Body Positive, Educatement, Tips and Tricks

Different is beautiful…

Different is beautiful. This is so true yet we sometimes find it difficult to accept our individual beauty and see only our flaws. I see this so many times with the women I meet who are quick to point out the things they dislike or would like to change about themselves or their bodies and I wonder why we don’t highlight the great stuff about ourselves first?

Is it a British thing or are we taught or learn over time as women that we shouldn’t boast or brag about ourselves or our successes? I am always surprised about the way brilliant and often powerful women talk about themselves, often picking out their least favourite or even hated parts of their body which they feel I should know about. Sometimes it’s very useful for example if they’re big busted that helps me plan out relevant outfits/tops although I still think it’s a part of our bodies and without drastic decisions like surgery or severe weight loss it’s not something easily changed.

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My point is we may as well embrace our bodies; after all they have gone through with us, grown and birthed babies, endured hardships, taken us on wonderful adventures, weathered bad times, journeys of weight loss/gain, got us through illness, injury and embraced pleasure/love and beautiful friendships. I think the hardest journey is learning how to love our flaws and uniqueness rather than being embarrassed, angry or disappointed in ourselves and striving for perfection.

Clothes and the way we wear them can help us embrace our bodies, accept our supposed flaws and highlight the fantastic parts of our bodies and personalities which we can let shine through our personal style. Recently I met a potential who told me three very negative things about herself within minutes of meeting me, almost like an apology for who she is and the way she perceives her body looks. The weird part of this encounter was in my head I was instantly thinking ‘What a great smile she has, it lights up her whole face and I bet great legs underneath that!’ So who is right? Well we both are as the way she perceives herself is her belief that’s what everyone sees and the way I saw her is absolutely true as I am convinced that no-one could be immune to that mega-watt smile!

The way I would intend styling this woman is to help her achieve confidence by highlighting all the fantastic things about herself and teaching her that her perceived flaws are irrelevant compared to the many positives. Personal styling is just that, personal to each and every client and it should always empower and liberate the client from their self doubt and let their true personality and awesomeness shine through.

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It is difficult to let go of fears and self-doubt, I know as I have been there and we all have days where we just don’t feel great or on top of our game, but there are a few things I’ve learnt along the way that may help if you are feeling self critical or not liking what you see in the mirror;

  1. Think of all the brilliant things your body has helped you achieve in your life
  2. Repeat a positive mantra to yourself “I love ___ about myself.”
  3. Don’t compare yourself to others – you are unique
  4. Wear something you think you can’t and challenge your perception of age, size etc
  5. Surround yourself by other positive people who love/like you for you
  6. Invest in yourself – whether it’s time to yourself, a fresh challenge or a new haircut
  7. Believe in yourself – you are more brilliant than you realise!

I hope these tips help you learn to love yourself a little bit more and embrace the real you. It’s not bragging or arrogance, it’s believing in yourself so you can be the best version of you – we only get one life let’s make the most of it!

I love my resilience, I may get down in the dumps when times are tough, but I always come up fighting and I love my hair as it continually evolves which each colour and cut and it provides me with many random conversations with strangers! Let me know something about yourself that you love?

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Abbey,

Stories With Clothes.

Educatement, Styling ideas, Tips and Tricks

Getting the max out of a maxi skirt…

Maxi skirt’s are traditionally thought of as a summer essential but after the rise of the midi-skirt into a fashion bloggers favourite over the last few years the maxi skirt is the natural successor to this new wardrobe hero and with a huge array of fabrics, styles, prints and colours there is a style to suit every taste and budget. As winter beckons I’m going to show you how to incorporate a maxi and/or midi-skirt into your daily, and nightly outfits to achieve maximum style points with chic casual looks to striking occasion looks. Where possible I’ve added links and put in the stock/product codes to make shopping really simple.

