Outnet Spree Shopping: McQ Alexander McQueen Ruffled twill wrap skirt

We all have our favourite designers we like to lust after – for dreamy dresses and pretty scarves I love Temperley, for handbags and shoes I love Mulberry, and for structured basics and quirky jewellery I love McQ! I always have a look at The Outnet’s range when I get a chance, and so when I spotted this gorgeous navy skirt I had to share it!

McQ FFF Alexander McQueen Ruffled twill wrap skirt

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Holiday packing: the sunglasses edition!

Don’t worry about your passport, your tickets and your itinerary – that’s all deadly boring. When it comes to packing for a holiday, my favorite thing to consider are the accessories!

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(Notting Hill Nude lipstick, Rimmel / Odeion clutch in indigo, Oroton / DKNY 4109 sunglasses, c/o sunglasses-shop.co.uk / Tickle My France-y nail varnish, OPI / Blue leather bracelet, Next)

That’s why I picked out these amazing black cat eye sunnies from DKNY from sunglasses-shop.co.uk. Cat eye shades are such a classic shape – they’re stylish without being too trendy, and you can wear them with everything from a swimming costume on the beach to a maxi dress at the bar.

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I love sunglasses-shop.co.uk because you can actually search for your shades by frame shape, as well as the usual brand and colour options. As well as cat eye sunglasses, you can search for Aviator style, butterfly, oval, rectangle, retro, visor, Wayfarer and more! (Should I admit this…? I honestly didn’t realise that there were that many different styles!)

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These awesome shades come from the DKNY range – this style comes in tortoise, leopard and black (pictured), and is a best seller (look for DKNY 4109). The biggest seller in the DKNY range is the 4084 – an elegant, more rounded cat eye shape that comes in black and tortoise. Also, check out the DKNY 4096, which is featured in the campaign with Cara Delevingne! You can’t beat a bit of DKNY while you’re lounging by the pool, can you?!

I’ll be taking these gorgeous shades with me to Marseille, so expect some modeling shots live from France later next week!

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Bag ‘n’ Shoes: Next Two Part Pointed Flats and Navy and White Striped Shopper

Yellow two part flats and striped beach bag from Next.

Summer for me is always nautical. I love nautical stuff, as I’m sure you’ve cannily realised from my previous posts. But you don’t have to spend a fortune on trends to get something stylish and practical, and one of my favourite places for affordable fashion is Next!

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Styling Summer Wedges

This summer season (for me, anyway) is going to be all about replikating Kate Middleton’s staple wedges. I know plenty of people scoff at her Corkswoons, Minx and Imperias, but I’m not one of them! I certainly haven’t grown tired of seeing these shoes, and I can’t wait to wear them out and about!

When Dune, the company that now owns Pied A Terre, re-released the Imperia D wedges in natural under the new Dune Black label, I was thrilled – I already had a pair in black, but the natural had been unavailable for a long time. As soon as I saw they were on sale again, I snapped them up! Despite them being under a different brand name, I can confirm they are the same shoe – although why Pied A Terre also has a range of Imperias as well, albeit without the natural colour, I couldn’t tell you.

Once they arrived, I started to wonder – how to accessorize them? So, I put together this Polyvore set with some basic ideas to get my creative juices flowing! (And I resisted the temptation to add my beloved Mulberry Lily in tweed – all of these bags are still available, if you fancy a purchase!)

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I noticed this awesome Modalu St Ives grab bag (£69) in John Lewis the other day and fell in love with the quirky front pocket lock – although the version I saw was in taupe. The orange is a lovely bright way to bring a little summer into your life – and the natural colour of the fabric matches the Dune wedges almost perfectly! The Next striped shopper was on my radar after the Nautical and Nice post I did recently – and it’s a great little bag for just £20, especially with the stylish little rope handles. Find it here. Finally, in one of this season’s hottest colours, this Dorset tote from Mulberry is crazy expensive at £595, but as I’m a Mulberry girl, I had to include something! The tote comes in a variety of colours – this one is called Bluebell, and is available here. (Modalu do a similar bag called the Artemis Shopper in azure blue for £199 here.) Finally, I had to throw in a pair of sunglasses – and I do love the classic Wayfarer style from Rayban! These are really unusual – they’re actually coated with black leather, hence the £250 price tag. Of course, you can get authentic Raybans for cheaper than this, and ‘replicas’ for even less on eBay! What do you think – how would you style a natural wedge espadrille? Do you think wedges are outdated (again), or are they a timeless classic? And, did you manage to bag a pair before they sold out?!

