12 October 2015

A great fashion read.....

and another fab style icon who is new to me is Amanda Brooks author of Always Pack a Party Dress. I received this fantastic book for my birthday from my fabulous friend Claire (who is very stylish and creative herself, see here!) and I have been devouring it's content ever since! It's part autobiography as Amanda has enjoyed an amazing career in fashion but every few pages she shares some amazing styling tips! For those of you who may have enjoyed a bit of Konmari-ing lately, I think this another book that will really appeal to you! Amanda has a wealth of knowledge from her brilliant career in New York working in various capacities with top designers and stores but has now moved to the UK and swapped her glamorous occupation for a more simple life in the English countryside. She had to decide what clothing from her extensive wardrobe would survive a gigantic cull and work for her new lifestyle. It makes for fascinating reading and she imparts some brilliant advice!

It really is a great insight into fashion by someone with a wealth of experience as she talks about what has influenced her style and she even shares some great advice for anyone looking to secure a job in fashion....it has left me truly inspired! This would make a fantastic gift for Christmas for those of you who want to give your friends a real treat! Or better still pop it on your Santa's wish list as I have popped her first book I Love Your Style on mine!

In my humble opinion one of the best parts of the book is at the end Amanda lists her top pieces of clothing and accessories that she wouldn't want to be without which got me thinking and compiling a list of my own! Some are old and I've had for years and I hope to have for years to come. There are a couple of new season items where I may have found the holy grail of an elusive item that eluded me previously. It's interesting to look over my chosen pieces, be warned it's a very neutral colour palette but I guess that's what makes these clothes my wardrobe staples. Here goes......

DKNY leather jacket, ancient via T K Maxx, one of my best ever bargains at £35, similar here
Zara camouflage jacket, ancient still one of my absolute favourites
Zara biker coat, I've had this one a while but it's my go-to and will come out year after year
Mango tribal print dress, a S/S15 purchase that has taken me everywhere this summer, here

Topshop white shirt current, the only white shirt I've owned that I truly love, brilliant shape
Zara t-shirt, current. I have this in white, black and grey. I will be investing in other colours when I go to Spain at the end of the month as they are amazing, v-neck suits me best and I love the boxy shape
Topshop Jamie black skinny jeans current, wardrobe staple no-brainer
Zara army trousers, S/S 2015, by far my favourite alternative to jeans, similar here

Warehouse silk blouse, been in my wardrobe for at least 10 years and only cost me a tenner, I bring it every year for one event or another, similar here
Next leather look pencil skirt, fab with the Warehouse blouse or just as chic with the Topshop white shirt or the Zara v-neck tee so versatile and easy to ring the evening out change with this piece, similar here

Onto my top 5 shoes/accessories

Balenciaga bag, the more worn it looks the more I love it, it's been worth every penny! Similar here
Converse, couldn't live without them, here, here and here
Rolex, my most treasured possession as it belonged to my dad.
Chanel bag, 25 years old and still going strong. A classic, another worthy investment, similar here
H by Hudson Mirar boots as brilliant in Summer as in Winter as these as fab with a dress or skirt as they do with jeans, this colour is just so versatile, similar here

So, I'd love to hear if would you find it easy or hard to whittle down your favourite pieces. What are your wardrobe classics that come out year after year? I am all ears! Maybe there is a gem or two I've forgotten?!

What I've been sporting these past few days.

Zara jacket, past season
Zara white -shirt, current
Topshop Jamie jeans, here
Converse, here
Lulu Guinness bag, via eBay

H&M sweater, current here
Sainsbury's Tu pleather skirt, past season, similar here
Topshop Finest shoes, current
Chanel bag, ancient similar here

Zara shirt, past season similar here
Gap always skinny, similar here
Adidas Gazelles, here
Lulu Guinness bag via eBay

DKNY leather jacket, past season similar here
ASOS Missguided dress, current here
Converse, here
Lulu Guinness bag via eBay

ASOS Brave Soul shirt, past season similar here
Zara v-neck t-shirt, current here
Uniqlo sweatpants, past season, similar here
Converse, here

Zara tux , current here
Alexander Wang t-shirt, here
Zara army trousers, similar, here
Converse, here 
Balenciaga bag, similar here

Have you read any other inspiring fashion books? I would love to hear if you have come across any other interesting reads!



  1. I'm so going to get this book, sounds fabulous! Thanks for the tip off. It's not strictly fashion but IT by Alexa Chung makes for an interesting read. Just her thoughts on style etc, with sone if her doodles thrown in xx

    1. It really is a lovely book....one I will keep going back to as a reference as there are some great tips! Funnily enough I bought the Alexa book for Claire who bought me this book but I don't have it myself so that's another one for my Christmas list! Thanks for reminding me! xx

  2. I've recently done the same exercise, whittled down my wardrobe to the bare bones - some of my staples are years old but they come out year after year. I love your outfit with the ASOS Misguided maxi dress, gorgeous with the leather jacket. I'm tempted myself although slightly fed up with ASOS after returning three pairs of dungarees as they kept breaking - arghhhhh!

    1. I've had a huge purge, though I still seem to have lots of old favourites. I haven't bought as much this A/W compared to last year and I feel I've now added a few classic items that eluded me previously and managed to update what I already had with a few trend pieces! I love the Missguided dress....that will probably turn out to be one of best A/W purchases as I think it will be fab with a chunky knit over it.....more versatile than I imagined! How disappointing with ASOS....hope their customer service has sorted you, I've always found them to be really good! xx

  3. Oh I would struggle trying to narrow down things. I do have a favourite velvet party dress though and my little Primark white blouse would be in it but as for the rest - it's hard to say! I might need to think about this a little more! And I think the book might be a nice present for me from my boys this year - sorted!

    1. I did cogitate for a few days and have to admit this list is pretty seasonal, but on the whole these bits would see me throughout the year! Do get the book down on your Christmas list....I reckon you will love it! xx

  4. I'd really struggle too narrow it down but what a great exercise! Love all of your choices, Michelle, so you and so versatile too. Lynne xx

    1. I don't think it would be as hard as you think Lynne.....once you have a little flick through your wardrobe I bet your favourite take you anywhere clothes would jump out at you! Mine are all things I see myself wearing for years to come! xx

  5. Thanks so much for this post Michelle! I used to follow Amanda Brooks' blog, it was a brilliant read, but she stopped writing it for a while and I lost touch with it. I've just searched for it and, happily, rediscovered it! The book might just make it onto my birthday wishlist too, it looks really interesting! xx