Betsy Loves, Fashion

New Year, new job, new wardrobe

Drumroll please, I have a new job. Huzzah. How exciting. How scary. And now I need a whole new wardrobe. Which is a little exaggeration, but not huge. You see, when you work from home a lot, there’s an alarming lack of need for proper grown up clothes, or indeed clothes indeed. No. I am not a nudist. I refer to the practice of all day pyjamas. Of course. When I am in the office, I’m not client facing very often, so a pair of jeans and a nice top will do the job. When I do need to see any clients, I throw on a blazer and make sure I have some punchy shoes. Job done (clothing wise at least). There’s also a lot to be said for accessories – scarves and necklaces can really elevate a more casual look into something office appropriate – thank God.

So now on to my new job, which is client facing. Not every day, but nevertheless, I need to purchase some new outfits. And even if I didn’t, I’d still want to as it’s both fun and mentally helpful to start a new job with a fresh look. I think it helps you embrace your new role. At least, this is my line, and I’m sticking to it…

It can be a minefield starting a new job – seriously, why aren’t company dress code guides, complete with brands and pictures compulsory? Without a guide to consult, I did the next best thing (or probably the actual best thing) and I emailed one of my new colleagues. Fortunately she’s in agreement with me on the whole scarf thing (no surprise there – I turned up to the interview and we were both wearing leopard print ones), and she’s also noted that they’re not a corporate company so boring black traditional suits aren’t the way forward either. Hurray! That being said, I do feel that an investment in a suit might be a wise move; after all, who says I have to wear both parts at the same time?

If you don’t fancy emailing a new colleague with such a ‘trivial’ question, then take a good hard look at the company itself. Is it creative or corporate? What did you wear to your interview? What were your interviewers wearing? In my case, with a company that’s non-corporate and pretty darn creative, black jeans with a blazer, a smart t-shirt underneath, lovely shoes on your feet, and a jazzy scarf around your neck is a great way to go. However, creative it may be, but slobby it is not, so it’s time to relegate the hoodies, and it’s also probably not the right place for my leather leggings either (although we’ll see about that!).

I’m not made of money so I have a limited budget to stick to so I’ve had to whittle down the wish list to a manageable few pieces. How have I done this? By searching for workwear inspiration online and taking note. By being ruthless about what I will actually wear. By remembering my own personal style (so 6 inch stilettos are out). And by remembering that I can always buy things after a month when I’ve adjusted.

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First of all, I’ve treated myself to a new handbag. Of course! Now I know this sounds like a trivial purchase, but this was a congratulations present to myself from myself. I worked hard to get this new job, so I decided to treat myself. I can’t wait for it to arrive. It’s a beauty from Kate Spade, snatched up in the sale. I’m not usually a feminine kind of girl, but for some reason, the washed out pink patent colour was calling to me. So here it is, the Cedar Street Patent Reena, reduced from £330 to £198 – bargain.

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Next up, a non-corporate suit, with the versatility to wear the jacket and the trousers individually as well. I plumped for this French Connection Pepper Suit (also in the sale). The grey tweed makes it less formal than some suits. I also think the jacket is hugely useful – it can be paired with all of my jeans – and I know I’ll wear it in and out of the office. As for the trousers, I’m ashamed to say I didn’t really own a pair of non-denim ones before this, so it was high time I invested anyway. These will look fabulous whether paired with tan brogues or shiny black slip ons, and worn without the jacket, and with a crisp white shirt and a great jumper over the top, you have a smart casual look that I’d wear on the weekends too.

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And then there’s this Topshop Premium Suit (also on sale!). Yes, yes, I know it’s black, and therefore more formal, but it’s a very modern shape, which makes it less stuffy. To be honest, I think it’ll be a great inclusion to my wardrobe as the trousers can be worn on night’s out (ditto the blazer), and if I wear the whole suit with a sexy lace came underneath then you get a very sophisticated evening outfit.


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Then this little Zara blazer is also calling to me (sale!). Another jacket you cry! Yes! And for good reason. I wear blazers a lot, and they suit my pear shape. Plus it’s lazy dressing – throw a blazer over almost any outfit and it instantly looks smarter. Easy peasy. Plus, I scored a similar black one from Zara earlier in the year and I love it.

