Two looks with Topshop trainers on an hourglass body

Casual hourglass, Outfit of the day, Outfits, Reviews

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Here’s a couple of ways I’ve been wearing my Topshop trainers lately.  These flat soled type of trainers are surprisingly easy to style with our type of body, even though I haven’t yet tried them in that typically Instagrammy style with an A-line midi skirt (see pic below).  I’m too scared to try – just thinking about my cute (body acceptance) but chunky (body realism) ankles and calves poking out the bottom of the skirt ha!  I’ll work up to it eventually.

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Now I bought these trainers from Topshop in NZ a couple of weeks ago, but I can’t find them online now, so either they’ve been sold out, or we just get sent all the nine-seasons-ago stuff the rest of the world didn’t buy….option two is a veritable possibility in NZ, you should see what we have to work with over here :p  But currently online is an almost identical pair of trainers to mine, here, if you’re interested.  But I love these gold-tipped trainers too (Topshop again).

For outfit one, I’ve paired an old burgundy leopard print crew-neck sweater from The Warehouse, and some old black skinny jeans from Primark.  I tend to buy a size or two up in skinny jeans, just to house my thighs and calves – anyone else have to do that?  I will hopefully be testing out jeans meant for us curvy girlies eventually so I can report back to you whether they’re worth your investment.  For this look, I rolled up the ankles just a bit, but found that too much of a roll up is just emphasising a weak area for me, so I kept my roll up low and only showing the slimmest bony bits of my ankle.  My leather cap is from The Warehouse too, two seasons ago, but any black cap would work.

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In look 2, I’m wearing a khaki stretch dress from Cotton On in NZ, bought a size up so I can also wear it to work without it looking too spray on.  I’m laughing at our blurred photo editing in the second pic – when preparing some of these pics for Instagram and Pinterest, me and my husband thought it would be *really good* to blur out the photo except for focusing on the footwear, that being the emphasis of the outfit.  And, er, now I’m just cringing!  Anyway I’ll leave you with outfit two, hope you enjoyed the quick ‘two ways to wear’post, and that you can use it to judge how well the trainers work with an hourglass body.

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Surfy look with Aztec prints and Topshop Africa Moccasin Booties

Casual hourglass, Outfit of the day, Outfits, Reviews

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I’ve been wanting to put together a Western/Native American type of outfit recently, but I wanted it wearable, not too costumey and suitable for autumn/winter style.  So I settled on making it a little bit surfy with warm layers.  This outfit obliterates my waist so to create a more flattering look you may want to find a gilet that gives you more of a waist, or swap the gilet for a parka jacket, cinched in at the waist.  I can see this outfit being the sort of thing I want to pull on when me and husb are heading out on errands or to the beach for a cold day walk, or if you have kids it’s the sort of thing you might put on to take them down the park.

I found these boots a particular challenge to style, despite me loving them, because they don’t do any favours to short chunky calves, cutting you off high on the ankle.  I tried them with black tights and a shortish skirt but felt it made my legs look too dumpy, but I quite liked the look with black jeans.  If you have slimmer calves, or are a bit taller than me you’ll have no issues with styling these.

The boots are extremely comfy, made of real suede leather, and feel very solid in construction.  The Western-style tassels and moccasin detailing are an awesome update for the upcoming season and can be worn throughout the year – in spring/summer, just pair them with lighter weight clothes.

Outfit details

Puffa jacket and scarf – old, from Primark

Burgundy leopard print sweater – old, from The Warehouse

Ripped jeans – jeans from The Warehouse, DIY-torn

Suede moccasin booties – Topshop this season

Cross-body bag – old, The Warehouse

 

 

Styling brogues when you don’t have skinny legs

Casual hourglass, Outfit of the day, Outfits, Reviews, Uncategorized, Wardrobe planning

Brogues. They strike fear into the heart of many a curvy girl. Undeniably mannish in style, they contradict our feminine bodies to the extreme but here lies the draw: they’re hard to style. Every woman likes a decent challenge, a way to prove that despite her manly attire, she can still come off as a beacon of femininity.  Or something like that.

