Zara Jumper | Choies Skirt * | DKNY Bag * | Zara Mules | ASOS Sunglasses
Autumn is my favourite time of year. Streets become littered with crisp leaves in colours of acidic yellows and burnt orange, and it's still warm enough to curl up in an oversized knit and mini skirt without the need for an extra cosy boyfriend coat and super thick woolly tights. With the fiery colours developing on the trees, what better colour to wear than a bright flaming orange-red jumper?
It's the kind of season where all of your romanticised fantasies of looking glamorous cosy knitwear, layered sweaters, mini skirts and over the knee boots really come to life, before it hits mid-November and we're plunged into four months of gail force winds and relentless rain, ensuring that our mohair-blend oversized coats go soggy like a disgruntled, rained on kitten. Make the most of it whilst you still can...
Tiny handbags are becoming one of my latest most impractical new loves. Their dinky little sizes mean you can only fit the essentials (mobile phone, oyster card, lipstick, and bank card) into them. This simple DKNY mini-bag was exactly what I had been after: teeny tiny, simple (just the classic DKNY logo and keychain) and black (my handbag and shoe collection is far more lacking in colour than my knitwear collection.) There's something a bit liberating about going all basic with the bare essentials, but if that's still just to small for you I suppose you can always stash the extra handbag contents under your oversized turtle neck jumper...
I've said it before and I'll say it again: culottes aren't really my kind of thing. There's something a bit matronly about them. Or in most cases (Topshop, I'm looking at you here) they just fit my body in a way that makes my legs resemble a tent. It's almost as if I wandered in and out of Glastonbury, drunk and blindfolded.
But the more I've played trial and error with them, the more I've come to find that it's a case of tailoring. Badly tailored culottes leads to accentuating the worst parts about you ("thighs thighs thighs!" my reflection screams back at me in horror.) Lavish Alice have taken a seriously modern, scandi-chic approach to the trend featuring a cross over section at the front. The high waisted fit hugs the body and the trousers slim over the hips without making you look like your attempting a Kim Kardashian fancy dress.
Lace trims: there's something so fundamentally sexy about them. Underwear as outerwear has always been one of those odd trends that can be difficult to make work. Too little lace or bra flashing and it's simply too vanilla. Too much lace or bra flashing and it's all a little bit red-light district. Even in an unprovocative colour like Khaki (military chic is always cool, but never really sexy, despite numerous attempts by freshers trying to make "sexy army girl" a genuinely hot thing) there's still a flirtatious element of sex appeal when hems are edged with delicate eyelash lace.
Essentially, to make it work without looking like a baby prostitute you have to tone down the sexiness. Cue the beloved turtle-neck jumper. My wardrobe currently consists of so many heavy knits that I no longer seem to own any big-night-out-with-the-girls attire or I'm-a-total-babe date clothing. Instead, I turn up to these things looking more like a dishevelled librarian. But at least they come in handy for the de-sexification of a racy lace dress. Throw that on top of a lace trimmed dress or playsuit and you're good to go hitting the perfect balance of cosy, knitted seduction.
The leaves have only just began to fall and we've finally been able to cosy up into our oversized knits and new season coats, but that doesn't mean I'm not dreaming about getting away for some Winter sunshine.
Inspired by the crystal clear Caribbean sea against the fine sandy beaches, heidi klein's Puerto Rico collection plays with a simple palette of turquoise and teals against bright whites.
My summer tan might be rapidly fading, but the white triangle rope bikini has me longing for a beach far far away. It's minimalistic, but still has an element of Bond-girl glamour that would look amazing against a deep tan at a yacht party (a girl can dream, right?)
When it comes to beachwear, I like things to be pretty understated: the white pin tuck tunic is simple and chic, almost like a man's oversized shirt (but with the obviously girly addition of a bow around the waist.) Slip it over the white rope bikini and you're on your way to ultimate relaxed beach glamour.
Adorned with golden embellished details, the teal Puerto Rico bikini reminds me just a little bit of something an Egyptian queen would wear (I can almost feel the breeze of some bronzed man-servant with a six-pack fanning me and feeding me grapes whilst I'm lounging on a beach cabana.) The gathered batwing dress is all-out beach glamour and could easily easily go from beach-to-bar just by adding some gold and bronze jewellery like the Aisha twisted bead cuff.
