By SolihullStyle      Nov 03, 2019

I have to say it’s tough ticking every box. Writing blogs, posting on Facebook and Twitter; filming IGTV videos and juggling the day job as well as family life.
I’ve always wanted my social media to be a safe place for readers to come and enjoy and feel part of something special that’s theirs as much as mine. I love making the blog pretty to look at with hopefully some creative flare in the imagery and not just about buying any particular piece of clothing featured.
The IGTV videos have become a fun way to show different styles in motion. The point was to hopefully encourage others to give different things a go. I absolutely love planning them and posting them. Thank you to everyone who takes the time to engage with them and comment. None of my social media would be worth while if others didn’t enjoy it and for your connection with it I am hugely grateful.
So this blog quite simply came on the back of rushing out the door to make the most of a special day.
Over the past few years I’ve made a conscious effort to invest in clothes I’ll actually wear! Classics with a bit of edge. What can be more classic than a camel coat! Pick your budget and the shade that suits you. Buy the best your budget will allow when it comes to coats and the fabric will reward you with years of wear. Great with animal print, beautiful beiges, brights or denim. Can be dressed up or down.

BODEN

Left MANGO Right H&M 

Left WHISTLES Right HOBBS

Left ZARA Middle JAEGER  Right WAREHOUSE

Left ZARA Right MARKS AND SPENCER

Left JIGSAW  Right MARKS AND SPENCER

Left ZARA  Right GESTUZ

So it’s full steam ahead with social media! On to the next IGTV video which I’m planning to feature my camel coat. If you follow me on Instagram please watch the videos and make any suggestions for ideas for topics to film. 

I hope you enjoy my musings about style and fashion. lots of love…and thank you for reading XXXX

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Sep 28, 2019

 

You kinda have to pick and choose the days when this works in the UK but when it works it’s a classy change from black in the winter or the rather predictable pop of colour somewhere in our outfit against a backdrop of more black that we all do as a knee jerk response to grey days.

I started doing the videos to show the diversity of different items in our wardrobes. To show how something could be worn different ways for different climates and different situations we find ourselves in through the seasons.

This Winter White video came about to show different ways of wearing ivory as the temperature drops. I love adding milky tones into my autumn wardrobe as it lifts even the dullest palette and works better with black than strong colour. The only thing is that it’s not particularly practical if the weather is rubbish! So I find adding another neutral shade stops things looking too precious or too weddingy! Let’s face it, EVERYTHING looks amazeballs on Pinterest but can look a bit costumy in real life?

Adding camel, beige or grey just seemed the right thing to do. A cream coat has to be the most impractical item of clothing ever closely followed by cream trousers! So I used ivory jeans which can be chucked in the washing machine with no dry cleaning required.  Also I wanted to flag this pair up. I’m pulling back from having a wardrobe full of Zara BUT I fell in love with these palazzo style pair. Not for everyone granted but I’m sure you could do the “look” with a shape that works for you.

There’s never been a better time to buy into neutrals. It’s been around for a few seasons now and never goes out of style. Think about textures to keep things interesting. Satin, sequins, ribbed knits, pleats…..the list is endless. Details too and proportions that work for you. You might swap the wide leg for a neat cigarette shape if you’re petite? Watch your creams too! If they’re too similar it can make one look dirty against the other. Cream and bright white sometimes works better together than trying to be too matchy matchy?

The purpose of the exercise as always is to be helpful. To inspire enthusiasm and encourage experimenting to find what works for us. Good luck team!

Just a few lovely beigey bits to wet your appetite below! There is just too much to choose from! I’m rather impressed with ARKET and COS this season who seem to still be able to deliver decent quality at a fair price. Investment pieces that can be enjoyed and worn different ways for years to come.

There’s a little Youtube video at the end of this blog using clothes from my own wardrobe

Ribbed Sweater – H&M

Wide worker palazzo jeans – ZARA

Wool blend coat – ZARA

Wool mix coat – H&M available in stores

Cigarette jeans – WEEKDAY

ribbed knit – ARKET

High leg boots – ARKET ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

Caramel silk satin blouse – ME+EM

Cable knit sweater – The White Company

So thank you for reading. Every read, like, comment and share makes a little difference to my little home grown business that hopefully is becoming something that people enjoy and feel a part of. Please join the party on my other social media platforms and enjoy free styling inspo and shopping ideas, fashion and fun!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed the blog!

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Aug 08, 2019

A FEW OF MY FAVOURITE THING!

