[Trend] Quilted Sweaters

There is nothing I love more than the sportsluxe trend - it's basically an excuse to get to wear your boyfriend's house-bound clothes in public. Comfortable, practical and suits all sizes - it was the first look I bought into this year.  As varying textures play such a key part in trends for this summer, its unsurprising that the 'new way' to wear all things sporty involves one key piece: the quilted sweater.

As soon as I went into Reiss in Selfridges and spied this quilted sweater I knew my debit card was done for.  Since then I have spotted several more from my favourite brands so I thought I'd do a little edit above (to save my card from further peril, and hopefully exhaust the pangs to buy more... unlikely).

I love how easy this look is - pair it with your usual jeans and ankle boots and you've got the whole sportsluxe-biker look going on perfectly - without looking too much like you are trying hard...


[New name] Alice Ashby's Blake LDN

When I started the blog, one of the main themes for my posts were to hunt down new names for good quality fashion staples (hence my Essentials section).  It's been a little side tracked recently, what with work being so busy and weekends being taken up with spending too much time in the pub with friends. 

This evening, after a long day of carrying furniture and tidying up I settled down with a copy of Sunday Times Style (my weekly favourite) and an enormous cup of tea - long story short, I stumbled upon a feature on new name Blake LDN by Alice Ashby (being sported by none other than one of my favourite street style laydeez, Lucy Williams).

Their luxe basics are quite simply, gorgeous - I'm now on a mission to own one of her navy Flyte or Imperial vests (although the green one makes a close second favourite) which will become a summer staple. Knitwear is one of those things that often ends up looking mumsy and is very hard to get chic enough. 

Blake LDN does this perfectly, and according to a little bit of Twitter action from customers they hold their shape very well. Also, with this weather short sleeved knitwear is perfect - warm enough for the cool breezes but cool enough when we can venture out for Pimms.... (the Mirabeau cardigan in their lookbook is amaaaaazing too - here).

Keep an eye out for these guys - with their reasonable price points and eye for quality, I'd imagine they'll be the new must-have brand pretty soon...


[Trend] Making a Pencil Skirt work...

When your body shape resembles absolutely nothing like a pencil wearing a pencil skirt can seem more than daunting. I'm 5 foot 4, and a curvy size 10 - i.e: not somebody who should really be trying to fit themselves into rectangular clothing. But when I spotted this Kenzo skirt at work last week I decided I had to give it a shot.

I realised it's all about balance - as in heel height. Having done a lot of people watching for the last few days, I've noticed that as long as you wear a decent heel (I recently bought these chunky Slammer sandals from Whistles that I think would look good with one, no?) with a skirt, it really doesn't matter that you are straight-up-and-down. In fact, the girls I saw who's outfits I really liked were all sizes 12/14 and made it work with a decent stiletto or ankle boot. 

Fabric is key, particular if you actually intend moving in one. One of the girls in the office was talking about a time she had to get a taxi to work because when trying to walk to the tube she realised she could only move her feet like one of those Chinese dancers... so it would have taken her a day just to get into the station. Ones with a 'peacock push' (new term, apparently designers use it...) at the back like in the first image solve that problem, otherwise you want one with some stretch (avoid lycra, obviously - it shows ALL SINS).

Jenna Lyons / Sarah Ruston - find a few Celine print bits here

Being fairly timid as usual, I'm going to be wearing mine with white shirts and tees (Jenna Lyons' Celine skirt outfit is amaaaaazing - above) and use the skirt as the statement piece - I guess a pattern is also more eye-detracting/flattering than a plain one too. I'm obsessed with all the floral prints at the moment, in case you haven't noticed... They work brilliantly with all the capsule fashion bits I continuously harp on about (here). Here are my favourite pieces from the high street:

Firstly, I know I broke the 'pencil skirt' rules with the Coast one - but its so pretty... I tried to stick to budget where I could, but given how tight they are I made an effort to check fabrics were right so we could a) walk, and b) not be showing too many bumps... The Hermoine de Paula skirt is a new name for me - saw a girl wearing a top of hers last week and couldn't not ask where it was from!

