DREAMING OF SUMMER...


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Sometimes there's not much more to say than, I'm dreaming of Summer; of sun on skin, long nights that stretch out before you... barbecues' with friends and picnic dinners in the park. Holiday's to places with new streets and new people, slotting into a life that isn't yours for a while.

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This dress from Allegra C/O of Student High Street, with its boho print and trailing fabric instantly brought me to the Summer that's yet to come. Styling and shooting in the flat, amidst eager searches for flights to places I've dreamed of visiting. I can't wait to wear this meandering down an unfamiliar cobbled street and sitting in beautiful squares with a coffee or a glass of wine; discovering somewhere new. 

I imagine wearing this with layered jewellery as I have here, paired with this macrame bag and these cat eye sunglasses which adds to the boho vibe which is something quite different for me. If you want to complete this look, wear with leather sandals like these. If I'm honest I'd probably throw on a pair of white minimal trainers because I love that kind of juxtaposition in an outfit as well as trainers being my absolute go to regardless. 

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Student High Street, if you haven't heard of it, is a shopping platform where you can discover emerging brands such as Allegra and Fan Club Clothing; those two being my favourite discoveries from the site so far. However, SHS is more than just a shopping destination. With the founders holding strong values in supporting young talent, the site is a stage for upcoming events, music and innovation too. 

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This post is sponsored by SHS


Dress: Allegra C/O SHS | Earrings: Topshop (old) | Short Necklace: Topshop (in store) Alternative | Long Necklace: Oliver Bonas (in store) | Amber Ring: Galerie Mirages | Wings Ring: Julia Lacey | Bobble Ring: Topshop (in store) Alternative | Linked Ring: Topshop (in store) Alternative 


Photography: Charlie Jennings


REVIVE YOUR WEEKEND WARDROBE


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Jeans and a t-shirt have become synonymous with the weekend wardrobe. Both easy, effortless pieces, you can throw on a leather jacket and trainers for during the day or a blazer and heels for the evening without too much thought or foresight. And while I'm a huge advocate for these looks as well as a simple jeans and a t-shirt outfit in general, I'm not such a fan of segregating clothing in this way. Keeping certain pieces just for the weekend, just for work or just for evenings can lead to lack of variety and boredom when it comes to getting dressed. An easy way to avoid this is to see your wardrobe as fluid, styling tailored pieces in with casual and vice versa. Wearing a t-shirt with a mini skirt on a night out or a pair of tailored trousers with trainers for Sunday brunch stops an evening outfit looking overdone and elevates typical weekend wear.

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Here I've paired a wide leg check trouser with Winter's equivalent to a t-shirt, the polo. These trousers are ideal for daywear as they are the perfect length to wear with flats. I'm about 5"5" and they skim my trainers, sitting just above the ground which is important if you don't want them to soak up the rain like your flared jeans circa 2002. Pairing with chunky knitwear deflects the 'office' association as well as being practical in the current cold weather. 

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As with most things, striking the right balance is important when it comes to keeping outfits feeling contemporary. Cardigans are just coming back on the scene so ensuring the rest of the outfit is youthful stops them feeling stuffy. This one is great because the balloon sleeve detail in the cardigan itself makes it feel fresh, especially in addition to the tie belt which synchs in the waist creating a flattering shape which can easily be lost with thick knits. 

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I'm sure your Instagram will have been inundated with berets of late but this outfit is no exception as accessories and hats are the easiest and arguably the most affordable way (depending where you shop) to update wardrobe staples. Matching bags and accessory colours is definitely something that comes down to personal preference but with the right look, I think it can really pull together and finish off an outfit. As an additional extra I styled with a pair of textured hoops which again offsets the more casual elements of the look. 

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So if you are feeling uninspired with your 'weekend wardrobe' trying pulling items you would normally reserve for other times during the week or take the time to think of what hats, bags, scarves etc would complement the outfit. Doing this will reinvigorate how you see and style your basics. 

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Beret: Topshop | Polo Neck: H&M | Cardigan: Topshop (sold out) Alternative | Trousers: Topshop (sold out) Alternative | Shoes: Topshop | Bag: Zara (old) Alternative

Earrings: Topshop (sold out) Alternative | Amber Ring: Galerie Mirages | Wings Ring: Julia Lacey | Bobble Ring: Topshop (in store) Alternative | Linked Ring: Topshop (in store) Alternative 



JANUARYLAND


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Welcome back to The Style Companion 2018. Festivities are over and we are amidst what will now be known as 'Januaryland'. If you are wondering what the hell Januaryland is; it's the sad bones of Christmas trees tossed to the side of the road, the gathering pile of empty wine bottles next to an overflowing bottle bank and pretty much, the general shitty feeling that many of us have for the first month of the year when we're too skint to do anything and already feel overindulged in little pleasures such as chocolate to even take comfort in that without a certain feeling of guilt following immediately afterwards. So although I identify with the above, I'm going to try and shed a little light on the first month the year with an outfit post. 

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As I mentioned in my last blog, I've recently finished up in my role as a Topshop personal shopper and have started a new job within a creative communications company. Having just completed my first week, I can safely say I'm loving the change so far and finding learning a new business incredibly inspiring. The timing has allowed me to find the excitement in starting 2018 with a clean slate and fresh ideas which I'd love to translate here too.

