Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Ring in the change

If I could be anywhere next week then NYC for NYC Fashion Week and also Fashion's Night Out would be my choice.

I don't want to say how many bloggers I would be catching up with given half the chance but oh what fun it would be.

And what better place to wear these!

Of course these wonderful NYC rings (which I want regardless of not being there) are by home grown NYC jewellery talent Wendy Brandes. Wendy has been a long supporter of the local NYC manufacturing but due to the inability to produce larger quantities at lower prices she is having to look further afield. To do this Wendy needs backing and this is a wonderful opportunity to fund a business get some kudos and some jewellery to boot! Click here to find out more about the NYC rings and the OMG ones as well as the kickstarter backing.

Anti Ageing help at hand

You know me I think all rules are out of the window when it comes to styling. The moment you get caught up in rules you close down your options and kill your creativity. However, whilst I might be uber confident when it comes to style stakes, I'm a scared cat in the headlights when it comes to skin care.

There are two people I've met in person who have the most perfect porcelain skin, one is fellow blogger and jeweller Wendy Brandes, the other is TV presenter Nicky Hambleton Jones. Both keep out of the sun and their skin is so soft I look upon it longingly.

Now Wendy can holla from over the Atlantic with her many pronouncements and we can hear her! Luckily Nicky has turned her years of experience to helping inform the skincare debate. Her new website Look & Feel Younger offer wonderful advice on products and treatments for the skin and for all budgets, which is music to my ears. Also there are lots of discounts for becoming a member (which is free).

Take a look and enjoy seeing people being guinea pigs for beauty treatments. It made me feel less scared knowing about how procedures are done. The small clips are brilliant.

Monday, 30 August 2010

All roastie toastie again

Finally, last week Mr MDS and I got round to round two at Roast. Our last visit ended in disaster due to customer service/experience. Upon complaining, we were given a voucher with a proper apology. Therefore the slate was wiped clean. I stepped out of a very large puddle due to a huge August down pour into Roast with hope. And it was well worth it. I have to say the food was very nice last time but my palette had been dented before a morsel entered my mouth.

This time I sipped a glass of marvellous English Sparkling Wine, Nyetimber 2005 Classic Curvee Sussex. Then we moved on to an even better Spanish red, a 2007 Rivola. Which I manage to drink with ease despite the glass being nearly as big as my head!

The food was fabulous if a bit rich. There was no way I could even contemplate a pudding. So thank you Roast you are redeemed and I got to give my Topshop blouse an airing even though it was the wettest evening ever in London this summer.

Maxi, Midi, Mini - the return of the cool lbd

It would be fair to say in the midst of the minimalist hullabaloo, I like to think there is smouldering return of the musio - that music loving chick who hung out at the bar at gigs, never said much, looked uber cool and made you feel like a tongue tied nerd. I suppose Amy Winehouse could have had this accolade had she not got 'Blakeified'. I think Kate Moss aims for this attainment but the truth is this girl is a mystery, a dignified muse. The only time it was probably captured and embodied on film was Fellini's La Dolce Vita and the inclusion briefly of Nico.

Maybe this girl hung out at Bowie gigs, who knows but she sure did wear a simple little black dress to offset her nonchalant air and cigarette. It was all about the legs pre grunge and false boob era. No self respecting cool musio chick got drunk and fell over. They sipped, smirked and slunk off into the night...

Go for broke and the max with this Moschino number from Net-A-Porter embellished silk and jersey dress £1,155.

In the midi budget section is this Acne number from my-wardrobe at £270

And in the mini budget section it is Warehouse who turn up trumps with this little black dress for a mere 55 of your English pounds.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Wonderful Weekend Wedding

Sometimes there is nothing better than a wedding. Mr MDS and I repeated last weekend in wedding number 2. We donned exactly the same outfits given we were friend invitees this time, so no family present to remark on our ground-hog day appearence. I made one change from last week with the addition of a headband, although my hair isn't long enough to create the desired beehive affect.

