Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Wardrobe Experiments 2: Theory vs Practice

statement shirt over 50

You know how some clothes seem like a good idea when you see them in pictures or in the shop, but won't really work in real life? This crossover shirt is one of them. I hate it, and I think I will never wear it again.

It was an impulse purchase, at Barcelona airport. It was the sleeves, I was totally mesmerised by them. And I still think they are fun and flirty. It's the rest of the shirt I hate.

Let's take the neckline, for starters. Why does it have to be so high? It's certainly not very flattering, at least not on me. And it makes me feel I'm being strangled. And yes, the crossover bit is supposed to be on the back, I checked...

puff sleeves
over 40 blogger

Although why anyone would want to waste such a perfect v-neck this way is beyond me...

Which is why I decided to wear it the other way round.

And I still hate it.

This shirt is simply one of the most uncomfortable clothes I have ever worn. Sure, wearing  the v-neck in the front is more flattering and (marginally) more comfortable, but the sash still keeps creeping up towards my armpits, ARGHH!!!

These two sets of photos were taken a couple of weeks apart, and on both occasions I couldn't bear wearing the shirt for more than 10 minutes. And I kept adjusting and re-adjusting the shirt all the time...

The things is, I absolutely hate fussy clothes... My clothes need to allow free movement and feel as comfortable as pyjamas, making me feel as if I'm wearing nothing. Or that I could sleep in them and they would still look and feel wonderful. Yes, I know it's a tall order, but it's non-negotiable. Sure, style is important, but never at the expense of comfort. No, discomfort is a deal-breaker, it's as simple as that. Oh well, lets's just write this one off as an experiment...

over 40 blogger

Outfit details:
shirt: Zara / denim skirt: KappAhl / jeans: Next / bag: Gloria Ortiz /
shoes: Clarks / sunglasses: Michael Kors

Have you ever bought something that seemed like a good idea at 
the time but turned out to be incompatible with you? 

Tiina

PS: Have you seen the latest Dilettante Artist post?
Dilettante Artist also has its own Instagram account now!

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Sunday, 28 May 2017

Wardrobe Experiments 1: Cute vs Attitude

summer skirt

"It looks like kitchen curtains"

That was the first impression this skirt made on my husband... But I liked it. It reminds me of the cute gingham summer dresses my mother used to wear. So, in a way the skirt evoked some happy childhood memories...

And it has pockets! And it allows free movement! It's practical!

So, the skirt appeals to me on both emotional and rational level, and in my book that's good enough a reason to get it. Hubby will get used to it.

The only problem is that I don't do cute. It's just not me. I blame all those frilly dresses I had to wear as a child, and a lifetime of being told to look pretty... Besides, anyone who knows me would describe me as terminally sarcastic, drawn to pessimism, and a bit of loose cannon when it comes to politically incorrect opinions. In other words, definitely not cute...

So, I needed to add a bad-ass t-shirt to balance the outfit out. After all, I wouldn't want to misrepresent myself...

casual summer over 40
casual summer wear over 50

Outfit details:
skirt: Zara / t-shirt: Mango (old) / bag: Furla / 
shoes: Clarks / sunglasses: Marimekko

So, what do you think of this outfit: kitchen curtains, too cute, or too much attitude? 
Let me know in the comments.

Tiina

PS: I want to thank debwlv for the very kind comment on an old post. I tried to publish it and accidentally deleted it instead... Should not try to do these things on the iPhone, I guess... Anyway, that was a very sweet comment, and it made me very happy.

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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Marimekko Summer 2017

Marimekko summer 2017

So, last Friday I went to see the annual Marimekko summer 2017 fashion show. The event is open to the public and held at the Esplanade park in the centre of Helsinki.

And these are some of the highlights of the show:

DRESSES
There were a lot of dresses (and skirts), of course, for summer. Now, I'm not a fan of the typical Marimekko style - boxy cuts and shapeless dresses -  but I really liked the flowy fabrics in this show. And if I was tall and slender, I would snap up this dress with a cape immediately...

marimekko summer 2017
Marimekko summer 2017

RETRO
This year Marimekko is re-introducing some iconic designs from the 60's and the 70's. I tried on the first dress a few weeks ago, but unfortunately it wasn't very flattering on my curvy body. Which is a pity as I just love the 60's fashion...

