I’ve gone gaga for ghillies

26 May

If you’re a fan of fashion, you’ll no doubt have noticed that ghillie shoes – aka those that lace up across the foot – have been everywhere. When I first spotted this trend emerging, it was on the many much-photographed street-style stars, and these beautiful shoes were only available from super high-end designers like Aquazzura. Olivia Palermo’s a big fan…

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I looked and looked for high-street copies, but it was a little slow to catch on. Now, though, they’re everywhere, from skyscraper sandals like Olivia’s to gorgeous pointed flats. So I’ve finally been able to get on board.

The first pair I’ve bought are these blue flats from Asos…

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£28, Asos

Pretty, right? And they’ll go brilliant with the rest of my wardrobe, as so much of it is blue!

On a less practical front, I found I couldn’t resist these sandals from Marks & Spencer…

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£35, M&S. They might be the least comfortable thing I’ve ever put on my feet, but I just think they’re so pretty. They’re due to arrive on Thursday, so stay tuned for the verdict!

Have you been seduced by ghillies?

Bethan x

It’s about time I had some Russell & Bromley shoes

16 May

My new workplace is slap bang in the middle of some amazing shopping streets, so I’m tempted by beautiful things on a daily basis.

One of those beautiful things is the Russell & Bromley shop window. I’ve always been aware of the brand, known it’s amazing quality, and seen it on countless celebs. Kate Middleton, Alexa Chung and Millie Mackintosh are among R&B’s fans…

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But I’ve always thought it was a touch too expensive. Don’t get me wrong, these shoes are right at the top end of the high-street budget, but I’m starting to think that the amazing quality and the beautiful designs might justify the price.

Payday’s still a few days away, but if I do decide to take the plunge, here are my frontrunners…

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Anyone got a favourite?

Bethan x

Rumble in the jumble 2015 + a print extravaganza

10 May

Those of you who’ve been reading this blog for the past year or more (thank you!) will know that last year I went to the amazing Rumble in the Jumble jumble sale event and had a brilliant time. (And if you didn’t read that entry, you can click here for it).

So when I found out that the event was back again, I was very excited. It was yesterday, again at Oval Space in Bethnal Green, with pretty much the same stuff on offer as last year. But this year, I was wiser – I knew what to expect and how to get the most out the event. I took a bag to carry my haul in. I took a friend, who helped me make slightly wiser clothing decisions. And I took more money this year, which I well and truly made use of!

As always, there was lots of brilliant celebrity jumble available – Fearne Cotton went to town donating her amazing stuff, there were lots of pretty dresses from The One Show’s Alex Jones, and I think I saw about 10 pairs of Annie Mac’s shoes. Sadly, most of these celebs are teeny, so I didn’t buy any of their swag.

So what did I buy?

I started with these Diane Von Furstenburg 100% silk trousers, a bargain at £40…

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Those were my big spend, leaving me with just £25 of my budget. With that, I bought these two dresses, a natty little jumper and a blouse, leaving me with just enough for a large slab of cake from the tea and cake stall…

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I seem to have gone for a bit of a print theme with my purchases, which leads me to a different subject…

I’ve noticed recently that my wardrobe’s been looking less colourful than it has in recent years, I’ve always loved a bright print and a loud colour, but I’d been consciously trying to build up my collections of basics, adding in quality pieces in neutral colours that I’ll actually get some wear out of.

But where’s the fun in that? Yes, it’s great to have staple pieces, but you’ve also got to have the things you love, so I’ve been trying to add back in some more pretty prints. And you won’t be surprised that Zara’s selection is proving very tempting. Look at all this print goodness…

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Things are looking bright!

Bethan x

‘I Style Myself': The results

25 Apr

In my last post, I wrote about the I Style Myself app, and said I was going to put it on trial for a working week. So, here are the outfit suggestions it gave me, made up of only what’s in my wardrobe, and what they looked like  in real life…

Monday

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Tuesday (minus the jacket, which is something the app suggested I buy)

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Wednesday

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Thursday

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Friday

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What do you reckon? I’m really pleased with the suggestions, and I felt happy wearing every one of these outfits.

The best bits? This app really makes the most of colour. It chooses combinations with colour in mind, so you end up with things like Thursday’s outfit, where the orange jumper picks out the orange trim on the kitty flats. And I got lots of compliments for Tuesday’s outfit. I usually wouldn’t pair this minty blue skirt with a top in such a similar colour, but people liked it, especially on a sunny day.

It’s also made me appreciate some of the more neglected items in my wardrobe. I haven’t had my white skinny jeans or my polka dot culottes on for months, but it made me see there are lots of ways to wear them,

And finally, it really did point out what my wardrobe was lacking, and as a result, I’ve bought two new cardigans – one navy, one grey – and a small bag. No woman can survive with a wardrobe that contains only one handbag and zero cardigans!

