Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The posh sweatshirt

I love a posh sweatshirt. Excellent go-anywhere credentials, and the epitome of Casual Glamour. The latest addition to my collection is this gorgeous midnight velvet number by Les Chiffoniers. Beautiful isn't it? (here's the link to it online, but be warned - it's nearly sold out). I never thought I'd see myself in textured sportswear, that Juicy Couture tracksuit/abomination put me right off, but fashion moves in mysterious ways. And this velvet top is so slinky. Here I am sporting the usual 'I hate having my photo taken' expression, right after the Margaret Howell show at London Fashion Week. I'm also wearing the old Liberty Print Nike Air Max and carrying Boden's Chelsea bag. One of my friends joked that they might not let me into London Fashion Week with a Boden bag, but this lovely inky patent leather number is very chic and if it's good enough for Helena Christensen... Let's have a closer look:

Trainer gazing.

After this impromptu photoshoot with my lovely friend Dvora, I nipped across to the Whistles spring/summer 2013 press day, where I was immediately drawn to this super-soft, leather sweatshirt. I never thought I'd wear a leather sweatshirt but...sorry is this getting a bit repetitive?

Jane Sheperdson was there too. We had a chat, she's absolutely lovely. Charming and talented. The CEO of Whistles told me that after four years with the company, she's finally got the collection where she wants it. And I have to agree, this is one of the strongest ranges yet. There's an excellent interview this with JS on The Business of Fashion website this week.

Jane Sheperdson.

Something Sheperdson said really struck a chord with me: 'We identified that there was a gap in the market for grown-up fashion; for contemporary, effortless, laid back fashion —not classic. There were a lot of people in that premium price point that were doing classic things already.'

Another fan of Casual Glamour.

PS The shiny bag was a present from Boden, and now you all think I'm really ungrateful.

Monday, 29 October 2012

The Diana Vreeland DVD

Diana Vreeland. Now there was a fashion editor. As Lauren Hutton says in The Eye Has To Travel documentary, 'She was upside-down original.' Her vivid imagination changed the face of fashion and brought a little extra pizzazz into our lives. So, good news people, the D.V. DVD is out today. It's a brilliant film, I can't wait to watch it all over again (here's my full review)  - and I'm wearing stripes and painted nails in honour of the grande dame.

I've gone easy on the rouge, though....

PS I think that should be our fashion mantra from now on, 'We all need a little extra pizzazz.'

Saturday, 27 October 2012

All Ages, No Style.

I've told you what I think about the Guardian's All Ages fashion spread before: here and here. The dreadful hair & make-up, the ill-fitting clothes, the 'just escaped from the care home' vibe. Very little thought or attention being paid to the specific needs of older models. These days I tend to ignore the fashion and go straight to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's food pages instead. But the image of Valerie Pain in today's 'Military Precision' photoshoot, is one of the worst ever. The stylist has made Maxmara look like Matalan, a beautiful woman look like a sack of spuds. The £275 designer dress is too tight across the bust and doesn't fit properly at the waist and shoulders. And don't mention the knees. Team Guardian Fashion really need to pay more attention to the wise words of Iris Apfel, who knows a thing or too about looking good at any age, 'All women over a certain age should cover up, no matter what a jock you are - arms are awful. Designers are terrible on that.'

What a shame. This is a missed opportunity to increase diversity in fashion and celebrate the style of older women. No one wants to look like this, at any age.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Grown-up style: Joseph

So. Fashion label Joseph is 40 this year. And to celebrate the brand has launched a website. If you're feeling flush, click away now. I can remember back in the olden days, when I first moved to London, buying Joseph trousers (in the sale) and own-brand perfume in a super-cool hip flask. The shop on Draycot Avenue is where I discovered APC. Having lost its mojo over the years, Joseph has finally got its buzz back, recovered the midpoint position on that French/British venn diagram of style. And will be showing at London Fashion Week in 2013. There's a great article on the background story by Julia Neel, here.

