American Vintage – Tee on Trial with The Dressing Room

Over the last week I’ve been putting an American Vintage Jacksonville T-shirt through its paces. I must admit, I’m no stranger to these fabulous tees as you can see here and here. They really are great little tops though, a flattering deep v-neck, slightly flared with rolled, raw edges for added cool-French-girl effect. I also really like the slight slub effect of the fabric and the depth of the colour. These tees come in a vast array of colours, but the lovely Jaime at The Dressing Room picked out this gorgeous plum one for me to try out:

20131029-184805.jpgA great choice, I think! A beautiful colour for A/W, it looks fabulous with navy, black, grey, burgundy – all my favourites! Anyway, enough eulogising, on to the road test…

I spend quite a lot on my wardrobe so I like to make my clothes work, hard. I hate it when something lovely hangs there sadly only getting the occasional outing because it just doesn’t fit in with my lifestyle. With this in mind, I wanted to make sure I could make this T-shirt work for all occasions; dressing up, dressing down and dressing for work.

I wore it to the Insiders Event at The Dressing Room:
20131029-185902.jpgIt was super easy to pair with pleather leggings and my trusty Pistol boots, and when I felt a bit chilly I just threw a plaid shirt and a scarf on top.

Outfit:

Tee – American Vintage c/o The Dressing Room
Pleather leggings – Uniqlo
Shirt – Uniqlo
Boots – Acne
Necklace – Alex Monroe
Scarf – Pure Collection
Bag – Alexander Wang

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Next, I wore it for a trip to the cinema with the nippers:
20131029-190658.jpgSlight difference in the level of glamour, but hopefully not too bad for an off duty look. The tee looks great under a fitted leather jacket and I love the colour with my grey skinnies!

Outfit:

Tee – American Vintage c/o The Dressing Room
Jacket – Oasis
Scarf – Louis Vuitton
Jeans – Goldsign
Trainers – Nike
Bangles – Tokyo Jane c/o The Dressing Room
Bag – Alexander Wang
Cute kid – Model’s own

Finally, I wore it to work. This is always the greatest challenge with a tee, I think. Our dress code is ‘business casual’ and, while that’s open to interpretation, it tends to be more business than casual.

20131029-192705.jpgApols for loo-view shot – I would have liked to have done an in-situ desk pose but my work is top secret *cough, MI5, cough*, so I can’t take any pics on the floor. This is probably my favourite outfit – I love the deep berry tones and the juxtaposition of the slubby fabric and the smooth leather.

20131029-193021.jpgI got complimented on this outfit a lot. I even got asked out on the way home – ‘do you always look this hot when you go to work?’. Smooth operator.

Outfit:

Tee – American Vintage c/o The Dressing Room
Leather Skirt – Ebay
Shoes – Michael Kors
Bag – Mulberry
Watch – Olivia Burton (similar here)

So, my verdict? This is a ‘take you anywhere’ t-shirt, it really is. The fit is great and the shape is very flattering. And, as you can tell from the intensive use it has had over the past week, it washes really well too. I cannot stand a t-shirt that loses shape after a couple of washes (I’m looking at you Helmut Lang).

At £45, these aren’t the cheapest t-shirts on the market, but the quality is fabulous and the range of colours is unrivalled. I’ve just counted and The Dressing Room have 19 colours in this style alone! Oh, and they also do a long-sleeved version too.

On my wishlist are the slate

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…the heather grey long sleeved

20131029-195052.jpg…and the cactus.

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What colours are on your wishlist? As ever the lovely folk at The Dressing Room will be only too glad to help you out should you need, so why not check out the website or pop in to get your AV fix?

P.S. I was very kindly allowed to keep the T-shirt shown in the pictures, but I already owned a couple and really do think they are great. This is a lip service free zone.

P.P.S. I told him I was married and he suggested we could keep the arrangement to ourselves. I demurred, but he did have a lovely gold tooth.

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Sunday Night Fantasy Shopping

When I was about 16, I acquired my first designer bag. It was a Louis Vuitton mini Speedy in champagne vernis and I could not have loved it more. Even though it was tiny and could just about fit my (admittedly large, it was 2001) phone, keys and lippy, I took it everywhere and felt like a princess every time I carried it. I soon had my head turned by Dior and moved on to an ostrich leather saddle bag (remember them?!) but that little Louis has stayed dear to my heart. I may even look it out the next time I’m at my parents’ house. And the saddle…

Anyway, back at the ranch, my handbag search continues. I’ve admired the Louis Vuitton Noe for a while now and when I heard it was originally designed to transport champagne (HOW decadent?!) I wanted it even more.

