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Friday, 25 July 2014

So marching on.

With our little sales list firmly in our hands whilst we sit here sweltering in the heat.  Whilst we're here actually, I'm going to say it and I'm only going to say it once.... I think I might be ever so slightly bored of wearing shorts..... Yes, totally blasphemous to even think those thoughts, let alone utter them out loud but, well, I am. 

And no I'm NOT going to buy another pair - I can count on my hands the number of weeks I have left of wearing them.  I'll get my coat. 

Speaking of coats - actually we're not speaking of coats today.  This rather spectacularly sunny Friday, I'm talking trousers.  My sensible hat is rather slipping from my sweaty forehead which I'm trying to ignore but I am soldiering on regardless. 

My trousers of choice for the A/W and also - hell, you can wear them out tonight or tomorrow night - or any night for that matter, with a little print top and a pair of strappy sandals or stilettos.  For work, they still work in this heat (I'm assuming that people don't tend to wear short shorts to work these days?  City shorts are a hard one to get right... so these are the perfect option)  Not tight tight but fitted enough to be smart. 

And cropped - in at the ankle.  Too long and they look wrong diddly and too short, we're delving into clam digger territory (I predict these will no doubt be making a come back in the coming years mind you) 

In the winter, I love these with, yes knee highs to keep your ankles warm (don't laugh, they have made great advancements in the last couple of years and no longer cut off the circulation to your lower calf and feet) and brogues, loafers, slipper shoes or ballet flats for Hepburn style chic.  In the evening I wear mine with either sandals or stilettos again (not reinventing the wheel here as you may have noticed...) 

Ideal with a little jumper (see yesterday), shirt and sweatshirt or blouse.  Little top as per the summer, for out in the evening and you're off.  These are trousers that will work for every occasion and with the majority of tops that you have in your wardrobe.  

My proviso is obviously that mine are machine washable but I do understand with trousers, some of you do not have as low expectations of washing care as I do and dry clean is pretty much fine. 

My pair are black which I find work perfectly for my wardrobe but I also would love a navy or cream pair.  Red would be an ideal colour if you have lots to go with it. 

Print wise, I also ventured into my first pair of floral capri pants last season and they will definitely be getting lots of wear as soon as the sun decrees I can put my legs away.  A print pair are amazing for adding interest to an otherwise plain set of basics.  Invest in a great set of basic plain tops and a coat and then let your legs do the talking. 

So starting with some print trousers that are total bargain territory now. 

Bistro Crop Trousers from Boden were £59 now £17.70 The black in these means I think they're perfect for a black top and black coat, or even a cream top and black coat.  Lots of opportunities for the Winter but ideal now with a brighter top like here.  Even in the A/W it would still look amazing with a coral jumper.  (and I know I've said it before, but I love the addition of a stripe layer with it) 

Or the navy star spot ones.  Love the idea of these will all black or all navy for a slight twist on a classic Parisian look (I'll be coming back to these - clearly it is my annual obsession) 

Bistro Crop Trousers in navy star spot were £59 now £35.40

Now don't laugh - these are from Viyella.  Yes it's the brand that gets the most ribbing in that it's the one I exceptionally rudely diss for being for people of a certain age.... (err me supposedly).  But I came across these and didn't even look at the brand.  You would honestly never know they were from there.  These with a plain or striped top would look amazing.  I love the idea of a denim capri too - the perfect "looks smart" but is actually casual and easy to wear option.  Snarfing down yet more humble pie as I type. 

Viyella Floral Denim Capri Pants was £79 now £39

In cream at Mint Velvet was £69 now £55  and fear not - these do go in the machine. Teamed with black here but love the idea of this colour with navy or greys. 

They also do the black version but they're not in the sale. 

Mint Velvet Capri pants in black £69

Ditto the Pearl which is their gorgeous silvery grey shade.  Ideal with whites, for teaming with prints or navy or black. 

