Tag Archives: ladylike

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.

 

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