Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Tunic: A Summer Staple

It may not even feel like spring yet for some of us, but I'm trying to encourage the season to arrive by trotting-out the tunics. By far my favourite item of clothing for summer, tunics are versatile, sophisticated, and universally flattering. The weather may not be allowing me to style them with the summery panache that I desire, but that doesn't mean a girl can't plan.

The Stuff

Tunic 1: Michael Kors (old),  similar
Wishful thinking look from Gap

Tunic 2: Lilly Pulitzer (past season), similar
Wishful thinking look from J. Crew

Tunic 3: Michael Kors (old), similar
Wishful thinking look from Tory Burch

Tunic 4: Michael Kors (old), sort of similar
Wishful thinking look, H&M

This post has been shared with the wonderful websites Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday and Plane Pretty's Sunday Style

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Then There Was This

Look, I love a sartorial challenge as much as anyone....but holy early eighties!! I'm afraid this is just a little too rich for my blood. I'm just gonna walk on

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Packing it in: The Dresses

We are going to Thailand early next week. My husband and I are both very excited, as we were there last year and absolutely fell in love with it.  But do not despair...I have been scheduling posts ahead of time, preparing for my absence, so it will be business as usual here on the blog. Plus dispatches from abroad, WiFi permitting.

Since I was at home today, I thought I would throw a few things for the trip in a pile,  in preparation for when the suitcases come out. Hubby and I are last-minute packers. I am a great believer in this philosophy, especially for a warm-climate trip. When you pack far in advance, you run the risk of throwing something else in the suitcase every time you walk past it. Or taking something out, thinking you will edit your travel wardrobe, and not putting something else back in, intentionally or not. You also run the risk of being that girl on the plane who has to ask someone to help her lift her carry-on into the overhead (which flight attendants these days will generally refuse to do) because it is so crammed full of stuff. I do admit to making lists on occasion prior to a trip if I'm feeling super-organized, but generally for what is essentially a beach vacation, I am of the philosophy that as long as you have your passport, ticket, and a functioning bank or credit card, anything you leave behind can be replaced, but chances are, you probably won't miss it all that much anyway.

So today, I decided to focus on dresses. One-piece tee and shirtdresses are the workhorses of my warm weather vacation wardrobe. They are easy to wear, look nice, and can be dressed up or down with something as simple as a white shirt over the top of a different shoe choice.  Here is what has gone into gone into the mix so far.

Clockwise from top left: Michael Kors beaded linen tunic dress (old), Trina Turk (past season),  Thakoon Addition maxi (last season), French Connection racerback tank dress (last season), New Look t-shirt dress, Lilly Pulitzer Worth shift dress (past season), Vintage Chadwicks linen floral dress, floral tunic shirtdress, ASOS (last season). 

That's eight looks that I just packed in under ten minutes! If you look closely, you'll see that I have on the same flat, neutral sandals with a lot of these looks. For me, that is the key to an underweight beach vacation suitcase. There is simply no need to bring a million pairs of shoes. Pick something that goes with everything and is comfortable, and one pair that is dressier, just in case.  You'll be in flip-flops and a bathing suit most of the time anyway.

What about you guys? Are you an over-packer or a minimalist?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Forty is the New Forty

When I hear someone talking about how fifty is the new thirty, seventy is the new forty-five, or wherever the latest goalpost may be, I always find myself feeling a bit irritated at the concept. To me, the implication is that whatever age you are at, your ideal age (look, body, lifestyle) is behind you; that the age to be truly celebrated is whatever you are minus fifteen or twenty.  There's no denying that we all have periods of time in our lives that we remember with extra-fondness, and though it seems (thankfully) to be going out of style, we might even refer to this period as being in one's "prime". You know, like a rib roast that's been ageing in a barn under perfect conditions.  But for many (ok, most) of us, that goalpost of when life was the best that it could possibly be is elusive...things just keep on moving along, and there is always the future.

I think quite a bit about an interview with Gloria Steinem that I once read in New York Magazine. She recounts the story of being in a restaurant on her 40th birthday, when a well-meaning reporter told her that she didn't look 40.  Instead of treating it as the complement that it was intended to be, she simply quipped --"This is what forty looks like. We have been lying for so long, who would know? "

Applying this concept of theoretical age to our sartorial choices,  it's easy to see that things have changed over the years,  and indeed are still changing. As Steinem herself said in the interview, there was a time when "age really was a great penalty for women".  Modern style however, seems to have morphed into a more personal endeavour. Instead of having to crop our hair and wear "respectable" twin-sets and sensible shoes after a certain age, we have options. Many, many options.

