I’ll be honest with you. The whole styling and fashion thing never came naturally to me. Evidence of this remains in a number of photographs (that are safely hidden away), documenting my penchant for fluffy pink skirts, sequin jumpers with rabbits on and knee high patent leather boots. Yep, all worn at the same time. And I can’t even excuse the fact I was made to wear it, because I remember being proud of my combo – and galloping around in it on a number of occasions throughout the ages of 12, 13 and dare I say it, even 14.
I won’t proclaim to be a styling expert even now, because I still sometimes get it wrong. Just not that wrong. Not fluffy skirt, sequin rabbit wrong.
But I’ve gotten a whole lot better.
And the one tip that’s helped me massively is to pick one item in your wardrobe you want to wear as a starting point – and then build your outfit around that. Whether that’s picking a pair of shoes and styling from the ground up or choosing your snazzy new dress and accessorising to really pull your look together, it helps to start with one piece you love and style it accordingly.
To put my theory to the test (and you know, just to double check I’m well out of my fluffy stage), I decided to team up with M&S for a fun filled summer styling challenge. The premise was that they’d be sending me a mystery item from their new summer range – something I’d have no clue about – and then I’d style it up, as quick as a flash.
Sounds like fun, right? So let’s see what arrived…
When the box was delivered to my doorstep one Monday morning, it was pouring with rain outside and so I was secretly hoping it wouldn’t be a floaty summer dress. As much as cute little barely-there get-ups are gorgeous, I seem to have a whole rail of them in my room and no-where to wear them to. First world problems, I know.
So imagine my delight when I peeled open the shiny blue ribboned box to reveal this gorgeous Santeen Bomber Jacket – the ideal accompaniment to any outfit, compensating for the terrible British weather. I’ve been getting into this style of jacket for a couple of months now, primarily because they’re so effortless to wear and so easy to throw on with any outfit – casual or dressy. I have a small collection of quilted options and the shiner/silkier fabrics – however they’re all a bit fussy with embroidered detailing or a staple colour, so I couldn’t wait to try M&S’ simple grey version, which is the ideal colour for teaming with any combination.
First impressions wise, I was super impressed with the quality and feel of the jacket – which I think looks a lot more expensive than it actually is (£55). The fabric is very silky soft and the loose fit of the jacket means that it’s flattering on every figure. The fact it’s non-padded means that you can throw it on with any outfit and not have to worry about looking too boxy – as the tailoring caters for a feminine silhouette.
Also included my Monday morning pick-me-up gift box was a pack of gelatine free Percy Pigs (something dairy-free me could definitely tuck into), in addition to a rather exciting addition from their new Spirit of Summer range – cocktail flavour sweets! If we can’t enjoy a Pina Colada or a Watermelon Daiquiri on a beach in the Maldives, then the next best thing is eating them in jelly sweet form with Netflix on in the background. They might not non-alcoholic but they sure are delicious!
Enough about sweets, how did you style the jacket?
Oops, sorry – I got carried away there! After devouring half of each packet – I got stuck into my styling challenge – which primarily consisted of chucking every item of clothing I own on the floor and proclaiming with tears prickling in my eyes that I ‘had nothing to wear’. I’m only joking about the last part… Maybe.
Luckily, I had two very specific looks in mind that I thought would go with the bomber jacket – and so using it as my starting point, I built up two very different styles – one a little more dressy (with a twist) and the other a day-to-day casual look.
First up was the dressy look (with a twist) – a lace black playsuit, with grey heels to tie in with the jackets colourings. I’d envisaged for this particular look to emulate the kind of sports luxe style that keeps cropping up. I’m not sure if I pulled it off completely – but hey, I tried it! I seem to team my choker with everything at the moment – so it came along for the ride here too.
Next up was a slightly more casual look, although made to look a little more Instagrammable with an exciting new pair of heels!
These jeans can make me look a little boxy and boyish sometimes, as they don’t have much shape to them – but they are my go-to whenever I’m in need of a casual, dressed down day. They’re super comfy, easy to chuck on and I like to think they’re stylish. Teamed with my new bomber and a ribbed white bodycon, I felt ready to conquer the streets (even if it was just for a day of shopping).
I love how simple the jacket is, yet in both cases – it really adds something to the outfit. Whether you want to go for something totally casual and dressed down – or with jeans and heels for a night out, it definitely has your back with the current weather!
What do you think of my styling – and do you like the jacket? Do you have any memorable styling disasters you could share to potentially make me feel better about mine?
This post was written in collaboration with M&S. All views, as always, are my own.