Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The GAP sexy boyfriend jeans live to fight another day....

I've had these GAP sexy boyfriend jeans for a few years now. At first I loved them and then I didn't but now that I've rediscovered them, I can't take them off. Handily they fit in well with my "uniform" approach to dressing that I've adopted this week and worn with these Jigsaw sandals - which again I can't take off, a pale yellow Topshop jumper and this lovely necklace from a friend, that was me done.

GAP sexy boyfriend jeans (£40.46)

I love yellow but unless it's the right shade it totally kills me. In fact people around me have been known to pull a face when I wear certain shades of yellow but the creamy yellow of the jumper above works fine. It's then that I wish I had a different skin colour. Victoria Beckham used to be a different colour but she's not pasty and pale any more. How has that happened? Has she really been fake tanned for the last 20 years or so? Crikey, imagine her bed sheets.

Maybe it's time to think about whether you too have any old favourites that have temporarily been consigned to the back of the cupboard - just to see if you can give them a new lease of life. Let me know how you get on!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The different approaches to getting dressed and how to take the stress out deciding what to wear each day...

Outfit: Whistles jeans and jacket, M&S shoes, French Connection jumper, Zara scarf, Oushka bag

I've concluded that there are different methods of getting dressed and these are some of them:

  • Wearing what you wore the day before but with the necessary underwear changes - this is the quickest and easiest way of getting dressed, short of staying in your PJs;
  • Getting ready for a fancy pants do, where you know what you're going to wear but it just takes a while to get ready, what with all the make-up faffing and stuff;
  • Having something new to wear - again you know what you're going to wear but it may take a minute or so to get it right, depending on how you're styling it;
  • Getting dressed for a particular activity - yoga/swimming/running/surfing etc where specific clothing is required which makes it easy;
  • Every other day of the year where you (OK, I) sort of know what I'm going to wear, decide it's boring/it was done not that long ago, try something else, decide that's not right (too cold, too warm, too long, too short, legs not brown enough) and then revert to plan A - having wasted 10 minutes in the process.
Last week I read about a woman who decided that men had it easy at work because, effectively, they could wear the same thing every day. To make her life simpler, she decided to do the same as the men and wore the same thing to work for a year. 

So to cut out the middle man, that's what I'm doing this week. I'm not wearing the same thing but I am wearing a simple combination of jeans (or trousers) OK I lie it's mostly jeans, a jumper (so no blouses or fancy tops etc) and a jacket. And that's it. Job done - apart from the striped scarf but that's not going too far off plan. I'm on day 3 and so far it's fine. I suppose it's a little like Jennifer Aniston eating the same lunch for 10 years when she was filming Friends. Except that I'm not Jennifer Aniston. Or a salad. 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

My arsenal of weapons against the April chill...

"Are you cold Beth?" came the shout across the pub when I walked in yesterday to book a table for Mr SGs b'day today. The shout came from my friend's very witty husband, which was followed by a quick retort from my friend that he knew nothing about fashion. But in fairness he was right - I was cold and I was dressed for it. In fact having got dressed once, I nipped outside to test the temperature and returned inside muttering the words to myself "I refuse to spend all weekend pretending that I'm warm when I'm not," so off came the new Boden top and on went a pale grey La Redoute cashmere jumper, GAP boyfriend jeans, a Jigsaw pom pom scarf and Zara boots. I suspect it was the scarf that elicited the comment from Gok - its scale does mean that it makes its presence known!

I must admit that, along with a cream leather jacket, lighter coloured cashmere jumpers and some big cotton scarves (all of which are a little more spring like than their darker/heavier winter counterparts) a pair of pale ankle boots is a necessity in my arsenal of weapons against the spring chill. In all honesty mine could do with replacing and these are pretty strong contenders...

Mint Velvet mole zip ankle boots (£139). I like the low cut on these because a little bit of ankle flash is nice when it's spring, however they still offer some protection against the chill.

Ditto the Mint Velvet leather Eva ankle boot (£139) - I do like a more neutral coloured heel rather than the darker heel on mine but when I bought mine they were a bit of an experiment and they were definitely worth their £30 Zara price tag.

