Friday, August 31, 2012

Somerset by Alice Temperley for John Lewis preview

Somerset by Alice Temperley for John Lewis launches on 4th September. Designed exclusively for John Lewis and named after Alice Temperley's home county, this designer/high-street collaboration is an iconic British pairing, bringing Temperley's high-end designs to the high street.

'I wanted Somerset to be very much a collection of essentials and to design a collection that would provide a feminine and functional wardrobe for women in their everyday life,' says Alice Temperley, MBE. 'This collection is all-encompassing, effortless and draws on our classics, with some stand-out pieces.'

One stand-out piece is this double-layer lace dress above. At £249, it's one of the more expensive items in the collection, but as part of the 60-strong collection, it provides a wide choice of classic Temperley favourites at affordable prices.

Working Temperley's signature influences of Victoriana, bohemian and military, the Somerset collection taps into autumn/winter's love affair with lace and rides the wave of this season's return to black.

This dress is a great trans-seasonal piece. Lace trim silk dress, £160. Laurel leather bag, £255. Pony foxglove boots, £195. All by Somerset by Alice Temperley for John Lewis.

And you know I love a good cape! Cashmere cape coat, £299 (also available in tan). Skinny trousers, £79. Glastonbury suede boots, £175. All by Somerset by Alice Temperley for John Lewis.

'The beauty of the Somerset collection is that it can be worn in so many ways,' says stylist Naomi Miller, who styled model Lily Donaldson for the Somerset campaign. 'The Alice Temperley style is eclectic, romantic and feminine. I think there's something in this collection for everyone.'

I agree with Miller, which is why I've created a capsule wardrobe of Somerset pieces below. The two tops, skirt and coat are the cornerstones of your autumn/winter look. The cape coat (as also pictured above) is a go-with-everything winter essential, while interchanging the tops with the skirt creates a day-to-night look instantly. Add a white T-shirt and a pair of jeans to mix and match with the tops and skirt and you get a further three looks for your money.

These are my top picks from the Somerset collection to invest in. Clockwise from top left: lace collar silk blouse, £79. Cashmere cape coat, £299. Pleat detail satin and georgette blouse, £89. Leather skirt, £199. All by Somerset by Alice Temperley for John Lewis.

'It's the first time I've created a full accessories range, which I am very excited about,' says Temperley. And so she should be. There are bags, belts, shoes, scarves and even a hat. Look out for the Larch black patent brogues for £130 and the Wisteria suede shoes with their chunky gold heel for £140. The Clevedon bag in red, black or tan leather at £175, meanwhile, is a classic in the making.

The Somerset collection launches in 29 John Lewis stores and online on the 4th September, while a second drop dedicated to partywear follows in early October.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Zara sale bargain

This Zara dress is one of my end-of-sale bargains. I got it for £15.99, down from £69.99. A tangle of layers on the hanger, I can see why it was left on the sale rack.

But I was familiar with this Zara dress. I'd spotted it at the beginning of the season, a pretty confection of lemon and peach, with soft sunray pleats. But offered only in a size small and a size medium, I didn't find the fit right. Not enough to pay £69.99 anyway.

Now at £15.99, I can overlook the sizing issue. A belt puts paid to its looseness. And, while those thigh-high splits, both front and back, can be revealing, when those chiffon layers flutter with every footstep, it feels both whimsically romantic and sexy.

It's an elegant dress for absolute peanuts. What sale bargains have you bought recently?

PS. These pictures were taken at London's V&A museum. I recommend the Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary exhibition. The work of the design team behind the London 2012 Olympic Cauldron and London's new Routemaster bus is amazing. Next on my list is the V&A's Ballgowns: British Glamour Since the 1950 exhibition.

I've also been wearing my Zara dress to work (see below), teamed with my H&M belt, vintage bag and Kurt Geiger sandals. It's the perfect summer dress. See what the ELLE team have been wearing this summer at the What ELLE Wears blog at


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley for Marks & Spencer

Supermodel and actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has designed a lingerie collection for Marks & Spencer. Currently the face of M&S's Autograph range, this is Rosie's first foray into design.

The collection, called Rosie for Autograph, launches in selected stores and online tomorrow, on 30th August. And, to celebrate the launch, Rosie will be at Marks & Spencer's Marble Arch flagship store on Oxford Street, London, from 1-2pm.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley for Marks & Spencer is a dream collaboration. On the one hand you've got a high-street brand that excels at making underwear. On the other, you've got one of Victoria's Secret's famous Angels; as a long-standing model for the US lingerie brand, Rosie should know more than most about the design and fit of beautiful undies. Oh, and she collects vintage lingerie, too.

