It’s All White

I like to think that the night of New Year is a reflection of how the following months will pan out. Not everyone loves Hogmannay, so I realise that this is perhaps a personal myth. However, if we take that idea and run with it, many of us had a white and snow-covered start to the year and fashion in 2011 is definitely going to reflect that.

White is the colour or the non-colour for any purists out there. Well, pure are what we’re going to need to be, many of the collections for Spring Summer this year, featured top to toe in white. Hmm. This. Is. Not. Good.

Michael Kors S/S 11

Don’t get me wrong, I love white: it’s Summery, fresh and angelic – a look I sometimes struggle to achieve. The problem is that UK summers aren’t usually very balmy; in fact, they’re notoriously wet. Rain equals dirt. And the snowy attire that graced the catwalks was definitely not mud splattered. Shame.

And don’t get me started about white jeans. TV programme ‘The Only Way is Essex’ was a surprise hit but I’m hopeful that denim, Dagenham style, isn’t going to find it’s way into this years trend. Frankly, white jeans are impossible to get right. They rarely look classy, are totally impractical and unforgiving on even the skinniest of whippets.

So, how should us mere mortals carry off this trend: to look, well… heavenly?

This dress is absolutely darling… And I actually take my own advice seriously–I’ve just bought this beauty! Eloise Dress (£42.00) http://www.darlingclothes.com

You know I love a bargain, so a great idea is to combine some of the trends that are going to be big this year (but from experience, don’t try and do them all at once!). Personally, I’m loving white lace and anything sheer and floaty. For me it also has to be short, I can’t abide dirty bottoms. Of my trousers, obviously.

It may seem innocuous but lining is just as important as the outer fabric when gowning up in white. You don’t want your undies to show through, unless of course that’s the look you’re going for: cute cami – yes, black g-string – hell, no. This ain’t the 90’s after all.

Accessories go for a total white out this season too and shoes are top of the

A step closer to heaven… I think I want every pair of Jeffrey Campbell 2011 collection (for sale in Office from about £80) http://www.jeffreycampbellshoes.com

list. With the whole 70’s vibe going on, I expect wooden soled platforms with a splash of white to be a good combo-trend choice. Perhaps worryingly, white eyeliner is also ‘in’. Not sure about this one, unless it’s worn on the inner rim to make eyes look bigger.

Mixing different shades of white and off-white, tones and textures is also a big hit, or give an outfit a bit of punch with some of the other big Summer colours like burnt orange, navy and jewel hues.

And if you’re wondering, I was at a wedding this New Year. Don’t think I’ll be taking the white trend that far though…!

 

 

 

The Cat, the Fashion Faux Pas and the Wardrobe

I’m not a big one for resolutions. I think it comes from being a rebellious teenager; anything that sounds vaguely like a rule is something I want to break! However, it’s a New Year and rather than detoxing my body this January, I have resolved to de-clutter my life.

An early spring clean has kind of been forced upon me as I am moving to Glasgow at the end of this month and it seems sensible for me to finally get around to ‘A Grand Old Wardrobe Clean Out’. I’m pretty sure I no longer need my first pair of knee length platform boots that I bought when I was 15: for a start they’re hideous. It has, however, broken my heart though to chuck ‘em. So, it got me thinking about the value we place on clothes and how, in many ways, our wardrobes are as good a collection of memories as any photo album. I first wore the condemned boots on one of my first dates with my childhood sweetheart and first love. Aw. I think I thought they were sexy. He no doubt, well ahead of the times, thought they were vile.

If clothes are memories then here are some of my favourite, some, I’m sure you’ll agree, are definitely erring on the side of the Fashion Faux Pas. Thankfully (for me), I don’t have photos of the worst! Honest.

I was Punk’d

I wore this outfit to the club Punk in London. No, it wasn’t fancy dress. Yes, those are gold leggings. I’d like to say it was brave, out-there and a little bit quirky but in reality I think I’m channeling way too much lyrca!

