Style Notebook: Summer Sale Bargains

As you probably know, all of the stores have been having terrific Summer sales, which are sadly starting to wind down.  Though sometimes you can get even better deals right at the end of the sale because there have been additional reductions.  I took full advantage of the sales recently to pick up some great new pieces to add to my wardrobe.  Well, one of the items wasn’t actually on sale, but was still a good deal.  All in all, I came out way ahead and now have some great new clothes.  You can’t beat that!

My Super Savings during Summer Sales
My Super Savings during Summer Sales

I can’t believe all of the good deals there were this Summer.  I tried to keep myself in check and I think I did a pretty good job even with just one impulse buy of the not on sale scarf from John Lewis.  But, for £20.00, I don’t feel that guilty.  All total, I ended up saving £135.00 on my recent sale purchases, or just over 33% on the originally priced total.  And spending £289.00 is certainly better than spending £424.00.  I mean, with that kind of savings, I could maybe hit up the final reductions at a few more sales even.

As you can see pretty easily, my biggest spend and biggest savings, came from Jaeger.  They have great final reduction prices on now and still have a decent amount of items in a variety of sizes too.  I am actually thinking that I might have to take just another peek through their sale to see if there’s anything else I should pick up; I’m sure there’s at least one or two things.  The Patch Pocket Silk Blouse is something that I’ve had my eye on for a while but really cringed at paying the full £120.00 for it, so when I saw it in the sale for £40.00 off, I knew I had to get it.  The shirt is beautifully tailored as you would expect from Jaeger.  The silk is a bit heavy for the hot part of Summer but will be perfect when it starts transitioning to Fall; it’s pretty wearable all year long, just not on a hot Summer day.  I got mine in Blue, but they also have Navy, Bright Coral, Camel, and Ivory.  They’ve reduced the Navy to just £60.00, the other colours are all still £80.00, except for Ivory which is still full price, of course.  I also got a beautifully designed pair of white Linen Shorts, reduced from £80.00 to £60.00.  These are very long shorts coming to the bottom of my knee.  They are made from a very nice linen, not that super thin stuff, and are also fully lined so that you’re not showing your pants; that is not an elegant look.  I really like them and find they are perfect for wearing in the evening to dinner, but equally as nice during the day for errands and shopping.  I like them so much I’m actually thinking of getting a black pair too, while the sale is still on.

This was my first order from Baukjen and I have to say, so far, I’m liking it.  I got the top and cardigan both in the same colour, but not necessarily to wear together.  The fabric is an incredibly soft viscose jersey that feels great on and is the perfect lightweight layer for Summer.  The Cowl Top drapes beautifully because of the lightness of the fabric and is rather flattering.  The Drape Cardigan feels similarly nice on and looks perfect with a cute little tank under it for something that is ideal for a cooling Summer evening.  I also like that these are great for travel because they fold up quite small and don’t seem to get terribly wrinkly looking.  Either of these pieces look great with my new white linen shorts from Jaeger too.  The sale is still on at Baukjen but they do seem to be quite limited on sizes now.

The ballet flats from Merrell were something that I was actually replacing.  I bought a pair of these last year when we were in Australia for a wildly inflated price, that really irritates me now in retrospect.  In any case, they seemed really comfortable at first and then I realized when we were on holiday in Japan that the left shoe was mis-cut so that the upper was off center and that caused it to dig into the top of my foot in a most uncomfortable way.  So, then I was stuck with this stupid pair of shoes that I couldn’t take back and I had already worn.  So, I was annoyed but willing to give them another chance when I saw the shoes on sale this Summer.  The price of £49.00 that I paid during the sale was way less than I paid in Australia and seemed reasonable, as long as I didn’t get another pair that were messed up too.  I was quite relieved when they arrived and were perfect, and perfectly comfortable.  The Vibram barefoot sole is so comfortable, even if you’ve been out walking all day.  They are just as comfortable as having a pair of trainers on, but certainly look much nicer.  The upper of the shoe is a very, very soft leather that feels comfortable from the very first time you put on the shoes.  The insole is made from M-Select FRESH which keeps your shoes from getting a bit whiffy when you’re wearing them without socks in warm weather.  All in all a great shoe as long as it is put together properly.  Sadly, the sale at Merrell has ended, so these are back to their full price of £70.00.  I’d like to get a pair of the black ones too but I’ll have to wait until the next sale perhaps.

