Wardrobe Architect Week 1: Making Style More Personal

As I mentioned in my post detailing my plans for the year, I’m going to be going through the Wardrobe Architect project which Colette ran back in 2014. I thought it was a good idea then, but at the time I don’t think I thought I needed it to plan my sewing and cement my personal style, but I definitely feel like I need it now!

I’m going to be doing a week every 2 weeks, as I don’t think I’ll be able to fit it in quicker than that! Here is my proposed schedule (so I am accountable at least a bit!):

Week 1 – 22/01 (obvs)
Week 2 – 05/02
Week 3 – 19/02
Week 4 – 05/03
Week 5 – 19/03
Week 6 – 02/04
Week 7 – 16/04
Week 8 – 30/04
Week 9 – 14/05
Week 10 – 28/08
Week 11 – 04/06
Week 12 – 18/06
Week 14 – 02/07

(there isn’t a week 13 as that was a giveaway in the original project.)

The first week is about making your style more personal. Colette have produced a worksheet to fill in with answers to various questions to help you figure out your motivations for what you wear. I’ll answer them here – I hope this is vaguely interesting!

HISTORY

How has your personal history informed the way you dress? 

I think the main way my history has informed my style is that I never felt cool at school because I never had the latest fashions. Having been bullied a lot through school (both primary and secondary), I felt really self-conscious through my teenage years. This carried on even when I was at university as I didn’t have much money so couldn’t go out and buy loads and loads of clothes, so I probably wore a very small wardrobe of clothes until I worked full-time. I think this all explains why I feel like I want the perfect wardrobe that will make me feel cool and mean I have awesome clothes to wear every day – this is why I compulsively buy patterns!


When did your tastes crystallize? Have they changed over the years, and why?

I’m not sure, really. I guess it’s evolved with each little period of my life – at university I dressed oddly smartly I think. Then when I started work at a bookshop, I carried this on but went a little more casual. Moving to London 7 1/2 years ago probably was the thing that has made the biggest difference to my style and self-confidence. Again I worked in a bookshop, and was surrounded by lots of people with lots of different personal styles. It made me realise I didn’t have to care about what was ‘fashionable’ (if there is such a thing any more!), I could wear what I wanted and felt good in. It was also while I was in London that I started sewing!I’ve also changed in the shapes that I like to wear – moving away from tight tops, favouring a looser silhouette on the top, but with skinny trousers. I also didn’t used to be so interested in vintage styles and shapes – I think this is probably something that changed when I discovered sewing and the online sewing community.

PHILOSOPHY

How does your philosophy, spirituality, or religion affect your aesthetics and buying habits? Or, what aspects of those things would you like to see reflected?

I’m not religious so I’ve found this question quite difficult. The main thing I could think of to include in this section was my growing awareness of how I consume. I’ve talked about this a little before on my blog, but I want to become a bit more aware of where my fabric comes from. A couple of years ago I read the book Overdressed (and I did a review of it, but it seems to have disappeared when I migrated my blog to a new name) and it has stuck with me what Elizabeth Cline wrote about the crazy levels of consumption caused by the trend towards fast fashion. Also the working conditions of the people making the clothes, and the damage caused to poor communities’ homes by the dying and other chemical processes used in the garment industry. It is tricky, though, because it’s really hard to know where fabric comes from – and I still don’t have very much money so I find myself weighing up price against the quality and origin of fabric, with price often being my most important concern. I do want to try to be better about this this year, though. If anyone has any tips for places I can buy ethical fabric at a reasonable price, please do let me know.

CULTURE

How has your cultural background shaped the way you look? 

I have no idea about this one!

How did the aesthetics and values you grew up with affect your tastes as you got older? 

As I mentioned above, I grew up in a house that wasn’t very fashion conscious, which I think has now helped me to not feel embarrassed about possibly looking a bit more individual than other people – now I’ve left school that is! I also grew up in a house without much money and clothes were one of the things not prioritised. I still feel this now – I never could justify spending much money on clothes, which is why sewing is so perfect for me. I can always justify buying fabric and patterns! I also grew up with my mum making quite a lot of our clothes when we were little, so I always knew sewing my own clothes was an option.

COMMUNITY

How are you influenced by the people around you, including friends, family, and other communities you’re involved in? 

