fashion, fashion friday, jewellery, shoes, wardrobe

Accessorize like your life depends on it

The inspiration for this post is Iris Apfel, 90 something New York eccentric, whose ethos seems to be “more is more”. She is my aspiration for old me.

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I love her!

As a larger lady (Argh, the phrases we use – plus size, plus size to what??) I have become an expert at accessories. When you have lots of friends skinnier than you, you improvise.

You buy jewellery, bags, shoes and accessories so you don’t feel so awkward in shops that don’t cater for you. So bitchy shop assistants don’t look at you and laugh (I’m looking at you, girls in Top Shop). So you feel like you belong on the girly shopping trip.

To be honest, I hated being a fat teenager, and I wasn’t even that big, just bigger than my friends. The average size woman in the UK is a 16 (what that means varies brand to brand, and even within brands), but shops seem to tail off size wise at a 14.

It is better now, there are a few more options but still, there’s so much shame around being over that average and wanting to wear nice clothes, it makes me furious.

I have been both much bigger than I am today and also much skinnier. Everyone’s body is different, how we got to where we are varies just as wildly.

Without this becoming a therapy session – my weight has medical causes and emotional ones – my relationship with food is a mess. One I’m trying to get a handle on.

My best friend, who I love dearly, called me the accessories queen and she knows everything about me. I have turned adding the right accessory to an outfit into an art form.

It helps to be a magpie, with an eye for sparkly, unusual stuff.

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I love this, it's so true

My cupboard/wardrobe/storage space in my tiny flat is crammed with earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, pins, bags, shoes, scarves (I got the Mr to put up a scarf rail for me, it’s heaving). You name it, I probably have it, but can’t guarantee I can find it.

Annoyingly I can’t wear earrings much anymore, two years ago I got an infection in my earlobe, ten years after getting them pierced, and since then they’ve been very sensitive to metal. It frustrates me because I have fantastic earrings and good sized lobes to hang them from.

My scarf addiction has caused disagreements, but you can chuck a scarf of any design on over an outfit and make it amazing. Jeans and a T-shirt, funky scarf boosts it from slobbing about to lunch ready. LBD, contrasting design worn like a shawl, gorgeous. Trust me.

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I love finding a necklace that works with different necklines, from collars to décolletage, there’s a different design for every occasion.

An eye catching ring, sparkling in the light, can draw the eye to or away from your nails, depending on their condition. While the right bracelet can set off an unusual length sleeve.

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Shoes are also great at going “hello, I may be wearing a fairly dull outfit to work, but we’re pretty” especially these ones.

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Credit: likecool.com

Or these

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Credit: likecool.con

Sadly, I don’t own either pair, but I do have ones with cat faces and some covered in flamingos.

I’m not really a hat person, I don’t have the right head shape for it, but I’ve noticed the floppy brimmed hat making a comeback and on the right head, it looks fantastic.

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Credit: ebay.co.uk

I started wearing glasses a few years ago as a required thing, but I’ve always loved oversized sunglasses and cats eye frames with plain glass for dressing up and trying out new looks. EBay is great for really cheap frames and TKMaxx has a great selection of discounted designer sunglasses.

Finally there’s handbags, I love a good sized, sturdy bag, but also quirky clutches for nights out or special occasions and tote bags are a cute way to carry your shopping home, especially if like me you resent paying 5p for a crappy plastic bag that will probably break on the way home!

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Spotted this amazing Fendi bag in Venice

What are your favourite accessories? Let me know in the comments.

ramblingmads

fashion, fashion friday, lifestyle, shoes

Fashion Friday – Converse Obsessed

I love shoes, there are a lot of them in my wardrobe but whatever shoes I buy I always come back to my beloved Converse.

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Photo from Converse Facebook page

I have had so many pairs over the years, in a rainbow of colours and styles.
My first pair were hot pink high tops, and discovering how comfy they were – started an obsession.

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Photo from Converse Facebook page

My idea of Heaven is the Converse Gallery above Size? on Carnaby Street, every colour, style, fabric imaginable. Oh yes, please. They had rainbow sequin ones last time I went, I wanted to stroke them, they were so beautiful.

Even when I go shoe shopping for work shoes or a particular thing, like winter boots, I am drawn to the Converse display, I won’t show you a picture of my many beat up pairs, but at last count, one pair of boots, two high tops, three low rise (including Wonder Woman ones) and four pairs of the pump style ones I live in all summer.

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Photo from Converse Facebook page

I’m started to crave a new pair, roll on the sales, I might even get two!

What are your favourite shoes? Do you have a pair or brand you wear all the time? Let me know in the comments.

ramblingmads

fashion, fashion friday, reviews, wardrobe

Dorothy Perkins Curve collection – first impressions

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So with much fuss and fanfare Dorothy Perkins has launched its Curve collection for UK sizes 18 – 28.

Rather than expanding their main range to cater for more sizes they’ve released a capsule collection and it’s really underwhelming.

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The models in the promotional shots (see above) are slim and don’t exactly give you an idea what the clothes would really look like on the larger sizes.

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Then there are the clothes themselves, a mix of bodycon skirts and dresses and shapeless, bland tent tops. Nothing is in the season’s colours or trends. There’s only about 10 items to choose from and it’s online only, you can’t even return things in store.

