By SolihullStyle      Mar 19, 2019

So what’s new at Solihull Style? Well, I’ve been trying to up my game a bit more on social media. You know…fighting my corner out there in the ether amongst the selfies!!! I’ve started doing throwback Thursdays every Thursday… ooo on a Thursday ha ha! … on Facebook and Instagram to give readers a bit more insight into my background and experience in the fashion industry from design to styling. To show I’ve been doing this “thing” for a very very long time. From knowing about fabrics, fit, design and clothing consultation to understanding what women want and how styling works for a particular individuals need. Having empathy too with the struggles that life and family can throw our way. They are skills that take time to learn. The creative design part was there from the beginning! I never found it easy to talk about what I’m good at, it’s odd that. Maybe it’s a generation thing? Don’t brag! No one likes a big head? I dunno …. but lately I’ve realised it’s important to give people insight into your knowledge and experience. I’d want to know! So, if you want to know… and actually there’s some pretty cool stories too, stay tuned! Actually it’s not cool to say cool is it? So my now 10 year old keeps telling me!!! 

I’ve been doing videos too. They started out about six weeks ago on IGTV on Instagram and they are going to be on Youtube too moving forward, so that I can post them on the blog for those that aren’t on Instagram. The idea behind the videos was to show how different outfits can be built around a few key pieces like jeans, a black trouser or a dress. I might use a few new season items just to add interest and keep things fresh and current. I can’t justify a whole new wardrobe every season but I might buy a few bits to add a new colour I like or a modern accessory. I’m guessing that’s true for most of us? Hopefully the videos illustrate this and hopefully you all have your own pieces at home that you can reinvent in your own way too. It’s just an exercise in getting our grey matter working and to encourage you to get items out of your wardrobe and wear them! 

 Each video starts off in the week at the planning stage! Lots of ideas go down on paper! Lots of scribbles! The notes of a mad person or a stroke of genius…. who knows… ha ha! I’ve really enjoyed doing them as it reminds me of the good old days….. planning outfits for London Fashion Week or jotting down design ideas while you’re out and about watching other stylish people go by in London…. absorbing your environment and taking inspiration from things that speak to you. Let’s all find our creative side and tap into the season ahead and style that we love. 

I hope you enjoy the funny little stories about my crazy career if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram and I hope you get something from the videos too! 

The idea for the video today came from this crazy weather we’ve been having of late. There’s been balmy evenings and abnormally high temperatures to almost artic conditions and heavy hail. You all know I love the versatility of a dress and if you do too, here’s one to watch!!!! Enjoy xx

Valerie

Comments Off on IGTV HERE WE COME!

By SolihullStyle      Feb 28, 2019

You all know by now that I’ll happily do online shopping but in my defence it’s when I can’t find a particular something in store. I’ll use the store search first. I’ve spent so much time returning stuff over the years. Now I know the brands I love my online shopping is less and far more successful. There’s some brands that are only available in London or further afield and it’s here that online shopping really pans out for me. For the brands that are easily available on the high street I have to say I tend to just make a day of it and go shopping! Most of the time I can find the lion share of the things I was looking at on line in the store. I can try it on (OK sometimes in a different colour) and assess whether I love the fit, the fabric or the style.

There’s something really rewarding about coming home with things you really love and not having to go back again to return. That old school buzz! It feels like a real treat rather than just ticking a box. I don’t feel the same when that plastic bag or card box arrives. I appreciate we are all different. Shopping can feel a real chore if you’re busy in another line of work to fashion, if you struggle to know what you’re looking for so just hate shopping in general.

I’m not going to lie some of my best little finds have been online BUT they have taken so long to find! I don’t mind because I love it and it’s my job to know what is where but, honestly, some of the things I wear the most are things I fell in love with whilst out actually shopping.