I have also noticed a change in the way I view my wardrobe. I no longer look at pieces with a time stamp of when I bought them attached. Working in retail means you are constantly surrounded by product with new deliveries coming in more or less everyday which tricks you into feeling items are 'old' when actually they might have been purchased as little as month ago. I'm enjoying styling my current clothes in different ways and seeing how many varying looks I can achieve with them. 

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For Christmas I treated myself to this 100% cashmere hoodie which I've always coveted but couldn't justify (however, when you know your staff discount is about to be no more, you can justify just about anything)! And although it's the cosiest jumper for lounging about the house in, whilst also being fully acceptable to answer the door to the postman in, I wanted to ensure I could style it in a proper outfit too.

Teamed with my beloved straight jeans and socks boots I layered with a polo neck - shock horror - and a structured double breasted blazer in a spiced yellow colour. With frayed detailing and big tortoise shell buttons it's a piece I feel surpasses other similar offerings on the High Street and will stand the test of time within my wardrobe. I've not layered a hoodie under anything since high school, but I love the effortless smart, casual look it gives worn under the blazer showing that occasionally it's worth investing in your loungewear if it can also play a part in your regular wardrobe too. 

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Polo Neck (just seen): Topshop | Cashmere Hoodie: Topshop (sold out) Alternative | Blazer: Topshop (sold out) Ebay | Jeans: Topshop | Boots: Topshop

Amber Ring: Galerie Mirages | Wings Ring: Julia Lacey | Bobble Ring: Topshop (in store) Alternative | Linked Ring: Topshop (in store) Alternative 



SO THIS IS THE NEW YEAR


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New Year is a weird one isn't it? There always seems to be an underlying pressure to reflect, make changes and be different. If you're like me, it's an additional opportunity to scrutinise whether what you're doing (in life) is enough. The short answer is probably, 'yes', but it's usually a lot harder to accept than that.

I've recently left my role as a Personal Shopper and will soon be starting a new job with a Creative Communications Company. As a leaving gift, a friend bought me the book, 'You Do You - how to be who you are and use what you've got to get what you want' which aims to promote the idea that you can in fact be yourself and be happy, without alteration. It was an apt gift and with the words 'THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU' emblazoned a few pages in, it struck a chord.

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In somewhat of a contradiction, I will be making changes this year as I've worked for Topshop since I was nineteen. Although it's daunting to leave a place of comfort and knowledge it's also exhilarating. However, this wasn't a change made on the pretence of 'new year, new me' which I think is important. Changes and growth come with time and acceptance - you need to be ready in yourself rather than simply feel the pressure of a new year.

Despite the fact I will not be personal shopping daily, I will be continuing my love for fashion through the blog with the hope that I will be able to work freelance occasionally. Here I've created a look for Hogmanay. A sequin slip that could be worn on it's own for a dressed up affair, or as I have here, layered over a polo and jeans with barely there heels if you still want to feel festive but need to bring it down a few notches! 
 

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Reading back, I realise this post is a little disjointed but I think it aptly reflects my feelings towards New Year. I do enjoy the anticipation of a fresh start but contrarily grudge the notion that we should change ourselves just because January 1st is around the corner.

Regardless, however you spend Hogmanay, I hope you bring in the bells in whatever way makes you happiest! See you again next month for a new post! 

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Polo Neck: Topshop | Dress: Topshop (sold out) Ebay | Jeans: Topshop | Shoes: Topshop

Amber Ring: Galerie Mirages | Wings Ring: Julia Lacey | Bobble Ring: Topshop (in store) Alternative | Linked Ring: Topshop (in store) Alternative 



GET THAT FESTIVE FEELING


Bag: Topshop | Coat: H&M | Shoes: & Other Stories | Earrings: Topshop | Jumpsuit: Warehouse

Bag: Topshop | Coat: H&M | Shoes: & Other Stories | Earrings: Topshop | Jumpsuit: Warehouse

While I'm not quite putting up my Christmas tree yet, I am definitely already feeling festive. Today I bought some baubles AND my first present whilst wandering a dreich but glistening Edinburgh. Since I am patiently awaiting payday before splurging on myself, I've put together a few outfits that will see you through the party season. Featuring High Street favourites from Warehouse and Whistles to & Other Stories, Zara, H&M, Anthropologie and not forgetting old faithful, Topshop, these looks will (hopefully) serve some inspiration for your Christmas party outfits.  

If like me, you love a jumpsuit for an evening, this one packs a punch in cherry red. There is something so powerful yet classic about an all in one and this one is effortlessly so; with a flattering wide leg, synched in belt and frill sleeve it is easy to wear and simple to style. Here I've paired with a metallic silver bag (red and silver is far more chic than red and gold in my opinion) and sparkly mismatched earrings to give a quirky touch. Patent black, barely there sandals and a fluffy faux fur add texture and shine to the overall outfit. I'd wear with slick back hair, winged liner and a hollywood red lip for a Christmas Party ready look.

Bag: Whistles | Boots: Zara | Coat: Topshop | Trousers: & Other Stories | Top: Warehouse

Bag: Whistles | Boots: Zara | Coat: Topshop | Trousers: & Other Stories | Top: Warehouse

Secondly, I've styled something for when you want to feel dressed up but not necessarily for a night out; think drinks with friends, date night or a girly lunch. Leather trousers sort of terrify me (I'm imagining myself in the episode of Friends when Ross has to frantically talcum powder his legs...) but these straight leg versions are an interesting alternative to jeans or cigarette trousers adding an edgier element to the outfit. Polo necks are my favourite layering piece under round collared coats in Winter, so this sparkly stripe one paired with this dreamy Mongolian fur coat is a match made in Heaven tucked into the leather trousers. Tying everything together with these wine coloured sock boots (no need for chilly ankles this A/W) and a sheepskin bag your Boyfriend/Husband/Brother will hate but you will love - a fashion forward look that will turn heads for the right reasons. 

