I adore the plush fabrics that the colder months bring.  Cashmere woollens, velvet, and corduroy, as well as tweedy tactile fabrics – wrapping them around us – feeling comfy and warm.

Over the years, I have developed a love of coats. It might be due to living in the North East of England, where you spend best part of the year in one!   That said, we have had a long, warm summer, this year.  Recently, I have added a few versatile additions to my wardrobe as well as bringing out old trusted garments, which I still love and enjoy wearing (check my Instagram page).

I have the odd items of clothing that are so old they could be “vintage”, but, I still enjoy wearing them.  I’m pleased I didn’t have a mad moment and give them away, as I have done in the past!  Some of my older items were expensive, by my standards – others, I didn’t pay a lot for, but are still in excellent condition.

I’m a fan of casual glamour, a mixture of day and evening wear.  One of my mantras is, if an outfit works, and fits with your style,  keep wearing it,and  mix it up with other items.

I wear trousers a lot more in the winter, so, I have been experimenting with quite a few styles.  A  few haven’t worked, so,  I have had to return them.  But, others I have really liked, and they have made me a little more adventurous with my style – it’s never too late!  I purchased them to spice up my winter wardrobe.  I thought I would share some of these items with you to see what you think?

The three pairs of trousers that I’ve featured are all from H&M, which is purely coincidental.

Velvet wide legged pants

I didn’t think I would like these at all.  They are high on the waist, which can be a little tricky to wear when you get older.   However, when I tried them on, I got a pleasant surprise.   The velvet is very soft.  It is also very comfortable, especially around the tummy.  I found that, worn with the correct clothes, they are surprisingly flattering, and they work.   Plus, I got a few compliments from trusted friends when I wore them.

 Here’s a few ways I wore them.

Wearing my Zara tuxedo with my H&M wide velvet trousers

Worn with Zara cardigan with contrasting trim.

Black tuxedo and cream cami – also photo-bombed slightly by Jarvis!!

Black slim-fit jeans with a slight flared hem.

I wear jeans a lot, in my everyday world.  These jeans caught my eye, because of the slight flare.  I was curious to see if they would suit me.  I tried them on in the shop, and got a pleasant surprise.

They sit quite high on the waist, pulling the tummy in, in a lovely way.  There is 1% “elastane” in the material, plus organic cotton, which I like.  I find them flattering.   They can be worn with high heels, or flats.  This style of jean is a lovely contrast as I usually wear straight legged jeans, so it’s nice to shake it up!  I have worn them a few times, and they are very comfortable.

Here are a few ways I have worn these jeans.

Worn with a Zara sweatshirt that was only £9.99 and a man’s Burberry scarf that I bought a long time ago.

Worn with a Tuxedo, plus a touch of leopard print.

Wide legged checked trousers

Again, these are not my usual style.   I was a little unsure if I would like them.  My legs are not super long, so I was worried they would appear shorter, due to the hem sitting above the ankle.

 However, they are smart, casual and a good fit and work well with most footwear.  I know there have been a lot of issues with H&M sizing, but there was no problem.  They fit me perfectly.  I am a 12 to 14 (depending on the brand), and with these trousers, I felt more comfortable in the size 14.   They are, in my opinion, a quality material, and I really like them – plus, they go with a lot of things.  So versatile!

What I wore with them.

“Next” leather jacket,which I have had for an eternity and still love! Plus, a black cashmere polo neck sweater from Marks and Spencer

Thank you for reading my post.  If you have any questions, please leave a comment.

Alison xx

I learnt a few weeks ago that House of Fraser (HOF) are not honouring gift cards in store or online.  My gift card for HOF is worth £80.00.   I have followed the process for getting my money refunded but I’m not holding my breath.  So my question is “are gift cards a safe bet”??

Since this discovery, I have been told it’s probably best to spend gift cards quickly in this present climate.   More importantly, I feel concerned for the staff of House of Fraser. It must be the worst feeling in the world for these employees to not  know what the future holds, and it makes the slight problem of a gift card seem trivial. But, nevertheless, £80 is no small amount!!!

Recently, I went to Newcastle to make sure my youngest son was settled into university for his final year.   We all met up in the city centre for coffee, then and I went into Fenwicks Dept Store.  This was a conscious decision as I had another gift card that I had received from Christmas 2017.  The whole House of Fraser gift card situation made me think that maybe I had to spend it quickly!

Wandering around Fenwicks, I couldn’t resist this pretty blue Daria Print Ruffled Skirt from Mint Velvet (£89.00).  It is chiffon material in a layered silhouette. This midi skirt sits high on the waist and I have already worn it quite a few times – pairing it with a Zara dark blue fitted jumper, or a cream fitted cardigan.

I particularly love the movement of the skirt and thought it looked good with this old leather biker jacket that I have owned for ages, along with some blue suede ankle boots.

This skirt could easily be dressed up in heels and a silky blouse or even a stylish t-shirt and sneakers with a little denim jacket – that would look cool!!

