2014 Settle For More!

The New Year brings with it the promise of a renewed resolve to transform our less than perfect lives and those of us who have experienced this at least 50 times or more often settle for less than the great expectations of all of those past New Years resolutions.

Why do we settle for less than we want ? We have paid our dues! Sacrificed, nurtured, acquired knowledge and encouraged countless others to reach their potential. What is it that stops us from reaching our goals?  Is it external or internal or maybe both? Whatever it is needs to be understood so that we continue to reach for the stars and to grow and be as fabulous as we know we can be!

Women past a certain age unlike men are subjected to disparaging names and comments if they dare to cross the line.  I google “Mutton Dressed as Lamb”

The saying Mutton dressed as lamb is first found in the journal of social gossip that Mrs Frances Calvert compiled in 1811. Exracts from the journal were published in 1911 as an Irish Beauty of the Regency. Someone the other day asked the Prince of Wales whether he did not think some girl pretty. Girl! answered he, girls are not my taste. I don’t like lamb but mutton dressed like lamb!

This was slightly preceded by an earlier version in which women were said to be dressed “lamb-fashion”.  An example of that appeared in the anonymous 1810 novel Splendid Follies. Ewe mutton without garnish is tough to bite, be sure, but methinks she’s dished herself of the day lamb-fashion.

Mutton dressed as lamb was originally a disparaging description of a woman aiming to deceive a man into believing she was younger than she really was-it being an economic necessity for a woman to marry while still of childbearing age. Its current usage, while still disparaging is of a woman who is apparently DELUDED and thinks herself attractive in clothes usually worn by women much younger.

The motivation having changed from marriageability to those of SELF ESTEEM!! There it is in black and white!

Who is perpetuating this 18th century draconian notion that women past childbearing age are and should be less attractive, less visible,  and accept not feeling good about themselves ? I ask my husband and his answer is other women! Could it be true that there is not only misogyny at work here and that the sisterhood is its own worst enemy? I have to admit to using the phrase myself albeit the 21st Century version, mutton dressed as leopard which I first heard from the lips of Trinny & Susanna! I thought it was pretty funny at the time but now I am ashamed that I didn’t see that it is still as disparaging and self esteem destroying as mutton dressed as lamb.

Cougar is the latest label for women who are obviously not as young as they used to be and are still daring to cross the ageists line! The very word suggests a predatory nature there is even a TV series called Cougar town! I haven’t watched it so I can’t comment on its content but I ask you what woman wouldn’t want to look like Courtney Cox?

Obviously women are not consciously perpetuating this self esteem destroying belief we have been conditioned to think this way over many years. It is no wonder we are so confused about what is and what isn’t socially acceptable. Where’s my soap box?



You are never too old, it is never too late and we don’t really know what we are capable of until we try! Amelia Erhart  in a letter to her husband wrote:” Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail their failure must be a challenge to others”

Coco Chanel after closing her fashion house during the war re-launched her brand when she was in her seventies and continued to establish herself as a leading light for women’s liberation through fashion!

Madonna continues to defy the ageists and pave the way for women of all ages.


Iris Afpel is still designing and leading the way for women Iris is in her 90′s.

My New Year resolution for 2014 is to perpetuate the truth that women past childbearing age are beautiful, intelligent, sexy, creative and an absolutely necessary part of the survival of humanity. The only resemblance we bear to mutton, leopards and cougars is our ability to survive in a sometimes less than kind world. Found my soapbox it was in the closet underneath my leopard look boots!



These are a Few of My Favourite Things!

As the lights go up and the temperatures plummet and the first snowflakes stay on my nose and eyelashes.  These are a few of my favourite things I have put together for the Christmas season !




Your Style and NY Fashion Week Spr/Sum 2014

New York Fashion week is definitely about wearable clothes. Of course we can’t all afford high end designer clothes but you can take your lead from these designers and match the look to your individual style.

If your style is feminine you might like to add some of these looks to your lady like spring/summer wardrobe.

















If your preference is for a more relaxed paired down sporty style these looks may workout well for you!


For the madam d with and eye for classic style these looks are very 2014!




















