Thursday, 29 April 2010

The royal wedding

Forget Prince William and Kate Middleton, readers and fellow members of The Mary Portas Appreciation Society, the royal wedding I'm talking about is between our very own Queen of Shops and her partner, the fabulous fashion journalist, Melanie Rickey. Otherwise known as my New Best Girlfriends (NBGs).

There's been media speculation for some time now about the impending civil partnership, but Rickey confirmed on her blog this week that the happy couple have been shopping for wedding dresses. Posting a wonderful photograph entitled 'What we are not wearing on our wedding day' of my NBGs trying on floor length traditional gowns at Browns Bride. Sadly, the photograph has since been removed due to copyright infringement - and when I bumped into The Fashion Editor at Large yesterday (I am not making this up, honest!) she told me that the story and the photo had been nabbed by a gossip columnist for one of the country's largest selling newspapers - I'm not saying which because I can't find the story, don't want to get done for libel and they are my New Best Girlfriends, after all.

Anyway, That's Not My Age got to thinking (some may say obsessing) about what M & M should wear for the big day. Rickey says the outfits need to be totally fab and complement each other, so here are my suggestions:

NBG/MP rocking this Burberry Prorsum silver metallic coat dress and NBG/MR in a beautiful emerald green YSL number.

The Queen of Shops could wear this gorgeous asymmetric Vionnet dress and the Fashion Editor at Large a complementary silk jumpsuit by Lanvin.

Midnight blue cocktail dresses would look super-chic. Melanie Rickey in a Celine shift-with-a-twist and Mary Portas in this tasseled Jil Sander number.

Or for full-on, jaw-dropping glamour my NBGs could opt for Alexander McQueen.

What do you think Mary Portas and Melanie Rickey should wear?

Next week: how to be the best-dressed wedding guest (can't wait for my invite to arrive!)

Wedding bouquet: McQueens
Catwalk shots:

Monday, 26 April 2010

A bit of skirt

That's Not My Age is a sucker for stripes. This slinky maxi skirt from Topshop takes me straight back to the eighties. To the days when I could party like Ollie Reed and still get up for college in the morning. Apart from keeping the bar staff busy at the student union, my time was spent dodging pattern-cutting lectures and churning out jersey tube skirts on the industrial overlocker. The aim was to get the Bodymap look. Layering cropped knits over vest dresses, skirts over leggings, clashing stripes and prints and generally mashing it up. Stevie Stewart and David Holah's catwalk shows were the inspiration. A riot of beautiful people - Michael Clark, the Kamen brothers, that boy-child Felix, and er, Boy George - dancing down the runway, as happy as Nick Clegg on Question Time.

Sadly, I made the fatal error of buying without trying. This maxi skirt looks fine in the photo but the reality is not such a pretty picture. The stripy tube is a bit on the tight side, the fabric is flimsy without much stretch and Mr TNMA says he can see right through it. So, I've bought a skirt that's going to cause problems in the underwear department - and makes my arse look the size and shape of Australia. Well what did I expect for thirty quid?

Where Bodymap's heavy jersey skirts had plenty of Lycra and kick-ass hems to make them swing, this clings like a five year-old on the first day of term. Just before the first world war, hobble skirts restricted women's movement so much they were condemned by the Pope. Today, Benedict XVl is too busy apologising for the Spanish Armada, and other stuff, to have time for fashion. And anyway, my movements may be confined to a shuffle but if I hitch the skirt up to mid-calf level I can get from the bedroom to the bathroom without falling over.

Have you ever made a reckless purchase? And would you do the Topshop shuffle?

