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Friday, 24 October 2014

Outfit for an Autumn Walk and Lunch | Long Striped Blazer and FitFlop Shoes

Grey striped blazer with loose fit pants
I really hate to admit that I'm embracing my autumnal wardrobe, but I am. This was one of those outfits that was the ultimate in practicality: I got it spot-on for temperature, occasion and style. We had a weekend away in Twickenham with friends, so I had that problem of making a decision of what to wear in advance, with no way to go back in and change like you do at home....!

Firstly, the grey striped blazer: an ingenious and very versatile piece. I'm not sure I've seen a long-line blazer before, but this one really works (the stripes and the cut are perfect). It added the warmth of a long cardigan but it smartened my outfit instead of making it look sloppy which knitwear sometimes does. Secondly, my choice of footwear had to be suitable for a walk into Richmond for a pub lunch, so I went with my new FitFlop Nubuck shoes which are the most gorgeous autumnal khaki colour. I've wanted to try FitFlop shoes for ages - and these did not disappoint. Crazy comfy, no rubbing, great colour, smarter than trainers... I can highly recommend them.

As usual with me I added a couple of great accessories - my current favourite statement piece that is the Accessorize camera bag and a big chunky crystal necklace (sadly no longer available) from Anna Lou of London. I had comfy feet, enough room for a pub lunch thanks to my loose-fit trousers and I was perfect temperature-wise: I was winning 100% that day as far as I was concerned...!

Do you have many of those days when your outfit was absolutely perfect for the occasion, the weather, the activity?

Grey striped blazer with loose fit pants
Grey striped blazer with loose fit pants
Loose fit pants and army green lace ups
Grey striped blazer with loose fit pants
Catherine x
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P.S. I've worn these trousers several times over the blogging years, see here, here and here!

Blazer: c/o Gemini Woman, Sweater: La Redoute, Trousers: Asos (I like these ones), Shoes: FitFlops c/o Shoetique, Bag: Accessorize, Necklace: c/o Anna Lou of London (similar), Nails: Maybelline Gel Nail Colour Divine Wine 265

Linking up to: Visible Monday, Let It Shine, Share in Style, Monday Mingle, Style Sessions, Trend Spin Link-Up, What I Wore Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, Passion for Fashion Friday, Friday's Fab Favourites

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Musings | Learning to Love My Worst Feature

Learning to love my worst feature
If you follow my Facebook page you may have seen a Musings Mondays post where I mused upon those who embraced their "worst" feature. Or rather, the feature that is deemed unattractive or even unacceptable (by others) in today's society. The response was overwhelming, and so many inspiring opinions and thoughts really got me thinking more about it.

For me, my "worst" feature has always been my nose. Now I'm not looking for compliments or cries of "but you haven't got an awful nose" at all - that's not the point of this post. Coming to the conclusion that you can learn to love the very thing you've hated about yourself for so long is what I've been mulling over.

I think I'm right in saying that a lot of women have a part of themselves that they'd change if they could. I'm talking about the body parts that only surgery can alter, or are even impossible to do anything about (your height, for example). And for me - especially growing up - it was my nose.

I used to get the odd "Barry Manilow" dig from other kids; luckily it didn't surmount to bullying or even have an impact on my self-confidence. I knew perfectly well I didn't have a teeny tiny button nose, and, well, I couldn't do much about it - so I simply accepted it. But I could get, if I'd wanted, a nose job. I thought about it many times over the years, but money was usually the thing that stopped me seriously considering it.

Until recently.

Redhead profile - before and after
When I hit my 30s and actually found myself with a little disposable income - enough to actually go through with it, I found myself thinking that it wasn't such a good idea after all. I'd always dreamed of having the same sort of nose, but just a bit smaller. So that I still looked like me. In other words, something like the one on the left (above). On the right, my nose; on the left, my "ideal", Photoshopped nose.

The thing is, did you notice that there was a difference? I showed the mirror image to my husband and asked if he noticed anything at all, and he didn't catch on at first. Which proved to me two things: 1. In my head I think there's a huge difference between how I think my nose looks (i.e. huge and with a big bump in it) and what I'd like it to look like (smaller and straighter). 2. That if my own husband can't immediately see a massive difference when I've "had a nose job" - is it really worth the time, money and pain?