Lastly, I've created my imaginary Christmas Day look. While I love the idea of getting dressed up for Christmas Day it's never been part of our tradition as we've always had a low key day with the six of us, only recently changing since I've been with Charlie so this is more likely to be a New Years Eve outfit for me. Regardless, it's girly and feminine with a dose of Blair Waldorf hairband action too. Velvet is always a key fabric for the festive season and is something I bring out every year so this little black dress is the perfect addition to any wardrobe if you are seeking longevity. Creating a more unique look by adding a sparkly tie belt gives a classic shape a more current edge. The aforementioned hairband is a beautiful forest green with peacock feather embroidery - something I have been obsessing over since spotting it in my local Anthropologie. A crackled gold heel and sequin blazer finishes off this feminine seasonal outfit. 

Blazer: Topshop | Shoes: Topshop | Dress: Warehouse | Belt: Topshop | Hairband: Anthropologie

Blazer: Topshop | Shoes: Topshop | Dress: Warehouse | Belt: Topshop | Hairband: Anthropologie


This is a sponsored post. 


MORVERN | ON FILM


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Having already mentioned my penchant for traditions in the last post it probably comes as no surprise that I'm big on nostalgia too. If there's a box of childhood books, photos, primary school projects (basically any memorabilia possible) - I'll be there, combing through each and every detail. I could/can never tidy my room in a respectable amount of time because as soon as I discover(ed) something forgotten I would be/am down a rabbit hole. 

Stemmed from this I have decided to take photos on film, especially of special occasions and trips away. There is something unsettling about our whole lives being completely digital: potentially an oxymoron for someone writing an online blog. However, I like the idea of looking back on albums rather than scrolling through an Instagram feed to reminisce over a single, curated image.

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Thankfully, the Cunningham household is not minimalist and my Dad came through with his old school Canon Power Shot (film still inside) which I took on a recent trip to the West Coast of Scotland. The holiday was chilled and outfits were cosy and practical (face makeup-less ). We stayed in an incredible AirBnB that had straight up Homeward Bound vibes. I'll link it incase anyone fancies a Scottish adventure; with slouchy sofas, wood burner and huge dining room table it would be perfect for a family get together or reunion with friends. 

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Eating, drinking and Scrabble-ing were high on the priority list when the weather was being typically Scottish and when it was still being typically Scottish we ventured on local walks and road trips to Tobermory on Mull (Cafe Fish for lunch is a must). I definitely want to see more of Scotland as I think we often forget to explore our home countries. Stay tuned for more 'On Film' posts. 

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PS. The original film in the camera was from a holiday in Menorca eleven years ago when I was fourteen and looking extremely 2006 and not at all like current fourteen year olds. Nostalgia giving much entertainment once again. 

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Breton Stripe T-shirt: Topshop (Old) Alternative | Jeans: Topshop | White T-Shirt: Topshop (Sold Out) Alternative | Parka: Topshop (Old) Alternative 

Amber Ring: Galerie Mirages | Wings Ring: Julia Lacey | Bobble Ring: Topshop (in store) Alternative | Linked Ring: Topshop (in store) Alternative | Bracelet: Pandora | Necklace: Ted Baker


Season Of The Witch


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I'd be lying if I said Hallowe'en was my favourite holiday because if truth be told, I love pretty much every holiday. If there is an excuse to don costume, glitter, tartan etc... or partake in some kind of tradition, I'm there. That being said, Hallowe'en is up there with the best. I've been known to express excitement about it's approach around the July mark. 

I am a huge child when it comes to traditions so the things I like about Hallowe'en are the same as when I was 5 - pumpkin carving, Hocus Pocus and appropriately themed sweets and snacks (always the snacks). From then, with the help of my friend Kim, growing up I developed a love for slasher films and general spookiness which upped the PG rating if only slightly. 

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My wardrobe has no exemption from this strange desire to buy into gimmicks; I have a few Christmas only items and come Valentine's you know for sure I'll be wearing pink or red. Unsurprisingly I have several ghoulish tee's in my repertoire, this one being the newest C/O of Best Dressed Secret. Easy, fun and a bit silly (and also on sale); I added texture with this luxe green faux fur jacket from Topshop, high waisted, tailored trousers and crisp white trainers to give a little extra style kudos.  

One thing that was lacking in my box of tricks was a reputable spooky playlist (ie. not one including the Monster Mash) to listen to while indulging in aforementioned festivities. This year I created my own and needless to say it's been playing a lot this month. So, click play, check out the rest of this post and then get on to those pumpkins! Happy Hallowe'en! ðŸŽƒ

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T-Shirt: C/O Best Dressed Secret (on sale) | Faux Fur Jacket: Topshop (old) New Season Colour also in Grey & Pink | Trousers: River Island (old) Alternative | Trainers: Topshop (old) Alternative 

Amber Ring: Galerie Mirages | Wings Ring: Julia Lacey | Bobble Ring: Topshop (in store) Alternative | Linked Ring: Topshop (in store) Alternative | Bracelet: Pandora | Necklace: Ted Baker



#carryyourconfidence


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If you didn't already know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and iconic bag brand, Fiorelli have teamed up with Breast Cancer Care to raise money through their campaign #carryourconfidence. The bold pinstripe collection donates £10 per bag with the aim of raising £75,000 across the year to support the charity. Face of the campaign, Katie - a survivor of breast cancer talks of how she wants to promote a positive battle, creating more confident stories for others to turn to. 

