Sunday, 29 January 2017

Scandi-Cool or Just Sloppy?

What is Scandi-Cool?

I'm sure you've heard of Scandi-Cool: the minimalist, effortlessly cool style, with simple shapes, natural materials and subtle, muted colours. But how do you do it?

Don't worry, I'm here to help you. No, I'm not an 'expert', and achieving Scandi-Cool is not a paint-by-numbers excercise,  anyway. But yes, I know how to do Scandi-Cool. It's in my genes; I'm Nordic, after all. And I'm here to tell you that anyone can do Scandi-Cool: all you have to do is stop trying so hard and just go with the flow.

The whole point of Scandi-Cool is finding that magic formula: how to look incredibly cool while at the same time conveying the vibe that you simply put on the first thing you pulled out of your wardrobe. Because you're way too cool to actually put together an outfit, and you have more interesting things to get to, anyway. Yes, that's the vibe you want to convey...

Quality and Comfort

Only the softest natural fibres will do. I cannot stress this point enough: it's all about how your clothes feel on your skin. Remember that feeling when you were  a child running around naked, the warm sun caressing your skin? That's how your clothes should feel like on your skin. And now that I'm writing these words it occurs to me that maybe you actually need to be Nordic to have had that experience to begin with... Never mind. Imagine your clothes as a soft cloud enveloping your body, that's how it feels.

And clean lines and simple shapes are a must: your clothes should allow free movement. Needless to say that Spanx or any other shapewear is incompatible with Scandi-Cool... But that doesn't mean you should be wearing boxy, shapeless sacks, either. It just means that to pull off Scandi-Cool your clothes should be as comfortable as your old pyjamas.

Attitude is Everything

However, Scandi-Cool is less about a particular outfit and more about the way you wear it. What if you  were wearing all your clothes the same way you wear your old pyjamas? You know, as if you could sleep in them. Or did sleep in them. In other words, you don't care how your clothes look like because you really just want to feel comfortable. And besides, you know that you look cool, whatever you're wearing.

Go with the flow

Scandi-Cool is not fighting the weather but going with it. It's snowing? Fine, Just wear a cosy jumper and a big coat. Multiple layers?!? Too restrictive; make it a cosy, warm cashmere jumper, what more do you need?

And shoes... if you can't walk and jump and skip in them, forget them. No, you don't want to think about your shoes after you put them on. You just need them to take you wherever you want to go.

Well, now you might think that Scandi-Cool is just a euphemism for dressing sloppy, but don't forget the cool part. You can only pull it off if you own the look. And that's the most difficult bit: you have to feel good in what you're wearing. And that's the key to looking cool...

Outfit details:
cashmere jumper: Zadig and Voltaire (old) / jeans: Next (old) / bag: Marimekko / 
shoes: Janita / sunglasses: Marimekko / scarf: old

How do you do Scandi-Cool?



Wednesday, 25 January 2017

'Resort Looks': Smart Casual

pattern mixing

Will she ever stop posting photos of Madeira?

Is that what you're thinking? Well, this is the penultimate 'Resort Looks' post... And this time the topic is relaxed yet smart clothing, also known as 'smart casual'. And yes, there's sometimes need for smart casual outfits, even on holiday.

These photos were taken on Christmas Day, and Professor M and I were on our way to have afternoon tea at Reid's Palace. That's the pink building in the background. It's a sort of luxury hotel full of oldy-worldy charm and a rich tradition of serving high tea to the rich and famous.  We are neither, of course, but who cares? We can pretend to be oldy-worldy socialites for one afternoon...

afternoon tea

Afternoon tea at Reid's Palace on Christmas Day has become sort of a tradition for us, and I've blogged about it before (see HERE and HERE).

over 50 blogger
smart casual

Outfit details:
poncho: Marja Kurki / top: Custo Barcelona / trousers: Marks and Spencer / 
shoes: Clarks / bag: Kate Spade / sunglasses: Marc Jacobs

What would you wear to afternoon tea?



Sunday, 22 January 2017

When in Doubt, Wear Red

casual dress over 40

I did quite well in the sales this year...

Given that I actually don't like shopping (as in looking for something specific) and absolutely hate the sales with a passion (the crowds, the mess...), I surprised myself by finding a few nice things. Such as this knit dress (which is both more casual and curve-hugging than the fitted ponte dress I showed you a while ago...) and the loose-fitting cashmere cardigan.

Black and white has never been a favourite colour combination of mine, mainly because it really does nothing to enhance my natural colouring. In fact, it tends  to make me look a bit - dare I say it - bland... Of course, there are lots of women out there who look fabulous in black and white, but I will never be one of them. No, my face needs colour. Which is why I always wear anything black and white with bright colour.