Rosie for Autograph is an exquisite vintage-inspired collection made of luxurious silks and fine lace and finished with exquisite detailing. Offering 33 pieces, there are lingerie sets, cami and French knicker sets, a teddy and a kimono-style robe all in a colour palette reminiscent of English rose gardens with Deco-inspired designs and soft, muted rose prints.

These are my favourite pieces below. I like the elegant Deco detailing and I particularly love navy as an alternative to black underwear. It's sexy and sophisticated.

From left: nude padded Deco bra, £35; thong, £15. Navy non-padded Deco bra, £35; high leg knickers, £15. Nude Deco smoothing bra, £35; no VPL Brazilian, £15. All by Rosie for Autograph at Marks & Spencer. 

With prices starting at just £12.50, Rosie for Autograph offers affordable luxury. Plus, it's available in cup sizes A to E (with selected styles going up to G) and size 8 to 20. So, are you going to shop the collection? Before you make up your mind, hear Rosie talking about her lingerie collection for Marks & Spencer…

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Somerset by Alice Temperley for John Lewis

Designer collaboration alert! British designer Alice Temperley has collaborated with John Lewis to produce her first UK high-street collection.

Somerset by Alice Temperley, named after the designer's home county, is the latest designer collaboration to hit the high street and launches next week on 4th September. The 60-piece collection of clothes, shoes and accessories offers Temperley's signature style and high-end detail at affordable prices.

This John Lewis collaboration follows Temperley's 2007 collection for US clothing giant, Target. Although only sold stateside, it was made available at Selfridges, London, and was a high-street hit. I remember shopping the collection and have a few classic Temperley pieces that have lasted well.

Are you an Alice Temperley fan? For a preview of her Somerset collection, watch this campaign video featuring model Lily Donaldson and her sister Aurelia and put 4th September in your diary. The collection will be available at selected John Lewis stores and online.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Kurt Geiger's final reductions

There's final reductions in the Kurt Geiger sale. I bought its Kurly flat tan leather sandals for £39, reduced from £75. And the white colourway of that design is down to just £29.

I admit, these Kurt Geiger sandals are a back-up pair since I already own this style. But I've learnt from previous experience that if you love something, it's almost always good to get a second.

Take last summer's Urban Outfitter's nana sandals. I loved them and missed out on getting a black pair for a tenner at the end of the sale. Now they're falling apart and I've turned to Kurt Geiger's Kurly as my essential summer sandal.

Note, I only apply the rule of getting two of everything to affordable staples that I wear day in, day out (a T-shirt, jeans, these sandals), rather than important key buys where I wouldn't and couldn't justify the expense of a second (a coat, a bag or statement shoes, say).

Do you ever buy two of something? If you do, a sale's always a great opportunity to snap up the second. By that point you know you love it enough to warrant a repeat purchase. And you're getting it for less! And if you don't buy two of everything, with Kurt Geiger's final sale prices you may just be tempted to start.

PS. As you can see Chanel's Particulière nail polish is still a firm favourite.

Monday, August 20, 2012

H&M's pyjama outfit

First there was Stella McCartney's spring/summer pyjama suit. Then there was Marni for H&M's PJ set. And, of course, the wisteria-print top and trousers from Whistles. Now meet H&M's autumn/winter pyjama outfit.

This H&M two-piece in a graphic print channels autumn/winter's new favourite colour: claret. But it's the cut of the trousers that turns this pyjama set from just-rolled-out-of-bed into workwear smart. Instead of summer's loose PJ pants, these are cropped and fitted. And they're just £12.99, with the top coming in at £19.99.

I first spotted this pyjama suit on my friend Laura, who made it look so sophisticated I didn't believe it was high street at first. To add more of a work focus, she wore a black tux jacket on top and carried Zara's iconic tote bag in black. She looked so fabulous she got snapped by a New York street-style photographer!

Like summer's pyjama trend, the great thing about this outfit is how you can wear it. Just as I've worn my Marni for H&M PJ pieces individually (see here and here) and my Whistles wisteria-print trousers sans matching top (see here), this H&M two-piece works great as separates.

In fact if you don't fancy an all-over print, I recommend the trousers as a really good buy. They'll look great with a crisp white shirt or a cream blouse.

And if you do want to work the head-to-toe PJ look, here's some tips. I'm so pleased my favourite spring/summer trend continues apace into the next season.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Cambridge Satchel Company clearance sale

When The Cambridge Satchel Company tweeted this picture from its clearance sale yesterday, I knew you were in for a treat. Just look: a room full of satchels at bargain prices!

And, if you missed out yesterday, it's on today, too! The Cambridge Satchel Company's sample sale is on from 11am to 5pm at The Guildhall, Cambridge CB2 3QJ (just off the Market Square).

There are satchels in a multitude of colours, sizes and designs, with up to 60% off. And yes, there are fluoro bags, can you see? Prices start from £45 for an 11-inch satchel.

