It's Christmas time...

... there's no need to be afraid..

Well it's all very well to say that and I'm really sorry for putting the Christmas willies up you (oh my god, I'm not sure I can write that, can I?  It's done.  Meh, it's done) but it's careering towards us at a rate of knots. 

The boys are starting to add ludicrous things to their lists - ok so they're not in the realms of 2yr old ridiculous but I've got two hopes of getting my hands on a "proper" Paddington and one of them's Bob (in reality I think I can get away with conveniently swerving that one, it's a "see it, want it, never play with it" present).   However the shopping still needs to be done.  And on that subject, I was going to include a gift for boys, girls and husband's guide if anyone fancies it?  Ok so I'm actually just going to do it, as I've got to do the research myself and I've had a fair few messages asking what I'm getting the boys and and any ideas for husbands, so I may as well document it. 

Today though - it's all about US.  And we're still talking Christmas outfits.  Except this is one that I hope will work for all of you who don't like dresses or skirts but do still want to dress up. 

This month, as part of my paid collaboration with M&S, I thought I'd look at some different options - and not a dress in sight (ok, so I may have snuck ONE in - but there's good's right at the very end so you can zoom past it easily).

So as I said yesterday - lots of don't have full on parties which involve heels, sequins and reams of velvet.  I have the a hotel.  Where I get to stay.  Without my children (and my husband, but actually I wish he could come but I'm sure I'll manage to enjoy it anyway).  However I digress - I'm talking alternative outfit ideas for those occasions where you want to make an effort but still want (NEED) to be comfortable. 

Christmas Day even.  Boxing Day, family drinks, the dreaded New Year (although I am an NY addict but have learnt over the years to curb my enthusiasm over that evening as most people really aren't fans) - I think I've found some great solutions to the not always popular dress option. 

Plus the great thing about most of these items (I won't say all, as I have snuck the odd glitter thing in but you could easily blink and miss them) is that they can be worn, not only for your dressy outfits, but for every day, to work and all year round

I'm starting totally off piste with navy.  With a hint of gold.  I'm wearing the 12 in the top and a 10 long in the trousers.  I would say the top is not particularly on the generous side, whereas the trousers are a true 10.  What you can't see is the detailing of the lower sleeve. Fabrictastic joy.


So the blouse is simply a thing of wonder.  The fabric feels like the heaviest silk crepe, it survived my brutal crease test (which involves me scrunching a handful of the fabric in my sweaty palm for possibly longer than one usually would, to see how slept in it looks.  Anything that doesn't pass the test, I don't put on here) AND it goes in the washing machine (I also have a feeling it would be one of those tops that goes in and comes out without the need for ironing but don't quote me on that). 

Satin Bell Sleeve Shirt from Autograph £35

And the trousers.  These are cropped (I have the long on and they also them in regular and short) with exactly the right amount of ankle on show.  Super flattering (I think).  Am also envisaging them worn with a tee and a blazer, chuck on some trainers and Spring ready.  If you can think that far after Christmas....

Wool Blend Straight Leg Trousers £49.50

A special mention for the shoes.  Another great secret to making your outfit that little more festive, as I said the other day - add shoes with bling.  These are A MID HEEL, seriously it's a diddy kitten (in glitter no less...) but give the illusion of a higher heel.  As I always say - if you are a 7 in most other places - take a 6.5 in M&S shoes.  I size down practically every time.

Kitten Heel Slingback Court Shoes £29.50

Then - if I have to thank Marks and Spencer for one thing ever, it's for their trousers.  Having worked with them for a while now, writing these monthly blogs, I have spent hours trying on clothes (I know it's some people's idea of hell but it's my most perverse pleasure) and as a result have found some things, I would never have thought to go for. 

Last year I discovered their wide leg trousers.  The ultimate revelation.  AND they do them in different lengths (as they do most of their trousers) but if you're not of average height, you will be more than aware of the misery we have to endure when it comes to buying trousers.


These navy ones have been in stock for a while actually.  They're not a new in product.  And they look nothing on the hangar.  Which is how I missed them.  BUT, but but but.  If you love a wide leg trouser - buy these immediately.  I sized up to a 12 in them as the 10, whilst being able to do them up, did almost cut off circulation to my lower legs.

Wide Leg Trousers in Navy Mix (that means they've got a tiny white stripe running through them)  £35

And they also have them in black.   What you can't see is that there is a fine white stripe in them which initially did put me off.  But.. with a white tee they suddenly work.   With a white shirt, actually with anything and the beauty of them is, you can wear them with any black jacket as they're not a true black so the blacks won't clash.  I know that does sound insane but sometimes you know two blacks don't go together?  (I've spent waaaay too much time looking at black, haven't I?)

Wide Leg Trousers in Black Mix £35

These are perfect dressed up with a little black camisole and the ultimate in black blazers.  Yes, this is from the underwear department, yes I happily wore it out last night as a "top".  I had a bra with very thing black straps and everyone did assure me I didn't look like I had forgotten half my outfit.  


Rosie for Autograph Satin and Lace Camisole £29.50

The tuxedo style one button blazer is sublime.  

