[Essentials] The Leather Biker Jacket

Jessie of We The People in her Acne jacket

I've no doubt spoken about this before, but one of my all time must haves is a leather biker jacket.  Today I've been lazily planning posts and trying to collate some looks for a feature I'm doing soon (more to come) and realised a gaping hole in my own wardrobe - a black leather biker jacket. I have a brown one, much treasured, from Maje that I bought in the sales a few years ago.  My latest leather addition is a pale blue one from Samsoe Samsoe which you may have seen in my post here. But a black one... Nope.

Lucy of Fashion Me Now in her Belstaff jacket

So I set about trying to find the dream piece. I went to my go-to blogger buddies and found is hard to choose between Lucy's dreamy Belstaff and Jessie's amazing Acne piece. Other close contenders are the classic Whistles collection, basically every editor has one. Reiss also have a fab selection, this black beauty may be my favourite yet. It becomes clear very quickly that you can't scrimp on something like this.  A leather jacket is a true investment.  Up there in the "off the scale / I wish" are the Saint Laurent and Givenchy coats of the world which - you don't need to spend - but you're base line should absolutely be £300 to get anywhere close to the quality you are after.

Charlotte of The Fashion Guitar in her Mumbaa leather jacket

As always with something deemed essential, I've been collecting up my favourites looks with leather biker jackets for a while on Pinterest. But really the message is simple; you can wear them with anything. Hell, it's even ok to where them with floral maxi dresses these days.  So it's a worth investment. My favourite look is the blue jean, white shirt and leather biker jacket one - done so well by the Scandi-squad bloggers like Charlotte and Pernille, and new blog-love find Jess Hannah

Here is my selection of best investment buys. For first timers, you should also check out these from Topshop and Zara's faux offering - both around the £60 mark and really good for a test run before the big purchase...



The Chris James 12 Day Cleanse

Ladies and (perhaps less) gents, I have an announcement to make: I did a detox for 12 days and I survived.  Not only that but I really, really enjoyed it.  I have never been "fat" or "overweight" as an adult (my mother will gladly show you photos during my "cheese phase" as a teenager - quite frankly, horrendous) so it was difficult to gear up drive to do anything particular to make changes when I was already pretty happy with my dress size...

one of the juices I tried: raspberries, melon and pear = yum

But a couple of months ago I met up with Holly from Clare Forde and Chris James - the mastermind behind the regime.  Over copious amount of caffeine (which you absolutely can't have during the program) he went over the principles and teachings he'd picked up along the way to help him create the detox. What did make it seem pretty doable was the fact that Chris was just so honest with me - told me what to expect, when, how - and how proud you'd feel having done it.

I know it isn't supposed to be about weight loss, but lets be honest here, when it comes to happiness and confidence nothing makes a girl feel happier than fitting in your skinny jeans straight out of the wash. I lost 12 pounds overall and 3 weeks later (considering I've had two pretty heavy weekends) I am still 10 pounds lighter - and haven't gained any inches on my body (I lost 8" overall - the equivalent of 1.5 dress sizes).  

the supplements you are given as part of the pack - pride of place so I didn't forget to take them!

The principles are quite straight forward - control what you are eating by cutting out particular food groups - no meat, no dairy, no processed food and no fish - alongside more prescriptive tips with particular fruits and nuts to avoid, etc. The 12 days are broken down in 4 groups of 3 days, each time you take different groups of supplements which are supplied in the pack and different recipes and exercise tips (he even advises not exercising during phase 3 - total win).

Half way through and I seriously didn't expect to have lost much as I'd been so damn full the whole time and concerned about the number of packs of almonds I'd munched through.  When I weighed myself and had already lost 6 pounds I was pretty shocked, and felt a lot more inspired to persevere with the biggest challenge; 3 days of juicing...

Which isn't that bad!  As a tip, get a Nutribullet.  I know there are various debates on blenders vs juicers, but quite frankly if you're going to live on fruits and vegetables for 3 days, you want the pulp as otherwise you may as well just be drinking water.  Nutribullets are quick and easy to use and clean easily - perfect for me. My favourite recipe was 1/2 a gala melon, handful of blueberries, handful of kale and a pear. Tasted strangely like a strawberry milkshake. I felt full and missed physically chewing on something more than any food groups (I did sneak in a few dried apple chips and almonds a few times, oops). 

the aloe oil you add to water every day first thing in the morning - tastes a little funky but seemed to do the job!