The main community that has influenced me, in terms of sewing and fashion, is the online sewing community! And especially all of the amazing independent pattern designers. When I started sewing, there was really only Colette, Sewaholic and Grainline and now we are really spoilt for choice – and it means we can find particular designers that really mesh with our styles! It was also through reading sewing blogs that I became aware of vintage fashion and realised I particularly love the 60s. I also feel inspired to have a (nearly) 100% handmade wardrobe – I’ll get there one day!

ACTIVITIES

How do your day-to-day activities influence your choices?

I think my activities influence me less than they used to – I cycled to work the last 18 months I lived in London so I pretty much always wore trousers. I also worked in jobs in London where I didn’t have to be particularly smart. Now, however, I work in an office which does require a certain level of smartness – I don’t have to wear a suit but the men do, with ties. It’s kind of harder and easier to be a woman as we have so much choice, but we have so much choice! I walk to work in 5 minutes, and do walk around at work quite a bit, so comfort is definitely high on my list of needs in clothing!

LOCATION

Does the place you live inform the way you dress? 

Cirencester (where I live now) seems to be a bit less individual than London, on the whole. I’m sure there are people everywhere who wear what they like, but it’s kind of obvious that big cities are likely to be more ‘out there’ than small Cotswold towns. I don’t feel that anyone would be judged for dressing how they like here, though.

How does climate factor in?The UK is friggin’ cold for most of the year – and Cirencester is definitely colder than London. Also I am cold-blooded, so being warm enough is probably the most important thing to me when getting dressed.

BODY

In what ways does body image affect your choices in clothing? 

I’m not sure, really. The only thing about myself that I ever wanted to change was my terrible crooked teeth. I had braces as an adult, in my early twenties, and it is easily the best thing I’ve ever done in terms of my self-confidence. It might sound like I’m really up myself, but I’ve never been particularly conscious of my body – it all works, so I don’t have any reason to complain. I could be fitter, but I know I’m too lazy!

What clothes make you feel good about the body you live in? What clothes make you feel uncomfortable or alienated from your body?

Having said I feel confident in my body, I don’t like it to be on show particularly. I prefer to be quite covered up – I especially feel uncomfortable if my cleavage (what little of it there is!) is on show. I don’t mind showing off my figure (such as in my Lace Dress) as long as I’m not showing too much flesh (which is how I felt in my BHL Georgia Dress). I have moved away from more fitted clothes, particularly on my top half, in favour of a looser fit. I feel more comfortable in looser styles. I also hate to wear ill-fitting things (as some of my earlier makes now are) as I don’t like feeling pinched or like I have to spend the day adjusting things.

So there we go! I wrote more than I thought I was going to, which hopefully is a good thing! I’m really looking forward to the next week and to nailing my personal style once and for all – though I suspect I’ll end up with about 4 different styles!

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Style Crush: Melissa McCarthy

So I’m probably the last person in the world to start watching Gilmore Girls! But start watching it I have. And I love it (no spoilers please, I’m on season 3!). I’ve loved Melissa McCarthy since seeing Bridesmaids – unbelievably I’d not really seen her in much before that – and it’s fun seeing her earlier in her career. Like most other people, I think, I thought she stole the show in Bridesmaids and I’m glad to see her career has gone from strength to strength. I’ve just looked it up and she was nominated for an Oscar and a Bafta for Bridesmaids!

I also love Melissa McCarthy’s style. She can totally rock a leather dress. And I really want the leopard print shoes! (not sure about her hair here though….)

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I reckon this outfit would be fairly easy to replicate and would be a great choice for holiday parties this year. Sequins are always a good choice for Christmas! There are loads of tunic tops and leggings patterns so you could totally use your go-tos to copy this.

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 I really, really love this outfit – the pleating on the skirt is great and it makes it a lovely shape. I’m digging cocoon-y shaped things at the moment. I love the simplicty of the blouse with the lux fabric. This could totally work for a work outfit, if you work in a fairly smart office.

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I definitely think pink is her colour, so I love this photo.

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This dress is quite simple, apart from the embellishment around the neck, but it looks great because it fits her so well. Again, I think this would be easy to replicate, maybe with the Colette Dahlia.

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I like this dress too, expecially styled with bright blue shoes! It’s pretty much all about the fabric, this one.

