Summer ruffles to frill you!!

Ruffles on the catwalk, courtesy of gucci D and G Burberry and Alberta Ferretti

Can We Lesser Mortals find stylish ruffles and not look like Notting Hill Carnival?

Do ruffles frill you or make you tremble with horror? The trend is very reminiscent of the 80’s ra-ra styles, and can strike fear into the bravest fashionista. Images of ladies walking with bowls of fruit on their heads spring to mind and tiered peasant skirts a la 1970’s. Consequently many Mortals recoil at the prospect of sashaying along the aisles of their local supermarket, causing a minor incident as a result of their ill advised frill ensemble.

Despite this, I do think ruffles have their use for anyone who has a disproportionate figure. The size of the frill can add volume to areas that need bulking up, hence a small bust can be enhanced with a ruffle or two, and so create an hour glass figure out of a pear shape, and tiers of fabric on a skirt, can balance out a large chest.

What size of ruffle?

Shyer ladies can choose a small frill, whilst ladies with a large personality can select a more “in your face” style, to draw attention to themselves. I prefer ruffles on the small scale, so the outfits I am sharing are more on the subtle side. Ruffles don’t have to be girly. Look at the shoes or jacket you co-ordinate them with (see wedges with jumpsuit), or avoid floral fabrics and feminine style dresses. Consequently, on the “3 ways to style a ruffle” I style some ruffle clothes casually with converses, in a retro 70’s way, and lastly as a feminine floral look. Click here to see.

Why is your favourite- let me know in the comments box, and guess which one is my favourite!

  1. Asymetric ruffle jumpsuit. £69. Warehouse.  Size 6-18. Available in pale pink and light grey. Polyester viscose mix. Machine washable.  Ruffles across the chest area, will accentuate your chest, so this is best for slight pear shapes and boyish shapes.
  2. Ruffle spot wrap dress. £55. Top Shop  Size 4-16. 100% polyester. Machine washable. Wrap dresses suit most body shapes and generally flatter larger busts so best for hourglass, and large chests.

  1. Penelope dress. £110. Boden Size 6-22 in regular and  long length. 100% cotton. Machine washable.  Quite fitted so best for ladies who aren’t extremely curvy, like boyish or straighter hourglass ladies.
  2. Ruffle midi skirt. £42. Top Shop. Size 4-18. Polyester elastane mix. Machine washable. The ruffles here can create curves, and the high waist and vertical ruffle makes legs look longer. Good for boyish, top heavy, and hourglass.

  1. Ruffle sleeve blouse. £35. Next. Navy too. Size 6-22. 100% viscose. Suitable for evening or work wear, the ruffles on the sleeve broaden your top half, so this is good for pear shapes. It will also add curves to boyish and apple shapes.
  2. Blue ruffle shirt. £28. Next.  Regular and petite, size 6-22. 100% cotton with polyester trim. The bold V decoration will break up a large chest, so this will suit boyish, hourglass and top heavy best.

  1. Rochelle broderie off shoulder blouse. £49. Monsoon. Size S- XL. 100% viscose. Machine washable. The shape really broadens your chest and shoulder area, so this tends to suit pear shapes and hourglass, but can add curves to boyish and apple shapes, depending on what you wear on your bottom half.
  2. Metallic detail trousers. £39.99. Zara Size 6-14. Cotton elastane mix. Machine washable. Clearly best for ladies with slender legs – the frill can draw attention away from larger hips, or busts, so best for boyish or top heavy. They will suit hourglass ladies too.

  1. Leather block heel ruffle sandal. £45. M and S. Available in black too. Size 3-8 including half sizes. Leather upper, regular fit. Cute little sandals with not too high a heel – perfect for the summer with skirts or crop jeans.
  2. Ruffle clutch bag. £24. Next. In black too. Polyester. Cute little nod to the frill trend without being in your face.
  3. Ruffle shoes boot. £85. Next. IN black too. Size 36-42. Leather upper, 9cm heel. Lovely with painted toe nails peeping out. Again, great with skirts or crop trousers/jeans.

Finally,  have I made you a frill seeker? I think you can see they can be worn in a subtle, and don’t need to scream Copacabana. If you want to contact me, do so in the comment box or via Vicky Smith Styling.

