40 + Style gives the stylish woman over 40 style and fashion ideas. Find out how you can wear the latest trends, mix and match your clothes, and find your style. We also provide the best beauty and health tips so you can look and feel great after 40!
I hope you are having a fantastic summer so far. But blink and, before you know it, it will be fall. That’s why I’m working with Nordstrom to put together this capsule for you with pieces from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.
It’s so important when putting together your closet to choose pieces which give you as much versatility as possible; those items that will work hard through different seasons.
Putting together a capsule wardrobe can ensure that choosing outfits each day is easy. Not only that, but choose the right pieces and you can wear many of them now, but you can also make sure you have your fall closet ready.
I’ve partnered with Nordstrom this summer, which is one of the best places to shop for fall, to bring you a capsule wardrobe which will give you plenty of stylish looks to transition from summer through to fall and beyond.
I’m concentrating on high-quality pieces that won’t just last you one season, but which you can wear for years to come. Plus, they are even more affordable as the Nordstrom anniversary sale is starting, so I’ve included lots of pieces which have a good discount.
While it’s easy to be drawn to more elaborate tops, every closet needs a base of stylish, plain-colored or neutral tops.
That way, the rest of your closet will have so much more versatility as you can easily pop your plain tops under other layers, or pair with your printed tops and skirts.
But, just because you opt for a block color, that doesn’t mean that you have to choose a top which is bland or boring. Instead, look for tops which have drape or twist detailing, for example. That way, you will still add extra interest.
In my quest to define style, learn from the experts and be inspired, I enjoy reading fashion books on style and photography.
They are a lot of fun to read and can actually be great gifts as well. Plus, if you are going on vacation this summer, you will definitely need some holiday reading.
Here are some style books that I have read and some that are on my wish list.
10 of the best fashion books to inspire you
As this list has been especially updated to give you some summer reading ideas, I’m concentrating on newer fashion books here (just in case you’ve already read everything that’s ever been written about style and fashion), but there are still some oldies but goodies among my top 10 too.
There are plenty of autobiographies and biographies as I felt like you might want something you could get your teeth into if you have some time to relax over the summer.
Beautiful. Willful. Charming. Blunt – that’s how Grace Coddington is described in the blurb for her book.
She talks through her early career as a model, working the David Bailey, to stepping behind the camera to become fashion editor at British Vogue in the Swinging Sixties.
She moved onto American Vogue in the Eighties, and takes you behind the scenes as iconic Vogue shoots as well as revealing her private life, including a car crash which almost killed her, her two marriages, and her enduring friendship with Anna Wintour.
Once only known to those in the industry, she was thrust into the spotlight with the movie The September Issue, which tells of how Vogue puts together its greatest issue of the year.
4.2 stars, 200+ reviews
“Sweet, charming, funny and engrossing book – by the time I reached the end, I felt like Grace and I had become good friends. Grace Coddington is an inspiration, especially for baby-boomer women, giving us insights into her aging process and how she’s dealt with it in a world where looks are everything.” – LowTide.
No top 10 of fashion books would be complete without at least one Coco Chanel tome in there.
This biography by Justine Picardie is based on personal interviews with Chanel’s last surviving family, friends and employees. It starts with her life in an orphanage and charts her rise to one of the most powerful figures in fashion history.
3.9 stars, 100+ reviews
“Favorite Coco book of them all. Justine Picardie is a great writer. I have read ALL the Coco books and this one is the best to me.” – BoxerDogLady
If you’re looking for something a little different with a sense of humor, this might just be it.
Not your typical how-to manual, this is about tapping into your existing idiosyncrasies to develop a totally unique style. It’s a mix of essays combined with interviews with eccentric women of the world such as Tilda Swinton.
“Just about finished with the book and it has been delightful! Great writing style, totally relatable and it makes me feel better about myself. Can’t beat that.” – Colleen
Her book gives you clear guidelines on how to achieve timeless effortless style. Find out which style tribe you feel you belong to or get inspired by the many stylish women that are featured in the book.
American Fashion by Charlie Schelps: a book recommended by Oprah, that provides a richly illustrated celebration of the history of fashion in America. Looks really interesting with lots of pictures from icons like Lauren Bacall and Madonna.
The Body Shape Bible by Trinny Woodall & Susannah Constantine: The ultimate guide on body shape and how to dress for your shape. They identify 12 unique shapes and provide excellent dressing advice for each.
The One Hundred: Nina Garcia highlights 100 fashion items she believes we should all own.
The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style by Kim France and Andrea Linett: this book goes into detail about various styles and describes how to achieve them. Illustrated with lots of clothing examples and images. Review coming soon.
