How's the Christmas shopping going? Mine hasn't quite gone to plan. It was going really well - I'd made a list, earmarked what I wanted and needed to buy and was blindsided by the naughty Christmas elves throwing nice clothes and shoes at me left, right and centre. However, now that the Christmas fairy dust has settled, I'm taking it all back with the exception of these (I think).
Brogues. Yes really! The ever elusive brogues. The brogues which never seem to suit me or should that be - never suit me and are within my budget.
I was in Waitrose the other day and I stopped in my tracks when I saw someone in the most fabulous navy peacoat, almost skinny dark jeans and some tan brogues. The epitome of cool. The epitome of cool is someone who is very confident in their own look and is not stomping up and down in the latest fads but somehow looks impeccable and extremely comfortable and stylish in their own skin. She also had a short pixie crop, librarian glasses on and a fashionable male companion to boot. They looked like they had walked out of an A.P.C. lookbook. This sort of look gets me in a way that so many other OTT looks can't.
I stalked her up and down the aisles and huffed when I couldn't get a sneaky picture of her (to show you guys) whilst the Grumps merrily threw in all the naughty food stuffs in to the trolley which we don't normally buy at any other time of year (Heston - you have a lot to answer for!).
So I was very happy when I stumbled on these brogues because (1) I wasn't looking for them as I was resigned to the fact that I can't do brogues (2) they were affordable as in not wallet crunching expensive (3) they didn't crucify my legs when I put them on and (4) they were just there waiting for me.
I have ummed and aahed over whether these are keepers as I was thinking I wanted a lighter coloured pair of brogues but I also thought that these might be a good test the waters type pair and more suited to the winter months. What do you think?
That's my take on what I saw the lady in Waitrose was wearing. But she was taller, skinnier and younger :o( and she had no gold buttons on her peacoat - which reminds me - I did mention previously that I was thinking of changing the buttons on this jacket and this has helped that decision along.
Or what about the addition of a scarf and a change of coat?
Topshop coat (old)
Are the brogues working? This is the closest I've got to a pair since the Russell & Bromley pair I had in my twenties and that was twenty years ago. Infact, taking a peek at Russell & Bromley, I spotted their Jeeves pair which are remarkably similar to the pair I just picked up but considerably dearer.
I must mention that these have a soft crepey sole and heel so you can bounce along in these. Good and bad. Good that you can bounce along like Tigger. Bad because they don' have that satisfying "knock knock" sound which you get with a solid wood heel when it makes contact with the pavement. They do not pinch my toes but they are stiffish leather which is what I imagine a pair of mens brogues to be like anyway, waiting to be gently broken in. And why do I think this particular pair of brogues are possibly working for me than the other twenty pairs I have tried on prior to these? They are a more substantial shoe i.e. not too lightweight. They are tan - I can't seem to do black brogues - a little too heavy looking in my eyes for me. I also can't do the jazz shoe style ones which are just a little too refined for my legs and I need the slight heaviness of this style to balance out my legs. And at £20 approx, I think they are pretty good. Much nicer than the usual cheap brogue offerings I've seen out there like these which are somewhat lacking.
Can you guess where they are from?
They are from Marks and Spencers. Boys section. Currently discounted between £19.60 - £21 on line. Full price at £28-30 which is not really robbing for a pair of solid leather shoes is it? Note - they come up big, I'm wearing a size 3 instead of my usual 4. And they go all the way up to size 7 which actually means a size 8 in this instance. I've got to keep them haven't I? £19.60 for a pair of tan leather brogues? Yeah!
I like the odd shoe bargain from the kiddies section. The trick to buying shoes from the kids section is to make sure it doesn't look like it came from the kids section though. The toe area for kids shoes tends to be a little rounder and wider to ensure young tootsies have ample wiggle room so some of the girls ballet pumps for instance are a little bit dud looking and if you can bring yourself to cut off the usually naff bows - do. However, the brogues I've picked out translate quite well for adults as they do not look "childish in their design. Well done me :o) #smug
I have a grey Gap sweatshirt which I'm actually quite happy with in terms of fit and look. My only gripe is that the inside is not that soft fleecy inner. It's a woven cotton and more a spring/summer weight . Other than that, there's nothing wrong with it and it doesn't need replacing with another.
