The Fash Flash: Summer capsule

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my summer wardrobe lately… the dreary March we had followed by the recent gorgeous weather means I’ve managed not to do much in the way of wardrobe updating through spring and feel I now need a whole new summer wardrobe as I’m finally ready to enjoy getting dressed again. I’m still not back to my pre-pregnancy size which is tricky as I can now get my old jeans and trousers on… but the mid section as result is not pretty, which means options for the top half are limited. I really need to put some effort into shaping up, but that’s a whole other post!


Temperley for John Lewis Tile print jumpsuit. // Openwork white blouse, Mango. // Birkenstock Arizona’s // Ash Virgo glitte sneaker // ASOS dress // Linen Tee, Zara // Dipdye jumper, M&S // Denim shorts, New Look.

I’m trying to do the capsule approach again. It definitely has flaws, in that it doesn’t allow for spontaneity, but I think it makes up for that in financial planning, not having to shop (including last minute,) and in a similar way it offers me a feel good factor in that once it’s done, I don’t suddenly stress that I have nothing to wear for a looming event, not have time to address it, and as a consequence go out feeling rubbish. This spring we had a Christening, I had a night out with the girls and a couple of other things, that were a rare chance to dress up that I now feel ready for, but I had nothing to wear. My capsule had become too casual and ‘day-time’ with no ability to dress it up so I’m keeping that in mind this time. I had cheated a bit this spring and bought 4 different stripe tops: a traditional Boden navy/white breton, 2 Gap bretons in yellow/pale grey and a thicker dark grey/cream, and a Jonnie B red breton with an overlying print. I have pretty much worn them in rotation non-stop while the weather wasn’t as warm and now I’m ready to tackle the whole thing.

As always, these posts are inspired by Caroline over on Un-fancy.com – she has a great capsule wardrobe planner that you can use but I have adapted it a little to suit my thought processes and if you are planning a wardrobe reshuffle you might want to use her planner or my list below to help you get started.

Here’s what I have done so far.

1. What have I got already?
This involved opening up my storage wardrobe and facing the nightmare of trying on my pre-pregnancy wardrobe. Some things I fitted and were a pleasant surprise and I’ve dragged out a few bits that are tight but I hope will fit better as the weeks go on, as I’m still slowly losing weight. I’ve salvaged quite a few bottom half bits here: a pair of mint shorts from GAP and some printed white GAP khakis. My old boyfriend jeans fit again too and an old faithful summer shirt has been pulled out along with a couple of workwear items.

I also scrutinised the items I had already, in my existing winter/spring wardrobe, to see what I could keep. This includes shoes.

2. What do I need to plan for?
First and foremost I need to assemble some kind of work wardrobe. My work wardrobe used to be quite interchangeable with my daily wardrobe whereas they have polarised somewhat now. I wouldn’t want to wear much of it at home as it’s not comfortable enough or able to withstand the mess that Bea makes, plus my off-duty style has become a lot more sloppy!

Secondly, I have events coming up. We plan to have Bea Christened and have another Christening and friends baby birthday coming. There will likely be a couple of barbecue’s and evenings or lunches out too so I need to factor in a couple of fancy outfits, although I’m giving myself a free pass for her Christening to buy something nearer the time if I feel the need.

3. How do I want to dress?
This needed to be broken down into 2 parts, work and home.

For work, I am only there 3 days a week and lots of my work clothes are tailored so don’t fit but are really nice and I still like. The goal there has to be to get back into them, and in the meantime I’m bringing together a very small capsule of half a dozen outfits I can make do with.

For home, my overriding need is things that are practical to look after Bea in, but also feel nice in. As I wear Bea in the sling so much I think about if I’ll be able to wrap over them, and as we’re still breastfeeding, I think about access too, although Bea is hardly feeding in the day now. And I think about a few trend led pieces that might appeal to me – usually by flicking back through Erins posts – much quicker than scouring the magazines!

I also have a think about what I like to wear. Last year I LIVED in shorts and imagine I’ll do the same again and think about what I want to wear on top as a result. I also wore a waterfall aztec cardigan all the time over winter and am sad to put it away so I’ll be looking for a replacement for throwing on in summer.

4. What do I need?
Once I’ve decided what I have, and what I want, I think about what I need to fill the gaps. For occasion wear (i.e. anything that isn’t day to day at home!) I’m going to buy a nice dress and a jumpsuit. I need that cardigan and a lighter summer jumper. I’m going to invest in some basics, like a perfect navy tee and some denim shorts. As far as trends go, I’d like to nod to the folk trend with a white folk top. And my shoes need sorting out, new converse, new summer flip flops and possibly some work flats.

