The Busy Girl’s Guide to The Grown Up Midi-Skirt

26 May 2017

Happy Friday kwayns! Welcome back to another edition of ‘The Busy Girl’s Guide To…’. This week, we’re tackling the grown-up midi. It’s not pink, it’s not glittery, and it’s 100% wearable from the office to the dinner date.

I’ve gone from owning a total of zero midi skirts to having four lined up in a row, all in the space of about two months. Whether it’s spending time with Hannah Gale, the queen of the midi, or having to dress for what is my ever-expanding waistline (the bad thing about moving out is frequently shopping for your own freezer and seeing all of the Ben and Jerry's flavours on offer, ffs), something has clicked in me and the midi skirt has become one of my wardrobe staples.

Skirt - Stradivarius
Shoes - ASOS

When it comes to midi skirts, however, I’m not one for plissé or a metallic (FYI this is because I 100% cannot pull them off, not because I think they are crap). Instead, I basically want a midi skirt that emulates a pair of trousers, but still makes me feel dressed up and a bit more like I have my shit together. Rather than a floral statement (like this lovely number I recently wore from River Island), the grown up midi is versatile and reworkable - it’s going to live in your wardrobe for years without going off trend or being too much of a statement to wear five days in a row.

Now I know my Instagram feed might have been throwing you off somewhat lately, but the truth remains that I am through and through a neutral girl; give me your black, your whites, your denims and your woven fabrics and I’m happy. This is still very much the case for my burgeoning midi skirt collection - glancing over at my rail now, the palette is hardly going to ignite a fire within your heart, BUT, each item is going to be in it for the long haul.

If this little white number is ringing some bells, then you might recognise its sister from this outfit I posted back in March. I originally bagged this skirt in tan during a mini-break to Amsterdam, and loving the fit and structured feel, I couldn’t stop my shop-happy hands when the white version became available online. It’s been sitting on my rack for a while thanks to the unsurprisingly dreary weather, but now the sun is shining and it’s finally starting to feel like summer, I’m 100% ready to be sporting all white and living like an extension of the Santorini skyline.

Admittedly, all white is a slightly terrifying prospect for those of us who are partial to Thursday night St. Tropez trips *cough*tans*cough*, but when worn with caution and broken up with neutral-toned accessories, block blanc can be surprisingly wearable.

So the challenge is this - if you’re a seasoned trouser wearer or a die-hard for denim, opt for a grown-up midi and give your legs some breathing space for a day. You’ll be surprised at how comfortable it can be.

And, as always, shop the best that the high-street has to offer for the grown up midi skirt below, and I will see you next Friday for another edition of ‘The Busy Girl’s Guide To…’!

TONI&GUY Series: The Fail-Safe Hairstyle For When It All Goes Wrong

22 May 2017

Yes, you read that right, TONI&GUY. I’m not going to act like I’m not freaking out because sweet Jesus I most definitely am, and I’m so excited to be introducing you to the first of my four part collaboration series. All the way up until December I will be creating four different looks with four different TONI&GUY ranges, of course styling them up alongside my latest wardrobe picks and some old favourites (it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t find an excuse to buy some new clobber, would it?).

First on the agenda is smooth and sleek, and boy, this couldn’t have come at a better time. With all of the new house rigmarole and regular life carrying on around me, my hair has spent the majority of its time unwashed and up in a messy bun. Whilst this has been great for keeping it out of the way, it definitely hasn’t received the TLC it needs to keep it healthy and happy, and I’ve been noticing the ends becoming frazzled and its general reluctance to do, well, anything that I want it to.

Enter the fail-safe hairstyle that will save you when absolutely nothing seems to be going right, when you’ve only got 10 minutes before you need to be out of the door and when you’re on the verge of a quarter life crisis. It’s easy, it’s sleek, and it will make you look like you actually have your life together enough to plan your hairstyles. I’ve broken down my step by step tips below, plus a few outfit shots in this babe’in Missguided dress.

Dress - Missguided*
Bag - Accessorize*
Heels - Acne
Earrings - ASOS

How-To Hair

Step One: Shampoo, rinse thoroughly and apply the TONI&GUY Smooth Definition Mask (only £6.49 and can be bagged from Boots). If you’re familiar with masks then you’ll know the deal, but if not, here’s the skinny. 