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I’m a huge fan of blue (as you’ll probably know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, or know me in real life!) so I love this. She does seem to stick to fairly simple silhouettes and showcases great fabrics and embellishments, which is probably why I’m drawn to her style – I love a shift dress.

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Having just said that, though, check out these sleeves! I think I may seriously have to copy this dress. I love the pleat on the skirt and the fabric – I’m loving pink at the moment. I think I could use one of the tutorials from Rosie Martin’s book to copy these sleeves, probably adding them to a dress pattern……though I don’t know which one! Any ideas?

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Speaking of pink……I love, love, love this jumpsuit! I’m glad they are still kind of in fashion as I’ve been meaning to make one or two for aaaages so fingers crossed I’m not too late!

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And speaking of jumpsuits. How amazeballs is this!? I love it all – the pleats, the leather and it has POCKETS!

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I do love yellow – mostly mustard on me, but all shades on those that suit them. I think I chose this photo because of the combo of her happy face and the happy dress. I like the nude underlayer too.

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I like the fabric and the style of this dress. I like the reddish-corally colour in the pattern and the cut of the dress looks great on her.

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I really love this lace top – again it has excellent sleeves. I think this might be the same skirt from the outit higher up with the silver blouse. I’ve still got some of my navy lace left over after making my dress for a wedding, so maybe I’ll copy this top!?

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I picked this photo because I love the colour blocking. I think it could be easily achieved with any shift dress pattern – I have the Colette Laurel and I think it could also work with Tilly’s Coco, and she even has a tutorial on her website on how to draft a contrast yoke.

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She can also totally rock a gown on the red carpet – though I like that most of the outfits I found and liked are a bit more edgy and rock and roll. Also weirdly both gowns I picked out are the same very pale pink colour!

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I like the textured fabric on this one particularly. And it’s pretty similar to the By Hand London Alix dress so I think I could rip it off!

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One of the other reasons I love Melissa McCarthy is because she lanched her own fashion line. She is certainly not alone in doing this in Hollywood but she did it from a standpoint of body positivity and trying to make clothes for women of all shapes and sizes. I read a quote where she said some days she wants to dress really girly and other days like a rock star and she had stopped being able to dress how she wanted on the high street. So she launched a label called Seven7. (Side note, this is why sewing is awesome, you can make any clothes you want to wear :D)

I really love this spangley skirt.

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She actually studied textiles at university and was going to go into fashion as a career….before having an amazingly successful acting career!

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I particularly like the top Melissa is wearing in this photo. And I like the spotty sweatshirt-y top on the left.

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I really like the fabric she used in this top. And how happy she looks 😀 I think I would look that happy if I had adorable dimples and a fashion line and a Hollywood film career!

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Style Crush: Lupita Nyong’o

Today I want to talk about how much I love Lupita Nyong’o. I’m sure like everyone else she came to my attention during the awards season 2 years ago when she was nominated for her role in 12 Years A Slave for pretty much every award going. I actually watched the Oscars that year (staying up until about 4am!) and I was thrilled – and a little moved – when she won the Oscar. I also loved the dress she wore. When asked about it she said the colour reminded her of Nairobi – she was brought up in Kenya.

The Prada gown seemed to fulfill any princess fantasies one might have but also be a bit different in terms of the cut and the fit – I love how it plunges so low at the front!

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From the same awards season is this Ralph Lauren red dress with a cape. I love it!! It’s so chic and edgy at the same time.

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This is another Prada gown which she wore to the 12 Years A Slave premier at the Toronto Film Festival. I know actresses all have stylists these days but this was her first movie – I doubt many actresses looked like this at their first few premiers!

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This is another gown from her first awards season – this time by Gucci. i love the colour – I love turquoise in general – and I love how it’s mostly simple but has the pretty flower neckline. I like her makeup here too.

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Nothing quite like a perfectly fitting yellow gown!

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This is definitely what I would be doing in this green Gucci gown too! Another great deep v on the front.

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This white Calvin Klein dress Lupita wore to the 2014 Critics Choice awards is stunning. I love the cut outs and the slightly sporty feel of the top and the simple column skirt.

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Who doesn’t love a red sparkly dress?! And it looks great with and without the white coat.

