Category: Clothes Maketh the (Wo)man

Style evolution

Particularly my own.

Most people’s looks will change as they get older; not purely physical appearance, but how they choose to dress.

Unless you’re Kate Moss who has been oozing cool since forever.

Kate Moss 2 Kate Moss 3 Kate Moss

My style has changed considerably over the years. Contributing factors include age, social life, peer group, music, lifestyle. Body shape! I certainly couldn’t go out with mid section showing now like I did when I was 18. I used to be quite a girly girl, into being glam. Slinky dresses that showed off plenty of leg, high heels, done hair. That was a time and place thing – I was into dance music and dance clubs and a lot of it was about being seen. Urgh. How cheesy.

That said, I’ve never been overly high maintenance. I don’t have the patience for fake tan, the steady hand for false eyelashes or the right type of lips for a huge pout.

There was something quite sad about the time I realised I didn’t have much call for glam going out clothes anymore. That my social life had changed and evolved.  Seeing a lovely dress on sale but concluding that there was no point in buying it as it just didn’t fit my lifestyle. But it also came with a transition into a different musical era, when I started going to live gigs and seeing rock bands. That’s getting glam in a different kind of way.

And then there’s work clothes. When I started my first job I used to wear cute fitted jackets and A-line mini skirts from Topshop and Miss Selfridge. Later it would be jumpers and pencil skirts. Always with heels. Most recently I’ve been wearing short sleeved loose shift dresses, jersey midi skirts and high ankle boots. Less tailored and more me, but still with a hint of corporate. I was known in the office for my shoes, which changed height/colour/style daily. My new job will be strange as the dress code is very laid back, so my new blue suede platform peeptoe heels – which I bought for summer office wear – will look way OTT.

Blue heels

And while I believe in dressing for yourself not other people, I don’t want to be singled out as the new girl who fancies herself when the rest of the office are in jeans and t-shirts. Its a quandary.

Personally, for me, I find it hard to be 100% true to one style all the time. I love cool rock chick styling, and obviously my tattoos portray that image, then I’ll see a bronzed surfer chick and that catches my eye, or a retro 60s look and I want to try that. Style chameleon.

Here are some of my current favourite looks.

For now:

Style 1 Style 9 Style 10 Style 11

 

For spring:

Style 3 Style 4 Style 6

Spring 1Spring 2 Spring 4

For summer:

Summer 2 Summer 3 Style 7

Summer Spring 3

And just because (so freaking cool!)

Style 8

Wear your heart on your sleeve (or your thoughts on your chest)

A few weeks ago I bought this top from New Look. To wear in an ironic way, obvs (my wardrobe is testament to the out and out lie this statement is).

Nothing to wear

Doubly ironic, I bought another one at the same time, with the same logo, in a sleeveless black style (no longer on the site). So at least now, when I have nothing to wear, I have a choice of two things.

They also now have it in white, for summer. But that would just be overkill.

White nothing to wear

Wouldn’t it ?

I wouldn’t wear this one, as I’m not a sweatshirt person (it’s also only available in plus size), but the sentiment definitely echoes mine; sums me up from October through to April, every single year.

Miss Summer

More from New Look – I would probably change “shoes” to “EVERYTHING”!!

More shoes

Dorothy Perkins have these two, now with 30% off, making them a bargainous £10.50 each (I may place a sneaky order, I especially like the pink one).

Carpe Diem tee Cest La Vie tee

Boohoo have a whole section of logo tees; most of them are pretty tacky but I like this one, with the wording on the back (great slouchy shape and neckline too).

Dukes tee back Dukes tee front

H&M have this topical vest, which I do really like, but could never wear as I haven’t been to Coachella. It should be an unwritten rule – similar with city t-shirts (you’ll never catch me in anything that says NYC until I’ve been there).

H&M Coachella

I have this “Love” print tee from there – I bought two sizes up for a slouchy look and because H&M jersey does shrink up after a couple of washes (£7.99)

H&M Love

This one is super cute; I saw Jennifer Lawrence wearing it in a magazine and it’s actually from Truffle Shuffle – the wording is from The Twits by Roald Dahl, who’s books I used to read over and over as a kid. Unfortunately it’s described as cropped, and I don’t have the waistline for that anymore!

Good thoughts

Not sure where this one is from (it’s a screenshot from Facebook) but Google shows up a whole heap of variations. Isn’t this what every girl wants?!

Feed me and tell me I'm pretty

And finally, back to New Look, and one I would have contemplated buying in my redundant state (again I realise the irony of spending money to advertise your lack of it).

Skint t-shirt

Except I’VE ONLY GONE AND GOT MYSELF A NEW JOB! 3 days unemployed and I’m already off the market. I had a first interview on Monday, second interview yesterday and the role was confirmed at 5.15 last night. Which is great news. It’s a really great opportunity and one where I can develop new skills as well as using existing ones. Plus I don’t start for 2 weeks, which means an extended holiday, with redundancy pay! I can buy as many t-shirts as I like!

