‘Lounging Around’ Dresses: My Guilty Summer Dress Purchase Pleasure

Are our fashion styling and purchasing decisions influenced by those near and dear to us?  Mine definitely are and I am a better stylist for it.  Many years ago, I met my best friend on the first day of university. We hit it off instantly and soon did everything together, including shopping. Often while shopping we would see dresses that were perfect for casual wear and ‘running around in’.  She would always pick these up to buy and if I countered the purchase by saying, “Don’t you already have a few that look like this?”, her response would be,”Yes but this is perfect for ‘lounging around in’!” “Yes, it would be actually”, I remember thinking and we would both end up buying the aforementioned piece of clothing. As college students, we probably did a fair amount of ‘lounging around’ so the casual wear purchases made sense.

They also became a habit.  As soon as I know summer is approaching, I find myself buying multiple casual summer dresses for ‘lounging around in’ purposes.  I wholly blame my BF for this. As I was telling her last time we met, “BF, considering our lives now run at breakneck speed and there is absolutely no time to ‘lounge around’, why the hell do I buy so many casual dresses?” Furthermore, while I find myself the proud owner of multiple ‘lounging around’ clothes, I never seem to have any clothes to do ‘proper stuff’ in!

Similarly, when I was getting my Master’s, I became friends with a Chinese girl.  She was the first person I had ever met who would put on a ‘neckerchief’ with anything and everything. She always tied it so well and it made a lovely unexpected statement. I have her to thank for showing me how a neckerchief worked and I have enjoyed wearing them ever since.

I have always advocated that observing and experimenting with fashion looks we see around us is one of the best ways to improve our own fashion statement over time. I would love to hear about how your fashion decisions have been influenced by those around you.

When I saw this floaty summer dress in these beautiful stripes – I could not resist buying it.  The spring colors and the drop waist is exactly the kind of dress I am looking forward to wearing once the warmer weather finally arrives.  A printed neckerchief and comfortable brogues are the perfect additions to this outfit along with a staple denim jacket.

I hope you enjoy this lookbook and thank you so much for reading my blog.

 

Clothes and accessories:

Dress (I am wearing an XS as comes up big)  – Uniqlo U

Jacket – Target

Neckerchief – Pucci (similar House of Fraser)

Brogue Shoes – Dune Black (similar Dune)

Crossbody Bag – Karen Millen

 

Menswear – Inspired Shoes: In Classic Navy, Cream and Orange

I have always loved menswear-inspired shoes for as long as I can remember! It doesn’t matter if they are brogues, oxfords or loafers (or various other subsets which I have a hard time distinguishing between), I am drawn to all of them.  For one, they are so comfortable and work well with both corporate and casual looks.  Second, they just look so good they say “I am cool and confident” in the best way possible.  Most importantly, they are a great option for when the weather is not hot enough for sandals but not cold enough for boots.

My one piece of advice: When you see a gorgeous pair of menswear-inspired shoes – just buy them! I find that they can be harder to come by than many other styles of shoes and I have often missed out on lovely pairs because I waited too long. I saw a beautiful pair of black and white wingtips and a blue monk-strap earlier this year, that I did not purchase and subsequently never found pairs that look as good.

I love this blue pair of pointy shoes with silver accents on the laces.  I understand that this particular pair may not be everyone’s cup of tea, however, I urge everyone to give menswear-inspired shoes a try just incase you haven’t considered them before.

I hope you enjoy this look and thank you so much for reading.

(Clothes and accessories: Shoes – ASOS, Shirt – Lost Ink, Coat – Therapy, Trousers – H&M, Bag – Karen Millen)

 

At Box Hill: In My Yellow Coat and Pale Pink Brogues

A few weeks ago, we realised that we had awakened to a very special day!  It was one of those rare days when there were no kids activities to attend, family commitments to keep and no major sporting events to watch.  Realising that we had chanced upon that monumentally rare species of  ‘we have nothing planned’ day, which is nearing extinction in the modern families’ existence, we decided to seize the opportunity!

