Thursday, 29 November 2012

Checked coat with wool

I spotted my friend Sally in this coat yesterday and thought what a fab coat.  Simply had to tell her that I liked the coat to which she promptly blurted out that it was from Marks and Spencer.  I was quickly reminded of the news a few weeks ago which reported that clothing retail sales from M&S had declined while sales at Primark was booming urging me to write a blog post on Quality vs Quantity Fashion.  I said to her that one Primark shopper interviewed about their preference for shopping there remarked that Marks and Spencer was for "ole birds".   We both had a good laugh and resolved that we both must be old birds then as I have several coats in my wardrobe from M&S as well.  

I have to say that the online picture of this checked wool coat really doesn't do it justice and I would not normally go for a grey coat but the subtle burgundy colours in this woollen coat really lifts the coat and I simply love the furry texture of the outside -  lovely to look at and gorgeous to the touch.  Because the sleeves does not reach as far down to the wrist  you can team with a roll neck long sleeve in burgundy which just picks up on the coat's colours.  In fact Sally wore hers with a burgundy layer and a grey felt hat.  Most important to me and as I said to Sally, "I'm sure that I'll be seeing you in this coat for many winters to come".  

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Christmas partywear with a shine

First Lady Michelle Obama is not the only one who recycles outfits.  I do it every year especially at christmas time with all the festive parties with my name on it. More and more though I find that sometimes outfits that looked smashing one year ago are not as flattering now.  Maybe because I've put on a bit of weight or the novelty has worn off or maybe I've just gotten a little older and wiser -  I don't know.  Now I make sure and try on my outfits way in advance to avoid hitting the high street a day or two before a party to panic buy an outfit.  When I look at outfits bought in desperation I usually shake my head and wonder "what was I thinking!". But vanity masked as desperation can make us ladies do strange things.

I especially want to get it right for the office party so no harm in having a few backup outfits.  This year I want to stay clear of black party wear as this colour is simply starting to dominate my wardrobe as far as cocktail dresses .... so enough with the dresses. I'm going for a fancy top and casual trousers.  Less is soooo much more as this sheer metallic lace top with a lined body shows.  This look is simple, chic and so fabulously feminine with the ruffles at the neckline - perfect if you are going straight from work to party.

Christmas gifts for him

We constantly blog about gifts for her on this blog and don't pay much attention to gifts for him.   Let's rectify that now because with Christmas soon upon us I know I am in need of some ideas myself.  This 100 % cotton howick multi stripe robe is a superb gift for dad, husband, partner or boyfriend.  What's great as well is that they come in a variety of colour combinations so you won't be spoilt for choice.  

By default clothes is usually the first thing that comes to mind when shopping for him maybe because I shop so much for myself.  When I want to mix it up a bit I go for technology accessories as men never tire of their boy toys and I know my limits when it comes to choosing electronic gifts for my husband. Who knows better than them exactly which type or model of phone or laptop they need.  Boy toys accessories includes iphone case, laptop bag which are much cheaper options for me anyway. Think practically about his needs and I'm sure you'll come up with even more ideas.  

Today's online bargains

Psychologically it's always a great feeling when you grab yourself an online bargain.  Here are our picks on bargains online for today. But remember bargains like these don't last very long and there is nothing more disappointing than not having it in your size. Click now to have a look  Who knows what you may find.

This sleeveless graphic sleeveless shift dress reminds me of the swinging 60's with its geo printed fabric, shape and length.  As it is the winter months, I would pair with black tights and knee high boots.  Come summer it would be a fabulously playful mini dress for showing off some legs.

This classic shift  Betty Barclay dress is made special with a feather print.  A comfortable dress with a slight stretch that would suit most body shape. 

