Styling ideas, Tips and Tricks

Savvy Sale Shopping

Sale time. Music to some people’s ears who will be singing all the way to their favourite store OR are you one to avoid the shops like the plague, one of many who simply can’t stand the scrummage and the mess at some retailers during sale season?

And not to mention that as consumers we’ve become very attuned to bargain-hunting and rightly or wrongly have come to expect regular sales throughout the year and not just at traditional sale times. Many retailers have been on sale since mid December and some since Black Friday, and after Christmas shopping and the endless month of January, it’s no wonder we might be feeling a bit jaded by the big red sale signs.

However it can also be a wise move for smart, decisive and shrewd consumers, especially if you’re on the lookout for more expensive items such as coats and leather shoes/boots – now is your time.  So before you go hot-footing it to the retail giants, here are my top tips to Savvy Sale Shopping;

1. Write a list of what you need/want. This helps you remain focussed when out shopping and less likely to come home with items you don’t really need. On my list were black flats with a wide sole, black chunky boots and a striped top – I got all three and nothing else (my 11yo daughter spent more than I did!)

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2. Set yourself a budget. A budget you can manage and feel comfortable with as we all hate that feeling of buyers regret and many retailers only offer exchange on sale goods so you won’t be able to get refunds if you’ve overspent on that green faux-fur jacket you may only wear once. Try and stick within your budget and work out where you are best to allocate that budget ie it’s wise to spend more on longer lasting items like shoes or coats which are essential and hard working parts of our wardrobe.

3. Consider local boutiques. If you’re lucky enough to live in a town where there are independent boutiques I implore you to support them whenever you can. Not only are their collections more unique than the big retailers but they will know their brands and fits intimately which can save you lots of hassle whilst also providing you with a unique service. Often their prices will be extremely competitive during sale season as many boutiques don’t have the luxury of large store rooms to keep unsold stock, so they’ll need to clear the way for new season arrivals. Independent boutiques also often run events, customer loyalty schemes, offer unique fashion and accessories and will know their customers really well. Use them or lose them!

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Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

4. Would pay full-price for it? When out shopping and you’ve found something you want to buy, think about if you’d be willing to pay full-price for it or if you’re only interested because of the reduced price. This will help you decide if you do really like/love it.

5. Plan an outfit. Think of three outfits you’ll wear it with using existing pieces from your wardrobe, is it going to compliment and work hard for you or is it going to be another top that sits at the bottom of your wardrobe gathering dust! Your list from point 1 should also help with this as hopefully you know what you want so you can be really focussed.

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6. Do you love it? If it’s just blah then save your money and the planet for another day. There is no point buying something simply because of the price. Be prepared to walk away.

7. Feel the magic! Sometimes, just sometimes you come across something wonderful that you fall in love with and just know is going to be a Wardrobe Hero for years to come and will give you that special smile every time you wear it. That smug, knowing smile that tells everyone how gorgeous you look and feel. And that is special and should not be ignored. I’m not saying hang all of the above advice, but I am saying allow yourself to have the freedom to fall in love…it might not happen this time and if not no worries there’ll be another day. I bought one of my most treasured items, a checked Joseph swing coat, on sale about eight years ago and it was a stretch for me even on sale but I simply adored it and it’s a classic, beautifully crafted item which I will love forever. Sometimes, just sometimes it’s worth pushing the boat out to feel the magic.

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Hope this has given you some food for thought and helped you to be more focused and buy items you’re going to love and get lots of wear out of, the next time you’re going sale shopping or in fact any shopping trip it will be useful for.  I would love to hear from you if you’ve found any fantastic beauties in the sales recently…

Until next time,

Abbey.

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Styling ideas, Tips and Tricks

Get the party started…

Get the party started…

I’ve put together ten alternative going-out/party/Christmas/Boxing day looks showing how to incorporate sparkle in to a stylish, unique outfit which is really wearable and will you give you separates you can use again and again. I love a dress as much as the next person but seasonal purchases can end up being expensive one-offs that you don’t get much wear out of despite their loveliness! These outfits are ideal if you’re going somewhere lovely straight from work and/or want to make a nod to the festive spirit without going all out spangly jumpsuit.

