Wedding Season: Dressing the Guest

Summer doesn't always bring the sunshine to the UK but, as a member of a huge family or in-demand socialite, one thing you can guarantee is an influx of wedding invites arriving through the post. I, personally, have RSVP'd to 3 north-based weddings this summer and have found that my sisters and mother, in particular, have struggled with the wedding guest dress code, the misconceptions and the myths. Under the belief that white was a no-go, florals were encouraged, and hair accessories were a must, I decided to put together 4 appropriate wedding looks to suit various desires and tastes which, based on experience, are more than accepted in the wedding party environment. These looks were pulled together using designer product from Net-a-Porter but can be used as guidelines and inspiration for those looking for a more on-budget wedding attire.

So firstly, lets just break down some of the misconceptions surrounding weddings and suitable attire. Firstly, be realistic, dressing with sophistication will never upstage the bride. This is her day and quite frankly it would take something pretty spectacular for family and friends to take their attention off of the bride. This is the opinion I take when considering the prospect of wearing white. Unless your selection is a flow length silk white gown, who's to say white, off-white, cream is off limits. For me, I always opt for a subtle muted palette of creams, champagnes and metallics guaranteeing a sophistication and chicness but most importantly, it is a palette that provides a flexibility - allowing one to re-wear pieces, using them as a base garment to accessorise based on the occasion. The complimentary muted accessories also provide a longevity and are viewed as investment pieces as they can be paired with pretty much anything. Lets now move on to the myth that monochrome is not accepted within the wedding party. I recently attended a family wedding and my big sister turned up in a sleeveless, high neck, pencil length monochrome printed silk dress and looked absolutely stunning - the height of sophistication! There was no questioning she fitted right in with the rest of us. I would however warn that her print was appropriately subtle, anything too 60s or graphic may cheapen the look and produce a more-casual outcome we are not looking to achieve. Not renowned for my girly girly style, I was horrified when my mother suggested I opt for a floral dress for the recent family wedding. It was my mother and her generation's best representation of pretty and family-occasion appropriate. Head to toe florals are not for everyone, including myself (well, unless they're clashing in a cigarette pant/blouse combo...not a good choice for a wedding) and so I looked to create this same acceptance based on my own personal style. Lace was where I felt most comfortable and as you can see from my 'Here Comes the Bride' post, the combination of metallic lace and cream satin suited me and my taste perfectly. As long as we are aware of the need for a sense of sophistication, I believe that wedding guest attire guidelines can be dismissed. After all, unless you're comfortable in what you are wearing there is no way you are going to enjoy yourself. You want to feel good about the money you have invested in to your purchases, knowing that you can wear them again and again without worrying about the numerous Instagram pics that have been posted with you in the dress, or how many of your Twitter followers have seen what you are wearing...yes, this is the world we are now living in! Grim! But with these base products, numerous outfit combinations are possible! The key is in accessorising!

The 4 looks I pulled together were all dress-based. This was a conscious decision as I always feel a wedding deserves a dress-up moment and nothing makes you feel more like a woman than a beautiful cut dress. This is not to say I am opposed to the pencil skirt-blouse combination, I am simply stating my preference. I categorised my looks into 1) Confident with my figure, looking to emphasise collar bone feature 2) Statement print 3) Long sleeved option with waist emphasis and 4) The ultimate glamour. When it came to accessorising these looks I incorporated a skinny gold plated waist belt to the brown Lanvin satin dress to inject a strong contrast and dress up a minimalist bodice. The belt brings emphasis to the waist and creates a more womanly figure. To accessorise the Erdem printed dress I opted for a contrast green perspex clutch from Charlotte Olympia. Practical in it's sizing it sits perfectly against the base white colour way of the dress, complimenting without removing focus from the print. With a wrap effect dress design, emphasis is very often placed on the bust. To refrain from this happening, maintaining sophistication and moving emphasis to the waist I incorporated a choker necklace from Saint Laurent. Finally, I always envisaged the Lanvin knot silk satin dress to be styled with an up-do and minimalist make up. The dress is the ultimate statement piece and simply needs to be complimented. To maintain the appropriate glamour and sophistication I kept jewellery to a minimum, incorporating these beautiful subtle sterling silver glass earrings from Bottega Veneta.

Regardless of your personal style, tastes and desires, there should be no restrictions on what you can wear to a wedding. At the end of the day, weddings last a minimum of 10 hours and the last thing you want is to be dressed in an attire you do not feel comfortable in - the minute you get home throwing it to the back of the wardrobe, never to be seen again. Weddings are by no means cheap occasions and instead of conforming to the misconceptions and myths of what is accepted in the way of dressing, look for pieces that make you feel good about yourself and pieces that you know you will wear again without hesitation. I am a big fan of up-cycling and re-cycling - one dress can be styled a number of different ways! So look for timeless, classic designs, prints and colours and you are on to a winner! After all, the main purpose of a wedding is to enjoy yourself and celebrate the bride and the groom so stop putting so much pressure on yourself and stressing over what you should wear. Forget about other peoples' opinions and make decisions based on what makes you feel at your best!

