Keeping things Chalet Chic…
I have always found that dressing fashionably and keeping warm, don’t always go hand in hand. I think this is especially true for women because wearing lots of layers and covering up from head to toe can sometimes take away our “edge”. However, this season, the fashion world has decided that bright bold colours are IN and the oversized slouch look is still the way of the future.
In particular, I’m talking jumpers and cardigans, those items that can look bulky and unflattering have been designed to look effortlessly chic and fun too. With the high-street and designer stores alike embracing different textures, daring colours and cutesy animal patterns, your comfortable and practical clothing can now say as much about you as your cute outfit underneath. The fashion world call it “Chalet Chic”, I think of it more as a Classic Winter look. I grew up with my parents wearing this sort of thing, I even used to laugh at them for it, now I think they were just ahead of their time…
Here are my Top Ten Picks for an affordable yet stylish way to bring your winter wardrobe right up to date.
Disney does Couture – did you know?!
I’m massively excited about this weeks blog post because I get to talk to you about accessories I really love, that you can never have too much of and that make a real statement too. I have always been a Disney Princess fanatic. I was lucky enough to be a child when The Little Mermaid and Beauty and The Beast were out for the first time with their magical songs and iconic animation so I’ll always have happy memories conjured up whenever I think of it. However, as I got older, it was more difficult to carry this love through to my style. A Snow White tee-shirt suddenly didn’t look quite so cool! Yet that is when I discovered that Disney had solved this problem the way they solved many of my childhood ones…Say hello to Disney Couture.
It’s been around for quite some time now yet still has a fairly small but dedicated following. First off, the quality of the product is, in my opinion, flawless. Often I buy cute accessories like this and bits break off or the clasp breaks because they’ve been made of far cheaper material than I was lead to believe. Yet if you spend £55 on a necklace, you know it will last you. I’ve had this necklace, above, for over a year and it still looks good as new.
However, what really sells it to me is the detail that’s been put into it. When you open up the locket, you see the Alice in Wonderland Melting clock with a rabbit as the hand and it’s cute message to you make you smile. All these little things show there was a lot of thought that went into the design and no corners were cut.
Last Christmas I was also given a sweet Tinkerbell necklace with interchangeable charms which I often wear to make an outfit more playful and youthful.
I personally think there is something for most girls here and these make ideal Christmas gifts (hint hint!). Here are a few of my favorites…let me know yours! Disney Couture also sell rings, bracelets, earrings and charms from a rang of films in a range of styles.
A few online stores sell Disney Couture but I’ve found this place to be the best:
A Sika idea for Christmas!
More Sika Designs for you this week as I show off this rather delicious number I purchased for the Christmas season. It is just such a special dress for me because of the bold pattern, the classic cut and quirky details. I’ve worn it out only once so far but it turned heads from both men and women wherever I went and I received countless compliments about it.
I feel so elegant wearing their dresses and although they aren’t for everyday, they make a real statement at a party or special event. This is my perfect dress for Christmas because of the seasonal colours, the playful bow and high collar. I love the big red flowers, I think they are what really makes this dress stand out.
If you are looking for something special this Christmas, head over to their website. They can custom make dresses to suit your preferred cut and fabric and they even make adorable dresses for little girls!
To achieve this look I added a black Tutu underskirt, black shear tights and black heels. I also did my hair with a 50′s quiff for a playful way to complete the look. Do you like?!
This week I ended up hitting a few more bars and a brilliant piece of theatre so paid closer attention to my outfit choices (I could no longer rely on the coat). However, this week also saw me exploring the Chicago Aquarium, the Lincoln Park Zoo and Millenium Park – all of which were awesome! I have never heard of a “free” Zoo before but sure enough, this one is. I was dubious as to how well maintained a non-profit zoo could be and little worried for the animals inside. However, it turns out this zoo is part of many conservation programs and gets its funding through this. They open it up as an attraction to get people interested in animal welfare and to show us how special these animals are. There is something incredibly humbling about seeing an animal so up-close and personal! Although I sometimes get upset by zoos and keeping animals contained, I feel it is important to show us humans how wonderful they are. It was an incredibly windy day in the windy city zoo but we still lost ourselves for a good four hours just wondering round and seeing the animals.
I wrapped up warm in jeans and an over-sized jumper, cherry tomato ugg boots and my coat but still clutched a nice warm hot chocolate when it was on offer!
The aquarium was a very cool attraction with a great exhibition on Jelly fish. It also had a 4D cinema where Happy Feet was showing – a form of cinema that is not quite perfected yet in my opinion but I did enjoy it! Outside the aquarium were great views of the city and these massive iron leg structures I enjoyed playing around (big kid!). I thought I’d dress up my coat look with a fuchsia pink scarf and tried out my feather earring for the first time. I thought they added a nice touch as I was starting to get a little bored of seeing myself in the same thing!
