Middle-Aged Women Doing It For Themselves At The Oscars

How wonderful was it to see the more mature lady steal the show at the Oscars today?


Middle Aged Women Doing It For Themselves At The Oscars
Haute Couture by Josephina54 at http://www.flickr.com


Why, I hear you ask?


Well firstly for BEING THERE in the first place, which must be a sign that Oscar is finally moving with the times and creating more roles for middle-aged women – (equal pay may come next, Patricia and Meryl) – and secondly, because middle-aged women appear to be overshadowing the younger ladies in the fashion department.


There have been some real standouts in the style stakes at this season’s award ceremonies, as well as a bold display of confidence never before seen in mature women.


And I’d love to give you pics to paw over like I’ve been doing all day but as I don’t want to get sued, here’s a link:




While Meryl Streep knocked it out of the park in her rebellious jacket and skirt, Patricia Arquette looked regal and thoroughly deserving of her prize.


In my book, a black and white combo is always a sure thing.


There was no covering up the bat wings or dressing for their age (wince) this year, even some of the men stood out. The blue tux may finally be growing on me, Eddie Redmayne but NEVER the maroon…




But this year’s Oscars style was all about winning women who exuded confidence.


Thank God Jennifer Aniston has managed to drop the safety net of girl-next-door-look that she cultivated in Friends, in favour of a new, raunchier style, where (REAL boobs) take centre stage.


Meanwhile Jennifer Lopez looked muchos latino Disney princess in a glittering creation that bedazzled all in her wake and even made Lady Gaga look tame. The full, sparkling caramel gown celebrated old-style Hollywood’s glitzy glamour, while its low neckline suggested a contemporary twist and demonstrated the brazen confidence of a woman who knows exactly who she is.


Sadly the Aussie contingent didn’t wow me this year. Kate Blanchett, to whom I usually rely on for high fashion risk, looked uncharacteristically drab in a flattering yet spectacularly unexciting black dress with aqua statement necklace – although her choice to downplay may have been an attempt to avoid vacuous questions about ‘who she was wearing.’


As for Nicole Kidman – the colours of her dress were sadly reminiscent of a bottle of Moet.


The British made their mark, led by Rosamund Pike who looking stunning in a strapless red floral number with enticing slit, and Benedict Cumberbath totes nailed Bond as he charmed in his white tux.


For me the verdict is still out on Emma Stone’s green Elie Saab dress. Emma can usually do no wrong for me with her styling choices, but the putrid green tone of her dress was so assaulting on tired eyes at 9.30 this morning, (before my first coffee of the day), I nearly had to reach for a bucket.


And I admit to feeling let down by Marillon Cotillard’s dress, because she normally airlifts Parisian style to another, much more exciting level.


So my favourite couple of the evening has to be Reece Witherspoon in her classic black and white, (which had all the winning ‘less is more’ ingredients of the dress Julia Roberts wore when she won her Oscar) – a classic statement of simplicity and perfection, and one which perfectly complimented Benedict Cumberbatch, who was irresistibly sexy in a stiff British kind of way.


Although, Margot Robbie’s sexy chiffon dress with the best statement necklace EVAR was a runner up for the ladies award.


Anyways, off to celebrate with the other Cumber-bitches! Converted!

Fashion For Middle Aged Women: I FINALLY Found MY Shop!

It took me a long time to find ‘my shop’ after I’d turned thirty, procreated and owned the muffin top to prove it.


Fashion For Middle Aged Women: I FINALLY Found MY Shop!


You know what ‘your shop’ is, as a woman. It’s that shop that always designs the styles that work for your body and where they use the right fabric and a colour palette to compliment it.


It’s the shop you can usually rely on to find something you like even in those darkest moments of ‘not having anything to wear’.


Back in the UK, during the mumsy phase of my life when the kids were still small and I needed to be able to move quickly and conceal vomit, ‘my shop’ was Gap.


But it’s taken another decade for me to find ‘my shop’ in Australia. I had to adapt to the different style here. So used was I to dressing for warmth, polo necked jumpers and ski jackets were the most popular items in my wardrobe. And the style in Australia is less forgiving, because…well… you wear less. Country Road nearly gets there, as do Wish and Witchery, but I’ve wasted an inordinate amount of research time flitting from brand to brand, and never quite nailing down retail nirvana.




Check out SEED.


Seed has become my ‘safe zone’ in the mall. Not only does their range appease my OCD – because their designs focus on my safe colour palette of neutrals, black and white, (the only colours I really allow in my wardrobe without freaking the fuck out), but the clothes FEEL so good, the quality is dependable and the range extends from casual to formal, nightwear, shoes, babywear and accessories.


And they love faux animal print almost as much as I do. These are some funky shoes I bought to walk the Princess, (because wearing runners for anything other than exercise is just so downmarket….) and they’ve also got this gorgeous leopard print handbag in their range at the moment that I can’t wait to get my sweaty mitts on – although I may have to succumb to some sexual favours to find the money …

Fashion For Middle Aged Women: I FINALLY Found MY Shop!


This is a top I bought before Christmas that is so versatile you can dress it up over a skirt for a more classic/corporate look, or down in the evening over skinnies or loose trousers. That loose fabric around the tummy is great for work after you’ve binged out on a massive lunch and paid the penalty of bloated baby belly.


Fashion For Middle Aged Women: I FINALLY Found MY Shop!