So, in short: challenge accepted, on behalf of all the short, chunky-legged, womanly-shaped women out there who would like to try a brogue or two.  Now as a proviso before I set off, if you are after a brogue this season to update your look, I would (now) completely encourage you.  Before I bought a pair and played around with some outfit looks, I would’ve said avoid completely if you’re an hourglass.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how it’s possible to style them fairly easily, and they got the husband seal of approval :p

The brogues to buy would be black patent ones like these from ASOS (as I’m typing this I realise I may be lumping in loafers alongside brogues – sorry about that.  I’m going to change my title to reflect the mix-up and for future reference, apparently brogues have little perforations/holes in, whilst loafers are slip-on and have the tassels.  Trust me to find a pair of shoes with both features – I’ll call them broafers).  Anyway, back to those patent brogues, they should be super shiny and I think they look awesome with a white sole, kinda reflecting the sport-luxe trend gently.  If you can’t get or don’t like shiny black ones, get some cool cut-out metallic ones, these often look a bit girlier too and gold or silver can be treated as a neutral when it comes to pairing with outfits.

I on the other hand thought about getting my ideal pair of black shiny loafers ($189 NZD), but instead had to invest in a couple of other bits and bobs for other posts, so I settled for some tan ones that were cheaper and I fell in love with them a bit.  Anyone else a sucker for a tan shoe?  No?  That will just be me then.  My brogues were from Novo on Queen’s street, Auckland, and I got them reduced for $40 NZD.

Here’s three looks with brogues that I felt reasonably happy to leave the house in; see what you think.

Look number 1: All black, city style with a tailored jacket

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This was probably my favourite look of the three – trust an hourglass to migrate towards the smartest possible option.  Bah, I’m unproving my own theory that ‘hey hourglasses, we can all look awesome without resorting to the smartest possible option’!  Anyway my jacket is from H&M (yonks ago – they usually have some current options year round however), button-down cotton polyester shirt from Primark (old) and the jeans I bought from K-Mart cheaply and added in some knee rips myself – search Pinterest for how to do this if you’re interested.  You’ll see I’m putting together outfits with a lot of pieces already from my wardrobe – it’s partly because I’m not a billionaire buying new clothes all the time (‘we never would’ve guessed’ I hear you cry), but it’s actually a deliberate policy to represent outfits that don’t cost the earth or require constant expenditure – I’m a believer in a good-quality basic wardrobe, that gets updated with key pieces as and when needed (e.g, brogues).  My sunglasses are new from Topshop – the round shape is an easy update this season.

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Look number 2: Laid back Saturday leather jacket and jeans

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This comfy look would be great for any number of daytime events, pottering round the shops, running errands, having a coffee out with your husband.  I kept the white top fitted (it’s a peplum style top from Pagani a year ago) so that my waist wasn’t completely lost in the loose leather jacket.  My jacket is old, from Miss Selfridge and is falling apart now!  But everyone needs both a black and a coloured (p)leather jacket in their wardrobes, they’re so versatile.  My jeans are my good ol’ Primark Lift n Shape.  Oh and my handbag was from The Warehouse, but any tan handbag would work here, to bring out the tan in the shoes.

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Look number 3: Back to school preppy styling with fedora and tights

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I bought this fedora from Topshop very recently, and am in love with it.  I’ve been wanting a floppy-brimmed light brown hat forever, and then found this one which combines a floppy brim with up-to-date fedora detailing.  I paired this hat with an old stretchy dress from Primark – the short length helps keep the brogues from looking too frumpy.  My bag is old, no clue where from but you can get a nice tan bag from anywhere these days.

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Hope you enjoyed my three brogues outfits, if you’re interested in some super comfy stylish shoes, I can definitely recommend brogues as a worthy update to your hourglass closet.

Football crop top casual look

Casual hourglass, Outfit of the day, Outfits, Reviews

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I thought this look would be good for transition weather such as Spring or Autumn – I’ve paired a football style cropped T-shirt (recent purchase, Valley Girl again! Total bargain too…) with some grey moto jeans from Primark (old) and last season’s faux leather jacket from Forever 21.  This look is easily replicated with pieces from just about any high street store.

Accessories include a faux leather cap and chunky rose gold watch from The Warehouse, and bracelet from Forever 21.

