Trying On 500 Dresses...

23 April 2014

Never Underdressed SS14 dress edit photoshoot

I love a good dress me.  Ever since I discovered the fit and flare shape in approximately 2005, I've been on a constant mission to find as many variations of this style as possible.  Sure I may be distracted by the occasional smock but my eyes really light up when I find a dress that gives me that perfect waist to hips ratio.  During the Summer months I find that I like to take a few more risks, choosing bolder patterns to and even shorter hems to complement the warm weather.  Last year when I  wrote about my experience of the Never Underdressed coats edit, I had an overwhelming response and wondered how I could recreate the magic in a similar post.  I thought about trying to call in hundreds of items myself and stage a photoshoot in my living room but luckily the team got in touch about a Summer version, whittling down 2000 dresses to a more manageable amount.  The feature and video are now live and it's great to relive such a fun day.  As a frequent online shopper, it's very rare that I go shopping with other people and you do miss the camaraderie of the fitting rooms and having someone else tell you 'That looks amazing!'  It's just as well that we couldn't purchase anything otherwise you'd be looking at a rather broke blogger.

Loft Studios Willesden Junction
what makes a good Summer dress
Kurt Geiger Buttercup black mid heels
how to pick the best dresses
why you should have a social media cheat sheet
belts to go with dresses
fashion blogger photoshoot
getting hair and make up done
my favourite dresses for SS14
the best summer dresses for 2014
finding the perfect dress
Never Underdressed SS14 dress edit

So what did I learn?  I'm pretty much drawn like a moth to a flame to any sort of skater dress but sometimes the alternative can work nicely.  I actually tried on some dresses outside my comfort zone, they were fitted and smart (like this J.crew number) and the universe didn't implode.  My Mum thinks that if I dress like this, I'll bag myself a husband but unfortunately she's not shelling out for the Carven dress to secure a son-in-law just yet.  Sometimes by trying on a bit of everything, some interesting alternatives can pop up and I discovered that double-layered dresses can actually be rather flattering.  The McQ one I'm wearing in the gif was my ultimate find of the day but unfortunately I can't find it online anywhere.  Perhaps this is a sign not to sell a relative on eBay to raise funds for such a thing.  I also tried a few unexpected brands such as Banana Republic and L.K Bennett not expecting to like them but feeling pleasantly surprised.  We had to be quite democratic and try to put ourselves in the place of a lawyer needing something smart yet interesting for work or a thirtysomething going to a wedding not wanting to upstage the bride.  It made me think a lot about my style, I never really tend to dress up instead sticking to the same smart/casual level whether I'm working, partying or just sorting my life out.  I resent having to buy something I'll only wear once for a wedding but if I had  to, it'd probably be an organza Whistles number in a speckled print or the vibrant House of Holland dress.  Even when I'm forced to stick to certain parameters I like to have a bit of fun and I can't see this changing anytime soon.  I've also realised why I avoid the traditional heels that you can see in the collage, I could only hobble in them across the room!

Check out the feature and the final edit here, plus see below for some of my faves.  Who wants to contribute to my Summer dress fund?

Muswell Hill

20 April 2014

April outfit ideas

There are lots of places in London I don't go to unless someone I know lives there.  I've got a good reason for this, anywhere other than the central bits takes over an hour and implies that you might as well have really gone for it and travelled to, say, Leeds.  Despite the journey, it was worth it to see Lucy's new digs and help shoot her cheeseburger cupcake recipe.  As per usual my brain tries to compare areas of London that just seem unfathomable, there's a villagey vibe that's a bit Dulwich, a row of small vintage shops that's a little Crystal Palace and a posher version of Nandos (meet Chooks) that's very Kentish Town.  Perfect.  You may not get your Dalston crowd here but it's nice to find somewhere where you can play at being a proper grown-up, buying flowers from Second Nature and picking up bits for dinner from Planet Organic.  Let's forget the reality of unattainable house prices and non-existent pensions, shall we?

ASOS lightweight drape mac trench coat
visiting Muswell Hill London
natural everyday make up
visiting Muswell Hill London
Asos metallic cracked leather skirt
trans seasonal dressing
Vagabond Kasai minimal black trainers

So I have another transitional outfit for you courtesy of the British weather.  My bare legs threshold is a lot better these days, so I tend to whip them out whenever it's not chucking it down.  This trench coat makes things a lot more bearable, it's not the heaviest and does feel a bit pointless when it cools down late at night, but I do love its swishy capabilities.  I feel like something out of The Matrix when I wear it.  I'm trying to make the most of things like leather skirts and jazzy jumpers because no doubt when the promised heatwave comes, anything other than a towel is going to seem uncomfortable.  I've also given the chunky heels a rest with these new Vagabond kicks.  There's more to them than meets the eye and I love the subtle woven texture in contrast with the crisp white sole. 

visiting Muswell Hill London
flowers in Muswell Hill
visiting Muswell Hill London

Are there any areas of London you don't usually visit?  I definitely want to go to Richmond soon!


Shops I Want To Live In: House Of Hackney

18 April 2014

cool interiors shop Shoreditch Store

Every time I go to Shoreditch, there's always something new.  It's as if places seem to manifest every time I visit (there's even a Miffy shop) and don't even get me started on Boxpark.  I just can't keep up.  House of Hackney has been around for a while and although I'd never been inside until a few weeks ago, I couldn't resist the odd cheeky Instagram of the deckchairs outside before heading off on my way.  You've probably seen a few of the printed dresses popping up on ASOS and Urban Outfitters but what HOH provides is a bit more of a lifestyle brand.  Think Anthopologie on a smaller, more East London scale.  As soon as you enter you'll find cacti and crockery plus useful things like notebooks and mugs.  Perfect present fodder.  This really is unique brand which started out making non-conformist interiors and branched out into clothing when Opening Ceremony saw potential and got in touch.  Now there's various dresses, tops, skirts and sweatshirts that come in all of the print stories, so you won't be short of ways to express yourself.  I think this is the most exciting apron I have ever seen.

House of Hackney Shoreditch Store
House of Hackney Shoreditch Store
House of Hackney Shoreditch Store
House of Hackney Shoreditch Store
House of Hackney Shoreditch Store
House of Hackney Shoreditch Store
House of Hackney Shoreditch Store
House of Hackney wallpaper print inspiration
House of Hackney Shoreditch Store
House of Hackney Shoreditch Store

Forget matching sets, you can have a perfectly coordinated life from cushions to your swimming cossie, nothing has been left out (within reason).  You can even buy the fabric if you fancy getting your DIY on instead and I'm hoping there's another sample sale soon as Kit told me about some of the rolls of fabric she'd picked up.  Since I'm in a homeware state of mind this week, I've got my eye on the trays, cushions and stationery to make a bit of a statement.  Even if you can't quite stump up all of the cash for a full-on print explosion that's presented here, this is the kind of brand which is perfect for mixing and matching and adding a touch of Arts & Crafts to a room.  I have a feeling I'll be starting a collection gradually, but it'll definitely be worth the wait.

shopping in Shoreditch
House of Hackney, 131 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JE

Some of my favourite pieces: