Issa bargain!

I know I promised my next post would be a flat sandal follow-up, but how could I not blog this dress?

In life, people have their talents. Some are great mathematicians, some talented writers. Me? Well I can spot a designer bargain at 20 paces…

I’ve mentioned before my local car boot sale. We go every Sunday, give the kids a shiny pound coin each and try to teach them a bit about budgeting (maybe a bit of an ask for a 3.5 year old and a not-quite-2 year old, but their father worries they’ve inherited my shopping gene!) Usually we come home with a handful of small cars, yet another George Pig and a few obscure compilation albums from the 90s, and last week was no exception. However, there was an extra item in the haul, and here I am modelling it:

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You may recognise the brand of the dress as the same style was worn by a rather high-profile lady:

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I know, I know, a lot of people have commented on the resemblance, but we’re talking about the dress here. Stay focussed.

Yes, you’ve guessed it, my dress is an Issa. I spotted it on a rail, drawn in by the gorgeous drape of the fabric and pretty pattern, then spotted the label. Not your usual car boot fodder, safe to say! Trying not to hyperventilate, I enquired about the price. The lady apologetically told me it was £10, as it was an expensive dress. I think it was the first time in the history of a car boot sale that there has been no haggling over a transaction. Similar dresses on the Issa website are priced at over £500!

I’m giving it the full K-Middy treatment, pairing it with Russell and Bromley court shoes. No shiny tights though – I have my limits!

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The Flat Pack

Well I never! The sun actually shone over London for pretty much the duration of the bank holiday weekend. Planets must have aligned or some shiz. Anyway, I hear it will be raining again tomorrow, but in honour of the three days of actually-fairly-average-for-this-time-of-year-but-gratefully-received weather I will be posting today about my favourite summer staple – the flat sandal.

Over the years I’ve amassed quite a collection, so I thought I’d show you a few of my favourites! This has absolutely nothing to do with the fact I have several hormonal chin spots and really don’t want my photo taken. Oh no.

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First up are this neon pair from Topshop. Neon never seems to show up properly in photos, but these are bright! I love these so much, they seem to go with everything, and they really enhance a tan! I regret not buying the pink and yellow they did too.

20130527-192319.jpgThe nearest I could find were these MM6 beauties, not cheap at £215, but hey, the sales are coming up!

20130527-193059.jpgThis leather tribal pair set me back a massive £3, brand new, at my local car boot sale. I love these on holiday as they are super light and have foam soles, so make a more sophisticated alternative to flip flops. They jazz up my cropped denims a treat and also work well with a Breton dress.

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This Antik Batik pair would work just as well and are currently on sale at £59. I love pink and orange together – the perfect zingy colour combo!

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These were my only purchase from last year’s much feted H&M collaboration with Marni. The prints didn’t really do it for me but I knew I had to have these beauties. I love how shiny they are but I’m not convinced they don’t make me look a little cankletastic so I usually wear them with a maxi.

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Silver sandals are so versatile and these Dune gladiators would add interest to the simplest summer outfit. I’d wear them with boyfriend jeans and a stripy tee.

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I think everyone needs a pair of jewel encrusted flats in their life! These River Island ones saved my bacon at a few summer weddings during my second pregnancy and now I always sling them in my bag when I go to one, so I can slip them on when I’m bored of my heels sinking in the grass/dancing/just plain too drunk to stand in heels.

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This Karen Millen pair are so elegant, I think they’d be the smart option for any summer event. Pain-free chic gets my vote every time!

leopard This leopard pair from Boden are among my very favourites. They are really comfy and I love the strappy, cage-like effect. I’ll even forgive them the dodgy tan lines!

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This All Black pair are a simpler style, but just as chic! I’m very tempted by these. They’d be perfect with a black column maxi.

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These Nine West gladiators were my first foray into the world of the flat sandal (flip flops excepted). They pre-date my husband and I love them nearly as much! I remember buying them on a shopping trip with my mum – she talked me into them. Ahead of her time, as always!

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If you’re after your own snakey sandal, the Studio Beat from Clarks could be the one. I really like the chain detailing on the front strap and the way the pattern continues onto the heel – the devil is in the detail when it comes to flat sandals!

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Ah, Sam Edelman Gigis. The eternal blogger’s cliche. And, just like the Michael Kors watch before them, I’m a fully signed up member of the club. My rose gold pair came to me via the Outnet for a very reasonable £37. They really are as comfortable as everyone says!

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Should I ever find myself in need of a second pair, I think I’d choose these animal print lovelies, though the Gigi comes in SO many colour ways I’d be spoilt for choice.

So, that completes my run down of my favourite flat sandals. Did you notice the glaring omission? There is one, I promise, and I’ll be discussing that in further detail in my next post. If none of those bad boys tickle your fancy, I’ll leave you with one more pair. Sporty and practical with a hint of Louis Vuitton-style checkerboard detailing….

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Nice, eh? So, what did you get up to in the sunshine? Did you get your toes out? Do let me know!

Hang out with your Wang out

One sad solitary outfit photo for you this working week. Yesterday I was too busy and today I woke 20 mins before I and two toddlers had to be out the door and on the bus. Let’s just say the results were not impressive! So I bring you Tuesday’s outfit:

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I bought this T by Alexander Wang skirt last week. I had liked it for ages then, having seen a very glamourous friend wearing hers, was on the brink of paying full whack when up it popped on my favourite website EVER, The Outnet, at half price. Don’t mind if I do!

