47 articles Articles posted in Fashion and Style

Accessorize in Style: How to Make Your Winter Wardrobe Go from Drab to Fab

Do you think you have to spend a fortune in order to look stylish? Please think again. With the right selection of accessories, anyone can give their wardrobe a much-needed boost. In the name of budget conscious fashionistas everywhere, we are pleased to present a few tricks and tips to add life and interest to your outfits.

Switch up that little black dress

Every girl’s got to have at least one perfect ‘little black dress’ that she can dress up or down any way she likes. Timeless and sleek, your own little black dress can be dressed up with splashes of color via colorful shoes, wrists rife with bangles, and a fabulous tote bag. Dress it down French Riviera style with a printed scarf, sassy espadrille wedges, a cross-body bag, and cat-eye sunglasses, recommend fashion experts at Glamour magazine.

Go for the unexpected

Most girls, when donning a pretty party dress, opt for uncomfortable heels that flatter their legs. Be as bold as you want to be when you pull on a pair of high-end industrial moto boots instead. Heavy lug sole boots can be a surprising fashion accessory, especially when you add flirty boot socks from The Boot Cuff Store.

Never be afraid to shop in any store. Pop into a cheesy mall teen boutique as easily as you would Neiman Marcus, and you’re bound to find all sorts of accessories that work with your oh-so unique style sense. Resale shops, consignment stores, and decidedly un-classy stores like TJ Maxx and Forever 21 offer items that you won’t see on runways yet somehow work perfectly with your wardrobe, advise fashion mavens at Stylecaster magazine.

Go with your own taste, but add a twist that nobody expects. Scrunch long sleeves up your arm, and unbutton one more button. Tuck your boyfriend’s shirt into your most distressed skinny jeans, and wear sneakers to a party where every other girl is barely balancing on stiletto heels. Break the fashion rules, but do so with subtlety. Move with confidence, not arrogance, and for goodness sake, offer an authentic smile every chance you get.

Forget about labels and wear what you like

Any woman who believes that a designer label makes her cool misses the point entirely. Don’t work too hard to be stylish, and always let yourself be a little less ‘done’ than the other women you hang out with. Style is a state of mind, after all. If those super-pricey, red-soled Jimmy Choos pinch your toes and make you wobble when you walk, that is not cool. Wearing a pair of super clunky, uber comfortable combat boots and boot cuffs with your frilly party dress is.

When it comes to style, imagination, and the guts to pull it off matter so much more than anything fashion magazines purport. Wear garments that fit well, keep your clothes in good repair, and don’t be afraid to mix and match items you’ve never worn together before.

 

Rebuilding My Wardrobe

wardrobeSince making changes to my diet and activity levels, I’ve not only lost weight but also changed shape (although the summer holidays has done a good job of undoing some of that, unfortunately!), which means that there’s a LOT of stuff in my wardrobe which no longer fits me. There are a few bits which I’ll hang onto, like t-shirts which still look okay, just a little looser than before, but so much stuff is now too big that I need to have a major overhaul of my wardrobe. I thought I’d tackle it bit by bit and focus on main areas which need replacing:

Jeans

While I don’t want to invest too much money on expensive jeans before I’ve hit my target weight, there’s little more unflattering than ill-fitting jeans, so this is something I’ll need to replace sooner rather than later. It’ll be a while before I go for Levis or something with a label, but a few pairs from a High Street store should see me through the winter.

Nightwear

Being a co-sleeping Mama means that nightwear is a priority, especially with winter coming – I cannot BEGIN to tell you how often I get woken up by my own shivering because a duvet-hogging toddler has left me without a cover! I like to wear high-quality nightwear such as soft jersey pyjamas which will keep me warm but allow me to also breathe.

Undies

Being a big-busted lady means that I’m all too aware of the importance of a good bra, and changing shape has meant that many of my old bras are now too big around the band. My bras are generally expensive, no matter where I buy them from, but it’s something that I need to just suck up and deal with so that I can maintain good support.

Basics

This is a pretty general category, but I tend to keep a lot of basics like plain vests and t-shirts which I can use to layer up in the colder months. Being in and out of the car all day means that I HATE wearing coats and thick clothes, so wearing a few thinner layers keeps me warm without making me feel too bulky and uncomfortable. Most of my current basics are either too big or have holes/bleach stains on them (hands up who else ruins EVERYTHING whilst cleaning?!) so replacing them is something that I need to do on a fairly regular basis.

