Friday, 20 October 2017

Brown Leather with Burgundy Stripes

leather skirt over 40

It's not always easy taking photos for the blog

It's late autumn here in the north. The days are getting shorter: when I leave for work in the morning it's still dark, and in a month or so it will be dark by the time I get back home, too. And even during  the precious daylight hours sunshine is becoming a rare phenomenon. 

This makes it a bit challenging to shoot photos for the blog. And when you remember that my photographer, a.k.a. husband, is only available at weekends, it's pretty much up to chance what we can and cannot shoot. No use planning an outfit days in advance; you never know what the whether will be like. On the other hand, if the sun is shining and it's not freakishly cold, we'd better get outside while it lasts...

So, this is how these photos came about. Shot just before sunset (which would be around 6 pm this time of the year), very quickly, trying to find a location that was in the shadow but not too dark to capture the golden glow of the setting sun. Oh, and the photographer had a plane to catch, too...

leather pencil skirt

And the outfit...

For starters, this wasn't what I had planned to shoot. But for once the weather was quite warm, and it wasn't raining. So, I changed my plans, improvised, and this is the result. And I actually like it.

Not least because I'm wearing shoes instead of boots. I know, I know... It's autumn, and a lot of you are eager to wear boots. But I'm not. I have about 5-6 months of wearing nothing but boots ahead of me, and I'm not putting them on until it's absolutely necessary. So, shoes (with thick soles) it is.

And the brown leather skirt is one of those pieces that I really like but that seldom gets an outing. Mainly because it's too hot to wear on days when I don't need boots, and I don't have boots to go with it. Hmm, I see a shopping trip in my future... Have I ever told you I hate shopping? And by shopping I mean desperately looking for something, such as a pair of brown leather boots...

OK, the next item: The striped top. Yes, I sometimes succumb to fast fashion... This is a top I bought on sale, on a whim, last spring. And I've worn it a lot. To my surprise, I like the colours. White and burgundy, two colours that are definitely not on top of my list of favourites.

Of course, I have a few pieces in burgundy (a cardigan and a silk scarf come to mind), but in general I tend to avoid anything 'brownish'. And burgundy is sort of brownish red...

Now, I know what colours suit me; and when it comes to red, I tend to go for more blue-toned reds, such as hot pink and fuchsia. Or just pure tomato red. But anything brownish... not so much.

Apparently there is an exception to every rule. Maybe I should give burgundy a chance. And rethink my attitude to brown, too, while I'm at it.

pattern mixing over 50

How do you determine your best colours, anyway?

Well, I don't buy that colour analysis thing. You know, where they determine whether you should be wearing cold colours (because you're 'winter' or 'summer') or warm colours (because you're 'spring' or 'autumn').

I've never been able to figure that out: you're supposed to suit cold colours if your skin has pink undertones, and warm colours if your skin has yellow undertones. And the way to determine that is supposedly to see what colour the veins in your wrist are (blue for cold and green for warm). Well, how about this: my skin definitely has pink undertones (and by any definition, I'm beyond pale), but the veins in my wrist are definitely more green than blue... Who has time for this crap?

I wear both 'warm' and 'cold' colours, sometimes in the same outfit. And I've never encountered a red tone I couldn't pull off. And I need a lot of make-up and colourful accessories to wear black and white. Some colours just look better on me than others. There's no secret to it, no complicated system or science. Just hold a colour next to your face. It either looks good or it doesn't.

smart casual over 50

Outfit details (all old):
top: Vila / leather skirt: Jigsaw / bag: Kate Spade / shoes: Clarks / coat: Hobbs /
 sunglasses: Dolce and Gabbana / scarf: Carolina Herrera / earrings: Viktoria Boldt

What colours do you wear in autumn?


PS: Have you seen the latest Dilettante Artist Post?


Monday, 16 October 2017

On Capsule Wardrobes

pattern mixing

The rain stopped. For a moment, at least. Hurrah! The rain stopped!!! 
Shh, let's keep quiet about it, let's not jinx it...

