Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

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


2 Comments

Styling one tweed dress for work, casual & party time!

I have a lot of clothes yet I hardly ever have anything to wear. In fact, I probably wear the same 5 or 6 outfits over and over again and rest of my clothes continue to hang in pristine condition in my wardrobe. Does this sound familiar? So many women claim to wear just 20% of their clothes 80% of the time and I certainly agree with this statistic. At the start of the year I wrote about making the most of the existing items in my wardrobe and although I’ve tried my best, I just can’t help buying new things and hoping that this will be the one dress that will do me for every occasion. And that’s where my new tweed dress comes in.

David Emanuel tweed dress styled 4 ways David Emanuel tweed dress styled 4 ways-2 David Emanuel tweed dress styled 4 ways-3

Dress from Bonmarche

The dress is designed by David Emanuel (yes, he who created Princess Diana’s wedding dress) for Bonmarche and it’s a lovely grey tweed with a little stretch in it. Just the right midi length for me, it is very figure flattering and I am always happy to have sleeves on a dress! It comes with a skinny black belt and I’ve been wearing it just as it is for a while now. But I wanted to make it work harder for me so I’ve come up with three more ways to wear this dress so that it can be used for work, evening wear and for casual days off – and that’s where we’ll start.

I’ve decided that my casual look should include layers of textures so I’ve combined tweed, with tweed, with tweed. Yes, this is a particularly autumnal look and feels rather ‘countryside’ when I wear it! It’s definitely a cosy combination; I’ve added my tweed jacket and wrapped a soft checked scarf in shades of grey, beige and pink around the neck to tie in all the colours and textures. Even though the jacket is a smart shape, the combination of all three elements makes the outfit more casual and I’d wear a pair of knee-high boots with it during the autumn.

David Emanuel tweed dress styled 4 ways-5 David Emanuel tweed dress styled 4 ways-6 David Emanuel tweed dress styled 4 ways-7

Jacket from Joules and scarf from Next

My work outfit has been created by simply adding a white shirt underneath the dress. I’m sure everyone has a plain white shirt in their wardrobe so I’ve been able to create this look without any added expense. It makes use of the belt that came with the dress and I’ve added my staple black handbag to complete this smart outfit. I rarely need to be this dressed up for work unless I’m going to a meeting so it’s good to be able to create a neat look without having to invest in a whole work-wear wardrobe. I would wear thick dark tights and patent brogues to finish off this look for Autumn/Winter. David Emanuel tweed dress styled 4 ways-9 David Emanuel tweed dress styled 4 ways-10 David Emanuel tweed dress styled 4 ways-11

Shirt from New Look and handbag from St. Elizabeth Hospice charity shop

Finally, I wanted to be able to wear this dress for nights out and I’ve turned it into a pencil dress by simply adding a thick elasticated belt around the waist and adding a couple of glitzy accessories in the form of this studded clutch bag and black floral necklace. This shows just how easy it would be to transform this dress from a daytime casual or work look into evening wear just by adding a couple of low-cost accessories. I would wear killer heels with this outfit and a pair of seamed tights to emphasise the 40s/50s wiggle-dress shape created by the belt. David Emanuel tweed dress styled 4 ways-13 David Emanuel tweed dress styled 4 ways-14 David Emanuel tweed dress styled 4 ways-16

Clutch and necklace from Apricot and belt from Oxfam Online charity shop

Let me know what you think of these looks and if you can think of any other ways that I can create a different look with the same dress, please get in touch! Leave me a comment below or chat with me on Twitter @Cassiefairy.


Leave a comment

Rent it, love it, return it!

No, I’m not suggesting some dodgy take-your-dress-back-to-the-shop-after-wearing-it scheme! I’m taking about dress hire. Remember in the Sex and The City Movie when Carrie’s PA Louise has the best designer handbags on her arm and an assistant’s wage in her purse, baffling Carrie into asking how she has got hold of her waiting-list-only arm candy? Louise proudly tells Carrie that it’s rented and we all wondered how long it would be until a service like this arrives in the UK too. Well, it’s here right now! Yes, I’ve found out that you really can hire designer dresses, coats and accessories from Wish Want Wear.

