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Coats & Jackets

Blanket Wrap
Accessories, Coats & Jackets, In My Wardrobe, Tried & Tested

Winter is Coming. It’s Time to Wrap Up.

Blanket wrap, throw, shawl, poncho, horse blanket…call them what you will, this season there’s definitely no shortage of oversized scarves in heavy fabrics that will help you add that important extra layer of warmth. Damart set me the challenge of styling up the Dogtooth Wrap for the colder weather, and I knew immediately this look had to be all about the layers. These wraps are brilliant over your usual coat on days when you know you’re going to be facing sub-zero temperatures.

Damart wrap

I teamed the wrap with a lace-up top from Primark, the Missguided Lena coat (still available in lilac and pink), black Old Navy rockstar jeans (the best cheap jeans in the world) and Clarks Hamble Oak brogues in pewter. This is my second pair and they’re still the comfiest brogues ever.

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The joy of these wraps is you can throw, pin, and wrap them around yourself in all manner of ways to suit the weather. One minute, it’s like a poncho over your coat (I prefer to tuck it under the lapels so the coat shows, especially if I’m wearing colour like this one), the next minute it’s more like an oversized scarf, tucked up around the neck. I’ve also seen them look great belted a little like a waistcoat; a good choice if you’re concerned that all the layers will drown you a little.

My other big reason for loving these wraps is that they are a joy when travelling. I hate getting cold on long flights but I also hate packing a big coat just for the journey. I’ve always worn a big scarf for flights and now I’ll be upgrading. This is way better than the horrible blankets that get handed out in economy class! It stays in place over the shoulders, you can easily fasten your seatbelt over the top of it, and your hands remain free for important entertainment selections (ahem, and free wine guzzling). On top of that, you’re far more likely to get use out of it at your destination if, like me, you always slightly underestimate the weather when you get there.

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One final bonus? These babies come in one size, so whether you’re buying as a gift and not sure on size, or you have a tendency to yo-yo between sizes, you can rest assured this will fit!

Disclosure : The wrap was a gift, however I wasn’t paid to write this post

contrastcoats
Clothing, Coats & Jackets

Top Winter Trend – Contrast sleeve coats & jackets

At this time of year you’re lucky if anyone sees what you’re wearing under your coat while you’re outdoors, so you may as well make sure you’ve got some seriously stylish outerwear. When Burberry showed a leather sleeved trench a couple of years ago, it sparked a trend that’s lasted right through to this Winter. You can’t get far browsing the outerwear section without coming across a parka with contrast sleeves this year, be they leather, knit or even sequin. Though many have a bit of a utility twist in khaki, camouflage or leather, if you prefer something smarter there are some alternatives, like the cool belted ASOS curve offering. The ones I’ve picked out for my list prove there’s a jacket of this style to fit everyone from a size 6 to a size 32. I’ve already ordered a sequinned sleeve one for myself (what, you thought I’d go for a less ostentatious option? Have we met?)

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Clothing, Coats & Jackets, Tops & Tees

Ten things I love (and none of them are dresses)

We all know by now that I rely a little bit too much on the whole ‘put on tights, add dress, throw on some shoes, leave house’ approach to getting dressed in the morning. But in order not be quite so predictable in the way I dress, I’ve been trying to move away from that. It hasn’t gone particularly well – mostly, I’ve been wearing more coloured tights (oooh, innovative!) and trying to wear a pair of earrings for more than half an hour before I get bored and remove them – but I’m also trying to stop myself from going directly to the ‘dresses’ page when I’m browsing online. I’m finding myself increasingly drawn towards separates – mostly blouses, skirts and shorts – and great statement accessories. Here are just a few of the things I’ve discovered by making that tiny little change…

 

– I’m really hoping Miss Selfridge restock these shorts or have some biggers sizes left in store, because I’m completely in love with them. Not only are they the colour of the season – rust – they’re a much easier shape to wear than the shorter, tighter cuffed shorts of previous seasons. They’d work now with tights and brogues, but could also be worn with bare legs if the Sun ever shows its face again.

 

Absolutely predictable for me, I know, but this bargain cherry print skirt will be killer with a black top, Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Lady Dragon shoes and a pompadour hairdo. The more I see of Henry Holland’s range for Debenhams, the more I love. Lots of great prints, pretty dresses and a big dash of quirky is right up my street!

 

I’ve had my eye on these shoes for ages, since I saw them in a magazine as part of a purple and coral outfit (with purple tights). They looked amazing – like something off the Miu Miu catwalk – and since then they’ve been high up on my wishlist. They’re the perfect example of something that I wouldn’t look twice at while browsing, but having seen them styled to perfection, they suddenly become a must-have.