Lastly, looking through my wardrobe has meant I’ve been able to identify things for charity and for sale to help fund the new pieces. I always find when I go back to my wardrobe I’m able to be much more ruthless and immediately there are things that stand out that I know I don’t want anymore. I then decide if I could get anything on eBay for them and list them – so far this time I’ve made £75 so far selling old shirts, tops and dresses for £5 here and £10 there, plus a decent sum for an old bag. Its definitely worth doing and every little helps ;)

I’ll be back to share my actual capsule wardrobe in a week hopefully – I’m just waiting for the last bits to arrive. Have you done any summer shopping yet? Can I tempt you with a capsule?!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Fash Flash: Denim dresses

It has been oh such a long time since I looked at dresses thanks to feeding Bea (my style just doesn’t lean towards wrap dress or button fronts,) but summer is coming, my capsule wardrobe won’t build itself and feeds are lessening, so I’m on the hunt.


Shirt dress // Patch pocket shirt dress // T’shirt dress // Tie waist dress

I’ve always been a massive denim fan so I’m ready to jump on board the denim trend (Erin says it’s fashionable, so it must be!) so I thought I’d look for a few dresses. I found one (this swingy Komodo tencel dress) in one of the local independents where I live, but I’d spotted a few online too and thought I’d share them here.

Could you get on board with the denim trend?

Must Have Monday…

Where do you think this beauty is from then? Bright spring shade, contrast print interior, stylish swing cut with vented back flap?


Coral cotton blend jacket

Boden perhaps?

What If I told you it was £19.99?

H&M.

Kids!

My friend Alka was wearing this H&M coat at the weekend and I couldn’t get enough of it. She’s a petite lady but was wearing a (kids) size 12-14. It also goes up to a 14+ (kids size) so I reckon you could easily fit into it up to an adult size 12ish, perhaps more. I hope those of you who are bigger don’t feel excluded – that’s not the intention at all, I just had to share it as it looked so good on!

Have you got any other adult worthy kids clothes tips? (Rachel mentioned last week that adult size 10-12 can fit Bodens teenage range, meaning quite a saving!)

Happy Monday readers!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Triple Temptation: Breton basics


Boden // embellished stripe // woven back top

One of the things I learned by making my capsule wardrobe is that I never invest in basics. I’m always inclined to buy cheap versions and that’s if I buy them at all – I often buy all the statement pieces and am left high and dry when I need a simple pulled together item, like todays breton top. So this year I’m investing in a few quality basics and starting with the perfect breton tee. Of course Boden must be the king of the breton (or Petit Bateau?) so I’ve included their classic here. Perhaps you like a bit of glitter and sparkle? I think this jewelled version would cover the smart/casual bases for casual work to weekend wear. Then I got distracted and had to include my favourite: A plain breton front hides a denim blue woven back. 2 tops for the price of one and the easiest way to make sure your breton is never boring ;)

Have you seen any amazing examples of the breton tee I should know about?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The Fash Flash: Wet Weather Style

Since I’ve been on maternity leave, I have barely used our car. Firstly I wasn’t allowed to drive post c-section and also, Chorlton has everything I need within walking distance. We also have one very old car that Pete uses to run to work and my three door car. So we can continue to re-do the house and because we don’t really need 2 cars right now, we’ve opted not to to buy a new one (as we had planned) when Bea arrived. Why am I telling you this? Because it left me in the market for a new coat. Coats are cheaper than cars.


Joules Waterproof Parka £129 // Petit Bateau Iconic Raincoat £132 // Boden Rainy Day Mac £119
Seasalt Snowdrop Coat £140 // Seasalt Dayboard 3 in 1 jacket £150 // Helly Hansen W Kirkwall Rain Coat £100

The particularly warm and dry September and most of October we have had meant I didn’t really think about my need for wet weather gear (who was I kidding, I live in Manchester!) But after getting soaked through to my skin pushing the pram back from a baby class 2 weeks ago, the search came sharply to the forefront of my mind. I wanted an actually waterproof coat, but something that also looked stylish. Perhaps unusually, I also didn’t need something super warm as I have a heavy duty waterproof(ish) parka that will be coming out in my winter capsule. This was more of a spring/english summer/autumn piece.

I actually made my first purchase (this Boat Coat) from Seasalt after being recommended their coats but I was really disappointed by how frumpy I felt in it. It just wasn’t ‘me’ and although I like lots of their coats, none really fitted the bill. Next I combed the slightly more fashion led brands like Boden and Joules and google searched, which led me to some surprisingly good looking options.


Boden Short Rainy Day Mac £110

After spotting someone wearing a lovely yellow coat I was reminded of my yellow raincoat from ASOS. Now that it’s stood the test of time and remained one of my favourite jackets, I decided it was time to invest in the real deal and purchased the yellow one above. It arrived yesterday and I LOVE it. It’s got grey detailing, playful oversized buttons, a fleece lining (not too thick, but cosy) and smart pleat detail to the back. I opted not to get a longer length as they just don’t suit me and I don’t mind getting my legs wet.

