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Archive for the ‘Clothes and Fashion’ Category

Smoothing bulges & bums for the party season

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

So you want to trim your thighs, flatten your tummy and smooth your bottom?  

What you need is a good dose of  “Shapewear” to give you that cinched in waist. The only thing to watch out for is an attack of “muffin top”, as all that flesh has got to go somewhere., and you don’t want rolls of fat where none existed in the first place!
From personal experience with few exceptions shapewear knickers are best avoided for this very reason, so I suggest you go for a “body” instead.

There are now several ranges on the market that will lift and sculpt your profile and tame your tummy. Here are some of the best ( cheaper one’s first) :

  • M&S’s pretty, lacy Secret Slimming Waist Sculpt Waist Cincher is £22.50
  • Maidenform’s Flexees Weightless Comfort Full Slip in black or nude is fabulous at £40.00
  • Wolford’s Velvet Control Shorts High Waist gives a good smooth figure
  • M&S’s Secret Slimming Waist Sculpt Wear Your Own Bra Body at £29.50 works really well if you really need your own bra for a bit of ‘lift and separate’.
  • M&S have a brilliant range called Ultimate Magic Secret Support , which will flatten your stomach, lift your bottom and could slim you down a dress size, from £29.50
  • Maria Grachvogel’s Magic Pants are designed to lift the bum and at £475 are expensive but classic
  • Dmondaine’s Ginger Bodysuit costs £162.00, and their Marilyn full slip costs £170.00 from net-a-porter. Both have built in bra’s.
  • Grace&Wilde’s control slip in pale pink is amazing, but at £350 sadly so is the price.
  • Roland Mouret’s Mini Powermesh Slip Dress is the base of his body sculpting dresses and is a more reasonable £265 for the authentic Mouret look from Net-a-Porter 
  • Not Your Daughter’s Jeans from John Lewis will, whilst not the height of fashion, do a good job of flattening your tummy and lifting your bottom
  • TK Maxx Magic Pants are the bargain “Spanx pants” and they only cost £5.00
  • Wizard Jeans smooth the tummy and lift the bottom, for the “ultimate nip and tuck” and cost around £100

Smoothing out the bulges and bums

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Fed up with muffin tops and that sneaky bulge of soft flesh round the back of your bra straps? There are now several ranges on the market that will lift and sculpt your profile and tame your tummy. With names like super power panties, and the midthigh body suit, here are some of the best:

  • Spanx pants are excellent at giving you a smoother profile. See their lacy range from Figleaves
  • Trinny & Susannah offer High Waist Control Briefs (£39) or Bum Tum and Thigh Reducer (£30) pants available from Figleaves 
  • Gok Wan’s Shapewear 
  • Maria Grachvogel’s Magic Pants are designed to lift the bum and at £475 are expensive but classic
  • Roland Mouret’s Mini Powermesh Slip Dress is the base of his body sculpting dresses and is a more reasonable £265  for the authentic Mouret look from Net-a-Porter 
  • Not Your Daughter’s Jeans from John Lewis  will, whilst not the height of fashion, do a good job of flattening your tummy and lifting your bottom
  • TK Maxx Magic Pants are the bargain “Spanx pants” and they only cost £5.00
  • M&S have a brilliant range called Ultimate Magic Secret Support , which will flatten your stomach, lift your bottom and could slim you down a dress size, from £29.50
  • Wizard Jeans smooth the tummy and lift the bottom, for the “ultimate nip and tuck” and cost around £100.

Spanx Slim Cognito Shaping Mid-Thigh Bodysuit


Summer fashion trends NOT to buy

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Summer is here, and black is THE fashion colour to wear, but these are the trends I will NOT be wearing:

Sheer tops
I’m sorry but beyond 50 sheer is not a good place to go to – bra straps, love handles and a tummy  – nothing can be hidden in a sheer top, and any bit of you that doesn’t look good gets worse when you sit down.

