Buying my First Chanel Bag – Part 1 -Introductory Blog Post

This is going to be my most pricey review yet. Buying and owning a piece of Chanel is such an investment, and if you’re like me, and you like beautiful, hard-wearing handbags, you’ll appreciate this review. I hope this will be a handy guide for whoever wants to decide what size/what leather and what hardware to buy when you pick out your first Chanel.

My Buying Story

I was very lucky when it came to buying my bag. I was gifted some money by my grandparents, and instead of saving it (I knew that I’d waste it on random stuff over a few years) I decided that this was a sign to buy a piece of Chanel. IMG_4887

Before you criticise, please refer back to my other designer bag pieces (Speedy, Neverfull, Wallet, Le Pliage) and see that I’m not just buying this bag because I could. Each one of my bags I adore and use on a regular basis, and apart from a hardy backpack I use for travelling long distances, I don’t actually own any other bags.

So I knew that to help top off my collection, I needed a good day-to-night bag that screams sophistication and class. And for me, that’s a Chanel classic flap bag.

But instead of buying it through the Chanel boutique, I decided to try out the pre-owned market. There will be My Experiences with Shopping on the Vestiaire Collective post coming up so stay tuned.

I had watched various YouTubers use and shop on pre-owned sites (videos that helped me):

Chase Amie’s video on buying pre-loved Chanel Bags

Lydia Elise Millen buying from the Vestiaire Collective

Jerusha Couture on her Fashionphile Collection

So I was confident that buying from Vestiaire Collective would be a great way to find high quality, authentic designer bags for good deals. I know that there have been some negative points made about shopping on Vestiaire, but during my one purchase there, I didn’t experience anything like this.

Questions to Ask

Deciding Which Bag.

This may sound obvious to the reader here. ‘Just buy a Chanel bag, they all look the same’.

Yeah it wasn’t that simple.

For me, buying a Chanel bag goes between two styles. The 2.55 Reissue Bag and the Classic Flap. I love the Boy Bag, but it just wasn’t for me as my first Chanel bag. I wanted to go classic.

With the Classic Flap, you have the interlocking CC’s for the lock, with the siluotte of the 2.55 bag, and with the Reissue 2.55, this is slightly different look and style.

the-differences-between-the-chanel-2-55-and-classi-1

Image Credit – Designer-Vintage

 

I decided to go for the Classic Flap. I love the Reissue and would definitely purchase it in the future, but for my first one, I knew that I wanted the real classic look.

The second question I asked was, ‘What size should I go’.

Now this one really took a while to answer. I knew I was going to have to go for Medium or Jumbo (for my first investment piece, I couldn’t go Small) but as I never saw a side-by-side comparison in real life, I had to rely on YouTube once more to guide me.

Videos I found useful during this time:

What’s in my Bag – Alexis AKA MissTrenchcoat

Carol Summers – Jumbo vs Maxi

Chase Amie – Ultimate Chanel Guide

And after a lot of debating, I decided upon a Jumbo. The Medium Large was a close contender but I didn’t want to ever regret buying it when I couldn’t fit things in. I know that one day I’ll end up buying a Medium Large (probably in another type of leather – more about this further down)  but I really had to take time over my decision.

If anybody’s interested, sizing can be found on Chase Amie’s blog.

(If any readers have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!)

 

 Leathers

So, here I am. Decision has been made. I’m going to buy a Chanel Jumbo. I know it’s going to be in black, as I wear a lot of dark colours and it’ll just go. But now, I have to think. What leather? And what colour hardware?

Through my studies, Chanel Jumbos usually come in either Lambskin or Caviar leather. More exotic materials can be found on pricier models, but I knew that would be far out of my league.

So what’s the difference?

Lambskin is known to be the more luxurious type of leather. One that needs to be treated with just a little more TLC. Lambskin feels a lot richer to the touch, and is highly coveted for people who collect Chanel seriously. Smaller bags – like evening bags/special occasion bags look better in lambskin.

Caviar Leather is a lot more durable and can hold up to the daily bumping/scratching that can happen to your bags. It is worth to note that Caviar can look a lot nicer on bigger bags, just due to the surface area. Caviar is also preferrable on bags worn cross body. With its pebbled texture, Caviar bags can feel a little younger than its lambskin counterparts.

So for me, it was really a no-brainer. I’m not particularly babyish about my bags, so I decided upon a Caviar Leather. I knew I would be using it as a going out bag as well as a day bag, so I wanted to give it a fighting chance.

Videos I found useful during this decision making:

HappyPursuits – 20 Key Considerations between Lambskin and Caviar

Mel in Melbourne – Lambskin vs Caviar Scratch Test

Hardware?

Once again, this was a pretty tough decision. For me, Chanel looks its best in gold hardward. Gold and black really screams out C in class for Chanel in my mind, but I had to be serious about it. I wear very little gold jewellery, or have warmer shades of clothing. I’m far more a silver person. I also love the muted style of a Chanel Jumbo with silver hardware. It looks a little less showy-off than its gold version sibling. Chanel’s gold hardware is also a very yellowy gold, so you’ve got to bear that in mind.

black-classic-double-flap-chanel-caviar-bag

Image Credit: Lollipuff

Single or Double Flap

On the resell market, the Chanel Single Flap is quite a big deal. A lot of people prefer the single flap to the double due to it being lighter, roomier and now harder to find due to it only available on the resell market.

The double flap is know to be a lot heavier yet has the added advantage of being more secure. They are also known for holding their shape a lot better.

When I bought my bag, the decision between single and double flaps didn’t really cross my mind. It was only afterwards that I found out about the advantages of a single flap, but I don’t regret my decision in the slightest.

A video that explains this further is here

My Final Decision

So, here I was. I had made my decision.

