Transforming A Day To Night Outfit

26 September 2016
Hello Monday! Are we all feeling ok? Our daughter has already decided that Mondays aren't for her after getting up for work for the last 6. Never mind, I've calculated that she's probably only got another 2080  of working Mondays before she retires. Sobering thought (literally).

Anyway, I thought I'd do a quick post on transforming an outfit from day to night and how I've got this down to a fine art over the years. You see, my hubby isn't a planner. It's all very spontaneous. Too spontaneous sometimes. 'Right, let's eat out tonight' means, 'grab your coat, we're going'.

Here's what I do.

Navy & Black Lace Top - Jovonna (similar)
Navy Pull On Coated Leggings - Next
Grey Boyfriend Cardigan - Kettlewell Colours
Navy & Black Double Buckle Shoes - Next (similar)
Black Leather Shopper - Marks & Spencer (similar)

Top: Same
Trousers: Same
Cardigan switched to a blazer
Shoes switched to heeled boots
Tote switched to a formal shoulder bag
Bracelets added (not seen)
Lipstick switched from Mac Sandy B to Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet (not seen)
Blusher - a quick brush to increase intensity
Hair - tied back

It took me 3 minutes and 1 1/2 was unbuckling the shoes!!



Black Blazer - Ralph Lauren (similar)
Black Ankle Boots - Marks & Spencer (similar)
Black Bag - Marks & Spencer (love this)

**Tips**

1. Adding a heel is a great way of upgrading any outfit. I've been known to go out in my joggers (oh the shame) and add a pair of ankle boots

2. This is when a blazer comes into it's own. Useful for smartening even a pair of jeans and t-shirt

3. Layer up a few bracelets and add a necklace

4. Swap your tote for a clutch bag

5. If you don't do anything else to your make-up at least swish on some blusher and add a brighter lipstick

6. I normally tie my hair back and pull out a few strands if I haven't bothered to style it that morning

We'll be in to party season quicker than you can say sparkly tinsel at this rate and I so wish I had adopted this way of dressing when I worked in an office. It would have saved me a whole lot of hassle.





Three Trends That Never Date So Grab Them When You Can

25 September 2016
I hope you're still with me on this wardrobe workers series. The idea being that you build up a wardrobe that you can dip in to year after year without the need to start all over again. That means minimising fast fashion purchases. I know, I know, painful isn't it. But honestly, it doesn't have to be boring and old-fashioned.

I think we need to have a recap of everything that we've covered at some stage but that will come in a later post as there's still lots more to talk about including how to integrate fashion into your wardrobe and using shoes and bags to add interest to an outfit. Lots and lots to cover over the next few weeks. 

Today, I want to talk to you about three trends that you can dive in to because they're all accepted as wardrobe staples these days and handily are all deemed 'in fashion' this season. 

They are:

1. Leopard Print

2. Stripes

3. Military


Leopard Print

I talked about leopard print in this post recently. I think my preference is to use it in accessories and footwear although I'm still smarting about the fact that someone is walking around in my leopard print coat that I sold on ebay. What a fool I was. In my defence, I was pig-sick of wearing it, it was so distinctive you see. Whereas a pair of boots or a bag are accents rather than the 'main performer'. It's worth revisiting the blog post but since then, I've also spotted these...




An investment piece but that's ok because it will be in your wardrobe for years. Get it on the Christmas list!

Leopard Cashmere Scarf £159




If you can bear to squeeze your feet into a size 5 or less, then these Kids low tops are fabulous.




I can't not mention these bloggers' favourites. So bloody tempted but I have more shoes than nights out before Christmas (don't know whether to be ashamed at my hoard or sad that I don't have more nights out planned).

Double Strap Point Court Shoes £49.50



I'm missing a leopard print belt in my wardrobe and I think it's probably worth investing in a leather one.




Although I think this cheaper skinny version is sometimes all that is needed to add a bit of interest to a very plain outfit.