But I still went and ordered the plain grey sweatshirt from the recent Isabel Marant for H&M collaboration. Grey sweatshirts are a wardrobe staple - there is always room for another. I was quite lucky. I didn't waste any time waiting in a queue to buy in store and I didn't waste any time going on line trying to order on the first day of the collection launch when the systems crashed. When I logged on the first day and I came up against the error screen, I merely shrugged my shoulders and thought "C'est la vie, not meant to be" and went on my merry way.
It just so happened I logged on the next day and saw the Isabel Marant tag and clicked on it and lo and behold - lots of stuff still available. So I ordered a few pieces. The sweatshirt being one.
My order took more than two weeks to arrive. Ho hum.
Anyway, I shook it out and guess what? lt had that nice soft fleecy inner that I was talking about :o)
Gap - woven inner
H&M Marant - fleecy inner
Looks okay on doesn't it?
Isabel Marant for H&M Sweatshirt
And it had little fashion details like the tight cuffs and the shorter body length. However, when I tried it on, something felt wrong. The fit was fine, the sleeves were okay, the fleecy inner was lovely. What was wrong? The v on the sweatshirt was not central. Gah!
Definitely not central
A little bit off ....
I think this was meant to be an isosceles or even an equilateral triangle. Fact is - it's a scalene triangle. My fashion maths says this is wrong!
You know how these things wind me up. It wasn't extreme but it was enough to niggle me and once you notice something like that, it stays in your head. So it had to go on the returns pile. Shame.
And guess what, by chance I managed to order the red sweatshirt a week or so later - I saw too many pics of people looking nice in theirs so I wanted one. And guess what? Same problem!
This triange looks more isosceles but is definitely a few cm off centre.
I hope everyone who went and bought one of these sweatshirts had more luck than me especially if they did a smash and grab in store but in the meantime I've had a lot of fun googling pics of people in their sweatshirts to see if their v's are central or not :o) I've not spotted any yet.
Must just have been me who was not destined not to have one.
Last Note :
I should apologise for the lack of posts in the last week - Christmas life gets in the way and it's probably going to get worse. Meanwhile, I am on Instagram if you want to know if I am still alive. Follow me here.
Err yes - the IM for HM collection happened last month and has been covered to death by every other blogger going. I'm only a month behind but I blame it on the H&M delivery times rather than my my general blogging tardiness.
It's maths week and I was going to help out in Ben's class with their math's treasure hunt and they had asked for volunteers. I turned up ... on the wrong day. Ho hum. I obviously wasn't listening or paying attention when the teacher was talking :o( But not wanting to waste a resource, the school allocated me to George's class instead. Lots of very small people with glue and glitter in abundance making Christmas decorations. Oh! Had I anticipated some glue sticks and paint action, I would not have worn this.
Uniqlo cashmere cardigan, French Connection dress, Medwind Boots
Cashmere cardigans and sticky fingers - not a match made in heaven I can tell you. When they said "go get some aprons" I thought "phew!" and then realised they meant for the small people and not me :o( Instead I played a bit of glue hands dodgeball and nearly got stabbed in the process with a pair of safety scissors by the child loitering behind my shoulder.
Anyway, this was my take on a "teaching assistant" type outfit. I was trying to blend in and I also thought I'd leave the distressed boyfriend jeans at home because I know what my small people are like with things like this. They look at things like distressed jeans and say "Why do you have holes in your jeans?" My usual response is "Because I am poor and I can't afford new jeans - tell daddy to buy mummy some new jeans". George (4) still buys it though lately, Ben has started with the quizzical "I'm not sure I totally believe you" look and I think he knows I'm taking the proverbial P :o)
So that's me in a dress for the first time since the summer and as it has been worn, it gets to stay in my wardrobe another year. It's last outing was for my girls Christmas do seen here. The tights (how exciting!) are 80 denier boot tights from Primark last year and are quite interesting as the foot area is a little more substantial and sock like to make wearing a little bit more pleasant. And who's seen the fur lined tights they've done this year? I bought a pair so I could sneak them on under a pair of jeans when hanging around being a soccer mom because unless you have legs like Bambi, they make your legs look really bad. By the way, they are very "tight" (no pun intended) around the waistband - just letting you know for all those who want to dash out and get a pair because furry lined tights sound awesome right?