A few nights we went out and drank cocktails (one too many on one occasion!) and I wanted to wear something that said, “I tried but not too hard”. So, I went for a baby pink boyfriend blazer over a cute Zara dress, with thick black tights and black boots. It is a look I think is really casual yet chic and sexy. It also is really comfortable to wear because you don’t feel too “on show” and you can just relax. Another night I went for black leather leggings, a long black tank top and a blazer (which I ended up ditching when I saw the bar was pretty dressy).
Chicago has been one magical adventure and I’ll be sad to say goodbye. If you ever get the chance to visit, do it and do it with style!
Keeping things Simple and Chic in Chicago!
I’ve been hanging out in Chicago now for the past week and there is SO much to report! First off, what a city! On one of my first nights here, it was Halloween. The Americans take this “holiday” far more seriously than us Brits which I think is amazing! I’ve always had Halloween themed birthday parties since I was a kid so it was awesome to see it being done so well everywhere I looked! We went off to this Haunted House and paid to get really scared and freaked out! No expense was spared when making this attraction and for the whole hour you wonder through all these different rooms just not knowing what is coming next. It. Was. Awesome!! Chicago is probably somewhere I’d never go to unless there was a reason for the visit but my goodness am I glad I had a reason. The city has a very gothic vibe with a mix of these gorgeous old buildings and massive modern day skyscrapers. It is incredibly spacious and clean for a city and unlike London, you never feel like you’re surrounded by millions of people on the street but instead you have breathing space. There are plenty of attractions that you can wonder in and out of for free and the ones you pay for are well worth it!
The next night we headed out to the Ice Hockey. Here I was sporting a Blackhawks tee-shirt to show my support to my new favorite team and to fit in with the locals! I was actually pleasantly surprised how stylish the tee-shirt was considering it’s a supporters top and usually they are splattered with sponsorship and a bit shapeless. This on the other hand was an awesome top! You can’t really see it in the pictures but the red is a little bit see-through which is a nice detail and makes it kinda sexy, plus it is nicely fitted and works well with jeans and my cherry tomato ugg boots! As for the game, well that was also a pleasant surprise too, the Blackhawks won in extra-time and although I didn’t get to see a fight or anyone lose their teeth, I did get to see an awesome game.
I also had to spend some time this week dedicated to The Magnificent Mile, which is just as it sounds…a magnificent mile of SHOPS! I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular and enjoyed window shopping at the designer stores and stepping into the more mainstream ones. I was a little surprised by the lack of individual boutique stores in Chicago in general but here you did find more of the unusual items you only get in flagship stores.
I bought myself some gorgeous gold leaf earrings and thought I’d purchase some feather ones too to try them out. I also picked up some gloves as I had underestimated how chilly it was in Chicago this time of year. Nothing was super cheap, like it used to be when you shopped in America, but it was good to see what they had on offer. I wasn’t blown away by the clothes inside the shops but that is probably because I like to find something a little unusual.
I didn’t get many opportunities to lose the coat either as it was absolutely freezing! However, that was cool with me as I love my new Dahlia coat and it pretty much goes with everything. I had fun adding different scarfs and rockin’ knee-high socks with it, plus it did its job of keeping me warm which says a lot about it because, man oh man did I need it!
One unexpected surprise of this week was that I had a casting for a commercial that I was offered after the casting director saw me walking down the street! It was a little random but pretty cool to take part in and I was asked to wear a colour that would compliment my skin tone and hair so I opted for a cool burnt orange number I picked up in a boutique in Hull – but more about that next time!
Must go…the zoo is calling! I’ll let you know how I get on next week!
Tomorrow is my 24th Birthday and I am off to see the one and only, Britney Spears at the O2. This of course calls for me to purchase a new outfit! Now this is a little sad, but the fact is October 28th is also the birthday of Dahlia, my favorite London boutique (don’t ask me how I know that!). So as a present to us both, I went in to purchase a dress.
I immediately spotted this gorgeous burnt orange dress with flower detail across the shoulders and upper chest. I loved the V-shape outline cutting the two materials together and the light brown belt finished it off casually. The colour screams autumn and reminds me of Halloween (which is easily one of my favorite days in the year)! Here I’ve teamed it with my favorite Kurt Geiger boots, cute knee high socks and added some Disney Couture accessories to keep it youthful and fun.
I’ve never been great at just purchasing one thing from Dahlia and knowing I had a trip to Chicago coming up, I also purchased a warm navy mac with gold detail. It has a really high neck to keep the wind out and looks so flattering being fitted to the waist with a nice full skirt.
This is one of my favorite pictures taken of me wearing it round Chicago!
