Thursday 31 March 2022

Classic Dressing - Shirts


Hello ladies!

Let’s take look at shirts worn back in the day, and check out if I’m still wearing the styles today. 

The Crisp White Shirt

Amsterdam, 1973

In my work uniform of top hat, black ankle corduroy skirt and crisp white shirt. 

And now. 

The expanse of white needs to be broken up as we age. 

I can no longer wear a CWS.  As I am larger buster they make me look a bit sergeant major-ish. 

I also believe that as we age the harshness of the CWS needs to be softened a tad. 
A collarless more fluid style of shirt works for the more mature body. 
A lower neckline in-filled with a pretty lace camisole reduces white’s harshness around the face. 

Or seen below, adding a chunky statement necklace also diverts the attention away from the CWS’s expanse of whiteness.  

And if you are on the chunkier side like me, drape a darker cardi over the shirt to reduce the boxiness of a CWS.  Chunky necklace AND cardi?  Well, belt and braces tactics are sometimes called for!

The Man’s Shirt

Feminise a man’s shirt

Copenhagen, 1978

Here I draped a fringed shawl over a man’s pink shirt. 

And I still use the fringed shawl diversion tactic to this day, here softening the harshness of a black linen shift (and hiding bingo wings!) 

The Working Man’s Shirt

Guernsey, 1969

A man’s shirt makes an ideal casual beach cover. 

Guernsey, 1967

Back then, the only way to get hold of a loose fitting working shirt was to steal if off your boyfriend!

Today we can buy “manly” lumberjack shirts cut for the feminine form. 

Above is a selection of loose but more curvy shirts. 
The plaid pattern brings brightness to the face.

The Denim Shirt

Paris, 1974
(There were  no fashion police back then - we freely double denim’ed!)

And now. 

Shackets aren’t just for jeans

I had just the one loose denim shirt back in the day.  Today I have two. 
This is a more fitted style from H&M (Y2K - it was probably Hennes & Mauritz back then!). 
I wear this  shirt as a layering shacket through most of the year.

Worn above with a suede skirt - shackets aren’t an exclusive pairing with jeans, they work with skirts and dresses too. 

And here buttoned up as a shirt. 

Denim shirts work well with white jeans - and here I’m double-shirting too!

My other denim shirt is a loose Levi shirt (1997), here worn under a black v-neck. 

And here again worn over jeans and a white T.   Classic! 

So my loveies, I think this little post shows that those  shirts worn when younger can still look absolutely fine as we line ourselves up for dotage, subject to maybe a few tweaks along the way. 

And in summary, shirt tweaks for today’s wear:
The crisp white fitted shirt - wear a looser softer style and break up the neckline with lace or jewellery; and add a dark cardi if on the chunky side like moi.  
The Man’s shirt - feminise it with a pretty shawl. 
The Working Man’s Shirt - no need to steal from your man these days, buy a more fitted women’s version.
The Denim Shirt - no tweaking required, these beauts still work well as we age, but maybe drop the double denim!

A la perchoine, 
Mary xxx. 

Sunday 27 March 2022

Classic Dressing - Outerwear, Recreated

Hello my lovelies!

My last post showed some retro outer wear which IMHO could stand up proudly with today’s trends. 
I challenged myself to recreate something from that 60s-80s fashion post for the today’s 20s. 

Challenge accepted!

#1 The Raincoat, or its trendier name, The Trenchcoat

Shapes and lengths vary over time

Now although I still have a beige trench lurking in the void under the bed (I have one of those flip-top storage  beds),  TBH I really couldn’t be bothered to hook it out and iron it solely for the purpose of this exercise.  
That’s the way I roll!
It’s stored away because it’s longer in length and these days I prefer a sort of car-coat length for my retired lifestyle. 
 So instead for this challenge I stuck with what I wear right now, in the 20s. 

A shorter black trench. 

This length and colour goes equally well over blue jeans or black coated jeans, and it’s a much more practical length car-wise - and “carring” is something I do lot more of in retirement. 

The trench is from @marksanspencer. 

And so is this one.  Yes I liked it so much I bought it in a hot reddy pink colour too. 
Here worn with a striped top and black jeans. 

So after 40 years the 80s raincoat/trench is still a much-used item but both length and colour have evolved to suit my taste. 

And that’s challenge #1 hopefully successfully executed.  

#2  The Rainhat 

And what about that rainhat, worn here in 1966?

No problem.  I still wear one today!

Singing the praises of the humble rainhat

A rainhat is still a practical solution for my pensioner lifestyle today, just as it was when I was sweet sixteen (🤣).

