December's Style Not Age challenge

Hello again and welcome to the final Style Not Age challenge of the year! The onus was on Jacqui to round off our year on the right note and she came up with My Perfect Little Black Number for NYE. Personally, I have very little that falls into this category so it was quite easy to choose between the offerings in my wardrobe. My vintage frock has been a stand-by for years since I found it in a charity shop and it seemed to be perfect for this challenge. But first let's catch up with the other ladies of the collective to see how they approached this month's task...

Emma from the Style Splash also shopped her closet, choosing this LBD from Bastyan and shoes from Quiz. Looking sleek and elegant, Emma is more than ready for that NYE bash!

Another stylish twist comes from Gail in her Hobbs black dress with mulitcoloured spots. Old favourite boots mean she'll be able to dance all night long. Find her backstory on Is This Mutton blog.

Over the Hilda is also sporting a spotty frock; hers is from Biba. Hilda has paired the dress with her long time fave Clarks sandals that have indeed danced many a night away! Do check out her blog for more.

Jacqui from Mummabstylish has recently rocked her NYE frock while she was on holiday. The lace and rivets add funk to this Julien Macdonald LBD. Check out Jacqui's blog for more.

My vintage frock is an Italian number by designer Gina Bacconi. I checked out her website and I'm delighted that I grabbed myself a bargain when I paid £20 for this flamboyant number. I love the ornate hemline with gold trim - it's suitably fancy for NYE. 

The gold ruffled hemline was what informed my choice of footwear; these black and gold brocade boots are old, but much loved. I bought them from River Island a few years ago and just love that they add real pizzazz to outfit. And just in case there wasn't enough going on, I opted for these (old) paisley print tights. There's no less is more with this outfit!

All of my accessories, apart from my Radley sunglasses, are second hand. I do miss my jaunts to the mainland to root around charity shops, seeking out those little gems of jewellery that add a personal touch to an outfit. One day when life settles down a bit I'll be back.

Some of my readers may well recognise my backdrop for today's outfit. I visited Cromwell's Castle last week in an effort to get ahead of things, but didn't really take the weather into account. When I climbed to the top of the building, which for some reason seemed like the ideal place for the photo shoot, well it was blowing an absolute gale! I have a heavy weight that I attach to my tripod to hold it down, but even then I was on edge as to whether it would be strong enough to stop my camera come crashing to the ground.

And this is me, all windswept and interesting! 

The jury is out, of course, as to what we will or won't be allowed to do on New Year's Eve when the time comes. I have another very sparkly outfit lined up in case I get lots of invitations to parties, but honestly I think Steve will be very happy if we have to stay at home. Needless to say, I'll be dressing up on the night just for the heck of it!

I do hope you've had a lovely Christmas and that New Year won't be a washout. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that Covid19 won't wreck another party opportunity!

Happy New Year!

Anna x


In the run up to Christmas...

Hello and Happy Christmas to you (in case you don't call by again this week)! I'm back to work for a wee while and that means work outfits are on my mind, particularly those with a festive feel. The eagle eyed among you might remember these rather racy wet-look trousers that I bought in May during my only trip off-island this year. The brand is Pull and Bear, but I found them in TK Maxx in Truro. Well, I tried them out the other day with a gold lurex cardigan (H&M) and pre-loved blouse and am now wondering if the pants are simply too racy for a Gallery Manager? Do leave me your thoughts...

I'm very keen to wear them, but sometimes living on this tiny island leaves me feeling a bit unsure of what's happening with fashion trends out in the big wide world. And dare I ask the question as to whether a woman of my age ought to be wearing wet-look pants full stop? 

One way around this might indeed by to close my eyes to avoid the looks of shock from those I encounter... Or maybe just laugh it off?

Or perhaps just gazing into the middle distance with a cool, confident air might be the answer?

As for accessories, I'm wearing a very old chain necklace from Primark, a gold flower ring, a present from a girlfriend and a large chunky ring from TK Maxx.

One thing that's for sure, is that I do love the pairing of my tartan M&S boots with the skinny pants! 

