The smart way to dress

Yes it's occasion time.  Which is one of my favourite things to think about it but also one which I dread.  For a start - it can be expensive.  The temptation to buy something ludicrously expensive that you will never wear again is high.  As I said yesterday, really high. 

But I have a cunning plan.  Actually to be fair, it's not that cunning - it's something that I've been doing for a couple of years now and it has really paid off.  It's also not rocket science but it can mean just that little bit more research, which I have done for you. 

As part of my monthly collaboration series with M&S, as I did at Christmas (another time when the temptation to go big for on outfit that you'll never wear again, is strong) I have come up with options that are perfect for that big occasion but offer total versatility in wearing them again.  

So I'm not reinventing the wheel here but in a change of usual format, we're not talking dresses.  Shock.  Horror.  Today I bring you separates.  Two things - and not a dress in sight, as I know not everyone finds them as versatile as I do.  Tops, bottoms and jackets.  

And - as I found out in the changing room when I was working on this article - people were really surprised at how amazing the outfits looked.  Oh how I love a bit of changing room banter.  The camaraderie of women never fails to brighten my day.  I wonder if it's just a British thing or if it does happen elsewhere?  The irony - that a country where we ignore each other on the train but will become bessie mates in the changing room, cooing over a skirt, never ceases to amaze me.  Apart from if you take your puppy on the train - all bets off.  Ginny did London last week and it was like the party carriage.  Better than any baby.

But I digress, as I have found some complete gems - and have tried them all on for you so you can see how they can look - especially the separates. 

Which are fast becoming my favourite option.  So I did mention skirts the other day and I have been and tried them on (the Autograph ones I mentioned).  I've also found some out out tops - which I know are the nemesis of many people.  I am on a mission to discover more (coming next week) but in the meantime, these few are definitely worth looking at. 

So it's not the most summery, but I'm starting with black.  Although they do also do this in a nude/blush option although I have to say, when it comes to versatility, I always go black.  Call me ridiculously organised but there is no reason why this outfit - as a whole or worn as separates - couldn't also work as a Christmas outfit (and I don't think I've ever mentioned the C word in April)

Cotton Blend Lace Short Sleeved Shell Top £45  Take your usual size.

And to go with it - the matching skirt.  Which could easily be worn on its own as I advocated the other day. 

Cotton Blend Lace A-line Skirt £55 I sized up as I always always do in skirts due to non waist.

These are the sandals by the way.  Ridiculously comfortable.

Leather Block Heel Sandals from Autograph £59

And to see the top untucked and to see how it can look worn casually.

Oh and then one with the skirt.  I LOVE this.

On to my favourite blouse.  This comes up big.  Oh how I love this and oh yes it did come home with me.  

Off the Shoulder Sleeveless Blouse £39.50  It is definitely navy although a very dark navy - hence it's called Ink.  Duh me.

First up, I teamed with cropped trews.

Limited Edition Button Detail Wide Leg Trousers £35 - now these I would size up in.  Usually I take a 10 in M&S but I would have been happier with these in a 12.

And the top can also be worn with a skirt.  In fact, it looks amazing amazing with the skirt that I promised I would try on the other day.  I sized up to a 12 in all the skirts as I have no waist and prefer, as I always say, for them to sit more on my hips.

The structure of all these skirts is of such great quality - the fabric easily belies their price tag and label.

Autograph Tie Front Wrap A-Line Midi Skirt £45 in navy 

I think the model above is actually taller than me as it was definitely just below my knee.  If you're shorter, this would be perfect mid calf and I am ALL THE JEALOUS.

Shoes are amazing by the way.

And in the yellow £49.50 although I would say it's definitely more of a chartreuse.

And a quick mention for the navy stack heel shoes.

Wide Fit Stiletto Heel Sandals £35  Personally I wouldn't say they were stiletto and if you're not a wide fit, I just sized down half a size and they were perfect. 

But back to the skirts.

Floral Print A-Line Skirt £49.50 In navy.

