26 articles Tag clothes

Dressing for Success: What Are 5 Essential Components of a Women’s Business Outfit?

I know; morphing from a beauty diva whose closet has dozens and dozens of casual attire to a smart and decent business lady isn’t easy. You possibly can’t even fathom the prospect of looking stylish on an official outfit, different from your usual casual, attire!

Looking chic on a business outfit

You only have to discern which clothes match with which other one and the mojo to navigate vaguer social rules and dress to kill. And you don’t even have to do a complete overhaul of your current collection or even spend a fortune, shopping for an entirely new set.

Just a little new set of selected types of official women’s attire and you are fully ready to start “slaying” again on your new outfit. There are over five main components that make up an ideal women’s business attire.

1. Start with a well-knitted blazer

Out of all women’s official wear, you will need, a blazer shouldn’t miss. And whether you are new to the world of office wear or not, spotting a nice, cute and quality blazer isn’t hard. Go for something that’s nicely cut and knitted to perfection, slim and fitting, especially on your arms.
The good thing with a blazer – bold colours are cool, is that it goes with pretty much any other attire. It goes well with your dress, that skirt or even that only black pant you love wearing to official gatherings.

2. Accessorize well

Nothing completes a killer look of a smart, focused professional businesswoman more than a nice watch, a beautiful necklace, and a matching earring. Coordinating jewelry with your office attire isn’t hard, provided you learn more about which fashionable brands are good for you. The same is true for a watch.

But for someone who probably has never shopped for a timepiece before, I’d suggest that you don’t splurge on one of those super-expensive brands. Just go for something that will look nice on your wrist and still match with a majority of what’s in your wardrobe.

3. A Beautiful To-The-Knee Dress

Once in a while, you will need to remind everyone that the chic, fashionista in you isn’t dead yet. While doing this, however, choose a well-cut dress that’s thick and flattering, but comfortable when put on.

Naturally, dresses are fantastic for business meetings for they ooze elegance and sheer sophistication. But it’s also an instant choice that doesn’t disappoint during one of those days when you can’t decide what to wear. Just make sure you go for solid coloured dresses – sleeveless or not.

4. IMPORTANT: roomy, high-quality handbag

Don’t forget to tag along with a cute handbag. Work bags that are a little bit of everything; professional, but not too roomy, and not too bulky, will accentuate the calm and organized business woman in you. Ideally, your handbag should be able to comfortably carry all your essentials and still feel comfortable to walk with.

5. Cute, comfortable heels

I’ll not talk about flats and ankle strap (or sneakers) official shoes for women because they are part of everyone’s staples. When it comes to heels, however, it’s okay to have at least a pair – just in case. Pointy or not; super-high or not, your choice should, however, feel comfortable to put on and trendy with your overall office wear.

Going through this list, you should feel confident investing in them, especially if you are considering buying a couple for a start. Other outfits to consider are a beautiful, bold-coloured blouse and a beautiful pencil skirt. The best thing is to have a perfect blend of them so that, choosing what to pair with which another one becomes a breeze!

Updating Your Summer Wardrobe

summerNow that the hot weather is in full swing, it’s made me realise how very little I have in the way of summer clothes. Husband noticed that I had a zip-tie holding my favourite shirts up the other day, because the button had come off, and that’s a pretty fair description of most of my clothes, so it’s safe to say that I’m desperate for an update to my wardrobe to see me through the rest of the summer.

The first think I need is some summer dresses, like the dresses from esprit; they’re casual yet pretty and perfect for everything from a summer barbecue to doing the school run on a hot day. I love dresses that can be worn casually with flip flops every day, or dressed up with a pair of wedges and a statement necklace for slight more formal occasions.

Obviously, I also need to invest in some new shorts, because the ones being held together by a zip tie just won’t do. I do like to have my legs bare in the summer, because I tend to feel claustrophobic and overheated if I wear trousers, even ones made from light material, so shorts and skirts are the way forward.

I’ve also realised how few summer friendly tops I have. In the winter, I tend to layer up with a t-shirt or vest, followed by a jumper or hoodie and then my coat, but all of my vests are either too clingy for summer or just not really tops that you wear by themselves. I recently invested in a strapless bra, for the first time since I got married 12 years ago, so I’m thinking of looking at some of the funky off-the-shoulder tops that seem to be everywhere at the moment.

Finally, footwear. My lovely sister-in-law bought me a new pair of Havaianas for my birthday back in June and I have about 8 pairs of Birkenstocks, but I think I need to invest in something a bit for formal, like a nice cork wedge so that I’ve got all my bases covered. I’m not a big wearer of heels as I find them uncomfortable, but I could wear wedges all day every day and still feel happy in them!

What are your summer basics? Do you have a summer wardrobe that you bring out every year or do you wear things until they need to held together with zip ties, like me?! Do leave me a comment below!

