Monday, 31 January 2011

A Homage too far

I'm sure for many fashion bloggers like myself who have blogged for over 4 years, one of our first memories of what was a growing groups of individuals was the establishment of Independent Fashion Bloggers (IFB) by Jennine Jacob of The Coveted blog.

Now fashion is no stranger to the odd hommage or nod to a catwalk designer look being crafted for the high street. Equally no designer is afraid to admit to inspiration whether from the street or an old forgotten image or a film. Most of us take inspiration from things we see or even a building or what Nature delivers. Why Mrs MDS has been known to copy a look she has seen on a stranger or two!

However, being inspired and dressing up for one day in a homage look is one thing, stealing a brand name in exactly the same field i.e. fashion blogging is another matter. What is worse is that others who should know better, yes Teen Vogue, W Magazine, Refinery 29, New York Times and US Harpers Bazaar I'm talking about you, are mindlessly dropping themselves in the 'shit'.

the original and lovely Jennine Jacob of The Coveted blog

Fashion magazines et al are fairly quick off the mark to belittle blogging at times (with the exception of Anna Wintour) - have a read of this by Vogue Italia's Franca Sozzani who usually writes a good blog and she is refreshingly opinionated for a fashion in-houser, but this one is one of her off posts.

What Sozzani and the pretender's of the stolen have forgotten, is the Egyptian factor. What the ruling classes (using this term as a cover all for those who exercise mainstream power in whatever form) forget, is that culture moves, it morphs and tentatively tests the water.

Bloggers have been doing this for years. Some have become and are part of the mainstream as they are appropriated in fashion's case by the designers, magazines and fash pack. Others continue to pursue their agendas and slowly grow an influential role that is understated but eventually gets adopted. Excuse me while I mention my 3 year old campaign for Slow Fashion, which was an antidote to Fast Fashion. Recently I read the immortal words 'fast fashion is over' in a few high brow and mainstream publications. I rest my case.

The link to the social and political movement of the last week in Egypt - when the Egyptians reached their tipping point- is inspiring. These are people who have been subjected to 20 years of austerity measures imposed by the IMF and enforced by a ruling class who have not suffered. The Egyptians are a civilised nation who have brought much cultural richness to the world. When the common person of Egypt spoke the common person of the world stood shoulder to shoulder with them particularly on Twitter and Facebook. Many of course have remained silent and unable to understand the importance of what the Egyptians might achieve. This is to be expected, not everyone can be an early to the party but eventually they join or feel the benefits of those who acted.

Jennine Jacob has worked tirelessly to discuss all manner of fashion and fashion blogging issues over the years. It is about time we fashion bloggers made a huge stand to help her, not only for Jennine to reclaim her work in tact, but also to make sure the fashion mainstream get the message before they feel quite comfortable to take our blogging brands too. If we stand shoulder to shoulder with Jennine we protect individual creative endeavour and also collectively tell the world we are here to stay. The luxury brands or others cannot moan about fake goods yet at the same support fake fashion blogs.

For those of you who wish to read more and support Jennine then please read this post and follow the links to petitions etc. In fact I'm proud to copy a phrase from Sister Wolf and repeat her wise words 'Let’s practice being Egyptian instead of rolling over or expecting someone else to take action!'

Sunday, 30 January 2011

I confess

It all went wrong. My smug satisfaction, being on track all culminated in a seismic fall. There are no admissions at the Priory yet for blogging dysfunction. I blame it all on the pleated skirt. I just got carried away in my head with newness and things. Then a dear friend posted this in my facebook comments page - rules are meant to be broken you know......and life is forever changing, which is why us humans are so review your decision and see if it is still valid, if yes, then you are on the right track, but personally, being too s...trict with anything only makes life more difficult! lol! xxxPS lovely skirt and you will look fab in it. x

So seed planted but my good voice kept me in check... and then I meet the lovely Sharon Rose of MyStyle, Thrifting, Fashion and Me.. for our planned lunch at the cafe in Harvey Nicks. Well we had a good old natter and a catch up on all things.


Me - looking quite serious but actually the picture below is more like the day we had, lots of laughs.

