Showing posts with label Jigsaw. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jigsaw. Show all posts

Saturday, 17 March 2018

My top eleven pleated skirts and some ideas on how to wear them

Pleated skirts are, much to my Mum's delight "Oh I DO love a pleated skirt", going from strength to strength. They are a trend that's not going away, which is funny in some ways because other than a brief spell that I remember as a child, they pretty much disappeared from the skirt scene with pencil, mini, skater and midi skirts being more popular. I think that it may have been the rise of the popularity in midi skirts a few years ago now though, that saw them come back in to favour. Most pleated skirts fall into the "midi" category, so they ticked the box of being a "variation on a (midi skirt)" theme.

Sophia pleated skirt Reiss (£155)

I featured this skirt on my insta stories when I took some of you for a virtual shop earlier in the week. It's absolutely beautiful. The pleats are razor sharp and edged in black for an even sharper look. 

I still believe that there's a pleated skirt for everyone, somewhere. Most crucially the issue is what kind of waistband is on the skirt and how the pleats fall from it. I've included lots of pictures below of me in various pleated skirt outfits and I'll try to explain what I mean when we get to them. 

Elsa pleated skirt Reiss (£155)

I haven't seen this skirt in real life but the shape is virtually the same, if not the same, as the one above. What I like about this skirt is that the darker colour over the tum area is really flattering. And it's just such a striking skirt - great if you're after something different and you're not really a floral/spots type girl. 

Printed pleated skirt Mango (£49.99)

But then again, if spots are exactly your thing, this skirt from Mango could be just the ticket. It's really lovely in real life and in the store they paired it with a pale blue jumper which looked gorgeous.  Spots feature hugely on the High Street at the moment so expect to see a lot more spotty pieces over the next few weeks. 

Printed pleated skirt Mango (£49.99)

This skirt ticks a lot of trend boxes in one go. The navy/yellow/white colour combo is a big trend this summer. Work in a go faster "athleisure" stripe along with a split and the pleats and oh boy you would so be nailing it. I really like the sporty vibe about this skirt - great if you're not someone who loves girlie floaty skirts - or if like me you do but you're also a bit of a chameleon and like sportier urban pieces (I totally made that phrase up - but I know what I mean!) too. 

Stripes pleated skirt Mango (£49.99)

Stripes! Again another huge trend this season on everything from tops, to skirts, trousers and accessories. I love the interesting colour combination of this skirt which is again from Mango. They are really doing pleated skirts so well this season and there are also some pleated dresses coming through too, which are an interesting addition to the dress scene.  

Leopard print skirt H&M (£34.99)

Yeah! Good old leopard print. This is a small print and not too "leopardy" if you know what I mean, making it a fairly easy leopard print to wear. I love leopard with anything red, denim, or neons too and as we know, leopard is the new neutral, so it's definitely one to have fun with. 

Satin pleated skirt Whistles (£99) which also comes in metallic gold, green and black. I've linked to them all here

A metallic pleated skirt always feels a bit glam without being too try hard. It really is a great one to dress up or down and it can take you to so many different places just by changing up your top and/or shoes. 

Batik Lily pleated skirt Whistles (£139)

I think that this skirt is a little bit marmite. It's definitely in the colour of the season but whether it's your cup of tea or not is a different matter. I think that a skirt like this works either if you're going to go the whole hog and dress it up for a wedding, or dress it right down with a slogan tee or denim. Anything in between might just not work. But I'm happy to be proven wrong!

Pleated skirt HUSH (£89) (lined and elasticated waist)

I haven't seen this skirt in the flesh as HUSH in our John Lewis don't have it but having said that, I'm really tempted to order it and see what it's like on. The blue and green combo are really striking but  in a very wearable way and without being too dressy.

Pleated skirt in watermelon Jigsaw (£120) it also comes in blossom blue

The above skirt from Jigsaw is a real gem. It's a great length, hangs well and the pleats are quite "flat" when they come out of the waistband, meaning that they fall in a really flattering way. It also comes in blossom blue (below) and gravel (below that). 

