Monday, 30 September 2013

Perfect red lipstick and a Whistles saving

I've long tried to perfect the classic red lip look. Frustratingly, without much success. The simple things are often so hard to get right, but wow -  when you do get them right how good it feels!

In the past my red lips have been either too orange, too purple, too pink... you know the story.

However, on impulse today I bought this and am so glad I did. It just brightens up my face and does not have the dreaded 'tooth yellowing' effect that some reads do on me.

It's from Rimmel by Kate Moss - shade 111 - 'Kiss of Life' (what a lovely name incidentally!)  And only £5.49.

If you are striving to perfect the perfect red lip and have similar colouring to me, give this a go. Boots have a 'buy one, get 2nd half price offer' on as well at the moment (on all cosmetics).

Wardrobe wise, not much to report alas. I find it an awkward time of year still - not always cool enough to crack open the autumn / winter wear in earnest. You start off comfortably cocooned in the morning mist and by mid-day are red faced and sweltering in a fug of cashmere - not quite the look I'm aiming for.

The tube skirt is still doing double duty and -  thanks to a Whistles 25% code - is shortly to be joined by its sister the longer version - see here.  Fulfilling my mantra of if it  works get 2 (sort of).

Code is WH25AW13 if anyone else is pondering a purchase from Whistles (free delivery too) - expires 7 October so be quick :-)

Friday, 13 September 2013

The tube skirt rides again

A brief post today - just of the 'what I wore' variety.

My Whistles black jersey tube skirt is proving to be a good buy. I have adapted my summer '10 item wardrobe' slightly (have neither the time nor the energy to do a full conversion for autumn at the moment!) simply by adding opaque tights and different shoes/ boots.

I was unsure whether the white jacket would work on a dull day - but think it did.

Today's outfit:

Jacket - Tesco
Shoes - Black patent Chester loafers - Russell & Bromley (had these for a couple of years and still going strong - have really been worth the investment)
Tights - M&S Autograph velvet touch opaque (great alternative to Wolford and Falke and the pricier brands)
Top - H&M short sleeved breton
Scarf - White Company (last year) - similar here

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Autumn again

Today I felt a bit like 'me' again.

Looking in the mirror reminded me of another post / outfit, almost a year ago, which makes me smile every time I look at it, as it was a good day. I felt happy and peaceful. I won't go into detail, people may be reading this who know me (scary thought!) and I'm not ready to bare my soul to the world.

But I was happy. Then I was sad. Then I got on with life.

And life has come full circle. Sometimes, I find I can only come to terms with emotional changes after the four seasons have passed. Then I can start again.

You can't help your feelings though, sigh.  If only you could go: 'oh it's OK! I'll pretend I am happy and I then I can feel like I did before!' Pah. My brain has served me well, but sadly it has not yet learnt how to manufacture feelings.  Ah well, a bit deep for a fashion blog.

I was still happy-ish today as I felt that this was my first 'autumn outfit day'. I love autumn. Although some find it a sad season, with the dying foliage and darker days approaching, I prefer to see it as a hibernation. A rest. Time out to let life mature, renew and enrich. A preparation for better things to come. Oh tripe. Let's move swiftly onto clothes....

I wore:

  • White Company navy biker style jacket
  • Black Zara trousers with zip detail - summer sale this year
  • Zara breton t shirt
  • White Company star print scarf (Winter 2012) - similar here
  • Modalu black grab bag (stupendous ebay bargain. It had a broken handle, the repair of which I'd factored into my top bid. Then the lovely man in Timpson's did it for nothing!!)
  • Tan Topshop 'Mighty' ankle boots - at £45 and leather these are a great buy - mine still look as good as new from last year. Really comfortable too.

More navy

This is what I wore yesterday.

I may be nearing the end of my 10 item experiment. I am itching to incorporate other clothes. And the seasons are changing, I need to adjust things slightly.

It has proved a useful discipline though.

Lesson learnt?  I love stripes. And who would have thought a bargain basement skirt from my most hated and reviled of all retailers (Tesco) could become a mainstay?!

Breton top - Zara
Skirt - Tesco
Sandals - LK Bennett 'Milos' T bar wedges  (now in sale)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Workout clothes. Is it vain to care?

It's that time of the year again. I call it 'fighting with knives' time.  A fitness / safety training event I attend.