It was a beautiful day, the bride and groom were suitably beautiful and handsome on their special day and Dulwich College was a wonderful location. The attention to detail at the wedding was down to the bride whose choice of floral colours and design were glorious. We ended the perfect day dancing madly to a great live band with a female singer who covered everything from Sister Sledge, Gloria Gaynor to Kings of Leon and the Killers to name some. The eclectic mix was such fun, one moment you were doing your best funk soul dancing to bouncing around like a indie mentalist! It felt great in Prada shoes.

M&S cardi, Moschino dress from the Outnet, Prada Shoes

Champagne in hand (tick) confetti in hair (tick)

The beautiful hall in Dulwich College

Nice touches home made jam - how cute!

An array of gorgeous flowers everywhere

The band

Bride & Groom

Cision nominate this blog as one of Top 10 UK Styling blogs

Imagine my surprise when I found this blog was number one in the Top 10 UK Styling blogs
Given I'm rubbish at technical design wizardry I can only provide you with the link, rather than a captured image of my status!

It has been 4 years of reading blogs and 3 years of actual blogging. It was also great to see Style Bubble and Kingdom of Style (they need no introduction!) in the top 50 of UK bloggers, which features lots of food, political and other blogs. Then the blogs got broken down into sectors. If you look at the vintage blog section you will see some other familiar UK blogs there. Why the inclusion is so wonderful is because the clever people at Cision have applied methodology to this. Basically Cision analysed traffic, input and output, influence and the chances of referral, so it is nice to know that objectively this blog stacks up...subjective views are another matter.

Now where is that book deal....

Saturday, 28 August 2010

High Street Pick of the Week

Seeing as I can never resist a dress, I was happy to spy this number in Oasis. It is dresses galore at the moment, so go for something sumptuous like this velvet number. Just add Chanel Paradoxal nail varnish (if you haven't got it go to my giveaway here) with fishnet tights or stockings, red lipstick and some courts. I challenge any man to resist you!

Friday, 27 August 2010

Be Prepared - a fashion stylists working wardrobe

Fingers crossed I'll be working flat out from now (ish) until a week or two before Christmas. Knowing my likely schedule and the fact I need a working wardrobe for different situations, I've used my time off to a) attend to the petit garcon first and foremost, b) decorate, saving Mr MDS decorators fees and c) compile my A/W10 look.

I've mixed old and new items. It is my usual mix of a few designer pieces with mainly high street and some secondhand. I've omitted to throw in my few t-shirts, my skinny grey polo, accessories and gloves that I'll be donning but you can imagine those!


I do mix and match day and evening wear but I've separated them to illustrate in their more dominant environments. I tend to keep it simple upon an eve, although that is probably true of all my outfits.

The evening items

l to r, years old ankle boots in a patent faux snake skin, with kitten heel, Suede purple courts with detail 2 years old, this season Prada heels and my very old Sacco boots from New York.

l to r, Gerald Darel tuxedo jacket from Oxfam Wimbledon 2 years ago, Zara metallic v cardi last year, Toast navy velvet trousers and Gerald Darel ruffle white shirt both 5 years old.

l to r, Viktor & Rolf black long sleeve silk dress, a few years old, recent Moschino dress from Outnet and a sample sale Pink Soda dress coat.


The day time items

l to r, M&S granny wedges this summer - will wear with ankle socks, heeled Brogues 4 years old, this season suede ankle boots from Oasis and lace up brogues from Topshop. I realised that my choice of tan shoes demonstrates a repeat pattern. I hold my hands up it is my favourite colour for shoes.
l to r, recent blog shop dress purchase from Mrs Bossa (will do a separate post on this as have altered it), See by Chloe floral print dress from Liberty sale and my See by Chloe pea coat jacket.

Reiss a-line skirt, expect a lot of wear of this item

l to r, Topshop this season floral blouse, last season Topshop blouse, ditto Ted Baker blouse and this season Zara one.

