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Sunday, 30 September 2012

Vintage Black and Mustard Polka Dot Dress

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... plus it's sheer, too, but that would seem like one too many trends to put into the post title! I can't gush enough about how much I love this vintage dress I bought from eBay several years ago. It doesn't get worn nearly as much as it should (in fact this is its blog debut), but I suppose it means I always feel special when I do wear it. I did a mini DIY job on it: the front panel actually comes right up to the neck and folds over to button on one shoulder - and that wasn't flattering on me. As soon as I got it I decided to tuck the two corners right under and stitch them to make a false wrapover style - and I'm glad I did as it looks so much better this way.

Is it my favourite ever outfit post? I think it's close. Not least for my awesome shadow in the first picture.

Happy weekend everyone, hope you're all having a blast :))

CATHERINE Signature - SMALL

Dress: Vintage eBay, Tank: Next, Belt: Accessorize, Heels: Nine West*, Sunglasses: Red Herring at Debenhams, Earrings: Unknown, Watch: Red Herring at Debenhams,  Ring: Boots, Bracelets: ASOS / New Look / Tiffany & Co, Nails: Revlon Elegant

Shop my look! Items marked* are the actual item, if still available:



Linking up to:

Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style
Monday Mingle at Momtrends
Thrifters Anonymous at Colorblind

Saturday, 29 September 2012

40th Birthday Party: Outfit Sneak Peek!

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So two whole months after my birthday, I'm hosting my party to celebrate it tonight! 

I thought I'd give you guys a little sneak peek of what I'll be wearing... don't want to give too much away, except to say I'm wearing vintage, and I'm right now deciding how I'm dressing up my outfit*, hence the pile of jewellery I've shown you here. I wore the number 40 glasses on the post I did for my birthday which you can see here; maybe I'll just put them on for a couple of photos at the party ;)

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And just to make you feel part of the action, here's the invitation I handed out to friends and family weeks ago (designed by me):

PARTY INVITE Front

Hopefully I won't be nursing too much of a sore head on Sunday morning... wish me luck with that! The last time I had a proper birthday party (i.e. not just a meal out or similar) was my 25th in Chelsea, London; I was a lot more sprightly back then and could easily stay awake and party until the early hours. Tonight I'll probably be at home tucked up in bed with a cup of hot chocolate by midnight, absolutely exhausted ;)

So come back in a few days to see the outfit post in full - but in the meantime there'll be the debut of another vintage dress in an outfit post tomorrow! Don't tell me I don't know how to tease you all, hee hee

Oh and tomorrow is the last day to enter my giveaway! Click here to enter!

Catherine x

*Post written in advance on Thursday evening...!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Happy 40th, Dita Von Teese (Celebrating Her Style)

Dita Von Teese - Happy 40th
Source

When I first did my research into who my celebrity "ageing yardsticks" were - those celebs born the same year as me - I think I was the most pleased to discover Dita Von Teese was one of them; in my eyes she is a walking style icon. She's just about the only current celebrity who truly conjures up old Hollywood: never seen without a glamourous hair out of place, even when she's "slumming it" at Coachella. And on top of that, I can't believe she's 40...!

So, like my Happy 40th Cameron Diaz post of last month, I thought I'd delve a bit further into the style of Ms. Von Teese and see what inspiration I can glean from the queen of retro elegance. I hope you like my choices...!


Off-Duty Style

I've started with some examples of her off-duty style - and she really never disappoints! I am so in awe of her attention to detail, retro accessorising and her hair and make-up. Although I am generally not a massive fan of black hair with very pale skin (because I had that look in the early 90s, not good on me) - I am fascinated by anyone who carries it off with aplomb. And her dress-down days are more glamorous than my dress up days: I've tended to always picture her on the red carpet in those gorgeous 30s and 40s style gowns, but I was surprised to discover that she really loves crazy prints and soft fabrics in her down time.

Happy 40th - Dita Von Teese (Casual)
Source: all zimbio.com

And you know what? There is a never ending supply of Dita-inspired pieces out there - in fact I was quite excited about how many I've found (scroll through - there's a lot)! Another great place to search for vintage clothes - especially dresses - is eBay. I think about 80% of my dresses are from eBay, mostly vintage; in fact I have a very, very similar style dress to the one Dita is wearing on the top left picture. It may be next summer by the time that one is seen on the blog, however, after the summer we had here in the UK...!




Airport Chic and Press Events

The other Dita styles that I love are the neutral (mostly black) airport and non-red carpet event outfits, where she again flexes those retro muscles and shows us how Hollywood elegance is really done. As those of you who are familiar with my style know, I'm not personally a fan of black - but when it looks this good I'm all over it like a rash... she looks stunning. All the time.

