- The Iron Chic shows a very interesting, ususal and historial perspective on Anorexia in the post Skinny and Sweet.
- Sunday Inspiration is what we have come to expect from The Fish Tank, but her mood board style is still a refreshing change to normal fashion blog posts.
- Anyone interested in making some dosh via the power of EBAY should not miss out on "So you wanna be a buyer?" posted on Flying Saucer.
- Trend de la Creme is always a delight to read and this post on 'Issey Miyake makes Delicious Cupcakes' is NO exception. Marvel at her marvellous mind.
- (Into) the Fray explores fashion, race and the media in 'Style Idol - Thandie Newton'. It really will give you something to ponder on over the weekend.
Saturday, 31 May 2008
Friday, 30 May 2008
Being a female A-Lister is hard. Much harder than if you were male. We the public (with the help of the media) speculate, judge and criticise celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Meg Ryan, and Victoria Beckham for going under the knife. Allegedly, they are contributing factors to the unattainable ideal of modern beauty.
And yet in spite of this, when a famous woman bucks against this trend and ages as mother nature intended it, she is subject to the most venomous abuse.
Hadley Freeman brought this to my attention in yesterday's Guardian where she wrote:
Sarah Jessica Parker aka Carrie Bradshaw is 43. And yes, she probably looks her age. But what is wrong with that? George Clooney is 47 and he also looks his age, but he is not villainized for it. In fact it's CELEBRATED, people commonly acknowledge that 'he just keep getting better'.
And I can't help but wonder, why the double standard?
I don't have the answer, but I would like you to chew on this thought. Cast your mind back to school. Then, not bowing to peer pressure was considered a good thing, it demonstrated strength of character. Saying 'NO' to smoking, drinking, drugs, sex was the right thing to do. Flash-forward to the present and its equivalent peer pressure: looking slim, youthful and pert. Sarah Jessica Parker has dared to be that individual at school who says 'NO'. She has ignored this ridiculous 'eternal youth' demand that society has created for women. And what do we do? Do we congratulate her on her bravery? Admire her confidence and praise the example she has set? No. In true schoolyard style, we attack her for it like a pack of adolescent bullies. And quite frankly, it makes me sick.
I feel I must say, even at the risk of you all thinking I'm bonkers, that I LOVE these tops. Now, before you roll your eyes and banish this blog from your sights forever, hear me out...
Although officially menswear, these designs by To-ourist lend themselves well to the tricky unisex category. The 'school jumper' sweater (£88) would look great on the fellas with trainers and a nice man-bag. And for the laydeez, the leopard print t-shirt (£55) would be fandabbydozy teamed with a mini-skirt, blazer and some clunky boots. Now, I know we've seen similar stuff from the likes of nu-raver cassette playa, but To-ourist, whilst nodding at that same graphic direction in its aesthetic, is infinitely more wearable. HUZZAH!
To-ourist was founded in 2006 by Brian Grathii, a graduate from London College of Communication. All of his products are hand made in England and the graphics are applied using a unique process called OBM which is resistant to cracking, chipping and fading (apparently). Check out the website for stockist details and further info.
Thursday, 29 May 2008
Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya
Know what ya doing, doing to me?
Pucci, Pucci, Pucci, Pucci
Remember when the Kaiser Chiefs were cool? Remember when Pucci was cool? Nuh-huh, me neither.
Still, I was vaguely interested when I heard about the new Pucci Sunglasses collection. Some of the range is a bit too obviously Pucci (go figure) for my liking. But then I saw these, which I think could be fantastic on the right person (man or woman). Granted, they could also look disgusting on the wrong person. And, although I envisioned my sunglasses for this season being round and quite Elton John like or maybe even narrow and rectangular like YSL next season, I am thinking about reconsidering. Because, sometimes, you just have face facts. When you go looking for something specific you can NEVER find it. The best buys always crop up where you'd least expect it. And I would have bet my bottom dollar that place wouldn't have been Pucci.
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
I keep reading that ethical fashion is about to get really good. This pleases me. I like a lot of people these days want to buy ethically. I refuse to do so at the compromise of good design though. And there in lies the problem. Because, at the moment sustainable fashion seems to be synonymous with naff cotton smock tops. And quite frankly, I've seen enough of them to last two life times. Seriously, is there a reason for this baaaaad design? Like, some technical reason? Like if you produce environmentally friendly cotton, it is only possible to stitch it into sacks? I'm fairly sure none of my fashion lecturers mentioned it in class, but I can't think of any other reason that the clothes in this sector are still so boring. Sure, People Tree tries, but if we're honest; it is still a bit shit, isn't it? Howies is great for basics, but there isn't anything that's going to make you slip off your chair in pure delight. And Stella, well, who can afford to dress in McCartney all the time? (If you can afford to you must be rich, do you want to go out with me?)
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
Thanks to Oxfam. Pray tell you say?
Well, if reports are true, luxury bag sales will soon be slowing (Mintel recently forecast an 18 per cent fall in handbag sales, which has been the fastest-growing accessories sector of recent years). People are like soooo over them. When I say people, I of course do not include myself in this generalisation. Because the only people that are actually over them are the people who can afford them. Rich bastardos!
Which is wear Oxfam comes in. You see they are having a 'handbag bonanza' (read on-line sale). It starts at 12noon on the 6th June and ends on the 8th of June. If rumours are to be believed there are over 400 second-hand handbags for sale with prices starting at £5.99. Now of course, there are bound to be some well dodge pieces that need treating with the same caution you would a landmine (this is charity, after all), BUT I have been assured that designer labels such as Mulberry and top end brands like Russell & Bromley and Knomo are also included.
Intrigued? I know I am. Only time will tell if it going to live up to my massively over-inflated expectations (come on Prada, cooommmmmeeeeee on Prada. If there is a Prada bag in the 'bonanza' and I can afford it, I swear a little bit of wee might come out!).
In the mean time, if you need something to keep you out of fashion mischief, Oxfam launch their new on-line store tomorrow (28th May). It will have over 75,000 items (YES, 75,000!) in stock, which not only includes 'vintage' but items from the boutique collection. So, with a few clicks you can help tackle world poverty and global warming. It's EBAY meets Oprah! Pure frickin genius.
