How To Be Well Red

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Whether you’ve already been away for your holiday or like me you have yet to go, there is still at least a month, probably longer, of summer left. It may not currently feel like it but we are a long way off the nights drawing in and scraping ice off the car, even if Grazia has this week urged us to invest in a winter coat.

As I piled up dresses to take away with me, an eclectic mix of maxis, midis and minis, those with patterns and those without, new styles with ruffles and layers, old styles which I don’t part with because year after year they prove so darned useful,  I couldn’t help but notice how many of them are similar to those pictured on the autumn winter 2017 catwalk. Sure on the catwalks, there was an oversized mannish coat here and a long cosy cardigan there; wonderful woollies thrown casually over the top and bits of gossamer and cashmere delicately layered underneath punctuated with witchy boots and runkled socks, but the mainstay… well the mainstay seems to be the lovely ladylike dress, the likes of which I’ve become rather attached to.

So since it’s still summer (say it enough and you’ll start believing it) and the sales are making way for the new collections, be on the look out for a statement dress, one that you can wear now with a tan and a glass of rose and then later with a few more layers and probably a cold or cough. There’s just one stipulation – it should be red.

The red dress has sneaked up on us through all the floral and tropical prints and I wouldn’t have realised it was a thing had I not last week been approached to source a red dress for an evening do. It didn’t take me long. In fact I found so many in the space of just one episode of Horrible Histories (it’s OK, I’d seen it before) that I’d stockpiled at least ten within hours of the request being made – and that was just the good ones. So here, lovely readers, for your delectation are the best of the red dresses.

The red dress for the ‘rectangle’ shape…

Lucky you, you can fully embrace the ruffle trend which just won’t go away. A bit of frill or ruching on the bust is flattering for you so go for it. Embrace skirts with a bit of flounce or pleat.

Whistles £179

Uterque £115

Other Stories £49

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The red dress for the ‘hourglass’ shape…

You’ve got the curves so make sure your dress hugs them. An open neckline is most flattering and make sure your waist (you have a waist!) is defined. Ruffles only in small doses.

Very.co.uk £58

Other Stories £89

 

Other Stories £69

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The red dress for the ‘triangle’ shape…

Pick a dress with a feature on the top half to show off your slender shoulders or decolletage, you can go for any neckline. Skirts that gently skim the hips are most flattering for you.

French Connection £95

 

Zara £59.99

Zara £29.99

The red dress for the ‘circle’ shape…

This is a great season if you’re a circle body type because there’s plenty of loose fitting gorgeous red dresses on the high street currently. Go for something floaty and light and avoid ruffles. You’ve got fab legs so show them off in something a bit shorter.

Mango £69.99

 

H&M £39.99

 

Zara £29.99

You could do a lot worse than use the dancing lady emoji as your inspiration – she always looks good – and failing that, if you are over the age of 40, then think Kelly Le Brock. Have a magnificent August everyone, I’m off on my holidays so see you in a couple of weeks and don’t forget if you didn’t take my book on holiday last summer, you can buy it here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Shopped-Story-Secret-Shopping-Self-Discovery/1910463302/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501788604&sr=8-1&keywords=emily+stott+shopped

 

 

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Top Twelve Picks for a Tropical Trip

*** ⇒ You can now shop from this page – Click on the image to go straight through to the brand’s website! I know, I can’t quite believe I’ve made this happen either… ⇐ ***

It’s usually at about this time of year that I post a bossy boots blog pretending I know all the answers to the perfectly packed holiday suitcase. Well, if you would like to read one of those then you should look back over the previous ones because this summer I’m so over excited by the abundance of glorious accessories, I’m sharing those pieces which will instantly update your holiday wardrobe instead – in other words giving you more things to put in your suitcase, rather than fewer.

Shoes reduced to £65 at Whistles

Surprisingly, given the fairly mean spirited mood of just about everything in the world at the moment (even Andy Murray’s hip gave up the ghost last week), the fashion world has gone all out for joyous, primary coloured graphics, and there’s nothing but positive connotations here.

Pineapples, watermelons, flamingos – what’s not to like? They all make you think of sunny climes and they all make you smile. Perhaps it’s because they all tend to hang out on the rim of beach bar cocktails.

