Sunday, 27 September 2015

What should I wear with my new bag?

40+ wrap dress

I've featured this dress on the blog twice already...

Yes, it's one of my favourites, wrap dresses are perfect for work etc... Never mind all that. The star of this post is the bag.

To celebrate my favourite season, autumn, I got myself a new work bag. And I went for a smaller one. Yes, my dear reader, this is what I call a small bag for work. No, I'm not one of those women who routinely carry everything but the kitchen sink with them. But I am a teacher: I carry a lot of paper...

how to wear a wrap dress over 40

But now I've decided to downsize and I got the smallest bag I could imagine for work. And because all my clothes and accessories have to multitask, this one will also double as a carry-on for flights. It's roomy enough for me to toss my small Chanel bag into (Chanel never travels in the hold...) as well as a few magazines, the iPad, iPhone and all the other stuff that should not be packed into a suitcase.

Furla bag

The only problem now is that I'm not sure what to wear with my pretty new bag... Yes, this is my way of saying that I need some new clothes, of course. But first I will see how it looks like with some of the clothes I already have in my wardrobe, starting with this dress. Pink and green is such a fresh colour combo, don't you think? Well, technically the dress has a pink and green pattern on a navy blue background...

By the way, isn't it just perfect that someone had marked the spot for me to stand on for this photo shoot?

Boden dress

I'm wearing:
wrap dress: Boden (seen before HERE and HERE) / bag: Furla / shoes: Ecco / sunglasses: Chanel

What's your favourite colour combo for autumn?

Tiina
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Friday, 25 September 2015

I'm social media challenged...

social media

I'm not very active on social media

Partly it's because I'm too busy with work. And partly because I need to prioritise my activities, mainly because I'm busy with work... Well, we all have only 24 hours a day, and something's got to give, right? And between work, blog, husband and friends... sleep, food and the gym should be high on the list, and sometimes all I want to do is vegetate on the sofa watching telly. So, I'm not very active on social media; I don't have the time or the energy for it.

And, to be honest, I don't really know that much about social media, either... But, for what it's worth, here's my two cents on various social media platforms:

Blogs

I read blogs mostly on my iPhone, usually on the train. This makes commenting quite a challenge, though: after I've corrected all my spelling mistakes I'm 'timed out', and then I just think: sod it, I'll write my comments later, when I'm on my laptop. And then I forget the whole thing. Or get busy with work.

I like style blogs because they democratise fashion. There are lots of very smart and stylish bloggers of all ages, shapes and sizes who make fashion their own, mixing and matching clothes that fit their budgets and their lifestyles. I find that fascinating. And I don't just look for bloggers who are the same body type as me, or whose style resembles mine. No, I like variety: I find the explosion of colour and print that seems so natural to some bloggers just as interesting as the minimalism of others. What I want to see is how the blogger's personality is reflected in their style. You don't get that in fashion magazines, with their identikit skinny models and impractical outfits.

Facebook

I'm not on Facebook. There, I said it. I don't plan to get a Facebook account any time soon, either. I don't really know why. I guess I haven't come across good enough a reason to join.

But what about staying in touch with friends? And finding old schoolmates?

Well, I prefer a face-to-face chat with a friend, or emails. As for long-lost acquaintances... They can stay lost for all I care. There's a reason we lose touch with old schoolmates / former boyfriends etc, and rekindling a 'friendship' of this type is more trouble than it's worth.

But maybe Elegance Revisited needs to be on Facebook? I could mention interesting blog posts I come across, or discuss films and TV shows and current events with my readers... That does sound interesting. But do I really have time for it? No, I don't. At least not at the moment.

Besides, I spend my days trying to make people communicate. I need some me-time when I can be a bit less social...

YouTube

is for cat videos. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday morning, very relaxing. If you love cats, that is, and I do (I love small dogs, too). Why not get a cat of my own, then? Well, I would, if it wasn't for allergies... So, I'm grateful for cat videos.

The cutest cat video ever? How about THIS? Seriously, how can something so small be so assertive, with so much will power?

Twitter

I haven't really ventured there yet. Frankly, I couldn't care less. I don't see how you could have a meaningful conversation on Twitter. Not that I care much about meaningful conversations, anyway... After work I often prefer no conversation. Or maybe that's just me being a bit socially challenged. Or my personal goal of working hard at being shallow... OK, digressing here...

So, Twitter... this is the place where people vent their feelings on this and that, and indulge in some sort of perverse DIY therapy by shouting at perfect strangers... Yep, I can live without it. At least for now...

