Saturday, 30 January 2010

Swelegant Saturday Style

Returning from a horrible gastric flu to share with you some of the swelegantly stylish details I spied last Saturday at Offline in Brixton.  Offline is a free night put on by a mate of mine, and I was celebrating my birthday.  Some of the people you're going to see are my mates, others are total strangers who graciously consented to allowing me to photograph them for my blog.  If it's you - many thanks!

Let's start with this utterly fabulous glamazon look,  sported by a very fabulous friend of mine.  Rita Hayworth hair (natural colour!) isn't downplayed, but fully lived-up-to with this leopard-print 'wiggle' dress from Marks and Spencer. Utterly showstopping - but classy too, due to the higher neck and knee length hem.  You could wear this with a lightweight twinset-style cardigan in cream or dark chocolate, or a contrast such as scarlet, if you wanted to cover up a little.

A couple of gents, and a couple of dapper accessories.  I love this hat - they say that hats don't suit everyone, but I think some people just aren't trying.  This hat's a little bit retro, a little bit flash, and it's as flattering as hell.  To the right, I love these gloves: pure fun, but not in a 'Homer Simpson socks' kind of way.  Men's clothing presents few opportunities for fun and wit, but these do the trick.


Next we have some utterly gorgeous accessorising.  This retro dress is cute, but blue can be a bit 'safe'.  Fortunately it has tiny red details, allowing the wearer to accessorise with simple but splendid earrings and a pair of girlie pumps.  No necklace - a feature collar like this doesn't need one.

I met this lady on the night and developed a bit of a crush, to be honest.  She'd come straight from work, and was simply dressed in black, but my how stylish! The hair is sexy and sophisticated - hair like this makes me tempted to cut mine short - and perhaps you can't see from the photo, but her eyeliner was glossy jet black, winged for retro flair, and matched with scarlet lips.  The chunky, long jet necklace makes the simple outfit feel connected to the elegant face and 'do'.  Applause.


click for larger images
Another stylish stranger was the lady on the left - now, this look wouldn't work for most, as legs this good are a rarity, but I'm showing it to you because of my post the other day about fashion and tights.  The lace tights are covered up with socks, leaving a tantalising band of lace-covered thigh rather than the curious blotchy-leg look you can get if the whole leg is floral, and see how the dark opaque works with lighter, open toed sandals? Great hair too - I love a bit of backcombing, and heavier readers take note: a half-hive balances out weight below.  On the subject of tights, how much fun are these purple lurex ones?

This rock chick was one of the DJs on the night, and I'm including her, primarily because she looks so good in her jumper dress.  The fine knit is flattering, and those three-quarter length sleeves are elegant and provide great coverage.  Ideally I'd have asked her where she got it, but even if I had, I may have been too 'refreshed' to remember... she reads the blog, though, so perhaps she'll tell us.  I also love this ultra-girly, flamingo pink resin ring when worn with the short 'rock' nails and seventies-style parka.  Unadulterated 'serious' black is too grown-up to be swelegant.

I mentioned them on the recent post about men's dressing, but I'm really getting into a fine crombie-style overcoat for men, recently.  Lighter colours such as grey or camel with a darker collar are most stylish - and if you're tall and slim then you might prefer a double-breasted style, as here, as it gives a 'boxier' look.

I actually wanted to take a front-facing shot of this spectacular frock so I could show you the brilliant forties-style shoulders and slim V neckline.  Unfortunately, the conversation between inebriated strangers in a noisy club wasn't terribly clear, and after two tries, I gave up.  Anyway, it's a great shot of this splendid Alexander Henry fabric - skulls and roses sewn up into a retro-femme frock.  I have a frock in this fabric: a gorgeously talented friend made it for herself and then sent it to me when she lost weight and it fitted her no more.  Mine's a more full-skirted style, though.


I loved this gorgeous black lurex cardie which I spotted on a lady by the loo.  It isn't just the sparkle that appealed to my magpie-eye,  but the short-pile white fur collar - which instantly evoked the jacket Marilyn Monroe wore when she married Joe DiMaggio.  Just a neat, contained bit of luxury, and the white will be kinder to some complexions than black on its own.

Finally, then, me.  But you've seen this look before (but not, I hope, posing poutily in the loo...).

