I’m Dreaming of a Chic Christmas…

If you follow me on social media, or have followed my blog for a while, then you’ll know I LOVE Christmas!

This year I’ve managed to be reasonably organised with my Christmas shopping (mostly done online, so much easier as I just get distracted by all the shiny things if I go into stores!) and this has given me a little headspace to think about what outfit I’ll be sporting on the 25th.

This time last year I had an 8 week old baby and no clothes that actually fit me, so this year I figure I have a valid ‘excuse’ to treat myself to something new to see me through the festive season.

Christmas Day is usually quite a relaxed affair in our household and this year will be no different, however I do like to mark the occasion with an outfit that has a festive nod. Having said that, I want something that can be worn in the lead up to Christmas, on the day and afterwards too, i.e. it needs to be versatile and chic (no reindeer onesies here thanks!)

Here are a few inspo images and related items that I’m considering for the big day!

Sparkly Skirt + Lightweight Knit

Image via John Lewis Retail Instagram account

Image via John Lewis Retail Instagram account

Pleated skirts with a touch of sparkle are everywhere at the moment and its a look I love. However, a sleek pencil skirt is classically stylish and looks great adorned with sequins. This look is perfect if you have an inverted triangle body shape and have gorgeous flat hips/bottom that you want to show off!

As soon as I saw the above look on John Lewis’ Instagram account I fell in love and have ordered the different elements that make up the look! The skirt has the perfect amount of stretch to it and the grey knit is comfortable, lightweight and versatile, both elements can be styled and worn differently throughout the year meaning you get great cost per wear!

Buy the skirt here.

Buy the top here.

The Chic Christmas Jumper

Oliver Bonas

Oliver Bonas

Don’t get me wrong, a classic Christmas jumper, adorned with a Reindeer/Robin/Santa, in bright red or green, has its place and is loads of fun, but I want something I can wear more than once a year.

There are some great Christmas jumper options out there this year (check out Hush, Selfish Mother and John Lewis for some fab options). The jumper that has stolen my heart this season though is this gorgeous midnight blue ‘Make Believe’ option from Oliver Bonas. I plan on wearing it with a pleated skirt on Christmas Day and jeans/trainers in the New Year.

PJs All Day

Image courtesy of Sequins & Things

Image courtesy of Sequins & Things

If you prefer to keep it super-casual on Christmas Day then the choice of Christmas pyjamas is off the chart this year – they’re everywhere! We have a tradition in our house that everyone gets new Christmas PJs on 1st Dec, so we get maximum wear out of them in throughout December (truth be told, I wear mine way beyond Christmas!)

My advice – go super cosy and match your loved ones, it makes for the cutest family pics on Christmas morning!

Check out my top picks from Hush, Next and The White Company

I’d love to know, are you pyjamas all day or dressed up on Christmas Day?

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Link to image from Sequins & Things here

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Note To Self…

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I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that I’m an avid reader of Vogue magazine (did anybody else catch the recent BBC documentary about life behind the scenes at British Vogue? I found it fascinating!) It’s my monthly indulgence and between family, work and life in general, it usually takes me a whole month to read each issue (if I’m lucky!)

October’s cover star, Victoria Beckham, has written a letter to her 18 year old self, offering her younger self advice on love, life and style. It got me to thinking about what advice I would give my younger self (and perhaps my daughter, when she’s old enough).

So for this week’s blog post here is my own letter to my 18 year old self.

Dear (18 year old) Anna,

So here we are, you’re 18 years old and about to embark on life at university in Bristol.

You don’t know it yet but in the next three years you will meet the man you eventually marry and make one of the best friends you will ever have in the whole world. You will also go through some tough times, but these times will make you stronger and help to shape you in ways you cannot imagine right now. 

What words of advice can I offer you that may help you along the way? So much of our character is built by experiencing things first hand, but hopefully the contents of this note will allow you to navigate your path with a little more confidence than maybe you would have otherwise.

My first piece of advice… trust your instincts. Whether it’s a new friend, a potential love interest or a pair of shoes. Listen to your heart and do not waver. Also, listen to your parents, their instincts are pretty great too.

Always, always act with integrity. Stay true to who you are, don’t waver from what you believe to be right and good, ever.

