Thursday, 27 November 2014

A Grey Coat Needs Cool Accessories

winter coat
I've had this grey (gray for my American readers) coat for ever...
Certainly long enough, and I've been trying to replace it for... longer than I can remember. But, as you can see, I haven't had much luck.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Grim, Dark November...

puffa jacket
It's that time of the year again: 
one day it snows, the next day the snow (well, sleet, actually) is all gone but it's freezing cold (as in, around 0°C / 32°F)... then it gets (a bit) warmer again, even the sun comes out to play for a few precious hours.
This is when we Nordics turn all Nordic Noir, retreat to our homes and huddle up in front of the SAD light, browsing travel agency websites for a last minute escape somewhere sunny...

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Moto Jacket x 3

leather jacket over 40

Coats and jackets take up quite a bit of space in the suitcase, so I always try to find the one perfect cover-up that would work with anything and in every situation. So, on a recent 3-day trip to London, I set myself a little challenge: to create 3 different looks based on my old, black Karen Millen leather jacket (you may remember it from a few weeks ago, when I wore it with a leopard print dress).

40+ biker jacket
jacket: Karen Millen (old) / top: Banana republic / shoes: Clarks /  bag: Micheal Kors
LOOK 1: a Casual Dinner / Night Out
A sophisticated wrap top and a statement necklace, straight-cut brown trousers and shoes, and a small bag. A pink pashmina adds a pop of colour.

40+ moto jacket
bag: Armani Exchange (old) / pashmina: Balmuir / T-shirt: Custo Barcelona
LOOK 2: Travel outfit
This is my travel outfit: a long sleeved T-shirt and the same trousers as above (this time in grey) and shoes (in black), a medium-sized bag.

40+ biker
top: Banana Republic / sunglasses: Chanel (old)
LOOK 3: Weekend Casual
Breton stripes and  modern jewellery equals urban chic

pendant: "Space Apple" by  Björn Weckström for Lapponia / ring: Femme d'Esprit
The silver and acrylic pendant was a gift from my husband. It is a limited edition piece (designed in 1975) from the Björn Weckström 50th anniversary collection showcasing the designer's space inspired pieces for Lapponia Jewelry.

smart casual leather jacket

So, which one is your favourite look?


Linking up with Throw Back ThursdayPassion 4 Fashion, Visible Monday

PS: Dilettante Artist has her own blog now, The Dilettante Artist's Gallery,  where I will be posting (very infrequently) random pictures: illustration, photomanipulation, that sort of thing. And there is a pretty new widget on the sidebar to take you there...

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Cashmere: Stealth Luxury

cardigan: Brora / sunglasses: Miu Miu
Comfort wear is like comfort food...
No, I don't mean clothes to hide the effects of too much comfort food (let's not go there...), but clothes that make you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, sheltered from the big, bad world in a cosy little cocoon (again, no need to take 'cocoon' too literally here...)

magnifying glass pendant: Portobello Road Market / bangle: Kenneth Jay Lane
And cashmere is the ultimate comfort wear:
warm, cosy and subtly luxurious. It is also gentle on your skin: even people allergic to wool can usually wear soft cashmere. In my opinion, good cashmere is a good investment: it lasts forever (provided you take good care of it), keeps you warm and makes you feel fantastic.
But I don't condone ridiculously expensive and impractical designer cashmere: if the label says dry clean, forget it. Cashmere is everyday luxury, low-maintenance dressing at its best: wash and wear, again and again.
And good quality cashmere keeps its shape year after year, wash after wash. Therefore, I would also advise against cheap cashmere. However, some pilling may always occur, that's what the cashmere comb is for. It also makes sense to use special cashmere shampoo to hand wash your cashmere pieces. Cashmere is expensive (think about cost-per-wear: buy only classic styles that you will want to wear for the next ten years) but it is a good investment if you take care of it...

burgundy shoes
Don't you just love it when the shoes match the cardi? shoes: Clarks
Do you wear cashmere?


PS: Dilettante Artist has her own blog now, The Dilettante Artist's Gallery,  where I will be posting (very infrequently) random pictures: illustration, photomanipulation, that sort of thing. And there is a pretty new widget on the sidebar to take you there...

