Monday, 20 August 2012

How to holiday like a grown-up

It's hot and sweaty in London in August, so we're heading off to the beach for a well-planned holiday (back in time for the Paralympics). See you in September.

In the meantime, here´s a vintage post to keep you busy - my advice on how to holiday like a grown-up:


1. Wear a fantastic sunhat. That's Not My Age spotted a marvellous older woman last week walking down the beach in a red bikini (think Helen Mirren, then add ten years) and a big retro sunhat. If you're going to get your kit off, do it in style.

2. Channel Jackie Kennedy in the Hamptons or Grace Kelly in the south of France by covering up and staying cool in an over-sized white shirt. Brilliant over a swimsuit and classy with Capri pants. If it's too hot for Capri pants, French women opt for white linen trousers. Trés chic.

3. Wear sensible shoes. Heels are no use on cobbled streets, anyway, and who wants to look like Eurotrash? That's Not My Age loves a mum shoe. Try a low wedge heel, a Clark's Originals sandal and I'm going to stick my neck out here and say there's nothing wrong with a nice Birkenstock. Popular in French holiday resorts, and if they're good enough for Julianne Moore...

4. Choose self-catering. It's not just for cissies.

5. Have an early night. Going out is not the be-all-and-end-all - let the young people party till dawn (as long as they're not staying next door), early to bed early to rise and all that.


1. Think that because your companion is over forty they know how to apply suncream. They don't. Towards the middle of the week Mr TNMA declared that he'd finally become acclimatized. Day one: a sunburnt back. Day two: a sunburnt chest. Day three: slap on the after-sun and pretend you're a local.

2. Hang out in young people's bars. The music will be too loud, the cocktails too expensive and loitering on the sidelines like Peter Stringfellow is never a good look. Ever.

3. Take part in any sporting activity that involves jigging around on the beach. Keep all movement to a minimum. Swimming is fine, as is taking out a pedalo. Even wind-surfing has its benefits - one gust of wind and you're swept away from prying eyes on the beach. Just make sure you know how to turn the damn thing around.

4. Go on coach trips. Coach trips are guaranteed to immediately add twenty years to a person's age. Travel by train or boat, it's much chicer.

5. Wear a bumbag. Even if it is ironic or Louis Vuitton. You'll still look shit.

Other things that should not be seen on the over-forties/anyone: sunglasses with coloured frames, Fitflops (eeuch), 3/4 length combat trousers - why are people still wearing these?! Can you think of anything else?

Ta ta for now,



PS this lovely deckchair is from Thornback & Peel.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

The Style Begins at Forty Awards 2012

Photo: W Magazine.

The gold medals have all been handed out, there's still a couple of weeks till the Paralympics, so it's time for an award ceremony of a different kind: the third annual Style Begins At Forty Awards (SBAFTAS). And we'll have no biting the medals (or each other) thank you very much. First up is the lifetime achievement award, which if you remember is, unlike the Brits, not given to some old rocker who just won't go away. No, this is in recognition of an outstanding contribution to fashion. So without further ado, this year's award goes to the fabulous Anna Piaggi. RIP. She had over 900 hats. Enough said.

Photo: Capital FM

The Fashion Royalty gong goes to Queen Elizabeth II. It's been a good year for Her Maj - and she deserves a gold medal for showing a sparkling sense of humour at the Opening Ceremony. Hip hip hooray.
Photo: Zimbio

And just to prove that it's not all about London 2012, the Ines de la Fressange award for Parisian Chic goes to model/Schiaparelli muse Farida Khelfa. Nice shoes.

Photo: Susie Bubble.

Photo: London Fashion by Paul.

The prize for grown-up DJ goes to the fabulous Thelma Speirs. Great hats, great hair and she's a muse for Peter Jensen's autumn/winter 2012 collection too.

The gong for Best Actress goes to Frances McDormand, who was looking very Muiccia Prada in Moonlight Kingdom. Oh go on, let's give the wonderful Mrs Prada an award too. How about designer of the decade?

