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Friday, 27 February 2015

Come on Eileen


Brace yourselves.  

It was only a matter of time and I was planning on studiously ignoring them for the majority of the season but they have become the elephant in the room.  I fear I can't be rude about them if I haven't even tried them and so I put myself out there and have been the 42 year old guinea pig. 

We are talking dungarees.  Opinions on these is going to be divided to say the least.  Feedback on Instagram already has contrasted from yes they can work (not necessarily the way I was sporting them on the pic, to be fair...) to, they should be consigned purely to those under the age of 3. 

And I will admit, I was in the latter category.  Unless you are a toddler, at the very least work on children's tv or you are Demi Moore in Ghost, then no. Just no no no no.  

Along with looking like a mechanic in our boiler suit, we can channel Decorating Chic in our dungarees.  I was not remotely optimistic about these. 

So let's start with the pictorial evidence of how I got on.  Classic Dungarees in blue denim.  Firstly I had to suffer the look of pity/mirth from the 14 yr old sales assistants in numerous shops where I asked "do you have any dungarees?".  The answer was (with a slight snigger) no, in Dorothy Perkins, River Island, Oasis and M&S (although I'm not sure she even knew what I was talking about and wanted rid of me as soon as possible.  I may have had a deranged look in my eye at this point, the poor woman).

Mango and Topshop did come up trumps (although hilariously, the delightful young girl, once she'd got over her incredulation at someone the same age as her mum asking for dungarees, did ask me if I wanted long or short ones.  "GOOD GOD, long ones" was my very swift retort.... ). 

When I say they came up trumps, I meant that they had some in stock. 

So here is what the Mango dark denim Dungarees should look like £49.99



And here we are on me.  Clearly the fact I'm not wearing sunglasses is what is letting me down....

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I assumed that it would be better to size up to have them on the baggy side.  I assumed wrong.  I think it would take another person approximately 40 years younger to make these work.   They didn't look cool and baggy on me, they just made me look wide.  Plus they were very short in the body which is unusual for Mango who are normally good at making things fit tallies.  So I also have the most amazing camel toe.  If you adjusted the straps (oh I am ahead of you wise fashionistas), then the bib bit sat fetchingly under my insignificant boobage.  The list of reasons why these were minging was long. 

Ok to be totally fair, the black top underneath it maybe doesn't do it any favours. 

On the upside, the denim was lovely.  Soft and lived in and I did think hmmm maybe.... Before I tried them on.  On someone a different shape, maybe these will work.

And styling is the main thing that makes these work.  There is more of that coming later but suffice to say I wasn't going to be beaten and had hoped for more success at Topshop.

That'll be a no.

And alas, they seem to have sold out of these ones online.  There were one pair left in the shop and they were a 10 so yes, these are probably tighter than you would want.  Do I think they'd be better in a larger size?  I think my face says it all...... 

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But... but but but..... a strange thing happened.  I tried them on a black pair. 


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And I liked them.  And the more I looked at them, the more I liked them. 


Needless to say, on any analysis, I would not plan on wearing these with a cropped top.  Just in case anyone was vaguely worried at my mental health (and I know there are friends who are slightly concerned even at my suggestion that the Home Counties is ready for dungarees....) 


Did I run like a gazelle to the cash point?  Ok so no, not exactly, but I did think that these might work.  My bestie later on (through her tears of laughter) did point out why?  Why would you wear these and not wear jeans?

Well I've been thinking and I have an answer.  A muffin hider.  I have hoards of tees that I've bought over the years - lovely (expensive) thin summery, drapey numbers.  That are too sheer to wear without something underneath and too drapey in that they manage to hug a roll of fat when I sit down (or even when I stand up, depending on the jeans.  Not all of my jeans are high waisted enough and I do depend on loose jumpers, shirts and sweats to wear many of them.)

But dungarees could be the answer to my prayers.   The perfect foil to all those tees that sit forlornly in a drawer and never get worn.  But what do you wear on your feet and on your top, jacket wise? 