Thursday, 21 January 2010

A Classic Coat

I have a mission for you... I'm hoping that now is the time that I might find a winter coat in the sales?  My black coat is looking pretty scraggly and worn.  I'm after something that is a little bit fitted (I think), but still has room for me to wear a jumper underneath, black, and comes down to below the knee.  I don't have many coats, so this will be the one I can wear to weddings, or work do's.  Not sure where to start.

Well, for someone who isn't sure where to start, actually we have a really great list of preferences.  It's a fab idea to have a think before you look for new clothes, about what you'd like in an ideal world, even if you can't picture it exactly.  It may not exist, but it helps to narrow down the field.

I haven't owned a proper winter coat for years, something I only realised recently when I've been carless and commuting.  It's an item that needs to be functional - to keep you snug; durable - because it'll get daily use; and stylish - because it's the layer that people see.  Which means it's worth spending a bit on it... but then, who has that much money to splash at this time of year?  And the price of even a cheaper coat means you'll probably only own a couple - so it has to be versatile too.

The first two are available from website ASOS.  I love the first one, originally by high street chain Mango.  It's £109, reduced from £145 - and for that you get a 95% cotton/wool blend, and some rather elegant design details.  The braid on the cuffs also forms a fixed half-belt detail at the back, nipping in the waist, and those puffy sleeves leave plenty of room for your jumper.  It's dressy and feminine - I love the covered buttons and Princess Grace-style collar.  I happen to know the lady who has set the mission is not of model height, so it'll be at least knee length. Sadly sizes 10-16 only, but this is such a pretty coat I couldn't resist.

The second offering from ASOS is cheaper (£70, reduced from £90) but also a cheaper fabric with less wool content.  That said, this is a great design for hourglass and pearshapes due to it's fuller skirt, and the fact that that cosy funnel-neckline opens out to a deep, single-breasted V.  It's a wee bit shorter, but still long enough to count as a winter coat - on me, it'd be knee length.  This one's available from size 6 - 18.

The classic, no frills option here (picture in red, but available in black) is from good old Marks and Spencer.  It's £79 and available in a great range of sizes up to a UK26 - though not all sizes are in stock, everything from 14 to 24 was available in the black at the time of writing.  It's high in wool content (75%) and even has 5% cashmere in the mix.  Single-breasted coats flatter everyone, and this should suit girls of all shapes and sizes. I like the tiny puff on the shoulder and the double-effect hip pockets, echoing this season's ubiquitous Crombie: small details that tie it to this season, but wont stand out as an anachronism in years to come.

My last option is very different - not tailored or fitted at all, but stylish, practical and flattering, after a fashion.  Closed, it's nothing to write home about - though the pod-like clean lines are quite futuristic Japanese-style, but open, at least part way, this coat has a fabulous statement collar that balances the shapelessness and focuses attention on the face.  This coat is by Isabella Olivier, who is a maternity designer primarily - but this coat seems to be from her non-maternity range.  At least I think so... those models certainly aren't pregnant. It's £119.50, reduced from £239, and available from a size 6 to an 18.  The fabric is a wool cashmere blend and I think this really would count as an investment piece.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Boots - Less is More

One of my oldest friends has asked me to find something, and who am I to refuse?

The opposite of wider wellies ... narrower boots for those of us with chicken legs !!! yes the rest of me continues to expand, however those chicken shins ... well they make a nice pair of boots look like wellies !!!!!!!

I'm supressing the urge here, to say "what have you got to complain about?" - we all have bits of our bodies that we hate, or which - as here - are just a pain in the arse to dress swelegantly.  And I truly wouldn't want a pair of boots that stuck out beyond the width of my calf.

Okay, so - the first thing is to say that the sites that specialise in wide calf boots also cater for narrower legs.  Duo are the market leaders and their prices can be high - but they currently have a sale and you should be able to pick up a pair of boots for around £100 - in calf sizes down to a teeny 30cm.  This boot is £140, but I've chosen it for two reasons: the length is over-the knee - this will draw attention to a more shapely thigh, and the horizontal straps will give an impression of width.  They also buckle behind the knee for a guaranteed close fit.  The dramatic and sexy effect of the length is diffused by the practical heel - and the overall impression is very stylish.  Think a groomed Kate Moss.