Then after our nosh up we went to Topshop! To try on the pleated skirt!!
On route to my downfall we stopped to admire my high street pick of the week. The Sharon insisted I tried on the pleated skirt. Of which there were none available - phew! Yet my very own Mrs Doyle (Father Ted) with her go on attitude found the black pleated skirt in the petite range. Well you can guess what happened next - actually all hell broke lose and I tried on a few things and saw lots to like. Sharon and I had such fun in the changing rooms with our flowing wide leg trousers and floppy seventies hats. A pleated skirt, then a H&M chiffon blouse later we also popped into Zara. All I can say is I'm lucky I didn't have any more funds as it was like a sweetie shop in there too! I did complete the look with a lucky find of shoes on sale at £14 down from £65. We also spotted a leopard print dress for Mrs Fab but the picture I took didn't save to my iphone.

The bargain Zara shoes with hidden platform and the beautiful addition of a padded insole bit for the ball of your feet

It felt proper to put the bag on the head in a reverse of Victoria Becham's ad for Marc Jacobs and yes I did the walk of shame in it.
The H&M blouse
The Zara shoe - you can just spy the padded bit, so comfy!

The complete look delivered aka WendyB style without the winning red lippy smile mainly because Mr MDS is so dreadful at taking photos. Oh and those bags next to my foot are old ones which I found stuffed in a draw, so I was clearing up as well as posing

And the wonderful Sharon Rose brought me a booty bag from all her car booting and charity shops. A canvas Temperley had a white Jil Sander shirt, a necklace which I was wearing in earlier Harvey Nicks photos, a stripy tee, a pretty blue Boden top, (yes we had the Boden conversation but it is a top top for holidays) a wide studded belt, a faux leopard print stole and a Prada catalogue. It was a lovely thoughtful gift and it was so nice for me to actually shop and have fun with someone rather than it being work.

I think I'm stuffed on my style challenge now...

Saturday, 29 January 2011

High Street Pick of the Week - The 2011 Style File

The order of basics is slightly ramshackled, unintentionally of course but it does mean I need keeping in check so do raise views/wants.

I feel like I'm going slightly off piste which maybe something to do with the really freezing weather we are experiencing in London and elsewhere currently. I sort of feel some jumper love is required but am at a bit of lost to identify what. I really wish there was a twin set around, I have visions of typical 70s market fair, but where to find?? You know the knitted v neck tank coupled with a v neck cardigan and incorporating a white stripe or two.

Without the 70s market stall holder or C&A to come to the rescue I turn to Topshop and their ability to provide something similar to my dream. I remain convinced by the style file factor of the twinset but my imagination is not completely translated to what I'm selecting. But this Topshop twinset combo does provide a feel good factor for that 70s or 30s twist - wear with the flared jeans!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Make a MA Date

This coming Monday (January 31st) the London College of Fashion's MA fash pack show off their films and host a panel discussion. This year's panel includes, no introduction needed Susie Lau aka Style Bubble, with Alex Fury of SHOWstudio and Laura Bradley, web editor of AnOther Magazine.

The media showcase event takes place at 6pm at the London College of Fashion on John Princes Street off Oxford Street. If you fancy taking a walk down memory lane when you came to see Mrs MDS's short film premier, (all you lovely bloggers!) then come and take a peek at the new crop of MA talent then book your bum on the seat via Gillian (in the events office)

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Pleated and defeated

About six years ago I bought a pleated skirt from H&M that I loved. I wore it loads and swore I'd never part with it. It was a proper to the knee black full pleated skirt. Then I had the petit garcon and when I tried on my pleated skirt apres maternity clothes I sort of didn't like the way it accentuated my hips. In a fit of pique I either sold it on ebay or gave it to charity.

I miss that skirt and I'm continually searching for its replacement. And boy was it cheap at £24.99.

What I want is my old skirt, I don't want it longer than the knee or a much shorter version. In my mind on the knee or very slightly above is the perfect pitch for the pleats.

This number is nearly there from Topshop. I have two issues, one is that it might be too long and the second is the fact I'm on a style challenge so a high street purchase is out of the question.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

In which I prostitute my skin

I have no problem with admitting to being a teensy weensy bit vain. I'm of the school of thought that a bit of vanity is good for you as it motivates you to preserve oneself.