For the best high street options available, check out my 'Here Comes the Bride' post.

Look 1:                                                                                                           Look 2:
Lanvin Asymmetric Duchesse Satin Dress: £1,755.00                              Erdem Felicia Printed Silk Dress: £1,090.00
Jimmy Choo Lang Mirrored Leather Sandals: £525.00                              Christian Louboutin June 100 Leather Slingback Pumps: £465.00
Sophie Hulme Brass Plaque Leather Belt: £110.00                                    Ippolita Lollipop 18 Karat Gold, Mother of Pearl Diamond Ring: £2,505.00
M2Malletier Fabricca Leather Clutch: £710.00                                          Repossi Berbere 18 Karat Rose Gold Ring: £2,058.00
                                                                                                                        Charlotte Olympia Gemini Pandora Perspex Clutch: £695.00

Look 3:                                                                                                           Look 4:
Issa Wrap Effect Silk Jersey Dress: £565.00                                            Lanvin Knot Front Silk Satin Dress: £2,190.00
Charlotte Olympia Mae West Woven & Satin Sandals: £795.00               Sophia Webster Lola Leather Pumps: £195.00
Saint Laurent Three Strand Collar Necklace: £770.00                              Bottega Veneta Sterling Silver Glass Stone Earrings: £345.00
Christian Louboutin Mina Spiked Metallic Leather Clutch: £1,165.00      Bottega Veneta The Knot Mini Intrecciato Satin & Ayers Clutch: £990.00

*all items available at Net-a-Porter

Kelly x

My Designer Look of the Week

Always a personal fan of the laid-back casual vibe when it comes to fashion, one thing that caught my eye during my time sorting through the Net-a-Porter styling rails, was the incredible influx of sports luxe track pants. The flexibility and practicality of the garment engaged me immediately, encouraging me to feature them in this week's Designer Look of the Week post. From Chloe to Lanvin to Alexander Wang to Christopher Kane, the track pant has been served a high fashion make over! Gone is the velour and polyester, and in there place comes leathers, silks and wool blends in vibrant colours and statement prints. This season's track pant is practical in it's freedom of movement and flexible in it's ability to transcend successfully from day wear to evening wear with it's flattering, non-fitted, silhouette. Who said track pants couldn't be chic?!...The ultimate must-have piece for every wardrobe this season!

For this look, I pulled a pair of tapered leather pants from 3.1 Phillip Lim. With their black colour way and minimalist design, the pants are the ultimate staple, possessing the ability to be paired with pretty much anything. Maintaining a chic black base colour, I opted to make the bomber jacket the focal piece of the look, incorporating a sophisticated yet youthful animal print that maintains the essence of cool and edge we are attempting to achieve. Aware that leopard print sits successfully alongside black leather and is extremely current, yet timeless, I pulled this sateen twill bomber jacket from Giambattista Valli. The piece epitomises the high-end casual look we are going for with it's pull-in toggles that help to create a sport-led silhouette - extremely comfortable and forgiving! Add the basic black racer back vest from T by Alexander Wang and we are well on our way. Tuck the vest in to the pant with a slight overhang and leave the bomber jacket unzipped for ultimate laid back chic.

For me, the success of the track pant lies in it's successful partnership with the point toe heeled pump. Allowing elongation of the leg, a heel transforms the look from off-duty sportswoman to a polished, 'I'm not trying too hard and am in no way looking to break a sweat' kinda vibe. My go-to shoe, Jimmy Choo's Anouk, works perfectly here, adding another dimension to the look through it's patent surface design. When it came to accessorising I looked for a bag that screamed 'off-duty model, laid back' edge - practical in it's size and flexible in it's ability to be suited to both day and evening environments. This bucket bag from Wendy Nichol epitomises the overall look I am attempting to achieve.

I wanted to keep jewellery to a minimum as I felt the print, contrasting fabrics and textures of the look communicated all the personality necessary and felt over-accessorising may produce an over-polished outcome. This studded bracelet from Saint Laurent maintains our desired edge but consider combining this with a silver plated pyramid bracelet from Eddie Borgo and a silver-based stack ring, but as I mentioned before, less is definitely more in the way of accessorising this look.

