Saturday, 30 January 2010

Why I love Paris

There are two reasons That's Not My Age wants to visit Paris at the moment - and neither of them include the words fashion and week. No. I want to go to Paris to see Eric Cantona, 43, making his stage debut, followed by a spot of nightclubbing at Queen, where Mamy Rock, a 69 year-old DJ is er, rocking la maison.

If we're talking heroes, then Monsieur Cantona is mine. That's Not My Age saw the French footballer play many times for Manchester United, and can confirm that he's worthy of the title, Eric the King. So regal. And now I'm past caring about live football and couldn't afford it anyway, monsieur is the star of stage and screen. How thoughtful. Last year, Mr TNMA bought tickets to see a special screening of Ken Loach's Looking for Eric, followed by a Q&A session with Cantona and Loach. Now, I may be a little bit biased, but the film, a heart-warming tale of love, loss and legends, was brilliant. When Cantona walked into the cinema afterwards, there was a collective gasp, quickly followed by a standing ovation - and a few tears! Even Mr TNMA (a Chelsea fan) got a bit emotional. I was desperate to ask Monsieur C a question, but 'Will you go out with me?' didn't feel appropriate. So, even though I won't be able to keep up with the French dialogue, I'd still like to see my hero perform in Face au Paradis. Oh yes, whether it's on screen, stage or soccer pitch, I love to spend 90 minutes with Eric Cantona.

And then when I've recovered my composure, it'll be off to see Mamy Rock. The superstar DJ who's hot news in Paris. " I like to mix old and new,' says Ruth Flowers (real name) from Bristol, 'so I might put electro alongside the Rolling Stones.' The glamorous grandma started clubbing after her husband died, and may be the oldest DJ in town but in super-sized sunglasses, metallic bomber jacket and tracksuit bottoms, she rocks.

Face au Paradis is on at Théatre Mariguy, Paris.


Eric Cantona from The Mirror
Mamy Rock from The Guardian

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Your purse is on fire!

Now the economy is on the up, well, kind of (just don't think about double dips or that bed of nitroglycerine!), it's the perfect time for a wise investment. Jaeger have dipped into their design archives to create, Jaeger by Jaeger, a collection of classic styles that look just as good now as they did during the last recession. This gorgeous gaberdine trench is based on an original 1977 design, and the best way to wear it? To paraphrase Alastair Darling (or was it Bette Davis?) with the belt tightly fastened, we could be in for a bumpy ride.

What'll you buy for the journey out of recession?

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Nat Finkelstein

My 18 year-old self would recoil in disgust at what I'm about to say, but it has to be done....there are only so many pictures of Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick and the rest of the Factory crowd that one woman can take. Fortunately, Nat Finkelstein, 'photojournalist, political activist and veteran of the 1960s New York scene' created a diverse body of work including images of Marcel Duchamp, the Velvet Underground (OK, so they were part of the Factory scene but I'm not bored with them, yet) and the civil rights protests of the 1960s.

Until this weekend's gallery visit, That's Not My Age wasn't that familiar with Finkelstein's work, but here's what I know now; he was born in Brooklyn in 1933 (died October 2009), worked under the legendary Harper's Bazaar art director, Alexey Brodovitch, was good for a quote, as in, 'I watched pop die, I saw punk being born,' and although he stayed at the Factory for almost two years, he didn't do drugs. Now that is impressive. So, I swerved some of the Edie pics, but stopped to check out the photos of Warhol meeting Bob Dylan, 'It was like the Dalai Lama and the Pope in a holier-than-thou contest,' said Finkelstein.

Don't you love the photo of John Cale in his black polo neck, diamanté chandelier earrings and rope necklace?

And the glamorous lady in the zebra shift dress with Duchamp? Anyone know who she is?
(Sadly, neither are in the exhibition, they're taken from Finkelstein's website)

Nat Finkelstein: From one extreme to the other is on at Ideas Generation Gallery until February 14.

All photos from

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Quote of the week

It's good having a friend in the music business, you get to go to the occasional free gig, hang around at crappy after-show parties and use the backstage toilets at Glastonbury. That's Not My Age and friend once went to see Suede at the ICA, London. When I say went to see Suede, I mean the last five minutes. Music industry types have been to so many gigs they don't seem to mind just catching the encore - whereas us civilians like to get our money's worth. So we spent most of the evening in a wine bar round the corner, but what little Suede action I did see was bloody brilliant. Brett Anderson, now 43, is sexy in a Bowie-like way and has the kind of stage presence I'd like to bottle and sell to X Factor wannabes.

He's also straight talking. This week dispelling the myth that life on the road is all women, wine and song:

'Rock's not all about carnal glamour. You spend a lot of time sitting on grubby sofas backstage, fiddling with bits of cheese.'