Woollies

I do love a good woolly, and as I said above, they’re an Autumn/Winter staple for me so that I can use them for layering. As with jeans, ill-fitting woollies can be super unflattering (I threw a jumper away in 2013 purely because it clung in ALL the wrong places and I got asked three times if I was pregnant while wearing it!), so I need to invest in some jumpers and cardies in smaller sizes now.

Choosing New Bras with Simply Be

It has to be said, I’m not very good at shopping. Being uncomfortable about my size means that shopping for clothes is rarely a pleasure and I often come away from shops unhappy with having tried on a bunch of stuff that doesn’t fit properly or look right on me. One thing that I’ve ALWAYS made sure I spend money on, though, is underwear. Having a massive bust means that buying proper bras is an absolute necessity, especially if I want to avoid back problems and shoulder pain. My bust is also an area which isn’t really affected by my weight; even at my biggest and smallest, my cup size has barely changed, although my band size has recently got smaller with my weight loss.

Just recently, I’ve been doing some online browsing to find new undies, and I’ve noticed that there are some really fun, sexy styles out there at the moment. For years, it seemed as though anyone over a certain size was confined to really frumpy bra styles, but things have come along leaps and bounds and suddenly everything is far more fun! Here are a few of my favourites:

FIGLEAVES CURVE PEARL FRONT FASTENER PLUNGE BRA

I absolutely love the look of harness bras, and although they might not be hugely practical, they definitely look good. Lots of my friends have separate harnesses that they attach to any bra, but I love the fact that this bra has one attached already. The matching knickers are really pretty too!

FIGLEAVES CRISS CROSS BIKINI TOP

Okay, so technically this one isn’t a bra, it’s a bikini, but just look how pretty it is! I adore the colour, I adore the shape of the cup and I adore the pretty straps. It’s absolutely gorgeous and as soon as I;m confident enough to wear a bikini again, I’ll be choosing something just like this.

THE FLORAL TATTOO BALCONY BRA

This bra does a stunning job of proving that white underwear doesn’t have to be boring! The delicate flowers across the cups are embroidered and the combination of the rose-gold accents and the small keyhole detail on the front make this style look smoking hot!

PRETTY SECRETS IVY LACE CAMI BRA BLACK

I’m no prude, but when you have a big chest you have no choice but to show your cleavage even a bit, unless everything you wear has a roll-neck! I absolutely love the lace detailing across the tops of the cups on this style, which you could wear under almost anything and you’d get an extra bit of modesty in the bargain – plus, a little bit of lace peeking out always looks pretty!

PRETTY SECRETS NAVY FLORAL PIPPA HIGH NECK PRINTED LACE BALCONY BRA

Another style which would keep the girls well and truly in-check is this high-neck style from Pretty Secrets. It’s probably both the sturdiest AND the prettiest bra I’ve seen in a long time, a combination which rarely ever goes together. I really, really love this bra!

Styling the New Me

I’m still nowhere near the end of my weightloss journey, but I have lost enough now to notice that many of my clothes are now miles too big. This was okay when the weather was cold and I could just wear belts on the jeans and chuck a hoody on, but now it’s summer again (or at least pretending to be!) I’m finding it a lot harder. A few weeks ago, I decided to get my summer dresses out and all but one of them hung off of me like a potato sack! I’m not keen to to go and spend a fortune on a whole new wardrobe but I think there are probably a few key items that I can buy which won’t look outrageous once I’ve gone down another dress-size or two.

The thing I’m really struggling with though, is HOW to dress. Since gaining weight, I tend to opt for The Mum Uniform which consists of a selection of t-shirts, skinny jeans and cardigans. Every single outfit I wear is some variation on this theme and while I’m not planning to get to a size 10 and suddenly start going out in hotpants, I don’t really know what my style even is anymore. The last time I enjoyed shopping and was even ABLE to shop in non-plus-size shops, I was in my very early twenties, newly married and child-free. Now that I’m a mother of two and in my thirties, I feel quite stumped.

For summer, I reckon maxi dresses are a good bet. Any that I buy now will hopefully be too big by next summer, but I’ve seen lots of people styling maxi dresses with a big belt, or even wearing ones which are really baggy, so I think that could be an investment worth making. They’re ‘girlie’ and summery but don’t bare loads of flesh which makes them ideal for school runs on a hot day.

