AW Fashion · Budget Fashion · Christmas · Christmas Fashion · Fashion · Lifestyle · Shoppingmywardrobe · Style

Jazzing up black at Christmas

I love Christmas. I enjoy decorating the house with glittery ornaments and fairy lights. There is nothing that gives me greater pleasure than giving presents to the ones I love and I love getting together with friends and family for drinks and good food.

But there is one thing about Christmas that I have always found somewhat stressful. Dressing for all the different Christmas events. I know for some people this is a relatively easy task. If you like all things sparkly, shimmery and full of sequins there is plenty of choice on the high street and online. Also easy too if you are a dress person as there always seems to be twice as many lovely dresses in the shops at this time of year.

But what if you are like me. I am not a dress person and I really don’t suit anything remotely sparkly (I have tried and I just can’t carry it off). Wherever I look, in the shops or on social media, everyone is pushing sequins, lace, body hugging dresses and a variety of colours that resemble baubles on a Christmas tree. Everything that is so not me.

I prefer a understated style. And for a night out I love the colour black. But black at this time of year screams bah humbug, boring, party pooper. And believe me I am none of those things. I just like the simplicity of a black outfit.

In recent years it has not been too much of a problem as I have only had a couple of events to attend over Christmas. But this year we have become more sociable in our new surroundings and so I have a lot more events to go to including my work Christmas do, a neighbours house party, drinks with friends, a family Christmas get together and a meal out with my son’s girlfriend’s family (it will be the first time we are meeting so I need to make a good impression). And finally a New Years Eve party at our local pub.

I am quite excited to be so sociable this Christmas and I want to look fabulous. So I have been looking at ways in which I can jazz up a plain black outfit without breaking my no spend challenge. I have a little birthday money put to one side so I can purchase a couple of small statement pieces but I need to be inventive and use what I have in my wardrobe.

So here are my outfit ideas for the Christmas period. Most of the items listed are very affordable. All but one of these outfits can be put together for less than £100. I don’t know about you but because I don’t wear dressy items very often I begrudge spending a fortune on things that will hardly ever been worn.

Work Christmas Meal
Work Christmas Meal – Total Cost £98.49

This will be the first big work Christmas do I have been to for a number of years. We are going to a local hotel for a meal, entertainment and late disco. Although, as I am Senior Management, I will be leaving at the start of the Disco so the rest of the staff feel comfortable enough to let their hair down. I’m not sure they want me there when things start to get messy. I will be wearing a version of the above next Thursday night.

  • Black leather look Midi Skirt (mine is old from Next) similar here at Asos £45.00
  • Red Ruffle Sleeve Blouse – Matalan £16.00
  • Black Vamp Shoes – £20.00
  • Leopard Print Clutch – £14.00
  • Black Earrings – These are old from similar here at New Look for £3.49
  • Neighbour's House Party
    Neighbour’s House Party – Total Cost £89.97

Dressing for a house party is a little easier for me as I feel more comfortable in jeans and a tee. But the addition of a little sparkle and some velvet turns a casual outfit into the perfect party outfit.

  • Stradivarius Skinny Jean With Ripped Hem – Asos £21.99
  • Red Christmas Slogan Tee – Matalan £6.00
  • Black Velvet Jacket – H&M £29.99
  • Red Glittery Court Shoes – H&M was £17.99 now £11.49
  • Embellished Star Clutch – Asda £14.00
  • Gold Star Hoop Earrings – Top Shop £6.50
Drinks with Friends
Drinks with Friends – Total Cost £90.99

I love wearing black coated jeans on a night out. They are so comfortable and can be dressed up or down. I have two pairs from Noisy May. Both a couple of years old. One pair is a little “rock chick” with several zips on them and the other pair is slightly glittery and perfect for a night out. If you are happy to spend a little extra a faux fur jacket would look great with this outfit and there are some gorgeous pale pink ones around at the moment to complement the black and fuschia.

