What to Wear to a Garden Party, Taking Tips from Kate Middleton

Kate and her Prince stroll the grounds

You don’t need me to tell you how much of an impact Kate Middleton’s style has had over women world over since she wed Prince William. Debates have been divided, but no matter if you think her look is perfectly chic or just a bit boring we can all take a few tips from her.

The one thing Kate is a dab hand at is dressing for garden parties. We might not all be invited to the polo or to stroll the grounds of Buckingham palace but I am sure we will all find ourselves at an outdoor occasion such as weddings, BBQ’s and picnics this summer (my post for wedding guest outfit ideas). The easiest thing to wear to this kind of event is a simple tea-dress, it will be comfortable and elegant – should you need to sit on the grass, whilst also keeping you cool. A light jacket or cardigan is the perfect accompaniment should it get chilly in the evening. Pashmina’s are popular but personally I find them fussy as you constantly have to adjust them to keep in place. Your choice of footwear however is the key to your look, forget the heels either go for a flat sandal or a wedge, there is nothing fun about spending all day with a heel stuck in the turf!

LK Bennett ‘Zella, Belle by Sigerson Morrison ‘Wallis’, Melissa ‘Patchuli’

In the shoe department Kate is famously known for her love of two styles, nude shoes and the wedge. Wedges are the perfect shoes for summer garden parties, they give you the same lift as your heels but will keep you firmly on the ground. Here are three of my top picks. First up is Kate’s personal favourite the LK Bennett ‘Zella’ available in nude and black patent with an espadrille style heel. This is such an easy shoe to wear and will go with any outfit. For girls who like things a bit more edgy the Wallis from Belle by Sigerson Morrison are a great option, they come in red with pink heel trim or blue with green trim. The vibrant colours and pointed toe add a real pop with attitude! These would also look great with a wide leg trouser if dresses aren’t your thing. I just had to include the Melissa ‘Patchuli’ a peep-toe wedge which comes in grey, black and my personal recommendation royal navy. If you aren’t familiar with Melissa shoes, they are all made from bubble-gum scented rubber which means they are waterproof, perfect for damp grass and summer showers. Now all you need is that party invite!

Kate stays chic whilst her friend battles a rogue pashmina

Are you a wedge girl? What are your summer style tips?

(Kate images courtesy of Grazia, shoe images courtesy of Zalando.co.uk)

Outfit: Wearing Summer Suiting

(Wearing: Vivienne Westwood Red Label Jacket and skirt, Vivienne Westwood Gold label ‘Bondage’ boots, Vivienne Westwood Accessories necklace and bag, Vivienne Westwood ‘Haiti’ charity t-shirt)

You can’t really tell from the photo but this was one of those disgusting muggy days, where it is really humid and there is no air. This broderie anglaise blazer is perfect for that kind of weather, it is so light and easy to wear yet retains the structure of a more formal jacket. It always makes me laugh saying ‘broderie anglaise’ which is French for English embroidery, why do we use a French term for an English technique, maybe because it sounds so pretty! Also wearing my favourite skirt, this is one thing you do want your bum to look big in ;)

So Bright You Gotta Wear Shades

Oh look it’s summer, meh with all this rain it doesn’t seem like it but when the sun peeps through the clouds it’s time to reach for the shades! I’ve developed a little addiction to sunglasses of late, I think it is the fact you can scowl on a Monday morning behind the dark lenses which is part of the attraction. The thing is though with so many different styles to experiment with you can’t just have one pair. Here is my current collection and my favourite five styles:

1. Diva – That’s the classic oversized big black┬á frames, you can be Audrey Hepburn timeless and stylish or even Victoria Beckham fending off paparazzi flashbulbs! Mine are Karl Lagerfeld, who better than the diva himself!

2. Geek – For some reason my Celine sunglasses remind me of Clark Kent. Geek chic for sure, they are chunky framed and really solid. I would put my Wayfarers in this category too, they are just so cool.

3. Vintage – I always think of a Studio 54, that laid back disco vibe, when I don these hexagonal frames. In fact all the brown and gold large lens with thin frames really put me in this mood. I would also put Aviators in with this too. I had the best pair, they were ancient and had been my dad, sadly destroyed by my brother when I lent them to him. I am keeping my eye out for a new pair of Aviators, Police sunglasses have some nice ones, hey if they are good enough for David Beckham!

