Showing posts with label Marks and Spencer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marks and Spencer. Show all posts

Monday, 5 March 2018

A Style Challenge and Stepping Outside Our Comfort Zone

Hello everyone! Thank you all so much for your lovely comments on my last post. I realise how short of time everyone is so I really appreciate the time taken out of your busy days, to get in touch.

I think that wearing your heart on your sleeve from time to time can be a good thing. It encourages others to share their experiences and I've really appreciated the support and perspective offered. It's so much easier than soldiering on alone! It's also put me back in touch with some of my blogging friends from the very early days, which is lovely.

I've taken on board your comments, I'm processing them and more importantly, hopefully I will be bringing you more of what you would like to see on here. 

Vinyl trousers Mango (£35.99) shoes Aldo but similar here from Marks and Spencer (£19.50) similar shirt here Hush (£59) which comes in a star print here

So taking all of that into account, I thought that I'd bring you a pair of trousers that everyone will, quite probably, hate presented a little bit of a "style challenge". I thought it might be a nice feature to run from time to time and I already had these after the photoshoot last week.

So what is it about these trousers that present a "challenge?" Well I think that's pretty obvious to most of us - it's even in their name. "Vinyl." The word either makes me think of records (which are now super cool to listen to so I don't need to explain what they are - unlike about 8 years ago when no-one knew what they were unless they owned them) or flasher macs. Don't ask me why, it just does.

BUT there were things about these trousers that I could totally identify with. First, they're navy and I am very comfortable in anything navy. Had they been red, khaki or black, I perhaps wouldn't have gone there. Secondly, I'm happy wearing this style trouser, so again that wasn't too far out of my comfort zone. Given that it was only the fabric that was different, and that two out of the other three criteria were well within my comfort zone, I could imagine that I might like them. I might not - but I could. And that was enough for me.

The "one step outside of your comfort zone" is something I work on quite a lot when styling women. People are definitely creatures of habit - we all are (hello navy blue). And whilst it's my job to suggest new ideas, there's no point trying to take people too far out of their comfort zone. They may say "yes" on the day but there's a good chance that whatever we buy may well sit at the back of the wardrobe unworn - and I hate that idea.

I definitely couldn't do a vinyl mac - the connotations are too strong and there would also be too much vinyl for me - but I think that they can look great on others. The older we get, the more that memories of the past (particularly school uniform colours or Grandma's curtains!) inform what we are happy to wear, probably much more so than trends. But it's definitely good to keep pushing the boundaries, rather than getting in a rut. Pair more challenging pieces with things that you love already, ignore your family, take a photo and see what you think. Vinyl trousers may not be for you, or for me, but I do love a (style) challenge!

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Jigsaw's three alternatives to the pleated skirt.

I'd pretty much decided before I collected it, that the pleated skirt from Marks & Spencer would be going back but actually, I really liked it - particularly the SWISH! The reason that I thought it would be going back was because I decided that it looked so lovely on Maryam (who wore it on here a couple of posts ago) that I would just hate it on myself. But the colour is vibrant and fun and it moves it may get to stay.

But the whole reason for this post is that, from the messages that I get, I think there are whole host of ladies who love the idea of a pleated skirt but who haven't yet managed to hunt down the right one. So I've come up with three alternatives to a pleated skirt - two of which are actually pleated skirts but just bear with me - which might just do the trick.

Being the owner of several pleated skirts, I think that I've sort of sussed out which ones work the best. And this one could be one of them...

This is the Jigsaw multi coloured pleated skirt (£199) and it's from their English Eccentrics range for A/W. Although it is undoubtedly more pricey than many of the things that I feature on here, it is totally beautiful in the flesh and perfect for a Winter wedding, for Christmas, for a party, or for every day, just because you love it. It's 100% polyester so it has that lightweight floaty quality and it doesn't add any bulk to the frame. Nor is it boardy and stiff like some of the metallic skirts can be, which I always think is a shame because they just don't move with you.

The colours in the skirt are stunning and the way that it's panelled keeps the eye on the move. I love the idea of picking up the brighter blue, or the navy, in a fitted jumper. I held this skirt up to me and it was more of a mid calf length - but then again the model is 5ft 10" so that might explain it.

