Today I was lucky enough to be behind the scenes of an Oxfam fashion photo shoot showcasing a number of Christmas Party looks and seen as though it was the perfect example of how you can look good for less, I just had to blog about it. The organiser Jess, was such a lovely person and even though she was swamped coordinating the whole shoot which included selecting the outfits to designing the set, she still made the time to answer any questions that I put to her. She explained to me that she started volunteering in an Oxfam store around 3 years ago and then progressed into working for Remake:Remodel. Remake:Remodel is a side project in the Gateshead Oxfam store that up-cycles all the unsellable boring or ugly clothes, to make ‘fabulous knitted goods, funky accessories, happy handbags and delicious dresses.’ It’s such a fantastic project and Jess obviously has an incredible, creative flair which was certainly brought to the shoot today. The outfit choices that she created, using only items from local Oxfam stores, were stunning and could be worn for all occasions by all ages. Lace lingerie
Through the mist of hairspray and glitter, I had a sneak peek at what was going to be featured and I was so excited to see sequins, faux furs and lots of colour. I was even more excited when I saw the price tags, where else could you buy a Karen Millen dresses in excellent condition for only £12.99! All the items featured in the shoot today were all in impeccable condition which squashes the misconception that if you buy second-hand, then you are going to get second-hand quality as this is certainly not the case. We live in a culture where fashion changes so rapidly that people are giving away items that have hardly been worn.
All of the shoes on the shoot were perfect party shoes but I took a real shine to this pair of £3.99 suede Green Court heels which were originally from Dorothy Perkins. If they had been a size 4, I would have snapped them up immediately. The bright coloured stiletto trend, like every other, came and went quite quickly a few years ago which meant people started donating them to places like Oxfam. This is great news for us now, as this trend is back with a colourful bang. If you want to add the perfect splash of colour to your LBD or want something a little more daring with your sequin bodycon, then these are the shoes for you.
The first look featured a beautifully, simple gold satin bandeau dress with added black suede wedges and pearl necklaces. Team this with an expert model, pink hair, a killer red lip and a tinsel shawl and you’re ready to go. This dress still had the original tag attached, meaning it had never been worn and what was once a dress from Oasis costing £55 was now the same dress in Oxfam for only £14.99.
Model Darcy could have walked straight off a runway in this powder blue chiffon dress with embellished detail. Absolutely stunning. Who needs to know that it only cost £6.99? Then she became a lady in red in this ravishing red backless skater dress.
This purple satin bow detail dress was one of my favourites from today as it is one of those dresses that my wardrobe lacks and with the added leopard print faux fur stole, it adds a bit of fun to the whole look. Next time I’m frantically searching for that sophisticated wedding outfit, I’ll know to visit my local Oxfam first as this dress cost £7.99 and the stole was £2.99.
This pleated wrap over dress was also another one of my favourites. It’s very fun, young and flattering. As the dress was very understated Kimmy Cattin, the make-up artist, went for a dramatic glitter eye which complimented the look perfectly. The dress cost £5.99
We all have different skin colours, different hair colours, different eye colours, we’re all different so it makes sense that a colour that shines on one, drains another. When I first heard about it, I wasn’t convinced or too thrilled about someone telling me what I could or worse still, couldn’t wear. Sensing my apprehension, the advisor asked, ‘Have you ever bought a top that you absolutely loved in store however, once you’re home, it just never feels right and in the end it sits in your wardrobe gathering dust?’ She got me there. I have done this far too many times to mention and not only is it frustrating, it’s also a waste of money. She then proceeded to tell me that this would be because the colour just wasn’t my colour. I’ve got to be honest, I probably don’t follow her advice as much as I should or as much as the rest of my family do but it does make shopping a lot easier. Think of it like the film ‘He’s Just Not That into You’ but more like ‘It’s Just Not Your Colour.’ I’m sure you have all been in the situation where you’ve been shopping non-stop, all day trying to find that ‘perfect’ dress for your upcoming night out. You’ve tried on the entire contents of all of your favourite stores and then, just as you were giving up hope, you catch sight of that ‘perfect’ dress. Hurray! You frantically charge your way through a group of unexpecting girls, leap over any small child that gets in your way and sprint passed the shop assistant while grabbing the fitting room disc with such precision, you could be a serious contender for the English relay team, you drop your clothes to the floor, pull the dress on and….oh! It doesn’t look right. So you stand, twisting and turning, pulling and pushing, anything to make this dress look right. You tell yourself you’re tired, the lighting isn’t right in those darn changing rooms, it’ll look better once it’s on at home and maybe you’re right but what I’ve found in these situations is the perfect dress will never feel perfect if it’s not the right colour. Sometimes I love this, sometimes I hate it but once you know your colours, you’ll have a wardrobe full of clothes that look good and make you feel amazing wearing them.