On the home front, I can report that the Christmas tree is up as are the decorations and the final batch of fudge has been made and packed, so progress is being made. The turkey is due to arrive on Tuesday as is the gammon joint along with the final order of Christmas supplies. Like most of you, we'll have enough food to feed a small army. As for my Christmas day outfit, well I really don't have anything lined up this year. I do hope that inspiration strikes by the time the big day arrives!

Finally, let me just take a moment to say thank you for dropping by today and any other time you've called. As the year draws to an end I'm feeling all sentimental about my readership and how lovely it is to have your comments and feedback. For those of you who have actually beaten a path to my door (aka the desk at Gallery Tresco) during the past 12 months - it's been great to see you and have a chat in person!

I hope you have a great Christmas, that you manage to see family and friends as planned and that our lives aren't too disrupted over the festive period. Take care!

                                                                                    Anna x


70's psychedelic flares

Hello again! How are your Christmas preparations coming along? Today I'm making my first batch of fudge which means I'm pretty much on track. I've also started wrapping presents, but that's mainly so that I can check what's arrived and what I still need to order. Writing Christmas cards will be next. The Christmas tree isn't up yet, nor are the decorations, but that's always very last minute in our house. So hey, let's talk about my outfit of the day, shall we?

I've had little online shopping splurge of late and these 70's flares were a wonderfully joyful find on the Asos website (find them here). I'm having a bit of a nostalgic fashion spell currently, revisiting the 60's, 70's and 80's. In my last post I was raving about wet-look boots and now here I am, totally loved up with these fab psychedelic loon pants - another reminder of my teens!

I love the muted palette of this outfit which still has that festive feel thanks to the fun fur jacket (New Look, very old). The trousers are a mix of glorious pastel hues in blue, lilac, aqua and dusky pink. I've revived an old fluffy sweater in pale blue (a charity shop find) and added these chunky heeled Chelsea boots which are also new and from Asos (find them here). These awesome ankle boots in ecru are going to be so versatile, mixing with lots of my existing outfits. I've got a couple of brown and cream outfits in the pipeline which may sound very blah for Anna's Island Style, but with the addition of these awesome boots, you'll appreciate how amazing these colours can look...

Don't these boots and trousers look a dream together? I'm head over heels with both of them and have this lined up for a workday outfit when I'm in the run up to Christmas next week. The gallery is open for four days in Christmas week so I'm trying to plan my outfits ahead to lessen the stress of the day. I'm happy to report that I'm back into my daily swimming routine which has a great knock on effect to my body confidence. We all want to approach Christmas in the best mindset too and that time in the sea helps to calm my mind, helping me enjoy my watery meditation. 

I'm so pleased to have the chance to showcase this icy floral necklace again. I bought it in the Crisis charity shop in London a couple of years ago for only £12. While I was there I learnt a lot about what the charity does to raise awareness of homelessness within the city and it was good to see how my money was going to have a direct impact on the situation. Do check out their website to find out how you can make a difference to someone in need this Christmas. My dear friend Ben gave me guided tour of the finest charity shopping in the capital that day (see here) and he really did me proud. My perspex rings are all second hand too. My old favourite sunglasses are by Quay Austalia.

My thanks to Fiona for popping out with me at short notice yesterday to capture the golden sunshine after what had been a day of mist and rain. It wasn't so much seize the day as seize the moment!

                                                                                               Anna x


Dressing to boost your confidence

Hello again! It's great to have your company, so thank you for joining me. Today I want to chat about what makes me feel confident, clothes-wise. It's not an easy thing to feel happy in your skin all the time and I certainly have periods when I struggle with the person I see in the mirror and how I feel about what I see. I think we've all had such a tough time of late with the less-than-normal life we've been subjected to over the past 20 months. For some we may have struggled with our mental well-being and for others it's been a battle to keep fit and trim when our lives were in lock-down with all its restrictions. With life still being far from back to normal it's understandable that our self confidence has taken a knock. Covid19 has a lot to answer for!

