A Winter’s Wail

Autumn looks so glamorous in the movies doesn’t it? Couples in cashmere beanies laughing with rosy cheeks as they joyfully kick at the leaves on the ground, mugs of steaming hot chocolate waiting for them at home. Then there’s winter – soft sparkly snow falling neatly on window ledges, children making 6ft tall snowmen with carrots as noses. Hmm… it doesn’t really happen like that does it, certainly not in London anyway. You are likely to end up with dog poo on your snazzy boots if you go frolicking through piles of leaves and snowmen simply don’t come in sizes bigger than 3ft and you have to be quick even to catch them at that size before they melt.

However I don’t mind the cold weather, hats are a great excuse to have crap hair and scarves and gloves can make an otherwise drab coat look really rather chic. My one gripe about all these extra clothes is the rate at which my six year old son gets through them. At his school somewhere there must be an accessory mountain but despite the fact it must be made up of at least ten thousand small gloves, it is entirely naked to the human eye. I had initially thought that the £3.99 two pack of gloves at H&M were  a steal until I realised my son lost one glove every three days – not so frugal after all.

I have discovered it’s a losing battle. You wrap the little terrors up in all that cheap brightly coloured wool, they moan on the way to school that’s they’re still cold and then when you go to pick them up they come out in a t-shirt waving their coats around their heads gleefully explaining that they last saw their hat on the pirate ship or possibly in the computer room. Finally, at the end of the term the school newsletter solemnly announces that the five truckloads of lost childrenswear will be transported to Africa in the holidays. The children love the drama and outrage of this but not enough to set about rummaging through the lost property buckets to save their lost items. I wouldn’t get so hot under the collar about it only my otherwise small son has a huge head and it isn’t all that easy to find hats to fit it.

So anyway, the lost gloves made me cross until this week when our heating broke down forcing me into a reality check. I am now sitting here in several layers and a pair of Ugg boots I neither remembered nor cared to admit I owned. I can barely move for thick clothes. You don’t see Alexa Chung looking like a bag lady though do you, or Victoria Beckham, and yet they spend most of their time in New York where the winters are far more ferocious. If they can look fab in the freeze, then so can we.

Let’s embrace the opportunity to wrap up in faux fur and velvet, it’s far less hassle than fretting about toned arms and fake tan after all. Yes, there’s hat hair and the dilemma of how to wear a scarf without getting it stuck to your lip gloss, but personally I’d rather that than melting make-up and strap marks. Also, scarves, hats and gloves can be bought for a song so you can have a set for every day of the week. Oh and if you’re wondering, we have found the lost gloves – one was on the pirate ship and the other on the floor of a cloakroom about a mile away from my son’s classroom. I feel I’ve achieved a lot this week – or I will do once the heating is fixed. In the meantime I’m going accessory shopping. Have a great weekend!

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The Glittering Balls

My Strictly Come Dancing round-up is slightly later this year and for that I apologise. There are two reasons. Firstly, Terrible Tess hasn’t had such screamingly awful gowns so far this series and secondly, how do I put this… well, Ed Balls.

Ed and Katya perform their Charleston

Ed and Katya perform their Charleston

Yes we’ve had the comedy contestants before, the Anne Widdecombes and the John Seargants but they were bad and ridiculous and they stayed that way – great entertainment but hugely frustrating for the serious viewers (and judges) who objected on the basis that this is a dancing competition and should unfold as such. Well, this is 2016; the year that we shooed away Europe and ushered in Donald Trump, you think we’re going to get our leotards in a twist about a fake tanned, sequin clad Ed Balls?

balls1

Ed Balls and those white trousers

Not likely. You see Ed Balls has charmed us and not because of anything he’s said – he’s uttered a few political jibey type things to the judges – but because he has fully embraced the experience, wears the tight trousers with pride and has bloody well gone on and learned to dance! We’ve had Charleston Ed, Salsa Ed, and Jive Ed and despite some terrifying moments when it looked like he might drop partner Katya on her head or worse, split his trousers, thanks to some clever themed choreography Ed has performed with such enthusiasm, it is hard not to fall for him. His facial expressions are priceless, as are those of his wife Yvette Cooper sitting in the audience. Ed’s moments on the Strictly dance floor are hilarious, heart-stopping and frankly inspiring. Is there anyone out there not thinking he looks like their dad prancing about on the telly? Oh that my own dad were here to see this exhibitionism! A Labour man himself, he would have bust a gut watching this. Talking of which, it takes guts and a remarkably thick skin to be a politician these days, and if you’ve lost your seat and you’re still only 49, well why not do Strictly – what’s the worst that can happen?

