First month of 2014 down already and I 've only just got this post out. I started it a little while back and in between I went off and did stuff and then found it again and thought ... hmmm... let's pick up again and let's try and finish this time.
Anyway, I thought it might be an idea to do a little round up of some of the good AND bad things which landed in my wardrobe last/this year. It's good to include the mistakes - they always say, it's how you learn.
Good Wardrobe Items
- Gap mini skimmer chinos. These were a a godsend this summer especially when I put on few pounds over the summer months. I didn't bother to tell anyone but just wore these chinos which disguised the thunder thighs. Besides if you shout about it, people look all the more and go "oh yeah - heffer moose". The temperatures were high last summer and on the days when it was just about cool enough to put your legs in something, the Gap mini skimmer chinos were the trousers of choice. These were one of those items you try on in the changing room and you know it's a no brainer. They fit, they flatter, you buy them. And when you get them home and you're strutting your stuff in front of the mirror and they still look and feel good - you know you've got a winner. When I wasn't wearing the green khakis, I was wearing the flint grey version. Yep, I bought two pairs - they were that good :o)
- Zara denim shirt. I tried on innumerable denim shirts but really struggled to find the perfect one. If the fit was right, the finish and distressing would be just a little too manufactured and too obvious on many of them. So I bought one which didn't have this kind of finish on them. Problem solved. I have to say I have enjoyed this item more than I thought I would and it has proved more versatile than I first imagined. I even found myself doing double denim with this shirt as it contrasts significantly with all the other denim bottoms I have in my wardrobe. And it must be a goodie - I bought it last spring/summer and they continued it through autumn/winter and Zara have just brought it out again. It's one of those little under the radar numbers.
- Silver leather Zara espadrilles. I got these at a brilliant price when I thought all chances of nabbing them had gone out of the sale window. These (along with my other two pairs of River Island espadrilles) were my go to footwear during the hot weather. Not as stifling as a pair of Converse and lighter and comfier to be honest. They also hold your foot so much better than ballet pumps or flip flops. No toe gripping required. I like the pairs which have a rubber sole on the bottom rather than the rope soles. If you get caught in the rain, the rope soles absorb like sponges. Squelch squelch. I'm obviously speaking from experience. But they do dry out. Phew!
- Medwinds Black Ankle Boots. I got rid of my Topshop Ambush boots earlier this year and thought nothing of it till I got to the winter months and found I had no daytime footwear to wear with a dress. But somehow, these ankle boots manage to magically do the job. And they work well with jeans too. I have Marlene to thank for putting me on the right track for getting a pair of boots like this. My first instinct would be to go for a more casual boot only to wear with jeans but these smarter ones have a touch more class and elegance. Maybe I'm growing up finally .... maybe.
- H&M Low (not very) Skinny Jeans. I switched allegiance from New Look jeans to H&M jeans this year. I used to buy jeans from New Look because they had the perfect leg lengths for me and they still do but I haven't got on with their washes, cuts or finishes for the last couple of years. I found this pair of H&M Low (not very) Skinny jeans earlier this year and they proved to be the perfect jeans for wearing without turnups. I think they might best be described as the perfect "skinny straight" jean. For the record, I'm not wearing them much at the moment, they are erm .. snug and they don't have much give - I still haven't lost those Christmas pounds and I have to say, I'm not trying very hard or rather I have no will power. But they will be back in action soon or I'll change my name to Big Fib.
- Zara Boyfriend Jeans. Yeah, I needed another pair of distressed looking boyfriend jeans like I needed another pair of shoes but I just couldn't help myself. I love the fit of these and the slouchiness. There's nothing like a pair of jeans threatening to fall off your backside to make you feel like you never ate all those mince pies at Christmas.
Bad Wardrobe Items
- H&M Blue Marl Sweatshirt. Yep I know it was only £3.99 so it's not a great loss or anything but it ended up being a major wardrobe fail on the account that it pilled magnificently and you know how much I hate pilling. I read the composition for the grey version of this sweatshirt which was predominantly cotton and everyone who bought the grey one have said they have not had this problem. I went and bought the blue one thinking it was the same fabric composition and it wasn't. Even I slip up sometimes. I have to say, I genuinely loved this sweatshirt when I got it. It was snuggly as it had a fleecy lining, it was the perfect worn blue marl colour, the sleeve length was good, the fit was on the right side of fitted yet loose and then it went and pilled on me. I haven't thrown it out yet - it's my current decorating sweatshirt. I told you I liked it even though it now looks pants. Pilly pants at that.
- Splendid Grey Tee. I bet you're surprised to hear this one in here right? It's the perfect grey, it's a nice cut but the composition has meant it has pilled. As Victor Meldrew would say "I don't believe it!" but pill it does. Not so hot for an item which would have cost more than £60 full price And it's only a tee shirt. Pah! Infact, I've just recently relegated it to nightwear category.
- T for Alexander Wang Blazer. Yup it was a bargain but it's a bargain that's not for me. I don't really do jackets like this if the truth be told and it's not very me. I might also have been better with a size up if they'd had one. Fat arms and all that. Everywhere else fits. You live and learn and move on.
- M&S Navy Coat. Yes really. We were not destined to be. I bought it in August and eventually got round to wearing it in November. Two wears along and I noticed the fabric rubbing up around the pockets and the sides. Two wears. Tsk tsk. Not good enough. Credit to M&S, they did refund me after I took it back to Customer Services. It's the first complaint I've made since 1998 when I bought one of their Italian Fabric suits - my skirt looked like a concertina after I got out of the car the first time I wore it. I was disgruntled enough to complain and I almost never ever complain (except to you lot).
