Thursday, 28 May 2015

Outfit: high-waisted jeans + headscarf for lazy days

If I'm being completely honest, if it wasn't for the fact I have a penchant for dressing up in nice things, I am so inherently lazy I would basically be a cartoon character, wearing the same thing every day. Obviously, sometimes I do enjoy putting the effort into my outfits and if I didn't why on earth am I writing a style blog...?

But... like I say, I'm also really lazy about what I wear sometimes. And if I'm not going somewhere fun I'm probably wearing jeans or leggings with whatever top happens to be clean at the time. The wanting to look nice vs wanting to put in minimal effort are at constant war with each other and the minimal effort part often wins. However, even when I'm lazy I don't want to look bad or not like me, so this is basically exactly what I might do (although with slightly more effort cos, you know, it's going on the blog and everything)... I'm even in my back yard and everything, as I genuinely went nowhere this day.

Meet my new favourite pair of jeans. I got a bit too fed up with the dye transference and also the fact I was really wearing a size too small in these ASOS ones from last year, so have been seeking to replace them ever since. And guess what, they're from Collectif. You're all really surprised aren't you? It's not like I wrote an entire post about buying most of their stock from the last five years, or anything (or that I have another one about them coming). The good thing about this Rebel Kate style, which I can't say about some of their other pairs, is the waist is high but not too high - it's perfect for the petite lady, or if you want something less subtle for comfortable everyday wear. The only unfortunate thing is they seem to have flown out of stock again, but do seem to be available through many third party sellers / eBay.

50s casual look with Collectif Rebel Kate jeans

Collectif Rebel Kate jeans in navy

50s casual look with Collectif Rebel Kate jeans

50s headscarf and leopard print

50s casual look with Collectif Rebel Kate jeans

Colourful vintage headscarf

50s casual look with Collectif Rebel Kate jeans

Colourful vintage headscarf

50s casual look with Collectif Rebel Kate jeans
Headscarf: vintage via eBay
Cardigan: H&M
Top: Oasis (old)
Jeans: Collectif via Audrey Stars Boutique (but now out of stock)
Belt: New Look (old)
Shoes: Clarks (old)

Hope you all enjoy seeing this more casual look, anyway - it feels quite dressed down vs what I've been posting lately!


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Sunday, 24 May 2015

The skirt that will whisk you away (for cheap!)...

I am incredibly guilty of buying lovely things that I then wear on this blog six months or so later, by which point they're, of course, completely out of stock and no one else can get their hands on them. This isn't me trying to be unique or taunt you all, it's just poor planning and a tendency to stockpile outfit photos like they're going to run out one day (which is pretty stupid, you'll agree, as I'm the one taking them). However, it's only once in a while that I come across something that I think is a really good buy - you know, those pieces you can't believe your good luck over - and this is one of those. So, let me right my clothes hoarding/hiding wrongs and introduce you to...

Scenic print 50s style midi skirt from George @ Asda

What on earth could be better than a print that looks like a scene from the French riviera/similarly sunny continental dream destination? I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this skirt because not only is the print beautiful and reminds me of 50s novelty print types or pricey repros, it is from a supermarket, where they sell vegetables and stuff, and cost a grand total of £14. I have to mention at this point that only those of us in Europe can get our hands on it, which I guess is the downside to it being sold by Asda. I've never been a big fan of their clothing range but I always keep an eye on them in the summer - it's where I bought this cute gingham top last year, after all.

Scenic print 50s style midi skirt from George @ Asda

It's not quite a circle skirt, but it's still full and with the pleats I can happily get away with not wearing a petticoat underneath (the stock photo does it no justice) and it looks perfectly vintage in shape. It hits me about 1.5" below the knee, which makes me think people who aren't as short as me will also get along with it but it will be more like knee length. If you're thinking of getting it, buy your usual size but if you're inbetween like me you'll want to size down (and because the material is a thin cotton, it's easy to cinch in a slightly loose waist with a belt).