Yet in a sea of options, human nature still apparently craves a certain amount of order. There are volumes of books, magazines, blog pages, and television programmes all aimed at what "age appropriate" style is; what is acceptable, what is to be avoided, and how to get it right.

And so here at Highland Fashionista headquarters, a new thread is born. Forty (plus) is the New Forty will be a running piece in which I get my favourite people to weigh-in on this subject. Men, women, other bloggers, the guy who makes my latte (the one who is not my husband)...anyone with an opinion and a laptop can join the fray. So stay tuned.

Now to kick things off; a photographic montage of things that I like to wear that not so long ago would have been considered inappropriate on a forty-one (nearly forty-two) year-old.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Vintage Haul: The Happy Jacket

I took an exam today for this course I'm trying to put behind me once and for all. Granted, that is certainly not a reason to bust-out the happy clothing, but the fact that simultaneously, there was a vintage fair going on at the University certainly is. And that is how this lovely jacket came to live in my closet. I bought it from a vendor named Karen Darragh who also has a lovely online shop called Vintage Point. 

This is one of those things that I was drawn to in spite of myself. I thought that the kelly green colour and the big, bold flowers lent it an almost preppy, summery vibe that would work well with distressed jeans, navy shorts, a denim skirt, or even something striped or polka-dotted!  Admittedly, I had to surgically remove the (massive!) shoulder pads through a 1 inch keyhole-incision in the lining of both shoulders (yes, it's fully-lined), but it was worth it, because it fits me absolutely perfectly.  I was going to change the buttons for something a little less plastique, but decided against it.

I venture to guess that the vintage of this vintage piece dates to somewhere in the 80's, based purely on my scientific assessment of the molecular weight of the shoulder pads I removed, and the look of the brand tag inside. The brand is Eastex, which is a UK brand of ultra-conservative clothing really targeted at women who are much older than yours truly. You know, mother of the bride stuff. Calf-length skirts, boxy jackets, big hats. You know. I have no problem with this. This is a testament to the fact that clothes are all about what you do with them.  They do not make you who you are.

The Stuff

Vintage jacket: Eastex

Friday, April 19, 2013

Enter to Win!

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I think I need a floral bomber jacket. You know how it is. So tonight, I was online having a browse around when I happened upon this giveaway that Lashes of London is doing.  What's cool about this is that there's chance a gal could win this know.... for free and stuff. Lashes of London are giving away one top, one dress, and one skirt (I know, right!?) to the lucky winner. Could it be you? Yes. Perhaps. But then, maybe it could be me. Okay, I confess, I'm hoping that it will be me. I do really like that jacket....

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Few Of My Favourite Blings

The Stuff 

Calcedony and emerald sterling pendant: (my own), similar here.
How I wear it: all items J. Crew.

Citrine and sterling necklace: (my own), similar here.
Vintage Chanel jacket (photo NY times): serious bargain version here!
Jeans: River Island
Shoes: Bass

Layered woven rhinestone necklaces: Forever 21(old), Similar
Dress and clutch: New Look
Gladiators: Free People (old), similar here.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Styling A Vintage Silk Scarf

I found this scarf at a vintage sale last week. It was 50p. It's silk, and what I loved about it, besides my instant attraction to its bright colours, is that it is actually representative of Stornoway on the Scottish Isle of Lewis in the outer Hebrides, where I had a brilliant trip last year with my husband, dog, and a few friends.  This would have likely been somebody's souvenir scarf from a trip to the highlands in days gone by. It's even signed by the artist, albeit I can't make heads or tails of the signature.

But now it's mine. Historically,  I've never really been a great scarf person. I was the generation who felt that scarves were for our grandmothers, and that a really great way to add ten years to a look was to wear a scarf with it. But I'm coming around. When I think about it, I've always liked the way a wide scarf looks wrapped around the hair, as above, but have always felt that it was just a bit too much adjusting and re-tying as I went about my day. But I am changing my ways. I am learning to style scarves like the grown-up that I supposedly am. Here are just a few of the ways I have utilized this scarf in the short time that I've had it.

What about you? Are you a scarf person? How do you like to style your scarves?

