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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Things I can't live without. Number One

It's a stripe.  A striped top in particular and I've come to realise I could pretty much wear one every day.  When I look back at things in my wardrobe I've had for eons (and in fact, things I've even had to throw out as they were worn out - believe me when I say this does not happen v often - I lament still the loss of a silver and navy striped Topshop jersey top that bit the dust) 

I have actually come to think of a stripe top as a neutral.  I think it's the perfect foil to go with prints but at the same time works wonders in adding interest to a neutral and otherwise potentially dull outfit.  

Now I do need a Breton top - a bog standard Breton top which I'm going to do a proper hunt for and in fact I did start it.  But these are things you really need to try on.   Which I will do but at the moment I am totally up to my eyes in kids and researching the dullest things on the planet which aren't important but they sort of are - mirrors and bathroom cabinets have been the focus of the last four days.  There is officially nothing I do not know about where to buy every single style of rectangular mirror or not modern looking bathroom cabinet.  Have I found one I actually like?  

Well, yes actually I have found a bathroom cabinet finally but now I need to find a mirror to match.  That's the right size.  As this was so dull and confusing and I made the mistake of looking at ebay where I can lose weeks of my life and thousands of pounds and I now have a "vintage" sofa arriving and am this close to pressing the button on a pew.  As you do.  Neither of which solve my mirror issue but it definitely has dented my research capacity into Breton tops. 

However whilst I was contemplating the Breton top issue (they come with their own postcode of issues, believe me - I will explain), it made me think - I am a lover of all stripes.  Because there are actually times when a top that isn't navy and white is a lot more useful.'s September!  I did August with no spending at all and so the shopping ban is now over.  Ok so I did maybe mention that I was considering doing September as well and I'm not going to say I definitely am but I've done the first with no purchase which is better than nothing. 

Will it last?  Hmmmm.... well I haven't ordered the Zara coat from the last blog yet but the chances of me ordering it are high.  

The chances of me lasting the whole of the month without ordering a stripe top are low.  They're very low.  As suddenly (and yes this happens a lot when I write this blooming blog - I start a post thinking - ooh that might be vaguely useful to have and finish it by thinking I can't possibly survive without said item) they are the one thing I MUST have to make my A/W wardrobe work.  The lynchpin to a 1000 new outfits with the purchase of just one top.  In my head. 

Here's what I'm talking about. 

Black and white - I am still definitely attempting to channel that across the Channel Parisian look and it's black, black and a bit more black - with a bit of white thrown in.  And I happen to think the heart elbow patches add a certain Sonia Rykiel, Markus Lupfer esque charm.

And this is a Tall version so the arms should be long enough.

ASOS Tall Stripe Jumper with heart elbow patch £22

A red version - in normal sizing (available in the black as well on the link) £22

Now we all know that I love a man's jumper.  Not for them of course (although I did buy The Husband a rather lovely cotton Breton jumper from M&S for his birthday which he has lived in all Summer - smug smiley) but for me.  And this top looks like a total bargain at just £10 now in the sale. Not entirely sure whether it's black, grey or navy but I have to say, not too bothered for that price.  Ideal for throwing on for super casual but still managing to look *dressed* and adore the button detail on the shoulder.

Selected Stripe Jumper with boat neck was £35 now £10

Another ridiculous bargain this time from Pull and Bear.  Now frankly it would be rude not to order this as I think it would look ace with my black leather A line skirt.  Just perfect. 

Pull & Bear Stripe Jumper now £5.50 100% cotton.  Yes, £5.50.  Less than a bottle of wine (apart from the rather nice Rioja they currently have for half price in Lidl at £4.99.....)  With hindsight, I think it's black but it may be navy.  Bothered - this still totally works for less than £6.

Another Pull & Bear bargain but this time a V neck oversized jumper - love the v neck detailing at the back here.  I know that lots of people who are slightly more blessed of chest than myself, don't feel that comfortable in stripes, but a V neck is the perfect opportunity to give it a go.  Team with a black vest underneath to lesson the stripes slightly. 