Scenic print 50s style midi skirt from George @ Asda

What's more, it also comes in a dress which is today on special offer at 20% off. I avoided the dress because I love mix and matching separates and was a bit dubious about where the waistline was going to hit me, but I know some of you aren't as dress-phobic at me, so only fair to mention it...

Scenic print 50s style midi skirt from George @ Asda

So if you're going somewhere sunny, or even if you're not and just want something to lift your spirits on dreary days (thank you, British weather), this is the skirt (or dress) for you. And in six months time I might even show you it on, but by that point it will be out of stock so for now you'll just have to take my word for it ;) I think it will be just perfect for a trip to Marseille next month on the new extended Eurostar line (having had an ear-related nightmare on a plane last year) - not quite the riviera, but close enough! 

And I thought my pillbox hat was the bargain buy of the year...


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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Outfit: in bloom (wedding guest outfit option B)

I don't really know how I've gotten to this point in spring (virtually summer!) without the obligatory me-in-front-of-blossom photos. So here I am, surrounded by petals and wearing pictures of petals, for what was my second option for a wedding guest outfit this year. Option A was perhaps a brighter, more tropical affair, but Option B has a hat and features my new Hasbeens, so let's just say my heart was never in A. So apart from the fact my hat was a bargain and my shoes are beautiful (and will be largely responsible if I have to declare bankruptcy soon), I'm also sporting a new dress, the second that Whispering Ivy sent to me to try out. 

The fit on this one was much better all bar one fact - the neck just wouldn't lay flat on me no matter what I tried. It sort of did if I pulled the dress down, but after doing that for the 17th time I gave up. So you can see in all of the pictures it's sort of dipping in a bit. But, and this is a big but, my bust measurement is usually out of proportion with the rest of a dress size, so I think it was a bit too big for this waist and hip size. Also, unusually this dress has molded cups on the bust - which, while it helps with the shape, I think is adding to my neckline issues here with further bulk where I don't need it. Something else to mention is that the size guide on the site doesn't seem to be in line with what I'm wearing here - I've got a Small on, but my waist is 27" and my bust is 34", in both cases 3 inches bigger than the website's size guide. In fact, those measurements are bigger than their Medium. My other Whispering Ivy dress was a Medium, but was only marginally bigger than this one here. Also quite oddly, I don't think my dress here is exactly the same as the one on the site as it doesn't have a split at the front (just at the back) - which may well be because it's a sample and not the finished design.

These points aside, I still think it's very pretty, a wonderful cornflower blue and although I've got some issues with the neckline, I love the square shape of it and the little cut-out. It feels quite unique among repro dresses because of this (while a floral wiggle dress in itself isn't groundbreaking). Also the back and the dipped V shape are rather lovely - adding a bit of glamour so it doesn't feel too frumpy. Whispering Ivy dresses do seem to take some care to have lovely necklines and backs from the dresses I've seen, even if they've got some work to do on consistent sizing!

Whispering Ivy Ruby dress review

Vintage style ivory pillbox veiled hat

Back of Whispering Ivy Ruby dress

Whispering Ivy Ruby dress and pillbox hat

50s style floral wiggle dress by Whispering Ivy

Vintage style floral wiggle dress and pillbox hat

Vintage style ivory pillbox hat with veil

50s style floral wiggle dress by Whispering Ivy


Floral wiggle dress and pillbox hat

Whispering Ivy Rub dress neckline detail

Pink blossom

Whispering Ivy Ruby dress review
Hat: eBay
Bag: Collectif via Sucuubus
Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens via ASOS


Although it's now too late to influence my choice as the wedding was last weekend, which would you have chosen - option A or B?


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Thursday, 14 May 2015

The cutest camera bag?

