By SolihullStyle      Oct 24, 2017

 AUTUMN!

It was straight back to work after the summer holidays and now we are already at the mid season sale point. This is when things start to get interesting and the high street starts to really find it’s feet and come up with the goods as the mid seasons sales disappear and the new drop arrives. After half term I’ll be back to it with a fully booked first week. In short life is hectic. Crammed  full to the brim. On the days I’m not working I’ll kick back with a gym workout and catching up with friends at our favourite coffee shop. Well life can’t be all work and no play can it?!

TO SPEND OR NOT TO SPEND!

That is the question. I don’t need any clothes but obviously I’m drawn in by the trends. I do love winter for it’s cosy knits and luxurious fabrics. The down side is that this can come with a hefty price tag. Good bags and great coats aren’t cheap. I can give you the trends and you can choose if you want to buy into a quick fashion fix or not. I’m seduced by all the beautiful berry shaded coats this season from scarlet red to deepest burgundy. The high street has it’s versions and you can pick your price range depending on your budget. “Check” weave is EVERYWHERE and wear it from head to toe in the form of a matching suit if you really want to make a statement and wear this season’s heritage vibe the 2017 way. I’ll be punctuating mine with a dash of denim if I finally give in and buy a check blazer! I think I’ll be giving check cropped wide trousers a miss. Red boots and sock boots are here to stay another season and actually the red options can be more versatile than one might first expect, looking good with blue denim and more tailored pieces alike. As always the trends prove to be a mine field. This season is no different and the high street continues to be quite extreme. Extreme in it’s styling and extreme in it’s details and extreme in sometimes providing a very oversized fit. I haven’t bought anything new this season yet. I find this blogging malarkey my biggest challenge. I’m increasingly drawn to buying less but buying better. I realise the pieces that I love the most in my wardrobe are the pieces that have cost the most. I am trying to save my money and buy great things rather than lots of bits and bobs that all add up in the end. If you’ve ever got any questions about the season’s looks then feel free to ask away but don’t expect me to be wearing them all! What am I looking for then? What’s on the wish list?

1) A day dress. Huge challenge here so don’t hold your breathe!

2) Comfortable shoes I can walk in all day that are NOT trainers!

3) Simple knitwear to go under coats (I post this every winter so I’m on it  this time around and I’ll keep you posted)

4) Good quality jeans (as per!)

5) Maybe a new trouser shape? hmmmm, not sure, still mulling this one over! Side stripe trousers are still holding strong and I like them but…….

WEEKEND WEAR!

There’s no surprises then that my “outfit of the day” in this blog is fairly classic with some investment pieces thrown in to illustrate my point! The outfit was understated on purpose as there’s a lot going on in some of these pictures!  I can’t get pics of what I wear in the week very easily unless I ask a stranger. The problem is that at the weekends I spend my time watching kids play football or rugby on a cold, wet field. It’s the main reason why buying into trends has become less appealing the older I get. There’s just no chance to wear them anymore. After the normal routine of footie and the gym there was a chance to come home and play with the latest acquisition! No not a new pair of shoes, sadly for me, but something that filled the hearts of my boys with sheer delight! Anki Overdrive is in de house! I’m a mum of boys so I either choose to stay at home or go off on my own and do my own thing or I choose to watch every football match and watch every rugby match and make every bacon butty. I have chosen the later in a very conscious decision to not miss out on seeing them grow up. The arrival of this new game gave me another opportunity to choose to get stuck in and got involved. With no tricky remote control or levers, just download and use your Iphone or Android device to control your car, I quite enjoyed loosing (as always!) to my boys as they roared with laughter at my misfortune!  After a morning blowing off the cobwebs playing sport outdoors, as the day drew in, it was nice to have something to play with that the whole family could enjoy. Other than zoning out on Ipads, it’s the first toy that neither of them has got bored with. It even held their attention for longer than making slime with their Dad. They played happily together without arguments for most of the afternoon. Chatting and discussing their progress with each win giving them access to more features, weapons and vehicle capabilities. I have to say that we were very impressed with the amount of enjoyment it brought. I was kindly gifted it to try and my honest opinion is that I would recommend it to anyone. its like a 21st century Scaletrix!!

STILL A CLASSIC GIRL AT HEART!

