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The shoes you just may wear this summer…

Posted by on Mar 13, 2014

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I love it when I take people shopping and they point at something and say, “WHAT is that?”

 

 

It isn’t a curious or surprised ‘what’ so much as a ‘what on God’s earth was that fashion designer thinking when he dreamt that creation up?’

Exactly what happened recently when we floated past the above leopard print plimsol in Kurt Geiger!

So in case you too are wondering what on earth is going on with shoe shapes this season, here’s a little run down of what you can expect to see a lot of; the good, the bad and why you may just may end up wearing them despite the fact you hate them!

 

Block heels and Ankle Straps…

 

Block heels have made a huge come back and feature on both low heeled pumps, high heeled sandals or court shoes. The good thing about them is that they are in fact really comfortable and definitely more hard wearing than a stiletto   or kitten heel. If you have a wedding this summer you won’t be sinking into the grass or get your foot caught in the lattice iron work floor of a church (as I once did!)

The down side is that they can make your ankles and calves look a little chunky (even if they are not).  I find they look best with less fitted styles of trousers and jeans or with an eye catching print on your skirt or dress so that your shoes don’t grab all the attention. The other thing that helps is to avoid the ankle strap versions which can really short your legs. Opt for a sling back instead which is more flattering on less than perfect pins.

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0114-AR05-007H850-505_01_470_505I tried on the Autograph from M&S ones (above) and really liked them. I also tried these ones from Hobbs which were super comfy and stylish too!

Hobbs Cora Slingback £169

 

Mannish Plimsols and Sandals

 

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My Birkenstock sandals have previously only been worn while pregnant or on holiday. But now we can all breathe a sigh of relief – comfortable shoes are well and truly on trend. In fact, I think Birkenstocks now look positively elegant when compared to some of the more chunky offerings from Whistles, Hobbs, Topshop and major fashion brands like Prada and Chloe (left).

Walk around the shops right now and you’ll catch a glimpse of a whole array of plimsols and loafers (whether espadrille or canvas) as well as chunky leather sandals and would you believe it – Jelly Shoes!!! You may at first be alarmed at some of the prints but these are shoes you may well fall in love with, simply because they are comfortable and tick the style factor box at the same time!

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  Here are my tips for wearing them…

The plimsol or loafer is fairly easy to wear whether with skinny jeans, rolled up summer chinos or a pair of relaxed boyfriend jeans. These are a really good choice for those of us who can’t wear heels and they can be brilliant for dressing down your smarter trousers,skirts or dresses. There are loads of plain coloured loafers out there if you want something less daring. They make a nice change from converse and there are no laces to faff around with!

The chunky sandal is also fine for most people but I would avoid the cross ankle versions and dark colours if you have chubby ankles or calves. The thong versions can be really flattering however, and if you get a lighter colour they work well with summer dresses and skirts.

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Stylish jackets to put a spring in your step…

Posted by on Feb 25, 2014

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Boden Soho Jacket £99

March is nearly upon us and let’s hope we can say goodbye to all this rain! But whether it’s raining or not, the temperature will be rising and winter coats can soon be stored away (celebratory punch in the air). But before you reach for your trusty mac or trench coat, take a look at all the textured jackets that are everywhere right now…

 

 

 

Everyone knows that a blazer or smart jacket is a key piece for a capsule wardrobe, but while working with a couple of clients on their wardrobes recently, they felt a smart blazer just wasn’t them. Too formal, too uncomfortable and just not in keeping with their non-working lifestyle, even if you can roll the sleeves up or wear a more relaxed boyfriend style.

 

Enter the textured/jersey jacket…this little number still has the same great figure enhancing structure of a formal fitted jacket, but because of the texture and stretch feels more like a cardigan (but not the type your granny would wear).

 

I was first introduced to the concept a couple of years ago when I was training as an image consultant and my mentor insisted I try a Whistles version. I fell in love with it instantly and can still always rely on it to pull a casual outfit together when I need to feel a little more smart than ‘slummy’, or when I have a more formal occasion going on. It’s equally at home with a pair of skinnies or boyfriend jeans, a casual dress or with a smart pencil skirt or tailored trousers.

 

Hush Shawl Collar Blazer £59

Hush Shawl Collar Blazer £59

The best thing about it in my opinion, apart from being really comfortable, is the textured feel. It’s cosy as well as smart, feels feminine and more in keeping with my style personality. A formal jacket is harder to pair together with other fabrics, whereas the texture and feel of a jersey style jacket means you can meld it together with almost anything, even something that is the same colour. So I can wear it with a pair of smart trousers the same colour, and not worry that they aren’t an exact match.

 

What you get is a slightly more eclectic feel to your outfits which is much more up my street. My most recent clients are also converts and couldn’t believe how good they felt in their respective purchases.

 

A true wardrobe multi tasker, if you haven’t yet tried one or have seen them on the rail and thought they  looked more  ‘granny’ than stylish mummy, I challenge you to try one.

Here are my top picks from the High Street. It’s always worth investing and getting something that will stay looking good…

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Great for Pears…

1. Jigsaw Boucle Cardigan Jacket £169 – This is one of my favourites and the picture doesn’t do it justice. Incredibly flattering on the frame and the collarless silhouette is sharp!

6. Gap knitted biker jacket  £71 – This is great for balancing out your body if you’re bottom heavy. The wide biker lapels draw the eye up and it will flatter your tiny waist.