Oh and the title "Respect". BIG respect to the teachers - they have so much patience and such fabulous negotiating skills with small people - think of the wars which could have been avoided if the world's political leaders could have had a day session in nursery school. It's not a job for me as the OCD part comes out to the fore. I started getting stressed by the mess on the table when I was relegated to cutting shapes out of Christmas cards to make "bauble like" decorations. I found an old cereal box and a minion (small child) who had taken a shine to me and together we sought to make the classroom a better place i.e. I told him to put all the little bits of card he could find on the floor (he was on floor duty) and to put them in the box.
I was going to add a link to the grey Uniqlo cashmere cardigan but the one they have this year is a pretty vile grey so I can't recommend. It's a really "flat" colour for some reason. But I found a nice alternative from Woolovers which is very similar in style in cashmere and merino. It's better than mine in that it has pockets and you know how I lurrrve pockets.
I had a look on the French Connection site to see what this year's version of my dress looked like and do you know what? This is the year, they've stopped doing this style. They used to throw out this design in a different print from season to season and I can understand why - it's the perfect flattering throw it on dress and nips you in in the right places. However this one caught my eye!
Gosh - Wednesday already. Time to tell you what I ordered following on from my Black Friday post. And you know something? You guys know me pretty well though I did try to lead you up the garden path a little. The majority of you went with the New Balance and guess what? You're right!
I think these are just what the Clothes Doctor ordered - a little bit of girly colour to cut a swathe through the ocean of masculine greys and blues which dominate my wardrobe.
I'm also still experimenting with how to wear these and which jeans work best with them. The pic below is me experimenting. These NB's fall in to the "trainers" camp. A whole different shoe game for me. Converse - I classify as sneakers. A different shoe game again but one which I can and am used to playing. I've yet to work out the rules of wearing the NB's ... but I'll get there.
I've plagiarised poor AA Milnes' poem just so I could show you my pom pom hat ;o)
Om, tiddely om pom - POM POM !
Sorry, I couldn't resist. Forgive me.
If you're going to wear a hat this winter, apparently it needs a pom pom on it. One of the best I've seen is a handmade one by Emma from Allwornout. She even provides you with some instructions and tells you where to source your furry pom poms. I however do not wear hats very often and I also have the best Kenny hood ever on my parka so I am making do with my cheap and cheerful grey marl Matalan one. From the mens section of course.
Because there are days when I might just want to wear a pom pom on my head :o)
Black Friday. It's Friday and you wear black. No, not really but I think it would be a good idea for when you have to think up a theme for those days when you can dress out of the norm at work. Every one loves a bit of black don't they? Black Friday is actually that funny sales thing that goes on the US where the shops get a bit discount crazy. We don't really have it over here in quite such a major way but I think we're catching up fast.
I got a sudden influx of emails saying 20% off this, 25% off that, 30% off that. If it wasn't for the fact that I've got major Christmas shopping to do for everyone else but me, I'd seriously be thinking of dropping some of these in my basket :
I think pointy shoes are here to stay for another year at least. I've decided that I'm not doing the pointy leopard heeled court as I'm not going to get my wear out of something like that. I think I would prefer to do strange nod to animal (but couldn't tell you for sure what animal - guinea fowl maybe?) print and keep it a bit more under the radar. Coupled with the pointy factor, I can knock two trends on the head in one fell swoop. Woo hoo. Oh yes, the vamp also comes up a little higher than some of the other pointy flats I've seen (yes, I'm looking at you Whistles) and so are a little more flattering for those who are fat of foot. These are from Jigsaw and have 20% off till Sunday.
