Sunday, 21 January 2018

Capsule Wardrobe - choosing my colours

My basic capsule wardrobe this year contains four neutrals: camel, brown, olive and navy. My accent colours for Spring will be coral, teal, red, blue and green. Obviously I will only wear one accent colour at a time with my neutral outfits!

I recently discovered an excellent Pinterest board for choosing colour palettes: Sarah Renae Clark. Click on the link above to find colour combinations that appeal to you and reflect your style. The two shown below were ones that immediately appealed to me, as they include some of my favourite colours.

Looking at the two palettes above, I can see that each one would work for a travel capsule. Based on the first picture, I would select neutrals of camel and navy, with accents of teal, green and blue. If I used the second colour palette, my neutrals would be brown and olive, with accents of coral and red.

Having followed Imogen's 7 Steps to Style system, I know that my best colours are warm, smoky and deep. I also know that my value contrast is high, however my colour contrast is low. This means that neutrals suit me if I ensure that my outfit contains both dark and light shades or monochromatic outfits with a mix of dark and light shades. However I also need to take my personal style into account, which is why I love to add a pop of colour to my outfits.

I have decided to try a personal challenge by wearing only colours from one of the above palettes for a week. This will give me the opportunity to "road test" my travel capsule prior to my next holiday. You might like to try this idea yourself. Select a colour palette that you love and that you think would work for your capsule wardrobe, then try doing the same as me: only wearing items from your colour palette for the following week. Please leave a comment telling me how you got on!


Monday, 15 January 2018

New Year's Resolutions - why not?

New Year's Resolutions 

Number 1 ----------? 😊
Number 2 ----------? 😊

Do you believe in making New Year's Resolutions? Are you successful in keeping them? If you've read my previous post, you will know that I prefer having a "Word of the Year" to making resolutions that are - more often than not - doomed to failure. I think one of the reasons for this is that many people either decide to give up something that they enjoy (they stop smoking, give up drinking wine) or set themselves impossible targets (go to the gym 7 times a week). As soon as they slip up, they then give up.

Having said that, I do have a few aims this year, the first one being to blog on a more regular basis. I enjoy writing and love it when readers leave comments, so it shouldn't be too difficult for me. Any suggestions for new topics are always welcome, for times when I lack inspiration.

I also aim to keep up my fitness programme, which again will be easy. I love dancing and catchy music, so my dance exercise classes are great fun rather than a chore. I have a very good Pilates teacher too, so will continue with my Pilates classes.  If your New Year's Resolution is to be fitter, choosing forms of exercise that appeal to you means you are more likely to be successful.

Having mentioned giving up wine (which I can't do, as I live in a Spanish town renowned for its red wine, so I need to support the local economy!) I am going to keep an eye on my overall eating and drinking habits, as my aim is to be as healthy as possible. This doesn't involve trying to diet, but means making healthy choices especially when we dine out. At home it is easier to eat healthily as we can select fresh fish (I don't eat meat), fruit and vegetables in our local shops and markets, and add herbs and spices for flavouring. I do enjoy a glass of red wine with my dinner, but I have been reliably informed that wine in moderation is good for my health! Did I mention chocolate? At home we seldom have desserts, as we usually have fruit at lunch-time, however I have a small piece of dark chocolate after my dinner, for medicinal purposes! Eating out is harder, especially when they have tempting desserts, but I don't believe that an occasional treat does us any harm.

Since starting this blog, I have investigated numerous colour and style resources, which I have shared with you all. My aim has been to learn how to create outfits that flatter me and that I enjoy wearing, which is my aim for this year too. For women over 60 (and especially for those of us who are now over 70!), it becomes more important to choose outfits in colours and styles that flatter us, but many of us are unsure what our best colours and shapes are, as our bodies have changed and our colouring has faded over the years. I can still remember my shocking pink top and purple mini-skirt that (says she modestly) I looked great in when I was in my early twenties. Fifty years later, although I still love bright colours and my favourite bag is bright blue, I choose more muted colours to wear next to my face. As for mini-skirts, as I'm short and my legs are one of my best features (says she modestly again), I do wear skirts on or just above my knees, but not minis, as I don't want to hear the words mutton and lamb being muttered in my presence. Now that I'm retired I tend to wear more casual outfits, such as my "uniform" tops and trousers, preferably in flattering shapes and colours.

Wearing a mini maternity smock when I was 23!

