Saturday, 29 August 2015

The Linen Shirt, One More Time

40+ summer outfit

Summer is (almost) over...

As far as I'm concerned, September marks the beginning of autumn. Sure, the weather might still be quite nice and summery, but it is certainly getting a  bit more unpredictable. So, while it makes little sense to buy summer clothes this time of the year (unless you're thinking about next summer already), it's a bit too early for 'transitional dressing'. After all, we should make the most of the last summer days, enjoying the warm weather while we can.

casual summer style over 40

So, this is the time to bring out those summer favourites for one last outing before they're packed away. I'm talking about the clothes that evoke long, lazy days and fun in the sun... The clothes that won't be part of your autumn, or even 'transitional' wardrobe.

In that spirit, this is the last outing of the very practical linen shirt this year. Yep, you won't be seeing it again, until next summer. Maybe. Who knows what I'll feel like wearing in a year's time?

Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses

I'm wearing:
linen shirt: Marks and Spencer / trousers: Marks and Spencer / shoes: Van Dal / 
sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana / bag: Adolfo Dominguez / necklace: Hirst Antiques

When does autumn start in your opinion?


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Unsung Heroes

how to style a linen shirt

What's the real star piece in your wardrobe?

No, not the prettiest, or the most expensive piece... I'm talking about the unsung heroes, the hardest working clothes in your wardrobe. You know, the quiet, unassuming, reliable clothes that you never pay much attention to but expect to be there for you, day after day, making your outfit look just right.
And they do that because they are the perfect background pieces for your statement jewellery, or the trusty companions to your more trendy items. And because of this, these are the clothes you you hold onto, long after the trendier, prettier one have been discarded. And that makes them the real stars of your wardrobe.

My star piece this summer has been the humble Marks and Spencer linen shirt. I have 4 of them. And I've worn at least one of them several times a week for the past 2 months.

I've worn the shirt loose over a dress or trousers...
(Original posts: left / right)


...or tied at the waist (left / right)

summer style over 40

And I think I can still come up with new outfits  based on this versatile piece... Well, at least one: next week I will be posting the last outfit featuring the linen shirt, to mark the end of summer... 

What are the real stars of your wardrobe this summer?



Sunday, 23 August 2015

Sundress Weather

how to wear white

Finnish summer is short and cold...

That's the myth, anyway. Not true, if you ask me. Summer lasts 3 months (June, July, August) and it can be sunny and warm and lovely. Or rainy and cold. Or anything in between. In that respect it is no different from summer in many other places, including Britain. So, I don't really need a different summer wardrobe for each country, I just keep transporting my clothes back and forth...

And how often do I travel between these two countries? Well, it depends... I spent most of July in Britain. Now I've been in Finland for 3 weeks, and it feels like a long time... But Professor M has enjoyed spending weekends in Helsinki for change. Maybe it's because we both think this is the best time of the year here: it's warm and sunny, but the evenings are getting cooler and darker.

summer dress over 40

And we can go 'island-hopping', exploring summer restaurants (= restaurants on small islands, accessible by boat and open in summer only). For this photo shoot we took a ferry to visit Suomenlinna, a cluster of interconnected islands and a world heritage site within Helsinki city limits.

Anyway, I thought we needed a slightly old-fashioned, rustic setting to match this white sundress (you may remember me wearing it on a hot day on the Isle of Wight last year), and this seemed like the perfect place. And yes, there is a nice restaurant, too...

leopard print sunglasses

I'm wearing:
dress: Vivienne Westwood Anglomania (old) / bag: Coach (s/s 2014) / 
shoes: Gabor / sunglasses. Dolce & Gabbana
location: Suomenlinna, Helsinki


And on the ferry, on our way back to the mainland, I snapped this photo of the gorgeous August sunset.

Enjoy the late summer sunshine, wherever you are!


Thursday, 20 August 2015

Shopping in Vancouver


There's always time for some shopping...

And what would be a better way to spend those first days in a new place when you're too jet-lagged to do anything that requires any thinking?

Yes, of course I did some shopping in Vancouver, mainly at J.Crew (which really is a lot more expensive in Europe, for whatever reason...) However, I don't see the point of listing the chain stores you can find anywhere, but will focus on just a few special shops I came across.

I was in Vancouver for the 2015 blogger meet-up, and our talented and charming organisers Suzanne, Sue and Melanie had arranged a Saturday excursion to Granville Island Public Market.
It is, like any such place, a cornucopia of food... the farmers market has the usual fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, and quite an impressive, not to mention tempting, selection of all types of pastry. And I don't even like pastry! Unless it's chocolate cake, of course... And trust me, it took all my willpower to walk past those delicious chocolate cakes (being lactose-intolerant is a great motivator...).

But Granville Island Public Market is more than just food; there are also lots of artisans selling their unique jewellery, gifts, and paintings. Also, the area around the Public Market has lots of craft shops, artisans' studios and galleries.

