Archive of ‘style that works for you’ category

Adventures in Beauty

You know how when life is busy, you go about your daily business and don’t really think past the routine of what you do everyday? And then you get to the holidays and you rush from one thing to the next? Well, after to be honest a busy few years, this holiday we decided, rather than trying to fill it with too many trips, too many meet ups and rushing from one place to the next, to slow down the pace and see where the days and weeks take us around our own home and our little country.

But even though we are taking it easy, we are still busy, and trying out some new adventures – it’s the simple experiences that sometimes get forgotten. The 7 year old built a sandcastle in the sunshine for the first time! And the other day ruined his favourite shorts by climbing about 100 trees!

And sometimes, that is what these new experiences help to do – they make you look at things differently, be a little braver the next time and push you to try something new. The trees are getting higher for the 7 year old and meanwhile, the lipsticks are getting brighter for me…

I had the absolute pleasure of working with Katrina Doran from The Make up Dept= in Belfast. Her day job involves transforming a human into a zombie or monster, so she was looking for opportunities to create a normal beauty look and I happily signed up to the challenge! I styled some fashion looks, she worked her beauty magic! And here are the results…

So I’ve now signed up to a Dior make up masterclass on Wednesday to try out some new lipsticks and find the colour that best works for me but more importantly, that I will actually wear. It may not be the bravest thing I’ve ever done, but sometimes we have to remember to push those boundaries – it’s always good to see where a new challenge will take you!

 

The Midi Skirt

A great transitional piece in your wardrobe is the midi skirt.  The high waist, the longer length, just the right amount of body covered for the weather.

But midi skirts can be hard to wear.  And so to today’s top styling tip – it’s all about balance.  As always, in order to decide if something works on your body shape you must first try it on.  It’s the styling tip that gets the most sighs when I mention it, but you can follow every rule and still get the balance wrong so a try on has to be done!

So how do you balance it to make it work?

  • The length of the skirt dictates the footwear (shoe/sandal/boot)
  • The height of the waist dictates the top (tucked/crop/wide/tight)
  • The shape of the skirt dictates the outerwear (structured/length)

In the past I put a midi skirt on and felt it straight away on my hips.  For a long time I avoided this shape until I understood how to balance it properly on my frame.  Normally with a cropped t-shirt or top tucked in, a short jacket or jumper (something reasonably figure hugging) over the top and the shoes depend on the length (but generally the length that suits me either suits sandals or trainers).


I’m currently writing school reports with my break time involving midi skirts and styling tips!  On the next break I’m off to refuel with coffee and snacks, meanwhile you can browse an amazing selection of midi skirts from my go-to browsing website Shop Style

 

Bargain Hunting – Planned or Just Good Timing?

I remember a few years ago I was interviewed by a journalist about my style.  She asked me what I was wearing, how much it cost, and how much I spend on my clothes each month.

Firstly, I spend money on clothes depending on how much is in the fund that month, if I actually need something for an event or a change of season, and if I have spotted a trend I love and want to integrate it into my wardrobe.

But secondly, and the focus of this post…I remember talking about my boots.  The boots I had spotted the last time I was in London – they were on sale and were the last in my size.  They had been reduced a few times from £95 and at the till I expected to buy them for £25, but they had been reduced again to £9!  Now for me, this is a massive achievement, it gives me a buzz, what a discount!  But when I saw the £9 tag against the photo in the paper, I felt like my clothes were cheap.

A few years on and I am very proud of my thrifty buying.  At the minute, some 11 year old girls I know ask me every day about what I am wearing and whether I paid full price.  It all began when I was at the charity shop buying a cardigan for our school drama production and happened to pick myself up two blouses, one at £6, one at £7.  The following day (nothing lies unworn in my wardrobe!) I was wearing one and declared proudly that I got it from a charity shop so everyday since I have to give a running commentary on whether I paid full price or not.  Now getting to the main point! Most days (and even to my surprise), most parts of my outfit have been discounted.  Bargain hunting (or maybe more accurately, bargain finding!) is my current favourite thing;)

It’s not a love for sale shopping that allows this (I made it to the Boxing Day sales for the first time ever only this year!), but just buying smartly.  Well actually, the more I thought about this, it’s often just luck!  A few things I do that helps however…

    • browse – I rarely shop for a specific item, rather, I browse and see what fits with any gaps in my wardrobe (you need to know your wardrobe for this one to work, otherwise you end up buying more of what you already have)
    • have my discount vouchers at the ready – and don’t buy without them.  If they are in another wallet, I have to wait!
    • return anything that doesn’t suit – and that includes not just keeping it because you got some money off, you have to love it!
    • be open to the variety of shops you buy from – I have got some of my favourite clothes from charity shops (I am still learning the art of charity shopping!) and second hand sales but I’ve also found a few surprises in boutiques.  It’s the luck of the draw so be open!
    • buy pieces you can wear in more than one way.  My style is forever changing, not due to the quantity of clothes I own, but how I mix and match them.  Price per wear is a wonderful calculation to do;)

If you are stuck on where to even begin, search for some shopping tips here, meanwhile, here are some of my recent best buys (all stolen from my Instagram page (silverbrogues if you are not already following)!