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Jeans. Not for every office nor for every day, but still a great thing to have in your clothing arsenal. I love these Topshop Jamie jeans as they’re high waisted (no embarrassing bum crack incidents), made from reasonably thick material (no embarrassing VPLs), ankle cropped (great for my stumpy legs), affordable, and come in a variety of shades including this – a blue black hybrid that is definitely smart enough for any creative office.

Shoes. I love shoes. I fully intend to become known as ‘the girl with the awesome collection of flats’. You’ve been warned. Everyone needs a good pair of black shoes, and the navy ones are from Office and they are RIDICULOUSLY comfy (which is a rare thing on my feet). And as for the gold lace ups, they’re just fab and will make sure my outfits inject both my personality and avoid looking boring.

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A classic white shirt. Gap always comes up with the goods. This will work on some many occasions and with so many outfits.

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Another classic – the black shift dress. This one’s from Boden. Now, I’m not a dress person. Not really. And who knows, I might decide this one isn’t for me, but I’ve still ordered it. I personally like to think it ticks lots of boxes – it can be dressed up with jewellery or dressed down with some Adidas Gazelles. It’s a decent length, it’s got sleeves, it’s not shapeless, it’s got a lovely exposed zip at the back and it’s got that great boatneck AND it’s got POCKETS! So, I’m going to give it a go. Who knows? Maybe I’ll become a dress convert (never going to happen).

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And finally, this gorgeous watch from Daniel Wellington. This is most definitely on my wish list, but sadly not within my price range at the moment. I’m promising myself at when I’ve earned it properly, then, and only then, I might treat myself to it.

So there you have it – the workwear wish (and already bought in some cases) list!

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Betsy Loves, Fashion

Boots, boots and more boots

Even though we’re enjoying a late resurgence in summer heat, I’m still resolutely looking towards my sartorial winter wardrobe, and that includes boots. Boots in many colours, and styles. I can’t get enough of them.

These are my fave picks.

Topshop Age Chelsea Boots

Topshop Age Chelsea Boots

 

 

Topshop Cacoon Knee High Boots

Topshop Cacoon Knee High Boots

Clarks Phenia Desert Boots

Clarks Phenia Desert Boots

Clarks Lindley Charm Boots

Clarks Lindley Charm Boots

Clarks Minster Lance Biker Boots

Clarks Minster Lance Biker Boots

Carvela for Kurt Geiger Shuffle Peep Toe Boots

Carvela for Kurt Geiger Shuffle Peep Toe Boots

Office Courtney Western Boots

Office Courtney Western Boots

Boden Boho Boots

Boden Boho Boots

Dr Martens Black Wave Boots

Dr Martens Black Wave Boots

 

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Beauty, Betsy Loves

Hunky dory

I’ve raved about Topshop’s Sheer Lips in the past, and I’ve just got my hands on the shade Hunky Dory. It’s the best nude out there. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Alibi, but this is altogether sexier, with a slightly darker nude shade and a subtle shimmer. Plus it seems to stay around a look longer. If you’re after a nude lip for this winter, you can’t go wrong with this.

 

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Betsy Loves, Fashion

I’ve been shopping…

I’m not going to lie, I’m more of a winter breed, and there are few things I like more than rediscovering and replenishing my winter clothes. I’ve spent the last few weeks feasting my hungry little eyes on new stock drip-drip-dripping in, and now it’s all arrived in a flood.

Last week, Mr T and I hit the shops in Leeds, and did some damage. Here are the current new beauties of my wardrobe, although I still have a list as long as my arm… Sigh.

As you can see, my colour palette tends to the grey, black and white. Mr T says none of those count as colours, but he’s wrong. I’ll let him off though, as he bought me my lovely Adidas Gazelles, which I’ve been gazing (no pun intended…) at for a while. He actually bought them to say congrats for swimming the Channel; all together now – awwwww, bless.

Mango Camel Wool Gilet

Mango Camel Wool Gilet

This gilet is bleeding gorgeous. I had to beg the sales assistant in Mango to rummage in the store room for it as they hadn’t put it on the shelves yet. I’m convinced this is going to be really useful, as I can even layer a jacket underneath it when it gets colder.