Pull & Bear Oversized V Neck Jumper was £25 now £11.00

Back to black and this time teaming it with charcoal, is this one from Toast. 

Now I have an olive and bone tunic from Toast that I think I'm going to have cropped into (not a cropped top, dear god no) but a shorter top so I get more wear out of it.  As opposed to it sitting in my wardrobe for months, deciding that it doesn't work and I'd like a new one.  As this is what often happens.  As a shorter top it would be ace.  Job done.  These may not be cheap but they are really excellent quality.

Toast Breton top in Charcoal and black stripe £59

A more casual version at ASOS but this would work just as well with a leather skirt or leather trousers I think?  Super casual with a pair of jeans and a black biker jacket - perfect. 

Grey and white with a navy edge £28

Slightly more expensive again but I love the idea of a more fitted top - the ribbing though should mean that it isn't too clingy.  This would work really well under blazers.  Would also look fab with my white collar that I have from Cos to give a shirt illusion. 

Love the classic nude and black colour combo. 

Winser Stripe Ribbed Jumper in nude and black £79

Unusual colourways can also be useful and add interest - my olive and bone one for example goes with a host of different shades. 

This is the perfect Autumnal tone to add to blacks or navys.  Also would look great with tans and mulberry colours. 

Toast Breton stripe top in teal and taupe £59

And a navy and black version from Jigsaw. 

The Boyfriend Reverse Stripe Black Sweatshirt £49 from Jigsaw

But if you are looking for classic navy then there are a couple of jumper options (not broaching the classic Breton stage, fear not) which are in the sale and complete bargains. 

Mango Striped Jumper was £34.99 now £16.99 

They also do it in, what they call light pastel brown (bleurgh) but to be honest it looks like more of a nudey, blush, taupe shade to me.  Also £16.99 

Phase Eight Bella Breton top now only £25 was £65 

Or there is another men's option from New Look for again, a bargain £19.99 

So outfits from the weekend.


Navy and white linen top - Massimo Dutti 
Straight leg jeans turned up - Earl 
White sliders - River Island 
Goat hide bag - Zara

And one of my many many stripe tops. 


Navy Breton top - Maison Scotch
Navy waffle blazer - Next
Real straight jeans turned up - Gap
White Sliders - River Island
Tan bag - Prada

I'm off to do some ordering.  There is a good chance I will have blown the shopping budget by tomorrow..... Anyone else made any purchases already in September?  It being all of the 2nd?!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Sporting the dressing gown look.

Warts and all.  So as promised, I have returned from trying on and I have good new and bad news.  

Starting perhaps with the 9yr old's comment on me trying the very first one on - Jaeger I apologise, you got the brunt of it. 

"Mummy, it just looks like a dressing gown".  Out of the mouths of babes.  She had no idea that that was also my concern too.  A rather large concern if I'm honest and yes, we were all right to be worried. 

There are ishoos with these coats that's for certain.  Don't thank me all at once but I have done a swift round up of them with pics, including of me looking less than svelte and the 9yr old shaking her head in pity. 

Let's crack on (as there is good news at the end - it's not all doom and gloom) and start with one that is bad for me BUT it would be fabulous for those of a more petite build.  The dimensions of the coat are just made for shorter people, there's no other way to say it. 

Here's how it looks on me.  Just not enough fabric - it's just too mean looking for someone as big as me.  Or to be fair, that may be my interpretation of it, I think I was looking for something a bit more statement. 

To be fair, it doesn't look so bad undone but this was a Large..... Very short on the sleeves.  And the most random thing was the belt didn't seem to have any loops to go through.  This could of course have been me being a muppet.  High chance.

Jaeger Double-faced coat in black £399


But done up - you can't quite see the full elastic band round a rolled up sleeping bag effect but it wasn't flattering to say the least. 


And how it should look:-

However, I also spied this one which is also Jaeger and obviously more expensive - ouch - but it's a gazillion times better in my opinion.  For a start the belt actually attaches to the coat.  And I can't find it online for love nor money.  I swear it said it was reversible (which was quite random as it looked to be the same on the inside as on the out so why you'd want to reverse it I have no idea).  And I'm sure it was Jaeger (maybe not quite so sure now though... ) I do know that alas it was £450.  But oh my lord it was gorgeous. 


