Thursday

[Craving] Malene Birger Basics at The OutNet

Quick, quick, quick - just spotted that some fab basics are available on The OutNet - right up my street.  Please don't tell me I need to tell you why these are brilliant purchases; it's up to 60% off Malene Birger.  If you're still stuck for inspiration, read my Essentials Series posts a presto and then make a cheeky purchase.  It's the beginning of the month after all!



These really are true basics - I am trying really hard to resist the little black dress as it is PERFECT for work-to-play outfits.  Gah.... I'm sure I'll own it by lunchtime.

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[Craving] Zara florals takes on Peter Som

I love a good floral dress, you only have to see my posts on my new ASOS Salon dress or the Warehouse tropic print to have noticed!  But, one thing I love more is a floral dress I can afford that perfectly mimics themes of a much more expensive designer one.  Hello Zara my old friend:

Peter Som RTW Spring 2012 / Zara Floral Dress (view a more tropical version here                          )

Ok so the colours aren't as vibrant, but when you see this dress in the flesh you'll love it.  Peter Som is one of my favourite influences from the runway - the collections are always the right mix of classic and original.  The neck of the Zara dress definitely has the sportsluxe 'scuba' theme, which is ridiculously big for this summer.  In short, I love it - and it's a bargain at £49.  Buy it here.

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Wednesday

[Essential] The Leather Trouser

Having had the lovely comments from you lovely people after my posting on The Essential: White Tee Shirt, I thought I'd update this Leather Trouser post the same way.  I love these polyvore posts as it really helps to show you what I'm talking about with my blogging quest for a capsule wardrobe.  Here you go..!


If there was ever a reason to get down to the gym, it's to be able to wear leather trousers.  Forget Ross from Friends' horrid experience, these bad boys are an essential piece for any aspiring fashionista.  Or just a girl who wants to be comfy and cool in the same outfit.  I'm sure a few of you will go 'no frigging way' to this post, but check out how often these trousers come in outfit posts and style features in our favourite magazines and blogs!?




I am a massive fan, and am currently on the hunt for the perfect pair.  I have realised this will be a mammoth investment - as I not only need to pay my gym membership, but also need to spend a fair amount on a decent brand.  An investment, having collated these pictures, that I am more than happy to make.


My favourite style muses Olivia and Rosie live in them, and during fashion week they were the perfect Day 3 / 'I am exhausted and still need to look great' staple.  They partner up so well with other essential pieces: the denim shirt, the chiffon shirt, the white tee... List really does go on.



They can be used for easy breezy daywear, as some of the photos here show - but quickly add a pair of heels and some kind of tailoring (be that a well fitted coat, jacket or peplum-ish top) and ta-da (!!) you suddenly have bounced into serious trend-evening-wear territory.  I think they are perfect office-to-bar pieces - just do some butt crunches for a few weeks first!




To contrast the tightness of the trousers, you can wear a really big oversize shirt like Olivia Palermo and Miranda Kerr have done above.  Monochrome outfits are big with leather trousers.  For some chiffon shirt inspiration check out my post here, and also Net A Porter's Equipment blouse selection here who in my opinion make the best ones around... 


Where to buy your leather trousers from:

I'm learning from this too, as I plan to buy a pair in 6 weeks following on from the 'diet of doom.'  So I've asked around and had the following recommendations (below).  One piece of good advice I've got, and am trying out myself is if you are unsure, pop down to Primark or another low price high street store and buy yourself a cheap pair of leather 'jeggings' to try out.  Wear them at home with the rest of your wardrobe and see if you like the look, feel and texture of them on you.  If you do, go ahead and invest:

Muubaa - a friend has these and much to her annoyance they are now 60% off at £195.  Good high waist - useful for outfit options, and lovely fit.  Generous on the thighs too. Have a look here.
J Brand - this (usually denim) company can't do any wrong in my eyes.  They fits curves, in fact they embrace them.  Their leather leggings are gorgeous, have tried them on and are most probably the pair I will be buying.  Have a look here - £230.
Poison - Still unsure? Try out leather-look denim first.  This fab pair from Poison are gorgeous and have featured on the legs of many a star.  Including the curvaceous ladeez.  Have a look here on the Donna Ida site for details - £220.