Pleated skirt in blossom blue Jigsaw 

When something is a little more on the expensive side (such as this skirt) as we all know, there are lots of things to consider for sure. It may be that it's perfect for a wedding, or an event, but something that you would also get a lot of mileage out of afterwards, bringing the cost per wear down. 

Pleated skirt in gravel Jigsaw (£120)

Or it may be that you're not sure whether a pleated skirt is going to be for you, in which case maybe start off with an inexpensive one and see where it takes you. Or maybe the inexpensive one is perfect and there's no need to look any further. Or perhaps you just fall in love with one like this, or it's an amazing fit. So many things to think about!

Stripe maxi skirt Ted Baker (£120)

For anyone who is super tall, or who likes their pleated skirts to be full length, this one from Ted Baker is a possibility but I think its "sheerness" might need to be checked. 

Contrast pleated panel maxi dress Ted Baker (£239)

And remember I mentioned earlier about pleated dresses? This one with its panel of pleats is so pretty. If anyone I know would like to get married, I'd be very happy to wear this to the occasion. 

So here are some outfits "that I prepared earlier" - in some cases a lot earlier! 

This gold M&S skirt is great for the winter. The velvet is lovely and shimmery. It has an elasticated waist band which is good because I can either wear it on my waist or drop it lower if I feel in need of a bit of extra length. The pleats aren't too small or knife like, which I think suits me slightly better. Heels and a leather jacket give this skirt more of a dressed up feel.

This skirt from Topshop again has fairly open pleats and as there aren't too many of them, there's not so much volume in the skirt.  I like the length of it and it's a really versatile skirt. The heels glam up this skirt and jumper outfit but with boots or trainers it would look completely different.

This is an H&M pleated skirt. I find it harder to wear - possibly because there are more pleats in it and the fabric is quite stiff, meaning that if I bend over the skirt sort of folds and digs in. Sounds weird huh?!

This is probably the least favourite of my pleated skirts. The waist band isn't elasticated and there are lots of pleats with lots of volume. As it's pleather, it's also a bulker fabric, so it's less flattering than the green Topshop one.

It's the Zara silver one again but this time with a fitted knit instead of a denim shirt. 

Topshop again with metallic boots and a star print shirt

Topshop again with a blouse and trainers

And finally the Jigsaw skirt which I've linked to above with some crazy green boots! 

I realise that pleated skirts won't be for everyone, but I hope that these outfits have provided some ideas on what to stick with your pleated skirt. I think the fact that they're not short, or clingy, that they have some volume (which is good if you like to take a big stride or don't have the teeny tiniest of hips) all help to make them super wearable for busy ladies who love a skirt but who don't want to feel restricted when it comes to bending over, loading the washing machine or striding out in force. 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

My favourite faux fur scarves...

I think that it's safe to say that there's some cold weather on its way. We've had pre-emptive letters from the schools warning of early closures and our son is positively ecstatic at the prospect of the trains not being able to run due to snow.

Over the years I have tried many items/coats/fabrics in the fight against the cold and what I can't work out is whether it's my imagination that tells me that fake fur is one of the best, or whether it's actually true. Does it so closely represent the real thing that it is actually really warm - despite being man made - or is it because it's quite heavy - or am I just making it up in my head?

There's one item that I own and whenever I wear it, people ask me where it's from. And this is it - a £16 fake fur grey scarf from Miss Selfridge which I bought when we still had a Miss Selfridge store.

I find that if my neck is warm, it helps with everything else too and it's definitely warmer than lots of scarves that I have. So here's a few of my favourites that are out and about.

First of all there's this White Company grey faux fur stole (now £49.30 instead of £69). I went and had a look at this one in the store yesterday and it's lovely. Really soft and long too so definitely one for the Christmas present list.