Instagram

I love Instagram!!!! So many beautiful pictures and talented photographers in one place. And kittens! Between you and me, I think kittens rule Instagram... Don't believe me? Try #kittens...

I got on Instagram maybe 6 months ago. I thought I might post a few pictures every now and then, maybe post photos that didn't make the cut, for the blog, but were quite nice. My feed has about 400 pictures now... I really try to limit myself to 1-2 pictures / day, but it's obvious that it isn't working.

And what do I post? Well, silly little details of this and that, there is no master plan. I do post something every time a blog post goes live, but I think the blog-related pictures are just a drop in the ocean; most of my feed is about sunsets and scenery,  interesting design and architectural details... I have been photographing these things for years, but it's only now that I have a place to display them.

Does it bother me that my Instagram feed is somewhat different from my blogs? Not a bit. I think that it just shows another side of me and allows me to explore interests that fall outside the scope of Elegance Revisited (style, travel) and Dilettante Artist (my so-called art). Instagram also allows me to express myself using pictures instead of words. This prevents me from overanalysing everything, and makes me explore a more emotional, rather than the more natural (to me, that is) intellectual approach to my subject matter.

Pinterest

Yes! Pinterest in fun! And very useful. I pinned a lot of pictures when I was doing research for a ring I had customised. It really helped me define what I was looking for. And as I'm interested in comics and Pop Art, I pin all sorts of pictures I like. I've learned a lot about illustration just by studying the images I've pinned. Well, of course you know that I'm not a real artist, self-taught or otherwise, but I'd like to think I've improved a bit since I started 'photoshopping'... And a lot of it is thanks to Pinterest (and illustration blogs, and YouTube videos).
I have several other boards, too, but I seem to neglect them a bit. I might pin lots of pictures one day, and then ignore Pinterest for weeks at a time... Not very consistent, I know. Of course I pin my blog posts, some outfit photos etc. Isn't that what bloggers are supposed to do?

Google+

I have no idea how Google+ works. It confuses me, so I've been ignoring it for the most part. I'll figure it out. Eventually. After I've sorted out my LinkedIn account... Maybe...

Anyway, I have joined a few groups and get alerts when members post something (very nice!). And sometimes people comment on a blog post on Google+, and I try to remember to answer these comments. And of course I share my blog posts, mainly because Blogger asks if I want to share a post when it goes live... But I'll get there, one day.

LinkedIn

Yes, I'm on LinkedIn. It would be foolish for a freelencer to avoid it, after all. So, I'm on LinkedIn. There's no photo, though. No work history or education listed, either. There's just... my name. I've been meaning to sort it out for a while now (maybe 3 years?), but I never seem to get around to it. And yet people find me there... I don't think I've ever reached out to anybody, but every now and then I get requests from people wanting to connect with me on LinkedIn. And most of them are people I've actually met! I really need to find time to sort out my LinkedIn page... Maybe next year.

So, there we have it: my take on social media. I know, I know, there are all sorts of forums and apps and whatnots... Who has the time? I've always hated spreading myself too thin; I prefer to focus on one thing at a time. So, I decided that it's OK to choose my social media platforms to focus on and ignore the rest, at least for now...

What's your favourite social media platform?

Tiina
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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

No-Brainer Work Wear

40+ work wear

I'm not a morning person

and given the choice I prefer to work in the afternoons and evenings. However, this is not always possible, and for a few years now I've had early morning lessons every autumn, three days a week...

The problem is, my brain refuses to work properly before noon, and it takes all my concentration to actually get to work on time and put on an appearance of a competent professional. This means that there is no brain power left for such less pressing tasks as deciding what to wear...

geometric print

I know, I could make that decision the night before, lay everything out and just follow the plan... Yes, I do that, sometimes. 

And then there are mornings when the weather suddenly changes, or the outfit I selected just feels wrong, for whatever reason. 

This is why I need a fail-safe option. A uniform of sorts. Something that I know for a fact will always work, even on fat days (come on, we all have those).

pencil skirt


This 'uniform' is simple enough to assemble without any higher brain function (I need to save that for making sure I switch off the coffee maker before I leave and won't miss my train...). And to be completely honest, at 6 am, as far as clothes go, I can't be trusted to make any decisions, good or bad...

And to avoid the 'same old trousers and a Breton stripe t-shirt' rut, I need something that is just as fast to put on. It doesn't have to be inspiring, just quick. After a hot shower, a cup of coffee while sitting in front of the telly like a zombie, and battling with my hair for 10 minutes, I usually have about 5 minutes to get dressed and make a dash for the train.