Oh and Mr That's Not My Age has just informed me that this Suede gig is in his all time top 10 live performances:

The band are reforming in March but Mr TNMA doesn't want to go, oh no! 'One should never go back,' he says. I didn't need telling. After seeing New Order at Glastonbury in 2005, Bernard Sumner's embarrassing dad-dance was enough to convince me revivalism is wrong.

And, now for a small survey:

1. Firstly, I'd like to know if anyone has ever been to a decent post-gig drink-up? (I want dates, names and rider details, please.)

2. Have you ever seen one of your all-time favourite bands 10 or 20 years down the line? And how was it for you?

3. Don't you think Mr Anderson looks very fine in his classic shirt?

Quote and photo from The Guardian.

Friday, 22 January 2010

My favourite shop: Caravan

As retail guru, style icon and prime minister-in-waiting, Mary Portas slowly slips down the page, That's Not My Age has decided it's time for another stylish lady who knows how to make a shop look good. Meet Emily Chalmers. Interiors stylist and owner of Caravan, an emporium of loveliness in Shoreditch, London.

Chalmers loves to mix old and new, and describes her style as 'vintage, floral, bohemian.'

The drape (in the background) is made from old silk scarves, and there's a larger version upstairs in the Caravan office but that's....

Two stand-out products are the Deborah Bowness wallpapers and Jielde lamps. (Chalmers and Bowness brought an old sixties doll's house back to life in the January 2010 issue of Elle Decoration.) Other items worth a mention are French designer, Natalie Lete's beautiful rugs and the Bambi lamp, of course.

And then there's Bagpuss, the shop cat, who likes to meet and greet the customers.

Obsessed by dwellings from an early age, Chalmers chose the name Caravan because she likes the idea of moving around, not staying in one place, 'Everything changes. Places change - it's good for shops to move.' And the 41 year-old is not kidding. Caravan has relocated three times in the last six years - but fortunately this inspirational stylist and co-author of an impressive range of interiors books knows how to transform an old industrial space into a modern day palace, and is more than happy to share her secrets.

How to add a touch of Caravan style to your home:

1. Layering is important. Hang things on the wall - plates, mirrors, a vintage dress - at different heights, or drape a silk scarf over a lamp.

2. Follow your heart rather than the latest trends. Nobody wants to live in a show home, it's much better to think laterally, make a flower display using an old teapot or group vintage postcards together on the wall.

3. If you surround yourself with things you love, you can't go wrong.

And finally, I couldn't possibly leave without asking the lovely Emily for a fashion tip...

Over-forties style:

'I use layering with clothes as well as interiors. It's a clever way to cover up. For me, the good thing about age is that I can quite easily not buy anything new. I'd rather spend a day sorting through my clothes than shopping. It's great to find classics you can get out again and again.'

Which just about sums up the essence of Caravan style. Vintage. Modern. Cool.

Do you have any tips for adding a touch of individuality to a home?

Caravan, 3 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7033 3532

Photo of Emily by Bård Ek

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Your purse is on fire!

Introducing a new addition to That's Not My Age's repertoire.... what's hot this week, otherwise known as what I'd splurge on if I had money to burn (sadly not the case as I've just paid my tax bill, but hey!)

Inspired by the Golden Globes and with the Oscars coming soon - it's nice to make an effort, even if it's all in my mind - this week's purchase would be a fabulous dress from Halston Heritage. And though I'll always be a punk at heart, I find the prospect of slinking around in silk jersey very appealing. Yep, I'd opt for Halston over Westwood at the shake of a Studio 54 cocktail.

What would you buy if you had more money than Simon Cowell?

Halston Heritage is available from Net-a-Porter this spring.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Portas for prime minister

Don't tell Melanie Rickey (or Mr That's Not My Age), but I have a grown-up lady crush on the fabulous Mary Portas, 49. Not only does the queen of shops look fantastic, she has ace taste in music. Her Desert Island Discs, this week, included Marvin Gaye, Radiohead, Maria Callas and Mungo Jerry's In the Summertime - throw in The Clash's White Man in Hammersmith Palais and That's Not My Age would be begging for a civil partnership. Her analysis of Brand Cameron's new poster in The Daily Telegraph was superb. 'Presenting us with this fake, high-gloss image of perfection suggests that the Conservatives have little understanding of what's going on in the real world.' Style- wise, Portas recommends David Cameron takes a trip to Savile Row, 'Obama can pull off the dressed-down look because he's always immaculately turned out, so when he doesn't wear a tie, he's making it clear he's in informal mode. Cameron runs the risk of never looking formal enough to be taken seriously.'

From high street to Downing Street, Portas gets my vote any day.

