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Toe the line

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QUICKIE POST ALERT!

I’m sure you will have noticed that toe-capped shoes and boots are all over the place at the moment and are sure to be an AW ’12 staple!

Trouble is with these sort of trends is that you never know how long they are going to be around for.

Follow my two simple steps on maximising you PPW (pays per wear) out of this particular fashion:

1. Forget expensive shoes (this season) – buy cheap or buy in the sale. You don’t know how long this trend is going to be around for. Buy a cheaper pair; wear them to death. If they’re not in again this time next year, you’ve got your PPW out of them. If they are, then it’s a trend with a bit more longevity – that’s the time to buy a more expensive pair.

2. Don’t bother with kooky colour matches – yes clashing colour toe caps might look cool now, but you may not feel the same about having different coloured toes in six month’s time. Buy dark – navy, grey, brown or black. Less expensive shoes can look cheap in lighter colours. If you must have a different coloured toe, go metallic.

Here are my top five under £30:

5. Leopard flats – £25 at Oasis

4. Brown/bronze heels – £30 at Dorothy Perkins

3.  Black/gold heels – £16 Matalan (also available in this season’s burgundy. At this price, go for it!)

2. Silver toe and heel ballet flats – £29.50 Wallis

1. Black suedette/black patent heels – £24.99 H&M (Also available in red or grey. And supremely comfortable!)

So, adorn your toes for under £30! Do it. x

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Sale away

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Sales are a blessing and a curse. I’m sure you have been in some of the below scenarios as many times as I have:

Blessing: find something super awesome that you wanted for ages but you couldn’t afford full price.

Curse: find something super awful that you try on because it’s a ‘bit different’. Buy in a frenzy of ‘out-there-ness’. Put at back of closet and never look at it again.

Blessing: Try on something that you liked but hadn’t dared to try on before because it was out of your price range and you might really love it. It fits a treat, wear forever and a day.

Curse: Try something on in a size above/below your actual size because you really, really like it and are determined to have it. Convince yourself it sort of fits. Buy. Put at back of closet and every time you try it on, remind yourself of the money you wasted on it because it doesn’t fit.

Blessing: Find some great wardrobe staples from better quality labels at high street prices.

Curse: Buy something that is ‘on trend’ at the moment, but is a fad and the reason it’s in the sale is that no one will be wearing it in a month’s time. (Macrame and tie dye, I’m looking at you.)

So. I have hit the sales recently and in a valliant and conscious bid not to waste my hard-earned on any ‘cursed’ items, I think I’ve done rather well. (Gloat, gloat.) Here goes.

1. Safari shirt dress

Totally loved this safari dress from Oasis when I saw it, but tut-tut they are so naughty with their full-priced stuff sometimes – they definitely overcharge on most items I find. I’m a bit of a ‘lining-pedant’. If an item is over a certain amount of money and isn’t lined I refuse to buy it on principle.

This shirt dress (a freaking wardrobe classic) was originally £65 and WAS NOT LINED! I declined to buy, on the basis that it wasn’t worth the money. Imagine my delight at finding it in the sale for £27, which made me less bothered about the whole lining thing. That’s a bit more like it, isn’t it Oasis?

Verdict: Sometimes its worth holding out when you like something but it ain’t worth the RRP. (P.S. this has been reduced to £20 since.)

2. Leather handbag

I’ve needed a new handbag for a LONG time. My current one I bought about five years ago and I have used it pretty much every day since then, and it is hanging on by a thread! I trawled the online catacombs of John Lewis and happened upon several Radley bags I liked. Now, traditionally Radley had been the leather-based stomping ground of the conservative and slightly older lady, but they have brought me around with this Christa handbag. Full price: £169. Sale price: £84.50.

Verdict: Some bags on the high street cost this much full price and aren’t real leather. If I use it every day for the next 5 years, that’s a pays-per-wear figure of  5p. Investment.

3. Decent underscroggins

I need not tell you that when it comes to underwear you get what you pay for. But a good underwear set can cost you £40 right off the bat. By the time you’ve bought a black one, a lace one, a t-shirt one, a nude one you’ve spent £200 without even realising! That is why I will always invest time in searching the sales for underwear. T’is always a bit hit and miss – often you’ll find they have limited sizes left, or you’ll find the bra in your size but the bottoms in sizes 6 or 26 only. But it’s worth the metaphorical rummage to get good underscrogs for more reasonable prices.

I bought this funky animal print set from the Caprice lingerie range on ASOS. Whole set cost me £19. The original price of the bra alone was £24, so that is a full on bargain as I see it (the whole set full price would have cost £38)

Verdict: Worth spending some time to grab yourself a bargain – but getting good fitting underwear is important, so don’t be wooed by the saving, and only keep it if it fits your brits a treat.

