Monday, 3 June 2019

21 Steps to a More Stylish You: conclusion

This has been a long journey and, to be quite honest with you, it's not really over yet. The course was very intense and, even though I completed it last month, I feel that I need to revisit a couple of the many steps as there was so much information to absorb. I have to smile when I remember the days when we thought that the only secret to style was learning which colours suited us. Apart from the fact that we've moved on from 4 seasons to 18 colour groups (at the last time of looking), we also consider body shape, colour and value contrast, lifestyle, style personality and many other factors. Putting all this into practice isn't easy. If you'd like to find out more, take a look at Sylvia's blog 40+ Style by clicking on this link.

Since my last post, I've had a trip to Paris and London, where I was able to trial some of the spring outfits in my travel capsule. My aim is to gradually introduce more neutrals, while still indulging in my love of colour. This was the capsule for my trip.

Beige trousers and shoes
Navy trousers, jeans and accessories
As you can see above, I chose neutral trousers and accessories as the basis for my capsule, but you will spot that I also added splashes of colour, including red shoes and a bag that smartened up my outfits in the evening.

Below are the other tops that I packed in my case. Originally I had planned to take just lightweight short-sleeved tops, but a quick check of the weather forecast the day before my holiday meant that I decided to swap some of them for heavier long-sleeved tops. 

Layering also helps when you're travelling and the weather is changeable. Of course I packed my trusty umbrella plus I wore a long cardigan and carried my copper trench-coat onto the plane, as I had decided not to take a large suitcase. Trust me, I was grateful for that trench-coat in Paris as it rained on several days. The best day weather-wise was when my friend Sandra and I visited Versailles, but I still decided to wear it and the umbrella was in my bag!

Enjoying the sunshine in Versailles
You may have noticed the scarf I'm wearing in the above photo, which I purchased in the Marché Vernaison flea market in Paris. I had taken a couple of scarves plus some jewellery, which luckily could be tucked inside the bag that I packed, however I thought this one went really well with my outfit so I couldn't resist it.

As stated above I took a smaller case, plus a rucksack, even though I was away for two weeks. I just didn't fancy trying to negotiate all the steps in the Metro stations with a large case! I used packing cubes, and rolled my clothes before fitting them into the cubes, which really helped me pack more. I now have to confess that I had deliberately only packed 11 tops for my 14 day holiday: I was wearing one for travelling of course, but I also bought two new ones while I was in Paris!

Since I returned from my trip I've been sorting out my summer wardrobe, which is still in progress. Some of the tops shown above will be included, plus my latest purchases. All will be revealed in my next post, but it's definitely going to include a lot of colour!

Friday, 12 April 2019

21 Steps to a More Stylish You

Regular readers will know how much I enjoy doing style courses in the hope that one day I will become super stylish! My latest attempt has been the most intensive yet, as it contains 21 steps. At the time of writing I'm on step 15: prints and texture.

The topics covered so far include style personality, lifestyle and age, colour, levels of refinement, style goals, the golden ratio and the ideal silhouette. The on-line course is being run by Sylvia of 40+ Style along with Ruth, who is a UK based stylist. If you click on the link you will find many helpful articles as well as information about joining the Style Club.

Most of us know about colour analysis and have some idea whether we have warm or cool, soft or bright and deep or light colouring. Or do we? Having been told in the past that I was a Winter, more recently the consensus has been that I have warm colouring! I won't mention the make-up consultation that I had on a recent trip to London though, where I was told that I have cool colouring....! Putting that on one side (I'm guessing that I'm a border-line case) my lifestyle is clear, as is my age and body shape. My style personality when I did a style analysis was Natural Gamine, and my own interpretation is colourful casual chic. I think the photo below sums me up well: definitely colourful, obviously casual and hopefully chic.

My lifestyle is very casual as I'm retired, plus I spend a lot of time walking my dog Lisa, going to exercise classes and sitting at my PC writing blog posts, as well as reading other blogs. I do go to the theatre sometimes, as well as dining out with friends, so occasionally I dress up a bit more. I found the step on levels of refinement very helpful, as it described the types of clothes that fit into the five levels. Most of my wardrobe is level two (very casual or sports clothing) and level three (casual or smart casual), with a smattering of level four (very smart daywear or evening wear). 

Another helpful topic was the golden ratio, which is particularly relevant to those of us who are vertically challenged! Even when I buy petite tops, I have to take care that they don't cut me in half, giving me a 50-50 ratio, which can make me look wider and shorter. I often resort to wearing long cardigans or waistcoats (vests) to give me a more flattering silhouette.

Image may contain: Sue Walker, smiling, standing, shoes and indoor

The above photo highlights the use of a longer cardigan, plus a column of colour, to create a more flattering shape. I am also using a touch of my favourite red in the scarf plus my bag.

I am in the process of going through my spring and summer wardrobe and already it has become apparent that I have lots of colourful tops and mainly neutral trousers. Not exactly a surprise to those who know me. At the same time, I will be going back to step 13 (closet edit) and step 14 (what's missing?).  All of this has to be completed over the next few weeks, ready for a trip to Paris and London at the beginning of May, with the aim of blending in with all those super stylish Parisians and Londoners!

Monday, 21 January 2019

Blue Monday? No way!

Image may contain: sky, outdoor and water

I've been considering writing a post about my Word of the Year, however I have been distracted by all the on-line comments about Blue Monday! Apparently today is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year, however I for one have had an enjoyable day. What about you? Do you have anything to be seriously depressed about? Me neither.

Today has admittedly been very cold, but I am lucky enough to live in a modern apartment and, although I don't have central heating, I have electric fires that heat my home very efficiently. I also have plenty of food in the fridge so I won't go hungry and enough money to go shopping when supplies get low. This morning I took my dog Lisa to one of my local cafés for coffee and a croissant, which only cost me 2 euros, and we were able to sit outside in the sun (and sheltered from the cold wind.)

I am fortunate that I don't have any health problems at the moment - I do hope that I'm not tempting fate! - so I am able to enjoy a fairly active lifestyle. This morning I went to a dance exercise class near my house and this evening I enjoyed a Flamenco style class at a different dance studio. Apart from going for a coffee this morning with Lisa, I have obviously had to walk her several times over the course of the day. Each time I was well wrapped up, particularly for the early and late walks of the day. I am lucky to have her company in the house, which stops me feeling lonely. I am fortunate in having many good friends too, both here in Spain and also in the UK and other parts of the world.

Regular readers of this blog know that my 2018 wasn't the best of years (in fact you could say it was my annus horribilis), however there were many good moments too, including a very special wedding in Florence, birthday celebrations with my family in London and a lovely holiday with my daughters in Ljubljana.

I am determined that 2019 will be my annus mirabilis, which is why I wasn't going to allow a Blue Monday to spoil it. I'm a great believer in positive thinking and take the view that if you have negative thoughts you are more likely to have negative experiences in life. Think positive and the chances are that you will have a more positive life.

So what is my Word of the Year going to be? If you haven't already guessed, it is Positive. I have already outlined above some of the many reasons I have for being positive. My next trip to the UK will be in March, when I will be attending a friend's 75th birthday party as well as being spoilt by my three children on Mother's Day (in the UK it will be on Sunday March 31st). I also have another exciting holiday planned: I will be meeting a friend, who now lives in Australia, in Paris in early May. I can't wait! The picture above is from a trip to Paris in 2012, just to whet my appetite.

I'm hoping that as 2019 unfolds there will be other positive experiences, and my wish is for all of you to have a positive year as well. In case you are wondering about New Year's resolutions by the way, I have only made one: to stay positive throughout the year.