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Monday, 30 March 2015

So what happens if it doesn't get warmer...?

Back to thinking about Spring and Summer nights out, I'm slightly concerned that it might not get any warmer any time soon. Which would be a disaster if we all end up finding our perfect dress, only to accessorise it with freshly plucked chicken goose bumps clad legs.  Nothing worse. 

So that's reason one for this blog.  Another option needed that offers more coverage.

Reason two is inspiration taken from last week's Grazia, where one of the journalists wore the same piece of clothing for a month, changing it up into different outfits.  For day and night.  Very interesting indeed (even though we only saw about 4 photos so I'm assuming there was a lot of variation on the other days too...)

Lastly, I am having the hugest success with the marmite dungarees (which I appreciate is a matter of opinion but giving myself the benefit of the doubt...) that I am hoping to find another wardrobe favourite in...... a Jumpsuit. (so buying into the alleged versatility element of Reason two and I love a challenge)

Yes I know I've done these before but I've never quite been able to identify what I've been looking for.   And now I've had a lightbulb moment. 

  • It has to be a jumpsuit and not a boilersuit (no zip down the front, no stiff fabrics)
  • It has to be in a silky, tencel, lyocel, viscose style drapey fabric (covering the options there... but not a creasy fabric - it has to pass the crease test) 
  • It has to be tapered into the leg (I can't be doing with finding the perfect heel height every time I want to wear them) 
  • It has to be plain - no print.  
  • Colourwise, I'm looking at a neutral dark of black, navy or khaki. 
Let the search begin:-

Starting with the one that Angela (journalist from Grazia mentioned above) wore on her experiment. 




Buuuuuuuuuut, I did see this in H&M today and it didn't rock my world.  Angela wears it a lot better than it looks in the flesh.  Maybe I need to try it on and give it the proper crease test (which involves nothing more complicated than scrunching it up in my hands for as long as you can without getting thrown out of the shop) but it did look creasy mccreasy.....

So other alternatives which might be slightly more robust fabric.

This is in the sale at Atterley Road and is a great reduction.  Not many sizes left though.  The most similar I could find to the one above. 




Now we need to ignore the styling as we all know that it's not a true representation.....

Didn't think about grey but how about grey? 

Tencel 3/4 Sleeve Jumpsuit £49.50 from M&S.  I'm not sure this is quite what I'm looking for as it's ever so slightly on the utilitarian side.




This one looks a lot more versatile.  Lovely heavy drapey fabric and sleeveless but not too much flesh on show.  Perfect with a little jacket over the top (which is another obsession just waiting to happen)

Wrap Front Jumpsuit £69 from Autograph  This is top of the pile for me.

Another cross over version with cap sleeves and this time in navy (well they say it's navy.... it looks like a slate grey to me but then you gotta love the M&S website....) 



Again, I fear the buttons may be a detail too far for me but if it's a good fit (and it is in my beloved Tencel) 









 haven't gone down the very economical route as I have had one of these in the past and truth be told, quality of fabric with a jumpsuit is important.  Mine looked like I'd slept in it after having it on for about an hour and even though I loved the fit and the style (crossover sleeveless like the M&S Autograph one which I am most tempted to try) it just looked cheap.  I am certainly not averse to buying cheap clothes At All but I don't really want to look tatty in them. 

That said, just because you spend money on something, doesn't necessarily mean it is going to be good quality.  And there in lies the dilemma, you do need to do the crease and fit test. 

I have high hopes for these though and am really liking the idea of navy.  Although the jury is out on the tie neck...




Love the simplicity of this one.... 



And there we have the rather woefully poor selection (M&S you win at jumpsuits this year).

Now I know the one thing people always say - it's so difficult to go to the loo in them.... Okay so it's not as easy as whipping down a pair of jeans but in all honesty, it's not like wearing a wedding dress or a straight jacket (the latter I'm assuming is hard to take off, I'll admit it's something I've not got around to trying).   It's two minutes longer.  I can live with that for an outfit that's super versatile and comfortable whilst you've got it on.  

I'm going to be ordering a selection of these to try as I'm on an "all in one" roll.  But no I don't have plans for a onesie blog.. (then again, if you'd told me a matter of months ago I would be a dungarees advocate, I'd have laughed you out of town) 

Trip to London today to see Hush - loads to report.  Absolutely gorgeous collection this season along with a new Beach Collection being launched soon.  

Outfit for the trip - flats needed as I then tramped around Covent Garden which was a real treat.  