Marimekko summer 2017
marimekko summer 2017
marimekko summer 2017

Naturally, there were a lot of prints:

marimekko summer 2017
marimekko summer 2017
marimekko summer 2017

And Black and White

A bit too much black, is you ask me...

Marimekko summer 2017
Marimekko summer 2017

And if you'd like to see more, Marimekko posted a short video clip on Instagram.

Tiina

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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Travelling Light

smart casual over 40

In my last post I said I have a few of these wool ponchos... 

So, here's another one, worn instead of a jacket. It's a very casual piece, yet it provides a little bit of drama and sophistication to this otherwise very plain outfit.

But the poncho is also the perfect travel piece: it goes with any outfit, and you can wrap it around yourself on the plane. And when you travel, you get a bit lazy as far as clothes are concerned, and need all your clothes to multitask. And if you travel a lot (as in every weekend, as I've been doing lately, commuting between two homes...), you might want to travel light.

This time, going to the U.K., I had just a tote bag (the one you see here). And it was wonderful: no fussing about the luggage at the airport, no dragging a trolley across London... Of course, I do realise that this is only possible because I'm commuting between our home in Finland and the house we have in England, and there's a wardrobe bursting with clothes waiting for me wherever I happen to be heading... Still, having no luggage made travel almost bearable.

Yes, it may come as a surprise, but I really do not enjoy travelling. Going to places is fine, interesting, exhilarating even at times. But the actual travelling bit (as in, airports, luggage, passport controls...) stresses me out. And when you do that every week... It's usually my darling husband who commutes every week (my visits to the U.K. tend to be less frequent but of longer duration), but lately I've been doing more of it. And I'm beginning to understand how stressful it is...

over 50 blogger
smart casual over 40
smart casual over 50

Outfit details:
poncho: Marja Kurki / t-shirt: Gap / trousers: Marks and Spencer / 
shoes: Clarks / bag: Furla / sunglasses: Marc Jacobs
location: Bayswater, London

Do you like to travel light?

Tiina

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Thursday, 18 May 2017

Spring 'Uniform'

how to wear a poncho over 40

Remember these fabulous, baggy yet incredibly slimming trousers?  I know I showed them to you just a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn't resist the temptation to do another post on them... That's what happens when I find something I like: I wear it all the time. And I mean really ALL the time...

So, here we are, the baggy trousers again, this time with one of my favourite long-sleeved t-shirts (which has been featured on the blog more times than I can count...) and a checked poncho.

The wool poncho is something of a spring / summer staple for me: easy to wear, goes with anything, and warm on cooler days. I have a few of these ponchos, in different colours. I wear them instead of a jacket, I guess I like the idea of having something comfy and snuggly to wrap around myself...

casual spring style over 40
utility trousers over 40
over 50 blogger

Outfit details:
poncho: Marja Kurki / top: Custo Barcelona / trousers: Oska / 
shoes: Nike / bag: Chanel / sunglasses: Marc Jacobs

What do you like to wear in spring?
Tiina

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Sunday, 14 May 2017

It's Spring!!!

casual style over 50

Spring finally came (and went...) to my neck of the woods. Well, for a few days, anyway. Sure, it was snowing a couple of days later, but let's not talk about that. It's so depressing, after all.

So, spring... You know: sunny days, warm enough to ditch the winter coat, pollen flying everywhere... Remember that?

It's been so cold for so long this year that I was beginning to wonder if Mother Nature had forgot that we're supposed to have four seasons. Like, maybe she thought we would just jump straight to summer one day. Or skip summer altogether... Anyway, it was spring, at least for a few days, and that's something, right?

So, it was nice and sunny... and awfully windy. Well, it's usually windy by the sea. But at least it wasn't cold. Depending on your definition of cold, of course. By now I'd say temperatures in double digits (Celsius) is what passes for 'not cold', at least in Finland, and therefore I'm going to call it spring.

short trench coat
metallic shoes
over40 blogger

Outfit details:
trench: Hobbs (old) / jeans: Opus / top: Jigsaw (old) / scarf: Shanghai Tang / 
bag: Furla / shoes: Clarks / sunglasses: Marimekko (old)

In your opinion, when does spring start?