This would also be an amazing top to go with the above skirt - slightly more casual as it's a jersey as opposed to a silky fabric but that might work for some people (or at the very least, it's a great option to wear with the skirt on other occasions)

Pure Cotton Ruffle Trim T-shirt £12.50

Speaking of things to wear with the skirts that are slightly less formal, how about a knitted top. 

Here is the skirt option in black again £49.50

You could add a luxe feel to your look with a cashmere top and this V neck would work perfectly.

Pure Cashmere V Neck Jumper £75

But I found this amazing knit for the bargain price of £12.50.  I also found it on the big side - I am only in a 10 here.

Cashmilon Round Neck Short Sleeve Jumper £12.50

Combinations again in gold.  

Metallic Pleated A-Line Midi Skirt £35

And another super out out Summer top.  This is perfect for flinging in your suitcase for wearing over cut offs for a holiday evening look. 

Pleated Shimmer Round Neck Vest Top £25

Now you can wear it untucked..

But I preferred it tucked in.

This top also works perfectly under an off white suit. 

Unfortunately the double breasted blazer isn't available online anymore (well I can't find it anyway!) but the trousers are.  They're definitely more of a Winter White as opposed to the cream they look in this picture below.

Patch Pocket Wide Leg Trousers £35  These come up big - I'm not sure I'd want to size down as I don't like them super fitted, but I would say it was a generous 10 I had on.  These are the Long (obvs!)

You can also wear them with just a top instead of as a suit.

However - I preferred the single breasted jacket. It's not lined but I think for the Spring/Summer, this is perfect.  For £35.  Plus they have it in 5 different colours. 

Patch Pocket Jacket £35

And worn casually...

So hopefully there are some ideas there of separates to buy that you can wear again.  And again and again, in lots of different guises.  Would love to know your thoughts - honestly I could have just kept going.

I have my first big party next week - a very good friend's 40th and am still umming and ahhing about what to wear.  Am tempted by the See by Chloe style M&S dress from yesterday but think I need a certain style of shoe which I'm not sure I have... and there in lies the blog for tomorrow.  Off to start the research. 

Hope everyone has had a great Good Friday.  They just go so fast, don't they? 

Green and navy houndstooth maxi dress - American Vintage from Quattro Rish
Black Onyx jacket - hush
Leopard boots - Tabitha Simmons 
Jodie bag - Chloe
Glasses - Chloe from Very Exclusive

Tomorrow we've got friends coming round for a BBQ, tonight, it's movie night with ice cream and then the kids are having an "early" night (seeing as I've been going to sleep before them recently.  Seriously?  What is that about?!) and the husband is cooking me dinner.  I have a glass of wine, Scorch Trials is on the tv and I am now on a shoe hunt.  You have been warned...

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33 comentarios:

  1. LOVE the lace combo at the beginning - I'm fairly large-chested though, so the top wouldn't work on me. But you've given me food for thought to look for a lace top to go with my lace skirt. Doh, never thought of doing that! Some of the skirts are lovely, but it brings up a bugbear of mine at the moment - why do so many midi skirts (and wide crops/culottes, for that matter) have a big bulky tie at the waist? I don't need any more in that area, so it makes loads of really nice things off limits to me. I've been trying to find some cropped culottes and Zara has loads of lovely ones, but almost every one has a massive belt on it! And I'm not a tuck-er-in-er, so it's useless on me. Rant over!

    1. Hmm yes I know what you mean. I don't think either of these are removable either so can see how that would be irritating. I'll have a think to see what other ones I can come up with (the lace skirt doesn't by the way!!!) And the white wide leg crops above don't either. Hope that helps a bit x

  2. Totally love the silky off the shoulder and the metallic one unfortunately like all the gorgeous Bardot tops that are around they don't work with boobs. I'm struggling to find the equivalent designs for the more endowed of us - seems to be a summer for the lucky smaller cup sized. You on the other hand look fab ☺

  3. Wow. You make M&S so chic. I now want most of it (the navy 1 shoulder top is mine - so lush)

  4. Fab outfits as always - my boobs are too big for most of those tops to look half decent!! The Patch pocket jacket - how is the sizing?

