Friday, 3 January 2014

The January Style Challenge 1 - The Perfect Parka

Following on from my post the other day, here's some more information on how my January Style Challenge will work. This month's challenge is to focus on finding just 5 classic essential items in the January sales. These items must fill gaps in my wardrobe and also give lots more mileage to the items I already have.

I'm as guilty as most for going into the sales and buying a bit randomly - items I like and that are well reduced mostly. And I have a tendency to go for bright colours or patterns and forget that the sales should be about looking for more classic items that your existing wardrobe can work around in order to give yourself more overall options.

My items are also based around my 2014 wardrobe resolution to dress down a bit more, so a couple of them are a big move away from my comfort zone - I want to push myself to try some new looks! 

My first item is a khaki green cotton parka. Now I've wanted one for these for ages and to date, have bought 5 and sent back 5 because they just weren't ticking the boxes I had. Now I know I have my navy Target Dry parka that I really do love but the truth is, I wear it ALL the time and it's a bit more functional than the one I'm looking for now. I'm thinking the khaki will open up a few more colour options for me and it's also a bit more along the 'dressed down' lines.

Here are a few options out there...some I have bought already and returned and others that were on the wishlist but out of budget. First up, one of the latter category...this fab Superdry one is exactly what I wanted. The furry lining is just gorgeous - I've seen it in the flesh. But why on earth do they not have a sale in Superdry? It just puts me off a brand if they see themselves as being above having a sale so on principle, I didn't try it on...though truth is, I knew if I did, I would have wanted it.

Super Desert Parka - Superdry
Next up, ASOS has been the source of several parka orders. Bless them, they really do have the best returns service which I've availed of often. They could show a few brands how to do online retailing better.
The first ASOS one is another budget breaker and not in the sale - indulge me:
Parka London Levina Parka - ASOS
But now a couple of more affordable ones, starting with the one I most recently sent back to ASOS - from River Island. It was the perfect colour and a good price but I wanted a bit more shape at the waist and pulling the cords didn't work so well. I also wanted my khaki to be a bit darker and the fur inside to be less creamy coloured. Fussy much?
River Island Parka - ASOS
River Island from ASOS again and I liked the colour of this one but not the black fur but it's a bit different to the run of the mill parka - well priced at just over £60 in the sale:
River Island Parka - ASOS
This next one is a total bargain and I'm regretting not ordering it. It's from Vero Moda and is only £35.50 in the sale...sob!
Vero Moda Parka - ASOS
The reason I can't order it now is because I already picked up this next one from Warehouse and I'm so happy with it after all my searching that I haven't the heart to order another one. I also think ASOS will pull the plug on all those free returns if I do! Now for some strange reason, it's not on sale in Warehouse but it is on ASOS? Strange. Size-wise there are only small sizes left on ASOS and only 14's on the Warehouse site but you might have more luck in-store if you like it too. Mine is a 12 (photo below!)
Detachable Faux Fur Parka - Warehouse
I'm really pleased with it - here I am wearing it today in a dressed down outfit when we braved the storms to go to the park. The kids were seriously in need of fresh air and exercise after a morning stuck indoors.


Parka as above
Jeans - Maison Scotch (old)
Scarf - M&S (old)
Boots - Mango..in the sale!
White Top - Uniqlo (SS13)
Grey Cardigan (just seen) - M&S (old)
and there you go - item one...in the bag! Now, onto item two...not proving as easy to find. I'll update you early next week! Now over to you - link up here if you've done a January Sales Essentials post already. Don't worry if you haven't - I'll have a linky on each post from the January 5 essentials.
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36 comments

  1. LOVE the parka - I have an unlined one from JCrew that I've had a few years - it gets a bit more wear here in the warmer climate than a furry one would:) Happy New Year lovely x

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    1. Yes of course - one downside to the parka is that it's not actually that warm so the fur was definitely needed. Happy New Year to you too Joanna x

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  2. Hi there!! Well done on tracking down your parka- I know how it is to get the right detailing, it's such a deal breaker! Yours is lovely and looks cosy too! Wishing you a happy new year!! xxx

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    1. Thank you Sharon! It took a while but I got there in the end. I think with any coat, you want to be sure before you fork out that kind of money. Happy New Year to you too! Ax

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  3. I have two parka's they are virtually identical but I'm a sucker for them!
    Yours is gorgeous and you will get MUCH wear out of it

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    1. Yes, I've aways loved yours and I see everyone wearing theirs year after year so I knew it was a good buy. Ax

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  4. Very nice Parka Avril, Warehouse do have lovely stuff. I've seen a fab French Connection one but still too expensive sadly. I also like the look of the first Asos one. I bought two as Christmas pressies one from Miss Selfridge and one from Boohoo for two of my daughters, you can't go wrong with a parka whatever your age x

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    1. Thanks Sharron - I agree about Warehouse. Out of all the stores I was in the other day, they had the nicest stock. Lovely knitwear too. Off to check out Miss S & Boohoo - forgot about those two! Ax

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  5. You picked the best one by far Avril! It's lovely....the fur around the hood looks gorgeous! Looking forward to seeing what you get next! xx

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    1. Thank you Michelle - you've inspired one of the items actually ... watch this space! Ax

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  6. Happy New Year Avril (I'm a little bit late but I've not been around). Well, I love a good parka and I have to say you've picked a goody. And I love this more subdued palate probably because it's a little more me. And funny how you're toning down - I was just thinking that I should colour up a little this year having just had the Mick taken out of me for the last few days over my grey, grey and more grey outfits from friends. But it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks eh?