For the woman who is not afraid to be noticed adding a bit of drama to your style takes courage and may be just what your spring/summer wardrobe needs?


NY Fashion Week Overload.

So much to view so little time to digest it all. I find myself in fashion overload as the collections of so many talented hard working designers spin around in my head. This makes me wonder how the designers and their support teams manage to make it through such a frenetic week? I liken it to Christmas with its costly and lengthy build up only to be over in a flash. Herve Leger dress right one of my favourite pieces of Spring 2014!

The shows however must go on and on and on each collection to be quickly followed by the next in the race to keep the fashion machine wheels turning. The lines are blurred, fashion is an art form and fashion is a commercial product that we just can’t get enough of, or can we?

Who is really driving this hamster wheel? It can’t be just the designers as the creative process is not machine like or $ driven. there is no doubt that there is a driving force behind the creative force and it is all about big business.

It is my business to try to keep up with it all and I confess it is an impossible task.

Diane Von Furstenberg one of my favourite designers took a break after taking the world by storm with her wrap dress in 1974 with which she helped to shape women’s fashion (pun intended). After following other creative and successful paths  in the industry DVF relaunched her career in 1997 with none other than her wrap dress. The wrap dress like all good design had stood the test of time and was embraced by an entirely new generation.This veteran of the industry is no doubt wiser and the better for having stepped off the treadmill for a time.

DVF knows how to dress women to flatter. These beautiful column dresses are simple ageless and infinitely wearable! Her theme a journey through the desert obviously finding an oasis. Quote from DVF ”The DVF woman is an island unto herself” goes to the heart of what fashion is all about. It is so much more than just designing clothing!

Each collection from every designer is a time capsule which represents their interpretation of a slice of time. Fashion as a whole is a reliable record of human progress always in tune with the economy, social change, technological advance and major world events.




Donna Karan another of my favourite designers has stood the test of time with her unfailing delivery of beautiful wearable flattering clothes for women season after season year after year. 

I struggle to find something in this spring 2014 collection that I would not wear!









Boy merges with girl at Victoria Beckham’s 2014 spring show! 







While the themes are many and varied from Altuzarra’s feminine metalic’sto Zero+ Maria Cornejo’s urban armour :

Todays woman wants clothes that work. That’s Sportswear that is more than just sportswear.           My Favourite look from Tori Birch.

Retro that is firmly aimed at the future, Stripes that suit all of us and pieces that go from day to night and beyond.  There is a new feminine strength which is based on being true to oneself. We don’t need the shoulder pads of the eighties or dominatrix looks to prove our equality.         Tracy Reese mixes sporty and feminine for todays woman with perfection!  We celebrate being female and that may mean wearing cargo pants and functional T’s or lace and sheer feminine fabrics with or without leather and studs at any time of the day or night accessorising with whatever takes our fancy!



Mercedes-Benz NY Fashion Week Fall 2014

There is no doubting the hype surrounding the Mercedes-Benz NY Fashion Week Fall 2014. I Google the net worth of the fashion industry and am not surprised to learn that as of April 2013 globally this industry was valued at $1.5 trillion dollars. In my Google search for info I also come across BoF The Business of Fashion news site, which has been nominated for the Webby’s “Peoples Voice Awards.” www.businessoffashion.com I register with them and after seeing what they are all about and reading a few of their interesting well written articles I decide to vote for them also.

No matter who you are or where you live the fashion industry is a part of your daily life. That uncomfortable moment in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ where Meryl Streep delivers her lecture on the importance of the fashion industry even to her most un fashionable assistant said it all. We are all in it whether we are conscious devotees or not. Which begs the question why is this industry that we are all a part of so hell bent on such exclusivity and snobbery? It is no accident that Mercedes Benz is fashion weeks number one supporter.

The wealthy, famous and beautiful people of the world support and add to the hype and exclusivity of this desire driven 1.5 trillion $ fantasy world.  Shopping is the worlds number one leisure activity and even though we are still technically amidst a global financial crisis we still can’t seem to stay out of the shops. Even my own husband a previously devoted non-shopper needed to be dragged from Macy’s last weekend. The worlds largest department store cast a serious shopping spell on him.


