The corset belt with jumpsuit

A little bit of sunshine, a favourite jumpsuit, some sparkly mules and that corset belt again - and I'm giddy with excitement! It's positively ages since I featured this lovely jumpsuit on the blog and golly I'd forgotten how fab all this floaty fabric feels. 

Ooooo look - I'm even able to tap dance all of a sudden - how magical is this outfit!

I swoop, I shimmy, I glide with grace!

Oh goodness, I'm a bit dizzy now!

Anyhoo, here's that old corset belt again in another styling. What do you think? It's all about contrasting once more, silky fabric cinched with bold, statement corset in a sweet meets tough kinda way. Not to everyone's taste probably, but my appeal is not necessarily to the masses but more for the slightly off-centre, quirky type perhaps.

My style guru, Mary Portas, advises only one statement piece per ensemble, but hey you know me - more is more is another of my motto's! A huge corset belt is going to look even more awesome if you pair it with a jumpsuit with sail-like trousers and then throw in a pair of eye-popping turquoise glitter mules. Not a look for the shy and retiring that's for sure!

The details go like this: jumpsuit from H&M (ancient), belt from Primark, jewellery, all preloved, sunglasses by Quay Australia, and mules by Shellys of London.

As the UK heatwave continues I've enjoyed wafting about in this most flamboyant get up. Just another day in the life of this gallery manager cum fashion blogger. I do hope you've enjoyed today's offering and would love to hear from you if you did. Drop me a line, add a comment (you can remain anonymous if you prefer), but do let me know you're still around.

Wishing you a fab week!

Anna x


The shirt - a wardrobe staple, our Style Not Age challenge

Hello and welcome again to our monthly Style Not Age challenge. It was the turn of Jacqui to choose our topic this time and as you can see, The Shirt - a wardrobe staple, is it. This month's feature has a slightly different slant however as the group were invited to work alongside Jacynth Bassett, founder of, the online boutique for women looking for quality and style. We each of us picked a shirt to style in our very own way, all done though mail-order of course. Jacqui's outfit reflects that perfect downtime summer uniform of shirt and jeans, but not just any old shirt is this, no it's the smoothest cotton poplin in a fishnet pattern in fresh white and pink paired up with kick flare cropped jeans to keep it very much of the moment. Jacqui has added a pop of bright red with her clutch as a finishing touch. Read Jacqui's feature here on Mummabstylish.

Hilda has chosen the same shirt, styling it again with jeans but of the blue variety. Summer sliders show off her red toenails giving that same pop of colour as Jacqui too. I always admire those ladies who can carry off that half tuck look with such ease - I just look a bit undone when I try this! Click on the link here to see her full story on Over the Hilda.

Emma of Style Splash has chosen the Blue Jay Feather print shirt, styling it with dark skinny jeans by Butt I Love You and these cute sandals by Isabelle Jaquelin. Bright blue handbag and oversized blue sunnies keep the look very much in the same colour palette.

It'll be of no surprise to my readers to see that I've shied away from the expected by not wearing jeans with the shirt. Yes, for a moment I did consider it, but my creative needs dragged me in a different direction. 

I had the notion that I wanted a summer styling of sorts and was delighted when I came across these Zara trousers (sorry sold out, but these are similar) when I was on my way for a dental appointment in Penryn last time. 

There's a little charity shop aside from my regular vintage shop which I frequent too and these were lurking on the racks waiting for me. Also preloved are my Topshop silver and white chunky sandals as is my River Island handbag. 

I love the embroidered flowers sprinkled across the trousers which echo the dandelion print of my shirt. I've had this preloved belt for over  a year now and just knew it would come into its own at some stage, and don't you think it looks dandy with this?

All of my jewellery is preloved too and how beautifully they all tie in with today's theme of summer whites and florals.

The resin necklace has real yellow flowers preserved inside these beads forever. The maker Daisy Dunlop used to sell her work at the gallery many moons ago which is when I bought this one. Her making has progressed beyond resin, but it still worth a look.

But let's get onto the main event, the shirt. Made for by Gibson and Birkbeck of Scotland, it retails at £85 and is frankly worth every penny. I may be renowned for my frugal nature and love of  clothes recycling, but that doesn't mean to say I don't know class when I see it. This shirt screams classy and feels like it to wear too. The cotton is crisp and smooth and the finishing details are testament to the cost. The button loop at the neck shows some extra thought at the design stage, as do the placing of the buttons over the bust area - how often do we have to sneek a little safety pin inside our shirts to stop it gaping and show the bra? It was a lovely surprise to find that this has been surmounted with ease by clever placing of the bust level button at just the right spot meaning no flashing. The link to my dandelion print shirt is here, although not all the sizes are available at the moment.

Buying online isn't one of my favourite things as you know, but dealing with this mail order company was as smooth as the cotton of this shirt. I followed the sizing directions and chose a size 10 which came up exactly as I had hoped, fitting neatly over the bust and back as well as having sleeves that were made to finish at the wrist and no more. The floral print is so pretty and I can see that this will indeed be a regular go-to item in my wardrobe now. The shirt came beautifully wrapped in tissue and had all of the clips and plastic inserts similar to a man's shirt adding to the top of the range experience. All in all, online shopping through was easy and efficient and the website is more than just a shopping venue offering a plethora of information as well as a blog too. 

