Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Imitation Leather

Someone should really tell stores to stop naming things as something they’re not. Last night I spent half an hour wandering round Land of Leather, looking at sofas made from something called ‘leather match’. They should really call the store Land of Imitation Leather.
This is not limited to furniture stores either, it’s happening all over the high street. How many times have I clicked on a ‘wool coat’ or ‘wool dress’ to find the wool content is somewhere around 28%? Too many times! Take this ‘Wool Stripe A Line Dress’, £22 at Topshop.
Actually, don’t. It’s 100% cotton.
And this ‘Black Satin Print dress’ for £55 at Evans?
100% polyester.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Design Your Own Shoes at Steve

How cool is this? A site that lets you design your own shoes! Pick the style, the colour and the heel/sole colour. Then order them and they’re yours for between $89.95 and $149.95 (depending on the style). They even ship to the UK.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pick of the High Street: Green at Miss Selfridge

And now for some clothes! Miss Selfridge have redesigned their website so to celebrate, let’s see what they have to offer in green.

First up is this smock tunic in Mint, £22. I like the style and the colour, but am hesitating over the addition of the pockets at the bottom. Pockets are very big this season, whether the designers got bored and couldn’t think of any other detailing I don’t know, but they are everywhere. But personally, I don’t think they do anything to enhance a garment.

Second is this green pointelle cropped blouson cardi for £28. Miss Selfridge’s pricing is very reasonable at the moment. They call the colour dark green but it doesn’t look that dark to me.

Pick of the High Street: Green at Faith

Since green is one of the Shiny Fashion Forum trends, I have decided I will feature some green items for your perusal. First up shoes, my name is Shoegal after all!

These ‘Cresta’ round toe courts are in what Faith calls Apple Green and are £45.

For something a little more spring-like, these ‘Lane’ strappy sandals (also in Apple Green) are £35.

Something in a lower heel? Try these ‘Cinger’ shoes in Emerald, £35.

Outfit: Rainy Thursday

Black jacket – Long Tall Sally
Black trousers – Long Tall Sally
Teal v neck tank – Next
White round neck long sleeve favourite T – Gap
Teal boots - Faith

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Size 6 at Dorothy Perkins

Amidst all the ‘size zero’ model controversy, Dorothy Perkins have found it necessary to introduce a size 6 section on their website. Why is anyone’s guess, is this a new size they didn’t stock before?

Outfit: Wednesday

Black shirt dress – George at ASDA
Black shrug – Unknown
Green tights – Topshop
Black brogue style shoes – Dolcis

Monday, February 19, 2007

This Week I Will Be Mostly…

…wearing dresses with coloured tights
…reading March’s Cosmopolitan
…watching Ugly Betty and Top Gear
…eating Frosties
…shopping my closet for coloured tights

Outfit: Coloured Tights Monday

The girls and I over at the Shiny Fashion Forums are starting a new trend. It involves wearing coloured tights with a dress and your choice of footwear. We are also touting green to be a huge colour for spring/summer.

Black & blue dress – Dorothy Perkins
Black rib vest – 3 Suisses
Black shrug – Unknown
Blue tights – Jonathan Aston (Debenhams)
Black knee high boots – Arturo Chiang (Century 21)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Indecisive Fashion

I love the trends at the moment. Can’t decide jeans or a dress? Wear both! Perfect for indecisive people!

Outfit: Casual Friday

Grey wool & angora baby doll dress – Oasis
Red cotton vest – New Look
Skinny fit bootcut jeans – Zara
Red shoes – Next
Red heart pendant – Claire’s Accessories

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Outfit: Teal Thursday

Black jacket – Long Tall Sally
Black pencil skirt – Long Tall Sally
Teal and black pattern crinkle shirt – Next
Teal v neck tank – Next
Black Argyle pattern tights – Boots
Teal boots – Faith
Will update with an outfit picture later on.

Elephant Feet

I am torn between liking the name of this store and finding it incredibly insulting! Elephant Feet shoes are not cheap but they have some lovely designs. With a shop in London, also on Chiltern Street (this is clearly the street to go to if you have big feet!), prices start from around £50 but there are some items in the sale at the moment from £20. Boots start at £80. Sizes range from UK 8-11 but not all styles are available in all sizes.
This Delicio shoe is in the sale at £44.99 and would make a lovely wedding shoe.