    1. Aha - should have said - bang on size. xx

  5. Fab ideas Kat. I tried on a white tux jacket and pants in Reiss yesterday (mega ££££s) and the fit was terrible although I blame me not them. The single breasted jacket that you're wearing here looks amazing.

    1. For £35 it's pretty darn good and a great fit. The double breasted one which is more didn't fit nearly as well!

  6. I love that dress from yesterday on you!!! Just curious, what shoe are you looking to pair with it :)

    1. Something a bit chunkier, cloggier and a tad more Coachella (ha ha ha - Coachella in the home counties... dear god I need to get out more). Coming up today x

  7. This is right up my street!
    Seperates are definately the smart way to do occaisions. The first outfit looks dress like, but way more versitile to those of us who are not so good at doing dresses. I love the way you've styled things in different ways, gives a really good idea of how we can do it ourselves (more of this please).

  8. You're too kind! I can't do the whole tuck in for jeans yet. I'm still on a half tuck..!!

  9. love all the marks tops, but as the others have said, us with bigger boobs not so good, lets see some tops we can wear please. xx

    1. Hopefully some options coming up today but you're really not well served when it comes to tops (that you'd actually want to wear!!!)

  10. Dammit, I was about to do the same post! About occasion wear and separates. I still will :P While I used to be about the dresses I'm now on the separates bandwagon

    1. Personally I do still love a dress but I love having options!

  11. Went to a wedding yesterday in the red M&S wide-legged culottes that I think you featured earlier in the year. Wore with white lace Boden top from last year (tucked in), flowery heels and bag from wedding two years ago. Very much in-keeping with your outfits above, and felt great. Was complimented on the outfit by two much younger guests, so must have been doing something right! M&S *can* do it.
    Thanks very much for ongoing inspiration! x

  12. I have always thought there's some gems in women's fashion in M&S but they do themselves no favours with how they style their clothes on their website. You have found some amazing pieces, and worn them exactly as most women would love to wear them - and wear them - and wear them. I love all of the navy combinations and am off to see what I can snaffle up right now!

  13. I ordered and tried the black lace combo and frankly I looked like a frump! I also didn't like the tie at the back of the neck or the zip on the skirt that looked as if it had been sewn in the wrong side. Swing it on you makes me think perhaps I should try again with the sandals.
    I'm desperately looking for something for a Ladies race day so need a hat to got with it all too and perhaps a jacket...It's next month but there's still no guarantee of sunshine. 😊

    1. Oh gosh what a shame. I loved the tie at the back - I thought it added something a bit different to the top. Did you tie it in a bow? I preferred it just knotted and hanging down. I do think it looks good with the sandals. Also, did you tuck the top in? I looked like a potato with it hanging over the top of the skirt.

      And god - yes Ladies Day is always hard in this country as who on earth knows what the weather will be like?!

  14. Love the way you style them Kat tempt me to buy clothes I wouldn't look twice at in store and on line!

    1. Oh good! Well - I hope it's a good thing anyway!

  15. Love the way you style them Kat tempt me to buy clothes I wouldn't look twice at in store and on line!

  16. EVERYTHING you tried on looks amazing on you... well-wear, Audrey x

    1. I'd love to say that everything does - I do try on some humdingers! Or should I say I usually can tell what will look vile so don't bother trying it!

  17. I've just received a delivery from M&S all recommended by you. I LOVE just about everything. I bought the cream wide trousers. I have sized up but am going to order my. Kemal size just to double check. The offcthe shoulder top is out of stock so I got the tshirt with frills LOVE IT. navy/ink skirt is gorgeous. Floaty dress is fab. I got the black high sandles which are stunning. You are so clever!!!! Thank you. All I need now is to go somewhere so I can wear it all!!! x

  18. Never normally comment but love reading you blog. I'm really struggling to find anything to wear or where to buy it. Don't want to look too young or too old. Read your recent M & S blog and liked everything you recommended. Have just collected the patch pocket trousers and jacket, lace blouse and t shirt with frills. Love them all. Thank you, wouldn't have looked twice at them on line. Helen x

  19. hi there very nice post keep it up good helping article
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