Posts Tagged ‘style tips’

The Silver Brogue

A few weeks ago I took my favourite pink brogues into the shoe mender to have them resoled.  And to my complete devastation, I was told they are too far gone, nothing would stick, there would be no point.  As the kind gentleman bent my shoe on the sole to show me the damage I snatched them from his hand, guaranteed I would get at least a few more wears out of them!

I have been wearing my trainers a lot recently and now I am ready to come back to my roots.  So I headed out for a bit of brogue shopping.  Just a little note – I call all of this style of shoe Brogue but technically some of the shoes shown are Oxfords – it all depends on the detail on the shoe (Oxfords are lace up, Brogues come with perforations)!  Admittedly there is more to know but that is the brief round up – check out Mr Porter for more!

With limited choice instore, I headed online.  As with any online ordering, I did my search independently, checked Shop Style for anything I’d missed and then googled voucher websites.

These are the brogues I already have.  Admittedly as I gathered these for their photoshoot, I was a little taken aback at home many pairs I have – I am normally quite sensible in my shopping.  But then I realised, not one pair were bought at full price – they were on sale, from eBay, on a weekend discount or bought with an online voucher, so the quantity didn’t seem so bad any more!

And these are the shoes I ordered.

I loved the fringing, but I already own a mint pair with fringing, however if I didn’t I would definitely go with this pair I found in Clarks – and the fringing can be removed for a second look (sorry, I can’t find either of these these online at the moment!).

The side buckle shoe came as a ‘wide fit’ they were far too big.  If I was interested in keeping this style I would have ordered down a size.  I love the metallic but they felt very masculine.

These were the favourite when I put it out to social media.

The Clarks were the most comfortable but I found when I tried them on with different coloured jeans, dresses and with bare legs, they were a little heavy for the style I intended to go with.

And these are the brogues I still want.


These little pink beauties are Dr Martens, and the silver? Well at £295 from Clarks, they are a little past my price range 🙁

So the decision lay with the shoe that was most versatile for me. They needed to suit jeans, skirts, and work trousers and as we head into the warmer weather, be light enough to be worn with bare legs.

Which leaves the metallic brogue from John Rocha at Debenhams.  Priced at £45 but reduced to £22.50 these were an absolute bargain!  I also went with in store delivery as I knew I would be in Belfast so that knocked a little off the price too;)  And as the hole in the sole of my pink brogues grew, I also bought these in the Clarks sale at just £25.

Do you have a favourite?


Always On Trend

In a recent post we talked about basics in our wardrobe.  Much of what was mentioned was plain colours, standard shapes and essentials.  But how can we remain on trend when we only the basics in our wardrobe?  Well, of course that’s where I come in with some styling tips!

1 Jewellery – add some colour or some drama with a statement necklace, keep the look subtle with a simple bangle or go dramatic with an oversized watch

2 Layering – whether this is an obvious addition like a cardigan or a subtle light coloured vest showing below a darker coloured top. A sleeveless jacket over a coat, or the layers that you don’t see to wear your S/S when the temperature still feels like A/W!

3 Tuck and Roll – an all over tight tuck into your skirt, a front tuck into trousers, a roll of the cuff or messy fold of the full sleeve

4 Footwear – flats to dress down an otherwise smart look, heels to dress up your casual jeans and tee

5 Outerwear – add the texture (fur or leather), the shape (bomber or fitted jacket), the colour (swing coat or shawl)

6 Accessories – the giant scarf, the oversized handbag, the pussybow.  I see that patterned tights are returning for A/W16, update now to be ahead of the trends!

7 One trend shop – check the current trends and select one piece to add to your basics collection, something you can easily mix and match with many of your basics

I’ll be talking about S/S16 trends in a future post, pick your favourite colours, shapes and textures and build your S/S wardrobe around this.  If  is a trend that suits you, or you really like, it will maybe become part of your basics.

*images from Pinterest*


Best of the Basics – Sort Your Wardrobe Now!

I’ve talked about wardrobe clear outs before and at a time when mine is once again bursting at the seams, I have been thinking of all that waste.  Yes, some goes to charity, some gets passed on to friends, some goes on eBay or Depop, but actually how much of what I buy do I even need?

We naturally navigate to our favourites in our wardrobe – for me, it’s skinny jeans, flats and a printed t-shirt with a jumper to throw on over the top.  If I could just wear this style everyday I would be happy. But I also like to update my look, whether because I just fancy a change or because I like a current trend.  And of course I love to shop!


