For the imperfect Fashion lover.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Keeping an open mind while shopping.

Why we should keep an open mind when shopping for clothes.

Fake Fabulous | Teal wool trousers, tan leather and multicoloured faux fur.

As part of my my New Year style resolutions I had advocated trying new things and keeping an open mind.
I believe we should continually evolve and change as we grow older.
Age is no barrier to style or fun.

Nothing screams "frump",to me, louder than being stuck in the same tired look for 10+ (sometimes 20+) years.

A style rut is hard to break free from, but we must give ourselves a shake from time to time or we can go flat.
A bit like orange juice, with bits... we need to keep mixing our juicy bits up!

I have to admit to being guilty of not taking my own advice, sometimes.
I often find myself dismissing certain brands, especially those aimed at older women, because I think they will be frumpy and not for me.

So when JD Williams contacted me to ask if I would be interested in promoting their new campaign, I have to honest and tell you, I was sceptical about the idea.

That brand is for "old" people, isn't it?
Surely anything they were promoting would not be of interest to me.
I may be almost 42, but I am not ready to slip into a sea of beige (and velcro shoes) just yet!

However, in the spirit of my new resolution, I decided to put my prejudgements to one side.

JD Williams were promoting making a fresh start, facing new challenges, trying new things....with a little help from the right shoes.

I could not agree more.
I am a big fan of using shoes (and clothes) to fake a little confidence in the face of adversity.
Everything is easier when you know you look your best.
And, who doesn't feel great when strutting their stuff in a fabulous pair of shoes?

These women might have taken it too far though....I can hardly believe what they achieved in heels!

This got me thinking about my own narrow-minded shopping habits.
Was I guilty of being a hypocrite?
Unfortunately, the answer was yes.

I have always avoided certain brands (like Wallis & Per Una)  and stuck to my "trendy stores" (like Urban Outfitters & Topshop) thinking this would stop me turning into a frumpy disaster.

Suddenly aware of my narrow-mindedness, I decided to have a rummage through the sale rail at good-old Marks & Spencers (I usually stick to buying basics and undies from M&S) my mind was open for inspiration.

Fate must have been on my side, as I found this gorgeous coat hanging in a jumble of random items.
Alone and my size.
We were meant to be together!

Fake Fabulous | Teal wool trousers and multicoloured faux fur.

I knew I wanted to pair this fabulous fur coat with the butter-soft, peep toed booties (in a gorgeous 'Scotch' colour) that JD Williams had kindly gifted to me.
It was too cold for bare toes, so I slipped on a pair of good quality black socks.
I love the socks and shoes look.

We were heading out for a casual meal (in celebration of youngest daughter's birthday) so I smartened up my look with teal wool trousers and a Victorian-style sheer blouse (I wore it recently, to see a punk band).
I skipped the camisole and went for bare skin under the dotty sheer fabric, Cheeky!

A leopard print belt, my bright blue clutch and a chunky gold chain finished things off perfectly.

Fake Fabulous | Chunky gold and multicoloured faux fur.

It just goes to prove to me that I should never judge a book by its cover, or a shop by its initial appearance.

Keep an open mind while might surprise yourself!

Are you guilty of sticking to tried and tested shops and brands?
What are your old haunts?
Are you planning to give some new brands a chance?

Please let me know in the comments...or Tweet me @samantha4blair

Shoes: c/o JD Williams
Trousers: Topshop (old) these are similar, and on sale. These are nice too.
Socks: COS
Coat: Limited @Marks&Spencer (similar...spree!)
Shirt: Oasis (A Charity shop find...this one is gorgeous!)
Bag: Linea (this one is nice)
Gold chain: M&S I tied a knot in it to make a choker (similar)
Belt: Topshop

Shop my look:



  1. Wow...that was very "cheeky" of you to subtract the cami under that blouse! Those boots are magnificent although I've never heard of the brand!! But your theme of keeping an open mind is absolutely true for any store (whether you think it could be too old, too young, or too anything)! I sometimes think it's way better to make sure your clothes aren't all from one store---because then you start looking like that store instead of you (and we know, we are all a mixture of this & that).
    That coat is quite a stunner (you didn't say if it was a good deal or not??). Hopefully you had a wonderful meal & family time!! Happy Weekend Samantha! jodie

    1. I know Jodie...I was feeling brave (and nostalgic, back to my micro-mesh club wear days!)
      I was quite shocked to realise that i was being a hypocritical about "older" brands.
      It is not a good idea to close our minds to anything. Open minds are always a positive thing.
      You are right about looking like the shop instead of yourself. I do know people who buy a "total look" from a brand and wear that (almost) head to toe. It does lack personality and imagination. I had not really thought about it before, until I read this comment! Thank you for that.
      As for a deal....of course!!!
      I love a bargain :oD
      It had a wonderful 70% off. What is not to love?
      Thank you, we did have a lovely meal and plenty of laughs. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend too. XXX

