Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Top 5 designer rip offs of the year

I recently read in a fabulously funny book 'Fashion Babylon' that unlike many years ago when designer fashion truly was exclusive, nowadays high street stores rip off the catwalk shows within three months. This is quicker than many designers (especially the smaller designers) can actually manufacture their collections. So, it seems to be truly on the pulse (and quite a lot more in pocket) the high street is the place to head! This cheers me greatly, designer rip offs are the only way I could consider a foray into the designer world. Below are my favourite five of the year, and if you bought all five high street versions instead of designer, you would be making a whopping saving of more than £4,000! Grins all round! Apart from the designers... 

1)  Jane Norman - Herve Leger Ombre dress, just £40! 
2) New Look - Carrie's Dior Gladiator shoes, only £25!
3) Faith - Christian Louboutin's red sole, approx £55 
4) Warehouse - Roland Mouret's Moon dress, only £65!
5) Topshop - Chanel's quilted shoulder bag, just £25!


Monday, 29 December 2008


Top Shop boss ready to sign Christina Aguilera in £4million deal to design new fashion range

Here’s a sprig of festive gossip to make Britney Spears and the rest of the fashion wannabes turn Green with envy.

I hear billionaire Sir Philip Green has been courting Brit’s old rival Christina Aguilera to design new ranges for his TopShop empire.

Aggy could expect to earn around £1million per range ...very nice work if you can get it.

However, there’s no whisper from my that Christina will replace Kate Moss – his most successful signing. Instead, Christina, 28, will be brought in to create her own additional lines to sell alongside Kate's.

The source told me: “Sir Philip has started talks with Christina and hopes to sign a deal soon. She has visited his offices in London and they are thrashing out the details.

“Philip loves her style and believes she would add something new to TopShop. Christina is the blonde bombshell who is into pop whereas Kate is the rock chick and model.

(From The Daily Mirror)


Oh it's that time of year again, when women start wrestling each other in the name of heavily discounted fashion. 
As someone who generally shops in her lunch hour, I'm not always great at spending time meandering through sale rails pulling out bargains like rabbits out of hats. I'm of the swoop in and grab the sparkliest item variety of sale shopper, leaving all other fashionistas trembling in my wake. Especially my sisters, who do not share my sale shopping stamina. Some women obviously just don't have the inner sportswoman. 
This year my approach indeed fared me well - bright red Roland Mouret rip off dress - only £30 from Warehouse, am wearing it in work now, my lord I look fabulous. Lace pencil skirt from River Island I tried on a month ago and sadly put back because I couldn't afford it - only £17! Sky scraper red mock snakeskin heels down from £75 to £30, also River Island. And a cute little bow top with sheer panels from Top Shop, so now. And at £15, so mine.
I did spy another rather beautiful lace dress, again only £30 from Warehouse, down from £80. The lace glittered and shimmered, my tongue hit the floor at its ethereal and yet oh so on the pulse beauty. The skirt delicately flared just off the knee, the back teasingly open, the waist cinched tight. The sale rail only had a size eight. Sometimes I can squeeze into a size eight, perhaps not directly after Christmas but I could go on a diet, I HAD to fit into this dress.  Me and my sisters crowd into the fitting room, my sisters pull and struggle at the zip as I huff and puff, suck in my entire body to make it non-existent.
"I can go on a diet" I wail. 
"I don't think that will work" my red faced sister mutters, " it's not your fat that's the problem, your bones are too big." 
God damn my bones. Perhaps I could have a rib removed, you know, like Prince? 
Very sadly I followed the most important rule of sale shopping. A bargain is not a bargain if you can't get your arse into it. No matter how beautiful the dress. So my next mission, find another Warehouse that has that dress in a bigger size. I ain't letting this go, no goddamn way.   

Saturday, 20 December 2008

What's in, what's out...