A Chanel Jumbo Double Flap in Caviar Leather with Silver Hardware.

I couldn’t wait to buy it and try it on.

Please come back for my second installment which includes my four month review of this bag.

Louis Vuitton Jeanne Wallet – First Impressions and Review

For readers of this blog, I’m sure it’s become apparent to you that I’m a big fan of Louis Vuitton. As you’ve read on my other reviews (Speedy, Neverfull, Coin Purse) I find the brand to have products that are both good value for money, as well as being highly durable. So when I decided that I wanted a new wallet, I knew that it was going to be a Louis Vuitton. But as the brand has over 30 different designs, with countless other colours/fabrics etc, I knew that this was going to be a hard decision.

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I was originally going for the Caïssa wallet, as I liked the design and the slimness, but then I realised that all my cards/cash wouldn’t fit in it. I’m definitely somebody who carries a lot with them in their wallet. I carry stamp cards, pictures, handwritten notes and receipts on my day to day basis, and I’ve done this for years. So I thought that I may have to save up more for something like the Insolite organiser.

But when I stumbled upon the Jeanne wallet on their website, I knew that this was the one that had caught my heart.

And upon purchasing it in the Nice boutique in the South of France in May, I fell more in love with the practicality of it, and how it feels so different from anything I’ve ever owned before.

The Wallet – Size/Design

The Jeanne Wallet is definitely a lot wider than some of the other designs – easily spanning the width of my hand and has an envelope design, as opposed to the accordion design of something like a Zippy. So if you’re wanting a slim, small wallet that will easily fit inside a narrower bag like a Chanel Boy or a Gucci Soho, this may not be the one for you.

With a metal button holding the wallet together (I preferred this design against the leather button of the Josephine, as I’ve heard that can get quite badly worn after multiple use) the wallet opens to reveal a-shaped slot in the front in which a card holder sits very snugly.

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Now, this is the beauty of the wallet for me. The wallet comes with one large open pocket along the back (this is where I’ve put my paper stamp cards and train/railway tickets) and inside it has 6 in-built card slots and one large open section.

Within this interior open section, a detachable zipped coin purse sits very snugly, with a V-shaped cut out design that is perfect for quickly putting a bank card or ID if you just wanted to put your cards/money into a smaller bag.

For my wallet, I have the Monogram print with the Fuchsia interior. You can also get it in the very popular Rose Ballerine colour, and I’ve even heard you can combine colours to make a trio of different colours for your wallet if you visit the right Louis Vuitton.

But I have mine in one whole colour. Although I’ve heard the Rose Ballerine is very beautiful to look at, it apparently marks very badly. And when you’ve got coins or notes rubbing up against the lining, this could very quickly become an issue.

Durability/Usability

For me, I love that the wallet features a detachable card holder and coin purse – as it offers a huge selection of choice. You can take out the card holder for a night out (the card holder has one slot in the front, and can hold two extra cards inside) or you can put your card in the coin purse etc.FullSizeRender (3)
Or, if you just wanted to grab your coin purse (perfect for car-parking/meters or public transport), you don’t have to carry your whole wallet out. Everything is completely detachable and sits very nicely together when completely full. The wallet is fairly heavy when completely stuffed – at the moment, I have quite a lot of coins and cards, so I can vouch for how weighty it is.

Like all Louis Vuitton products, this has the signature Canvas/Leather mix, so it is very durable. I’ve spilt suncream, makeup and toothpaste on my wallet, and all it needs is a quick wet wipe clean. The button closure at the front feels very secure and never pings open, but I am very cautious about completely overstuffing it.

What I have noticed about this wallet is that when you do fill it up, you have to be aware that the pockets stretch. I’ve noticed it particularly on the back open section, as it really has stretched a fair bit, and I’m not sure that even if I take all the stuff out, it may not spring back to flatness. So far nothing has fallen out of the stretched sections, but I will make sure I update this page if something has happened.

I know a lot of people don’t like this when it happens to their products, as they want them to remain fairly pristine, so you’ll have to bear it in mind.

Price 

Louis Vuitton prices range from fairly low to quite high in their luxury goods sections, and wallets are no exception. Online, the Jeanne wallet retails (as of June 2017) for £355, but as I bought my abroad, I paid £331. Now, whether this is because of the Euro-Sterling exchange rate at the time, I’m not sure. So definitely check your prices when you’re abroad.

Is it Worth it?

As you can probably tell, I’m a big Louis Vuitton fan. So I think that the whole brand is worth the money. If you’re wanting to dip your toe in the world of luxury goods, a wallet is a good way to go, as it’s not a huge investment like a bag, and one that you could probably resell for a little loss on authentic preloved sites.

What I love about the Jeanne wallet is that it’s almost customisable. You can take out what you want for the day, and know that it will always come back together well. So it works for both big bags and small bags. And for the price point (bearing mind its only a little bigger than a Zippy, and the wallets start at around the £500 mark), you’re well worth trying it out.fullsizerender-1.jpg

Jeanne Facts and Figures 

– 19 x 11 x 1 cm (length x height x width)
– 7.5 x 4.3 x 0.4 inches

Check out Louis Vuitton’s website for more information.

Longchamp Le Pliage Large Tote – First Impressions and Review.

When it comes to designer bags, I think I’ve invested wisely in particular brands/styles. If you’re curious about the pieces I’ve bought, then please take a while to look through my Neverfull review and Speedy review posts. However, recently I found myself at a bit of a loss when it came to deciding between my two Louis Vuitton’s. Due to the ever-changing nature of British weather, I needed a tote bag (for University and workimg_4073) that wouldn’t be as open as my Neverfull, but was both waterproof and smart. I also needed something that could double as an overnight bag, but wouldn’t look too oversized.
Through my research, I kept stumbling upon the Longchamp Le Pliage bags, and was intrigued by all the positive reviews that I found. For the price point (around £75) this line of bags has had devotees from the Duchess of Cambridge to It-Girl Alexa Chung, and was on the rise in popularity in my town.

