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Spring Essentials…

Posted by on Feb 29, 2016

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There is nothing like the anticipation of spring after the long winter. February is nearly done and dusted, so it’s definitely time to think about packing away those big jumpers and getting your wardrobe ready for the new season. As I write this, I have yellow daffodils on the table and they are in full agreement!

 

Here is a little round up of some of my favourite seasonal pieces you could begin to mix in with your winter wardrobe, all encapsulating a little of the current trends and to suit different body shapes and sizes. And even if they just sit in your wardrobe for the next six weeks in eager anticipation of being worn, you’ll love having them there …

 

 

The Spring Coat…

 

SD_01_T49_3414_SL_X_EC_1You can’t go wrong with a trench coat; it always looks stylish and suits most body types. Just watch the length if you’re pear shaped, opting for a slightly longer above the knee version as opposed to one that hits you on the thigh area.  I always look for good structuring and a decent weight of fabric so it doesn’t crease or look tatty. I love this one from M&S which is a classic tan colour. You could go grey or navy as an alternative, or a splash of colour. But a neutral colour is most versatile… 

M&S trench coat £79.00 (also comes in navy)

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I also really like this denim version   which is by Autograph at M&S, £129.00

 

 

 

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A utility Jacket is another really easy to wear staple that can look great with a classic breton underneath and styled casually, or really useful to dress down or toughen up those more formal or soft feminine pieces. This is a good version from Oasis at £58.WL093704030_Zoom_M_1

 

Or I love this one from Wallis £36, which is a bit longer in length and less structured, ideal for curvier ladies!

 

 

 

 

2314640080_1_1_1Finally, and really on trend right now, is the versatile printed coat. I think this could be smart enough for a wedding layered over a simple dress, but easily worn with jeans or cropped trousers and some pumps for a chic daytime look.

This one on the left is from Zara £69.99,

hmprodand to the right, is another from H&M £49.00. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wide leg trousers (& Culottes)…

Bootleg, flared and cut-off trousers are back in a big way this season and you’ll also have noticed culottes are on the menu too!

4123335856032_001_bIf you’ve got chunkier calves and legs then it’s probably best to avoid culottes altogether, but if you want to ease yourself in, go for a block colour and try with a fitted top or shirt tucked in to counteract the volume and wear with flats or sandals in the summer. These on the left from Anthropologie, £88, are simple and elegant and would work for daytime as well as evening…

 

16WSPR_WM410_NAV_D01Boden’s Richmond wide crop trousers, £59.50, are a safe and stylish option if you want to dip your toe in gently! I love the teal coloured ones, but you can’t go wrong with classic navy…

 

 

 

 

I also love the look of these summery ones from 530x760.fit.WLTR1-AWT-01Hush, £65 (above).  More day to day spring/summer wardrobe, these are a great style to experiment with and will look stunning paired with heels or flats. I would style them with a muted palette of taupe, soft browns and nude pinks.

 

 

 

 

Summer knits… 

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This beautiful silk fronted sweater would be great both in the day and for relaxed evenings out – maybe adding a chunky statement necklace for a bit of glamour! I love the delicate colours – ideal for anyone with a soft or light colouring. It’s a soft grey-mauve – really pretty on!

JIgsaw £98

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It’s hard to go wrong with an injection of stripes in your spring/summer wardrobe. Wear as is or layer under a trench or parka for effortless chic!

Hush £55 (right)

 

 

And for that all important injection of colour? I love these new additions to the Boden Easy Lightweight jumper range, £49.50. Layer them over a denim shirt or wear alone with jeans.

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Shoes to cheer you up…

 

A telling sign of my age is that I’m pointing you in the direction of flats before heals, but trainers are so appealing at the moment!

Why not opt for some fun coloured ones and pair them with a smart jacket to rock a relaxed and sporty vibe? I love these yellow Nikes, available from Schu, £67. I also love these nude, go with everything pumps by Carvela, £99.

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Mint Velvet have got a great selection of summer ankle boots with lots of interesting detail like tassels and cut-out toes which are a great option for warmer days and look great with cropped trousers or jeans. The neutral colour of these means they will go with everything in your wardrobe. Both pairs below are available from John Lewis as well as Mint Velvet, £149.

