Fashion | The pink velvet midi skirt

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Firstly one photo? Yes… one photo. When we took this photo it was just before it chucked down with rain and it was also freezing… I don’t believe my face does justice to how cold it was!

On the other side I’ve also been really struggling with blog photos of late. As we continue on our gym journey I’m really feeling and seeing a discrepancy between my body and how i feel inside, thats most likely a post for another day, but it does explain the lack of photos on this post.

I have been in love with midi skirts for a while now and while I have a gingham one for the summer months, when I saw this pink velvet number on sale in Anthropologie I knew it would be a worthwhile wardrobe investment for evening wear and the colder, winter months.

Although I wouldn’t say it photographs perfectly, in real life it is quite lovely! (Also I probably wouldn’t suggest the crazy thick jumper I’m pairing with it either – unless like me you were freezing, even under sherling!) For a night out a pair it with a thinner black top and blazer, this would streamline the look or for something more relaxed a simple white t shirt can never be forgotten! If I remember correctly I also got this on uber sale, reduced from £98.00 to only £29.99… bargain or what?

Fashion | How to compose an outfit and work with wide sleeves.

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(very unlike myself, the moody photo. It gives all of us the laughs 🙂 )

Working with different lengths of clothing can make an outfit work better instantly. Clothing like art is all about composition and with the lovely wide sleeve having made a come back, now is the perfect time to work on your outfit composition.

When I was a teenager the style was for short tops and low rise jeans, looking at TV shows like Gilmore Girls at the time you can see how this made our silhouettes so boxy and because I grew up with that being the ‘look’ I sometimes forget the rules to dressing better and how to make an outfit more flattering.

Even if you are tall like me, making a slimline silhoutte works both for making yourself taller and slimmer. To create that line, you have some choices, in this case, the long, sleeveless blazer elongates my body making a cohesive line, even though its actually broken up between my skirt and my top. Furthermore the reason everyone should have a wide sleeve top in their closet is because it helps creating more flow. It reaches further down our arms (great for those shorter in the body also) and the wide sleeve gives more movement to the outfit which in turn adds to that length. no sharp cut off points!

To keep that length as well, this faux fur stole from Zara adds the perfect distraction as to where my skirt and top meet as the shape of it leads the eye down and over that cut in my middle.

If like me however, you need to at least give the illusion of a waist, belt outside of the jacket, or the longest part of your outfit, then either side of that line is the same keeping the overall length you are trying to create.

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Shop | A Quick Sale Unboxing, Zara.

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One little Zara box. Three Choices. Three reasons. 

You’ve seen the youtube videos, probably a thousand times, Haul! Unboxing and try on! They are in equal measure some of my favourite and least favourite things to watch.

Why? Quite simply because on one hand I love looking into other peoples choices. What did you pick and why? Hate because of the obvious, this is just to make money for the content creator.

There is actually a very different reason for their purchases, ones that they don’t actually give us. Reality is not, “Oh, I really needed a funnel neck sweater” few people even have that direct of an idea, instead, reality is, funnel necks might be in, winter is coming, my audience are looking for warm weather clothes. It’s clever, interesting all the same but not what they are telling us.

This however, isn’t just an unboxing haul; it’s a sale haul.

Why a sale haul, if I’m not sure I like hauls? I think the sale is similar to a haul, it can be great or it can be terrible. Great if you get something you’ve been waiting on and terrible if you just spend a lot of money on things you don’t want, so here is my unboxing with my honest reasons for purchase.

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(My apologies for the creases that is how they came and I was too lazy to steam/iron them – not to mention with this winter light, there is so little of it I had to act fast to photograph everything!)

The khaki joggers

I am completely, I admit, addicted to khaki trousers. I bought a pair of darted ones (from Zara again, obviously) just before Christmas and I have lived in them ever since. On top of that my boss (one stylish, timeless lady) has recently been wearing the tailored joggers and quiet honestly she has inspired me.

I have one other pair of fitted joggers (Primark, two years ago, a whole £6) but I loved the thicker drawstring waist, the tailored leg and of course they were Khaki.

The joggers £9.99 at the beginning of the sale and cost, £12.99 full price.

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Nothing I bought in this haul came at a great saving to be honest. However, with smaller savings it made me think harder than shopping at places like H&M where you can easily buy things just because they only cost you a fiver. Instead, it gave me pause over rushed purchases and gave me the chance to make better decisions. Even though most likely the best decision would be to not buy anything at all.

The Black choker effect sweater top

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Was £22.99 and cost, £17.99

The choker effect sweater is just ideal for me, as I’ll go into greater detail in another post, it works great for my figure and I loved the idea of this affordable version from Zara.