Photo: Getty

You may have noticed that there aren't any men on the list, which just won't do. This is not the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award. So, just in case he's not around next year - heaven forbid, what would we do without Michelle? - the award-winner for Presidential Style is Mr Barack Obama.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

This week's most-wanted: Chanel jewellery

1960s Chanel earrings.

This week is all about filling the Olympic void and fending off that post-Games comedown. Helpfully, to celebrate Chanel's birthday on 19 August, 1stdibs have organised a special online jewellery sale (starts Weds 15 August). So, in that parallel universe where I have more money than Boy Capel, here are a couple of fabulous bits and pieces that have made it onto my (fantasy) shopping list:

1980s Griproix for Chanel necklace.

Chanel pearl and jewelled cuff.

How are you coping with the post-Olympics slump?

Monday, 13 August 2012

Older Models: Stella Tennant

Stella Tennant photographed by Nick Knight for Vogue.

Some people may question the relevance of catwalk models at an Olympic Games' ceremony but why not make use of a prime advertising slot to showcase what's left of Great British industry? I'm all for promoting car manufacturing (I give you the Rolls Royce and Robin Reliant), high fashion and certain elements of the music industry. The Kaiser Chiefs performing a Who cover version made it feel a bit X Factor - I half expected Simon Cowell to arrive with Her Majesty in his private jet - but at least they were in tune. Thankfully, George Michael, Eric Idle and The (real) Who managed to bring a bit of star quality back to the proceedings. Anyhow. As we couldn't have David Bowie at the Closing Ceremony - music industry insiders tell me he's not playing at the moment and doesn't like flying - I was quite happy to settle for Stella Tennant. Looking fabulously androgynous in a sparkly Christopher Kane suit. Yes, Kate Moss looked amazing in Alexander McQueen, but Tennant had that glam rock edge. I've always admired her haughty elegance (her grandma's Debo the Duchess of Devonshire), boyish silhouette and choppy hair. She's only 41, so technically not very old at all, but I can't think of another phrase for this regular blog post. Can you?

Vogue September 2011. Photos: Javier Vallhonrat.

Vogue November 2012. Photos: David Sims.
Vogue July 2010. Photos: Mario Testino
Celine spring/summer 2011 campaign, shot by Juergen Teller.

Photos: Getty, Vogue, NYmag.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

That is my age: Olympic flowers

I promise to stop going on about London 2012 shortly - but in the meantime, the meadow flowers planted by Sarah Price are worth a mention. Thanks to the record-breaking rainfall earlier this year, the gardens are looking lovely and lush and bring a typically British landscape to the heart of the Olympic Park. After a thrilling hockey match, me and Mr That's Not My Age found a quiet corner and ate our sandwiches amongst the marigolds. And, I was pleased to read that when the Olympic flame heads for Rio - in proper Twenty Twelve sustainability style - the green space will doubled from 50 to 100 hectares. Give that woman a gold medal. That's what I call an Olympic legacy.

Talking of the impact of the Games, Carol Ann Duffy has written a brilliant poem called Translating the British 2012, that sums up the mood perfectly.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

How to wear a maxi skirt

Have you noticed I've had a facelift? Not me personally, I'd never do that - much easier to take the pain-free alternative and chop my head off in photographs. No. After four years with the same tired expression, That's Not My Age finally called in the image doctor and succumbed to an injection of Blogger's Botox. And the old facade looks so much better, don't you think?

As well as trying hard not to think about the end of the Olympics (day 13 and counting) and the state of the economy, this summer I've been making the most of my J Crew jersey maxi skirt. Here I am in the outfit du jour, The Perfect Blue Shirt and a pair of old flip flops. And yes, I know the Flip Flop Dress Code: wear them indoors or on holiday, but it was over 30 degrees in London that day and I was in a rush. Alright?

