I know. We’re all gripped by royal dilation updates, but I thought I’d take a moment to cool things down a little, and offer a little distraction from the imminent, er, crowning.
So I’ve pulled together my top 12 picks of summer frocks, just for my heatwave-stricken northern hemisphere readers. With a palette of mostly neutral tones, I’ve chosen an assortment of silhouettes and styles to suit different figures and occasions.
The one thing these frocks have in common? They’ve all got natural, breathable fibres. I’ve nixed all the polyester blends because let’s be honest, when you’re stuck on the top deck of the 243 to Holborn and that ungodly blast of hot air hits your calves, you really don’t want anything other than one hundred per cent cotton clinging to your legs. Am I right? Let me know which one is your favourite!
From top left;
1. Paul & Joe Sister Baroque dress, £205 from ASOS.
2. Diane von Furstenberg flowing Carsandra dress, reduced to US$219 from ShopBop.
3. Free People lace and embroidered black dress, US$128 from Shopbop.
4. Lauren Moffatt Montreal I Hoped For Dress, now US$247 from Modcloth.
5. DKNY Trapunto stitch shirtdress, US$395 from ShopBop.
6. Lauren Moffatt Alley dress, £111 from Couverture and The Garbstore.
7. Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Halton draped summer dress, £370 from Net-a-Porter.
8. Antipodium interface shirt dress with contrast collar, now £120 from ASOS.
9. Emily and Fin Too Much Fun Dress in the Sand, US$79 from Modcloth.
10. Just Female Striped Dress, reduced to £32 from ASOS.
11. See by Chloe high low dress in cotton voile, £200 from ASOS.
12. Grey stripe cotton prom dress, £59 from Dorothy Perkins.
Need some new sandals with that? Check out my Top 12 Sandals picks.
Disclaimer: Some affiliate links are used in this post, for which I receive a small fee per sale. This fee helps support your favourite top bird’s blogging endeavours. But never fear – it doesn’t affect my decisions or selections. I wouldn’t feature any crap on Wee Birdy.
When you’re in the midst of summer heatwave (I’m talking about my northern hemisphere readers here), the most practical and on-trend option for footwear is a sensible leather sandal.
One step up in the style stakes from Havianas (er, flip flops), a good flat leather sandal will see you through many a fashion-meets-heatwave dilemma. This season, old-school sandals and fugly orthopaedic shoes are enjoying something of a mini renaissance, taking their wearers from day to night. And I haven’t stopped smiling.
It’s interesting watching trends emerge from the ‘other’ side of the world (and from the depths of a chilly winter). This past summer in Sydney, I couldn’t walk a block without spotting a veritable rainbow of bright and shiny Salt Water sandals. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Salt Waters were a Summer 2012/13 wardrobe staple. This pleases me no end, as my arthritic toes can’t really handle anything steeper than a five-degree slope.
Tan and coloured leather sandals handcrafted in the traditional Greco-Roman style are also having a moment in fashion right now, with the likes of Net-a-Porter and ShopBop stocking a range of K. Jacques sandals. (This is something I don’t think I’ll ever fully appreciate, after trekking through le Marais in Paris to find the cult-ish K. Jacques store back in 2007. And then blogging about it.)
But if you’re looking for something a bit friendlier on the wallet, you might like to head to Etsy and my secret-squirrel shops where you’ll find a range of traditional hand-crafted sandals for as low as £8.50 (GO!). And then a wee birdy told me about Greek Sandals, where you can pick up a pair of traditional Mediterranean-style sandals priced for around €30.
Meanwhile, in London, The Sandal and the Craftsman (see above) has been popping up in locations around town, for one-one-on appointments with his gorgeous range of hand-stitched flat sandals inspired by the Italian tradition. Available in a range of gorgeous colours, this is one craftsman to keep an eye on.