When I was a kid I was fascinated by actresses' style in black and white and early colour movies - anything typically Hollywood, in fact - so I love how she's keeping that old school glamour alive with her porcelain skin, red lips and raven hair. And have you noticed that for someone whose job entails her baring nearly every inch of her body, she dresses very modestly (skirts and dresses are always below the knee)? She is living proof that we don't need to show off tons of flesh to look alluring, sexy and uber-feminine. Her waist is always defined, the fit of every outfit is perfect (that's tailoring for you), and she flashes just the right amount of leg or decolletage.

Happy 40th - Dita Von Teese (Dressy)
Source: all zimbio.com

It was just as easy to find pieces inspired by her airport chic looks as well, in fact. Black, white/ivory and grey; tailored dresses or raincoats, and simple cowl necks that are just so beautiful and ooze class:



Unlike Dita, very, very few celebrities look glamorous 100% of the time they're seen in public. Victoria Beckham is another... er, I can't think of any more off the top of my head. Dita Von Teese is style on a stick; can you imagine her wearing skinny jeans and Ugg boots on her day off whilst out shopping? No, I thought not.

So Happy Birthday, fellow 40 year old! Oh and I couldn't leave out this stunning photo, taken the other week at LFW. She looks amazing :)

Dita Von Teese
Source

CATHERINE Signature - SMALL

Next up? Thandie Newton in November... now there's yet another celeb I can't believe will be 40!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

One Dress, Four Ways: Job Interview Outfits (Part 1)

One Dress, Four Ways: Job Interview Outfits (Part 1)

I'm so excited to share with you all that I have teamed up with Marks & Spencer for a Blogger Style Challenge!

Every Wednesday or Thursday, I'll be bringing you one of a four-part series on styling a dress for different job interview scenarios... as you know, I love a challenge! M&S have been good enough to give me a (free of charge) dress of my choice that I have to create four outfits around, depending on the brief they've given me. I hope you will join me each week to see what I have come up with - hopefully it will give some inspiration to those of you who are either trying to get a new job or just want some styling tips for ways to style one dress at the office.

(To see the dresses I chose from, click on this link to their dresses page.)

Each week I'll be up against four other female bloggers for the brand's chosen outfit of the week. If my outfit is chosen it will be featured on the M&S Stories website - I'd really appreciate it if you dropped by and left a comment there! As it's a prize challenge, there is also an overall winner at the end of the four weeks chosen by their panel... cross your fingers for me. It'll be great to see what the other bloggers - including five male bloggers styling their choice of suit - come up with each week.


Week 1 Challenge: Creative but Classy

The brief: Create an interview outfit for a fashion role at a well-known UK fashion brand (e.g. a design role, a salesperson, a marketing exec, a buyer).

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So week one starts with a job interview for a fashion brand! First of all, the dress: I chose this dress because a) it's a neutral grey so colour can be added with accessories as necessary, b) it has short sleeves and can be layered with blouses underneath, plus it wouldn't make you overheat if wearing a jacket, c) I love the pleated skirt and waistband detail, d) it's the perfect length for my taste and the modesty required for an interview, e) it has a very Mad Men look to it and I've wanted a dress in that style for ages... I think that's enough reasons.

As the interview is for a fashion brand, I can appreciate it's a bit difficult to know just how "fashion" to go. I decided to keep it reasonably simple and add pieces that show I'm serious about the job and making a good first impression, but still aware of what's on-trend without piling on too many statement pieces.

So I started by layering the dress with my bird print blouse with the Peter Pan collar, creating a look that gives a hint at the Alexa Chung in me that's dying to get out. (Mr. Summers said I looked "very Alexa" without any prompting from me. And as he recognised that style, I decided I was on the right track.) I'm usually one for arm candy overload, but an interview, even for a fashion brand, is not the time to have an arm full of noisy jewellery. So I felt one statement ring, neutral nails, a vintage style watch and an ostrich-effect leather tote was enough accessorising to create an impression without looking like I was trying too hard. And plain black heels to match the belt (not the bag) finished off a look that I feel says "hire me - I'm smart, organised, and know my fashion onions". Though it might be wise not to mention the onions bit in the interview ;)

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What I want to do with this challenge over the next three weeks is to create four "real" looks - that's to say, outfits that I would actually wear myself if I were going for these job interviews.

And as a little something extra I'll pass your way each week:

Job interview tip #1: Whatever you'd be wearing day to day in the job, you should dress one level up for the interview. It's a good rule of thumb, I think.

So I hope you like part one - don't forget to join me next week for the second job interview style challenge (starring the same dress)!

CATHERINE Signature - SMALL

Dress (includes belt): c/o Marks & Spencer, Shirt: A|Wear at ASOS, Bag: L.Credi at TK Maxx, Heels: New Look, Ring: ASOS, Watch: Gift

Shop my look!



