Category Archives: Fashion

Three trends to cheer you up this January 

The classic beret

Ah, January. The month of gloomy days, diets and back-to-work blues. Let’s face it, we all need a boost right now. And what better way to do it than with fashion? Ideally, you want something that’ll give you a spring in your step, without spending too much.

Here are three sweet little ways to inject a bit of fun and happiness back into your wardrobe this January…

The classic beret: for jaunty days and rainy days. The humble beret is back and just as cute as ever. Right now, all the best people are wearing them. It’s more sophisticated than the bobble hat – and it has just the right amount of jaunty oo la la. I bet you have one lurking somewhere, don’t you? I’ve rescued mine from the children’s dressing up box and it’s not going back any time soon.

Three trends to try this January

Beret with bow, £12, ASOS / Fawn wool beret, £10, ASOS

 Rust wool beret, £9.99, New Look

Slogan sweaters. Because novelty jumpers aren’t just for Christmas. January can suffer from being a bit too serious at times. Cheer things up with a jolly new top that’ll make you smile every time you look in the mirror. Joanie and Next have a great selection right now.

Three trends to try this January

Red stripe jumper, £20, Next / Sunshine jumper, £35, Joanie / Funday jumper, £28, Next

Frontier Florals. A little bit Little House on the Prairie, and a little bit vintage Laura Ashley. Ditzy florals, frills and bows – it’s a sure-fire way to beat the gloom. Wear with a light-weight polo, tights and boots now, and on its own in spring. Your beret will probably go with it too.

Three trends to try this January

Blue floral dress, £49, Topshop / Floral dress with black bow, £29.99, Zara

 Floral dress with gathered neck, £29, Zara

Which trends are you loving right now?

The classic beret

Starry Skies

Starry skirt by H&M

This December, the stars are shining bright. They’re up in the sky, but they’re also working their magic in our wardrobes. It’s like someone left the lid off the glitter pot – clothes, boots and accessories have all been sprinkled with a liberal coating of star-dust.

Last week you may have noticed me wearing a star-studded jumper. This week, I’ve gone one step further and invested in a skirt strewn with silver stars. They glimmer, shimmer and twinkle.

Starry skirt by H&M

Skirts often get overlooked in the rush to buy the perfect Christmas party dress. But a really top-notch skirt one is the perfect choice for this time of year. Wearing this one with a plain black jumper keeps things feeling low-key – you could cook your Christmas dinner in it. But you could easily take it up a notch for a party.

Starry skirt by H&M

My skirt is a delightful concoction of net and under-skirt – which also happens to be another welcome trend for Christmas. It feels swishy and a tiny bit old-fashioned – but not in the least sugar-coated. Which just about sums up my ideal look. It’s £24.99, by H&M.

I’m wearing it here with simple black sock boots and a dark coatigan. But, if it’s a really chilly day, it looks equally good with a thick wooly coat in any colour.

Starry skirt by H&M

Feeling star-struck? Look this way for more of my favourite celestial pieces available this Christmas…

Starry print Christmas party clothes

Clockwise from top left: Pussy bow dress, £38, Joanie

 Sparkle star dress, £56, Warehouse

Embroidered Boots, £69.99, Mango / Top, £19.99, and Skirt, £29.99, both H&M

Or, if your budget is limited, add a bit of glitz to your existing wardrobe with these gorgeous hair clips – which are £5.99 by ASOS.

I wear: Skirt, £24.99, H&M / Top, £15, Peacocks

Boots, £39.50, Marks and Spencer / Coat, £140, Thought

Starry skirt by H&M

Are you ready to sprinkle a little star-dust?

Velvet trousers: your low-key festive friend

Uniqlo velvet trousers

Velvet is having a moment. You can’t have missed it. It reminds me of my childhood when everything was better if it was made of velvet. Floppy hats, rucksacks, scarves – nothing was complete with a velvet bow. Now is the perfect time to embrace this trend again. But with one proviso: keep it simple.