The Mint Velvet Stella ankle boot (£149) have an elegant shape to them and some detail with the buckles. Again they are a great colour but I don't think that a bit of protector spray would go a miss on any of these.

Sorry that there are only 3 choices and that they are all MV but for what it's worth I think that they have the best selection at the moment and I'm sure that anyone who likes the idea enough will do a bit of surfing and come up with some fab options of their own. Here's hoping for a slightly warmer week...

Friday, 24 April 2015

Taller Than Your Average? - A collaboration between Long Tall Sally and TTYA could be one to watch...

If you are taller than average, you may find it difficult to get stylish clothes to fit because, let's face it, the High Street caters for the masses - and if you happen to fall outside of that fairly narrow bracket, life can get tricky. True, some brands naturally have a good length to them and Topshop and NEXT stock some pieces in store, however those brands that do offer a tall range mainly do so online (ASOS, Boden and GAP) and tends to be fairly limited.

However, Long Tall Sally have a collaboration with Taller Than Your Average (TTYA) which has some amazing pieces in it. I had a good look at it in when I was in House of Fraser yesterday and I was really impressed so I thought that I would share it with you. Take a look and see what you think...

I love these culottes (£45) which also come with a cropped top...

There's also this duster coat (£80) - very OTM,

This pretty mesh pencil skirt (£65) which comes with a cropped top...

This lovely pleated midi skirt (£85) - great dressed up or down with heels or a denim shirt and trainers...

And this sequin top (£55) which is shown with white busted knee jeans (£60)...

If I found buying clothes tricky due to my height, I would see this range as a real godsend. The pieces are well priced and stylish, so whereas shopping might once have been a chore it might well become a joy.  What do you tall ladies think? Have you ventured into TTYA yet and if so were you impressed?

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Wearing a little bit of Fat Face to take us into spring....

I will never forget that cold day in January 2008, two weeks after the birth of number 3, when Fat Face came to my rescue. That was the day that I started to cast aside my maternity clothes once and for all. I needed a one stop shop with easy parking, and an easy escape route, for some jeans, a few tops and some knitwear that I could wear until I shrank back to my usual size. When I left the shop that day in my new denim skirt I felt like Cinderella going to the ball.

So when Fat Face approached me to ask whether I would like to write about a couple of pieces of womenswear - which they kindly gifted to me - I was only too pleased to. As well as rescuing me from maternity clothing, I have happy memories of shopping in Fat Face in Guernsey, Padstow and Salcombe - because we all need to check out the shops on holiday don't we? (Or is that just me?!)

With Spring finally on its way, Fat Face are launching the Wardrobe Edit campaign, the aim of which is to encourage us to update our wardrobe by investing in a couple of key pieces that can be styled easily from day to evening.

A neat white shirt is a fantastic wardrobe spring staple and I selected this Ryde Broderie shirt (£28). For a daytime look I wore it with ripped Zara jeans, a Kate Spade bag and Aldo sandals. I like the juxtaposition of something quite pretty with something a little beaten up - plus a little colour and some sparkle always add interest to an outfit.

I chose to play with the blouse a little too, by layering it underneath a jumper. Sometimes there can be too much fabric in a blouse for this to work but because of its neat shape, the blouse and the jumper sat together really well without being uncomfortable, so that opens up whole set of other wardrobe options. Swapping the glittery sandals for pointed floral flats gave the outfit a slightly smarter feel - despite the rips.

For an evening outfit I opted for a monochrome look, with Hush white jeans and &Other Stories shoes plus my favourite star purse from GAP.

Another wardrobe staple is an A-line skirt and with navy and broderie being particular favourites of mine, this Claire broderie skirt (£45) was an obvious choice to make. Skirts can be really tricky to get right - on me at least. For it to be truly versatile, the length has to hit at the right point on the leg. Too short and I feel self conscious, too long and it can only be worn with heels. This one is great with either flats or heels though.