I’m not quite the label junkie I was at 16 though, so I’d definitely plump for the plain-coloured epi leather over any monogram alternative. For some reason LV have chosen to have a hideous mobile site and I CBA to boot up my laptop, so you’ll have to make with a tiddly picture:

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Coming in at over four figures, they’re not cheap, but the quality of Louis Vuitton bags seems to be excellent (based on my one bag and the groping of others’) so I think it would be worth it (as much as any bag can be worth over a grand!)

So is it an ‘oh, yes’ or an ‘oh, noe’? Over to you folks…

(Probably not) made in Chelsea

You’ll have noticed by now I’ve curbed my spending (a bit) in pursuit of a lovely new handbag. Broadly speaking, it hasn’t been that hard, largely owing to the fact I have quite an extensive wardrobe, but there is one item I’ve had a yen for – a pair of Chelsea boots. I remember having a pair from Ravel (remember them?) when I was about 8 or 9 and loving them, and just lately I’ve been thinking they might be the solution to all my footwear problems (so, just like every other pair of boots I’ve ever bought then?)

At first I thought I might get the Russell & Bromley Cadogans, which I’ve wanted for a couple of years but, being a constantly evolving creature, I have now decided they are too shiny.

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The Grenson Jessies are very similar but less shiny and I really like these, but I’m not yet totally sure whether I want brogue detailing or not.

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If I were going to opt for brogue detailing, these Balenciaga Arenas would be the dream. Well, if they’re good enough for Kate Moss…

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From the sublime to the ridiculous but also pretty sublime, I saw this beautiful blue velvet Penelope Chilvers pair in the flesh at Matches the other day. They are sumptuous, but I need to remember my lifestyle is not one into which a pair of velvet boots would easily fit.

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A surprising contender from M&S here – the navy elastic insert adds a bit of interest and I always get on well with an almond toe (I have weird pointy feet).

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If I could have any boots at all it would be this Saint Laurent pair, but they would eat quite heavily into the bag fund and I’d have to get the Gucci Disco (the cheapest on my shortlist – what a hardship). They are pretty special though.

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I’ve always had a good success rate with Dune boots, and I like the low ankle on this pair. Not the most exciting by any means, but I do like them.

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And onto the ones I’ll probably buy – the Dr Martens Kensington Flora. I used to love my DMs as a kid and I think I’m ready for my first adult pair. This is a nice entry level option before I graduate to the 8-hole.

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They also come in burgundy, which I really love, but would that be limiting? I don’t know.

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So which do you like the best? Please don’t say the Saint Laurent…

Insiders Event at The Dressing Room

This week I had the privilege of attending The Dressing Room’s Insiders Event.

20131024-200454.jpgHell, I knew it was going to be good when the invite turned up looking like this:
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I’ve been collaborating with the store for a while now testing out products, styling looks and generally showcasing their fantastic wares, so it was about time I got myself up to St Albans for a gander. I most certainly was not disappointed.
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The event was to celebrate the relaunch of a brand new Dressing room complete with beautiful decor and a slick website (the site isn’t live quite yet, but I’ve had a sneak peek and it is fab!) Having seen some pics on Twitter I couldn’t wait to get in and rifle through those rails!

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I was also keen to meet Deryane, the one-woman whirlwind behind the store’s success since the launch in 2005. Readers, I have a new girl crush. The passion with which she spoke about her business was so inspiring, not to mention the glut of awards she has won! I was thrilled also to meet the team. Every member of shop-floor staff is a trained stylist and it shows, they are attentive without being pushy and as happy to let you browse as to style you head to toe. They all share the same vision; making shopping at the store an ‘experience’. And don’t just take my word for it, I have a lovely friend who is a St Albanite and DR regular (*waves to Sally*) who regularly raves about the customer service.

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The Dressing Room stocks 80(!) brands, so the feel is more like that of an intimate department store than a small boutique. You know, one where the staff care about you rather than giving you the snooty up-and-down. The clothes are arranged tonally, complimenting each other and punctuated with glittering display cabinets full of jewellery and racks of colourful scarves.

