17 November 2019

Me and my puffer

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Imagine me saying that blog post title in my broadest Bristolian accent......makes me chuckle! 😂

I digress! Last year I made a most fortuitous sale purchase. It was a very impulsive buy for me as I'm a typical Libran......very indecisive and I usually like to have a think before I decide to buy. However it was the only one left and 2 sizes larger than I would normally buy but I felt compelled to get it. It's possibly one of the best things I've ever bought......not only is it practical as it keeps me toasty but it feels stylish too! I wore it on Thursday when we had a mixture of snow and rain and after getting a few messages about it I promised to find something similar. First though......let me share the inspiration.....



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14 November 2019

My shopping rules

If you've followed me for a while you'll know that I've recently become a lot more aware of my consumption. My wardrobe was fit to burst and overflowing. Then came along #SecondHandSeptember. The timing couldn't have been more perfect for me.......I was so ready for a change. I decided to make a conscious effort to purchase my clothes more considerately. Since I successfully completed the challenge of only buying preloved clothing for a month I've implemented a few shopping rules I thought I'd share with you. I best touch on the subject of sustainability........it's so overwhelming isn't it? I mean where do you start? This post was shared by the lovely Nicky a couple of months before the challenge.....I believe it was directly responsible for sewing the seed and setting me on this journey!

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10 November 2019

Partywear - my version of anyway!

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Requests for party wear are pretty popular at the moment. We are about to hit the festive season so there may an event or two to go to! I have to say (as I've said before) I don't usually receive a lot of invitations to go out-out over Christmas. My work Christmas 'do' is a very low-key affair. We tend to go out for a lovely lunch but it's not an occasion I really get to dress up for. As I am really trying to keep my lifestyle in mind with every purchase I make I plan to just make the best of what's in my wardrobe..... should I be invited anywhere! I have more than enough items that will see me through the odd drinks party I may go along to. What I'm sharing in this post are versions of things my wardrobe and are past season and probably no longer available. You probably already have some really similar pieces in your own wardrobe. Do try and shop your own wardrobe. If you, like me don't get too many opportunities to don your glad rags but want to add something new I would implore you to try and source these items preloved. There's nothing worse than seeing something expensive you bought especially for an occasion to sit unloved your wardrobe just waiting for another opportunity to be worn. I am trying to make more considered purchases and buy things that are very versatile and can easily take you from day to evening. I generally tend to go for separates to give me maximum wears out of everything. I've tried to find alternatives here and I've linked some eBay searches as well as stuff currently on the High Street. Remember that golden rule of thinking about 5 other garments you could style any new additions with before you make each purchase......I find that definitely works for me!

First up is a tried and tested look......one of my favourites evening wear outfits from last year.



CHINITI & PARKER SWEATER, past season - similar here
M&S SHOES, past season - similar here on eBay These are also a good alternative
HERMOSA BAG, gifted 2018

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3 November 2019

THOSE LITTLE EXTRAS THAT GIVE YOUR A/W OUTFITS A LIFT

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This blog post is a shout out to all those little details that elevate our autumn/winter ensembles. Because let's face it - during the colder months when it's usually all about switching up the coat and footwear choices to ring the changes. Add a scarf, hat and gloves and voila you have a different take on your standard outfit fare. I've been asked about my jewellery (particularly my bracelets) quite a lot lately so that I will share those too!

First of all - a disclaimer. Accessories do present us with an ideal opportunity to add a pop of colour to brighten up the darker months.....and tendency to go for darker colours. However as I am striving towards a more minimal wardrobe I am leaning towards more neutral tones. I'm just pretty conscious that everything I am sharing is pretty much black though I am looking to remedy that with some grey and camel tones as I'm aware those shades would be a bit kinder around my face. Just thought I would clear that up as occasionally I have been criticised for wearing too much black......you like what you like though and it's with style it's all about whatever makes you feel good.

So here goes. Lets start at the top. Come winter I do love a beanie hat.....they are especially great for crappy hair days! I've had my faithful black cashmere one for a couple of years now. I absolutely believe it's worth investing in a cashmere one.....acrylic ones have a tendency to make my hair stand on end........and a barnet full of static is not a good look!



BLACK.CO.UK CASHMERE BEANIE (gift 2016) Also comes in light grey, navy and brown

Outfit details
H&M puffa jacket, past season - current version
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31 October 2019

Fifth element - the Mac

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Upon reflection I should have included this item in my last blog post. I have struggled to find the right one over the years and now like buses three have come along at once. The trusty trench or mac has also become one of my main wardrobe staples.

The first one I fell in love with was thanks to one of Kilver Court's epic clearance sales where I picked up a Joseph trench that cost me £109. I think (if memory serves me correctly) it had a whopping 80% off. I can't do the maths but what I do know is that it would have been well out of my price range at full price. To be fair £109 is a lot to me too but I know this is something that will be in my wardrobe forever. As always I would recommend checking out outlet stores, preloved sites such as eBay and Depop......or if the thrifting fairies often shine down on you might be lucky enough to find in a charity shop! There are a couple on eBay at the moment - I have searched for you here.


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27 October 2019

the four cornerstones of my autumn/winter wardrobe

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Well hello there! Long time no blog! I hope you like the new name - CuratingMi. Having just hit the mid-century milestone (yes.....I'm 50!) I decided it was time for a change. I'm trying to pare back my life in many ways and live a little more simply - curating me/Michelle seemed to be the perfect fit! I'd love to hear what you think. Anyway.....enough waffle.....let's get on with it!

