Monday, October 31, 2011

This season's bed jacket

Stella McCartney may decree pyjama trousers to be all the rage come next season but, right now, it's the bed jacket that's having a moment. You'll find this bohemian boudoir piece everywhere on the high street, from Topshop through to New Look.

I picked up this retro-patterned bed jacket in the River Island sale, reduced from £50 to £25. Sadly, it's missing its sash belt, but a further price drop to £20 compensated.

It's the clash of retro patterns that I like – they shouldn't work, but they do – and the wide kimono sleeves. In fact, I liked it so much, I bought a size 16 (several sizes too large, but it was the last one in the shop). However, as a bed jacket is generally loose and oversized, fit isn't as important in this case – but what you wear with it is.

The rule is to  keep your silhouette slim and your outfit plain – or to carry on piling on the print. I've teamed it here with a simple black vest and leggings, but it looks just as good with a white tee and skinny blue jeans. And, come summer, it'll look great thrown over a little slip dress. So, if you want to look effortlessly cool, the bed jacket is the item to buy into.

Dead cool

Happy Halloween! To work the witching hour in style, how about this black cat print dress by Vaudeville & Burlesque at Urban Outfitters?

It's one of my high-street picks that I shot for ELLE's October Style for Less supplement. I love the cute pattern and the flattering dress shape: fitted on the top half and 'swooshy' on the bottom half. Plus, there are hidden side pockets, too.

At £85, you can give a nod to Halloween yet wear it all year round. Surely, based on cost per wear, that makes it a far more savvy (and stylish) buy than a gimmicky costume? And those black cats, they adorn Vaudeville & Burlesque's pussy-bow blouse, too. Available in nude or pale green for £65.

PS. I can't take credit for the headline – it's borrowed from Selfridges!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cosmo Blog Awards 2011

I discovered three things this week:
a) I'd been nominated as best established fashion blog for the Cosmo Blog Awards 2011 (yay!)
b) I'd made it to the shortlist (woop, woop!)
c) I hadn't won (sob)

But, it isn't about the winning. I'm just amazed I got so far. So, a MASSIVE thank you goes out to everyone who recommended and voted for me. It's very much appreciated. I'm chuffed my efforts have been noticed. And thank you Cosmo!

Discover this year's Cosmo Blog Awards shortlist here and the winning blogs here.

PS. If you read or see anything about Bargainista Fashionista, please do let me know!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Back to black


Right now, it's the perfect weather for capes: cool enough to require a lightweight jacket, but not yet chilly enough to demand a full-on winter coat. I'm making the most of this window of opportunity and wearing one of my wardrobe's key pieces as much as possible.

The latest addition to my cape collection (click here and here to see my other favourites) is this leather-trimmed one by 2nd Day, which I chose as part of my high-street edit for ELLE's October Style for Less supplement. I love the clean lines and simple-yet-striking design.

When wearing a cape, you have to balance your silhouette – the cape's triangular shape demands a slimline bottom half – so I've kept the rest of my outfit relatively plain with a LBD that matches the length of the cape and pointelle tights (£6.99 from H&M).

This all-black ensemble offsets my Michael Kors rose-gold watch perfectly, too. Sometimes, you just can't beat the magic of black.

So, this is what I wore to work today:
2nd Day cape
Uniqlo cardigan
Zara dress
H&M tights
Marks & Spencer shoes
Michael Kors watch

See's What ELLE Wears blog for more autumnal inspiration.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hot on the high street: day 7

Today is the final day of this week's round-up of my favourite high-street hits, as featured in ELLE's Style for Less supplement last month. I hope you've enjoyed seeing the pictures the Stickman and I shot. Let me know which looks you like the best.

My last choice is a fun outfit for the weekend. Now don't be afraid to clash patterns – I think the mix of heart and cat prints works well here. A common colour (black in this instance) pulls the pieces together.

If you love cats or want something a little bit quirky for Halloween, this Vaudeville & Burlesque is for you. It's a label that's exclusive to Urban Outfitters and it does some really cute and unusual designs.

The faux-fur trimmed hood and pom-poms on the Primarni coat (a steal at £25), meanwhile, are so adorable (as is the black and white heart pint). Just add a winter wonderland.

