One of the nicest things about setting up this blog and writing weekly posts is the interaction with friends, old and new, discussing all things fashion-related.  Not Givin In really has re-awakened my love of fashion, which you can probably guess!

 

I love it when someone suggests that I check out a store, or a brand I don’t know or haven’t looked at for a while.  I get tunnel-vision quite easily.  Isn’t it easier to stick to stores you know?  Of course, it is, but it’s also limiting.   It does us good to venture out, open our eyes to new styles.

 

So, when a friend asked me to try Oasis this season I was in there like swimwear.  I used to shop in Oasis stores in my twenties and thirties all the time.  After that I’ve just stuck to their jeans (still love and wear Jade Stretch Skinnys), but that’s it.  To be honest, I felt like I’d outgrown the store.

 

To me, it’s quite twee.  Very pretty, dainty and feminine and I wouldn’t use these words to describe myself, so felt like I didn’t fit in.  On my first trip back in, in quite a few years, I still felt the same.  I had to look hard for clothes that I really wanted to try on, but I could see the appeal for others.

 

The current collection is a riot of pattern.  There are lots of floral, tropical, and bird prints to choose from.  Pastels seem to be key for Spring, with more richer colours featuring in the new fashion coming through.  I absolutely love the pencil skirts, they look so smart and they have some smashing dresses, but not many with sleeves, so for older readers, like me, this might not work.

 

I went in with an open mind, but I had spotted this blouse online that I really wanted to try on.  Ooh and sorry for the poor quality of the following shots.  Lighting in Oasis at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway was not great.  Perhaps its flattering to have it low when purchasing (!), but not for capturing clothes in a pic.

 

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It’s fresh, isn’t it?  It’s their Parrot Print Shirt (£38).  I think I like the zesty addition though, over wearing parrots, so I didn’t buy it.

 

I moved on to this dress.  I am on the hunt for a dress to wear to my Sister-in-Law’s wedding in June. Again, I like the print (Topaz Bird) and it has a flattering cut, showing some cleavage and a little leg (there is a discreet fasten at the bust so all is not on show) and it’s available for £45.

 

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I’m in love with yellow this Spring.  Absolutely love it.  So I was keen to try on this dress, but it’s too girly for me and at 48, it’s pushing it! Yellow Lace Skater Dress, priced at £48.

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Heading to the tropics section and I picked up the next two pieces, either to wear separately or wear together.  If you like these, they are priced at £42.00 (Tropic Bird Wrap) and £38 (Tropical Cuba Crop Wide Leg)

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The last items from my visit are these two, both of which I really like.  You can’t go wrong with a blue strip Bardot top and the midi skirt is just lovely and I would buy for work wear, as it is a very flattering length and the belt is a great additional detail.  Priced at £29.00 and £45.00 respectively.

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Without hours to spare, these are the items I pulled off the racks, but there is more, much more.  The store was bursting at the seams with ideas, so below are more pieces that I would like to try on, another time.  The pretty skirt below has been worn by Holly Willoughby very well and I might yet try on the Tulle Midi dress, which comes in a few colours, including the beautiful pale blue below, to see if it is wedding-worthy.

 

Are you a keen Oasis shopper?  Would love to hear what you think?

 

Have a great weekend.

 

Gail xxx

It’s Good Friday and I’ve woken up with a banging headache.  Doesn’t bode well, does it?  The first morning of a four day holiday and I’ve already taken two paracetamol and two ibuprofen.

 

I’m not feeling or looking my best, so in an attempt to brighten the mood I’m trying to put some goodness back into my face, from the outside in, with a gorgeous smelling Honey & Oat 3-In-1 Scrub Mask from the Body Shop.  I might be feeling crap on the inside, but I better be beaming from afar.

 

This week’s post is about loosening up on the trouser scene.  Now that we are in full Spring-time mode I really want to ‘stand down’ my jeans. Give ’em a break.  Put them in the wash for starters (!) and try to wear something different.

 

If you’re a fan of the old black and white movies you can’t but admire the capri pant, cigarette trouser and cropped chino of yesteryear icons.  Think Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot, because I can’t put their images on here or I’ll be sued.

