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Striped dress
Clothing, Dresses, Skirts, Ways To Wear

It’s Time to Think Twice About Stripes

“Horizontal stripes make you look wider!”

How many times have you heard that? In fact, how many times have you said it?

It’s one of fashion’s biggest myths. It’s been proven time and time again that it’s a load of rubbish, but many people still seem to be convinced that the moment they put on anything striped it’ll somehow completely alter their body shape. Luckily, despite the unnecessary fears, stripes still manage to be one of the most enduring style essentials. This season, the vertical stripe has risen up the ranks, so if you really, truly can’t get it out of your head that horizontal stripes are evil, there’s a look for you too. Everyone should have something fabulous and striped in their wardrobe, so to help you choose your perfect partner, here are five of my favourite striped finds to wear right now.

ASOS striped dress

This ASOS dress (£65) has been haunting my dreams ever since I first saw it. Sadly, it’s one of those dresses that falls into the “if only” camp because the backless cut means going braless, and that is just not something I can do. But would I love it as much if it didn’t have the low back with the bow? Probably not. If you’re able to go without a bra, please buy this and send me photos of you looking wonderful so I can live vicariously through you.

Missguided striped jumpsuit

Combining my two great loves for this month, stripes and culotte jumpsuits, this Missguided number (£35) would definitely make it into my basket if I had any occasion to wear it (I really don’t, I’m an old lady and I don’t get out much any more). Maybe I could get away with it for work if I put a blazer over the top? For those who like a runway-inspired bargain, it’s worth noting this is a dead ringer for an Alice + Olivia number that’s still selling for £150+.

Chicwish Striped Maxi Skirt

I have a couple of Chicwish skirts and they are fabulous, so I’m sure this amazing maxi (£36) would follow suit. Yes, it’s absolutely bonkers and there’s a serious limit to the amount of occasions you could wear it, but given the price, aren’t you tempted? For those wishing to be just a tiny bit more practical, there is also a midi version (£30).


You may not think this is a true stripe but Boden calls it “multi retro stripe” and since I’m basically having an affair with Boden right now, I will take anything the website says as gospel. There aren’t many days of Summer left to wear a sundress like this one (£45) but when has that ever stopped me buying dresses before? Someone please drag me away from my laptop before I do something stupid.

Oasis Striped Palazzo Pants

Wide-leg trousers are a big deal right now, and you don’t get a better way to try the trend than these Oasis trousers which are only £10 in the sale. Everything about this style is leg-lengthening and super chic. The only problem is the fact the hems will get grubby within seconds of putting them on. Also, nude underwear at all times!

panache anya bikini

You thought you were getting out of here without a bikini? Oh no my friends! Panache’s strapless bikini tops are the stuff of absolute wonder for anyone with a larger bust, and the Anya striped bikini is the latest addition. These cup sized styles aren’t the cheapest but they’re really well-made, and manage to be both supportive and comfortable. The above image is from Bravissimo, which has the bikini in the sale. If you can’t find your size there, Figleaves has more options but they’re all low stock so get a wriggle on!

Clothing, Dresses, Events & Launches, Retro / Vintage

VIP vintage style fashion at Dollydagger in Brighton


A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to the gorgeous Dollydagger boutique in Brighton for a taste of their VIP shopping experience. I’ve been a fan of the brand for years so I was very excited for an excuse to head down to the seaside for the evening. The event is all about the full-on retro experience. Think vintage-inspired shopping with a personal touch – small groups (hen dos, birthday parties etc) can book in with the store for a night of bubbly, pampering (hair and makeup to complete your retro look) and plenty of retro fashion fun, with a goodie bag at the end of the night. The shop specialises in 1950s dresses (own brand and hard-to-find labels like Bettie Page Clothing), rockabilly style and quirky gift ideas, so it’s perfect for a retro fan like me!

I was invited along with a few fellow bloggers, and we had an amazing time working our way through all the frocks on offer and getting some makeup tips from amazing makeup artist Alessia Mancini. Here I am modelling just a few of my favourite frocks…which you can save 10% on until next Thursday (4th April) with the code WELOVEGEMMA (awwww).


In the Midnight Rose Scarlet DressThis one is in the sale at the moment at £89, so grab it quickly! I’m wearing the Large which runs smaller than other larges in the Dolly Dagger range. It’s listed as a 12 – 14 and that’s pretty bang on – it only just fit me!