Like Louise from the SATC film, I found an array of gorgeous handbags but immediately worried about creating pen-leaks and lipstick stains inside and being charged for the damage, so it’s definitely a service for special occasions rather than everyday use. But if I ever feel the urge to wear a £1650 Hervé Legér bandage dress, this is the place to come! When I discovered this website, I began thinking about all the events I need to go to this year; weddings, christenings and parties and started doing the mental arithmetic on how much a new outfit for each special occasion would cost me to buy. Now, I’d never be able to buy afford designer dresses but even so, the cost of an outfit soon adds up. I imagine that someone who attends a lot of work functions would get a lot of use out of this service, but would be right for me? As you know, I’m a thrifty kind of girl, so I looked at the lower-priced rental outfits and found a few at bargain rates.

wish want wear designer dresses

Continue reading “Rent it, love it, return it!” »


8 Comments

Tuesday Shoesday ~ wet weather wellies

Okay, I can’t deny it any longer. Winter is here. Or at very least, the wet, cold weather is here. And with it comes the need for sturdy winter footwear and waterproof clothing. That’s where today’s Tuesday Shoesday topic comes in.

I’ve decided to share some ideas for looking fabulous while wearing wellies because, let’s face it, they aren’t the most flattering, comfortable or stylish footwear options around. But they are bloomin’ good at keeping your feet dry and with the addition of a chunky wellie sock and legwarmers, they can also be warm and toasty.

wellies glasto

You may remember that last week I quoted from Luella Bartley’s Guide to English Style about the super-cool-ness of brogues for both men and women, so I thought I’d check out what this British designer has to say about wellies:

“Gone are the days when the Green Welly brigade wore green wellies. These days equestrians and land-owning types wear brands such as Muck Boots with nylon uppers and padded lining… What you won’t see them in is Nu Rave yellow or scarlet. Hunter, the manufacturer of classic tapered wellies with the much-copied side buckle, has bowed to the tyranny of fashion. First there was the Festival range featuring silver and dolphin grey. It would be foolhardy to overemphasise the Kate Moss effect – she famously wore a pair of black Hunter’s with hot pants to Glastonbury in 2005 – but the company posted a massive sales increase in the wake of Kate’s endorsement. I once harboured a desire to create Luellies… A welly is, after all, an integral part of the Englander’s existence.”

Luella Bartley, 2010, Luella’s Guide to English Style, Fourth Estate

Tuesday Shoesday designer luella bartley guide to english style welly boots wellies

I would certainly buy a pair of Luellies – how cool does that sound?! I have had disappointing experiences with wellies in recent years, buying a really pretty floral pair from Office that turned out to be too tight and therefore limited the amount of time I could wear them without getting a massive blister on my heel. In this instance, these boots were made for walking does certainly not apply! I think that the solution to painful wellies is buying a pair one size bigger and then filling the extra space with padding in the form of chunky knitted socks, thermal tights and welly-liners like this pair my pal bought for me a couple of Christmases ago:

hunter-welly-socks image from my hunting news com

Image c/o My Hunting News

So pop out to your local Primark, Peacocks, New Look or even George at Asda or Tesco to buy some cheap fluffy socks – even a pair of those non-slip bed socks from Poundland will do – and get layering up! Your feet will be padded and snuggly inside your wellies and you’ll be fine and dandy for the whole of the wet weather period. And don’t forget the snow is coming too – and if you’ve got wellies in a size bigger, there’s nothing to stop you slipping a hand-warmer down the side to keep extra toasty!


Leave a comment

Get the look – How to learn about fashion and style

     

It’s easy to assume that all those fashionistas you see on the street were born with an eye for style and an innate understanding of what looks good. In most cases though, they just know the right places to look to check out new styles, and what it takes to change a style from something they’ve seen into reality.