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And finally, a great addition to any Spring/Summer wardrobe is a scarf to transform those plain outfits that just need a little something. One of my absolute favourite scarf makers is BecksSonderGaard. Check out their amazing range here…

They do an amazing range with beautiful attention to detail and designed to be worn a number of different ways – you can pick out different colours within the scarf and play with lots of outfit combinations. Very Clever…

 

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10 tips for dressing in your 40’s…

Posted by on May 7, 2015

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Some would argue that dressing should not be dictated by your date of birth. But  judging from the many  emails I receive from women who suddenly find themselves in a fashion crisis, there is definitely a transition that takes place and shouldn’t be ignored (unless you’re a Vivian Westwood kind of girl!)

 

It can be really unnerving when suddenly all your go-to favourite shops no longer seem right but you don’t quite know why. And as I too approach my 39th year, I can totally relate! In a sense, we do need to learn a whole new ‘dress code’, but it actually isn’t nearly as hard as it may seem.

The key is to keep things toned down, simple and subtle.  So dressing in your 40s (and beyond) is actually very liberating!  If you focus on what really suits your colouring and bodyshape and take your eyes off the fashion world (which let’s face it, completely ignores older women), you should find that how you look and feel is actually the most confident you’ve ever been!

 So here goes, my top style tips for 40 and beyond, and I hope you find them helpful…

 

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1. Know what suits you and stick to it…

 

You’ll always feel good if you understand what styles of clothing look good on you and stick to them. Ignore fashion trends and invest in classic, great fitting, pared down pieces that you can mix and match with other less expensive items. You’ll never regret investing in something if the colour and fit is fab on you.

2. Invest in your underwear… 

 

avero_cafe_latte_high_res Get yourself fitted by a professional and try a wide range of brands so you can find the best fit. Always check what the bra looks like with a top over it – you should never see any lumps or bumps!  If you only invest in one expensive bra, make it  a nude, moulded and seamless one so it will work under everything.

You can also get a lot of help for your tummy, hips and thighs by wearing control vests or pants (M&S do a good range). Nowdays they are designed to be more comfortable so you can wear them every day, not just for special occasions.

One of my favourite brands for a bra is Marie Jo  (left) – amazing styles and really pretty even if you’re on the larger side! Also try Prima Donna.

 

 

 

 

 3. Invest in good tailoring, especially a jacket or blazer…

 

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No 1. on my list is a great fitting blazer or jacket which can transform your outfit from plain or shabby, to chic in an instant. Good tailoring is more important as you get older because you’re not quite as toned and often need a bit of help from well structured clothing. Try and add pieces each season if you’re on a budget; a great pair of trousers to dress up or down, a go anywhere fabulous dress that again, can be dressed up but equally, worn in the day with different accessories. Try  Hobbs, Jigsaw, Me & Em, Cos and Jaeger for great quality that doesn’t cost the earth.

 

4. Pay attention to the quality of fabrics…

 

Cheap synthetic materials don’t seem to work as we get older. Fact. Natural fabrics are much more flattering.  You may find that shiny and really bright colours also start to look a bit harsh on you. Lots of women start to soften in their colouring and look better in softer colours and fabrics. This doesn’t mean you can’t wear vibrant colour – just look for it in natural and soft materials so the ‘edge’ is taken off.  So if you can aim to up the quality of your clothing but have less items in you’re wardrobe as a result, you’re heading in the right direction.

 

 

5. Lose the spaghetti straps, plunging necklines and short skirts…

 

 If you have good shoulders and medium_Dancing_Leo_AW_2014_0817021006666_2646065707_1-3arms you’ll be able to show these off, but I think that less flesh on show is generally more sophisticated! Three Quarter length sleeve tops, dresses and jackets always look really flattering, so try these. If it’s hot weather you’re worried about, simply choose lighter fabrics like silk or linen. Also look for interesting necklines and keep the emphasis on this rather than your arms or cleavage!  Shorter skirts and dresses are fine if you’re wearing tights in the winter, but otherwise stick to just on or above the knee. Shirt dresses can be a great option. Obviously when you’re on holiday you can let it all hang out, but this is one style rule you can definitely be relieved about – no pressure to bare all and more sophisticated all in one step!

 

6. Flat shoes don’t have to be boring…

 

I am wearing heels less and less. At first I felt genuinely sad about this as I have always felt more confident when wearing heels, but recently I’ve been embracing the alternatives and having lots of fun. First off, if you really need heels in your life but want comfort I can highly recommend Hobbs – I can wear their Lizzie Nude courts all day . Classic wedge heeled shoes are also a great option for work or smart occasions – you can find these anywhere.