  • Black Mid Rise Coated Jeans – F&F at Tesco £16.00
  • Black Plumeti Blouse – H&M £12.99
  • Fuschia Court Shoes – M&S £35.00
  • Black Bird Print Clutch – Next £24.00
  • Black & Pink Long Tassel Earrings – Primark £3.00
Family Get Together
Family Christmas Get Together – Total Cost £96.49

We are away for Christmas so will be having our family “Christmas Day” at my house in the New Year with my children, their partners and my parents. It will probably include a walk after lunch to our local pub so I need something that is comfortable but also stylish enough to wear out. I think loose fitting trousers are the perfect answer whether they be palazzo pants, cigarette trousers or smart joggers and teamed with a teeny bit of sparkle and/or animal print they won’t look too boring.

  • Black Ribbed Velour Palazzo Trousers – George at Asda t £14.00
  • Black Blouse with Metallic Neckline – La Redoute £44.00 with current 20% discount
  • Leopard Print Ankle Boots – These are old from Zara, similar here at Tesco £25.00
  • Gold Glitter Envelope Clutch – F&F at Tesco £10.00
  • Black Earrings – These are old from similar here at New Look for £3.49
New Years Eve Party
New Years Eve Party – Total Cost £99.46

This year we are going to our local pub along with some of the regulars who have become good friends over the last 18 months since we moved to the Village. Everyone will be dressing up and I know that many of the ladies will be wearing sequins. Whilst I am not comfortable in full on sparkle I am happy to add a little bling in the form of statement footwear. I saw a friend in a pair of silver glittery ankle boots from Aldo the other day, she was wearing them with a pair of jeans and a dark grey blazer and she looked fabulous. I haven’t decided whether I am going to give in and buy these yet. I don’t want to break my spending ban, so I may just bling up a pair of old black ankle boots that are lurking in the back of my wardrobe with some silver glittery spray paint.

  • Black Coated Leggings – Matalan £12.00.
  • Silver Camisole – H&M £19.99
  • Black Tuxedo Jacket – H&M £39.99
  • Silver Glittery Ankle Boots – New Look was £34.99 now £17.49
  • Mustard Envelope Clutch – New Look £9.99


Meal Out with Son’s Girlfriends Family – Total Cost £128.98

Early in January my Son is leaving the UK for an eight month deployment in the Middle East. We are not throwing a leaving party for him but instead we are going out for a meal with him, his girlfriend and her parents. We have booked a very nice Italian restaurant and it will be the first time we have met. I want to wear something I feel comfortable in but that also looks great. So I will be opting for a black faux leather pencil skirt and dressy jumper with statement shoes. How fabulous are these shoes. I will not be buying these but I am thinking of revamping an old pair of black court shoes that I never wear with some coloured gems to recreate this look.

  • Black Faux Leather Pencil Skirt – River Island £30.00
  • Black Lace Balloon Sleeve Jumper – New Look £22.99
  • Black Multi Gem Court Shoes – Top Shop £59.00
  • Mustard Envelope Clutch – New Look £9.99
  • Yellow Bead & Tassel Drop Earrings – Top Shop £7.00

So there is my round up of Christmas outfits. Not a dress in sight and very little in the way of sequins or sparkle. I am now actually looking forward to getting dressed up for my many events. I hope you all enjoy whatever events you have planned over Christmas and I am sure you will all look amazing. I would be interested to hear what you are planning to wear though. I am always looking for inspiration.

I now have a holiday wardrobe to plan. Six days/nights in the Algarve and I am only taking carry on luggage. Now that is definitely going to be a challenge!

Thank you for reading.


Melanie xxxx


Christmas · Lifestyle · Style

My Christmas Wish List

This year my husband and I are scaling back on the amount we spend on Christmas gifts for a couple of reasons. 1) We have spent our money on a Christmas holiday to the Algarve (we tend to go away for a cheap Winter sun holiday every other year as it really helps with my S.A.D symptoms) and b) my income has been much reduced this last year since leaving my job in London and starting on a new career path as a School Business Manager in a local Primary School.