There are only ten items of clothing, three pairs of shoes and one handbag used in these flatlays, and I’ve styled them in different way to create new outfits in each look, through layering, wearing loose or tucking in and you can up the style-chic by adding accessories such as a great pair of earrings.  All items are from the brand new Debenhams in Watford and I’ve listed and linked all items below to the website…

1. Sparkle skirt, faux-fur jacket and raspberry boots 20181112_120141

This outfit looks both elegant and chic and every piece would be so useful as part of a capsule wardrobe. The Principles knit is a lovely batwing style top (great fitting, see below for fit on me) and would look lovely with great jeans, the faux-fur jacket featured in this look for a weekend outfit or wear with a long camisole underneath with leather look leggings. The raspberry suede boots add colour and texture and again these would be a great addition to your wardrobe.

  • Sparkle pencil skirt Principles 45.00
  • Cream ribbed knit Principles 36.00
  • Faux fur jacket Wallis 69.00 (currently on sale 55.20!)
  • Raspberry boots Faith 49.00
  • Snakeskin Bag Carvela 59.00 (look how well this bag works with all the outfits)

20181112_1158312. Silk effect print top with sparkle trousers, same boots, same bag

This top is stunning with a beautiful blush background and striking print and would work equally well tucked into a leather skirt or worn loose over jeans at the weekend for an off-duty yet chic outfit.

The trousers are a jacquard print in bronze (also available in silver) although with the trends for earthy browns this winter I prefer the bronze. These would be a great work wear item paired with a classic white or cream blouse and great earrings.

  • Top Star by Julian Macdonald 45.00
  • Bronze jacquard sparkle trousers Wallis 38.00 (currently on sale at 33.20)
  • Raspberry boots Faith 49.00
  • Snakeskin Bag Carvela 59.00 (look how well this bag works with all the outfits)

3. Striped sparkle t-shirt, faux-fur jacket and plum jeans 20181112_121329

Sparkly yet casual, the contrast between the stripes and the faux-fur add interest and makes this a more everyday look if you added great ankle boots. I’ve put sparkly kitten heels with this to party it up and this little t-shirt would also look great with a leather skirt or worn casually with blue denim and a biker jacket.

  • Faux fur jacket Wallis 69.00 (currently on sale 55.20!)
  • Ombre sparkle heels Faith 25.00
  • Striped t-shirt Principles 16.00
  • Plum jeans Wallis 32.00

20181112_1212434. Blush pink shell top with sparkle skirt, raspberry heels & snakeskin bag

This look is timeless, chic, elegant and very wearable. Add the faux-fur coat for extra glam or a grey biker jacket to keep the tones together and add a bit of edge to the look. The raspberry suede heels add colour and texture. This top (great fitting, see below for fit on me) would be a great addition to many workwear wardrobes – tuck into a simple pencil skirt or with classic tailored black trousers and a blazer.

 

  • Blush pink shell top Jasper Conran 35.00 (currently on sale at half price 17.50!!)
  • Sparkle pencil skirt Principles 45.00
  • Snakeskin Bag Carvela 59.00 (look how well this bag works with all the outfits)
  • Raspberry heels Faith 35.00

5. Really easy sparkle outfit – perfect for a trip to the pub or Sunday lunch with the in-laws where you feel you’d like to make an effort but want to be comfortable. This is a super easy to wear top (great fitting, see below for fit on me) and will look great worn long or tucked into a leather pencil skirt or leather look leggings.

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  • Sparkle sweater Wallis 38.00
  • Snakeskin Bag Carvela 59.00 (look how well this bag works with all the outfits)
  • Ombre sparkle heels Faith 25.00
  • Plum jeans Wallis 32.00

 

 

 

 

20181112_1210256. This is definite wear to work then straight out look with the shirt/top combo and is an easy way to look the part for a night out. The ombre sparkle heels and snakeskin bag elevate the outfit to effortless chic.

Wallis shirt/top combo 30.00

Snakeskin Bag Carvela 59.00

Plum jeans Wallis 32.00

Ombre sparkle heels Faith 25.00

7. Biker chic

This is just a great outfit for going out anywhere whether it’s for meal out or a party and the jacquard sparkle trousers make this extra special (they are gorgeous in the flesh). A biker jacket is an essential part of any woman’s wardrobe and grey makes a great change to black and helps this outfit be a little softer. The pink shell top is lovely fabric and looks good on (great fitting, see below for fit on me).

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  • Blush pink shell top Jasper Conran 35.00 (currently on sale at half price 17.50!!)
  • Grey biker jacket (petite range) Wallis 59.00
  • Bronze jacquard sparkle trousers Wallis 38.00 (currently on sale at 33.20)
  • Raspberry boots Faith 49.00
  • Snakeskin Bag Carvela 59.00 (look how well this bag works with all the outfits)

 

 

20181112_1202408. Print blouse and sparkle skirt

This is such a chic look and I would complete this outfit by adding the faux-fur jacket for extra va-vav-voom. This blouse has such beautiful colours – look at that vivid green – wear with skinny black jeans for a date night or tuck into a sleek pencil skirt and add a grey blazer for an elegant office look.