If you have even a small creative bone in your body, it’s likely that you too can learn about style if you know the places to look. Here are some tried and true methods to go from staring envyingly at an awesome outfit to decoding the style elements and incorporating them into your own look.

Look at your favorite celebs & style icons

If your goal is to learn about fashion so you can become more fashionable yourself, then the celebs whose outfits you most admire can be a great place to start. The trick is to not be overwhelmed or intimidated when you first being paging through Vogue and Hello or browsing Heatworld.com. These celebrities and models have stylists who are paid a great deal to come up with outfits for them, plus most have a bottomless wardrobe (not to mention designer freebies!) to choose from.

The good thing about stars having paid stylists is that you can steal their hard work for free, just by checking out their pictures. Pick out a few favorite celebrities’ looks and grab a notepad. Now you’re going to break down the major elements of the outfits you’ve chosen. Really look at what they’re wearing and what makes the style. Is it a tailored jacket with a flirty skirt (tutu even)? Coloured tights? Eye-catching accessories? If you’re like me, the same sorts of staple items will come up in many of your favourite looks. By the time you finish, you’ll have a list of different items you can begin incorporating into your own wardrobe.

Check out fashion blogs

Fashion blogs are excellent to have in your style arsenal, because in many cases they do this fashion decoding for you. Many pick out different style elements and highlight new looks; whether you’ already an avid blog-reader or not, they’ll help you understand the current trends. Refinery 29 is an excellent blog which breaks down current looks and makes suggestions for style combinations. Other blogs, such as Street Peeper and the Sartorialist, post pics of enviable street fashion from around the world. When you find styles you like, perform the same “style analysis” that you did on the celebs, breaking down the actual elements of the outfit in writing. In this way, you’ll be able to keep track of established and emerging trends.           

Keep an eye on street fashion

While street fashion blogs are certainly excellent at cataloguing worldwide trends, it’s likely that there are at least a few fashionable lads and lasses in your town; if you live in a city, then there are hundreds. In your daily comings and goings about town, look at people who immediately strike you as “put together.” Make a mental note of the major elements of their look—is she wearing stacked wedges, cutoff shorts, tribal prints? Be a style thief and look to others for inspiration. You’ll probably find that after a short while you’ll be able to improvise these put together looks on your own.

Read books & magazines

While books might seem like the opposite of fashion (old and dusty versus new and trendy), they can actually be great tools for learning about style. Look books and fashion books chronicle everything from vintage fashion to the latest trends, and can help you gain a little perspective on fashion’s evolution. The library will usually have the latest issues of Vogue and Elle, and these are always worth a look too. I personally love leafing through old issues in the journals archive to see how fashions have changed over the years (and sometimes have a giggle too – did anyone really wear that?!).

How do you go about re-creating celeb outfits? What influences your own personal style? Do you already read fashion blogs and what do you think about them? Leave me a comment! x


6 Comments

Tuesday Shoesday – Louboutin Exhibition at the Design Museum

This week saw the launch of the Louboutin exhibition at the Design Museum in London. This is Christian Louboutin‘s first ever retrospective in the UK and the press, including Vogue, Marie Claire, Elle, Harpers Bazaar, The Guardian, Grazia & Telegraph, have been salivating over the exhibition – here’s a preview in pictures from The Telegraph Fashion pages.

Not only does the exhibition feature exhibits of his design classics and celebrities stepping out in his ultra-high heels, but according to the Design Museum it is also educational; “At the core of the exhibition is a unique exploration of Louboutin’s design process, taking the visitor through every stage of the design journey, revealing how a shoe is constructed, from the initial drawing and first prototype through to production in the factory”.

The highlight of the exhibition is this amazing hologram of Dita Von Teese performing a 3 minute burlesque show in her Louboutin heels. I especially love all the sparkly glitter that follows her movements in this hologram and how she emerges from a Louboutin shoe. This sort YouTube clip was filmed at the launch of the exhibition to please excuse the background noise! 

The exhibition runs from 1st May until the 9th July – more info from The Design Museum website