Here are my top 12 sandals for summer:
1. Salt Water sandals in yellow, US$39.99 from Mod Cloth.
2. Marais USA espadrille wedges, now US$88 from ShopBop (available in other colours).
3. Marais USA gladiator sandals, US$130 (available in other colours).
4. K. Jacques Flavia crisscross sandals, US$248 from ShopBop.
5. CoSTUME NATIONAL Fiore Flat Sandals, reduced to $178.50 in orange.
6. A.P.C. flat sandals, US $310 from ShopBop.
7. Red women’s leather sandal, £88.36 from Einat and Stephan Kedmi’s Etsy shop.
8. Roman Greek leather sandals in black, £8.50 by Ananias Sandals’ Etsy Shop.
9. Thebes Sandal Natural Color sandals, €30 from Greek Sandals.
10. Ancient Greek Sandals Clio sandals, US$185 by ShopBop
11. Carvela Kloud studded flat sandals, £65 from Selfridges.
12. Loeffler Randall Dree woven sandals, now US$70 in cobalt/mint (other colours available).
Disclaimer: Some affiliate links are used in this post, for which I receive a small fee per sale. Never fear – it doesn’t affect my decisions or selections. I wouldn’t feature any crap on Wee Birdy.
I know. Ascot is done and dusted. Apologies to my UK readers. I’ve been working on this post for months but I couldn’t publish it any sooner because I’ve been that darn sick. (Off topic: I hate to whinge but this childcare-lurgy-merry-go-round is doing my head in. I’ve just spent the past six weeks with a not-so-delightful pick-n-mix of the most horrendous viruses, culminating in agonising joint pain, vomiting, fever and chills. Geez, aren’t you glad you clicked through to read my self-pitying sooky lah-lah drivel? Time to move on.)
So rest assured that I haven’t forgotten about my dear readers in the UK who are currently enjoying a typical English summer (ie. freezing cold, grey skies) and while I may have missed Ascot, I’ve heard from quite a few readers with a wedding or two marked on the calendar. And that means HATS.
Hurrah! I love a good hat. One of the things that I find so endearing about Britain is that hats are just about mandatory for all female wedding guests. (Not quite so in Australia – generally, the mother of the bride is the only one who wears a hat, which is sadly a missed opportunity for topping off an outfit with something utterly fabulous.)
Maybe it’s the bird-lover in me but there’s something marvellous about perching something eye-catching and dramatic – often with feathers – on top of your head. And ladies, I’m talking about proper hats, not those silly headbands with a couple of pathetic sequins.
There’s nothing I hate more than a half-arsed approach to hats. I just about rejoiced when I heard that Ascot had finally put their foot down with an exacting dress code that specified minimum hat base measurements and banned fascinators from the Royal Enclosure. Hilarious and awesome. Who else would do this?
And if you can’t already tell that I’m dreadfully missing the UK, I’m just about sick with envy over the sheer amount of choice when it comes to shopping for hats. With the likes of internationally acclaimed milliners such as Philip Treacy and Stephen Jones calling London home, there’s no escaping the fact that no-one does hats quite like the Brits. (And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Queen or the late Isabella Blow, two of London’s greatest-ever hat wearers.)
Now, it would be all too easy to curate a collection of the most amazing designer options, but to be honest I’m more excited and impressed by the bevy of British high street designer collaborations.
Take Debenhams, for instance. Here you can pick up a hat designed by the likes of Stephen Jones, Julien MacDonald and Jasper Conran for a very reasonable sum of money. We’re talking around £80 for a Stephen Jones for Debenhams number, which would cost around over £900 at his Covent Garden boutique.
Then there’s House of Fraser‘s collaboration with London milliner Jane Taylor, who has emerged as this season’s ‘It’ designer and the go-to girl for the Duchess of Cambridge. And I’m blown away by the rather handsome collection of hats designed by William Chambers for Coast (the large images you can see in this post are from this collection).