 

 

9. Faux-fur and sparkle trousers  20181112_115433

This outfit is really refined and elegant, the bronze jacquard print trousers add a chic edge and would work equally well as a work look combined with a simple  cream shirt.

  • Cream ribbed knit Principles 36.00
  • Faux fur jacket Wallis 69.00 (currently on sale 55.20!)
  • Raspberry boots Faith 49.00
  • Bronze jacquard sparkle trousers Wallis 38.00 (currently on sale at 33.20)
  • Snakeskin Bag Carvela 59.00 (look how well this bag works with all the outfits)
  • 20181112_12083310. This is one of my favourite outfits as it looks effortlessly chic yet would be great for a night out with the girls or a perfect Boxing Day look. This would be a really useful knit for snuggly days with the plum jeans already used in earlier looks – just add the faux-fur jacket for winter chic.
  • Wallis knit 36.00
  • Sparkle pencil skirt Principles 45.00
  • Snakeskin Bag Carvela 59.00 (look how well this bag works with all the outfits)
  • Raspberry boots Faith 49.00

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed this feature on wearable sparkly looks; the outfits are still elegant yet you can incorporate each item with other pieces in your wardrobe to create new looks for work wear, nights out to weekend chic.

Let me know which outfit is your favourite?

Until next time,

Abbey.

Would love to hear from you if you’d like to create these looks just for you or if you just need a hand sorting out your wardrobe – a Wardrobe Revitalisation is one of the favourite services I offer as a personal stylist. Not only will I help cleanse your wardrobe, I will also create outfit ideas and highlight what new pieces would be a good addition to style up your look to help you look and feel the best version of you, everyday.

Here are the fits of three of the tops I’ve used in this blog…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Fun facts

Hello…is it me you’re looking for!

Hello my name is Abbey and I am a Personal Stylist, specialising in helping women get their style mojo back after a change, ie becoming a Mother, a career transition, an illness or simply to reorganise and streamline your wardrobe. I truly believe in helping women be the best and most beautiful versions of themselves – one of my favourite fashion quotes, ‘Never underestimate the power of a great outfit on a bad day’ really sums up how I feel about style.

I worked for many years in advertising and marketing for a national newspaper, which I loved, until having children and moving away from London. I decided to re-train in visual merchandising and window dressing, creating beautiful displays for boutiques and fabric shops in London and through this, I fell in love with fashion retail.

I set up my own women’s fashion boutique in my local town offering a range of stylish, unique and affordable brands, personal styling sessions, created Pop-Up Boutiques at local venues, hosted style events and fashion champagne tea parties and I also built a transactional retail website for the business. Busy Busy!

It was an amazing experience and I loved the feeling of encouraging women to look and feel fantastic but unfortunately had to cease trading in March 2017 when I was unable to extend my lease or to find an alternative retail unit locally. It was a very difficult decision which left me pretty heart broken at the time though it has enabled me to focus on freelance personal styling, retail consultancy and being a ‘present’ and less stressed Mum!

Here are five fun facts about me;

1) I was Captain of the rounders team at school and still love playing it with my children and family/friends, though I am well known for being ridiculously competitive!

2) I love dressing up and in fact met my husband dressed as a ‘Space-Age Charlie’s Angel’ (involving lots of silver foil and a glitter striped mini skirt which was actually a boob-tube 😮)

3) I have two children and had amazing home-births in a water pool with both of them, supported by an independent midwife who I still think is a living angel.

4) I love horses, used to ride and own horses and spent 10 years working for the Racing Post – basically I got paid to go horse-racing! I don’t ride anymore but still love to go racing and share my love of it with friends and family.

5) I love the sunshine, a perfect holiday to me is the sun, a pool and a great book! Find the warm patch and you’ll find me ☀️☀️☀️

Why not follow me on instagram Stories With Clothes for daily outfit inspiration, style tips and photo’s of my work.

If you are interested in booking me for a personal styling session to de-clutter and revitalise your wardrobe or simply to go through your existing clothes to create some new outfits and styles just for you, then I would love to hear from you storieswithclothes@gmail.com

Let me help you be the best and most beautiful version of you.

Abbey xxx

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