Home on the Range

(Dungarees: Topshop; Shirt: Zara; Shoes: M&S; Bag: Baia; Watch: Michael Kors)

There's no denying that this season's denim-heavy, '70s-drenched love of comfy items like these dungarees is a fine fashion line to tread. Play it one way and you end up with your boyfriend asking you 'why are you dressed like a character from Of Mice and Men'? I was wearing my orange and turquoise leopard-print shirt with these at the time but the effect was similar. So you have to accessorise these just right. Be it with a white t-shirt and Converse or slightly more night-out-appropriate with a crop top and heels (or with a loose print shirt and suitably dressy heels), I'm now a full dungarees convert. Comfortable and with style credentials? Sign me up (for another pair, in darker denim, perfect for next season).  I'd been looking for the right pair for a while - right length, right wash - and then one afternoon this pair literally strolled into my life...as they were being worn by someone else! Never shy of asking total strangers questions (which is how I found my brown Zara two-piece), I eagerly asked her where she got it, and thankfully she obliged and confirmed that it was new season! Happy days. 

Plus with the ponyskin shoes and bag and the unicorns on my shirt I feel I've got the whole 'ranch hand does fashion' thing down. 


One Less Problem

(Waistcoat, top and sandals: ASOS; Trousers: Zara; Belt: old; Watch: Michael Kors; Bag: Sophie Hulme)

I did mention that this waistcoat was a lifesaver for crisis-of-confidence-inducing trousers! I tried and failed to find a pair of these in a bigger size in the Zara sale but all but said size (the L) have been snapped up in every store I've tried! Seems like it's not just me who finds them less than fit for modern life (of sitting and moving around). But never mind, lesson learned. And they do help pull this browns and blacks look together so well. 

Speaking of tricky to wear, these ASOS sandals have transformed in just one wear after a little breaking in and some strategically placed plasters on the heel straps! My fix-all solution for uncomfortable shoes goes like this: plasters over the fabric joints that rub; silicon-based gel on your feet before you wear them (the balls in the gel help keep the fabric moving and protect the skin); a roll of Micropore (or microporous) surgical tape in your bag. Problem (almost always) solved! 


Changing Room Fight

(Waistcoat: ASOS; Shirt: Primark; Trousers: Cos; Bag: Baia; Sandals: New Look; Watch: Michael Kors; Necklace and sunglasses: Old)

I'm not quite sure what's going on here - kind of feel like a librarian from the '70s and a working woman from the '80s had a fight in a changing room - but I'm on with it. These long waistcoats are a godsend for any trousers that you love and want to wear but are a little self-conscious in, as I'll show next time...


High School Summer

(Dress and bag: ASOS; Shirt: Zara; Shoes: Topshop; Watch: Michael Kors; Necklace and ring: Thomas Sabo)

I think I've finally reached peak art teacher with the ruffled sleeves and the what can only be described as 'old lady shoes', which are relatively comfortable by my standards - every pair of shoes I buy and try to wear without socks/tights find some new and innovative way to tear into my feet. These rub a neat little spot on the outside of my heel. But it was another nice warm day and I wanted to wear something to capture the light easy summer mood. So on went this trusty dress! 

I've got some actual dungarees to supplement it with to give it a little break - watch this space!


Land Girl

(Jumpsuit and backpack: ASOS; Shirt: Primark; Shoes: Office; Jacket: Boohoo; Watch: Michael Kors)

How many of us have seen an item on a blogger we follow, loved it, bought and realised that, actually, it looked better on that blogger? I present this jumpsuit. Now, 'better' is a relative term hingeing on the fact that said blogger is incredibly petite, whereas on me this baby clings somewhat. Ok, a lot. It makes bits look rounder and with flats it can make legs look shorter. 

But I still love it. Especially with this shirt - it's got a kind of land girl vibe going on mixed in with the '70s one, and despite the extra time required in bathrooms to wiggle in and out of it, it's worth the extra effort. You somehow feel so much more sleek, composed and put together, without the worry of an escaping shirt tuck-in, a hemline sneaking up or a waistband misbehaving in the way waistbands are wont to do. 


Sun Bleached

(Waistcoat: ASOS; Top and culottes: Topshop; Brogues: Rogues; Bag: Prada; Watch: Michael Kors)

In summer, washed out versions of neutral basic colours are pretty much a dead cert (though they don't make for the most eye-catching of photographs I grant you). Note also the washed out blues in bag and shoe and very muted makeup. Makes everything feel like it's been baked in the sun somewhere more glamorous than North London. 


Red Stripe

(Suit: Zara; Top: H&M; Sandals: Mango; Bag: ASOS; Watch: Michael Kors)

I've realised I've gone a whole week of wearing sandals! My little toes are wriggling happily (when they're not being torn to pieces by ill-placed straps - why are high street shoes so unforgiving to the feet of non-foot-model women) at their taste of sunshine. Well, sort of.