You will come across people in life who seem to have your best interests at heart, when actually they don’t. They will hurt you, but never lose your optimistic outlook and your belief that there is good in everyone, there is, in some its just hidden very well.

No good will ever come of drinking tequila or sambuca. Trust me on this one.

You have a beautiful figure, don’t scrutinise it, just appreciate it! In 15 years time, after 2 babies you’ll miss that flat tummy and trim hips and you’ll wonder what you were ever worried about! 

Throw away that misshapen green cardigan that you think looks really grungey and cool (it doesn’t and there is no way to ‘style it up’ I’m afraid).

Keep your Doc Martens, they make a comeback. You may not wear them again but they are your first ‘fashion’ purchase and should be kept for posterity.

Stop wearing black and grey and grey and black, all the time. There are other colours out there, you look good in lots of them. When it comes to style be more daring, be more creative and don’t worry what anybody else thinks. Just do you, and do it with confidence.

Embrace your not-quite-straight-not-quite-curly hair, just rock it. Never, ever get a perm, demi-wave or any of the above. Ever.

For the love of God, please leave your eyebrows alone (and tell your little sister to as well).

Follow your dreams, pursue that career in fashion writing straight out of uni (or sooner if you can), don’t wait! Hustle and work hard just like your parents taught you and you’ll go far.

And finally… trust me, all those people who look like they know where they’re going/what they’re doing in life, they don’t. So shine bright like a diamond, smile… and fake it till you make it (just like everyone else!)

With love,

Anna xx

I’d love to know what advice you would give your younger self, if you could!

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Jeans For Genes

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As someone who basically lives in her jeans (hello Mum uniform!) I thought it only fitting that I do a jeans-related post this week in support of ‘Jeans For Genes’, which raises money for children with genetic disorders (‘Jeans For Genes’ day is this Friday).

I have been a slave to my skinnies for several years now but discovered boyfriend jeans a couple of years ago and have loved adding these into the mix. For Autumn I’m keen to add some more variety to my day-to-day uniform so thought I’d share my high street finds and recommendations…

The Girlfriend

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The cut of girlfriend jeans tends to be slightly slimmer than that of boyfriends, meaning they’re a great first step away from skinnies if this is your comfort zone. When I first tried boyfriend jeans I felt a little scruffy, however girlfriends are more flattering and I love the wash of these from Gap (pictured above), which are available in petite and tall too. I also love the styling in this shot; a simple shirt and either trainers or heels works so well and demonstrates their versatility.

The Kick-Flare

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I’m tall, and this style of jean makes me feel as though I look like I can’t get a pair long enough, however if you’re petite I think they’re a lovely look. The kick-flare is definitely the ‘cool girl’ jean for Autumn and when styled correctly (see above) they can look great. I’m still to be convinced I have to admit – I mean what footwear would you put with these in the winter?! On the plus side, they’re great for showing off your ankles; the slimmest part of your leg and therefore a very flattering point at which to wear your hemline. (p.s. extra cool-girl style points if yours have a frayed hem)

The Bootcut

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Bootcut is back (did they ever go away?!) This style of jean is incredibly flattering on most shapes, in particular those of you with curves. If you have a Triangle body shape (that’s me) they are your best friend as they will balance out your hips, hurrah! I wore them when they were first ‘in’ and am considering revisiting them this season, with a wedge trainer, simple tee and statement necklace.

The Skirt

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I recently purchased this skirt (pictured above) from Monsoon and have already got loads of wear out of it. Whilst the weather has been warmer I’ve been pairing it with simple tees/vests and either trainers or sandals. Once the weather turns cooler I’ll be switching to ankles boots and knits. A perfect trans-seasonal piece to add to your denim collection! The length is great too as I can still be messing around with the kids and retain my modesty!

Get Involved With Jeans For Jeans

If you’re in need of some new denim then head to GAP this week as they are donating £1 from every sale of jeans bought between now and the 23rd Sept to the Jeans for Genes campaign!

OR

My favourite local Ilkley boutique, Attic, are getting involved on social media! Just post of picture of yourself wearing your favourite jeans on your social media channel of choice this week using the hashtags #jeansforgenes and #atticwomenswear and Attic will donate £1! They will also donate £1 for every pair of jeans sold in-store this week. You can check them out here.

