Thursday

[Craving] Kate Bosworth's Topshop Edit

Kate earlier this year in a VERY similar silver dress of dreams / mixing up textures pictures via Pinterest

This weekend I took a trip to Topshop with a friend on the hunt for coats and ankle boots - my ever faithful.  Despite the entire population of Portugal who also seemed to have descended on their Oxford Street store and an overactive heating system, we battled through the crowds and found ourselves in the middle of Kate Bosworth's second edit for Topshop, entitled The Collection.


I've got to be honest with you, I'm massively dubious of celeb-high-street-team-ups like this. What involvement do they really have? How good are the clothes, really? Isn't it just an excuse to ramp up the prices on normal high street stuff *cough Kate Moss cough*.  So when I peeled myself off random tourists to have a nose, I was pretty reluctant for my view to change (stubbornness is one of my uglier traits). However, I quickly realised I needed to eat my hat after waxing lyrical about how awful I thought it would be...


Although there isn't anything radical or totally trend changing about this edit, Bosworth's selection is strong.  As per her genuine style (like in this post) she's gone down the capsule wardrobe route with simple work friendly pieces and a few statement tops, texture and leather looks. Beside the massive lack of denim, which she lives in it is very good. Price points aren't all that scary either (aside from a £600 coat, say wut), I've included my favourites in my own edits including £30 tops and £40 jumpers (above).  The selection is small, but that almost makes it a little more believable - I'm now coveting after the metallic tee, leather look A line skirt and Phillip Lim esque clutch. What do you think?
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Sunday

[Tips] Taking care of Cashmere

This week, what with the clocks going back this morning and the weather turning has been one of sorting myself out ready for the new season.  As you know, I avidly ebay'd and Vestiaire'd over the summer but I've gone back into it, you can find things I'm parting with like some much loved dresses here, an Acne jacket here or an unworn Sandro silk shirt here. Drop me a note if you want them... I'm slightly obsessed with wardrobe recycling now it's become almost an addiction, particularly in the run up to my holiday - need extra funds!


On top of that I've been getting on top of my 'clothing care' regime. First off, I've taken my summer jackets to the dry cleaners to be cleaned and now have them ready in their plastic wraps for next year (and have parted with a couple, my local charity shop has done well out of me recently). I also took a couple of pieces (I bought a Victoria Beckham dress in a sample sale last week, that was a little big around the waist) to be tailored and any nicks or holes to be repaired. 


Next up was sorting out my jumpers. After making a pact with myself to only buy decent ones I'm now the proud owner of some lovely cashmere pieces. So when Whistles' emailed with their new wool care plan it couldn't have been better timed. With their new cashmere section, they've decided to give their customers some top tips on how to wash and take care of those more expensive wool pieces in their journal feature.


Here are their suggested steps to laundering your cashmere:

  • Step 1: Cashmere falls into the ominous hand wash only category.  For best results, first clean out the sink to ensure there are no other cleaning products in there that may damage your cashmere. Alternatively, use a clean washbasin. Once clean, fill your sink or basin with cool water.
  • Step 2: Add the recommended amount of fine-garment detergent and briskly run your hand through the water to distribute the detergent and generate suds. Investing in a specialised fine garment detergent will maintain the sumptuous, sink-into quality of your cashmere pieces. We recommend the Laundress cashmere shampoo, although, baby shampoo works equally well.
  • Step 3: Turn your garment inside out and submerge the sweater and gently squeeze the suds through it. Spot treat any problem areas with a squirt of neat detergent and massage gently with fingertips. Rinse and repeat where necessary and allow the garment to soak for 10 minutes.
  • Step 4: Drain the sink and rinse your sweater with cool water until the water rinses clear. Gently press water out of the sweater and place it lengthwise on a clean, dry bath towel. Then roll up the towel and press with your palms to squeeze out excess water - do not wring or twist. Contrary to popular belief, pilling on cashmere is not a sign of poor quality or a design fault. The pilling is a natural characteristic of the long fibres and can be easily removed using a cashmere comb, electric depiller or a sweater stone. Avoid depilling precious cashmere pieces too often as this may result in holes.
  • Step 5: Remove the sweater from the towel and smooth it out into its original shape. Lay the sweater flat on a dry towel and allow it air-dry, or use a drying rack if you have one. Button up cardigans and pull pockets straight and ensure that sleeves and hems are laid flat to avoid unsightly wrinkles.
  • Step 6: Once dry, fold your cashmere with tissue paper to absorb any excess moisture. Do not hang cashmere as it will de-shape your garment. To keep dreaded moths at bay, we recommend hanging mothballs in your wardrobe. Hanging rosemary in your wardrobe is an effective organic alternative. 