Then there’s this little gem of a dress I bought to wear to a formal dinner in honour of my dad’s 70th in London next month (yes, I did say London, bee-atches!). Note the ingenius way the fabric hangs around the waist, hiding a multitude of chocolate sins – although I’ve since come to the conclusion that it’s probably on the short side for the tickers of those wrinky-dinks in the RAC Club. Instead, I rocked it at New Year’s Eve.


Fashion For Middle Aged Women: I FINALLY Found MY Shop!

And they even do polo necked sweaters…I lived in this baggy jumper last winter.

Fashion For Middle Aged Women: I FINALLY Found MY Shop!


But I’m gushing now and I’m not even getting paid for this free marketing.


Although the other great thing about Seed’s range is that they design for all shapes and sizes – both loose and tighter styles – and (for me) the sizing is spot on. A size 12 is a 12 and a size 16 is a 16, so there’s none of that ‘losing the will to live’ in the changing room, like in those shops designed for stick insects where you can struggle to pull your normal size over your head.

Check it out!

The Biggest #QuestionForMen This Week Is What Century Are We In?

The debate over equality has been heating up nicely in the media over the past few weeks and I will always take whatever opportunity comes my way to get back on the feminism soapbox.   (Sorry, Dad!)

English: Chris Hemsworth at 2010 Comic-Con Int...
English: Chris Hemsworth at 2010 Comic-Con International (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With awards season upon us when we witness the bevy of beautiful and successful actors and actresses flaunt their talents and physical assets on numerous red carpets, attention has focused on the different approach towards the genders by the media.   The wonderful Kate Blanchett was one of the first to publicly shame a reporter who dared ask her ‘who are you wearing?’, prior to any questions relating to the professional work for which she was being awarded.   I will be the first to put my hand up and admit that I am shallow enough to enjoy ‘red carpets’ for the fashion, but Kate has a point – I wouldn’t be averse to watching Chris Hemsworth or Bradley Cooper forced to twirl and preen for the camera prior to describing at length their outfits, fitness regime and matching accessories.   Why are women treated as cattle and men treated as talent?   We know that the movie industry remains a man’s world wherein the movie moguls are still predominantly male, most lead roles are written for men and the pay is unequal, yet do we have to insist on dumbing down women when they have earned equal status within the industry?   With the increased impact of social media, I believe that female celebrities do have a duty to mention the name of their designers on air; but so should men. What neither gender should have to accept is to be treated as vacuous, pretty pieces of fluff, there to sex up a movie or compliment their more successful counterparts.   Buzzfeed tried to turn the tables when they interviewed Kevin Spacey at a recent awards show and dared to ask him about his beauty preparations for the event.   http://youtu.be/xlW-aHC8KdI   A mani-pedi? Agreed, Kevin, it is fucked up!   His look of confusion once the penny dropped, said it all.   The continued inequality in the workplace was further highlighted this week on Twitter by Clementine Ford, one of our most forthright writers on the topic of inequality, who created the thought-provoking hashtag on Twitter- #Questions for Men. These were not questions of the ‘men are from Mars’ ilk, of how the fuck can two genders from the same species think and behave so differently; the question was aimed at the prevailing disparity between the sexes in the workplace.   Questions such as ‘have you ever been judged by the length of your pants’; ‘When you die, do you expect your obituary to start with references to your attractiveness or lack thereof?’ – a reference to an obituary recently posted about the writer, Colleen McCullough; and ‘In a job interview have you ever been asked how you will juggle work and home?’   There was the expected acerbic backlash in response from the cavemen and predictable accusations about whining lesbians who no doubt should be pleased with what we already have.   As someone asked this week when the world witnessed the terrible fate of the Jordanian pilot in a medieval-style public burning – sometimes we have to question “what century are we in?”

Men And Thongs

I have many good qualities, but I am not a good nurse.

Assorted colorful flip-flops.
Assorted colorful flip-flops. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over-anxious people like me, worry incessantly about things that usually never happen, so when (God Forbid) they do, we freefall, go into denial and try to play them down as a coping strategy.


The old man’s recent fractured rib is a good case in point.


Apart from last year’s incident, (when I chucked my guts up at the sight of the old man’s face after he left half of it on our courtyard paving), I am told that I appear quite calm in a crisis.


A little too calm.


‘You’re fine,’ I might have said as he re-entered the apartment this week, (having fallen down several concrete steps and landing on his back), grey in the face, obviously winded and bent over, doubled up with pain.


When the old man subsequently told his work mate that he had fractured a rib, his mate asked him if he is one of very small percentage of men in Australia unfortunate enough to get beaten up by their wives; such is the regularity of his accidents.



We had already considered this possibility – that people might draw this conclusion – and it does seem a tad unfair to me, that I should be branded a husband-beater when the simple reason the old man has suffered so many recent injuries is down to his lack of spatial awareness and coordination on steps in thongs.


This is a man who has played rugby for England (U18s), walked the Great Wall of China and met prime ministers, yet he cannot wear thongs and walk at the same time.


Was it only a year ago that we were sat in the ER after his infamous courtyard fail fall? Yet too soon we find ourselves here again, with the old man in so much pain that he walks slower than a tortoise on dope and can never seem to switch his ‘whinge’ button off.


He is seriously pissed off too. After three weeks of holiday he was on the cusp of beating his all-time record on the Stairmaster this week and may even have succeeded in losing his 500g weight loss target (of the past two years) if he gave up chocolate and crisps as well.


I’m certain that he doesn’t want to really be in my care, either. My nursing talents are legendary in our family, with diagnosis being a particular speciality.