Every year at around this time (at the cusp of every new season) the mags have 'buy/chuck out' features. They show which clothes will be big for 2009 and what 2008 trends must line the waste paper bin.
I find these features, especially in credit crunch times, both exciting and also very depressing. Being told lace is now out cuts to the quick when you have just days ago spent £60 on a lace edged shift dress.
However, they can bring some delight... for example, the obi belt will be big next year. Oooh, I already own a black leather obi belt.
For academic reasons I have picked a particular 'buy/chuck out' feature from weekly shopping bible Look magazine and decided to rip the baby apart with my own opinions.
80's bodycon - I sooo want a bandage dress.
Oriental Print - not really my thing.
Drop waisted - yuk!
Oil slick dresses - leather look works for me, very sexy.
One shouldered - who apart from very thin women can get away with such a thing?
Bow details - awwww!
Animal print - always love the animal print
Sheer shirts - I would say would work very well with a pussy bow but apparently they are out.
Western Fringed - yuk yuk yuk.
Pleated - very cute and have already got one, yay!
High-waisted Pencil - Always looks good to me!
Graphic florals - yuk.
Playsuits - Would work on my skinny housemate, not on me.
Wide leg - already got two, very flattering.
Silk - on trousers?
Sporty jackets - no way.
Kimono - only as a sexy dressing gown.
Power shoulders - the eighties revival gone too far.
Faux skin bags - loooooove faux crocodile skins on bags, lovely, lovely, lovely.
big earrings - Don't suit my hairstyle.
Pearls - been a big fan of the Chanel look for a long time.
Sporty bags - Would only ever use on the way to the gym.

40's - Nooooo! but it really suits me!
Tartan - Honestly, I think the Vivienne Westwood thing has a lot more milage.
Smock - Never suited me anyway.
Ruffles - Nooooo, I love my ruffled dress!
Embellishment - Was never into that anyway.
Applique - Phew, thought it looked naff.
Gothic - If Daisy Lowe continues this look, the look will continue.
Tiered - but no, it's so cute, I loved my tiered sailor dress!
Netted - Too old for netted anyway.
Ditsy florals - But if it's good enough for Alexa?
Boiler suits - surely this is just a long version of the playsuit?
Skinny - rubbish, long may the skinny jean continue.
Leather - not if the tube is anything to go by.
Jackets: -
Military - this upsets my military styled housemate immensely.
Cropped - bog off, I love my little cropped jacket.
Biker - this look is never going to go out, no matter what a mag says.
Metallics - This will be back next christmas party season.
Corsages - No, the Carrie Bradshaw in me will never die!
Studded belts - well chavvy look anyway. I agree, so over.
Pendants - No, no no!
Structured bags - I am actually having a tantrum now.
As all fashion savvy ladies know, it is always good to keep abreast of the upcoming fashions and an easy to follow pictorial guide is always useful.
But the only reasons you should ever chuck out clothing are a) because it no longer fits, b) it's so old it's falling apart and can no longer be fixed. c) it doesn't make you feel good when you wear it anymore.
True style is about being yourself. Trendsetters never care about what is in or out, they make a look all of their own. So I will keep my 'out' clothes and wear them with pride. Because a) I love them and b) don't have the cash to keep replacing my clothes.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

I'm a curvy lady - can I get away with lace?

As much as I want to be the next Kate Moss and wear the divine all over lace mini dress creation from Oasis featured below, sadly my body shape, not to mention my bank balance, can't quite hack it. At £100 and generally crafted for skinny women, all this twenties style flapper dress does for me is make me look like a sack of very poor potatoes.
Which is desperately sad - look at the beading and detail, it's a work of art. So I will get over my pain by merely featuring it on my blog. At least then I get to look at it, even if I can't wear it.
Lace is huge this season though, and I believe I have found a subtle and elegant way to wear it, even if you are more Jade Goody than Kate Moss. If you can draw your eyes away from the beautiful mini dress for five seconds you will find that Oasis have done a very sweet twist on the basic black shift dress. With just a hint of lace at the neckline, this gives a nod to the trend without being too hooker, too goth or too Desperately Seeking Susan. For £60, it's a bit more purse friendly and it pulls in at the waist and skims over the thighs. So it's actually flattering for any women who are, well, shaped like women. I'm already running to Oasis to get mine. 


Friday, 12 December 2008

Looks expensive - but actually very cheap.

