Tag Archives: ASOS

Independents day

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Hello friends.

I have fallen in love. With independent labels. Again.

Reasons why independents (indies) are great:

1. Nice different fabrics, prints and colours that you don’t find in your standard high street store.

2. Prices are the same as or not much more than you would pay in somewhere like Toppers or Zara.

3. You can be pretty sure when you wear an item of clothing from an indie that you won’t rock up to a party and find someone else wearing the self-same thing.

Downfalls of the indie:

1. They are often only available in the larger stores, or online (where you have to pay ruddy postage. Twice if they don’t fit.)

2. The smaller the indie, the less range of sizes they will have – S/M M/L or worse still the dreaded ‘One size’. Yuk.

3. They have limited stock, so you don’t really have time to um and ah about whether to get something, as next time you look there might be none left.

The current objects of my affection, namely Ruby Rocks and Louche, seem to manage to avoid these three quite nicely though. The former is available on it’s own website (www.rubyrocks.co.uk) but also at the likes of ASOS and DP; the latter, available at Joy (www.joythestore.com).

Here are the ones wot I ave been looking at recently…

1. Ruby Rocks

Ring-Ring! Hello Ruby Rocks, can I help you? Hello yes, I would like a well cut, lined dress in a funky fabric at a reasonable price please? No problem, here you go. Wow, Ruby, you rock. Thank you.

Check these badboys out:

L-R: Ochre coffee bean print midi dress, £30; Turquoise car print dress, £28; Lemon bird print dress, £26.

I own the first one and have my greedy fashion peepers on the other two as well. And the beauty is…all of these are available online at Dorothy Perkins in their brands section. Well done, Dotty.

2. Louche

The fact that Louche’s main stockist is at a shop called ‘Joy’ is no coincidence. I nearly squealed with delight when I walked in the other day at all their lovely wares. When I say nearly, I mean actually. Eyeball these beauties:

 

L-R: Navy/orange Paloma dress, £50; Square check Zaza dress £45; Multi print Cassidy dress £49; Blue floral Julita dress (as seen in Grazia, apparently) £55.

I also metaphorically dribbled over this mac there too, although it is £75 so you would have to justify in terms of pays-per-wear before getting it:

 

Word to the wise: Louche sizings err on the smaller side, so you might need to size-up from what you might normally buy.

But don’t let that put you off. There are a whole host of wonderful independent brands out there, Ruby Rocks and Louche are just two.

Further your research by checking out Closet, Numph, Soaked in Luxury, And/Or and Dahlia. Quality. Nice. x

Sale of the century? Maybe not.

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Happy new year, fashion friends.

I am sorry, specsfiles has deserted you for quite some time now. This is mainly because most of my money has gone on buying Christmas presents and I’ve had even less than normal to buy clothings! (I know)

But I’m back, baby and ready to go. The sales this January, I have to admit, have been disappointing at best. It seems that as stores are making more and more mid-season drops to keep us on our toes, it also means that crud enters the sales rails and the little list of things-that-we-were-thinking-of-buying-but-didn’t-and-were-waiting-for-the-sales-for draws a total blank when you actually hit the shops.

Nonetheless I have hit the web instead, and managed to bag myself these little beauties, which are winging their way to me as we speak.

First up is this cute swing dress from Warehouse. I had my eye on this, but for £70 I didn’t think it was worth it at the time. But at a much more reasonable £25, I thought I’d give it a shot. I am lead to believe that pastels and sorbet shades are going to be big in Spring/Summer 2012, so get in there early.

Any top heavy girls would be advised to steer clear as the high neck and straight-cut will a) make your boobs look huge and b) make you look like your the same width as your shoulders all the way down. Pears on the other hand would be advised to steer towards this dress as the high-neck and straight but will a) make your boobs look huge and b) make you look like your the same width as your shoulders all the way down.

I went for a little potter around Topshop, just to see what was on offer (not much, it turns out) except I found a pink version of these French Sole pumps tucked away. I love French Sole, but refuse to pay the swear-word-enducing RRP for a pair, which can be anything from £95-£150!

These babies were £40 down from £95, which I think is most excellent. French Sole are well made, comfortable and made from real leather. Considering you’d pay the same for a pair of synthetic pumps from the likes of Oasis or Zara, I think it’s an investment. They also will look cool with my new dress!