When serious shit happens there appears to be a mechanism in my brain that reassures me that everything MUST be fine. When NC developed pneumonia I tried to stabilise her with junior Neurofen; when she broke her leg, I wrapped up the trifecta of broken bones in bags of frozen peas. She still blames me for her disfigured pinkie because I refused to believe it was broken.


In spite of the old man’s protestations that he will look like a knob, these are on our shopping list this afternoon because I’ve checked the life insurance and I’m not sure that being an uncoordinated dickhead is covered.


Men and Thongs

Middle Aged Style Secrets: 6 Awesome Ways To Cultivate Your Inner Bag Lady

I’m rarely in a position to brag about my middle-aged style choices but I really hit the bullseye on the middle-aged bag lady target this morning, when I had to race like a crazy woman into my son’s school to hand in the latest overdue form and payment for his excursion today.


You see, I didn’t have time to put an outfit together.


But luckily, after extensive research, and aided by the natural ageing process, (which makes it easy for me to obsess over comfort rather than style these days), I’ve finally managed to perfect the bag lady look.


Middle Aged Style: How To Cultivate Your Inner Bag Lady
I know you’re impressed.


Here our my six personal styling tips to achieve my look:


Reading Glasses: Luckily, retro reading glasses are as uber-fashionable an accessory right now as Victoria Secret wings and even if you don’t require them for the gift of sight, they do the most wicked job of disguising insomniac, puffy, makeup-less eyes. I think mine give me an intelligent, quirky, ‘I might be intelligent as well as interesting’ vibe.


Messy Bun: I’ve been a fan of the messy bun for yonks now. Messy buns are the best way to hide greasy, lank hair, stubborn greys and dark/grey roots, so if you don’t know how to create one, get with the program and educate yourself.



PJs: Nothing says YOU REALLY DON’T CARE ANYMORE better than going out in public in your pjs. My pj top would have made an even bigger impact if I’d had the balls to go bra-less – but as many men still think that young women breast-feeding in public are an embarrassment, I just don’t think they’re ready yet.


The great thing about the loose-fitting pj top is that it’s just so versatile for coping with those sudden, middle-aged dramas like bloating, which can happen at any time of the day and cause your normal waistband size to expand upwards by at least another four sizes. Brown pj tops come n particularly handly for when you spill the first coffee of the day.


Yoga Pants: Forget the modern yummy mummy, black, skinny style and get out your faded, vintage 80’s Fonda culottte, complete with white stain from that cream cake you ate the last time you wore them.


Flat, Comfortable Shoes: LOVE LOVE LOVE these loafer-style, animal print shoes I bought recently and have lived in since. Mix them up with animal prints to truly create that exotic and cosmopolitan air of middle-aged eccentricity.


Animal print scarf: If you don’t have any animal print in your wardrobe, you haven’t truly accepted middle age and the expectations that go with it. I threw this scarf in the mix to add a spot of colour and glamour to the morning lifelessness of my complexion. It clashed nicely with my loafers to give me that quirky, ‘she’s forgotten her meds’ edge.



You’re welcome.

Forgive Me, Lord, For I Have Bought White Slacks

Don’t judge me, but this week I succumbed to my first pair of comfortable white slacks, complete with elasticated waistband for reassuring, yet gentle muffin top control, airy bagginess in the thigh area and tapered bottoms – which are obviously just a feeble attempt by the designer to make them look slightly less ‘Nana’.

A fashion statement they’re not. Sadly, they don’t look like this…

Forgive me, Lord, For I've Just Bought Comfortable White Slacks

I’d like to say that I resemble one of those celebrities who can don a man’s white suit and look hot or super chic, but alas, I look more Karate Kid than Kate Hudson in my particular brand of middle-aged, baggy white trousers.

In those rare moments when I’m still feeling positive about my fatal decision to visit the hush-hush, concealed, fourth floor, plus-size section of Myer, to finally succumb to my previous decade’s fashion temptation of wanting to be comfortable ALL the time, I convince myself that that the pants convey a lofty air of boatiness. Especially when I accessorise them with my nautical, striped top – which by the way, is a fashion statement at the moment.

On more honest days, I know I look 50 going on 60.

It’s getting harder and harder to fight this primal desire to be comfortable, rather than stylish. I’ve never owned a pair of white trousers in my life – neither slacks nor skinnies. Ignoring the obvious issue that you have to wear dull, flesh-coloured undies underneath them, which make my pelvic area look like it’s had a muffin top extension, I have always believed that darker colours are more flattering on the more ample pear figure. And my mother did always warn me about the danger of having an accident and getting caught in the ER with boring undies on.

Forgive Me, Lord, For I Have Bought White Slacks
Kickass Kid by Dan Graham on http://www.flickr.com

So what went wrong? How did those statement middle-aged white slacks end up in the changing room with me, hidden amongst all those other more fashionable, tighter garments I had kidded myself would look good?

And why has no-one commented on how good my boating trousers look, or even asked me where I moor my boat?

More importantly, what is about their magnetic attraction to food.

But negatives aside – WOWSER – they certainly meet their brief and are as comfortable as I always imagined them to be! So they’re a linen mix, which obviously creases like a motherfucker every time I breathe in them, but at least the lines compliment my skin. But they also move WITH me harmoniously, rather than AGAINST my body. Air has found a rite of passage around my thighs again and the waistband moves with the momentum of my muffin top and so allows me to fit in dessert.

No-one’s pretending that white slacks are sexy, but they sure are comfortable.

