(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…

C150 – Day 2

So, Day One passed without incident, but then even I would hope I’d make it one day.

Do you ever think about ‘the one that got away’? Just to be straight here, I’m talking about dresses, not blokes. Most of those were instantly forgettable, and if I remember them, it’s usually for the wrong reasons. Anyway, I digress.

This dress was, for a time, that one that got away. I first spotted it on a trip to Bicester just before my daughter was born, two years ago. When I say ‘just’, I really do mean it; I was three days away from my due date. At one point I started having painful Braxton Hicks in Petit Bateau, and my mum started hyperventilating at the prospect of delivering a baby at an outlet centre. To be honest, it could have been a good thing, depending on their gift hamper policy. Anyway, her luck was in and I had another week to wait, so we popped into LK Bennett, where I spotted (bah-dum-tish) this lovely midnight blue, leopard print wrap dress. Problem was, they only had it in a size 8, and at the time I was approximately size whale, so I regretfully left it there and bought an ugly, green North Face cagoule instead (hormones).

A year later, I was trying to find a dress for a couple of weddings, and I thought to myself ‘wouldn’t it be nice if I had that blue leopard print dress?’. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, a few clicks on Ebay and one was winging it’s way to me for a very reasonable £30, and as I was now more size porpoise than size whale, the 8 fitted a dream. I do love a happy ending.

So, after quite a big build up (sorry, I’m bored on my commute) here is said dress:

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It really is a lovely fit and, I think, rather flattering. Unlike a lot of wrap dresses, it doesn’t make me look like a busty barmaid, and there is enough of a ‘wrap’ that I don’t flash my thighs to all and sundry. Yes, I’m one satisfied customer.

Outfit:

Dress – LKB via EBay
Shoes – Russell & Bromley
Necklace – Next

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.

New Jersey

I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. It was too early and too cold. What I really wanted was to stay cosseted in my fleece pyjamas. Luckily, being a naturally slovenly creature, most of my wardrobe is themed around the importance of comfort.

You’ve seen my Me&Em capped sleeve ruched dress before, and I’m sure I’ve sufficiently extolled its virtues, but it is just so comfortable and flattering, I can’t help but rave! I’ve paired it with a little jersey jacket from American Vintage and belted it in to stop me looking too bag lady.

So, there you have it; the closest possible (work-appropriate) outfit to pyjamas in my wardrobe. Perfect for yet another dreary, freezing ‘Spring’ day.

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See, I’m so tired, I’ve even got my eyes shut…

Outfit:
Dress – Me&Em
Jacket – American Vintage (navy or grey still available)
Tights – Falke
Shoes – Russell & Bromley
Watch – Michael Kors
Belt – Steve Madden via TK Maxx