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A Short Post on Clothes …


I have recently bought some much-needed new clothes.  I don’t often buy clothes, not even charity shop ‘finds’, but a new dress or two was becoming something of a necessity, especially with Christmas just around the corner.  I didn’t want to look a scruff on Christmas Day!

Unfortunately,  navy blue is a very difficult colour for me to photograph, or rather for my camera to photograph.  I don’t know why, but it always comes out much lighter than it actually is.  This dress looks to be royal blue, a colour I don’t particularly like, rather than the really inky dark blue of navy blue that it actually is.  It is a nice, heavy, jersey fabric, with no wool to itch me.  I will wear it with navy blue 60 denier opaque tights, my navy suede shoes and my grey Fiorelli bag (grey is also in the design of the material as you will see.)

My red suede shoes (photo from the Hotter catalogue)

For an alternative, I can use my red suede shoes (above) with plain 15 denier tights for an even smarter look, perhaps with chunky pearls (not real ones) and a navy bag.  My only niggle of doubt, even though floral printed dresses are now popular, is that I might end up looking like I’m wearing old curtains.

The second dress I have bought is a plain navy textured dress, also from Joules.  I then saw, in the Sale, a pretty neckerchief in blues and cerise colours, and it goes well with both the navy textured dress and a navy and white Breton top I have also bought from Joules.

Only the neckerchief and my new winter scarf (below) were in the Joules Sale, but I didn’t mind paying full price for the other garments as they were not expensive, they fit me (not easy when you are an apple-shape) and I like the colours and the styles (wrap dresses, which are so popular do nothing for me – they make me look pregnant which isn’t a good look at my age!)

My new winter scarf – and I’m now tempted to buy another scarf in different colours –  looks good with my outdoor clothes:  my navy winter coat, navy pea coat, navy trench, red trench, and even my caramel cord jacket (and even a pale cream blazer, a between the seasons coat.)  No wool in this lovely scarf, 100% acrylic, but very soft and warm.

I’m pleased with my recent purchases and there’s still something left ‘in the kitty’ should I see some nice winter boots and/or shoes.   I am now set up for winter, or at least for any lunches out and occasions which pop up at this time of the year, such as Christmas!  No, I do not wear a Christmas pullover or put toy antlers on my head, ha ha!

Until next time.

(PS This should not be considered as an advertisement for Joules. I just happened to buy these clothes from Joules.)


About Margaret Powling

Margaret Powling
Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

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  1. Some lovely pieces Margaret, you have put together some nice outfits which should see you through, seeing they are good quality.

    • Margaret Powling

      I wore the Breton top today, Marlene, with navy cords (from year before last but still OK) and the new neckerchief, plus navy winter coat (from last year). The Joules Breton is nicer quality and quite warm even for a cold day like today. I have now ordered the winter scarf in the pink/pale blue colourway.

  2. The floral dress is beautiful Margaret, and you certainly won’t look as if you are wearing curtains! All the items you have purchased are very smart and you will look lovely as always. X

    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you so much, Dot. I’m concerned for the plain navy dress as it’s quite thick material and as I’m apple-shaped, it does make my derriere look larger than it should! Our son called as I had it on this morning (before changing into my Breton to top and cords) and not one to mince words, he said “Oh, Mum, you look like you’re wearing Santa’s sack!” I pretended to be really hurt, so he gave me a big cuddle. But when I see some of the huge people out and about, I’ve nothing to worry about! Anyway, I’ve decided to keep it, even if I only wear it at home! With navy tights and a scarf it will be a cosy dress for winter.

  3. Nice clothes, Margaret. Quite elegant, but you did make me chuckle about maybe looking as though you are wearing old curtains. I don’t think that you will, though. You are a thoughtful dresser.

    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Ratnamurti, but I always shy away from floral fabrics in order not to look like I’m part of a sofa, ha ha! Seriously, so many dresses now are patterned, I thought I might try one. I shall wear it on Christmas Day. I wish Joules would have more dresses, and in a variety of colours, they tend to have more tops and tunics than dresses.

  4. Hello Margaret

    Your post today about clothes, and yesterday’s comments on the Lady Astor biography, prompted me to ask if you’d read ‘The Lady’s Maid: My Life in Service’ by Rosina Harrison – Nancy Astor’s maid (also published under the title ‘Rose’)? I’m not very knowledgeable about clothes (and still less, sadly, about dressmaking!) but, although it’s a while since I read it, I remember some of the descriptions of the clothes as being almost mouth-watering (if that makes sense!) – the level of detail which went into something quite simple like a cream blouse was amazing. Lady Astor clearly had definite ideas on what she did and didn’t want from clothes and I suspect, like most of us, the time she’d reached middle-age she knew what suited her and her lifestyle.

    I like the way you’re making sure that as far as possible everything you buy will ‘go’ with your other clothes. I’m trying to do that too, but I find it’s not as simple as it sounds.

