Sunday, 31 January 2016

Holiday Capsule Wardrobe 4: Outdoorsy

This is the last post in my capsule wardrobe series detailing what I was wearing on holiday in Madeira.

So far, you've seen the smart casual look for afternoon tea, the relaxed glam city look, and the casual chic look. This time, I'm taking you on a nature trail. Well, sort of.

This is what I was wearing on a day trip  to Eira do Serrado, a mountaintop viewpoint. There was no hiking involved, just a brisk walk from the bus stop up to the viewpoint and back to the hotel / restaurant for lunch.

Eira do Serrado
Eira do Serrado

This wasn't my first (or even the second) visit here, and I always try to learn something from each visit. So, long sleeves, trousers and good walking shoes, that should work. And last year it was quite cold and I kept thinking I should have brought a warm jacket or some sort of light-weight coat.

And this time? I could definitely have done without the down jacket, and even a short-sleeved t-shirt would have been enough most of the day. In fact, this was perhaps my 4th visit, and the first time that I wasn't cold.

Well, that's the thing about weather: you never know how it's going turn out. But as I said, I always try to learn something and do better in the future. So, next time I will wear trousers / jeans / chinos of some sort, maybe trainers or hiking boots (if I remember to pack them), a scarf  and a t-shirt. And I will bring a cardigan and some sort of a warm cover-up. That should prepare me for  both a warm and a cold day.

Outfit details:
top: Primark / trousers: Pure / scarf: Jaeger / shoes; Clarks / sunglasses: 
Dolce & Gabbana / bag: Furla / down jacket: Beaumont

Are you good at creating a working capsule wardrobe?


PS: have you seen the latest DILETTANTE ARTIST post yet?

Linking up with: 

Thursday, 28 January 2016


40+ winter casual style

We all have those days...

You know, when we don't want to make an effort, for whatever reason. I seem to have a lot of those days. Just saying...

Well, it's winter, it's cold. Battling snow and ice takes all my energy.

Actually, I find both cold and hot weather bring out my lazy side, making me go for something pared-down and simple. Minimalism and functionalism rule: I dress for warmth and comfort, and anything that is not absolutely necessary is redundant. Besides, it's damn challenging to look stylish when you're ankle deep in snow most of the time. That's my excuse, anyway.

And I hate layering. I know, I've said that before.

But really, in my opinion layering is not the most practical way of dressing in Finland. Sure, it's cold, outdoors. That's what the huge coat and a big scarf are for. But indoors (= houses, buses, trains etc), that's a different story: it's usually at least +20°C / 68°F, if not even warmer (I'm typing this in my living room, wearing shorts and a t-shirt). So, layering means you keep taking off your extra layers, then putting them back on before going out. Not very practical if you plan to go shopping, popping in and out of shops all the time. Or if your morning commute involves a train ride of more than 15 minutes. I find it's easier to just take my coat off and fold it over my arm whereas lots of layers would make me feel like a sweaty mess in no time.

So, in keeping with my personal preference of only one layer between my underwear and outerwear, I live in light-weight cashmere sweaters in winter. I suppose wool would be just as warm, but my skin doesn't like it. So, over the years I've collected quite a few cashmere sweaters and cardigans. Maybe my winter challenge should be to wear each one at least once?

cashmere sweater

Outfit details:
cashmere sweater: old (lost the label) / cords: Marks and Spencer / 
bag: Furla / sunglasses: Dolce and Gabbana

What do you wear when you don't want to make an effort?


Sunday, 24 January 2016

Accessory Love: Gloves


Decorative and functional

I really love accessories: scarves, bags, gloves... I have lots of them. But for me gloves (or any accessories for that matter) are not just decorative but first and foremost functional. I don't collect them so that I would have something to add to an outfit to make it more interesting; I wear them to keep warm, to protect myself from the elements. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't have a little something to set them apart...

In fact, I prefer my gloves with some sort of embellishment or interesting details. Probably because I prefer clothes in solid colours and with clean, simple lines. This contrast makes the accessories pop: gloves with metal accents can make a plain coat look cool. And a different pair of gloves (together with shoes and scarves and a bag, of course) gives the same coat a totally different personality. And it's a lot easier to pack 5 pairs of gloves (or 5 scarves or necklaces) than 5 coats, of course...

Attention to detail,

that's what it boils down to, for me. You see, I'm a bit of a minimalist: I hate clutter and prefer to have fewer items but insist on better quality. This means that I prefer to save my money and buy the one 'perfect' scarf / bag / necklace rather than several cheaper ones of poorer quality. In the long run this keeps the clutter at bay, too.

