Philip Treacy hat

Last winter I was idly browsing through the hat offerings on eBay and came across this Philip Treacy number. How exciting! An original from the hat maker to Royalty and the stars was too good to pass. After some strategic bidding it was mine for the grand sum of £21, yippee! A few days later it arrived and was not a disappointment - quality, provenance, colour - all were as described. But the only problem was the size. It kinda swamps me. I set to, and added a bit of elastic to the inside to pull it in (sacrilege, I know). But it still overwhelms me. From time to time it has an outing, and the bright autumn sunshine along with no wind to cause extra problems made me think this might be the ideal opportunity to try it out again. Maybe you wouldn't have known if I didn't tell you? Terminal honesty is my downfall.

Anyway, I do think the hat adds to today's ensemble regardless of the fit. It's months since I wore this little jacket (previously seen here) and I do love it. It will be great for injecting some colour into my AW wardrobe and works really well with my yellow and brown Boden brogues too. I seem to have had problems matching these dapper shoes with many outfits so this was a success today. The chocolate brown chiffon blouse was a charity shop purchase as were the skinny jeans (my, oh my, how skinny are they!) and as long as I didn't try to breathe I was fine. Bending, stretching, lifting and carrying at work were all postponed until another day when I had more practical trousers on. Suffering for your art I think it's called...

Jacket: charity shop. Hat: eBay. Blouse: charity shop. Trousers: (H&M) charity shop. Shoes: Boden. Socks: H&M. Yellow ring: Martin James. Brown ring: East.
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Not dressed as lamb 
Not dead yet style


Vintage handbag

I featured this fab vintage handbag in my very first post in May when I launched my blog as seen here and have neglected to show it again. So here I am putting that to rights. My regular readers will know I'm a big fan of colour and today relies completely on the bag to inject some brightness to the post. I'm always trying to mix things up and not be too predictable, and what could be better than a monochrome palette to ring the changes?

I'm currently catching up on other fashion bloggers in my spare time and Patti of Not Dead Yet Style (see here ) had recently put a post up about a similar monochrome theme. In this particular post all of her clothes were thrifted (or from charity shops depending which side of the pond you live on), so were obviously of great interest to me. I'm aware I do harp on about charity shopping and that's because I'm a bit of a late starter with this lark. My eldest sister Sandra, however, has been an avid charity shopper all her adult life and has come across some beautiful clothes in her time. I'm afraid I have to admit I was a tad snooty about charity shopping when I was younger - shame on me! I equated charity shopping with smelly, stained clothes and thought there was little chance of finding anything of worth. I also thought anyone dressed in second-hand clothes would be instantly recognisable from 50 paces. Well, here I am eating my words now! I'd like to think that I'm not parading around looking like a bag lady every day though...

And so back to today's ensemble. The blouse, skirt, belt and handbag are all pre-loved (aaaahaa). I particularly like the skirt with its black trim as it's a versatile piece thanks to the colour. The check blouse is having its first outing and was nearly paired up with a pair of silky trousers, until I remembered I've been posting quite a few pairs of trousers lately. I could have gone down the line of thick tights and flats of some sort (er, do you mean brogues? I hear you say), but I'm really trying to pull away from my default setting. So instead I decided on these fab heels which are sadly not very practical, but do look lovely. I managed to wear them until lunchtime, and then changed into silver pumps with little bows (I'll need to feature these another time as they're quite cute). And the silver necklace was a Christmas purchase many moons ago but didn't work with the silver dress I had planned. Today it's perfect for adding a bit of glitz to what may have been a slightly dull outfit. 

What do you think? Is the handbag the star of the show? Do you have a monochrome moment you'd like to share? I'd love to hear from you.