My Latest Clothes Shopping Tips for Middle-Aged Women

Credit Card


It was uncharacteristically magnanimous of the old man to allow me to abuse the credit card at Pitt St Mall yesterday.


It felt strangely odd to be actually GIVEN PERMISSION to spend, although equally as enjoyable as my usual furtive credit card abuse.


I’m sure he had his reasons and his moment of generosity had absolutely nothing to do with his guilt at not producing EVEN A FUCKING CARD for our anniversary – apparently, a loving text is enough – nor was it an attempt to pay me off and guarantee a quiet Saturday afternoon in front of the golf on television.


Whatever the old man’s reasons, yesterday afternoon’s shopping experience cemented that buying clothes as a middle-aged woman, (and one who is still in the process of slowly adjusting to a new body shape and style), can be a torturous experience and one that doesn’t always meet expectation.


Although don’t get me wrong – even though I might struggle to find the brands that suit my ‘old-in-body yet young-in-spirit frame’ these days, I still FUCKING LURVE a good shop.


Which is something men will never understand.


These are my latest clothes shopping tips for middle-aged women: 

  • Sexy lingerie is uncomfortable now that our bits have been rearranged from childbirth. Be honest, you WANT to wear granny knickers most of the time now because the discomfort imposed by all those itsy-bitsy, up your crack smaller styles like boy briefs and bikinis make my vagina quiver with fear. Go for it!
  • Middle-aged feet are irresistibly drawn to flat shoes for comfort and to protect our backs for the future – stop resisting and suck it up.
  • Those stretchy, clingy fabric brands, which you are supposed to layer to make you look even more fucking HUGE, (and which I had pinned all my hopes on to flatter my new ‘curves and edges’), are not your friend.
  • Either I’m shrinking or trousers are designed for Amazonian woman these days – Stick to leggings no matter how bad a fashion rap they get.
  • I sobbed in those shops that showcase those cute and classic 50’s style office dresses that are simply not designed with middle-aged women in mind, or in fact for anyone with a bigger bust than a developing teenager. There’s not even enough room for my strained teabag B cup breasts, let alone real mama jugs. And as for packing the muffin top in those tailored waistbands – SO not happening. Go for the shift!
  • Hems are getting shorter, which is fabulous when you’re young and nubile with legs up to your armpits, but not quite so hot on orange peel thighs or for those of us who don’t want to flash our granny kaks each time we bend over. Footless tights are your friend now.
  • Your new safety zones in the mall include accessory stores, homeware shops and the ladies bathroom now.
  • Shoes, scarves and handbags are not ageist or sizeist and can still provide an excellent form of retail therapy to the serious middle aged shopper in need of a fix.
  • Your new shopping comfort zones are those yummy specialty macaron shops or frankly anywhere that sells coffee and has an all-day license.

    Coffee Hazelnut Macarons
    Coffee Hazelnut Macarons (Photo credit: *bossacafez)

Can Middle Aged Women Really Wear Ankle Boots?

teal dress with ankle boots and cardigans+cat ...
teal dress with ankle boots and cardigans+cat eye sunglasses and louis vuitton speedy-los angeles (Photo credit: …love Maegan)

Ankle boots are back and it looks as though they’re here to stay.


Sometimes I wonder what the fashionistas and designers are thinking. Do they ever consider how middle-aged women will look in their designs or are we really as invisible as they’d like us to be?


Let’s pause for a moment and think about the crop top, the g-string, low-waist jeans and platform wedges. I rest my case.


Because while having twigs for legs might suit the cut of the ankle boot, that doesn’t mean they will suit the swollen ankles of menopause.


Which is why I was obviously a little reticent about the return of the ankle boot.


I may not be a fashion or style writer, but I am a middle-aged woman who still gets a compulsive enjoyment out of fashion and I am always in search of clothes that don’t make me look a) like a hooker or b) like a bag lady.


And just as I scoffed when some idiot thought that skinny jeans would look good on everyone, and then at jeggings a few years later, more recently I have been guilty of ridiculing the return of the ankle boot.


‘You’ll never get me back in fucking ankle boots!’ I might have declared to my friends a year or so ago.


It was about the same time that I had just broken the bank and tested my marriage vows when I splashed out impulsively on a pair of VERY expensive, vintage-looking, knee-high tan boots and was still happily cavorting around in them ‘Kate Moss at Coachella’ style. 

Kate Moss by Mr Brainwash (Thierry Guetta), Ne...
Kate Moss by Mr Brainwash (Thierry Guetta), New Oxford Street, London (Photo credit: chrisjohnbeckett)


But fashion moves forward at a relentless pace, and typically, as soon as I buy anything VAGUELY fashionable, you can guarantee it’s OUT.


And ankle boots began to breed like Octomom in every shoe shop.


So I was forced to consider them again. Perhaps I had been hasty in my judgment and they wouldn’t make my legs look stumpier, if that was physically possible? With a chunky heel, they could almost look flattering, my inner voice prayed?




But could the middle-aged bag lady really admit to being wrong about fashion AGAIN?


NC had bought a few pairs (because she’s a student and has lots more disposable income than I do, working in the local bar at the same time as fleecing her parents), so I snuck into her room one night to see how they looked on my tree trunks legs.


Not bad…


So I figured  – naively – that with half the materials required of a normal boot, a pair should set me back half the cost, shouldn’t they?


Alas, no.


