Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Cool summer workwear

With the weather hotting up again (fingers crossed that’s not just put a stop to that!) is it getting harder to decide what to wear to the office? I was invited to discuss this on BBC Radio Bristol last week and it prompted me to pull together this post. 

When the weather’s gorgeous and the sun’s shining, it can be difficult not to head to work looking like you’re off for the weekend. So, how do you pull together a look that’s both comfortable in the warm and stuffy office, but that keeps you looking and feeling cool? More importantly how do you stay fresh in the heat and ensure you’re still taken seriously?   Flip flops and short shorts just won't cut it.

If you’ve found yourself staring blankly into your wardrobe first thing in the morning, clueless as to what to wear to work when it’s 21 degrees, then read on. I’ve pulled together the hottest summer work wardrobe, to keep you cool, nine to five.
Thanks to Kerry and Kara from Grayling for the images. Thanks also to PR Shots.

1. This ruched blouse from All Saints, Cabot Circus is a pretty choice for the office.  Wear it tucked into a skirt (9 ) or tapered trousers (12 ).

2. If you keep fabrics loose like this shirt from TFNC, Cabot Circus, you’ll remain cool but won’t fail to impress in the style stakes!  I love this colour, it goes so well with the nudes and navy we can’t get enough of this season.

3. This pretty spot blouse is also from TFNC, they have some perfect office wear pieces in this season.  Either wear this loose over a pair of capri pants, or team it with shorts like these from M&S (4)

4. Most people consider shorts unsuitable for the office, but if you opt for a pair that finishes just above the knee, they make a stylish and practical choice!  Wear these from Marks and Spencer, Broadmead, with a pair of flats (16 )  or a low heel (13 ), add a plain top (5 ) and finish with a loose jacket (6) for a tres chic look

5. This top from Whistles, Park Street (5) is a wardrobe staple.  It will go with trousers and skirts and can be layered with a jacket for days when you need to be a little smarter.

6. This draped jacket from Miss Selfridge, Broadmead, will layer over a variety of tops.  The relaxed, light weight fabric will be perfect for hot days and the light colour is so versatile.

7. For days when you need to dress for success, consider a dress like this one from LK Bennett, Quakers Friars. The fabulous shape will hug you in all the right places, and the the capped sleeve will keep you cool.  Finish the look with some tan accessorise (15 ) (17 ).  Or, to dress it down,  just add the pink draped jacket (6 ) and a pair of nude sandals (13 ).

8. Inject some fun into your work wardrobe with this cute blouse from NW3, John Lewis.  It’s another versatile choice as it can be worn with skirts (9 ) trousers ( 12) and shorts ( 4).

9. I love this pencil skirt from A/Wear, Cabot Circus, this colour will go with pretty much anything and the style is perfectly suited to the loose blouses and striped tops that are in abundance this season.  It can be smartened with the addition of a pair kitten heels like these from Dune (14)

10. This outfit from Whistles, Park Street is spot on for work-wear!  Consider splitting up the pieces and mixing them with other items.  For example, try wearing the trousers with the NW3 blouse (8), or the top with the camel pencil skirt (9)

11. I’ve mentioned this shirt from Warehouse in a previous post but it’s just so perfect and so versatile that I had to include it in this one too.  It will look fab tucked into the Whistles trousers (10) and accessorised with the nude sandals from Carvela (12) but it will also work with the grey trousers from Oasis (12) teamed with the flat brogues from Schuh ( 16).

12. Grey is a great colour for the summer months.  It’s so much softer than everyone’s favourite – black.  It compliments this seasons soft ballerina tones and looks smart at the office.  This pair from Oasis, Cabot Circus, (12) will go with all the tops I’ve picked here, and can be worn with heels or flats.

13. Sandals are a must when it’s beautifully hot, however flat sandals don’t quite hit the mark when you’re heading to the office.  Something like these nude sandals with a low heel from Carvela available at KG in Quakers Friars (13), however are perfect.

14. Everyone should have some leopard print in their wardrobe, but if you’re worried about over doing it then opt for a pair of print shoes.  These kitten heels from Dune, House of Fraser (14) will turn your skirts and trousers into something more ladylike and the heel is so practical for wearing all day.

15. These platforms from Reiss, Quakers Friars give you height without the pain!  They’ll work well with any work wardrobe and will keep your feet nice and cool.  Make sure you paint your toes – how about a bright coral?

16. Heels aren’t a must for work; sometimes it’s nice to wear a flat shoe.  This pair from Schuh, Cabot Circus, makes a brilliant choice, not only do they look smart, but they’re a versatile style.

