Saturday, 27 August 2011

A new dress for the Bank Holiday Weekend

I have to confess that in addition to my bargain Isabella Oliver jumper, I also stumbled across another bargain buy whilst trawling the Wallis website, a really cute Dandelion Dress.
I fell in love with the print on the Miu Miu dress and featured that along with a high street version from Warehouse for £60 on the Blog last week, so was more than a little excited to find a similar print at Wallis on sale for just £30!  So cute, a bargain not to be missed!

Dandilion Cape Dress

Have a great Bank Holiday weekend! xx

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Autumn must be coming

My first new season knitwear purchase, oddly enough is not one of the usual new season extremely expensive purchases, (although knowing how much I love a bargain , it may not come as such a surprise afterall) instead I have treated myself to a sneaky little clearance purchase over at (surprise, surprise) Isabella Oliver's 365 collection.

I have had my eye on the cropped knit oversized jumper all summer, but somehow I just couldn't get my head around knitwear when the collection first became available and as we had some gorgeous early spring sunshine, anything with long sleeves fell right off my fashion radar, until now, now that we have all realised that summer really is over and even I have to admit to taking an interest in all the new season arrivals, I was lucky enough to find that this great piece of knitwear was still available in my colour preference!

I was a bit unsure about which size to go for as the jumper is an oversized style and I do find the brand to be of a generous cut, I took a chance and ordered the Medium after asking for advice on the websites chat line which popped open whilst I was browsing and it fits perfectly, so my advice would be to go down a size in this particular garment, if you are unsure.

I am never a fan of chunky knits, too bulky and a nightmare to wash and dry during the winter months, so this jumper really ticks all of my requirement boxes, beautifully soft and well able to fit underneath a winter coat without making you feel bulky or uncomfortable.

Blame the stupid iphone for the fact it looks grey, its not!

It actually looks like this....
The shopping experience is always a pleasure at I.O. but even more so, when you pay for standard delivery and it arrives the very next day! Whoopie! Although of course this can never be guaranteed, and the clearance sale continues, so there is still time to grab some transeasonal pieces and wardrobe hero's at bargain prices, think pencil skirts, boyfriend cardigans, classic white shirts, long sleeved bodysuits etc.

It goes without saying that this item will become one of my winter wardrobe staples, perfect for layering over a longer vest top when its cold enough to need two layers and it will no doubt make many "school run" appearances with jeans, whether they be skinny or flared, indigo or coloured, but I am thinking more about teaming it with skirts, obviously I am lusting over leather and leopard print this season and on that basis I am thinking Loafers to add a bit of "cool girl chic" (girl, who am I kidding?) when I pop into town for coffee with the Girls.

How would you style yours?

Isabella Oliver (UK)

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

It aint what you wear its the way that you wear it.

With all the hype surrounding the Mary Portas range at House of Fraser, which is aimed primarily at the over 40's, it got me thinking about "forty something fashion" and I came to the conclusion that there are really only a few fashion rules to observe when approaching a certain age: no crop or slogan tops, nothing too low cut and no hemlines crawling up towards your knicker leg, other than that, pretty much anything goes, but it is how you wear a garment, what you team it with and what suits your particular body shape that will either leave you looking effortlessly chic or mutton dressed as lamb!

Take for example Jennifer Aniston.  Now I do love Jen, although you wouldn't necessarily think so, as she rarely features on the blog unlike other over 40 celebrities such as SJP or Elle McPherson, but I do love her  "California Cool" daytime style and perfectly hi-lighted hair. Her Red Carpet rarely disappoint but lets take a look at one of Jen's recent outfits and adopt my philosophy of "it ain't what you wear, its the way that you wear it".

Sure she has a mighty fine figure for a woman of 41, no sign of middle aged spread there, but even with a pair of "pins" the majority of us would die for and a leather dress that is bang on trend for the season, the length of the hemline, screams just one thing to me, "trying too hard".  
If I picture the dress a few inches longer, so that it would fall just above the knee, it would take the outfit from "slut to slick".  She isn't 18 and that dress is too short for somebody who is over the middle aged 35  year old threshold, no matter how good her legs. Fact.
 If the dress were longer but more of a pencil fit, it would be far more sexy and Jen would be "smokin"!