But I’m supposed to be here to talk about the outfits… Is it me or do the dresses seem to be less showy this year? I’ve actually been imagining myself down the pub in one or two of them. Ore’s partner Joanne seems to be getting all the best frocks (there’s always one, last year it was Helen George) so she must be in with the seamstresses. Meanwhile, poor Louise Redknapp has been struggling weekly with a dry mouth, her big grins permanently getting stuck to her teeth whenever she does well.

Ore and Joanne - all the best gear

Ore and Joanne – all the best gear

They are all a more approachable bunch of ‘celebrities’ this season and their clothes are echoing that, there are many looks that will translate beautifully for Christmas and the high street has much to offer that wouldn’t look out of place on Strictly. I’ve picked out my favourites. The underwiring and sensible pants are up to you.

Ruffles, sheer panels, lace, off the shoulder, long skirts – all the trends are there, it’s almost as if festive dressing has come courtesy of the BBC this year. The way I see it, it is the perfect excuse to dress like the world is your dance floor.

I suspect, as I write this, that Ed may be coming up to his last week – those left in the competition are now very good indeed and scoring tens to his fours. However this is 2016, there are those who believe (my friend Rich mostly) that if Strictly is going to be won by an underdog, someone who was to many a joke even before the spray tan, then this is the year. I have to say I’m tempted to place a bet, there are far more deserving winners but the world is in need of a good laugh and Ed Balls has certainly provided that. Balls – never not funny.

 

My book SHOPPED is out now and available to buy on Amazon for £8.99 here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shopped-Story-Secret-Shopping-Self-Discovery/dp/1910463302/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479904734&sr=8-1&keywords=shopped+emily+stott

 

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The Clue is in the Texture

If one thing was clear at the Autumn Winter 2016 catwalk shows, it was that this season it is all about how you feel. Not your emotional well being you understand, (the fashion industry doesn’t care about that) but how you actually feel to the touch. Ignore the bombardment of all lengths of skirt from mini to maxi and jeans which are strangulated on the one hand and positively voluminous on the other. This season you’re not to fret about all that because now it is all about the texture of your garb. From fabulously opulent to softly understated, designers have focused on fabrics with no attention to detail spared.

I’ve narrowed it down to five of the loveliest trends which popped up again and again at the shows. The UK high street has responded with typical enthusiasm giving you heaps of choice. This winter if you don’t fancy twinkling from head to foot in jewels that will catch on everything you come into contact with, go instead for head to toe knits for the ultimate in cosy comfortable go-to dressing. Whichever look floats your boat – and who says you won’t love a bit of them all – people will want to touch you.

Embellishment

This detailing will turn you into a serious fashion heavyweight – quite literally. Jewels are weighty so keep any other jewellery to a minimum or your heels will be sinking into the pavement.

Lace

Now a year round look, lace suits everyone and doesn’t have to be dressy. Banish any thoughts of looking like Miss Havisham and make like an eighties Madonna or a young Queen Victoria instead.

Velvet

You don’t want to look like a chaise longue (not this season anyway) so pick and choose your velvet pieces – it won’t be easy though, just look at all this gorgeous stuff. As always, if you’re not convinced then opt for a simple velvet bag or scarf.

Wool

My boyfriend is a knitwear obsessive who would wear a cashmere jumper and socks on the beach in high summer given half the chance so this look will be very popular round our gaff. Stick a belt on a sweater dress though if you’re generous of curve, or risk looking like a giant teddy bear.

