Thursday, 28 September 2017

Too Much Grey?

casual wear over 40

Help! I'm fading into the background!!!!

Wearing some neutrals (= blue and  grey for our purposes here) is fine. However, you can wear too much grey... Especially on a grey and rainy day. Or when you're staging a photo shoot by the sea. You know, when the sea is grey, and the sky is grey, everything is grey... OK, you get my point.

This is another example of what I was wearing most of the time for the first two weeks after my appendectomy. Let's call this the 'I can't be bothered' comfy look. Because there is no such thing as post-surgery chic. There's only 'I want to wear something that doesn't rub against the small incisions I have around my belly button' chic. Which pretty much means just loose tops and gym pants you can hoist up to your armpits... The challenge is how to make the above mentioned combo presentable.

And because it was one of those grey and rainy days (with unexpected brief moments of sunshine to add some confusion), I though a 'sporty' look would do the trick. More precisely, I went for an old Finnish classic: clothes for outdoorsy activities, worn casually in the city.

There's actually a verb (in Finnish) that is key to understanding this look: ulkoilla. It means getting some fresh air, spending time outdoors (which may or may not involve some sort of sporty activity such as going for a walk or jogging or something to that effect). Now, given that I'm a self-proclaimed city girl, and nobody in their right mind would call me athletic, this is a rather theoretical concept for me... Anyway, my interpretation of the idea was to wear something that looked appropriate for a nature trail. Or the seaside. Whatever.

In other words, I added a parka (it was raining) and good walking shoes.

Hey, I said this was the 'I can't be bothered' look...

And I can't even remember how many times we've taken photos on this island, in this exact same spot. Yes, this is one of our favourite restaurants (not to mention a great place for outdoor photo shoots), but this is our last photo shoot here. This year, that is. September is almost over, and summer restaurants will be closing soon. With no shuttle boat to take us to the island, we will have to wait till late spring to revisit this place. I think I miss it already...

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Outfit details: 
parka: Creenstone / trousers: Monki / top: J.Crew (old) / shoes: Ara / 
bag: Furla (old) / umbrella: Marimekko (old) scarf: Jigsaw (old)
location: Sirpalesaari, Helsinki

Do you miss your summer activities?



Saturday, 23 September 2017

How Many Coats Do You Need?

Zara trench coat

I bought a new coat

Now, I have a lot of coats. And I have several trench coats. So, we could easily assume a new coat is the last thing I need...

On the other hand, I live in a cool climate...

Which means that I can always justify getting another coat. Because, you know, I will wear it. As I will no doubt wear every single coat I have in the next 6 months. So many times, in fact, that come spring I will end up hating them all, simply because I'm so fed up with wearing the same thing all the time.

Because that's how it feels like, living in a cool climate, when a coat is not just a trendy addition to your wardrobe but a necessity.

And the truth is, you need more than just one coat, or two. Oh no, you need at least 2-3 coats per season. That is, 2-3 coats for early autumn (one for sunny, warm days and a different coat for rainy days), another 2-3 coats for late autumn (for those sunny yet cold days, and another coat for rainy and cold days). And then there's winter. But let's not talk about winter yet.

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And yes, you've seen this coat already: I was wearing it with my post-op sack dress...

Did I mention I have 3 trench coats for early autumn?

So, there really is no way I needed to get another one. But then I saw this one. And I debated with myself for a while (a whole 5 minutes), but it was really a no-brainer. Yes, I have 3 trench coats. But none of them is a neutral colour, or knee-length. See, if you try hard enough, you can always justify buying another coat... Actually, to be honest, I don't think I even need to try that hard.


Yes, about neutral colours... I know the coat is blue. Sort of greyish blue. In my world that passes for neutral. Mainly because I won't wear beige, for two reasons. One is because it really doesn't suit me. And the second is that a couple of dear friends of mine once promised to call the men in white coats if they ever caught me wearing beige. Seriously. And they're right, of course. Beige is boring, and it really doesn't suit me. Yes, I know some people look amazing (and not boring at all) in beige. My mother was one of those infuriating women. But I know my limitations. My face needs a bit more colour.

So, grey it is. Or grey-blue. This is actually the colour of my eyes, too...

The point is, this is a colour that looks neutral, sort of fake neutral, and it goes with most of the colours in my wardrobe. And to prove the point, everything else I'm wearing is old. Really old. As in something I've had forever.

Can I tell you a secret? I didn't get just one coat. Oh no, I bought another coat, too. You know, for those rainy early autumn days...

casual trench
Minna Parikka Shoes
trench coat

Outfit details:
trench: Zara / top: Custo Barcelona / jeans: Opus / 
shoes: Minna Parikka / bag: Furla / sunglasses: Marc Jacobs

So, the question of the day: how many coats does a woman need? 
Seriously, how many?



Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Autumn Pattern Mixing

casual pattern mixing

Seasonal challenges

Autumn weather can be tricky: one minute the sun is shining, and  the next it's pouring.  What exactly are you supposed to wear then???

My autumn outfits always start with a coat and shoes. It doesn't really matter what I'm wearing underneath the coat. But if I get the coat and the shoes wrong, I'm going to be miserable. Or cold, or wet, or both. So, a rainy day (even if it's just showers) requires a water-proof coat and shoes.

And because it was sort of a sunshine-and-rain kind of day, I decided to take this fun and quirky raincoat out for a spin. And I really wanted to wear something in a contrasting colour with it. But the problem is I don't really have long-sleeved (or short-sleeved) tops in solid colours. Seriously, looking at my wardrobe you'd think I have a mild obsession with stripes. OK, fine, nobody needs as many stripy tops as I have...

pattern mixing over 50
weekend wear over 40

easy-on-the-eye pattern mixing

So, what I'm trying to say is this  is sort of accidental (rather than intentional) pattern mixing: I decided to wear the stripy top that looked the best with the coat. And you know what? I actually like these two patterns together.

I'm not a big fan of pattern mixing, as far as my own outfits are concerned (some bloggers are very good at pattern mixing, and it also suits their personalities). I like my outfits simple and  minimal. Too many patterns in one outfit makes my head spin. It can look a bit too busy for my taste. But this, stripes with simple, graphic florals... This could work. At least for now.

over 50 blogger

Outfit details:
coat: Seasalt Cornwall (old) / top: Gant / jeans: Opus / 
shoes: Maripé (old) / sunglasses: Marc Jacobs / bag: Furla (old)
location: Katajanokka, Helsinki

Do you like pattern mixing?



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Saturday, 16 September 2017

The Post-Op Muumuu

Marimekko dress

If you've been following this blog for a while you probably know that I don't like a) layering or b) sack dresses. And yet, here I am, wearing a muumuu over a long-sleeved t-shirt...

For the past couple of weeks (since I had an appendectomy), dressing up has been a bit challenging. Mainly because at the moment I can't stand anything tight or clingy around my waist, and my abdomen is still a bit sore and swollen. So, I've been slobbing around in  gym pants and loose tops... Not very stylish, and I hope I can get back into proper clothes soon.

But about the muumuu...

No, I didn't buy it especially for this purpose (because, well, you can't plan for an appendectomy, and you definitely don't feel like shopping after one).

The thing is, I'd been eyeing this Marimekko dress all summer, wondering whether I should get it or not. It's loose and shapeless, so not exactly the best style for an hourglass figure.

But I really like the print and the colours.  And it's really simple, cut like  a kaftan or a kimono, which is exactly what I'd like to wear on a very hot day. You know, when I can't stand any fabric touching my skin.

I know from experience that I always regret not buying something when it's no longer available. So, I finally decided to get the dress, and bought the last one I could find. Yes, I know, it's autumn; not exactly the smartest purchase this time of the year. But I thought that there's always next summer..

casual dress and trench
over 50 blogger

And recently the muumuu has been the basis of my 'dressed-up look' (when I get tired of the more dressed-down gym pants and t-shirt combo). And because it's autumn and it's getting colder and rainier, I needed to wear a long-sleeved top underneath. Add the coat, and that's about as much layering as I can stand.

However, I don't think this will become a default look. It's OK, but's it's not something I'd choose if had other options.

Still, I will no doubt wear the dress again. In summer, on a very hot day, with fabulous sandals and big sunglasses, maybe with statement earrings...

summer dress in autumn

Outfit details:
trench coat: Zara / dress: Marimekko / top: Mistral (old)
shoes: Clarks (old) / sunglasses: Marc Jacobs  (old) / bag: Furla (old)

Would you wear sack dresses?



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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Casual in the City

casual wear over 50

I always dress for the occasion, and the weather. Well, the weather is getting cooler, windier, maybe even rainy. And the 'occasion'  in this case was sightseeing, followed by dinner in a lovely restaurant.

Now, these pictures are actually from a couple of weeks ago. But since I haven't been out much lately, and haven't had a chance to post them earlier, I thought I'd post them now.

Anyway, about this outfit... casual wear is the way to go: a wind/rainproof parka and good walking shoes. Let's not forget my current favourite pair of sunglasses. I have sensitive eyes. This is something I noticed after I had my eyes lasered (years ago): glasses protect your eyes from the wind and cold, too, not just the sun.