There are other calf-width boot specialists, but I've been let down by two separate companies in the past so some kind of recommendation is in order, and the Fitted Boot Store comes with a recommendation from Auntie Gok himself.  They have much less choice than Duo, but a rather fabulous selling point: they make their boots to order, and take your ankle measurement as well as your calf to ensure a glove-like fit all the way up - particularly important for slimmer legs where baggy ankles look very obvious. I've chosen this pair in tan leather at a promotional price of £100 (but nothing on this site is priced over £125 - and that includes the made-to-measure service).  Brown is a better colour for wearing with jeans tucked in, and being lighter than black, it will add the impression of width, as will the horizontal seam and the fact that the boot should stop at the widest part of the calf. This company also start at a 30cm calf circumference.

If you don't want to order from one of these specialists (you might want to try the boots on, and although Duo has some facility for this, it's not easy) what can you do?  Firstly, it might seem obvious, but shop around.  The boots available in Topshop are likely to be slimmer fitting than those in Next, for example, because their customers only go up to a size 14.  If you can afford to splurge, the top labels make very narrow boots to cater for their size zero clientele.  But even within stores, be aware that sizing will vary between styles.  It may be worth trying boots that lace up the front, Victorian-style, or that are soft suede or fabric cinched in by criss-crossed straps.  Over the knee styles might be an option if your thighs are a more regular size, as they only need to fit well at the top of the boot - a looser fit on the calf will be disguised by a thicker, more rigid leather.  Obviously you can tuck in your trousers, but you should also be aware that wearing heels changes the shape of the calf, elongating the muscle and giving you a smaller circumference.  Flat boots will be a better fit.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Ooh la ladybird!

Tonight I need cheering up, so I'm going to indulge myself by wallowing in some of my favourite clothes.

Polka dots have been a passion for me since childhood.  The young Miss Charlotte was enamoured of the aesthetic chosen by gothy Scottish popstrels Strawberry Switchblade (and the music, but that's a different story).  Then as a teenager my first true love was a young man who modelled himself on the singers Iain McCulloch and Robert Smith, and had a signature look involving polka dot shirts and skintight jeans.  I taught myself to sew with two polka dot skirts and a pair of baby-pink polka dot dungaree shorts... fast forward to more recent times and even my wedding dress had an overlay of cream polka dots.  But in the last year or so, I've accumulated three polka dot purchases which are all, inescapably, in the crimson and black hues of the lovely ladybird.

Click for larger pics.

It started with this dress from Rockabilly/Punk online boutique Collectif (although they don't sell it now - or indeed much else in the same size). I bought it because of the polka dots, but also because I wanted something new to wear for the late lamented regular People's Republic of Disco club night, where red and black was the non-compulsory dress code.  I know it looks short - remember: not only am I short myself, but it's also very wide.  And look - there I am on the right, in the clubbing section of Time Out - proving that it's an excellent party frock!  It's a great standby, this: my version of the 'little black dress'.  I can wear it over trousers if I'm feeling self-conscious about my legs, it doesn't show too much boob and it isn't too dressy... but it still looks like I've put on something a bit special.

Then, as I mentioned in one of my first blog posts (here), I found a pair of super-cheap spotty low-heel shoes, meant to appeal to the kids' souvenir market in Barcelona. As I mention in my earlier post: they appealed to me immediately as 'ladybird shoes' - it wasn't until later that I realised that they match the frock.  These lovely low heels are comfy enough to be worn all night.  Around then I began to consider what it was about this particular permutation of polka dots that appealed so strongly.  The crimson tone is deep, richer than a more firey scarlet hue, and this more bluey red flatters my dark hair and pale skin (orangey reds are better for fair hair or for tanned complexions).  This red, then is juxtaposed with black - a powerful combination of mischief and strength.  Minnie Mouse sports a red dress with white polka dots, and that's a far more innocent look.  But for me, there's also something cool and cute about ladybirds themselves.  The female identity, the bright colours, the childlike pattern... ladybirds rock.

Then, last summer, when I was searching for something special to wear for my hen night, I went back to the ladybird pattern for a third time. I'd already decided on plain pink dresses from Vivien of Holloway for my bridesmaids, and now I went all out one of their showstopping frocks for myself, in what else but red with big black dots.  It's still available now - £59 for the dress and the matching bolero is £25.  The dresses are boned in the bodice and very full in the skirt - they look great on their own or even better with a full petticoat.