So I thought I'd have a quick trip over to Pinterest for some inspiration.   The fact that all the pics are of much younger lasses (pointed out by the bessie who may be getting ditched v soon) I'm not going to let bother me.  There were some looks that just didn't appeal at all so obviously I've not included them.

Ignoring the fact I'm not Olivia Palermo... she's an amazing inspiration.


Do you think she has drunk eyes here...? I could be in love with her just a tiny bit more... I'm thinking about these with a black blazer, white shirt and leopard print stilettos?  Have I lost my tiny aged mind?  (I think I'd go with a fitted shirt as opposed to a voluminous one....) 


I think I have shoes like this still from Clarks a couple of years ago (did I throw them out... yes probably.... note to self, check attic) 


Dare I say it, what do we think about the ecru?


Now this is where I've had a slight reality check.  I am neither young, blond, tanned nor toned so the chances of me looking like a geriatric painter as opposed to cute ditsy thing in ecru dungarees are high.  Very very high.

And whilst I've written off blue dungarees, I have to say, I could (I won't, but I could..) have my head turned by this ensemble.  However, swap blue for black and I still think this outfit could work.  My trench is slightly longer but all in all, it's a good starting point.




So, I think there are ones that could work....  I'm thinking with a little blazer, one of the aforementioned plethora of tees and I'm going for ballet flats.  I think the juxtaposition of the casual (maybe.... maybe.... slightly mutton) look with the classic shoes and blazer... well in my head that will look ok. 

I'm ridiculously tempted by the black ones.  I might go with what I've tried and get the Topshop ones but on Instagram, there was much love for the black ones from Next. 




If you wanted to invest then they do have them at Whistles.... (I have to say this doesn't make my top 10, nay 20, list of things to invest in....) 



If you did fancy ecru then there are some at Topshop which I'm not trying to get excited about... (think paintbrush, think paintbrush.....) 




Now I've definitely decided blue isn't for me (famous last words... I am going to make note....), but I can see how they would still appeal.

Dark Blue at Topshop - same shape as the ecru ones.


Mid Blue Denim Dungarees from Next £35 (if mid blue takes your fancy.... these are a no for me.  I can get my head around the black.  But I'm at a loss when it comes to these.)


And to be honest, there aren't that many others out there.  I do think there will be more filtering through into the Summer but at the moment, they haven't made the mainstream High Street.  They may be are veering towards the dodgy end of the muttonometer but hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I'm going in. 

Big lunch in London with some blogger friends tomorrow which I am ridiculously looking forward to.  Dare I see if The Husband will swerve by a Topshop on the way home and pick me up a pair of these so I can wear them tomorrow...  I'd say I've got two hopes and one of them's Bob. 

So yesterday, both my hair and my hems were nailed by the rain.  First outing with sneakers and I have been reminded why I have been in love with skinnies for all these years.  These jeans though owe me nothing.  They're probably 8 years old and whilst seemingly fit everywhere, the sight above the waistband isn't a pretty one....  However am toying up whether to actually keep the M&S kick flare ones I bought as these do the same job.  Would be fine with a peasant top or loose blouse over the top.... And I have other high waisted (super high waisted - thing Popeye) Tibi ones I found at the back of the cupboard.  I'm thinking I'm going for the dungarees instead.

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White scallop collar - Zoe Karssen
Lilac jumper - ASOS men
Mid blue flared jeans - Zara
Navy blazer - Zara
Cracked leather Stan Smiths - adidas
Camel bag - Prada

So it's confession time.  Who else will be joining my decorating crew?  Come on... and style tips - how are you planning on wearing yours?   Or are you in the camp of "she's finally lost it"...?....  Answer on a postcard please.  


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Oh come on Spring, I can almost smell you....

And I need to ditch the jumpers.  I've loved wearing them, I really have, but I am itching to get into lighters clothes, less heavy jackets and have some flesh on show (by this, I mean ankles.  Steady on, we are only in Feb)  

Actually maybe I should remember we are only in February.  Not one to wish my life away.... errr ok so that's a lie, that's what I have this blog for. 

To wish upon a clothing star.  And today, I'm back to the blouse.  