And Lesson One I learnt from the day was - the bigger the lapel, the more flattering the coat when done up - it gives more shape if you're thick of middle (just to make me sound really attractive) as it creates the illusion of shape.  When I am actually a tube.

More success again at Mango.  This was the one that had the most positive feedback from the original blog and these are definitely worth looking at.  They're lined and of a sturdier build than the much more expensive and thinner Jaeger ones which are very similar looking (the black one at the top - not the grey one). 

Randomly - the thicker the fabric, again, the more flattering it was belted.  I think because it gives more structure as opposed to just clinging and highlighting the layers you're wearing underneath and those lumps and bumps (muffintastic) that most of us have.  This was also a better fit for me and would be even and would work for most heights as the difference in sizing is huge. 

I'm trying on a large here - the medium and small are much much smaller. (well, as they would be but smaller all over as opposed to just being smaller in width, if that makes remote sense?)  

They only had it in this colourway. 

Mango Lapels Wool Coat £119.99

Untitled Untitled

And how it should look:-

My faves are the camel and they grey though - swoon, but alas they didn't have in store.

What they did have in the camel though and again, I spied quite a few of this - more food for thought and definitely another trend to explore, was a cardigan version. 

Now, this is where I can see how you draw the line between coat and dressing gown.  The thicker the fabric and a lining will move you straight into coat category.  Unlined and a thinner fabric leaves you hovering perilously close to dressing gown territory. 

Undone - again, not too bad at all for a cardie.  And a bargain for less than £30.  In other colours as well.


This is cemented in stone when you do it up.  Oh hello muffin - let me highlight you for all the world to see.  Now admittedly I do have a (very thin silk) jacket on here and so it's probably more bitty underneath that normal but that doesn't get away from the fact it's just vile.  And it looks like a dressing gown.


Also found one at Next which I preferred with the collar - although I it did remind me of the waterfall cardigans from four or five years ago.  However a bang up to date version - lovely texture and shade and really not too bad undone.  


Done up on the otherhand - there are no words.  I thought perchance it may be slightly more flattering if I didn't layer one side over the other.  I think we can safely say the answer is no.


Perhaps not so coincidentally there aren't any pics online of it done up on a model.... that may just be my wishful thinking...

But here we end with some good news.  Good news in that I have found one I LOVE.  Bad news for my credit card.  And bad news for the October ban which I had been considering as, come Monday (12.01am) I am ordering this baby.  I love it.  I am totally ignoring the fact that it's from Zara so the quality will be iffy.  I aim to wear this to death and if it bobbles, then I shall be taking it back (I should have taken the coat back but I loved it so much and it had sold out....). 

At the mo though, I have to say, I think it's up there with the £450 Jaeger one (ish)

This really would work better on someone tall - anyone that much shorter, it would come to mid calf and you would definitely be sporting the *just out of the shower* look.

Untitled Untitled 

Their pic:-

I've also been pointed in the direction of some others, thank you to some lovely readers who mentioned these.  This looks like a sturdier fabric again which, in my experience as seen above..., means a better fit.  Plus there are belt hooks thank good - which makes a lot of sense.  This also looks like a more heavyweight fabric and I believe it's lined, which, I've discovered, makes it more flattering when done up.  And warmer of course. 

Carla Wrap Coat from Great Plains £140

They also do it in a Whisper White Jacket Version £100

And there we have my roundup of all things dressing gownesque.  Here's the outfit I wore with the coats over - as you can see it is a jacket but it's very thin - however if it worked over this, it would work over anything.

Off white vest - Cos

Straight leg jeans turned up - Zara
Silk scarf print jacket - Zara
Stone necklace - Anthropologie
Tan belt - Primark
Tan bag - Prada

Whilst we're on the subject of warts and all, here is my pic from the other day - a great photo of how totally pants my hair looks if I just let it dry naturally.  The reason why the Babyliss Big Hair is my total saviour.  Which is now on sale at FeelUnique for just £40.50!   Honestly life changing, I promise you. 