Polyester-mix coat with faux-fur trim, £25, by Primark
Polyester dress, £85, by Vaudeville & Burlesque at Urban Outfitters
Polyamide and elastane tights, £6, by Marks & Spencer

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hot on the high street: day 6

I look for ways to maximise my wardrobe when I'm shopping, which is why I love this cape by Day Birger et Mikkelsen's new label, 2nd Day. It can be worn both belted and unbelted, which gives me more looks for my money. Likewise, the framed tapestry bag by Therapy at House of Fraser, which can be cradled or carried.

Fashion's love affair with the cape continues (which makes me very happy). What makes this one special is the leather trim and the luxurious wool. It's more stand-out than an ordinary black coat and the silhouette is chic and elegant.

Wool cape, £229, by 2nd Day
Wool jumper, £24.90, by Uniqlo
Leather and viscose skirt, £159.95, by Gap
Nylon and elastane tights, £4.99, by New Look
Cotton-mix bag, now £17,50 (down from £35), by Therapy at House of Fraser
Shoes and belt, my own (Shoes by Marks & Spencer and belt by Whistles)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hot on the high street: day 5

I love the myriad colour combinations you can create with this Jaeger Black cardigan simply by layering. And that whole casual-yet-smart thing it's got going on. If you want to achieve the chic, insouciant style that French women seem to carry off effortlessly, this is the piece to invest it. Because, at £299 (eek!), it is an investment.

But, bear in mind, the cardigan is exquisitely made (in wool, silk and cashmere). And the antique-y lace panels easily make it designer quality. It's a classic piece that will stand the test of time, while complementing everything from blouses to dresses to T-shirts. Love it but can't afford it? Keep your eyes peeled come sale time.

For something more budget-friendly, try the yellow lace top. I blogged about it last month and since then it's been further reduced to £20. I love the sexy button-up back.

Now, layering lace on lace may sound too much – but it works. I like the bursts of bright yellow peeping through the more austere black.

As for the jeans, Uniqlo skinnies are my favourite. Made from soft Japanese denim, they're a really good fit and a great price, too – just £29.99. Plus, the length can be shortened in store for free (which is great if you haven't got model-length limbs).

Lastly, get two trend for the price of one with the Topshop shoes: the slipper style and glitter are so now.

The details:
Denim jeans, £29.99, by Uniqlo
Suede and glitter shoes, £38, by Topshop

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hot on the high street: day 4

You'll have already seen this outfit as I blogged about it last month when Jonathan Saunders launched his latest designs for Edition at Debenhams. This dress – and the whole collection – was a hit with you all. What's not to love about a designer/high-street collaboration? It brings a luxury label into the realms of affordability, which is a good thing.

So, today, let me talk about the shoes instead. Before I begin, I have to confess, I've never really thought of myself as a high-heeled kind of girl – I appreciate beautiful shoes, but my feet refuse to suffer. But, thanks to this pair from Reiss, I suddenly see what all the fuss is about.

These black court shoes may be simple and understated, but I love what they do. They instantly refine and polish my look. My posture is better and I walk with confidence. But, best of all, these classic shoes elongate my legs and make them look slimmer. And, let's not forget, they're so very elegant, too. Oh, and there's no complaints from my feet, either.

Plus, for extra sophistication, they come in suede. Now how luxurious is that? So chic. Just make sure you Scotchgard them!

Lastly, as statement necklaces go, what do you think of this River Island one? I love that it looks like a vintage piece of jewellery. The perfect accessory for a LBD.

The details:
Polyester-mix dress, £72, by Jonathan Saunders Edition at Debenhams
Suede shoes, £159, by Reiss
Metal necklace, £13, by River Island

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hot on the high street: day 3

I'm not usually a trouser kind of girl as finding the perfect pair is tricky. But these Hattie tailored skinny trousers from Whistles might just be it. Not only are they the right length, the slim cut makes my legs look longer.

The addition of the printed silk top by Maeve at Anthropologie makes this a good look for work – it's smart yet stylish. Plus, you can team the top with pencil skirts and jeans, too. I love Anthropologie – rather like Urban Outfitters for grown-ups, it offers a classic-with-a-twist mix of labels that you don't find elsewhere.