Maybe I should stop wishing my life away as I've just realised this makes me feel old.  A) I don't even mind the word Blouse anymore and b) I'm not sure I would have contemplated wearing these a couple of years ago but my collection seems to have multiplied. 

Especially in the print department.  I seem to remember pontificating in one of my first ever blog posts about how I very rarely bought print clothes as I didn't find them as versatile as plain ones and preferred to add interest with scarves. 

Well blow me down with a feather, but the past couple of years has seen me loading up on the plain scarves and pigging out on print blouses.  Don't get me started on patterned trews (I can hear the 39 yr old me hyperventilating somewhere in the dim and distant past....) 

Some people when they get older embrace colour.  To a certain extent I like the odd bright thrown in....... ok on reflection I may have gone overboard on this too (she says remembering the green coat, the Nessa cardigan from Hush and the Cat Lady cardigan from Zara yesterday...not to mention the bright yellow scarf I'm sporting as I type.  Oops). 

But essentially it is a more muted colour palette that I'm drawn to (just give me this one please) with print being the main difference in my wardrobe in the past couple of years.  

Now that we have that (total fabrication) sorted, I am on a mission for the best ones out there that I can add to my growing collection. 

The ones that I have worn consistently for a couple of years now, are the silky print numbers (ie *blouse*).  

So previously I have worn them untucked over skinnies with a more fitted blazer and for sure, I shall still be doing this.  But the beauty of a high waisted pair of trousers, as well as being able to tuck your muffin in, is that you can tuck these in too - being silky, the fabric hopefully won't be too bulky (pretty sure I can confidently say, it's no one's ideal having more padding round their middle?) 

Like the pussy bow blouses from the other day, these are super versatile.  They are the ideal transition from Winter into Spring.  You can wear them to work as part of a suit, for smart casual, they look great with a pair of trousers (I'd go so far as to say any shape) and a blazer, great with jeans (again any shape) and team with the new A line 70s inspired skirts, tucked for a modern update. 

Let's dive straight in with some more unusual ones from Anthropologie.  I love a really random print.  I find these are the ones that have the most longevity.  If you're drawn to a print, you'll keep it for years.

Casia Henley from Anthropologie £68  Green shade



Now these are different but I really really like.  I appear to have morphed into Dr Dolittle for the next few - you have been warned.....

Casia Henley in black motif - £68



My personal fave though is the red motif £68 



The animal theme continues over at Phase Eight with this, verging on neutral pale grey and ivory, swan printed blouse.  This will look lovely now with charcoals and blacks but I think it will come into its own with white denim in a month or so.  (we can but pray we'll be wearing white denim that soon...)

Phase Eight Swan Printed blouse £59




Horses at Mint Velvet again in grey and ivory. 

Elouise Print Blouse from Mint Velvet £59




Similar shades again from Mint Velvet but this time storks. 

Reina Print longline blouse £89





Birds again at ASOS - this time blue, green and teal shades.  

ASOS Bird Print Blouse £36




Animals are done. 


Monochrome but with a navy twist now - again these work so well with indigo denim and a navy jacket for Feb and March (I'm assuming the temperature isn't going to get significantly warmer any time soon... obviously we'll all be in bikinis come April....).  Faded denim and white shades for late Spring, early Summer gives these the versatility you want from a top. 

Ghost Shona Top in Vintage Trees £90




John Lewis Capsule Collection, linen shirt £69




Texture print layer shirt from Warehouse £40





Ganni Monochrome Tilda Shirt in crepe from Atterley Road £90




Now you didn't think I could do a post about new season stock without mentioning the 70s?  Hell, no.  Check - oh yes, check and denim.  These with a pair of kick flares?  You can't go wrong.  These also work really well a jumper or tank over the top.  These print tops are perfect for layering.

Red and blue check shirt from Dorothy Perkins £20


Blush and navy check shirt £20 from Dorothy Perkins 



Personally I prefer this sort of check - a two tone grid print.  Plus, this one looks slightly longer which would suit a tallie better.  The above DP ones would be great if you were on the shorter side. 

Blue Grid check Longline shirt from New Look £19.99 (navy jumper over this = lush)



Another longer colourway at New Look again.  The slightly longer length is ideal for those of us who are still addicted to our skinnies.