I don't know about other women out there. But does anyone else feel terribly annoyed/depressed when they read 'credit crunch' or 'budget' features which include clothes that are generally at the expensive end of their budget? 
I have a good job which pays well, and yet with everything else I have to shell out on, spending £80 on a pair of shoes is considered a blow out to me. It might feel amazing but that is much of my 'clothes, shoes and pretty things' budget for the month gone. And I know most women my age are in the same boat. Who, aside from accountants, can actually afford these apparent 'high street' purchases? 
It irritates me even more when these 'four ways to wear it' features, use accessories that cost more than the item of clothing featured. 
I cannot afford to spend £200 on an outfit a' la Gok Wan and his fashion fix programme, I cannot afford to buy a £20 dress and then spend nearly £300 accessorising it. 
Even worse are these 'give up your throw away fashion' pieces. In credit crunch times, apparently we should all be leaning toward buying 'investment pieces' you know, that last forever. So it's perfectly fine to buy a pair of Armani trousers. They will last forever. 
Firstly, how can these people who buy Armani trousers afford housing? And second, doesn't this kind of miss the whole point of fashion? Fashion is meant to be fun, frivolous, it's meant to be about rejuvenation and reinvention. And most importantly of all, fashion is about compulsion... the desire to buy, the desire for the new. Even just a little necklace, or a cheap pair of shoes, that does the trick. just so long as you adore them. 
Yes, I do want my investment pieces. I'm not really a bag person, so I want to buy a bag that looks expensive, goes with all my outfits and lasts like an expensive bag would, but without the stupid price tag. With a damn low price tag actually. So I can have my investment 'works with everything' bag and yet still afford my frivolous shoe addiction... and housing. 
I believe I have found my answer, just look at the piccy above - the quilting, the red lining, the patent straps... I love, I love, I love. Looks designer, costs £35. 
Dorothy Perkins is my bestest buddy.  

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Fur coats & gold necklaces

Fur: faux pas or fine as long as it's faux?
Hip-length faux fur coats can work on the ultra prim and the ultra skinny. They must have a high neck and a button on the collar. But I am neither ultra prim or ultra skinny, in fact I don't know many women who are, so I'm simply not interested.

But the knee-length faux fur coat, now that works. And in so many ways. It doesn't matter on the colour; white, brown, leopard print... They all have their place.

A luscious fluffy coat open to reveal a tiny sparkly dress underneath will make quite an impact. And they are becoming very affordable on the high street. I saw one for just 80 quid from Miss Selfridge.

Even so, it's like the ultimate in luxury. Big hair, big make up, just big and out there. Bare legs and big big heels are also a must. If you're going to make the style statement of wearing a fur coat, you have to go all out.

Never do your fur coat up, for a start, all that fluff is just going to make you look fat. But mainly, fur coats are all about unnecessary wealth. They are not meant to actually keep you warm. A fur coat done up with blue jeans? So chavvy.

As are the fur coats in H&M, which are essentially fluffy bomber jackets. So nineties, so hilarious for my mum and sister when I tried one on with a leather mini skirt. The word hooker was used.

If you are going to try and rock out your fur coat, it again has to be knee-length and go for leather trousers rather than a leather skirt. Black skinny jeans with big buckled boots also works - Kurt Geiger have a fantastic pair, but at £220, I'm hunting for a high street alternative.

Another addition which always suits a fur coat, a gold necklace.

I adore the new fascination with gold necklaces, especially the Heartfelt range at Urban Outfitters, including a beautiful and unique adaptation of the locket.

I snapped up the 'envelope' necklace immediately (or the 'I Love U Tiny Locket' as the shop calls it). A tiny little gold envelope perched daintily at the bottom of a gold chain. You can open this envelope to reveal a tiny little plaque that reads 'I love you' in italics. How unbelievably sweet?! I don't care that surely a man should buy this necklace for me. I love me and that is quite simply enough to shell out £14.

Never one to be beaten, Accessorise have some beautiful gold necklaces, including Eiffel tower and anchor pendants at very reasonable prices.

In fact, I may pay them a visit and buy the lot... what's that noise? Oh, my bank manager is wailing again.

Oh to be French...

Chanel, berets, ballet pumps, black skinny jeans, corsages, breton jumpers, Audrey Tatou... cheese.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Pink shoes, pink bra, pink knickers.

Forgive me, I have come over all Katy Perry.
After buying an exquisite pair of pink T-bar style forties stiletto heels, I've fallen back in love with the colour pink.

