Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Outfit: spring gingham country casuals

So... it's officially spring now. I have to say, I'm not sad to see the back of winter clothing. I know there's no rule saying 'thou must wear dark colours', but still, that's mostly what I seem to find myself in during the colder months. I certainly never wear gingham when it's not warm - perhaps because it's so deeply associated in my subconscious with summer school uniform... And also the time I found a huge spider on the bottom of said summer school uniform, unfortunately while I was wearing it. I can't think of gingham now without thinking about that spider, which remains to this day the largest spider I have ever seen (admittedly this may have been influenced by the fact I was about 9 at the time and it was probably as big as me).

So these gingham jeans I picked up last summer haven't even featured here yet - although not because I'm still traumatised from the spider incident (mind you, I am), but because I ran out of time to snap them and also because I hadn't really worked out how to style them. You see, as lovely as they are, they're not the world's best quality being from Primark and about a week after I got them the waistband had stretched so much they weren't the high-waisted lovelies they were when I got them. In fact, while these jeans looked initially like high-waisted full-lengths on me, I suspect they're meant to be average-rise capris on the rest of humanity, so it's probably not entirely their fault. This would explain why they don't even look like the same jeans on Porcelina - but hey, who said I wanted capris anyway? And at least the length didn't stretch too, eh? In fact, when it comes to trousers, these fit the best in length of all the pairs I own - the irony. This and the baggy waist issues aside, they were still what I was determined to wear on the first day of spring (which is when these photos were taken) while in the beautiful rural Peak District for a few days. Even if I did have to go and change having swiftly realised I was wholly too optimistic for open-toed shoes and only one layer of knitwear this soon into the season - the British wind had other ideas about that.

Anyway, Porcelina paired hers with pink, which I love with the light blue, but obviously can't do the same as that would be embarrassing - one of our blog posts would have to go home and get changed. Fortunately my current mint green obsession was at hand. Remember how I get obsessed with one thing when there's a whole world of fashion out there (just look at the number of outfits that had plaid in them from this past winter)? Yeah, that. So far I've got a mint green cardigan, shoes, skirt, t-shirt and plans for a bag as soon as I can find one I like. I'm not even sure it'll stop there. And while I've always had the 'blue and green should never be seen' mantra in my head when it comes to putting them together, I've decided now I've been living a lie as clearly pastel blue and mint green are made for each other. I'm not even sure where I got that saying from anyway, so it's a mystery why I've stuck to it religiously for my entire life...

Oh and also to draw your attention to the cute cardigan clips I'm wearing here. I didn't even realise modern brands were producing these and thought they were entirely the property of vintage shops, but turns out that Eternal Collection have a range that is particularly good for sparklies (from which they kindly sent me the one featured here). I can't resist the little pearls and think they almost look like a little necklace. Very cute and really does help keep an open cardigan looking smart - a nice subtle 'vintage' touch to this outfit even if they're brand new!

Vintage inspired spring outfit with gingham pants and mint green

Sweater / cardigan clip from Eternal Collection

Vintage inspired spring outfit with gingham pants and mint green

Sweater / cardigan clip from Eternal Collection

Vintage inspired spring outfit with gingham pants and mint green

BAIT Halina peep-toe shoes in mint green

Vintage inspired spring outfit with gingham pants and mint green

Sweater / cardigan clip from Eternal Collection

Half up-do baby beehive

Vintage inspired spring outfit with gingham pants and mint green
Cardigan: Hell Bunny via Amazon
Cardigan clips: c/o Eternal Collection
Top: Collectif (similar)
Jeans: Primark (similar)
Shoes: BAIT (US, UK)


Oh and PS, Bloglovin is still driving me nuts. I think they moved everyone to my new blog but didn't delete the old one (other than from my own profile), so I think everyone's going to get duplicate posts every time I put one up. Sorry about that if so - do unfollow the old one!! And also, depressingly, my follower count is still showing as 7 regardless, so that's fun. I have to say I've not found this part of the domain change great when everything else went surprisingly smoothly - a word of warning for anyone else about to attempt it. EDIT: This has just been fixed - problems over!


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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Outfit: good enough to eat

Hello..? Can you all hear me?? Bloglovin' haven't been able to transfer those of you who followed my 'old' blog yet (apparently there's 'technical difficulties', argh!), so I'm a bit worried I'm talking to myself with this post. But perhaps by some miracle it will update both my old and new profiles..? You never know... Meanwhile, my new Bloglovin' page is here, in case you wanted to move yourself (at this point it might be the only way!).