Image sources 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

New School Style Rules

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Style inspiration for the season ahead (image sourced from Pinterest, for link see below).

It would seem that I’ve taken an unintentional blogging break over the Summer. I felt so inspired when I wrote my last post back in June and got such great feedback from you all (thank you!) that I felt the need to take a step back and really think about the focus of the blog; in particular what I want to talk about and share with you all.

With it being the first week of September I felt it timely to start posting again. I always feel like Autumn is a time for reinvention and new beginnings, even more so this year as my eldest has started school this week [sob]. I’ve been very emotional about it (tell me I’m not the only one!) so I’m keeping myself busy whilst he’s embarking on his first foray into life as a school boy!

Seeing my little guy in his school uniform this week (which, might I add, is in one of his colours, of course!) got me thinking about my own ‘uniform’ for the school run. I don’t have much time to think about my outfit first thing in the morning, which means I have to plan ahead (but rarely do), so I’ve decided to look at some style rules and outfit inspiration for the coming school term that should (hopefully) ensure I look and feel put together at the school gates, without too much time or effort expended each morning.

Here are my new school style rules…

DETOX

Autumn is the perfect time to take stock of what you have in your wardrobe. My Autumn/Winter clothes are currently in storage but I will be getting them out next week and carefully evaluating each item before it goes back into circulation. Here’s an overview of how I decide what should stay and what goes…

1. Is it in my colour (s) – if it isn’t (but I love it), can I wear something with it to make it work?

2. Does it flatter my shape? This time last year I was heavily pregnant and my shape has changed since having bambino number 2 so its an important question to ask.

3. Do I LOVE it? Do I feel AMAZING in it? The final and most important question. To me, it actually doesn’t matter if your favourite item of clothing isn’t in your ideal colour or style – if you feel fabulous in it, then that is ALL that matters!

DECLUTTER

On the advice of my friend, Kate, I recently purchased these velvet hangers for my clothes. They save space (meaning room for more clothes, winner!), look good and everything stays where it should! I feel so happy every time I open my wardrobe doors and everything is so easy to see!

Image via Mija by Mirjam. For link, see below.

Image via Mija by Mirjam. For link, see below.

INSPIRE

I’m pinning away here, creating a mood board of looks I want to recreate, or use as inspiration for the new season so that once I’ve detoxed I can draw up a list of items I need and then hit the shops.

SHOP

Once I know what I need I will be hitting the shops to get the key items that will allow me to create a multitude of looks for the coming months. For me, its about quality not quantity. The aim is to have a capsule collection of versatile pieces that can be worn in lots of different ways.

PREPARE

My new mantra for the season is ‘plan ahead’. I intend to decide on what I’m wearing each evening and have it ready to go, so come the morning all I need to grab is my keys and a strong coffee before hitting the school run.

We’ll see how I get on in the coming weeks! You can follow along for daily updates over on my Instagram account, or pop over to say hi on Facebook!

Image sources: 1 and

 

Confessions of a Personal Stylist

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Whilst I was standing at the train station in Leeds this morning, waiting for my Starbucks and daydreaming about how little sleep I’d had last night (thanks 8 month old) a woman came up to me and said ‘I just had to tell you, you look amazing. I love your outfit, not many people can wear something like that, you look great.’

Honestly, I felt like giving her the biggest hug, because she can’t have known how much I needed to hear that, and I really did.

You may think that as someone who advises people on what they should wear to make them look and (more importantly) FEEL great, I would be pretty confident in the choices I make for myself when getting dressed each day. However lately this has not been the case.

After having my second child almost 8 months ago I have struggled to shift the baby weight. My tummy is now wobbly when it was once taut and flat, my hips and thighs have spread and, whilst I can squeeze into a good portion of my pre-pregnancy clothes, most of them are tight and uncomfortable. The result? Most days I don’t feel particularly happy with how I look.

So last week, when faced with a night out to celebrate the birthday of a dear friend I was forced to face the fact that I’d completely neglected my own image and sense of style. I had nothing to wear. Literally, not one thing that (a) fit properly and (b) was appropriate for the occasion.

