Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Walking on sunshine

Firstly: a heatwave? Three months before Christmas? In Blighty???? God this weather makes no sense, but I ain't complaining. I was about to swap my summer wardrobe for my winter one last weekend but didn't have time - thank god I didn't considering this warm spell is set to last until the weekend: 29C (84F) in London tomorrow?!

Today I wore a dress bought many moons ago from Tesco. [Joke for all you Brits: Tesco's, where Catherine gets her best clothes - I know.] It was, however, a slightly tennis-y white dress: one pack of sky blue dye and some white ribbon threaded through the holes later gave me a brand new dress. Although neons are meant to be worn with neutrals I love the neon yellow with this bright blue. The cute little bird brooch is from a brilliant jeweller/accessories store from Edinburgh called Hannah Zakari - their stuff is really funky and eclectic. I bought a few pieces and will be showing them off here in due course.

(Funny story: We took the photos on the Baker Bridge in Exeter, and towards the end of the shoot we had a policeman approach us saying they'd had calls from cars driving underneath reporting a girl climbing over the railings as if she was going to jump. WTF? How on earth I could have climbed the railings in that dress I'll never know, so god knows what they thought they saw - I never even went near the edge to look over. Luckily he was quickly satisfied I wasn't the jumping type so we were left alone. So the moral of the story is: If no-one's visiting your blog and you're feeling low, don't despair, and don't go photographing on bridges.)

Dress: Tesco (dyed blue and ribbon threaded through the holes)
Waistcoat: La Redoute
Shoes: Asos
Belt: New Look
Bird brooch: Hannah Zakari
Earrings: F+F
Sunglasses: Rayban Wayfarers
Bracelets: (Neon laces tied round wrists) ebay
Other bracelets: F+F, New Look, Debenhams
Watch: Fossil similar
Nails: Barry M White

Monday, 26 September 2011

Inspired by The Wind of Inspiration

Very simply, I came up with this get-up after seeing a yellow, black and red outfit by Victoria of The Wind of Inspiration that I absolutely LOVED. (You should check out her blog; she's got that whole cool American East Coast thing going on.) I've always disliked yellow and black together - I think of it as a bit 80s - but I was totally converted once I saw how chic she looked. The key to making them work I reckon was adding red. Let the outfit plagiarism begin!

I also have to say that I generally wouldn't wear long jeans any way other than rolled up at the moment... It wasn't that long ago that I was looking back over some pictures of me and my friends from around 1989 or '90 - I thought it looked bloody awful that we all had our jean hems rolled up. Oh, how tastes change...!

Jacket: La Redoute
Sweater: Asos
Jeans: Very
Trainers: Freemans
Scarf: Asos
Belt: Asos
Sunglasses: Rayban Wayfarers
Bracelets: Next, Debenhams, New Look, F+F

Friday, 23 September 2011

Arabian nights the DIY way

As I was on a roll this week with outfits from my vintage splurge, I was determined to debut the last blouse which was as yet unworn. So with buttons changed (white to grey) and a clashing* leopard print scarf, I couldn't decide what bottom half to wear with it - I really wanted to wear my new red boots again but I was still perplexed as to what trousers work with them (apart from leggings - yawn). Whilst trying on different trousers last night, I initially settled for a dull wide-legged black trousers option when I had a revelation: tucking them into my boots would look so much better (why hide fabulous boots), but they'd never stay in there unless they were gathered at the hem like harem pants. One nervously hopeful visit to my sewing box later unearthed a pack of thin elastic - I threaded it through the hems and tied the ends together and ta-daa, one pair of instant harem pants!

So a naff old lady's blouse from ebay and black trousers with a bit of elastic added to them can work miracles... I. LOVE. THIS. LOOK. I think it might be my favourite yet. Anyone agree?

*I purposely wore leopard print with a floral print today after a blogger left a comment on my last post stating that mixing two different patterns "doesn't look good". I wasn't trying to be difficult, I was merely trying again! Maybe I didn't get the pattern clash right on that occasion, but I disagree that you shouldn't mix patterns at all: I love the pattern clashes worn by Beth of B.JonesStyle, Kasmira of WhatIWore2Day and of course the amazing Blair of Atlantic-Pacific. I know you can't please everyone, but I hope these champion bloggers will change her mind...