And so the search began. My quest: to source the perfect pair of ankle boots for under $60. I could pay for them with cash and pretend the money was for Kurt’s drumming lesson so that the old man need never be the wiser. Can Middle-Aged Women Really Wear Ankle Boots?




I found this pair in Just Jeans and at $59.95 my new ankle boots look super-cute with my short dresses with leggings get-up. Can Middle-Aged Women Really Wear Ankle Boots?






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Is Shopping The Best Therapy For Middle-Aged Women?

It is with great sadness that I have to admit that I was forced to seek some therapy this weekend.

Family Friendly
Family Friendly (Photo credit: Jim Blob Blann)


Kurt has been flipping the bird at the house rules again, (more of that in a later post), and I have been struggling to focus and get my work done with the old man hanging around the house on annual leave and being as demanding as a fourth child.


Which has led to a serious bout of cabin fever.



As you are aware, I have always been a firm believer in seeking help when it is needed, which is precisely why I headed straight to the Kirribilli Markets and Pitt St mall on a self-help mission yesterday.


For some REAL WOMEN’S therapy.


I got up early, donned the best Bohemian look I could muster and armed with my morning coffee from my favourite local café I began my mission in earnest.


I started at the market and found this rocking jumper for NC which fed the beast of homesickness that has been bubbling gently beneath the surface of my gloom. I’m a sucker for anything with a union jack on it and this soothing little piece of patriotism cost me the small fortune of $5:


Is Shopping The Best Therapy For Women?
Union Jack jumper for NC


But there just wasn’t enough ‘orange’ or ‘bling’ to get my heart racing at the market.


So, undeterred, I headed off to Pitt St Mall to finish what I had started.


I had visions of finding the perfect little outfit to transform me into Charlize Theron


And did it make me feel better? Well, yes it did, actually, because it turns out that I AM that superficial and shallow and I also have a penchant for trying on ridiculous pieces of clothing to make me feel better.
I thought I’d look like this…
Is Shopping The Best Therapy For Women?
But my fucked up body image issue had me feeling more like this!









But the sad truth is that  I don’t have Charlize’s body, face or money as much as I love decadence and frivolity, my lifestyle doesn’t really extend to the need for much gold lame evening wear, so I ended up in my usual stores.


Did I mention that I have a passion for anything orange or fabulously blinging at the moment? For some reason, most of the middle-aged women I know need a bit of sparkle in their lives, these days. Hmmmmm?


And I tried on lots of silly accessories in Sports Girl, like these:


Is Shopping The Best Therapy For Women?Is Shopping The Best Therapy For Women?





Because when I become Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and wear lots of very silly accessories (that I know will look crap and I have no intention of buying), I feel a whole lot better than when I JUST shove chocolate in my mouth.


Am I alone in feeling like this, ladies?


Then I discovered lots of lovely bling in Zara too.


Is Shopping The Best Therapy For Women?
Blinging beautiful!
Is Shopping The Best Therapy For Women?
Blinging lovely!







It didn’t even matter that I didn’t buy anything, because the left-over Easter eggs and wine were still waiting at home to be inhaled.

Easter eggs // Ostereier

Molldooker Wines
Molldooker Wines (Photo credit: dklimke)







What’s makes your feel better about yourself?

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Women And Handbags: A Love Story

Rather like what they did to Star Wars, this post is the prequel to Women and Shoes: A Love Story and Women and Chocolate: A Huge fucking Love Story.


You see I treated myself to a new handbag a few weeks ago. Obviously, I had to hide it in the concealment zone for ten days so that the old man wouldn’t realize that I’d spent vast amounts of our hard-earned cash on something so superfluous, but I finally got to flaunt it yesterday.


He hasn’t noticed.


Unlike a lot of women I know, I don’t have a wardrobe of handbags to accessorize with different outfits. I wish I did, but a) the old man doesn’t see the necessity of new clothes so I doubt I’d get the latest Burberry past him, and b) I’d waste valuable drinking energy changing over my shit from one handbag to another.


Can anyone seriously be assed to change all of the shit from one handbag to another, EVERY DAY?


Anyway, I stick to a practical black and brown design that goes with everything and will last me a good couple of years, but I do have a particular weakness fondness for Guess handbags because I like me a bit of tasteful bling. This is this year’s new model:


Women and Handbags: A Love Story
Women and Handbags: A Love Story


So, when I did the two yearly changeover from old to new model this week, even I was slightly impressed appalled by just how much crap I managed to accumulate in one tiny vessel.


My handbag is either a handbag version of Dr Who’s Tardis or Hermione Granger’s beaded handbag with the undetectable extension charm on it.


Here’s what I found:


  • Five lipsticks, all exactly the same shade, although I’m assuming they must have looked different shades in the shop.
  • Twenty-five tampons, which, (and this could be related to Harry Potter again), breed in my handbag until the day I ACTUALLY FUCKING NEED ONE, and they then become invisible. Tampons are always the first objects to fall from my handbag when I drop it, particularly during client meetings.
  • Sixteen pens, which, like their cousin the tampon, are never there when I need them either but then breed overnight.
  • The business cards of every real estate agent in Sydney, some hot some not.
  • Petrol receipts for all those bank reconciliations that I promised the old man I would do two years ago, but never quite got around to.
  • 2 lip balms from Thredbo 2012
  • Four pairs of reading glasses
  • Massive, mother-sized sanitary towels that look as though they should be for incontinence and not menstruation. Just in case I get stuck somewhere like the Arctic, overnight, with my period on its heaviest day. As you do.
  • Neurofen for headaches, Neurofen for hangovers, Neurofen for periods, Neurofen for backache and Neurofen for Teenagers.
  • 3 dog poo bags in case I get caught short. These are also handy when you pick up drunken teenagers and their hanger-on friends from parties, who assure you that they can hold onto their alcohol until the car starts moving.
  • Notebook – for that moment in the craft of writing when inspiration will assault my senses and send me that life-changing, millionaire-making idea that I have to write down immediately in case I forget it. The notebook is still blank.