The Stuff

Vintage silk scarf: check out Etsy and Ebay for similar treasures
Sunglasses: Boots
Earrings: Honora
Handbag: Dooney & Bourke
Green t-shirt: Old Navy

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Saturday Extra: Whale Update

It is with a mixture of joy and sadness that I report that this week, the sperm whale that inexplicably swam into the waters directly in front of our house swam back out to sea.  Here is the last shot I got of him, on Easter Sunday.

I had originally reported that they thought it was a young whale who was perhaps lost. It turns out he (he was a he) was about 14 years old. After all of the hullabaloo about trying to devise a plan to lure him back out to sea, scientists at the Scottish Association for Marine Science decided that the best course of action was to just leave him alone, as he was showing no signs of illness or trauma. Ferries changed their routes, and people were told to keep a fair distance as to not stress him out, and those who did not listen (mainly kayaks and small boats) were quickly given a stern talking-to by the fisheries commission who would zoom up in a little zodiac. Quite right.

His stay here was largely uneventful (for him), although he did head-butt one of the boats floating on a mooring in the bay and gave himself a slice to the head. Not sure why he did this, but he had evidence of other, older head bumps, so apparently head-butting (or the "Glasgow Kiss" as it's called here) is part of the whale repertoire.

photo: Stephen Lawson Photography

I was sad to see him go, but happy that he made it out in one piece. I was beginning to get attached to the guy, who I could see swimming up and down the bay out my window. You start to feel a little protective of him after a certain amount of time. So to celebrate his departure, I did what so many Americans do....I bought the T-shirt. 

Top Hat Whale T-Shirt on Etsy

And then I found this skirt secondhand. You guys know what a sucker I am for anything with an animal printed on it, and this was like the universe calling-out. Hey, if a little is good, more is better, right? Stay tuned for the whale-themed outfit posts to come. 

Friday, April 12, 2013


Greetings, and a pleasant day to you all. Today's offering: a Lilly Pulitzer corduroy "critter' skirt embroidered with wee Scottie dogs. Twee? I suppose it is. Or it could be. I have an unexplained attraction to some of the more unabashedly preppy clothing styles for reasons I have not entirely come to grips with. But I love dogs, and I love clothes, so let's just go with that for the time being.

A piece like this could easily look affected of mumsy, but like so much else in life, it is all down to what you do with it. I like to balance some of these more classic (or perhaps even kitschy) preppy pieces with something that has a bit of an edge. In this case my trusty black nine west boots with the stacked heels, and a super-bright fuchsia blouse.  So indeed while the real preppies of the world would undoubtedly look upon my interpretation of this skirt with an undetectable roll of the eyes, a clutch of the (Grandmother's) pearls,  and find it all just a bit too poseur arriviste....well...hey. I love dogs. And clothes.

The Stuff

Lilly Pulitzer corduroy embroidered skirt (old from Ebay)
J. Crew silk blouse (thrifted, then gifted by my mother). Similar with dot. Cool.
Boots: Nine West
Ring: My own. Similar here.
Sunglasses: Cynthia Rowley
Belt: H&M

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


After my discovery of my newfound love of orange lipsticks last week,  I have re-directed some of my cosmetic (as opposed to cosmic) energy into finding that perfect, biohazard bin-liner shade of orange. On a budget, of course. It is orange lipstick we're talking about here, after all.

In what was really an act of pure luck, I was rushing through Boots in Glasgow last week on my way to an appointment, and I managed to slow down just long enough for this fabulous lipstick to fall into my basket.  And then when I wasn't looking, this second one also jumped into my basket (without the fruit salad in tow).

This second one is probably the brightest lipstick I have ever purchased in my entire life. It is very literally a tube of neon. And it lasts. Way longer than those frozen raspberries did. I ate them immediately after I took this shot. And yes, I realize that technically, they were sort of touching what might be construed as the ground. If it doesn't kill me, I'll get stronger, right?

The orange one is totally rad. Very true orange indeed. This is the colour I have been waiting for for spring and summer. I think that because we have only been seeing the orange lip for a few fashion cycles now, it still looks fresh and unexpected.

Both of these are part of my campaign to expand my personal definition of the strong lip. As I said last week, the strong lip is totally your friend when your hair is gray. It adds a bold swipe of no-nonsense, serious-about-having-fun colour, and in doing so, elevates your mood.


Maybelline Color Sensational in Electric Orange (912)