What? Get up half an hour earlier and have enough time for everything?
No, not going to happen: what I just described already takes me an hour and 20 minutes. I said I'm not a morning person, didn't I?

pendant

I'm wearing:
skirt: Boden (s/s 2015, seen before HERE) / t-shirt: whistles / cardigan: Gap / shoes: Clarks / 
bag: Longchamp / sunglasses: Prada / pendant: Målerås

Do you have a no-brainer fail-safe outfit for early mornings?

Tiina

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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Be Bold, Wear Leopard Print

40+ jersey dress

How to wear leopard print?

Well, I only wear the more neutral colours in very small doses, in accessories, because  brown and beige tones do not really suit me. They wash me out and make me look as if I'm suffering from a serious illness or something.

My face needs colour, bright colour. And you, my dear readers, also want to see me in colour, preferably in something red or fuchsia. How do I know this? Well, I just have to look at the most popular posts listed on the sidebar...

jersey dress over 40

So, colour it is.

If you're going to wear colour, be bold... No, I did not learn that from my mother. She has been a great influence on my style, but my love of colour does not come from her. It's my own, sometimes larger-than-life personality that needs a dose of bright colour every now and then. And leopard print is no exception. Who says leopard print has to be brown and beige?

jersey dress

I'm wearing:
jersey dress: L.K.Bennett (old, seen before HERE) / shoes: Clarks (old) / 
bag and sunglasses: Chanel / necklace : Andiata (old)

How do you wear leopard print?

Tiina
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Thursday, 17 September 2015

Back to Basics

transitional dressing over 40

Low-maintenance and understated,

that's my everyday style. I don't want to think about my clothes after I get dressed, and I refuse to feel uncomfortable  for fashion. If a piece of clothing is too complicated, I never wear it, however beautiful it is.

Yes, I know: there are very creative people who present themselves as living art installations. Well, I'm not one of them. It's just way too much work, and way too uncomfortable. I tried it (turning myself and my outfits into a living art installation), a long time ago, when I was studying fashion design, and it felt contrived and fake. It's not who I am.

If I'm totally honest, I don't even think fashion is art, and I don't see my style as a creative outlet (I use Photoshop as my creative outlet...). This doesn't mean that I don't care what I look like. I care, a lot. I just want people to notice me and not my clothes.

leopard print and stripes

How can I say that fashion is not art?!?

Well, the way I see it, if a fashion designer thinks s/he is an artist, s/he should become a painter, or a sculptor. Or at least stop forcing their 'artistic vision' on us mere mortals who need practical, stylish clothes to make us look our best when we struggle to get through our busy days. My body is not a blank canvas for a designer to exhibit their style. I'm the star of the show that is my life: fashion is just costuming. And a designer who doesn't understand that isn't doing their job.

40+ poncho

And what inspired this rant, you may ask...

Well, I've been to a couple of fashion shows this autumn, and watching the anorexic giraffes, sorry, models walk around like robots wearing a succession of (mostly) black shapeless sacks made me think that fashion designers are not very smart... I mean, there we were, a roomful of middle-aged women of all shapes and sizes, watching impossibly tall and even more impossibly skinny teenagers (OK, there was always the token 'mature' woman, just as tall and skinny as the teenagers...) walk around wearing clothes that would make any one of us (the audience, that is) look either frumpy or ridiculous or both. Not to mention fat. Because only anorexic giraffes look good in shapeless sacks... And yet, this roomful of women represents a lot of money fashion designers could be making, if only we weren't invisible to them.

fall poncho

So, I won't be showing you any photos of fashion shows, or analyse the autumn fashion trends. There are plenty of online magazines, websites and bloggers discussing trends and the fashion week and celebrity style, and the only thing I could add to all that is a few sarcastic remarks, which (even though potentially entertaining) would unavoidably cast me in the rather negative role of a whiner. I'd rather focus on something positive. Besides, when I started this blog I decided that I wanted to show you clothes that I wear in real life. So, this is me,  in my comfy shoes that were made for walking, not on the catwalk but the city streets...

I'm wearing:
poncho: Marja Kurki (similar, seen before HERE and HERE) / top: J.Crew / trousers: Pure / 
shoes: Clarks / bag: Adolfo Dominguez / sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana


How do you feel about fashion shows?

Tiina
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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Sunshine After Rain

casual rainwear over 40

This post was supposed to be about rain wear...

And it had been raining all day. Not just raining, pouring... So, imagine my surprise when the sun suddenly came out in the evening, just when we started shooting...