It made me take a step back and I realised that since having my two children I had taken no time to review and refine my own style profile. I used the fact that I’m carrying a little extra weight as an excuse not to really bother too much with my clothes and image. As anyone with littles will know, its a HUGE lifestyle change so inevitably your style changes to fit the ‘new you’.

Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been slobbing about in hoodies and joggers with baby sick on my shoulder! But I have been feeling a bit down on myself and that’s largely because I haven’t been wearing clothes that reflect my personality. It actually doesn’t matter that I’m not at my ‘ideal’ weight, its about feeling good as I am now, accepting that I’m a work in progress and that I deserve to look and feel my best.

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So last week I conducted a style consultation on myself. I created Pinterest boards, I chose my ‘style mantra’ and put together a list of items I needed so I could conduct a personal shopping trip on myself. Just going through the process of clarifying who I am now and the image I want to present to the world made me feel more confident and comfortable.

I took myself to get measured for a properly fitting bra (always start with the foundations, more on that in another post) and I shopped till I dropped. I didn’t get much, but what I got fit me beautifully (wobbly bits and all), fit with my style mantra and made me feel great. One of the items was an American Vintage jumpsuit from a boutique in Ilkley called Attic. I wore it out for my friend’s birthday and am wearing it today for work meetings in London. I love it. Its been a long time since I’ve had an item of clothing that I have worn and loved.

I feel comfortable, I feel confident and I’m finally starting to feel like ‘me’ again. There’s still a way to go until my whole wardrobe fits with my new lifestyle, but its a process I’m excited about and glad that I’ve started. Sometimes you have to invest a little in yourself in order to add value to others. As a Mummy to young people it can sometimes feel hard to carve out time to do that, but its so important that we do.

So theres my confession! Please don’t judge me too harshly 😉 its always so much easier to advise others than it is to take your own advice I find!

And to the lady at Leeds train station this morning – you made my day/week/month. Thank you for your kindness, I will certainly make sure I pay it forward!

xo Anna

You can read more about my style evolution since having children here.

To find out how I can help you rediscover your style vibe take a look at my website here.

 

 

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Pattern Play

Image credit: A Little Dash of Darling

Image credit: A Little Dash of Darling

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter then you’ll know that I re-launched my style challenge series this week, encouraging you to try mixing at least two different patterns into one of your looks over the next few days.

I’ve found that since I’ve had baby number two I’ve definitely been in a style comfort zone. At first I opted for stretchy jeans and loose tops with scarves because that was all that fit me, now that I’m back in most of my regular clothes though I’ve found myself in something of a style rut. So I’m challenging myself here as well as you!

Mixing patterns is something I have become more comfortable with the more I’ve done it. It can seem a little daunting at first and there is certainly an art to it so you avoid looking like a crazy person! However, once you start to play around with patterns it can really open up so many more outfit combinations that really allow you to put a personal stamp on your outfits.

I’ll be sharing snaps of my style challenge outfits on my social media accounts (links are on my blog homepage if you don’t already follow me). If you feel like taking on the challenge too then I’ve put together a few tips on how to mix patterns to perfection…

1. Leopard is a neutral

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Image credit: Sincerely Jules

Leopard print goes with everything!

So if you have anything in your wardrobe with this print on, go and find it immediately and then simply start trying it out with different items in your wardrobe. I have a pair of leopard print flats that I LOVE and wear with everything. My favourite print to pair with leopard is checks, usually a plaid shirt, tee, jeans and leopard print flats. Boom.

2. Colour code

Image credit: The Quarter Life Closet

Image credit: The Quarter Life Closet

When mixing patterns the trick to keeping your look cohesive is to ensure you have a unifying colour running through your outfit. Pick a colour from the boldest pattern you’re going to be wearing and carry this through the rest of your outfit. There’s already going to be a lot going on when you’re wearing different prints, so keeping the colour palette of your look simple is key.

3. Size matters

Image credit: Something Navy

Image credit: Something Navy

Don’t wear two large prints together, or two small ones together as it could potentially look really busy. Combine a large print with a smaller one to create balance. My advice; wear the bolder print where you want the eye to be drawn (so if you hate your bottom half, go big and bold on top to draw attention upwards).

Also, keep in mind your own scale – if you’re petite don’t go tooooo over the top with big prints as they’ll swamp you. Similarly, those grand in scale should avoid very small patterns as they’ll look too busy.

