Usually as the first few months of the new fashion season progress, I would be writing round ups and reviews of brands and stores that are inspiring me. This year you may have noticed the absence of shopping round ups, but the truth is I really haven’t been that inspired by whole collections, instead picking and choosing from different stores.
That was until I fell in love with a necklace in AllSaints and ended up stalking the website. I signed up to their email alerts and every one that dropped into my inbox had me lusting after a new purchase. I hold my hands up, I haven’t bought anything from AllSaints in years, feeling it was often of dubious workmanship, overpriced and unsuited to my tastes but since looking again recently I really feel that has changed.
The bad news is the price hasn’t changed. These are still big ticket luxury items for the average person but the quality is now directly proportional. I’ve seen incredibly stylish outerwear (a couple of military inspired coats,) lovely ankle boots both for smart and casual wear, covetable accessories in leather with embellishment and lots of chic leather pieces. I thought I would feature a round up of my most lusted-after items and see what your thoughts were. I’ve arranged them roughly into outfits although a lot will mix and match and I’m rather hoping Santa might be reading this – I’ll take the lot pretty please 😉
When did you last look at AllSaints and have I made you look again?
As we are firmly into boot territory and the weather continues to deteriorate I thought it would be a good idea to make some flat boot suggestions. Maybe I’m getting old, but the idea of tottering around in heeled boots in the winter seems like a terrible idea. I’m more than prepared to invest in a pair of lovely boots that I know I’ll be wearing day in day out for the next 5 months or more. When you put it like that, it’s worth forking out for a really good pair (my money’s on the All Saints pair here) that cost-per-wear will practically make money for you 😉
Bordeaux suede ankle boots with studded heels – TOPSHOP
This mornings find is an absolute steal and manages to tick all the boxes, being both budget friendly, lovely enough to feel like a treat AND perfect for keeping you stylish. Tough call? Not for this eye palette from M&S Limited Collection.
I always think about changing my cosmetic choices around this time of year, choosing warmer colours reflective of natures changing palette. I love golds, muddy greens and warm browns, all covered in this palette with a navy and black shade for creating smokey eyes. I love how cute this palette is too with little owls on the smart navy compact, (it would make a lovely present too, don’t you think?) and it will look as pretty on your dressing table or in your bag as the colours will on your lids. Everything you need for Autumn beauty for just £7.50.
Get yours fast readers!
PS! There’s 10% off until the end of today on ALLMarks and Spencer’s beauty products (not just M&S brands) and if you spend £15 you get a free travel skincare kit. Another reason to treat yourself!
It can’t have escaped your notice that flats are having a moment… whether it be ‘flatforms’, brogues, moccasins, low heeled loafers or the trend I’m tackling today, Smoking slippers.
Admittedly, it’s not a trend I’m 100% on board with – like everything in fashion there are some representations of the trend I like and others I’m not so keen on. Particularly for the ladies amongst us with shall we say longer feet, I think it’s key to look for one with a shorter upper, more akin to a ballet flat and that’s the style I prefer.
Given that it’s London Fashion Week as of today and there will be heels galore clicking across the pavements around Somerset house, I couldn’t help but let myself round up a few alternative options, imagining them on tired feet or tucked into bags running between shows.
You all know I’m a big fan of a nail trend so when I spotted a video on creating an ombre nail effect I decided to have a go myself. I’ve been craving something new for the new season and this just seemed perfect before I turn to my autumn/winter nail wardrobe of steely greys and inky blues.
Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that I toyed with several colours for this look and trialed it with the navy I eventually chose, Chanels muddy purple ‘Paradoxal’ and also a Nars silver which I liked for the futuristic mixed metals look it gave. The most dramatic however was the Navy, so thats what I chose for the finished look. It’s a very subtle metallic navy that with a couple of coats looks almost black, Betty Blues 110 by No. 7 at Boots.
To get the look you will need:
Your two chosen colours.
Your usual base coat and a clear top coat.
A cosmetic sponge.
Some cotton buds.
Nail polish remover.
So first off, apply your base coat (the paler shade.) I’m using a Topshop polish here, a super metallic white gold shade called Crystal Clouds. I only used one coat as that gave a dense enough colour, and don’t forget your base coat first.
(The most difficult thing about this look is that layering the polishes, however you do it, disturbs the coats you have already applied, so this coat needs to be really dry before you start again. I applied mine then went out and did the rest later.)
Next up, working one finger at a time, paint a corner of the cosmetic sponge with the second (darker) shade of polish. You only need to paint a small area – about the size of your nail. You don’t need a lot, just enough so theres still some on the sponge, allowing for some to soak in.
Carefully sponge the polish onto the nail. (Don’t worry, you will get it all over your fingers too but we’ll clean that up later.) Once you’ve got the hang of it and if the amount of polish on the sponge is perfect you can start half to two thirds of the way down the nail and build the colour up towards the tip. However I found this a bit unpredictable and started at the tip to test the effect and worked further down as the sponge got less saturated. You can sometimes do a couple of nails before you need to repaint the sponge.
Work fast and lightly; as I said above, once the polish is wet if you mess around, you just start to take it off each time you press the sponge on. At this point it’s about creating a finish that you are happy with. If the sponged edges get a bit ‘definite looking’ I went back with the gold polish and making sure most of the excess polish is wiped off onto the bottle, added a couple of extra dots of polish then sponged around them. You’re looking to create a painterly watercolour effect where the two colours just bleed into each other.