What crap do you pack into your handbag?

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Learning to Cope With Those ‘I Hate Every-Fucking-Thing in My Wardrobe’ Moments

A.K.A…’I have NOTHING to wear’, ‘I have NO clothes’ and ‘Fuck Off, out of my bedroom.’

The Clothes She Wears by Stacy Vitallo
Learning to cope with those ‘I hate every-fucking-thing in my wardrobe’ moments.

I’ve had quite a few of those moments of intense pain in my bedroom over the past few weeks.

Those moments where you’ve tried every combination of separates in your wardrobe and even every dress you swore you’d donate to Vinnies because you wouldn’t be seen dead in it now.

‘Maybe…just maybe…it’ll look ok today?’ you think.

But of course it doesn’t. it’s still too tight, too short, or too young and so you lose it big-time and forbid anyone from even contemplating entry into your bedroom until you’ve pulled yourself together.

I’m no stranger to this type of middle-aged shopping danger as you will remember from my previous posts about shopping here and here.

The problem with this time of the year is that Christmas throws up events that you don’t normally go to, where running pants and sloppy tee-shirts simply won’t suffice.

Every girl (given the choice) wants to wear a new outfit on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.

And I was spoilt this Christmas, when the old man prevented any possibility of receiving my shell-shocked look of horror on Christmas morning when I opened his present, (generally caused by his inept attitude of ‘I have absolutely no idea of who you are or what you like after twenty years of marriage’), and gave me some limited access to the credit card instead.


Every girl’s dream! I could already visualise myself in some flowing black designer evening dress, laughing sexily as he snapped the box on my accompanying diamond accessories before I even hit Pitt St Mall – (or rather more likely, shouting ‘WTF did you do that for, arsehole?’ and storming off in a mood).

But shopping’s not MY dream any longer, apparently.

Don’t get me wrong, I can still shop until I drop and I still love browsing and trying everything on in the store. But if you looked closely at my ratio of ‘time spent in the shops’ to ‘actual purchases’, I don’t have a very high success rate.

Because nothing looks quite right anymore.

Maybe it’s because I’m still drawn to the mutton clothes I used to wear in my twenties and thirties, but nothing I like seems to suit my new middle-aged shape these days.


I did have some success. On Day 2 I bought lots of undies. I had been determined to revamp my underwear drawer for some time with a selection that was more sexy flattering, yet still comfortable. And after substantial research and a lot of misses (that I will have to pass onto NC, because they still ride up my bum or don’t absorb the muffin top fully), I finally decided that the ‘high-leg’ was the style for ‘my bits and me’ and bought in volume. (I recommend the Jockey ones).

On day 3, I also found a dress for New Year’s Eve. It was obviously pure fluke and typically the only dress in the whole of Westfield that wasn’t on sale but (thank you, God) it did fit, wasn’t too short, didn’t expose too much breast tissue or thigh dimpling, and it was black, which is my safety zone colour.

Day 6, and admittedly now feeling desperate, I found a beautiful sequinned, white silky top in the Country Road sale, but then smeared foundation on the neckline and fish sauce down the front panel during its first outing.

Nevertheless, I convinced myself that I was on a roll. If I could find the most elusive piece of clothing known to middle-aged woman, A TANKINI TOP THAT FITTED, (to replace my eight-year-old one that is now so stretched and shapeless, it doubles as a flotation device in the water), I knew that my work would be done.

What can I say? Shopping for swimmers brings me out in a rash.

The only good thing about shopping for a new swimming costume is that you get to burn off a ton of calories in the changing room just squeezing your boobs into apparel evidently made for stick insects – an easy way to justify the evening’s wine consumption.

I dragged my middle-aged body from shop to shop and tried on a multitude of fun-size, ‘you’re having a laugh’ tankinis. It’s astounding how complicated the art of tankini design has become. There were different cup styles, padding, strap styles and swathes of superfluous fabric built into the front panel to conceal the post-Christmas salt and Balsamic vinegar chip tummy.

I must have shed at least 200 calories just positioning my empty teabags into what were often vast cups, and throttling the muffin top with serious lycra.

I had wanted a tankini top in black, a slimming colour I thought, because I believed it might help me to merge better with the sea of beautiful young people in their itsy-bitsies on the balcony of North Sydney pool. Unfortunately, the only costume that fit me was a vibrant shade of burnt orange, so I am now the beacon on the balcony at North Sydney pool, guiding the flotillas of boats from Manly to Circular Quay.

My work was done. As much as I love shopping, my confidence has been dented again and I need time to debrief and work out my physical priorities now.

Do I put fashion before comfort or comfort before fashion?

Fuck, I’m getting old.

The Clothes She Wears photo courtesy of stacyvitallo at http://www.flickr.com


I Bet Brad Pitt Doesn’t Wear Thongs To Dinner!

How do you think Angelina would react if Brad put his thongs on to go out to dinner?

I Bet Brad Pitt Doesn't Wear Thongs Out To DinnerOne of the biggest battles my marriage faces at the moment, (successful parenting of Kurt aside), surrounds the old man’s malfunctioning wardrobe.