So what’s my point you may be thinking? My point is this. The fashion industry is a 1.5 trillion$ industry because we all make it so. The average person may not be wearing Prada or Channel but that is not where the real profits are. The High St not Haute Couture is this industry’s boiler room. Ready to wear drives the industry and the time gap between the designer runway shows and the availability of fast fashion copies is now almost non existent. Luxury goods designer knock offs are big business that is sure to have contributed to Bangkok now being the worlds number one tourist destination, it recently pipped London at the post. While it must seriously annoy high end fashion designers there is no real loss to their custom as the people who buy copies would usually not be able to afford the real thing. The website The Real Real which sells preloved high end fashion to the financially challenged and other similar websites fills a gap offering mere mortals the chance to own a slice of the fantasy. Although rumour has it that all you see on these sites may not be really real!

Back to my point. No matter how exclusive the fashion industry likes to think it is it is all smoke and mirrors. The industry needs the every day consumer who trudges the High St often in less than well heeled shoes in search of that certain piece of clothing or that perfect accessory that will complete that desired image and offer a portal into an attainable fashion fantasy world.

I am not for one minute advocating that we do not need our designers they should be admired as much as any talented artist. They have the vision and help to set the trends which drives the industry that we all benefit from down the line. What I am advocating is that we are conscious of the role we play in this global industry. Gok the British stylist made his name showing how easily he was able to compete with High Fashion Designer looks with fashion from the High St. Most of us don’t have an unlimited budget when it comes to stocking our wardrobe. Being discerning and cherry picking new pieces each season with a view to building your collection rather than throwing yourself headlong onto the fashion treadmill will pay dividends in the long run. Know your style, always buy the best quality you can afford and put the fashion industry to work knowing that it exists only to serve you!

Perfect Packaging!

The BIG APPLE  who would have believed I would be living here? Certainly no me! For a fashion stylist it doesn’t get much better than this!

                                                    Perfect Packaging by Alexander McQueen for the Met gala

I head out into Midtown Manhattan with my  DK over my shoulder and excitement in my heart. Audrey Hepburn is this city’s number one style icon. Posters everywhere of the screen goddess in her Breakfast at Tiffany’s black dress and pearls pay homage to her perfect sense of style, her Perfect Packaging!

My first mission is food for the larder as no matter where you live the basic needs of life cannot be ignored. To my delight I find a grocery store two blocks away with organic fruit and veg. I begin to work through my list reaching the hair products isle just as jet lag kicks in making It even more difficult to chose from the myriad of brands on offer. Perfect Packaging catches my eye in the form of Moroccan Argan oil Shampoo & Conditioner by Organix. The word Organix and the blurb which reads, Why you want it… This exotic precious blend of Moroccan argan oil penetrates moisturises renews and creates softness and strength etc… definitely ticks boxes. However it is the Perfect Packaging that makes me interested enough to put on my reading glasses to find out more about the product and ultimately it is the Perfect Packaging that makes me want to take it home because it will look great sitting on the shower room shelf.

We are visual creatures and whether we realise it or not we are being influenced at every turn by perfect packaging. We may think we are making conscious choices but quite often we are not.

Every time we dress or package our body for protection from the elements and for social modesty reasons, we are also conveying information about our personality and lifestyle and quite often disguising information about our body that we don’t want to advertise. In specific circumstances like a job interview or a romantic liaison your packaging may or may not help you to achieve the desired result.

Colour is used as an effective packaging tool and extensive studies have been done to define exactly what colours attract people of varying age groups what emotions they represent and the responses they invoke. According to market  research as we age we are more attracted to gold, silver, black and orange!

Black represents : power ,authority, formality, is timeless, stylish & slimming even though it is a heavy colour and can be used very effectively to create balance and proportion.

Gold represents: individuality, wisdom and prestige. It is also a heavy colour and a little bit  goes a long way.

Silver represents: intuition and insightfulness. All metallic colours create the illusion of weight although the cooler the tone the less the colour advances which is why silver looks less weighty than gold or bronze.