I thought as the weather is improving I’d do a little high street edit. My local high street is Touchwood Shopping centre in Solihull. Everything in this blog is from the shop floor there. I realise we are all different and really it’s just a teaser to get you to think about the season ahead. We had some glorious weather over the last few days but today it’s back to dull old February. We all know though that the Great British weather will change over night and change again. How nice would it be to be prepared for when the sun shines! I expect you lovely stylish lot are already ahead of the game and have got it all sorted but if you’re feeling a little lack lustre then maybe a few ideas of what’s out there might give you a helping hand to feel inspired to have a look. I’ve touched on a few trends. Obviously trends are not for everyone, that’s not the purpose of the exercise, but I’d be a rubbish fashion blogger if I didn’t at least flag a few up! The point of this blog wasn’t just to take pics of everything on every shop floor either! That’s what websites are for but hopefully some of it’s helpful…if not just pretty to look at!

LET’S START WITH SNAKE!

Not going anywhere fast…..safari inspired prints are made for hot summer days. There’s still plenty of snake print and great big dollops of zebra.

BLOUSE H&M

BLOUSE H&M

OVERBLOUSE – ZARA

MESH TOP – ZARA and COBALT BLUE TROUSERS – ZARA

LEATHER COURT SHOES – ZARA

CROSS BODY BAG – ZARA

H&M

FUN BAGS!

While we’re on the subject of bags! Oh my goodness there’s some seriously fun arm candy out there! It’s over to you team on this one! There has to be something for everyone from sporty totes to natural baskets. Think tortoiseshell details too for a real 2019 fashion sugar rush!

PERFECTLY FORMED FASHION FIXES AT ZARA!

VINYL TOTE – ACCESSORIES

WOODEN HANDLE TOTE – ZARA

TORTOISESHELL TOP HANDLE TOTE – TOPSHOP

TOPSHOP

ACCESSORISE YOUR LOOK!!

Let’s stay on the subject of accessories shall we. The world is your oyster…quite literally! From all things natural like shells, pearls and tortoiseshell to seriously new age and neon bright. Just find something that suits your personality and makes you smile from the inside out!

CATSEYE SUNGLASSES – ACCESSORIZE

NATURAL MATERIAL EAR CANDY – TOPSHOP

TORTOISESHELL EARRINGS – H&M

OVERSIZED TORTOISESHELL HOOPS – ZARA

TORTOISESHELL HOOPS – ACCESSORIZE

SHELL EARRINGS – LOVISA

GREY STONE EARRINGS – H&M

MOCK CROC LEATHER MULES – ZARA
If you like these…be quick…they are going to sell out super fast! True to size

NEON HOOPS – LOVISA

NEON SPORTS SHOES – ZARA

TRENCH COAT!

The trench coat has made a reappearance. Less extreme and more classic than ever in all shades of neutral beige. If you struggle with the yellow tones of beige that most trenches come in, fear not, you can find your shade this Spring …. from stone to deep rust.

FYI: I’ve featured a fab dark beige trench on IGTV over on Instagram (@solihullstyle) ..available in store at H&M

STONE TRENCH – ZARA

TRENCH – ZARA with a generous fit…I’m wearing a size small

DETAILED TRENCH – BODEN at JOHN LEWIS

JOHN LEWIS OWN RANGE (really rather nice own range too!)

ALL DRESSED UP!

I’m always banging on about dresses. An outfit all in one. So easy. I love a midi dress. It just works super hard and I need less maintenance! Nuff said! You can pretty much pick your budget and just dive right in if it’s a look you love as much as me.It’s a dress style that works with sneakers, flip flops and on cooler days, ankle boots.

NEON SNAKE PRINT WRAP DRESS – KAREN MILLEN at JOHN LEWIS

left DRESS – WHISTLES right DRESS – MINT VELVET at JOHN LEWIS

….more MINT VELVET MIDIS!

FRENCH CONNECTION at JOHN LEWIS

DIFFERENT LENGTHS!

I could go on and on here as there’s so many beautiful dresses to choose from. If you struggle with the proportions of a midi dress then there’s a few brands that do a shorter length dress really well. If you need a true petite fit then they might not work but sometimes they do! If you’re shorter but still regular in the length of the body then often it’s still alright to go for a standard fit shorter dress. My advise…try them on! Rocket science here!

