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 – boohoo.com £20.00
  • Leopard Print Clutch – boohoo.com £14.00
  • Black Earrings – These are old from boohoo.com 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 boohoo.com 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.

Love

Melanie xxxx

 

AW Fashion · Budget Fashion · Fashion · Lifestyle · Shoppingmywardrobe · Style · Wardrobe Overhaul

Shopping My Wardrobe – Week 4 


I started the week with the worst cold ever. Unfortunately I didn’t have the option of taking any time off work to recover as I had a couple of members of my team off work. Plus the week leading up to half term is always extra busy and this week was no exception.

This week was all about the black ankle boot. Throughout the week I wore four different pairs. All two or three years old.


Monday – I made no effort at all this morning. I felt so ill I only just made it out of bed. They always say when in doubt wear black. So that’s what I did. Black shift dress, black tights, black blazer and black ankle boots. All from Next. I did add a couple of pearl beaded necklaces, so it didn’t look too much like I was going to a funeral.

Tuesday – Getting dressed was a real effort again this morning. I felt so tired and really didn’t have any enthusiasm for anything including chosing my outfit. I grabbed the first thing I saw when I opened my wardrobe, which happened to be a Red Pencil Skirt (Warehouse) which I teamed with a simple breton top and black blazer (both La Redoute) and black ankle boots from Next.


Wednesday – I felt a little better and picked an old favourite stripe linen shirt to wear (Next). I haven’t worn this shirt to work before as I normally wear it with jeans but today I teamed it with a Navy wrap skirt (Next) and Tan suede ankle boots (Joe Browns).

Thursday – Slowly feeling normal again and decided to wear something a little snazzy to work. This Wallis palm print pencil skirt has a split up the front. Not altogether appropriate for wearing in a Primary School so I turned it around so that it was much less revealing with the split up the back. I added a simple cream tee with lace trim (HM), a black blazer (Next) and Clarks black suede ankle boots.


Friday – I made it to the last day of term in one piece. It has been a tough seven weeks. Most of which I spent recovering from a serious ankle injury which I incurred on the first day of term. The weather is on the turn and it has definitely turned cooler. I decided I wanted to wear something bright today so I teamed my Grey trousers (LA Redoute) with an old 3/4 sleeve hot pink jumper (Next) and Black studded ankle boots (River Island). I did take a grey tweed blazer (Next) to work today although I didn’t end up wearing it. I always try to have one in the office as I never know when I might get called into a meeting with other school leaders or parents.


Initial plans for the weekend were to stay indoors, taking a well earned rest and hiding away from Storm Brian. I ended up venturing out of the house twice.  First an early morning walk to our local Co-op to stock up on beer, wine and chocolate. I ventured out without make-up and threw on the first pair of jeans that came to hand (old Primark), a simple black tee (Next) and blush chunky cardigan (Primark). Later in the day the husband and I decided we fancied a drink in our local pub. So I threw on a pair of skinny jeans (Next), a bright pink jumper (La Redoute) biker boots (Next) and Parka from La Redoute (my last purchase in September before starting this challenge). We battled against the wind for the ten minute walk and found the pub unusually empty. We didn’t expect to stay long but an hour after we arrived a couple of friends walked through the door so we ended up staying until closing time and grabbing a chicken kebab on the walk home. Not exactly the healthiest of days but it doesn’t hurt once in a while!


Due to the late night possibly one too many Saturday night I did not feel my best when I got up Sunday morning. It took a couple of hours to get moving. But after a shower, a couple of cups of coffee and a good breakfast I felt better. With no plans to go anywhere I spent the day in loungewear, which actually consisted of an old jersey jumpsuit that was very nearly sent to the charity shop. I bought it online from Littlewoods a couple of years ago to wear on my honeymoon. But now that I am two dress sizes smaller it is a little big. I rescued it from the charity bag back in August when I decided to take it to Summer Camp to sleep in. It is so comfortable that I am now wearing it around the house either with a vest top underneath or like today a tee thrown over the top (long sleeve stripe tee from HM). The only downside is the fact that you have to practically strip to go to the toilet. Probably best not to drink too many cups of tea when wearing !!