So there you have it! Take my advice: brave the sales intelligently; grab some bargains; regain the respect of your bank manager.

Jack-et in

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Fashion friends, I have been bad to you. I have not been showing the shops the love that they deserve. I must have been ill, but by jiminy, I am back and ready to rock your socks!

I’ve gone a bit nuts for jackets recently! Loving a bit of tailoring and the high street is doing the business right now. Jackets are brilliant in this cruddy in-between-y type weather we’re dealing with at the moment, and also they instantly smarten up any outfit, so they can take you from day to evening no problem.

Mellow yellow

Now, I find Next to be more miss than hit, but I happened upon the first drop in their Autumn collection and found this beauty for an equally beautiful price of £32!

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Ignoring the slightly hideous dress underneath it, I’ll be keeping it simple with some nice deep denim jeans, a plain white top and some tan heels and accessories. Lush.

Spot(ty) the ball

Next up is this lovely cropped jacket by Specsfiles fave Closet at House of Fraser. I managed to snatch it up on one of their 20% off promotional days so it only came to about £33, but full price is £42. Still it’s a classic; navy with white spots and a snazzy scarlet lining. As we all know, nautical is ‘in’ every summer, so you’ll get your pays-per-wear out of this chappy.

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Camel-eon

My last little dribble has been over this little camel tux-style jacket from Oasis. And it’s in the sale too! It’s £42 and I saw it as part of a great outfit on one of the mannequins in the store, which I will share with you now.

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So there’s my top three, but there a whole host of other beauties out there…I implore you to explore! x

Birthday suit

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So one of my beautiful friends turns 30 at the end of the month, and in the course of our chats over email at work (naughty) she charged me with the task/honour of finding her a dress/outfit for her 30th that, and I quote, “says ‘I’m 30 and single’ and that makes me feel great.”

As you can imagine I squealed with excitement at a new task. I’ve got up to £100 to spend, and literally no other limits than the above. DANGEROUS!

First attempt

Now, I know I’ve done a post on this before, but nothing shouts ‘hello boys’ louder than a red dress. If it fits well, it will make you feel like a million dollars (that’s £645,802.37p).

So, off I popped into the web-is-phere and found the following super hot red frocks.

I found this first little number from a website called Rockabilly Pinup. It’s a classic retro shape in hot red by Lady K Loves. At £45 it’s a steal, and leaves £55 for me to find accessories! Yes, it’s low cut, but she gave me an open brief. Told you it was dangerous!

Next up is this sexy little dress by Hybrid at ASOS. Now my girl is smaller on top than on the bottom, so she can get away with the fab shoulder detailing on this dress. Slinky and sexy, it’s £85. Luckily I think the dress speaks for itself and a bit of simple jewellery will set this off a treat.

There was another dress – a ruched pencil dress with capped sleeves that I found in Monsoon, but I’ll be effed if I can find it anywhere online, so I will have to come back to this one.

Second attempt

Yes, I know it’s still January, but spring will be here soon, and there’s something delightful about a floaty, girly dress that says ‘I’m fun, and I don’t have a care in the world’. So this was my next port of call – flirty rather than foxy.

Also the dresses must be swishy.

First up I found this gorgeous pale pink embroidered edge dress, which I just love. It’s £65 from ASOS, and I think it neatly mixes ethereal with structure. This leaves spare money for accessories too. Despite all these wonderful things I think I know what my friend will say, and that is “it will make me look naked.” But ya-boo-sucks-to-you, it’s my blog and I think it’s great!

I have recently discovered the independent label Sodamix, who do some amazingly cute dresses at uber reasonable prices. I couldn’t help but go cute AND retro by picking out this lush candy stripe shirt dress. Dribble, dribble. And it’s only £22. Squee!

Last up is this lovely wrap over dress for £45 from ASOS. Floaty, flattering and girlie with a bit of spangle on the sleeves. This will challenge my girl as it’s not the sort of style she’d normally go for. But I’m a naughty fashion pixie, and I’m putting it in anyway!

Final attempts

So the following dresses don’t really fit into any particular kind of category, they are just ones I saw and liked, so enjoy this random little catalogue of other suggestions.

L-R: Orange drape dress, £30, Numph at Joy; LBD, £90, Hybrid at ASOS; Red cross back skater dress, £17, Warehouse; Gingham summer dress, £35, ASOS Collection.

L-R: Purple paisley tea dress, £42.99, La Frock; Blue leopard dress, £95, Coast; White grecian dress, £45, Cutie at Dorothy Perkins; Applique dress, £95, Karen Millen.

 

Dis-Count dracula

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I, of course, am signed up to receive many fashion alerts to make sure that I can benefit from some lovely, lovely discounts (it’s a way of pacifying my debit card “It’s ok, Visa, it’s not full price.”)