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Cream blouse - Zara
Black dungarees - H&M
Black Tuxedo Blazer - Hush
Leopard Print Scarf - Louis Vuitton
Black Wild Kat ballet pumps - The British Flat Shoe Compnay
Diego bag - Alexander Wang

Tomorrow, last day at school for my children and they are on their knees (or maybe that's me....)  They are exhausted, crabby and ratty (or again... maybe that's me....actually that's definitely me) and I can't wait for them to have some down time.  I am finally finally having my hair colour done tomorrow - it's only been since October that I haven't had it coloured.  The Shame......

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Can we recreate last year's Next Dress?

Do you know the one I mean?  The throw on, doesn't cost a lot, washes like a dream, dress up dress down (although I will admit I didn't dress mine up much), every day frock. 

Last year, there was a dress in Next that honestly I wouldn't have looked twice at, but thanks to my friend's mum who had bought it, she then saw the light and bought it.  Then my best friend and I bought it (different colours) and then a fair number of you bought it too.  In different colours and in different lengths, it just seemed to work for so many people. 

I think it will probably be hard to find another one that is so versatile for so many of us, but well obviously I'm going to give it a go.  

And yes, I have already asked my friend to check out which dresses her mum has her eye on this year so that we can copy...... She's going to get back to me...

In the meantime though, I was very optimistic after the success of my grown up dress escapade the other day.  It cemented in my head, it doesn't really matter if something suits you, whilst it is good to try to step outside your comfort zone, if you honestly know that you aren't going to wear something often and it's sat in your wardrobe (having cost a lot of money and screeching YOU MUG, every time you look at it), then in those instances, I've decided I'm going to stick with what I know. 

Success as well in that I have found my first contender for the Summer wardrobe.  Here it is again from Kin at John Lewis along with another one in different shades. 

Kin by John Lewis Brush Stroke Tunic Dress £59



This one looks (as I've seen it in the flesh) exactly the same as the one above, except it's more expensive.  The mind boggles.  Very very Whistles like and even at the higher price, it's still a lot cheaper.  Pockets and machine washable.  I may have to get one in every colour.

Kin by John Lewis Artwork Print Dress £89




Similar shape but in navy again at Kin.  This one is definitely more on the sober side but with a pair of white sandals or white sneakers for a dress down look, would make it just as useful as with a pair of strappy sandals or heels for a dressier occasion.  Plus it also has pockets.  Yay.

Kin by John Lewis Kimono Print Dress £59 in navy



More plain in my beloved Tencel fabric.
Kin by John Lewis Short Sleeve Tencel Dress in Blue £69





Different range from John Lewis but this one is in the sale - would work perfectly for both Winter and Summer. 

Collection by John Lewis Bar Code Print Dress was £89 now £44




However the obvious place to look to replace the Next dress would be errrr Next?  And first up - a great looking Summery option (that would easily work for night as well as day).  To be honest, it looks like a similar version of the Whistles dresses from the last couple of years but at a third of the cost.  Let's pray it passes the crease test. 

My choice would definitely be the orange.  In Petite, Regular and Tall (although I do generally find as a tallie that Next dresses are always generously cut and I don't normally need the tall)

Crepe Detail Dress from Next £35


Or for the classic look - how about Ecru?  This would look great teamed with black and leopard print (I may have just found a total winner..forget the orange.)  I'm thinking black tux blazer and leaopard print heels, tan clutch.... But just as great for the school run on a super summery day with black sliders.   Just stay away from children and red wine (verging on impossible in my world...)






Now the one we got last year was drop waist and this looks like a really interesting option.  Very Orla Kiely but at a Next price.  I do think they are the one retailer that really has managed to maintain their price point and if anything they now seem more reasonable as so many others have put their prices up. 

Linen Blend Dress from Next £22





Whilst we're talking drop waist, I have to throw in again this shirt dress that I've tried on and can highly highly recommend. 

Charcoal Geo Print Shirt Dress £38






If you were to see this one at Matches, I don't think you'd bat an eyelid.  This is absolutely going on my list - it would work on so so many occasions.  Put with black sandals for dress down casual and heels for an occasion.  At this rate, I'm not sure I'm going to need to buy the Velvet by Graham & Spencer one (currently my favourite option.....at significantly more money) 

Mono Geo Printed Kaftan Dress £35



These shoes wouldn't be my choice but horses for courses and all that.

