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Friday, February 22, 2008

Fashion Fantasy... sexy satin stillettos

It's official, there is such a thing as love at first sight! How I would love for these Giuseppe Zanotti satin stillettos to take pride of place in my wardrobe. It's the detail that's got me - the front platform with knotted round toe makes for a sexy yet chic evening shoe.

However, with a whopping price tag of £355, I guess I'll have to settle for the similar version in Faith at a more realistic price of £60. Damn you bank balance!

S/S 2008 - Desirable Denim... and not just jeans!

If you're anything like me with dark hair and hazel eyes, blue is a colour that rarely makes it into your wardrobe unless it is a military navy or a shade that lies closer to grey or green in the colour spectrum (I think the 'professional' names would be something like a slate grey and aqua?!). So, for some of us, carrying the colour off isn't easy task but have no fear... unlike other colours we can cheat with a touch of good old denim blue!!!

Spring/Summer 2008 will enjoy a massive throwback to the '70s and '80s, especially when it comes to denim. Not only should everyone own a pair of good fitting blue jeans, but denim is a trend to be worn in every way. Jeans are Spale and super-flared, floral printed blouses are tucked into high-waisted shorts and torn denim jackets have been pre-washed and frayed. These pieces are distressed and effortless and easily worn with prints or plains.

There are some great denim pieces on the high street at the moment, from staples to fashion forward dresses, kick flares and skater skirts. Denim accessories and new washes are also in great supply that will see you multi-trend in style throughout the season. Warehouse comes highly recommended for its latest 'Ware Denim' collection and this floaty and feminine dress in a soft, pale denim is perfect for a lunch with the ladies on a weekend. Wear with pretty lace tights, a neckscarf and kitten heels or ballerina pumps to bring out the girly in you!

More to follow on the great range of jeans in store and the latest trends to buy later.......

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lay off my blue suede shoes

Walking around topshop last weekend I spotted these lovely navy blue leather and suede court shoes, and just couldn't help secretly smiling at the thought of a very similar pair sitting in my wardrobe. Curiosity got the better of me as I strolled across to the shoe section, smug in the knowledge that mine were sure to have cost a fraction of the price.

On closer inspection I was actually surprised to see that they retail at £35, not expensive at all and very reasonable for Topshop shoes - well thats not expensive unless, like me, you paid a mere fiver for the below almost identical pair from a charity shop!

Ok, so don't shoot me, but I have to admit that the only thing I love more than getting an genuine vintage bargain is seeing a copycat version inspired my orginal pair on the high street at more than triple the price! Plus, the two may very well look very similar but I believe I am the one with the advantage knowing that when I wear them I am sure to avoid that dreaded moment... you know the one, that horrendous moment when you're in a bar in a perfectly planned outfit down to every last detail only to see a girl enter in the same dress as you!

That's the best bonus of a good vintage find or a customised piece of clothing, it's highly unlikely to bump into anyone wearing the exact same!

S/S 2008 - The New Tailoring... Riding high in jodphurs

Being just a tab end taller than 5ft with a grand 27" inside trouser leg and short body, finding that perfect pair of trousers or jeans is an almost impossible feat and buying for my bottom half is an absolute nightmare - so much so I would even go so far as to saying I despise trouser shopping (gasp! shock horror!). But, for some reason unbeknown to me, recently I've been caught up in the midst of a black trouser fetish... I think its the backlash from the thrill of the hunt for the perfect pair of black skinny cigarette pants.

Well, however hard I've been looking, I'm still looking... although the search did lead me to a fabulous pair of jodphurs from Topshop's Boutique collection. Like a true horse rider who enjoys the ecstastic experience that comes with their horse winning the Grand National, it has to be said that trying on my new jodphurs was a feeling to rival! Because not only are they a trouser trend of this season but the higher waist and tapered legs hugs me in all the right places, enough to show off my curves but maintain the looser jodphur style around the thighs.

But the most unbelievable thing about these trousers above the fact that they fit perfectly is I picked them up in the Topshop buy-one-get-one-free sale for the bargain price of £20 reduced from £45, and I got a patent buckle belt for free!

For a Saturday night out, once again my love of vintage got the better of me as I stepped out in this 80's inspired outfit that would've given Jane Fonda a run for her money in the era's style stakes (although minus tiny bum, big blonde hair and odour of hairspray). When worn with a plain black vest, the focus lies heavily on the chunky buckle belt, but I have brought the look into the noughties by adding chunky accessories (albeit in brassy gold) and my new beautiful bow gold shoes from Faith. These killer (and I mean literally after dancing the night away) heels from somehow give the impression the even I have long and lovely legs!

For a more dressed down outfit that wouldn't look too out of place at the stables, go for casual-meets-country chic and wear with a striped blazer and boots.

