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Ask Lucy | Workwear, Beating Jet Lag, Beachy Hair and Fave Instagram Follows

It’s time for a new instalment of Qs and As from the questions you guys have been sending and commenting… Don’t forget to keep them coming. You can comment on this post, tag me on social media with the hashtag #AskLucy or email me at lucy@fashionmenow.co.uk – just make sure to put ‘Ask Lucy’ in the subject line.

I’m all over snapchat now too (lucywilliams02) and regularly post food, recipes, beauty stuff and un-grammed outfits so do head over there too.

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I’m a recently new follower of your blog and I adore your minimal and laidback aesthetic. I was wondering what you would recommend wearing in London and Paris in mid-June as I’m planning a trip for two weeks there. I know the weather is around the 60s and low 70s (F) and sometimes those are the trickiest temps to work with and I’m not the best at layering (I’ve lived in either always hot (l.A) or always cold – (Chicago). Thank you for your tips! – Samantha

Hey Samantha – Excited for you to come to London! And June is a great time to come. It’ll most likely going to be pretty warm and sunny but gets kind of chilly in the evening or when the sun’s not out. Right now you’ll see people in puffa jackets and scarves and little dresses with bare legs on the same day!

It’s all about balancing it out so I tend to either go for legs covered and arms out or vice versa. My uniform right now tends to be a denim skirt with a tee, converse and leather jacket or jeans, slides and some kind of light top like a shirt, cotton blouse or tank. I just bought this dress and love this with a denim or leather jacket to tackle those ‘how hot is it really’ days. I often shove a cashmere jumper in my bag if I can too in case I need an extra layer. In terms of packing, I’d bring a pair of trainers (sneakers!), a pair of black ankle boots that work with both bare legs and jeans, and a couple of pairs of sandals and/or slides. A leather jacket, denim jacket and a lightweight bomber would see you through jacket wise too I reckon… Remember to leave lots of space in your luggage for new purchase too. The shopping here and Paris is some of the best and you’ll be able to find everything and anything here if you’re caught short weather wise.

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Is Réalisation a quality brand, which size did you get for the red Diana dress for example? (i would like to wear it for an important countryside event! – Clemence

I get lots of questions about Realisation Par, especially the sizing because it’s a new brand and always intimidating when ordering from abroad and faced with customs charges on something that potentially might not fit. I’m totally obsessed with this brand; they just seem to have that knack of creating those perfect pieces that feel both timeless and of the moment. They’re not lead by the catwalks and just feel super flirty and sexy to wear.

I’ve got a mixture of sizes in my wardrobe. The long sleeve star print dress is an XS and my Poppy print dress is in a small. My star print top is a small and could really have been an XS as it does feel quite big on me but the poppy dress was nice being a tiny bit oversized in the Mexican heat. I’m fairly petite and have small boobs so can get away with an XS but if you need more length or coverage, I’d go for a larger size.

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My question is about work wear: I am in my early twenties and am on the first year of a grad scheme at a multinational company. The unofficial dress code is the dreaded “smart casual”, which translates as anything from blue jeans and trainers to smart dresses and kitten heels. I definitely fall on the more casual end of the spectrum and either wear skirts/opaque tights/jumper/loafers or black jeans, shirts, black trainers. As winter is ending I am becoming SO bored of my clothes, and am desperate for a wardrobe rejuvenation. Do you have any recommendations of what looks to go for as summer approaches? My biggest limitation is that my office is very unfashionable – culottes or co-ords for instance would definitely be too avant garde. I don’t have any real budget – Zara prices are great but equally I am happy to spend on investment pieces. Body wise I have a v similar figure to you. – Rosie

Firstly, I would say try not to worry too much about whether or not your office is unfashionable; culottes are really pretty unobjectionable I’ve found so try not to be too dictated by what the rest of your office wears. The worst you’ll get is a few ‘trendy’ remarks in the morning and perhaps even a few women wondering if they themselves could pull off some culottes! I’m only banging on about culottes as they really are a summer staple when it comes to workwear and can look incredibly chic and still feel androgynous and casual. I have friends who are lawyers who happily wear culottes to work, albeit in a different way I might when popping to lunch. Keep the colours neutral, the shapes streamlined, team with a block heel mule or sandal and you’re good to go.

