NOT LETTING AGE DEFINE MY LIFE OR STYLE

Down to Business with Brogues

I've a confession.  Come closer.  A little closer.  That's better.

Last week, I bought an item I never thought I would.  Now, now, nothing risque; this is not that kind of blog.  What did I buy?

Brogues.  There, I said it.  I bought a pair of Brogues.

Brogues in a shoe box | Petite Silver Vixen

Eh?

Yes, you heard me correctly.  A pair of BROGUES!

 Brogues on a shoe box | Petite Silver Vixen

So why the confession?  I mean buying a pair of brogues is hardly radical, I'll grant you. Allow me to explain.

Prior to last week, brogues = school shoes = run to the hills.  I wore a pair for school gazillion of years ago as a teen. When I left school, I just never EVER wanted to wear them again.  To be fair, I felt the same about green too.  My sixth form school uniform was green.  Took me years before I could comfortably wear green again, but that's another story.

I liked brogues on other people.  I just had no desire to revisit them myself.  But last week a shift happened; a small, internal, tectonic plate shift.  I'm walking to the bus stop, having taught a lunchtime Pilates class and there's a branch of Jones the Bootmaker pretty much slap bang next to the stop.  I sometimes press my nose up against the window, sometimes I mooch inside and on that day I mooched inside, not least because BIG RED SALE SIGNS were plastered all over the window.

I saw these brogues and ting - SCHOOL - popped into my head.  But the more I looked at them, the more the colour intrigued me.  I saw they were a size 3, reduced from £79 to £39.  I thought, nothing ventured, nothing gained, I'll pop 'em on.

Brogues & Jeans | Petite Silver Vixen

And didn't they just fit rather well, thank you madam.

I wiggled my toes, as you do.
I walked up and down, as you do.
I posed with my feet in different positions, as you do.

Brogues & Jeans | Petite Silver Vixen

Brogues & Jeans | Petite Silver Vixen

Brogues & Jeans | Petite Silver Vixen

Brogues & Jeans | Petite Silver Vixen

I wiggled my toes a little bit more, as you do.
I started to think about what I would wear with them, as you do.
I started to think about when and where I would wear them... as you do.

'Oh no.' said small voice of reason.  'Purchase alert everyone, we're on a purchase alert.'

'You do realise they're brogues, don't you?' said small voice of reason.

'I know', I answered, as I wiggled my toes even more.

By now the toes were wishing I'd stop wiggling them.  They were beginning to suffer wiggle fatigue.

I remembered seeing a few bloggers wearing some very cool and decidedly un-school like brogues and thought um... maybe I could be part of the beautiful brogues party.  Here's Anna, of Anna's Island Style, very elegant in her rose coloured brogues and printed trousers.

Rose Brogues | Anna's Island Style

And Samantha, of Fake Fabulous, rocking silver and white brogues.

Silver & White Brogues | Fake Fabulous

And Catherine, of Not Dressed As Lamb, looking effortlessly laid back in a chambray shirt and coral brogues, no less.

Chambray Shirt & Coral Brogues | Not Dressed as Lamb

All 3 ladies looking very stylish indeed.  I was brought out of my fellow bloggers reverie by the assistant asking the eternal question they always ask; 'how do they feel?'. Definitely time to make a decision.  They feel surprisingly comfortable for new shoes; the uppers are soft leather and the insoles are padded.  But the tipping point was the unusual colour.  It's light enough to wear in Spring and Summer but not so light that they'd look like I was trying too hard in Autumn and Winter. The box said Taupe - a vague colour term if ever there was one.  According to that font of all wisdom, wiki-pedia:

Taupe is a word that is used to denote any of a variety of colors. The colors it denotes fall into a range from dark tan to grayish brown or brownish gray. The word derives from the French noun taupe, which in turn is from the Latin talpa, both meaning "mole" (the mammal). 

So there you go.  I purchased mole coloured shoes!  The fact that the colour is hard to pigeon-hole is right up my street. They're neither grayish brown or brownish gray.  They're a grayish-greenish-pewtery-I'm-too-cool-to-be-pinned-down-to-an-actual-colour, colour!

Brogues on a shoe box | Petite Silver Vixen

If you've been reticent in the past about giving brogues a whirl, why not take a leaf out of my book and dip your toe into a pair. Two major high street chains both have brogues in colours that work with so many outfits from jeans to tea dresses.

These autumnal brown ones are currently on offer, reduced from £25 to £20.