  1. The perfect day to night skirt  You can wear sparkle during the day – it’s not just for Christmas! If you want to dress this down for a chic day look just add a chunky knit in a neutral tone like cream, white or black and either add trainers or boots. To make this a day-to-night piece add a silk camisole or lace top in gold or black, add heels or in this case gold pointed ankle boots, a classic biker jacket or go all out glam with a faux-fur jacket and add a sparkly clutch bag to complete the look – perfect for drinking cocktails with the girls! This skirt is by a beautiful boutique Danish brand called Culture which I stocked for many years in my boutique, they use great quality fabrics which was well and even better this skirt has an elasticated waistband and is true to size. If you are petite this waist-band folds neatly to shorten the length of the skirt.

Chic day look

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Necklace Accessorize 15.00 (5828418100)

Cream knit with button details Mint Velvet 89.00 (001014412)

Skirt Culture 59.00 – available in boutiques or online 

Bag Topshop 29.00 (24S44PGRY)

White & gold trainers Topshop 28.00 (42C19NWHT)

2) Night-owl outfit

Look 1 Maxi skirts

Earrings H&M  8.99  (0292453028)

Camisole in black Topshop 24.00  (13R26PBLK)

Skirt Culture 59.00 – available in boutiques or online 

Faux fur animal print jacket Warehouse 89.00  (32559)

Gold leather boots  Sosandar 95.00  (SS18FW07MC0017 )

3) Weekend day to night 

This outfit initially looks ‘dressy’ because of the jacquard print skirt which is stunning and could be a show-stopping occasion piece, but by adding similar tones and contrasting textures we can dress it down yet still look really stylish and glamorous. I think this would be a perfect look for an afternoon shopping with the girls and heading straight out for dinner and cocktails! You could wear this piece for a winter wedding by adding bronze heels and a cream fitted silk top with either a cropped jacket or a long tuxedo style blazer for added style points. Then wear it again for a family lunch out with a big fluffy cream knit and trainers – this way you’ll use it more and you’re able to create completely different looks with the same skirt.

 

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Earrings semi-precious H&M 17.99 (0677964001)

Cowl neck black camisole Lipsy via Next 20.00 L92-458

Jacquard print skirt Coast 179.00 (2092380)

Faux fur jacket H&M 69.99

Animal print trainers Mint Velvet 99.00 (14605)

4) Work outfit

A maxi skirt creates interest and impact as a work look, you just need the right accessories to compliment and enhance the look. I’ve chosen a gorgeous blue skirt from Next which has been specially designed to keep you at an even temperature, is machine washable, has pockets and is crease resistant making it a great travel piece. I’ve added a Next pussy bow blouse in white which can be tucked in to accentuate the waist and add definition and interest, and a classic Gucci handbag – a girl can dream! The earrings add a feminine touch and are from Accessorize. To keep it on-trend I’ve put an animal print boot in the mix although you could replace this with a simple nude heel if you work somewhere more traditional. Six favourite things (2).png

Earrings Accessorize 15.00

Boots Office 89.00

Skirt & Top Next 75.00

Handbag Gucci 1340.00

5) Weekend look

By contrasting the colours this creates a fun, casual look with pieces that can be used again, yet this outfit still looks chic and pulled together.

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Top Can’t remember where this little number came from but Next have a good range of pink knits and if I come across it I will let you know!

Bag New Look 25.99

Skirt Next 75.00

Earrings Topshop 16.50

Trainers Puma from Office 69.99

6. Colourful casual

Add colour and texture with this amazing Anthropologie skirt – all you need to complete the look is simple, neutral accessories to let the skirt have the limelight. This outfit will have you swooshing all day long and feeling ultra feminine, add a biker jacket if you don’t want to do too much girliness!

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Skirt Anthropologie 130.00

Cream knit with button details Mint Velvet 89.00 (001014412)

Trainers also Mint Velvet 89.00

7) Bright work look

Just by adding the tuxedo style blazer and boots this smartens up the look immediately.