SHORT TEA DRESS – WHISTLES at JOHN LEWIS

ZEBRA PRINT DRESS – WHISTLES at JOHN LEWIS

DROP WAIST DRESS – WHISTLES at JOHN LEWIS

COCOON DRESS – WHISTLES at JOHN LEWIS

DRESS – ALLSAINTS at JOHN LEWIS

YOUR NAME WRITTEN ALL OVER IT!

Well at least something written, printed or drawn all over it! Yep, the logo top still reigns! Lifts the dull old T-shirt into new style status. My favourites are the embroidered variety. Sometimes coming with a heftier price tag but ….. it’s just a mater of taste. There’s no rules. anything goes.

ZARA

SWEATSHIRTS – H&M

HUSH at JOHN LEWIS

SWEATSHIRT – WHISTLES at JOHN LEWIS

T-SHIRT – HUSH at JOHN LEWIS

SWEATSHIRT – WHISTLES at JOHN LEWIS

EMBROIDERED T-SHIRT – TOPSHOP

There’s some brands that do things well. ZARA always pulls out all the fashion punches every season and it might take some serious sifting through but they never fail to deliver a few great pieces every season. What you love will be different to what I love. ZARA are great at doing co-ords. Co-coordinating pieces that work together in the same or similar complimentary print. How they fit and perform is in the trying on and what works for one body shape may not work for another. I’ve tried to give a flavour of the season in this blog rather than suggesting these pieces are for everyone to rush out and buy. I’m here to encourage those that want encouragement to go and try new things and see how they feel and buy what YOU love.

CO-ORD – ZARA

CO -ORD – ZARA

WHITE HOT SUMMER!

You can’t have summer without a bit of white cotton broderie Anglaise. Whether it’s frilled and flouncy and ever so slightly 90s or on the verge of Victoriana…it’s all there!

BLOUSE WITH FLOUNCE – ZARA

COTTON LACE BLOUSES – H&M

NAUGHTY ME!

I haven’t given any product links as it’s about going shopping. This isn’t a sponsored post and it’s quite simply a labour of love. I hope it’s of interest to those that enjoy fashion. There was lots of other bits and bobs I spotted out on my travels. There’s little point me trying lots of things on and posting pics. It’s not about me. It’s always been about helping you. What fits me might not fit the next person. Thank goodness we are all different. It’s why I love my job so much. The opportunity we all have to be able to express our own individuality. It’s a privilege to not take for granted. I’m not going to get all deep and meaningful! There’s a degree of urgency to get this blog done and out there! Fashion moves too fast for me to get all philosophical on you!

So the last little chunk of goodies is just the stuff that didn’t fit above! Ha ha!!! No, seriously it’s a few fun bits….a few more trends highlighted…a neon animal print shirt (two trends in one!), an oversized nude toned beige blazer… never a bad buy if the shade suits; a slip skirt; a colour pop sweater…or two to lift your basics out of the winter blues; a camo cargo trouser and a paper bag waist denim culotte! I think that’s Spring sorted! The season will develop over the next few weeks. There will be mid season sales and discount code incentives. There will be new style drops in store with more meat on their bones as the season finds it’s fashion feet. I hope you enjoy shopping. You can’t beat touching it, smelling it, trying it! Ha Ha!! You get my drift, I know you do!

TIE DYED T-SHIRT TUNIC – ZARA

BRIGHT YELLOW TURTLENECK – WHISTLES at JOHN LEWIS

COLOUR POP ZEBRA KNIT – HUSH at JOHN LEWIS

CROPPED DENIM – RIVER ISLAND

COTTON CARGO PANT – RIVER ISLAND

NEON LEOPARD BLOUSE – ZARA

ACID TONED SATIN PRIM BLOUSE – ZARA

OVERSIZED BLAZER – H&M I’m wearing a size small

BIAS CUT SATIN SLIP SKIRT – VARIOUS PRINTS at TOPSHOP

To round things up…. I’ve realised I’ve not mentioned THE BOILER SUIT! HE he! A marmite thing I feel! I love the idea of a no brainer outfit…A bit like a jumpsuit. It’s food for thought I guess and “IF” I found “THE” one I suppose I’d give it a go! I’ve learnt to say, never say never! You’ll see them across all the magazine editorials so it’d be very rude of me not to put this piece of utility clothing on our radar.

