[Craving] Blue and White Peplum Top

Some of you may remember some H&M jeans I bought a few weeks ago?  At the time I was talking about how much they remind me of the Stella McCartney AW12 collection and mentioned a similar peplum tee from the same H&M range.  But, I couldn't find it online to show you!

However, one of my favourite US blog teams Britt and Whit blogged about it last week, here is Whit wearing the top - with a picture of Stella's similar top so you can compare.  I thought this might help you see what I was talking about - and just how gorgeous it is!  It's still not available online (boooo) so try your nearest store - and have a look at my post on the coordinating trousers here!

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[Sisters with Style] Becca and Rae

This week on Sisters with Style, are two girls behind the Benetton and Sisley brands.  Becca and Rae work in the PR team at their Oxford Street HQ, and Lopez and I took a little trip to see them at their showroom. 

Do you both have a defined style, or do you change season by season?
Becca: I have specific styles that I am always drawn to, but I do tend to like different things and try adapt each season, however at the moment I'm trying to build an essentials wardrobe inspired by Anna, so that I can use this as a base and adapt it to my personal style.
Rae: I wouldn’t say I have a defined style so much as I like to experiment with my look, but overall I guess you could say thatI’m quite into the vintage look – I have loads of pieces that were my mum’s and my gran’s!

How has your style changed over time? 
B: I used to by what was on trend and usually on a budget, now I'm more interested in dressing for my shape, having a classic chic style which is personal to me, whilst having a nod to the trends. 
R: I think after moving to London my confidence to try different looks has grown.  In Scotland everything is the same, there is much more variety down here.
B: Moving to London influenced me too, also leaving university and needing to shop practically for clothes that I can wear to work and on weekends.

What influences both of your styles?
B: I read a lot of magazines, it’s my job!  I'm influenced by street style, I love images of Olsen's, Nicole Richie, Christine Centenera and Elin Kling. Recently I've discovered Australian Elle Ferguson and Swedish blogger Angelica Blick... I would love to look like them!
R: Before I worked at Benetton I interned with Wonderland Magazine.  Seeing all the beautiful clothes up close really made me appreciate the craftsmanship behind designer clothes and see some sense behind the prices.  Their fashion cupboard was something you’d usually only see in your dreams...

What are your wardrobe staples
B: Basic jersey pieces like oversized tees, jersey basics, black skinny jeans and a leather jacket... I'm looking to expand this using the South Molton St Style list as my reference!
R: My list would be similar, but probably include a few more accessories.  I love a bit of sparkle, and fur jackets.  They’re naughty, but I’ve got four!  When you’ve done winters in Scotland you’ll wear anything to stay warm.

What items of clothing make you think of each other? Is there a particular outfit that stands out?
B: Vintage clothing reminds me of Rae, anything with a 50's vibe! 
R: Anything well put together, Bea always looks pristine.

When you shop together, where are the first places you visit? Would you pick the same things out? 
R: I love checking out vintage stores and then add on pieces from the usual high street haunts.
B: My first point of call would be Zara and H&M, I'm trying to branch out my store choices to places like Whistles, The Outnet etc. But I'm really loving some of the Benetton & Sisley pieces for the AW12 classic pieces and they are such good quality! 

If you were to be dressed by one designer for the rest of your life, who would you choose?
Who would you guess the other would decide on? 
B: I was dreading this question, can I have one per fashion capital?!  London would be Burberry Prorsum, definitely.  Argh this is so hard – I also need to get Alexander Wang, Celine and Givenchy in there.
R: I studied textiles at university, so my list is a little different as I love prints and knitwear.  Rodarte’s work is amazing, and I love all the emerging British designers like Holly Fulton and Peter Pilotto.

Do you have any particular ‘fashion memories’ with you own (or your sister’s) style?
B: My most prominent fashion memory is staying with my grandma all the time, every morning I would head straight for her room and dress up in her clothes, shoes, hats, fur and jewellery... I would wear it all day, changing every few hours! I also remember begging my mum for years to get a pair of denim pedal pushers from Tammy, so I could look like B*Witched, I've always had a strong mind about what I wore and have dressed myself from a toddler, I have made lots of fashion faux pas along the way!
R: I had a goth phase.  It wasn’t pretty, but it didn’t last for long – a week maybe.  I remember some blue lipstick too…

If you could get away with it, what items would you pinch from each other’s wardrobes? 
B: Rae has a gorgeous Emerald Green silk skirt which I love! 
R: I’ve got my eye on her Louis Vuitton Speedy bag.  In fact I think I deserve some credit for not pinching it already…

Thank you so much to both girls for taking part, Lopez loved his little visit to see you both!  You can read the rest of our Sisters with Style interviews here, and also check out Becca's blog here - full of similar loveliness! 

