Wedding Outfit and Duo Boots Update

I’ll start with my boots update.  You may recall that I wrote here about the zip pull breaking on my trusty, 4-year-old Ravenna black riding boots from Duo.  I got straight onto their customer service team to ask if there was anything that I could do about fixing them.  I got a reply back from then within 24 hours asking if I could take a photo of the problem as the extent of the break determined what they’d need to send me, but basically they said they could send me two full length zips and sliders, or for a fee I could send them back to Duo to be refurbished.  On sending the picture over they determined that all I needed was the pull, which they have since sent me, free of charge, along with a video on how to fit them at home.  Needless to say, I’m VERY impressed!

Ravenna Black leather ladies-boots 2498 small

 Hubby and I went to a wedding reception on Saturday evening, and it gave me the perfect chance to breakout my latest fall-back dress.  I brought this last autumn in Debenhams from their Duo range.  I was literally walking through the store to get to the other side of the shopping centre and it just caught my eye as I was on the escalator.  My friend had arranged a quite formal party evening as part of her Hen weekend so I was thrilled when I saw that it was reduced from £100 to £50.  You can imagine my elation when I got to the till and it was reduced again to £25!  Since the Hen weekend I’ve found another 3 occasions to wear it, so when it comes to cost-per-wear, this dress is currently coming in at £6.25 per wear – pretty amazing for formal wear!Steve Lamb wedding outfit

Each time I’ve worn it I’ve changed the accessories, for example instead of the black patent belt, shoes and clutch I’ve worn it with a patent red belt and shoes, a red bangle and nude tights.  I’ve been trawling ebay trying to pick up a pair of hot pink shoes and accessories to wear with it too.  As it was from last year, it’s not on sale anymore, however many companies still use the same block or pattern year-on-year and just change the fabric or cut of the neck etc, so a dress in exactly the same shape is currently discounted on their website.

 Debenhams dress

 Do you have a fall-back dress you just couldn’t live without?

Weekly round up: Date Night Outfits

I’ve had a very busy week this week with lots going on in the evenings and leaving no time to blog, so I’m going to make this a ’round-up’.

Last Friday Hubby and I were due to go for dinner with friends to an Iranian restaurant called Soltan in Putney.  Neither of us had eaten Iranian food before and we weren’t disappointed – it was incredible tasty, although I have no idea what it was that we had as our part-Iranian friend ordered for us.

I wore a cardigan/jacket which I’ve had for ages but haven’t worn as I couldn’t find a top to wear underneath it.  The jacket is from the Next January sales (about £12 I think), the vest was £4 from Primark and the jeans are my trusty New Look Inspire dark denims.  The jacket is a sort of boucle knit with pink and shimmering flecks going through it.  The look made me feel chic but also modern.

Iraninan with the Ghodse's

On Saturday morning I awoke to find that hubby had made us a lovely breakfast of boiled egg and soldiers – the perfect way to start the weekend!

Breakfast made for me

On Saturday night Hubby and I had a date night and I used it as an excuse to get dressed up.  I wore my black velvet Boden pencil skirt with an embellished cardigan from Monsoon which I’ve had for about 4 years and at the last-minute added my thick black patent leather belt to match my patent platform courts from New Look.

Boden pencil + Monsoon cardi

 

On Monday we went to Tony Roma’s in Kingston for Monday night endless ribs – mmmmmmm, yummy.

I wore what I’d been wearing to work all day as I didn’t have time to change.  I got this dress in the January sales from Monsoon and the shoes are my nude favourites from Marks and Spencer.

Work outfit - burgandy dress

The skinny on a weekend away

Hubby and I went had a weekend away last week, we had been given a stay in a country house as wedding gift and it was nearing its expiry.  We were only going to be gone for 24 hours but I was determined to only take the new small weekend bag I purchased a couple of weeks ago and wrote about here.  This meant some very thrifty packing, something which doesn’t come easy due to my ‘just in case’ nature.

Anyway, I decided that to maximise the space available I should wear the same jeans on Saturday and Sunday and just take an outfit for Saturday night and a change of top for Sunday.  Easy peasy!  Ho, ho ho……

I really wanted to wear my riding boots but that would mean I’d have to wear a skirt which isn’t ideal for keeping warm.  In everyday life I’m not a really big trouser/jeans wearer, much preferring the figure skimming/lump and bump hiding coverage of dresses and skirts.  I have two pairs of jeans and they are both New Look Inspire boot cut dark denims, I keep one for everyday type wear and the darker ones for evenings out.  When the evening pair start to look faded they get relegated to every day and I go and buy a new pair. 

The only other trousers I’ve ever worn are M&S linen trousers, of which I had 4 pairs – black, stone, white and navy.  In the summer months I would wear a pair each day to work with a flowing top and of course the obligatory arm covering cardigan.  Last autumn, hubby-to-be (as he was then) took me to task and told me that the linen trousers weren’t doing me any favours, made me look bigger than I am and really should be consigned to the charity bag. 