Now I know I recommend keeping animal print to accessories but would make an exception for this long shirt dress. It's a much more subtle print that doesn't scream 'look at me' and could easily move from one season to another. Ignore the styling, It would undoubtedly look better with a pair of skinnies or leggings. 

Longline Animal Print Shirt £40.99 (there is size small left here currently with 30% off 



Stripes

Let's talk stripes, one of my favourite subjects. In fact, I'm wearing them today (and leopard print boots - see I practice what I preach). Nb. I wrote this bit on Saturday, no Man Utd didn't play today.

Red & White Breton Top - Kettlewell (similar)
Navy Emilia Ponte Blazer - Boden 
Jeans - Marks & Spencer (similar)
Bag - Coach (similar)
Boots - Primark (similar)
They're so fresh and liven up any old outfit. I can't remember a time in my adult life without a stripe. Maybe I was supposed to be French! Forget the old adage that stripes make you appear wider. They don't. Well narrow ones don't anyway. In fact German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz proved that a square made up of horizontal stripes appeared taller and narrower than an identical square of vertical stripes. So there!

They're also brilliant for giving an outfit a certain amount of effortless pizzazz. Style without trying too hard. Now that's music to my ears. Well if they're good enough for Coco Chanel, they're good enough for us mere mortals. I do think the 80/20 rule is a good one to follow though: 80% lighter colour, 20% darker and stick to narrower stripes. I've got a wide stripe black and white top that I rarely wear because it just doesn't feel as good as my others. 

Ok, let's have a look what's out there.

Start with a decent quality long sleeve Breton if you're a stripe-virgin. Of course I use the term loosely. Strictly speaking a Breton should only have 21 stripes (one for each of Napoleon's victories). They look fantastic layered under a blazer with jeans. I favour the Boden ones as they're a good fit and no they don't have 21 stripes. And this one is probably more 70/30 stripe rule - that's ok!




 A couple of other colour ways that I love from Boden.


I also rate the Joules tops and in particular, the length of them.




One for the casual wardrobe now. Pair of skinny jeans and trainers for a laid back Sunday although there's something rather smart about a stripe compared to a plain sweatshirt don't you think?




Moving on to shirts which I love and have several, vertical and horizontal stripes, I'm kind of not fussy! Both from The Loft in the States last year. Note - they're still going strong, worn throughout the year = good wardrobe staples! 



Sorry, I've failed dismally on the horizontal stripe shirt front. There's a distinct absence on the high street!

I'm going to jump right in with a fashion piece...but hear me out. Yes it has frills but honestly, I'd wear this next year when the frill trend has died a death. And let's face it, as 2016 frills go, it's not a very big one! But, it is officially gorgeous. Let's skirt over the issue of the vertical stripes (Dr Hermann von Helmholtz will be turning in his grave). 



And this one as well. So darn easy to dress up with a pair of black trousers and heels or with jeans and flats for a more casual vibe. 






But if you prefer a more traditional shirt, this could be the one.



And I love this one, so crisp and clean.




Jumpers now, how much love do I need to show this one. It's gorgeous. The styling is bob on. 




Flippin swoon, just everything about this. I would sell my children for the jumper and leather pants (and chuck the dog in for free). Another really versatile piece, layer under a jacket, wear it with a tube skirt and ankle boots. And then redress next season to incorporate the new trends. 




One for the Lights and Softs, this colour looks amazing on lighter skin tones. And the length is great to wear with skirts and high waisted trousers too. 




Striped dresses tend to feel more summer to me. Nothing wrong with that. I've got 3 in my wardrobe, 2 of which I've had for a few years so they're good staples. However, I did find this one which I think could work well in the colder months too. It's screaming out for white trainers and a black blazer isn't it. But ideal for the office too. 




This next one is more subtle and I can vouch for the style too, it's cut for real women!


And finally, I can't leave our stripe section without mentioning the cashmere blend wrap that I talked about the other day here. Super super useful, I've thrown it over my shoulders here but love it as a poncho as well. So many different ways you can wear it due to the clever buttons running down the edges. If you buy only one thing stripe, buy this!