Creating a Kid’s Wardrobe for Bad Weather

There’s nothing like a sudden-onset Snowmageddon to make me realise how woefully underprepared we are for cold weather. The girls both have decent winter coats, as do Husband and I, but in terms of proper cold weather gear, it’s only Husband who was sorted. Not only does he have water-resistant jeans and gaiters to protect his lower legs, he also has all-weather boots and merino layers for his top half. As you can tell, he spends a lot more time outdoors than the women of this household do!

We went out sledging on Wednesday, and it was so wonderful and fun, but we had to go home after an hour as the cold started to seep in and Sausage’s legs ended up damp after she decided to cheese-roll down a hill! I’ve been looking at kids winter clothes on the internet, in the spirit of being a bit more prepared if more snow turns up and thought I’d share some of my favourite items with you:

Didriksons 1913 Moarri Overall

Aside from the fact that this base layer is SUPER cute, I think both girls could really benefit from a proper thermal base layer to wear when it gets cold. We’ve been layering with wooly tights under their trousers but it’s not very comfortable or practical, so something like this would be properly fit for purpose.

Color Kids Tudo Pants

These fleecy pants would be so much better for outdoor fun, because they’re nice and loose fitting, unlike jeans which can be really restrictive and hard to run around in. These would make an excellent mid-layer over thermals and under a snow suit and the girls would find them super comfortable.

Isbjörn Panda Sweater

As well as being water-repellent, this fleece protects against sharp wind and is a brilliant mid-layer for wearing under waterproofs. Layering like this would give the girls the ability to still move around and either add more layers or take some off, depending on their environment.

Color Kids Klement Overall Children

This waterproof overall would be absolutely perfect for cheeserolling down hills in! The girls could play in the snow for as long as they want witout ever having to worry about getting wet, and the bright colours mean they’re really easy to see on a background of pure white. In fact, I love this overall so much that I wish they also made it in my size!

Sorel Whitney Short Boots

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from my very outdoorsy Husband, it’s that good footwear is VERY important. Having the right pair of boots for your environment is basically the most essential part of any outdoor wardrobe, and these snow boots look as though they’d be perfect for the girls. They have a decent sole, are lined with microfleece and are waterproof – ideal for afternoons gadding about in the snow.

Are you regular outdoorsy people? Do you have a favourite selection of clothes that you wear when the temperature plummets? Leave me a comment below as I’d love to hear from you.

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.

 

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.

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.

Treating Myself with MandM Direct

One thing that I’m not very good at is buying clothes for myself. There are several reasons for this:

  1. I never feel hugely confident that I pick things which suit me or are very flattering. When I was younger I had a fairly distinct sense of style and knew what I liked and what looked good. Since having kids, my shape has changed and I always feel like I’m dressed all wrong.
  2.  I always feel guilty about spending money on myself when I could be spending it on the girls or the home.
  3.  I HATE going into shops and trying things on.

All of these things tend to add up to my wardrobe looking pretty tragic at the best of times and me never feeling like I’ve got anything to wear. So when MandM Direct got in touch and asked if I’d like to pick an outfit for myself, I FORCED myself to choose something for me! Here’s what I chose:

Brave Soul Women’s Shirt in Charcoal – £17.99

Levi’s Womens Classic Rise Demi Curve Slim 5 Pocket Jeans in Glacier Grey – £39.99

Havaianas Womens Top Flip Flops in Pistachio – £12.99

Husband will be immensely proud of me; he’s ALWAYS telling me to buy Levis and other quality brands, instead of supermarket own brand jeans. I know he’s right; you do get what you pay for with these things and it’s better to spend more on good quality items that will last longer than buy cheaply and need to replace it more often.

Havaianas are a bit of an addiction for me and a yearly treat, although I usually wait until my birthday in June and ask someone to buy them for me as a gift – I’ll have to think of something different for my birthday list now…or be REALLY indulgent and get 2 new pairs this year! To be fair, MandM Direct is one of the UK’s leading off price retailers, with up to 75% off big brands 365 days a year, so their prices mean that I CAN treat myself! What’s not to love about guilt-free shopping?!

I love the fact that the items I’ve chosen can be dressed up or down and will good just as good for a casual afternoon lunch or accessorised for an evening occasion and worn with high heels instead of flip flops. Apparently, my skin and hair tones mean that I’m a summer pallette and I should wear soft greys, blues and other colours which tone down the pink tones in my skin. What do you think of my choices? I’d love to hear what you think so leave me a comment below.

“You Look Like a Girl”

boy dressed as princessThe other day, I needed to buy some new pillows so I went to the supermarket and was wandering around the clothing and home wares department having a browse. It was pretty quiet in there as it was only about 9.15am and there were only one or two other shoppers in the whole place. One other customer was a woman, probably in her mid-to-late twenties and her son, who obviously wasn’t quite school age yet, but still looked roughly 4-ish.

