Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??

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Dressing to close the deal

Being self-employed, it’s sometimes difficult for me to know what to wear for business events – should I go corporate and professional or should I try to stand out from the crowd? Similarly if you’re working in an office and going to a sales call, making a pitch or meeting with a client, it’s sometimes tricky to work out what to wear to make the best impression. Can you ever be too smart? What if you work in a creative environment and part of that is expressing yourself through clothing? I’ve done some research into fashion for business and here’s my top tips for dressing to impress:

Dress comfortably

Obviously, you’re not going to dress like a slob to make an impression! But you do need to be comfy. Follow your office’s dress protocol; if your uniform includes trousers, wear good quality, dark trousers without frays or holes. Also, dark clothing, according to studies, makes you look more professional.

Make the shoes shine

Both men and women wanting to impress clients should pay attention to detail, particularly shining those shoes. Worn or scuffed shoes say you don’t pay attention to detail.

Choosing a suit

A blue or black suit is a widely accepted office attire when you want to dress for success, according to reputable corporate clothing suppliers. You can dress us the suit with a splash of colour like a coloured blouse, tie, or shirt. A single simple piece of jewellery can complete the look.

image source

Always dress up

Don’t dress down. If you’re unsure, wear a suit and tie. If business casual is acceptable for your line of work, wear a starched dress shirt, dark trousers, and matching sweater.

Comfort before style

When you want to dress up for business, take emotional and physical comfort into account before style. If you wear high heels or a lot of make-up and it makes you feel like you’re wearing a costume, don’t do it. If you do, chances are your focus won’t be on that important meeting or closing deal but on how you look. Clothing shouldn’t be a primary focus of your meeting either. If people are paying more attention to your clothing than what you have to say, you’ve missed the mark.

Go one up

The concept of dressing for success is to dress one notch above your clients. Corporate clothing suppliers advise that whatever you choose to wear, it is clean, fits well and is stain-free. Women should stay away from tight-fitting outfits that simply act as a distraction.

All images from I Love Fresh Fashions

The timelessness of red

Red is a timeless colour and attracts positive attention. A red scarf, blouse, or jacket will give you that professional edge in today’s business environment. A red tie or handkerchief works well too. Make sure you match the red outfit with your age and meeting environment, or you risk making a negative impact. Continue reading “Dressing to close the deal” »

ideas for creating thrifty fashion looks with clothes you already own - denim shirt

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Thrifty Fashion – 4 looks from one denim shirt

I’m one of those people who wear only a few items in their wardrobe over and over again. The statistic that’s always quoted is that most of us only wear 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time and I am certainly guilty of this. However I want to get the most use out of my clothes – I’ve already paid for them after all, and we all know that the value of an item comes down to cost-per-wear. So over the course of a few blog posts I’m going to take items from my wardrobe and rework them into different looks. Hopefully this will give you some ideas for wearing your own leather jacket (in my previous post here) or denim shirt and will inspire you to do the same.

thrifty fashion - 4 ways to wear one denim shirt inspired by mirana kerr and cat deeley

 Miranda Kerr / Denim shirt from Matalan / Cat Deeley

So today it’s the denim shirt. This item of clothing was everywhere last year and the high street is still full of them. I remember being desperate to buy a denim shirt last summer but couldn’t find the right one. I even stole my husband’s denim shirt for a couple of wears but it really was to big for me so I carried on looking for the perfect one. I eventually made the purchase at Matalan in the January sale and spent only a few pounds on my soft denim shirt. It was the right colour, a great fit and I knew I’d get loads of wear out of it. However, after a handful of wears with my navy trousers I ran out of inspiration and the shirt was relegated to the back of the wardrobe. Seeing as spring is the ideal time for wearing pale blues and layers, I thought I should investigate different ways of wearing the shirt and here’s what I’ve come up with:

ideas for creating thrifty fashion looks with clothes you already own

Leather Jacket from Bon Prix, belt from Apricot & handbag from Next

Jumper from New Look, Wonderfit jeans from George at Asda & scarf from 99p Stores (can you believe it?!)

