Thursday, 31 July 2008

New High Street viewings

For the next few weeks it is non stop research. I'll be checking out the new seasons offerings on the high street. It's all well and good looking longingly at the catwalks but the High Street still remains the place for most people's budgets and that includes the production companies when PR's are unable to loan or have samples available.


I'll be trawling the main high street shops and the delightful shops dotted around Central London, but Kingston and Bluewater also need to be assessed.

Today in Kingston-upon-Thames, (it's part of Greater London and has a great shopping area if you want to avoid the crowds) I had a scout around to check the slow progress of the new stock. I'll be delving into detail on specific retailers in posts over the next few weeks. September's British Vogue has a focus on page 127&8 on the new direction at Whistles. I had a quick peek today and liked the look except for the continued use of faux shirts and tops. I call it lazy dressing - when a top is a mesh of jumper and shirt. the shirt bit is sewn in and yuk it is a personal no no for me. Lots of promise and great quality. (I'll just whisper this - it's a bit Topshop for grown ups).



Check, tartan and purple are early offerings with a useful back up of grey with red yet to make a full arrival.


For those hearting Gucci and the trend of Winter Garden (or late bloomers as I like to think of it) then Oasis have a peachy number retailing at £70.


Warehouse have two dresses that wouldn't look improper in Anna Wintour's wardrobe - so if society siren is your style then these winter florals might be your high street finds. The Blurred Rose Tulip dress retails at £70 and the Bouquet Floral Shift Dress at £75.




Whilst the crowds were away I took the opportunity to visit Primark and check out whats coming in. Their accessories are flying in and they've gone their usual homage designs with a clear D&G focus with plaid bags and quite punky gothy shoes and other accessories.

I tried on a clear nod to Marc Jacobs and another dress, with ruffle and pleat detail in two different colour. The MJ number was the better quality of the two and the cheaper at £10.00. The pleated dress was £14.00 and the material was very synthetic and wouldn't last beyond a few wears not least because you'd ruin it trying to yank the zip down. I took some pics in the changing room which was difficult in a small, slightly smelly and quite trashed cubicle. Primark is not for the faint hearted!

Late bloomers



If you think florals are just for the sunshine then think again.

A big trend for A/W 08 is the winter garden. Good news for those who
need to get more unit cost per wear out of your summer florals. Just team
with black and add feathers to complete the look.

Aquascutum, image: style.com


Gucci, image: style.com

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

In the pink


Thinking is dangerous. One minute pink is the furthest thing from your mind, the next it is a gorgeous grown up dress by Roland Mouret. It would mean selling the petit garcon on ebay for - so it is completely out of the question. Damn the hydrangeas.


RM by Roland Mouret
Madeleine crepe dress
£1,295
net-a-porter

Floral love-in continues...

How does a sudden surge in all things floral suddenly happen? Must be the weather. Add pink into the mix and oh la la. I love my hydrangeas and this photo doesn't do justice to the beautiful colour they are. I've realised I've nothing pink at all in my wardrobe. How come this colour has suffered neglect?

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

A toast to florals


For those of you in need of a floral injection there are some veritable bargains to be had online at Toast.
A 90% reduction on many items might tempt you.
If you need any persuasion on florals then take a peek at Sharon-Rose Vintage or Mahalo Fashions - Sea of Florals in the 27th of July posting.
If you're a bit short, go without toast and marmalade for a month and you'll be able to spree £19 on a skirt. you see girlynomics - it works every time!

Monday, 28 July 2008

Will you grow old gracefully?


Following on from Rebekah Roy's fab talk at the Barbican last week and the delightful Wendy B's irreverent views a plenty, I got to thinking do we limit ourselves over a certain age and should we break free of such constraints?

Warning by Jenny Joseph (verse 1)

When I am an old women I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me,
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in the shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Stylish evening at Barbican

Last night stylist Rebekah Roy of Stylist Stuff gave an outstanding talk on personal style as part of the current The House of Viktor & Rolf exhibition.

