Clothes Youth Etc

Jan Leeming

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Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 8th February 2016

I'm almost at the point of declaring myself beaten.  I can't keep up with all the gmails and my Website hits have just gone to 27,000.  Thank you, thank you.

Forgive me if I give a generic answer to those who've asked about my clothes and how I keep fit.

I hasten to say that I'm not being remunerated for this but I see nothing wrong in helping people


I've reached the Age where I know what suits me and in what I feel comfortable so I don't slavishly follow fashion.  In the 60's I did wear Minis and some were so short if I dropped something on the floor I had to go down vertically to pick it up or next week's washing would have been on show??  But I was young and I'm lucky to have good legs inherited from my mother - bit knobbly round the knees now though.  Today I wouldn't dream of wearing short skirts - this is not appropriate to my age.

I mix Designer clothes with less expensive items from, perhaps M & S - though I must say they've become very stuffy and I've not bought anything recently.  Also the current trend is for florals and I don't wear them.  I'm too small and florals are just too fussy.   I know I am of a certain age but I don't know who is doing their buying for older people and I don't think much of it.

I like Classic Clothes - particularly for the winter.  I used to buy a great deal from Roland Klein - French and chic.  His clothes always had that 'je ne sais quoi' element - they always had that little something which set them apart from the rest.  I still have several of his jackets in the wardrobe (bought over 20 years ago) which had a Keyhole neckline.  I liked them so much that Roland used to refer to them as the Jan jackets - it is such a flattering neck line.  And I still have a couple of Gina Fratini evening dresses.  Classic goes on forever.

Many years ago I was a lunch guest of David Sieff and he took me to their Flagship store at Marble Arch - I was staggered at the beautiful clothes on sale which never filter down to their stores outside the 'Magic Circle' and do they really think that there are no small people outside the metropolis!

I very much like Joseph Ribkoff and Frank Lyman.  The latter was a chief designer for Ribkoff but now has his own label.    The clothes are well priced and classic.  They are designed and made in Canada which is a big plus.  I am horrified at the number of big and expensive labels which you find have been made in China. I also buy Country Casuals which are classic and last for years (not good for business??)  They do a Petite Range which is excellent.  I'm finding it more and more difficult to buy size 10.  And there's a certain amount of 'kidology' going on these days as many 10's are too big.

I usually buy at Collection in Sandwich and Caroline now rarely buys anything without sleeves.  Her clientele is of the older variety and we all want to cover our arms.  Why is it that so very many designers don't have sleeves - it can't be the cost of the material!  Perhaps it is the extra cost of fitting the sleeves and they'd rather take the short cut and more profit.    I've often walked away from a purchase because of no sleeves.  I will go sleeveless at the seaside or on holiday but rarely otherwise.

(At Collection I'm well looked after by Elaine and Ami who've become friends and there's always a cup of tea or coffee and a chat - and, more important, they know what I like and what suits me so shopping is painless.  I loathe taking my clothes on and off in Changing rooms - see next para.)

Because I know the labels which suit me - and my purse - I prefer to go to small shops.  And one does, on the whole, get much better service.  How often are you in a Department Store in the changing room - it is the wrong size or you'd like something else, and can you find an Assistant to help.  You wrap the curtain around your exposed lower half and try to attract attenntion!????I feel that Stores should have to employ so many staff per metre of floor space so the customer actually gets good service.  Over the years we see fewer and fewer staff and more and more automation. (Don't get me going on that!) 

There's a lovely shop in Deal called Noir.  Anne buys Paris designs and they are relatively inexpensive but always 'fun' and made in France predominantly.

I spend more on winter clothes than summer because we invariably don't have much of a summer.  I buy up big when I visit my son in Australia because Christmas is when their summer sales begin and I've done very well with purchases.  Some of my summer clothes have been packed so often they now pack themselves??

With regard to the clothes I wore in India - they are from all over and all ages.  The lovely Zandra Rhodes outfit I wore to the Palladio Club must have been in the wardrobe for over 20 years.  The multi coloured skirt - so admired - came from Australia 2 years ago.  And I had to buy many cotton tops for the trip which again were purchased where I could find them because shops go into winter mode in July!!  Most came from the Outlet Centre locally because they still had summer stock in August.  We filmed in September.

