By SolihullStyle      Jan 07, 2019

STALKER!

A Happy New Year to you! I hope you had a lovely Christmas. The January sales are still on. They seem to get earlier every year and may well be out shadowed by Black Friday deals. You probably all know my mantra by now when it comes to sale shopping. I tread very carefully and try hard not to to be swayed by the reduced prices. I’ll “stalk” something I really wanted when it was full price and pounce on the first day of sale! I’ll buy a classic that I’ll get a lot of wear out of. The fashion items …well I’ll wait for the new season for that and buy a few high street finds to update my wardrobe. This year was no different. A black wool blazer from COS was my victim.  I’d tried it on before Christmas and I knew instantly I loved it. To cut a long story short…and trust me I can drag out a story, I waited and got it the minute it went into sale at half price. I’ll get a good pair of jeans too…the ones that I can NEVER in a million years justify the cost of. I’ll do my research before the sales and then hold my nerve for as long as I can! They are in the bag…literally!

BUY A BLAZER!

I love a good blazer. It’s up there with a good leather jacket. Pick a style that works for you and you’ll never look back. There’s every option available these days and it’s easy to celebrate your own style and look. I love a slightly oversized fit then a can wear a thin wool sweater underneath, it’s a nice way of dressing down a tailored piece, gives a bit of attitude and stops it looking like you’ve used your work blazer at the weekend! Great with jeans, obviously and I’ve worn mine chucked over a dress. Mixing casual clothes with tailored items can be great fun and slightly unexpected whilst stopping my biker boots looking too…errr..grungy! I think you know what I mean? There’s a few ideas for you below. The sales are leaving sizes very limited but I’ve tried to pick styles that still have a size range left. You know I’m a fan of actually going shopping and there’s still choice on the shop floor if you see something online you like but your size is out of stock. Maybe call ahead first? Stores might not hold sale items but at least you can find out if there’s a chance of trying it. The winter sales can offer something that can be worn now and into Spring at a fraction of the price and give you the chance to purchase something really special if you shop savvy. It doesn’t have to be the mistake that hangs unworn in the wardrobe with it’s sale ticket still swinging because it was only £….??

JOSEPH WAS £455 NOW £185

MASSIMO DUTI WAS £139 NOW £99.95 COS new season ZARA WAS £69.99 NOW £49.99

 

MASSIMO DUTI WAS £169 NOW £84.95 ALLSAINTS (sale) availble in stores GERARD DAREL WAS £ 355 NOW £177

GERARD DAREL WAS £ 325 NOW £130 ZARA WAS £79.99 NOW £39.99 ALLSAINTS WAS £228 NOW £127.20 on promo

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little post. I hope you managed to get yourself something nice? I’ve noticed there are still some great bargains in the leather handbag departments. I’ll be posting some new season trends soon I’m sure. Keep a look out on my Facebook page as I often post it there to be quick. I’ve invested more time in Instagram too so if you’d like to see more regular up to the minute fashion fun then please come and join the party. I’ve been doing this fashion thing all my life and I couldn’t do it without all your support, so thank you. Every share and every comment or like makes a difference.

Thank you for reading XXX

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Nov 25, 2018

BIKER BOOTS AND DAY DRESSES!

The clue is in the title. I LOVE my biker boots. I bought them to wear watching the boys play rugby on Sundays just to feel a bit more fashionable really. I spend a lot of time watching my kids and I just got sick of wearing the same dirty old boots! I now have a problem though.. I love then that much that I want to wear them all the time! With black jeans on Sunday is fine and does what it needs to do to keep out the elements. Anyone who stands pitch side in an open field now it’s got so cold will understand the clothing choices we just have to make. The rest of the time though I’ve been enjoying dressing them up! I like some femininity in my outfit when I’m wearing a style of boot like this. I wouldn’t wear combats or blue jeans. Obviously that’s a good look too…just not on me! I’ve worn mine with tailored trousers and a smart coat. I love the juxtaposition between biker style footwear and tailoring. Slightly unexpected. The obvious other choice would be to wear them with dresses and skirts. It’s far too cold now to wear mine with bare legs and a midi dress….come spring I’m in! I wouldn’t wear a midi with tights and ankle boots…it’s just not for me. I do get the idea of opaques and shorter dresses and ankle boots though. I’ve always loved it on other people but never taken the plunge myself. For some reason I woke up one day and decided just to do it! I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. Knowing what suits you and what you’re going to wear can be a very good thing….it’s our comfort zone. Today I stepped out of mine, to not do anything by halves, it was bright red too!

