School’s Out – How Did You Do?

This time last year I came over all emotional having reached the end of my small son’s first year at school. It may not surprise you to hear then that it is now the end of his second year. I am of course slightly misty eyed once again but that may be due to exhaustion and/or over excitement as the end of term coincides with the arrival at long last, of the British summer. It also comes at the same time as a new Prime Minister, the release of my first book and reports of the return of the boob tube, all of which spark a healthy debate about sartorial choices. There’s a lot to think about so it’s easy to forget about the end of year school report, a document so full of contemporary jargon that if you don’t have a degree or were born pre-1985 – or god forbid both – you may have to consider taking on a tutor just to comprehend how your five or six year old is getting on at primary school. Deep breath then, here goes…

Class: Year One – 2015 / 2016

Reading and Writing: While Emily showed enthusiasm for the school social life at the start of this school year, she has struggled with all three of the class reps sharing a first name. Despite already being on friendly first name terms with all these Rebeccas, only now is Emily beginning to grasp the concept of what having an easily abbreviated name actually means and who of the three answers to which derivative. Rebecca, Becky and Becs will be replaced by ladies with completely different names so perhaps next term we will see improvement in Year 2. We can but hope.

School run appropriate stripey top £7.99 at H&M

School run appropriate stripey top £7.99 at H&M

Mathematics: This year the school celebrates its 125th birthday and although Emily has shown interest and a good understanding of what this means, her inability to do simple sums means she has found it difficult to do the calculations connected to this important event. At her age it is not unusual to hesitate at problems such as “Mummy what’s 113 x 64?” however if she is unable to answer the question, “Mummy if the school is 125 years old then what year did it start?” Emily needs to think about applying herself more fully as the answer (as her five year old was quick to point out) is “There’s a sign on the wall of the school, it says 1891.”

Yeah, nice book cover but not nude enough for Insta

Yeah, nice book cover but not nude enough for Insta

Technology: Having written a book this year*, Emily has willingly embraced social media in order to promote it via her so-called online presence. She is beginning to understand that posting on Instagram is really all about showing off and pretending to live in a world full of fresh perky food, perfect tans and fabulous shoes (she has the shoes at least). Facebook and Twitter she has realised is mostly for bitching about the referendum and Nicola Sturgeon’s hair. If Emily can develop a six-pack and/or huge bee-stung lips she may actually appeal to younger users and sell some books.

Jumpsuits, as useful as the babygro - this one is reduced to £95 at Reiss

Jumpsuits, as useful as the babygro – this one is reduced to £95 at Reiss

Creative: The poor summer weather has proved to be a challenge for Emily’s school run wardrobe. She has arrived on more than one occasion soaked through to the skin and in hopelessly inappropriate shoes. This lack of foresight has extended to her son’s outfits – although allegedly the highly flammable head to toe Liverpool kit was beyond her control, it was a gift, her son insisted. Shoes are tricky items to handle, may we suggest (as indeed we did last year) that the pull-on style of footwear would save time in the mornings, with a waterproof version covering both bad weather and the need for them to be on the right foot. For mummys, a jumpsuit is a no-brainer when you’re in a rush, honestly, it’s even easier than leisurewear and way more stylish.

P.E.: On the subject of leisurewear; must you? The idea is that you look cool and sport expensive and trendy labels such as Lululemon or the Battersea favourite Sweaty Betty. It has come to our attention that Emily recently resorted to a pair of aged 8-10 years Disney pyjama bottoms as they “look more or less like knee length leggings from a distance” and this simply won’t do at all. Nobody is ever seen “from a distance” in a primary school and coming to school in nightwear will not be tolerated. That said, she has some very smart new running trainers.

