Catherine Summers (40) of Not Dressed As Lamb is a woman who does not shy away from colour. In fact, she has made it part of her striking signature style. Maximal but not cluttered, bold pattern mixing, high heels, statement jewellery, beautifully defined eyebrows and creating big impact outfits without breaking the bank are some of her other fashion trademarks. While contemplating her style future before turning 40, this online shopping expert realized she wanted to avoid the mutton dressed as lamb trap. And so the name of her blog was born. Interestingly her colourful style evolution actually began to take shape years before:
“The main change in my style over the years is how I’ve weaned myself off black. I remember thinking about 10-12 years ago that I’d love to be one of those people that wears bright colours all the time — so I just made a concerted effort to buy less black and more colour! I’d never tried mixing patterns before seeing other bloggers doing it (which is where I get most of my inspiration from). I’ve also expanded my shoes and accessories collection enormously with some very colourful statement pieces… like a lot of women I’m rapidly running out of storage space. I hope I become one of those wildly dressed old ladies — I’d love to be wearing crazy colours and patterns with a ton of jewellery when I’m 90… not let up on the brights and pattern mixing, in other words!”
Fedora, beanie, wide brimmed straw hat, trilby, bowler… I don’t think Catherine has ever met a hat she couldn’t rock. She has an awesome collection of headwear, and this animal print cutie is utterly charming. Paired with the belted cape it adds instant pizzazz. The waist definition provides structure and makes it easier to wear. Picking a hot pink jumper to go with the wine red skinnies may be a somewhat unusual choice for some, but not for our “Queen of Clash”, who expertly mixes cool shades with warm tones without batting an eyelid. Great job also bookending her hair with the tan high-heeled boots and colour-blocked bag.
The harem pants make this dressy look. Together with the wool striped fabric of the shoes they add a delightful oriental touch to an evening outfit, worn to a birthday dinner. Elegant and festive with a twist. I kept admiring how the pants are just loose enough on the thigh area, and lovely and billowy around the ankles. So imagine my surprise when I discovered this is a clever DIY trick, obtained by putting elastics around the hems. Catherine gravitates towards black for going-out looks, but her signature use of colour is still there. One would never guess that the striped blazer and round toe platform pumps were bought on separate occasions. They really do form the perfect matchy-matchy pair. The oversized white envelope clutch adds modern crispness, while the metallic two tone chunky bubble necklace and Catherine’s red locks finish off the look. My personal favourite, without a doubt!
Monochromatic retro elegance. The most subdued outfit of the bunch, but it clearly still has Catherine’s trademark flair written all over it. This ton-sur-ton Winter white outfit showcases her talent to create vintage looking ensembles with new and contemporary pieces. The flowy wide-legged trousers and belted jacket with blouson sleeves give it a 1940s feel, don’t you think? It’s romantic and texture-rich thanks to the use of cosy looking items like the knit wool hat, chunky knit sweater and corduroy jacket. The splashes of pale yellow in the python shopper and Catherine’s striking red tresses provide all the colour this outfit needs. Fantastic detail: these are actually Catherine’s wedding trousers. When you browse her blog you’ll see that she’s a genius at remixing them in very creative ways. Absolutely brilliant!
Does this girl know how to throw an arm candy party or what! Catherine has no qualms sporting several watches at once and piling on the accessories on the other arm too. Love it. Although the top and skirt are both contemporary items, this outfit has a decidedly vintage air. I was immediately drawn to the clean lines and strong graphic feel of this look. Then charmed by how it’s softened it up with one simple detail: the romantic lace trim on the black camisole, reinforcing the retro vibe. The sheerness of the modern colour-blocked shirt is an alluring touch, the chevron print a bold, unusual colour combo. And what an eye for detail. Notice how the sharp angle of the chevron shape is echoed in the eye-catching triangular earrings and the spiked bracelets on her right arm.
A predominantly pale colour palette gets a kick from Catherine’s expert pattern mixing skills. For her super sleuth look she’s paired a preppy red and white gingham button-down with chinos in a romantic floral print. Silver is the metal of choice for artfully arranged watches, bracelets, rings and a chunky necklace. Of course every self-respecting PI needs a trench coat. Catherine’s opted for a classic beige version and comfy cream brogues, ideal for snooping around the British countryside. The geek chic specs were an eBay find, logical when you know this budget-conscious blogger does 95% of her shopping online. Not a hint of hard-boiled detective in the finishing touches either, but a cheery colour-blocked tote and small pearl stud earrings playing up the girly feel of this Nancy-Drew-in-the-countryside look.
This casual yet put together outfit for a day of cold weather sightseeing proves once again that Catherine is a master colour mixer. The rust coloured sweater and her favourite cognac boots look beautiful with the grey skinnies. The colours of the jumper and jeans are cleverly repeated in the large felt colour-blocked tote, which, together with the mixed-media coat with fur trim gives this outfit plenty of textural interest. Nothing is left to coincidence, as Catherine then throws in extra colour with the bright pink and purple plaid scarf. It enhances the richness of the existing colour palette and looks gorgeous against her red hair. Fab 70s inspired boho with modern sass.
Hop on over to Not Dressed As Lamb to browse the rest of Catherine’s outfit archive, you’ll be welcomed by an explosion of colour and pattern. Brush up on your photography skills with her Photo Tips Friday blog posts, find out how to become an expert eBay shopper or discover what inspires Catherine through her pinboards. But first let us know what you find inspiring about Catherine’s eclectic style.