An umbrella might be just the souvenir you need 

It rains a lot in Vancouver, after all. Not that I went looking for an umbrella shop, quite the contrary. Living in Finland and the U.K. rain is normal in summer, and as I knew the weather would be more or less similar in Vancouver, I came prepared with an umbrella of my own.

Still, when I stumbled upon this lovely little shop, I just had to get another one. But hey, you can never have too many umbrellas, right? 

The Umbrella Shop, founded in 1935, and has an impressive selection of umbrellas and parasols with UV coating. But that's not what makes this shop special. They repair, or recover, old umbrellas. More importantly, they also provide custom service, letting you design your own umbrella. Now, an umbrella with my own custom print, that's certainly something I would be interested in...

Need something to read?

Have you noticed that it's getting harder and harder to find book shops? MacLeod's Books (455 Pender St W) is a second-hand bookshop in downtown Vancouver. It's stacked with piles of books, and you may find it difficult to see any sense or order... Just ask the staff and they will find whatever you're looking for.

Shoes, shoes, shoes...

Fluevog shoes are quirky and fun, but definitely not for conservative dressers. We're talking about serious statements shoes here, with a reputation for comfort, too. Now, that is a combination you don't often see: statement shoes you can walk in...

I hope you enjoyed our little shopping tour in Vancouver,


PS: for more travel-related posts, go to Bad Tourist

I'm really into Pop Art and portraits now...

Linking up with: 

Monday, 17 August 2015

Am I too old to dress like Laura Ingalls?

maxi skirt

Late summer heatwave...

I know, it's not exactly a politically correct thing to say (especially in Finland, or Britain, and especially after such a cold and rainy summer), but I'm not a fan of hot weather... And to specify: I consider anything over 23ºC / 73.4ºF 'uncomfortable', and anything over 25ºC / 77ºF 'unbearably hot'... The temperature was getting very close to the latter the day these photos were taken.

On a hot day my priority is first of all to protect my skin from the sun while staying somewhat comfortable. So, nothing too tight or clingy, only natural fibres and loose cuts. Enter the maxi skirt and a long-sleeved linen shirt. 

40+ summer fashion

Yeah... a maxi skirt... that might not be a good idea...

At 162 cm / 5ft3" I'm short(ish). And my body type... let's just say I'm built more like Marilyn than Audrey. That's a nice way of saying I have a big bum. Not exactly the type of woman to rock a flowing maxi skirt, right?

40+ summer style

Do I look like I give a damn? 

It's hot. Not the skirt, the temperature. There comes a time in this amateur fashionista's life when style goes out of the window. Two times, in fact: when the temperature reaches 'too-bloody-hot' or 'too-bloody-cold' (let's get back to that in winter, OK?)

tiered skirt

So, what's a curvy girl supposed to do with a flowy maxi skirt, then? Prance around smiling, having her own Laura Ingalls moment, skipping around a meadow... Well, why not? There are worse ways to spend a hot day...

Cutler and Gross sunglasses
maxi skirt summer

I'm wearing:
skirt: Ralph Lauren / linen shirt: marks and Spencer / shoes: Geox (old) / sunglasses: Cutler and Gross / sun umbrella: James Smith & sons

What do you wear when the temperature gets 'unbearable'?


PS: What do you think of my new revamped blog design?
I have also reorganised a few of the static pages 
(check out the new and improved Bad Tourist and Life etc)


Linking up with: 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Bad Tourist in Vancouver


I went to Vancouver...

and all you're going to get are these nice pics and a few superficial observations. But hey, I call myself a Bad Tourist for a reason...

So, what's Vancouver like? Clean, green (have you seen the size of Stanley Park?) and liveable (not just by the limited Nordic standards I swear by: Vancouver is usually ranked quite high in the Mercer Quality of Living survey so you don't have to take my word for it).


And my superficial observations?

Vancouver has a lot of excellent restaurants, with plenty of choice as far as healthy food is concerned. Seriously, it is probably one of the few places on earth where you can find such a selection of guilt-free treats. And even vegetarians have several options to choose from. And, if you have a chance, you simply must try the fish tacos! However, lactose-free milk/dairy products is still something that seems relatively unknown (well, it usually is, outside the Nordic countries, at least).

The atmosphere is calm and relaxed: everybody is friendly, no one seems to be in a hurry... I guess that's what they mean by 'quality of living'... There are people walking, jogging, sailing etc everywhere: fitness, outdoor sports and healthy living seem to be the norm here. So, something else Vancouver has in common with the Nordic lifestyle, then...


What the hell has happened, Canada??? I know, my last visit to Canada (Toronto) was well over 20 years ago, and the economy has been on a slippery slope to hell just about everywhere... But I have trouble reconciling my idea of Canada as a prosperous welfare state with all the (mainly very young) homeless people I saw sleeping rough...


And of course it was raining a lot... 

But that didn't stop me and Professor M from sightseeing (= walking around aimlessly and snapping photographs of this and that and nothing in particular). 