4. Fun – Oh yeah those are some neon sunglasses you see there!! D&G are know for their fun designs and these shades are no different. These make me want to be on holiday, running around having fun on the beach, failing that they cheer up summer in the city. I always think you should have something to make you smile. There are lots of funky designs around, bright colours like this or kooky frame shapes. I really like the Tag Heuer Sunglasses which have the arms in a wrap around style, its a crazy design!

5. Cats – I don’t like to play favourites, but well these are my favourites! I can’t help it there is something so appealing to these cat-eye frames. They are the pair I have been wearing the most. With a slick of red lippie they really are the ultimate statement in glamour. I know a lot of people feel the huge cat flicks are a bit much for them, but you can get a similar look with 50’s style frames such as the ‘Phoebie’ from Bolle. With the cat-eye limited to a tiny fin on top of the lens it gives the same glam effect but with a squarer shape, heart the candy pink colour too!

What’s your shades style?

Outfit: How To Look Ten Feet Tall

(Wearing: vintage Burberry trench, vintage boots and necklace; F+F top and maxi skirt)

There are so many fashion myths it dives me mad, stripes make you look wide, no white after Labour day and maxi dresses will make you look short. So here you go, let me break that last one for you, I’m 5.2″, in fact the first thing people always say to me after meeting me for the first time having only seen me on my blog, is wow you are tiny! Contrary to popular opinion I actually think maxi’s can make you look taller, the higher the waist the more elongating the effect too. Just be sure the hem hits the floor and doesn’t bundle up as if it looks too long this can have a shortening effect.

This outfit is actually from F+F, you might remember the ‘Alternate outfit post‘ I created using their fun virtual dressing room. It’s always nice to try something totally different to what you would usually wear , maxi’s are certainly not what I go for but I really like this look. I can’t imagine ever wearing it was flat sandals in that summery way but with boots it works for me.

I’ve had these boots for many years, originally from the 70’s but totally timeless in style. The are Italian leather in a rich conker brown, with a nice black stud detail on the ankle. I remember when I got them they weren’t ones I could wear every day as the heel was so high!┬á How things change, pulling them on for the first time in at least two years, the heel is now what I would call low and wear to run around daily in. Practice makes perfect I guess, although I still can’t get used to my 120mm Louboutin’s no matter how many hours I spend tottering around my house in them. I got the boots off eBay, they were about ┬ú30 I think it was a very long time ago. The quality is outstanding, to get something similar today you would have to fork out for designer. Unfortunately the lining is starting to wither and as I found out with another beloved pair of vintage boots there is nowhere who offers boot relining any more. Isn’t that really sad, that something you really like can’t┬á be fixed, that there is no call for such a service in this throw away world. I had a wonderful pair of grey Bally boots, I took them to three different cobblers to try and get them relined to no avail. It pained me to put them in the recycling. Let’s hope I can get a few more years out of these beauties.

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Sale’s Finds & New Designer’s

Rianna Phillips ‘Fold Over’ clutch bag (from ┬ú22) and Prada SS11 wedges

There are always so many things I want to blog about that it’s hard to find the time to fit them all in, somethings I decide to save until I wear them or for when I want to have more time to dedicate to something. I’ve been sat on this beautiful Rianna Phillips clutch bag I bought for ages, I wanted to wait until I could do an outfit post but it keeps raining and I can’t hold out any longer, I wanna share!! I first got to know Rianna through blogging, as she charted her design projects and inspirations throughout her degree. Now Rianna is setting up her own business which she also blog’s about, it is really interesting to be able to follow her journey through her design career and learn about the manufacturing process and inspiration for her designs. She is a talented print designer and now you can buy her designs from her online store Rianna Phillips.com. Here are some images from her site showing some of her clutch and scarf designs. All of her pieces are made in limited numbers and her prices are so reasonable for something which is hand-made too. Gorgeous things from a gorgeous person, what more could you want!