 

There’s something so feminine about revealing a little ankle.  Worn with pointy flats, trainers that don’t see the inside of a gym, or platform sandals, a pair of cotton trousers can take you anywhere.  I’d like a pair to take me to the French Riviera or the Amalfi Coast, but that won’t be happening this year.  Still, we can but dream…

 

Photo by linh-nguyen/Unsplash

 

So this week I started, in earnest, the swop over of clothing in the wardrobe from winter to spring/summer, with the aim of digging out the two pairs of cropped capri pants that I have (in blue and beige). Only they weren’t there. It looks like I’ve bundled them into the charity bag in a moment of madness. In truth I think the blue trousers were too small and the beige pair too big and it probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I’m caught short. Pun intended.

 

A very quick look in the shops has revealed that options include a roll-up hem, which I’m not interested in. I’m looking to slim and lengthen the leg and drawing attention three quarters of the way down will just cut it off.  No, I’m looking for a classic cut.  Something like one of these:

 

In fact any one of these, delivered to my door, would be fab.  So that’s the plan.  I’m off to check out sizes before I roll up my sleeves and hurtle towards the cooking fest that is Easter.  Perhaps I should order anything post chocolate consumption!

Have a great Easter everyone!

Gail xx

So, it’s finally here.  Spring has sprung.  The forecast is good, with sunshine this weekend, and I’m ready for it.  Or am I?  Yesterday I ended the day hot under the collar for the wrong reasons and still in boots, raced to the shops post day-long meeting, to find shoes that didn’t go halfway up my leg.

 

You’re never quite ready are you?  Anyway, absolutely must not moan.  It was my own fault for not being prepared.  What I should have done is taken more notice of the forecast and followed some of the ideas that I saw at Bristol Fashion Week last Friday.

 

A showcase for the stores at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway, the show is great way to spot new trends and ideas of what to wear in the new season and I have to say the retailer that really got my attention was Marks & Spencer.  It had the right mix of style and nod to the current trends, while being wearable for all age groups.  Though I don’t know if Gail Dibble, aged 21, would agree!  However, Gail Painter whole-hardheartedly loved it.

 

My friend and I hot-footed it the store after the show, keen to try on some of the styles, but unfortunately the key piece my friend wanted to try on was sold out, which on the second day of the fashion show, was a bit off.   Come on retailers, you know people are going to visit the store after the shows to buy what they liked, it’s the whole point.  Nevertheless, we pushed pass that obstacle and tried on some clothes.

 

Of course, once in store, I spotted a whole raft of clothes that I wanted to try on, so I was good to go.  Meanwhile, my friend went head first into the sales rack.  More on that later.

 

The first piece I wanted to try on was this dress.  I know it’s a popular choice as I’ve seen it on a lot of people and this gorgeous cotton blend striped skater dress is pretty eye-catching.

 

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I know it doesn’t work on me, as my top half is too heavy and I’m spilling out in the wrong places, but please don’t be put off, this dress is really lovely, on everyone else.  It’s £69.99 and is a gorgeous occasion dress.  Don’t wear it with black boots though, eh!

 

Next up is this pure cotton striped shirt dress from the Autograph range (£59.99).

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Have I ever mentioned that years ago I was part of a much larger PR team that launched Autograph?  I was and my colleagues and I used to joke that I got paid and would then give the money back as I loved buying the clothes.  So, I really do have a soft spot for this range.  I really like this dress (ignore my winter boots).  I like the colour and simple fit and flare style.  This is a 10, which as you can see is too snug across the bust, however the 12 is too big on the hip for me, so it’s a no-go, sadly.

 

This dress, was a random pull off the rail as I headed to the fitting room, choice.  I like floaty numbers.

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It was too big (I tried on a size 12) and I’m not keen when there are layers of different sizes, but the print is pretty and I like the idea of wearing off the shoulder.  Does anyone remember the flake ad? LOL.  Anyway, I’ve looked and looked but I can’t find this dress on the M&S website, so I can’t share any more detail about it, I’m afraid.  Maybe it will go ‘up’ over the weekend.

Lastly, and I’m tempted to go back for it, is this pleated skirt.  I’m really loving the midi length this season.

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This metallic pleated A-line midi skirt feels really nice on.  A little crisp to the touch, but I like being wrapped up like a chocolate.  It is £49.50 and I’m wearing a size 10 (slightly snug on the waist. I did say chocolate!).  Also, I have sourced very similar, cheaper versions in H&M for less than £30, but this one is of better quality.

 

That’s all I had time to try on, but there’s also a pair of orange wide leg trousers with a striped waistband that look fab, wear every wear mules for less than £30 (the gold ones will go with everything) and a pair of wide leg cropped trousers, that were not cropped on me, so I didn’t take a photograph.  Short female problems and I didn’t have time to go back and look for ‘short’ on the rail.