So with this in mind my wish list is not overly extravagant. In fact it is made up of a small number of items that I have carefully selected which I would like as they will fit in with my plans and goals for next year. Yes I have already started to think about 2018 and what I want to achieve. I am a planner. I don’t do New Years resolutions but I do set myself goals for the year. I don’t always reach them but I always make some headway.

This year has been work, work, work. I have achieved so much this year. I can’t actually believe how far I have come in a career I only started just over a year ago. To be honest I do feel I have earned my success. I have worked hard. Work has dominated my life and I have had very little time for myself or my family. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made in the short term to obtain a long term benefit. And the long hours and hard work is finally starting to pay off. Two months ago I was promoted onto the Senior Leadership Team at school. Following that, the Board of Governors have agreed that my role and job description can be re-evaluated which will lead to an increase in my grade, a revised contract and a pretty good pay rise in the new year.

I also now have a great team of ladies working for me which means I can hand over a big chunk of admin work, which takes up a lot of my time, and concentrate of some new projects that will benefit the school including setting up and running training and networking events for School Business Managers across Kent. It also means I will be able to enjoy life outside of work and make time to look after myself.

Something that has come out of this last year, having a very small disposable income, is the change in my attitude to material things, especially clothes. For a few years I was used to buying what I wanted, when I wanted it. This year has been the complete opposite. It has been hard at times. Especially trying to curb my clothes shopping habit. But as the year went on I found that I wanted less. I have enjoyed being creative with what I already own and I now realise that I really do not need lots of new things all of the time.

Because my mindset has changed I actually found it quite hard coming up with a wish list for my husband. But I have managed to select a few items that I would love to see under my Christmas tree.

Cuarated Closet – Amazon £11.89

I think this will help me even further in my endeavour to create a capsule wardrobe. I haven’t bought any new clothes since August and I would like to continue with this into next year and continue to save my money for other more important things. I have heard great reviews about this book so I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Women’s Health Magazine Subscription Approx £25 per year

My husband buys me a magazine subscription every year. The last few of years it has included Women & Home Magazine, Glamour Magazine and Red Magazine. This year I have chosen a health and fitness magazine as this is going to be my priority in 2018.

Boxing Gloves Amazon £13.99

Following on with the health and fitness theme. I am planning on restarting Boxercise Classes at my local gym. Our PE coach at school is also considering running classes for staff too so I think I will get a lot of use out of these. I have never had my own gloves before as I have always used ones provided in the class.

Liz Earle Gift Set Boots £25.00

I use L’Oreal skincare every day but these are my favourite beauty products for a once a week beauty treat. I love to spend a Sunday morning having a pamper session at home. It is a nice way to relax and it sets me up for the week ahead.

Essential Oil Diffuser Amazon £22.99

I love essential oils and many years ago I did a very short course in basic aromatherapy. The benefits on mood and health are amazing and I used to use oils in my bath (before the days where I only gave a shower in my bathroom). I do still occasionally use a candle oil burner but they are only any good for short little bursts. I would like to se essential oils more often especially to help me relax as I struggle to switch off sometimes. One of the lovely ladies I follow on a Instagram has been raving about her diffuser so I feel it is time I gave it a try.

Slippers Accessorise £20.00 and Loungewear set £25.00

There is something wonderful about getting new loungewear and slippers for Christmas. I always pop them on as soon as possible after Christmas lunch to curl up on the sofa and watch Christmas TV while scoffing chocolates and sipping a snowball. I am away for Christmas Day so if I am lucky enough to find these under the tree I will be indulging in this tradition on New Years Day instead.

So there is my little round of items on my Christmas Wish List. I won’t receive them all as my hubby does not like to buy straight off a list. He may select one or two and then add a couple of surprises. If I am really lucky it might be one of these things that I may have mentioned in passing….

So what is on your list to Santa this year? And have you been good enough to get what you wish for 😉

Thank you for reading


Melanie xxxx