Anyway, as you might have gathered from this post where I talked about how I'm always trying to acquire items of clothing that can be worn in as many ways possible and basically go with everything, you might imagine that I'm a bit reluctant when it comes to the more 'statement' of pieces. This cardigan from Collectif definitely falls into that category. It has dangling cherries on it - dangling cherries (now there's a phrase you never thought you'd hear and I never thought I'd write)!

I feel a bit cheated by this cardigan though - I bought it thinking it would go with lots of things; it's cream - neutral - with splashes of red - that's fine, it's usually difficult to stop me adding splashes of red to my outfits. However, of all the mountain of clothes I own it goes with... jeans and black. I tried putting it with patterns and it just didn't look right, nor did other colours. It basically wants to hog the limelight of every outfit it features in and my other clothes don't like the competition.

Fortunately, it's very pretty so I don't mind it stealing all the attention now and then. The cherries are so fun and make up for the fact I'm terrified of washing it in case they get ripped off (everything goes in the machine at my house, I'm afraid). They're definitely good enough to eat - which is what you want from something that's not as easy to wear as you were hoping!

Collectif Juliana Cherry Cardigan winter look

Collectif Juliana Cherry Cardigan winter look

Collectif Juliana Cherry Cardigan winter look

Collectif Juliana Cherry Cardigan winter look

Collectif Juliana Cherry Cardigan winter look

Collectif Juliana Cherry Cardigan winter look

Collectif Juliana Cherry Cardigan winter look

Collectif Juliana Cherry Cardigan winter look
Beret: Joy (similar)
Cardigan: Collectif (out of stock)
Belt: Marks & Spencer (old)
Skirt: Peacocks (old)
Shoes: Clarks (similar)
Bag: Ollie & Nic (old)

Have you ever bought something you thought would be a wardrobe staple only to find you can never think of ways to wear it?


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Friday, 13 March 2015

Welcome to www.cici-marie.com!


You might have noticed a change around here... I've moved from cici-marie.blogspot.com to www.cici-marie.com! (In fact, I moved a lot more swiftly than I was expecting, so am writing this in somewhat of a rush!! Good thing I already had this bonus picture of me gazing down lovingly at my new URL, eh?)

If you follow me on Bloglovin' there might be a disruption in services but I'm hoping that Bloglovin' will move everyone over swiftly as they promise they will once I've written this post...


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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Outfit: the 'I can't believe it's not vintage' coat

The weather is starting to brighten up in the UK, but it's not that warm yet... so before I start getting all spring on you, there's still more cold-weather outfits coming your way!

One very misty day, B and I took ourselves to local National Trust gardens to celebrate our second anniversary of being together. I, of course, insisted we took my camera and new coat along for the ride, because these days we can't be in a place of natural beauty without me posing away in front of the trees. Sorry as ever, B. I'm especially sorry this time, though, as we drove all the way out to the park only to discover as we tried to take the first snap that my memory card was still in my laptop. Which unsurprisingly was not with me. Cue a 40 minute round-trip to the nearest store. Heh. I also sat on these photos for a while, in case you were wondering - our anniversary was the first week of January!

To his credit, B patiently snapped away and captured my pretty new coat - which was the amazing bargain of the 2015 January sales. The more I wear this coat and look at these pictures of it, the less I believe that I bought it for £25 from a UK high street store (on a whim, no less - I never buy coats on a whim!). I'm convinced it looks straight out of the 60s - the shape, the pattern, the colours, the adorable collar... At the least, it doesn't look like something by a modern store (admittedly my knowledge of 60s vintage isn't extensive!). And to top it all off, it's deceptively warm for something this aesthetically pleasing. I could even roll the too-long sleeves up in a non-obvious yet steadfast manner. What a winner.

Oh, by the way - anyone remember I got a new lens for Christmas (can anyone actually remember Christmas, come to think of it)? Well, when I took these photos I had very little idea how to use it - as will be all too clear from the unintentionally dreamy quality of these photos where I got the focus spectacularly wrong. B is of the opinion they look as though they were taken on a regular, film camera and considering the 'can't believe it's not' theme of this post, perhaps that's ok? Just tell yourself I was using some lovely old camera...