Sheer

The sheer look is no longer reserved for evening only. If eyes are the window to your soul, think of sheer sections as windows to your skin; a hint of what lies beneath. I think visible bra straps are fine as long as they complement the colour of the top.

There’s going to be a lot of feeling going on. It’s going to be a touchy feely kinda winter so get practicing your strokes and try not to be arrested in the process.

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The Bewitching Hour

Whether you look forward to Hallowe’en or absolutely dread it, nowadays there is absolutely no escaping it. Even if you’re blissfully child free you still need to have a contingency plan for the inevitable knock on the door at 6 o’clock. If you don’t have some sweets in for the greedy little buggers, there’s the worry that they might chuck eggs at your windows – or worse, stand jabbering on your doorstep all night. If you do and they’re the wrong kind of sweets (last year I heard at least one “I don’t like those” and several more “I’ve already had some of those” – this was Wimbledon after all) everyone ends up pissed off and even more determined next year.

One thing we can all be united on though is the strangely alluring glamour this time of year brings. Yes, the supermarkets are full of nail-catching orange and black nylon but have you taken a look at what’s out there for us adults lately? Gothic inspired pieces are in abundance and I defy anyone not to rock a witchy look. And anyway it’s not often you get to take advantage of having unbrushed hair, a pasty complexion and blood shot eyes – this year Hallowe’en falls on the Monday after half term week for most so the timing couldn’t be better.

The high street may be at the ready for the stroke of midnight on the 31st to get all the sparkly festive red outfits into the window displays for the run up to Christmas, and perhaps it’s just luck but there are so many gorgeous black pieces out there at the moment, even I’m tempted to go head to toe black and I swore off the stuff three years ago!

I think it’s a great excuse to dress up and also be a jolly good sport (and the coolest mummy ever) simultaneously. Be inspired by Angelina Jolie as Maleficent (or are we off her now?) or Eva Green as Miss Peregrine but take the devil by the horns and go for it this Hallowe’en. These clothes are not only eveningy with an after dark sexiness you don’t get to do (at least not without disapproval) at Christmas but also there are plenty of fairly practical boots and cover-ups so you can still appear to be vaguely sensible. And I only add that in – I’m not overly bothered with sensible usually – because last year I turned up to the trick or treating outing in Wimbledon in full fancy dress only to discover every other adult present was in a khaki puffer and trainers. At least the boyfriend got away with not having to introduce me to anyone and everyone assumed I was some weird hanger-on belonging to someone else*.

This year I am out trick or treating with my school playground friends and there will be at least ten mini vampires and witches under the age of seven. They will be pumped up simply by being out after dark and then there will be sugar. It will be hideous. So we might as well dress accordingly. H&M have thoughtfully provided actually Hallowe’en outfits this year so there’s no excuse. You’ll need a swag bag and H&M’s rucksack couldn’t be more perfect – it even unzips to show teeth for goodness sake, can this retailer be any more brilliant? Yes, it’s going to be very exciting indeed, I love a good cackle with my witches. I for one can’t wait.

Happy Hallowe’en one and all!

*They were half right.

In case you’ve managed to miss my constant reminders, my book SHOPPED is out and available to buy in all good bookshops and here on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_8?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=shopped+emily+stott&sprefix=shopped+%2Caps%2C121

 

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Shake Up Your Capsule Wardrobe

Even if we are sad to see the end of summer, most of us Brits feel a tinge of excitement when the nights draw in and there is a chill in the air. For those under twelve it is the prospect of Hallowe’en and all the sugar and orange and black polyester that brings. If you stopped growing upwards over twenty years ago, it is more the thought of the more snug winter wardrobe – the fur lined boots and the cashmere scarves.

Except that it is rarely as simple as that is it? You unearth your box of knitwear either to discover it is full of moth holes or that most of it looks like old chamois leather. Those boots you so loved last winter, they look scuffed and sad and well, not nearly as cool as you’d remembered and that stretch dress, the one with the inner mesh panel that made you feel like Jessica Rabbit – yeah that’s way too tight. Way too tight and actually – quelle horreur – a little cheap looking suddenly? Particularly annoying since it really wasn’t.

