Thursday, 30 September 2010

Carine Roitfeld's guide to looking good at any age

To celebrate Paris Fashion Week, That's Not My Age looks to the 55-year-old French Vogue editor for tips on ageless style:

1. Show off your best bits
'When you are a woman you have to know what you have good, non? And you have to take advantage. I have two good things. Good legs and good eyes.'

2. Precious moments
'I say jewellery is better before 25 and after 60, and now 60 is not far off, I am allowed to wear again.'

3. Mix it up
'I do not like total look. I do not like conformist. I love white shoes in winter, white shoes with black tights, a black bra under a transparent top. I always take the opposite.'

Photo: The Sartorialist
Quotes: The Times

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Little Boots

That's Not My Age is going all Ed Miliband today - no, no, no, I'm not trying to steal my brother's job, I'd just like to point out that like the real Labour Party, I'm not just in touch with the country's elite! Now, lots of lovely TNMA followers said they wanted the men's brogue boots featured in my last post, and whilst on a mission to find something similar at a more affordable price, AllSaints asked me to write about their women's boots. And lo, what did I find over on their website? This masculine-inspired, suede ankle boot. OK, it's more of a workboot/brogue hybrid but it is the closest thing I've seen so far and I think it's pretty neat.

When it comes to the sartorial potential of a ladies ankle boot, this season there are three options. The heritage trend - add an outdoorsy spin with a tweed jacket, Shetland wool pullover and cords. This look is not just for toffs, remember, 'We're all in this together,' oops sorry wrong party.

Or try Marc Jacobs-inspired grunge glamour by teaming ankle boots with a maxi skirt:

Go for classic androgynous style with crisp, selvedge jeans (make that cropped pants if you're not a friend of denim) and a masculine jacket.

How would you wear them?

Boots and grunge picture: AllSaints
Jeans and brogues: The Sartorialist

To avoid a cash-for-blogging scandal, I have to tell you that this is a sponsored post.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Walk out to winter

As autumn blasts its way through the rickety window frames at That's Not My Age mansions (there's a reason why this place has such a low Energy Efficiency Rating), I can't think of anything better than wrapping up warm and going for a brisk ramble. Fortunately, the lovely lifestyle website - and shop, Pedlars has collaborated with some iconic British brands for autumn, so I won't have a problem getting kitted out; classic brogues from Bond Street shoemaker, Lodger, flat caps from the world-famous hatter, Lock & Co and my personal favourite, this fully-lined, waxy parka (above) from Silas. Perfect.

Mr TNMA would look like a proper gentleman in a pair of these boots!

That's Not My Age already has a classic Billingham camera bag but I might have to trade it in for this tweedy version.

So, the other day I was lucky enough to have a quick chat with Pedlars founder, Charlie Gladstone - who just happens to be the great great grandson of William Gladstone, the 19th century prime minister - probably the poshest person to appear on this blog!

TNMA: How would you describe your style?

CG: Evolving, vaguely workwear-y, a little Japanese. I am interested in the heritage of clothes and in detail and I have to know where my clothes are made. My favourite labels are 45rpm, Engineered Garments, Slowear, Lodger (shoes) and Locks (hats). We are moving into fashion in a gentle way, simply beause we sell whatever we like, be it food, music, homewares, tents...whatever. But we are moving cautiously and working in collaboration with brands we love.

TNMA: What do you like about getting older?

CG: It sounds like a cliché, but the best thing about getting older is that you do, definitely, get wiser. I am just a little more measured, a little calmer than I used to be. Having had children when I was quite young this has been particularly useful: I can remember what it was like to be a teenager and yet I have a slightly wiser head on my shoulders.

TNMA: Can you give me some tips for stylish living?

CG: These inform everything we do at Pedlars but they apply wherever you live. I have thousands of ideas but here are just a few...

1. Don't follow trends. Do what you like. Be confident.
2. Know the origin of everything. One piece of lovely furniture is worth a hundred pieces of flat-pack.
3. Use colour on walls, in fact use colour everywhere.
4. When framed, even the most mundane things look great, so frame all sorts of personal stuff and hang loads of things on your walls.
5. Play music.
6. Open the windows, whatever the weather (Thanks Charlie, but we don't need to do that at TNMA mansions - the wind whistles through even when the windows are closed!)