This is my favourite buy, I love sheer material and the pattern and colours are wonderful. It sold out straight away.

l to r, Last season Topshop red jeans, Many, many years old Topshop jumper, which I love so much I'm glad it will get an airing this season. Normally it only comes out for very cold days. This season Zara knitted cardigan with geography teachers elbow patches.

Overall my look is a reference/nod to Mad Men, Celine and the things I always like. I would if I could buy some Chloe or Chloe inspired trousers and a D&G lace number wouldn't go a miss but the make do funds are emptied.

UPDATE: completely forgot to mention my black M&S cardi which is in the daywear section but then I've mentioned it loads already. It will continue to be used a lot.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Chanel 509 giveaway

Of course Chanel 509 is Paradoxal. Due to the cunning and tenacity that is Make Do Style not only did I have the ability to purchase Paradoxal and Rose Satin for family, friends and moi, but I've got one left over. Now of course I could be super selfish and sell the blighter on ebay but were is the fun in that. I'm in the mood for dispensing good cheer.

This little pot of happiness and perfect polish can be yours! The usual applies for a chance to win - be a follower of the blog and leave a comment on the subject of your best make do tip on anything from fashion, beauty, food, culture or adventure. The giveaway is open until Friday Sept 3rd (which is next week!)

Just to clarify the rules (thank you Pearl for being the organised one!)

1. Leave a comment containing 'WIN' so I know who wants to be entered and I will put all the names in a hat to draw the winner.

2. You must be a follower of this blog, new followers are welcome (Google )

3. For an extra entry tweet or retweet about the giveaway and /or mention it on your blog (and leave in the comment that you have done so).

UPDATE: forgot to say this is open to the world. Whether you are in Melbourne, Mumbai, Massachusetts or Malawi or Mexico. I know I've mixed up countries and towns.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Something I threw on

This is the first in a weekly style option for the out of towners! And maybe something for those who are big city dwellers. I will try to keep everything as an internet option, which isn't too hard these days and also September sees the launch of H&M online. It does mean that Zara is excluded but since sizing is an issue with Zara this probably isn't an issue. To qualify, sizing in Zara varies enormously depending on fabric, cut and design. I can discount XS and XL but S, M & L have all made an appearance in my wardrobe.

I thought I'd kick of this series with a solution for country living (wild west of Wales, Sussex etc.) and attempt to solve a cry for help from someone who is 'strawberry'. A strawberry body shape is like a strawberry - wider at the top and narrower at the bottom. I like to call it an upside down triangle, which means to balance out the proportions you need to create an additional triangle.

The look I'm creating is modern and fresh for A/W, with a nod, if you select the jumper option, to Prada but doesn't scream fashion.

Item 1 - is a Mango skirt from ASOS. I like to get women out of the trouser/jeans option where possible. Much easier to wear dresses and skirts if you can't rock a skinny jean or this season's leather pants a la Isobel Marant. At £37.90 it is a snip and the wrap feature and asymmetric detail make it more casual for everyday wear. The only problem is Mango like Zara only go up to a L which is a size 12. If you need larger I would opt for the Isobella Oliver maternity a-line skirt. What maternity I hear you shriek! Well, it's just you get a better cut with the waistband and you can tuck things in and add a skinny belt but still get a great shape. It is the perfect solution when you are an apple or strawberry shape.

Item 2
- ASOS bobble stitch jumper in navy, £30. Get the jumper for later when the wind chills the bones. And if you are top heavy for the jumper, go for a lightweight long sleeve tee in grey, navy or black, again this Mango Cowl neck top £17.90 is perfect for on its own or layering and this goes up to a size 14.

Then you only need to add some ribbed or opaque tights with some boots or brogues or even wellies depending on the weather. Do not under any circumstances add Uggs. I've nothing against Uggs but not with this look, okay!

Here are some links to boots ideas.