Perspex shoes
One of the key looks this summer in shoes, how on earth can your feet be comfy and not sweaty when encased in anything plastic? And don’t start me on that scourge of foot fashion, the Croc, which now seems to have expanded into a dire range of plastic footwear. Each pair should come with a complimentary tube of athlete’s foot cream!
Then there is the Perspex bag  – and boy, are they expensive! How come a piece of plastic can cost £’000’s?

Well, what can I say? Have you ever tried to iron a shirt festooned with ruffles? Time taken to iron one flouncy shirt equals time taken to do all the rest of the ironing put together. Also I think most ruffles just make you look fat, unless you are a size zero model, and are a terrible trap for crumbly canapes.

Dungarees and jumpsuits
What daft designer thought that one up? There is no-one who looks good in dungarees, other than Andy Pandy. They are gross, full stop. Whilst on the subject of trousers I would consign all baggy pyjama style and pleated trousers to my Room 101. They are just so unflattering, on everyone.

Heavily clashing prints
I must admit I am in two minds over this. The theory sounds great but the reality? Having just seen this  “patterns in your face jacket” from Jaeger I’m not too sure. I just have a sneaky suspicion that anything multi patterned will stay firmly at the back of my wardrobe in favour of plain summery colours, and black of course!
Likewise florals  – how many women do you know who look good in florals?

Open toed boots for summer?
We wait 6 months to get our loafers, strappy sandals and peep toed shoes out, and blow me, the fashion trend is open toed evening boots! Duh??

So that’s it. For me it will be a diet of no clashing colours, no frilly bits or floral prints, no Perspex shoes, and not a onesie in sight. This is definitely a summer to choose your trends carefully and avoid these fashion pitfalls.






Time to spring clean your wardrobe!

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Most women have a nucleus of 25% of their wardrobe which gets worn 75% of the time, so a clear out means you can access the pieces you wear much more easily and identify the gaps that necessitate a new purchase! 

Aim to sort and streamline your wardrobe each spring and autumn as you get the next season’s clothes and shoes out. Be ruthless, and unless they are timeless quality pieces (some clothes do have several lives) give to charity (or sell on eBay) anything that does not make you feel good, that looks tired or that you haven’t worn in years. Those suits or dresses that you kept because you spent a lot of money on them years ago, or the shoes that were a bargain in the sales but you can’t remember when you last wore them are prime candidates

So ask yourself the following questions:
-do I look good in this?
-does it flatter my shape?
-will I realistically wear it again?
-when did I last wear it?
-does the colour suit me?
-is it too young for me now?
-is it a classic?
-is it completely out of fashion (padded shoulders!)?
-would altering the hem line give it fresh life?

A good friend can be really useful for this, and then you can repay the favour. But beware – retro is very popular & fashion has a habit of repeating itself.

Paying a professional to go through your clothes is expensive, but actually good value – they will rejuvenate your wardrobe, ruthlessly discard what doesn’t suit you, show you how to wear what you have to maximum effect and identify key items to buy that will complement what you have already.

For an e boutique site full of storage ideas and useful products to make clothes storage more efficient go to Total Wardrobe Care

If you have used a wardrobe consultant let us know on the FORUM and we will add her to the site.

Or you could go “Swishing” It’s a relatively new event for getting ladies together to swap their unwanted but good quality clothes. What you think of as last season someone else will regard as having classic style. You have to take at least one item of good quality clean clothing or an accessory that you would be pleased to wear but now want to hand on. Your items are graded & exchanged for vouchers and then you begin to browse. You could even set up a Swishing session yourself to raise money for charity.

Designer Alterations will alter hemlines, waistlines or even copy a favourite dress.


Tights off – get those legs out!

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

At last, the temperature gauge has risen above 10 degrees, and I have even had a few moments of feeling too hot in trousers. In fact I even spotted one brave soul out today in shorts – fine for 5 minutes in the sun and out of the wind, but in my view a more gentle move into cut-offs would be safer.