So, having sauntered around the city all summer, with dirty feet, my tips for wearing maxi skirts are:

1. Always wear flat shoes. Make that leather sandals in summer and brogues in winter.
2. With a slim-fitting long skirt you can play around with dimensions. A looser top that nips/tucks in at the waist - like my jaunty knotted shirt -  is a good option.
3. Hitch up your skirt when using the stairs, public transport, and the bathroom.

And as promised, here I am at the Olympic Park wearing J Crew jersey skirt number two and my lovely Team GB T-shirt. Forty eight medals so far! Not bad eh?

Monday, 6 August 2012

London 2012: Olympic Park Style

Retro-inspired sportswear never goes out of fashion.

The Olympics. I'm loving it. London is euphoric, the atmosphere is fan-bloody-tastic and for once it does actually feel like we're all in this together. The athletes, the crowds, the volunteers, the soldiers. So far, the Games have been a veritable triathlon of emotions: tears practically every time Team GB win a medal, pride and joy at the fabulous opening ceremony, anger at that British rower who apologised for only getting a silver. People, I don't want it to end. If only I could bottle this feeling and sell it. I'd have more money than Mitt Romney.

So. On Thursday, me and Mr That's Not My Age actually took in some live Games action. We were lucky enough to get some last-minute cheap tickets for the the hockey. Australia won, by the way...

Roaming around afterwards, I managed to snap a few sneaky Olympic Park Style pics. Some of the spectators maxed out on national pride:

Team USA.
Team Netherlands

Even I was wearing my Team GB t-shirt (photo coming soon). But it was the dapper older folks and their nifty selection of sun hats that caught my eye:

Floppy and floral.
The flat cap and pint combo.

Can't wait to watch more athletics this evening. Are you enjoying London 2012?

Friday, 3 August 2012

The Style Begins at Forty Awards 2012

Bill Cunningham making Vanity Fair's international best dressed list this week reminded me that I still haven't compiled this year's Style Begins at Forty Awards (SBAFtAS). To be honest, I'm finding it hard to concentrate on anything other than the Olympics at the moment, but the blog must go on! Past winners have included, Iris Apfel, Hilary Alexander and Michelle Obama. With Jarvis Cocker, Keith Richards and José Mourinho doing their bit for men of a certain age. I have a preliminary list on the go, but would like to open this year's awards out to my dedicated readers, so do please let me know if there's anyone who you think has excelled in the style stakes over the last 12 months.

Thanks and have a good weekend.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The beauty of age: Isabella Rossellini

This week I've mostly been obsessing over the Olympics and listening to the radio. Did you know that Bradley Wiggins has been given the freedom of Chorley? Thought not. In other news, today's edition of Woman's Hour was dedicated to feminism and beauty and the pressures women feel about looking a certain way. Young and old called in to discuss their experiences: whether they were influenced by the media, society, or in some cases by their husband's delectation (shocking, I know), whether they'd already had or would consider having surgery, and the like. I was on the verge of phoning in myself but decided not to embarrass myself by getting 'a bit ranty' on national radio. Anyway, it was a brilliant discussion, if you missed the show you can listen to it here. Everything ended on a positive note when a caller named Marie said that her grown-up son and his friends went to see Quantum of Solace and decided they preferred Judi Dench to the young, nubile Bond girls. Now that's what I call the beauty of age.

Which brings me on to the Isabella Rossellini Bulgari ads, shot by Annie Liebowitz (these are for the new Isabella Rossellini bag, much better that an Alexa, don't you think?) The 59-year-old actress is having a moment. In the About Face: Supermodels Then & Now documentary by Timothy Greenfied-Sanders, which was out in the USA this week, she says, ' I was lucky because I started modelling when I was 28-years-old. Now they start so young and there is much more pressure. Modelling taught me to be confident and financially independent. When my daughter (Elettra Wiedermann) started modelling at 20, an agent told her she should get plastic surgery, immediately. I was completely scandalised. I could have killed someone. I made a phone call that was the most ferocious I'd ever made.'

Bravo, Isabella.

Do you feel under pressure to look a certain way?

Photo: Grazia. Quote: Harper's Bazaar