Topshop Raff Black Sandals

Topshop Raff Black Sandals

I don’t usually ‘do’ heels, but these are lust worthy, in my humble opinion. The straps mean that I can actually walk in them, they also hide my less-than-stunning feet, and the block heel means they don’t hurt. It’s a miracle! And I love the shiny toe plate too.

Topshop Double Layer Sheer Solid Top

Topshop Double Layer Sheer Solid Top

It’s sheer, but not so sheer you need to wear a vest top underneath, it’s charcoal grey, and it’s soft. What is not to love about this? Plus, the long hemline means I can wear my new leather-look leggings underneath and not feel like I’m flashing too much!

Topshop Asymmetric V-Neck Sweater

Topshop Asymmetric V-Neck Sweater

Yes, I know this is basically the same as the jumper above, but it’s not really. It’s a different grey. A lighter grey. It’s versatile. And I love it.

River Island High Waisted Coated Leggings

River Island High Waisted Coated Leggings

The aforementioned leather-look leggings. These are a first for me; I’ve always admired the ladies who can carry off leather leggings or trousers and look sexy without looking too OTT, but I’ve never had the guts myself. Why? Because leather and pleather have a tendency to cling where you don’t want them to. I also can’t get Ross from Friends out of my head, and I loathe pleather when it looks seriously plastic-y. I tried on several pairs in River Island. One pair zipped up, but I honestly couldn’t tell which was the front and which was the back; either way I tried they looked awful, and when I finally pulled them off, my legs were pretty sweaty. Gross. These ones, however, pull on (quite easily as it turns out); the high waist means there’s no dreaded muffin top, and I figure as long as I wear tops that cover my bum, I think I can just about get away with them. I’ll keep you updated…

Adidas Gazelles

Adidas Gazelles

My lovely Gazelles. Thanks Mr T x

Topshop Leigh Jeans

Topshop Leigh Jeans

You can NEVER have too many pairs of skinny black jeans. NEVER!!! And the Leigh jeans are soft and thin, with enough stretch to give you a fitted look but not so much that they’re bagging at the knees a few hours later.

Topshop Annette Western Boots

Topshop Annette Western Boots

Finally, some new black boots. I love an ankle boot. Like, really, honest to God, would marry them if I could, LOVE an ankle boot. They are so useful. And a pair with a walkable wearable chunky cuban-esque heel? Well, you’ve just about made my day. Mr T doubts the usefulness of black suede, but I like a slightly battered look to my shoes. So there. These will not be the last pair of ankle boots I thrust before your eyes. Just a gentle warning.

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Fashion

Staying solvent

I am a consumer. The worst kind. I am terribly impressionable so a flashy advertising campaign will always impress me (hello Apple). I also love the feeling of possessing something shiny and new. I quite enjoy popping into town for a browse. I go on Amazon at least once a day. I’m an eBay bidder and seller. Every day I check the new stock in Topshop and Asos (and Net-a-Porter but fortunately I acknowledge that 99.9% of everything on here is out of my price range). I buy Elle monthly and earmark anything that takes my fancy. I follow a plethora of fashion blogs and also earmark anything I fancy. Ditto Instagram and Pinterest.

My Pinterest shopping list

My Pinterest shopping list

I like clothes. I like shoes. I like jewellery. I like make up. I like bags. I like STUFF. Stuff is fun, although I will hold my hands up and say the amount of stuff I own is ridiculous, and when you put it into the context of most of the world’s population it’s obscene. However, fair distribution of the world’s wealth is not the topic of this blog post; the topic is, how do I avoid bankruptcy?…

My Amazon wishlist

My Amazon wishlist

Luckily, Momma P drummed into me the dangers of store cards from a young age. And Mr P would be highly unimpressed if I found myself flailing under thousands of pounds worth of debt. That being said, I have an overdraft, and a credit card, and I am prepared to use both. If I indulged every single desire then I would be in serious trouble. No joke.

My Asos 'saved' list

My Asos ‘saved’ list

So how do I manage? Not with anything as adult as pure and simple willpower and control. Oh no; I have to psyche myself out and I do this with the joys of virtual shopping.