ASOS Trapper platform ankle boots

Dorothy Perkins Chocolate lace up ankle boots

M&S footglove wide fit leather slouch boots in brown

And a pair of brogues

Topshop soft leather brogues

For accessories, if you are top heavy get a nice chunky bangle or 3 to add detail. And if you are small(er) busted and wearing the navy jumper, a nice very long chain with a locket on the end would be fab. I just dreamt up the locket necklace, I have no images or suggestions to offer but something similar would work. Or a nice brooch.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Where to Shop?

I'm often asked 'where should I shop/where is the best place to shop?' (on the UK high street)

The answer is never the same. Each season changes the 'where' bit. I probably would suggest always having a look in the mid range retailers such as Reiss, All Saints, Ted Baker and concessions in departments stores from Tara Jarmon, Paul and Joe Sister, and the Jesiree range in John Lewis. You do have to have a plan and a list when you go shopping, this always helps to make sure you don't come back with a repeat number.

However, this season I'm mainly loving Topshop and Zara. Last winter I had no love for either but slowly and surely they are both back on track. On the back burner I'd put Warehouse and Gap (the cape at £60 is a winner) and I'm sighing a bit over my beloved Oasis, not sure I'm feeling the love yet. My surprise wild card will be Miss Selfridge, check it out sporadically, there will be much to coo over. Finally, M&S, well would have thought it! I'm suggesting caution (as always) but there is some mighty fine individual pieces. My Mad Men esque cardigan in black has been a winner at £18.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Maxi, Midi, Mini - take 3 duffle coats

Ah yes the summer fun is nearly over and so it seems is my extended break. Well what with the petit garcon off to school, my MA over proper, it is time to roll up my sleeves and get stuck back into the world of fashion styling with vigour.

That means less indulgence on the blog and more focus. Yes, anonymous from Borth, I've taken on all your feedback! There will be three featured blog posts each week specifically related to curent trends and retail. Saturday's High St Pick of the Week, remains with the addition of Maxi, Midi, Mini - one item, three options, from the highs of designers to the budget bargain of the high street. The final post in the trio will be Something I Threw On. Imagine my horror when I was told that someone who shall remain nameless actually opened the Next directory catalogue, looked at the images and bought a complete outfit head to toe based on a look. I'm coming to the rescue! My mission is to inject confidence about creating a look, whatever size or shape. It will not require 'making' or 'brow beating'. I'll keep it simple and hope to inject some style where once there was merely bafflement. And yes it will be 'normal' fashion...

...We start this week with a bubbling under trend for outerwear - the duffle coat. Look it is windy and wet on this Isle and you need to withstand these vagrancies of weather. Be prepared with a duffle coat.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Family and Fashion

There is a lot to be said for family and friends. It is only with family you can often share moments of emotion about loved ones who are long gone, even when it is a happy occasion such as a marriage. So when my uncle gave a speech at my cousins wedding and mention our departed grandmother and their other departed grandmother, my cousin and I (who incidentally were both born on the same day), our sisters and brothers, my dad and her mum (my dad's sister) all welled up with tears. I was also wearing my grandma's necklace so she was there.

Equally in the comfort of family you rediscover the similarities. So when a group of six Dutch cyclists touring the British countryside appeared in their everyday attire of jeans and t-shirts for the wedding, none of the family and friends who know the family well batted an eyelid. In fact they were staying at the castle (which is a youth hostel) opposite the village church and had got talking to my aunt as she was doing the flowers in preparation for the wedding. Naturally, she invited them along to the service. Naturally we all had a chat with them afterwards before going to the reception.

And of course at the reception we had a wonderful view of the Kymin a white towered building above Monmouth where Admiral Nelson breakfasted with his lover Lady Hamilton and her husband Sir William Hamilton (who was quite old) and greatly admired the views.

The location for the reception was the marvellous modern Sports Pavillion of Monmouth Boys school. With its splendid space and views of both the English and Welsh counties.