60s style pastel checked coat

60s style checked coat and half beehive

Sky blue bag and pale lilac heels

60s style pastel checked coat

60s style pastel checked coat

60s inspired half beehive with pastel coat

60s style pastel checked coat


60s style pastel checked coat
Coat: New Look (no longer on sale, but here's others)
Gloves: Sainsburys
Bag: Ollie & Nic (similar)
Tights: Primark (fleece-lined)
Shoes: Clarks (check eBay)

And yes, wearing light grey/lilac suede near this much mud was pretty nerve-wracking. I genuinely did wear them round the whole park - this wasn't one of those instances I just had them on for the photos (which are pretty rare, I usually wear what I have on in my pictures the whole day). After some careful tip-toeing and sticking to the footpaths, I'm pleased to report the shoes survived.

What do you all think - sale bargain of the year nailed?


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Thursday, 5 March 2015

How to pose for photos - for blogs or otherwise!

Back before I started this blog, the mere suggestion of someone turning a camera on me would have had me running for the nearest door. You see, before the blog days, photos = confidence crisis - I felt I never looked good in any of them. I gradually came to the conclusion that my high failure rate with photos had a lot to do with a) having no idea how to pose for them and b) having a bit of a wonky face. And while I couldn't do anything about the wonky face, I could get clued up about posing and I knew I would have to if I wanted to show my outfits off to the world and feel confident (enough) about strangers looking at me!

When I first started taking photos for this blog, I would bin over 90% of them because I was e.g. standing awkwardly, like I didn't want to be in the photo (I didn't) / had a horrendous double chin / looked just a bit, well, weird etc etc. But as the years have passed, I've picked up a few tricks about positioning myself in front of the camera. So, when one of my best friends asked me to teach her how to pose for her upcoming wedding (yay!), I thought why not share some of what I've learned here too in case it helps anyone else build some confidence as I've had to? After all, after this long you'd think I'd have learned something! 

And I want to make it abundantly clear I'm not for a moment saying if you don't follow my tips your photos will be dreadful, I'm just saying if you do find posing for photos hard or want to vary what you already do, you might find some tips below. Because if there's one thing taking as many photos as I do has taught me it's that if you feel uncomfortable about being in the photo you will look uncomfortable in the photo. So why not arm yourself with every trick in the book to hopefully make it easier..? It was the best thing I taught myself to do!

HEAD

How to pose for photos - angle your face

Angle your face

This is probably the #1 thing I've learned about posing that has helped me to gain confidence about capturing my face. Unless yours is perfectly symmetrical (and you are probably a model if so and won't need my advice!), you're likely to find tilting your face away from straight-on is going to be more flattering, not to mention makes for interesting photos. It certainly helps me minimise how lop-sided my nose appears and hides my wonky jaw - which in turn, makes me happier with the end results. Photos flatten 3D into 2D, therefore things like this can seem more pronounced than when you just look in a mirror. I'm sure it's partly why you see so many photos taken from odd angles on Instagram - sometimes your face just looks good from above top left! So, play around - try looking at the camera while your head is positioned slightly away from it on one side and you'll probably find, as I did, that you like one side more than the other. And that's ok, no one needs to know... (apart from you all know I've got a 'best side' now!)

How to pose for photos - look around

Look around sometimes

This follows on nicely from the above because if you're experimenting with angling your face differently, staring off into the distance isn't much more of a stretch... just follow where your face is pointing ;) I often really like the photos where I'm not looking directly at the camera - they can look more natural (which is hard with something posed), or dare I say it, artistic... and I guess just add something different because of this. Often, I'll start my pose looking at the camera to help with positioning, then at the last moment will look up over my photographer's shoulder - it can really help the light to get onto and lift your face.

How to pose for photos - play with expressions

Play with expressions

This is going to be a good tip if you've got a batch of photos you need to pose for where you don't want to have the same face in every one - i.e. personal style photos for blog posts where the outfit and location doesn't change. Yes, a smile can of course brighten the face and change the feel of a photo considerably - teeth or no teeth (try both!), but sometimes a brooding look is good for an atmospheric backdrop. And pulling silly or exaggerated faces can make for fun photos, particularly where it suits your personality/the situation. One of my favourites is the exaggerated pout when I'm reviewing lipsticks - when else can you have a ridiculous pout if not when trying to draw attention to what's on your lips?! As long as you accept silliness for silliness, the playfulness will show in the photo and not actually look... silly (she hopes, re the above). Er. You know what I mean. Ultimately, I find with facial expressions it's hard to predict what will make a good photo until you've tried it out, so embrace your inner-child (and if you can bear it, practice in front of a mirror first ;) ).