More suitable for a 60+ woman!
This year I will continue to share my journey as I try to become more stylish and especially as I seek to refine my capsule wardrobe. My aim is to restrict my purchases this year to a maximum of 5 pieces per season à la The Vivienne Files. The idea is to build a basic capsule wardrobe that will easily mix and match, then each season you will buy 5 new pieces to update your look, ensuring that they will work with your basic capsule. The new pieces could be a top, cardigan, blouse, scarf and bag, as an example. It's a good opportunity to choose one or two on trend pieces as well as replacing any items that are past their best. If you click on the above link to The Vivienne Files, you will see a great example of how this works. To help you in your own style journey, I have added links to some of my favourite blogs. If you have further recommendations, please let me know.

My final aim, in keeping with my "Word of the Year", is to show more gratitude this year: after all, I have so much to be grateful for.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

My word for 2018: Gratitude

My word of the year is going to be Gratitude. I had been thinking of choosing "Thankful", "Grateful" or something similar, when I spotted two different emails in my Inbox with the word "Gratitude" and knew that I had no other choice!

My word for 2017 was Celebration, and I hinted that I might have something to celebrate later in the year, apart from my 70th birthday of course. Over 10 years ago we paid a deposit on a house that was never built, after the builders went into voluntary liquidation. We took the bank to court, as they should have protected our deposit. I'm delighted to say that the Alicante court decided in our favour and the bank was told to return the deposit.  Our money was repaid in May, just in time for us to start planning my birthday and "Grand Tour of Europe". Definitely worth celebrating!

At my birthday party in London, I made a short speech about how lucky I am and spoke about several things that I'm grateful for. Obviously the first thing that I mentioned was all my friends and family who were there helping me celebrate, especially my husband John and my three children Vicky, Mark and Kate. My brother David, cousin Judith and niece Helen and her family had all travelled a fair distance to be with me too, which made me feel very happy and grateful.

The next thing that I'm grateful for is my good health. Having said that, I've just recovered from a cold that lingered for over a week, but I know that many women of my age have far more serious health problems to cope with. I was told in 2016 that I had arthritis of the jaw, which was nothing to do with overuse (as claimed by my husband and my oldest daughter!) I started taking some supplements and following an anti-inflammatory diet, which I am happy (and grateful) to say seems to be holding the arthritis at bay and I had a pain-free 2017.   Apart from being reasonably sensible with my diet (my evening piece of dark chocolate is for medicinal purposes!) I exercise on a regular basis. I go to dance exercise classes three mornings a week, plus Pilates on the days in between. I also walk everywhere, encouraged by my Fitbit to take a minimum of 10,000 steps per day, and helped by the fact that we have a dog to walk every day, no matter what the weather's doing.

I am grateful for the fact that we live in a modern apartment block on the edge of town, with running water, a gas water heater and electricity to heat our home in winter. Yes, we so often take these things for granted but you only have to watch the news to know that many people around the world don't have these luxuries. We also have lovely Spanish neighbours, who don't seem to mind our far from fluent Spanish and are happy to talk slowly so we can understand them.

Finally, I am grateful that we both have decent pensions to live on, which means that we don't have to worry about paying bills. It also means that we can enjoy a good lifestyle, including regular meals out with friends and a couple of holidays a year. Our plans for 2018 include a holiday in Salamanca in March to celebrate John's birthday plus a visit to Ljubljana for my birthday in September.

Did I say finally? I would also like to express my gratitude to the readers of this blog - it's great knowing that you are out there! Wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2018 and hoping that you also have plenty of things to be grateful for.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Jen's Color Style Club

I've recently joined Jen Thoden's Color Style Club, which I'm going to call CSC for short, as my UK English spell checker doesn't like American spellings! (For any American readers who don't know, we Brits prefer the spelling "colour.")

I have been taking part in several colour and style challenges in the CSC over the last couple of weeks. This included wearing something red each day (no problem for me as I love red!), wearing statement necklaces, creating outfits using complementary colours and (the latest challenge) to wear something sparkly. Members post on Instagram as well as in the private Facebook group, and I find it helpful to see how others interpret the challenges.

You might like to look at the Your Color Style website, to find out more about Jen's colour system. Although she trained in seasonal colour analysis, she now prefers to consider whether you are bright or soft, then whether you are cool or warm, which is not as rigid a system. Finally, Jen will choose between light, medium or deep. In my case Jen decided that I am soft, warm and medium, which fits in with other colour systems that I have featured on here, such as Imogen's 7 Steps to Style.

The photo that I'm using below was taken outside our house. It's not the one that Jen used in her video featuring me and other members, however I think it shows the difference between bright and soft colours on me and then, having decided that my colouring is soft, it shows soft and cool colours plus soft and warm. I hope that you agree with Jen's verdict!