There was something lovely about the blend of old and new, which is a good reminder why the changing nature of fashion when it comes to taste and new ideas is something to welcome. Yet the story of Nelson and Lady Hamilton is a reminder how little we change as people.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

High Street Pick of the Week

It is crazy out there on the high street. They are all after your money and wanting you to buy the seasons must have jacket (the aviator one) from them. Instead I give you the thing furthest away from the £100 upwards needed to get one - socks.
The best transitional piece for your wardrobe right now is a good pair of ankle socks. Topshop has a great 3 pairs of sock for £7 offer on at the moment. Just add kitten heels and a-line skirt.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Football and Fashion - Fashion Forum Fortnight

My Phd research subject of choice would be on Football and Fashion. I might get round to it one day. There has been no real academic analysis of football, fashion and its relation to consumption for many years.

Movie and music stars are often the subject of fashion but footballers are not. Hence why I like this image so much from today's Daily Mail online.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

My favourite celebrity fashion blog - Fashion Forum Fortnight

When my short film was shown as part of this years LCF MA_sters showcase, a panel of people were put together to discuss celebrity and fashion. I insisted that Coco's Tea Party was there as this blog is my go to for all things celebrity.

images from the event all courtesy of MyStyle

I love the fact that Coco's Tea Party is an analysis of the who, what and why of celebrity fashion, which is not in the vain of pulling the celebrity apart. It is witty but respectful. I'm not that interested in celebrities and what they wear but I like to keep abreast of these things. Ella of Coco's Tea Party makes no secret of her love of celebrities and that passion is reflected in her posts.

Do you have a favourite celebrity fashion blog? Do you read any celebrity fashion blogs?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Celebrity Interview - Fashion Forum Fortnight

Due to irritating spamming I've had to put the word verification thingy on. I hope this will reduce 'hot babe', 'get your gizmo here' and 'gay porn' offerings the comment box has had of late.

Which brings me to the celebrity interview. Is it just me or are they all spammed with name, film or latest record just replaced depending on which ever celebrity it is. Most will seem to have some association or ambassador status with Chanel/Estee Laudee. And yet the cycle of celebrity shows no sign of abating.

I'm never sure whether they are the false gods or the gods we deserve. It is hard to imagine not having celebrities but has the constant sharing gone too far? I mean who cares whether Brad or Angelina are arguing or affectionate with each other.

But then I always think of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor as the couple who created the maelstrom of peering avidly in to the life of stars, particularly as they divorced and then married each other again. I'm looking forward to reading Furious Love! Will there be someone like me in many years to come eagerly awaiting the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie version or has the heyday passed?

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Have you ever...? Fashion Forum Fortnight

You know... seen an item on a celebrity, wanted it, bought it.

I remember a time when for one moment I was hooked in by a celebrity wearing a specific item and for the life of me I've forgotten who and what but I do know it happened once. The only other time I fell for a product was on screen - the TV screen - it was a SATC episode and the item in question was the Manolo Blahnik silver shoes...and yes I did buy them.

Go on confession time...get them all out even if it was Fearne Cotton!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Celebrity and Fashion - Fashion Forum Fortnight

Before we get stuck in to celebrity and the impact on fashion, not just clothes but lifestyle, we need to set some definitions.

No, wait a second we need to get this photo of Madonna out of the way.

Firstly, after years of looking a bit 'off', 'irrelevant' and way too photo shopped in those Louis Vuitton ads, Madonna actually looks great. Love the dress, really love the dress. Good hair and make up and a modicum of graceful intent suggests she's on form again. I don't know Madonna, we once shared the same toilets and I found out that I was taller than her. But apart from that, all I have ever gleamed about her is from magazines and newspapers plus her interviews. Oh yes and the Sex book. After years of journalistic analysis what is your take on this photo?

Mine is 'Hello Guy, yes I'm here in London. I've just dropped the kids of with you. It's my birthday. Remember how you messed up and neglected me, well look I'm hot again. Don't worry the Jesus thing is a fling. You either want me back and you'd better go for it or I will be sporting Mr Madonna number three quite soon and you'll be very jealous as he'll be a man's man.'