My husband remembered going to a beautiful National Trust area called Box Hill when we was a young boy and he had always wanted to go back.  We decided that today was as good a day as any and set off on our adventure. Box Hill  is a summit of the North downs located in Surrey and is approximately 30 km (19 mi) south-west of London. The drive to Box Hill displays the best of leafy Surrey and it is easy to understand why Box Hill falls within the ‘Surrey Hills area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. Box Hill offers breathtaking views of the countryside and is a great place to set off for walks and treks to explore the Surrey Hills. Approximately, 850,000 people visit Box Hill each year and it is well equipped with plenty of car parking space, a great cafeteria and a gift shop.

The scenic vistas were out of this world and after we walked up and down the big hill, we rewarded ourselves with a lovely lunch at the cafeteria. The coffee was freshly brewed and fabulous, as was my bacon bap and cake.  Reenergised, we briefly walked around the general area and explored the surrounding countryside.

I had decided to wear my new pastel printed bardot top with my yellow coat for some Easter cheer, accompanied by my pink platform brogues to walk around in. Much to my dismay, I was not appropriately dressed for the destination at all.  Given the lovely walks and treks on offer all around, it would have been ideal to have been wearing solid walking gear with a good pair of sneakers or walking boots.  I still managed to walk around but I did feel a bit foolish, till I saw a lady traipsing around the cafeteria in high heels. Shamefully, I must admit that seeing her made me feel better as it’s always reassuring to observe that you are not the only misinformed creature around. As I told my husband; the downside of spontaneity is the lack of preparation and the abundance of humiliation.

Box hill was a gorgeous place and I am looking forward to going back, appropriately dressed this time, for some great walks. It is also a fabulous place to go for a good old-fashioned picnic with young and old.  If you are looking for somewhere to go with friends and family this coming long weekend – I would highly recommend Box Hill!

I hope you enjoy the pictures and thank you for so much visiting my blog.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/box-hill

(Clothes and Accessories: Coat – Mango, Top – Zara, Shoes – Dune (similar – Karen Millen), Sunglasses – Chanel, Bag – Luana Italy)

NOT TO BE MISSED

On a different note, if you are in London and are looking for an amazing couture outfit or exquisite jewellery this season, then this showcase by Shivani Ahluwalia should be at the top of your list:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supermarket Fashion: Boho Style Embroidered Top With Brogues

It’s that time again – the new harvest crop of summer clothes has arrived in the supermarkets. I have professed my love for supermarket fashion in previous posts and it seems to go from strength to strength each time I pop in to do a shop. Nothing says spring/summer more than boho-inspired clothing on the rails and when I spotted this pretty top at Sainsbury’s, I knew that I had that last bit of space in my trolley for it (OK fine, I admit I visit the clothes section before the food section).

On a different note, I have always enjoyed combining styles that may not be paired together from a conventional fashion point of view.  With this outfit, I think my feminine, pretty top works exceedingly well with my solid, manly black brogues in a ‘fusion fabulous’ sort of way.  I love the frill detail on this denim jacket – it adds a transformational twist to a box standard denim garment that elevates its overall appearance. Last but not least, some chunky silver jewellery is always a great addition to boho inspired styling.

I hope you enjoy this lookbook and thank you so much for visiting my blog.

(Clothes and accessories: Top – Tu Clothing (Sainsbury’s), Trousers – H&M, Brogues – Kurt Geiger, Denim Handbag – Christopher Kon, Jacket – ASOS)

 

The ‘Fabulous Flats’ Series: My Take On Building a Great ‘Flats’ Shoe Collection

I absolutely adore flats!  One of the many benefits of being a woman is having a wide variety of shoes to choose from. While I thoroughly enjoy wearing heels, the reality is that flats are my absolute go-to shoes on most days of the year. As spring is upon us, soon the weather will be warm enough to ditch the boots but not warm enough for sandals. During this ‘transitional’ time,  flats really are the ultimate ‘transitional’ shoes.