Another one to add to the list... the Kin one is looking less likely by the minute......

Bright Pink Tribal Notch Dress £40




Ok Next is now seriously giving Warehouse a run for their money on being on having the most gems for this season.  Love this.  Again in three different lengths. 

Printed Kaftan Dress £30 





Having mentioned Warehouse, I neglected to include any of their dresses yesterday as I was saving them for today.  More of the same, simple, pocket shift dress style. 

Summer Aztec Shift Dress £32



Absolutely love the colours of this one - would look amazing with tan heels or tan gladiator sandals.  Ok so maybe this is now top of my list... (ooh with tan ankle boots.....) 

Green Pampas Leaf Cocoon Dress £38




Speaking of tan sandals, this one is another one that would be a wardrobe staple.  As it's plain, I'd also team with either snakeskin or leopard print.  Not entirely sure if it's an olive khaki or a green khaki..... although I could go either. 

Green Polo Knit Dress £42 from Warehouse.  All a bit Ralph Lauren/JCrew no?



Finishing with some lovely summer staples from Hush.  I'm off to meet them tomorrow to see their High Sumer collection (sick children depending.... 10yr old is STILL not well, bless her - managed a trip to the cinema this afternoon but has fallen off a cliff again this evening.  Dosed up on every medication possible in an attempt to make her feel a bit better) 

Daisy Dress in Biscuit £65



Love a bit of stripe.  Again with heels (I'm thinking leopard could work yet again or keep it simple with white, navy, black or tan) this could work beautifully for a night out in the Summer.  

Jessica Striped Dress £50



And a classic plain black - perfect for all occasions, just change up or down your accessories as you see fit. 

Newport Dress from Hush £45



Any of those make your list?  Are you planning on building up your dress reserves this Summer or do you have another cunning plan for your wardrobe essentials?  What's your favourite style of dress to wear?  I feel I've definitely made inroads into the quagmire that is the shopping for summer dresses although still very much in the dark when it comes to knowing what sort of sandals I'm after. 

Outfit from today - managed to swerve rugby due to not being able to leave sick child at home.  Plus the 6yr old is on his knees, he's so so tired and I am planning on him making it into school for the last two days of term!

We did all make our cinema trip this afternoon though - Home.  Excellent film and highly recommended.   We all loved it.


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White longsleeved tee - H&M
Navy merino jumper - Uniqlo
Real Straight jeans - Gap
Cardigan - Zara
Stone maxi zip satchel - Anya Hindmarch
Cypress boots - Acne

Today the rain has been biblical here, I am sincerely hoping it clears up for tomorrow and my trip to London (I am such a wuss, I HATE London in the rain) and definitely for Tuesday when I'm finally having my hair done and lunch with The Husband.  Then the onslaught of the holidays begins......

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Having a storming season

I am talking about you, Warehouse. 

Now here's a funny thing.  I think we could be talking about two separate entities here.  The store and the website.  So firstly, the store... well, to be blunt, it's rubbish.  This may well be my nearest which is at Bluewater and it's frankly, pants.  In all fairness to them, the shape of the store is difficult (long and narrow) but it hasn't been refurbed in forever and looks exceptionally dated. 

They also seem to hold stock that's just a bit naff.  And the problem is, as a shopper, if you find yourself confronted by a host of pretty grim stuff, it's then very hard to see any gems.  It just creates the totally wrong impression - if you don't find anything inspiring in the look and feel of a store, you're far less likely to buy into the image of a brand and aren't going to be that inclined to stay and peruse when there are other shops which are so much more visually appealing. 

Is branding the be all and end all of a retailer?  Well I'm sure there are valid opinions on both sides of the fence but one thing I do think most people will agree on, is that the branding must be consistent.  And when you have a shop that looks like a dog's dinner and a website that has had a total overhaul and is exceptionally impressive, it sends a mixed message. 

So let's leave the store aside and focus on the positives. 

Their website is amazing.  And not just the website (actually to be fair, it's pretty slow so when I say amazing, I really mean their styling and photography.....) but their products. 

I've thought this for a while but yesterday when I was on the hunt for dungarees (a style which they don't appear to be adopting this season but I'll forgive them), I couldn't help but spend way too long oohing and aahing over the best of the rest. 

It also reminded me of a pic I'd papped from a magazine a week or so ago.  Absolutely love this look - to me, far more Stella McCartney than Warehouse. 



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And whilst we're on the subject of denim - there are other beauties I found that definitely warrant exploring in more detail. 