Monday, 26 May 2008
A little spuggy, originally from the North-East of England, I migrated south to London (via Gloucestershire) seven years a go. Being a Northerner living amongst Southerners, I often think about this great 'divide' that I hear people talk about and wonder what it actually translates to. Most of the time I come to one of two conclusions: 1. Who cares? And 2. Why do people think I am Irish?
However, having returned yesterday from a week up North, I have some observations and theories on this topic fresh in my mind (fashion observations mind you, no deep and meaningful comparisons about health, house prices or earnings to be found here!). So, without further a do, here they are:
- Northern people wear far fewer clothes. No shit Sherlock, I hear you say! It is perhaps an obvious statement, but why unlike their Southern counterparts, has the trend of layering never caught on in these parts? It is ironic as it is FAR colder and therefore the opposite would be expected to be true. However, historically, the North of England was poorer than the south, which means we can assume that fewer clothes were purchased in the region during the good old days. Now, this is no longer the case in the bad new days, but was the precedent for dress code set? When the means to buy more clothes came, people didn't wear them together for warmth. They continued as those before them had, hardened to the adverse weather conditions, and just had more wardrobe choice. You can see evidence of this every Friday and Saturday night, when hundreds of thousands of men, woman, lads and lasses descend on the pubs and clubs, all of them without jackets. I remember shortly after turning 18 I went to Club Millennium in the Borough wearing just gold bikini bottoms, a gold backless top and gold stilettos (I'm spinning around had just been released if you need an explanation). Now on this occasion I will concede that I did take a small burgundy coloured leather jacket reminiscent of this one Posh and Becks wore, but only on the insistence of my Mam who was concerned about the effect the pouring rain would have on my outfit. My point is, it was usual for me (and still is for everyone else) to go out into winter blizzards wearing just a very mini-skirt, a small top, strappy sandals and no tights or no coat (I'm dry-retching at the bone-chilling thought of it now). There is no doubt in my mind, that should I not have left home for pastures new, the thought of wearing any form of outerwear for a night out would never have occurred to me. Turning blue in the taxi/bus queue is just what one does in the North. On relocating to the South, I discovered the wonder of the 'cloakroom' (you don't tend to find them up North) and I have never since ventured out unsuitably attired for the season, although I still consider it when back home, but these days I am too much of a "Southern softie" much to the amusement of my parents.
- Northern people wear sports kits as fashion (TOON ARMY, TOON ARMY!). That just doesn't happen down South; the men veer towards to a long sleeved shirt and the women to Reiss instead. What can we attribute this difference to? Well, as we are all frequently reminded, the North is renown for being friendly and more community orientated. This trusting mindset is probably how the football kit became popularised as everyday wear (and even smart evening wear in some cases). It shows which 'community' you align yourself with and who your 'friends' are. If you want to be really analytical here, you could draw parallels with the employment opportunities traditionally available down the pits and in the factories where uniforms were standard, and conclude that work uniforms were just traded for social ones... (I just fucking blow myself away sometimes). Anyway, back home I placed myself with the Geordies rather than the Mackems. I spent many an afternoon/evening in the pub wearing my Newcastle shirt mainly wondering why people kept shouting "She-Ra She-Ra!" to me. I honestly thought why do they keep referring to He-Man's girlfriend? Do I look like her? I suspect I would be quite good at fighting crime. Took me quite some time to realise they meant Alan Shearer the football player and it was actually a greeting as opposed to a statement. On moving down South, it was apparent that sportswear is not appropriate social wear (unless a match is on the box), especially for women. If you wear it in the South, people actually assume you play sport and know the offside rule and stuff. My football shirt has since been banished to the bottom on my wardrobe never to see the light of day again along with my willingness to strike up random conversations with strangers.
- Northern people make more effort with their appearance on a night out. Women spend hours getting ready, full on beauty rituals are the norm and include washing their hair (even when they washed it that morning), a facial, manicure, pedicure, and applying fake tan and body shimmer. The men, shower, shave, and apply pong. But, the most noticeable difference is the style of clothes. Obviously, there is less off them, but they are also 'dressier' to use my Nana's word. Unlike the people in the South, Northern peoples wardrobes are clearly split into sections: work, weekend and 'going out'. The latter of these tend to be body-conscious, mainly monochrome (with splashes of red, pink and blue) and accompanied by fully co-ordinated accessories and make-up in the case of the women. There is a huge amount of effort made. This is because most people's lives up North are geared towards their Friday and Saturday nights out. Which is different to the South, where popular evenings out often fall on weekdays. How does this effect the way people dress though? Well, more people in the North are employed locally or drive to the 'office'. In the South folks often commute on public transport. This would go a long way to explaining why up North peoples' appearance on a night out is a stark contrast to those down South. They are able to return home and spend some time preening before going 'doon the toon'. Back home, it was normal for me to get in from work and spend up to three hours getting ready. I would shave my bikini line every time I went out! That equates to every Friday and Saturday and most Sundays btw (utter madness. And I wasn't a floozy who was out to get some some either, in case you are wondering. It's just what one did). In London, I meet my friends for drinks straight from work, often on Wednesdays and Thursdays. If I can be arsed to slick on some lip gloss and spray some deodorant before going, I consider myself to have made an effort and them damn lucky to have seen it! My family think I am shameful.
Friday, 23 May 2008
Ohhhh, it's coming to that time of year again. Save-the-date cards are landing on the mat and blogs all around the world are telling you what to wear to weddings. Well, Some Like It Fashion is no exception, we are *jumping* on that bandwagon. Hell yeah! Make room!