So that was the run down of my week. One of the most tiring I have had for a long time. I am looking forward to half term next week. I am working three days but I still get plenty of extra time at home. I really don’t mind popping into school to work in the holidays as I can get so much done with no teachers and children around. I can also wear casual clothes to so expect to see plenty of denim in next weeks outfit posts.

I hope you all have a good week.

Thank you for reading.

Melanie xxx

AW Fashion · Budget Fashion · Fashion · Lemonade Lifestyle · Lifestyle · Shoppingmywardrobe · Style · Wardrobe Overhaul

Shopping My Wardrobe – Week 3

I started the working week sore and bruised and wearing the ankle brace once again after my little slip in the rain on Saturday night. And before you ask it was before the party so I can’t even blame alcohol !!

Just when I had started enjoying working my way through my collection on ankle boots I was back in trainers for the first three days of the week.


Monday – Floral is not something I find easy to wear. I can get away with it if it onkly makes up a small part of my outfit and is a bold colour. This dress from HM is perfect for me. A short shift dress, with pockets with bold pink and purple flowers on a black background.  I had to wear it today with black trainers but normally I would wear with black ankle boots.

Tuesday – One of my favourite outfits of the week. The whole outfit is Next and all a couple of years old. The trousers are so flattering. The trainers I wore today complimented the colour of the shirt and I received a number of compliments on my outfit today.


Wednesday – A day out of the office today at another School Business Manager conference in London. I opted for smart casual and rediscovered my love for these dark denim, high waisted straight leg jeans from Next. They are just so flattering. Mine are a couple of years old but you can still buy them from Next here.  The navy star print pussy bow blouse received lots of compliments on my Instagram post. I bought it from La Redoute earlier in the year. It is one of those items that just looks so much more expensive than it was. I wore trainers again but to stop the outfit looking too casual I added a navy blazer (Next) and nude shawl (Matalan). It also made for the perfect day to night outfit as after my conference I met up with my little sister for drinks in the City.

Thursday – Not much thought went into this outfit, tired and a little hungover meant that I just wanted something simple and comfortable to wear. Grey Trousers and Navy Tee (La Redoute) and Navy blazer from the day before. I added a blue snake skin pattern belt to just add a little pizazz to the outfit. I bought two of these belts in the Next Summer Sale. The other is yellow and they are a cheap way to add a little interest to plain outfits.


Friday – The end of a long tiring week and Friday the 13th called for the colour Red. This Blazer from La Redoute was one of my best buys in recent months. It is the statement colour of this season so I know I will get plenty of wear out of it.  The pussy bow blouse is a couple of years old from Next. The black slim tuxedo trousers (La Redoute) have a satin stripe down the side.  They are my “go to” work trousers and the ankle grazer length means they are perfect to wear with ankle boots such as my favourite “Chloe” dupes from Next.

I was so happy to get to the end of this week. I felt a cold coming on but that didn’t stop the husband and I popping to the local pub for our weekly catch up. A quick change after work into old favourite distressed girlfriend jeans. In fact the first pair of ripped jeans I bought four years ago from River Island. Recent La Redoute Burgundy Trainers and an old sparkly ombre jumper from Next. I added a quilted jacket with faux fur trim (Next) which I bought when we moved out to the countryside as we now walk everywhere and a heavy wool coat or leather biker doesn’t quite work.


For most of the weekend I didn’t even bother to get dressed. I was floored by a rotten cold so spent most of the time snuggled up on the sofa in my pjs. Both bought from Primark years ago. I don’t spend alot of money on nightwear or lounge clothes because I am slightly clumsy and inevitably I end up either spilling food down myself or covering myself in biro when I am working or studying. But I do like a good pair of socks and have two pairs of cashmere socks in pink and grey which were a Christmas present last year.

So this week I rediscovered my love for a straight leg. I found them to be really flattering. So maybe skinnies are on their way out. What do you think? Although maybe my preference is driven by the fact that I have added a few lbs since injuring my ankle last month. But whatever the reason I know I will definitely be wearing them again.

Thank you for reading.

 

Melanie xxxx

 

 

 

AW Fashion · Budget Fashion · Fashion · Lemonade Lifestyle · Lifestyle · Shoppingmywardrobe · Style · Wardrobe Overhaul

Shopping My Wardrobe – Week 2

I was pleased to finally be free from my ankle brace for the most part of this week. Which meant no more trainers. I could finally get my boots out their boxes.