Based in a shop in London (on Chiltern Street which is where LTS have their shop), my first impression of Crispins was ‘this is expensive!’ The shoes are priced from £65 to £175 (up to £215 for boots) and are available in US sizes 10.5 to 12 (UK 8.5 to 10). The range is good, from loafers and court shoes to knee high or ankle boots. I particularly like these ‘Wicks’ courts in teal, £84.95

And these ‘Snowbunny’ boots for £160

Long Tall Sally

Over at the other blog I write for, I posted a piece on the shoes at Long Tall Sally and how great it is they have have such a fab range in sizes 7-11 but that all the shoes only have tiny heels. And I got a comment from someone who works there!

Beth: LTS said...
Dear Shoe Haven
Thanks for the great endorsement. I work for Long Tall Sally and we are always keen to have feedback from customers on our range.
Following on from consumer research, we currently only offer flats and kitten heels - it was found that the majority of taller women prefer a heel of about 1 3/4 inches.However, the Long Tall Sally Buying Team are looking into introducing some higher heels for our Christmas 07 ranges. We too feel that tall women shouldn't be restricted to flats.
You could also try Faith - they are fantastic for higher heeled styles (and go up to a size 9):
Crispins and Elephant Feet are also great for larger sizes and Tall Girls have a more fashion based range:
Hope that helps.

It’s fab to get feedback like this. One because you know someone is actually reading what you write, and two, so you know companies do pay attention to customer comments and do something about them. I have not heard of Crispins and Elephant Feet as mentioned above, but will check them out in the name of research and get back to you with my thoughts.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Outfit: Valentine’s Day

(Not that I’m wearing anything special because it’s Valentine’s Day.)
Black and electric blue dress – Dorothy Perkins
Black vest – Topshop
Black cardi – Long Tall Sally
Black knee high boots – Arturo Chiang (Century 21)

Quote of the Week

From Duro Olowu, quoted on Catwalk Queen, talking about the size zero "debate" said: "If a woman can't look good in something that's a size 8 or a size 14 then it's the garment, not the woman." Hear hear! And the sooner the designers learn that, the better!


My mum gave me the Boden catalogue last night. I couldn’t ever buy anything from it (they think a 33” inside leg is long for goodness sake!) but I love the way they describe the colours of the clothes. For example, why call it red when you can call it ‘Ketchup’? And on each page there was the name of the model and the answer to a questionnaire they’d obviously been asked to fill in: Emma (can’t resist: chocolate), Danielle (worst habit: snoring), and so on. I just love that!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Valentine's Day

As a consequence of not shopping, I am taking the time to search my existing wardrobe for new ways to wear what I already have and meticulously planning my outfits. I have an idea in my mind about what to wear for my Valentine’s date tomorrow night. I am taking the young man to the cinema to see Dirty Dancing on the big screen (it’s on limited release for its 20th anniversary). I am not sure this will work in practice but am planning to wear my cream and black wrap dress

over a red vest and dark skinny jeans,

with red shoes.

The red is a nod to the fact it’s Valentine’s Day. I will wear my black frock coat over the top to smarten it all up,

fulfilling my New Year resolution to dress up more.

Pick of the High Street: Dresses at Dorothy Perkins

I am loving dresses at the moment so decided it was time to do another feature on them. And where better to look than budget-friendly Dorothy Perkins. Not know as one of the true ‘budget’ stores (Primark, George) it is nonetheless the perfect place to pick up a bargain.

We start with something for you taller ladies. This cobalt blue dress that is only available in the tall range. At just £22 it is an ideal way to wear the hot blue colour of the spring.

Secondly, sticking with the blue theme (it is my favourite colour after all!), this Cobalt Blue Pebble Print Dress is slightly pricier at £30 but I just love the bell shape detailing on the sleeve. Perfect to wear on its own or over jeans to take you into the spring season, it could even be teamed with black tights or leggings to pick out the black in the pattern. I’m just cursing the fact that it‘s not available in a Tall length and I’ve sworn off shopping!!