I'm going to be honest with you though, this wedding malarkey fills me with panic. Not because of the event itself of course. What is not to like about weddings? A girl in a pretty dress, several in comically awful ones, free food, plenty of booze, cheesy music and dads dancing. Seriously, what is not to like? No no no no NO. The reason I get anxious is not because of the event, but the amount of time, money and energy that I will be required to spend leading up to the 'big day'. Very few weddings happen locally, so you need to organise travel, accommodation and in my case, a cat sitter. Then there is the gift, which means going to look at the register (inevitably too late so you end up buying the shittiest combination of gifts ever, something like 4 teaspoons, 2 glass tumblers and 2 hand towels). And then finally, after all that - what in the name of sweet Jesus are you going to wear?
These days of course, there is an added complication to think about as well. We are required to interpret invites as if we were Mystic Meg to figure out how to dress appropriately (The Coveted cover this excellently btw) for the occasion. As you know wedding attire etiquette is not what it once was. There was a time when we knew what was expected of us: dress, heels, hat, gloves and a smart handbag and the men wore ties (not just around their heads like Rambo at the end of the night). But this is often deemed a little OTT these days. The new 'dress down' policy offers more flexibility with outfits, but that's not always a good thing. It does mean we can be a little bit more 'fashion', but we have to be careful not to compete with the bride for attention and remember that food, drink and dancing is going to impact on our appearance at the end of the night. And to make matters worse, there is a VERY strong chance that as you and your outfit descend into drunkenville the whole thing will be documented on facebook. Allowances for this must be made.
So, what to wear? WHAT TO WEAR? If you don't want to blend into the bland ocean of Monsoon dresses at this summer's weddings, but at the same time need a little inspiration, decide which shopper you are and then read on, my friend:
- I have time to search for the cheapest suitable outfit possible, ideally one that I can return should the hem somehow mysteriously fall down after being worn only once...
- I have time to search for an outfit and a bit of dosh, but it needs to be something I will wear again afterwards.
- I just want to throw money at the problem and make it go away!
1: I have time to search for the cheapest suitable outfit possible, ideally one that I can return should the hem somehow mysteriously fall down after being worn only once...
With the exception of the cuff and headband, this outfit is entirely high street and therefore quite bargainous. I ain't going to lie to you, you could find cheaper if you are brave enough to tackle a Primark. I ain't. This Luella style yellow dress is from Red Herring and can be purchased in Debenhams. Team this with a boyfriend style blazer, simple stud earrings and black shoes so that is doesn't seem twee (those pictured are from Topshop). Because the dress is so froufrou, the accessories need to be simple. An in your face fascinator (the norm for most wedding guests) would be too much, so an Alice band is the perfect solution. This one is Miu Miu and you can buy it on-line from Start boutique in London. Finally, a flash of contrasting colour is added in the form of a purple cuff by Fendi from Net-a-Porter. Obviously, there are high street versions of this Alice band and bracelet, so if the piggy bank is empty, check out Accessorize or even New Look for an abundance of options.
Tip: do not be tempted to go too matchy-matchy. You are not posh spice! (Are you? Please be reading this, Vicky, pleaaaase). Break up a colour scheme by adding a small flash of a contrasting colour.
2: I have time to search for an outfit and a bit of dosh, but it needs to be something I will wear again afterwards.
This outfit is a refreshing change to what you see at most weddings as women tend to veer away from trousers. Don't be put off, it is completely appropriate. These pieces work fantastically as separates and will be great additions to your wardrobe. The silk top is David Szeto and is available from Matches. He's a pricey piece, but the lobster print is beautiful and unique. The black high waisted trousers are from Debenhams and will transport you effortlessly from the ceremony to dinner to dancing. The shoes are from Reiss and the earrings are Urban Outfitters, they will work with so many other outfits in addition to this it's ridiculous. The soft peach hue of the Vanessa Bruno demi- sheer jacket compliments the printed top and the bright blue bag by Topshop makes the whole outfit pop giving it a 'fashion' edge.
Tip: Go easy on the jewellery. You are not in the A-Team. Earrings, a necklace, a bracelet and a ring is far too much. Go for a two at the most. If the neckline is quite busy (like above) chose earrings over a necklace.
If you want to do all of your purchasing on the interwebby and have a credit card burning a hole in your pocket, this is the perfect outfit for you. Everything (bar the silk flowers) is from Net-a-Porter. This orange dress by Vanessa Bruno is a beautiful tone and perfect for summer shin-digs. The cut is tres flattering (and it will be comfortable even after a 3 course meal and knee slides on the dance floor). The fabric of the dress is almost casual, so team it with a nice tailored jacket like this one from Vivienne Westwood to smarten it up. Simple black shoes like these from Marc Jacobs and this black clutch from Christian Louboutin tie the whole look together. A bit of bling in the form of a long Vivienne Westwood orb compliments perfectly. Finally, some silk flowers in the hair are a lovely alternative to a hat. These two are from V V Rouleaux and can be pinned into hair, or, if your hair is short, stitch them onto a piece of ribbon and tie around your head as you would a head scarf.
TIP: Spend more money on accessories, they won't date as fast and it is true what they say: they do make cheaper clothes look expensive.
So, there you have it. Dressing for weddings, in (quite a large) facebook worthy nutshell.
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say what I think many of you are thinking...
Kate Moss's collections for Tophop are SHIT. Especially the latest one which launched yesterday. They aren't even collections (and I am qualified to say that because I studied fashion design at uni, so ner!). Just random clothes hung together, a bit like a nice charity shop that just happens to have several of each item (perhaps because they chanced on some dead-stock you think to yourself?). There is no concept, no obvious colour palettes, little in the way of repeat details, and the fabrics, well, to be fair, they are what to be expected for that price point. It is just a mish-mash of clothes that you have a vague recollection of seeing the supermodel wearing at some point over the past few years.
What we (and Philip Green) need to remember is that, just because you have the ability to make anything look good, some style, and you can make Jo Public willing to sell their Gran just to own the latest shoite you were pictured in, this does not mean you should be heralded as a designer. I mean, my sis has this knack of making any old polyester market tat look fantastic, but I wouldn't recommend for one second that Harold Tillman hand over the keys to Jaeger design studio and say 'there you go luv, knock yourself out!'.