 

DAY DRESSES!

You all know I’m a fan of dresses. They make getting dressed super easy. They are an outfit all in one. The high street is a wash with options depending on your budget and your style. I’m a fan of ALLSAINTS for day wear with a bit off edge and there’s 30% off at the mo for Black Friday. Gap is fab too online for unexpected bargains. My dress was from Gap (previous season but similar online). Every shoe brand has done the biker boot too…short for time? Check out Zara or Topshop for budget friendly options or go all out at designer level if that’s your bag. Add your own leather belt to make a high street find look more expensive and to add your own personality. Mine is a vintage Levis studded belt from a car boot for £3 so wasn’t expensive in itself but adds interest and ties in the boots. I never thought I’d be in a shorter hemline again but you know what…. I don’t care as much what people think as the years go by and I’m enjoying challenging myself out of my own comfort zone.

 

Far left ALLSAINTS; middle two ZARA, and HERE; far right SOSANDAR available in red too but limited sizes

Well I hope you’ve all survived Black Friday. There are still some deals floating around and some may continue through Cyber Monday. The shops have definitely gone all glittery and Christmasy! Scary how quickly the winter season goes. There are sequins everywhere! I hope you enjoy the festive season ahead and I’m sure I’ll pop up with a post or two.  If you enjoy my musings and like seeing more regular updates then I’d love to see you over on Instagram. I’m looking forward to 2019 with lots of exciting new ventures on the horizon with more opportunity to meet people and talk personal style and fashion.  Thank you for all your support this year. I’ve seen my little brand grow and develop in these uncertain times so once again THANK YOU XXX

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Oct 30, 2018

A DRESS FOR ALL SEASONS!

It’s gotta be the best style of dress EVER. Love anything that can be worn lots of different ways. My days of buying something in haste for a Saturday night out are over. Don’t you just love items that you can wear with sneakers or dress up for work or a nice day out. This was one such day. It was my birthday and we were going to watch Bohemian Rhapsody at the cinema. If you get a chance to see the film I can highly recommend it. Like most life stories of talented people it’s both sad and wonderful at the same time. Thought provoking and challenging. There’s a tragic dark side but his talent and his character were larger than life. He made no excuses for being talented and I loved that. It made me think.

LIMITED EDITION!

My dress has pretty much sold out. I know this can be annoying when bloggers post stuff you want but you can’t get anymore. I then wanted to write this blog anyway because actually it has made it more relevant to an individual. What do I mean? Well, often it’s better to find what works for you. I’ve been shopping with clients and friends and been asked where the good dresses are by lots of  people since I first posted this particular Mango dress and actually you can’t beat going out and doing some real shopping. It’s an easy style to style! But it’s not always as easy to find one that suits you. The length, the neckline; the colour and the “look” will all determine whether a certain one feels like your perfect dress. If you want to add curves to your torso you could wear a thin polo neck underneath. If you want to minimise a bust then maybe try a wrap style dress or a shirt style dress and unbutton as low as you dare. If you’re petite or feel some dresses swamp you then find a more tailored fit that’s not too long. It’s taken me what feels like forever to find mine. I’ve ordered so many on line only to hate them on arrival. It’s why I  tread very carefully when I post random items on my posts from the internet. I don’t want you guys to waste your time on something that in reality is just pants! Either the print is white and bleached on the back and clearly visible when you walk or the fabric is just cheap and nasty. You often can’t tell from online images. You’d think the price point would give you a hint to the quality of the product but sometimes this doesn’t always pan out. Sometimes, obviously not always ( some of my online punts have been great buys), it’s easier in the long run to go shopping and be able to touch it, feel it; smell it as it were!!!  It’ll depend on how much you want to invest in the look too as to where you choose to shop. Animal print, polka dots and floral prints are everywhere..just go with an open mind and try lots of different ones on. Try not to get frustrated, stay calm, stop for a coffee and have fun! You will instinctively know as a dress has a way of taking no prisoners. There’s nowhere to hide, you will either love it or hate it. I went shopping with a friend recently on a Sunday for a bit of a jolly to set me up for the half term! I was not on personal shopper mode…it was my day off …. I made her try lots of different ones on and she knew what she liked once the different styles were on. It boiled down to colour and length for her. Like me she loved the idea of being able to wear a dress lots of different ways for lots of different occasions. Be inspired and have a go.