“Amazing book. Filled with so many amazing pictures, facts and stories on so many great and talented designers and artists, every person who is in love with fashion or history of fashion can’t help but love.” – Cara
“The book is well written and avoids any technical jargon. The anecotes and first hand research is admirable. She definitely put her time and energy in researching famous luxury houses and provides some interesting commentary on how things are changing.” – Benny
“This is my go-to book for outfit ideas and style inspiration. As a long-time InStyle reader, I was excited to get this book. I keep it handy for when I look in my closet and think ‘I have so many clothes and nothing to wear.'” – Honrée
Handbags are an essential item in your wardrobe. But which types of handbag are essential and what are the best handbags for women?
The best handbags for women
How many handbags do you own?
Perhaps you are more of a shoe person or maybe you already have handbags stuffed into every nook and cranny of your closet.
But, really, there are only 5 types of handbags for women you need to see you through every scenario.
Which types of bags will work for you?
Obviously I’m not suggesting that everyone has the same lifestyle, so you may need to tweak the types of handbags for women you choose as being necessary for you.
But, generally, you will need a bag large enough to carry around your day-to-day essentials, along with bags to keep your hands free and an evening bag.
Essential handbags for women
Here are my 5 essential bags.
But, don’t forget to tell me in the comments below if you think there is another bag style that should be here in this list of handbags for women.
1. Tote bag
I’m sure most of you already have a tote bag in your wardrobe. This is the bag you are most likely to use as your everyday bag, whether heading to work or running a few errands.
At one point, tote bags were made of canvas. But, now tote bags are also often made of leather and any number of materials.
Really, a tote bag is just a large, strong, useful bag. But, just because it is functional, that doesn’t mean it can’t also be stylish.
As this is the bag which is likely to be most used, I would invest in a tote bag which will last and which you really love.
This Tory Burch tote is a complete classic so it definitely won’t date. Plus, if you do need to fit a fair amount in, or you want to carry around your laptop or tablet, this is designed so you can do exactly that.
Alternative ladies handbags to choose instead of a tote
There are also other options you could choose from if you don’t want to choose a tote.
If the structure of a tote doesn’t fit with your more relaxed style, you could instead opt for a hobo bag. Or, if you actually prefer more structure and more of a preppy look, you could choose a satchel.
You may well be able to fit just as much in a hobo bag as you can a tote bag, but they have more of a slouchy, relaxed feel, which can suit a number of style personalities, including the natural style personality, those who have a bohemian style and Eurochic style.
Another choice for you to think about for your everyday bag could be a satchel bag.
You could add in a pop of color like Greetje does here with her green handbag or opt for a trendy version of a classic. Check out this transparent handbag for a similar look.
There is some crossover between the design of tote bags and satchels.
You could opt for a satchel which is very traditional and looks like a more grown-up version of the satchels children carried to school in the 50s, or you could look for one which veers towards the look of a tote.
For evening, you definitely don’t want to be carrying your large tote around, nor are you likely to want a crossbody bag to ruin the lines of your elegant outfit.
A clutch bag which you hold in your hand is much more fitting for an evening event, or a formal affair such as a wedding, or even just for dinner, when all you are likely to need with you is your wallet (unless you aren’t paying!), your phone and maybe your lipstick.
If you do a lot of travelling, you may also want to add a special travel bag to your closet. That way, you can ensure that all of your valuables are safe and secure, and that your hands are free for sightseeing.
When choosing the most essential handbags for your closet, you can afford to think of them as an investment as they definitely aren’t throw-away fashion, but bags you should be able to use season upon season.
Think about how much use you will get out of your bags, how many years you are likely to keep them for, and consider the likely cost per year rather than just the initial cost.
You may wish to treat yourself to a designer handbag, or think about quality materials which will stand the test of time.
As well as thinking about which designers you really love, I would think about what material you would like your handbags to be made of.
Leather is always a good option to think about because, as long as you take care of it, your bag should last for a long time. Leather tends to age very well meaning you should be able to use your bag for a long time to come.
Just as with your clothing, if you have key handbags which you know you will use for season after season, year after year, you can then think about adding seasonal pieces, which you love, but which you may only use for the summer.
The Nordstrom Anniversary sale has started today for cardholders, so you may like to get in there early for the best deals. Stay tuned for a roundup and capsule wardrobe from the sale coming up next week.
The Amazon Prime Day sale may be better known for its technology bargains. But there will also be plenty of fashion finds.
Last year, the fashion deals came thick and fast. Plus, items are obviously only on sale until they sell out so I’d grab it fast if you see something you like.
In particular, you will find that Amazon’s own brand fashion labels will be on sale.
Only Amazon Prime members can access the sale. But, if you aren’t sure about Amazon Prime, you could always take advantage of the free 30-day membership and then cancel after the sale if you decide Prime isn’t for you.
This year, Amazon Prime Day is actually two days – with offers to be found on July 15th and 16th.
The Amazon fashion brands likely to be on sale during Amazon Prime Day
If previous years are anything to go by, you are likely to find discounts on Amazon’s own fashion brands, although Amazon is keeping schtum on exactly what to expect so far.
I often feature Amazon pieces on the site because they are extremely affordable.
