NOT LETTING AGE DEFINE MY LIFE OR STYLE

Seasonal Skinny Wk 13: Autumnal Glory | Gold, Burgundy & Russet


You might have noticed that it's been somewhat all quiet on the Western front with the blog the last week. It's been a week of hunkering down and conserving energy. Whilst our American cousins across the pond were celebrating Thanksgiving, I was quietly giving thanks for two events that could have turned out to be far more serious than they were.

First, we had it confirmed that Tall Brown Fox wouldn't be made redundant just before Christmas. This had been hanging over his head for the last month. Sadly, several of his friends and colleagues did not escape the brutal cull at the company. Whilst I'm thankful that Tall Brown Fox wasn't made redundant, I feel so sad for those who have lost their jobs just at the year ends, especially as some of them have been at the company for over 20 years.

Second, my Dad was taken to hospital on Thursday suffering chest pains. What could have been a suspected heart attack turned out to be an irregular heart beat. Fortunately, my brother was staying the week with my parents on a visit and was able to go with him in the ambulance. I'm thankful that he was there.

Not only has life been somewhat embattled this week, the weather this weekend decided it had had enough of the 'Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness' and went into winter mode with a big, fat W!

Freezing temperatures, howling winds and driving rain aren't conducive to outdoor shoots and despite a valiant effort to take some photos outside, we knew when we were beaten and we scuttled inside. Moving a chair and dusting a sideboard was peanuts compared with trying not to get frostbitten fingers! 

Do you like my rubber plant?  It's rather magnificent, isn't it?




Despite the un-Autumn like weather, my last Seasonal Skinny of the Autumn, is a celebration of Autumn colours and wildlife – a last hurrah before next's week handover to the Winter Seasonal Skinny. I was hoping for a bright Autumn day to match but Mother Nature doesn't always play ball.

You may remember a few weeks ago that I posted a photo of this tree when it was at it's crowning golden glory. It was the inspiration for this week's style challenge using gold, brown, burgundy and russet.


Before critters start to hibernate for Winter, we've a last glimpse of some woodland wildlife. A roedeer peers out, ears pricked for the sound of any rustling in the leaves. An owl gazes sagely from it's wooden perch. As much as I love graphic tees, I won't buy them unless they have a really eye-catching design or they strike a personal chord with me. 

I saw this one way back in August (it's from the Tu range at Sainsbury's) just as some of the Autumn ranges were trickling into the stores. With the colours and the design of the graphics, I thought it was just perfect for the coming season. Tall Brown Fox and I like nothing better than escaping to the country for long woodland hikes so the feel of the tee really resonated with me.

You'll have to excuse the odd look of my glasses.  I assure you they aren't dirty.  The TV was on in the corner and I didn't realise until afterwards that the screen was reflecting against the lenses! And it seems I'm being photo bombed by the rubber plant!

Arghhh, this would never happen if I was a seasoned blogger!


Moving swiftly one.  One of the many things this blogging malarkey has reinforced is how can I be just that little bit more playful/creative/daring with my outfits. Yes, a bracelet (or this case 2) here and an unusual necklace there and oh, why not a vintage tapesty, bamboo handle handbag as well. All lovely touches, I'm sure you'll agree but the addition of the low slung belt gives it more of a punch.

I originally had added it as a necessity rather than in a flash of inspiration. When outside, the boyfriend cardigan kept wrapping itself around me one second and then flying away the next all due to the wind! I put the belt on to keep it in place but the material bunched up too much and I felt lumpy.

Once inside, I whipped it off and put it on under the cardigan and 

'BAZINGA!

as one of my favourite TV characters would say!

On it's own, the top potentially could be edging towards twee-dom, especially with the tapestry bag. The belt pulls it back, giving the outfit some edge whilst not detracting from the evocative graphic tee.

The colour of the boyfriend cardigan looks slightly different in real life – oh the joys of indoor lighting. It's more camel than mustard, with a bronze undertone more like the disc of the belt.


I have a secret passion for bamboo handle handbags.   They always remind me of my Grandma!  Growing up in the 60s and 70s, I remember her carrying handbags that had bamboo handles.  I loved the feel of them, thought they looked so elegant and dreamt I'd have some handbags just like that when I was all grown up.  Well, sometimes childhood dreams do come true!  

My Grandma would've loved this one with it's delicate clasp, big hoop handle and floral tapestry pattern.