It took place in a workshop area sectioned off from the main exhibition and one thing is for sure - The Barbican doesn't know fashion. Rebekah's talk was a clear crowd puller. I luckily got there ahead of the crowd to get a seat with a great view to appreciate her talk.

During the talk by Rebekah many quotes flashed up behind her on the wall. The first one was a choice remark by Style Bubble of which I failed to capture on paper but Stylist Stuff will be posting the quotes used during the talk.


The essence of Rebekah's talk was love what you wear. Wear what you love and wear clothes that are a reflection of you. Rebekah really nailed the fact that personal style is an expression of the things you like and hang what anyone else thinks.

But she conveyed it so well, full of enthusiasm for getting the individual to trust their own judgement mixed with attitude. The crowd were led down a path that told them to use fashion or clothes to tell a story, for the choices to be a language and a tool to convey your personality to the world and also to have fun.

It was refreshing to step away from the popular dictates of wear this if you are this shape, avoid X and only do Y. The more structured advice was given to free the individual from imposing any constraints. Basically, firstly ignore celebrities and the world of celebrity fashion. Rebekah rightly pointed out the fact that most often they get paid to wear items (ref Kate Moss interview in US Vogue - perfect product placement regarding her Ray Bans comments - how much did they pay her to say that!).

Equally, try to avoid the pitfalls of archetypes and stereotypes of different looks. Some people use this to define them and Rebekah gave a few examples such as Daphne Guinness and that then becomes a brand identity - a whole other area to talk about!

It was lovely how Rebekah spoke of the body changing as you age and how to adapt with the quality of the cloth to reflect the change in your life stage. All throughout the audience was treated to look changes based on the canvas of jeans and a white t-shirt. Rebekah also picked out items from her rail to tantalise us all with. Some veritable gems were passed before our eyes.

I loved that Rebekah could laugh about fashion but also give credit to it's place in life with some beautiful examples of voluntary work she undertook one of which was with female ex offenders. The fact that someone was given nice clothes and shown their potential by being styled was heartfelt.

I've enjoyed Rebekah's blog for eons, most notably for her handy hints on how to iron shirts - one of my most disliked tasks. Selfishly I needed her talk as when you work on your own as a stylist it can often be hard to give yourself a talking to! Most of my work is personal styling due to the demands of the petit garcon. I don't get to do the editorial and commercial stuff much anymore as a part timer. Rebekah's event gave me some much needed enthusiasm and re-clarification of all I feel and think. A fresh perspective is wonderful.

My only inward smile was her perfect advice of looking at your wardrobe and checking what you've got. Often it is just a matter of re examining items rather than buying new. You see make do style is growing!


I can't stress enough what a pleasurable talk it was. I've hardly done it justice. Rebekah gave so much more. It was lovely to meet her in person not just in the blogosphere. I made a real effort to go as was rather tired after France and mightily glad I did.

The only downside was the photos - not only do I take a dreadful photo, I really need to learn to pose properly. But Susie Bubbles comments of nice food in Normandy came back to haunt me. Forget vintage clothes darlings I'm looking to a vintage diet - cabbage soup!!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Je suis de retour!


My grandes vacances was in France. We crossed on the ferry, and stopped off for our usual morning coffee at Le Mont St Michel