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Tuxedo Blazer Sosandar 89.00

Boots Marks & Spencer’s 69.00

Skirt Anthropologie 130.00

You can see how versatile a maxi skirt is and if you find the full-length too much, if you’re petite for example, there are hundreds of great midi skirts to choose from to create new and stylish looks. Just remember with a maxi skirt it’s all to do with proportion so play around with tucking in sweaters/knitwear if you feel you have too much fabric. I love a maxi skirt as it’s great alternative to jeans as a weekend casual look and very easy to wear if you’re not feeling the skinny-jean mojo that day. I am still wearing my white maxi summer skirt and having fun with different layers and looks with trainers, boots and adding chunky knits as the weather gets colder.

Let me know which is your favourite look from the outfits above and whether you might dip your toe in and try a winter maxi skirt. And if you come across a great skirt give me a shout here or over on my social media pages…

Until next time,

Abbey.

Educatement

Six things I can’t live without…

late evening event!thursday 8th november 5-8pm (5)The 6 things I can’t live without…

I was writing an article about items for a capsule wardrobe and it got me thinking about my favourite things and how sometimes inanimate objects become really important to us. They can help elevate our mood or remind us of times gone by and although some people might say this is a shallow world, I believethese small things have such impact on us and the way we feel and perceive ourselves then we are fortunate indeed. These are the items I feel define me and I think of them like very good friends, in fact they’re the sort of friends who are there for you during the inevitable tough times and definitely shaking their thang during the parties too – they are keepers!

It goes without saying that this blog is for fun as I couldn’t live without my family, friends and health – so here are the six style items I can’t live without in no particular order…

  1. Lady Danger lipstick – MAC

I have loved Lady Danger ardently for many years after I had a makeover at the MAC counter when I told the makeup artist I didn’t ‘do’ lipstick. She laughed and told me ‘You will after wearing this!’ She wasn’t wrong and six years later my love affair with Lady D is as strong and patriotic as ever.

Recently I ordered Dangerous after Lady D was out of stock online and in three MAC boutiques (please MAC don’t run out again – it was a horrible time!) I didn’t like the consistency and felt it was a little sister to the Queen that is Lady Danger and was so overjoyed when it came back into stock I rang my friend to tell her ‘Thank God – Lady D has come back into stock!’. I mean I have dallied with other orangey/reds and even other colours and I do quite like Velvet Teddy, it definitely has it’s place, but I just never quite feel like me.

I feel like I have forgotten a small piece of me without her, silly I know but we all wear armour in one way or another and Lady Danger is an excellent ally and brave and tenacious warrior. I ALWAYS unfailingly come back to her, apologetic for my floosy behavior and after a small sulk she welcomes me back with a knowing nod – Lady Danger knows she is the best out there and for good reason.

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2) Statement earrings

I have loved statement earrings ever since my Mum wore huge ornate, brightly coloured dangly creatures in the 80’s whilst stomping round Romford Market in her leather trousers and faux-fur jacket as I trotted mesmerized in her wake. I have been hooked ever since, riding out the unfashionable phases with the belief that one day wearing earrings larger than the chandelier in my hallway would be stylish again. What joy I am living now! Think of my delight as everywhere I look there is another stylish tassle, geometric shape and ornate and intricate pieces that delight and amaze in equal measure. Gasp! No earring is too large now and Pat Butcher can rest easy that she set a glorious trend for bigger, bolder and beautiful earrings that can maketh the outfit. I probably spend as long selecting my earrings as I do for my outfit each night and usually lay at least five pairs in a row so I may select at my leisure in the morning which gorgeous specimen will be caressing my neck for the day ahead. I have earrings that can tell you tales – I have earrings that haven’t lasted the adventures but love them so much I still keep one half as a memento, and one of my favourite pairs I bought in India fifteen years ago and still smile every time I wear them as the joyful memories of that epic trip flood back. Aaahh statement earrings – please stay.