I really want the burgundy ones but can I get them for love or money over here in the UK? Can I eckers like! (I think that's a northern expression). They have them all over the jot in the US and the nearest I can get over here is the black version from Yoox. But the more I look at the black, the more I like them. I hear they are doing something like 30% discounts over on the Yoox US site but we can only muster up a measly 10% off over here in Europe. Which leads me on to grumble about if we are going to jump on the Black Friday bandwagon, can we have the full whammy discount too? Please? But 10% discount is 10% discount and you get free delivery too with the code CHRISTMAS13.
Err yes. Another bit of footwear. It has come to my attention in the last year that I have a thing for shoes in a way I don't have a thing for bags. And I have a thing for practical shoes that I don't have for impractical 4" heeled shoes. Anyway, I started at the beginning of this year looking at trainers in this post and did I get anywhere? No. Not until now. I did do a mad search for some burgundy New Balance 410's round about March but they sold out everywhere by the time I decided those were the babies to be had. So new season, new version and I'm loving these.
A little bit retro, a little bit cool. A word of warning - they come up small and you're best advised to go up a size. They also do them in a navy for all you navy lovers but the burgundy are the ones to get you noticed. Office have a good selection of New Balance which you can get 20% off with the code ELF and there's a lot of styles to decide between. But if you really want the burgundy 410's, they are in stock full price on Asos where there is no discount code (humph).
I've wanted this since I first clapped eyes on it but it's a little steep. It's still a little steep even with a 25% discount from Avenue 32 but every little bit helps. I toyed with the Whistles logo'd sweatshirts and I've to'd fro'd with the Madewell Bien one but I think I'm really holding out for this one. I already have plain sweatshirts so I'd quite like one which is a little more interesting and maybe this will hopefully make me look like an intellectual as it has a scholarly vibe about it. Actually, it will probably take a lot more than a sweatshirt to make me look like I've got half a working brain. Maybe if I add a pair of spectacles in to the mix? Hmmm.
I guess the thing with these sudden Black Friday discounts is not to lose sight of the things which you actually had your eye on and use them as an aide for something which you had already earmarked. Everything I've chosen is something which I've had on a wish list and slots in to my wardrobe quite seamlessly.
Now a little competition for you guys. One of these four are on their way to me. Can you guess what it is? And Michelle- you're not allowed to say as I know you know.
Put your guess on a comment and next Wednesday, I will pick one of the correct guessers and they will be sent a little handmade jewellery gift. To see what I do, take a peek in my shop at the top of this page. By the way I will be adding a couple of extra bracelets and necklaces over the weekend if anyone is looking for stocking fillers or Christmas gifts so pop back.
Tis a thing of beauty and warmth :o) Okay, it's a thing of warmth but it's not been shortchanged on the looks department either. Translated, I don't feel like I gave up on fashion just because it got cold. I'm afraid my old faithful Primark padded number is starting to wear a little thin. It's done 5 years and at a cost of £13, it's served me grand but I really thought I could do with something a little more substantial this year. I toyed with the idea of the North Face Metropolis which I tried on last year but I didn't get the same gush of love that I got when I tried this on. You have to go with your gut instincts some times.
The sleeves are a little long but that's not a bad thing because when it's really cold, I drop them down a bit and pull the cold hands in (I am only 5ft 1.5").
Now you see them, now you don't!
And the word "waterproof" totally grabbed me. Not something you normally associate with garments found in Zara.
And other things which reeled me in? Look at this lush furriness! On the collar, I have baby labrador. On the hood, I have baby wolf. Ow ow wooo!
It's "furry furry" nice.
And did I mention the pockets? Look at these pockets!!!!
Not only are they huge and deep ... they are fleece lined! Honetly, I didn't know fleece lined pockets could induce such excitement from me either but well you learn a new thing about yourself every day. If you get the chance to see this parka in store, go and check out the pockets and you'll understand where I'm coming from. Think how a baby Joey would feel in it's mummy's pouch and this is how your hands will feel in these pockets. I could hibernate in these pockets. I could sleep a hundred years in these pockets. Can you tell I love these pockets? I luuurrrrvve these pockets!