Blouse: Vintage ebay (buttons changed)
Denim shirt: Topshop
Trousers: Dorothy Perkins (very old)
Boots: Fly London
Belt: F+F
Scarf: Asos
Watch: Red Herring
Bracelets: Debenhams, New Look, F+F, Next
Cocktail ring: Boots
Sunglasses: Rayban Wayfarers
Nails: Barry M Peach Melba

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

1940s, Not 1970s

Although the date-appropriate lyrics of Earth Wind & Fire's song [do you remember, the 21st night of September?] suggested I should come over over all Seventies flares and garish colours today, I soon realised that I don't really have anything in my wardrobe to recreate that look... maybe we should all be thankful for that. So instead I decided to wear another of my vintage trophies (see Saturday's post): the dogtooth check chiffon blouse. I felt brave enough to clash patterns and wear it with a zigzag patterned midi skirt and I'm glad I did; now looking at the photos it looks very 1940s which was totally unintentional... not at all Seventies in fact. The hairstyle adds just that little touch of nostalgia to it don't you think?

Chiffon blouse: Vintage ebay
Skirt: River Island
Shoes: Asos
Necklace: Can't remember.
Watch: J Jeans by Jasper Conran
Bracelets: Debenhams, Asos, New Look
Bag: J Jeans by Jasper Conran
Nails: Barry M Coral

Monday, 19 September 2011

Doing it Dynasty style

Wow - this blouse from my vintage splurge (see Saturday's post) made me come over all Alexis Carrington... the colour and polkadots are just amazing and deserved some statement jewellery. So as mentioned in Saturday's description of this blouse, I removed the little bow above the pocket and tucked back the neckline to make a v-neck. It was only pinned today but as I'm happy to have it like that permanently I'll probably Wonderweb it - due to the fabric being so fine and floppy (er, in other words polyester), I'll not be able to stitch it invisibly. I'm also happy I get to wear coloured socks and tights with peep toe shoes or sandals again due to the colder weather - I'm a big coloured hosiery fan.

(BTW isn't the necklace beautiful? Bought for me for Christmas by my husband which he chose all by himself, I hadn't even seen it or dropped hints about it. Bless Y)

Blouse: Vintage ebay
Trousers: Warehouse
Jacket: Very
Shoes: Nine West
Bag: Paul's Boutique
Necklace: Coast
Ring: Miss Selfridge
Heart charm bracelet: Tiffany & Co
Earrings: New Look
Nails: Barry M Coral

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Check it out - tights are out

The coloured tights are out, so that's it - it's autumn. Had to wait most of the day for it to stop raining so we could take the photo. A nice easy outfit for Sunday lunch with my parents and family, and the first item from my vintage haul gets an airing: the patchwork knitting bag is going to be reserved for the weekend, it's too cute for work. Meantime the grey dress has been in a pile marked "sewing" due to a seam coming apart for probably about a year... I really wanted to wear it over this check shirt today so I finally got the needle and thread out and mended the darn thing (pun not intended).

Shirt: Very
Dress: H&M
Boots: Duo similar
Belt: Asos
Gold ring: Asos
Grey & gold cuff: Asos
Watch: Red Herring
Geek glasses: Asos
Bag: Vintage ebay
Nails: Barry M Neon Pink

Saturday, 17 September 2011

My vintage splurge

Had a mad ebay and vintage shop splurge last weekend, and here's the fruits of my labour. I think I should be called the "ebay poacher" - every ebay item I was bidding on had others bidding against me but I won them, I tell you, I won!!! I cannot tell you the satisfaction I get from winning ebay auctions and poaching them from others. It's my only mean streak; I generally try to be a nice person, but when it comes to ebay I'm ruthless. Do not try to bid against me, because I. TAKE. NO. PRISONERS.

1. Irish wool cape: vintage shop - £20
I AM IN LOVE. Looks absolutely beautiful on, and has pockets on the inside.  And only twenty quid??!!!

2. Wool maxi skirt: vintage shop - £10
A tiny bit big on the waist, but nothing a belt can't sort out. Great pattern - so long and warm it's like wearing a big blanket. My office at work gets freezing in the winter and I often sit with a blanket wrapped round my legs. This will be a lot more chic.

3. Fuschia spotted blouse: ebay - £4.70
I'm going to remove the dark bow on the pocket, change the gold buttons and do something to stitch the high neck back so it's more of a v neck. Love the colour, and polkadots are on trend for autumn.

4. Dogtooth chiffon blouse: ebay - £15.49
Doesn't need anything doing. Love it as is.

5. Blue floral short sleeved blouse: ebay - £14.50
This looks way better on, and I'm going to change the buttons to grey ones. I've already taken out the shoulder pads - you could see the pads through the fabric and my shoulders are square enough.