Linking up with Stylish Tuesday, Style Sessions

Thursday, 13 November 2014

How to go shopping in London without losing your mind

London shopping

So, you're in London. And you want to go shopping. Where should you go?

When you're thinking about shopping in London, chances are you're thinking about Oxford Street, Regent Street, maybe Knightsbridge.
Yeah, sure, if a nervous breakdown is on your shopping list...
These areas are awash with shops, and people... way too crowded for my liking. Shouldn't shopping be a bit more stress-free? And who has time (or energy) to trawl the streets for hours, anyway?

OK, I'm going to tell you a little secret: I often go shopping in London on Monday afternoon, when I have a few hours between leaving Homebase 2 and catching the plane back to Finland. Like most people who are time-poor, I need to be efficient; kill two birds at the same time, so to speak. So, as I have to make my way across London anyway, to either Paddington (for Heathrow Express) or Victoria (for Gatwick Express) to get to the airport, I often have a little pit stop for lunch and some shopping on the way. Of course, this only works if I have either no luggage or just cabin luggage; with a suitcase it's straight to the airport, no fun at all.

Anyway, there are two excellent (high street) shopping areas that pass both my stress-free shopping experience test and quick-and-targeted-shopping spree test: High Street Kensington and Sloane Square. Both are conveniently situated along the Circle Line, i.e the yellow underground line (subway line for my American readers) on the Tube map, and just a few stops away from either Paddington or Victoria stationsBut let's take a closer look:


High Street Kensington

You can find all your high street favourites within this compact area: Gap, H&M, Hobbs, Jigsaw, L.K.Bennett, Reiss, Topshop, American Apparel, Zara, Massimo Dutti, Clarks, Ecco, Geox...
But two shops in particular deserve a mention:

First, the best ever Marks and Spencer is adjacent to the tube station. Why the best ever? It is much less crowded than the Marble Arch store, and has an excellent selection, including the Autograph and Limited lines (and they ususally have my size, too...).

The other shop worth mentioning is T.K.Maxx a bit further away along the street. I have to confess: while I am always in awe of bloggers who find amazing bargains here, this shop doesn't really do it for me...  In fact, I hate it almost as much as I hate H&M and for the same reasons: it's messy and disorganised, I can't see how you can find anything there. Well, I guess it takes some effort... OK,  I admit: I'm not just a lazy tourist, I'm also a lazy shopper. I take one quick look around a shop to see if anything catches my eye, and if nothing does, I'm out of there. But, I thought, in spite of my personal reservations (or laziness), T.K Maxx is worth mentioning here, given how popular it (or its American counterpart, T.J.Maxx ) is.

High Street Kensington

And if you get hungry, how about a bite at Whole Foods? Or coffee and cake at the German bakery Kamps at Kensington High Street tube station?
But let's move on. The other excellent shopping area is


Sloane Square

Again, you can find the usual (high street) suspects: Zara, Cos, L.K.Bennett, Banana Republic, Jigsaw... but also Whistles, Michael Kors, Club Monaco, Hugo Boss, Mary Quant (in the Duke of York Square shopping centre) etc. And on the other side of the square: J Crew, Kate Spade, Tiffany's, Links of London, and the cashmere heaven Brora.
And don't forget Peter Jones department store. It is essentially the same as John Lewis on Oxford Street, just a little bit smaller and much less crowded. However, this department store is a must for anyone interested in crafts and sewing: there is quite a selection of fabrics and home decoration.

Sloane Square
So, there you have it: my little secret to a perfectly time-managed, stress-fee shopping spree in London... See you there!

Have fun shopping


PS: Dilettante Artist has her own blog now, The Dilettante Artist's Gallery,  where I will be posting (very infrequently) random pictures: illustration, photomanipulation, that sort of thing. And there is a pretty new widget on the sidebar to take you there...

Linking up with Travel Tuesday

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Another Wrap Dress... with Boots

wrap dress

Another day, another wrap dress...