Pearl Cotton Capri Pants £69

Boden have a fab plain red pair, again in the sale. 

Bistro Crop Trouser in Red was £59.90 now £29.50

Jaeger may not be the cheapest but they are absolutely ace at making things that are machine washable, which actually, is pretty unusual for smart expensive trousers.  So these ones in the sale in navy are a great investment.  I love the button detail - just that little extra something. 

And everything from Jaeger in the sale currently comes with an extra 20% off which is applied at the checkout... Who says it's worth waiting for new season stock?!

Jaeger Button Detail Navy Capri Pants were £99 now £75 pre extra 20% off.

In White £75 pre discount 

Or red....

Personally my choice would be the pale pink for the end of the Summer but also into the winter months teamed with greys and whites. 

Pale Pink 

Textured black print (be warned - dry clean but they are amazing) also at Jaeger. 

Matelasse Capri Trousers were £125 now £75 pre extra discount (£60!)

Now these are plain in that they're not print but not plain plain.  Added interest in the texture and of course a bit of bling - gotta love a gold thread....  Ideal for every day with a cream, black or plain white blouse.  Just add extra accessories to tailor for each occasion. 

Bistro Crop Trousers from Boden in metallic tweed was £89 now £35.60

Or the Silver version - metallic Jacquard Boden call it - love the idea of these with charcoals and white.  These ones were £89.90 and are now only £17.80.... ooooh.

So are you already a fan of the capri trousers or is it something new that you can see working for you?  Not many pictorial examples of ones with flats here but believe me when I say they work so so well.  Or do you plan on doing another style of trousers this A/W?  Would love some more inspiration if so - any excuse for a shop. 

Finishing with pics from yesterday and today, for us the start of the holidays.  First day spent with friends swimming and having lunch, ending the day at a local farm for live music, raspberry picking and a champagne picnic.  Not a bad way to start the hols.  The most stunning sunset, hence my hair looks red in this pic! 


Paint splatter effect black and white jumpsuit - M&S
Denim jacket - Red Herring at Debenhams 
Hat - Zara
White Sliders - River Island 

And today for a day with my two boys.  Lunch at Wagamamas and then more swimming and supper with friends.  


Silk print shorts - Zara
White vest - Reiss
Cream and white silk top - Zara
White sliders - River Island 
Hat - Sainsburys
Tan bag - Prada 

Tomorrow the start of the first weekend of the hols.  Brunch with the kids, we have some stools to paint and then out for dinner with friends.  Couldn't think of a better way to start the holidays.  Hope everyone is still enjoying the sunshine (although I have to say, I am more interested in hearing how the start of your A/W wardrobe is coming along - any amazing sales bargains to report?!) 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

You know I love a List.

Well here is my list of things that I think make the perfect basis for an A/W wardrobe. 

I actually put this together for a Hen Do that I did a Style Studio at a couple of weeks ago,when I was asked - what would you have as a basic Capsule Wardrobe?

Which got me thinking (and ignoring my busting at the seams closet...) and yes, I did manage to come up with a Golden List of must haves that for me, would cover every occasion.  The idea was to come up with items that would work extra hard for you - day, night, work and play.  

Clearly it's not an exhaustive list but it's the skeleton around which you can pad out extra flesh, depending on your life style, needs, wants and budget. 

And it's also obviously not going to be my final say on the matter - oh as if. 

But what I find it is good for, is focussing the mind.  Which is needed as we are heading into that dodgy territory of the dregs of the sales.  Dodgy and dangerous (proof if proof is needed can be found further down with pictorial evidence.  It is very easy to get carried away on suddenly must have items which you can't live without.  Except you probably/definitely can/should....)

So by making a list and checking it (twice... ha ha ha - someone told me recently it was 20 weeks or so till Christmas and yes I did nearly a) thump them and b) cry) we can hopefully avoid making the (in my case bi-annual) sales cock ups. 