Then it was onwards to the Loire-Atlantique to stay overnight at Chateau de Cop-Choux
After a proper repos it was onwards to our destination Ile D'Oleron. The island is a favourite holiday destination for the French, lots of holiday homes there and it is the second largest French island after Corsica.
It is famous for its oysters (huîtres) an mussels (moules). I spend a lovely time collecting oyster shells from the beach and in true make do style found the perfect flat pebble to use as a soap dish.
The oyster shells make great candles but I need to learn how to add wax and wicks first! I discoverd this neat idea in the Conran shop years ago, they were retailing them for £12 then!
Two young Belgian girls showed me how to make holes in them with a pen knife and then you can thread them for chimes or anything. Such simple matters are enormously pleasing.
The petit garçon adored the beautiful beaches and ran wild with much throwing himself in the sand. Our beach had views to Fort Boyard and across to La Rochelle and Ile de Re
On one day we cycled from the beach in the morning to the fishing village of La Cotiniere, another the daily market of St Pierre
Mostly, I read books, bought French Vogue and Elle, a few interior magazines and Gala. My favourite read of the hols was The Beautifal Fall by Alicia Drake, I had saved my copy for 9 months to read in France! It was worth it.
The trip homeward took in Orleans, an overnight stay in the delightful Les Charmettes however Madam had forgotten of our stay and left poor Monsieur to deal with the unexpected guests. The poor man's face and words said it all -
"mais, Nicole qu'elle n'est pas ici elle était allé à Brittany!"
His wife was having a holiday of her own in Brittany. I took charge after realising he'd never been faced with such a problem. After my shop for dinner he sighed "elle a oublié" (she forgot).
The next morning a friend of his wife popped round and they hurridly went into the kitchen to gossip. I found it all very amusing and charming. The house was beautifully decorated and filled me with ideas which is always a plus.
More driving and a late lunch at Le Touquet-Paris-Plague before Euro Tunnel and home.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Holiday 5: Hanging in Holetown, Barbados?


sunnies: Christian Dior
dress: Bay (so wrong I can't believe I've admitted to it! But hey I'm in Barbados drinking rum and coke what do I care!)
shoes: Carvela

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Holiday 4: Charme exestential, Île d’Oléron?


scarf: Pucci
sunnies: Chanel
top: Gap
shorts: Oasis
plimsolls: Springcourt

Friday, 18 July 2008

Holiday 3: Miami Vice?




sunnies: Tom Ford
t-shirt: H&M
jeans: H&M
bag: Prada
wedges: Russell & Bromley

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Holiday 2: Fascino di Roma?



sunnies: Gucci
dress: Gap
throw: Joseph
sandals: Vic Matie

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Holiday 1: The Wild West of Wales?




headscarf: H&M
sunnies: Miu Miu
cardigan: Toast
dress: Primark
wellies: Hunters

Thursday, 10 July 2008

I'm leaving on a jet plane...



..well my bags are packed and ready to go. Now given that a week is a long time in fashion, can you imagine what 2 weeks is in blog world!
Thanks to the magic that is post options..I'm being a cunning blogger and scheduling 5 posts over the next two weeks to make you guess my holiday destination! Knowing me I've probably given it away already but a few photos plus an array of outfits won't hurt. Just remember it's my photo posting, not Style Bubble, or Kingdom of Style nor Coco's Tea Party. Nothing fancy or remotely whizzy just bog standard. Enjoy.......I'll be back!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Girlynomics

I was so proud of myself today when I went to the library and managed to snag two typically 'trashy' holiday books for my forthcoming vacation.

Chasing Harry Winston:Lauren Weisberger and
Celebutantes: Ruthanna Hopper & Amanda Goldberg.

Having saved my purse the princely sum of £13.98, I fell into a girlynomics trap. What is a girlynomics trap - well it's that rationale that defies the considered economic minds such as John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman.
It's the place in your mind that considers the wonderful savings made and instead of a good old pat on the back, a light comes on that gives you permission to spend said savings.
Normally I stay with the smug savings feeling but today I had time on my hands whilst waiting to pick up shoes from cobbler. That time lead me to just pop into TK Maxx and just happen to perchance upon a Vera Wang navy blue dress and just happen to purchase said item for £16.99.

It is technically a size too big but again it sort of works anyway as it doesn't need to be tight - ok I'll stop there and just admit to giddiness and delight at finding said item. I cycled to town and back saving a further £2.20 in bus tickets, so in girlynomics world the dress actually cost 81p - bargain!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Wintour goes nuclear with make do & mend


Dear Kate

Thank you for your recent communication. I am pleased to confirm I took on board your minimal packing advice for my European trip and found it easy to work the same dress 3 times in a week. I aired my Caroline Herrera in Milan, London and Paris.

