Saturday, 27 March 2010

Combat Rock

That's Not My Age is loving the spécial militaire edition of French Vogue (March issue) - which in a timely fashion ties in nicely with last weekend's wardrobe workout chez nous. Tired of wearing the same Uniqlo jeans over and over, and with an assault course for a wardrobe - I sanctioned a ruthless closet cull. And Mr TNMA was my commander-in-chief. Four pairs of trainers, two dresses, three skirts, one kaftan, a linen tunic, one pair of jeans, one pair of smart trousers, a tank top, cotton blouse, quilted-down-filled gilet (taking up far to much space and I needed to make room for 'the beast' ie my leopard print coat) and two pairs of shoes have all been donated to my local charity shop. Mary Portas will be proud!

One thing I discovered during Operation Fashion Kill, was an awful lot of khaki. Perfect for this season's military look but how to wear it without looking like Madonna in Malawi? Unfortunately, I didn't uncover a Chanel jacket so for an easy daytime look I teamed an old pair of Topshop silk combats with a grey marl t-shirt, statement necklace and olive green leather kitten heels. Some people call this 'shopping your wardrobe,' That's Not My Age prefers to call it getting dressed.

In reality the daytime outfit will probably look something like this....

For a smarter look, I paired the combats with a pale gold DKNY jacket and killer shoes (these are from Tod's and I'm desperately trying not to think about cost per wear as I bought them for a wedding two years ago and have worn them, er hem, twice.) Towards the end of Operation Fashion Kill, we were feeling battle weary and my commander-in-chief was losing the will to live, hence the haphazard photos:

I noticed that the slinky silk combats are wearing thin across the backside, they may not survive another season but this shouldn't be a problem - That's Not My Age has military back-up:

So, our mission over I bring you the grown-up guide to military chic:

1. Give khaki a glamourous spin by piling on the jewellery.

2. Don't take the trend too literally, go head-to-toe and you could end up looking like this....

3. Keep hair and make-up sleek. Think well-groomed and gorgeous, not grungy (definitely a case of do as I say, not as I do!)

And if you're looking for some extras to go with your combat pants how about:

Metal chain necklace, Jaeger. Khaki t-shirt and leather bag both Jigsaw. Cork wedges, Stella McCartney at Matches and tan leather 'pistol' boots, Acne at Net-a-Porter.

Over and out.

Fashion images: French Vogue
Victoria Beckham:

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Her name is Yasmin

Last year, whilst boarding a Virgin Atlantic flight back from New York, Mr and Mrs That's Not My Age spied Mr and Mrs Le Bon being fast-tracked onto the plane. Homeward-bound after an appearance at the Met Ball, the Le Bons boarded the aircraft to the tune of No..No..Notorious, sung by cheeky ground crew.

Back at Heathrow, we were impressed to see Yasmin, Simon and a Virgin steward keeping it real at the carousel with the plebs from economy - though why SLB needed his guitar is still a mystery. After the six and a half hour overnight flight, the 45 year-old was still looking good (that's Yasmin not Simon), face practically unchanged since the Elle magazine covers of the eighties. Chic in a camel Belstaff jacket, easy trousers and low-key trainers. I admire a woman who knows that travelling in style doesn't mean tottering through check-in with a burly minder, four inch platforms and over-sized sunglasses. And with that in mind, I'm pleased to see the latest YLB for Wallis collection hits the shops next week. My favourite supermodel's venture into fashion design, is, as you'd imagine, elegant, infinitely wearable and timeless.

Available online from 30 March.

Which is your favourite YLB maxi dress?

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Fashion bin

That's Not My Age was strolling past the Chanel shop on Sloane Street today, oh yes I do sometimes venture into the posh part of town, when a small hamper with the double C logo grabbed me by the throat. I stared in wonderment at this object for ooh five minutes, came to my senses and then took out my camera phone. Is this hamper for real? More to the point, is it for sale? How much does it cost? And who apart from Lily Allen would want it?

Subsequent research tells me that the rustic look was big on the straw-strewn Chanel spring catwalk, which was all fun and frolics...a good old roll in the hay! But That's Not My Age thinks this a case of the Kaiser's New Clothes. And so, the Chanel hamper has to go.

What do you think?