TNMA: I always think Pedlars is a great place to buy gifts, what's the best present you've ever received?

CG: For our 20th anniversary my wife, Caroline gave me an iPod full of songs that had meant stuff to us during the time we have been together. Brilliant.

Look out for my guest post on Charlie And Caroline's blog later this week - featuring an exclusive photo of Mr TNMA!

What's the best present you've ever given/received?

Saturday, 25 September 2010


Much has been said about the return of grown-up dressing and the latest minimalism trend, so I'll keep it brief. Knicker-flashing-porno-chic is dead, replaced by an elegant pared-down aesthetic. Hallelujah.

Photo: Hobbs

Thursday, 23 September 2010

The Style List

Breaking news, people! Today Debenhams launch their latest campaign featuring older models, from left to right: Caroline Josling, 52, Valerie Pain, 66, and Maxine Smith, 41. In collaboration with fashion commentator, Caryn Franklin, the high street retailer plans to 'give ongoing solutions, advice and guidance on how 40+ women can achieve any desired look.' The project called The Style List will be delivered in stores, online and through photography.

Franklin says, 'It’s been really fulfilling to create shots that celebrate the wonder of getting older. It’s important to challenge what we see in our media with a broader reflection of beauty. Enjoy the magic of these women, their confidence, their attitudes and their allure. These wonderful faces express the joy of getting older - not something we see enough of.'

All commendable stuff but the accompanying press release claiming that DEBENHAMS TARGETS ‘FORGOTTEN WOMEN’ WITH GROUND BREAKING CAMPAIGN (dare I mention Levi's, Gap, Twiggy for Marks & Spencer and Dove?) is poorly conceived and tactless. Debenhams are right to take action, I just wish they'd asked Caryn Franklin to write the press release.

Read more about the project here

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Drawing Inspiration

That's Not My Age loves Rachel Whiteread. The 47-year-old artist known for casting 'negative space' or inside-out sculptures of everyday objects (chairs, tables, baths) currently has a selection of drawings on show at Tate Britain. And they are beautiful. I love her use of Tippex to blot out buildings in photographs, and her postcards with holes punched out. More negative space.

Whiteread and Robyn Denny are two British artists who have inspired Jaeger's spring/summer 2011 collection. Now, when I looked for deconstructed tailoring and absent accessories on the catwalk, they weren't there, but a monochrome tuxedo jacket and gorgeous parchment-coloured parka are now occupying some of my mental space. Spooky.

The following pictures of Whiteread's 1993 Turner Prize-winning sculpture, House are from the TNMA library. This monument - the inside of a Victorian building cast in concrete - was knocked down by the local authority, fortunately I still have the positive memory captured on film. That's Not My Age trawled through a lot of old photographs to find these pictures and in doing so it struck me that a combination of the digital revolution and the fact that me and the Blog Widower have been together a mere seven years, has created a negative space in my photo album where Mr That's Not My Age should be.

Do I need to reverse this omission immediately? Or should I look at it from Whiteread's perspective and view this absence as a presence?

Rachel Whiteread drawings is on at Tate Britain until January 16 2011


Rachel Whiteread: Rachel Whiteread/Gagosian Gallery London and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

Monday, 20 September 2010

London Fashion Week: Monochrome

When it comes to year-round style, you can't beat a bit of monochrome - as the lovely Amanda King, 43, proves in a stunning Richard Nicoll dress. Nicoll's S/S 11 collection is inspired by David Bowie's Thin White Duke (the recently re-released Station to Station was the soundtrack for the show) and the 1940s silhouette. Grown-up fashion with a rock 'n' roll edge. We like:


Amanda King: Fashionistable
Catwalk shots:

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Street Style: London Fashion Week

Still in a menswear groove, That's Not My Age popped over to London Fashion Week yesterday where I bumped into Eliot Young, 47, looking dandy in an old Paul Smith tan leather jacket, shirt by Dougie Millings (the original Beatles' tailor) and tweed suit from Portobello market. To me this look says sixties-era Adam Faith with an aristo-twist. What do you think?

That quintessentially English combination of classic tweed tailoring and tan leather brogues put me in mind of fashion consultant, Brian Godbold, 66, another well-dressed gentleman I met earlier this year.

Is there a need for tweed in a gentleman's wardrobe?