Lots of Love HFB
I could wear tartan anytime of year, I simply can’t get enough of it. I even have tartan wallpaper in my living room and if it was up to me, I would decorate my whole house in this timeless print, tartan carpets, tartan curtains, a tartan bed spread, a tartan bathroom….you get the idea. However, my boyfriend put his foot down so the only way I’ve been able to embrace my love for tartan is through my wardrobe. Hurray!
There is so many fantastic tartan items on the high street that it is hard to choose which one to buy and how you want to wear your tartan. It is a bold print which means that it can be hard to figure out how to wear it well, without looking like you’re auditioning for a part in Braveheart. Should you just go for it and dress in a full tartan dress? Do you mix and match with a tartan skirt or a top? Or should you be a tartan tease and add just a sprinkling of tartan with a scarf? Whichever way you choose, December is the month to do it. Complete Lingerie Sets
I’ve listed a few photos of the items that I own to show you the ways that I will be wearing the trend this season to hopefully give you some inspiration too. As usual, all of my outfits are from the high street and won’t hurt your bank balance too much so go on, give yourself a tartan treat before Christmas.
What better way to wear this trend than to wear a tartan skirt. I couldn’t help myself when I saw this, I especially love how it is pleated. This one in particular is from Primark costing £8 however, I also spotted another little beauty from Missguided which is very similar.
For anyone daring enough to go fully tartan this season then a tartan dress is the way forward. This smock dress has become my ‘I have nothing to wear’ dress as it is so comfortable and easy to style. Black tights, black pumps and you’re ready to go. This dress is again from Primark and cost around £12. I did buy it a few weeks ago now and with how their quick turnaround, I’m not sure if it is still available but this one from Boohoo is almost identical and is currently in the sale.
This is the skirt that I featured in my recent post My £10 Charity Shop Challenge. Tartan has been around so long now that the charity shops are a great way to find some hidden treasures, I would definitely recommend having a rummage. I have styled mine slightly different today, a little bit more relaxed with the Supermodel Boyfriend T-Shirt from Missguided. I regularly wear logo t-shirts with bold prints like this as I find the mishmash of it really works so if you’re ever struggling with what to wear with tartan then this is the easy option. This skirt cost me £3.49 but if you’re not lucky enough to find a second-hand skirt then ASOS also have one which is very similar.
I’m not usually a fan of printed leggings but I made an exception when I saw these. They are so comfy! I’m a huge fan of oversized T-Shirts, especially on days where I’m feeling lazy and want a slouchy day. I bought these leggings last year from ASOS but they still have an identical pair. If you want something a little more casual, then go for it.
And finally, if you just want to add a splash of colour then go with a scarf or shawl. This will bring any old or dull outfit back to life. Again this scarf is from Primark however, I have found the most beautiful cape from River Island which will keep you warm all Winter.
Have fun shopping and tag me on Instagram with all of the ways that you will be wearing tartan this month!