Browsing the Joseph site, I found myself unconsciously drawn to yet another navy coat with shiny gold buttons, either my memory's going or I remain utterly consistent in my fashion choices. For variety's sake, I decided to lead with this shaggy grey number instead. Which made me think about the two sides of my wardrobe. My Split-Personality Style. Half minimal, menswear-inspired dressing, half bohemian, hippy-punk. The second-hand army surplus jacket or the boyfriend blazer? Both finished off with a sprinkling of glitz. You can take the girl out of the trashy seaside town but....

In fact, I like it best when both world's collide: camouflage and chiffon, leopard print and lean tailoring, Liz Taylor earrings and a slouchy denim shirt. It's all about taking the pared-down (almost to the point of plain) edge off minimalism, by adding an unexpected twist. Just check out those white shoes.

Does your wardrobe suffer from Split-Personality Style?

Monday, 22 October 2012

How to wear gold trousers

Ever since I met the lovely Orsola de Castro at London Fashion Week, I've been hankering after a pair of metallic trousers. Truly the epitome of Casual Glamour. The perfect boardroom-to-bar companion. Not that I ever spend much time in a boardroom, but you get the picture. Maximum impact, minimum effort, as they say in glossy magazine-land. And an easier option than this season's optical print pants. So. As Mr That's Not My Age prepares for work and I grapple with the blog, I'm reminded once more that I'm living with a style icon. 'Oh I used to have some gold trousers,' he pipes up from behind the ironing board, 'They were from BOY.' Really? 'Yeah. I used to wear them with a tuxedo jacket and a big scarf.' Job done, I think. No burning the porridge this week. So, today's 'How to wear it' tip comes courtesy of the Blog Widower, who remains a step ahead of the fashion pack when it comes to fancy pants.

These lovely Precious Trousers are from Hobbs - and they'd look good with a black polo neck and brogues too. How would you wear gold metallic trews?

Friday, 19 October 2012

Crossfire Hurricane

Charlie has the best shoes

So. Went to the Crossfire Hurricane screening at London Film Festival last night. And no, we weren't with the band. Never having been to a world premiere before, me & Mr That's Not My Age arrived just as the Rolling Stones were stepping off the red carpet and into the Odeon. Not that we could see them from where we were standing. Behind the crowd, behind the barriers, in the centre of Leicester Square. In the rain. Glamorous, eh?

But being ticket-holders, they let us in. Which involved a faintly ridiculous stroll down the red carpet. In case you're wondering, I was wearing military not Marchesa. The old army surplus camouflage jacket has turned into an urban uniform, of late. But that's OK, all the other civilians were dressed down too. Here's our view:

We watched most of the red carpet action on the big screen, inside the cinema.  Ahem. That Is My Age. Then the Rolling Stones came by to say hello:

Bill Wyman. Who's he?

I liked the documentary. Though there's not a great deal of new footage, it's neatly put together and the hysteria surrounding the band in the sixties is palpable. It's just a shame it all comes to an abrupt end in the early eighties. What about the last 30 years? Surely Mick & Keef's spats are the most interesting bit? Ah well, Crossfire Hurricane 2, here we come.

Photo: Yahoo News.

Jerry Hall was there too. In an eye-catching animal print two-piece and flat shoes. Loving Jerry at the moment, even though she's not the best dancer - what was she doing at Studio 54? (don't answer that) - the 56-year-old is good fun on Strictly. And apparently will be dancing the paso doble to Paint it Black in a couple of weeks.

Enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

A Guide To French Style

It started with Celine. Those gorgeous Juergen Teller photos with model Daria Werbowy - the hair, the no-make-up-make-up, the scarf tied in a way I haven't considered since the 1980s when I thought Paul Simonon was god and I'd wear Doc Martens forever - had me contemplating the secrets of French Style, all over again. Observing Paris Fashion Week vicariously from the comfort of my own computer (it's the best way, ask Cathy Horyn), I became enamoured once more: 

Photo: Stockholm Street Style.