For me, confident dressing boils down to wearing clothes that make me smile. At the time of purchase when I try on a new item of clothing if it makes me want to do my happy dance then it's a winner. Whenever I'm felling bit low then I always make a bee-line for bright colours to lift my mood. My mood and self confidence pretty much go hand in hand; they both rocket up and down within the same scale. If I feel a bit lacking in body confidence then my go-to remedy will always be to pop on a dress as it can hide a multitude of sins. A loose fitting dress that skims over tum and hips can be a real confidence booster as well as making you feel very feminine. See the maxi dress I wore recently here. It's already a mainstay for work. 

Another new joy in my life is this Joe Browns Timeless Tea Dress, a perfect everyday dress for any time of year. It's currently on sale so do follow the link to grab yourself a bargain! I'm delighted to finally showcase this crochet cardigan by Karen Millen as I've been waiting for the perfect partner and here it is. I found this beautiful rust and brown and sludge green zip cardi in a charity shop a couple of years ago for the ridiculous price of £2.50! Layering is the best way to extend the life of what may be thought of as a summer frock; you could even add a thermal top underneath for a bit of extra of warmth. The tea dress is indeed a timeless classic and a real winner when created in such a pretty pattern with this warm palette of colours; green, orange and pink lend themselves to all sorts of happy mixing and matching. I've worn the dress previously with a long orange v neck sweater over the top which left the collar peeking above the neckline. A polo neck could be worn over the frock for warmth with a stylish twist. 

This is a new coat I was also gifted by Joe Brown's - it's called the Statement Checked Coat and does live up to it's name. Beautifully shaped to flatter the figure it's gem of a piece for the winter ahead. It ticks all of the boxes to make me smile and raise my confidence. Bold in pattern and bright colours mean it's a cheery find when I open my wardrobe. It's a good length for keeping the nether regions warm and also looks great with trousers. Of course, I'll show you that another time.

The big collar is perfect for keeping out the chills without the need for a scarf (I always seem to forget mine) and it's all the prettier for these flower shaped buttons. The check coat and floral dress team up so very well thanks to the harmony of green and orange in both. I do love a bit of pattern clashing and yet this is hardly a clash in my view.

Another of my confidence tricks is to create an outfit in my personal style; what particular style will definitely depend on my mood of the day. Quirky, more often than not, but other times I'll be channeling my rock chick or a touch of hippy chic or even an elegant, stylish and very grown up version of myself. I love to be a chameleon; to change up an item again and again is a joyful challenge for me and makes for an interesting life. And the easiest way to make a strong style statement is by adding accessories. Mine are more often than not from charity shops which serves my purpose well, bringing together items from all sorts of sources as well as different fashion eras. The belt, perspex rings and necklace are all very old and from vintage or charity shops. My sunglasses are from Radley London. Mixing old and new is a simple way to create a unique style and that makes me happy. We all want to be seen as individuals after all.

A bright belt draws the eye to the waist, a good indication that today I'm not suffering from tummy bloat or feeling too wobbly around the mid section. That may have been helped by the fact that only an hour previously I'd had my first sea swim for some time (howling gales have prevailed of late). I'm delighted to say that it wasn't too cold at all which was a lovely surprise. I was basking in the afterglow, the result of submersion in a calm, silky sea during a break in the clouds. It's totally life affirming, but I'm sure I've told you that many times before!

I've only recently purchased these Asos wet-look boots and must admit that they too make me smile. In my teens wet-look boots were soooooo in fashion and here they are again. The platform sole helps to make the high heel more comfortable and golly, how I love with them! I knew that they'd work so well with my new Joe Browns clothes - it's the main reason I bought them. 

I'm on a gradual clothes clear out currently and although I'm featuring quite a few new items here it's all part of my master plan. The clothes excesses are going, leaving only pieces that I love, and that goes for all of today's outfit. The gathering over the years of clothes that I thought would be useful or might come in handy - well, that's what I'm going to be turfing out first of all. Likewise anything that doesn't fit. I can't hope to lose weight forever nor hold onto things that are too big either in case I need them again. No, life is about today and my clothes have to be what works now. I'm working on creating a clothes collection worthy of my happy and confident self. My best me is who I want to be which starts with clothes that reflect my state of being. 

My coat and dress were gifted by Joe Browns but all comments are mine.

                                                                                                 Anna x

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