I'm so pleased you paid attention to my previous blog, tweets and Facebook notice – and that you went and shopped! It's been great hearing what satchels you've been snapping up and the colours you've chosen.

I think I would have been a little overwhelmed with the choice. I would have been the girl holding about 10 satchels with a look of indecision on her face – and then I would have probably left with several!

Blogger Fashionista Barbie bought not one but two pink satchels (the dusky pink one and a fluoro one), but Barbie would have approved! As I can't make it to Cambridge, do let me know what bargains you get. I promise I won't be too jealous!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Topshop and Anthropologie sale buys


This Topshop top is a recent sale buy. Ditto the Anthropologie sunglasses. And I've blogged about my Alex Monroe horseshoe necklace already.

Did you see the Topshop colour burst tunic in store? I got it for £25 in the sale, reduced from £45, but it's now just £15 on the Topshop website. Hurry, as there's only size 10 left. However, it is very generously sized, so you're in luck if you're a size 12-14, too.

I was impressed that the Topshop tunic came in both petite and tall options, as well as regular. I did search for the tall version as I wanted to wear it as a dress; the regular one that I ended up with isn't quite long enough as it's shorter at the front than the back, but I still love it.

The graphic pattern reminds me of Jonathan Saunders' brilliant use of colour and of my Cos dress, too. Made of a silky lightweight polyester, the top is cool to wear, especially with the oversized armholes. They give a sexy glimpse of underwear, so make sure you've got your best on show!

As for my Anthropologie sunglasses, I was drawn by their retro design. The grey-green frames, outlined with white and transparent olive on the outside edges are a little bit Marni – without the price tag. In fact, £15.95, reduced from £34.95.

What have you been wearing and buying in the sales this summer? See how Team ELLE have been dressing at the What ELLE Wears blog at

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Cambridge Satchel Company sample sale


The Cambridge Satchel Company is holding a sample sale this weekend. The British brand, loved by celebrities, fashion editors and bloggers alike, is offering up to 60% off its iconic bags. So, if you loved my fluoro-pink satchel, here's your chance to get one at a reduced price.

There will be satchels, batchels, music bags and backpacks at The Cambridge Satchel Company's clearance sale. Prices start from £45 for an 11-inch classic satchel (usually £74). And, yes, the four neon shades will be available, along with a whole spectrum of other colours.

The satchels for sale are seconds, so they're structurally sound with small imperfections. For an idea of the kind of minor flaws to expect, visit The Cambridge Satchel Company's clearance page where you can already shop for clearance items.

The Cambridge Satchel Company's sample sale is at The Guildhall, Cambridge CB2 3QJ (just off the Market Square) on Saturday 11th August from 10am to 5pm and Sunday 12 August from 11am to 5pm.

So, anyone planning a day trip then? I'm very tempted as a red satchel has been on my wish list for ages. Let me know what bargains you find!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Next – autumn/winter 2012 starts here

Shop Next's autumn/winter collection. Its new-season pieces are in store and online now.

To help you decide what trends to buy into, I've picked three key pieces you will be shopping for: the dress, the jacket and the winter coat.

Lace is still going strong for autumn/winter, but the focus is on new and different ways to use it as a detail. For the season's new opulence trend, a lace overlay adds an ornate touch, giving a nod to the gothic trend, too.

These two Next lace dresses match the elegance of Erdem's designs – but at high-street prices. The lace dress above is £58 and comes in mink as well as blue. The floral lace dress below is £60.

Thanks to the classic Chanel jacket, there's a big trend for bouclé this autumn/winter. The bouclé jacket is a work-wardrobe essential – it's smart enough for the office while adding off-duty cool to jeans.

These are two great designs by Next. The first tweed jacket is £69 and continues spring/summer's love affair with neon, playing with bright colour. The second tweed biker jacket, meanwhile, reworks tweed as a biker style for £55.

A winter coat is a necessary purchase and these two are Next's key designs. The first, a Crombie coat with a faux-leather collar and trim for £60, works the androgynous trend, with navy being a refreshing change from black. And the second, a grey military coat for £70, champions one of the biggest trends of the season: yes, military is back.

I hope these Next pieces have got you excited about the new season. Let me know what trends you'll be buying into.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Nike x Liberty wedge trainers

If you missed April's Nike x Liberty wedge trainers, set your alarm for tomorrow morning. The latest version of this cult wedge shoe goes on sale tomorrow at Liberty, both in store and online, at £95.

Nike and Liberty's newest collaboration combines Nike's Dunk Sky High wedge trainers with Liberty's Pepper print. But it's the hidden platform heel that is the real star of these sneakers. They give you, the wearer, invisible extra inches in height.

Isabel Marant, who sparked the trend for wedge trainers, recently released new colourways of her infamous wedge trainer so you know this footwear trend is set to run and run. Make sure you catch up, if you haven't already.


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