This leads me to thinking about what we actually should keep in our wardrobes.

As per usual, I say forget the rules. Don’t just google ‘capsule wardrobe’ and tick off everything on the list (although this is a helpful place to start!).  You have to think about how you want to dress – and that includes your own style, the season, what you are comfortable in as well as what you need to wear, to work for example.  And most importantly, the shape of your clothes is dependent on your body shape and what suits you, everyone’s wardrobe should be different!  Also, basics are best plain, but you don’t always have to stick to black, white or grey; again, work with your own colour preference.

So here is my list, this is the ‘capsule wardrobe’ that works for me.  

Tops – plain t-shirt, breton t-shirt, shirt, dressy top (quantity of each depends on what you prefer to wear – but remember, there are only 7 days in a week so two of each is plenty!)

Jumper/Cardigan – thick knit and fine knit jumper in neutral colours e.g. black/grey/maroon tend to go with most other colours; simple fine knit cardigan, long cardigan (covering the bottom area!)

Trousers – cigarette, leather (my must have for casual and ‘going out’ styles), print

Jeans – skinny black and blue denim (on trend pieces – boyfriend/flares)

Skirts – pencil, mini, midi (this is the area most dependent on style that works for you.  I wear short skirts in winter, pencil or midi in summer)

Jewellery – one essential…a statement necklace (how ‘statement’ is up to your personal style)

Outerwear – parka, three quarter length coat, fitted jacket (mine’s leather), gilet (I suggest faux fur of course!), shawl/blanket scarf

Shoes – flats (of course I will recommend brogues), trainers (for fashion, not for running!!), ankle boots, knee high boots

Now, using this list, check out what you have in your wardrobe, it’s time to sort!  Quick trip to Ikea, buy a clothes rail for £6 (the perfect clothes sorting essential).

And here’s your step by step guide –

1 Put on the rail anything that falls into the above points

2 Sort into categories and eliminate any items that you know you will never wear again (I have a rule – not worn in a year, bag up and leave somewhere convenient to access if necessary.  Not taken out of the bag the next year, bin!)

3 Go back to your wardrobe and sort the rest into categories (this includes any on trend/print/best loved pieces)

4 Repeat Number 2

5 Put your basics back in amongst your wardrobe, keeping in categories

6 Sort through each category – do you have too much of anything or need to shop for a particular category? (I would leave it a week or two before writing any shopping lists)

This next section may be on a separate day and maybe needs a whole post of its own!

7 Try on what you have left – make outfits from items in different categories.  This is where you need to get out your accessories too – try it all!  In fact, put on one pair or trousers, one top – and see how many combinations you can make by changing cardigan/jumper/necklace/adding a scarf etc, etc.  And take photos of all the combinations, know what you have, what looks good, and wear it.

And by the way, you will find at this point you are one of two people…
One who plans to repeat this process every season.  You can now happily write your shopping list to include any key pieces that are missing.
Or the other who cannot wait for the process to end and only to swears they will never buy anything again so you don’t have to go through this process one more time!

This is normal, but now your wardrobe is organised, you can plan the next month of outfits, easy peasy!

Good Luck!


Just Buy It!

I have a really strange way of shopping, even I can’t really figure it out.  I hate sale shopping, but most things I buy are on the sale.  I don’t really ever find things in charity shops, but lots of my clothes are second hand.  But what I’m writing about today – Many things I buy in shops I think I’ll never wear and then they become my staple pieces!

So how does that work?! I’ll give you an example.  My Topshop skirt.  Tried it on (from the sale rail I might add – £55 to £15), took the customary Instagram shot, left it back on the rail, left the shop.  Moved to next shop, saw a top that would work perfectly with Topshop skirt, back to buy the skirt.  Top did not work perfectly, but many other items from my wardrobe did.

Initial mirror selfie…

Why did I leave it back in the first place?  Primarily because of the fabric.  It’s made from the polyester that looks and feels like neopreen, which I love, but which is not the most flattering of fabrics.  As mentioned before, my biggest area is my hips, so drawing any attention here is not a good thing.  But I also felt the length would work best with heels, so I wouldn’t get much wear out of the skirt.  Silly thoughts that were quickly removed upon seeing the beautiful top!

Skirt purchased, home to try on, and then attempts to never take off again as it just worked!

