Go Nude…

A few years ago, going nude was not something I never really thought about doing; well, apart from once when I was really broke and I saw an exquisitely expensive vintage dress and I have to say I was tempted….

Don’t worry Mum; I’m not contemplating getting my kit off I’m talking about nude; with a small n. The underdog of the colour palette.

I just thought I’d do a short blog about the nude trend following my recent chat about

H&M have some gorgeous nude frocks for the party season

Camel because they’re remarkably similar, but ever so different. Yes, I think I just said “same, same but different”, apparently more of a truism than I had thought! Going back a few years we would all have been excited by bright fuchsias or the resurgence of 80’s fluorescents (really), now though, it’s all about the muted tones. They’re quietly taking over your wardrobe.

Like Camel, the right hue is important. Bear in mind that nudes are also called flesh tones – you want to stand out from the crowd not disappear completely! However, I think it can also be an incredibly pretty, feminine colour that works all through out the year and isn’t afraid to be toughened up by a leather jacket and biker boots.

Of course, there is something summery about nude, perhaps because less is usually more when the weather is hot. However, I love a bit of nudity in the winter (how Scandinavian of me), especially when it’s mixed with dark tones and textures for your accessories – like fur or leather.

I’m loving these bargain courts (£22) http://www.soyoushoes.co.uk

That said, If you don’t fancy baring all, so to speak, nude shoes are a great nod to the nude with the added bonus that pared with skin coloured tights it makes your legs go on for miles and miles.

So, it might be seriously chilly outside, but go on, get naked!

Feline Fine…

I read recently about the latest trend in Japan of Cat Cafes. Apparently, they’re huge there right now. They are exactly as the name suggests; coffee shops where people go to have a mocha in a cat Mecca. The reasoning behind them is that most Tokyo apartments are too small or don’t allow people to own pets; so overworked, stressed-out workers are longing for a bit of the feline touch.

As Japan tends to lead the world in innovation: think built in chopstick fans and the bra that turns into a bag, could they have something about sharing your brew with a Burmese?

There’s actually been loads of research to suggest that having a cat not only reduces stress and the onset of depression but it can also make you less likely to suffer heart disease or heart attacks. Weirdly, the same links haven’t been made with owning a dog. Perhaps some of these benefits are down to the power of the purr. Amazingly, cat-chat creates vibrations between 25 and 140 Hertz, the exact range that has been shown to produce all manner of therapeutic remedies in humans, from pain-relief to muscle repair. Clearly, though that is something us girlies may have known for a while!

So, these kitty cafes got me thinking… could they be exactly what stressed out Londoners need too, seeing as it’s apparently what all the cool cats are doing? The post-election blues (and of course yellows), the recession and the fact that this winter is certainly not sunny side up could all be gently stroked away with a gentle purr and a grande frappe. Just think a Siamese could sit easily in the extras between soya and syrup in Starbucks.

However, if the coffee conglomerates don’t read my blog and pick up on this pussy fad, perhaps I’ve found my career plan B. You know, if presenting goes to the dogs.

And at least this meow, meow would unquestionably be legal.

Fur Sure!

Autumn’s arrived in all it’s chilly glory and along with it, the shops are wrapped in winter coats and woolly hats. And fur. Lots of fur.

Not of the real variety, of course, unless you are spectacularly brave and have a bank balance with more body than your stole.

However, it does strike me as a little odd (despite my staunch belief that animals should not be killed for fashion victims) that we choose to wear this fakery. I know we also do it with leather (and I for one, am very fond of my pleather jacket). I suppose the difference is, that leather jackets don’t usually look like cows.

I love the glamour & warmth of a lovely man-made fur, it can make me feel like a 50’s siren or a regal princess. However, there is something relatively ironic about choosing to wear a coat which looks as though it has been whipped off a poor animals back and placed on your own.

As a teenager I had a particularly hideous pink and black spotted fake fur skirt though, and as a result I’m not sure that a wilder colour palate is the answer. Perhaps there doesn’t need to be; the dichotomy between a beautiful but agonising pair of heels will always have staying power, even when the wearer does not.

In the same way, it would seem that due to a fur’s warmth & decadence (fake or otherwise), girls love affair with them will never die.

Camel Couture

I keep hearing that Camel is the new black. It’s almost as though all the big designers got together over a skinny, extra tall, double shot latte and thought mmmm let’s re-name beige ‘Camel’ and everyone will just LOVE it.

In the past, when talking fashion the word ‘Camel’ didn’t tend to have such great

A/W 10 at Chloe

connotations, it could usually be found followed by the word toe. Not a good look. Once you manage to put that thought out of your head, however, there is something luxurious about this trend: a kind of retro elegance that conjures images of beautiful, wealthy Italian women in long wool coats. Or is that just me? Better that than used-car salesman, given there is a lot of shearling around too!

The buzz about it being the new black has to do with the fact that you can wear it top totoe as seen at Chloe (pictured) or keep to specific wardrobe staples like coats, bags and shoes. And it goes with everything.

I fancy this long-line cardy from ASOS (£30)

Camel can feel grown up (didn’t your Granny tell you ‘to invest in a good camel coat’?) although, it’s not for everyone. I think there are probably two key factors in making Camel couture work for you:

  • The first is to choose a shade that works with your skin tone.  I prefer the warmer hues because I’m blonde, whereas brunettes can get away with some of the lighter shades (think Jackie Onnasis).
  • The second is to play around with textures and proportions. It is a colour that needs a good fabric and looks best in silks, wools and cashmere.

Camel is clearly having a fashion moment but don’t take the hump Black, it will probably all be over by next year!

Playing the Field… (and wannabe WAGs)

Up until about 5 years ago, I thought wag was what a puppy dog’s tail did.