Anyway, it’s definitely time to get your legs ready to emerge, as that magic 15 degrees approaches. For me its either black opaques or bare, as I am not a fan of tights. But I am not blessed with the type of legs that quickly go brown so getting my white pins out always requires a deep breath and a leap out of trousers. Lets face it -the knees of a 50 year old are not generally a pretty sight.

So, I do it in stages: ankles appear first, poking out from a pair of cropped trousers. If ankles are pale and unbuffed, no-one will notice, and they will look okay in either white or this season’s zingy orange. Add a blazer, or my favourite spring purchase from Jaeger of a chic spring tweed coat with a laminated finish, and a pair of comfortable flatties and I’m safe to go.

So now its full attention to the legs. This is the time when I wish I had listened to all that advice about body buffing, but it’s too late now so I always indulge in two quick fix things to get ready for the unveiling. Firstly a wax to start with, as you can let the hairs grow a bit under winter trousers, but after that I must admit I give in to shaving, as I can’t bear going through the stubbly stage once my legs are out. Smooth legs free of hair and dry skin work wonders for leg confidence.

Second is a pedicure, to get rid of grotty cuticles and hard skin.

Then I follow up with ‘not-as-regular-as-I-should-do’ body brushing to stimulate circulation and improve skin tone ( on dry skin and in an upwards motion ), plus a body scrub with an oil base to moisturise.

As for fake tans, well I have never been wholly successful with them, finding it hard to avoid streaks. Instead I use a tinted moisturizing lotion, such as Garnier Summerbody Moisturizing

Garnier Summerbody Moisturising Lotion

Lotion or Decleor Gradual Glow Body Milk. You can rub them in with your hands and avoid streaks.

For a more serious fake tan you can’t beat Dove Summer Glow for a gradual tan in the medium shade, or St Tropez mousse for a great colour.

Now all you have to do is pack up your jeans and dust off your cropped trousers ready to graduate to shorts when summer arrives.

Fashion trends for the chic 50+ woman

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Although 50 is no longer considered old, (and of course I would say we are in our prime!) inevitably it does mean that certain trends and styles should now be off limits. Lets face it, as we age, some previously toned body parts do regrettably begin to sag and lose that peachy youthful look. In my view, even if you have the size 10 body of a slim 30 year old, as we approach our 50’s a touch of elegance and sophistication is required.

As many fashion experts will attest, dressing younger doesn’t make you look younger. Having said that, neither should you fill your wardrobe with staple classics – ‘classic’ can look dated and old fashioned. On the other hand the season’s pleated skirts could look horribly like Country Casuals on anyone other that a young Kiera Knightly beanpole.

So what’s a cool, fashionable middle-age woman to do?
Well, for starters, 50 does not mean you can’t have fun with your wardrobe or keep up with some of the latest trends. Women in their 50’s should feel just as comfortable and elegant in their clothing as they do in their own skin.

Fortunately, there are plenty of hot trends for 2013 that are wearable for women of all ages. From brightly-coloured pants suits to sleek Bermuda shorts, clothing trends for this spring are cool and classy, much like the women sporting them. Click here for the latest on this summers trends for our age group.

Brilliant Bermudas

This spring introduces a sharp update to Bermuda shorts.

Yes, when one normally thinks of Bermuda shorts, retirees on a golf course or chowing down at a buffet at an island beach resort usually comes to mind; however, these knee-length shorts are no longer reserved for the older crowd. Designers have added diverse prints, charming pastels, and a polished fitting to Bermudas. Ideal for chic ladies who want to keep cool, yet look conservative, these slouchy, smart shorts have a flattering fit and can be worn in the office or to brunch with friends.

Designers used fabrics like silk, cotton, and denim; frilly, flirty details; and dainty prints to create these splendid shorts. Click here for some more key spring runway trends that middle aged women can actually wear.