The John Lewis Birdie Branch Scarf was a total impulse buy.  I popped in for a super small umbrella and casually looked through the scarves that are right next to it and totally fell for the cute bird print in crisp navy and white.  It wasn’t on sale but was just £20.00 so it seemed like a reasonable price.  I’ve worn it a couple of times this Summer and it just adds that bit of something to outfits.  I did get an ivory cashmere scarf for just £10.00 that was way on sale from like £30.00 or 40.00, so I felt good about that and will be really pleased with that purchase this Winter.  Also, I really recommend the small umbrella too for £18.00.  It is small enough that when you are walking along on the sidewalk you aren’t in danger of putting anyone’s eye out but it is just wide enough for one person.  The small size of it though means that it can fit in even a tiny handbag, so you don’t have to be without an umbrella, which is kind of important here in the rainy UK.

I hope you made out as well in all of the great Summer sales!  And if you haven’t taken advantage of them yet, you’d better hurry because pretty much every store is on their final reductions.

Net-A-Porter Gets Sporty

I love Net-A-Porter with their wide selection of gorgeous designer clothing and makeup, plus their outstanding sales.  Not to mention, they have excellent customer service.  So I was intrigued when I got an email from them announcing their new site, Net-A-Sporter.  As you can guess from the title, it is all about clothing and accessories for your active lifestyle.  With all of their high end clothing on the normal side of things, I really was curious how that would manifest in the sportswear.

Net-A-Sporter up and running
Net-A-Sporter up and running

The Net-A-Sporter collection is broken up by twelve activity types, though two of those haven’t been fully introduced yet.  The categories are: Gym/Crossfit, Run, Yoga/Dance, Tennis, Swim/Surf, Outdoor, Equestrian, Golf, Aprés, and Accessories.  The two categories which are coming soon are: Sailing and Skiing.   I think that you can just skip the Outdoor category because it is really a huge letdown.  It’s pretty much just things for a country walk, not anything too strenuous or taxing.  I was hoping they might have some nicer pieces for my hiking trips that might be a little stylish.  Most of the other categories have a fair selection, not overwhelmingly huge, but a decent selection.  The Accessories category is just a mix of items that you can find in the other categories, like socks.

I work out four to five days a week and I like to hike and go camping for holidays.  So, over the years I have bought a lot of sportswear and active clothing.  But I’ve got to say, I’ve never considered paying £350.00 for a pair of trainers just because they are from Stella McCartney.  And these aren’t even super high tech running shoes, but something that looks like what I had when I was in third grade (mine were blue, but surprisingly similar).  Preposterous!  I’m also not paying £145.00 for a pair of track pants from Live the Process.  However, there are some more reasonable items mixed in with the overly high-end pieces too.  Aside from the stuff that makes Sweaty Betty look like they have bargain basement prices, you will find items from Nike, Falke, and Bodysim that are reasonably priced.  I’m always looking for better socks, so I might have to give some thought to picking up a pair of the Falke Ergonomic Sport System socks, even though they are £15.00 a pair.  Kind of like paying more for good skin care, I always think spending more money to get good quality shoes and socks is immensely important when exercising.

So, overall I’m not overwhelmed by the new Net-A-Sporter.  I guess I’m just too cheap with my exercise wear to find most of their stuff a good fit for me.  I also like all of the new technical fabrics but those advances seem to be totally missing from their offerings, except for Nike, of course.  I guess I’ll just have to stick with my standard exercise clothing bought from an assortment of places.

Style Notebook: Jaeger Summer Sale Now On

If you’ve been spending all of your time outside enjoying the great summer weather, you might want to come in for long enough to browse through the Jaeger summer sale.  They have lots of their beautiful clothing and accessories on sale currently with reductions of up to 50%.  As part of my effort to upgrade and improve my wardrobe, I have decided to take advantage of the sale to get myself a few items.  My summer wardrobe could be much nicer, so this is the perfect time to pick up a few key pieces.  They also have a few pieces that are certainly fall or even winter appropriate too, like a beautiful cashmere waterfall cardigan.  But the items in the image below are really the ones that I have my eye on.  I think they’d all be great to pep up my summer clothing choices, and make me seem a bit more pulled together, even when the weather is hot (well, hot for London).

Jaeger's Summer Sale is Now On - Save up to 50%
Jaeger’s Summer Sale is Now On – Save up to 50%

I love the clothing and accessories at Jaeger and have quite a bit of their stuff in my wardrobe.  So, naturally, whenever they have a sale or a special deal on for loyalty card holders, I try to take advantage of it.  And their summer sale is the perfect time for me to get a couple of items to add to my summer wardrobe.  And at a great savings too!

If you’re on the lookout for some great deals, you should check out the Jaeger sale.  I’m not sure when it will end, but I’m guessing it will end by the end of July definitely.  I can never remember how long their big sales like this last.  However, if you’re interested I wouldn’t wait too much longer to check it out or make your purchases before colours and sizes start selling out.  They have 430 clothing items and more than 100 accessories in their sale, so surely there is something that is perfect for you.