Bodymap photos from Femme Thing and V magazine.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

30 years of Ally Capellino

That's Not My Age would travel anywhere to see a wall of bags - even over to Wapping. Which is where I was on Thursday night for the Ally Capellino retrospective. Capellino is queen of under-stated style, her work is both retro and modern at the same time - vintage without being vintage - and that's what makes it eternally appealing. Here's Ally (Alison Lloyd) in an old issue of Marie Claire:

Well known for her gorgeous bags and accessories, back in the eighties and nineties there was an Ally Capellino clothing line too - with shops in Soho and Sloane Avenue. That's Not My Age has an old navy tweed jacket which I still wear today. Timeless, it is. And j'adore my new canvas rucksack (you can see me wearing it in the post below). Anyway, enough about me, I asked AC if she'd ever thought of going back into fashion design, 'I'd love to if someone would like to get involved in the production and financing of it. I don't really want to do it on my own.' Are you listening Bernard Arnault?

That's Not My Age bumped into the lovely Emily Chalmers from Caravan. Emily, her husband Chris Richmond and their Ally Capellino bags were in one of the photos commissioned to go with the exhibition:

One thing that really struck me was the sheer abundance of very stylish people of a certain age. Not Botoxed or scary or trying to stay young, just doing their own thing and looking fabulous. DJ and milliner, Thelma Speirs was rocking the warehouse with some banging tunes - That's Not My Age loved hearing Cilla Black and Mary Hopkins again - and wearing a gorgeous Peter Jensen jacket.

Carol Waters, 51, runs a haberdashery and linens shop, Lloyd Waters, in Essex, which That's Not My Age will be visiting soon.

As Ally Capellino says, 'It's important to keep an open mind about what you wear. I'm at the stage now where I'm not very comfortable in anything too revealing, but I'll still wear a bikini this summer. People with confidence in what they wear are attractive.'

And can someone send that wall of bags round to my house when the exhibition's over please?

AC 30
The Wapping Project
Wapping Hydraulic Power Station
Wapping Wall
London, E1W 3ST
23 April - 6 June

Ally Capellino confidence quote from The Observer

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

An age old problem

After seeing a photograph of myself standing next to a smooth-skinned Mary Portas, That's Not My Age has decided something has got to be done about my wrinkles. I may be kidding myself about growing old gracefully sans Botox or surgery but I just can't face (make that afford) either. And anyway, I've had lines on my forehead forever. When I met Mr TNMA he thought I was frowning at him, obviously he didn't recognise the look of true love.

So I am testing this 'revolutionary product' by Dr Kadir who according to Elle is well known in the Middle East, a dermatologist with a celebrity following - Madonna and Jennifer Anniston are fans. The blurb says the moisturizing cream contains an award-winning, anti-ageing ingredient which helps decrease wrinkle depth. Apple Lift results in plumper, toned, youthful looking skin and has a high UVA protection factor as well a Vitamin E making it a potent natural weapon in fighting fine lines and wrinkles. Phew! Sounds like just what I need.

And time to 'fess up. Before Christmas I promised I would try out this introductory set from Aromatherapy Associates and report back with before and after shots, wrinkles and all.

But then Mr TNMA took some snaps and I was horrified by the results. So horrified, I had a Hugh Grant moment - no nothing to do with a hooker and a parked car, or worse Liz Hurley - I just empathized with Grant who on approaching his 50th birthday said, "I don’t really feel all that old in myself, I actually feel rather young and sprightly but then I see a picture of myself and think, ‘Christ, who is that old man?’” So, sorry but you won't be seeing any close up mug-shots after all. I'm just not brave enough, even Demi Moore got called old and ugly after spending two hundred thousand dollars on surgery, and posting photos on Twitter.

Anyhow, here's my belated verdict on the Aromatherapy Associates gift box, bearing in mind that I was just slapping products on randomly and not following instructions:

1. All the products smelled gorgeous and left my skin feeling super soft.
2. I will probably buy the Fine Line Face Oil even though my lines are not fine, they are of the Gordon Ramsay variety.
3. The Intensive Skin Treatment Oil helped soothe my painful, cracked heels.

And apparently Hugh Grant has started doing pilates to keep himself looking young - do you have any anti-ageing tips?