Plus, because the choice is so vast, you’re probably going to be able to find a specific style, whether you’re looking for an asymmetrical top or a certain pair of sandals.
Here are 10 of the best Amazon pieces I have featured here recently. As I said, Amazon are tight-lipped about what will be in the sale, so I’m not sure if they will be on sale but you may keep an eye out for them.
Cowl neck top
I always think that having a good selection of plain, neutral or one-color tops in your closet is vital to giving your closet versatility.
But, I still make sure my plain tops are interesting by choosing tops with details such as a cowl neck.
A maxi dress is a great choice for summer. In this article let’s see how to wear a maxi dresses. I will also highlight some of the best maxi dresses online now.
How to wear a maxi dress
A maxi dress if a fabulous option for summer but you need to know how to wear it. A maxi dress can overpower you, so the right proportions are key.
Things to keep in mind when you’re wearing a maxi dress
Pay attention to proportions. Be aware of the length of your legs and torso and adjust accordingly. Also make sure that the dress is not wide all over. Although that can work for some women, for others the volume will be overpowering
Make sure there is structure in your look: emphasizing the waist is usually a very effective way to add structure.
Layer with a short jacket: This is a great way to add structure too. You can opt for a jacket that ends at your waist (for a 1/4 – 3/4 silhouette that makes your legs look extra long). A longer jacket will work too which creates the usually very flattering 1/3 – 2/3 silhouette.
Take advantage of asymmetry and high-low effects: These usually help to make your maxi dress more flattering as they break up the large volume and create flattering vertical lines.
10 of the best maxi dresses in stores now
Here are the top 10 maxi dresses I love in stores now. These ones could definitely tempt me to try maxi dresses again.
As I’m updating this for summer, I’ve concentrated on pieces you would wear during the warmer months, or for a vacation. But there are also some beautiful pieces here that you could take into fall by wearing with boots and a moto jacket.
1. white maxi dress
When you think of a long white dress, you probably think of a wedding dress. But, I think a white maxi dress can look beautiful for summer and beyond.
One person’s idea of what is sexy is obviously totally different from another’s. But, in my eyes, it is all about confidence rather than necessarily showing off lots of flesh. So, I’d choose a maxi dress to show off what you like most about your body.
For instance, you could choose a halterneck style if you love your shoulders or a maxi dress with a slit on the leg if you love your legs, like this pink and white dress Monica is wearing (below). Here is a similar tie-dye dress you can check out.
3. long sleeve maxi dress
It can be difficult to find maxi dresses which have sleeves if you prefer to cover-up your upper arms.
But, a shirt style could be a good option. Choose a vibrant color to add some cheer to your summer. Or you could choose a neutral with a stylish pin, or add a belt.
I think a maxi dress makes a stunning statement on its own.
It’s easy to wear yet makes an impact. But, you may well want to add other pieces to your maxi dress either because it is cooler in the evenings during summer, or you want your maxi dress to have seasonal longevity so you can wear it in fall too.
By adding the right accessories, you can take your maxi dress from day to night. Plus, unless you are walking barefoot on the beach, you will definitely need some shoe options for your maxi dress.
How to wear a maxi dress with Coats, jackets and cardigans
You may wish to have an outer layer to go with your maxi dress or skirt – either because the weather cools down in the evening on your vacation, because you are wearing your maxi dress as a transitional layer, or because you prefer to cover your arms.
I think that a jacket or cardigan which ends at waist level or slightly above looks best. Otherwise, you can end up feeling lost in fabric if you have a long dress and also a long jacket. However, this can work if you belt over the top of your cardigan or jacket.
You could opt for a cropped cardigan or denim jacket to add some warmth on vacation evenings.
Or, you could add a moto jacket to take your maxi skirt or dress from summer to fall.
Here is the complete capsule wardrobe with 10 looks using the pieces I featured above
More tips on how to wear a maxi dress
1. Keep it simple
As your maxi dress is a dramatic, flowing piece, you can afford to keep the rest of your look simple. A simple pair of sandals and a rattan bag is a perfect vacation look.
2. Don’t put your maxi dresses away for winter and fall
While maxi dresses are usually thought of as easy, breezy, floaty pieces to wear for summer, they can also make great transitional pieces. You can add a turtleneck sweater underneath, a moto jacket and a pair of booties, knee or over-the-knee boots.
3. You don’t have to choose patterns
If, like me, you tend to opt for block colors rather than patterns, a maxi dress can still be a stylish option. You could opt for a stylish one-color shirt or wrap dress, or a long tunic, which you could belt to add shape.
4. Don’t forget about your body shape
Choose a dress to suit your body shape. For example, if you are an hourglass, you will look best in a style which either comes in at the waist or which you can tie. If you are an apple, you might want to choose an empire style. Try on a number of different styles to see what works best for you.
5. Pay attention to the length
Either go for a floor-length dress (making sure it’s not so long that you trip over it!) or make sure that your dress hits at the slimmest part of your legs as that will be most flattering.