I have noticed already that shopping is significantly easier JUST from loosing one dress size. Previously, shopping for an 18 meant that there were lots of places I couldn’t shop at all and my body shape made it impossible to find things which suited me. A few weeks ago, I went to a wedding reception and needed a dress. I was DREADING going shopping because it’s usually such an ordeal. I go from shop to shop, getting more upset and frustrated that I either can’t find anything I like or nothing fits me properly.

This time, however, I went to ONE department store, picked up about 5 dresses, tried them on and managed to find something I loved with just one trip to the changing rooms. It was probably the happiest shopping experience I’ve had in over a decade.

From now on, I’m going to try to keep a positive head on when I go shopping as I think it makes it much easier to find something I like, instead of getting into a funk in my head and not wanting to look any further. I may even take the liberty of using a personal shopper to help me find some items that I love at some point in the future!

What’s your shopping style? Have you had a body overhaul which has meant that you’ve needed a new wardrobe? Do leave me a comment below as I’d love to hear from you.

 

Mainline Menswear – Top Brands and Great Prices

Recently, Mainline Menswear got in touch to see if we’d like to write about them in exchange for some new duds for Husband and being the lovely wife that I am, of course I agreed! Husband and I tend to vary when it comes to clothing. While I tend to buy cheap stuff which invariably ends up worn to death or covered in bleach stains, he goes for much higher quality items which he looks after and last a long time. It’s a running joke that he’s got clothes which are older than me (not literally…but not FAR off!) and he firmly believes that you get what you pay for, which means it’s worth paying a bit more for stuff which lasts.

The site itself is packed full of brands that Husband loves, such as Ralph Lauren, Levis, Armani and more, so after a little while spent browsing the site, this is what he chose:

Mainline Menswear

Paul and Shark polo – £80

Ralph Lauren Sullivan Slim Fit Jeans – £53

Adidas Originals California t-shirt – £23

The package arrived the day after we ordered the stuff, which is really good to know if you’re needing something to wear for the weekend and it’s already Wednesday! The items themselves were really good value and the usual high quality you’d expect for designer clothing. The site was really easy to navigate and each listing shows all of the available sizes at a glance, letting you know whether they’re in stock or not – I don’t know about you, but I HATE it when I’m shopping online, finally choose something only to discover it’s not in stock, but that wasn’t an issue here.

Originally, Husband actually chose a pair of trainers but because he’s a slightly awkward half-size, they were too small and needed to be returned. The return process with some online stores is really complicated but at Mainline it’s simple. All you do is use their online return form, enter your order number and it produces a pre-paid returns label which is deducted from your refund, meaning you just need to drop it off at the post office – simple!

All in all, we’ve been really impressed by our Mainline Menswear experience. Delivery was super speedy, the clothes were great quality, the prices were good and the customer service second-to-none. I highly recommend using Mainline Menswear if you’re looking to buy something for a Husband, boyfriend, male relative or anyone else who loves a label and I’ll definitely be shopping there for gifts for Husband in the future.

Alternatives to a Winter Coat

Alternatives to a Winter CoatOkay, so let it be said that I’m no fashionista – if it’s clean and it fits me, it’ll usually do and co-ordination be damned! However, at this time of year, one thing that I find tricky is outdoor wear, particularly big coats. I spend quite a lot of time driving and I hate feeling bunched up in thick layers, unable to move my arms properly, but I also hate being cold more than almost anything. I’ve been thinking lately about alternatives to a winter coat and thought I’d share some of them with you here:

Ponchos

Ponchos are actually super on-trend at the moment and come in a million different styles, from full-on South American print to sporty or feminine. One of my favourite ways to wear a poncho is with a roll-neck jumper, jeans and long boots, which works as a look for just about any casual occasion and can be easily glammed up with the right jewellery.

Merino Layers

Wearing lots of thick layers might keep you warm but it can feel very restrictive, so thinking about the types of materials that you layer can really help. Opting for a material like merino wool, which is light, very warm and breatheable will allow you to add more layers without feeling like the Michelin man, and merino is also very trendy right now.