 

In the reel below are these and a few more ideas to scroll through.

 

 

Back to the fashion show and I headed back to dig my friend out of the sales rack.  She’s only gone and found me a striped shirt dress with tie sleeves for £10.98 in the sale hasn’t she.

 

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Sometimes it pays to shop the sales.  Every time it pays to buddy up.  Thanks Maria!

 

Have a great weekend all.

 

Gail xxx

 

The young shopper buys from her or his mobile phone.  I know that I will sound like I’m stuck in the dark ages, but when I read this (source. Elle) I was partly awestruck by how things have moved on, and partly sad, because it seemed like such a joyless act.  Of course, we live in busy times and I’m open to change – I like “being down with the kids” as SP says.  So, I decided to get with it and try out online shopping.

 

I still remember my first shopping experience, without Mum.  I was with Kim, in Chelsea Girl, with a pocketful of birthday money.  Kim was my best friend.  We were in the same school year and she was 10 months older than me, which meant that my mum thought I was with someone sensible.  I was, but boy did Kim like her fashion.  I came home with a dirndl skirt, check shirt and knitted waistcoat – in a green matching ensemble.  I can’t remember the rationale behind these choices, but I would put good money on it being Kim’s influence, she had bought exactly the same in burgundy. What?  We were best friends!

 

I felt pretty “fly” walking in to the youth club, Friday night, and the thrill of choosing my own clothes has never waned.  I still love walking around the shops, eyes like saucers, palms open and touching everything in sight.  Back then, my excitement quickly dissipated when I took in the vast open plan changing room.  With no cubicles, you needed to learn the rather tricky art of undressing, without undressing.   It’s as hard as it sounds and the teenage years are angst enough without getting naked in front of (grown up) women.  Thankfully, stores don’t have these any more, but back then it was torture and I guess we all like to check ourselves out before we reveal all to a friend or partner patiently waiting outside the changing room. Oh, how the worm has turned, nowadays I willingly take photos in changing rooms and share what I’m wearing on social media!

 

I still enjoy “going into town”, as you know.  I rarely buy online, unless I have to, e.g., if something is only available via a website.  I don’t like the idea of having to organise returns.  I know only too well that clothes sizes go up and down, as does my weight, so I’m roughly an 8-10 on the bottom and 10-12 on the top, but that just gives me an outline of where to start.  On speaking to other online shoppers (I’ve asked a couple of mates), the way to get around this is to find a store, suss out its sizes, and stick with it.  That’s a minus on the score sheet for me.

 

I chose Next (really having a good season), Zara and H&M.  I had good reason for Next, I was handed a £10 off voucher in store, to use online and wanted a trench coat (see recent post).  I went with H&M, as they have a duvet set I’d like to check out and the nearest Home store is Cardiff and then lastly I went with Zara, as they had lots of new clothes in and a bag I couldn’t find in store.

 

First off, I ordered from Next on a Sunday afternoon, my parcels arrived by Monday lunchtime.  I ordered the trench (see here) and a blazer (see here) and these three items:

 

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Red top from Next, cropped jeans (also Next, but purchased in store) and silver pumps from Marks & Spencer (£19.99 bargain).  I chose this top because there is a very similar blue one that is really popular, but I suit red more and thought I would give it a go.  I ordered medium and it was way too big for me.  It’s tucked in and pulled back for the pic, otherwise I would look like an elephant.

 

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Pink short worn here with my trusty old daisy dukes.  I loved the fabric and the colour.  I can’t wear light pink, but this, more developed shade, would, I think, be okay.  However, I don’t like the cap sleeves on me, because they make my already wider upper half, appear more wide.

 

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Blue shirt, worn with jeggings and snake skin-like heels.  I kept this shirt.  I really like the fabric and feel of it and I will take it on holiday with me as a beach cover up.  It’s a lovely rich blue that will go well with a tan and you can’t see, but the bottom has a slightly frayed edge.

 

So, I kept two items and then had to work out how to take the rest of it back. I didn’t want to wait in for a courier and opted for returning to store.  As it would happen I needed to visit another retailer, for work, and could pop in to Next with my returns.  Returning was super easy, I handed over the garments and the girl smiled back after a minute or two with “it’s all back on your card”.  Done.

