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.

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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

 

 

1991-2000 : My Fashion Wonder Years

It took me a long time to learn how to dress my shape and find my own ‘style’. As a young child I was a total princess and most of the photographs of me from then see me styling up my outfit with plenty of accessories – something which hasn’t changed to this day…..

Accessorising from a young age

Accessorising from a young age

However, my brothers were my best friends and living in a tiny village we spent summer after summer going on adventures and camping out. As I moved into adolescence and my body was changing I was ashamed of it, I didn’t want to be different to them and I spent many of the oncoming years coving myself up in shapeless tracksuits and t-shirts which only accentuated my curves and size, rather than hide it as I wanted to.

I have always harboured that passion for clothes though, and would dream about all the things I would wear when I had the body I wanted rather than the one I had. Despite winning a place on a highly sort after fashion course, I continued to shackle my body with bit, baggy and unflattering clothes. I never really liked anything I owned, it was all purchased because of what it covered. I had a self imposed ‘uniform’ for work and an array of huge jogging bottoms and men’s polo shirts (mostly from my uniform from the pub I worked in part-time) for casual wear at the weekends.

This carried on well into my 20’s. When I started at the company I work at now back in 2000, I was informed in my first week that they had a dress down Friday policy. The thought of this evoked the same fear I had when we had dress down day at school– only it was every week. I had one casual top which wasn’t part of my ‘work uniform’, but wasn’t a pub polo top. And I wore it with a long black skirt – every Friday! (I met my husband at work, and he still talks about my Friday top!)

Sometime in 2002 I became of a TV show called “What Not To Wear”. I will not beat around the bush, Trinny and Susannah revolutionised my life! By watching that programme, and seeing women who sometimes matched my body shape and size, end up dressed in really lovely clothes opened a floodgate for me. I sat up and realised that maybe I could wear something like that. Slowly but surely, different items made it into my wardrobe – a form fitting t-shirt here, a fine knit cardigan there. I was finding my feet and losing my fear.

Then in 2005 they released a book called “What You Wear Can Change Your Life”, and that was it – I was off. This book was all about what sort of colours suit you best, and when I’d worked out what I should be wearing I headed out shopping – literally the same weekend I read it. I remember walking into Primark in Tooting High Street (one of the first one’s open in South London at the time) and it was like the Trinny and Susannah gods had waved a magic wand – I literally got 3 skirts, 6 cardigans, a few scarves to compliment each of the looks, a couple of gorgeous tops which looked like they were from Monsoon rather than Primark. I still remember the elation I felt on that trip to this day. I’d found my style and what sort of colours suited me and I literally wore those clothes until they fell apart.

Since then I’ve never looked back. I only ever wear clothes that make me feel good and never just sling something on for the sake of it. If I wear sportswear at home for housework (or actually, shock and horror, working out!), I always change to leave the house and would never walk outside in it. My husband sometimes despairs that we can’t just jump in the car and go somewhere without a quick change, but he tells me he’s glad that I make those extra efforts with my appearance.

Red top + Denim skirt

I’ve attached a picture of today’s dress down Friday look, and were all sale purchases. The top is a couple of years old and is from Phase Eight and the indigo denim skirt is from Boden. Tights are from M&S (best ones by far!) and the ballet shoes are from New Look.

I’d love to hear what stylish outfits you wear on dress down Friday at work!

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.