The 'knives' don't bother me unduly (they are thankfully not real!)  I am reasonably competent at de-knifing, and even rather enjoy it. Or I did last year when I somehow managed to de-knife a big confident muscly guy (who thought he was going to mince me up) 5 times in a  row :-)

But oh 'woe is me', due to time-tabling issues, this year I have to train for 2 days with fitter people and have a running test.

To lift my spirits (and my performance naturally) I have been thinking about investing in some more work-out gear (a) to train in before hand so that I have a outside chance of passing, and (b) to wear to the occasion. And maybe, just maybe if I get some purpose built proper stuff, it would encourage me to train regularly rather than have this ad hoc panic...?

To this end I have been perusing the Sweaty Betty website.

I like the deep waistband, some of these training clothes otherwise have minimal holding-innage.

Like the draping in this though. So many workout clothes naturally assume that you want to parade in skin tight lycra.

Finally a tee shirt - I need to invest in a proper workout top, others are terribly hot and sweaty and uncomfortable and ridey-uppy.

And to complete the set - I really like these Bloch 'criss cross sneakers'. Not suitable for heavy duty running. But for indoor work of the nature I have in mind, they are a good price at £38.

Now I just need to decide if I care enough to invest good 'normal clothing' money in this sort of thing!

Pleats please. A last look at the sales...

Thinking about my failure with the £125 polyester Jigsaw skirt I tried on the other day...I still have a slight hankering after a pleated skirt. Just preferably one that is a bit more substantial and / or less costly - i.e. better value all round.

An online hunt has turned up the following:

- and code TAC111 gives 25% off all from Pure Collection :-)

Bit undecided about the grey though (too light?) and somehow looks very maxi, i.e. might be too long on me

Finally, not black - but love the design - (and Kate Middleton was spotted wearing this print in a dress - so would be in good company, amazed it hasn't sold out!)  Utter bargain now for just £17.

Great Plains Cezanne Paintbox Pleated Skirt - £17.70

Out of that little lot, I am sorely tempted to try the first (Jigsaw £40) and the last (Great Plains £17) - as they offer really good reductions - AND I'd have a black pleated skirt and a colourful one - both for less than the cost of the original new season Jigsaw offering. That has to be a bargain in anyone's book! 

I also really like the non reduced Asos midi. Hmmm. Decisions, decisions...  

Watch this space... :-)

Monday, 9 September 2013

Comfort dressing...or 'shopping on a fat day'

Comfort dressing. Oh dear me, when you dress for comfort, is it time to abandon all hope?  I felt today that my boyfriend jeans, which I thought I'd grown to love, were really not suiting me.  Maybe the changing room light was unflattering.  Maybe I'm just having a 'fat' day.

Whatever. Today I don't think they looked so good. I am not ready for elasticated slacks just yet. Now I am not exactly putting 'boyfriend jeans' into that category, but it made me think about why I wear stuff.

Put it this way, after an encounter with said changing room mirror, I came home and changed into a 'skinny' style. And incidentally how odd that when you are far from skinny, that such a style should seem to flatter more than a looser cut?!

At the start of the day...

At the end of the day... Yeah drab I know - but matched my mood.

Now I mentioned changing rooms - and yes I did manage to do some shopping / browsing in peace today. First time in months - (now that school is back) - much needed, but I didn't enjoy as much as I thought I would as I had a vague sense of foreboding all day for some reason. Probably guilt that I was doing something I wanted to for a change :-/

Without further ado however - here are the pictures of what caught my eye:

(Ooh 'as seen in Vogue' it says on their website, get me!)

(description says 'wide fit', which I didn't notice in the shop - didn't look any different from normal)

M&S Star print scarves £15 - looked better in the flesh. I preferred the burgundy. I apologise unreservedly for my photos - which it transpires, are even worse than M&S's. Nuff said. 

M&S jacket - combination of knit (sleeves) and wool felt (the rest) - can't seem to find on website.

Next, my quest for a replacement basic navy sweater continued (so far without success). I tried on 2 in GAP. Neither quite right.

GAP fine merino sweater - £39.95. Hmm. Just not quite right.

 The neck and shoulders felt better but I didn't want the looser shape and the side vents. If however, you are on the look out for something similar with a casual feel - this would be an excellent buy.

Not a sweater - a 'hoody' top - but tried anyway while I was in the navy theme. If you're in the market for such an item it's nice. I wasn't.  (But tried it anyway. As you do.)