So, after deciding upon a colour (Blue Mist – currently in stock for anyone curious) I had my sent from Selfridges to my work address, and I instantly fell in love with the practicality of such a well-constructed bag.

Made out of water-resistant Nylon, with a wipe-clean exterior and interior, this bag is incredibly roomy. I can easily pack my laptop, University books, change of clothes and my everyday essentials for a night away, and still have room to spare. With only a small inner pocket (big enough for some loose change and cards for ease of access) it is a real tote bag in all senses of the word. The Le Pliage also comes with beautiful cowhide snap closure and straps. At the moment, these straps haven’t lost their rigidity, so I do find that they can slip off my shoulder as I’m carrying it, but I’m sure that once they get a little more worn in, they’ll be fine. The straps are a lot thicker than that of the Neverfull, but I don’t find this an issue.

With a zip along the length of the entire bag, along with the snap closure, I feel quite safe carrying belongings in here as I think it’s quite secure. I’ve used this bag as a day-to-night bag, and even from University to date night, which is something I’m pleased that it can accommodate with. So far, it’s proved quite durable, and has dealt with some pretty horrific weather without anything getting wet, which also impressed me.

The Longchamp also has this nifty trick of being able to fold up to the size of a paperback book, which will be useful for the travelling that I intend on doing in the next week.

img_4069All in all, I’ve found no faults with this bag so far, apart from the slight grievance about the rigidity of the leather straps. However, I’m not sure over how durable it’ll be in the long run, but we shall have to see. For £75, I would definitely purchase again.

I bought my bag via Selfridges, and found the delivery and packaging quite satisfactory (you get a tracking number and necessary documentation) and my bag is in the colour Blue Mist – a choice so I could transition this bag from winter to summer without any clashes.

But if you’ve got a Longchamp or anything similar, I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment!

Longchamp’s Website

Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM – First Impressions and Review.

As stated in my Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere blogpost, I was saving up for my next Louis Vuitton bag. I knew that this bag would be the fruits of my worklife, and would take a lot of saving and time on my behalf, but I was excited for the opportunity.

Whilst shopping for my Bandouliere, I was shown a Neverfull as a comparison piece, and became enamoured. The structure of the tote bag was something I was sorely missing from my handbag collection, and I wanted this bag to be something that meant a lot to me.

Louis Vuitton Handbag Choices.

Now, like with the Speedy Collection, the Neverfull has different sizes that can make choosing the right bag quite difficult. With three concrete sizes:

  • The Neverfull PM (Smallest of the lot with dimensions = 11.4 x 8.7 x 5.1 inches
    (length x height x width)img_3488
  • The Neverfull MM (Middle size – Dimensions = 12.6 x 11.4 x 6.7 inches)
  • The Neverfull GM (Largest size – Dimensions = 15.7 x 13.0 x 7.9 inches)

The size you choose is all dependent on what you would use it for and what you would pack in it.

From what I can tell, the PM size seems to be quite dainty, the MM seems to be a good day tote/everyday bag, and the GM seems to be a monster of a bag, perfect for luggage/weekend away/hefty office work. However, I knew myself that I didn’t want or need the GM. I’m sure that in the future I’d love to purchase a GM as my definite oversized tote, but for my first Neverfull, I was happy with the smaller MM size.

Also, like with the Speedy Collection, there are a huge amount of different colours, interior and exterior design and personalisation options. I decided to go for the Damier Ebene print (the darkered checkered print) with the Red interior lining. Only a few weeks ago, Louis Vuitton did release the Ebene print with the beautiful Rose Ballerine pink lining, which is a gorgeous mixture, but due to hearing issues with the lining marking quite easily, I wanted to go for something hardier.

For the MM, I paid £835. Louis Vuitton had just done a price increase, which boosted the MM up from £795, which was unfortunate timing on my behalf, but luckily I had saved extra.

Shipping 

I bought the bag online via the Louis Vuitton website, which actually was bit of a palaver, but a phone call to customer service eased my mind. I found that with a bank transfer, Louis Vuitton didn’t confirm when the received the transfer, nor when it cleared. I had to physically ring up and check.

For a UK resident as myself, the bag took a good week or so to arrive from door to door. The shipping was free, and they did give you a tracking number. However, the UPS courier didn’t specify what time they would arrive, so I had to have it shipped to my work address rather than home, as I wouldn’t want it to be delayed or without a signature upon arrival.

The bag came with all receipts, letters and a dustbag, but not in a branded LV box which surprised me. However, I was thrilled when it turned up, and couldn’t wait to use it.

The Review.

As I’ve had this bag for over a month now, I’m comfortable enough to write a review on how it has fared, and what I use it with.

Firstly, the bag is plenty big enough for what I usually carry around. I was really wavering between the MM and GM, just because I couldn’t visualise how big it was going to be (my memory of the size I saw in shop is fairly bad). In my bag I can fit:

  • A Macbook Pro 13inch laptop with charger
  • An A4 notebook
  • Wallet
  • Keys on a large fluffy keyring
  • iPod
  • iPhone
  • A full size deodrant
  • A bagged lunch
  • A scarf
  • A fiction book
  • A 750ml waterbottle
  • A micro umbrella.fullsizerender-1

(Actual image of my Neverfull with everything inside)

Before you ask, yes this makes the bag very heavy. However, it never makes it dreadfully uncomfortable, and I don’t necessarily use the bag for long periods of time when I pack this full. In this brief time I’ve had it, I’ve not noticed any fraying of the straps or any wear to the bag due to how heavy I weigh it down by. This could all change over the years.