Sandals £22 at Top Shop

Meanwhile, if bits of fruit aren’t your thing then you can’t have failed to notice the wealth of pom poms and tassels attached to anything and everything this year. At the start of it all I couldn’t get my head around those trainers which looked as if someone had butchered a rabbit and stuck half its bum on the front. My friend Cesca and I texted each other ever more ridiculous pom pom pics back and forth until suddenly it wasn’t funny anymore and I realised I had to have something with pom poms. That’s how trends work though isn’t it; they creep into your subconscious, you try to ignore them because you think them absurd and not for you and then you realise they just won’t go away. Next thing you know, you simply can’t help yourself. I have to say, it was exactly like that for me with the whole Justin Bieber thing too.

Pineapples

Cover-up £50 at Next

Bag £9.99 at H&M

You’ll find this pineapple bag in the kids’ department at H&M but so what? It’s neat and consequently even cheaper. I deliberately didn’t buy it for my two year old friend Viola’s birthday because I wanted it for myself. Don’t worry, I bought her a strawberry one instead.

Watermelons

T-shirt reduced to £20 at Oasis

Mini basket bag £12 at Sosouk.co.uk

My mum had a fabulous watermelon bikini in the eighties and she wore it to death. And it’s never not funny when you can say “Do you like my mum’s melons?” at every available opportunity. I discovered the gorgeous website sosouk.co.uk on Instagram recently. It’s full of lovely Moroccan pieces so you’ll find plenty of pom poms there too – make sure you check it out.

Flamingos

Beach bag reduced to £20 at Oasis

Swimsuit £45 at Next

There are some very dubiously placed flamingos out there so be wary. That said, embrace this trend wholeheartedly because these lovely bubble gum pink feathery creatures won’t transition into your autumn wardrobe. It’ll be slugs by November. Or something.

Tassels

Pack of Bracelets £9.50 at M&S

Necklace £17.50 at M&S

Tassels were the thing I was least sure about because I’m really not a happy clappy floaty type. However it then occurred to me that you can wrap a tassel scarf or long tassel necklace around your big straw hat and it doesn’t look hippyish at all. I know it’s usually only Victoria Beckham who keeps still enough to wear excessive jewellery on the beach, but this year I am sorely tempted.

Pom Poms

Straw hat £8 at Asda

 

Pack of hair bands £2.99 at H&M

When I said I stopped finding pom poms funny, that’s not strictly true. Pom poms on top of pom poms and pom poms stuck on top of boobs are still utterly bizarre for a grown-up in my opinion but add them to accessories and they’re quintessentially summer 2017.

It’s been an amazing summer in London so far so the plethora of citrus fruits and fluffy appendages are appropriate somehow therefore I won’t be waiting until I hit Spain to put on my pom pom sandals. Besides, if you can’t pluck up the courage to go around looking like a pina colada when you’re in your forties, when can you? Last day of term finally, have a lovely juicy weekend everyone!

 

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All White Now

It’s Day 4. Andy Murray is safely through to the third round and there’s already been at least one ‘who’s got the shiniest bouncy hair in the spectators’ box?’ article in the national press. Welcome to Wimbledon fortnight ladies and gentlemen – thirteen days of bronzed rippling muscles, the world’s most expensive strawberries and Clare Balding’s open air studio-proof hair. So far the elements have been kind and there hasn’t been too much in the way of upset, in fact if anything, with a handful of Brits still standing as we approach the middle weekend, it’s looking unnervingly good.

2016 Serena – her style will be missed this year

Consequently the biggest news story has been the snipping off of several inches of Kate Middleton’s chestnut tresses and her Dolce & Gabbana spotted dress (what, the future queen and patron of the AELTC wearing Italian designers? Outrage!). However before the end of this week I hope to have seen a suited and booted Bradley Cooper in the royal box and at least one first generation Beckham.