Sweaty Betty, Northcote Road

Sweaty Betty, Northcote Road

Overall: Emily has worked hard this year and has made some good friends (mostly but not exclusively called Rebecca). She talks too much and is easily distracted and in Year 2 it is hoped that she will write down important school dates in her diary so she doesn’t accidentally turn up for class drinks on the wrong evening again. Upon the closing down of the Clapham Junction Costa where on Thursdays she wrote her book, Emily made the transition to the Northcote Road Starbucks seamlessly, however the close proximity of Whistles may prove to be a problem if she decides to write a second book. We look forward to having her back for the start of Year 2. That’s the actual start, not ten minutes after it.

*SHOPPED is out now and available on Amazon and in all good book shops. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shopped-Story-Secret-Shopping-Self-Discovery/dp/1910463302/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469011478&sr=8-1&keywords=emily+stott

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The Glam Slam Week

Phew, what a week! Unless you’re completely absent from social media/are not related to me/couldn’t give a toss, you will know that this was the week that Novak Jokovic crashed out of Wimbledon, Andy Murray fought on to reach his third Wimbledon final and I finally unleashed my first book ‘Shopped‘ on the world. It is now Saturday and while I am still trying to recover from my launch party – my feet have been moulded into the shape of my very fabulous new shoes since 2am on Friday – Serena Williams is limbering up for her match against Angelique Kerber. It will be Williams’ ninth Wimbledon final and if she wins, her seventh title. You’d think that the novelty might have worn off by now and yet year after year Serena returns more fabulous than the year before – I’m not talking about her tennis of course, although props to that – it’s her Nike outfits that really fascinate me. This year she is clad in a fluttering ensemble perfectly in tune with the frills and femininity currently so popular.

So with the up and down weather we’ve been experiencing in the UK, the unbelievable mess that is the state of the country and the shame of England’s football team, it is hardly surprising that the gleaming whites of the kit and teeth of the tennis tour’s finest, are now gripping the nation. Because for all its tradition, elitism and Ralph Lauren designed staff, the Wimbledon fortnight is a study in that ambiguous dress code that is Smart Casual.

Smart casual is obviously a contradiction in itself and one that owes more to the absurd popularity of the chino than I care to give blog space to. For men it translates simply as a sports jacket and no need for a tie whereas for the ladies it is an instant spiral into panic and a daily set of inner thigh exercises to squeeze into last year’s white trousers. I can’t be bothered with all that preferring to just ignore the casual part of the code and go smart – problem solved.

We are only in July and the shops are still full of white clothes. Pretty, well cut and affordable clothes pieces which will take you from the Wimbledon final to the school drinks thing. I’m not here to tell you that head to toe white isn’t fraught with dangers – Pimm’s and strawberries are to be avoided at all costs I’m afraid – but if you don’t eat or drink or start fiddling about with fake tan, you can look every bit as slick as Pippa Middleton or Jude Law, both of whom did Wimbledon spectator chic with aplomb this year.

wimble80reiss

Dress reduced to £80 at Reiss

I’m not going to the Wimbledon final but I have a small child who likes to be dressed in character to watch television so we will be cheering Andy Murray on in our (white) Sunday best in the hope that he wins his second Wimbledon title. And then goes on to sort the country out.

 

My book SHOPPED is published by September Publishing and is available at Waterstones and on Amazon for £8.99

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shopped-Story-Secret-Shopping-Self-Discovery/dp/1910463302/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1468067644&sr=8-1&keywords=shopped+emily+stott

 

 

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Out of the Mouths of Babes

I’m not going to beat about the bush, I’m in a panic and I really shouldn’t be because for one there are far other greater things to worry about currently and secondly this is what I’m supposed to be good at and all that, but time is running out and I have yet to find The Outfit. And the trouble is I don’t know what The Outfit should look like or what I should look like (an author yes, but what does that look like?) or even if I’ll know it when I see it. There is now less than two weeks to go.