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Summer boots

That's Not My Age has spent the weekend wearing a pair of fabulous new boots. No they're not Balmain or Balenciaga, these beauties are from outdoor footwear specialist, Brasher. Mr TNMA and I are fond of a weekend stroll and fed up with traipsing around in a pair of old trainers, I opted for some serious footwear. But this presented a serious style challenge. How to wear proper walking boots without looking like a member of the Countryside Alliance?

First, leave the utility jacket alone - Kate Middleton goes grouse-shooting is not the look we're after here - and when in doubt, turn to the grand dame of sporty chic for inspiration:

A Breton top is perfect for the riverside ramble but add a sensible rucksack and suddenly I'm feeling more Edmund Hillary than Coco Chanel:

But check out those sunglasses - I'll have some of that! This pair from Linda Farrow should do the trick:

They may not have platform heels and a designer price tag but as far as I'm concerned my new ankle boots are the cat's pyjamas. Back in the olden days when That's Not My Age was a student, I thought Dr Marten's were the only boots I'd ever wear (then I grew up and got a job!) and I have a similar feeling now. There's a strong possibility that I might wake up in the morning and slip my new Brashers on - and if I do, I'd like to look something like this:

Ever owned a pair of shoes you never want to take off?


Balmain boots:
Coco Chanel: A Century of Fashion Francois Baudot
Edmund Hillary: Time
Linda Farrow sunglasses: Net-a-Porter
Gorgeous girl in hiking boots: The Sartorialist

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Fashion beyond forty

Oh I'm more than happy to blather on for days on end about my favourite topic - style at any age - even happier when someone else does it for me! Especially when it's a proper fashion expert. This week, fabulous fashion writer and all-round lovely person, Iain R Webb talks to That's Not My Age about fashion beyond forty:

Having worked as fashion director of Harper's & Queen and The Times my readers were looking for fashion that was wider reaching than simply catwalk driven trends.

My best advice would be to take a look at what's going on at the collections but essentially do your own thing, pick and choose what suits you. Stylish women and designers with any kind of personality and longevity (from Coco Chanel to Dries Van Noten) are the ones who established their look early on and have developed it regardless of fashion's comings and goings. Sometimes they collide with fashion but more often than not they remain quite sensibly aloof from the madness.

The great thing about being over 40 (ahem!) is that you're pretty sure of your own style and shouldn't be too bothered with the need to jump on every trend being pushed by an industry hungry for new, new, new. Let the teen queens, pop princesses and their stylists tear each others hair extensions out over who was first off the mark with 'nude' or 'tribal'!

During my time in the industry I have been lucky to work with many amazingly stylish women. One of the highlights: At Harper's & Queen I got to style Honor Blackman (the original Avengers action girl) for a 1960s inspired fashion shoot. It was a thrill to work with someone who was so self-assured and down right sexy! I dressed her in leather trousers (I think they were classic Agnes B) and unfussy Chanel-type jackets that reflected her Avengers look. Timeless fashion.

Indulge in those coveted investment pieces. Although you might automatically think investment pieces need to be classic and perhaps a tad boring I actually feel that they should be anything that you REALLY love. Something that you will take delight in forever, regardless of fashions whims. Something that is special. That might be that perfect plain cashmere sweater (if you find one that suits I would recommend the old trick of buying two) or an original 1920s Fortuny evening cape, 1970s Bill Gibb knit kimono coat or a 1980s Vivienne Westwood Nostalgia of Mud sheepskin (check out Kerry Taylor Auctions or any local vintage fashion fairs) - a one-off that will garner you compliments and a little envy whenever you wear it! Enjoy!

For more fashion beyond forty check out 'In your forties and nothing to wear?' An interview with J.Crew, creative director, Jenna Lyons, 41, by Lisa Armstrong at timesonline.