I've come to the conclusion that loading up on denim could be the perfect solution to unifying both my love of the 70s and that more minimal Parisian chic look.  (Fashion idiotic phrase/theory klaxon....)

Here is the dress that piqued my interest. 

Denim Jacket Dress £52  This is ideal for these slightly cooler days plus it doubles up as a jacket/coat as well. 



If you do want something slightly less heavy weight, then they also do a shirt dress in what looks like a chambray fabric.  

Denim Shirt Dress £42




Or a Denim Shift Dress £38 - I have to say this one would be my preference (I actually love the idea of this with the denim coat dress over the top....) 




Next up, staying with denim and a jacket with a difference.  This would work over little dresses, trousers, done up as a shirt over jeans (we're all about the double denim) or layered.

Denim Shirt Jacket £45





Moving on to bottoms now and something I will definitely explore more although I'm not going to lie - I struggle with them.  That'll be culottes.  I'm not sure if it's the length, what top to wear with them...... shoes?  I just don't know but I've so far not been tempted by any.  But I love the look of them on other people and these would be a great pair for the Spring.

Denim Culottes £45




Whilst I struggle with culottes, one thing that I have loved the last couple of seasons is my A line mini skirt.  Mine is leather but I put a suede one on my wish list way back at the beginning of Spring. 

This is the most perfect Suede skirt I've seen all season.  I love the minky grey shade of it.  Yes it's a 70's stylee but the simplicity of the cut and the minimal look to it would work perfectly with a breton and a blazer.  Perfection in a skirt for an amazing price. 



We can also look at occasional wear as well - in the form of separates.  This is easily smart enough for a First Holy Communion or Christening and you can then wear the pieces on their own as well. 

Stripe Knitted Skirt in white and navy £35 (loving the shoes too....)





Or there's a navy version of the skirt... personally I prefer the white one but in reality a knitted skirt over my cellulite ridden behind may not be the best idea in the world.... I'm hoping it's that thick, sturdy knit fabric that they make jackets out of.... (this will be in my dreams of course)




It's also definitely worth checking out their accessories.  Lots of people are always asking me about my Campomaggi cross body satchel and were I not to have that, this is an amazing buy. 

Brown Tooled Leather Satchel £55






Actually, scrap that, this would be definitely mine. 

Brown Vintage Look Cross Body Satchel £52







Jewellery wise, I still have lots to explore this season but this has definitely caught my eye.  

Multi Row Coin Tassel Necklace £16




Sandal porn now and what can I say - leather for £20.  Amazing. 

T-Bar Sandals £20



Feeling the leopard print love still and I have been looking for a pair of pointed animal print ballet flats for forever.  Search finally over.  

Pointed Ballet Pump £35




And be still my beating heart.  Where these would come into their own for me are those occasions when you want to look smart but really don't want to wear heels.  These are just the ticket.  The most elegant shoes I've seen in a very long time for an amazing price. 

Cream pointed ballet flats £35



I could honestly go on and on and on and on.   But don't take my word for it - go and have a shufty.  And let me know what you think?  Is it just my nearest Warehouse that is pap or are they all in need of a new store image?  Perhaps someone knows if that's on the cards?  And do you think they've improved their online offering?

So here we have rather tipsy photo from very late last night.  Fantastic evening and surprisingly I don't feel too shabby today. 


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Print Dress - Sandro
Cut out tan suede ankle boots - Boden

Today was up at the crack of dawn - poor 10yr old isn't well so made an emergency Dr's appt and lo and behold she now has a throat infection.  So from seemingly a full recovery yesterday when her temp went back to normal and she was fine, to full on fever and a super sore throat.  Currently pumping her full of antibiotics, cinema trip cancelled, but popcorn on, movie ready and wine on the go for the two biggest in the family. 

Looking very serious.....

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Easy Day Jumper in grey melange - Boden
Wide turn up jeans - Zara
Grey military coatigan - 3.1 Phillip Lim
Dakota skate shoes - Seven Boot Lane
Quilted leather bag - Zara 

So I have an appointment with Guardians of the Galaxy, fish pie is ready to go in the oven and I'm trying desperately to find a pair of the dark denim dungarees, seeing as they have sold out EVERYWHERE.  Can the person who called Fat Face in Sevenoaks this morning asking about them, please fess up?!  I went in today and they're sold out country wide.  Clearly I'm exceptionally late to the party - off to see if there are any left at John Lewis.....