Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Outfit: lady in Collectif (a truthful outfit)

Ok, this is nothing new, I LOVE Collectif. You've heard me say it 500+ times by now. So, when they made a brand t-shirt, I had to ask myself what kind of super-fan I'd be if I didn't get it? Not least because it's stripey - I love stripey. It's also red - I definitely love red. I'm also lacking in the t-shirt department, so it felt like a good thing to add to my wardrobe. So I bought it... and then I took so long to post photos of it it went out of stock - fashion blogger fail number one.

This cute little tee had to be paired with the Collectif Rebel Kate jeans - yes, the very same jeans I loved so much I stretched them to death (as mentioned here in my round-up of high-waisted jeans styles). Fashion blogger fail number two: taking photos and not posting them for months - this is actually my worst ever offence for that. Good thing I'm not a professional, right?

Here's the thing, I generally use all of my photo sets - if I've gone to the effort of getting out there, usually in the freezing cold, the thought of all that time of both mine and B's going to waste fills me with horror. So far, there's only one full set I haven't used and I could write a list of the things that were wrong with those photos. This was nearly number two and I can't put my finger on why, other than it didn't really feel that exciting an outfit. But an outfit it is and it's one I wore so I had to remind myself of that. 

I love creating fun outfits for this blog and I don't wear anything I wouldn't be seen out and about in, but with the UK's climate the way it is I don't get to wear everything as I want to all the time. I'm often shedding layers to get photos then covering it all up again. I know to some bloggers that feels false and they don't do it, but for me that's a good thing about this blog - I can be creative and forget about the cold for that half an hour to wear an outfit I love. Believe you me, if I lived in a hotter climate I wouldn't own as many pairs of jeans as I do! Don't even get me started on how many cardigans I've acquired...

Collectif stripe t-shirt with Rebel Kate Jeans

Collectif stripe t-shirt and pin-up style headscarf

Collectif stripe t-shirt with Rebel Kate Jeans

Collectif brand tee

Collectif stripe t-shirt with Rebel Kate Jeans

Collectif stripe t-shirt with Rebel Kate Jeans

Stripey tee and red headscarf

Collectif stripe t-shirt with Rebel Kate Jeans
Scarf: eBay (identical)
Cardigan: Oasis (very old)
Top: Collectif (last year's)
Shoes: Topshop (old)

But what do you think? Should bloggers only wear what they actually wear out and about, or do you think it's ok to put the layers out of shot? And are casual outfits like this what you want to see from me?

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Thursday, 24 March 2016

Outfit: red polish

Do you have a list of clothes you are always on the look out for to gap-fill your wardrobe - where you feel like key items in your clothing inventory are missing? For the longest time, a red pencil skirt has been one of mine and now the hunt is finally over. Turns out red pencils are hard - there's a fine line between 'classy wiggle' and 'lady of the night' when it comes to a tight, bright scarlet skirt.

I'm glad I finally found one that works for me because red is such a perpetual favourite of mine. I must wear it in every other post on here, so that's not exactly going to come as a surprise. It just seems to instantly brighten so many outfits and it goes with a surprising array of other colours - just look at it here, with browns. I feel like that shouldn't work but it definitely does. Even if I'm not wearing a red accessory or item of clothing, chances are I've got on that perpetual classic, red nail polish. So really, there wasn't a better companion for this outfit than this cute Erstwilder brooch from their second 'beauty school' range.

So here we are, an outfit based around a red skirt and leopard print that went from my imagination into reality - and I think the brooch and bows really help to veer away from the call-girl look... I think! I also really love that this skirt is a wrap design - it gives it something a bit extra. If anyone is thinking of buying it, I found the size guide very accurate and the fabric has a fair amount of stretch. It is also a genuine wrap, so I keep thinking how good it would be for a beach day... Not that there's many of those round these parts!