Bhs Brown Brogue


And these ones in a classic navy are a little more expensive at £59 but are leather and come in ½ sizes.


M&S Navy Brogue

If you're looking for more than basic colours, then these burgundy ones, colour wise, are right on the money this season.

Dolcis Burgundy Brogue

Office Vendetta Cleated Mint Brogue  are a great choice if you want a lighter colour.  Autumn doesn't have to mean dark colours.
Office Cleated Mint Brogue

And Clarks - good old Clarks have a fantastic selection if you fancy, well, something fancy.  The smaller sizes of 2½-3½ are sold out in the pink but amazingly they have some in size 2!  £60

Clarks Dusky Pink Brogue

And their purple combi brogue is perfect for Autumn/Winter and available in all sizes at the moment. £60

Clarks Purple Combi Brogue

Now I've confessed, I'm looking forward to styling my brogues.  I've a feeling they'll be seen alot on the blog over the next few months!  Thanks to Anna, Samantha and Catherine for kindly letting me use their photographs for my post.

Are you a brogue gal?

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African Inspired Maxi Dress

Last Saturday friends of ours invited us round to dinner, along with another mutual friend.  I'd planned what to wear a couple of weeks ago (crikey, I'm never usually this sartorially organised) but it turns out the best laid plans go awry when hormones kick in and I was feeling very hormonal at the weekend.  I got ready wearing my planned outfit (printed trousers and fancy top), took one look in the mirror and thought:

'Who is this snaffling, snarling hyena in front of me!  Where is the elegant gazelle, I thought was going to stare back at me?' Clearly it had galloped off into the African sunset, never to be seen again!

Several brutally tossed aside outfits later, having frenetically ransacked my wardrobe, I decided, to hell with it.  I might as well go tribal!  As soon as I slipped on this maxi dress, the jungle drums quietened down and I felt less jagged.

Tribal Print Maxi Dress & Snakeskin Clutch | Petite Silver Vixen

In the past, I probably would've fallen back on wearing comfy jeans and a loose flowing top with the mood I was in but I don't want to settle for second best these days.  I still wanted to look and more importantly, feel good. It will be Autumn in a few weeks time and the chances of wearing a summer maxi dress are slowly dwindling, so I pushed the boat out.

Plus, the African inspired, abstract print and the blues and turquoises lifted my mood.  They are the colours I gravitate towards when I need a lift.  TallBrownFox could let our friends know it was safe to leave the sharp cutting implements on the table!

The material has a slight stretchy quality to it, so it's comfortable to wear, especially as Saturday evening was more than warm.  The dress is Savoir, a brand I'm not very familiar with to be honest, but I'll certainly be investigating them further, as the fit is so good on me.  It's a petite and the length is spot on.  I'm always slightly amused when I see women having to hold up the skirts of their maxi dresses because the hem is dragging on the floor.

Tribal Print Maxi Dress & Snakeskin Clutch | Petite Silver Vixen

Tribal Print Maxi Dress & Snakeskin Clutch | Petite Silver Vixen

The V neck is very flattering, elongating my torso - always a bonus as not only am I a petite but a short-waisted petite.  And unlike many V necks, it doesn't sit so low that it ends up on my navel. Believe me, this has happened!

The twist detail under the V, allows the material to hang softly, rather than cling.  Cling would've raised, not lowered the jagged levels.  I even began to feel rather sleek and 3 inches taller!

Tribal Print Maxi Dress & Snakeskin Clutch | Petite Silver Vixen

As parts of the pattern give the impression of being animal print, I had to bring out my snakeskin clutch.  It's the ideal size.

Not so small that you can only squeeze a mobile in using a shoehorn. What is it with clutches the size of miniature playing cards?

But not so big that it swamps me. What is it with clutches the size of pillow cases?

I am truly, madly, deeply in love with this clutch and it's fast becoming my go to 'going out' bag.  It has a wristlet which I like for practical purposes and the slight translucent sheen appeals to the magpie in me.

Tribal Print Maxi Dress & Snakeskin Clutch | Petite Silver Vixen

Snakeskin Clutch & Yellow & Blue Bracelet Set | Petite Silver Vixen

A matching statement necklace and bracelet set to tie in with the yellows and the blues of the dress finished the look.  I bought them earlier in the year from Red Herring when they were in a half price sale without thinking they would go with this dress.

I know many people say that when you have a V neck, you should wear a necklace that fits the V but I'm not inclined to agree. I don't always feel the need to match length and space with my accessories. Besides, the dress is bold, the necklace and bracelets are bold.  Heck, by now I was feeling bold.