If you're looking for a quick lesson in French Style, look no further than Emmanuelle Alt. Her low-key approach is the epitome of urban cool. Proof that keeping it chic is all about simplicity. Oh and Comfy Shoe Alert! Check out Alt on the Gucci front row in low-heeled pumps:

Photo: Getty.

We popped to see the Little Black Jacket exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery at the weekend. Karl Lagerfeld has a coffee table book out and an exhibition to go with. He's taken the photos and Carine Roitfeld's styled loads of gorgeous young actors and models, all wearing a Chanel classic tweed jacket. My favourite pictures were of glamorous grown-ups like Uma Thurman, Tilda Swinton, Jane Birkin, and a very pregnant Charlotte Gainsbourg. You can see most of them here. To be honest, by the time we got to the third room it was all feeling a tad self-indulgent, and boring - as Mr TNMA pointed out, 'The photos aren't that good.' Talk about overblown vanity project. But at least entrance was free and there was Ines:

Whilst we're on the subject of Parisian Chic, the new Gerard Darel ad campaign with model Elisa Sednaoui has popped up on my radar. I'm yet to own any GD but a close friend swears by this label, and that's a good endorsement for moi.

So. If like me you're thinking of an autumn of Parisian Chic - and aren't in the running for a Chanel jacket or Eurostar ticket - here's my advice:

1.Team a mannish blazer or reefer jacket with jeans. I recommend a classic straight leg style with un petit turn-up a la Ines de la Fressange.

2. Keep accessories to a minimum, the French Vogue editor doesn't even carry a handbag. Opt for low-heeled pumps - and steer clear of the studded belt scenario (see above). Unless you want to look like one of Johnny Hallyday's backing band.

3. Layer-up a loose-fitting shirt. White, denim or black, doesn't matter. Just remember to leave it half tucked in, half out. It's the Emmanuelle Alt way, and trés chic.

4. Wear navy and black. Together.

Do you have a penchant for the Parisan look?

Monday, 15 October 2012

The black polo neck jumper

It's Wool Week, so here's a jumper. These photographs are taken from the latest Margaret Howell campaign, I love the way this quintessentially British designer takes one classic item - last season it was the white shirt, the autumn campaign focuses on The Jumper - and rolls with it.

Jumper photos: Koto Bolofo.

As a student, I adopted a Beatnik/child of the sixties kind of vibe and lived in a second-hand, black leather jacket, M&S polo neck and Levi's 501 jeans. (I think we Brits call this a polo neck and roll neck is the American/more modern term (?)) Sadly, in the olden days there was no such thing as Facebook and I didn't have a camera, so there aren't any photos. Here's one of Jackie O instead.

I am cheekily re-using pictures from a previous post today, but it's Monday morning, I don't want to be late for work and I've already burned my porridge. Let's focus on the practical qualities of the simple roll neck. In cashmere it's a sensual proposition, a chic wardrobe staple and the best way to hide a saggy neck, just ask Diane Keaton:

Think about Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face, Yves Saint Laurent's Beat Collection, which upset the couture clients and saw him sacked from Dior, and the other first lady...

The polo neck is so versatile, it works with Capri pants, jeans, khakis, pencil skirts and as Diane Keaton proves layered under a dress. Of course, men can wear polo necks too:

Will you roll with it this autumn?

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Quote of the week: Iris Apfel

Photo: Telegraph.

As Mr That's Not My Age prepares to leave the building and I try to simultaneously get ready and knock out another blog post, it strikes me that Iris Apfel's advice to young women applies to us all:

'I think they should open their minds and their eyes, and stop pressing buttons so much (at this juncture the Blog Widower tuts loudly and tells me to step away from the computer), 'I think they should learn who they are and not try to fit into a mould that some magazine editor tells them they have to be. The world’s a big place, sniff it all out.'

