Fashion: My Favourite Coat (well, one of them)

Coats are one of my favourite things to online shop, and I’m always so jealous looking over OOTD posts at this time of the year.

 photo Autumn Walks 13_zpspq48v8px.jpg photo Autumn Walks 16_zpszjngiyvm.jpgYou see, being on the shorter side and having curves (despite being a size 8) makes finding a flatting coat quite difficult. Boyfriend coats? A total no-go, they make me look straight all the way down, and a lot bigger than I actually am. Add in pale skin tone and auburn hair and you’ve got a bigger problem. Cream/camel are difficult colours for me to wear despite them looking SO lovely on other people.

One of the coat styles that does suit me, however, is the cape. All hail the cape!

 photo Autumn Walks 9_zpsofwxcjzu.jpgFlattering whilst skimming my body (seriously, a godsend when I slightly indulge – the morning after my latest trip to Mac & Wild I nearly got offered a seat on the Tube…). Ideal for layering. Perfect over jeans and over suits. I’m sure you get the message, I love me a cape.

I have a couple of styles, actually. A heavier one from Debenhams in a more military grey design that I really do love. I actually had a Large many years ago, and hunted down a Small on Ebay last year – yet the bigger size is in storage for future years when I may need the extra room (and nope, that’s definitely not a sign of an impending announcement, so breathe mum!). I also have more of a blanket-wrap style cape, in a plum/berry coloured tartan. It’s something I need to wear more often!

The one in these pictures was a birthday/Christmas present of 2015 and came from H&M – and it was an absolute bargain if I remember correctly. Once I’d hunted down a size 6 (!) because it was quite ridiculously oversized.

 photo Autumn Walks 15_zpsgxy9wnlv.jpg photo Autumn Walks 2_zps48ypyrr5.jpg photo Autumn Walks 11_zpsz8x4o9oo.jpg photo Autumn Walks 12_zpsb1ktpoig.jpgThe material is thick without feeling heavy, and the slight pattern on it makes the coat seem far more expensive that it actually is. It’s also worn extremely well, and apart from the fact I split a hot chocolate down it last week it looks pretty much brand new. Teamed with black skinnies, boots, a trusty satchel and cosy knitwear it’s become my weekend uniform.

What’s your most-worn coat? 

Fashion: The Tartan Skirt

I dress pretty much the same most of the year. In summer I’ll pretty much always wear a dress (or shirt/top combo) and sandals. When it’s colder, I favour skirts, jumpers and ankle boots. Plain things aren’t really my bag. Think floral prints, patterns that would be more at home on a pair of curtains.

 photo Tartan Skirt 4_zpsuwos8smc.jpg photo Tartan Skirt 5_zpshal8ehwg.jpgWhilst a capsule wardrobe would never work for me, equally I rarely have that “I have nothing to wear” feeling. When I buy clothes I think these though. I buy basics, or I buy things that I know I really love. I leave things for a few days, and if I can’t stop thinking about it I go and buy it.

This tartan skirt is one such example. I came across it randomly through one of the (1000+) blogs I read, fell in love, and then realised the post was published in February. Searching on Ebay proved fruitless, so I tried to forget about it. Then I spotted it browsing through my local Topshop’s sale rack. In a size 16. Que searching through EVERY Topshop I passed for a few weeks (quite handy, it was during our flat-hunting week so there were a lot of stores). I eventually found a Size 10 on Oxford Street. Still a little too big, but perfect for tucking in a jumper and perhaps wearing to devour a huge Sunday Roast.

 photo Tartan Skirt 2_zpssbw0th0p.jpgIt pairs beautifully with so many of my jumpers; I’m currently loving the shape of this grey one (I have the same Primark jumper in about five colours now!). It looks great with flats or heeled ankle boots. It’s a flattering length – short, but not bum-flashingly so. And the material is so soft, it’s almost cosy to wear. Definitely an Autumn/Winter essential in my eyes.