Further reading:

NYFW street style ruffles: Glamour South africa

How to wear a ruffle top:

How to wear ruffles like a fashion girl: Stylecaster

Are you ready to ruffle: thefashhiontag


14 voluptuous velvet styles to tempt, tease and titilllate!


Velvet catwalk photos courtesy of vetements, Valentino, Haider Ackerman and Akris

Can We Lesser Mortals look En Vogue in sumptuous velvet?

Delicious, sensuous, luxurious velvet. It says Christmas doesn’t it? The pile of the fabric makes it deep and rich in appearance.

“Fabulous, you say! But I don’t need any more special occasion wear, as I will only get to go out once over the festive period and I won’t get my money’s worth”.

A valid point, but apart from your obvious velvet party dress, there are many ways to tone down velvet. I’ll show you next week on Facebook (Vicky Smith Styling) how I style my velvet midi pleat skirt.

The tunic, shown below, can be  worn with jeans, and over a polo neck jumper for warmth.

The velvet body can co-ordinate with a leather skirt and knee boots or a denim skirt and Converses, or you could wear a kimono style jumper over the top.

Velvet jeans or trousers can be worn in exactly the same way as normal smart jeans or trousers – with ankle boots, chunky knit, blouse etc

Break up the suits, by wearing them as separates – the velvet jackets with denim jeans, the trousers with brogues and a leather jacket.

And lastly the pink velvet midi skirt can be worn with chunky knits or a bomber jacket.

So many women think that around the house, you should only wear jeans, but why not look nice when you are at home? You never know who will call, and you nearly always have to nip out for something. Obviously, if you are on your hands and knees doing chores, then you can change. ( and yes, I put my jog pants on in the evening! 😱 )

Velour or velvet? Velour is a knitted fabric, so has more “give” and is cheaper. You tend to get a lot of velour in the low end High St stores, but it can look really cheap. Velvet is a woven fabric and is sturdier and less stretchy, but looks more luxurious and is usually more expensive.

So my challenge for you this week, is to tell me in the comments box, what you think I would wear or buy?


  1. Pleated velvet midi dress. £75. Oasis. Size XS-L. Polyester elastane mix. Machine washable. You can see this looks like it’s straight off the catwalk. The high neck won’t flatter big busts, so I think this will be best for hourglass, boyish, and smaller pear shapes.
  2. Feminine velvet dress DZ239. £170. Karen Millen.  Size 6-16. Silk viscose mix, dry clean only. The fitted shape will flatter hourglass, pear shapes and boyish.


  1. Crushed velvet body. £29. Warehouse. Size 6-16. Polyester elastane mix. Machine washable. This can be dressed up for party wear, or you can wear with jeans/skirt and a bomber/blazer jacket for smart day time. This is good for boyish, pear and  hourglass ladies.
  2. Blythe devore print blouse. £59. Monsoon. Size 8-22. Nylon viscose mix, machine washable. An easy top to wear day or night. Best for pear, apple, and boyish shapes.


  1. Katciat Velvet tuxedo trousers. £139. Ted Baker. Size 6-16. Cotton elastane viscose mix. Dry clean only.
  2. Katcia tux jacket. £229. Ted Baker Size 6-16. Cotton viscose elastane mix, dry clean only. Buy as separates, or make a stylish entrance in a suit. You can get cheaper versions at say, Next, but you get what you pay for. The advantage of this suit, is you can wear it as separates too, and get more for your money, You can also buy different sizes top and bottom, if you are disproportionate. Will suit boyish, top heavy, and hourglass.
  3. Long sleeve velvet jacket. £79. Marks and Spencers Size 8-22. 100% polyester. Dry clean only.
  4. Textured wide leg velvet trouser. £49.50. Marks and spencers. Size 8-22. 100% polyester. Machine washable. Again both these pieces can be worn separately or as a suit. A loose flowing suit which will suit most body shapes, but probably not boyish shapes.


  1. Cotton corduroy trousers. £49.99. Mango. Size 6-12. Available in green and navy. Cotton elastane mix, machine washable. So although described as corduroy, they are a sort of velveteen. Shown here in a casual manner. These will suit boyish, top heavy and hourglass.
  2. Helvin snake croc velvet jean. £110. Reiss Size 24″-32″ (approx 6-16) Cotton elastane viscose mix. Machine washable. These will suit anyone who wears skinny jeans at the moment – probably best for boyish, hourglass and top heavy ladies.