White Shirt - Ichi (similar)
Navy Coated Jeans - Next
Jalouse Ankle Boots - Ash
Navy Stripe Cashmere Blend Button Shawl - Mimi & Thomas

Navy Leather Frame Clutch - Mimi & Thomas
Military

Oh gosh where do I start. Just buy it. Go to the Army surplus stores and get yourself a Guards Trooper tunic or a camo jacket or....only joking, they're a bit smelly. But seriously military never goes out of fashion as long as it isn't too gimmicky. I shared my jacket stash on Instagram earlier in the year.


And I'm sure there are more lurking in the wardrobe. But, I wear them all, often. They're great for adding interest to a plain outfit without having to go over the top with accessories. Perfect for adding a bit of a wow. Jeans, white t-shirt, military jacket. Done. That green leather one from Mint Velvet is about 6 years old now proving how this trend keeps on going and going.

Lucky for us they're everywhere this season so **top tip** buy them now and wear forever. But a nod to the trend is better than full on fancy dress. This one is too high fashion for me (sorry Zara). I mean it's got everything going on hasn't it. Contrasting epaulettes, cuffs and pockets. Piped collar. Cord embroidery. And even a flippin medal. I don't hate it, I'm sure it's fun to wear but yawn, I'd tire of it after a month or two. It's a fashionista piece.

Navy Double Breasted Jacket £69.99



Whereas this one is far tamer and will serve you well and will work with many more colour combinations.

Double-breasted jacket £89.99


A total classic next. Drop that hem line a few inches and I'd buy into this look.

Military Jacket £199


And a navy classic

Military Jacket £75 (20% off first order)




Entry level next in khaki and navy.

Military Reefer Jacket £39.99


Moving on to coats, this one is a stunner. Love the funnel neck.

Black Double Breasted Coat currently £60


Slightly more detail. Don't think I'd want to go anymore gimmicky than this.

Military Style Coat £99.99



My favourite!! Available in khaki which would be my choice and navy.

Military Coat £75


Or how about a skirt.

Black Military Pencil Skirt now £31.50

And finally something I've had open on my browser for days, a military themed jumper. Oh, I really, really love this teamed with skinnies and a heeled ankle boot. I stress, I WOULD wear trousers of some sort. It ain't no dress to me!!!!

Sweater Dress £250


So there we have it, three trends to buy in to forever. Are you sold?

Thank you for your emails and messages about the book giveaway (here). Apologies I haven't been able to respond to every single email as there were so many. The winner is Louise G. Louise, I've emailed you the details. Enjoy!

So that'll be another weekend over then. It was supposed to be a quiet Sunday here. Pah! What a stupid idea that was. I've only just sat down after wearing various hats of footie mum, taxi service, chef, shopper, errand runner, chief ironer and dog walker to name but a few. So I'm now parked on the sofa where I intend to stay for the next 3 hours.

Still lots to cover on the wardrobe workers series so let me get my breath and I'll be back soon.

A Nod To A Trend...Let's Not Get Too Carried Away!

23 September 2016
A quick heads up from me before the madness of the mid season Next sale commences.

I've been banging on about 'investing' in wardrobe essentials recently but that doesn't mean to say I won't indulge in high fashion now and again. I'm going to talk more about this subject in a couple of weeks. What I won't do though is spend oodles of £s on something that's most likely going to be a one season wonder.

So when I saw these cropped raw hem flared jeans for the price of a bottle of wine (ok, a weekend bottle of wine, not a Monday or Tuesday one), it really was a no-brainer.

Cropped Raw Hem Flared Jeans £12  sorry ladies, these have now sold out but there are similar here reduced to £12 here reduced to £5.99 (wow!) and here reduced to £12.75


In fact they're not too flared nor too frayed so more of a nod to the trend which is ok by me.





Madly comfortable!