It’s all my fault because I did have it planned. It was a dress I had never worn which had hung fabulously in my wardrobe for four years and ended up being in my book (‘Shopped‘ out 5th July!) by virtue of its designer status (Ralph Lauren), the enormously reduced price I got it for in TK Maxx (£99 down from £1700) and the fact that it looks rather as if it may be a wedding dress (albeit a short one you’d wear on a beach). All rather poignant and authory I thought. Awaiting the publication of your first book is not dissimilar to awaiting the arrival of your first baby; you’re excited after all the planning and waddling but simultaneously you’re terrified and well aware that once it’s out there’s no sending it back. That said, I’m sure Amazon would accept a return far more readily than you know, the supplier of said baby would.

Speaking of which, this is where I made the mistake. I proudly put on my Ralph Lauren number and sashayed into the bathroom with an attitude of “Ta-daaa!” and asked my son what he thought. That’s right, I asked a five year old for his opinion on my blinkin’ Publication Party Outfit. He looked me slowly up and down from his bath and looked thoughtful before announcing, “I like the shoes.” He wasn’t going to give any further feedback (bless ‘im, he was being tactful) until I insisted and he followed up with “You look like you’re in fancy dress”.

This is now a blog pause (a blause if you will) while you make an awks/yikes expression and laugh at my expense while wondering what on earth it was I had on. Consider the following dresses to be fashion tumbleweed.

Occasion dressing is tricky, much like sourcing swimwear or Easter eggs in November. Getting dressed up all smart and eveningy in June when probably in reality you feel a bit pale, fed up with the weather and therefore more casually inclined (linen, towelling or cheesecloth I’m sorry to say will not cut it for a cocktail party) is miserable. However the good news is that with the internet came the ability to shop for clothes and shoes without the restriction of the seasons. The even better news (yes, there really is some good news this weekend believe it or not) is that with regards to black tie and/or occasion wear there are fewer rules than ever. My mum recently had two weddings to go to – the first in a balmy Greece, the second in what turned out to be a rain soaked British countryside – she wanted to be summery but to have sleeves and a longer length. She also was keen to look age-appropriate. The obvious solution (to me at least) was a jumpsuit. “Oh but I can’t wear a jumpsuit to a wedding can I?” she objected. The answer is yes you can wear a jumpsuit to a wedding. Really, the only difference between a jumpsuit and a long dress is the tights/fake tan debate and a couple of seams up the middle.

In the process of writing this post I still have yet to make my decision about my party outfit but I have done a lot of research and pictured here are a few of my findings. So whether you want to cover your arms or your legs, you want floaty or structured, midi or maxi, I promise there is something out there for you.  And if none of these float your boat, then consider a jumpsuit, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the absence of draught and the compliments you receive. Just ask my mum.

Jumpsuit £60 at ASOS,com

Jumpsuit £60 at ASOS,com

SHOPPED is published by September Publishing and is out on 5th July. Click here to pre-order!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shopped-Emily-Stott/dp/1910463302

 

 

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Your Working Wardrobe

I’m not one of those people who goes weak at the knees at the sight of a uniform but I have worn a couple in my working life – red dungarees at Wimpy, red braces at Pizza Hut – why was the fast food industry so desperate to truss up their employees I wonder? However, working in fashion and retail, I can pretty much wear what I like now. My five year old son doesn’t have to wear a uniform either so it’s one big wide open outfit dilemma chez Stott on a weekday.

Personally, I like to be smart when working, mostly because I find it easier to dress that way, but there’s no denying it’s more of a challenge in the summer months. Particularly when the summer months are chilly and rainy and yet for some strange reason heavy black winter clothes look wrong.  I have cold feet most of the time at the moment because I absolutely refuse to resort to socks and boots when I have so many lovely summery shoes to wear. Starbucks seem to take the same approach; at 7.30am when I picked up my coffee they had the air con on full blast and it was like walking into a shopping mall in Dubai in high summer. My feet still haven’t thawed out.