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[Craving] A Pair of Motties

Something happened on Sunday: autumn.  It hit me like a smack in the face.  However, once I had calmed down over the fact that tanning was done for 2012 (and I'd dried myself off from working at a pet show in torrential rain) I realised something: it's time for cosy clothes!  Autumn/Fall is my favourite time of year; cosy nights in, fireworks, comfort food, leaf-crunching walks and more to the point: layers and layers of soft, comfortable clothes.  And one of the most crucial wardrobe items?  Slippers.

May I introduce the maker of the best cosy slippers in town: Motties.  Alexa (owner) was working at a furniture company and realised that all the offcuts of upholstery leather were being thrown straight in the bin.  Confident that there must be an alternative, she started taking them home and making them into slippers!  I can remember the first little pair she'd made for a family friend's baby - and before I knew it she had a whole company!  I bought a pair for my mum for Christmas last year, she's worn them every day and they still look brand new...

Starting from £15, made from cut offs and recyclable materials - Alexa also donates £1 to Emmaus (a charity for the homeless) for every pair sold.  Could this company be any nicer?  Cannot recommend Alexa and Motties enough, having to stay inside due to bad weather will suddenly become a pleasure...

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[Trend] Shadow Dresses

I'm sure you have spotted this look already, but being massively late on all things fashion it's suddenly dawned on me that everyone is wearing what are called 'shadow fit dresses.'  Krystal from This Time Tomorrow sported an amazing one last week (lets not mention the Givenchy Boots Of Dreams she paired them with, I get a bit upset), Ella from Cocos Tea Party was snapped at London Fashion Week in one, and Lauren from My Wardrobe has been busting them out on her Instagram feed for ages.  I want one.

ALL of my favourite places are doing them and I'm mildly obsessed, but the main culprits are Zara and Phillip Lim (one of my favourite high street stores and my favourite designer so I am taking this trend as gospel).  However, it doesn't suppress my need for a little bit of Phillip...

I know they're expensive, but they're just so pretty.  There is something about 3.1 Phillip Lim, not sure what it is but he makes the kind of clothes that make my knees shake.  His entire collection (have a peek here) is outstanding and I'm also loving the pop art stuff for AW12... Anyway... Back to the shadow dresses.  They are amazingly flattering; if you are slim they give you curves, but if you are curvy enough then the dresses somehow reign in any potential for look a tad chubby in a fitted dress (my common problem).

I've tried to calm my bank manager down by tracking down some high street options.  The Zara dress Krystal is wearing is unfortunately last season, but I've found one along the same lines (above) for a bargain £39.99.  Similar enough to the Lim piece and roughly £560 cheaper...  But, the real star of the show is also thanks to Ella who revealed that her dress was in fact from Mango - complete dead ringer, and also £39.99!  

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[Outfit] Back to Black

A few weeks ago a I blogged about my black and lace crush, and I've been coveting the look ever since.  I desperately want a gorgeous dress from Whistles - but as my clothing budget is minimal after a London Fashion Week outfit splurge, I started on the quest to find the look cheaply (and quickly).  With the sudden surge of Autumnal weather thrown at us, I've been drawn to darker colours - this look is the perfect transitional outfit!

Zara lace back tee, similar here / black maxi skirt Primark, similar here / Isabel Marant pumps, Vestiaire Collective £135

I already had this maxi skirt from last winter, I wanted to test out the look for a bit before investing in a decent - but this Primark £4 bargain keeps on going!  Maxi skirts don't work on everyone, and being only 5 foot 3 I wasn't sure it would be me - but I now live in it (and my grey and red ones), you really must buy one!  Get some style inspiration from my essentials post.

Zara lace back tee, similar here / black maxi skirt Primark, similar here / Isabel Marant pumps, Vestiaire Collective £135

I picked up the lace tee in Zara recently in the sale for £7.99 - I love the laced back and feel super feminine in it.  But the real hero of this outfit post is a company called Vestiaire Collective.  Small yet perfectly formed, this France based vintage/pre owned website is how I came across these gorgeous tiger print Isabel Marant pumps.

Zara lace back tee, similar here / black maxi skirt Primark, similar here / Isabel Marant pumps, Vestiaire Collective £135

I'm not one for vintage, I worry too much about the quality and am not entirely at ease about not knowing who owned it before I did.  But thats the nice thing about Vestiaire, once you browse and make the purchase from a seller (and I was massively impressed by the selection) the product goes to Paris for an authenticity check before you receive it - so you don't have to worry about a thing.  These shoes are absolutely gorgeous and fit me like a glove.

Zara lace back tee, similar here / black maxi skirt Primark, similar here / Isabel Marant pumps, Vestiaire Collective £135

I wore this outfit for a weekend brunch date and swapped the skirt for some blue jeans in the evening for drinks with friends.  Incredibly comfortable and the top is really slimming, possibly because it doesn't have much stretch in it so you can't gorge on food when you're in it!  Regardless, it's a winner!


[Fashion Week SS13] Look 3 - Tuxedo Time

Amongst all the seasonal looks at New York Fashion Week it was great to see some classic pieces continue to makes appearances.  Firstly white shirts were rampant, but secondly one of my favourite wardrobe essentials showed it's face in the majority of collections; the black tuxedo jacket.