Thanks to Ruth from Willow Lane for this photo…

Nor Lisa Topshop

Keeping with the blue tones and worn with grey top with feature pocket by local designer Nor Lisa

My friend who I love to go to Galgorm Spa for the day with for this one…

Masato Jones Topshop

Worn with a printed tee from Masato Jones

And my six year old who I am training up to be my photographer for this one!

ASOS Topshop

Scenic tarmac shot;) Worn with cropped Tee and neon

Converse Topshop

And the trusty Converse added when the rain came again!

Moral of this story – you really can make any item the style that works for you.  As you browse the new A/W collections, if you love something, buy it, take it home, try it on (broken record here!) and get mixing up your style a bit – you might surprise yourself!

And keep an eye on Instagram for a shot with the heels!


Spring/Summer Trend Review

After giving a talk on how to wear this season’s trends, along with some style tips, I have been asked by a few people to share my synopsis on the blog. You can read about my season updates before the season began here and here. Now, here is your review as we step into the season…

First up, what are the trends, and how is it best to style them for the incoming season?

The great thing about Spring/Summer 2014 is that you will see many of the past seasons revisited, however, the final details and the style of how to wear each trend is slightly different.  Take note of the detailed prints and embellishments, the pastel colours and metallics, the pleats and loose silhouettes.

This week has been a perfect introduction to the new season – the boots have been packed away, the woolly jumpers have been moved to the back of the wardrobe – but what to wear now?

The colour –
Pastels are the way to go to stay on trend this season. Unfortunately for me, pastel colours are not always a good look!  I would love to wear them more, so instead of eliminating them from my wardrobe entirely, I mix pastels up through my accessories, maybe even in a print.  If you are wearing pastels, add some chunky black jewellery to keep with the edgy Spring/Summer look.  Monochrome is back again – I’ll be wearing the white shirt with black jewellery to update my look for 2014.

Florals are always perfect for this time of year, but keeping on trend for this season, the floral prints are large and embellished and more likely to be set on a black background.  Other prints include safari, graphic, slogan and art illustrations, but if you really want to stand out from the crowd, wear a few of the prints together – clashing and customising is all part of this trend!  If I’m buying prints, I would pay a little more to ensure I am the only one wearing the look!

The style –
Wide silhouettes are a key look for the season.  Easily worn in tops or trousers and perfect for when the sun shines.  Just be careful with the layering of this look, it’s often hard to get it just right.

Sports Luxe has been around for a while – add the bomber jacket or sports vest, the slouchy trousers or the gym style shorts when the sun appears!

Skirt length for the season is midi – I find this length hard to wear so rather than succumbing to the trend, I would stick to the skirt length I am comfortable with and add the trends to my top or through my accessories.  Maxi length always goes through the summer months too.  Not a look for everyone is the cropped top – but remember to wear in a way that suits your age and your figure!

The fabrics –
Sheer, denim and lace are all hot again this season, but of course try something different, maybe miss-matched hems, or with peek-a-boo detailing.

Unusually, and for me this is definitely a bonus, the catwalks were also full of black, leather and fur – maybe not the best option when the sun is out however!

The footwear –
On your feet, flats are key – not always easily worn, Birkenstocks are the shoe of the season, but if you are not prepared to go to this extreme just think casual with embellishment, heavy rather than dainty.  Otherwise, the pointed toe is back for heels and flats.

The accessory –
Of course perfect for the summer, hats and sunglasses.  But as for the rest, think oversized, statement and colour – just consider how your accessory keeps your outfit looking up to date; either use your accessory as the focal trend piece or add to your outfit with a subtle addition.

And of course the trends don’t just come out in your clothes and accessories – nail art is the perfect way to get the Spring/Summer look without spending too much money!

And now to the tips –
So my tips on updating your wardrobe for the season – first, raid your current wardrobe.  What do you have already that either fits with the trends, or you love to wear?  Where are the empty spaces in your wardrobe?  Make a list of what you need, and prioritise based on how much you have to spend.  And shop!  But don’t just buy because something is ‘on trend’, make sure each piece either compliments what you already have or fills a necessary gap.

And here’s the trend I wore on the night…

20140418-003057.jpg #ootd

Jacquard Tulip Dress Miss Selfridge £45 Shoes New Look £6 Butterfly Pendant Pluck & Devour

What is your favourite trend of the season?


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