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Kate, and thank you for suggesting The Lady’s Maid by Rosina Harrison. I have this book next to Nancy on the bookshelf, along with another biography of Nancy Astor, so I will read it once I’ve read Nancy by Adrian Fort. It will no doubt tell Nancy’s story from a quite different angle. Yes, “mouth-watering clothes” is quite an acceptable description to me!
      It is very difficult matching up clothes. Many years ago, and I’m speaking of more than 35 years ago, I once had cause to contact the head of Marks & Spencer, the then Lord Sieff. I was actually making a complaint about a product, and thought I’d to the top man. He very kindly replied in person and I was then invited to visit our nearest store and have a tour of the back-stage, so to speak, with the manager, and have tea there. I suggested – for I’ve always been opinionated – that they coordinated their ranges, especially for women, perhaps even having an up-market brand, a Miss Marks, for example, where we could buy everything from tights and underwear to topcoats that would ‘go’ together. Surely, this couldn’t be too difficult. more than 35 years later, and with the advent of Next and Zara and many more brands since then, I’m still waiting for some store to do this, to really coordinate colours and fabrics and styles, right down to suitable shoes, bags, gloves, scarves and other accessories. I know they buy in from many different suppliers and manufacturers, but it shouldn’t be impossible to do this. So now I try and to it for myself, it takes some time, but I tend to keep navy as my basic colour and put different colours with it. It works for me now I’ve silver grey hair. I know colours that don’t suit me (orange, yellow, salmon pink, baby pink) and I also have some basic black things, such as a pair of black culottes, a couple of pairs of black jeans and black cords, and so with the navy and the black I can wear grey, caramel, tan, cream, white and various colours of scarves.

  5. I do like the look of that Breton Margaret, it’s quite difficult to find one that’s of a decent winter weight so am interested to hear that Joules have a option, I especially like the neckerchief for a splash of colour, just what is needed with the darker colours of most winter coats.

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Elaine, and while the Breton top isn’t really warm enough without something else, such as a camisole under it and a coat over it in winter, it is a nice weight, not a thin cotton. Indeed, I think it would be too warm in summer. I have now sent for the white with navy stripes Breton top and a soft scarf in pastel colours.

  6. Very nice choices, Margaret. Love those shoes. I’m with you on the NO Christmas sweaters or antlers on the head!

    • Margaret Powling

      I like the shoes, too, Jeannine, but even though they are from a company over here who advertise their shoes for their comfort, they are not particularly comfortable. Being suede they are tight to start with and then they stretch as they become warm. But they’re OK as long as you don’t want to go shopping in them, OK for lunch our or something like that. I have them in navy, a sort of pale grey, and the red. I bought them all before I realized that they weren’t quite as comfy as they should be. They are not uncomfortable, but you know you have them on whereas with really comfortable shoes, you hardly know they’re there.

  7. Your new clothes look lovely, Margaret. I think you have done very well with each of your new purchases. I agree that navy is a lovely ‘base’ colour – it suits most people and looks lovely at any age. I rarely wear black these days and find navy is more flattering.
    It’s nice to have something new for the coming season, it can put a little bounce in your step. And all the nicer to have something new for the Christmas season. I’m sure you will look beautiful in your new items xx

    • Margaret Powling

      Already I am considering returning the navy dress, Lara. It is a nice dress and the material is heavy and warms for winter, but it really doesn’t suit me. The top half does, but it’s from the waist down as the skirt bells out and makes my derriere look far larger than it is, not an attractive sight. But I will find something else, I’m sure, eventually. I love the floral dress, though, and I wore the Breton top yesterday, very pleased with those.

  8. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    Dear Margaret, did you not know that a larger derriere is very much the in-thing? Certain celebrities (we’ll call them that though my thoughts on celebrity would fill your blog!) actually PAY for implants to make theirs larger! It is all very odd since our generation spent years trying to make our bottoms appear smaller. Such is the complexity of women.
    Anyhow, I think your clothes look very nice but we have to feel ‘right’ in them, don’t we? I love Breton style tops but I never feel they suit me.
    I’ve always worn lots of black but in recent years I’ve bought quite a bit of navy. Interestingly there is an article in today’s mail which is very pro wearing navy and says it is far more flattering.
    The red shoes are gorgeous … but Oh, the balance of comfort and appearance! Try wearing them in the house with a pair of socks to stretch them.

    • Margaret Powling

      Oh, I’ve obviously missed a trick there, Eloise; I could’ve been the very glass of fashion! But dress has now been returned. But I’m sure my cheeks are large enough, and such large cheeks might be OK if then they ended with a minuscule waist and shapely legs, but my backside resembled a huge bolster (who, these days knows what a bolster is!) rather than just a neat little cushion!
      I have found that the Joules’ Breton tops, while they fit and are nice material, are a little long for me, so they look more like tunics than tops, and so I tuck them into my jeans or trousers. Not how they’re meant to be worn, but they suit me better this way otherwise I look like I have a long body and titchy little legs, when the reverse is the case: I’m actually short-waisted and long-legged for my minuscule height (five foot two inches.) Oh, I’ve been wearing navy for years, so I’m right up there with the Daily Mail advice, hey-ho! You’d think I wouldn’t like it as it was my grammar school uniform, but I’ve always loved navy, especially with white, it’s a classy and classic look. Yes, I sometimes wear shoes with socks to stretch them, it’s a very good idea.

  9. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    Haha, I cannot think of a single bit of my body that I would like to be larger! I wonder why bolsters went out of fashion. My school uniform was navy too. Lovely with white, but also with cream.

    • Margaret Powling

      No, I wouldn’t want any area to be larger, Eloise, except perhaps my brain! Yes, navy was a very popular colour for children’s school uniforms – it didn’t show the dirt in the days when we didn’t wash everything as regularly as we do today. I dread to think how grubby our blazers were, used every day and I can’t ever remember mine being dry-cleaned. Yes, my parents had a bolster on their bed but we never had one and we married in 1964 and they’d gone out of fashion even by then, I think. Maybe they were just uncomfortable?

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