Stealer is perhaps the wrong word, I don’t steal it (I’m not a natural copycat, I prefer to break my own ground) – I appreciate it, I’m an appreciator of style. As I get older, one of the things that gives me a good buzz in life is seeing someone who’s just got ‘it’. It’s not about beauty (in the generally accepted sense of it), or about shape (these things can sometimes make it a little easier, there’s no denying) it’s mostly about originality. At the risk of sounding cliched, and despite disliking the expression, it IS about having that je ne sais quoi. Confidence is a huge part of it, as is being true to your inner sense of style. I will never look great in a LBD with heels and discreet jewellery, it’s just not me. Someone else will only ever look and feel great in classic stuff, and would balk at the thought of wearing boyfriend jeans and a scruffy vest top. But it’s simple really, like most things in life, it’s a bit of instinct and a lot of hard work – some effort in life goes a long way and I get cross with people who don’t make any effort. Now you may think this preoccupation with style makes me shallow, because as we all know, ‘it’s what’s on the inside that counts’. Now if you’re reading this in the first place, chances are that you are interested in style, it’s in there, you just need to find it, your signature style. And once you find it, and start to work with it, you will feel wonderful – liberated, confident, attractive and at peace. Certain things aren’t important in life in my opinion (expensive cars, blow dried hair, other peoples’ opinions) – style IS. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s not. A bit of style, like a smile, will get you a long way.

xx Nomad Thief xx

Amendment to the Dress Edit (Ode to Liz)

Somebody rather stylish pointed out to me that not many of these dresses (which I picked out to be worn to weddings) from my recent post (The Dress Edit) would suit well endowed ladies. And she was absolutely right. The fact that I have the DNA of a plank clearly makes me predisposed to picking styles which do not require substantial boobs – apologies. Now I’m afraid those of you who this will interest might just have to spend a little more as cheaper cuts are not quite as forgiving on womanly figures. A few tips for those lucky enough to have large bosoms:
  • try not to have your sleeves stop in line with your boobs as that will give the illusion of more width. Sleeveless or capped sleeves  if you can get away with them, or longer 3/4 sleeves will work better for you
  • slimmer / fitted sleeves will work well (they will keep the upper half neater)
  • avoid any extra material on your top half, you don’t want to look ‘blousey’. Generally, body skimming, good cuts and quality, fabrics with slightly more weight to them (ie not flimsy) and a bit of give will look best
  • wear a great bra
  • if you have a waist, accentuate it
  • be careful with pattern and print, you don’t want to achieve the Pat Butcher effect. Probably safest to avoid animal prints unless you can really rock it, in which case, do!
  • show off your decolletage if it’s in good nick, if not, keep the neckline slightly higher up
  • check for gaping
  • don’t show cleavage if your boobs are droopy, or bolster them so they’re not
  • try daring cuts for special occasions (think Marilyn Monroe) but be careful not to cross the line into tarty
  • generally, some sort of v or shirt collar neck will suit you best, unless you want to go for a retro busty milkmaid vibe (probably not recommendable) or a Dangerous Liaisons look (quite hard to pull off unless you’re going to a ball or a fancy dress party)
  • try well cut cowl necks for an expensive and sophisticated look (think Nigella)
  • avoid looking slutty or matronly and instead aim for fabulous, stylish and sexy
Here are some dresses I found that technically should work. You could try strapless dresses (Ted Baker have some in ‘nice’ summery prints) but I haven’t included any here as my personal opinion is that they look too bridesmaid-y. After having a scout around online, it seems there are some ‘specialist’ options, but none of them have great reviews. Can anyone recommend any good brands which work for larger chested ladies so I can share your intel with the rest of the vast Nomad Thief readership?
This is a classic shape which should work well
An interesting and pretty print for a wedding, and I’d hazard a guess that the fabric’s quite nice too
Planet, £129
(Apologies for the small picture!) A great quirky dress (it’s not so easy to find a print / colour scheme which is not twee) which was brought to my attention by my v stylish friend M. She’s a plank too, and the dress looks good for giving the illusion of curves – but I think it would be pretty great on any body shape
Whistles, £165
Okay so the shiny fabric isn’t so great, and she’s not doing herself any favours in those awful flip-flops, but you get the idea. Subtle, foxy cleavage, and hip skimming-ness.
Interesting print and nice if you want to go colourful
Planet, £99
Okay so it’s a little bit K-Mid, but the no fussiness of the block colour and the fitted sleeves are going to work
Ralph Lauren, now £82.50 (XS, M & L currently still available)
Remember, we’re looking for dresses to wear to a wedding. This could look nicely va va voom with great accessories
Safe, and a nice, but not too twee print
Not a big fan of red and black together (old school uniform colours) but for those of you that are
For those of you who want a 50s look, try to find something with a little more structure around the boobs and waist, like this:
This could look great on someone with enough height to carry it off, boobs or no boobs. I know I advised no ruffles or unnecessary detail but I think this doesn’t go overboard and could look great. Of course it’s desperately unhelpful trying to see what these dresses would look like on a not-size-10 model, but use your imagination
Last but not least, a nice top half silhouette with a foxy pencil skirt bottom
Alexon, £150
xx Nomad Thief

