I’m partial to a fair isle sweater and this F&F one is perfect for brightening up a January day. I took the train to Manchester today to do some product testing for Boots and although it was fairly mild, train stations are notoriously parky!
The grey jacket is Tulchan, the black jeans BHS and the black patent boots are M&S.
Whilst in Manchester Piccadilly, the alarms went off and the station was evacuated so we made our way to Oxford Street to get home. Not the best day out!
I’m an unashamed shoe lover and have a pair for every occasion. I wrote earlier this month about my resolution to get my travel mojo back and of course, I’ll need the right shoes for the job! These are some of my travel choices.
Malaga Winter Break
We’re off to Malaga next month for a sightseeing break, so I’m packing comfy shoes. No dressing up in the evening means casual chic with these nude suede Chelsea boots from M&S which go beautifully with jeans and any top. The gold pumps are from JD Williams* and will be perfect for days out as they’re cushion soft, but sturdy, plus I love a bit of bling in the daytime for holidays!
Girls In New York
I’m really excited about my girls only trip to NYC in April and I think I’ve chosen the perfect shoes for the trip (although there’s sill time to acquire another pair). I’m starting with red suede Chelsea boots from M&S which will give my evening outfits a bit of an edge, while ensuring that I can walk in comfort. I’m just loving my Clarks calfskin walking shoes – I used to have shoes like these with seams on the outside, at sixth form and as soon as I saw them I knew they were coming home with me. We’re going to be walking miles in NYC, but I still want to be stylish and I’m not a fan of trainers outside the gym. These will go with my holiday colour scheme of black, grey and red. Finally, the sparkly pumps are an essential for slipping your feet into something comfy at the end of a long day when you just want to pop downstairs to the hotel bar for a quick nightcap. I aim to always pack a pair of soft pumps in my bag wherever I go. I’d like to be telling you that these are Pretty Ballerinas, but they are cheapies from New Look. They do the job though!
Cruising The Eastern Med with Celebrity
I wrote recently about getting back on the ocean wave, so this is where glamour really comes into its own. Cruising means dressing up to the nines, so enter my fierce stiletto Carvelas. These are fabulous and (nearly) comfortable. The calfskin pumps will be perfect for scooting round the ship during the day. I bought these in a fantastic shoe shop in Malaga – they are super soft and were reassuringly expensive!
So this is my new year resolution illustrated by shoes! JD Williams have some great shoes for taking you to where you want to be for 2016. Take a look at the link here for some ideas.
*this is a collaborative post
Never one to let a seventies throwback trend pass me by, I invested in this poncho by Tommy Hilfiger (from TKMaxx I might add). It’s really warm and cosy, but hasn’t had as much wear as I’d hoped as we’ve had such an unusually warm winter. Worn with dark M&S denims and my Dune cowboy boots I feel very happy in it.
Now, where did I leave that donkey?
Hands up who has two or more black cardigans? Pairs of jeans in the same style? Black kitten heels? Yep, thought so, we all make repeat purchases without chucking out the original.
I really don’t know why I do it, because once the shiny new version is in my wardrobe, the old one doesn’t get a look in, and yet there is something about an old favourite that causes separation anxiety. Usually not fit for a trip to the charity shop, they wink at you from the wardrobe and say ‘better keep me just in case’.
Recently I’ve been on a clearing out mission – in a search for that elusive A/W 15 capsule wardrobe and these are some of the things I’m willing to confess to:
- Black evening dresses – they say everyone should have an LBD, but how many is too many? I have long sleeved, sleeveless, cocktail and full length, plus a lace shift, a chiffon crepe gown with a pink lining and possibly others lurking in boxes. But which ones to give to charity? I think I need them all.
- Black heels – spike encrusted Carvelas, bejewelled sling backs, kitten heels, suede ones that kill me. Easy decision – they can all go except for the Carvelas (which I can barely walk in).
- Sparkly toe post sandals. Don’t get me started on these. I have no idea how many I own, but too many to take on holiday and we don’t exactly live in a climate where they get much wear.
- Black cardigans – three, but they are useful!
- Jeans – lots, all in the same style but I only wear a couple of pairs in rotation.
- Sparkly tops – can’t resist buying more but never have time or the occasion to wear the ones I have.
- Coats – too many! But I have made a start on donating these. Still find it hard to chuck my old day to day coats – even though I look like an itinerant in some of them.
- Gilets – my most common repeat buy. I love them! I have long, short, wool, denim and certainly don’t need them all.