Maxi skirt and dress inspiration
Suzanne really knows how to rock both maxi dresses and a maxi skirt. She looks truly amazing on all of these images.
Ana writes that she finds the maxi dress the easiest item to wear of all clothes – just one item and throw it on! Great look!
Lorraine is looking glorious in her two colorful creations that she combines with short cardigans.
Here is what Loraine had to say about her dresses: “I have maxi dresses which I wear on holiday abroad but it’s not something I have worn during the day in the UK. However, I like the feeling of the fabric around my legs so I might give it a try.” I think she should; she looks magnificent in these dresses.
Thinking about what to wear in summer can be challenging. You reveal more about yourself and your body than in any other season and have fewer layering tricks at your disposal to either cover up certain parts or create a nice silhouette.
What to wear in summer – Putting together summer outfits
It’s also harder to create a ‘new’ look every day, since you can’t really play too much with jackets, layers and scarves.
Since I have been living in very hot weather year round for many years now, I have become very familiar with summer dressing, so here are some of my best tips & tricks for dressing for this season.
1. Use interesting design details for your summer clothes
If you are only wearing one layer, make it as interesting as possible. I often choose tops that have an interesting design detail.
My top (above) has a twist detail which adds interest even though I’m simply wearing a gray top and white pants. Look out for an interesting drape, asymmetrical detail or pattern.
All you need is a good basic bottom like some nice white trousers or skirt and you will look, modern, polished yet remain cool.
A dress that is a bit more special than your day and work dress. Silk is my preferred material for a special dress in summer and ideally it’s asymmetrical too! Since I believe in wearing your nice clothes as often as possible.
Georgette (above) looks super stylish as well as being comfortable in her lightweight summer dress. This is a Lou & Grey limited edition dress that sold out very quickly. But you can check this one out for a similar look. You can read more about Georgette’s style in her style interview here.
5. Don’t be afraid of silk when choosing summer clothes for women
I have mentioned silk a few times already. Together with good quality cotton it is my preferred material for summer.
It’s cool, has a beautiful natural shine and it looks and feels sublime. If you can combine that with tip number 2, you have a true winner on your hands!
A common complaint is that silk is too precious for summer and that it requires too much care.
However, I am able to wash all my silk clothes by hand. Yes, it’s more work, but not as expensive as dry cleaning.
Although all silk items will always have the ‘dry cleaning’ advice for washing, I personally don’t believe it’s necessary so long as you purchase silk of good quality.
Of course, you will have to do this at your own risk. I will not take any responsibility if this does not work for you! (just sharing how I personally manage my silk items).
It’s true of course that silk is more expensive. But I feel it’s worth investing is one special dress that will make you feel wonderful. When you look after your dress well, it can last for many years.
Here’s how. You will pack a summer makeup bag with the following seven essentials.
Nothing is more important to the overall health of your skin than a good sunscreen. Regardless of whether it’s summer or winter, you should never leave the house without wearing some. Since UV rays in summer are harsh, reapplying your sunscreen throughout the day is vital.
The term for this type of multi-purpose sunscreen is CC (color and correct). It’s an upgrade from the original BB (blemish balm) cream because it not only covers imperfections but also protects the skin through sunscreen.
The spray sets your makeup in the summer, by covering your skin with a very fine mist of water packed with soothing, enriching minerals. The mist will also cool your skin down when it’s unbearably hot outside.
Want to take this product to the next level? Keep it in your refrigerator until you’re ready to go!
3. Blotting tissues
Shiseido Japan’s blotting papers are the originals – and a favorite among professional hair and makeup artists when a touch up is needed. The fine tissues absorb perspiration and oil and replace the sweat with a light powder to keep you looking fresh. Consider using them as a lighter replacement for powder.
They’re packaged in a small, easy to carry package. Simply take one and blot your upper lip, forehead and anywhere else you may get extra dewey. If you choose to touch up your entire face with a blotting wipe, follow up with a light spray of the Evian face mist to tone down any excess powder from the tissue.
4. Smoothing serum for hair
Summer heat and humidity can be brutal to your hairstyle. You can either embrace the frizz – or tone it down with a good smoothing serum. The Kiehl’s Silk Groom Serum formulation is enriched with Vitamin E that protects hair from humidity and boosts shine, leaving strands clean, soft, and silky.
Depending on your hair texture, spritz some on and smooth with your fingers (for curls and waves) or style with a brush or comb for straighter hair.
5. Summer-ready eyeshadow
Add a light, creamy eyeshadow that adds some sheen and brightness to your eyes to your summer makeup bag. Charlotte Tilbury Eyes To Mesmerize Cream Eyeshadow is enriched with soothing vitamin E and has a liquid-cream texture that is effortless to apply which is a lifesaver if you’re worried about your makeup smudging or melting into your eyes. It’s designed to be creaseproof and its formula has a cooling effect that is refreshing on overworked eyes.