We all have a casual anorak-style raincoat that usually has a hood stashed away in the collar.  But if you don’t have an in-built hood to your posher raincoat then always have one of these practical hats folded up and shoved neatly in your coat pocket or bag.  
Yes I could carry a collapsible umbrella with me but I tend to use much smaller handbags these days when out and about, if I use a handbag at all these days, and my diminutive bags aren’t man enough to carry even the dinkiest of umbrellas.  So a rainhat is ideal.  
And don’t worry about it blowing off on a windy day.  Pulling the rainhat right down over the ears anchors it in place. 

Challenge #2, done!

So my sweets, that’s two styles that I wore in the 60s and 80s that are still wearable today, subject to the odd tweak to fit with evolving trends and lifestyle. 

Have you given though to what you wore in some of your older pics that would not look out of place today?
Would you like to recreate that same look?
Or perhaps you see similarities with what you wore then and what you’re wearing now?

Whether your answer is yes or no to these questions, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below. 

A la perchoine, Mary xxx. 

Monday 21 March 2022

Classic Dressing - Outerwear

 Well my lovelies, you’re going to have to indulge me for a while as I go down memory lane. 

These past few weeks I’ve been working on a project I’ve been putting off for a few years.  Digitalizing my photo albums, and when you get to 72 there will be many. 

It’s actually turned out to be a lovely task rather than the one I had imagined.  So many memories come flashing up as I pop the old pics into my whizzy little gadget.  And what became apparent is that what I wore back when I was a young whippersnapper could actually hold its own today, IF I had saved the items and IF I could still fit into them.  Of course, I haven’t and I couldn’t. 

So I thought it might make a nice series to show you what still works today IMHO and how it can be recreated. 

As spring is upon us here in the northern hemisphere let’s get outerwear out the way first, before it gets too hot to even look at an overcoat. 


A op art style PVC Mac.
Very Mary Quant. 
(Around my neck is my first boyfriend’s old school scarf, and I still wear a rain hat like this now!)


A fake fur coat.  
Still current today. 
I sewed this one myself in 1966, and wore it for many years.  It also had a matching beret. 
(Check out the saucy neck scarf too!) The dark brown fur coat was pre cut out and purchased via a girls’ magazine that sold wonderful trendy cut kits.  I made several things this way but can’t be sure which mag it was, Honey may be?


A great-coat. 
This would stand up today eh.

1987, Paris

A classic trench. 

1987, Paris

A black 3/4 wool jacket, here worn with a leather skirt which I still have. 


A military style coat. 

Well I say it’s military - it IS an army coat, yes, but  Salvation Army.  One of my best friends through school and later in early working life gave me this coat as I admired the style so much.  (I probably begged a bit too.  Embarrassing.)
I hacked a chunk off the length making it 60s-perfect.
I loved this coat.  Probably one of the warmest I’ve ever had. 

Ok what do you think?  Would any of these coats look grossly out of place today?  I think not.

My challenge now is to try to recreate an outfit from this little lot, that still looks ok today.  
Hmmnn, have I bitten off more than I can chew?!  
Has this series fallen at the first hurdle?

Pop back to see if I did manage to clear this first hurdle!

Now tell me, which of these looks could/would YOU recreate today?

Hugs, Mary xxx. 

Thursday 17 March 2022

4 ways to wear a Pleather Shacket

Hi my lovelies!

I’ve been up to a bit of twinning with my blog and insta twinny Annemarie of @my_over50_fashion_life. 

We realized we both had very similar tan pleather shirt/jackets.  Shackets is the current portmanteau for this item. 
I picked mine up in a Next sale last year (£7) and hadn’t yet worn it, so twinning with my mate got me to put my shacket on trial.  Or my leatherette shirt as it would have been called back in the day. 

Didn’t we do well?!


In this styling I felt the pleather shacket needed some oomphing with a toning print.  The blues and tans in this chiffon boho blouse are a perfect partner for the tan shirt and dark wash mum jeans.  IMHO. 

Tan shacket, @nextofficial, sale
Boho print blouse, @primark 
Dark mum jeans, @marksandspencer 
Tan boots, @clarksshoes 

My next look  was warmer for a cooler day. 

I should mention that this is a butter-soft leatherette shirt, and I should stop calling it leatherette as that hints of the unmaleable fabric as was leatherette in the 60s when I first came across it.  Remember it?

In the above pic I’m wearing a charcoal grey column of polo neck and jeans with tan boots and bag and a danish beach stone pendant on a tan leather thong (made it ME!). 
I think grey and tan is a winning colour combo.

Grey jeans, @marksandspencer 
Grey cashmere merino polo neck, @woolovers
Tan crossover, @marksandspencer 
Tan brown boots, @clarksshoes 
Danish stone pendant, made by ME!!