I thought I’d write a blog about our travels. Not around the world, that might be yet to come, but quite simply a blog about Cornwall. I thought someone might find it helpful as we’ve been going as a family for the last four years and each time we go we learn something new or find another hidden treasure or fall in love with a place we’ve been before in a different way as the kids grow up. What they want changes from year to year. Probably you’ll understand if you have young children that knowing in advance what to expect is the key to them having a good time and that happy children means happy parents and everyone can relax and have a good time! They’ve gone from paddling at the edge of the waves; to body boarding and now they’ve tried their hand at proper windsurfing only to return home with requests of surf boards for CHRISTMAS!

Each year we have to scour the coastline for bigger and bigger waves and I’m sure there are even more hydrangeas! 

This wouldn’t be a fashion blog without a few outfits splashed about too!

MEVAGISSEY!

We LOVE Mevagissey. It’s a place we usually visit in the evening. If we’ve had a shorter day on the beach as the weather turns it gives us some time in the evening to stroll along the harbour wall and see the town at sunset. A great fish and chips supper is enjoyed by all.
My eldest is at the stage where he enjoys spending time with his Dad probably more than me! So learn to sea fish was on his holiday agenda and Mevagissey is a perfect place for a novice. Pulling line after line full of mackerel from the sea was met with great delight and his Dad became his hero. Though I’m not sure who was the happiest? The joy that it gave Mr.W was clear to see. To be able to deliver the experience to his son was priceless. As I write this blog I get quite emotional as it makes me realise the sacrifices my own parents made and the lengths they went to to make us happy and give us a childhood full of wonderful holiday memories. I wish that I could tell them in the wisdom that being a parent myself has brought, that I am grateful.

As the eldest bonded with his Dad over smelly fish, broken lines and hooks in fingers I got to go shopping in all the cute little seaside gift shops that the harbour at Mevagissey has to offer and try great Cornish ice cream and handmade crepes!  Poor me!! (try She Sells café in the harbour) 

WHITSAND BAY!

A little lost and out of the way but we fell in love with this bay and it became our favourite destination this year as on the right day it pleased everyone.

The boys got their surf and got to try out real surf boards hired from the local café on the last beach of the bay.

I got to swim in the sea numerous times rather than just freeze my bits off at one attempt!

It was the only beach all holiday that MR.W enjoyed without his wetsuit and played in the surf with the kids, dodging waves and body boarding.

Be advised though that every day is different on these shores depending on the direction of the wind and the amount of sun in the sky! The children had to learn to embrace each day for what it had to offer and understand that life isn’t always perfect but fun can still be had even after any initial disappoint.

Whitsand Bay has an RNLI lifeguard too which means as long as the kids are within the yellow flags and obeying the lifeguards instructions, as parents, you can relax a little in the knowledge they are being watched. There is a long, fairly steep walk down to the bay too so don’t attempt it with pushchairs or very tiny children unless you want to carry them too along with the kitchen sink that we seem to ALWAYS have to take down to the beach! Why is it the stuff you choose to leave in the roof box is always needed and the stuff you lug up and down the hill is surplus to requirements? 

Poor Mr.W stood on a weaver fish. Agony like no other apparently! After the pain of sea fishing at Mevagissey poor man felt a little worse for wear and in his words “was only able to function with his left side by the end of the holiday!”

CARBIS BAY AND PORTMINSTER ST.IVES!

The most classically beautiful beaches in Cornwall. The ones in all the post cards. White sand and crystal clear aqua waters. A bit of a drive for us from St.Austelle so we tend to make the effort when we know it’s going to be a bit of a scorcher.

There’s rarely surf for the kids so there needs to be sun so they can simply enjoy the sea, the long stretch of sand for beach games and watching (I stress watching!) their dad make his annual sand sculpture. Amongst friends it has become a bit of a talking point! Little dot always sods off with his brother then once it’s finished stands close enough that passers by think he’s been involved!

There’s no life guard but it’s generally a calm surf. There’s beach activities organised by a local kids club that included a tug of war and beach volleyball. The parking is a challenge at both beaches. Carbis bay can be easily reached by coastal train with it’s station right on the bay. We managed to park this year but it was a long walk to and from the car. St.Ives is the same. Every year we park up the hill at the local rugby club (£6 this year for all day parking) but it is a very long walk and a steep climb back up the hill when your hot and tired with the kids after a day on the beach. There is a shuttle bus but obviously this gets very crowded at peak times in the summer holidays, especially at the weekend. We walk to the co-op half way up the hill. Mr.W leaves everything he’s carrying with us and comes to get us with the car. It’s not for the faint hearted but there’s not many other options unless you’re actually based in St.Ives. Out of town parking at the train stations has proved impossible in the past too if you’re not prepared to be up at the crack of dawn packed and ready with two boys! (one of which is sleeping in every morning on the cusp of becoming a teenager!)