Unsuprisingly My-Wardrobe are stocking the majority of her collection, here.  Also love the Kenzo-type print of the Topshop one, and nice to see Sophie Hulme branching out so well with her womenswear collection. Hope I've given people a little bit of confidence to wear a pencil skirt - I'll do an outfit post once I wear mine!


[Outfit] Floral Fancy from McArthur Glen

Firstly, apologies for the cr*ppy quality of the photos.  Since starting at Vestiaire, I've barely had time for anything other than work - all exciting stuff though preparing for our first UK birthday and drooling over the stock as it comes in.  I'm shattered (another reason for no outfit photos, I've aged about 20 years in 2 months), but loving it. Lopez is honorary receptionist although probably the only one in London who greets you by climbing up your legs...

Reiss shirt, £28 from McArthur Glen Ashford / AG Jeans at Liberty / Stuart Weitzman for Russell and Bromley boots

These pics were taken at lunchtime by Frauke, our long suffering Curation and Buying Manager - she has to put up with endless 'I've sent you a link, do you think I should buy this' emails... and occasional blog photo sessions, like this. I was wearing my new Reiss shirt (see below), my trusty AG jeans and my Russell and Bromley/Stuart Weitzman boots - which I have been wearing to death since buying a couple of months ago...

Reiss shirt, £28 from McArthur Glen Ashford / AG Jeans at Liberty / Stuart Weitzman for Russell and Bromley boots

Last weekend I went to my first blogger event in a while, Dearne and I drove to McArthur Glen's Ashford centre and spent a day shopping and lunching as part of their Fashion Fling promotion.  I'd never been that way before and was super impressed - I bought this shirt from Reiss for £28, some Rayban aviators from the sunglasses shop outlet for £85 and some Marni-like shorts from Gap (picture on my Instagram here) for £15.  Couldn't believe all the prices there, De got an amazing watch which I was eyeing up all the way in the car on the way home too...

Overall, a very good day - made much better by the huge Wagamamas we had for lunch, I practically inhaled my chicken tama rice I ate it so quickly! Thank you to Isa at PropellerNet (as always) for arranging, I was a very happy shopper!


[Craving] Marks and Spencers do Burberry Metallics

For me one brand that gets over looked time and time again is Marks and Spencers. Yes, it probably is the only place you, your mother and your grandmother could find suitable underwear but that doesn't make it uncool. It makes it suitable for all.  Their Limited Collection was my secret little haunt for office-appropriate clothing when I needed to be smarter for work, and it just gets better and better every season. Their lazer cut silver leather skirt from last year was the show-stopper in my wardrobe last season as it was a dead ringer to the Giles Deacon one (here), and this year they've produced Burberry Prorsum-like shirt which is getting a lot of press at the moment. See below...

I'm sorry to harp on, but  I feel like someone needs to fly a flag for good old M&S. That shirt is so similar, why would you ever buy the Burb one? And as you save over £350, you can buy 200 packets of Percy Pigs and the most comfortable pair of heels ever from their Insolia range which in my humble opinion every girl should own (here they are in nude, and here they are in black). They also created a similar leather skirt to the Giles Deacon copy last season, with an added Burberry-ness to it here for £149 - which is a steal for leather of that quality. Well done, Marks and Spencer - you have come up trumps yet again. Amen.


[Craving] A Bit of Blue

It's no secret to anyone here that I love cobalt blue, so when I spotted Laura Robson in a gorgeous Diane Von Furstenberg dress last week (here) I couldn't help but start putting the feelers out for getting my hands on my own one... After the week I've just had spending wise (maaaayyyyy have just bought a Burberry leather trench, or maybe not, depending on whether anyone who tells me off for spending money is reading) I need a high street alternative, and quick.