NB Using code GAPSTYLE will give 15% off online at Gap. 

Next I went to hunt out the Mint Velvet 'tabard' (yuk to the name) which I blogged about the other day.   Turned out it was yuk by name and yuk by nature. A shame. Didn't feel right on me at all. The roll neck was clumsy and didn't sit well. This may of course be in a large part due to the fact that (a) I was feeling yukky and (b) my hair has been cut too short and is hugely annoying me. :-(  

However, I may return to this later in the season when (a) my hair has grown and (b) with a bit of luck it might be in a sale.  But for now, that's another 'itch scratched' and £69 saved. 

I took a few other things into the fitting room while I was at it. This beige knit from Whistles was nice but I've left for now as I don't really need it, was unsure of the crew neck. And of course, ahem,  I am trying hard to keep to my minimal wardrobe.  (Like that would have figured at all if I decided I needed it!)

Crew necks are too 'boobtastic' for me I fear. 
Classic colour and nice feel to it though.

Not shown on my pic or on website - but has nice mini slit detail at side seam. 
Liked it for layering - lighter weight than a knit. May return to this...although on the pricy side for what it is... ('wrinkles nose' and sounds like mother).

Tried. Liked. Purchased. :-)
If it feels ok on a 'fat' day - it's IN.

Last but not least, a quick dash to Tesco for their 'Shower shine' - which incidentally is the best on the market. Trust me, I have done extensive research. I now endure Tesco solely for this one item. Don't say I never tell you anything useful.

I had a quick recce in the clothing section hoping to see the denim pencil skirt I blogged about the other day. Didn't find it sadly, but did notice that they had this replica of a leather effect trim top which I bought in Zara last year - almost identical - right down to the brass coloured zip at the back - and for just £8!  I didn't have time to stay and investigate any other Zara-like items... but interesting.

Tesco Zara-a-like top - £8 (couldn't find on website yet) 

*** Disclaimer ***

I did none of these items any favours today. If you click the links you will see how they are actually meant to look. But sometimes I think it's useful also to see how they look on a short tubby person having a bad day.


Sunday, 8 September 2013

Black and Navy

A controversial combination. Some people wouldn't wear black and navy blue together, but I have no such qualms. This due mainly, or wholly actually, because I don't yet  (although probably need one) have a navy blue - or any other colour come to that - maxi dress in my life. So needs must - and I balanced it all out by letting another colour show in between.

I wore my Primark silver leaves necklace today in honour of the onset of autumn :-)

Shoes were my LK Bennett Milos T bar wedges - these are still in stock online - they have gone into the sale and are now greatly reduced. A classic shape I think.

 Navy blue jersey biker jacket - from the White Company
Black Maxi dress from Warehouse - similar here from Asos

Navy and black theme extending to navy sandals and black toes...

What is your opinion on navy and black together - do you think it can work?

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Days of summer

Odd, my feelings about summer. I suppose I look on it rather like one of those not-so-successful relationships - unpleasant to be endured but to be reminisced on with aspects of fondness.

Now that summer is dying, I look back through a kind of rose-tinted haze and think 'it wasn't so bad' and 'what a shame' and 'how nice it will be when summer is here again'. (Remind me of that come next July when I am perspiring madly and longing for autumn!)

I do love autumn though. It is my absolute favourite time of year. In my eyes you get all the pros of summer - bright, balmy, sunny days (we hope!) without any of the cons (sweaty, stuffy, humid, silly).

And added to that lot, it's the best time of years clothes wise. You can (a) pile on the layers - more clothes - what's not to like - AND (b) crack open the accessories. Bring on snoods, boots, capes.... I'm practically salivating with the possibilities.

First on my wish-list, continuing my love affair (or maybe obsession?) with stripes, is this top from Mint Velvet. Spied during my recent London visit with small child in tow. Hence sadly only fondled, not tried on. It is lovely and I think the ruching at the sides and on the sleeves would be very flattering and comfortable:

Mint velvet top - midnight and grey stripes. I love the gathers. £39

And how fantastic is this sleeveless knitted tunic which I also saw in the shop - it would look great styled over any of my growing collection of bretons to take them through into autumn / winter.  They describe it as a 'Lurex Tabard' - (urgh - how to turn anyone off with one easy description?) It didn't appear to have any lurex when I saw it:

Anyway, to reign myself in a bit, here I am still working my 10 15 or so item wardrobe, in a 'last day of summer' outfit. If you can actually make out  what I am wearing, that is. I have a strange light effect in this spot - maybe the house is haunted?!  There is always a weird glow/ aura emanating from the glass over the door, and it's not a camera flash, I didn't use one...