  2. This is another gorgeous coat Samantha, and great hair too. I suppose I know what you mean about being prejudiced against certain labels, but M&S spruced up their image a long while ago, and their quality is always great. Really, I think it's all about the intinsic qualities of an item regardless of its provenance, and also how it "connects" with you; and then of course there's the attitude with which you style it.
    That's why I love a good root in a charity shop. You don't know what's going to seduce you, but whatever it is you know it'll have "honourable intentions"! :)
    Baci Sxx

    1. Thank you Sally! I am going for a cut next week....I can;t decide whether to grow it a little of chop it off again. Short hair is so easy to look after....hmmm.
      You are right about M&S.
      It did go through a desperately frumpy stage but seems to have been injected with some life and a few edgy pieces are on the website (my local shop is unfortunately lacking, I think this coat may have been an online purchase returned to the store...thank goodness for pot luck, and the internet).
      I totally agree about an item "connecting" and how you visualise it fitting into your life and your wardrobe.
      I also agree that attitude goes a long way.
      One person's "fabulous" can be another's "hideous", even with an identical item.
      I too love a charity shop and I always go into them with my mind wide open...I am easily seduced by something beautiful, and its honourable intentions :oP. XXX

  3. GAH!!! That coat! I'm drooling all over my keyboard. Fabulous.

    I'm partial to thrifting and vintage because it introduces to me to brands I would never discover otherwise. It is a guaranteed way of ensuring my style never becomes stale.


    1. I know, Suzanne!! I actually squealed in delight, in the shop.
      The sales assistant grabbed my arm and said "I am SO glad you are buying is many people have tried it on but it did not fit them".
      I feel like it was made for me.
      Some things are meant to be!
      As for charity shopping and vintage...I could not agree more! I go into these shops with a totally open mind and I am willing to try any brand. It is liberating not to recognise a brand and just to get that thrill of discovering something "new" (to us anyway), especially if the quality is beautiful. are making me want to go Vintage shopping in Edinburgh. I have not been for a long while. Maybe it is time to remedy that?! XXX

  4. ohhh, I'm loving your faux fur coat and fabulous color combo, teal and tan combo look amazingly fresh and delightful! and that sheer shirt is perfect! gorgeous!!
    'Leave no stone unturned' is my motto when shopping. As I can't buy the most popular brands (not in my size), I'm used to go hunting to many different retailers, local designers, or any other less travelled road. I have not many options, but they're very interesting ones!

    1. "Leave no stone unturned" is a great motto!

      I am really surprised to read that you can not find the popular brands in your size.
      I know you call yourself "plus-sized" but I assumed you were a UK 14-16....which is catered for in EVERY shop here, in the UK, even those aimed at the teen market.
      UK stores regularly go up to a 20.
      Then they have their petites and larger ranges which are often just the same designs as the regular sized ranges.
      Petites often go down to a 4-6 and the plus-sized ranges go up to a size 32 (larger in some shops)
      How are the shops in Spain set up for a mixture of sizes?
      It is interesting how different brands produce their clothing.

      You are talented with the sewing machine too....which opens up a whole new world of individual dressing and finding things that really fit properly.

  5. This coat is amazing and your styling is perfect, per usual. I LOVE this look!

    1. Wow Gracey...thank you ! It is nice to hear from you again. XXX

  6. Samantha all I can see is this furry technicolor dream coat - its blooming brilliant! What a find, and how satisfying that it was your size, so surely meant to be. I recall you recently giving out shopping advice to try somewhere different and it's great that you've followed your own advice with such resounding success! Hey, them ol boots ain't half bad either x
    Anna's Island style

    1. Thank you Anna :oD
      Sometimes we have to remember to take our own advice, don't we? I am so glad I did...My furry friend and I were meant to be together! XXX

  7. Oh! There's so much to say Sam! Where to start?


    Ok, first off (can't decide so these two statements are equal!) Yay to working with JD Williams and that coat is TO.DIE.FOR. I love, love, love it!

    Now, there's more: I love how you styled the shoes--the black sock agains the scotch color is perfection. I love that you are wearing a lacy, sheer blouse. I see no old lady there. NEVA!! Leopard belt. Love. Blue clutch. Love.

    Hmmm, is this my favorite outfit of yours to date? Might be!!

    Fist pump. Love, Annie

    PS That second picture of you is SEXBOMB.
    PPS Happy bday to the daughter! ;D (I know she's like, My mom be so smokin'!)

