Photo: Lucy Fitter

This slightly ‘off’ khaki green and burnt orange colour combination is a little bit 1970s, a little bit Vanessa Bell. Must’ve been inspired by the exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Bell was part of the Bloomsbury set and Virginia Woolf’s sister and she created some quite extraordinary paintings and textile designs in the early 20th century.

Vanessa Bell fabric design and painting via

I’ve always preferred natural, not-much-makeup-makeup. One thing that pleases me about getting older is that less is more, at last. Though on occasions when I need to impress more than Mr That’s Not My Age and my co-workers, I tend to have my makeup done professionally. For events, book launches and posh nights out (who I am trying to kid), I call upon Louise Heywood a makeup artist I met on a shoot a few years ago, who coincidentally lives near That’s Not My Age Mansions and is a friend of a friend. Small world. Louise’s focus is ‘looking like you but on a really good day’ which is just what I’m after. And she runs individual lessons, that I really should sign up for…

Photo: Lucy Fitter

My new burnt orange top is from COS, it’s almost like a neoprene fabric and is best worn on a cool day. I bought it in-store recently but can’t seem to find it online. Trousers are an old pair from J.Crew and shoes are Roger Vivier. Here’s my slightly ‘off’ selection:

23 thoughts on “How to wear colour and a bit more makeup

  1. Lovely colour combos – and you’ve inspired me to take another visit to Charleston House, Vanessa Bell’s home and heart of the Bloomsbury set – Has anyone else been? I’m obsessed by them!

  2. Those colors seriously look great on you! My wardrobe consists of 50 shades of black! It’s not that I don’t like color, but I’m so particular about the colors, i.e., very pale orchid, just the right violet/grape/berry, steel v. silver, khaki/army brown, or a rust/copper… you see what I mean? But when I do find it, I hang on to it for dear life!

  3. I keep on meaning to add more colour to my wardrobe and end up wearing blue, navy, stripes etc etc….there is some bright pink too, but I wear that with….blue!
    I must try harder.
    Thinking about the Bloomsbury Group, Jo Malone perfumes have just released a limited edition called ‘Bloomsbury’ inspired by the members thereof. I went in to try the fragrances out, and when it came to the Tobacco and Mandarin, promptly burst into tears as it took me straight back to my father, his love of pipe tobacco and his habit of having his pipe ‘kit’ in his tweed jacket pockets, which then took on the aroma.
    The smell is deeply evocative, as our relationship was not an easy one, but I loved him so very much.
    I am wearing it now.

  4. Stunning. Absolutely adore the colour and style of the orange top, but with the khaki pants and silver shoes? Wow.

  5. Love the orange and khaki combination. Orange is one of my favourite colours but I usually pair it with navy, which after your khaki trousers I now see is very safe and boring! Talking of Bloomsbury, I went to Charleston last year for the first time and loved it so when I saw this cardigan in M & S

    I had to have it as the pattern reminded me of the endpapers of 1930s Bloomsbury books. It’s really soft, ideal for spring and I’ve had quite a few compliments already. Think what it would look like with khaki trousers!

  6. I love the blouse.

    Louise Heywood is an incredible makeup artist. I checked out her website and love the subtle looks she gives. Women look just like themselves but better. I love that kind of makeup. Wish I lived in London, I’d contact her for events and definitely take a tutorial.

  7. Alyson you look delightful in this outfit and colour combination. Especially in the marigold top. I looked at this on Cos website. It’s featured in navy, with this colour as an option. I’m keen on olive and khaki as a basic combined with other shades of green, oranges, coral and red as contrast. And yes to silver and bronze shoes and accessories with everything.

  8. Alyson – this is an AMAZING look! Love the colors together and your makeup is perfection. I was in the UK late last month and was able to make it out to Dulwich for the Vanessa Bell exhibit. Heaven! I’m looking at this great top online. It is A line and neoprene-like … did you size up? I think we are about the same size and am dithering between a M and L. Any recommendations re fit? Thanks!

  9. oh what a lovely colour combination!thank you for this inspiration! I just bought a pair of yellow pants and was wonderung what other colours than the usual grey, blue and white I could combine them with…

  10. So good to be back again. Having visited Charleston last year, Monk’s House (where Virginia and Leonard Woolf lived), trawling my friends around Bloomsbury looking at the blue plaques and being glued to the TV series ‘Living in Squares, Loving in Triangles’ I popped myself off to Dulwich (very near me) to see the exhibition one cold, windy morning. I even parked in the road outside – loads of free spaces. It was absolutely mobbed with devotees of the Bloomsbury Set and Vanessa Bell’s work. There were also lovely black and white photos by Patti Smith of Charleston. It was fantastic – so much so, I plan to go again. Inspired both by lovely pieces of jewellery in the gift shop (normally to be avoided) and some of the amazing women who had been to see the exhibition (Seth Cohen would have been snapping away!) I bought a multi-coloured bobbly long acrylic necklace which looks great with plain knits, had a drastic haircut (which I adore) and bought myself a tube of Mac Lady Danger lippie. Inspiration comes from many places and this was definitely one of them.

  11. How lovely if Louise could do a makeup demo on the blog and some product recommendations, or has she done this already elsewhere, that I could watch? I have only just discovered thatsnotmyage, and I’m loving it.

  12. This look really suits you! The bright color is fantastic on you and the make up too. Loved how you balanced it with the olive green.

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