The T-bar shoes complete the outfit. I like the quirky touches from the cut-out stars and two-tone colourway to the interestingly shaped heel. Perfect with this season's 1940s-style dress, too.

The details:
Silk top, £98, by Anthropologie
Wool-mix trousers, £95, by Whistles
Leather shoes, £49.99, by H&M
Brass necklace, £14, by Eclectic Eccentricity

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hot on the high street: day 2

Last season's sheer pleated skirt reworked in leather? I like. Ditto the cute skater-style shape.

This River Island skirt gives my usual girlie look a bit of edge. And, while I've softened it with the blouse, pointelle tights and Mary Janes, on the next person it could easily work this season's fetish trend.

The addition of a cape turns leather into ladylike. A pale grey wool, it's a steal at £65 from Benetton.

As a cheap styling trick, use an earring to double up as a brooch. I like this big heart stud from New Look, made up of tiny enamel and diamante flowers. It instantly ups the ante on the elegance factor. The nail polish is Chanel Rouge Noir, naturally.

The details:
Polyester blouse, £65, by Vaudeville & Burlesque at Urban Outfitters
Leather skirt, £75, by River Island
Leather shoes, £49.99, by New Look
Brass harmonica necklace, £18, by Urban Outfitters
Nylon and elastane tights, £4.99, by New Look
Wool cape, £65, by Benetton
Enamel earring (worn as brooch), £4.99 for pair, by New Look
Vintage bag

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hot on the high street: day 1

If you missed ELLE's October issue, you won't have seen the Style for Less supplement featuring the fashion shoot I did with the Stickman. It's a project we're so excited to have done, so I thought I'd share the pictures with you over the coming week.

As ELLE's brief was to style a week in my wardrobe from the high street's autumn/winter collections, you can see my choices day by day, starting with this floral-print dress by River Island.

Thanks to Miu Miu, 1940s-style dresses with beautiful flower prints are big this season, with River Island creating some of the nicest florals on the high street. As well as the pattern on this dress, I like these floral-print trousers, too - at £35 they're a smart buy for next season's pyjama-pant trend.

Florals look good in winter because they add a refreshing flash of pattern and colour to darker palettes. Plus, this dress will work well for spring, too.

The Comptoir des Cotonniers shoes, meanwhile, combine the three things I like in a shoe: a platform sole for height, a wedge heel for stability and a T-bar strap for elegance.

The details:
Cotton-mix dress, £45, by River Island
Suede shoes, £189, by Comptoir des Cotonniers
Leather bag, £39.95, by Gap
Cotton-mix socks, £6 for pack of three by Next

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Gap in your underwear drawer

The Gap sale is in full swing so don't miss it - there's up to 60% off (although I predict there'll be further reductions soon).

I always make a beeline for the nightwear and lingerie to stock up my undies drawer on the cheap. And I'm a sucker for pretty PJ bottoms. This retro floral-print pair is down from £22.95 to £9.99 – and they're available online. Plus, if you've seen/read/heard about Stella McCartney's spring/summer 2012 collection, you'll know that pyjama pants will be all the rage come next year.

This season, Gap launched a luxurious lace underwear collection called Love Armour. Well, now this limited-edition line is in the sale. I snapped up a black lace bra for a mere £6.99, reduced from £27.95. And with expensive-looking lace knickers at just £1.99 (instead of £9), can you really say no? Thought not.

Last days of summer

It's odd to think I had bare legs at the beginning of this week, given it's decidedly chilly right now. I guess Tuesday's outfit for's What ELLE Wears blog was my final farewell to summer.

This is what I wore:
Gap parka (It might be time to reinstate the detachable inner gilet to this parka now!)
Erdem for Matches T-shirt
Pins & Needles at Urban Outfitters skirt
Deena & Ozzy at Urban Outfitters sandals
Michael Kors watch

The lace Pins & Needles skirt was an Urban Outfitters January sale purchase, reduced from £38 to £19.99. I particularly love the striped net hemline - revealing but not, it's subtly flirtatious.

The Deena & Ozzy sandals were a hot summer sale tip from my friend Em. Again, £19.99 instead of £38. It's the nana look that makes them so cool. But, time to pack them away now until next year. Ugg boots, here I come!