Unlike my Speedy, I chose the Damier Ebene print. This choice comes with the treated dark leather straps which are very different from the Speedy’s vachetta leather, that will patina over the time. The Damier Ebene straps won’t change colour, unlike the Speedy. The straps started out initially very firm and stiff, however I am confident that they will soften over the years of use.

Like with the Speedy, the Damier Ebene is a special canvas mix that is waterproof and easily wipe clean, so it’s pretty durable.

The interior of the bag is a gorgeous dark red with black piping, and comes with an deep interior zippered pocket and detachable pochette, that is attached to the bag with a D-ring. The pochette is in the Damier Ebene print and fairly spacious, but can bulge if you stuff it with bulky or circler items. I’ve found that it holds its shape with a compact mirror, small lipstick and tissues. I’ve also used the pochette as a clutch for evenings out, and is plenty big for my cards/iPhone/keys. The pochette can be also used as an extra pocket if you were inclined to keep things in pouches.

The bag also comes with a clasp at the top to offer some security and keep the bag partially shut.

Drawbacks 

The only drawback I’ve properly noticed with this bag is the lack of zip across tfullsizerenderhe whole bag. As the tote is open, all your belongings are on show constantly, which can deter the more safety conscious of us. It’s also a risk for rain. What I’ve done to combat this is I usually layer a thick scarf across my belongings, which can be used to keep some of the rain and eagle-eyed snoops off your possessions. You can also invest in a zippered bag organiser from retailers if you’re so inclined.

Also, as the bag isn’t particularly structured, there can be a deal of sag at the bottom. I’ve had to invest in a base shaper for mine, as I didn’t like how it looked and worried how it could damage my bag. I’ll be doing a review on that when it arrives in the post.

Conclusion

The minor drawbacks are the only issues I’ve had with this bag so far. I think it’s a beautifully designed bag, and spacious enough for my over-packing but couldn’t appear too oversized or out of balance. I love the Damier Ebene print, and I’m happy I chose the red interior. With the base shaper, it’ll help it in shape, and I love using this bag on my heavier workload days, and keep my Speedy for the rainy shopping trips.

However, give me your opinions? If you’ve got a GM, let me know and we’ll have a big handbag discussion in the comments.

 

 

 

 

The Swans of Fifth Avenue – Book Review

Title: The Swans of Fifth Avenue

Author: Melanie Benjamin

Rating: 3/5

Genre: Celebrity, Memoir, Historical Fiction, Women’s Literature, Chick-Lit, Contemporary Fiction


“Babe Paley simply never made an empty gesture, and here she was, assembling a parade of them. But her feet, her hands, her mind, her heart, were all restless. Truman.”

Throughout all my years of being an English student, one author has cropped up time and time again during my studies. His words have always struck a deep emotional chord with me and I would eagerly devour his stories whenever I could. To me, Truman Capote was, and still is, such an enigma in his writing, as he not only invented the idea of the ‘nonfiction novel’, but brought to life the cult favourite of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And it 9780345528698wasn’t just his literary talent that he was praised for, but his flamboyant and very decorated personal life as a social butterfly and celebrity favourite.
So when I was sent The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin to review, I was thrilled.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue focuses on 1950s/60s New York City and author Truman Capote’s life and his relationship with the higher tiers of society. At the peak of the society, women of immense power, money, familial ties and intrigue stand apart from the rest. These are Truman’s ‘swans’, and they represent a world of riches and beauty that Truman desperately wishes to be part of. And at the head of this group, socialite and style icon, Babe Paley is the undisputed queen. Glamourous, elegant and always dressed exquisitely, Babe Paley oozed glamour and sophistication. But beneath the perfect wife and woman façade, Babe Paley is a highly sensitive and passionate individual who craves love and affection that she is not receiving through her perfectly suited, yet loveless marriage. And when Truman Capote sweeps into her life with a larger-than-life personality, he sets Babe’s dull world into glorious Technicolour. And through winning the affection of Babe, Truman is granted unrivaled access into the snake-pit that is New York high society. But is Truman trustworthy? And what do you do when secrets get revealed, and the picture-perfect charade comes crashing down about you?

Now, this story is indeed very glamourous and scandalous. With a fairly fast pace and well-timed flashbacks and forwards, it keeps the reader interested, and allows you to become immersed into a world that seems entirely foreign from the everyday. From wearing Chanel suits to light lunches at the Plaza and into shopping sprees in Tiffany’s, this world seems so entirely rich and vibrant that is feels almost dreamlike. Now, despite the novel having a darker and more real undertone – with the Truman Capote scandal, the hidden lives of the glamourous women (drink, drugs, sex scandals, domestic abuse etc) – this novel isn’t particularly hard-hitting in those senses. To me, these were issues that really could have been explored and in better detail. In my opinion, this novel just wanted to have a halcyon glaze of glamour and beauty.

The ‘Swans’ were really an interesting group of women. They were all beautiful, charming, malicious, and as two-faced as they could come, and they thrived on attention and the scandal that surrounded their lives. With loveless marriages, money issues, drug and drink addiction and cosmetic surgery pressures, these women were constantly scrutinised by their closest friends as well as society, and I found them all to be highly interesting and unique characters. I particularly found Slim Keith and Gloria Vanderbilt to be interesting figures as they stood apart from the rest of the swans, and gave the taste of individuality and strength.

