Red shoes, No knickers

Tricks of the trade Archive



November 2018



What to do with all our stuff

Last weekend I went to Somerset to help my parents oldest friends clear out ninety three years worth of someone’s precious belongings.

Attached to the side of Terry & Judy’s beautiful cottage, in a hamlet near Yeovil, is an annexe where Terry’s mum Joy lived. She recently passed away and I was heading down to firstly play with the dogs and secondly to help decide what should be done with a lifetimes worth of stuff.

And Boy was there some stuff. Joy had lived and travelled in the far East for a large portion of her life so there were ornaments and artefacts from Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand. There was a whole flat full of furniture, so much crockery, cutlery, glassware. Photo albums, books, clothing, accessories, jewellery, paintings….The list went on and the clear out felt endless.

My job was in the bedroom where my wardrobe detoxing eye went straight into work mode. I immediately put aside what I knew would sell on Ebay. The tartan trousers, the houndstooth skirt, the mink coat, the Burberry Mac. The rest I suggested be sold at a car boot. Yes, I know it’s a hassle and things tend to sell for just 50p at the end of the day but something’s better than nothing, right? Waste not want not and all that? One persons trash is anothers treasure?

Terry and Judy had been sorting and distributing and organising for the past few weeks and were starting to feel the fatigue. They wanted the stuff gone. They wanted the flat clear so they could rent it out and they wanted to move on. Sifting through a family members belongings and revisiting old memories is hard and it’s sad and it can be exhausting. They didn’t have the time or the inclination to stand at a car boot and haggle over whether Joy’s Peacock mixed polyester blouse should be sold for £2 or £2.50.

Once family and friends have taken what they want. When they’ve left with what they deem to be useful or memorable what happens to the rest of the stuff? Where do we put it all? Stacey Dooley’s recent BBC programme ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’ revealed that in the UK alone we dump 300, 000 tons of clothing in landfill every year. Charity shops see a sharp increase of donations in January when we offload 73 000 tons worth of clothing. And that’s just clothing. That doesn’t include the rest of our stuff.

Oh God, STUFF! What are we doing with all this stuff? Why do we need it? If last weekend showed me anything it showed that we’re holding onto things so that someone else can be exasperated by having to wade through it all once we’re gone. Don’t get me wrong. I have stuff. I have boxes of photo albums, no doubt far too many clothes, old letters that I’ve read, books that I haven’t. I have a suitcase full of my teenage stuff still in my parents attic that, much to my Father’s dismay, I am choosing to ignore for the time being. The amount of stuff I alone have is overwhelming. And I’m just about to obtain more stuff this Christmas. A list has gone out to my siblings of things I want. More things I, of course, don’t need but do think I would benefit from because YES, a spoon rest for when I’m cooking is important in my kitchen at the moment. {See Middle Class Mockery}

I’m not immune to the allure of surrounding ourselves with items that bring us joy, are aesthetically pleasing or that comfort us. I’m also not disillusioned into thinking I’ll never buy anything new ever again. None of us are and it would be silly to suggest otherwise. But there are ways we can do it without contributing to more landfill and collating more stuff for others to deal with when we’re gone.

Tried and tested tactics include ~ One in one out. Bought a new coat/dress/pair of shoes? Lose something from your current wardrobe. Your wardrobe stays manageable and you start to become more aware of what you’re purchasing.

EbayEtsy, second hand shops, auction houses are where plenty of previously owned bargains can be found. Don’t like the idea of ‘vintage or antique’? That’s fine. New items or only lightly used items can still be found on the net. It takes time to find them but I know you can do it.

Freecycle! What a beautiful idea. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and neighbourhoods. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills.

Resell, recycle, regift ~ Have you exhausted every possibility of all that stuff you no longer want? Would a friend benefit from it? Can you rework it and make it into something else? Can you sell it and make money from it? YES! Just think about that. Cold hard cash in the palm of your bank account to spend on…..well, probably more stuff but you get my point!

Landfill is full. Charity shops can only sell so much. Recycling is happening but not as fast as we’re consuming. Your children/sibling/cousin/a stranger does not really want to wade through your wares so let’s start to rethink shall we? Let’s start to reduce, reuse, recycle, resell, regift….