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It’s a big disappointment – Dorothy Perkins can be a bit hit and miss in general but you would hope a targeted range would be designed with a little more effort and research, giving women on the above side of the UK average 16 more to choose from not merely reproducing the rather stale offerings already out there.

ramblingmads

beauty, beauty boxes, fashion, glossybox, haircare, make up, reviews

Glossybox Style Edition

September is a month of Fashion Weeks all over the globe in glamorous locations (New York, London, Milan, Paris…) and Glossybox have themed this month’s box for the most stylish month in the fashion calendar.

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The box is beautifully decorated, and features five full size items to get you ready for the new fashion season.

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Pink and khaki grey are the colours for this autumn and the whole box, including the wrapping, is on this trend.

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Maria Nila Luminous Colour Hair Masque – sulphate and paraben free, 100% vegan, doesn’t smell too bad, suitable for coloured and natural hair, a treat from Sweden. I currently have this soaking into my newly cut hair, which needs a boost to look its best. This also comes with a 20% off voucher for the whole range.

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Invisibobble traceless hair ring – I’ve had long hair, short hair and am the queen of the ponytail at any length. In the last few years more and more companies have produced metal-free, hair friendly bands. These claim to leave no kinks in the hair, or cause any breakage. Definitely something my hair can appreciate. There are three in the box.

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Nails Inc polish in Uptown, there is another colour in some boxes. This is a dusky pink shade, though pink always seems like more of a spring colour. I am however a massive Nails Inc fan so this will be added to the mix.

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Bellapierre Cosmetics Shimmer Powder in Whesek. This greyish powder, with its hint of glitter, is perfect for autumnal smoky eyes.

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Marsk Eyeshadow Brush Pro to complement the shimmer powder, I like the wide, fan shape of this brush for sweeping colour over my lids, plus the brush is super soft.

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This box is incredible value – approximately £60 worth of products for £12.95.

There’s also a £15 voucher for invite only fashion brand Best Secret and a sneak peek of one of next month’s products.

really like this box – it’s very generous and features several brands I already use. The box itself is gorgeous and as sturdy as always – making it perfect for storing your make up or wrapping up for a friend’s present (obviously not an empty box!)

Will you be donning this season’s shades and looking totally on point?

ramblingmads

fashion, fashion friday, jewellery, trend on trial

Trend on trial: midi rings

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A few months ago I lost some weight, and as always it went first in my hands. I already have weird fingers, long and bony with the protruding knuckles all women on my mum’s side have (and one day the joy of arthritis). So the lost weight created a conundrum in my jewellery armoury, my rings were too big.

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I have worn the same rings on my fingers on and off for years – including my great-great-aunt Bess’ ring, which only ever fitted on my thumb.

I like to dress up and the rings I wear are part of my defense against the world.

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So now I’m looking for rings that fit my new, scrawnier fingers. And a trend that caught my eye was the recent one for midi rings, that sit between your fingers joints. EBay and Etsy are excellent places to hunt for things like that. Ring size matters less as these rings are often adjustable or can be moved to a different finger if they aren’t quite right (that and they’re cheap and cheerful).  

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ramblingmads

beauty, body positive, fashion

My two cents: hijabi fashion

I was on Facebook and magazine Volup2 had posted an article about hijabi fashionistas. Of course some idiots in the comments had leapt straight into hate territory (referencing Sharia law, repression of women, being islamophobic etc)

That’s not been my experience, I have plenty of friends and colleagues who are Muslim and incredibly stylish, some of whom cover up more than others.

These women have made choices about their level of coverage, their interpretation of modest dress. Some have gone from merely wearing long sleeves and floor length skirts or trousers to the hijab and more. All by their own choice.

These ladies have scarf collections to die for, beautiful colours, patterns and designer. Just gorgeous. They coordinate their outfits so beautifully too. I wish I had that level of colour combination skill.

Even the ones who choose to wear a burqa over their clothes are often well dressed underneath. It seems like quite a practical garment too. And it’s a personal preference.

All three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) have instructions to dress modestly, but like most religious texts these rules are open to interpretation. If you go to Rome and want to go into a church, your shoulders and knees must be covered, it’s the same in most of Europe and Russia.

Women used to wear hats to church and some still have dress codes. My aunt’s church is quite strict, whereas my mum’s is a lot more relaxed in terms of what you wear on Sunday.

There are similar circumstances in most synagogues, heads must be covered, modest, smart dress is preferred. Some Jewish communities adhere to these rules all the time, others are more relaxed.

I’m sure other religions have dictates about dress, either specifically for worship or for everyday.

So why shouldn’t women who wear a hijab or who cover themselves dress well? Where does it say they can’t enjoy clothes and make up? Yes some countries have strict, enforceable dress codes, but they tend to be in the minority.

These hijabi fashionistas are inspiring younger women who might be worried that wearing the hijab is frumpy or means they have to give up their love of clothes in order to be closer to their faith. They also look amazing. All women should support each other regardless of faith, culture or ethnicity.

If you see someone looking amazing or wearing cute shoes or a fabulous top – tell her. Say ‘I love your shoes’ or ‘you look amazing’, smile, make someone’s day. The world is a cruel, cold place without us pulling each other down or making assumptions without knowing someone first.

ramblingmads