Tag Archives: outfit post

Vintage Dresses and Christmas Markets

Vintage dress and HM mach

Glastonbury Festival is the last place I’d expect to find decent, work-friendly vintage, but this summer I did just that when my friend Ceri and I stumbled across a stall selling all their vintage dresses for a fiver. Needless to say it didn’t take much convincing for me to have a rummage and unearth this beauty.

This geometric print, three quarter length sleeve dress – complete with pockets – was made by Hardob, a now defunct German clothing brand, from what I gather, and is most probably from the 1970s. It was in great condition and after attempting to try it on over my clothes while not covering it in an obligatory layer of mud, I decided it had to be mine.

Vintage dress and HM mac

The trade-off for buying garments from this decade is that they’re often made from polyester, which isn’t the most pleasing fabric out there, but it does mean that dresses like this won’t object to being thrown into the washing machine instead of hand washed.

I wore this dress, along with an H&M trench coat and Zara studded boots, to Saturday’s Picton Street Christmas Fair. The road was heaving and while we were there we saw some fantastic circus acts, including a trapeze artist and fire poi.

I don’t know if it’s the mild weather or the looming responsibility of cooking Christmas dinner, but I’m still not feeling especially ‘Christmassy’ yet – I suspect the numerous Christmas jumper themed parties coming up this week will change all that though!

Are you buying any gifts from Christmas markets this year?

Vintage Hardob dress – a Glastonbury festival stall / Trench coat – H&M / Cable knit socks – M&S / Green quilted shoulder bag – River Island / Studded tan brown cowboy boots – Zara

Trapeze artist at Picton Street Christmas MarketVintage dress mac and red hairPicton Street Christmas marketRiver Island quilted shoulder bagMistletoe for saleCircus skills at Picton Street Christmas market

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Playing with Proportions

Zara cropped sweatshirt and Topshop skirt

Eight years ago, if you’d told me I’d be wearing a cropped sweatshirt I’d have laughed in your face and then pulled down on the hem of my baggy jumper even further.

Before I came to university, the concept of having a waist was foreign to me. Although not obviously overweight, I’ve never possessed a flat, washboard stomach, so trends like 90s cropped tops passed by me in a flurry of ‘well why should I pay so much for a t-shirt that’s half finished anyway!?’

But then I found myself living in a house of ten people – including seven girls with seven distinctly different personal styles. We shopped, we borrowed clothes and my waist was eventually coaxed out of hibernation, embracing the trend for wide elasticated waist-cinching belts with aplomb. After university I took up running and yoga and started loosing weight. 50s vintage skirts piqued my interest and I finally started shopping for clothes with waistlines that sat around the middle of my body rather than hanging off my hips.

Today I’ll try almost any trend, and while my midriff remains firmly under wraps, accentuating my waist with a full circle midi skirt and cropped sweatshirt is all part of playing with the figure I have, rather than pinning for a body I’ll never have.

This beautiful powder blue midi skirt was snapped up in the Topshop sale a few weeks ago (where I also bought these beauties) and the cropped grey marl sweater is a recent impulse purchase from Zara, and my first foray into anything cropped since the age of ten, when cropped ‘bra’ tops were all the rage. My silver brogues from Office complete the look, which is one of my new favourites to wear to work.

Are cropped clothes a yeay or a nay in your style playbook?

Zara and Topshop outfitRed ombre hairZara cropped sweatshirt and powder blue Topshop skirtSilve brogues from Office

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Confessions in Knitwear and Tartan

Christmas jumper outfit with George

I have a confession to make. It’s something I’ve toyed with for years but now it’s time to ‘fess up and tell you that, well, I like menswear. A lot.

I’ve been known to coerce my other half into buying things in Zara just so I can pinch them later, and I have a serious crush on Girl in Menswear. If my arms were long enough I’d have snapped up one of H&M’s fisherman style jackets from their S/S13 menswear collection and I’ve even been known to snap up bargains in the boys department (seriously – age 12-13 is pretty much a size 10).

There is something undeniably cosy and heart warming about wearing something that belongs to a loved one – slightly-too-big jumpers, sweatshirts and t-shirts have all made their way into my wardrobe, each one identifiable to a relationship, romantic or otherwise. When a relationship ends, clothing can get caught in the crossfire and the best thing to do in these situations –if you really want that threadbare Idlewild hoodie – is to sneak it into the back of your wardrobe when he’s not looking and feign confusion when questioned.

This fairlise style jumper from George ticks all the boxes but fortunately I don’t have to share it with anyone else! I’m not a huge fan of brightly coloured or cartoon style Christmas jumpers so I naturally gravitated to the wintery fairisle jumpers in George’s menswear collection. This navy and cream number is deliciously warm and is perfect for Sunday afternoon ambles around the city.