And p.s. they're now stocking the coated leggings in berry so big grinny face in this house as I can replace my very worn ones from last year. The link is here.


Berry Pull On Coated Leggings Berry £24




A Blazer Alternative Part 2

22 September 2016
Last time we looked at the usefulness of a poncho. Blazers aren't for everyone, I get that. And sometimes, even I want to feel a little more relaxed. So what else can we wear. Well that'll be the boyfriend cardigan then. Now, personally I'm not a great twin set cardi fan. The front panels always seem to end up under my arms like a pair of flapping curtains. Even the goddess that was Audrey Hepburn had to fasten the top button to make it stay put. But somehow a longer cardi works much better. I don't constantly feel the need to readjust it.

And the best bit, it can be dressed up or down to suit everyone's style personality. It definitely makes the cut when we're talking wardrobe workers. You'll find a version of a boyfriend cardi in most stores every year. But you won't want to replenish EVERY year. So it's probably better to spend a little bit more on something that will last longer than an H&M £14.99 version.

Say hello to Kettlewell's boyfriend cardi.

This is no one season wonder. It's built to last. I have a few pieces from this company and they all wash and wear beautifully. And if blogger did emojis, I'd be putting three big thumbs up here. 

It's a close knit Merino wool, of decent weight so hangs really well and has all the elements of a fashion piece from any of the High Street shops. Pockets, tonal buttons, v-neck and a good length.

So, let's have a think about why it's a good addition to your wardrobe

1. It's long so covers the bum
2. It's long so keeps your bum warm!
3. It won't go out of fashion. There's been a version of the bf cardi for years
4. It works with lots of hem lines
5. It can be dresses up and down
6. It's ideal for in-betweeny weather
7. It's lovely to change into when you get home
8. It's cosy for those days when you need layers and sits quite happily under a coat
9. It's less prissy than a shorter cardi which can be harder to pull off

Ok boyfriend cardi you've made it into my wardrobe worker hall of fame.

I'm a City Chic style personality (find yours here) so have a tendency to dress things up. You may prefer a more relaxed approach. 

Mind you, I don't think I've done too badly. It's certainly feels a lot more relaxed than my normal blazer and heels.

Boyfriend Cardi - Kettlewell
Stripe Shirt - The Loft (similar)
http://www.next.co.uk/g642082s1#758196Navy Coated Leggings - Next
Grey Loafers - Next (love them in navy)
Red Bag - Coach (adore this one)


This is a medium, I'd say it fits a 12 (I'm between a 10 and a 12). 

Hopefully, I've captured the quality of the wool in this shot! 


It looks quite structured doesn't it which makes it easy to create a smart look. In fact I've worked out that I can replace any of my blazers with it. Husband even said he likes me in a more casual look and I should chill out and dress like this more often. I replied that I can't change my style personality but I can change my husband. But I kind of get where he's coming from. 




The cardi is available in 5 neutral colours: light grey marl (mine), oyster marl, Moroccan blue, dark olive marl and chocolate marl. Plus 5 fashion colours (check out the cherry red). So basically there's something for everyone. There's free p&p at the moment as well. 

Trouble is, there's just one thing missing. The weather! As I write this, I'm looking at temperatures tomorrow and we're nearly touching 20 degrees. All I want to do is wear my new cardi!

Are you a boyfriend cardi kinda girl? Got to say, I'm a convert and wonder why I'm so late to the party!

So, we have two blazer alternatives now a cardi and a wrap which I posted about yesterday (and there's 20% off the entire range of Mimi & Thomas until 31st October if you quote iwwsb16a/w.

Lovely day shopping with my aunty today. We managed to spend lots of her money. I'm still thinking that I should reorder that Winser London pencil skirt which I know would go so well with the cardi so couldn't apply my mind to anything else. And then, dinner in our local village, all very tame because my aunty is doing the Dryathlon so no alcohol was consumed. Ok, I might have had a wee tipple, just one mind. 




 
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