Anyway, back to the categories of celebrity. There are three acknowledge academic classifications. This is important to note because it explains why we potentially accept or admire some more than others.
1. Ascribed - this is lineage. Itis handed down. Think Prince William, Caroline Kennedy and Sofia Coppola, too name a few.
2. Achieved - personal accomplishment gets you this status. Think Madonna, Brad Pitt, David Beckham and Serena Williams, you get the picture.
3. Attributed - this category is when ordinary people get given a lot of media attention often due to sensationalism. Think of anyone who has had a lot of media attention for no particular reason other than say being the mother of Mick Jagger's illegitimate child or having an affair with a well know person either or any other such example.

For a full read on celebrity then Chris Rojek's Celebrity is a fascinating read.

So, we know Madonna achieved her celebrity status and we know how. The rest of the week will be spent examining the impact of the cult of celebrity upon fashion and our consumption. Oh er!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Not a winner but enjoyed the excitement...

It was sad not to win the 'A Shaded View on Fashion' film festival but never mind, as we Brits like to say, it is the taking part that counts. Two films were selected to be shown.

Are you also wistful? by Sarah Culbreth and Hedi Boys by Youngest Indie. Congratulations to the winners and also thank you to all of you who supported my endeavours.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

High Street Pick of the Week

It's not Prada but ASOS still do what they do best, designer looks at budget prices and all at the comfort of a click. ASOS bow skinny belt is a snipe at £6 compared to the lovely patent Prada one at £190. Okay its not Prada but your bank manager will agree names mean nothing when it is your bank balance at stake. Inject some new style for £6 as August is a five week month, pay day is ions away.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Do Magazines need to be more helpful? Fashion Forum Fortnight

A comment by teawithonesugarplease precipitated this post. I'm pinching the bit which is relevant, "Fashion as an industry used to be the preserve of the ultimate rich - those who could afford to pay to travel to Paris and be dressed in the seasons must have right down to hand sewn lingerie. I guess in our modern age things have moved on and consumerism is open to a bigger majority."

Ah yes it is to Paris that May Wellend from The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton goes to buy her new wifely wardrobe. In fact numerous references to Paris fashion precipitate the Countess Olenski given her perceived exotic nature. And of course once upon a time high fashion did just revolve around the Paris collections and houses.

Once upon a time the same Paris houses would helpfully recognise the disparity of wealth and provided selected patterns to buy or in the magazines. Hollywood did the same with costumes from films particularly ones worn by Joan Crawford. Hollywood costume designers also consulted with department stores to make a 'copy' of an original garment. The fashion houses of Paris went on to strike commercial deals with department stores and retailers and provided patterns and diffusion lines which weren't labelled. All of these activities helped women to get the look at a fraction of the price.

When Yves Sant Laurant launched Rive Gauche he broke with the idea of the fashion house being above the retailers on the high streets. A fashion house choose to market directly to the public and mass produce a commercial line. The rest is history. The bags, the make up, the perfume. Okay I'm given a rather simplistic potted view here but you get the gist.

But what stopped was the helpful nature of magazines. The editorial tone that helped women afford the look within their budget. Pearl of Fashions Pearls of Wisdom hilariously pointed out that more dash than cash section in UK Vogue is ridiculous given the outfits are still at the higher range with the odd cheap sock or skirt thrown in. By cheap I mean under the £50 mark. Anyway Pearl made me laugh with her biting wit on this matter and she likes a fritter in Chanel.

Of course today the designers go for high publicity ranges in H&M, Target and the like. It appears fashion blogs are filling this gap. There is lots of helpful advice, views and opinions shared amongst the blogging community. The recently organised blogging sale is a wonderful example of this and I might add I bought a mighty fine dress off Mrs Bossa, which I'm in the midst of mending and altering.

From a historical perspective I do wish magazines would become friends that are supportive rather than friends that are superior. Do you feel the same?