Giambattista Valli Leopard Print Sateen Twill Bomber Jacket: £1,223.00
3.1 Phillip Lim Tapered Leather Pants: £1,210.00
T by Alexander Wang Classic Jersey Racer Back Tank: £63.00
Jimmy Choo Anouk Patent Leather Pumps: £375.00
Wendy Nichol Bullet Studded Leather Bucket Bag: £650.00
Saint Laurent Studded Leather Bracelet: £215.00

*all items available from Net-a-Porter

Kelly x

Monochrome Magic

If there is one trend that has sparked my excitement recently it is the introduction of clashing monochromes. A trusty all-black wearer the majority of the time, I was thrilled to view the variations of the colour way offered on the catwalks of Marc Jacobs, Jil Sander, Dolce and Gabbana, Michael Kors and Louis Vuitton this season. A combination of stripes, checks, spots, digital graphics, abstract prints and block colouring burst on to the runway in fun playful variations. Never before has clashing monochromes felt so right! This trend is cool, modern, assertive and most importantly, timeless!

I pulled together the ideal representation of the trend. Using the check pattern stretch knit skirt from Marni as my starting point, I looked for a vest which would best compliment it, whilst maintaining a sophistication and chicness. This stripe camisole from Tibi worked perfectly and should be tucked in with a slight overhang to achieve that effortlessly chic look we desire. Sophie Webster provides the ultimate statement shoe in the way of the yayoi patent and leather sandal, injecting a new clashing circular print to the look whilst not appearing heavy through the peep toe and cut out design features. The lace up adds an edge and a strength through it's bold high foot placement. To finish off the look, a striped sequined clutch was selected from The Skunk. The sequins inject another dimension to the outfit - a clashing texture which fits the trend brief to perfection. This look screams personality and personally, I would refrain from adding any unecessary pieces of jewellery. The clashing of monochrome prints is making a statement alone and styling should be kept to a minimum. For ultimate effect, colour in the eyebrows and contour the cheek bones, keeping the rest of the face natural. Any injection of colour here would only lessen the impact of the overall look!

The great thing about this trend is that absolutely anything goes! Clash check with stripes, polka dots with digital prints...the successful combinations are endless. Have some fun with it, experiment until your hearts content!

(Main look)
Tibi Stripe Crepe de Chine Camisole: £195.00
Marni Patterned Stretch Knit Skirt: £430.00
Sophia Webster Yayoi Patent & Leather Sandals: £525.00
The Skunk Striped Sequined Clutch: £1630.00

(from left to right)
Rag & Bone Darlene Pique Dress: £370.00                                                        Acne Mape Striped Leather Biker Jacket: £1100.00
Paige Edgemont Stretch Denim Skinny Jeans: £260.00                                     Proenza Schouler The PS1 Printed Leather Clutch: £890.00
Michael Kors Ikat Print Matte Sateen Shorts: £625.00                                      Marc Jacobs Striped Calf Hair Flats: £575.00
Nancy Gonzalez Cutout Crocodile Clutch: £2090.00                                          J.Crew Minuit Big Dot Linen and Cotton Blend Dress: £150.00
Reed Krakoff Two Tone Leather Oxford Shoes: £487.00                                  Marni Checked Cotton Voile Dress: £1060.00
Marc Jacobs Striped Twill Skirt: £630.00                                                          Alexander Wang Crepe Twill and Fishine Top: £1379.00
Jil Sander Leather Calf Boots: £790.00                                                              Balmain Striped Stretch Denim Mini Skirt: £1585.00
Jonathan Saunders Louise Striped Crepe Jacket: £1095.00                              Marni Sleeveless Cotton and Twill Tshirt: £200.00
Proenza Schouler Record Large Printed Leather Shoulder Bag: £1235.00       Bottega Veneta Leather Platform Pumps: £625.00
Maje Curd Striped Woven Mini Dress: £229.00

*all items available from Net-a-Porter

Kelly x

Thank You Red Magazine!

It's not very often you spend 1 month at a fashion publication and instantly feel welcomed and integrated in to the team. Morning greetings, concern for your health and well-being and even the occasional treat...delicious cake pops mmmmm! On completion of my time at Red Magazine I felt a sense of sadness, I had honestly thoroughly enjoyed every minute of being there, interacting with kind natured professionals who had the experience to teach me an awful lot about the industry - stressing persistence, encouraging my success and providing priceless advice that I would struggle to find elsewhere. Their constant support in helping further my journey was heart warming - calling in their contacts and offering help at any given opportunity. I walked away from the Hearst building with a sense of contentment. I had achieved every goal I had set out for myself and more - learn, grow, experience and build contacts, with the added bonus of now being able to consider those contacts friends. The fashion and shopping teams at Red had tore down any stereotypical hostile environment myths that are attached to such an industry and instead refreshingly accelerated my determination to succeed and reach my desired goal. Special thanks go to Nicola Rose, Emily Gegg, Alex Stedman, Lucy Reber, Lauren Franks, Clare Pugh, Marisa Georgas, Polly Knight and Felicity Kay.