The kid was wandering around fairly unchecked and at one point started to try things on from one of those free-standing jewellery and accessory displays that turns – you know the ones, right? Anyway, he became particularly enamoured with a pair of novelty sunglasses which had red, heart-shaped frames. He put them on and after admiring himself in the tiny mirror for a few seconds, turned to his Mum and, with huge amounts of pride and happiness said “Mum! Look at me! I love these glasses!”.

The mother turned to him, narrowed her eyes and with pure vitriol in her voice said “Oh my god, take those off, you look like a girl”.

My initial reaction was one of sadness as I watched the boy, clearly deflated after being rebuffed by the mother from whom he’d so wanted a little bit of praise and affirmation, take off the glasses and put them gently back on the shelf. He looked really sad, and not in that “I wanted something and Mum wouldn’t buy it for me” way that kids do, but in a genuinely confused and upset way.  But the more I’ve thought about it, the madder I’ve felt.

Firstly, what is it about red, heart shaped glasses which is designated as a GIRLS ONLY thing? Even if you do subscribe to the (bloody annoying) notion that colours are somehow gendered, surely red is a pretty neutral colour? And hearts…I mean, do only girls have hearts?! Err, no.

Secondly, even if you do think that red, heart shaped glasses are ‘girly’, SO WHAT if he does look like a girl? How is that somehow a negative thing? Is it really so bad to let a child experiment with what they feel comfortable in and form their own notions of femininity and masculinity? I know loads of guys (Husband included on one or two occasions) who’ve worn pink and absolutely rocked it. They didn’t look like girls, they looked like MEN IN PINK, just like this little boy simply looked like a boy in heart-shaped glasses. There’s a big difference.

Also, I genuinely thought we were getting past the days of negative gender stereotypes? I see little boys on my friends’ Facebook timelines playing with dollies, pushchairs, vaccums, ironing boards; all toys which, even in my lifetime, would have firmly been in the girls toys aisle and equally, I see MANY girls playing with Thomas the Tank Engine – Burrito Baby got her own tool kit and farm vehicles for her 2nd birthday whilst Sausage’s favourite things are Pokemon, Match Attax and her NERF guns. But these are “boys toys”, no? Or, is it possible, that we can just have fun with things we like, regardless. Well, yes, obviously it is.

It makes me so sad to think that little boys are having their joy, their individuality and their creativity squashed by parents with an archaic notion of what it is to be a boy and I really dread to think about the issues that this could cause them as they grow up. As a parent, I strongly believe that, although it’s our job to guide our children in terms of morality, safety and care, it’s also really important to allow them to develop their sense of self.

What do you think? Would you allow your sons to wear red, heart-shaped sunglasses? Or do you think that boys should be boys and girls should be girls and that the old-fashioned line in the sand between the two genders should remain? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Pink Clove Plus Size Clothing Review

A little while ago, a company called Pink Clove got in touch and asked if I would like to select an outfit from their New Arrivals range. Given the fact that I recently had to throw a load of clothes away which were either too big or had holes in them, I said yes! They asked me to pick three items and this is what I chose:

Pink Clove

The Pink Clove Plus Kyra Belted Duster Coat, the Pink Clove Plus Alice Shoestring Cami Vest in Grey and the Pink Clove Plus Izzy Utility Ponte Combat Trouser in Black.

All of the items arrived really quickly and were nicely packaged, which I think is really important when you’ve spent money on new clothes as you want them to feel a little bit special. The coat and trousers are actually made of a heavy jersey-type material, which means that they’re soft and comfortable, but because they’re well cut and detailed, they don’t look like loungewear. The vest impressed me, too; the material is quite heavy which means that it hangs really well. As a plus-size woman, it’s a real fine line between finding garments which hide all of my lumps and bumps and not looking like I’ve just draped myself in a one-man tent!

All of the items wash up really nicely – being the classy lady that I am, I wore the vest out to Sunday dinner the first time I wore it and managed to spill a huge splash of gravy down the front. Given the light grey colour, I was convinced that the gravy would stain but it actually came out on the first wash and looked good as new. As much as I like clothes to look nice and be stylish, the practicalities like this are really important too as I need things to be functional as a busy mum of 2.

Something else I liked was that actual cut of the clothes. Often, brands make ‘plus size’ versions of their styles without really taking into account different body shapes. Plus-size bodies aren’t just SIZED differently, they’re often proportioned differently in different areas and it felt like the Pink Clove clothing really took this into account. A lot of my weight is carried on my chest and tummy and the Pink Clove top and jacket seemed to fit really well in these areas.

All in all, I would definitely recommend Pink Clove to my plus-size readers and will definitely go back next time I need to buy some well-fitting, good quality clothing.