Talking fashion. There’s nothing ground breaking about my outfit but I felt good in it. It felt like me and felt comfortable while still special with the addition of some investment pieces bought over the last year. A plan had come together shall we say?! A pea coat. Always in fashion and if you can wear a double breasted coat it’s a great item to invest in as it can look good worn with jeans; tailored trousers or over a floaty dress (hence the wish list above requiring a day dress!). The great white shirt, well no introduction required here but every wardrobe needs one. Vintage style jeans. They are mahousive this season and the high street is awash with it’s offerings. I have tried many and I have to say that I now believe that premium priced jeans are worth their price tag. Loving high cotton content denim with authentic vintage wiskering; a button fly and a high rise. Even the super polished Mrs.Beckham has been papped wearing her Vintage Levi’s! Now I have tasted quality jeans I will gradually be rebuilding my denim wardrobe styles with better versions so watch this space! A great bag. Gotta have a great bag right? Nuff said! Adds polish and the finishing touch. Boots. I have found sock boots to work really well for me. They are tight to the leg so this boot style just goes underneath my trousers or jeans. Working with all the style of trousers I have in my wardrobe from straight cut denim to kick flare trousers to cropped wide leg trousers. Simplz! There’s no worrying where everything finishes or where the bulky rouching of denim around the ankle goes. The most frequent question I get asked? “What do I do with my jeans when wearing ankle boots?” “Do my jeans go inside or out?!”

THE LEARNING CURVE!

As I get older I realise I need far less and as I grow and know who I am I find it easier to invest in clothes that I know I will wear. The risk has gone and it’s a wonderful feeling when you really know what you like. The days of buying a going out top on Saturday afternoon for the night out on Saturday night are well and truly over! The frustrating part is that I now find it really difficult to part with my hard earned pennies on poorer quality items. There’s been a turning point in the last few years and I’m trying to get my head around the shift! There’s definitely been a tipping point in my latter 40s. Having said all that, fear not Zara, I will not completely desert you and I vow to find the gems amongst the mountains of polyester!

      

GREY WOOL PEA COAT – The White Company (old)

STRAIGHT HIGH RISE JEANS – Agolde  (sold out but similar here)

WHITE SHIRT – H&M

SOCK BOOTS – Topshop (old similar here)

HANDBAG – Tods (Bicester Village)

WATCH – Fossil

BRACELET – Pandora

MUG – Villeroy and Boch

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little hop scotch around my life! Family, fashion and a good old dollop of fun. I’ll keep posting outfits and fashion when I can. Stay warm you lovely lot! Thanks for reading. XXX

Thank you to JAVA LOUNGE for letting me take pics of their cakes!

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Jul 23, 2017

MY VISIT TO THE OBAG SHOWROOM!

When it comes to illustrating what a brand is all about I sometimes think that images can speak loader than words. When a product is as fun and as individually diverses as OBAG it can be difficult to explain all the different ways these bags can be put together to suit your own individual style. That’s why OBAG invited me to come and see their new products. The team are so passionate about the brand and would love you to come and visit them at their showroom to see the bags, watches and accessories first hand for yourself and let them demonstrate all the different ways you can make your bag reflect your own personality. All the bags come fully interchangeable from the body; to the strap; to the interior inserts to the added accessories and bag charms. There’s new styles in house (including a fabulous soft back pack); new colours; new fabrics and new accessories. Visit online too to see the full collection at obagonline.com. The team are excited to introduce their new “Flower Power” styles which feature ditzy little floral motifs in a range of colours. There’s definitely something for everyone and I loved the neutral shade bags this season and I still have a soft spot for my OBAG beach which may feature  on the holiday blog with new neutral robe handles! With a massive trend this season for all things in natural shades, Obag has it covered.  My personal favourite was this milky coloured large “moon” bag. So, feast your eyes on some of the style options I photographed on my visit to the showroom and please be encouraged to pay the team a visit.

 

I hope you enjoyed this blog. It’s been a while I know since I sat down and wrote a blog but hopefully over the summer school hols I’ll get a chance to post some more. I’m not a full time blogger as I have a very busy personal shooping business. I do this for fun and to promote local businesses where I can. This is not a sponsored post. It’s done for free so all opinions are my own. You may or may not know that OBAG has closed it’s store in Touchwood in Solihull. As I said above, please feel free to call the OBAG showroom and pop along ( Unit 30 Monkspath Business Park, B90 4NZ TEL: 0845 5196161). They would be so excited to hear from you and would love to explain the products in more detail. Really, the range and options within it are endless. I’ve always thought that some of the bags (especially the Flower Power range) would be so great for young girls. My OBAG Beach was the best beach bag I’ve ever used on holiday. It was totally suncream and kids wet cozie friendly! Nothing phased it what so ever! Thank you for reading and I hope you all have a great summer!

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Oct 19, 2016

WHO’D A THOUGHT IT?

Me, wearing something a bit 90’s rock chick? It just goes to show you that it’s never too late to give something a go that you thought wasn’t going to work for you. There was something about this ZARA leather belt that spoke to me. On the surface I had no idea why but as it turns out that it’s been one of my best accessory buys in a while. With softer, fluffier hair I have been able to wear harder edged details that before just felt too… well… errrr.. hard! I remember the 90’s fashion trends not too fondly so I tread carefully the second time around but this little belt has breathed new life into my jeans! I like that it’s leather too so stands up in it’s own right as quite a nicely made product for the price.