For those of you looking for a design with a bit more of an edge, look no further than Filipino milliner Mich Dulce, whose work was recognised in 2010 when she won the International Young Creative Entrepreneur (IYCE) award for fashion at London Fashion Week. Her playful bunny ear-inspired designs manage to miraculously tick both chic and tongue-in-cheek boxes.
If you’re in London, hightail it to Fenwick, which is probably one of the most underrated department stores (and it rarely gets a mention in international press). It’s a veritable goldmine for accessories, hats and scarves. I spent many a lunch hour scouring the ground floor wall of hair accessories. Fenwick has a mildly Bond Street matronly appeal, but I think that just makes me adore it even more.
Finally, you always have the option of hiring. The brilliant Liberty London Girl introduced me to The Hat Club, which offers an excellent selection of designs by the likes of Gina Foster, Emily London Millinery and Philip Treacy, with hire prices starting at £35 (though expect to pay £120 for a Philip Treacy.) Read Liberty London Girl’s post about her experience with The Hat Club here.
So read on for my (tardy) edit of the best hats for summer 2013. Silver lining? Some of these hats are now on sale. SCORE! So if you’re in the market for a new hat for an upcoming wedding or you (ahem) want to get ahead of next year’s spring racing season, read on. Also, this list can serve as spring racing carnival inspiration for my Australian readers. Just remember, black can be chic for the races, but rather gloomy for weddings. Best to stick to colour. Here we go…
1. Peggy vintage raffia cocktail beret trimmed with navy feathers and vintage raffia beaded bow, £1,005 by Jane Taylor Millinery.
2. Invitation Imogen hat, also available in other colours, reduced to £59 from Hobbs.
3. Mich Dulce bunny topper hand-woven abaca pillbox hat, £289 from Fenwick.
4. Invitation Britannia hat, reduced to £49 from Hobbs.
5. Top Hat by Stephen Jones black oversized mesh bow hat, £110 from Debenhams.
6. Untold spotted bow pillbox hat, £38.50 from House of Fraser.
7. William Chambers black side bow hat, £100 from Coast.
8. William Chambers rosette side bow hat with silk flower, £459 from Fenwick.
9. Vintage spring hat with brown netting, AU$407.24 by Behida Dolic Millinery’s Etsy shop.
1. Juliette Botterill navy rose percher, available to hire from The Hat Club.
2. William Chambers for Coast buntal teardrop hat, £100 from Coast.
3. Uma Turan tulle headpiece, £320 from Miratis.
4. Sarah Cant bespoke hat, price on application from Sarah Cant.
5. Peter Whiteley swirl hat, £99 from Fenwick.
6. Misa Harada Kiara large bow headdress with face veil, £135 from Misa Harada.
1. Sarah Cant bespoke hat, price on application from Sarah Cant.
2. Juliette Botterill taupe beano with veil, available to hire from The Hat Club.
3. Gina by Gina ready-to-wear hat, price on application, from Gina Foster.
4. Top Hat by Stephen Jones pale pink velvet flower fascinator, £80 from Debenhams.
5. Double disc floral hat, £160, William Chambers for Coast.
6. Vivien Sheriff pink conch beret headpiece, $695 from Avenue32.
7. Gina by Gina ready-to-wear hat, price on application, from Gina Foster.
8. Alice wide-brimmed hat, £740 from Jane Taylor Millinery.
9. Kate beaded mini cocktail hat, available in other colours, £570 from Jane Taylor Millinery.
1. Stephen Jones pale pink velvet flower fascinator, £80 from Debenhams.
2. Untold Bow pillbox fascinator, reduced to £31.50 from House of Fraser.
3. Principles by Ben de Lisi mesh disc design with feather flower details, reduced to £36 from Debenhams.
4. Uma Turan draped tulle headpiece with Swarovski crystals, £380 from Miratis.
5. ‘Morning delight’ soft yellow hat with black beaded button, AU$423.68 from Behida Dolic Millinery’s Etsy shop.
