Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016: outfits of the year

It's that time of the year to shake my head about how much money I've spent on clothes... And know that I'll do it all again next year to make more beautiful outfits!

I actually think that this year my style hasn't changed that much - I feel like if anything it's probably been a refinement of what I already loved to wear. Maybe that's ok for the year I turned 30 - a sort of maturing of style... Or maybe it's because I've had other things to think about in a very busy year! Either way, I definitely had some favourites to share and like last year I've picked my top 10, 5 from the warmer months, 5 from the colder.

Spring/summer

Bernie Dexter Paris Frenchie dress

Turning 30 in all my favourites - from this post

I had to lead with this one because I felt so great in it on my birthday and it involved my favourite light blue and red colour combination and a lot of Eiffel Towers. My birthday usually has very standard cold and rainy weather, but this year it was in the low 20s and beautifully sunny, so my outfit really got a chance to shine. Oh, and B proposed to me, so I must have looked alright, eh?

1950s style summer outfit

Did I mention red and blue is my favourite? from this post

It doesn't even have to be light blue, I just love blue with red. Taking inspiration from this cute Erstwilder necklace, the rest of this picnic-perfect outfit just fell into place. It's not really all that innovative, but I love how it all comes together.

Bernie Dexter dog print Chelsea dress

Oh, and dogs are also my favourite - from this post

I'd wanted this dress for so long and then one just happened to appear on eBay just after my birthday! I then wore it to death all summer, including to a dog show because... well that doesn't need an explanation does it? I also just really like the cute summer vibe of this outfit and the fact I finally worked out how to master my waving tongs!

Stripe bardot dress

Stripey chic in Paris - from this post

This outfit is again a pretty simple one - styling a monochrome dress isn't exactly original - but again it made me feel amazing wearing it so it joins my favourites. I wore it to saunter around Paris in and felt every bit the Parisian lady.

Strawberries and stripes

The unexpected winner - from this post

I really wasn't sure how well this outfit was going to work, but I had an idea of putting this strawberry print skirt with a top that wasn't plain (i.e the obvious choice) and I couldn't shake it. I think the whole look works because the colours are all tied in with each other and nothing is left out on its own, but really this was quite a 'complicated' outfit for me and I was quite pleased it didn't end up looking like I'd rolled around in my charity donations bag :D

Autumn/winter

Atomic swag beach themed tshirt

Who doesn't love a bit of mustard? from this post 

Another outfit with quite a few colours going on, but it's managing to come together pretty well. I adore this t-shirt; I wore it a lot this year but this was definitely my favourite way of styling it. - it's such a simple and uninspired (if I'm honest) idea to take colours from the image, but it really works. Those shoes manage to make a lot of my casual outfits that bit more cute too and are possibly my most worn pair of the year.

Golden autumn outfit

Gold as the leaves turn - from this post

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time you'll know I love a matching outfit, which is one of the reasons this one makes the list. Another reason is that this year I've been wearing a lot more gold and realising pretty belatedly it's a flattering colour for me and this was the outfit that really opened my eyes. 

Snowflakes

The award for the best matched outfit of the year goes to... - from this post

The above outfit came close, but this one takes the Most Matching award because I managed to not only match colours, but also the snowflake pattern on my accessories :D Ah, the satisfaction. Not only that though, I really liked that this was a casual, everyday outfit but it still managed to look really put together. They're always among my favourite kinds.

Voodoo Vixen Andrea skirt

Furry, flocked and fabulous - from this post

I absolutely love this skirt and I knew I wanted to give it an outfit that really showed it off - job done with a furry hat and some more gold. It was a toss up between this outfit and the second way I styled it just this week, but as you've just seen that one... This hat makes any outfit a lot more fun and glamorous and was the perfect partner for some velvet flocking.

Vivien of Holloway check wiggle skirt

Fuschia tartan is the best kind of tartan - from this post

I didn't know I needed pink tartan in my life until this skirt - silly me, of course I did! Not least because I didn't have a single item in my wardrobe to wear this necklace with until then... But seriously, I love the colours of this pattern and how it looks with grey here - it's so easy to wear just black with an unusual colour palette, so I'm glad I didn't go the easy option.

