Monday, 29 September 2014

4 Modern Ways to Style a Classic Pearl Necklace

4 Modern Ways to Style a Classic Pearl Necklace
I have to admit, I am a bit of a preppy girl. I'm happy in loafers, blazers, Breton stripes, shirts and sweaters, Blair Waldorf-style hairbands... I've worn them all. But there is one classically preppy piece that I personally don't wear: the choker-style pearl necklace (especially with a black dress). I think it looked superb on Jackie Kennedy but I feel a little too grown up in it - despite my 40-something years.

However, when I was little I was fascinated by the pearl necklace my grandmother owned; I wondered about how the pearls were formed, harvested and threaded together to create a beautiful piece of jewellery. So a "set of pearls" was something I'd always had my heart set on owning, but somehow thought they wouldn't look right on me. Until, that is, I was contacted by the The Pearl Source, a company that sells thousands of styles of freshwater, Akoya and South Sea pearls.

I was offered a chance to own my own set of pearls from this selection:, and I have to say I was tempted but hesitant - for the reason mentioned above. I'd always wanted white freshwater pearls, so I said yes and at the same time set myself the challenge of styling a classic, choker length necklace in a way that would be more me and less Jackie K. I decided to to create four modern ways to style a classic pearl necklace - here's what I came up with. First, the necklace itself:

Classic pearl necklace with black
I chose the standard length 7-8mm white freshwater pearls and wore them for the shoot with a plain black dress (Mad Men/Jackie K style); it looks lovely, but it definitely needs some zhujhing up. I wore the black dress with all the different ways I've styled it, though I'd actually switch it up with other tops and dresses for an even more modern look. The more you step away from a classic LBD, check shirts or crew neck sweaters with pearls, the less preppy your outfit. Read on for the four different ideas I came up with, plus a few styling tips.

4 Modern Ways to Style a Classic Pearl Necklace | 1. With diamanté brooches
1. With diamanté brooches (pins)

One of my favourite ways to spice up a plain necklace is by adding brooches. I have loads of different types in all shapes, sizes and colours - I especially like these two starburst designs with the pearls. You can add one, two or several, but make sure you don't hide too many of the pearls.

4 Modern Ways to Style a Classic Pearl Necklace | 2. With a spiked crystal choker
2. With a spiked crystal choker

By choosing a very on-trend necklace - such as this one with spikes - to pair with your pearls, you will create your own modern version of a statement necklace. Choose one that is just a tiny bit longer so that the pearls can sit neatly inside it. No one will have a necklace like this; it will be a total one-off... you could add yet another necklace to make it even more impressive. This is my favourite of the four ways to style it - it looks ladylike but edgy at the same time.

4 Modern Ways to Style a Classic Pearl Necklace | 3. With flower corsages
3. With flower corsages (and earrings)

Like brooches, I have a bit of a collection of flower corsages to brighten up outfits. Here I've added two really big ones and some mini corsage earrings... a bit over-the-top perhaps, but why not?! A tip: pin at least one of the corsages onto your top or dress as well to keep the necklace from spinning round.

4 Modern Ways to Style a Classic Pearl Necklace | 4. As a hairband
4. As a hairband

There's no reason you have to wear a necklace round your neck, so why not create a pretty hairband? It's still on the preppy theme (pearls, hairband), but with a twist. A choker is just about the right length for this: drape it gently over your head, then carefully add a kirby grip [bobby pin] at each end and pin up and into your hair. This works much better if you've taken your hair up fully or partly as I've done here - there's something for the grips to hold onto.

Classic freshwater pearl necklace
Classic freshwater pearl necklace (choker)
The pearls

My necklace came in a beautiful presentation box and a certificate of authentication was included. It has the standard "Finesse" clasp in sterling silver (which happens to be my favourite style), and totally reminds me of my grandmother's pearls. The pearls are knotted, and I always remember that my mother told me the way to tell real pearls is by the fact that they are knotted with string. I may not have inherited my own set of pearls and I may not have a daughter of my own to leave mine to, but I have several nieces and I'd like to pass my necklace onto one of them one day.

(But they're not getting their hands on it just yet...!)