I’m off to trawl through Ebay.

Posted in Chazzer Shazzer chic, Tricks of the trade, Wardrobe work



November 2013



Longer legs

It has been said that a nude shoe elongates the legs and makes them appear longer. It’s been said and it’s true. I 100% agree. Trouble is I’m not a fan of a nude shoe and think they’re incredibly boring. With all the fabulous and colorful footwear on offer out there why would I choose a shoe that blends into my skin? I’m not ruling it out forever but it’s just not for me now.

The leg lengthening aspect, however, is for me now and is something I’m very much in favour of. Double trouble is when it comes to  winter and the dreaded tight comes into action it’s hard. Especially if ~ like me ~ you have an abundance of  coloured tights. I used to be all about the coloured tights but in later years, and last year in particular, I tended to head for the more muted colours ~ Black, navy, grey. I felt there was always too much going on with my outfit when a coloured tight was involved and ultimately, when putting a shoe on, always ended up cutting off my legs and making me look dumpy.

My solution? Match your tights to your shoes. Easy. I’ve got enough shoes to be able to match my tights and that way I’m making the most of what I already own. Waste not want not my Shoelets….simply shopping my own wardrobe. Try it. Feels so 1 (2)

{from L to R ~ vintage brogues, tights. vintage patent heels, m&s tights. m&s heeled brouges, tights}

photo 2 (2)

{from L to R ~ vintage peeptoe heels, tights. anthropologie shoeboots}

photo 4

{from L to R ~ all tights from tabio. beau coup flat shoe boots. hobbs leopard print mary janes. belstaff heeled shoeboots}

photo 3

{from L to R ~ tabio tights, melissa plastic heels. falke tights, chie mihara heeled brogues. tabio tights, vintage heeled brogues}

Posted in Beautiful shoes, Tricks of the trade, Wardrobe work



November 2013



Warm bodies


Ok. I’ll admit it. There is one thing that I like about winter…mmmm maybe two. The first is joomps.

A good joomp can go a long way. Remember here when I told you I’d found my comfy chic? Well a lot of that has to do with my top half. Having a lower body that is certainly not lacking in body fat but a top half that will often resemble a sparrow I always feel the cold and can’t stand a whipping wind  finding it’s way down my top and chilling my bones. I want a joomp that covers all bases and keeps me waarrrrrrm.

Having had a love affair with cashmere for a while now I would highly recommend it but I do hear what you’re saying my Shoelets. I do. I hear the same thing every time I head to a wardrobe detox. Yes, they can bobble and yes, caring for a delicate piece of knitwear is time consuming and frustrating. But….fear not I have advice.

Head on over HERE and take a peak at what I was harping on about many moons ago…Sage advice my friends. Sage advice.

Oh, and the second thing I like about Christmas is stollen….niiiiccceeeee….


{j crew joomp {last seen here}, club monaco trews, beau coup booties, vintage bag, m& s sunnies}  


Posted in Comfy chic, J crew, Outfit city, Tricks of the trade



September 2013



More clean lines



Now these little badboys don’t look like much ~ granted ~ but were this ‘puter screen touchy feely {not doubt apple have something in the pipeline!} you would reach out with your tiny paw and find that these are in fact velvet hangers and they are a wardrobe’s best friend. I’m constantly going through my clients closets chucking out wire hangers from the dry cleaners, plastic hangers left over from Uni, wooden jacket hangers from god knows where and then trying to make some semblance of the mismatch chaos that’s left. I’m not blaming you my Shoelets, I’m just as much to blame.

Back in June I was in this wardrobe state too ~




I’m so ashamed to show you my Shoelets ~ the wood, the plastic, the wire, the mayhem! This is not how our beloved garments should be stored, seen or showcased. That is why I finally had enough and I made my way over to Amazon and treated myself to these and these.

Oh Sweet Jesus how things have changed. Gone is the mayhem and in comes the magic ~ symmetry, clean lines {you know that’s my obsession this week}, level playing fields. What more does a girl need for her wardrobe? No more doubling up of items {actually tripling up in some cases!}, no more inappropriate hangers for desperate dresses. My wardrobe is date ready and the date she is getting ready for is my goodself.