What does this have to do with gloves?

I require the same level of quality from my gloves than I would of anything else I buy: I expect them to last, and I expect them to impress. The devil is in the details: is the lining warm enough, is the stitching well done, and is the leather buttery soft? And then there are the buckles, buttons, metal accents...

metal and leather
embellished gloves

And colour...

I love gloves in pretty colours. I just don't have many of them. Why? Well, as boring as black may be, it is also practical, i.e. won't show the dirt... I know, it sounds horrible, but it's true. And I learned that the hard way. I mean, if I had the kind of lifestyle that involved cars and / or drivers and only social engagements, I would probably have a very different wardrobe. But my lifestyle requires me to take public transportation, carry a heavy bag and ignore nasty weather... which means that my wardrobe has to be utilitarian and sturdy, e.g. gloves that allow me to grab hold on a crowded bus. You only realise how dirty handrails etc are after you see what they do to your new pink gloves...

colorful gloves
gloves with buckles

What about wristwarmers?

They may not be what you need for the really cold weather, but I find they can be very useful nevertheless, not least when taking photos. And cashmere wristwarmers can be washed, which is always a good thing.

brora wristwarmers
Brora wristwarmers
What about you, do you like gloves? 


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Get the Nordic Look!

Scandi Cool

What is 'The Nordic Look' anyway? 

Apparently, it's trendy to be Nordic. Or at least look like one. You know the look: the now-so-popular laid-back, fresh-faced Scandinista look: loose layers and patterned, colourful sweaters with cool parkas, and comfy loafers... Absolute bullshit, if you ask me. Nobody looks like that. Certainly not Nordic women. Fine, I've never met a Nordic woman who looks like that. As far as I can see, Nordic women wear black. Way too much black. Maybe grey if they're being adventurous. A bit colour-phobic? Maybe. Yes, I can say that: I'm a Nordic woman.

BTW, even though Nordic and Scandinavian are often used as synonyms, there is a difference. Technically, Scandinavia, or Scandinavian Peninsula is a geographical area comprising Norway, Sweden and parts of northern Finland whereas Nordic countries is a term used for Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland. However, 'Scandinavian' is often used when speaking about people from the Nordic countries. Or when speaking about Scandinavian languages (= Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Icelandic; Finnish is a Fenno-Ugric language) And no, we're not all descendants of the Vikings. Well, Finns are not. But do not confuse us with Russians, either: major mistake. Anyway, there's a brilliant web comic illustrating the differences between Nordic countries, go check it out. OK, lesson over...

So, what I'm doing here is my interpretation - or parody, whatever - of the Scandinista look: casual-cool with a cosy cardi and scarf combo, the girl-next-door soft colours and fur (yes, the earmuffs are fox fur, I got them at the local Christmas market). All with a bit of a Finnish twist of course. Finns are a bit rougher around the edges than other Nordics, hence the biker boots...

winter wear over 40

Outfit details:
cashmere cardigan; Brora (old) / skirt: Jigsaw (old) / cashmere scarf: Lochmere /  bag: Chanel / 
sunglasses: Cutler and Gross / Boots: Bronx / earmuffs: local Christmas market
And if you want to see a slightly more 'authentic' Nordic Woman look, how about this

So, what do you think, did I pass the Scandinista test?


Sunday, 17 January 2016

The No-Snow, Not-So-Cold Winter

40+ winter fashion

Winter Wear

It's such an elusive concept, completely dependent on what 'winter' is like in your neck of the woods.
Anyway, I showed you what I was wearing in Finland, so let's have Tiina's take on British winter next.

Hobbs trench

Of course, this is what I was wearing a couple of weeks ago. 

I don't always post outfits in chronological order. I tend have my posts prepared a week or two before they go live, and I often change the order of the posts, too, depending on my mood. It's extremely rare for me to post something the day I wrote it, but I've done it on a few occasions. So, there you have it, this is how I plan my blog posts: well in advance. It's just the way I am: I need time to prepare something, to think about it and work on it. And then I may just change my mind and do something completely different at the last minute.

Yes, I do that with outfits, too: I may have an outfit for work planned the night before, carefully selected to suit the occasion and the weather. And in the morning I'm just not feeling it and decide to wear something completely different. Which of course leads to a mad rush and clothes tossed all over the floor...

So, why bother planning at all if I always change my mind? Well, it's always good to have a plan, just in case. Besides, having a plan doesn't mean you have to follow it. But, if you have a plan, you don't have to make decisions under pressure, either, because you always have the plan the fall back on. Does that make sense? I didn't think so, either.