So how to dress for the office then when it’s June and you want to look professional, stylish and comfortable? I’ve taken two similar Reiss tops – the one on the left for the more curvy figure and the one on the right for the more boyish. Both are utterly versatile, I would be just as happy wearing either with jeans at the weekend, both are light and summery. As for the rest of your working wardrobe, well I’m looking to Amal Clooney for inspiration because while obviously she has endless amounts of cash to burn on such things, she does look good. Below are my high street suggestions so you can look just as sharp:

Keep Accessories Simple

Neutral, classic accessories will go with any outfit. Jazz up a skirt and blouse combo with a skinny belt with this season’s bow and take advantage of the many mid heel heights currently around – far more sensible for all day than a skyscraper (she says).

Mix and Match Neutrals

Navy is not only universally classic and chic, it is also more flattering than black in the summer. There is loads of it on the high street and the nautical theme is a perennial favourite with designers. Camel goes with just about everything and is one of very few shades that makes the leap from winter to summer effortlessly.

Make an Impression in Colour…

It doesn’t need to be head to toe, just the one colourful item will bring an otherwise low key work outfit to life (see Amal in her orange top). If you really haven’t the stomach for acid brights first thing, then stick to eye-catching accessories. The simply cut ivory Reiss blouses will keep the look from being too in your face.

Or Patterns

 

Trousers are This Season’s Dress

I know I’ve said it before, but this summer the trouser comes in every shape and length imaginable so there will definitely be a style out there for you. These wide trousers from Next are an absolute steal at £25, I love mine so much I don’t wear them to work.

And there’s the thing, you don’t want to wear your best stuff to the office but then again you want to look and feel as if you mean business. That’s hard to do if you’re shivering under the air con shaft or sweating right next to the window. Put together five outfits with interchangeable accessories and you should be set. Given the brevity of the British summer, you won’t have the chance to get bored of them and perhaps you’ll get an extra ten minutes in bed in the morning.

 

My first book SHOPPED is released by September Publishing on 5th July 2016 and is available to pre-order for £8.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Tell Your Frills From Your Furbelows

Following my visit to the Debenhams Autumn Winter ’16 press show last week, I posted an update on Facebook referring to the fabulous frills and furbelows I had seen there. What happened next reduced me to a sweating wreck and a very unsettled night’s sleep was had. What I hadn’t realised – in my excitement about all the gorgeous collections Debenhams was previewing – was that this is an expression not commonly used nowadays. The next time I looked at Facebook, there were numerous people asking “What’s a furbelow?” For about five minutes I thought how silly they all were for not knowing and then gradually the panic set in as I considered that those asking were not your average FB user who doesn’t know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’, these were my clever friends who even if they hadn’t heard the word before would at least look it up in a dictionary before asking.

As the FB comments started to become more smutty about what furbelow could possibly mean (now you’re wondering too aren’t you?) I decided I must have spelt it wrongly or even worse, made it up completely. Horrified at the thought of crap spelling, I didn’t even dare check in the dictionary so I went to bed and had nightmares about being chased by giant furbelows instead.

This summer the frills, furbelows and bows are the thing. If you don’t fancy the frill and you don’t believe in the furbelow then go for the bow. Now stick with me – I know nobody beyond the age of eight wants to look like a big birthday present but the 2016 bow isn’t just about the flouncy girly 1980s version, it’s also about the tie-up feature, not dissimilar to those you get on a bikini bottom and they’re rather nice aren’t they? I always think leaving the tie-up bits loose to hang down each hip breaks up said area creating a distraction and I’m all for distractions on the beach. Sometimes it’s simply too hot to faff about with sarongs and besides, I’ve never been a fan of that customised tablecloth look.

For those summer days when you can’t face the discomfort and literal drag that is the strapless bra, then the shoulder tie is an alternative way to show off your shoulders and still be bang on trend. Also, who doesn’t love an adjustable strap? For those who would rather make more of a stealth like contribution to the bow action, there’s the one shoulder feature bow on the Warehouse dress here or the cleverly disguised but ever so flattering ruched bow waist on the ASOS prom dress.

The pussy bow look has been around for a few years now and I have to say I’m surprised it has lasted this long. However a bit of ribbon at the neck is a lovely touch and although it’s not ideal flopped over a large bust, narrower ladies pull it off with aplomb.