For the Right Sports Bra Go to Boobydoo

Since I had a post about Pepperberry and Bravissimo the other day, I figured I should post something about where I get my sports bras too.  As I mentioned, I’m busty, which means that getting a sports bra to support me adequately for a workout, with running, can be really difficult.  Or, at least it used to be until I found Boobydoo.  The name is hilarious and certainly not hard to forget, but they are a great resource for any woman who works out and wants to have plenty of options when finding the right sports bra.

Boobydoo is a UK company that truly specializes in sports bras with the biggest selection in the UK, I’m sure.  They have more sports bras to choose from in one helpful site than anywhere I’ve ever shopped before.  They have twelve different brands that they feature and a ton of different styles to get the one that is just right for you and your workout style.  Plus, they know that we ladies like to have something aside from just white sometimes, so there are lots and lots of different colours to choose from as well.  And they’re not just for busty girls either, they start with sizes from 28 A and go up to a 50 J.  So now no one has an excuse to not be wearing the right bra during their workout.

Bobbydoo has all the best brands in the sports bra world:  Berlei, Dans-Ez, Elomi, Enell, Freya, Moving Comfort, Nike, Panache, Pure Lime, Shock Absorber, Sportjock, and Triumph.  I like that they have a way to easily filter on the type of bra that you like (front fastener, zip back, high impact, etc) so that you don’t have to waste time looking through the other things that won’t interest you.  Plus, they also have a series of pages where the products are broken down by the sport or activity that they work best for, like running, yoga, horseback riding.  For each bra they list the bullet point features, then put in their own review or information, and then they have all of the truly important information such as:  back type, fastening style, support level, support type, wired or not, and a list of sports that they suggest would be a fit for the style of bra and support level.  They give you a ton of information in a way that makes it easy to narrow down to the right bra.  If you’re unsure of where to start size-wise, the Boobydoo Fitting Room can give you advice and even a video about getting the best fit for your sports bra.  And be sure to check out the ShockAbsorber Bounce-O-Meter on what a difference it can make to wear a sports bra instead of just a normal bra when you workout.

Berlei Running Bra at Boobydoo
Berlei Running Bra at Boobydoo

I used to have a real problem finding sports bras that were supportive enough.  Sometimes, I even had to wear two sports bras at the same time while I was working out.  It was good support but really uncomfortable to put on and wear.  I don’t even remember how I found Boobydoo the first time, but they’re my go-to retailer for my sport bras now.  If it hadn’t been for them, I probably never would have found my  favourite sports bra, or even heard of the brand.  For me, the Berlei Underwired Running Bra – B4915 for £23.96 – £31.95 (depending on colour) is the perfect match.  It is comfortable and supportive but doesn’t feel as constricting as some of the other heavy duty sports bras I have tried over the years; some that weren’t even that supportive just uncomfortably felt like a boa constrictor was wrapped around my chest.  It goes on like a normal bra, plus you can convert to a criss-cross strap configuration for a bit of different support or to wear under a vest or tank.  You can get briefs if you’re the kind of girl that likes to match under her workout gear.  I’ve not tried the briefs but I might pick some up next time I purchase a bra.  I’ve got three of these now and they hold up really well, but just like you wouldn’t wear your running shoes until they are falling apart, you should maintain good bras for the best support.  No one wants to sag before their time; that is not part of an Artful Appearance.

Not only does Boobydoo have great bras, but they have sportswear and some accessories too.  If you sign up for their newsletter you will find out about all of the sales and deals too.  They have some great deals, but in general I find that their prices are as good or better than I have found anywhere else.  But really, who doesn’t like a sale?  They deliver for free in the UK for orders over £50.00, plus they have a free returns or exchanges policy too.

No matter what type of sport you do, how hard your workout, or big or small your bust, you will definitely be able to find the right sports bra to fit your needs and your bust at Boobydoo.   No one wants to be fit but saggy, so it is important to get the right bra with all of the support you need to keep you from bouncing yourself into sagginess.

Pepperberry: Clothes Designed with Your Boobs in Mind

If you’re a girl who has been endowed with a bigger than the average C-cup bust, you know that it is hard to find clothing that really fits properly.  I’ve had this problem for a long time, and I’m glad that there’s finally someplace that I can now find all kinds of shirts and jackets that keep my boobs in mind.  It is refreshing to have clothing that isn’t fighting against my bust and gaping or pulling unattractively.  I always found that I was either buying things that were too blousy looking because they had to fit over my chest without gaping (in the case of things with buttons) or knitwear that was really tight across my chest and pulling in a way that wasn’t alluring just bad.  But a couple of years ago I found Pepperberry and have happily bought blouses with buttons that I can actually wear without showing my bra!  It was truly a moment of triumph!