As you can see, it's quite a show-stopping look... you need to carry it off with some confidence.  Why do I love it?  The slightly larger size of the polka dots make it more flattering for my large build - more so than the first dress, and it's so flattering to this over-inflated hourglass body. The dress only comes in halterneck though, and although I customised a bra to fit under the halter, very big boobs make for a very painful neck by the end of the night - when I next wear it (on Saturday, for my birthday), I'll convert it to shoulder straps. Finally, a gratuitous closeup.  Photos like this make me love my body just the way it is - and what better reason could there be to have a passion for great clothes?.


Saturday, 16 January 2010

A new direction - back to the missions.

I've received a new mission from a New Zealand reader:

Yay! I'd missed your blog Charlotte, great to have you posting again!

I have a questions for SSS- my look has fallen a bit flat! I'm getting past the jeans-and-t-shirt-for-all-occasions phase I've been in for the last decade, but I've no real inspiration of what to look for instead. I don't want to be too "flowery" but I do want to feel a bit more feminine and look a bit smarter. I'm pretty busty, size 12UK (14AUS), olive skin and dark hair. What colours/styles should I be looking at?

 This lady is gorgeous: tall, dark and beautiful.  She rides motorbikes, too. Very seriously cool.  But not even she can make jeans and t-shirts look swelegant.  So what can she do?  Well, I'm not going to start suggesting frocks for every occasion, but I'm fairly confident there's a clear path to a gorgeous look that she'll find wearable.  The key change is going to be focused on tops.  She's a slim lady, so it's not that we want to disguise anything, but big boobs need to be both accentuated and at the same time, not allowed to steal the all the limelight.

It's summer in New Zealand, and a pretty top worn with plain linen trousers (I assume the model on the left forgot hers) is a look that's feminine and elegant, but also relaxed and practical.  Olive skins need deep colours near the face, but avoid black, dark blue, green etc in summer because it just doesn't sit well in the sunshine (fortunately, this matters less on your bottom half).  Try patterns (polka dots, stylised flowers, stars...) which feature intense bright colours such as crimsons, deep turquoises, bright sky blues and raspberry pinks.  Avoid thin straps like the plague if you have big boobs - you need a wider strap to make your boobs look in proportion.  Halternecks - with thick straps - can, however, look stunning if back and arms are slim - the one above is a great cut, though probably too light in colour to flatter our girl.  Avoid anything with a high or strictly horizontal neckline and say 'no' to strapless tops or anything with smocking over the bust.  Try to find tops with some kind of empire-line (horizontal seam under the bust) as this will stop big boobs from making the whole torso look matronly.  Avoid vest tops where possible - something in a non-cling fabric will make you look fresh, cool and elegant (as well as skimming any little lumps and bumps).

For work, and in cooler weather, my recommendation is the kimono neckline.  Wear it with a vest, (as left) for daytime modesty, and without for maximum impact.  The kimono top will have an empire line profile(probably with ties at the back), and either a deep plunging, or slightly cross-over neckline.  If there are sleeves they should be wide and loose.  These tops come in lots of different fabrics, from t-shirt cotton to silk and couldn't be easier to wear.  It's really no different to t-shirt and jeans.  They look great with dark denim slim-cut bootlegs or skinny jeans, leggings, or my preference, which is the straight-cut wide-leg trouser. Keep shoes flat.
Lastly, I must apologise for there being no actual shopping recommendations here.  Wrong hemisphere and wrong season - but I hope the principles help.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

What you want - 3: Jumper Dresses

Before I begin what will be a list of clothes with prices, pictures and handy links for ease of purchase, I feel a bit bad about advocating spending on inessentials from time to time - and never more so than today, in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake.  Times are bloody tough, and I don't want to guilt-trip anyone... but if you had been thinking of donating to help the survivors, let me make it easy for you.  Here's a link to the Disasters Emergency Committee's website - if you want to give and haven't got round to it yet, then I don't mind at all if you do that first and then come back and read the blog later.

Okay, so: jumper dresses.  Or as Roxanne put it in an email to me:

Jumper dresses, please! For all shapes/sizes/occasions.

