31.7.15

Nautical


(Top: Petit Bateau; Trousers: Zara; Shoes: Topshop; Bag: Baia; Watch: Michael Kors; Jewellery: Thomas Sabo)

A quick nautical look ahead of a nautical-themed outfit day at work...and an experiment in a new type of lipstick I found that didn't quite work! I do love me a deep dark lipstick but those things are a tricky line to tread...

30.7.15

Kimono


(Kimono: River Island; Top: Dorothy Perkins; Skirt: Topshop; Belt: ASOS; Sandals: Mango; Bag and watch: Michael Kors; Jewellery: Thomas Sabo)

The moment when you add that final ridiculous impulse purchase to your ASOS bag and hit 'buy'...I went through a biiiiiig kimono phase last summer and while they remain in my wardrobe for now I think a kimono week is in order...

29.7.15

Sweet Summer Dress


(Jacket: ASOS; Dress: New Look; Shoes: Topshop; Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs; Jewellery: Thomas Sabo; Watch: Michael Kors)

Sometimes for all your fierce prints and great fabrics and strong silhouettes you just want to find a simple cute summer dress. I was basically after the dress that, yes you guessed it, Keira Knightley's character wears in one scene in Begin Again, which is red with a white floral print, knee-length and short-sleeved with a tie belt. This ASOS number is pretty much the closest I'm going to get and it's FINALLY back in stock, so we'll see....but at the time, this cute little number from New Look is too short (I bought a size bigger just for the modesty) and too thin (I wore a slip under it to stop it clinging to me) and requires a safety pin to stop you flashing whatever you've got on top, but at under £15 I'm not getting precious. Hope we haven't seen the last of the good weather - this one will be coming out again!

27.7.15

Theatrics


 (Dress and shoes: ASOS; Shirt: H&M; Watch: Michael Kors; Jewellery: Thomas Sabo; Jacket: Leather shop on Oxford Street; Bag: Alexander Wang)

Because sometimes you just want to wear big-ass sleeves like some sort of musketeer. Combined with the smaller top panel of this brilliant dress (seriously, buy it - it goes with everything) it adds a nice play on proportions. Add in some pops of colour (in my case turquoise and hot pink) and you're away.

25.7.15

A Little Boost



(Top and skirt: Topshop; Belt: ASOS; Shoes: M&S; Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs; Watch: Michael Kors: Jewellery: Thomas Sabo)

The eagle-eyed amongst you (jokes - I'm pretty sure it's only me who ever reads this blog) will notice this is strikingly similar to this look here only with a longer skirt, a (finally acquired) belt and a less terrified expression. Bloody hell, what had I seen there? Below is back to my usual sleepy face that's pretty accurate for 8 o'clock in the morning mid-week. 


This outfit - in the vein of Peggy Olson in my mind (as was the one linked to above) - is the outfit equivalent of a pep talk for me. Simple, easy and on-trend yet formal and together enough to make me feel like I could own a room when I walked into it to have a difficult conversation. And, in fact, the outfit wasn't needed. Or was it? Do the clothes maketh the man? I don't know, but I like them too much to be ok with not finding out. 

24.7.15

Nevermind


(Jacket: Dorothy Perkins; Top: ASOS; Dungarees: Topshop; Shoes: Office; Bag: Pinko; Watch: Michael Kors; Jewellery: Thomas Sabo)

In case you can't tell from the expression, this is what happens when you start a day having got out on the wrong side of the bed. As the day goes on, when you realise a cropped top thrown on in a hurry really does not work with the gaping sides of a pair of dungarees, which suffer from the same problem as this Dotty P jacket's matching shorts in that you need to size up to fit the leg which means if you glance down you can see what pants you're wearing down the gaping sides at the waist. The poppers designed to tighten? Tighten they do not. But, in the words of Leonard Cohen, never mind. They are just about comfy enough for me to not care. 