I wouldn’t blame you if you give those stretchy, crushed velvet mini-dresses a miss. I’m going to swerve that one completely, and turn to the velvet trouser instead. They’re grown up, yet fun. Formal, yet comforting.

A pair of velvet trousers is just the thing to fill the gap in your winter wardrobe for those in-betweeny events – the kind of ones that veer between smart and casual. They’ll see you through those busy days when you need to steer yourself from office to party – or school run to festive drinks.

Uniqlo velvet trousers

Look for rich, berry-coloured hues or midnight blues. My Burgundy-coloured skinny trousers are by Uniqlo. They have a mince-pie-friendly stretchy waistband, but also manage to look really rather elegant with heels and a simple shirt. Add tasselled, statement earrings for easy glamour.

Velvet trousers

I wear:

Velvet trousers, £24.90, Uniqlo (sold out online in this colour, but try these by Zara)

Shirt, £25, La Redoute

Black ankle boots, £39.50, Marks and Spencer

Earrings, £5.99, New Look

Need more inspiration? Here are some more of my favourites…

Velvet trousers

Clockwise, from top left: Green velvet trousers, £80, Boden

 Wide trousers, £14.90, Uniqlo

 Navy velvet jeggings, £45, White Stuff

 Black jeans with a velvet trim, £39.50, Marks and Spencer

Will you be wearing velvet this winter?

Yes, you can wear a leopard-print coat

Leopard print coat by LOTD

The allure of the leopard print coat will always be strong. There’s just something about it. Is it the kitsch tackiness, inspired by Bette Lynch? Or is that we all secretly want to be the cool girl?

I’m the least cool girl ever. Despite my best efforts, I’ll never be Kate Moss – unless she decides to become a librarian.  And yet, I’m still drawn to leopard-print like a moth to the flame.

Faux fur coats are a perennial fashion favourite. Every year I look at them – and then walk away. My dyed-in-the-wool mousiness always wins out. And besides, wouldn’t people just laugh at me if I wore one?

Leopard print coat by LOTD

This autumn, I was back stroking the furry coats again. But this year, the mouse didn’t win. Writing this blog, and indulging my love for style, has taught me that life’s too short to worry about what everyone else is thinking.

Clothes have the power to transform the way we feel. My inner-mouse keeps telling me that today’s not the day to wear leopard print. You’ve still got a cold…you’re not looking your best…why would you want to draw attention to yourself? But, actually, shrugging on something as gorgeous as a fur coat has the potential to totally transform your mood.

Leopard print coat by LOTD

My coat is a sort of fluffy, faux snow-leopard affair – which feels a bit less scary than full-on traditional leopard. When I wear it I’m a mouse in leopard’s clothing and there’s nowhere to hide – and that means putting on my sunnies in November and holding my head high. And guess what? I feel better for it. And when I feel better I look better. We all deserve clothes that make us happy.

Leopard print coat by LOTD

Still need convincing? Leopard-print coats are more practical than you think. They’re warm as toast. And they’re also surprisingly neutral – providing you keep the rest of your outfit paired back and minimal. Dark denim, a simple knit and ankle boots are all you need.

So yes, you can wear a leopard-print coat. On the school run, at work or buying baked beans in Sainsbury’s.

Do it – you know you want to. 

Leopard print coat by LOTD

I wear: Faux fur coat, £45, c/o LOTD / Jumper, £12, c/o LOTD / Jeans, £14, Peacocks / Boots, £27.99, New Look 

Thank you to Look of the Day (LOTD) who made my leopard print dreams come true by gifting me this outfit. 

Glittery jumpers – and why we’re our own worst critics

La Redoute glittery winter jumper

This was only supposed to be a post about glittery jumpers. But one of the best things about blogging – and being your own editor – is that you can go off course and write about things that really matter to you. Not that glittery jumpers don’t matter, clearly they do.