Whilst we’re on shoes, I always think that sale time is the ideal time to buy boots. Back in the day when I were a lass, and bought my first pair of knee boots they were £50. Real leather and everything. Nowadays you’re lucky to get a cheap PU pair for that. Boots now are pretty much all £100 and up, even on the highstreet. So leap on the opportunity to buy a good pair of boots in the sale. They will last you for years. I have taken my own advice and purchased these lovelies from Dolce Vita, reduced from £155 to £62. Unfortunately they were massive on me, so I sent them back.

My other tip, and my last purchase, is to buy your brands in the sale. Department stores are ideal for this sort of thing, as they have lots of brands and tend to do decent discounts. I always buy a Wonderbra or two in the January sales (overshare? Not sure!). Elle MacPherson Intimates are very pretty too. I’ve bought a purple jobbie from Debenhams this year. Undies can be a difficult thing to buy online as lots of places won’t refund underwear bottoms for hygiene reasons. But if you’re lucky enough to be near a department store that does deliveries in store, then go for that. When you go to pick the parcel up, you can leave the bottoms with them whilst you try the bra on, and if it doesn’t fit you can get a refund straight away for the whole set as they know you haven’t tried the knickers on!

Anyway, there we have it! Happy sale shopping! x

Oops I did it again…

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…got paid on Friday and blew all my cash, oh baby baby!

Yes I’ve been shopping again for all manor of things. Also there is a sale on at Topshop – dangerous.

After buying and trying those berry coloured jeans from the aforementioned Toppers, I was disappointed that they were about two inches too long (despite it saying they were a 32inch leg, and I am a 33. Weird!) So I got a refund and now am currently waiting for these £28 red mahogony jeans by Vero Moda at ASOS to come in the post. I’ve just bought this denim shirt (£14.99) and a short sleeved version of this stripey tee (£3.99) from H&M to go with them for a rockier edge than the animal print jumper (mentioned in a previous post). I shall add some flat black ankle boots and a big buckled belt to finish.

After a bad afternoon at work on Friday, I popped into Oxford Circus Topshop and tried on a few little naughties. I continue my love affair with all things leopard print by buying this multi-collared top for £28. A little on the pricey side, but I do love very muchly. Teamed with a black pencil skirt and some pearl earrings, it looks pretty wicked. I also tried on a cool flannel tartan sleeveless shirt. When I typed that it made it sound awful, but I promise you it is super nice – and it’s so new it’s not even online yet! Will pop online as soon as I can find it.

Then I popped next door to Miss Selfridge and tried on this lovely dandelion print dress (£45) with blue belt. I also found these Sassy blue courts (£45) to go with it, but avoided purchase as they didn’t have the shoes in my size, and the dress I tried was damaged. Booo.

I have been relatively restrained I guess (for me), but my Christmas list is going to be pretty long this year…

Faux pas

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I have recently been inundated with requests for help finding clothes, shoes and accessories for my beautiful friends.

Fashion maths seems to have been a bit of a hit too – with people finding items they would like but at a price their bank manager does not like, and charging me with the task of finding cheaper alternatives!

By way of illustration one of my friends found this beautiful retro dress (£40) at your beloved and mine, ASOS. On sight of it, we both love the whole outfit so much, that I suggested she should try to replicate the whole look and get the other bits as well.

 

Alas, ASOS let us down by not stocking the accessories shown in the outfit (=severe loss of brownie points) and subsequently elevating the need to find the extra bits elsewhere.

My friend did this, but unfortunately stumbled into (in my opinion) massively-overpriced French Connection. And she found this Maud crop jacket for £85. Whilst it is beautiful, it is also a shed load of money for something that, fashion-wise, will be in and out quicker than a right arm in a hokey-cokey.

So, as fashion mathemagician, I have been charged with the task of finding something similar but at a much more reasonable price. Here’s what I found.

1. LK Bennett – Imagine my surprise when even high-end-high-street luvvies LK Bennett came in cheaper than FC. This little beauty came in at £59.99, which well and truly sticks two fingers up at French Connection, and tells it to go FCUK itself.

Fashion maths:

  • LK Bennett: £85 – £59.99 = saving of £25.01

Although it is lovely and cheaper, I still think that we can do better!

2. Debenhams

Debenhams came up trumps with not one but two possibilities, neither of which were to be found in the bridal department (to my astonishment).