23.7.15

A Good Match


(Dress and sandals: Topshop; Bag: ASOS; Belt: from Boohoo jacket)

It's always very satisfying when items from different stores all just about match in terms of fabric and colour. These Topshop wedges (an excellent buy, though like pretty much every pair of Topshop shoes I own require some sort of strategic plaster application to prevent rubbing), ASOS backpack (the little bag of dreams) and Boohoo jacket belt all fall into that category, and were perfect to bring a little of the suede trend into this otherwise-quite-next-season dress. 


22.7.15

Club Tropicana


(Jacket, top and shorts: Dorothy Perkins; Shoes: Zara; Bag: ASOS; Watch: Michael Kors: Jewellery: Thomas Sabo)

Yep there's only one word for this look - wham. There's a Dorothy Perkins quite near work and as a result there are a fair few of us who rely on it to scratch the impulse purchase itch. But as yet, I'm still way out in front when it comes to taking advantage of their most outrageous prints. This beautiful suit set (the only flaw of which is that the shorts are again cut for curveless women, meaning the waistband needs to gape if I don't want the legs to strain) has been calling my name for a while and I eventually took the plunge during another surge in temperature. 

20.7.15

Two in One


(Jacket: Primark; Top: Zara; Trousers: ASOS; Belt: from Boohoo jacket; Bag: Sophie Hulme; Shoes: Rogues; Watch: Michael Kors; Jewellery: Thomas Sabo; Waistcoat below: ASOS)

You might have noticed by now my fondness for good colour combinations. Yellow and grey, red and pink, and now this lilac blazer with these deep russet trousers. I love a jacket I can roll the sleeves up on that doesn't have fussy or complicated lapels, so these budget beauties (also in pink here and yellow here) do the trick. 


Alternatively, this long jacket could come out again to give some added swish to some swishy trousers. Bam - two looks in one!

18.7.15

Green Garden


(Jacket and belt: Boohoo; Top and shoes: Topshop; Trousers: ASOS; Bag: Sophie Hulme; Jewellery: Thomas Sabo)

There's a decidedly pastoral feel going on here - lots of natural colours. Browns, greens, a field of flowers. Like wearing loads of deep reds and oranges in autumn, covering yourself in lush greens and floral prints in the summer brings the season home a bit. 


No, I'm not sure what I'm looking at either! It's the best pose to show the decent volume that I can get when I empty a load of dry shampoo into my hair. Trust me gang, don't waste money on those 'volumising' shampoos, just spend a couple of quid on a can of Herbal Essences dry shampoo. Totally worth it. 

17.7.15

Pass The Heinz


(Top and shoes: Topshop; Jacket and trousers: Zara; Bag: Sophie Hulme; Watch: Michael Kors; Jewellery: Thomas Sabo)

There's a girl in my office who rotates a colour palette of black or white (with very occasional khaki or navy thrown in) and as a result always looks effortlessly chic. On the day I wore this, we attended a meeting together. She wore all black. What we must have looked like to the prospects I have no idea. Well, I probably looked like the type of person who always demands mustard and ketchup for their burgers. In reality, I hate mustard. 



These trousers are bloody brilliant, despite me having to turn up the hems after just one wear. They have side straps on the waistband so you can pull them as tight as you wish, but loosen them to get them off easily. More high-waisted trousers need this feature. 

16.7.15

Easy Cover


(Top, culottes and sandals: Topshop; Waistcoat: ASOS; Bag: Sophie Hulme; Belt: From Boohoo jacket; Watch: Michael Kors; Jewellery: Thomas Sabo)

Of the variety of style saviours to have in one's arsenal, I strongly suggest that you add a long waistcoat to the list. It covers (quite literally) all manner of sins and solves the problem of not wanting a jacket in summer but not wanting to be too exposed. You just feel more put together in one. Plus with long sleeves it'll last well into next season. 

