Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Lifestyle buying (Part 3) The Look

Often the easiest way to create a supper stylish you is to achieve a look. Call it a signature style or simply your preferred mode of dressing. Having a fashion house or someone you consider a style icon who inspires you makes it easier to buy your wardrobe. If you know what you want to achieve it cuts out a lot of faffing around looking because you can edit out everything that doesn't fit into how you want to dress.

The first objection most people make is based on their body shape. We get told to dress to our best assets and accentuate our curves or create curves. Frankly does it really matter. Dress to please yourself, dress to be happy and then whatever your wear will look good. The first point of having a look is to not compare or contrast. I used to scream every time Gok put a belt on someone 'to nip in your waist'. Maybe she doesn't want or need it to be nipped in I would exclaim!

So when Mrs Bossa siad she wanted to achieve Marni-esque style but was worried about certain body parts I said fear not. Marni is all about playing with shape and boldness is all that is required. No need to worry about nipped in waists. This is about as nipped in waist Marni get...from the Resort 13 collection

Marni Resort 2013

Here is a sample of Marni from the last few collections.

all images

The point is the look has some consistent elements. Ankle socks with shoes (ditto Prada), elbow length sleeve cuts, bold cuts or prints or both. Shapes are deconstructed or unsymmetrical in finish. Yet a lot of the work is done for you as the cut is clever, sharp and creates a look.
Now I realise you are not going to be able to dress head to toe in Marni or who you preferred designer is not merely because of price but we all like to inject a bit of personality. So what are the key elements to achieve the Marni vibe.

Well you can look back through the Marni shows on to pick out what you like and then source similar in high street stores. COS is an excellent choice as the aesthetics aren't dissimilar. But key items do make the Marni look - the bold details whether in the clothing, the accessories or the shoes. 

Add some lilac ankle socks..... ( or pale blue or grey if you prefer)

A pair of sandals ...

Finish the look with a bold necklace....

And there you have it! The necklace and the shoes are pieces that will work with lots of dresses or tops and skirt combos. Think 7/8 trousers length for Marni as again the ankle sock and shoe are the real feature!! If you've got a look that you'd like to create and need my tips then tweet me MrsMDS@MakeDoStyle

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Lifestyle Buying (Part 2)

Regardless of what you do there is one worthwhile basic wardrobe list to start with. It is the list I go back to time and time again. If you have these ten items in your wardrobe you have the foundations of style.

1. LBD little black dress
2. White shirt
3. Black jacket
4. Blue jeans (skinny or flared)
5. Grey t-shirt (or black or white)
6. Black skirt
7. Jumper or cardigan
8. Pair of flats
9. Pair of heels
10. Print top/shirt

I need to update items 2 and 3. My current white shirt I have had for 7 years however it is looking a bit tired and slightly wrong as it is too structured. COS and Zara have a good selection of white shirts at reasonable prices. Zara is probably the best bet for a black jacket too in the reasonable price range with the requisite good cut style stamp too.

A capsule wardrobe is so simple and it very effective when you have a wardrobe creative malfunction. Try these simple combinations.

1 + 2 + 9 for an evening out. Wear the white shirt under a sleeveless black shift dress - it is less likely to work on a more flamboyant style but don't be afraid to try.

1 + 7 + 8 is an easy work wear look when you are mainly desk bound or want a rest from heels.

2 + 3 + 4 + 9 (or 8) is a classic look for day or night depending on where you are going. A great Sunday lunch look.

4 + 9 + 10 for a girls night out

4 + 5 + 8 supermarket shop!

2 + 6 + 7 + 9 another work wear look.

I could go on and on but the point is made you can combine and use a capsule list to make outfits and then build on this to create more outfits with a wider range of garments. But use the basic capsule to ensure that what you buy can work with other items and are versatile.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Lifestyle buying (Part 1)

Given the fact summer has been a non starter and most items are sale bound due to unseasonal weather impacting our buying habits - although the anxiety of austerity may also be a factor - it seems sensible to stop buying clothes in respect of 'seasons' and more in the context of 'lifestyle'.