Red body suit for spring/summer

Casual hourglass, Outfit of the day, Outfits, Reviews

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Even though its winter in New Zealand, I thought I’d include a summery outfit of the day for Northern Hemisphere readers! I was lucky enough to get a gorgeous sunny day to take photos without goosebumps :p and felt this outfit worked well for an hourglass frame.  The cut-out detailing at the back manages to draw in the waist visually and makes the look super casual.  I would probably wear this outfit to a beach or festival as I’ve styled it here, but I’ve also been wearing the bodysuit under a blazer and black trousers to work (with red lips), and for lounging at home with a checked shirt thrown over.  I love the pop of bright colour this gives for a spring/summer outfit and the sporty styling – it’s also too tempting to pair red nails and lips with this lovely orange-based red. I bought this several days ago from Valley Girl in Auckland (its not the ONLY shop I go to, I promise!) but this type of bodysuit should be readily available online currently from Forever 21 (here are some) or ASOS (here too).

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My jeans and belt are old, from Primark, watch and sandals from The Warehouse, and bracelet from Forever 21.  Sunglasses are Céline.

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This jumper looks rubbish

Casual hourglass, Outfits, Reviews, Struggles

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I was in Valley Girl recently and thought I’d demonstrate for you exactly the style of jumper that an hourglass ought to avoid.  What’s wrong with this cut and style?

  • It’s in an unflattering colour for me – I’m a ‘soft summer deep’ colouring, and this means grey/soft based cool toned shades rather than warm tones like this rusty orange.  Have a look at Colour Me Beautiful to research your colours if you’ve not thought about it before, it can make a marked difference to how your outfits work against your skin, hair and eye colour.
  • It’s high neck, which doesn’t break up the upper chest at all, visually creating a large expanse of boob.  The cowl neck on the other hand can be quite flattering on the bust, but needs to drape lower on the chest to work well.

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(This style of cowl neck from Venus clothing would be far more flattering)

  • Back to the orange top, the cut is too loose around the waist, meaning the jumper drapes from the bust apex to the hips, creating a blocky shape.
  • I quite like the length and crossover style at the lower end of the jumper however, but some would say it’s a bit too long for my 5’2 frame.  A jumper/top that ends at the widest point of the hip is usually best and doesn’t take any length off your legs unlike this top.

The style of this jumper may work if I minimized my bust to avoid it dominating and ruining the drapey style – see my post on boob strategy for more information.

What a difference a top makes…

Casual hourglass, Outfits, Reviews

Just a quick little post today; I was in Pagani earlier today (an excellent shop for dresses for an hourglass by the way, for NZ readers) and I thought I’d try on a couple of sweaters with two purposes:

  1. to see if a Bardot style too could work with an hourglass figure
  2. to illustrate the difference it makes to your look when you emphasise your waist

The above points will now be illustrated by a series of extremely dodgy iPhone changing room photos – sorry for the poor off-the-cuff quality!

The Bardot top, Pagani ribbed roll neck top, $39.99 (NZD)

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I was pretty pleasantly surprised by this jumper – it doesn’t look like much on the hanger, and the fold-over neckline can be a bit fiddly and look a bit rumpled despite your best efforts. But the broad, shoulder-baring style was very flattering contrary to what I expected. It balanced my hips well (in my opinion, see what you think from the photos) and distracted from rather than over-emphasised the bust. The overall look was quite casual and subtle-sexy, and you could wear it quite easily with skinny or flared jeans (as I was sporting today).  I didn’t buy it yet because I’m not sure where I’d wear it except at home (I’m generally pretty covered up most of the time), but another woman would easily chuck it on all the time. The ribbed stretch material is grey marl giving a casual feel, and seems to be pretty good quality.

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Top number two, a soft lavender faux-wrap top (‘cross front knit jumper’, $59.99), looked like my ideal top on the hanger. The colour is girlish and complementary, I adore the softness of wrap tops, especially  on hourglasses, and being a deep V-neck it was bound to flatter the boobs.

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You’ll see from the photos that the unfitted cut of the knit obliterates my waist entirely, and makes me look like my body is the width of my shoulders and hips. It was even less flattering when the top was pulled down/untucked fully.

The whole look shortens me too, even with my heels on, and is generally not at all flattering on me.  As an aside though, I do love the colour of this jumper, and the wrap effect is actually flattering on an hourglass, but the way this look could be improved would be to have a waist-tie or fitted style like this.

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The drape of a wrap top always looks lovely – shame about the no-waist look though

Looking on the Pagani website, they ship internationally for any non-NZ readers who are interested :).