STEPPIN’ OUT IN SOCK BOOTS!

My sock boots have come out to play for the first time too this Autumn now the weather is chilly in the mornings on the school run and blowing a bit of a hooly on the train platform first thing. Sock boots made an appearance last Winter and were worn pretty much with cropped kick flare trousers and jeans or with a skirt if you’re braver than me. This winter they are still holding strong and work with straight leg jeans and all those stepped hem breeds that have hit the high street in a big way. As long as the trouser is cropped enough to show case the slim silhouette of the boot, really anything goes.  I’ve found mine just make things feel new again and I think they will be around for a while. If you buy a pair that are well made and of good leather; in a classic colour then there’s no reason not to enjoy them for years. I’ve done my usual trick of putting something new (as in new for me, not necessarily the hottest trend!) with something fairly classic and elegant like the silk fronted jumper in the pics on this blog and a classic oversized wool coat. The modern style boot and the “of the moment” accessory made my classic staples feel A/W 2016 ready!

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Sock boots – Topshop similar available in stores

Jeans – Topshop similar here

Coat – Zara similar here

Leather ruck sack – holiday gift but I like this one

Sunglasses – Ted Baker available at Boots

Leather belt – Zara

Heart pendent necklace – Calvin Klein

Jumper – Allsaints (old)

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  HEARTS MADE BY THE SUN!

Can you see it? The heart on the wall! The sun did that! Amazing! No photoshopping what so ever but just made by the reflections on the wall! I couldn’t believe it when we looked at the pics on my phone. I hope you enjoyed reading this little outfit blog. Have you bought a great accessory this year that has transformed your look? It doesn’t have to cost the earth but it can be great fun just to try something modern without risking too much. I’ve been super busy since September with clients so the blogs have been a bit of a challenge to stay on top of. There’s not going to be much let up either over the coming weeks but I’ll do my best to keep you up to speed with anything worth flagging up. Thank you for reading!

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Sep 22, 2016

I COULDN’T BELIEVE MY EYES!

I said to the lovely sales assistant in the O Bag Store in Touchwood Solihull, “can I look at those blue sunglasses please?” “Of course!” she said. The minute she put them into my hands I think I let out a little squeal of delight! “They are velvet!” I said! Who would have thought it! Velvet being THE fabric of the season is one good reason for getting excited in my book. The photos don’t do them justice as the lenses are iridescent too. You’ll just have to go into store and check them out for yourself! The whole concept behind the sunglasses is the same as their bags. All the components are fully interchangeable so you can really have fun customising your very own pair.

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NEW SEASON NEW STYLES!

The new season is upon us and it’s a time to start looking at what’s out there. Some seasons speak to me more than others and I’ve got a horrible feeling  this Autumn/Winter might get expensive. I do love winter fashion. I think it’s the different textures and soft, luxurious fabrics. Think cashmere, wool, leather,faux fur and suede.  It’s a time to layer up. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sun too but there’s just something about coats and boots that draws me in! The new season is a time to drink it all in and enjoy shopping or just window shopping with renewed enthusiasm. Touchwood Shopping Centre Solihull is a great place to just have a relaxed day, perhaps with a friend, shopping. Explore all the great little independent boutiques we have on offer or maybe stop for a cheeky one at the new Pop-Up Prosecco bar?

NEW PRODUCT LAUNCH AT O BAG TOUCHWOOD!

Today was the launch of the new products available at O bag. The variations are endless and it’s definitely best to go and explore for yourself and see the designs in person. Ask the staff to show you how it all works! You might remember my O Bag Beach that I blogged about all summer and used nearly everyday on the beach on holiday?  Well, now there’s even more to see in store.

 

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I hope you enjoyed reading the blog. What’s your favourite season? Will you buy into velvet? Since my last blog about an outfit I have found a few hero pieces that I will share with you soon as the weather cools down a little. There’s a jumper, or two! A Birthday coat and taking “sock” boots for a spin! Exciting stuff! I might even be doing a bit of bright colour clashing! Thanks for reading.

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Sep 19, 2016

PYJAMA STYLE!

It’s a trend that has been around now for the last few seasons. Jackets, blouses and shirts all with satin or silk pyjama references. You gotta love a trend which lets you pad around town in your pyjamas? I took things one step further and styled my pyjama lounge blazer with silver slippers! How cool is that? So my lazy Sunday outfit became a choice for others days of the week too. Easy as pie to create to feel relaxed, comfortable, on trend and sort of smart all at the same time. I have worn this blazer out in the evening too at it’s satin it looks good paired with a lace cami top; jeans and heels or even, maybe, with some velvet trousers if I decide to give the fabric of Autumn/Winter 2016 a go?! What worked for me though, by pairing this silky satin number with distressed jeans, was that I was clearly not out in my sleep wear. Do the whole suit and I might get some odder than normal looks on the school run! This harks back to a previous post when I discussed Juxtaposition in fashion styling. Put the unexpected together. I will always play with styling  jeans in different ways and it was fun putting an evening piece with my denim in the day. Find your favourite clothing item, whether it be your jeans; trousers; a favourite frock or skirt and throw something unexpected at it and see what happens!