After getting over the initial shock and giving H2B’s comments some thought, I decided that I would try on a couple of trousers which were a bit more form-fitting and I was lucky enough to pick up a pair of navy chino’s and black cigarette style pants quite cheap in the sale from Dorothy Perkins, deciding that if they didn’t work out for me then I hadn’t blown a load of cash on them.  Needless to say I’ve never put the linen trousers back on since and last month I donated them to the charity bag. On my hen weekend I wore a pair of black skinny jeans, also from Dorothy Perkins, which was a total first for me but everyone was nothing but complimentary and the earth didn’t open up and suck me and my plentiful rump into it either.

Anyway, back to the point.  Since this mini-revelation I’ve been wanting to try the ‘jeans tucked into boots’ style, but haven’t really found any jeans where the fabric was thin/soft enough that they allow my boots to zip up.  However, the Thursday before we went away I found a perfect pair, again from Dorothy Perkins.   They were £15 full price and I also had a 25% off voucher – total bargain!!

Here’s a not that great picture of me trying them on at home:

 Jeans in boots 2 Jeans in boots

And here’s what they look like online.

 Indigo skinny jeans

All things considered, I was really happy with the look and it made me really think about all the ‘rules’ I impose on myself or pick up from well-meaning but totally rubbish magazine articles which dictate what you should or shouldn’t wear if you’re larger.

For our night out I packed another pair of skinny jeans (same black ones I wore on my hen night), with a nude vest I got in the sale at New Look and a black blazer I got in the January sales from Next.  It’s a sort of velour type fabric but it looks like pony skin – not an amazing description, but I LOVE it and have worn it out the last few times I’ve been out.  I finished the look off with my nude M&S Sledge fakies and a patent clutch bag, also from next.

Sat Night - Bish Stort

You can’t see them in this picture but I also had on an amazingly huge and sparkly pair of statement earrings from Accessorize which I’ve been wanting to wear for ages but felt that the outfits I was trying to wear them with wasn’t right, but they worked really well with this look.

Cold has stopped play – some work outfits from last week

I’ve been suffering from the really bad cold which is going around, which means that I have been living in my p-jays since Sunday, so with little to write about and no back log of saved ideas generated yet, I thought I’d give a round-up of a couple of outfits from the end of last week

 Thursday’s work outfit

 As I haven’t ironed for what seems like a millennium, by the end of last week I was struggling to pull suitable work outfits together.  The company I work for has a dress policy, but depending on the department you work for, depends on whether it is followed or not.  Sometime the policy isn’t even followed in the same department – it’s all very wishy-washy to be honest. 

I work as a PA to a Company Director and as I regularly have to meet and greet guests from reception I always like to ensure that I dress smartly Monday to Thursday, and that sometimes extends to “dress down Friday” if we have a VIP visitor coming in.  I generally stick to dresses and skirts for work which I can dress up or down with jackets and cardigans if I’m going out afterwards.  Dresses are my favourite though as I feel that they are so easy to just pull on and go!

Anyway, due to general malaise on the ironing front, I was only left with couple of ‘dress down Friday’ style skirts and a dress which needed the button sewing back on (I always plan to do stuff like sewing on buttons at the weekend, but then Monday rolls around and it’s still not done – note to self: must get better at planning my personal time!).  I was already running late and so struck with a mild panic I turned to my Tim Gunn mantra and decided to go with a dress-down Friday skirt and “make it work”.

  Work outfit - thurs

The sweater was another outlet bargain from LK Bennett in Portsmouth (£19 from £99 if I remember rightly).  It’s a gorgeous silk mix fine knit with ¾ length sleeves.  I put a navy Primark vest on underneath for modesty/warmth (air-con battle at work anyone??).  The skirt is from White Stuff and I’ve had it for a while.  I usually wear it with funky coloured tights and my Duo brown riding boots.  This time I added my purse friendly and amazingly comfortable caramel court shoes from Marks & Spencer.  These little beaut’s are a mere £19.50, they look exactly like the LK Bennett Sledge Court, as worn by every member of the Middleton family (even the dog; it’s true, I saw it on Mail Online…..) but most importantly I can testify that they are so comfortable that they can be worn for an 8 hour-long girls night which includes about 4 hours of dancing.

Friday’s Outfit

Dress down Friday saw me wearing my Boden dark denim A-line skirt, a multicoloured vest from Next with a Gap cardigan and my brown riding boots from Duo.  The belt was a bargain from Primark for about £3!  Normally, I would have worn this outfit with the vest pulled out over the waistband of my skirt – a hangover from always trying to cover my bum!  However, I decided to tuck it in and stick the belt on and I was really pleased with how it looked.  It’s amazing how my brain tells me to dress in a certain way in an effort to hide my lumps and bumps but in doing that I can often end up looking bigger than I really am.  The sartorial equivalent of putting your head in the sand…..

