I confess when I buy something like a dress, I don't actually think how versatile it is. I don't do that "stop, think and does it go with a gazillion things in my wardrobe". No I buy it because I like it and I have at least one pair of flat shoes I can wear it with. The real seal on the deal is if I don't have to wear a cardi with it. #bingowings. But my latest dress from Whistles got me thinking because I could immediately see how easy it was to dress up and down.
I'm not saying that flats aren't great for work, they are, but I immediately think heels project a little something extra. And yes, I look grown up for a change. I almost don't recognise me.
The Radley Bridgewater reminds me a lot of the Mulberry Araline bag I have in shape but looks to be a little larger and sturdier. This is currently reduced at half price which makes it a bargain for a good leather bag. Looks like you could also fit your lunch in there ;)
Topshop Jewel Shoes - pretty aren't they? They have an ankle strap and a block heel. Anything with a block heel gets the green light from me these days. They just give me that little bit of extra stability for pounding pavements.
Michael Van Der Ham for M&S clutches. These look a little different from the standard clutches out there and of course I picked them out for the touches of blue in them to pick out the navy of the dress. You have to find a common denominator in your accessories somewhere.
Mint Velvet Mandy Shoes. A beautiful pale shade of leather and see that panel on the front of the shoe? Perfect for holding your foot in. I don't know about you but the older I get, I find that shoes I can actually walk in count for a lot. The fact that I'm not flopping out of a court shoe makes my feet very happy. Oh yes, there's 20% off at the moment too.
Hill & Friends Happy Bag. I bet there are a lot of you out there with a little leopard bag nestled in your wardrobes. They're perfect for adding a little oomph to an outfit.
Made Bangle. I'm a bracelet rather than a necklace girl and I'm particularly fond of Made jewellery stocked at Whistles and Jigsaw.
My H&M tan buckle sandals are one of favourite pair of shoes. They are fab for elongating my short legs and have helped make many an outfit. They were from a couple of years back but these Naturalizer ones are not dissimilar. A solid heel and a "fuller sandal" means you should be able to walk safely and comfortably in these. #oldage
This is much more my style. Casual with sandals and a shoulder bag. Or white trainers and a tote. Can't get much simpler and probably one of the ways I am most likely to wear it.
The Skinnydip rucksack is modern and I just know it would go with so much already in my wardrobe as well as the dress. I like the weave on it.
These two band leather sandals look way more expensive than they actually are. They'll take you from year to year with their simple styling.
Simple white slip on pumps. So basic and so simple. Wear them with everything!
The H&M mustard yellow bag looks lovely and I like it's nod to Gucci with the bamboo handles. Karen from Mission Style has this bag and when I see it, I think to myself, "I need that bag". I don't really but I still want it.
I love mixing navy and deep greens together. And I know that some people think that blue and green should never be seen but I think they are a fab combination.
And lastly, a simple pair of black peep toe leather espadrilles. Because it's nice to set those toes free a little isn't it?
Last Note :
Apologies if anything has disappeared or gone out of stock from the outfit montages. They disappear as I type sometimes.
For reference I'm 5ft 1.5", I'm wearing a size 8 in this dress. I am normally a 10.
I've waited a while to wear this jacket. Why? The dratted weather hasn't been playing ball that's why! And besides which I rarely wear anything I buy straightaway. It's just the way I am. Now I overlooked this jacket originally in favour of the dress in the same print but when I tried the dress on, it was just plain hilarious on me. Let's just say it's not for shorties like me. But I loved the subtle floral print so I decided to take a look at the jacket instead. I tried it on and really really liked it. And then I walked away.
Two weeks later armed with an Elle discount code, I made the purchase. I bought it in a size 6, two sizes down. If you're taller, you can probably carry this off in just one size down but it is a roomy number. Little things which sold it to me - it's a perfect lightweight cover up for these weird weather days we're currently having. Not outright cold but you just need that something extra. It's a heavy drape fabric and I liked the tie details on the sleeve. I showed a friend the jacket and the first thing she remarked on was the sleeve ties - just a little bit of interest to take an item up a notch.
I've seen a few ladies with this on IG now and every one has worn it differently according to their styles - it's certainly a versatile little number. But you know me - a pair of jeans and a tee will suffice. Simply does it :)
Last year, I bought the infamous &Other Stories Porcelain midi shirt dress. I loved the sharp blue colour with the white porcelain print and I also loved the relaxed shirt style. However, I didn't think it actually worked on me. The fit was okay and I know it was more maxi than midi on me but even with a couple of inches off the hem, I still had that niggle that it wouldn't be right but I couldn't put my finger on it. This is how it looked.