One button Tuxedo Blazer £69

I've also got a pic of me wearing it dressed down - with the trousers above, just so you can get an idea of the versatility.  


Speaking of versatility - the trousers can also be worn - not as part of a suit, but as the perfect paring for a sparkly number and this one is perfect. 

Sparkly Flared Sleeve Bardot Top £25  This is VERY outside my comfort zone and I would probably size up to a 12 (I'm wearing a 10 and couldn't eat a cocktail sausage without being able to see it in the smaller size...).   OR I may stick with what's only slightly outside of my usual garb - the cami.  But it's great to try things...


Worn with satin kitten heel boots.  Low, practical - perfect for a myriad of outfits.

Kitten Heel Side Zip Ankle £35

And finishing with a dress.  I KNOW.  I said no dresses.  But bear with me.  This one isn't a maxi, it's a midi.  It has pockets.  It has a super flattering neckline for so many.  It is a heavyweight satin fabric that belies its price and goes in the machine.  And did I mention THE POCKETS!

It also forms part of a special collection for M&S designed by Graduate Fashion Week Award winner Claire Tagg in conjunction with their inhouse team.


Floral Print Flute Sleeve Wrap Dress £55

And as I've gone totally out on a limb with the dress - I've also thrown in some incredibly impractical, although randomly comfy... shoes.

Stiletto Back Zip Court Shoes £35

Of course you could just wear the top version with the wide leg trousers... 

Floral V Neck Long Sleeve Kimono Top £39.50

Finishing with me in the navy trousers from yesterday - which I LOVE.  These trousers are, so far, the buy of the season for me.  The black ones, with the tuxedo jacket, I'm apologising now as you will be bored to death of seeing me in them by the end of the season.


Navy Mix trousers - M&S as above
Ines Breton Jumper - Wyse London (gift almost 3 years ago)
Navy Blazer - Me+Em (4 yrs old)
Copeland Trainers - Air & Grace (gift SS16)
Orange Ebury - Anya Hindmarch from Bicester (SS17)
Navy and black scarf - Gucci from Bicester (New in)

I will definitely be back with more gift ideas for all the family - including the lovely ladies in your life, which could also be passed on to those buying for you... as well as children and the most difficult ones - The Men. 

In the meantime, I am off to the cinema with the husband and the two boys - Justice League (is that what it's called?).  Can't think of a better way to spend a Friday night.  Especially as we're getting a kebab on the way home.  Shoot me.  I LOVE them. 

As stated within the text, this post was written in collaboration with M&S.  All clothes were chosen by me with no editorial input from M&S.

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17 comentarios:

  1. I was looking for this dress yesterday but couldn’t find it in my local store. I bought an absolutely divine Studio by Preen dress in Debenhams instead,
    Fab blog as always x

  2. Ordered the navy mix pants - they look great. What's your advice on the kitten heel boots - I would normally wear a size 7 - you wrote to size down but this ankle book is not available in half sizes (for canada) -- and I think the size 6 will be small. Any feedback on sizing? Thanks! Anna

    1. Doh! sorry, was thinking of the shoes and not the boots. I’ve got the 6 in these and they’re absolutely fine... the 7 was too big. Hope that helps!!!

  3. I'm so tempted on the wide-leg trousers - they look gorgeous on you, but I fear, as a short-arse, that I may look squat in them (especially as I'm packing a surplus of timber right now). Love them equally with the kitten heel boots as with trainers.

    1. They do them in different lengths, I think so long as the proportions are right, you could rock them. It comes down to whether you like the look or not.. Maybe try a more cropped style jacket to offset the volume in the trousers? Hope that helps!! OR there’s no reason why you shouldn’t wear heels!

    2. What's the sleeve length like on the first navy blouse? They look as though they may be a bit long for my short arms which would be a shame as it is gorgeous.
      As another short arse I do wear wide leg trousers, although not so much with flats. I find I look even shorter unless I wear heels (160cm and size 12), a shortish fitted jacket is also great. I think it depends on your proportions - I'm just that bit too broad to pull wide legs off with flats unfortunately!

    3. The beauty of this blouse is that you can tie the sleeve wherever it suits you. So the good thing is that you will just have more volume in the sleeves which I think would just make it look more expensive!

  4. Thank you for finding those cropped trousers! Did you find the wool itchy at all? I sometimes end up having to wear tights under wool trousers, sigh!

    1. Not at all! They're a wool mix so they're not an itchy wool feel if you see what I mean...

  5. M&S should hire you for their pictures... gosh their styling is "dinosaurus". I go into the local in Cambridge and try to find something, but I just feel aging while browsing. I think if they improved their internet site I would probably buy there, but as it stands, it won't happen! Another possibility is what my mum use to say" it's not what you are wearing, it's how you wear it" and you Kate, wear it very well indeed!

  6. Love M&S. I got the navy blue constellation dress from there and I LOVE it...especially because it doesn’t crease and goes in the wash, woop woop!

    1. That is the most amazing dress. Alas the proportions didn’t work for me but i reckon it will be something you’ll have in your wardrobe for years!!