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Tuesday

[Trend] Fishermans Knit Jumpers

Alexa Chung / Hanneli Mustaparta

With all things heritage being so popular at the moment it's no surprise that old school knits are having a bit of a come back. Call them whatever you like (cable knits, fishermans knits, school knits - I've got another Pinterest board dedicated to the cause), I'm talking about the super thick, heavy, knotted jumpers.  I'm not sure about you but when the weather is as cold and grey as it is at the moment I only want to wear big comfy clothes...


You can make them a little more work acceptable or 'fashion' just by pairing them with tailored trousers (these peg leg ones are on my wishlist) or a midi skirt with courts (as Alexa Chung & co have done in the photo).  They also look fab with all things leather, I'm a little bit obsessed with fellow blogger Victoria's take on the trend with her leather mini (shop similar here). I really love the whole look, it's casual-luxe at it's very best.

Here is how I would style mine, using the Whistles cable knit as an example. It's the perfect workwear item if you can get away with it. For any more styling tips have a look how Zara have merchandised theirs...


Or you can go the totally other way and embrace all things winter and partner the knit with equally cuddly clothes. I love the photo below of the girl mixing hers with a beanie and utility jacket.  Overall, I'm really loving this whole look and need to get my hands on one ASAP. I had an old one as a child that I bought in Scotland on holiday, I may try and dig it out. Failing that, it's the Whistles one for me. Zara have some amazing ones too for all shapes - polo necked, long, short and fully cropped. Here is my favourite


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Friday

[Essentials Series] Starting with the Camel Coat


Some of you longer term readers (AKA my mother, best friends and my dog) will remember when I started South Molton St Style the quest was to put together the perfect essential wardrobe. It was my whole reason for starting the blog, and it has actually worked.  However, I've found posts like these take longer to put together and I am so short of time at the moment. In a nutshell it has been 6 months since I did a post about it... Sorry.


Since I started the blog I culled my wardrobe down to a third of the size it was.  I had tonnes of pieces I bought on a whim, and sold them all on eBay and Vestiaire (which randomly ended up in me working for them, thank you to Holly at Goodley for the introduction) and used the money to buy quality items. The first one I invested in was a wool camel coat. There is a reason that despite the varying trends, mothership brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney and Celine do these every season = they are an absolute essential.

My Selection of the best available this season:


I've picked out a few of my favourites, can't believe the discount on the Pringle one at The Outnet. Absolutely bargain... Sorry not to give you cheap options but I really feel this isn't something to scrimp on... I've also put together an entire camel coat Pinterest board to affirm this thought, have a look here. All of my favourite style icons wear them, and it's the go to pieces for me for autumn...


Coats are important, especially right now as we need them in Britain from September through to June.  It's easy to go a little nuts on the price points, but then so you should. My Whistles one has lasted me 3 years and it's £250 price tag means it's probably cost me about a £1 per wear. I dry clean it every year and it looks brand new. It's love. It looks amazing with all my denim blues, greys, jeans, white tees and shirts, leather pieces. In a nutshell, you'll wear it everyday. So buy one!
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Monday

[Trend] Getting Plaid

Miroslava Duma / Stockholm Street Style

If there is one trend I really did see myself buying into it was the new take on tartan/plaid skirts.  I had to wear a green and navy one at school and absolutely hated it (which hilariously is pretty much identical to this Moschino one). But surprisingly what with the new midi skirt shape being picked up and used for this look I've started to come around to it. I've spotted quite a few looks on Pinterest that I really like the look of, and after pledging to keep the skirts up for autumn/winter I think I might give it a go... I can't quite face the green/blues so I've picked out the best of the reds...


