How one ‘need’ can lead to another ‘need’ in a matter of moments.

I’m still debating with myself about the over the knee boots.  It’s now moved on from ‘should I get some?’ to ‘which do I get?’.  It’s a tricky one.  The choice rests between two Stuart Weitzman styles – the Stuart Weitzman Highland or the Stuart Weitzman 50/50.  Both over the knee but VERY different.  I actually could make an argument for both – which is the problem – because now I want both.  The Highland is long, sleek, heeled and sexy – definitely a going out boot, and the 50/50 is a low heeled boot, more practical looking, but still a gorgeous riding boot that could be worn during the day too.  My heart says the Highland, my head says the 50/50.

Black Topo

If I go for the 50/50 another multitude of decisions needs to be made – suede or leather, print or plain, and then what color? I love both the black suede and the topo suede.

5050

5050

Then look what arrived on the Bloomingdale’s site the other day!  This nubuck pair is divine – imagine them with bare, tanned legs and a dress.

nubuck

 

So that’s what I did – imagined myself with OTK boots and a dress.  Fatal.  That vivid imagination of mine led me straight to the ASOS site.  ASOS are killing me.  They are my new go to site when I am on the hunt for something.

For me the critical features that a dress must have to be worn stylishly with OTK boots are:

1. Slightly loose or flowy – nothing tight – way too hoochy mama with boots – think Pretty Woman.

2. Not too dressy – for the same reasons as above – let the boots do the talking.

3. Don’t show too much skin up top – no boobs or cleavage for Pete’s sake.  We’re looking at the legs not the tits.

4. Slightly shorter than the top of the boots – let at least an inch of flesh show between the boots and dress, either bare legs or opaque tights.  If you wear tights – make sure they are a slightly lower denier or color from the boots – you want people to see where the boots end – they are thigh highs and supposed to be a little sexy! (again just not Pretty Woman style)

Okay those are the rules – fairly easy to follow and easy to apply.  All I did was search for ASOS brand black or grey dresses and here are the all the dresses that I now cannot live without.  Especially once I have my OTK boots – whichever pair I end up with.  If I procrastinate any longer they will be sold out.  These first few dresses are lovely casual dresses that contrast brilliantly with the decadence of thigh highs.

I love this dress – I’ve seen a few sweatshirts with similar print.  This would be perfect with suede Highlands.

animal sweat dress

I’ve just ordered this sweatshirt dress – again perfect for wearing with a dressy heeled boot – I love the juxtaposition of the two together.

ASOS tunic dress

This jersey nepi dress is the PERFECT shape as far as I am concerned for thigh highs.  Nothing too OTT about the dress – it’s all about the boots.

Nepi swing dress

I love this skater dress for the same reasons.

simple skater dress

Remember what I said about no flesh up top.  This dress takes it to the extreme – gorgeous with short hair or long hair in a high pony tail, with the boots of course.

polo swing dress

Now this one bends the rules slightly – but there’s always one isn’t there?  With the flat 50/50s this would be perfect – here the top of the dress compensates for the lack of heel on the boots.

lace insert dress

This crack print dress fell in the mix purely because I adore the print – very Mint Velvet.  A perfect party dress with high or low heeled OTK boots.

crack print dress

Finally a drop waisted dress.  Pretty, flirtatious and no hoochy mama in sight.

dropped waist dress

So now the conundrum – which boots is it to be?  Choosing the dress will be easy then no?

As I head off to dream about thigh high boots here’s what I’ve been wearing the past couple of days.

I bought these Steve Madden boots so long ago that at the time it completely escaped me what fabulous Marant tributes they are!

Mango coat

Boots – Steve Madden Carlsen (old) // Trousers – Zara (old) // Sweater – Off Duty sweater Boden // Coat – Mango

IM collage

 

Jeans – H&M (old) // Tank – H&M (old) // Sweater – Zara // Boots – Isabel Marant pour H&M via eBay // Scarf – H&M (old) // Jacket – Zara

 

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Mall shopping.

It’s rare that I head to the Mall – especially on a Saturday.  Normally it is just too chaotic and uninspiring to bother.  Worse still when the Falcons are at home Lenox Mall can be packed to the seams with visitors so I tend to veer clear.  However, this morning my Husband suggested I had some time to myself while he took the children and his Dad for a long walk along the river with the dog.  Well I’m not going to say no am I?