At the end I felt pretty proud of myself, if not a little uplifted.  I had struggled with sleeping patterns for a while and it seemed to sort that out and I just felt a lot cheerier, although who wouldn't having lost the best of a stone in under a fortnight...  The best things I learnt were all about nutritrtion - it's made me think about what goes in my body, not mixing up food groups so much - let alone any processed food etc.  It really has changed my life, and I cannot thank Chris enough.

Here are a couple of tips I picked up:
. start the day with hot water and lemon to boost your metabolism
. not all fruits are good - avoid high sugar ones like mangoes and pineapples if trying to lose weight
. eat your biggest meal before you are most active (ie: probably not dinner)
. start the day with one food type - easing your body into the next few hours of digestion

Chris has a fantastic website with lots of tips here, and is also stocked at Space NK here.


[Outfit] The Triumph Magic Wire Bra

If you follow me on Instagram you'll have seen a couple of weeks ago I went along to a lovely breakfast with Triumph to hear all about their new Magic Wire bra collection (here is a little video I did whilst there). I was a little "on the fence" about it as underwear certainly isn't something I blog about that much. In short, it takes a lot to get me excited about something, my own underwear is very, very simple.When shopping, if anything is marketed as sexy I quiver inside and steer well away from it, even my more expensive pieces are quite straightforward. I would never go into one of those more risqué shops, I'm way too prude...

I have a rule that nothing stays on in my drawer longer than a year, or if there is any fraying then it goes straight in the bin - but aside from that, not much more can be said about my underwear collection other than "playing it safe." Any way, enough about little old me... I arrived at the Ham Yard Hotel for a morning of unexpected education.  For a start, as I rarely shop in-store for underwear it means I've skipped being fitted for over a year. Mistake. I was a cup size bigger and a waist size smaller, and as soon as I put the Magic Wire bra on I instantly felt like I could walk a little taller.

The fact it is super comfortable didn't massively surprise me as I wear Triumph bras a great deal. What did massively surprise me was the price - the Magic Wire comes in at a very reasonable £36 (to be honest I expected it to be double that). The bra doesn't dig in, the straps don't fall down - all in all, a great success. 

The concept of the Magic Wire bra is really simple - it's a "wireless" bra with a piece of silicon inside that is incredibly flexible. You can scrunch up the bra into a ball if you so wished. However, it is what my anonymous close guy friend would call a shepherds bra (rounds them up and points them in the direction). They come in lots of different colours, I went for this one - and there is a red one coming out closer to Christmas that's super cute too...

I've been wearing mine loads with all sorts of outfits, the fabric is gorgeous. Here is me strutting my stuff (read: cringing slightly trying to pose with a pint of orange juice) in Maida Vale last week with Nancy.  I've got the bra on (which you obviously can't see) but hopefully you can see how damn comfortable I am in it. It really is love, one isn't going to be enough - and thank you Triumph for inspiring me to give my topic drawer an overall clear out/upgrade!

This post was written in collaboration with Triumph and Halpern PR. Photos by Nancy H Gibbs 


[Essentials] The White Tee

My all time favourite piece and biggest style lesson has been the white tee. Previous to the blog I had all of the below. Now having learnt about my shape I only own two. An oversize and a high neck. The other shapes, despite how much I love them just aren't right for my shape.  I wear mine constantly - with everything from jeans to my pencil skirts.

I trialled all of the styles with cheaper brands like ASOS and then invested when I has mastered what worked well - a tip I'd always recommend before trying something for the first time!  If someone had told me three years ago I'd now gladly part with over £100 for a t shirt I'd have laughed in your face. Now however, I really do get why you would. Here is a little styling/shape guide to help you pick the ones right for you...

The V Neck - Great if you are bigger busted or pear shaped as it draws your eye to your smallest point (your waist) and away from your larger features. A stylist friend told me that you should work out the depth of the V by drawing (an invisible) line from the top of one nipple to another. Having seen friends do it, I can confirm it works (try James Perse, J Brand, Reiss and Helmut Lang for good options).

The High Neck - This has to be my favourite for my shape, but not good for over a C cup so when I had put on a little weight I really found myself looking a lot bigger in mine... Buy a slightly thicker material for this one so it holds its shape, and also make sure it isn't too tight on your stomach as it isn't the most flattering. The best shapes pull in under the bust and then flow out... (try The Row, Toteme and this Valentino was is a beaut if you are really investing...)

