The Scotch House – London

When I went to London for the fist time, I visited many places, but one, amongst many others, left a mark in my heart. It was a shop, not any kind of shop though, it was a wonderful place, full of tartans and things made with beautiful tartan fabrics: The Scotch House.

I think I came across it by chance, but, having always been in love with everything fashion related, I had to go inside. Now, the shop was very nice and the things they sold too. I love fabrics and I love tartans. But it was when I entered the round room in the middle of the shop that my heart skipped a beat. It was gorgeous, dark wooden shelves all around, with piles of nicely folded tartan fabrics. I know it’s perhaps difficult  to understand, but that place, for me, was like a Spa for others. There I felt great, at peace, relaxed and happy. It was just too beautiful to explain in mere words.

 

(sorry about the man in the middle, but I couldn’t find any other pics)

Unfortunately this shop does not exist anymore. I went looking for it the last time I was in London and realised it had closed down. I was very sad. I am telling you all this, so you will be able to understand what I am going to tell you next.

There’s a shop, a second hand one, or vintage if you prefer (these days is cooler to call it this way, even though it tends to be the same thing), I sometimes have a look in the window and more seldom go inside (I am afraid I will find something to buy!!). Last week I lingered in front of a display where there was a kilt. I have been looking for a tartan skirt for a few years now and that one looked rather like what I wanted. I didn’t go in though. A week later , it was still there, calling me… I decided it was fate and went in. It was my size…

But what was that made me decide I should try it on was the joy at seeing it was from “The Scotch House” ! Fancy finding the perfect kilt and made by my favourite tartan shop ever!!!! It was perfect. I bought it of course. It isn’t just a skirt, it’s much more than that, it’s memories. I don’t know if you can understand but, when I will wear it, I will feel so chic and I will always feel the way I felt in that beautiful room so long ago.

E.

Coats & co.

It has taken me several years to understand that, although I love and still buy too many winter clothes, nobody actually gets to see them. Apart from me of course, briefly, at home, while I am getting dressed (or my husband I suppose, for those 10 seconds I make him look at me and tell me what he thinks…which, by the way, is always “fine”….not sure he is completely present when I ask!!)

The thing is, I love winter clothing, the fabrics are so much better then the summer ones. Not only, I look so much better in them! But I don’t work, that means my usual outings, consists in: going to the supermarket, a little voluntary work (very glamorous! I am in the entrance of a hospital, where the door is basically always open!!), taxi driver for my sons, some exercise (where I obviously try to look nice too, but I certainly don’t get to use my lovely clothes). This is it, really. There is the occasional evening out, theatre & cinema (where, again, nobody sees how I am dressed as it is rather dark!), very seldom a dinner out.

I know, I am a firm believer one should dress for herself because it makes one feel good anyway. But, if I then hide everything under the same coat, well, that’s what I am going to see, isn’t it?! I know, I am still wearing that fantastic outfit under it, but I can’t see it either!!!

The answer is, unfortunately, having lots of coats & co. Which is easier said than done, they don’t exactly have the same price of a jumper!! Well, not unless it’s a cashmere one I suppose. Still, if you are quite classic and like clean simple cuts and good fabrics, you may be able to build a decent array of them, over the years of course.

I own a coat that is 22 years old and I still wear it. I had it cut shorter (used to be ankle length) and now I am wearing it quite often. It is a grey classic cut, simple collar and great fabric (do check the buttons, good ones make a huge difference to the overall aspect). Some others I have stored away for a few years and then brought back out again, it certainly felt like I had something new.  Sometimes I just change their look depending on which huge scarf I put on them (I own several “blanket size” scarves),

 

or adding my Grandmother’s fur collar on top. I had it relined and added this really cute string, made of brown velvet, the collar is brown fox, which is perfect to close it and just wear it over anything, even a jumper.

I also have added a belt to one of them, a burgundy coat, the same colour of the coat, but a different fabric or in leather.