Or of course you could restrict it to your accessories – far less chance of a loafer dipping in your cappuccino I suppose. I would happily have all the pieces here in my cupboard if it wasn’t so full of furbelows already. Oh yes sorry – furbelow… it’s a pleated or gathered trim to a skirt or petticoat. And Debenhams will be full of them come September so add it to your vocabulary immediately.

My book ‘SHOPPED’ (September Publishing) is out on 5th July 2016 and is available to buy at Amazon and Foyles.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shopped-Emily-Stott/dp/1910463302/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1464366846&sr=8-1&keywords=shopped+emily+stott

 

 

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Every Street’s A Catwalk

On the radio this morning they were talking about the ‘hottest weather for 170 years’ heading our way. It was also reported that London was about to shower us with ‘a week’s worth of rain in one day’ – don’t you love these stats that get reeled out every spring?

Heatwave or downpour, it can all happen in one day here in the UK and it is impossible to predict. Even the iPhone weather app doesn’t bother to get it right until it’s actually happened and you’ve already left the house in entirely the wrong clobber. So I am taking a leaf out of my little friend Ned’s book and shall be led by the season we should be experiencing rather than the weather we are experiencing. Ned is six and takes a no-nonsense male approach to dressing in the summer months – that is to say he wears shorts and a t-shirt and his outfit is non-negotiable despite the fact that at 9am the school playground is the coldest hangout in South London.

You see the catwalks were so laden with fabulous clothes, so massive was the range of beautiful, feminine and flattering pieces that I can’t wait about for a summer that may or may not arrive. If we are going to have a shed load of water dumped on us then we might as well settle down with a cup of tea and do some internet shopping. I’ve got to be thinking about an article for a certain publication so I can claim I am doing research – you can claim you are taking part. To help us on our way I’ve earmarked the best catwalk looks and the high street and online stores to find them in.

There are some very wearable stand out trends to try this summer and the high street has an abundance of stuff to drool over. Finery and Uterque are particularly adept at translating the designer styles into more affordable versions – look out for lace, cut outs and deconstructed shapes on both websites. Meanwhile the American brands J Crew, which has an array of girly gingham and Banana Republic who has cornered the market in shirt dresses do great deals on delivery if you can’t make it to a store.

Although the midi and maxi lengths are still dominating, the newest tweek is a wraparound feature which is a great holiday staple and works just as well with flats for the day as it does heels for the evening. I am in love with this floaty white version from Uterque.

Now I really must get back to my newspaper feature which, fyi, is about the tricks retailers use to get us to spend. Feel free to add your thoughts – personally I don’t need to be tricked into shopping endlessly, I need to be tricked out of it, but there you are.  And if you need any further persuading, most of these styles will hang about well into the autumn. Have a great weekend, I’m off to meet Ned and friends in my Spiderman shorts and t-shirt.

My first book ‘SHOPPED’ is available to pre-order on Amazon for £8.99

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shopped-Emily-Stott/dp/1910463302/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1463748302&sr=8-1&keywords=emily+stott+shopped 

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Why Bottoms Are Soo Last Year

Remember last year’s Met Ball when all the pretty people (apart from Rihanna who came as a giant omelette) showed up wearing as little as possible? https://aftercarrie.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/fashions-oscars-hit-a-bum-note/

Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik

Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik

This year I sat in front of my computer and looked at the coverage through my fingers, fearing where a person (JLo/Kim Kardashian/Beyonce) might have left to go, sartorially speaking, as a follow up to juicy exposed buttocks. But I needn’t have worried because those clever folk who organise the Met Ball had gone and pulled a blinder with this year’s theme which was “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”.