FROM BEACH TO BAR!

Obviously not literally. Though saying that the theory works! I will wear mine with flip flops when the season chances! Wear with sneakers, ankle boots (flat or high… whatever style floats your boat), high boots or slides. Chuck on the cover-up of your choice from an oversized belted cardi to a biker, a blazer or a tailored wool coat. Adding your own belt can make a high street dress look more expensive.

 

DON’T JUDGE ME!

I have had birthday money burning a whole in my pocket. The past tense is a clue. I have to say I think this seasons’ styles have been particularly good and I’ve had a little bit of a splurge! I’ll share them over the next few weeks. Let’s just say I’ve fallen in love with COS. I never did very well there before as I find the fit a bit shapeless but this season I could’ve spent a small fortune in there! I hope you’re managing to stay warm in this cold snap. Thank you for reading. thank you for every like, comment and share. It means the world to my little home grown venture and to me… XXX

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Oct 25, 2018

A TRIP TO TRINNY!

I’m going to make this short and sweet so that you get yourself down to Selfridges in Birmingham ASAP! It’s that simple. Trinny Woodall of Trinny london make up brand is at her pop up store in Selfridges until the 31st October. I figured that if it’s your thing you’d just like to know it’s happening and be able to go rather than wait for a detailed blog and it be too late?! There’s a whole press release about all the products but I think you’re going to love the range as much as me and what you want to achieve with your make up will be as beautifully individual as you are. The team there will guide you through. You can make appoints online at Selfridges. I just turned up for a nose as I was lucky enough to meet Trinny at Bicester Village where I had my “match to me” profile done. She was so lovely today and so hands on I couldn’t quite believe it actually. She got stuck in and helped anyone that she could with the colours that would suit their complexion best, cool tips and the best way to achieve a flawless look. My favourite products are the BBF cream, the lip to cheek and the lip glow. All in little stack pots that are ideal for the gym, your work bag or travel. There’s a new warmer shaded highlighter too….but I’m not going to spoil your fun! Part of the excitement is in the discovery of something new! Once you understand your skin tone the world is your oyster. If I prattle on at length this blog won’t happen and you’ll miss the chance to go. Let’s face it (pardon the pun!)… if you want to know more have a sneaky peak online! Rocket science here!

A GILT FREE CHOCOLATE BOX!

 

 

 

I realise this blog hasn’t got it’s usual wit and attention to detail whilst showcasing my normal literary prowess but jokes aside this stuff is serious stuff with serious results so, seriously you’ll be glad I didn’t get on my soap box this time! Thank you for reading. I’d love to know what you think of the range if you manage to visit the pop up or if you’ve already bought anything. There’s a short video over on stories on my Instagram @solihullstyle.

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Sep 09, 2018

BIKINIS AND KAFTANS GO TOGETHER LIKE SWIMMING POOLS AND UNICORNS!