Thank you for reading this blog. I hope it’s made you smile, have a think about your own tastes and maybe what might work for you over the coming warmer weather we are going to get.

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see I’m posting videos on IGTV. I try and use new season styles mixed with my own existing wardrobe to hopefully give you some ideas as to how you can incorporate new with the old to update your style. Featuring simple ways to tackle tricky trends like neon. Thank you if you already follow…welcome to the party!

Valerie

Comments Off on A TRIP TO TOUCHWOOD!

By SolihullStyle      Jan 12, 2019

HEY THERE FOODIES!

I was lucky enough to be invited to try a meal at the recently opened Fiesta Del Asado in Shirley, Solihull with some local food bloggers and food critics. Obviously this isn’t about fashion but it’s definitely about eating out in style. January is a tough month. I’m waiting for the sales to finish and new season styles to arrive in stores so the chance to blog about something a bit different is actually a welcome change and has filled a void nicely.  I’m not always a big fan of eating out. I’m a difficult person to please. I have a house full of men and we are usually left disappointed, not by the food as such but often the portion size! I’m no Gordon Ramsey but I’m a pretty good cook so if the food served is a bit naff I’m left with a nasty taste in my mouth when the bill comes round. I’m just being honest!  I like food that looks fresh, is colourful and with a Mediterranean flavour. Everyone’s tastes will be different and I’m not a trained critic but quite simply, I was impressed!! The steaks came recommended and did not fall short of expectations. I would most definitely go again either with friends or with the family. We all had a starter, I had prawns with a whopping garlic hit and for main, an 11oz fillet steak on the bone that even I couldn’t finish. It would be rude not to return to try the puds!

ADDED APPEAL!

I absolutely loved the interior. It’s a massive space and it felt like you were eating outdoors on holiday. No mean feet in the middle of January. It’s an eclectic mix of modern and retro interior design. Trees inside and different areas to eat helped to give the feel of an outdoor patio area despite being completely indoors! As if that wasn’t enough there’s a super cool cocktail bar. I realise I was invited that evening but I was made to feel like they were cooking for me like a really good friend would cook for their guests. I never once felt like I was eating out at a big chain eatery. A refreshing change. I’ve tried to capture the feel of the place in the pics below. Though they are a little dark I think you can still get a sense of the general ambience. As I stepped outside into almost  freezing temperatures that evening I had to pinch myself that I was in Shirley in the depths of winter! For those few hours I was on holiday!

Fiesta Del Asado describes itself as a modern Argentine restaurant where your taste buds tango… they’ve summed it up way better than me.

 

THE GOOD LIFE!

I hope you enjoyed this blog, slightly different content but hopefully worth a read! January can be a bit flat. I know I’m supposed to feel all whoop whoop it’s a new year with lots of goals to be smashed. Actually I feel a bit shattered after all the preparation of Christmas and keeping kids entertained on a budget over two weeks of school hols. I’m in the mood to be kind to myself and gently move into the mayhem that will be the spring/summer shopping season. I’m hoping it’s going to be a goodie? I’m hoping that some of the ill fitting 90s inspired fashion has been booted out the back door of A/W 2018. On a personal note I’ve tried to expand my winter repertoire and move away from living in jeans and sweaters. I’ve invested in different dress lengths and styles with a conscious effort to avoid spending my chilly weekend life in a black puffer coat! Not easy with two rugby players in the family.  Each year I take stock of my lifestyle. What I wore. What I didn’t! I’ll take mental note and try and buy items to fill the void next time around.  I’m mulling over different “Sunday rugby coat” options while the sales are still on…watch this space! To make you laugh your socks off.. my attempt to buy nicer “Sunday rugby boots” has sorta ended up one big fat epic fail. It’s not that it didn’t work! It worked too well! I loved them soooo much I couldn’t bring myself to cake them in mud every Sunday and they have found their way into my everyday wardrobe… oh no, not saved for best in the slightest but literally everyday!!! HE HE!

