I’ve often wondered why some people stand out in a crowd. Sometimes it’s to do with their physical appearance or style, sometimes it’s an attractive energy that they are radiating and, of course, sometimes they are quite simply the most high profile or the most significant person in the room.
When I started the Super Trooper’s group at the beginning of lockdown, I guessed that some members would be more prominent than others. If you are a Super Trooper you will probably be able to name those that stand out in our crowd of nearly 9000. And I suspect that one of those would most surely be Catharine Kidd.
From the beginning Catharine caught my attention for reasons of her personal, slightly quirky style and the attractive energy that she radiates in all her posts, photographs and comments.
I thought she'd make a brilliant subject for this regular fashion feature ‘My Super Stylish Friend,’ so over to Catharine for the story of her love affair with looking her most fabulous best.
Catharine’s Fashion Journey
“A Mancunian by birth, I grew up in Cheshire, but now live in High Peak, Derbyshire. I trained in Manchester as a teacher and had a short spell in Lyon learning how to teach French to primary stage children. Absolutely loved my teaching career! My husband and I have two sons, one living close by and the other now settled in Wales.
My Interest in Clothes
Family camping trips to Europe back in the 60s awakened my interest in clothes…there seemed to be more interesting styles and designs which were so different to what was available back home. I remember as a teenager buying a black shiny plastic coat and jaunty pink baker boy cap from Monoprix in France! I felt so chic wearing this outfit to go to my Saturday morning Art classes at school…no idea what my Art teacher must have thought.
Since retiring from teaching, I have more time to enjoy the lovely Derbyshire countryside. I particularly love looking after my garden, holidays in Wales, reading, meeting up with family and friends, researching our family history and doing various needlework & art projects. Retirement also means I have more time to source interesting clothing and accessories which are mostly preloved and vintage items.
I think I would describe my style as relaxed, but with some quirky features. It’s never too structured because I want to feel comfortable. I am certainly not slim, so I don’t do frills and I don’t do ‘fitted’.
I love Lagenlook and layering styles, particularly Rundholz, but I’ve found that Kit & Kaboodle is the place for more affordable items. I think my style has slowly evolved over the years and now at 74 I am both comfortable with who I am, and confident about choosing clothes that suit me.
Jacket: Vero Moda from Divine Trash boutique. Trousers: Elemente Clemente from Elsa boutique in Menai Bridge. Jumper: very old Eileen Fisher from eBay. Boots: Rieker. Bag: Mulberry.
Jacket: Cos from dress agency. Boots: Dr Martens from eBay. Jumper: Kit & Kaboodal (adapted by shortening.) Bag: White Stuff.
Jacket & scarf: OSKA from eBay. Trousers: old M&S. Brooch: eBay. Boots: United Nude from dress agency in Wales.
My clothes have to fit in with my lifestyle now. In winter I live in boots… it does get chilly and snowy up here in the Peak District! My clothes need to be practical, but I like them to be a bit different and edgy; I love using my eclectic mix of accessories to give plain clothes a bit of a twist. So I might be gardening, or out walking, but I still want to look ‘presentable’ as my mum would have said.
My Style Evolution
When I was at college in the 1960s and later at the start of my career, I always wanted to be fashionable… mini skirts, hot pants, suede maxi skirts, over-the-knee white patent boots! I can remember buying a mini dress from a local boutique, but when I wore it for the first time at a party, I was embarrassed to see another girl in the identical dress! That made me rethink how to wear clothes in a more individual way and it is something I still do!
My interest in footwear goes back to when my sister’s father-in-law asked me if I would like to do some photographic shoe modelling for Timpsons! It was a wonderful experience and taught me about how shoes can ‘make or break’ an outfit!
Nowadays my style does give a ‘nod’ to current trends, but I hope it still reflects my personality. I don’t want to ‘look young’… I just want to look as though I care about myself and I want to look the best I can.
Jacket: Kearse&Boys from dress agency. Trousers: Elemente Clemente from Elsa boutique in Menai Bridge. Shoes: River Island. Bag: Mulberry.
My Approach to Colour
In my wardrobe I have quite a range of colours, but I am drawn to orange, yellow, red and purple. Wearing something bright gives such a lift to my mood especially in the winter months. The ‘something bright’ might be just a scarf or a necklace, rather than a complete outfit.
My favourite eBay buy, OSKA hooded mac. Scarf: OSKA. Trousers: M&S sale. Boots: Red velvet Dr Martens from eBay. Bag: White Stuff (with 20% discount!)
My favourite Rundholz tunic from eBay. Necklace: Galaxy design by Marion Godart.