My Designer Look of the Week

Having spent the past month at the Hearst offices with the fashion team at Red, it has never been more apparent that for fashion girls in particular, versatility is essential in their everyday dressing. For my Designer Look of the Week post I wanted to pull together something that primarily provided the flexibility to suit both day and evening environments, whilst also providing comfort, practicality and an injection of edge.

Thanks to the likes of Brian Lichtenberg, slogan and branded jumpers have never been more accepted within the fashion circle and I fell in love with this striped lining cotton sweatshirt from Kenzo as soon as I saw it. Making this the focus of the overall look, I aimed to find pieces that simply complimented it without diverting attention. To achieve the edge I desired, I opted for stretch leather leggings from Helmut Lang which added another dimension to the look, incorporating new textures and surfaces with the sheen of the leather. These pants prove a great wardrobe staple with their ability to be dressed up or down, paired with a heeled pump or a hi top sneaker. However, aware that leather pants are not the most flattering of garments, opt for a basic black legging if you prefer. For this look I paired the pants with leopard print calf hair pumps from Gianvito Rossi. A trusty piece of animal print footwear should be an essential in any woman's wardrobe, injecting a fun chic print that can transform any outfit. The point toe design is bang on trend and proves the most flattering shape to elongate the legs - a sophisticated pair of pumps that will never go out of date.

The clutch bag I selected to finish off the look is from Maiyet Ayla, adding a contrasting dimension through it's texture and metallic coating. It's neutral colour way cements it as the perfect investment piece, injecting a sophistication to any look through it's gold accents, and it's practical sizing proves suitable for both day and evening use. I opted for a clutch over a tote or shoulder bag as I felt the shoulder focus appeared too heavy and dented the impact of this overall look, slightly under-dressing it, resulting in a day wear vibe which is far removed from our main aim of transcending the look well from day to night. The sunglasses I selected are from Linda Farrow - a flattering feminine design with their cat eye shaping which compliment the face without appearing too harsh or heavy. At £449.00 the sunglasses are a purchase guaranteeing longevity with their black colour way and timeless silhouette - an item you will certainly get a lot of use out of once the sunshine makes an appearance!

When it comes to jewellery, a few minimal pieces is the way forward for me. The garments are conveying all the personality that you require and so I look to complimentary gold pieces that step the look up in the way of sophistication. Maintaining an edge, select bold stacking rings like these from Saint Laurent, rings with a subtle contrasting stone and a gold based cuff or round face watch.

(from left to right)
Kenzo Striped Lining Cotton Sweatshirt: £150.00
Helmut Lang Stretch Leather Leggings Style Pants: £745.00
Gianvito Rossi Leopard Print Calf Hair Pumps: £510.00
Maiyet Ayla Metallic Coated Textured Leather Clutch: £775.00
Linda Farrow Cat Eye Watersnake Sunglasses: £449.00
Eddie Borgo Zenith Cut Cuff: £348.00
Saint Laurent Set of Four Gold Vermeil Rings: £860.00
Monica Vinader Gold Plated Diamond Ring: £210.00

*all items available from Net-a-Porter and Matches Fashion

Kelly x

Dressing the Intern: The Realities & Expectancies


Observing the numerous editors, assistants, producers, and paid interns working away at their desks within the Hearst Magazine offices, it had never been more apparent that to reach an aspired level in your career sacrifice and persistence was paramount. Many people outside of the fashion world possess an unrealistic view of the industry itself, observing fashion editors in garments that have appeared to have walked straight off the catwalk, paired with manicured nails and tamed hair. The realisation being that these women have worked unpaid for years on the quest to achieve their desired role, and have finally achieved it by working every hour God has sent to make an impression and gain recognition - talent is simply not enough! The world of fashion is far from glamorous and your first step on the career ladder will come from experience and a colossal amount of hard graft, gained from numerous internships (unpaid of course) and assisting projects, demanding sacrifice and constant enthusiasm. As a fashion design graduate, the world of interning is one I can provide insight, having carried out placements at top design houses such as Alexander McQueen and Matthew Williamson and top publications such as Red Magazine. Many of you will be venturing in to an internship this summer, taking advantage of the school break, and I felt it was important to educate you on the expectancies and realities of the working environment and, most importantly, how to dress in a way that is practical and guarantees you are taken seriously by your peers.

First things first...this internship is NOT a fashion show! The fashion teams you are assisting attend Fashion Week twice annually and are in no way looking for an intern that looks as though they have just walked off of style.com. Of course it is important to display an enthusiasm for fashion but the first thing that should be considered when dressing oneself in the morning is 'does this outfit allow me to do my job to the best of my ability?' If the answer is no, and the outfit is restricting in any way, you must reassess. The clothes you are wearing are not going to make a lasting impression on the team, it is hard work, efficiency and natural ability that will guarantee you are remembered and most importantly, recommended. The fashion industry is a very small circle and first impressions are vital, so dressing should be focused around practicality and comfort.