6. All-in-one stain for lips and cheeks
You probably have a nice glow for summer naturally, so you don’t need to add much more. A stain is the perfect solution for your cheeks and lips that isn’t too heavy or dark for summer. The Benefit ‘Benetint’ Cheek and Lip Stain is versatile enough to use on both your lips and cheeks easily, giving you a unified color in both places. The best part is you don’t have to worry about carrying two products around or having the lipstick melt on you.
7. Waterproof mascara
If you don’t want to worry about “raccoon eyes”, which are common in summer, switch your mascara to a waterproof formulation, like L’Oreal’s Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara. You’ll have one less thing to worry about and it’s easy to remove with some coconut oil or a makeup remover.
Keep these 7 summer makeup bag essentials in a bag in your car or handbag ready for touchups throughout the day. They’ll survive the outdoor heat and help you survive, looking fresh and fabulous all summer long.
And here are some makeup bags to hold your summer makeup must haves stylishly in one place.
What else would you add to your summer makeup bag?
You are likely to have one dominant style personality, and then a second style personality that you are drawn to. As an architectural style personality, you are likely to also find yourself attracted to elements of minimalist and classic dressing.
For instance, Patricia (below) combines elements of the architectural style personality, shown here with the geometric pattern on her dress, with characteristics of classic style.
How to tell if you are an architectural style personality
1. You pay attention to the structure of clothing
You aren’t too keen on floaty, flowing fabrics. Instead you like your clothing to have structure. You are likely to opt for fabric which gives some shape to your look rather than a smock style, for example.
Mila (above) has chosen a structural skirt, with the shape created by pleats and paneling. She combines her look with very architectural earrings.
2. You choose heel shapes which are unusual
As an architectural style personality, one of the ways to show off your taste is in your shoes. You like heels which have architectural detailing such as a square or cone shape, twist or cut-out detailing.
3. You like geometric jewelry
You aren’t a fan of whimsical jewelry featuring florals or soft shapes. Instead, you are likely to opt for contemporary pieces which have geometric shapes. Your bracelet of choice will be a cuff style.
Diana (above) wears black and white, which tend to be strong colors for those with an architectural style. She combines a geometric-style coat with cuff bracelets, earrings and sunglasses which all have a strong shape.
If you have an architectural style personality, you are unlikely to have loose, flowing locks. Your hair is a reflection of your style, so you may opt for an asymmetric cut, a bob or blunt fringe. Or you may wear your hair back.
Greetje (above) often combines elements of architectural and classic style. Her blunt-cut bob reflects that.
Celebrities with an architectural style personality
You’re in very stylish company when it comes to celebrities who have an architectural style personality. Tilda Swinton and Cate Blanchett are two famous examples.
Both women don’t like wearing floaty, bohemian pieces. Instead, they opt for structured pieces and like to mix it up a bit on the red carpet. You are just as likely to see them wearing a tuxedo than a dress.
They are also drawn to minimalist and classic styling, but like to give their looks an architectural twist. So, you might see them wearing a dress with structured shoulders, an oversized collar, a funnel neck, a cape or a dress with an unusual neckline.
Architectural style personality tops
The architectural style personality will usually have a white shirt in their closet because of its versatility. You can wear with a tuxedo, or under a dress.
You will also want to look out for tops with structured necklines and asymmetric detailing.
@curvycartel (above) wears a top which could also fit in the closets of other style personalities, including the romantic and glamorous personalities. She teams it with a pair of pants which are perfect for the architectural style personality.
You are likely to want to keep your coat in a neutral shade. But, having said that, you won’t rule out any color provided that it suits your style. A primary color such as red will go beautifully with your monochrome pieces.
Boyfriend blazers, tuxedo styles, trenches and moto jackets with zips and asymmetry will appeal to you.
The old saying goes that the devil is in the detail. That’s definitely true when it comes to adding accessories.
A classic architectural style combination would be a white shirt and contemporary, geometric jewelry like in my outfit below.
I consider myself a mix of architectural, Eurochic and a natural style personality. I love geometric and architural pieces but I also need comfort and natural materials.
One of my favorite ways to add a bit of architecture to my looks is contemporary jewelry and asymmetry as evidenced in the image below and the top image.
The tunic below has an unusual shape as it goes wider at the hip making this tunic very architectural. It’s super comfortable and one of Stella Carakasi’s best sellers. You can get it here.
Necklace is from Singapore brand In Good Company. Ring by Birabiro designed by my friend Lydia. She has a lot of fantastic contemporary jewelry in her shop. I couldn’t find the exact same ring, but I’m loving this 2 finger version.
While other style personalities might opt for classic styles of teardrop-shaped drop earrings or jewelry and scarves featuring florals, you will prefer geometric, contemporary shapes.
You will also like some structure in your bags. While you like to carry a tote, you opt for pieces with contemporary styling, or some stitching which adds shape.