Seasonal Skinny
Tu at Sainsbury Graphic tee A/W15
Necklace (old) from a market stall lost in the midst of time
Green Bracelet (old)
Dorothy Perkins Gold Glitter Bracelet – currently reduced
Vintage tapestry bamboo handbag (e-bay)
Bhs Suede Shoe Boots (old)  I wore them with my Swirling Leaves Skirt last month.


How did you celebrate Thanksgiving? And even if you didn't, what are you giving thanks for as we move from Autumn to Winter?

You can read all about my Seasonal Skinny Style Challenge here.

Seasonal Skinny Wk 12: Flora & Fauna | Mink, Chinese Blue & Burgundy


Before everything hibernates for Winter (including me, it feels on some days!) and because I'm almost at the end of the Autumn section of my Seasonal Skinny Challenge, I've a naturalist theme this week!  We've a display of flora and fauna with a chinese blue floral patterned jumper and wise owls on a burgundy snood.

Despite there being only two main colours - blue and burgundy - a closer look shows we've subtle plays on textures; suede boots, faux fur gilet and wool and faceted crystals on the beret.

And said faux fur gilet is definitely earning its keep.  When I bought it earlier this month in the sale I wondered how much wear I'd get from it this late in the year but it's proving it's more versatile than I gave it credit, not least because it works with so many outfits, such as with my Shift Dress.  And it'll still be going strong when Spring comes around.




I'm wearing a Parliament of Owls with my snood.   Sounds rather grand, doesn't it?   That's the collective noun for owls.  Good thing I'm not wearing toads; that'd be a knot!

Renown throughout culture and literature for their wisdom, in Greek mythology the owl is the symbol for the Goddess of Wisdom - Athena.  Not that I'm comparing myself in anyway to the Goddess of Wisdom.  Nothing so lofty!  I just like owls. Especially these ones; it's as if they're looking at you with wide-eyed curiosity and therefore are slightly surprised to see you!

It was rather bracing at the weekend, which translates as

'Crikey, what's happened to the temperature???'

The jumper is one that's really more suited to early Autumn rather than late, as it's a not a thick one. Despite wearing a thin thermal vest underneath it, it still needed layers so the snood, gilet and beret were definitely not just for effect but also for warmth!

I find wool berets do the best job of keeping my head warm, much more say than pom pom hats or beanies do.  And this one has a stylish twist with the crystals on it which in the right light, sparkle and glisten.



When taking the photos, Tall Brown Fox said this side on view looked like I had a tattoo sleeve down my arm, with the pattern and the colour being so vivid. At the time, I thought he was just being adorably odd in saying that but I can see what he means now!

It does rather look like an inking, in the way the pattern tumbles down the sleeve!



Last winter I went slightly mad with (no, invested in, invested in) boot buying on e-bay and nabbed several pairs of different styles of boots.  These ones were bought at the same time as my other suede boots I wore a few weeks ago in week 9 of my style challenge.  I always look out for M&S shoes; they're such a good fit for my size 3 narrow feet and the quality is such that I've never had a pair from them that hasn't lasted above and beyond their duty!

Although the gilet is grey, it's really more mink in colour, so the brown suede boots work well with it and make an alternative to wearing black.


Seasonal Skinny
Warehouse Floral Jumper (old)
Wallis Petite Faux Fur Gilet A/W 15 Currently on sale
Peacocks Owl Snood
Fat Face Multi Strand Bracelets
Monsoon Navy Beret.  Same Monsoon Faceted beret but in black
M&S Suede Boots (e-bay)  Similar Suede boots but in a Riding Style
M&S Brown Leather Crossbody Bag

I think this shot says

'Take the picture, take the picture, so we can dash back inside for a warming mug of hot chocolate!'



What are your favourite animal prints?

Next week will be the final Autumn Seasonal Skinny before the Winter challenge so do pop back for the Grand Finale!

You can read more about my Seasonal Skinny Style Challenge here.

Linking with Style Nudge / Visible Monday / #iwillwearwhatilike / Creative Monday Bloghop / Style Stories /

Leopard Print, Denim & Coral Accents | How to Style an Awkward Dress

Last week a colleague of mine dubbed me the 'Leopard Print Lady' after I arrived at the Pilates studio wearing my Seasonal Skinny Jeans with Leopard Print & Plaid Accents outfit.  It seemed appropriate I do another outfit featuring leopard print.