Anyway, as I had a few posts on my holiday looks and Madeira prepared, I thought I would just mix it up a bit: holiday looks, Finnish winter, British winter... Otherwise, I would be showing you post after post after post, for weeks on end, nothing but heavy winter gear and snow, and that would get a bit boring. It would certainly get a bit boring for me, so I decided to mix it up a bit.

So, today we have my new favourite coat again, with the skirt I bought in autumn, and one of my favourite cashmere sweaters and an old bag. Well, you've seen all of these before, and will find the details and links to old post at the end of this post.

Outfit details:
coat: Hobbs (seen before HERE and HERE) / skirt: Gerry Weber (seen before HERE) / cashmere sweater: Zadig & Voltaire (old, seen before HERE) / shoes: Clarks / bag: Lancel (old, seen before HERE) / gloves: Dents / scarf: Lochmere / sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana

Do you plan your outfits ahead or play it by the ear?
Or are you as neurotic as I am and do both?


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Holiday Capsule Wardrobe 3: Casual Chic

casual chic

This was probably my favourite outfit 

on my recent holiday in Madeira (around Christmas). You see, I'm a casual girl at heart, and I want my clothes to be versatile and low-maintenance. I can't stand anything fussy or delicate or something that restricts my movements. Yet, I hate sloppy dressing. Well, looking at me, you can probably see I'm not exactly a hoodie and a backpack kind of girl (I don't even own one, to be honest), so this is what I wear on casual days, or when sightseeing on a holiday.

Relaxed, easy-peasy separates are what I live in on a daily basis. It's almost as if I live my life wearing a sort of capsule wardrobe. And I like it: it makes my life easier if  I can just mix and match everything in my wardrobe. Who am I kidding? I'm one of those people who could just wear the same 20 or so pieces over and over again. A seasonal capsule wardrobe, that's the idea.

40+ casual wear

I call this casual chic

It's not the same as smart casual. For example, even though I wore the jacket to afternoon tea at Reid's Palace, the rest of teh outfit was a no-no as the smart casual dress code specifically said no jeans and no t-shirts. Yet, this outfit is a lot smarter and put-together than what we usually call 'casual'. I think it's the jacket: even though it's a biker style, it still looks smart enough to make the outfit seem a bit more put-together.

stripy jacket

I'm wearing:
jacket: Gerry Weber / jeans: Next / t-shirt: H&M / shoes: Clarks / belt: Tosca Blu / 
sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana / bag: Chanel

What do you wear on casual days?


Sunday, 10 January 2016

Winter is coming...

winter coat over 40

Don't let the sunshine fool you

It's cold, really cold. It was -21ºC / -5.8 ºF when these photos were taken. Yep, welcome back to Finland, the holiday is over...  

So, what do we do when it's really, really cold? Well, it depends... if it's a weekday, we go to work. 

I may not like winter, or cold weather, but that's unfortunately no reason stop doing what I normally do. Although, this time of the year I always have a sudden urge to move to Australia. Or anywhere where they've never seen snow... And then I remember that I hate hot weather perhaps even more than I hate winter. 

Oh well, just 3 more months of winter to go...

down coat

Outfit details:
down coat: Joutsen (old) /trousers: Marks and Spencer / bag: Furla / 
shoes: Clarks /  sunglasses: Tiffany & Co


Thursday, 7 January 2016

On Men Who Hate Women

We are all women of Cologne

For the past year or so I have been reading so many newspaper articles of random attacks on women: rape, harassment, intimidation. And I've reached the point when I have to say ENOUGH! I'm not putting up with this shit anymore. And I will not let political correctness compromise my personal safety.

What happened in Cologne is not an isolated incident and should not be glossed over because of misguided political correctness. Nor should it be hijacked to promote a racist agenda. This is not about whether the perpetrators of these crimes are migrants or asylum seekers, or about how we should feel and talk about the issue if they are or not.

This is about women being attacked, sexually harassed and raped. And that is not just wrong but against the law in just about every country in the world, regardless of the colour, race or ethnic origin of the perpetrator.

What about justice for the victims?

Why does political correctness demand that the victims be blamed? Wasn't victim-bashing banned decades ago? And what about human rights? Women are human beings, too, aren't they?