THE SMALL PRINT!

This is not a sponsored post. All views are my own.

Fiesta Del Asado offer a family platter afternoon/early evening (see Fiesta Del Adado for more details) where two adults and two kids can eat for £25.95. I’ve been told by the restaurant that this includes Friday night too.  We will be going as a family very soon I’m sure to try it out! I’ll let you know if it fills up my two boys and Mr.W. A tough test indeed! HA HA! Again, thank you for reading! XXX

PS: I’ve just shown my youngest the photos and his response? “oh wow you went to a posh place!” ha ha!

Valerie

facebooktwitterInstagramgooglebloglovinPinterest

Comments Off on FIESTA DEL ASADO!

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

facebooktwitterInstagramgooglebloglovinPinterest

Comments Off on CAN’T BEAT A BLAZER!

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

facebooktwitterInstagramgooglebloglovinPinterest

 

Comments Off on BIKER BOOTS AND DAY DRESSES!

By SolihullStyle      Nov 12, 2018

OUTTA NOWHERE!

I wasn’t planning to write this blog at all after I’d got up and got dressed. I’d got up in the morning and thought..and I’ll be totally honest, there’s nothing new here. No point taking any pictures as there’s nothing helpful to tell. Then I thought  I would go along the lines of the outfit being about feeling a bit poorly so being comfortable is sometimes, if not most of the time, ones priority with the busy lives we lead. Hmmmm, but then I’m wearing heels aren’t I so I knew you’d all be screaming at the screen at me! I was feeling poorly so I couldn’t really be a**** to wear much more than my slobs….oh yes I have those!! My youngest son had been nagging ….oh my goodness can he nag… he has this way of grinding us both down until we say yes. Nagging to go bowling! Rugby was cancelled for Remembrance Sunday so after lunch it kinda worked as an option even though I’d rather saw my own arm off. Choose your battles I guess and no one else came up with a better plan. I stared at my wardrobe. I did! I know I can’t say to anyone “I’ve got nothing to wear” so I had to suck it up buttercup and get out of my PJs. I really didn’t want to!!! I even ate my lunch in my bathrobe trying to pretend the inevitable wasn’t about to happen. Sundays is usually auto pilot for me. Put on thermals, put on jeans and really snugly jumper; put on puffer coat and hat and scarf…oh and boots and off to rugby we go! Easy. Today I had to think and I wanted to hibernate!

STRIKE ONE!

I might’ve had a couple of strikes. Is that what you call it?! I am fairly useless at bowling. It starts with the shoes for me and it’s all down hill from there! Back to my thought process of getting out the door when I really didn’t want to! My velvet jeans, that’s it…I’ll start with them! They are the only new purchase. I bought them a couple of weeks ago as I wanted a really black pair of jeans. I can’t tell you how comfortable they are. They are almost as good as gym tights but you can totally dress them up or down. There are other colours available online and they’d make a good staple for smart/casual party season looks. I’m hankering after the others as a change from black. With a true high rise they have become a go to when I feel my brain switching off. When I feel really lazy or under the weather I just reach for black basics. I just do. Something made me reach for something different…no idea why. Maybe it was just there in the pile on the chair! It happened to be a camel cashmere sweater. No rocket science here! If I could’ve put my bathrobe on top I would’ve! I think poor MR.W wants to burn said robe.  It’s not even nice! I bought it whilst camping in Devon one year. I was so cold at night that I couldn’t sleep a wink. We found the nearest shop.. which happened to be LIDL and I bought it there. Unfortunately for him it came home from Devon! Still in denial I instinctively reached for my camel coat. Bathrobe like in it’s appearance and just as oversized and cosy. This coat is HUGE. It’s why I love it but sometimes hate it if that makes any sense? I’ll try to explain. LOVE it because it fits over everything, even really sloppy jumpers, HATE it because it’s not the most flattering garment in the world and I need to be in the right mood to want to wear it.