Hidden shopping gems – Matalan

As a great bargain lover who likes to own lots of things (I’m definitely quantity over quality) I find a lot of high street stores too expensive for what they are (I’m talking to you Topshop and Warehouse). I like to shop cheaply and regularly, as I’m fickle and get bored. As much as I love an item, I don’t like wearing the same things too often.

Matalan, for me, fits the bill perfectly. Their footwear especially is great value, there’s often a discount code to be found, and they do free online delivery if you spend over £50 (no online returns, unfortunately, but there are a couple of stores locally that are open late with plenty of free parking, so all good). I’ve bought some great stuff from Matalan over the years, and quite a bit of my work wardrobe is from there (not currently needed as I’m jobless, did I mention that?!) Easy to wash and wear crepe dresses, box tops, jersey midi pencil skirts and tailoring.

I popped in last week and they’re currently swapping over from winter to spring stock. Here are my picks from the latest online range.

Strappy heeled sandals – £15
Pebble (black and white tiny dots), black, coral and pale tan – I’m thinking these would be lovely with my new midi skirt

Matalan strappy sandal 2 £15 Matalan strappy sandal £15 Matalan strappy sandal 4 £15 Matalan strappy sandal 3 £15

Black high cork wedges – £20

These have a sport feel due to the white rubberised sole; I think I already have some that are too similar to justify a purchase though

Matalan cork wedge £20

Moving onto bags

White laser cut tote £20
Love the detail on the front; only spoilt for me by the gold hardware

Matalan laser cut bag £20

Lemon clutch – £8

This is so cute and quirky! Haven’t seen it IRL so not sure on the size or where I would use it, but it’s such a fun item for spring summer (and a total bargain too)

Matalan - Lemon Clutch £8

A couple of clothing items that caught my eye

Yellow jumper – £12

This is a supersoft knit, I’ve seen it in store. I’m picturing it with light blue denim for a laid back casual look

Matalan yellow jumper £12

Ripped jeans – £18

These jeans would fit the bill perfectly

Matalan ripped jeans £18

Floral cami – £7

A great bargain, again would look great dressed down with the above jeans and flat sandals, or dressed up with the jeans and the black strappy sandals above.

Matalan cami £7

Floral kimono – £14

I’ve seen this in store and the colours are more vibrant IRL while still being subtle; black with white, mint and beige. Unfortunately only currently available in petite online.

Matalan floral kimono £14

Jewellery – wowsers, quite a lot I like, I can feel an order coming on!

Filigree disk necklace – £12

Have to say I’d wait for this to go into the sale, I don’t spend too much on costume jewellery

Matalan disk necklace £12

Ear cuffs – £5 each

Love this look – not sure on the logistics of getting your hair tangled though?

Matalan leaf ear cuff £5 Matalan stone ear cuff £5

Black stone split band ring – £5, glass stone statement ring – £5, linked ring – £3, rhinestone double ring – £5

Matalan split band ring £5 Matalan green statement ring £5 Matalan linked ring £3 Matalan rhinestone ring £5

Double pearl bangle – £3

Matalan pearl bangle £3

With the sun shining and the lighter nights just around the corner it doesn’t feel like too long until we can ditch the boots and coats and start to embrace some lighter wear. And bargainous jewellery is always a pick me up, whatever the time of year!

It’s a midi thing

I’ve been having a bit of a midi skirt love in on Pinterest recently.

Pinterest midi Pinterest midi 2

Such a chic length dressed up or down.

Pinterest midi 3 Pinterest midi 4

Love the casual tee with the dressier skirt, and also the stripes and ankle boots styling.

Truth be known, they’re not a perfect style for me. I’m probably slightly wider of hip than is ideal for this look and I know the skirts will emphasise that, but I don’t care!

It helps that all of the images above contain items I already have in my wardrobe, and that their hairstyles are similar to mine too! Style stalking!

I just missed out on a black midi in the New Look sale (when I say just missed out, I mean forgot to place the order), and had put it on my mental to do list to find one at the right price. Yesterday, grocery shopping with my Mom in Asda and we just popped to have a look at the clothes and, lo-and-behold, a black midi skirt. Only 3 left, waffle fabric, stretch waist, and a bargainous £14.

Midi skirt

Better still, when I got to the checkout it was only £8. That’s my kind of shopping. The only thing missing that I would have truly loved is pockets. Everything should have pockets.

I’m thinking of wearing it to my sister’s birthday party tomorrow night, with a leopard print scalloped hem waist length top and metallic red peep toe ankle strap heels.

I’m also planning to order these two beauties, also from Asda, for a look-see.

Lace midi skirt Overlay midi skirt

I think the lace one contrasted with a grungey tee would be especially cool.

I can feel a mini obssession coming on!

Skinny Flares Rock

I’ve been wearing skinny flares for a couple of years now. Not regularly, but I wheel them out every so often and always get told how flattering they are, how slim they make me look compared to other jeans, yada yada yada.

A good skinny flare is fitted around the bum and to the knee, like a pair of skinny jeans, then flares out from the knee, fairly (or flarely!) dramatically. Not to be confused with bootcut. There is a definite wideness of hem.