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I am incredibly lucky to say that my life and those closest to me have not been touched by the disease directly but it goes without saying that the impact on those diagnosed and their loved ones is huge. I am also well aware of the fragility of that fact and how quickly it could change. For those reasons, I wanted to contribute to a message I feel strongly about. 

The narrative of the campaign is to #carryyourconfidence in the same way that you carry your favourite handbag. I picked the Anouk backpack as I love the minimal, chic design. The backpack style gives a youthful vibe which I contrasted with a tailored longline blazer. I love the proportions of the different jackets and dress paired with the knee high boots.

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The campaign topic really resonated as confidence has been and still is an on going battle for me. The issue I have is that I often feel passionately about something but will regularly second guess myself and let the little voice in my head convince myself that I'm not good enough or that I'm wrong in my opinion. Something I'm sure a lot of of people can empathise with. It makes me anxious and can stop me voicing what I believe or proceeding with something I am passionate about, (this blog and writing being a prime example).

However, on certain days I feel full of determination and will act the part until it becomes something that I know I will be able to do. Public speaking is probably the best illustration of this. I still get nervous before talking to a crowd but over the years, from high school and uni to my job now, I forced myself to do it when it was asked of me. This has made me realise that I am capable, and although the butterflies still make their rounds in my stomach beforehand, I will get through it and be proud that I did. 

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Another aspect that determines how confident I feel is how others view me, and this varies depending on who it is and what environment I'm in. I'm sure my Dad will find it somewhat amusing that I don't voice my opinion in certain circumstances as I have no trouble at all having a back and forth with him at the dinner table until he concedes (or at least pretends to). When I was in school I was always told by teachers to have more self belief as I constantly sought reassurance; words I have heard repeatedly and still do. There have also been friends/boyfriends over the years who were loud characters that dominated the relationship, making me believe that I was the weaker one. I have never been loud and unfortunately, loud is often misinterpreted as confident and quietness as shyness. In my opinion that is completely false. So depending on whether I am around close friends and family, at work or in a group of people I don't know very well then I can go from a exuberant debater to quietly confident to a reserved introvert in a flash.

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Confidence comes in different ways, some are humble, some are arrogant, some are both depending on what day it is. However, I think the reserved shouldn't be underestimated as not being confident, they just might not be as forthcoming with it as others. If you are like me, surround yourself with those that build you up, support you and help you achieve your goals. If you believe in what you have to say but you don't necessarily believe in yourself, stepping outside your comfort zone is imperative for self growth. Otherwise, you'll later regret not taking the chance and seeing where it might lead. So, if you were to ask me how I carry my confidence I'd say, quietly, modestly, and with occasional pride (absolute pride is a work in progress). 

To support Breast Cancer Care, and Katie in her fight for confident stories pick up your bag from Fiorelli.com now.

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Bag: C/O Fiorelli | Boots: Topshop (old) Alternative | Dress: Topshop (sold out) Alternative | Blazer: Topshop (sold out) Alternative | Coat: Zara (old) New Season Alternative 

Amber Ring: Galerie Mirages | Wings Ring: Julia Lacey | Bobble Ring: Topshop (in store) Alternative | Linked Ring: Topshop (in store) Alternative | Bracelet: Pandora | Necklace: Ted Baker



nailed it


The Nail Yard is my go to spot in Edinburgh for a manicure. Having previously suffered the consequences of acrylics and become disillusioned with shellac, I've converted to the gel polish offered there. Opaque and glossy with 2/3 weeks lasting power as well as nourishing qualities not found in other polishes (including shellac) - what's not to like? The salon itself is bright and contemporary; situated amongst the boutiques, coffee shops and florists of Morningside which further adds to it's charm.

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On this occasion I was invited in to experience their new treatment, the 'Signature Manicure'. Upon arrival a massage candle was lit, while my nails were shaped and cuticles tidied. My hands were softened using a natural coconut scrub (which smelt amazing!) followed by an equally delicious moisturising lotion. As a longtime sufferer of eczema, the products were sensitive to my skin leaving them feeling hydrated and smooth and completely un-aggravated!

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As I mentioned previously, I always opt for the gel polish as I find this lasts the longest on my nails. Shellac, for some reason, lasts only a few days before 'shattering' which is frustrating when investing in a manicure with the aim of longevity. The treatment finished with a relaxing hand and arm massage using the the oils from the candle which had been burning throughout the duration of the appointment. I went for a rich purple shade incorporating a subtle white dot on the thumb which I love, I only wish I had asked for it on each finger too!

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I couldn't feature these photo's without mentioning my jewellery. I wear the same rings everyday and feel totally bizarre without them on. Both on my left hand were gifts from my Boyfriend, Charlie. The amber one is from a little shop in Stockbridge called Galerie Mirages which is definitely worth a visit if you are in Edinburgh and the wings are by jewellery designer Julia Lacey. The other two are both from Topshop's sterling silver range and I can testify both are still completely silver, with no signs of tarnishing at all! Although barely seen here I also wear my Pandora charm bracelet and a delicate heart chain from Ted Baker every day too along with my ear stud and nose ring which is a simple hoop, both from the piercing studio. I love wearing jewellery that has sentiment which is why I tend to wear the same pieces daily. 

