Friday, 30 March 2012
Yesterday I popped down to the Diesel A/W press day. Diesel isn't really a brand I wear: their jeans were 'all the rage' ten years ago, and my husband still has a pair knocking around at the back of the wardrobe, but nowadays nobody I know really wears Diesel (A contender for the overlooked store tour perhaps?) So I entered the press day with an open mind, hoping to be surprised. Here's what I found:
Simple, utilitarian clothes with plenty of black, grey, and neutral fabrics. The quality and workmanship is obviously of a high standard. But not necessarily to my taste.
There were two leather jackets I loved. But the rest of the outfits seemed a little bland and unsubstantial. I'm not a fan of shearling, the washes on the denim made me think of chubby builders, and there seemed to be an abundance of unironed (slightly grubby looking!) white shirts. Maybe it's a sign of my age, or maybe I'm just not 'cool' any more, but I prefer a look that's a bit more 'done' than this.
What do you think about Diesel? Is it a brand you wear or a shop you go into? If you love it, why? I'd really like to be convinced!
Love Tor xx
Thursday, 29 March 2012
Earlier in the month I was invited to a private dinner hosted by TKMaxx for a sneak peek of their latest charity campaign: Give up Clothes for Good! The campaign is being run in conjunction with Cancer Research UK, and will support and help fund research on kids cancers.
The basic premise of the campaign is pretty simple. You take a bag of clothes to your local TKMaxx store next time you pop in for a shop of bargain hunting. They give the bag to Cancer Research UK, who sell it in their charity shop. Each donated bag could raise up to £30 towards vital cancer research. Easy peasy!
Check out the video below to see what I (and all the other bloggers at the dinner) donated to the campaign, and our key picks from TKMaxx's new Spring/Summer collections:
It really is a great cause, so why not combine having a good old Spring clean of your wardrobe (something I recommend every year!) with filling a bag of clothes to take to your local TKMaxx for donation, and supporting their campaign?
Because, let's face it, it feels good to do something good! And any excuse to pop to TKMaxx to 'replace' all that stuff you just gave away, right?!
Love Tor xx
It's a question I often ask myself: is it better to match your accessories or clash them?! Personally I'm a big fan of matching (I rarely leave the house if the colour of my shoes doesn't match the colour of my bag) but I also appreciate that a little clashing (especially in the summer) is probably much much cooler!
I love my new tan saddle bag (thank you very much, TKMaxx!) so I knew I had to get the perfect pair of summer shoes to match it. Enter these amazing peep toe T-bar sandals from Bertie (c/o Sarenza) They have a sturdy platform at the front which balances out the height of the heel, meaning you can wear them all day with no discomfort: tried and tested! I was delighted by how exact the colour-match was too. It's very rare when the colour on the screen is the same as what arrives on your doorstep!
This is my third pair of Valensi pumps from Sarenza (I also have a gold pair and a black pair) and I plan on adding a couple of other, brighter and more summery shades, to my collection. They are the most comfortable pumps I have ever owned: they have a supportive back and sit slightly higher up the foot than normal pumps leaving you feeling snug and supported. It would be a little twee to then add a powder pink handbag though, so this is where I turn to the clash-side! So instead I went for a turquoise studded clutch. Just add jeans and a white tee and I'm ready to go!
Do you tend to match your accessories? Or do you mix and match colours? I'd love to hear your shoe and handbag co-ordination thoughts!
Love Tor xx
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
When I was 15 I had a long Afghan coat in burgandy and gold which had a gold fur trim all the way around it. I loved that coat more than I've ever loved anything: It made me feel retro and glamorous. It was the most expensive, most luxurious thing I had ever owned. And it was from Miss Sixty. Which is why I have chosen them to be the next stop on the Overlooked Store Tour!
Miss Sixty isn't a brand I have thought about in years. Until I wandered past the Carnaby Street store earlier this week, I didn't even know they still had stand-alone stores (They do. All over the country: find your local one now!)
But a little research has given me a newfound love and respect for that favourite brand of my youth. Yes, you can still buy an overpriced cotton tee with a Miss Sixty logo on it. And all that denim of course! But you can also, and more interestingly, find a great selection of retro-inspired yet modern and wearable frocks and separates. And a range of handbags I'm already itching to get my paws on!