17. I’m loving tan accessories this season, I find them so versatile.  This bag from French Connection, Quakers Friars (16) would make a great purchase.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Astonishing new magazine

I’m a sucker for great styling and photography so was really excited when I heard about new quarterly fashion & art magazine ‘Astonish’. Astonish “is a visually-driven independent fashion & art magazine...a movement, a calling for creative freedom amongst artists worldwide to create captivating masterpieces” and the imagery really is strong. The magazine is set to showcase the best up and coming talent around, so is the perfect place to discover something new. So...do you want to see what I’m raving about?  Here you are then...

Friday, 8 April 2011


This next post is long overdue, from Last Friday in fact!

I was invited to the Oxvamp fashion show last Friday and couldn’t say no. It was the perfect opportunity to get some inspiration for my own shopping trip the following week...a day going charity shop shopping around Bristol for some new quirky items to add to my wardrobe.

It was also the perfect opportunity for a girly night out with my best friend and sister (who lives too far away, in Buxton). After some wine and very yummy cakes that looked too good to eat we took our seats for the show.

As I said in an earlier post, the fashion show showcased unwanted items from the Oxfam Hub in Portishead that had been lovingly re-styled and re-vamped by UWE fashion students and Orange Street studio members. UWE Fashion student’s designs were the first to hit the catwalk.  It was wonderful mix of military styling and big textures. Some outfits were quite avant-garde but others were much more wearable, see what you think:

Next up were the Orange street studios re-vamping.

 Both created new and interesting pieces out of the unwanted items that had been donated and it was great to see such unique pieces walk down the catwalk. Things get very repetitive on the high street, and (to my disappointment) disposable fashion is becoming more and more popular. Shows like this are so important because not only do they inspire us all to try something new, but even more importantly they remind us that it’s possible to shop responsibly and ethically, and on a small budget.

Thanks Anna for inviting me x

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Magic mirrors

I’m sure most of you have read or heard that some shops are going to be introducing ‘magic mirrors’ into their fitting rooms, but have any of you experienced them?
I’ve been in shops where they’ve obviously tilted the mirror away to create an elongated trimmer looking figure, but these curved mirrors are a new one on me. Apparently a new breed of curved mirrors that give shoppers the impression they’ve dropped a dress size are making an appearance on our high streets… this is only my opinion - but doesn’t it all seem rather like a con? How many times have you got home, excitedly clutching your new purchase, only to try it on in the comfort of your bedroom to be overcome with disappointment that it just doesn’t look as good as you thought it did?

I know the retailers will argue that there’s no harm in making shoppers feel more confident in the fitting room (Something that I know a lot of women don’t feel when shopping) but what about when they get home? Doesn’t it end up knocking their confidence even more?
 Image courtesy of Michal Marcol

We should embrace the fact that we’re all individual and different shapes. Every one of us has something good to show off and we shouldn’t need a fancy mirror to convince us to buy something. It’s just not true that to look good, we need to be slimmer; we just need to have some body-confidence.

My advice for confident shopping is to understand your body shape; I don’t just mean whether you’re pear, apple, hourglass or column, I mean really know your shape. Take some time to assess yourself in the mirror, be honest and don’t focus on the parts of your body you’re not too happy with. Try and look at your whole figure – from top to toe. What are its proportions? What are the assets you should be showing off – waist/legs/boobs, you get the idea. Now think about how you might balance out your proportions, for example if your top half is smaller than your bottom half then consider wearing clothes that will enhance your bust and broaden your shoulders, and avoid clothing that makes your bottom half appear bigger than it is(pleats and detailing around the hip area are a definite no no).

Once you start to understand your shape you can begin to balance out your proportions and most importantly, start to enhance your best bits! So, next time you go shopping and you think the mirrors are being unusually kind, ignore them. If you’ve picked styles that enhance your assets and balance out your proportions then you’ll look fab in the fitting room and at home.

I’d love to hear your comments about magic mirrors so please do share!

Friday, 1 April 2011

More fashion shows

If you’ve not had a chance to go to any of the fashion shows that have been going on this month then all is not lost. Cabot Circus will be stepping into the new season in style with a series of free catwalk shows celebrating the best of spring and summer on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 April.

As always, they will showcase the hottest trends from the new season collections, bringing together the best of the high-street and designer brands. With so much to choose from on the high street, theses shows are the perfect opportunity to consider how you might work the season’s trends and discover where to go to update your wardrobe.

I can’t watch the shows this weekend, but thanks to the lovely Kara that won’t stop me sharing some images with you afterwards.

For those of you going, enjoy you won’t be disappointed!

Catwalk - level 1, outside House of Fraser



To find out more visit www.cabotcircus.com