 

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Russell & Bromley / Stuart Weitzman Corkswoon Wedges vs Sainsbury’s Tu Suede Wedges

Kate Middleton’s most iconic pair of smart casual shoes are probably her blue suede wedges. Most frequently seen during the 2013 Summer Olympics in London, these wedges are by American designer Stuart Weitzman and available at Russell & Bromley in the UK. However, there are also plenty of high street replicas – such as the pairs from Next and Hobbs last year. This year, grocery chain Sainsbury’s is in on the trend, producing a pair of blue suede cork wedges for £18 for their clothing line Tu. I happened to drop into Sainsbury’s yesterday wearing the originals, so I present a quick side by side comparison in the interests of retail science!

(Just an FYI, Sainsbury’s is the lighter blue of the two!)

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I thought it was funny to note that 1) these were the only pair left after the Duchess’s appearance with the similar pair the other day, and 2) that they were positioned right next to some Sledge lookalikes!

My verdict: the Tu wedges are a decent replicate at £18, although the colour is not really a match for the dark navy of the originals and therefore doesn’t blend that well with dark jeans – which is the way Kate usually wears hers. For the price you probably won’t be surprised to hear that the suede doesn’t feel as nice, and the shoe itself isn’t as comfortable – although the heel and platform are both lower!

Sainbury’s don’t do mail order but you can find the details, including the item number, here. The original versions are here from Russell & Bromley, although they always sell out after an appearance!

See my previous post about the difference between the Hobbs Myra wedges and the R&B Corkswoons here.

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Halloween Style

You don’t have to dress up as a vampire or a witch to let a little Halloween spirit into your life – I spend most of October celebrating my spooky side, and embracing every opportunity to display my love of the paranormal. This year I decided to do a round up of some of my favourite Halloween items to bring scary flair to your outfits!

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As you can see, I went a little skull crazy with the accessories, but thanks to Alexander McQueen, skulls are a pretty iconic fashion statement. Display them everywhere from shoes, to necklaces, to bracelets (I so need one of those adorable Links of London bracelets!). Cats also have a spooky reputation as witches familiars, so these cool tights from Monki Bibi are a great way to introduce them to your Halloween outfit – or just wear a beanie, like this one from River Island! Ciate do some great nail colours for Halloween (from left to right, I’ve featured Stiletto, Twilight and Hopscotch), so even if you’re not busting out any fancy nail art, you can still get in on the fun. And finally, if you don’t want to go the whole hog with these cool themed T-shirts and tanks I found on ASOS, then channel some gothic glam with black, sequins and glitter, like with this cool dipped hem top.

What do you think of Halloween fashion? Do you get into the festivities wholeheartedly, or do you prefer to keep it subtle with a few little touches here and there?

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What’s your style: classic, or cool?

One of the things I love about British fashion is the way it fuses heritage brands with cutting edge cool. Old names like Burberry and Mulberry mixing with new ones like Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. One side representing tradition, the other side bringing innovation and a playful sense of danger.

Even as I’ve evolved in my own sense of personal style, I can never seem to quite settle on a fashion persona that entirely embraces one or the other. I am certain I would be kicked out with equal amounts of disgust from the front row of any reputable British fashion brand – and it’s almost with a sense of pride I can declare myself to be a free agent in international waters. Of course, it means my wardrobe is a chaotic mess of rock-chick style accessories, prim, retro dresses, and far too many hats – but doesn’t everyone strive for a wardrobe like that? (They don’t? Off with you!)

Anyway, since I love a good scarf, and I seem to have one permanently wrapped around my neck from the months of October to March, I thought I’d investigate some good designer staples – and yet again, came into the age old question: cool or classic?

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The correct answer is undoubtedly BOTH! In which case, I shall rephrase – which one first? And can you sum up your own personal style? Does your wardrobe follow a general theme, or are you like me – a fashion butterfly, flitting mindlessly from pretty thing to pretty thing, never to settle? What is to become of us poor homeless butterflies? Ask not, for as my cat would tell you, they usually get eaten.
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Autumn Approaches: Time for Wellies!

I’m not even going to pretend I’m not excited that summer is over and autumn is on the way! Autumn is easily my favourite time of the year and it always feels like coming home to me. Crisp country walks in the chilly air and bright sunshine, brand new winter coats, the first hints of red and brown leaves… There’s not a lot I don’t love about autumn!

Of course, I love the accessories that come with autumn and winter – hats, scarves, boots – more importantly… Wellington boots! Here are my picks for the most fashionable wellies on the market, for every budget, from Next to Burberry!

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As you can see, Hunter still really has the market cornered when it comes to luxe rainy-day wear for your feet – but Joules has some amazing offerings. I think the Evedon wellies with the ribbon are my favourites! Do you have a special pair of wellies for splashing about in the puddles?
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Living in the ’80s!

If there’s one thing I’m famous for amongst my friends, it’s wanting to dress up at the drop of a hat, and planning elaborate parties in order to justify some ridiculous outfit I’ve dreamed up. So I thought I’d share these photos from our ’80s party last year, which we organised as part of the joint 30th birthday celebration between me and my friends, who were all born within a couple of months of each other. What better way to celebrate a landmark birthday than with a throwback party to the decade when you were born?!