The great thing about it though is that you can make some cracking sales purchases which you can wear now but will be the basis of a fantastic A/W wardrobe that will hopefully work with some of your existing goodies and you can easily add on to. 

Without further ado, I'm just going to list the items and then talk about each in more detail, how I think they'll actually work on a day to day basis, what to team them with and my pick of the crop that is out there as I type.  

The idea is that you can mix and match most of the items as well - like fashion sudoku so you'll get the maximum use from your purchases.  Colourwise - well we'll come to that as well, but that again does come under personal preference. 

  • Blazer - personally my picks would be black or navy as your main classic
  • Knitwear - this season, a boxy but not too loose crew or v neck jumper
  • Skirt - I'm going A line midi or above the knee
  • Trousers - Cigarette capri is my fave
  • Dress - Shirt or tunic 
  • Shirt - collar or slim fitting for layering purposes 
  • Jeans - the favourite skinny and/or straight leg turned up
  • Coat - watch this space....
  • Tops - plain or print, round or v neck, loose fitting but not oversized
  • Sweatshirt - my favourite new addition to my wardrobe last year
We also have shoes to cover and as a brief overview, my money is on:-
  • Ankle boots mid/low heel
  • Flats - brogues, slipper shoes, loafers, ballet flats - lots of choice
  • Trainers/Skater shoes/those for the young uns.. - the minefield will be explored further
  • Pointed stilettos - oh yes
Doesn't sound like much, does it?  There are also some (obviously loads of!) extra bits to add but I honestly think if you just stuck to the above items with adding nothing else, you would have an outfit for every occasion.  

I've already done some blazers and I've given you the low down on my leather A Line midi skirt and today I'm all about knitwear.  Which is ironic considering we're having a couple of the hottest days of the year but there are some bargains I simply can't ignore. 

Jumpers for me are the necessary top of A/W.  They are perfect for wearing on their own over any sets of bottoms - trousers, either cigarette, wide leg or tapered, jeans of any variety, skirts and even culottes.  They can be layered over a shirt to give a different look and for functional warmth and even over a dress, especially a shirt style number. 

Talking Matches again - oh LORD stop with the bargains.  I'm sort of kicking myself that I didn't get the Helmut Lang jacket with the extra 20% off as it was such a bargain but my Topshop Tuxedo jacket will definitely last another year (she says polishing her halo - for all of about 5 seconds as I remember my little shopping trip yesterday when I went to return a load of stuff I'd impulsively bought.  And moving swiftly on.... They were things on the list though....). 

With an extra 20% off (EXTRA20) till Sunday, frankly these are too good to miss. 

Aggravi Sweater from Weekend by Maxmara was £115 now £57

And in navy also now only £57 pre 20% discount 

Another classic stripe from Maxmara would make the perfect addition to liven up a pair of plain black trousers.  Or add bit of French monochrome class to an old pair of jeans and black ankle boots. 

Prosit Sweater Maxmara Studio was £160 now £80 from Matches pre 20% discount

Not plain and slightly leeching into sweatshirt style territory here but it is knitwear and it does have 20% off the sale price.  And I love it. 

Star sequin-embellished sweater from Markus Lupfer was £312 now £93 

The Box Cardigan can double up as both a cardigan and a jumper and is perfect for those more blessed of bosom as they top buttons can be undone to create the illusion of a V neck.  Whilst the navy is certainly a classic, I love the pink as an addition to a more neutral set of basics. 

Box Cardigan from Me+Em in bubblegum pink was £88 now £44

And in navy again £44 from £88

Pink again at Whistles. 

Mimi Plaited Boxy Jumper was £155 now £45

Or a pale pink V neck at Fenn Wright Manson. Bernadette Jumper £90 now £25

Also from Wishbone - Bella Silk Mix V neck jumper was £70 now £20

A boxy knit jumper from Sandwich which I've had on before but is now an even better bargain. 