Red wiggle pencil skirt, leopard print top and Laquer de Rouge Ertswilder brooch

Red wiggle pencil skirt, leopard print top and Lacquer de Rouge Ertswilder brooch

Erstwilder Laquer de Rouge brooch

Erstwilder Laquer de Rouge brooch

Red wiggle pencil skirt, leopard print top and Lcquer de Rouge Ertswilder brooch

Leopard print with red outfit

Lindy Bop red bow belt

Messy side up-do

Monsoon cream bow kitten heels

Red wiggle pencil skirt, leopard print top and Laquer de Rouge Ertswilder brooch
Fascinator: Alternate Normality
Top: Oasis (old)
Brooch: c/o Erstwilder 'Laquer de Rouge'
Belt: Lindy Bop
Skirt: Glamour Bunny (on sale)
Bag: Top Vintage sometimes sells it
Shoes: Monsoon (old)

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Sunday, 20 March 2016

Makeup: Urban Decay Gwen Stefani lipstick in 714 review

I go through periods of time where I don't buy much lipstick and am happy with the 593 tubes I've already got, but 2016, so far, ain't one of those times. How one can not yet have a red lipstick at the top of the pile with so many already in one's possession is probably as baffling to you all as it is to me. I put it down to my colouring - it's hard to find foundations that match and it seems a challenge to find reds that compliment it too. And as many as I own, they are all different colours (I swear!)!

I was excited about Gwen Stefani's make-up range with Urban Decay because that woman nails the retro red lips and winged eyeliner like perhaps no other modern celebrity on the planet. Teach me your ways, oh wise one, and let me wear all your cosmetic things. When I got the amazing eyeshadow palette for Christmas, it came with samples for her lipsticks and I was immediately drawn to this one. It was difficult to apply (and given the consistency of the lipstick bullet I now understand why), but a thinly brushed on layer looked pretty, and it looked so nice on another blogger that when I had a horrible night where I was really sick and then couldn't sleep, I found myself buying this as a pick-me-up. I was a bit lack-of-sleep-and-random-sickness delirious, but hey, at least it was only a new lipstick and I didn't find myself on the Bernie Dexter website or something...

Urban Decay's matte lipsticks really are completely matte, so don't be fooled by the slight sheen my lights are creating here. The problem with them is that there aren't as many to choose from as with Mac's giant range and it's hard to find them in shops here to try out. This is an issue when they're this expensive. But this one is very pretty...

Urban Decay Gwen Stefani lipstick in 714 review

Urban Decay Gwen Stefani lipstick in 714 review

Urban Decay Gwen Stefani lipstick in 714 review

  • It's a perfect matte, but not too drying (it's not moisturising either though, so you will feel the effects of wearing it after a day)
  • It's comfortable/fairly natural-feeling on the lips - I'm not conscious of it in a way I am with some of my Mac mattes
  • It's a small thing to me, but the packaging is really pretty
  • The pigment packs a punch - and it stays in place pretty well too, although as with most lipsticks you'll need to touch up a bit after eating
  • It's a bit 'draggy' to apply, in that the texture isn't super smooth and soft
  • It's not cheap! 
  • It's in the Gwen Stefani range, so that means it's limited edition. I hate falling in love with limited edition things, but that doesn't seem to stop me buying them all!
  • It's a really pretty colour, but it's on the dark, cool side of red - which I wouldn't mind, but Urban Decay advertises this as a 'bright red'
  • For this reason, I find it a bit much for daytime as it's quite dramatic on my pale colouring

So, I do really like this lipstick - I love the completely matte finish that wears well and isn't as uncomfortable for me as the Mac mattes. But it's the colour again; it's a great evening red, but I just don't really love it as a daytime red. It does photograph a bit lighter than it feels like it looks on, which I often find is the way. So it's quite good for blog photos, but I feel 'overdone' while taking them! Not one I'd repurchase (probably won't still be in stock anyway by that point), but if the colour is right for you it's a pretty fab lipstick.

Oh and thank you to Jessica again for sponsoring the accessories of this post with this adorable headscarf!

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Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Outfit: a nod to mod

So here I am, dabbling in the 60s. As I said in my last post about my favourite 60s styles, this outfit is unusual because, for once, I'm not showing you anything that's particularly new here. It mostly came about because I'd specifically set myself the challenge to wear this dress again, which had been languishing in my wardrobe since Christmas Day 2014. I also didn't allow any new purchases for the cause, by which point my brain has pretty much lost interest, but I tempted it back with mint green and the promise of a beret...