Marks & Spencer is definitely having something of a fashion moment this summer.
While once the brand was renowned for the quality of its pieces rather than for being on-trend, its midi dresses in particular are now beloved of fashion bloggers the world over.
It has teamed up with brand ambassadors, including the television presenter Holly Willoughby who picks her favorite pieces each season, as well as launching a new shoe collection designed by fashion bloggers.
I’ve also spotted model Vogue Williams wearing many of Marks and Spencer’s swimwear pieces this summer.
In short, in the fickle world of fashion, Marks and Spencer currently has its finger on the fashion pulse.
While a few years back, Marks and Spencer was thought of as the place to go to to buy quality undies and not much else, that has definitely changed. Now you have to act fast to get your hands on the most coveted pieces of the season.
Marks and Spencer online
Marks and Spencer launched in 1884 on a humble market stall in Leeds with the slogan ‘don’t ask the price, it’s a penny’.
While you will definitely struggle to find anything on sale for a penny now, it is much easier to get your hands on collections from this iconic British brand.
Marks & Spencer has now become one of the go-to stores for summer midi dresses.
I’d definitely act quickly if you do see a dress you like as they often sell out of certain sizes pretty quickly because of the coverage given on Instagram by fashion bloggers. The diamond print dress (below) is one of the pieces worn by Holly Willoughby recently. Many reviewers say to order up a size as the bust is a bit snug.
Diamond print dress – “This may be my new go to dress this summer. It’s very flattering and has a very vintage look to it.” – PiggyB
Pure cotton dress – “Very good quality, love the fabric, so easy to wear! A perfect addition to my summer wardrobe.” – Gurgaon
If you have a wedding coming up this summer, or a graduation or any other formal or semi-formal event, Marks & Spencer is a good place to look for figure-flattering pieces.
Or, if you are just looking for the perfect little black dress, the piece I’ve featured here in mint green is also available in a classic black.
Double crepe dress, 4.9 stars – “This is more of a fitted dress than body con (thank goodness) which is what I was looking for. Very elegant and looks much more expensive than the actual price due to the tailoring.” – lomasnc
Lace midi dress, 3.9 stars – “Being of a certain age, I love the sleeves as they will hide my upper arms.” – Dee52
Do you remember the pink Marks & Spencer coat that became impossible to get hold of a few years ago, or the lilac number which followed it?
Marks & Spencer tends to have a coat very much of the moment each season, but it’s also a great place to go to for classic essentials for your closet that you know won’t date, such as a trench or belted wool coat.
Trench coat, 4.6 stars – “I love everything about this timeless mid beige trench coat. I love all the small details, especially the leatherette finish under the collar.” – fussyfeline3
Belted coat, 4.3 stars – “This coat is exactly what I was looking for. Flattering front pockets adding no bulk to front profile” – Ross44
Of course, you are unlikely to want a knee-length or long coat all year round. You’ll also find summer-friendly moto jackets in shades to go over your favorite summer dresses. Plus, there are a range of classic blazers, including double-breasted styles which have a nod to Balenciaga.
Faux suede jacket, 4.2 stars – “Purchased the duck egg blue and am very pleased with the color and fit.” – LuvLee47
Linen blazer, 4.3 stars – “Looks amazing on. Structured but in a relaxed way because of the linen fabric so looks good with jeans.” – Cad
If you like to live in jeans with a nice tee, a blouse or a sweater, then you may find that M&S has the perfect fit for you.
I’m sure you’ll agree that finding the perfect pair of jeans on the high street often feels like an almost impossible task. But Marks & Spencer is promising its “best ever fit” with its new collection of jeans.
The collection includes the Lily slim leg style. But, as these classic style jeans, you will also find new trends, such as colorful cropped flare jeans.
Lily slim leg jeans, 4 stars – “I have shapely calves and don’t like the way skinnies accentuate that but these slim fit are perfect as they are straight without being wide.” – LennyM
Cropped jeans, 4.3 stars – “The elastic backed waistband helped to get them on and they don’t require a belt on me which I love, along with the mid-calf length.” – Guinness44
A Marks and Spencer jumper or sweater is one of those items that you tend to purchase for the festive season. But, there are also good year-round options to wear with your summer skirts or white jeans.
For transitional weather, you can opt for a sweater with shorter sleeves.
V-neck sweater, 4.4 stars – “I love the style and color of this jumper, especially the pop of orange. I am looking forward to wearing it with white jeans this summer.” – MissPetite.
Short-sleeved sweater, 4.0 stars – “Lovely tops, love that the sleeves are not too short and are very flattering, they are thin but great for spring and colder summer days.”
Cardigans are one of those items of clothing which, arguably, have frumpy connotations. But, you could opt for a different take on a classic style with some color-blocking, or you could, for example, wear your cardigan with a leather skirt.
Plus, I love the fact that many of M&S’s options are cashmere.
As well as being a go-to for quality underwear, Marks & Spencer is also often thought as the place to get stylish shoes that will last.
