Tailor Made Winter Style

I think at one point or another we're all guilty of falling into that age old trap of wearing jeans like a bad habit. You know the one where every morning you wake up, stare aimlessly into your wardrobe with such good intentions, indecisively trying to construct an outfit together in your head, before eventually opting for the easy way out and grabbing those trusty stone washed jeans which were calling your name the entire time. I've been playing out this scene a lot over the last month as I find myself slowly but surely getting sucked into the denim trap once more. The problem is quite simple- right now I just want to be comfy and my jeans have never let me down. I know they don't make for the most groundbreaking outfit but they do the job. It's just too cold and too miserable to even consider opting for one of the many perfectly lovely dresses I own and yet some how this poor excuse doesn't seem to help curb the ever increasing guilt I feel every morning when I choose the easy option yet again and shun the rest of my wardrobe. For the record, if you're wearing a well put together outfit which involves a skirt, dress or jumpsuit in the cold, wet Manchester whether, well then I salute you and I think you should know you have your shit together.

Black Velvet If You Please

Party wear posts have become a little early December tradition of mine and I've got to admit they're something I always look forward to writing. Kinda ironic considering a lot of my party wear posts are often around themes such as "Easy Party Outfits" or "A Lazy Girl's Guide To..." because let's face it dressing "out out" just isn't my bag and so every year I try to style festive looks together using pieces I feel comfortable in and that don't warrant sky high heels to work. This year I've decided not to over complicate things and I'm going back to basics. I've finally come to the conclusion that when it comes to dressing to impress over the festive season there really is just one fail safe item you need in your wardrobe. This post is simply an ode to the black velvet dress because after years and years of never letting me down, I just think this item deserves it.

Vintage- A Love Story

I've been a busy little bee this past month as I finally launched my own little Vintage Instagram Shop called Top Of The Town Vintage! The first collection titled "Cavilleri Collection" launched the Wednesday just gone and metaphorically speaking, it flew off the shelves with only 3 pieces left, waiting to be snapped up by a fellow vintage lover. I am completely stunned and little humbled by the reaction in all honesty. Top Of The Town Vintage is a real passion project for me, something I've been mulling over for months now and am genuinely doing simply for the love of it. Truth be told in hindsight I'm not exactly sure what my expectations were in terms of success, all I knew was that it was a project I've been enthusiastically working at and that I was nervous as hell to announce it! With this being a secret little idea I've been working on for quite some time now, you might say- as cliche as this sounds- it's become my little baby and so I guess the nerves were understandable, putting something you truly care for out there for the world to see is ever so slightly daunting. But with the first collection launched and I couldn't have asked for a better outcome, so I guess I can take a deep breath.... And move on to the next collection. Yikes!

For The Check Of It

Welcome back me! I'm acutely aware my blog writing has really slipped over the past year but with the launch of a podcast, T-shirt range and recently announced vintage Instagram Shop (Top Of The Town Vintage- go follow me on Instagram now please), I think it would be fair to say I've had a busy old year and my hands have been ever so slightly full. This is no excuse, I know I know and for the past few months I've had that niggling feeling urging me to return to my blog soon. So here I am and it's good to be back! I figured it's been a considerable while since I wrote about fashion or given any sort of shopping update and October seemed like a better time than any to get the ball rolling with a style related post. Autumn is my favourite season ever, ever, EVER for two reason; firstly I adore my Autumn wardrobe above any other season because I feel like it's the one time of year when my style really comes into itself. Basically I feel like Autumn suits me. The second reason is because let's be honest, Autumn is that one time of the year when you can truly get away with reverting back to acting like a child. You can pumpkin carve, play dress up and get all giddy for fireworks, bonfires and eat treacle toffee in abundance. Autumn is awesome (Awetumn if you're a fan of puns). 

