I WON'T WEAR SLUDGE BROWN

A fashion and style blog for the over 40s covering body shapes, colour palettes, how to wear neutrals, style personality and capsule wardrobes. Come on in!

5.26.2017

Styling A Black Summer Dress For Day Time Wear & Holidays

I've got so much to tell you, new discoveries, days out, underwear revelations, the perfect white trousers and of course continuing our dressing for your body shape series (next instalment will be live this weekend, weather permitting 🌞 ). My head is swimming I tell you.

Let's tick off one of these things in this post as per the title up there ^^^

I love a bit of print I do, but in very small doses. I wore a floral dress in London earlier this week and honestly by the end of the day I was ready for ripping it off. All that busyness (that word looks so wrong in print but it sounds ok doesn't it?) messed with my head. And I've come to realise over the years, that a plain summer dress stays in my wardrobe far longer than a print which I soon tire of and chuck on ebay. So it makes sense to build up a few basic summer dresses yes?

This was from Gap, sadly no longer available and is the perfect shape for my rectangular figure. It's cut straight and has the all important upper arm coverage. The curved hem adds a little bit of interest to an otherwise VERY plain dress.

*for ladies who struggle to wear black, look for lower necklines such as this one so you're not wearing it directly underneath your chin.

Dress - Gap (similar below)
Hat - TK Maxx (old)
Bag - Primark (still available in store but hurry, they're selling fast)
Coastline Flip Flops - Holster Australia

It's a good holiday dress. Most would say beach to bar. I say yuk. I can't wear a dress all day long, shower and then wear it again in the evening? It's plain wrong. No, far better to do bar to beach. Wear it in the evening with a pair of sandals and a bright clutch bag and then relegate it to day wear later on in the holiday when you can fling it over your bikini. One dress, two ways. Makes far more sense in my head. But of course we don't just shop for holiday dresses do we? They have to work back home too. A plain black casual dress is a perfect all rounder.

Here are a few options that would work equally as well.

Linen Black Dress £24



And it has a lovely v shaped back.


And to illustrate my point, here are a few different looks that you can play around with. First up, keeping everything neutral.
And for those who are more adventurous, a bit of colour.




Told you a black dress is versatile! But then you know that already.

A floatier option that you could apply exactly the same principle to. It's amazing how a fabulous pair of sandals can instantly transform the plainest of dress into evening wear.

Piper Dress £59



Pretty little shoulder detail. It's a beach dress actually and I don't remember seeing this particular one so can't vouch for it's transparency. Worth ordering though because it's lovely isn't it?

Knot Front Sleeveless Beach Dress £15




Not quite black but good enough. A nod to the Boho trend without being over the top which means of course that it will last far longer in your wardrobe. I didn't realise that I needed this in my life until I saw it. Oh gawd! Writing a blog is dangerous.

Bude Embroidered Dress £45


I think the key is to find a dress with a detailed something. That could be an asymmetric hem or pretty straps or embroidery. It makes the outfit look a little more special than a plain old up and down t-shirt dress.

And for me it's all about keeping the look simple and uncluttered at home, so I teamed the dress with a neutrals adding a stack of coloured bracelets.




I'm still in flip flops after the husband told me to meet him in Leicester Square on Saturday and then made me walk all the way to Smith & Wollensky, just off The Strand. Ok, it's only half a mile but in vertigo challenging stilettos, it felt more like 5. I still have blisters nearly a week later. These gorgeous wedge flip flops from Holster Australia have been my saviours this week. I have a friend who is much more petite than me and she ALWAYS ALWAYS wears wedge flip flops to give her a couple of extra inches in height. Good job really because it stops me from looking like a lanky giant when I stand next to her. Do you remember this post when we talked about how to make your legs look longer in summer? Well these do just the same.

Stylish and comfortable. Ladies, you need these in your life.

Holster Australia Coastline Wedges £35


Gosh, I love my neutrals.....



Apparently we're going to get rain tomorrow. Ho-hum. Please tell me that, that wasn't summer.



Have a lovely evening and I'll catch up with you over the weekend.