I do understand what Sir Philip Green was thinking (my Nan would say he was just seeing pound signs in front of his eyes and *tut*). But the fact that these 'collections' are based on what Moss herself has worn and not what she wants to wear in the future illustrates my point beautifully. She has no credible talent in this area. No vision. Arguably, she is able to recognise a good thing when she sees it, she does have an eye and could be an excellent stylist. But she is not a designer. Kate's collections are reminiscent of what Topshop was doing years ago, you know, when it was dirt cheap, safe and a bit rubbish (but the high street was limited back then so we had no choice but to go there for our 'Friday night on the tiles' outfit). Well, people, this is no longer the case, So I beg you, I URGE you in fact. STOP THIS MADNESS! Don't buy this pathetic excuse for a collection, and lets restore Ms Moss to her rightful position in society: The beautiful, crack-lovin (allegedly) laydee that we all know and *heart*.
Images from the fashion police
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
I used to think that today's fashion industry was constantly evolving, changing and adapting to survive (after all, Drapers is always banging on about tough trading conditions). I believed that where the elderly of past generations had become caricatures of themselves, we were somehow removed from this same fate.
That was until a couple of weeks ago, when I saw a gang of school kids decked out in Kickers, Nike Air Max, Adidas sportswear and Elizabeth Duke jewellery. These are the very same items and brands that were 'hip' when I was a bairn! (Also, out of interest do you remember Fruit of the Loom, The Sweatershop, Kangol, Caterpillar, and Kappa - particularly the tracksuit bottoms with poppas down the sides? Shocking!). Obviously, myself and most of my class mates grew out of this 'phrase' at sixth form where we moved onto strapless, two-tone polyester boob-tube style dresses, denim skirts and questionable knee high boots (well it was the 90s) before reaching today's current fashion destination (via some dodgy satin combats / vest combos and sacks and leggings). And I assumed that this was the natural course that fashion had settled on, like the seemingly random path a river takes that can not be duplicated. But then I see today's school kids, if not wearing exactly the same as we were, are pretty bloody close and it has shaken my fashion beliefs to the very core. I mean, I will be the first to admit that I am not up with what the teenage kids are wearing these days, but I assumed that they were wearing their trousers and jeans below the crotch with only a belt to stop them falling down completely and doing stuff like sticking combs in their hair for decoration rather that practical hair brushing use. Something different and absurd and fun that I didn't understand. This is was i-d magazine had lead me to believe at least. I certainly did not expect them to be wearing Kickers! KICKERS! The same brand of shoe that I begged my Mam to order from the Freemans catalogue in 1995 for the bargain price of £1.62 per week! Who would have thunk it?
I have often heard people say that our generation will not be the same as the previous and unlike our parents and grandparents whose style certainly nods at their heyday, we won't be susceptible to the fashion time warp. We, in the time of fast fashion, ever changing trends and mass consumer spending culture are supposed to be immune to such a fate and destined to be 'trendy' until the day we die.
Well, where I may once have agreed with this statement (out of pride I guess, what self respecting Fashionista wants to admit that there will come a day when trends hold no interest or authority in their wardrobe making decisions?), I now have to say I think that it is utter bollocks.
Like many things, 'fashion' is not immune to 'the circle of life' (And it moves us all, through despair and hope, through faith and love, till we find our place, on the path unwinding, in the circle, the circle of liiiiiiiife). We may be a generation of 'fast' consumer culture but as we grow older we are still susceptible to the same feelings and experiences observed by our parents, and their parents before them. We will become more self-assured, confident, happy, wise, comfortable, but also bitter, frustrated and a daily mail subscriber. This in-turn impacts upon our tastes and sartorial style and we deviate far less from our signature look until eventually we NEVER leave it. It is not a generational thing, it is an age thing.
So, unfortunately, though we may not want to admit it, this decade is defining our future style, when we grow old (dis)gracefully. People like Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, Patrica Field and Rachel Zoe have left their notch on fashion's bedpost.
Sooooo, what looks from this decade do we think we will we be rocking into our old age? Skinny jeans? Boyfriend blazers? Huge bags and sunglasses? Clashing colours and prints? Are we going to be a old generation of wrinkly Olsen-look-a-likes?! Whoever becomes our style 'definition', here's hoping that some of the noughties less desirable looks (exposed muffin tops and Crocs) stay where they belong, firmly in the present. After all, no-one wants to see Grandma hobbling around in plastic coloured clogs with her belly out.
Sunday, 18 May 2008
And again. BLUERRRRGHHHHHH!
Do we need any further proof that Mischa Barton really does need a stylist and has no taste of which to speak of herself?
"With the distinctive flowerette logo [Misha's bags] are sure to be at the top of every fashionista's wish list" the press release says.
Yes, yes. That's right. They are at the top of my list of things to wipe my arse with. Still, with prices ranging from £20 - £170 I may have to stick with Andrex.
Saturday, 17 May 2008
Up until a few weeks ago I was going about my normal life, safe and content in the knowledge that men carried their belongings in either their pockets, a rucksack, or some kind of man bag. However, over the past two weeks I have seen no less that five (yes that's FIVE) metal briefcases. Two (yes TWO) yesterday. That quantifies a trend to me. And I ask you. WHYYYYYYY?
I just don't believe that there are that many professional assassins living in my local area. But that is one of only four reasons to carry a metal briefcase:
- You are a deadly hired assassin on a mission to kill someone who has wronged someone you don't know. Your case contains a piece and a silencer.
- You are about to or have just picked up a drop of £50,000 in used notes.
- You are a mad scientist and you are carrying an antidote to some deadly virus that could wipe out the world in 5.3 seconds. The case is handcuffed to you.
- You are on a desert island and you found it amongst the wreckage (please be aware that it will contain one of the three options above though).
Friday, 16 May 2008
"Have you converted to Islam?", "No, but they really are onto something with with this Hijab thing".
Caught short this morning in a sudden down pour (with no brolly to hand) I had to do some quick improvising. I responded in record time to this perilous situation (In fact so unfazed was I that I seriously think that MI6 should head-hunt me for some spook work), I whipped off my summer scarf (that I had just spent 5 minutes styling into a 'I just threw this on and it looked fabulous' kinda way) and fashioned a sort of hair protection head adornment inspired by the Hijab.