Do you own your own set of pearls - a gift, inherited, or did you buy your own? Do you wear them often or have they sat unworn in a box... let me know if I've given you some inspiration on ways to wear them in the comments!
Catherine x
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P.S. The extra pieces I've featured are all from my jewellery and accessories collection - none of them are new and are no longer available unfortunately. But I can recommend Asos for on-trend necklaces, Accessorize for corsages and Debenhams for brooches.

Linking up to: Visible MondayLet It ShineShare in StyleMonday MingleStyle SessionsTrend Spin Link-UpWhat I Wore WednesdayPassion for Fashion FridayFriday's Fab Favourites

I have written this post in collaboration with The Pearl Source. All content is original, however, and opinions are my own and 100% honest.


Saturday, 27 September 2014

8 Teenage Fashion Bloggers You Should Know

8 Teenage Fashion Bloggers You Should Know

If you are over 25, I urge you: PLEASE do not be put off by the title of this post. I've included teenage fashion bloggers in my fashion blogger series 

simply because I think that they, like 40+ bloggers, often feel excluded from certain parts of the blogging community simply on account of their age. However, a quick glance at these eight amazing blogs will hopefully prove to you that they deserve recognition in the blogosphere as much as any of us because they are incredibly stylish, hard working and produce excellent content, despite their lack of years on the planet.

What is so great about the teens I follow is that contrary to what what we think of the average teenager, these girls don't all dress the same - at all. The creativity shown on their blogs is incredible, and many of them are on a student budget which makes me admire them all the more (it's also quite refreshing to see faces devoid of heavy make up and sometimes completely bare faced.)

I truly believe that readers of all ages would get inspiration from these girls - for example I think that my blogging friend Sacramento (50+) would love a lot of the outfits that Ellie (16) wears.

And finally - please don't think these girls can't write. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Some of the best writing out there has come from some of these teenage bloggers, putting many older bloggers to shame. They have so much to offer... I hope you agree.

Rosalind - Clothes Cameras and Coffee

1. Clothes, Cameras & Coffee (19)

Rosalind's photos are as wonderful and ethereal as her outfits: romantic, ladylike and from another time. She's heavily influenced by the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and writes the most fascinating prose to accompany her outfit posts. You'll get lost in her world, and love every minute of it.

Lily - Joli House

2. Joli House (16)

My good blogging friend Lily may only be 16 but she must be one of the hardest working bloggers out there: as well as writing her blog, she makes many of her own clothes, has a incredibly mature approach to her health and fitness and somehow found the time to get 10 A*s in her GCSEs this summer. Her style is fresh, youthful and wonderfully feminine, but with just a little bit of an edge. She also has a lot of intelligent things to say about blogging, life and finding her way in the world. One to watch.

Ellie - Strut in Her Style

3. Strut in Her Style (19)

I found Ellie's blog a month or two ago and it was one of those "wowww" moments when you find a new blogger whose style you love straight away. She nails every new trend going - including those oh-so-difficult-to-wear culottes - and has a great edginess to whatever she puts together. With a wonderful taste in prints and to-die-for colour palettes, she's my new favourite blog to pin to death. Catch her while she's still a teen - only four more weeks...!

Rose - Fashion Rhapsody

4. Fashion Rhapsody (17)

Rose is the perfect example of fashion on a budget: creative, inventive and totally unique. She studies fashion at college (it shows), and I love how she has that whole "thrown together beautifully" look going on. Her style is a little bit 70s vintage, a little bit bohemian; it's basically how I think I'd dress if I were 17 again and had those endless legs and a student budget.

Ellie - Rose and Vintage

5. Rose and Vintage (16)

I just love, love love, Ellie's style. The end. Seriously, though - she dresses in a way that makes me want to cut all ties with Asos and just shop in Beyond Retro and all the vintage stores I can get my hands on forever more. For someone so young she absolutely has her own sense of style - she knows what she likes and it's beautifully mismatched, kitsch and quite playful. As mentioned at the beginning she reminds me of a young Sacramento: all crazy prints, skirts and dresses and wild accessories.