So readers, do you do rainy day outerwear? I like the Helly Hansen Mac here too for city types.

Happy weekend!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The Fash Flash: Splish Splash

Before even the first day was done of my Capsule wardrobe for Autumn, I realised i had made a grave omission (for Manchester dwelling anyway.) No wet weather gear. For autumn walks they are a must but there was enough torrential rain last week to make me want to wear wells every day of the week so there is going to have to be an amendment! I’ve bought a waterproof coat (more on that soon) and am digging out my Hunters. In the meantime, here are a few I found for you guys to waterproof your wardrobes with…


Joules flower print // Dark silver Chelsea boot wells, New Look // Joules Dog print
Strap detail wellington boot, Ted Baker // Original slim zip wellington, Hunter // Studded biker wellies, New Look
SeaSalt tideline Wellies // Hunter Tall stripe wellington boot // SeaSalt Yellow deck wellies

There are styles here for fun, city dwellers and pretty prints – all the bases are covered.

Are you a welly wearer?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

25% off Whistles with Grazia


Bea Cashmere zip knit, Whistles

I wasn’t going to mention this discount this year but then, as I so often do, I decided to buy something rather last minute before the discount expires and thought some of you might appreciate the reminder! I wasn’t going to spend any money on knitwear for my capsule wardrobe (coming right up!) but every year I do always buy a great quality piece of knitwear so when I saw this one I couldn’t resist. It’s a nice change from the grey/navy cashmere I already have and ticks the box for another big AW14 trend… brights with black. You can’t immediately see but it also has zip sides perfect for breast feeding access!

Head on over to whistles.co.uk to see if theres any thing you don’t want to miss and use the code WH25AW14 for 25% Off with Grazia UK. You have until midnight 6th October – that’s Monday!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS. Did I mention the jumper is called ‘Bea’?! ;)

AW14 Capsule Wardrobe update

So, a little while back I told you all I was going to have a go at making and living with a capsule wardrobe for Autumn and I’ve been working on it ever since. Thats right, it’s been the best part of a month! I’m probably guilty of over obsessing about it but there seemed at times to be a lot of pressure on getting the items in my capsule wardrobe right. After all, if I am to do it properly then there will be no bailing out and reaching for my larger wardrobe upstairs when I feel uninspired. Why be so harsh on myself? Well, the more I’ve thought about it the more the idea of living with less appeals and I want to see if I can crack it for future seasons. It means less time wasted shopping (which I truly don’t enjoy as much any more,) less money wasted on disposable fashion and less wasted clothing in my wardrobe. I reach for the same pieces day in day out, so why not be more considered and edit out (or not let in in the first place,) those unused or seldom worn pieces?

I’m 99% there now and I’ll be sharing my capsule next week, but for now, I thought I’d share some of the thought processes and decisions I’ve made so far. Just to recap – the whole process is inspired by Caroline’s blog minimalist fashion blog un-fancy.com where she documents her outfits from a 37 piece wardrobe.

Post-natal specific ideas…

I need way more tops than bottoms – to cater for those leaked nappy/dribble/full on puke moments without washing 3 times a day. They also need to be washable and (I may yet be foiled on this front as I have oped for quantity over quality,) good quality items as holding a baby close all day results in pulled necklines and creased fabrics 24/7.

Bottoms are harder to find while my waist is still AWOL so I might as well choose fewer pieces that work for me now and be more creative on the top half. As a result you’ll see I have upped the number of tops in my capsule and scaled back the bottoms.

Breast feeding clothes get easier… I have found quite a few *smug face* normal tops that have buttons or zips in handy places to help with feeding, but equally I will never be a cardigan fan so I have embraced the idea of lifting my top/jumper instead as winter is a-coming and I love knitwear.

My shape is changing rapidly, mainly around the middle, going from mum tum to flatter, then just fatter and wobblier then before, so that has been a big consideration in the pieces I choose – both flattering my shape for now and giving thought to how it will (hopefully) continue to change.

General thoughts

It’s hard to make a capsule wardrobe with colour. I got half way through my wardrobe planning and realised I had a sea of grey clothes as the top image shows. Whilst I love grey as a neutral, a few weeks in and I’d be totally bored of it. It also didn’t give any nod to the current seasonal colour trends to keep me feeling up to date and I had no pattern in there either. Cue a re-think.

I also found it really difficult to plan for the next few months (Sept-Dec) in the middle of the Indian summer we have just had. I factored in a couple of lightweight knits but just couldn’t comprehend autumnal days and winter temperatures. Now the weather has changed it’s brought my need for heavier layers sharply into focus and I’ve found it much easier to plan.