I was going to boldly go where no woman has gone before.  All the way to dinner!

Tribal Print Maxi Dress with Yellow & Blue Statement Necklace | Petite Silver Vixen

Annoyingly, I've had a minor flare up of the dreaded plantar fasciitis again around my left heel. I've not had one for a couple of years now.  Grrrrrrr.  It meant discarding my favoured black wedge sandals I wore with my black and white floral maxi dress back in June.  Double Grrrrrrrr.

BUT, the silver lining was that I could wear these cute and very plantar fasciitis sufferer friendly, mock croc, low heeled, block leather sandals.  Phew, that's a bit of a mouthful to say!

Black Mock Croc, Block Heeled Sandals | Petite Silver Vixen

Savoir Petite Maxi Dress: thrifted
Red Herring Matching Necklace and Bracelets in the sale
Mock Croc Block Heel Sandals from TKMaxx
Simply Vera Wang Snakeskin Wristlet; preloved from e-bay

By the time we took a few snaps, I perked up to my old self.  I'm even smiling!  We had a wonderful evening with our friends. We sat outside in their wee garden, sipping Prosecco as the sun set.  We were even joined, albeit briefly, by the neighbourhood squirrel.  It scampered along their garden fence, clearly drawn by the amazing aromas emanating from their kitchen.

Tribal Print Maxi Dress & Snakeskin Clutch | Petite Silver Vixen

And there was another silver lining.  Our friends cooked a wonderful meal for us all that was North African inspired.  My tribal print inspired maxi dress couldn't have been a better choice in the end; and room enough for an expanding tum as we feasted!

We had Moroccan style lamb meatballs cooked in a tagine with cous cous, a figs, sweet potato and feta cheese salad and a lebanese cucumber and radish salad.

Have I made you hungry now?  Do you like African cuisine?  And how do you cope when the jungle drums are pounding?

Linking with / Throwback Thursday  /  A Labour of Fashion  /  Spotlight Weekly  /  Fashion Should be Fun  /  Passion4Fashion  /  Favourite Fashion Friday  /  Fabulous Friday  /  Turning Heads Tuesday  /  Confident Twosday  /  Garay Treasures  /  The Wednesday Pants /  #iwillwearwhatilike /

Seascape & Seagulls

I'm inextricably drawn to pieces that evoke a memory or a mood.  Especially when it's evocative of childhood.

Seascape Print Top & Blue Jeans on HMS Victory | Petite Silver Vixen

When I spied this top earlier this year, I was immediately taken back to my childhood memories of seaside day trips and holidays; the squeals and squawks of dive-bombing seagulls, the smell of the salty brine and the soft taste of a double 99 ice cream with a flake.

During our staycation a couple of weeks ago, we visited the naval town of Portsmouth and it seemed fitting to wear my 'Seascape' print top, paired with my thrifted colbalt blue jeans.  I'm not sure which was bluer on the day - my jeans or the sky!

Seascape Print Top & Blue Jeans | Petite Silver Vixen

Seascape Print Top & Blue Jeans | Petite Silver Vixen

The pale aquas and blues of the top remind me of this painting by the French Impressionist, Gustave Caillebotte.  
Seascape, Regatta at Villers.

You sense the gentle rippling of the waves coming into shore.  He's captured the luminous quality of the ocean with its ever changing colours. The sea glistens and shimmers in the light.  The horizon is never ending.

Seascape, Regatta at Villers by Gustave Caillebotte | Petite Silver Vixen

Seascape Print Top & Lace Detail Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

Just as with the painting, I love the whole scenic quality of the print; the black silhouettes of the birds against the ivory background and how they convey the impression of movement.  Are they hovering over the shoreline or the sea?  Who knows where one ends and the other starts?

I can just imagine wading out from the shore, the coolness of the water refreshing me on a hot day.

Often with this style of top, I can annoyingly fall in between two sizes.  A size 10 can be just that bit too tight across the bust and under the arm making you feel you're slowly being squeezed by a boa constrictor but a size 12, whilst fitting across the bust, is often just that bit too baggy across the hips. This size 10 though fits perfectly.  Not unexpected from a diffusion line - it's J for Jasper Conran.  I've always admired the work of designer, Jasper Conran; his work not only includes collections but sets and costumes for plays, ballet and opera as well as home interiors.

I added a delicate silver and blue filigree chain necklace, to tie in with the glistening feel of the print.