This is why you hardly ever see me without my sunglasses. The other reason is that after a lifetime of wearing strong prescription glasses I absolutely love wearing huge sunglasses. And I'm very lazy when it comes to makeup and don't even own a mascara. But I'm going to blame that on the sensitive eyes, too. It sounds better than admitting being lazy...

over 50 blogger
weekend wear over 50


Professor M and I took a little tour on this 1919 tram.  And in case you're wondering why the text on the side of the tram is in Swedish, let me remind you that Finland has two official languages. The same text is in Finnish on the other side of the tram.

The second part of our little sightseeing tour was a 15-minute ferry ride to a nearby island, to have dinner at one of Professor M's favourite restaurants.

Of course there are plenty of restaurants on the mainland, but since we didn't have time to visit the island this summer, we thought it might be a nice place for a little walk and dinner. And yes, casual attire is fine, and the old cobblestone streets and dirt roads on the island require sturdy footwear...


Outfit details: 
parka: Ril's / top: Vila / jeans: Opus /bag: Longchamp / 
shoes: Maripé / scarf: Alexander McQueen / sunglasses: Marc Jacobs

Do you ever go sightseeing in your home town?


PS: have you seen the latest Dilettante Artist post?


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Saturday, 9 September 2017

Dressing like a Fashionista

leather jacket over 40

What to wear to the fashion event of the year?

Every September the most prominent Finnish fashion magazine organizes a big fashion show. It's not Fashion Week, the clothes are already available in stores, and the event is open to plebs like me who can just buy a ticket. But it's sort of a big event in this town, at least for plebs like me...

The fashion show took place last Saturday, and these photos were taken as we left the venue. That was more or less exactly 24 hours before I found myself on the operating table having my appendix taken out... But that's another story.

Anyway, even an amateur fashionista like me would like to look somewhat credible, going to such a high-profile event... After all, there might be a few real fashionistas there. Or wannabe fashionistas. Or very stylish women. Whatever. What I'm trying to say is there's some pressure to look like you 'belong'. However, I do realise it is of course entirely possible that the pressure is all in my head...

So, it took quite a few outfit changes, lots of clothes tossed on the floor, some last minute improvisation, and endless patience (from my dear, long-suffering hubby) before we got to this outfit and these photos.

over 40 blogger
Chanel bag

I had decided on a black and white theme (because all real fashionistas always wear black, duh!). And I wanted to wear my new shoes (mainly because they fit the above-mentioned theme) and my Chanel bag (the emblem of a true fashionista if ever there was one). And I had sort of settled on the leather jacket, too (the hallmark of any self-respecting Cool Girl in Finland).  And I definitely wanted to wear my fabulous statement earrings (doesn't every self-respecting fashionista always wear at least one unique, unexpected item?). So, the tricky bit was to find something to go with all of this...

And, to ensure the whole how-to-dress-like-a-fashionista test wasn't too easy, the plan was to have dinner in an island restaurant later the same evening. Which meant that the carefully put-together, credible wannabe-fashionista outfit also had to be warm and comfortable.

Who knew dressing up could be so challenging. But at least I know now I'll never be a real fashionista. It's way too exhausting...

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Outfit details:
leather jacket: Karen Millen (old) / dress: Comma / shoes: Ecco / bag: Chanel / 
sunglasses: Marc Jacobs / scarf: Alexander McQueen / earrings: Viktoria Boldt

What's your 'fashionista look'?


PS: Thank you all for your kind comments and well-wishes both here and on Instagram. I've been on sick leave, resting and recuperating, and more recently feverishly rearranging my work schedule for the next few months. It's because of this that I have been neglecting the blog a bit.


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Wednesday, 6 September 2017


OK, let me start by saying this week hasn't exactly gone to plan... The plan was, of course, that I would be busy working, starting a bunch of new courses and getting to know my new students.

Instead, I'm at home, on sick leave, recuperating from appendectomy.

Oh well, that's life.

Anyway, long story short: I was taken to hospital on Sunday morning, had my appendix removed a few hours later, spent the night at the hospital and was discharged on Monday afternoon.

What else should I say? Oh yes... I would like to thank the Nordic welfare state for our very efficient universal health care.

Wait, isn't that why we pay taxes? Well, I've always been a happy taxpayer (thank you Nordic welfare state for my free university education), and I sort of tend to take all of this for granted. Shame on me.

Anyway, The meds I was given in hospital were good enough to make me think maybe there's nothing wrong with me after all, and perhaps I should just save everybody's time and get the hell out of there (OK, my fear of anything related to doctors may have had something to do with it). But before I had a chance to say anything, they told me I would be having some sort of a scan. I didn't ask for details. Sometimes less information is a blessing... And then I was told that it was my appendix acting out, and I would be having an operation as soon as possible. I took that to mean 'whether I liked it or not' and resigned to my fate. Or maybe the meds were wearing off by then...