The less good bits? The app definitely plays favourites. Staple items like skinny jeans and my white plimsolls come up in outfit suggestions over and over again, so if you followed the app all the time, you might find some things get a lot more wear than others.

I also think it’s missing a key feature: You know those days when you really want to wear a certain top or pair of shoes, but you’re not sure what with? I wish the app had a feature where you could tell it the item you wanted to wear, then it generated suggestions based around this. At the moment, the suggestions are completely random, so you might have to do a lot of swiping until the item you have in mind appears. I’ve bought a pair of pink camo skater flats, which I love, but because of their bright colours, they’re not appearing in as many outfit suggestions as some of my more neutral pieces.

But overall, this week has been a resounding success, and I will definitely keep using the app (but perhaps I’ll defy it and wear the pink camo skaters now and then!)

Bethan x

The ‘I Style Myself’ app on trial

19 Apr

I’ve been reading a lot about styling apps recently. There are apps for when you see someone in the street looking stylish and want to know how to copy their look. And there are apps to teach you all about colour and which ones suit you. However I’ve been most interested in apps that help you make the most of your wardrobe, without needing to rush out and buy a whole load of new things.

Enter ‘I Style Myself’ (available to download here, and it’s free, yay!). The premise is that you upload photos of the items in your wardrobe, then, according to the styles, colours and occasions you usually wear these items to, it mixes up new combinations for you. So if you always wear your Breton top with your skinny jeans, this app might suggest you try wearing it with that printed midi skirt instead. It’s got a good pedigree, too, with a former Tatler fashion director on board.

So what’s my verdict? Well, this seems like the perfect opportunity for a pros and cons list…

Pros

1. It’s obvious – but I have discovered lots of great new combinations, so this app definitely does what it says on the tin. Here are a few example of combinations it put together for me that I’d definitely try (none of the accessories are mine because I haven’t uploaded any yet, but you get the gist)…

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2. It also shows you some great new things you could add to what you already own. Here are some of the things I’ve discovered and am now coveting…

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What’s more, you can shop them straight from the app, so there’s no need to actually trawl through any websites looking for the things you like, as is often the case with when you see things in magazines that you can’t track down in the shops. Clearly Mango is made for me and my style preferences!

3. It makes you take stock of your wardrobe: a) taking everything out of my wardrobe to photograph it meant I took notice of things that needed hems sewing and buttons reattaching etc and b) you realise what you’ve got loads of (for me it’s the colour blue, dark trousers, and shirts of all shapes and sizes) and what you’re lacking (coloured trousers, shorts, t-shirts, jackets, plus a major shortage of bag options). All of this knowledge makes for sensible shopping. And because I own lots of blue and green things, the app takes note of this and suggests things that will go with those (see the selection of things above. Notice a colour theme? Yep.)

4. There are handy filters, so you can focus on outfits for certain occasions or seasons, and tell the app how much you’re willing to spend on new stuff. You can also select outfits made up solely of things from your wardrobe, or made up of things currently in the shops that you might like to buy. Very useful when you don’t need the shopping temptation, and also when you’re in the market for something new.

5. Having an ‘I hate my wardrobe’ day? Then switch off the wardrobe setting and enjoy some style escapism in the form of the outfit suggestions that consist of nothing you already own. It’s as much fun as browsing Net-a-Porter, and with some much more affordable clothes in the mix. Here are a couple of my faves. I would definitely wear both of these outfits, especially the fab shoes…

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Cons

1. To get the best out of this app, you really do need to photograph the entire contents of your wardrobe. For me, this is over 100 items (and I’m sure it will be many more for lots of people, as I have wardrobe clear-outs pretty regularly). This takes time, but it’s the only way to get true variety in the outfits it suggest.

2. Unless you’re a professional photographer, your pictures will never look as nice as the brand-new shiny images of items you COULD buy, which makes new purchases seriously tempting (and all-too easy through this app!). But this is a shopping blog, so I’m never really going to complain about being inspired to shop.

3. It’s an app, not a human stylist. It bases the outfit suggestions on the information you input, for example whether you’d wear an item on holiday and what season it works for. This means some of the suggestions are quite random. For example…

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On the left, it’s suggested a cardigan over a cashmere jumper dress. A tad too much knitwear methinks! In the centre we have a delightful leopard print/baby blue/patent black brogues mash up. Not a classic colour combination, nor one I will be trying. And on the right, it’s suggested a long roll-neck tunic with a short skirt and pointy courts. I’m pretty sure the tunic would entirely drown the skirt, and the addition of the courts is just too much for a skirt this short, in my humble opinion. It’s good for a laugh, though! And the outfits are more accurate than not – I’ve got dozens of possible outfits, compared to just a handful that miss the mark.