Pretty in Pink

This is the gorgeous Olivia Rubin dress that I wore to the Scottish Style Awards last year. She is by far one of my favourite British designers, she uses really interesting materials and textures and I’m yet to try on a dress of hers that I don’t like! Toped and toed with $15 boots from forever 21 (which you can now get in the UK) and a headband from Topshop.

A Little Cat with Clogs on…

A friend took this photo of me at home in Scotland before I headed to the bright lights of London to try to become a  TV presenter. I loved this jumper from Zara (which clearly I thought was a dress) and I wish I hadn’t taken it to the charity shop.

Right, now I am seriously re-thinking binning those boots…!

Minnie Me!

When I was wee I had a Minnie Mouse T-shirt that I refused to take off. Possibly the only item of clothing that I have ever worn until it literally fell off me. When I found this one in Urban Outfitters a few years back I felt like all my Christmases, Tooth-Fairy and pinkie wishes had come at once! I think it was a bargain £16.

Going Dutch

I can’t believe I’m sharing this, but just to give you a giggle… This is an outfit I put together on a styling course I went on about 4 years ago. Thankfully, I think I’ve learnt a bit since then. Namely, don’t try and emulate another country’s national dress then combine it with over-the-knee football socks.

I’m not even going to mention the pose… What was I thinking?

So there you have it, some of my best and worst fashion memories. Right, I’m thinking this wardrobe detox could take longer than I originally thought, if my old clobber is finally going on to greater and bigger wardrobes, I better take photos of them all. That way I can pine after them properly… no scrub that: remind myself why I got rid of them in the first place!

Sale Away With Me…

Happy New Year dearest readers: I hope Santa filled your stockings and you had a debauched New Year, or as us Scots say, Hogmannay.

I love Christmas. I love the festive joie de vivre, the sparkly lights, the carols and I love, love, love Christmas pudding. However, almost above everything else, I love Christmas because it precedes the January Sales: the perfect cure for a mulled wine hangover.

If you haven’t shopped yourself out before the 25th December, now is the time to be trawling the rails or cruising the Internet looking for a bargain. Before you set out though, I would recommend a battle plan. A bargain aint a bargain if you never wear it!

As always, there’s going to be lots of pieces from the 2010 collections that carry over into 2011, so if you spot some of these bad boys on the sale rails it’s a good idea to snap them up (and then feel smug when they come back in at full price!).

Lovely Lace… £23 (reduced from £46) http://www.asos.com

Lace: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Love lace. It’s still a big hitter this year and it’s a great fabric that will work right through into the warmer months. Lace dresses worn with thick tights just now can be ‘Summerized’ come Spring, when (hopefully) it will be warm enough for us to get our pins out!

Maxi Skirts/Dresses: The key to wearing a maxi dress or skirt is finding the right one for your body shape. Maxi should mean maxi, floor skimming is best as it gives more length to your body; even being a few inches short can make them look frumpy not lovely and floaty. In 2011, the maxi goes sheer. So if you have one (or spot one in the sales) don’t be afraid to take a pair of scissors to the lining. I bought

Topshop Floaty Wide Leg Trousers were £45 now £15 http://www.topshop.co.uk

these maxi wide legged trousers from Topshop for £15 and I’m going to do just that when the weather heats up. Topshop already have some in their new collection, which are almost identical but completely sheer.

Biker: Leather has been kicking it back for the last few seasons but has remained somewhat in the shadow of the military trend. But Spring 2011 see’s it rev it’s engine a little more, so keep hold of the boots, the jackets and, for the bold, the leather shorts. I spotted a real leather jacket in the sale for £60. Bargainous!

60’s Ladylike: The clothes that make Madmen, or men go mad, if you prefer. Curves are still big, with strong silhouettes being the key to this look. I haven’t seen much in my ‘saling’ (clearly, you’ve picked ‘em all up already!). By Spring, the fabrics will be lighter and the colours fresher, however, if you do spot something 50’s/60’s with a lovely red reduced tag on it, be sure to pick it up!

Bell-Bottoms: I don’t know about you, but I was a little unsure about skinny jeans to begin with (“but they show eeeeeverything!” I wailed). Now, I can’t live without them.