I didn't really have time to get all freaked out, which was probably a good thing. And everybody was so nice! Except the people in the recovery room. Well, they were nice, too, but they wanted me to wake up. And I was having such an interesting dream (which I can't remember), and I really, really just wanted to sleep. Which I did, once I was back in the ward. Even though there were people coming and going and asking for this and that. Usually my blood or something to that effect. I swear, I felt as if I was feeding a bunch of vampires...

But they were all very nice and asked if I needed any help. Seriously? Me, needing help??? As if I would ever admit it, even if that might be the case?!? OK, so I kept slamming the bathroom door on that pole thingy with the meds hanging from it, big deal, I haven't had much practice, that's all.

But the nicest person of all was the sweet young man who asked me what I wanted for breakfast. I asked what he had, and he started listing things. So, I just asked him to bring me everything. And he did. Now, that is nice. And I ate it all, too. It was Monday morning, and I hadn't had anything to eat or drink since Saturday evening.

And now I'm back home, on sick leave. No work for a week, no gym for a month, no heavy-lifting of any kind. I think I will be going out of my mind by Friday...

OK, this is the situation: I'm not in pain, and the amount of painkillers I was prescribed would make any drug lord envious. But I'll take my meds, for a few days, and only half of the prescribed dose.

And Professor M is taking very good care of me, of course. He postponed his return to the U.K. (where he works) to be with me, and he's working from home. And all my friends have offered to come and do the shopping etc. That's nice.

But I don't really think we're going to run out of food any time soon: the way Professor M keeps filling the fridge you'd think we're some sort of crazy doomsday preppers...

My problem is that I can't stand being fussed over. Yes, I know, I'm a very bad patient. I've always been like that: if I'm really ill, I just want to be left alone to wallow in my misery. And when I'm recovering, I start thinking of all sorts of projects. You know, cleaning the kitchen cupboards, mopping the floors, sorting my wardrobe. The odd thing is that these activities never seem to interest me that much when I'm healthy...

Don't worry, I'm not going to do anything I'm not supposed to do.

Anyway, if I start writing odd, rambling posts towards the end of the week, there's no need to worry. It's just a bad case of cabin fever setting in...


Sunday, 3 September 2017

Punk Rock Accessories

retro style

What makes a great outfit? 

I prefer clothes with clean lines and simple cuts. That's because I'm a minimalist at heart: no frills or frou frou, no 'interesting' (= complicated and / or impractical) cuts for me. In fact, I'm happy with the boring old basics most of the time. Mainly because they're practical and comfortable...

But I do want to look good. No, let's rephrase that: I want to look devastatingly stylish, in that 'I-don't-really-need-to-make-an-effort-because-I'm-too-cool' kind of way. I'm sure you've met a woman who looks like that. We all have. In my case that woman was my mother. Her clothes were always simple and casual, yet she was always  the most stylish woman in the room.

So, given that I'm not into clothes that make a big impact,  what's the secret ingredient that takes a bland outfit to the next level? The simple answer is: accessories, and attention to detail.

punky accessories

This is something I learned from my mother. She used accessories sparingly, but she spent a lot of time selecting just the right accessories to complement a particular outfit. And that's the paradox here: it may look simple and easy and as if you've made no effort at all, but it actually does take some time and effort to get every little detail just right.

Now, I don't even pretend to have the same skill (not to mention patience) as my mother did when it comes to accessorizing. I'm really a slob, and there are days when I can't be bothered to dress up or make an effort. But when I do make an effort - even a haphazard, half-hearted one - I want my accessories to do the heavy lifting as far as making an impact is concerned. I want my accessories to pop. And I want all of my accessories to tell the same story.

I'm not talking about matchy-matchy here, just that all the accessories seamlessly fit together. That's rather important when accessories are the cornerstone of your style. Because it is the accessories that create the look and the mood of the outfit.

And the look and mood here? Well, I was going for a bit of a punk rock vibe. That's why I went for black, white and silver accessories.

I've posted 3 looks featuring this chambray shirt dress before: a simple summer look with minimal accessories, an all-out glam look with red accessories, and a classic but quirky look with red, orange and brown accessories. I like them all, but sometimes I like one more than the others. Which one,  well, that depends on my mood. And as my mood changes, my favourite look changes...


Outfit details:
dress: Phase Eight (old) / sunglasses: Marimekko / shoes: Clarks /
bag: Chanel / belt: LP Selection (old)

How do you accessorize?


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