And now onto 2017's style! Halfway through the year (in fact, now that I think about it, it's almost the exact halfway point!) there'll be a very special outfit indeed - my wedding outfit - so how much energy I'll be putting into my wardrobe I'm just not sure yet, but I don't think the part of me that loves pretty clothes will ever quite be pushed aside...

Hope everyone has wonderful New Year's celebrations and I'll see you in 2017!


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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Outfit: sparkle sparkle

Well hello! I hope everyone's having a lovely holiday so far. Do you know something I love about this time of year? It's totally acceptable to wear all the sparkles (and if you get the reference in the title, you have my respect!). Be it for Christmas, New Year's Eve or just because you feel like it because 'tis the season. So, it was a great time for my new necklace to arrive - you better believe I was cleaning the house on Christmas Eve in it. There's a part of me that's always a little sad about taking pictures of sparkly things because they never look as dazzling in 2D. Believe me though, this necklace is blingy, in the best possible, most festive way.

It was a gift from a shop I hadn't heard of before, Happiness Boutique, but the quality of this piece and the value for money so good that I'll definitely check them out when I next want a piece of jewellery. To be quite honest, I rarely buy jewellery, but when I do I'm always looking for something particular and I'd wanted a necklace with clear stones like this for a while (check out their other necklaces here - and they've tagged lots of pretties with 'vintage' as well). I love how much of a statement piece it is, while retaining that vintage 50s aesthetic. Beautiful. I promised I'd mention that Happiness Boutique offer free shipping to the UK, a customer reward programme and a bi-monthly giveaway, not to mention you can get 10% off any orders with my code cici-marie (for orders over a 19EUR value until 12th Jan) - what's not to love about those kind of incentives?

Anyway, you might also notice I have some very special shoes on here - finally got my hands on these Cinderella heels and my oh my they are so pretty. Unfortunately, I thought I was buying a size 37 and when they turned up they were a 38 (this is, believe it or not, the second time this has happened to me out of three attempts to buy secondhand shoes recently), so consequently they're a bit big for me. I love them to pieces and will probably hold onto them until that 37 comes up, but meanwhile they can at least feature in this outfit that I would totally be wearing out to a glitzy NYE party if I had one to go to this year! I am going round a friend's instead and I might just wear them anyway :D

The weather has been horrible here so doing these shots outside wasn't an option, thanks to incoming Storm Barbara (which makes me laugh every time because it's the name of my future mother-in-law). Our new house made things interesting because, well, it's not that big... but it has a lot of doors, so B was shooting me outside, through the open backdoor, which was kind of hilarious. I think it worked though and means I get to show you my new silver Christmas tree, ain't it cute? This is probably the only year it will have those blue decorations on because I've started collecting some kitschy glass baubles now - four dogs (of course), one Santa, one Eiffel Tower and a piƱata later, I'm well on my way to a pretty awesome tree next year :D

Festive party vintage inspired party outfit for Christmas and New Year's Eve featuring Happiness Boutique, Voodoo Vixen and Hell Bunny

Vintage 50s style statement diamante necklace from Happiness Boutique

Vintage 50s style statement diamante necklace from Happiness Boutique

Festive party vintage inspired party outfit for Christmas and New Year's Eve featuring Happiness Boutique, Voodoo Vixen and Hell Bunny

Vintage 50s style statement diamante necklace from Happiness Boutique

Vintage 50s style statement diamante necklace from Happiness Boutique

Festive party vintage inspired party outfit for Christmas and New Year's Eve featuring Happiness Boutique, Voodoo Vixen and Hell Bunny

Vintage 50s style statement diamante necklace from Happiness Boutique

Miss L Fire Cinderella shoes in clear silver

Festive party vintage inspired party outfit for Christmas and New Year's Eve featuring Happiness Boutique, Voodoo Vixen and Hell Bunny
Necklace: c/o Happiness Boutique (10% off with code cici-marie)
Skirt: c/o Voodoo Vixen (on sale for £25!)
Bag: c/o Hell Bunny (20% off with code cicim20?%)
Shoes: Miss L Fire (old season)


So there you go, it doesn't get a lot more glam than that, does it? I'm really glad I got to wear this skirt for some more photos because I really do rate it - it is great to roll up for partying on the go and doesn't need a petticoat really (although I have added a light one here to help it to keep the shape for photos). Voodoo Vixen currently have it in all sizes on their website for £25, which really is a bargain (fit is true to size, if ever so slightly on the more snug side).