Orange represents: positivity, friendliness, enthusiasm ,success, warmth, informality & courage. Its the positivity of orange that is most interesting here as research has also shown that as we age we generally become more positive! Bright warm colours also advance and create an illusion of being heavy. This colour was born to be used sparingly in my opinion and is perfect for accessories or for one statement item of clothing. Head to toe orange is a look few women can pull off. 

Of course this doesn’t mean that as we age we are attracted to all of these colours. I prefer silver to gold and have always loved black. I have definitely become increasingly attracted to orange even though it doesn’t suit my skin tone and must be content with wearing it well away from my face. Orange shoes or bag can add a real zing to an otherwise neutral ensemble. As with all bright or heavy colours the key to making them work is in the proportions.

As a general rule we want to accentuate our best features and disguise the ones we are not so comfortable with. Colour is a great tool for achieving that goal. Wear eye catching colours or prints on the areas of your body that you like. Balance out your body by wearing heavy colours on the smallest parts and cool receding colours on the biggest. Our eye naturally likes to see balance so experiment with your wardrobe and work out how you can best achieve this using colour and shape.

Grocery shopping done now for mission number two Saks fifth avenue! a fashion stylist’s work is never done!!








The Show Must Go On!

If after reading my last post you are struggling with the plot or sub plot in your life story go back to basics and search your heart to uncover your deepest desires!

Desire is the rocket fuel for life and nothing will give your story more truth or better direction than following what your heart desires. In my previous post “DESIRED IMAGE” I discussed using this concept to help you to understand and define your personal style. Danielle La Porte’s concept of Desire Mapping http://www.daniellelaporte.com/thedesiremap/ Shows us how we can best understand what it is we want in our lives.

It may take some serious soul searching and confronting of some uncomfortable truths! However it should help to get your story flowing in the right direction for you as the Star of your show.


Story and mood boards are important tools used by the film, fashion and advertising industries. They are vital for keeping the story on track and making sure the all important content is congruent and gets the message across.

Dreams are great to have but they will remain as dreams unless we take some kind of action to turn them into reality. Planning your story will help to give you clarity and bring you closer to making your dreams come true.

Mood boards are the perfect visual tool for planning your story’s wardrobe. A pin-up board is all you need or if you want a more permanent record a scrap book is the best way to go. I have it on good account that Karl Lagerfeld designer for Chanel & Fendi uses scrap booking to help to create his ideas and collections.

No only does this process help us to focus our ideas it sends a powerful message out to the universe that we know what we want! SCEPTICAL? Try it and you no longer will be.

Having visuals to refer to also helps enormously when you are out shopping for your perfect wardrobe. As costume designer for your story you need to know exactly what look you are after and how to best achieve it within your budget.

This is your story no-one else’s you are the script writer, costume designer, casting agent, director, producer and Star be true to yourself and you can’t go wrong!


Star in Your Own Life Story.

Dr Phil’s new book ‘Life Code’ introduces the concept of being the STAR of your own life story! I watched on YOUTTUBE as he and Oprah discussed this idea with a live audience. When the audience of mostly women were asked to indicate whether they thought they were the star of their own life story the majority thought they were not.  I found the concept  quite confronting as it suddenly made me very accountable for my life. Of course this is what Dr Phil had intended I am sure. I mulled it all over in my head for a week or so mainly because it wouldn’t leave me alone. Then it dawned on me! We are the star of our own life story whether we realise it or not. No-one else features more in our lives than we do! We are the central character 24/7.

Not only are we the STAR we are the script writer, the casting agent, director, producer and very importantly COSTUME DESIGNER!!. It’s a big job!! and it’s no wonder we are sometimes overwhelmed by our own LIFE STORY. There are a lot of decisions to make and we can’t always control the cast, crew and location as much as we would like.

As the STAR or LEADING LADY of our own show we must be prepared to lead the way. Fortunately we are not alone in our story and there is always a supporting cast to help bring our script to life and expert guidance is never far away if we need it. Like any good writer, casting agent, director, costume designer and producer we need to take responsibility for our work making the most of what we have and what is within our control to pull our story together while hopefully staying on budget. The supporting cast may struggle to learn their lines and some will just not be up for the role needing to either be replaced or simply written out of the script.