I honestly believe it’s a worthy investment. Make sure you go for velvet, thin hangers that have a grove at each end. They prevent pieces slipping off, are thin enough to fill a small space with lots of treats and not be too heavy. Plus they’re affordable. You can’t say fairer than that can you? Go do it!!! You’ll learn to love that wardrobe of yours all over again.

Posted in Tricks of the trade, Wardrobe work



August 2013



Staple classics


After a lovely and very rewarding wardrobe detox this week I found the all too familiar words about neutral classics falling from my mouth and wondered whether I had imparted these pearls of wisdom to my dear Shoelets?  I know you’ve had the do and do NOT’s of proportions and the rules of mixology but the world of staples and those which go with everything are nuggets of advice that every woman needs. My outfit on this sunny Saturday afternoon holds many a tale to tell.


{gifted bretton top from tim, reworked ancient shorts, funkis clogs, diesel sunnies, 29 year old gift coca cola bag}


~ My general rule, which doesn’t always apply, is that when putting an outfit together you should stick to a maximum of three different colours ~

~ Colours of the same hue are classed as one eg. navy, cobalt & cornflower blue are all classed as one ~ 

~ Some very powerful pieces of clothing over rule all of this and can simply be worn with everything ~

~ bretton stripes ~

~ denim ~ 

~ animal print ~ 

~ khaki {thick trench coat ~ 

~ pillar box red ~

~ soft, dove grey ~ 

~ polka dots ~ 

~tan {not brown, big difference. HUGE} accessories ~ 

Unfortunately I don’t have an answer as to why this is the case or actually how I know this but it’s true. I promise you. I wouldn’t lie to you My Shoelets…well, I would about my age but that is the only thing! I would, on occasion, add white to that list but when cream or off white are involved I cross her off the list and leave her till another time.

Try it.

Mix any of the above with any outfit and I promise they’ll work. If they don’t you have my permission to come back and sue me.


Posted in Outfit city, Tricks of the trade, Wardrobe work



June 2013



Bobbi’s wedding


I loved my outfit for Bobbi’s wedding so much.

As I’ve said before {see here} the 60’s are not a decade in which I generally seek out it’s clothing and accessories but….times change my Shoelets, times change. With an ever~expanding~non~decreasing~30~something~ year~old~pot ~belly and a reading to do at the ceremony I headed straight for the gym. I side stepped the gym and jumped into the pool with both feet ~ YEAH!  I had 2 weeks and I worked hard on those legs. With a touch of sun on them from the beautiful weather we had last week I was ready to release these bad boys into the world in a sexy, sweet 60’s shift dress. As I explained here, I love getting my legs out when it’s warm and if I don’t do it now I’m certainly not going to be doing it in 5, 10 years time!


{vintage dress from blackout, barrett’s heels that are 15 years old,chazzer shazzer clutch} 


With big plans to make a fabulous floral head band I was sorely disappointed when I simply couldn’t get my hands on any decent black flowers. ANYWHERE! Everything looked too tacky and cheap so I went with a simple black ribbon around a high bun which in the end was better for the weather and the wild dancing. I was fine with my choice of bunnage until on the Friday night someone asked me what hat I would be wearing as ‘you always do a good hat’ GUTTED! I’m always up for an occasion when something on the top of your hat doesn’t make you look like a plum {see here and here}


What I learnt from this wedding:

1. Make sure what you wear is right for the temperatures of the day. I was really pleased with my dress as it had sheer sleeves ~ perfect for a warm/cool in the shade day. NO jacket required and DEFINITELY NO CARDI! No cardi’s at wedding’s please people! Always a jacket if you have to have a cover up.

2. A double lathering of moisturizer on the legs goes a long way. Slap it on. Slap it on again 20 minutes later. Legs as smooth as a babies bum!

3. WEAR AN SPF! Due to a very early arrival at the venue, an outside ceremony and then a long wait in the sun their were a lot of red faces come Sunday morning.

4. Your handbag needs to contain the following items:

* Make~up ~ Later on a top up or even a revamp is always needed.