These puppies are a great cut and colour for only £37 (were £145) http://www.secretsales.com

However, a new year, a new decade for that matter, and the trends they are a changing. 70’s glamour is going to be a rising trend over 2011 so it’s perhaps inevitable that flares would make a return too. Wear them high, and wear them wide!

Kitten Heels: I’ve heard a rumour that the more delicate shoe is making a comeback this year (after clogs, I’m sure we’ll all breathe a sigh of relief!). Personally, I’m not totally sure about this trend; a high heel can do wonders for the posture and the self-esteem. My feet, however, are delighted.

I’ve Been Collared!

I feel like I’ve been harping on about sheer shirts, so it seems only right for me to finally write about this trend. Last year we did the boyfriend and ‘oh so comfy’ flannel but, as you’ll probably have noticed, this year fashion got frumpy. In A/W 2010 the only way to wear your shirt is buttoned up.

I have many style icons, past and present, but no matter how hard I’ve tried I can’t help

Alexa buttons up nicely...

but look to Alexa Chung for trendspiration. I have a girl crush. There, I said it. And she definitely pops her collar.

The best thing about being buttoned up (apart from keeping out those winter chills) is that you don’t really need anything new; ideal if, like me, you’ve been saving your pennies for Christmas presents. A crisp white shirt is surely a wardrobe staple and all you need to do, is do it up. It really is that simple. If you don’t have one handy, a wee trick I learned from a stylist a few years back: go to a charity shop get any white shirt and cut the collar off. Then you have a ‘collar necklace’ that can be teemed with high-necked jumpers and dresses to cheat the look.

Jill Sander for Uniqlo

At first this ‘look’ might seem matronly or even slightly schoolgirl but paired with the right elements (a little bit like over the knee socks) there’s no reason for this trend to look contrived. And a shirt goes with everything, from carrot pants to shorts and mini shirts. Wear your buttoned-up-shirt tucked into high-waisters or go floaty and romantic and a little less well behaved… I’ve been wearing mine with some leather shorts and last year’s black with gold bobble jumper from Topshop (A/W 09) or with a black ribbon as a tie to add detail to the neckline.

I’ve a feeling that this trend might well run into the Spring (and Summer, given the British weather) so I reckon it’s probably worth buttoning down for the long haul!

Farmer Fashion

Most people (well, around 12 million) have now probably seen the Yeo Valley advert cleverly sandwiched each week in the first ad break of the X Factor (if you haven’t you can check it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOHAUvbuV4o), aside from it being genius advertising, it also milks (sorry) this winters new crop (I just can’t help myself…) of Farmer Fashion.

When I first heard murmurings of this trend, I have to say, I wasn’t convinced. My

Nice look Miss Chung

parents wear Barbour’s. They tried for years to make me wear something equally practical but I tended to stick to the ‘less is more’ side of winter fashion. Now, top of my wish list are a cosy knit, a waxed jacket and a nice pair of sensible shoes. Really.

I’m not sure when country wear went from sheep to chic but there’s something incredibly British about the whole idea: tartans, tweeds, flannel shirts and wellies. A black Labrador, however, is optional.

How to get rural…

First up: the coat, as I said khaki waxed jackets are very in right now, as styled out by Alexa Chung. The idea to keeping it modern is to pair it with the unexpected, like evening wear. Whilst, the other top coat this winter is the Cape; not as hard to wear as you might think but for the best silhouette pair with slim line trousers or tights.

Next, ditch the high heels. Never thought I’d say those words! Hiking boots have made a surprising appearance this winter, along with riding boots. Giddy-up! And both are best teemed with chunky-knit, cream socks, just to keep your tootsies extra especially warm.

Jodhpurs are also a big trend this A/W. If you can’t quite see it, just think, who would have thought we would all end up wearing nappy-bum Harems!

For jumpers it’s all about hard wearing wools, like Aran Knits – which, believe it or not, are actually meant to be water resistant! How very, er… sensible!