Earlier this year, the brand announced it was collaborating with bloggers and influencers on a new shoe collection, including Zoe de Pass, who writes the Dress Like a Mum blog, and Fran Bacon, who writes The Fashion Lift.
Some of the most popular pieces have been the Fran shoe which features a bow and a low block heel and the Emily lobster sandals, which are a quirky, yet easy to wear style for summer.
The Emily lobster sandals, 4.0 stars – “These sandals are fabulous. Having had a lot of surgery to my foot, I’m left unable to wear high heels. The heel height on these however is perfect.” – Magicpop
Bow shoes, 4.1 stars – “Nice to wear some pretty shoes as makes you feel pretty too! Look fab with jeans and brighten up the look so looks like made an effort without doing anything!
As you would expect from a classic, British brand, Marks & Spencer is the perfect go-to if you need a classic pair of black or navy pants for work or to go with a blouse for dinner.
But, it is also a great place to look if you want some fun, printed pants for summer.
Striped pants, 5.0 stars – “These trousers are beautiful in every department. They are a perfect fit and a lovely heavyweight fabric.” – neetc
Animal print pants, 4.3 stars – “I love the fit, feel and look of these trousers. The elastic content makes them feel comfortable and slightly more forgiving than I expected. I feel very dressy in them especially when worn with black heels and top.” – lovegoodbasics
As well as offering great midi-length dresses, Marks & Spencer is a good place to look for mid-style skirts as well as knee-length options.
You can get classic pencil skirts, and fit and flare styles.
Geometric pencil skirt, 5.0 stars – “lovely material and the pattern is good and fits lovely and smart will go with most colours very pleased.” – paints47
fit and flare skirt, 4.3 stars – “The fabric is good quality and easy to wear with being button through. Comfortable and classic styling means it can be worn for a casual look or worn with heels and jacket for a smarter look.” – jaygee48
Silk shell top, 4.1 stars – ” This is a lovely silk blouse. The cut and fit are perfect and the length of the short sleeve is very forgiving. This blouse is versatile and can be casual or more dressy.” – maggieb78
It seems, as with everything in fashion, coordinating is cyclical.
Whereas once it was seen as a little old-fashioned to be totally coordinated, now it is on trend. I would say opt for a shorts suit or a trouser suit though if you do want to stay on trend, rather than a skirt suit which can sometimes seem a little dated.
You could opt for coordinates that you can also wear as separates.
Birds of Paradise swimsuit, 4.3 stars – “Was really drawn to the bird of paradise design and this swimsuit did not disappoint. Flattering neckline, tummy control, adjustment on the hips, and adjustable straps.” – ponella
Floral print bandeau swimsuit, 4.2 stars – “Fabulous swimsuit. The fabric is luxurious. Fits great and would highly recommend it.” – cashmerequeen
The great thing about M&S bikinis is that the tops come in bra sizes rather than simply small, medium and large, or dress sizes, so you can find a bikini top which should fit you perfectly, and mix and match..
We will show you lots of ways to wear a scarf and style your scarf in many different ways.
A well-chosen scarf can add instant polish to any wardrobe, no matter how basic by bringing in new colors, patterns, and textures.
Scarves extend your wardrobe and let you play with new patterns and colors you might shy away from in a top or dress.
A million ways to wear a scarf
Scarves are definitely one of my favorite accessories.
While many people may think that scarves are for fall and winter, for adding warmth, they can be a great year-round tool for adding style to your closet.
You can choose lightweight scarves for summer to pull together all of the colors in your warm-weather wardrobe.
Scarves also make a great addition to your vacation wardrobe because you can use them as a blanket on the plane, to put down to lie on on the beach or by the pool, as a sarong over your swimwear, or as a wrap when the weather cools down in the evening.
A scarf can also cover or distract from areas of your body that you aren’t so keen on. For example, you can use a colorful scarf to draw the attention up to your face and away from your hips if you are a pear shape and want to create more balance in your outfit.
Read on for inspiration on how to wear your scarf, as well as 5 different ways to knot your scarf.
Pashmina is a very particular fabric. It’s made from the belly hairs of the Tibetan goat (I kid you not!) It explains why these type of scarves can be expensive.
Pashmina scarves often come in solid colors with fringe ends, and are large enough to use as a wrap. There are many similar styles that are rayon/silk blends and therefore less pricey, but with the solid colors and fringe and so they are still called pashminas.
A basic scarf wardrobe should include a rectangle scarf in a heavier weight for winter, and a lighter cotton or rayon/silk rectangle scarf for summer.
Choose a scarf in a bright color or fun print to add fun and pattern to your warm weather wardrobe.
Select an infinity scarf in a large print or pattern that can be worn over jackets with a zipper.
Make sure you have a square silk or silk blend neck scarves. A neck scarf can be extremely versatile (as we show below).
If you are petite, select scarves that aren’t too long so the scarf won’t overwhelm your smaller frame.
