Tuesday

[Trend] Up In The Air

As regular followers will know, I'm a little obsessed with my Pinterest account.  I've been "working on it" heavily this year, as I find it such a useful tool to housing ideas for future blog posts, outfit ideas and trend spotting (not to mention the typical holiday and dream home musings). And for us bloggers out there, it's a pretty nifty traffic tool. Last week Kimberley pinned this image to from my pins to her pinboard and thanks to her 1.3 million followers my traffic went nuts for 4 days. Which lead me into thinking, Nike Air Maxs may just be something I need to pick up on since they're so damn popular.


Every season there is a trainer/sneaker of choice. We've been through the Liberty collaborations, Adidas neons, New Balances... Right now it's all about the Nike Air Maxs for me (I know about the Stan Smiths... I don't get it, it's a 40 year old shoe). You need a pair, I need a pair. We can wear them with everything. I'm not all that interested in the bright coloured ones, it's me after all. So I decided to use good old Pinterest to get some inspiration on a simple, but interesting pair. These images are my findings....


I loved the way Joyce wore them above. No fuss, just basics and some Maxs. Then I found the Ultimates, see below. Gold and silver? Excessive? Perhaps, but awesome? Yes. After frantically hunting around the web for pairs like these, I've realised that the owner of these pairs made them via the Custom ID tool on the Nike site (although I did find this super cool pair of mint green metallics ready to wear). So if you fancy the golds, silvers, totally one colours... the easiest way is via this app. I think I'll go for the white or the silver... (or join the Net A Porter wait list here) Which are your favourite?


Here are a list of my favourites:

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Friday

[Outfit] Potting The Pink

jumper (old) Rag and Bone, similar here / skirt Whistles / boots Seven Boot Lane / bag Carven via Vestiaire Collective

So, some of you might have seen my little rant post about someone commenting foul comments on my blog. Sorry if it appeared like I was going a crusade, really wasn't meant to - just felt it's a topic that needed to be addressed, for myself and for some of my other bloggers friends who I know have the same problem. Any way, here is a little outfit post taken of me in the office the other day. It's a mix of old faithfuls and some new bits, and a new colour for my wardrobe - pink.

jumper (old) Rag and Bone, similar here / skirt Whistles / boots Seven Boot Lane / bag Carven via Vestiaire Collective

My over the shoulder bag was bought after a mass hunt last week, I finally decided on the Carven style from Vestiaire Collective - thrilled with it considering it was just over £100. The jumper is an old faithful from Rag and Bone (adding to my white knit obsession) which I bought in the sales a couple of years ago. I cannot explain how warm it is which is handy as it's effing freezing which while we're on the subject: has anyone else's skin and hair gone a little mental? I've been using Sassoon Salon's Diamond Polish most days just to put a bit of life into my hair, really recommend.

jumper (old) Rag and Bone, similar here / skirt Whistles / boots Seven Boot Lane / bag Carven via Vestiaire Collective

The skirt is a "new in" from Whistles. Last year I realised midi skirts were my friend and have acquired a few of them. This one is a new favourite, I never thought I would get into pink but for Whistles I'll take an exception. I'm also obsessed with the Pink Lady style bomber, I popped a pic up of Lopez and I pounding the streets when I was wearing it here. The boots were a gift from the lovely guys at Surgery PR, from Seven Boot Lane who hail from the UK in Somerset.  If I was better at #todayimwearing posts you'd have seen quite how much wear I've got out of them... Super comfy from day one and perfect for everyday wear. For me this outfit is perfect for the weather, cosy but putting a skirt on somehow instantly makes you feel office-acceptable-smart. How are you keeping your clothing moral up in this gloom?
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Thursday

An Ode To The Troll

I've considered writing this post for a while, as since November I've had two (actually I suspect one, with two profiles) trolls leaving comments on my blog. I ignored it for a while, but having put some thoughts into it I've decided to do a little post on them, for me and my fellow fashion bloggers...





Dear Troll... Thank you for the effort and time you have used up posting comments on my blog.  



For the record I don't post pictures of myself because I want to broadcast my appearance to the world, anything but. I do it because I quickly learnt when I started South Molton St Style that you need to put a face to it in order for people to feel able to engage with you and relate to your style and opinions on all things fashion. The edge that blogging has over an editorial piece in a magazine or a website is that it's authentic - and part of that is that the reader knows who you are, and (for me) can see that people who read my blog know I really am just a normal person.