As a realist I know that the ageing process is here to stay! All the evidence points that way. Of course now one is in her forties the trick is to create allusion of youthfulness in as many ways as possible that do not degenerate to trying to be young. I'm a firm believer that youthfulness is a spirit and enjoying life is the purpose. Many a person has uttered the words 'youth is wasted on the young' but of course they are somewhat missing the point. I think a mix of arrogance, introspection and a disregard for anyone over the age of 25 is a healthy state of mind when you are young. I always remember thinking people of 30 and over were old! If I knew what I knew now I still would not have missed out on carefree sun soaked, cigarette smoking holidays in Spain, Italy and Greece. What not going skinny dipping at midnight and all manner of unmentionable things one gets up to with out a thought for any consequences even though I might have felt mildly worried about being naked and exposed.

I would do it all again and whilst I never smoked apart from on the Mediterranean, I did happily lie in parks, on the beach and in the garden in the UK to soak up the suns rays. I didn't lay still for very long as I was too fidgety and if I was too hot then I would go in the shade. Plus I did on the whole miss the midday to early afternoon rays. But in reality I've never avoided the sun but equally nor have I been a sun worshipper. I just love the sunshine. Even in the winter I make sure I get outside to get some daylight even if it is cloudy or rainy as I attempt to claim my dose of vitamin D. Lighting up a cigarette would be an impossibility now as I cannot stand the smell of them, which is a by product of the smoking ban in public places, nor could I inhale as I'm not sure I managed that in the first place with my pretend 'film star' moments.

All in all apart from a slight bit of redness in the winter on my nose I have no skin damage from the sun. Apparently according to a top dermatologist friend sun damage manifests itself in sun spots and broken veins. I have neither but my nose does get a bit cold in the winter causing redness and it is my fault my honker likes the warmth of the sun. The redness is damage of the connective tissues but it is so mild, it is nothing to worry about unlike people who suffer with rosacea. All I have to do is keep factor 20+ on the hooter all year round which I do.

Of course my skin has taken a turn for the better with my use of Arbonne RE9 anti ageing skin care. I cannot believe how much my pores have shrunk and I have a daily fresh glow to my skin. Of course I don't think I look 10 years younger but I don't look too old. In fact recently a cameraman thought he was being a bit rude when he thought I was 35 and he was only querying my age due to an intelligent remark I made! They are rare. He thought I was too young to be so observant.

I know I'm selling the products but I'm not going to apologise for promoting this any more because I'm proud I work hard and get to write and have a good family life. For the first time ever I've managed to find that work/life balance.

I took two really harsh, close up, no frills photos of my skin. The first is after the regime of morning products. The second after I added the make up primer. Both are with my iphone and each time the flash went off. In the second photo the evenness of the primer creates a sheen and the effect is obvious.

My vanity wants me not to post these photos as I feel like crying - because when you concentrate and take the photo yourself your face contours in to something hideous! I don't even look this bad when I peer in the mirror on an off day. I cropped them so the skin texture is clear and stark. I have no make up on in either, anywhere. The only help is my shaped and tinted eyebrows.

You can see the slight rosacea of the nose and the deeper line next to my nose and eye is caused in part by my swimming goggles and lack of proper sleep. I struggle to get goggles which don't cause the deep marks around the eyes. And as you get older it takes the skin a bit longer to recover. I do have some training ones which don't cause it but they let in too much water.

The effect of the primer is to create an even mask. This is why the flash has blasted out the face.
What the camera can't convey is how soft my skin is and how healthy it looks in natural light. The beauty of the Arbonne products is that they are free from all nasties. No parabens, no nothing. Pure, clean and botanical, which is a bonus if you are a Vegan. When I first started to use the RE9 anti ageing range I felt my skin tingle and I had a bit of redness all over because the ingredients are so potent they really work with your skin. It is only the top layer of the epidermis that products interact with although serum does help the 'sinking in' process.

I'm never going to get down and dirty with such exposing pictures again! You can buy Arbonne products from my website and I am more than happy to provide you with samples or a product tester kit depending on your locality. Just email me, particularly to find out how to get these great products at discounted rates. That is the beauty of having an Arbonne account you can save money on great products plus earn points or money.

And it is not just me that thinks this - Urban Retreat spa in Harrods have just brought in Arbonne products for treatments and sale.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Audrey style

I was given this book for Christmas, What would Audrey do?,which was very lovely but don't rush out and get it because it is more words than pictures. In fact get this instead Audrey Hepburn: A Life in Pictures as visuals are far more interesting to flick through I think.