We know we need winter clothes to keep warm and summer clothes for when it is actually hot. But as we approach the longest day of the year and as it doesn't feel like midsummer bliss I am more drawn to sturdy clothing than floaty frocks. This inclement weather has really highlighted the need to build a wardrobe on items for your lifestyle and the necessary seasonal items as the icing on the cake. Building a wardrobe of basics is often talked about but mainly as seasonal items not according to what you do. So I intend to go back to basics regarding what to have in your wardrobe and then you can build  a lifestyle selection based on your needs.

Today I am being entirely selfish and pondering the rise of purposeful casual wear that is based around walking your dog or attending an outdoors type activity. My love of twitter means I follow an eclectic mix of accounts. My low brow bag is the @TheDuchessStyle in case you were thinking it was The Kardashians. It is simply a feast and fanfare to Kate Middleton who should be referred to as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge which the twitter account and its accompanying facebook page does in a proper fashion.  I dip in to this occasionally based on the images and whilst I confess to mainly snorting, not at Kate's outfits but the worship, I do sometimes find myself raising a sartorial fashion eyebrow. It seems there is a tale of two Kates. One Kate (Moss) gave us how to dress for a pub lunch in a rock chic stylie and the other one is giving us a how to dress to walk your dog en route to the pub lunch look. 

 Images: Duchess of Cambridge Style facebook page

Since I am all about puppy love these days the dog walking attire is giving me food for thought on the styling stakes. The boots Kate, sorry her Duchessness, is wearing are perfect and I'm loving the waistcoat thing. 

If dog walking is a lifestyle option for you then I've compiled a list of four outerwear must have items to achieve a sturdy but stylish look.

The boots are the basis and it seems investing in these Le Chameau boots seems just the ticket. After all the French love their chiens. These neoprene sports boots are perfect for keeping your feet dry and more suited to longer walkers than a pair of Hunters.

Although these Aigle Chantebelle Suede Leather boot at £129 from Uttings offer a good townie alternative

Next on the list is a jacket but of course you could start with the handy waistcoat which at £415 might put your puppy back in a few treats but you will look the business. Although you may look back fondly at that high st black waistcoat you had once a la Ms Moss given the price difference!
Fitted Nubuck Waistcoat

You'll want to keep dry with a proper jacket and where better to look than Barbour. There is a huge selection of items and my personal favourite is the Barbour National Trials black waxed jacket at £299.

National Trials Jacket

The wax helps to keep the rain out and all those pockets are handy for doggy poo bags etc. By now you really have blown the budget so I suggest you find a cheap pair of skinny jeans and a few jumpers from M&S or Zara to layer to keep warm. You might also think the dog has to go but you know you need your pooch to complete your stylish look.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Earth to Sun!

Dear Sun, please try harder. We need you. Our lives have been blighted not only by a lack of natural vitamin D but the hideous fact that one has actually gone out doors in June not sporting sunglasses. It is true and until this year had been unheard of.

In fact such is the scandal of not actually needing ones sunglasses because it truly is too dark has resulted in a few minor mishaps. Sunglasses have drowned in shopping bag due to torrential rain downpour, have fallen off head as forgotten they were perched a top and not seen light of day as consigned to bottom of handbag, forgotten and forlorn.

However the silver lining in the current cloud coverage is the face I got to try on some lovely this season numbers from Polaroid who are my go to peeps for sunnies. The beauty of Polaroids is the lenses. The clarity and vision puts designer sunglasses to shame and my guess is it won't be long before a designer wises up and collaborates with Polaroid.

Personal Stylist Isobel Kershaw and I posing in a couple of pairs of Polaroids - I'm actually goofing around which was absurd given it was a one click photo opportunity. Note to self learn the hand to mouth pose again.