Monday, 24 September 2012

Hearts, Skinnies and Platforms

Hearts, Skinnies and Platforms

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Hope you all had a good weekend, my lovelies (and see the bottom of the post for my GIVEAWAY details)!

I just  this dress... I don't wear it nearly often enough, which is silly really because it's soft, comfortable and made up of such pretty colours. And the belt I've added is a genuine 80s (so I'm told) vintage belt - I bought one each in black, navy and white a few years ago when I first discovered them on eBay. In fact if you'd like one, you should be able to pick one up that's exactly the same (from at least the UK and the US) if you search for "vintage butterfly belt". I did a search just now and found 12 of the same style, in red, yellow, blue, black... oh dear, I'm even thinking of getting one or two more now ;)

I'm assuming then that these belts must have been a popular trend at the time - though strangely I don't remember them myself. Does anyone else remember them first time around...?

Thanks for stopping by... oh and don't forget my GIVEAWAY if you haven't yet checked it out - I have TEN PRIZES up for grabs - click here to enter!
CATHERINE Signature - SMALL

Dress: New York Laundry, Skinnies: Gap, Wedges: ASOS*, Monogram necklace: Max & Chloe*, Belt: eBay Vintage, Grey cuff: ASOS, Watches: Debenhams*, Rings: ASOS, Nails: Barry M Matt White

Shop my look! I've picked the *actual item where possible, if still available:


Linking up to:

Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style
Monday Mingle at Glamamom
Thrifters Anonymous at Colour Blind
What I Wore Wednesday at The Pleated Poppy

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Autumn Coats and Jackets Review, Plus a Giveaway [Closed]

Joules - Autumn Coats & Jackets

Although I'm a summer girl through and through, there is something I relish about getting my coats out again when Autumn rolls around, and I love looking at what new coats are on offer each year.

Joules Clothing is a British company selling traditional pieces with a twist, and they have the most gorgeous selection of women's coats this season. Now they are quite pricey, but I do think you get what you pay for where quality's concerned with coats and jackets, and as they are such classic pieces I know it would be money well spent.

The clothing line is inspired by the eccentricities of the English countryside (where I happen to live!), and although I do like my quirky clothing, I still love owning a few classic pieces to dress up and pair with more on-trend items. Joules Clothing have asked me to pick my favourite coats and jackets for review - I hope you like my choices!

Joules Clothing - DUCHESS Sand Joules Clothing - DUCHESS Navy
Left: Duchess Coat in Sand, £240    Right: Duchess Coat in Navy, £240

The Duchess is a classic long riding coat, and I can't decide whether I like the brown or navy one better (though I think the brown would look great with my red hair). It has a detachable half back belt that gives it a nipped-in waist, and it has that lovely country gent look to it - I'd feel like I was about to go horse riding in a Jane Austen novel wearing this. Joules coats are made with beautiful floral linings - what is it about a gorgeous lining that is so appealing? I don't think traditional country coats can get more classic and well-cut than this.

Joules Clothing - TOGGLE Navy Joules Clothing - FAIRHURST
Left: Toggle Duffle Coat in Navy, £159    Right: Fairhurst Quilted Jacket in Black, £119

Neither of the two coats above are styles that I would normally go for; however, I am often drawn to buying/wearing things that I feel are out of my comfort zone. I usually consider duffle coats too bulky, too schoolgirlish - but it's the type of coat I then see on other people and think it looks great. Maybe I should just try one on one day and see; it's hardly going to date by next winter, is it?!

I've picked the quilted jacket - a style I would normally steer clear of - because the three-quarter length and fitted shape swayed me. It's a great update to what is often considered a coat worn by farmers' wives and country bumpkins, but I think paired with on-trend pieces like floral jeans and a fabulous thick knitted snood, this would be so retro-countryside-cool. It would also be extremely practical for the cold; I reckon you'd be the most stylish dog walker on the planet wearing one of these. I'd personally avoid wearing a silk headscarf knotted under my chin with it - I love the royal family but I don't want to look like the Queen walking round Balmoral estate...!

Joules Clothing - HARTFIELD Navy Joules Clothing - STOWFORD
Left: Hartfield Tweed Coat in Navy, £179    Right: Stowford Tweed Coat in Green, £179

I am a huge fan of blazers and I love both these styles. What you can't see from the pics above is the gorgeous detailing; they both have assorted decorative buttons (including a fox's face! I love that!) with lovely velvet panels or collars and a floral lining. The Hartfield is definitely my no.1 pick of the bunch - it would be perfect with jeans, chinos or tailored trousers, and would be so versatile in navy with the bright colours that I wear.

