Sunday, 28 February 2016

Weekend Capsule Wardrobe: part 2

winter trench

So, the second part of the 'weekend in London' capsule wardrobe...

Yes, you've seen the coat, and the bag, and everything else I'm wearing many, many times... But, this is a blog, not a fashion magazine, and I'm a busy teacher, not a model. What you see me wearing here is what I actually wear as I go about my life. And, like everybody else, I have a limited wardrobe that has to work very hard and fit into a suitcase, or in this particular case, cabin luggage.

The coat wouldn't fit into the cabin luggage, of course, and neither would the boots. So, I had to wear them on my way over from Finland on Friday. And I had to wear them again on Sunday because when these pictures were taken we had already checked out of the hotel and left our luggage in storage for a few hours.

What should you think about when you're choosing outerwear for a weekend break capsule wardrobe? The obvious answer: something lightweight and versatile, and weather-appropriate. This coat was a bit too warm on Sunday (but not on Saturday), and as lovely as it is, it's not the easiest thing to wrap around the back of a chair in a restaurant, or stuff into the airplane overhead locker. Note to self: need a shorter, lighter coat for travel...

Anyway, this is what I was wearing when we went to see the Vogue exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. No pictures, I'm afraid, as photography was not allowed in the museum. But on our way to the museum we stumbled on this: the entire Trafalgar Square was cordoned off and turned into a film set. I found out later that it's for the new Wonder Woman film, apparently set at the end of WW1, judging by the clothes and cars and the giant 'War is Over' posters everywhere...

And back to the Vogue exhibition...

I sort of skipped the more recent images and spent more time looking at the older photos and illustrations on display. Perhaps it's my interest in anything Art Deco and mid-century modern, but I found the images from the 20's, 30's and early 60's most fascinating.

And I realised that I seem to have sort of a double standard when it comes to fashion photography: while I don't care much for contemporary fashion photographs, I admire the artistry in the older ones. I'm impressed by the styling and lighting of the old fashion photos but find contemporary images gimmicky and pretentious. Well, I often say the same about the clothes in fashion magazines, too. It's because if I can't imagine myself or my friends (who come in all shapes and sizes) wearing something, I see no point to it.

Could it be that that the models (as beautiful as they are) in the old fashion photos are somewhat more relatable in terms of body shape and age? Not that the pictures from the 20's, 50's or 60's depicted any 40+ models, but at least they were clearly out of their teens. And it seemed that the old photos were less about the celebrity status of the model and more about (wearable) clothes. Who knows. Maybe it's just the allure of vintage...

Outfit details:
coat: Hobbs / scarf: Jaeger / cardigan: Esprit / trousers: Marks and Spencer /
sunglasses: Coach / bag: Chanel / ankle boots: Clarks

What's your opinion on fashion photography?


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

Linking up with: 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Weekend Capsule Wardrobe: part 1

winter trench

I spent last weekend in London, so I thought I would do a 'travel capsule wardrobe' post for change. Or, rather, two posts, as otherwise this post would get a bit long with so many photos.

It's been about 7 weeks since the last time I was in the U.K. I know, a long time, an eternity by my standards. But January and February are always very busy for me, and as I've been working 5 days a week, with full schedule on both Fridays and Mondays, Professor M has been doing the weekend commuting.

But now I have a well-deserved break, and we decided to start with a weekend in London. So, on Friday, after a long day at work in Finland, I caught the evening flight to Heathrow. I arrived very late, and with only cabin luggage.

Which meant that I would have to manage on whatever I had packed. And with one coat and one bag for the entire weekend. I cheated a bit with the shoes: I had asked Professor M to bring me this pair of shoes from our home in England. My feet just needed a change after weeks of wearing nothing but boots, and for some weird reason all my shoes seem to have migrated to our house in England again...

Anyway, for a Saturday afternoon walk / a bit of shopping / a casual lunch I decided to go with a tried-and-tested formula of my favourite basics: jeans, a Breton top, leopard print sunnies.

Outfit details:
coat: Hobbs / top: Banana Republic / jeans: Next / scarf: Shanghai Tang / bag: Chanel /
 shoes: Clarks / sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana / pendant: Målerås

Capsule wardrobes, love them or hate them?


Saturday, 20 February 2016

"Date Night" Outfit

We don't do "date nights"

My husband and I go out a lot, eat in restaurants etc, but we don't really call it a "date night", just a normal Saturday afternoon lunch...

But, when these photos were taken, we had actually booked a table at a posh restaurant (the sort of place we go to only about once or twice a year) and it was the night before Valentine's Day. So, maybe it was a special occasion, in a way. And yet, I could wear this outfit to work...