White Check Roll Sleeve longline shirt £22.99
Moving onto some 70s style prints. (you didn't think I could do a post without mentioning them did you?!)  Love the colours in this blouse from M&S.

M&S Collection 3/4 abstract print blouse £29.50




This one, I saw in store and I actually had to check it didn't have a St Michael label in it (remember them anyone?)  It could in fact be a vintage blouse - it has that look and feel to it.  I think it will come up on the short side, so this is the perfect blouse to wear with boyfriend jeans as it will sit on the waist and not billow over, which I find can sometimes give a too voluminous silhouette.  It would though, be ideal to just tuck into/sit on top of those high waisted gems. 

No Peep Star Mix Print shirt from M&S £29.50





Finishing with super summer shades - I love these with grey or khaki (hankering after the idea of a khaki military shirt jacket over the top)  Also looks good teamed with black or cream and would be perfect with denim.  Can be worn on any occasion - this for me sums up how useful they can be.

Pink Printed Tilda Crepe Shirt from Ganni at Atterley Road £90



So there we have something to give a bit of interest to the tail end months of the Winter but that will serve us well as the weather warms up. 

And warm up today it did.  It was verging on lovely this afternoon in the sunshine.  I felt very Spring like in my yellow - I do in fact have a yellow breton top underneath which will get a proper outing shortly. 

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Yellow breton - Zara 
Triple zip jeans - Mint Velvet
Grey military coatigan - 3.1 Phillip Lim
White cracked leather Stan Smiths - adidas
Black Diego bag - Alexander Wang
Daffodil scarf - Hush 

Right, I'm off to a school meeting but boy do I have a gem for you tomorrow.  You have been warned....

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Inspiration comes from the strangest of places.

Ok so this isn't strange in the scheme of totally strange but the fact that a) I never ever ever watch This Morning and b) I'm not really a huge fan of Fearne Cotton, means that it's more random than it might at first seem.  (I should say I have absolutely nothing against FC at all - I'm sure she's lovely in real life but I'm not a fan fan if that makes sense....)

Yes, yesterday I happened to turn on tv and the aforementioned FC was on This Morning.  And she had the most fabulous dress on.  I couldn't see the whole dress as she was sat down but the stripe, the colours - love at first sight.  

It's not often I see something that I think - LOVE that.  But this has really turned my head.   So much so, I took a photo of the TV.  And no I hadn't been drinking.



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After much begging and pleading on Twitter, it was in fact one of my closest friends who pointed me in the direction of .... oh yes, good old M&S.


Wide Striped Dropped Waist Dress from Limited Edition   




Totally sold out now which isn't necessarily a bad thing as whilst it looked amazing on Fearne - it would look more like this on me.  Not great..... to put it mildly.... "would you like to wear a dress that makes you look 6 months pregnant, even though you're not?"... OOH actually may Fearne is hiding something...... (I didn't see her stand up in though so we should quell that rumour before it starts)





When I asked on Twitter, a number of people thought it might be Stella McCartney as yes, there are some very similar options.  Two differences - one, the price and two, you can still get hold of the SM ones for the sale of a kidney or a small child.  Both differences suck.

Rita Striped Silk Dress from Stella McCartney at Matches £995 (yes really)




Stella McCartney Striped Knit Top from Matches £495





But I've gone a hunting for something that might fill my new "wide stripe in blue and orangey red craving". 


Ok so falling at the first hurdle with the lack of wide stripes but the colours in this are similar?  Just a shame the shape is slightly meh.  May be better tucked into high waisted jeans to be honest.  (with a navy blazer could look fabulous actually....) 
Pure cotton Striped top from M&S £18 - navy and red mix




Classic black and white for a steal from Vila 


Vila Stripe Long Sleeve Top £28  This is much more appealing to me. 



Moving onto dresses now as I do like the whole dress look - I do think that's what I was perhaps drawn to.  Oh and the orange and blue mix.  Which makes this one also not remotely on brief but we do have a wider stripe (this was more difficult than I had anticipated) 

Autograph Striped Tunic Dress with wool £49.50 navy mix   I've seen this in real life and it's stunning.  Gorgeous fabric but it's SO so so so so short.  Dress, my arse.  And it would be my arse - on show.