*Deodrant ~ I failed on this account but Bestie From The TV came up trumps with a bottle of perfume that I sprayed directly onto my dress. problem solved.

* Tissues ~ didn’t take nearly enough for the amount of crying I did.

* Paracetamol ~ enough for at least 4 people who will undoubtedly ask you for something to kill a headache.

* Gum or a tooth brush ~ a lot of champagne/cigarettes/hog roast baps and 4 hours of dancing leads to bad times in the mouth.

5. Your shoes are the one big thing that you need to get right. Even if your hair is a disaster, your dress creases, you get sereve pits or your hat leaves a mark on your forehead ~ if your shoes are comfortable and can last you for 12 hours then nothing else matters. Up close my 15 year old heels are painful and battered, from a far and on a dance floor they’re priceless.


GO forth and enjoy your summer weddings my Shoelets ~ You’re armed with all you need to know.

Posted in Bobbi's wedding, Chazzer Shazzer chic, Outfit city, Rise to the occasion, Tricks of the trade



June 2013



Bobbi’s wedding: Travelling gal


{vintage leather handbag from bondi beach market, ancient overnight bag i’ve had for 19 years}

I learnt a few things this weekend my Shoelets and I thought there was nothing I needed to know about planning and packing for a 3 day weekend away.  This particular weekend away happened to be up in the Cotswolds for the much anticipated wedding of my good friend Bobbi.

Of course the wedding day outfit itself is thought of months beforehand. Shoes, hair and handbag for this occasion were pre~planned and discussed in length but the Friday and the Sunday outfits also needed just as much thought.  With the weather app for Bourton~on~the~water on my iphone saying sunshine mit a tiny bit of cloud I knew my outfits had to be summery, adaptable and comfortable.



{vintage jacket from nyc, white cotton top from singapore, self designed skirt, m&s wedges}



{laura lee star diamond stud, hexagonal silver ring and triple diamond ring, large silver earring from spain, triple silver band ring from india}


What I learnt from my 3 day jaunt was this:

1. Getting a wax/mani/pedi/haircut/hairdye and what ever else it is that makes you feel a little more pulled together is SO worth it. I had all of those things done and they made me feel great.

2. Make sure the luggage you take is easily transportable. I had to go from bus to tube to train to bus…my faithful weekend bag and over the shoulder handbag served me well and was easy to carry. NICE. Especially if you have a heel. Nothing worse than tottering along with too big luggage. Been there. Done that. Got the bad back.

3. Going to a three day affair normally means there’s going to be an evening do on the Friday night. Take another outfit. I wasn’t actually bothered that I didn’t have anything to get changed into as it meant I could just carry on drinking in the bar but it would have been nice to freshen up and pop on something a little warmer for the evening.

4. DEFINITELY take a different outfit for the morning of the wedding. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t even thought about it! The wedding wasn’t until 3pm so I had to go down to breakfast in my Sunday outfit…and with bare feet! GUTTED!

5……take some more shoes! I had my ever faithful m&s wedges but to put on a heel to go down to breakfast was a little ott!

6. Always pop in a warm layer. Even though the forecast said sunshine and high temps I took my new favourite {see here} and was so grateful I did for 5am on the Sunday morning and for a weary train journey home where we had to stand.


Lessons  learnt for the day of the wedding coming tomorrow……

Posted in Bag central, Bobbi's wedding, Outfit city, Rise to the occasion, Tricks of the trade



May 2013



D.I.M.D.I: Flamingo pink

pink shirt

When someone passes on their unwanted clothes to you it’s easy to get carried away with the situation. Free clothes, after all, are a bonus and not to be sniffed at. However, just because they’re free it doesn’t mean they’re right and there’s no point in filling up your wardrobe with clothes that don’t suit you and that you feel guilty about throwing out because someone gave them to you in an act of kindness. Let me tell you something my Shoelets: Kindness don’t know a draining colour when it’s shoved in it’s own hairy face.

My good friend, co~worker, long time twerking partner and the mother to my children, Tim, very generously, after a clear out, passed on a few sweet treats to yours truly. As well as this shirt and this one I managed to obtain the one above. It’s soft, it’s a nice shape. I wore it twice. I looked like I was covering from a bout of gastroenteritis each time I wore it.