5.25.2017

Stealing Penelope's Style

Espadrilles. They're everywhere again this year. Not something that I would splurge on because I'd probably only wear them a handful of times. I'd rather save my pennies for a pair of decent leather ankle boots. I saw these the other day when I was browsing. A 40% discount code (I know 40% right?) is hard to ignore. 


(That makes them £16.20!!!!) God, my maths is on point today. Available in red and blue.

Or you could pay 7.5 times as much 😱  for the Penelope Chilvers originals.



Ok, the ribbon is probably much more luxurious and they're bound to be more comfortable but I can't stop thinking about that £112.80 price difference. It's the Yorkshire girl in me. 

Or you could do stripes.

(That makes them just £21)




And P.C.s offering (which admittedly are very nice).




Splurge or save. You choose. 

Anyone else enjoying the weather? I have a dozen and one things to do and am currently sat on my backside in the shade, contemplating a glass of something chilled. So very decadent. Had it been chucking it down in the middle of November, the sheer thought would be wrong. The sun is very much an enabler isn't it?





5.19.2017

Sometimes...

Sometimes I sleep through the night.

Sometimes I miss comments on Instagram and then feel bad for not replying.

Sometimes I eat more than one bag of crisps a day!

Sometimes I shout at the wrong child and cause World War III 😱

Sometimes I hide in the airing cupboard and jump out to frighten our son (wrong I know).

Sometimes I leg it upstairs as quick as I can at 11pm because first in bed gets the tv remote control (most nights actually).

Sometimes I add mushrooms to a spag bol and deny it to the husband (he says he's allergic, he's not).

Sometimes I shop at Indigo in Marks & Spencer. That'll be today then.

I had a lovely chat with an old lady about this little cardigan earlier today and she very kindly gave me her 20% family and friends discount coupon because I'd forgotten mine. Some people really are lovely aren't they?

This is so not my usual style (go me) but I kind of really like it. And as soon as I clocked it (strategically placed right next to the tills - you little tinkers M&S), I thought, holiday jacket. Not that I plan on wearing it that much on holiday but planes can be very chilly places. And let's not even talk about the daily battle with hotel cleaners who insist on turning the air con up to full throttle. It's pure torture when you've been outside all day in temperatures of 80+ degrees.

Boho Textured Pure Cotton Flared Cardigan £35 



Ignore what's underneath, I didn't have time to style it up. And in the usual M&S fashion, it's so much better in the flesh than online. Firstly it's not white as it appears in the picture, it's ecru. And secondly, I hate how they've styled it. Too much fuss, too many angles, too many colours.



Honestly, it's a really nice little cardi-jacket that's perfect to pop over your summer dresses. I'm not the best when it comes to cardigans and 9/10 choose a jacket so I'm particularly thrilled with this.


Boho Textured Pure Cotton Flared Cardigan £35
 

So find yourself a nice little old lady with a discount code or use this one for 20% off MY6F35.

Happy Shopping!

Apparently I have to take two suitcases when I visit the daughter this weekend as she wants me to bring back her winter clothes. See that clear floor in her bedroom up there ^^^ I doubt we'll see it again for a few months!!! More clothes than a Chinese laundry! 

p.s. I sized up to a 12


5.15.2017

The Yellow Dress - It's Bound To Be A Sell-Out

Back in the day when I couldn't get enough of Jilly Cooper's Riders (didn't we all want to marry Rupert Campbell-Black?) I remember her describing a pair of socks (I think) as cat sick yellow. And it's stuck in my mind ever since. Thankfully, this dress is not remotely cat sick anything and Jilly Cooper has nothing to do with this post at all. I just thought it would be an interesting and maybe slightly amusement opening?.

No? Okaaaaay. Move on Donna.

I saw this dress last week, in an email I think it was and I'll be honest it caught my eye. And then I popped in to M&S for groceries and found myself in the dress department. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? And there it was, waiting for me. So I bought two. Well two different sizes because I didn't have much time and I was supposed to be shopping for food remember.

Back home, the food abandoned on the breakfast bar, I dashed upstairs to try it on and yes it's a keeper.