One tip when trying on these style skirts is that you must move in them. Even take a video if it helps. Rarely do we stand completely still and when a pleated skirt moves, it can be really much more flattering than when you're standing straight on looking at it in a mirror. Twirl, walk, sway and swish and watch how it moves with you.

The colour of this Jigsaw pleated iridescent skirt (£140) is absolutely stunning. As it says in the description of this skirt, it has a subtle A-line shape, being fitted at the waist and flaring slowly down to the hem. Again it's 100% polyester, with a lining and an iridescent outer layer, which is sheer towards the hem. I like this skirt because it's less "formally" pleated than a proper pleated skirt. It's a bit like a hair style which has loose, natural curls, as opposed to a very tight perm. So this skirt could potentially be an option as an alternative to a pleated skirt. 

Finally there's the Jigsaw heavy satin fluid skirt (£120). It comes in grey (above) a dark green and also magenta. This skirt is 100% viscose so again very fluid and rather than having pleats, it has gathers, which drape from the waistband. 

The first skirt has kind of snuck in by the back door although to be fair, despite the fact that it's pleated, it is a very floaty fabric and it has beautiful detailing which could be really flattering. The other two options are more relaxed than the knife pleats. So have a play, put the waist band lower down towards the hips and see how it works. Try it with a heeled ankle boot and a knit which doesn't come down too low over the hips. Have a swish and a sway in it and do let me know how you get on! 

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Seeing stars....but not in my eyes!

It started with Phoebe Philo wearing Stan Smiths at Celine's A/W 2011 show in Paris. Since then, fashion has adopted trainers as its own. No longer are trainers worn just in the traditional "training sense", which for many has been a revelation. Whether it's a feminist take on fashion or just more of a practical take on fashion I don't know - but I love it.  With a lacy dress, a pleated skirt, smart trousers, to a business meeting, on the red carpet or when heels just won't do - trainers can, do and will. 

Now, one thing that I really can justify buying is a new pair of trainers. My Adidas silver Superstars are probably the most featured footwear on my Instagram account and they are rarely far from my feet. My Fitbit tells me that I've walked miles and miles and miles in them - and the four holes that I have now worked into them is testament to that. Cost per wear - less than nothing. 

For a long time now I've been debating what to replace them with. You will not be surprised to hear that usually a decision of this nature doesn't cause me any problems but in this instance. Well, let's just say that the debate has been ongoing. It's almost as if the fear of making the wrong decision - of replacing something so amazing with something inferior - is  just too big a risk to take. But now - well now I have made a decision as to what I would like. And they feature stars. I don't think that I will ever tire of stars. From star jewellery, to t-shirts, to handbags, to jeans and our latest wallpaper, stars adorn pretty much everything. These are my favourite picks so far...

Well hello baby! These are high on my wish list. Not just sparkly stars but glittery stars. Hush Galaxy Trainer (£145)

I saw these Star lace up sneakers in & Other Stories (£75) when I was in London earlier in the week. I'm not quite so sure about the multi-colours - the jury is still out - but they could be a contender.

Russell & Bromley moodboard sneakers (£195) - not strictly stars in their own right but there's definitely a star presence. 

Or how about the Dune Equel patchwork cupsole trainer (£60)?  The reviews of these say how comfortable they are so I'm definitely drawn to them. [Sorry about the poor quality image; Dune make it tricky to get them!]

M&S star trainer (£29.50) - now I've already ordered these in the name of "research". I really liked the white ones but they are out of stock. Black could be a little bit interesting. But I think that I might just still need some white ones too. 

Oooh now aren't these snazzy? They're the ASOS  Dawn Star Trainer (£25). They're not leather, which some may prefer and as it says on the image, half sizes are available which can make a huge difference comfort wise. 

Or there's the ASOS Delilah moon and star trainer (£25)

I would love to know if any of you have bought any star trainers recently and if so, what the comfort factor is like. And if you don't already have some, I would love to know which ones grab your attention. It might help me to decide which ones to go for! 


Thursday, 16 March 2017

(One of) THE shoe shapes of the season - the V throat toe sandal (no, I don't really understand that either!)