Outfit: Turquoise Accessories

Brown wool mix pinstripe trousers – Long Tall Sally
Brown wool mix pinstripe jacket – Long Tall Sally
Turquoise cotton rib t shirt-vest – Dorothy Perkins
Turquoise boots with faux fur trim and lacing detail – Splash (Ebay)
Turquoise bead necklace – Accessorize (Gift from friend)
Turquoise 3 disc earrings – Accessorize (Gift from friend)
Turquoise bangles – Oxfam

Monday, February 12, 2007

Outfit: Short Monday

Brown pinstripe/tweed shorts – H&M
Teal cotton rib v neck sweater – Gap
White shirt – Topshop
Brown tights – Topshop
Teal boots – Faith
Teal/green zig zag stripe skinny scarf – Per Una at M&S

The Most Expensive Hairband in the World…Ever?

I have to smile whilst reading the fashion feature in the March issue of Elle magazine. In one picture the model is wearing a yellow plastic hairband and the list of items beside it says: Perspex Hairband, House of Flora, Price on request. Price on request? For a hairband? That’s made of Perspex (is that not just a type of plastic?)? I mean, how much can it be? Usually when it says ‘price on request’ it means ‘if you have to ask, you can’t afford it’. But really, for a hairband?! Perhaps House of Flora are so ashamed they are selling an item for less than £10 (because really, it can’t be more than that, surely?) that they didn’t want to publish the price. Who knows? I tried, unsuccessfully, to find somewhere to request the price online (and a picture, really, it’s only a plastic hairband!) so now we will never know!

Pick of the High Street: Coats at Topshop

After all that snow last week, winter is definitely still with us and that means there’s still call for coats, which is what I am reviewing today. Topshop have come up with some odd pieces for this spring (see the Playsuits section of their website for the biggest crimes against fashion) but this Red Single Breasted Swing Coat is lovely. I always thought swing coats were the very wide ones but this is fitted and looks very flattering. It’s 72% polyester, 28% wool so should keep you warm, and is £75 which I think is quite reasonable for a coat.

Second is this more spring-like Gathered Back Coat. In a gorgeous shade of Aqua it is lighter weight, made of a mix of cotton and linen. It is described as having a gathered hem at the back so without seeing this it makes it difficult to know what they mean by that. Also the double breasted style makes it impractical for those lucky ladies with a fuller bust. It costs £70.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Pick of the High Street: Tops at Dorothy Perkins

Tunics and smocks in bright colours and retro prints are definitely the order of the day for the spring season. And nowhere is this more evident than at Dorothy Perkins. With a large selection of print tunics, such as this Blue and Lime print tunic at just £20, it’s a great place to go to try out this trend at reasonable prices. Wear with jeans and heels or, if you’re felling very bold, over leggings.

For something calmer and more work appropriate, try this Black and White Flower print smock top for £25. It would look fabulous with a black pencil skirt, or a trouser suit.

Outfit: Casual Friday

Denim dress – Miss Selfridge
White long sleeve Favourite T – Gap
Black socks (worn as tights) – Sock Dreams
Red belt – Next
Red ankle boots – Nine West (Century 21)
Red heart pendant – Claire’s Accessories

Thursday, February 08, 2007

This Week I Will Be Mostly…

…wearing warm clothes. The snow came!
…reading the March issue of Elle
…watching WAGs Boutique
…eating pizza & lasagne
…shopping my closet for things I’ve not worn for ages

Pick of the High Street – Shoes at Dune

Dune is not somewhere I’ve ever shopped and I think I usually dismiss it as being too expensive. But a quick glance at their website shows that the shoes are not really any more than you would pay at Faith. At £75, this satin covered ‘Chantelle’ shoe with contrast line check pattern would certainly brighten up any outfit, and it’s also available in purple and black.

For a more work appropriate look, this ‘Kangeroo’ pointed Mary Jane in brown is £60.
Dune’s website is well worth a look – the shoes rotate as you hold your mouse over them! They also stock a size 9 (EUR 42) which I never realised so once I can shop again, I will have to check them out properly.

Outfit: No Snow. Again!!

Black pencil skirt – Long Tall Sally
Grey wool rib polo neck sweater – Chainstore seconds shop
Black cotton rich 100 denier tights – ASDA
Red shoes – Next
Red hair flower - Unknown

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Outfit: Coffee After Work

I’m meeting friends for coffee after work so going for a less formal look than a suit.

Black & Cream jersey print wrap dress – Dorothy Perkins
Red cotton vest – New Look
Black cotton & cashmere cardi – LTS
Black tights – Silkies
Red shoes - Next

Jeans – Dark Denim, No Fading

This post is especially for my little sister. She is looking for some new jeans and wants some in a dark denim but without any faded patches on the front. Oh and non-stretchy too. So here goes!