Tiina

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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Mother's Day

Photoshop art

The second Sunday in May is Mother's day in Finland. And that's why I'm posting these pictures of my mother, even though she is no longer with us.

I have written quite a few posts about her, or rather her style. Because that's what was special about her: her innate sense of style. Well, that and the fact that she was very beautiful. I'm just not saying that because she was my mother; she really was a very stunning woman. In fact, that's the first thing people who knew her always say, remembering her: that she was so beautiful. And the second thing they say is that she was always so stylish.

mother and daughter

So, it's only natural that she influenced my own sense of style. And the older I get, the more I notice that influence. Of course, I put my own spin on it, but we could say that the basis of my style came from her.

For instance, she never wore anything that wasn't comfortable and practical. Even her most stylish clothes never restricted movement, and her shoes were made for walking. And she preferred simple, clean lines and good quality. Her style was quite classic, but always up-to-date and modern. She liked her basics, but wasn't afraid to dress to impress when she felt like it. Yet she always avoided anything too overtly sexy or flashy, opting for casual elegance instead.

60s fashion

Yes, My mother had style, but she also had talent, and she was skilled. I mean, with very limited means, she could put together an outfit that looked completely casual and extremely sophisticated at the same time. But more to the point, she made it look so easy: her style looked effortless, as if the items that made up the outfit had somehow accidentally come together...

Of course, she put quite a lot of effort into her style. I witnessed this first-hand, watching her trying on clothes in front of the mirror. Every detail was carefully considered, and she refused to settle for anything less than perfect.

style icon

In loving memory of Ritva L (1942-1996)

Tiina

PS: For more posts on my mother's style, go to Style Icon
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Sunday, 7 May 2017

Utility and Stripes

casual wear over 50

Do you believe in love at first sight?

As far as clothes are concerned, that is. Have you ever tried something on and felt that it was made for you? Or does it take longer for a piece of clothing to find its way into your heart?

Well, when it comes to clothes, I've been known to fall head over heels for 'the perfect piece' (what can I say, the heart knows what it wants...), but I've also had a more slow-burning love affairs with some of my favourites (again, we're talking about clothes here...).

And in this outfit we have both: the utility trousers that I was certain were 'made for me' the minute I saw them, and the striped jumper that I didn't even like at first but which has quickly become my new best friend.

I love these trousers, I really do. They're so comfortable: high-waisted, with plenty of room for my thighs. And maybe it's because they're loose and baggy that they're actually slimming.  Really, even in my wildest dreams I don't have slim thighs, yet these trousers create some sort of an optical illusion that totally obliterates the thickest part of my body... And if that's not enough, these trousers are cool. Like, really seriously cool.

utility trousers over 40

And the striped top, then? 

Well, that's just something I picked up in the sales, not because I liked it but because it was striped but not blue and white, and because I felt I needed to try something new (yes, in my world stripes in anything but blue and white is 'new'... a bit pathetic, I know).  Anyway, because it was in the sales, I got it for a song. And I never buy anything in the sales, mainly because I think that whatever is left at that point is just crap anyway, and even if it isn't, they won't have my size...).  And that's pretty much how I felt about this top when I got home: that I would never wear it.

So, I just tossed it at the back of the wardrobe and forgot about it. Until the day I had five minutes to get dressed in the morning, and all my tops seemed to be in the laundry, and then I saw this top...

Well, it was early morning and I was in a hurry and there was no time to think about outfits, so I just wore it. And I've worn it at least once a week since then. Because it goes with just about everything I have in my wardrobe. And it's comfortable, and sort of cool, too.

So, I guess it was just a matter of time that these two favourites of mine - the love-at-first-sight cool utility trousers and the simple striped top that gradually won me over - would meet, in this cool and casual outfit...

utility wear
fringe bag
over 50 blogger

Outfit details:
top: Vila / trousers: Oska / bag: Lancel / 
shoes: Clarks / sunglasses: Dolce and Gabbana

What about you, love at first sight or slow-burning love? 
As far as clothes are concerned, of course... 

Tiina

PS: Have you seen the latest Dilettante Artist post yet?