The queen of shops says finding your own look comes with age. Simple, well-cut clothes and a good hair cut help. What do you like about Mary Portas' style?

Photo from

Mary Portas is launching a new website in January.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Smells like mid-life crisis

That's Not My Age is of an age when wrinkle creams and anti-ageing products are the future/my only hope. (Still trying to find one to reduce the lines on my forehead - but I'm not sure that such a miracle-in-a-jar exists. Even super-strength Botox might struggle to fill these cracks and I'm too poor/scared to try). Anyway, I'm slightly flummoxed by this Pro-age antiperspirant from Dove. Containing moisturising cream and sunflower oil for sensitive skin - does this mean as well as the wrinkles, dry hair and old lady's feet I'm going to end up with tender 'pits? Maybe Pro-age deodorant will keep my underarms looking young? You know what they say about hailing a cab in a sleeveless top over forty. Or could it have dual-action properties, like haemorrhoid cream on eye bags? Perhaps it's simpler than that, maybe it'll just stop me smelling like an old person?

Answers in the comment box please.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Style at any age

That's Not My Age has been thinking a lot about an article written by Sarah Mower in last week's Daily Telegraph. Mower discusses the lack of mid-range and high street clothes for older women and asks the British fashion industry to 'give the over fifties a break.' Now, I'm not there yet, but she does have a point. What to wear if a chambray playsuit or sheer babydoll frock is out of the question? How to look timeless and stylish at any age? To help figure out this fashion conundrum, I've come up with four rules for ageless style:

1. Do not try to dress like a young person. Rocking all the latest looks is more ageing than Slimma slacks and a bubble perm. As The Guardian proves every week when they publish pictures like this:

I love seeing older women in the press and on the fashion pages, but this is just tokenism. It's patronising, undignified and plain wrong! Now could somebody please tell that to the Guardian Weekend's stylist.

Perhaps he/she should take a look at The Times, they're so much better at this kind of thing:

The Guardian's problem stems from the fact that they dress the older model in the same way as the younger models and it just doesn't look convincing. (Actually, young or old I'm not quite sure who would want to wear the outfit above.) The grown-up lady looks contrived and uncomfortable - and the clothes never seem to fit properly. It's fine to look current but the key is not to try too hard to look hip, young and down with your daughter. Rather than head-to-toe street-style, just integrate one key piece - a leather biker jacket, a boyfriend jacket - into your existing wardrobe and avoid the dreaded mutton (pronounced moo-ton for extra effect)/lamb scenario. Or in my case, make that lecturer dressed as student.

2. Develop a singular style. These are the words of the talented designer and all-round lovely person, Joe Casely-Hayford, 53. Pictured here with his son, Charlie and fashion technician, Valentina Elizabeth, 45. (Mrs Casely-Hayford is equally lovely but unfortunately she side-stepped the photo opportunity). I hijacked the Casely-Hayfords at the 'My Favourite Dress' book launch on Monday.

'Over forties look fantastic,' adds Mr C-H, 'they have style awareness, which evolves over time giving more substance and measure.' Yep. As you get older you do develop your own look, know what works and what doesn't - and realise that often it's best to keep it simple.

3. Don't be afraid to experiment. Just take a look at Advanced Style, Ari Cohen's brilliant blog showcasing 'creative older folks'. Those senior citizens of New York City certainly know how to make a style statement. Or follow the Casely-Hayford ethos and 'express free spirit with very particular gestures of English sartorialism.' J C-H sites Zandra Rhodes as his favourite example of singular style. True, that. (oops pardon me for slipping into The Wire-speak). Rhodes may not be eveyone's cup of tea, but she's got a well-defined look, that's for sure. And, she was in the room at the time!

And, it'd be rude not to mention, Suzy Menkes, whose hair has a singular style of its own.

4. Be confident. Easier said than done? Follow rules 1,2 and 3, and you'll definitely feel more confident. As Anthony Price says (I hijacked him too), 'Jerry Hall's daughters look good, but will they ever look as good as Jerry? I doubt it. She has confidence and poise.'

What are your tips for ageless style?

Jane Birkin photos from Vogue, July 2007

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Le click c'est chic

Hey, so what if I spent over an hour trudging through snow in a failed attempt to get to work this morning, and have changed my socks three times already today, those lovely people at The Independent (don't mention Rod Liddle!) have chosen That's Not My Age as one of their top fashion websites. OK, so this is a blog and they've published the wrong address, but I'm not one to bear a grudge. In fact, to use an old footballing cliché.... I'm over the moon!

