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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....

Monday, 21 July 2014

My top tip for the new season

May I please start be stating that this is My top tip, as opposed to it being Fashion Law.  I will say though, that there is a lot of leather around this A/W so it can't be too far from the mark. 

There are also lots and lots of midi skirts.  Which, I have discovered after trying on oodles of the full version buggers this Summer than they look utterly rubbish on me.  They look amazing on a nubile circa 20 model with her little cropped top.  On a 41 year old with less than firm abs and a waist that was last seen circa 1994, they look shite.  More Russian peasant tribute act than Alexa Chung.  

So I drew a firm line in indelible ink through that idea but my cunning plan to channel the midi skirt look is the rather magical and hugely forgiving A Line skirt.  Now I have mentioned this earlier this season (of the shorter variety) and yes, I also did a quick scoot round to see if there were many A line skirts around and no there weren't.  

But there do suddenly seem to be a little flurry of A Line goodies out there AND there are some in my beloved and set to be my new seasonal obsession - La Leather.  

Oh yes, I fully intend to throw myself headlong into a midlife crisis and crack out the leather.  (no smirking at the back - this WILL work, trust me.....) 

Ok so I'm thinking - A line midi leather skirt, boxy/sightly fitted jumper, collar or fitted shirt underneath, ankle boots and a slim fitting coat.  Or even a short fitted jacket.  Even a denim jacket for the Autumn with a fitted tee underneath.  I can definitely play around with this. 

Now this was due to be tomorrow's blog subject and I had something else lined up for today but - well, good old M&S are having a 20% off day today only and they have totally come up trumps on the leather skirt front for next season.  And 20% off leather skirts is something not to be sniffed at (I also bought my 7 year old some fantastic Birkie Arizona Navy alikes...)

I also appreciate that not everyone is going to be up to the leather midi skirt challenge and lots will prefer a shorter version.  Well fear not, I have them in spades.  Ditto pencil skirts which may be some people's poison of choice.  I have them all and for great prices too.  

Go forth and indulge in leather.  I may have.......

Starting with one that is a super bargain and very similar to the skirt I have on today.  Thus proving that leather skirts needn't just be for cooler temps.  I love this and had one like it on today, with skater shoes or sandals and a not too long tee.  Breton for me is just perfect, but this also works really well with a sweatshirt or boxy jumper.  (tiny clue as to what also may be in my box of new season magic tricks....)  Add tights and ankle boots, brogues, loafers - or hell, keep the skater shoes on (I draw the lines at socks and sandals peeps, Ms Chung is on her own with that one). 

Alternatively, balls to the jacket and just throw on an oversized jumper with a layer underneath and ankle boots for old school grunge bought up to date. (in my head this works....) 

Reiss Leather A line mini skirt was £175 now £55

Short/mid length A Line also on offer at M&S.  Yes I've had this on the blog before but they didn't actually have it for sale in the silver back then - that's only come into stock recently. 

Silver A line skirt on offer at £119.20 was £149

And in black same price 

A Bargain nude sale offer from Best of British at M&S was £199 now £69

At ASOS another amazing snag in the sale.  I know this sounds slightly random but I love this white one - would look amazing with navy for the Autumn, or tans and beiges, ditto black for a French vibe.  Imagine how fab this would be with a breton, a navy blazer and brogues or loafers.  Yes it is leather.  And as random as the white sounds, it's the most popular as it's still the most expensive.  The pale blue would be my next choice - again, with navy?  Or even a lilac top.  Gorgeous. 

ASOS A Line inverted pleat leather skirt was £75 now £37 

Also in pale blue for £31

And black for £27

Pencil skirts - well look no further for bargains. 

Mint Velvet Midi Pencil Skirt in leather now £59 in sale 

The same skirt in the pearl shade is £69 

Also a pencil skirt at Marks and Spencer with their 20% off. 

