I remember climbing into our loft at the age of about 5 to try on my mother’s wedding dress. The image below shows my mother wearing her wedding dress in 1936.

Her wardrobe was a veritable treasure trove of 1950s delights. I recall spending hours rummaging through her clothes and playing dress-up. I hobbled round in her high-heeled shoes and tried on her stylish hats. The rustle of silk taffeta and the delectable smell of her perfume wafts back to me from an age of elegance.

mother

My mother was an inspiring role model. She had classic good taste and was always well groomed even when she was taking the dog for a walk.

Her example instilled in me a lifelong interest in clothes and the way women dress. Luckily I was able to follow my passion for fashion. For many years I worked in the fashion industry, first as press officer at Browns of South Molton Street and then Jaeger. I subsequently trained as an Image Consultant working both with private clients and in the corporate market assisting both men and women to visually express their personalities.

This brings me to the question – Is style – inherited or learnt?

French women seem to have a reputation for dressing elegantly and having a natural sense of style. As I spend about three months of the year in the South of France and visit Paris at least once a year I have plenty of opportunities to observe French women in their natural habitat.

Overall I would say the French women do pay attention to what they wear and how they present themselves. I would surmise that French women are more disciplined in the way they present themselves. You would never see a French woman going to the boulangerie in track pants, they would always be respectably dressed. Yet they do not all conform to the “stylish French look” so often depicted in the media. The women of a certain age that I encounter are often conservatively dressed. A French woman will choose quality over quantity and will always be well groomed.

However I would say that women in the UK express more individuality and are often more willing to experiment with new styles.

Let us now move on to some of the basic guidelines for creating a well-curated wardrobe that works for your individual lifestyle. As the cost of living is increasing rapidly plus the fact that we need to take sustainability into consideration it is becoming essential that we purchase new clothes with thought and consideration.

I am not a proponent of following too many rules and regulations when choosing our clothes as I believe that the most important factor is that we love what we wear. That every item we wear brings us joy and happiness.

There are however a few guidelines that are useful to consider...

COLOUR

Do you know your colour type? This will depend on your natural hair, skin and eye colour. The first trait to consider is: Do you look better in warm-toned colours or cool tones? The best way to ascertain which ones suit you is to book a consultation with an image consultant. If this is not possible a quick way to get a rough idea is to take pink- toned lipstick and coral-toned lipstick and test them both on the inside of your wrist. Look Fabulous Forever offer a quiz that will help you ascertain which colours will suit you best.

 

The Pantone colour system was first created in 1950 in order to standardise colours in the manufacturing process. There is now a Pantone Institute which meets twice a year in order to choose a range of colours for the coming season. These colour charts are published in “Pantone View”. Fashion designers, interior designers and other consumer organisations purchase these Pantone charts which help guide the designers plan their future products. 

 

The colour charts below represent the current season's Pantone Colours. You will begin to see many of these colours begin to appear in the shops as the new Autumn collections begin to arrive. 

STYLE

Do you know what body features you would like to emphasise/play down.

So having got some of the basics covered. Let us take a look at the colours and styles that are beginning to arrive in the shops for Autumn/Winter 2022/2023.

 
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As you can see from the chart above there is a range of cool-toned colours such as Meadow Violet, Strawberry Cream and Lichen Blue. On the warm side there is Mustard, Peach Caramel and Iced Coffee. If you like green there is Cardamom (warm) or Abundant Green (cool).

Not many of the high street stores have had their Autumn/Winter 2022 deliveries. Most of them are still stocking summer and end-of-sale lines. I did however wander around The Bentalls Centre Kingston where I was able to take some photographs of the new designer collections.

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A good example of mixing rust with dark navy and cream (suitable for warm-toned skins)

Clothes from Mama B

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A selection of bright blues and greens mixed with navy

Clothes by Jigsaw

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Bright pinks and purples (Good for those of us who have cool colouring). I don’t think that I will be able to resist these lovely pinks and purples

Clothes by Max & Co

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There are plenty of neutrals for us to build our wardrobes around

Clothes by Esprit

BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE WARDROBE AND BUDGET

When building a sustainable wardrobe you need to get the foundation pieces right. These will depend on your lifestyle. Do you spend time walking the dog, looking after grandchildren and/or having lunch/dinner with family and friends?

One of the best ways to transition into the new season is to go through your summer wardrobe, choose your favourite pieces and consider how you might add some of the new season’s colours to an existing outfit in order to get extra mileage from your favourite summer items. Accessories might be a good way to start.

Let’s talk about budget. You do not need to spend a lot of money to look and feel good. These days there are many resources at our disposal including secondhand shops, bargains and sales online and even renting an outfit for a special occasion. Mixing high and low-end fashion has been on trend for several years. My personal strategy is to spend as much as my budget will allow on jackets and coats, classics that if made with good quality fabric should last for years. I then fill in with a few on-trend pieces at more budget- friendly prices.

I continue to look for sustainable brands and always check the content of the fabric. Brands I tend to currently favour are Cos, Arket, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer. Baukjen, Boden and Uniqulo.

Josephine x 

You can see my website Chicatanyage here: https://www.chicatanyage.com/

You will find style inspiration for women over 50 and top tips on how to continue to look chic at any age!

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