Sandwich Boxy Knit Jumper in tender blue was £82 now £24.60

More Monochrome stripe in merino wool from Ganni at Atterley Road was £85 now £47

I've had this one on before but I love it so much and think it would be so so useful in the winter.  Ideal for work over a pencil skirt with or without a shirt underneath but throw over jeans for the weekend.  And we all know I simply adore a stripe. 

Weekend by Maxmara navy stripe jumper was £170 now £85 

Another striped version at Jaeger - I'd ignore the styling below - would be so much better even if the trousers were a capri length.  White shirt underneath?  Silver stilettos instead of black/navy.... Or a different shade of blue.  Even go pink maybe.  

Ottoman Stripe Jumper in ivory and navy was £99 now £60

However my bargain of choice would be the extra fine merino jumpers from Uniqlo.  

Women's V Neck at £19.90 in grey and a whole host of other colours.  Now these aren't in the sale but they do sell out and they don't get any more in so if you want one in a specific colour or size, it's worth buying at the beginning of the season. 

Or my preferred crew neck version again £19.90

I love the pink 

The baby blue 

And for me the black is a necessity 

I also find that for me, the men's version is a better fit, having the appendages of giraffe proportions.  Cheeky arses have put the men's prices up by a fiver this year though.  

Extra fine merino V neck sweater £24.90  A dark shade of royal blue

And the round neck also £24.90, navy would be my choice

So there we have a brief intro to the Jumper situation as I would see it. 

Finishing as promised with my "when good sales go bad" photos.  It seemed like a good idea...... and to be honest, it was quite a good fit and even pretty flattering I'd say.  AND it was £20 odd.  A bargain no?  No actually, because when would I ever ever wear it?  Without feeling like a tool.  And in need of a tool belt.  I looked like Mum Does Handy Manny (and yes, read into that what you will - like the outfit, just wrong on so many levels) 

image image

However I did end up with a couple of absolutely gems which I will bring another day under the relevant heading (really really old stock and one offs that I managed to snaffle, so it's not like anyone else is missing out!) 

Speaking of gems - well I am pretty darn over the moon with my Whistles Lauren skirt. 

Date night on Tuesday with The Husband.  


Black crepe vest top - Zara
Black Lauren leather skirt - Whistles
Tan De Manta clutch - Alexander McQueen
Black and tan sandals - Clarks

And yesterday for the final day before the chaos of holidays ensues, a lovely birthday breakfast for a friend and then returning some shopping bits, coffee with a friend and taking the children out after school. 


Leopard print Lucky Maya cocoon dress - Whistles 
White leather slides - River Island 
Black Faridah Hobo bag - Marc by Marc Jacobs

So is everyone else now gearing up for A/W or is there a plethora of summer stuff you're still after?  Anyone else made a list of things they need?  Can't wait to hear what you think I've missed off. 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The start of the capsule wardrobe starts here.

So here we go folks.

There are more than a couple of things that I think are super useful at this time of year, even in this weather, but starting with the shirt dress. 

Now I bought my first shirt style dress last year - total impulse purchase, it was one of those "I would love a new dress to wear out for a couple of occasions and this is a bargain in the sale" jobs.   And I have worn it so so much.  It works on so many levels - I could easily wear it work with ballet flats, I wear it out in the evening with heels, yesterday I wore it super dress down with sliders and am planning on wearing it shortly with ankle boots and a blazer for a slightly dressier look. 

It really is the ideal dress for all occasions and I've had a quick scout to see what is out there.  I'm warning you - wish lists at the ready....  There are so many options to these, you can wear with the buttons done up - those of larger chest will prefer to wear it V neck style and probably with a belt.  A jacket with a nipped in waist over the top will also give the same effect.  My personal fave is without a belt as I am totally waistless and I always feels that when I wear something belted it's like walking round with a neon sign pointing at my middle saying - LOOK NO WAIST.  Why highlight something that doesn't exist?