The thing is, things change; people change, fashions change and even though it doesn’t feel like it, the cut of jeans change. A year is a long time in fashion. I said a silent au revoir to a pair of dark blue leg lengthening D&G jeans when I was pregnant with my son, hoping I would one day fit back into them. When that day came, far sooner than I could have dared to imagine, I was horrified to find the fit was all wrong and they made me look about eighty. My friend Becs’ favourite pair of white trousers had been her inspiration for her summer health kick. She reached her goal only to discover those beloved white trews were a bootcut from a bygone era.

It happens. Getting dressed can be emotional and it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and stay with the safe. I’m here to nudge you into making some small but significant changes that will make your winter outfits current without straining your finances. Here are some suggestions for a quick and easy update:

Bored of your biker? Buy a bomber…

Bomber jacket reduced to £29.99 at New Look

Bomber jacket reduced to £29.99 at New Look

Jumpsuits just not you? Trouser suits are where it’s at..

Trouser suit £100 from asos.com

Trouser suit £100 from asos.com

Sick of your skinnies? Try a surprisingly versatile wide leg trouser…

Wide leg trousers £125 from Reiss

Wide leg trousers £125 from Reiss

Fed up with fitted? Go for a relaxed fit midi dress…

Midi dress £49 from FineryLondon.com

Midi dress £49 from FineryLondon.com

Hate patent? Metallics are way more now anyway…

Metallic boots £79 from Warehouse

Metallic boots £79 from Warehouse

So over pleats? A box pleat is easier to wear, not to mention iron…

Skirt £29.99 from Zara

Skirt £29.99 from Zara

Happy shopping everyone and thanks for following!

My book Shopped is available to buy now on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shopped-Story-Secret-Shopping-Self-Discovery/dp/1910463302/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475835141&sr=8-1&keywords=emily+stott+shopped

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Embroidery for Beginners

There’s a trend I’ve noticed recently and I’m undecided as to how I feel about it. After all it was only in June when my boyfriend and I visited Vienna that we laughingly pointed at the little Austrian national costumes in shop windows imagining how horrified each of our children would be if we returned home with such heavily decorated outfits for them.

And then without warning the garnished garment reappeared on my radar, on the British high street. Having spotted a few pieces in River Island I investigated further to see whether this was a detail with legs. A browse on the Oasis website turned up even more embellishment than in River Island. Perhaps this embroidered fad was meant in an ironic way, like teenagers using a pulley trolley thing for their shopping or toddlers wearing flat caps? But no, I checked out Reiss – home of the tailored dress costing over £100 and LK Bennett so beloved of Kate Middleton and there was needlework everywhere I looked.

How did this sneak up on us? Should we blame the unfading popularity of this season’s must-have the bomber jacket? After all, Zara has embroidered them with careless abandon and they know a thing or two about catwalk trends that lot. Embroidery may have arrived in a stealth like manner but that doesn’t mean it will disappear quietly. Indeed, last week London Fashion Week favourite Christopher Kane showed highly decorative embroidered pieces in his Spring Summer 2017 show and if anything it was even more full on. And let’s face it if the ‘young people’ ( and by that I mean teenagers and me and my mum) are wearing embroidery on their clothes without a second thought then this trend officially does have legs, albeit quite short ones in my case.

My friend Kerry (she of the home-made bikinis) is going to have a field day with this one because there was a time, not so long ago, that so hilarious did we find the whole embellishment craze that we texted each other pictures of the worst offenders whenever we were in Marks and Spencer. To clarify, Kerry blames Marks and Spencer for misleading the older generation of Britain into thinking embellished clothing is the only way forward. Thanks to Per Una, Kerry said, wardrobes all over the country were full of cardigans covered in bits of nonsense.