The cricket jumper is no longer just a sports garment but has transcended the boundaries of cricket to trendy fashion jumper.  Not without its sex appeal this cropped cricket jumper has a low v-neckline making it perfect to wear over a tee in winter.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Unique and festive fashion dresses

What do these dresses have in common?  They are all simply cut dresses in appealing colour mixes - very ethnic and festive looking and I can see myself in all of them.  Most importantly they are all available from House of Fraser where you get free shipping when you spend £50 or more.   These dresses differ in price, quality and label.  We have dresses from the Lauren of Ralph Lauren brand  SodaMix  and Izabel of London    ranging from £24 - £155. So which frock do you fancy adding to your wardrobe this winter?  If you like bright, colourful mixes and unique fashion then these are three dresses tick all those boxes.

Monday, 12 November 2012

kenzo poncho - style that last

Last week we were on about price vs quality with the whole Marks and Spencer vs Primark revenue profits debate that was filling the airwaves.  This week I have been looking for key winter warmers to add to my wardrobe and found this kenzo poncho which just screams buy me, buy me!!!!  Its full of all my favorite earth tone colours and the geometric ethnic design is simply glamorous.  If you want to add drama and style to your look then here it is.  In fact no one would really care what you wore under this poncho as their eyes will be fixed on this designer poncho itself.  Unique fashion accessories wouldn't be absolutely necessary but a copper bracelet would go a long way in adding depth and detail to this look. . 

Made from a blend of fabrics including 15% wool, I could just see myself wearing this poncho for many winters to come.  As much as I try, I can't help myself, I am a quality girl and if I added only one new item to my winter wardrobe this would be it.  Call me naughty but this poncho goes on my christmas list which I will leave carelessly lying around for my husband to see just in case he was void of ideas for christmas gifts for her this year.  Better yet I can have one of Santa's little helpers (my kids) whisper it in his ear. 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Michelle Obama recycles victory speech dress

Another US Presidential election and Obama emerges victor.  I can't say that I have been following the debate as far as political issues put forward by the Democrats and Republicans are concerned.  But I am now up with the political lingo as far as what swing States are.  Remarkably as I stood in the kitchen doing the washing up yesterday, oblivious of the radio playing in the background, my pores suddenly raised as Obama's victory speech suddenly penetrated my consciousness.  What a prolific and charismatic speaker, I thought, making a mental note to have a look at the speech online. 

While Barrack Obama’s speech is simply hair raising to hear, being a fashion blog we are more concerned with what Michelle wore aren't we ladies.  Click on the video below and you will see Michelle clad in a Michael Kors metallic raspberry coloured dress. If you have been following the first lady and her unique choice of clothes and fashion accessories you would recognize that she wore this same dress in 2010 at a military event.

What I always admire about the First Lady is the way she cleverly uses her attire to send a message.  Michelle started off on her husband's campaign six years ago wearing off the rack designers like Donna Ricco which sent a clear message that her lifestyle was attainable, that she was an ordinary american citizen.  Yes she has worn big name designers like Thakoon Panichgul, but also sent less recognized designers like Maria Pinto rocketing into the limelight by showcasing her custom made sheath dresses on the campaign trail.

Now she recycles a previously worn dress which is a clear political statement that we are living in hard economic times and we simply must be frugal; a reflection of the austere economic measures ahead for the American economy.  I have to say that I like her style and can't wait to see what message she will be sending with her choice of inaugural dress.  All Kudos to Obama's political advisers and campaign managers, they have certainly paid attention to every political detail (including what Michelle wears) in securing Obama another four years in office. 

Click here for more Michael Kors dresses

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Quality wardrobe or quantity fashion?

Marks and Spencer and Primark have been very much in the news today with regards to profits.  The bottom line is that revenues at Primark is up while clothing sales at Marks and Spencer have seen a 10% drop in profit according to reports I'm hearing on the radio at the minute.  Reporters have taken to the street and are asking shoppers with Primark bags why they choose to shop at Primark as opposed to Marks and Spencer and the comments have been "better value for money" , "up to date fashion", "Marks and Spencer is for old birds", "cheap stocking fillers" and simply "price".  Interviewees have also commented that they are not bothered by the quality as for them fashion changes so quickly that they are happy to chuck purchases once the fashion changes in six months.  