A smart pair of cropped, kick flare jeans are a good summer alternative to black skinnies and work with everything from silk shirts (a workwear must for me) to sleeveless tops. Team with loafers or smart sandals (aka not remotely beachy) for something that feels relaxed but equally not thrown together. The shirt dress is a great staple for those weeks when commuting gets really sticky and uncomfortable, and are just as good as weekends too. You know I love a stripe, and a breton tee makes black skirts look less waitress and more weekend in Paris. I would avoid shorts in the office and go for tailored, loose trousers instead. These khaki trousers (promise they’re not combats) could be ideal with a shirt and a smart pair of flats.

I’ve put some key pieces below that might help narrow down your shopping! I really believe in workwear working at weekends too so everything below is the kind of thing you can dress up or down and I’ve kept colours really neutral so they’d work in your own wardrobe. Hope it helps!

How do you plan your trips for the year? So for in order to get best flights/ availability etc…Do you think at the start of the year I’m going here, here and here and book or do you come back from a trip and see what inspires you for the next and then book ? I hope that makes sense….Thank you! Safe travels. – Laura

Thanks Laura. I always have a bit of an ongoing bucket list in my mind and am forever trying to tick off places on there but, of course, new places keep getting added! A lot of our trips are dictated by time we have away and time of year. My boyfriend is only able to travel easily and for longer periods in April/May and November/December so we tend to go somewhere further a field at these times because the weather in Europe can be touch and go. This is when we get to do the likes of Mexico, India and Sri Lanka and have another long haul trip planned for the end of the year. We tend to have a think through places we want to go and then have a look at flights, places to stay, accessibility etc and figure it out from there. We rarely go somewhere in peak season due to prices and availability and go on the outskirts on the rainy season instead. Little tip I think I’ve figured out; thanks to global warming, the monsoon seasons tend to end later and start later so whereas December is still technically high season for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, you’re now much more likely to get rain then than if you went in April which is officially off peak…

I’m a bit of a travel junkie so tend to devour the likes of CondeNast Traveller (the U.K one is the best), Sunday paper travel supplements and Instagram for inspo as to the next trip too.

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You’re one of my favourite instagrammers to follow but I would love to know who do you follow? Who are you top instagrammers to follow? – Cateshill

Ahhh so many! I was actually thinking about doing a whole post on this so I’ll just highlight a few faves.

In terms of fashion, I love Marta from Life of Boheme‘s instagram – she is such a babe and styles things in a really laidback, original way. Courtney from AlwaysJudging, Amanda from Oracle Fox and Adenorah are all up there too. I love following Sara from CollageVintage and Julie from Sincerely Jules too – they combine fashion and travel so well.

Photography wise, Brydie of Wolfcubwolfcub never fails to create magic and I love it when she has a new campaign out. Grant Legan’s insta is always beautiful as is Kristine Lo and Alice Gao who I discovered through other bloggers.

I’m a bit obssesed with Courtney Adamo and her ridiculously sweet family on their world road trip, while Innika Choo cracks me up every time with her family-orientated pics from Bali. Travel obviously features pretty heavily on my feed, with the likes of The Adventures of Us, IescapeHotels, and LucyLaucht’s travel pics always inspiring.

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Top tips for reducing impact of jet lag? -Bethanyrex

First thing’s first, as soon as I’m on the plane, I try get on the time of where I’m going. So if it’s the middle of the night where I’m headed or I’m due to land first thing in the morning, I have something to eat, listen to a podcast or watch a short film, and immediately put my eye mask and ear plugs on. I’m not adverse to taking a nytol or drowsy antihistamine to help me sleep on planes too. They don’t make me feel groggy and just help take the edge off…  Equally if I’m flying to New York and am due to land at about 6 pm I don’t sleep at all. These are my favourite kind of flights as I get to watch loads of movies, read magazines and not worry about sleeping.

