Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Retail weakspots!

Now I don't want to be a doom monger but it has to be said that troubled times are ahead for clothing retailers. The high street and the designers are going to face a tough time if they get it wrong. Women aren't going to stop shopping for clothes but being more selective is going to have an impact. All out more, more, more isn't going to be an option either due to moral choice, lack of funds or a sense of saving. I'm unsure which designer houses are going to be impacted but we'll have more of an idea of this after Q3 next year (June, July, August 2009).

On the high street there are clear indicators already. USC are already in administration with a rescue package underway which won't necessarily prevent the inevitable.
Sadly it includes the wonderful shop at Maison Bertaux.
Many stores have failed to change their customer experience (service, ambiance etc.) or their stock. A proliferation of the high street hasn't helped with the low to high end all competing for the same customers.

Sir Phillip Green is the key person and he seems to have the upper hand with Topshop and Dorothy Perkins. Dotty Ps will suffer but I suspect he has a business model to overcome any downturn. Primark is going to continue to provide that fast cheap fashion fix.

My predictions for wobbles and even the end in the UK high street are:
Jane Norman
Karen Millen
All Saints
Ted Baker (women's)
even New Look

Taking a battering will undoubtedly be M&S
Oasis and French Connection will be put under strain as will Kew and Jigsaw. Plus John Lewis and House of Fraser in their clothing retail, they both carry the same concessions with a few exceptions.

Gosh that's quite a lot. Who do you think will bite the bullet or reign supreme?

images BBCi
PS The breaking news that greeted me this morning was the collapse of Morgan the french retail chain with 33 stores in the UK ... and I'd written this two days earlier opps!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Christmas goody!

Well done Mr MDS - he delivered the perfect Christmas present, my coveted Agnes B t-shirt.

Monday, 29 December 2008

About time...

...I got round to reviewing some socks. I kid you not. When I got an email asking me if I'd be interesting in reviewing some socks, it coincided with Mr MDS having some holes in his and I thought 'oh something new'.
When the 3 pairs duly arrived from Happy Socks they were handily 2 men's sizes and one for me although only just because I've got tiny feet barely a UK size 4. Anyway I didn't like the colour they sent although in the summer it will be quite nice and the ones I forced Mr MDS to wear are bright pink and red so he only wears them at the weekend.

So colour selection aside I have to say they are made from lovely cotton with the necessary amount of polymide and elastane to keep their shape and glide on with ease. They wash well and if you like bright and bold then they are the socks for you! They do have more subdued offering but always with a little twist. I like Scandinavian quirkiness and any sock that offers happiness surely is worth it n'est pas?

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Somethings come in to their own

When I bought a Max Mara dress last year, it was for practical reasons. I had a number of style talks to give and needed something bright and colourful.

What I really wanted to buy was a Marc by Marc Jacobs dress which I could have worn lots and lots but was less suitable for my talks (still it is in the sale but...). I still mourn the Marc Jacobs number but found my Max Mara dress was the perfect number for a lovely evening out at The Cliff Restaurant, Barbados (yep still working this one!).

It suddenly came in to its own in a tropical setting. Which sort of proves you need to keep things and have faith in them too!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Damn liberty!

Just when you come to accept your fate in the forthcoming year those buyers at Liberty make you all wistful and depressed by loading the perfect top on their internet front page.

I love stripes and I love bows - HELP!
See by Chloe Navy Stripe Bow Top £175 Liberty of London

Friday, 19 December 2008

We interrupt this fashion blog for...


The wonderful Delicious Industries sent me a parcel which got delivered when I was out. I didn't know who it was from before I nipped to the Royal Mail sorting office to pick it up. When I received the packet in my hands and knew it was from Delicious Industries I blurted out 'fudge!' Luckily it sounded like fudge as the no verbal abuse to staff notice was there before my eyes. Here is the evidence of my love of fudge captured in Roly's in Brighton.

I skipped out and ran to the car where upon I pounced, no I was not going to wait for Christmas Day - it's fudge!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Easy pieces

Finding time to post at the moment is a real effort. Yesterday I hot footed it to John Lewis on Oxford Street to get petit garcon a scooter for Christmas. Before hitting Oxford Street I popped into Fortnums to buy some coffee. Christmas isn't Christmas without something from Fortnums and since there'll be no hamper this year, coffee is the ticket. I love the Sandringham blend at Christmas, even though I'm no royalist it is the fact they all decamp to Sandringham in Norfolk for their Christmas celebrations and walk to church in the morning and generally convey an orderly British celebration of yuletide. I even enjoy the spectacle of the hunt on boxing day although I'm anti hunting. I wished they'd just drag hunt. My objection to hunting is the stress and trauma caused to the animal.
Sandringham, Norfolk in the snow

Anyway back to Christmas! Near to Fortnum and Mason on Piccadilly is St James Church which always has a market in the church yard this time of year. I popped in to St James to have a browse, and saw a lovely carved elephant which I fell in love with. The stall holder is quite bonkers, eccentric British gamekeeper totally in love with Africa. He saw me examining the tusks and knew what I was thinking and told me straightaway they weren't ivory. If I was to share the whole conversation you'd still be reading this after Christmas. This one carving was in light wood whilst the rest of the Kenyan carvings were in dark or ebony wood. At £35 I thought it was silly to spend on a carved elephant. I decided to walk away as I've never been one for carvings or sculptures and the money should be spend on college books! Well, I literally got up the steps and eight paces along Piccadilly, stopped, turned around and went back and bought it. Wrapped in a used supermarket bag she was a joy to carry around in my bag and now sits happily in my hall. Isn't it funny how you can completely fall for something and it brings such joy.

My lovely new housemate, Poppet the elephant (yes I know I'm getting a bit gaga!)

Mind you the elephant and Christmas shopping has broken the bank and I've stuck to a £300 budget! With college, chrimbo and an overdraft I realise no new clothes next year is a reality. I feel quite sad about it but know I can do it. So last night I watched an episode of Sex and the City to cheer me up. I quite happily watch them again and again because I love the costume detail, even though I mutter about them sometimes not working with the narrative and a few others things! Last nights one was when Carrie gets back with Aidan, when he's actually hot in his white shirt. What interested me was her white tshirt and the diamante necklace. How simple, how easy and yet two pieces that work well together with no effort or clashing. Phew this look is one of the ones that is going to save my bank balance and make me smug. Shame I can't find a photo to share of the outfit - oh well Aidan will have to do instead!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Trends and influence

I really did spend my days in Barbados reading great things on all matters film and fashion. I intend to do a post on Brigitte Bardot and her influence on fashion trends via cinema but for now I'm encouraging you to pop to my other blog to view this little offering from Barbados.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Dress a blogger for Hanukkah, Christmas, Happy Holiday

Upon my word it is mighty cold and dark in the UK! After 10 days of sunshine and Christmas carols in the supermarket wearing basic attire of havianas, white shorts and a variety of tops (none of which were spaghetti tops or vests - more on this subject in a post to come!) it is indeed a proper Christmas feel now. Although I surprised myself at how easily I could embrace a Christmas of rum punch and flying fish rather than sherry and mince pies.

Still back to the dressing a fellow blogger. I noted an almost request from the super Hammie. If you haven't read her blog then do - I'm torn between Hammie and Sister Wolf being the mother I'd choose!

Once again the budget is £200 and this time I'm taking inspiration from the magic of this time of year to create Hammie the perfect glamorous fairy godmother! The point is for Hammie to walk into a room and light it up not just with her own aura but because she is bedecked in gorgeous fabric and lots of costume jewellery bling. The dress is from a shop I rarely visit but it does produce a great selection of dresses and look hard and you'll find a reasonable priced dress delivering grown up glam.

All the items are available on-line and best of all most of these items will be discounted heavily with varying store or on-line offers with VAT reduced and 25% off offers.

Taffeta Wrap Dress £132.12 Coast
Lace overlay shoe £20 New Look
Jet stretch bracelet £11.74 Oasis
Sparkle flower ring £11.74 Oasis
Crystal Shaker bracelet £13.70 Monsoon Accessorize
Elaborate Gothic necklace £15.65 Monsoon Accessorize

Wear both the bracelets together for maximum effect and leave ears bare with all the other bling to show off - just add red lipstick, some perfume and voila!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Cool Runnings!

I'm linking back to an old post on my whereabouts I posted in July when I was in France.
When you read this I will actually be in Barbados. My in-laws packed us off for 10 days to the apartment in St James we are very lucky that they are so kind and can't believe our luck.

With essay writing and packing I haven't had much chance to prepare more than a few posts so my poor blog will be neglected for a week.

PS Cool Runnings is a great boat that we go out on! Ok I'll stop now!

Friday, 5 December 2008

Dress a blogger for Hanukkah, Christmas, Happy Holiday

The next willing victim for a dressing session is Sally of Already Pretty. Now on Saturday I went to see a friend of mine in an Amateur Dramatic production of an adaptation of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. I was quite taken with the servants costume in a lovely grey and white fine vertical stripe but luckily for Sally I'll be keeping my flights of fancy to myself.

However it did put me in mind of this dress from Toast which I think would add an easy glamour to Sally.

This Anastasia dress has a soft cotton velvet bodice and a fluid, weighty, glossy silk satin skirt. Now that I've blown the budget on the dress (£132.13 - the odd cost is due to the VAT reduction) I popped to New Look to accessorise.

Multi Jewel Bracelet £10 New Look

These satin flats £15 (available in black, midnight blue or fuchsia)

And in case it's a bit chilly there is a lace bolero £25 from Topshop

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Dashing through the snow!

Come on time to get in to the Christmas spirit.

How's about this little number to get you in the mood

Orion black retro-ski knit dress £59.00
Pret A Portobello

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

A look back to Saturday

I've often received comments regarding my appearance in apparel. I do prefer to write but realise that visuals are an imperative of the fashion blogger. On Saturday night I met a photographer who'd spent £1000 on a fantastic lens, I only wish I had his camera and lens and the photos might be a bit better. Oh no that'll be the subject matter! Still I give you my Saturday day wear and my Saturday evening attire.

Stripy long sleeve tee Gap
Short sleeve tee with blahy image H&M
Sleeveless navy knit Jigsaw
Skinny jeans Topshop
Biker boots Gap
Cocktail ring Dorothy Perkins
Anchor necklace Accessories
Scorpio zodiac necklace Paul Smith

Dress Vintage (it was long and my mother bought it in Fenwicks in the 70s. I shortened it years ago and added really heavy fringe beading I bought in John Lewis)

Sequin scarf M&S, but several years old

Tights John Lewis

Shoes Roger Vivier