At St.Ives there is a car park nearer the beach but this gets full quickly and it’s a case of sitting tight and waiting for a space.

Top picture is Carbis Bay. The rest are taken at St.Ives.

KYNANCE COVE!

A place of crazy natural beauty. It has a very high high tide that leaves hardly any beach. It’s a National trust location so it can, in good weather, get VERY busy as there’s no where to sit until the tide makes room for it’s visitors. Avoid the temptation to sit too close to the cliffside as falling rocks are dangerous.

The boys enjoyed big waves here between the rocks but there’s not really room to body board or surf. The magic happens when the tide goes down enough to be able to slip between the rocks and visit the next cove. Stunningly beautiful and weirdly humbling.

Café on the cliff but no lifeguard.

LOOE!

We tend to visit Looe on a cloudy day. Eldest enjoys a spot of crab fishing with long suffering Mr.W and I, yes you’ve guessed it, get the retail therapy and local delicacy tasting option with the youngest! Blooming good fish and chips here too at Dave’s Diner!

OTHER PLACES!

We’ve  visited so many different places over the years so I’ve listed some below that we’ve enjoyed:-

St. Michael’s Mount. Checking the tide for when the causeway is open is essential to avoid disappointment. It’s a National trust site.

Porthpean Beach. A small shingle beach that was local to us. Definitely  worth a visit when it’s sunny otherwise it’s a bit bleak and seaweedy! The boys have enjoyed kayaking here in the past. Available to hire at the beach. No lifeguard.

Pendower Beach. Again a nice little local shingle beach with rock pools and surf. No lifeguard.

Caerhays Beach. Local long shingle beach which if the wind is right has a great body boarding surf but check before visiting as it can be a bit lack lustre if the weather is poor. No lifeguard. Nice café that often has entertainment into the evening and a pizza oven. Lots of seating available under large roofed tents. A bit of a surfer dude location!

The  phrase of the holiday became “let’s catch some gnarly waves dudes!” I think you had to be there!

CARRY ON CAMPING!

So we were camping and definitely NOT glamping! A few holiday essentials to follow! I found these two hair products invaluable on holiday. They stopped my hair feeling like straw after the sea and meant it was protected from the sun too. I’d use the mask combed through my hair with my fingers on the beach and used the protective veil whilst out and about in the sun or by the pool.

It wasn’t particularly easy, and actually the point of the holiday was to not feel the need to bother, to look glam on holiday. It was more surviving the different situations one found oneself in!  One minute it was sunny, the next minute the heavens would open. Very much what you’d expect from a holiday in the UK. I had to remind myself of that on many occasions to ovoid getting disappointed. So in amongst the location shots is a splattering of outfit pics. I found an oversized cotton shirt on the beach proved to be a great beach cover-up. Looked a bit cooler than a traditional beach cover up and far less precious for screwing up in my basket! Whilst around the pool I felt happier to up the style anti a little with a kaftan. If you can get away with the length I think there’s something really glamorous about a floor length number! 

You all know I love basket bags in the summer and I love my ones from Bohemia Designs. Round ones are everywhere on the high street but there’s something reassuringly authentic about this one and I love that the brand is Fairtrade too. Accessorise it as you choose with tassels (also available at Bohemia Designs) or a head scarf….or anything you like really! 

GO-GO CO-ORD!

I’m not too keen on spending a fortune on holiday clothes especially those worn on the beach so I was pleased to find this little coordinating set from Matalan. The ease of a two piece with the benefit of looking like a playsuit.

I guess it’s about time to wrap it all up and give you some links! I hope you’re all enjoying your summer hols no matter where you are. I’m not going to bang on about next season just yet. Let’s all bask in the sunshine that might be left.

Bikini – Fantasie

CO-ORD – Matalan

Basket – Bohemia Design

Hair products – AVEDA

Leather tan slides – Dune London

Kaftan – Somerset Alice Temperley at John Lewis

Cotton shirt – ZARA

Flip flops – Havaianas at OFFICE 

Sunglasses – Accessorize

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed the blog!

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Jun 23, 2019

AN INVITE TO AFTERNOON TEA!

You would be forgiven for thinking that this is a blog about cucumber sandwiches and Battenberg cake. Nope!

I was invited by Wing Wah in Birmingham to try their newly launched “Afternoon Tea”. A set menu of authentic handmade Chinese dim sum and treats all washed down with a choice of oriental tea.

