Waving goodbye to my 40s with a primrose yellow opera glove.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Be Off With You

Things that need to go away for a long rest:

Orla Kiely and her expensive pears

Boots with buckles all over them

PJs with glitter and PJs with roll-up button tab straps

Anything with roll-up button tab straps

Nighties without rack support

Skirts that revolve because making a proper waistband is too much trouble

Mandarin collars


Blouses that don't button all the way up (I'll decide thank you)

Caffe Nero

Overtaking on a roundabout (you are all mad)

Layering: tight jeans tucked into tight boots covered with a thick woolen knee-length tube covering a long T shirt covered by scarves. For example. Can't breathe thinking about it.

You are welcome to add to the list.

Edited to add:

'Waterfall' Cardigans.
Is that a knitwear section or did Walgreens open its Halloween aisle?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

She Did Good

Last year Sarah started her blog: Beauty 101.
She knows a thing or two and I was lucky enough to receive two recommendations that helped me look alive and prevented blindness. I know!

After shopping in a certain pharmacy I received a $5 off voucher for a cosmetics brand new to me. What was any good? Sarah made some suggestions and I bought the Ruby & Millie Cream blush . I've always been a powder and brush gal and was a bit scared at the density of the color but it goes on very well and lasts longer than my usual Lancome powder; smear some on the back of the hand and then dab and blend.

After reading Sarah's post about eyelash curling and thinking it was time to stop poking my eyes with a cotton bud to remove blobby mascara, she came up with the Tweezerman Folding Lash Comb: a smart thing and surprisingly easy to handle while juggling glasses and a mirror.

I was also reminded about the magical properties of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream and found a good offer in Duty Free. It's a mighty unguent and I don't care that it has been used on race horses.

So, while it is not possible to turn back time (whatever they say) and on this journey we're all heading south, yadda, it's a good thing to have the likes of Sarah sharing her know-how.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

If I Get Dressed Today..

.... it will be because of this woman .

From Advanced Style .

Monday, November 8, 2010

Back In The Saddle

For the longest time I couldn't post because I was busy selling all our possessions, preparing to leave America and return to the U.K. Then I couldn't post because I arrived, was jet-lagged, homeless and unsure which way to look when crossing the road. Then came the period of denial that I had moved at all.
In the midst of all this I lived out of a suitcase of warm clothes during an English early summer heat-wave, bought a wardrobe after a decade enjoying built-in closets, and wondered if I would ever wear my cowboy boots again.
After the extreme heat of Texas I am now obsessed with keeping out of draughts and learning how to walk everywhere in shoes again.

On arriving in Hamville four months ago, two things made the biggest sartorial impression on me: black leggings and burhkas. These seemed to be everywhere I looked and appeared equally ridiculous. The shock has worn off now, I just avert my eyes.
A year ago in America there was a revival of purple (very Michele Obama) and now it's here. Purses seem to be getting smaller at last but the clanky embellishments that used to weigh them down seem to have been soldered on to boots.
Now it's my first English winter in ten years and when I'm not being doused with freezing windy water what I can see seems drab and drear. I saw a woman the other day wearing an orange sari underneath a violet woolen coat and almost followed her just to catch some of the warmth she cast about. Like Slaminsky* said recently, glam might be the only thing to get me through to Spring or the next election.

*I would link but the post disappeared!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I like the lines and the lemon, the structure and the fluid skirt. And I'll never tire of socks with heels - whatever they say.

From VintageHybrid

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Open Arms

I stopped shopping for dresses and skirts in the real world. There's nothing for me there.
Over the last three years or so, an average of 7 inches has been cut from the length of most dresses that I might like the look of in regular stores. The current design trend on the high street for mere mortals is for dresses so short I could wear them as a shirt - and I am 5'4".

I don't feel happy or well-dressed baring my armpits and legs, never have done - so modesty is one of the things I cannot blame on the aging process. My preferred dress length is 'tea dress': smack in the middle of the knee or below; a skirt I'll take even longer: I have a smashing vintage Valentino grey wool circle skirt that falls mid-calf and looks stunning with heels, and am always on the look out for below-knee pencil skirts because, paired with the right heels they're a damned sexy item.