3.1 Phillip Lim SS13 / Narciso Rodriguez SS13

Altuzarra SS13 / DKNY SS13

Whether it was with leather and a cropped top or bold golden prints, the tuxedo jacket is the perfect statement piece for the upcoming season.  And arguably, it has never not been an essential piece.  Devised by Yves Saint Laurent in his iconic Pop Art collection in 1966, the tuxedo jacket is one of those things that every girl should have.  They were big for this year, but more in the monochrome style (which were surprisingly lacking given how much white and black outfits dominated the catwalk for SS13).

Nicole Miller SS13 / Pierre Balmain SS13

Prabal Guring SS13 / Theyskens Theory SS13

They were in several different styles (double breasted, silk, jacquard), but the concept is clear = you're going to need a tuxedo jacket for SS13.  Clearly they designers predict another summer of bad weather, perfect (!!).  Read my other fashion weeks trend spots here.

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[Trend] The White Collar Club

Simone Rocha AW12 / Antonio Berardi AW12

Back in February I spotted a trend for AW12 from the runways; white collars.  London in particular went crazy for the idea; everyone from Paul Smith to Aquascutum worked it into their outfits.  Over in New York, Victoria Beckham had them all over her collections too... Now that we are creeping into autumn/winter, more and more schoolgirl-style dresses with the collars are popping up, and I love them.

white collar street style snaps via pinterest

The collars are a simple yet effective way to 'man up' an outfit - it keeps up the androgynous look; I'm not a girly girl by any stretch of the imagination and love that I can wear a fairly floaty dress but tone it done with a sharp, crisp collar.  I love the single tone dresses with the look - and for me no one can do these better than Mrs Victoria Beckham, I'm addicted to this dress below.

Atlantic Pacific in her Milly Sweater / Victoria Beckham's Swan Collar Dress (right)

Blair from Atlantic Pacific is one of my biggest style muses - I love her classic yet quirky style.  Love how she's mixed up the white collar look with some bold leopard prints and twill fabrics. In my opinion, this look really needs to be done with good fabrics so shouldn't be scrimped on with rubbish fabrics.  I found this Carven shirt for £92 at The OutNet which I absolutely love (below) and also recently bought this shirt from ASOS and it is an absolutely bargain for £30 - it looks fab underneath my shift dresses and cashmere sweaters and totally nails the look...

also love these by J W Anderson for Topshop (left) and Jaeger Boutique (right)... What do you think?

Finally, these two little stormers are fantastic - in fact I just wish-listed the M Missoni piece, I had received a cheeky tax rebate and think I might treat myself very soon.  The Carven dress is perfect for anyone looking for a brighter colour.  I'm a bit late on the Carven band wagon but have fallen in love with the collection since  Lopez and I did the runway shoot for Pets Pyjamas.  One of the girls was wearing an amazing dress from there, I couldn't take my eyes off it all day!

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[Essential] The Denim Shorts

It has been a while since I've posted a new essentials series piece, I was waiting for the cooler weather to come so I could get cracking with my favourite autumn pieces.  But in typical British style all predictions have gone out of the window and we seem to have an Indian summer on our hands. 

Shorts featured are 7 For All Mankind at The OutNet, £184 now £65

Not that I am complaining as it allows me to post about one of my best (and most crucial) essentials; a pair of denim shorts.  I've been wearing mine to death this summer with all of my other favourites; tees, blazers, ballet pumps, heels, sheer shirts...  The list goes on.  So, above is my 'mix and match' collection to help you see how to wear them and below are some rather inspiring shots I've been saving in my pinterest album.

As in my first outfit suggestion mixing denim shorts with breton shirts is an obvious choice.  But there is nothing wrong with that, for me the look never gets old.  Just accessorize well to make the look fresh; I love my anchor rings and shell necklaces from British jeweller Daisy Knights.  I also love mixing it up with sharper tailoring and shapes; boxy boucle jackets (the one in the collection from Dorothy Perkins for £49) and the sharp shirt I found is a new name find for me; 0039 Italy from Atteley Road.

I'm coming around to the denim-on-denim look, denim shorts are a nice way to start as they aren't a full body look with a chambray shirt.  My chambray is from topshop (read my essentials posts) but I recently stumbled upon this Levi's shirt for £120 which I have fallen head over heels for - love the collar. Again, break it up with some accessories like the tribal pieces I found.

I've tried to make the outfit examples a little more exciting, but don't forget that denim shorts look amazing with basic tees, vests, utility jackets, leather tanks and neutral coloured sheer shirts, as in the photos I've included.  You can buy shorts anywhere, it's more to do with your shape than anything else.  Best bets for me (curvy size 10 with a bottom so large you can see it from space) are 7 For All Mankind, Gap (buy jeans in the sale and cut to the length you want), Levis and Paige.

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