Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Whistles Carrie skirt update: part 2

The pink Whistles Carrie skirt has been my obsession this season (see my previous blog posts here and here). I loved the colour so much I had to have it, compromising on the knee-length version when it was really the sold-out midi option that I wanted. But, thanks to a reissue, I was able to get what my heart desired. Since then, Carrie's featured in many a blog post (see here and here for examples).

There was, of course, Carrie in highlighter yellow and blue. And its sister skirt, the taupe-coloured Erica (which I so wish I'd bought). And now, Whistles has introduced Carrie in coral red for £125 and animal print for £135.

A sheer red pleated skirt is high on my wish list, so I was giddy with excitement when I heard Carrie now comes in crimson. But the punchy, almost-neon scarlet you see on screen isn't as bright, as electric, in real life. Don't get me wrong, it's still stand-out, but not in the same head-turning way as the pink one.

When I was just thinking a printed option would be nice, along comes animal-print Carrie. Carrie carries off pattern well, but I think block colours have the advantage as you can see the sharp sunray pleats most clearly. This, after all, is Carrie's best feature – the fact that the traditional pleat has been reworked in such a deliciously floaty material.

Btw, it may say polyester on the label but if polyester were graded in terms of quality, this is the best. Plus, the skirt is fully lined. Out of all the sheer pleated skirts on the high street, Carrie is the classiest.

So, which do you prefer? Coral-red or animal-print Carrie? Or is there a new interpretation or colourway you'd like to see? Me, I'd love a Carrie collaboration with the print designs of Erdem or Jonathan Saunders. Now what a dreamboat that would be.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fab finds for a fiver (and less!)

I love Gap. I love the Gap sale even better. These are a few of the bargains I've bagged recently…

White cotton shirt: was £32.95, sale price £4.99. Everybody needs a classic white shirt in their wardrobe, don't they? And this one is slim cut and perfect for working next season's androgynous look.

Yellow lace bra: was £18, sale price £4.99. Matching knickers: was £8, sale price £1.99. Gap is often overlooked for underwear, but it's my go-to shop for knickers as they're so comfy and stylish. I was amazed to get lucky with a matching set – I put it down to sheer sale determination and rooting through every rail in the shop! This season's coloured lace trend has now worked it way into my undies drawer.

The Gap sale finishes on Sunday, so check it out. It's offering an extra 30% off the sale price… Sweet, eh?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Work it to the max

H&M has really embraced the floral trend of late. Walking into the store is like stepping into the Garden of Eden. And what caught my eye was a button-front maxi skirt with a beautifully detailed flora and fauna print along its skirt tails. So glorious is the pattern, I'm tempted to overlook its polyester credentials.

But at £29.99 for man-made fibres, it has to work hard to justify its price tag, so I've thought of three ways to wear it:
1) As a maxi skirt (as intended). Unbutton it thigh high to show some leg and team with a neutral body or top and a wide tan belt for a glamorous day look.
2) As a strapless dress. Add a belt to stop your figure from being swamped by the voluminous fabric. And, if there's any pinning required, throw a cardie on top to hide.
3) As a cape. Use the top button to fasten and then disguise with a brooch.

As you can see, I like option three best. The skirt-cape complements my Whistles Sabina dress and vintage clutch bag perfectly. How would you wear it?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Discover Motilo and win a Mulberry bag

I first heard about Motilo last year through its launch competition, offering a Céline bag as the prize. But not any old Céline bag, just the bag of 2010: Céline's Classic in geranium red, worth a whopping £2,200. Offering such a spot-on fashion prize suggests Motilo must have something to do with fashion, right? Spot on.

Just launched in April, Motilo is an interactive fashion-focused social network where you can shop in real time with your friends. So, if you can't hit the high street with them, do it online instead. Call it virtual shopping with the girls if you like.