Online secondhand goods from Depop – Zara bomber £8

Denim bomber by Red or Dead from Ebay £10

Shirt bought when I was doing my teacher training (quite a while ago!).  Spotted in a boutique, bought a month later from TK Maxx.

H&M always have a sale rail, and the items are normally £10 or below.  I always have a look here when I’m in (but I get the best buys from H&M Forestside for any locals!).  Jumper £10

Dress in the ‘end of the sale, sale’ a few years ago.

Shoes bought from Debenhams during a discount weekend.

I don’t buy much in Zara at full price but their sales are amazing!  This dress was one of those purchases I thought I’d never wear but have found lots of ways to style it – and I can’t complain when it only cost £5!

Another old shirt (bought with my student loan – I’ll not tell you how many years since Uni!).

Skirt Ted Baker from House of Fraser.  A size too big but still fits enough for the price I paid!!

I always wait out for Clarks sale to stock up on my brogues.  They are so comfortable and normally go to at least half price (I stalk their website at sale time!!).

From a shop called Deja Vu on the Lisburn Road – full of unique treasures, you just need a good hoke!

T-shirt is Cos and the cardigan is the exact style I’d searched all winter for and never found!

From the charity shop bag in my own house – it’s a men’s cardigan from All Saints.  It’s now mine;)

And finally the shirt that began the debate.  Oxfam Vintage £6

And one final thing I will say, a bargain gives you the best feeling…but give something back.  I always pay full price for local design as I think it is so important to support our own talent.

What bargains have you managed to get your hands on recently?

 

Metallic v Gingham

One of the biggest issues I come across when styling people is a confusion about what their personal style actually is.  And one of my favourite ways to teach them, is to show that items we automatically strike off the list, can actually be added to our wardrobe; we just have to integrate the look in a slightly different way, a way that suits us, trial and error is key.  Ultimately personal style is what you want it to be – it’s personal, the clue is in the name;)

Obviously metallics are a favourite style of mine; I also encourage this look for others I style.  Metallics (which remember include gold, rose gold, silver, bronze and sparkly embellishments) are versatile, they add an edge to your outfit and whose day does not get a little brighter with an added sparkle?!

Gingham on the other hand…well, there isn’t one piece of this print in my wardrobe, so that maybe says it all?!  But of course it’s everywhere (that gingham skirt is an Instagram favourite!) so I want to give it a chance, but anytime I see a top, or skirt, or even shoes, I just pass them on by.

But why add it to my wardrobe just because it’s on trend?  Well, I am forever on the search for a print I am comfortable in.  And as a lover of the plain and simple, this checked look should work well.  And should I not try to mix up my style?

So I’ll begin by having a look at the options…not a great start I might add, I think I’m still swaying towards my usual;)

Metallics easily found to wear from head to toe…

And so to my top gingham pieces.  I would definitely try the blue gingham dress from Primark and the top from Mango.  But as I searched I did discover it is just a bit busy for my style, it’s something I would probably buy and maybe wear once or twice; I’d be trying this style just for the sake of it which is not how I like to shop.

So I can comfortably say, gingham is not my chosen style and it is a trend I will allow to pass me by.  For now, I’m happy to stick to metallics as I know they work for me.  And on that note, have you seen my recent Facebook styling post to see how to integrate metallics into your wardrobe?

 

All The Shoes from Next

Horrah for spring! It’s my favourite time of the year, the colours, a little more heat, every one just has an extra lift in their step!  And what better way to enjoy the change than in a new pair of shoes from Next.

I wrote a post recently about how Next were keeping well and truly on top of the trends and this smoothly follows through to their footwear collection.  From bold colours to different proportions, finer details to stand out style, they have got it all!

My idea was to choose a pair of shoes that filled a gap in my wardrobe.  So I was looking for one thing – a block heel, and I had plenty of choice!  But after lots of trying on (a lot of my try on time was with flats but I resisted!), I kept coming back to these…

Next Footwear

Admittedly, I was put off by the black.  I don’t often wear dark colours on my feet (light coloured shoes are essential for flattering leg proportions!), and it was spring I was shopping for – black is not the first colour you think of in spring!  But the suede and leather contrast, the simple bow to the side, the peep toe ticked the other boxes, making it hard for me to resist.  And I actually already had the perfect outfit in my head anyway – they fitted the brief.

I was due a night out for dinner and drinks.  I don’t usually get too dressed up for these occasions but the heels generally come out.  If you follow on Instagram, you will see these trousers feature a lot for both dressy and casual occasions and I planned to team them with a pre-loved t-shirt from Deja Vu (originally Cos) and my new boots.  A perfect nod to the ongoing monochrome trend!  And here is the final look…

Next Footwear Next Footwear      

Unfortunately I cannot find the link for these lovely peep toe boots online but I spotted them instore today…

And this will be the look for another outing…once I get the fake tan back on my legs again;)

Thanks to Next for the shopping inspiration and for my lovely new boots:)

 

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