Are you a fan of tartan? What’s your go-to look for Autumn/Winter?

Fashion: Building a Workwear Wardrobe

Disclaimer: I have a LOT of clothes. Despite sending off a total of five binbags to a charity shop over summer, selling another bag full on Ebay, and chucking more than a fair few odd socks, baggy knickers and bobbly bras, I have far too many clothes. I’ve taken over more than my fair share of the wardrobe, I have three under-bed boxes. Yet all the things I currently own do get worn.

 photo Workwear Outfits 5_zpsldfjftmh.jpgAs you might be able to tell, this isn’t about building a capsule workwear wardrobe.

Now, I work in the City. Whist I’m not expected to be in a ‘full suit’ everyday, I am expected to wear business attire, carry a jacket, look smart etc. The point of reference I tend to use is whether the guys where ties; they do in my office, so I dress smart(er) to reflect this. My usual go-to is a miss-matched suit, or a tailored dress and light-weight jacket. I also have a few floatier skirts which I tend to through on with more structured jackets, likewise I have a couple of smarter outfits for days with important meetings. I also have my go-to ‘Friday outfits’ – whilst my office doesn’t have formal dress-down Fridays, I have already noticed things do get a bit more casual for the last day of the working week.

 photo Workwear Outfits 2_zpsm49egudq.jpgThe key for me is the fit. If an item isn’t fitting right, it will never look smart, no matter how hard I try. Nothing used to bug me more at interviews, seeing guys in too-short trousers, girls in too-tight skirts. Good workwear doesn’t have to cost a fortune; I’ve had some excellent suits from ASDA & H&M over the years, and I think getting a good fit is far more important than spending a fortune on a pricey label. I’ve lost quite a bit of weight since buying a good half of my workwear wardrobe, so it’s bugging me that some pieces (particularly the jackets and grey dress) are a little too big. I’m hoping to gradually replace those bits – but for now I’m finding M&S great for petite-length tailored pieces that don’t break the bank. Machine washable too is a big bonus!

 photo Workwear Outfits 1_zpsybvrfppg.jpg photo Workwear Outfits 4_zpsogvom8nx.jpgThen there’s colour. Even if I’m wearing a black/grey outfit I need some colour in there. Be it a bold lipstick (I haven’t dared postbox red in the office yet though), something from my satchel collection or more ‘out there’ shoes (I have a pair of gorgeous oxblood stillettos, slip them on once I get to my final tube leg and I’m good to go!), I can’t be all in neutrals. My go-to way of adding colour is a cardigan. I can’t go to work without one (damn you air conditioning!), and I have one in every possible shade. Duck-egg blue, navy blue, royal blue, burgundy, fuschia pink, shell pink, cream, black, grey, red, orange, mustard yellow, white…Another way to add colour (and one that I really wish I could pull off more) is jewellery*. Think chunky bracelets, bold necklaces. The perfect way to jazz up a plain shift dress!

 photo Workwear Outfits 7_zps5fwvtccv.jpg photo Workwear Outfits 8_zpsze97qcct.jpg photo Workwear Outfits 9_zpslcorsys5.jpgMore casual Fridays are what fill me with dread. I’m okay with my usual ‘uniform’ – it’s comforting having limits in place. But on Fridays things get a bit more casual. One of my go-to styles for smarter weekends has always been a shirt dress, so I decided to take this to the office too. This dress from JD Williams* is a little longer than I’d like, but cinches in nicely at the waist. It doesn’t gape (essential for work – gaping shirts are the main reason I stick to dresses!), is lightweight (a godsend over the last few weeks, the tube commute has been rather warm!), and goes well with a plain black jacket.

 photo Workwear Outfits 6_zpshkxv7wpj.jpgNow all I need is this tweed pencil skirt (serious heart-eye emoji going on, I love it!). And to stop getting W to take outfit photos at 7.15am, when I’m bleary-eyed and with only half my makeup on…

What is your workwear wardrobe like? Any inspiration for where to shop?