Finding the right swimwear is up there with finding the perfect pair of jeans. Our body shapes vary so much and it can be tricky to tick all ones boxes at the same time. I’m bigger in my top than my bottom which tends to be different to the average woman so more often than not I steer towards styles that offer a cup sized bikini top. Swimsuits can be less of a challenge but not always. I mentioned in previous blogs that I had planned to do a swimwear blog this year. I like to do one every year as It’s the one chance I get to take some really different pictures in sunny holiday locations and to highlight anything I think is helpful to readers. This spring I didn’t find anything that really floated my boat. I preferred the ones I had from previous years so you all know me by now and know I won’t buy anything I don’t really love and I’ll always wait until I find “the one”. Well now I have! I was recently approached by an online swimwear boutique and asked if I’d look at their swimwear to possibly write a blog. When I looked at the brands they stocked the answer was absolutely yes! I won’t post anything on my blog that I wouldn’t happily buy and wear myself. I can’t tell you how I wish I’d seen their website before I went on holiday in July. I’m not going to dwell on it anymore though as actually it doesn’t matter, I’ve found them now and I will continue to buy their swimwear and beachwear. I chose a bikini by GOTTEX  from a few different styles and brands that I ordered to try. The colours are gorgeous, it’s fully lined and is such a comfortable and secure fit. Popping in and out of the pool, swimming and lounging around it just didn’t move. I love the fact I can actually swim properly in it and it can be worn as a full bandeau, a halter (as pictured below) or from the centre and tied around the neck. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own and I was totally in control of the styles I chose to feature. I have managed to get you guys a discount code!!! (all details at the end ). I’ve already got quite a wish list going on myself including a sun hat for next year and another kaftan! If you’re lucky enough to be going away for some late summer sun now the school hols are over then have a little look online. If you’re a gym bunny they stock a nice selection of Speedo. If you like “Miraclesuit swimwear” then there’s new arrivals to tempt you. If you love your spas and retreats or if you realise, like me, that there’s never a wrong time to buy the right thing and a lot to be said for being prepared, then have a mooch. It’s nice to find something a bit different isn’t it? Oh and they stock kaftans and beach dresses, fake tans; kids swimwear; mens’ swimwear and various other accessories. I’m wearing a kaftan by Aspiga… you may have heard of them? They stock cover-ups and bikinis (often designed to go together) which makes shopping online easy without excessive delivery charges.

 

 

 

 

 

BIKINI – Gottex Island Hoping Bikini (I’m wearing size 10E) – full GOTTEX range here

KAFTAN – Aspiga festival kaftan  (I’m wearing a size S/M) – full ASPIGA  range here

BASKET – mini pom- pom Bohemia design

FLIP FLOPS – Havaianas at The White Company

SUNGLASSES – Missoni at TK Maxx

JEWELLERY – Whistles

DISCOUNT CODE!

We all love a discount code. Readers of this blog can get 15% off at www.ukswimwear.com with code SOLIHUL (notice there’s only one L) for a year until 04/09/19. It’ll work on everything including sale items but not in conjunction with any other offer. The code can be used once per customer. Delivery charges will apply but there’s free returns.

So the bikini blog happened after all. Maybe not in the conventional way but I guess that’s me all over! We’ve had an amazing summer this year with glorious weather. I’m not buying into winter fashion just yet though it’s back to work for the new season with clients. There may be leopard print ahead!

Thank you to Becky for her help finding a location for this blog at short notice and Karen for the use of her pool. Thank you to Rachael at ukswimwear.com, I must’ve driven you nuts! Thank you to Emma for lending me your unicorn. A massive thank you to the long suffering Mr.W for taking the photos and his patience. I won’t let him use any filters or touch up any pics but we do remove the odd football or fence from the background! I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog and manage to make use of the saving on your next purchase.

 

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Aug 26, 2018

SHE WORE HER PYJAMAS OUT IN PUBLIC?!

