Style or Fashion?

“Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose”. ~ Lauren Hutton

I don’t consider myself a ‘fashionista’ and whilst I have some awareness of current trends, I am not an avid follower of fashion.  I’ve always felt that style is more important – taking into consideration factors such as your lifestyle, who you are on the inside and how you see yourself, your shape, skin and hair colouring, as well as how you wish (or don’t) wish to be perceived by others.

My first ‘fashion/style bible’ which I’ve had since 1985 (Dress For Your Lifestyle; author Kathryn Samuel) states “The secret of successful dressing is to keep fashion in perspective and to use it as a basis for your own personal style”.  Sound advice which is still very much relevant in 2017 and generally influences my clothes and accessories purchasing decisions.

I had the pleasure of being one of 6 women aged 40-plus invited to model the-Bias.Cut.com’s spring/summer 2017 collection.

As you can see, we are a diverse group of women in terms of our skin colouring, height, build/body shape.

ME – Marguerite flounce cuff blouse (blue plant print).  Parrots Crepe De Chine Blouse, Azur Sandal.

The new collection works so well with each of our own clothing – in this instance –  a pair of jeans.  Notice how different our jeans are – reflecting, our individual preferences/ personal style.

MICHELLE – Ivy Chunky Knit and Golden Rose of Banaras Velvet Ankle Boots. NICOLE- Marguerite Tiny Mosaic Blouse.

PREETA – Olive V Navy with Neon Accents Cashmere Sweater. Golden Star of Banaras Flat Loafers.

HILARY – Jacket Stripes Blue. Lilian of Banaras Flat Shoes. SUNETA – Brenna Fitted Jacquard Blazer. Louise Blue Glitter Pumps.

Which is more important to you? Style or fashion?

Photos taken by: Kate Frost

Makeup Artist: Nikola Valastekova

Spring/Summer 2017 Collection: the-Bias.Cut.com

Hope Fashion for Women Aged 40 Plus – SS17 with Real Models

London Fashion Week (LFW) kicked of this week, and a couple of days ago outside Store Studio, the Strand (home to LFW), a group of 5 professional models over the age of 40, carried placards campaigning for representation on the catwalk.  One placard read ‘Stop Ageism at London Fashion Week’, whilst another challenged LFW to ‘grow up’.  The campaign was organised by online UK fashion retailer JD Williams who led last year’s groundbreaking SS16 fashion shoot where everyone (from professional model to camera crew) was not only female but over the age of 50.  It really is admirable that JD Williams is trying to break the mould, along with the professional models, in advocating for fashion to be made accessible to those of us in our 40s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond.

Real models

But, we don’t all look like professional models such as Daphne Self, Yasmin Le Bon, Jilly Johnson or Yazzmeenah Rossi (to be fair, JD’s Brand Ambassador is the lovely TV presenter, Lorraine Kelly, who is not a professional model).   Standing at 5ft tall, and of curvy build, with grey peppered short natural hair, black skin tone and wearer of variofocal spectacles, I certainly don’t.

In a previous post I talked about the-Bias-Cut.com and their use of ‘real models’ –   women, just like you or I, who have no previous experience of modelling. Now, this to me is groundbreaking – the opportunity to visualise how a jacket, shirt, dress or pair of trousers might look like on us, from a more realistic representation of someone whose body shape, height or colouring might be closer to our own.  Hope Fashion which launched in 2015 (available online and via social selling/pop up boutiques) is also a staunch believer of using real women to model their collections.

Hope Fashion

The clothes are aimed at women aged 40 upwards.  Founder, Nanya McIntosh is inspirational in that she and her design team do not adhere to traditional sizing and instead design clothing to work on any body shape!  They say “our clothes are designed to enhance and to work with your height and proportions to create your best ever silhouette”.   The majority of their dresses and tops are in the following sizes:-

– Freesize: to fit sizes 8-20
– Dual Slim: to fit sizes 8-14
– Dual Curvy: to fit sizes 16-20

I love their philosophy and the items I have purchased to date, personally work for me, bar one dress which unfortunately (I felt) didn’t suit me (for my height and large bust), so is being passed onto one of my sisters who is taller than me.

I consider their items to be a lovely blend of timeless fashion/style comprised of quality fabrics.  Also, almost 55% of their clothing is manufactured in the UK, and the rest in Italy.