Firstly I found this LK Bennett-alike as part of their Debut range for £40, swiftly followed by this grey beauty in the Star by Julian MacDonald range – in the sale at £32. Nice.

Fashion maths:

  • Debut: £85 – £40 = saving of £45
  • Julian MacDonald: £85 – £32 = saving of £53

3. Oasis and Horses and Riders (!)

I decided that I’d move slightly from the bolero and turned my search to tippets and scarves: much more versatile than a jacket, as you could wear as a scarf, or with coats and jackets as a sort of detachable collar. This totally ups the potential pays-per-wear calculation.

Oasis bequeaths us with this little brown scarf at £20 (also available in a leopard print) and I also found this posh-totty website called ‘Horses and Riders’ (what, what) which gave us this bargainous Dubarry tippet (available in three colours) also for £20.

Fashion maths:

  • Oasis: £85 – £20 = saving of £65
  • Dubarry: £85 – £20 = saving of £65

So there we have it. A maximum saving of £65 – which will give her some cash to splash on the tan satchel and boots so she can complete the outfit.

 

As my purse gently weeps

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Yes, I’ve been buying things. But they are for work, so it doesn’t count right?

I confess, I bought the navy trousers from Topshop – which I was pleasantly surprised fitted me as I’m normally a between-sizer when it comes to Toppers. Well done them.

I also bought the black midi skirt from H&M from my previous post about their dressing room thingie on their website. It turns out that on my 5’10” frame that the midi skirt is an on-the-knee skirt, but that’s ok! It’s more 50s than 70s, but I can roll with that. Looks great with peep toe courts! Plus there was a lovely 25% off, meaning it was only £14.99 (bargain), which I managed to get from signing up to their newsletter. I thoroughly recommend it – http://www.hm.com/gb/newsletter

Speaking of money off, our friends ASOS are offering 20% of all ASOS branded clothes online to celebrate London Fashion Week, plus free delivery with the code HAPPYLFW. I may or may not have used it to buy this dress and these booties

Unfortunately the dress didn’t fit properly so that has been sent back, but I had hiiigh hopes for the platforms, not least of all because I need them to be able to wear the flared jeans I blogged about a couple of weeks ago! And they didn’t disappoint! They are totally awesome, but do make me about 6’1″ but that’s all good with me 🙂 (Ok, so the boots aren’t for work, and neither is the other thing I bought…)

My final little treat was this awesome leopard jumper from Warehouse – I am very picky about my leopard prints, and frankly for a long time, leopard prints have been nothing short of CRAP! But I loves this jumper – a little on the pricey side at £38, but oh well.

I will be teaming this baby up with these awesome berry coloured Baxter jeans, £40 from Toppers, come payday, plus a nice white or cream peter pan top like this £10 chappy from Next underneath the jumper to nail an edgy-preppy look!

My purse needs a bandage on it for sure!

Working 9-5 – part 1

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Although I love shopping, there’s one area that I’ve always disliked. I know, but don’t desert me just yet dear friends! The bit of shopping I don’t really enjoy is buying work clothes. I’m sure I can’t be alone in that.

I’ve always thought it a bit odd that I hate shopping for the clothes that I probably wear the most. You’d think one would put more effort into them than anything else. Unfortunately I find two things:

  1. Clothes that I used to wear outside of work that I no longer like end up being relegated to my work wardrobe. I know – this feels like blasphemy to a dedicated fashion nerdette, but it’s true.
  2. In a bid to spend not much money on work clothes, I usually end up buying basic tops – resulting in an endless black-trouser-coloured-top combo. How unimaginative.

So how do we sort out this sorry state of affairs?

When it comes to jazzing up the workwear wardrobe, contrary to what a lot of shops try and tell us (I’m looking at you, Warehouse) unless you work in fashion or design, or are a professional tennis player, shorts are NOT acceptable for the workplace! If I turned up in a pair of shorts to my office, I would give at least two members of staff a heart attack, and those who didn’t go into cardiac arrest would have asked me if I’d been drinking! So I need to find suitable alternatives to snazz myself up a bit.

It has therefore become my mission to banish grey trousers, pinstripes and those dreaded basic tops and funk up my work wardrobe.

Colour me beautiful: Imagine my delight when I discovered that coloured trousers are coming in. Obviously I’m not suggesting that I’m going to leap into a pair of neon breeches and skip into the office, but there are some colours that I think would be acceptable for the workplace, like navy, plum and burgundy. I feel the darker colours are better, personally.