The other place that I have seen some gorgeous ones is Jigsaw

They have this Seraa faux fur scarf (£70) which also comes in a lovely cream colour and also in grey. Going off piste slightly, there's also this fabulous sheepskin scarf in Jigsaw (£98).

This is one of those pieces that's just really fun. It's hard not to put it on and smile at its slight craziness. And for something bright, look no further than Oasis for this amazing faux fur tippet (£25)

which also comes in navy (£25)

Oasis also has a faux fur scarf in grey (£25)

This Ted Baker scarf (from John Lewis £89) is only what can be described as "snazzy". It's a real eye catcher and the perfect way of brightening up darker winter coats and jumpers. I quite often wear mine in the house if I'm chilly - but it's not a good idea to go too near to a naked flame in them.

As an alternative to the one above, there's this bright blue scarf from New Look which is a brilliant price at £10.49. It also comes in pink too (below) - for those who don't want to blend into the background.

Hello - now that's what you call bright pink! 
Clearly I could go on all night with my faux fur scarves. I love them for their warmth, glamour (even when wearing scruffy jogging bottoms and a sweatshirt at home) and their pure snuggliness on a cold day.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Your arsenal of winter warmers....things are not quite what they seem

There are not many things in life that I would say that I'm the Queen of but when it comes to layering, that crown is well and firmly on my head thank you very much.

But this post isn't about the obvious that we reach for to keep us warm in the winter - the scarf/hat/gloves/thick jumpers/duvet. Oh no. It's more about those pieces that we can layer under, or over, what "normal" people wear, so that we still look like we're wearing a "normal" outfit and so that we don't have to go around looking like the Michelin man from October until April.

I've come up with an arsenal of weapons to help fight the cold. These I bring out year after year, literally, and they are a fail safe way of making summer clothes last into the winter and to stop us from having to wear winter clothes into the summer.

Modal long lace vest Jigsaw (£29)

Let's start with a vest. A vest is always a good place to start when it's cold. The Jigsaw vests are lovely and comfortable with a nice lace detail, straps which can be altered plus they come in about 9 different colours. They are particularly great if a bit of vest is going to be peeking through - say at the neckline of a denim shirt or something.

M&S cotton rich strappy vest (£5)

Then for the every day work horse type vest, you can't beat good old M&S, or H&M (who do long line ones), or Next. A vest is the first piece of clothing that goes on after my undies. You have to start layering early on in the construction of an outfit. 

Thermal ankle length leggings from Marks and Spencer (£12.50)

You may not know it yet but you absolutely need these babies in your wardrobe if you want to wear a midi dress and do an ankle flash at any point in the year beyond, say, mid September. I bought some from Primark and they key is to have them loose enough around the ankle so that they can be turned up. Thermals poking out from beneath the hem of your dress is not a good look. Nope not at all. But one sadly that I think I may have participated in inadvertently :( I had these on as part of the above outfit.

Long sleeved jersey top H&M (£8.99)

So then I quite often (no, pretty much always) have a long sleeved cotton top over my vest. Last year I bought a stack of scooped neck ones from H&M just like the one above. I must admit that on the day I wore the above outfit, I didn't have a long sleeved top on as it would have been a bit bulky under my dress and it might have shown through at the neck. But they are definitely necessary about 75% of the time.

Now a ribbed neck polo is the best thing against the cold. Fitted but not too tight is the order of the day. It's a great layering piece under all of those summer dresses that run out of steam come the end of September. And with a vest to go underneath it, plus thermal leggings, you're absolutely sorted. They're also fab under dungarees. 

Boden cashmere cropped cardigan (£98) or Boden favourite cropped cardigan (£50)

Trust me. If you feel the cold, you really need one of these cropped cardigans from Boden. There are two choices, the cashmere one and the favourite cropped cardi, which is 80% cotton. Mine is never far away from me and although it's rarely on show, it's working behind the scenes underneath a biker jacket, adding an extra layer of warmth. I'm wearing mine as part of the above outfit but it doesn't add bulk and no-one would ever know. A layer over the dress, as opposed to underneath it, also stops the dress from becoming too tight. 