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Thursday, 4 May 2017

What to do in Barcelona

Barceloneta

I can honestly say that Professor M and I have been to Barcelona dozens of times. That is, once (sometimes twice) a year for the past 10-12 years. So, you might assume I know the place quite well by now. And to some extent that is true. I certainly have my favourite places (shops, restaurants, museums etc), but there are lots of areas I've never been to. But that's OK because Barcelona is one of those places I keep going back to, and I like the idea that there is always something new to discover.

And this time we chose a hotel in an area we were not familiar with (Barceloneta), to get us out of our comfort zone. However, we still had time to visit some of our old haunts, too. And this is why I thought I could share with you some (purely subjective) insights of some of the wonderful areas that make up this incredible town. This is by no means a comprehensive account of what there is to see in Barcelona; just sort of 'Tiina's highlights'...

Barceloneta


The sun, the sea, the beach... That pretty much sums it up. The beach goes on forever, and there are plenty of bars and beachfront restaurants. It's all very touristy, yet a million times classier than the tourist traps of Southern Spain. For example, swimwear is not considered proper attire in beachfront restaurants, and you don't see drunken tourists running amok. Think trendy, hip, and family-friendly.

This is not one of my favourite areas in Barcelona, for several reasons. First, as self-confessed snobs, Professor M and I avoid anything  overtly touristy. And second, I don't sunbathe, and I cannot swim. In other words, aside form beachfront walks, Barceloneta has little to offer to people like Professor M and me. However, we did find a rather trendy beach front restaurant with a cool 60's-inspired decor and delicious tuna burgers...

Parc de la Ciutadella

Barcelona

Parc de la Ciutadella is a huge park bordering El Born. An oasis in the city, this is where the locals spend a lazy Sunday afternoon, sunbathing, picnicking, or feeding birds. There are impressive fountains and a beautiful pond with boats and ducks.

The park also houses the Barcelona Zoo and the Museum of Natural Science.

El Born

El Born

El Born is urban, modern and probably the coolest place in Barcelona. The narrow streets are teaming with avant-garde shops, trendy restaurants and incredibly stylish bars. In other words, this is the place to go shopping.

But forget fast fashion giants: if Zara and H&M are what you're after, any shopping centre will do. This is Hipsterville: cool design, Spanish and Catalan fashion brands and local artisans are the order of the day.

El Born

The restaurants in the area are affordable, innovative and hip. Think traditional with a twist. Or Nouvelle Cuisine with local ingredients. Or just simply fantastic. Professor M's favourite burger joint is here: Pim Pam Burger has a burger for everyone, but also serves other dishes. And while vegetarian / vegan food may be difficult to find in Barcelona, El Born would be the best bet.

But let's not forget culture. El Born also has two museums worth visiting: Picasso Museum and Chocolate Museum.

Barri Gòtic


This is the Old Town of Barcelona. And like all 'old towns' everywhere, it has narrow streets, medieval buildings, and hordes or tourists (and pickpockets)...  But it also has lovely little coffee shops with cakes and pastries and chocolates, and some really interesting shops.

I'm not talking about souvenir shops, or the shops selling cheap clothes. Yes, they seem to be everywhere...

There are interesting antique shops (particularly in the area between the Cathedral and the Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi), art galleries (we've bought works by local artists at Carré d'Artistes) and a few small museums.

Just stay clear of anything too close to La Rambla or Placa Reial (a.k.a the most obvious tourist traps).

Eixample

Eixample

Modernist (= Art Nouveau) architecture, boutique hotels, bourgeois charm and luxury boutiques... That's Eixample in a nutshell.

This is the place to go architecture spotting. Not only are some of the most famous Gaudi buildings, Casa Batllo and La Pedrera situated there,  but there are plenty of buildings by other modernist architects in the area, too. Not to mention the dreamiest jewellery shop in the whole world: Masriera (housed in the fabulous Casa Amatller, nextdoor to casa Batllo), with its re-issue Art Nouveau pieces. A warning, though: you need serious cash to afford anything in the shop, but fortunately swooning in front of the window display is free...

As for restaurants, Professor M and I always make sure to include the Mandarin Oriental Sunday brunch as part of our travel itinerary. Other than that, we tend to avoid the more touristy places on Passeig de Gracia as there a plenty of interesting eateries tucked away in the side streets.

Mandarin Oriental Barcelona
The reliefs outside Mandarin Oriental
What would you like to do in Barcelona?

Tiina

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