When I get ready each day, I have a few little rituals I rarely don’t do. There is the daily all body moisturise, cleanser,toner and facial moisturise, the GHD styling of my hair, application of eyeliner and mascara and…oh of course, the putting on of clothes!
It is impossible to leave the house without doing all of these things and they are now second nature to me, I have become so speedy at all of them, I’m usually ready before the men in the house. However, one thing I am also religious about is wearing matching underwear. I used to think I did this for the effect it had on my boyfriend, but when we broke up, I remained in this routine. I tried not to, but felt less attractive somehow, less comfortable.
I also can’t stand when people can see my underwear through my clothes. In few circumstances, this is fashionable and acceptable but more often than not, it just looks a little…cheap. I have spoken to lots of women about this and they all tend to agree that having a bra-strap on show or patterned bras showing through thin t-shirts is something they feel embarrassed and frustrated by. Sigh…
So how do we solve it? Well here is a list of Do’s and Don’t that should help!
1. Find out your correct size. There is nothing more uncomfortable or more unflattering than an ill-fitting bra. Any decent underwear shop provide this service free of charge and it takes less than 1 minute so there are no excuses!
2. Get a range of styles. This allows you to have a bra for all of your outfits and means you can make the most of your assets. For instance: the balconette bra looks great wearing a low cut sundress but shows up under t-shirts and looks less flattering than a full-cup bra.
3. Get a range of colours. If you are wearing Black and have a white bra on underneath, the chances are the whole room knows. Black under red rarely works and white under white never works…make sure you purchase a nude set too! I could go on but I think you get the point, you need to cover all your bases!
4. As sexy as they are NOT – T-shirt bras are handy as hell. Get a black, a white and a nude and knickers for each. These are great on those days you feel you need comfort over style. They also never show up under blouses/t-shirts/tanks etc.
5. Found a set of underwear you love? Buy more than 1 of the bottom. When I shop, I try to purchase at least 2 of the bottom, often they vary them and offer a thong, or a pant, or a french knicker. It means the set lasts longer and the bra can be worn more than once each week! You own less underwear this way but it allows you to always match.
6. Get a great strapless. It is a lot more attractive under tank-tops and strappy-tops and means the eye is directed to the right place…not to your bra straps.
7. Feel Sexy!
1. Spend lots of money on underwear you don’t know will fit. Make sure you always try Bras on in store.
2. Have straps on show when you don’t need to. It is never the way forward. Got a low cut back on a dress or top…there are brilliant solutions to this problem out there! Don’t settle.
3. Wash bras too often in the machine or in really hot water. Often just a rinse in the sink will do it. They last so much longer this way!
4. Let a man tell you what’s sexy. You decide and you stick to it. Wearing the right underwear makes a real difference to how your clothes sit on you and how you feel about yourself. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean its not the most important part of your outfit…
Good Places to shop for bras are La Senza, Marks and Spencer and Figleaves. I personally prefer M & S. Their bras are sexy, comfortable and reasonably priced.
I rarely leave home without it…
…A Pashmina of course! I honestly can’t put enough weight behind the power that the Pashmina holds. For a start, its stylish, but pushing that aside, it’s many practical uses make it a wardrobe essential in my eyes. Here’s a few things I use mine for…
1. Well first off…it is a scarf so…I use it for that.
2. It makes a plain outfit that bit more interesting. Jeans and a blazer isn’t exactly super exciting but throw on a bright Pashmina and we have something a little extra.
3. They add a touch of sophistication to any cocktail dress. It is a cheap yet effective tactic.
4. In turn, they help to take the edge off of the chill on a night out.
5. They work wonderfully as a blanket when on a cold plane – and lets face it, planes are always freezing!
6. Heading to the beach? Throw one around you!
7. I like to use mine as a blanket too on those days when I have an impromptu picnic!
If they aren’t seven reasons to make sure you go out a buy one I don’t know what are!
Round One, Week Three: Oh so On Trend
My goodness, is it that time of the week already?! The Music League finds itself at the, Oh So Chic, Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch this week and the competition has stepped up a gear it seems… and I’m talking about the clothes here not the bands! Jonathan has rocked up in a simple yet very on trend colour-blocked ensemble , whilst Sophie is showing off her mile long legs in cute denim shorts. I have gone for a simple yet very cute beige Dahlia dress (yes another one!) with pearl shoulder detail and a brown belt with a pearl bow.
Jonathan and I have almost perfected our comparing skills now so enjoy some people watching whilst waiting for the bands to sound-check. The indie crowd often gets called “pretentious” for the way they dress but I have to say, from where I’m sat, everyone looks very cool and very comfortable in what they’ve got on.