WHY THE VIDEO!

We did the video to show movement. We don’t stand still in life. Sometimes it’s the way clothes make us feel on a particular day that’s important. It can be how something moves too. It might be how we push up a sleeve or how we flip up a collar. You’ve heard the phrase “she wears it well”. Have you ever put something on one day and hated it only to love it another time? I know I have. That day I wanted to feel safe and in something that felt like a hug. I didn’t want fitted and tailored and camera friendly. I get asked all the time. “Do you ever look at someone and think…they shouldn’t be wearing that”. No is the answer. Who am I to judge someone else’s choices. I don’t know what that person has been through physically or mentally to make that particular choice in the morning. I’ve dressed ladies with all sorts of health issues and problems. I rarely get clients that find shopping easy or are a perfect standard ready to wear high street size, who is?  If they did find the whole process easy they wouldn’t need me. Some of the things ladies tell me about how they feel about their bodies after child birth, surgery or ageing often breaks my heart. When I can help someone feel better in their own uniquely beautiful skin, it’s the best feeling in the world.

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM!

It’s the heels isn’t it? Why oh why if you felt like do-do would you wear heels?! I don’t know! HA ha ha!!! I knew I wanted boots…it was cold and I felt really cold. I couldn’t help myself. I knew I needed black “feet” at the end of my jeans to keep the illusion of height to balance out the oversized coat… I knew I was going to have to take them off at the bowling alley anyway.  I failed at the final huddle to not completely let go didn’t I! I couldn’t help myself! In my defence, if I owned some black leather trainers I would’ve worn them…maybe?! Te he he!

ON A SERIOUS NOTE!

Boooo! Don’t feel like being serious but I guess I need to be helpful somewhere along the lines other than pointing you in the direction of some fab velvet jeans. I have bought a few bits of late so I’ll share when I can. In short I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the leather shoes at ZARA. You know I’m an advocate of buying less and buying as good as quality as you can with the budget you have but some high street finds have excelled expectations this season and if you love animal print, but can’t face a whole garment, then a leopard or snake shoe or boot is quite literally a fun way to dip your toe in. I’ve fallen for COS too where in the past I’ve found their styles a bit too shapeless (rather ironic really considering the oversized content of this blog!) but this season I think they’ve done a few beautiful quality basics at an acceptable price point.

COAT – H&M Premium Quality range… old season, finding your shade of camel is up to you! I like this one.

CASHMERE JUMPER – H&M Premium Quality

VELVET JEANS – Massimo Dutti current collection

SUEDE BOOTS – old season Sam Edelman

BAG – TODS at Bicester Village

I hope you’ve enjoyed my musings about nothing much in particular. Can you believe it’s November. The high street is already awash with sequin skirts and Christmas jumpers. Have you got the party season sorted?! Maybe this is the year I get a Santa sweater? Hmmmm! HO HO HO!

Valerie

facebooktwitterInstagramgooglebloglovinPinterest

 

Comments Off on CAMEL COAT!

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

facebooktwitterInstagramgooglebloglovinPinterest

 

Comments Off on IN LOVE WITH THE MIDI!

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

facebooktwitterInstagramgooglebloglovinPinterest

 

Comments Off on TRINNY LONDON!

By SolihullStyle      Oct 14, 2018

TWO COATS!