I'm off to explore the real world. Have you got the social networking balance right?

Quote courtesy of hautetalk.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Older and bolder

What with my new found camo love and the Mary Berry Effect (MBE), this autumn is turning into one big colour fest. So. The Modern Love sample sale, in Brighton this weekend, is the perfect place to p-p-p-pick up some pattern. Designer Sarah Arnett is the doyenne of digital print, and with prices starting at 40 quid, it's well worth the train fare down from London.

And whilst we're on the subject of Mary Berry (sort of), her style status has been much-lauded of late, but the 77-year-old's love of a Victoria sponge is quite impressive too, 'I know that you should only have a small slice but I'm never going to stop eating cakes. I love it.'

Photo: Daily Mail.

How do you feel about the MBE? Would you wear vibrant botanical prints?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Party Necklace

Model wears two Party Necklaces. How very decadent.

Let's talk about embellishment. Bejewelled coats, dresses and handbags were all over the catwalks like Boris Johnson supporters at the Tory Party conference. And we know how we feel about that. With adornment as with Borismania, a little goes a long way.

As a fan of Casual Glamour, I love to liven up a pared-down outfit with a small sprinkling of glitz.Which is why I've added this Boden party necklace to my repertoire. I wore it today with my favourite grey sweatshirt and received quite a few compliments, don't you know. Anyone who remembers the Art Of The Trench experience (people, that photo still haunts me) will have clocked my Liz Taylor earrings in all their cheap, spangly glory. OK, so I'm not the first to use eye-catching accessories to help crank up the glamour factor, Coco Chanel famously wore costume jewellery with sporty separates for a relaxed daytime stroll along the French Riviera - and today, Jenna Lyons has got that high-low look down to a tee. As Lyons told The Times last year, 'It works best to mix both sides of the closet...I try to think of ways for women to get dressed in an outfit that will work in an office as well as for going out to dinner in the evening.'

Are you a fan of Casual Glamour/Boris Johnson?

Monday, 8 October 2012

How to wear camouflage print

Even at my age, there are certain fashion items I've never worn, like a basque, a baseball cap, and a bold camouflage print. As far as the basque and the baseball cap are concerned, I'd like to keep it that way, but all of a sudden this military pattern feels so right. Start off with a fondness for khaki, add a healthy dollop of animal print and then bring on the camo, it's a natural progression.

So, I picked this jacket up for £30 at Brixton Market (that's where I buy all my coats), none of your pretend military schmutter, this is proper army surplus with a NATO label sewn in the back and a strange bum flap-type thingy. The man in the second-hand shop said the flap was something to do with soldiers sitting on their helmets - ahem- which may be truth or fiction, who knows? Fortunately the bum flap can be buttoned up on the inside and so no need to worry about tucking it into my knickers when I've been to the loo. This is me on the way to London Fashion Week with my lovely new camo jacket  thrown over an old Jaeger striped tunic top, Acne black pants, ancient New Balance trainers - a bit smelly but perfect on the cobbles at Somerset House - and a new Jaeger handbag. My first proper ladies' handbag. Add that to the first-time-for-everything list. How very grown-up.

From anti-war protestors to high fashion, the art of camouflage has a long history, here are a few of my favourite camo moments:

Debbie Harry wears Stephen Sprouse (collaboration with Andy Warhol) 1987.

Lily Cole in Jean Paul Gaultier (2007).

 Jenna Lyons mixes it up.

Camo is another weapon to add to the fashion armoury - though when I'm on my bike in the rain, in my khaki jacket and new cycle helmet, I look a lot like this:

What's on your first-time-for-everything list?

And now I'm going to try to add this to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday list.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Koo Stark's Hair

This is not ordinarily a place you'd find thieving Sloane Rangers (allegedly). Koo Stark may or may not have stolen a 40 grand painting but she's bang to rights for nabbing Kristen McMenamy's fabulous haircut.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Black White Denim

Sophie Hulme bag.