Muslim women may wear Hijabs for religious reasons that I am not going to pretend to understand - I'm no expert in the subject of religion, but there is something else to be said here. Scarves worn in this style actually look very nice, they frame the face and emphasise the eyes. They look especially good if you have bangs. Seriously, I'm thinking of rocking this look even when it is not raining. A sort of Hermes turban meets D&G headscarf if you will.
So people of the world! I urge you to join me and let's take the Hijab from a being just another religious symbol and help transform it into what it should be. A truly glorious and great fashion trend!
Here's what you have to do:
- First, lay your scarf horizontally and fold over a 5cm edge on one side (creating a make-shift hem).
- Then put this (hem side down) centrally on your forehead a couple of centimetres above your eyebrows.
- Next, take the lengths of the scarf round to the back of your head and cross them over at the top of your neck.
- Now, wrap each side around the front of your neck once and then leave to drape over your shoulders and down your back.
To recreate the hijab style you will need quite a long scarf. Mine is very old and from Jigsaw bought 5 years ago. However, I found this one on-line from their sister store Kew which will do the trick.
Please note: The image above is merely a representation and not how the headscarf I described will look exactly, although it is similar.
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Oh how the Chanel bike made me want to cycle. I considered selling a family member into the slave trade to purchase said bike (I won't disclose which person from my family because that would be in bad taste). I planned whole outfits around the great love affair this bicycle and I were going to star in. Alas though, it was not to be and I locked my feelings into a tiny box and shoved them under the bed, never to be seen or heard of again. Or so I thought, until this...
Comptoir Des Cotonniers are launching their own bicycle range this summer! And it is even better than Chanel's because it includes a tandem bike (£1284). My dreams are suddenly being resurrected, only this time I'm taking Phoebe with me and my cat Dave in the basket. ROAD TRIP!
This of course means I now need to purchase the season's much appraised accessory 'the summer scarf'. What biking outfit would be complete without it? I've been holding out so far, but I can picture it vividly, billowing in the breeze majestically while we pedal down a lavender scented country road. Orrrr, it smacking Phoebe in the face repeatedly while drivers *shake* their fists in anger at us on Oxford Street. Both options work for me, and mean no end to my summer fun. If I can hold out till payday, I am hankering for this one from Hermes *dribble*, although realistically it will be a trip to All Saints (I know, I know, but their accessories are really rather good these days) for this one.
So there you have it, summer scarves and tandem bikes, 2008 summer must-haves.
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
Summer is all about simple clothes, effortless style and sweating as little as possible. Less is more. You make your statements with jewellery and accessories. Which of course brings us to our first hurdle: where do you find interesting, affordable pieces that every high-street store hasn't produced a version of?
Zoe Bassi is one solution to such a problem. A young Scottish designer based in Bristol, she produces contemporary, handcrafted jewellery with prices starting from as little as £35.
I feel a bit of a *crush* coming on. I can already envisage how these will work with my wardrobe and compliment this seasons trend for pale denim. In addition to that, I *heart* that they are made in the UK (free from unfair labour guilt which is becoming a total drag) and that you can commission special one off pieces. For me, the appeal of vintage is that I'm wearing something that theoretically, no one else owns. If I can now do that without smelling like old laydeez, I'm sold! Oh, and boys, please don't feel left out. Zoe Bassi also has a fandabbydozer collection of cufflinks.
It happened so gradually, I wasn't even aware of it. And then, KER POW! There they were. My four breasts. I was standing in front of the mirror trying to decide whether my t-shirt disguised or emphasised my mini muffin top when I first saw them. "HUH, WHAAAA, meeeehhh, HAAAA, Where...?" where some of the words suitable before the watershed to come out of my mouth.
Apparently I am not alone, either. I consulted several friends about this 'phenomenon' and 3 of them admitted they had experienced similar miraculous growth despite being grown women in their 20s and 30s.
Obviously, the fella fails to see the problem in this, but there is one. I now have beautiful shirts that gape, t-shirts that pull unattractively, and tops and jackets that strain across my new heaving bosom. Wonderful clothes rendered useless.
Not one to give up on fashion though, I decided some good bras would solve this problem. So, off I went to John Lewis to get measured (I feel I should say at this point, I am avoiding M&S EVEN though I do have several bras from there that have served me well. The reason I am boycotting them so to speak is because (if I am boring you, feel free to skip down to the measuring and fitting review in the next paragraph) a couple of months ago I went to the Bournemouth store with my pregnant sister. She needed to be measured for maternity bras. We went to 4 different places and called on M&S last because we felt it was a 'sure thang'. Oh how wrong we were! They were by far the worst of all the places we went. The 3 other stores measured my sister as a 34b and bras of that size fitted her well. M&S felt she was a 36b (we were dubious but went with it), but on trying on at LEAST 30 bras nothing fit. Not even the 36a sizes. They were wrinkling across her bust. My sister cried because "my back is getting fatter and my tits are getting smaller". I cried. The fitter cried. OK, the fitter didn't cry, but I did. It was shocking, M&S made my sister cry! This experience said to me that M&S sizing is not consistent with that of the rest of the high street, and the fit of their underwear is pants. Heh, geddit?)
In contrast to the mentally scarring episode at M&S (Stuart Rose, expect a bill for my sister's therapy), my experience at John Lewis was everything I could have asked for; friendly, professional, un-intimidating (once I got past the embarrassment of showing my breasts to a stranger) and the fitter (Chris) was extremely knowledgeable in her field. Chris measured me and then asked me what style of bras I preferred in terms of design and colour. She brought a selection of ranges in 2 sizes (sizing can differ according to range and so it is important to be fitted every time you buy a bra) for me to try. Then, Chris explained how a good bra should fit:
- When you purchase a bra, not only should it fit you on the loosest fastening, but also the straps should have length to be made shorter. With time the elastic in the straps and across the back will give, and so you need to be able to re-adjust your bra to compensate.
- The bra should be level round your back, fit flat against your the middle of your chest, and the under-wiring should properly cup around the breast.
