how many trains we were going to take over the next couple of weeks!

On my birthday I was up fairly early, as we had agreed to meet people at our old running club in Hyde Park and I was going to walk around the Serpentine Lake with my friend Bev. It took us a bit longer than when we used to race around it, but we were able to enjoy it more without the pressure of running a pb (personal best time).

I celebrated my birthday in a Spanish-themed wine and tapas bar near Kings Cross station. We'd looked at several venues before stumbling across Camino (Ed. not literally, I hasten to add!)

The above photo shows me with my family in Camino: my two daughters, my son and daughter-in-law, my brother and my husband John. My cousin Judith and my niece Helen and her family also helped me celebrate, as well as many friends.

Next stop was Paris again, where we rented an apartment for four nights. I've always wanted to visit Monet's house and gardens in Giverny, so we had booked a day trip there from Paris. Some friends who live in France joined us for one night in the apartment and we enjoyed another birthday lunch, this time in an Italian restaurant.

We'd visited Reims once a few years ago, however we hadn't really explored the champagne houses, so we stayed in Reims for a couple of nights, visiting Mumm Champagne House for a tour and also taking a coach trip along the Champagne Route.

Note the fashionable accessory on my right hand!

I love the stained glass windows in Reims cathedral. Although we'd been there before, they were definitely worth a second look


We enjoyed the trip around the countryside, where we could see workers busy picking grapes, as well as the Mumm windmill and many champagne houses.

We returned to Paris for another night, before continuing our train journey. Our next stop was Zurich. It was my first visit there and I really wished that we could have stayed a bit longer, as it's a beautiful city. Next time!

Lovely views of the city from the bridge

Sunday market in Zurich station.
The street near our hotel

We set several alarms - and also asked reception in our hotel for an alarm call - as we had to be up early in the morning to catch the train to Chur. I didn't want to risk missing the train, as we had a booking on the Bernina Express and needed to be sure of making the connection.

Below are just a few of the many photos that I took during our trip on the Bernina Express. None of them really do justice to the beautiful scenery. Although it's called the Bernina Express, the journey  from Chur to Tirano in Italy takes over 4 hours, so you can really enjoy the amazing views from the panoramic carriage.




The next leg of our journey was from Tirano to Milan, which we had visited many years ago with friends, so we only stayed overnight, as I was eager to get to the next stop on my Grand Tour: Venice!

I had never visited Venice but I'd heard great things from friends and family who had been there, so I could hardly wait. Again, I took loads of photos so this is only a small selection.

Enjoying a coffee with our friends Ann and John

I can't remember how many times we got lost, as there are so many bridges to cross and everywhere you look there's water. I'm sure we weren't the only ones, as we spotted lots of other people studying maps and looking at street signs, but I have to say that Venice is now my favourite city to get lost in! Venice was everything that I had expected - and more. We will definitely be returning to this beautiful city, and no doubt getting lost again!

We flew back to Spain from Venice and for once we paid for cases in the hold. Apart from needing enough clothes for almost three weeks, we had birthday presents and souvenirs to take home. After all, when you're on a Grand Tour you don't want to skimp!

Finally, I briefly considered changing the name of my blog, now that I'm "Over 70 and Over here". However I don't feel 60, never mind 70, so I decided to leave it as it is!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

30 Pieces 30 Outfits Challenge summary

I had planned to post more outfits from the 30 Pieces 30 Outfits Challenge, however life got in the way - as it has a habit of doing! I had allowed for a short trip to the UK, but due to circumstances it became an extended trip. I have created a collage for the second week though, just to prove that I didn't give up on the idea.

It's interesting to look at different outfits and colours side by side, to decide which ones are the most flattering. My favourites are number two and number seven, mainly because I think the colours flatter me the most but also because I love turquoise and red. Which of these outfits do you think looks the best on me?

Even though the outfits shown above are totally different colour-wise, you can see that some trousers and accessories have been repeated, which obviously will happen during a 30 pieces 30 outfits challenge like this. The idea is to have tops that are versatile and will go with every pair of trousers. I did have a problem in London though, as I only took 3 pairs of trousers, and spilt olive oil on one pair! As the dry cleaners weren't sure whether they could remove the oil (I'm pleased to say that they could) and I had some social events that my jeans weren't really suitable for, I bought a new pair of trousers. I had already thought about buying trousers in the UK, as there is more choice for petites, but now I had the perfect excuse!

I'm writing this almost a month later and my wardrobe has dramatically changed because the weather is a lot colder. Time to put away my short-sleeved tops and lighter-weight tops and trousers, I think! I'm planning to continue with this idea of having a limited capsule, as it certainly makes life easier when you only have a certain number of tops and bottoms hanging in your wardrobe to choose from. It also encourages you to be more creative and try out different combinations. Whether the number will be 30, or maybe 33 as in Project 333, I haven't yet decided. Once I have created my winter capsule, I will let you know.