We are going on a cruise with Celebrity next month and I have to pack two outfits that meet the criteria for ‘Evening Chic’. In previous years I would have chosen a full length gown or something blingy, but as I’ve matured, although I still like a bit of sparkle, I favour a more toned down look.
For my first outfit I’m packing this Phase Eight sleeveless dress. I am wearing Wingz underneath to give the appearance that it has sleeves. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, at 55, my arms are not as firm as they used to be. Secondly, cruise ships are a bit chilly in the evenings and as pashminas seem a bit passé now, I need a cover up. The Wingz were sent to me for the purpose of review and I think they look pretty good with this dress, so I’ll definitely be packing them.
Onto the shoes. These are the Charlotte Olympias that I won last year and try as I might, I just can’t do anything but totter in them. I look ridiculous. If anyone wants to make me an offer they are size four and have never been worn (apart from trying on!). They won’t be making the edit that’s for sure, but I have some black spiky Carvelas that will work.
I think it’s quite tricky to pack for a hot weather city break because you have to consider temperature, comfort and of course, style. You can’t simply pack as you would for a summer holiday as you may want to visit churches and museums but on the other hand, you want to be put together as opposed to any old t-shirt and jeans.
Here, I’m wearing a cotton tunic from White Stuff which is cool, but covers up a fair bit. The silk scarf is from East and is great for holidays as it weighs nothing and can be used for day or evening.
I usually take a cross body bag when in big cities as I like to feel that my purse and camera are secure.
I take both flat sandals and trainers if we are walking around a big city, so that I can swap to sandals early evening and give my toes some breathing space!
We’ve just spent a blissful few days in Bardolino on Lake Garda, Italy. No sightseeing, just getting away from it all. On Tuesday night we went to the opera so I chose a pretty frock from Debenhams Collection and my trusty white linen jacket from M&S. The weather was scorching, so the jacket was surplus to requirements really.
The dress is one of my charity shop buys – it cost me a fiver and no doubt after a couple of wears it will go back for someone else to stumble across it. That’s the beauty of charity shops. You can shop guilt free, have lots of different outfits, then give them all back at the end of it to make room for more! I never tire of it and happily spend hours browsing. I also don’t give a monkey’s about who owned it before, or any potential stigma attached to second hand. To me, a charity shop is like a dressing up box: just full of sartorial opportunity! This dress actually came with matching green strappy shoes, but no way I was walking more than a mile in them, so they stayed at home for a more suitable occasion.
I’m quite sad that white linen pants are no longer ‘of the moment’ because I used to rely on them so heavily for sightseeing holidays. Cool and comfortable, they went with everything and I think that’s the thing that contributed to their demise. Everyone wore them and we got sick of them.
I no longer own these pants, instead I wear white or blue jeans, or khaki harems, but none of them quite hit the mark for something like this day in Bilbao. Jeans: too hot, khaki, too casual. Do you see what I mean?
Now I could rock a frock, but when you go on holiday with my husband, you have to be prepared to walk miles and miles, so a dress doesn’t always work. And before you suggest shorts, go and wash your mouth out with soap! Shorts will never be a part of a short, slightly overweight, freckly, pale skinned girl’s wardrobe. Got it?
So, if I do perchance see a pair of white linen wide legged pants (no elasticated waist or drawstrings please) then I will be snapping them up for my summer holidays. I’d like them to be petite length, reasonably thick cotton and good quality (no-one needs to see my knickers). Anyone out there stocking them?
Such a lot is said about double denim that most of us shy away from it as the ultimate fashion faux pas. However, I think it can work if you get the proportions and colours right. I wouldn’t wear the same shade of denim top and bottom, nor would I wear jeans with a classic denim jacket, but I think this shirt dress looks OK over a pair of dark boot cut jeans. The shirt dress is from Gap and is a great piece to have in your wardrobe for layering. The jeans are M&S and the striped tee is Henry Holland at Debenhams. Both shirt and top are long enough to wear as a dress, but, as they say, ‘not on my watch’. My knees are staying firmly covered up thank you very much. The bag is from Jasper Conran at Debenhams and the superlight trainers are from Hi Tech. I’m dressed here to go walking along the seafront at Torremolinos. We stayed there last week at the Riu Nautilus. The weather varied between 15-25 degrees from one day to the next, so layering and walking shoes were the order of the day. Anyone else like a bit of denim?
This year, I’ve acquired a number of shirts: a white one this summer and for autumn/winter a pink pinstripe, a grey pinstripe and a grey linen grungy affair. I do mean shirts, not blouses. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to jump on this bandwagon, but I’ve never really had shirts before. It’s always been blouses or tops and knitwear. Now I’ve started, it seems I just have to own more! They are just so versatile for layering, and they work really well with my other current favourite thing, a gilet. The pink pinstripe one here is from Two Danes. It wasn’t cheap but it feels fantastic to wear. My others have come from M&S and Topshop (yes – the grungy one, as you probably guessed). I think I like them because the v neck is flattering for big boobs, plus you can roll the sleeves and layer a few bracelets and of course they’re not clingy. They also dress up or down so for someone like me who likes to be on the move, they serve multiple purpose on holiday. Anyone else a fan?
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!
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?
As promised, some more fashion pics from my holiday, this time featuring my best friend Linda. We holiday together at least once a year and love getting our heads together to plan what to wear.
Linda’s fab Missoni inspired maxi is by N & Willow from a boutique in Tattenhall called Compliment. The white flat sandals are from Clarks. The pink clutch is Jane Shilton (one of my charity shop buys).This next oufit is by the same designer, also from Compliment. Their dresses are soft jersey and great for packing.
I’ve been experimenting with this bold coral colour lately and felt really comfortable in these khaki pants. The top is from M&S and the pants are Dorothy Perkins. Bag as before (we were sharing – saves on packing!) and shoes are from a boutique in Torremolinos.
Linda also went for a hot colour with this linen dress from Kalico.
This is my favourite daytime dress, a white broderie anglaise shift from Sainsbury’s of all places. It’s lasted for ages!
The bag is another Jane Shilton charity shop buy (it cost £1) and the shoes were Primark – I say ‘were’ as I nearly broke my neck in them so they were consigned to the bin!
I’d love to see your holiday outfits! I never get bored of planning what to wear.
I was a teenager in the seventies, so that whole hippie chic vibe is still alive and kicking in me! I’m delighted that the boho look is back in the shops, but I have to be careful not to wear the same stuff as I did back then. So no denim pin-tucked waistcoat, no cheesecloth see through shirts, no off the shoulder peasant tops and no crazy flares. However, that leaves plenty of scope for platforms, shaggy cardis, long skirts and fringed bags! Hurray!
This weekend I was at a wedding at Rowton Hall, Chester and wore this outfit to breakfast the following day. So, this explains the mad hairdo and tired looking face in case you’re wondering. It’s a mainly M&S combo: jeans and tee from there, plus this lovely shaggy waistcoat which is comfy and gives a nod to the seventies. My platform mules are from Mode a Pele last season: I’m having a bit of a mustard thing at the moment. The bag is Jasper Conran at Debenhams which I bought in a charity shop. My necklace is also last season M&S and a bit boho inspired.
Next on my wishlist is a fringed suede bag. I’m looking!