Well as it turns out, writing this blog has been therapeutic because I actually don’t mind the odd stitched flower. I mean look at these fabulous Miss Selfridge boots – £85 – are you kidding? They look as if they have walked straight off the catwalk! And check out the embroidered bra below! Kerry, please don’t hate me but I think I might be warming to this old lady chic… could this be the first sign of old age? Oh no wait, panic over, I’ve just spotted a teenager running through the rain towards Costa with a bare midriff and some colourful foliage stitched into the left leg of her jeans. Phew.

 

If you have enjoyed my blog this week, please check out my book ‘SHOPPED’ which is available to buy on Amazon:

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

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Back to the Fashionable Future

As another London Fashion Week draws to a close and the Fash Pack get on their flights for Milan, we have about half an hour to take stock before London becomes old news and we turn our attention to Italy’s Spring Summer 2017 offering. We all know that just as we pack away our bikinis and start thinking about covering up fashion week comes along and dangles next year’s summer wardrobe in front of our noses. It’s hard enough to focus on the onset of autumn without all that but then I’m easily distracted, I’m sure Anna Wintour doesn’t find it confusing at all.

However this year there was a big difference, London Fashion Week 2016 was showcasing at least one Spring Summer 2017 collection which could be bought right now – in Autumn 2016. Are you still following? Burberry’s helpfully tagged ‘See now, Buy now’ catwalk collection was immediately available all over the world meaning surely that by the time it is actually summer in the UK, the Burberry SS17 collection will be six months out of date? This is where it all feels a little bit like Back to The Future – and it took me months to get my head around that film.*

So in the interests of being ahead of the game in addition to saving some cash and wardrobe space I have identified those trends and details which will see us through to next spring. There was a definite whiff of the eighties at London Fashion Week but fear not, if you felt you didn’t exactly rock this look the first time around, because this more grown up version should be easier to wear.

Shoulders

The most universally flattering trend in ages. Never has shrugging looked so gorgeous.

 

Asymmetric hems

As with asymmetric bars, approach with caution and try not to look down.

 

Ruffles

You might have sworn off them after Princess Di but you’re tempted now aren’t you?

 

Sleeves

So many more interesting things to wear on it than just your heart nowadays.

 

Midis

The friendly trend for knee high boots and the not so great knees that sit just above them.

 

Gingham

Just don’t wear this on a date to an Italian restaurant.

So it’s farewell London Fashion Week until next year and ‘Ciao’ to Milan Fashion Week, I for one am still embracing the mild London weather with bare legs and short sleeves – with a few summer 2017 details thrown in for good measure. Live for the moment… or should that be the next moment?

*in my defence I was a bit distracted by Michael J. Fox.

My book SHOPPED (September Publishing) is out now in all good bookshops and on Amazon. Buy it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shopped-Story-Secret-Shopping-Self-Discovery/dp/1910463302

 

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The Way We Wear

I’ve been thinking about when I went from junior to senior school. I don’t recall if my parents took a photograph but after all it was the eighties, so by the time it was developed we had moved on to the next thing and the window for showing off was gone. Also, I had been at the school for four years already so it wasn’t exactly an achievement, just evidence that no-one had bothered to suggest I go elsewhere.

What I do remember is how excited  (we were blessed with a perfectly acceptable navy blue uniform) I was to be dressed in such a smart and grown up outfit. Albeit several sizes too big so that it would last me until I was sixteen. The novelty wore off of course but initially we adhered to the rules because we were keen to make a good impression. It had been drummed into us by our junior school teachers that out in the big wide world we were ambassadors for our school and that not wearing school uniform exactly as it was intended, smoking and/or screeching on the bus while in school uniform would not be tolerated. Old ladies would write into the head mistress about us, we were told, and that gave the school a bad name. We must look and behave like the intelligent, well adjusted young ladies we were. Nobody dared question why the head mistress herself – the wife of a vicar and in her latter years – occasionally came to school dressed in what appeared to be a cowgirl outfit.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve (L) welcomes Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd before a meeting in Paris, France, August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Amber Rudd and Bernard Cazeneuve in Paris last week