I had a very busy week at school this week and several parental events which meant I needed to be looking my best. So it was all about the blazer this week. It doesn’t matter what you wear. If you pop a blazer on it can make any outfit look smart.


Monday – Black Cullottes (Next) and a cheap and cheerful shirt from Matalan. I bought the shirt earlier this year and have only worn it once. I don’t know why because it looks really lovely on and I received a few comments when I wore it this week.

Tuesday – Trying to squeeze a little more wear out of my Summer wardrobe. The Khaki 3/4 length trousers and pink tee were both purchased earlier in the year in the Zara sale. The trousers look great on but the quality is poor and the zip has broken for the third and final time. I added a Tan check blazer (HM) and Nubuck ankle boots (Next) to smarten up what would ordinarily be a casual outfit. The blush cape (Matalan) is a few years old and was perfect to throw on rather than a coat as the weather was still relatively mild.

Wednesday – Head to toe in Next. Their black workwear trousers are some of the best I have come across. Mine are about three years old and still look as good as new.

Thursday – Today I wore the prettiest of blouses. Found hidden away at the back of my wardrobe. I bought it from Next over two years ago. It has lace detailing along the hem, cuffs and neckline. Small pleats down the front and buttons all the way up the back. It used to be a little tight on the arms which is why it has been packed away at the back of the wardrobe. But I must have lost a little weight as it now fits perfectly.

Friday – My last work outfit of the week saw me wearing another very old shirt (Primark) that I found at the back of the wardrobe. Another one that looks more expensive than it was and prompted a few compliments from work colleagues.

I seem to spend the majority of my time in either work clothes or loungewear. Which this week consisted of leopard print joggers and a black sweatshirt (both Primark) So it’s nice to have the opportunity to either get dressed up or dressed down in jeans.


On Wednesday night I popped out for a few hours to the school’s PTA AGM, which just happened to be held in a lovely local pub. I only had an hour to eat and get changed after work so I just threw on a pair of Relaxed Skinny Jeans (Next) and a fluted sleeve fleece top that I bought from Primark earlier this year. It only cost £6 and to be honest I didn’t expect it to last more than six months. At that price you don’t expect it to wash well but surprisingly it still looks great, so I am pleased to get another few months wear out of it. I popped on my current favourite burgundy trainers (La Redoute) which look great teamed with pink. The weather was quite mild so I dug out an old Wallis Coatigan instead of wearing a coat.

Thursday night I was back in the pub again with my husband. We usually go to our local pub once a week, on a Thursday or Friday, to get the stresses of the week out of the way and have a catch up. This week I wore another pair of Next Jeans (Boyfriend fit) , Black Stripe Sweatshirt (HM) and Black & White canvas trainers (La Redoute) which you can see on @smalltownthreads #fridayfeet on Instagram.

On Saturday night we travelled back to where I used to live in London for a party to celebrate the 50th Birthday of my oldest friends sister. Usually I would play it safe and throw on smart skinny jeans and a dressy top but this time I wanted to try and make the most of the clothes I have hanging in my wardrobe. I have so many things that are not being worn. I popped a couple of outfit ideas onto Instagram and asked my followers for their opinions. I followed their advice and decided to glam it up in a sequin skirt (very.co.uk) which I teamed with a plain black top (HM) an old leather biker jacket from (Bay Trading Co – who remembers them) and Clarks suede ankle boots aptly named Melanie. The bag is old HM and as we were going to be travelling back late by train I threw on an black poncho (Next) that I completely forgot I owned.


We had a great night catching up with old friends, many of which I have known fro over 30 years. The only downside to the night was that I had a slight slip in the rain travelling to the venue and aggrevated my ankle injury.

I spent Sunday with my feet up on the sofa in leggings and sweatshirt (Next) catching up on Strictly and Cold Feet while hubby cooked a roast dinner in the afternoon. It was a lovely end to what had been a very busy week.


I am pleased to say I have not been tempted to buy any new clothes at all. And I am enjoying finding old clothes that I had forgotten about, which let’s face it is as good as buying something new.

So are you participating in the wearing my wardrobe challenge or the No spending in October challenge. If so, I would love to hear how you are getting on?

Thank you for reading.

 

Melanie xxxx