Finally, you want the tips to have the appearance of properly applied varnish so you might need to apply a little extra there to get the depth of colour. By now your fingers will probably look like you have dipped them into a paint box to dip a cotton bud into your nail polish remover and scrub around the edges and tops to remove all the extra polish from your skin.
Finish with 2 coats of topcoat to give a smooth glossy, ultra high-shine finish. When you apply the first topcoat you can actually muddy the finish a little more by very lightly dragging the colour around a litre if you want to improve the effect.
So there you have it, what set out to be an ombre nail is actually more of a painterly two tone and I love it. The gold mixed with a darker shade seems light enough to nod to the end of summer but has more than a hint of the new season about it.
What do you think readers? Are you going to be trying this one out?
It’s still too warm to be giving even a passing thought to coats but my head has been turned already so I thought I’d start the blog ball rolling and hear your thoughts on coats this year.
I’m honestly not a ‘coat’ person. I know some people really look forward to a winter coat purchase but for years I have struggled to find the right ones, or perhaps to justify the cost of a coat as there never seems to truly be a one-style fits all solution. Maybe I’ve let go of the quest for a does-it-all garment and embraced the joy of choosing a coat for every situation, either way, I’ve identified 3 key styles that I’m ‘desperately’ in need of this year and lusting after already. Co-incidentally, all of todays selections come from Zara, who are literally on fire in the outerwear department this season, but aren’t they always?
Remember this post and my wear-everywhere GAP lightweight parka? It has remained as useful as I claimed it was and I’ve worn it non-stop this summer, particularly in the constant showers. Now I can’t imagine being without one so I’m on a quest for a warm winter version to keep wrapped up in at the weekend or on the run around town.
Now I have a properly grown-up job, I want a properly grown up coat (I have been known to do home visits in my leather jacket which causes the occasional raised eyebrow!) The minimal slim car-coat styles with collar embellishment and detailed sleeves are calling out to me, along with voluminous cocoons for a striking silhouette.
I can’t deny, I’m a city girl, yet at the weekends I’m often found tramping around the local water park and nature reserve in less than clement weather. I’d love a Barbour but for occasional weekend wear I can’t justify the cost, so thought I’d buy a cheaper version and see how much wear I get out of it. This one is just as chic for the girl-about-town as getting out of town.
So what have you got in mind this winter for your outerwear? Don’t worry, this isn’t the last post you’ll be seeing, merely a teaser. Look out for more detailed fash flashes coming soon 😉
What’s this we have here? It’s a new post series that’s what! Allow me to fill you in.
Just like Friday Frock but without the restriction of it being a dress, every week Monday Must-Have is me sharing the single item that I’m lusting over and your week simply is not complete without. Like today, it might be a fashion item, or a lust-worthy pair of shoes, a pretty make-up palette, a book, a cushion, something for the kitchen… you’re going to have to pop along and find out. Its a short and sweet post so you can read it without missing a beat whilst getting up to speed with those Monday morning situations at work or if you feel particularly naughty you can click on through and distract yourself for a little longer. 😉
This afternoon I’ll be talking more about some changes that are happening at FF HQ, but for now, here’s my must have.
Now it’s finally September, I’m allowed to start talking about it right? Autumn looming, the leaves are already falling and I am obsessing over knitwear, earthy tones and crisp days for walks followed by pub lunches. And when I’m doing all of the above, I want to be wearing the jumper below.
Aubin and Wills is a recent dot on my radar and I think their style really lends itself to Autumn. Sophie Dahl is modelling for Aubin and Wills this season and it’s worth hopping over to the site just to see the stunning images of her wearing the collection. I’m going to struggle to keep this to my only purchase this season.
The Portland Jumper is also a much friendlier way of ticking of the statement knit trend that I posted about a while back now, no scary sequins, just modern british design.
I can’t lie, all I’m thinking about right now is Autumn/Winter fashion. I’m still getting to grips with the big trends and styles to share with you but I am seeing a lot of green. Where green hasn’t been a favourite colour of mine in the past I’m suddenly falling hard for this gorgeous shade of emerald and spied this Dylan Scalloped hem dress on the whistles.co.uk website yesterday.
The dress is actually in the Whistles Outlet (yes, they have an outlet store online) and has been marked down to £95 due to a defect in the hem as a result of the styles effect on the fabric. I can’t vouch for whether that is an issue but I’m going to be ordering one myself to find out. The double scalloped edge and the sleeves with the classic Whistles shape just look so very lovely I thought.
It’s my first personal venture into Autumnal fashion, what do you think?
This afternoon I thought I’d cast my mind forwards (although difficult on a hot day like today!) to another stand out collection from one of the high street stores. French Connection wasn’t a favourite of mine until a couple of seasons ago when I feel they really upped their fashion game and have firmly become one of my favourite brands. Although that’s not a surprise as the new collection is dare I say it, a little Whistles-esque?
The AW12 collection is full of sharp tailoring, beautiful rusty prints and tones and mod/sixties influences which look perfect to me. I can see myself wearing them everywhere from fashion week to the weekend.
The Studded sleeve leather bomber. Yours for £350.
Pale silk embellished top – a wardrobe investment that will become a classic.
Floral print – this season-tastic – and a beautiful autumnal palette.
A great range of blazers and work appropriate dresses. I’m loving the purple.
The cut out shoulder blouse – a great take on the cut out trend for cooler weather.