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As it is rather longer on me than on the NAP model, I thought I’d be daring and try it for work. I kept the rest of the outfit quite prim with a white shirt and flats. I added a dash of colour with my new favourite bracelet:

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Outfit:

Shirt – Gerard Darel
Skirt – T by Alexander Wang
Shoes – Jemima Vine
Bracelet – Boden
Earrings – MFP

Butter Me Up

I’m always a bit skeptical of multi-use products.”Jack of all trades, master of none”, usually springs to mind. So when the Dressing Room sent me the Signature Butter by Nadia wrap dress to style as part of their Great British Dress Off campaign (more about this on their blog), I was curious to see whether it would live up to the promise.

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I’ve had a fondle of these dresses before, so I expected the jersey would be soft, weighty and fluid, and indeed I was not disappointed. It’s an interesting dress in that it’s really just a skirt with two very long ties attached to the waistband, and it is this design that gives it the versatility to be worn so many different ways. The most enjoyable part of this trial was playing around with the dress, seeing how many ways I could style it. And, wow, there were a lot of ways. I’m showing you three here, and I’ve gone for quite formal styling as we head into wedding/christening/graduation season.

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Firstly, I’ve gone for a simple halterneck style, twisting the straps together down the back and knotting at my waist, leaving the long ties hanging to one side. I’m usually a bit shy of halternecks as I have quite broad shoulders and can sometimes look like a prop forward, but I think the broad straps counter this quite nicely.

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I’ve gone for a Grecian look for my second style, taking both straps across one shoulder, crossing them at the back and then again at the waist before knotting to the rear. I really like this asymmetric style; really elegant, perfect for an evening engagement.

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For my final look, I’ve gone for a crossover halter style, crossing the straps at my chest, then again behind my neck, wrapping the straps around my waist and tying to the rear. Another incredibly simple yet chic style.

Outfit:

Dress – Butter by Nadia
Bag – Anya Hindmarch Valorie
Shoes – Russell & Bromley
Cuffs- George at Asda (c/o)

And I’ve barely scratched the surface here. This image gives a better idea of the myriad ways this dress can be worn:

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Hopefully I’ve proved that this dress works really well for the curvy contingent, but I also think it could work just as well on a sleeker silhouette. It would look amazing worn as a strapless ballerina style, and those of you who don’t need a supension-bridge-like structure keeping everything hoisted could try one of the more daring backless styles.
If you want to know more, the team at The Dressing Room have put together this excellent video showing how to tie the dresses to achieve various styles.

This dress could also be the answer to a lot of occasionwear woes. How many times have I dropped a bomb on a dress for a wedding and then angsted about wearing it again? This dress isn’t the cheapest, but it’s around the price point I’d buy at for a big event and you get a lot of bang for your buck. Swap the accessories round and style it a different way – Hey Presto! New dress!

Hmmm, I think I’ve talked myself into it…

Disclaimers:

  • This dress will be winging its way back to Dressing Room HQ tomorrow morning, and I have not been paid for this feature. I have done it because they are all round good eggs with a great range of products and give superb CS. Oh, and I like wearing pretty dresses.
  • I haven’t taken up cage fighting, as the bruising to my leg may suggest. I actually fell over a slide at the playground. God bless the mum standing nearby who tried to temper my humiliation by telling me she does that ‘all the time’. Course you do, love.
  • My lawnmower is not, to my knowledge, broken. I can’t be sure of course, as I haven’t taken it out of the garage for about 8 months.

Working for a living

So after swearing blind I was going to be better at blogging this week, I’ve been a bit crap really, haven’t I? Work has been mental and I really haven’t had a minute. Anyway, here a a couple of snaps of what I’ve been wearing:

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Outfit:

Top – Whistles
Skirt – Vivienne Westwood Red Label via TK Maxx
Shoes – & Other Stories
Earrings – Kate Spade

Today, I didn’t even have time for a proper outfit shot – all you get is a quick Instagram from my desk:

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But as you can probably tell I’m wearing the George skirt I bleated on about for so long. And does it live up to the promise? You betcha! Good thick fabric for smoothing out the old lumps and bumps and a great length. It is cut for a curvy figure I’d say, a teensy bit roomy on the hips but not so as you’d notice, a good fit on the waist though, so I don’t think I’d have got away with an 8. I’m wearing it with my beloved Jemima Vine python flats and pretending I’m in the jungle!

No work tomorrow though, yippee! And I’ve got an exciting blog post lined up for the weekend! And an Outnet order arriving! AND it’s Eurovision! Life isn’t so bad after all…

Review: Invogue Nail Polish

I love nail polish. I mean really properly love it. After biting my nails for 27 years, I made it my New Year’s resolution for 2012 to stop and I’m still revelling in the novelty of having something worth painting, so I change them several times per week. However, that sort of habit can get expensive, so I’m always on the look out for reasonably priced, decent polishes. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve spent the best part of £20 on designer polish and been disappointed by a watery, easily-chipped formula.

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I was asked to review the wittily-named Christian polish by Invogue (available at OhBeauty). Unsurprisingly it’s a grey shade (see what they did there?) but it’s quite blue-toned and in some lights looks almost lilac, making it really versatile.

20130514-211928.jpgIn terms of the polish itself, it’s quite a thick consistency and needed only two coats for good coverage. I’m impressed with the staying power – I’m the world champion at chipping my nails and this has stayed chip-free for four days on both occasions I’ve worn it. It also comes in a lovely range of shades; I like these:

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The Navy

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Neon Green Light

See the full range here. Delivery is free within the UK and the code GET10 will bag you an extra 10% off. I’ve just ordered the neon green – which one will you go for?