Coat wise when it does get cooler - you can literally wear anything - cocoon coat, blazer, denim jacket or biker.  The opportunities honestly are endless.  Also can work with a jumper or sweatshirt over the top, layering effect, especially if there is a collar on it. 

They come in a selection of prints and colours - just go forth and choose. 

Hobbs Adie Shirt Dress in navy was £110 now £73

Gorgeous versatile shade of blue from Baukjen 

Sardinia Shirt Dress in Iris Blue was £109 now £54

Printed from Samsoe and Samsoe at Atterley Road (where there are some amazing bargains....)

Halden Shirt Dress was £79 now £59

Now I may have fallen back a little bit in love with the sales - the great thing about towards the end is I find you totally change your view of them.  So whereas at the beginning it was all about what you could nab in the sales, towards the end and the nearing of September, it's suddenly all about what you can buy for A/W. 

Et voila - these are perfect.  Never looked at them before but suddenly they are the most useful things I've seen in a long time. 

And and AND at Matches there is now an extra 20% off all Sales Prices.  I should probably apologise for telling you this (but obviously I'm not *really* sorry...)  Use the code EXTRA20 till Sunday.  (obviously this means I shall be doing extensive thinking about the Helmut Lang Noa blazer from the other day... ho hum)

Isla Dress by Freda was £425 now £127 before the extra 20% off.  Amazing. 

And in this shade with an added belt - again a ridiculous reduction from £425 to £127 - would be a snip over £100.   If this isn't Autumnal then I don't know what is?!

Some have detachable belts so you can cover both options, depending on how you feel or how smart you want the occasion to be.  This is an unbelievable bargain at 70% off. 

Denim Shift Dress in mid denim from Me+Em was £98 now £29.40

The same option is available with the Safari dress also from Me+Em, available in navy and moss green.  

Safari Shirt Dress with Belt in navy was £88 now £44

And in the Moss with 70% off, was £88 now £26.40

A Chambray version to belt or not to belt....

Baukjen Adrianna Shirt Dress was £109 now £43

Paisie Two Texture Shirt Dress in Grey was £78 now £40

Belted Printed version in silk is now a bargain at Baukjen.  Proper bargain.  Love this with a biker jacket and tan suede ankle boots. 

Baukjen Venice Silk Dress in Dahlia Snake Print was £189 now £66 

More Print and a design classic from DVF at Matches. 

Polly Dress by DVF was £348 now £174 (before extra 20% discount)

And the Prita Dress from DVF was £311 now £186

However I am bit more than impressed by what looks to me like fantastic DVF tributes at River Island - new season. 

Cream art Print shirt dress £45 from River Island 

And this which is fantastic in the flesh. 

Lime Scarf Print Silky Shirt Dress £45

A more waisted version is also available - now I love these but I always find the proportions are wrong - I'm just too tall and these cut me off just high of my waist.  Darn it. 

These looked fab with sneakers, brogues or sandals but I also love with a wedge or a chunky wood heel sandal.   We are pushing the Winter option here but for Autumn this would still definitely work with flesh tights (or bare legs for those warm days) and a tailored blazer. 

French Connection Pixel Shirt Dress in winter white was £180 now £90


A slightly more expensive version by Carven at Matches but a classic colour and shape with an extra 20% off, don't forget. 

Navy A-Line Shirt Dress by Carven at Matches was £300 now £150

So there we have my Shirt Dress selection to get you through the remainder of the warmer days, straight into the less tropical Autumnal months.  Have you tried a Shirt Dress before?  Love them or hate them.  I have to admit I wasn't a fan until I got mine and I may be starting to feel an obsession coming on. 

Here I am in mine from the other day - this was Sunday actually - dress down day with the family.  Goes to show how versatile it can be.  This is a silk one but I handwash it and it comes up a treat. 


Petal Print shirt dress - Whistles
Black oversized buckle sandals - Zara

Am in full on list mode now for the A/W.  Plus I may have some new rules....