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As mentioned before, these coats are pricey, but if I were considering getting one of these styles as an investment piece, this is the sort of quality I'd want to save up for. It's the details that make the difference: buttons, linings and trimmings are what make coats and jackets feel more special and ooze quality. And would you believe it... since I started writing this post, I've now decided I honestly think I would get the Fairhurst quilted jacket if I were to buy one, even though it was the last one to be added to my shortlist for review. I like the idea of taking a very traditional design - something that's almost considered old-fashioned - and wearing it with quirky pieces that bring it right up to date, rather than what they're traditionally worn with. Funny how you can talk yourself round where fashion's concerned, isn't it...?

So now you want to know about the giveaway, don't you?


Giveaway details

The very generous people from Joules have given me TEN of their gorgeous A5 floral notebook journals to give away to ten of you lovely readers - just right for jotting down those blog post ideas or random scribblings!

Joules Clothing - A5 JOURNAL Front & Back

All you have to do to enter is the following:

1. Follow Not Dressed As Lamb on GFC and Bloglovin

2. Decide which coat/jacket you like the best and what occasion you'd wear it to

3. Leave a comment with your name and email address saying you have done the above and where you'd wear your fave coat.

Want to earn an extra entry or four?

Follow Not Dressed As Lamb on Twitter (@notlamb) and leave a separate comment with your name and email
Follow Not Dressed As Lamb on Instagram (@notlamb) and leave a separate comment with your name and email
Like Joules Clothing on Facebook and leave a separate comment with your name and email
Follow Joules Clothing on Twitter and leave a separate comment with your name and email




The giveaway ends on Sunday 30 September at 21:00 BST and the ten winners will be chosen at random, contacted by email and announced in a separate post. Although you can enter up to five times, please note there is a maximum of one notebook per person. It's also an international giveaway so everyone is welcome to enter :)

Good luck!

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This is a sponsored post and Joules Clothing have compensated me for reviewing my own choices of coats and jackets. All opinions are my own, and 100% honest, however.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Backwards, Floral, Stripes and Black

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Photo Tips Friday will be back in two or three weeks when I've prepared some more posts for you all, plus! I have some exciting things coming up this week, not least a *giveaway* with TEN prizes up for grabs - come back to check it out on Sunday! In the meantime...

Isn't it great to fall back in love with something in your wardrobe that you were either going to throw out or just hadn't worn in ages? This sweater had actually been consigned to my nightwear drawer along with my PJs - it was comfy and loose but was cut far too low at the front for daytime to look presentable. (Don't worry, I always layered it with something underneath...!) I've realised the low v-neck look has now long since passed, with all the round neck sweaters and Peter Pan collars so many of us love so much.


So for some unknown reason, a couple of weeks ago I spontaneously decided to unpick the annoyingly tight wide ribbing at the bottom (which had started to come undone via a hole anyway) and simply wear it backwards. I love how it makes the back the feature of the outfit, though you get a little preview of the vivid striped top at my shoulders from the front. It does tend to fall off my shoulders a lot, but I'll forgive it for the "Kids from Fame" feeling I get...!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend :)

CATHERINE Signature - SMALL

Sweater: Unknown (old), Tank: La Redoute, Chinos: Marks & Spencer*, Mary Janes: Next, Bag: Julien Macdonald at Debenhams, Earrings: Unknown, Rings: ASOS*, Bracelets: Next / New Look / F+F at Tesco / H&M / Debenhams, Watch: Jasper Conran at Debenhams, Nails: Barry M Matt White / Models Own Hedkandi Ibiza Mix*

Shop my look: Items marked* are the actual item if they're still available



Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Chasing the Golden Hour in Knitted Stripes

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I don't know about necessarily chasing the golden hour, but we definitely had a race against time to get these photos taken before the sun dropped below the horizon... you can see the shadow slowly creeping up my legs (I had to keep edging up the bank with each shot). The little round stone building in the background is an 18th century windmill near my sister's house (it's long since lost its sails and hasn't been in use for many generations); I think it makes a wonderful background with the setting sun.

Those of you who follow the blog regularly may notice that my usual milkmaid plaits look a little looser this time - this is probably the laziest hairdo in the world! Wear your hair up in the plaits for a day, then before bed simply unpin them, making sure they're untied at the ends. They should stay in place overnight but be pretty loose in the morning - simply plonk them back up top of your head as they are and pin in place. Because they're loose they'll give more volume to your hair overall, and it makes a nice change from the [my] usual "hard" look of very tightly plaited hair.

So are you all having a good week - I hope so! Thanks so much for stopping by :)

CATHERINE Signature - SMALL

Sweater: F+F at Tesco, Snood: ASOS, Jeans: Very, Shoes: ASOS, Bag: New Look, Sunglasses: Red Herring at Debenhams, Watch: ASOS, Bracelets: Debenhams, ASOS* / New Look, Rings: ASOS / H&M 

Shop my look! Those marked* are the actual items, if available:




Linking up to:

What I Wore Wednesday at The Pleated Poppy
What I Wore Wednesday at Transatlantic Blonde

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