I'm a bit of a sucker for the waxed finish and I know it's from the kid's section but if you can fit in one, why not? They go up to size XXL which they equate with an age 14/15. I bet that would fit a UK 8/10. Or if you can't squeeze in the kid's one, they do actually do an adult version here as well. But it's £80 more :o(
It's in a colour called Forest. Not green. But Forest. Fab. I am a colour snob. It's like we don't have magnolia on the walls - no, no, no, no! We have "parchment" or "sandy dunes" but never "magnolia". The colour takes it up a notch. Looks pretty smart too.
For some reason, this just looks warm. This one appeals because it's a little utilitarian (plain in other words), and looks like it's there to do a job. No frills on this one ... but a little bit of fur on the hood just to make sure we are not totally a dull boy. Okay, okay, the word "down" totally sold itself to me as well. Down = warm.
.... which promptly took me back to my singleton days when I used to bop around my living room doing a Sunday morning clean to Fine Young Cannibals and their version of Suspicious Minds. I bopped to a lot of things but this was one of my faves. It does stop you cleaning though it has to be said because I always had to do a funny shuffly leg dance a la FYC style around the room to this and this is not conducive to effective cleaning.
Elvis is good, Elvis is king but Roland makes me want to get my groove on. Defy you not to hum this for the rest of the day :
And in the sea of God-awful 80's fashion that there was around, Roland in his white shirt was a breath of fresh air? Yes? By, the way, I'm ignoring the blip of a gold suit which makes an appearance half way through.
Last Note :
Bet you young folk have never heard of The FYC's have you? Some of you weren't even born when this came out. Pah!
I keep reading all these posts about layering up and everyone is sticking a shirt under a jumper and all is good in their perfect shirt jumper (J Crew) world ... but not in mine. I have tried it before here and it's quite good if it works for you and everything stays in place but I don't think I suit it and I'm not very comfortable in it either. I feel like a ... bloke ... with long hair. I know it's all about getting the right jumper with the right shirt and everything but somehow, I still feel it's not my look.
But I don't give in easily either so I'm trying this layering thing again, my way.
Isabel Marant Blouse, Mango Jumper, H&M Jeans, Kurt Geiger Boots
Rather than preppy, I'm going for a slightly more feminine slant by using the Marant Stacey blouse. I like the little (and I mean little) peak of autumn colour from under an oatmeal jumper. Recognise the jumper? It's the Mango one I featured the other day in my picks for under £30. Mine is a size medium - I could have got away with a small but I dithered as usual with the things in the basket (i.e. months) and of course, they couldn't wait for me any longer and sold out of the small. But I got the medium anyway and I think it's okay because the extra room allows for ... da da dah ... layering! I'm loving the asymmetric detailing at the front - just puts it on the right side of interesting whilst still being a technically plain jumper.
And when I can't be bothered with shirt/blouse layering .....
..... I'm just going to pile on a couple of heattech/thermo layer tops underneath as layering with collarless stretchy things is a different thing altogether and I can get behind this kind of wearing layers. Infact the more the merrier - let's pile them on - I hear there's a forecast for potential snow this week - eek!
Anyway here are some picks which I came across which I thought would also work quite well with this jumper.
River Island Jumper, H&M Jeans, Primark Thermo Zone Top (sim to Uniqlo Heattech)
The weather has been somewhat chilly this last week which is always a good excuse to drag out any big jumper you can find. Out came the big old River Island jumper for it's annual wear. This is one of those weird jumpers which you just hang on to, you don't really love but you'd hate to give it away so you give it a wear once a year just to make sure it's marking it's place in your wardrobe. My only variation on how I wore it last year to this year is that I swapped blue distressed jeans for black distressed jeans. Go me!
Anyway, speaking of jeans, I took the comments and advice on board that you left me in a previous post about these jeans and I had another go at patching them up. Basically I did such a rubbish job first time round, I didn't want to wear them. Even the cute little patch near one of the pockets lost it's loveable appeal after a day, so off came the patches ..... which I then put under the rips and holes whilst I executed a near perfect repair job. Lots of secret stitching and all that. Marks out of 10. A gazillion.
Pocket rip patched up
Knee rip patched up
I have to say that I'm delighted with how these have turned out now and have been wearing them to death but I will continue to look for the ever elusive perfect pair of black jeans as I know these will fall apart at some point.