Stars & Stripes

Frocks & Frou Frou Frocks & Frou Frou Frocks & Frou Frou Frocks & Frou FrouTop: Princess Highway

Blazer: Zara (no longer available similar here)

Jeans: Levi’s 512 Skinny

Scarf: H&M (no longer available – similar here)

Shoes: Naturaliser

I was reading an interesting article in the paper a few days ago about how Levi’s was trying to evolve to keep pace with a changing market that put a lot of value in comfort. The “Yoga Pants Effect” is a bit of a pat way to draw a parallel between the fall of profits at Levi’s with the rise and rise of Lululemon (no link, because of their history of disrespecting plus-size consumers), but it certainly holds water for me. I like to be comfortable, and jeans (let’s be honest) aren’t comfortable.

I’ve been wearing my Rockstar jeans since coming back from the US the last time, but as with a lot of Old Navy‘s product the quality reflects the price, and they’re becoming a bit saggy and a bit baggy and rubbing thin between the ol’ thighs.

Anyhoo, the gist of the article is that Levi’s has been working on a new kind of denim to appeal to the “athleisure” market: comfortable, forgiving stretch denim that accommodates a variety of body types, but has a high recovery rate so that the stretch doesn’t result in saggy knees and rumps. So, jeans that feel like leggings, but look – you know – like jeans (And no, I don’t mean these).

Frocks and Frou FrouSo have they succeeded? I’d have to say “yes”! I bought these jeans – they’re the 512 Skinny style – in the post-Christmas sales, and since then I’ve retired every other pair of jeans in my wardrobe.

They’re soft as soft and stretchy, but don’t feel at all syntheticky or unpleasant. They fit beautifully and don’t stretch out at all – I’m not constantly hoiking them up, but they definitely don’t cut in or muffin-top me. They’re comfortable to sit in for long stretches (I’ve flown to and from Perth in them a couple of times) and even though there’s supposedly a “tummy shaping panel” I don’t feel constricted or squeezed at all.

Frocks and Frou FrouI teamed it with a stripey top and blazer. I think I’ve decided that the secret to blazers is not to necessarily try and find one that does up, and rather to look for one that fits snugly around the shoulders. In the past I’ve always bought blazers that fastened around my bust, which invariably meant that they were boxy and shapeless around the rest of my body.

Also, the rare appearance of a scarf! I’ve never really been able to grasp the art of scarf-wearing, despite being inspired every time I see my scarf-master friend, Adele. I think probably my boobs are too big and my neck too short, but this one seems to work fine so maybe it’s all in my head!

And So On, And So Forth

Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou FrouCardigan: Woolovers

Top: Ruby & Lilli

Skirt: DIY

Tights: Sonsee

Shoes: ara via shoebuy

┬áSkirt, top, cardigan. Skirt, top, cardigan. I’m sorry if I’ve been repeating myself this winter, but I’ve really gone off trousers (well, more than usual), so my skirts are getting a real work out!

This skirt’s an oldie, but a goodie. I sewed it from scratch a good three years ago and I’m still wearing it today, which is more than I can say for a lot of my DIY’d sewing projects.

I’ve never worn it as a winter wardrobe item before, but the fabric is quite a heavy cotton drill so I think it works OK teamed with navy tights, booties, and a wooly cardigan.

The t-shirt’s pretty cool though, isn’t it? It from Ruby & Lilli, who also sell my Hello Lover tee, and I loved it so much when it arrived that I decided I couldn’t wait until summer to wear it.

It’s a really gorgeous piece in person; the blue’s the most perfect deep greeny-blue, with a bit of a heathered effect, and the ampersand symbol – which looks perfectly flat white in photos – is actually a pearlescent cream that positively glows.

This is my third Ruby & Lilli tee (I also own the Magnifique) and I can’t rave enough about the brand. The quality has been consistently excellent: the fabrics are divinely soft – like the t-shirt you’ve been wearing to bed for fifteen years – and the cut is the perfect mid-point between fitted and roomy, with flattering with necklines that don’t make you feel like you’re advertising your wares (if you’re generously endowed like I) but manage to make the most of shapely collarbones. Plus, buying Ruby & Lilli supports a local pair of Australian designers who make every purchase feel like a little present by sending your t-shirts gift wrapped with ribbon and a lovely handwritten thank you note.

Shop independent, y’all!