Gym Wear Wish List 2017

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With all the retailers jumping on the January bandwagon for fitness, it has been a great time to shop (or window shop!) for gym fans. So today I am sharing my top picks from the workout wear that has caught my eye this month…

Ivy Park Logo Crew Neck Sweatshirt – £28

Cover ups are just as important as what is underneath! And I don’t just mean in terms of style, I need something warm to cover up with when leaving the gym and getting hit by the cold winter air. I love the quality of Ivy Park gear since first trying the brand when it launched (first impressions can be found on my YouTube channel here) and this dark grey colour will go with (almost) everything in my work out wardrobe.

Victoria’s Secret Incredible Sport Front Close Bra – £33.18

I own a couple of Sports bras from the brand already, and the high impact ones are excellent for keeping everything in place while remaining comfortable! Even better, this front closing option means you don’t have to be a contortionist to get in and out of it. Surprisingly great size range too (32A – 40DDD). Worth every penny.

Red Herring Teal Racer Back Vest – £16

I love a slogan on my gym tops to keep me motivated and this teal colour has me longing for spring. The unusual racer back also gives it an added edge making it great value for money.

Nike Metcon 3iD Customisable Trainers – £135

Yep, you read that right these trainers are customisable. There are countless options to make them personal to you and I spent ages on the website choosing this pair! You can chose the colour, patterns, laces and even add logos and initials. Nike are by far the most comfortable trainers I can find (I have three pairs already!) so all things considered the price is totally justified.

Sweaty Betty Navasana Mesh Crop Leggings – £65

Mesh flooded the work out wear market last year and it looks set to stay. I can see why, as the mesh not only adds to the style but is functional too – allowing for more breathing space during a sweaty session. The geometric pattern on this Sweaty Betty pair are also bound to be super flattering.

 

 

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Getting to know Charlie Feist

When Emma, from Charlie Feist, got in touch with me back in June via Instagram the brand was yet to launch, but I was immediately drawn to their aesthetic. I waited patiently, following their Instagram like an excited child waiting for Father Christmas. I wasn’t disappointed when their first collection dropped in September. I am now the proud owner of one of their backpacks, and very much doubt it will be the last! I’ve been so impressed by the Charlie Feist and by Emma’s professionalism, passion for the brand plus her understanding of what blogging is all about, I am proud to say I am now a brand ambassador having signed up to their affiliate programme.  Keep an eye out on my YouTube channel for an unboxing video, coming later this week. But for now, let’s get to know Charlie Feist in my interview with Emma…

Click here to shop with Charlie Feist!*

Tell me a bit about yourself and the brand Charlie Feist.

We are team of two full-time staff and with 3 part-time members not counting the fulfilment team at the warehouse. I manage social media marketing for the brand while the founder of the brand; Subal looks after the design and production end of things.

How and why did you come up with the name Charlie Feist?

During our preppy wardrobe days of structured navy blazers and crisp blue oxford button-downs, we were obsessed with Hunter boots. And we thought that rubbery material would be perfect to make a backpack since it’s waterproof and hardy. We began researching around the lifestyle of a hunter. Looking at several images of hunters, we began noticing that almost always a dog would accompany them. What followed was a weeklong research of names of hunting dog breeds. After going through several of the usual suspects and variations of spaniels, beagles, etc. we stumbled upon the “Charlie Feist” which is named after a hunting dog. Immediately we fell love in with the name because it kind of has the sound of a human. Both Subal and I are WAY too self-conscious to have our own names plastered on the product!

As a start-up company I remember you getting in touch with me earlier in the year. What has been your progress? Can you talk me through the stages?

It’s become almost cliché to disregard the “build it and they will come” adage. But this is disregarded for a reason especially in 2016. To think that our product is SO good that it could bubble up from all the noise out there is ludicrous. From the get, we were amply clear that we couldn’t launch to crickets. We knew that when we opened our digital doors, we needed to have a warm audience who was excited about the launch. With this in mind, we began talking about the brand on Instagram.

What is the history behind the brand?

The idea of a well-designed backpack has been with us since 2014, but it was only in 2015 when after many failed production samples, we finally created the product that we could stand behind.

One of the first things I noticed when you got in touch is the minimalist yet luxury feel of the brand. From what sources have you drawn inspiration?