I have this Baukjen dress in two colours: fuchsia and royal blue. I often buy my favourite clothes in many colours. OK, I confess: I often buy multiples of the exact same item, especially T-shirts, trousers, and sometimes even dresses... But I also have two wardrobes, in two countries. The brilliant idea behind this buying strategy is to have the same well-fitting, tried and tested basics in both of my homes. And it works, to some extent, except that my clothes never seem to stay in the wardrobe / country they were meant for...

40+ style dress
dress: Baukjen
And wrap dresses... I have accumulated quite a few. My excuse is that they travel well: you can just roll them up and toss them into a suitcase. No ironing required. Yes, I'm lazy... or busy, maybe both. Who cares, life's too short for ironing.

40+ accessories
magnifying glass pendant: Lilja & Lykke / bag: Michael Kors / boots: Jones Bootmaker
And boots... 
I never wear boots as a fashion statement or an alternative to shoes. Given the choice, I would always choose simple pumps or flats even with a dress. However, that is not an option in cold winter weather. Enter boots: you can be warm and look stylish.
Finding good boots is not easy, though. Or maybe I just have unusually thick calves. On the other hand, I conducted a little survey among my friends, and either we all have unusually thick calves or most boots are made for stick insects. I'm inclined to think the latter is true.
What do you think?


PS: I kind of started another blog... I decided that Dilettante Artist needs her own space,, (just click the new, colourful image on the sidebar) where I will be posting (very infrequent) random pictures: illustration, photomanipulation, that sort of thing. Come and pay me a visit and let me know what you think!

Linking up with Patti for Visible Monday and
with Sacramento and Rosy for Share-in-Style
Also linking up with Paige for Stylish Tuesday
Linking up with Happiness at Mid-Life for Throw Back Thursday

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Weekend Graphic Novel Segment 3

Tiina Lehtoranta

What do you get when you mix Pop Art, comics, Film Noir and old photographs...

Yes, it's the weekend Gaphic Novel Segment time again... lets all indulge my alter ego, Dilettante Artist, a bit, OK?

It would be way too complicated to explain all the steps needed for this illustration, as it has been through so many versions and techniques. It is an illustration, as in the outline is a drawing, even though made using Photoshop Elements 10 (so, no filters used for the outline). Then there is the colour, and the shading... the whole thing must have taken about a hundred hours (as I said, there were several versions...)

OK, the interesting bits: the quote is from Detour, a film noir classic from 1945. And the model? My mother, of course. Or rather, and old photograph (early 1960s) of her:

Have a nice weekend, and don't forget to indulge your creative side, 


PS: For Graphic Novel Segments 1 and 2, go to Life etc
see more of my illustrations on PINTEREST or TUMBLR 
or check out my new illustration blog, The Dilettante Artist's Gallery

Sunday, 2 November 2014

A Pop of Colour...

trench coat

This is the time of year when all my autumn / spring clothes start gradually migrating from Homebase 1 (Finland) to Homebase 2 (U.K.). This is my version of storing seasonally inappropriate clothes and making way for winter clothes. It may sound a bit complicated, but it actually makes sense. When the temperatures drop in Finland close to freezing, the U.K. can still enjoy a bit warmer weather, and I don't want to carry different types of coats and shoes back and forth at weekends. Also, in spring, I will need lighter coats in the U.K at least a month before I need them in Finland. So, I just pack the lighter coats and shoes into a suitcase and take the whole lot over to Homebase 2 at one go, and then I can travel with cabin luggage only at weekends...

trench coat
coat: Erich Fend (old) / bag: Michael Kors / shoes: Clarks
It is not a perfect solution, of course, as weather can be very unpredictable in both countries, and I often find that I have only winter boots in Finland if spring arrives early...

trench coat
belt: Georges Rech / sunglasses: Miu Miu / scarf: Alexander McQueen
Anyway, I thought this would also be a good time to try out new ways of styling some old pieces, like this trench. I'm not a fan of neutral colours; I think they can be a bit harsh on my face. So, I thought this coat needed some colour pop accessories. What do you think?


Linking up with Let It Shine
and with More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express for Manic Monday
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