I wasn’t planning to write this blog. It just happened! A few weeks back I did my own wardrobe weed. The season felt like it had changed. Flip flops no longer felt like the correct footwear for the time of year and certain colours just looked wrong. For some reason though I wasn’t ready for full on winter attire on the days that were still sunny and dry. We all talk about layering and I feel like I’ve had to hone my skills more than ever with the challenges to our wardrobe the change of season brings. It’s definitely not as clean cut as it used to be. Summer used to be a real summer and we knew it when winter arrived. I now have to go by the colour of the leaves on the trees or the leaves on the ground and not the sun in the sky or the temperature outside. It’s easy to fall down a hole though and think just because it’s mild our summer clothes will see us through. There is still a divide. Be it the fabrics, the textures; the colours or quite simply the vibe that some items give off. So two coats came about! I’m not talking two coats of Dulux, that’s just a must as we all know if you just do the one you’ll see the previous colour underneath! I’m talking about the denim and wool variety. Why? Denim has a wonderful way of making an outfit less formal. It “knocks the edges off” one might say. Worn under a tailored coat it just stops things looking too serious and provides a lighter layer if the day warms up. Add smarter trousers to avoid double denim if it’s not your bag. I get asked all the time, “how do I bridge the gap between really casual (i.e. just my boring skinny jeans and a T-shirt) and too smart at the weekend?” Have a go at some comfortable trousers. They could be velvet jeans like mine, Sports lux trousers (think all the side stripe options on the high street) or a classic straight cut pant. Add sneakers to “knock those edges off” again and you’re good to go….not too smart and not too scruffy! If you’re petite then just tweak the proportions of the overcoat to suit. Juxtaposition… well that’s a long word for a Sunday night!  Putting smart pieces with casual pieces to give a grown up take on jeans and a T-shirt.

FAVOURITE THINGS!

We all have them in our wardrobe, in our bag collection or in our jewellery box. Some jewellery is obviously going to be our favourite for sentimental reasons. I hate cheap costume jewellery that goes green or manky but it’s not always easy to find affordable good jewellery. Now I’m not denying that these Nomination Italy rings aren’t a considered purchase but they were gifts at different times from my husband. This makes them special for that reason alone but they feel special because they are beautiful without breaking the bank. They are stainless steel like a watch strap with 18ct gold details are real semi-precious stones. There’s lots of colours and I stack them for a bit of impact. I wear them nearly every day as you don’t have to think if you’re wearing gold or silver hardware elsewhere on your outfit. Breathe a sigh of relief!

BY THE WAY!

Another favourite thing actually while we’re on the subject…and it’s not whiskers on kittens..love kittens but not sure about whiskers??? And woollen mittens..aren’t they just annoying? By design I’m not sure you can get a techy finger on a mitten so that just makes them really impractical in my book! Oh yeah…favourite things… handmade wool coats….WHHHAT?! They definitely didn’t feature in The Sound Of Music. It is The Sound Of Music isn’t it? I just had to Google it to be sure…see told you that you gotta have a glove with a techy finger NOT a mitten! Ha Ha! Handmade wool coats. They are everywhere on the high street. They used to be a real designer thing. 100% pure wool in two layers hand stitched together, unlined but gorgeously warm. The high street has provided it’s offerings in a much more affordable price point with a wool blend construction. The fact that they are unlined makes them great for layering. Slightly softer in form with no shoulder pads to avoid adding unnecessary bulk. I’d go as far as to say as nearly as comfortable as your cosy faithful cardi but with a bit more polish. That’s a lot of as!

Velvet trousers – Citizens of humanity – old but these are fab too (I have just bought them!)

T-shirt – old Topshop similar here

Denim jacket – old Gap similar here

Steel rings – Nomination Italy

Bag – old Banana Republic

Sneakers- Adidas Stan Smiths widely available

 

Handmade coats..from left to right…Mango, Zara, Mango, H&M

I hope you enjoyed this rather impromptu little blog. There will be a few mid season sales knocking around and some discount codes too. Watch out for Black Friday deals coming soon. Until the next blog..thank-you for reading XX

Bye for now!

 

Valerie

facebooktwitterInstagramgooglebloglovinPinterest

Comments Off on TWO COATS!

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

facebooktwitterInstagramgooglebloglovinPinterest

Comments Off on GO GOTTEX!