I don't like the shoes either and this particular pair seems to be a staple of Jens shoe cupboard as she repeatedly wears the same design. You need pretty and petite feet to get away with sandals with just two very thin straps and to me this style actually dates the outfit and makes it more 1980 than 2011.  A nude court shoe would have bought the whole look up, bang up to date and would have elongated her leg rather than wearing an ankle strap that actually shortens it. A peep toe ankle boot would work equally as well.

Now take one of my much younger fashion icons, Miss Olivia Palermo...

here we see Olivia wearing A/W 2011 Tibi and last seasons Guiseppe Zanotti crystal embellished sandals and I ask myself as I always do, with my younger "style hotties", could a 40 something wear this outfit and the answer just has to be yes (figure permitting of course!). 
 Even Jens outfit would have looked better with these GZ sparkly heels.  Olivia barely gets it wrong and her "Park Avenue Princess" looks, are rarely age specific unlike those of say Alexa Chung or Fearne Cotton.

If we all adopted a "its how you wear it" attitude, and stuck to a few basic style rules (our own personal fashion formula) that fitted our own personal lifestyle and bodyshape, then no retailer nor fashion icon would be out of bounds to the 40 something fashionista and we wouldn't all be screaming that there is nowhere for us to shop!

What are your particular fashion rules, and where do you shop on the High Street?

Reiss UK

Sunday, 21 August 2011

We have a winner!

We have a winner!

Out of the 19 comments left to win the fantastic Isabella Oliver 365 collection Bell Sleeved Dress, there were 18 entries. We know how to do things on a highly technical level in this house, so I wrote the numbers one to eighteen on pieces of paper, tossed them around in an old chinese take away carton and viola! Little Man drew a piece of paper at random and the winner is number 11, so thats the eleventh entry left which was by Julie B from who has chosen this perfect autumn and winter dress in plum.  Congratulations Julie!

Do not despair, if you weren't lucky enough to win on this occasion, don't forget you have until midnight tonight to take advantage of a 15% discount code created specifically for readers of Fab At Any Age, just enter code FAB15 at checkout and get shopping for those all important autumn essentials!

New Season Essentials.

Don't forget there are also still some fantastic bargains to be had in the 365 collection clearance sale, I'd snap up next years holiday wardrobe in advance or invest in some transeasonal pieces to take you through to autumn with ease!

Isabella Oliver (UK)

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Sex and the City Speculation.

After Marie Claire tweeted last week that there would be a further series of Sex and the City, Twitter and Facebook went a bit mental with a lot of over excited ladies, including myself, looking forward to another regular televised "festival of fashion" starring my four favourite television characters of all time, but now I am not so sure that a new series is actually going to go ahead, as it has now been reported that a third film will be made.

OK so I don't think any of us were as enthralled by the second film as we were with the first.  The first  was just so full of emotion and I cried far more than I thought I would.  It wasn't just the "Carrie as jilted bride" storyline that had me sobbing quietly in the cinema, but the "Miranda and Steve" Brooklyn Bridge reunion had me making all sorts of horrid noises into my Kleenex (it still all gets to me every time I watch it) but the second film was a bit too "filmsy" in content for my liking.  I have always felt that the Aiden and Carrie storyline could have been bigger, as could the story with Mr Big when she returned home.  I also felt that they tried a little too hard with the styling, even though I loved a large proportion of the outfits, I felt that some were way over the top.

So finally the cat has been let out of the bag in a Sarah Jessica Parker interview with Parade magazine where she is asked if there is any chance of a third Sex and the City movie to which she replied the following:- “There is. I know what the story is. It’s a small story, but I think it should be told. The question is, what’s the right time to tell it?”

So there you have it ladies, its official, nothing like squashing the speculation and getting it straight from the Horses mouth!  Fingers crossed we won't have to wait very long before we find out exactly what this "small story" actually is.  Excited much?  In the meantime, I can't face X Factor so am going  upstairs as I am yet again, halfway through series three of guess what?

Karen Millen Autumn Winter 2011

Friday, 19 August 2011

The Purrrfect New Season Handbag from Dolce and Gabbana

I'm beginning to wish I had never gone on Holiday, such is the financial fall-out, but I just didn't think about getting back and suddenly wanting to buy loads of new clothes, shoes and bags that I can no longer afford.  It is seriously depressing me, as I think I may have to turn into a Vintage/Thrift style blog before long, so I have been on the look out for designer goodies to go on my autumn and winter wish list and it was with much delight I spotted a gorgeous bag for the coming season, that is high end, but only £170!