Textured Striped Tunic Dress from M&S £45.00  This one looks like a much more respectable length but is more 60s inspired than the all the rage 70s.   However I think if you teamed with super strappy heeled sandals - the mix of styles would really give the outfit an edge.




More wide stripes in blue at Fat Face.   Very much a day dress.  A bit of a Doris Day dress actually.... not for everyone but for those who love this style, it's a Summer classic.

Bramley Stripe Dress in Blue £49



The other option - keep everything else simple and add striped footwear.  This one may have mileage....   Keep your dress plain black and let your shoes do the stripey talking.

Angular Block Heel Striped Court Shoes £35



However I think I may have hit pay dirt with this one from Vero Moda.  Orange, check, navy, check, wide stripes, check..... I am just hoping that it's not too flimsy a fabric.  I am rather scared at the "tee shirt dress" bit of the equation as my lumps and bumps need something more substantial than a woofy thin material... hmmmm maybe not then..... but might be worth a try.

Vero Moda Bold Stripe T-shirt Dress £25



Whilst we're on the subject of tee shirt dresses, I chanced upon this one - it's not a wide stripe, it's not navy and it's not an orange or even a red but there is something about it which I think is a little bit more than fetching.   Love the shape, love the print detail in the stripe and I love the colours. 

Warehouse Stripe t-shirt dress was £40 now £24  I'm hoping, the fact it was £40 to begin with, means it's not such a paltry fabric as the description "t-shirt" would lead us to believe. 



Since we've started off piste, I may as well throw another one in - this time we're good on the orange front and there are a couple of stripes in there so I reckon it's a goer.  It's also the perfect throw on for those warmer days with a denim jacket and sliders.  Depending on the fabric (I am scared by the tee shirt element of it again, 100% cotton?), I'd like to wear this on a night out in the Summer as well.   Actually the more I look at this, the more I love it.

French Connection Maddison Stripe Dress was £65 now £50



But I've saved the best till last and spied this today in Topshop.  Interestingly, I'm not sure I'd have given this a second glance if I hadn't been inspired by Fearne. 

I love this - it would be the perfect dress for Spring and early Summer.  Ideal for dinner parties and I'd even wear it for a First Holy Communion.  Black or navy blazer - pick your shoes from a whole host of footwear in any colour that would go with it.  Dress down with a denim jacket (to be honest, I'd still wear a blazer) and sandals, sneakers, sliders or skaters. 

Is the main reason I love it that it makes my pancake boobs look like mountains?  HELL YES. 

Major major major fly in the ointment is that this being Topshop it is a totally indecent length.  Fine if you're 24, at 42 being tall this is a great big fat fail. 

Nautical Stripe Shift Dress £50 This is a lovely, non crease tweed like fabric, it isn't too short in the body, this is a 10 and it even isn't too snug on the shoulders.  It's just criminally short.



And have they made it in a Tall?  Oh have they hell.  Soddus Lawus.  Back to the drawing board we go.

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So I am now striped out.  If anyone is shorter and looking for a stripe dress, please do try the Topshop one as it's one of the most gorgeous dresses I've seen in a while. 

I have been inspired to drag out two wide stripe tops I had conveniently forgotten and am looking forward to wearing them shortly.  I love it when you fall back in love with something you'd sort of lost affection for. 

Speaking of affection - I should confess that the other day I did buy the Zara Cat Lady Cardigan.  I love it.  I love it so much, I will be wearing it at least once more this week, if not twice. 

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Black cotton polo neck top - M&S
Real Straight jeans rolled up - Gap
Knitted cardigan - Zara
Black suede stud boots - Pied a Terre
Black Diego bag - Alexander Wang 

Have had the most hilarious day trying on my comedy find of the season.  Some of you may have seen the pics on Instagram (@doesmybumlook40 if you haven't and want a sneak preview).  Can I make one of the key trends of the S/S work at the ripe old age of 42?  Watch this space.....