Skirting The Issue – Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone

It should come as no surprise that denim is, like a lot of people, where my comfort zone lies. A skirt is something of an alien garment and I admit, I’ve never quite got to grips with it. Don’t get me wrong, I love skirts on other people. A cursory flick through Pinterest will turn up literally thousands of glossy pics of the kind of girl that can pull off a pleated blush pink midi skirt without looking like some kind of throwback to a 1950’s US Prom! In my teenage years, I was all about the mini skirt. A mini seemed both easy to wear and style up, although if somethings not easy to wear at the age of eighteen then what hope is there? In my twenties the pencil skirt was the object of my affection – I clearly remember trying to recreate Roland Mouret’s Galaxy dress with a black satin pencil skirt and a knockoff Topshop top. Now I’m in my thirties I’m determined to crack the midi! I think my issue with the whole skirt genre is how to style it. Usually, I’m pretty good at pulling looks together but more often than not when faced with a skirt I draw a bit of a blank. My default is always, without fail a white shirt. A white shirt and skirt- whatever the style will always be a winning combo! I think the key to making something that’s out of your comfort zone work for you is to keep it simple and play up your accessories. Here I picked a black fine knit sweater topped with a classic leather biker jacket. The statement patent boots are a great contrast to the cream wool skirt and give edge to an inherently feminine style. What are your thoughts on midi skirts? How do you style yours?

breaking out of my comfort zone

Midi skirt and boots

cream wool skirt

midi skirt outfit

stepping out of my comfort zone

SKIRT – ME & EM 

SWEATER – ME & EM

JACKET – LAKELAND LEATHER (SIMILAR)

BOOTS – JIMMY CHOO (SIMILAR)

BAG – SAINT LAURANT (SIMILAR)

BRACELET – ASHIANA

SUNGLASSES – PRADA (SIMILAR)

*this post contains affiliate links*

 

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Boots & Crops – The Perfect Pairing

It seems only five minutes ago we were in the throes of Summer and I was weighing up the merits of a floppy sun hat with the words Mrs. Rhoades emblazoned in sequins! So how is it that I find myself huddled in front of the fire having just removed two bin liners full of crunchy, ladybird infested (don’t ask) leaves from my doorstep? Putting aside questions with no discernable answer it occurred to me that as a dedicated denim devotee, it’s actually taken roughly six months to get my head around the new styles, specifically Mom jeans (check out my thoughts here) and cropped jeans with a raw hem. Towards the end of the summer season, I really became partial to a crop. I’ve been wearing them with loafers, strappy sandals and heels – they’re both versatile and flattering and to be quite honest I’m just not ready to give them up when the inevitable chill descends and I have to succumb to a good old pair of socks! The answer to this conundrum clearly lies in a pair of boots. It’s taken me a while to warm up to this idea (I do love a bare ankle), but this seasons ‘sock boots’ allow you to retain the slim ankle that really is crucial to the success of the boots & cropped jean combo! Alongside boots & crops, pearls are also having a bit of a moment (and you guys know how much I love a bit of pearl embellishment), so I’ve styled this up with an oversized embellished shirt and a boxy pink coat – both from Zara. How to do you feel about cropped jeans in winter? Are boots & crops the perfect pairing?

pearl embellished shirt

Cropped Flared Jeans

Pink Tailored Coat

Pearl Embellished Shirt

Zara Pearl Shirt

Sock Boots & Cropped Frayed Jeans

JEANS – PAIGE (SIMILAR)

SHIRT – ZARA (SIMILAR)

COAT – ZARA (SIMILAR)

BOOTS – CHARLES JOURDAN (SIMILAR) 

NECKLACE – MISSOMA

BRACELETS – MONICA VINADER, DINNY HALL, ASHIANA

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Wardrobe Picks – Kick Flare & Camisole