The brand seems to be having a love affair with lace at the moment, and there is a great flippy lace skirt that would flatter almost everyone. And as for the lace and denim dress in the first picture? At £140 I think it's a summer no-brainer: add this to your wardrobe, and always have something to wear!
The overall feel is laid back, not trying too hard, but still timelessly mega-cool! I want to be a Miss Sixty girl!
Do you/would you shop in Miss Sixty? And what store or brand reminds you of your long-lost youth?!
Love Tor x
Saturday, 24 March 2012
Sometimes when you find yourself in a fashion rut (and have more days when you hate everything in your wardrobe than when you can find something to wear) it's time to go back to basics: do you know your body shape? And are you dressing it in the best way?
Pepperberry sent me these great dress up dolls to illustrate the three most common 'curvy' body shapes, and how to dress them. Regardless of whether you gain or lose weight, your basic body shape always stays the same (just bigger or smaller!) Here's how to work out what basic curvy shape you are:
If your shoulders are equal to or wider than your hips, and you have little waist definition, then your body shape is straight. When you gain weight it usually lands straight on your tummy, but your slim hips and legs are your best features.
Is this your body shape? Then wear fitted dresses with an empire line to emphasise your narrowest part (just under your bust) and elongate your body.
If your hips are in line with your shoulders and you have a well defined waist line then you have a balanced figure. When you gain weight it distributes evenly across your whole body and your curves are you best feature!
Is this your body shape? Then you're lucky, because you can wear most skirt shapes! But why not try a fitted pencil skirt to show off your curves?
If your hips are wider than your shoulders and you have a narrow waist but full hips and thighs then you are shaped. When you gain weight it will show on your hips, bum, and tum, but your slim waist and upper body are your best features.
Is this your body shape? Then make like a fifties film star in a line and prom shaped frocks!!
What body shape are you? And is it something you think about/take into consideration when you hit the shops?
Love Tor xx
Thursday, 22 March 2012
There is comfort to be found in familiar clothes. I have several outfits I know I can just throw on and will look and feel great, regardless of how many times I've worn them before. These outfits usually aren't trendy or particularly fashion-forward. But they look good, feel incredibly comfortable, and most importantly, don't take too much thinking about in the morning!
Nothing I'm wearing today hasn't been featured on the blog (at least twice!) before:
The blouse is from Primark (the cost per wear on this must be down to about 20p by now!) The jacket and leather panel leggings are both from Topshop. The bag is from TKMaxx, and the shoes are from New Look. Jewellery-wise I am wearing all of the usual suspects: my tooth neclace (which I've now had for more than 8 years!) my Marc Jacobs watch, and two See by Chloe bangles.
My brogues have actually seen better days and definitely need replacing: I'm thinking about getting these Mellow Yellow ones from Sarenza instead. But even when they're old, dirty and smelly, it's hard to replace shoes as comfy as these!
Do you have a 'comfort' outfit you couldn't live without?
Love Tor xx
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
It must be cotton bag season, because this is my second post about a gorgeous new range of cotton bags this week! This time they're bags from One Mango Tree who give African women economic empowerment, whilst creating gorgeous enviromentally friendly fair trade bags everyone is going to want to own at the same time.
All of the individual (female) artisans who made the bags receive recognition for their work. Each bag comes with a tag that tells you the name of the woman that made your bag. You're then able to visit the One Mango Tree website and see pictures of that woman and her family, and read her story.
My tag led me to Aber Grace, a mum of seven who is the sole supporter of her family. She lived in Bobi IDP camp for displaced persons for five years, but was able to leave in 2008 and move to Gulu after receiving tailor training from One Mango Tree. She started working full-time at the One Mango Tree workshop in July 2009. Although she has little time in between childcare and sewing beautiful accessories for One Mango Tree, Aber Grace likes to grow vegetables and dreams of owning her own land so that she can have a large garden.
TKMaxx have joined forces with One Mango Tree, and you can now buy your very own bag (and support a woman whose story you can't help but feel emotionally tied to) in 28 stores nationwide. The bags are £7.99. TKMaxx are also stocking a selection of purses (for £3.99) and aprons (for £5.99) also all made by the One Mango Tree women.
What better way to get involved in this season's red-hot tribal trend, and do something for the greater good at the same time!