 

Fashion: Transitioning To Autumn

This time of year is definitely my favourite. I love how the trees start to turn, how hedes are bright red with berries. I love that the sun takes on a golden tinge, that mornings are cool enough to make a scarf needed, but the afternoon sun is still warm. I love that we can take advantage of the slightly darker evenings to curl up with a good book and a hot chocolate. I look forward to comforting food, to pies and stews, to berry crumbles with custard.

 photo Transitioning to Autumn Fashion 9_zpsrt3zvdx0.jpg photo Transitioning to Autumn Fashion 10_zpsrhrxuva9.jpg photo Transitioning to Autumn Fashion 6_zpsn7oqfozn.jpgThe one downside? It’s spider season. How do they get into my house? How do they appear in the middle of the floor? Why do they run so fast? How can I make them go away?! Eurgh…

One of my favourite things about going into Autumn is pulling out all my favourite bits and pieces from the back of my wardrobe. All my most-loved clothes are made for this time of year, and the first day I put black tights on again is definitely one I enjoy – no more leg shaving for a few months! I love the autumnal shades, in fact our wedding is scheduled for early October purely because of the gorgeous colours around at this time of year. And it’s the same weekend we original got together, I guess!

 photo Transitioning to Autumn Fashion 3_zpskyrjljhb.jpg photo Transitioning to Autumn Fashion 1_zpsw4t0gmao.jpgThis skirt has been a staple in my wardrobe for an embarrassingly long time. Like, my pre-university days. Which felt fine when I was actually at university, but now I’ve graduated feels a bit excessive. That said, I can’t bring myself to chuck it just yet. It’s one of the few skirts I paid to have taken in when I lost weight (though still needs a belt to stay at the waist), the material is thick and good quality (that’s M&S for you!) and it has pockets.

The best thing though?It’s perfect for sunnier, warmer days that still hint at an Indian summer, whilst being ideal for cooler days where a jumper is needed. I’ve taken to carrying around a pair of woolly black knee-highs around with me, as they’re perfect for slipping on when things are a little colder than expected. Far too often in the past few weeks have I pulled on a dress, only to get rained on! Throwing on a jumper is effortless with a skirt like this, as it goes with so many. I’d originally planned to pair it with a blush pink jumper, but I’ll be damned if I can find it…

 photo Transitioning to Autumn Fashion 4_zpsuxw0x1lw.jpg photo Transitioning to Autumn Fashion 8_zpsm839hooi.jpgAnd the boots*. Oh, how I love these boots! Usually I spend months and months trying to find decent boots (though I hit the jackpot last year with some bargains from LIDL & ASDA). Having wide feet, narrow ankles, chunky calves and a whole size difference between each foot makes things rather difficult. These somehow work. I don’t need to wear three pairs of ankle socks on my small foot to keep it on, I don’t need to shove insoles in. The elasticated ankle means mine are supported, yet I can see there is enough give for those blessed with a bit of padding on their ankle bones. If you have dodgy-shaped feet, I can highly recommend a browse on JD Williams, I’m rather enamored by these too… The pointed toe is surprisingly comfy, the heel height just right. I can see these getting a lot of wear through to Spring time!

 photo Transitioning to Autumn Fashion 2_zpswd6yu6j5.jpg photo Transitioning to Autumn Fashion 7_zpsb7yfdn8c.jpg(Typically, the day I shot these photos was very warm, with sun so bright I could barely see. Hence the squinting and horrendous shadows. Sod’s law and all that…).

*Boots received from JD Williams in exchange for a post. All opinions are my own, if I didn’t love them the post wouldn’t be going live!

What’s your favourite time of year? Do you have a wardrobe staple you refuse to get rid of?