I dragged it out again recently with the intention of Ebaying it but I thought I'd try it once more just to make sure that I wanted to get rid. So I pinned up the hem by a couple of inches and looked in the mirror and thought - yup - it still doesn't look right. And then I thought I'd try something a little different and decided to pin it up by about another foot so it was above the knee and I found I liked it. Infact I liked it a lot lot more (infact I thought it had a touch of Sezane about it). Suddenly I wasn't overwhelmed by a mass of bright printed fabric for my frame so I took it to the dress alterer's and got it hemmed.
Aubin & Wills Tote, Primark Sandals
Short and sweet and nothing that hacking a foot off the hem won't fix!
So what do you think about my drastic cut? I know one thing, it's much easier to wear now and I've actually worn it.
Last Note :
I never tie the drawstring tight - I find it uncomfortable and this way it kind of skims the natural contours of my gently undulating belly.
I don't really like tie waist dresses where you have a removable belt. I much prefer a drawstring one where the tie is incorporated in to the dress as this stops the fabric shifting out of place (no tugging up and down). I can't do with the fiddling - life's too short.
I don't run the risk of stepping on the front hem of the dress when I go upstairs now.
I love white trainers - they're the only colour of trainers I truly get on with but my Stans are not looking so white these days, they've taken on that wonderful hue of "Mixed Wash Grey. You know when you find a white sock that has infiltrated the dark wash by accident - yup, that colour. And my grey felt skate pumps looked a bit errr dirty for a better word when I dragged them out to wear the other day. The white sole and trim most definitely needed a bit of a clean. And it's not just my trainers which need a bit of a scrub up - George's have seen some playground, footie action too. My solution. Magic Eraser. You can get the official JML ones here or if I pass the Pound shop, I pick up a packet of theirs and it seems to do the trick too. Doesn't work on stitching and laces though. That would be asking too much.
Before and after
Can you see where I started on the toe of the bottom trainer? Magic.
Musing 2. Jigsaw Lorna Espadrilles.
I said I had a crush on them on a previous post. Well instead of sitting and twiddling my thumbs pining for them like a lovestruck teenager, I did something about it. I ordered them and I got on with wearing them. Better to order than to not order at all and they sell out. It's a new proverb. Really. It is.
A plain navy dress which comes to the knee, has sleeves and is a contemporary shape and hides lumps and bumps and has pockets. I love it. Whistles have 20% off at the moment so this is a good time to nab one. And it's a good work or play dress. I know I've tried it with all kinds of different shoes and accessories but apologies no outfit pics taken today - I was out for most of the day. Looks fab with trainers, Birkenstocks, my new Jigsaw Lorna espadrilles and also grown up heeled shoes for a work look. And it's a polyviscose mix which means, da da dah ..... minimal to no creasing. And yes I know, I know .... it's a #buffetdress
Make it a point to get in touch even if you're busy. I'm guilty of letting everything else get in the way but stay in touch, have lunch and have a laugh and giggle together. It's better and cheaper therapy than a therapist. Shopping is good too :)
I was stood in the petrol station waiting to pay and a bar of chocolate caught my eye. When something is called "Superb Salted Peanut Caramel" and it costs nearly £2 for the pack, you buy it and dream that it will be good. I ate it. It tasted like a Snickers bar. #sucker
Last year, I stuck my toe in the culottes pool. And I liked it. I actually liked it more than I thought but I think it was also down to the fact that I had bided my time and decided how I wanted to wear them - with trainers and with bare legs. I also decided on a denim like pair so the transition in to something other than jeans wasn't going to be too traumatic and that decision actually worked very well for me.
This year, I'm going down the culottes path again and infact the first thing I decided to wear this year on one of the few warm days we had was my culottes. They offer you the whole bare leg thing without making you feel too exposed. And it also means for some of the lazy girls amongst us - you only need to shave/remove hairs and tan up to your knees :o))
Anyway, I was in M&S the other day and spotted some dark denim (quite minimalist style) culottes and I tried them on with a little white shirt that I had spotted previously as I liked the short boxy proportions of this teamed with the high waisted culottes. I thought it very Brittany Bathgate if she was to put her foot in M&S. This isn't a great picture as you can't see the detail on the culottes and I don't have her svelte like proportions and I'm older by a good 20 years but you get the jist.