Masks are a more intense version of your day-to-day conditioner, and this one in particular is enriched with keratin, which means it specialises in injecting the moisture and shine back into dry and dull hair. Best of all, it will make unruly hair easier to manage and style, making the next few steps a hecka-lot easier. Leave the mask on for 3-5 minutes (I always try to go for 5, but it depends on how impatient I’m feeling and how far through the song I’m singing I am), and then rinse. 

Step Two: If your hair is lacking lustre, don’t go straight in with the hairdryer - let your hair air-dry for a little while first. I usually take this time to put my make-up on, but online shopping or eating biscuits are both equally good ideas. Once your hair has started to dry at the ends, get the hairdryer out on a medium heat and use your fingers instead of a brush. We’re going to go in with straighteners after, so the least amount of pressure on your hair, the better. Keep dat shine!

Step Three: Straighten your hair all over, using heat protector spray before you do so – I’m using TONI&GUY Heat Protection Mist. Be sure to pay particular attention to the baby hairs and layers around your face - we want these to fall flat in the next few stages and as few flyaways as possible.

Step Four: Now it’s time to get tying. First define your parting with a brush and smooth your hair down into a low ponytail. Secure with a tie, and then start twisting your hair into a rope. Once fairly tight, loosen up your grip so the ponytail isn’t so taught and it should start curling into shape. Start twisting your hair around so it forms a tight bun, and then secure once more with another tie. Spritz both the front and the back with TONI&GUY Flawless Sleek Creation Hairspray for some extra smoothness, and you’re good to go.

The Outfit

Creating the look from the hair down, having your locks tied back presents the perfect opportunity to show off your neckline. This gingham Missguided number sports a particularly pleasing v-neck, all tied together with a belted waist (geddit?) and ruched sleeves. A jazzy, tasseled earring would work well here but instead I went for a more understated look, opting for a simple pendant gold necklace and my favourite Miu Miu sunglasses. The shoes are Acne, bought in the Christmas sales and worn only twice (always the way isn’t it?), and the bag, surprisingly, is Accessorize. Everything is linked down below, but if you have any questions, do pop me a comment! Otherwise I hope you’ve enjoyed the first of my four TONI&GUY looks and here’s to seein’ ya next time.

The Busy Girl’s Guide to Paperbag Trousers

19 May 2017

Hi! Hello! Happy Friday! Welcome to the first ‘The Busy Girl’s Guide To…’, a series that I’ll be uploading every Friday and that will be pulling together the best picks of the internet for a certain trend or item, so you can spend your time drinking mojitos instead of scouring the web.

‘The Busy Girl’s Guide To…’ (or TBGGT, as it will now be known), was born out of a number of motivations. I’ve wanted a regular feature on the blog for a while, but I haven’t been able to pin down one that I felt would be relatively easy to keep up (i.e. not a deeply personal revelation because not every week holds a deeply person revelation), or one that I felt wouldn’t be too repetitive (such as a weekly haul, perhaps).

When I started blogging, the content was all about the outfit. Admittedly, it wasn’t particularly engaging (there are only so many times you can reword ‘I love these jeans’ before the reader wants to gauge their eyes out), but it was very fashion focused and I know I’ve moved away from this somewhat. TBGGT is a way of rekindling that love of fashion  for fashion’s sake, as well as giving me an excuse to shop, highlight old staples, try new things and have fun. And hey, hopefully it will be useful for you guys too.

Shirt - ASOS (similar ASOS here)
Trousers - Zara (similar Mango here)
Earrings - ASOS
Shoes - Next*
Bag - Gucci 
Sunglasses - No bloody idea (similar ASOS here)

So, we’re kicking off in our founding week with The Busy Girl’s Guide to Paperbag Trousers. I've been a fan of paperbag trousers since the start of my relationship with tailoring began. I’m a sucker for a high waist and relaxed fit, and I’ve always found this cut of trews to look so effortlessly chic (I feel incredibly pretentious and ~ fashurn ~ using that phrase, but still).

I picked this pair up from the Zara website, but really, Mango seems to be the holy grail of tie-waist trousers right now. From the neutral, khaki-esque pair I’m sporting here to jazzy stripes and white-washed numbers that would be perfect for your summer holidays (or, you know, drinking a cheap glass of rosé in the garden like I’ll be doing), there’s plenty of choice to either cater to your personal style or push you out of your comfort zone.

