Friday, 28 June 2013

'Boyfriend' jeans and sale sandals

Sales shopping for me is usually the chance to grab something that I might have been drawn to earlier in the year, magpie- like, but for whatever reason, didn't want to buy at full price.

Aware that they could be a one season wonder, I was reluctant to buy these red sandals from Topshop earlier in the season, but reduced to £25, in my size - oh yes!  I do love red shoes. I had some red Boden pumps once which I think were bought by accident / as an afterthought - as the colour I really wanted was out of stock.  Loved those red Boden pumps though...I think they are the only shoes I have ever literally worn to pieces!

So I hope these are a wise buy:
Topshop Nano Clog t-bar sandals - reduced to £25 

I declared a few months ago that I would not be buying 'boyfriend' jeans.  Browsing on the net-a-porter site the other day however, I spotted some Current/Elliot jeans.....  they just appealed for some reason. I am very slow to 'get' new trends! - they were but too pricey.

Now, I am a little worried that Topshop have false trickery type mirrors which make you look better than you really look. I bought the Topshop boyfriend jeans - £42. Having tried these on at home I am slightly worried that they make my bum look odd and 'flat' (not in a good way).

Has anyone else had this problem with 'boyfriend' jeans?  Probably just due to the fact that I need to lose a pound or two... but in any case it is too late to change my mind as, such was my enthusiasm,  the tags have been removed.  Subtle change of leg shape also needs a totally different top though.

These, I've decided, will only really work with a fitted or 'tucked in' top (which compounds the 'bum' issue). Wearing them with my favoured looser tops makes me look like a humungous shapeless heap. (Well, I mean clearly I AM said heap...but the key is the cunning 'sleight of dress' to disguise this with the right!)

Topshop 'Boyfriend' jeans; H&M top, Topshop sandals (sale buy!)

I tried on another pair of 'boyfriend' jeans in River Island which I liked from the leg downwards, (the 'worn' part was nice) but the top part was weird and so were the pockets.  (I also broke a nail trying to undo the button, but I digress...)

River Island 'Boyfriend' jeans (not bought)

Finally, a Topshop Midi skirt with a star print. (What is it with me, Topshop and stars..anyone remember the Topshop star jumper?!)  

Luckily I was saved by the mismatched seam (pet hate)... so did not buy. A good move I feel, as not terribly flattering I'm sure you'll agree! (See bum woes above.)

Topshop midi skirt (not bought)


Final word.  No progress yet on the 10 item wardrobe. As is clear from this post, wardrobe has in fact just increased by 2 items... so I am moving in the wrong direction.  I have read up on it further however, and the 10 items do not include shoes, coats, layering t shirts /vest tops etc, accessories - bags, scarves etc - or 'special occasion' wear - dresses and the like....which is evidently just as well!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The 10 item wardrobe. Could it ever happen?

I read a book recently ('Lessons from Madame Chic' if anyone's interested) in the hope it might 'gee me up' a bit with my wardrobe challenge which has been ongoing now for - ooh about 8 months - probably pre-dates this blog in fact! Now one piece of advice was to edit your wardrobe down to just 10 key, top quality, flexible items.

I liked this idea but the question occurred to me - how on earth to select the 10 items....?

I then read this blog post - which turns most wardrobe clear-out theories on their head by recommending that instead of the usual emptying of the closet and the laborious trying on / working out what doesn't fit etc etc - that you simply select things that you do LOVE. Yes LOVE. Note that this means that any hesitation, however slight, rules that item out on the basis that you don't love it. Now this appealed to the Ash mentality. (Impatient and simplistic.)

(Not my wardrobe, but a benchmark!)

So I went to my wardrobe, and the 10 items I selected were:

  1. White Company cashmere poncho
  2. Topshop Jamie black skinny jeans
  3. Toast voluminous artist's smock type tunic thing
  4. H&M long navy v neck sweater
  5. Gap Body t shirt  - black, 1 long sleeved, 1 short sleeved. (OK I cheated, 2 for 1!)
  6. M&S Autograph navy parka jacket
  7. LK Bennett classic beige trench
  8. LK Bennett classic black knee length pencil skirt
  9. White Company black capri trousers
  10. White Company beige cashmere mix sweater
  11. Monsoon navy linen tunic  (11a Green Zara trousers.... Oh heck - I'l have to stop there!)
Err...that's  actually 11, but we'll gloss over that fact. Artistic licence and all that.  In fact it really needs to be 12 - as I need a taupe bottom half in there somewhere - either trews or skirt. Let's select a Jigsaw taupe curvy fitted pencil skirt with a kick pleat at the back.

