Trans-Seasonal Dressing: My Capsule Spring Closet

Happy April everyone (sorry, I know I’m a tad late to the welcoming party – are there any hot cross buns left?)! I hope your long Easter weekends were relaxing ones full of great food, great company and great TV (there were some crackers on the box). Sadly the Easter bunny did not bring nice weather with it to the egg hunt – apart from today’s wonderful glimpse of sunshine, it’s just been rain rain rain and my hair (more like ~ball of ginger frizz~) is not happy. I warn you – this post is going to involve a lot of complaining.

These days we can’t be sure what we’ll wake up to in the morning – will the Beast of the East have returned, bringing with it another deep layer of fluffy snow? Will I be woken up by the gentle lullaby of an ice cream van jingle, mum bounding up the stairs with lollies in hand announcing the 30-degree heat that arrived overnight? Will I regret spending an hour straightening my hair the evening before when I step out of my house into torrential rain?

This topsy-turvy snow-then-sun-then-snow-again-then-sun-again-then-rain-rain-and-more-rain has had me doing the hokey-cokey with my furry boots and woolly hats – in, out, in and out of the wardrobe they have gone. Mother Nature normally likes to shake things up around March-April time but this year she’s really keeping us on our toes. This is particularly inconvenient when it comes to planning outfits for the following day – we can’t really predict what we’ll be faced with on our morning commute.

I do love being organised and I refuse to let my need to plan what I’m going to wear the night before be disrupted by the silly ol’ weather. Therefore, this desire for ultra-impressive organisation (definitely not impressive) has led me to create a SpRiNgTiMe CaPsULe WaRdRoBe.

What is a SpRiNgTiMe CaPsULe WaRdRoBe I hear you ask?!? Well, it’s three fancy, fashion-y words that sound nicer together than ‘pile of clothes on my bedroom floor that I tend to reach for more often during this period of crazy weather’. Uh no wait I mean… my SpRiNgTiMe CaPsULe WaRdRoBe is a collection of pieces that I’ve spent the past couple of weeks building to use as fool-proof back-up items I can wear with the confidence that I’ll be able to face any rain, sun, sleet or snow Mother Nature wants to throw at me (OK, maybe not snow, I don’t think I’ll ever be prepared for snow).

So, if you’re interested in finding out more about some of the pieces of clothing I’ve included in my fancy-pants (definitely not fancy-pants) SpRiNgTiMe CaPsULe WaRdRoBe then keep reading… ☺️

Fur-lined jackets

I’m not normally one for bright colours – in fact I actively avoid them while browsing through clothing rails in stores – but I couldn’t take my eyes off this beautiful red/orange piece. In fact, red is fast-becoming my colour of choice this season.

This vibrant faux shearling biker jacket from River Island featured on my Instagram a couple of months ago and I’ve worn it most weekends since. Slipping your arms into these faux fur-lined sleeves feels like putting on a blanket – it’s the softest piece of clothing I think I’ve ever worn.

Rather than reaching for the nearest pair of black jeans or a navy chiffon dress to neutralise the blinding jacket (picking dark items of clothing for outfits is a reflex), I’ve paired it with even more colour. This summery dress is a New Look gem from a couple of summers ago. The biker jacket brings out the red accents in the dress, and the russet-coloured buckle booties enhance the spring/summer boho-vibe. For chillier days, I’d stick on a pair of high-waisted straight leg jeans and a thin grey tee.

If faux fur-lined biker jackets are your thing but red just ain’t, you can find other similar ones here and here.

Culottes

Culottes seem to be an item people either love or hate. I used to firmly place myself in the ‘hate’ group, assuming their shapeless silhouette would make my thighs look wider and butt look bigger (and not in a cute way 🙅‍♀️).

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Around this time last year though, they became a hit trend and I succumbed to the fashion slave within me and tried on a pair in a Zara changing room. It was in that changing room that I jumped straight across into the ‘AbSoLuTeLy AdOrE’ group and culottes have since become a staple item in my wardrobe.

Whereas style used to be my priority for outfits, I now tend to value comfort more than anything else (I just cross my fingers the style bit will follow suit) – luckily culottes fit the style AND comfort bill to a T. I think this navy pair from Zara (old, similar here and here) looks fab with this fluffy Topshop jumper (also old – similar here and here); I love the combination of patterns and textures. This outfit is ideal for both chilly and warmer days – culottes allow for wonderful air flow when you feel a sweat coming on during your rush to the station 😂

Roll neck tops

Roll necks are another type of clothing I have grown to love over time. As a not-so-small-chested gal who used to be quite self-conscious of any clothing that gave the impression of curves, high neck pieces were never really welcome in my wardrobe. But, like culottes, after seeing images of stylish influencers rocking roll necks under graphic tees, satin dresses, spaghetti vests and the like floating around the internet last year, I wanted to give them a chance.