Roisin - How to Survive as a Fashionable Teenager

6. How to Survive as a Fashionable Teenager (15)

I've had the pleasure of meeting Roisin [pronounced "Row-sheen"] when we sat next to each other at the Bath in Fashion Blogger Awards last year - she was only 13 at the time and I was amazed at how clued-up she was in all things blogging and fashion. With her stunning pre-Raphaelite hair and eclectic style, she deserves her place in my Top 8 not just for her style but for her writing. DO NOT miss Roisin's writing. You'll think you've stumbled upon the blog of someone who writes for Vogue, she's that good. So remember you read about her here first, and I'll leave you with one quote... I need say no more.

"While the world is battling with ill-fated history, the young, creative minds of the Western world are busy regramming Mean Girls quotes and writing think pieces on the cultural significance of Cher's Clueless outfits. We are constantly reminiscing the halcyon days when the measure of maturity wasn't positive credit rating, but simply owning a lava lamp." [more]

Tolmeia - Tolly Dolly Posh

7. Tolly Dolly Posh (14)

Tolmeia (Tolly) is a serious blogger... do not be fooled by her age. She's already collaborated with a brand to produce a range of socks and tights for girls, and her press/featured page is impressive for one so young. (Remember, Tavi Gevinson started her blog aged just 12.) Tolly wears just what a teen should be wearing but with no ties to the latest trend or "must have" item - it's just her own kooky, fun style. Oh, and follow her on Twitter @tollydollyposh too - she's got a lot of sensible stuff to say.

Camilla - Into the Fold

8. Into the Fold (18)

Probably the most streamlined, urban style of all my teen bloggers, Camilla oozes sophistication and sportswear chic in clean lines and an almost monochromatic palette. The photography is beautiful, and I love the contrast of her messy, blonde bob (she has her Scandinavian roots to thank for that) with her simple, sleek pieces. She is a classic example of how age shouldn't make a jot of difference to who you follow and whose style you appreciate.

8 Teenage Fashion Bloggers You Should Know
I hope I've done my job in convincing everyone that age makes no difference when it comes to blogging - if you like someone, then like them. Whether you're 14 like Tolly or in your 80s like Daphne Selfe or Carmen Dell'Orefice, there's something to learn from everyone. I know I harp on about my age a bit when it comes to my own blog, but that's mostly to do with saying to others my age that it's okay to make an effort with your appearance, or write a blog. The same applies to teenagers.

What do you think of these amazing girls? Do share in the comments!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Ultimate Brogues in White and Silver | With Head to Toe Purple

Purple skinnies and top with silver and white brogues - over 40 fashion
Every once in a while I discover somewhere new to shop online, and it makes me wonder why I always, always go into autopilot and type in "asos" or "topshop" whenever I'm looking for something to buy. Sure, it's great to have your go-to shops, but when I found an absolute diamond of a shoe like these Helsar silver and white brogues, it frightened me that I may have missed them otherwise! I mentioned on Instagram that these were "the brogues to end all brogues", and had Kelya Shoes not pinged me an email earlier this month I may never have found such a comfy but striking pair to add to my growing brogue collection. Maybe this is the end, though - no other pair can beat these, surely...?!

I think the pictures say it all - the design is so amazing, I don't think I've seen two-tone brogues with such a strong metallic before. The cushioned, flat sole was incredibly comfortable right from the first wear (and no rubbing even though I wore them all day). For some reason purple sprang to mind when I wore them last weekend, so I went head-to-toe purple and echoed the silver with my metallic-thread chevron sweater. With a big splash of orange on my head(!) it made a simple weekend look I loved.

If you're looking for high quality but unusual designs in footwear, I'd highly recommend Kelya. Their range is quite selective brands-wise and not exactly massive, but I loved a large proportion of the designs and they have as many fabulous flats as they have heart-stopping heels (men's shoes too). They're a Portuguese company but delivery was super quick: they offer free standard shipping on all online orders over €150 (£120, or $200). Considering the shipping costs of some international retailers, theirs is quite reasonable at less than a tenner.

Have you discovered any new-to-you retailers lately that you're so glad to have found? And are any of you mad about brogues like I am (I have about 10 pairs)... do share in the comments!