Lots of Love HFB xxx
As you may have already noticed, I’m no stranger to the low-cost retailers that grace our local high streets. In fact, I love that I can simply walk in, find the latest trends, add a few unneeded accessories to my bag (because they were cheap) and then walk out feeling great when I realise that my huge bag didn’t even equate to more than £50. Don’t we all?
Did you know that out of the thousands of tonnes of textiles that people throw away every year, as much as 95% could be re-worn or recycled? That totally shocked me. How is that possible and why are we just throwing our clothes away? We obviously loved and cared for them when we initially bought them so why don’t we when we’re finished wearing them? Just because they may have a slight hole, small stain or are just ‘out of fashion,’ does that make them completely useless? I think it’s time to make a change. H&M launched a global garment collection initiative last year whereby, you hand in any old or unwanted clothing and in return you receive £5 gift voucher to spend in store. Not a bad deal eh?. Not only that, they’ve released the Conscious Clothing range which promises to be kind to your wallet, the planet and the people who make the clothing. Hi-five to H&M!
I started looking into this after talking to a relative about my blog, she pointed out that high street stores weren’t the only way you can find a bargain and she’s right. Think of all the charity shops in your area, stacked full of clothes, shoes, bags and jewellery, they’re cheap AND the money goes to a charity so you’re even helping people (or animals) while you shop. So I decided to set myself a little challenge.
I had a skirt to take back to Primark yesterday which was £8, once I had returned the said skirt, I wandered up the street in Sunderland where most of our charity shops are located and thought, I wonder how much I can actually get for this £8? Admitting, I did bump this up to £10 as it’s a bit of an easier number to work with. Now I’ve gone to vintage shops, stalls and fayre’s for years but that is totally different from rummaging around a charity shop. The best second-hand items are already picked out for you, some items are altered so that they are slightly more ‘cool’ or fitted and the prices tend to be higher because of this. My afternoon in the charity shops was amazing and so much fun. I recommend it to you all! As my relative said when discussing this topic, ‘it’s more about style than fashion when you’re in a charity shop’ and she was so right. The items aren’t just laid out in front of you, you have to rummage, there’s no mannequins advising you on how to wear an item, you’ve got to think about that for yourself and even the cheapest of retailers can’t compete on price. Crotchless Lingerie.
I bought 4 items for my £10 and I love every single one. My favourite has to be the tartan skirt. As soon as I saw it, I knew that I had to have it especially since I had been eying up a very similar one from ASOS lately. I then bought the red and white Breton style top for £1.49, it is a few sizes too big but looks great with my old Levi’s and also over some skinny jeans on a casual day. I I then bought a cream, fitted roll neck jumper for £2.49. Again, these jumpers are everywhere on the high street and I even found a charity shop with a range of colours for the same kind of price. I would have bought them all but I was strictly sticking to my budget. Finally, I purchased this pretty River Island Polka Dot mini skirt with button detail for £2.49. I’ve styled it with the jumper that I bought but due to it having an elasticated waist, any oversized tee, jumper or shirt would also look great.
So there you have it, my £10 charity shop challenge is complete. I had so much fun doing it and love my purchases so much that I will be making this a regular feature on my blog. Let me know your thoughts or if you think you’re up to the challenge then tag me in your photos on my Instagram. Can’t wait to see them all!
Lots of Love HFB
Thanks to the lovely Americans and their Thanksgiving holiday, the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales have now traveled across the pond and hit the UK by storm. With sale prices threatening to beat the “Boxing Day Sales” you would be crazy not to have a shop. I’m hoping to get most of my Christmas presents this weekend rather than having to do my usual last-minute spree on Christmas eve. For the past few years, the discounted prices have primarily been on electrical items, with Black Friday being an in store only sale and Cyber Monday was the day to go crazy for any online shoppers, this year however, the sales are starting on Friday and lasting until Monday. Hopefully this will help with the mentalness that these sales caused last year (there were reports of people leaving ASDA with black eyes after fighting over TV’s….scary stuff.) I’m not much of an electrical girl if I’m honest but what I do love is a bargain when it comes to my clothes so I have listed my Black Friday wish list and a list of the retailers taking part, including any discount codes. Hope you find a bargain!