My only let down from this was that it was far shorter and more fitted than I first thought however upon further introspection this could work for me, layered over a chiffon dress, tucked into my suede skirt as I did for a date night with Josh that evening, there are a lot of different options to this and I like the to form fit.

Finally…

The Long Grey Chenille Jacket

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This one has a story. Growing up in the 90’s chenille was big. What I remember most was my mum seemingly constantly wrapped in Chenille jumpers. I can’t remember the colour, or even style I just remember the texture. Cool to the touch but warm against the skin.

It was their cropped blue sweater I tried on first, it didn’t matter the style, I wanted the chenille. Thankfully for me the cropped sweater was bust, but the cardigan which came later I knew would be a keeper.

They had this cardigan in a pretty blue, this grey and a striking burnt yellow. The yellow shouted the loudest but I also knew it would be the least wearable in the long run. The grey however, is far more versatile.

plus side its really, really comfortable – so its a winner!

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Whether or not you make a good or bad sale purchase is all down to the pieces you choose. For me the key is picking up the pieces which you’ve either wanted forever and know will work and going for things which suit you. V necks, always a good idea for me, cosy trousers (always good) and memory inducing Chenille? I can’t say no.

Fashion | How to dress a little like a flapper…

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Faux fur stole: Dorothy Perkins (2015), Cricket Jumper: Next, Flared stripe Dress: Zara (Summer 2016), Bag: Accessorize (2014) Strap+, Peep Toe Shoes: Clarks (2014)

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(So my bag is ancient . . . at least a year and that in fast fashion is positively in line for retirement, but that funky bag strap? Its available on its own for only £12! It completely made my day when I saw this strap, I love how it looks on its own (although odd just wondering around with the strap) but it works perfectly with this clutch and several others! Best £12 spent ever. Even if Josh thought I was odd.)
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This outfit was actually a stroke of genius, it literally wondered into my life without even really trying, it just came to me! Faux fur and a cricket jumper? yes please!

This AW, fashion has just felt refreshed! Perhaps without buying a new house and planning a wedding I just have more headspace for it, but finally I feel like I can get dressed with at least an inkling of style!

Now mixing in flapper style is perhaps an odd move for me, and yet . .  . this dress from summer just screamed, “I need a long v-neck jumper layered over me! I need to be transformed!” I think I also needed to be transformed and thats why this outfit spoke to me so loudly.

This AW I have even been bringing back various old style staples, V necks have played a prominent role in that. This sweater fit perfectly in that need for things which suit my body shape over momentary fashion choices.

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Shopping | I accidentally bought the most popular scarf on the planet.

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Hat: Zara, Scarf: Zara

When you were a teenager, did you ever pray that no one else would buy the same clothes as you? When you found something unique you hadn’t seen before did you want to wear it to school immediately and bask in how individual you were going to look? If yes, then thank god it wasn’t just me. (Just a little bit?)

I loved, loved, loved dressing differently to everyone else, never in an out there way but in a way which made me not entirely merge into everyone else. (Although being a foot taller meant that was highly unlikely).

However, growing up, things change. You become less bothered by matching or how people view your outfit (hopefully) so the fact that as I watched yet another woman wonder down Clapham high street in my scarf shocked me when my first thought was, drat.

Somehow I might have bought the, ‘it’ Zara scarf this year. Really I should have known this was going to happen. The thing is, I wanted a camel scarf. Two years ago I bought the Camel waterfall coat and I have loved that timelessness on me ever since. Black and even grey can look a little harsh on me, but light brown and camel? Perfect! Therefore, this year I was looking for a super soft, camel scarf and this one jumped at me, camel with a bit of of pizazz? yes please!

Of course, I was not the only one to have this thought . . .

Have I bought the scarf everyones bought this season? Is this the in, ‘it’ scarf? I think I’m wearing it right now, thankfully its crazy cosy and only malting half the amount that last years red scarf did or my grey, lime and pink one has all over Berlin a couple of weeks back, still I wonder…should i start counting all the women wearing the same scarf as me, or would there just be too many to count?

Fashion | Basic but necessary. Affordable basics for every budget.

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Basic Denim Jeans: New Look (£7.99), Grey & Black V-Neck T shirt’s Zara £5.99 £7.99 , Camel Patterned Scarf: Zara (£19.99(, Grey Hat: Zara (£7.99)

Basics are boring and they even took centre stage last year so why am I talking about them now? If you pop by here regularly I have been talking a lot about adding more fun, more excitement and I have! But I also can’t over look the fact that you need a good fitting T-shirt and you need it in a colour which will go with everything! This is where this post comes in . . .