- Every woman has one breast slightly bigger than the other, and so when buying a bra you have to find the compromise. You need one that supports both breasts without being to small for the larger one.
The real question to be answered though is, did this rescue my wardrobe from potential redundancy? Well yes and no. Unfortunately, when your boobs go from a 32c to a 32dd some things are just never going to fit again. However, now that my breasts are safely contained with no risk of spillage, my t-shirts and some of my favourite shirts and jackets are now back to looking like normal (the 'puppies fighting in a bag' effect is no more). And, for that I am truly grateful. I owe this mini fashion miracle to John Lewis. If you haven't been there for a fitting, I highly recommend it. Their lingerie department really is the cat's whiskers.
My appointment was with Chris in the lingerie department of the Oxford Street (London) branch of John Lewis. If you would like to be measured, you do not need an appointment, you can just show up. If however, they are too busy to accommodate you at that time, they will book you a time to return. A fitting usually lasts between 10 - 25 minutes. John Lewis lingerie department specialise in mastectomy, maternity and first bras.
Monday, 12 May 2008
We've all been lulled into our local charity shop under the guise of eco-shopping and the promise of finding a real vintage treat. A sixties dress? A 70s jacket? An 80s jumpsuit? The excitement! It doesn't happen. The scouts for retro shops nearly always buy them before they are even on the shop floor, fuckers.*
Fear not though, there are treats to be had that you will find in even the most dire of charity shops. You know, the ones you walk into and just think "WHY AM I HERE, SWEET JESUS?". Seriously! Here's a list of 6 things to look out for:
1. Mens shirts: Every second hand place has a multitude of these bad boys. Avoid anything that isn't 100% cotton and check to make sure there are no pit stains and dirt on the collar. These look great worn belted over short skirts for that St Trinian vibe and tucked into jeans teamed with a blazer for that androgenous look. Expect to pay between £3 - £6.
2. Mens formal accessories: Don't head out of the men's department just yet, it's a great place to pick up things that add an element of fun to your wardrobe. Look for ties, braces and cummerbunds. All of these, when teamed with the right thing look great. Think about a bright tie with a fitted shirt: a perfect work look. Braces with jeans and trainers: casual weekend frolicks. A clashing colour cummerbund with a t-shirt and heels: an evening out. The important thing to remember here is that these things must be in good condition. As eye-catching items, if they don't look smart, your whole look will be perceived as scruffy. Prices range from £0.50 - £5.00
3. Womens tailored jackets: You can pick up some real gems in the jacket and coat section of a charity shop. People tend to tire of these items long before they are ready for the rag-bag. Be sure to check the linings, especially near the armholes. Make sure buttonholes and zips are secure. Classic colours like navy are always a wise purchase but when shopping second-hand you can afford to be more adventurous and go for something in hot pink. You get what you pay for here, so be prepared to part with up to £30.
4. Costume Jewellery: Most of my jewellery has been amassed from places like the Salvation Army, Cancer Research and Scope. You can find amazing statement necklaces, brooches and often vintage clip-on earrings and watches from the 50s and 60s. Clip-ons are making a come back so these are definitely worth looking out for. Usually, prices start at around £1 for earrings and go up to £10 for a watch.
5. Silk Scarves: Rummage around in the scarf bin, often you can find some pretty pieces, that if not Hermes certainly looks like it. Pounce on anything 100% silk. Square shaped scarfs are great to recreate this season's looks. Hold them to the light to check for any flaws and to make sure they are not fraying. For a silk scarf you will be looking at paying around £4.
6. Hats: Old laydees tend to donate them (especially the pillar-box variety, which is hot hot hot right now) and they cost a fraction of the price they do new. Great for the wedding season which is almost upon us. A run of the mill pillar-box should be around the £2.50 mark but expect to pay up to £7 for something a bit jazzy.
Things to avoid, pants (euuuwwww, need I say more?), shoes (nearly always scuffed and stretched) and t-shirts (often washed out and mis-shapen).
Finally, before I send you on your way (via Oxfam of course), remember when going charity shopping, take your old bras for donation. Because one woman's trash is another woman's over the shoulder boulder holder.
* with the exception of traid, some of their stores specialise in vintage fashion and usually have an excellent retro stock.
Please note that prices are rough guides and will vary from area to area.
Friday, 9 May 2008
Merrick works for Puma (do you see my subtle way of getting that across in the picture? World class photographer I am not, but perhaps the next Derren Brown?) in the press office and his style tip for this season is narrow turn ups.
Love the peg shaped jeans, love the rolled up legs, love the pop of colour in the form of a cardigan and silk scarf. Did I mention I LOVE IT?
Merrick's jeans are Marc Jacobs, shoes are H&M, scarf is Hermes, t-shirt Ralph by Ralph Lauren, sunglasses are vintage and from LA, and the cardigan is Rudolph Dassler Puma (and is available from July).
Wednesday, 7 May 2008
The weekend's Sunday Times Style Guide proudly announced that "trainers are back - and they're big, brash, loud and fat".
Well, yes, I keep hearing they are hot but I ask you this. Why did they ever go out of fashion? Hmmm?
It wasn't long ago that they were banned from most clubs, frowned upon by fashionistas and Natasha Beddingfield wouldn't be seen dead in them. And she wore this. Trainers were as welcome as a paedophile in Toys R Us. And yet inspite of this, my love for them never faltered. I sang "Near, far, wherever you areeeee, I believe that the heart does go on, Once more you open the door, And you're here in my heart, And my heart will go on and onnnnnnnnnnnnnn" at the top of my voice in a moving serenade to a rather cute adidas pair once. (I now wear them with mini-skirts and coloured tights, rolled up jeans and frilly ankle socks. They are simply marvellous.)
Aside from the cool japanese kitsch style angle they can bring to an outfit though, they are also wonderfully practical. Now, I do realise as someone who loves fashion I should never EVER compliment an item of clothing, footwear or an accessory for its useful qualities; but they are perfect for those days in-between shoes that cripple your feet (and make you walk like a fat duck that has poo'd itself). In fact, this is the real reason trainers are hot again. Because we all need a break from wearing the "it Shoe", non?