  1. Velvet pelmet skirt. £35. Warehouse.  Size 6-16. 100% polyester. Machine washable. This is reasonably straight, so will be best for top heavy, hourglass and boyish. Not great if pear shaped.
  2. Kitty metallic pleated skirt. £125. Whistles Size 4-16. 100% polyester. Dry clean only. If it’s out of your price range, don’t forget the M and S one I mentioned a few weeks ago. Great with knee boots and ankle boots, this will suit boyish, top heavy, and hourglass best.


  1. Velvet tent make up bag. £14. Top Shop. Viscose nylon mix. What? Nailing 2 trends in one? Leopard and velvet. Way to go girl!!
  2. Suzie square toe platform. £52. Top shop. Size 2-9. 100% textile. 5″ heel. These will really lift a LBD and the chunky heel is more stable on a long night out.


  1. Monda berry velvet sandals, £170. Reiss. Size 3-8. This doesn’t say if they are leather or fabric. Beautiful high heeled sandals for an evening out with skinny jeans, or the perfect party dress.
  2. Beau velvet clutch bag. £135. Reiss. Available in deep ocean suede(green/blue). The red is polyester elastane. Yep – I’m a sucker for a matching bag and shoes.

Will you dismiss velvet as a waste of money? I bought some velvet jeans last year and will be wearing them this year as well, so I’m getting value for money. Let me know you have an opinion, as I’d love to get some feedback.

Further reading:

20 style tips poe how to wear velvet:

How to wear velvet:

How to wear velvet this fall: pop sugar

The cool way to wear velvet pants: whowhatwear

10 leopard prints to make you purr.


Images of Leopard Prints, courtesy of Givenchy, Dries Van Noten, D and G  and Kenzo

Can We Lesser Mortals wear leopard prints without looking like we’ve been taxidermied?

The mercury is dropping, and Lesser Mortals everywhere are vacuum packing their Ibiza outfits away, dusting mothballs out of their cashmere blend knitwear and starting to plan their show stopping outfits for the next 6 months. So what will it be? A puffy meringue parka? Crusty old tweed twinsets? Rich, full of flavour velvets,  or are you going to sizzle sexiness in this season’s Leopard Prints?

Are leopard prints like marmite, or can they appeal to everyone? In terms of what personality you have – leopard prints can be translated into girly Mary Jane Shoes, urban ankle boots, floaty seventies gossamer maxi dresses, hard core T shirts and skinny jeans.If beige isn’t your colour, don’t wear it next to your face.  Choose shoes or bottoms, or go for another colour of leopard print, like those items shown below. It’s often regarded as a non colour, making it easy to blend with any other colour, from reds through to greens and blues. If you’re worried it isn’t age appropriate, remember to just give a little nod in the fashion direction, and stick to a belt, bag or shoes What’s good enough for the PM, is good enough for me!!

So go on……Roar don’t Growl – Keep it quality, and Keep it fake. We don’t need too many Bette Lynches out there.

Click the link to see my “3 ways to wear a leopard print jacket.


  1. Grey Gemma wool coat. £249. Hobbs. Size 6-18. Wool polyester mix. Dry clean only. Most shapes can get away with this coat, but it will be more flattering on boyish and apple shapes.
  2. Animal print formal T shirt. £28. Oasis Size 6-16. 100% polyester. Machine washable. Best for pear shapes and  boyish shapes.


  1. Biba printed leopard jumper. £65. House of Fraser  Size XS to XL. Nylon, viscose cotton mix. machine washable. The V neck flatters bigger chested ladies and hourglass best.
  2. Leopard print wrap midi dress. £59. Top Shop. Size 4-16. 100% polyester. Machine washable. Available in tall, petite, and maternity sizes. The variety of dress fits on offer, means this dress suits most body shapes, but the low cut neck won’t complement flatter chester chested ladies.


  1. Ruffle animal long sleeve blouse. £34. TopShop Size 4-16. Also available in a black and white animal print and in petite sizes. Polyester and metallic mix. Machine washable. Best for boyish, pear shapes and flatter chests.
  2. Snow leopard flock skinny jean. £80. French connection. Size 6-16. Cotton polyester, elastane mix. Machine washable. Suitable for those who can normally wear skinny jeans.