Now don't get me wrong, I love my DSLR. For outfit photos - or portraits, as the non-blogging world probably calls them ;) - it's my best friend; it can give sharp images in low light and beautiful blurred backgrounds with the right lens. But something all DSLRs have in common is they're MASSIVE. And they're heavy. And to get great photos in a variety of situations you need more than one lens. And they're pretty delicate really so you don't want to knock them around too much. When you combine all of these factors you end up at one conclusion: you need a fairly large, strong and nicely protective bag if you want to take it with you anywhere. For some reason, most companies who produce these bags see the objective of providing something that is large and padded and - aha! Obviously something that needs to be this functional does not need to be attractive! Let's put some mesh and canvas on there and... I know... let's make it black. Always black. Maybe with a bit of grey - and hey, some of the designs could have random streaks of neon colour that no one wants. Because this is what a camera bag should look like - u-g-l-y.

Am I being harsh? I don't think so - have you ever tried to buy a camera bag? I think camera bag manufacturers assume that 1) all DSLR owners are male and 2) all DSLR users because they're male don't like nice things and 3) no one cares about what a camera bag looks like anyway, male or female, it's just a camera bag. And maybe most of the camera-owning population doesn't care once they've got a camera that amazing. But, you can guess where this is going, I care! I've been trying to find a bag I actually want to wear that still offers all the functionality of the usual ugly beast bags and finally, I've found one! And because I know a lot of fellow bloggers who have great cameras read my blog, I thought it only fair to share it. All the gushing that follows about this bag is completely genuine - this was a birthday present. The bag itself is from Jo Totes.

I absolutely adore it. Firstly, it's mint green. We know how I feel about this - I'm buying all the mint green this year.

Jo Totes Abby mint green camera bag review

Yes, that is a removable cross-body strap you spy, along with a removable shoulder pad. And yes, the flap has a zip pocket. I don't know why, but why not?

Jo Totes Abby mint green camera bag review

In fact, there's zips and compartments all over this bag. It's just so darn useful. And yet, pretty. You can see some of the inner adjustable sections for the camera and spare parts here, but more on that in a moment.

Jo Totes Abby mint green camera bag review

Ah yes, more zips. In fact, there's another zip inside that open bit you can see. I was scratching my head about why I needed three small zipped compartments and then managed to use all of them on a day out. Currently, one's housing a lens filter, and another is a great place for my phone. 

Jo Totes Abby mint green camera bag review

Obviously, this big empty compartment is where my camera goes. It took me a few tries to get the padded 'walls' in the right place, but the great thing is you get three and they're completely adjustable. I've got a spare lens next door and my remote on the small section on the left. And yes, another zip pocket. I put my keys in this one.

Jo Totes Abby mint green camera bag review

Yes, that's another strap - it has a shoulder strap as well as a fully adjustable cross-body strap. Isn't that thoughtful of it? I wanted to show you how large it is compared to me, a human carrying it, and yes it's not small... but I am, so it probably looks bigger than it would on most people. But really, I've got bigger bags. The shape and the adjustable strap means it's comfortable to carry and not too bulky.

And most of all, it's not black, there's no mesh and I'm quite happy to carry this around all over the place. I'm not sure B will be quite as quick to volunteer to carry my camera for me in future though :)

So I think I've nailed it with finding the best camera bag ever... but what do you think?


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Sunday, 10 May 2015

Outfit: 50s spin on a leather jacket (and another video!)

So, I realise that leather jackets were around back in the 50s, but you don't see many photos of women wearing them... and while I think they're often worked into more rockabilly looks these days, that tends to be the more traditional black, biker jacket style and as you're about to see, my leather jacket doesn't look a thing like that. In fact, it doesn't really look like any other leather jacket I've ever seen, which is kind of why I bought it all those years ago - something about it just appealed to my contrary side. It's a strange kind of pale khaki colour, has pleats and a rounded collar and in any other material, with its cropped length it might be quite vintage looking. While I love it because it's so different, I actually find it hard to style in any kind of interesting way, particularly in terms of it making it work with 50s looks. If it's not the style that clashes it's the colour...

The annoying thing is that apart from the fact I don't know what to do with it, it's an ideal spring jacket because it's just about warm enough to take on a windy British day. So for this outfit, I really gave it a go (and boy, I ticked the box on the windy day thing as you'll see from the video below!). I've sort of ended up with a blend of formal and casual and it was kinda fun. It's an easy jacket to throw on with jeans, but that would have been too obvious!