Everything on this post is ridiculously affordable. In fact it is all under £20 perfect for any budget! For my base colours this year I have focused a lot on expanding, white, navy and stripes to include warm burgundies and as you can see here, grey and camel.

There is something so perfect with having a great set of basics backing you up, like wearing my suede green skirt, pairing it with a V-neck slinking T-shirt is great to make it wearable in the day. The same with weekend wear, those same T-shirts can be thrown on with basic denim (like seen above) along with the camel scarf and simple leather boots to create an effortless look on an affordable budget.

My favourite basics are always, skinny jeans (usually in a dark blue with fading), v-neck T shirts which are slightly oversized to hang better, camel coloured ankle boots, an uber soft scarf and a great bobble hat like the one above! Bonus, at only £8 for most of these things they are easy enough to replace when and where you need to. Due to regularity of wear you also don’t need a lot of anything, one to two pairs of boots (brown and black), a pair of jeans, two to three T’s (my fav colours are white, grey and black) and finally a hat? you only need one per year . . . promise.

Leave your latest basic finds below in the comments for more options!

Shopping | Fall for this – The Leopard Print Sweater of Dreams

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Leopard Print sweater : Zara, Black ripped jeans: New Look

Leopard print is my real bae.

If I have to choose one pattern for the rest of my life it would be leopard print, in fact right now I am writing this in this jumper next to a faux fur blanket which is the exact same pattern. My fleece blanket was a present from my parents which I was about 11 so if theres anyone to place the obsession on, I’m sorry mum but what did you start?

Regardless I had a year off last year (from leopard print that is – not grown up life, although if I could..?) But this year? Well its full steam ahead! For the sake of this Fridays article I would like to direct you to this sweater from Zara at £29.99 its affordable and over sized and when I wore it the other day outside i couldn’t even feel the breeze, its that thick and snuggly!

Its the dream for both Autumn (it can double as a coat) and winter when its snowy, icy and you need a familiar hug when yours stuck at West Malling station because of Ice on the tracks.

To add to my newly growing collection of leopard? I also bought a faux fur headband from Oliver Bonas, its going to be a wild fashion year I tell you, wild!

 

Affordable Fashion | Not shopping so I can plan to shop?

AW 2016 Next Clarks

Striped Sweater, Red Shirt, Blue & White Check dress, brown suede boots, chambray T shirt, blue and red skirt

AW2016 dusky pink and grey

Cropped Pink Shirt, Grey striped cardigan, grey check trousers, dusky pink mules, pink wrap skirt, lace up boots

AW2016 initial thoughts

Trainers, Grey swing top, grey fitted dress, white top with flared sleeves, green suede skirt, green and yellow patterned skirt

No Shopping?

It can be the hardest part of a capsule and certainly the hardest thing for those who emotionally shop and thats the idea of giving it up. Why should you give up the fun of fashion? To plan it of course!

As we know I love the stores who release their next seasons early and they are perfect to start gauging the season ahead. What trends are the high street going to be taking part in? Most importantly of course, what do you (or in this case, I) want to see in my own wardrobe moving forward. If you follow my Pinterest board+ you’ll see glimpses of this but I wanted to share the pieces and styles which are already high on my list.

up close textures and colours

Olivia Burton Watch

Soft & Irresistible textures

Of course my first go to was comfort, style and great fabrics. A ribbed knit dress? Yes a thousand times? Velvet in Autumn and Winter all the way! Least but not last plaid is always my favourite in thing to wear in Autumn and Winter. On top of that I’m still weighing up which Olivia Burton watch I want. Honestly, I originally wanted the Marc Jacobs one in black but considering the price, Olivia Burton is a way better choice for an uber beautiful watch.

suede and patterns

All that suede

I got this suede obsession from my mum, so lets just say it, “This means I’m allowed all the suede items right? You can’t get mad at me?” She probably can, //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js“>but can she say no to this face from the other day? Unlikely.

I’m living in suede during the AW16 season it’s already been decided. One thing I’ve not decided on, a long suede coat (not floor touching, don’t freak out) or a short biker style jacket. One thing I’m sure on is it will either be this green above or the rich brown. Also that skirt is so going on my to buy immediately list.

chambray shirt and skirt

Denim & New Shapes

Do we remember how much I wanted to introduce new shapes into my wardrobe? Last AW I choose to be more edgy, reality is this, the only edgy things I really wore were my black and white coatigan from Long Tall Sally (It was so comfortable, who doesn’t like being wrapped in a huge blanket?) and of course my tunics which meant leggings and jeggings were so much more wearable!