Fashion: Floral Maxi OOTD

As I mentioned last week, I’ve finally got up the courage to buy and (more importantly) wear a few maxi-length pieces. I’ve bought a few before, and they’ve remained unworn and neglected in my wardrobe, before eventually making their way onto Ebay or to a charity shop. Oops. Now I’m wondering why I have waited so long.

 photo New Look Floral Maxi Dress 2_zpswowk3zyv.jpg photo New Look Floral Maxi Dress 3_zpsi0lr670g.jpgIn my defence, I still struggle to find items I would actually wear. I have an inbuilt opinion that they make me look a lot bigger than I am, and that translates to what I see in the mirror. Then there’s the height issue. I’m too tall for the petite range, with them ending just above my ankle bone. The standard range drag on the floor. But once I fell in love with this dress, once I didn’t feel like a blue blob, I popped along to a seamstress and for £10 got 3 inches chopped off the bottom.

From New Look, the size 8 fits well (if slightly snug around the top department, if you get what I mean!). Once chopped it’s the right length, sitting just right with flat sandals. The slit up the side stops the floral print from becoming too mumsy, the belt stops me from appearing too short. Styled up with a hot pink cardigan (which I couldn’t bear to wear in the heatwave in Brighton!), this is becoming my favourite date night outfit. It also made the perfect thing to wear at my engagement party a few weeks ago – just right for a traditional English garden party. Lets hope the weather remains warm enough to wear it for a bit longer!

 photo New Look Floral Maxi Dress 1_zps3vwqc2w9.jpgNow all I need to do is remember to let my hair dry before taking outfit photos in the future…

Are you a fan of maxi dresses? Do you have types of clothing you avoid?

Fashion: Graduation Dress

Oh, how I dreaded searching for a graduation dress! I hate looking at myself in mirrors, hate being photographed, my body confidence is pretty much rock-bottom currently. The thought of having to find an outfit which will be forever displayed on grandparents walls was terrifying.

 photo IMG_2066_zpslt1zobzc.jpg photo 2016-07-11 21.19.46_zpsqsfszhwq.jpgThen there was the constraint of finding something ‘appropriate.’ Graduating in the cathedral meant I didn’t want anything revealing, wanted a decent length. I wanted something that would blend in or complement my hood colour (a soft grey – quite nice as it happened!). Oh, and I desperately wanted something that fitted. Seeing as 90% of my wardrobe doesn’t right now.

Seemed like an impossible task, right?! Turns out I was on a roll back in April – I managed to find my wedding dress (!), summer ball dress and graduation dress all within the space of a few days!

 photo 2016-07-14 12.00.10_zpsdilekjdd.jpg photo 2016-07-14 12.00.17_zpsqvpvpwqs.jpg photo 2016-07-14 11.59.39_zpsg4vsvmnq.jpgMy graduation dress came from Next, one of their featured brands called Little Mistress (also available from House of Fraser and, I think, ASOS). Originally priced at £55, it’s now much cheaper (typical) but  personally felt the material and fit to be superior even for the higher price. A silky polyester blend, fitted even to my waist, with a flattering wrap skirt, the length was perfect for my height. The colour blended with my hood, and went perfectly with my favourite makeup look. Definitely a good buy!

I accessorized with a bright pink cardigan (Tesco) and some black court shoes (Peacocks, which crippled me with a horrific blister despite wearing them in). I was also lucky enough not to have to carry a bag, however regretted this halfway through the very long (and unfortunately very boring) ceremony – how I would have loved to have my phone with me!
 photo IMG_2072_zpstqzblfu4.jpg

What did you wear to your graduation? Did you dread finding a dress too?