"What the hell" I hear you scream, but yes ladies you can own a gorgeous and very glamorous piece of Dolce and Gabbana Arm Candy for only a fraction of the usual designer handbag price tag!

What is not to love, when you think that leather bags in places like Topshop & River Island can cost in the region of £100 upwards, and with leopard print featuring so heavy in designer collections whatever the season, this is bound to become a worthwhile investment that will glam up the most casual of outfits.

As I am currently in full blown "lets watch the whole lot of Sex and the City all over again mode", as Carrie once said to Mr Big, "Get it while its hot"!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Mary Portas just keeps on Giving.

I guess it came as no surprise in this day and age when Bloggers attend conferences which are constantly telling them to consider themselves as a "brand" that Mary Portas, retail guru and former Creative Director  for Harvey Nichols has decided to develop her own personal "brand" and introduce her very own fashion label aimed at the over 40's.

Her London store, simply called Mary, is a collaboration with House of Fraser and will be based on the first floor of its Oxford Street premises and online.. The idea itself is born out of frustration: Portas, 51, believes that, for women, the high street has become a ghetto for the very young and impossibly skinny, and she wants to redress the balance. She believes that once women hit 40 they become invisible, particularly in the fashion business, a subject which is very close to my heart.

According to Portas 'The fashion industry was putting out collections that were getting more and more youthful,' she says. 'Everything was based on trend and youth and "buy now, buy now". I just thought, "My God, if you don't have a designer income - and let's face it that's most people - where do you go?"

I couldn't agree more with Marys philosophy and that is one of the reasons I first started the Blog after years of reading those written by the under 30's who were wearing clothes far more suited to my teenage daughters than me.  I truly believed that there must be women out there like myself, who were of an age where they started worrying about the length of their hemlines as well as the width of their waistlines, unyet they still loved fashion as much as they did 20 years ago, but didn't necessary know how to wear certain items or suddenly had no idea what was deemed "acceptable" from a fashion/styling point of view and it is on that basis that having a shop tailored specifically to our fashion needs, fills me much excitement and hope for the future, that we will see sophisticated wearable designs with a trend led edge, hitting the high street, allowing the more mature lady to follow trends but in a way that screams "chic" as opposed to "trying to hard", its a fine line, but if anybody can lead us across it, its Mary.

Mary's shop assistants are all trained stylists, so there will be assistance and advice on hand should you enter the Portas Mecca as opposed to shopping online, and prices will be premium High Street, with dresses starting at £100 and with 40% of the range consisting of Mary's designs, you can expect to see the  remainder of stock made up of Whistles (whose hemlines seem to rise by an inch each season - apart from the current midi skirt trend) and Maxmara (out of most womens price range, keep forever pieces that are very wearable) but with the free styling advice, the shop will be well worth the visit for the experience alone, even if only to find out what suits and what doesn't.

Mary wears blouse from her own collection, £150.

Like her previous projects, her experiences will be documented by a camera crew. A three-part Channel 4 series will be shown in October, by which time her shop will need to have proved itself to critics and punters alike. The crew has been following Portas since her 50th birthday party last year, through its various dramas, setbacks and frustrations and I was interested to learn that Portas went to M&S and John Lewis with the idea for this project and both turned her down, but whatever the outcome, no doubt it will make for great TV.

The shop opens today and the collection is now online here.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Spree v Steal - Dandelion Print Dresses

If your over so over Florals for summer, then how about Weeds for Winter?
I never thought I could love Dandelions as much as I did when I used to blow them away as a child, but those warm and fuzzy childhood memories have returned in the form of Dandelion prints at both Miu Miu and Warehouse with a great transeasonal dress that can be worn now but with opaques later, don't miss out the high street version won't be around for long!




Monday, 15 August 2011

Isabella Oliver Bell Sleeved Dress Giveaway!

Although I don't take too much notice of Autumn & Winter lookbooks which arrive during the height of our so called Summer, I did let out a little wimper of pure joy when I recieved the Isabella Oliver Lookbook and subsequent Catalogue which contain everything required to fulfull my Autumn and Winter fashion Dreams.

I make no apology or secret for my love of this particular brand with its stylish, wearable fashion for real women of all ages consisting of high quality wardrobe basics and wearable trend led pieces, which will form the core of any stylish womans capsule collection, so it was with great excitement when I was contacted by the brand to offer readers the chance to win a beautiful Bell Sleeved Dress in celebration of the launch of the new season collection.