John Galliano for Christian Dior A/W 2010

Then there are the tweeds and tartans, which work for pretty much anything from accessories, like scarves and hats, to full-on suits or even trousers. I might even be tempted by a tartan maxi, more than just a nod to my Scottish roots!

So, with temperatures set to fall to Arctic this week, you know it makes sense to follow the tractor crowd and channel your inner rosy-cheeked farmer.

 

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!

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!

Sock it to Me

I know I should love lingerie (what with being a girl and everything) but knickers are what get men hot under the collar, for me the undergarment to get excited about is the sock. I’m delighted, therefore, that this winters the world has gone hosiery crazy; with knee high and thigh high socks being the latest leg attire of choice for the fashion forward.

I'm so excited OTN socks are back in, I'm practically doing cartwheels..

Last year, the king of shoes ‘the thigh boot’ made a brief appearance, but the trend didn’t really catch on. I think it was partly practical: it looked hot (and felt it too) but a leg clad entirely in leather made walking a little difficult. Fashion laughing in the face of pedantics or podiatry isn’t anything new. Thankfully, though, this winter it’s all about a softer take on the trend; keeping the lanky silhouette but with the more flattering approach of long socks, heels or boots. So, grab you yourself a pair, pull ‘em high and wiggle your tootsies in delight.

Now, I’m not a big fan of being told how to do something (it’s true, I was a nightmare teenager) mainly because it is usually those that break the fashion rules that say the most about style. However, given that it is a trend that can be associated with schoolgirls, football socks and those things people wear on planes to stop DVT… I thought it might be helpful to give a few small steps towards the hows and wear’s of this season’s socks:

Pick the length wisely: in the same way you would with skirts. Over the knee socks are a focal point and draw attention to your (gorgeous) pins!

Well heeled? Knee socks look girly with heels, strong with knee-high boots and cute with flats.

Beware the bulge… fold down the top of the socks if they are at all tight around your thigh or knees, high socks are slimming but a thigh squeeze can be as unsightly as a muffin top.

Shorter hemlines are best. If you can, be daring, as they expose more leg and imply greater height.

Avoid big knitted socks: not only are they so 2007 (seriously) but I never really liked them anyway; big chunky knits make legs look like sausages. Not so tasty.

Don’t be afraid to layer: it’s really in this year, it keeps you cosy and knee socks worn over sheer, patterned tights can add a whole new dimension to an outfit.  (There’s also some fab ‘fake’ over the knee tights kicking around like these by Henry Holland at Topshop http://www.topshop.com/tights)

Say no to the Schoolgirl look, unless you are. Over the knee and short kilts might work for Gossip Girl but you’ll barely be able to get down the street without wolf whistles, salacious remarks and people presuming you’re in fancy dress.

PPQ asks a Pretty Personal Question… Do you Fez?

I’m a highstreet girl, but that doesn’t mean I don’t take style cues from the catwalks. The last London fashion Week offered some interesting inspiration, and one particular collection has really stuck in my head…

The PPQ show was the last of the first day at this year’s LFW, so the atmosphere was buzzy, almost celebratory. Which is odd, because this cheery lot fulfilled none of my fashion stereotypes. However, that is very PPQ. It’s the gang of hipsters (what is the collective term?), cool kids and extroverts. PPQ did reinvent the skinny jean after all. Oh yes, and the celebs that were there: Paloma Faith, Jamelia, Amber Rose and out of left field, Reggie Yates.

On to the after party: there were round the block queues to get into the curiously chosen Plaza Hotel, near Waterloo. Perhaps the venue choice had something to do with the coziness of last years, however, this impersonal hotel ballroom felt more conference than concept. A crowded bar and a set by the Like, who although likeable didn’t really blow me away, didn’t do anything to overcome the limitations of the location. However, what I was pleased to see was lots of cool kids wearing H&M. Seriously. I would have expected the fashion elite, not your high street super heroes to be the clothing of choice. What I saw was lots of oversized skirts in sheer fabrics and shorts.

The high street and high fashion really aren’t so far apart…