I know I will get a lot of wear out of it as it is so versatile and flattering – and I also love the midi length, which is my favourite.

Alison x

We must face facts that Winter is just around the corner. This year, we have had a real summer, so, we can’t complain.

One of this season’s favourites is the Animal print, which is a huge trend and the “go to” look. It has been a fashion favourite and seems to go from strength to strength.  This is news, if you really like it.

There is no escaping the multitude of animal-inspired patterns.   Animal print has never really disappeared – because, it never goes out of fashion.  And, I am happy about that, because I’ve always enjoyed wearing this design, in some shape or form.  But, this year, it is here in abundance.

The question is to either go “full on” animal print or just a touch.  It’s all down to how you feel and what your own personable style is.  I have seen some fantastic dresses and coats. But, for the person who just wants a splash, it may be too much to have a full-on “head to toe” ensemble going on.

 

I think the beauty of animal print is it goes with anything, and can lift your outfit to the next level with either the right piece of clothing or an added accessory. I personally love seeing a colour block outfit with just a few touches of animal print – it is just so subtle and stylish and can give the outfit the edge. But, the overall look is such a personal thing.

 

I read an article a long time ago that said finding your perfect animal print can be a tricky one, saying it can depend on the colour and density of the print that will or won’t work with your shape or facial features. For example, if you have dainty features, a smaller more dense print will suit.  I’m not sure if I agree with this view.  The article cited an awful lot of suggestions but, to be honest, I lost the will to live reading the whole piece!!! There were just too many rules to abide by. I think we all look for a little guidance. But, overall, I hope we are generally confident enough to know when we try clothes on whether they suit us or not.

I like this dress. However, I am quite a conservative dresser – so, this outfit, for me, is quite bold.

But, I find, as I’m steadily getting older, I’m getting a little more adventurous. This animal print dress may be a bit too much for some, but it brought the “daredevil” out in me. Plus, I love the midi length – so, it’s a “win-win” situation!

Thank you for reading this article.

Alison x

Some girls are so certain of their style from the beginning.  I remember, in my young days, these girls stood out from the rest and were an inspiration to me.  I have been friendly with a lot of women throughout my life whose style has inspired me.  Whatever age and size, their confidence and their flair shone through. There is nothing more fabulous than someone who is comfortable in their own skin.  Style wise, they are such an inspiration and have no fear of looking a certain way or wearing something they really love and are not afraid of what people think, or say.

photographer – Viktor Hanacek

I loved nights out, in my younger years – the girls would turn up in their ‘get-ups’, which had been so meticulously put together.  Of course, these were the late seventies, early eighties – the time of big shoulder pads and “New Romantics”.  I also had a few mates who were “Punks” and “Goths” (now, that took time, effort and style).  I wonder what they are doing, and where they are with their “style”, now.  I don’t think you ever quite leave your young style behind as you get older –  it’s part of who you are. As we get older, we have had time to rehearse and practise.

Photo by Sabina Ciesielska on Unsplash

I like to think I have a little bit of an idea when I’m trying on things that don’t suit me – they just feel so “wrong”. For example, in my younger years, I had some “not good” moments with woollen dresses which made me look like a giant snowball – think the whole colour block thing doesn’t agree with me, and the odd (very eighties) rah-rah skirt.  This  was the first successful attempt to revive the mini skirt and, hands up, I was a fan at the time!   It wasn’t very forgiving if you know what I mean.

Photo by Lauren Fleischmann on Unsplash

Oh, and there was the odd bad hair-do just to add to the overall mix. I once came back from the hairdressers looking like Tina Turner which, as much as I love Tina Turner, this was not my intention or what I had asked for.  I think the hairdresser got a little bit carried away.

Me out for a saunter, in the direction of the pub! I do love “easy to wear” chilled out fashion that makes me feel good, though I’m not averse to a lovely little bit of dressing up!

I believe style in midlife years is continually a “work in progress”.  For example, I will see a great outfit on someone, or in a shop and love it.  Sometimes, I’ve been brave enough to ask the person where they had purchased it.  But, on me, it will either look equally good or really terrible.  I once read somewhere that style takes time and maybe that’s true. I believe, at this age, I am still trying to look good and that, for me, it’s on-going.  Some women make wearing clothes look effortless. Whereas, for me, alas, that’s not always the case!!!

 

Photo by Pete Bellis on Unsplash

I also believe it is very important to be comfortable, and know what suits me.  I’ve done this through trial and error, and taking good advice along the way from expert fashion stylists.  There is a lot of great “style gurus” out there.  I believe some of them are brilliant and give out great, constructive advice. But, I also believe that, whatever advice you read, you still must feel happy and relaxed in what you are wearing.  Because style is such a personal thing! We all know people who wear something because of the label or because they think, if it’s one of the most expensive, exclusive garments in the shop, then it will have to look great on them. Unfortunately, as we know, that’s not always the case.

Thank you for reading, let me know if you have any comments and please subscribe to my blog.

Alison x