6. Edel Ramberg red rose tangle hat, available to hire from The Hat Club.
7. The Ines woven pill box hat in pink and orange, AU$76.27 from Jennifer Loiselle’s Etsy shop.
8. Marie Mercié Green chamonix hat with peek-a-boo ears, $440 from Avenue32
9. Uma Turan French beret trimmed with blue silk flowers, £390 from Miratis.
Which hat is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you.
It’s sales time and I’ve been scouring the web for the best designer (and high street) bargains for you. I’ve focused on timeless pieces – the kind of essentials that make a classic wardrobe. I often wait ’til sales time to purchase these kinds of pieces – and if I don’t need anything new, then that’s it – I don’t look at all!
It’s all too easy to get carried away by the lure of discounted items, and buying something for the sake of getting a bargain. And I reckon we’ve all got too much crap in our closets already. So for god’s sake don’t add to the chaos/potential landfill with purchases you don’t really need. Especially trend-driven purchases that date really quickly.
So I guess that’s why I put together this wee guide to the sales, cherry-picking what I consider to be really great, classic pieces that will stand the test of time in your wardrobe. But only if you really need them – agreed? For instance, I need a great pair of tapered black pants. Slightly cropped, almost capri style pants – the kind that Jean Seaberg paired with Breton stripes in Breathless. The thing is, it all comes down to cut and fit, and so far I haven’t had any luck. I’ve got my eye on these COS pants but unfortunately they don’t ship to Australia – yet. Come on, COS!
But if you are in the market for some spiffy new clobber, you better hop to it – things are selling out fast (I’ve already re-written my edit a few times). I’ll be updating this post with alternatives as items sell-out, so keep an eye on Wee Birdy over the next couple of days.
UPDATE: I’m now adding some cheaper high street alternatives into the mix.
1. The Liberty silk scarf
Blue Liberty House print small silk scarf, reduced to £66.50 (from £95) from Liberty. Or how about this gorgeous Erdem rose wave scarf, now US$139 (from $470) at Barneys Warehouse.
2. The sexy black heels
Saint Laurent metal-trimmed pointed leather pumps, reduced to £329 (from £470) from Net-a-porter. And check out these Narcisco Rodriguez two-tone pumps, now US$219 (from $795) at Barneys Warehouse.
3. The chic neutral pumps
3.1 Phillip Lim D’Orsay suede and textured-leather pumps, reduced to £212.50 (from £425 ) from Net-a-porter. These Duccio Venturi strappy pumps from Browns are also fabulous. After a super-cheap high street bargain? Check out these ASOS SIDNEY Pointed High Heels with Metal Toe Cap, reduced to AU$35.04 (from $78.84) at ASOS.
4. The black clutch
3.1 Phillip Lim 31 Minute patent-leather and leather clutch, reduced to £201 (was £335) from Net-a-porter. For a bargainous high street alternative, check out this sleek black envelope clutch at ASOS, reduced to AU$17.52.
5. The classic cropped black pant
Miu Miu cropped stretch wool-gabardine pants, reduced to £147.50 (from £295) from Net-a-porter. Or try these pants. I also love these COS slim side zip trousers, reduced to £41.
6. The ultimate pencil skirt
Vivienne Westwood Anglomania stretch-cotton skirt, reduced to £138.60 (from £231) at Net-a-porter. Or try this or this. I love this wrap pencil skirt from Whistles, reduced to £60 (from £110). And if you’re after navy, check out this twill pencil skirt, down to US$45 (from $88) at Anthropologie.
7. The little black dress
Acne Adelle Tape open-back chiffon dress, reduced to £115 (from £230) at Net-a-porter. Also try this Acne denim and chiffon dress reduced to £145 at Browns. I also adore this super-chic Anja crepe dress, down to £85 (from £135) at Whistles. And this lovely Orla Kiely V-neck silk and cotton dress with box pleats is now £236 (from £338). Want something cheaper? How about this gathered detail dress at COS, reduced to £28.