The Scoop Neck - This a good all rounder and it's almost more important what bra you have on underneath as it will impact how the tee sits on your body. Makes sure your humps are supported so the tee can fall properly and you don't have a loose boob making an escape through your neck line... (try Alexander Wang, Frame Denim, Nike and Topshop) If you're testing this style for the first time, this ASOS one is a good starter...

The Oversize Fit  - Everyone wants to be that street style girl with the "nailed off duty model" look that so many do so well.  It can be done, but takes some practice. Don't be tempted to buy something that could double up as a teepee. Your boyfriend's tee isn't the answer either. Find a style that is meant to be oversize rather than going 4 sizes up - it will still "fit" you then. (try Rag and Bone, The Elder Statesman and this lovely one from 3.1 Phillip Lim at The OutNet)

Hope that all helps you a bit - if you're still struggling for styling ideas have a look at my Pinterest board which is packed with ideas - I've become a total Pin-nerd and use it to help me dress in the morning, geek! (I do honestly do things other than pin to Pinterest, I promise).



[Competition] Win £250 Hobbs Vouchers

Possibly the most hectic few weeks of my life, so apologies for the slightly hap-hazard series of posts - am over the bulk of it so am very pleased to bring you a little collaboration with Hobbs, photos shot by my lovely friend Nancy on her rather swish terrace...

It's most definitely autumn now, for the record.  The nights are getting darker already (and thats before the clocks even go back), and I've been reaching for my autumn basics over the last couple of weeks.  This is when I needed a bit of an upgrade, as I fear I went a bit overboard on the clear out stakes moving house.  It seems I chucked out / sold / gave to charity far too much. So when Hobbs asked me to pick out an outfit for their new season, I couldn't have been happier.  Better still, they're offering South Molton St Style readers the chance to win a £250 voucher to spend on their own new season wardrobe!

A few seasons ago my wardrobe definitely wouldn't have had any Hobbs in it, but their collections in 2013 and 2014 have been super strong and there is nothing I love more than surprising someone in saying my top/skirt/trousers/coat are from there. I picked out this skirt from their Invitation collection, and a classic white shirt here (that I have been wearing to death with jeans and leather leggings as well as skirts). This "look" is a tad more formal than my normal day-to-day, but when I am consulting in an office I find it really useful as a happy medium!

So on entering to win the voucher (below) you can bag yourself some of the following  (I went along to their press day over the summer and literally squealed at some of the pieces):
  1. Their red teddy fur coat is just amazing, imagine yourself all curled up in this in a wintery pub somewhere with a glass of red (or a bottle, no one judging here)
  2. This borderline breton jumper would look super cute with jeans or even a shirt and a leather skirt...
  3. If you work in a more corporate office then these culottes are lush, and love confusing the opposite skirt with a pair ("is it a skirt, is it trousers, we're confused" type looks)
  4. Speaking of leather bet you never thought you'd be craving a kick ass leather biker from Hobbs did you? Click here and think again, my sweet!
  5. If you've got a winter wedding/event to go to, this pastel pink dress is a winner. I'm one very proud owner of it and absolutely love it. Actually put it on top of a short sleeve shirt and put a belt around it the other day - sounds like it shouldn't, but it totally works!
  6. Last but absolutely not least, these biker boots need no further endorsement, beautiful.

To win a £250 shopping spree, you need to click this link HERE and pop your details in the competition generator.

A winner will be selected at random on Monday the 6th of October. To be clear (no nasty small print) your details will not be passed on to any third party and Hobbs will not use your details without your permission (you may receive an email asking if you would like to sign up to the newsletter). Wishing you the very best of luck, may even enter myself ;) ...

This post was in collaboration with Hobbs. Photos by Nancy H Gibbs Photography


[Outfit] Street Style Basics with Harrods

With London Fashion Week in full swing, I was asked to show you my street style look for Harrods here.  To be honest my style doesn't change, I could never keep up the whole Somerset House peacock thing (in other words, overdressing for a chance of getting papped).  Here is a good example of the kind of thing I'll be wearing over the next couple of days. Hair wise, simple is best. I recently got my hair trimmed and recoloured at Sassoon Salons where I've been going for over two years and love. The team have taught me to invest time into looking after my hair - every time I go I feel like my hair is given a new lease of life!