 

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Tuesday, 20 December 2016

The best new makeup products of 2016 - for that classic pin-up look

Reviews of 4 of the best new makeup products in 2016 - Benefit Ka-Brow! in 04, Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick in Bang Bang, Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5 and Lancome Grandiose Extreme Mascara

It's quite unusual for me to love a product so much it usurps something else in my makeup bag these days - but this year I've replaced not one item, but four! All four are very key products that I think are essential for that red-lipped, flawless pin-up look - aka what I aim for with my everyday make-up, but you just can't argue with a classic!

All four are brand new products that launched this year, so I figured you might not yet have had chance to try them yourselves... So without further ado, let me tell you what you need to get your mitts on and why!

Reviews of 4 of the best new makeup products in 2016 - Benefit Ka-Brow! in 04, Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick in Bang Bang, Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5 and Lancome Grandiose Extreme Mascara
l-r:


Benefit Ka-Brow! (in 04-medium)

Let's start with that vital part of any pin-up's look - a well-defined brow. Brows are something I neglected for years - you don't have to look too far back on this blog to work out why I'm kicking myself about this now; they make all the difference to a made-up face. I've been experimenting with products ever since and to be honest, it's one area of my make-up where I'm not all that fussy. I used an Urban Decay powder for a while, then a Soap and Glory felt-tip and then I joined the big girls and invested in the famous Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow pomade. And while I did like the latter, I could only really seem to get it to apply as all or nothing. I quite like having a 'gradient' where the inner brow is a bit lighter, because I think it looks more natural, especially as I have naturally thick brows so I quite want to avoid the two-slugs-on-a-plate look.

And that's the first reason I love this product so much - it's got all the staying power and punch of the ABH, but it's a lot more buildable and you can get a nice gradient with it (as you can see in the top photo). The second reason I love it is the packaging - but not just because I'm superficial, because it has a mini brow brush in the lid! I hated applying my ABH - I bought an ABH brush to do this and I just didn't think a lot of it and it rolled around in my make-up bag picking up dirt and laughing at me (it did!). Not this one - the genius of a brush stored securely in a lid is it stays out of harm's way. If all this doesn't convince you, I've been using this daily for months and I can barely see that I've made a dent so I honestly think it's going to last well over a year by this point. It's not the cheapest, but it sure does offer value for money. In fact, I really don't have any down sides to this product other than the brush might not last as long as the product, but so far so good!

Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick (in Bang Bang)

Ah, the neverending (and, in my case, well documented) search for the perfect red lipstick. I recently came to the conclusion that the only way I was going to get a long-lasting, kiss-proof, completely matte lip was to go over to the liquid side. I've bought so many of these since that I'm going to be writing a whole post about them for you soon, but - spoiler alert - this one is one of my favourites. Every brand has been getting on board with liquid mattes recently, but very few are doing a great job of them as far as I'm concerned. There's nothing to worry about with Smashbox though - this is an excellent liquid lipstick.

It lasts, it doesn't bleed, it dries completely matte, it's comfortable and it's a perfect bright red shade. I wear this lipstick all the time now and I can't express my love for it enough. Now, my colouring is a little on the pale and yellow side, so it might be this specific shade isn't for you, but don't worry! There's a cooler, darker red called Bawse that's more along the lines of Russian Red and I'm sure would be up a lot of your streets'. So while I wouldn't drop this amount of money on just any old lipstick - for this one, please believe me, if you want a bold matte lip you just can't go wrong.

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation (in 0.5)

If there's something I loathe, it's trying new foundations. I want to love it, really I do, but it's always an expensive waste of time for me. And yet, I'm constantly on the hunt for The One. What I'm always looking for is a matte finish, medium-full coverage formula that can slightly control my oily skin (I'm not unrealistic - I know I'll end up looking like a shine ball eventually). So if this isn't what you look for, feel free to skip to the next product! You wouldn't believe how difficult it has been to find a foundation that does these simple things, despite tonnes of them claiming to. Actually, I wore Estee Lauder's iconic Double Wear for years... and then they changed the formula and it was too dark for me and not as good coverage anymore. I was heartbroken and have been looking for its match ever since. Revlon's ColorStay was close - but it broke me out horrendously.