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Amber Ring: Galerie Mirages | Wings Ring: Julia Lacey | Bobble Ring: Topshop (in store) | Linked Ring: Topshop (in store) | Bracelet: Pandora | Necklace: Ted Baker | Leather Jacket: Topshop | Blouse: Topshop (Old) 


Photography: Charlie Jennings


the baker boy


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Do you ever try on a hat with an outfit and as soon as you take it off the outfit just feels...lacking? It happened to me with this very outfit. I wore it to work, tried on a baker boy and had to buy it because my look just wasn't as good without it.

Baker boy's have been doing the rounds, especially on blogs, for the last couple of years so nothing new. Personally, I've struggled to find one that fitted my head...apparently it's rather large. I also wanted a minimal homage to the baker boy without all the bells and whistles. This one trades in the metal hardware for covered buttons in the same fabric as the main hat which softens the overall appearance. 

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If you follow my Instagram you will have already seen this red knitted jumper. I bought it a little prematurely and have been absolutely boiling every time I've worn it (until now). I love this time of year when you can style an outfit with chunky jumpers and it not be cold enough that you have to hide the entire look with a coat. I paired this cosy knit with a Summer skirt purchase and opaque black tights - the perfect way to squeeze the most out of those Summer clothes before they hibernate for the next 6 months! 

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I love the contrast between the feminine floral skirt and the chunky black boots which are a new buy from Mango. Having worn my studded Topshop Amy boots to death last year I was ready for something new and finding most styles hadn't moved on enough from the previous Winter selection I opted for a plainer but equally as masculine style. As added bonus, anyone who suffered through my endless complaints about the sheer effort and pain of breaking in my Amy's will be pleased to know, these ones were comfortable from the get go!

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As someone who was never really into bags, the blog is teaching me the importance of having the right one with each look. This wallet on a chain style is a real suede number from Zara. As well as the overall style, I love the size as it stops me filling it with junk I don't need - although currently there are four different lipsticks in it.  

For me, this outfit is perfect for those bright Autumnal days where there's a chill in the air but not enough to merit a coat. Definitely perfect for a coffee and cinnamon bun run...

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Hat: Topshop | Jumper: Topshop | Skirt: Topshop | Bag: Zara | Boots: Mango



at home


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Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how much I enjoy blogs and images which incorporate lifestyle and realness; almost like the equivalent of what 'normcore' is for fashion. There is something so refreshing and authentic about seeing the full shot and outfit in context rather than with a blurred background. It feels as though you can really appreciate someone's style rather than just seeing someone wearing clothes - the main difference between blogging and traditional marketing campaigns. 

And so this post comes to you straight from my flat, complete with empty planters in the living room and wine bottles (also empty) on the kitchen floor. For added authenticity, I was also full of the cold which made my face look like a puffy mess (hence hiding it in the majority of shots).

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On this occasion, I made a pot of coffee, gave Kirsty the tour and we chatted about us and about ideas for the blog while she snapped away. It was inspiring to give ourselves time to try something different and focus on developing new concepts.

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This outfit aims to show that purchases made last year can still feel relevant if you choose thoughtfully and style in fresh ways. This H&M jumper has dramatic sleeves made from a quality mohair blend lending itself to simple, paired-back styling. I teamed it with a pair of ASOS jeans in stone, which is a far more wearable shade in the autumnal months than a stark white. To finish I wore my new checked slip on vans which I am currently loving along with my jewellery, which is the same as always (I plan on doing a separate post about it soon)! Overall this look is an easy throw on which still feels somewhat pulled together. For something more evening appropriate pair the jumper with black skinnies, heeled black boots, a red lip and sleek hair!

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Jumper: H&M (old) New Season Version in Red | Top (just seen): H&M (old) Similar | Jeans (frayed by me): ASOS | Trainers: Vans



last of the summer sun


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When someone asks my favourite season I usually say Autumn. However, it's definitely more the change into a new season, whichever one it may be, that I enjoy most. I love the shift in weather, the transition in what we wear and the anticipation of a fresh start. For some reason, this time of year holds a sense of new beginnings for me - perhaps it's the built in connotation of starting a new school year that makes me feel like I should be buying stationary and planning...more.

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September can be a funny one weather wise in Scotland. As the shops start to fill with knitted jumpers, thick coats and bobble hats we tend to get a last minute effort from the sun to give us what some might constitute as a late Summer. However, this can be both fleeting and temperamental; in direct sunlight, it will delightfully warm your skin but find yourself in shade or under sudden cloud cover and it will feel like you've stepped into midwinter (potentially a tad dramatic)... 

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Red remains the colour of the moment and is continuing into the new season too. This red split midi skirt worn here with a pair of dusky pink espadrilles and a twist front crop still feels appropriate for wear now but as the days cool off, a knitted cropped jumper like this one could be layered in the evening for effortless transitional wear. Alternatively, a pair of chunky boots and long wool coat would give even more warmth if needed whilst still feeling like a purposeful, stylish outfit and not one worn due to necessity. 

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I already have my eye on so many new season pieces - namely this coat of dreams. However, as the sun is currently still fighting through my blinds I will attempt to hold off and enjoy the last of the warmer days and light nights before investing too heavily in a season we are yet to experience...for a little longer at least.   