How to pose for photos - watch the double-chin!

Beware the double-chin!

If you are going to take my advice and experiment with having your head in different positions, looking down can look great in photos, particularly like in the above where you're trying to put the focus on something else, but be ever conscious that most of us will produce a nice double-chin when tucking it in that bit too close to our chest. You'll learn the more photos you take what you can get away with and I almost didn't in this example, to be fair! Try to be conscious of it when you look down; it's best to look down without moving your head *too* much, essentially a little less than feels natural usually. Thrusting your chin out away from your neck a little more than feels natural also helps to lessen the risk of double-chin, but needs a subtle approach!

ARMS & HANDS

How to pose for photos - hand on hip

Hand on hip

This had to go on this list first as it's surely the oldest trick in the posing book - in a nutshell, it's supposed to help you look slimmer because it helps to define your waist. Every celebrity in the world is surely taught this as you'll see they all do it on autopilot on the red carpet. I think it not only helps add some hourglass shape to your outline, but also is a lot more interesting to look at than just having an arm hanging down by your side - and has the bonus of making your arm look slim and defined too.

How to pose for photos - hug your hips

Hug your hips

This is especially good for when you're wearing something fitted where you can't i.e. hide behind a big full skirt. If your shape is on display, resting your hand on your curves like this can help to emphasise them. Although tip: do what I'm doing here and don't squash your arms against your sides as they'll look bigger. I could have also made a more exaggerated shape with my hips too and this would still work nicely - there's more below on this.

How to pose for photos - raise an arm

Raise a hand

Lifting your arm in a posed photo can feel like the most ridiculous, unnatural thing to do (trust me, it took me a long time to come to terms with it), yet it's very popular among both bloggers and fashion catalogues alike. I've long wondered why, but I think it's just because it again changes your shape slightly, often helping to show off what you're wearing better which is great for a blog or a clothing brand, obviously, but also again quite slimming. Note in my post above that by lifting my arm it's not squashed by my side, which I know can make it appear bigger. Really, though, I think it just looks nice and adds some variety so it's a good one to have in your posing arsenal. Lightly touch the back of your head, the side of your face, your collarbone, your hat - whatever you like as long as it's up!

How to pose for photos - stretch out your arm

Stretch out an arm/arms (and always shape your hand)

I'm probably not alone in feeling very shapeless and awkward when I pose for photos with both arms hanging down by my sides. Even though it's technically the most natural way to stand, in a photo it looks the most unnatural. What's up with that? Reasons aside, it's an easy one to fix by just slightly moving an arm, or both your arms, or even by just pointing your hand out to the side. And as soon as you're lifting your arm away from your body, it's not pressing against you, which, as I keep mentioning, will make it look bigger usually. Just make sure you're also thinking about what your hand's doing at the end of it, to add the finishing touch and take it from awkward to poised.

How to pose for photos - hold a prop

Hold a prop 

This might be more useful for bloggers than for regular photos, as 9/10 times my 'prop' will be my handbag because I'm holding it anyway for the shots so it's easy to move it around - hold it between both hands, dangling off an arm etc. Then again, I would definitely think twice about how I'm doing something simple like holding a bag if a more off the cuff photo was taken of me these days, so it's worth bearing in mind generally. It's not just bags though, anything's fair game from a pretty leaf on the floor to an ice-cream - just try not to let your props melt on you ;)

How to pose for photos - use your clothing

Use your clothing

Got a full skirt on? Hold it. Got pockets? Hook a thumb into 'em. Got a hat? Touch it. Got a jacket? Throw it over your shoulder. Anything that's on you is there for being involved in your pose. It can feel really silly to do, but look great in a photo! It can also help your readers if you're a blogger - no better way to see there's pockets on a skirt than by slipping a hand into one. Oh, and if you're keeping up, the above is also a great example of combining two pose favourites - the clothing interaction and the raised hand near the collarbone!

How to pose for photos - scene interaction

Interact with your scene

If there's a building you could prop yourself up against it, a low wall you can sit on it, a flower you can smell it, a step you can... step on it and if there's a railing you can definitely hold it. Because why wouldn't you when you can look this nonchalant? Joking aside, it's just again about finding a way to add variety to your posing while not feeling so over-staged you look uncomfortable. And the key word there is 'feeling' over-staged - you might be a natural at this kind of 'interactive' pose, but if you try something new and feel silly it'll show in the photos.