  1. Animal print pleated skirt. £35. M and S . Size 6-18. 100% polyester. Dry clean only. Pleat midi skirts are EVERYWHERE this autumn. This style suits boyish, hourglass and large chested women.
  2. Leopard pony belt. £22. Top Shop.  Size XS-L 100% leather. If leopard is too much for you….use this belt to just add a hint of pattern on your jeans, trousers, skirts, or over a jumper, to show you are on trend.


  1. Graduate slingback shoe. £56. Top Shop. I love that fact these shoes have an “on trend” cuban heel, are leopard print and have a slingback. Fantastic with bare legs or opaque tights, and with skinny jeans and wide leg trousers.
  2. Snow leopard drawstring bag. £199. Boden. Printed cowhide. This gorgeous bag will add a bit of style to a work outfit that needs to be demure and plain. And it’ll instantly make your jeans and overcoat look more eye catching.

So I hope these leopard print designs have inspired you to take a risk and try some on. Animal print is a classic design, which goes in and out of fashion, but will always be around long term. If you have to wear a uniform or strict dress code, then a bag or shoes can be a great way to express your inner tiger mum!!

Further reading:

style tips on how to wear leopard print blouses and shirts:

Celebrity style wearing animal print: whowhatwear

9 ways to wear leopard print coat:

3 ways to wer leopard coat: fashion slave

how to wear animal prints: fashion fix

8 more-ishly marvellous metallics.

metallics 2015 soniametallics 2015 saint laurentmetallics 2015 pradametallics 2015 michal kors Sonia Rykiel Saint laurentPrada and Michael kors

Can We Lesser Mortals wear metallics without looking like The Tin Man

“Shine bright like a diamond” says RiRi (Rihanna to those who aren’t on first name terms)

Do you like shine, or does it scare you to death by attracting too much attention? We’ve all seen ladies charging around with their ample shiny bosoms on show, or skinny minis with their Olivia Newton-John spray on metallics leggings, and recoiled in horror. However, if used sensibly, metallics can work in your favour by drawing attention to the areas of your body you like best, and away from your least favourite body part. If you work in job which requires public speaking, then metallics can be used to draw attention upwards towards your face, making sure everyone is focusing on what you are saying. If wearing head-to-toe black is your “thing”, then a beautifully made silver clutch purse can be the stylish “dot” on your “i”.

Are metallics for everyone, whatever you age? I don’t see why not – I would avoid extremely high shine- reminiscent of a Quality Street wrapper-unless  you are graduating this year. Anyone older than that, will be able to find more subtle matt metallics around, which are infinitely more wearable, and less “in you face”. Remember if you have a pale, blonde complexion, then silver tones will suit you best, and if you have warmer tones in your skin, then the golds will suit you best.

If the idea freaks you out, look at “3 ways to wear” tab – metallic T shirt here and metallic skirt here, to help you regain your composure!! And ladies – give me a comment? Never sure whether my posts fly off into the stratosphere………..

metallic 2015 warehouse wrap dressmetallic 2015 dress reiss

  1. Metallic knot dress. £45. Warehouse. Size 6-16. Polyester elastane mix. Machine washable. The ruched detail around the waist makes this ideal for hourglass ladies. It has a low-ish V back too. This style may also give a little shape to boyish figures.
  2. Watson metallic knit dress. £160. Reiss. Size 4-16. Viscose polyester mix. Hand washable. This will suit boyish best, but some apple shapes and top heavy ladies, may get away with this too.

metallic 2015 ted baker skirtmetallic 2015 skirt warehouse a line

  1. Metallics pleated skirt. £119. Ted Baker. Size 6-16. 100% polyester. Cool hand wash. Midi skirts are SO this year!! And this skirt ticks so many boxes. Perfect for top heavy and boyish ladies.
  2. Animal zip front skirt. £38. Warehouse. Size 6-18. Polyester, wool, cotton, viscose mix. The cute little A-line skirt is perfect for pear shaped ladies and at a bargain price. It will also work on top heavy ladies, boyish, and hourglass too.

metallic 2015 warehouse t shirtmetallic 2015 jumper next

  1. Metallic drape T shirt. £25. Warehouse. Size 6-18. Polyester elastane mix. Machine washable. A metallic T shirt, really dresses up a pair of skinny jeans, without going too OTT. This style will suit most body shapes.
  2. Sparkle cold shoulder jumper. £22. Next. Available in black too. Size 6-22. Viscose polyester, metalised fibre mix. The V neck works well to break up larger chest areas, so this will suit top heavy and hourglass ladies. The subtle colour doesn’t focus too much attention on your cleavage!!

metallic 2015 oasis scarfmetallic 2015 clutch jigsaw

  1. Sequin knitted scarf. £20. Oasis. Acrylic polyester. Why not take the trend on into your accessories? If too much shine frightens you, then this is perfect.
  2. Large metallic clutch. £45. Jigsaw. High quality leather. Again, perfect for older or less brave ladies, to show they are still on trend and “down with the kids”!!!