As a teenager, I adored all things pink. Especially if they had cherries on them.
But then I grew up and got a job. My colour of choice became flame red - to suit my new grown up sexually dominant personality (that's what I like to tell myself anyway.)
A male friend was once very surprised when I told him I didn't own a pair of pink shoes, despite owning at least five red pairs. But at the time I told him pink was 'out.' I wasn't in the mindset for lovey dovey pink. I was all about world domination.
But these shoes, oh, the shoes. With a red sole but the beautiful faded pink leather and cutesy bow they perfectly mesh my inner girlieness with my grown up self. For the first time in months I found myself pulling out my very sweet pink gingham underwear set. Lacy balconette bra, little lacy shorts. People, this is as sweet as sexy goes. It's like Little House on the Prairie for hot people. (Especially if added with above mentioned heels and red lipstick.)
I'm a girl falling in love again, I'm 13 going on 30... loving the pink.
Maybe Katy Perry is to blame for the new apparent obsession with a more girlie way of dressing, her 1950's style is so sweet you could vomit on her cherry flavoured chapstick. She's all about the glitter, cute motifs and pin curled hair.
And the shops are certainly copying her vibe. As proof, Faith has a pair of peep toe courts, entirely covered in cherry print. What to make of this? Are we to be confronted with a parade of retro throwbacks come Spring?
Don't get me wrong - I love the retro. I love the seamed tights and the red lipstick and the pink shoes. I love the waist cinching and the big bosoms. However, despite my current love affair with pink and kitsh, I'm not sure I can quite go the whole way. I'm too old and too much of a feminist. I prefer to look like a woman with a bit of edge than a pretty little girl.
So how to do the pink loving without being too sickly sweet? How do we combine the loved up girl with the tough-talking, boardroom-owning woman? Obviously the shoes do it well. Another example is my newly acquired pink checked shirt from River Island.
This I believe, is not all sweetness and light. This shirt, despite it's cute little ruffles and randomly placed sequins, can be punked up - thanks to it's low, low neckline, this shirt teamed with skin tight black jeans, and black Carrie Bradshaw Dior heels (If you've watched the film, you know what I'm talking about, if you haven't watched the film, you are so obviously lost in Blogland - get out of my site) is pure raucous, nasty sex on a stick. And yet it's still pink! And you can get away with wearing it down the local pub. Yay for overdressing.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Seamed Tights: retro or still just eighties trash?

I have noticed as of late that a new trend for forties style seamed tights has appeared in many a high street store. Namely Accessorize and River Island, with Accessorize keeping things subtle and sweet with sheer black tights, a not particularly obvious seam and bow imprinted into the ankle of the tights. Trust River Island to vamp things up, (my sister calls me a slut because I love to shop there.) red and black fishnets sport a seam and cute bow at the ankle, flesh tights make the black seam stick out like breasts from a Wonderbra.
What is it about a black line down the back of the leg? It makes even the dumpiest of legs long, sensuous and a little bit naughty.
And they fit pretty much all of autumn's trends. Accessorizes contribution turns gothy, dark and punky clothes into something kitsh and fun rather than scary and serious.
Admittedly, there is something, dare I say it, a bit seamy about seamed tights, something a bit bad eighties pop video, you know, a woman with a white background, wide rimmed black hat, black pencil skirt and high necked tank top, red lipstick, slicked back hair... gulp, what a fashion travesty. No one, not even Cindy Crawford, really pulled this off.
However, if worn with a bit of irony, seamed tights can be playful, cheeky and even mysterious (think of a femme fatale strutting off into the depths of night, her curls loose, her heels clicking the darkened pavement, her perfect figure making the perfect shadow - swoonsome).
Wear with a skirt above the knee, a cute and flaring mini in a block colour works well. And don't just stick to black courts, play with colour and shape, this seasons shoe boots and open toed T-bar's can really work this look. However too high on the ankle, and you risk covering up that oh-so-cute bow.
The only real rule - make sure those heels are skyscraper high. The seamed tight is after all, a little nod to the days when women actually wore stockings on a daily basis. A time when women wore more structured, hourglass figure-defining clothes. When leaving the house without a hat was really quite shocking.
I'm not saying people should start wearing hats (although if fishnet veils trailing from a pillbox hat suddenly became trendy again, my lord I would be so excited), merely that the seamed tight simply doesn't work for the sloppy or casual dresser. To wear the seamed tight you have to make a little effort with your whole being, paint your nails a daring red, get a blow dry at the hairdressers, wear a slightly lower cut top, cinch in that waist and be proud of what you've got.
Pencil skirts can work, and are an effective way to wear your seamed fishnets round the office without appearing too risque. Worn with a crisp v-neck white shirt and your work wear has been given a real lift.
The best thing about seamed tights though - they are sexier than bare legs - they remind men of lingerie, this reminds men of sex (as if they need any reminding), so despite having those pins covered up, have them in tip top hair free shape, as wearing these out on the town you will be very likely getting some.