I’ve paired it with this tartan skirt from H&M that I bought in Spain seven years ago – each winter it seems to shrink a little more but I can’t quite part with it yet so it’s usually paired with think tights or leggings to tone down the, er, shortness!

Do you have a softspot for menswear – stolen or otherwise?

Fairisle mens jumper – c/o George / Tartan skirt – H&M / Cable knit socks – M&S / Black beanie – Accessorize / Navy boots – Dr Martens

George fairisle menswear jumperAutumn leaves in MontpelierGeorge Asda mens Christmas jumper and HM tartan skirtAutumn leavesGeorge mens jumper and HM skirt

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Topshop Haul and THAT Zara Scarf

Topshop outfit with Zara scarf

I’m reluctant to use the word ‘haul’ in titles because, a) it’s terribly American, and b) there is enough mass consumerism in the world without me adding to it with a high street binging session.

However, when the Mr left me alone for ten days to go gallivanting half way around the world for work, I took out my loneliness on the recent Topshop sale, in a big way. I bought four completely different, mis-matched items, two of which can be seen here.

Sales have a habit of bringing out the best and worst in me – sometimes I’ll find the perfect item that I was waiting to go down in price and other times I’ll be so excited that a top is in my price range that it doesn’t matter if it’s bright orange and covered in enough feathers to keep Big Bird warm.

This digital print rose skirt fits into the latter category – I’ve been after a pencil skirt for a while and although pink isn’t my favourite colour, I’m a sucker for a good floral print, as my collection of floral trousers will attest to. On the contrary, the fine knit grey jumper was a no-brainer. It’s so light and delicate that can be layered with any outfit and the colour goes with almost everything else in my wardrobe – result!

As this was a lazy Sunday afternoon outfit I slung on a pair of beaten up Converse and kept warm with my huge Zara scarf. Since it featured in a previous outfit post, I figured I should at least go to the effort of showing off the other side – a fine herringbone pattern in black and white wool. If you haven’t yet gotten your mitts on one –hurry! I hear they’re selling like hotcakes…

Jumper and pencil skirt – both Topshop / Double sided scarf – Zara / White trainers – Converse / Grey wool backpack – free gift with some German beer Mr Ship-Shape picked up on his travels

Zara herringbone scarfTopshop jumper and grey wool backpackTopshop and Zara outfitTopshop rose print pencil skirt and Converse trainers

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Zara goes to Berlin

Zara tarten scarf and red vintage dress

Guten tag! It’s time for a outfit post from my recent trip to Berlin. Of course the Zara I’m referring to is my favourite New Thing, my reversible tartan/herringbone woollen scarf from Zara. I spotted this beauty a few weeks ago but foolishly didn’t buy it at the time, only to go back to Cabot Circus to find it had gone from the shelves. Luckily, it appeared again the day before we left for Berlin – perfect timing!

These shots were taken outside the Reichstag building after our free walking tour, which I cannot recommend highly enough if you visit Berlin. Starting at the Brandenburg Gate, groups of 15-20 tourists are led on foot around the city by knowledgable tour guides. We saw parts of the Berlin Wall, the Holocaust Memorial, the Reichstag building and the beautiful Gendarmenmarkt, a square housing two neoclassical cathedrals and the Berlin Knozerthaus.

Our guide, Inken, spoke about her childhood growing up in Germany and the dramatic effect communism had on Berlin. Visiting parts of the Wall and hearing how it went up so quickly really put the history of the city into perspective – seeing normal buildings pockmarked with bullet holes was certainly surreal.

For early November, the weather was similar to the UK, if slightly chillier, so I could get away with wearing this vintage pinstripe dress (one of the dresses I found at the kilo sale) with a pair of black tights and my favourite Chelsea boots. The scarf and bowler hat kept me warm, though the blustering winds did try to sneak off with the latter on more than one occasion…

Auf Wiedersehen for now!

Red pinstripe dress – Judy’s Vintage Kilo Sale / Tartan/herringbone scarf – Zara / Green bowler hat – H&M / Green leather belt – vintage / Leather satchel – c/o Dr Martens / Tan Chelsea boots – c/o Topshop, Cabot Circus

Reichstag building in BerlinBerlin outfit post outside the ReichstagAutumn leaves in BerlinPosing outside the Reichstag buildingZara tartan herringbone scarf

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What I Found at Judy’s Vintage Kilo Sale

Mint green spotty dress

A few weeks ago I popped along to Judy’s Vintage Kilo Sale at Bristol’s Paintworks, so I figured it was about time I shared what I got my hands on.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the vintage stock dated from the 1970s through to the 1990s. I had my eye on 70s printed dresses and although most of the rails contained seasonally appropriate jumpers, jackets and coats, I wasn’t disappointed.

First up is the mint green spotty dress, above, which is a very simple shape and will be perfect for spring. There are a couple of tiny holes along the elasticated waist which will need seeing too, but other than that it’s in pretty good condition.

