Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Shape of The Dress...

vintage style

I wanted share with you some lovely pictures from the early 60's...

I know, the Mad Men style was all the rage a few years ago, but fashion (and the show) has since moved on from the early 60's fitted dresses and pencil skirts. We are looking to a whole new decade for inspiration now... Frankly my dear reader, I don't care.

Trends may change, but my body type hasn't... I've always been shaped like an hourglass, whatever age or weight I was. The way I see it, clothes exist for the sole purpose of helping me look my very best, and it's fashion designers' job to make me shine. Yes, I understand that they may have some personal creative ambitions, maybe they even think their work is some sort of self-expression or art, poor deluded darlings...

fashion quotes

But at the end of the day, if I'm going to spend money on clothes, I expect the said clothes to work for me, and work hard. It's all about me, me, me...

This is again  one of those 'lessons' I learned from my very stylish mother. Shaped more or less the same as me (although slimmer), she never chased trends that didn't suit her. Fashions and decades changed, but she kept it simple, streamlined and understated. And she always managed to look current and classic at the same time.

style quotes

Know yourself...

Not just your likes and dislikes but also your body shape and proportions. Yes, boxy cuts or long, flowy layers may be trendy, and look fantastic on tall, willowy models, but if you're not shaped the way they are, chances are you'll end up looking like Edina from Absolutely Fabulous...

So,  if you're short and curvy, maybe something closer to the body is more flattering. And if you have wide hips and big thighs like me, you might want to steer clear of too short skirts. A hemline that goes to your knees makes your legs look slim and shapely instead of drawing attention to the widest part of your body. Keeping the shape of the dress streamlined not only makes you look slimmer but also more sophisticated.

style quotes

But I don't like that style...

The shape and proportions of your clothes are the parameters that define what your body can deal with, in terms of looking the best it can. On top of that you put your individual stamp, the 'look' you're after. Streamlined does not necessarily mean just tailored or fitted; you can get the same effect with clothes that have some stretch, too, e.g. wrap dresses, Remember, it's about the shape of the dress, not how you get that shape...

And let's not forget that there are certain styles that may appeal to you more than others: I tend to go for classic, but can't stand boho (on myself, that is: I love it when it suits the wearer's personality). Streamlined clothes can be sexy and feminine, or tomboyish, or classic, or casual.

It's a bit like having your hair cut: you have many styles to choose from, some of which work better than others. But you cannot defy genetics: if your hair is unruly and curly, a pixie cut or long, silky strands are just not going to work (this is another thing my mother tried to teach me... believe me, it took some convincing)

I have a 3-post series coming up where I want to explore different looks for a streamlined, tailored dress (same dress, 3 looks), and we'll start with the first one on Sunday.

Does your body shape determine the way you dress?



Photo credits: the first picture is a newspaper clipping of a beauty pageant my mother won. All other pictures are from my mother's photo album and were taken during her stint as a model.

For more 'Style Lessons' go to Style Icon

Linking up with: 

PS: I want to thank DANA for featuring me in her WABISABI  - The Real Beauty Project series. Go check out her fabulous selection of bloggers!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

A Skirt + Parka = ???

Some outfits are the perfect expression of one's personality...

This isn't one of them. This was an experiment, and not a very successful one. But hey, every once in a while you have to try something new. How else would you ever learn anything new and interesting?

What's wrong with this particular outfit, then? Well, it's not really my style... Although I have to admit that 'my style' changes to some extent depending on whether I'm staying in Finland or in the U.K. For starters, in Finland I'm working, whereas in the U.K. I'm not. So, smart casual / professional vs much more casual / sloppy, that's how we could characterise it. Or, a more trend-conscious look vs 'at-least-I'm-not-wearing-gym-pants-when-I-go-out' look...

And this outfit? It was an attempt to smarten up a very casual look. Or my version of that very British look of wearing a parka with just about anything. Or it could be that I had to pop into the shop and just pulled something out of the closet without thinking... That's what it looks like, anyway.

So, why do I want to post it, then? Well, we all have our 'off' days, and that's OK. Let's call it taking a break from being fabulous. Or maybe I just want to show you that experimenting is good. But sticking with what you do best is better.

We'll be returning to our usual fabulous programme with the next post...

How do you dress when you take a break from being fabulous?


Sunday, 22 February 2015

The Power of Accessories, part 2

40+ winter style

And we're back with our little travel wardrobe experiment...
Remember, creating different looks with a limited set of bulky items (= a coat, a bag, a pair of shoes), some basics and small, lightweight accessories. So, I'm wearing the same coat, shoes and a bag as in the previous post. The coat is still pale (almost as pale as me), so a colourful scarf is a must once more. But I want this look to have a bit more attitude, be cool and hip, as befits a walk in Notting Hill and Portobello Road.