After creating my wish lists over the past week I knew I wanted to step into Zara in particular to see if they had any of the jackets I’d been lusting after online.  Surprisingly they did, so first I tried the TRF biker jacket.  I am on the look out for a simple black biker jacket and thought this might fit the bill nicely.  However, I’m always wary of pleather trim – the quality can vary dramatically.  TRF sizing is normally TINY – I always need a large in the jackets – except for today.  The large was huge – but on trying the medium that was too snug in the shoulders.  Still it was quite a nice jacket – lovely soft fabric and the pleather is not too bad at all.  If the fit was right I may have walked out with it – I still really like it looking at the photo.

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Next I tried on the TRF sheepskin jacket.  This was definitely going to be on my order list but now I’ve seen it in real life I’ve changed my mind.  I thought it looked pretty cheap and the lining shed every where – all over my black dress!  Again the sleeves were really long in the large size.

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I was also going to try this and took it to the changing rooms but once I saw how much fluff this was leaving every where too I quickly placed it back on the rack.

checked coat

My final try on in Zara was this sweatshirt.  It must have been a return as there was only one in the store.  I really liked it but the fur had been stitched down in one spot on the neckline so it looked odd.

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I left Zara contemplating why I was in there in the first place.  I have so much Zara in my closet now and I know much of it was bought on a whim, or because the price was good.  At 42 should I really be spending my money on quick fixes – especially when it comes to coats and jackets?  Again I wondered why my rationale when it comes to boots is so different from other items of clothes?  What makes it so easy for me to buy a pair of Newbury boots and yet be reluctant to spend more than $200 on a coat?

While I mulled this over I decided to head over to Bloomingdale’s to see if Charlie was working at the AllSaints concession.  This week I’d had a quick look at the AllSaints site to check out their pricing – it is significantly higher than Zara.  I am still trying to understand their strategy.  In the UK they are a high street brand, but their prices are so high in comparison to other high street brands.  Here in the US they are fortunate that they are well differentiated, offering edgy designs that few other high street/mall brands can compete with.  Their quality also tends to be exceptional – in my opinion anyway!  Still I think they are expensive and I always need to be strategic when buying AllSaints.

I ended up trying on the Monument Jacket with leather sleeves.  I have wanted an AllSaints Monument coat for so long now and have never been able to justify it.  Partly because most are a longer style and warm for Atlanta, and then also because of the pricing – they’re not cheap!  The shorter jacket is stunning – gorgeous wool with perfect leather sleeves.  It fits snug which I find really unusual for AllSaints.  This is the UK 14.

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As I stood looking in the mirror, slowly falling deeper and deeper in love with it, I realized that all the jackets that I have on my wish list, plus a couple that are still hanging in the closet with tags on them, amount to more than the price of the Monument jacket.  With that sudden realization the deal was done.  The Monument jacket is now mine.  Investment vs. instant gratification.

As is this sweatshirt

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No more purchases from Zara for a while – the gratification I got from these more considered purchases was far greater.

Yesterday I had my roots done and my hair shaped by fabulous Lauren at Plum Salon – it’s always such a treat to go there – I could chat to Lauren for hours!  These trousers were a complete deal off eBay – $18 off a seller in China and they were free shipping and arrived within 2 weeks!  I wore a black TopShop cami with them.

IMG_4567I realized today it’s yet more black and leopard print.  The dress is the cold shoulder, batwing dress from Asos, the sandals are Nine West and the belt is Jessica Simpson from Zappos.

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Oh I almost forgot – remember the Ted Baker dress that Avril sent to me?  Well look what I saw today – more gorgeous London taxi dresses along with phone cases, scarves, bags and sweaters – just DIVINE and great gifts!

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Okay – now off for a lovely lunch out with my Father-in-law and then I’m cooking shrimp and grits tonight – it’s a major diet fail over the next week or so!

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My favorite AllSaints employee.