Blue pleated St Bernard dress

I’ve taken to calling this blue pleated dress my Margaret Thatcher dress – imagine it with a box clutch and some leather court shoes – though I doubt Maggie would have worn a dress by St. Bernard. After a quick Google of the label, I found that it’s parent retail brand is Dunnes, an Irish chain that was founded in the 40s and lists M&S, Debenhams and Penneys as its rivals. It’s a little on the big side so will need styling with heels and waist-cinching belt, or possibly taking in, to have a hope of demonstrating that I actually have a waist.

Pale yellow bouquet dress collage

Next up is this beautiful pale yellow pleated dress. The downside of the kilo sale was a distinct lack of changing rooms, so I picked this up and hoped for the best. Unfortunately it’s a little too tight at the moment but I’m hoping to wriggle into it in time for my friend Laura’s wedding next summer, if not sooner.

Cream butterfly top and tartan pleated skirt

This pleated tartan skirt fits like a glove and was the first thing I was drawn to when I arrived at the sale, hosted at The Paintworks. I paired it with this sporty cream knitted tank, which I also found there – I think I’d prefer it without the pair of cornflower blue butterflies, but it’s so unique I couldn’t walk away from it.

Blue floral dress with Zara cowboy boots

As soon as I clapped eyes on this blue and pink floral dress I was in love. I’m normally put off by dresses that have a baggy top half (does anyone know what this style is called?) as they typically don’t suit anyone over a B cup, but I was pleasantly surprised when I tried this on. I think I like it because it reminds me of the vintage dress I found in Motel last year – I’m such a sucker for florals!

Red collarless box jacket with paisley detailing

Finally,  just when I thought I’d seen everything Judy’s Vintage Kilo Sale had to offer, I spotted this red collarless box jacket, complete with shoulder pads and silk paisley trim. I know this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it scrubs up pretty well when teamed with black skinny jeans and a simple white t-shirt, honest!

Not bad for £40, eh? I also found a winter jumper (currently at the dry cleaners) and a claret and navy dress, not pictured, which I’m looking forward to wearing this winter. To find your local Judy’s Kilo Sale, visit their events page. Judy’s are coming back to Bristol in November – see you there?

P.S. If the age or, er, aroma has ever put you off buying second hand or vintage clothing, check out my guide to washing vintage clothes for Oxfam – it’s a doddle and will have your vintage finds smelling as good as new!

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Outfit Post: Wishing for Whistles

Whistles trousers and maroon blazer

Oh Whistles, how I love thee. After Jane Shepherdson took the British label’s spot as Chief Executive in 2008, the brand has gone from strength to strength, becoming synonymous with buttery-soft leather jackets, quirky prints and beautiful tailoring. There is just one snag though, and that’s the price tag.

Remember fashion’s (still lingering) obsession with pleated midi skirts in 2011? That stemmed, in part, from the brand’s £95 ‘Carrie’ skirt, a sugary pink midi that grabbed the hearts of many, myself included, and spawned a hundred look-a-likes. Then last year there were the royal blue lace panel dresses that were so intricate they deserved the £190 price tag, but again were out of my reach.

Not any more though, oh no. The Whistles trousers I’m wearing here – bottle green silk printed pyjama pants that are the most comfortable trousers I’ve ever owned – cost just £20. The reason? I bought them from the Whistles outlet at Clarks Village, Somerset.

Whistles silk trousers from Clarks Village

S and I went there for a day trip a few weeks ago and while I wasn’t bowled over all the shops, there were a couple that caught my eye, and when I saw Whistles I knew I had to take a look inside.

Understandably with outlet villages, you’re not necessarily going to walk away with current season clothes, but I’d been curious about pyjama-style trousers for ages and hadn’t found a pair that fitted properly. The reason this pair was so affordable (down from an eye-watering £120) was a missing button. However, since a spare button was attached to the label, all I needed was a needle, thread and a spare five minutes and voilà! The trousers are as as good as new.

I wore them this weekend for a trip to St Nicks Market, a Bristol institution packed with every stall imaginable, from pies and falafel to cobblers and stamp collectors. I opted for a mannish look by pairing the trousers with a grey marl jersey t-shirt from Zara and a very old cricket-esque blazer from Peacocks, plus my Dr Martens satchel, Lorus watch and the Topshop Chelsea boots I found for festival season.

I’m pleased as punch with my new trousers –  have you ever found a bargain at an outlet village? Tell me your favourite outlets (online or shopping centres) to shop at?