In selecting the 10 11 items which I wear most currently and love, I notice that quite a few are winter items. I am a winter kind of gal. I prefer colder weather. It figures that most of my favourite items will be from that season. I never spend much time or energy on warner weather wear because (a) the actual time window to wear it gets increasingly smaller and (b) I just don't feel happiest wearing lightweight  clothes.

I have been generous and allowed myself 10 key accessories too - though I am sure the '10 item system' allows for many more. In fact, accessories are the key to pulling off the 10 item wardrobe I suspect. (Yay! Free reign on the shoe purchases - I knew I was right all along!)

  1. Mulberry Mitzy tote
  2. Pure Collection cashmere snood
  3. Russell & Bromley black and tan quilted flats
  4. LK Bennett black / chrome long jewelled pendant
  5. LK Bennett silver knot pendant
  6. LK Bennett nude Shilo heels
  7. M&S Autograph black patent pumps
  8. Jigsaw tan strappy wedges
  9. Longchamp navy Le Pliage bag
  10. Primark faux leather black glitter front sandals  10a. Various scarves. Hmmm. See I did say needs to be more than 10 accessories. Cheating already - tut 
The advice is that you should follow the 10 11 item approach for a set period - a month say - and see how you get on. You are allowed to pull in other key items you need (in moderation) to make useful outfits - or maybe I made that bit up. But it sounds sensible anyway. 

There are other similar bogs out there advocating a similar approach. I also like this one - although it is slightly more generous (realistic maybe?) and allows 40 items :-)

Anyone ready to join me in a 10 item (maybe 40!) wardrobe challenge?!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

All dressed up...

...with nowhere to go. Read on however, this is good.

As I mentioned when commenting on Susie SoSo's blog post on 'dressing up' the other day, I am useless at it. I freeze. I panic. The 'special occasion-ness' of it all freaks me out and disrupts my thought processes, which are hardly smooth at the best of times!

Now and again, I have a 'test run'.

This outfit seems to work quite well. I will file it away in my 'ready -made -outfits -for -donning -next-time -I -need -to -dress -up - and- can't -think -straight' category.

Dress - Rick Owens 
Mules - Prada
Bag - Mulberry 
(all old, as old as the hills)

 PS.... I slapped on a bit of fake tan the other day. St Tropez Gradual tan - which is good if, like me, you are slapdash. Mistakes are not that obvious and can easily be 'filled in' the next day. :-)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


That's the name of the Rimmel nail polish I'm wearing today, inspired by my new coral 'Willow' tunic from Monsoon.  (They call it pink. It's definitely coral.)  Matchy-matchy? OTT?  Yup, that's me.

I followed my own advice and bought another of these tunics as I like the style so much. I already have the navy.

I sized down this time and think the smaller size is a much better fit.

That'll teach me to be impatient and not up together with the laundry. (Which is why I wore the navy tunic rather than exchanging it. I didn't think the good people of my neighbourhood would relish the sight of me and my spare tyre effecting my exchange tunic-less. And yes it was that bad! There you have it - shopping as a public service in the interests of decency.)

Tunic - Monsoon 
Navy Jeggings - River Island
Necklace - John Lewis (old)
Sandals - Toast outlet

Monday, 10 June 2013

Dress please

A few summer dress outfits.

The Tesco F&F maxi dress was a shameless 'steal' from Avril at School Gate Style who styled it to perfection.  And I managed to scoop it up using some Clubcard vouchers, meaning that it ended up costing about £3. What a bargain :-)

Tesco F&F Maxi dress, LK Bennet belt & wedge sandals 

The other two were also supermarket finds - both from Sainsbury's. I think the greeny turquoise dress looks better with the wide belt than without.

The Paisley one I loved in the shop, but am really not so sure now. Isn't it weird how your perception of looking at yourself in a mirror can be totally different from seeing a photo of yourself in said item?!