TORSO

How to pose for photos - curve your hip

Curve that hip

I'm a very subtle hourglass shape and in photos, can look a bit shapeless if just standing normally in clothing that doesn't define my shape well (i.e. without shapewear doing some scaffolding behind the scenes!). A neat trick is to push a hip out slightly further than you would naturally, as I'm doing in the above photo. The arm the other side is helping to disguise the lack of curve there as you can't have it both ways, but what an easy way to add some pin-up shape! 

How to pose for photos - hide your tummy

Tuck (or cover) your tummy

Perhaps this is obvious, but if you're taking photos in fitted clothes or side on (more on angles later) and you're conscious of your tummy, slightly holding it in can make a big difference to photos. As can strategically placing an arm across it! Whenever I'm wearing something fitted I'm always conscious of holding my tummy in or finding ways to slightly disguise it. It's not the world's biggest stomach, but it makes me uncomfortable having it on full display.

LEGS & FEET

How to pose for photos - legs together

Legs together - in style

Just standing as you would usually with your feet slightly apart doesn't make for a very 'posed' photo usually, but putting them deliberately together and adding a bit of shape by angling one foot is a whole different story. Here, I'm slightly lifting my left foot and pushing my ankle in to meet my right ankle, which automatically makes my toes point a little. It's very feminine and something I totally stole from another blogger ;)

How to pose for photos - lift your heel/bend your knee

Lift your heel/bend your knee

This is basically the slightly more exaggerated cousin of the above, although you don't need to have your feet together... I think this works because it slightly mimics your legs when they're walking, which of course looks natural. It also makes the leg that's lifted look shapely, which never hurts. In fact, I'm bending one knee slightly in almost every one of these photos, now that I look at it!
 How to pose for photos - drop a leg behind

Drop it back

So again, not a million miles from the above as one foot is lifted again, but this time you're consciously putting one leg back behind another. I don't have much to say about this other than it's good for showing off your shoes and works particularly well when wearing a full skirt (perhaps because you don't see your thighs smooshed together that way!).

How to pose for photos - leg out to the side

Or out to the side

This one comes with a warning - stick your leg out too far to the side and you look decidedly unhinged (while pushing a foot out so far it looks like you're trying to dissociate yourself from one of your legs is hilarious, it doesn't usually result in keepers!). But just a little bit - and it helps to point your toes - and it looks quite elegant, don'tcha think?

DIFFERENT CAMERA ANGLES


How to pose for photos - face the camera, but not straight on

Face on - but not straight on

While it's good if you're trying to show off your outfit in a photo to face a camera, it's not always the most interesting or flattering position for your pictures - especially if you're taking a few similar shots and want some variety. Even just angling your body away a little, while turning your head and shoulders back  towards the camera a little can make for some nice photos.

How to pose for photos - take photos from behind

Back up

If you blog your outfits, it can be good to show how they look from various angles and one of my favourites is to put my back to the camera and look back over my shoulder. I can see this working well in real life too, if you're a little way in front of your photographer and are going for a 'coy' vibe.

How to pose for photos - take photos from the side

Sideways

Now, this would probably look very silly if you tried to make camera eye-contact as well, but if you're up for some wistful staring out into the distance, here's another angle that can really help to show clothes off - shoes in particular! It gets bonus points for looking quite romantic and whimsical, if you're going for that kind of thing...

NOW, PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

The best way to work any of these tips into your posing is to think of your body in four 'sections' - your head, middle, arms-hands and legs-feet. What are you doing with each in every photo? As soon as you consciously do something with each of these sections your photos start looking pretty put together. Sometimes you'll pose your hands, position your head and middle and then what you're doing with your feet just doesn't work. It takes practice - and it's a good idea to try a few poses in each outfit in front of a mirror before you leave the house to have some readymade for when you're in front of the camera that you already know look good. And then throw in the camera angles - move your tripod, or get your photographer to move around you and have fun finding what works (and in bloggers's cases, shows off an outfit etc best).

And of course, take inspiration from other bloggers! That's where I picked up a lot of these ideas in the first place.

Happy snapping! Is there anything that I've missed you want to add? There must be something...


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