Next £38 - they also come in black, red and orange

I'm going to have to ask you to bear with me on this one because these shoes really don't make a very good first impression do they? If you were out on a date with them you'd maybe have a G&T with them before making your excuses and leaving. And as for thinking about having them in your wardrobe? Well in some ways they're not really an obvious choice. But then let's take a minute to think shall we? Because stranger things have happened. I mean people wear furry Birkenstocks after all.

Darcey flats from Office (reduced to £32 from £58)

I tried a pair of these yesterday and in that odd sort of "these are so horrible I quite like them" kind of way, they suddenly became quite appealing. For a start they're a little different to what has been around for the past few seasons (well, other than way back in the 90s) and that's always a good thing because when you've done quite a few summers (like I have) it's good to see something different.

Office grey leather slingbacks (£69)

And they're flat. Which for Mrs Sensible in the corner (i.e. me) that's a really good thing. They also offer a decent amount of foot coverage so for people who don't want too much on display, that too is a good thing. But the sling back makes them slightly more summery. Am I persuading you?!

New Look suedette slingbacks (£18)

A lot of the styles are fairly pricey - but the New Look ones (above) are a good price point and a great choice for those who prefer not to wear leather.  And whilst we're considering the pros of these little babies, let's look at the "V" styling at the front - which makes them really flattering and leg lengthening. Which may go some way towards counteracting their ability to create cankles.

These Autograph leather slingbacks from Marks and Spencer (£49.50) come in black, as well as white, and they also come in half sizes. It's good to see M&S in on the act!

Block heel slingback from Office (£68)

Now maybe a block heel will increase the appeal of these slightly ugly ducklings - which I have to say are growing on me the more that I write this post. I like the idea of these  with a midi skirt - probably my pleated Topshop one that I lived in last year and that I'm wearing now. I'm trying to get myself out of trainers but I'm finding it hard to wean myself off them as they're so comfortable.

Magic bow back slingheels Office (£68)

With straight leg, slightly cropped, jeans these too would be great. I think that for people as pale as I am, a little fake tan on the ankles also assists against these paler grey and cream colours.

Sling back court shoe by Topshop unique (£115)

But where this style of shoe could really come into their own is with a heel. Maybe if there's an event coming up, such as a wedding, the races, or a birthday party and you have an outfit that's been worn before but which just needs a lift, these could inject what's needed to bring the outfit up to date. Plus, they can be worn again with jogger style bottoms and a white shirt, or jeans and a fancy pants top.

Grey suedette v-throat toe pointed slingback New Look (£22.99)

And again, for some that are a great price, look no further than good old New Look.

I'm heading into town in the next few days so I'm going to have a good try on and see what I think. Where do you stand on the v-throat toe sandals? Love them, loathe them or sitting on the fence?

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Keeping it warm but silky....

I'm never quite sure why I think that I will achieve so much more in the holidays, than in term time. After all these years you would have thought that I would have learned that having three children at home means that I have less time available to blog, instagram, exercise and catch up on things that I think that I will have time to catch up on. It's not that I don't love having them around, far from it. I love doing lots of baking, being taught how to play games on the wii, going for walks and to the cinema I'm just like an elephant but in reverse....they never forget. I never remember.

So now that I've got that off my chest, I'm going to share one of my favourite ways of wearing something pretty whilst keeping warm. At heart I'm a girl who loves pretty things - lace, bows, frills, sequins, they all appeal but it's how to wear them in the colder months and remain warm.

One thing that I have mastered over the years, well insofar as I've mastered anything, is the art of layering. True, it's not much of a skill but you know, it all counts.

So I start off with a vest, something like this one from M&S one for £5 works a treat but H&M also has great ones too. This one comes in five colours and quite often they are two for £8.

My revelation from last winter were some cropped, long sleeved, ribbed cotton tops from Topshop which I wore over a vest and underneath everything. They were great because they offered warmth where I needed it but because they were cropped, they weren't bulky around the middle. Topshop seem to have replaced them with this style which might not work so well as the tops have a turtle neck and a twist  - so they may not sit quite so flat. But at least they give an idea.

Next we have the ribbed turtleneck jumper from H&M (£24.99). There's something about the snug fit of a ribbed jumper that I find really warm, despite its lack of wool, or bulk.