Everything else has been done with tennis balls – Debenhams in Wimbledon

I live in South West London where Wimbledon fever starts in mid June. I can’t avoid getting excited as every shop and restaurant within five miles of the All England Lawn Tennis Club dangle balls and strawberries in their windows and claim ownership of Andy Murray. I love it. I’m rubbish at tennis so I just watch it. As regular followers of this blog will know, I’m a big fan of the predominantly white rule at this tournament, its Ralph Lauren style one of the many things that sets it apart as arguably the best dressed tournament on the circuit. You don’t hear the players moaning that white kit shows all the dirt so I’ve decided that secretly they all love it. This year, I’m going a step further and encouraging this same rule.

Controversial I know. but hear me out because the more I see of it the more I believe that for all the ‘I’ve got small children and it’s soo impractical/What if I spill red wine down my front’ arguments against, there are just as many reasons for it and you don’t not wear knitwear because it shrinks easily/gets eaten by moths/goes bobbly on the boob do you? Head to toe white looks really fresh and surprisingly effortless – white goes with everything and a variation of it suits everyone, especially in the summer. I admit winter whites are challenging but summer whites are stylish, simple and classy – it didn’t stop you wearing white Levi’s as a teen did it? No it didn’t, so give it a go.

I’ve picked four lovely street style looks which can be recreated without too much bother with pieces you may even have in your wardrobe already but wouldn’t think (or dare) to put together. All can be worn at work (no sticky fingers there unless you’re a nursery teacher or erm, an ice-cream van man) and all will transition from daytime to evening with some finishing touches such as statement earrings or colour pop shoes (see last blog!)

The pretty white dress should be a staple in any summer arsenal, how you style it is up to you. The pieces above will work with flip flops and a pompom basket bag but also dressed up with delicate necklaces and bracelets and embellished shoes.

Finally, there’s no doubt that Wimbledon without Serena Williams is a rather halfhearted Wimbledon in terms of sartorial interest (she’s still training but at six months gone even she can’t shift around a court as she might like). Hopefully next year she’ll be back, aces a-plenty and baby in kit bag, to wow us with her power and unique accessories styling. In the meantime, I’d like to think that if Serena Williams was a shirt, she’d be this amazing one from River Island…

Ruffle shirt £45 at River Island

Have a great weekend everyone. Go Andy…

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How To Put A Spring In Your Step

 

For once in my overly verbal existence, I’m going to get straight to the point with a little game…

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE!

Anyone? OK, I know the dresses are different styles but apart from that?

What about this one?

Can you see it now?

Shoes. They make all the difference. There’s nothing wrong with the nude shoes on the model on the left in the floral dress but how much more interesting is the very similar look with bright blue sandals added? Kate Middleton rarely puts a foot wrong with her outfits except that she tends to play it extraordinarily safe when accessorising. And yet this is the simplest way to personalise a sensible look or make something run of the mill look that little bit more memorable.

This summer shoes are more fabulous and more varied than ever before in the history of feet. Whether you like a flip flop or a sky scraper heel, canvas or embellishment, there is something out there for you. What’s more it’s probably now reduced in the end of season sales too. Stick to your favoured style if you must (it’s sticky out there, you’ve got to be comfortable, I get it) but inject a splash of colour to the mix. You may get lucky like Kate and find the perfect pair of red shoes to go with your red dress but it’d be far less predictable to go for bright blue or purple instead. The unexpected pop of colour in her white ensemble was probably a way of avoiding the dreaded white stiletto headlines, but in choosing red accessories Kate’s look is fresh and contemporary and so much better than the slippery shoe slope she very nearly disappeared down at the start of her marriage:

Kate Middleton and Camilla Parker Bowles (or whatever their names are now)

When something has become the royal staple, it’s time to move on. Besides no-one wants to be wearing the same shoes as their mother-in-law do they? There’s nothing offensive about this look, it’s just so ‘meh’ and if I was marking KM I’d feel obliged to write must try harder alongside this photograph. Unless the aim is to appear as if you don’t actually have feet and that your legs just taper off into a toe-less stump (much like Barbie’s nipple-free boobs) in which case fine; excellent work.

Shoes are far enough away from your face (usually) for you to get away with experimenting with a colour you’d never normally feel comfortable with. For me that would be an orange or bright yellow. Very convenient indeed as there are loads of orange and yellow shoes on the high street just begging to be paired with a boring pair of blue jeans or a sensible grey shift dress.