Alluring Colours

Spring is the time when everything around us comes alive and, for many of us, so do our wardrobes. This season it’s the “brighter, the better” when it comes to colourful attire. Delicious tangerines, terracotta’s, and pumpkins, plus hues of amber and honey, are some of the stunning colours that designers used in their spring and summer collections this year.

These diverse shades of orange aren’t the only colours you’ll see this season – rich reds, calm yellows, dark blues, and deep purples are also going to be a hit in the 2013 fashion scene. Items in these bold colours should be a fixture in your wardrobe, particularly in your beach wear.

Swimming costumes, beach dresses, and cover ups are available in an array of radiant colours and can easily be found at M&S

These fabulous and flattering colours aren’t strictly for the beach or pool either, as designers have also created sophisticated, tailored pants and relaxed, loose-fitting tops in some of these dazzling tones. And don’t resist the temptation to show off your colourful apparel in the office since many businesses and companies have a more relaxed dress code, particularly during the warmer months. No matter the item of clothing, incorporate these colour trends in your own personal style this season.

And remember, being trendy in your 50’s means you can give all those fashion misses a wide berth – jumpsuits, zig zag tights, and wedge trainers. No no no!



Looking fab at 50: fashion trends for 2013

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Whistles have some fabulous fashion, for working ladies too.

The sales are finished and it’s time to turn our minds to spring fashion trends.

First of all you need a quick new year wardrobe detox – pass on to charity anything you haven’t worn for two years, including those sale purchase shoes that were a bargain, but never really fitted.

The new trends to look out for are :

A smart hoodie – yes they really are in fashion now curtesy of Alexander Wang, although a smart trophy sweatshirt will do just as well.

Watch out in Debenhams for their Designers at Debenhams range – this year Marios Schwab, Jonathan Saunders and Preen are stars of this years collection.

Hunter is expanding from its welly range into Hunter macs, and they look rather neat – Burberry better watch out.

Wide stripes in bold combinations are heading our way ( think convicts) – mercifully in vertical format rather than horizontally.

The mid heel shoe is on the rise, thank goodness as I can never last more than a couple of hours in stillettos.

Leather and lace continue to lead the style trend, and for work trouser suits are making a comeback, with heels.

And finally, have you looked at Jaeger recently? What a transformation! I know they are more expensive than the high street, but the quality is excellent and the styles are very wearable. I am seriously tempted by a whole stack of their new pieces.


Wardrobe Essentials for the Winter

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Here are my wardrobe essentials for the winter

So the clocks have gone back, and winter beckons. This is a time to cheer up your wardrobe with a new ‘essential” item.

Fortunately, his season’s fashion must-have is perfect for the middle aged stylish woman. Pack up the summer’s capri pants and get yourself a pair of fashion’s latest – the seven-eighth trouser, or more precisely a slim trouser that flatters big calves by thankfully ending well below them and instead shows a little bit of ankle.

Suddenly seven-eighth trousers are everywhere, and in all shades and patterns – jacquard, tartan, paisley, check etc. Personally I would go for a chic black as, unless you are very brave, you have to be willow slim to look good in paisley trousers. Think sort of rock chic for the over 40’s. Pair them with a loose, sloppy jumper or a not-tucked-in top, and ballet pumps for everyday wear. In the evenings high heels or wedges look great.

And why oh why did I give my leather trousers away! Every celebrity and style icon seems to be papped in a pair, and they are so versatile. The ultimate day to evening winter wear item. From Net a Porter, via Zara to M&S – they are everywhere. If you can’t afford the real thing, wax coated trousers are the perfect alternative. You can dress them down with ballet shoes or smart trainers, or ramp it up with high heels. Keep your top half casual and voila’ – you have the instant Elle Macpherson look.

M&S Per Una Speziale Baroque Print Trousers

M&S Per Una Collection

What’s in a Handbag?