As I said, I never stray far from the fashion nest so I like to keep it simple. My new AG jeans are a fantastic fit, having wanted a pair of ripped skinnies for ages I couldn't have been happier when these turned up at my door.  I've been living in them.  My tee is an old favourite, I bought it from LA brand LNA Clothing a few summers ago.  The girls who set it up wanted to create the ultimate boyfriend tee and in my mind they have definitely achieved just that.

The blazer was a bargain from Vestiaire Collective when I was working there, in fact I think it was my first purchase when I joined the team. I'd seen it on so many street style posts (like here) and was desperate to track it down.  When I managed to find it I was so happy. There is one on there at the moment actually (not surprised it hasn't sold yet, the photos are awful) here - there is also one in grey here. I'm still after the matching shorts (a pair pop up ever so often, and I was gutted to have missed these for £60)

Handbag wise, nothing says street style like a big old designer bag. I bought this Pashli at the beginning of the year and had pangs of guilt for ages (or perhaps they were stomach cramps, as I didn't eat for about a month in order to pay for it).  I love it, and use it more than I thought I would, in my mind if you're spending that kind of money then it should be a good enough piece to wear well - so I'm not worried about scratches or damaging it.

My shoes are my new found favourites from LK Bennett, I got them for the wedding last week and have been making any excuse to wear them (although I keep a pair of flats handy at all times).  Only other piece to mention is my new phone case - a cheeky purchase from Whistles last weekend. My old one had gone the colour of my foundation (gross) so I thought it was time for an upgrade!

Have a look at the feature here. Photos by Michelle Bobb Parris


[Travel] The Wedding of all Weddings Part 2

Anna wore: Coast dress, I wore Whistles Dress / Monica Vinader ring and necklace

This is one of those posts that really doesn't need any text or writing, the photos speak for themselves. Having spent the morning lounging by the pool, getting a manicure and checking out the bridal suite (amazing) we head down to the little chapel opposite the hotel to see Ben and his brother Leo walk their mother, Jill down the aisle. 80 guests were packed into the pews and there wasn't a dry eye in the house when the service was finished... The flowers and decor were beyond lovely (Jill is an interior designer so we knew it was going to be pretty special).

Anna (Ben's sister, yep that gets confusing) was Jill's maid of honour and wore a lovely Coast dress, with the groom's grandchildren as bridesmaids (although the youngest, Samantha, thought she was a princess and was slightly blown away by the people "sleeping" in the graves outside and spent most of the time trying to wake them up).  I annoyingly forgot to get a picture of her dress, but it was from Dorothy Perkins and looked about ten times the price it was - gorgeous!

I really hate occasion dressing and struggled a bit with my outfit. I wore a Whistles dress I'd had for a while, I'm a bit of a coral addict and loved this dress since spotting it at a press day some 6 months before.  I was waiting and waiting for a reason to buy it so as soon as the wedding date was set I  leaped into the shop to get it (by which point it had been reduced in price by some £150, win). My hair and make up was done (as was Anna and Jill's) by my lovely friend Sarah who travelled all the way from Essex.  Shoes and bag are from LK Bennett - obsessed with this print, I also wore the shoes for a little feature with Harrods here.

Lisa wore: Coast dress /  Accessorise fascinator, Anna wore: Coast dress, I wore Whistles Dress / Monica Vinader ring and necklace

The weather held out which was fortunate as it looked decidedly grey a couple of hours before the service.  We started the celebrations with champagne in the gardens before heading into the Oragery for the wedding breakfast.  There were three courses of huge sharing platters with all my favourite things, from salmon to Eton Mess.  One thing I do love about weddings is the people you meet, my table neighbours were fantastic and had travelled from Paris, Johannesburg and Hong Kong between them.

Leo gave a beautiful speech, followed by the best man James, before their step brother Alex (who is a tenor) sang songs from Les Miserables with ease.  From this point the evening becomes a blur (as do the photos, which is why they don't go any further in this post.  Vague memories of Lisa and I challenging the bar men to a jagermeister contest, espresso martinis, dancing with the kids like a kid and eating an insane amount of cheese and wedding cake form the rest of the night.  The morning after was... painful. As all good wedding should be.  Thank you Jill and Barrie for one of the most beautiful few days...