This post is dedicated to Charlie – my favorite man in Atlanta after immediate family:)  Charlie is the Manager at the AllSaints concession in Bloomingdale’s and he is currently making me green with envy.  Follow him on Instagram and you can see his exploits as he tours my home turf and visits AllSaints HQ and the various AllSaints stores in London.

Just for Charlie today I put on my Phinius dress – what I would like to call vintage AllSaints – it was the first item I bought off Charlie – probably almost 5 years ago now, and still one of my favorite AllSaints items.  It’s one of those dresses that is so easy to wear and when I slipped it on this morning I made a vow to wear it more often – especially as my Newburys work so well with it.

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Dress – AllSaints Phinius dress (old) // Boots – Rag & Bone Newbury boots

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A girls trip to the Trafford Centre.

So apart from my weekend in London – the other highlight of my trip that I had been looking forward to for some time, took place yesterday.  My sister took the day off work and left her 2 boys at daycare so we head to the Trafford Centre for a girls day out with Mum.  We try to do it every time I’m back but often there are children involved – who it has to be said – can somewhat hamper the shopping experience!

We arrived as the stores were opening and had a blast.  I relished every moment of it.  There is something really special about spending time with your family that you take for granted when they are around all the time.  Mine are not – so it was lovely watching Mum and Louise have fun and get the same thrill out of shopping as I do.

We started at M&S where Louise and I both got a couple of scarves – Mum had some 20% off vouchers so it was hard to say no:)  Plus Mum got a couple of bags that she paid all of 10GBP for what with her 20% off and various vouchers she had collected!

My scarf – the Indigo Flamingo print (I also got a fabulous bicycle print scarf which isn’t on the website):

Flamingoes

 

Louise’s scarf is a gorgeous silk Autograph scarf:

Lou blue

 

Looking at these simple images of scarves it is evident how different Louise and I are in our style.  She gravitates towards greys, taupes and neutrals – she has very elegant, sophisticated tastes and prefers simplicity to loud eccentric prints.  See the difference?:)  I think it speaks volumes about our personalities!

I then had lots of fun in Ted Baker.  Their store is amazing.  Full of great colors and the decor is very grand and decadent.  I had been wanting to try the Jupi dress since I fell in love with it in Bloomingdale’s.  It’s a lot cheaper here with the exchange rate and sales tax so I knew I had to try it.  Ted Baker do the 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 sizing which drives me nuts as I am always at the 3/4 end.  The store only had a 4 so I tried it and even though it was fine – with my top heavy frame it felt too billowy around the hips.   I put it back knowing Selfridges have a concession that I could check later.  I did, however, know that there was also a t-shirt in the same print – far more practical and versatile.  So I tried the 3 in the top and decided to get this instead of the dress.  End of.  Totally love it.  The changing rooms are a lot prettier than my photos suggest!

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One thing I didn’t get about Ted Baker is that they will only exchange items – not refund them – I think that is pretty rubbish these days.

So on to Zara – Mum got a fabulous quilted jacket (can’t see it on the website) and Louise picked up this gorgeous white coat.  Both Mum and Louise are really petite so look amazing in everything they put on!

Louise coat

 

We then headed off for lunch – there’s a huge selection at the Trafford Center.  I knew I wanted a long decadent lunch i.e. one with wine – so we chose Pizza Express.  Now I remember when they were new and lovely.  This one was fine – but PLEASE it is 2013 – can’t we figure out using laminated menus instead of grubby, greasy card?  As a customer experience ‘expert’ I realize I may be overly judgmental, but this is the first thing your customer sees in a restaurant.  Sort it out Pizza Express!  It just makes the whole restaurant feel less than clean.  Regardless, lunch was fabulous.  I love my Mum and sister:)

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So finally I had to look in Selfridges.  I love this store.  The whole shopping experience is immediately elevated.  Now yes I had already bought the t-shirt but just for curiosity’s sake I went to the Ted Baker concession to see if they had a 3 in the dress.  They did.  After a couple of glasses of wine it was a no brainer:)

Here’s what I wore for the day.

Jacket – River Island // T-shirt dress – AllSaints Venice t-shirt dress // Trousers – Dorothy Perkins coated jeggings // Boots – Rag&Bone Newbury

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See you all when I’m back in Atlanta!!  England it has been a BLAST!