The colour pop works for all ages and all outfits, from workwear to beachwear (shout out to my very stylish friend Dina who even wore bright red shoes with her ivory wedding gown – and she’s a head teacher so there). Once you’ve popped your first acid bright, black boots and navy shoes will seem sooo dull, you’ll never look back.

Also – and this isn’t really the sort of thing I should say as a personal stylist – but if you’re having a bad hair/face/mum tum day then drawing attention to your eye-catchingly shod feet is an excellent idea all round, in addition to making you smile every time you look down. Just look how chuffed Alison and Reese look!

And if that doesn’t make you smile, then  just take a look at the shoes I’ve ordered myself from the ASOS sale…. I’m not joking I really have…

Embellished shoes reduced to £31.50 at asos.com

Have a fabulous weekend lovely readers!

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Check It Out

Inevitably as winter makes way for spring, patterned fabrics take centre stage. I’m not naturally drawn to prints – I’ve only recently invested in a Breton top – but that’s largely because I fear patterned clothes present more problems than they solve. This season there are many prints to choose from but interestingly the stripes and florals have made way for a print so loaded with connotation it makes the polka dot seem new-fangled.

Gingham.

What does it make you think of? Tablecloths in Italian restaurants? Primary school uniform? Whatever the image in your head, gingham doesn’t tend to be associated with grown up stuff or, you know, being taken seriously. Now I may not be one for patterns but I’m all over a girly garment best saved for toddlers; tutus, ribbons and ballet shoes, I’ll give it a go. I’m a forty something mum but for some reason I struggle to contain the desire for dressing like a fairy – I went to my sister’s wedding looking like Glinda, the Good Witch of the South and I’m on the look out for another occasion to get that pink sequin number out again.

Gingham appeared on the runways back in 2015 but over a year on and it’s coming into its own. It’s not just for teenagers either. I’ll admit I bought my New Look red and white gingham platforms back in March because at £34.99 it wasn’t a total disaster if the trend was over by summer, but now it’s June and  I find myself tempted to go the whole nine yards with a dress or a pair of trousers. You can do gingham too and you should, you really should. Here’s your check list (heehee!) of how to wear this season’s must-have print and still look like an adult:

Workwear

Stick to a smaller check in black and white if you prefer a more conservative look for work. Neat monochrome gingham is timeless and looks really fresh with a crisp white shirt and black accessories.

Tops

This is where you can afford a hint of frivolity and the sleeve is a no-brainer for all ages this season. All these tops will work as beautifully with jeans or white trousers as a pencil or midi skirt.

Evening

In the summer, a more relaxed approach to party wear is fine. While gingham is by definition more of a daytime fabric, dressed up with heels, this season’s neat white jacket and/or statement earrings these dresses will look effortless.

Shoes

If you buy one thing in gingham in 2017 make it shoes. Gorgeously girly and yet not too Doris Day worn with boyfriend jeans or a white trouser suit, they will update your look instantly and for less than the price of a tank of petrol.

It’s been a fairly crazy twenty four hours and I didn’t go to bed until 3am  so I will bid you a lovely weekend. I’m off to meet some friends for lunch in the local Italian, here’s hoping I don’t match the table cloths.

 

My new personal styling website is now live, take a look and let me know what you think!

http://www.emilystott.net

 

 

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How To Get The Most Out of Your Maxi

Maxi dresses have come in for a bit of flack over the last few years. Some of it is justified and for that I blame the empire line cheese cloth look (I’m trying really hard not to use the word ‘hippy’) because for a fleeting moment, for those of us easily sucked in (me), it was soo tempting. All those hazy pictures of flat chested sun kissed girls running barefoot through long grass with daisies in their hair and bits of string artfully tied around their necks. Oh yes, I can do that on a budget I thought, I know how to make that translate in Clapham Junction. No matter that this was the early noughties, I couldn’t possibly do no bra and despite the abundance of commons in South West London, run about barefoot on any of them and you risk all manner of things none of which look good. And when I say run, what I actually did was walk very carefully because as every lady knows, you don’t run when wearing a strapless bra.