Therefore it was with dismay that I looked at Amber Rudd and her trouser suit in Paris last week. If the good people of Wimbledon were that easily ruffled by a school girl with her shirt hanging out then what on earth I wondered, would Paris make of the crumpled appearance of our Home Secretary? If the ecstatic grin of the French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve shaking Rudd’s hand was anything to go by, he couldn’t believe his luck; he had won that photo opportunity hands down merely by looking neat. Mr Cazeneuve is not very tall I noted, perhaps this was why Ms Rudd had opted for those lace-up brogues, horribly reminiscent of those I was forced to wear in the junior school because of my alleged ‘fallen arches’. Perhaps preferring not to tower over her counterpart, she had taken a leaf out of the always stylish former first lady Carla Bruni’s book and worn the flatties as a mark of (stooped) respect. Either way those shoes were awful and she still looked down on Cazeneuve.

French politician Rachida Dati in 2009

French politician Rachida Dati in 2009

The thing is – and hear me out because I know the argument for not commenting on the appearance of professional females – but sartorial standards are important. First impressions are everything because there will always be a minute, possibly several minutes when you might not have said a thing. You may have been photographed or spotted across a room without the chance to floor your colleagues/followers/prospective in-laws with your sparkling clever repartee – don’t you hope you look your best in that case – and isn’t that perfectly natural? We live in a very visual world where everything from brunches to bottoms are documented daily for the world to like or comment upon. Young people are buying more clothes than ever before because they constantly post their daily outfits on social media immediately rendering them worn, seen and done. Like it or not, we are judged by our appearance and there is no ranting about equality or gender neutrality that is going to change that. Am I the only person who washes their hair before going to the hairdresser because I’d rather do that than be seen as someone who doesn’t have squeaky clean tresses every single day?

David Cameron and Theresa May both looking pretty darn chic

David Cameron and Theresa May both looking pretty darn chic

In 2016 if you want to be perceived as pulled together, you need to look pulled together. If you genuinely don’t care about how you look (fair play to you) and you are happy for people to know you don’t care, then you are on safe ground because that is the impression you will give out. In some jobs that will be just fine but if you have a role in which you play a part in running the country then I’m sorry but it isn’t. Just as we want the people who care for our children to look clean and healthy and jolly, we want our politicians to look sharp and well, on it. Nicola Sturgeon’s immaculate look is in my opinion is a breath of fresh air in the world of politics. And yet she recently attracted a huge amount of criticism on Twitter for proudly posting a picture of herself outside No.10 with Theresa May and daring to suggest it was a great example for young girls with ambitions. What seemed to piss people off (and when I say people, I mean mostly other women) was that they were both wearing heels (the accessory of the devil apparently) and girls should know they can be successful without dressing like tarts. Okaaaay… Personally I wear heels because they make me feel taller and yes, more attractive but the result is I am a more confident person that way and a more confident me achieves stuff.

Amber Rudd’s trouser suit may make her feel a million dollars, it may be her favourite thing, her go-to outfit even. But the creases, the lace up brogues and the casual insouciance didn’t work in Paris. I’d like to see her in something with clean lines, maybe all one colour, fewer layers complicating the silhouette. A gently tapered midi dress with some mid heels would be elegant without being a distraction. Does this mean I’m not interested in listening or giving credit to what she has to say? No of course it doesn’t. Look at French politician Rachida Dati or our own Theresa May, they both get it right. I’d just like our female politicians to think outside the polling booth and dress as the amazing groundbreaking women they are, not the grey middle aged men they are surrounded by.

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How To Handle Your Baggage

With just over a week until we leave for our holiday in the sun, I read that only 16% of people use everything they take away on holiday with them. With a third of women packing for their husbands allegedly, perhaps there is something to be said for getting someone else to do your packing for you.

But while there are an extraordinary number of companies who will launder, pack and even deliver your luggage to the aircraft, for those of us who would rather save our cash for extortionate sun lounger hire, short term inflatable nonsense and giant pina coladas, there are plenty of ways to ensure you arrive prepared and dare I say with a bit of spare space for holiday purchases. As Diane von Furstenburg once said, “When you figure out your suitcase, you figure out your life.” So go figure…

Maxi dress £32 at ASOS

Maxi dress £32 at ASOS

  1. Luggage goes astray more often than you might think – it’s happened to me twice – so this is first and foremost. Include one set of underwear, a bikini, your toothbrush and some make-up in your hand luggage. That way you’re covered (in more ways than one) if you arrive at your destination without your suitcase.