In a complete Carrie moment it got me thinking 'why are we still discussing Audrey and her style?'

It appears her looks and the clothes transcend decades and generations. When I first started to read the Gossip Girl book series, which I was far to old to read but devoured them anyway, I was struck by the character Blair's Audrey Hepburn obsession and used to be intrigued how it would develop when a new book came out every six months - it didn't really but I still loved the books.

The best insight is probably by Rachel Moseley and Growing Up with Audrey Hepburn It was a key book for me in my MA studies to understanding the importance of audience reception theory to film and in turn on fashion.

What I would say is..if you think you know Audrey then go and see Two for the Road at the BFI Southbank this Wednesday if you can!

Are you in awe of Audrey? What does she represent to you?

PS I wrote this post a few days ago but there is definitely something in the air as the lovely Fashion's Most Wanted was treated to a screening of Breakfast at Tiffany's for her brithday!

Monday, 24 January 2011

That was the week that was

I've always wanted to write a day in the life or week in the life post and I've sort of touched upon this style before, but have never just gone for it. I'm not going to pull a it is my blog card and I can do what I like, as I have an editorial structure, though this might not be apparent to some!

However with my life in transition and the fact I 've had the busiest January ever, I've hardly had time to plan or think. I think my post on Friday was a good example of not being focused or together, it was a bit weak!

I've been writing a lot to meet looming magazine and web copy deadlines, and have had quite a few interruptions this week from magazines requiring style advice. I won't give away what the advice is nor my fashion pieces but after all my research for this coming season, little has changed since last Spring/Summer. I am of course very happy at the wealth of jumpsuits around and if you haven't converted then 2011 is the year. Try on anything and everything jumpsuit - you will find the style that suits you!

My shop for a client on Thursday was quite disappointing mainly due to stock levels. And the realisation nothing is that exciting out there. This is good for my purse but not so thrilling for those looking to get styled.

Talking of style and fashion the 1930s is going to sweep us all off our fashion feet. On Friday I saw The King's Speech. I've been looking forward to it not just because of the rave reviews but due to a tweet by Mrs Trefusis which reinforced the reviews and the chit chat on the street. Well, it was worth the money and some. The cinema was packed with people who probably hadn't set foot in the cinema for years. And at the end these delighted people clapped. Clapped I tell you. I was shocked but impressed. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush were spell binding with their acting. The script was impeccable save for two lines which built up to getting the words 'the firm' in, in reference to the Royal Family. I felt this was implausible. The set design was wonderful and the costuming of the abdicating king, King Edward VIII and Wallace Simpson was spot on. The whole 1930s feel was captured so well given the nature and focus of the film. Derek Jacobi was hideous (good acting I hasten to add) as the Archbishop of Canterbury. Helen Bonham Carter delivered every line to perfection. And I felt sorry for Eve Best as she mush have had to starve herself to be Mrs Simpson.

I feel desperate for more of the same and although I will probably go to see WE directed by Madonna, it will only be for the costumes not the film, which I suspect will be dire. Of course the glamour is all in the clothes of the rich in the 1930s but it is the last era of such opulence.

The cut of the clothes and the simplicity of the styling is an antidote to years of fashion porn peddled by Ford, Roitfeld et al. I loved the early 70s almost Yves San Laurant vibe of Tom Ford's work and of course there is much to love about the glamorous 70s which lifted its look from the 1930s. It is far harder to pull off stylish, sophisticated and understated looks than bling plus designer attire.

Also it is possible to blend some of the aesthetics of the thirties with modern clothes but it requires an exacting eye. Cue, Chanel...

After all the visual splendour and brilliance of Colin Firth (I was stunned by his performance) the following day I felt a need for domestic bliss. I actually cleaned the house in the morning and then baked!

That is what happens when you pop out for the Guardian and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall proffers up biscuits. I'm a terror for biscuits so I got stuck in. Mind you before that I was pulling dreadful faces at the All Ages pages. The sloppy styling is driving me up the wall. No sense of proportions and it always looks dull. It annoys me. And for that I ate an extra biscuit and nearly licked the bowl! Which will put paid to any 1930s dressing for me....