For the bolder of you, I spotted these pictures that are easing me into the mini skirt version of the look, this Topshop skirt is helping too... I love the girl with the simple white tee with her skirt, it looks completely effortless. Albeit a little less practical for our London weather (although I was in Paris last week and nearly died with cold, so we can't complain too much). Saying that, the way the other girl has paired it with her cable knit jumper is just too cute - and her Marant-esque boots are lush. I just got a similar pair from LK Bennett here and I'm a tad obsessed with them.

white tee fave here / similar black boots, LK Bennett here and jumper here
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Thursday

[Beauty] My beauty regime, 1 month in

Last month I mentioned that I was giving beauty a go following a bit of a wake up call due to a few grey hairs and some wrinkles appearing. I've always been incredibly laid back about my skin and hair, opting to buy whatever shampoos were on offer, and using basic face wipes and washes for my face. Even make up wise, I essentially use concealer and mascara, and never before understood the obsession with beauty regimes. Well, times are a changing...

my very own tailored Birchbox as part of their #BBXBESPOKE campaign

However, the blog has opened up a whole new channel of interest for me thanks to Sassoon Salons and Birchbox. I've been getting my hair done with Sassoon for almost a year now, and even my nonchalant, lazy self has to admit that the change has been pretty remarkable. My former yellow blonde hair is now a distinctly more appealing hazel/caramel, it's stronger and bouncier and easier to manage.  Matt at the Kings Road salon is the only person who can get me out of bed at 8.30 on a Saturday morning - the guy is a magician...

my hair care products (and our toothbrushes, sorry) : leave in conditioner, illuminating shampoo and conditioner, diamond serum protection, shine spray, motion hold hair spray

I use their illuminating shampoo and conditioner every other day, and have a deep clean every two weeks with their stronger conditioner.  I also use their diamond serum, which gets rid of all of those stray hairs and helps protect your hair from heat (amazing for anyone with baby hair at the front like me) and their hair spray really shows up anything you can buy in Boots or a day to day chemist.  Albeit a lot more expensive, these products are things I will never, ever scrimp on again.


Here are some products I've stumbled on over the last month. Starting with Weleda Skin Food, which is exactly that. For anyone who has those rough bits on the elbows, knees, ankles we don't like to talk about, this is for you - it's genius. I also use it on my cuticles and anywhere that needs a bit of life put into it. It's less than a tenner, buy it. The Garnier roller ball is something I've used for 5 years; it's my concealer and is the only thing I find that keeps my dark circles away. Again, it's cheap so give it a go. 

The Nip + Fab face wipes appeal to my former lazy self as they are so easy to use, my morbid fascination into the colour of the pad post face-wiping. Gross but some how satisfying. I now use a face moisturiser which I was nervous about as I have quite greasy skin at times, but this Natio one is light and I saw a change in my skin in about 4 days: tighter, brighter and all round better. 

Last month's Birchbox (the cereal bar was ridiculously yummy)

Now on to the body stuff... I really have never used much in my life bar fake tan and exfoliator to remove the orange blips, so this was a venture into the unknown. When my Dead Sea Spa Magik scrub arrived, I honestly thought I'd use it once and forget about it. BUT NO. The concept is a bit odd, you get into the shower and scrub yourself with it before you turn the water on. But when you get out, you feel amazing. I do it twice a week, and follow it up with lathering on Vita Bella cream - an anti cellulite lotion which really does firm you up. I've had slight dimples on the tops of my thighs for years and they've noticably reduced, if not disappeared in places (I've been using it for 4 weeks). NB It does feel like jelly, which is odd for the first time...

So all in all, Birchbox really has made me 'discover my next everything' - and if you fancy giving it a go, tweet to @birchboxuk and #BBxBespoke and you can win a 6 month subscription!
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Wednesday

[Craving] 30 is the number with Whistles

Next month is my birthday and starts the last year of my twenties, I'd be lying if I said I was happy about it. I've been looking at the positives of it all (while planning my birthday list...) and found quite a few. My twenties were a rush of ups and downs but things these days are much calmer. Twenty (or even twenty five) year old me wouldn't have started a blog, dressed the way I dress now, enjoyed the things I enjoy now or worked as hard as I do now (or nursed the hangovers she has to now)... But on top of all of that, she definitely wouldn't have the eye to shop the way I do now. When the Whistles mid season sale email arrived in my inbox, the first thing I did was hit the price range '30 or under' following the theme of my thoughts this week.... 