Well, you do dress up in Finland, for special occasions such as a wedding. Going to a restaurant, well, usually not that much. If it's Independence Day, Valentine's Day etc, men might wear a suit, and women wear something smart casual. What can I say? We're very relaxed about style...

And then there's the weather...  Just two days before almost all the snow had gone, then it started snowing again. Wet snow, or sleet. And then it froze over. Cue slippery streets. And then some slightly warmer weather, just above freezing, which makes the snow and ice turn into slush. Which in turn then freezes over again as the temperature drops. Yep, that sort of weather makes it a bit of a challenge to decide what to wear. Actually, that's not true: until the temperature remains firmly above freezing and all the snow is gone for good my brain refuses to even consider anything in my wardrobe except cashmere sweaters.

Oh, in case you're wondering about the headstones in the background in these photos: this park used to be a cemetery. The park is affectionately called Plague Park because people who died of the 1710 plague were buried there...

Outfit details:
coat: Hobbs / skirt: Gerry Weber / cashmere sweater: repeat / boots: Caprice / 
bag: Chanel / sunglasses; Cutler and Gross / silver necklace: Lapponia


Monday, 15 February 2016

These shoes were made for walking...

comfortable boots

Style or Comfort

Which one matters more when you're looking for shoes or boots? Of course, we could ask why not both: style and comfort. I mean, why should style and comfort be mutually exclusive?

Then again, I would never compromise comfort. Not even for style, which is why you never see me wearing heels. Not even for an evening, or a special occasion. I have no use for shoes I can't walk in.

So when JD Williams asked me to promote their campaign about shoes that make us embrace new challenges, it got me thinking. Yes, life is  at times very busy, I'm often in a hurry, and I need to be out and about in all sorts of weather. I need good shoes to get me through the day. And my feet deserve the best. After all, they take me wherever I need to go.

The problem is, my feet are also rather demanding: they need shoes with thick soles and cushioning or they make me miserable. So, I'm very picky when it comes to my shoes.

Let's take boots, for example. I counted that I have 7 pairs of boots. And 4 pairs of ankle boots. And I wear maybe 2 or 3 of them on a regular basis... Yes, I do have favourite shoes, and favourite boots, doesn't everyone?

But it's not about preferring a particular style. It's about comfort. I only wear the boots I find comfortable to walk in. And the others? Well, it seems they're just taking up space in my closet...


So, comfortable shoes...

I know, it has such a negative ring to it, but there's really no reason for it. Comfortable shoes can make you feel confident and strong. Comfortable shoes take you to interesting places.

It's really very simple: when you don't have to waste time thinking about how much your feet hurt, you can focus on getting where you're going.

Besides, comfortable shoes are cool and stylish: they make a strong style statement when you match them with equally cool accessories.

matching accessories

But comfortable shoes are hard to find

So, when I find a good pair of shoes, I buy two of them, maybe in different colours. But I've been known to buy multiples of the exact same pair of shoes, too. I usually justify this on the grounds that I keep shuttling between two homes in two countries, and it would sort of make sense to have the same shoes in both places, no need to carry them back and forth. It's a good idea, in theory. But of course it doesn't work quite like that, and at some point all my shoes end up in one place...

I'm also very loyal to my favourite brands 

I think it makes sense: certain brands are usually kind to my demanding feet. And  I hate looking for something, I find it's just a complete waste of time. So, I just keep going back to the same brands that have worked for me in the past.

The things is, I need shoes with cushioned insoles. That's a must, not negotiable. I'm not talking about minor discomfort here; I'm having quite a lot of problems with my feet. And I assume that as I get older, it's only going to get worse. So, it really doesn't matter how pretty the shoes are if they make my feet hurt.

Looking at these pictures now I can't wait to pack away my winter shoes. And after two days of rain washing away the snow I was beginning to think I could go shopping for new shoes for spring soon.

And then it started snowing again... OK, it's only February, way too soon, I know. But I'm so done with winter, wake me up in April, OK?

Which one do you prioritise, style or comfort?


PS: This is a sponsored post: JD Williams has gifted me a pair of shoes that I can't wait to show you. Unfortunately, as I'm currently ankle deep in snow again, that might take a while...

Thursday, 11 February 2016

My Casual Valentine's Day Outfit

casual valentine

Valentine's Day...

A special day to keep greeting card companies in business. Or a day to gaze into the eyes of your soulmate over a candle-lit dinner. I suppose how you feel about Valentine's Day depends on whether you're a romantic or not...

Well, I may have said it before, but I'm probably the most unromantic woman on the planet. Not only that, but I'm cynical, sarcastic and don't take life seriously... And I don't need or expect roses or presents or romantic gestures.