I threw this on to head into town on Saturday to get my hair cut before coming right back home again (it wasn't the plan) and crashing out with Orange Is The New Black. And a sewing kit - I got ONE wear out of these Zara trousers before having to re-turn them up on one leg. Grrrrrrr. 

Again, a slightly better sandal lace height. Again, the bastard things still fell down. Sigh. 


I Mean Business

(Duster waistcoat, trousers and bag: ASOS; Shoes: Topshop; Watch: Michael Kors)

Why yes, I DID get this long drapey waistcoat out of its package the morning I wore it, how DID you guess? Oops. 

But when a hot muggy day hit and I needed to look subtly kick-ass for a conference, it had to be longline, drapey and an uber-flattering brown colour palette. Combined with power hair and a heck of a strut, it was time to rule the room. 


Accidental Festival Chic

(Jacket: Boohoo; Dress: Miss Selfridge; Bag: ASOS; Sandals: Mango, Watch: Michael Kors)

Worked out the theme for this week's looks yet? Yep, there's been a lot of denim going on, but I also made a note of 'suede'. So when another of my ASOS items (spotted on the ever-exceptional Danielle's blog) poked its head out of the box and reminded me that backpacks are good for parties, especially parties with karaoke and dancing where you need to keep your hands free for holding microphones and air-punching, I agreed it was a good idea and went double-whammy on the golden-brown fringed suede look. 

And yes there are photos. And yes I slightly regret wearing a short dress and singing/dancing to The Contours 'Do You Love Me' on a raised stage. And no, you can't see the photos. 


Stripes and Sandals

(Top: Petit Bateau; Dress: ASOS; Sandals: Mango; Bag: Sophie Hulme)

This is me casting my skeptical eye over the print ads that show lithe Amazionan models bounding around in lace-up gladiator sandals that seem to magically stay up. Let me tell you, I took two steps down the street and the laces on these headed resolutely south. Despite me tying them again, so tightly above my (ahem) very prominent calves that I have grooves in my skin, they STILL slid down. Stylists, bloggers who know and even any Roman gladiators out there - short of stapling them t my skin, how do I get these to stay up? 

But at 20 quid a pop I can't complain too much - my substitute for the heeled Aldo ones I had dreamed about that helpfully have a strip of leather up the back to hold up the laces. Zara seem to have some that are similar. In the meantime...maybe Sellotape. 


When You See It

(Coat in next image and shirt: Zara; Jeans and sandals: ASOS; Belt: Topman; Watch: Michael Kors; Bag: Prada)

Nothing to say here other than I am one spoiled.... with a super fella. 

Also, let's see how long I can go before this pristine white ruffled-sleeved shirt ends up yellowing and tired like every other overwashed but much-adored white shirt I own...


Art School

(Dress: ASOS; Shirt: Zara; Shoes: Topshop; Sunglasses: old; Bag: Sophie Hulme; Watch: Michael Kors)

Ever since I saw Pandora Sykes in this dress I wanted it, but the bastard thing KEPT going out of stock (obviously). And then the stars aligned and it (along with a few other choice goodies) headed my way. It's easily the most comfortable thing I've worn in ages - loose and casual, long enough not to worry about your modesty but short enough to keep you cool and versatile as you like, with HUGE pockets. Naturally my mermaids wanted to get in on the action so the first of many outfits starring this dress looked like this. A bit hippy art teacher, a bit 70s chic. A bit brilliant. 



(Dress: Hell Bunny, from a boutique in Amsterdam; Shoes: Office; Bag and sunglasses: & Other Stories; Jacket: Zara; Watch: Michael Kors)

Well there's something we don't see every day - me, smiling, in a dress! Or more specifically me, smiling, in a summery uber-feminine retro-style dress. I spotted it outside a shop in Amsterdam and was drawn like a moth to a flame when I saw the print. I love poppies and have been looking for the perfect poppy print, subconsciously, for ages. So this one just called to me. Who knows, maybe I'll even get a petticoat to go underneath it and give me that proper Grease-style pouffy skirt?

When I left the house in the morning it was still a little too cool to go jacket-less, so thankfully my Zara red number matched perfectly. But by the time I got back the sun was out and the proper summery sun-drenched photos could commence!


Caramel and Russet

(Top and trousers: Zara, long-sleeved top: Dorothy Perkins; Jacket: Boohoo; Bag: Sophie Hulme; Shoes: M&S; Watch: Michael Kors)

Don't say I do anything by halves. 'Camel' is apparently the shade of this season and next so I'm getting in early with this caramel-russet suit that I genuinely found by stopping a girl in the street to ask where hers was from. I raced to Zara to track down the set in my size - high-waisted trousers are a) my best friend and b) the only type I can really wear from Zara (and from most high street stores) so home with me they came!

A word to the wise about this two-piece/suit/whatever it's called - the trousers are for standing in only. Well, not strictly true, but yet again when you have a long torso things that look fine when you're stationary misbehave something awful when you move. There's riding up going on, believe me, and as you can see they are not very forgiving. There's a two-size variation between the top and the bottom! But the colour is lovely and the cut is good for me. I'm just hoping they stretch a little more or, more realistically, once I've taken the plunge I'll feel more comfortable on the next outing. Maybe with more relaxed accessories and hair I'll feel better walking about...we'll see the next time!