Being just a normal person means exactly that. My weight sways within half a stone range week by week and I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me. My figure is pretty much modelled on a bowling pin, but (as you so kindly pointed out) if I take enough photos of myself at skewed angles I can eventually get a good enough shot. I only take pictures on 'skinny days' so to have comments made about pictures I can bear of myself really did bring a tear to my eye. In summary; I try and do the best I can with the 'tools' I'm given and your comments made me feel like throwing the whole kit away completely. But only for a moment...


I was bullied pretty badly at school when I was little and your comments brought it all back to me. Only then, the bullies had the guts to pull my skirt down in the playground to my face. The girl who called me names for two years on end, I know exactly who she is. She had some degree of guts, unlike you. As you pointed out I deleted the comments you put in this post, this post and this post. I don't remove them to hide them from readers, I remove them to hide them from me. I'm putting out there Troll - it hurt me. I hope you feel better about yourself as you successfully achieved making someone else feel terrible from the safety net of your anonymity. Congratulations.



Will it stop me from blogging? No. For me it reinforces exactly why fashion blogs are necessary in this (sometimes cruel) world. I'm delighted to give girls a picture of what an actual person looks like in a new jumper, rather than a photoshopped model in a campaign or one of those very thin girls 'not posing' outside Somerset House in the freezing cold in the name of fashion (not to say there isn't a part of me who is pretty envious of them). 



Granted, you'll probably see some toothpaste around my mouth, I'm probably hungover (I find it calms the nerves) and my knees could definitely do with some saving from dedicated years of cheese eating - but I like to think it adds to my charm. So here's to more outfit posts Troll... Thank you for inspiring me to keep South Molton St Style going. 


PS - if you want to really hurt me next time, I'm pretty paranoid about the Gandalf white hair I'm growing at the rate of knots. You know you want to... I almost want you to too.


PPS - I looked up trolls on Pinterest, I really have no problems compared to you.
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Wednesday

[Trend] Time For Teddy Coats


Ever so often I fall in love with a trend that just makes no sense at all, and try and blog away my love for it as I kind of "getting it out of my system" mechanism. I'm hoping it works this time as I have a total, unadulterated love for the oversize teddy bear coats that anyone outside the "fashion world" would think were just quite straight forwardly ridiculous.  It started on my visit to Paris last week, where I found this coat on a rail in my office. Cue obsession.


It then wasn't helped by Pinterest at the weekend, as I scoured the internet for other options. I found snaps of all my favourite muses in similar styles and it just reiterated how much I need one. But, I'm not lucky enough to have £1,300 to blow on a coat. I found this one from H&M in the sales for £75, but wasn't convinced it was a nice colour, or perhaps a little sporty?


I also found this black one from Topshop which is great, but not the honey brown I'm looking for. I'm seriously struggling for options (although I did find this one for 70% off at Net A Porter) - I'm guessing more and more will pop up on the high street as so many runways had them on. But HURRY THE HELL UP please I'm COLD... Or, maybe don't - I might well be over this look in a week. What do you think? Have you found any good ones?
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Sunday

[Craving] Hobbs SS14 Collection

I have decided this year to get a bit better with my workwear. As lovely as it sounds being able to wear jeans and stuff to work, after a few years it does mean you end up with an overly casual wardrobe and I wanted to find some pieces that spruced my style up a bit (ie: took me out of the bretons and boyfriends once in a while) - and that I'd get a lot of wear out of. So when Hobbs asked me to pick an edit from their new SS14 collection, it was with this theme in mind...

I really love my stuff from Hobbs, mainly because when I wear them I get asked where they are from and people just don't believe me. My New Years Eve dress was one of their's (here) and everyone thought it was Valentino, but NO. There is (incorrect) perception that Hobbs is somehow stuffy and meant for the "less fashion, more comfortable" lady, so I'm very pleased to show otherwise...


My edit was easy... I picked three shirts straight away as I loved the detailing on each of the collars, and as they start at £69 they are far more reasonably priced than others in the market (J Crew, I'm looking at you - sorry). The sleeveless Sasha Jacket is also straight on the "I might die if I don't own it" list. I'd wear it with simple long sleeved high neck tops and jeans and heels.

The cobalt blue corset and the black jumpsuit are brilliant for sprucing up my weekend outfits, and really don't need much else other than my basics to go with them. I'm so glad that cobalt is hanging on for SS14 too with Hobbs, most brands have cut it out and it's my favourite colour. 