The relationship between Babe and Truman was always one of interest. To me, Benjamin has really written it as a relationship that seems so co-dependent and unhealthy, it borders on obsession. Both with unresolved mother issues, these two lonely hearts were drawn to each other for different reasons. And whilstbabe-paley-wearing-a-creation-of-traina-norell-photographed-by-horst-p-horst-from-american-vogue-in-1946 Truman ultimately sacrifices his relationship for the sake of a quick buck – his infamous short story ‘La Côte Basque 1965’ fictionalises and reveals all of Babe’s secrets, resulting in his Swans cutting him out of New York society – there is a sense that Truman really did care for Babe. And with the latter chapters showing both Babe and Truman’s downward spiral, due to illness and drink and drug dependencies, it is then when the book really does come into its own. After watching interviews and reading books on Capote, I thought that Benjamin really captured his spirit well.

Throughout the novel, I thought Benjamin captured the intimacy and secrecy of this world well. Sometimes it felt very intrusive whilst reading it, as though you, the reader was being allowed into the gilded cage and offered up the secrets.
All in all, I found this novel enjoyable. Yes, it some parts it was too sweet, and skimmed over the darker parts of the novel. But it was a light, and comfortable read. Perfectly suited for travel or a holiday. But don’t expect to be reading hard-hitting literature here. Full of scandal, intrigue and beautiful clothes, this novel transports you away to the cool interiors of Bergdorf’s, St Regis and Tiffany’s.

To buy this book – Amazon/Waterstones

Author’s website – Click Here

Romantic and Rustic Wedding Moodboard.

As I’ve stated before in my Winter Wedding Ideas, I absolutely adore wedding planning. Of course, my own wedding is far in the future, but I think there is no harm in starting mood boards and looking through magazines early, so you can get an overall feel into what vibe you want your wedding to look like.

Now, as winter has finally turned the corner, and Easter and Spring is fast approaching, I thought I’d do an updated Romantic and Rustic Wedding mood board and invitation blogpost.

So, in a very rough attempt of a moodboard, I’ve collected a few photos of some of my favourite ‘Romantic and Rustic’ wedding-esque vibes, that not only give me something to aspire towards, but are also very unique.

So yes, as you can see, I’ve gone for a very dusty pink wedding palette. Now, my favourite colour scheme ever is light blue-and-white, but I feel for a romantic and spring wedding, this dusty pink just compliments the time of the year. Roses are my favourite flower, as I think they just add sophistication and beauty to everything they accompany, and having them attached to a veil would make for such a beautiful and unique wedding touch.

Now, as an English graduate and book nerd, I think having literary touches as table centerpieces and confetti reflect me as a person, and would be great conversation starters. Also, who doesn’t want to be doused with confetti made from the world’s greatest love stories?

And the addition of a blackboard, gorgeous shoes, and candlelight, my spring wedding board bursts with love, beauty, floral overtones and magic. I think a spring wedding needs to have something that ties in with nature, and by giving seeds as a wedding gift to guests, this also shows that your from your wedding day, life has the ability to be created and cultivated.

So, what would my wedding invitation look like? Now, I was searching and searching, and found this website called PaperlessPost, so through this, I got to peruse through the thousands of designs. PaperlessPost offer both online and physical copies of invitations,  and you can either pick from the beautiful designs, or customise your own and add photos, to make the invitation entirely unique and personal. And it’s not just limited to weddings, but a whole smorgasbord of invitation-worthy events.

And the design I chose was the line created by renowned fashion designer, Oscar de la Renta, and it’s the Rose Floral Ikat in the Navy colour. 421f85398a8794d54b5db502a21aa49c6ae0c2f5_1457444862

Now, I know it doesn’t necessarily follow with the pale and dusty pastels of my wedding palette, but I found this to be the most classically stunning and elegant colour scheme. I love how PaperlessPost show the invitation off with reference to literary characters, and with wedding invitations and envelopes all showing this beautiful design, I just fell in love.

So here it is, my romantic and rustic wedding ideas blogpost. For my full moodboard and inspirations, I will link my Pinterest below, so you can see more if you so wish.

But please tell me, what’s your dream wedding? And would you stick with pastels, or go for something different?

My Romantic and Rustic Spring Wedding Inspirational Pieces.

Winter Wedding Ideas!

A few weeks ago, TheBlackTux.com asked me to write my thoughts on a ‘Winter Wedding Ideas’ blogpost. Now, despite being a 21-year old single student, I love planning and thinking about weddings, and I adore winter as a season for fashion and clothing.

So I thought I’d share some of my personal favourites if I were planning a winter wedding, and what I would love to include to make the big day as special as it could be.

1: Faux Fur Wraps.

With winter bringing the cold weather and the chill wind over the UK9101289947166.jpg, I think a white faux fur stole or wrap would be the perfect touch to any festive wedding. To me, faux fur looks so classy if done right, and there isn’t anything better than being wrapped up in a fur jacket on a icy day. So why not incorporate into your big day? Perfect for outdoor shots, and adding a little something to any strapless dress, these wraps keep your shoulders warm but let your arms and movement be relatively free.

At the moment, Monsoon are doing some beautiful wraps, and I adore this Addilyn Feather Cape, as it does add a bit of vintage/showbiz glamour, and could easily be reworn after the big day. Also, with the addition of a embellished brooch, and fine-knit fabric lining, this won’t snag or damage any  bridal dresses. And retailing at £129, I think this is a steal for your big day.

2: Irregular Choice Shoes.

Now, these are definitely a very personal favourite. Some may call them garish, tacky, and some people wouldn’t touch these shoes with a barge pole for their wedding day.

But I adore them. Irregular Choice is such a unique shop, and I adore how each shoe looks like a work of art. No matter what pair of shoes you’ll get, they will be made well and be comfortable, and they’ll definitely send out a statement on your wedding day.

My two favourites are:

7129-1-lThe ‘Grin & Tonic’ vintage style boots.

With the gorgeous lace detailing, oversized bow at the front and moderate heel, has the perfect blend between outrageous yet sensible, and the flash of blue on the sole which could be classfied as your ‘something blue AND new’.