4. For me, the bigger issue was that the combinations were a little boring. A lot of suggestions were based around my black skinny jeans. I don’t need an app to tell me what black skinnies go with – I know that for myself. It would’ve been nice to see more combinations with some of my brighter, more patterned items – ie, the things we probably all need a little more help styling.

5. Unless you use the price filters, it will suggest you invest in expensive items, and you will feel sad that you can’t afford the beautiful Valentino boots that go so well with that skirt you own. But that’s what the filters are for, of course!

6. There’s not much in the way of styling ideas for dresses. It tends to just suggest a matching clutch, or a trench coat, which I think was suggested for every single one of my dresses. If you’re more of a separates fan, you’ll be golden.

7. It has trouble identifying some colours. For example, every one of my white items registered as a grey (though perhaps that’s more of an issue with my washing powder than the app!).

The challenge

I’ve decided to put the app to the test over the next working week. From Monday to Friday, I’m going to dress solely in outfits suggested by the app, to see how they look in real life, and to find out whether having my own pocket-sized stylist will save me time in the morning.

I’ll photograph the outfits and post the pics next weekend, along with the pics from the app that dictated the look.

Let’s see what it comes up with…

Bethan x

I love navy

11 Apr

I gave way to temptation at the Whistles sale yesterday and bought this dreamy dress…

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Here I am wearing it…

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I’m so happy with my purchase; it feels lovely to wear, I think it’s really flattering, and it was half price (down from £140 to £75). I know I’ll wear it loads as it’s great dressed up like this with heels and dressed down with flat tan sandals and a denim jacket. All sizes except size 4 are now sold out on the website (see here) but I reckon there are other sizes still in store, as I only bought mine yesterday.

I’ve realised I actually have a bit of a thing for navy – when I open my wardrobe doors, it’s one of the main colours staring back at me. But I think that’s a good thing – it goes with everything and it’s more flattering than black on a redhead.

So I decided to take some pictures of a few of my other navy things to show you just how much of a fan I am!

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From left: pointy ankle boots from Next, Orla Kiely flats from Clarks, velvet dancing shoes from Topshop and embroidered slippers from Penelope Chilvers.

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Clockwise from top left: Marrakesh flares from MiH Jeans, silk dress from French Connection, sequinned skirt from Zara, stripy jumper from Chinti & Parker, PJ-style trousers from Zara and floral dress from Zara.

Navy doesn’t have to be plain – I’ve got stripes, sequins and patterns in this mix, and they’re some of my favourite pieces. So go on, join the navy this weekend.

What’s your most-owned colour?

Bethan x

All denim everything

6 Apr

It’s no secret that denim’s having a fashion moment. Gone are the days when we laughed at people in double denim and stuck faithfully to our indigo skinnies. Now you can buy pretty much everything in denim, and some of this season’s hottest pieces are made of the enduringly popular fabric.

Take my regular shopping haunt Zara, which is all over the trend. I fell in love with this skirt a couple of days ago…

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£29.99, Zara. It’s the perfect nod to the 70s look that’s hot right now, but I’m obviously not the only one who’s clocked it, because it’s already sold out in two sizes – argh! If they’ve still got it in your size, buy it now!

I also love this patchwork mini, which is still available in all sizes…

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£35.99, Zara, but post-winter, I’m still feeling a little too leg-shy for a skirt this short!

This tunic top has serious hippie vibes…

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£39.99, Zara. I think it’d be great as an evening cover up on a beach holiday, or worn over a short skirt (better find that fake tan after all) to mix up the proportions.

I’ve got a major hankering for this H&M denim dress…

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£17.99, H&M. Denim shirt dresses seem to have been selling out all over the place, but I think this one is perfect, and at such an unbelievable price. In fact, excuse me one moment while I place my order…

I’ve also been scoping out the best longer-length denim shorts on the high street. You’ve got to buy these pieces early, because when the sun comes out and it’s finally shorts weather, all the good styles will have already gone from the shops and they’ll be bringing in the winter stuff already. Asos has a couple of options…

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£30, Asos

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£32, Asos

I’m torn between them because I love the retro high waist and dark wash of the first pair, but I like the slightly longer length of the second pair. Maybe I need to try both to find out which is the most flattering.

Gap also has this longer-length pair…

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£34.95, Gap, so they’re also in the running.

I already have a denim jacket that’s been in my wardrobe for probably about six years now, and it’s still as good as ever. In fact, it’s softened up over the years, so it’s probably even better. I got mine from River Island, but they seem a bit low in denim jackets right now, so if I was planning to invest in a new one, I’d go for this classic style from Topshop…

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£45, Topshop

And until it’s warm enough to wear these summery denim pieces, I’m going to keep rocking the double denim…

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Bethan x

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