I mentioned the other day about gravity taking its toll - and I am very afraid the problem is now affecting my arms, which have so far not been too much of a worry.  However, recent pics show them looking a tad err...wrong. Mind you, I could do with losing a few pounds all over - so that would help.  The Sainsbury's paisley dress is the worst offender for some reason I think: the cap sleeves cut off at just the wrong point. Maybe I can take a leaf out of Susie-SoSo's book and wield my scissors / sewing machine.

Left - dress Sainsbury's, navy belt & wedges as above.  Right - dress Sainsbury's, nude LK Bennett wedges

Sunday, 9 June 2013

The hair debate - long or short?

I have been wondering whether to grow my hair again.


  • I love long hair in general. 
  • Looks nice tied up
  • More versatile

  • My hair is dry and more length = more dryness
  • My hair is wavy and more length can = more frizz instead of curls. To combat the frizz and encourage the curl, layers are the solution. 
  • Good layers are £££. Naturally more convenient to spend ££ and still get a good result.
  • Takes more time to dry / style.
  • Am I too old...??

It's the age question that has been bothering me most. The fact that the 'cons' list is longer doesn't really help me!

When I was younger I always imagined there was this unwritten rule that you should go shorter as you got older. But there are so many lovely ladies who break this rule and it works.

I'm leaving my options open and last time at the hairdressers just had a 'trim'.

I always find the "law of hair" to apply the day before / the day of a hairdresser's appointment - i.e. hair looks great as it is - leaving me wondering why I am bothering. A very annoying law that.

This is about as short as my hair as ever been:

Here is a picture of it in longer mode. (Sorry for the odd blurring - but I was unsure about putting such a 'close up' photo in the public domain!)

What are your thoughts on hair length?

Saturday, 8 June 2013

The crazed woman who dislikes summer

That would be me.  Well, perhaps 'dislike' is too strong a word. I enjoy a pleasant 'warm' (not hot) day as much as the next person. But I am definitely more comfortable and at ease in cooler weather. The reasons are manifold, but to summarise:

I am a hot blooded person who feels far more uncomfortable being hot than cold. Besides colder weather = more layers = more clothing = more shopping = more fun = can only be a good thing, no?

I am not confident about showing too much flesh and at a certain age, other people don't want to see it. With the best will in the world, gravity takes its toll on us all.

My skin is very very pale. And when it does tan it does so in a very irregular manner. I kid you not - I have strange little squares all over my legs where that bit tanned, that other bit didn't. There's no rhyme or reason to it, no obstacles or suncreams involved - it just happened!

This leads onto the fact that I am rather lazy, or should I say I prefer a lie in to a full self tanning session first thing in the morning. And we all know you can't self-tan at night as it makes the pristine white sheets look like they are in dire need of a wash.

This further leads onto forcing me into wearing trousers / leggings even when it's hot. Which makes me too hot.  And deprives me of the chance to look more feminine from time to time and wear a garment shape which works for me (tea dress).

I am counting down the days to autumn already.  Give me cashmere, give me layers. Give me a damp autumn day in Paris in a roll neck, and trench-coat. (OK the Paris bit does make it slightly more appealing!)  It's memory driven too. Some of my happiest memories and most successful dressing have been set against autumnal Paris. Big sigh. I need to go to Paris again soon SO badly.  Blogging from Paris - just think of the opportunities. Will have to wait until after August though.

Are you season driven in your style inspiration?

The need to see it all

Regular readers of this blog-ette (it can't be a full blown blog; it's too strange and irregular) will know that I have an ongoing quest to marshal and organise my possessions into something approaching efficiency.