Well, I'm adaptable... So, instead of carrying an umbrella, I'm wearing sunglasses. Doesn't this woman ever leave the house without a pair of sunglasses? That's what you're thinking, right? The answer? No, she doesn't.

raincoat

Anyway... Is there a better place than the beach for a photoshoot? A photoshoot about a rain coat, in autumn???

If you want to see me on the beach it has to be in autumn. I don't sunbathe. I can't swim... But a walk on the beach in autumn sun, I'm there. Of course, to get to this particular beach Professor M and I had to get on a boat first. The beach is on an island. Yes, there's a restaurant, too, but it was closed. That's what happens when you have a spontaneous photoshoot and just hop on a boat...

over 40 blogger
rain coat over 40

But we had the beach to ourselves, and there was enough daylight left for photos, and a spectacular sunset just before we caught the last boat back to the mainland... Couldn't ask for more, right?

casual style over 50
weekend style over 40

I'm wearing:
coat: Barbour / t-shirt: gap (old) / trousers: Marks and Spencer / scarf: Alexander McQueen / sunglasses: Chanel (old) / shoes: Clarks / Bag: Adolfo Dominguez
location: Pihlajasaari, Helsinki

Do you like autumn?

Tiina
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Friday, 11 September 2015

The Art of Posing

posing

My mother was perhaps the biggest style influence in my life. 

I'm sure most women would credit their mothers for having some influence in their sartorial choices, but my mother's influence on my style goes a bit deeper. You see, my mother was not just a very stylish woman, she was also a very beautiful one. And not only that, she also knew how to pose. I have hundreds of photographs of her, and she looks amazing in every single one of them. Of course, it is possible, even likely, that she simply destroyed the photos that did not meet her expectations...

style quotes

Still, growing up in the shadow of such an elegant creature left its mark: as a clumsy teenager I relied on my wits rather than my looks as a means to impress people, and it took starting this blog for me to feel less awkward in front of the camera. I cannot say that I feel comfortable in front of the camera; after over a year of blogging I still feel extremely self-conscious, but I'm learning. However, my husband usually takes about a hundred or so photos of me for each blog post, and maybe 10% of them are somewhat OK, and I select 3-6 of the best for the blog...

vintage fashion photo

My mother, on the other hand, would simply pose, and look perfect. Every time. I saw it with my own eyes: one photo, maximum 2, and there were never any awkward expressions or odd movements. Just her, quickly arranging herself, looking picture perfect, as if she stepped out of the pages of a fashion magazine.

fashion quotes

Of course, she did work as a model, briefly, in the early 60s. Although back then, at least in that small town, 'modelling' usually meant local fashion shows and beauty pageants rather than photo shoots... Still, she must have learned a thing or two about presenting herself in the best possible light, so to speak.

But I think it was also something innate; there was something about her that made the camera love her. And she easily overshadowed her twin sister (also a very stylish and beautiful woman, and a part-time model) in every photo of the two of them together. Or maybe that's just how sibling rivalry manifests itself...

fashion quotes

It was not just that the camera loved my mother; she loved the camera, too. In fact, it was as if she had a sudden personality change when she stepped in front of the camera: she was confident, radiant, assertive. She was none of those things in 'real life'. She belittled her own career (a business owner and a hairdresser) and suffered from low self-esteem. Yet, I've never seen anyone more confident and sure of herself when there was a camera in the room. Or when it came to putting together an (effortlessly chic) outfit, and she did that without a single designer piece in sight...

vintage fashion

I thought putting her old modelling shots together with some of my favourite style quotes would be a fitting tribute to this amazing woman whose style I seem to emulate more and more the older I get. I can see her influence in my own way of putting together outfits using the basics and a limited range of shapes and colours. I only wish I would have inherited some of her ability to feel at ease in front of the camera, too...

Who's your style icon?

Tiina

PHOTO CREDITS: All photos from my mother's photo album, early 1960s
For more posts on my mother's style, go to Style Icon

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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

A Guest Stylist

40+ casual outfit

Would you let your husband style you?

I did, and you're looking at the results. Yep, hubby had total control over every aspect of this outfit, the photo shoot and the choice of setting. I did the photo editing, though, as always.

weekend style over 40

His task was to style a casual outfit, 

suitable for a walk in the neighbourhood. He was eager to take on the challenge and started sorting through my wardrobe. He was convinced that contrary to my complaints that 'I have nothing to wear', there would be plenty of choice and it should be no problem to put together an interesting outfit.

Minna Parikka laukku

Half an hour later he was still not ready to admit that I have nothing to wear, but he was starting to show some frustration... But he soldiered on, even though choosing a bag proved to be a bit challenging...