Pushing through is important too. Unless I’m lying on the beach somewhere, I never nap. Even if I’ve been up since before 5 A.M with jet lag, I really try not to nap in the afternoons. Drinking loads of water, herbal teas and snacking regularly on good stuff helps keep my blood sugar from dropping so I don’t get that afternoon slump double whammy. Equally don’t push it. If you’re struggling to stay awake, dinner reservations at 9 p.m aren’t worth it; by that point I’m normally hangry, knackered and generally miserable. Fresh air and exercise are, annoyingly, a real jetlag cure too. Walking rather than getting cabs and just getting a bit of serotonin flowing through you and getting a dose of natural day light help get your body clock back on track again. If I’m really wide awake at 5 A.M on the first morning, I open the curtains, let the sunrise stream in and if I can bear it, do a bit of yoga or pilates in my room to get myself going.

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What’s your perfect beachy hair secret?

I’m thinking you mean on a daily basis rather than when I’m actually on the beach so here goes! My hair gets greasy super quickly, and try as I might, I normally have to wash it every day if I want it to look half decent. I use Aussie Mega shampoo and Davines Nou Nou shampoo with Davines conditioner and after letting it dry for about 5 minutes in a towel wrap, I spritz with Philip Kingsley Daily Defence and brush through with my new WetBrush. Once it’s brushed through in a centre parting, I throw it about a bit (literally!) – imagine you’re heandbanging a couple of times – to loosen it up. I then use Bumble & Bumble Thickening Spray and rough it up a bit to work through and finally smooth two pumps or Liz Earle Hair Oil on the ends. I scrunch it a little to give it a bit of texture otherwise it dries poker straight.

I then leave to dry to about 80% before I start twisting it a little. There are two different ways to do this. The first is separate as if you’re doing bunches and then just twist each side, starting from the pieces that frame you face and working your way down to the ends. I then twist into a little bun and pin onto the back or side of my head. I leave for about 10-20 minutes (more or less depending how easily your hair styles) and then take out when dry. Initially it can look very bouncy and curly but on me, it drops almost immediately. An easier option is just to twist the ends into a ponytail and secure as a bun at the back of the head. I might put a bit more oil on the ends when dry and occasionally spray some hairspray into my hands and scrunch into the ends to fit them a bit. If your hair is really fine and flat like mine, a bit of dry shampoo or hair spray sprayed onto fingertips and smushed (professional term) into the roots helps add a bit of beachy volume. Hope that helps a bit!

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What size are your redone jeans? – AnnaWeilberg

Another question I get loads on insta. I’m a pretty standard 25″ in all jeans and both my Redone pairs are a 25. The skinny pair is a slightly tighter fit than the flared Elsa pair but they both fit really well.

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Love this new series! My question is utterly boring but I’m sure others would love to know the answer, as would I! Your figure is UHMAZING! How!!!!!!!?????? I loved your diet /fitness post a while back but would you consider doing something more detailed – day in the life or week in the life with your diet and exercise? Again I know that must seem so boring but it would be sooooo interesting – Phillippa 

Hi Philippa – thanks so much! Firstly, remember that for every bikini picture posted, there are about 50 I haven’t! But thanks so much for the nice compliment :)
That’s a good idea to do a bigger post if people would be interested. But to start with I thought I’d run through a couple of my own ‘rules’.

