Summer ’18: New Pieces I’ve Picked Up

Happy Sunday, angels!

First off, apologies for the sporadic (and rather sparse) blogging schedule these past few months – creative drought has been real and I didn’t want to post something just for the sake of it. “Quality over quantity” rings in my ears whenever I give myself a hard time for being silent on the blog or missing a couple of days posting on Insta.

The last bank holiday weekend could not have come at a better time – even just one extra day to lie in bed surrounded by snacks has made all the difference to my cortisol levels and I’m already excited for the next Monday off. We were also blessed with wonderful warm weather that had me wanting to get out of the house and do an outfit shoot, rather than finding any excuse to stay tucked up in my duvet. The tumbleweeds in the creative parts of my brain have finally started to clear so I’m coming at you today with a suitably-themed summer outfits haul.

I’m off travelling in a couple of months so should definitely not be spending money right now – especially on more black dresses – but the shops are bursting with the most beautiful pieces at the moment and my willpower just ain’t strong enough. My wardrobe has never been so full of summery dresses and accessories, and I’ve never been so excited for the weather to stay warm (I’m usually an autumn/winter girl at heart). Today’s post is going to be about some of my favourite bits and pieces I’ve picked up for the new season…

ASOS DESIGN Broderie Puff Ball Off Shoulder Sundress

ASOS has been my go-to lately (especially after treating myself to Premier Delivery last month – biggest mistake for my bank balance 🙊) and I’ve been drawn to red pieces in particular like a moth is drawn to a flame.

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Broderie red dress, perfect for the summerThis 
amazing puff-sleeve dress went straight into my basket when I saw it and straight onto my body when it arrived in the post. I love the delicate broderie print and those sleeves… what better way to hide the fact I’ve never picked up an arm weight? 😍

As mentioned in my last blog post I’m obsessed with interesting silhouettes, and the A-line cut and puffed arm cuffs on this dress fit that bill to a T.

I’d pair it with black or white strappy heels for a cute evening look, and some espadrilles or cork platform shoes for walks along the beach or shopping trips during the day. 

TOPSHOP Shirred Ditsy Bodycon Dress

I’ll admit it straight out – this piece was wholly inspired by the beautiful Lydia from Fashion Influx. As soon as it flashed up on my Instagram feed I fell in love with both the colour (obv) and the print. I’m not normally one for ditsy patterns – they’re a tad too girly / delicate for my preferred style – but the vibrant orange/red colour and dark accents in the print on this dress won me over.

I also love the shirred material and how it creases up around the stomach a little as you walk – great for hiding a mini food-baby and the folds of fabric help add a little bit of pizzazz to the outfits silhouette (you’ll prob hear that a lot in this post)!

H&M Orange Calf-Length Flounced Skirt

This time last year I would never have had the balls to wear something like this. Black and grey intentionally dominated my wardrobe so that I wouldn’t run the risk of wearing something that would make me stand out. The thought of drawing attention to any part of my body – let alone my bottom half – made me cower in embarrassment and red/orange pieces like this flouncy H&M skirt would never have made its way onto a hanger in my closet. I’m glad that, while there’s still room for “not caring about what other people think” in my head, this piece is getting me one step closer to the style I love and feel best in.

This skirt is really fab – it fits great around the waist while giving my legs room to breathe and it’s truly a sight when the wind catches the light material and blows the ruffles around. I’d love to get a patterned version of this piece.

BERSHKA Wide Leg Trouser

This pair of trousers is my first piece from Bershka and will definitely not be my last. They hug my bod so perfectly and are super comfortable to wear – no digging-in around the waist, no unwanted wedgies, no tightness around the top of my legs. I also love the detachable ring belt and going matchy-matchy with a pair of massive hoop earrings.

These will be coming on holiday with me for those cooler evenings and for the dinners I’ll want to dress up nice for but not look OTT. Because these trousers are quite long (or rather, because my legs are disproportionately short), they’re best worn with a pair of espadrille wedges or some high flatforms.

TOPSHOP Square Neck Slip Dress

Midi dresses never used to appeal to me, partly because of my aforementioned insecurity about my short legs and general fear of making myself look stumpier. I envied the tall women with long legs and torsos who rocked them during Fashion Weeks and or whilst shopping on Oxford Street. I never thought they’d look any good hanging off my bumpier, curvier, shorter body.

Summer outfits haul - I definitely didn't need another black dress

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Much like I did with culottes last summer, however, a couple weeks ago I ordered a midi dress from ASOS on a whim (I defo take advantage of their free returns 🙌) and decided they would become a staple in my wardrobe this season. In true Ellie-style though, all the midis I’ve recently treated myself to are black or dark-coloured but that’s OK – it means that, as well as being a comfy bikini cover-up, I can stick a pair of tights on and wear them into the autumn/winter with a biker jacket and chunky boots too.

This Topshop midi dress is made of an interesting material that hangs so flatteringly off the body. I’m also developing a big crush on square necklines too and I like how this one creases into an almost-cowl neck when you move around.

And now for some accessories…

Topshop net and bamboo summer bagdefinitely did not need another bag but I definitely did need to add a string-bamboo one like this to my collection. Wearing this with a long flowing maxi dress or playsuit, I feel like a summery little boho queen, stylish and sophisticated with my style pinned down to a T. The white version doesn’t seem to be available online anymore, although is probably still around in stores. There’s also a gorgeous red one  that would look amazing with a crisp white linen shirt or button-down dress. 

Big hoop earrings are the perfect addition to any summer outfit

Earrings in general have been another fun accessory I’ve been playing with this spring. I’ve not worn anything on my ears for yearsssss and it’s been super fun to shop for funky tasselled gems and diamanté studs again.

These silver hoops from River Island are my favourite so far though – I don’t know how, but they make such a difference to the composition of a style and hairstyle (and they were only a fiver – win-win!).


I hope you enjoyed my sporadic summer haul  – drop me a comment below and tell me about the accessories and outfits you’ve added to your collection for the new season!

Love,

skitch

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 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 💪