Offering effortless style, the Bell Sleeve Dress has a touch of cool whilst remaining chic. The faux wrap detailing clinches the waist, creating relaxed draping through the front whilst the bell sleeves create a statement silhouette.

To win this covetable dress in either Caviar Black or Electric Plum just take a look at the new A/W11 365collection over at Isabella Oliver and leave me a comment below telling me which pieces are your favourites, any styling ideas you may have, along with which colour you would like, your required size and your email address.  Winner will be chosen at random and competition closes at midnight, Saturday 20th August.

Enter now for your chance to win this dress!

Once you have checked out the new season collection and compiled your wish list of Autumn and Winter essentials, why not take advantage of the exclusive 15% discount available to readers of Looking Fab at Any Age which is valid until midnight, Sunday 21st August.  To redeem your discount simply enter the code FAB15 at checkout and happy shopping!  See Terms and Conditions for the competition and the exclusive discount code below.

Top Picks
Leather Pencil Skirt, Leather Biker Jacket, Ruched Zip Dress.

Exclusive Discount T&C's are: Offer is valid from Monday 15th August 2011 and expires midnight Sunday 21st August 2011. Offer only valid on Isabella Oliver branded goods and cannot be used with any other promotional codes, offers or sale items. Normal return policy applies however where items have been bought during a promotion, we are only able to exchange an item for the same item in a different size or colour. Isabella Oliver reserves the right to change these terms and conditions at any time.
Competition T&C’s are: The winner will receive 1 Bell Sleeve Dress. 1.No purchase necessary. 2. Closing date for draw is midnight on the 20th August Draw takes place on 21st August for entries received by closing date.  The number of winners will be 1 in total.    No cash alternative. The winners will be the first valid entries drawn at random and winners will be informed immediately. ·   All entries become and remain the property of the Promoter. By submitting an entry, entrants acknowledge and accept these terms and conditions. Isabella Oliver reserves the right to change these terms and conditions at any time.

Isabella Oliver (UK)

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Was it really only a week ago?

I can't believe that it is only a week ago today that I returned from the Fab Family annual pilgrimage to Marbella!
OH rocking his Liam Gallagher hair.  Mid life crisis or what?

As lots of you who follow me on Twitter will know, I was on the "no carbs before marbs" diet before I jetted off and having followed the Dukan Diet (if its good enough for the Middletons....) to get myself as bikini ready as is possible for a woman with an advanced case of middle aged spread and although I did lose quite a bit of weight over an 8 week period (with quite a few days off) I don't know where it went from, as I didn't really feel I looked that different but I obviously was, as there was one pair of shorts that fitted perfectly before departure, that by the time I went to wear them on day 5, wouldn't even meet by about an inch, let alone do up with a squeeze! 

I couldn't get straight back into the diet even though I had put on 6lb upon my return and probably another 6 this week, but am going to try my hardest to get going next week, even though I am suffering from post holiday stress disorder, a condition which means, you weren't away for long enough and deserve to return immediately!

Flying is always the worst thing about going away and this year I think I mixed my Gin and Tonic up a little too strong as I was totally rat arsed by the time I got to Gatwick and showed everyone up by bumping into people and various stationery objects and almost went "tits up" in Costa Coffee.
I sat on the plane, fell straight to sleep but awoke 45 minutes later to find we were still on the bloody runway and I was no longer pissed!

Claudia and Charlie, Chillaxing.

There were only 4 of us this time, Uni girl decided to stay at home and have her boyfriend stay and the eldest was gearing up for a mammoth trip to Thailand and I must say it never feels right when we are not all away together, the more the merrier, I love having all my kids with me, no matter how old they get and Little Man adores having his older sisters to amuse and water bomb him on a regular basis.  Youngest daughter had only been home from Ibiza for 10 days before we left and the colour of her tan is bordering on obscene, not that I'm jealous or anything.
Get OH to take a picture and you are guaranteed it will be crap!  Sunglasses, Dior, Maxi Dress, Great Plains, Bag, Alexander Wang, Sandals, Missoni and C begged me to let her borrow the Mykita Sunglasses  for this shot! C in River Island Jumpsuit, Little Man in Hugo Boss and Boden Sunglasses.