[Travel] The Wedding of all Weddings Part 1

As you may have read from my last few posts, we've been pretty busy of late. So a few days out of London could not have been more called for, and better still we were escaping for an excellent purpose - to see Ben's mum get married. So after a game of human Tetris (aka 5 people plus 5 bags in an Audi) for 3 hours we arrived at Babington House in Somerset.

Babington is one of those places we've been meaning to get to for ages, so when it was picked for the wedding venue we couldn't have been more chuffed. We were staying in a walled garden room which is fairly self explanatorily next to a (you guessed it) walled garden.  A short few minutes walk away from the main house (or a quick cycle, bikes are provided), the rooms are absolutely gorgeous - split into two levels and three rooms; an enormous bathroom with a steam shower and tin bath, a large living space and a bed with more cushions than a Habitat store.

Outside was a big tin jacuzzi in the patio area, and a enormous, fat mirror which obviously meant I dragged Ben into some obligatory couples selfie situations (sorry not sorry) before heading up for pre-dinner drinks on the lawn.  Having finished my Chris James 12 day detox (review to come) I had lost 12 pounds (a pound a day, pretty good right?) so felt confident enough to wear the Forever 21 cropped vest I bought in California in April (it still had the tag on, the shame) and my new Topshop skirt which I first lay my eyes on when shooting Jessie for a Monica Vinader campaign. Shoes wise, as the ultimate breton fiend I'll make any excuse to wear my all time favourite LK Bennett babies (which are now only available as a wedge here).

Facilities wise you could never be disappointed.  Our rooms were next to the Cowshed spa (you probably knew this, but I didn't - Cowshed was born at Babington - and I treated myself to a manicure the following day which was a lush experience).  There is also a heated outdoor pool, indoor pool, gym, games room, video game suite and enough bars (and gin) for you to drown all urban-induced woes for several days.

So after cramming in as much steak and chips as we possibly could we crawled back to the Bed Of Dreams (below) which had luckily been turned down for us otherwise it would have taken us half an hour to take off all the cushions (and we were so tired we would probably have given up and slept on the floor).  We wanted a good night's sleep before the wedding the next day, which was probably one of the most beautiful days I've ever experienced - more posts to come!



[Essentials] The Denim Chambray Shirt

Olivia wears: denim chambray shirt here / white midi skirt (I have this, I love it) here

I've decided to perk up my weekend and do a blog post, whilst waiting for X Factor to start - my friend Lizzy has her audition tonight so you MUST watch it! As you know, I move house tomorrow - but I'm so behind with it; this morning I was walking the dogs in Henley and got attacked by a swarm of bees... My head is the worst, throbbing! So am blogging to distract myself... 

lucy wears: oversize denim chambray shirt here / black sports shorts here / black arizona birkenstocks here

For most people this will be obvious but for me the denim shirt took a while to love.  Shirts themselves never really did it for me, I'd have rather covered up in a big knit or a tee. However, since I've been introduced to the concept of tailoring I really can't imagine life without one.  Gone are the days that they were used solely for DIY days at home or days when you really didn't want to see anyone you knew in Sainsburys (basically Sunday mornings for me, no one needs to see me buy that much bacon, or consume it) and instead, I've fully welcomed the new phase of chic chambray dressing.

me wearing: denim chambray shirt here / LK Bennett Floret heels here / Zara pencil skirt, similar here

I have two, one oversize and one fitted.  The fitted one (above) is from Topshop and I've worn it a few times on the blog (here is an example). The oversize is a more recent purchase, I wore it in a post over the summer - but here it is below if you were wondering. It's from Eileen Fisher, my first piece from the brand and definitely not the last. I made the mistake of thinking the store was for an older generation when actually their AW15 collection is very very me. Any way, you can (hopefully) see how I use deni shirts to dress up, and dress down my outfits... 

me wearing : denim chambray shirt here / printed shorts, similar here / red supergas here

I really am a true believer that a denim shirt can make an outfit. It can be a great "softener" with a serious skirt or trouser if you're looking to avoid being too smart or corporate.  It also looks fab if you're trying to de-girly yourself when wearing floral pieces or floaty skirts.  You can't go wrong with them.  My favourites are the ones I own, but I also love brands like Current/Elliott's efforts (this one is fantastic, a friend has it and I'm very jealous).  Check out my edit/selection of others below...

model wears: denim chambray shirt here / patent loafers here / black skirt here

© South Molton St Style. All rights reserved.
Blogger Template by pipdig | Illustrations by Faiiint