The other thing I have to show you, which as soon as I brought them home I thought would go perfectly with my clutch and a white based outfit, are these new Prada wedges. I wasn’t even shopping just ambling around when I spotted these in Selfridges at 85% off! I couldn’t resist that and snapped them up. I had posted about these shoes last year after going shopping, trying them on and falling for them, must be fate! I also think I deserved a new pair of crazy Prada’s after the robot-stripper Prada’s died. The also had the ones with the foam wedge but unfortunately not in my size, in fact they had quite a few pairs of designer shoes at that discount, well worth a looksie if you are in Manchester.

(Images 2, 4, 6 courtesy Rianna Phillips)

Just What The Doctor Ordered

Vivienne Westwood ‘Derby Exhibition‘ tartan bag

Saying I’m not a bag person is a bit like saying I don’t breath, I really like bags, I have a plentiful stash, but I guess I don’t go quite as crazy over them as I do shoes. Which is why it is rare that I actually get a new one, I tend to go for staple bags which suit lots of occasions, pretty much because I just can’t be bothered swapping out my bag each day to match my outfit. Clutch bags are by far my favourite kind of bag but not the most practical. I tend to use one big day bag to cart around all my stuff in and stick with it for months on end until I get bored and swap in over. I can’t resist tartan, ever, and have always liked traditional doctors bags so when Vivienne Westwood started to produce tartan doctors bags I fell head over heels for them. I have been harking on about these bags for ages, fondling them every time I went into Westwood. They come in a few tartans but this one was my favourite as I think it will be nice for all seasons, the white makes it fresh for summer but the more traditional green and red make it perfect for winter too. I am going to kid myself that I actually needed this bag for work, they also do a laptop cover in the same fabric which I really want too! I mean I can’t fit my laptop in this bag can I, so I really need the laptop cover for practical purposes don’t I? What’s that you say? I need the matching purse too? Well it is the sales after all (I got this from Spartoo where they have upto 30% off the VW should you need any encouraging). I can’t tell you how made up I am with this bag, I know, I know its just bag but I just think it is fantastic. I really like the framed shape and how beautifully it opens, the popper buckle, the colours, everything. If I were a bag this is the one I would be. It is also really light for such a structured bag which is good, I hate it when bags are really heavy before you even put anything in them. Right well that’s all from me today, I’ve got to find somewhere to take my bag out too ;)

Frabjous Day!

O Frabjous day, Callooh, Callay… thou hast slain the jabberwocky. Well the jabberwocky of a fat ass! This actually sounds like a really silly thing to be writing about but as regular readers will know since I became ill with an incurable form of inflammatory arthritis two years ago I have had to struggle with a lot of things in my life. Perhaps the most trivial is the fact I gained weight. In the grand scheme of things when your health and career are in jeopardy a few extra pounds isn’t all that important, but when you don’t feel like yourself and your favourite clothes become unwearable it really hits your self esteem.

Imagine all of a sudden you can’t exercise, you become intolerant to foods you used to eat all the time and steroids give you the munchies so you end up eating like there is no tomorrow. I tried the medical food elimination diets but they didn’t seem to be working for me so when my friend suggested a diet she had tried for her health problems I read it through and it made sense to me, no stupid fads just health eating really. I’m not in favour of pushing diets down peoples throats so wont say which plan I follow but if you are interested you can email me. I say this because I get many ‘troll’ emails since writing about my health problems, suggesting I take a certain vitamin or follow a diet which will ‘cure me’. This is really annoying as my condition is INCURABLE. Whilst healthy eating can make you feel better it will never cure you of a disease FFS. Oh yes and then there was the email which told me I got sick because I was a bad person in a former life…good grief, delete! So yes this eating plan has helped me identify the foods I am intolerant too which has been a great help, many of my medications gave me stomach cramps and nausea which was amplified by food irritations. Now I know what to cut out of my diet my stomach is a lot happier and can cope with the meds a lot better. Honestly I was at the stage where I had to carry sick bags around in my Chanel because I felt so nauseous all the time. On the plus side nobody ever wanted to sit next to me on the bus I must have looked so green!

It has taken a few months but now I am feeling better and getting back in shape, thanks to the combination of sorting out my diet and steroids. I am however due to start a new medication any time now so fingers crossed this one will be the ‘miracle drug’, if not then fingers crossed I at least don’t get some rotten side effects. I’ve actually been back at work this week part-time which has been unbelievable in a way, two years of dust on my desk but it is like I never left in ways. I’m not sure how this will all pan out so won’t say too much yet, but for the first time in a long time I am hopeful. I just wish they had injected me with steroids a long time ago rather than let me suffer, they are not something which can be used in the long term but are a crutch whilst we go through yet anther stage of trial and error. Urgh how did a happy post end up sounding so depressing. I took the above dodgy snap whilst bouncing around my bedroom to ‘Moves like Jagger’, this is my ‘thin skirt’, it is my favourite skirt and I wore it all the time when I first started this blog way back in 2009, in fact it was in my first ever outfit post (Christopher Kane money t gets and outing). I am made up to be able to wear it again, who knows I might even dig out the leather trousers too ;)

Do join me in a happy dance!

Outfit: Tartan & Lace

Wearing: Vivienne Westwood Red Label jacket and skirt, VW Gold Label boots, VW ‘Anaconda’ belt.

What are we going to do with this weather, I know it is the same every year but still it disappoints me all the same. Not only is it cold but its wet and cold which is fine in winter for all your overcoats, scarves and gloves but in (cough, cough) summer it really limits what you can wear. So I’ve ended up with a strange kind of winter-summer freak hybrid wardrobe. I’ve been wearing this tartan jacket and my tweed one non-stop as well as these boots. So many of my shoes have leather soles, I really need to take them to have rubber soles added – that or move to sunnier climes!┬á I don’t tend to wear this much black but having to head out into torrential rain I wasn’t feeling too inspired. Looks like I am going to have to get a bit more creative if this weather doesn’t buck up soon, ah well I always like a challenge. I had my Vivienne Westwood tartan bag for this outfit too but forgot to bring it out for the photo, one thing is for sure I am crazy about tartan no matter what the season.

The Excitement of Closet Organising and Bedside Tables

Yeah, yeah I lied in the title, there really isn’t anything all that exciting about what I did this weekend. But I do get a strangely comforting and satisfying feeling when it comes to organising stuff. When I say stuff I mean clothes, there is a box full of old receipts and bills under my bed which I am going to take no pleasure in sorting out. Yet I was jumping up and down like a loon when I found these super slim hangers in Dunelm for just ┬ú2.50 a pack. I have been after some for ages but they are always really expensive. Promising to ‘double my hanging space’ I loaded up my trolly with them and sat happily sorting out my wardrobe as the torrential rain poured down outside. I admit it felt more like a November afternoon that one in June! Did they double my hanging space, well the may have done but I ran out of the clippy skirt hangers half way through, even so I think I gained at least a third of space and everything looks super neat. You can see in the photo below how many more items per inch I have compared to the old hangers on the right.

I also spotted a perfect bedside table. I had originally wanted a Lloyd Loom one to match my wicker chair but most vintage ones I found online wouldn’t post. I have always liked mirrored furniture and this was the perfect size. It nearly killed me dragging the damn thing up the stairs, only to find the bottom panel smashed when I took it out of the box. There was a bit of drama over this but to cut a long story short the manager at Dunelm was really helpful and got me another one. I still need a new lamp, I’ve got my eye on a Parrot one but figured it might get reduced now the sales are on so I’m going to hold out for that.

Anyone else have these hangers?

Related posts:

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Bedroom Ideas

Decorating Snapshots

LFW AW12: Louise Gray

Louise Gray AW12 ‘I’ll Take It’

Gray say’s her collection is about ‘everything, all the time‘. She mixes a riot of colour, pattern and fabric which twist and turn in all manner of ways. I should probably be writing something sensible about peplum jackets and cashmere knits but I just can’t stop geeking out over this collection!

I have been fascinated by Louise’s designs since she burst onto the fashion scene,┬á so I was really excited to go see her AW13 show. What I wasn’t prepared for was quite how much I would fall head over heels for her new collection. When you are reviewing collections it is kind of like shopping for gifts, you have to take your own personal preference out of the equation. But sometimes you just can’t, I couldn’t help imaging myself wearing this collection, I was on the edge of my seat sat. From the beautiful wool coat, the bubble gum pink top and trousers and those ‘Batman’ boots this pieces were phenomenal. Styled with giant Mohican and bubble wrap gloves, this collection screamed fun but┬á consisted of perfectly crafted garments. I am sat hankering longingly for a bite of the Gray goodness, this is my favourite collection for AW13 hands down.

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