And red... Well, red is my colour, always has been. Although these days I tend to wear more pink and fuschia than red. Anyway, my point is, I can't go wrong with red, and it's time I add more red into my wardrobe.

over 50 blogger
horizontal stripes

Outfit details:
dress: Comma / cardigan; Comptoir de Cotonniers / 
bag: Chanel / boots: Bronx (old) / sunglasses: Marimekko

Do you like black and white?


PS: Did you notice the fabulous new blog template? Take a look at some of the new features (the revamped 'categories' section makes it easier to find older posts that might be of interest to you). There are still a few tweaks here and there that I need to make, of course, but I'm quite happy about the new look.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

'Resort Looks': Casual


Let's go 'hiking'...

Yes, Madeira also has mountains, and no holiday is complete without a visit to this lovely mountaintop restaurant and viewpoint. 

But professor M and I only go there for lunch. Hiking is not our thing. Well, not my thing... I'm a city girl. Even though I spent my childhood playing in the forest... But that means nothing: just about any child in Finland grows up roaming the forests (since most of the country is made up of forests and lakes...). I also spent my childhood by a lake, yet I never learned to swim... But I'm digressing here. So, hiking is not my thing, and I'm not too keen on other outdoorsy pursuits, either.

Professor M, on the other hand, is always bragging about hiking in the Alps when he was a child. I keep reminding him that it was a long time ago...

Anyway, we did go hiking here, in Eira do Serrado, once, a long time ago. Yes, years ago, on our first trip to Madeira, we actually walked down the mountain (there's a footpath) and visited the village in the valley (yeah, we took the bus back...). That was my first (and only) experience of hiking in the mountains. And, in case you were wondering, it was me leading the way, Professor M telling me to slow down...

Eira do Serrado

Actually, I'm a bit afraid of heights...

And I hate every minute of the bus ride up the mountain on that narrow road... But once up the mountain, the view is quite spectacular, don't you think?

casual style
over 40 blogger

Outfit details:
poncho: Marja Kurki / t-shirt: Mango (old) / jeans: Next /
shoes: Clarks / sunglasses: Marc Jacobs Belt: Diesel

Do you like hiking? Or mountains?



Saturday, 14 January 2017

'Resort Looks': Retro


These photos make me miss Madeira...

It was a short holiday, but I still have a few outfits to show you. That being said, this one must be one of my favourites. And I'm not just talking about the outfits I wore on that trip. No, this must be one of my all-time favourite outfits.

Sure, you've seen the dress before, twice (see HERE and HERE). So what, I wouldn't be much of  a personal style blogger if I couldn't come up with more than a few outfits around the same dress. Besides, it's probably my favourite dress, at the moment at least. And it travels well. Which is how it ended up with me on that holiday...

So, what makes this one of my favourite outfits?

The shirt dress has a bit of a retro vibe, for sure. But rather than the 50's, this dress reminds me of the 70's, and the outfits my mother used to wear... And this outfit is an homage to her. Why? Well, I was in Madeira over Christmas, and that time of year always reminds me of her. You see, New Year's Day would have been her 75th birthday, had she she not died on Christmas Day 20 years ago...

Anyway, my mother's influence on my style has been quite significant. In  fact, for me, she is the style icon that epitomises the 70's smart casual more than anyone else. However, I'm not trying to copy her style. I'm very different from her, in just about every possible way. In fact, if there wasn't such an obvious family resemblance, I would think I must have been switched at birth... But that's a different story, I'm digressing here a bit. What I wanted to say is that my style has always been far more eclectic and flamboyant than hers. That's why this is an homage and not a reproduction: this is me, picking and choosing influences and using them to suit my own purposes.

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Kate Spade bag

Take a look at the belt, isn't it just fabulously retro? So 70's?  And it's made of cork. Yes, cork: the same stuff used in wine bottles. The belt is my souvenir from Madeira, I found it in a little shop selling locally sourced products.


Most souvenir shops are a bit tacky, full of crap that nobody needs. And I avoid them like the plague. Seriously, I can't even stand all the crap cluttering every nook and cranny of my own home, why would I want to get more?

But this shop is different: it's a design shop. There are incredibly cool bags, shoes, hats, umbrellas etc., all made of cork. Who knew cork was so versatile?

But, as far as fashion goes, this is it. I've been to Madeira enough many times to say forget fashion shopping. With the exception of a few fast fashion brands and some incredibly tacky polyester dresses by local designers there's not much on offer. Which is a pity, really, as there's such a rich tradition of craftmanship on the island. There are absolutely fantastic furniture and design shops. And Madeira lace is of course world-famous. But somehow that beautiful lace does not translate into cutting edge fashion...

retro style
Outfit details:
dress: Phase Eight / bag: KateSpade / scarf: Marja Kurki / 
shoes: Clarks / sunglasses: Marc Jacobs /  belt:
location: Casino da Madeira

Do you ever buy souvenirs?