 

I would never really look at a white coat because of how ridiculously impractical they are, but there are times (weddings, for example) when you need something a little lighter and more special. And let’s face it, at £20 this baby is an absolute steal. If I didn’t think it’d be grubby grey within five minutes of me putting it on, I’d be snapping this up right away.

 

All I can say is Oh My God! If you’re an online friend or you’ve been following me for a while on twitter, you may know about my obsession with a particular Linea Pelle handbag range called Dylan that featured the perfect slouchy leather foldover bag with a cross-body strap. At well over $400 (plus shipping and import fees) it’s well out of my price range, but I lived in hope that someone would do a decent homage. And here it is! River Island have totally pulled it out of the bag – and done so in leather. I’m headed straight in store to get a proper look!

 

I’m absolutely loving these Topshop vests with scalloped edges. It’s a lovely way to make a basic item a bit more on trend (ugh, even if you hate the phrase ‘on trend’) and the shape is really adaptable. I’d go for a bit of colourblocking and wear the rust coloured one tucked into those lovely Miss Selfridge shorts with a big chunky pendant necklace.

 

And for those who don’t fit into Topshop’s teeny sizing, this gorgeous cami from ASOS curve is another lovely Spring update on a classic. I like that the ruffles are a bit softer than those double-layer tops and dresses currently floating about (via Halston Heritage) which can be a bit much on anyone with more than a C-cup bust. This would look great with a couple of long, delicate gold chain necklaces, skinny jeans or cuffed trousers and wedges for a night out. Just add a kimono cardigan / shrug for the finishing touch.

 

Oh look, a retro swimsuit. How very predictable of me! We all know I love a good bit of 40s or 50s inspired swimwear, and this gets my vote for two reasons. Number one – it costs less than £50, unlike most of the more specialist offerings. Number two, the sizing goes up to a 22, which is a blessing for the many women who’ve got in touch with me because they’re looking for easily accessible, curve-flattering vintage style swimwear. Three cheers for Monsoon, who’ve really pulled it out the bag with this baby.

 

Childish peter pan collar? Check! Loud, slightly OTT print? Check! What’s not to love about this top? I’d quite like to team it with something really unexpected, like an electric blue pencil skirt (tucked in) or a pair of tan shorts, rather than going with the obvious and using it for a pop of colour in a black ensemble. If I had the guts, I’d even try teaming it with something in a clashing floral for a catwalk-inspired look.

 

Magazines have been extolling the virtues of ‘crayola courts’ for this Spring, and I don’t think you can get more ‘child doing colouring in’ than these platforms. Yes, they’re a little bit crazy, but life is too short to wear boring black shoes all the time. These babies combine two of my favourite colours, and though I might not have much opportunity to wear them, I’m sure I’d enjoy the rare chances! Plus they’re only £35 and come in lots of other colourways.

parka_top
Clothing, Coats & Jackets

You’d never guess I liked it: The Parka

I have a huge soft spot for the parka. It goes against just about everything that I love in fashion – it’s quite masculine, oversize and screams ‘utility’ not ‘pretty’, but there is something about the artful way in which a really stylish woman can pull off such a functional piece of clothing that I really love. This stems back to about 2007, when The Sartorialist posted a picture of a glam woman in killer heels topped with a massive parka. It’s not a look I could pull off, but ‘Parka on Heels‘ became a bit of fixation of mine. There was even a sequel…

The parka also has a bit of a bohemian vibe, and as much as I say every year that I’m ‘over’ boho, we all know that’s a lie. In Winter it’s easier for me to do the smarter, fitted dress thing. In Summer you will eventually find me in some kind of a slippy little dress, flat sandals, mismatched jewellery and an ill-advised scarf, with my hair in it’s natural wavy shag, pretending it’s just because I’m hot. Secretly, I love that lazy festival look, even if I don’t like the associated chemical toilets, rowdy groups of lads, cramped campsites and cider in plastic cups. Oh, ok, I like the cider in plastic cups.

The king of the boho parka is my beloved Matthew Williamson, of course. Nobody does Ibiza festival babe like him, and I bow down to his unique ability to chuck a massive hooded coat over a diaphanous evening gown. Sequins and khaki canvas? Why not? Fur-trimmed puffa with a floral mini? Bien sur!

So why am I banging on about this now? Because of this…

Ever since I saw the first pictures of Simply Be’s Angel Ribbons collection I’ve been fixating on this parka. The perfect mix of utility and pretty thanks to its tiered shape and lacy trim, I loved it instantly. Then the above shot, from the press lookbook, hit the web and I knew I had to have it.