Saturday, 22 January 2011

High Street Pick of the Week - The 2011 Style File

The wild card - every wardrobe needs a wild card. A dress that does all the work for you and you don't have to do anything except add make up, shoes and bag or maybe a cardigan or jacket or coat. I think an item that is a wild card doesn't necessarily fit with current trends or is ever a glamorous number. A fashion wild card works regardless of trends.

It might not be your style and it isn't remotely 1930s or 1970s but this is a good Chanel- esque or even Audrey Hepburn number that will help you out for many an occasion. It will last for years and not really date. If I were you I'd pretend it was vintage...make like Catherine Deneuve in Belle de jour style wise anyway!

The cut of the dress does all the work for you regardless of your body shape.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Fashion madness abounds

Mmmm, well and um. Hardly the sort of response one would hope for when launching a new fashion line, or designing menswear or designing for a high street store. But lets put it this way, Rachel Zoe stylist designs clothes, some thingy person to do with Lady Gaga designs Thierry Mugler for mens collection and a Swedish fashionista blogger is doing something fashiony for H&M.

Now don't get me wrong the idea that someone should be stuck in the same job forever with no hope for a change is archaic. I'm all for the patchwork quilt world of achievement. In fact it makes my decision making seem perfectly normal.

Thank goodness for fashion madness it makes stupid tv programming look normal. Whilst I'm bored of the fashion madness, I am mad that the Good Wife is now a new series on More 4 relegated to the backwater of old school viewing, no HD.

You see dumbing down is all walks of life.

Does anyone care about the Good Wife apart from me? Am I so out of fashion? And who will be buying all the stylist turned designer, thingy Gaga thing turned designer, blogger turned designer - stuff?

Thursday, 20 January 2011

'The life span of yogurt'

Last night's Mary Portas Secret Shopper on Channel 4 was a perfect blend of evidential documentary and Ms Portas tackling dreadful customer service. My favourite moment, when the owner likened his store's clothes to fast fashion which meant the garments 'had the life span of yogurt'. Mind you the 'if they're filming and show it on TV I'll sue them' followed by the shop assistants giggling was a close second.

I was confused by the choice of Braintree as it is mainly an outlet village, I know I did a photo shoot there once to promote the brands etc. I choose the grey ones from the shoot! There was no glamour in it just like the task Mary is trying to tackle!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Something I threw on...

What with the return of parky weather I'm actually thinking a rug or two again. Yesterday saw the sun appear in London and boy was it a welcome sight. I threw on my sunglasses and smiled!

My real heartfelt style advice during January and also February is really just make do! Save your pennies and pounds for a little while. Okay retailers might be cross with me but I am not saying don't buy anything just don't try and fill the grey day feeling with items that you might regret.

However there is always that pick me up number option when the grey days are too much and that glass of wine cannot stop the voices in your head that say 'I need something'. Do try and look at your items again and you might find a sort out or shufty around yields a fresh vibe.

But just in case then this number from M&S will work with any separates and lift your spirits with that old 1970s chic. Think Lauren Hutton and Farah Fawcett and be grateful for the £35 price tag. You'll find it online in Limited Collection's Limited 70s chic and in store within the Limited Collection concession area. The product code is T692761.

I think the colour is an added bonus which will suit all skin tones regardless. And if it wasn't for my self imposed style challenge I would be purchasing.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Blast from the past

It was a lovely surprise to receive a comment from The Small Fabric of My Life as she has been dutifully pursuing her retraining as a teacher. You see it is not just me who goes for something different!

Anyway Jane reminded me of my favourite event the Capsule Wardrobe Challenge. For those of you uninitiated in this annual event the challenge is to choose ten items of clothing from your wardrobe and mix and match them for five days between Monday February 14th and Friday February 18th. You can have any combination of shoes, dresses, skirts, tops and jackets as long as it adds up to ten individual items. You are also allowed five accessories which include jewellery, scarves, bag, belts etc. Underwear and hosiery do not come under the ten items and five accessories!

If you are up for it then please blog about it and if you want to appear in The Small Fabric of My Life's Capsule Wardrobe Challenge round-up the following week then please email your pics to

Go on...