The Lilac Time

(Jacket and shirt: Primark; Waistcoat: Topshop; Trousers: ASOS; Shoes: New Look; Bag: Michael Kors)

Thanks to special guest star the wind for helping with the cool 'action shot' effects! The rare occasion where the weather actually helps rather than hinders a rapid outfit shoot. I generally have about a five minute window max between 'time to leave' and 'you're going to be late' to get my outfit shots on the balcony outside my room, hence why they're not particularly imaginative. I've figured out a pose, I'll stick with it! 

This is a remixed version of a look with the pink version of this Primark jacket from the end of last month. A muted day weather-wise called for a moodier colour palette and lilac fitted that perfect. The colour of this jacket is tricky - stuck somewhere between blue and purple it often passes for both - so adding some true purple to the mix helped drag it in one direction. 


Miss Strange

(Coat: Zara; Suit: Oasis; Shirt: Zara; Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs; Shoes: New Look: Watch: Michael Kors)

From a happy face to looking like one moody muthafucka - the weather took a turn for the worse and it was a Tuesday when I took these I believe. Everyone has a day of the working week where things just don't sit right with them and for me that day is Tuesday. You've run out of the energy the weekend gave you pretty fast, it's a long way to go until Friday and to top it all off it was raining. Hence the moody pout enhanced by the severe hair, combined with a wild combination of prints thrown together in attempts to counteract the depressing effects of the grey skies. Back to looking like the office oddball. 

It was also dramatic and windy which, as my coat flapped around me, increased the gothic feel of the day. There's a wealth of excellent moody gothic drama to be found on TV at the moment - the return of Penny Dreadful and the weird and wonderful Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (on the BBC, hence the post title) providing a nice darker counterbalance to the warmer weather. What with Hannibal starting this month on Sky we're in for dark times indeed...


Coz I'm Happy

(Shirt: Zara; Jumpsuit: Whistles; Belt: old; Shoes: Office; Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs; Watch: Michael Kors)

This is about as close as you'll get to me looking HAPPY in a blog post! I'm indebted to the ever-stylish Pandora Sykes (no I don't know her; there's no way to thank someone that you don't know personally) for inspiring this one (and one I've got coming up). Sweet, feminine but tomboyish (in a strangely Parisian way) - an unusual combination for me. I knew I'd gone off my usual crib-sheet when my colleagues (who normally acknowledge my outfits and hairstyles with a shake of the head that says 'only you') told me I looked nice in a way that suggests it's something they themselves would wear. And it was nice to wear something easy for a change. 

Also, reaffirming a pro tip that these photos keep reminding me: all the expensive hair products in the world don't hold a candle to dry shampoo when it comes to volume. Herbal Essences own brand is the way forward, people. 


Green Place

(Coat: Zara; Top: Petit Bateau; Trousers: ASOS; Trainers: Nike; Watch: Michael Kors; Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs)

I can never leave the house without at least some sense of coordination going on - green coat and trousers, red white and blue in shoes and top. It just makes me feel a little more put together. 

One of the things that is crucial to me when putting an outfit like this together (not particularly smart but not particularly casual) is some element of being able to do things in it - dash off at a moment's notice, survive in any scenario. I'm often happiest when I've got comfy sturdy shoes on, a good jacket to keep out the wind and the rest just falls into place. Clothes for going on adventures, which for me are only about as adventurous as a long walk in the woods somewhere. While I wouldn't go as far as to cry 'FOMO' and while I'm perfectly content with my routine and my life, sometimes I do just want to drop it all, take a train to the furthest reach of civilisation and disappear, Christopher McCandless-style, into the wild. Though with a different ending to his, mind you. 


The Red Woman

(Jacket, trousers and shirt: Zara; Shoes: New Look; Bag: Sophie Hulme; Watch: Michael Kors)


Lazy Days

Coat: Zara; Shirt: Dorothy Perkins; Trousers: ASOS; Shoes: Office; Bag: Prada; Watch: Michael Kors)


Air Hostess

(Jacket: Zara; Shirt: Primark; Skirt: Topshop; Shoes: Office; Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs; Watch: Michael Kors)


The Green Coat

(Coat: Zara; Jumper: ASOS; Jeans: Topshop; Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs; Shoes: New Look; Watch: Michael Kors; Necklace and ring: Thomas Sabo)


Mad Men

(Jacket: Shrimps; Dress and shirt: Topshop; Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs; Shoes: New Look; Belt: old)


How to Get Dressed

One question I get time and time again from people who want to know about the international incident that is my wardrobe? 'How do you decide what to wear each day??' For those of us who aren't bound to a certain dress code (shirt, suit, shoes, done, or even hospital scrubs) it can often be a little problematic to select what we want to put on our back each day, especially when there are better things we can be doing each morning (lying in, for example). 

So, how can you do it? Read on for a few tips (and a few pics)...