Silk trousers – Whistles / Grey marl t-shirt – Zara / Cricket blazer – Peacocks circa 2007 /  Maroon satchel – c/o Dr Martens / Chelsea boots – c/o Topshop, Cabot Circus

St Nicks Market, BristolWhistles trousers and Dr Martens satchelCorn Street BristolWhistles trousers Zara t-shirt and Peacocks blazerCobblers ticket stub

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Rock The Week

Fashion related (and totally non-fashion related) things that have made my world go round over the last seven days…

Rock The Week wedding flowers

  • Wedding season is over. Yesterday I attended my final wedding of the year, unless a shotgun situation arises in the next three and half months, and it was corker! The bride and groom were childhood sweethearts who have been together for nearly 12 years, so it was a very emotional day for everyone.
  • Clowning around. This week I’ve been satisfying my desire to run away with the circus but posting about the Circomedia Sunday Best event at Portland Square and attending an ariel silks workshop. It was incredibly hard work and I found myself not wanting to trust that eight metres of silk could hold my weight. The instructor performed like a ballerina, suspended between the silks in mid-air. I don’t think that will be me any time soon, but it was certainly fun to try!
  • Photo-finish. I’m constantly trying to improve my photography skills, not just for the blog but for my own enjoyment. My camera is permanently attached to my side at weddings, on long walks and holidays, so I love educating myself as much as possible. This week I stumbled upon Catherine’s Photo Tips series, which has a particularly great, and easy to understand post on achieving bokeh. She’s also just taken the leap into full-time blogging so do pop over and say hello – congratulations Catherine!

What’s been rocking your world this week? Let me know by commenting below…

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Welcome to The Greatest Show on Earth

Heartfelt vintage blouse and Zara shorts

On Sunday I kicked off September with a visit to Circomedia’s Sunday Best event in Portland Square.

Circomedia are something of a Bristol institution, housed in a beautiful church overlooking Portland Square, which sits between St Pauls and Cabot Circus, the performance company specialises in contemporary circus and physical theatre. They’re a regular feature at festivals like Glastonbury and watching one performance will have you wishing you could run away to join the circus.

The afternoon was family-orientated but I managed to to blend in with the 10 year olds and try my hand at the trapeze, which was actually scarier than I anticipated, even though I was only five feet off the ground. Extreme concentration was required, see photos below, but it was so much fun and a great way to round off a weekend that had up until that point included three – yes, three – trips to B&Q.

For the occasion I wore the vintage lace blouse I found at Heartfelt Bristol, paired with the Zara shorts I found in their summer sale. The faux gold jazz shoes are an old pair from Primark and the belt is vintage Laura Ashley. The satchel is from Dr Martens and is perfect for keeping my DSLR safe when I don’t want to lug my chuncky camera case around.

Not the most practical outfit, but the afternoon was so much fun that I’m even contemplating signing up for a beginner course. I don’t think there’s any danger of me running away to join the circus just yet but a girl can dream…

Vintage lace blouse – Heartfelt Bristol / Blue and cream striped shorts – Zara / Belt – vintage / Gold jazz pumps – Primark / Leather satchel – c/o Dr Martens

Circomedia Portland SquareHula-hoops at Circomedia Sunday Best eventAttempting the trapeze in Portland SquareCircomedia event at Portland SquareCircomedia Sunday Best eventVintage blouse from Heartfelt BristolPortland Square churchZara shorts and vintage blouse on the trapeze

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Outfit Post: Nautical but nice…

Red Hey Dude shoes from Surfdome

Oh come on, with an outfit like this I didn’t have much choice did I? Despite the fact I think at least three posts in previous years must have bared the same title, I can’t help but reach for the seafaring puns when I wear an outfit like this.

Summer brings out the maritime nature of Bristol, with the Harbour Festival, warm evenings spent drinking next to the harbourside and Sunday walks across the Suspension Bridge. Despite there being a slight chill in the air recently, and the bombardment of A/W13 fashion stories in magazines and ‘back to school’ adverts on TV, I haven’t given up on this year’s summer just yet, so I’m making the most of dresses like this one from Mango.

Hey Dude shoes and Mango dress

I picked it up in the sale a couple of years ago when I was going through a stripe phase and these days it only comes out when the weather heats up. I’ve been looking for a pair of deck shoes to go with it for a while and I couldn’t resist this Hey Dude pair, sent to me by Surfdome.

The cherry red colour and contrasting bright white laces marry perfectly with the nautical theme of the dress, mirrored in the stripy lining of the shoes. The best thing about said shoes, by a brand I hadn’t heard of before perusing the Surfdome website, is how flippin’ comfortable they are – with cushioning inner soles and non-slip sloes. I appreciate that last sentence probably aged me by about fifty years, but when it comes to footwear practicality wins for me every time.

While these shoes may not actually be suitable for sailing, they tick the box for my love of all things nautical and will add a colourful boost to future outfits.

Are you a fan of the nautical look? Share your thoughts below…

White and navy dress – Mango / Red Hey Dude deck shoes – c/o Surfdome

Nautical dress and deck shoes

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