But my husband likes all of the above. Yes, he gets me roses, every now and then, but not nearly as often as he would like. He also sends me lovely postcards when he's away, saying that he misses me. Or that's what I think it says on the cards; his handwriting is a bit challenging... Anyway, I'm not good at sending letters or postcards, but I email him copies of the bills he needs to pay, or cat videos.

Oh well, he knew what he was getting into when he married me, no need to feel sorry for him.

Furla bag

We are going out 

the night before Valentine's Day, though, to a nice restaurant. But I won't be wearing this outfit. I don't know what I'll be wearing; I don't plan these things in advance. Besides, who knows what the weather will be like: sleet, snow, rain, icy streets, or all of the above. It doesn't really matter: it's winter, the weather is going to be bad, and I will dress accordingly.

What, am I going to pass such a perfect occasion to wear a party dress just because of the weather?!?

Err, yes, I am.

In my book, sleet/snow/icy streets call for winter boots, not heels. We don't have a car, and any outing requires taking the train / bus / tram and walking. And after a couple of weeks of getting over the flu I really don't want to risk getting a cold, either. So, it looks as if nothing can separate me from my beloved cashmere sweaters before April. I suppose I will have to try and make boots and cashmere look like a 'date night' outfit. We'll see how it goes.

Outfit details:
cardigan: Brora (old) / t-shirt: H&M / cords: Marks and Spencer / 
bag: Furla / sunglasses: Cutler and Gross / shoes: Tero Palmroth

What are your plans for Valentine's day?


Sunday, 7 February 2016

Details, details...

40+ winter style

Let's make an effort...

I'm the first one to admit I'm quite a lazy dresser, as in 'throw something on and forget about it', but every now and then I do make an effort. And then I look like this.

Err... Effort? Isn't this just another version of my 'winter uniform' of a cashmere sweater and jeans / trousers, you ask?

Well, yes. And no. It's all in the details, love, look closer.

winter basics over 40

In my passion for anything matchy-matchy, I went all wild woman with my leopard print sunnies and belt. And ankle boots, too.

Tero Palmroth boots

OK, the ankle boots... Maybe it's a different animal. A leopard print cow? A cow masquerading as a leopard? A leopard-cow with an identity crisis? Oh well, I'm not one to judge, and long as it goes with the overall colour scheme...

Anyway, leopard print, in brown tones at least, is best enjoyed in small doses. If you have a face that looks as if it has never seen the sun, that is. Olive-skinned girls can wear leopard print head to toe, of course, but if you're as pasty-faced as I am, you'd better wrap some colour around your neck. Besides, I learned from my very stylish mother that understated elegance is the way to go, and when it comes to leopard print, less is more.

Outfit details:
coat: Betty Barcley (old) / jeans: Next / cashmere sweater: Brora (old) / bag: Adolfo Dominguez / belt: Hobbs /shoes: Tero Palmroth / gloves: Randers handsker / sunglasses: Dolce and Gabbana

How do you wear leopard print? Or leopard-cow print? Whatever?


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

Linking up with: 

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Bad Tourist in Madeira


I have visited Madeira many times

And I've also written quite a few blog posts on it. So, is there anything new I can say about Madeira?

Well, Professor M and I both have rather hectic schedules at work, and on holiday we like to take it easy and relax. As in do only whatever we feel like doing, and at our own pace. Which usually means not doing very much at all: few (new) activities, minimal sightseeing and revisiting our favourite restaurants and coffee shops. And Madeira is just the perfect place for it, especially at Christmas.

So, the highlights of the trip?

Instead of sightseeing, we enjoy walking around aimlessly, discovering new areas, paying attention to interesting details, such as these typical windows and wall fixtures.

Madeira architecture
Madeira street art

Instead of museums, we sampled local culture at a wine tasting:

wine tasting
Madeira wine

By the way, Madeira wine is quite strong...

The island also offers excellent opportunities for outdoor activities. Even for the athletically challenged, such as Professor M and me. I blogged about Eira do Serrado a year ago, but I wanted to share a few recent photos anyway.


Eira do Serrado is just a bus ride away from Funchal, which makes it a very good destination for a day trip. I suppose you could hire a car and drive there, too, but I wouldn't recommend it. And not just because I am a terrible driver (and Professor M is possibly even worse). No, unless your regularly  drive up and down narrow mountain roads, you'd better leave driving to the locals.

And you don't need to be an experienced hiker, either. All we did was walk up to the viewpoint to take a look at the magnificent scenery.

Eira do Serrado

And after a fabulous lunch at the restaurant, we spent some time mingling with the locals:


So, these were just some of the highlights of our Christmas break in Madeira, I hope you enjoyed it.
For more posts on Madeira, go to Bad Tourist in Madeira.


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

Linking up with: 
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