And you know what, I love how this turned out! I felt super stylish, but for once not overdressed for a walk around the city centre. I felt like I came across as a trend-setting fashionista too, as a group of local political activists to my left stopped what they were doing to watch me pose. And then they stole my cameraman - turns out that's what they were really after. But I like to think I looked so good they assumed B was a professional photographer... Or something.

I'm not sad to soon say goodbye to winter and welcome spring, but this bright sunny day the colours in this outfit lifted my cold-weather spirits. Also - bonus - my bag is actually the camera bag I featured before, so only one bag to lug around for once. Fashionable and practical.

60s mod influenced pinafore dress outfit with white tights

60s style pinafore dress with beret

60s mod influenced pinafore dress outfit with white tights

60s style pinafore dress with beret

60s mod influenced pinafore dress outfit with white tights

60s style pinafore dress with beret

60s style beret and low side ponytail look

60s style white tights with blackwatch check

60s mod influenced pinafore dress outfit with white tights

60s style beret and low side ponytail look

60s style beret and low side ponytail look

60s mod influenced pinafore dress outfit with white tights
Beret: eBay
Top: ASOS (old)
Pinafore: New Look (old)
Tights: Primark
Shoes: so old I can't remember

I am now waiting, excitedly, to find out if I am a winner of the Oxfam #vintagefaceandstyle competition, which I believe closes today...

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Thursday, 10 March 2016

10 things to love - and borrow - from the 60s look (even if you're a 50s girl at heart)

My love for the 60s has really grown lately - and to clarify I don't mean the early 60s where the styles still looked a lot like those of the late 50s, I'm particularly talking about the looks more traditionally associated with the decade. In fact, I've got two more outfit posts on the way with 60s-inspired looks, both of which I've previewed here.

When Oxfam told me they were looking for bloggers to be the face of the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, my first instinct was, of course, I'd want to be championing my first love, the 50s. But the more I thought about it, the more I kept returning to the idea of representing the 60s instead. So now, here I am, with this entry to become Oxfam's face of the 60s! And why? There's just so much to love about the 60s that goes so far beyond go-go boots and monochrome mini-dreses and I would love to raise awareness of the great styles from the decade. The 50s will always be a favourite among vintage fans, so it would be nice to show the world what the 60s can do! 

And just as with the 50s, there's simple ways to borrow as little or as much as you want from the era to put fun vintage twists into your outfits. So, starting as I mean to go on, I thought I'd share my favourite ways to add a bit of 60s style and see if I manage to convince anyone else to look at it in another way... there's surely something here to fit and flatter everyone. As I say below, tell me one person who doesn't look good with big hair...?

Colour co-ordination
(Full outfit post to come soon)

60s inspired colour coordination

I will post about this outfit in more detail very soon - it was one of those looks that was made up entirely out of things I've had in my wardrobe a while and that, on their own, weren't particularly of any certain look, but put together and matching like this, suddenly things have gotten a bit mod around here! The 60s ladies were my colour-matching soul sisters - so many outfits were meticulously coordinated and I just adore how finished this looks. I <3 matching.

...And fun tights
(From this post)

60s inspired mustard tights with bootsWhite, mustard, navy, orange, olive... tights seemed to come in any and every colour - as long as they matched the rest of your outfit, of course. In the UK, you won't get very far in the colder months with bare legs and it's difficult to find skin-coloured hosiery that actually keeps you warm. After wearing black opaques to death for months on end it's so nice to have a different colour once in a while. I'm particularly partial to dolly white and mustard yellow - so easy to put with so many other colours.

High necks
(From this post)

60s style high roll neck top

Oh the 60s, you constant friends of warmth. There is a theme with these first entries to my list, if you hadn't clocked it yet - this decade just catered for the winter in a way I can't help but appreciate. Even if you don't like traditional turtlenecks, this broader roll-neck style is a pretty stylish alternative. And a high neck is pretty handy for brooch wearing, so what's not to love about that?!