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Home is where the art is

After the excitement of the Mary Portas experience, That's Not My Age decided to spend some quality time with the Blog Widower this weekend, so we went along to see potter, Edmund de Waal's exhibition at the Alan Cristea Gallery. 'De Waal's pots - and the way he groups the pots to display them - are unlike anything else I've seen,' AS Byatt said in The Guardian (10 October 2009), but then, she hasn't been to our house...

Mr de Waal's white cabinet with porcelain vessels (top photo) put me in mind of a very tasteful collection of nick-nackery (middle and bottom photos) at That's Not My Age mansions. Uncanny, no? And this got me thinking about the way people arrange their possessions in a highly creative/anal fashion - and inspired me to introduce a new feature, 'Home is where the art is.' For which, I plan to visit people's homes (within reason, sorry but if you live in Australia or the USA, I probably won't be popping round for a cuppa) to photograph their favourite piece of art, collection of objects or as my mum would say reet nice ornaments. It doesn't have to be something you picked up at the Frieze Art Fair, just something you love with an interesting history. So if you'd like to take part, please get in touch. And if you do live in Australia, America or anywhere outside London, perhaps you could send a photo?

No brass horse shoes or teddy bears, please!

Edmund de Waal, From Zero is on at the Alan Cristea Gallery until 17 April 2010

Friday, 19 March 2010

The Mary Portas Appreciation Society

Last night That's Not My Age met Mary Portas. Actually, I'd quite like to end this post here. Maybe now I've met the high street fashion Goddess, my online work is done and I can sign off for good? Farewell dear blogosphere, it's been a blast.

But no. I have some hot news from planet fashion. According to Portas, the boyfriend jacket is over, it's all about the girlfriend jacket now. And to prove it, she was wearing a peach Celine tuxedo jacket that only a couple of days ago made an appearance on Melanie Rickey's Fashion Editor At Large blog (that's Rickey on the right):

Now I occasionally wear some of Mr That's Not My Age's jumpers but they don't look as good as this. Perhaps I could persuade him to start wearing women's tailoring? Anyway, so I met the Queen of Shops at the Greatest Fashion Show on Earth and I think I might have instantaneously developed a minor case of Tourette's Syndrome. No, I didn't swear at her (imagine that? 'Hi Mary, fuck off!') but I did get a bit starstruck and found myself blurting out, 'Ohmigod, I don't know what to say, I think I'm a bit in awe of you.' There is a reason why I don't go out much. My excuse for this unseemly behaviour? One glass of M&S champagne, severe back pain and a stupor induced by compere, George Lamb.

So this morning I would like to go and live here:

But like Eddie Izzard on his ultra-marathon I'm going to ignore the pain and carry on. Before I made a complete fool of myself I managed to ask Mary P to name her favourite outfits (from the catwalk show). 'I could have worn a lot of it,' said the style guru, ' the Uniqlo white shirt, the No Name top was stunning. The season is here for grown-up fashion.' Hoorah!

Then Melanie Rickey took a photo of me and my new best friend. I've cropped myself out, partly to maintain anonymity and partly because next to Portas who is absolutely gorgeous and has amazing skin, I looked a bit like Gordon Ramsay in a wig. Must do something about those wrinkles.

And, I say! Could that be Mary's hand on my shoulder?

As well as the girlfriend jacket, Portas is wearing an Acne t-shirt, skinny Cos trousers and Acne chocolate brown leather boots - with what could have been a post-modern Cuban heel, I couldn't see clearly in the dark and had been sycophantic enough already, I didn't want her to think I was curtsying too. The look? Grown-up rock chick with money and taste, a bit like Carine Roitfeld with a better hair cut.

That's Not My Age was incapable of stringing a sentence together - what would you say to Mary Portas?

Mary Portas: Melanie Rickey
Piet Hein Eek log cabin: Thomas Mayer
Catwalk shots: Greg Fonne Photography

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Your purse is on fire!