4. Rock it!

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One of the phrases I find myself repeating to my clients most often is ‘confidence is your best outfit’, because its so true!

Wearing just one pattern will be daunting for some of you, so mixing two may feel crazy, but rest assured, if you follow the guidelines above and like what you see when you look in the mirror then step out with confidence! Throw your shoulders back, walk tall and rock it!

Let me know how you get on – I’d love to see your pics which you can either post on social media using the hashtag #glamupnorthstylechallenge or send to me directly at anna@byannaelizabeth.com

Images 1, 2, 3

 

 

 

Graphic Stripes

Those of you who caught my Cold Shoulder post a couple of weeks ago will have guessed that I’m pretty excited about the start of the new season. I’m going crazy over on Pinterest at the moment (you can follow me here) seeking out new looks to inspire my Spring/Summer wardrobe.

One trend I’m particularly giddy about is graphic stripes. I LOVE stripes and have so many clients who love them too. They’re classic, flattering (when worn correctly) and so versatile. So you can imagine my joy when the catwalk collections for SS16 had stripes of all shapes and sizes wafting down the runways.

The great thing about stripes is you can dip a toe in the trend with a simple tee, or really embrace it with a bolder print from from head-to-toe. If you are thinking of adding some striped items to your wardrobe this season then remember to wear them on areas you want to draw attention to. For example, as a triangle body shape I like to wear horizontal stripes on my top half as this balances my proportions and draws the eye up (and away from my bottom half). If you have fabulous legs and a flat bottom go for striped trousers or skirts to really show off your best bits!

To truly indulge my stripe obsession I’ve put together some styling ideas for different occasions shoppable via Farfetch. I hope they inspire you to try stripes this season, but be warned, once you get the stripey bug, you’ll be hooked!

Weekend Chilling…

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This Etre Cecile sweatshirt is the perfect go-to for casual weekends and I love the bold red stripe combined with the slogan on this top. I’d wear this with denim shorts, white kicks, a messy pony and minimalist make-up for the perfect laid-back look.

9-5 Styling…

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I generally advise my clients to wear vertical stripes on their bottom half, no matter what their body shape is, as horizontal stripes tend to add width, which none of us want on our lower half, am I right ladies? These Dondup Striped Trousers are so chic and classic, all they need is a simple navy blouse and a sleek pair of ballet pumps to complete an elegant office look.

Wedding Wear…

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Make a style statement at a wedding this summer in a gorgeous graphic striped dress. This Missoni Optical Effect dress is on my lust-list, the print and colours are stunning and all it would need is a nude heel and clutch, loose waves and dewy make-up to complete a show-stopping look.

Shoes, Studs and Stripes…oh my!

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A stripey shoe! I couldn’t resist! The Valentino ‘rockstud’ ballerinas have become pretty iconic over the past year and I love this stripey version – they’d certainly elevate a simple jeans and t-shirt combo, don’t you think?

 

How will you be wearing your stripes this season?

 

 

 

 

Specs Appeal

I’ve worn glasses for reading and driving on and off since I was about 17. To start with my eyesight wasn’t awful and I would just wear them occasionally for lectures at uni or driving. However, as I’ve got older (and more sleep deprived) my vision has definitely got worse and I now wear my glasses a lot when I’m working at my computer, watching TV, driving etc. etc.

As you might expect from someone who is a personal stylist, my choice of glasses style was deliberated and considered at length. I decided that if I was going to have some, they should be a statement so I opted for quite a bold frame in a current style.

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Whether you need glasses to help with your vision, are looking for some new sunnies, or simply fancy wearing some for a different look, here is my guide to choosing specs which will work in harmony with your face shape and colouring; after all if you’re going to be wearing something that is on your face, for all to see, you want it to be right!

1. Face Shape

This has to be the biggest consideration when choosing glasses. I always say that opposites are attractive when talking face shapes and frame styles. So, for example, if you have a round face you want to opt for frames that are square or rectangular to balance things out. Those with a more angular, square face shape should go for a style that is oval or rounded as this will emphasise the gorgeous angles of your face.

