Firstly huge apologies for not posting yesterday like I had promised. Utterly disgraceful of me but I had a full on day which included scouring every toy shop known to man for a Mike the Knight-ish costume (more exhausting than it sounds, honest guv - who knew a 3 year old could have such exacting standards when it come to dressing up) followed by taking a tribe of kids swimming after school due to an unexpected round yellow ball appearing in the sky.
Was actually due to be out tonight but have sick smallest child and am feeling decidedly unclever myself. I don't even fancy a glass of wine which pretty much says it all really. Early night all round. Hardly rock and roll. Saving myself for a number of big nights in the next couple of weeks.
But at least I get to squeeze in a post though and reveal my new favourite High Street store. Huge congrats to Lulu who commented on my last post and got it right - yes it's Massimo Dutti!
It's not a huge surprise as they are from the same stable as my beloved Zara and I have shopped there on and off for years. Predominantly though it's been leather good and jewellery - if I'm completely honest, I've always found the clothes erring towards the more conservative (do you know how long it took me to come up with that phrase as opposed to something less flattering?). Perfect for work outfits but missing the mark for everyday wear.
So either I'm living up to the High Street's Stereotype of the 40ish woman (which I will explore more in a couple of weeks) or they've got their act together and are realising that not all "older" woman want to dress like the proverbial politician's wife as soon as they hit a certain age.
Having said that, I would draw the line at buying an entire wardrobe from there, but frankly, that's a dangerous thing to do in any shop (she says chucking stones in her glass Zara branded greenhouse). I could however buy an awful lot.
How does it differ from Zara? Historically things were much more expensive in Massimo Dutti but Zara prices have really been creeping up over the last couple of seasons. It's definitely an easier shop to navigate and it just "feels" more exclusive. It's tidier but then it's much smaller and not nearly as busy (again, in my experience) I would also say that things seem of a much better quality. The Husband, in fact, has a number of things from there (he's not exactly Zara shaped....) and they've lasted really well (they're donkeys old to be frank.)
So my hot picks - firstly one which I actually bought. Having tried on a myriad of cream jackets (in Zara naturally) and trying to find one that one of my friends didn't have (becoming increasingly difficult as we all seem to end up buying the same things - another reason to have a new crush), I was over the moon to find my perfect jacket/cardigan in Massimo Dutti. Fantastic for everyday casual but dressy enough to also double up as a night out jacket as well (following my new fad for not keeping things for best). Win win win.
I also think that I might have found the Italy Outfit. I have surpassed my own expectations by not mentioning it every second sentence (admittedly I would be lying if I said it didn't occupy a large amount of my thinking - something I hadn't planned on confessing as it makes me sound shallower than a bloody puddle but hey ho - it beats counting sheep at night) but it has been somewhat concerning me. The black All Saints one shoulder dress was definitely a contender but I was concerned that I would look - well just wrong. Aiming for Sophia Loren - ending up looking like I was doing the walk of shame. Not really the look I'd had in mind for The Husband's best friend's wedding.
So from the sublime to the ridiculous, I now have ordered a white dress. Duh. But I think that with brightly coloured accessories I hopefully won't look overly bridal. Am thinking my snakeskin, black, tan and neon Zara sandals, snakeskin clutch (to be purchased) and some bright huge coloured earrings - ideally something bright green to co-ordinate with the lime neon on the sandals - I should eliminate the 2nd wedding, wedding dress element. I could go with a more delicate strappy nude sandal but I think I need something a bit more brazen rather than going down the pretty route. Clear as mud?
It's a huge step away from what I would normally go for but I absolutely love it. No, it's not figure hugging but when you move in it, it's very fluid and does move round your figure and (I think) is actually very flattering in an understated way. Anyway, I've ordered it to be delivered (wanted to just try the bigger size as well and wanted a fresh one rather than the tried on white one in the shop) so I can have a play around with it. Thoughts would be grateful!
Here are the rather rubbish pics of me in it (and yes, it is see through. Needless to say I shan't be wearing black lace pants and shall put a bra on. Worry not) Shoes are not mine, just grabbed the nearest heel.
And here it is online
Best of all - I think I'd get a lot of wear out of it. Ok so clearly not this summer (although it will be coming away with me when we got to Greece for the weekend at the end of July) but a great little dress for the evenings in the sun. The black dress I'm going to still take with me for the wedding, but will wear the night before for the dinner we've got. Result! (she says optimistically.....)
But on to far more exciting chat - the rest of the gorgeous stock from Massimo Dutti. Well my number one buy has to be (once I've worked out how to pay for it.... here comes them beans kids) this navy leather biker jacket. Oh my lord, it's the most divine leather jacket I have seen in years.
Quilted double breasted leather jacket - here's their pic from the website
And another little Chanel style one which is again breathtaking. Not hugely practical on a day to day basis I wouldn't have said, due to it being so distinctive. Having said that, if money were no object and I wasn't looking for value per wear, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. I think it would last you for years. There's also a matching skirt which I would absolutely draw the line at, but whatever floats your boat.
Perfect ballet pumps for half the price of Pretty Ballerina or French Sole (and with, dare I say, it a functional sole. Sssssh)
The most wonderful maxi skirt with zip detail. For not much more than you'd spend at Zara. In a different league quality wise.
And I could go on and on and on. Stunning silk blouses (in print - my new obsession. I'm back in that greenhouse....), gorgeous bags (admittedly more expensive than Zara but then again they look double the price) and some beautiful looking basics which I need to try on to see what they're like. I ran out of time.
Would love to know what you think - peruse at your leisure - Massimo Dutti.
Finally a link to that Next Jumper. I refuse to post a pic from the website as they're all so darned hideous, I can't possibly have it on my blog. But my friend was wearing it again the other day and it is lovely. I did attempt to try it on but it wasn't on the shop floor at Bluewater. I did however spy a couple of other lovely things which I papped and am yet to try and find on the website. Their new stock has come in - I feel a blog coming on.....
So very quickly what I was wearing yesterday and today.
Jade green linen tee - Zara
Distressed biker jeans - By Malene Birger
Floral jersey blazer - Zara
Gold bee necklace - Alex Monroe
Gold serpent necklace - Stella & Dot
Tan Organza wrap wedges - Clarks
Tan shopper - Zara
And today. Dressed for sports day in a field which was due to happen but was cancelled this morning. Hence I look particularly wintery. To be fair it did rain a lot. And then was very warm. I've given up trying to dress appropriately for the weather as you'd have to chance 5 times a day at the moment. That'll be summer then. Bugger it.
Orange and stone silk dress - (not as creased when I put it on - had been sat down all day!) - Zara
Distressed biker jeans - By Malene Birger
Chocolate leather biker jacket - All Saints
Fabulous Finches scarf in owl brown - Mulberry
Tan Rockafella boots - Russell & Bromley
Sunglasses - Tom Ford
Chestnut cross body bag - Campomaggi from Plumo
Hopefully be back tomorrow. I "may" have some other sales goodies to report and a smash and grab at Primark......