Leather Pencil Skirt was £149 now £119.20

Shorter pencil skirts at Mint Velvet again - if you find black too harsh then this may be an option - granite grey.  You will either love or hate the zip.  

Granite Leather Pencil Skirt now £59

They also do it in black or the Pearl Colour again £59

However for me, it has to be an A Line midi.  Below the knee, slim fitting through the hips (I do size up for mine as I like it sit on my hips and not too snugly on the waist - I am rather thick of middle so I do need a bigger size) 

This may have fallen into my possession last week..... Well for this price it would be totally rude not to. 

Whistles Lauren Midi Skirt in Black was £225 now £85

There are also some left in stock online at Whistles and also at House of Fraser

Clearly there is something in the air with a midi leather A line skirt and the name Lauren as that is the same title that Wishbone have given theirs.  This is the skirt I modelled for their Mother's Day feature which was definitely the first sowing of the seeds for ideas around it.  

The Whistles one is the exact same fit but they don't do it in a tan.  Alas, this is clearly popular as it didn't go into the sale (not surprisingly really as it's such a great great skirt for the new season)  Wondering if I "need" a midi tan one as well.... it really is the most stunning colour. 

Wishbone Lauren Skirt in tan £160  

Also in a black version 

There is also a variation on a theme for a discount at Marks and Spencer. 

Speziale Leather Panelled skirt was £199 now £159.20

And it's amazing what difference styling and a pose makes.... How similar is this to the Sportmax one?

Tobacco leather flare skirt was £783 now £391

And as if by magic, here I am in my beloved leather skirt from today.  I never thought I would get so much wear out of a skirt. 


Breton tee - H&M
Chestnut leather A line skirt - Zara
Cheetah print skater shoes - Next
Tan bag - Prada 

Tomorrow will be back with my post from today - tis also a great plan for the A/W, we're making great inroads, honest guv.  So come on - has the sun finally gone to my head or will anyone else be putting a leather skirt on their wish list this year?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

I know it seems like madness..

.... when it is ridiculously warm to even mention a jacket. 

But, dare I say it, I think I might be done with Summer clothing.  Which is a rather random thing to write when we're clearly in the midst of one of the hottest spells we've had for years (30 degrees again this week by all accounts - and fear not, this is according to the BBC as opposed to my piece of tut iPhone app).  However for once, I'm not going to get carried away with the weather.  

Every year - the temperatures nudge up to the late 20's and my head turns to a sweaty mushy mess and I get carried away.  To put it mildly.  Two days of scorching heat and you would think I'd emigrated to Australia.  I have NOTHING to wear.  Which is, of course, a big pile of poo - I have more than a couple of outfits to wear for the couple of days we have that are super warm.  I do not have an entire wardrobe of super hot summer clothing which is supermarket or school run appropriate (no-one needs to see me in a towelling beach dress at 8.30am in the morning) but then I have really no need for the mere TWO days I will be needing it. 

However the sun clearly addles my brain as I go into full on panic shopping (yes, you may have noticed this happens a lot...).  This year, however, I have put the brakes on.  Handily, because I have been such a tool in previous years, I do now have a good couple of things which I can wear.  Dresses and shorts being my big Summer Success story of the last two years.

So I'm boxing clever.  I'm thinking forward.  Following my Sales rules from earlier in the season, i have gone one step further and have already made my list of Must Haves for the A/W.  And tomorrow, I shall be bringing you the entire list and then working through them.  Giving you the inside on the method behind my madness and believe me, it does make sense, I promise. 

Starting today though with one of my favourite Autumn items which I have loved forever and the affair shows no signs of slowing.  The Blazer.  That transitional classic which you can throw on over all your Summer blouses, tops and tees, even add a scarf for cooler days and hey presto - a whole new outfit.  Now whilst I do have a couple of cheaper blazers for sure, it is the best time to look at some sale bargains which are still out there.  

These are definitely investment pieces which perhaps you wouldn't pay full price for but in the sale, they definitely make sense.  Especially as they are timeless additions to your wardrobe which you'll have for years to come. 