Fashion: Sun-Seeking in Floral Dresses

Would someone like to inform the sun that it is now June, and an appearance would be most appreciated?

 photo House of Fraser Dress5_zps1qkmykpz.jpgSince I came back from France, I’ve seen the sun for a total of two hours at the very most. I’ve gotten soaked in the pouring rain. Dug out my cosiest winter pyjamas. Even turned the heating on for a cheeky hour. Whilst it’s lovely to snuggle up with a warm drink and a good book (oh, how I’m loving reading for pleasure instead of studying!), I’m now positively aching for a bit of sunshine, a hint of warmth. I have new clothes to wear, and so far every time I’ve tried I’ve ended up scampering back upstairs to throw on something slightly warmer…

Despite the not-so-nice weather, I simply couldn’t resist sharing my newest dress*.

 photo House of Fraser Dress3_zpss3mmnnl7.jpgMade of the floatiest material (i.e. one that makes me feel rather feminine and pretty, but that shows my knickers with the slightest breeze), cut to gentle pleats, and with just enough dark to toughen up the soft pastel floral pattern, this is my new favourite summer dress. Or it would be, if it was warm enough to wear it!

Whilst the vast majority of my wardrobe is floral dresses and skirts, this is still very different to my usual style. It’s high-necked, with a collar and slightly ruffled detailed along the bust – both things I ordinarily avoid. It’s yellow, again something I’m not overly keen on. But for some reason, I fell in love with it. The length sits perfectly just a couple of inches above my knee, the waistline pulls me in.

 photo House of Fraser Dress2_zpsnb6rryen.jpgStill unable to buy myself the correct size after loosing several dress sizes last year, I took a chance and used the House of Fraser “how will this fit you personally” guide – and it worked! I popped in my favourite dress manufacturer and size, and a few other measurements, and out popped my size. Despite my sceptism, it really is the perfect fit. And surprisingly, so is the other dress I also bought using the guide – a tighter, figure-hugging showstopper for graduation.

Until the sun comes out, I’ve been pairing this with skin-coloured tights, navy flats and a navy cardigan, grabbing a brown or tan satchel for good measure. However I’m looking forward to wearing the dress bare-legged, with some delicate sandals, for a good ol’British picnic. Now I just need the weather to play along…

What have you been wearing lately? Are you struggling with the British weather at the moment?

Fashion: SS16 Wishlist

It’s getting to the time of year where I’m bored of my wardrobe, bored of heavy figure-hiding jumpers, bored of thick black tights, fed up of ankle boots. Yet this year I’m not exactly enamored with my summer wardrobe either. The majority of it is far too big for me, my style has grown up a bit since I bought most of it. And as a penniless final-year student (with as yet no job lined up) I’m not exactly in a position to rush out and buy a whole new wardrobe.

SS16 Wishlist

 

Being penniless hasn’t, however, stopped me obsessively browsing online for bits and pieces I’d love. These are just a few of the bits I’ve bookmarked recently…

The pinafore I’m absolutely in love with. I have the black version though, and I know just how short it is! I’m not exactly tall, but the regular version is reserved for wearing with thick black tights only! I have a feeling that the one in the ‘tall’ section will be too long in the body on me, but we shall see…

The dress (well, at $430 maybe not this exact one!) is something I’m looking for ready for Summer Ball. I ideally want something simple and black, which I can jazz up with gold accessories. And gold flat sandals, because “Summer Ball” is actually in the carpark, and we’re planning a boozy BBQ throughout the entire afternoon.

The satchel-style bag in the top-right is something I might actually be getting. The Leather Satchel Company recently ran a kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a customisation tool – which was fully backed way past target. I pledged £60 in return for a mini-satchel, and this colour combination is my favourite so far. I only wish I could have pledged more, as I’m really lusting after a two-pocket satchel…

So much I want, so little pennies to spend! What are you lusting over at the moment?

Fashion: Clothes I Forgot I Had

I never meant to have two wardrobes, but it’s a luxury I’ve been taking advantage of for a good couple of years. I simply have far too many clothes to take to/from university, so I split my wardrobe in half. The massive upside of this is that I can go home and refresh my look without spending anything. The downside – I occasionally forget what I have any buy what are virtually duplicates.

But everyone needs 20 white shirts, right?!

