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world meaning surely that by the time it is actually summer in the UK, the Burberry SS17 collection will be six months out of date?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.


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.



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



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



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



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:


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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!


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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 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.


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.


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.


Bandeau bikini £56 at

Bandeau bikini £56 at






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.


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.


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:


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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.

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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.


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



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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!



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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.



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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 

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