15.7.15

Lazy Leopard



(Shirt: Zara; Dungarees and shoes: Topshop; Bag: Sophie Hulme)

Whoever insisted that leopard print is a neutral is definitely right, and whoever insisted that you should never throw away something classic yet basic like a leopard-print shirt is also right. Just as I relegated this to my housemate's wardrobe it promptly came back into fashion...so I stealthily snuck in, big-cat-like, and borrowed it back. 


And yes, these are the dungarees I spotted on a passing lady and tracked down, only in a different wash. So comfortable and so easy to wear...I may even get the black pair before autumn comes. 

14.7.15

Begin Again


(Top and shoes: Topshop; Trousers: ASOS; Bag: Sophie Hulme; Watch: Michael Kors; Necklace: Thomas Sabo)

I managed to squeeze in two events (and two outfits) on the same Saturday (the other was the yellow dress) and was late leaving one event so had to get changed in a hurry for another! I wanted something easy and simple but pretty so on went these delicate florals again, combined with this surprisingly comfy old lady shoes. I ended up changing it up a little by tucking in the top and rolling down the trousers when I saw these photos - the proportions aren't right! But I did a pretty good job of channelling Kiera Knightley in Begin Again, my comfort/Sunday afternoon film du jour and the outfit's inspiration. 

13.7.15

The Perfect Dress


(Dress: Whistles; Shoes: Zara; Watch: Michael Kors; Bag: Sophie Hulme)

Everyone has got that one perfect dress that suits their colouring, fits them like a glove and...just makes you feel like a better version of yourself. This is mine. From Whistles about four years ago, bought for me by my grandma as she and my mum insisted it was the perfect dress for me. I've never been able to find another dress that suits me quite so perfectly, and I can't see myself ever getting rid of it. 

11.7.15

Dark Florals


 (Top, skirt, sunglasses and shoes: Topshop; Belt: from Boohoo jacket; Bag: Baia; Watch: Michael Kors; Jewellery: Thomas Sabo)

Another perfect outfit for lazy summer days - you might recognise this top as matching a dress I wore a few weeks ago. I love the dark floral print of it; hoping they bring it out as a shirt for autumn. If not I'll put a white loose blouse underneath the dress and go full Wuthering Heights. 

10.7.15

Pyjamas


(Top: Topshop; Jacket and culottes: ASOS; Sandals: Zara; Bag: Prada; Jewellery: Thomas Sabo)

A much smarter thing to wear in the heat is an outfit that's basically pyjamas...These trousers do look better with heels but, again, it was too warm to go all out on the effort. 

9.7.15

Melting


(Jumpsuit: Whistles; Belt: from Ted Baker dress; Shoes: Zara; Necklace and bag: ASOS; Watch: Michael Kors)

The horror of having a formal client meeting on the hottest day of the year...possibly ever. But when it's this hot, an all-in-one is probably a blessing, in that you don't have to be fussing over pulling down hemlines or tucking in waistbands. 


Though I did have to scrub my neck clean of the green transfer colour left by this necklace...eesh. 

8.7.15

Fields of Gold


(Top and sunglasses: Topshop; Skirt: H&M; Sandals: Mango; Bag: Sophie Hulme)

This is definitely the kind of outfit that Sting was singing about lying in the fields of gold with. Incidentally, it is also a very risky top to wear on a video conference call that crops in quite close on your face and neck and shoulders....oh well, keeps the account interesting! I was too cool and relaxed and bohemian and comfy to care. 


Also, while writing this I was scrolling back through some old photos from when I was about 22, and I posted a comment underneath a photo of myself that I uploaded with the comment 'don't slouch, fatso'. I sometimes have lazy upper body posture, which leads to hunched shoulders, big neck and shoulder muscles so I look like the Hulk, arms squished to my sides so you get those weird bunches of flesh around your armpits. The whole works. But these photos? I'll keep these in case I'm ever tempted to make another comment like that. Sloping perfect postured shoulders, slim sculpted arms. Gym work and a good camera angle and confidence all pays off sometimes. 