Retailing at £115.00

 

Or:

The ‘I Love You’ heels.

Now these are so unusual, gorgeous and statement-ish, you’d struggle to find more unique and quirky shoes for your wedding. With wedding-character heels depicting a bride and groom, brocade style and applique of ‘I ♥ You’ across the toes, these shoes are genuinely a mixture between art and footwear. Also these shoes come in a ‘Mrs and Mrs’ style as well.

Retailing at £149.00

 

3: Bandelettes 

Now, I’m going to be writing my own blogpost reviewing the Bandelettes Beige 1004 Bands, but I thought I’d include them in this. For curvier girls, or people with just bigger thighs that can rub together and cause irritation, Bandelettes are godsend. In a nutshell, they artrio-back-2014e  5.5 inch Lace Bands, secured with two strips of non-slip silicone that sit on the upper parts of your thighs and give that added protection and stop skin-on-skin chafing. And for a wedding day, when you don’t want to be wearing tights, Bandelette
s provide a discreet and comfortable way to wear that beautiful gown of yours without any chafing or unneccessary pain. They come in a variety of colours, including nude and white, and are reusable.

Shipping from the US – Retailing at $15.99/£10.55

4: Book Confetti.

As this is a literary blog, I had to do something with books. So why not combine two of your favourite things, and have book confetti! To me, there would be nothing moil_570xn-673572676_3ti2
re romantic than exiting the marriage venue and have Shakespeare sonnets rain around me as confetti. A quirky touch to any wedding, and completely DIY and money-saving if you wanted it to be. However, PaperHeartCreation on Etsy has a wonderful shop full of different types and styles of confetti, for relatively cheap prices.

 

5: Bridesmaid Gifts – Silver or Gold Snowflake Necklace.

In my mind, picking bridesmaids will extremely difficult. These are the women who help you on the day, keep your nerves down, tidy up your dress and just be the best people original_gold-and-silver-rhinestone-snowflake-necklacea woman can have on her bi
g day. So naturally, you’d want to thank them for all their time and effort. And whilst pursuing notonthehighstreet.com, I found the sweetest, wintery present for those special ladies. These snowflakes necklaces would be a touching memento from your big day, and with the option of a personalised star initial charm, they can make every necklace feel entirely unique to the person. A wintery goodie for your bridesmaid!

Retailing at £15 per necklace.

So yes, here we are! These are my top 4 picks for my winter wedding inspired blogpost. A huge thank you to Sam and everyone at TheBlackTux.com for influencing this post – head over there if you want to see a good suit and tuxedo rentals.

#Ownthemoment16

Thank you for reading!

 

Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere 30 – First Impressions and Review

So, after a good 10 years of pining, making scrapbook pages and just lusting hopelessly, I finally got to get my dream handbag of a Louis  Vuitton Speedy 30 as a graduation gift. And now, after a month and a bit of using it virtually everyday, I think I can finally write a review on it as being an investment piece, and as an everyday handbag.
So, which handbag did I pick?

The Speedy collection ranges in different sizes – from the teensy Nano through to the 25-40 versions, and with a variety of prints and colours at your disposal:

  • The Monogram – traditional LV printed monogram.
  • The Damier Ebene – brown checkered print.
  • The Damier Azure – cream and blue/grey checkered print.

There are plenty of options for your personal taste. With the addition of the crossbody strap, the Speedy evolves into the Bandouliére design, which in turn also has the Monogram, Damier and the Empreinte design (a embossed leather finish in a variety of colours).

So, as you can see, there is a lot of different colours, styles and choices to make. I chose the Monogram print, as I’ve always loved the LV print over the checkered brown, and I like the idea of the pale patina leather (more of that down below).

Now, I’m a girl who carries the world and its kitchen sink in my bag. As a reader, I always have to have a book with me, and usually there’s chargers, cardigans and just an assortment of crap that gets shoved in the bottom of my bag in case I need it. So I prefer handbags that have a crossbody strap, as it bears some weight off my wrists and has that added security bonus. So for me, the Bandouliére was the perfect design.

But what I get most asked is’how much was it?’, and the answer is very simple. It cost £790. And don’t get me wrong, I appreciate how lucky I am to own this bag, and to be given it as a gift was incredibly generous of my family. But for a designer bag that has been tried-and-tested to be long-lasting, and virtually indestructible as a everyday bag, I think it is worth every penny. Another interesting fact I was told is that the pale calfskin colour of the strap, handles and side would darken in time due to the use and exposure to the elements, which I personally cannot wait for. I love that the bag changes as the years go past, as it shows that I’ve been using it.

So, how does this bag fare? Well, whilst I was at the shop, I was allowed to test out both the 30 and 35 size, as I wasn’t sure how big and deep the bags were. And for me, as a big-bag lover, the 30 was the perfect size. It has plenty of room inside for everything I need, and I’m sure that if I needed to, I could turn this into an overnight bag.

If you detach the shoulder strap, the 30 still retains that capable and comfortable handbag feel, whilst to me, the 35 would have looked a little oversized. However, you need to be mindful of the openings of both bags. The zip opening of the 30 is fine for me, but I do find myself sometimes slotting things in at an angle to actually get them into the bag. The 35 may also have the added room so you can completely overfill your bag with every possible necessity, and it not appearing fit to burst. But, it’s entirely up to you and your personal preference.

The bag is brown canvas inside, so there is no worry of scratching any soft leather if you shove your life into this bag, and it has one inside pocket. The inside pocket isn’t the most open or widest pocket ever, so usually I just stick something flat inside there,such as train tickets or keys. The bag also comes with the added security of a lock and key.