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    1. That's so funny - you & Marlene are my inspiration for this...don't you be going all colouful on me!! Haha - I'm sure I'll struggle to complete mute my palate...by March, I'll probably be back in my Boden brights! x

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  7. Love your parka, I really need a new coat! I am on with the challenge and have a few items to start me off now :) I will wait till next week to start posting my looks, my eyes are so puffy today after finding out last night my best blogging friend had died :( she was at my blog from the start and stopped by every post for nearly 3 year ,,so so sad :(

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    1. Oh Claire, I'm so sorry to hear that. How tragic :( I have made such great friends from this blog - it's an amazing community. Sending you hugs and prayers at this sad time xx

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    2. Just wanted to say so so sorry for your loss Claire xx

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  8. Fab Parka it looks great on you and perfect for this weather!! You defintely picked a lovely one. Thanks for the link up to your blog, seems like we were thinking along the same lines for sales items..I have indulged too much in the past on things that were a bargain..! xx

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    1. Indeed - great minds and thanks for linking up! Ax

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  9. This is fab. Got Joe a parka for Christmas and so want one to match! Love the idea of the linky - just added my sales post - although it's probably all sold out now!

    Happy New Year.

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  10. Love my parka - mine is from Littlewoods 7 years ago so I could probably justify a new one but I love it so so much that I can't ever find one that I like as much. Duh. It's not exactly waterproof but so thick I never get wet..

    However much more importantly I LOVE your lipstick in the close up - what is it? You're going to tell me you haven't got any on, aren't you..... grrrrr. Fab blog as always darling xxx And GREAT idea. x

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    1. I love your parka too - would never have believed it was that old! And as for the lipstick? It's actually a Rimmel lipliner that I put on all over the lip with a balm over it. Not a lippy fan at all funnily enough! Ax

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  11. So much for a frugal Jan! Your parka post tempted me into ordering the Vera Mode one :-) thanks for the tip and happy new year. Looking forward to the next four items and hoping I might have them already to save my bank balance :-)

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    1. I hope you loved it when it came! I've seen one friend wearing it and I was very impressed. It's actually cosier than my Warehouse one! Thanks for your lovely comment! Ax

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  12. I have been loving in my Only parks since I got it. They are so handy as they go with practically everything, plus they are prefect for our recent weather, as u never know when you'll be caught out! Loving the mango boots, I have the same in black, nearly tempted to buy that colour for that price. Damn u Avril!!! X

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    1. Haha Trea - sorry for tempting you but when you're pregnant, you should buy all the shoes you want as they are the only things you can still wear post-delivery! Ax

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  13. It looks great Avril - I'd quite like a parka but dare I buy another coat - not that I have that many but the only place to store them is in my daughters wardrobe! I quite like the one with the black fur too! xx

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    1. I have too many....did a clear out earlier in autumn but still have loads. So useful though! Ax

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  14. Love your parka Avril & I've also recently made a parka purchase with some birthday money....thought I'd get ready for the snow we're no doubt due to get, although this rain is perfect for testing it out in too! Jane xx
    www.mymidlifefashion.com

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    1. Thanks Jane - I look forward to seeing yours soon - though not to seeing snow! Ax

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  15. Love the parka Avril....I tried on the RI one also but decided on a short wax casual jacket instead. Added my link above on the sales edit but mine is only a small piece on basic tops... might appeal to someone though!
    Anne xx

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    1. Thanks for linking up Anne - really appreciate the support. Ax

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  16. My friend has the top Superdry one! She too was looking for a while and even though we both thought it was expensive she ordered it and loved it to much to return. It is a bit brighter than expected but she said it's fab. Your's is a bargain though, definitely a keeper. I am sooooo tempted to order those Mango boots but think the 4 may be large on me. I give up on looking for tan leather ones, so a suede version may have to do. They look great on x

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    1. Oh it's stunning....but I'm really happy with the Warehouse one. I just couldn't justify all that money on the Superdry one! And get the Mago boots - I have worn them more than any other boot in my wardrobe this year. The ones in this post are my second pair! Got them on eBay! Ax

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  17. Is the parka you bought particularly heavy or padded. I'm looking for one which you can layer up for winter, but will not be too warm for Spring and autumn, Jo

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    1. Hi Jo - sorry for the delay replying...I must have missed this comment coming through on the email. It's not particularly heavy actually and the furry bit inside it comes out so it's a lightweight spring parka too! It's actually reduced in Warehouse now - down to £60! Saw some in the Belfast store on Friday, Ax

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  18. Thank you and no worries! I'd actually gone and ordered the Vera Moda one and the warehouse one to compare. The warehouse one is more what I'm looking for as the vm one is very warm and I already have a lovely quilted coat so don't 'need' two, although it is a bargain! I thought I'd got the last 12 in asos in the warehouse one, but it was a little large, looked again and there were more sizes, plus a 10% discount code for Jan. Just waiting for the 10 to arrive, then I'm all set! Jo

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I love reading your comments and will reply as soon as I can if you have a specific question. If for any reason, you are unable to leave a comment, just drop me an email at avril@alifetostyle.com or leave a comment on the A Life to Style Facebook Page! Thank you xx

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