Today, it's making me warble 'How do you solve a problem like Maria?', from the Sound of Music. Except it's not Maria... it's really

'How do you solve a problem like an Awkward Dress?'

but that doesn't quite have the same catchy ring to it, does it?  You see I'm actually wearing a dress, and an awkward one at that. Why awkward?  Is it having a strop?  Not quite.

Leopard Print, Denim Shirt, Coral Necklace & New Look Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

Leopard Print, Denim Shirt, Coral Necklace & New Look Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

What I didn't realise when I bought the dress on e-bay quite awhile ago, for something silly like £7.36p, was that because of my bust size and being short waisted, the mid section of the dress sits totally in the wrong place on my body!  It creates a line right across the curve of my bust, looking as if the dress has shrunk in the wash!

If I had boobs the size of pebbles and a waist the length of a giraffe's neck, it'd be fine BUT you gotta work with what your genetic hand has dealt you!


I don't give up on an item that easily, especially a dress that has such gorgeous, you-want-to-stick-your-hands-in-pockets, on the front.  Before deciding whether to resell it or not, I thought I'd give it a whirl styling it to give the illusion I'm wearing a skirt.

Leopard print and denim are a classic combination.  Leopard prints come in all shades and this one is quite muted, so the softness of the denim shirt is a great match.  I played around with different accent colours with the jewellery and bag.  Red looked a little too harsh somehow with the brown boots and the darker print of the dress.  If the boots were black, red would've been the pick but I kept returning to the coral.

I chose not to wear a belt, as I preferred the uninterrupted line of the shirt hanging down and the simplicity of having just 2 coral colour accents; necklace and bag with a trio of glass bracelets in amber, brown and green.

Leopard Print, Denim Shirt, Coral Necklace & New Look Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

Leopard Print, Denim Shirt, Coral Necklace & New Look Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

Leopard Print, Denim Shirt, Coral Necklace & New Look Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

Leopard Print, Denim Shirt, Coral Necklace & New Look Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

This necklace is on a roll with it's second outing in one week as I wore it in this week's Seasonal Skinny 'Yin & Yang' post.  I can see it's going to be a firm favourite!  It was an impromptu purchase from the range Tu at Sainsbury, at a bargain busting sale price of £5!  You can find some great finds in the clothing lines at supermarkets these days.

Domestic Goddess tip - when doing your weekly shop at the supermarket, why not pop some bling in your trolley, along with your beans, bread and bananas!

I love how the colour picks up the stitching of the denim shirt.

Leopard Print, Denim Shirt, Coral Necklace & New Look Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

Denim Shirt, Tu Coral Necklace | Petite Silver Vixen

Amber & Silver Ring, Thrifted Brown, Amber & Green Bracelets | Petite Silver Vixen

I must have had these leather boots for at least 20 years - so long I can't remember where I bought them from but I still love that little buckle detail at the side and the curved stitching.

And the nude coloured fishnets look so good with them.  Just a hint of a pattern is all that's needed.

Brown Knee High Boots & Nude Fishnet Tights | Petite Silver Vixen

Leopard Print Dress (e-bay)
New Look Denim Shirt (old)  This season's Denim Shirt
New Look Coral Bag.  Similar colour but in a Crossbody Shoulder bag
Bracelets (thrifted)
Necklace Tu at Sainsbury
Amber Ring gift from Tall Brown Fox, bought at a jewellery stall in a French market
Brown Knee High Leather Boots from The Emporium of I Forget!  These Brown Leather Boots are currently on sale

The style of the outfit now is one you could happily wear to work on a dress down Friday day, meet friends for Sunday brunch in or reach for on those occasions when you don't want to wear trousers but you still want a casual vibe.

Leopard Print, Denim Shirt, Coral Necklace & New Look Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

Leopard Print, Denim Shirt, Coral Necklace & New Look Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

This dress is no longer an Awkward Maria!  Problem solved and it's a keeper.  I'm off into town. Bye-eee

Do you have any Awkward Items you've restyle.

Linking with Throwback Thursday / High Latitude Style / Thursday Fashion Files / Fun Fashion Friday / Flashback Fashion Friday / Passion4Fashion / Style Stories

Seasonal Skinny Wk 11: 'Yin & Yang', Styling Floral Scarf & Stomper Boots | Aqua, Navy & Orange

Yin and Yang - from the Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui.  Representing the duality of everything in the universe.

Opposite yet complimentary.
Constant yet cyclical.

In yin there is an element of yang.  In yang, there is an element of yin.  When yin and yang are in harmony, there is balance.  