Actually, I can't let this go without sticking my oar in...That's Not My Age has had a J. Crew preview (the collection is set to launch in the UK, in May at Net-a-Porter) and here are my favourite pieces:

And in true Dries Van Noten-style, I will be wearing the boyfriend fatigue jacket and stripe boat neck dress together. Thank you Iain R Webb!

Iain R Webb's latest book, Postcards From The Edge Of The Catwalk (ACC Publishing) - a personal photographic portfolio with over 500 images, spanning three decades, 'I took them all from my front row seat or at parties/events surrounding the international collections brouhaha!' - is out September/October.

Dries Van Noten catwalk shots:

Honor Blackman
Polaroid: Cindy Palmano courtesy of the lovely Iain R Webb
Portrait 1:
Portrait 2: The Independent

Fortuny dress: 20th Century Fashion. Valerie Mendes/Amy de la Haye

PS How gorgeous is Honor Blackman?

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Home is where the art is

On my first trip out as amateur interiors photographer/arbiter of style, That's Not My Age paid a visit to the lovely London home of Corinne Anderson, 45, who has opted for ' old school, beach house charm.' Seashells, nautical nick-nacks, natural colours and vintage Whitefriars glass dotted around, give the place a coastal feel. Born in Dover, Corinne has an affinity for the shore and says she would eventually like to return to the seaside, 'But not Kent, somewhere warm. The Hamptons would do me! My dream home is that amazing house in Something's Gotta Give, filled with Ralph Lauren... and Keanu Reeves to finish it off.'

A self-confessed interiors obsessive, this seasider loves collecting curios on her travels and prefers a mixture of old and new furniture. The open plan, family area opens out into the garden and has beautiful oak floorboards and a gigantic Ikea sofa, (with plans afoot to re-upholster this in denim to add to the seaside vibe) and junk shop finds including second-hand storage cabinets stripped or painted and filled with vintage glass, crockery and books.

Maritime chic: Corinne's shore things:

1. Coast magazine is good for inspiration - and I always pick up Coastal Living and Dwell if I'm in the USA.

2. Try Ian Mankin for striped ticking - oh and I love the new Jigsaw bed linen collection:

3. You don't have to spend a fortune, I go to junk shops and Ikea for basic furniture that can be whitewashed or given a driftwood effect:

4. My favourite websites are Oka, Pickwick Papers & Fabrics and Garden Trading.

Corinne's spare room has an Oka metal book stand and 'tranquility blue' painted walls. Does your home have a theme?

If you'd like to take part in 'Home is where the art is' please get in touch.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Summer time and the living is easy!

What a gorgeous weekend. The sun's out and That's Not My Age gets a mention in the May edition of Easy Living magazine. Life is sweet. 'Gone surfing!' features EL's favourite websites and blogs, and this month I've made the grade!

'A snappy fashion blog that celebrates the creed, 'style begins at 40,' the spirit of which we like very much. Part amateur Sartorialist-esque street photography, part cultural commentator and part gossipy fashionista, there is much here for anyone interested in fashion - of any age. We love it.'

What a compliment, the nicest thing anyone's ever said about my blog - I think I'm going to cry (or maybe that's the hangover kicking in). As a tribute, I'm going to recreate a look from the fashion pages. That's Not My Age loves simple, easy style and thinks the colour combination of greys and neutrals is beyond chic:

I love a jersey dress. Perfect for work and I can wear it on my bike, with knitted tights, of course. This little number, by every grown-up woman's favourite designer, Vanessa Bruno is on sale at The Outnet (have I told you about my latest obsession?). That's Not My Age would wear it with this cute Mulberry leather jacket, after all it's only thirteen degrees and still a bit chilly out there - as me and Mr TNMA found out yesterday when we tried to have a picnic in the park. I find a neutral leather jacket so much chicer than a tartan travel blanket, don't you?

And don't is throwing a very special birthday party, for one day only on April 16th the online fashion outlet will host a pop-up sale where all items will be available at the giveaway price of $1/£1/€1. For more information, www.theoutnet/