- Zara Two Tone Jumper. This one stayed for nearly three weeks and then went back to the returns desk. I took into account of all your views and I was that close to parking it in the wardrobe and then returned it at the last moment. It wasn't the acrylic that got me - it was the length of the sleeves. I just hate sleeves in my food. I already have one jumper with overly long sleeves and my wardrobe ain't big enough for the two of them. And do you know what kills me - Caroline de Maigret wearing this in the Zara lookbook and looking major in it. Regrets? I have a few .....
Credit : zara.com
Items Which Were A Bit Of A Surprise
- Next Cheetah Pumps. I love these. I wasn't sure if these were going to get that much wear but I found them strangely adaptable and magically update an outfit. If the weather was better, these would be on my feet just about every day. They were a little snug across the top when I got them but after a couple of wears, they've broken in nicely and they go perfectly with a pair of boyfriend jeans. I'm looking forward to the warmer weather when I can realise their full potential. Not bad for £18. Still available from the Next Clearance section here.
Items Which I Haven't Worn Much But Not Regretted So Can't Really Comment On Fully.
- Jigsaw Red Suede Shoes. I never mentioned them on here. I bought them and stashed them away. I saw them and my inner Dorothy said you must have them and look there's only your size left! These are crimson red. I can only liken the colour to the first drop of blood drawn before Sleeping Beauty passed out when she pricked her finger. Daft mare! I've only worn them the once on New Years Eve. For one hour. But I don't regret getting them for a minute. I get them out sometimes and smile at them dangling on the end of my feet. Tell me you do this too with shoes you love :o?
- Opening Ceremony Loafers. Hmm, I'm detecting a bit of a theme here and we seem to be all about the shoes. I've only recently noticed it myself but I am a shoe girl and not a bag girl. I'm not even a Jimmy Choo, Valentino type of luxury shoe girl. I'm just a regular high street practical shoe girl. But these loafers were a bit of a curve ball shoe. I wanted loafers. I wanted Bass Weejun loafers and what do I get? A pair of flowery loafers. I've not had much chance to wear these either as I got them at the end of summer but I don't regret these either. They go with a surprising amount of things actually because of the colour mix - navy, grey, black, green. Brill.
- Isabel Marant Blouse. This is essentially a spring/summer item and I bought it at the end of summer last year so I haven't had that much opportunity to get my wear out of it. I have a feeling this will come in to it's own this year. It's one of those chuck it on blouses and it looks fresh and light. The bonus is, it's one of those designs which have a bit of longevity with it - it doesn't really date and you wouldn't really know where it is from. I kind of like that anonymity about it.
The Most Useful Things I Bought
- Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Jacket. I have a love hate relationship with this little number. I love it because it provides extra warmth on those cold cold evenings when I'm hanging around watching U8 football training. I layer up and then pop this jacket on before I head out of the door. I feel naked if I go out without it. I think part of this is all in my mind that is supposed to keep me toasty and so I believe it to do that. I think it does it ... but not as well as I would have liked. Infact, I think what I really need is this one which I think is the slightly warmer version of the one I've got. And the hate part of this jacket? I hate it because I should have bought a size bigger and I kind of look like I'm doing a Superman mid change thing with my undone poppers AND the neckline is a little irritating as it's a little "sharp" around the edges. It can be remedied with a well placed scarf but if I was doing it again, I'd buy the one with a higher neck. Anyway, I've got my jacket, I'm not getting another, let's make the most of it and I have to say, I have worn it for every training session since we started. It's been nothing if not useful. Oh yes - it also packs away to diddly squat so I quite often take it away with me when I'm going anywhere where I think I might be cold.
See! I never fasten it fully!
- Zara Parka. You've seen me extolling it's virtues here and I have to say, it's my go to coat of the season simply because it's a damned toasty coat and I can't get enough of those fleece lined pockets. It's big and I can fit layers underneath it. It's had a thorough 1 hour pouring rain waterproof testing and it passed with flying colours. The bad points are the zips on the pockets (yeah yeah Helen), the sleeves are a touch long and when I'm standing outside on a cold evening, I wish it was another 10 inches longer to cover my knees but only when I'm standing outside on a cold evening. Other than that, I like it's styling and it's actually a good length without swamping me. Oh yes! You're also liable to get knocked down crossing the road in this if you've got the hood up. It's one of those hoods that stays facing forwards even when you've turned your head. You have to do a whole body turn to see which way cars are coming when you are crossing the road. But it's not the end of the world. Unless you don't do a full body turn ... :o(
- Sorel Caribou Boots. Yep, I've only had them less than a month but I think these boots make my outside world a much better place. I like the feeling of being almost invincible in them because they do look like they could do some serious damage along with keeping your feet warm. Imagine being in the Canadian Wilderness with a pair of these on your feet. A big bear looms up behind you - a few karate kicks (Hi-Yah!!) with these on your feet and it's off! Want some more Mr Bear? No? Didn't think so. But to all intents and purposes, they keep my feet warm and that's why I bought them.
There are probably more items I could have included i.e. silk spotty blouses, brogues, trainers etc but we would be here forever. The ones mentioned were the ones which came to mind first and I think that's enough to be going on with. Maybe I should break this kind of summary down in to half yearly chunks and re-appraise at the end of summer to see if I got the wear out of the items that I haven't had my wear out of yet. Maybe I will, maybe I won't. Do you like my non-commital stance on things? Then you can't hold me to it :o)