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Earlier this year Lupita was promoting her new film, Queen of Katwe, about an African (Ugandan) chess prodigy and her outfits for the various events were definite nods to the film’s setting and to her Kenyan roots.

I love, love, love this dress! Blue and yellow are two of my favourite colours (as I’m sure you’d know if you looked at all my me mades!) and the headscarf looks amazing. And the outfit looks somehow really effortless – even though I’m sure a lot of work went into putting it together.

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This is another amazing outfit from the press tour. I love everything about it – the super high-waisted trousers with the giant turn-ups, the matching top and headscarf, the earrings, her eyeshadow. The outfit is by Rosie Assoulin, a designer I’d not come across before. She worked for Oscar de la Renta and at Lanvin before launching her own line. You should google her stuff, it’s quite structural and cool.

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Another event, another great headscarf and dress. I like the simplicity of the dress, with the (I assume embroidery) detailing around the neck and hem.

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This Chanel dress, which I think she wore to the premier of Start Wars is so cool. I love the cut out at the back and the sequined shoulders. I like how the back stripes are missing for the waist and hem, it emphasises her great figure. I love her hair here too.

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Now I’ve got a few slightly less dressed up outfits – I pretty much could only find photos of her on red carpets, so I don’t know much about her ‘street’ style.

I love this purple jacket – I assume the collar is from the dress underneath. The proportions of this jacket are spot on. I don’t normally like purple, but it definitely looks good on her! Also her make-up looks beautiful and I love the earrings.

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I love this shift dress – the fit is spot on. And I like the patterns on the front.

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I like the use of the stripe on this green, white and black dress. Also I love her hair super short but it looks really cool here.

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I want this outfit (though probably in a different colour!). The trousers!

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And finally I will leave you with this stunning photo from her Vogue photoshoot from 2015. The gown is by Givenchy and I think everything about this photo is perfection.

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Who is your red carpet style icon?

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October Makes and November Plans

I can’t believe how quickly October has disappeared! Now we’re into November I thought I’d review how I did with my October makes and let you know by plans for the coming month.

I did pretty well with my October makes – I made 3 of the 4 things I planned. I’ll write full posts on each make soonish (hopefully).

My Deer and Doe Melilot shirt is pretty much finished, it just needs buttons and button holes – my machine hates doing button holes so I have to psych myself up for them.

This…….

october-planning-melilot….has become this:

melilot-shirt(it looks a bit wibbley because the fabric just does not iron!)

I also made my Tilly and the Buttons Delphine skirt:

october-planning-delphine-skirtI really like this and definitely think I’ll make more! It sits in a nice place on my waist. Also the fabric is slightly sparkley, which is always a good thing!

delphine-skirtI mentioned in my October post that I was planning to join in with the #SewDots challenge set by Rosie Martin using one of 2 fabrics in my stash:

october-planning-sew-dotsI actually used both of them! The pink one became a secret dotty lining in my Delphine skirt:

delphine-skirt-lining(I should really have ironed the skirt before I took this photo!)

I also made a dress from my grey spotty fabric – I did choose the Drapey Knit Dress from the 3rd Great British Sewing Bee book. I’ve worn it all day today and it’s really comfy – shame the pleats were sitting funny in this picture!

sewdots-dressSo these were my successful makes – you may have noticed there was one I didn’t get around to. The trousers. These will become one of my plans for November instead.

october-planning-simplicity-trousersMy next make will be the free Jersey Dress pattern from Peppermint magazine, designed by In The Folds. The fabric is the rest of a large length of jersey which I used some of for one of my Coco tops. It looks like it will be a secret blanket for the cold weather 🙂

peppermint-jersey-dressMy big make for the month – aside from my first pair of trousers – will be a By Hand London Alix Dress. There’s something about this pattern which I unexpectedly love! I’m going to a birthday party on the 19th November and I can wear it to my work Christmas party.

alix-dress-patternI don’t have any fabric for this yet. They recommend cotton lawn, voile, chambray, annel, double gauze, cotton silk, sandwashed silk, silk noil, wool crêpe, viscose crêpe, rayon and cupro. I’m thinking a lovely jewel-tone pink. If anyone knows where I can buy such a fabric, please let me know.