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Tuesday

[Craving] Photo Skirt by Une Sardine A Rio


Ever since I saw this photo (above) I've been after a perfectly printed silk paint skirt.  Christopher Kane's galaxy print collection still causes drool from my mouth when I spot someone in it; his dress and skirt in the design are one of few 'last season' pieces that are socially acceptable at parties around town these days...


So, on a slight tangent from British fashion (sorry) - I spotted these gorgeous photo skirts from a French company called Une Sardine A Rio yesterday and really wanted to share them.  The photos are taken from their own travels, and printed with water based ink so come out looking beautiful.  Their collections are prodominantly made for children, but this skirt comes in adult size for £120/135E.

I love the one of the Selaron stairs in Rio de Janeiro, and the street scene in Provence.   You can't really beat it for an original piece, and it would look fab with capsule closet pieces like the chambray shirt and the white shirt, as below. (have a peek at the full range here).  If any of you have daughters, please buy them the child's version!!!


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Monday

[Craving] Reiss' Naveen Maxi Skirt

Reiss has been quite low on the radar for me for a while, so I was delighted when I spied this gorgeous maxi skirt in the week.  I have been a massive fan of the brand for a while, but since Kate Middleton wore that dress last year, all the magazine stuck to PR-ing their work-style dresses and great pieces like THIS amazing dip dye skirt, got a little lost in the wind.


I went into their flagship store in London and found MILLIONS of things I wanted - this skirt included.  A good maxi skirt is an absolute essential, if you need help with outfit ideas read my post here.  Dip dye is really popular at the moment, bloggers like Geneva at A Pair And A Spare have been giving us all loads of ways to DIY but my kitchen is still ruined following on from my neon glove experience... Buy this for £139 here.  It's firmly on my wishlist, especially with the weather looking gorgeous in London town...


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Thursday

[Essential] The White Tee Shirt

So, I've discovered Polyvore so I thought I'd use it with my Essential Series to show how useful a key piece can be.  Next up, is the White Tee Shirt - and for something like this I think the outfit ideas will be really useful so you can see how I justify spending money on something so simple.


It's so easy to go ' I'm not spending THAT on a tee shirt' - but perhaps try and refresh your way of looking at things:  Tee Shirts are something we wear every day - and for that reason I believe they need to fit well, wash well and wear well.  Sadly, you're not going to get that from the 'fast fashion' worlds that we can go to for quick-fix trend pieces.  Jil Sander's SS11 collection proved that point when white tees formed the base of 9/10 of their collection - see pic below, and A Pair & A Spare's own version of the look. Badly fitted tees look horrendous, and well fitting once look priceless.  It really is that simple.  Bottom line is: pay peanuts and you'll get monkeys.


Find a brand that works for you and stick with it.  Even if it costs you £100s rather than £10s - you'll have one piece that will look awesome rather than five looks that look cheap.  Have a look at the outfit combinations I've given you above (and that's only through using other pieces in my essentials series, not even including the ways you can integrate them with your trend pieces season by season) and also the photos I've found through my pinterest account.









Finally, make sure you have the right underwear underneath a tee shirt (or anything for that matter).  I'm not a believer in colour-matching, as a colour-clashing can look awesome (when it's intentional) but make sure your bra compliments your outfit rather than takes it over...  The one person who I feel nails this look is Miranda Kerr, look how she mixes up outfits to take tees from work to play, smart to casual:


Where to buy your Tee Shirt from:

Vince - I used their tees for the polyvore post above, these guys nail efffortless fashion.  I love them - they come with a considerable price tag, but are worth every penny. Keep an eye on The OutNet for special deals - sign up here.
T by Alexander Wang - exactly the same idea as Vince, and similarly priced.  They have a great range of lengths, necklines and shapes for all sizes.  Check it out here.
LNA - This California Cool brand are ace at all things essentials.  Their white tees are fab, and fast becoming a must have for any LA resident.  Given that our weather isn't far behind theirs at the moment, it won't be long till the trend gets here.  Be one of the first, and buy this perfect white tee for £40.
Helmut Lang - do fab jersey basics, for any self respected 'DownTown Girl.'  They work well in London too :) - here is their latest version for £70.
Kain - It would be somewhat naive of me not to mention this company; their tees are my personal favourite. The only company that manage to make my arm look appealing.  Check out my favourite here for £75.
J Crew - If you're after a tee like the Jil Sander high neck one, this one is a bargain for £30.

and last but not least, my only high street choice - Whistles - their tees are fab, like this one for £45.

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