It’s funny you say luxury when the starting point of the brand is £59! We always wanted to keep our price accessible since we wanted more people to enjoy our products. When designers get asked the question about where did they get their inspiration from, you probably hear a long-winded answer mostly involving an era that you wouldn’t have heard of and it goes above the heads of most people. I won’t do that. Our inspiration is the works of great brands like Givenchy, Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs, and a bit of Zara and River Island! Having said that, these different elements have to be combined to form an aesthetic that appeals to you. I think a lot of designers work in this way, but are some a bit afraid to talk about it.

What has been the most difficult part of the Charlie Feist process?

For us, the part that we don’t control has been most difficult for us, i.e. manufacturing. Finding factories that can make a quality bag has been a big challenge. Since none of us comes from a design or fashion background, we literally had to rip open bags just to learn about different materials and fabrics. Certainly a test of persistence.

What has been the most rewarding moment?

Getting a quality bag made! (Playing off your previous question!). But that would be at micro level. At the macro level, I find myself doing the thing that I truly love. I have started to love Mondays. No more TGIF or ‘live for the weekend’ anymore. The level of confidence and zest for life that I find in myself is certainly the biggest reward.

What are your goals and plans with the brand? Where do you see the brand in 5 years time?

For the moment, we are focusing 100% on making beautiful utilitarian backpacks. Five years is such a long time to predict where we will be!

How important is the vegan element of Charlie Feist to you? How do you see the brand also appealing to non-vegans? (like me!)

 This is a great question and we get asked this all the time. As animal lovers (especially puppies), we could not allow ourselves to use animal products such as leather or fur in our product. However, we don’t resort to in-your-face marketing or shaming those who don’t share our belief. We don’t judge anyone’s dietary choices.

Name a person or a company who inspires you.

COS is an inspirational brand as their art direction is always on point and they have a very clear understanding of who their customer is.

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This content is not sponsored. Links marked with * are affiliate links.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Capsule Wardrobe – 1 year on

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Exactly a year ago I wrote about my venture into the capsule wardrobe concept, and I’ve been posting updates along the way (all previous posts are linked below). Now, after having given myself a pat on the back for sticking to it for all this time, I’m sharing the lessons I have learnt after 12 months and how I plan to apply the principals to my wardrobe moving forward…

Be flexible

This has to be my biggest and most important lesson and it is relevant in more ways than one. My original plan was to create a 37 piece wardrobe to be switched up each season. The weird and wonderful British weather threw a spanner in the works here, meaning I had to do the change-over at times I hadn’t expected to or planned to. I also originally planned to incorporate my “going out out” clothes into my capsule wardrobe. On reflection, I do this so infrequently that very dressy items took up valuable space in the limited collection and they were only worn once or twice over the course of a few months (if that). Moving forward, I have a few pieces separate from my main wardrobe for special occasions and plan to operate a ‘one in, one out’ policy to my main collection. I will still rotate items out of storage as the weather changes but when I am tempted by a new purchase at other times, providing I have thought it through, I will allow myself to buy it on the condition that an existing piece is rotated out and either put back into storage, sold or donated.

Layering is your friend

Talking of unpredictable weather, I have definitely realised that it is important to buy pieces that can be layered. Not only does this mean the wardrobe can outlast changeable temperatures, it also provides a bigger variety of looks meaning you are less likely to get bored of your collection.

You do develop a style

The interesting thing about having a capsule wardrobe is that when you do shop, you get very picky. Whereas a previous changing room thought process may have involved little actual thought and resulted in a lot of emotional purchases, nowadays each item is scrutinised heavily! Does it fit perfectly? Is it flattering? Will I wear it regularly? Does the shade fit my current colour palette? Is it well made and does it feel good quality? This level of scrutiny has definitely resulted both consciously and sub-consciously developing a style,  or the ‘every day uniform’ I had read so much about but never really fully understood until now!

It is still a work in progress

If I was feeling in a corny mood I would say something like “it’s a journey not a destination” and it would be true! My Summer capsule wardrobe was my least enjoyed so far (for various reasons including poor planning) but this only enabled me to make a better job of it next time around, meaning my love for the capsule wardrobe has been rekindled and that my current Autumn wardrobe is my favourite yet! I’m bound to make further errors of judgement and need to make more changes to the way I approach it (like I said – it is important to be flexible!) but to me that is part of the beauty of the whole concept – you can choose to apply the parts that work for you and adapt it to suit your lifestyle.