Here are some stylish, different ways to wear your scarf
As a head scarf
AussieJul shows how adding a scarf as a headscarf adds a huge amount of pizzazz to an otherwise relatively simple outfit.
She deliberately lets her scarf be the hero piece of her look. The neutral background of her scarf is complimented by the neutral lace-up shoes.
As a stylish wrap
Morag (below) demonstrates how a scarf can make the perfect wrap, either for a summer event or for your vacation.
This also shows how a scarf can beautifully tie your outfit together. Here, the pink of the scarf matches fabulous pink shoes.
To add an extra element of fun
Denise (below) mixes her patterns with the print on her jacket and her scarf.
To pull together the colors in your outfit
Danielle (below) gives a masterclass in using your scarf to tie an outfit together.
The yellow in the scarf matches her coat while the darker burgundy pulls together the shades in her pants.
To add some pizzazz
I’m sure you’ll agree that the scarf Polly wears elevates her outfit to the next level. A blue and white outfit is given extra style through the use of a scarf.
As a neck tie
You could experiment with the way you tie your scarf, like Melissa (below).
She has tied her scarf so that it is kind of a cross between a pussy bow and a neck tie, adding a slightly androgynous feel to an outfit which still retains plenty of femininity, thanks to the print on the scarf and the over-the-knee boots.
To add a pop of color
Divina (below) has added a pop of orange to her neutral outfit through the use of her scarf.
To add a little rock ‘n’ roll edge
Claudia (below) has chosen a skull print scarf to not only tie in the color of her pink tee, but to add a little rock ‘n’ roll edge to her classic outfit.
As a belt
Who says you have to wear your scarf around your neck? A scarf can also look equally stylish worn as a belt.
Jen (below) demonstrates what a stylish option this can be. The pinks and purples of her outfit are pulled together perfectly with her scarf.
How to tie a scarf
Here are several basic ways to tie a scarf.
1. Ways to tie a scarf – the European knot
One of the easiest and most stylish ways to tie a scarf.
Create a loop with one hand, put the scarf around your neck, and thread the ends of the scarf through the loop. You can wear looser or up closer to your neck when it’s chilly.
2. How to wrap a scarf – the Basic Loop
Simply drape the scarf around your neck and loop the ends back around to the front.
3. How to tie a neck scarf – the Menswear knot
Tie in a loose knot the same way you’d tie a men’s necktie. You can adjust the knot up or down to make it lower or higher.
4. How to wear a silk scarf – Basic silk scarf knot
Add a bit of French style to any outfit with a simple neck scarf.
Tuck the ends in or leave them loose (and you can leave the knot in the center or wear it jauntily to the side, a polished look with a white buttondown shirt.)
5. How to tie a short scarf – the Ascot knot
Wear with the triangular ends of the scarf frontways, wrap around your neck, and hide the ties underneath. Easy and tres stylish!
More different ways to tie a scarf
6. Tie on handle of purse for a pop of pattern or color
7. Tie around ponytail if you have long hair
8. Add a pop of color by adding a pocket square to a neutral blazer
Here is a step by step video with 11 stylish ways to tie a scarf
How to tie a scarf - YouTube
Want more inspiration? Scarf lover Anne shares some more ideas and tells about her love of scarfs
Scarves – and more especially silk scarves – belong to my everyday life.
I wear one every single day, no matter what! It’s my personal signature. Among the many accessories a woman has to enhance her outfit, but also her face or her figure, scarves are, to my opinion, her best friends.
They are absolutely magical. It’s amazing how such a little piece of fabric will add flair to any outfit and zest it up.
Scarves are more than just an accessory. They provide us with the touch of color we need, they brighten up basic clothing.
They can be mixed with other accessories (think about a chain intertwined with a scarf or a purse wrapped into a silk scarf). A bright scarf will be eye catching and will divert the eyes from parts of our body we are not comfortable with. In other words, scarves can do miracles!
As many women, as many personalities and styles… So each woman will start differently. I think there are two ways to look at a scarf.
You can decide it will complement your outfit in an elegant way. In this case the scarf – usually chosen for its contrasting or matching color – acts like a subtle enhancing touch. It’s probably the easiest way to start incorporating a scarf.
There is another way to look at scarves though. One can decide to make it the “star du jour”. In this case I recommend to first pick a scarf and then to work on the outfit which will go with it.
For more advanced scarf lovers, it’s when you want to start playing original styles and original matches. It’s the right time to give free rein to your own imagination.
First of all, I would never go out without a scarf on….When I feel lazy (it happens!), I pick a scarf I like and add it to complement my outfit as I would do with any other accessory.
But most of the time, before getting dressed I like to decide which scarf I want to wear and how I will tie it – which means I will select my dress or top, but also my purse or even my shoes accordingly.
PS. Want to learn even more ways to up your style game?
You will love our accessories course. There is lots of training on accessories and how they can truly elevate your style!
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