– I believe in eating good carbs and never depriving yourself. I regularly eat boiled eggs with wholemeal/granary toast with butter for breakfast and couldn’t survive without potatoes (both sweet and white), spelt pasta and soba noodles. Carbs are not the enemy! It’s just all about serving size, how you’re preparing them and what you’re putting with them.
-I’m terrible at working out and have long given up on the idea of being a gym bunny after letting my last membership go 6 months without being used before I cancelled it! I’d much rather go on a two hour power walk outside than spend 40 mins on a treadmill and given how much I travel and work, it’s really difficult to stick to a routine. I walk a lot in the summer, both in London and when at home with my family, and do yoga and pilates too. I’ve really got into using Youtube videos for this as I find I’m much more likely to fit it in if I can do within an hour at home and it means I can keep up with it when travelling. I like Blogilates and Adrienne Yoga. If I need an extra boost before holiday, I’ll combine with HIT workouts for 30 minutes too. I’ve now got some favourite moves down so can basically makeup my own routine too – you can see a few of them here. 
-Beware of buying into the whole ‘clean eating’ thing. I’m as much for quinoa and kale as the next person, but there a few things I’m not so down with. Sweet potato brownies are delicious but if you’re having a couple several times a week whereas you previously had none, that’s still an extra load of snacking. Wouldn’t you rather have a real brownie occasionally? Likewise if you’re having a smoothie or a loaded, thick juice, these should really be the snack and not a side to a snack.
– Eat your greens! I make this amazing homemade avocado pesto that is so good with pasta or buckwheat noodles. It’s got about two or three big handfuls of spincach (or kale), half an avocado, a small handful of nuts (cashews, pine nuts or almonds), olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, a little cold water and seasoning and all whizzed up in a nutri bullet. It makes those leafy greens go so much further. I then add cherry tomatoes, peas, grated courgettes and mushrooms or salmon fillets. Yum.
– Chew your food and try to eat mindfully where possible. Shovelling food in while watching a gripping episode of House of Cards is something I’m very guilty of, but I’ve genuinely noticed a massive difference when I take more time over food and eat slower. I don’t get as bloated or end up in an uncomfortable food coma and realise I’m fuller a lot sooner. Although saying that, there’s still something incredibly satisfying about occasionally chowing down on every last bit of a giant pizza in front of a movie….

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Thanks so much for all your questions and comments – I hope these answers help in someway! Keep them coming – love hearing from you guys.

xxx

Images via a selection from my own archive, Pinterest, fashiiongonerogue.tumblr.com, Vogue Germany and Instagram (all credited above). 

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Comments

  • Sam Glossips

    love this post! i was going to ask about your hair, so super grateful for this post! With the redone jeans, just a word of warning to anyone looking to order them. I ordered my standard size and a size up from Liberty and couldn’t get the done up. They are not made for girls with curvy hips or bums! I have a small waist but a decent sized bottom and there was no way they were going to do up – they were a good three inches apart! Try them in the UK before you order from the US so you don’t end up with the same issue! I was really devastated but i will just have to stick to stretch denim. :(

  • Pandora Sykes

    Um can you take over Wardrobe Mistress, please? I’ve bought 2 things from the workwear question and I don’t even wear workwear….

    • Hahaha – our kind of ‘workwear’ clearly! I want loads of it too – & Other Stories so good right now. And definitely not qualified for WM – that’s all you! Excited for the podcast too xx

  • Hello! You should watch The True Cost @ http://truecostmovie.com/. Shines light on the unimaginable social & environmental impacts of throw-away fast fashion. You have such a beautiful blog with such a powerful influence and thousands of followers, thought you may be interested.

    Love your travels posts!

    xx

    Laura

  • Cathy Vu

    Hi Lucy. You are my recent blogger/instagrammer discovery and I have to tell you, you are my absolute favorite! I started to follow blogs back in the days 2006-2007 and I only really followed like 5 blogs on the daily basis, still the same ones till this day too. It is so hard for me to convert or follow new ones because just like with real like I feel like I only need a handful of good bffs to be happy. Its like i refuse to get to know new people. haha But seriously though, blogging has transformed so much recently, people are building their brands and “ditching” their blogs or are focusing only on instagram or snapchat, etc. Some are still serious about their blogs but they have become mega brand type of platform for other things and therefore, much less personal. I am not criticizing or complaining about the change because i understand people have to transform and move on with life and such BUT your blog proves to me that I still love reading a good personal relatable OG kind of blog. Blogging is not completely out of style once you meet your match! I mean I hope that your career will continue to take off and grow but I also hope that you will never lose that authentic and personal connection with your readers and followers. I really enjoy your writing, quirkiness and of course your casual effortless impeccable style. Just found out from this post that we also wear the same jeans size – yay! :) I used to live in London for a year on a study abroad program back in college so i totally love seeing your pictures around town. Would love to see more of the countryside if you go there. English countryside is my favorite – so charming!!! Anyway, love what you are doing, look forward to following you for a long time and best wishes to you Lucy.