There's subtle yin and yang in this week's Seasonal Skinny outfit.

Floral and stripes. 
Light colours with dark.
Bright, bold colours with soft pastels.
A touch of feminine with the scarf, a touch of masculine with the stomper boots.

Showing that opposites can be worn together to add interest, depth and texture to an outfit, even in a simple, casual, weekend one consisting of jeans, a long sleeve tee and a cardigan.

National Trust Scarf, Camaieu Tee, Geox Boots | Petite Silver Vixen

National Trust Scarf, Camaieu Tee, Geox Boots | Petite Silver Vixen

I should perhaps have subtitled this post...

'How to try to take photos on a windy, scouring day'

All weekend the sky had been lowering and leaden, the weather wet and windy.  November has certainly bedded in now and everything felt unsettled.  We're deep into Autumn now, but Winter is tapping at our heels, almost impatiently it feels.  

The dark colours were in keeping with the feel of the day but to balance things out I wore a pastel cardigan, necklace and scarf.  Due to the fierce wind, I decided to wear a scarf in my hair rather than my usual go to head wear on a windy day, the beret; especially as I love wearing scarves.  

With fine, fly away locks like mine, you can end up looking like you've been dragged through a hedge backwards on a windy day!  Wearing it this way, not only keeps the hair off my face but is a stylish alternative to wearing it round your neck.

National Trust Scarf, Camaieu Tee, Tu Necklace | Petite Silver Vixen

Although, you do then have the problem of a misbehaving scarf!

It was having a high old time flying around, this way and that.

National Trust Scarf, Camaieu Tee, Geox Boots | Petite Silver Vixen

National Trust Scarf, Camaieu Tee, Geox Boots | Petite Silver Vixen

I know, I'll just hold the darn thing out like a sail and maybe I'll be blown down the street!

National Trust Scarf, Camaieu Tee, Geox Boots | Petite Silver Vixen

That's better.  Just drape it elegantly across one shoulder.  Quick, take the photo before it's whipped up by the wind again!

National Trust Scarf, Camaieu Tee, Geox Boots | Petite Silver Vixen

National Trust Scarf, Camaieu Tee, Geox Boots | Petite Silver Vixen

There are two places I always seem to do well when buying scarves.  Museums/country houses and market stalls!

I bought this from the shop at Nymans, a beautiful National Trust house and garden in West Sussex. The NT do such reasonably priced scarves (from £15 for cotton or wool to £35 for silk ones).  Many are based on horticultural, textile or design elements from the properties in their care. I love the unusual combination of the soft aqua, blue and burnt orange.  The blossoms remind me of both chrysanthemums and dahlias.

I know that some stylistas would say you should wear either the scarf or the necklace but not the two together.  Well, two hoots to that I say.  I'm more the Iris Apfel end of the spectrum and like to have fun with my accessories.

Striped tee, petite Dorothy Perkins Cardigan National Trust Scarf | Petite Silver Vixen

Striped tee, petite Dorothy Perkins Cardigan, Coast Bag, National Trust Scarf | Petite Silver Vixen

I think you can say these boots have 'tude as Melanie from A Bag and A Beret would say!
Some people might say they have a split personality.

Are they a lace up or a zip up?
Are they suede or leather?
Why can't they make up their minds?
Could a pair of boots be more contrary if they tried?

No, they're just showing off their different aspects of their personality - a little big yin, a little big yang.  They say...

'We didn't want to be one style or the another.  We're the best of both worlds, thanks very much!  We're quite happy living in harmony with our opposites.  Now do excuse us, we've a-stomping to go!'

Geox is the brand of these boots.  Their boots normally sell for triple figures so these were my winter bargain at under £50!  The thick soles will be ideal for the coming season - sturdy without being 'clodhoppers', as my Grandma used to say. They are so comfy and even better, for quite stompy boots, very light to wear.  And they really are the best of both worlds.  I love the look of high lace up boots but can't always be bothered with the lacing and unlacing.  With these, it's a quick zip up and indeed, a-stomping I do go!

Geox Lace & Zip Boots | Petite Silver Vixen

Seasonal Skinny
Camaieu Striped tee (old)  Long Sleeve Navy Breton from Boden
Dorothy Perkins Petite Cardigan
Geox Boots from T KMaxx
National Trust Floral Scarf (old).  Similar NT Oak Leaf Scarf
Necklace from Tu at Sainsbury bought in the sale recently.  Here's a lovely Orange Tab Collar Necklace from Yosa
Coast bag (old from e-bay)  Dorothy Perkins Mini Orange Loop Tote

National Trust Scarf, Camaieu Tee, Geox Boots | Petite Silver Vixen

Do wear colours that reflect the outdoor mood or do you balance your yin and yang?