Previous capsule wardrobe posts…

Trying out the capsule wardrobe – the ‘Un-fancy’ way

My Capsule Wardrobe – lessons and Winter updates

3 Spring Trends – for a capsule wardrobe

My Capsule Wardrobe – the Winter to Spring transition

My Capsule Wardrobe – most worn this Summer

 

OOTD – Vintage Fun

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Playing dress up for my friend’s recent vintage themed hen weekend was the most fun I’ve had with my clothes on! I managed to create the look on a reasonable budget too. For full details read on…

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The dress was my starting point and as soon as I realised I would be visiting Brighton before the hen weekend, I knew it would be the perfect place to find what I was looking for. On a recommendation I headed straight for Collectif on Bond Street. Specialising in 1940’s and 1950’s vintage style clothing and accessories, I was in heaven! The staff not only looked the part but were incredibly helpful (and complimentary which always adds to the shopping experience!) With their expertise I decided to go with the Lori Gingham Swing Dress  for a very reasonabe £42.50 but even better value right now as it is in the sale for £21.25.

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I had these shoes in storage after buying them over a year ago in a ‘I don’t know when I’ll wear these but I love them and they are a bargain so I’ll get them anyway’ moment in TK Maxx. I knew I would get use out of them one day! I paid around £15 for them. They are from the brand Truffle which you can also buy at ASOS and on Amazon.

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I often think the finishing touches can make or break an outfit and I love how this look came together with the accessories and make up. I borrowed the head scarf from a friend who bought it from a local market. The square shape and 100% cotton fabric made it easy to style and it stayed in place all day. The earrings and false lashes are both from good old Primark at only £1 and £1.50 and for a red lip with staying power I used the Sephora cream lip stain in shade 01 – Always Red.

Finally, a big thank you to the bride to be for taking these photos and being my creative director! You can find her on Instagram https http://www.instagram.com/peapodcarddesign

My Capsule Wardrobe: Most worn this Summer

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I’m now three seasons into my capsule wardrobe experience and I finally got around to shooting some outfit pictures. Summer has involved the smallest switch up so far (partly due to being over-optimistic about the weather when choosing my Spring pieces!) so rather than go through my whole wardrobe I decided to share with you my three most worn pieces.

Pinafore – New Look

Part of the reason I wanted to start the capsule wardrobe was to help me develop a style. However, that doesn’t mean that when a trend comes along you can’t buy into it, and the denim pinafore is definitely the statement piece of my wardrobe this Summer. It’s been nice and cool for the ocassional balmy British summer day and can just as easily be teamed with tights for days when there has been a chill in the air.

Jersey Bardot Top – Primark

I love a basic tee and there have been more than a few in every seasonal switch up of my wardrobe since I began the capsuling concept. This Bardot top has been a great alternative to a simple t-shirt and the stripes keep it looking classic. It’s versatile too; I love it with the pinafore but have also worn it with a high waist pencil skirt, shorts or jeans.

White Leather All Star – Converse

Aside from a two week holiday in a much warmer climate, I’ve barely worn sandals this Summer. Even if the weather has been gorgeous, a rain cloud is never far away in England! Converse have been the perfect alternative for keeping feet dry, especially these leather alternative to the original canvas offering (which I have also found far more comfortable). Bonus – they go with everything which gives them a gold star as far as the capsule wardrobe is concerned.

If you want to read my previous capsule wardrobe posts they are all linked below…

Trying out the capsule wardrobe – the ‘Un-Fancy’ way

My Capsule Wardrobe: Lessons & Winter Updates

3 Spring Trends – for a capsule wardrobe

My Capsule Wardrobe: The Winter to Spring transition

Also worn in this post: Sunglasses – Primark, Bag – New Look (last year’s stock)

 

 

 

 

 

My Capsule Wardrobe: The Winter to Spring transition

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I am now on the third season of my capsule wardrobe and still loving the experience. I originally started using a specific template from the popular un-fancy.com and I’ve really enjoyed adapting the concept to suit my circumstances and continue developing a style. I will link all my previous musings on the subject at the end of this post, but today I am talking through my tips for the transition from Winter to Spring. The collage above depicts some of the items I’ve updated my wardrobe with (all linked at the end of the post) but if you want to see more pieces in action I’m forever posting outfits on my Instagram account! (thevictoriajay)

Prepare for a bigger switch up

If I’m honest, I found the Autumn to Winter transition a bit of a walk in the park. I had my base wardrobe and just needed to switch a handful of items out to prepare for colder weather, or to replace pieces that just had not worked for whatever reason. This time it was less of a ‘switch up’ and more of an ‘overhaul’. I think this was both due to the changing weather, and the fact I had developed more ideas about what I wanted my wardrobe and style to look like, the longer I had been committed to the process. Practically this meant I needed more time and more money for this changeover, which is definitely a lesson for the future.