When I went home for my Christmas holidays (which seem SO long ago now!) I was rather limited for suitcase space, having had to pack notes in one case and a small overnight bag of clothes for my weekend away. I ended up having to rely on my ‘second’ wardrobe over my four weeks at home, rediscovering some pieces I wish I hadn’t forgotten about, as well as some I wish I had!
 photo Clothes I Forgot I Had 1_zpsnw6dguwv.jpg

The Cheap Skirt & Expensive Boots

This was a look I relied on a lot over Christmas, whenever I had to go out for something remotely more than a nip to the shops. Casual coffee with friends? Yep. Will’s birthday meal? Outfit sorted! I’d completely forgetten that I owned this skirt, despite having owned it for a good five years. I picked it up in Primark for £2 (!) as something to wear on one of mine and W’s earliest dates, and it’s still going strong. Admittedly it’s far too big right now, but with a jumper tucked in and my pretttyyyyy (and hellishly uncomfortable) ankle boots on it looks a lot better than a Primark cheapie!
 photo LBD_zpsglfgsmg7.jpg

The Classic LBD

Oh, my perfect LBD! How I wish I had received this lovely little black dress after I’d lost weight, as it is a bit bulky now. That said it was a key piece in my wardrobe over my holidays as it was so easy to throw on. I love it simply belted with a pair of patterned tights.

4 Billion Pairs of Plain Black Tights

These were a complete Godsend of a find! I spent a week up in W’s uni flat and it was freezinggggg for the first couple of days. The very first day I sat studying in five pairs of socks and gloves and was still more than a little grumpy when I eventually got instructions on how to turn on the heaters from the boys. Tights saved my legs from frostbite – I love layering pairs to make them warmer, or throwing a pair under jeans to stay toasty. Can never have enough tights!
 photo Clothes I Forgot I Had 7_zpsqmlagrgc.jpg

The Jumper Dress

I love a good jumper dress, and when stressing about what to wear for NYE I’m so glad this (quite literally) fell on my head. A beautiful plum colour, flattering fit without being too flashy (I was catering a dinner party for 14 so needed something comfortable – and easy to change into ten minutes before guest arrived). I reckon this even make the cut into my suitcase back to university.

The Glittery Nail Polishes

With a second wardrobe comes a second (and third, and fourth…) makeup bag. Admittedly I have far too much makeup, but leaving my glittery nail polishes behind was a conscious decision on my return to university. I knew I wouldn’t wear them until the holidays so I definitely made the most of them. Especially as I was showing off my sparkly ring at every opportunity…
 photo Clothes I Forgot I Had 2_zps1zmyudpr.jpg

Do you forget about clothes you own? Tell me I’m not the only one!

Fashion: Favourite New Boots

When I fall in love with a pair of shoes, I wear them to death. I buy several pairs in all the colours and wear them to death too. I only wish I could get hold of a few more pairs of these boots!

 photo 2015-11-12 09.52.11_zpsmrz953xf.jpgAt £10 a pair from Lidl I wasn’t expecting much. I was expecting cheap looking shoes, blisters, the, to fall apart quickly. Turns out I was completely and utterly wrong.

They look much more expensive than their cost. They are well made, the soles are thick, the heels substantial. They are nicely lined inside, with the only blister being caused by a three-hour wear with no socks.

 photo 2015-11-12 09.53.33_zpsfcdasrxk.jpgAnd they’ve lasted well too. I’ve worn them to university pretty much every day, with a country-lane walk to boot. I’ve wandered about town for hours in them, travelled on trains in them, really put them through their paces – and they still look great. This is all the more surprising if you consider my very dodgy gait. I roll my soles as I walk. I’ve destroyed a pair of shoes in a single school day before, I’ve cracked the wooden sole of a (£80) pair of boots in a fortnight. So for these to look virtually as good as new, with very little erosion to the soles and heels, is pretty damn good.

 photo 2015-11-12 09.54.10_zpscmqml3wj.jpgPerfect thrown on with jeans and a jumper for lectures, equally as good with a dress and tights. I love that the brown ones match my satchel too!

Do you have a favourite pair of winter boots this year?