Only a person completely out of touch of ordinary life can urge young women to keep at arm's length from strangers. Clearly, the mayor of Cologne has never taken the bus or the train at rush hour... And as odd as it might sound to politicians suffering from affluenza-induced elitism, many women do walk outside after dark. They might be coming from work. Or maybe they had a drink in a bar. Maybe they even flirted. Who cares? It shouldn't make them fair game for predators.

Yes, young women are naive and trusting and idealistic. And they may think that you can always reason with another human being, explain that it is not nice to grope. I know, I was young once, too, and probably somewhat idealistic. Although I do remember that when I was sexually harassed by a drunk middle-aged marketing executive on the dance floor, I slapped him. Which leads me to give this piece of advice to young women:
If someone starts groping you, grab him by the balls and squeeze. Hard. Like your life depended on it. Because one day it may...

Aren't we being a bit elitist, then?

Why are we so shocked when it's European women subjected to sexual harassment by organised groups of men? Shouldn't we also object to the way women were assaulted during the Arab Spring or gang-raped in India and Africa?

Of course we should, and we do.

But we are European women: there is very little we can do about atrocities that take place in the Middle East, in Africa or in India. But in Europe we are citizens, taxpayers and voters. We have power.

As European women we expect to be treated as equals to men, we can express our opinions without fear, and there are no cultural or religious constraints of 'appropriate behaviour' we need to comply with.

We must reclaim the streets

We, European women, must reclaim the streets of our cities. Our politicians are too concerned for being labeled racist to do something as controversial as saying there's a problem. And the police have seen their resources cut to the extent they can barely function. And I for one do not want some far-right yobs calling themselves citizens' 'street patrols' in charge of my safety. That didn't work so well in the 1930's and we should have learned a few lessons from that...

No, it's women in Europe who must come together, irrespective of our political, religious or ethnic differences, and stand together in this. This concerns us all, and these are our streets and our towns, and we are not going to surrender them to organised mobs of men who hate women.

We can, and should, say "ENOUGH!"

And while we're at it, why not ask those migrant women to join us, too? You know, those women who fled war, violence, sexual harassment and rape to Europe. We should ask them to stand side by side with us when we demand our politicians stop mincing their words and start doing something so that we don't have to be afraid in our own cities.

What do you think, are you with me?



Holiday Capsule Wardrobe 2: Relaxed Glam

tweed and jeans

Packing is never easy

The weather can be unpredictable, even if you go to the same places again and again. Now, I've been to Madeira around Christmas several times, and every time I felt I had packed too much and the wrong type of clothes. For example, last year it was quite windy and cold, and I wished I had packed more long-sleeved tops. So, this is what I did this time. And of course it was mostly nice and sunny and around 20°C / 68°F, which for me is summer weather... 

smart casual tweed

Oh well, I'm adaptable. Fortunately, I also packed some t-shirts and light jackets, which would work for warmer weather, too.

Outfit details:
jacket: Andiata (old) / t-shirt: H&M / jeans: Next / belt: Tosca Blu / 
sunglasses: Prada / shoes: Clarks / bag: Chanel
location: Funchal, Madeira (The Vine Hotel roof terrace and Funchal town centre)


Sunday, 3 January 2016

On Shopping and Temporary Mental Disorders...


What did you get in the sales?

Maybe you're a smart shopper who ignored the trendy items of the season and just added a few good quality basics to your well-curated wardrobe? Or maybe you got the fabulous winter coat you've been stalking online for months? Or perhaps you found a designer bag at a sizeable discount? Good for you!

And what did I get?

A couple of sequinned t-shirts, two evening bags, a belt, a trench coat and a vintage kimono.

evening bags

Actually, only one of the t-shirts, the trench coat (which I already have in another colour...) and the belt were on sale. The bag made from cork was a souvenir from Madeira, and the other bag was a Christmas present from hubby. And the 1920's hand-embroidered kimono?!?

winter sales 2015

I blame Downton Abbey. Ever since I saw Lady Mary wearing that fabulous blue kimono I've been fantasising about having something like that. And then I saw this one in a shop window in Islington...

Let's just agree that it was a temporary mental disorder. It happens.

Or maybe there's a part of me that is a bit more eccentric and flamboyant. That's a bit scary...

vintage kimono

So, hits or misses?

The belt will go brilliantly with the gold loafers I got last summer, a sequinned t-shirt (or two) always brings a little bit of fun to a plain outfit, and the trenchcoat... OK, fine, I have 5 trench coats now, and I'm sure I will wear this one to bits. After all, a trench coat is practically my uniform in spring and autumn. But the vintage kimono... how on earth am I going to wear that???

Any suggestions?

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