Of course, Ray-bans were the big thing during the ’80s (have they ever really gone out of fashion since?!), so the first job was grabbing a pair of replicas from eBay.

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Next, comes the big hair…

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Polka dots and bright accessories:

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I was channeling a pre-blonde Madonna here, of course…

I actually had two outfits for the weekend, but first was the small matter of hair and makeup:

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I thought I’d go subtle for the first day, so as not to scare people too badly…

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This is an authentic ’80s jumpsuit, complete with amazing power shoulder pads. The honest truth is I loved wearing this – it was comfy as heck and I thought it looked fantastic. Sadly, I don’t think the world is ready for a real ’80s revival just yet… I also bought these great electric blue snakeskin heels from New Look to complete the outfit. Unfortunately, at times, there was something slightly Michael Jackson-ish about my appearance:

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Day two was when I unleashed the full force of Madonna:

IMG_2377The Material Girl was in full swing!

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My husband wore a tracksuit – he loves it so much he’s worn it multiple times since then, because as all children of the ’80s, he feels the lure of the tracksuit like a Siren’s call.

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I had on a tutu, but you can only really see it in this incredibly unflattering side view of me singing along to Blondie:

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But wait! What about the catering? Well, of course, that was a major aspect of the fun! Where would an ’80s party be without a trifle?

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And a pineapple and cheese hedgehog?

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And a really awful photo of a Viennetta?!

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(When I was a kid, you knew it was a serious and important landmark event if there was Viennetta on the table!)

There also had to be quiche and vol au vents:

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And pink wafers, savoury mini eggs, and party rings!

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And, because why not, jello shots in the shape of lemon wedges!

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Sunday morning could only be cartoons and Pop Tarts time!

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It was great fun to relive our childhood days from a slightly different perspective, but I have to say my Pop Tart sugar rush was pretty intense…! I still can’t decide which ’80s outfit I liked the best, but it was definitely fun to research them and put them together. The first time round for me, the ’80s were all knee high socks, flowery skirts, and matching cardigans!

Vintage Bookclub – 1930s Fashion: The Definitive Sourcebook

The second book in a series of fashion tomes dedicated to 2oth century clothing, 1930s Fashion: The Definitive Sourcebook is a collection of carefully curated photographs, illustrations and publicity shots which pull together an overview of a decade in fashion. Mostly concentrating on the two most influential sources for women’s fashions during the decade – French fashion houses, and Hollywood pictures – the book covers everything from movie stills to catalogue spreads, giving a concise overview of the styles and silhouettes of the day.

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A lengthy introduction neatly explains the decade’s attitude to fashion – sandwiched between two of the most tumultuous events of the last century (namely, the start of the Great Depression and the declaration of World War II), the 30s is often overlooked. Coming between the glamour of the 20s and the practicality of the 40s, this is a decade that draws a blank with many people, yet was responsible for transforming the free and easy flapper of the Roaring Twenties into the pragmatic factory girl of the war. Although brief, this overview is hugely educational and gives a fantastic background to the gorgeous images that follow.

At nearly 600 pages, and with over 600 illustrations packed into its glossy pages, this is a treasure trove for the vintage fashion lover, containing original (some never before seen) imagery sourced from everywhere from news archives to magazine covers, press and publicity shots, and catalogues.

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The book is divided into six main sections, including the introduction, plus daywear, outerwear, eveningwear, accessories and ‘other’, which includes sportswear, wedding dresses, childrens’ clothes, underwear and nightwear.

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There is a vast array of imagery to dwell on in here – and although the social history is mostly left down to your interpretation, as original editorial content from the day is limited to a few captions here and there which remain on the images themselves, this really feels like a book you could flick through for years and still discover something new on each reading.

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The book is also crammed full of photos of beautiful Hollywood stars – above is Dorothy Lamour in a silk evening dress from 1939, and there are also photos of Carole Lombard, Joan Crawford (in her famous Letty Lynton gown), Fay Wray and Barbara Stanwyck. amongst others.

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The accessories section is of particular interest if you’re a massive hat enthusiast like me – although shoes were a bit thin on the ground (ha) but obviously visible in the full-length shots.

Even if you’re not a vintage follower who concentrates on ’30s fashion, this is a definite must-have for your book collection – and it’s definitely inspired a passion for the era in me! Graceful silhouettes, bold tailoring, gorgeous accessories, and glamour on every page – what’s not to love about this beautiful and under-appreciated decade!

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This truly beautiful coffee table book was edited by Charlotte Fiell and Emmanuelle Dirix, and is out now for £30 from Goodman Fiell Books. Find it at Amazon here, currently at £19.20. C’mon, give the ’30s some love!