Aside from my traditional love of denim, there’s the odd occasion when a good pair of tailored trousers just hits the spot. This russet pair from Zara is unashamedly ‘new season’ – can you imagine a more perfect colour heading into Autumn? I’m fairly tall (clocking on 5,9″) and these sweep the floor even paired with a 4-inch heel, so although perfect for me, the more, shall we say, ‘vertically challenged’ among you may need to seek the services of a good tailor. The kick flare gives a glamorous swoosh as you walk and they look awesome paired down with a simple t-shirt (I wore these for my birthday meal, teamed with a simple black crew neck tee and absolutely loved it.) They also have the advantage of balancing out the old ‘child bearing hips’ – I think I’ve been in skinnies so long I’ve forgotten the magical slimming effect of a wider leg! When debating this weeks wardrobe picks my inclination was to pair the trousers with a black silk camisole but the new season is simply awash with different shades of red so I thought, ‘what the hell’ let’s go all out and I have to say I’m delighted with the end result. I’ve talked about my love of silk camisoles before (Wardrobe Classics – Pink Trench & Denim) and they are definitely having a bit of a fashion moment (how rude – I liked them way before they were ‘in’. Ha)! Camisoles are a complete wardrobe staple for me –  They always look so on point paired with a tailored trouser but work just as well with ripped denim and a blazer or chunky cardi (this is very close to the look I wore on my first ever date with Mr.R over nine years ago now so it’s pretty much verging on classic). I’m making a conscious effort to try and push the boundaries with my wardrobe picks a little more this season (i.e not to wear jeans with everything) so expect to see more ventures into tailoring and even the odd dress or skirt coming your way as we move into Autumn/Winter. What are your picks for the new season.?

Black Leather Biker Jacket

Rayban Clubmaster

Missoma Lucy Williams Horn Necklace

Lakeland Leather Jacket

Wardrobe Picks - Kick Flare & Cami

Red Kick Flare Trouser

TROUSERSZARA

SILK CAMISOLEUTERQÜE

LEATHER JACKET – LAKELAND LEATHER (SIMILAR)

SHOESJIMMY  CHOO

BAG – SAINT LAURANT (SIMILAR)

NECKLACESMISSOMA

BRACELETSMONICA VINADER & DINNY HALL

SUNGLASSESRAYBAN

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The Hundred Pound Haul…The Massimo Edit

I feel I should begin this post with an apology and a caveat that I use the word ‘haul’ in the loosest sense of the word. Round two of the Hundred Pound Haul and we’ve already made a, somewhat elementary, blunder. As it turns out, Marks and Spencer was an excellent choice for our first go – attainable and affordable enough to get a decent ‘haul’ for the set price of (yes you guessed it) one hundred pounds.

(If you haven’t already, get up to speed on the idea behind the Hundred Pound Haul HERE).

The Hundred Pound Haul - The Massimo Edit | jessicarhoades.co.uk

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen that we recently returned from our first family holiday to the South of Spain. Traditionally us girls tend to go a little crazy in the ‘Massimo’ Boutiques (they’re literally on every street corner down there).  It’s just so bloomin chic and designer-esqe but at great prices! To cut a long story short, whilst in the throes of sunshine and sangria, we decided that a dedicated ‘Massimo’ hundred pound haul would be just the ticket for our second go…what could go wrong? I’ll tell you what went wrong. You see, as stylish and as (relatively speaking) affordable as it is, you ain’t gonna get much of a haul out of our self-imposed hundred pound limit! Consequently, (and not really wanting to dip our toes into the sales) our ‘haul’ has become more of a ‘two piece pick’ of the new season styles. You live and learn and we will try to do better next time (hangs head in shame)

About Massimo Dutti

Some of you may, some of you may not know about the wonders of Massimo Dutti. As a northern gal, it’s not a brand we stumble across very often (which is why I take every opportunity afforded to me when in Spain). A Spanish brand through and through, Massimo is from the Zara family – the chic big sister to Zara’s playful brand of fun and flirtation and I seriously cannot get enough of it’s cool paired back aesthetic!

