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.

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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!

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.