And it's the 'shapes/sizes' bit that worries me, if I'm honest: jumper dresses are unforgiving in all kinds of ways. Take the one above as an example (£28, Dorothy Perkins) It's a chunky knit, so will add bulk, short and tight and so will widen the thigh and cling to the tummy, has a high neck to make your boobs look matronly, short sleeves to accentuate the width of the upper torso and it even has pockets like saddlebags on your already beleaguered thighs.  And yes, this was the worst example I could find, but there were loads to choose from.  This dress would suit someone tall, with great legs and a boyish figure - which isn't many of us. 

So is it all doom and gloom?  Not entirely.  I can see the snuggly appeal, but I have to confess, I'm not convinced by jumper dresses - they're not for me. However, not everyone is quite so short of leg, wide of thigh or big of boob...  They're not for everyone but there is a jumper dress out there for most of you.

In a wearable green (and also cream) is this rather charming empire line frock from Peacocks.  It's £16, and available from size 6-20.  At that price we can't expect great quality, which is a shame because this is a great design. The deep scoop neck is buxomly flattering for all but the largest boobs, and notice how the cable knit pattern (in flattering verticals) is a smaller width over the boobs - giving a minimising look where the dress is tightest.  The looser skirt is flattering over less-that-toned tums, hips, bums and thighs, and would look fine over jeans or trousers if you feel more comfortable covered-up.  (You can, of course wear tighter dresses over trousers, but it's an unfamiliar silhouette and only really looks good with tight-profile trousers.)  In an ideal world I wouldn't have had the pockets, and the sleeve is still a little short, but I like this.

Similar in style, but slightly less forgiving (and anyway, only available up to a 16) is this rather stylish frock from French Connection.  It's a little bit retro teaparty, a little bit Parisienne - think cream opaque tights and dolly shoes.  It's delightful colour (versatile and suits just about everyone) and a huge bargain at £45.50 reduced from £90 - if I were a size 16 I'd snap it up.

The next dress will best suit less hourglassy types because of its gorgeous, sophisticated lines.  It's rather 1930s, I think, and the long sleeves and far longer-than-usual skirt length make it perfect for those going for an elegant look with sheer stockings.  I'm less inspired by the grey, but it comes in black and french navy (the site wouldn't let me lift the photos of those colour options) in sizes up to an XL - roughly a 16-18.  It's by Great Plains, who I know nothing about, and it's reduced from £50 to £36.  Monsoon have a similar style (right) in black, for £60 - sizes 14-18 online, though with Monsoon, other sizes may well be instore.

Lastly, one for the more buxom.  Monsoon have a few knitted dresses, of which the one I've mentioned and the one above - while not traditional jumper dresses, are by far the most flattering options.  This dress is my favourite, because of it's hugely flattering wrap neckline, sensible length and full sleeves. It's £55 but sadly only available in the pale grey and in size 'large' online (again, try your local stores - Monsoon's stock control doesn't seem to be centralised).

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Wellies revisited...

Last February we had snow, and I posted about finding wellies to accommodate the larger calf - with your indulgence, I'll post that again here, but with updates based on a test of my newly purchased boots in the snow today.  If you remember the original post, just scroll to the end for the new stuff.

I don't often need to go places where my feet will get wet. Other than the shower, that is. But one ought to own a pair of wellies - this much has been evident today - when surely I would have frolicked with unbridled energy in the snow (as opposed to staying in my cosy bed all day) had I only owned a pair of good old gum boots.

I did have a pair. They were £6 in Tesco's kids department several years ago. I eventually pressed them into employ on one weekend, at last year's Endorseit festival, and I was jolly glad of them in the Somme-like conditions. By the end of the weekend though, I'd sliced them down the back (because it's one thing getting your legs in; losing all feeling in your feet due to constricted blood supply is quite another), and eventually threw them away on the way home, in a motorway service station bin, because our car was rammed to the gunnels, and the boots had doubled in size thanks to having half a Dorset field clinging to them.

So now I am bootless. It's quite discomfiting to discover myself lacking in clothing or footwear for any occasion, so I've been looking on the internet for my next pair of wellies. Of course, if I do buy some, they won't be delivered before the snow disappears... but I'll be ready if it happens again, goshdarnit!

But my word - buying wellies which will accommodate the larger calf is harder, and in some cases more costly than buying lovely leather boots from Duo. Who knew?