Faux fur gilet Oasis (£55)

If you've got a coat that needs a bit of help in keeping you warm, a fake fur gilet like the one above does the job brilliantly. Coats can be hard to layer up because there's often not enough room in the sleeves, which is where the gilet comes in. It adds warmth to your torso but means that you can still get your arms in the sleeves. True, depending on the fit you may not be able to get your coat done up but if the gilet has a fastening that's that problem sorted. Equally they look good layered over a biker jacket. 

Uniqlo  ultra light compact jacket (£49.90)

Finally, although I don't have one of these jackets yet, I've always thought that they look such a good idea to have squirrelled away in your bag. I've seen my friends dive into their bag to pull out what I thought was going to be a tissue, only to produce, magician like, a coat. For those days out in London where it can go from freezing to really warm, one of these would be perfect.

There are various heat tech type garments available which I may investigate another time for those truly freezing days but for now, I've stuck to what is pretty much available in your standard shopping centre.

I hope that this post is helpful for those who, like me, long to look like everyone else whilst their fingers are in fact turning white and their nose, blue. It doesn't have to be about the bulk to keep warm and stylish, although on some days there's no denying that there's no substitute for a thick jumper. But the rest of the time, we can wing it. (Just like many things in life!)

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Cross Body Bags - the gem of a handbag collection

Since I went to Bicester a few weeks ago and bought an LK Mariel cross body bag, I've barely taken it off....

The thing that really works about this bag is that it has two compartments to it, which means that it's big enough for a purse, credit card holder, keys, lipstick, phone AND some spare plastic bags for my bits and bobs. And that's all it needs to be capable of carrying, making it perfect. Oh and of course having two hands free and not having to keep hoiking your bag onto your shoulder is also a real bonus.

This is this season Mariel bag from LK Bennett (£175), which comes in animal print, black studded, grey, red, black, oxblood and there's a sunshine yellow one for £77.

Another of my favourites is the Fifi bag from Hush (£99), which comes in grey and black. It's width from front to back is substantial so although it doesn't have the two separate compartments, it can still hold plenty. And (predictably) I love the star.

The Wren cross body bag from Jigsaw (£99) comes in navy, black, Nordic orange and wine. It's a real gem and again has the two separate compartments gig going on. I like the idea of a small bag - it's chic and elegant and makes it look as though I have my schizzle together. Plus I can't gather too much rubbish in a small bag so it makes me keep on top of my receipt/tissue/chocolate wrapper game. Is that possibly one of the best (or worst) excuses ever for a purchase?!

The Esme camera bag from Mint Velvet (£109) also made it onto my list. Obviously the Gucci one would too, but for it's price tag - but this would do nicely instead. I love the studded tassel which is just a little bit rock chick. But of course it would be easy enough to find a tassel and put it on a similar bag to create the same look. 

For a relatively inexpensive option, there's the M&S faux leather cross body bag (£29.50). I love the mixture of navy and black with the silver hardware and it's a great place to start for anyone who feels that a more streamlined bag maybe a little too "studio flat" for them, rather than their usual mansion style bag. 

And of course we might expect Boden to be in on the act, which they are with this Lyon cross body bag (Boden £77 to £110). The great thing is that it is available in five colours, so there should be something for everyone. 

Oh and just by way of an update, thank you so much to everyone for your marathon good luck wishes and also for responding to my last post. I will get back to you soon, I promise! I came in with a respectable (but not fantastic) time of 4:10. The first 19/20 miles were great and I loved them but the last 6/7 weren't a particularly pleasant experience. It wasn't that I hit the wall, or that I hadn't hydrated well enough, or that I was in pain. It's just a flipping long way, my music was a bit rubbish by then, there weren't that many people and I'd had enough. Plus it was a really hilly course. And whoever thought that it was a good idea to put in a steep hill at mile 25 was an absolute numpty. I'm three toe nails down with a slightly sore hip (which didn't start until about Wednesday) but oddly my back and my slightly sore hamstring stood the test and feel much better for it. Isn't the body a weird thing?! So thank you again - and to my lovely friends and family plus anyone else who came out to support - it makes such a difference, especially when you've resorted to counting the white lines down the middle of the road to make sure that you keep putting one foot in front of the other! 