The dress edit

Wedding season is fast approaching, so I thought it would be useful if I trawled around for some nice, high street dresses. Am shocked at how many awful ones there are out there to be honest, so be careful. And styling is all important so please think about your shoes and bag and jewellery – and factor them into your budget (or organise to borrow) – those things can ruin even the best dress, or elevate a mediocre one to levels of greatness. Also, don’t buy tight thinking you’ll lose weight before the event, chances are that you won’t, and wearing a size that’s slightly looser will be much more forgiving than squeezing yourself in and not being able to breathe all day. Play to your strengths. If you have great arms, show them off! If you’re carrying extra baby weight but have great boobs, show them off! Great colouring? Showcase it with some daring colours and prints! Talking of colour, and weddings tend to bring out a lot of it, try to be a little unpredictable – be inspired by the Dulux colour mixes adverts. Or try using all different tones of the same colour from the palest primrose through to rich daffodil yellow. Next point to note: avoid anything that might make you look like a bride, or a bridesmaid. To this end please, please avoid Coast.

It’s a nice time to do something out of character – everyone will be dressed up so you’re less likely to feel silly. If you’re not usually ‘girly’ why not go all out and surprise everyone? If you’re just not a dress person, try a jumpsuit, or some sort of silky separates look – but don’t go too casual – there’s nothing worse than spending all day feeling like you’ve made a lame effort. Try luxe neutrals (think wide legged palazzo pants and a silk blouse, with classy jewellery) which can look very sophisticated. I like to wear all black to weddings, it can stand out in the sea of pastels and colour and looks striking and smart in the summer. But the jury’s out on whether all black is ‘allowed’ at a wedding. Hope the dress edit saves you some time.