We met up with my friend K and her husband and daughter.  It is quite strange as I have never, ever stayed in touch with a holiday friend but I first met K and her family on our first trip to Marbs when we exchanged pleasantries whilst staying at the same hotel.  The following year, we went to the same hotel but a week later in August and bumped into them again and we have been firm friends ever since.  K is a bit of a style inspiration to me, a tiny and petite lady who at 2 years younger than me, shares a similar love of beautiful clothes and accessories.  Only problem is she gets them and I just lust after them! She cracks me up with phone calls from Chanel asking me which bag she should buy whilst I look online to tell her of my choice.

We wandered around the shops of Puerto Banus eyeing up the new season designer goodies.  It makes me feel quite ill checking out winter clothes in 90 degree heat, just looking at all the fur had me breaking out in a hot flush and after last years removal from Burberry after I tried to take a picture of the Plum coloured aviator jacket, I kept my iphone firmly in my bag and only pulled it out for a snap of some gorgeous Arm Candy in Salvatore Ferragamo because there didn't seem to be anybody around to give me a bollocking or have me arrested!
Arm Candy to die for, in Salvatore Ferragamo.

So now I'm back, the weather has been shit virtually all week and my tan is fading fast and I fear it may finally be time to check out the new season collections and start compiling a wish list of pieces I can't possibly afford when in reality I would give anything to be back in my kaftan, wafting round the pool and watching my kids having fun in the sun!


Are you craving a bit of sunshine?

Great Plains Limited

Saturday, 13 August 2011

How to become a Savvy Shopper

Since first starting the blog, some three years ago, one question that often crops up, is that of "Savvy Shopping".  Readers have emailed to ask how to become a Savvy Shopper and what exactly do you need to buy to become one.
The answer can not be summed up in just a one question answer because it can encompass many parts of the shopping/styling experience from creating a capsule wardrobe to learning how to shop the sales to your advantage and as most readers will know by now, I am almost at the point of obsession when it comes to bagging a bargain, either high end or high street, it doesn't matter which, so this is an area I will concentrate on today.

With all the new seasons collection drops finally landing in stores and with most Sales starting sometime in June, most of us are over grabbing a £10 bikini (unless you still have a holiday to go on) but Savvy Shoppers are checking out whats hot for Autumn and Winter and buying key pieces at knock down prices with most remaining sales now offering up to 70% off.

Leather is huge this season but there are some great late summer bargains to be had if you don't want to invest huge amounts in next seasons clothing but are still looking for trend led garments which will become "forever" items.  A leather skirt or dress will suit most age groups and shorts can be teamed with opaques when the temperature drops.  If you don't feel comfortable wearing it so close to your skin, a biker jacket or blazer makes a great transeasonal piece.

Buying winter clothing is so much more expensive than our summer essential purchases with the need for coats, cashmere and warm boots.  Don't get caught out when Jack Frost finally bites, have your sales investment outwear purchases at the ready!

Sale time is a great time for grabbing pieces to create your perfect capsule wardrobe and the Isabella Oliver 365 collection clearance sale has plenty to wet your winter appetite and get your cold weather wardrobe staples off to a head start.
The crop knit jumper is great for layering over your summer t-shirts and camisoles and will look just as good worn over this seasons midi skirts as it does with jeans.  Every woman needs a classic white shirt in their wardrobe, it goes with everything from pencil skirts to jeans and looks just as good whether loose or belted, under a cardi or blazer.  I plan to cosy up this autumn in a new boyfriend cardigan and this Isabella Oliver one comes in Navy or Stone, perfect colours for staple pieces.

Are you a Savvy Sales Shopper?


Thursday, 11 August 2011

Sarah Jessica Parker revisits the full skirted fashion formula.

There are very few over forty fashion icons who could carry off the Versace "Mille Feuille" gown like Sarah Jessica Parker did in the final episode of the Sex and the City series and now a few years on, that tried and tested, full skirted fashion formula has been revisited for SJP's, U.S. Marie Claire, September Issue photo shoot.

The sleek hairdo has been replaced with her trademark, loose tousled locks and the full skirt by Christian Siriano has been dressed down with a casual top usually more suited to a pair of jeans than an enormous frilly skirt, but as ever, whatever Sarah Jessica wears, no matter how the fashion boundaries are pushed,  it always seems to work.  Who would have thought that a woman of such minute proportions could ever carry off such an enormous skirt but of course, she does with ease. 

 She is undoubtedly one of those women who really would look good in a black bin bag!
Jealous much?