Most of the clothes are neutral in colour.  You can add your own unique splashes of colour (i.e scarves, jewellery and shoes) to compliment or contrast.

The basis of Hope Fashion is their foundation range, which creates a smooth, shaping/sculpting silhouette from which you can then layer and build your outfit.  Here, Debs, models foundation wear in grey with SS17 bonded sweat top in grey marl on top.

New to the collection is this navy blue foundation scoop dress featuring 3/4 sleeves – as modelled by Helen.

I had the opportunity to be one of the Hope models for the spring and summer 2017 collection featured in this post, and here I am, wearing their foundation vest in white, with chalk coloured ankle grazers (comfy stretch cotton trousers) and – sheer navy blue chiffon cocoon top – which I really love and feel gives you some reassurance if you are feeling a bit conscious of exposing wobbly upper arms or post menopause tummy whilst wearing sleeveless or close fitting items underneath.

Trudy, models a silk pop on top with its gorgeous Jamaican sunset print over foundation wear.  You could also wear this over a vest top and jeans/trousers or shorts, or wear as a swimsuit/bikini cover up.

And finally, for this post, I wanted to show you the cashmere and cotton blend poncho (modelled by Angela).  The aqua colour is absolutely gorgeous isn’t it!

What do you feel about the concept of using ‘real model’s, are you for or against it?  And, what item of clothing from Hope’s collection would you wear and why (visit their website to see the full range)?  Would love to hear your views 🙂

Please note, this is not a collaborative post.  All opinions are my own.

Images – courtesy of Hope Fashion.

Bloom in 2017 – Giveaway

I came across an old Chinese proverb recently…..”It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than make a great leap forward only to stumble backward”.  It struck a chord and reminded me of times, thankfully long past, when like many others I would start the new year optimistically with a list of resolutions.  And, like many people, by say, February or March, I’d be beating myself up or feeling overwhelmed, because my expectations were unrealistic, the resolutions (goals) not well thought through and I was trying to make too many changes at the same time quickly.  Does this sound familiar?

If you started this year with good intentions and a list of resolutions/goals and genuinely are unsure about how to get clear on whether those are the right goals for you, and that they are realistic and achievable, I would like to offer you the opportunity to participate in my giveaway which comprises of the following:

2 x life coaching/advisory sessions (conducted face to face, if you live in London (UK), or via Skype if you live elsewhere).
AND
1 x Bloom in 2017 journal
1 x distance reiki healing session

NOTE: This giveaway is only open to readers of my newsletter – Blooming Women, which is aimed primarily at women midlife and beyond, so if you want to enter, sign up to it.

To enter:-
Let me know in the comments section, how you feel you would benefit from personal coaching.  A winner will be chosen using an online random name picker.  The winner will be notified via email within 72 hours of the giveaway ending.  There will then be 7 days to respond to the notification.  If no acknowledgement received or the winner declines the offer, another winner will be chosen.

Good luck!

Ageism Is Never In Style – the-Bias-Cut.com

In my short e-guide ‘Embrace Your Older Body Image’, I mention that as we women get older, hormonal changes may present us with excess weight and perhaps a changed body shape.  Other transformations occur such as wrinkly skin, less pert body parts, greying hair and so forth.

BUT, does this mean that due to physical evidence of the ageing process, we have to dress ‘age appropriate’?  I personally think not and I know others do too.  In her book ‘A Guide to Looking and Feeling Fabulous Over Forty’ (publ: 2008), model and style icon Twiggy says “ageing doesn’t mean waving goodbye to style and individuality”.

No woman is invisible

Millennial, Jacynth Bassett, who has always had a passion for fashion, was saddened by her mother’s frustration, whilst shopping, at her ever-lasting love for style constantly being squashed by the range of dowdy, frumpy and unflattering designs now typically targeting her.  She claims it was a constant struggle to find beautiful, quality garments her mother would really love to wear and increasingly felt frustrated that women of a certain age were being made to feel invisible and irrelevant.

Jacynth became determined to do something about it!

Her mission is ‘Ageism is Never in Style’ which dictates the blog and movement Jacynth has founded under the umbrella of her company – the-Bias-Cut-com, which is “for women who know age shouldn’t limit style – offering style tips, inspiration, interviews with dynamic women, and discussion on age-prejudice within the Fashion Industry”.