My Favourite Brands
I have many favourite clothing brands… Rundholz, OSKA, Masai, Sahara and One Hundred Stars. Buying these brands new can be far too expensive, so I watch out for their Sales, or keep an eye out for pre-loved. For basics like T-shirts I buy from New Look and Next. I do like Pavers and Rieker for footwear.
I now think more about sustainability, so if I do buy anything, it is mainly pre-loved clothing and accessories from dress agencies and charity shops. Ebay and Vinted are also great places to find favourite brands at affordable prices. Recently I came across Orsola de Castro’s book, ‘Loved Clothes Last‘ so, I am trying to look after my existing clothes rather than buying new. I keep clothes for longer now and often adapt and update them and to suit changes to my body. My arthritis caused swollen knees, so no skinny jeans now! Fortunately I love my OSKA baggy cord trousers. I also do clothes swaps with my husband’s sister-in-law for an instant wardrobe refresh! If I add anything to my wardrobe it has to be something that I can wear with my existing clothes and accessories… and more importantly, it must make me feel happy when I wear it!
Jacket: Sale bargain from Limited Boutique. Cord trousers: M&S from charity shop. Jumper: ‘Made in Italy’ from charity shop. Boots: Marco Tozzi..quite old now! Bag: OSKA. Brooch: 60th birthday gift from V&A museum. Necklace: Samuel Coraux from eBay.
Jacket: OSKA from eBay. Trousers: Elemente Clemente from Elsa boutique in Menai Bridge. Shoes: River Island. Jumper: Eileen Fisher.
Although more dressy occasions are few and far between, I usually choose a plain black or navy dress and then I accessorise with a vintage colourful necklace and bangle. I cannot wear high heeled shoes any more, so at ‘dressy’ times I would wear flats or wedges.
Coat dress: Sahara in sale. Leggings: Wall London from charity shop. Wedge shoes:Fly.
Necklace: Israeli designer silver and cord from Jantar.
Finding Look Fabulous Forever
I used to be self-conscious about some scarring I have on my face, but since finding Look Fabulous Forever, I don’t worry about it. The serum and moisturiser have improved the condition and the balm and foundations have helped to even my skin tone. I tend to use Aubergine/Teal for my eyes and Soft Plum, Fuchsia and Mulberry are my lip colours. Of course I wear the Face Prime every day. My hair has become very fine, so I keep it short now and use the LFF products to give more volume. I’m lucky that my hair is still wavy.
My Favourite Accessories
Over the years, I have collected many necklaces! My favourite brands/designers are: Marion Godart, Gerda Lynggaard, Samuel Coraux, and Sahara London.
I now use cross-body bags. I love my OSKA, Mulberry and White Stuff ones! I often interchange straps… so I might use a Mulberry with a strap from a Pom Pom London bag, or vice versa!
As for the process of ageing I can say that I prefer to love being who I am rather than waste time worrying about ‘getting old’. Osteoarthritis has changed me physically, and I admit that it has been challenging, but I have adapted. Life can throw some curveballs, but it’s how we deal with them that matters.
Being positive, welcoming change and having a sense of humour are essential elements of my ever evolving style.”
Amen to that Catharine - I very much agree with that philosophy. Your love of clothes and very strong fashion sense is what makes you stand out in our crowd. Thank you for sharing your outfits and giving inspiration to us all. You are one Super Stylish Friend - don’t you all agree?
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I so enjoyed reading Catharine Kidd’s post. She reminds me of myself in so many ways. I saved the post to reread when I need inspiration. Thank you Catharine and thank you Trisha. Your blog and website is very much a part of my day Trisha. Thank you!
Hi Tricia - I love this series of ‘My Super Stylish Friend’. New clothes brighten up our lives. On Monday I celebrated my younger sons 50th birthday at a restaurant and I really enjoyed wearing my new dress etc makes life worthwhile! Thank you x
Stylish and striking - you always wear such interesting jewellery Catharine and it catches my eye when you post a photograph.
How lovely to see you in today's Blog, Catharine. Tricia has some nice things to say about you, all well-deserved. I have always loved the way you dressed and have mentioned your hair style on several occasions. Great to have a giggle with you occasionally along with so many of Tricia's Troopers. Keep smiling!
What a fantastic blog, well done Catharine. You do always look super stylish. As you are fairly tall you do ‘carry’ clothes very well and your individual style is wonderful. At only 5’ 2” I am rather envious so I will never stand out but I do try to look the best that I can and LFF products have most certainly helped. Your positive attitude to life’s curved balls is admirable. Well done for a great article that I have enjoyed reading immensely. I’m off now to search for quirky necklaces!