Now some of you will have broken out in a sweat just looking at those layers but for those of you who haven't, I find the combination of those three pieces offer a great base layer but without the bulk and that means that I can then get to the fun part, whether it be a cami top, a slip dress or a lightweight silky top.

In the above photo I'm wearing the M&S lace trim cami (£22.50). I was actually trying this for size, thinking that I had bought the size 8 but in fact it was the 10, so I have the 8 on order so that I can compare them. Of course I would prefer to pretend that I could wear the silky top just with a thick cardi thrown over it but that's not the case. And whilst arguably I would rather not have to layer three extra pieces underneath the silky top, at least it means that I can wear one, even in the winter.

Whilst writing this post I went a little off piste but I thought that I would share these pieces anyway. First of all, I came across these gorgeous shoes from M&S which are, of course, in THE fabric of the season...

And I'm actually quite fancying them with this H&M dress (£29.99) which looks as if it is the snuggliest dress ever made.

The alternative Christmas Day outfit perhaps?!

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The M&S side striped trousers

As with each new season there are lots of different trends on the scene but as we all know, the quickest, most cost effective and most workable way to update a wardrobe is not to buy a "look" or a "trend" from head to toe - but to tap into a few pieces in the shape and style of the season and which work with what you own already.

Last A/W saw the arrival of side stripe trousers in some premium brands. This season they have filtered down to the High Street and so far I've seen them in Zara, H&M and M&S. The ones that I'm wearing above are from Marks and Spencer (£25) in navy with a black and white stripe. I have to say that I'm hugely impressed with them. The fabric is quite lightweight so if it's a full on winter trouser you're after, these might not fit the bill but for now and for the next couple of months I think that they will work fine. I find the cut and the shape really comfortable and the fabric drapes well so for £25 they absolutely get my vote. One thing though, they do come up unusually long and at 5 ft 6" I'm wearing a short length.*

I've never had a side stripe trouser before (well at least I don't remember them being around in the 80's but please correct me if I'm wrong!) and despite it only being a small detail, it's quite refreshing plus unlike some trends and looks, it's really accessible. Suddenly all of those plain tops and crew knits have been given a new lease of life.

For those who might be interested, these trousers also come in black with a sky blue stripe. 

On another note I just really wanted to thank you all for your good luck wishes and messages that you sent before I did the Great North Run. They meant a lot and when I found the going tough (about miles 2 to 13.1!) they kept me going. So a huge thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to get in touch. Also huge thanks to the locals who sprayed hosepipes over us and offered ice pops - only about 20 minutes or so after the end of the race did I find the one that I'd shoved down my bra. Oh and apologies to the family for taking the coke that they were offering, only to realise that it was Newcastle Brown Ale and throwing it away. I think that it might have just tipped me over the edge.

*since drafting the first part of the post, I wore the trousers on the school run where I got caught in the hugest rain/thunderstorm going. BUT I'm glad to report that not only do the trousers roll up to thigh height quite nicely but when they roll back down they're not in the slightest bit creased and they dry really quickly. A bonus if ever there was one.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

The slip dress round 3 - layering underneath and over the top!

I've done two posts now using this slip dress, which can be read here (when it was a sunny day and I wore it with flip flops and a sun hat) and here (when I wore it with trainers and a silky, waterfall oriental print jacket).

For its third outing, on a much colder day than when I wore the dress the first time, I layered a silk printed shirt with a pussy bow underneath it and a Jigsaw bomber jacket over the top. For shoes I wore some heavier Zara flatform  style loafers, which have bit of an espadrille sole to them.

All that's needed to achieve something similar is a blouse or shirt that you like and a blazer or jacket too. As many of you will know, it can work with a slip dress, a shift dress and some styles of sundresses. Sometimes it's just good to have a play and see where it takes you. But anyway, that's the slip dress done for now. I promise.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

An Interiors Post - Creating a compact study area

Before we had the work done on our house, I didn't have a space of my own for working or blogging. I would move from the kitchen table to the kitchen island and back again, leaving leads trailing and people flailing as they tripped over them.

So, when the chance came for me to think about what we wanted from our new space, it was important to carve out a work corner. It didn't need to be big but as it's not hidden from view, it needed to be tidy. (The rest of my files and paraphernalia are currently in cardboard boxes but they will be stored in a cupboard that has yet to be built.)