What feels and looks alluring is a personal matter, I know. For me it's a dance between what is hidden and revealed. Covered shoulders and arms can give greater impact to a hint of decolletage, ankles and calves can be eloquent.
So once more to the land of vintage.
But once in a while I find a place that seems to want to dress me; where the idea, taken for granted from the 1930s to 1962, that a dress on the female form should look as fascinating from behind as it does in front guides the pattern maker. That we come in different shapes that do occasionally go in and out.
In New Orleans there is a dress shop called Trashy Diva. It is full of dresses, skirts and blouses in cotton, flowing rayon, crepe de chine and silk. Clothes are made from vintage patterns and tweaked for current requirements. With styles ranging from 1930s inspired frocks to 1950s opera coats it's my idea of heaven. The main store behind Jackson Square is a little palace for trying-on, with lots of attractive shoes from L.A Re-Mix and Giraudon, many in custom shades that complement fabrics for the season, plus cabinets of accessories. There are comfortable seats, roomy changing cubicles, lighting is relaxing while doing the job, and any music played is appropriate and not blaring (bit of Armstrong, bit of the Boswell Sisters)
The women who work at Trashy Diva are very good at what they do: approachable, not pushy and fake, they know the stock and how it fits because they wear the designs themselves.
Fan-tailed skirts, curving blouses, halter dresses, all the designs are worked in colors and patterns featured for the season and some staples are re-worked over time, to meet the comfort requirements of customers.
I'm very fond of my Mansfield dress

It's made in soft but substantial jersey (not usually the friendliest fabric on me) that hangs perfectly, clinging only where it should. The bodice feels snug in a good, supportive way and the length gets my approval - but the sleeves and shoulders are what I love best - a perfect and flattering fit that gives the impression I have the most amazing and balanced proportions. Dress magic.

I couldn't afford the silk Ingrid dress
Sigh - beautifully fluid. The black panels prevent the sleeves from looking fey.
And I was ok for shoes that day (oh who am I kidding - receiving treatment for a long-established obsession with Re-Mix, thank you for your concern, now go to the web site, why should I suffer alone?).

So, it was one of those rare things: a pleasant, inspiring shopping experience in the real world. And it did me good.

If you'd like to transform yourself and can't get to New Orleans any time soon, take a look at the Trashy Diva site. Those elegant and competent ladies will gladly take your details and help you choose.
I'm waiting for this little number

Thursday, February 25, 2010

And They're Off.........

It's been going on for years and it's about to start again: my annual search for a pair of white trousers (pants) that are not transparent.
Sounds so simple, but I have tried chinos, denims, linen mixes; fully lined and semi-lined and not at all lined. And every single pair has revealed that which I choose to leave unseen: my knickers.
I've tried endless brands and endless stores including Nordstrom, Dillards, Macys, J. Crew, J.Jill, Talbots, Gap. I thought the, cough, 'older lady' retailers would have this dignity issue sorted, but no.

First the pants have to pass the held-up-to-the-light test.
On the couple of occasions when the pink of my skin or the hue of skin-toned knickers has not shown through, I've been flummoxed by the other problem: visible front pockets - two contrasting half-moons spoiling what should be a smooth white surface. I once read a tip that suggested cutting out front pockets to avoid the messy look, but it's a tricky and expensive alteration.

So, any suggestions?
I know about wearing 'nude'-coloured undies; I can't do haute couture; I'm looking for the wide-leg Kate Hepburn style or the classic straight leg jean. Pubic-exposing skinny is not for me.

So if you try on a pair of whites that fit the bill, be a doll and let me know, will you? The person who helps me finally shut up about this will be rewarded with my eternal gratitude (and that of my husband), a huge shout-out and something delectable in the mail that goes with white pants - I was thinking chocolate....a set of indelible ink pens....that sort of thing.