All Saints – 20% off selected items – code CYBER
All Saints is usually a little bit too pricey for me but higher prices means higher discounts.
1. Kayla Shirt – £78 – £62.40
ASOS – 20% off everything – CODE – CYBERWKEND20
This is an amazing offer. I bought the jeweled dress for a wedding a few weeks ago and had so many compliments about it.
2. Frock+Frill Jeweled High Neck Maxi Dress – £95.00 – £76
French Connection – 30% off
The discount seemed to be already applied online.
House of Fraser – 40% off
I could have shopped for hours on their website, they have discount on all areas. I love the range of shoes in House of Fraser so this was my first stop and I found some great offers
3. Dune Anola Chelsea Boots – £89 – £71
4. Kurt Keiger Tough Boots – £150 – £79.20
5. Office Domino Strap Ankle Boot – £85 – £59.50
Lavish Alice – 25% off – CODE BLACKFRIDAY25
On top of the discount, the Structured Black Playsuit (6) is £1 all day Friday – I loved the print on this dress, adds a bit of colour to my wardrobe too
7. Gold Baroque Print Mini Dress – £70 – £52.50
Macy’s – £7 flat rate fee for all international shipping and 70% off cashmere jumpers
The Black Friday sales originate from America so no surprise that Macy’s do it well
Over My Body – 25% off – CODE STYLIST25
Another great site with big discounts, it was hard to pick my favourite. Seen as though I was raving about low-cut necklines on yesterday’s post,I had to go with…
8. Collate Deep Plunge Jumpsuit – £159.00 – £119.25
River Island – 20% off everything – 11am – 3pm Friday
Topshop – up to 50% off selected items
Topshop started their sales early and I especially love splurging on Topshop jewellery once it hits the sales.
9. Navette Stone Rope Collar – £18.50 – £12.95
Urban Outfitters – up to 50% off
I could have bought the whole store so it was hard to pin point a favourite which is why I sneakily chose two.
10. Houndstooth Pelmet Skirt – £32 – £19.20
11. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Crop Tee – £32 – £16
Lots of Love HFB
The festive period is finally upon us…hurray! Plunging necklines, ravishing reds and a whole lot of sparkle, Christmas is the perfect season to wow. So after you have finished over eating, over drinking, over spending and over decorating, you may just have time to attend a little party. Many websites such as ASOS and Missguided, have already started to discount their party wear and with Christmas parties just around the corner, now is the time to buy. I have put together a wish list of my favourite party picks that won’t break the bank because if you’re anything like me, Christmas does a good job of that on its own.
1. Dakota Bodycon was £99 now only £69.30 – Miss Selfridge
Miss Selfridge have a great range of party dresses at the moment, lots of embellishment with a real 1920’s feel. There are so many of dresses that I would love from Miss Selfridge that it was hard to choose only one. To see more click here.
2. Satin Lapel Tailored Black Blazer – £34.99 – Missguided
I absolutely adore this blazer. Plunging necklines are everywhere at this season and I can see why. This blazer in particular has a real masculine edge however, teamed with the low neckline, it becomes a real sophisticated look. If you are attending a party straight after work, wear this with black jeans or trousers and you have a really easy show stopping look.
3. Jemima Iridescent Blazer Dress – £25 – Pretty Little Things
I love this dress as it is so simple and due to the slight shimmer of the fabric, you really don’t need to spend any extra money on accessories or expensive shoes. It does all of the talking on its own and if you over styled it, you could be at a risk of ruining the look altogether. Less is definitely more with this dress.