Stumped? I was too which is bad because my friend’s husband won the Oscar for special effects for the film to which it refers – Ex Machina – in March and yet I still haven’t seen it. I like to imagine the Met Ball committee sat around their conference table, sucking on their pencils (Anna Wintour chairing from behind her dark glasses) wondering how the devil they were going to coax 2015’s big bottoms back into their dresses so that the event was less about them and more about the fashion and oh yes, the fundraising. Then suddenly someone came up with the idea of Technology In Fashion and that was that. HA! See if you can squeeze a bottom out of that theme.

Now this isn’t primary school so the fashion elite didn’t all rock up as robots (although Zayn Malik did appear to have robotic arms, and very uncomfortable he looked too) but there was most definitely a trend. Metallics ruled the day and if you weren’t silver, gold, shimmering or lit up, you were in the wrong place. It was certainly an interesting procession of looks, not my favourite I must admit but then I am cautious around metallic or shiny fabrics because they can be so unflattering and there’s a very thin line between fabulous and foil wrapped chicken.

 

Silver in particular lends itself nicely to the sporty chic look which is doing the rounds at the moment. But it’s just a flash of silver on the trainer toe or the rucksack, not the whole blinking tracksuit – Jimmy Savile is not someone you want to channel. Equally, a full length gold evening dress will run the risk of screaming Krystle Carrington so restricting metallics to your accessories is far safer.

Firstly though, find out whether gold or silver is best for you, depending on your skin tone, one will be far better than the other. Then invest in one piece to add just a hint of shine.

Sparkling away in the summer sunshine can look amazing – you’ll certainly turn heads – but don’t forget there is no hiding with reflective fabrics which will always emphasise any lumps or bumps underneath. Satin and silk instantly create a lingerie dilemma while sequins and metallics will add pounds for the opposite reason that a dark matt fabric will help melt them away.

So what is the solution? Well shoes and bags are the most obvious way round it and there are heaps in both silver and gold on the high street currently. Otherwise, be sure to only adorn the favourite bits of your anatomy with the shiny stuff rather than those you’d rather hide away. If it helps, I hear anklets are back in for the summer…

*

My first book ‘Shopped’ published by September Publishing is available to pre-order for £8.99 on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shopped-Emily-Stott/dp/1910463302

 

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Shaping Up Rather Nicely

I think I may have hit a new low. It started innocently enough, I was researching this blog and decided to check out the much talked about Alexa Chung collection for M&S. I already had my doubts having seen a few bits in the press but wanted to see for myself. As I suspected, there was nothing even vaguely tempting for the likes of me (I have a bust and some hips and stopped wearing school uniforms some time ago) so I was just about to move on to the Uterque website (far more grown up) when a link caught my eye. Editor’s pick on the M&S website was a gingham playsuit. Of course I clicked on it, why wouldn’t I? Gingham is hot this summer and I love a playsuit so the two combined sounded too good to be true. When it appeared on the screen I thought, oh how adorable, it’s gorgeous, I love it, it could be for a child!

Playsuit FOR KIDS £9-£12 at M&S

Then I looked across to the sizing chart. It was for a child.

This has nothing to do with anything, I just felt I needed to get it off my very non-Alexa Chung chest. So thank you.

This summer there is a wealth of lovely pieces to get your teeth into once warmer weather arrives and stays for longer than two and a half days. Unlike the past few seasons, there is choice across the board meaning no matter what your shape you can find something feminine, flattering and fabulous. If you’re not sure what you should go for to best suit your particular figure then look no further than these celebrities who have very kindly demonstrated what we should and shouldn’t choose.

Those With Curves… (Hourglass)

NO! Lisa Snowden: ruffles on top of boobs do not work

NO! Lisa Snowden: ruffles on top of boobs do not work

Not everyone has a waist so if you do have one then for goodness sake, show it off! Do this with belts and form fitting dresses and skirts and don’t do voluminous, it will simply make you look bigger. I’ve said it a hundred times before but an open neckline is always the best choice otherwise you’ll end up looking mumsy. Also best to stick to trousers and skirts without pleats, tucks or gathered waists as you probably don’t need the extra volume on your bottom half.