And when the sun came out we had a nice walk in the harbour. 


It's always so nice to watch boats... or planes. I've never seen a seaplane up close. They seem so... tiny, somehow. I would be scared to get on one. Maybe next time...

Bad Tourist

And this time we decided to be good little tourists and took a harbour cruise.


Aren't these houseboats cute?


And whatever these are (some sort of silos?), they're quite impressive seen from the boat.


But nothing tops the spectacular scenery, especially at sunset...

sunset at sea

And I want to leave you with this parting look at Vancouver:


I hope you enjoyed the tour


PS: Have you seen my new self-portraits yet? Check out the latest Dilettante Artist post and tell me which portrait you prefer. 

 For more travel-related posts, go to Bad Tourist

Monday, 10 August 2015

Understated, Glam, Casual, Chic...

cocoon cape

What to wear to a casual dinner or drinks?

A dinner in the neighbourhood restaurant, a few drinks with friends... You don't really want to dress up but casual doesn't feel right either. Maybe something in between: casual but chic, relaxed but just a bit dressy, glam but understated, modern but classic....

how to wear a kimono

In a way, this is just another variation of my 'uniform': trousers, a t-shirt, a jacket/cardi. But instead of a gardi I'm wearing a silk cocoon cape (seen before HERE), which also provides a bit of a luxury touch to this very simple outfit.

And to avoid sparkle overload, I'm not wearing any jewellery (apart from a watch and my wedding ring, that is) but let the sequin t-shirt do the talking. Metallic flats and big sunglasses add a bit of understated glamour.

cocoon cape

I'm wearing:
cocoon cape: Jigsaw / trousers: Marks and Spencer / t-shirt: H&M / bag and sunglasses: Chanel / shoes:Clarks (old)

So, what do you think?


PS: I turned myself into a real diva for my new self-portrait, or two... Check out the latest Dilettante Artist post and tell me which portrait you prefer. Here's a little preview... 

click the link or the image to see both pics in full.

photoshop pop art

Linking up with: 


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Summer Workwear

work wear 40+

Does my off-duty style differ from my work look?

Well, not much... I tend to go for smart casual outfits, anyway. And for an outfit to be appropriate for work, I just need a bigger dose of 'smart' and a little less of 'casual'...

This is what I was wearing on the first day back to work: a new course with 22 people who'd never seen me before. So, a good first impression is obviously important here.

As I work in adult education, I meet people of different ages, from all walks of life, and with varying interests. What they all have in common, though, is that my course is mandatory for them; some of them might be enthusiastic, others less so, a few downright terrified... And my job as a teacher is to make them all feel at ease, create a supportive environment and help them gain confidence.

Thus, I must appear approachable, nice and professional. And a little bit crazy, or scary... Whichever makes them do the work required to pass the course. I find that while a classic, even a tad conservative look works best (though I would never wear a suit, it's way too formal and puts people off). However, adding something a little bit quirky or unexpected serves as an icebreaker: it makes people think I don't take myself too seriously.

smart casual over 40

That ' something quirky' here is not my fab new pair sunglasses... I won't be wearing them indoors, after all. So, the soft pink of my top will have to do (trust me, in a slightly colour-phobic country such as Finland pink is often quite a statement...). Now that I look sweet and girly, I can charm my way into my new student's hearts, make them feel that taking my course is the best thing they ever did... Poor little lambs, they have no idea what's in store for them...

oversized sunglasses

I'm wearing:
top: Jigsaw (old) / trousers: marks and Spencer (old) / shoes: Clarks (old) / bag: Coach (summer 2014) / sunglasses: Dolce and Gabbana

Does your work affect the way you dress?


Linking up with: 

Sunday, 2 August 2015

It was a windy day...

mixed prints

It's windy...

but not cold, really. In Finland  +20 ºC / 68 ºF is considered normal summer temperature, though not particularly warm. Personally, I find that to be the ideal temperature, anything higher and I start overheating very quickly... 

The wind makes the day seem much colder, of course, and a photo shoot by the sea proved to be particularly challenging... 

I've been back to Helsinki now for a about 36 hours, after my wonderful trip to Vancouver (I will be posting more touristy photos a bit later) and two hectic, sleep-deprived days in Britain. Jet-lagged? Oh sure... I hope to recover enough for Monday afternoon to make some sense, or at least appear like an intelligent person when I get back to work. Wish me luck...

pattern mixing over 40

What I'm wearing today could be labeled 'whatever was clean and came out of the suitcase somewhat wrinkle-free':
trousers: marks and Spencer (old) / t-shirt: Jigsaw (old, seen before many times, e.g. HERE and HERE) / pashmina: Beck Söndergaard (old, seen before HERE) / bag: Adolfo Domingueuz (seen in just about every other post this summer...) / sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana / shoes: Van Dal (seen before HERE and HERE)

What about you, are you only starting your summer holiday or getting back to work already?

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