Biba at House of Fraser: part 2

Here's a close-up of the beaded Peter Pan collar on the Biba dress I blogged about yesterday. Do you like?

If the drop in temperature has got you thinking about the new season, then you'll love that this LBD is a luxurious cashmere and wool-mix.

You'll also love the fact that it's a great day-to-night dress. Smart for work, sexy for play. Just add an androgynous tux jacket to strike the perfect balance between feminine and strong.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Viva Biba at House of Fraser

Peter Pan collars are having a moment right now. Their demure rounded shape have been gracing blouses and dresses of late, often in contrasting colours or lace.

I like Biba's luxe take on the trend with the beaded collar on this cashmere and wool-mix dress. It's subtly striped knit reminds me of Sonia Rykiel – chic yet fun.

Biba, of course, was the iconic fashion store of the 1960s and 1970s. Founded by Barbara Hulanicki, it was championed by the likes of Brigitte Bardot, Marianne Faithfull and Twiggy, to name but a few.

A high-end relaunch in 2006 – with designer Bella Freud at the helm – failed to reproduce Biba's original success, so House of Fraser decided to take the label on and return it to its high-street roots. It resurrected Biba last year, putting its iconic, glamorous heritage firmly back on the fashion map.

'The original Biba changed the face of fashion – it was affordable, sexy and easy,' says House of Fraser's director of womenswear and accessories, Stephanie Chen. 'The new Biba has been the most successful launch in House of Fraser's history - it's done way, way better than we'd expected.'

That success must be down to good quality design and affordable prices. Take this dress, for example. It's a modest £75 in the sale, down from £125 (we are talking cashmere, wool and beading here).

I say have fun with those stripes. Team the dress with the polka-dot tights from Next, add a touch of colour with a clutch bag (this snakeskin one is £110 from Reiss) and you'll capture the attitude that makes Biba as strong a brand today as it was in its heyday.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Seeing spots

Thanks to Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney, you'll be seeing a whole lot of spots this season. But you don't have to buy a whole new outfit to get the look.

For little over a fiver, you can work the polka-dot trend with these cute spotty tights – they're just £6.50 from Next. I like how plain blue and black is given a whole new spin with the big, bold spots. It's fun without being too fashion-forward.

And the way to wear it? Go for an all-black ensemble and the tights will do the talking (and walking).

As for the rest of the my outfit, the shoes are my trusty Marks & Spencer T-bars, the snakeskin and metal clutch bag is £110 from Reiss and the wool-mix dress by Biba at House of Fraser is £75 in the sale.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Indian summer


I've been making the most of my tba silk trousers this week. Their loose, tailored cut means they look just as good in the office as they did on holiday. Plus, being so light and effortless to wear makes them great for the Indian summer we're enjoying.

So, this is what I wore to work on Tuesday:
Sonia Rykiel for H&M jacket
Uniqlo T-shirt
tba trousers
Topshop sandals
ASOS bag
Bing Bang ring

For more workwear inspiration, visit the What ELLE Wears blog at

And, if you're liking the trousers, you can get them at ASOS in pale latte or hot pink for £25 and £40 respectively. I'm tempted to get myself the pink version, too!

Silver streak

The metallic knitwear trend first caught my magpie eye last year when Whistles did a chunky knit that looked like it had been dipped in gold. An oversized silver-effect jumper by H&M followed in spring.

I was tempted by both, but unsure whether I wanted to look so 'shiny'. I needn't have worried though, as this autumn the high street has a gleaming array of metallics on offer. The gold- and silver-foil sweater being one of them.

New Look's gold and silver splashed jumpers are £29.99, while Zara's metallic-rollered knitwear with leather elbow pads is £45.99. The real bargain, though, has to be this sweater from Primarni – a mere £14. I like the contrast of the natural knit with the dipped-in-silver gleam. It's shimmery yet chic. And, if you're more of a gold girl, there's gold on black and gold on beige, too.

A casual but cool way to work the metallics trend, team gold or silver knitwear with black faux-leather leggings (H&M does a good pair) and heels for a rock'n'roll look. Alternatively, pair with pencil skirts, skinny jeans or denim cut-offs.


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