OK, what I really wanted to talk about was capsule wardrobes. That's why I'm wearing the same top I was wearing in the last two posts, and the same scarf and shoes I was wearing with the down jacket. And of course the same sunglasses I've been wearing in just about every other post this year...

So, about capsule wardrobes...

I'm a huge fan of capsule wardrobes Yet, I've never actually created one, and I have neither the patience nor the interest for KonMari anything. In fact, my wardrobe is a huge mess. Always has been, and I don't think any amount of decluttering will change that (Hmm, maybe I need bigger closets...). Sure, I declutter once or twice a year, when I have time and feel inspired (this year I just haven't got to it yet, I wonder why...). But I'm digressing here. I definitely did not want to talk about my mess of a wardrobe but about capsule wardrobes.

That is, a lazy girl's capsule wardrobe. Let me explain. I'm often in a hurry in the morning (I'm so not a morning person...), and I don't have time to look for something to wear in my (very messy and disorganised) wardrobe. And the thought of choosing an outfit the night before is too much work; it's just not going to happen.

The solution: (almost) everything I have can be mixed and matched. And, like most women, I probably only wear about 20 percent of my wardrobe. But I'm OK with that. I keep wearing my favourite clothes over and over again, for a few weeks or months at a time.

over 50 blogger
pattern mixing

The Seasonally-appropriate capsule wardrobe

Most of my clothes are seasonal. I won't be wearing my 'autumn clothes' in winter, or my winter coats and cashmere jumpers in spring or summer.

In other words, my (very messy and disorganised) wardrobe contains several seasonally-appropriate 'capsule wardrobes': I have a limited number of clothes I can wear for a limited amount of time. And when the weather gets colder or warmer, I will need to move on to the next 'capsule collection' of seasonally-appropriate favourites.

fall smart casual

And this is what you're seeing here: an autumn outfit with a long-sleeved top and cords (warmer than jeans), a scarf and a smart coat.

I think I need at least 2 coats per season: one smart and one casual.

It doesn't really matter what's under the coat; the coat sets the mood and defines your style. And a smart coat makes an otherwise casual outfit more elegant. Just compare these two outfits:

casual fall outfit
smart casual fall outfit

Outfit details:
coat: Hobbs (old) / top: Gant / trousers: Marks and Spencer (old) / scarf: Marja Kurki (old) / 
shoes: Ara / bag: Longchamp (old) / sunglasses: Marc Jacobs (old)

How do you feel about capsule wardrobes?


PS: have you seen the new Dilettante Artist post?


Thursday, 12 October 2017

What to wear when it's raining

rainwear over 50

Rain, Rain, and more rain...

It's raining. Again. Or still. Whatever. It has been raining forever. Well, for the past two weeks, anyway. That's a lot of rain. Too much rain, if you ask me.

And it seems the rain isn't going anywhere anytime soon, either. Better get used to it, I suppose.

But it's not just raining all the time; it's getting colder, too. That's why I'm wearing a thicker parka: no more trench coats until spring... Oh well, soon it will be winter, and I will take every excuse to avoid going out. Which is more difficult than it sounds as I work 5 days a week at the moment.

But for now I'm trying to stay warm and dry. That's what the parka is for: it's water-resistant and it has a hood. Very practical when you're in the middle of  the Great Flood.

parka over 50
Marimekko umbrella

And yes, I'm wearing wellies (that's rubber boots for my American readers). You know, because it's raining. And because there's nothing sexy about wet socks. In fact, the best way to avoid getting a cold is to keep both your neck and your feet warm and dry.

So, now you know why I always wear a scarf. And good shoes that keep my feet dry. However, when you suddenly find yourself in the middle of the Great Flood, a.k.a the rain that won't stop, you discover that most shoes are in fact not water-proof.