There are many examples of celebrities who have bowed to the pressure and had work done. You may have read in the last day or two how Renée Zellweger was virtually unrecognisable at an event this week - I personally don't think she looks terrible like many of the comments I've read, but I think it's obvious that she's had her eyes opened up. Gone are the cute squinting eyes she was so well known for; now those same eyes aren't Renée's (or Bridget's) any more. The same happened to Jennifer Grey after having a nose job: she said in an interview that having plastic surgery was the worst mistake she ever made. She was no longer recognisable as Baby from Dirty Dancing, just somebody who looked a bit like her.

Renee Zellweger
So my fear is of "not looking like me" any more. Sure, I may end up with a cuter nose, it'll be straighter and my profile won't be quite as "strong" - but at the ripe old age of 42 I've decided that my strong profile is what makes me look like me. I definitely don't want to end up looking like a homogenised version of myself.

However, there are also women who haven't had work done, despite being told to do so. Cindy Crawford didn't get her mole removed, and Georgia May Jagger kept the gap in her teeth. Both reasonably easy procedures (no major surgery), but for both of them it's their trademark and what's contributed to their individuality and their success.

The women I've grown to admire over the years with the same strong noses as me are Barbra Streisand (below, left) and Anjelica Huston (below, right). Would Streisand have been as successful if she'd had her nose done? Probably not. Anjelica Huston was told to get a nose job by Eileen Ford when she started modelling but she refused. Thank goodness she did: I can't imagine Morticia Addams having a cute button nose, yet she couldn't have looked any more beautiful in that film if she tried.

Barbra Streisand and Anjelica Huston
While I'm focusing on noses, it's interesting to note that these women often had photos taken that emphasised the very feature they were told to get fixed. I've noticed I've done it myself in some of my recent shoots; sometimes a strong composition is needed, and a profile shot that includes a strong nose certainly helps.

So I'm sticking with this nose. If I'm not bothered when someone doesn't like the way I dress, why should I care if they don't like parts of my face?

If you have a feature that you (or others!) feel strongly about then do let me know about it in the comments... I'd love to know your views.
Catherine x
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P.S. If you want to see some of the outfit posts where I've featured a strong profile picture, see herehere and here.

Linking up to: Let It Shine, Friday's Fab Favourites

Monday, 20 October 2014

Autumnal Seventies Style | Oversized Sweater and Floppy Hat

Seventies style - oversized purple knit, floppy hat
The cooler weather has meant that I'm rediscovering lots of items I'd [sort of] forgotten that I had. This autumn I'm finding that I'm wearing quite a few pieces for only the second time - I often buy things in the sales just as the seasons are changing so might get one or two wears out of them before the weather gets too warm/cold. This oversized roll neck sweater was only worn once to London Fashion Week in February and I never got round to wearing it again - till now.

I went for a seventies-style look by adding my floppy felt hat (worn just once before) and the uber bargain that was the eagle necklace from Asos. I've had it for ages but not worn it yet because of the awkward length: too short for a pendant, and too long for a choker. However, the style of this sweater allowed me to thread a plain gold chain through each end of the eagle necklace and hide the ends under the roll neck... ta-da, one perfect-length statement necklace!

To tone down the seventies feel I added dark skinny jeans and my Kelya silver and white brogues, rather than going for flared jeans and block heeled boot. I generally prefer flashes of retro style teamed with modern pieces (it's how I approach wearing vintage) to create a more eclectic look that I feel more comfortable in.

Do you mix up your decades at all? Which is your favourite decade to emulate and what sort of pieces do you wear - do share in the comments!

Seventies style - oversized purple knit, floppy hat
Skinny jeans, white and silver brogues
Seventies style - oversized purple knit, floppy hat
Purple knitwear and statement necklace
Seventies style - oversized purple knit, floppy hat
Catherine x
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P.S. If you like this floppy hat you can see the last time I wore it here!

Hat: Asos (similar), Sweater: Diesel, Jeans: c/o !iT Collective, Necklace: Asos (similar), Sunglasses: French Connection, Brogues: c/o Kelya Shoes, Bag: Asos, Watch: River Island (I like this one), Nails: Maybelline Gel Nail Colour Divine Wine 265

Linking up to: Visible Monday, Let It Shine, Share in Style, Monday Mingle, Style Sessions, Trend Spin Link-Up, What I Wore Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, Passion for Fashion Friday, Friday's Fab Favourites

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