Whilst I was browsing the rails at Topshop I also picked up a pair of navy shorts with big black buttons for the bargain price of £15, another staple buy that will see me through the sunshine of S/S 2008 whilst ticking the box for the nautical trend, and a pleated black t-shirt for free. Now that's what I call a successful shop all round!

Monday, February 18, 2008

S/S 2008 - Nautical and Nice

The maritime moment we’ve been enjoying remains on the horizon for Spring/Summer 2008 as the nautical trend has firmly dropped anchor to survive yet another season. An all-American colour palette of smart navy, crisp white and cherry red reigns supreme, and go overboard for bows, buckles and brassy buttons – feminine details that add the finishing touch that emphasise the chic sophistication of a trend that owes inspiration to the 1950’s and 1960’s sex kitten. Sail into style with a sea of stripes, rope detailing and anchor prints that dominate tops, shirts, cotton dresses, bags and accessories, and the classic sailor-style bib collar gets a new lease of life in the form of dresses and smock shapes. Loose linen, denim, wide-legs, crops and full skirts are the bottom of choice to save you from sinking in the style stakes.

If top-to-toe sailor style isn’t your thing, just focus on the sharp core colour scheme for a look that is simple plain sailing - small touches like adding a red handbag to a plain white t-shirt and jeans, or this stripy handbag from Primark. Alternatively, hint at the trend with key accessories, such as big bangles in bold red and navy or an anchor pendant – often seen on celebs. My anchor necklace was a bargain from New Look at just £3.50, and I also have it in silver, but for a wider range of nautical accessories I recommend Ebay - you can even pick up original vintage accessories.

My take on the trend….

The high street is awash with nautical inspired wear, but as the nautical trend first hit the fashion scene decades ago thanks to the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, being the vintage addict that I am, this for me is the perfect excuse to ‘hoist mizzen’ round vintage and charity shops to pick up some genuine pieces that have survived the decades – as you can see from the piccies, a successful shop all round!

For the office, marry minimal maritime details with a basic white cotton shirt and black trousers to introduce a more subtle nautical theme.

For the office...

  • For a look that fuses two trends, a white and navy blue anchor print neckscarf used in the form of a statement pussy bow ticks the boxes for the beautiful bow trend.
  • The nautical-inspired trousers with their brassy buttons gives a nod to the slouchy androgynous style seen strutting the catwalks.
  • A flash of red brightens the classic work uniform and adds a colourful edge.
  • Alternatively, team a basic red or navy top with a sexy pencil skirt team or these grey sheen sailor front crops from Warehouse, and accessorise with a neckscarf or chunky bangles.
  • Stand out in stripes with a candy striped shirt, with my favourites being these from Warehouse and the online store Boohoo.com.
    Wear a striped cardigan over a plain white t-shirt or blouse for ‘sailor-meets-geek’ chic.
  • Remember, stripes are infamous for making even the waspiest of waists seem wider, but the red stripes and wide navy waistband on this multi-striped cardigan from Topshop draws away the eye.

For the Pub...
  • This full skirt with maritime inspired buttons is the key for perfect pub outfit. Try a denim skater skirt (where) or this rope-detail pencil skirt from Topshop also to enjoy a multi-trend moment by mixing nautical and denim.
  • If you’re feeling brave and bold, go for these red shiny shorts or a red pencil skirt, both from Boohoo.com.
  • Keep the focus on the skirt’s details and team with a stripy, anchor print or plain coloured vest.
  • A vintage neckscarf adds an original touch reminiscent of the outfits worn decades ago – even better if you can find one with a nautical-themed print.
  • Alternatively, try chunky accessories for nautical in the noughties.
  • Add a flash of racy red to these sailor style dresses from Topshop with a skinny belt like this one from Primark and a red handbag.
  • ‘Toe the line’ with a pair of red or navy heels – adding flats will dress down the outfit for a warm summer afternoon in the beer garden (not quite possible just yet!!)
  • Add a pair of coloured tights to hide any white legs that have been snuggled up in winter woollies for the past few months.

For the Weekend...

  • For a weekend look, team a printed vest with denim – I’ve gone for my favourite high-waisted black jeans, but a blue pair would enhance the nautical fee. Try the new flares out in the shop for a 70’s edge.
  • Wear a pair of ballet pumps to ensure your feet can carry you shopping til you drop.
  • The red hat is colourful yet practical touch to keep you warm until the sun comes out.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

It's a wrap-up... and for less than a sandwich wrap!

Despite the sun donning his retro plastic shades to treat us to a short burst of warm weather of late, I'm not quite ready to pack up my winter woolly wardrobe! You can even still find me buying those knitted necessities - and just look at this latest knitted number I picked up from Primark for the grand total of...... £1!

Yep that's right, a whole pound!!! You're lucky these days to buy a hot butty for a £1!