However, a few years ago I took a second look at the maxi dress – cleverly re-tagged as the midi dress – because really who knows where the cut-off is, if you’re under 5’4 then a midi is a maxi. I decided to revisit since there’s no getting away from the fact that a long dress in the summer is just so darned useful isn’t it? I made a big announcement on Instagram last week that I was about to fake tan my legs (I know, it was a slow day) and a week on I still haven’t got around to it. Enter the long dress. I happened to have bought a really lovely one in H&M earlier this year and I have big plans for it; it’s got sleeves and a bit of shape so I was off to a good start.

So yes, I do think a long summer dress is a good idea as long as you find one which is right for your shape. It’s not always easy as the empire look is still there to trip you up but unless you are a triangle shape (for which voluminous will work nicely) you will tend to look pregnant. It’s just not a good look, especially if you are not six. The afore-mentioned H&M number I bought has since sold out which is a shame but I talked at least two friends into buying it so sorry about that. There are still a couple of similar styles available there though so all is not lost. Now for the important bit – how to style your maxi/midi. You’re going to look cool in your long floaty dress, I promise you!

  1. Belt Up

A no-brainer, an instant update and stops you looking like a performing arts teacher from the ’80s. Currently, I’d go for a belt on the thin side. Personally I find a worn-in tan leather belt the most versatile.  Belt your cardi for a look that’s oh so summer 2017.

2. Get Shirty

I have been putting fitted shirts under my sleeveless work dresses for decades. For exactly the same reason – you’ll get more wear out of it – I recommend doing the same now. If it’s just not that warm or you fear exposing too much skin then stick a plain white tee or a pretty lightweight blouse underneath and you’re good to go. Not only is it practical it’s very modern (for now).

3. Keep Your Jeans On

I wasn’t sure about this trend the first time around but thanks to Instagram I’m a convert now. Ideal with this season’s long shirt dresses which can be unbuttoned to your heart’s content, it’s also the perfect solution if the fabric of your dress is see-through. This may not be the fashionista’s view, but keep the jeans slimline or you’ll end up looking like one of those toddlers who dress themselves because mummy has lost the will to live.

4. Dress Down

Clearly a long dress can be eveningy and glam, that’s not clever. Dressing it down perhaps takes a little more thought. I love a denim jacket for many reasons (you’ll get so much bang for your buck with this item for one) but in London it’s practically the law. I simply don’t know why you wouldn’t. It transcends size, gender, fads and yes, even age. I wore my dad’s Wrangler denim jacket for years as a teenager. If you haven’t got a denim jacket, why not?

Naturally now I’ve said all that about adding extra layers it’s now freakishly hot in London but you never know when all this might come in useful. Have a great bank holiday weekend lovely readers – for the first time ever in the history of bank holidays it looks like it’s going to be fine so wear those dresses while you can!

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You Wear The Trousers

The question I am asked the most after the one about dresses with sleeves (see last blog) is where can I find the best cut trousers? This is huge and my heart sinks slightly because you really can’t answer helpfully without first checking out the enquirer’s bottom half. It’s a tricky one for three reasons:

a) The cut of trousers depends very much on your shape.

b) Once you’ve taken into consideration the current trends and comfort (or perhaps just how much discomfort you are prepared to tolerate), it may feel like there is very little choice other than leggings.

c) Trousers are not jeans; trousers are for grown ups and in my experience  for formal or workwear and therefore not exciting to shop for. Rarely does one consider trousers when trying to appear one’s most sexy self. Now I feel bad for trousers, maybe trousers need better P.R. Doesn’t ‘trousers’ sound weird when you read it out loud repeatedly?

So back to the point… assuming you don’t want to resort to leggings or chinos, (both have worryingly sneaked back onto the fashion radar this season) how do you identify the perfect trouser for you? Each season there seems to be more choice than ever and that never helps matters. The wide leg has got wider and the difference between trousers and skirts has blurred even more with the term ‘culotte’ rather overused. FYI a culotte is ‘knee or calf length trousers cut with full legs to resemble a skirt’. If you want to look like you’re wearing a skirt then I’m going to presume you would wear a skirt. I have nothing against culottes, in fact I have two pairs but they are not the answer to this particular question. Here are the body shapes, the best cuts for those shapes and the tried and tested (by me) brands I think you should go for.