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Pyjama Blazer – ZARA (sale but similar here)

Boyfriend T – GAP (sold out but similar here)

Silver leather mules – ZARA

Distressed jeans- Levis 501s – Bicester Village Levi Outlet

Earrings – Warren James – bought in store (similar here)

Bracelets – mixed

Ring- Nomination

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Sep 14, 2016

MIXED BAG!

Now and then there are lots of things I want to share with you that, try as I might, don’t fit into a neat little package. This is one such blog. There’s fashion news; designer collaborations and shampoo all rolled into one! It’ll flow about as seamlessly as “The One Show”.

A NEW BRAND AT JOHN LEWIS!

It’s HUSH. A modern and contemporary brand comprising of reworked classics in a fairly neutral pallet. Up until now it was only available by mail order but the range is currently on the shop floor in John Lewis Grand Central Birmingham. If we play our cards right it might come to Solihull? It’s easy breezy styling makes light work of school run styling. Have a look online and see what you think.

 

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DESIGNER COLLABORATIONS!

One of the first designer collaborations I remember was when Marks and Spencer worked with Betty Jackson, John Rocha, Anthony Symmons and others who at the moment I can’t remember. It must have been around 15-20 years ago when I was working in London as I can remember seeing the clothes on the shop floor in their Marble Arch flagship store. Since then there have been many high street retailers who have followed suit with lesser or greater success. We are all familiar with Designers at Debenhams I’m sure? H&M is also famous for it’s collaborations which causes queues for miles in the early hours of the morning in Regent Street when the collection is launched in store. Within moments it’s sold out online if you even manage to get to see it before the site crashes under the strain. So what’s new this time? John Lewis has joined forces with designer duo Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding to create “MODERN RARITY” (read the VOGUE article here). The clever bit and what makes this range different from other collaborations is that it obviously has amazing design flare but it’s totally wearable. Beautifully designed classic pieces to treasure as opposed to a short lived trend taking the credit. My kind of clothes! There’s some great items for work and their famous shirts have almost sold out at the minute on line. Have a look in store and again, see what you think?

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WHAT AN EARTH WAS I THINKING!

I probably wasn’t!!! I just go full stream ahead! Stuff to say, tick! Put it in a blog, tick! Bonkers! Oh well, let’s talk shampoo then! Everyone has their favourite and everyone has a price they are willing to pay and everyone has different hair types. I’ve tried so many over the years and you could argue that all shampoos are the same. They just wash your hair don’t they? But a hairdresser once said to me that that was like saying all men are the same. Overs the years I have come to realise he was right. I’ve done the “I’ll just use baby shampoo because it’ll be kind to my hair” phase. By the way, it wasn’t (kind), it made my hair like straw. I’ve done the “I’ll buy a stupidly expensive treatment variety” because you get what you pay for don’t you? Well I didn’t (get what I paid for), I got really greasy hair! I’ve had short flings with some that I didn’t even get to the end of the bottle and I’ve had love affairs with some that lasted a good few years! At the moment I’m loving LabelM’s ( Toni and Guy) Lemongrass Shampoo and conditioner. I wash my hair everyday. My hair isn’t easy. It has a natural curl so like all hair prone to frizz it absorbs moisture making it flat and lank some days and super curly on others or even a mixture of both! It’s short but takes FOREVER to dry as it holds so much moisture. It gets greasy quickly so needs a cleansing shampoo but not one that dries it out, strips it of moisture and leaves it frizzy. All in all there’s a lot to “balance” when it comes to washing my hair. I’ve not even mentioned the dilemma of conditioner yet. Too heavy and I loose the curl and it just looks lank and oily by the end of the day; too light and I get frizz. The answer at the moment just simply seems to be this stuff which smells divine by the way too. It’s a fab everyday shampoo that quite simply does the job! I buy their supersize bottles on line which work out much cheaper and last for ages. If you’re not happy with the products you’re using at the moment then it might be worth a try? In fact I have tried a number of LabelM products and I have found that they do do what they say on the tin. WOOOHOOO, I can make a link. As it’s London Fashion Week next week I thought it only fitting to post about LabelM products as they are the official London Fashion Week hair care products. Phew, I did it! Right at the very end! Take note “The One Show!”

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LABELM Organic Moisturising Lemongrass shampoo and conditioner

I hope you’ve enjoyed this slightly nuts blog? Life it’s always wrapped up in neat little packages but I guess that’s what makes it fun. I’ll keep posting outfits as the season progresses and keep you up to speed with what I find. And by the way, I LOVE “The One Show”!! Thanks for reading!