2. Colouring

Use your palette to decide upon your choice of frame colour – its vital you choose a shade that is flattering. Those in the warm category could go for tortoiseshell frames, those who are soft should opt for muted tones. If you are a dramatic or creative style personality you may want to go for a statement colour, which is great – just make sure its one that suits you and flatters your colouring!

3. Occassion

If you HAVE to wear glasses (and contact lenses aren’t an option) then you may want to consider having a couple of different pairs. Maybe some for day-to-day and some for more special occasions or evenings out. If you wear them all the time its worth investing in two pairs anyway as it means you can change up your look a bit which is always nice!

4. Hair

If you have long hair that you tend to wear both up and down on a regular basis make sure you take a look at your new glasses on with different hairstyles. Wearing your hair up or down can effect how things look so its always good to check you love the look of your new specs however you may choose to wear your hair.

5. Sunglasses

The above guidelines are applicable for both reading glasses and sunglasses. If you don’t own a fabulous pair of sunglasses I really recommend you rectify this ASAP. You don’t have to spend a lot, high street stores like Zara have some amazing options at very purse-friendly prices. Go for some that really work for you and ROCK them! Nothing makes you feel more rock star fabulous than a great pair of shades, why else do you think all these celebs have constantly got a pair glued to their face (yes Victoria Beckham, I’m talking to you).

Currently lusting after these Celine shades - cat eye frames have got to be THE most stylish in my opinion.

Currently lusting after these Celine shades – cat eye frames have got to be THE most stylish in my opinion.

 

If you too adore the Celine Caty Sunglasses you can purchase them here.

The Cold Shoulder

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Today I’m launching a new series of posts in preparation for Spring/Summer. I definitely feel like Spring is in the air, despite that air having a distinct chill about it currently!

Rather than lamenting the British weather though, I thought it would be more fun to plan my new season wardrobe instead. This time last year I was in the early stages of pregnancy so it’s ages since I’ve really bought anything new (aside from maternity clothes), so you could say I’m pretty excited to be shopping again (my husband, not so much!)

A trend that is most definitely on my radar right now is the ‘off the shoulder’ top/dress. I love this look! I think for me, its appealing because it allows me to show off a little skin in an elegant way, whilst also hiding my post-baby belly. Its suitable for day-to-day wear, instantly elevates a simple pair of jeans or shorts and is practical too! No danger of flashing any cleavage.

Its certainly a look more suited to those of us with smaller busts as a strapless bra is obviously key, but there are also some lovely cut-out shoulder tops that will allow you wear a normal bra with them if you really don’t want to go strapless.

Here are a few of my top finds and some tips on how to style them…

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Stripe Bardot Top, £32, Oasis (click here to buy)

If you have a triangle body shape (as I do) then this top is a dream come true. Horizontal stripes balance out your proportions, as does the dropped neckline. The colours on this particular top will work perfectly if you fall into the Clear or Cool colour categories. I’d style this with jeans and trainers during the daytime, denim cut-offs and gladiator sandals in the summer and for evening I’d pair it with some flared black jeans and wedges. So versatile, so in love – and only £32!

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Off-The-Shoulder Top, £29.99, Zara (click here to buy)

Zara have got quite a few off-the-shoulder tops available at the moment so I’d definitely recommend taking a look in store or online if this is a look you’d like to try. The fact that this one has longer sleeves appeals to me. It balances out the exposed neckline and makes it feel slightly more formal – this could even work in a casual office environment I think, pair with skinny cigarette pants, a pair of ballet flats et voila!

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Top With Off-Shoulder Detail in Slouchy Rib, £14, ASOS (click here to buy)

I love the the subtlety of this top – perfect to throw on over leggings with a denim jacket at the weekend. You could even layer a bright bra underneath a top like this so the colour pops from the straps become a feature rather than something you’re trying to hide.

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Long Sleeve Bardot Top, £50, Whistles (click here to buy)

Opting for a neutral shade like navy means this piece would be so versatile as navy works with most other colours and feels so much fresher than black for Spring/Summer. If you have an inverted triangle body shape and want to try an off-the-shoulder look, then I would recommend going for a solid colour on your top half and then pairing with patterned trousers (you could do palazzo pants with horizontal stripes if you have the height or skinnies with some sort of pattern on them if you prefer). I love how classic this top is – definitely a stylish addition to any Spring/Summer wardrobe.