 

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A natural high.

So I paid a visit to see Charlie yesterday at the AllSaints concession in Bloomingdale’s here in Atlanta.  The lovely Charlie went above and beyond the call of duty to help and advise me.  I tried on everything I could in the limited time available.  Rubbish me didn’t get any photos – I just didn’t think sorry!  I was too busy chatting with Charlie about the brand, and admiring the new, improved layout of the store and the fabulous new collection.

I can report back on the following items though:

1. The Sago jumper dress is gorgeous – sexy, drapey and SO flattering with leggings or jeans.  I’m waiting for the black to come in and then it will be mine – make sure you size down.

2. The Riviera dress – now in jersey it just didn’t work – the slits are so high at the thigh and the jersey falls so that ALL my thigh was on show.  Now my legs ain’t bad but showing them up to my hoo-ha at my age just ain’t decent.  The Riviera in the silk peony print, however, was DIVINE!  The silk means it falls a little more conservatively at the front.  Yes there are still splits at each side – but I felt sexy in this, not mutton.  I am sorely tempted by the peony print but I’m not really a navy girl so will be waiting for the mono print.  I have VERY high hopes for this dress.

3. The Camille jersey dress – hmmm I sized down and it still felt a bit blah – just too shapeless I’m afraid.

4. The Venice tee dress – I bought this!  In Charcoal, and wait for it – in a size UK 4!!!! No way am I a 4 (US 0) but I’ll take it!  (Lovely Charlie massaged my ego telling me how much weight I’d lost – no wonder his sales numbers are up!).

5. The Ggt Daiaki dress – I really loved the silhouette of this dress – and it would look so cool, edgy and sophisticated with leggings.  Unfortunately my boobs meant that the buttons gaped – it would have been mine were it not for that – sizing up would have made it too sack like:(

6. The Peony sleeveless crew neck – on the hanger this looked perfect – on me it looked dreadful.  AllSaints here is a plea to you – stop making your armholes SO big – I don’t want to show my bra never mind the roll of flab that sits above it – smaller arm holes would be far more flattering and protect others from viewing far too much, thank you.

As I walked out of Bloomingdale’s I was delighted to see a new Ted Baker concession.  My sister loves Ted Baker and we often have a look when we’re at the Trafford Center.  Since my visit yesterday I have been thinking longingly about this beauty – the Rainbow Viewpoint dress.  Loud yes, but it reminds me so much of London I might just have to have it.

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Without wanting to sound completely self righteous, I had the most amazing run on the treadmill this morning so I was still high as a kite when I took my photos today…I’m wearing the AllSaints Godiva sweater, from the sale last year, layered over an H&M tank dress, with the Zara snake print trousers and my Acne Pistols.

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Loving some AllSaints.

I love AllSaints.  Not only do I love their urban styling but their flagship store in Spitalfields is just across the road from my London pad and The Golden Heart, where we have had many a lively night before a curry on Brick Lane.  Wearing my AllSaints brings me closer to home and another great bonus is that you rarely see anyone else here in Atlanta wearing it.  I tend to order it online as I can get it tax free due to them not having a stand alone store here in Atlanta, but Bloomingdale’s in Lenox Mall has a great concession managed by the fabulous Charlie.  If you go tell him I sent you – he will treat you like a star!

Yes they are a little more expensive than a lot of other high street stores but they have a great sale every 6 months and their knitwear especially is so unique it is, in my eyes, worth it.  I also love their tops and I have a couple of dresses too, oh and my leather straight leg trousers are AllSaints too.  Yes I have quite a thing for them.  Lots of raw edging, exposed seams, asymmetric drapey hems and an industrial palette gives their clothes a great urban vibe, but they are equally wearable, and I have found, in the main, that they are good quality – though I did have a t-shirt that had to go back twice due to the fabric weakening from the dying process – I gave up on it sadly, though I loved it so much!

So today I am wearing my Express blush jeans and Ash Thelma wedges with my AllSaints Pipali top and AllSaints Itat shrug.  They are the perfect tops for layering on another beautiful Fall day.  I love the skinny arms on their knitwear.

Right now I am wishing the week away as I am desperate for a haircut on Friday!

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