And recently, I can’t help but notice that a stack load of places are offering some natty online discounts – as it’s coming close to Christmas it doesn’t take a genius to work out why, but hey, I’m all for buying some little pre-Christmas presents for my wardrobe!

So I have taken these discounts and then found one item from each store that I would use the discount on:

New Look

Offer: 20% off with code NOVNL55

The magpie in me is loving the sequin trend hitting up the shops, and hey, we all need a spangley wee dress for a Christmas party, right? So I’ve chose this baby:

Don’t overdo this dress, the sequins and low back speak for themselves. A pair of opaque black tights and some black heels will make you look like you have legs up to *here*.

Fashion maths: Gold teardrop sequin dress: £39.99 – 20% = £31.99. Nice.

Peacocks

Offer: up to 20% off everything (no code required)

So Peacocks is not normally a shop I frequent, but with the uber-stylish Daisy and Pearl Lowe hitting the rails with their range, I have become better acquainted with the store. They are offering a lovely 20% off across most of their stock online. Huzzah. Here is a wicked checked shift:

A classic white shirt underneath and maybe even a beret (if you’re feeling a bit saucy) will set this off a treat. Avoid knee socks or you’ll look like a school girl!

Fashion maths: Checked shift dress: £25 – 20% = £20. Bargainous.

Warehouse

Offer: 20% off with the code 25WRAF

I am loving the studding and turn ups on these lovely jeans from Ware. And 20% off never goes astray in Warehouse.

Plonk on a pair of killer shoe boots and a band tee and you’re ready to rock some socks off.

Fashion maths: Studded turn up jeans: £60 – 20% discount = £48.

Oasis

Offer: 20% off with the code 20NOV2011

Lookie lookie at these awesome high waisted shorts from Oasis. Normally a shop I would go in for workwear, but as discussed in a previous post, SHORTS ARE NOT FOR WORK! But these checked high waisted lovelies are definitely for play:

Get comfy and cosy by teaming with a nice snuggly arran or cable knit jumper, a big wooly hat (bobble optional) and some thick tights. Snug as a very stylish bug in a lush rug.

Fashion maths: High waisted shorts with belt: £40 – 20% discount = £32. That is def keeping me warm.

So, they are my top tips, but there are these places also offering discounts are:

Gap – 30% off with the code GAPSAVE30
Dorothy Perkins – 30% off most of their range (no discount code required)
Wallis – up to 30% off online (no discount code required)
Accessorize – 25% off with the code ACCNOV25%AF
Ted Baker – 20% off with the code TED2IFJB7
Kurt Geiger – 25% off with the code WRAPUP

GET SHOPPING!

Spangle-tastic

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Just a little quickie post!

Don’t know if you’ve seen Russell Kane’s latest squeeze, but I caught a glimpse of her (Charlotte Austin) in an amazing sequin dress for some premiere they were at together and thought ‘Hmm, I know I’ve seen that somewhere before!’

So my nerdy little mind hit Google and I revisited all the websites I’d been doing fashion research on recently. And lo and behold, I was right, I had seen it! And here it is: £49 from Rare (a new fave) – Christmas party worthy? I think so. And just loving that peter pan collar.

So go, people, go to Rare and buy! (NB, famous boyfriend not included.)

Glam rocket

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And rocket is the word, styles are changing left right and centre! Whilst heritage and 70s still charge on in the shops, there’s already new kids emerging on the style block. How am I (and my bank balance) mean to keep up?!

I was just checking out Topshop’s ‘new in’ as I had a spare moment, and quicker than you can say ‘Watch out for that tree Marc Bolan” it looks like glam rock is elbowing its studded and spangled way back into the shops.

Already I have a lust list, as expected! Loving all of these bad boys, but which to buy first? And will they stand more than one season?

The studded vest comes in at £25; leopard bralet at £34 for confident (and smaller chested) girls; loving this tough-lux scalloped vest for £20; and a leopard chiffon tee for £32.

This means that, yes ladies, skinny jeans will be around for a while longer, and will no doubt be coated, printed and foiled to add to the glam rock theme. But I would go easy on wearing everything uber-glam: a shiny vest and foiled jeans will make you look more like a kit kat wrapper than Debbie Harry’s secret lovechild.

My suggestion would be a tastefully-toughened-up legging! Topshop again, I’m afraid, but they have the best selection in one place.

You might have to click and enlarge to see the detail on some of these, but left to right they are: velvet studded leggings £25; purple tie-dyed leggings £22; black studded side leggings £28; rainbow glitter leggings £20.

Add some fierce shoes with studs, prints or skins on, slip over a denim shirt and have those nails cut short and painted in a dark colour to complete.

Limited edition studded courts, £65 River Island; snake toe-cap shoe boots, £69.99 Zara; leopard wedge boots, £34.99 MissGuided; ankle strap heels, £62 Topshop.

There…go rock your socks!