Long-sleeved dresses
(From this post)

Long-sleeved stripe dress

Cap sleeves, half sleeves or even 3/4 length sleeves are all well and good until you live in a climate like the UK's and have to get through well over half a year of cold weather. Long sleeves on dresses just didn't seem to be a popular choice in earlier decades, but they abounded in the 60s. While I've talked before about finding mini-length dresses not ideal in the warmth arena, I can't help but admit they're darn cute looking, especially with long sleeves. And if you put some knee-high boots on, the shivers are minimised.

Long boots
(From this post)

60s style Bright & Beautiful dress with long black boots

Why did previous eras fail to come round to the idea of long boots? I get it in the 40s - materials were scarce, but what was the 50s' excuse (side note: someone's probably going to tell me now)? I actually love the look of long boots with a midi skirt (hanging past the top of the boots) and wear these black ones and the tan you can see a glimpse of above constantly. So toasty, so stylish. They also help make my short legs look longer - bonus!

Pretty shift coats
(From this post)

60s style grid print pastel shift coat

So I might have mentioned this: it gets pretty cold and miserable round here. There are times when I'm out and about that I pretty much don't take my coat off all day. If you're wearing a coat for that long it's no longer a cover-up, it's an outfit itself. The 60s got that. They liked a pattern, colour and a cute shift coat. Put it all together and you've got outerwear as lovely as what's underneath. Or maybe even lovelier with a coat that's practically a dress itself! And unlike a 50s swing coat, it won't drown the petite among us...

Loose dresses
(Full outfit post to come soon)

60s style loose shift dress with dog print

One of the things I love about 50s styles is the emphasis on a nipped-in waist. But some days, something tight round my middle is the last thing I want - like when I've put pasta in my gluten intolerant stomach, for example (I've never been very good at not eating what I want to eat!). Where do you go with that in the 50s? It's a dilemma. Step up, the 60s. Trapeze dresses, loose shifts, babydolls - take your pick but enjoy the fabric freedom! Bright & Beautiful have an amazing range of dresses like this. I will admit that because I've got something of a bust, fabric hanging straight down with no shape at all does bring about the impression of a tent. Sometimes that was the desired look, but as I'm so short it isn't great for me - but see how I tightened the shape with a cardigan skimming my sides in this picture? Problem solved.

Big earrings
(From this post)

60s style big pink glitter earrings

There were a fair few things that the 60s looked at and thought 'Yeah, like that, but massive, please' and thus we find ourselves at the 'bigger is better' part of my list. You know what people liked in the 60s? Humongous earrings. Look at fashion photos and the models have often got giant plastic hoops swinging from their ears - all perfectly coordinated to their outfits of course. I've only recently become a convert to earring-wearing and I am particularly loving the big ones. They add such a fun, playful touch to outfits - I'm surprised at what a difference they make in fact. You can buy repro types so cheaply these days from the likes of Bow and Crossbones (my favourite), why wouldn't you try them out? The great thing is that a lot of the styles traveled through the decades and can be seen in the 40s and 50s too, so one pair can suit different looks.

Big hair
(From this post)

60s inspired big hair bun with satin bow

So this is one of the first things people think of when thinking of 60s style, right? And you know what, I've had an epiphany about big hair: it looks good on everyone. Seriously, have you ever seen a beehive and thought it looks rubbish? I thought not. And unlike the formal, structured hairstyles of earlier decades, a bouffant can be made messy and at the height to suit its wearer, so there's one to suit everyone. There's also lots of ways to cut corners on big hair, and I personally don't find it anywhere near as much of a mission as curling my hair. I will often have a half-bouff at the weekends - it's flattering and can be worn day to night. What is not to love about bigger hair? The 60s were onto something.

Big eye makeup with subtle lips

60s nude lip with thick eyeliner

Now, don't get me wrong, I love a red lip and eyeliner. That will never, ever change. But you know what I don't love? Re-applying red lipstick, or worrying about when I need to reapply it. A bold lip is high maintenance even with the world's most long-lasting product or technique. Some days I don't want to bother with the upkeep, but I still want something... hello, 60s nude lip! Get the right nude shade for you and you'll be surprised at how good it can look and when it wears off it's so much more subtle. And how does it look even better? With lashings of eye makeup. Maybe this isn't for everyone, but I do think a heavy eye and subtle lip can be very feminine and flattering when done right. I don't really go in for some of the bright eyeshadows, but you don't need to to borrow from this look. Just think Brigitte Bardot.