Great for Apples…

3. H&M Striped Jersey Blazer £30 – A more relaxed style suits a top heavy shape. So if you have big boobs or a rounded belly, opt for this style.

Great for petites…

2. Boden Cheyne Jacket £120 – A boxy jacket tends to really flatter column and petite frames. Wear it open and layer it over a slightly longer base layer.

Good for columns and Hourglass figures…

5.Jaegar knitted Biker – The strong diagonal zipline will define and add interest to a figure without curves, while anyone with a curvy hourglass figure will also find it very flattering. Clever hey!

Good All rounder…

4. Whistles jersey blazer £95 – This is a classic shape that will flatter almost anyone. Whistles tend to do this every season in various colour ways which speaks for itself!

 

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Key pieces for your new spring wardrobe…

Posted by on Feb 7, 2014

Finally, some sunshine today here in Bristol and suddenly Spring doesn’t seem like an eternity away… I’ve been out and about scanning the new collections and have put together some key pieces I think any woman can pull off. You may need to adjust the colours and styles to suit, but if you’re looking to invest in some key pieces you won’t go far wrong hanging these separates in your capsule wardrobe…

x-12   1. The cropped sweater  –  great for layering over a shirt or longer length base layer. I love layering and this is a great way to do it.  Always pair with some slim fitting trousers or jeans and wear with a heel to create height. Fab for anyone with a long body and apple shapes in particular.

2. Printed Trousers – Sometimes you have to take risks and try something you’ve never worn before! You can pull this bold look off with the right accessories; some elegant heels (if you’re pear shaped or short legged), and a fab statement necklace. I love the floaty shape of these Dorothy Perkins jogger style trousers, easy to wear with flats and a simple top or dressed up with heels and a silk shirt or a sharp little jacket!

3. Classic white shirt – Layer this beneath your warmer jumpers to lighten up your look for spring. Also great worn alone with a statement necklace to jazz it up! Try wearing  the collar buttoned up with the necklace layered over the top, or simply wear undone and have the necklace peeping out from beneath! If your’e pear shaped or a column, go for a really fitted shape while apples look best in boyfriend styles…

4. Coccoon Coat – I love these coats as an alternative to a trench for spring. There’s something comforting about them as well as uber stylish! They look fab when worn open, showing off your outfit below and with fitted trousers and jeans.

5. Brogues – Admittedly this shoe can look quite mannish, but if you check out the gorgeous new spring versions in nude pink, soft grey and even cream, you may well be persuaded! I love them styled with cropped trousers and boyfriend jeans. And if you don’t like wearing a heel, these could well be your new best friends.

6. The Breton base layer – I don’t know where I would be without my Boden breton. I love it with everything and have now got my eyes on this Jaegar one with cute shoulder buttons (the boden one is quite old and tired now). Wear it layered under something like a cardigan or jacket or on it’s own with a statement necklace or scarf. Easy Stylish chic and very Spring indeed!

7. Mid blue jeans – Jeans can go a bit brighter in the spring, again to lighten the mood of your key wardrobe pieces. Skinny or straight, if you usually opt for a dark denim you may be surprised how different clothes look with a lighter blue.

8. The statement necklace – I go on about statement necklaces a lot. I like this one from Oasis despite the fact that it’s black. The floral design is fun and easy to incorporate into your outfits. But if you need a flash of colour in your wardrobe opt for a colourful version. A friend of mine was wearing this one the other day and it’s really quite a stunner (Stella&dot).

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The challenge of pastel…

Posted by on Jan 21, 2014

images-116The pastel trend has been around for a few years now and is bigger than ever for Spring 14!  Whether it’s lemon yellow, mint, sugar pink  or baby blue, love it or hate it,  you can’t get away from it! So here’s a little guide on what you can do with it…

Lots of my clients have been remarking that they don’t think it’s a very flattering colour palette, and it’s true that pastel can leave you looking washed out. But it can look really fresh and sophisticated too if you wear it in the right way… 

 If you have a light and cool colouring (summer)  you don’t have to think about it too hard – just go for it because you’ll look fab!

 

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Woven drop sleeve top, Oasis £28

 

 

 

 

 

 

For everyone else, I simply suggest choosing you shade of pastel carefully and then deepening the look with either a darker shade of the same colour or a complimentary tone. You can do this using accessories and jewellery or by layering over or under with coats or camisoles etc

How to mix your pastels…

 

Springs can go for pale yellow and blue…compliment the look with warm navy & charcoal now and add coral or jade in the spring!

Autumns look great in peach and mint…compliment the look with teal and beige (yes really!) now while coral and green turquoise are great in the spring.

Winters should opt for light grey, baby blue and pink…compliment the look with black and dark pewter now while white will be wonderful in the spring!

 

 

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 Take a look…

This Pastel Shirt from Oasis is a lovely colour that suits most people. You can accent and deepen the look though by adding some interesting earrings like these from River Island and a contrasting scarf (one below from Ted Baker). This is a great look for an autumn…

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I have encouraged a few of my clients to take the plunge, and invest in the pastel trend, even now while it’s decidedly dreary. A lightweight coat or mac is a great way to dab a toe in the water and add something to your wardrobe that’s different, fun and can be worn on cold days throughout spring and even into summer.

 

Here’s how you could wear one now…

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 And finally, a few of my favourite things…

 

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