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Behind the till is a display of tit tape and chicken fillets ahem, wardrobe solutions, while Spanx and tights are also available. I love the idea that you can get the whole lot in one place. No buying a plunging dress and then schlepping off to Boots here

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Prices start at around £20, and this was a deliberate decision by Deryane. She explained that she never wanted anyone to feel too intimidated by the more expensive labels to come in. I think this philosophy is as savvy as it is sensitive. A 16 year old might start her Dressing Room journey with a Tokyo Jane bangle or Great Plains top and end up buying J Brand jeans and Ash boots in her thirties and beyond.

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The brands themselves sit alongside each other beautifully. Deryane certainly has fantastic taste. At one point I joked that I’d ‘take one of each’… I wasn’t really joking.

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After a natter with the other bloggers and a glass or two of fizz, I got to play dress-up. You can practically hear the hand clapping and squealing, can’t you?

20131024-194304.jpgHere I am trying on a gorgeous panelled Great Plains dress and subtly metallica Lola Cruz boots

20131024-194311.jpgAnd here in a Great Plains pleather sleeve t-shirt and Hudson camo jeans. The girls made some great suggestions for us all, and needless to say I couldn’t resist a couple of purchases, one of which was this Lola Rose ring:

20131025-101057.jpgIt was a real ‘gotta have it’ moment and I’m already regretting not snapping up the matching pendant! I’m going to do some heavy hinting to the other half in the run up to the festive season.

Speaking of which, it felt like Christmas when we got our goody bags! We each got our own gorgeous Becksondergaard scarf (modelled below – look who got the neon!), plus a few other treats, which you’ll see in situ over the coming weeks.

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20131024-200440.jpgAll in all, it was a delightful way to spend an afternoon, and I’m so glad I made the trip. I’m already itching to get back for that necklace… And maybe the dress… And there was this pair of trainers too…

A big thank you to Deryane and the girls for being such great hosts!

P.S. This is not a sponsored post (though I was plied with alcohol and given a beautiful goody bag) and, as ever, I wouldn’t recommend anything I didn’t wholeheartedly believe in.

Sunday Night Fantasy Shopping

Today I took my progeny to the cinema to see ‘Cloudy with a chance of meatballs 2’ (decent kids film, recommend). While I was standing in the lobby amongst the bedlam of 25,981 other parents and their offspring, I spotted a lady toting this little lovely (only in cream, her toddlers must be significantly more sanitary than mine):

20131020-185403.jpgI keep veering wildly between wanting a great big tote which will accommodate all the clutter I lug day-to-day and the idea of a compact cross-body number (thus accepting I will always need that overflow Le Pliage). The baby Marcie has shoved me firmly toward the latter, as it was just scrumptious in real life. Aargh, who knew buying a bag would be such an ordeal?

Do it like a dude

While I was in hospital, I suffered a terrible loss. You see, my husband was in charge of the washing machine and I arrived my favourite navy merino sweater would now struggle to fit my three year old son. Bless him, he tried (and it could have been worse, at least it wasn’t cashmere).

Anyway, in the spirit of treating every problem as an opportunity, I went shopping for a replacement. My original was from Gap, but was bought with a code and I baulk at paying full price for anything from Gap – I mean, why would you? I found myself looking at the selection in Uniqlo, but for some reason, a ladies crew neck jumper in there looks like this:

20131016-211630.jpgErm, no. That ain’t a crew neck, that there’s a scoop neck. However, on inspection of the mens’ section, I struck knitwear gold! A proper crew neck and soft merino in a deep shade of navy for £19.90? Don’t mind if I do. The XS is a nice fit – perfect shoulder width with a little slouch.

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Outfit:

Jumper – Uniqlo
Skirt – Baukjen
Shoes – Jimmy Choo
Necklace – Alex Monroe

So, what do you buy from the mens’ section/nick from your other half’s wardrobe?

And I’m back

So here I am. A little older, a little slimmer but probably not any wiser. Excuse the pasty visage – I was just pleased to make it into the office today!
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Outfit:

Dress – Hobbs
Shoes – Banana Republic

I’m giving my Bicester bargain dress an inaugural wear today. It’s exactly what I needed this morning – comfy, cosy and it has pockets! What more could a girl ask?!

Back tomorrow having hopefully done something about my hair…