Laura is a little bit of a fashionista herself... in fact when we met she was in the middle of her Opening Ceremony shoot wearing none other than a cobalt blue dress (Stella McCartney from memory, and it looked amazing). Lopez and I were passing by in the street and the photographer asked if he could have a few shots with her, and so my little pooch ended up in the OC book with her. It was a proud dog-mother moment (pic below)...

Laura and Lopez's Opening Ceremony Annual photo

So, the hunt began - and I ran through the usual haunts to find one.  I thought Tibi or Topshop would come up trumps, but as seems to be happening rather too much at the moment it was Zara that produced the winning piece. Admittedly it's not quite as special as the DVF. but for £250 less it will certainly do...



[Outfit] Belstaff Roadmaster Jacket

A few weeks ago I ran a little competition on the blog to win a Belstaff Roadmaster, and given the weather recently it's been perfect for such a thing... Here is me prancing around in mine for all two seconds of sunshine the other weekend.  You'd be forgiven for not knowing about this brand as until recently they focussed on their loyal motorbiking fans... But when the ex creative director for Burberry decided to take over their collections, it all got a little more interesting for non bikers like me/us...

The Roadmaster is Belstaff's trademark piece... Have a little fun on Google search looking for good looking distinctly average looking people like Bradley Cooper, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ewan Mcgregor and most importantly Roz from Spooks (because there is a bit of every girl who wants to be an MI5 agent and run around chasing bad guys in a nice coat, no?).  Belstaff kindly gave me one to test out for the weekend, and given how lightweight it is, I couldn't believe how cosy and warm it was. I kind of wanted to do a Top Gear style trial in it - set fire to it, cover it in paint, roll around in mud... just to see what happens. It would still look the same I am sure.

Belstaff are about as British as they get, which obviously appeals to me too - hailing from deepest, darkest Shropshire and with a very prominent Union Jack on the chest.  Yes, they're expensive and extremely outdoors-y but they are the kind of thing that once you spot one, you see them everywhere. Usually on people who look good, and groomed, and ready for any circumstance be it shopping or wrestling off a Russian spy... In fact I've noticed fellow Belstaff wearers do that thing classic cars owners do, and nod at each other with approval when you see another person wearing one. It's a bit odd, but also makes you feel a little bit like you're in a secret gang... 

I cannot recommend it enough, I paired it up with my Wrangler jeans and new Charles Philip flats (I have two pairs already, I'm addicted). I felt prepared for any eventuality, which in this instance happened to be dog walking, moving house and aimlessly wondering around Ikea... If you have a spare odd £500, get one now here (and have a look at the rest of their SS13 collection here at Net A Porter).


[Craving] Getting Checked Out

Apologies for the lack of posting on the blog, the last few weeks have been ridiculous and getting a stinking cold (the minute the weather turns nice, fab) hasn't helped. I'm currently feeling anything but like a fashion blogger in my pyjamas, curled up as I have been all day on the sofa - completely OD-ing on Lemsip and chesty cough syrup. Pretty as (an extremely unpretty) a picture. Any way, what feeling under the weather did give me time to do this evening was to catch up on the blog and finally get a post done...

I've got a few weddings in May, and therefore need a few outfits. Zara will be my main port of call, as will SuperTrash who are my new favourite find (got a couple of boucle style jacket from there recently). Annoyingly as the weather is so unreliable here in the UK, dressing for weddings is no longer about just getting a pretty little dress, you need a jacket/dress coat to go with it.  For the first wedding, I'm going to wear a white brocade shift from Tegan I got last year, and hunted around to find  jacket that fitted the Louis Vuitton/60s look after spying the one above on Pinterest a few weeks ago...

I finally found this one at Zara over the weekend, which is an absolute dead ringer. I can't wait to wear it - and later pair it up with my blue jeans and white tees... Feeling rather smug about this purchase. The only worry is, as the wedding I'm going to is full of fash-pack types, will anyone else have it!? Weddings are usually a nightmare for me to dress for as I'm the least girly person in the world and hate naff florals and frills and pinks... This outfit avoids all of those, and yet still looks appropriate. Chuffed.
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