I recently went to an England match at Wembley (apologies to my Scottish forefathers but I got free tickets!). As you would expect there were cheers when the home players came out of the tunnel, that is, for all those apart from Wayne Rooney, John Terry and Ashley Cole. When these three stepped onto the pitch, pantomime boos echoed round the stadium and I’m pretty sure I saw someone throw a tomato. I turned to the boys and said knowingly “it’s because they cheated, isn’t it” and felt secretly delighted at the predominantly male crowd’s scorn of the trio’s adulterous ways. Then the boys solemnly said “Nah, it was because they were rubbish at the world cup”. Oh.

However, there must be something in the amount of grief Rooney has got from the football crowd since his dalliances with a Granny stripper and more recently the £200 call girl. Even if their moral compass is slightly off (it may just be schoolboy banter – see the Inbetweeners for telly evidence) at least it is switched on. Us girls, however, don’t really seem to give a monkeys. In fact, there are hordes of girls vying for a play with their balls; practically scratching each other’s eyes out to be another footballers bit on (the) side. But, not only that, they also aspire to be the wife’s and girlfriend’s that are being cheated on in the first place. Eh?

I’m not saying that all footballers are rats nor that all WAGs are, well WAGs (Wanting Attention Girls) but the stories have now become so commonplace that it seems that the footballers not playing away are, in fact, the minority.

Louis Vuitton and some serious sparklers go along way to sweetening the appeal and of course there’s the fame, or infamy depending on your role. But is it worth it? It takes a whole lot of time and effort to become a WAG, I mean there’s even a special Facebook group dedicated to finding the location of potential players, or should I say ‘playas’. There’s the hair extensions, the frocks, the posh clubs… all to bag yourself a man whose beauty regime probably beats your own.

Then, once you’ve scored and you have had your celebrity wedding in OK! only to find out that your man has been caught out of his strip with a stripper. The shame. Or perhaps not, because this is when it get’s really interesting. The papers go crazy, the paps are on your doorstep and there’s the potential of a healthy settlement. You might even get your own perfume.

All that said though, even with a vague understanding of aggregates, I’m not sure anyone ends up the winner.

Recessionista…

I have two loves in life: bargains (I am Scottish after all; thrifty is practically my middle name) and fashion. With chips and cheese coming in a close third: what’s the saying about cheap as chips…?

I should mention, though, when talking about cheapness, under no circumstances do I advocate sweatshops, shoddy designer rip-offs or five-finger discounts.

The cheap chic collections that hit the floors in the likes of Primark are fantastic, but browsing can often feel like a modern day equivalent to the hunter/gatherers of eons ago. Except these days us Ladies have to be hunters, gatherers and warriors. In fact, the last time I was in the Oxford St store a woman actually wielded a hanger like a weapon at me! I had half a mind to use my gold lame headband as a slingshot.

Anyway, I digress. Shopping for a bargain can be an ordeal. That is, until the Internet came along. Now, you can do it all from the comfort of your sofa, with nothing as dangerous as a packet of Jaffa Cakes by your side. For a while, I think shoppers were deterred by not being able to try things on but most online stores have sorted out their return policies and there’s always the benefit that you never have to wait in line. Ever.

What’s hard is finding the right places to go; there’s nothing as organised as the high street online. So here are a few of my favourite, bargainous sites…

www.boohoo.com I wasn’t a big fan of Boohoo, however, their website is now more user friendly so it’s woohoo rather than boohoo. They have a continuous clearance section, which really highlights how cheap they are.  A word of warning though, think about the material: cheap lace can be scratchy and satin can look cheap (really, I think that goes for most sites though.)

www.my987wardrobe.com Ah the joy of keeping things simple. Does exactly what it

Love this military cardi from http://www.my987wardrobe.com

says on the… er, URL. You won’t pay more than a tenner for anything, each item is priced (yup, you guessed it) £9.87. They’ve got some lovely on-trend stuff, and dare I say it, could it be cheaper than the big P?

www.theoutnet.com The Outnet is the sister outlet site to the posh and fabulously expensive Net-a-porter.com. The founder Natalie Massenet calls it Chic-onomics (love that phrase!). It is, of course, still a little pricey but if you’re after some designer clobber it’s by far the recessionista’s place to go to.

http://marketplace.asos.com ASOS Marketplace is the new addition to the already awesome webesphere that is ASOS. Come November you’ill be able trade you own clothes through a virtual marketplace on ASOS. A little like a car boot sale, but more modern and without all the dodgy ornaments. Whether it’s recycling your wardrobe, starting your own fashion boutique (for the catwalk stars of the future) or shopping for bargains, this is a site that I am super excited about!

Come Dive With Me

It’s nearly 10 years since I first took the plunge into the blue, and I’ve barely looked back, mainly because it’s a particularly hard thing to do in a scuba mask.

I’ve seen 6ft turtles come out of nowhere on night dives, breathed deeply when I’ve come face to face with a kipping shark, got narced (as a result of breathing a higher concentration of Nitrogen and feeling loopy) and spent the long months out of the water longing to get my kit off and dive in.

Oh yes, and I’ve suffered plenty of gags about muff diving. Hiwalrious.

The reason I love diving so much is it’s the closest I’ll get to being a spaceman, legally. Less is known about parts of our oceans than the cosmos, it really is another world. Plus, you get to wear some crazy gear. It’s hard to rock a wetsuit. I’ve even done my PADI Rescue Diver course, which amongst other things I learnt I probably shouldn’t rescue anyone – I’m only little after all. Funnily enough, I’m much better at telling people what to do. But don’t worry I’m a fantastic diver and people have often said how much they love diving with me because I’m incredibly calm. So tighten up your mask, slip on your fins and go on, come dive with me.