Oh yes I did! Often been known to wear my pyjama top under my coat on the school run, I’m no stranger to wearing strange things in strange places. I think you know what I mean? I wish I could put emojis on my blog! I’ve always worn sleepwear as outerwear out and about, maybe not on the school run or into my local town but most definitely on holiday. There’s huge benefits to wearing sleepwear as daywear, I’ve not gone completely mad I promise! It makes perfect sense. It’s usually easy care so washes well and dries quickly, it often comes in pretty colours with nice little details and if you buy summer weight sleepwear then it’s super cool to wear in really hot climates. The right pieces can make great swimwear cover ups or beach trousers. Avoid really obvious bedtime prints. Look for sporty details, pom poms or tassels. These will all enhance a holiday, care free vibe.  I’ve had these GAP neon printed shorts for absolutely yonks. Wearing them with a new this summer linen blouse they felt current again. I’ve found a new trick too this summer. Well new to me anyway. You stylish lot have probably always been aware of the benefits of athleisure wear!? I’m a bit late to the party! I’ve fallen for wearing a sports bra on holiday. Oh wow how ground breaking! (emoji needed!) But seriously! I just can’t get on with strapless bras and the ones that actually fit are all padded and boned and just too darn hot and restrictive on holiday. I feel like I’m one step away from wearing a ball gown! The benefit of wearing a low impact sports bra (I’d need high impact for any real exercise) is that they tend to have thinner and prettier straps. Way thinner and prettier than any boulder holder I have to wear on a normal day to day basis. I quite like the thin satin straps on show under a top. I’d much rather see that than a wide nude utility strap, you know the sort I mean that usually appear on T-shirt bras or the bra fat ( OMG there’s no other way to describe it I’m sorry xx) and ridge I get with a strapless bra! I’m a real stickler for not showing bra straps in normal situations. It’s a phobia of mine. Stupid I know. So the whole sports bra thing on holiday has just been such a style revelation for me after years of struggling with the right lingerie under strappy tops and vests and racer backs ….and and and! Thank goodness for sportswear being such a massive movement in fashion. I hope it’s a trend that sticks around. So as feeling cool and relaxed and comfortable on holiday reigned so this outfit emerged from the pieces that remained clean in my case towards the end of a wonderful holiday.

WELL WHA’DA YOU KNOW?

Who would have thought that a pair of pj shorts and a humble £7.99 brightly coloured sports bra would have got me so excited!! It’s the possibilities that now follow that has made me sit up and take notice. All those floaty strappy sun dresses that I thought I couldn’t wear? All those slightly sheer sporty sun tops? Oh my next summer…. nothing is gonna stop me!

 

BLOUSE – massively oversized… I’m wearing UK size 6  – H&M

SPORTS BRA – H&M

COTTON SHORTS – GAP

SUNGLASSES – H&M

LIP GLOW – Trinny London in Tallis

This may well be good-bye summer? But maybe not? I’ve not yet done a blog about swimwear. I tend to do one every year but this year I didn’t find a new cozzie. I tried, I really did. I tried swimsuits and bikinis but nothing really floated my boat so I made do on holiday this time around… But ….. watch this space because I may well have a little something up my sleeve!

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Aug 16, 2018

TALKING SHORTS!

Well a slight exaggeration… but out the door in under 30 definitely! Usually I’d reach for a dress in these kinda situations but with all the wonderful weather we’ve been having of late I’ve been forced to embrace shorts. For some reason this year I just thought, what the hell, no one cares what I look like and it’s too darn hot! So on this morning where I wanted to be outta the house ASAP shorts it was. I’d been taking it so slowly that morning but I just got to the point where I was sick of the kids playing Fortnite! Does anyone else do that? Let them play for ages then suddenly feel guilty and shout “GOOOOO!” ” We’re going out NOOOOWWWW!” Then realise you’re not actually out of your PJs yourself!! All the time the electric baby sitter is working for me I’m happy to go along with it and have the rest but once I get a bee in my bonnet that enough is enough, then that’s it…I shout “off”  like some screaming banshee! The boys must wonder what suddenly changes?! Bad mom! With no extra time to think once I had committed myself to going out I just grabbed my shorts, chucked on a white T; slid on some slides; grabbed a bag and bundled them into the car. I love these wide leg linen shorts from H&M. I bought them a few weeks ago and love how comfortable they are, maybe a bit too comfortable! They have sold out on line but I picked mine up in store. FYI, they are generous and I went down a size.

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY!