Love Tor xx
Monday, 19 March 2012
It's a sad, sad day. If fact, if I could be bothered, I would put a black border around the blog and declare a national day of discount-shopping mourning. For I am the bearer of bad news: The current Buy One Get One Free offer on all of the (already sale priced) items in the Topshop outlet store ends on the 31st March.
I don't know at this point what it will be replaced with: whether it will be a full price Topshop store, or disappear completely. Nor do I know what I'll do with my Saturday afternoon's when it's gone: I'll let you know the answers to all of these questions as soon as I do!
In the meantime, that leaves you with less than two weeks to head down there and check out the goodies: maybe even pick up some last-minute bargains!
In homage, why not check out some of my favourite Topshop outlet posts, including: The day I found leather brogues for £5 and Some seriously gorgeous new season knitwear
Love Tor x
*The Topshop Outlet is in the Broadwalk Centre in Edgware. If you are living nearby it's definitely worth checking out. However if you live further afield, it might not be worth a specific visit, as it is a very small store, and I can't guarentee the quality of stock.
Friday, 16 March 2012
My filofax and Lanvin pen, Vivienne Westwood wallet, iphone, oyster card (in its Cath Kidston oyster card holder), sunglasses, leather gloves, lipstick, Chanel pressed powder, nail file, housekeys, a stack of business cards, and a packet of polos.
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
I was sent the press release for these fun and very tongue-in-cheek tote bags a little while ago, and it got buried in my email. But I'm so glad I just rediscovered it to share with you guys!
These eco friendly bags are made by Parisian brand Maude & Tilda. They're made of 100% unbleached and undyed heavy natural cotton canvas, printed by hand and using only environmentally friendly dyes. And they are a must-have for any fashion concious gal on a budget: At $45 (USA) they aren't cotton tote bag cheap. But for their cool factor alone, they're worth every penny! I've just ordered the Chanel one, and cannot wait for it to arrive. With this folded into my handbag I have guarenteed style status and I won't ever need to use a carrier bag again: it's a win-win situation!
Love Tor x
Today's stop on the whirlwind trip of our overlooked store tour is Phase Eight. Now I am prepared to concede that this isn't exactly an overlooked store: my mum shops there frequently and even wore one of their dress/jacket suits to my wedding. But this is an 'overlooked' store for your average mid-twenty something. Or at least, and overlooked store my me, because I never pop in and check it out. And I'm making a grave mistake!
Phase Eight has a great selection of slick and stylish separates that would be perfect for work wear. And I've spotted at least half a dozen wearable, amazing quality dresses on their website that I would love to add to my wardrobe! I think their strength definitely lies in occasion wear, such as outfits for weddings and more formal parties. But I was wrong to assume that this was only the case for an older clientele.
Floral blouse, £59. Palazzo trousers, £59.
Lace cotton shift dress, £99.
Geisha fan dress, £110. Clutch bag, £60.
I don't like the strapless dresses you find in Coast for weddings and events: anything that requires a strapless bra just doesn't work for me. Shiny satin is not the friend of anyone over 20 and under 50 unless you're being ironic. And, in my opinion at least, a friends wedding really isn't the place for a frock so short that barely covers your modesty.
So bearing all that in mind, I have officially changed my mind about Phase Eight. It's perfect for stylish women of any age: and I include myself in that category!
Would you/do you shop in Phase Eight? And what have been your experiences? I'd love to hear all about it!
Love Tor xx
PS - Don't forget to enter my competition to win a piece of handmade jewellery.
Monday, 12 March 2012
This season's trends trickled down from the catwalk to the high street in record time. We've already seen Miu Miu's bird print replicated at New Look and Victoria Beckham's cat print was spotted at the Asda press day last week. But the range of animal prints available is only getting bigger and more diverse. As demonstrated by my newest purchases from Matalan!
Rabbit print top - £18. Dog print blouse - £7.50 (reduced from £15).
I picked up these two blouses from the Norwich store yesterday. They're just perfect for this time of year: add a blazer and skinny jeans and your ready to go! But as the weather warms up they'd look equally good teamed with leggings or city shorts and sandals: oversized handbag hanging off your arm!
As I type this I am wearing a leopard print blouse with a snake pint blazer. So I think it's fair to say that this season's trend for all things animal is one I will be following firmly this spring/summer! What about you? What new season trend are you most looking forward to wearing?