So what's your take on this- are you a quantity or quality person?  Are you happy to buy one quality item or prefer to walk out the store with five items for the same price?  Me, I'm so keen on building a wardrobe by adding quality clothes that would last and last that I find it hard to buy throw away fashion.  That's not to say that I've never shopped at Primark.  Years ago it must have been around 2007 I bought a black and white striped roll neck as well as a wool blend orange swing coat from Primark which I still wear today.  Now whenever I pop into Primark, I'm always very cautious as it is very tempting to fill my basket up with items that may not wash very well so I can certainly see the attraction for younger shoppers on a budget as they carry a fun and funky range which may not always have the longevity factor but is appealingly trendy.

With Marks and Spencer, I know that the quality is there so I don't think twice when I'm buying a dress or coat online.  Off the top of my mind I have two corduroy coats, a black pants suits, jackets and several dresses and skirts from M&S.  So I have more Marks and Spencer in my wardrobe than Primark, hope that doesn't make me an "old bird".  I shop from high end to low end as my philosophy is that you can always find a gem anywhere.  It's all about spotting quality because let's face it sometimes you can pay more for the same wardrobe basics because of where you are buying it.   

There is a saying "the more things change, the more they stay the same" and this is so true about fashion as I'm sure you will agree that what goes out of fashion comes right back into fashion at some point. So I'm not concerned that my wardrobe is ever out of fashion because I have clothes in there from ten or more years ago.  For me quality far outweighs quantity but each to his own.  

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The perfect christmas gift for her

Is there such a thing as the perfect gift? In my mind the perfect gift is all relative to the person receiving the gift along with their hopes, desires, wants, wish list and I can go on and on.  Who's giving the gift is also important because while I may have seen the ideal electric kettle to replace my old one, I don't expect that to be my christmas gift from my husband.  When you are buying a gift for a loved one like your wife, girlfriend, partner there is an element of romance involved.  So what is the perfect romantic gift? 

Some ladies have lost utter confidence in their partners' ability to choose them just the right gift and are simply happy to have a voucher for one of their favorite shopping haunts.  But where is the suspense and drama in that?  Sometimes I'm presented with gifts from my husband that I would never have bought for myself and I do wear them and they turn out to get fab reviews from my friends.  So maybe he knows me a little better than I think or perhaps he's just plain lucky - who knows?

The idea with gift giving is simple - just mix it up.  For most of us gift giving is a biannual event for birthdays and christmas.  When you include anniversaries and valentines day then it is four times a year - that's a lot of gift giving!!!  If you are giving jewellery gifts then is has to be more unique and special  to outdo what you have given in the past.   Jewellery boxes, keepsake boxes are all great gift ideas.  A romantic spa break for two can also be priceless.  But with romantic gifts it is not always about how much you can spend.  You simply want to give a gift that would be remembered and treasured for a long time.  

Monday, 5 November 2012

winter warmers

The cold mornings have started and while its lighter outside since the clocks were turned back, I'm grumpier for having to leave my warm duvet covers to get out there and face the cold.  With four layers this morning, including hat and gloves, I was warm enough but with snow in Northumberland yesterday I'm dreading a repeat of the winter of 2009.  So while it is still only early November, for me, winter is officially here.  

While I didn't have to scrape my windscreen this morning, with a reading of 2 degrees on the thermometer,  I had to wait for the heater to defrost it and was begging the car to warm up quickly once I set off.

If you haven't already, it's certainly time to organize your winter wardrobe and bring all your coats, pullovers, and cardigans out of storage.  I've just been pulling my winter clothes out as I need them but I just must become more organized so I know exactly what I'm wearing and where everything is.  You can never have too much of layering tees, cowl neck sweaters, roll necks and thermals.  Though for me thermals are fine once I'm outside but once I get indoors in the central heating it's like I'm on fire, so I'm going to have to reconsider thermals and go more for cotton and wool blends.  

With a 50% flash sale on winter warmers at La Redoute today, I'm on the timer as sale ends in the next 10 hours.  Nothing like a sale to motivate me into action.  Shop now