Cardigans

On days when it’s not wet, chucking a chunky knit on top of your clothes can sometimes be enough to keep you warm and will usually allow you to still move around unencumbered. Cardigans come in all shapes, sizes and colours and go with just about anything but remember that the looser the knit, the less likely it will be to keep out the wind!

Rain Mac

Global warming means that our winters are seeming less chilly, which means that sometimes you can get away without wearing a coat, although with this being Britain the threat of rain is always real! There are some really funky rain macs around which can fold up to pretty much the size of a purse and can be kept in a bag or pocket in case the heavens open.

Gilet/Bodywarmer

This is the one that I opt for the most, as I have a decent quilted bodywarmer with a fur-lined hood which allows me to move my arms whilst driving but still keep my body warm. I tend to layer it over a fleece, and wear a t-shirt beneath which keeps me super warm on even the coldest days.

Do you have an alternative to a thick winter coat that you swear by? I’d love to hear your suggestions so please do leave me a comment below.

 

 

Kids Autumn/Winter with Petit Bateau

Something that I love about shopping online is that I can source things which are a little bit different to what you’d normally find on the High Street. This is especially great for finding clothes for Sausage and Burrito Baby as I do love dressing them to accentuate their unique personalities, which is why I was happy when Petit Bateau asked me to put together an outfit for each of them from their new Autumn/Winter range.

Sausage is pushing boundaries with her fashion choices at the moment. She loves to be a little bit different (hence the pink hair during the holidays!) and relishes bucking against what girls in her class would be wearing. BB likes to wear things that look “pweety” (yep, that’s how she says it!) but which also allow her to charge around and don’t impede her running/climbing/dog riding. Here’s what I chose for them:

 

Petit Bateau

 

Petit Bateau by jayne-crammond on Polyvore

Grey is one of my favourite colours for clothing at the moment and I think the grey jeans make such a nice alternative to blue or black, which is what you see on most people. Sausage and BB both look amazing in most colours, but Sausage looks especially fantastic in autumn/winter palates because of her wild red hair, while BB looks great in more neautral shades because of her blond locks and pink cheeks.

I actually wnjoy shopping for the girls SO much more than shopping for myself, so spending an afternoon scouring a site and choosing things for them is a real treat! Have you shopped with Petit Bateau before? Do you enjoy shopping for your kids? What would you choose from the Petit Bateau ranges? Leave me a comment below!

Men’s Armani Jeans at infinities.co.uk (review)

Not to be too reductive, but I think there are two types of people in the world – those who love clothes shopping and those who hate it. My Husband falls firmly into the latter category. He loves to buy new things, especially jeans, but spending hours trawling the shops is a personal horror for him so he does the majority of his clothes shopping online. I do think that shopping for clothes online is a LOT easier for men because their sizes tend to be a lot more standardised. As a woman, a size 16 in one shop can seem more like a size 12 in others, whereas for men, a 36″ waist is pretty much the same wherever you shop.

Just recently, Husband discovered Infinities, a shop which has 11 stores around the UK, as well as a big online presence, and sells all of the best labels for men, from Armani to Stone Island to Adidas Originals, Victorinox, New Balance and many more. They asked if Husband would like to choose something from their range to review, so he chose some new jeans (everyone always needs jeans!) from the Armani J21 range (click on the image to be taken to the website):

Men's Armani Jeans

In terms of men’s fashion, Husband is really not keen on a lot of the current styles of jeans as they all seem to be skinny in the leg, which makes them impossible to wear if you’re a lifelong cyclist with decent thighs, so he was really pleased to find a jean which was a regular fit with a straight leg. Obviously, being Armani, they were exactly as good quality as you’d expect them to be with a really dark wash and thick fabric. Husband is 5″10′ and these came up about an inch too long in the leg, but that’s not too much of a problem when your wife is handy with a sewing machine. They were a great fit in the waist though, exactly the ‘true-to-size’ fit we’d hoped they’d be.

Another thing Husband liked about these jeans is the lack of logos. There’s a tiny silver Armani logo on the pocket and a black leather belt patch sewn on the waistband, but other than that they’re very low key- Husband likes nice clothes but he hates feeling like a walking brand advert, so these were perfect.

Delivery was really quick and the website was really easy to navigate. There’s tons of bargains to be had on the site and there’s loads of stuff on there which would make lovely Christmas gifts for the males in your life.