6. Patchwork knitting bag: ebay - £9.89
This is going to make a very kitsch handbag - no alterations needed.

Total: not going to work it out, they were all bargains. Watch this space for their debuts!
Right - off to watch X Factor.

Friday, 16 September 2011

It's a bit of an animal

Drumroll..... Introducing my new, long-awaited Topshop tee!

Today I finally wore my new animal print top I bought online and I am in love. The top half is thankfully much more coral than orange (so much more my colour), I was worried it would be too tangeriney which just doesn't suit me.

How I'm still getting away with bare legs and a white summery skirt in the latter half of September in Blighty I'll never know - with very cold mornings and very warm days it makes dressing a complete nightmare, so layers it is (most of which I didn't wear for the photos). Today was extremely warm so the chiffon top was fine, but when it came to take the photo after work when the sun was going down I was COLD. You can just about see my goosebumps in the second photo; I think jackets are going to permanently become part of the day's outfit before long.

(Also there's a bit of a "Where's Wally" going on in the second photo. It's "Where's Hubby" - he's in there somewhere...)

Top: Topshop
Skirt: Red Herring
Shoes: Rocha.John Rocha
Belt: Asos
Clutch: Asos
Watch: J Jeans by Jasper Conran
Nude cuff: Asos
Orange & gold wristband: Asos
White & gold wristband: Asos
Bangles: New Look
Ladybug ring: Accessorize
Nails: Barry M Gold Foil 320

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Matchy matchy

Today's outfit was inspired by my fabulous new necklace from Sandy Mitchell Jewellery, a jewellery maker from North Devon I found online. The colours and materials she uses are absolutely beautiful, and each piece is crafted just for you - she'll use whatever colours you choose and will make necklaces to your chosen length so you can have quite a bespoke piece. I loved my horseshoe necklace so much I painted my nails to match!

As for the clothes, I'm wearing an age-old jacket, the colour of which I eventually grew to dislike (dusky pink, bleurgh) - so I dyed it a more appealing claret colour and changed the pink buttons for leopard pattern ones. The trousers are part of a Next suit - see the post where I wore the jacket here; I have lost a fair bit of weight since I bought the suit which was about ten years ago (I'm healthier at 39 than I was in my twenties!), but I kind of like the bagginess of the trousers and now always wear them with the hems rolled up.

Necklace: Sandy Mitchell Jewellery
Top: La Redoute
Blazer: Dorothy Perkins (dyed a claret colour and buttons changed)
Trousers: Next (part of a suit)
Wedges: Asos
Bag: J by Jasper Conran
Sunglasses: Rayban Wayfarers
Jewellery: eBay, Asos, Debenhams, F+F, New Look
Nails: (deep breath)
   Nails Inc for InStyle Fashion Fawn similar
   Barry M Bright Purple
   Barry M Mint Green

   Nails Inc for InStyle Candy Orange similar
   Barry M Silver Foil

Monday, 12 September 2011

The windy city is mighty pretty

I'm in love with so many things about my outfit today:

1. New shoes - got them at last and they are the perfect colour. Tricky to know what length/style trousers to wear them with, so I took the easy way out to start with and wore dark blue leggings. They're so comfy too, what a bonus.
2. It's still warm enough at the moment to wear a light top but cool enough to need a blazer or jacket; most people's idea of dressing heaven, and I'm no exception.
3. In love with this new nail polish, I've been wanting to get a pale grey for ages and I think this is the perfect one.
4. The evil eye brooch is the best design I've seen for a long time - it's gold, it's twinkly, it's got dangly bits =sigh=

The wind today was mighty tricky to work with but thanks to my lovely K for the great photos, I think they speak for themselves...!

Blazer: Next
Hippy top: Very
Tank: Next
Leggings: F+F
Boots: Fly London
Brooch: Topshop
Watch: Red Herring
Orange & gold wristband: Asos
Purple friendship bracelet: Urban Outfitters
Bangles: Asos, F+F, New Look
Gold ring: Boots
Feather hairband: Accessorize
Sunglasses: Badgley Mischka
Bag: Betty Barclay.Black
Nails: Models Own Concrete Mixer

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Easy Like Sunday Morning

This was taken at the crack of dawn on Sunday... actually it was 8:30am which is the crack of dawn for the weekend really. We heard a rumour last night that the morning was going to be a sunny one - would you believe it the weather report was vaguely accurate for once! So for a lazy Sunday on went some coloured jeans and a sloppy tee (just bought from Asos, I hope I get a few more wears out of it before the autumn really sets in - I love the cut away shoulders).