Roll neck knits were my go-to this winter – they’re snug and cosy, and make you feel like you’re still tucked up under your duvet. While there are still days that make me question whether spring has actually arrived (will this rain and cold weather ever sod off?!), I’m not prepared to risk hyperthermia on my commute to work – wear a high-neck knit on a warmish day and you’ll be angrily pulling at the fabric around your armpits until you can jump into a shower. So, I’m downgrading my layers to a thin cotton roll neck tee instead.

The one in these shots is from Boohoo; similar can also be found at Suncoo and H&M. I’ve paired it with the comfiest little corduroy pinafore dress from Topshop (sold out – similar here and here) and some thigh boots. I absolutely love this outfit! Whip your hair up into a bun or high pony to accentuate the funky neckline and you’re set.

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Oversized scarves

Forgive me if this one sounds a bit boring or predictable but leaving it out of my SpRiNgTiMe CaPsULe WaRdRoBe would be an injustice to the power of this reliable accessory.

Anyone who sees me on the daily will be aware of my attachment to this gorgeous light blue H&M scarf (old – similar here and here). You won’t see one of us without the other (yeah, we’re one of those couples 🙄😂). She’s multi-purpose (yes, she’s a ‘she’) – flop her on top of your head and she’s a great hair-protector when it’s raining; stretch her out across your shoulders and she becomes a nice shawl for chilly evenings (not that I’m classy enough to wear a shawl); let her hang long around your neck and she conveniently covers up your pyjama top during a dash to the supermarket.

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If you’re not already convinced (c’mon, they’re multi-purpose hat/jacket/bad-outfit-disguises!) I think scarves also add a lot to the silhouette of an outfit.

I’ve been big on silhouettes lately, combining pieces of different shapes and textures to create an interesting outline. A tassel scarf draped twice around your neck adds a nice lil summin’ summin’ to an outfit that’s otherwise shapeless. I like contrast too – oversized sweaters with skin-tight jeans and chunky boots; figure-hugging halternecks with puffy tulle skirts, thigh boots with a flowing dress. Oversized scarves add some nice contrast to an otherwise figure-hugging or outfit.

Also, while we’re looking as these ReAlLy CoOL (definitely not cool) photos of me smiling at my cute AF scarf, can we also take note of how funky these River Island jeans are???


…and that’s it, folks – the four items I will continue plonking on my body regularly until Mother Nature decides to bless us with some sweet sunshine 🌞

I’d love to know what pieces you’ve been reaching for during this strange seasonal transition!

Love,

skitch

Opening Up Online: The Concept Of Vulnerability

I was 13 years old when I created my first blog. In the dim light of my messy teenage bedroom – with its scribbled-on walls and clothes strewn across the floor – I logged onto Blogger, designed a pink-themed homepage and started typing away. However, it wasn’t long before the desire to publish my thoughts online was trumped by the ever-growing fear that someone I knew IRL would actually find them. I loved writing about myself and my opinions but only if I could remain anonymous to the people who came across them. That pink-themed ode to my tween idols, favourite fashion trends and travel photos soon got scrapped.

I hadn’t given up on blogging though. In fact I would spend the next eight or so years trying to build up the courage to publish a website that had my name and face attached to it. Thankfully this summer – happily holed away in that same bedroom with its now bright blue walls and clothes *still* strewn across the floor – I finally grew those blogging-balls and did just that.

To share or not to share?

If I’m totally honest, sitting down to draft up a blog still fills me with anxiety. Not only have I dedicated time, energy and dolla $$ to this little corner of the internet but I have AcTiVeLy PrOmOtEd it across my social media for everyone I know to find and see (😱). However, this time around that anxiety is outweighed by the unadulterated joy I get from talking about the things I love and learn, owning my own little online space and connecting with people whom I would never have had the opportunity to had I not created Joie de Velvet. It’s still early days in my blogging journey but something I struggle with, and probably will continue to for a while to come, is being wholeheartedly open. I think the root of this is that good ol’ disconcerting concept of ~vulnerability~. I’ve written about how to maintain curly hair and the benefits of exfoliating skin brushes, but I don’t think I’ve shown much more than a glimpse into the ups and downs of a typical 22 year-old’s life – the trials and tribulations of a woman who still thinks of herself as a girl, who has no idea what she’s doing, why she’s doing it or where she’s going to go. Don’t get me wrong – writing about beauty products and the latest fashion trends is something I could do, and really really want to do, for the rest of my life. But I enjoy connecting with people too, both in person and through words on a screen, and I think this is done most successfully when one’s writing contains little pieces of the writer.

Being vulnerable doesn't have to be as scary as it sounds

When I started building Joie de Velvet back in September, I intended for it to become a sort-of portal for fashion advice and style inspiration, with some beauty / lifestyle / travel tidbits thrown in occasionally too. This isn’t a plan I intend to stray far from but if I am to make this blog an authentic representation of me as a person – which is something I both need and want to do ☺️ – then things have gotta change!