Purveyors of Serious Wellingtons, Hunter, stock a larger calf size in their more boring styles, but prices start at £50 - rising to £240, and the most exciting colour in the wide fit styles is black. There are other serious brands selling serious wellies - mostly for horsey types - but the only brand selling purpose-made, wider-fit wellies that don't look eye-gougingly dull are Jileon Ltd. Jileon are welly specialists who stock loads of cute and glam welly designs at around the £25 mark. Sadly, only one pretty pattern makes it to the wide-fit style, but it's a versatile black-and-polka-dot boot (above), which should please many. However, for some reason, for the larger fit they nearly double the price - to £44.99. Even then, I was tempted... but sadly, their smallest size is a 5. Tsh! Back to the drawing board.

I should probably point out that Jileon stock two other 'wide fit' styles - which cost £19.99/£32.99, but they are that ubiquitous muddy green colour. They'd have to be free to find a place in my wardrobe...

Another welly-specialist is Funky Wellies - and the name sounds promising. Their neoprene-lined range is supposed, according to their blog, to be more capacious around the calf. They have a cute pink floral boot, but I rather love the royal blue ones patterned with cars and camper vans. I don't love them to the tune of £45.95, though - even though they have them in my size. Lakeland Welly Workshop do a cute daisy boot with handles for £25, which they say is good for wider calves - but seem to have very few sizes in stock.

So what, then. Well the choices seem to be one of two: buy a pair of sensible wellies in sludge green or black; or go for something other than a standard welly. Plenty of retailers sell ankle-height wellies, which will fit - but you can't exactly tuck your trousers into them. I know serious outdoorsy types who reckon wellies are for fools anyway, and would encourage me to buy some stout walking boots and waterproof gaiters. Quite apart from the cost, walking boots seem to only come in ugly colours, and I guess I'm just too shallow. And that's before I even contemplate wearing 'waterproof gaiters'. There is a compromise of sorts in low-calf boots, epitomised by the Crocs above (£25-£35). Pretty colours, yes - and if you buy the imitation ones on ebay they can be cheap as you like... but they're truly very odd looking. Maybe I'll wait it out...

Proof that I did wear wellies once. Even if they were the most sensible part of my outfit...


So, despite the recent Arctic weather not really troubling us that much in London, I felt frustrated that there might be other occasions when I would want to frolic in the snow, and be denied due to my inadequate footwear. The situatation in terms of what's available hasn't really changed, but Jileon did have size 4 boots in stock, which is close enough - allowing for two extra pairs of woolly socks, so I bit the bullet and shelled out close to fifty quid (including delivery) for a pair of spotty wellies.

No sooner had I placed my order than a friend sent me the following report:

I bought some of those and the strap on the side broke as soon as I put them on. I was really unimpressed with them, the soles were very thin too.

I never got round to sending them back so I might stick them on ebay.

I hope you like yours, I guess it depends what you want them for but I knew the thin soles would make walking round festivals very uncomfortable.

Which was discouraging to say the least, so I awaited their delivery with some trepidation, and as soon as  opportunity afforded itself, I gave them a good old test.

Look - they match my diary!

They're certainly spacious.  I have large calves, even for my size, and they had no problem accommodating them, plus three pairs of socks, and my turned up, wrapped-round bootcut cords.  I reckon these would easily fit up to a UK dress size 26 - perhaps even larger.  The straps on the side aren't terribly heavy-duty, it's true.  I used them to hold the sides in place after I decided how much folding the gussets needed; you wouldn't want to use them to actually pull the sides in snugly.

So I set off, first on pavements - where the slight heel (half an inch) gave me more traction on slippery surfaces than my trainers have done - and then over the parkland of Peckham Rye.  The snow wasn't super-deep: perhaps two and a half inches in places, but after about half a mile (and then a couple of hundred meters more on pavement again) I reckon I got a sense of what they're be like to wear.  I found them very comfortable. Perhaps it was all the socks, but the soles didn't feel thin to me at all.  At one point I wasn't sure if they were leaking ever so slightly at the heels - it may have just been the cold - but the sensation didn't last long, and when I got home my socks were dry.  I liked them.  I think for a pair of wellies they're too expensive, but at least I have a pair now, and can go festivalling, snowballing or puddlejumping with the best of them for, hopefully, many years to come.