I own a shearling coat, this one is only 19 years old, which comes out every few years, it’s quite classic, black with frog alamari (at least this is what the dictionary says the way it closes is called in english, sounds odd to me). I even started wearing one of my husband’s coats, quite large as you may guess, but it has a belt in the same fabric, and anyway, I like it without as well (he obviously doesn’t use it anymore, no way otherwise I would have got to steal it!). I needed a black coat. Poor me.

I have bought a fantastic coat this year: navy bouclé, classic, close to the body cut, collar with lapels. It’s gorgeous. I was looking for a fake fur jacket/coat, I thought I would like one, I have been looking for a few years now. But I never buy one, perhaps I am just not the right person for it? Not sure, I only know I always end up buying something else, maybe that should tell me something!! That or I could only wear a real fur coat! ( a vintage one of course).

I own a few feather jackets too. When it gets cold, nothing beats that! I have a short red one with a fantastic huge collar. That one has been resting for the last 2/3 years, it’s quite an important looking piece, so I got a bit fed up with it. I have a dark green one, very simple hooded short one. It’s kind of a “quick, mainly to use over gym clothes” jacket. But there was a time when I actually wore it over long flared skirts and it looked really good. A couple of years ago I got a knee length puffer coat, black. It took quite a search to find the right one. I never want to spend too much on this sort of outerwear, I don’t think it’s worth it. I didn’t want to look like a “Michelin man” (Italian saying) either. Third, I hate too much shiny synthetic fabric. I finally found a cute one in Zara, black, matt and a nice cut, tight enough around the shoulders, going down wider. This makes me look human and still a little feminine. It has a huge hood, which makes it look quite chic. Two big splits at the side, so, the “Michelin look” is broken!

Last, I have a parka, an old cheap one. I think I should certainly replace that next year.

None of the coats I own are extremely expensive and most of them are quite old. I would rather have everything new, but who can aspire to that?! I too prefer the latest purchase, but, having lots of different options is making me feel like I am getting changed and I am not always wearing the same outfit.

So, start building !

E.

Amazing Lady

So, I have finally started both my exercise classes, dance and pilates and I am loving both. Unfortunately no walking for now, I have a sore foot. But, what I want to share with you isn’t strictly about exercise, related to one of my classes though.

One of the first days I was going to pilates, I was arriving there by car, when I saw this lady walking along the same road as my gym. I HAD to look at her! Ok, I do look at people a lot, I love to check out the way they are dressed, how their hair is, what handbag they are carrying, etc. etc. But, she was something else, I tell you!!

First of all I noticed she was wearing really high heels…AND walking in them, not just got out of her car, actually walking. I believe she must live nearby, still, I couldn’t do it. Secondly I had a good look at her hair. Dyed blond, as in perfectly dyed blond, no roots showing. Made up as if she had just left the hairdresser, big curls, not one hair out of place (I guess a lot of hair spray went into that!). Third, her clothes, well cut, they fell down on her impeccably, hugging her just enough to glimpse at her body shape but not too much to make her look tarty. Very slightly over weight but not a lot, just kind of “soft” looking. Last, and surely not least, I passed her, and realised she must be at least seventy! Probably older, but I will never ask her age, not to a lady like that!!

 

Now, I am not saying I liked her look, even though it was not bad at all, but certainly a lot of effort went into that! Really, I find it difficult sometimes taking care of the way I am dressed, or doing my hair and make up. She must have spent an hour to look that way. She deserves a 10 for effort and another 10 for result too!!

But, the biggest surprise was when I actually saw her coming in to join the pilates class:)))))

She has been there every time since. Her hair is always flawless, her clothes too. She wears all black. Black leggings, black top; very often a nice tight little jumper with a very interesting neck line, round with an opening like a drop, which lets you get a glimpse at her breasts! Even her socks are pretty, black and just under her ankles. Of course she always has make up and a great smile. Btw, she still wears extremely high heels, she leaves the gym in those every single time. I forgot to mention she is truly quite short, even with those shoes, shorter than me barefoot ( I am average hight ).

I want to be her when I will be her age. Where do I sign up?

E.