 

Those Without… (Rectangle)

YES! Kate Middleton creates the illusion of curves by adding a belt to this LK Bennett dress

YES! Kate Middleton creates the illusion of curves by adding a belt to this LK Bennett dress

Lucky you, if you’re a more straight up and down type. Not only are you slim but you’ll look great in this season’s slip dresses and floaty trousers. Anything which adds volume is fine for you and there’s a lot of this kind of stuff out there. Unlike your more buxom sisters you can rock ruffles and flounces without looking like a window pelmet. A full skirt will create hips and adding a belt to a dress will cinch you in at the waist too. Kate’s dress from LK Bennett is of course now sold out online but check out other similar styles on their website.

 

Those With More on the Bottom… (Triangle)

NO! Jennifer Lopez - it's impossible not to look isn't it?

NO! Jennifer Lopez – it’s impossible not to look isn’t it?

Keep it simple on the bottom and then go for it on the top. This season is made for you what with all the off the shoulder/one shoulder/cold shoulder tops out there. Experiment with lighter shades on your elegant top half and then keep the bottom half simple so attention is drawn to your gorgeous shoulders. It gets to a point when we spend most of our evenings sitting at a table anyway. Sparkle running along the outside of your hips is ALWAYS going to add inches and make everyone focus their gaze on the wrong bits.

 

And Those With More On Top… (Inverted Triangle)

NO! Kirsty Gallagher should swap the colours around and go for an open neck

NO! Kirsty Gallagher should swap the colours around and go for an open neck

The opposite rules apply here so keep the top half dark and clean and have fun on the bottom – in a manner of speaking. If you have athletic shoulders then avoid halternecks which will only emphasise the width here. However, you can wear a full skirt with complete confidence knowing it will balance out your shape, giving you a perfect hourglass silhouette. You’ve probably got great legs too so don’t cover them up!

Just one more thing, about this Alexa Chung for M&S collaboration. Be careful, it’s not made for you and me even if it is supposed to be inspired by the seventies archives at M&S. It’s designed by Alexa for Alexa and she is probably one of the very few people on the planet who will make it look cool. Just look at this dress:

Dress £45 by Alexa Chung at M&S

Dress £45 by Alexa Chung at M&S

Fancy giving it a go?

Thought not. ‘Til next time…

 

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All The Pretty Things

The sun unexpectedly came out and as usual it took us by surprise. There is inevitably a knee jerk reaction here in the UK – just in case we never see the sun ever again. The menfolk immediately put their shorts on while the ladies repair to the nearest bar terrace to drink rosé and small children start whining about getting the paddling pool out even if actually the heating is still on. By April, so starved are we of vitamin D that it’s all we can talk about. So I should be starting to panic about my entire summer wardrobe being stuck behind many boxes and pieces of furniture in a storage unit in Merton. It should be a real worry that the only way to access my treasured strappy shoes and sundresses is to bribe someone (my boyfriend) to help me shift said stuff. (God forbid I mention all the winter stuff having to go back in its place).

The thing is though, I can’t recall when I was quite so excited about the forthcoming season. And summer clothes imprisoned in Safestore = no choice other than to go shopping. Far less chance of a box related argument that way too.

The high street has outdone itself for Spring Summer 2016 the and the timing couldn’t be better. Just look at all this gorgeous stuff! I am a girly girl and my default setting is dress and heels so I don’t mind the thought of resembling a Von Trapp family member. But even if you’re not so into the frills and florals, you can still do this look right through until October because even everyday pieces like bags, jeans and trainers have taken on a pretty vibe.

It’s not just the fabrics which dictate this look either, the shapes and cuts are feminine too so you can nod to the trend without going all out in head to toe Doris Day. It seems like forever since soft necklines and tapered waists were the thing and frankly it is high time. There is an overwhelming amount of tempting stuff in the shops at the moment, from the affordable V&A inspired prints at Oasis to the Liberty prints at Uniqlo, and after so many months of leopard print and leather, I can’t wait to get started on it.

