Please Note

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Friday, 28 January 2011

The style issue

I absolutely adore clothes, shoes, accessories and anything to do with fashion. I'm a complete addict and where others will spend money on fine wine or tech gadgets I'm much happier flicking through the pages of my beloved fashion magazines or searching the clothes rail for something new and special.

I didn't find my style (or this passion) until i hit thirty. Since then i've learnt what suits me and what doesn't but just like everyone else there are still days when I get it wrong.

Most of my friends comment on my ability to layer clothes and to turn something that's ok into something special or unique (whilst doubting their own ability).  Having been asked how I put my outfits together several times I thought it was high time I shared some of my tricks to show it's easy once you give yourself permission to experiment.

Step One:

Find a bargain dress - I found this white dress in the French Connection sale (£35). It originally had black plastic embellishments (think oversized tear drop shaped sequins and dalmations) which several years ago would have put me off buying it. However, I can now see beyond embellishments to the garment underneath and after 20 minutes with a seam picker to remove all of the offending sequins, I have a great dress that i know will work for me.

This is the foundation piece - cute right...

From the existing clothes I have in my wardrobe I can create at least seven outfits from this one dress.

Step Two:

Function and Practicality - both important as anyone who has ever stood in a damp field with nothing but a pair of kitten heels between them and imminent trench foot will know.

I like cardigans because they give such great versatility so assuming it's a cold day I would add a warm knit and, assuming a more conservative function, it would typically be in a complimentary tone. If you don't want to be spending out every year on essentials take the time to pick garments with a high wool content and follow the care instructions. Believe me, this saves a lot of money over the long term.

Step Three: Give it the form you want. I'm really small and an hourglass so a lot of clothes can look shapeless on me. Sometimes that's fine but I've found emphasising my waist can really bring outfits up a notch or two.

I must have a zillion belts which regularly get used to hold up trousers, cinch in waists, add colour etc. They're normally within budget and of course they will always fit. This is one of my current favourites. If you don't like belts too much you can always use lengths of material of scarves.

Step Four: Add footwear, making it appropriate of course. Because of the assumption that its going to be quite cold I would add boots (short of long).

Step Five: Add your accessories. I can't show it here but I would put some long cream socks under these boots to tie in with the cardigan. I'm a big fan of jewellery so I would add a necklace (chunky - in keeping with the boots and belt), some gold bangles and if I was feeling really adventurous a feather hairband.

So there you go, a complete outfit in five easy steps.

Here are the other variations

Outfit Two - Casual/ Formal

Outfit Three - Casual (for cooler weather)

Outfit Four - Informal/ Smart

Outfit Five - Casual/ Smart (with high heeled sandals for warmer weather)

                 - Casual/ Smart (with boots for cooler weather)

Outfit Six - Smart/ Casual (with Jewel tones)

Outfit Seven - Smart/ Creative (for those who want to be a bit more adventurous - one of my favourites)

Enjoy - maybe this will help you look at your wardrobe in a new light?

If you want to see where I get some of my great accessories visit

Monday, 24 January 2011

and if at first you don't succeed go back to the beginning.....

The first sketches weren't working for me, they seemed too blocky and childlike so i decided to go back to what i know best; ink drawing/sketches.

So much happier with the result. Now i've found how to translate my drawing to this type of illustration i'll be wearing out the sketch books!

This one is dedicated to Nat xx

Sunday, 23 January 2011

New Project

In the words of someone somewhere, when you can't sleep start a new project....... so i did.

For Christmas a very treasured friend bought me a book on fashion illustration (i'm SO a fashion junkie). I've wanted to have a go at fashion illustration for a while so it seemed the perfect soft introduction.

Anyway, due to zero sleep i decided to have a go with some sketches.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

The fresh start

So today has been about 'the fresh start'.

I spend quite a lot of time at my computer but the space hasn't been working for me because of a lack of suitable furniture (and the lack of funds to buy replacements). Today, with a fresh start in mind, i tried to work with what i have by taking a fresh look at things. I'm quite pleased with the finished result even if it doesn't look all that conventional!

My dresser/ computer table no longer doubles as clothes storage, giving me a better table on which to work. I basically turned the top two drawers upside down to give myself a keyboard rest, took off the mirror stand so the computer could sit properly on top and disposed of the bottom draw to give myself a storage shelf.....

My 'Happy Thoughts' skull (a beloved gift) takes it's rightful place by my side.

With the new layout i'm optimistic that my time spent here at the computer will be a great deal more productive and satisfying.

I also got round to hanging some paintings that needed wall space.

I still have a lot more sorting and organising to do before i feel i've made that a completely fresh start but each task done is a task less to do and a step closer to the goal.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Decision made...

I decided to keep the charcoal canvas as just that. Here's the finished result which i'm now a lot happier with.

Thank you for your positive comments on the previous post :-)

Monday, 17 January 2011

Rear View

It's been a long time since I picked up charcoal as a medium but I had a sudden urge to get those joyful sticks out today. Ok it was to help me work through some issues if truth be told.

I've also harboured a long held desire to draw life models but, fearing my drawing would not be up to scratch, never dared venture down that path.

As 2011 is a new year I decided my enthusiasm for charcoal should be used for something challenging so with a photo in hand for reference I gave it a go and conquered my fear............ It's not perfect but I am proud of my first attempt.

The photographs are at different exposures to see how dark i want to go with the shadow detail (i'm somewhere in the middle at the moment). I also need to decide if I want to keep this as a charcoal or bring oil paints into play........ decisions, decisions

Did you conquer any fears today?

Saturday, 15 January 2011


It all started with my first 'proper' pay check. You know the one, when you've finally got yourself a grown up job. When you can start talking about your 'career'.

With pay check in hand i decided to indulge a passion for fashion and style with my first purchase over and about £60.

Here's what I bought

Silk Boots....... ah, they still make me smile even though i haven't worn them for years.

I'm not a shoe addict as such, more an 'occasion shoe' addict.

You see for everyday I tend to wear sensible boots, pumps or sandals depending on the weather and the distance that needs to be covered. All pretty or stylish in their own right but not in the same sphere as 'Occasion Shoes'. A different thing altogether.

Occasion Shoes are the shoes saved for the event, the function, the holiday. The shoe bought with a destination rather than a function in mind.

These are the shoes that rarely come out of their box once they've made their debut but they are the ones that will stay in the closet, passed down to future generations. Hopefully those generations will have their own stories to imprint upon the soles and the shoes will keep on dancing to the tune of a new beat. Maybe this is where Jazz shoes come from. Soles mixing up individual beats as stories cross and intertwine?

These are some of my favourites and they all have a story....

I wonder if you can guess which ones were bought for a wedding?

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Stunning work

This artist is simply amazing. Please take the time to check out his work

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

When the walls close in

When the walls close in you forget
You forget the world outside is turning
You forget the sun rises in the sky to warm the day
And the birdsong, you forget the birdsong.