Here are a couple of pics from bygone years. I give you October 2009

Old Wallis strapless dress, Gap stripy long sleeve tee (I have just killed it by wearing it nonstop for 4 years), LK Bennett belt and I also had an H&M black jacket. I wore the same shoes (old boots) all week.

Gap grey cashmere t-shirt, H&M white shirt, H&M sequin leggings, Topshop jade green coin necklace, Accessorise scarf, Toast bag and very old ankle boots.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Style Challenge Update

On November 16th 2010 I entered in to my year long style challenge. In short I am only allowed to buy designer goods. This is quite hard because you need a lot of money for only designer goods and of course I don't. Also it has saved me a lot of frittering on high street goods and thereby quite a bit of money. You know that £16.99 H&M item you justify on so many levels...

I have limited myself to a budget of £100 a month which amounts to £1,200 per annum. I am a stylist (though not for much longer way hay) and I do top up my allowance by selling items on ebay and thereby indulge in neutral shopping. I also, and this is occasionally get free items. One year a PR company insisted I choose some Falke socks from their supply. This was not only very handy but turned my head as Falke socks and tights are lovely. Apart from being given a Viktor & Rolf dress once, I don't get biggies or that much for free. I have been loaned items which is nice.

The allowance has to work hard but I was caught up in an endless cycle of buy, sell, buy, sell and worse over it! I began to find the high street items too costly for the quality of the garment. I knew quality is key but even so called quality brands weren't living up to the hype.

So far so good. I have bought three items, a Valentino skirt from the Outnet for £136.

A Calvin Klein dress for £49 from TK Maxx

And a Pringle jumper again from TK Maxx for £39.

Over a three month period I have spent £224 and have £76 left over which goes back into paying off the MA debts. I will wear the jumper to death over the spring and summer. I haven't felt able to wear it yet as it is so bright I might even give myself a fright.

It is really nice to be under budget and also not to have bought anything from the high street whatsoever. Having stepped away I look at clothes more dispassionately as I am choosing personal style and things I love over what is in. I love to know what is in as I think you can emulate it without actually needing anything new. I feel impressed with my sticking to budget and hope to keep up the good work. I know I could be doing better so next month I will only look for designer items in charity shops, saving me even more money.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

High Street Pick of the Week - The 2011 Style File

This is the second in the 2011 series of building your wardrobe from recommended items from the high street. Of course if you are not in the UK many of the brands featured will be replicated around the globe in differing regional retailers but lots of the items I will pick no doubt will be available on the internet on global sites.

Last week wide leg jeans were selected and someone asked me to contextualise the basis of the wardrobe. It was a good question although a little difficult to answer preciously as I fearfully of being too prescriptive and not enabling you to be creative.

What probably more useful is to know what I imagine it to be. Because you can challenge my perspective and but your spin on it. I know I'm not thinking of baroque or gothic overtones when I choose items, but say you love crosses and black nail varnish, you could wear the wide leg jeans with a long sleeve grey t-shirt and accessorise with black nails and a gothic cross. I love the cut and looks of the 1930s and 1970s butyou might prefer the 1940s oe 1950s. I love Barbara Streisand's costumes in The Way We Were and I love the Italian chic of Antonioni's L'Eclisse. You will have your favourite looks from films. I much prefer the voluptuous excess of Dolce & Gabanna to the chic minimalism of Celine but of course you might prefer Celine to D&G. I hope with the style file to offer items that you can interpret and wear with the way you'd imagine the items being worn.

What the 2011 style file series offers is a reference for you in respect of building a great workable mix and match wardrobe. I will keep things fairly simple but hope that some items will be wonderful additions.

So back to this weeks pick.

You do need a great versatile skirt and the pencil or sheath skirt is the one regardless of body shape or size. This one is from Zara at £39.99 but you can find one almost anywhere. The reason I've picked this item now and not a top, is that the current crop of sheath skirts are in the right length, make the proportions correct so you can wear them more successfully. Once again it will be the type of top and the accessories you choose that will adjust any misgivings you may have.

You can wear this skirt with a plain white tee, or a completely over the top ruffled shirt. All you have to do is adjust how you compose the look. If you wearing a white t-shirt then hair scraped back in a bun with red lipstick and white plimsolls is a big step away from wearing it with a red almost flamenco style shirt and fishnets and heels. See versatility!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Back to school!