2. When you choose which items to take, colour co-ordinate them or keep colours to a       minimum so that everything can be mixed and matched. Imagine if everything in your suitcase was white – I know, I know, you’re not the Timotei girl – but you can see what I mean can’t you? It’s almost impossible to go wrong, tedious as hell after two weeks but safe and easy – a bit like eating in Pizza Express.

Colours for a 'summer' pallet - blues, pinks and creams that will mix and match

Colours for a ‘summer’ pallet – blues, pinks and creams that will mix and match

3. Opting for dresses, jumpsuits and/or playsuits makes holiday dressing even easier – no need to worry about separates and what looks good with what. Just add shoes and go.

Jumpsuit £75 from Oasis

Jumpsuit £75 from Oasis

4. Pack your heaviest items (shoes, books etc.) at the sides of your case and then pile everything else in the middle. This will mean less movement in transit and less chance of unpacking to find your clothes look as if you’ve wrapped your sandwiches in them.

5. Talking of creasing, rolling your clothes is better than folding to keep creases at bay but don’t roll pieces such as silk blouses and cotton shirts. Wrap these in tissue or plastic covering for extra protection. I’d avoid taking silk anywhere hot unless you will be in air conditioning 24/7, but perhaps that’s just me.

6. Remember those cosmetic roll things that came free with summer magazines a few years ago? Aesthetically about as pleasing as a ready meal but every bit as useful. You can get your hands on one for under a fiver on eBay – ensure you buy one with a hook on one end so you can simply hang the unfurled organiser up in the bathroom at your destination. I use mine for jewellery too.

Cosmetics roll, available on eBay from £3

Cosmetics roll, available on eBay from £3

7. On a beachy type holiday you will spend a ridiculous amount of time wearing swimwear so don’t scrimp on it (see last blog). The one piece swimsuit is enjoying a moment so why not invest in a couple that double up as tops for the evening.

8. There is a school of thought that seems to be doing the rounds which is to lay out all the clothes and shoes you want to take away with you and then halve it. I don’t know what this is about. You are going to a place in the sun not prison. What is ideal is to have a selection of your favourite things that you will feel cool and comfortable in, enough for however long you are going for. You want to be fabulous Beach Barbie not One Outfit Fits All Princess Anne Barbie.

9. With shoes think variety. Travel in the heaviest pair, probably trainers or similar and then pack a pair of flip flop or gladiator styles (they take up no space at all so go wild and pack two pairs why don’t you) and then a glam pair for the evening. That’s only three/four pairs but enough to cover any eventuality. Don’t forget proper shoes can be stuffed with smaller items and are particularly handy for acting as a protective layer for anything delicate. I’ll probably sneak in another mid heel pair so that I’m not outdone by the boyfriend who last year took more shoes than I did. Clearly that’s not on.

Espadrilles reduced to £85 at Whistles

Espadrilles reduced to £85 at Whistles

10.  Remember, if you are travelling with children who also have a hand luggage allowance, you paid for their ticket so you are well within your rights to stuff anything you can’t fit in your own bag into theirs. My son will be carrying the September issue of Vogue for me. No need to tell them obviously. Bon voyage everyone!

When you arrive on your holiday without forgetting anything...

When you arrive on your holiday without forgetting anything…

My book SHOPPED includes lots of styling and shopping tips such as this. Buy your copy on Amazon or in any good book shop!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shopped-Story-Secret-Shopping-Self-Discovery/dp/1910463302/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1470732847&sr=8-1&keywords=emily+stott+shopped

 

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How To Feel Great on The Beach

Is there anyone out there who considers themselves beach ready? I still have two weeks until we set off on our summer holiday and so in theory I could make a good start with one of those magazine articles that count you down to the airport departure lounge so that I’m plucked, primed and primped to perfection and yet am I doing that? No, of course I’m not. As usual, there will be a last minute panic and everything from toning exercises to eyelash tinting will be left until the night before. Because really, who has the time?