Now obviously Frugal Feb meant I couldn’t buy it this month, but the incredibly generous Simply Be angels heard my cries and sent me it to try out. Many, many thanks to them for feeding my obsession! It’s a bit light for the current weather, but this will no doubt become one of my must-haves in Spring. It’ll definitely come in handy when I go to Melbourne in May and experience the famous four seasons in one day, especially as it’s light and easy to pack, but has a hood for any unexpected downpours.

Just to tie the whole post together, I’m wearing the coat over a dress by Matthew Williamson (from his collection for H&M).

I love the shape and the detail on the coat, and the sizing is good – quite generous so you can wear more than just a floaty dress underneath if you want to. The sleeves are long but can be rolled up which I think looks much better. It’s quite full in the bottom and sits in an almost A-line shape which is very pretty and great if you’re bigger around the bum and hips! I would have loved if the waist was drawstring like the neckline so I could cinch it in, but that’s a minor detail! If you fancy it yourself, the Angel Ribbons Parka is £45 at Simply Be

Disclosure: The coat was a gift from Simply Be, but the opinions are my own and I wasn’t paid to write this point. The catwalk images come from Style.com.

october_fashionfix_top12
Clothing, Coats & Jackets, Dresses, Tops & Tees

October must-haves: aviators, capes & velvet

My lack of enthusiasm for new season fashion has finally started to wane. Is it because I’m getting used to the Winter trends, or have the latest additions to the virtual rails been better than what we got in September? Perhaps it’s just the fact the temperature has dropped and I can finally see the need for a beautiful coat or a fabulous cape. Whatever the reason, I’m finally getting excited about what’s in the shops, and have picked out some of my favourites from a range of retailers. Top of my list is Miss Selfridge’s super-glam velvet coat with fur trim. It may not be the most practical piece of outerwear, but it’s definitely beautiful, and the rich, thick, stiff velvet is far nicer than the cheap stretchy stuff that can be found elsewhere.

H&M’s fluffy, frilly prom dress had me dancing round the changing rooms wondering if I could get away with it. The final decision was ‘no’ (too much netting in the underskirt coupled with a short hemline looked a bit ballerina-ish on my 5’7 figure) but I can’t wait to see it on others.

Meanwhile, M&S come up trumps in the shoe department, ASOS’s cape (in regular and Curve sizing) is a no-brainer winter warmer, and Louche’s cute Bambi-esque jumper is just the right amount of quirky for my liking.

Check out the gallery for all my October faves – shop by clicking the grey links below the images.

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buyit_now_trends
Accessories, Clothing, Coats & Jackets, Dresses, Shoes, Tops & Tees, Uncategorized

Top Ten: even more ‘buy now, wear later’

There’s no real link between these ten products except the fact I love them and I will be investing in some of them ready for when the Sun finally shows its face! This Summer, I’ll be eschewing the more off-the-wall catwalk trends (jogging pants? Leather shorts? I think not…) for something a bit more flattering.

On the relaxed, bohemian side there’ll be an update on last Summer’s gladiator sandals, pretty maxi dresses, nude wedge sandals, 50s sundresses and vintage-inspired doctors bags. For something a bit more dramatic, I’m thinking chandelier earrings, waterfall frills, graphic print dresses and military inspiration. All these items are available now, so get shopping before they sell out!

Digital gemstone slinky one-shoulder dress £55 at ASOS
With a hint of Alexander McQueen and Peter Pilotto, this dress is perfection if you have the guts to try it!
Cut-out wedge sandals £30 at New Look
A great lattice-style vamp and a comfy but high-rise wedge. Nude lengthens the legs, too.
Waterfall side jersey dress £22.50 at Simply Be
The frills add a distinctive touch to an easy-wear shape. Who said plus size needs to be dull?
Blue swirl print maxi dress £120 YLB at Wallis
Yasmin Le Bon’s amazing, 30s style boho maxi dress is top of my wishlist.
Mischa Barton doctor’s bag £75 at Tesco
Maybe Mischa should ditch the acting all together and concentrate on her fab boho bags?
Maui Atlantis dress £65.99 at Fever Designs
The perfect 50s tiki sundress for holidays and Sunny spells!
Butterfly wing cascade clip earrings £62.50 at The Earring Boutique
Pricey shoulder-dusting chandeliers that look like old Hollywood antiques.
Green thumb blouse £98 Anthropologie
Anthropologie do relaxed beauty like no other – this top is expensive but fab!
Aileen pink tie-dye gladiator sandals £15 at Boohoo
A coloured update on last year’s must have, I lived in the black version last year.
White bird printed military jacket £29.99 at River Island
The feminine way to try the military trend, I love the juxstaposition of styles.
spring_trends_top
Clothing, Coats & Jackets, Dresses, Uncategorized

Buy now, wear later: five new things for Spring

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The nights are getting lighter and it’s pouring with rain outside, which can mean only one thing, Spring has sprung! We’re finally through (the worst of) the freezing cold days of duffle coats and ugg boots, and we can start planning our warm weather wardrobes. Problem is, most shops have had their Spring stock in for weeks already, and if you want to invest in key pieces, you need to move fast.