xx Nomad Thief aka the Wicked Fairy Godmother

Style it: pale grey sandal boots and a chunky bracelet, picking out colour/s from the dress. Need to wear a hat? a plain pillbox one is the only thing that would work
Zara dress, £79.99
Style it: not with such clumpy shoes as shown – keep it pretty and light. If you need to wear a hat, then wear a floppy wide brimmed one. Or just put some flowers (real ones) in your hair and keep with a bohemian theme
Style it: pretty, discreet, bohemian jewellery, strappy sandals or ornamental ballerina flats, and a tan. Don’t think this is a dress that will work if you need to wear a hat, it’s more of a flowers-in-your-hair / daisy chain round your head type dress
Style it: ethnic chunky jewellery, a bohemian, long-strapped bag, and strappy wedges. Need to wear a hat? Again, a floppy wide-brimmed one is best with this. And BIG retro sunglasses
Style it: grey or palest lilac accessories. No hat, but some weird little round glasses would do. Channel a Courtney Love vibe and don’t give a rat’s ass if the dress length is inappropriate for a wedding
Style it: that’s the beauty of it, you can’t go far wrong
Style it: comfortable but stylish wedges, if you’re very pregnant
Style it: flats for comfort
Style it: something other than black (you don’t want to look like a bumble bee). Actually, to be honest, am at a bit of a loss as to how to style this one
Style it: classy heels and great hair
Style it: an upper arm bangle, or an armful of various roman/grecian style bangles and some pretty gladiator sandals. An elaborate plaited updo with some soft goldy / metallic bits stuck in would look best with this
Style it: pretty shoes and pretty earrings. And a fascinator, much as I despise them
Style it: simple stilettos, a green clutch, a neat green pillbox if you like – and go easy on the jewellery (and lipstick) to avoid looking twee (a heinous crime)
Style it: cream accessories with maybe a pop of red (lipstick?) for a chic, gallic feel. Get a navy hat with a bit of a veil for an even more chic / cute look. Or some sort of summer cloche could look great with it
Style it: a Chanel style smart black bag and stylish platformed courts. Hat? Go extravagantly large and 80s
Style it: killer pins and attitude. Keep it simple – high peep-toed courts, a bangle and a plain clutch. No hat but maybe an oversized flower in your hair, or red lipstick like the lady in the picture – you need something to pull peoples eyes up to your face
Style it: minimal jewellery and ideally, no bag – the dress does all the talking. Hat? No – do yourself an updo and stick some chopsticks through it
Style it: stilettos (red, pink or green) for a 50s feel. Or peep-toed courts. Again – if you need a hat: pillbox
Style it: solid cream / off white would go with with this, little gloves and a pillbox hat would set it off nicely. Or a cute ‘formal’ turban
Style it: platform courts and no jewellery
Style it: a long string of pearls and a black and cream squareish shaped long strapped shoulder bag. A straw cloche might look good with this. I said might
Style it: hair up and statement earrings, little else. Strappy wedges to give height for maximum impact. No hat but if you want to go the whole hog wear your hair up in a gold turban

Style Inheritance

221837_1024488619322_7314769_nI got to thinking last night about where my love of style came from. There were certain stories about my mum that always made me smile, in particular the one where she once (in college) painted her shoes with emulsion paint to match her outfit. The fact that she always picked me up on winter days from the school gates in a wolf (WOLF, I kid you not) jacket. It ended up in the tip one day (yes, the TIP. Again, I kid you not) during a phase when people were getting spat upon (and more) for wearing fur coats. The photos of her in skirts up to her bottom and boots up to her knees (that was the ’60s, she wasn’t tarty per se). The trips to NoahNoah on Wellfield Road and some fabulous outfits for work (she was an English teacher) – sky high stilettoed boots in the winter (which to her credit she wore all day every day without once falling over) and houndstooth monochrome suits with calf length kick flare skirts. A (okay, this one was a bit dodgy) ‘rhinestone cowboy’ jewel adorned jumpsuit. Oh yes, and a fabulous khaki-with-jungle-print skirt and jacket (sounds awful, but it was really original at the time) which she bought from Warehouse.  (“Why didn’t you go to a shop?” said my dad…) Something my mum once said to me that I thought was very sweet (and am sure also true) is: children like colour, they like interesting things – they don’t want to see you dowdy. She always wore (and still wears) something quirky or stylish or colourful or interesting, and I’m positive that I’m not the only person she has inspired with her innate sense of style.

But my Dad definitely has something to answer for too. He wore a kermit (ok, this might be a slight exaggeration) green suit the first time he met the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, in his capacity as Chief Engineer for a road flyover project in Cardiff. He was one of four, and Prince Philip allegedly said to him “Ahh, you must be the contractor’s agent” (I didn’t know this, but contractors’ agents tend to wear wacky clothes. Maybe I should have been one of those?) Anyway, the second time my dad met them, in a longer line up that time, the eagle eyed Prince recognised him and said “I see you’ve got a new suit!” Brilliant. He also started wearing Kickers the same time as I did (remember them?) and hasn’t done up his shoelaces ever since, which is, I think, a fashion statement in itself. And he’s always, always had cool hair. He doesn’t wear jeans, or cowboy boots, but he definitely has something of an old cowboy about him.