Seascape Print Top & Silver Necklace | Petite Silver Vixen

With all the cobble stones in the Historic Royal Naval Dockyard, I'm glad I wore these sandals.  This is a great example of fun and functional meeting, shaking hands and getting on like a house on fire.

The diamante down the middle strap is playful, adding a dash of sparkle on what otherwise would be a rather practical sandal. The padded soles cushioned my feet against the uneven terrain.  They're the ideal sandal for a day of sightseeing, when ordinary sandals wouldn't be robust enough but a proper pair of walking sandals would be overkill and not very elegant looking. I'm mean, I'm hardly hiking in the Cheviot Hills!

Colbalt Blue Jeans & Black Sandals | Petite Silver Vixen

Seascape Print Top by J for Jasper Conran (sold out)
Thrifted Dorothy Perkins Petite Jeans
New Look bag (SS14)
New Look silver pendant necklace and Straw Trilby Hat (SS15).  The hat has done me proud this summer - I wore it on my very first blog post - French Artist Palette
TLC Sandals (sold out)

It's fun being a tourist in your own country.  I'm fortunate living in the South West of London that the coast is only a little over an hour's drive away.  A chance to recharge the batteries for the day, explore some history and maybe, although I couldn't possible say, do a little bit of retail therapy!  We most certainly indulged in a double 99 ice cream with a flake!

We had the perfect day to visit the Spinnaker Tower for a bird's eye view of the harbour!

On the Spinnaker Tower | Petite Silver Vixen

On the viewing deck of the Spinnaker Tower | Petite Silver Vixen

We spent a fascinating two hours exploring HMS Victory, Lord Nelson's ship at the Battle of Trafalgar, where he was mortally wounded.

Now I know people were a little bit shorter a few centuries ago but not that much.  Here I am, all 5'1" of me and lordy, look how unforgiving the head room is!  Can you imagine how TallBrownFox got on?  His 6'4" frame was practically having to crawl around on hands and knees on the lower decks.

All this living history makes you truly grateful for the way we live now.

On the HMS Victory | Petite Silver Vixen

Are you drawn to clothes or patterns that evoke memories?

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Aloha: Hawaiian Print Shorts

Aloha from Hawaii!

Hawaiian Print Shorts | Petite Silver Vixen

small voice of reason coughs quietly in the background. *ahem*

Alright, small voice of reason.  I'm not REALLY in Hawaii - I wish!  I'm a little closer to home, than those beautiful islands.  Let's start again, then.

Salut from the South of France!

Hawaiian Print Shorts | Petite Silver Vixen

Or it was when these photos were taken.  We popped over to the in-laws in France on Thursday pour le weekend as it was the annual summer gathering of TallBrownFox's towering clan.  18 people in all, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, ages ranging from 3 to 70+.  And 18 was a quiet year as we were missing a few people who couldn't make it!

Although I was in France, these cute, Hawaiian print shorts made me FEEL like I was in Hawaii.

Hawaiian Print Shorts | Petite Silver Vixen

Hawaiian Print Shorts | Petite Silver Vixen

Hawaiian Print Shorts & Embroidery Top | Petite Silver Vixen

Aloha literally means "the presence of breath" or "the breath of life" and these shorts are certainly brimming with life and colour.  I don't own many pairs of shorts, simply because the number of days in the UK where you can wear shorts without getting frostbite tends to be few and far between.  I saw many gorgeous shorts earlier in the summer but I refuse to pay silly money for a garment which, let's be honest, is hardly yards and yards of material!

I only bought these just over a week ago.  I certainly wasn't intending on buying more shorts but the tropical print made me smile, especially as this type of print is very current.  I knew they would be perfect to wear during our long weekend away.

It could also have been due to their price.  They were very purse friendly; £5 in the sale.

It could also have been due to their deep pockets.  I have deep love for deep pockets.

Hawaiian Print Shorts & Embroidery Top | Petite Silver Vixen

The loose pleats made the shorts comfortable and easy to wear.  And comfort was desirable with the mercury rising in August.  When it's this hot, you need clothes that hang more away from the body.

The high waist and the tropical print gives them a 40s/50s feel allowing me to channel my inner Rita Hayworth.


Didn't that woman have the most fabulous pair of pins?  And as I edge nearer to my half century birthday next year, I don't think my pins are too shabby either!

Just imagine the fountain I'm gracing is a swimming pool.