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

It's leather jacket time!

I've been after a navy leather jacket for a while now and somehow, yesterday, it just happened. Seriously, I finished a show at QVC, walked down to Chiswick High Street, went into Jigsaw and came out with this navy leather jacket.

I realised when I got back to the studio that it was 3pm and I hadn't had any lunch. The light headed feeling that I had surely meant that I was hypo-glycaemic and I barely remember buying it. Now there's an excuse if ever I've heard one - but it is true, sort of. Luckily I had had my eye on the leather jacket for a while so it was more of an automaton purchase as opposed to a wildly crazy one. And thank heavens for birthday money. 

So here is the Jigsaw washed biker jacket (£299) , helpfully covered up with a rather large furry scarf. Which is why there's another picture of it below...

For years I was seriously unsure about leather jackets and I didn't own my first one until I was forty - which I know is when many people stop wearing them. I still have my cream Oasis one, plus a Reiss one bought at a bargain price in  sale - but I've hankered after a navy one for a while.

This post was partly meant to be about non-black leather jackets, which is why I've featured ones in various different colours. A black leather jacket is of course a wardrobe staple, and many wouldn't consider another colour - but there are lots of black leather jackets about, so this is for those of you who just fancy something different.

Reiss is a great place to look for a leather jacket. They have a sale on at the moment and lots of the suede ones are reduced. But for now I'm featuring the Kate leather jacket from Reiss in khaki (£425). this is one of those great colours that takes on the colour of what it's put with - whether it's brown, khaki or another similar colour. 

Then of course there's the Everyday biker jacket from Baukjen, which I've shown here in winter cherry (£399). The reviews of it are fantastic so it's worth investigating, plus it also comes in black, pale pink and navy. This Winter Cherry is great with navy, black, grey and berry colours. Plus brighter yellows layered underneath it look great too. I could sooooo be tempted by this colour - just maybe not right now. 

This is the navy version of the Winter Cherry one, above. It's a lighter navy than the Jigsaw one and was also a strong contender - but the Jigsaw one just got to me first. 

All Saints is the other place to look for leather jackets. I used to love it when there was an All Saints at Bicester - that was really handy. This is the Balfern leather biker jacket from All Saints (£318) in slate blue. The sky blue and the washed pink, both below, are reduced to £222 in the sale.

I love the soft ice-cream colours of both of these jackets - and they work really well with lighter colouring. There's such a good range of leather jacket at All Saints that I've linked to all of them here.

Now the thing about leather jackets that there's just no getting away from is that they are pricey. True they may be a wardrobe staple that may last for 10 years and their eventual cost per wear may turn out to be negligible but nonetheless. So try lots first. Nick one from your mate to try if necessary. What I would say though is that if you're a wimp like me, in the colder weather they really do keep the chill out and they are great for layering under a fur gilet or an oversized coat. And the cropped Boden cashmere cardigans (even slightly moth eaten ones) layer underneath them really well.  

No post about leather jackets would be worthy if it didn't include the grey Onyx leather jacket from Hush (£295). I adore the colour of this jacket and I like the way that the sleeves are ruched, as if to demonstrate its utter softness.

So far I've dealt with leather and whilst it's pretty easy to find faux leather jackets in black, coloured ones can be slightly more scarce. This though is the Lucy faux leather biker from Oasis (£65) in dark green. It also comes in burgundy.

I hope that you've found this helpful and apologies for any typos or spelling mistakes. It's late and I need my bed!