Now that we have established that trainers really are cool and that they can look chic and that they are socially acceptable; lets talk about where to get some without risking looking like a thief or a geek. I won't insult you by telling you exactly what pairs to buy (how can I know what will compliment your wardrobe?), I'll just point you in the general direction. Puma, surprisingly have a great selection of lifestyle shoes, bear in mind that they look better in-store than on-line. (I once chased a woman down the street to ask her where her footwear was from, only then to be embarrassed that I didn't notice the HUGE gold cat logo emblazoned on the side of them). Adidas always have a cute "superstar sleek" range that comes in at around the £65 mark. If you want to hug the world then Terra Plana is definitely the brand for you, they make the worn again range of sustainable footwear. Their trainers are constructed almost entirely (99%) out of recycled materials and therefore every pair is unique. If you are near one, Selfridges is worth a look. They have a great wide range, something to suit everyone (from the little known to the household brand). Finally, TK Maxx is the place to go if you are looking for something cheap as chips and a little bit different. I am told by a real life trainer enthusiast that his fellow kind roam free here, looking for special pieces to add to their collections.
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
I can't believe I'm alone in packing two cosmetic bags of make-up when I go on holiday...? How can you possibly tell what look you will be channelling when away? Will it be brights? A natural look? Smokey and sultry? A combination of all three?
If you find yourself in s similar predicament, you will be very excited to hear that Lancôme have created a solution to our problem in the form of a limited edition eye shadow set. The colour design palette has 9 different shades that will easily allow you to create a variety of looks (depending on what you are 'feelin' that day). And the really great thing is, it's tiny and the perfect size to travel with (or stick in your handbag). It's available from June 1st. Let me hear a 'whoop whoop!'
Monday, 5 May 2008
I'd like you to cast your mind back to around 5 years ago, and think about what your hair used to be like... Remember those good times? The fun times? When hair was free, to do as it wanted, any ole time?
That was until the launch of the GHD: New religion in hair care (Thy will be done). And now, what are we? A nation of obsessed, split-ended, heat protection spraying, straightened clones! Even my mother has some GHDs, and I ask you all, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHY?It is very apt that GHD use the association of religion to market their product, because both these things are steeped in fear and conformity. (To be clear this is not a 'DOWN WITH GHD' campaign, because lord knows, I need em and I won't pretend otherwise. It is just 'Shit, what happened, man? I used to love my hair'. Because I did love it. I loved the random curls inter-mixed with straight bits and kinky bits. I loved that it had natural root lift and was unruly and messy. I even managed to embrace the fact that it was never sleek and chic like the girls on the adverts). Now almost everyone is obsessed with straight hair, and being scared of what our bouffant will look like keeps us reaching for the ceramics everyday.
For the past five years I (and most of Britain) have straightened my hair almost daily. Not always the whole head you understand, but at least the front section. Recently, I decided that my hair was starting to suffer a little (OK, it was my hairdresser's shrieks that made me conclude this) and thought maybe I should lay off of a while.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, yeah right. Have you tried to go a day without using them? My hair now looks utterly ridiculous! I don't think that this is down to my hair having changed either, but the fact that my perception of what it should do has changed. I am now programmed to think that hair should lie perfectly at 90 degrees. To make matters worse, I recently had my hair cut to resemble the wigs in the YSL AW 08/9 show. And well, while it looks fab when poker like, in au naturalle mode I literally look like I have a mushroom shaped head. Now, while the fact I now have two muffin tops may amuse my boyfriend in no end of ways, it doesn't help me in the real world, simply because I have no intention of going to work looking like a vegetable.
So, I have a plan to ween myself off this beastly crack I call GHD. Starting with once a week, I will leave my hair to do as it pleases (this will of course coincide with being at home or the wearing of a rather fabulous hat) and progress from there to twice a week and so on. Obviously, this will all be utterly dependent on my hair growing into a more suitable vegetable shape though, something resembling celery perhaps? In the mean time, I am just going to keep praying to the gods that my hair won't be done.
Friday, 2 May 2008
Once upon a time not so far, far, away, celebrities influenced the way we looked. We poured over pictures of them in magazines and watched their interviews on TV, all the while pretending to be interested in their latest release (when what we were really doing was dissecting and analysing their outfits to the minute detail. Remember buying the Posh and Becks wedding issue of OK magazine for the 'articles'? Or still buying heat for the TV guide?).
However, recently there has been a shift away from this behaviour. More people than ever are looking at the everyday person on the street, using 'real' people for wardrobe inspiration. Blogs like The Sartorialist and Facehunter make this voyeurism easy (and more importantly, prevent us from getting lamped for staring at individuals that just have something). Should we find this move away from celebrity fashion towards civilian style surprising though? The great Sartorialist himself (Scott Schuman) admitted, "The reason I started the blog was because I was not feeling inspired by the guys I was seeing in magazines. I was wanting to refine my own style so I went out with my camera and started taking pictures (initially of men) that I thought would help me and inspire me in my choices". Obviously, Scott is not alone in his thoughts; his site is classed as one of the most influential design blogs in the world and now receives a staggering 70,000 hits a day.
The evidence definitely suggests that the A-Listers have lost some allure to Joseph/Josephine Public on the street. But why is this?
OK, time for some speculatory work... The rise of the celebrity stylist is a big factor (and according to my fella, the fact that any Tom, Dick, or talentless Harry can be a celeb these days, but enough of that for now). You see, Misha, Li Lo, J-Lo, Keira, Demi, Kylie, Jessica (which ever one of them comes to mind), I could go on and on and on; they all have them. No longer confined to photo-shoots for magazines, stylists are now grooming / dressing (delete as appropriate) our starlets young and old. This all seems hunky dory until you realise that all of Hollywood and her Husband is being dressed by the same few people (most probably Rachel Zoe), and that this means they are all carbon copies of one another. The very people whose looks we once tried to emulate to the very button, now bore us to tears (or at least to the direction of the internet). Now of course, I am not so stupid that I don't appreciate that these celebrity/stylist combos don't sell clothes. Because they do, by the shed-load. Keira Knightly on a red carpet is worth millions to the designer that dressed her. However, while they may sell the dress, these duos don't influence how we wear them anymore. We now look much closer to home for that inspiration.