His consistently juvenile refusal to make any kind of effort with his attire (and desire to emulate the look of Woody Allen) is creating a rather large rift between us.

I thought that when we moved to the city he might upgrade his wardrobe accordingly, save the beachwear FOR THE BEACH and make a trip to David Jones to update. I don’t expect him to trounce around in designer slacks all the time, I’d just appreciate a bit of colour co-ordination occasionally.

I know all the baloney about ‘what’s on the inside’ being important and I agree wholeheartedly with the principle, but occasionally I’d like my fella to look hot.

However, his response is that he outrightly refuses to kowtow to any suggestion that he ‘make a fucking effort’ with his clothing, and accuses me of being shallow.

Who, moi?

I don’t think that I’m being unreasonable, but I do believe that he may have some innate fear of being controlled or disempowered by me (or any of the other verbs he uses that equate to the word ‘henpecked’). He doesn’t seem to understand is that I would hate to be married to a ‘yes’ man. Nevertheless, there are a few rules that are sacrosanct to our relationship and he broke one of the cardinal ones on Friday night when he wore thongs to a bar.


It’s not that I don’t appreciate that we now live in Australia where thongs are almost as iconic an emblem of the country as the kangaroo or emu, and I am glad that he is that keen to naturalise; yet I defy anyone to describe thongs as stylish.

They are beach apparel, designed to wade through sand easily, dry quickly when wet and to prevent the undersides of your feet from barbequing in hot sand. They say ‘I can’t be bothered’ rather than ‘I’m hot!’ and if a man can’t be bothered in his choice of footwear, what does it say about his lovemaking techniques? They are about as attractive as nylon rapper running suits and high-waisted trousers and do nothing to accentuate the allure of a man in a bar.

If I was some 40-something woman already comfortably resigned to wearing my Sportscraft checked shirt and slacks, they might be acceptable. Unfortunately for the old man, I’m not.

Which is why I felt very aggrieved on Friday night when after I threatened to leave him for not making enough of an effort , on a whim we decided to go out for a quick drink. Although it was a spontaneous decision, I, however, still bothered to put on some lippy, a few sequins and heels.

As we were walking to the bar, I looked down at his feet, and to my horror noticed the offending Havaiana thongs.

‘Hun, you really need to buy some casual shoes,’ I said, trying to quell the irritation from my voice, ‘because it’s just not acceptable to go out at night in flip flops.’

‘Who says?’ he snapped back, hackles rising. ‘What’s wrong with them?’

‘You look like crap, like you’ve just come off the beach’, I responded haughtily, ‘they don’t even match!’

‘Yes, they do,’ he retaliated, checking his feet to see if he had on a matching pair.

I give up. Why can’t he make an effort for me for the very same reason that I make an effort for him? There’s nothing sinister about my request, no hidden agenda, I just want him to look stylish and attractive occasionally. But it seems that the more I nag him about his lack of style or the necessity to dress up, occasionally, the more he retaliates like some toddler by donning his oldest tee shirts, dirtiest jeans and fugliest footwear.

I can see that it has become a bit of a game for him. On Saturday evening I jokingly commented about how glad I was that he was wearing his fugly poo-coloured tee-shirt, rather than wearing it on Sunday for our Christmas party. In hindsight, the poo-shirt would have been a better fit than the shrunken crop top that he chose to wear in front of our friends, and if it hadn’t been for the negotiating skills of NC who has a way of appealing to her father that I lost somewhere along the marital timeline, I may have left him and our guests to it.

I don’t need him to dress in Ralph Lauren, but I would just like him to look smart occasionally, rather than like the guy who dressed during a power outage in the local Vinnies.

Am I being unreasonable? I bet Brad Pitt doesn’t wear thongs to dinner.

Who Do You Dress For In Middle Age?

If you answered that question with a resounding ‘ME’, read on.

There’s always so much gumpf in the media about how women look, or should look.

English: Dita Von Teese photographed by Steve ...
English: Dita Von Teese photographed by Steve Diet Goedde (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The great news for women this week was that pubes are making a comeback – but according to an article in the UK’s Daily Mail recently, The Female Fashion Trends Men Hate, we women are still getting it horribly wrong with our fashion choices.

Apparently, we thought that men liked us looking like hookers in low-cut leopard print dresses, crop tops, mini skirts and fuck-me slingback shoes.

But they don’t…

EVEN WORSE, men thought that we actually care what they think.

According to the survey, men actually want us to look more demure, more girl-next-door… more like our mothers (!) or Kate Middleton or Princess Mary.

Which I find surprising, because I wouldn’t say that those women are the obvious role models for young women today. Surely, they are more likely to be influenced by Kim Kardashian, Lady GaGa or Katy Perry, who all seem super comfortable about exposing flesh? And they certainly don’t seem to have a problem when it comes to attracting men.

Someone should tell Miley though. Her decision to flash her labia recently as a fashion accessory in a barely-there body suit was a misinformed piece of advice from her management.

The thing is, women don’t actually dress for men, do we?

Admittedly, I’m going to sleep much better at night knowing that men prefer women to look ‘natural’, and the fact that I don’t have to change the blade on my razor is a real bonus. But this is bad news for cosmetic manufacturers and hair stylists who play on the fact that we women feel better about ourselves when they have ‘work ’ and their ‘faces son.’