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Sep 08, 2016

WHAT ON EARTH IS HAPPENING?

When I first started this post I thought I’d do a massive essay about this season’s trends. I started then I thought, actually, what’s the point? Scary thought! Have I lost my enthusiasm after all these years? Has the holiday been too long? Does any one read this stuff? Do they care? Do I care? Oh my I was spiralling out of control. Who am I if I don’t love THIS anymore?

PANIC OVER!

I woke up with a fresh head on my shoulders this morning and I realised it’s because (and I have been saying this for a while now!) ANYTHING goes! Those fashion editors at all the glossy magazines must have headaches from trying to make sense of it all. I’m not admitting defeat as I could make a list for you in black and white but it would be a list longer than my Tesco shopping bill after the school summer holidays with three (OK two small ones and one larger than average one!) men in the house! I’ll start just so you see my point! There’s a huge 90’s revival bringing along with it new romanticism, frills, velvet, embellishment and chokers; there’s weird shoe styles that will make your toes curl; there’s still plenty of sportswear influences with Ballet themes being on top form and there’s military spins on side stripe pants with pea coats galore. So you see anything goes. Wear an ankle boot (the sock boot holding strong); an over the knee boot; a fringed boot; an embroidered boot; a velvet boot; a boot with a block heel; a super slim heel or no heel!!!! Wear super slim styles or super oversized, really it’s up to you. Seriously, if there was ever a time not to worry about what’s in fashion, it’s now! This is great news for some but confusing for others. Those that like rules may struggle and look back on decades that were clearly defined by their look with fond nostalgia. The rebels out there will flourish. They will throw caution to the wind and rub elegance in our faces by going so far as to mix there references up and give us looks to lust over! Will I be a maverick and mix it up or will I stay true to old school style?

JUST BE YOU!

The answer is just be you! It’s not rocket science if you just try. Try something new. You never know you might just like it! Develop your inner mojo. Follow your gut. Ask yourself before you buy it, “will I wear it?”. If you like what you see and a new style makes you feel good then by golly wear it! Some of the best style and ground breaking fashion trends have come from clashing references and juxtaposition. A bit of lace with a leather biker jacket instead of a band member T-shirt adds a feminine lilt. A pair of very high heels with masculine attire whether it be tailoring or a pair of boyfriend jeans will shake things up. Loafers with a floaty dress will take the sickly sweet from the look. Put black accents with white jeans and avoid the “captain’s table” nautical predictable stripe! These style ideas are easy to put into practice. Opposites attract! Have a think? Have a go! There is no one in this world can say you got it wrong. I’ve said this before too – not everyone will like everyone’s choices. They might not like it but if you do it well, no one can say, it’s not good!

THE LIST THAT NEVER HAPPENED!

Yeah this list shmist! Didn’t happen! I’m just going to keep buying and wearing what I darn well please. If it makes my heart sing I’ll buy into it. If not, it’s history and I’ll leave it well alone. There is so much of this Autumn season so far that I know is not for me. There’s some seriously ugly shoes going on and there’s no way I’m going to spend my hard earned money on the trend! My feet aren’t the most gorgeous part of my body at the best of times so the ugly shoes can go make their statement on someone else’s feet!!! Just saying! I was brought up to not say anything unless you say something nice! So, those shoes…. you know who you are!!! (wish I could do a crying with laughter face emoji on my blog).

WHAT NEXT!

My list! All mine! It’s what I do though, isn’t it? I make sense of what I already have, add in a few bits and the magic happens. Pray tell me, what are those “bits” I hear you cry! I know you didn’t but I can hope! Well, come closer!

THE LIST!

It’s short and sweet. “Thank goodness”, I hear Mr.W cry! Now that I did hear! All I need (emoji!) is a coat (Birthday present tradition will kick in, it’s nearly October, right?); those blooming elusive basic (but modern and super exciting!) pieces of knitwear; a pair of weird (but elegant and NOT ugly) mid height work friendly court shoes; a pair of sock boots (buying into those!) and maybe; just maybe some sort of midi skirt action???  That’s OK, isn’t it?

HALF WAY THERE!

Of late we have been trying really hard on the photography for my blog. It’s not easy on a daily basis as my boys aren’t really into fashion photography (yet!) so poor Mr.W has been given the task. He does an amazing job. My photos are not Photoshopped unless we need to remove someone else’s child from the back ground or a bag strap that blows across the image or it’s so dark you can’t see anything!!! It’s as real as a photo can be. This explanation is to prepare you for the following photo which returns to the days when this all started and the shaky selfie in the mirror is back! Mr.W is back at work and I wanted to get this post out as quickly as possible.