Realistically, when assisting at a fashion publication, expect to spend the majority of your time within the fashion cupboard working on sample returns and maintaining the general organisation and upkeep. This intern role involves a lot of rolling around on the floor, pulling rails, packing suitcases and running errands so restricting clothing is a definite no no! The heat generated in these fashion cupboards should never be taken for granted either! Opt for free flowing garments that allow ventilation and movement. Consider combining a casual boyfriend style jean with turn up hem, like this pair from Zara, with a basic round neck short sleeve tee. The perfect affordable tees can be found at Mango, providing a slightly longer hem and at a price of around £9.99 are perfect disposable garments that will not break the bank if they are damaged during the internship. The biggest investment during your work placement should be a great quality pair of flat pumps or boots (check out the best affordable options currently available at Zara above) as you are guaranteed to spend 99% of the job on your feet. Opt for soft leather options that allow a bend in the foot as you will be doing a significant amount of crouching down and kneeling. Also consider options with extra cushioning as hours of your feet can pressurise points of the foot that are essential for intern duties. My feet, for instance, are extremely prone to blisters so I look for footwear that allows a slight give at the back guaranteeing the diminishment of rubbing when on the move and when your feet begin to overheat.

I have laid out a few extra points that are important to bear in mind before commencing with an internship below:

  • Forget polishing your nails or paying for a manicure - The majority of your time will be spent transferring hangers from one rail to the next, packaging up samples and pulling rails so if you are doing a good enough job, there is no way you can maintain polished nails! Within 5minutes, at least one of the nails will be chipped and in the long run, what appears more acceptable...a hand full of chipped nails or a clean pair of unpolished nails?
  • Forget the hair - Honestly, I know some of you may feel that your hair is the main focus of your appearance but believe me, the way you walk out of the house in the morning is far removed from how you will arrive back there after work. The heat and pressure alone will have you either pulling your hair behind your ears or eager to pull it up in to a bun! Long straight hair is just not practical as an intern! Spend the 30minutes it takes to do your hair in the morning to spend an extra half an hour in bed...that will benefit you a hell of a lot more!
  • Cosmetics are up to you - To be honest with you, applying cosmetics throughout internships has been a trial and error process for me. For the initial week, I opted to apply a foundation, colour in my eyebrows and add a slight rouge to the cheeks but as the weeks set in and you become accustomed to the heat and stuffiness of the fashion cupboards, you realise make up is not one of your daily essentials -it is important to allow your skin to breathe! I found myself constantly crouching with my chin on my knee whilst writing out return forms, only to find the foundation has transferred to my trousers. Is it really worth the extra effort to persistently wash foundation stains out of your clothing once you arrive home?...you decide!
  • Refrain from over-accessorising - Any sort of jewellery on your wrists is restricting, not to mention it will more than likely get damaged. Carrying hangers, pulling rails, opening stapled bags you will attain cuts, grazes and scratches on your hands and arms and honestly, I would rather that than have the face of my watch scratched to pieces. It is entirely up to you but I find anything on my wrists hugely restricting!
As you can see, I have put together 6 of my own personal interning looks to give you an idea of what has worked for me in the past, but by no means accept this as the final edits! Take look number 1 for instance - within an hour of beginning my day in the fashion cupboard, my hair was up in a bun, my scarf was off and all jewellery on my wrists had been removed! Strip it all back and let your work do the talking!! It's all about determining what works best for you and what allows you the flexibility to carry out the job to 100% of your ability!

(from left to right)
Relaxed Fit Jeans: £29.99 Zara
Leopard Pattern Slipper: £49.99 Zara
Leather Slipper: £49.99 Zara
Pointed Ballerina with Ankle Strap: £22.99 Zara
Soft Fur Moccasin : £49.99 Zara
Studded Espadrille Slip-Ons: £39.99 Zara
Soft Moccasin: £39.99 Zara
Printed Fabric Slipper: £39.99 Zara
Ballerina with Metal Toe Cap: £22.99 Zara
Soft Slipper with Edging: £39.99 Zara

Kelly x

Trend Alert: Denim Meets Denim

If there is one trend that has sparked my enthusiasm this season, it is the major influx of denim, witnessed in various experimental forms on the catwalks of Balmain, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu, Jean Paul Gautier and many more. Bleached, patterned, distressed...the various forms taken by denim has catapulted the popularity of the 'denim on denim' trend - surprisingly refreshing in it's ability to contrast textures, prints and washes. An essential wardrobe staple, denim is no longer confined to a pair of jeans! The hardwearing, functional, wearable traits of the fabric are now apparent in lightweight polished shirts, outerwear and maxi skirts - a modern interpretation on functional workwear.