Today I go into a school for a few hours to sit on a panel for sixth formers doing interviews for specific media jobs. It was really nice to be asked and I was happy to volunteer my time. I feel quite excited and am planning my back to school outfit.

Of course I'm thinking British and I'd think Dame Vivienne Westwood would be nice at this type of thing so I will channel her tomorrow in the encouraging stakes.

If only one could nip in to Selfridges and borrow some items. I think I would select this dress from Vivienne Westwood for £250

It is dignified enough and has that twist to get attention. It would feel like a gown sweeping all the corridors. I wonder if I'm allowed to take detention!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Fashion submerging

When the going gets tough I often find myself submerging my head and body in all matters fashion. In the midst of reading the news on-line and the twitter updates on the Arizona shootings. I often find refuge in fashion when I find times too difficult. But as I started to write two outstanding fashion articles the momentary 'buzz' is so short lived I feel that my fashion dealer has sold me talcum powder.

Of course I'm talking figuratively but why do I feel that fashion is in dire straights in terms of editorial, marketing and in general. Within the mire that is the what to wear, who to wear, what to think there are some shining lights but overall not enough to lift my fashion spirits.

What I think is really of no consequence, but here's my ten pence worth.

1. Don't make your best creative director ever the creative director at large - ref Barney's. Wrong on every level. Mainly suggests panic. It has never worked in football. When the club's boards have a good team manager and then go and install a director of football, invariably one of them leaves and mainly with cross words behind doors. The team manager by the way is the one with the real clout. Read Dennis Freedman as team manager and Simon Doonan as director of football. Trust me it will end in tears.

2. Brown is not the new Black. Nothing is the new black. Riccardo Tisci do not make pointless statements. Black is black, right Sister Wolf?

3. The lengths of skirts. Really give it up now. The last time when there was only one skirt shape/length de rigueur was the 1940s. It all went downhill in the 1950 when the horror of it there were two skirt shapes, the full skirt (re Dior's continuation of the New Look) and the sassy pencil skirt. Despite any attempt by fashion editorial to direct us to x and y I firmly say 'whatever'.

4. Stop dressing up the perennials as anything other than the same stuff every year. I give you stripes/nautical/military/white/colour/anything. This spring summer is no different from last year, the year before and the year before that. New fabrics, maybe, new cuts, sort of, new directions - no sorry seen it, done it go the t-shirt. (Actually I did, an original Dukes of Hazards one in orange for 0.99 on ebay during a brief moment of relaxation and relapse)

5. Words. The vocab needs to change. I cannot tell you how bored I am by the current crop of rehashed clich├ęs. I'm sure I don't need to list any but if I said muse for starters you'll get the rest. Oh and my all time favourite, 'the A listers favourite....'

6. The fashion debate - there isn't one.

7. Designer collections for high street stores - don't bother, pretty please, no more. It has become a pantomime.

8. Models/Celebs as designers - no. See the collection that was Lindsay Lohan for Ungaro and then see the collection that is Giles Deacon for Ungaro. I rest my case (VB I'm only letting you off the hook as I'm soft like that)

There we go, ah, I feel better for that....I might rise above it all again and take in some air.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Something I threw on...

In the midst of sales and drab weather, when January always has that grey dull hue masquerading as day, it is hard to think about adding some zing into your wardrobe.

But grey days are no excuse for not making the effort, the easiest way to brighten your life from now until the end of March is with a coat from the sales.

This checked number from Zara at £59.99 is a good example of the High St bargains around.

PS Update thanks for all the tights comments. It goes to show coloured tights make a big difference to a look. Imagine mustard tights in a ribbed knit or more of a burgundy or even a bright orange. Cheerful huh!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Big stripes

I'm trying to ignore the slowly brewing Prada fashion fix of big stripes. I love Prada and whilst the catwalk collection was not to my taste I can see how the effect is trickling down and the execution from catwalk to shop floor looks different when you can put your own spin on it.

Love it or hate it (I did at first but am now leaning more to the accepting!) big stripes are going to get ya! I like the pink and orange number below once you minus the hair, make up and freaky accessory thing.