Off we all went to get the things on our list ticked off. Take strapless bra back, get eldest to try school shoes on (didn’t happen!) and look at other strapless bra options in John Lewis. The search is still on btw for the holy grail of strapless bras to miraculously show itself! I’ve got the perfect camisole to wear with these shorts still languishing unworn in my wardrobe. If you’ve been reading my blogs for a while now you’ll know the main reason why they don’t happen more frequently is because I struggle to get photos at the weekend with busy family life and kids sporting activities. Back from holiday and a little mooch around town with a coffee break seemed the perfect opportunity to teach the little people how to take a picture suitable for social media. Simple right? WRONG! It became a competition and a fight for my phone and who could take the best pic! It was like watching men fight over the TV remote. Anyway it cost me two fizzy drinks, a chocolate brownie and a packet of biscuits but they had also had to endure Bravissimo too so fair is fair, right?! They were horrified that the store actually used the word “BOOB!” and “there were pictures of pineapples on them too mummy!”  Boys!  This blog wouldn’t have happened without them and joking aside they were great and very patient and not bad pics were taken despite the hilarity.

 

 

 

 

SHORTS – H&M

LEATHER SLIDES – Banana Republic

LINEN T – The White Company

LEATHER BASKET TOTE BAG – Tory Burch at Bicester Village

WATCH – Fossil

SUNGLASSES – FCUK at Boots

NECKLACES and EARRINGS – Whistles

 

 

Thank you for reading. the next blog will follow soon…..more shorts!

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Jul 01, 2018

BIG ON BICESTER!

You’ve all heard of Bicester Village. I’m sure many of you have shopped there. If you haven’t been for a while then it may well be worth a visit? A lot has changed and there are new units with a swanky new extension to the existing Village. Some of your favourites may have moved and there’s lots of new brands like Joseph, Under Armour and Lululemon. The older I get the more I learn to appreciate what Bicester has to offer in way of a shopping experience. I love going there. It feels like a treat. It a beautiful place to shop and it’s lovely being able to see and touch beautiful things. I’m more than happy to admit that I’m learning to like better quality as I mature. The kids are getting older too so my lifestyle is changing. I no longer have sick down my back…. ewww!!  My day is very different now that I’m working and the children are in full time education. I can actually get away with the odd dry clean only item! I don’t believe in keeping anything for best but a few years ago buying anything of quality was just a complete waste of money, emotionally exhausting and silk suicide!! Obviously high street buys have their place. I love buying my holiday wardrobe. Some fun bits to wreck on my hols! For this I tend to take myself off to Birmingham and actually go shopping for myself. Real shopping, not online shopping. I’m sick to death of ordering copious amounts of clothes online only to return. Finding ones size has become particularly frustrating of late on the high street and I find trying clothes on in store much more effective. I find buying a whole outfit much easier if I’m shopping in a real shop. It’s all there on hand to try together. If I buy an outfit I find I wear it rather than having a wardrobe full of white elephants where nothing goes together. Holiday packing is way easier if you pack outfits that work together and find pieces that also make sense in other scenarios too. This also helps to limit packing too many shoe styles. I’ll probably post my outfit flat lays for you soon to illustrate the point.  Any way, back to Bicester.

BACK TO BICESTER!

A few weeks ago I got the amazing opportunity to go to an invite only VIP Prada event located in the “Apartments” at Bicester Village. I was a dear friend’s plus one. How super lucky was I. All the pieces were samples so most, if not all, were one off pieces at up to 70% off. We had the most amazing day in the stunning VIP suites. This is just the most beautiful hospitality space for special events and guests of the Village that wish to elevate their day to something more tailor made to their shopping needs. The staff were really friendly and it was a great experience.  One I felt hugely privileged to be able to take part in and a day I’ll never forget. Thank you Bicester.  After the event we did some extra shopping in The Village. I totally get that we all have very different budgets and what is a daily spend to one person, is totally out of reach to another but I’ve always enjoyed my visits to Bicester Village. If you go with good company and an open mind then you never know what you might find. That’s the fun of it! It seemed rude not to share these photos with you so I hope you enjoy them.

Handbag – PRADA

Thank you for reading. I hope you are all enjoying this glorious weather we are having at the moment. Hopefully I’ll get to do another blog soon, until then, stay safe in the sun! XXX

 

Valerie

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