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Casual Friday | The Basic Breton

Breton stripe sweater


joules nautical stripe knit

Joules Merrin Breton stripe knit

Yes, that’s right readers, it’s the return of Casual Friday, the series in which I wear casual clothes. On a Friday. God, HOW do I come up with these things?

Actually, the main reason I started these posts was because back in January I made myself a promise to try and sort out my wardrobe basics, once and for all. The things is, although I have  lot of clothes, I don’t actually have a lot of casual clothes: or not ones that I like, anyway. My closet is stuffed full of big skirts, 50s-inspired dresses and 5-inch stilettos: if I was invited to a wedding/christening/other fancy event tomorrow, I wouldn’t have the slightest issue finding something to wear, let’s put it that way. But casual events? Not so easy. For our recent trip to see The Kelpies, for instance, or the day we spent at New Lanark, I have to admit to being absolutely stumped about what to wear: in fact, on the day of the New Lanark trip I ended up throwing on jeans at the last minute, feeling really frumpy and horrible all day, and then heading straight to Zara, where I bought the jacket I wore in the Kelpies photos (and also a pair of trousers which are miles too big for me, but you know, panic buying). True story. Fascinating one, too, no?

The problem is mostly to do with the weather. Because it’s so often cold here, if I’m going to be spending a lot of time outdoors, I need something that will keep me warm, and which can also get rained on, or covered in mud, without getting ruined. Those kind of clothes don’t normally look very stylish, though, and my usual clothes, as well as being unsuitable, would also make me feel hopelessly over-dressed most of the time. I know there are lots of casual options out there that I’d be happy with, but I normally don’t bother buying them: I always INTEND to buy them, then I have my head turned by yet another fancy skirt or dress, and so I end with a wardrobe full of party clothes and nothing to wear for a casual walk or day out. It’s truly a first world problem.

(Related problem: SHOES. Stiletto heels aren’t very casual, or very warm/practical, but I absolutely hate the way I look in flats/sneakers/ankle boots/pretty much ANY “sensible” shoe. WOE.)

Anyway, before you all get out the violins for me, fear not: this year, as I said, I’ve decided to try to buy more of the “basics” and less of the “OMGIMUSTHAVETHATDRESS” pieces. I’m obviously not denying myself too many of the latter, because I am but human, and I WOULD decide to buy more basics right at a time when every fashion retailer in the world decides to start churning out dresses and skirts as if actually WAS 1953. Damn. Along with the dresses and skirts (and, OK, the shoes and the handbags…) though, I HAVE also been stocking up on more casual pieces: in fact, two pairs of jeans arrived yesterday, and miraculously enough, they both actually fit me, so I’m sure they’ll be appearing on a “Casual Friday” near you soon. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

In the meantime, country clothing brand Joules have very kindly come to my rescue in the sweater department, with this slouchy Breton knit, which is exactly the kind of basic I’m talking about. For me, stripey sweaters (and t-shirts, and tops…) are the ultimate wardrobe staple: I love the fact that they look casual and smart at the same time, and it would be an exaggeration to say I couldn’t live without them, but I’m going to say it anyway: I couldn’t live without them. No one should have to, should they?


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  • maria
    May 9, 2014

    I’ve noticed an increased quantity of 50’s inspired clothing in shops too, even the ones that usually have latest fashion pieces only, like H&M or Zara, and it’s a bit fortunate for be because I’m just starting to search for basic pieces like circle skirts and 50’s dresses… I can only hope this trend will stay for long enough for me to gather at least some basic garments like blue/black/grey flared skirts and cropped cardigans!
    Anyway, love your sweater, it’s really cute!

  • Sarah
    May 9, 2014

    I love the breton top, I couldn’t live without stripey tops either. You can never have enough!

  • Very Veronique
    May 9, 2014

    That sweater top is perfect on you (I love the neck of it, which makes it also a bit glamorous and not just an everyday sweater). When I saw your instagram pic I was wondering what happened to your fringe and now that I see the whole picture, I must say, I really like how it looks up. Can’t wait to see the new jeans. I think jeans are the worst to shop for!