Photos: Fashionistable

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Menswear Manifesto

In the name of equality, and because I'm not attending New York fashion week, That's Not My Age has decided it's time to focus on grown-up menswear. But first let's set the record straight, that's not Mr TNMA in the photo, he is very shy, a confirmed atheist who would rather go and wave at the pope than appear on this blog. It's Nicholas Fugler, 50, director of retail at Jermyn Street tailors, New & Lingwood who puts a vexed generation at ease when he says, 'You grow into your style in your forties.'

Though I don't consider myself a menswear expert, I'd like to think that by surreptitiously easing Mr TNMA out of his ageing rocker uniform of baggy Rolling Stones' tour t-shirt and skinny black jeans and into a wardrobe of timeless basics I have a certain first-hand knowledge. But, in order to compose a proper grown-up guide to menswear, I enlisted the help of a couple of style experts of a certain age: Mr James Anderson and Mr Paul Tierney.

And this is what they said:

1. Go more Savile Row than Carnaby Street. Buy good design not cheap shit and choose classic heritage brands.
2. Opt for a clean cut look. You can get away with being scruffy and grubby when you're younger but have to make a bit more effort after 40, or risk looking like a complete loser.
3. Have a range of instant throw-ons in your wardrobe; cotton v-necks, cashmere sweaters, classic 501's/Japanese selvedge jeans, chinos.
4. Buy proper shoes, like a good solid brogue. A shoe made on a last, will last!
5. Be proud to be eccentric but don't end up looking like Jon Snow. A novelty tie does not add character to any outfit.

1. Worry about what style magazines say, half the people who work for them don't practise what they preach.
2. Avoid short-sleeved shirts, far too company rep.
3. Wear a fleece - it'll add twenty years to your age.
4. Try not to get stuck in a decade, the Top Gun bomber jacket belongs in the eighties.
5. Get preoccupied with seasonal trends. Leave the jaunty man bags and décolletage to Cristiano Ronaldo.

And now for some gratuitous pictures of men who do get it right:

From top: Hamish Bowles, Joe Casely-Hayford, Guy Pierce, Malcolm McClaren, John Malkovich, David Bowie, Jarvis Cocker.

Do you know anyone who needs to follow the menswear manifesto?

Nicholas Fugler: Fashionistable, Hamish Bowles: The Sartorialist, Joe Casely-Hayford: Lulu Kennedy, Guy Pierce: Daily Mail, Malcolm McClaren Sun-Times, John Malkovich: MySpace, David Bowie: NME, Jarvis Cocker: Eamonn McCabe.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Love: Lauren Hutton

OK, I'm a bit slow off the mark with this one but that's the advantage of being a late adopter; less pressure, less competition, just let the iPad-carrying hipsters do all the work for you. And so, when designers at NY fashion week are looking for models with gappy teeth and there's something of an age-fest going on; Julianne Moore at Tom Ford's show yesterday, Christy Turlington in the current Louis Vuitton ad campaign, Kristen McMenamy - US Vogue, September issue, Stella Tennant...I won't go on, just to say that it's a joy to see Lauren Hutton, nearly 67, on the cover of LOVE magazine.

Discovered by the legendary Diana Vreeland in 1965, 'She saw something in me. She saw what she was seeing in the streets: a new sort of person...who wore jeans and a t-shirt with no bra, and many of these 18-year-olds were still wearing iron corsets - fashion was still very much in the fifties - and I was not.' By 1974, with her gap-toothed smile and wonky nose, Hutton had become the 'million dollar girl next door,' the face of Revlon Ultima II, an American Vogue cover girl and the highest paid model in history.

Wrinkles, imperfect teeth and old news - you can read it all here.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Jane Birkin (part deux)

Did I tell you I met Jane Birkin? Mmm...thought so. Ever since that blissful encounter, That's Not My Age has been channeling NBFJB style (that's New Best Friend Jane Birkin if you've just joined me). I've found myself trapped in a fashion moment with the queen of casual glamour. Which is not a bad thing because low-key style with a twist is my vocation, you can read all about it here. The aim is a natural, carefree look with added sparkle - when we met, NBFJB was wearing a Margiela knit over second-hand combats with satin ribbons hanging from the belt loops and a pair of 15-year-old Converse. So far I've tried; a military jacket over a sheer chiffon tunic with cropped black trousers, Chelsea boots and chandelier earrings, an over-sized shirt with jeans, tan lace-ups and er, chandelier earrings. Next week I'm thinking of branching out into scarves.