7.7.15

The Year We Got Violent


Three crucial pop culture events have happened over the past few months that have garnered global media attention, generated furious social media frenzy and spawned a thousand think pieces. They all feature women and they all made massive marks on the industry they're in and the conversation they're dominating. And they all featured women committing acts of violence.

Ripping a man's internal organs out through his breathing apparatus. Delivering a knockout blow in the face to their BFF. Committing an act so gruesome on a man that they didn't even show it on camera. Pushing a woman out of a window. Arming an army of women in a mission to bring down their foe, with rocket launchers, samurai swords, guns and knuckledusters. Hurting men, hurting women, hurting friends, hurting foes. 

It's fair to say that of the three examples depicted above, Rihanna's tribute to excessive mob violence tropes has caused far more upset than Taylor's sexualised superheroes or Charlize Theron's army of accidental Valkyries (on a related note, if you haven't seen Mad Max: Fury Road, do yourself a favour - I am yet to be more entertained by a film at the cinema possibly ever and I've seen it twice). Sure, suspending a woman from the ceiling of a derelict warehouse while you blackmail her (famous) husband into paying you up isn't exactly PG-13 viewing. But what's got us so angry about it exactly compared to, say what Charlize does to her ultimate foe in Mad Max, or when another woman pushes Taylor out of a window and she then conveniently gets resurrected as a scantily-clad ass-kicking weapon of vengeance? Is it because she's relegating the unfortunate female hostage to the position that so many of our kind have been in in mob movies, cop show after cop show and even in the superhero comic-book world Taylor's video is supposedly emulating (a cross between a higher budget version of Britney's Womaniser, Sin City the 12A version and The Lonely Island's Cool Guys Don't Look At Explosions, adding up to a stylised tribute to two areas that have long been torn down as examples of neanderthal gender roles and excessive violence as standard - comic books and superheroes)? A fair criticism. One that we would definitely level against a male director and a male singer who dared to make the same video. 

Is it because Rihanna has made this video and is a woman that we can elevate her beyond criticism for it for successfully inserting herself into the trope of gangster? For all the violence, partial nudity and excess, I am strongly inclined to believe that part of the ire that has come from this video is that Rihanna is behaving in it in a traditionally masculine way, at least as far as the style of film she is supposedly emulating is concerned. If the hostage was male, we'd clap our hands at the 2015 revival of Thelma and Louise. As Taylor's video shows, women can do bad things too. Just because we're all possessing of the same gender identity doesn't automatically chalk us up for good behaviour. And it also doesn't chalk us down to only partake in a certain type of aggression, either. 

When Mad Max blasted onto the screens we encountered a series of screen sirens who entered the film's world purely as physical possessions, the walking personification of all that is desirable and all that is feminine, like a Michael Bay fantasy come to life (and yes, the fact that a former leading lady of his stars here is not lost on me). Then, instead of using their sexuality to entrap their prey, they simply pick up the same weapons as the men do. Maybe that's what Rihanna is doing - using the violence commonly associated with all that is masculine and turning that weapon to her advantage as well. (As a victim of violence herself, I would imagine that revenge fantasies are writ large.)

Of course, these are all just films. Music videos. Seemingly inconsequential pieces of pop culture that will be torn apart by pearl-clutching Guardianistas and Mail readers and drooled over by Reddit readers and red-blooded human beings. But perhaps we can also count it as refreshing that, while entertaining us with depictions of unspeakable things, the three examples are at least (in varying degrees) doing their bit to bust out the big guns on behalf of the gender that doesn't often get to partake in some good old-fashioned ultra-violence. 