I bought this particular jumper because it felt like the kind of thing I’d need this winter. It’s yellow and grey, which I love, and it also sports a large tinsel stripe. Because we all need a glittery go-faster stripe in November, don’t we? I know I do.

 La Redoute glittery winter jumper

I took these photos on a drizzly day when I was feeling decidedly under-the-weather. Dressing to match my cup of lemon Lepsip felt like the only solution. A jumper like this is warm and cosy – a walking duvet – but it also has the potential to let you fake it till you make it. Like painting on a smile.

No one will notice you feel ill, because they’ll be too distracted by the tinsel on your front. Or if they do, they’ll still admire your cheerful taste in jumpers. It’s tempting to hide away when you feel under-par, but try the opposite and you might actually feel a bit better for it.

Which got me thinking about how we’re always worrying about what other people think, when really we’re our own worst critics.

We all have things we don’t like about our appearance. When you write a blog and take a lot of photos of yourself you get used to niggling feelings of doubt. I have a long list, but mostly I worry about my teeth and my wonky eyes. My eyes, the legacy of a severe childhood squint, rarely face in the same direction in photos. But after two corrective surgeries, they’re probably not going to get any better. And they’re really not that bad, they probably just give me a permanently quizzical look.

My teeth are my other weakness. A childhood accident left me missing one front tooth. I now have a crown there and it’s an unappealing shade of greige.  As a child I used to hate how it looked enough to put my hand over my mouth every time I laughed. It’s only recently that I’ve felt brave enough to even smile with my mouth open.

La Redoute glittery winter jumper

We say horrible things to ourselves that we’d never dream of saying to other people.

In my head I regularly call myself fat, squinty-eyed and generally hideous. This isn’t a pity-party – I’m not looking for praise, or flattery. What I’m trying to say is that the best way to combat these uneasy feelings is to accept your imperfections for what they are. To own them, in Millenial-speak. We all have a story to tell, and our little scars and imperfections make it worth telling. Oh, and you’re almost certainly the only one who notices them anyway.

I’m not a model or a cardboard cut-out, I’m just a normal woman who likes glittery jumpers. And that’s ok.

two-tone glitter jumper

I wear: Jumper, £39, La Redoute / Jeans, £14, Peacocks /

Boots, £29.50, Marks and Spencer / Coat, White Stuff (past season)

Finding the perfect embroidered jumper

Marmalade Pie: Mango embroidered jumper

We’ve got used to the idea of buying festive jumpers, but a special autumnal jumper is just as important. It needs to be a bit of show-stopper – and it can also afford to be a bit whimsical. Step, forward the embroidered jumper. 

I think I’ve found the perfect one. It’s by Mango and has all the right ingredients to be an autumn classic.

Marmalade Pie: Mango embroidered jumper

First, and most importantly, it has a cosy, comfortable feeling. An ideal jumper needs to be warm, but not too thick – and it can never be itchy. Although wool is lovely, I tend to look for something with a mix of acrylic and natural fibres as it’s just easier (and less itchy) all round. A funnel neck is my favourite style, because it’s cosy but less hot than a thick polo.

A gorgeous, eye-catching design. Some people like jumpers with dogs or slogans, but I prefer to add personality with texture and colour. An embroidered jumper is the perfect way to do this. The bright, folk-inspired embroidery on my jumper is the perfect way to brighten dull days and evoke all the right kind of happy, cosy feelings.

Marmalade Pie: Mango embroidered jumper

A nod to the past. I love my favourite jumpers to have a sense of heritage – chunky cables and fair isle prints will always be timeless classics. Embroidered jumpers have that too. The bold folk-art inspired embroidery on my jumper evokes images of Tyrolean jumpers from 1930s skiing holidays.

Image via Pinterest

A hint of the festive charm. If you’re clever, your embroidered jumper will also see you through the festive season. Avoid pink colours, and choose red and green designs like mine. A much better investment that the inevitable reindeers and snowmen.