Triangles (bigger bottom half)

If you want to play down your juicy lower portion, then my advice is to keep it dark in colour and avoid heavy patterns. For summer, go for a lightweight fabric which skims rather than clings and either avoid pockets at the side or sew them up so there is no excess bulk or sticky-outy bits at the hips. A slim leg is best, not too skinny and not overly boot-cut. Banana Republic does excellent trousers, the best of which are made in their ‘Sloan’ fabric, a stretchy fabric that holds you in and is ultra flattering. This style at Cos is one of their staples as it is so popular, it comes in a variety of colours and like the Sloan, it seems to suck you in beautifully.

Rectangles (straight up and down)

Lucky rectangular shapes can be bang on trend this summer as the so-called ‘paper bag’ trousers are the thing. Loose in the leg and bunched in at the waist they create the illusion of a more curvy hip and therefore a waist. You can opt for a heavier fabric and no worries about pockets for you lot! Next do really lovely slouchy but smart trousers in a decent quality fabric. This style comes in petite, regular and tall and goes up to a size 20 – don’t forget you can still be rectangular no matter what size you are. Rectangles can also happily rock a flare or wide leg too. We don’t hate you at all.

Hourglass (ample bust and hips, in at the waist)

Hourglass figures have hips so don’t go adding bulk by plumping for trousers with tucks or bunching at the waist. For a smooth and flattering silhouette without overspill make sure you have a mid rise rather than a low rise and favour a slim or straight cut leg. As an hourglass of whatever size, you are in proportion already so work with what you naturally have. If you’re a tall hourglass then a wide leg in a floaty fabric will work too. Hip online boutique FineryLondon does a great range of trousers the most flattering of which is the Ackland trouser, a steal at £55.

Circles (larger around the middle with slimmer limbs)

If you want to draw attention away from your tummy then choosing the right top is just as important as the type of trousers for circle physiques. The good news is your slim legs can carry off a pattern and/or a lighter colour but keep it muted and plain on top. Try a style with a stripe down the side, there are lots about but Mos Mosh cut their trousers beautifully. Avoid wide legs, a slim cut will be much more flattering. If you are a decent height opt for cropped to showcase your ankles with a fabulous shoe.

Now is a great time to do a trouser edit as we finally transition from winter to spring. Be brutal – you may think those voluminous pull-on white linen trousers that looked so good on holiday in 1998 will tick the pyjama style trend in 2017  but trust me they absolutely won’t. You’ll just look like you’re wearing tired old linen (silly stuff, linen) trousers from 1998. Send them back there.

Have a great weekend lovely readers!

My book ‘Shopped’ has more tips for successful dressing and is available here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=emily+stott+shopped

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Sleeves Please!

As I sat shivering in my leopard print coat and knee length boots this week, the world’s most cheerful Fedex delivery man informed me there was a heatwave on the way. This should be good news, it is good news but my instinctive reaction was to check my diary to see whether it was going to fit in with my waxing appointments. Summer arrives without warning and then only briefly so while it is thrilling to have it join us, we want to look the part right from the outset to make the most of it, right? Ideally, you want to be searching for the picnic blanket, firing up the BBQ and transforming jeans into festival style denim cut-offs while the fake tan and nail varnish applications dry. Then and only then might you feel brave enough to do battle with your exhausted looking strapless bra collection and myriad sun dresses, some of which have been around since last century.

Work

So let’s assume there is some warmer weather around the corner. It’s daunting isn’t it? Ditching the black opaques and eskimo-esque coats is liberating but what of the flimsy, floral and (whisper it) iced gem coloured items hidden away in boxes? When you packed it last year you told yourself you’d chuck most of it away this year didn’t you? And those cheap fabrics (always a lesser quality fabric in the summer for some reason) look like used Jay-cloths now don’t they? Don’t panic though because there will be some fabulous pieces you had forgotten about in there. Don’t save them for a special occasion, good weather is a special occasion in this country! Demote last year’s favourite dressy stuff to everyday wear for 2017, take the not-so-interesting, slightly dubious smelling, older pieces to the recycling bin and then rush out (or stay in) and buy new things. And don’t delay because the best stuff is selling out fast these days; I’ve just missed out on an amazing pink cardigan/jacket thing at Other Stories. It’s a sad state of affairs that I’m even looking at knitwear a week away from May, I know.