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Top: Urban Outfitters | Skirt: Urban Outfitters | Espadrilles: Topshop (old) Alternative 



bah, humbug


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Often I find dresses to be the kind of item I have in my wardrobe that I don't get maximum wear out of. Without the ability to mix and match to change up the look, they can feel less versatile than a top and trousers or skirt combo where the variations are endless. Although I have plenty dresses in my collection they are definitely on rotation less than other pieces. I generally have one particular outfit that I enjoy wearing and at risk of it becoming stale, I try to ensure I don't over wear it and become bored of it too quickly.  

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Humbug stripes have been popping up all over the high-street of late and I am having to restrain myself from buying it all! Apart from this mini, I have already been suckered into another look comprising of a tailored blazer. Hopefully I will be able to share that one with you on here soon.

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Back to the dress though - this one is flattering on so many different shapes as the incorporated belt allows you to nip in the waist while the kimono style sleeves cover the tops of the arms. The key hole in the front keeps the dress feeling youthful by showing a little skin in a subtle way while the chunky black stripe means opaque black tights wouldn't look out of place in the colder months either. It also comes in all blackkhaki or pale pink too and in contrast to the dress in my last post, I found I needed to size down to an 8 to get the desired fit. 

Wearing with a beat up leather jacket, (this one was my first purchase with my Topshop pay-check an unbelievable 6 years ago!), some studded flat boots and a fringed backpack gives a grungy but pulled together look for day or night. The sun was shining on this occasion so I finished off with a pair of Quay sunnies which, with an oversized and slight cat-eye shape, adds an element of glam femininity to the look. 

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If studs and leather aren't your bag, I've shown how this bold striped dress can be changed into a more refined, chic look with ease. Remove the biker jacket, slick back your hair into a low pony tail, add those tassel statement earrings and exchange the flat boots for a pair of heeled sock style ones instead to create an all together more sophisticated take on this outfit. 

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These boots are a recent addition and are exactly what I had been looking for in this style. With quite curvy legs I struggled to find sock boots that didn't leave my calves feeling like they were spilling over the top or worse, having the zip give up completely halfway up the ankle! These ones are the perfect length, coming up at the most flattering point on my leg making them look long as opposed to shortening them which is a danger with this style. They are made from super soft leather which moulds to your legs without digging in and the chunky heel makes them easy to walk in especially when you have to navigate those pesky Edinburgh cobbles. 

Although these two looks are similar, they offer a variant on the same dress without much hassle. So if you are going from day to night or want to change from biker chic to refined chic in a few small steps this is the one for you! 

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Dress: Topshop | Leather Jacket: Topshop (old) new version |  Studded Boots: Topshop | Sunglasses: Quay | Bag: Topshop (old) alternative | Earrings: Freedom | Heeled Boots: Topshop



not just another festival outfit


Edinburgh in August means only one thing, The Festival. Thousands of people flood the city for one month to celebrate all things art, music, comedy, theatre, dance and more. Streets are cordoned off, beer tents are erected and basically every business premises becomes a venue for some kind of event, show or performance. I had a customer ask me what the population size of Edinburgh usually is, and after a quick google search (naturally, my over-thinking brain panicked that my guess would be drastically out) I was assured that it is indeed, around 500,000, Scotland 5 million - less than Greater London alone. However, in August the Edinburgh population more than doubles.

Personally, I love Edinburgh all year round but I'm genuinely always happy to see others discovering what my home city has to offer. I lived just outside Edinburgh all my life before a brief stint in London. It wasn't until I moved back that I really appreciated it's unique character. Obviously so full of History, you can walk down a secluded cobbled street, turn a corner and be met with a crowd of cheering tourists watching performers or socialising in a beer garden. There is pace and rhythm without it being a constant rat race; there's always a feeling that there's enough time to take it all in.

With so much to see - a tenuous link back to clothing - a go-to outfit is a must. This floral wrap dress can be taken from day to night with ease and could be worn with a pair of white trainers (as most things can) for a more casual vibe, perfect for the Edinburgh Festival. The sleeves provide a little extra coverage from the inevitable breeze whilst still feeling Summer appropriate. Throw on a classic denim jacket for a relaxed look or a black leather for something a bit tougher. In regards to fit, I would recommend sizing up from the 10 if you are taller than 5ft5. Although the 10 fitted me well round the body it was much too short which led me to take the 12, adding the length I needed whilst maintaining a flattering fit through the body too.  

If you are looking for a little inspiration about places to visit in Edinburgh you can check out my mini city guide here. Until next time, Happy Festival-ing. 


Shoes: Topshop | Dress: Topshop | Bag: Marc Jacobs



fuss free fashion


I am probably the world's best over-thinker (about pretty much everything). Sometimes being analytical is a good thing; seeing details others don't or helping to achieve the most out of a situation by being thorough. However, often it can lead to unnecessary worrying. When it come's to dressing sometimes it's best to just not think and go for some tried and trusted styles and combinations. After all, the act of picking out an outfit for the day should definitely not be a source of anxiety. After six years in retail, the most repeated mantra by colleagues is 'at the end of the day, it's only clothes', and it's worth remembering from time to time.  

Pretty much everything in this outfit is a staple in my wardrobe; a stripe button down, denim, a tan belt and block heeled sandals along with my jewellery which is the same every single day. For me there is something so effortless about a shirt. The deckchair stripe of this Urban Outfitters number paired with the tortoishell buttons makes it super easy to style for Summer as tan accessories tie in perfectly. This denim mini from Topshop features white topstitching which is a detail we are seeing come across into A/W Season too, making it an easy way to update your basics. I love the rich shade of blue contrasting against the white stitching and raw hem.

