Apologies if you had thought it was about hot chocolate, it's not (do they even still make them? With hindsight, I think they were at total waste of 40 calories anyway.
So the idea for this blog came when I was shopping in half term with the 10yr old. I learnt a couple of years ago that you unless you buy kids clothes, especially for girls, as soon as they come out, by April/May there is only height of Summer stuff left. Which is great if you're off to super sunny climes but for the majority of days in the UK, a strappy beach dress doesn't quite work. That's without even factoring in buying clothes for a 10 yr old girl. That don't make look like a toddler or a hooker.
Zara is all I have to say to you - they are amazing when it comes to tween clothing. She loves it, I love it and it's really well priced. Plus the quality for the money wipes the floor with the adult ranges.
What they do, which is perfect when you're looking to buy outfits, is they have great ranges which you can mix and match. Trousers, tops, tees and shorts, along with jackets, all neatly arranged in colour palettes with co-ordinating patterns.
Co-ords for a 10yr old - absolutely perfect. So she has a top and shorts set in a khaki floral print, a pair of khaki trews, a cream lace tee and a cream jersey blazer. And she's set. They all make different outfits, they work together, they work as separates. Plus, throw in the denim shorts and jeans that she already has and that's her Summer wardrobe done. Last year and over the A/W she was loving yellow so she has a couple of tops which work perfectly with the khaki and cream that we've just bought.
Lessons in how to build the perfect wardrobe from a 10 yr old (with only a smidge of guidance from Mum...).
I have to say I would happily wear most of it myself, especially the matching khaki top and shorts (ok maybe not in "shorts" but certainly in a slightly longer skirt....) This is not my daughter by the way! Shamelessly stolen from the Zara website, but how cute is this?
For me, there is something about a matching ensemble that = smart. I don't know why, it's my inane matchy matchy inner elf, punching 70s hippy chick Farrah in the face and making himself known.
These come into their own with regards to their versatility. Infinitely more useful than a simple dress. The number of different outfits you can recreate from just two items, combining them with old faithfuls, is extraordinary. They're also the ideal starting point for a capsule wardrobe, so are great if you're not sure about how to build up a set of outfits.
Principally you start with a matching top and bottom. You then think of options that will go with each piece and from there you can build up a set of outfits that you can mix and match.
To make it easy, I'm starting with black and white. The Danes love a bit of matchy matchy. And there isn't a lot more versatile than monochrome. Perfect for putting with the obvious black and white, but also a great match with denim. For me , this would be my first choice for a weekend away wardrobe. Easy, simple, clean lines and a no brainer as to what you can put with it. Plus most of us already have lots of black especially in your wardrobe, so with all of these, I'd also put in, a little black sweater, a black blazer, white shirt, denim jeans, black leather skirt, black silky shirt and black or white skinnies.
Buy two of these sets and... well, frankly, that's just showing off!
Vila Wide leg trouser with vertical Stripe £25
And the shirt, again £25
Vila Textured Shell Top £22 This outfit would work for a Special Occasion or could be separated and dressed down with ballet flats, sliders and sneakers.
Vila Textured Mini Skirt £18
Vila Mono Print Sweat £35 This is possibly my favourite. A pair of sweatshirt fabric pieces which should theoretically be consigned to casual land but worn together with the right shoes and hey presto, you suddenly have a smart outfit.
Vila mono print sweat skirt £25
Moving away from monochrome but I still think this is as versatile. Just add navy and white pieces to it and you're all set. As an outfit on its own, it's also so so pretty. (yes I may have ordered to *try*.... at these prices, it was rude not to.)
Vila Digital Print Shell top was £28 now £14
Vila Digital Print Skirt was £38 now £16
Moving on now to colours that are perfect for when it's not yet scorchio. Again, a black and white print makes it easy to mix in with other things you'll already have in your wardrobe.
Graphic Rose Print Top £38 from Warehouse with the bottoms
Graphic Rose Print Trousers £42 from Warehouse Whilst this is quite a wintery look - I think with a black tee or a white jumper, it would be perfect for Spring.
Now the pyjama look is still rocking on. No I haven't done it as you can't do all of the trends all of the time but I do love it on other people and I should probably think about the value it could add to my wardrobe.... (although I am still being haunted by the need for dungarees... you have been warned.....)
Somerset by Alice Temperley Pocket Floral Shirt in Multi £79
And the matching trousers - £89
Finally I wandered into Oasis the other day - I'm not going to lie, it's somewhere that I don't go into much at all. Why? Wellllll, I'm not sure. I've always found it a bit of a nothing shop, which is an awful assumption as it's simply not true. But have I ever seen anything in there that I think wow? Can't say I have. If we're talking high street comparisons, I've always preferred Warehouse, Zara, Mango and even Next.
But maybe I've been missing a trick as they have sets galore which work really well as an outfit or as separates. And lots of lovely colour which is perfect for the Spring. It's also so easy to add in your old billy basics that on their own aren't that exciting - put with a print top or bottom and they can be transformed.
So starting with a full on butterfly print. This would make a lovely dress but the skirt could be worn with a myriad of coloured tops - a silky plain blouse for the evening or work. For day wear, this worn with a thin knit coloured jumper would be perfect.
There is a choice of bottoms to go with this.
Pop Art Butterfly Shirt from Oasis was £38 now £26.60
Or the t-shirt style top
Art Butterfly Woven Front t-shirt was £28 now £19.60
Bold Butterfly print trousers were £42 now £29.40
Bold Butterfly flippy skirt was £38 now £26.60 Now this does look as if it could be navy but it's listed as a "matching item" so I'm assuming they are all the same colour... I did see a whole butterfly collection grouped together instore so my money's on them being GO!
This is more summery but the top would be perfect on its own with a pair of jeans and flipflops on a lovely warm day but looks just as great dressed up with the matching skirt. Little blazer and skinny jeans and this is the easiest outfit to turn to when you can't be bothered to think about what to wear for a casual night out. For super casual and laid back, add ballet flats.
Oriental Blossom V Front V Back top from Oasis £28
Oriental Blossom Pencil Skirt £40 Which would look fantastic with a cream, black or pale pink blouse - for work, for dinner, just lovely.
So all in all, I think there's hopefully something there for everyone. The perfect solution to all those different outfit occasions where you don't want to have to buy loads of new things for your wardrobe but with the addition of just two things, you suddenly have a whole new set of opportunities.
Finishing with outfit from yesterday. And before anyone asks, no I did not have bare ankles. Feeling every bit of my 42 years with popsocks to the rescue. Hair, trying to recreate the Australian Labradoodle puppy hair so I can be one of those owners who looks like her dog (who will hopefully be here end of May beginning of June.... ) And yes, I am joking. (or am I....?!)
Camel and navy striped top - M&S
Trench coat - Banana Republic
Straight leg jeans turned up - Jigsaw
Whiskey Medium Marcie Satchel - Chloe
Dune Monogram scarf - Louis Vuitton
Navy patent and suede Chester loafers - Russell & Bromley
Today I am painting the table legs of my newly refurbed dining table. All the glamour...... (followed by 3 hours at football and swimming after school. Is is feasible to have a glass of wine on a Tuesday night?! The Husband is out at an important networking event. Which happens to involve whisky tasting.....)