You Can Go Your Own Way- Learning To Say No

Has anyone else been watching Kathy Burke's Channel 4 documentary series All Woman? If not, why not? I would highly recommend you give it a try! Her commentary on what it means to be a woman in 2019, along with her no bars held attitude not only gives you some serious food for thought but leaves you asking the question, "why can't I be more like Kathy?". She's down to earth, insightful and straight down the line without being abrasive or judgemental and although the the topics discussed aren't necessarily groundbreaking, her honest approach is refreshing. In the most recent episode she explores the ideology behind motherhood in modern day society and I've got to admit a lot of what she had to say struck a gigantic cord with me. Since heading into my early thirties I've noticed a real shift in how people see me and what is expected. At the risk of sounding slightly dramatic, it's genuinely shocked me to learn that these preconceived ideas of what a woman SHOULD do and at what age still exists (maybe I was naive to think otherwise)! I've wanted to broach this little niggle of mine on my blog for a while now and in light of Kathy Burke's latest episode (or in a bid to make good on my wish to be more like her) I've finally decided to pen down my thoughts on what exactly my late twenties/early thirties has meant to me so far and why apparently I'm completely off-roading from the path that has seemingly already been planned out for me.

Who Likes Short Shorts?

Being 18 years old in the late noughties definitely had its style pros and cons. Pros included an abundance of vintage tea dresses, the return of the Barbour jacket/Russell & Bromley loafers and who didn't love an American Apparel overpriced jersey skirt? Cons included Disco Pants (gone but never forgotten... sadly), leggings under dresses or worse, just on their own and knee high socks (which I still secretly pine after). It was the golden age of indie dressing and looking too cool for school was always the aim. Ten years on I'm of course oh so thankful my style has moved forward and whilst I was very glad to say goodbye to a number of fad trends (Disco Pants I'm looking at you again), there are some which on a practical level seemed a little difficult to let go of. Enter the denim short, a summer style staple back in 2007 and every year since then. When I was a little nipper of eighteen years old short shorts were my go to. Worn to death pretty much every day in summer with a Breton top and high tops or on a night out dancing to MGMT with tights and a chelsea boot. They were a look, fashioned together from vintage Levis 501's haphazardly cut into the teeny weeniest of denim hot pants you ever did see. Now don't get me wrong denim shorts are most definitely still a thing, in fact I'd say they're an absolute classic which have seen me through pretty much every holiday and festival in the last ten years. That said as I entered my late twenties I think I can be forgiven for opting out of a tight, knicker length short, instead favouring something a little more comfortable shall we say? 

Joanie Clothing X Sophia Rosemary Launch- Tees Please Me

So they are finally here- my wonderful collection of six t-shirts with the amazing Joanie Clothing! Hooray! You have no idea how long I've been desperate to announce this collaboration or at least share one or two of the designs with you. It turns out I'm actually better at keeping a secret than I thought and after six months in the making, I am for the very first time going to discuss all six t-shirts I personally designed along side Joanie Clothing, why I wanted to create the collection and most importantly what each t-shirt means to me. I can't tell you have excited and nervous I am about sharing my jersey babies with you guys and I currently have my fingers and toes crossed you love them- each and every one- as much as I do.

You've Got To Hide Your Days Away- Top Manchester Spots

Now in my last post I mostly complained about the dreadful weather (which was very stereotypically British of me, I know) and how impossible it is to not only dress for summer but from day to day. A few weeks on and I'm afraid to say not much has changed. We're now comfortably sat in the middle of June and it's grey, wet and frankly a little chilly. This morning for example I woke up around 7am to let Pep (the pup) outside and it honestly felt a little like Autumn! Where is the sun? Will Summer ever arrive? and more pressingly, what on earth am I going to do for Glastonbury in a few weeks time? Unfortunately there is no miracle cure for the bad June weather (I heard that apparently yesterday in particular received a months worth of rain... great, good to know) and so we just have to make the best of a bad situation. For some that could be escaping the weather by jetting off to sunnier climates and for others that's simply grinning and bearing the weather right here as best we can. Now as a born and bred Mancunian, aptly titled one of the rainiest cities in the UK, you may say that I'm a little bit of a dab hand when it comes to expertly avoiding the rain at all costs. Living, working and more challengingly shooting in Manchester has certainly taught me a thing or two about where to head when caught in a down pour and so I thought I'd share some of my all time favourite hide away's in my favourite city!