In other words, there is a time and place for wellies (a.k.a rubber boots)...

rain accessories
casual rain wear over 50

Outfit details:
parka: Phase Eight (old) / top: Gant / trousers: Marks and Spencer (old) / scarf: A+ more /
bag and umbrella: Marimekko (old) / boots: Tretorn / wristwarmers: Brora (old)

What do you wear when it's raining?



Friday, 6 October 2017

October Colours

autumn colours over 40

October is a bit depressing. Not quite as depressing as November, but depressing enough to make me want to curl up on the sofa and shut the world out, at least for a moment. It's getting painfully clear that the wonderful, sunny but crisp autumn days are coming to and end. The days are getting shorter, at an ever-increasing pace,  and the sun seems to be playing hide and seek even on good days. Rain and storms dominate the weather forecasts. What are you supposed to wear?

I have a very utilitarian approach to changing seasons. If I have to leave home in the middle of the night (well, it feels like that, leaving before sunrise), then walk through rain and wind to the bus stop, I will be wearing something that keeps me warm and dry. And the rain is going to turn my hair into a frizzy mess anyway, so why bother with blowdrying? Late autumn is a survival course, not a catwalk show. Accept that, and move on to more important things, that's the idea. There's always another spring, just a few months away, might as well start planning for my spring wardrobe. Or at least dreaming about it...

However, accepting that this time of year is challenging as far as style is concerned doesn't mean wearing all black or depressing, muddy colours. Bad weather (combined with bad hair) is depressing enough; add boring and stark fashion and we'd get borderline suicidal.

Yet, I understand the allure of darker colours in late autumn. They feel safe, reassuring, fitting in with the overall darker mood. And some people look fabulous wearing darker colours, even black. But I'm not one of them.

The thing is, most dark colours are a bit... somber. At least on someone like me: very pale skin, very light eyes of indeterminate colour, and mousy brown hair.  My own colouring seems to scream for bright pinks and blues and reds, but somehow these colours seem a bit too much right now.

My solution is to go for a bit darker, more muted versions of 'my colours': plum, aubergine or purple instead of pink, and grey or navy instead of blue. The overall impression is darker, without being somber, yet still in harmony with my own colouring and the darker autumn mood.

40+ blogger
casual fall style over 40

Outfit details:
down jacket: Beaumont (old) / top: Gant / jeans: Next (old) / 
scarf: Marja Kurki /shoes: Ara / bag: Chanel

What are your 'autumn colours'?



Monday, 2 October 2017

Location, Location...

smart casual trench coat over 40

I wanted to have a photo shoot in the city...

Looking at my blog posts, you might get the idea that I live in a rural setting, or by the sea, somewhere far away from the busy life in the city.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I live in a suburban block of flats, a short train ride away from the centre of a big city. Yet, you hardly ever see any urban settings in my photos...

Well, there's a good reason for that: it's damn difficult to stage a photo shoot in the city.

For starters, there are a lot of people, and posing for pictures can be a bit awkward in crowded places. And I'm not sure passers-by are happy to be in photos, either...

And then there's the traffic. Yep, walking slowly across the street towards the camera as the traffic lights are turning red, and all the motorists are getting ready to mow you down if you're not fast enough... Great fun. Not. What is it with all those 30 something male drivers that makes them so aggressive? And it is always male drivers who think the city streets are their private property...

how to wear black and white

But it's not just that urban settings are challenging. In Helsinki it's just easy to find quiet places where you can pose undisturbed and take your time. Which in turn allows you to think about the backdrop and composition, and adjust the lighting... All of those things that make the difference between a good photo and a quick snapshot. It also helps to have a more relaxed model...

Anyway, this is what a hurried photo shoot in the city looks like. And this is my 'city look'. In case you were wondering...

smart casual over 50
fall smart casual
how to accessorize a trench coat

Outfit details (all old):
trench coat: Jigsaw / dress: Comma / scarf: Shanghai Tang / 
shoes: Clarks / bag: Kate Spade / sunglasses: Dolce and Gabbana

What's your 'city look'?

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