My sister’s definitely had her moments (hey, she was a teenager in the 80s too) and is unfailingly supportive of my styling adventures (as she was of all of my previous crazy fads) but is generally more conservative in dress than me (not a bad thing, for her sake) and my brother (whatever he says, he had some special moments too, you only have to look at the picture) was frankly horrified when he heard about my plan to become a stylist. He thinks my dress sense is the worst in the world, which makes me laugh a lot (clearly he’s wrong).

Yes, our parents are where it all came from. They didn’t bat an eyelid when I dressed entirely in monochrome to match my beloved Welsh sheepdog. Or when I painted my entire room lime green and purple, and insisted on wearing only clothes in that colour (to my discredit I was about 15 at the time, not 9). They always accepted me as I was, and never tried to quash my individuality. Except for the time my mum made me wear a royal blue velour tracksuit to junior school in the winter because it was cosy. Urgh! Cosy and UGLY! I much preferred my grey marl mini skirt with neon graffiti on it. Even in the winter.

xx Nomad Thief xx


2013 Style Resolutions

You would think that, being into style, by this point in my life I’d have tried and tested everything. In reality I’m lazy about shopping (unless it’s for other people) and these days often find myself into a style rut and just going for comfort/casual dressing (typically, jeans or shorts with a t-shirt or jumper and boots) and looking like a (n albeit stylish) tramp. A bit like this recent post from undisputed street style photographer king The Sartorialist:


Now I think she looks great and I love the style, but for me, it’s time for something new… So, in writing this, am committing myself to devising some new looks, and to showing you the results – lame or otherwise. Namely, the following: lipstick (am a bit worried about this one, my past attempts have been not only disappointing but frankly a little bit frightening) / clothes from the mens department, but this time feminised / earrings (necessitating re-piercing my ears) / grown up shoes (not that I wear Crocs or anything, just that I seem to wear boots winter and summer) / statement collars, necklaces, buttoned up shirts + jumper necklines (good for covering up my scrawny neck) / winter bare legs with boots and calf length skirts (am most excited about this one) / blouses, jeans and high heels / vintage looks, all sorts / more jewellery in general (in particular – bangles, long necklaces and cocktail rings) / tracksuit bottoms and high boots (a la off duty Parisian model. Obviously I’ll look just like one) / dressing up (I have a pathalogical fear of being overdressed and need to get over it as it’s actually nice to make an effort) maybe in actual pretty dresses (I also have a pathalogical fear of looking ‘pretty’) / green (I love it but I don’t wear it enough). I think that’s it.

We all tend to stick to certain ‘formulas’ and we all get bored. Let’s mix it up. Pinpoint something (else) that you like (just look around at other people, or have a flick through some magazines) and just try it. Chances are that although you might have nailed one sort of look, you’ve probably missed a whole load of others that could work on you. Yes, it takes a little bit of thought and effort. But doesn’t everything worth doing?

Style on the slopes

snowboardersskiiersc&a 2skiierprettiesmehorsehats

There seem to be 6 major style tribes gracing the slopes these days:

Pretty Pretties  
Female. An as-fitted-as-possible jumpsuit – or, if separates, the jacket will usually be belted at the waist. A fur edged hood and some sort of nondescript snowflake/snowscene design. Colours: brown, cream, pink (urgh), white, or orange. Headgear: wide headband and big wraparound (expensive / flashy) sunglasses. Or a neat helmet in matching colours and discreet ski googles.

C&A Brigade
Predominantly male but not exclusively. Usually tricolor, often all-in-ones. Usually some horrible combination of green / turquoise / pink / white / purple / yellow. Generally ill-fitting (either borrowed from someone or they’ve had it for 15+ years). Sometimes worn ironically (presumably) with a bright aerobics type headband and / or often some sort of old fashioned moustache. Drink: beer. As cheap as possible. Always.

Baggy. Cool. Different. Faux ‘other materials’ (textile which looks like graffiti, bark, brick, denim), neon, garish patterns. Highly reflective and oversized ski visors / goggles, usually with a multicoloured or flashy gold tint. Some sort of ‘crazy’ hat. Or retro bobble. Eat: self made sandwiches, off piste. Also now more ‘tidy’ snowboarders out there. Usually small, neat, a little-bit-wacky couples. They probably work in media.

