It's that time of year again… Sales time. That time of year when you could potentially spend a hell of a lot of money on things you don't really want or need. It was while I was thinking about sales pitfalls that I happened upon an excellent article in Stylist magazine (download the app to get every issue for free if you haven't already - so good) about how to avoid feeling like you have nothing to wear. Spoiler alert: the main message was that women who look stylish every day tend to have a uniform which they rely on, rather than trying out new things all the time (reference: Emmanuelle Alt in blazers and skinny jeans). This is very true when you think about it, but also interesting in that it sheds new light on my own wardrobe dilemmas. Unlike the author of the article, who complained about buying things that don't go with anything else in her wardrobe and ending up never wearing them, I rarely ever buy anything I don't love and therefore there's hardly anything I own that I haven't worn. Quite the reverse: I feel like I wear everything to death. No matter how much I love an item when I first get it, after a few weeks of wearing it every few days, I feel like I've used up every possible outfit combination with it. And I hate wearing exactly the same outfit, so I inevitably get bored and want something new. But I agree with the article in that I definitely have a "uniform" myself, and rather than thinking maybe I'll stop getting bored of everything if I try out new trends/shapes etc., I should instead stick to it and just accept that I will always need to buy something new (hey, surely that's an inevitable side-effect of being obsessed with fashion).
So, with that in mind, sales season feels like the perfect time to stock up on all of my uniform classics at purse-friendly prices. I've thought about it and come up with a sort of formula for the way I dress and therefore the things I should be looking out for on the reduced rails. Hopefully it will be helpful to you when you're perusing the sales, too. I've also selected a few items which fall within the realms of my uniform and are the kind of thing I'll be looking out for this Boxing Day (some on sale, some not yet). Oh and if in doubt, buy beauty gift sets. Space NK is always my first port of call in the sales for true bargains that'll never go out of style.
The crux of my "uniform" is what I'm calling classic basics. These are not necessarily expensive, but do need to be good quality. Knitwear is my number one essential at this time of year and it should be real cashmere and wool rather than polyester. Look for thin merino wool or cashmere jumpers (Whistles is always great for these), or chunky fisherman styles (try & Other Stories or Reiss) (1). Jeans don't have to break the bank, I find (mine are all Topshop or Zara); they just need to fit well. So far I haven't been parted from my skinny styles, but I'd like to find a good boyfriend pair in the sales (2). Good, simple t-shirts are another solid basic that are remarkably not that easy to find, but I love & Other Stories' selection of gimmick-free, classic cuts at incredibly good prices (3). Jackets - always, always buy leather jackets. I wear mine to death. The leather needs to be really butter soft though. Whistles' are hands down the best - great value for money and a wide selection of styles. I still haven't found the perfect blazer - black, single breasted, non-shiny - but that's high on my sales wish list.
I thought about using the word eye-catching here but that's not quite the vibe I'm going for. By standout I don't necessarily mean "look at me", nor particularly expensive. Nobody else needs to walk past you and do a double take because you've got the latest designer candy on your arm, or because it's neon. What I mean is good quality, beautiful pieces that make your heart stop a bit, and that's important, because you'll be wearing these a lot more often than any particular item of clothing. A bag that's timeless yet a little bit interesting, for example (4). Take my 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli bag. I'm convinced the reason I still love carrying it each and every time I do is because a) I literally gasped at how gorgeous it was when I unwrapped it and b) it's an utterly classic style but in a colour that's a little bit different. A nice watch falls into this category, too (5), or a simple necklace(6) you're happy to wear non-stop.
Aside from ankle boots, which make up part of my daily uniform and therefore fall more into the previous category for me (reference my beloved Marant Dickers and Acne Pistols), shoes are the item that I'm willing to experiment a little more on. I tend to keep them high street (most are from Zara or Whistles) and am not afraid to buy them more often and make them a little less classic (7 and 8). Case in point: my Zara mules. Totally of the moment when I bought them back in February and it's unlikely I'll wear them past next summer. But they were relatively cheap (still good quality though - that's what I love about Zara shoes) and they made every outfit I wore at the time look current, even if it was just jeans and a tee. And that's exactly what they should do. I don't like spending too much on heels because a) you'll never wear them every day, especially if they're painful, so won't feel like you're getting your money's worth, and b) shoes wear out in a way bags don't. You need to not be too heartbroken when you've scuffed all the corners off a pair.
Hope that helps… Happy shopping and a very merry Christmas to you all.
Sorry for being a bad blogger lately - real life has got in the way somewhat and it's been difficult to find time to take outfit photos. Luckily I've now got a couple of weeks off for Christmas so I'll try to be more diligent. Anyway, here's a pretty standard look for me: favourite ever coat, favourite ever knit and favourite ever bag. You can't go too far wrong with that, surely?