Tiered Long Sleeve Midi Dress £49.50 (currently 20% off with code MY6F35)




Let's talk about the colour first of all. It's what I would describe as daffodil yellow. A fresh, summery shade, definitely for the warm skin tones amongst us*

(colour consultants please skip this next sentence)

* Rule breaking alert: if I had a cool skin tone, I'd buy it anyway and slap some fake tan on. Surprising what we can get away with when we have a tan.

It's a kind of cheese cloth material, actually it's viscose but it looks like cheese cloth and is a perfect travelling companion. Apparently there's also a slip which is mentioned in the blurb and you can just see it on the model. Not in the two I have.  I'll contact them and report back. My feeling is that they took out the slip after the sample stage but didn't update the records. Providing you wear nude underwear, I don't think a slip is totally necessary anyway. **Update, it does come with a yellow slip, mine must have fallen out so I will do an exchange.

By the way, this is the size 10 which fits perfectly but I'll try the size 12 too, to see how that works. Shame it only comes in regular length as another couple of inches would have been perfect. Ahh well, we can't have everything in life can we?

I'm wearing it with black sandals also from M&S which seem to be selling fast. I went in to two stores last week to try them on and they'd sold out. Still available on line. It will also look great with leopard print toe post sandals and white trainers. Lots of options then!

These sandals are perfect when you want a slightly more dressed up feel but don't want an uncomfortable stiletto. Keepers.

Chunky Block Heel Sandal £25 (currently 20% off with code MY6F35)



Post update: I'm wearing these sandals again today which is always a good sign of a great purchase. Can't get enough of black and yellow!

Chunky Block Heel Sandal £25
Bag - Fiorelli - Similar here (and it's lovely)


P.S. don't hang around if you fancy either the dress or the sandals as I doubt they'll be around long.

P.P.S. seems I'm not the only sad person that talks about steam irons (see post here), your comments particularly on Insta made me laugh out very loud!!! I will get around to replying to everyone on email too xx


5.14.2017

Choosing A Steam Generator Iron (Yes You Did Just Read That)



Let's talk irons. I know, not the sexiest subject on the planet. But I need to explain.

The other day, a reader contacted me about my iron. We'd talked about the virtues of choosing the right iron some months ago. And then I lost her message before I had the chance to reply. This is the only way I can reach out to the lady. But then I figured that other readers might be in the market for a new iron too. So this is for you. God, I am so generous 😜

I don't look forward to the ironing because I'm not THAT sad but I don't mind it either. Sunday morning, pile of washing and Columbo on the telly (there's always a Columbo movie if you look hard enough). And before we've found out who's done it, the ironing is finished. I've sent my ironing out in the past and, let the cleaner loose on my laundry basket but honestly, I'm a fussy bugger and no one irons my husband's shirts as I do. I get very stressed and grumpy if they're not done properly so best do them myself yes? The matter of ironing has also reaffirmed to me that my children were swapped at birth. Both think nothing of wearing a t-shirt or a pair of jeans that haven't been pressed. They are lost causes. 

First up, I'm not talking about steam irons. The one's that you find in hotels that scare the living daylights out of me. You fill them up through a hole that's the size of a thimble, they drip everywhere and the settings, well, they're beyond my intelligence. No, I'm talking about steam generator irons which are much more powerful, two-piece units.

This is mine. I chose it because it received 5* ratings at the time of purchase. 



It's the Philips GC8620 which is no longer available as I've had it ages. I've had two of these and would never, ever go back to a normal iron. Yes they're pricey but they last years. I think I paid about £240 for this particular one. Prices have come down for basic models but you can spend a lot more too as technology progresses.

So why do I love my Steam Generator Iron?


- The main advantage is it's power. We are talking Lamborghini as opposed to Vauxhall Nova. It glides over the clothes. Literally one glide and the creases are gone. Even on stubborn cotton. Ironing time is reduced, I'd say I can iron a shirt in a quarter of the time.

- It has a large tank (2.2 litres) so I'm not constantly filling it up.

- One temperature irons all fabrics. I know! I don't have to plan my ironing by fabric type because it doesn't matter. I can press a pair of jeans and straight after, a silk shirt. Don't ask me how it works because I don't know and I don't really care. All I know is that I haven't scorched a single item. And to prove this, look at the plate. It's still as good as new. 


