Outfit: Summer Styling with TK Maxx

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TK Maxx asked me if I would like to be part of their summer campaign to show how you can easily pull together the perfect summer outfit from their online store. As you all know I love TK Maxx, it is where I get a lot of my designer bargains from however I had never actually used their website before so I jumped at the chance. The idea was to choose a pair of shoes and a dress, an easy way to make an outfit. TK Maxx have such a huge selection, with many high street and designer brands. The website, as with the store, is a real treasure hunt, you never know what you will find! Pros of the website vs the store is that you can edit your search by size, style, colour and brand making things easier and quicker for those who don’t have time to rummage. It was really interesting to browse the brands selection, discovering names I hadn’t realised TK Maxx stocked. Since it is summer (apparently) I though it would be nice to look for an easy to wear day dress which could be dressed up or down. I didn’t particularly have anything in mind, so just decided to search by size and see what came up. My eye was caught by all the lovely bright prints but I was torn between a pencil or 50s silhouette. Most of my summer dresses are vintage so I opted for this printed orange silk dress which is a similar style to what I have, full skirt and nipped in waist. As TK Maxx only have limited stock the dress I chose already sold out, however you can browse all their other fabulous dresses.

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For the shoes, of course I wanted heels! But I really wanted to try something a bit different to my staple court shoes. The first pair I chose were a stunning pink, sequin peep-toe pair, but unfortunately they were too big, sob. I returned them, one of the only cons of the website is that you have to pay for posting items back but you can return them in store. Instead I choose these bright, colour block sandals. Even in summer I can’t bear to ditch the socks so these little anchors are my seasonal option! These shoes also sold out right after I got mine, one thing I will advise is buy it when you see it. TK Maxx don’t carry huge stock, that’s how they get such bargain prices, so things sell out fast. Don’t worry though there are lots more gorgeous shoes here waiting.

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Since I had my hair in a messy beehive -new default lazy hair style – I felt the whole outfit looked a bit too vintagey, with the 50s shape dress and cat eye sunglasses. To tone it down a bit I added the cut-off army jacket and belt. The sunglasses are such a nice shape, they only have a rim on the top so are bit aviator, a bit rayban. I actually just bought them myself from the TK Maxx website, designer sunglasses for ┬ú20 (rrp ┬ú100), can’t really argue with that! The designer shoes were ┬ú80 (rrp approx┬ú400) and the high street dress ┬ú29.99 (rrp approx ┬ú120), such great savings! If you have never checked out their website I really do recommend it, you will be surprised what big designer names you find.

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Have you ever shopped at TK Maxx online? What do you think of my picks?

Psyche – Perfect Pitstop for Summer

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It’s nearly summer, well alright how about I rephrase that, its time for the new season! The weather might not be reliable but that doesn’t mean we can’t invest in some cheerful and bright clothes to put a spring in our step. I do love a good shop, both online and in person depending on what mood I am in, but it can be time consuming trailing around different shops and many department stores are a mish-mash of things which aren’t any one style. This is where specialist fashion store Psyche comes in, online or in real life (should you be near Cleveland) it is a designer life style store with the scale of a department store. With 30 years in the business Psyche stands out from the crowd as it retains a boutique atmosphere of carefully selected brands and merchandise, making shopping a thing of ease. I really like the way they cater for every budget without scrimping on quality, prices range from an average of┬á ┬ú50-┬ú200. This is really clever because it appeals to the way most of us shop these days, saving up for one statement, key item and hunting out lower priced pieces to top-up our look.