I'm also rather into these plum and coral colours with my current hair colour; it reminded me of raspberry ripple ice cream (nom), maybe that's why I was so hungry when we got back to the house. There must have been some sort of subliminal fruit suggestion thing going on, I put raspberries on my muesli for my breakfast...!

Tee: Asos
Jeans: Very
Ballet flats: La Redoute similar
Belt: Asos
Sunglasses: Asos
Beaded cuff: F+F
Nails: Barry M Bright Red with a top coat of Revlon Facets of Fuchsia (got it from in store - can't find it for sale online but you can see it closer on's blog)

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Nautical pleats please

Dressed for Saturday shopping today - nice simple white tee and a mad vintage skirt. I've had the skirt for a while but found it hard to style it; it was simply a case of finding the right belt (I like the fact that the knot on the belt echoes the nautical theme) and keeping the top half simple.

Anyway had a bit of a mini shopping spree in Exeter's excellent vintage shop The Real McCoy today - found a couple of amazing winter pieces and now I simply can't wait for the weather to get really cold. You'll see them in all their vintage glory as soon as it's freezing outside (judging by the past two winters it won't be long).

Skirt: Vintage ebay
Tee: Asos
Belt: Topshop
Wedges: Bertie
Sunglasses: Rayban Wayfarers
Earrings: F+F
Watch: J Jeans for Jasper Conran
Bracelets: Asos, F+F, Debenhams
Nail polish (toes): Nails Inc Jermyn Street

Friday, 9 September 2011

My fruity little number

Fruit-inspired outfit for Friday. I love this sweater - very cute and colourful. Also check out the hair; it's very subtle but I have a new secret weapon: hair boostias, they're plastic crescents that sit under your hair at the crown to give it a beehive effect (click on the link below to buy them from Amazon). I'm wearing the smallest one which just gives a slight lift, but you get a pack of several different sizes, so I'll be trying to get a big Adele-style do with the biggest size over the next couple of weeks. I have a little head so they should work wonders for me (saves on backcombing as well).

Jacket: La Redoute
Sweater: Red Herring
Jeans: Wrangler
Shoes: Dune
Apple brooch: Accessorize
Butterfly ring: Asos
White fabric & pearl cuff: Asos
Watch: Debenhams
Nail polish: Barry M Bright Red
Hair updo: Boosted with a Secret Hair Boostia

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Orange is not the only colour

Funnily enough, this top was in the "awaiting ebay" section of my wardrobe - I just hadn't got round to listing it. I photographed it a long time ago in preparation, but something had stopped me going ahead (I think it was something to do with me being a lazy arse). Anyway, for some reason I saw it the other day and thought it would look rather fabulous with my new orange maxi skirt: autumnal colours and all that. Glad I rescued it - the outfit's a bit of a riot of colour but that's what makes it work methinks.

BTW I didn't sew the sequins on the top myself, but if you've got the patience I think it's a great idea to liven up an old sweater. An arrangement of brooches would work just as well, and not be such a pain to wash!

Top: Whistles
Skirt: River Island (with free belt)
Black wedges: Javari (really comfy mid heel, perfect for the office)
Brooch: Accessorize
Gold ring: Asos
Earrings & green cuff: F+F
Watch: Red Herring
Orange & gold wristband: Asos
Bag: New Look
Fingernails: Nails Inc Jermyn Street with a top coat of Barry M Gold
Toenails: Nails Inc Jermyn Street

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Musing: What Carol (Vorderman) wore

The headline was, "Carol Vorderman shows off her figure in skintight top and jeans" and the debate was, rather predictably, should a woman of 50 be wearing this outfit?

So you may or may not have seen this photo of Carol Vorderman leaving TV studios last week in jeans and a tight top... what a furore her casual outfit caused. The style/age debate reared its old, ugly, head again with the Daily Mail stating that "not many 50-year-old women could wear that". Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the media's thinly disguised (but heavily implied) example of Mutton Dressed As Lamb. A subject close to my heart obviously, considering the whole Not Dressed As Lamb thing I've got going on.

I have pondered this for the past week or so, considered the media's take on her outfit, and read the readers' observations. Personally, I wouldn't have batted an eyelid at it without the implied mutton comments. But as it was brought to my attention, whether for the right or wrong reasons, I struggled to work out why the outfit seemed so... wrong. And I think it was the fact that I wouldn't have batted that eyelid that made me realise exactly why.

I could see all sides of the argument:

Firstly: She has a fantastic figure and can pull off this outfit, with added lewd comments (mostly men). Secondly: No, she shouldn't be wearing such a 'young' outfit at her age (mostly women). And finally, a certain TV presenter refuses to accept that age should ever dictate how a woman dresses (Carol Vorderman).

