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.

ASOS puff sleve summery boderie
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

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 💪

The It-Knits (A/W 17)

“Fall has always been my favourite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” ~ Lauren DeStefano

By the beginning of October, trees have started to turn magical shades of pink and orange and red, leaves seem to find their way into the house every time you open the door, and that “new season” feeling has truly set in. Autumn is my favourite time of the year – finally I’ve got an excuse to snuggle up in big chunky sweaters 24/7 and spend my evenings sipping cocoa in front of the fire. I can pop to the shops in an oversized jumper dress, unbeknownst to others that I’ve got pyjamas on underneath that I haven’t bothered to change out of. I can use “it’s too cold” as an excuse not to leave my cosy house, and most importantly, I can invest in some new autumn outfits!

It’s not rare to find knitwear in the Autumn/Winter trend charts, but in 2017 there is a strong focus on textures. Cable knits, feathers and fur – sweaters this season are going to be adorned with all manner of materials and patterns. While I’ve not yet jumped on the feathered-sweater bandwagon, and that furry Zara jumper will be sitting on my wish list until I get a pay cheque, I’m so excited to have another excuse to fill up my closet with some more fluffy and velvety items.

In this post, I’ll be talking about some of the knitwear – new and old – that I’ll be wearing for the rest of the season (or year, tbh).

Earn your stripes

This cropped striped sweater was purchased from H&M years ago, but there are lots of similar pieces on the market at the moment such as these at Forever 21 and New Look. It combines two popular trends – the monochrome striped pattern that has plastered the catwalks for the majority of this year; and the cropped style, perfect for pairing with high-waisted miniskirts or jeans, or over a flowing dress. I’m embracing texture in this outfit and pairing this crop with a beautiful lace midi-skirt (originally from an M&S sale rack, similar can be found at Missguided and Very.co.uk), a big silver chain necklace (Missguided have a gold version) and some chunky white heels (Boohoo; similar here).

Oversized turtlenecks

Avenir Stripe collage (FIRST ONE!)

You can find similar knitted turtleneck jumpers at ASOS and Missguided.

Soft as velvet

Velvet

As might be evident from the name of my blog, I’ve got a weakness for anything velvet – whenever I’m adorning any soft bits of clothing, you’ll find me unconsciously stroking it throughout the day 😂. I own very few pieces of beige-coloured clothing but I fell in love with this Chenille jumper from Stradivarius as soon as I saw it on its hanger. Its beautiful texture adds detail to an otherwise plain piece, and I love the contrast of the light nude on darker colours. I’m a big fan of neutral palettes, so I’ve paired it with a really simple grey A-line skirt and black boots; the cute “bunting” necklace adds a nice pop of colour though. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, Tesco sell almost identical ones in three colours, and River Island have got a cardigan version!

The mustard knit

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This gorgeous mustard yellow is going to be my staple colour this season. It’s bright and it’s bold – something I often shy away from when I’m constructing my outfits each day, but this cosy knit from Primark adds a much-needed burst of colour into my otherwise dark wardrobe. The sleeves on this piece are wider than average – I love how they look when they’re rolled up – and the neckline is almost polo-style. I’ll be wearing this sweater with black skinny jeans, a pair of chunky boots and an oversized scarf when the weather starts getting cooler. Primark don’t have this piece on their website, but similar-ish versions can be found at Missy Empire and New Look.


I hope you enjoyed reading about my (slightly unhealthy) affection for jumpers, and perhaps feel a tad more inspired to fill your own closet with knitwear and cosy clothing for this new beautiful season.

Love,

skitch