Think layers

Talking of weather, being based in the UK doesn’t necessarily mean warm sunny weather throughout the season! With our April showers, unpredictable temperatures and random heatwaves I knew I needed to have variety in a Spring capsule wardrobe. My answer to this? Layers. All my tops can be layered up with each other, and my jackets and shoes have varying degrees of warmth and rain protection!

Consider your patterns

My Autumn and Winter capsule collections were all about block colours. It’s a look I was experimenting with, and I enjoyed it. However, I also love my patterns particularly in the warmer months, so knew I would need some florals in my life come Spring. Part of me wanted to run through the shops grabbing everything brightly coloured and patterned from the rails, but with a love of patterns comes a more complicated buying process for the capsule wardrobe convert! I decided the way forward was to have patterned items on the top half or bottom half only. That way, there was no risk of clashing and my wardrobe kept one of the original intentions of being compact but versatile with almost all pieces being suitable to be worn together. I decided to go with the bottom half meaning I was able to pick trousers, skirts and dresses in as many varied patterns as I wanted, and kept jackets and tops in block colours.

If I pluck up he courage, I’d love to finally get around to doing some outfit posts. If that is something you would like to see, let me know in the comments below…

 

Links to items…

Top Row (L-R)

Avery Floral Trousers – Boohoo.com (no longer available!) Similar here

White All Star Oxford Leather – Converse

Ella Basic Slogan Box Tee – Boohoo.com

Middle Row (L-R)

Grey Sleeveless Jacket – Miss Selfridge

Suedette Waterfall Jacket – Warehouse

Blush Duster Coat – Miss Selfridge

Bottom Row (L-R)

White Knitted Cross Back Jumper – River Island

Tan Pointed Flats – New Look

High Waist Ripped Jeans – New Look

 

Previous capsule wardrobe posts…

Trying out the capsule wardrobe – the ‘unfancy’ way

My Capsule Wardrobe: Lessons and Winter Updates

3 Spring Trends – for a capsule wardrobe

 

3 Spring Trends – for a capsule wardrobe

I might be sitting here snuggled up in my dressing gown and seeing snow warnings in my Twitter newsfeed, but that won’t stop me from dreaming about my Spring fashion shopping! Surely with Easter just around the corner, and the shops full of new season trends, it’s a good time for any capsule wardrobe convert to start planning for the transition. I jumped on the capsule wardrobe bandwagon at the end of last year (you can read my previous capsule wardrobe posts here and here) and am definitely still learning, so this time I am doing my research well in advance. My changeover will be at the beginning of April so I am keeping my fingers crossed for more sunshine by then! Here are three items from trends for Spring 2016 that I have my eye on…

The Bomber Jacket – New Look – £27.99

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As a 90’s teenager the bomber jacket was a staple for me growing up. When it recently made a comeback for Autumn/Winter I wasn’t sure if it was something I wanted to re-wear this time around. Then I saw this beaut from New Look. The classic style updated for Spring will look just as good with jeans and converse as it will layered over soft tailoring. Pink Ladies eat your heart out!

 

The Evening Sweatshirt – Milk It Vintage (at ASOS) – £45

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I can’t pretend to be a dedicated follower of catwalk trends but a quick flick through InStyle magazine recently introduced me to the concept of the evening sweatshirt. Apparently they were seen on models walking for designers such as Christopher Kane in the shows for Spring 2016, so the high street are bound to take notice. A twist on the classic sweatshirt combining comfort and a touch of glamour, they are ideal for a capsule wardrobe where versatility is key. I love this one from ASOS.

 

Fringed Heels – River Island – £38

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Seventies inspired trends seem to be here to stay with fringing having been all over the high street since last Spring. This year, I’ve noticed a more toned down version coming to the forefront making the seventies look very wearable. I love that this pair from River Island have a heel height suitable for all occasions and a peep-toe to show off the Spring pedi without being too open resulting in freezing cold feet!