Carol, I totally agree.

But it suddenly dawned on me what my problem with it was. It's not a mutton dressed as lamb thing at all. I was surprised that no-one brought up what I considered to be the real problem here: it's just a horrible outfit. Supposedly it should be worn by someone 30 years younger; somehow I just can't see this ensemble looking good on anyone. Imagine a young Hollywood starlet in those jeans and top (delete as appropriate): Blake Lively? No. Scarlet Johansson? Definitely not. Mila Kunis? No, no, no. Unfortunately the top looks like she dug it out from the back of her wardrobe from the pile she marked "charity shop" accumulated 15 years ago, not to mention there's too much information underwear-wise. Wearing jeans that look old-fashioned (early Nineties Carol?) always make older women look frumpy, and these do her Rear of the Year no favours at all. Surely Carol can do better than this, even dressing casually?

Thanks to this particular headline I've finally worked out my own theory behind dressing for your age when you're over a certain age (and I believe that it applies to 40+). My take is that there's only two rules to get it right:

1. Dress either classic or edgy or a mixture of both. For example,
Classic: Anna Wintour, Jennifer Aniston, Carmen Dell'Orefice.
Edgy: Sarah Jessica Parker, Mary Portas, Gwen Stefani.

2. Avoid dressing tarty.
And I mean steering totally clear of it because it's not about whether your figure can take it - believe me Carol is in amazing shape. Tarty (by that I mean cleavage, legs and heels, not as a derogatory term) is a high-maintenance style that can only be pulled off successfully by a woman of a certain age group, the best example being the girls from TOWIE. (It goes back to what I was saying in my OMG vs Meh post, that I'm a great believer in women being able to wear whatever they like, they just need to make sure they make a big effort - those girls really put in the work when it comes to their appearance.) Exposing that much flesh highlights all the saggy bits that are mostly unavoidable when you're over 40; surely you want people to notice your fabulous outfit, not your crêpey skin?

Ms. Vorderman herself admitted that she "bought the T-shirt from Topshop ten years ago and it cost £3.99". Please don't inflict such sloppy dressing on us, Carol; you're letting down yourself, the public and Mr. Roland Mouret every time you follow up your bootylicious Galaxy dress with an old jersey top and ill-fitting jeans.

In the words of Neil Sedaka:

"Oh! Carol
I am but a fool
Darling I love you
Though you treat me cruel
You hurt me
And you make me cry".

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Monday, 5 September 2011

Teeter totter

Not such a good idea to pose in 5½inch heels on a road with little pebbly bits of tarmac all over the place. These shoes just have to be shown off in the best way possible... which isn't necessarily the best way for staying vertical in. I can walk fine in them, as long as the pathway is smooth and flat. I guess a trip to the cobbled streets of Bath or old London town in these beauties is out, then.

This was actually my own version of the outfit on the cover of one of the street style books I've bought (Street View: The New Nylon Book of Global Style - it's definitely worth a read). I simply wore the pair of Levi's I bought about 12 years ago instead of the jorts she's wearing (age 39 + denim cut offs + the office = disaster). As I was amazed when I worked out I bought this pair when I was still in my 20s, they are now officially my pair of "I-have-to-keep-them-forever-to-see-if-I-can-still-get-into-them-when-I'm-40/50/60" jeans. I don't keep old clothes generally - when I buy new things I tend to take out the stuff I haven't been wearing and recycle/donate/ebay it.

This has given me an idea: wear an outfit made up of the oldest things in my wardrobe that I still wear and like...? It needs to be the works: the oldest accessories, shoes and everything. Watch this space.

Jacket: River Island
Breton top: Asos similar from Boden

Jeans: Levi's
Shoes: French Connection

Belt: Asos similar
Bag: Nine West
Watch: Seiko
Sunglasses: Therapy at House of Fraser
Earrings: F+F
Other jewellery: Asos, F+F, Debenhams

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Forever autumn

Why can't the weather make up its mind, it makes dressing at this time of year so difficult! This morning it was beautiful sunshine so we tidied up the garden (good job as it became today's location), then it chucked it down late afternoon and evening. The fact that I dug out my comfy old Topshop boots bought a zillion years ago is proof that winter's on the way. Plus after-work evening shots are going to be tricky when the sun goes down early.

Meantime it was actually quite nice to snuggle up with thick socks and boots (am I crazy? I hate the cold!).

Jacket: Nümph
Dress: F+F
Jeans: Gap
Boots: Topshop
Belt & watch pendant: Asos
Umbrella: Boots
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