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I thought I would pick out some pieces which I would like to be wearing this season. The first piece is this stunning jacket by Maison Scotch as ┬ú248.99 it is what I call affordably expensive – something you would save up for, an investment item. I’ve paired it here with an on trend summer look, but it would work just as well with a skirt and blouse for work or over a summer maxi-dress. Prints were all over the runways again, mix them or match them, so long as you cover yourself in them! These Paul by Paul Smith trousers and shirt are perfect for wearing together or alone. You know I am a shoe girl and I am in love with these glittery Ted Baker heels, too stunning to save just for parties, rock them with your summer dresses and even jeans. You can’t go wrong with a clutch bag, this Ted Baker in Peptobismol pink is the colour of the season, such a great pop of colour. Don’t forget your summertime chic with a pair of designer shades like these from Marc Jacobs. The easiest way to update your look is some new sparkly jewellery. I really like to layer up necklaces so these White Leaf designs are perfect for that, with their purse friendly prices you can afford to buy more than one (┬ú19.99-┬ú29.99).

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Not forgetting the guys, here are some top spring buys which will see you into summer. My statement item of choice would be this Polo by Ralph Lauren Denim & Supply shirt ┬ú118.99, the patches make the print clashing trend easy. Baseball jackets have been high on the fashion radar for a while now and show no sign of going away so this Lacoste logo bomber is going to be a key piece well into next year. The simple shape means it will work with sweats as well as a shirt and pants. A nice pair of cargo trousers like these again from Polo by Ralph Lauren Denim & Supply are nice change to denim. Keeping with the smart-casual theme these Original Penguin boots have a Herringbone inlay which hones in on the Country Heritage trend. The Aviator is by far the most versatile style of shades, these Gucci ones don’t come cheap but are a great investment as they will never go out of fashion. I think accessories are made to have some fun with, this quirky Paul Smith tablet case is really sleek, whilst the Union Jack Barbour print holdall is practical and stylish. For a colour pop this Nixon watch is a subtle way of approaching colour and at ┬ú53.99 it is a great price.

What wardrobe update do you have your eye on for then new season?

Comic Relief: 50 Ways to Wear it

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I am sure you already know that TK Maxx have joined with Comic Relief and Stella McCartney to design these fun Red nose day t-shirts to raise money for the charity. I took mine along to London Fashion Week and wore one each day – such a shame it was so cold and I didn’t get to show them off as much as I would have liked! My favourite way to wear the t-shirts was with a pretty, floaty skirt and sky high heels.

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Now you can share your own ways to style the Comic Relief t-shirts and help raise awareness for Red Nose Day by uploading you photo to the TK Maxx Facebook page and clicking on the 50 Ways to Wear it app tab. Just ‘like’ the app page and upload your photo, easy as that!

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If you don’t have your t-shirt yet they are available in TK Maxx stores and online here in women’s, men’s and kids sizes and a range of designs.

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Outfit: Double Stripes

(Wearing: F&F striped top and pencil skirt*, vintage necklace and belt, Primark socks, LK Bennett shoes from TK Maxx, nail color Chanel ‘Sky line’)

This is what I wore to go check out the new F21 store yesterday at the Trafford Centre. You may have seen on other posts that I also have this skirt in red and the top in pink, what can I say I like stripes, a lot! It is just nice to have easy to wear basics which you can throw on. I admit I have an attraction to beautiful things and beautiful clothes are often very high maintenance. Half my wardrobe is dry clean only or impossible to iron without an industrial steamer. I am forever sewing back on stray sequins and a lost button causes all out panic. Most of my clothes are really not suitable for my life but who cares so long as they are fun to wear!

I’m not prissy about my cloths, I don’t see the point having them if you are to scared to wear them, but when I buy something I buy it to last.I always look for quality be it a designer, vintage or high street buy. These two garments have me right at opposing edges of the quality spectrum. The top is fantastic fabric it hangs nicely, it has fancy buttons and even better you can chuck it in the washer. The skirt on the other hand is a total let down. The same thing happened with my red one too, after the first wear of only a few hours the fabric bobbled and the printed stripes began to fade. This quite frankly makes me really angry because I would have worn the skirts often and it is such a waste. A waste of money, a waste of all the production that went into making it, sigh. I will try hand washing this one and see if it fares better than the red one going through the machine. I guess that really is the gamble we make when buying so called ‘fast fashion’, we have no guarantee what it will be like. I have things I’ve bought from the high street last for years and other fall to pieces, so it always makes me wonder why we cant have more of the former and less of the latter?