Knitwear is my favourite clothing type. I think if I could have the most perfectly curated selection of knitwear, the rest of my wardrobe would just fall into place beside it. Perfect, classic knits are worth spending a little more money on to get right. They are also, grudgingly I might add, worth the effort of washing them by hand. My favourite knitwear all comes from Whistles: it's all proper wool, fantastically snug and warm and in utterly classic cuts. Currently they are offering 30% off knitwear so it's the perfect time to add another beauty to my collection. This is top of my list: oversized and with a rollneck but still very classic: you can't get more timeless than soft wool in a textured grey marl.
Don't get me wrong: I love the easy length of this dress and it's so comfortable. But sometimes wearing a midi skirt can feel just a little frumpy. So I always make sure to wear it with something a bit edgy (hate that word, but can't think of a better one) to steer firmly clear of that territory. A slogan sweat and fierce zipped ankle boots should do the trick.
It's that time of year again: time to shop for someone else for a change. With December just around the corner we can't really put it off any longer, and in fact this weekend is the perfect time to start, because many shops are offering Black Friday discounts (25% off at Whistles and 20% off at ASOS, for a start). It can be a daunting task, but luckily I've done the hard work for you. I won't be helping you with what to buy your boyfriend or your dog, but if you happen to know a woman who likes her fashion, beauty and interiors as much as I do, or maybe just want a little something for yourself, then you've come to the right place. This is basically everything that I'm (admittedly very optimistically) hoping to find under my tree. It doesn't really matter what your budget is, my advice for Christmas shopping is always the same: get them something they wouldn't buy themselves, be that a decadent beauty set, a little alcoholic treat in fancy packaging, some jewellery from a designer they haven't heard of or some luxurious lingerie. It doesn't have to be wonderfully original or incredibly personal: just go for something that feels a little bit special.
Lately I've been overcoming my aversion to skirts. I'm still not a fan of the full, flippy kind, or anything that says "girly". But made in a non-girly material - leather or scuba, say - and kept slim-cut rather than princess-worthy, then they're definitely winning me over. My latest obsession is this Whistles grey knitted beauty. It's kind of the ultimate loungewear made outdoor-appropriate. The figure-hugging wool means it's simultaneously comfortable yet flattering: surely the holy grail of any skirt. I love the idea of teaming it with a matching grey jumper and scarf for a monotone look that's super warm yet utterly chic (balanced out with a fierce black ankle boot). The downside? £95 isn't cheap, and my bank balance is trying desperately to hold out for the post-Christmas sales. Fingers crossed Whistles reduces this beauty so it can become a much needed addition to my skirt arsenal.
Sometimes it's the little things that can really perk up your wardrobe when it starts to feel like you're wearing the same thing day after day. Right now I'm reaching for this lovely navy bobble hat more often than not to add a little extra something to my outfits. It has the added bonus of being super soft and super warm, too.
Whistles shearling leather jacket / this year's version here
If any of you have been reading my blog for a few years you might be getting a sense of déjà vu from this post. In fact I bought a pair of Acne Pistol boots back in March 2012. I loved them from day one and wore them to death with anything and everything. Unfortunately, however, in January 2013 I managed to ruin them by putting shiny polish on them and then having to use washing up liquid to get it off. Since then they've been looking pretty sorry for themselves, battered and scratched and very much grey rather than black. It kind of broke my heart, if I'm honest. So much so that I've barely been able to look at them since, let alone wear them. It's taken me nearly two years but I finally decided to replace them when I saw that my-wardrobe was offering 30% off Acne last weekend, taking them down from £380 to £250. Now at last I can start wearing my beloved Pistols again, and finally stop feeling so sad about them (melodramatic, yes, but damn I love my shoes). On the plus side, I managed to get the right size this time after my previous pair were too big (they run very large so size down!) Every cloud and all that…
On Thursday I was lucky enough to be invited by Molton Brown and rewardStyle to Molton Brown's Splendid Christmas party, held in their flagship store on Regent Street. We had champagne and canapés while perusing the lovely selection of Christmas gifts on offer from the brand and were very kindly treated to a selection to take home. I've always been a fan of the brand and the lovely girls who organise their press events certainly know how to put on a fun evening. I even sipped champagne with the advert campaign models in the display window and waved to the confused-looking tourists passing by (in fact, I'd worked with one of the models on my first ever shoot back in Christmas 2010, so very appropriate!) Molton Brown's Christmas selection perfectly suits my number one gift giving criterion: must be something a little bit decadent that they wouldn't normally buy themselves. Boxed up with ribbons and smelling absolutely divine, surely nobody could complain about finding one of these beauties under their tree. No prizes for guessing which was my favourite: the trio of festive candles. They smell rich and decadent, perfect for winter, but not so specifically Christmassy that they'll be out of place come January. I'm actually going to wrap these babies up and give them to myself. Because sometimes the best gifts are too good to give away… Thanks to rewardStyle and Molton Brown for a lovely Christmassy evening.
I almost think it doesn't matter what you wear with this coat. It is the whole outfit on its own. But that's why I love it so much. I think it's actually best to totally play it down with nothing more exciting than a simple white tee and blue jeans and let it do all the talking (well, aside from the knockout bag, of course).