Head over to Infinities.co.uk for more information and to look at their ranges.

Treating Myself with David Nieper

David NieperWhen it comes to buying clothes, Husband and I seem to be diametrically opposed in our attitudes. Whilst I tend to opt for cheap and cheerful, he tends to buy more expensive items and, in principle, it may seem like he spends more than me but his clothes are better quality and therefore last him a lot longer – he always jokes that he owns clothes which are actually older than me! He’s always encouraging me to buy myself nice, more expensive things but I can never seem to get my head around spending money on myself, however I recently discovered luxury womenswear from David Nieper and it’s making me change my mind!

David Nieper (who is actually a person, not just a faceless brand) has created a reputation for creating luxury womenswear which is all designed and made right here in England, so as well as getting homegrown talent in your wardrobe, you’re massively cutting the carbon footprint of your clothes by buying domestically because nothing needs to be flown halfway around the world.

One incredible detail, which I’ve never seen on clothes before, is that each garmet you buy is actually checked and signed by hand by the principle seamstress before it’s sent to you, giving you the ultimate personal touch.

David Nieper personal touch

Something which really caught my eye about David Nieper is the lingerie collection. Finding well made bras in large sizes can be a huge problem, but this store actually offers well-made bras which go up to an H-cup, giving women with a large bust a great option for buying their undies.

As if all of that wasn’t impressive enough, I also discovered that David Nieper offers an individual size service, where you provide your measurements (should they be different to ‘standard’ sizing) and they’ll provide you with garments which are made to your exact specifications. Not only this, but they also offer an alteration service for their clothes, so if you need something made shorter in the arm or leg, for instance, they’ll do this for you too!

If you have a woman in your life with discerning tastes, David Nieper also offer gift vouchers, starting at £25, which they will send to you with a luxury gift card (left blank for your message) and I think these would make brilliant presents for birthdays and Christmas – who doesn’t love being given the gift of being able to shop?!

David Nieper is different from pretty much any other shop I’ve ever encountered and it’s clear that the personal service they offer is why they’ve been in business for so long. Head over to the site to see their ranges and experience it all for yourself.

Review: Simply Be Women’s Clothing

For me, clothes fall into categories; things you need and things you want. Just recently, having found myself down a dress size, a lot of stuff has ended up in the need column because lots of my old clothes are now a little big. I’m not a natural shopper for SO many reasons; I don’t really like actually being in shops because I just get more and more disheartened when I can’t find anything I like and I never seem to be able to find anything I like when I’m under pressure so shopping from home is far easier for me.

Just recently, I’ve been trying to find a pair of well-fitting sports leggings to wear when I exercise and it’s been tougher than you’d think, probably because I’m a bit fussy. I can’t stand it when leggings aren’t elasticated enough to stay up properly when you’re moving around or when they get baggy knees after a few hours. I also, compared to the rest of my body, don’t have massive legs, so lots of brands come up okay on the waist but baggy in the legs – not a good look! A while ago, Simply Be asked if I’d like to try a pair of their leggings and also choose a few other bits from their range, and obviously I said yes! If you’ve seen my Instagram this week, you’ll have seen a few of the garments I chose:

Simply Be Ripped Skinny Jeans

Simply Be Light Grey Split Back Top

I also chose a shirt and some basic vests:

 

Weirdly, I haven’t got a picture of me in the shirt…I say “weirdly” because I’ve basically worn it to death since I’ve had it! Husband and I went to London last Friday to see one of our favourite comedians, Bill Burr, at the Hammersmith Apollo and the ripped jeans and t-shirt were the perfect outfit; comfy enough to sit in for a couple of ours (plus 4 hours driving and the stress of car trouble, but that’s another story!) but the little details like the ripped effect on the jeans that the split back on the t-shirt made it feel a little bit more than just a jeans and t-shirt.

Miraculously, the leggings are also a really good fit. They stay up without needing to be constantly hauled up at the waist and I wore them all day long without ending up with baggy knees, which is basically all of my boxes ticked!

I’m really impressed with the quality, sizing and also the prices of Simply Be clothing; all of these bits came to £92, which I don’t think is bad at all for 5 tops and two pairs of bottoms. I’d definitely recommend Simply Be if you’re looking for a good shopping experience from the comfort of your own home, high quality clothing at decent prices and some really pretty choices.