Linking up with: 

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Hygge in Techicolour

casual style over 50

Apparently, anything Scandinavian is super cool these days...

Take hygge, for example. It's a Danish concept and means anything cosy, comfy, home-made and relaxing... Sitting on the sofa sipping a warm drink, wearing woollen socks and soft jumpers in muted greyish colours. And candle light, that's essential. Apparently, you need darkness to do hygge correctly. It has something to do with the romantic cosiness of the long, dark Nordic winter evenings...

OK, I'm Nordic, this should be a piece of cake, let's get all hygge...

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I definitely know everything there is to know about the long, dark Nordic winter evenings, but there is nothing inherently cosy or romantic about them. When you have about 5 hours of daylight you start getting a bit claustrophobic, cooped up indoors all evening, every evening, till spring...

Maybe the problem is that I'm not a Dane but a Finn. We're a bit more tightly wound: we can't just sit on the sofa wearing drab woollies, stroking a cat... No, seriously, we go a bit crazy. There's even a (Finnish) word for it: mökkihöperö. I believe Americans call it cabin fever...

But of course it gets a lot darker in Finland than it gets in Denmark. And a lot colder, too. And candles, they're a fire hazard. Or that's what my fire alarm thinks, anyway, going off at the slightest whiff of smoke...

And the cosy warmth of the soft grey woollen jumpers and socks... ARGHH! No, I need some bright colour to beat the winter drabness.

OK, so maybe I can't do hygge.

Winter is drab, cold and dark. It sucks, for sure, and it makes you depressed. So what? That's the Finnish way of getting through winter.

Screw hygge, that's for sissies. What we need is some serious headbanging now...

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Monday, 9 January 2017

Sales Shopping...

wraparound coat

This is the time to go shopping for coats

After all, the sales are on... And the best place the find a really good quality coat at a huge discount is in an outlet sale. Especially when you're looking for a coat that you would never buy at full price. You know, the type of coat you are unlikely to wear very often.

I'm talking about a coat for that annoying in-between weather (when a trench coat is not enough but a warm wool coat is too much), a coat you might wear for a week or two in autumn or spring. And because you rarely wear it, you don't want to spend a fortune on it. So, you either buy it at an outlet or at a sale. And that's exactly what I did.

Of course, I knew exactly what I wanted: a short, lightweight wool coat. More importantly, I wanted something that I didn't already have, something very different from all the coats in my wardrobe (you know, trench coat style, belted; below the knee...). Maybe a pea coat, a cocoon coat, a trapeze coat... Something fun and different. Well, anything, really, as long as it was short, and without a belt, and any colour except blue...

Oh crap...

I really suck at shopping...

wool coat
over 50 blogger

Outfit details:
coat: Jaeger / top: J.Crew / scarf: Jigsaw / jeans: Next / bag: Gloria Ortiz / 
shoes: Clarks / sunglasses: Marc Jacobs / brooch: Arlequin Mascaras (Barcelona)

What did you buy in the sales?


Friday, 6 January 2017

Madeira in Pictures

Madeira sunset

I have written so many blog posts about Madeira that there's probably not much more I can say about it.

And that's why I decided to make this post more about pictures. These photographs represent a few fleeting moments of one week. But they also illustrate the reasons why I keep going back to this beautiful little island, year after year.

There are the lovely sunsets seen from the hotel room balcony:

Madeira sunset

The impressive scenery, even right in the centre of the capital, Funchal:


Aren't these flowers fascinating?

Whenever I think of Madeira, I remember these flowers. I never get tired of seeing them. And they're literally everywhere on the island: in parks, by the sea, up on the mountains... That's probably why I keep taking photos of them...

Madeira flowers
flowers in Madeira

And then there's the urban wildlife:


And let's not forget the mild weather: not too hot but warm enough to give us Northern Europeans a little break from winter.

casual style over 50

Yes, I'll be back....



Wednesday, 4 January 2017

'Resort Looks': Classic

classic style over 50

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I was on holiday in Madeira around Christmas. And of course I have a lot of photos (and quite a few outfits) to show you.

But, because it's mid-winter now, I'm getting a bit bored with winter outfits and need a break from the relentless cold every now and then. So, I decided to show you my'resort outfits' over the course of a few weeks, in several posts rather than one long post.

Anyway, about Madeira... Professor M and I have been to this small island several times (and I've written quite a few blog posts on Madeira, too), usually around Christmas. But that's OK as we're quite happy to spend our holidays (doing very little) in a place we already know quite well. Yes, it may sound odd for people who see travel more as an adventure... But for us, given that in addition to extremely busy work schedules, we also commute between two countries every week, relaxing means staying put in one place. Preferably not at home, though; having two homes also means double the amount of household chores...