40+ smart casual

This is a smart casual look, so I'm wearing jeans and my favourite stripy top. I've shown it on the blog many times before... I actually listed the posts at the end of this one. And I know this goes against my minimalist aspirations, but I sometimes buy certain items in bulk. And this top, I have three of them. Yes, the exact same style and colour... No, we're still not discussing my neuroses. I prefer to see them as quirks...

40+ winter style

I am wearing: 
coat: Marks and Spencer (autumn-winter 2014), seen before HERE / scarf: Alexander McQueen (old), seen before HERE / bag and sunglasses: Chanel / wristwarmers: Brora (old), seen before HERE / top: Banana Republic (old), seen before so many timesHEREHEREHERE, and HERE / jeans: Levis's Bold Curve straight leg (old), seen before HERE

This  pale blue coat has now been featured on the blog 3 times:

how to accessorize

And I'm sure you will see it again...Which of these 3 looks do you prefer?

 Do you like creating new looks by changing your accessories ?


PS: I want to say thank you to DANA for featuring me in her WABISABI  - The Real Beauty Project series. Go check out her selection of bloggers!

Linking up with Visible Monday, Styled Up

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The Power of Accessories, part 1

coat and scarf

I live out of a suitcase...

Sometimes literally, as I commute between my Homebases... But what I really mean here is a certain attitude, or a way of looking at life. As in, I would like to fit all my (lovingly curated) belongings into one suitcase I can easily carry around (note: a suitcase, not cabin luggage...), i.e. go totally minimalistic with all my possessions and manage with less stuff...

We could talk about where I get this neurotic attitude (I have, after all, two homes in two different countries, and several employers and jobs), but this isn't that kind of a blog, and I'm not that kind of a blogger. I prefer to keep my neuroses to myself, thank you very much.


However, we can talk about what this all means in terms of shopping, packing and wearing clothes. For example, I spent last weekend in London. It is a universally known fact that weather in London can be just about anything, but at some point it is going to rain. And true to form, Sunday was rainy, whereas Saturday was sunny and quite warm...

winter boots

Now, if I was living what I preach, i.e. managing with less stuff (still learning, far from perfecting the method...), I would limit the number of bulky items (= one, coat, one bag, one pair of shoes only) and have a few basics and some lightweight accessories to change the look. And because the coat is quite pale (as am I), my accessories need to provide some colour to keep me from fading into the background...

40+ winter style

Let's recap: I would need to pack at least two tops, trousers, a skirt and a couple of scarves, 2-3 pairs of sunglasses (OK, nobody's perfect: this is what I collect...), gloves/wristwarmers and an umbrella. Sounds good? So, this is outfit number one, and I'll show you outfit number two on Sunday, OK?

I am wearing: 
coat: Marks and Spencer (autumn-winter 2014, you've seen it before HERE)/ pashmina: Fraas (old) / skirt: Jigsaw , you've seen it before HERE / bag: Chanel / wristwarmers: Brora / umbrella: Liberty's of London (old), you've seen it before HERE / ankle boots: Nero Giardini (autumn-winter 2014)

What about you, what's your wardrobe philosophy, 'less is more' or 'the more the better'?


Sunday, 15 February 2015

Meanwhile, in Finland...

over 40 winter style

I'm so tired of winter...

And I'm so bored with all my winter clothes by now. I have been living in cashmere sweaters and boots for months... And it's going to be at least another month before we can even dream of spring. Whether I like it or not, snow and ice and slush and sleet is what I have to deal with, and I'd better come up with a survival plan... or at least some attitude to kick winter butt.

colorful winter style over 40

So, I was thinking about memes

You know, those 'meanwhile in Finland' memes, with tons of snow and people wearing silly clothes (or rather, hardly any clothes...), looking blasé, as if it's the most natural thing in the world to go skinny dipping in the snow or have a barbecue on ice... (rest easy, I won't try anything like that).


So, it was off to the park, looking for some attitude, mustering the courage to face the elements... Actually, it's been a rather mild winter, the temperature barely dipping below freezing every now and then, but at least there's some snow instead of slush...

40+ winter style

Nevertheless, I was determined to create my own version of the meme, so here goes:

meanwhile in Finland

I am wearing: 
sweater: Repeat (old) / wristwarmers: Brora (similar) / bag: Decadent Copenhagen (blue one not available anymore) / sunglasses: Chanel (old) / pashmina: Beck Söndergaard / coffee cup: Marimekko

No swans were harmed during the photo shoot.

How are you dealing with winter?


Thursday, 12 February 2015

The Most Unromantic Valentine's Day

Valentine's day

I don't quite know what to think about Valentine's Day...