Years and lots of miserably shiny, spotty skin later, Urban Decay finally answered my prayers! I've never worn one of their foundations before, but when I heard their new one was going to be matte full coverage, I had to give it a try. I'm so glad I did because it's up there with the old Double Wear for me - it's easily as full coverage and it's actually pale too. It gives a lovely soft matte finish that actually does cover most of my blemishes pretty darn well without concealer - it's incredibly pigmented. In fact, in terms of coverage, I'd say it's better than Double Wear, without being cakey (on me at least). I had a bit of a struggle finding my shade so what I'll say is this: 1) this does oxidise about a shade on me (and on many others from what I've read), so you'll probably need the one a shade lighter than you think you do 2) totally ignore Urban Decay's colour advice (supposedly shades alternate between cool and warm tones) - technically, I'm wearing a pink toned shade, but I'm pretty warm toned and all my best foundations are yellow based, so I'm pretty confident this one is too and UD don't know what they're talking about.

Lancome Grandiose Extreme Mascara (in 01)

Lancome are hands down my favourite mascara brand, but for some reason I got totally suckered by a QVC ad for Benefit's Roller Lash and tried to convince myself I liked that one for a while. And then I finally realised it just wasn't a match for a good Lancome mascara, but especially not this one. This mascara is Epic. Photos aren't doing justice to what it's capable of and how good it looks in real life (but see below as I've tried to capture it a bit). In a few strokes your lashes can double in size and it doesn't go clumpy either. Not only that, it really holds a curl too.

There's a few make-up products I really believe you get what you pay for and mascara is definitely one of them. I've bought so many over the years, from the cheapest to the most pricey and the drugstore types just don't cut it for me. Compared to this mascara, you'll honestly wonder how they can get away with half the claims they make. Another expensive product, but another one totally worth the investment. My regular Grandiose lasted months too, so I'm hoping I'm going to get similar out of this tube...

Lancome Grandiose Extreme Mascara on lashes

So there you have it, my top makeup launches of the year! Have you tried and do you love any of these?


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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Outfit: a coat for Christmas

This might just be the most Christmassy outfit I've brought to this blog. Is the only person I'm going to inspire with this look Mrs Claus herself? We shall see... It's borderline too much, perhaps, but when you've got a coat this glorious shade of festive green and every red accessory it's possible to own... and then you get your hands on a candy-cane brooch that contains both of these favourite things... I'm only human.

Anyway, back to this coat. This coat is something I had severe guilt over buying because since I got engaged I'm really not supposed to be making big purchases. But I saw it at London Edge and couldn't forget it since - I just had a hunch that this would be the first swing style coat that wouldn't be ridiculously long on me. Like everyone else, I swoon over Collectif's coats, but then I see people a lot taller than me wearing them and I already know how that one's going to end - skimming the floor. This coat is by Hearts & Roses - a brand I've largely ignored for years because their stuff is quite standard retro repro and not really my cup of tea for that reason - I don't even really like wearing polka dots, truth be told. So I was surprised to see them branching out into outerwear, but heck I am glad that they did!

Finally, a swing-style coat that will go over my big skirts and is actually the right length for me! It's also not so big in the shoulders I can't get away with it. The sleeves do need altering - I've tucked them up inside for these photos but I will take the coat to a tailor at some point. It's also much warmer than I was expecting and the buckle belt actually stays tightly in place. When does that ever happen? I love the cute little puff shoulders detail too, it really gives the coat an edge. Add to that it comes in an absolute tonne of colours and it's the reasonable price of £74.99... 

I'm basically trying really hard to stop myself buying two more. If they ever go in the sale let's just say there'll be no stopping me, wedding or no wedding.