But I think flat or low heeled shoes can add real drama and fun to an outfit and are a great place to express yourself, especially if you feel you are toning everything else down a bit. I love my patent pewter brogue shoes which I wear whenever I want to give my otherwise plain or classic outfit the’ wow factor’. And for evenings out or a bit of glamour, I might choose a jewelled flat sandal. Be bold and try some new styles you may never have even considered before…

 

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7. Buy a great shirt or tailored blouse…

 

A beautifully fitted shirt or blouse can be a wardrobe wonder. Wear it alone with accessories or images-138layer it under a sweater or jacket.  When shopping with a client I always guide them towards a light neutral depending on their skin tone so it can be worn a multiple of ways. If you can stretch to a silk shirt, you won’t regret it. (Check out Equipment, Whistles and Comptoirs des Cotonniers). Look for a curved hemline  which is much more flattering on the hips and tummy and ensure it has some structure with seam detailing.

 

 

8. Proportion is key to a good outfit.

 

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Balance and proportion become more important as we get older. Understand whether you look better in slightly loose and flowing tops with well fitted and tapered trouser/skirts, or in wider legged trousers and A-line shaped skirts with something fitted up top. Once you’re confident in what works, stick to the formula.

 

 

9. Avoid fussy detailing.

 

This includes bows, ruffles, frills and decorative sparkle. It can all make you look old!  Instead, stick to plain block colour or simple prints, and use sharp accessories to bring in the glamour or interest.

 

 

10. Treat yourself & Get your clothes pressed…

 

Nothing beats a perfectly pressed shirt fresh from the dry cleaners. If you treat yourself to one thing this week, make it a trip to your local dry cleaner. When there’s more emphasis on clean and simple lines, your tailored pieces often look their best once they’ve been cleaned and pressed professionally. You’ll love the difference this makes to how your clothes look and feel. A small luxury I think, all things considered…

 

 

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A few of my favourite things…

Posted by on Jan 23, 2015

January is always a funny month. Full of the promise of all that the year ahead could hold in store, but in equal measure and particularly once it gets to week 3, a month that I can’t wait to get done and dusted. I much prefer February because then it’s nearly March and then it’s just about Spring!

This past few weeks I have hardly ventured into the stores because I’m not a fan of sale shopping. But I’ve been keeping an eye on all the new collections gradually filtering through and yesterday I did do a bit of browsing.

So here we go. If like me you’re slightly struggling with January week 3 symptoms, here are a few of my favourite things that may just cheer you up…

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This Holly Hobo bag from Oasis looks much more expensive than it is and is a great size.  It has a handy cross body strap and really cute fringe detail, and the colour is a fabulous way of injecting some life into your tired winter wardrobe.

Wear now to brighten up grey, navy and black neutrals, while come spring and summer it will work brilliantly with other bright colours. Also comes in a bright cobalt blue.

Oasis £34.00

 

 

 

 

Spring green is going to be big next season and a scarf is the perfect way to wear it.sc129grp_uion_sq_scarf_green_main_v1 This Union Square Scarf from Stella&Dot is stunning and I can see it working on lots of different colourings because of the way it’s mixed with soft turquoise and cobalt.

A statement scarf is a great way to change your look! Wear something like this with your grey or navy winter neutrals now and in the spring mix with a breton top or white shirt.

Stella&Dot £45.00

 

 

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These luxe navy skinnies from Mint Velvet are a great choice if your’e in the market for a new pair of jeans. I tried them on yesterday to check the fit and really liked them. They are a great length for when the weather gets warmer and have nice pocket placement and detailing if you’re a bit of a pear. But equally, they will look great on most shapes.

I love the dark navy colour and will be showing them to lots of my clients!

Mint Velvet £69.00

 

 

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I absolutely love a cute, slightly cropped statement jacket to do all the talking over a plain dress, with jeans and simple sweater/top and for nights out. Something like this works brilliantly at the office too.(Fab with the yellow bag featured above!)

It’s beautifully cut and a flattering shape for many figures. LOVE this!

Mono Tweed Cropped Jacket ,Warehouse £55.00

 

 

 

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I seem to be drawn to monochrome at the moment; but it is timeless  and I know this spring sweater will work brilliantly for so many of my  clients. It’s for wearing over a white shirt, but this layered look always looks stylish and I’m a big fan of Hobbs knitwear for quality!

Try a cropped jumper over a well tailored shirt if you’re wanting to hide a bit of tummy and not look frumpy!

Hobbs Jodi Sweater £79.00

 

 

 

 

15WSPR_AR660_STPThese pointed flats from Boden are firmly on my wish list for spring and summer. I can picture them now with a pair of skinny jeans and simple white shirt or floaty top paired with a navy or green bag. Perfect!