Blouse: charity shop. Skirt: charity shop. Belt: charity shop. Handbag: charity shop. Shoes: TK Maxx. Necklace: old. Rings: charity shop. Sunglasses: Quay Australia

Linking with 
Visible Monday 
Not dressed as lamb 


Vintage flying jacket

I seem to have a bit of a theme emerging of late. The leather jacket is coming into it's own (for me) this autumn with this one being the latest addition to my wardrobe. I hold my daughter Sasha partly responsible for this purchase, as she found it when I had declared my recent shopping spree over. I had gotten to the stage where the empty suitcase was now full, and I really couldn't bring anything more home from our shopping trip last month (as seen here). Sasha however, had just gotten her second wind and was looking for a winter coat in a very tidy charity shop in Exmouth when she told me I really needed to take a look at this jacket. My protests didn't last long when she proffered the sleeve as it hung on the rack. The label declared it a large and was real leather, with paisley satin lining and all for the bargain price of £12. It would have been rude not to try it on at least. I could barely hide my excitement as I did the zip up and pulled the belt together - it was a perfect fit. Vintage sizes are usually small, and this certainly was.

And so here we are today, stepping out onto the beach for the first showing of this lovely vintage flying jacket in beautiful textured leather. I love the zips at the back giving the waistline a real shapely fit. The front pockets are huge, comfy caverns and the colour is a good match to go with my new handbag. I've been on the look out for a fringed bag since last winter, thinking that I ought to have a black suede one. However, this beauty caught my eye and was too good a buy to miss. Brand new, suede tassells, leather body and handles, great colour and a good size which could almost be an overnight bag - and what was best of all is that the label said £20! It had been an unwanted gift, dropped in that very day by a lady who sheepishly confessed it wasn't quite her. Her loss, my gain.

I've partnered the jacket with these jeans from Zara in an autumnal floral print, added a simple white tee, and a pale turquoise cashmere sweater for warmth. Today's final flourish had to be the standard tan brogues. It's been a while since I've stepped out in my first loves and don't they look mighty fine!

Jacket: bomber jacket. Jeans: Zara. Sweater: charity shop. Tee shirt: Dorothy Perkins. Shoes: TK Maxx. Handbag: charity shop. Pearls: Rose Cecil. Yellow ring: Martin James. Brown ring: Accessorize.

Linking with 
Visible Monday 
# I will wear what I want


Final show of the year

The gallery hosted our final show of the year the other night which is all a bit sad really as it also heralds the end of Polly's contract with me. During the winter months I run the business on my own and I will miss her bubbly personality and infectious sense of fun. And I must mention that my friend Julie has done a great job being a steadying force on exhibition nights, calming the rising panic which sometimes threatened to take over when the crowds appeared. I hope to have both my wonderful helpers back on board next year if things go to plan.

I hit upon a 50's idea for tonight's outfit and that started with this bright yellow scuba skirt. I wore it earlier in the summer (yet to be shown) and thought it would be perfect to top my black net underskirt. I'd only recently bought these striped stilettos and was waiting for the right moment to showcase them - this black and white complimentary story was the perfect opportunity. The top followed on from the shoes and it needed a big belt to cinch together the top and skirt. Although my black leather jacket is a homage to the 80's rather than the 50's I decided it was still the best piece to finish off this retro outfit.

Scuba is a new material for me and I had to check the name of it with my daughter Sasha in case I'd got it wrong (I had in fact, written suba, so just as well). For those who haven't come across it, I would say it's a nylon type of material, fairly thick and reminds me of the neoprene used in thin wetsuits. It obviously holds its shape beautifully and being laser cut has a very precise outline. I love the flowered pattern of the skirt too. I did plan to wear black tights with a similar flowered pattern but decided it was a bit too matchy matchy. The necklace, however, is a great ploy for adding extra colour but also ties in to the theme. And I'm very happy with the yellow ring and watch coming into play here as well.

A note to my regular readers - I'll be posting on Sundays and Wednesdays over the winter months as Polly ( my photographer extraordinaire) will be working elsewhere. Please do keep dropping by, and send me your comments and feedback too.

See you soon!
Anna x

Jacket: charity shop. Skirt: H&M. Top: Primark. Belt: charity shop. Shoes: Primark. Tights: Primark. Net underskirt: eBay. Necklace: Diana Wilson. Yellow ring: Martin James. Glass solitaire ring: Dorothy Perkins.

Linking up with 40+style  Visible Mondays (Not Dead Yet Style) and #I will wear what I like (Not dressed as lamb


What, this old thing?