You know, I could go on but I ran out of illustrative pictures ;) I haven't even mentioned fun prints on trousers and oversized sunglasses, frankly only because I don't own them yet! One day though...

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Sunday, 6 March 2016

Outfit: a chocoholic's dream

I am obsessed with chocolate. People tend to look me up and down at this point, as if they expect me to be about five stone heavier than I am, but what you've got to understand is I eat pretty healthily the rest of the time - and I walk a lot. Both of these lifestyle choices are deliberate to allow me to eat all the chocolate. If it wasn't for those things, who knows... So when it came to this Victory Parade fabric and this Vendula London bag, I could no more resist them than I can a 3 for 2 deal in Hotel Chocolat. 

The Victory Parade chocolate pattern fabric was love at first sight when I came across it last year at London Edge 2015. I mean, have you ever seen a print like this? If you've been following along recently you'll know that when I visited their stand this year I discovered that they were almost out of the material. There was just enough left to make one more piece - and what a piece it is! Victory Parade are at the top price end of British repro brands - and now that I own something by them I understand why. It is such good quality - you'll see the gorgeous pleating detail below, but what you can't see is the stiff waistband (made out of the same material). It hangs so well - and because it was made to order, I was able to request a slightly roomier size 8 (vs the size guide) and the fit is consequently perfect. I couldn't believe how quickly it arrived either! And while they may not have any more chocolates, they have so many more unique prints to love, from lighthouses to watermelons.

Just like in real life, I couldn't stop at one piece of chocolate, not when there was a whole display of them on a bag. I love Vendula's designs and the shop fronts are particularly amazing. This one is is even more incredible because of all the 3D details like the hanging shop sign (see below)! The pink awning of the chocolatier range was also too pretty to resist. This year I've been wearing a lot of colours outside of my usual favourites (like purple and green) and pink is definitely another one of those I usually avoid. Yet, every time I do wear it someone I know compliments me on how nice it looks. I remember my mum telling me when I was younger and going through my pink-hating phase that I needed to get over myself soon because it suited me so well. About 15 years later I'm finally coming round to the idea (better late than never) and this cute bag is certainly helping. As is the super sparkly pink jewellery from Bow and Crossbones

However, more than pink and sparkles, I think what I like about this outfit best of all is that I can pretend that my skirt chocolates came from my bag's shop... I think I've reached some sort of novelty print pinnacle with that, right?

Hell Bunny Paloma pink cardigan, Victory Parade chocolate print skirt and Vendula London Chocolatier grab bag

Hell Bunny Paloma pink cardigan, Victory Parade chocolate print skirt and Vendula London Chocolatier grab bag

Vendula London Chocolatier Grab Bag

Bow and Crossbones pink glitter jewellery and Vendula London Chocolatier Grab Bag

Hell Bunny Paloma pink cardigan, Victory Parade chocolate print skirt and Vendula London Chocolatier grab bag

Bow and Crossbones pink glitter Vivien earrings and Matilda atomic brooch

3D details on Vendula London Chocolatier Grab Bag

Bow and Crossbones pink glitter Vivien earrings

Hell Bunny Paloma pink cardigan, Victory Parade chocolate print skirt and Vendula London Chocolatier grab bag

Victory Parade chocolate print skirt with pink belt

Bow and Crossbones pink glitter Vivien earrings and Matilda atomic brooch

Hell Bunny Paloma pink cardigan, Victory Parade chocolate print skirt and Vendula London Chocolatier grab bag
Earrings: 'Vivien' Bow and Crossbones
Cardigan: 'Paloma' Hell Bunny
Brooch: 'Matilda' Bow and Crossbones
Belt: eBay
Skirt: Victory Parade (chocolate fabric out of stock)
Bag: c/o Vendula London
Tights: Pamela Mann
Shoes: Marks & Spencer (very similar)

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