My beautiful jumper costs £35.99 and is also available in navy:

Mango embroidered jumper

Like what you see? Here are some more favourites…

Marmalade Pie: Embroidered jumpers

Clockwise from top left: Cross stitch jumper, £27.99, New Look / Floral front jumper, £29.99, Zara

Navy floral jumper, £29.99, Zara / All over floral jumper, £34.99, New Look

 

Marmalade Pie: Mango embroidered jumper

I also wear: Checked coat, £39.99, New Look / Shawl, £4, Ikea

A new checked coat, and re-joining the fringe gang

New Look checked coat

This season is all about texture – cord, velvet, tweed and general fluffiness are all officially back in. Checked coats are top of the list. It’s a classic preppy look and I needed little prompting to give it a go.

After a bit of searching, I’ve found a good one. It’s by New Look, who I’m consistently loving at the moment. It’s simple and chic – and a steal at £39.99. Considering the price, it’s surprisingly thick too.

New Look checked coat

For easy autumnal style, wear your checked coat with a bold knit. This mustard coloured jumper is another great New Look buy.

And while we’re on the subject of embracing texture, this week I have rejoined the fringe club!

New Look checked coat

It’s a fact universally acknowledged that as soon as you’ve grown out a fringe, you want another one. It gets me every time. It goes so well with the whole seventies vibe going on at the moment. My hair needed a boost, so adding new texture was very tempting.

My hair is very thick and wavy, so a full-on blunt fringe can be a recipe for disaster. So this time, I’ve compromised on a half fringe. It’s cute and flattering, but can be brushed out of the way. I’m glad to be back in the gang.

New Look checked coat

I wear: Checked coat, £39.99, New Look

Boots, £27.99, New Look / Mustard jumper, £9.99, New Look (instore only)

Like what you see? Here’s a roundup of my favourite checked coats:

Marmalade Pie: My favourite checked coats

Clockwise, from top left: Red checked coat, £99, Marks and Spencer / Tweed field coat, £229, Joules

Grey overcoat, £69, Mango / Blue wool coat, £79.99, Mango

One pair of blue shoes, five different outfits – with Moshulu

Moshulu blue brogues

Buying a pair of coloured shoes is one of the most clever things you can do this autumn.

I need my wardrobe to be flexible. My days can be really varied: dashing to school with the boys, then heading straight to a meeting with a work client – or sometimes just working at home. I need my clothes to work hard for me – which is why I love classic pieces that you can dress up and down – all in one day.

Don’t worry though, being flexible doesn’t have to be boring. It’s still possible to make bold choices and make them work – whatever the time, whatever the place. And that’s wear the coloured shoes come in to their own.

To prove it, here’s one pair of bright blue shoes by Moshulu, with five very different outfits…

Moshulu blue brogues

My signature style… A stripy top, coloured tights and a grey coat – it’s my classic look. It’s comfortable and casual enough for the school run, but it’s also perfect for an informal meeting, or a coffee date with friends. The burgundy tights and navy brogues are a fun twist that really pulls this outfit together. Eye-catching, but subtle – if that isn’t to contradictory.

Moshulu blue brogues

The smart look.. If I’m meeting someone professionally for the first time, I like to keep things really simple. Navy is my favourite colour and I love wearing this jersey blazer with smart chinos and lacy shirt. It’s smart, but not too formal. The blue brogues add a touch of personality to an otherwise plain look.

Moshulu blue brogues

The kicking though leaves outfit… At this time of year I can’t resist playing match-matchy games with nature. I love jumpers the colour of autumn leaves and soft, checked scarfs. This is my go-to outfit when I’m working from home – and it also goes to prove that yellow and blue are a match made in heaven.

Moshulu blue brogues

The pop of colour… Wearing colourful shoes doesn’t mean the rest of your outfit has to be tame. Make a bold statement with a bright pink dress and grey tights. This is perfect for when I want to make an impact.

