Casual Weekend Outfit

We didn’t do a lot over the weekend, which was quite nice as the past few weeks have been quite busy.  Friday night was homemade pizza night, with plenty of wine flowing and dancing around the kitchen to Louis Prima!
pizza - mixing doughDough ballsPizza

On Saturday we woke up to snow and although it wasn’t really settling, it was coming down thick and fast meaning it was a tough choice to change from my snuggly pyjama’s and get dressed to go out.  Eventually we pulled our fingers out and went over to Wimbledon to return some purchases which didn’t work out.  As I was getting dressed tragedy struck when the zip slider from my favourite (and oldest) Duo black riding boots disintegrated in my hand as I was pulling them up over my jeggings.  I’ve emailed their customer service team to see if there is anything I can do to fix them, as I’ve always looked after them, re-heeling and re-soling regularly etc. and as they aren’t exactly cheap I’d like to get a few more years wear out of them yet!

In the end I wore my brown boots instead and pulled together a casual, Saturday outfit of my new favourite skinny jeans from Dorothy Perkins, a Breton top I’ve had for a few years from Esprit and an oversized floral scarf from Primark.  And because it was so cold I pulled on a navy waist-tie cardigan from H&M so that I could layer up and keep the chill at bay.

Mother's Day outfit

Whilst we were out we popped into Asda to pick up something for tea and I spotted this gorgeous underwear set for the amazing price of £6!  Even full price the set wasn’t expensive at £9.50.  The fabric is a gorgeous satin effect in a pale, nude pink with feather print in various shades of grey (50 shades perhaps……..?) Because it was supermarket purchase I tried it on a cup size up and it fitted perfectly.  I had taken a picture of myself in it, but I’m not brave enough to post it – so here are the PG versions 🙂

Asda set - top

Asda set - bottoms

Asda undies - with tags

I’ll report back on how it washes, but the fit is great and it feels really nice on.

We’re also in the process of booking our delayed honeymoon which we delayed as we didn’t have enough in the budget to do both last year, so we just went away for a few days to Edinburgh (which was amazing and a nice break after the craziness of planning the big day).  Anyway, we’re on the cusp of booking 5 days in New York and a week in Mexico to coincide with our 1st anniversary in October.  Once it’s fully booked I can get started on planning my holiday wardrobe!!!!!

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 

 

 

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.