Pepperberry isn’t like the normal clothing store because all of their styles have been “designed with your boobs in mind” (their motto).  They seem to have a very good handle on designing stylish clothing that will still fit your bust, and the rest of you, and help give you that boost that comes from wearing something you really like and know looks good too.  Here’s what they have to say on their website about fit and style:

We’ve created our clothes in standard high street sizes, but with three different curvy options depending on how much extra room you need for your bust. Choose from Curvy, Really Curvy or Super Curvy.

We understand how to make bigger boobs look great in clothes. Whether it’s about cutting a top to accommodate your bust before going back in to follow the line of your body, or positioning the buttons on a double breasted coat to give you a more streamlined shape. We want to make sure you relax in the knowledge that you don’t have to change your style choices just to accommodate your boobs.

Pepperberry: The Classic Shirt, a.k.a My Dream Shirt
Pepperberry: The Classic Shirt, a.k.a My Dream Shirt

It is really uncomfortable and a bit of a blow to your self-confidence to wear clothes that are ill fitting – whether too tight or too loose.  For years I wanted a white button down shirt that I could wear under stuff, over stuff, or on its own with a pair of jeans.  But what I didn’t want was for that white button down to either look like I borrowed it from my husband or that it had shrunk in the wash.  The gaping button thing is the worst and changes your posture and can really kill your confidence.  It always made me feel really fat or frumpy to have my clothes pulling across my bust and looking like the buttons were going to pop off and put someone’s eye out.  Definitely not a good look or feeling. My closet is littered with white button down shirts that just don’t fit – too loose, too tight, just not right at all.  But then I found Pepperberry and one of the first things I bought from them was a white button down shirt, The Classic Shirt, that I love and wear all of the time now.  They sell it in a few different colours, but always white, and it is truly the shirt I was searching for for all of these years.  It looks crisp and tailored and fits beautifully without gaping buttons.  The buttons are actually sewn on better than on most shirts so they feel really secure, plus their placement of them is more conscious of bust concerns like avoid the gaping button problem.  They have recently made a few changes to the design, based on customer feedback, so I’m thinking I’m going to have to buy another one.  The price of £39.00 is so good that I might even be crazy and get one or two of the other colours.

They have clothing for all seasons, even coats, and always change things up for new trends and colours, to keep it fresh and stylish.  Their new Summer collection has so many cute dresses and tops for Summer that I will definitely be doing a bit of Pepperberry shopping.  I really like their little knit dresses and have a number of them in my wardrobe right now.  They have a variety of different styles to accommodate different tastes, and also different body shapes because just because you have big boobs doesn’t mean the rest of your body must fit just one shape.  There’s too much that I like for me to point it all out, but I will say that they have a short sleeved version of the classic shirt for £35.00, that I have my eye on for sure.  It’s not all about tops or dresses though, because they also have skirts, shorts, and trousers.

If you’re planning on a summer holiday that requires a new swimsuit, you should check out Pepperberry’s sister company, Bravissimo.  They sell lingerie and swimwear for the busty girls too.  I buy a lot of my bras from them because they cater to the D – L cup crowd.  I don’t love all of their lingerie styles, but it is nice to be able to have some choices that aren’t just industrial-strength looking things in black, white, or nude.  Their swimwear options are great though because they make sure that you aren’t going to have too much bounce or any possible unfortunate swimsuit mishaps.  The tops are all bra-sized so it is super easy to find one that fits and covers everything you want it to cover, and still gives you the support that you need, without looking boring or like you are planning to swim the Channel.  I’ve actually been able to get bikini tops here that support, cover, and still look cute too.  I also like that you buy the top separate from the bottom so that you can get coordinating colours and styles that match the top but the fit for both individual parts is right.  They also have one piece swimsuits that I’m sure fit really well too but I haven’t tried one yet.

I mostly order online, though they do have physical stores too, but they might not have the clothing at all of the locations.  There’s a nice shop in London close to Oxford Circus, with both clothing and lingerie, that is pretty good sized and will allow you to get a bra fitting too; this is the one that I’ve actually been to.  They have a number of stores around the UK though, so there’s a good chance there is a physical store near you where you can try one some of their items too see how they work for you and get a bra fitting.  Most women wear the wrong bra size, so it is a good idea to get a fitting once a year.  It’s not a super comfortable situation, but the end result will be a better fitting and more comfortable bra.  I was wearing the wrong bra size for a while and finally got a fitting and looked like I lost 20 pounds probably just by having the proper bras on and getting everything supported adequately.