And last but really, really not least is their footwear - which was a discovery for me last season when I bought a pair of brogues - here are this season's update on them. I can't wait for spring so these Selma Sandals can get an airing - and for £129 they are about £500 cheaper than the Mulberry, Celine and Comme des Garcons similars. 

*This post is written in collaboration with Hobbs. All picks and opinions are my own
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Friday

[Travel] Pumba Game Reserve, Western Cape


Anyone who follows me on Instagram will know, I was one of those smug annoying people posts pictures of my winter sunshine holiday to South Africa over Christmas. Sorry I'm not sorry... Ben and I took a trip to Cape Town and Plettenberg Bay over 3 weeks, spending time with family, friends and some much needed "just us" time. As a surprise, Ben took me on safari for the night to Pumba Game Reserve, near Port Elizabeth. 

our room in the Msenge Bush Lodge

view (and our own pool) from the room / my Charlotte Taylor swimsuit + Maison Scotch shorts

I had no idea what to expect, safari was one of those "bucket list" things I thought I'd never really get around to doing. When I first walked into our lodge I was a bit overwhelmed with how amazing it was. You can see from the pictures above that it was pretty special. We had our own pool that overlooked the main watering hole, and you well and truly felt "part of nature" with the monkeys making every attempt to get into your room, and stepping over snakes on your way back from the pool.... After a quick dip and venture around the main lodge, we were off on our sunset drive...



Within minutes we spotted a loan giraffe (above) and herds of zebra (probably not the right term, but still). The reserve is enormous, the picture above is of the other lodge centre where we ate dinner overlooking the hippos on their way to bed! Just when we thought our animal spots for the evening were over, we stumbled (almost literally) on a group of elephants and their baby. We didn't realise how many there were - first spot was of one in a bush and then the whole family came out - incredible!


The next morning was an early start (6am drive) and after very little sleep (Ben convinced me a lion was trying to get into our room, very funny for him but less so for me...) I was worried I'd not be 'with it' enough for the excursion, but the views were incredible and you  forget how early it is within minutes. Do wrap up though, I had no idea what to wear (as it was a surprise, I didn't pack much suitable although this ASOS jumpsuit was perfect) it is cold before sunrise even in high summer.



I just can't tell you how great it was, it was an unbelievably special couple of days.  On top of the drives, the food and service was amazing - it is a long drive from Port Elizabeth (100km) but that aside, I couldn't have felt further from London town and it was a trip I will never, ever forget. If you are lucky enough to be heading over to South Africa, I fully recommend Pumba. Rooms start at around £300 per person per night (includes two drives, and all food and drink). Thank you to everyone at Pumba for an amazing stay, we'll be back!

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Wednesday

[Craving] Channelling Erdem SS13 with ASOS


As you know if you read my post last week about buying cross body bags, at the moment I'm downsizing in every way. I'm having a closet clear out (details on how I decided on what jeans and coats stay/go click the links), but am also trying to move myself away from my enormous Mary Poppins style bags to living a little simpler and using smaller bags. I spied this clutch from ASOS' new season last night and just had to have it - it reminded me so much of Erdem SS13 (a fave collection) and is also perfect for jazzing up a plain outfit (picture it with a crisp white shirt and a pair of denims?).


The clutch is from their newest collection and isn't available yet (at the time of writing, anyway), so set yourself up an alert on the site here, as this will no doubt fly off the imaginary online shelves...

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Monday

[Craving] Givenchy and Balenciaga Biker Boots

I have a confession to make: I'm not massively bothered about shoes. I have really small feet for my size and I really don't like drawing attention to them, so I try to wear fairly nondescript pairs (plain, simple heels etc). However, when it comes to boots it's another story - I love them. 


Perhaps its because they are big and bulky (therefore removing the problem of looking like I have hooves for feet) but biker boots are my absolute faves and the above pairs from Givenchy and Balenciaga have been on the "if I had that kind of money to spend" list from the moment they came into stores. So, I've been on the look out for similar pairs on a budget and found these Kurt Geiger Strike Boots for £1000 less than the Givenchys, and these Topshop cut out boots which bar the lack of patent look pretty much the same. I can't decide which ones to get - thinking the chained ones are less trendy and so could wear them for longer. What do you think?
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Friday

[Essentials] Closet Cleansing, Jeans

So hopefully you found my coats edit useful, I used it to help me decided to part with quite a few - I sold a couple, gave a couple to friends and took the rest for their seasonal clean at the dry cleaners.  Next up, jeans.  Not sure about you but I seem to accumulate tonnes of them. I'm lucky enough to be able to wear these to work, and I wear them most days (I'm actually trying to get myself out of them a bit, but am yet to find the perfect pair of capri pants - another story). 