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

The latest bag promotion at Selfridges is the Urban Survival Kit bag. Supported by the likes of Mulberry, Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, Anya Hindmarsh and Eastpak they are full of everything you might want to survive a summer of high octane sport and activity in the City. Each contains the designer’s own interpretation of what it will take to get through the next few weeks.

Go to Urban Backpack Survival Range

Latest addition

Which takes me onto Nora Ephron (You’ve Got Mail / Sleepless In Seattle / When Harry Met Sally), who had such an amazing talent for hitting the nail on the head with her witty script writing and musings on life. Her book “I Feel Bad About My Neck” has had a

Survived a dog chewing

resurgence since her death and just makes you chuckle – its not all about old age – it is just about life in general. Actually I can sort of imagine Michael Palin doing a man’s version.

Anyway, back to Nora and handbags, which is where I was going before my daughter looked over my shoulder and told me about Selfridges Survival Bags.

Nora’s musing on the contents of a woman’s handbag is brilliant. As she puts it – its for women who ‘find it appalling that a purse might cost $600’ and whose purses are ‘full of a morass of loose TicTacs, lipsticks without tops, tampons that have come loose from their wrappings, leaky ball point pens…’

I could add to that old train tickets and shopping lists ( essential if I am to remember to buy the stuff we have actually run out of, rather than the things I then end up with three of), various half full packs

Years old, but one of my favourites

of paper hankies, a purse that regularly gets depleted of cash when daughter on ‘unpaid work

Evening number - not much scope for detritus

experience’ needs train fare subbing, scribbled telephone numbers on scraps of paper that later mean nothing to me, and a safety pin or two – well you never know do you? And the elastic did once go in my grey flannel school knickers, and did I wish I had a safety pin then!

The bag rule is of course keep it small, as the larger the bag, the more stuff gets lost in the bottom, never to resurface. These are my favourite bags – but you will be relieved to know that I have spared you the contents!

And here is my most useful addition, given to me by a friend after a jubilee party – brilliant for holding the essentials, and now it travels from bag to bag.

My bag in a bag

Ballgowns at the V&A

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
V&A Ballgowns

V&A BallgownsThe V&A is a real treasure trove of exhibitions and entrance is free, although they rightly request a £3.00 donation. A couple of weeks ago my daughter and I went to the Ballgowns exhibition, and it is well worth a visit. It was an extensive exhibition with some classic designer dresses from the 1920’s onwards, donated by the wearers.I found it interesting to see that whilst materials and patterns changed, many of the dresses were still wearable today – until you got into the extreme designer wear section where the neoprene and feather numbers would have looked a little out of place at a local charity ball.

Most interesting were the dresses that were accompanied by a photograph of the wearer, and I felt that it was a shame there weren’t more of those.

From the Emmanuel’s (of Princess Diana’s wedding dress fame)  was a dress that Liz Hurley wore for an iconic Estee Lauder ad in 1999– the perfect floral full skirted wedding dress.

Emmanuel dress for Liz Hurley in Estee Lauder adsThere was an amazing feather concoction by Alexander McQueen, which Daphne Guinness wore in 2011. Guinness had earlier intrigued those who passed by the window of Barneys, the New York store, by getting ready for the evening event in the window!

Dress worn by Princess Diana

There was an instantly recognizable dress worn by Princess Diana – I can’t remember who designed it, but here it is and I’m sure you will recognize it.

Some designers had donated their dresses, but I felt they could maybe have chosen other pieces that would have done them more justice. anyway, my daughter found her ideal wedding dress, which she duly photographed for future reference for an as yet completely unknown  event.

Anyway here are a selection of my favoutites – go and enjoy it whilst it is on, and after that you have the whole amazing V&a  to wander round, though I always find a couple of hours at one go is enough – by then I need a quick whisk round the shop, a coffee fix and some fresh air.

Daphne Guinness' dress

Wedding Dress?

Metallic Leather

Foil dress