As a long-term wearer of flats, these are my recommendations for building a great collection of flats:

  1. Buy the best flats that your budget will allow: If you are someone who will wear flats to work and to an evening out (as I will) buy the best flats that your budget will allow. Personally, I have always spent more on flats than I have on heels.  A great pair of flats makes the outfit and my flats always get more repeat wear than heels, making them far more cost-effective in the long run.
  2. Vary the style of flats in your wardrobe: There is such a wide variety of flat shoes available including ballet pumps, loafers, brogues and pointed-toe flats. Try buying a different style each time and enjoy the styling options that come with each type of shoe.
  3. Recognize that some flats are not meant for all purposes: Just like certain heels are meant to be worn for just a few hours over dinner (lest you lose all sensation in your feet), in the same manner certain delicately soled flats are not meant for all day wear. Choose styles with hardier soles for all day wear; your feet and posture will thank you!
  4. Buy flats in various colours: Often, there is a tendency to buy flat shoes in functional neutral colours such as black, grey and beige. While this a good strategy, there are so many beautiful flats available in an array of rich colours. Incorporate some of these into your shoes collection for ‘standout’ styling.
  5. Appreciate the power of statement flats: Statement flats can deliver that powerful combination of comfort and style. I can spot a pair of statement flats a mile off and they always stand out from the crowd for me.

I have had these pair of purple Ferragamo flats in my wardrobe for years and they look as beautiful today as they did the day I bought them. They are the ideal shoes for when you are happy to go out, just as long as you can wear your jeans and flat shoes (I fall into this category more often than not). I have paired them with a lovely silk statement tie-sleeve blouse and my most comfortable skinny jeans.

I hope you enjoy this look and thank you for visiting my blog.

(Clothes and accessories: Top – Warehouse, Shoes – Salvatore Ferragamo, Jeans – Zara, Clutch – Asos)

Black Dress Series: In a Structured Workwear Dress

Hello everyone! Let’s discuss workwear today. When I started my first ‘real job’, many, many years ago, I am not sure that I paid much attention to my work wardrobe. Absorbing the general guidance provided on the internet and from what I saw around me, I bought a couple of suits and separates and stepped boldly into the working world. However, there was one problem.  Many of the clothes I had purchased were uncomfortable when worn all day long and frankly,  not very stylish.  Don’t even get me started on this bright purple skirt suit I once owned…

Today, if I had the opportunity to plan a work wardrobe, what would I do differently?

I think the three most important factors that I would consider in planning a well-functioning work wardrobe would be:

Are the clothes appropriate for my particular work environment?

Are they comfortable to wear all day?

Do they represent my personal style statement?

The dress code that is acceptable at a particular place of work is relatively easy to access after a few weeks of working there. While some environments are more rigid and formal, others are more easy-going in terms of what qualifies as workwear. In my opinion, even traditionally formal work environments require comfortable clothes on a daily basis.  I found being uncomfortable at work was  unsustainable – it had the potential to affect the quality of my work and as well as the quality of my life.  Everyone has a personal style statement but overall, showing that you take pride in your appearance is the underlying foundation of being stylish at work. In my opinion, workwear does not need to be dull but a certain restraint is necessary unless you work in a creative environment where you are encouraged to express your self through your clothes without hesitation.

As work wear, I am a great fan of the structured form of this dress.  It strikes a delicate balance between being chic and comfortable, which can be harder to find than one may think.  The lack of embellishments on the dress make it a great canvas for adding a few bold accessories to complete the look. I have added a bold geometric cuff to the outfit to channel confidence and style. I love the gradual ombre’ gold effect on this patent mid-heeled court shoe and as it is tastefully done, I think they can be worn to work.  Wearing heels to work is not be everyones’ cup of tea and even if they are, we all have those days when we are not in the mood to strut around in heels. Therefore, I have also ‘lookbooked’ the dress with flat brogues that are both comfortable and stylish at the same time. I have to say that brogues are my ‘most likely to go to’ kind of non-heeled work shoe.  They make any outfit look smart and there are so many lovely statement brogues available on the market.