Shoes are really hard to narrow down! I don’t consider myself a shoe fiend but I do have quite a few pairs and know how useful they are to change the feel of an outfit. Joggers with heels? Date night. Joggers with trainers? Urban cool. Joggers with brogues? Hipster. However, I’m resisting heels and going for practical choices and trying to think about what colours work – so I don’t end up with a brown and a black pair of boots if one will work just as well.

Money and get out clauses!

Just in case some of you are wondering how much I’m spending on all of this, I’m allocating myself a budget of £500 and I want this wardrobe to last me until January. That may seem like a lot but I would normally spend at least £100 a month (although more often cumulatively like this) on clothes and once complete there will be no shopping until the next wardrobe. I’ve also used every discount code and voucher I could find (always more abundant at the start of the season,) to keep costs down. And as a result of ally he clearing out, I’m also selling some clothes and shoes on eBay for the first time ever – I’ll let you know how that goes!

Lastly, I’m going to allow myself a get out clause. In case of a very cold snap I’ll allow myself to switch 2 tops, 1 pair of shoes and one pair of bottoms or coat if I need to.

I’ll be sharing my full wardrobe plus links to where everything is from next week. Are you trying the capsule? Do any of my thoughts ring true with you or have you made any modifications?

Have a great weekend readers,

Love,
Rebecca
xo

#MomStyle

Have you seen the new ‘Mom Jeans’? When I was looking for boyfriend (or more aptly named by Warehouse Girlfriend‘) jeans recently, it was suggested I ‘take a look at the Mom jeans which are really similar’. They weren’t similar at all – they were high waisted and reminded me of the eighties – a look a flat-stomached teen could perhaps pull off in Shoreditch, but not for me. It got me thinking about how we stereotype mothers in the fashion stakes, whether it’s imagining a frazzled woman with spit-up on her shoulders or a Boden wearing middle class mummy. As I’m giving so much thought to my own capsule wardrobe right now I got pretty put out at the thought fashion is no longer aimed at me and can be seriously impractical at times.  (Who am I kidding? I’m a good 10 years above Topshop’s target customer profile!). Luckily for me there are loads of fashion trends right now that fit perfectly with my requirements of pram-pushing, baby carrying, new-body style and I thought I’d share some of the key pieces that I love from both a fashion and everyday reality perspective…

1 // 2

Joggers
Yes, the humble sweatpant (re-named ‘joggers’ to avoid the mental image of sofa lounging and baggy bums,) is bigger then ever. Re-imagined in drapey fabrics and new prints for work wear or going out, the good old jersey type is also a winner for every day. Wear with flats by day and pointed heels or sandals by night and unexpected tops like a buttoned up blouse for serious style credentials.

1 // 2

Fashion Trainers
Massive at the last fashion week in Spring and not going anywhere as a trend, this look is steadily filtering through to the mainstream. Perfect for pram pushing, keep it out of slummy mummy territory by choosing statement finishes like reflective metallic silver, neons or brights, and old school classic styles like New Balance, Adidas or Nike.

1 // 2

Boyfriend Jeans
I did end up finding a pair during the search I mentioned above and have lived in them since. Once you’ve got the right fit for you, they’re super comfortable with an air of off-duty cool. Boyfriend jeans just like joggers can be dressed up or down and are much more forgiving than skinnies if your legs aren’t as ‘skinny’ as they used to be. ;)

If you’re interested, I’m always collecting images of looks I love on my Pinterest Street Style board for outfit inspiration, take a look!

So what are your go-to wardrobe items that you turn to day after day and make life easy? I’d love to hear…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The Fash Flash: Warehouse AW14

Two weeks ago I was invited to view the Autumn Winter 2014 fashion trends in Warehouse. It served as a good idea of some of the big themes for fashion this season and so I thought I’d share the looks styled for the evening here with you and the trends I picked up on and liked the most. As an aside, Warehouse has always been one of my go-to high street stores. Although it’s up to the minute and aimed at a young market, I find the quality is good and the pieces fit well – great for a fashion fix.


Jason Lock

Surprisingly for the darker colder months, there are still a whole lot of pastel shades going on. I loved these fluffy coats and check out the dress below right -its actually printed leather and quite the showstopper close up, without being a bank breaker.


Jason Lock

I’m a big fan of sporty fashion and street style looks are still going strong with parka’s, joggers in drapey fabrics, more leather and the perennial neutral, animal print.


Jason Lock

My favourite looks were the new ‘co-ords’ – matching prints worn together as separates. It looks really modern and fresh in boxy shapes and big bold prints.

Jason Lock

Less my style but a look that is classic and going to be really big this season is the 60′s influence. Think shift dresses, a-line mini’s, shorter hemlines (for skirts and cropped tops or knits) and block colour.


Jason Lock

So readers, it’s fashion friday, are there any looks you would recreate here? And can you guess which one I’ll be wearing this season?

Love,
Rebecca
xo