    Oh and I don’t understand why you weren’t happy with your New Lanark outfit – I thought you looked great (as usual:) and that jacket you bought during the trip is very pretty.

    • Very Veronique
      May 9, 2014

      Oh and I also have to add – that second photo of Rubin. ADORABLE. Does he stay still and pose during photos? :)) Dracul always moves at the last second and I can only get a good picture of him by accident and never on purpose!

  • Katie
    May 9, 2014

    Ok, first, I would like to to say how much I love your writing. I mean I don’t actually know you, and I doubt I will ever even talk to you, but your writing has such a voice in it. Next, I love your outfits. They inspire me so much in my own closet. I also love the retro style and shop for that type of thing (I love mod cloth, basically the best site ever.) The third thing is, I love your stories. You sound like you have a fun life doing what you love, which I really admire. I just think you are really awesome. I mean I am a 14- year-old girl and I live on the other side of the world then you, and yet, I feel like I know you. You are hands up the best blogger ever — just so you know.

    • Amber
      May 9, 2014

      Oh wow, I don’t know what to say! This means so much to me, Katie – thanks so much for commenting, you’ve made my week 🙂

  • fabulousso40s
    May 9, 2014

    Gorgeous jumper and gorgeous poochie xx

  • Ashlea
    May 9, 2014

    AH – firstly, the pup is 100% fluffy adorableness. Love that he posed with you!
    Secondly, I have also been struggling with nice casual wear that makes me feel put together but comfortable! I have work-clothes for days, but a good pair of comfortable jeans? totally elusive. 🙂

  • Erika
    May 9, 2014

    Casual wear is the worst! I have to sort this out as well. I always end up in the same faded black shirts and feeling awful about myself, frumpy as you put it. Dresses are so easy for this very reason. They look great and you don’t have to find much else to match them. Definitely first world problems…

  • char
    May 9, 2014

    Oh, most of this post could have been about me. I hate the way I look in anything other than heels, I can’t wear trousers or jeans as I am not the shape for them and every / any time I try to buy something sensible I come home with seventy billion new printed dresses instead. Buggeration. But they’re prettier.

  • char
    May 9, 2014

    ^ The same happened when I tried to buy a new vacuum cleaner.

  • Shades
    May 9, 2014

    This is me! 80odd dresses and no causal wear.

  • Beccy
    May 9, 2014

    I absolutely love this Breton jumper – it is beautiful. I have a complete obsession with stripes, and my wardrobe is packed full of them!

  • Erin
    May 9, 2014

    Looking lovely, as always 🙂

  • Kristi
    May 10, 2014

    You look beautiful! What lipstick are you wearing? I love that color on you.

    • Amber
      May 10, 2014

      Oh, thank you! I *think* it would have been MAC Lady Bug, but I actually took these photos about a week ago, and my memory isn’t what it used to be, so I can’t swear to it: looks like that, though!

  • Charlotte
    May 10, 2014

    Its like you’ve just written my mind! That’s EXACTLY how I feel about casual clothing and I hate wearing flat shoes unless I’m in trainers at the gym, otherwise its heels all the time.

  • Jess
    May 11, 2014

    I think it is a very good idea. Not every day even though we are in the blog business do we dress like this or feel like it. I think it is a good thing to do, a casual friday. I like the sweater, and of course the puppy!! Adorable. I posted a pic of my little shih tzu Gibby a few posts back, stop by to check it out if you want sometime



  • Emma
    May 15, 2014

    Cute top! I love Breton tops. And doesn’t Rubin look adorable too! I hope the weather up there in Sunny Scotland is getting warmer as we’re travelling up next week for our wedding! As long as it doesn’t rain, I’ll be happy! xxx
    The Jolly Fashionista

  • Ella
    May 20, 2014

    That’s a stunning top. I have the same problem – lots of fancy clothing, nothing decent for casual. Can’t wait to see what casual combinations you come up with! Love your style. 🙂

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Casual Friday | The Basic Breton