Monday, 30 May 2016

winter has arrived:clothes & stuff

In Aotearoa, New Zealand, we often have endless warm summer, then one day, we wake up to winter. Just like that! It's suddenly windy, freezing & raining hard. This happened last week. Heaters are on, winter clothes, flannette sheets, heaters, are all pulled out of storage. Rapidly.

I am suddenly sleeping under an old duck feather eiderdown (luxury!) with a mink blanket on top! And flannelette jammies. With socks! I am making a few changes this year for winter: frequent use of a hottie (hot water bottle) as needed, & when it's really cold I 'll be dragging out my electric blanket which I inherited. I've never used one before but I've decided to be intelligent about winter this year.

I've moved into a winterish-but-not-totally-winter wardrobe: black ponte jeggings & a "demin" jegging; jeans, a nice pair of black trou, some expensive-but totally-worth-it black casual pants. With ballet shoes, long tops (dark blue, & black), plus existing tops with a light cardi, & I'll add another couple of jumpers as needed plus a long, thick, cardi-coat. I have some black leather-look, high ankled, winter sneakers, & ankle boots plus tons of new socks. I had a damaged foot for many years, so anything with heels, & any shoes that were actually nice on me, were unwearable. But times have changed & I have started shoe shopping as I now can wear nice shoes.

I am resolute about getting away from any clothes that are old-lady-ish, hence the jeggings, & I so love a simple, straightish line, eg similar colour top & bottom, no frills, it just looks better on me. Those of us who put weight on around our middles seem to suit straightish lines, whereas women who are blessed with breasts & hips can wear more curvy & frilly clothes. Something that I took a long time to learn! These days there are all sorts of systems of dressing for your body shape, but I have found this very simple formula to work really well. When I wear curvy or frilly clothes, I just look frumpy, but when I wear more straight lines, I look way better. This applies to necklines too: put me in a vee or square neckline & I look a round neckline & I am starting to not look quite so good. Strangely I also look better in slightly pointed shoes.

Other things to look at are skin & hair texture. I have fine, straight, shiny hair, so anything around my neck, like a long, old-fashioned, rectangular, silk scarf looks best on me. Because of it's similar attributes to my hair. But if you have curly hair, you can use a ruffled or textured scarf. If you naturally have multi tones in your hair (mine was originally just blue-black, so this doesn't apply to me), you can wear more colours all at once near your face. And I do have freckles, but they aren't noticeable, & just a few sunspots. So I look better without patterns close to my face. If you have freckles, you can have more patterns.

If you add the 4 season colour scheme to these hints, straight away you look better. The four seasons being cool skin tones: winter & summer (summer is softer colouring, more "rosy"); or autumn (think warm dark, or, "copper" colouring) & spring (golden, warm, & light colours).

And being only 157 cm high, I can truthfully tell you that the old advice about shorter people dressing in 1 colour, or tones of 1 colour.....yep, it's true.

Winter is about layering, so I like to wear sleeveless tees, or thermal singlets under my tops when it gets really cold. I look ridiculous with too many visible layers, because I'm so short. Besides, it's just not chic.

Along with my stash of both light & colourful, or woollen, scarves & a couple of beanies, woollen gloves, my overcoat, a full size brolly & a wee one for my bag: I am all set to be warm & comfy this winter. And my new abode, a wee cottage that I'm renting, takes very little effort to warm up. And it is not damp! Which is a big problem in West Auckland, where I live.

In other, colder, parts of the world, people are more serious about having warm homes. But in the North Island of our country, we seem to conveniently "forget" that rain & wind make us cold. Maybe it's because it only snows in a few places in this Island. The South Island, being Middle Earth (where Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit were mostly filmed), has lots of mountain ranges & snow, so the winter mentality there will be better about cold. The South Island is so beautiful. New Zealand is such a beautiful & magical country.

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