1. The Breton striped top
J.Crew striped cotton anchor T-shirt, reduced to £23 (from £46) from Net-a-porter. Or try this top.
2. The white blouse
Karl Lagerfeld Belinda studded crepe blouse, reduced to £99.50 (from £199) from Net-a-porter. Also loving this white NW3 Byron shirt from £55 from Hobbs.
3. The ballet flats
Bloch bow-embellished leather ballet flats, reduced to £62.50 (from £125) from Net-a-porter. Or try these ballet flats from Belle by Sigerson Morrison (reduced to AU$126). And you really can’t go past these simple, Audrey Hepburn-style ballet flats at Country Road for AU$52.46 (down from $69.95).
4. The bright mid-heel pumps
Lucy Choi London croc-textured Ruby pumps, reduced to AU$160 (from AU$230) from Matches. You can find more Lucy Choi shoes on sale here at Matches and here at MyWardrobe.com. And if you’re after a black mid-heel pump, look no further than these classic little beauties, down to £75 (from £125) at Whistles.
5. The casual summer frock
Emmy patch pocket dress, reduced to £45 at (from £95) at Whistles.And then there is this Antipodium Playpal dress, reduced to AU$154.03 (from $229.00) at Shopbop. Also loving this Chinti and Parker polka dot embroidered dress reduced to £110 from Browns. Then there is this ultra-cool COS silk and cotton dress, reduced to £40. And check out this gorgeous grey NW3 bow swing dress, as well as this very pretty cream NW3 Theodora dress, both reduced to £69 (from £139) from Hobbs. Want something cheaper? How about this super-sweet Warehouse fan-print frock for AU$42.05 (from $70.08) from ASOS? And if you’re a fan of Marimekko, check out this Marimekko Elaska Dress, reduced to AU$209 (from $299) at Funkis.
6. The tailored jacket
Antipodium Mandate Jacket, reduced to AU$239.15 (from $578.16) at ASOS. Or check out this incredible satin-trimmed blazer by Maison Martin Margiela. And check out this Orla Kiely print cotton blazer, now £222 (from £318). I’m also loving this sharp purple NW3 Indigo blazer, reduced to £84 (from £169) at Hobbs.
7. The DVF wrap dress
Diane von Furstenberg New Jeanne Two Dress, reduced to AU$327.35 (from AU$365) at Shopbop.
1. The black mini skirt
Helmut Lang Cocoon cotton-blend jersey mini skirt, reduced to £55 (from £110) from Net-a-porter.
2. The colourful sweater
Sonia by Sonia Rykiel cotton and cashmere-blend sweater, reduced to £162 (from £270) at Net-a-porter. Or try this. I also love this divine grey NW3 Birdie Intarsia sweater, reduced to £48 (from £69) at Hobbs. And then there is this scallop stitch pullover, down to US$49.95 (from $88) at Anthropologie. After something chic and cheap? How about this contrast cuff knit top, reduced to £23 at COS.
3. The sexy heels
Jimmy Choo Maya studded suede pumps, reduced to £486.50 (from £695) at Net-a-porter.
4. The messenger bag
Marc by Marc Jacobs washed up messenger bag in Flame, reduced to AU$238.80 (from AU$267.71) at Shopbop.
5. The throw-on-and-go summer frock
Acne Marnay pleated sateen dress, £140 (from £280) at Net-a-porter. Or check out this super-cool American Apparel low back black dress at ASOS, reduced to AU$38.54 (from $77.09). I’m also loving this Rare belted dress reduced to $35.04 at ASOS.
6. The ultra-flattering dressy frock
Roland Mouret blue albermarle tie-waist V-neck dress, reduced to £397.50 (from £795) at Liberty. Or there is this beautiful Gloria lace dress, down to £85 (from £145) at Whistles.