  1. I tried chucking everything out. That failed. I regularly dispose of things I later want to find and wear - I still obviously needed them.  
  2. I tried packing everything away neatly.  In a wardrobe and cupboards (shock!) That too, strangely, failed. The cupboards and rails groaned under the weight of the full volume of my possessions. I went out and bought things I already had because if I can't SEE them I don't know I have them. I have the memory of a goldfish too, clearly.  (It's not just clothing that causes a problem here. I once tried to file my work - a strange alien concept that had never occurred to me before, but I saw someone else do it and thought I'd give it a shot. MAJOR disaster.) No - I am a very visual person. I need to see stuff in order to make it work for me. Weird huh?
  3. I tried leaving things casually strewn around. Obviously that failed. It all just ended up in a terrible heap. And although I am often chaotic in my thought processes, I don't like tangible clutter, and I like to look after things properly, firstly because  a lot of them are 'investment' items which I will keep for a long time; and secondly, we (I) derive more pleasure from things which are presented in a pleasing / attractive way. There's a whole separate topic there - the science of marketing and window dressing....!
  4. Finally, I tried hanging things 'artily' around the bedroom as once depicted in Vogue - a la 'my home is really my showcase of perfectly crafted items'. That not only failed , it looked plain weird. 
I'm still searching for the perfect solution and don't expect to find a miracle cure anytime soon.

A few pearls from my experience (frustrations) to date however:

  • Folding stuff is a nightmare. It all collapses unless you have ultra shallow shelves. Ultra shallow shelves are also a nightmare. Someone design me some shelves at the optimum height PLEASE!
  • Shoes are an ongoing problem. Pack them away in their boxes and you forget they exist - see '2' above. Leave them out - see '3' above. (And really - does anyone honestly believe that stuff about sticking a picture of the shoe on the box?  Or buy clear plastic Muji containers? Any anyway - if I've got a posh shoe box I want to keep it united with the shoe.  I know that's the OCD / anal part of me showing through.)

How do you store your things, fellow bloggers?

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Back to black with a side order of pink

Well, actually the colour was (is) navy - but you know the state of my photos. I try I really do. I even discovered if I tapped my iPhone screen it lightens the picture - but even with this still it's not much better. But I digress. Hopefully you'll somehow get the idea.

Monsoon navy  (honest!) 'Willow' tunic, Toast sandals, nondescript black botton half.

It's this navy linen tunic from Monsoon. (It looks better in real life than on the website,  and indeed on my photo, I think!)

Now I haven't been into Monsoon for ages, the last few times I did venture inside there was nothing I liked, and I just stopped looking.  However, wander past again I did and this tunic is a good buy. It comes in coral, pale blue chambray and pale blue ticking / shirting type fabric as well. I also think that Monsoon have revised their pricing (downwards) as I'm sure a few years ago they would have been asking more like £65 for a linen top - their prices had got ridiculous for what was on offer in my view. However, at £45 for a natural fabric and a really versatile top - I'm in!

I may even go back to buy another in a different colour - if this buying strategy was good enough for Jackie O then it's good enough for me. OK granted, her multiples were probably from Dior / Chanel  but one day....!  Comes up large though. I would size down for future colours.

I also have more shoes to report.

 I've had my eye on these Jigsaw 'Panama' espadrille wedges for a while, again at £79 didn't seem unreasonable (for Jigsaw) - their shoes have always lasted well and I think these were a good investment buy as I know I'll get loads of wear from them. They are really comfortable to wear too.  

These pink ones from LK Bennett outlet - with an extra 20% off when I visited they rang in at £40 which was too good to miss. Flats are always useful and nice to have a pretty summery colour while this weather lasts.

Think I'm definitely all 'shoed' out now....

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Me (and a little philosophy)

I haven't posted for err... ages. Sorry to anyone who may have noticed or cared!

It doesn't mean I haven't been busy, on occasion, scouting out lovely things. More of that below.

However, call me pretentious (or maybe just I'm just in one of those odd phases I go through now and again), but much as I love clothes etc... I do on occasion feel like getting off the merry-go-round. I mean, I have enough. Waste and excess depresses me. And it feels unsustainable and unethical to keep buy-buy-buying. That said, it's never stopped me before :-0   But I have had a touch of 'shopping fatigue' of late and I suppose have been a bit more judicious with selecting the stuff I have bought.

Having said ALL of that, I do have new purchases to report. And a couple of outfit posts. These are not noteworthy, but I need to get back in the blogging groove, so have just posted a couple of (fairly mundane) recent outfits.

Sainsbury's dress. Primark sandals - bought in March (!) - before I had this off fatigue clearly, and rediscovered today...

Toast trousers, H&M blouse (both old), Primark sandals as above.

Kilver Court outlet bargain 

Toast archive sale bargain

Think that's me all set for summer footwear now :-)

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