In the above outfit I have styled it semi-smart, semi-casual, with tan Jigsaw heels and a denim shirt. I had a couple of meetings the day that I wore this outfit and it worked well for me. The other great thing about this skirt is that there aren't any gathers around the waistband so it sits lovely and flat - just what's needed after that third baby that I mentioned earlier.

For a more casual look - although arguably the shirts and shoes for both of these outfits are interchangeable, a bit like outfit sudoku, I wore a cream printed silk Warehouse shirt, cobalt blue bag and the Aldo sparkly flats again

It's a while since I've had a chance to take a good look at Fat Face as a) ours is currently closed and b) I haven't been to Guernsey, Padstow or Salcombe for a while. I've always loved Fat Face as a brand for its good price point and great quality so perhaps now is a good time to pay one of my favourite destinations a visit....

Sunday, 19 April 2015

A navy Zara cardi - it doesn't sound very inspiring but I like its "swish"...

Just before Christmas, when we still had a Zara - how long does it take to do a refurb? - I bought this long line navy cardi. I hadn't worn it until today but the time just felt right. I suppose it was because although a warm layer was needed, a coat wasn't - and trying to find a coat to work over this little number would be virtually impossible. It made for quite a nice feel - a bit of a "swish" without wearing a dress - and we all like a little bit of "swish" from time to time don't we?

The nearest that I could find was this black edged rib coat from Zara £39.99. I'm not sure why it's described as a coat because from its composition it looks more cardi-like and unlike the one I'm wearing it is ribbed - but for anyone looking for something that's very wearable but a little bit different, something like this could be it.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

A question to ponder - will stripes ever have had their day?

It's been a day of four outfits today: first thing I wore running gear, then there was (another) shower followed by an outfit that I had to photograph for a brand, then into yoga stuff followed by another shower and my final outfit of the day, which was this one.

By this stage I was pretty much past the point of anything really - a long run followed by a three hour yoga workshop run by the most amazingly strong, supple, former Birmingham Royal Ballet Dancer left me wondering which was was up. Literally.

In addition to wondering which way was up, I also wondered whether stripes will ever become a victim of their own success. I do love stripes and I am eternally attracted to them like a moth to a flame. As with navy I would wear stripes head to toe day in day out but I'm just wondering whether there is a little "it's spring let's wear stripes" overload going on at the moment. Anyway, that's obviously as far as I got because here I'm wearing stripes, albeit pale blue ones rather than the ubiquitous navy ones. Such a rebel. (As she goes to bed at 10 pm with her mint tea with everything aching!!)

Outfit deets: Whistles jeans, French Connection jumper, Jigsaw necklace, Aldo shoes

Friday, 17 April 2015

Wearing a Topshop boilersuit and tan Jigsaw sandals to an Oasis and Keds launch event - loving their printed trainers...

Yesterday morning I went along to a breakfast event with Oasis, which marked the launch of their collaboration with Keds. After that I was heading to a meeting so I thought that it was perhaps time to road test my Topshop boiler suit (£65) together with the Jigsaw Monique sandals bought (almost entirely!) with the gift card that Mr SG gave to me for Valentine's Day. I have a sneaking suspicion that the boiler suit is now sold out so apologies for including a totally useless link although hopefully it may be useful as a reference point.

And I have to say that I really enjoyed wearing everything. The shoes, hugely comfortable as they were - which is rare for me to say about heels - were cast aside on returning home as we had several other 7 year olds over and I didn't figure that heels were the best option. I kept the boiler suit on though, just swapping the heels for trainers and it was the perfect warmth for a day like yesterday...chilly morning, slightly warmer afternoon but never properly hot.

So as to the Oasis event. Oasis in collaboration with Keds have produced trainers in four different prints (£45), two of which are skater style and two of which are lace ups. Each one has its own "personality" as indicated on a huge road style sign, which you can see in more detail below...

I loved the display - lots of colour and fun involved with the plant pots being covered in the same print as the shoes...

So this is the first design - the Perfectionist,

The second design is the English Rose...

Then there's the Style Hunter...

And finally my favourite, the jetsetter. That's me all right, what with my trips to Wales and the like!