7. The simple shift dress
Weekend by MaxMara Randers dress, reduced to AU$100 (from AU$200) at Matches. Also loving this Orla Kieley organza shift dress reduced to £208.60 (from £298). And this Marimekko Pikubassi dress is reduced to AU$234 (from $335 at Funkis. COS printed shift dress, reduced to £81.
Have you bought anything in the sales? What do you think of my edit of the best bits?
Disclaimer: Affiliate links are used in this post, for which I receive a small fee per sale. Never fear – it doesn’t affect my decisions or selections. I wouldn’t feature any crap on Wee Birdy.
Finishing your Christmas shopping this weekend? Here’s my edit of the best presents for all the lovely ladies in your life, starting at £8.96. If you spot something you fancy for yourself, just share it on Facebook or Twitter prefaced with a big ‘Hint, hint’!
1. ‘Dash Dot’ pointy mittens by Donna Wilson, available in three colours
£32.50, from Soma Gallery.
2. Aesop Reverence hand wash, £27 from Cult Beauty.
3. Postie leather envelope, AU$190 from Follow Store.
4. Dinosaur Designs set of three bangles, AU$215 from Dinosaur Designs.
5. Polli woven peacock pendant, AU$79.95 from Polli.
6. India Knight Mutton (hardcover), £8.96 from Amazon.
7. Paul & Joe Kitty Blusher Stick in Minou, £19 from Rose Apothecary.
8. Paris Wakefield Additions Bliss cotton satin cushion, £59.50 from Paris Wakefield Additions.
9. Melinda Young hand cut acrylic flamenco pendant, AU$95 from Collect.
10. Cadiz serving bowl, £34 from Anthropologie.
11. Ceramic band bowl XXL, €70 from Foldoys.
12. Paul and Joe colour powder (081), £19.50 from Rose Apothecary.
13. Eiffel Tower ring dish, £10 from Anthropologie.
Want more lovely present inspiration? Click here for all my Christmas 2012 Gift Guides.
Prefer to buy handmade? Click here for my Etsy 2012 Christmas Gift Guides.
And don’t miss my Top 20 Christmas Crackers and my Top 20 Christmas Stockings!
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If there’s one trend that’s really taken hold this year, it’s neon. From crafty hand-woven baskets to to glossy Comme Des Garçons wallets, fluoro is the way to go. Here are my top picks for the nicest (and most definitely) brightest Christmas presents.
1. Eva straw weave clutch, AU$179 from Gorman.
2. Little leather locket by Jen Booth, AU$78 from Follow Store.
3. ‘Fluro Tower’ acrylic painting, AU$750 from Rachel Castle.
4. Woven Bead Planter (Mexican), AU $120 from Peaches and Keen.
5. Adjustable wood and stoneware vase, EUR145 from Adonde.
6. Crepe chain neon necklace, US$78 from Anthropologie.
1. Knitted collar in neon yellow and grey cotton, EUR €29.90 from The Knit Kid’s Etsy shop.
2. ‘Criss Cross Fluro Sun’ felt on Belgian flax linen artwork, AU$380 from Castle.
3. Neon yellow pod with Velutina air plant, US$10 from Bird And Feather Co.’s Etsy shop.
4. Modern neon hardwood salad bowl, US$45 from Nicole Porter Design.
5. Lidded blue box EUR €56 from Foldoys.
6. Comme Des Garçons orange fluorescent zip-around wallet, £130 from Liberty.
1. Crayon Chick crochet bowls, small $30; large $32 from Follow Store.
2. K. Jacques for Opening Ceremony patent sandal, US$172 from Opening Ceremony.
3. Marc by Marc Jacobs green and blue heart print iPhone Case, £30 from Liberty.
4. Melting Ice-Cream Tote by Jess Wright, AU $160 from Harvest Workroom by Harvest Textiles.
5. Large neon chevron cushion by Bob Window, AU$90 from Follow Store.
6. Bobbi Brown Neon & Nude Sheer lip gloss, £17 from Selfridges.