As you can see, not so glam with all the frizz (and let's not even mention my roots.  Oh how I can't WAIT for a couple of hours to myself - Daniel J my beloved hairdresser, I am coming to see you as soon as humanly possible)


Silk vintage tunic - Monsoon
Straight legs turned up - Rock & Republic
Thong sandals - Zara 

Phew - this post has been a labour of love so I hope it's helpful!  I have been totally consumed the last couple of days with children - oodles and oodles of them both mine and others, playdates, sleepovers, school shoe shopping, Five Guys trips, Tapas, you name it, I've done it.  Well it feels like it anyway......  Back to a classic top for tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Have I found my perfect evening shoe already?

I'm thinking no I can't have, as it's August and I have only just started thinking about evening shoes for Winter (well, sort of....)   No in all seriousness, I have just started thinking about donning tights and starting the eternal quest for shoes that you can wear with dresses for nights out that don't make you look like you're going to work or a wedding. 

And (obviously they have to be multi functional....  err hello) that will go with jeans and coated skinnies, dare I say leather trews and do everything bar make tea.  (oh and midi skirts, I forgot my new found love of the midi - the one I have that is)

If I say I've been looking for years and have yet to really find any, then the chances of me having stumbled across a pair by accident isn't high. 

Actually to be fair - I do have a pair of amazing shoe boots from Zara that are now coming up to 5 years old but and it's a big but, the heels are vertiginous.  I almost get a nose bleed when wearing them, they are taxi shoes to say the least.  So as perfect as they seemingly may be and I have worn them to death over the last four years as I have found bob all else to fit the bill, they're not perfect.

And I've been on the hunt for years and found none.  Either too high or too bulky or two frumpy or too just plain old wrong diddly. 

I had in my head (amongst a whole load of other tripe) that I'd love a pair of Aquazzuras.  Which are ridiculously expensive and even then aren't perfect so that was never going to happen. 

This is the sort of thing that I thought I had in mind. 

Sexy Thing Suede Ankle Boots from Aquazzura £465

 Look how fab with a midi ish skirt - can you see where I was going with these?

Or even more preferable but I couldn't even find them in black (admittedly it was a half hearted search at nearly £500....), would be the Belgravias.

Aquazzura Belgravia sandals £495

And to be honest, I hadn't done much else about it.  But shopping today with the 9yr old (school shoes done - Clarks, hats off, you were amazing.  I reckon less than 10 mins in and out, everyone happy, shoes bought and Superdry School bag done - bought by herself with saved up pocket money.  Can't think where she gets it from), we happened to see these in the window of Nine West. 

Be still my beating heart. 

Nine West Jaiden in black ponyskin £125

And here they are.  These were the last ones left in my size and looking at this pic I am totally and utterly kicking myself for not having bought them. DAMN THIS SHOPPING BAN.  

They are the perfect heel height for every day and for being able to stand up all night.  Not too high and not too low.  But, as the lovely SA agreed - they look like high heels.  What on earth is there not to love about them.  AND they're not that expensive.  Ok so they're not cheap but when you think how versatile they could be, they're really not too bad at all. 

Dare I say - dare I say I actually prefer them to the Aquazzuras?  


Alternatively there are the flat Aquazurra options which are the fashionistas favourite (no, these haven't quite reached the home counties yet - don't know about where you are?) and fortunately I can't indulge as a) they've sold out more than a sold out thing and b) I have my Hobbs Delphine shoes which aren't the same but are too similar. 

And thanks to lovely Alex at The Frugality I've seen these at New Look which are an amazing tribute/absolute rip off of the Belgravias.  Alas they have nothing similar in a heel at all.  BOO.

Still have to do a trawl of the High Street to see what other options we have as I clearly can't have peaked so early...... And I can't even believe I'm thinking of tights already.  I was a Brownie - always be prepared.  That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it. 

So I also got to do a good old try on of the wrap coats/dressing gowns that I featured yesterday.  All will be revealed tomorrow. 

Glorious to see the sunshine back - making the most of being able to wear my espadrilles which I have been so so so pleased with. 