- It's very easy to use. There are minimal buttons and switches. Just an on/off button, an eco button (never used) and one for generating the steam which you can double press for a continuous stream.

- It's brilliant for vertical steaming. Most of my tops are steamed on the coat hanger and come up a treat. Cotton shirts do need pressing though. 

- It has it's own anti-scale system. Simply unscrew and empty the water which pulls out all the scaly bits. I do this about once a month and it takes about 20 seconds. 

- Mine doesn't have a water squirter as an additional feature but I can't actually think of a single instance when I would need to use it. 

Choosing A Steam Generator Iron


1. The larger the tank, the less you will have to fill it up.

2. Look at the continuous steam output performance when comparing models. Mine is 180g p/m and is pretty powerful so anything above this will be good. 

3. You can also compare the bar pressure, mine is 5 but I notice that there are far more powerful ones these days.

4. Pressurised irons are much more powerful than non-pressurised although they do tend to be more expensive. You can pick up the latter for about £100 these days. I'd always recommend the pressurised version though as they're far more powerful.

5. Make sure that the actual iron part of the equipment is comfortable to hold and not too heavy. Although you should find that they are lighter than a traditional steam iron as you're not holding all of the excess water which is in the separate tank.

6. Look for models that have one setting for all. Some have delicate, normal, heavy settings which will hold you up as you wait for the temperatures to adjust. For me, this is the probably the most important aspect.

7. For ease, look for one that has a self scale system. Some require manual cleaning. I'm all about saving time, not creating work. 

8. An automatic shut off option is always handy. I've left the iron flat down on the ironing board to answer the phone many-a-time. It shuts off after 10 minutes. That said, it won't burn the ironing board cover as it is 'safe to rest' (don't ask me why because I don't know) but it's always good to know that if you forget to switch the iron off and leave the house, you'll still have a home when you get back later!!!

9. Look for a long power cord. Mine really isn't very long at all so I have to use an extension cable. Ok, not a massive problem but hey if you're paying out all your hard earned cash, you want the best right?

10. More importantly, make sure that the steam hose linking the water tank to the actual iron is a good length. This is massively important if you want to vertical steam. Mine measures just over a metre and I seem to think it's longer than the first one that I had. My previous one didn't have a thermal safety coating on the steam hose either - the rubber gets very hot! It looks as if the cord coating comes as standard these days but something to bear in mind. 

10. These units are much larger and heavier than a traditional steam iron so you may need to upgrade your ironing board to extra large. 

Riveting stuff 🙈

Here's a question for you. Do you iron upstairs or down? I'm an upstairs lurker. In my mind, 90% of washing is generated upstairs so why do we have our washers and tumble dryers downstairs? Barking mad if you ask me. I don't need a time and motion study to tell me that it's not efficient.

Anyway, I'm happy with my iron and don't intend changing it but if it were to blow up tomorrow, these are the models that I would consider.

Mine seems to fall in between the first and second models below and I'm very happy with it.
The reviews are pretty good too scoring 4.8/5 and 5/5 respectively.

Philips GC9630 PerfectCare Elite Steam Generator Iron £229.99


Philips GC9324 Perfect Care Aqua Pro Steam Generator Iron £279.99


The Bosch seems to have a similar one-temperature feature to the Philips. There's also an anti-shine feature for dark fabrics. I like that idea! Although the actual plate size looks much smaller which of course means more work for you and me.

Bosch TDS3771GB Sensixx Steam Generator Iron £269.95

The Rowenta has a variable steam setting. Matters not to me, I don't get that option with mine and I haven't missed it. There's as much steam produced for a cashmere jumper as there is for a pair of jeans.

I like the fact that the water tank is removable for easy filling. And, that it's silent (or so they say). The Philips makes a gurgling noise when it's heating up and then every 5 minutes or so as it kicks in to reach optimum heat. I just turn up the volume of the t.v. Put it this way, I've never missed an important Columbo clue. It's a nice feature to have though.

Rowenta DG8960+62 Silence Steam £269.95


Interestingly, when I bought my second steam generator iron a few years ago, John Lewis were really pushing the Polti. I chose the Philips because it had better reviews. They don't have a single Polti on their website now. Just saying.