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My fear of opening up and appearing at all vulnerable to anyone other than my nearest and dearest (and even that is a feat in itself) will have to be actively smushed down, little by little, with each post I hit ‘Publish’ on. But by vulnerable, I don’t mean regurgitating the raw contents of my brain – I’m neither interesting enough nor have the desire to do that. I just mean there needs to be a bit more colour, a bit more personality, a bit more of me intertwined in the things I write about. I think surrendering these psychological blog-barriers (is this a thing? I’m making it a thing) will also help me feel closer to my blog in general (we’ve been drifting apart lately and are need of a bit of a relationship revamp).

I’m determined to make my mark on the blogging world an authentic one, however big or tiny it may be. Not just for those who stumble across my monthly musings, but also for my 13 year-old self who wished she had grown some blogging-balls a lot sooner.

Baby Ellie, we got this 💪

4 ways to treat your mum this Mother’s Day

Mothers – we chat with them for hours about our latest life dramas, they listen to us rant about annoying siblings or work or our lack of money, we bicker with them when they want us to wear a coat when it really isn’t that cold outisde and, ultimately, we adore them through-and-through.

The 11th of March is Mother’s Day in the UK and a wonderful excuse to show our mums how grateful we are for the years of love and labour. It’s also a day that comes with a bit of pressure – what are you meant to buy the woman who’s done so much for us and loved us unconditionally over the years (even when we stain the bathroom with hair dye, vomit in the front garden after one too many or beg for lifts to the station late at night)?

If you have the means and desire to drown your mum in pearls and roses and diamonds then go for it, but you don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds to make her smile. A homemade card and plate of scrambled eggs on toast bought to her in bed is often more than enough to show your mum that you’re grateful for the love and life she’s given you (although I’m sure a nice Michael Kors bag or box of gold eternity roses wouldn’t go amiss 🙊).

If, like me, you’re a bit strapped for cash this month and are looking for some sweet but personal gift ideas, this blog might give you the bit of #inspo you need…

Cute stationary

God knows how but mothers are wonderfully organised beings. How they coordinate family mealtimes, dentist appointments, maintaining a respectable house and knowing where everyone is all the time is baffling, but they do it bloody well.

Often, behind every organised woman is a very large collection of stationary and tools (or bits of scrap paper all over the house, if it’s my lovely mama). Why not add to her toolbox with some cute new notebooks and pens this Mother’s Day?

Forget 50p spiral bound notebooks from the corner shop and those pads of paper you steal from hotel rooms (just me?) – this vibrant set from Studio Sweet & Sour is the perfect accessory for any organised mum.

I got gifted these for my birthday this year and they’ll be staying firmly in my cherished notebook collection, but a set of pads along the same vein are the perfect little gift. Kate Spade have a gorgeous set of three wired notebooks and Pull and Bear are selling a pretty marble one.

Sentimental lockets

Whether it’s in the form of a necklace or bracelet, lockets are an ultra-personal addition to any outfit. Every year, from age 12 when I saw my cousin wearing one, to age 17, I would remind my mum that the only present I really wanted for my “big 18th” was a locket. I’m a sucker for personal, sentimental gifts and I’d always imagined a locket being the perfect way to mark my entrance into adulthood.

I get to carry my family (and doggo!) around with me whenever I wear this pretty heart-shaped piece and I guarantee any mama will love it for the same reason. This one is from The Locket Tree but Littlewoods and Beaverbrooks have lovely ones too.

Lots of jewellers let you personalise the piece too for that extra bit of sentimentality – get the names of your other family members engraved on the back or a simple ‘thank you for letting me live rent free while I save money for a flat‘.

A “scent set”

For some of us, the whiff of a certain scent can feel like a big mama’s hug. Does your mum gravitate towards floral scents like lavender or rose? Maybe she’s a fan of that cliché ‘fresh linen’ smell or has a favourite Estée Lauder perfume?

Go hunting for products with her favourite scent and create a basket full of skincare, fragrance or beauty products. Think hand creams, talcum powders, perfumes, body washes, soaps, candles, diffusers, room mists… Every time she spritzes a little on her wrist or gives the living room a couple of sprays, she’ll think of the angelic child that gave it to her 👼

Flower subscription

Treat your mum every month with a flower subscriptionThis gift idea will cost more than a few pennies but if your mum is a big fan of blooms, a monthly flower subscription is a sweet way to treat her all year round.

Flowerbx lets you choose from weekly / fortnightly / monthly deliveries of white or coloured flowers, and Bloom & Wild will send your stems in letterbox-friendly boxes so you don’t have to worry about being home when they’re delivered.

If, like me, you’re completely clueless about which service is best to go for, The Telegraph have a great run-down of the best subscription boxes available.


I hope this mini gift guide gave you the inspiration you needed to treat your mum this Mother’s Day – what are you going to get her?

Love,

skitch