We have also witnessed the re-emergence of dungarees recently, thanks to the masses of festival-goers who were photographed in the denim get-ups during Coachella. A difficult trend to interpret if sophistication and maturity are your desired outcomes, the denim dungaree is much better suited to the laid back, casual dress up environment.

For the most successful outcome, pair a knee length medium wash distressed denim pencil skirt with a tucked in well fitted long sleeved denim shirt. Roll up the sleeves to the elbow and unfasten the top button. Finish off the look with a pair of colour blocked flats - a black, deep burgundy, etc as the denim pieces will communicate all the personality you require. Alternatively, pair a dark wash well fitting skinny jean with the tucked in denim shirt, combined with a black skinny belt to break up the two contrasting pieces and finish off with a mid height point toe pump, preferably in black. The combinations are endless, but for a more polished dressed-up look refrain from print and maintain a strong base colour, such as black. I have pulled together both designer and high street products which possess the flexibility to be dressed up or down, suiting day and evening environments.

(from left to right)
Saint Laurent Washed Denim Shirt: £390                                        
Tencel Long Skirt: £44.99 Mango                                             
Moto Acid Denim Flippy Dress: £36.00 Topshop                                                                   
Faded Denim Jacket: £39.99 Zara                                                 
Moto Bleach Long Leg Dungarees: £55.00 Topshop
Moto Chiffon Denim Dress: £42.00 Topshop
Moto Bleach Denim Dungarees: £38.00 Topshop
Ripped Denim Pencil Skirt: £29.99 Zara
Denim Jumpsuit: £59.99 Mango
Current/Elliott The Stiletto Cropped Low Rise Skinny Jean: £200  
Rag & Bone Jean Distressed Denim Vest: £215
Moto Acid Hotpants: £22.00 Topshop
Moto Dirty Tint Boy Shorts: £32.00 Topshop

*all designer items available from Net-a-Porter

Kelly x

My Designer Look of the Week

Soooo, looking out of the bedroom window it appears that the summer has come and gone...not impressed! Aware of the bi-polar tendencies of the British weather I was undecided as to the direction I wanted to take this week's designer-led post in. Cementing evening wear as a starting point, I aimed to pull together a look that screamed chic and sophisticated whilst making a statement and immediate impact.

Sophistication is best derived from the selection of colour palette and for this look I opted for a subtle muted palette to compliment my injection of metallics. Viewing the product on offer, I immediately fell in love with this holographic striped crepe top the minute I set eyes on it - a true focal piece without overwhelming. The flexibility of the piece is evident, with its ability to be dressed up or down, suiting both day and evening environments. A true statement garment, I looked to compliment the piece with what I consider 'base' items - your essentials, staples...pieces that can be paired with pretty much anything successfully.

With the box silhouette of the top, I looked to pair it with a more fitted garment to maintain femininity. I am a huge fan of the longer hem line which we have seen from the likes of Victoria Beckham this season - sitting between the knee and the ankle, and this was the length I believed would give most sophisticated impact to the overall look. I pulled this great stretch twill pencil skirt from Donna Karan - a design house with exquisite fit that oozes sexiness, and with it's base off-white colouring it is an essential piece for anyone's wardrobe.

The footwear selection was pretty straight forward once I stumbled across this pair of metallic leather pumps from Gianvito Rossi with PVC inserts. The sheerness of the contrasting fabric is on-trend and adds another dimension to the look. A point toe pump has an unchallenged ability to flatter by elongating the leg and is one of my go-to designs when pulling together a sophisticated, chic look - for both day and evening.

The Nancy Gonzalez crocodile clutch I pulled to finish off the look...what can I say, amazing!! Yes, it is expensive but the impact it provides to the overall look is again, unchallenged. The deep grey colour way is a much more sophisticated option to the expectant black and it compliments the muted palette perfectly. The crocodile skin adds a texture to the outfit transforming the look from polished to statement - the desired outcome! The ultimate staple clutch every woman should dream about having in their possession! Need, want, thank you, please!

When selecting my jewellery options I wanted to maintain the clean cleansed palette evident. To achieve this, I combined sterling silver and crystal pieces which injected a luxury and dressed up the look significantly. I was bowled over by the selection Bottega Veneta have offered in the way of accessories this season - beautiful, timeless, flexible pieces which communicate personality and mood instantly. The bracelet I pulled was selected because of it's costume-esque focal features which, once worn, would be admired and envied by all who observe!