 

Book review: 1000 Outfits From Just 30 Pieces (Wendy Mak)

Casual hourglass, Reviews, Uncategorized, Wardrobe planning

I’ve always been a bit interested in the capsule wardrobe idea – if you got it just right, you’d probably look good most of the time.  And I like variety, so I like the idea of having a good solid ‘basics’ wardrobe, whilst updating a few key pieces and accessories each season to stay up-to-date but without costing the earth.

I don’t yet know if this concept will work with the type of style I’m trying to achieve.  I’ve always been a bit of a classic girly dresser by habit, just because I achieved that look a bit easier with my figure, and the capsule works well with that look.  But I’ve always wanted to do that edgy-cool-casual type of look (google Ellie Goulding casual or, like, Cara Delevigne casual to get the gist).  So we’ll find out during my exploits whether this capsule wardrobe thing can be adapted for the style we’re aiming for (or does the fashion move too quickly for the capsule to work?).

Buuuut anyway.  Back to the book.

After browsing around for a good book on the above topic, I came across Wendy Mak’s book on Kindle and downloaded it very cheaply.  It was exactly what I wanted – an actual list of fundamental wardrobe items, complete with reasons why I needed them in my wardrobe.  Also she includes a long list of the supposed ‘1000 outfits’ at the end of the book.

The explanations as to why you need each piece in your wardrobe are invaluable because I think this will enable the reader to adapt the capsule from the fairly ‘classic’ and middle-aged style Wendy proposes, to a more youthful or edgy style.  However, Wendy has also cleverly included casual and smart looks within her 30-piece wardrobe, and if you start changing up the pieces, the ability to dress smart and casual may come unstuck a bit.

After reading the book, I followed her instructions and developed the list of 30 pieces (they were either already in my wardrobe or had to be bought in newly).  I actually built this capsule wardrobe right before we emigrated from the UK to New Zealand.  It was brilliant because we moved over with just two suitcases, and my capsule fit in such a small space, and yet provided a multitude of good outfits.

So, did it work?

Well I do feel that since I invested time and a bit of money in developing this capsule of 30 items, I’ve not lacked any key pieces in my wardrobe.  I just feel like I can construct a whole load of outfits from not very many clothes.  I’ve existed off a small wardrobe for the last six months in NZ, and this wardrobe has sorted me out for both work and casual, somehow.  So overall, I’ve been delighted with the results.  Of course, since moving here, I’ve wanted to buy the odd pieces of clothing – like yet another white tee or some accessory or other.  But I’m quite sure it’s saved me a whole bunch of cash on not-very-useful clothing.

Over time, I’m also going to gradually update my capsule pieces to better quality ones, now that I know Wendy Mak’s capsule works for me.  So for example, I came to NZ with a thrifted high-waisted black skirt from ‘Morgan’ and have more recently replaced it with a more expensive, lovely quality skirt from ‘Cue’ in NZ (gorgeous high quality Aussie brand by the way).  So bit-by-bit I’m hopefully going to look a bit better dressed.

What are the cons of the book/capsule idea?

Well the 1000 outfits listed at the end actually included outfits which were identical to each other, save for changing the handbag for example.  So for me, a change in handbag didn’t really constitute a separate outfit although I’m sure it could change the look somewhat.  Similarly, I don’t consider it a new outfit when you change just your silk scarf.  But overall, I didn’t find this detracted too much from the principles of the book.

Also, as mentioned earlier, the capsule pieces Wendy suggests are in a very ‘classic’ style.  It remains to be seen if this works for a different style.

Wendy is quite open with the fact that she designed this capsule with the Australian weather in mind.  It’s proved quite helpful for me now I live in NZ (even though it’s a bit colder here), but it may need some tweaking for colder or more variable climates.  I found myself wondering if you really need a capsule for each season, rather than just one for the whole year.

Lastly, after about 6 months of using this capsule of clothing, I’m just starting to get a bit bored.  But bear in mind, Wendy does suggest you update with 3-6 pieces every season and I’ve not paid much attention to that so that may explain why I’m getting bored with the same clothes.

Anyway, if you like the sound of this book, Amazon should have hard copies or Kindle copies for you for a few bucks.  I got the Kindle version, and the colour pictures and ‘1000 outfit’ charts at the end don’t display as well as in the paperback, but this was ok for me.

Have you tried a capsule before?  Do you reckon we could adapt the idea for a casual hourglass style?