It was much easier to make my assistant carry on my hand luggage then wait an interminable time at those dreadful carousels. You were absolutely right to pick out the shoes and jewellery changes. The cardigan was equally indispensable, one for your top 50 I believe.

One does feel I've done my bit to highlight the joy of a little shift change in the disposableness of clothing. I think you might have something with this make do style matter.

Yours sincerely (and affectionately)

Anna


PS you only knew I was joking when I added affectionately - didn't ya?

Friday, 4 July 2008

Be prepared for trend bombardment




It's the time of year when catwalk reports will abound and some of us will be drawn into the world of trend bombardment. Resistance is futile or is it!

I've done my homework, checked my funds and sorted my wardrobe (I have a cute Chanel resort bag to list on ebay but isn't happening, I'll spare you the ebay rant). I viewed and appraised the catwalk collections and all the wonderful blogs.

Two things spring to mind immediately. I lack some colour for my winter wardrobe. It truly is a sea of grey and black, plus two green items! Dior, has persuaded me that I am in need of purple and red.


D&G have resurrected the headscarf to great effect but I've always worn them and thankfully my preferred option of tied round head is looking a goer this season without looking like I'm going out for a grouse shoot. I'm passing on tartan and plaid - sorry it never features in my life except for discreet blue watch neck scarf (for grouse shoots - joking) which has now been borrowed by my 2 year old. It looks more fetching on a little boy when wearing pea coat.

From Balenciaga to Prada the nod to all women to embrace a blouse is something I can't resist and am whole heatedly embracing - can't wait! Vuitton have made much use of costume jewellery and in the absence of any real direction and the wonderful array of jewellery worn by Mary Portas (Mary, queen of Shops) this is a winning choice.

The rest well, lace not sure yet and winter white in London on the tube - forget it!


There is one clear trend that I'm happy to be bombarded with - flat shoes.
images: style.com, kurt geiger

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Forever in blue jeans - yeah



Money is sweet but you can go without....if push came to shove you could get by style wise in a pair of blue jeans for a while. Which, is a naff way for me to prompt you to forgo a fashion fix to support a design gem to raise money to help Burmese children via UNICEF -see post by Delicious Industries

And yes I was having a Neil Diamond moment.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008



Last week, UK Grazia did a hilarious little piece about unanswered questions in SATC: The Movie. My favourite was why had Harry become almost mute, followed by why did Stamford and Anthony kiss at New Year’s Eve?

The one question they didn’t ask was why hadn’t Carrie got herself a pair of glasses if she couldn’t see without them? Now, it was a sweet scene of her in bed borrowing Big’s pair but surely a successful forty something girl would have her own.

There is a fashion for frames and many a person has taken to pretending their need glasses for a geek chic look. WendyB of Wendy Brandes Jewelry posted a gorgeous cat like pair she’s sourced for someone.


Upon further investigation into this matter I worked out why Carrie hadn’t gotten around to buying a pair – it would eat into her shoe budget. The cost of investing in glasses that look good is enormous. You need a few pairs for working with different outfits. Then there is the awful fact of do you suit glasses. Now I do not. I have proven this on several occasions to hoots of derision. I suit a nice pair of sunnies but put me in spectacles and well geek chic it ain’t.

Luckily I don’t need to wear a pair yet but I’m undertaking forward planning now and have realised that in order to preserve the shoe budget, still look ok and be able to see, it’s got to be contact lenses. So, to help Carrie and myself I’ve sourced a useful site called lensshopper.com. It does all the work and has a host of information I hadn’t even thought about – like contacts with UVA and UVB protection!


I know lots of you will have views on contacts but in short I’m too vain to look bad in glasses and I don’t have Patricia Field on speed dial to make me look good if I did wear them. I’ve added a new column to my spreadsheet to budget for contacts and if I don’t call upon the services of LensShopper in the next 12 months, I’ll be buying those Manolo’s I’ve been eying up ever since seeing the movie.