You may have already spotted this leather jacket look from my last post and it just goes to show that these items of clothing can be mixed-and-matched to create new looks for different occasions. I really like how the denim shirt looks with my New Look jumper. This is one of many jumpers I’ve bought recently because they are a nice thin knit and good colours for this time of year. These two looks will keep me warm on more chilly Spring days, especially when layered up with a chunky cardi or coat.

ideas for creating thrifty fashion looks with clothes you already own - denim shirt

Cat print scarf from New Look, belt from Claires and satchel I picked up at the car boot sale

Pink dress from Internacionale (only £2 in the sale!), belt from ASOS and floral weekend bag from Primark

I think the pink dress is my favourite look as it’s much more summery than all the others and very ‘me’! Of course, my cat scarf has made an appearance again – it seems to go with everything so it’s been a good purchase from New Look. Please let me know what you think of my outfit ideas and let me know how you would style a denim shirt for spring or summer – tweet me @Cassiefairy or leave me a comment below :)

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Confessions of a Fashion Stylist – Colour analysis

Blogger Janelle and I have worked on a few projects together in the past; I’ve tried out her La Mere Layering Technique in one of m frosty morning outfit posts and she has already sent me photos of her favourite shoes for an upcoming Tuesday Shoesday blog post (join in here!). So when I asked if the Confessions of a Fashion Stylist blogger would be willing to do a colour analysis for me, she was happy to help and got to work straight away. The first thing she needed was a clear photo of me without make up – my absolute nightmare as you may have read on my blog earlier this week! But I took the plunge and snapped a photo, then fired it off in an email to her before I changed my mind!

Janelle set to work analysing which colours would suit me best and sent me over a report along with a palette of colours to make my future clothing and beauty choices easier for me.

Eye Colour: soft blue/grey, changeable Hair Colour: Medium blonde with warm and cool tones Complexion: Ivory

Colourtime: Primary: Sunlight Colourtime and Secondary:  Sunrise Colourtime

Conclusion: Due to the fair and delicate colouring of the client, the colours that would suit her best are the colours reflected in the sundrenched hours of noon day.  These are the muted and more subtle tones of the Sunlight Colourtime palette.  These colours will compliment her colouring and not overpower and would be best as the main source of the colours she chooses for her wardrobe.

As a secondary palette of colours, meaning those which she should use to as the colours of accent pieces in her wardrobe, the sharp crisp colours of the Sunrise Colourtime palette.

sunlight and sunrise colour analysis

I’m really pleased with the colours suggested in these palettes, because burgundy and blue are already my favourite colours and I have a few pieces in these tones in my wardrobe. I’ve been thinking about purchasing a forest green top for a while and according to my colour analysis this would be a good colour on me and I’d also be suited to wearing emerald green, teal or sage so I can keep my eyes open for some green additions while rummaging though the charity shops! I’m slightly disappointed by the quantity of lilac and lavender shades in both of these charts, because I wore a LOT of these shades as a teenager and don’t think I can stomach wearing it again! But I’m willing to give it a try and I might pick out some of the more dusky tones or rich purple next time I’m heading towards a changing room – I’ll at least try it on and see what happens to my skin tone when I do!

Janelle also sent me a link to her sunrise colour combinations moodboards on Polyvore which showed how these different shades could be combined in outfits – making it super-easy for me to make the change to introduce new colour combinations into my wardrobe. As a lifelong fan of black, I’ve been desperate to move away from dark shades and experiment with colour, so I’m taking inspiration from these colour palettes to bring outfits together and I’ll share my new combinations with you soon.

Would you like your own colour analysis done? Get in touch with Janelle at Sasha Bowman shops!

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You’re a star! (says Julien Macdonald)

Oh dear. Here we go again… In case you didn’t already know, and have stayed away from my blog, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram profiles all week, I went to London Fashion Weekend 7 days ago. I may have mentioned it once or twice, I’m not sure. But this will be the last time, honest! And it’s really nothing much to do with LFW at all. It’s more about the accidental purchase I made this week as a result of going to the event.

And here it is. Can you guess why I couldn’t resist splashing out a full £5.25 in the Oxfam charity shop on this shirt? It’s not my usual kind of top, I’m not all that fond of animal print and I’ve been trying to steer away from black in general. Plus it’s a little too big for me. So why did I buy it in the first place? Because of Julien Macdonald, that’s why.