Costume Design is a crucial part in any story it sets the mood for the star and conveys so much to the audience before a single word is spoken. It must also be perfectly aligned with the script and forward planning and precision timing are a must especially where quick changes are required. Not only is costume crucial to set the scene and mood it can be used to send a host of subliminal messages to enhance the story, the stars role and the audiences experience.

As writer, casting agent, costume designer, director,producer and STAR it is up to us as to whether our story is a BOX OFFICE HIT or MUCH TO DO ABOUT NOTHING. All good epics involve love, comedy, tragedy, suspense, heroism, and sometimes great leaps of faith.

Whether your story is about a WORKING GIRL Like Melanie Griffith’s or a CABARET a la Liza Minnelli’s it is sure to involve RUTHLESS PEOPLE like Bette Midler’s and BAD TIMING is inevitable somewhere along the way as it was for Theresa Russell. Some stories are fraught with DANGEROUS LIAISONS as Glenn Close discovered but this shouldn’t stop you from having GREAT EXPECTATIONS, it didn’t stop Gwyneth Paltrow.

Not all stories are about a PRETTY WOMAN like Julia Roberts, some feature an UNMARRIED WOMAN and are full of mystery and intrigue, as Jill Clayburgh discovered. Stories about LITTLE WOMEN should definitely not be underestimated and can have a lasting effect on generation after generation. Keeping a diary can help to keep your story on track, it worked well for BRIDGET JONES and Rennee Zelleweger, even though unlike Elisabeth Taylor she was no CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF.

Faye Dunaway used the NETWORK to get her story out while Audrey Hepburn simply had BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S.  Sally Fields story was about the all important PLACES IN THE HEART ,while Lee Rimik focused on life’s DELICATE BALANCE.  Sometimes, like Jennifer Anniston you have to JUST GO WITH IT.   

We all make choices as to how our story goes. SOPHIES CHOICE was also one of Meryl Streep’s best and while it was a great story none of us really want to end up like Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in THELMA AND LOUISE.





We can’t all be THE QUEEN like Helen Mirren and there is a lot to be said for just BEING JULIA Annette Bening and the other JULIA AND JULIA  would definitely agree. 

Our story can sometimes find us in  A LONELY PLACE  as did Gloria Grahams so be prepared to be courageous and rewrite your script or change your FLIGHT PLAN! it worked for Jodi Foster and the best time to do that is BEFORE SUNSET according to Julie Depley. If you can’t manage that definitely do it BEFORE MIDNIGHT.

Most importantly before your story is GONE WITH THE WIND like Vivien Leigh’s You owe it to yourself to step out onto your stage each day and be the STAR in perfect costume surrounded by a well chosen supporting cast and like Judy Garland show the world  A STAR IS BORN!!


Ireland Fling

I have always wanted to travel to Ireland but for some reason it has never been on the top of my list until now. The only thing better than travelling to a new destination is travelling to a new destination to meet up with old friends that you haven’t seen for too many years! Our Ireland Fling weekend was to be that perfect combination.

I did my research of course not on the places to see in Ireland but on the fashion designers hailing from the Green Isle!

The list was longer than I had expected and the accolades won by such designers as Philip Treacy the eccentric hatter, Paul Costello one of Irelands most successful exports to Brittan and more recently the designer of the latest Royal Bridal gown Don O’neil spoke for themselves.

Lesser known but none the less talented is Lainey Keogh .http://www.laineykeogh.com who’s textural creative  knitwear  has adorned the backs of Elizabeth Taylor, Demi Moore and Jodi Foster and Merle O’Grady http://www.merleo’grady.com  who’s modern take on jewellery is well worth a look. If feminine desses with a vintage influence made from beautiful unique fabrics fits your style go no further than Aideen Bodkin’s http://www.aideenbodkin.com exquisite collections.