As to the furniture, I looked at lots of desks and finally chose this John Lewis gravity desk in walnut (£250). The design really appealed to me. I didn't want anything too "officey" looking and it was just really different - plus it wasn't extortionate. The shelves are, as you might predict, the high gloss lack shelves from Ikea.

I love listening to the Radio and my husband bought me this Roberts Revival Mini Radio from John Lewis for a recent birthday.

The tall vases are handmade by Susan Nemeth and I've probably had them for ten or so years now. I love ceramics and particularly the colours that Susan uses. The squarer shaped vase is by Jessie Higginson. I carried around a postcard with her work on it for a very long time and then a few years later some of her vases appeared in a local shop and my husband bought this one for me as a present. That was about 16 years ago now and I love it now just as much as I did then. The vases used to be in our living room but the colours seem to work well with the colour of the wall, so they're living here for a while now instead.

And I know that this sounds a bit up my own bum but as everything is on display on the desk, it needed to be pleasing on the eye whilst also functional. I had some John Lewis vouchers saved from Christmas and so I treated myself (and it was a treat, to the point that I had slight palpitations) to this Kate Spade staplertape dispenser and letter tray whilst my husband bought me the Kate Spade tumblers so that I had something nice to drink out of when I was working. Bless him! The notebooks are from Home Bargains (the gold striped one) and the turquoise and white one is from Kate Spade at Selfridges, although it's no longer online.

The chair that I am using is one that we already had and it's the Macadam folding chair from Habitat. These chairs cost £10 and come in variety of colours. They are brilliant, really sturdy and comfortable plus fantastic for their price. I must admit to quite fancying the pale pink one too. To soften it up a little, I bought this faux fur cushion in silver stripe from John Lewis (£15). A review that I have just read says that it sheds fur over everything but I haven't noticed that to be the case. Although I could well be walking around with a furry bottom without knowing!

And this is my study area in context. Tucked away at the back of the room it is cosy and all mine (for now - wait until the A-level revision starts. I fear that I will be back on the kitchen table!)

Friday, 29 July 2016

Slip dress round two!

Remember the £14 slip dress from Marks and Spencer that I wore here? Well I didn't want it to be a one slip wonder and I like the fit (not fitted) and the length (not short) so it seemed a good idea to try and re-work it.

I found this sort of silky, oriental printed, waterfall throw on type "jacket" in my wardrobe which I've had for a long time but not really worn, and thought that I would give it a try. I think that we all got on OK together.

The dress that I am wearing is sold out but this lace trim dress also from Marks and Spencer (£6.50) is similar(ish)

Anyone remember this song? I've been thinking about all the time that I've been writing this post...

Slip slidin' away, 
slip slidin' away, 
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away

You can't beat a great 70's hit! 

Friday, 22 July 2016

Frills, personalised bags and pom poms!

Today was the day for a picnic in the park and for a round of crazy golf with the lean, mean, hole in one eight year old golfing machine, and her friend.  The irony of playing a game with the word "crazy" in it with those two was not lost on me.

But I took solace :) in my new personalised tote bag from SWYC which I first saw on Fran of thefashionlift - although obviously she had her own initials on her bag, and not mine.

In addition to loving the style, colour and the fact that this bag is personalised, it was also utterly brilliant for crazy golf; I could get everything in it plus the strap was just the right length - not so short that it cut me in half when I put it across my body but not so long that it fell forwards every time I reached down to pick the ball up, half strangling me and making me fall over at the same time (which has happened on more than one occasion. Dignity lost!)

It was also time to give this Marks and Spencer broderie bardot top (£29.50) its first outing. The reviews are right in that it is quite voluminous but I liked that. If it's hot enough to wear a top like this I like it if the air can circulate! It's just one of those tops that needs to be paired with a fairly fitted bottom half for the proportions to work properly.

And I think that it would be remiss of me if I finished this post without drawing everyone's attention to this amazing Pom Pom Clutch (£18) also from saywhatyouc. Well I promised that I was going to use more print and colour in my outfits!

Hope that you are all still enjoying the sun and that you have something super planned for the weekend. x