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This is the first on the list. The new coat, not Marmite! I stalked this coat for at least a week, if not two. I had bought it in my usual size but it was HUGE! Oversized in not a very good way. Drowned is the best description!  The smaller sizes were out of stock. Eventually my patience paid off and I got the right size. This isn’t for everyone but there’s no denying that it’s a beautiful thing for the money. The coat pictured beneath is from H&M and is 100% wool from their Premium Collection bought on line. I realise that it is oversized and that tailored clothing can be more flattering but I’m a sucker for a coat that I can throw over everything! There is nothing worse than trying to squeeze your jumper clad arms into slim sleeved outerwear which can end up looking bulky and awkward leaving the wearer uncomfortable, over heated and feeling “stuffed” into their clothing. Even if you don’t like this coat it’s a range that is definitely worth a look at. Their cashmere jumpers offer great value and quality for their price tag. I often take the time to see what this range offers as on the odd occasion their Trend Collection is Premium too so it’s a great way of getting some “of the minute” fashion of decent quality and at an affordable price. I trust H&M too with their sustainability promise and trading ethics.

 

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COAT – H&M Premium collection 100% wool and FAB-U-LOUS! (I don’t know what’s wrong with me this morning?!)

I’ve got a serious dose of the sillies!

FOLLOWS ON NICELY!

A step to the side? Not really. I think this just makes my point rather nicely. A brand you may or may not of heard of? ME+EM. Well, their new Autumn looks book landed on my mat and I just had to share this for so many reasons it is hard to put into words. They have used Daphne Selfie who is the oldest working model in the editorials. It just illustrates perfectly that fashion can be worn at any age. Things are changing and the fashion industry is beginning to realise that we are all very different and that age and size shouldn’t matter. A stylish woman is a woman who is happy. A smile is your best accessory. Have a look if you get a minute. She is an inspiration and I applaud ME+EM for being brave and fearless at a time when few other brands are taking risks.

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ANOTHER FAVOUR TO ASK!

I do hope that you get some enjoyment from my blog. I have a favour to ask! If you are on Instagram would you follow me please @solihullstyle? It’s a place where I put pictures first and lots of extra stuff that might not make it to the blog. Thank you! x

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Thank you for reading as always. Full steam into next season then I guess! I’ll keep you posted on anything weird (there’s plenty of that!); wonderful and exciting stuff I come across over the weeks ahead. It’s London Fashion week next week too so if you’re really savvy you’ll keep an eye out for what’s happening next spring!

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Mar 29, 2016

KNOWING WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO WEAR!

I’ve really enjoyed preparing for the season ahead. I usually struggle a bit with Summer clothing. I’m not a big fan of flashing lots of flesh and wearing high heels gets tricky as the temperature rises. Heeled sandals can be notoriously uncomfortable. Straps and hot feet don’t get along too well! I’ve found pieces in the new season high street collections that have slotted into my wardrobe nicely so you’re going to see some “old” favourites mixed with my new season buys in this blog. Surly that’s the whole point of it? To be able to build on what you have to make things feel fresh, current and interesting again after the deary Winter months. I’ve tried to give as many links as I possibly can to the items in this blog but I think you’ll get the general jist of how to look out for items that will lift the wardrobe you already have?!

 

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TAKE A GOOD HARD LOOK AT WHAT YOU HAVE!

That’s exactly what I did! I know I love my jeans so I bought a favourite shape in a new colour; bought a new style to spice things up and re-worked my most versatile pair that I already own with my new purchases. So that gave me the building blocks for lots of outfits in my Spring wardrobe. By looking at my existing items from last season and at what I wore last time around I quickly realised that this needed to happen…..

NO MORE BLACK!!!

Yes, I made myself a rule, NO MORE BLACK! Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to black in the Summer months but I just felt the urge to put more colour into my life. An all black cotton or linen outfit can look uber cool in the heat and I will continue my love affair with black I’m sure but colour was on my radar so colour it is! (for this blog anyway!)

ACCESSORIES, less is more or more is more?

Who knows but let’s give colour a go here anyway. Accessories are the easiest way of injecting colour into your look. I’m not teaching you anything new here I realise that. I’ve said it before but even a well chosen lipstick colour can do the trick. I’ve been needing a nice little cross body bag for a while. When I’m out shopping with ladies and dashing up and down stairs, I can’t leave a big bag lying around. The criteria for my purchase was therefore, leather, smallish (still big enough for a phone, purse and Ipad mini), cross body and in a nice colour that could go with most of my existing wardrobe without braking the bank! I came across this little number from Banana Republic. It’s definitely not red but more of an orange/coral tone but looks good with all the neutral  tones I usually buy in my clothing. It adds a well needed pop of colour to all my greys! When a discount code for 25% off landed in my in box I decided to pounce. This code is no longer valid but if you sign up to the news letter you can get 15% off your first purchase and there are quite regular offers to be had.