To help you decide on what you’ll need to revamp your look (or just as a treat) I’ve picked a few key trends that can be adapted no matter what dress size you wear. Just one of these key items will jazz up all those old faithfuls a treat – but don’t wait around for too long. Before you know it the shops will have nothing but gladiator flats, vest tops and bikinis on the rails!

maxi_dressblack

1. A black maxi dress

Last year I searched for ages for an embellished black maxi and never found the perfect one. This time around I’m spoilt for choice, but my top pick is currently this ASOS version with a dramatic gold beaded panel around the neck. The tiered cotton maxi dresses of previous seasons were often too voluminous to flatter a curvier woman, but I think the ASOS Curve model (left) fills out this more streamlined, jersey dress better than the slim model wearing the mainline version. The dress is £55 and available in size 20 – 26 in black as part of ASOS curve, or in black or khaki in sizes 6 – 20 as part of the ASOS Premium range.

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2. A pair of OTT sandals

Life’s too short to wear boring shoes, and this season there are plenty of completely over the top options to prove that! From clogs (yes, clogs) to over-embellished gladiator sandals and chunky peep-toe boots, your feet need to be dressed to impress. Tribal sandals (inspired by last Summer’s Louis Vuitton show) are still hot, and this season they’ve got even more colourful. If you need a wide fit, Evans are offering a pair in sizes 4 – 10 EEE for a very reasonable £39.50, meanwhile over at Next, the design team have completely upped the ante this season with the tribal animal sandals for £45.

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3. A denim biker jacket

After seeing Diane in Evans’ denim biker jacket, I knew I had to mention this style again. A biker jacket is so detatched from my usual style, especially a denim one, but mixed with Spring pastels it’s absolutely perfect and I’m sorely tempted to try something new for once! For plus size shoppers, So Fabulous! at Very has a £35 version in an acid wash in sizes 16 – 32. I also really like the pale wash of La Redoute’s version, which is also £35 and available in sizes 8 – 20.

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4. A touch of lace

Here’s a catwalk trend that’s easy to scale up or down to suit. Stella McCartney showed full-on lace jumpsuits, others went down a more subtle route with lace trims and inserts on black or pale-coloured outfits. The most literal translation of the look comes from F&F at Tesco, whose £28 lace blazer (sizes 8 – 16) is a full-on nod to Ms McCartney. On a more subtle, wearable end of the scale is Evans’ floral lace-effect top with lace trim for £27. They styled it for the catalogue with a lacy cardigan over the top, so fingers crossed that’s hitting the shops soon!

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5. In the nude

Much to my chagrin, washed-out, barely there shades are taking over the dark hues we’ve all relied on. Nudes and pastel shades are the key colours of the season, and it’s not a look that’s easy to pull off if you’re pale like me! If you’re blessed with a skintone that doesn’t fade completely into mocha, mink and beige, give one of these dresses a go. Miss Selfridge go simple with a belted tunic for £30 (sizes 4-16) while Curvety pick draped jersey for a plus size option coming in at £49.

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Accessories, Clothing, Coats & Jackets, Dresses, Featured

Top Ten: The New Blue

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Wearing denim doesn’t have to mean wearing jeans, and this season there are loads of alternatives to the plethora of skinnies, jeggings and boyfriend jeans that are still filling the rails everywhere from M&S to Mango. I know lots of you – like me – have trouble finding jeans that fit, so save yourself the nightmare shopping trip! Shirts, jackets, dresses, skirts – this Spring, the alternatives are endless.

So I’ve put together some suggestions of jean-free ways to wear the fabric. If you’re really brave, you could tackle the double denim trend (yes it’s back!) and team a jacket or shirt with your favourite jeans or jeggings. I prefer to play it safe, though…

For a different take on denim, try 70s style button down dresses, worn-looking shirts (a la Christina Hendricks) or a boob-friendly grandad tunic (wear a good bra and undo a few buttons). If that’s still not for you, why not go for interesting pieces that are denim blue in colour, but made of softer, more pliable fabrics?

I’ve picked some of my favourite blue buys from a variety of shops. Some are high street, some are specialist, so there should be something for everyone. Size ranges are listed with each product, and nothing’s over £60 so there should be something to fit all budgets.

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