I am 5 foot 3 (and half an inch, thats important) so high waisted is totally out for me (the higher the waist, the shorter your torso looks = the smaller you look) so I have spent the last year or so hunting down the perfect pair of blue, black + grey jeans. I have chosen the slim/skinny fit style as they go with every type of shoe; boots, heels etc. I also discovered boyfriend jeans were possible for my height, and have added them to my "essentials" list too. I have learnt to invest in denim, and it's the best upgrade I've made to my wardrobe. It doesn't have to be so pricey, check out discount sites like The OutNet for bargains...


Black Slim Jeans - These are without a doubt, a must have. For a start if you get a good enough pair then they will hold their shape and be smart enough for more formal things, yet also are a fail safe for casual outfits (and smarter than blues + greys). I spent ages finding a pair and finally spotted AG Jeans "legging fit." They're perfect, they fit just on the hip (little tip I picked up from Donna Ida this year) which is the most flattering place. They don't dig in and they don't stretch after washing. They really are like wearing jersey leggings. Yes, they're £165 but for the amount I've worn them they're an absolute bargain. I also always make sure they stay black as night, I re-colour mine in the washing machine with a Dylon tablet every 6 months, you can pick them up here.

Blue Slim Jeans - An unquestionable essential, I've been wearing this style since I've been choosing my own clothes! At first I lived in Topshop's Baxter jean (a great starting point) but as great as they are I got tired of the zip opening always showing and them wearing thin quickly. So, I decided to invest and finally found Paige denim. I'd heard of them before, but tis pair are now my everyday-go-to. I wear them with... everything. I don't think there is a top or shoe in my wardrobe that hasn't been paired with them. 

from my boyfriend jeans board / from my outfit post here

Grey Slim Jeans - Only last year did I decide that everyone really needs a pair of these. They're smarter than blue, more casual than black - and they're just a little bit different. I was given a pair of A.N.D's Flynn jeans and have been living in them. They hold their shape, and looks as good with my utility jackets, biker boots and sweats as they do with heels and a top for evening. I always get asked about them, and they're so soft you'd think they were made from satin.

Boyfriend Fit Jeans - Ok, so at first I thought I'd never find a pair that didn't make me look enormous (and short). Then a friend recommended the ASOS Saxbys and it all changed. For a start, they were £10 (they still are, here) and so the perfect way to give the look a go. Now I live in the style, later picking up a pair of Paige boyfriends as an upgrade. I wear mine with my Converse and sweaters at the weekends, and shirts and heels to work. Overall, a total winner and decidedly cooler than slimmer styles.

You could also put white jeans into this category, but I've decided to leave them out mainly as I'm yet to find the best pair.  Also they're less essential purely as they're less practical, but that said I think a pair of good white jeans and a denim shirt look awesome in summer with a tan... So, there is my list. I've chucked out my cheap pairs (except the ASOS boyfriends, which are my absolute favourite AND TEN POUNDS) and the coloured, patterned and generally "out there" trend pieces. What do you think?
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Thursday

[Bought] Finding The Dream Cross Body Bag


For a while now I've been trying to find a new handbag... I don't spend quickly on these things as I'll guilt trip myself for buying the wrong one for ages if I do. Maybe it's an age thing (I turn 30 this year and am now blaming every tiny change in my psyche on a major mid life crisis), but I'm so over the shoulder bags.  I'm fed up of having one side of my body in agony after lugging a laptop around, and they're not very practical when you have a dog with a penchant for being carried everywhere he can get away with...


So, my hunt for the perfect cross body bag began, the brief was clear: good quality, practical, stylish enough for drinks with friends as well as a day bag, and can fit my phone, keys, make up and other menial cr*p I insist on taking with me at all times. Maximum budget: £200... I decided to use Vestiaire as firstly, our sale is on, and secondly I know I want a designer one as they're better made so I'll get more for my money. Whilst browsing the site I found some gems, so thought I'd share (below)!


I finally settled on this Louis Vuitton satchel (another option) style, as I figured it's a great day time option and will look cute with dresses in summer and cool with coats and my taupe/camel coloured stuff in winter (but also, the colour pretty much goes with everything). The LV monogrammed stuff as done a bit of a U-turn for me - it's now cool again (I hope) so I'm hoping I've spent wisely - though to be honest for £125, I think I've done extremely well...