The days are getting longer, José Mourinho's back on the front pages (ooh another middle aged crush?) and me and Mr That's Not My Age are planning a spring mini-break. So this week I'm as giddy as a Sex and the City fan with a bag of cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery. And if I had money to burn, I'd be investing in fab New York brand, Tucker. I'm feeling label love for this collection of sassy floral print shirt dresses and tunic tops, designed by former stylist, Gaby Basora when she couldn't find what she wanted for a fashion shoot. Smart and chic, Tucker has a certain Diane von Furstenburg appeal - and wouldn't look out of place in SATC 2. You can forget double denim, I'll be wearing my jeans with this leopard print blouse, oh go on then, throw in the Mulberry bag and that's my holiday wardrobe sorted! Now all we have to do is decide where we're going.

What would you wear for a weekend away? And where should we go?

Tucker is available from Net-a-Porter, Liberty and Harvey Nichols.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Middle aged crush

This week That's Not My Age has discovered that you're never too old for a teenage crush. Friends say I should get out more, Mr That's Not My Age rightly points out that this kind of behaviour is bad form when you're going steady, but he's in the other room watching telly - and anyway, this is important research. I may be a school girl at heart, but I can multi-task like a grown-up. And to prove it, I have not one, but two crushes on the go at the same time:

1. Tilda Swinton
Joining the ranks of Mary Portas and Jane Birkin on That's Not My Age's best-dressed list, the Scottish actor has got style in spades. Her red carpet outfits are inspired, her beauty other-worldly and she knows how to rock the androgynous look. I can't wait for I Am Love, directed by Luca Guadagnino and featuring Tilda Swinton, 49, (who learned Italian for the part) looking super-chic in Raf Simons for Jil Sander. The film's out on April 9, so until then some stylish snaps to keep me going....

Looking lovely in Lanvin at the 2009 Oscars (Swinton wore Lanvin and won an Oscar in 2008).

Dressed-down chic at the 2009 Venice Film Festival. That's Not My Age loves this combination of silky neutrals.

Click here for a short preview

2. Professor Brian Cox

The 42 year old 'rock star physicist' and presenter of the BBC's fabulous new series, Wonders of the Solar System has to be the happiest man on the planet. Prof Brian Cox is so enthusiastic about his subject matter, he makes physics seem interesting, honest.

Last night, the ex-keyboard player from D:Ream (remember New Labour and Things Can Only Get Better?) even managed a smile whilst dodging a twister in Oklahoma, 'Apparently we've got five minutes till the end of the world,' he laughed, jumping into his car for cover. According to the Daily Mail, Prof Brian spent the night before his A level maths exam at the Hacienda, he got a D but went on to gain a first class honours degree and a PhD in physics. PBC has worked on the Large Hadron Collider, famously saying (in his lovely northern accent), 'Anyone who thinks the LHC will destroy the world is a twat.'

A star is born.

And if Mr TNMA is reading this, I'd just like to point out that the Facebook group 'Professor Brian Cox can collide with me anytime' has nothing to do with me.

Watch the starry wonder on BBCiPlayer

Have you got a middled age crush, or two?


I Am Love: The Guardian

Tilda Swinton:

Brian Cox

Thursday, 11 March 2010

A tale of two ad campaigns

Something has been bothering That's Not My Age for a while now, so, deep breath.... time to let it out. Two adverts. Both aimed at grown-up ladies; the first, featuring a timeless shift dress on super-classy model, Stella Tennant, from LK Bennett, the second, what can only be described as a mash-up from Nicole Farhi. No prizes for guessing which I prefer.

Now, obviously I missed the memo on faux patchwork pants but a quick look at Vogue's runway report and I understand that notice-me prints are 'one of the trends that count.' No mention of Farhi's novelty pantaloons inspired by German expressionist Emile Nolde, mind you. Or why anyone in their right mind would wear them with a striped cowl neck tunic top. Funny that. I'm all for clashing textures and prints, if it's done well - I'm thinking Marni, Dries Van Noten, king of the mixologists, Marc Jacobs - but I am really struggling with this Nicole Farhi outfit. Apart from the clown in Robert Altman's Short Cuts, I just can't imagine who would go for the I-went-to-Glastonbury-in-1973-and-got-so-stoned-I-came-away-with-this-lousy-pair-of-pants look. Can you?