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3) Mascara

This is one of those things I would run back into my house for even if it meant being late. Ooops. I do literally feel naked without mascara and if I don’t put much make-up on this would be one of the items I would insist on. I used to be a Dior devotee until running out and trying Benefit Lash Roller a few years ago and being completely smitten – it gives great length to the lash and really defines them as I am very fortunate in having really long, thick lashes (thankyou Grandma!). This product really lifts the lashes too and is a godsend for me as I spent years using a lash curler to lift them away from my glasses or I spend all day wiping my specs in a Miss Marple-esque way. I use both the black and brown versions as I feel they give a different effect – brown for everyday and black for night time or a more dramatic look. My husband even notices the difference when I use the black! Thankyou Benefit x

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 4) Nike trainers

I love my Nike trainers and am always inventing ways I can buy more styles! My husband bought me a customized pair for my birthday last year and I spent months deliberating and deciding over which colours and shapes and features to add and whether I would add my initials to the back. (I didn’t in the end).

I was never a trainers girl growing up, despite being very sporty at school to me they were just a functional item I slung in the hallway after hockey or athletics etc., and came to them very late in the game about six years ago. I used to believe trainers were only used for sports and that wearing them for anything else was just a bit unacceptable – how ridiculous when you think how everyone has at least two or three pairs now and a whole generation has grown up wearing only trainers!

I used to walk to the tube in my very high and fabulous heels when I lived in London for 2 miles each way along cobbled streets, up and down steps and then back again in the evening – and that may be why I have foot problems now…I bought a pair of Nikes when I was training to do a triathlon and it was such a revelation in terms of comfort and I literally felt they made me run faster, I quickly bought another pair and so the addiction grew. My love for them was compounded when I had an operation to my knee about three years ago as they were a life saver when I had to go back to work 3-days after the op (own business no choice) and they enabled me to be as comfortable as possible without losing my sense of style. I do have other trainers from different brands, but at heart I am a Nike girl.

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5) Perfume

Perfume adverts are full of beauty, opulence and drama and I always adore seeing how the perfume houses dream up new and creative ways for their perfumes to be portrayed on screen or in print. It is one of my favourite things to discover a new scent – and we all know how evocative smell is and how it can bring back faded memories in an instant. There are those beloved perfumes we come back to time and again both reassuring and comforting in their well-known aroma and the way it makes us feel. I still love Shalimar as my Mum and very glamorous Aunt used to wear it back in the 80’s and so it makes me feel nostalgic and happy and I love Guerlian bottles too – they are real keepers. One of my favourite new perfumes in recent years is Alaia which my husband bought me as surprise and I LOVE it, but it is really difficult to find so a rare and special treat when you come across it – which we did in Spain last year and I honestly felt like all my Birthdays had come at once! Again it is one of those things I feel a bit naked without so had to be on my top six list…

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6) Biker jacket

Iconic. And let’s face it who doesn’t want to look like Kate Moss?! I am a real coat-girl. Some women love bags and shoes but my weakness is coats. I have about six different biker jackets in a variety of colours and styles and I use them all throughout the year. They are quite simply a Wardrobe Hero and every girl needs one if not two in her life. They save outfits from looking too dressy in an instant and the right jacket can literally upgrade a simple black jeans and t-shirt outfit to biker girl chic – add a swirl of red lipstick and you are good to go!

To me they are an essential part of every woman’s capsule style and once you’ve owned one guaranteed you’ll wonder how you managed without it. I use them a bit like a cool cardigan – a layer to add interest and texture and it means you can get more use out of ‘dressier’ items in your wardrobe as a biker jacket can add street credibility and a youthful edge to dresses you might feel are a ‘bit much’ for going to the pub. They’re also a really useful tool in spring and autumn when the weather is changeable and you’re not ready for a full-on coat and too cold without one.

They are worth investing in as you will get the use out of them and they will last – my favourite biker jacket is 15 x years old and I still get people stopping me in the street to ask me where it’s from. Definitely worth the hassle of begging and borrowing money from my divorced parents to buy it!! Long live the biker jacket – I am a devotee.

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So these are my six favourite’s – what are the six stylish items you can’t live without?!

See you soon,

Abbey.