Moshulu blue brogues

Park life… Classic weekend wear. For those days sat on a bench, coffee in hand, watching your crazy kids tire themselves out. My blue brogues rise to the occasion yet again – matching this laid-back utilitarian look perfectly.

So that’s how you take one pair of blue shoes and make them work with five outfits. Which is your favourite?

Moshulu blue brogues

Thank you to Moshulu for sending me these lovely blue brogues to try. 

 

Beating the autumn gloom with fluffy coats and flowers

Fluffy coat and flowers

So far, I’ve been embracing everything about the change in the seasons. In fact, you might as well just call me Little Miss Autumn.

But last week, the seasonal shift suddenly didn’t feel so good. One by one, we’d all caught a cold. The mornings felt darker and colder – and getting out of bed wasn’t fun. Slowly, but surely, morale had begun to sink.

I felt like I’d come up against a brick wall creatively and I spent most of last week creeping around feeling as glum as the leaden grey skies. But on Thursday the sun came out and a couple of simple things reminded that, actually, autumn might just be ok again…

Fluffy coat and flowers

I wore my new teddy-bear coat for the first time. Fluffy coats, shearling coats…they’re all big this season and I urge you to try one. Wearing it is like getting a giant bear hug. If gloomy mornings are the downside of autumn, then getting to wear a snuggly coat is definitely the upside.

And I felt even happier about the fact that I bought it in the charity shop. Sure, I had to spend more than I paid for it getting it dry cleaned, but it was still a very virtuous purchase – and a reminder that I can still occasionally win the charity shop lottery.

Then I went to market and bought the brightest pink flowers I could find. Buying a massive bunch of flowers, and still having change from a fiver, is my weekly pleasure. Carrying them home not only made me happy, it also made a few passers-by smile too.

Buying flowers from Ely market

Of course, just buying a bunch of flowers doesn’t automatically make life peachy again, but it certainly helps. It also proves that when the gloom hits, you shouldn’t always follow your instincts and hibernate. Put on a favourite autumn coat, drag yourself out of the door and indulge in the little things that make you happy – whether it’s wearing a fluffy coat, meeting a friend or buying a new magazine.

Fluffy coat and flowers

I wear: Coat, ASOS, via the charity shop / Jeans, £14, Peacocks

Jumper, £19.99, Mango / Boots, £27.99, New Look / Cherry earrings, ASOS, £8

Love my fluffy coat? Here’s my pick of what’s available right now… 

Marmalade Pie: fluffy coats

Clockwise, from top left: Teddy bear coat, £89, Warehouse / Fleece coat, £29.90, Uniqlo

 Mohair coat, £69.99, Mango / Contrast coat, £79.99, Mango

 

Brands revisited: Mango

Mango autumn jumper and bag

Certain outfits remind of you a particular time in your life, don’t they? The last thing I bought from Mango was a denim blazer adorned with appliquéd leaves in 2003. I was at uni at the time and wearing fancy, spangly denim (while dancing to Justin Timberlake) was bit of a thing. Since then, Mango has remained off my radar. 

Until now. Strangely, I’d assumed that things would still be the same. But, wow, I was so pleasantly surprised. The collections are simple, unfussy and affordable. I’ve rather gone off Zara lately, and Mango reminds me of all the things I’d loved about it – a good mix of frivolous fashion with a classic backbone – all at a great price.

There isn’t a Mango store near me, so I ordered online. What caught my eye?

The simple elegance of this grey jumper with a funnel neck (£19.99). 

Mango autumn jumper and bag

And the easy style of this little bag (£17.99). It’s not real leather, but it feels really nice. 

Oxblood handbag by Mango

There was plenty more that I liked too. Here are my highlights. They’re all simple easy-to-wear pieces that will effortlessly update your wardrobe this autumn. 

Mango A/W17

Classic knitwear, coats and handbags

Olive jumper, £19.99 / Shopper, £39.99 / Wool Coat, £79.99 / Tassel Jumper, £35.99

So, welcome back to my wardrobe Mango. Let’s not wait another 14 years next time!