The cynical Tiina wants to call it a marketing ploy to make people buy stuff they don't really need or even want. And the sarcastic Tiina is mocking the idea of a 'compulsory', scheduled date night. The compassionate Tiina (yes, she makes a rare appearance once in a while) is worried about people having so impossibly high expectations and the inevitable disappointment that follows...

And the romantic Tiina? Sorry, you're mistaking me for someone else.

vintage photos

The truth is that I'm probably the most unromantic woman in the world.

I don't expect or need Valentine's Day gifts or roses or romantic dinners; grand gestures and cheesy declarations of love just make me feel panicky...

And yet, my husband does want to buy me flowers (and I let him, not as often as he would like, but I'm learning...) and takes me out to dinner (every weekend, but we don't call it 'date night', just dinner), and I make him eat apples every day.


I said I'm not a romantic woman, but I am a pragmatic one. You know, 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away'...

And no, I don't eat apples, I'm allergic to them. That's how I can guilt-trip him into eating them: 'I got them just for you: nice, organic apples, you should eat them before they go bad'...

Elegance Revisited

So, what are my plans for Valentine's Day?

Well, my husband has booked a nice hotel, and dinner in a restaurant... He even said he would pack my exercise gear so we can try the hotel gym... (Am I being cynical thinking this is payback for all those apples???)
How do you celebrate Valentine's Day?


Photo credits: 
all photos from my mother's photo album from the early 1960s. So, the dark-haired woman is my mother, but I have no idea who the other people are...


Sunday, 8 February 2015

British Winter

40+ style

It always rains in Britain, right?

No, of course not. But good rainwear certainly comes in handy at times (remember last year's floods?). It may get quite windy, stormy even, but it's seldom cold (for the record, for me anything below 0ºC /32 ºF is cold, anything above that not really), and there might even be a snowflake or two at times. So, a good winter parka and wellies (rubber boots for my American readers) are necessary. 

winter rainwear

I'm a bit of a minimalist when it comes to my wardrobe: I'm always looking for that one coat that goes with anything, or any situation. But this winter I'm finally starting to accept that it's a ridiculous idea, especially for someone who shares her time between two countries with very different climates. So, I set out to get a couple of coats suitable for the British winter and stop carrying bulky coats back and forth.

rubber boots

I started by analysing the situation: if I wasn't restricted to one or two coats, what would I want to have? And is there something I would have needed in the past? And then it hit me: last year when it was really wet and stormy, this is what I thought I'd need : a pair of wellies and a parka.

Now, this isn't exactly my default choice of outerwear; I usually prefer something a bit dressier. But I need something a bit more casual to wear when running errands or doing the weekly shopping. You know, what some people would call 'walking the dog outfit'. I guess now I just need a dog...

What's your choice for winter outerwear?


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...


Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Just a fantasy...

I sometimes have totally inappropriate style crushes... 

And I'm not talking about not wanting to get out of my comfort zone here, or falling for styles that do not work for my body-type. I'm talking about clothes and accessories that just don't make sense, given my personality and lifestyle.

You see, I sometimes have these fantasies of gliding through life like one of those Film Noir characters: the cool, sassy dames in their old trench coats, armed with nothing but their killer heels and their wits. In these fantasies I always look like Angelina Jolie's character in The Tourist: impeccably elegant in that classy, understated, slightly old-fashioned way.

In reality... well, I have a messy, curly hair that refuses to cooperate and an uncanny tendency to trip over my own feet... In other words, I will never be the impeccably dressed woman with perfect hair, I know that. I also know that I will never in a million years look even remotely good wearing neutrals, so there's no point trying to emulate that particular look.

But that's the thing about fantasies, they're not rational. And that's how I end up with totally ridiculous style crushes. Lucky for me, I can usually talk myself out of them.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Casual Cashmere

casual cashmere over 40

I love cashmere...

It's warm and gentle on your skin, which makes it the perfect material for winter wear. And my default winter outfit is a sweater / cardigan and a dress / skirt / trousers. Then I just add boots, a scarf and a coat (the colder the weather, the bigger the coat) and I'm good to go.

cashmere jumper
cashmetre jumoer: Zadig and Voltaire / wool scarf: James Pringle Weavers

So, over the years I have accumulated quite a few cashmere tops...

This one is perfect for a casual weekend look, but I've also worn it to work. And yes, it's hand-washable. And no, so far I haven't lost any of the sequins. Which is good, as it's one of my favourites. It feels so soft and luxurious, and yet it makes me feel a bit of a badass.

40+ denim and cashmere

It was a windy and cold afternoon when we took these photos, and I think I caught a cold. I've been sniffling, sneezing and coughing the whole week, feeling miserable and exhausted. But I managed to get through the 3 days of work I had scheduled, a bit foggy-brained but still...

Any tips on how to cure a cold?


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 Sacramento and Rosy for Share-in-Style and with Laura for Styled Up
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