Play

Re: The subject of summer dresses. I know what you’re thinking:

  1. I want dresses with sleeves and I can’t find any.
  2. My legs aren’t up to wearing short, I want a longer length and I want it with sleeves.
  3. I’m up for trying a jumpsuit but I’m not sure I’ll suit it and I want one with sleeves.
  4. I thought sleeves were a thing at the moment, FFS where are all the sleeves?

Transitional

I hear you. I’m not sure why some bright spark hasn’t simply added a sleeve option to all the sleeveless dresses so that we have a choice – and by ‘we’ I mean potentially anyone over the age of 45 which, by the way, incorporates the biggest age demographic in the UK* – when it is clearly a gaping hole in the fashion market. On the other hand, this really is the year of the sleeve so get out there and stock pile before it isn’t. I promise there are dresses with sleeves on our high street and – because my mum keeps saying “Well I can’t find them” – here is the proof…

Occasion

Jumpsuits, as I know you’ve heard me say repeatedly, are another great option, particularly if you’re not keen on showing off your legs. Wear them with dressy heels and a jumpsuit looks glamorous and also chic. Some of them, like the one here from Uterque, don’t even look like a jumpsuit (unless you actually jump about). But really, what’s your problem with jumpsuits? They’re just a pair of trousers and a top sewn together, if anything they are even more versatile than a dress because you don’t need tanned legs. I even talked my mum into a jumpsuit last year and now she has two and she’s a stubborn madam at times.

Jumpsuits

Now, in case you’re still not convinced, here’s another idea; delicate, barely there tops or bodies can be worn underneath a sleeveless dress, it’s a great look for the evening and guarantees you a one-off look you won’t see on anyone else – unless of course they’ve read this blog too.

Tops

Good, I’m glad we’ve cleared that up. Good luck finding the picnic blanket. Any other questions?

 

*There are now a larger number of 68 year olds due to the spike in births after the end of World War 2 FYI.

 

 

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It’s a Cover Up!

At school it was so simple wasn’t it? Autumn Term meant overcoat and tights and Summer Term meant blazer and short socks, even if it was still really cold in the mornings. But back in the seventies and eighties the seasons were more clear cut and let’s face it, if your mum said to put a vest on or take a cardi, mostly you did, if only for a quiet life.

These days it’s not unusual to be lulled into a false sense of security by an unseasonal April heatwave only to be faced, once you’ve done away with tights, with a cold wind early on the Monday morning – as if Monday mornings weren’t troublesome enough. I for one have abandoned my coat and I’m not going back to it until October because for starters it now looks sad and old and the colour – grey – simply doesn’t work now we are in spring, even if it is chilly until midday.

So what is the alternative? Layering is all very well but for the working week or evenings out, a proper outer garment is required, even if only to get from your front door to the Uber. It’s tricky to find something as all encompassing and slick as a winter coat there’s no denying it, but this spring season there are more options than usual so here’s what’s out there currently. As always, to find the best piece for you, you need to consider three things which should narrow your choice down nicely:

  1. Which is the most flattering colour for my sun starved face?
  2. Which shape suits my figure best?
  3. Which style will I get the most use from?

Arm yourself with the answers and then take a look at the lovely pieces below..

The Blazer

Blazers have had a renaissance in 2017 but since most of us have used it as a go-to with jeans and boots when we’re late for a do and can’t be bothered to think of anything cleverer, you should have at least one in your wardrobe already. If you’re a curvy type then look for an open neck and minimal buttons like the Boden one here and if not then a more boxy style will work well.

The Trench

There is not a spring season in existence where the trench coat hasn’t been hailed as the must-have cover up. There is a reason for this – it’s practical, versatile and about as classic an item as you are likely to get. A trench coat will never date and whether belted or loose, long or short, it will always look effortlessly stylish whatever your shape. You’ll never regret buying a trench.

The ‘Shacket’

The so-called shacket is the brunch of outerwear. It’s not quite a jacket for one reason or another (too short/too lightweight/too casual) but it does the job. The only question is, will it see you through ’til dinner? Only you know the answer to that.