Even in lighter colours, these make sense - I love pink for example with greys and blacks into Sep/Oct, ditto with tans and winter whites. 

Planet Tailored Jacket in Blush was £159 now £69

There is definitely something to be said about continuing with the pastel theme into the A/W and this pale blue would look amazing with shades of navy, denim and tan. 

Hobbs Sarah Silk Blend Jacket in pale blue was £179 now £75

Another classic in cream this time from MaxMara - collarless. 

Resina Jacket from MaxMara was £230 now £115 at Matches

Collarless again at Boden in the sale (which I believe ends tonight at midnight - this is Sunday... although I think you can normally access things in their clearance section). 

The ideal navy jacket edged in black.

Blackfriars Jacket at Boden was £89 now £26.70

Another stunning MaxMara blazer, not the cheapest but you will have this in your wardrobe forever.  Wear to work, to a wedding, on a night out or just with jeans and a tee.  
Ruggero Jacket by 'S MaxMara was £318 now £159

A twist on the classic black with some up to date leather at Helmut Lang (god I love love love this one) 

Noa fractal leather lapel Jacket by Helmut Lang was £540 now £162 - amazing bargain.

A cute little Tuxedo Style Blazer in the sale at Mint Velvet 

Black Tuxedo Jacket was £109 then £55 now £39

A slightly more casual style tux. 

Mint Velvet Cropped Tux in Black was £79 now £39

Absolutely love this in the slate (although to be honest, I'm not sure how different it is from the black as it does look like a washed black to me).  Was £79 now only £29 in the grey.

What they call Tuxedo again, at Kin by John Lewis was £120 now £36

You would expect a classic blazer at Hobbs and they don't disappoint in the sales.  These are prime example of why it is fab to look now.  They will have new season blazers shortly but honestly, how different are they going to be?  Definitely worth looking at for a bargain price now than waiting for new season stock. 

More timeless black.  Hobbs Invitation Snowdonia Jacket in Black was £199 now £75

My beloved navy at Hobbs. 

Saskia Jacket was £159 now £106

More navy at Whistles.

Eva Cotton Pique Blazer was £150 now £75

Another go to place in the sales for classic blazer shapes is Reiss and yet again, there are some great bargains to have . 

If you want a looser Boyfriend style jacket then this would be a great investment for the A/W. 

Reiss Cleopatra Night Sky Relaxed Blazer was £195 now £59

And a more tailored one button fitted blazer again at Reiss. 

Reiss Fontez Tailored Blazer in Indigo was £245 now £98

Another looser boyfriend style and more navy (have you maybe noticed that I am rather obsessed with a navy jacket?!) 

Jigsaw Tailored Boyfriend Jacket in Dark Navy was £179 now £125

Best of British Pure New Wool Peak Lapel Tailored Jacket was £199.99 now £62.99

Now I am stretching the definition of blazer here but these are such fantastic bargains and definitely fall under the heading of transitional coat (fear not, there will be loads more of these - I am mildly obsessed with them if you haven't noticed) 

Best of British Silk Rich Checked Coat with linen was £249 now £79.99

Best Of British Cocoon Coat was £249 now £76.99 

So there we have my selection.  Now I *would* say I don't need a new jacket or coat this year.  Ha ha ha ha.  Have I followed my own advice though and maybe snaffled a couple of bargains in the sales?  Maybe...... I WILL report back with what I've bought since May - although needless to say, I am on somewhat of a spending ban for August. 

No need of a jacket yesterday.  Slightly worse for wear after a great couple of parties on Friday night (spot the rain ridden hair here...) and so it was out for lunch with the family and then a trip to see How to Train your Dragon 2 (it was supposed to rain...)  Obviously I fell asleep for a teensy tiny bit.   


Navy and white shirt - Zara
Turn up shorts - Warhouse
Tan bag - Prada
White sliders - River Island 

Last three days of school here - limping towards the end.....