I also chose the Bandouliére over the traditional Speedy due to the added shoulder strap, and security that it brings. The Speedy’s handles are notoriously small, so really it can only be held in the hands or in the crock of the elbow. And sometimes, when you have a lot of stuff in your bag, or you just want to have it out of the way, that can feel a bit overwhelming or heavy. Also, despite the Classic Speedy having flaps for a possible strap, these are just punctuared holes in a piece of leather, so if you overburdened your bag, and had a strap holding it up, it may rip and completely disfigure the shape of your bag.

With the Bandouliére’s reinforced side panels, hooks and having actual measures put in to make sure a strap is a viable option, I chose that one. The strap is also an interesting piece of workmanship, as it’s
not just one long piece of leather with an adjustable slide, but actually two straps that buckle together. So this can be switched up to be either a crossbody bag, for those times when you just want to sling it across and forget about it, or a fashionable shoulder bag. The straps also have three different lengths, so you honestly can mix it up so many ways. However, you must be warned. The Bandouliére is +£200 more expensive than the Classic Speedy in the same size. So there are positives and negatives to that.

So how is this bag boxed, and how was the customer service? Customer service was exemplary. As I went into the New Bond Street’s Louis Vuitton, I was greeted by a host of store members who cooed over the fact that this was my first LV. My server was a lovely Asian lady called Grace, who brought out every bag I asked for, gave me all the information I could ask, and brought over some complimentary drinks which really added to the vibe. She explained everything to me, and let me have a look around the shop as she got my bag ready.

Now, how was the boxing? I must say, the packaging for these bags is well done. I got dustbags, boxes, ribbons and all the bells and whistles. Even the receipt was on plush paper and inside a little envelope. But the actual boxing? For ease of transporting, size and whatnot, your bag is folded up and flat-packed into the box. And some people may like that. But for me, it was a bit of an ‘oh…’ moment. Because you are paying quite a lot of money (in my mind anyway), and to see your bag being folded up is just a bit odd. I guess if you were buying a more expensive bag, it wouldn’t get manipulated that way, but who knows. So afterwards, the bag did need a few days being padded out and warped back into shape. The Monogram Canvas bag isn’t actually full leather (a fact I didn’t know) so it can be moved into those positions and squished without too much damage. But I guess that is why it lasts. I can be tossed around, and it will last.

But all in all, I love my bag. I know some people find the Monogram print a bit tacky, and copied. And I was torn between the Speedy and the Neverfull (which is going to be my next splurge), but this is me getting my lifelong dream bag. I use it all the time, it’s a perfect transitionary piece between all the seasons, night and day, and it just screams class in my opinion. I am so happy with it!

But if you have any questions on this bag, please let me know below. I hope this is enough of a review.

But let me know if you’ve got a Louis Vuitton, and whether you think it’s worth it!

Autumnal Fashion Favourites – Capes, Shoes and Handbags.

So, the nights are drawing in, there’s a chill in the air, and the leaves have dropped and are brown underfoot. Autumn has officially arrived, and this season has given rise to a change in fashion, a change in taste, and a change in what I find enjoyable. Like spring, autumn is one of those transitional times of years where you can certainly feel a change in the air. Halloween is fast approaching, I’ve already seen the first Christmas advert, and I find myself steering away from the kimonos and maxi dresses of this past few months, and back into thick tights and warm outerwear. So I thought I’d give you a quick overview of my autumnal favourites.

Capes/Blanket Wraps

(New Look Fur-Trimmed Blanket Wrap – £24.99 (Discontinued online but available within shop)

How excellent are capes?! With  the wind getting cooler, and a definite touch of frost nipping at my arms as I walk to work, I’ve found myself dragging my cape over my shoulders. And for me, capes or blanket wraps are the perfect fashion must-have for these colder months. Not only have they been the favourite autumn/winter staple for the last few years, they seem to be the perfect finishing touch to a variety of outfits and styles. You can dress them down with jeans, jumper and boots for the day, and then use it as a stylish cover-up over a dress and heels for the night. Also what I love about capes is that, as somebody who runs quite warm throughout the year, I sometimes find winter jackets and hoodies restricting. I usually find myself ripping them off throughout the day when I get too hot, but their bulkiness makes them difficult to carry. So the brilliance of capes are that they can be easily tucked away in some moderate-sized handbag. Also, if you add a belt, you can transform this sometimes, shapeless design into a gorgeous waist-flaunting piece of fashion. And for all us curvy girls, who sometimes find the coat-over-chest size an issue, the cape is comfortable and wide enough to cover these areas without appearing too shapeless.

And what I love about my particular cape is the fur collar. Because no matter when I wear it, I feel like a Russian princess!

Handbags

(Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere 30 in Monogram Canvas – £790)


Now, this isn’t a typical young adult piece of fashion. This is high-end and with a matching high-price. But I have been blessed with this bag as a graduation present, and it definitely had to come in my Autumn Favourites. The Speedy 30, originally designed in the 1930s, has become a staple bag for wannabe handbag collectors, and usually one of the first pieces that they own. And I was no different. With the monogram canvas design, calfskin handles and beautiful design (honestly this bag can hold so much!) this bag can seamlessly move between day-to-night, and even as an overnight bag. Also, with the Bandouliere design, this comes with a strap that can be adjusted to be shoulder-carrying, or even cross-body, so for that added comfort and security. As well as being a fashion classic, this bag is perfect for autumn as it has a muted colour scheme that fits in well with the typical autumnal colours of browns, reds and purple, and it also is sturdy enough to survive being rained on, strong winds and probably even snow. I just love this bag. And there will be a proper blog post linked here.