I had a request to share my Autumn/Winter staples. After a fair bit of reflection it's boiled it down to the four pillars of my wardrobe at the moment. Following a humongous wardrobe edit I've realised that the things that are keepers and survive every cull are the items that suit my lifestyle the best. These days I'm mostly a teen taxi service at best! Earlier this year I attended a personal styling course and learning my style personality has been a game-changer. I'm a natural (with a hint of classic) meaning I'm drawn to a few good wardrobe basics that are easy to style and rather fortuitously suit my new approach - a more uncomplicated life all around.

For as long as I can remember my signature A/W style has been a tailored coat, skinny jeans and Converse hi-tops which was most suited to my five minute walk to school. However my daughter is older, school is now further away and I find myself spending more time in my car which means my go-to outfit has been tweaked. I've swapped the coat for a blazer - I have a tiny car (Peugeot 107) so something less bulky is much more practical for the short journey's to and from school and activities. So much more functional!

Just a few looks from Pinterest that have inspired me!

After successfully completing #secondhandseptember I am fully on board with buying preloved items wherever I can. I picked up some amazing tips from this lovely lady who took me charity shopping - there is an art to it you know! Nicky's best pointer was to check out the mens department - I got extremely lucky with a Moon fabric M&S blazer in Oxfam. However I would say that eBay is always my first stop for sourcing preloved. My last purchase was a beautiful cashmere blend black Viyella jacket (pictured below). My mum used to work for Viyella so I knew what kind of quality to expect. If you know your brands it makes searching for stuff on eBay a whole lot easier - for example I would search St Michael (M&S) on eBay.......I've spotted some real gems here. Do size up a couple of sizes though as certainly St Michael vintage stuff seems to be cut a lot smaller - I have a size 14 in a much loved velvet jacket......the Viyella jacket is a size 14 too, don't forget that the oversize look is very "on trend" at the moment as well.

Here's how I've been styling my blazers. Left to right - Warehouse via eBay, Toast via Kilver Court & Viyella via eBay.



If I was buying these brand new from the High Street I'd be looking at this one.





What am I wearing under my blazers? You can't beat a classic crew neck sweater - in either merino or cashmere. They are great layering piece - wear a shirt or heatech underneath and a jacket over the top.
I already have these in neutral colours black, grey and navy......and I've just added this colour  (below) to my collection. Try M&S and Uniqlo - both similar in price and quality.......I have purchased from both brands and there really isn't a lot in it! This tan colour is so useful - looks great with grey and will lift many of the darker colours I tend to favour in autumn/winter.



Another tip - I would advise sizing up in these sweaters. I have a 12 (I'd usually go for a 10 or small). It just leaves little room if you want to wear something underneath.  I would also recommend sizing up in cashmere too. At M&S I've bought size 14 and 16 and I've ordered size large from Uniqlo.

What to wear on the bottom half? Come the colder months I'm all about the jeans. At the moment I'm favouring a straight jean with a raw hem. Topshop do a great pair with a higher rise. It's worth looking in Gap too. I've had a lot of luck in TK Maxx with designer brands such a Rag & Bone and J Brand. If you are an outlet shopping fan (Kilver Court & Swindon for me!) I've bagged myself some M.i.h jeans and Levis at a great discount.

A note on the raw hem - I am not adverse to hacking off the hems myself to achieve the desired effect!




I'm also still a fan of a skinny jeans - again Topshop are my go-to for the Jamie style.




If you do want an alternative to jeans I would recommend these (I sized up to a 12) and these  I'd style both with trainers to dress them down a little.

My footwear of choice at the moment are my preloved (via Depop) Dr Marten Flora boots. I'm embracing a more minimal look and these Chelsea boots go with everything. Oh.....and they are brilliant in the copious amount of rain we have been blessed (not!) with recently.



To sum up I'm just going explain what I'm trying to achieve. My aim is for a more functional wardrobe - I no longer wish to spend ages standing in front of my wardrobe pondering what to wear. I just had too much stuff to choose from. I've reverted to spending more time looking for outfit inspiration on Pinterest in a bid to shop my wardrobe - as opposed to being tempted to jump on the "must have" bandwagon. I'm trying to buy less but buy better. I've got into the habit of checking eBay and Depop when trying to source specific items. I still enjoy having a proper mooch around the shops - I'm very lucky to have two excellent outlets close to where I live Kilver Court  and Swindon outlet which are both brilliant for picking up designer pieces for less. On that note - just a little heads up as Kilver Court have their legendary Paul Smith Clearance coming up this weekend where you can pick up some amazing items of clothing and accessories (men's and women's) at a fraction of the usual cost. I will be there!

I have done a little video on IGTV (see here) if you would like to see/hear me talk this though - you can view through my Instagram bio here. There is also a hair tutorial there that I uploaded recently! After my wardrobe declutter I am selling a few pieces on eBay - click here if you'd like to see......there are lots more bits scheduled to go on sale this evening.

There we have it......I will be back on a more regular basis. I have a few more suggestions for blog posts. If there is anything you would like me to cover please do leave me a comment.

Back soon!

Michelle x






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