The Dita dress (£149) was probably my favourite – this baby looked amazing on everyone who tried it. There’s really clever gathering and seaming around the hips and waist to shape it to the body, and the sweetheart neckline is really pretty and a favourite of mine. The red was definitely my favourite, but I’m holding out for green before I invest. A little birdie told me that might be a possibility in the future, but in the meantime there’s another amazing green dress coming to Dolly Dagger – more on that soon!


I tried the Greta dress (£159) in two colours, but the fit just wasn’t quite right on me. I adore the leopard collar and 3/4 sleeves, but the shape just isn’t as nice on me as the Dita. This dress is made for Caroline, though! It’s really amazing for those with bigger busts.


And finally, a bit of Bettie Page. I’ve got a few Bettie Page dresses already that I bought from the store in Vegas, but they can be hard to find in the UK so knowing Dollydagger is a stockist is great. Unfortunately, the Rita (£89.99) is not my perfect Bettie Page partner. I love the colour and the huge collar, but it doesn’t do anything for my upper half – making me look quite straight-up-and-down and pushing my boobs downwards (not to mention the tight sleeves). This is less of a curve-enhancer for size 14s like me, and is perhaps better as a curve creator on slimmer figures!


Thanks so much to Dollydagger for inviting me to play with all the gorgeous dresses and take a look at the beautiful shop. As I mentioned above, as a special treat, they’re offering all you lovely lot 10% off a purchase at Dollydagger for the next week. Place your order now using the code WELOVEGEMMA to take advantage of the deal. And don’t forget to comment and let me know what you chose!

Sale shopping, Uncategorized

Sale bargains I shouldn’t buy but probably will anyway…

This is a bit of a filler post, I have to admit. I’m showing you some of the stuff I’m not buying right now because it’s so hard to show you the stuff I have. There’s so much I want to show you – a new Linea Pelle bag, another beautiful Lady Vintage dress, some great finds from the sales…but getting decent snaps is proving difficult. I’m desperately trying to move away from the fuzzy shots I get in my dressing room (my camera really doesn’t like indoors lighting) but the constant rain and bad weather has been really affecting my ability to take decent shots outside (which also involves cajoling someone to take the snaps – something the boyfriend is not very good at). So while I wait for a Sunny moment tomorrow (IT HAS TO HAPPEN, right?) here are some of the items I’ve been coveting but attempting not to buy in recent days…

KG by Kurt Geiger ‘Gem’ snakeskin heels £35

Come on, they’re called ‘Gem’, how could I resist? I’m *so* close to ordering these but I know they’re too high and too ridiculous. I also don’t usually like snakeskin, but I’m drawn to these. As if the silver heels and snakeskin uppers weren’t enough, the ankle strap and the toecap are covered in little sparkles. I love my shoes to be completely ridiculous and I think these definitely make the grade. And there’s a £95 reduction. SO tempting! I fear I may end up heading to a store early next week to see them in real life and judge whether I’ll ever be able to walk in them.

G21 Giraffe print jumpsuit £20 George at Asda

It’s a jumpsuit, with giraffes on. I don’t feel like I need to say any more. Except that I also really like the strappy back, the slim trousers and the fact it’s only £20. My only problem with jumpsuits is the faff you have to go through if you need the loo. Still, it’s more practical in Summer than in Winter, at least you don’t freeze quite so much!

Olivia Rubin black floral swimsuit £17 Dorothy Perkins

Apparently I was the only one who loved the Olivia Rubin for Dorothy Perkins stuff (well, me and Una from The Saturdays) since it’s all now in the sale at drastically reduced prices. I love a good halter swimsuit and this one has the bonus of an added belt/waist panel – always good for drawing attention to the best bits. The only problem is I just sorted out my swimwear and I already have far more bikinis and swimsuits than I do days of the year to actually wear them, so I won’t be purchasing.

Blue patterned Mustique floral sundress £15 at Warehouse

Blah blah halterneck, blah blah sundress, blah blah floral, blah blah 50s inspired…you know where I’m going with this. This is a total ‘Gemma’ dress. The kind of thing my friends point out to me when we’re shopping together. And £15 is a bargain for a fab Summer holiday dress that originally cost three times that. The only problem – I’m not going on a Summer holiday (I’m away in September instead). And given the current rubbish weather, I doubt I’d get any wear out of this in the UK. Should not buy.