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Ask the experts

Sometimes being a blogger is a bit like being a teenager again (I once asked Peter Hook where he bought his leather biker jacket, Mick Hucknall where he got his hair cut and Joe Strummer if he'd like a bag of chips - but that's another story). So now, many years later and with a blog for an excuse, I'm once again overwhelmed by the urge to march up to famous people and start asking them questions. Fortunately, I wasn't invited to this year's Academy Awards ceremony, but it only took a glimpse of the still-so-beautiful Bianca Jagger at London Fashion Week and I was off. Would she like to offer some style tips for my blog blah blah? ' Don't let people tell you what to do,' said the woman who rode through Studio 54 on a white stallion, and we know she means every word, 'I've had a sense of what I wanted to wear since I was twenty.' You're not kidding. From Halston to Yves Saint Laurent, statement coats to snakeskin boots, Jagger's self-assured attitude and singular take on glamour has always looked effortlessly chic. But what about now that she's older? 'Know your pros and cons. Highlight your pros and disguise your cons - and don't let anyone take your photo from below!' The last instruction aimed at the hordes of photographers lurking nearby may have something to do with flattering lighting/the double chin scenario (not that BJ needs to worry about either). Sound advice from a style legend.

Expert number two, the fabulous Hilary Alexander says, ' Wear amazing jewellery and enjoy clothes, but not in a mutton dressed as lamb way.' And then, apparently quoting Barry Humphries, and in full agreement with Bianca Jagger, the Telegraph's fashion director adds, ' Cover up the bits that aren't flattering, fashion is just a matter of hiding the body and the older you get the more true that is.' This is an area That's Not My Age has a fair amount of experience in - each summer I show less and less flesh, this year I'll probably be lying on the beach in a slanket.

As there were more bloggers at London Fashion Week than Spanx pants at the Oscars, it wasn't long before The Sartorialist showed up. And I was in like Flynn. 'When you turn forty you know who you are, as opposed to following this trend and that trend,' points out Mr Schuman, 'you start dressing for your best attributes. I know I did.' The man with a penchant for classic tailoring likes to 'celebrate style through a wide variety of ages' by documenting real people looking good on the street (as well as a few glamorous fashion editors and Kanye West). As his photographs prove, Schuman is an expert on ageless style:

Do you have any expert tips for looking style at any age?

Bianca Jagger polaroid: Andy Warhol from the LA Times
Hilary Alexander: The Daily Telegraph
Scott Schuman: Wayne Tippetts

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Quote of the week: Vivienne Westwood

That's Not My Age loves Auntie Viv and so I was dead chuffed when this black & white image popped into my inbox. Taken in 1998 for Madame Figaro by photographer, JP Masclet, this lovely portrait features in the new exhibition, A Positive View, at Somerset House. Monsieur Masclet tells me that he was shooting inside the designer's Battersea studio but decided to go outside and take one shot with this wonderful 1950s coach, when Madame Westwood quipped, 'Are you trying to say something by putting me next to the back end of a bus?'

A Positive View is at Somerset House from 10 March - 5 April 2010

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Mum shoes

That's Not My Age has problem feet. And this means that ballet pumps and super flat sandals are out of the question. So when summer comes, I'm always on the look out for a shoe with a comfy rubber sole or low wedge heel. Sadly, said footwear is often high in frump factor and low in style. Last year whilst visiting the brother in NYC, I was delighted to find a pair of APC wedge sandals that weren't too steep - well, the gradient of the wedge was fine but the price was a bit on the high side. So delighted in fact, that I wore them out of the store, and walked all the way back to brother's apartment, only to be told as I stepped through the door that, 'They look like something mum would wear.'

Now I realise that ironic footwear doesn't work so well as you get older, I spent most of last summer trying not to look like a pensioner on a coach trip. Teaming my comfy sandals with rolled up skinny jeans and a boyfriend jacket seemed to work, and this year I'm going to try them with a shirtdress. The shoes may be a tad Mrs That's Not My Age Senior, but I'm not ready for Crimplene slacks just yet.

And, yay! Good news has arrived via The Sunday Times Style Magazine. Mum shoes are in vogue! As seen on the S/S 2010 catwalk at Stella McCartney:

Mum shoes are also available from Margaret Howell (top black & white picture), and in descending order below; Clarks Originals, Camper (with hidden mini heel) and Land's End. Just be careful how you wear them.

Don't you love it when something easy to wear slips onto the fashion radar? Or am I showing my age?


Stella McCartney: Mitchell Sams from Marie Claire