I'm trying a size 10 in both items here. I also heard there was a rumour that Marks & Sparks were having one of their 20% Family & Friends days coming up so I thought I would bide my time. Well my friends, that day is upon us and the discount code MAY16A12 can be used. And as luck would have it ... my shirt is not available online (what time do you people seriously wait up to to get your orders in????) but my culottes are.
And just to stick another pair of culottes in to the equation, I found some in Tesco F&F yesterday. Again, not a dissimilar fit and quite flattering on but a slightly lighter weight denim at a great price. These come up big in a size 10 so I sized down to an 8 (and I am so not an 8) and they fitted very similar to a size 10 in the Marks & Spencer's ones. Whoever said M&S was generous in sizing wasn't talking about their culottes for sure as they are just on the cusp of tight but I think the denim will loosen. I did bring the F&F ones home with me and I will be ordering the M&S to compare to see which are my favourites but I think M&S just have the edge on the styling but we shall see.
And whilst I'm ordering ... I'm going to pop a bottle of Alpha H Liquid Gold in there. I need all the beauty help I can get these days and it's one of the few beauty items I actually repeat buy so I might as well stock up now #ageisunkind
So we have glorious sunshine one day and piddling rain the next. However the temperatures are still in double figures and for that we should be grateful. So what do we wear on days like this? I chose this.
Staying on the dark side but with a sheer jumper to keep the whole look a little less February and a little more May.
What do we have. A khaki tank racer vest which I picked up in H&M recently. It's one of those which skims the body - I'm past the days of cling. Well well past the days of cling. And as it's not too flappy, it's okay for layering under my old H&M loose weave jumper I picked up a couple of years back. H&M seem to specialise in these kind of knits and do a different style from year to year. The MiH jeans were picked up on ASOS for less than you can imagine and so consequently, I felt a little more happy getting chop happy when I hacked them to the length I wanted. They are a funny shape - loose but still with a kind of flare but I can do this look so much more than the skinny kick flares The little bag - I've already extolled it's virtues here and the GG's are a present I bought myself for Christmas.
If you're looking for anything similar in terms of jumper and trainers :
What was I saying about H&M always doing some version of these mesh jumpers? Well this appears to be the SS16 offering. A little longer in the body but still has that loose weave to let the wind blow through.
2.Mango Panels Leather Sneakers
And these have been popular on IG from what I gather. For those who like a touch of leopard and their trainers/sneakers pre-distressed a la Golden Goose style.
3. Next Star low Tops
These are actually from the girls section in the Next Directory. I spotted these a little while back and had a little chuckle and thought nice one Next! If you have a young daughter who's a bit of a little fashionista, you could do worse than buy her a pair of these. Or bearing in mind that they do go up to a size 7, you could buy them for yourself if your size is available. I think there are some canny ladies out there who have already snapped them up for themselves.
4. Uniqlo Premium Linen Mesh Jumper
Good old Uniqlo comes up trumps with a nice loose weave summer jumper. This comes in a variety of colours (the white and navy are particularly nice). Shorter in the body like my black one - this would be fab teamed with culottes.
5. H&M Racerback Vest
This actually comes in a plethora of colours. I have the khaki and of course, that colour way is sold out online but they do seem to have all colours in store when I've looked. They are a loose fit and are particularly kind on doughnut loving tummies.
6. Converse Trainers
These are in white and mouse. That's the colour way description they've been given and again, these are another pair which have that much coveted distressing on them. I rather like these - they're still very neutral and look a little loved.
7. Golden Goose Trainers
Well I had to pop a pair in and the pair I popped in happen to be a metallic pair just because my pair are a metallic pair. But you know what they say about gold and silver shoes - they are a neutral. Believe me ... they are.
Yesterday was Tuesday. Tuesday is swimming night for the boys and Tuesday is also Grazia drop through the letterbox day. I have a subscription and I've had it for years - it's one of those things you take out when they have a good promotion and a good gift. I can't remember what the gift was, it was a long long time ago and a lot of Grazia's have passed through my letterbox since then and subsequently in to the recycling bin. I also have to admit when I got my Porter magazine subscription, I received an anti-cellulite pack as my promotional gift. Not impressed ... at all.