I hope you enjoy this look and thank you so much for visiting my blog.

(Clothes and Accessories: Dress – COS (similar), Heeled Shoes – Karen Millen, Brogues – Finery, Handbag – Prada)

Italian Adventure: Holiday Wardrobe in Rome

Following a wonderful trip to Florence, I had the pleasure of visiting Rome for a few days.  I have been to ‘the eternal city’ before as a child and my most vivid recollection is one of walking and walking and walking, punctuated only by my constant question to my parents, “are we there yet?”

Rome is a history lesson on steroids – there is magnificent history on every street corner! I think it is impossible to run out of things to see in Rome (very similar to London) and we tried to see as much as we could, given the constraints of time and energy. Of course the Colosseum, the Vatican museums and Saint Peter’s Square were incredible and anything I write will not do justice to their immense grandeur. However, what took my breath away was the beautiful architecture all across Rome.  Beautiful buildings, ancient ruins, quaint alleys and stunning sculptures meld together to create a truly magnificent city that has to be seen to be believed!

Italians are renowned for their fashion prowess and in my opinion, it is a deserving reputation. A ‘fashion sixth sense’ seems to prevail amongst the residents of the city.  I witnessed great fashion on the street and both men and women were dressed incredibly well.  Most impressively, the styling of their outfits was exemplary and I couldn’t stop gawking at the many fashionable people who crossed my path. The language barrier was about the only thing that kept me from asking, ‘Excuse me, where did you buy that?”, on many an occasion.

Any article on a visit to Rome would be incomplete without mentioning the incredible food.  Be it the pizza, pasta or gelato – it was all fabulous and quite frankly perfecto!  However, for me the highlight of the culinary experience  was the coffee and pastries available at the many exceptional cafes around the city.  I have never had smoother coffee anywhere in the world and every sip was sheer joy.  The pastries – well let’s just say that one morning when I ate a cannoli I swear i could hear angels singing! My version of the iconic latin phrase attributed to Julius Caesar – Veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered) would definitely be – Veni, vedi, edi (I came, I saw, I ate).

I thoroughly enjoyed Italy and cannot wait to explore more of the country in the near future.  I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and boxing day.  As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

(Clothes and Accessories: Pink Cashmere Dress/Tunic – H&M, Knitted Dress – H&M (similar), Black Brogues – Kurt Geiger, Checked Dress – Zara, Blue Striped Shirt – Topshop, Grey Jacket – Gap, Shearling Boots – Uggs)

 

 

Reinventing A Wardrobe Staple: Black and White Dress

Once the weather turns colder (even though it seems to be turning warmer in London), it becomes  very hard to continue wearing summer dresses.  However, I find that many of them can be reinvented as tunics or long-line tops to give them a longer lease on life.

I have had this basic black and white dress in my closet for many years and tend to wear it with flat black sandals in the summer to ‘run around’. By adding a colorful scarf and black jeans, I have tried to reinvent this dress into an autumn appropriate outfit.  Brogues and a cross body bag are all this outfit needs to become a comfortable ‘all-day outfit’ for me. It is also that time of the year when you can bring out your light weight coats to add another dimension to your clothes.  I love this coat with its contrasting pockets – it’s fun and practical at the same time!

There is a hint of Parisian chic to this outfit that I love.  I hope you enjoy it as well and thanks for reading!

(Clothes and Accessories: Dress – Zara, Jeans – Zara,Brogue Shoes – Mango, Handbag – Marc Jacobs, Coat – Helen Berman London (ASOS))

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