By Tilly Smith Dix
Keep your heels, head and shoulders high – Coco Chanel
I am in awe of the smart marketing tricks employed by switched-on fashion outlets. Fashion is a cruel business and a captive market is the ideal target. However, too many email and social media messages on what’s hot, cool and must-have for spring are doing my head in.
Of course, I love a bargain, like most women, and if I like a brand, I don’t hesitate in providing them with my email address to get word of special offers, and, of course, a peep at their latest arrivals, which I often use as a guideline to haul out some treasured item from my Pandora’s box to get the look.
Jeanswest shirt, scarf and jeans – fresh, red, white and blue.
Jeans and trouser styles change every few years and I do confess, here I also keep the good stuff but update with current designs that suit my shape. Loving skinny jeans as well as palazzo pants, a further throwback to yesteryear would be an old favourite, the Capri pants. I remember the lace-up variety in bright candy colours when I was about seven years old. No, I don’t have those anymore and alas, I’ve grown somewhat since then.
Vogue UK shares some pearls of fashion wisdom, advising us the pinstripe straight-leg cut is in for smarter wear – I call it cigarette line but as smoking kills, I guess that’s no longer PC. I still have those pinnies from about 12 years ago, tick, ideal for a meeting, and worn with a crisp white shirt and heels for businesslike va-va-voom.
Back to smart marketing ploys by fashion houses, such as capturing our email and mobile numbers, which qualifies us for discounts, loyalty cards and the like. So, when I received a less 25% alert from Jeanswest, my favourite jeans go-to with its ideal cut for any frame, I remembered getting a glimpse of their spring tops and, a little bell tinkled in the fashion portion of my blonde frontal lobe, reminding me of the fresh seasonal colours on offer. Strawberry red, blended with bright white and ice blue, evocative of sunny skies and golden beaches, worn with white jeans or spruced up with straight-line pants for a dressier look, floats my boat, be it in Capri, Como, Portofino – or Melbourne.
Having blogged about the delightfully wearable La Luna Lifestyle designs, I am getting loads of wear from designer Belinda’s stylishly body-shaping bamboo lycra long-sleeve t-shirts this spring. My current favourite colour is yellow, teamed with white or blue jeans, another box ticked for spring feel-good casualwear. I even wore the tee to a meeting with a white slim-line trouser suit (approximately 14 years old), heels for extra pizzazz and felt like a million bucks. Got the contract signed too.
La Luna Lifestyle yellow bamboo lycra t-shirt, ideal for business and leisure – love the vibrant yellow on white.
A girlfriend and I recently chuckled about fashion that keeps coming back to haunt or taunt us, when her daughter asked her opinion on a hot new style she wanted to buy. My friend’s response was, “honey, I was around the last time this one came around and I hate to say, it’s not flattering on anyone, unless they’ve been starved of anything resembling a carbohydrate or sugar for the past eleventy (a new number with its origins in South Africa), years. (Yes, I am proving a bad influence on my Aussie mate’s vocabulary.)
Ageing has many advantages and we see fashion come and go but certain staples will return more regularly – because they work and make us feel good and look fabulous. Remaining in a Coco frame of mind, she did say, “a woman can be gorgeous at thirty, charming at forty, and irresistible for the rest of her life.”
Colours are fun again, and I love mixing fuchsia pink with powder pink – softly feminine and it just oozes summer, waving a welcome au revoir to winter’s 50 (plus) shades of grey.
Opshopping (opportunity shops) are big in Melbourne and I am starting to understand the fun in bargain hunting for previously adored clothes and accessories. I recall popping into vintage stores in London and New York some years ago, where many of the garments and accessories, even designer shoes, seemed never to have been worn! Well, here in Aussie one often discovers such lucky strikes as clothing or accessories may have been purchased on a whim or gifted, only for the purchaser to realise it either did not suit them, or, horror of horrors, it was a bad fit.
The right thing to do is to donate this to a good friend who genuinely wants the item, or to a local Opshop to bring joy to a bargain hunter. With the cost of living escalating rapidly, this is a great way of giving to charity as that is what Opshops do – they provide a large portion of their revenue to worthy charities. I have dropped car loads of home- and fashion-wear at charity shops over the years and continue to do so. It makes me feel good as it’s as good as donating cash to people or animals in need. Another box ticked, good deed done, more wardrobe space for new acquisitions, shhhhhhh …
I recently spotted an article in which Joanna Lumley, our AbFab Patsy, claimed not to have shopped for clothing for years as she had plenty to see her through from years of fashion gathering during her modelling days. She is a savvy woman, as it is indeed a thrill wearing something slightly retro, with that exotic vintage feel but brought into the current season with great aplomb. Fashion, indeed, is about feeling gorgeous and wearing it with panache. I agree with the late great Coco: ‘fashion fades, only style remains the same.’
I do feel a bit of spring attitude coming on, now where did I pack those white palazzo pants I’ve had for more than eleventy years! Life is short, love thyself and the good life…