Silky vest - Cos
Silk Scarf jacket - Zara
Straight leg distressed jeans turned up - Zara
Champagne and silver espadrilles - Penelope Chilvers 
Tan bag - Prada
Stone necklace - Anthropologie 

Tomorrow I am dog sitting for one of my best friends.  This will be interesting to say the least.......

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Nightwear you can leave the house in.

Because if Jaeger sell it - the epitome (to me anyway in my former city working days) of grown up chic - then it can definitely be classed as proper outer wear.  Actually to be fair, it was Joseph who first ignited my love of all things that look like dressing gowns.  

And that's what we're talking about today - the dressing gown that's a coat. 

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, rather than me yabbering on and not describing it remotely accurately, here's a pic. 

Joseph Double Cashmere Lisa Coat £695 

Yes, in a moment of delirium earlier, I did actually contemplate changing my name to Lisa just so I could justify a coat purchase. 

But fear not.  That ludicrous idea needn't happen as I have come across more than one that are a ton cheaper.  I'm sure they're not going to be as fabulous quality and a couple of my very good friends have the above coat in black and I'll be honest, it has more than lasted the test of time and still looks fabulous on both of them. 

We can in fact blame Angelina Jolie for this blog.  Random I appreciate but in my infinite wisdom I decided not to send the two boys to football camp this morning and thought that the cinema would be a better idea, taking the 7yr old's best friend as well.  And as riveting as Maleficent was, I couldn't help but think about my new leather midi skirt and what coat would work with it for the A/W (I know I know but the adverts were dull and I'm weird). 

It got me to thinking that I had seen online a couple of gorgeous coats that would work - those of the dressing gown variety.  Now I've always shied away from them - particularly the Joseph one and to be honest, the eye watering price tag hasn't helped. 

But being thick of middle, I'm not great with belted coats.  I feel that if don't have a waist, all belting it in the middle does, is highlight the fact I go straight up and down with no shape.  

However I do think that the drape of the coat and the slight pulling in at the back with the weight of the belt may very well look fab over a midi skirt.  It is my mission tomorrow when I go out with the 9yr old (the boys are definitely definitely going to football tomorrow - we do now so need some space from each other!) to see if my theory remotely works. 

In the meantime though, throughout the rest of the film (which is excellent by the way) I had managed to recall where I had recently seen a couple of gorgeous camel and grey coats in this style - Jaeger and Mango.   Also reminding me that they were an exact replica of the Joseph Lisa that I have loved for so long. 

Here is the Jaeger one:-

Double Faced Wool coat in camel £399

They also do it in Berry (and black) 

Special mention goes to the beauties at Mango.  These look amazing.  Then again, I will say that Mango have developed the most exquisite website and so most things look gorgeous.  But then again last season, loads of things were.  I shall do a show and tell tomorrow - can't wait to go and have a touch and feel of all their new season stuff.

Lapels wool-blend Coat in light grey £119.99

In dark grey £119.99

And in camel.  Swoon.  (also love this sweater and shall be hunting this down tomorrow - all in the interests of research) 

Another more substantial version that I found was at Oasis. 

Oasis Textured Long Black belted Coat £98

I have to say - with some reticence - bobbling coat from last year still very much on my mind - I am going to have to try the Zara one.  But I fear if it does bobble, in this style it will look like I have slept in it.  Literally. 

Long coat £159.99

Ignoring the shoes that I am drawn to still but am staying firm on Not. Buying.....

So tomorrow I get to go to a real live shop with real live clothes.  Ooh I could crush a grape. 

To say we all have cabin fever is rather an understatement - I'm not even going to mention the weather.  Suffice to say I'm officially over it. 

On the upside I get to wear some of my favourite clothes from last season.  Oh with my new Jalouse boots.


Navy and white top - Whistles 

Real Straight jeans - Gap
Boiled wool emerald green coat - Zara
Beige Jalouse boots - Ash

All I'm going to say is please let it stop raining...... But whilst we're on the subject of all things cosy - coats that look like dressing gowns.   Yay or nay?