No beachwear look is complete without some practical but chic accessories. Slightly nautical in appearance is the beach bag: it's rope handles have a rustic beachy feel. To top it off is the classic beach hat. I still adore the retro beach glamour of the fifties, and the heidi klein Havana hat takes me back to another era.
Let's face it though, despite all of the beach glamour and bikinis, spending your time on the beach is all about the tan. The luxurious Ligne St Barthes SPF 4 tanning oil helps you achieve the perfect golden tan.
What do you think of heidi klein's Puerto Rico collection? My favourite pieces come from the Nautical Chic collection. Full of sailor stripes and bow details, it's dream beachwear. Nicole Scherzinger has been seen rocking this collection in Ibiza lately. If that doesn't make you want to sack off your turtle neck knits then I don't know what will...
It's funny how Winter just appears out of nowhere. Up until yesterday the seasons had us thinking that we had skipped Autumn/Winter and fell straight back into June again. This week has been spent doing rather unseasonal activities such as walking around Clapham Common overheating in a mere sweater and skirt combo (sans tights), and sitting in the company of many cocktails in the outdoor area of my local bar until about midnight, trying to drink up the last dregs of this weird early October heatwave. I couldn't even bear to keep my arms in my jacket earlier this week when I shot these photographs (I caped this jacket out of practicality, not trendiness, I promise.)
But isn't it a different story today? I'm currently tucked up in bed choosing starvation over facing the cold to make myself some brunch. But in thinking positively, at least this means we all finally get to wear our oversized turtle-neck jumpers and woolly scarves without our less fashion-savvy friends asking "oh but aren't you completely boiling in that?" We no longer have to be in denial about it being knitwear season because it actually finally is knitwear season!
When you think of Forever 21, what do you really think of? I used to think of badly dressed American teenage girls. Forever 21 always felt like that American shop that only sells muffin-top inducing low-rise jeans/trousers/shorts/skirts, and sometimes nearly gets it right but thanks to a dipped hem here or a weird stripe there, it never quite made the grade.
But Forever 21 has come a long way since it first opened up shop in the UK. I'm not sure if opening stores in Britain led it to being infected by a London-esque fashion vibe, but everything felt a little less American teenager at a One Direction show, and a little bit more British girl chilling in an East London bar.
Their Autumn Winter collection is crawling with luxe faux-furs and smart tailoring. The knitwear department is overloaded with roll-necks in more colours than the English language has words for. For those outerwear addicts like myself, the collection has everything from vintage inspired oversized coats to strict structured masculine overcoats. And price-wise? On a scale of Primark to Topshop, it's definitely more along the Primark end, but with higher-quality pieces.
I think it's safe to say that I probably won't be wearing my jackets like capes anymore: it's time to roll out the tights and wrap up warm.
Those of you who know me personally will already be aware of my preference to style over comfort (apart from behind the closed doors of my flat, then it's pyjama time: let's let loose.) My penchant for high heels means that despite how cool the trainer trend is, I don't actually own a pair of New Balance or Nikes. Don't get me wrong, my wardrobe feels somewhat lacking in the sports-luxe department without them, but given the choice of spending £80 on a pair of soft comforting flats over a pair of sexy, daring, lacquered black leather heels or boots with a spikey stiletto heel... well... I think you can tell by the overuse of adjectives which one of those I would opt for.
Up until lately my wardrobe has also been lacking in the mannish shoe: a staple of the androgynous trend I've avoided like the plague in fear of appearing short and dumpy. Androgyny isn't particularly the most short-curvy-girl friendly trend, and is most usually best reserved for the straight-up-and-down types. Plus after picking up similar style mannish-shoes from normal high-street stores I'd found my feet left so butchered and blistered it had me wondering where the liberation was in wearing flats. So I couldn't help in thinking what's the point in wearing flat 'comfortable' shoes when they're so painful they make you walk weirder than you would after falling over and breaking your ankle in a pair of mules??
But after slipping my feet into these boyish burgundy brogues, I was genuinely a little surprised. The inner sole was padded (imagine putting on a comfy padded bra onto your feet- yeah, that's basically it) and there was none of that digging-into-the-back-of-your-heel pain leaving you with the worst blisters.
Surprised, a little bit impressed, and a little bit more willing to embrace boyishness.