So, we've all got a dress like this that seems to come out year after year and still looks fresh. I can't remember how long I've had it or where I bought it, but it's a great old faithful. It's easy to wear, works every time and suits me. Because it's such an oldie I did feel it maybe needed a bit of extra boost, and that comes in the form of this amazing necklace by Magpie Vintage. The piece is made from recycled vintage jewellery using old pearls and semi precious stones which have all had a life before this one. I love the idea that it's full of memories from years ago and like to imagine a strand of pearls being worn for a wedding or perhaps a christening, or a brooch on a war bride's coat. Sheer nostalgia, I know, but it appeals to my sense of romance.

I opted for boots today instead of my default setting of brogues. I recently came across a fashion blog by another lady of my generation, Greetje Kamminga, who runs a blog called No Fear of Fashion - see here. Greetje has a post featuring a fantastic pair of cream ankle boots which I covet. Anyway, that got me thinking, and knowing that it will be some time until my next flurry around the shops, I decided to delve into the depths of my shoe boxes and came out with these. Yet another charity shop trophy, I've never worn them but decided today was their day. They're quite elegant and I particularly like the stitching, which led me to search through my belt rack to uncover the stretch belt which also has contrast stitching. I don't why I get such pleasure from the gathering of all of these very specific elements together to make an outfit. I love finding the right jewellery to offset the look, trying a selection of necklaces until it says what I want. And even the quest for the right pair of tights is time well spent for me. I chose these purple ones instead of half a dozen other purple ones as they have a geometric pattern which ties in with the print of the dress. All of these little pleasures add up to a feel good factor which I can wear for the rest of the day.

Dress: old. Belt: charity shop. Boots: charity shop. Vest top: New Look. Tights: old. Necklace: Magpie Vintage. Watch: charity shop. Yellow stone ring: Martin James. Silver ring: charity shop.


Cream jacket

Autumn dressing is a bit of a challenge for us in the UK. One day we have rain and fog to contend with, the next a watery October sun makes an appearance. I usually chose what to wear before my morning dip in the sea, and by the time I return the day may look quite different. This was my third attempt at having the right combination of clothes for what was a bright, but cool morning with a forecast of sunshine later in the day. The gallery is a suntrap in the afternoon meaning Polly and I stand in direct sunlight for a few hours, baking in our woollies which seemed necessary at the start of the day. Layering is the obvious answer, hence this cute woollen jacket today. It was an exciting find for me a couple of years ago.

For those who know me it will come as no surprise that this was not a high street purchase, but a bargain charity shop find at the rock bottom price of £9.99. It's designer piece direct from a London boutique who send their old stock to a certain Exeter charity shop. I'm a regular at some of these shops and have made friends with the staff. My 3-6 monthly visits may not seem like being a regular, but I suppose what makes me memorable is that I do bulk buy rather than purchase just one item a week. My story of living on an island and therefore not having access to retail therapy of this kind very often is useful for capturing the attention and can sometimes mean the staff will keep choice items to one side ready for my next visit. That was the case with this jacket. I don't know who got the most pleasure from this sale - the manager from seeing that the jacket fitted or me that this was such a very unique piece. I think a short jacket suits my build and height, and the sleeve length is good too. I love the pleats that extend into the floral trim on the front and the pleated collar is pleasingly unusual. And cream is such a good colour for my hair and complexion too.

The trousers were a recent purchase from H&M and are a great fit made perfect by a good percentage of stretch. I like straight cut, slightly manly trousers and think they work well against the feminine jacket. I've added a navy leather belt with gold buckle which neatens the trousers too. (I remember reading an article years ago about "good dressing" and some tips on how to achieve this. One thing that stuck in my mind was that if there are belt loops then always add a belt. I'm usually one to rebel against rules, but have found time after time that I prefer the look of adding a belt rather than leaving loops looking forgotten.) And I've finished the look off with these brilliant ankle boots with retro heels - £6 well spent at another charity shop in Exeter. I picked the bangles up in a different charity shop and thought they would tie in to the geometric print of the trousers. I could easily have added a cream shirt or a frilly blouse, but decided on a classic navy tee shirt as there was quite a lot going on visually without needing to add any more. My green pearls were just the understatement I wanted to top everything off. 

Jacket: Tabitha (charity shop). Trousers: H&M. Tee shirt: H&M. Boots: charity shop. Belt: old. Pearls: Rose Cecil. Cream ring: charity shop. Beige ring: Dorothy Perkins. Bangles: charity shop. 

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