‘Dat colour is wack y’all!’

And by wack I mean unsuitable for 98% of the skin tones out there.

Come on.

It’s me.

I don’t leave a man down unless there is no trace of a pulse and Father MacDougal has been summoned to perform the last rite of passage. Well, Father Maccy D’s was on holiday in Costa Brava y’all and this shirt’s second chance at life  came in the form of…YES YOU KNOW IT PEOPLE!!!



Sweet baby Jesus I love this stuff. It’s like catnip for the crafting world.

Easy peasy.

Powder in drum * Salt over powder * Wet clothes on top of that * Spin that cycle


I think that we all agree on the fact that, should such an award exist, this shirt would most definitely win ‘Shirt of the week’. I am I right?  You know it.


{grandma wyn’s reworked burberry trench, d.i.m.d.i shirt, gifted luella skirt, vintage boots, orla kiely bag}



Posted in Comfy chic, Did It Myself, Didn't I, Outfit city, Tricks of the trade, Wardrobe work



April 2013



Style changer

me paree

I read a very interesting article via twitter on The Huffington Post a few weeks ago that has been stuck in my head for a while now. The title of the piece wasDo style rules change once you turn 35?’ Well, my Shoelets, that big old scary number of 35 is fast approaching yours truly and I need to know ~ like the article explores ~ can I still wear a mini skirt when I’m 35?

My job as a Wardrobe Detoxer {Gave myself the title, thanks} is to help women declutter their wardrobes and find their style. In our 20’s we can wear what we want, experiment, follow trends and make mistakes but by the time we hit our 30’s it’s expected of us to know how to dress and, in a way, to settle down. We should have done our trialing and testing and should be confident and knowledgeable in what to wear. NEWS FLASH! This is bullshit. Our metabolism slows down in our thirties, babies start appearing, responsibilities become greater and while there is a certain confidence that comes with age there is definitely an insecurity that comes with getting older.  No one likes the mutton dressed as lamb look but surely there are ways to still dress ourselves youthfully without appearing to look like we’re afraid of our advancing years?


I love getting my legs out. They’re not the best in the world, actually far from it. They’re short. Like really short. I’m tall with a long body and short legs. They could be more toned and I have varicose & broken veins on my thighs but I love a brown leg. Like I preached to the masses on Monday. If I didn’t get them out they wouldn’t go brown. The two photos I’ve included are both from last year when I was 34. I can’t see much changing for this summer. If I’m confident with getting my legs out then it shows. If I was embarrassed and highly conscious then it simply brings unnecessary attention to my wobbly pins. Besides who doesn’t love a bit of imperfection? Perfect doesn’t exist and we should stop trying to achieve it. My legs ain’t perfect and that’s just the way I like it.

Personally I think rules are there for a reason but they’re also meant to be broken. Children are growing up faster these days and people are living longer. If I gave up wearing miniskirts at 35 I could have another 50 of not getting my legs out! Where’s the fun in that?

So, tell me. What are your thoughts/fears on our style changing after 35? 

Would love to discuss it with you all….

Posted in Let's discuss, Tricks of the trade, Wardrobe work



April 2013



Last of the tights


This is it my Shoelets. This is the last you’re going to see of me in Le tight for some time.

Ground breaking news for some of you I know but for those of you who are not up to speed with the everyday goings on of my legs I shall inform you all of what’s occurin’ {said in a Welsh accent} Biannually I play this game, only with myself but I still play it, where I set a date and from then on I shall not be donning tights until Octoberish. Some people think I’m cray, some say I’m a God damn fool others say I should model for Aldi to those people I say this: You’ve gotta be in it to win in! Every year my customers {& friends} complain about their white legs. The news is ladies that if they’re not exposed to the sun then they’re always gonna be a pale hue of ill.

Get em out, get some Vitamin D into your system and simply pop a scarf into your bag for cooler evenings. Holler! Summer’s nearly here!


{vintage coat {last seen here}, may leopard print dress, grey cardi from a shop in oz, yellow cardi from american apparel, tabio tights, d.i.m.d.i belt, gifted hudson boots}



Posted in Comfy chic, Outfit city, Tricks of the trade


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