What I really admire is the fact that Birkin has stuck with the same style choices all her life. Apart from a stint in dresses during the Gainsbourg days, NBFJB tends to live in trousers and prefers the looser fit of men's clothes. This nonchalant approach to fashion - probably comes easy when you're beautiful, rich and famous - sounds simple enough but can end up looking a little shabby if you're not careful. So how to get the look?

1. Go back to basics. Khakis, jeans, a v-neck top and white shirt are all key pieces that work well together or help loosen up a more formal wardrobe. Be sure to add a camel coat to the list this season.

2. Stay neutral. Birkin loves shades of khaki, olive, grey and sand. Easy-to-wear, timeless colours that look good whatever your age.

3. Get a handbag named after you.

1. Cut your own hair. Birkin is her own hairdresser but let's be honest, there's a very thin line between boho chic and care-in-the-community.
2. Wear Converse. Two words. David Cameron. And so what NBFJB wears plimsolls? She probably doesn't have to walk anywhere/ commute in the pouring rain. Opt for a sturdy brogue or lace-up instead.

3. Attempt to make you're own perfume. Leave it to the experts.

Patent shoe: LK Bennett

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Missing the print

That's Not My Age can't wait till it gets cooler and I can start wearing 'the beast' again:

But in the meantime, I need a little animal to liven up my pared-down life. So I've been thinking about accessories, and wondering whether or not there's room in my wardrobe for a pair of eye-catching desert boots?

When it comes to animal print, a little goes a long way (read my rules for living with leopard here) so I'd wear them with slim black trousers, faded jeans or Jane Birkin-style khakis and a simple black blazer.

What do you think? Are they spot on or a print too far?

First picture: Norman Parkinson
Desert boots: Clarks

Thursday, 9 September 2010

J'adore Jane Birkin

Last night That's Not My Age met Jane Birkin. Can't quite believe I've just typed those words but let me tell you every one of them is true. Yep. Vogue's Fashion's Night Out provided me with the opportunity to guzzle vast quantities of free champagne, scoff canapés like an underfed freelance journalist and meet the legendary actor. My latest grown-up lady crush is beautiful, unbelievably friendly - we chatted for about 15 minutes about her work as a campaigner on social issues - and smart. Meeting JB was the highlight of the evening/my life, after which I had to get the bus home, lie down on the settee and watch Mad Men. Sorry Don Draper but last night you were overshadowed by a 63-year-old woman (and Jane doesn't watch the show, by the way).

So, here's Birkin at the Martin Margiela store. She popped in to peruse the collection and ended up leaving with this fine knit top - accessorised with her Aung San Suu Kyi badge - and a chunky camel cardigan. We bumped into each other again at the Miller Harris shop, where, ever the style icon, Ms Birkin caused a fashion flurry as two assistants checked out her new top and rushed next door to buy the very same thing.

My New Best Friend Jane Birkin (NBFJB) told me all about l'air de rien, the perfume she's created with the help of Lyn Harris. How on visiting her brother Andrew at his laboratory on the Perfume film set in Wales she started mixing ingredients together. Birkin's friend, the photographer, Gabrielle Crawford - was there last night and is equally lovely and smart - told NBFJB she should bottle it, and introduced her to fragrance expert, Lyn Harris. LH offered some advice on botanical components, the potion contained so much oak moss it could poison people! Fortunately, the bespoke scent launched this week is non-toxic. A gorgeous heady blend of vanilla, musk and the just the right amount of oak moss, designed to express Birkin's ethereal self.

And now for an exclusive. Earlier this week, Vogue reported that Jane Birkin had ditched her eponymous bag for a second-hand sporran.

Not so. Last night, NBFJB nipped behind the desk and started rummaging in a leather handbag customised with stickers and beads. I give you, the real deal, Jane Birkin's bag:

Miller Harris, 21 Bruton Street, Mayfair, London W1J 6QD (tel: 020 7629 7750)

Pick 'n' mix: Disney Roller Girl
Second-hand Sporran: Rex Features
l'air de rien: Gabrielle Crawford
And special thanks to my lovely friend Dvora at Fashionistable for removing the glare from Jane Birkin's glasses.