Such fun to do something different. On a weekday too sans kids!  Just MR.W and I. I’d never tried dim sum before and neither had he. My experience of Chinese cuisine I’m rather embarrassed to admit is the traditional take away that’s very much tweaked to suit a western palette. I’ve consumed, even more embarrassingly, my fair share of “eat as much as you like” Chinese buffets as a student whilst living in London.

The Afternoon Tea selection was created to include many of the restaurants’ most popular dim sum and pastry dishes. All handmade using natural colours from beetroot and spinach. The three tiered platter is reminiscent of the presentation that one might see at many a cream tea venue. In the same way it’s contents were both sweet and savoury. All perfectly formed and beautifully made.

So a very different experience for Mr.W and I. A privilege to be invited and a wonderful chance to try authentic Chinese cuisine handmade by artisans of their craft. It’s something new to try, a real ice breaker amongst work colleagues perhaps on a corporate lunch or a chance to do something different in your own home city?

Mr.W did ask me as we started our meal if I’d only invited him as my royal taster! I did make him try everything before I took my turn! That’s not a failing on the restaurant’s presentation or service which was exceptional by the way, however, it was a dining experience that we had never had before. That’s just my limited western pallet that’s to blame. Or rather that I didn’t know what everything was before I ate it. Was it sweet or was it savoury? With the traditional English high tea I’m fairly confident we’d all know the difference between the main course and the dessert! It was all delicious I just needed a bit of guidance!

In short the Afternoon Tea set menu is a great way of trying something new; something truly authentic; something that normally you wouldn’t do or something that would usually take the trip of a lifetime to take the plunge to try and at no great financial outlay either. My advice would be ask for help; ask as many questions as you need; ask what everything is and enjoy the taste bud journey! I even asked for a fork! I know!!! We were the only people slurping soy sauce on our dim sum dangling from stainless steel cutlery! Ha ha!

DIM SUM AND DRESSES!

What to wear to a Chinese lunch? A kimono sprung to mind! You all know how much I love my dresses so I wore this traditional outer layer/ “throw over”  as a dress. While we’re on the theme of East meets West it seemed fitting to chuck on a vintage Levi studded belt to offset all the Oriental florals. It’s fair to say that you lovely lot have probably noticed all the sales are on now so I’ve thrown a few midi dresses out there at the end of this blog to wet your appetite. Sizes are limited as it’s the end of the season. Perfect timing to get dressed up and enjoy the sun!

REISS – EMMI midi dress WAS £235 NOW £165

TED BAKER – Narrnia midi dress WAS £229 NOW £114

SANDRO PARIS – WAS £315 NOW £157.50

GANNI – WAS £180 NOW £126

TOPSHOP BOUTIQUE – WAS £85 NOW £45

SANDRO – WAS £369 NOW £221.40

MAJE – WAS £315 NOW £157.50

NOT IN THE SALE!! BUT IT HAS CAUGHT MY EYE!

JOHN LEWIS – AND/OR – £195

Thanks for reading!!

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Apr 25, 2019

I’ve wanted to do a suit styling video for absolutely ages. We had all the grey check versions in the winter and no surprises but now it’s summer we’ve got an array of colour pop options to choose from on the high street.

The problem I was having, and it’s a common issue with buying a suit, is that I might love the blazer and not like the style of the trousers or visa versa. If I’d found a pricier one obviously I’d consider going down the alterations route but  if i’m being totally honest I was looking for a bit of a fashion fix without too much investment!  So I ended up trialling this bright blue baby from Zara for the purpose of the exercise. Now I’ve broken myself into the whole suit thing I might buy better for keeps? I can feel a trip to Bicester coming on!

The benefit (which I have to say I didn’t think of straight off as I was too suit obsessed!) is that of course you still have a blazer that you can wear with everything from jeans to dresses and a pair of statement trousers that can be styled alone.

You may have your own suit or separates that you can styling together to give a similar vibe. Pairing neutral tones of stone and beige together is a massive trend this summer. 

My videos are just a bit of fun. Nothing too serious and just ideas to get you thinking about your own wardrobe and the choices you make for yourself. Your lifestyle and your style will be completely different to mine but hopefully you enjoy watching my antics if nothing else! 

 

Valerie

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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

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By SolihullStyle      Jan 07, 2019

STALKER!

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

BUY A BLAZER!

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

JOSEPH WAS £455 NOW £185

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

 

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

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

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

Thank you for reading XXX

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Nov 25, 2018

BIKER BOOTS AND DAY DRESSES!

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

 

DAY DRESSES!

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

 

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

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

 

Valerie

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