Based in the UK, Motilo's team of stylists hand-pick the best fashion items from websites around the globe for you to browse in its shop. It's like having your own virtual personal shopper who hooks you up with the best fashion finds on the internet.

Its 'create a look' tool, meanwhile, allows you to do exactly that. So you can browse the shop, create a look and share it with your friends. And, of course, buy every item in your outfit. Plus, coming soon is video chat, so you can shop with your friends using video.

I had great fun creating a look (shown above), especially as Motilo has flagged up lots of sale bargains, such as the Wildfox 'I heart Paris' T-shirt, reduced from £58 to £29. And the D&G shorts, down from £140 to £56. Then there's the Giles & Brother gold-plated hoop earrings, £36.75 instead of £75. Plus, the bargain My-Label hat for £7. 

I added the Christopher Kane fluoro-pink clutch and Furla's Candy bag (in blue because I think neon orange and pink are sold out - sob!), just because I could – this is virtual shopping, after all! Oh, and thanks to Motilo, I now know the Nike Dunks in Liberty's Tom's Jets print are back in stock. Yay!

An online magazine, the Motilo girls (fashion's coolest movers and shakers) and looks created by other users should inspire you further and give you a taste of this exciting new online community. You'll need to register to enjoy all the benefits, but it literally takes seconds.

Oh, and I've saved the best bit for last: become a fan of Motilo's Facebook page and you could win a Mulberry bag! The more likes it receives, the better the prize gets – starting with the Daria clutch and going up to this year's latest bag, the Tillie. Click here to find out more, or click here to enter the prize draw now. You can follow Motilo on Twitter, too.

Like the look I created and want to find the items on Motilo? Here's the details:
Lily & Lionel giraffe-print scarf, £85.
Christopher Kane laser-cut leather clutch, £295.
Furla Candy bag, £175.
My-Label hat, £7 (was £15).
Wildfox 'I heart Paris' T-shirt, £29 (was £58).
APC leather belt, £49 (was £87.50).
D&G shorts, £56 (was £140).
Liberty Tom's Jets Nike Dunks, £78.
Giles & Brother gold-plated hoop earrings, £36.75 (was £75).
Cabinet spitfire-plane necklace, £82.
Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Black Pearl, £17.
Alex Monroe peacock-feather bracelet, £150.
Gorjana Chloe bracelet, £50.
Giles & Brother hook-wrap bracelet, £60.
Surevolution Mossi bangle, £43.50 (was £86).


Sunday, July 17, 2011

What I wore to work


Before this wet weekend, it was lovely and sunny. Hence my summery outfit on Monday, as seen on's What ELLE Wears blog, comprising:

H&M cardie
Primark dress
Converse trainers
ASOS bag

The H&M cardie is actually the second thing I blogged about when I started this blog, while the Primark dress is a summer favourite. It's very versatile - among many other occasions, I've worn it to Paris (back in May), to 2010's Latitude Festival and, obviously, to work last Monday!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Uniqlo's charity T-shirts

Remember my blog post last month about Uniqlo's Save Japan! charity T-shirts? Well, which one did you get?

As you can see, I chose Karl Lagerfeld's message of love, hope and courage. His design and Lady Gaga's have proved the most popular – both are sold out on Uniqlo's website (with Karl's selling out first).

There's still eight other celebrity designs to choose from by the likes of Victoria Beckham, Alber Elbaz, Blake Lively, Gwneth Paltrow, Orlando Bloom, Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Cyndi Lauper (I heart the design by Lanvin's Alber, too). So, show your support for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan by getting your tee today.

What's more, they're on limited offer for £6.99 instead of £12.99, with profits donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society to aid recovery efforts (Uniqlo has pledged approximately 100 million yen).

To see all the designs and to shop online, click here. Or head in store where you may find a Karl or Gaga tee. I spotted the Karl Lagerfeld T-shirt in Uniqlo's menswear concession in Selfridges just last week (yes, the T-shirts are unisex).