This will probably be the least read post that I have ever written, certainly the most boring. Sorry! Well done if you managed to get to the end.






p.s. it isn't sponsored!!!!!
5.13.2017

Reasonably Priced Bags And Some New Designs | Modalu

Minding my own business I was. Scrolling through Facebook and then up pops an ad for a rucksack.



Oooh that's nice I thought and I don't even like rucksacks. And then I noticed the brand, Modalu. Wow, it's so different to their usual bags.

I've been a fan of Modalu for a few years and own 3 or 4 of their bags. They're good quality, gorgeous colours and prices seem to have remained pretty much the same. In fact I'd go as far to say that they seem cheaper than they were 4 years ago.

Anyway back to the rucksack. I would have loved this 15+ years ago when I was required to push a buggy on a daily basis while juggling my totally impractical handbag. I could almost be persuaded to use it now for those days when you don't seem to have enough hands (normally when I'm returning half a dozen parcels to the post office - why can't retailers use non-slip return bags?).

Of course the ad did it's job and I hot footed over to the website quicker than you could say clutch bag.

And I was impressed.

Want. Need. This....

If you only intend buying one summer bag this year, you need this in your life. Sell your fridge freezer on Ebay (they're over rated anyway).  I'm going to stick my neck out and say that it could pass for three times the price. A totally versatile colour that will go with EVERYTHING.

Luna Large Shoulder Bag
(also available here)




We need to see it in action don't we?



Or the small version

Luna Small Shoulder Bag
(also available here)



And then there's the satchel in another great neutral, shark. It seems greyer than my own Pippa Grab. That's not a complaint by the way, more an observation. (available in cream, tan and black as well). I like the fact that it's narrower than the normal satchel and you can wear it across body, on the shoulder or as a handbag.

Somerset Satchel
(also available here)



Of course I love my neutrals but I also love to add a pop of colour to an outfit by way of a bag or shoes. The Lola in orange is perfect (I don't have an orange bag. Just saying).

Sweet huh?

Lola Small Grab Bag



But of course you don't have to add a bright colour for impact, stripes work equally as well.

Lily Small Crossbody Navy Nautical
(also available here)



I'm thinking, a good holiday bag? Especially if you keep your colour palette simple; black, white, grey, red. So you'll need to pack a good bag. Pack this one! And it won't break the bank at £49.




A shopper that you could also take on holiday with you. Very useful!

Brighton Large Shopper
(also available here)





Right, I'm not looking at any more because I want them all. You'll have to go and do further research yourselves 😍

And to prove that I really do love this brand, here are 3 photos I've searched out from last season featuring my Modalu bags, the Pippa Grab (right), the Lilly Crossbody (middle) and I don't know what the left black one is called.


You know, I go in to Selfridges with money burning a hole in my back pocket, look at the £1k plus bags and I can't help but compare many of them to Modalu. Take my Mulberry Bayswater, yes it's lovely but I struggle to see any difference in quality when I compare both brands. Mind you, I wouldn't say no to a certain Lanvin that I have my eye on 😜

Ooooh before I go, I have to show you these shoes. They're not mine. The daughter bought them today and has been taunting me on WhatsApp. Since when has she had good taste in shoes? I'm the one that's all about the shoe in this house. God.

Gradual Two Part Sandals



I could console myself with the pink because she'd kill me if I bought the leopard print.

Gradual Two Part Sandal



With any luck, she'll get big blisters and will give them to me (that's a joke by the way).

A quiet weekend for us at home before a busy couple of weeks. The son is busy in his bedroom supposedly revising. Funny how, every time I pop my head around his door, he's on a 'break'. And is it wrong to be secretly pleased that I never ever have to study the Treaty of Versailles again? A GCSE, A'Level and IGCSE is enough for any mother. This calls for wine and a bag of Skips in celebration. We're 4 exams down, 10 to go in this house. Keeping the momentum going is costing me a fortune in snacks, meal deals, burgers and anything else he knows he can get away with at the moment. Not that we're walking on egg shells around him or anything.

Prison Break binge watching tonight.

See ya.