Conversely, there are some things that I need, I hardly ever buy, namely trousers. I have short legs and a longish body so trousers rarely look good on me and I’m reluctant to buy them online because I can’t be faffed sending them back. I have only one pair of black cotton trousers which are all but worn out, yet I can’t find a replacement. I also need shirts, but finding the right one when you are 34DD is not easy – I want them long in the body with no gape at the boobs, but don’t have much success.
Ho hum, I love all this sartorial dilemma stuff really!
Hurray for the chance to wear a frock for everyday – not just for a special occasion. The only time I ever wear a dress normally is for a night out, an occasion such as a wedding, or on holiday overseas, but something about a British summer gives me permission to rock a frock just for hanging about. This one is from M&S and cost £34 in this year’s summer sale. The pink cardi was £6 from Primark and the bag was £50 from Lakeland Leather (reduced from £109 in the sale). The great thing about this dress is that its crinkly material takes no ironing and it can be used and abused and still look OK.
What are your thoughts on frocks ladies?
Now I don’t know about you, but not many holidays go by without me acquiring a new kaftan, usually from a local market. I have so many of these, it’s a bit ridiculous, but each one reminds me of a holiday somewhere hot and sunny and I don’t like to part with them unless they’ve been to Manchester Airport and back at least a few times. This one I picked up in Alcudia Old Town, Mallorca. They’re great for chucking on over a cossie (I’m not one for exposure and burn easily too) and for a casual night out you can wear them with jeans and a heel.
In some ways, for me, they’ve replaced the sarong – I often take a couple of sarongs with me and they languish unloved in the suitcase. What do we think ladies? Are they a useful item in your wardrobe?
By the time we get into our fifties, most of have developed our own sense of style and know what works and what doesn’t. The danger with this, is that you can sleepwalk through your wardrobe buys, getting the same thing over and over, so that when you look back at your holiday photos you might as well have been wearing the same outfit for twenty years.
I like to try new shapes and styles, but I do have a basic set of rules in my head to avoid too many mistakes.
- My wardrobe basics are: Black patent good quality leather boots, black leather jacket, Breton stripes, cashmere in pretty colours, black cigarette pants, bright tees with long or 3/4 sleeves, silver sandals, dark jeans, silver clutch, oversize tote, mini shoulder bag. These take me almost anywhere and I add accessories to put my stamp on them.
- Wear some colour. Pure monochrome does me no favours any more and a pop of colour lifts any outfit.
- Worn or boyfriend jeans just don’t work any more – I look more ‘allotment’ than ‘catwalk’ in them, so dark denim or white jeans look smarter. The cut matters. Nothing low rise, but equally, not too high waisted if you want to avoid the granny look. Very skinny skinnies just look ridiculous, so a bootleg, flare or straight works better.
- Printed pants now equal PJs. I bought some this year, thought I looked great ’til I saw the photos – I looked like I’d just popped downstairs for my shredded wheat.
- I love a boho vibe, but don’t overdo it (with the exception of holidays when I indulge big style). One boho piece per outfit is enough then keep the rest simple.
- Demure is now a good look, so no boobs and legs, but on the other hand, don’t want to be twinset and pearls either, so have one edgy thing per outfit.
- Accessorise with maybe one huge ring or necklace, but not loads all at once. I feel that this is my time to wear fabulous statement jewellery.
- Only wear shoes you can walk in. I have so many pretty shoes in my wardrobe, but they go nowhere. Nothing looks more ridiculous than teetering in stupid shoes. Good quality and comfort matter.
- Sequins and sparkle – I love them and will never give them up, but as with boho, not too much at once and keep jewellery to the minimum when wearing sparkle.
- Buy quality handbags – even if they come from a charity shop!
- Cashmere – if I see it on sale, I buy it. I’m building a cashmere collection and so far I still have every piece I ever owned. Handwashing and proper care means they will last and get softer with time. Most of mine comes from M&S.
- Prints-I accept that they have a short lifespan and move them onto the charity shop after a few wears. Nothing looks sadder than a washed out print that you’ve had for donkey’s years.
- Dresses – I love the simplicity of a dress and for an occasion you can’t go wrong with Phase Eight.
- Gym wear – stays in the gym. Leggings serve no useful purpose outside of Zumba, yoga or Pilates.
- Charity shops – I search them for stylish classic pieces and give back by donating once I’m fed up with something.
I love reading style rules, so if anyone has any, please share.