So what are you thinking? Could you be tempted by one of these lovely prints and if so, which one? 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A new season must have - How a pom pom scarf can give some ancient favourites a new lease of life...

We all know that a few good staples can work season after season and year after year and for this outfit I'm going to do a quick calculation of the age of my outfit:

  • GAP boyfriend jeans, mercilessly dumped last year for the Jigsaw boyfriend jeans but now back in favour - 4 years;
  • Hobbs blazer - a rough guess but I would say 4 years;
  • Hobbs pale blue knit - again 4 years;
  • Jigsaw handbag - used to death, fixed by the Handbag clinic, and now back on the scene - 10 years;
  • Boden sunglasses - 3 years;
  • Gold Aldo espadrilles - the new kids on the block - 1 year.
Total outfit age: 26 years

But then this Jigsaw pom pom scarf (£59) came along and turned things around, bringing everything back up to date. This scarf is big, big, big and I'll be able to use it as a great cover up on hot days on the beach. Normally I would go for a brighter option, of which there are many but I just liked this shade of grey and the contrasting pom poms. 

Other colours of Jigsaw pom pom scarf....indigo, navy, pink, shrimp and yellow - almost one for every day of the week!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Nautical, floral and khaki all at the same time? And how can we lighten our outfits when the temperature outside is only a few degrees above zero?

Having come this far down the "it's no longer winter so I'm not going to dress like it any more" track, I've decided that there's no going back. No more Boden polo - which I've pretty much lived in since Christmas, no more boots, no more heavy coats. But when the outside temperature in the morning is still only a few degrees above zero, what to do?

  • Lightening the colours but not the fabric can make all the difference, so these utility GAP trousers look slightly less winter like than the same style but in black;
  • A heavy cotton jumper like this striped Reiss one is lighter in its colour palette and general feel but its weight still offers warmth, so it's great for this time of year and also for when the summer is on its way out;
  • Pointed block heels, again in a lighter colour, are less heavy than a boot but not quite so lightweight as a sandal/slide which it was too cold to wear this morning, although we got there later in the day. And bare ankles are a concession that I can just about handle right now. 

Tell me, is this a sign of the times? When the youngest comes in first thing in the morning and I ask her what the weather is like, rather than looking out of the window, she asks for my phone so that she can check the app. I'm still trying to get my head around that one!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Tencel trenches - a much nicer term than "duster coat" which frankly just reminds me of housework...

There's a lot been written about duster coats of late and below I've taken a look at some of the best on the High Street. I don't know if anyone remembers them from the first time around but I had a great one in 1997. Clearly I remember it well. It was from M&S and billowy and I loved it. I'm not sure what happened to that coat but I so wish that I had it now. The way to wear them now - says she being a bossy whatsit - is in a very casual way, so over the type of jeans/shirt outfit that I am wearing above, rather than over a power suit in a very 1980's way.

I was working with this Autograph tencel trench coat (£99) when I did my stint with M&S a couple of weeks ago now. Did anyone know that tencel is derived from sustainable eucalyptus trees? No, me neither. Not until now at least.

So soft white and me don't mix, as I demonstrated yesterday when I threw an oreo ice cream down myself but Autograph have this beautiful trench in soft white for £99. 

Keeping with M&S, there's this Limited tencel coat (£89) in a traditionally classic "mac" colour. 

I love the detailing on this H&M trench (£39.99). The soft draping makes it look a whole lot more expensive than it is. 

Again, rubbish if you like chucking ice-cream over yourself but if you're more sophisticated than I am, this Mango trench (£59.99) could work a treat. I like the collarless fuss free option on this coat.

The Oasis longline drape coat (£120) has a lovely wide, elegant, neckline which is flattering for balancing out wider shoulders or hips.

For a sleeveless option, this Warehouse long split side waistcoat (£65) is a great take on modern trench. I have to say that this one is probably my favourite, just because it is a little bit different. Warehouse has a great selection of duster coats which are definitely worth taking a closer look at if you are thinking of taking the duster plunge.

As much as I like the concept of duster coats, I've decided that I don't like the term.  They just remind me of housework. Urggh.