(from left to right)
Jonathan Saunders Jordan Holographic Striped Crepe Top: £390
Donna Karan Stretch Twill Pencil Skirt: £710
Gianvito Rossi Metallic Leather & PVC Pumps: £430
Nancy Gonzalez Crocodile Clutch: £1,156
Bottega Veneta Sterling Silver Glass Stone Earrings: £345
Bottega Veneta Enameled Sterling Silver Bracelet: £2,515
Maison Martin Margiela Silver-tone Crystal Ring: £210
Bottega Veneta Antiqued Sterling Silver & Rock Crystal Ring: £290
Monica Vinader Eternity Sterling Silver Diamond Ring: £275

*all items available from Net-a-Porter

Kelly x

My High Street Look of the Week

Hallelujahhhh, the Summer has arrived!!...well for three days of the year at least, and I feel refreshed, re-vitalised and ready to take on the world! Funny what a little bit of sun can do for your mood and spirit isn't it!

The Bank Holiday weekend always spells family-time for me and these past few days were to be no exception. A beautiful, 'relaxing' lunch was on the cards...I say that with the greatest hesitancy as realistically with the attendance of a 5year old, 2year old and 7month old baby how much relaxing was I really going to be doing?! The answer...none and come 5pm I was well and truly exhausted!

Taking in to account the heat and the prospect of running around after the kids like a mad woman, I pulled together a look that was practical, functional and most importantly, comfortable. Head to toe in my trusty high street destination, Topshop!!

Aware that the further we walked towards the seafront, the breezier it was going to get I wanted to make sure that I was wearing a sufficient amount of clothing, in a way that still allowed essential air circulation. The oversized boyfriend blouse has proved one of my favourite purchases over the last year, flexible in it's ability to dress up and down a look - a trusty staple that quite frankly never goes off-trend. With a heavy androgynous feel - a masculine oversized silhouette, 3/4 length sleeves and pocket, the blouse maintains it's femininity through it's sheer fabric and deep neckline...which unfortunately can prove rather hazardous if you are not stood or sat up right at all times! The lightweight fabric is perfectly suited to the warmer weather, allowing the body to breathe.

The harem pants feature a pastel tie-dye print which proves striking set against a muted colour palette. The print is always going to be the focal of any outfit and to achieve the best outcome, selections are made that will simply compliment. Again, this lightweight fabric is exactly what is required, allowing a breeze and circulation via the flowing movement they create. The deep pockets further add an androgynous feel which is muted once the silver metallic wedges are thrown in to the mix.

I have owned this pair of wedges since I was 16 years old, when they were heavily on-trend. Always a sheep to fashion trends in my early years, I followed suit and made the purchase, not even sure if I really liked them! Turns out I didn't particularly, as they have been sat at the back of my wardrobe ever since! If there was a day when they were going to make their debut appearance, it was a day that involved a lot of sun and today was the day! To be fair, after trawling around the town - up hills, across bridges - I realised that the wedge was actually super comfortable and provided a great cushioning under the foot pressure points. Their functionality had altered my opinion of this once despised piece of footwear and I realised that it was never the metallic fabric or the straw mid height wedge that I disliked, but the ribbon fastening that I successfully managed to hide under the hem of the trouser...just took a little bit of experimentation!

Not convinced that I was appropriately dressed for the ever-changing north east weather I was about to be subjected too - I'd rather be overdressed and have the choice to remove layers rather than shivering my way through lunch the minute the sun went in, I sneaked in to my mother's wardrobe and ransacked her scarf drawer, finally selecting a grey tone leopard print design that I felt added another dimension to the look, contrasting the prints successfully and adding a personality through the animal injection.

I finished off this look with subtle gold jewellery pieces that added a sophistication - a rose gold oversized round faced watch, a single bangle and stacked rings. The prints spoke for themselves, communicating all the personality and mood I required.

*all items available from Topshop (past season - prices unknown)

Kelly x

Summer Essentials: Building your Holiday Wardrobe!

Slightly jealous and envious of the fact that many of you reading this may have a summer holiday planned for the very near future, I decided to put my feelings to one side and pull together the ultimate summer wardrobe, containing essentials that every woman should be packing in their suitcase.

At first, I looked to pull without a budget in mind but observing the amazing selection of product available on the high street I made the decision to construct this post budget-driven. Aware of the fact that once flights and hotels are paid for, not many of us possess the disposable income to splash on designer wear. And in my case, I am reluctant to spend a significant amount of money on holiday garments, knowing full well that I am renowned for misplacing them, smearing sun cream all over them (resulting in stains that are impossible to remove), dropping them on the floor every time I decide to sunbathe and discolouring them due to my love of the swimming pool and salt water....and don't even get me started on my ability to scratch every pair of sunglasses I have ever owned.