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Tuesday

[Craving] Emerald Green Midi Skirts

photos via pinterest

Ever since spotting these pictures on Pinterest, I've been keeping a beady eye out for an emerald green midi skirt. I think Tibi did one last season, but now they only do this red one (which is gorgeous, but not quite there). I'm desperate to get my hands on one, does anyone know where I can find something similar? Any help much appreciated, and will be return with dog cuddles + possibly cupcakes (if you're not - like me - detoxing like your life depended on it).

PS - Is it ridiculous to spend £140 on an iPad case? See here.
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Sunday

[Essentials] Closet cleansing: Coats

As you might already know, this blog was set up to help me dress myself. I was the least fashionable person in the world and was fed up of wearing tea dresses and leggings in a mild attempt to fit in. I now relish the fact I own neither, and am (fairly) confident that everything in my wardrobe is a) necessary, and b) well fitted. I started the essentials series in 2013, but got a little sidetracked. So, as I'm having my annual wardrobe clearout I thought I'd share my logic on how to keep a lean + well worn capsule wardrobe. Starting with coats.


I love coats, I used to own tens of them. But I often found many went unworn, despite them being from a decent store and decided to crack down on what I really need. I created this list, and thought I'd share the rational.

The Fash Pack Favourite - aka, the camel coloured coat. I live in mine, and drone on about them all the time (Don't believe me, check out the pinterest board homage...). There is a very simple reason this style is a favourite with the fashion world: it goes with everything. When editors pack for shows, they have limited space. I challenge you to give me a trend or colour that doesn't go with. I bought mine 5 years ago in the Whistles sale, this one is from Joseph.

The Work Appropriate - No matter what you do for a living, there will always be a time where you'll need a simple plain coloured (black/grey) coat. Even the most flamboyant careers need one - for formal meetings, interviews... Pick one that fits you, check the shoulders mirror your shape, and invest in it. The higher the wool count, the better. Basically, if you can machine wash it it isn't good enough quality. You don't have to spend the earth, this one is £90 from Mango.

The Showstopper - this is the one you'll probably chop-and-change a little bit more as it's more seasonal/trend focussed than the rest, so spend less - Topshop always do great ones for around £75. I chose this neon J Crew number. This coat should be a suitable shape to go with formal and weekend outfits, as you'll need it for both. It also needs to be light enough for spring and winter. You'll wear it when you want to perk yourself up a little bit, pairing with your basic tops, jeans + shoes.

The Leather Biker Jacket - Another favourite with the muses and models of the world, the leather biker is something you just have to own. For me, there really only is one place to buy them - Whistles. You could go and drop £1,000 in Burberry, but for a quarter of that price Whistles will sort you out. Pair them with your jeans and tees at weekend, or (personal fave) mix it up with contrasting girly skirts and dresses. You won't regret it. 


The Spot On Leopard Coat - It took me a while to agree with people on this, I first thought this was a short-trend. But no, the leopard print coat is still a fashion staple for many. The whole point of this is that it is snug but smart, so pick one that fits and don't buy one that's too yellow or orangey in colour as they look so cheap. This Sea NY one is a good version.

The Textbook Trench - Maybe it's the Brit in me, but I think a trench coat is an absolute must. Perfect for weekends (smart but not too smart). It's also ideal for British weather, as it's light for Spring but does keep you warm. I'm a total snob with them, I do think you should buy a Burberry one and no other. Banana Republic do a good second option, but it's all about the Burberry. They are expensive, but check out vintage stores, second hand sites (like Vestiaire) and charity shops for good ones. 

The Perfect Puffer - For years I mocked people wearing these. They look like bin bags. But then I bought my Hunter one, and my view instantly changed. They're like wearing a giant duvet, and make winter bearable. In fact, I almost look forward to weather where I have to put it on, thats how good it is (being a sunshine junkie). The Moncler and Canada Goose ones are the best, but you can buy a good duck down one for £150/200 if you shop about. Topshop have one in the sale here for £50! Fashionable they are not, but I promise you this coat will get you more 'where did you get thats' than any of the above...

So, there you go. The 7 essential coats, in my humble opinion. I've chucked out so many now and make sure I get my remaining ones dry cleaned every year. I bought a rail and some clothes bags to keep them on in the loft when I'm not wearing them, they really are worth looking after.  What do you think of my choices, any I've left out?
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