Shoes

(Black Over-The-Knee Block Heel Boots – New Look £44.99)

and

(Cat face ballet shoes – George for Asda £8)

So, with winter coming, the shoes that I’m now veering towards are quite different from my summer flipflops and lacey flats. And recently, I’ve bought two pairs of shoes that have completely revolutionised my wardrobe.

The first are these over-the-knee block boots from New Look. Now, as a girl who has been blessed with significantly musclear calves and thighs, I find buying boots on the high street a very difficult and limited task. Either they have to be built for people with wider calves – and these completely swamp my thinner ankles and make my boots sag – or I have to just go for ankle-length ones, which is completely fine, but isn’t what I want in a winter boot. But recently, after a random trip into my local New Look and having a peruse around the shoe department, I stumbled upon these boots that miraculously fit snugly over my calves without any zippers or stretchy panels, and even went up to my knees.

These boots are faux-suede, and very cosy for these colder months. With the over-the-knee design, they offer that little more warmth and protection for your knees and lower thigh, as well as making you look a little like a super-hero. The block heel isn’t too high that it looks out of place for a regular boot, and they can easily be worn over jeans for a casual day look, or with tights for a dressier nighttime. And for £45, it isn’t too high a price. So I’d definitely recommend these boots! And for all those girls out there who don’t know whether they’ll fit, go in and try them on! I have worn mine to death, as they look and feel good, plus they fit over my calves and flatter my legs. So click here if you want to buy them.

And the second pair of shoes I bought are these adorable cat-face ballet shoes. Now, I have lusted over the Charlotte Olympia Kitty flats for a long time, but at nearly £400, I just couldn’t afford them. But when I was flicking through a fashion magazine and stumbled upon this £8 supermarket alternative, I just knew I had to have them. Despite being labelled as a ‘slipper’, these are perfect for the crisp autumnal weather, and with a subtle cat face design, and a gorgeous velvet exterior, these shoes may not be suitable for wet days, but are an adorable alternative to the staple black-ballet pumps that should be in every girl’s wardrobe. And for £8? Absolute bargain.

So, these are my go-to autumnal fashion favourites. Links to items will be listed below if they are available online, and if not, try in your local shops or through catalogues. But let me know in the comments if you have any autumnal fashion favourites!

-Alice x

Links to accessories!

Cape – (Alternative Colour Online) 

Handbag – Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere 30

Boots – Over the Knee Block Heel

Ballet Pump – Out of Stock 

Wearing Monochrome and Layering – Curvy Fashions and OOTD

In your wardrobe, no matter what size, shape or gender you are, there should be the staple black-and-white pieces of clothing that you can just pull together and not worry that you don’t match. Well, my whole wardrobe is virtually made up with black tights, leggings, dresses and trousers, but the introduction of white pieces is very much a new thing. Black to me is a safe thing. It’s slimming, it goes with everything and if it get grubby it doesn’t show up that much. But white is quite the opposite. I’m naturally very clumsy, so wearing white when I’m just performing day-to-day tasks will probably end up with something spilled down it, or it just getting dirty. Also, I, like many other women, prefer owning brightly coloured pieces of underwear. I have a few neutral pieces, but none that I really like and would wear out of choice.

However, it’s always good to step out of your comfort zones with clothes. And for the last few days I’ve been pairing together some pieces that I think looks good.


Black sleeveless belted blazer – New Look

Cosette t-shirt – Queens Theatre giftshop

Black and white flower-print skort – Asda

Tights – Peacocks

Black leather boots – Clarks.

Polka dot faux-silk shirt – Heart and Soul.

Black sleeveless blazer – New Look

Black jersey pencil skirt – New Look

Black tights – Calvin Klein

Black leather Oxfords – New Look

Black and white print dress – Greek holiday purchase

Black cardigan – Primark

Tights – Zac Posen

Black boots – Clarks

So, as you can see I’ve rework some staple pieces of clothes, like my blazer, boots and tights, and paired them up to entirely separate outfits to make entirely different looks. With these staples you can rarely go wrong. Having something like this New Look blazer, it has the ability of tying the majority of any fashion pieces together, and it’s good in both cold and warm weather. The belted waist also draws attention to my best feature, and also adds an air of professionalism.

The monochrome look is always going to be a fashion classic, and despite a mixing of prints that some of my outfits do, it can rarely go wrong when you have black and white together.

Also, the light denier of the tights is good even in the summer, as well as the winter, and it can make your legs look slimmer. Plus, if you’re a girl, and you haven’t had time to shave your legs, tights is a good alternative to that.

Also, another focus of this post is about layering clothes. Now, I am pretty new to layering. I usually wear layers in the winter, just to keep warm. But in the summer, I barely want to wear anything under my arms or restricting air from getting to my skin. But with the additions of these sleeveless blazers, thin-knit cardigans and kimonos, layering has been a cool alternative to jazz up any outfit. Also, with the thin material of my kimonos and cardigans, you can always tuck them away in a small bag during the day, but it can provide a good little shrug for the cooler evening air. Plus, if you wear the right sort of layer – like the sleeveless blazer or a printed kimono – it is the perfect transition piece for day to night. And for the transitional months of September and October, layering can be that bit of warmth that you may need as the days get longer, and the nights get cooler.

Now, for curvy girls like myself, who may have problem areas but also good areas to emphasis, like my waist or hips, layering can disguise this. A kimono skims the body and covers the upper arms, whilst the belted blazer nips you in at the waist, but if you pair it with a light long-sleeve top, it also makes sure your upper arms are covered as well as artfully disguising your cleavage – if that’s what you want to hide.

For this summer, I’m finding the monochrome look to be one of sophistication, good for work as well as leisure and being able to mix-and-match with virtually everything in your wardrobe. And for layering, the high summer months are drawing to a close, so with the autumn setting in, layering can be a fun way to stay warm, look gorgeous and highlight your best bits.

-Alice x