Look at these! The first are from Topshop at £35 – they are available in three different lengths. I don’t know how well you can tell from the photo, but this second pair is purple, priced £24.99 from New Look. I can find their sizes a bit iffy, so I can recommend some trying-before-you-is-buying. I also have to admit to being a fan of these copper palazzos from Zara, but appreciate they wouldn’t be everyone’s first choice (also bottle green, black and blue.)

Pan-dering to our needs: Peter pan collars are all up in fashion’s face at the moment too – I think they add a cuter edge to an outfit, and I will definitely be buying one for my new work wardrobe. I love this classic shirt from ASOS – there are so many ways to style up this simple piece, and it will transcend the seasons, so it’s reasonable at £30. Then there’s this two-in-one dress by E1 London from newly discovered Fashion Union – top value for money at £30. I’d pop a tight fitting basic long sleeved vest in a similar colour underneath to combat the cold so I could wear through the winter. Finally I’ve found this slight variation in this scalloped number by Louche at Joy. It’s £35 and the colours are bang on. I’d probably tuck it into the Toppers trousers above actually!

Needles-s to say: When it comes to feeling good at work, I don’t think you can beat a nice knit dress. I bought a stripey one from Zara for about £9 three years ago and it’s still going strong. Add a pair of opaque tights, and Bob’s your mother’s brother. Rock this Mango boat neck with those tights to make this day-wearable – it’s £39.90 and available in about 6 different colours. Nail a beatnik look with this Kenneth Cole dress (in the sale on the House of Fraser website) It’s slightly pricier at £51, but it’s a silk mix and monochrome never goes out of fashion. That subtle wider black band in the middle will give definition to your waist too. Finally I found this cute little chappy from Dorothy Perkins for £35: wear with pearl stud earrings and some courts and nail the ladylike look.

I feel we’ve worked from 9-1, not 9-5 on this one, so we’ll have a lunchbreak and commence working the 2-5 soon. x

Pencil me in

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So, pencil skirts are a bit of a classic and a wardrobe staple, especially in black. After the swishiness of pleats and chiffon over the summer, they are having a bit of a moment as we come into autumn winter collections, which are a bit more about structure.

Also, a colleague asked me to find her a plum/purple skirt, but whilst we’re on it and there are so many beauties to choose from in so many great colours, I can’t help but add in a few of the others that I am loving.

Purple passion: Finding purple was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated! I found these two in New Look at £19.99 each, and this tube skirt from River Island at £20 (also in tres AW11 ochre.) For something a bit different (and if my friend is feeling a bit more flush) I also found this layered lovely from Coast for £78.

I have to say that my favourite is the second New Look skirt – you can’t see that well from the photo, but it has a slit on one side (v sexual), and is also availabe in black, red and jade. And it’s a bargain!

Best of the rest: There are squillions of pencil skirts teeming in all of the shops! Buy me, they shout, BUY ME! ASOS alone has over 30 styles to choose from. Phew! I’ve chosen the few that are making my eyes fat because they are so eye-candy-ful!

These are my faves from ASOS – the first two are the same style in different colours. I particularly love the cherry red – both a reasonably priced at £35. Be warned, this is a midi: it will shorten the legs of more petite girls. Avoid ankle straps, dolly bars or t-bars on your tootsies: it will shorten the leg further, no matter how tall you are. The third is a classic dogstooth, super chic, priced at £35. Although I loves a dogstooth, I’d be happier with parting with cash for this baby if it was a properly woven check, rather than a check print like it is.

I’ve also had my eye on this first Topshop number for a while – I particularly like the PU trim at the top. It gives waist definition without a belt. Nice. It comes in at £30 and is available in this turquoise colour, plus black, burgundy and mid-blue. I also spied this sweet lace number at £40 – go ladylike chic with a pussy-bow blouse and courts and you’re ready to rock and roll.

I am a big fan of independent labels, and I couldn’t possibly do a post about pencil skirts without a nod to the fabulous Vivien of Hollway, who specialise in retro 1950s style pieces. The Wiggle pencil skirt comes in classic black, navy and black satin, plus six, read it, SIX different tartan/checks. That happily ticks the heritage box! It’s priced at £35: you won’t see any of these babies in Primark, so you can stand out from the crowd for a reasonable price!

Enjoy the structured look…! x