4. PU Look Cut In Neck Midi Dress – £30 – AX Paris
If you’re wanting to impress that certain someone at your work’s Christmas do or just be the show stopper of the night, then this is the dress for you. As the website states, it’s sophisticated, effortlessly sexy and I couldn’t agree more.
5. Red Cut Out Shoulder Maxi Dress – £70 – River Island
I have been lusting over this dress for quite some time now however, I still haven’t been invited to an event that is suitable for a dress like this. If you’re lucky enough to have a ball or something a little more fancy coming up over this festive period, then this dress will make sure that you stand out from the crowd. It is one of those timeless dresses that you could still be wearing in years to come.
6. ASOS Premium Embellished Playsuit – £65 – ASOS
If you’re looking for something a little different from a dress this year, then why not try a playsuit. I used to be quite wary of embellishment as if it is not done correctly, it can look a bit cheap. ASOS however, have done it perfectly and their embellishment is intricate and elegant. Pair this with a pair of chunky shoes to get the perfect look.
7. Plunge Neck Bodycon Dress – £30 – Topshop
A LBD is always a favourite, everyone has one and you’ll have probably over worn the life out of your yours. Why do the always look better than any other dress in your wardrobe??? This LBD from Topshop is a great price and with the deep plunge neckline and exposed back, there is no doubt that even after the decorations are down, you’ve opened your last present and Christmas is nothing but a distant memory, this will still be your go to, emergency ‘I have nothing to wear’ dress.
8. Abi Burnout Lace Long Sleeve Midi Dress – £29.99 – Missguided
Seen as though it is Winter now, sleeves maybe a good idea and this dress gives you that without compromising on the look. The price is great and you can’t go wrong with black lace, it’s flattering and you can look sassy without giving too much away.
What will you be wearing for your Christmas parties this year?
Lots of Love HFB
Black skirt – £3 Primark
Grey jumper – Missguided
Orange jumper – £12 Primark
I haven’t shopped in Primark for quite a while so I had become rather excited at the thought of going crazy in store and crazy I went. I forgot how cheap it actually is and found myself picking up lovely cable knit jumpers and gasping at the price. Bargains all around! I’ve only posted a couple of my buys in this post simply due to the fact that I found myself in a food coma after my mammoth Sunday’s dinner till about 4pm and then, who’d have thought it, but the sun starting setting around this time too. This then caused a slightly rushed, slightly manic photo shoot in the garden which also included changing while standing in the garden (near a main road). What a treat for any Sunday drivers out there 🙂
So back to my shop, even though Penny wasn’t being her usual happy self that day, I did manage to raid the sale area. It still baffles me how Primark can even have a sale but I’m so glad they do. The black mock PVC style skater skirt was only £3! At that price, I couldn’t not buy it. It’s also light, comfortable and did I mention it’s £3. I’ve styled it casually but also tried something a little dressier which would look great for any Christmas event that you might have coming up.
The orange jumper with the added jewelled necklace was one of those “I need to buy that” items which doesn’t really happen all that often with me. I’m so indecisive when it comes to buying clothes. If I’m going out on a Saturday night for example, I have to try something on, stand in the changing room toying with idea of buying it, leave the changing room with the item, walk around the shop while trying to decide whether to buy or not, decide not, hang the item back up, leave the shop, visit all the other shops, stress that I don’t have anything to wear, then realise that I should have just bought the first item I tried on. I’m also terrible if I receive money for my birthday or Christmas, I spend well over a week googling, reading magazines, trawling through online stores and visiting stores just to make sure I don’t spend my precious money that’s just for me on something that I either don’t really need or something I may regret. I annoy myself at times. Anyway, I love the colour of this jumper, it will brighten up any outfit and although I’ve dressed it up, I would be happy wearing this with a pair of black skinny jeans or even boyfriend jeans for a more casual stance on it. I will be posting more of my shop later this week, believe it or not, there is another £3 skirt in there. Keep posted…
Lots of love xxx