Events: Forever 21 Launch, Manchester

This morning I was invited to the Manchester launch of US store Forever 21. I first visited F21 when I was in the States, there seemed to be one in every mall and it was the go to place for a reasonably priced fashion hit. What I liked about it was that even though the prices were low the products were good, no direct runway rip just cool, trend led designs. I was also really impressed with the boutique feel of the store which I was pleased to see brought over to the UK, checker board tile floors and ornate tables stacked with jars of bright coloured accessories.

It seems I wasn’t the only one keen to check out the new store, as people camped out over night to be first in line, with a chance for the first 300 customers to receive a free surprise gift card – ┬ú10-┬ú200 up for grabs. By midday the check out queue snaked all around the store, proof that everyone was impressed with what they found. My top picks were the faux-leather and denim bustiers – perfect over shirts, a printed pair of orange and blue chunky heels and the stacks of costume jewellery, spiked bracelets and statement collars. I didn’t have time to joint the crazy queue but I will be returning soon to pick up a few pieces.

You can seem lots more in my  FaceBook Album! Forever 21 is also available online.

Have you been to Forever 21?

Outfit: In Disguise

Wearing: New Look printed trousers and earrings, Irregular Choice shoes, River Island t-shirt, Zara jumper, All Saints sunglasses via TK Maxx

People always ask me ‘what do you wear for casual?’ Truth be told I don’t really do casual, nor do I do dressy, I just do me. So I am either terribly over or terribly under dressed depending on how you look at it. I came to this decision after years of screaming in front of my wardrobe ‘I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR’ whenever challenged to dress for evening. It was something of a revelation the day I decided for the first time to shun the fact everyone else would be wearing an evening dresses and turn up in jeans. I’ve never looked back, there is no point trying to wear something you aren’t comfortable in. What I am comfortable in is trousers, with pockets, they have to have pockets. Add a loose t-shirt or jumper and a pair of heels, done. That is my daily uniform. What do I look like off-duty, well pretty much like this. Exactly the same as I always look but with my hair lazily scraped up and no make-up. I tend not to bother with jewellery either. This is the kind of thing I will throw on to run around in.

These ‘Neon Blossom’ print trousers first caught my eye at the Company blog awards where the New Look team came to show us their S/S collection. I have been wearing them a lot since I got them, they have a bit of stretch so are super comfy. They also look good with a turn and my flats – yes I do wear flats sometimes.┬á Whilst I was in New Look I picked up this cute earring set too, they have a great fun jewellery rang. This set is great for mixing and matching with. Here I am wearing one of the Humming birds and one of the flowers.

As I never wear my hair up – except when I’m running errands and around the house, people never recognise me. Which is useful, perhaps this is my Clark Kent identity!

Trends: The Summer Dress

Feeling the sand between your toes, flipping the pages of a well thumbed novel, sipping a tropical cocktail all your daydreaming realised as you finally get away for the summer…

…or not? Sure summer holidays are great but they are soon over or none existent for some of us. So for those of us spending summer in the city, we may as well focus our attention on other things, sartorial things perhaps? That is the great thing about fashion, it can transport you to any place in the world, during any time period be it a blast to the past or even into the future should you desire. For those of you who take pleasure in nostalgia, a 70’s geometrical print will be right up your street. Don’t let long sleeves put you off, in fact dresses with sheer or light weight fabric sleeves are a great alternative to a cover up. The past not your thing? Then shoot into the future with the Sports-Luxe trend. Think monochrome and straight lines, for a sleek silhouette. If it is far off destinations you are longing for then why not take a trip down the less beaten path. Think embellishment, beading, bright colours and chaotic prints with a Tribal edge. Less adventure more exotic your thing? Then go for turquoise and sea-green’s with over sized, abstract flowers, you will soon┬á feel like a Hawaiian girl.