Top - short sleeved breton H&M
Shirt - Toast
Shoes - Russell & Bromley tan loafers (similar in black)

Friday, 6 September 2013

The 10 key items

Well 10 or thereabouts, I am not a creature of exact science.

A while ago I edited my wardrobe heavily, attempting to attain the 'holy grail' of the capsule - 10 item - wardrobe.

I'm not quite at 10 items yet, but I do have space between the garments hanging in my wardrobe.
I've been quite surprised by the items I have been wearing and which have been working for me.

Here is a run down of my absolute basics. As some of the items are no longer available I've included links to similar things should anyone be interested.

1. Tesco navy cotton pencil skirt (similar here). Skirts have featured more heavily in my 10 items than I expected. Maybe it's a little bit of not wanting to wear jeans / trousers ALL the time, maybe a bit weather related. But whatever, my Tesco navy pencil skirt has proved to be a real workhorse. I love navy and it fills a 'jean shaped hole' while still looking feminine and just ringing the changes from jeans. I plan to snap up this new season version as a 'spare' because,  while Tesco clothes are great, I don't expect the original to last forever:

2. Musto checked shirt (similar here). This was a bizarre item. Had I been dreaming up my ideal 'must have' wardrobe, it's hardly the first item which would have sprung to mind! I just tried it on and decided I liked the checks. Mine is a subtler colour but I also like the colour-way below. Checked shirts are apparently the next big thing - they are everywhere! - so unknowingly I was right up to date for this season as well as (I think) having a reliable basic for years to come:
Musto are 'heavy duty' country wear I guess, so are a little pricer, but lots of equivalents are available if you just want a nice shirt and are not planning to go shooting ;-)

 and also Tesco - see here

3. Selection of breton tops - my new Jigsaw breton (now further reduced at John Lewis - just £18):

And classic navy and white from Zara here:

4. Sainsbury's black cropped capri trousers (similar here from M&S). Just one of those basic items you need to have I think. I like the 7/8 length - seems a bit fresher somehow and I'd say will still work for autumn with ankle boots:

5. Pink Joules cable knit crew neck jumper (similar here from Crew). To add a bit of colour. Complemnts the navy and the shirt, and the trousers.... (you get the idea!):

6. Toast & New Look denim / chambray shirts (similar here from Tesco). Layers brilliantly over the maxi dress and breton tops and under the pink jumper. Works alone too. No-brainer:

7. White Tesco jersey biker style jacket and navy White Company jersey style biker jacket. I like the fact these can be worn done up and also left open, giving very different looks. Two for one, or four for two. I am a creature of simple brain, but there you go. Similar knitted autumn /winter version from Pure Collection below:

8. Long black Warehouse vest style maxi dress (similar from Asos).

This has proved to be an absolute necessity. It can be worn so many ways - as a dress on its own, over a tee, under a tee - under a jacket - with scarf, with bold necklace, belted up etc etc.) If I was starting from scratch and had to buy one item I think this would be it - on a cost per use basis - and this one from Asos is an absolute bargain at £14!

9. M&S black knee length swingy jersey skirt. Can't find an equivalent and don't really want to! Unbelievably it was all I had in the suitable / flattering black skirt line!  And it has now been replaced by the Whistles black jersey tube skirt. A necessary basic, in much the same way as the black trousers:

10. Loose Zara black top - similar here. Because everyone (well I do at least) needs a black t-shirt:

10a. I haven't included jeans as I haven't worn them much recently. Realistically though, any 10 item wardrobe would need a pair of jeans. My current favourites which will be added to the mix are these from Topshop:

These are just the 'bare bones'.

I haven't talked about the myriad of shoes, bags, scarves and other accessories which are key to varying the look. I've been plundering my reserves of those to keep me sane. Maybe I'll do a future post on the accessories which I find most useful to make the 10 item look more interesting.... :-)

The 10 or so clothing items will change as I move further into my warmer autumn wear, I'll attempt to keep the list updated!

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