Hawaiian Print Shorts & Embroidery Top | Petite Silver Vixen

I kept the accessories simple as the vibrant colours of the shorts take centre stage.  A multi-coloured bracelet in tones of hot pink, red and coral, highlighting those colours in the shorts.  I added a daisy flower necklace on a silver chain; a delicate necklace to match the delicate pattern of the embroidery anglaise top.

I couldn't believe my luck at how the top's colour matched beautifully with the mint in the shorts.

Hot Pink, Red & Coral Bracelet | Petite Silver Vixen

Daisy Flower Necklace | Petite Silver Vixen

I'm continuing my love affair with wedges.  I dread to think how many pairs of wedge-type shoes/boots/sandals I own!  These ones fit well with the vintage vibe of the shorts.  Wedges are probably the most iconic women's shoe from the 1940's.

Back then, wedges were thick soled with a heel that was sturdy and just high enough to give the legs a lovely shape.  People walked much greater distances in those days, reflected in the lower height of heels compared with today's skyscraper ones.  They were also a very feminine shape with either slingback straps, peep toes or adorned with embellishments like bows.

Hawaiian Print Shorts & Multi Coloured Sandals | Petite Silver Vixen

Like the shorts, they were a recent impulse buy in the sales. I was in store collecting an online order and to get to the click and collect point you had to walk through the shoe department.  A journey fraught with all sorts of temptations as the shoe sale racks were lined up on either side of the walkway, like venus fly traps ready to snare me.

I was doing so well, eyes front, not looking left or right when bah, the peripheral vision kicked in.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw these on the sale rack that said 'Size 3 & 4' in big red letters and was instantly smitten.  I picked them up to try them on and darn it, if they weren't a pair of size 4.  Drats and double drats.  Oh well, c'est la vie, I thought.  If I had a penny for every time that's happened, I'd be rich enough to have my shoes hand made for me.  By elves.  In the finest silk.

But the shoe goddess hadn't quite finished toying with me.  As I carried on walking, there was another sale rack and HURRAH, another pair.

'Don't get too excited.' said the small voice of reason.
'I know.' I said, 'but they look small enough to be a size 3.'
'Please be a size 3.'
'PLURLEEZE be a size 3.'

I tentatively picked them up and... bring out the gospel choir to sing the Hallelujah chorus, they were a size 3.

Multi Coloured Wedge Sandals | Petite Silver Vixen

Whenever I buy an item I always weigh up how much I'll wear it, how many other items in my wardrobe it will go with, and what's the quality like i.e. will they last or fall apart?  These were a no-brainer.  They've hardly been off my feet (except for when I've been in the shower, or the pool) and the summer colours make them versatile.  They were reduced from £50 to £35.  Still expensive perhaps for a pair of sandals for some people but they are leather.

I love the detail of the white stitching on the sides and the slightly thicker sole under the ball of the foot makes them über comfortable to wear.

Multi Coloured Wedge Sandals | Petite Silver Vixen

In the cool of the evening, the extended family went en masse to play boules.  Boules in France is practically the national sport (ssh, don't say that in front of a French football or rugby fan though) and is definitely a national obsession!  Every town, village and hamlet, however minute, will have a boules court.  It is fiercely competitive!

Despite numerous visits to France this was my first official game.  I'd like to say I'm a natural, that I thrashed my opponents and that I had life time membership of the local boules team bestowed upon my shoulders from the village Maire (Mayor)...

... mais non, non et non.

I lost both games I played.  I think I was the best dressed though, certainly the most colourful!

Holding Boules, wearing Hawaiian Print Shorts & Embroidery Top | Petite Silver Vixen

The upside was, I wasn't the worst player on the leader board.  I was only the second worst player! As the song goes, 'the only way is up, baby!'.

Peacocks Hawaiian Print shorts - sold out but similar here
Bhs Petite Broderie top
Hot Pink & Coral Bracelet BHS
Daisy Flower Necklace (old)
White wide brimmed sunhat, first seen last month at the Flower Show was bought from a pharmacy in Australia when on honeymoon there.
Clarks Coral 'Rusty Lady' Leather Wedge Sandals
Rita Hayworth Photograph by Peter Stackpole from AllPosters

Do you feel confident wearing shorts?  Do you go for the more the vintage look?  And have you ever played boules?

Linking with / Creative Mondays  /  Confident Twosday  /  Turning Heads Tuesday  /  Garay Treasures  /  The Wednesday Pants  /  Color and Grace  /  Brilliant Blog Posts /  Throw Back Thursday /  Fashion Should Be Fun  / #iwillwearwhatilike /
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