 

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LEATHER BAG – BANANA REPUBLIC  £85 (before any discount)

THE LITTLE ACCESSORY THAT’S MAKING BIG WAVES!

It’s the small scarf or bandanna. Wear one around your neck or tied onto your bag or even through your jeans as a belt. This little accessory is making big waves and I loved this pure cotton one from H&M. At only £3.99 it’s an inexpensive way of trying out a trend even if it only makes it’s way to the handle of your bag!

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BANDANNA SCARF – H&M – £3.99

ACCESSORIES WAITING IN THE WINGS!

This is the basket I have posted in a previous blog. As this post continues you will see why it’s here again. It’s all part of the process of building a wardrobe with items that all work together to make lots of outfits. Outfits that work for different occasions. I can’t really get away with calling my wardrobe a capsule wardrobe but there is theory here that hopefully might be useful to read!

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 BASKET – BOHEMIA DESIGNS – £32

other pom-pom combos available on line and a fun way of adding a bit of colour to a classic basket

SHOES AND ……..!

From bags to shoes. Do you remember my blog about shoe trends? Do you remember me trying “the queen shoe”? Do you remember my epic fail?! Well, I persevered and found my Prince! I found a pair that were a little less “queenie!” A pair that looked a bit more “French girl”. Basically a take on a “Chanel” with black toe cap included! I’m not complaining as there were then in my price range being from OFFICE shoes. They were just the ticket. They don’t come quite so high up the foot as other styles of a similar ilk so looked cute rather than frumpy. Sizes are limited on line as they are proving popular. Not available in smaller branches but I’ve spotted them in The Bullring.

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MID HEELED COURT – OFFICE SHOES – £65

…….SANDALS!

The ALDO sandals pictured below were purchased last year. I was really pleased with them and I still am! I’m going to wear them loads this summer. I love the wide straps that don’t cut my feet to shreds. The absence of an ankle strap makes them flattering with dresses too. I love the colour that goes with most of my wardrobe and great with denim. I love the block heel for stomping around town and the fact that they can still look quite smart. All in all, I love them! They are still available in limited sizes and at a clearance price at ASOS and ALDO.

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MARITA SANDAL – ALDO (links above in text)

The colour in real life is a much deeper tone of rust/red.

BUILD A SHOE WARDROBE!

This might sound odd but it’s important to refresh your shoe wardrobe as much as your clothing. If not more so. There’s nothing worse than killing that killer outfit with the wrong shoes. I see it time and time again when I’m doing my job. Not that anyone gets it wrong, gosh, I never judge like that, we all have a different style (thank goodness). What I mean is that it’s frustrating not to have choices in our wardrobe. Invest in a few shoe styles that work for you and you will find that your existing wardrobe will take you places you thought you could never go!!!

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WEDGE SANDAL- TOD’S a sale find from YOOX (similar here), sadly not in the sale.

TO TOP IT OFF, MORE COLOUR!

What’s wrong with me? I think it’s because I do look at a lot of social media and I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t absorb it to some degree. It’s not that I’ve been looking at loads of colour in fashion. I think that actually it’s the opposite. I feel I need that lift out of black, white and grey. So I went a bit crazy! I broke the rules on every level for me! HOT colour, unstructured shape and off the shoulder! This next little item just made me smile! I felt nice in it. I liked it. I can’t explain why but I just bought it! So there! Sometimes it’s good not to over think it and just enjoy fashion. When it’s really warm I will be grateful for the airy shape; cold shoulders  and hit of colour! Stuff it that I have board shoulders, I couldn’t give a hoot! I’ve wanted an off the shoulder top for a while. I had seen many in white, pale blue and black but this red one from Mango just called to me!

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OFF THE SHOULDER BLOUSE – MANGO

I sized down in this, it’s VERY generous.

There’s a great big brand new store in the Bullring

ONE TOP IS NEVER ENOUGH!

This summer was a quest to find a few fresh new tops. We have obviously established that I was searching for colour! To open up my wardrobe further I did play a bit safer and get some toned down options too! BOOOO! I know! I had been on the look out of a little Victorian style blouse but hadn’t found exactly what I was looking for? Then I found this one from ZARA. I do love a sleeve in Spring as I’m so pale and I hate arms and legs out at the same time. Actually the high neck is a good thing too with short hair. It’s 100% linen which makes it look better than it’s price tag. A pretty little no brainer. I bought a size small for your info in this one but it wasn’t the easiest to get off over my shoulders but the next size up was too big.

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LINEN BLOUSE – ZARA 

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KNITTED TANK SWEATER – ZARA– £17.99

I’ve snuck this in, I know it’s black but just let me have my fix and I needed a basic!

OH JEANS, JEANS,  JEANS, OH HOW I LOVE YOU!