As I mentioned, tan accessories work well with this ensemble giving it an easy Summer feel. This brown leather belt is one I've had for a few years, which in my opinion is looking better with age as the leather has softened and cracked. A pair of wrap up suede block heel sandals finish off this simple, timeless look.

Really, it's nothing groundbreaking; no crazy of the moment, tricky, uncomfortable styling - just classic pieces worn in a flattering way to create an easy, go-to look for when you wan't to throw on an outfit without thinking!


Shirt: Urban Outfitters (sold out) Similar | Skirt: Topshop (in store) Alternative | Belt: Topshop (old) Similar  | Sandals: Topshop (old) Similar



a personal shopper's guide to shopping


When you are are lucky enough to do for a living what you are interested in most, it's easy to forget that your knowledge isn't obvious to everyone. Whether you are planning a shopping trip or have an appointment with a Personal Shopper I've provided some tips to consider before you head into town. 

It goes without saying (I hope) that if you are happy shopping in your comfies with no makeup on then absolutely go for it (in fact I did it today). This is merely a list of things that might help you feel more positive about shopping if it isn't usually your thing.

1. CONSIDER YOUR ATTIRE...
Shopping is a workout. If you aren't comfortable walking in heels for an extended period of time then don't wear them. It doesn't matter how amazing they look if two hours in you're whinging about the burning sensation in the balls of your feet. Equally, don't go for anything with crazy buckles, ties or other fastenings - having to take them on and off in the fitting room will get old quickly. The same goes for the main event, go for something low maintenance and easy; if your outfit only looks good if you get that half tucked in shirt looking just right it will only become irritating for you and whoever you're with (this jumpsuit is perfect - made from super soft fabric it pulls on and ties at the waist - easy)! Despite this, don't go slobby either; wear something you feel good in. If you don't feel good it will filter into how you feel generally while shopping and you want to maintain an air of positivity!

NB: A cross body bag is a must if you want 100% hands free shopping capability.  

2. ...AND YOUR APPEARANCE.
This is especially important if you are shopping for an occasion. I am continually met with statements like, "I can't tell if this suits me because I don't have makeup/fake tan/my hair done". If you know you're not happy in yourself without any of these things then it's understandable that you will not feel strongly toward what you try on because all you'll see is the fact you don't look like how you want. When planning a shopping trip consider the fact you will be staring at yourself in the mirror. If taking a few extra minutes to pop a bit of lipstick on or spritz some dry shampoo in your hair helps make you feel like you, take it - you'll be happy you did later. 
 

3. BRING WHAT YOU NEED. 
There is nothing harder than trying to imagine how a strapless dress looks when you've got a normal bra on with the straps tucked awkwardly under your armpits or trying to match colours with a top you're desperate to wear that's sitting at home. Yes, it's a bit of a faff, maybe an extra bag to carry but it'll make the job easier and hopefully minimise the chance of having to return things that don't work. So if it's a strapless bra, a pair of black tights, heels, or a specific item to coordinate - pop it in your bag.

4. BE OPEN.
Especially important if you are seeing a Personal Shopper: being forthcoming in trying new styles, colours and shapes will either open your eyes to new possibilities for your wardrobe or focus your mind on what it is you don't like, both of which are positive. But you won't know until you try! Our opinions change all the time and so does what's in fashion so chances are you might have changed your mind about how you look in red or floral or tailoring since you last tried it! 

5. DON'T BE HARD ON YOURSELF.
We all have bits we don't like. Try not to fixate on those aspects and see the things you do like. As cheesy as it sounds, nothing and no one can truly give you your sense of self worth except you. So instead of going shopping expecting to find clothes that make you look different, find the ones that make you feel good as you are. And definitely don't get something that doesn't fit! Whether too big or too small there is no point in taking something home to hang it in the wardrobe, waiting for a time you hope to fit into it - it'll only make you feel guilty that you don't now and that you've spent money on something you can't wear. 

6. TAKE A BREAK. TAKE LOT'S. BREAKFAST, COFFEE, BRUNCH, LUNCH... COCKTAILS...
 


Jacket: H&M | Jumpsuit: Topshop | Trainers: Topshop (Old) Similar | Bag: Zara (on sale!)



power to the flower


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I recently found myself speaking at a local event in Edinburgh called 'Life & Style'. It's not particularly unusual for me to be doing this as public speaking is part of my job as a Personal Shopper. The audience was perhaps around sixty people, however, I've spoken to upwards of a hundred before. 

I'm not an especially confident person and actually quite shy, but when it comes to work related things, I hate looking like I'm not capable so will always say yes and worry about the 'how' later. Feigning confidence is something I find I can do when part of a professional circumstance and the more I've done it, the more natural it feels. I really think that it's the key when it comes to getting good at something like this - there isn't a magic solution but forcing yourself to keep trying will mean you'll slowly become more comfortable in the situation. On this occasion, although I felt a few knee wobbles I could feel myself taking time over what I had to say rather than rushing through so it would be over quicker. 

This is the outfit I wore to the event. As I was talking through Summer trends, it felt appropriate to dress in ode to the sunshine regardless of it's current disputable existence. I've genuinely had tourists come into the shop over the last week asking for wooly hats, scarves and coats! 