    1. Oh, Ann you made me laugh with this comment.
      Fist pump? I love that! I conjures up a wonderful image. Thank you.
      I am so glad you like my coat. Although, I had a sneaking suspicion you might approve! XXX

    2. I'm back again for a double fist pump and a high five! Sam, this outfit is to die for!! Thanks for coming over to Kremb de la Kremb and linking up to the Style Stories Link Up.

      Love seeing you there! Annie

  8. I LOVE that coat! Would get it for myself in a heartbeat (well, not that I would get much use out of it where I live, but, still). And I a hundred percent know that feeling of "meant to be together" with a piece of clothing, ESPECIALLY when it's hanging all alone AND it's in your exact size. I've felt that magical feeling a couple of times, myself - such a wonderful feeling, isn't it? =D

    I honestly love that this is your "casual" outfit. I don't use slangs that much but I think "Werk it!" would be pretty appropriate here. I mean, honestly, Samantha, I want to always dress like you. Always looking forward to seeing your outfits! They're always so interesting and always what I would wear myself. I really like how you pair the multi-coloured jacket with a sheer, dotted blouse, instead of going with something plain. The addition of your accessories are simply perfect, too - that clutch, those shoes, and that gold necklace (that, I want, too).

    And happy belated birthday to your daughter! I hope she had a lovely day. Does your daughter (daughters?) borrow your clothes all the time, by the way? I can totally see that happening, looking at all the things you've worn!

    1. Thank you Liyana! I really appreciate your comments :oD. One of my daughters is keen to borrow my clothes (but she is only 9 and teeny tiny) my middle girl thinks I am so embarrassing it is unreal, and the eldest has her own distinctive look (more minimalist chic than colours/textures). My clothes are safe for now! I do have a 'box' of items that I am saving for them....mostly good quality quirky items, a couple of vintage pieces and some fun things too. Hopefully one day they will appreciate them! XXX

  9. Now that lady, is one heck of a coat! And it's totally on the right person. It was meant for you. Isn't it satisfying when you find something like that.
    Love love love the colours here - those blues and tans and then that cheeky blouse!
    M&S have really changed so I'm glad you're seeing them in a new light. I think every brand goes through ups and downs with good seasons and bad.
    Being petite I keep my mind open as I have to try so many places to find what brands/sizes will be right for my height and proportions and I've been really quite surprised at what I've found.

    1. Me too Jacqueline! I had avoided M&S's "fashion" as I had seen many years of frump...thay have really upped the game though. I am so pleased to have a "new" shop to browse in!
      There does seem to be so much more out there for Petite ladies....have you found that? There seems to be much more choice these days. Great news for all of those women who were constantly taking up hems a few years ago. Shopping is so much more fun when things actually fit. XXX

  10. I want this whole outfit! Justtake it off your body and put it in a jiffy bag. Although I do not feel confident enough for a sheer shirt so you may keep that, aren't I kind :) #brilliantblogposts

    1. Hahaha....thank you so much! You could have the shirt too, just pop a camisole underneath and you are good to go ;oD XXX

  11. Looooove that coat! It is beautiful
    I agree, we need to keep an open mind when shopping, I am terrible for stuff like that and very much stuck in my ways, there are certain shops I'd not go to. I guess we all have to try a different approach!

    1. I am guilty too...I think we all are. Creatures of habit.
      It is good to step out of our usual territory though, look at what I found when I did!
      I hope next time you are out shopping you find something in somewhere you have avoided. You never know what is lurking. :oD XXX

  12. Samantha this outfit is incredible - and the coat did not disappoint!!!! One of my favourite outfits of yours for sure, and then when I scrolled down to see those boots... Perfection, nothing less!!

    I definitely don't rule out any shop, and it's nice to be surprised with a brand when they do something that really appeals to you. I still have my "go to" shops like Asos and River Island, but I'm willing to take a look at anywhere...!!

    Catherine x

    1. Thank you Catherine! I am chuffed to bits with it.
      However, If it had not been for your orange leopard coat , I would never have even gone in for a thank you! XXX

  13. Thanks for linking up to Top of the World Style. Beige is a color to hide. You look great in colors. I love the jacket. I would love to have it.

  14. I am a much older woman than you and am slowly shaking off old beliefs. Like it took me ages to accept that brown goes with black and black goes with blue. But I am on the right road now. I still have trouble ovecoming the thought of never to wear socks with peeptoe shoes, but you are helpong me with that as I think your outfit is really splendid. The coat is fabulous and you styled it so well. From proportion (the length of the trousers) to details (necklace, clutch). You got rewarded for keeping an open mind.


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