Springtime vanities

Today a friend of mine who is following my blog told me she would like me to write more about my lifestyle (i.e. fashion), in addition to my stories. This is a younger friend, in her thirties, and she is very stylish.

I told her I had already written about bags (my weakness!) but then thought: “Why not?” – after all, it’s a subject dear to me. I have always been a little vain – not too much I hope ! – and have my own ideas about clothes and accessories. And I can share them of course.

I was raised by two very smart women: my mother and my grandmother. Completely different – Granny was blonde and blue eyed, very beautiful, and Mom with brown eyes and brown hair, charming and attractive rather than beautiful. But both had something in common – they were always very well dressed and with perfect accessories.

As I was growing up I very much enjoyed buying smart clothes and Mom, who lived in England for some time, brought me items not available then in Portugal. Sometimes she would ask her foreign friends to bring something, such as my first Lancel bag that was brought directly from Paris by a French friend – and how smart I felt holding it…

As my for dress style, I suppose it’s always been somewhat classic, as required by my profession. I dress smartly during the week – the occasional trouser suit (mostly for travelling) in black, dark blue or grey; pleated skirts (mostly in black – in all seasons – and and in other basic colours, including navy and white, in the Summer ) and jackets; leather bombers (they go quite well with pleated skirts!); the eternal crisp white shirts and white tops; and scarves, that add a touch of colour and “chic” to any outfit! I have a huge collection, but the most valuable item is a Hérmes 40 year-old vintage scarf, that used to belong to Mom and that she generously gave me a few years ago. It is beautiful in yellow, white, blue and brown, and I have worn it for years.

This Spring my favourite colour is coral! I don’t usually go for very bright colours, preferring light pink, mustard yellow, white and navy blue for summer, but this year, surprisingly, the first item I bought of the spring collection was a coral jacket. I was looking at what was new in my favourite shop – Purificación Garcia, a Spanish brand that has a fantastic price-quality relationship – and the jacket called my attention. I tried it on but never thought I would buy a jacket in that colour. However, when I saw how it suited me, I changed my mind – it looked great! I brought it home with me and from then on I decided to add other items in that colour so that I might combine them with basic colours, and I can now say that my spring-summer will be mostly dressed in radiant coral.

Then of course I had to add some basics, such as trousers in neutral colours. It has been difficult for me to find trousers that fit me perfectly and I have tried many without success. A few weeks ago I had a cocktail at Amoreiras Shopping, where a fellow student from university was opening a new shop and she invited me. I greeted her and then sneaked out as I didn’t know anyone – no one from University showed up and my friend Beli, who was coming with me, was taken ill at the last minute – and decided to go shopping. And what a great idea, as in Mango I found my dream trousers – and so cheap (€ 29,90 a pair) that I bought all three available colours: black, white and navy blue! Then I made a concession to this year’s “hot fashion” and bought a black jacket made of a “net-like” fabric in Uterque, one of the brands that belong to Zara Group.

Another business trip – to Barcelona – allowed me to get some nice white tops and a pleated beige skirt. Now I think I will be able to do many combinations – and that is the most fun of it all, to combine different pieces and make them work with each other. I take many ideas from magazines, such as my favourite Hola, but also from Telva (a great Spanish fashion magazine that includes very good interviews) and the occasional Vogue fashion edition for the following season.

As for shoes, I tend to buy then on business trips, as being a size 41(a big foot by Portuguese women standards), it’s easier for me to find what I want either in Madrid, London or Paris. This spring/summer I’ll wear my usual mid-heel classic shoes for work, alongside with sandals – my latest buy being some golden sandals that will go with everything!). At weekends I’ll be at my most casual, with my Salsa jeans (because they are elastic, smart and so, so comfortable), and teeshirts and all sorts of white or coloured tops and my inseparable (in Summer) “Pretty ballerinas”. And, of course, my more than inseparable military green summer jacket that I bought at Abercrombie only last year…

For the beach, I will add my bikinis ( long gone are the Brazilian ones, now they have to be “decent” due to my age…), my ethnic dresses and my Paez or Havaianas…even if in these last years I’ve rather worn Paez, as they are better when you are riding a motorbike (Nuno’s, not mine) to the beach!

So there you are, my friend, I hope you and my readers (mostly women in today’s post, I daresay!) may perhaps take some ideas from my Springtime vanities and enjoy your own moments of vanity – after all, they make us look prettier, and feel so much better…I know only a gender sister will understand when I say that the prospect of wearing a new outfit turns any day into an exciting one!