Perfect


(Top, skirt, shoes and sunglasses: Topshop; Belt: from Boohoo jacket; Bag: Sophie Hulme; Watch: H Samuel; Necklace and ring: Thomas Sabo)

I LOVED this outfit. It was a bloody hot day (though not as insufferable as that horrid Wednesday where apparently it reached 37 degrees in central London so there was a LOT of suncream mixed in with my moisturiser this morning (equal parts of each, helps eradicate that nasty suncream stickiness and the smell and helps it spread and sink in better). So the best thing for it was a long but not too-long easy-to-wear skirt (along with the belt from my fringed jacket, because I foolishly got rid of my brown belts a while ago and am now desperately looking for another one) and the universally flattering shade of mustard. 


Also these SHOES. I went into Topshop and wandered around for a good hour just trying things on, noting specific in mind, and rejected everything until I saw these shoes. Not too tall, not too flat, they also come in grey/brown but these will be perfect with all the dark browns and oxbloods I'm eyeing up for autumn. The July issue of ELLE UK has got me properly drooling for the new season...

6.7.15

Matching Greens


(Jacket and skirt: Topshop; Shirt: Zara; Shoes: ASOS; Bag: Prada; Watch: Michael Kors)

For someone like me who feels decidedly out of kilter when not coordinated, it's very pleasing when a bag and a jacket sort of match. This jacket is from the winter; I'm so tired of stores selling items months before you need them, you have to be some kind of prospector to know what is going to be suitable and stylish for the season that the clothes you're being sold are actually wearable. Thankfully this jacket lasted. If I ever get familiar enough with my huge library (ok, whatever the collective term for clothes is, a problem?) by the end of the summer I'll definitely wear this with some rolled-up jeans and a white vest for long lazy summer afternoons in parks. 

3.7.15

The 90s weren't all bad...


(Jacket: Primark: Top, trousers and sandals: ASOS; Sunglasses: Topshop; Bag: Prada; Jewellery: Thomas Sabo)

So pretty much everyone who knows me knows well of my insistence that nothing good came out of that cultural wasteland that is the 90s. In much the same way as you're required to pick between Team Spice Girls and Team All Saints (dividing the nation wayyyyy before Edward and Jacob came along) I think you're required to pick a decade to love (the 80s) and loathe (the 90s). 

But for some reason, when I was required to wear white to work (for our unofficial Wimbledon premature kick-off celebration, too many mixed sports metaphors notwithstanding) I somehow managed to bust out this look, kind of a 90s R'nB star with a little signature 80s hair volume thrown in. 


I took some nice sensible customary early morning pout photos before I left for work, but when the end of the day came out gloriously sunny I just had to get a few more...


And yes I wore a crop top to work. It was a bold move. 

2.7.15

Annie Hall


(Shirt: Zara; Trousers and sandals: ASOS; Belt: Topman; Jacket: Boohoo; Watch: Michael Kors; Bag: Prada)

What shoes does one wear with flared trousers in the summer? I've never been able to work it out. The models all wear sky-high heels or casual flats but I feel very out-of-proportion with little feet poking out beneath wide flares, like my legs aren't actually the same width all the way down and my effort to go relaxed and curve-free has been scuppered. Maybe I need some Converse again...


1.7.15

Flower Garden


(Dress: Topshop; Shoes: ASOS; Jacket: old, random shop on Oxford Street; Belt: old; Bag: Prada; Watch: Michael Kors)

When I went on my mad dash to grab my pair of dungarees I did my usual scan of Topshop (the rapid side-to-side glancing of the seasoned shopper trained to spot a great item at twenty paces) and stopped short in front of this dress. Delicate but dark and moody florals that are more likely to be found in a botany book than painted on a cute teaset? I'm sold. And I realised when I got home that the person I'd first seen the dress on was sold for exactly the same reason....


The forecast for this week is set to be absolutely awful - as in, to be enjoyed in a bikini and Factor 50 on a beach, not appropriate for a 9-to-5 and a commute - so I'll be loosening the laces on the side of this dress and ditching the jacket and hoping I float through the warmth as opposed to float away on a sea of my own perspiration...