In addition to the above, the-Bias-Cut.com curates limited collections featuring unique, styles but timeless, well cut, quality designs by talented UK contemporary labels and designers – online and through corporate events and ‘pop up’ parties, where those attending can relax, mingle and explore ideas about fashion and style over a glass of bubbly and delicious canapés.  At each party, Jacynth offers her expertise and inspiration on broadening ones style horizons.

I recently attended their Christmas Extravaganza and was able to admire the winter collection close up, feel the gorgeous fabrics and even bought myself a dress!  Professional Makeup Artist – Nikola Valestekova was also there giving mini makeovers.

Real women

Recently we have started to see some of the big names in the fashion industry feature well known older celebrities as models int their campaigns, which is really, really great, but what I like about the-Bias-Cut.com is that, on browsing through the designs on their website, you will see (as above), that the clothing is modelled by women over 40, who are just like you or I, of different shapes, sizes and ethnicity.

These women have little or no prior experience of modelling (including Jacynth’s mother Marilyn, below – who is the inspiration for the business), which surely provides a more realistic interpretation of how a piece of clothing might look on us!

We women want to look good at 40, 50, 60, 70 and beyond don’t we?  We want to discover or refresh our own authentic personal sense of style which reflects who we are at the age we are (most of us don’t want to look like mutton dressed as lamb, nor do we want to look frumpy and dowdy).  We want to embrace and be proud of our age!

Need support or inspiration on your journey?  Visit the-Bias-Cut.com (links below) and join the community.

Facebook

Instagram: @the_bias_cutcom

Pinterest

YouTube

Forum page

Forum group

Hashtag:  #NoWomanIsInvisible

Disclaimer:  This post is not sponsored.

New Beginnings – 2017

It is the start of a new year….a time of new beginnings.

Early morning, especially this week, is a good time to reflect on…what has been…what may lie ahead…as well as to give thought to what you personally want to achieve for yourself in 2017.  Perfect time too to christen/start using your new diary/planner and journal!

#2017TwelveLessonsJournal

Colour: Personal Style Board (Collage)

A few years back when I realised I seemed to be wearing a lot of black, I created the following simple collage using cuttings from my magazine stash, to help inspire me to inject more colour into my wardrobe.

If the same seems to have happened for you, why not create your own board too?

If you have a selection of magazines, go through them and cut out images of outfits, garments and/or accessories in colours that appeal to you and pin or glue to a board or in a scrapbook.

OR if cutting out and glueing to boards is not your thing, use Pinterest and create boards to help you curate, define or refine your colour style.

Check out my board: Personal Styling for Baby Boomer and Generation X Women, for ideas on putting your board together or just for colour and style inspiration.

Who do you want to be today?

One of the nice things about reaching midlife and beyond, I’ve found, is that a lot of us naturally worry less and less about what others think about us.  If this hasn’t yet happened for you, be mindful of the fact that worrying about what others think of you and the choices you make, can keep you trapped.

Who do you want to be today - visualiseandbloom.com

It can stop you getting that tattoo, piercing your nose, cutting your hair short.  It can stop you wearing those pink shoes you have hidden away in your closet.  It can stop you joining that chakra dancing class, because your friends think it’s a bit ‘woo woo’ and you worry what they would think if you signed up to it.

Worrying about what others think can stop you from striving to reach your full potential and enjoying your life more fully.  It can stop you from being YOU.

Now, whilst this post is not about the book in the photo, I hope the title makes you stop and reflect on just who do YOU want to be today (tomorrow, next week, next year, and for the rest of your life)?  Yourself, or will worrying about what others think define who you are today (tomorrow, next week, next year, and the rest of your life)?

Change your mindset……and….change your life…….

Colour: Purple

“Be eccentric now.  Don’t wait for old age to wear purple”. ~ Regina Brett

Visualise and Bloom/Chi Chi GemmesPurple, associated with the crown chakra, is known as a cool colour (mix of red and blue).  I think its quite timeless and can classy or boho.   It contrasts well with black, grey, aqua blue, lime or olive green as well as yellow and even red.  It is said to be one of the colours that suits all skin tones.

img_0155

Positive associations - spiritual awareness, luxury, royalty, regal, truth, self-knowledge, sophistication, calmness. 


Negative associations - decadence, inferiority, depression, confusion, flaunting of power, fanatical.

Some purple gemstones/crystals - amethyst, garnet, fluorite, opal.