This is a brilliant concept. A website (and a shop in fancy pants Wilmslow, Cheshire) selling products that are just black, white and denim. What more do you need? Alright, I'd quite like some Khaki, Navy, Grey myself but there's colour at BWD, if you look hard enough. The site's aim is to promote effortless style. Which is just what every grown-up woman wants.

2nd Day wrap jacket.

Blk Denim tuxedo jacket.

By Malene Birger dress.

So, a couple of weeks ago I got to meet the MD and founder of BWD, Jo Davies. Having spent years working in sales for big corporate brands like Diageo and Walkers crisps, Davies decided not to return to work after maternity leave and to start her own business. With a love of fashion and a supportive life/business partner, Black White Denim was born:

As you can see, this is a woman who lives by her own style rules - and carries that Sophie Hulme bag. I know, talk about perk of the job. 'I'm all about comfort and practicality. I have 35 minutes to get ready in the morning - my six-year-old son spends more time getting ready than me!' Jo laughed, 'So it genuinely has to be No Effort Required.' This is a woman after my own heart I thought when she added, 'Debbie Harry is my total style icon - hair not brushed, smudged eyeliner,' and we downed another glass of wine and carried on gossiping. 'I have to feel totally happy and comfortable with the brands I stock. If I don't, then I stop stocking them. It has to be ageless, classless, timeless - and it has to get me through the day. Which is why I love J Brand jeans and my By Malene Birger biker boots.'

And you'll be pleased to hear that in spite of the binge drinking, I managed to note down Jo Davies' advice on achieving effortless style:

1. Don't buy a load of shit you're not going to wear.
2. Have a few remarkable, stand-out pieces that catch people's attention and help update your wardobe.
3. Wear these with your favourite items - the stuff you keep till it falls apart (I hear you, Jo). I like to have that experience of living with something and knowing it lasts.
4. Avoid anything too trend-driven. The only place I've seen a peplum recently is on Downton Abbey.

Blimey, I think we might have been separated at birth. Do you have any advice attention-grabbing outfits? Or clothes you've worn till they fall apart?

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Amber Valetta models for M&S

I've never really understood Per Una. All those ruffles and frills. Far too chintzy for my liking. But hold on a minute, what's going on? Amber Valetta is modelling in the latest M&S campaign - and a pared-down Per Una is being pushed as the go-to label for grown-ups. Modern and slick and not a tiered gypsy skirt in sight. The 38-year-old American is one of my favourite models, ever. She's gorgeous. Who doesn't remember those nineties Gucci ads, Tom Ford's sumptuous mix of velvet disco pants and slinky satin shirts? The Vogue covers? The gorgeous fashion shoots in Harper's Bazaar? Swoon. I think I love her.

Oh and I'm still trying to think of a phrase other than 'older models' to describe my regular feature on models who aren't teenagers. Any ideas?

Monday, 1 October 2012

Style at any age: Elizabeth McGovern

As I'll be swapping Downton for Homeland next Sunday, I'd better get this post in quick. It's Lady Cora without the corsets. Actually, anyone who's been watching the latest series will know that we've  reached the 1920s and the frou-frou and restrictive foundation garments have been replaced by chic drop-waist dresses and silk stockings. So. Elizabeth McGovern, 51, the former Brat Pack actress who was engaged to Sean Penn in her twenties, has recently played the Isle of White Festival with her band, Sadie and the Hotheads, attended Anna Wintour's London fundraiser for President Barack Obama and gone from country house to catwalk at fashion week:

She's a lady. Photo: Telegraph.

Anna Bates and the Countess of Grantham at the Mulberry show. Photo: Grazia.

Looks like I'm not the only one who thinks Downton's Lady Cora is a star...

On the cover of Saga magazine.