The intro to the website summarises Jacynth's philosophy - 

Welcome to Shopping With Attitude - Where Ageism Is Never In Style is the first online boutique that truly celebrates style at every age. Featuring pieces by some of the best contemporary labels today, our eclectic collections reflect Jacynth's thorough and in-depth understanding of different women's bodies and shapes, as well as cut and fabrics. Throw into the mix her stylist, contemporary eye, and Jacynth is swiftly becoming recognised as one of the UK's leading experts and pioneers of style at every age. 

Anna x


The corset belt

I'm a big fan of belts, as I'm sure you know, but this corset belt has been loitering in my cupboard for over a year now waiting for the right opportunity to reveal itself. I bought it in Primark last summer and paid the princely sum of £3.50 for it. The back half is elastic making for a nice snug fit.

A belt like this has an almost straghtjacket effect, keeping me upright and very tucked in.

The dress and shoes (from TK Maxx) have both been featured on the blog previously and the shrug is new to me, from Monsoon. 

Jumbo pearls from Debenhams and toning preloved rings complete the look today.

I'll be featuring the corset belt again in my next post. Now that it's been liberated there seems to be no stopping it! 
Anna x


Mary's living and giving shop

It will probably come as no surprise to you to learn that while I was in London I wanted to visit one of the 22 prime charity shops in the capital, aka Mary's Living and Giving shops. The one in Bermondsey Street was conveniently located just across the road from The Fashion and Textile Museum which I featured here on Monday. I'm a huge fan of Mary Portas in general, but her work with these charity shops in aid of Save the Children captures my interest in particular. I was very keen to see the shop, see how it was set up and find out if it was a success story.

The shop resembles a boutique rather than a charity shop, is well lit and on entering there's no fuggy smell to remind you that the wares are all second hand. The clothes are beautifully displayed, nay curated, to blend from shade to shade across the entire colour spectrum and almost every third or fourth label is designer, which then has a realistic price to reflect the status of the piece. I could namedrop some of the (very elite) designers, but I fancy if you planned to go racing off across the city to find said bargain that it would be gone no sooner than you had grabbed your purse and dashed out the door! I soon forgot that I was in a charity shop as it felt more like an intimate boutique experience with engaging staff to help as I needed it.

Read here to find out more about Mary's Living and Giving shops across the capital. 

There's surely no better motivation for clearing out your old clothes than this hashtag of #fashionsaveslives!

Hidden in this section, amidst the citrus shades was the gem of a find that I succumbed to. Since my my own massive clothes clear out (see here) I've made a deal with myself that all clothes purchases, be they new or preloved, must be made because I love them; no more will I be buying those things that come in under the category of "these might be useful". Love it or leave it has to be my new mantra.

And here it is being wrapped and packed...

...and here they are - these yellow slacks are by Zara, in pristine condition meaning I was more than happy to pay the £20 asking price. In addition, I also bought two necklaces.

As you can see this is brand new and retailing at £6.

The hand carved animal necklace was £5. If I'm to consider myself an average customer, then my spending £30 means that the daily takings must be a healthy sum indeed. A successful business model for the savvy Mary indeed, proving that charity shops can pull their weight and save lives!

I've styled up the Zara slacks with this fabulous vintage top from Out of the Closet in Penryn. This quirky little vintage store is to be found en route to my dentist and as such has a great lure to assist with my recovery after the treatment of the day. I tend to pop in both on the way to the surgery and then stop to try things on (and maybe purchase) on the way back. This is a wonderful pastime while the pain relief is still working!

I've embraced the 60's vibe of the hippy chick shirt with these pop art courts by Chockers (preloved, but still with the labels on) which I bought at the St Michael's Hospice shop in Harrogate in April. I love that the entire outfit comes from some of my favourite charity shops and yet is fresh and immaculate in its quality. And best of all, the look is unique which is the most pleasing feature of any of my outfits. Lately I've discovered a real joy in giving high street brands my own style by simply adding the right accessories. The best example of this was my recent post of a Windsmoor dress which previously would have been far too staid for me. However, just adding that punch of pink by way of the stretch belt along with that cute handbag and gold sandals, and hey presto. the look was all mine!

The two tone belt came from Benetton in Truro a couple of years ago, is the softest suede and looks as if it has been holding its breath for this showcasing moment to come. The huge pink rose resin ring was a present from my dear friend Maggie, and oh how it works so well here today too!

The multicolour ring was another charity shop scoop. The long turquoise silver necklace is so old that I've forgotten from whence it came, and the cross, turquoise and gemstone necklace is by Charlie Dodge

Last of all, I forgot to mention that my sunglasses are from River Island, although that was over a year ago and will undoubtedly be out of stock. If I were one of those terribly efficient bloggers I would be showing you those little photos with links through to similar items. Unfortunately time never allows for such helpful gestures from me!

Before I go, let me show you a couple more shots from my London trip. Ann and I had been to see a movie (The Book Club, which had me in stitches for most of the screening so do please ignore the critics who have given this mixed reviews) and on exiting, we discovered this little set up within the Picture House offering fans of Game of Thrones the opportunity to have their photo taken sitting on (surely not the real?) throne. Anyhoo, here I am, looking like the cat who's got the cream!

I'll sign off with some tips from my most favourite of stylists, Mary Portas herself. These words and images are taken from the May edition of Good Housekeeping.

I've never been happy masquerading as the fount of all knowledge fashion wise and therefore don't often offer you my own advice. But I'm more confident that these wise words from the Queen of Style can't be far wrong!

I'm sure we're both exhausted after such a lengthy post, so I'll give you a chance to recover and will be back again on Wednesday. Until then, take care!

This week I'll be linking with -
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb
Jacqui of Mummabstylish

Anna x

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