My Topshop 'notebook'

My Topshop ‘notebook’

Every single website that I buy from has a ‘saved items’ or ‘wishlist’ option and I use these to go CRAZY! I add every top, bag, hat and accessory to my online basket and bask in the glow of almost buying. Sometimes I glance at the total and gulp. Other times I don’t even look. And then I go and do something else.

My eBay watchlist

My eBay watchlist

If, a month or so down the line, and I still want one of the things I popped in my basket, then, and only then, I consider actually buying it. (Well, quite frankly, that statement is a big fat lie because sometimes I see something and fall in love with it completely and know that my life will only be complete if I buy it, so I do, but mostly, yeah, I do what I just said…)

It’s working out quite well for me so far. The only downside is when I come back a month later and want it all… Or when I come back a month later and the dress I wanted isn’t available anymore… Or when my lists become so long I’ll never reach the bottom of them… Ok. So there are a few teething issues but it’s better than being bankrupt.

 

 

 

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Beauty, Betsy Loves

Topshop Sheer Lips

I’m not a total snob when it comes to make up, but I am lucky enough that I get sent some lovely luxurious freebies to my workplace. It’s given me an expensive habit – Clarins foundation, Lancome mascara, Benefit eye shadow – so it was with great pleasure that I discovered that Topshop’s make up range is not complete and utter crap.

I prefer to wear a sheer lipstick in summer and there are loads doing the rounds at the moment, not least, Clinique’s Chubby Stick (£17) or Clarins’ Joli Rouge Brilliant Perfect Shine Sheer Lipstick (£19), but on a whim I decided to try out Topshop’s Sheer Lips in Alibi for a mere £8.

 

 

 

 

 

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The packaging is simple but attractive, and I was promised a pinky nude ultra moisturising balmy finish with sheer to medium coverage; and the product delivered. The colour glides on, leaves my lips a glistening nude which will work brilliantly with a dark smoky eye, and smells nice. It’s not as sticky as a gloss, and gives a more sophisticated finish; the only thing is it doesn’t last a terribly long time. That being said, I am definitely going to ‘invest’ in their ‘nuclear’ shade the next time I’m in town, which they describe as coral, but actually turned into a ice pop pink when on.

So next time, before you rush to replace your old products with the same, take a look at what Topshop has to offer and you might be pleasantly surprised.

 

 

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Betsy Loves, Fashion

Topshop x Kate Moss

I get it; she’s over-hyped; she probably didn’t design any of the pieces herself; they’re from Topshop so they’re hardly designer, but, still, when I saw Kate Moss was going to release a new collection with Topshop, I was excited. I mean, the woman can dress. Nine times out of ten I like what she’s wearing; millions of women strive to emulate her; and there are thousands, literally, thousands of Pinterest boards devoted to her (I may have one of my own…).

I browsed the whole collection and earmarked the few pieces I thought I’d like. Obviously the prices are inflated but I really really liked the embroidered smock dress (Mr T, my other half, LOATHES it! So much the better, right?).

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At £75 I could just about justify it but how was I going to get my hands on it? These collections sell like hot cakes. It is RIDICULOUSLY difficult to get hold of the item you want in the right size. Apparently my local Topshop was opening at 9am this morning (earlier than usual) so that all us fashion-lovers could get our dirty mitts on the clothes in question. However, I am inherently lazy.

So, I turned to the internet, and was feeling suitably smug when, at 7.06am I had popped both the embroidered smock, and a very lovely gold/silver tarnished sequin jacket, in my online basket. I went to pay and BANG! ‘Error’. I’d already put my card details in for God’s sake! I refreshed gingerly… ‘Error’. Ugh. I thought ‘f*** it. I’m not that bothered anyway.’ And then I had a brainwave.

Net-a-porter, a website that I haunt daily but have never yet managed to purchase anything from due to their exorbitant designer prices, was offering a capsule selection of the range. I clicked over to them, and joy of joys, there was my smock (no sequined jacket, but hey ho). I had to pay an extra £5 in postage and packing, but for that I get a ‘signature’ net-a-porter black box (which, if you believe their website blurb, is almost a fashion accessory in itself).

Now I’m just looking forward to getting this smock so I can try it on (much to Mr T’s displeasure), decide I don’t actually like it after all (because I don’t look like Mossy does in the picture) and pay more P&P to send the damned thing back.

 

 

 

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