Hearts and Roses London swing coat in green, Erstwilder candy cane brooch

Hearts and Roses London swing coat in green, Erstwilder candy cane brooch

Hearts & Roses swing coat in green

Erstwilder candy-cane brooch

Hearts and Roses London swing coat in green, Erstwilder candy cane brooch

Hearts and Roses London swing coat in green, Erstwilder candy cane brooch

Hearts and Roses London swing coat in green, Erstwilder candy cane brooch

Hearts and Roses London swing coat in green, Erstwilder candy cane brooch
Beret: Joy (old)
Gloves: Ugg (last year's)
Bag: Collectif (old)
Shoes: Red or Dead (old)



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Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Outfit: lovely Lilly

Just in case you thought I was essentially now going round in Christmas jumpers from here until the big day, I assure you that even I give it a rest sometimes and can put the sequins down for a day here and there. I mean, I can't say I enjoy those days as much, but it really helps when I have a pretty new dress to wear.

Like this one! If you've been reading this blog for any time at all you'll know that I am not in dresses all that often. It's partly for practical reasons - you try finding something that fits for shoulder breadth, torso length and sleeves when you're considerably smaller than average - and partly because to be honest with you, I find wearing dresses a bit boring and one dimensional. It doesn't really compare to how I can mix and match my skirts and tops. I know a lot of people love dresses precisely because they can throw one thing on and look polished, but I don't know, it just doesn't float my boat as much as mixing together lots of things and making a killer outfit out of them (did I really just use the phrase 'killer outfit'? I think my blogging license might be revoked now.). So it has to be a special design to turn my head and this Lilly dress manages that.

It's all in the details for this dress - just look at that collar and those asymmetrical buttons. And then there's the print - pretty unusual for a vintage inspired dress. I love the matching belt and the piping too. I'm never quite sure of burgundy as a block colour on me, but I think the black on it helps - black being the world's easiest colour to accessorise with too, of course. One word of warning with this dress - it runs a bit large. I probably could have sized down comfortably, but I'm wearing the smallest size. The waist belt helps a lot though. Oh and it comes in a navy colourway too - you'll probably find stock of both more easily through stockists than Voodoo Vixen direct as I post this.

And there's always ways to make other parts of your look more interesting... like shoving a giant roll on the top of your head. I'm not really sure why I did this, I was just having one of those days I felt like doing something different... As ever, it's not even coming across as crazy in the photos as it looked in real life. Not one I'm going to be repeating, I don't think...!

Voodoo Vixen Lilly dress in burgundy review


Voodoo Vixen Lilly dress in burgundy review

Voodoo Vixen Lilly dress in burgundy review

Voodoo Vixen Lilly dress in burgundy review

Voodoo Vixen Lilly dress in burgundy review

Voodoo Vixen Lilly dress in burgundy review

Voodoo Vixen Lilly dress in burgundy review

Voodoo Vixen Lilly dress in burgundy review

Voodoo Vixen Lilly dress in burgundy review
Beret: Primark (old)
Bag: vintage
Boots: Sainsbury's (now out of stock)



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Thursday, 1 December 2016

12 reasons Banned Apparel are becoming one of my favourites

It's no secret that I'm a huge repro lover and the majority of the clothes I buy now come from brands like Collectif, Hell Bunny, Lindy Bop etc etc. Before this year, though, I'd never really looked twice at Banned Apparel. But that was because they didn't have their sub-brand, Dancing Days, until a lot more recently. And it wasn't until this year that - in my opinion - this stuff got really, really good.

In particular, their autumn/winter range has been phenomenal. In fact, I love so many pieces that I wanted to write a whole post about them. It's very unusual that I like so much from one range in one season I could do that, although this season Hell Bunny are also up there and I've really enjoyed sharing some of their gorgeous pieces with you. As I'm too broke (thank you, wedding) to get my hands on all the Banned things I want, I will just have to gaze at them longingly in this wishlist instead. 

What I find quite interesting about Banned and their Dancing Days range is that the usual stockists seem to have been quite slow to catch on to how amazing their stuff is. It's now popping up in a few more places, but as, like Hell Bunny until earlier this year when their website launched, Banned only sell direct to wholesale customers, it can be hard to know where to find their pieces at all. So hopefully this post can open your eyes to the wonderful fashion work this company is doing, because I want lots of people to buy it so it gets stocked EVERYWHERE :D

Er, usual disclaimer, I'm not being compensated to write this at all, much to the woe of my wedding fund...