I'm wearing:
top: Gap / cardigan: Club Monaco (old) / trousers: Pure / shoes: Gabor /
 bag: Minna Parikka (old) / sunglasses: Cutler and Gross

So, what do you think, did he do a good job?

Tiina
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Sunday, 6 September 2015

Impulse Shopping: The Cocoon Cape, take 2

cocoon cape over 40

I did t again...

Bought something I already have, that is. Yes, I saw this silk cocoon cape, and I just had to have it...
Never mind that I already have a silk cocoon cape, this one's a different colour... well, almost. But it's a totally different print. And I love wearing a silk cocoon cape, so there...

Did I mention it's washable???

Washable silk... Now, that just makes sense. And it's a lovely green/blue shade that goes with... well, not sure yet, but I'm sure I will find lots of nice clothes to wear it with. Maybe something in dark red, or burgundy. Yes, I need to find a dress in burgundy... See, it's good for me: I need to experiment with new colours. Maybe not burgundy, though; it might be  bit dark for me, but something... dark red(ish)... Oh hell, I loved the cape, and I just had to have it. Isn't that good enough a reason to buy it?

over 40 blogger

What? You thought I only buy clothes to fill the gaps in my perfectly organised wardrobe, after a long and thorough process of analysing my needs? 

Oh no, most of my clothes were impulse purchases (especially the clothes I like and wear the most). Yes, I have a constantly updated list of what I need, and I may even venture out to look for a specific item. Invariably, I get back home empty-handed... The problem is, I know exactly what I want, and usually it doesn't exist.

And sometimes I see something that I wasn't looking for but really, really like... And I think I should just get it then and there. It makes sense: I seldom regret buying something on impulse and usually end up wearing it all the time.

In fact, when it comes acting on impulse in general, I seldom have any regrets. Not that it happens a lot, quite the contrary. If anything, I tend to be way too analytical, looking at everything from every possible point of view. It's exhausting. But these rare (in my case, that is) snap decisions... I've never regretted any of them. Maybe I should trust my intuition more...

I'm wearing:
cocoon cape:Jigsaw / top: Esprit / trousers: Marks and Spencer (old) / shoes: Clarks (old) / sunglasses: Prada (old) / bag: Burberry (old) / necklace: Snö of Sweden / ear rings; Annoushka

Do you ever buy the same piece of clothing in several colours or prints, just because you love it?

Tiina
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PS: have you seen the latest Dilettante Artist post yet?

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Friday, 4 September 2015

London Dress Agencies

dress agency

London has several good dress agencies, 

(or consignment stores as my American readers would call them), but I'm going to focus on a cluster of these shops located in Cheval Place, just a few blocks from Harrods.

There are just a few very small shops on this quiet street, but Cheval Place is worth a visit nevertheless. The small boutiques specialise in designer handbags and have an impressive selection of Chanel and Hermes in every possible colour. They also stock shoes,sunglasses, dresses and evening wear. The prices are still quite steep, especially when it comes to handbags, though.

consignment store

The biggest and best of the Cheval Place dress agencies is of course Pandora. It has a huge selection of designer clothes, jewellery and accessories, all in excellent condition, or 'as good as new and no more than 2 years old'.

However, the selection of clothes is rather limited when it comes to size: if you wear British size 8-10 (that would be American sizes 6-8, or European sizes 34-38), it's bargains galore. A Chanel jacket is still quite pricey, of course, but at least you could afford it after saving a few months... And you can find beautiful designer coats and evening wear at very reasonable prices.

However, there is significantly less choice available in British size 14 (American size 12, European size 42) and above. I suppose this is somewhat understandable, as designer clothes tend to come in small sizes (never mind the dress size of the average woman). Why? Well, designers seem to think that it's women who should be accommodating the clothes instead of the other way round. Personally, I think they're just as deluded as the women who fall for this bullshit and stop eating just to fit into a dress that an 8-year-old  would find tight-fitting...

But I'm digressing here...

london dress agency

So, if you're shopping in Knightbridge, stop by Cheval Place to look at some almost-affordable designer wear, or just admire the multi-coloured array of Hermes Birkins in shop windows...

Tiina
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For more posts on London, go to London Calling

PS: There's a new Dilettante Artist post...

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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Colour-Coordinated Mixed Prints

over 40 smart casual

Transitional Dressing...

You know, how to wear some of your summer favourites in early autumn. The weather is still quite warm (or, in my opinion: just perfect, not too hot and not too cold...), but there might be showers, and the evenings are a bit cooler. Still, some summer clothes make the transition to cooler weather quite easily, and there's no reason why we shouldn't continue to enjoy them just a bit longer.
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