Exhibit A
Plain Bootcut Jeans, just £9.50 in M&S (yes I’m loving that store today!)

Exhibit B
Garnet Jeans, £45 at Oasis

Exhibit C
Topaz Tailored Kick Flare Jeans, £45 at Oasis

Exhibit D
Pearl Jeans, £42 at Oasis

Exhibit E
Red Herring X Hatch Jeans, £30 at Debenhams

And really, that’s about all I can find on the high street. All the ones in the right colour and shape (flare or bootcut) at Dorothy Perkins, Topshop, Next, Warehouse and Gap have elastane in them. Not as easy a task as I thought.

Pick of the High Street: Suits at M&S

Good old Marks and Spencer. They can always be relied on for the work basics. But you’d think after all this time in business they’d have learned how to display things properly. No wonder this model doesn’t look happy, her Autograph 3 Button Single Breasted Pin Stripe Suit doesn’t fit her properly (and is also a bit of a mouthful!). I mean, really, how hard is it to get a model who is not several inches too tall for the length of the trousers and so the jacket buttons don’t sit too high on her? If this is what it looks like on I won’t be paying £110 for the jacket and £69 for the trousers.

Now let’s try a skirt suit. This is the Single Breasted One Button Piped Seam Suit and look: it fits the model! Now that wasn’t difficult was it? The jacket is just £45 and the skirt £29.50 and if you buy the two together you can save a tenner. This may be the cheaper suit but to me, it’s definitely the more appealing of the two because of the way it looks on, and the greater imagination that has gone into the detailing.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Be Impressed!

So, my not shopping is going well so far, thanks to the support of some good friends who have even decided to join me! I went out for the day on Saturday with my sister and mum to the local Designer Outlet and I bought nothing. My mum even paid for my lunch as I had driven. Then my sister and I went to the local Next store where I also bought nothing. In fact on Saturday I made a profit of 73p! As all the stores we visited were ones I would not be buying in any more anyway as they don’t stock Tall sizes, it was fairly easy to resist (although we did go in a couple of shoe shops!). I think my will power would have been really tested had we been in Long Tall Sally, or Topshop or Dorothy Perkins. May have to stay away from those for the time being.

Outfit: Red and Black

Black jacket – Long Tall Sally
Black trousers – Long Tall Sally
Red cashmere v neck sweater – George at ASDA
White round neck long sleeve Favourite T – Gap
Red shoes – Next

This Week I Will Be Mostly…

…wearing red shoes
…reading Calendar Girl (the book by the real Calendar Girl that the film was based on)
…watching Sex & The City DVDs. Still. Working my way through them and am on to Season 3
…eating toast and jam. And pancakes.
…shopping my closet (to use a dreadful American expression) to improve my accessorising skills

Pick of the High Street: Boots at Ravel

I love how some stores manage to stock shoes at completely opposite ends of the scale. For example, right now at Ravel, you can get these very sensible ‘Tabatha’ boots, with an almond toe and low heel, available in the ever practical colours brown and black. Also they are sensibly reduced to an affordable £45 in the sale.

But on the other end of the scale, these ‘Taper’ boots are wacky as anything in their loud zebra print. At £75 they certainly make a statement and if the black and white isn’t loud enough for you, they are also available in pink and black.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Pick of the High Street: Skirts at Warehouse

Well, I was going to show you coats at Warehouse today but everything was in grey or black and all parkas or short trenches so there’s not much interest there. Actually, I find Warehouse to be like that quite often, lots of black and white and grey and maybe a few things in one or two colours, pink, blue, teal. So I then moved on to the skirt selection which is also all black with the exception of this monochrome one. It’s £28.
The second pick was this high waisted skirt with braces. Not a style many people could pull off (or want to try to pull off) I would have thought, but they are sold out in sizes 6, 8, and 16. So if you’re somewhere in between those sizes and want one, grab it quickly! £35.

Outfit: Stripy Tights!

Black cotton rib polo neck – M&S
Denim skirt – Tall Girls
Blue and black stripe tights – Topshop
Black Mary Janes – Dolcis

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Outfit: Green Tights

Black & cream jersey print wrap dress – Dorothy Perkins
Black cotton vest – Topshop
Green tights – gift from friend (Topshop)
Black brogue style court shoes – Dolcis
Black cardi – Long Tall Sally