Anyway, for the record, the number 2 hot story of the week in Grazia is shirt dresses. Good. Because I came across this cracking little number in Zara. If you've followed me for some time, you will know I love very simple designs like this - a touch of Toast, a touch of COS, a touch of Margaret Howell, a touch of APC. All my dreams in a dress come true (without the price tag). And it's a shirt dress which looks like a dress and not just an oversized shirt as it's slightly a-lined. Oh and did I mention the pockets? It has luverly big pockets :))))
Can you tell how I really really like this?
For summer, I will be wearing it along these lines. It's one of those dresses where you don't need to over accessorise. Simple ... err ... like me.
This Uniqlo one is a good take on those shown in Grazia. Style with a pair of white trainers to keep the look fresh and young - the Converse in the all white leather particularly appeals. The Jigsaw navy and black backpack is very contemporary and I'm liking the clean lines on it. Or you could go very Margaret Howell SS16 and pair the dress with some Saltwaters. I picked the silver ones here in the "Classic" style with the buckle as opposed to the "Originals" seen here. Both lovely but the buckle adds a little something for me. Oh yes and simplest of all, style with some ballet pumps for a touch of Audrey. And a basket ;o)
This one reminds me a lot of my Vila shirt dress seen here. On the Whistles website, this is styled with the RADA suede flatform sandals in beige suede - it needs something like this to keep it looking modern rather than safari or institutional. I've opted for the black Topshop Wave Flatform sandals which are a little more affordable and come with good reviews. And somewhere I don't normally look but I've seen a few pieces which have interested me - Massimo Dutti. This Raffia tote with the dark finish trims has clean lines whilst keeping the whole look still summery and a simple Mondaine watch completes that look. Or go for a picnic in a pair of silver Supergas and a big check tote. Don't forget the sunnies! These red ones from French Connection are currently reduced and add a bit of welcome colour to the whole look to keep it looking interesting.
I love the front tie waist detail on this shirt dress which also happens to come in a lighter blue colour way. That little detail hides so many sins - like all the doughnuts I scoff. But it's such an easy dress to accessorise. I like the dark tones on the left with the black hat against the navy of the dress and I like how this would make a perfectly chic city outfit. And then on the right, we have the lighter more fun accessories with the orange sunglasses and the red bag. And the white mules are the perfect footwear to tie the whole look together. Mules are not for you - bob on your Stans!
Last Note :
For information, I'm wearing a size medium in the Zara dress and I am a size 10 and 5ft 1.5" and it finishes on my knee.
It's a linen viscose mix and is very soft and possibly a little on the sheer side but you can just about get away with it. But hey I've stocked up on slips (I'm a closet nana)
Buffet dress. My term for dresses which have no discernible waist and let you eat all you like. I'm going to be living in them this summer. The one I have on above is one I picked up in February when it was freezing cold outside but I was thinking of warmer days ahead. Yes, I have a very active imagination and I had hope inside of me. Hope for a lovely long warm summer even though I'm a bit rubbish when it's too hot. I'm also rubbish when it's a bit too cold too. I like it just so. #awkwardbeggar
I had a few enquiries about the dress and if you'd like to know a little more, it's from La Redoute. I picked it up when it went in to their sale at the time and then I had another discount code on top of that and it came to not very much at all. However, it has now come back up to full price - but the code SUMMER25 or HEAT should get you 25% off. It's 100% viscose, feels quite light and when it arrives, it looks a little crumpled but it's the kind of viscose which when you give it an iron, the fabric hangs quite well and doesn't crease much after that. Strange but true. It's a generous fit and I did wonder whether I needed to size down but I decided to stick it in the wash and see what happened. It shrunk ... in length by about an inch which wasn't the plan but it still fits me fine. I just thought I'd tell you because that's how I am. Oh ... and I put on a slip underneath it. We don't want any Princess Di moments now do we?
Anyway, I've probably bored you now wittering about this dress and I will probably bore you with more buffet dresses in the months ahead. Ho hum.
I am currently crushing big time on the Lorna espadrilles from Jigsaw. I love espadrilles. I love how easy they are. I love that these are an espadrille mule (mules are in) and I love the off white leather (they also do them in black and silver). I love the tassels and I love this image :
There was sunshine and warm temperatures today so I thought it was time to get the ankles out. I went for the culottes. We don't want to be getting too far ahead of ourselves here do we?
Last note :
My culottes are from H&M and I bought these last year. They are tencel so they are quite light and easy to wear - perfect for warm temperatures. You can buy similar ones here and they even do a petite version too!