Everything but the skinny! Well if truth were told I am desperate for new pair but I’ll do that in my own time! I will put it on hold for the summer months as I do find I reach for a pair of jeans with a relaxed fit. I still love my little DREE kick flares from TOPSHOP from last season. Every high street retailer has produced a cropped kick flare jean. This style works with so many shoe and sandal styles and it has given my wardrobe a fresh spin for a while now. I would highly recommend giving them a go if you like the idea. I’ve worn them with killer heels to put proportions back in my favour but I like them equally well with other shoe options for a cute look on dress down days. I’ve even posted them in the past on a blog teamed with a low heeled loafer. They are by far the most versatile jean shape I have tried to date. So what is this jean shape I was talking about earlier that I was buying in a new colour? The new colour I have tried in an old favourite jean cut is …….TOPSHOP’s straight jeans. This is a great jean with an authentic retro feel. These won’t be for everyone as there is hardly any stretch in their fabrication. They are 99% cotton so feel like the jeans I remember of my youth. Real denim with some serious substance. I love the fly front and higher waist that’s reminiscent of good old fashioned Levi 501s! They feel like a really expensive pair of jeans but they are not! I bought a size 28″ waist with a 34″ leg and there’s no room for growth!!!! Their leg lengths are deceiving and do come up short in the straight leg styles so bare this in mind. I’ve only ever found them on line too but there is free delivery to store if you fancy giving them a try? The new colour for me was this dark wash blue pictured below. A good all-rounder colour wise for styling lots of different ways. They can be dressed up or down. I can’t carry off boyfriend jeans with anything other than a high heel so this straight jean has saved my live this Spring as it works with a low heel or at a push a pretty flat. The description says 98% cotton, 2% elastane the last time I looked. Don’t be fooled! There is only 1% elastane! Trust me, this makes a difference in the fit. If they suit you, you will love them as much as me! If they don’t, you’ll think I’m nuts (though you probably do already?!). They are indeed “MARMITE”.

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STRAIGHT LEG JEANS – TOPSHOP -£40

(NB fresh stock has just arrived, these sell out fast, especially in the 34″ leg)

STYLE TIP!

Scared of these jeans? find a straight leg jean that suits you. GAP does a good straight option. It’s a welcome break from skinny jeans in the warmer months and looks good with lots of shoe and sandal styles. Roll them up too to give a girlfriend jean vibe and get extra wear.

THE NEW ADDITION TO MY JEAN FAMILY!

My new baby! The ripped jean! OMG I did it! I know I’m in my 40s but I just had to do it! I found a pair I felt good in and went for it! I didn’t pay too much just in case! I’ve worn then with a mid heel and a smart silk blouse and a tailored coat and felt absolutely fine!  They’ll be my new “go-to” pair for casual nights out with the girls in the Summer evenings with a lady-like top. They are only any good for standing in and I’ve already ripped them further by putting my whole foot through the rip in the knee! I’m such a Doris!

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RELAXED FIR JEANS – ZARA– £29.99

I sized down in these. Generous fitting.

ABRACADABRA! TA-DAH! THIS IS THE GOOD BIT!

When a plan comes together. The old and the new in perfect harmony. I now have outfits for the beach; for shopping, for going out and for all the bits in between! I hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings in this blog? As the weather improves no doubt I will be posting them in action! There are a few items in the pics to follow that have been featured in previous blogs. I didn’t want to keep repeating myself so I have just cracked on with posting the different outfit combinations.

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SWEATER – ZARA , STRAIGHT JEANS – TOPSHOP, SCARF – H&M, BAG – BANANA REPUBLIC, SHOES – OFFICE

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BLOUSE – MANGO, DREE KICK FLARE-TOPSHOP, SANDALS-ALDO, BASKET-BOHEMIA DESIGNS

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BLOUSE-ZARA, DENIM SHORTS-RIVER ISLAND, BASKET-BOHEMIA DESIGNS, SANDALS-SOLILLAS

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COTTON CULOTTES-ZARA, TANK-ZARA, BASKET-BOHEMIA DESIGNS, SCARF-H&M, SANDALS-TOD’S

the list could go on…….

ALL WE NEED IS SOME SUN!

So, come on sun, let’s be having you! I’m hoping that my next blog might be some action shots wearing the pieces featured in this post but I’m not holding my breathe as it’s blowing a hooly outside at the moment and it’s raining! Fingers crossed but if not I’m sure I’ll come up with something to waffle about! It might be the pending Solihull Fashion Week Launch and some celebrity gossip!? Anyone else going? Got your tickets yet for Thursday 21st April? (tickets here). Full blog about the event here.

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MEET ANTON DU BEKE!

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AND SAMEENA ALI-KHAN

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OR ANDREW BARTON at the Friday shows!

Thank-you for reading!

Valerie

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