Full-time blogger Amber McNaught lives in central Scotland, and is the shoe-smitten writer behind Shoeperwoman and Forever Amber. Although it’s not obvious in this feature, our blogger practically lives in sky-high heels. They’re as much part of her trademark style as her stunning red locks and retro-inspired aesthetic. Amber’s style is ladylike, tailored and polished. She adores ’50s-style skirts and frocks, hardly ever sports jeans, and wears retro girly fun very well. She doesn’t follow trends all that closely, but does pay sufficient attention to them so that her outfits look current. Amber has tons of fun doing her own thing too:
“I’ve always had quite clear ideas about what I like and don’t like, but I think it’s only been over the last couple of years that I’ve found the confidence to wear what I want to wear, and to arrive at what I think of as my ‘signature’ style. Prior to that, I always worried about being over-dressed (I live in an area where people tend to dress casually for everything, and to look down on anyone they perceive as being ‘dressed up’), or standing out, so I’d end up wearing jeans and a sweater all the time, while the dresses and skirts I love so much gathered dust in the closet. These days I think I have a much more defined sense of what my style is, and I’m far less apologetic about it: the types of clothes I wear haven’t really changed all that much, but my attitude towards them definitely has. I describe my style as ‘classic, with a retro twist’: I’ve never been particularly interested in following trends, and I’m drawn to mostly 50s-inspired silhouettes, although I don’t consider myself to be purely ‘retro’ in my style, and I like a lot of more contemporary looks, too.”
This French gamine look with Audrey Hepburn influences is completely up Amber’s style alley. So fun! The three quarter sleeves, oversized buttons and pocket, and stand-up collar give the jacket — and the entire outfit — a delightful retro vibe. The cream looks very chic with our blogger’s stunning red hair, while the striking topknot works particularly well with the higher neckline. A navy and white Breton tee playfully peeks out from under the jacket. The cigarette pants have that typical “Audrey silhouette”. Their cropped length helps showcase a pretty pair of pointy-toed sling-backs. Together with the peppy pink colour blocked shopper, these open-heeled flats really make this look for me. They’re the charming touches that add modern pizzazz.
A redhead in green is a slam dunk, and Amber wears this midi sheath dress to perfection. The fit is flatteringly tailored but not tight. The frock hits our just under 5’4″ blogger at a great below-the-knee length and has those ever elusive long sleeves. I also love how there’s no skin showing between the tall boots and dress. A seventies look that is showing up again on the Fall/Winter 2014 runways. Amber’s gone matchy-matchy with her accessories, picking a rich tan to complement both the green dress and her copper hair that she’s straightened for the occasion. The sleek hair echoes the sleek fit of the frock. The gold-toned hardware on the pliable tote works beautifully with the outfit’s colour palette. The faux fur collar and leather gloves with bow detailing add feminine glamour.
Amber wore this British countryside-inspired outfit for a day of sightseeing with lots of walking. As always, her breath-takingly beautiful hair is an integral part of the look. Aren’t her long tresses gorgeous with this soft Autumnal colour palette. Taupe stretch twill skinny pants have been tucked into a pair of Hunter wellies. Easy and practical. The brown boots have a slight metallic sheen to them, which, together with the gold buttons on our blogger’s jacket, adds depth to the outfit. The cut-away detailing of the plaid equestrian jacket reveals a nice bit of cream chunky knit pullover underneath. The back of the jacket is the same length as the sweater with subtle rounded hem, which makes for great proportions. Amber finishes off the look with oversized sunnies and a bright red lip.
A fitted midi sheath dress is one of Amber’s go-to silhouettes, and she actually bought this polka dot cutie in two different colours because she loves it so much. This entire look, from the navy with white polka dot print paired with cardi, brooch and skinny belt, to the peep-toe pumps screams ’50s fun. But the midi frock with high boatneck is just as current today, and the blue, white and red colour palette is elegantly timeless. Our blogger creates a long, lean line by leaving the hip-bone length V-neck cardigan unbuttoned. The sky-high heels, of course, also help in that department. The fab Kate Spade satchel is the modern touch that brings together all the colours beautifully. And notice how the bow detail on the bag echoes the bows on Amber’s pumps. Very clever styling.
When asked where her love for retro-inspired fashion comes from, Amber replied:
“My love of retro is purely an aesthetic one: I like styles from the 50s and early 60s because I find them flattering and fairly timeless, but I’ve never been interested in trying to faithfully re-create a look from a particular era, or in looking like I’ve stepped out of the past, so I’ll always incorporate some kind of modern touch (mostly shoes: I like retro-inspired clothes, but I LOVE modern shoes!), and keep my hair and makeup pretty simple. I like very simple, unfussy styles, and I love the fact that something like a 50s-inspired full skirt, say, is so easy to wear, but can have such a lot of impact. People often speak about dresses/skirts as if they’re very complicated or require a lot of effort to style, but I actually think they can be some of the easiest outfits to throw together: just add shoes and you’re done!”
As our blogger confirms above, she has a penchant for simpler outfits. But simple doesn’t have to be boring, and Amber proved this with this stylish Summer-y throw-on-and-go look. All you need is a dress in a flattering-for-you silhouette in a fab colour. An interesting design detail is a bonus but not a must. Here, Amber picked a midi fit-and-flare frock with white waistband and white V-neck. So very fresh, and this cobalt blue is gorgeous on our Titian-haired blogger. The straw cloche is Amber’s nod to her love for all things retro. The bow on the wide band is quite rigid, which is a subtle way to add polish. The white trim on the sweet red ballet flats echoes the white in Amber’s dress. Red lipstick and a nautical-inspired iPhone cover are the fun finishing touches. Rubin, Amber’s adorable Bichon Frisé, makes this pretty Summer picture even more perfect.
Now this is trademark ’50s-inspired Amber. She is wearing a pleated floral print midi that adds plenty of structure. The petticoat underneath is a little aid to make it fuller and more voluminous. I am smitten with the light blue, delicate yellow and white colour combo. So ladylike and pretty. Plus, it looks gorgeous with our blogger’s pale skin and shiny red waves. Amber buttoned up the crew neck cardigan, and then knotted it in the front to emphasize her slim waist. A tucked white top underneath works well if you prefer not to expose your midriff. Adding peep-toe pumps in an unexpected pale pink is a wonderful touch. The blue bows on the shoes are a nod back to the blue in the rest of the outfit, and a great touch to tie this fun retro package together. A simple silver watch and bracelet are the accessories of choice.
Here are Amber’s top two tips for those who would like to incorporate more retro touches into their own style:
1. Start small. Something like a bright red lip or cat’s eye eyeliner can give a ‘retro’ feel to just about anything.
2. It’s easy to feel like you’re wearing a costume if you’re not careful, so I always choose modern shoes and accessories, and if I’m wearing a retro-inspired outfit, I’ll normally tone down my hair and makeup a bit, so I don’t feel like I’m in fancy dress.
Browse the rest of Amber’s beautiful outfits over at her blog, or find out what inspires our blogger on Pinterest. But first let us know in the comments what you think of her polished and ladylike retro-inspired looks.