Charity shop bargain Julien Macdonald top

As you might have noticed I went to see the JM catwalk show and it really was the highlight of my week. In fact, I think I’m a little bit in love with Julien after seeing his gorgeous designs (not to mention that I know he’s a really nice fella, thanks to watching him Strictly last year). Anyway, I was going for my usual rummage around the charity shops in the nearby town when this top jumped out at me. I was actually having a rather half-hearted flick through the clothes and wasn’t really looking at anything in particular – this top was the only one that I’d picked up off the rail – and lo and behold! it was a Star by Julien Macdonald shirt. How could I resist it? I tried it on and decided that the larger-than-my-usual size gave it a funky, floaty, fashion-lecturer look, plus I assumed that it was supposed to be oversized thanks to the dipped back hem. I’m going to wear it with a blazer to give it more shape – if I ever find a suitable place or occasion to wear it.

In reality I bought it not knowing whether I’d ever wear it but just being so happy that I’d got a piece of clothing that would always remind me of the time I was invited to London Fashion Weekend. And I’m sure that Julien would be pleased that I’m recycling one of his pieces for Debenhams. Maybe one day I’ll own one of the catwalk pieces, who knows what the future will bring? But in the meantime I’m happy to know that (thanks to Julien Macdonald) I’m a star!


It’s a tough job going to London Fashion Weekend but someone’s got to do it..!

There are some days that I really feel like I’m a professional blogger. Okay, these days are few and far between, and most of the time I imagine that it’s just me sat here typing away for my own fun without really thinking that anyone else is reading it (although luckily my statistics tell me otherwise!). But every once in a while I really feel like I’m a ‘proper’ blogger and today is one of those days because I’ve been invited to attend London Fashion Weekend!

I am on the train on my way to London to spend the whole day at Somerset House, taking in all the new season trends, attending talks by industry professionals and even getting my hair blow-dried when I get there! I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited nor have I ever felt so much like a blogger! Although I’m not quite at the level of those jammy 15 year-old bloggers sitting on the front row of the Chanel catwalk show, I’m certainly feeling a little more like a pro-blogger and want to get the most out of the day so that I can report back on the new season trends for you and let you know what to expect from Autumn/Winter 2014.

London fashion weekend 2014

After my initial jumping-up-and-down excitement, I (as usual) started to worry about what to wear. I’m usually not so fussed about what I look like or where my clothes have come from – usually the carboot sale or charity shop! – but I’m going to be surrounded by tall, beautiful, fashionable young women and I don’t want to look like my usual stumpy frumpy self! So I headed to George at Asda to pick out a purse-friendly outfit. I’m particularly rubbish at putting together a ‘look’ so I browsed their style files on the website (where they’ve done all the work for me!) to get inspiration and basically went for the cutest combo that was closest to my usual ‘style’ so at least I knew I would be comfortable! So I’m wearing their Wonderfit jeans in Navy which are my new favourite trousers and I’ll probably never take them off again – they have loads of stretch in them, so even though a size small looked tiny on the hanger I could comfortably do them up around my middle and they feel like I’m wearing leggings rather than jeans, but look just as smart as a proper pair of navy denim.

I checked the weather report and it’s likely that I’m going to get chilly and possibly a bit wet today, so I’ve popped on my cosy George duffel coat with big snuggly hood to keep me warm and dry on the journey. I’ve investigated the venue and there is a cloakroom there so I can shed my chunky coat when I get there and show off my fine knit top and chiffon shirt combo. I also needed to take a lot of paperwork with me, along with all my tech stuff, camera and purse (yes, I’m hoping to do some shopping!) so a big bag was essential and with all the walking I’d be doing I knew that today was not the day to break in a pair of heels, so I slipped on my heeled brogues and headed out to the train station.

I can’t wait to get there and I really hope that the day is everything I’d imagined! I will report back early next week and share my findings with you. In the meantime, I’ll be tweeting and instagram-ing all day so follow me @Cassiefairy for live updates and photos.