The Biker

I’m allowing the biker jacket in even though it feels as if it’s been overly done. I should be pleased because I invested in a leather one from Whistles when my son started school nearly three years ago so I’m getting my money’s worth. However at one mummys’ drinks evening, my friend Becs not only pointed out that at least fifty per cent of the mums were wearing a biker jacket, but found that at the end of the night someone had gone off with her own rather lovely Mint Velvet one leaving her with a similar (cheaper) Oasis one*. All this put me off  a bit but the biker simply refuses to go away. I’m including it on the condition that you wear it in an unconventional colour or fabric – see the two shown here.

The Hybrid

All these hybrid cover ups can be worn with jeans, over a dress or skirt or as a statement piece in its own right. All three will be really useful for work but will do equally as well for cocktails afterwards; anything that pulls in at the waist is great for those with boobs and hips with the longer length wraparound particularly flattering for larger hips. The neat Chanel inspired cardigan is better for a more boyish shape.

Have a fabulous chocolate filled long weekend everyone and if anyone’s asking I’ll have the belted wraparound Zara jacket please…

*It was an innocent (drunken) mistake which was soon rectified. Also it has to be said that Oasis does excellent leather goods, but not as good as Mint Velvet. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Do You Have Good Jeans?

There are times when jeans fall out of favour. Very occasionally denim takes a back seat and the sighting of a jacket or a skirt in the stuff becomes the stuff of urban legend.

Now is not one of those times.

Spring 2017 is awash with denim in every colourway, rise, cut and length. If you once thought a dungaree was a scary denim option (I’ve been stared at in the playground more than once for my dungarees and the playground is surely the best place for a dungaree?) then prepare to be ruffled because this season you will be faced with not just double dip denim but triple dip. You may also see a jean so deconstructed as to be less jean and more rip. And yet at the other send of the scale there is the embellished jean; covered in glitz and a million miles away from the workwear for which the humble jean was originally intended.

If your dark skinnies are welded to you then you may not care for all this denim frivolity but if you fancy trying your luck at something a little more ‘now’ then here are the latest options – pitfalls (there are several) included. Remember, there was once a time not so long ago when you thought you’d never wear skinny jeans. Also, however hard you try you are unlikely to look even half as daft as Kim Kardashian in her shredded jeans…

The ‘Boyfriend’ Jean

Usually faded, unrivalled in the comfort stakes and a good choice in warmer weather due to the air vents (holes and rips). Looks v OTM (very Of The Moment, do keep up) with fishnet tights worn underneath and peaking through at the knee. Roll them up at the ankle if you’re leggy or don’t if you’re not because they will not lengthen a short leg. I love my Boyfriends and look to Olivia Palermo (pictured above) as the perfect example of how to smarten up some holey ol’ jeans.

The ‘Mum’ Jean

The Mum jean is defined largely by its high rise waist, gently tapered leg and eighties vibe. If you’re thinking they just look like naff jeans you might have worn when you were about twelve then you’re on the right track – your mum would have been wearing them too – get it? Those of us who are mums now are trying desperately not to look like one but that’s the thing, all the kids (the actual kids) are doing this now. But yes I know, it’s a big leap from your hipsters. Far better for tucking your bits of mummy tummy into though.

The ‘Two Tone’ Jean

These jeans are the newest denim incarnation on the block and the one most likely to fade (into the wilderness, rather than literally fade) once the summer draws to a close. While a dark stripe down the side of the leg can’t fail to be flattering, be careful of randomly placed patches and cuffs which will tend to shorten the leg or draw attention to parts you’d rather not highlight. You wouldn’t put a plaster on a spot on your face would you? Exactly.

And finally… what’s going on with hemlines?

Now here’s one you can try at home. Frayed hems are the ideal solution if your jeans are no longer a length you like. Or you could just turn them up. Turn ups are now a real thing and the higher up they’re turned the better. During research for this blog I noticed that Sarah Jessica Parker turns her hems up at every opportunity she gets, no matter what the style of jean. Now this may be because SJP is diminutive and would rather her jeans didn’t trail behind her as she pounds the New York streets  but sometimes she turns just the one leg up so that can’t be it – could masonic chic actually be a thing? You heard it here first.

SJP turning it up and then up again

 

 

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