11 February 2011

Dear Emily...

Hey everyone,

A week or so ago, I got an email from a lovely reader called Emily who was sending out an SOS:

Hey Carla...

I really need your help... It's a bit cheeky but I'm desperate now!
It's my 18th birthday next month and I'm completely stuck on what to wear...So I was wondering if you could help me?

I'm a size 14/16 on top and 16/18 on bottom and 5'4 too! I always wear baggy tomboy stuff like hoodies, jeans, t shirts, boyfriend cardigans, nothing very exciting.
But it's my 18th, we're going for a meal, and I just want to look really nice for once. I'm thinking something different to what I usually wear... like a dress or top and skirt?

I really love what you wear on your blog so I'd really appreciate if you could give me any advice or tips.

Anyway, thanks a lot!

I completely and utterly understand, Emily.
Until I was about seventeen, I was very much a tomboy! I lived in jeans and grubby band t-shirts, and rarely wore makeup at all.

So making the transition to a more grown up and glamourous new look can be a bit daunting.

I'm not really a believe in 'capsule wardrobes' - I'm more of a 'have lots of clothes and have fun with mix-and-matching' kind of girl.

But I do think if you are updating your look, there's a few key peices that will be suitable for lots of occasions:

When you're so used to wearing jeans and t-shirts, suddenly having your arms and legs on display can be a bit daunting - so start off with a simple black dress.

I love this structured empire-line dress from New Look. It will nip your waist (my waist is the smallest part of my body - surprisingly - so I tend to go for this shape a lot!) and flare out, making it seem a lot fancier than it actually is.

The neckline is sweet and demure and will look fabulous dressed up with some short or long faux pearls (most high street stores stock these!).

If you're unsure about baring your arms, you can wear a cute cardigan on top. I'd suggest a cardigan cropped at your waist for an evening event, which looks very Chanel chic.

However don't throw away your boyfriend cardigans - you can pair them with your new dress and ballerina flats for more laid back look.
Perfect if you are planning on a cheeky pub date with your friends to celebrate turning eighteen?

A nice pair of black high heels will go with lots of outfits - you don't have to go as high as the ones on the pictures, don't worry!

Finally finish off the look with some black eyeliner and red lipstick.
My favourite black eyeliner is by Barry M, and my favourite red lipstick is Fire by Chanel.
But if you'd like to experiment with a 'drugstore' brand, Revlon do some lovely red shades.

Remember first and foremost than experimenting with your look should be fun - try not to stress out too much, and I do hope you enjoy your eighteenth birthday!

As for everyone else:
Have you ever taken a big plunge with the way you dress?
Do let me know!

Muchos love,


  1. Ahhhh Carla! I love the outfit you've chosen. It's so pretty! It's perfect for all sizes and i love that :) xo

  2. Great suggestions, love the dress :)

  3. Great post!!
    I had that change, too. I never was such a tomboy girl, but I just wasn't brave enough to pull of skirts and dresses. So when I discovered UK stores like Evans & New Look a whole new horizon opened up to me and I started to stuff my closet with dressed and tights. It was a big change, but I loved it!

  4. Carla, I really like the suggestions that you made. The cut of that dress is so classic and I just love the red cardigan.

    I went through a nerdfrump phase a few years back, in which I was always wearing jeans and science humour-related shirts {ghastly}. The end of a relationship catapulted me back into singlehood, and it caused me to want to take charge of my life and pull myself together. I began buying and wearing dresses and even ventured a new haircut. It was a bit 'Sliding Doors' esque, and it really propelled my self esteem.

    I hope that Emily has a fab birthday and that she feels great in whatever she's wearing.


  5. Just to say thank you for organising pluslondon! x

  6. Think I might order that dress - it's so perfect!

    I left my emo phase about two years ago, and completely revamped my wardrobe. I went from skinny jeans that didn't really fit right, with Vans and band t-shirts and hoodies, to dresses and cardigans and tights every day of the week. I feel so much more confident about the way I look.


  7. I love that dress.

    And yes, most definitely. When I became a woman I wanted nothing more than to have my hait in curls and wear red lipstick. But I just didn't have the confidence. So after a breif flirting with goth and trying to look smart and corporate when I started work, I settled into following fashion trends. I put on weight, lost even more confidence and never put on a dress or a skirt because I hated my legs.

    Then on Christmas Day 2008, my now husband proposed to me. And my confidence began to grow, and continues to. These days I wear red lipsticks and skirts every single day. Never trousers, and rarely jeans. So finally 16 years later I am looking like the person I wanted to all those years ago, and loving it! x

  8. Great post! The biggest 'plunge' i guess I ever took was shaving my head into a mohawk :P

  9. I must say miss, that I always come here because you're the nicest blogger I ever found. Now with this entry I'm glad that Emily emailed you, she's going to find more than fashion advice here. I don't share your style, which I totally love, but to come here is such an inspiration for me! keep going dear!

  10. I would so wear this outfit, and I'm the biggest girly girl out there! haha

    When I was in year 12 (not sure what the English equivalent is) in 2009, I was at an all-girls' school, and only a very small minority made any effort with their clothes at all. I wasn't one of them...the rest of us basically just wore our year 12 rugby jumpers, trackie pants, Dunlop volleys, hair in a bun, and no makeup. But then I got to uni and realised that people ACTUALLY MADE AN EFFORT IN THE REAL WORLD! So I started wearing makeup and dresses again after a year of not caring. And it's been so nice getting back into that - I feel soooo much more confident and attractive and generally just nice than I ever did in my trackies and no makeup!

    And happy 18th, Emily :)

  11. Woww. Firstly, I love what you chose! I'm going shopping on my birthday so I'll definitely be looking for these. And secondly, thank you so much! In particular Carla... I was nervous about emailing you because I thought you'd think I was a knob. But reading all these comments just really made me smile. So thank you! :D Also... I've never worn lipstick before! I wear eyeliner and foundation, all that jazz, but not lipstick. Gonna be a mega shock for all my friends. I can't wait!

    Thanks again... for the third time.


  12. Emily: I actually hope you would let us know how you look on your 18th! Happy Birthday in advance!

    I like your choices, Carla. A LBD in a good shape goes a long way and can be styled in many different ways too. That New Look LBD is really of a very flattering shape.

  13. Just discovered your blog and had to let you know how much I love your style, all your pics are beautiful, and your outfit suggestion here was daring without being OTT. Doesn't hurt that you're so pretty as well xoxo

  14. That's so sweet of you to help! And yes yes yes I definitely have taken several 'plunges' with my style. I went from being goth/hippie (long floaty skirts and black combats/tee shirts) to gamergeek (guys jeans and oversize geek tee shirts and hoodies) and finally to how I am now; girly with a touch of punkiness c: x

  15. that dress is such a lovely print , i've looked on domino dollhouses site a few times but never ordered anything, i might have too now :)

    aroselikethis.blogspot.com xx

  16. oh my god your hair is amazing... it's exactly how i want mine! it looks perfect! absolutely love the dress too, can't get enough of black and white outfits with crazzzzy coloured hair! love love love everything about these snaps! xx

  17. you are SO cute! I love your style <3

  18. I love you hair, the color is great.