Read the full Le click c'est chic article here

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

A vintage decade

It's official. The nineties are back in fashion and to prove it, Selfridges has opened a Vintage Concept Store dedicated to the decade. Now, when the eighties came back and slapped That's Not My Age in the face, it felt like I'd well and truly tripped over a generation gap. But this time I'm ready for some retro action. And to celebrate, here's a small tribute to my favourite fashion magazine of the nineties, American Harper's Bazaar, with the late Liz Tilberis as editor.

Saying she wanted to create 'the most beautiful fashion magazine in the world,' Tilberis moved to New York after 20 years at British Vogue (starting as an intern, becoming editor-in-chief when Anna Wintour moved to Manhattan) to turn fusty old Harper's around. With Fabien Baron as creative director, Patrick Demarchelier and Peter Lindbergh shooting the photos, Kate, Naomi and the Amber Valetta adorning the fashion pages, it wasn't long before the magazine looked simple, elegant, cool.

And, despite the occasional foray into rock chickery, That's Not My Age is quite fond of the nineties pared-down aesthetic. In fact, I'm still wearing it today, and not in a totally fashion-forward sense. If it's simple, elegant and unfussy, it works for me. And to quote Tilberis (from May 1996 editor's letter), 'Great fashion has moved away from extremism to a kind of luxurious subtlety. To me all this is a delight. Like most grown-up women, I'll instinctively reject anything that makes me feel not like myself.'

Are the nineties cool again? Or should we be looking forwards not back?

Images from Harper's Bazaar May 1998. Fashion editor, Tonne Goodman, photographed by Wayne Maser.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Street Style: keep warm and carry on

As the cold snap continues, That's Not My Age drags herself off the sofa and onto the street to find out how to look stylish and avoid frostbite this winter.

Lucky, Victoria Durrer-Gasse, 50, designs clothes and accessories, lives in Ibiza and was on her way to India when we met. Who knew that boho chic could be so cosy?

Paul Iwala, 42, in head-to-toe vintage (even the camera's second-hand), proves that a classic leather flying jacket never goes out of style.

A splash of colour always looks good in winter, and a fabulous Hermés bag looks good anytime! Globe-trotting, Milena Tsavliris bought her cashmere coat in Milan and pashmina in India. Glamorous or what?

Let's hear it for Beatrice Smith, who at 92 years-old becomes That's Not My Age's most senior street style icon. After 60 years of marriage, and three years as a widow, Beatrice says she's having fun,'kicking up her heels.' Respect.

Photos: Fashionistable

Friday, 8 January 2010

Quote of the week: Howard Jacobson

Firstly, before I get done for libel, this is not Howard Jacobson in bed. This lovely image and the quote from novelist, Jacobson are both from The Times Magazine's Happiness Issue (2nd Jan 2010), I just think they work well together.

'Happiness is an older woman. I don't mean older than oneself necessarily. Beyond a certain age, it's hard to find a woman older than oneself who's still capable of standing up. But an older woman in the sense of no longer being a younger woman. A girl.......A lower voice is part of the appeal, along with lower skirts, lower heels and a higher neckline......happiness is an older woman with judgment. And that means no facelift, no Botox and no liposuction. Desperation isn't attractive in either sex.'

So, here's to growing old happily. And here's Howard Jacobson:

Couple in bed by Jonathan Root
Howard Jacobson timesonline

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The kitten heel comeback

It may be winter outside, but in the fashion world it's spring. And so, That's Not My Age has decided to keep warm, stay indoors and work on an easy wardrobe update. Although clompy footwear is still loitering about like leftover pine needles in a shag pile carpet, the elegant kitten heel has nudged its way back onto the fashion radar. And this is a good thing.

Fortunately, being a glamorous lady who spent the nineties working on women's magazines, I have a couple of pairs lurking under the bed:

My favourites, in olive green leather are from queen of the kitten heel, LK Bennett. The heel is so low these are amazingly comfortable and trés elegant. The textured brown leather pair are a Sigerson Morrison sample sale buy - gorgeous but they pinch, and so haven't seen as much wear as the racy orange pair, with the dainty buttons and crumpled toes (also LKB). But how to wear the kitten heel in 2010?

For day, a slim leg trouser or jean, rolled up to show off the lovely, au courant footwear, is best. I seem to remember getting the pointy toe caught in a wide leg trouser once, flying across the office and nearly head-butting a colleague. So glamorous! Team with a neat wool jacket and pussy bow top (sorry the full-length shot is a bit dark, there's not much light chez That's Not My Age today). While it's still wintry, I highly recommend a pop sock, OK, OK, it's bloody freezing - how about a pair of thick socks and wellies for the commute?

For a smarter look, try a floral print dress with the tailored jacket, and of course, thick woolly tights.

And if you're looking for new shoes for spring/summer 2010, my favourites are guessed it, LK Bennett:

Ready to step into spring now?

Photo: Giles from Vogue spring/summer 2010 catwalk report.