Famous Beige Raincoat

This is a post dedicated to the wonderful summertime weather of England and more specifically of the north. For the past few weeks now I've been planning to shoot some lovely, rather summer focused outfits to get us all in the mood for some much needed sunshine. Each time I've set out to snap some photos the weather just hasn't been on my side and I've been faced with grey skies and down pours of rain which Manchester in particular is so famous for. Not one to be deterred too easily and refusing to let the dubious so called "summer weather" rain on my parade (quite literally) I decided I would shoot a look made for those drizzly summer days when your heart wants to embrace the summer season but the your head is telling you to be more practical. After shooting this look, true to form the unpredictable weather did a complete turn around on me once more and we've since been faced with wonderful sunshine and warm temperatures. I can't win and although I don't want to complain about glorious weather, I also can't help but ask "can't a girl just catch a break please?".

Sweet Talkin' Girls- Podcast Launch

The time has finally come to share some rather exciting news- Me and my amazing friend Alice Catherine have started our very own little podcast "On The Outskirts"! Truth be told we've actually been toying with the idea of joining forces for quite some time now and after many a discussion on the subject we finally decided to kick ourselves into gear and make it happen. As with any new venture or project there's always that dreaded feeling of the unknown and I'd be lying if I said the prospect of starting a podcast didn't at times fill me with beginners fear. I'm a real stickler for concentrating on the negatives when it comes to trying out something new and before we'd even began creating "On The Outskirts" I was already over worrying about hypothetical if's and but's. I feel so incredibly lucky to have had Alice by my side to encourage me along and give me the push I needed to enter the unknown. Of course I still feel a little nervy putting our podcast out there into the world but I'm only human and now the first episode is up and running, I definitely feel a sense of pride that we actually made it happen.

Summer Style- Pistachio Magnifico

My blog has been a very quiet place recently, sorry for the radio silence guys but I've wanted to make it my aim for the year to ensure I'm only writing when it's 100% relevant and I actually feel like I've got something to say. That said the fact I've not written a post in a few weeks would kinda indicate that I've had absolutely nothing going on and therefore I have absolutely nothing to pen down! This is completely not the case and I still stand by my point a few blog posts back in which I mentioned this year is going by quicker than I can comprehend! I feel like I've been so none stop that I've not even had chance to compute we're almost in sniffing distance of summer which subsequently means I've not really had a chance to think of my "summer appropriate" wardrobe or look at what goodies are out there in the shops at the moment. I've spent the last few weeks, very naughtily living in jeans and tees day in day out... Something I'm well aware I was making a conscious effort NOT to do. Whoops! This week however I've put my bum firmly in gear and I'm starting to actually slow down a little, taking the time to hunt through vintage stores again and sort through my wardrobe. I promise you there will be more seasonally focussed outfits on the blog very soon but for now this one will have to do!

Come Fly With Me, Come iD With Me

This week I took a little trip down to Manchester Airport where I visited their lovely new pop up Clinique stand! The stand is in celebration of the brand's very clever, very versatile new hydrator Clinique iD. To put it simply Clinique iD is a lifesaver for anyone out there who finds their skin doesn't just fit into one typecast... Which I think is applicable to most of us really isn't it? It allows you to customise the hydrator any which way you think is best for your skin. We can personalise pretty much anything these days from handbags to birthday cards, so why not tailor the one thing which is probably the most personal to us all, our skin regime! Clinique iD allows you to pick the right hydrator for you, targeting your specific needs and most importantly your biggest concerns. The cherry on the cake is that personalising your own hydrator couldn't be easier!

Thirty, Flirty and Thriving?

Today I turned the ripe old age of thirty and I'm seriously asking the question how on earth did I get here so quickly? Let's be real thirty so far feels absolutely no different to twenty nine, there's no official certificate through my door saying"congratulations you should now have your life 100% together" or an award presented for "becoming an adult successfully". I am completely aware that when all is said and done thirty is simply an age and it doesn't change a thing. It doesn't scare me, I don't feel panicked that the "prime of my life" is over and credit where credit's due I'm actually kinda pleased with where I'm at and what I've achieved. And since I'm giving myself a mini pat on the back I'd actually like to add that I think twenty one year me would also be pretty satisfied with where she hoped she'd be vs the reality right now! The only thing that actually takes me by surprise is how quickly time has whizzed by and I realise that ironically by making statements like this I do actually sound possibly a little old before my time. 