Friday work outfit

 

Here’s where you can buy the items or similar:

BLENHEIM SKIRT  Product Image Product Image

Everyday A-Line Skirt  Camara Tan Leather ladies-boots list 

 

 

Date Night Outfit

My lovely hubby took me out for dinner on Saturday night and as I had my suede boots out from photographing them for my last blog I thought I’d give them a trip out (I had checked the weather report – no rain was predicted, so it was safe!). 

LK Bennett Dress

I decided to wear my bargain LK Bennett dress which I picked up for a total steal at the outlet store in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth.  I wore a black vest from Primark underneath it along with my M&S suck it all in tights.

We had a really great evening, eating, drinking and chatting.  I hadn’t told him that I’ve been doing this blog.  I’m not sure really why, I think it’s because I was worried he might tease me I guess.  Anyway, I had to ask him to take this picture of me, which caused much head scratching but the cab turned up before he could ask more.  Unusually, he remembered and brought it up in the conversation later on in the evening and took advantage of my wine-fuzzled head, so I ‘fessed up.  Of course, my fears were totally unfounded and he was totally supportive and maybe just a touch impressed, which was pretty cool. 

During the day I took advantage of the lovely, sunny, spring weather and walked to the next local town (about a 40 minute walk), to meet a good friend of mine who is having a bit of a bad time of it lately.  I got there a bit early and popped into one of the charity shops and found an amazing, brand new weekend bag by Jasper Conran for Tripp.  Well, I think it might be a laptop bag but it’s really quite big and it zips right open and it’s plenty big enough to fit clothes for one night away.  Not bad for £7.50!  Me and hubby will be away for one night on Saturday (a night in a country manor house which was a wedding gift from my best friend since school), so it will get its first use!Weekend bag 2Weekend bag 3Weekend bag 1

 

Where you can buy a similar outfit:

Lizzie Jersey Printed Wrap Dress  Laurel Black suede ladies-boots list Bodysensor™ 60 Denier Secret Slimming™ Tummy Tuck Tights with Magicwear™ Technology Fairtrade Cotton Rich Strappy Vest with Stay New™ Mood Mini Pearl And Pink Patterned Bead Stacker Necklace

 

 

Skirting the Curvy Issue

I’ve been searching for a navy skirt for my work wardrobe for months, nothing – absolutely nothing –  out there fits my requirements.  For me the perfect navy skirt must be:

  • Knee length – just below the knee but not on or above it –  but also not calf length
  • A classic, French navy – NOT netball skirt navy (who remembers those awful knickers)
  • Not too trendy and quirky, but absolutely not mumsy either
  • A good quality fabric which won’t look shiny
  • Machine washable!
  • Preferably with a bit of stretch
  • Within budget – at a push £50 max

And here’s the clincher………….

  • available in a size 18-20

On the surface my long running search for the perfect navy skirt would be easily fulfilled by an hour or two shopping or a 20 minute search on the internet.  And yet this elusive wardrobe staple still refuses to make itself known.  And I think I know why.

If you’re of a certain size and shape, trying to locate and purchase affordable, good quality, chic and classically stylish clothes is virtually impossible.  If I wasn’t so worried about my ample derriere and thighs and was willing to pay £90 I could visit Planet and buy a pencil skirt, the only style available in navy.  I could also buy one in a couple of styles from M&S for a very reasonable £26, but I’d also risk seeing my nan wearing it and would probably be so charged with static electricity that I’d probably need my own earth wire.

A quick glance at the online sites for Evans and Simply Be, to name a couple, shows the same thing.  Whilst lots of these stores are really starting to cater well for amazing going out wear and fun, ditzy print dresses, obtaining stylish and classic clothing can be really difficult and often shows up more misses than hits.  And those misses only serve to make me feel bad about myself for not fitting into the ideal size 10 or 12.

There was an article in The Mail earlier this month about a new range of clothes at Evans which is being modelled by bloggers who are proud of their shape and write about their style choices.  After reading the article and trying to ignore the vitriolic comments, I clicked through and read a few of the blogs.  Their confidence and appreciation of what they have got really rung a chord with me, in fact I have since read every blog written by Georgina of FullerFigureFullerBust – such was my admiration.  And whilst I love what they’re wearing and the general air of joie de vivre, the gorgeous fashion depicted isn’t what I wear every day in reality, so I set out to find a blog that did serve that requirement.  But I couldn’t find one.

So ultimately this search is what has prompted me to start this blog, can I be alone in this sartorial dilemma?  So whilst I’m on my hunt for the Mary Poppins of navy skirts, which (I imagine?) will make my work wardrobe complete, I’m going to share some of what I believe to be wardrobe hits with the world wide web, and hopefully a reader or two.