50s inspired leather jacket, headscarf and polka dot pencil skirt

Seamstress of Bloomsbury wire headscarf

Pale olive green leather jacket

50s inspired leather jacket, headscarf and polka dot pencil skirt

Seamstress of Bloomsbury wire headscarf

Collectif denim polka dot pencil skirt

50s inspired leather jacket, headscarf and polka dot pencil skirt

Seamstress of Bloomsbury wire headscarf

Leather jacket with sweetheart neck crop top

50s inspired leather jacket, headscarf and polka dot pencil skirt
Jacket: Miss Selfridge Petite (old - very old!)
Top: ASOS Petite (out of stock)
Skirt: Collectif (old - similar)
Bag: Primark (old - similar)
Shoes: Clarks (check eBay)


These photos were taken on a trip to a nearby coastal town and while we were there I was also being a reluctant film star again so that B could try out his new camcorder, having decided that my DSLR was a bit too sharp for what he was trying to do in terms of creating Super 8 style footage. We also decided, this time, to give a bit more insight into what goes into one of these posts, from me standing awkwardly in front of walls to grimacing as I flick through all the photos on his iPad in a funny little 50s style cafe on the seafront. And of course, lots of me walking around trying to look nonchalant while being extremely conscious of being filmed - you know I love that.


Any thoughts on how you'd work a jacket like this into a vintage style outfit? I think it's crying out for a full skirt, but I haven't got one for spring in the right colours... ho hum.


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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Steal or splurge? A vintage style pillbox hat

Now that blogs exist, I hardly ever buy magazines anymore as there's so much to read online, but when I did, I noticed something they did a lot was these 'steal, spend or splurge?' articles where they picked a product and found very similar options to suit different budgets. Anyone else remember those (is it a British thing)? I was usually most interested in the 'steals', but particularly if something looked like occasionwear - I'm quite careful about weighing up cost-per-use.

So when I came across this Collectif hat, I knew I was never going to buy it. As lovely as it is, £25 (not including the shipping) could buy me e.g. a top that I'd wear regularly. But I really, really loved it... I scoured vintage shops online to find something similar, but everything I saw was even more expensive and not the cute shape this one had that I'd fallen for.

So I gave eBay a try, and I'm so glad I did! I found one that was virtually identical, came in numerous colours (I was after ivory, which Collectif do make but is hard to get hold of) and when you'd added in shipping, worked out to be £12.50 cheaper. So I've done my very own 'steal or splurge?'!

Steal or splurge? Red pillbox hats

The shape of the hat is basically identical, along with the bow placement and if anything I'd say the eBay one has a fuller, bigger veil. It also has those little pom pom things which are quite adorable. (They do also make red with black veil like the Collectif one, I just couldn't get a good picture of it here.)

40s/50s style felt pillbox hat with bow and veil in ivory

As I mentioned, I wanted an ivory hat to go with a wedding guest outfit and the eBay seller didn't let me down. It arrived in under a week (somehow, from China) and was under the £15 cut-off for China -> UK customs charges, so I didn't get stung by extra taxes (always do your research when shopping like this!). I'm surprised by the quality and am so pleased with it generally I wanted to share it here, as it's such a good alternative. Of course, as with many of these things, I don't know the ethics around how the cheaper hat was made, but saying this, I actually don't know much about Collectif's either (however, I've got a feeling their goods aren't locally manufactured as they'd probably mention it if so). I'm a bad, bargain driven shopper... It's worth mentioning that if you're similar to me in this respect, eBay is a great place for finding felt pillbox hats of any shape, size and colour for great prices.

Here's a sneak peak of it on as part of my wedding guest outfit option B (if you remember A). More on that soon...

40s/50s style felt pillbox hat with bow and veil in ivory

Anyone got their own examples of a bargain version of a more expensive item? I'm thinking about doing another post like this on hair flowers, for example...


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