SO THIS IS THE NEW YEAR


style-companion-dec-nye-21.jpg

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.

style-companion-dec-nye-4.jpg
style-companion-dec-nye-13.jpg
style-companion-dec-nye-10.jpg
style-companion-dec-nye-14.jpg

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! 
 

style-companion-dec-nye-43.jpg
style-companion-dec-nye-42.jpg
style-companion-dec-nye-41.jpg
style-companion-dec-nye-44.jpg

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! 

style-companion-dec-nye-38.jpg

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 



last of the summer sun


StyleCompanionShoot2-84.jpg

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.

StyleCompanionShoot2-94.jpg
StyleCompanionShoot2-95.jpg
StyleCompanionShoot2-89.jpg

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)... 

StyleCompanionShoot2-90.jpg
StyleCompanionShoot2-100.jpg

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. 

StyleCompanionShoot2-122.jpg

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.   

StyleCompanionShoot2-132.jpg

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



bah, humbug


StyleCompanionShoot2-21.jpg

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.  

StyleCompanionShoot2-11.jpg
StyleCompanionShoot2-9.jpg

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.

StyleCompanionShoot2-16.jpg
StyleCompanionShoot2-17.jpg
StyleCompanionShoot2-18.jpg
StyleCompanionShoot2-41.jpg

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. 

StyleCompanionShoot2-43.jpg

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. 

StyleCompanionShoot2-64.jpg
StyleCompanionShoot2-67.jpg
StyleCompanionShoot2-55.jpg

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! 

StyleCompanionShoot2-73.jpg

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


StyleCompanionShoot100009.jpg

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