If I’d known men prefer ‘the girl next door’ type, I wouldn’t have bunions on my feet from high heels, straw-like hair from over-dyeing, and orange striped legs. I quite liked being a bit ‘mousey’ back when it was acceptable to be ‘natural’. I felt comfortable with my natural hair colour, porcelain skin, ‘mumsy’ dresses and flat shoes.

I’m a bit confused now. Richard Gere was attracted to Julia Roberts in a mini skirt and high top leather boots, wasn’t he?

And historically we’ve been told that short skirts are provocative, trampy and dangerous because THAT’S WHAT MEN LIKE!

Should I start wearing Laura Ashley to get laid now?

No, I don’t actually believe that women are looking to score a man every time they look in their wardrobe.

Fashion is a form of self-expression, not a pick-up tool.

I like clothes that I feel good in, because they suit my body and my mood. Some days I want to own that leopard print crop top, on other days I want to be Audrey Hepburn. My clothes tell a story about me. They help tell the world who I am. Some men may respond to the conformity and classicism of a Laura Ashley dress, but there are others who see experimentation with fashion as symbolic of creativity and confidence.

Actress Julia Roberts in May 2002.
Actress Julia Roberts in May 2002. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And maybe…hopefully… ultimately… men are attracted to what’s inside those clothes?

I know that Prince Charming only fancied Cinderella in her ball dress and Richard Gere preferred Julia after her make-over – but we all need a little bit of help sometimes.

Just like men do. How they can still believe that we like low-slung trousers, I have no idea.

I’m certain that Kate Middleton wears leopard print lingerie in private and Princess Mary didn’t end up with the royal Brady bunch wearing cottontails.

10 Fashion Disasters You Should NEVER Make In Middle Age

It was not my best look when an ill wind gusted across Bradfield Park the other day and exposed my voluminous flesh-toned granny cacks to about two hundred St Aloysius catholic boys who were innocently playing soccer nearby.

What was I thinking? Even ‘comfort’ is no excuse for wearing granny knickers in public.

180. She Uses A Machete To Cut Through Red Tape
180. She Uses A Machete To Cut Through Red Tape (Photo credit: lism.)

Those wise words of my mother immediately came back to haunt me –those indelible ones about never leaving the house in fugly undies. I think she was about me being compromised in a road accident or something, but I now realise that this must be a widespread piece of motherly advice because, let’s face it, how often do you spot fleshy, nylon trunks in those ER scenes where they have to cut through clothing, anyway?

At least I know whom to blame for my anxiety issues.

So I added the incident to the growing list of fashion disasters I seem to have committed since I entered this arena called middle-age. As you know if you have followed my journey, it’s taken some practice to adapt my wardrobe to my advancing years and increasing volume, especially the ‘dressing your age’ part. And in my quest to remain stylish and attractive, I have made more than a few embarrassing fashion faux-pas.

Hell! I’m not afraid to admit that I’m still learning. But I do think that my dress-sense may have disappeared around the same time as the firmness of my boobs.

I’ve been more than a little guilty of being the proverbial ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ on more occasions than I’d like to admit and I also admit to resorting to ‘comfort’ fits prematurely, in the naive belief that I still looked good.

Here are 10 of my best disasters for you to learn from:

  1. That time in recent history, (before I discovered the maturity to understand that a high neckline can be more flattering for women of almost any age), when I foolishly assumed that a lower neckline and ‘getting the tits out for the boys’ might distract the eye from, let’s say, my less flattering areas. But I sometimes went WAY TOO FUCKING LOW and, frankly, I set off the mutton siren. I then often compounded my error by enhancing ‘the girls’ with a pumped up, ‘come and get me boys!’ push-up bra. Oh, the shame!
  2. Adorning my body with cheap and gaudy jewellery is one of my biggest faults. What can I say? My need for self-expression through a bit of sparkle increases as I get older! My excuse is that when they brought out my signature Lovisa range, the urge to ‘bling’ was far too overwhelming to ignore.
  3. My investment in a wardrobe of tent dresses to conceal my wobbly bits, because they looked so dressing gown comfortable. I know now that they make me look EVEN bigger, of course – just think about Liz Taylor and her range of kaftans.
  4. Alice bands –WRONG! WRONG! JUST SO FUCKING WRONG! NC actually smacked my hand yesterday morning when I picked up one of those uber-trendy floral headbands. I think her words were: ‘Are you fucking serious?’
  5. Big bold patterns that make a statement and look as though the dog just vomited on me. I now know they don’t make the kind of statement I want.
  6. Those cutesy, Cue, retro dresses with the cinched-in waistband that break the bank and look so good on the hanger or on young women. They’re too twee for us mature women of the world.
  7. The times that I’ve worn NC’s wardrobe in pathetic retribution for all of the times she wore my clothes and looked better in them, trashed or never returned them. I shudder when I remember face-planting in the drive in NC’s shoes.
  8. Going wild for fluoro colours, especially orange – hmmm – I’m not sure you should be allowed to even wear those colours if you’re white, to be honest.
  9. Crop tops – the less said the better.
  10.  The old combo of a tight top that’s just a little too short, over a skirt where the waistband is just that little bit too tight – P.L.E.A.S.E! – a squashed Big Mac springs to mind. A compromised muffin top is not a good look on anyone.

NC* suggested I add ‘bikinis’ to the list. WTF! Obviously I have cut off all her uni allowances, cancelled her subscription to Rock World and locked away her science and Harry Potter books for a week.  I also intend to flirt outrageously with NB* on his next visit.

NC* Nerd Child

NB* Nerd Boy