Purple skinnies and silver and white brogues - over 40 fashion
Purple skinnies and top with silver and white brogues - over 40 fashion
Purple skinnies and silver and white brogues - over 40 fashion
Red hair, purple chevrons
Catherine x
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P.S. If you like this, you might like to see some of my other brogues (perfect outfits for the autumn) worn here, here and here!

Brogues: c/o Kelya Shoes, Sweater: Asos (old), Jeans: Asos, Belt: John Lewis (old), Watch: Debenhams

Linking up to: Visible MondayLet It ShineShare in StyleMonday MingleStyle SessionsTrend Spin Link-UpWhat I Wore WednesdayPassion for Fashion FridayFriday's Fab Favourites

I have written this post in collaboration with Kelya Shoes. All content is original, however, and opinions are my own and 100% honest.


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Neon Pink and Black with Distressed Denim and a Glass Pendant

Neon pink and black - Over 40 fashion
This time of year is perfect for wearing blazers, and my eons-old trusty black blazer will tone down or smarten up all manner of outfits. With my floral neon pink top and some distressed jeans it's a perfect weekend look for the autumn, and the fact that I can still wear open-toe shoes without freezing my tootsies off makes me very happy.

The star of this outfit for me is, however, the fabulous pendant that was kindly gifted to me from Eternal Collection, a family-run company in Scotland that makes exclusive, handmade costume jewellery. They use Murano glass jewellery from Venice (the material used to make my pendant), sterling silver jewellery from Mexico and semi-precious gemstones and pearls. I'm wearing the Grazia black multi Venetian Murano glass pendant, and I love the fact that each one is unique... the patterns made in the glass by the gold, black and silver swirls is beautiful (see the close-ups below).

I think the black blazer and the neon pink gives it the perfect "frame" to really shine - I find that wearing the right necklines and colours are important to show off a necklace (and can be tricky to get right). The wrong neckline or fabric can ruin a beautiful piece of jewellery, so I find I often wear a particular necklace (especially if it's a statement piece) with the same items of clothing each time. From these pictures I can see that this pendant needs a light or bright colour and a high neckline, so I'll be sticking with that formula in future when I wear it.

Do you find that you often wear the same pieces of jewellery with certain outfits? How do you know if it's working - are you like me and see from photos that you're onto a winner? Do share in the comments!

Neon pink and black with distressed denim - Over 40 fashion
Neon pink and black
Neon pink and black with glass pendant
Below are some of the other pieces that I considered - none of the ones I've featured are over £45 so you can see their prices are incredibly reasonable. With 1,713 earrings, 170 bracelets and 504 necklaces to choose from (plus accessories and clip-on earrings), there is a vast selection to suit all budgets in every colour and material imaginable.

My pendant arrived in the most beautiful gift box, and information on care and authenticity was included as well - if you're thinking about Christmas presents (yes, I said the "C" word) you can't go wrong!
1. Crystal Floral Y-Style Necklace, 2. Feathers Silver Necklace, 3. Brushed Gold and Deep Hematite Necklace, 4. Honey Bee Necklace, 5. Swarovski Crystal and Pearl Silver Bangle, 6. Arc Gold Tone Cuff Bracelet, 7. Brushed Silver and Hematite Stretch Cuff Bracelet, 8. Jet Black and Diamante Silver Tone Drop Earrings
Catherine x
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P.S. Eternal Collection also specialise in clip-on earrings and are about to launch a new clip-on earring mechanism that is comfortable, not pinchy. With 2,480 clip-ons currently on the website you've got loads to choose from if you (or a loved one) can't get on with pierced earrings.

Pendant necklace: c/o Eternal Collection, Top: Asos, Jacket: La Redoute, Jeans: Asos, Heels: Faith, Bag: Debenhams

Linking up to: Visible MondayLet It ShineShare in StyleMonday MingleStyle SessionsTrend Spin Link-UpWhat I Wore WednesdayPassion for Fashion FridayFriday's Fab Favourites

I have written this post in collaboration with Eternal Collection. All content is original, however, and opinions are my own and 100% honest.
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