Love Tor xx
PS - Don't forget to enter my giveaway! You could win a gorgeous piece of handmade jewellery from Vintage Willow!
Sunday, 11 March 2012
Whenever I need inspiration, or just a feel-good half hour after a long day at work, I turn to Etsy. It's the perfect place to find quirky pieces, vintage charm, and wow at the talent of the people who host shops there, making awe-inspiring handmade loveliness. One such etsy shop is Vintage Willow which specialises in chunky oversized jewellery (my personal favourite kind) made out of tiny seed beads, with dramatic effect:
I asked Vickie, the creator of these gorgeous Vintage Willow pieces, a couple of quickfire questions:
When/why did you start making jewellery?
I started making them in or around the start of 2010. I was still a struggling Law student then in Sheffield, and I thought, maybe it's time to make some cash by doing what I love best, and that is making some good old-fashioned vintage-inspired jewelry.
What inspires you?
My inspiration comes from many places, but mainly my mom and the regular brunch sessions I have with her and my girlfriends. My mom's style is classic with clean lines - nothing too over the top but still enough to make an impact. Brunch sessions are a good time to observe what ladies around me are wearing, and also the look of fancy cakes and deserts and such inspire me too!
Who is your personal style icon?
My personal style icon would definitely be Victoria Beckham and Scarlett Johansson! Wherever they are, be it at the airport, red carpet, or just at brunch, they still manage to maintain an impeccable, casually cool yet classy look!
Without a doubt Diane von Furstenberg! The clean lines of her dresses especially, makes every woman feel like a queen! Her outfits are tailored so well for a woman, especially with curves, and can bring us easily from the office to dinner and drinks to weekend brunch! And of course, even her printed garments are of the most unique colours and prints!
Which celeb would you most like to see wearing your pieces and why?
Dita Von Teese and Scarlett Johansson! These two ladies to me, are the epitome of a classy lady. They embrace their curves so well, and are always seen dressed to the nines and looking so presentable, even if it's just out to town for a short while. I would love to think classic vintage-inspired jewelry designs like mine would go well with their figure-flattering shift dresses and such!
Would you like to WIN a piece of Vintage Willow jewellery? Well then you're in luck, because you can! Just follow the blog (using the follow box to your right) and tell me who your style icon is in the comments! The winner will be chosen at random and announced at 12pm on Friday 30th March!
Love Tor x
ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions
Thursday, 8 March 2012
I always love fashion for good. It makes me feel a little bit better about my out-of-control shopping habit if my purchases occasionally help charity! So this morning I went to the launch of 'Bee Mine', a collection that Burt's Bees have launched with Monsoon.
The special partnership has been formed to help raise awareness of the plight of the honey bee in the UK and the work of the British Beekeepers Association and the Adopt A Beehive project.
The collection is formed of two pieces: a cute bumble bee jumper and the "Bee Mine" playsuit, which has a beehive pattern, and tiny honeybees all over it. Instead of a standard label, each piece has a wild seed flower packet from Habitataid attached to it: the seeds inside have been specifically chosen because they are good for honey bees. And, if you buy either of the two pieces (or both if you're feeling especially spendy!) you get a Burt's Bees honey lip balm added to your order for free at the till.
Cute pieces, free lip balm, and the chance to do something for the greater good? You really can't lose!
Love Tor xx
Last Wednesday afternoon I had just got back to my desk from a trip to the pub (for a lunch of sticky BBQ chicken and chips) and was sitting down to check my emails and enjoy a bar of Galaxy chocolate. As a was scoffing my second square of chocolate, I opened an email that was entitled "Fancy playing Weight Watchers?"
Now I post enough outfit photos for you guys to know that I'm not a skinny girl. But I'm not plus sized either. I've always been fairly comfortable in my own skin, but I've also noticed that since the wedding I've put on a few pounds: settling into married life, and cooking super sized feasts with my husband meant that any weight I lost for the wedding is now firmly back, plus (to be honest) a bit more too!
So I responded to the email (I finished eating my chocolate bar first) and said yes. If losing weight is a game then I want to play! Weightwatchers isn't just a last resort for the morbidly obese (as I has previously, very wrongly, assumed) You can join and play along if you just want to drop a dress size, lose those last couple of pounds, or just get back into healthy eating habits.