All the beautiful dresses featured here can be found at Matalan.co.uk, where everything is budget friendly. You will find all the trends from summer dresses, party dresses, maxi dress and knitted dresses, you name it they have it! I also found a lovely selection of shoes and jewellery too, should you not want to stop at just one new season wardrobe update! In fact I just bought a few things from their home wear section, promise to share once my bedroom make-over is complete.

Outfit: Summer Staple

Wearing: Zara tousers and clutch, LK Bennett shoes and All Saints sunglasses both from TK Maxx, vintage Burberry trench, old jumper, vintage necklace, Primark socks, Chanel Nouvelle vague nail colour.

Showing off more of my recent Zara haul these trousers and going to be my summer staple. Lawrence took these photo’s for me whilst we were lurking around in a stinky old alley like really pro bloggers! Thank you to everyone for your lovely comments on my last post, that really means a lot to me. You will be glad to know the hives have calmed down and I hope to get my decorating going this weekend. So far I have white-washed my pine bookcase and chest of draws, parted with my huge desk and moved around my bed. Small things which have made a huge difference. I have also had a major clear out. I dropped off some stuff at Cancer Research and as I was there a rather large transit van turned up filled to the roof with donations from TK Maxx’s ‘Give up Clothes for Good‘ campaign, I am made up it is going so well. There are quite a few different charity shops in the next town to me so I always divvy up my wares to each of them. They don’t just need donations but volunteers too, I have my behind the scenes at Oxfam to share with you soon. I am really enjoying sprucing up my bedroom but I have to say my favourite thing is my new clothes rail, simple pleasures I know! Once everything is back in place maybe I can give you a tour of my closet.

Outfit: Bringing Spring into Winter

(Wearing: Kate Benjamin feather necklace, Jil Sander shirt, Taaj skirt both from TK Maxx, Primark shoes and tights, Vivienne Westwood belt and bag)

We have been having some unusual weather her in the UK, January is usual deep into winter and bitterly cold. Yet the last couple of days have been exceptionally spring like, lots of sunshine, the birds singing and no need to wrap up in heavy layers. That said it is still chilly but no need for the usual hat, gloves, scarf, big over coat more mid-weight jackets, macs and the like. It has really messed up my seasonal style I have to admit, I am left longing to wear my spring wardrobe but it is still a bit too cold for that. The answer? To mix up the seasons. Yikes! That can seem quite daunting at first, I mean surely you can’t wear your sandals with a ski-coat or a summer dress with a bobble hat? The key is to just swap out one item in an outfit. You can switch your boots for sandals – just be sure you are wearing tights! Switch your winter jumper for a light summer top – just add a cardi, you get the idea.

I’ve long been wearing open-toe shoes with thick tights but I would usually wear a black wool pencil skirt with this kind of outfit. I wore this skirt a lot over summer and really wanted to wear it again so instead of going for the usual suspect I threw it on. Feathers are something else I would usually see as autumn/winter along with velvet and faux fur, but as they works so well with the pink skirt I am really starting to rethink things.

The Kate Benjamin purple peacock feather necklace, was sent to me from Accessories Direct. I was impressed by the size and quality of the piece which came in a beautiful presentation box. Even better it is now on sale for a mere £18 from £60! They have some absolutely gorgeous things both on sale and new season, I highly recommend a look.

I had to include this last shot purely for the beautiful sky, you only ever see sky like this on a crisp, sunny winters day.

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How to Wear: That Little Black Dress

 

No matter what your budget a little black dress is the perfect answer for the party season. A timeless frock which can be dressed up or down easily with accessories means you can stop worrying about what to wear and enjoy the party!

Outfit One – Budget: Lace dress ┬ú59.99, studded ankle boots ┬ú19.99 ( RRP ┬ú50), jewelled clutch bag ┬ú9.99.

Outfit Two – Blow Out: Beaded shoulder dress ┬ú149.99 (RRP┬á ┬ú740), snakeskin effect shoes ┬ú59.99 (RRP ┬ú150), oversize clutch bag ┬ú249.99 (RRP ┬ú885).

All from TK Maxx where you can find your own little black dress!