So, yeah, wrap up that Olsen style scarf, I'll take it! But you know what? I shan't put it with some skinny jeans and a boy style blazer! No! Teaming it with a stripy tee and some wide leg turn-ups is what's getting me going these days...
Now to conclude, what have we learnt today? 1. It is OK to buy OK magazine for the 'articles'. 2. It is OK to buy a dress that looks a bit similar to the one Rachel Bilson wore that you saw when reading the 'article' as long as you style it in a different way. 3. It is OK to stalk people on the streets if it is in the name of fashion.
Image: top right from thesartorialist.blogspot.com
Thursday, 1 May 2008
All of this campaign talk has got me in a bit of a tizz. I've watched the news reports, I've read the articles, and I've even taken the online test to see for whom I should be voting. And, after finally deciding whose box to check, I got to thinking about something very important that our fellow politicians seems to have forgotten about.
Oh sure, you can talk about your policies for crime, congestion charges, bendy buses, council tax, blah blah blah until you are blue in the face. But what about the issues that people really care about? What about quality of life? What about fun?
So, I give you a policy as amusing as some of the candidates themselves...
A CAMPAIGN FOR ODD SOCKS! At least once a week every person is required to openly wear odd socks.
OK, I can sense I am losing you, but please stay with me a little while longer as I explain. Think of it like this, not only do odd socks look kinda cool, but also when you wear them you feel cheeky, happy and sociable. And, they improve your efficiency. How so, you ask? Well, think of the amount of time you save by not having to:
a. Pair socks out of the washing machine. Or
b. Try to locate matching socks out of your underwear drawer.
Scientists have actually calculated that over a lifetime you can save 1000 hours of time by wearing odd socks. Errrr, that was a lie, but I sincerely reckon that if they did do such a calculation the figure would be in the vicinity of what I just quoted.
And so there you have it; a vote for odd socks is a vote for a friendlier, happier, more integrated and efficient society. Make it your personal political policy from now on.
Yes - It has finally happened.
"What?!" I hear you cry! The modern man's wardrobe has expanded outside the realms of the traditional for the first time since the 1800s.
"What is this absurdity of which you speak?!" I hear you exclaim! Brace yourself, for the rise of the - wait for it, waaaaaaait for it... t-shirts and trousers!
"You're crazy" I see you mouth! But no, I'm not. You see these aren't just any t-shirts and trousers. No Sir! The t-shirts are revealing and cut low and the trousers are ankle-skimming (not crops you understand, regular trousers that are just a bit to short). The kind made famous by the legendary Thom Browne.
"Utter tosh! This isn't womens fashion!" I hear you shout! But yes, it's true. These 'trends' witnessed upon the catwalks for the past few seasons, on the odd lanky teenager during a growth spurt and the occasional berated celebrity have now made it to the doors of the mass market.
"Well, I haven't seen these monstrous and beastly things of which you speak!" I hear you screech! Just wait till next season, AW O8/9 for the cropped trousers; they're in the look books. And well, the low cut t-shirts are being sold under your very nose in stores everywhere.
"But surely only the likes of Topman will be doing something so utterly mad-capped and men-tar-ley, you know, for the international students to wear?" I hear you say! Yet again, my good friend, you are wrong. Gap, Cos, Banana Republic, Hackett as well as Topman, they've all jumped on this bandwagon. Banana Republic has designed a formal suit with ankle revealing trousers if rumours are to be believed. And for crying out loud, man! Brooks Brothers are already selling them!
"But these are some of the most classic and conservative brands on the high street!" I hear you gasp! Yessum, indeedio. True Fact. But even they seem to think it's the future.
"So, what does this mean for our fellow man's wardrobe?" I hear you mumble! Well, let me answer your last question, first by stating where I stand on this matter. I (unlike Phoebe) wholeheartedly approve of this new look (on hearing this she smashed her fist onto the table, almost spilling my wine, recoiled in horror and exclaimed "SERIOUSLY!?"). I can only hope that men embrace this look like they would their X Box 360 as though they have been separated from it for several months. And, this isn't one of those cases like Mrs Prada's 'revenge' where I think boys should be sent down the runway in tutus (although, incidentally, I did *heart* that Prada collection). As a heterosexual female I find this look attractive. I do, damn it! I will not be ashamed anymore! I love this look like I love Girls Aloud! What is not to like? A glimpse of chest? Yes please! Showing a bit of ankle? I'll jolly well take it! SERIOUSLY, what is not to like?
For those of you that I have already convinced with my politically correct and compelling argument, welcome to the wonderful dark side of fashion, mwahahahahaHAHAHAHAHA, (please keep your hands inside the cart at all times); for the rest of you, let me leave you with this thought. Why is it OK for women to wear these clothes without comment or judgement but not a man? If your answer is "because it is just wrong on a man" that will not suffice and you are a sexist brute who belongs on the Jeremy Kyle show.
To get back to answering your question though "what does this mean for the modern man's wardrobe?", well it simply means this: be prepared to see more moobs and more leg over the coming seasons than ever before. Shockingly exciting, non? For those of you that are still a little apprehensive or even concerned, let me give you a few words of guidance that will allow you to love this trend like you would your mother (i.e. without question, even when the shit is being annoyed out of you). The plunge t-shirt combined with the ankle-skimming trouser is a tad too much when worn together (picture a sort of cheesy, geeky, man on his way to a salsa evening if you will), but when worn in isolation with 'regular' clothes these items are truly fabulous. So ladies, encourage the men to consider something a little bit different to the norm. And men, be brave in these, such uncertain times. March forward and dress for your country! Make us proud. Try a deep V. Try a short trouser (and if this really is a step too far too soon, I'll settle for a Reiss button neck t-shirt and some Ted Baker trousers rolled up Dsquared style: see image bottom right).
Now go forth and shop!