And sure enough the best of the bunch is there... There is the denim bomber I'd been lusting after ever since it first arrived in stores at £110 - it's now £30 (and the matching trousers, which are gorgeous are £50). The chartreuse/yellow Libbi sweater I'd been hankering after is also £30... And the faux leather brown sleeveless top is £45 (ok so not 30, but too good to miss).

Whistles shoes are my favourite, I have 3 pairs now and wear them constantly. They're my go-to heel as they're actually easy to walk in and don't hurt my sensitive feet. These Grappelini heels are now £30, I really do suggest you get them. Furthermore the Lula tailored jacket is now £30, and if you guys watched the LFW runways at all you'll know the mix of tailoring and soft pinks were rife - so this is a bargain. The Woodgrain long sleeve silk top that got covered so much in the press is also £30

So in conclusion, some of the best things really are 30. If thats not a sign, I don't know what is... :)
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Monday

[Outfit] Last of the Summer Skirts

Last weekend I made the most of an odd day of autumn sunshine and brought out a Topshop skirt that I bought ages ago and hadn't really worn.  It was the skirt of the summer in my opinion, firstly coming in white and then follow up colours in blue, pink and a printed pastel as worn recently by my friend Briony here.

 Topshop midi skirt, sold out  / Topshop Breton navy stripe tee, £15 (similar red one here too) / Shoes LK Bennett
last season but similar here

I went with the blue after much deliberation, and thank god I did as it sold out everywhere in days after I bought it.  The tee is Topshop too (here and similar with red here) and is one of my favourites. I bought it a size smaller so it would sit a little better with my high waisted things, and I ended up wearing it constantly over the summer whilst on holiday with shorts or just bikini bottoms (I was on the beach, not just roaming around in my pants...).

I wore this to pop along and taste some cocktails at the recently refurbished Met Bar inside the Metropolitan Hotel on Park Lane.  They ran a special promotion during London Fashion Week and made the most amazing cocktails themed around designers like Burberry, Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood. If you are in town and fancy popping in somewhere for a quick treat, I wholeheartedly recommend this place. Hugo and his team behind the bar were amazing.

 Topshop midi skirt, sold out  / Topshop Breton navy stripe tee, £15 (similar red one here too) / Shoes LK Bennett
last season but similar here

I'm still pretty determined to keep the midi skirt thing going in winter; pair them with ankle boots (like these) and simple wool knits (like these) and tights, unfortunately. I'm going to South Africa for the best part of 3 weeks in December too so am looking forward to some summer sun. It's nice to know that my shorts and tees will getting an airing before the next UK summer, whenever that might be!

PS - on the subject of Topshop skirts, this one is amazing. I've bought it for my Christmas party :)

  
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Wednesday

[Trend] All Furred Up for LFW


If the last one is anything to go by, we Brits need to be prepared for a cold, frosty and long winter. So, fashion has given us a helping hand and brought all things warm back into trend.  Fur is one of them.  Like it or loathe it, there is a no doubting how toasty it is.  This jumper (above) is probably one of the most beautiful things I've seen this season (bar a very cultural weekend in Granada with some of my best friends for one of their 30th's last weekend). It's October and I'm already sniffling away, so I've been on the hunt for some faux/cheaper versions of the fur sweat look.


Synthetic fur can be hot and smelly - so I've recommended ones I've actually tried on. I ended up going with the cheapest (miracle) from And Other Stories with the Alpaca/fur arms. Amazing for £45. The Topshop reverse Dalmatian print sweater is awesome, and has a matching skirt (which would look super with a white shirt and killer heels) for £90. The rest are all damn good, particularly the Whistles sweater, £295. Not pictured is a great one for under £20 from New Look, for some reason it didn't want to clip to my image board - cream, casual and pretty damn good. Doesn't feel too synthetic either. 


Two of my favourite designers, Burberry and Phillip Lim both had their take on the look. Lim as usual went for a more military/utility look whilst Burberry went a little more luxe-traditional with an adapted fishermen's knit sweater (also in the first picture). If you've got a spare (several) hundred quid then you can find them here and here.


Lastly on the subject of fur, I really cannot leave out this gorgeous Antipodium dress with fur collar. It's from the Australian's new collection at my wardrobe and I've been lusting after it for AGES. Check it out here.
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