The truth is, I like the silhouette. I don’t care if they’re on trend or of the moment. They remind me of a cool insouciant 70s rock chick. They always make me want to put my hands in my pockets and my nose in the air like I just don’t care.

My first pair was black. Not faded black, but a true overdyed black. They’re perfect worn with pointy heels – the pointier the better. I have a pair of loooong pointed leopard print courts that are perfect; I’ve had them for years and I will never part with them.

So it was with interest that I read about M&S’s foray into the skinny flare market (not a place I ever EVER think of shopping for myself; although I do buy quite a lot of my Mother-in-Law’s Christmas and birthday gifts there – I think that says it all). Lauded by Vogue no less, these Limited Edition high waisted offerings come in 3 different lengths, with 70s style front patch pockets (nice touch) and a lovely shade of blue for the impending summer. Skinny Flares are thin on the ground, and I’ve only ever found them at Dorothy Perkins (not to say they don’t exist at the higher end of the market, but that’s a place that doesn’t interest me) so I decided to give them a go, with high hopes (especially as I was lucky enough to have a 20% discount code).

Jeans

Unfortunately they didn’t live up the hype. The rise was good and I liked the front patch pockets. The flare was a good flare-ness. But the fabric was poor – verging on cheap (and I’d know all about that, with my nose for a bargain). There was too much stretch, the colour wasn’t quite right, the stitching puckered somewhat. Plus I was unable to get the correct size/length combo due to their popularity and stock levels.

On the plus side, I saved myself £28.

Still having a hankering for some mid blue ones – to wear with wooden heeled sandals, vest tops and huge sunglasses in the better weather – I wondered whether Dorothy Perkins would once again fit the bill. And I’m delighted to say they did! They have exactly the same style as my black ones, in a good weight denim, and the Long length is perfect for 5’6″ me to wear with heels while still skimming the floor (nothing worse than a flare that finishes too far above the ground).

DP list them as bootcut. They’re definitely not bootcut.

Here they are in the blue – yet again the old cliche of the picture not doing them justice (and they definitely look more flared on).

Blue jeans

And the black, which I already have.

Black jeans

Best of all, they’re only £15.

Of course, now that the 70s are officially “in fashion” again, I’m sure there’ll be a proliferation hitting the high street. Farah Fawcett eat your heart out!

A H&M shaped lament

Dear H&M, why is your bottom sizing so rubbish? (as in the sizing of your clothing, not your actual rears). I’m not a slave to labels by any means, but it would be nice to order my size and for it to, y’know, actually fit? And not to have to order TWO sizes bigger just to be able to get the buttons to fasten.

I know I’m not the skinny minnie I once was, but I’m also not a size 16.

On that basis, who on earth is buying your size 8 stuff? Children? Fairies? No-one?

Strange really, when a size 12 top is often big enough to house a small country, all it’s inhabitants and a group of visiting tourists.

An online order triples in size (at least) due to having to select at least three sizes in everything to get the right size. Think of the poor delivery man, having to cart all that stuff upstairs to my apartment.

Courier

Yours,

A disgruntled online shopper

Be Prepared

It’s very rare that I get invited to an event and have to buy something new to wear. The main reason for this is that I buy suitable things when I see them, usually at a bargain price, and then I have a choice of outfits when the time comes. The great thing about that is:

a) it’s cost effective
b) the chances of someone else wearing the same thing are very slim

Case in point is this dress from Tesco F&F.

Prom dress 1

Because I can’t resist a sale email (I try, but get suckered in “just to have a look”) I had a root through the dregs of the Tesco F&F sale, and ordered a few bits. Most were consigned to immediate return, as was this dress on first sight, but trying it on “just out of curiosity” it became a keeper. The picture doesn’t do it justice (what a cliche)  but it’s too much of a bargain and a lovely item to return. Costing the princely sum of £10 (reduced from £35), for someone who can pop into Poundland for one thing and come out £15 lighter in pocket, this is a no brainer.

Prom dress 2

It’s not a length that I would usually go for, but there’s something quite unusual about it.. It’s made in panels, and the fabric has a metallic sheen which catches the light. I’m far from boobilicious, but with a good strapless bra I think there could be some decent curves going on.

So, how and when will I wear it? At the moment I don’t know. I don’t have an event in mind, but it would be perfect for a wedding (full day or evening only), or a summer party. It would look lovely with metallic accessories (shoes and clutch) or I could add a thick black waist belt and very pointed black court shoes to toughen it up a little. It would also work with a black velvet short jacket for a winter event.

But, I’m thinking I may wear it for something left of centre – like Download Festival with a pair of chunky boots. That would be fun!

It’s always good to have things in your wardrobe that you love and look forward to wearing, and it certainly takes the pressure off trawling round the shops in a blind panic and throwing money at the situation.

On the other hand, it can also make you question your social life when you spot stuff in your wardrobe that’s been there for quite a while and no event has arisen. I’ve just realised this applies to me…