In regards to my picks above I love the twist on this chambray T-shirt, the pleated pattern skirt which can go from work to the party and that pretty red top at the beginning of this post with a tie? Both cute, fun and 100% unexpected for me getting dressed in the morning.

AW16 Accessories

Pink suede bag, Black super soft scarf, Black and silver belt, light brown hat

Finishing touches

Accessories are the key to any look, I have poorly ignored them this year so far (I can’t actually believe how little effort I have put into my outfits) but this year I am going to be changing that all up and it started with a pendant necklace from Accessorize. A small thing but it reminded me of all that I have always loved. Unique bags, fun hats, unusual belts and warm, scratchless scarves (usually in leopard print, I won’t pretend) have always been the backbone of my looks and I’m bringing it back this year!

As you can see I have spent quite a lot of time pulling this together but I am so excited to start curating again and coming back to the styles that I really want and love. Sometimes its fun to go out of the box but most of the time? The classics are perfect with me.

I’m now off to put everything in my basket, bulk at the price and then start cutting down the options but I think you can guess, suede is going to be all over this season.

Fashion | The Blue & White Dress

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Patterned Jacket & Blue Dress : Zara, Brown Bag : Monsoon, Brown Suede Boots : New Look

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Firstly, in photos this dress does not look the same. The main problem is in typical high street fashion, when it was washed it shrunk upwards.(This is also a tall person problem, in fact I think clothes see tall people coming and shrink upwards on impact.)

Now onto the real exiting stuff, this dress. I originally fell in love with this online, I stalked it around the store but thought . . . no, its another dress. Thankfully that didn’t stop me trying it on the following week. I realise now I should have showed it in a better light but on top its a basic, white and blue striped tank top and then in a circle it cuts down further at the back and it has a fluted, high low hem.

Paired up with cowgirl boots and a jacket, I love this dress to the moon and back. Why? Because it feels different to me.

Fashion | When it hails

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Faux fur scarf: Monsoon, Striped Shirt: Zara, Jacket: Long Tall Sally, Blue suit trousers: Zara, Black Boots: New Look

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If you follow me on Snapchat (therealjlow) you will have seen a snap of me in a white dress and sweater with the caption talking about a spring outfit. What actually happened however was I walked to the door ready to go, opened it and there was hail. Lots of it. I had bare legs, a floral dress and lace up flats. I was ready to go, the weather however, was not.

As we had an errand I quickly ran upstairs and put this on instead. All items have been in a capsule wardrobe previously and all of which warrant a shout out. Best suit trousers for women (Zara), best smart boots on a budget (New Look), Best striped long sleeve T (Zara) and of course the best jacket from Long Tall Sally.

This feels like work casual done easy and believe me if I can pull it on in ten seconds or less than you know it has to be easy!

Fashion | Back to work, not back to boring

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Kimono & Dress, Zara Sale, In Store, Boots: New Look SS15, Bag: Monsoon AW14/15, skinny scarf used as sash: Zara AW2015

Fashion | 

Many of you I know will already be back at work but for the lucky few this is our first work day of 2016.

Now just like you make resolutions to lose weight, work out more, be more positive . . . whatever it is have you thought about your dressing/clothing resolutions?

I have.

Wear more colour, be more experimental, choose more patterns, no more buying blue . . . the list goes on but for the first day back. Don’t be expected, put the black pencil skirt down and be a tiny bit brave (even if you are still wearing black and grey – umm colour fairy? Where are you?)

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The Capsule Wardrobe | Perfect fall, the ‘cute’ dress and boots

Bear Ear Hat: Zara, Jacket: Primark 2012, Bag: Next, Boots: New Look, Dress: Gap

A go to outfit, which I think, every woman with a capsule wardrobe needs is the dress and boots combo. In my mind it is this outfit that spells the arrival of fall.

Suede boots for one just spell out fall. Texture is vital to an interesting outfit and paired with a classic stripe this outfit takes me from casual Friday paired with my camel coat and purple Downton abbey hat right to Sunday with wellies for a walk around a local country homes garden. Coffee is also a big fixture in a happy Autumnal Sunday.

This dress has a certain cute edge to it. I bought it from Gap during their mid season sale after I fell in love with the idea of a red stripe. Where as the blue Breton is a classic I feel as if this is a little more different. I liked the idea of this fit being loose so I sized up and quite frankly I love the lose comfy factor, which is of course a must for Autumn snuggles!

We took these photos at The National Trusts, Ightham Mote and were taken by Josh. If you are a Kent/South East photographer looking to expand your portfolio and want to work with therealjlow please email, therealjlow@hotmail.co.uk to see how we can work together.