After spending quite a bit of time investigating these Irish designers I am still no closer to packing my bag for my Ireland Fling weekend. I found it is impossible to not think about the colour green when packing for a holiday in Ireland and having Lainey Keogh’s beautiful knitwear collection which features the colour still in my head wasn’t helping. After much deliberation and taking  variables like weather and occasion into account I decided to opt for a more subtle approach. Linen is as  synonymous to Ireland as the  colour  green and the weather was going to be warm so I begin with a simple Irish Linen dress a new purchase  at  the  summer  Monsoon sale.  Still unable to ignore the green factor I add a cardigan in moss green which goes great with the royal blue linen dress. Strappy wedges in blue and black ankle boots will assure I am covered for all weather situations. I have learned to never trust the forecast in this part of the world. A navy stripe T gives me daytime options and can be worn under or over the dress. A staple in the northern hemisphere for practical and decorative purposes this silk scarf purchased in Dubai fits both bills.

Now I wouldn’t be me if I stopped there although I know this tiny capsule collection would get me through the weekend. Because I can I add a few more pieces to the mix. You never know!! I add a floral dress which is so travel friendly as it doesn’t crease and takes up no more room than a scarf. It can be dressed up for evening or down for day. The addition of my favourite cotton Jacket a pair of grey jeans and floral top gives me more wardrobe options than even I can wear in one weekend. Come rain hail or shine I am ready for my Ireland Fling!!



What to wear or not to wear, that is the question we are faced with on a daily basis. whether it be to do with style, weather, occasion or age. I hope this helps in answering this eternal question!

Style: Self expression through what you wear is what style is all about. When deciding what to wear or not to wear your best style is the one that suits your body shape, personality and life. Examining what you like and why and knowing what makes you feel confident and look your best is an effective way to define your personal style. Answering these following questions should help you to know whether  you are on the right track.

Does what you wear enhance you body shape and highlight your best features ?

Do you know what colours and tones suit you the best?

Does what you are wearing suit your personality and fit with your lifestyle?

Do you feel like you are expressing or supressing who you are with what you are wearing?

Are you confident in the way you look and dress?

Weather:  When deciding what to wear or not to wear the weather is always a major consideration and to be prepared for all weather situations your wardrobe needs to be well organised into seasons punctuated with versatile trans seasonal pieces.

Breathability of fabrics is a big consideration for the Summer months so steer clear of polyester garments. Viscose is the best of the man made fibres as it breaths.  If possible go for fabrics made from natural fibres they are a better long term investment and will generally keep you cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Layering is key to being comfortable in changeable climates and can also be a great way to enhance your body shape. Look at the lengths and shape of each garment you are layering your aim is to create pleasing balanced proportions without adding to much bulk to your frame, unless you are built like Twiggy!

Don’t be afraid to experiment and if you are not sure what is most flattering for you take full length photos of yourself or ask a friend to take them it is much easier to asses how you look in this way!

A great coat is a must when it comes to winter dressing. Go for a classic style that suits your frame and will stand the test of time. This should be an investment item so buy the best quality you can afford it will save you money in the long run and will have you looking fabulous year after year throughout the winter months.

Occasion: We tend to think of occasions as special events when in fact we are always dressing for an occasion whether it be a black tie event, going to work or working in the garden. All too often though our wardrobe contents are ill equipped to meet the needs of all the occasions we have in our day to day lives. Make a list of all your requirements then asses and organise your wardrobe accordingly. Having specific clothes for work, weekends and special activities will make it easier when deciding what to wear and you will never be stuck no matter what the occasion.

Age: When I comes to age appropriate dressing there are a few guidelines  to consider when deciding what to wear or not to wear. Your best dress length  depends on your height, whether your legs are one of your best features and your age. Generally women over 50 look their best in lengths just above, on or just below the knee. The aim here is to show the most flattering part of the leg. Wearing tights is a great way to wear a shorter length in a flattering way. Midi & Maxi lengths are great for the madam diva’s just make sure these lengths suit your frame as maxi’s can swamp petite frames depending on the style of the garment. Arms may be another area of consideration as we age. Remember your aim is to highlight your best features and play down your least favourite. Shrugs & wraps are great for covering not so attractive sections of the arm. Fabrics like chiffon & lace are fabulous for flattering partial exposure of arms and décolletage. Apart from these few considerations there really are no hard and fast rules for age appropriate dressing and women of all ages should feel free to express themselves without the fear of getting it wrong. Advanced style blog spot is full of stylish mature women looking fabulous at every age!





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