This long lovely will see me through to summer as it's ideal for layering. Add a long-sleeved t-shirt underneath, a pair of chunky tights or leggings and boots for an outfit to brave the winter chill. Or like me, for a day when the sun is shining but it's not quite t-shirt and shorts weather, team with a pair of knee socks, a vest and neckscarf to keep warm but not sweltered and cool but not cold. Create curves with a belt and wear with chunky accessories.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Fashion Against Aids

I try to do a little bit for charity - I buy a Big Issue if I see a seller, I'm forever putting loose change into boxes and always sponsor friends and work colleagues in their bid to raise money, but obvioulsy I don't have the millions to really contribute - so a big thumbs up to H&M who have combined my love of shopping with a very worthy cause close to my heart!

H&M have teamed up with Designers Against Aids (DAA) and commissoned a handful of celebrities and designers to design artwork for a range of 100% cotton clothing. Not only to help raise awareness of Aids amongst young people, but 25% of each purchase from the collection will be donated to improving HIV/Aids awareness.... And I think you'll agree, this is a funky range of tees and hoodies designed by the likes of Rihanna, Jagger, My Chemical Romance and Timbaland.

Not only are these clothes stylish, they're good on the bank balance and even better on the conscience in the knowledge that the fab purchase you've just made will contribute that little bit more.

Never has shopping been so important... so, what are you waiting for?! Head to your nearest H&M now and prepare to be morally proud!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A word from the queen of the catwalk....

It has to be said that Vivienne Westwood has to be one of my favourite designers, not least because of her outstanding collection of clothes and fabrics that never fail to liven up the catwalk, but because of her sense - of course her design sense, but mostly her common sense!

In a fashion world gone mad where size zero reigns supreme as the ultimate ambition for every model; a world where it isn't acceptable for her to strut her bony stuff on the catwalk unless she's bordering on skeletal, to hear Dame Vivienne Westwood's view on BBC news this morning was so refreshing - especially coming from a designer!

Dame Westwood recalled in utter disbelief how, when working with a 16 year old model who she described as "being pretty" and "a perfect size 10", she was shocked to hear that her agency had told her to slim! and went on to say how she preferred her models to have "an attitude", not so much a skinny figure!

Good on ya Vivienne, it's good to know not every designer is pro - size zero and there's still the occasional one who recognises women for their curves!

All hail Queen Vivienne....

Sunday, February 3, 2008

This weekend I'm... very vintage in purple

As the previews of Autumn/Winter 2007 collections appeared in last summer's magazines, I found myself in a flurry of fashion excitement to see purple in all shades a dominant colour on the catwalks. Apparantly, it is a colour to make a rich, royal and opulent statement, but for me it is a colour I prefer to wear.

Purple was the colour of choice for my Friday night accessories, combined with a flash of gold to vamp up the vintage vibe. So, as I faintly hear the designer clad clan tut their Dior glossed lips at my charity shop bargains, I admit they may not be the most regal of items but, most importantly, they make a statement of my individual style, how I wear purple with personal panache... and that's what makes an opulent outfit in my eyes!
The outfit out and about!

Although my neckscarf is a one-of-a-kind find, if you're a fellow fan of purple prints you can find a similar one in Topshop, albeit at the not-s0-bargain cost of £15. But who says style has a price eh...?
Floral weave paisley neckscarf
Topshop £15

Wool at work... or on the weekend!

Take one knitted dress...

... and you've got an outfit for all occasions! My favourite store on the high street, H&M, hasn't failed me yet, and this fabulous vintage-inspired neutral knitted dress for just £24.99 is my latest favourite wardrobe staple to wear any day of the week.

Some of my friends have a love-hate relationship with H&M - occasionally they pick up the perfect purchase, but most of the time they can rummage for hours and not come across anything that catches their eye, but I always find something! In my world of shopping, H&M stands for 'holy & magical' - a land full of treasures where I know it's a certainty I will find what I am looking for, or even something I'm not looking for but just have to buy! From the basics to the bang-on-trend items, H&M has it all... I favour the uniqueness of some of their ranges, and still even own a couple of classic little black dresses with a difference I bought a couple of years ago that I rely on from time-to-time and bring up-to-date with the latest season's accessories...

...and I have a feeling that this beige knitted dress will be added to my long-term collection! Very versatile, it creates a neutral base ideal to smarten up for work or dress down for the weekend, and I just love its vintage theme with the gold buttons, fake pockets shift shape.

For work, my accessories of choice are these bargain brown lace-up brogues that are a great take on the designer versions that strutted this season's catwalks, a waist-cinching belts to emphasise curves and pretty gold-tarnished accessories. When the weekend comes, I prefer to vamp up the vintage look with neckscarfs, flat slouchy boots and a vintage handbag. However, these are just too of the many loks that could be created with this dress... go on, use your imagination!