I built the outfit around this ruffle, floral mini skirt which I have been loving. I was never a floral kind of girl, always preferring something a bit more geometric or classic like a breton stripe. However as of late, floral has had a bit of refresh being paired with star print or polka dots as you can see here. Teamed with a simple black top and black leather mules, the look still feels polished despite the ditsy print of the skirt. A heel always makes me feel more confident so as long as its comfortable and easy to walk in I'll wear a chunky heeled shoe when I'm public speaking to give me an extra boost (although I am the clumsiest human on Earth so this always comes with slight risk). 

In reference to the chilly, rainy weather we've been having (it is physically impossible for the Scots not to comment on the weather) I've finished the outfit with my Topshop PVC trench which I am SO pleased that I bought as I haven't seen anything similar apart from the Alexa Chung version (both of which are now sold out - sorry!) I love the traditional design made in an ultra futuristic/nostalgic 90's (is that possible?) vinyl fabric. This is totally my Buffy jacket and I'm not ashamed to say that is partly the reason I got it. 

If you were at the Life & Style event, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. It was so inspiring to see so many people celebrate all the different brands and businesses Edinburgh has to offer!  


Mules: Topshop | Skirt: Topshop | Top: H&M (old) Alternative | Jacket: Topshop (sold out)
Alexa Chung for M&S version being sold here


Photography by Kirsty McLachlan


wrap it up


Wrap Tea Dresses are this years Summer essential and here's why. 

1. Comfort.
Generally made from super soft fabric, tea dresses are light and flowing with no zips, buttons or other uncomfortable fastenings to dig into the tum after indulging in another obligatory Summer BBQ.  

2. Flattering.
If like me you are always considering what shapes will flatter 'the girls' the wrap around style and 'V' neckline complement a bigger bust and synch in the middle (adjustable to wherever is best for your body) meaning eyes are drawn to the waistline. This is further enhanced by the sleeves which are longer, bringing the eye down to the narrowest area, in line with the waist while also covering the tops of the arms which is a bonus if you are not keen on showing off this area. Finally, the ruffle hemline not only keeps this classic style of dress fresh for this season but also creates movement and a sense of youthful fun to the design. 

3. Lightweight.
Thinking of Summer Holidays? This piece is ideal if you are attempting a hand luggage only trip. The lightweight fabric means it takes up hardly any room in your case! 

4. Transitional.
Thinking in the same vein as packing sensibly, the tea dress is an easy transition from day to evening. Wear as I have here with a block heel sandal for evening or throw on over your bikini with a pair of Birkenstocks and a tote bag for a day at the beach. One of the best tips I have acquired for holiday packing is to first wear an outfit for evening before downgrading it for day wear; that way you don't need to pack two outfits per day.

5. Options
Finally, tea dresses are having a moment this season meaning there is an array to choose from, from high street to high end. Depending on whether you prefer block colours, floral prints or something more geometric there will be a style out there to suit your preference! 

I can't end this post without an honourable mention to the red finishing details; my suede Zara bag (which I've already featured and has been one of the best purchases I've made this season) and these sandals. At first I wasn't sure they were anything special but they are so comfortable! I can wear them all day at work (bearing in mind this means around 9 hours of being on my feet including a twenty minute up hill walk to get there)! They work so well with so many outfits and with the ankle strap sitting low on the foot they don't cut your legs off at the wrong spot. 

Hopefully the weather grants Scotland at least one day hot enough for me to wear this in the coming couple of months! 


Dress: Topshop | Bag: Zara (on sale!) | Sandals: Topshop also in Black & Tan



baggy trousers


It's been a whole three weeks since I last posted on the blog and I can't believe how quickly time has flown by! I managed to squeeze a quick Summer holiday to Greece in during my mini hiatus where I ate, drank, sunbathed and enlisted my boyfriend to take outfit photos against pretty pastel walls; you can check these out on my Instagram (@stylecompanion).

Not that I need any more excuses to shop but a holiday always calls for a few new pieces for the wardrobe, doesn't it? Nobody's Child is a brand recently stocked as a concession in Topshop Edinburgh featuring a perfect selection of tea dresses, co-ords and floral trousers. It is super affordable meaning if, like me, your holiday wardrobe comes out but once a year, you won't break the bank for pieces that won't be your most worn. 

These trousers are super high waisted - elongating the leg with a flattering wide fit. Another way to wear would be with a knotted white tee as an easy alternative if an all over baggy look is not for you. I decided to accentuate the bagginess by pairing with this ruched white blouse, adding height with the yellow suede mules. I love that there is something slightly awkward about the proportions which I believe creates an air of effortlessness to the outfit. 


Blouse: Topshop | Trousers: Nobody's Child | Shoes: Topshop



Thank You, Honey


Although The Style Companion is only a little under a month old, I wanted to express a genuine thank you for all the kind words and support I've been given so far. As I've mentioned before, I was always so fearful of what others would think of me writing a fashion blog but after experiencing such positive feedback I only wish I'd started sooner. 

This outfit is a mix of old and new; the suede mustard harrington jacket is Topshop Boutique from last S/S. Boutique is a premium collection Topshop create with longevity and quality fabrics being the crux of it's concept. Paired with the "Gucci" print tee everyone is currently obsessing over, it creates a contemporary, luxe look for day to day. 

When I first wore this jacket I worried over the smallest mark but now I've come to terms with that inevitability and I'm embracing the worn in look! I love the warm ochre shade and I think it will always look fresh and new with blue denim and a white tee each time Spring roles around! 


Jacket: Topshop (Old) Alternative | T-Shirt: Topshop | Jeans: Topshop | Belt: Topshop | Bag: Zara