Brands: Helly Hanson, North Face, that sort of thing. Colours: black, navy, red, green, royal blue. Nothing garish, nothing daring. Relatively affluent, mostly over 30 and not desperately interested in fashion. People who probably spend a lot of time hiking when they’re not skiing.

Onesies (girls and boys) or farmyard animal / cartoon character outfits. Sometimes complete with animal heads / tails / capes. Very likely to be from public school, in the army and / or part of a rugby (or other) club. Drink: beer (boys) or champagne (boys and girls).

Proper Skiiers
Skin tight ski gear in club colours, or all-the-same-colour separates – smart, sleek and good quality but not at all shiny or flashy. Sometimes with ski resort / ski school logo.

In making all these sweeping and disparaging remarks (by the end of the year I’ll probably have managed to alienate or offend most of the people on the planet) I was thinking about my own transgression through the style tribes of the slopes… First, it was pure C&A, at the tender age of 14. Turquoise, white and pink. Zero points for originality, but I loved it and was very proud. Second, early university days, and a new jacket – pale blue, with a large, very cool (I thought) iguana on the back. “Isn’t it a bit big darling?” said my mum. And of course she was right. By about 6 sizes… I was learning to value extremes in dressing. Third, in the long interim and up til this season, a non descript grey/black/white ‘functional’ number. Nice, but a bit, well.. yawn. Fourthly, my current this-season-bought love: a bright blue, snug, down-filled one with lots of pointless but appealing logos and a fur hood. See picture.
I asked my husband after writing this which category I now fall into and he said; “Pretty pretty, of course!”.
I’m distraught.

All this aside… the best thing about skiing / snowboarding? It’s a great leveller and it doesn’t matter what the hell you wear, as long as you have fun and don’t cut people up or drop your gloves off the chair lift.


Waistcoats are the thing in my wardrobe that have the worst cost per wear record. They appeal to me and I’m forever buying them and cutting them up into pieces or having them tailored to be more fitted, but rarely so they seem to work for me. Not really. So if you have a good look with a waistcoat, I’d love to see it.

You don’t get the whole effect here, this lady was super cool but I just didn’t get the shot. That happens – and with it comes a sinking feeling of disappointment, lost opportunity, something fleeting that will now never be captured. Okay okay, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but you get my drift…

So, waistcoats. Tricky to get right, believe me I’ve had my fair share of waistcoat disasters. Waistcoats, I’ve found, only really work with a big dose of style humour, or a big dose of cool. Think Mossy in her waistcoat and either 70s flares or skinny jeans. Strictly monochrome and rock and roll. Think Trinny playing with proportions; little cropped furry coloured waistcoats with the rest of the outfit sleek – a slim fitting long dress or some fitted flares and a fitted overlong-sleeved plain top. It works. Or think of the arty type, a ‘formal’ suit type waistcoat with boyfriend jeans and not much else – or just a thin white t-shirt. Style humour, mixing it up. Waistcoats can bulk you out, and they can look really straight (bad, in my book) if worn the wrong way. You need to find another way through, to get the waistcoat to work. Am not totally convinced it’s working for me, but am trying – will post a few pictures on here soon and you can judge for yourself.



Summer styled chinos

Let’s face it, chinos are pretty boring and usually consigned to the ranks of off duty corporate types (male), worn with ‘boat shoes’ and some awful generic polo shirt. A uniform of sorts, but not an inspired one if you ask me.  Now chinos on a girl can look a little bit, dare i say it… butch. So, in my opinion, you’ve just got to team them with something pretty. For me, high heels are pretty much a no go area (not that they’d go with chinos anyway), but platform sandals kind of work. I have to confess that I didn’t make this up (ahem, I’m not called Thief for nothing) – I first saw this look at a friend’s wedding (thank you, Eleanor Taylor). The something else pretty is beads. Oh, and take care to show your ankles and to keep the top half cropped / not too bulky. Tada! (Denim jacket from Burberry, beads from Mistral, chinos from Gap, sandals from M&S.)

This was the sunset that night – and the photo hasn’t been enhanced in any way. Beautiful, huh?