Jen has made lots of really helpful videos, which you can find on youtube. She covers capsule wardrobes as well as a range of topics involving colour. Obviously if you join the CSC you will have access to a lot more resources, including "How to create a capsule wardrobe", "How to wear the 2017 Pantone colours", "Your Style Statement", "How to dress your body type" "Face shapes, eye wear and hairstyles".

Have you discovered any good websites recently for learning about colour and style? If so, please share here!

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Building a capsule wardrobe

There are many bloggers, writers in fashion magazines and successful authors extolling the virtues of a capsule wardrobe -  especially if you aspire to be as chic as French women! I've been one of them, talking about the Ten-Item Wardrobe, Project 333 and other capsule wardrobe plans, but how do you start building one? Why should you do so?

Ideally a capsule wardrobe should ensure that you always have an outfit to wear without having to spend hours thinking about it! This means building a wardrobe around colours that suit you and go well together, so that nearly every top will go with every bottom, creating dozens of flattering outfits.  One way to start a capsule is to choose a scarf in colours that appeal to you and also flatter you, then use the colours as a basis for your wardrobe. Below is my Colour Elements scarf in Earth colours, with a selection of tops in colours that will blend with my scarf.


Most of the tops in my wardrobe are colourful, so ideally the bottoms should be neutral or in colours that go well with the tops. I know that I need some contrast in my outfits too, so I would probably choose lighter trousers (like the camel pair) to wear with darker tops, and vice versa.

Being vertically challenged (i.e. short!), I often opt for a column of colour, which in theory will make me look taller and slimmer. You can see below that three out of my four cardigans will match bottoms to create that (hopefully) slimming effect!


Looking at the scarf again, I can see that there is some red in it too. Regular readers will know how much I love red, so I do have lots of red accessories that would work with the above capsule, especially when wearing neutrals or dark colours. I also have some red clothes that will be added in to the basic capsule, as shown below.

Since I bought a red trench-coat from good old Marks & Spencer in the summer, I've had numerous compliments whenever I wear it. Red clearly has an important role to play in my wardrobe!

My M&S trench coat
My complete capsule includes ten tops and five bottoms, which will give me fifty different outfits, though clearly some combinations will work better than others. With four cardigans to choose from, plus accessories, the possible combinations are endless.

So here is my recipe for creating your capsule wardrobe: first of all choose colours that you love and colours that flatter you (preferably the same colours!) and make sure that these are colours that go well with each other. It is important to add in neutrals if you haven't included them already: it is worth spending more money on these as they shouldn't date, especially if you choose classic styles.

Talking about style, it is important to create a capsule wardrobe that suits your lifestyle, your personality and that flatters your figure as well as your colouring. That is why my capsule wardrobe consists of mainly casual clothes as I no longer work in an office, plus my style is casual, colourful chic. I'm short and rectangular in shape, so loose (but not baggy) or ruched tops over slim bottoms suit me.  You may of course look better in cool colours, be tall and slim, work in a corporate environment and love bohemian styles, so your capsule wardrobe will be totally different to mine. As a footnote, if your personal style isn't really suitable for your workplace, you may need to create two different capsules: one for work and one for play.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Over 70 and Over there!

Yes, on September 2nd I celebrated my 70th birthday in London, with my family and with many friends. As it was a "big" birthday, I had made plans to go on what some people referred to as our "Grand Tour" afterwards.

Most of our journeys were by train. We started by catching the train from Alicante to Barcelona, where we stayed overnight before continuing our journey to Paris for another night. I'm a fan of Eurostar, and it's definitely worth paying a bit more to go first class from Paris to London. We always travel first class in Spain too, as we can buy an annual tarjeta dorada for just over 6 euros, giving us discounts on trains of between 25% and 40%.  Many Spanish stations have what they call Sala Clubs for first class passengers, where you can relax and enjoy free refreshments while waiting for your train. Very civilised!

The day before my birthday I had a lovely day out in York, meeting friends there for afternoon tea in a railway carriage. It seemed very appropriate considering how many trains we were going to take over the next couple of weeks!

On my birthday I was up fairly early, as we had agreed to meet people at our old running club in Hyde Park and I was going to walk around the Serpentine Lake with my friend Bev. It took us a bit longer than when we used to race around it, but we were able to enjoy it more without the pressure of running a pb (personal best time).