I currently wear a size 16 (14 on a good day) and would like to be comfortably back in all of my size 14 clothes again. Not a massive target: I'm not planning to give up food and look like Kate Moss or anything. But definitely a big enough starting challenge for me, and I know dropping those pounds will make all the difference to how I feel when I get dressed in the morning.
So the upshot of all of this is that I'm going to give it a go. Try to shed a few pounds so that I feel healthier and my clothes feel better. Exercise a couple of times a week and leave the biscuit tin alone. And, if you don't mind, I will occasionally be sharing my journey with you guys. Wish me luck!
Love Tor x
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
I don't mean to get all Gok Wan on your asses, but it really is amazing how damn good the fashion offerings from our British supermarkets are. We really do high end and fashion forward trends at affordable prices better than anyone else. I have several pieces from Clothing at Tesco and George at Asda that I have worn season after season without any signs of wear and tear. And with prices generally below £10 for separates and below £15 for a frock, it's a great way of injecting new trends into your wardrobe of staples every season, without it costing a fortune.
This morning I popped down to the George at Asda press day, to see what trends they would be offering us for this Spring/Summer:
I wasn't as impressed with their accessories selection (it's the one part of my outfit I don't like to scrimp on: only real leather shoes and good quality bags for me!) but if you're heading on holiday this summer and need a beach bag or a couple of pairs of disposable flip flops or sandals, it's definitely worth checking out.
Do you shop in your local supermarket? Or do you tend to think they should stick to vegetables, not fashion? Love to hear your thoughts!
Love Tor xx
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
I'm trend obsessed. I don't really have my own deeply ingrained sense of personal style, I see myself as more of a chameleon. I just unashamedly love to follow trends, and make them my own. But I also know what works for my shape and fits into my current wardrobe, and what doesn't. And sadly, currently on top of that 'what doesn't' list is this season's hot obsession with bright and candy coloured jeans and trousers.
If only real life was as happy as a GAP ad!
I bought a pair of red skinny jeans from Topshop, and wore them just twice. I really wanted the trend to work for me, but in reality I just ended up wearing outfits that made my (already bigger than the rest of me) look disproportionately large and, well, bulbously bright red!
If I could rock the trend though, here's how I would be wearing it: in bold block colours teamed with equally attention grabbing masculine blouses and pared down accessories. Feminine, understated, and fashionable. Live the dream:
(All of the model pics are from Primark) Pink skinny jeans with belt, Select, £22. Yellow jeans, Topshop, £38. Green jeans, Oasis, £40.
Of the bloggers I regularly read and love, Jen (A Little Bird Told Me) and Reena (Fashion Daydreams) are the two that rock the coloured jean look in a way I can only dream of. Leaving me in my selection of black jeans (my favourite!) hoping that the darker denim look will be back on trend in no time!
What trends do you love but can't wear? If you really loved a look would you wear it anyway, even if it didn't suit your figure?
Love Tor xx
Monday, 5 March 2012
It's been a little while since I wrote a Fabfrocks at Home post. With the car boot sale season over until April, I haven't been making as many new additions to my vintage treasure trove. But last weekend I went home to visit my parents, and we visited Horncastle, my favourite antiques village, where I picked up some beautiful things:
I picked the old hairdressing mirror up from the Age UK charity shop, for just £1.99. It really needs reframing (the frame is coming to pieces at the back) but I thought it had such great character I was prepared to put a little work into making it lovely. The mantle clock was from one of my favourite antique shops called Great Expectations, and cost £35. I've been looking for the perfect one for ages, but didn't want one with a Victorian-style face. This one is perfect, although its very loud chiming is taking some getting used to!
More exciting than these things though is the most beautiful new acquisition to the fabfrocks household: a gorgeous, vibrant sofa throw (which matches my liberty print paisley fabric and new aubergine rug perfectly) hand crocheted by my mum:
You can only imagine the hours that went into creating this for us: a genuine labour of love. I love the combination of the modern colours and pattern with the old-fashioned technique. The turquoise trim was a complete surprise but it's actually my favourite bit: it really adds drama. It's the perfect match for our modern/vintage home!
Have you made any new home purchases lately? Do you have any favourite shops or antique haunts to share?
Love Tor xx