Let’s Talk About Text…

I wrote this blog AGES ago (way back when we texted rather than twittered).  It’s amazing how quickly technology becomes passé. Anyway, no matter how old school it is, I thought I’d share it with you! 😉

Much has been written in terms of social commentary about our massive consumption rate as a society: be it food, fashion or fornication. What we want, we want now without the messy before and afters that come with thinking too much about the rest of the journey. However, Jamie Oliver made us question cheap as chips chickens and somewhere in our conscious we are beginning to wonder whether our £1 vests are really such a good investment.

So what about our fickleness in the face of love and relationships? At the hope of not sounding too much like my technology enraged Mother, why have we sold ourselves the idea that fingers are better at doing the talking?

Don’t get me wrong; I have much aligned the benefits of e-mail to my Ma. A short message here and there has much served the purpose of maintaining friendships once thought beyond their sell-by-date and rekindled work arrangements at the click of a mouse. And, don’t get me started on Facebook, not simply a face-fad but truly a sociological renewal of how we communicate.

The quibble that I would like to maintain is that of the text message. Or more accurately, the text relationship. I recently gave my number to a rather dashing young chap. Henceforth we duly exchanged the rapid flurry of…beep,beep ‘Hey gd looking!…beep, beep…’Cud I cu again?. In days this escalated to the more flirtatious…beeb, beep ‘What RU wearin’? (Not really, but it’s old school sauce, so I thought I’d pop it in) it was more like…beep, beep ‘Do you fancy a beer…or 3?’….’Yes’…’Does that mean u want me 2 get u drunk?’ However, it was not long before this initial bombardment had encountered a rather more banal status-quo (as in balance, not the band) and culminated in an entirely more subdued…beeb, beep ‘How was UR day?’ This continued until I finally ran out of patience. We still hadn’t even had that beer.

Suddenly it struck me; he and I had in fact experienced the ups and downs, how’s yer father to the old hat, all without the presence of even one date! How wrong to experience a relationship entirely in the subterfuge of mobile airways.

So, I beg you boys (and ladies too) with your adept texting thumbs…repent and pick up the phone and dial and court one another vis-à-vis. There is a great deal more in the twirl of the hair or a chastened lick of the lips than err there will be in a …beep, beep…. Sorry, that’s my phone, I wonder if it’s a text from…

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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…!

 

 

 

London Scottish

May I first dispel any myths about Scots and Mars bars? Oh naughty…no, I’m not being rude, whatever you may get up to in your spare time. Quite simply, I’ve never had one, nor has anyone I’ve ever known or indeed do my close family or friends eat them as a mid-morning snack, or heaven forbid, for breakfast. The Scots are many things, but if we wanted to consume that many calories, we’d drink them instead…

It’s a funny thing being a Scot in London. Stuck between the ripple of amusement from these Southerners when I let slip a ‘wee’. Not literally of course, but my speech is so peppered with the word (I think it comes from a need to perpetuate my Scottishness) that I recently managed to blurt out in a meeting that I was going for a ‘wee wee’. ‘Um, not like I’m 5 years old and I say wee-wee I stuttered, I mean I’m going for a small wee’. Clearly, that didn’t make it any better; it was still far too much information.

So with that, entirely embarrassing and unnecessary story out of the way, what then of the other myths about Scots? Far be it for me to talk for a whole nation, but much like the Mars myth, nor are we miserly. We have far too much good sense for that. We are always the first to get a round in (as every good Scot knows, the first round is usually the smallest and least outlandish, the top shelf only gets a look in later).

I’m going to keep this short, so I’ll miss out the tough oats to fry like sporting prowess, political standoffs/scrutiny or philandering and our dear old Sean Connery and stick to; Do we really dislike the English that much?   Don’t be daft, how could we possibly, when you make us look so damn brilliant in the eyes of the rest of the world. Many a merit comes from being an underdog.

It is, obviously, no myth of course that we always love a bit of good humoured banter… (and really, I do love an Englsh crumpet!).

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!

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.