Hope you get as much fun out of metallics as me, this year. The great thing with this trend, is that the styles are often less fussy and still very stylish. If you want a chat, or one to one, on-line, or face to face, then contact me through Vicky Smith Styling

Further reading:

Metallic trend: fashionGum

How to incorporate metallics in to your wardrobe: stylecaster

Street style metallics: Popsugar

Hint of metallics and pink: style barista

6 animal prints you shouldn’t miss!!

animal Miu miuanimal Louis Vuitoonanimal Saint Laurentanimal maison marguela

Miu Miu courtesy of and Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent and Maison Martin Marguela

Can We lesser Mortals cut the mustard in animal prints?

I know…I seem to slip a little bit of leopard print in to most of my blogs these days – either in bag form or shoe form. And the reason is that it is very BIG this autumn. There are other animal prints if you look around, like zebra or snake, but leopard is the main print visible. A lot of this, is because it falls under the current “retro” trend – appearing in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. So if you have been following my advice for the last year or so – and bought things I mentioned, you can still wear it now. If you follow a pound per wear rule, then you have hit your target , and stopped your clothes being a “wear once and chuck” item. (which we all know is bad for the environment.)

Can we get away with it whatever our age or body shape? I would say, as you get older, stick to a hint of leopard – so in your 30/40’s maybe go for the whole coat thing. 40/50’s go for just a jacket or dress, 50/60 stick to blouse/jumper and 60/70’s maybe the belt, shoes or bag option. It’s only a guide, but you want to avoid looking like at extra in Coronation St. And regarding body shape? Put it on the area of your body, you like the most. i.e. if you  love your butt, then find a skirt or jeans in the print, which also works if you have a large chest.

Fortunately, the High Street stores have worked animal print in variety of colours & this suits skin tones that can’t normally wear brown.

Would you wear animal print? Have you an aversion to it, and if so why?

Enjoy – personally I have my eye on the Next jacket. (and yes, I am 50!)

animal silk shift warehouseanimal jumper oasis

  1. Leopard print silk dress. £90. Warehouse. Size 6-18. 100% silk. Hand washable. I couldn’t believe this silk shift was from Warehouse. Really nice and most body shapes can wear this, but it will flatter boyish and apple best.
  2. Animal Faux leather trim jumper. £42. Oasis. Size XS-L. Viscose polyamide mix. Machine washable. Designed to be fitted. Again most ladies can wear, but better if you are not too “chesty”.

animal coat karen millenanimal fur jacket Next

  1. Leopard print sheepskin coat. £999. Karen Millen. Size 6-16. 100% shearling sheepskin. Dry clean only. This is beautiful, but pricey. Not for the faint hearted, but if unbelievably stylish. Suit boyish figures best but other body shapes can wear.
  2. Animal print faux fur jacket. £35. Next. Size 6-18. In Petite and Tall sizes. 100% polyester. This is really soft and tactile. You can wear it as a jacket in warmer weather and as a cardi in winter. This will suit most body shapes, but would draw too much attention to larger chested ladies.

animal blouse oasisanimal bag warehouse

  1. Animal print pussy bow blouse. Reduced from £35 to £28. Oasis. Size 6-16. 100% polyester. Machine washable. You could wear it belted in to show off your waist. With the pussy bow & print, avoid if large chested. Will suit most other body shapes.
  2. Leather leopard bucket bag. £85. Warehouse. 100% leather. Lovely eye catching bag.

Did you see anything you liked? Which ones were they? I think that this print will work well if you want to rock a 70’s look, current modern look or it will translate well into an office environment too. So you will get value for your money, If you want any more advice, you can contact me here.

Further reading:

10 cool ways to wear leopard print: Cosmoplitan

How to wear animal print: creativefashionglee

20 style tips on how to wear leopard print shirts:

How to wear animal print: fashionstylemag


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