Harris chain heeled sandals from £7 a pair at Topshop

Toppers sandals for seven squids. If the aforementioned crappy weather wasn’t an issue, I’d be buying these up in more than one colour. As it is I already have two pairs of new sandals I’ve not even been able to wear out of the house yet. Damn you, rain!

‘Sexy plunge’ pencil dress £19 at ASOS

As you can see from the terrible pic on the right (oh, instagram…) I already have this in blue. And I love the fit. It doesn’t exactly give much room for movement, but it is the perfect holiday night out dress, which is why I’m tempted to order the pink as well, since it’s only £19. That said, I think the pink might be less forgiving in terms of underwear than the darker blue, and this baby definitely calls for scaffolding underneath!

In My Wardrobe, Sale shopping

(soon to be) In My Wardrobe: What I bought in the January sales

2012 is going to be quite a frugal year for me financially (I’m saving for more important things than shoes for once!) so spending my Christmas money in the January sales is basically my last hurrah. After these purchases, I’m battening down the hatches and sticking to an ‘only what’s necessary’ approach to spending. I’m not saying I won’t buy anything this year, but I’ll definitely be reviving Frugal February and after that I’ll be sticking to those good habits at least 80% of the time, putting as much as I possibly can in the bank at the end of each month. Even with the sales I’ve tried to stear clear of the shops and only buy a few things online. Of those, I’m sure at least one or two will get returned. But while I wait for them all to arrive…here’s a look at what I bought!

40s tea dress with pintuck detail was £45 now £18 and blue midi dress in lace with seam detail was £60 now £32 both at ASOS.

The first dress I bought purely out of curiosity. It’s so ill-fitting around the chest on the teensy model that I thought it might be perfect for my big bust / small waist body shape. I don’t hold out much hope, but that ASOS premier subscription comes in handy when you want to try something and see! The blue lace dress is something I’ve had my eye on since it first arrived on the site, but I couldn’t quite stretch to the original price tag. I absolutely love the 40s shape and I’m hoping the fit is good enough to keep so this can become the first of my London Fashion Week outfits.

Bunny2 PU Stretch Thigh High Boots £20 (were £76)

I can tell you now that these will probably get returned, but at that price I couldn’t resist at least trying them. Thigh high boots scare me a bit, but having seen them on other people, I at least want to try them out. I think they might be one of those things that only work on very slim girls, but equally as I’m about 70% legs I thought I’d take a risk. I think they need to be worn in the right way – with jeans or a dress that covers the tops ( think Fergie, not Kim Kardashian) as I’m not ready to be Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman just yet!

Purple deco colourblock dress was £42 now £20 and Turquoise deco dress was £42 now £20 both Dorothy Perkins

Two very similar dresses that I couldn’t decide between, so I decided to order both and see how I get on. I’m unsure about the midi length of the turquoise one but I couldn’t find it in any stores to try on so I had to go online and take a chance. I worry it might look a bit frumpy on me teamed with the high neck, but at £20 I thought it was worth a shot. The purple I know looks good – I tried it in a 12 in store to get an idea of how it fits and the length, and let’s just say I definitely needed the 14!

Ruby Belle Princess dress was £50 now £12, Black Nightingale dress was £70 now £19 and Blue Valentino dress was £70 now £19 all from the Fever sale at Brand Alley

I can’t resist a Fever sale, and when dresses are at this price, I have to stock up, even if I could probably make the dresses in the time it takes Brand Alley to deliver them. I think these will be numbers 8, 9 and 10 in my Fever collection. You might think that’s excessive but it’s nothing on Roisin who seems to be wearing a new one in every photo! I know the fit will be good on a Fever dress, and the styles are quite timeless and generally good for work. I wasn’t sure about the Valentino dress with the fringing details, but having seen the pink one on Sian, I had to snap one up. Cobalt is one of my favourite colours for clothes, so I had to go with the blue.

Curvy Kate Tempt Me bra £16.95 (was £29) and high waisted brief £6.95 (was £14.50) at BraStop

If anyone can make a plunge bra that doesn’t dig in at the middle, it’s Curvy Kate. The brand is probably one of my favourite discoveries of the last couple of years. I had my eye on this set before Christmas, so when I saw it in the sale at Brastop I decided to give it a go. I love, love, love the retro style high waisted briefs.