 

Next up, Zara.  Delivered  in a box with tissue paper, it felt like a present.  I couldn’t wait to try everything on (the bag I wanted wasn’t available).  So here goes:

 

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Yellow poplin shirt with bell sleeves.  I fell in love with this as soon as I put it on.  It was a last minute choice, based on looking in my wardrobe and seeing the ‘black sea’.  I put it on Instagram and lots of people loved it.  I kept this one.

 

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I ordered a medium and it was too big, but this top was super pretty and will be popular.  However, it was too big and had to go back.

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I also sent this dress back.  I really liked it, but I didn’t know where I would wear such a bold design.  However, I’m going out for afternoon tea today and wish I had it.

 

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When ordering online goes wrong.  I ordered a small and it was.  But that still doesn’t help with getting the order right first time as I obviously need a medium, but the yellow top was a medium and fitted and the lace was a medium and was too big.  So I will have to keep an eye on the cut and fit before ordering.

 

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This dress was a hit and miss for me.  I loved the sky blue colour, but in one view I felt a bit SJP and in another, Enid Sharples.  Enough said, it went back.  Again available in small, medium, etc., I ordered medium, but it was a little too loose.

 

Returning items couldn’t be easier too. You receive an email with your receipt and again I opted for returning in store, which I did and since returning on Wednesday have received another email to say the money is heading back to the bank.  Coolio.

 

Okay, so I didn’t use my mobile to buy clothes.  That’s a step too far for me.  I don’t trust the privacy of my phone with so many downloaded apps on it.  I probably should, but I don’t.  I guess I’m not ready for that change just yet.  However, I wouldn’t hesitate to order from my laptop again.

 

The pros for me were:

 

a) easy to order

b) liked trying new items on with my own clothes, so I could get an honest picture of the final look

c) I could try on at my leisure, so didn’t have to make a super quick, my husband’s waiting impatiently outside for me, decision

d) returning and refunding went smoothly

 

The cons are:

a) would I trust online ordering for an emergency garment.  No

b) sizing is an issue

c) yes, you will buy more, because once you like it and it’s close to your wardrobe, a magnet pulls it in

 

Overall, I really enjoyed it.  I now have three new items in my wardrobe to choose from, what’s not to love.  Of course it’s not all plain sailing.  You might be wondering what happened to the H&M order?  Well, it never came.  I forgot my password and have clicked on the link for them to send me a new one about half a dozen times and I’ve not had a response.  Lucky I wasn’t disparate for that duvet cover eh!

 

What is your experience of online shopping?  Like or loathe?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Have a lovely weekend.

 

Gail xxx

 

P.S.  Sorry this post is a day late.

 

 

I have happy news!  No, I can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to wear flip flops any time soon and I can’t turn water into wine either. However, I am pleased to say that one of my Not Givin In objectives has been achieved.  The search is over.  I’ve found MY trench coat. Whoop, whoop.  I won’t need to mention it again!

 

I’ve been on a search for some time (I blogged about it last September and have been looking for the trench since the nineties), so I’m thrilled to say that I found a season interim coat that is long enough to cover me from wet weather showers and warm enough to keep out the chill factor, between wearing sun tops and snow coats.

 

I had, in all honesty, given up the ghost, then while looking at cropped jeans in Next (their selection is really good this season) I turned around to see this gorgeous trench.  It was a bit like Cinderella turning to find Prince Charming.  One look and I was hooked.

 

Look at the smug face on her!

 

I really do love it though.  It is oversized, so it’s a bit slouchy, dead comfy, and I don’t feel like a bag of washing on the inside trying to get out, because the fabric is fluid yet firm.   I don’t normally buy petite.  I’m 5′ 3″ don’t you know.  However, the regular 10 was too oversized, from the waist down, and I was billowing slightly.  I also don’t normally wear a 10 in coats and jackets, so you can tell it’s big.

 

This style has been copied from the catwalk by many retailers this season, taking it’s lead from Celine’s trench coat I believe and it has all the classic detail – double breasted button fasting, large buckle bet, and buckled cuffs.  As you can see, I went for neutral, because I wanted a classic colour, but this coat comes in black, blue and a black/white option.  It was £65, but a fairy godmother spotted me in store when I first saw the coat and asked if I wanted £10 off my first online order.  Uh, yes please!

 

 

If you too feel like taking shelter from showers, here’s some more ideas, with links to stores.  I have picked out classic belted styles, more oversized coats (including several from Next, if you like mine), different colour options, and some that are currently in sale.

Have a great weekend.

 

Gail xxx