Personal preference for a trouser of this style is something fairly neutral - think natural tones in crisp fabrics or stripes in gentler linen numbers. However, you could easily take this cut to a sartorial sasspot level by opting for a print or brighter colour. At the chilled end of the styling option scale we have the choice of a loose shirt, pared back hair and statement earrings (hmm, where have I seen that before?), and for an evening look, whack on an asymmetrical bodysuit and a pair of beautiful-but-inevitably-uncomfortable heels and you’re ready to go (to the bar).

And in the spirit of all things TBGGT, I have, of course, done the web scouring for you. Shop all of the high street’s best paperbag trousers below, and if you do score any for yourself, make sure to tag me in photos or pop me a sneaky tweet @chloeplumstead. Until next time you lovely lot x

Why You’re Not Failing At Life If You Don’t Go On A Fancy AF Holiday

14 May 2017

This post is totally spontaneous. I was in the middle of finishing off a draft I’ve had saved for ages, when I stopped (a.k.a. was distracted) and had a cursory scroll through Instagram. Cue an onslaught of snaps from L.A., the Maldives, Las Vegas, a private beach in Thailand; they all looked incredible - as did the girls in them - but I was suddenly struck by how inaccessible most of these destinations are.

Let’s be upfront. Bloggers are often offered complimentary or discounted trips in exchange for coverage, the likes of which is intended to encourage new customers to book into wherever that destination may be. Only a few weeks ago I was sunning it up in Corfu, having been offered a hotel room and half-board for three days in return for a blog post and social uploads. I want to establish early on that I’m not bashing the girls that accept these trips in any way - if somebody offered me a plane ticket to Bora Bora tomorrow, I would take it in a heartbeat. It’s part of the blogging industry, and who the heck wouldn’t want to go on a complimentary trip?!

Instead, I just want to bring attention to the fact that, for most people in their twenties, a trip to the Maldives is a big fucking deal. It’s a once-in-a-blue-moon, I’ve-been-saving-for-this-fucker-for-ages kind of trip. It’s not a boozy weekend in Magaluf or a one night stay in Paris (both of which can actually get pretty pricey, tbh) - it’s a huge expense.

Jeans - New Look
Shoes - ASOS
Earrings - ASOS

And we all have normal shit to pay for. Rent, a mortgage, boring bills, eating out, our phones, our computers, food - the list goes on. Saving for a holiday on top of saving for your life or even trying to pay off that credit card you blitzed during uni is difficult, and all too often social media can not only glamorize certain destinations, but also bypass just how inaccessible they are. Mad props to you if you can afford to hit up Bora Bora every year, but you’re not failing at life if you can’t.

Maybe you visit Benidorm every August with your family. That’s normal, that’s fine. Maybe you do a couple of city breaks instead of one huge two-weeker. That’s normal, that’s fine. Maybe you don’t go on holiday because right now, you can’t afford it. That’s normal, that’s fine. Holidays are a luxury  and I think that’s all too quickly forgotten. They’re a special treat and sometimes you can’t afford said special treat - that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

Even now, with two jobs and at 23 years of age, I would still honestly still feel anxious about dropping over a grand on a holiday. And my worries may sound silly to some people, because I’ve bought two designer handbags, both of which would have paid for nice and extravagant holidays - bags last for a long time, but memories last forever, right? I know the line of thought and I get why big holidays are a big deal, it’s just a world away from the way I was brought up.

Shop the post

My family never went on big trips abroad when I was younger. Instead we went to Scotland with my grandparents or Yorkshire to stay on a working dairy farm (THE.BEST.FUN.EVER. My Mum even helped deliver a calf!). In fact, I didn’t go abroad until I was 17, when myself, my two best friends and my brother went with his best friend to stay in his Dad’s Spanish villa, all of which I paid for out of my Sainsbury’s salary and, let’s be real, the accommodation was free anyway.

I say this because when I see these glamorous destinations popping up time and time again on my Instagram theme, I’m reminded of how far away reality can often be from social media. There’s no doubt about it - a fancy holiday in some far-off, exotic location is undoubtedly incredible, and if that’s accessible to you, then good god please continue and let us live vicariously through you.

But if you can’t, no worries. Your success or your happiness is not defined by how far-flung your holiday spot is, or how cool the restaurants are or how hipster your grainy shots can be. If the furthest you can make it is your garden for a series of boozy BBQs, then keep on living your best life, girl. There’s no rush. The world is your oyster, and if and when you’re able to explore it, then it will be waiting.

© The Little Plum • Theme by Maira G.