Irregular Choice Oz Can’t Touch This shoes were £80, I paid £44.99 (now £49.99, oddly) at Schuh

I don’t have anything to say about these except how could I resist? They are absolutely insane, my mother would hate them, I’ve been scared to show them to the boyfriend for fear he’ll think I’ve lost my mind, but as far as I’m concerned, they’re shoes of wonder and I can’t wait to wear them. Look at the heels!


Things I’m coveting this week…

In 2011 my plan is to stop being lazy about the way I dress (just shoving on a dress and a pair of flats and calling it an ‘outfit’) and start trying out a few new things. I can’t wave goodbye to my love of dresses just yet, but I do want to pay more attention to what goes with them. My penchant for alice bands withstanding, I aim to accessorize a bit more. I’m starting with costume jewellery – lots of big chunky rings, long pendants and bangles, especially anything with disgusting bugs on. Then I’m moving on to real statement footwear – the crazier the better. Top it all with a fabulous coat, and I think I might be halfway there. Here’s what’s on my wishlist this week…

Pink polka dot blouse with peter pan collar £21.99 at New Look
Leopard print and patent mid heels £35 at Kate Kanzier
Green double-breasted military dress £149 NW3 at Hobbs
Measuring tape long heart pendant £10 at ASOS
Summer ditsy print floral and jewel ring £10 at Accessorize
Tierney mahogany leather buckle boots £52.80 at Dune
Camel belted capelet coat £95 at Topshop
Autumn lace-up black wedges £19.99 at MissGuided
Gold adjustable bug ring £7.50 at Dorothy Perkins

Clothing, Sale shopping

20 Fabulous Sale Finds – grab a January bargain!

I know that in the sales you’re supposed to buy up classics and basics and ignore the faddy trends that you didn’t buy three months earlier at full price. But while I do use the discounts as a way of stocking up on chic work dresses and nice shoes, I also see sales as a super-cheap way of trying out things I’d never normally give a go – like capes, coulottes and crazy heels. So I’ve put together 20 of my favourite sale finds from both high street and plus size retailers, some of which I’ve already bought, to help you hunt down the best discounts…

Accessories, Dresses, In My Wardrobe, Tops & Tees

August obsessions: fascinators, fragrance & frocks

With the sales finally coming to a close, I should be getting excited about new season shopping, but to be honest with you, I’m a bit scared by all the shearling gilets and harem pants, so my mind is still on Summer. With a foreign holiday in less than a week (yay!) I’m still indulging my swimwear obsession and hunting down things to buy in Duty Free, and also looking for some quirky last-minute finishing touches to a number of late Summer wedding outfits. Here’s what’s on my mind at the moment…

Dylan Medium Tote in ‘Concorde’ $435 at Linea Pelle

Dylan is my one true love. I have gone on and on and on about this handbag for far too long so apologies to those who’ve seen me blog about it before. It has everything I like in a bag (shoulder and cross-body straps, subtle hardware, lots of zips, a lovely leather and a funky lining) and now they’ve gone and made it in purple. They do this just to taunt me, I’m convinced. One day, there’ll be a UK stockist and / or a $200 discount. Please?

Womanity Eau de Parfum £38 – £60 Thierry Mugler at Debenhams

I used to be incredibly unfaithful to fragrances, until I found Flowerbomb by Viktor and Rolf and I thought I’d found my perfect perfume. Then I made the mistake of spritzing this whilst in Debenhams, and I think I may have found something I love even more. I’ve never liked Thierry Mugler fragrance before (Angel smells awful on me and Alien is just ‘meh’) but this is just gorgeous. Quite fruity and fun, but with something really special hiding underneath that stops it smelling like every sickeningly sweet celeb perfume on the market. Apparently it’s caviar…whatever it is, it works.

Black ruffle swim dress £35 at ASOS

What a surprise! A retro swimsuit! Despite the fact I have swimwear coming out of my ears and only a week or two a year to show it off, I bought one of these the moment I saw it. It’s a dead ringer for the Betsey Johnson and (*hides*) Juicy Couture retro cossies I’ve been eyeing up, and a tad cheaper than the Esther Willliams swimsuit I just couldn’t justify buying given that I already have the bikini. Making this in larger sizes for ASOS Curve seems like a no-brainer to me, so here’s hoping that’s on its way.