 

Boden Vienne Point Shoes  £62.00

 

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Autumn Wish List…

Posted by on Sep 8, 2014

I do love this time of year.  For me it holds much more excitement and anticipation than the traditional New Year in January , and when the weather’s sunny like this – all the better!  The children are back in a school routine and suddenly I have a spare moment to myself again. So last week I managed my first little shopping excursion and made lots of notes to prepare myself for this next season with my clients…

Here are some of my favourite seasonal updates. Not all of them will make it into my wardrobe, but there’s always a chance!

 

1. The Statement Overcoat…

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You’ll be seeing a lot of these this winter  in varying prints like check, stripes, dogstooth and aztec. There are some lovely fabrics out there too;  softest mohair, cashmere and more rugged raw-edged wools.

This is an easy style statement; all you have to do is throw it on!

Look for slightly oversized ‘throw-on’ shapes and wear it over fitted sweaters and skinny jeans or trousers. If you’re a petite size opt for cropped versions rather than longer lengths.

(Checkers Belted Coat, Great Plains £140)

 

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2.The Furry piece…

Faux fur is back in a big way. Great for adding texture  and  glamour to any outfit and for covering up any tummy bulge! I also love Jigsaw’s furry bag!

(Fur Vest, Zara £59)

 

 

3.The Perfect Layering Shirt…

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If you need to update your ‘go to’ easy shirt, this is the one. I love it’s luxe feel and it drapes beautifully. Ideal on it’s own or layered under  a cropped sweater  (almost all the sweaters I’ve seen are slightly cropped this season).

(Jigsaw £89)

 

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4.The bright Knit…

I LOVE the deep V-neck shape of the neckline and the way this hangs. Let the colour do all the talking and keep everything else simple!  Also comes in a fab bright blue, fuchsia and grey.

(Hush £65)

 

 

5.The Fabulous Scarf…

 

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I finally found myself in the new Anthropologie store in Bath and came across this ‘wow’ scarf. It’s a great way to wear this season’s hottest colour RED, without it looking scary. Wear it as a scarf or a wrap, trust me it is beautiful!

(Anthropolgie £54)

 

 

 

 

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6.The Easy to Wear Jumper Dress…

 

 

Jumper dresses are back, and being knitted tend to be very forgiving on lumps and bumps. This is the sort of thing you can chuck on with thick tights and long boots or some cute ankle boots and feel ready for anything. If you notice your tummy is popping out a bit, just add a long scarf or a cropped swing coat.

(French Connection £60) 

 

7.Metallic Loafers…

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A brilliant mix of glamour and practicality, you will be able to wear these with almost everything, dressed up or down…

(Boden £110)

 

 

 

 

 8. Low key statement necklace…

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Can a statement necklace ever be low key? I adore the nude tones of this latest one from Stella&dot. It will look stunning against black, grey or white or beige tones; ideal for daytime chic as well as evening glitz. LOVE!

(Stella&dot £110)

 

 

 

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An arm full of loveliness…

Posted by on May 2, 2014

tory_burch3Now is about the time when I feel the need to swap my winter bag for something lighter…It would be great if my handbag actually could be lighter in the kilogram sense of the word, but what I mean is that my lovely aubergine coloured one is definitely looking out of place now that my wardrobe has almost completely transitioned into summer (the winter woolies are all packed away!)

 

If money were no object I really love this gorgeous cross body bag by Anya Hindmarch in the taupe colour, which is a great neutral option to go with everything. No harm in dreaming…

02K23H0A0002GRY_1_largeBut on a more realistic note, take a quick look at my high street edit if you’re in need of some inspiration…I’ve picked out some great neutral options as well as some more colourful ‘pack a punch’ bags that will really add something to any outfit. I do love the way a bag can transform an ordinary/plain outfit into something really interesting…

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Neutral bags will go with almost anything in your wardrobe and make outfit planning a synch. But I also love a bold and colourful bag so I usually recommend investing in both – if you can force yourself!

A bag HAS to be practical too. I do own a couple of little ‘mini’ bags that are all the rage now, but I only tend to use them when I’m shopping with a client (when all I need are my keys, phone and bank card!)  You certainly can’t get much more in one, so for me a tote or roomy bucket bag is the best option to get all your clobber in and always look stylish.

Although, having said that I am really taken by Jigsaw’s little cross body bag which comes in neutral browns and black as well as a gorgeous jade colour…Oh and you can’t beat some stripes for an instant spring/summer style update!

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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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