And on the lack of vitamin D note, you can at least cheer yourself up by attending Isobel's NHJ Style evening summer wardrobe essentials at Champneys Spas over the next few weeks because ladies the sun is coming I tell you! Isobel kicks off her mini tour in Chichester on Tuesday. Tickets are £15 which is a fashionable bargain for a glass of wine and some tip top style advice.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Beach style accessories

Often it is the perfect sandals and your favourite towel that make your holiday wardrobe. I love to travel light and need just one or two pieces of swimwear, some flat sandals, a couple of dresses, a pair of shorts and a few t-shirts and I'm good. My travel outfit consists of pashmina and cardigan over a maxi skirt and vest top when I'm off to warm Mediterranean destinations. How I wish I was in sunny Greece right now. Imagine lying on the beach, a dip in the sea and a couple of hours siesta in the shade during the heat of the midday. Perfect.

Taking inspiration from the blue of the Med, I've selected a few pieces to accessories from the Stella & Dot range to add the finishing touches to your holiday wardrobe.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Mini Makeover

When the cat is away the mice can play or in my case I took the opportunity to decorate *coughs* she who must not be mentioned room, the older sister of petit garcon ('Mummy if you ever mention me on your blog I'll kill you' - were her exact words, note this information please if I don't post of a month). Petit garcon on the other hand is a self confirmed 'all about me' blog and twitter pest. And I bring you my interior design post in lieu of there is nothing to care about wearing in this current weather crisis.

At the weekend I did a dash to Homebase and sent Mr MDS list in hand to IKEA. First I prepped the walls on Saturday with Dulux sealer. This is a god send if you have badly plastered walls i.e. not properly done which is most new homes since 2002. Hence why sealer was properly invented. I found out the hard way when I painted the hall way and the paint sank into the wall. Sealer is my new underwear for walls tip. It takes 18 hours to dry but it is worth the wait.

The room was painted with Dulux Venetian Crystal 6 in a Matt Endurance finish. I like a matt finish but endurance or a diamond trade finish means you won't mark it so easily and cleaning is better. I was up at 6am, walked the dog and then tooled up and was finished by 11. First coat was done by 9 and I waited 2 hours for it to 'dry' and then Mr MDS and I did the second coat. After allowing 5 hours of drying I began to assemble the room as Mr MDS assembled the IKEA Pax wardrobe and the red high gloss Besta Burs desk.

I was channelling the Prada S/S12 catwalk colour combinations of blue and red but this has long been a favourite option of mine ever since I bought a Puma sports bag in these colours in Austria on a skiing holiday in 2004. I still have the sports bag and liked to think Miuccia might have one too!

The desk with some items.  I'm using it to house my stuff on the top and below (briefly!) whilst I reorganise my storage needs

The PAX wardrobe fits neatly in one corner and I hung some old Habitat Christmas tree decorations on the door frame

A closer view of the wall gallery I created

 My bargain wall decoration from a secret store in Aberystwyth which is personalised with pom pom made aged 7plus holiday snaps

Home for the Harrods bear (one of many bears, the rest are banished to the loft) and her bear cushion since 3 years old

The total cost for paint, furniture, rug, two picture frames and a couple of knick knacks was £443.56. The most expensive item was the desk at £205 but I wanted something sleek, glossy and narrow for the space and it was the perfect item in design and colour. The room now looks lovely. In future I will ensure the duvet cover is a pristine smooth before taking photos.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Jubilee Jubilations

It was amazing. I know I'm shocked, a die hard Republican entering into the spirit of a Royal love in. But I have to hand it to the Queen she is one hell of a gal. Not least because she melted my heart with her beaming smile and waved at the petit garcon, I officially jumped with excitement and amazement. It was a five day marathon starting with Ladies day at Epsom and ending with Pimms in Stratford by the Olympic Park with the annual transatlantic meet with Wendy Brandes

I give you in pictures a heck of a hard core celebration and include one picture from my friend Olivia who was amazed when the Queen went past her house but she got a great picture. Despite any reservations I have laughed, wept and enjoyed the company of wonderful friends - I think that is what a party is all about. When it comes to fashion this Diamond Jubilee will go down as a defining cultural moment. I look forward to the changes that result of community and the ordinary person dominating over a long weekend because it was the ordinary folks, the workers, the masses who made it and it was us whom the Queen thanked and recognised for making it such a wonderful occasion. There are a lot of photos so ...