Neha black zip front cutout side shoe £20 at

I went to Boohoo’s Autumn / Winter press day a couple of weeks ago, and the models were all wearing these shoes. The pictures don’t really do them justice. I am blessed with terrible cankles (this is not one of those imaginary body hang-ups, I really do have oddly thick ankles!) so ankle-straps rarely do up on me, and if they do they look terrible, so I’ve never really been able to try chunky gladiator heels or shoe-boots. These are the closest I can get – lots of detail on the vamp but the zip allows a bit more wiggle room. And they’re only £20. Fab!

Collection Evening Cape Dress £175 at Gant

I love the unexpected glam of a party dress with sleeves. In a room full of girls in strapless and one-shoulder frocks, it really stands out. Plus this shade of green looks amazing on just about everyone. I’d team this with a good basting of St. Tropez tan, metallis shadow and fake lashes, some very OTT gold jewellery (perhaps a knotted collar or some big Pat Butcher earrings) and killer heels or wedges. Now, which way to Studio 54?

Nail Polish in Purple Grey £5 at Models Own

Someone is currently selling a bottle of Chanel’s limited edition ‘Jade’ nail polish for £200 on eBay (er, good luck with that). Clearly, Chanel nails are the Ones To Have, and the latest must have from them is ‘Paradoxal’, being touted as the perfect greyish purple. Of course it’s impossible to get hold of. Luckily, Models Own have an alternative so close in colour that you’d be hard-pushed to tell the difference. Don’t believe me? Just look for yourself. At £5 instead of almost £20, it’s a no-brainer, and mine’s winging its way to me as we speak!

Rose Ruffle Cropped Jacket £25 at New Look

I was always scared of chunky textures in the past because it’s been drummed into me that added bulk is Just Not Slimming. But if reading so many amazing curvy blogs has taught me one thing, it’s that you shouldn’t be scared to give anything a go, and that dressing to ‘slim’ is not only fighting a losing battle, it’s also bad for your confidence. Your body is the shape it is, and no amount of clever dressing is going to change that. So I decided to buy this and stick two fingers up to the rules! It’s perfect for my ostentatious, girly style, and will be a great cover-up at parties in the coming months.

‘Who is that girl’ rose clip $25 thehoneycomb on Etsy

I’ve got two weddings to go to in September and I really need to pick what I’m wearing so I can order one of these fascinators as the finishing touch. I’ve collected things with butterflies on since I was a teenager (again, predictable, no?) so I love thehoneycomb’s gorgeous combs and wreathes. I wore one of this designer’s floral pieces as a bridesmaid recently, and they’re really beautifully made. Plus it’s lovely to support an independent designer, instead of rocking up in the same M&S or Accessorize fascinator as everyone else!

In My Wardrobe

In My Wardrobe – Summer treats!

This Summer’s high street collections have had me both in raptures and totally disappointed in equal measure. I love the floaty fabrics, maxi dresses, pretty florals, retro touches and cutesy, childish looks. I’m not so sold on pastels and pale colours (I’m pale enough – I like a bit of contrast), leather shorts (squeak!) or the myriad of longline godet tops with naff prints that I’m sure will go the way of built in skirt-over-trousers when it comes to trends we’d rather forget in a few years time.

But that hasn’t stopped me investing (or very kindly being sent…) a few pieces for the new season, some of which are below, if you fancy a peek into my future wardrobe!

After a serious investment in wiggle dresses and vintage / vintage inspired pieces last year, I’ve now got a good stock of those styles and have returned to something a bit more bohemian for Summer. I’m all about maxi dresses, little cotton sundresses and statement accessories. I’ve also got my mitts on two things I thought I’d never wear – a playsuit (albeit one that looks very much like a dress until you look closely!) and denim shorts, which so far have only been worn over leggings. I’ve never, ever found a pair of shorts that fit properly, but these are great and a bit longer than the hot pant style ones in Topshop and so on. Good old Dorothy Perkins can always be relied upon to take a trend and mumsy it up just a bit!

I haven’t completely forgotten that retro love – I did give in and finally buy an Esther Williams bikini after going on about them for a couple of years. It was money well spent, the fit is perfect and the style is fab. I can’t say enough good things about the style. And those Irregular Choice cherry sandals I just couldn’t resist for a bit of pool glam – they should arrive Saturday and I’m crossing my fingers they fit!