Shop the Look

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Seasonal Skinny Wk 10: Leopard Print & Plaid Accents | Wearing different leopard prints together

DOUBLE FIGURES!  We've made it into double figures.  Week 10 of my 52 week style challenge.  My, how the weeks have flown.  Only 3 weeks left of my Autumn Seasonal Skinny, before we pass the baton on to the Winter Seasonal Skinny!
 

On the previous 3 weeks of my Seasonal Skinny Style Challenge, I've worn patterned shirts with my jeans,

Wk 7: Checked Shirt, Biker Boots & Bling
Wk 8: Oversized Tartan Shirt & Leopard Print Tie
Wk 9: Science & The Printed Shirt

This week I've passed the 'pattern baton' on to the accessories team.  Gamely, the accessories grabbed the 'pattern baton' with both hands.  I present to you the Leopard Print relay team, ably supported by Team Plaid!  The relay team is quite unusual in that they all begin with b's! First leg on the starting blocks is

Beret
Belt takes the second leg
Bracelet the difficult middle leg of the race before
Booties brings up the rear in a sprint for the finishing line on the last leg!


Can you wear different leopard prints together in an outfit?

YES!

Won't it look mismatched?

YES!  But who cares?

It's not as if I'm dousing myself in leopard print a la 'Bet Lynch' style and, let's face it, it's rare that you'll get 4 separate leopard prints to match exactly!  But that's ok because if they did all match exactly, it would look a little dull.  Sometimes things can be too matchy matchy. Besides, even real leopards from the same litter don't have the exact same markings.

With all the leopard accessories together you can easily see the prints are all slightly different in size, colour and tone BUT they're not outrageously dissimilar.  Yes, the beret and belt are browner than the boots and bracelet which have more of an orange tone to them but there's some harmony there, ergo there's no reason why they can't be worn together.

Once on and spaced out, they're not competing with each other; each one stands out individually but are still part of the group. Just like in a relay team!

Ok, Coach you can sit on the bench now!


In some ways this outfit is a riff on my Leopard Print & Denim post from September.

The boyfriend cardigan, necklace, bag, bracelet and booties are the same, just showing how versatile they are.



I've just added a couple more leopard print accessories with the belt and the beret.

My curly whirly, silver flecked brunette locks tumbling out from under my leopard print beret.  This is the third beret I've worn on the blog.  I love them as they're so easy to wear, are timeless and really inexpensive to buy.  This one is originally Acessorize but I bought it from e-bay for only a few pounds.  It's Angora so super soft to wear, non itchy and keeps my head really warm.



 

Then because Team Plaid wanted some of the spotlight too (no jealousy in the ranks please), we have another accessories pairing of my Plaid Cape and thrifted bag, toning in with the dark mint top and the varying browns of the leopard prints.

By keeping the main outfit two tone in colour, - burgundy and mint - which acts as a background canvas, I could play around with showcasing 4 slightly different leopard prints accents. Then I just paired up the final two bigger accessories, and even though we've two different patterns here - the plaid and the leopard - it still a co-ordinated look.

Mixing your accessories allows you to show off more patterns but it's also a great alternative if you just want your pattern mixing look to be more low key.


Seasonal Skinny
New Look Long Sleeve tee & Boyfriend Cardigan (both old).  Although they're doing the Drop Pocket Boyfriend Cardigan in burgundy and a few other colours again this year.
Accessorize Beret (old from ebay)
River Island Leopard Print Ankle Boots (old from e-bay) Clarks Leopard Print are similar
Belt TKMaxx (old)  This Biba Shena Leather Leopard Print Belt is currently on sale
Bracelet & Plaid Bag (thrifted)


I wore this outfit on one of the days when I went to the Pilates studio I teach at.  One of my male colleagues, who's become a pal from all the hours and hours of teaching practice we did together, to help us get through our training said, as soon as he saw me,

"I'm going to call you Leopard Lady from now on."   Absolutely made my day!

You can read the background to my Seasonal Skinny Style Challenge here.

Linking with / High Latitude Style / Fashion Should Be Fun / Flashback Fashion Friday / Fashion Friday / Passion4Fashion /
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