So, for us, the recipe for a a relaxing holiday is staying in a nice hotel (with a pool/jacuzzi, gym etc.), sleeping late, eating too much, and doing very little sightseeing.


The hotel

This hotel was enormous, and quite different from the type of hotels we usually stay at. You see, we're more the snobbish boutique hotels types...

So, how did we end up in this place?

Long story short: last year there was a bad storm the day we were supposed to leave, our flight was delayed, and the airline put us up here for the night. And lo and behold, we sort of liked the hotel, and decided to come back... Of course, it helped that the hotel is a great example of 70's architecture, designed by Oscar Niemeyer... I did say we're snobbish, didn't I?

The back entrance to the Casino

Anyway, the hotel was next to the Madeira Casino (we only saw it from the outside),  there was  a gym (which we 'didn't have time' to try), several pools (too bad I can't swim), a jacuzzi (which I loved) and a Finnish sauna (which we of course loved, even though we never use the sauna we have at home ...).

The drawback? Well, it was (marginally) less centrally located than the hotel we stayed in the last time. This just meant that instead of going out we were often happy to have dinner at the hotel restaurant. Yes, we're that lazy. Or that tired, whatever.

What about packing?

I don't spend a lot of time packing, and I don't plan my outfits beforehand. I usually decide on a colour scheme and then simply pack a few items that can be mixed and matched endlessly. Of course, I will check the weather forecast and make sure that whatever I pack is seasonally appropriate.

The weather in Madeira is quite pleasant in December, though not hot. The daytime temperature is around 18-22 °C / 64-72 °F, and it does get a bit cooler in the evening. So, some sort of a cover-up is necessary. 

For this trip I packed a selection of (both short-sleeved and long-sleeved) t-shirts, a few cardigans and a poncho, and some trousers, jeans and a dress. I also packed three pairs of shoes (I only wore two), and I let my accessories determine the colour scheme. So, you will see the shoes, the scarf and the bag quite a lot in these 'resort outfit' posts...

Right, I guess I should say something about this outfit...

This a what I like to call 'classic smart casual': perfect for sightseeing, shopping and lunch, and it doesn't scream 'tourist'. It's not terribly exciting, though. In fact, it's more or less what I would wear on a (cooler) summer day, whether for work or at weekend...

classic style
capsule wardrobe
Outfit details:
cardigan: Soyaconcept / trousers: Marks and Spencer / t-shirt: Marks and Spencer / 
scarf: Marja Kurki / bag: Kate Spade / shoes: Clarks / sunglasses: Dolce and Gabbana

And this is my wonderful husband / photographer, Professor M:

professor m

What's your idea of a relaxing holiday (or vacation, as my American readers call it)?


Sunday, 1 January 2017

How to Wear Metallics: Trendy

pleated skirt

Attitude vs Cliché

The internet is saturated with outfits like this one: a pleated metallic skirt, a graphic tee, a leather jacket, a fringe bag, trainers... So, did I consciously decide to start the new year by turning into a cliché?  Because, isn't this outfit more or less what you see a million or so 20-something bloggers posting every day? Or am I trying to make some sort of a point?

There are a lot of fashion editors and bloggers out there telling middle-aged women what they should/should not wear, and there are also a lot of middle-aged bloggers defiantly declaring that age should have nothing to do with their clothing choices. I have zero interest in that particular debate. I save my anger and defiance for more important matters: what I wear (or don't wear) is totally irrelevant in the big scheme of things. Yes, I really think so.

So, let's make something clear...

No, I'm not 'copying' anyone. And no, I'm not trying to look younger than I am. And no, I'm not rebelling against any 'style rules' (whether real or imaginary).

Swap the skirt for jeans and this outfit is what I wear most days. So, in that sense the only item taking me out of my comfort zone is the pleated skirt. And in my eyes the skirt is a bit retro: after all, my (very stylish) mother used to wear a lot of pleated skirts... Everything else is perfectly in tune with my lifestyle, personality and age.

Generation X Bites Back...

Leather jackets, trainers and graphic T-shirts are probably standard items in the wardrobe of any Generation X woman. And why wouldn't they be? We've been wearing them our entire lives.

After all, we're the original anti-establishment, break-all-fashion-rules, rebel-without-a-cause generation. Mismatched flea market finds, combat boots, grunge and punk references, that's our style legacy.

It's the identikit 20-somethings who are copying us, minus the attitude to pull it off. I'm just reclaiming what was mine to begin with.

pleated skirt
over 50 blogger

Outfit details:
skirt: Zara / leather jacket: Karen Millen (old) / top: Custo Barcelona / 
bag: Lancel (old) / shoes: Nile (old) / sunglasses: Marc Jacobs

Let's start 2017 with some attitude!

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