But as some days can be cold (very!), I teamed it here for warmth with a black column of longline v neck cashmere jumper and coated jeans.  
And a pendant which picks out the tan colour of the shirt. 

Coated jeans, @nextofficial 
Cashmere v-neck, @woolovers
Ankle boots, @gabor
Black & tan pendant, @accessorize 
Freshly trimmed hair, @toniandguyguernsey 

And then why not give dresses a try with a shacket?

I added a woolly hat to my grey and black jersey dress and felt I was pitched just right to go run some errands because hey, the sun was shining, it’s wasn’t raging a storm out there and it was actually sorta warm.  
Hmmn I think that’s called spring!

Yes, this tan pleather number is turning out to be a great spring layering piece, just as I hoped it would when buying it in last year’s sale. 

Tan pleather shacket, @nextofficial 
Jersey dress, @lovebravissimo 
Grey bonnet, @nextofficial 
Tractor tread boots, @eccoshoes 

My dears, there are so many more ways I could style this jacket, oops, shacket, but I’ve put a few ideas out there, This try on exercise has definitely helped me see how this little workhorse can fit into my spring wardrobe and I hope it’s helped you too if you’re looking for early spring layering ideas. 

So do you have any preference on the outfits I’ve put together so far?





Maybe none?!
Then how would you style it?

This shacket will be my go-to layer for spring, that’s for sure. 
What’s yours?

A la perchoine,
Mary x. 

Tuesday 1 March 2022

The LBD Workhorse - 4 Basic Rules


It’s a frightening world out there right now so I’ve been attempting to create some respite for myself with whatever tools I have to hand.  I’m finding that my blog is a source of succour for me; I hope you do too and then it has served some purpose. 

My head and heart are in turmoil and my blood pressure is all over the place.  So please don’t think me shallow if I now go to a quiet place here today. 

Let’s talk about the LBD.

When reflecting on what I’ve worn these past few months I realize that I’ve been smitten with the simple LBD.  What a workhorse!

Simply adding a cardi to an LBD sort of casualises it. 

The simple combo of dress opaques and boots is a winter winner, and adding a cardi makes this an easy-wear alternative to jumper and thick jeans.  
TBH I find winter jeans quite claustrophobic.   So thick and unpliable.  Jeans in winter are overrated IMHO. 

Have you tried wearing dresses in winter as an alternative to jeans?

Here’s the deets on this first outfit:
Dress @marksandspencer 
Khaki cardi @zara 
Boots @gaborshoesuk 
Scarf #charityshopfind 

Stripped of scarf and cardi, this dress still stand a up on its own for a posher look with a simple switch to necklace and heels. 

Adding a longer cardi to the dress, the length of the dress or longer, refreshes the LBD for 2022 to give it a current look, as seen when worn with this long brown cardis and the khaki style earlier. 

Long chocolate brown merino cardi, East
Chocolate brown boots, @gaboruk

Now I would advise to keep your LBD simple.  An LBD workhorse should stand up to dressing up or down for limitless looks. 

 Here’s an example of an LBD with limitations.  
With embellished detail along the neckline and sleeves it isn’t possible to dress this one down, so it’s a go-to reserved for special occasions only.  
But I still adore this Minsoon dress despite its limitations for a girl needs a special occasion easy go-to in the colder months eh.  

So what I would say here is to watch out for any sort of trim on an LBD, winter or summer.  

Which leads me neatly on to my 4 rules for a LBD:
- simple line
- easy care fabric that washes and doesn’t crease
- absolutely no trim or embellishment 
And in winter,
- long sleeves!

The jersey long sleeved T dress worn in most of these pics ticks all those boxes. 
The Monsoon dress fails on one (embellishment), so it’s use is limited and thus doesn’t quite meet the LBD workhorse criteria. 

Footwear is an easy switch to take the LBD from smart to casual. 

Here’s my jersey dress again but worn with flat boots.  

Wearing a pair of flat chunky boots (all the rage this year!) instantly brings the LBD down a notch or two. 
Here worn with a fur collar and fur trimmed leather hat.

Tractor tread boots, @eccouk

So those are a few examples of what I’ve been doing with my LBD these past few months.  
Following simple rules when buying an LBD means you’ll have an easy-wear workhorse in your wardrobe that takes you through the whole season.

My black jersey T dress has certainly taken me through the autumn and winter season. 
My challenge to self is now to see if I can make this dress work through spring as well.  I’m sort of doubting it , but no worries, for I have it’s spring/summer sister waiting in the wings - a short sleeved back up, and you’ll be seeing that one on repeat too very soon!

Praying that the world comes to its senses and chooses to save the planet and its people, 
rather than continue on a path of destruction,
a la perchoine,
Mary xxx.