  • Hi Lucy, thank you so much for such detailed answers. It’s great to know more about you and your style and hair tips. x
    Yukova by Yuliya Oleynykova

  • Hi Lucy, thank you so much for such detailed answers. It’s great to know more about you and your style and hair tips. x
    Yukova by Yuliya Oleynykova

  • Lovingggg this Q&A and your responses. Perfect! xo, Erin – http://www.stylebythepeople.com

  • Annabelle Baskin

    Hi Lucy!

    I have an #AskLucy question. First off, I really admire your writing, style, and generally everything you choose to represent on your blog. I love how you make a concerted effort to show a well rounded balance of life that isn’t exclusively fashion, whether that be the books you’re reading (what are you reading lately by the way?), the food you cook, or the places you travel.

    This may be a loaded question, but I would be interested to know about your path and what brought you to where you are. As someone in their early 20s, a forever looming concern of mine is whether or not I’m on the right track professionally. Do you run the risk of stability to pursue something more creative or do you opt for the corporate job with a clear trajectory? Do you pursue the creative hustle on the side, and if so, how? I would be interested to know what led you to make the choices you made, how you got there, and what you see yourself moving towards. I’m inspired by powerful, driven professional women and I aspire to be one myself, but I haven’t caught my stride yet.Thanks in advance, Lucy!

    XO,
    Annabelle

  • Such an amazing post!!!x

    Millie x
    Queenmillie.Blogspot.Com

  • Amie Paxton

    Hi Lucy. I’m a huge fan of Fashion Me Now and have been anticipating your blog posts since discovering your incredible and inspirational style over a year ago. I adore your outfits, your travel posts and your laid back yet oh-so-elegant style. I’m grateful for your post regarding being blonde (I’m currently rocking some ash toned highlights myself) however my question is regarding another beauty aspect – nails. What’s your advice for healthy, natural nails? Yours always look so maintained yet natural and I’m totally jealous! Thank you so much, Amie

  • Laura Valette

    Hi Lucy ! I’m a big fan of Fashion me now since a long time (blogspot!). I was wondering what’s your favorite places to shop in London ? Thank you very much for daily inspiration ! Laura.

  • Oh thank you for your answer – really interesting to read – and yes please to a bigger post on the subject (diet/exercise). At home workout videos are a godsend – will try your recommends and have you tried Tara Stiles yoga? Strala yoga – she’s a NYC yoga teacher, ️️also online and really good. I really enjoyed reading this “ask Lucy” post, especially the beachy hair as your hair looks fab at the mo – can you do a video of how you do the little twists? Also love the realisation/redone answers, the instagram suggestions and the office wear suggestions, so friendly on the budget! Really great post thank you Lucy! Lots of inspiration coming into summer.

  • Oh thank you for your answer – really interesting to read – and yes please to a bigger post on the subject (diet/exercise). At home workout videos are a godsend – will try your recommends and have you tried Tara Stiles yoga? Strala yoga – she’s a NYC yoga teacher, ️️also online and really good. I really enjoyed reading this “ask Lucy” post, especially the beachy hair as your hair looks fab at the mo – can you do a video of how you do the little twists? Also love the realisation/redone answers, the instagram suggestions and the office wear suggestions, so friendly on the budget! Really great post thank you Lucy! Lots of inspiration coming into summer.

  • Whoops meant to add really enjoying your snapchat, especially for those sorts of things – your daily make up, recipes, books etc!

  • Laura

    Hi Lucy, Thank you so, so much for answering my question, really interesting and massively helpful. I love your travel blogs so it is great to know a little bit about how you places them altogether. Loving the AskLucy posts. Happy travels x

  • Mary Fidler

    Hi Lucy, thank you for your beautiful blog! I’m a big fan of your photography and I’d love to see a post about your camera/s and photo editing x

  • Kate

    Hi Lucy! Just wondering what your favourite lenses are for travelling with your Olympus pen? And also what your favourite podcasts are? Thanks so much! Loving this series! xx

  • So good to read these! Xx

  • NIDHI MADHUKAR

    thank you for such an amazing information, visit http://www.gocrafti.com for more information.

  • Josefina Schaub

    Hi Lucy! I’m from Chile(SouthAmerica) and I really admire your style!!! Keep on showing and never stop! I hope one day being someone like you