Banned Apparel Dancing Days winter 2016 highlights


This isn't even an exhaustive list of all of the dresses I would happily wear in this season's range, which is really saying something because I am a hugely fussy dress wearer! Mostly they don't suit me or I find them either too plain in style or colour/pattern (and prefer separates I can mix and match) or on the flip side too fussy/overwhelming when in bright colours and patterns. Banned have nailed that sweet spot as far as I'm concerned - wearable, unique dresses I'd happily add to my daily rotation. 

First of all, this peacock print dress. That neckline keyhole detail is just beautiful and that's before you get to the cute cap sleeves and of course the amazing pattern on this dress. But if that all wasn't enough, there's a matching bag. I don't really know how authentically 'vintage' this dress is, but I do know I love it. And if that wasn't enough for a dress with an awesome neckline, look at the collar on the swept off her feet dress and the contrast banding on the sleeves. I die. I also really love that a) this is houndstooth (seriously, where's all the houndstooth?) and b) it's brown houndstooth and not monochrome. I really don't need more monochrome patterned clothes in my life. If you, like me, question buying a dress you might not wear daily, fear not. I cannot tell you how long I've been looking for a vintage inspired long-sleeved knitted dress that comes in different colour options - until the daydream style ended my search. Unless I can't afford it before it goes out of stock in which case I'll cry. But you betcha I'm getting my hands on that one - in this country, knitted dresses are such a cosy must-have for our endless winter months and it comes in beige, navy and black too! But if I want something with a bit more sparkle for the festive period, that's what the starry night dress is for. I love the grey shade of this one - it would be so fun to put with different colours and I always, always prefer any plain colour to boring black when it's a dress.

Banned Apparel Dancing Days winter 2016 highlights


I'm a girl who loves separates, so I get particularly excited when brands bring out awesome ones, both everyday staples to mix and match with and the more statement pieces. It doesn't really get more statement than the romance lives skirt - but there ain't nothing wrong with that! Why wouldn't you want to wear a whole ice-rink scene on your skirt?! I'm joking, I know this level of novelty isn't for everyone, but I can't help thinking this skirt is a lot of fun and a great thing to wear while doing a spot of seasonal ice-skating, of course. If it's too out there for you though, I hope you'll also appreciate the sweet check pattern of the apple of my eye skirt. What I love about this is it isn't the usual large check in blackwatch or similar tartan that seems really popular (and don't get me wrong, I have a skirt like this, I just don't need two of them). I really like that the pattern is smaller plaid and the burgundy colourway of this one. The pocket details are also a nice touch you don't see a lot.

If you're looking to top up your trousers, Banned also have you covered. You could go the more 40s direction of the lady luck pants, or the more pin-up 50s style tempting fate. I can't really wear the 40s style wide-legged pants because I don't have the legs to pull them off, but I know a lot of you out there really love them! The tempting fate pants come in a tonne of colours, and they'd be a really handy pair to have for those days you want to show off your curves but not in a restrictive pencil skirt. 

Banned Apparel Dancing Days winter 2016 highlights
tear drop (price appears to have changed, apologies)


I'll tell you what I especially love about Banned - when they offer a staple item, like this addicted jumper, they give you a whole range of colours to choose from. This jumper seems to come in olive, grey, beige, navy, red and black - I could quite happily have one of each and my wardrobe would be a lot better for it. Of course, the minute I created this image the olive colourway went out of stock on the website I found it on, but I'm sure there'll be other stockists who have it! Same goes for the cute tear drop jumper, which I just love the details on - several colours to choose from. I'm not short about shorter sleeves on jumpers actually, but the pattern wins me over...

If you're in the mood for something more festive, given what's round the corner an' all, how about a cardigan in that same fabric as the sparkly grey dress above? I could see this being such a great addition to my evening wardrobe (ha, she says, like she leaves the house in the winter evenings) - or to wear over party dresses. If that ain't Christmassy enough for you, I hope you'll appreciate the candy-cane colourway of the sweet memories cardigan. This is quite obviously 'Christmas' but it's not, as far as I'm concerned, at the tacky end of the scale. It would be so cute with a casual jeans look. So sweet (pun intended).

I'm really looking to see what this brand have up their sleeves for spring/summer 2017!



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