The Hundred Pound Haul - The Massimo Edit | jessicarhoades.co.uk

The Hundred Pound Haul - The Massimo Edit | jessicarhoades.co.uk

My Picks

  1. White Cotton Shirt – You quite literally cannot go wrong with a crisp white shirt. There’s just something so ‘Cindy Crawford’ about that all American, denim and white shirt combo. Incidentally, I have just purchased a pair of gents Levi 511’s which, when paired with a white shirt just makes me come over all 90’s Supermodel! (disclaimer…In no way am I so delusional that I believe I actually look like Cindy, Christy et al – just let me put that out there). This is a shirt lovers dream…stiff cuffs, side splits and that arm detail takes it to a whole other level while remaining ‘office appropriate’. Post baby I generally take a UK size 10-12. I purchased the shirt in a size 12 which I would say is pretty accurate but it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s definitely a slim fitting piece.
  2. Velvet Bow Front Mules – My very first pair of designer shoes had a kitten heel (Prada circa ’99). When I bought them I was envisaging Audrey Hepburn, silk headscarves, the Riviera. Unfortunately, when I look back at pictures, all I can see is a slightly dumpy teenager, unshakably confident that she was a dead ringer for Victoria Beckham! (I mean really…Victoia Beckham in kitten heels? As unfailingly chic as she now undoubtedly is, this was unheard of in the 90’s)! I digress. The point of that story was to illustrate that since those Prada kitten heels, I have shall we say, rather lost my liking for that style of shoe. This shoe shouldn’t do it for me…shouldn’t but it does. What can I say, the romantic in me sees these as some kind of modern day ‘Slipper and the Rose’ (does anyone remember that film? Oh, so good! ) Cinderella shoe. On the  Massimo Dutti website, these are called the ‘Black Slingback, High Heel Court Shoe with Bow Detail.’ Now quite clearly they are neither a slingback nor a high heel (although I suppose the latter does depend somewhat on your interpretation of the word high). I can assure you that they are indeed, as the pictures show, a (surprisingly comfortable and easy to keep on) kitten heeled mule (no slingback). I take a UK size 5 and these fit perfectly.

The Hundred Pound Haul - The Massimo Edit | jessicarhoades.co.uk

The Hundred Pound Haul - The Massimo Edit | jessicarhoades.co.uk

Styling My Picks

When I began to envisage styling the look, my immediate inclination was to pair both picks with classic faded jeans. This high-waisted, fitted yet relaxed style is so very current that it gives, what is essentially a textbook look, a very modern and dare I say it, ‘cool’ edge. Now, this is by no means the only way in which you can style these pieces. Velvet is an obvious winner for winter – I can see the mules looking so chic paired with cropped tuxedo trousers, a simple tee and a blazer. The shirt to me is crying out to be paired with leather – a slinky pencil skirt, a killer pair of leather leggings or a classic biker jacket slung over the shoulders. On the other hand, the shirt would be a great addition to a classic workwear wardrobe.

The Hundred Pound Haul - The Massimo Edit | jessicarhoades.co.uk

The Hundred Pound Haul - The Massimo Edit | jessicarhoades.co.uk

The Hundred Pound Haul - The Massimo Edit | jessicarhoades.co.uk

Stand Out Pieces

Being only August (and really quite muggy) it’s still quite difficult to get a real feel of the new season. That being said, leather (in all its guises) is always a winner for trans-seasonal dressing and Massimo always excel with their offering of buttery soft bikers and swing jackets. Unfortunately, leather would have been somewhat in excess of our budget for this particular haul but do check out Massimo’s leather collection if you’re in the market for a splurge!

  • Shop New Season Leather HERE

Next Up

So, lesson officially learned…choosing an upper-level high street label for a hundred pound haul was short sighted, to say the least, and we very quickly came a cropper. So, with that in mind, we have decided that for the next haul we are going to move away from fashion and have a go with makeup. (I cannot even tell you how excited this makeup junkie is about this one)! We’ve also made plans for both an ASOS and a dedicated accessory haul. Is there anything or any particular store you would like to see? Leave me a comment below, id love to hear your suggestions.

CLICK HERE to read about our first hundred pound haul

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