What do you think and are you going to pair your big striped number with a sombrero!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Maxi Midi Mini - jumpsuits

You'll get a lot of these in the fashion mags over the next few months. Thankfully I have a few pairs to see me through. On my UK style tour last summer I appeared in many a city telling all and sundry of the power of the jumpsuit, mainly to me by blank faces. I feel that this year they will have shifted and be embracing the love of the jumpsuit.

I wouldn't say no to the Max Mara orange jumpsuit all over the press at the moment. It's rrp is £445.

The forthcoming retailers to look out for the mid priced range are Isabella Oliver 365 - I know they have a lovely jumpsuit coming! But if you fancy being a Studio 54 junkie all day everyday then go for this satin number from French Connection for £125 - it will release your inner Bianca Jagger.

Finally in the mini section ASOS will deliver lots of variety at bargain prices as the season continues. Currently the best of the bunch is this pretty halter neck one from Lipsy at £62

Beckenham Palace Reigns

I'm sure it isn't fashionable to be an all round fan of the Beckhams from the moment they got together. Both of them were quite the young skinny spotty pair and to me it seems like only yesterday being a lover of football not so much the Spice Girls. Then they got married, had the purple themed wedding thing in either Hello or Ok! ramping up the stakes of ostentatious wedding sharing but we forgave them as Brooklyn was so cute.

Then you'd bump into them occasionally on the Kings Road on route to Sloane St pushing the pram with matching looks and invariably wearing Gucci. I suppose I grew up with their relationship as it unfolded in a way that I haven't with anyone else. Of course there were times when I thought Victoria lacked taste but I never stooped to the rumoured Tom Ford rant to his then PR office at Gucci, ordering them to stop giving 'her our clothes', only to be told 'she has bought them'. Who knows the truth of this now given Victoria through sheer focus, grit, hard work and some helpful financial backing (of her own) has climbed to the dizzy heights of designing a fashion collection - a successful one at that.

With Victoria and David you get the sense of a couple who've worked at their marriage and worked at their life. Mention the forthcoming royal wedding and I can barely suppress a yawn. However, how excited am I at the imminent blow by blow account of Victoria's pregnancy. My fondness for the Beckham's flames my interest whilst I fail to get excited by Brad and Angelina.

I'm no snob and I like the fact they've stuck through it thick and thin and ignored the gossip of the world around them. There is something in their family solidarity that seems more fashionable than citing 'the toll of working apart' for the breakdown of a marriage. I'm not advocating people staying together but the Beckham's have a hold as a couple in the same way as the Queen and Prince Phillip. And in both cases where duty and responsibility as parents might have strained them more by sticking it out during the bad times, it seems the good times shine brighter all the more for it.

It seems there is a case for making do in a relationship that tests you when the basis was built on a strong genuine love. I'll leave it to Coco's Tea Party to do the beefy stuff on what a great wardrobe the child might have if its a girl. I need to grab a tissue to wipe away a tear and have a lie down at finding my sentimental where are my Tom Ford sunglasses.

Correspondence Sunday

Since my decision to transfer all my creative endeavours to my writing, I decided that I also need to get organised. I've long been inspired by Fashion's Most Wanted being the queen of life laundry. Her ability to sort things out is wonderful and she does it in such style.

As well as having an organised home, I also wanted to undertake seemingly old fashioned correspondence. I've always admired the novelists and poets who wrote to friends and family leaving a trail of their thoughts and experiences on paper.

Writing a blog is good discipline, as is writing and editing my scripts, but somehow a letter requires more organisation of thoughts to convey pen to paper.

I'd recently gathered all my scatterings of postcards, stationery and cards in various places in the house and put them together in a box so I could begin to correspond. I started to make the effort last year and have a number of outstanding items to post which were interrupted by bad weather so they are on my to do list. I was amazed to find a box of Smythson cards and envelopes which I received years ago. I'd obviously been saving them for best but thought I'd better get on with using up.

The box containing envelopes and note cards

The note card with its shoe, bag & hat motif

My first Sunday Correspondence was a mix of writing with a practical bent to four companies that I've not heard from and think they must not have received my address changes of over 3 years ago! I'm sure they will be shocked to receive a beautiful card inside a premium quality envelope and all handwritten. I'm hoping that the Sir or Madam that opens it will feel the thrill of such paper quality and the detail of the card. Or more likely they'll think some dotty old lady is in the house!

What are your views on correspondence and hand written letters?