I celebrated my birthday in a Spanish-themed wine and tapas bar near Kings Cross station. We'd looked at several venues before stumbling across Camino (Ed. not literally, I hasten to add!)

The above photo shows me with my family in Camino: my two daughters, my son and daughter-in-law, my brother and my husband John. My cousin Judith and my niece Helen and her family also helped me celebrate, as well as many friends.

Next stop was Paris again, where we rented an apartment for four nights. I've always wanted to visit Monet's house and gardens in Giverny, so we had booked a day trip there from Paris. Some friends who live in France joined us for one night in the apartment and we enjoyed another birthday lunch, this time in an Italian restaurant.

We'd visited Reims once a few years ago, however we hadn't really explored the champagne houses, so we stayed in Reims for a couple of nights, visiting Mumm Champagne House for a tour and also taking a coach trip along the Champagne Route.

Note the fashionable accessory on my right hand!

I love the stained glass windows in Reims cathedral. Although we'd been there before, they were definitely worth a second look


We enjoyed the trip around the countryside, where we could see workers busy picking grapes, as well as the Mumm windmill and many champagne houses.

We returned to Paris for another night, before continuing our train journey. Our next stop was Zurich. It was my first visit there and I really wished that we could have stayed a bit longer, as it's a beautiful city. Next time!

Lovely views of the city from the bridge

Sunday market in Zurich station.
The street near our hotel

We set several alarms - and also asked reception in our hotel for an alarm call - as we had to be up early in the morning to catch the train to Chur. I didn't want to risk missing the train, as we had a booking on the Bernina Express and needed to be sure of making the connection.

Below are just a few of the many photos that I took during our trip on the Bernina Express. None of them really do justice to the beautiful scenery. Although it's called the Bernina Express, the journey  from Chur to Tirano in Italy takes over 4 hours, so you can really enjoy the amazing views from the panoramic carriage.




The next leg of our journey was from Tirano to Milan, which we had visited many years ago with friends, so we only stayed overnight, as I was eager to get to the next stop on my Grand Tour: Venice!

I had never visited Venice but I'd heard great things from friends and family who had been there, so I could hardly wait. Again, I took loads of photos so this is only a small selection.

Enjoying a coffee with our friends Ann and John

I can't remember how many times we got lost, as there are so many bridges to cross and everywhere you look there's water. I'm sure we weren't the only ones, as we spotted lots of other people studying maps and looking at street signs, but I have to say that Venice is now my favourite city to get lost in! Venice was everything that I had expected - and more. We will definitely be returning to this beautiful city, and no doubt getting lost again!

We flew back to Spain from Venice and for once we paid for cases in the hold. Apart from needing enough clothes for almost three weeks, we had birthday presents and souvenirs to take home. After all, when you're on a Grand Tour you don't want to skimp!

Finally, I briefly considered changing the name of my blog, now that I'm "Over 70 and Over here". However I don't feel 60, never mind 70, so I decided to leave it as it is!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

30 Pieces 30 Outfits Challenge summary

I had planned to post more outfits from the 30 Pieces 30 Outfits Challenge, however life got in the way - as it has a habit of doing! I had allowed for a short trip to the UK, but due to circumstances it became an extended trip. I have created a collage for the second week though, just to prove that I didn't give up on the idea.

It's interesting to look at different outfits and colours side by side, to decide which ones are the most flattering. My favourites are number two and number seven, mainly because I think the colours flatter me the most but also because I love turquoise and red. Which of these outfits do you think looks the best on me?

Even though the outfits shown above are totally different colour-wise, you can see that some trousers and accessories have been repeated, which obviously will happen during a 30 pieces 30 outfits challenge like this. The idea is to have tops that are versatile and will go with every pair of trousers. I did have a problem in London though, as I only took 3 pairs of trousers, and spilt olive oil on one pair! As the dry cleaners weren't sure whether they could remove the oil (I'm pleased to say that they could) and I had some social events that my jeans weren't really suitable for, I bought a new pair of trousers. I had already thought about buying trousers in the UK, as there is more choice for petites, but now I had the perfect excuse!

I'm writing this almost a month later and my wardrobe has dramatically changed because the weather is a lot colder. Time to put away my short-sleeved tops and lighter-weight tops and trousers, I think! I'm planning to continue with this idea of having a limited capsule, as it certainly makes life easier when you only have a certain number of tops and bottoms hanging in your wardrobe to choose from. It also encourages you to be more creative and try out different combinations. Whether the number will be 30, or maybe 33 as in Project 333, I haven't yet decided. Once I have created my winter capsule, I will let you know.