The best advice I can give any woman is to take stock of your figure - your good points and otherwise - and dress to enhance these or cover them.  Don't buy something or even have your hair done in a certain style just because some celebrity is wearing it.  Think whether the style would 'suit' you. I am amazed at how many women 'squeeze' themselves into a size smaller than they should be wearing which shows all the lumpy bits.  I had a very dear friend who is now dead.  She was a generous size but she always wore beautiful floaty dresses falling from her bust.  She held herself beautifully having been an opera singer and though she was not tall, she was incredibly elegant.  I knew her for decades and I've no idea if she had lumpy bits or not.

In 1983 I wrote a book 'Simply Looking Good' - how to look good on a budget.  I was asked to 'dress' four women from 30 to 60 whom I had never met before.  My hairdresser attended to their crowning glory and I did their make-up and took them shopping.  If I can find a way of showing you the photos here I will do so.

Just one particular bit of Leeming advice - in my opinion showing back is more 'alluring' than showing cleavage especially as we get older.

Sorry if I can't be more helpful.

So many of you were complimentary about the fact that I look younger than my 74 years.  Well I've had no plastic surgery other than to a fractured nose from a car accident in 1967.  I've been tempted but you end up with a frozen face so I'll put up with the bags, the wrinkles and the animation ???? And whatever you do, your hands give away your age anyway.

(Has anyone else wondered if David Cameron has Botox?  I've never seen a man of his age with a forehead completely devoid of frown lines.  He is beginning to look stretched!!!!)

I think I have to credit much to genes - both my father and mother looked good well into their 70's and they were both long lived.  My father died 4 months short of his 100th Birthday in 2014 and Mummy died at 94 also in 2014.  Weren't we lucky to have had them around for so long.  I have no desire to live that long and if I'm allowed another ten years and good health, that will do me.

I eat very little meat - preferring fish and vegetarian food and salads and I don't often indulge in desserts, cakes or chocolate.  I weigh myself every morning and if there's a sign of a little bit of extra weight then I'm careful until those lbs disappear.

I've never smoked and think it is a filthy habit but I do have a glass of wine with my supper.

I think Gyms are boring and dislike repetitive exercise which, in extremis, is not good for you.   But I do go to the physio regularly for preventive/remedial treatment.  It is not cheap but I want to keep everything working.  My physio says how sad she feels when she goes to the Pain Clinic and sees so many people who, if they'd had enough physio at the appopriate time, would not have needed the Clinic.  I'm not blaming our poor overworked NHS but so much of their thinking is 'short-term' where they could, in the long term, spend our money more wisely.

So my advice here is to pay for physiotherapy if you have a problem and keep it in check.  Don't sit around waiting for the NHS - you will only get 4 treatments anyway. The physio has given me exercises to strengthen my back and for my arthritic neck.  They take 5 mins every morning and i do them while the porridge is cooking,  I'm often tempted not to do them but know that once I break that routine I'll be on the downward slope of making excuses every morning.

I like walking but these days on the flat which is ideal for where I live with a lovely Beach path.

I hope that has helped and sorry I cannot be more helpful individually.  Got to dash to my sister who is celebrating her Birthday.  Can't believe my little sister is now 68.  She is such a glamorous individual that I always feel dowdy next to her.  She is also one of the most tender hearted people you could ever meet and as for the animals she's rescued, taken in etc.  She doesn't have the kind of income to insure them all so she does just has to trust to fate.  And that cost her nearly £5,000 when her favourite cat got sick and, tragically, in the end died.  She's rescued 2 dogs from Rumania.  I too love my animals but I've had to have a more practical streak.  

Having lost my adored cat I think my next pet will have to be an older rescue because one has to think of one's mortality.  I'm still not sure whether to get a cat or a dog - I'd really like both.

Again a million thanks for all your support and affection.  No idea what is in tomorrow's Marigold episode so it will be a surprise for me too.

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