Btw, my shorts are a bargain Gap sale buy, reduced from £29.95 to £6.99. They're made of modal and polyester, but feel like luxurious washed silk. Plus, the front pleats make them smart enough for work.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Whistles treasure-hunt prize

Dearest Whistles,

Thank you so much for my free dress. I love it. A lot.

I think Sabina and I will have a great time together. She looks like she'll love dancing. I think she's very much a party girl, so I'll do my best to ensure she has the life that she's been designed for. Trust me, she's in the right wardrobe.

Love Bargainista Fashionista x x x

Dearest reader,

Don't know what I'm talking about? See last month's blog post about the amazing Whistles treasure hunt. And sign up for its newsletter and follow me on Twitter so you don't miss out next time.

Sabina is this beautiful pleated ivory dress with beaded embellishment. An investment buy at £295, but she's worth it.

Sophisticated, sexy, showy yet classic, she's almost bridal in her elegance. In fact, I'd recommend her for the bride that wants something she can wear again, or as a dress to change into for the evening do.

For the non-brides among us, this is an occasion dress – from drinks to dinner to christenings to parties. Though I'd probably steer away from the wedding-guest outfit; wearing white or cream may look like you're trying to steal the bride's thunder.

If you want to move away from the pureness of the colour, swap the bow belt for something more colourful – or black for a cool monochrome look. Heels and handbags, meanwhile, come into their own with this dress as it's such a blank canvas. Just make sure they complement rather than compete with the pleating and beading. Now give me a twirl...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What I wore to work


It's been a crazy-busy week so I've not had time to blog until now, but this is what I wore to work on Monday, as seen on's What ELLE Wears blog:

H&M dress (click here and here to see my previous blog posts)
Marks & Spencer Autograph range wedge sandals
H&M sunglasses
ASOS bag

I think my whole outfit comes in at £100 – not bad considering the dress is organic cotton and both the shoes and bag are leather. Bargainous yet beautiful! And definitely one of my favourite summer looks.

Monday, July 4, 2011

What I wore to work - dissected

When I blogged about wearing this dress to work a few weeks ago (see blog post here), I know some of you were keen to track it down. I hope you were lucky. But if not, don't be discouraged, read on…

I love the internet. Gone are the days when you see something you like, can't find it in your size and are disappointed. Now, you can fixate on something and hunt it down, wherever you live. (I talk from experience. I searched the world for a Phillip Lim dress once, but that's another story. Suffice to say, it was worth it.)

So, when I saw this Whistles dress in the Selfridges sale  – £60, reduced from £95 – I wasn't deterred that my size was sold out. When two Whistles stores, its website and House of Fraser all proved fruitless, I needed some new leads.

Enter Google. A search under 'Whistles Tessa dress' (I love that Whistles names all its clothing, so helpful) tracked down the dress to the John Lewis website. Result – my size was in stock! Furthermore, it's 'click & collect' service meant the dress was in my hands 48 hours later. Delivery is free, but I figured collecting it would be quicker.

I love the bright coral. Not quite orange, not quite red, it's zingy and eye-catching, almost fluoro. And the waffly, stretch-cotton fabric is comforting and cosy. Ditto, the big patch pockets, which I like to think are in the style of Miu Miu s/s 2010.

This is definitely a girl's dress. The Stickman thought it was a bit frumpy at first glance. But he was won over by the cool colour and the exposed, chunky, gilt zip at the back.

It comes in navy and lilac, too, although only the latter is in the sale. But, if you love the coral version and have trouble tracking it down (it's now sold out on the John Lewis website), it is available full price at ASOS.

Brights, I'm finally embracing you. And it's all thanks to seeing how Style Slicker's Kit worked colour so well at the New Look a/w press day recently.

As for my necklaces, they're by Zoe & Morgan, Urban Outfitters and Orelia. And the shoes are my loyal Chie Mihara ones – another Whistles sale bargain.


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