 The day started with Chanel Blue Boy being applied
 I was sewing at the hairdressers to make my hairband in lieu of hat or fascinator
 The big hair prep underway
 The beehive completed with my home made hairband
My lovely dress from Penny Dreadful Vintage

 Attempting to pose in garden but Patches Valentino was after my bag

 Finally a proper outift shot - it was all Make Do with all item over 2 years old, 60s dress as above brought from Penny Dreadful Vintage in 2009, Prada bow kitten heels 2010, gloves John Lewis 2006, Accessorize bag 2008, hair band home made with ribbon and piece off an old dress.

Taxi from Epsom station with Prosecco in Wilko paper jubilee cups!

 At the races Ladies Day

 My friend Olivia and I
 My first winnings - I came home with more than half of what I took after betting, drinking and eating plus taxi fares - a result

 It was fabulous darlings!
 En route to Spanish Tapas bar at Tattenham - our feet had had enough of heels and I officially had Miss Piggy trotters
If only my shoes were as soft as the rose...

 We became fascinated by a woman who clearly had had too much to drink and slept through our meal, her friends meal and a whole heap of noise!!
 Day 2 - Derby day waiting for the Queen to go by after the races - her usual route home and this was before the crowds arrived. I didn't manage to take a photo as I had the petit garcon in one arm and his flag in the other. But we could have touched the Queens car as we were on the road by then and as I said she really smiled at the petit garcon - it was a beaming one and a decent wave. I was amazed, as was he.

Olivia's photo as the Queen passed her house en route to the Derby. You can see how engaged she was and we were closer than this photo. Her blue outfit was stunning as were all her choice such a great selection of colour in the outfits by her Majesty all weekend. Each one was fitting for the occasion.

Day 3 - En route to the River Pagent
 The hospitality bands - phew as it was freezing!
 The balcony area of the building we were at
 I made effort to wear red, white and blue but this is the one and only time you'll find me in white linen trousers, I found them in a pile of old clothes. Must have been from my surfing days in Cornwall around the campfire...

 How grey and cold!? No wonder Prince Phillip got taken ill, quite a few people suffered from hypothermia it was so cold and grey.
 Thank goodness for hospitality
We watched from the 7th floor in the comfort of the warmth.

 The 41 gun salute at the Tower of London - it was meant to be as she went past but they stuck to their 4pm schedule and her Majesty was no where to be seen!
 The Flotilla reaching us, just before Tower Bridge
 The Queen's boat going past and below

 Day 4 - the bank holiday Monday and we begin to prep for our little street party - please note the Welsh flag!

 Let the party begin
 We were lucky we had one shower and then sunshine and a dry day and night as predicted for London by Countryfile - I watched it to find out the weather. They were only 10 minutes out ref the timing of the last shower, 15:00hr predicted, actual 15:10hr...

 Mandatory Gazebo

 Our Jubilee cake as baked by my friend who caters for Princess Michael of Kent - we therefore had a right Royal treat - it was yummy

Um there was a lot of cake & I have spared you the barbecue shots..

 Petit garcon and his puppy, Patches was a willing participant

 Eek Charles made an appearance

 Patches couldn't get enough of the party he was out at every opportunity
At dusk we got all occupy London ish

 The flames of warmth
 Boy and pup still going strong at 10:30pm

At 12:30pm next door neighbours father all the way from bonny Scotland was our guitar playing hero as we sang Let it Be and Angels to name but two of the many...
 Day 5 - pass the Pimms
 Sharon of  My Style Fashion and Margaret of Penny Dreadful Vintage in deep discussion on vintage matters
The gang, old and new additions in The Cow at Stratford over looking the Olympic park as we discussed blogging, gossiped and mentioned the Queen as well. I was amazed I managed my five day eventing - it was truly memorable and I did/do feel privileged to have been so close to all the action.