If I have time at the end of all this, I want to start making toiles for jeans. I haven’t decided which to do first – the Gingers or Morgans.

october-planning-jeansI have a couple of house-y projects to make too, so I doubt I’ll complete all of this including the jeans! I’m going to try to make some curtains for our bedroom – if I can figure out how!

 

 

 

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Style Crush: Ginnifer Goodwin

So I recently discovered Once Upon a Time on Netflix and I’m a little obsessed! It’s a series about fairytale and story book characters being banished to our world by the evil Queen (who else!) with no memory of their previous selves/lives. It sounds terrible, and the CGI certainly is a bit ropey in places, but I find myself loving it anyway.

One of the stars is Ginnifer Goodwin, who I’ve liked ever since she was in Ed – a little-known series about a lawyer who practiced in a bowling alley, starring (among others) pre-Modern Family Julie Bowen and pre-Mad Men John Slattery. I also thought Ginnifer was good in I Walk The Line and most other things I’ve seen her in – even in chick flicks of questionable quality. (Don’t get me wrong, I love a good rom com but some of them are better than others!) She has long been a hair inspiration for my pixie cuts because:

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I might take the middle photo next time I go to get my hair trimmed as I feel like I want something a bit edgier – though, obviously, she has a professional stylist so I probably wouldn’t be able to make it look nice! If anyone has any tips on styling short hair, I would gladly listen!

Anyway, since getting obsessed with Once Upon A Time, I’ve realised I really like Ginnifer’s style, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite looks with you to see if you like her too 🙂 They’re in a slightly random order I’m afraid.

I’m not sure about the bag here (or the sleek hair tbh) but I like the top and jacket, with the puffy shoulders. I love a bit of yellow, and it works particularly well with grey I think.

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I like this green gown – and her hair and make-up. This was at the Met Gala in 2011 but I can’t seem to find out who the designer was. I like the cut outs and the ruching/pleat details. Also cool shoes.

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I like her daytime style as much as her red carper style – this makes me want to sew all the shirtdresses. And get some saltwater sandals!

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Also she can pull off a leather dress as well as a shirtdress! I love her hair and bag here too. I basically always love her hair, so you can take that as a given 🙂 Should I make myself a leather/ pleather dress do you think? Not sure I could pull it off……

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I think this simple look could work well for my new smart work wardrobe. I like the (I think) beaded collar, it make what could be a basic shirt a bit more interesting.

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I love a good jumpsuit – I definitely need to make some, though I’m not sure my work would think it was appropriate, so it will probably have to take a backseat until I’ve made a few more work-appropriate items. I love how she’s paired it with this jacket – I would imagine the proportions of the jacket have to be carefully matched to the proportions of the jumpsuit.

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I really like this dress – and I liked it even more when I realised it was part of an ethical collection created by H&M. She wore it to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2012 and it only cost $299! Awesome, huh? I like how this movement has carried on, with actresses like Emma Watson highlighting the sustainability of fashion.

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I think this is one of my absolute favourites of her looks – the make-up and hair are particularly cool. This is another look from the Met Gala, when the theme was punk. The gown is by Tory Burch and I love it – it’s not really my colours, but I love the combination of the gold sequins and the (I think) leather strips, and the gradation to back at the bottom.

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It’s interesting how she can go from so edgy, above, to quite sweet and cute, below. But I like the look below almost as much – I like the shade of pink and I like the look of a jumper with a skirt the cinches it in at the waist. I also like the length of the skirt, though I’m not sure I can pull that length off.

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I had to include this photo because it’s so 60s and if you’ve read by blog before, you’ll know how much I like the 60s. She even has bottom eyelashes drawn on with eyeliner, so she was definitely embracing the 60s here – from the colour to the collar to the make-up, I like it.

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The last photo I want to share is partly because I like this all-white outfit – especially the 2 different patterns of lace – but because I love her house. This is her house. The photos are apparently of her great-aunt who was a Vaudville star. Kind of cool. I’m obsessing over all things house at the moment as (I can’t remember if I mentioned this in my last post), The Boyfriend and I have a flat lined up and yesterday we got the final confirmation that we get the keys on Monday! Yay! We spent some of today ordering a bed and a sofa – all super exciting!


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So do you like Ginnifer Goodwin’s style? Does she inspire you to go for a pixie crop (if you don’t have one already?)?

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