The bands rocked it this week and I really enjoyed the free drinks the venue offered me! I can’t believe there is only one week left of round one. I have the perfect outfit all lined up!
From Sick to Stunner
Minding my own business on my commute into work today, I’m sat as I am every morning, reading the Metro, drinking a latte and slowly waking up! Suddenly, I hear a splash, my lap feels warm, and my brain catches up with the situation…a woman has been sick on me. Yes my friends, SICK on me…
However, she was pregnant and I felt awful for her so I just said not to worry and a woman opposite offered me a Kleenex (really like drying up a swimming pool with 1 sheet of kitchen roll) which I accepted wondering how this was going to help! I couldn’t go back and change as I’d be late to which my boss would be furious, but I did have sick on me so obviously I had no choice but to shop (!) and I went seeking a new outfit on Carnaby Street. I tend to stay away from mainstream high-street shops because I like something a little more individual and quirky. I was pretty new to London but had found some great Boutiques around here but until today, had not discovered the best of all…
Just off Carnaby Street is a little shop called, Dahlia. It is magic.
I went in very conscious of the smell of sick on me and hoped the lady behind the counter wouldn’t notice! I scanned the rails and to my relief and delight, discovered something right away to try on. I then kept looking around just in case there was something better and sure enough, there was something else I liked. In fact, everywhere I looked in this small boutique, I saw clothes I loved! Without meaning to, I began to linger and take my time eyeing up the clothes but was soon snapped out of it by the buzz of my phone and my boss shouting at me, demanding to know why I was late.
I ran into the changing room and changed into a dress I knew I was going to buy before I even tried it on (I’ve teamed it here with a fur wrap to add a little something) and then went back at lunch to snap up a few more items! Delighted to find this place as its the most reasonably priced clothing I’ve come across in London that really reflects my style.
Check them out, they also have an online store (www.dahliafashion.co.uk)
It turned a rather horrible day into a truly successful one!
New Year: New Style!
So another year has rolled around and I find myself in a situation I’d not planned for. I work in an office in Mayfair for a start (not exactly the actors dream!), I’ve also recently had my heart broken and I live in a fairly dodgy part of London. All of these factors and a few more minor ones were really getting me down. I wanted to start feeling good about myself again. I wanted to at least take control of one part of my life. So, being a totally girlie girl and never needing too much of a push to go shopping, I thought I’d take my control of my appearance. I didn’t want to “reinvent” my style, but I did want to feel like I was starting over. New Year, New Chapter…New Wardrobe! I started going over the things I loved about my “look” and I also looked at the stuff I always left hanging in my wardrobe and never wore.
I started to see that I had different “types” of clothing i.e. The Festival Look, The Rocker Look, The Garden Party Look and as much as I liked these clothes, I wondered what my wardrobe really said about who I am? I came to the conclusion it said…”I have no idea!”
So I started where, in my opinion, we all should… Looking at myself naked in a full length mirror. I went over in my mind what I liked about my body, what I couldn’t stand about it, what I should accentuate and what I should really cover up. I found this actually really uplifting because all I’d usually focus on was, what wasn’t right when I looked in the mirror. I know it is pretty typical to just focus on the negatives and all to easy to do too. However, finding those things that I do quite like allowed me to feel good about my body. THIS massive and very vital piece of the puzzle meant I had confidence to go shopping knowing what I wanted to show off, knowing what I wanted to hide and having a far higher hit rate in the changing room!
Next was to look at the clothes I always reached for, my feel good clothing. Why did they make me feel good? What colours do I favour? What cut do I typically chose? I also thought about women I admire and how they dress, what do I like about their clothing? How do they put together an outfit? Would that suit me?
If one good thing has come from working in an office, its the money that I get for it! My disposable income isn’t massive but if I pinch pennies in other places, I could afford to get myself some new clothing that says so much more about me. So, I hit the shops of London in search of my ideal outfits. I wasn’t totally clueless as to what I was after but I was trying my best to be open to new trends and clothing I wouldn’t typically put myself in. I really recommend this. It really forces you to focus in on what you like to wear and what you don’t, you see yourself in things you’d usually avoid but actually end up suiting and you have a lot of fun in the process!
I also recommend shopping alone, it gives you more freedom to search the aisles and the opinion you have of the clothing is yours alone. I was always talked into buying things I wasn’t sure of and sure enough, never wore! It is OK to ask someone what they think, but remember, people don’t want to hurt your feelings and will be careful, which isn’t always helpful.
Also, follow your heart. If you like something on yourself that’s a little more “out there” and “daring”…do it. And do it with confidence. What is most important is how you feel in the clothes you are wearing.
I’m pretty thrilled about my purchases and I really feel I’m starting to express who I am through my clothes…but more about that throughout my next blog updates…
Let me know how you got on!