The Mean Reds- How To Stay Inspired

You can tell I'm off to a slow start when we're close approaching March and I'll still saying it's the beginning of the year. The problem isn't how fast the months are rolling by, but more that I feel like I'm stuck in a 2019 kick start rut. I guess you could say I feel like recently I've lost my get up and go, I feel a little out of sorts and worst of all I just can't quite put my finger on why. There's that one scene in Breakfast At Tiffany's, the one which makes me fall for Holly Golightly hook, line and sinker where she very articulately explains "The Mean Reds". They're horrible, you feel afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. The first time I watched this scene I remember thinking "she gets it", as truth be told the more I think about it, the more I'm certain I might be a long standing sufferer of the dreaded Mean Reds. I'm well adverse to over thinking, over worrying, suffering with imposter syndrome or the unexplained feeling of displacement, all of which I think fall neatly into the category of "The Mean Reds". My issue over the past month or so was that I just couldn't shake this feeling off, Mean Reds sounds so aggressive, bold and slightly dramatic... Mine was more a slow and steady underlying feeling looming in the background, maybe The Mean Magnolias would be a little more apt? Or how about The Mean Eggshell Beige? Needless to say I can't stay feeling like this forever and over the past fortnight I've been doing my upmost to get my va-va voom back and as I don't believe I'm the only one who ever feels this way, I thought I'd share my POA which hopefully can help metaphorically give yourself the kick up the bum you sometimes need!

It's The Same Old Style

I guess this post is kind of a continuation of my last entry on style resolutions (not to be mistaken with new year resolutions). I spoke about how this year I really wanted to get back to grips with my own personal style, the pieces I love and the inspiration I will forever adore! This isn't to say that I've been dressing out of character as such but more that towards the end of last year I kind of felt like I'd lost my way or more aptly I was just a little lacklustre about my style. For me personal style has and always will be about self expression and being unashamedly proud of who you exactly you are. Personal style is not just about being confident in yourself (which I think we can all agree is sometimes easier said than done) but it's a homage to the routes you've taken to cultivate it. Whether that's music, film, an era, one particular style icon or a mismatch of various designers, I've always been a strong believer that you should celebrate the culture you've chosen to have around you through what exactly you wear. For me that's most predominantly music. It has to be said that my complete obsession with music of (mainly) the sixties and seventies kind of manifested itself through my clothes completely subconsciously. I didn't just sit down one day and decided "you know what I should just dress like George Harrison", instead it was completely organic. Music and fashion were the two things I felt most passionately about therefore it was only natural the two would collide and subsequently my happy place really did become to outfits I wore! 

A Wardrobe To Cure My January Blues

January is a funny old time isn't it? And I mean that in the most general sense, it's the year's official grey area for both your social life and your wardrobe. This year I feel like I've felt it more than ever before and I can't quite put my finger on why. The optimist in me says it's down to a wonderful Christmas with a much needed break or perhaps the arrival of my new favourite pal Pep the puppy. On the other hand the pessimist in me would say it's because I just can't find the enthusiasm to get back into my work, it's been a quiet month and the most dismissive of all excuses, January is just such a dull month, why even bother? Whatever the reason may be I just can't find my get up and go and it's completely unlike me. Last week I did my first shoot of the year with Rosie, we decided to stay up near my neck of the woods and take some photos around my house (partly because it's freezing, partly so Rosie could meet Pep of course). It kind of ended up being the wake up, shake up I needed. The house was a little messy to say the least, my organisational skills had fallen to the wayside and I just wasn't feeling my personal best in my outfits. I think having Rosie there to witness my complaisant self and feeling totally mortified about it gave me the boost I needed. As soon as she left I kicked myself into cleaning gear and I aim to start the rest of week getting back to my usual (give or take) proactive self.