5.09.2017

Let's Talk About White Blazers

Ok so a white jacket isn't the most practical of items but there's something about it that instantly smartens up even the simplest outfit. For me, the benefits outweigh any mucky marks. I mean, it's a perfect evening jacket in the warmer months to slip on over a dress or t-shirt. It might be perishing at the barbecue but at least you'll still look summery. This goes for out-of-season holidays on the Med when temperatures can drop. I even wear mine for travelling although many an air steward has been on the receiving end of my dirty look when they lean over to pass a coke or some other stainable liquid to another passenger (honestly, I wasn't born in to this world to travel cattle class). And back home, throw it on over a pair of jeans and t-shirt, simple and stylish. Then there's the matter of winter. A white blazer over a column of black looks pretty stunning.

I said in this post that I'd be getting mine out again this year but one of them is on it's last legs so I planned on replacing it. Well, it didn't take long.

I ordered the Next one that I featured and honestly for £50 it's a cracker of a jacket. This is my third blazer from Next this season (I know, don't say anything) and the quality for the money is really quite amazing.

Ivory Soft Blazer - Next
Breton Top - Boden 
Crop Kick Flare Trousers - Next
Sandals - Marks & Spencer (similar)

It's a less tailored cut than I would normally go for and doesn't have waist definition so full hourglasses and triangles may want to swerve this one. Fully lined with two pockets (that are stitched - does anyone else leave them like that? I do).

The fabric although polyester has a slight rib to it which you can't pick up from their online photos. It makes it look far more expensive than it is. There's also a little tie at the bottom of the sleeve that you can ruche up. Genius for anyone (me) who hates blazer sleeves that are full length and is constantly pulling them up.

Here's a close up. You may be able to pick up the texture of the fabric from this picture.



I'm wearing a size 10, my normal size in Next and it fits perfectly. The only downside is that it's dry clean. Pah, that's not going to happen is it? It's polyester for goodness sake, I'll put it on a very gentle wash and hang it up to dry. Don't get me wrong, I'll be on tenterhooks for every single second of that cycle. But it will be fine won't it?



Here are a few more white blazers that I've found.

Baukjen's soft white blazer which is machine washable. Soft white is a great colour for anyone who struggles with pure white which can wash some skin tones out. I'm sitting on my hands wondering if I should order this to compare it to the Next one (before I remove the labels and wear it for real). It's a toss up between ordering this or 4 swimsuits???? But that's another story.

This has some shape to it so ideal for giving the illusion of a waist if you don't have one or enhancing if you do.

Baukjen Lexden Blazer £199 (20% off with code PSB517)





For those women who like crepe, this is it! Crepe gives a much more fluid look while still holding it's shape.

ASOS Slim Tailored Jacket £42



As a starter jacket, you could do a lot worse than this one.

Dorothy Perkins Ivory Piquet Jacket currently £26.25 (25% off)



Look how it's shaped at the back. This is what I mean about nipping in at the waist. Very flattering!



A quirky twist on a classic. If I had a special occasion to go to this year, this would be mine. And the trousers! God, I wish she'd brush her hair and put a bit of lippy on though.

Me&Em Tie Front Luxe Blazer £249



Machine washable from La Redoute. A slightly shorter offering, if you're a neat hourglass, this one is yours!

La Redoute Blazer £59 (30% off quoting code: SUMMER)


So what do you think? Are you in my white blazer camp or does the sheer thought horrify you?

Something struck me today, I don't have a regular school run to do until September. So for the first time in 17 years I have 3 1/2 months off (excluding the necessary exam day runs). Whoopie-doo (I'm doing a little jig here). Our son received his Year Book the other day. I say Year Book, it was more of a sad pamphlet thing that didn't even have a hard cover. And let's not talk about the quality of the photos. £16 it cost me. £16!!!!! Oh and to add insult to injury they've also asked for his prom money. £50 (and apparently they don't even get a soft drink thrown in). Am I being a tight bottomed mardy bum? It seems an inordinate amount of money for a 16 year old's prom. Apparently last year it was only £25. Inflation is high in this school. Of course I'll pay it and I won't grumble one little bit about driving in to Manchester (a 34 mile round journey) at midnight to pick him up because that's what mums do right?