I think my mind is made up on the Oasis top as I adore stripes and with my body shape it will be the most flattering. I’d love to know whether you’re planning on trying this look for Spring/Summer?

Top image source.

 

My Style Evolution

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Love this change bag from notonthehighstreet!

Love this change bag from notonthehighstreet, find it here.

Since becoming a Mum for the first time almost four (!) years ag0, I’ve found my style has changed dramatically. Pre-children I didn’t give much thought as to whether items were dry clean only, how easy they were to move around in or how good they’d be at hiding various spillages. However, nowadays these things are (sadly!) at the top of my list of considerations before I make a purchase.

It definitely took me a while to identify my new ‘style’ once I became a Mum and I still don’t think I’m 100% ‘there’. I like to feel put together and whilst I lust over images of girls with nonchalant messy top-knots and untucked tees on Pinterest, I never seem to be able to carry the look off in a way that I feel comfortable with. Unfortunately, with two young children, messy top-knots and untucked tees is about as good as it get most days (but in a more unkempt ‘I only had three minutes to get ready this morning’ style, rather than an intentionally ‘I’m messy but cool’ way!)

Over the past few years I have identified some staples that have proved to be both practical and make me feel somewhat stylish on a day-to-day basis and I thought I’d share them with you. I think it can be so hard to maintain a sense of style once little people come along as inevitably your own needs tend to come last, however with a strong capsule wardrobe and a good sense of what suits you (and what you feel good in), it is possible to look and feel great without too much effort or expense. Here are some of my top tips…

Get Back To Basics

 

The amount of money I have to spend on clothes has certainly decreased in recent years but whilst I seek out seasonal pieces on the hight street I have learnt that in the long run it pays to spend a little more on essential items. I invest in wardrobe essentials that I know I’ll wear time and again and therefore its so important that I feel comfortable in them and that they’ll wear well.

Jeans, bags and footwear and timeless basics like t-shirts and vests are all items where I spend a little more to get a superior fit and quality. My advice is to spend as much as you can afford on items like these, I guarantee you won’t regret it! A wise woman once said to me ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ and it’s a mantra I live by!

Hair Care

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I get my hair cut and coloured around every six weeks and I haven’t missed a single appointment since my youngest was born.

If my hair doesn’t look good then it doesn’t matter how much make-up I have on, or how amazing my outfit is, I feel awful. So I’m religious about my hair care. Not only does it ensure my ‘sparkly bits’ (aka huge amounts of grey) remain hidden, but it’s also essential ‘me’ time for a few hours where I can leave the little ones with Grandma or hubs and enjoy just a little bit of pampering. Good for the soul and the appearance – win, win!

Nail It

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A bit like having my hair cut and coloured on a regular basis, having manicured nails is a must-have for me, and something people often notice and comment on.

I love to have shellac or gel manicures whenever I can – they last longer and look great which works for me! If I can’t squeeze in a salon manicure though I do my own at home. I rarely have ‘naked’ nails, I much prefer to have them painted, even if its a neutral tone. One thing that is an absolute no-no for me is chipped nail polish. I can’t stand it! I usually carry a bottle of polish around with me so that if I do chip it whilst I’m out and about I can do a quick cover up job. It may be a bit obsessive but I just don’t feel done if I have chipped nails!

My current favourite shade is ‘Hutch’ (above) from the Olivia Palermo range for Ciate London. Its the perfect red tone that has become my go-to of late. Red is probably my favourite for a manicure as its so classic and versatile.

Fancy Feet

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I probably sound like a broken record to my regular readers by now but a great pair of shoes (or trainers) really do make an outfit.

For practicality I spend around 80% of my time in trainers these days and so I make sure they’re fab. Bright, funky and current are all essentials – no sweaty gym kicks for me!

My New Balance have been in heavy rotation since last Autumn and I don’t think I’ll ever be parted from my trusty Converse (I would happily have a pair in every colour to be honest!)

Currently on my hit list are Adidas Superstars with a Rose Gold toe cap. They’re sold out everywhere (sob) but I’m determined to make them mine eventually (they’re just too pretty!)

 

I would love to know what your style essentials are – be it items of clothing of beauty treatments!

xo Anna