“I DON’T LIKE MY BOTTOM HALF!”                                    

Check out ASOS.com for all sorts of innovative cover-ups and swimwear. You can now look stylish as well as demure on the beach without having to resort to hiding behind a wind breaker.

What I am doing however is keeping an eye on a bikini listed on eBay, a differently coloured version of one I had last year. This bikini by Pour Moi fitted perfectly, had two types of bottoms for which I could pick my size and also as a bonus happened to be bang on trend red gingham. A fortnight of showing off my backwards dives, pretending I knew how to play table tennis and even some panicky knees up to chin running out of the waves Jaws-style when someone spotted a jellyfish – the bikini held out. By the end of the holiday I knew I had met my swimsuit match and it felt good. Especially as it had only set me back £40.

“I CAN’T GET RID OF MY TUMMY!”

This is the best time ever in the history of swimwear because control panels have been introduced. Go for structure, block colours and have an eye-catching top half to draw attention away from below the wiast.

Swimwear; the shopping for, wearing of and even thinking about is something most of us beyond the age of twelve, would really rather not have to do. Except it comes as part of the package of having a lovely beach holiday somewhere hot and so for that reason we add to our summer wardrobe the kaftans, sarongs, palazzo pants and huge hats. We rely on these garments to cover us up from our heads to our toes even though they are largely unflattering, wildly patterned in a way we would never consider the other 50 weeks of the year and most baffling of all, render us overheated within minutes of their (usually) rather complicated application.

“I’VE GOT NO BOOBS!”

This is a good problem to have when it comes to bikinis, a game of bat and ball will be a much simpler thing. Simply target padding, uplift and bright colours. 

What is the answer? The answer is to find the swimsuit that you actually feel comfortable in; one that holds you in and up or pushes you up and out. Engineered garments aren’t just saved for jeans and dresses these days you know. You wouldn’t wear a bra that ejected a boob every time you ran down stairs so why accept compromise with a bikini? I agree, browsing for swimwear is no fun at all – nobody in their right mind wants to remove their bra in the middle of a shopping centre – so I’ve done the looking for you. All of these items are still available in the shops and online and most of them are full price stock so there are still a range of sizes too. We all have different moans and groans about our bodies so I’ve tried to cover every eventuality. Let me know if I’ve missed anything and I will happily get back out there.

 “I DON’T LIKE MY ARMS!”

Bandeau bikini £56 at ASOS.com

Bandeau bikini £56 at ASOS.com

 

 

 

 

 

Well this year you’re in luck – even bikini tops have gone off the shoulder…

 

Another handy thing to emerge in the swimwear market is the two or even three in one swimsuit. If you ignore the obvious hygiene issue of a bikini which can be worn one way, turned inside out and then worn the other way, this is an amazing development, the like of which I haven’t seen since friend Kerry introduced me to the tea towel style beach towel (I know…). Disclaimer: I haven’t put either into active use but I did see Kerry’s towel come out of an A4 envelope.

“I DON’T HAVE A WAIST!”

A belt effect will instantly create a waist. Alternatively go for a fifties style structured bikini with more coverage on the bottom and seams in all the right places.

“OH AND HANG ON… AAGGHHH… I’M TRAVELLING HAND LUGGAGE ONLY!”

You lucky thing, you are clearly travelling without children. Buy yourself a multi-way swimsuit and be off with you, I have run out of sympathy…

I am now almost looking forward to spending two weeks with only two small pieces of fabric covering my bits and pieces. Good luck with your swimwear shopping and let me know how you get on!


My book SHOPPED is full of bossy boots tips and advice for successful dressing and is available in all good book shops and online here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shopped-Story-Secret-Shopping-Self-Discovery/dp/1910463302/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469645535&sr=8-1&keywords=shopped+emily+stott

 

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