And the colours! Admittedly there is still an abundance of orange out there which is no good for those of us with cool skin tones but check out the pinks, yellows and blues – mouth watering. Mix it up, channel Neapolitan ice-cream why don’t you? Or Jelly Tots!

Looking gorgeous is going to be impossible to avoid this summer. Take this morning for example – I left the house and headed for Costa, ostensibly to put the finishing touches to my book. I am now about to head home with an irresistible Stories dress covered in butterflies and petals. I did finish my book though too I promise*. Yes, this summer, everything will be coming up roses.

Broderie Anglaise insert jeans £55 at Other Stories

Broderie Anglaise insert jeans £55 at Other Stories

 

*‘Shopped’ is published by September Publishing and is out on 1st July 2016

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From Their Heads to Their Toes

Yes it’s been a four day weekend but it’s gone very quickly and even another four day week seems too long on a cold Tuesday morning doesn’t it? While I work on final edits for my book this week I have been seeking light relief in the form of research for this week’s blog. And while I realise it’s not big or clever to mock other people’s ill advised wardrobe choices, if they have lots of money, a stylist and a lot of Instagram followers interested in those choices, then I kind of feel they’re fair game.

So here it is, my own little contribution for a less gloomy day. I should probably give a warning – some readers may find the following images distressing. No camels were hurt in the making of this blog.

ohno1

Lindsay Lohan

First things first, I love a jumpsuit and own several. They are easy to wear, require even less thought than a dress and are appropriate for almost any occasion – usually I won’t hear anything bad said against them. However, there are limits. Mistakes have been made, mistakes so catastrophic I hardly know where to begin. So I might as well begin with Lindsay Lohan since she has been suspiciously quiet in recent months. I don’t think this jumpsuit would work on anyone by the way, the way the colours change at the thickest part of the thigh is just too unflattering. Lindsay looks happy enough, she’s never happier than without her bra I’ve noticed, but this is not a good look. Her body looks twice the length it is and her legs look like stumps, with no feet on the end. Disaster.

 

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian

No jumpsuit blog would be complete without an entry from Kim Kardashian. Now please don’t think I’m being mean about her pregnant shape, I’m not, I just don’t think this particular garment is the best idea for advanced pregnancy. After all jumpsuits can be a problem for those of us without a small human being pressing down on our bladder. I look at this and immediately imagine Kim struggling to get back up off the loo with her stretchy jumpsuit around her ankles. You have that image stuck in your head too now don’t you? Sorry about that.

 

 

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez

Props to Jennifer Lopez for having the nerve to wear head to ahem, toe skin tight metallic, but then confidence has never been in short supply on her block has it? I love the top half of this number, the colour is fab on her and it emphasises her toned shoulders. But really if you’re going to stretch shiny gold stuff like a second skin over your nether regions, you’re probably better off doing it in subdued lighting. That’s the trouble with shiny fabrics, you never quite know where the light is going to catch you but you can guarantee it won’t be your perfect cheekbones or your glossy blow dry.

 

 

Gwyneth Paltrow - take 1

Gwyneth Paltrow – take 1

I’m finishing with a double whammy and one I am still

Gwyneth Paltrow – take 2

reeling from the shock of. Gwyneth Paltrow has certainly had some funny ideas in her time, but none more so than the pale pink jumpsuit look of which she is clearly terribly fond. Most of us make a monstrous sartorial error and learn from it, Gwyneth decides to try it again – with added Lycra. Is she testing us I wonder? Will this turn out to be some sort of publicity stunt for her new vaginal steaming business? Just look at how uncomfortable the poor pregnant lady next to her is looking, this sort of thing shouldn’t be allowed out in pubic public. It makes me feel deeply uncomfortable on all sorts of levels. Mummies shouldn’t be discussing the issue that is the camel toe in the school playground but there we were, discussing it with carefree abandon. It’s a dark day dear readers, a dark day.

Happy Easter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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