Although on the look out for affordable product, I was not willing to lower my standards on great quality, hard wearing, flattering, functional garments and accessories. I also focused heavily on the flexibility of the pieces, aware of our womanly ability to overpack - favouring pieces which transcended well from pool side to dinner, exploration day to evening entertainment. Every selection I made is suited to both day and evening wear and can be dressed up with the simple implementation of gold based jewellery. The definition of old school glamour for me is an all white look, accented by statement gold costume-esque jewellery and what better way to show off your tan! This flexibility was also achieved with my footwear choices - a basic sandal, a printed sandal, a wedge and a mid height heel sandal that are all suited to various occasions and environments.

When faced with intense heat, fitted uncomfortable clothes are a big no no. Instead we look for loose fitting pieces that allow a flowing free movement and air circulation - maxis, camis, shorts, tunics! This high street selection maintains a comfortable chicness and sophistication that is achieved without the need to take off all of your clothes.

When it came to pulling what some consider to be the most important purchase for a holiday, the swimwear, I found River Island were the leaders in design, style and functionality...not to mention the bargain prices! Aware that we generally purchase 2 lots of swimwear as it is by far our most worn product throughout our holiday, I selected 2 different styles. The first, a 1960s glamourous vibe that is perfect for laying on the sun bed, but not so great suited to the pool. I mixed and matched separates opting for a higher waist pant which brings an incredible emphasis to the waist, and a contrast purple maroon bandeau top paired with a retro head scarf which is perfect for pulling the hair off the face guaranteeing a consistent tan! The second bikini I pulled is a coral colour block bandeau set with a colour way that emphasises a tan as well as flattering the figure. A subtle print with great impact. Personally, when selecting swimwear for myself I opt for an underwire bikini top with halter-neck fastening as I find it extremely difficult to find a soft bikini that provides me with the support I require. I have a constant battle on my hands every time I am on the look out for a underwire set as my body is totally out of proportion - a little waist with a bigger bust. However, I have recently found success in the Geri Halliwell range available at Next, as well as Panache who have a great reputation for producing great fitting cup sized bikinis and swimming costumes with essential support and comfort.

The sunglasses I pulled are a bargain pair of brown tinted aviators from Mango. I encourage everyone to take the time to really discover sunglasses design and what you facial features are best suited too - the frame shape, the tint. You may love a specific pair because you have seen them on your favourite celebrity but there is a chance they will look completely different on your face - every one is different, we all have different sized and different shaped heads, as well as different noses and ears which all contribute to how a pair of sunglasses sits on your face. Take this for example, I had banged on for months and months about how I wanted the latest Tom Ford oversized aviators to the point where my ex-boyfriend offered to get me them for my birthday. Excited, I decided to try them on in the airport departure lounge and to my horror, looking in the mirror, I realised that I looked absolutely ridiculous - the frame width was farrrr too wide for my face and frankly, they did not flatter me in the slightest. With a couple of hours to spare, I decided to try on every pair available to figure out exactly what style I should have opted for and to my surprise the Miu Miu oversized round frames were far more suited to my facial shape. Lesson learnt, never purchase without trying on first!

Black RI Embossed Pattern Suitcase: £65.00 River Island                    Coral Colour Block Bikini Briefs: £10.00 River Island
Blue Tribal Print Stretch Hair Band: £8.00 River Island                       Half Moon Hoop Earrings: £9.99 Mango
Purple Balconette Bandeau Bikini Top: £16.00 River Island                  Snake Chain Belt: £19.99 Mango
Brown Pacha High Waisted Bikini Bottoms: £14.00 River Island         Jacquard Dress with Drawstring Waist: £49.99 Zara
Twisted Ring: £6.99 Mango                                                                      Leather Sandals: £39.99 Zara
Coral Bandeau Maxi Dress: £20.00 River Island                                   Studded Strappy Sandals: £19.99 Zara
Strappy Cami: £18.00 Topshop                                                                Art Deco Inspired Necklace: (price unknown) Topshop
Organza Insert Calf Skirt: £48.00 Topshop                                            Touch Snake Chains Bracelet: £27.99 Mango
Brown Leopard Print Wrap Halter Neck Top: £28.00 River Island      Elastic Metal Cuff: £17.99 Mango   
Crossover Tuxedo Style Shirt: £39.99 Zara                                              Link Section Necklace: £12.50 Dorothy Perkins
Palazzo Trousers: £39.99 Zara                                                                Wedge Espadrille: £49.99 Zara
Combination Strappy Top: £22.99 Zara                                                    Textured Organza Tee: £24.00 Topshop
Pleated Chiffon Long Skirt: £44.99 Mango                                                Lolly Shorts by Motel: £35.00 Topshop
Contrast Arm Aviator Sunglasses: £17.99 Mango                                    Black Tribal Print Embellished Tote: £28.00 River Island
Combination Flat Sandals: £49.99 Zara                                                    Straw Shorter Brim Fedora: £22.00 Topshop
Coral Colour Block Bandeau Bikini Top: £15.00 River Island                Halter Neck Dress: £59.99 Mango

Kelly x