Friday, 24 September 2010

Friend Friday: Fashion Dos & Don'ts

Every week, Katy from Modly Chic writes a bunch of bloggers a bunch of questions, and we answer them. Please head on over to her blog to see what she and everyone else who participated wrote!

This week's topic: Fashion Dos and Don'ts.

1) What do think are some of the top fashion don'ts? (Things you would never be caught dead in and cringe when other people wear them.)
For me, UGG boots are a huge fashion don't.  I know they're supposed to be comfy and warm and whatnot, but for me, they're just...yuck. Also, super baggy clothes that look more like a beanbag cover than clothes because it's so shapeless. Aaaand leggings with a short top that shows your bum.  It leaves no mystery regarding that area of your body - some things are meant to be covered!  It's ok if you're going to the gym or something, but to walk around during the day as though it's normal is not ok! I could go on, but there are more questions to be answered!

2) What previous fashion don'ts do you now where with pride?
When I was younger, I hated when girls wore short skirts, I swore I'd never do it.  Now, I do wear shortER skirts and show off my legs a bit more, but only ever with tights on, so it's never too revealing.  But as my Dad pointed out a little while ago, 10 years ago I wouldn't be caught dead in what I wear today. Thanks Dad!

3) Do you think there is a universal fashion do?
I think making an effort with you clothes is a fashion do.  So many people I know just roll out of bed and put on whatever's closest at hand, so they end up looking like a mess, or wearing something I mentioned in Q1!  Also, I think another big do is to wear things that flatter you and make you feel good about yourself. Whatever that might be, as long as you feel great in what your'e wearing, you'll look great. 

4) What items lately, either recently in style or coming in now, do you think should never make it off the retail shelves?
I think Chanel's head-to-toe fur from A/W'10. Normally, I'm the biggest Chanel lover on the planet, but something about that collection and the yeti suits was just plain bad. Sorry Karl.

5) In your opinion, is there any blogger, fashion icon, celebrity who somehow manages to pull off some fashion don'ts and still look good?
I can't think of any off the top of my head, because there aren't many bloggers I know/follow who do any of those things I consider a huge don't.  And because I'm not really up on the celebrity scene (I'm about 5/6 years behind!) I can't name anyone as such.  I do think, though, that generally speaking, models off duty look the worst to me.  They go around between shows or castings wearing baggy, oversized and unflattering clothes that don't make them look good and don't show off their (tiny) figures.  Which is a shame, because they're hired because they look beautiful, but their clothes (to me) give off the vibe of being anything but.

Hope you enjoyed this week's questions, any comments please leave them below!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Links of the week

Ahhh, it's been ages since I did a links of the week, and I have loads to show you all! I think I missed one a couple of weeks ago and it's all gone downhill since then! I'm really sorry! Anyway, here goes:

  • I ordered one of Kiss me deadly's Vargas dresses (this is lingerie I'm talking about here, if you're unsure, I'd wait until you get home!!). It's divine!  I've been eyeing them up for ages, but always felt that £49 was a bit steep for a bit of underwear, no matter how suck-you-in-while-looking-sexy it is!  Then, I stumbled across Hepburn & Leigh, who had one in my size for £18. That's right! I nearly fainted. So it's bought, arrived and had its test-drive at the weekend. It was lovely. Cinched in all the places I needed it to, without being uncomfortable or anything of the sort. 5/5!
  • Last week I stumbled across Tom Service's blog on The Guardian website.  He writes about classical music, and there were a few articles that I found particularly interesting in his archives: What makes a minor key sound sad?, BBC's Opera Season Vs Popstar to Operastar on ITV, Why aren't there more women conductors?.  I'd really recommend reading his blog if you're into classical music in any way, it's really interesting!
  • Some people in the USA did a fascinating social experiment, that I'd really recommend you watch.  They put 100 $1 notes on a tree and left them there to see how the public reacted.  Guess what you think would happen first, then watch it!
  • Candice DeVille of Super Kawaii Mama did a post of Cover Girl Inspirations. Lovely images, and lovely inspiration too!
  • Since I'm beginning to adventure into the world of cycling, this article was an eye opener.  It's a witty analysis of British cycling culture, and the writer explains why he thinks we should ban cycle helmets in order to save the planet.
Sorry I've been a bit neglectful recently, I'm having a rather disorientated few days! (read: week or so!)

Currently listening to Richard Hawley's album: Cole's Corner. What a voice, eh?

Friday, 17 September 2010

Friend Friday: Work vs. Blog Wear

Every week, Katy from Modly Chic sends a bunch of bloggers a bunch of questions pertinent to us all in some way or another.  Read hers and everyone else's responses on her blog! Hope you enjoy!

So, this week, we're talking about blog/work wear.  In her email, Katy asked 'How many times have you looked at a post and thought the blogger was adorable but probably wore the outfit only to take pictures and post to the blog?'

1)  When it comes to outfit posts on your own blog, be honest, are they actually what you wore that day?
Yes, absolutely! Sometimes it's a few days behind, so it's not what I'm wearing that actual day, but I wore whatever I posted all day. I don't ever really show my shoes because I haven't mastered fitting the whole of myself top to toe in a frame yet (I know, shameful blogging! I am working on it, promise!) but I wear the same shoes all day too!

2) For a fashion blogger, working in a corporate environment can be tricky.  How do you mesh your day job with your fashion choices?
I'm quite lucky, because this question doesn't apply to me really, because I'm a student!  I do have certain times when a dress code is necessary, for example when I perform in concerts I must wear smart clothes, with my various choirs it's usually an all-black dress code, but in my day to day life I can wear whatever the hell I want!  Of course, I never go around in jogging bottoms or anything of the sort, so I think most of the things I wear are office appropriate anyway, with some minor variations!

3) When you get dressed in the morning, do you think what should I wear to work, or what should I wear for the blog?
I always dress for myself. I've never been one to wear things because of, or for, other people.  This is easier because I don't have a job so I am never 'restricted' by a dress code.

4) Do professionals you interact with ever make comments about your clothing choices?
Yes, they do.  I guess for a young person I can sometimes look a bit older as a result of my clothes, or just a bit over-dressed (I always prefer to overdress than be under-dressed - my worst nightmare!).  I'm pleased to say that most of the time people are very complimentary about my clothes :)

5) Some bloggers openly admit to wearing outfits only for the blog post.  What's your opinion on that?
Personally, I don't find it that much of a crime, however it depends on the blog itself, and what I read it for.  Some blogs I just read for 'artistic' inspiration and others I read for actual 'real life' inspiration, eg. remixing items, DIYs etc.  I do think though, that there should be a distinction between the 2.  So, if you show something on your blog that you would never wear outside (like a costume-type outfit) then you should say so, in my opinion.  It's like the difference between couture shows and ready-to-wear shows, if that analogy makes sense?

What are your thoughts on my answers to these questions?  And if you're interested head over to Katy's blog to see what others have said too!

Currently listening to: Phillip Glass: Glassworks.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

A couple of outfit posts

It seems like ages since I last did an outfit post, so here's 2 in a row!   First of all, it's that blue dress again! I wore this to go shopping with my housemate last week, with my new (ish) trench coat.  I'll post the details of it sometime, because for me it's those subtle details that make it special in comparison to other trenches!  My mum bought me  these shoes from M&S, and despite their style (they look like they could be very toe crunchingly uncomfortable) they're very comfortable!  I'm not yet sure how they'd stand up for a whole day of walking, but they're fine for a couple of hours of walking!




Then, here's what I wore today for my induction at work. I wanted to look appropriately smart but also show my personality, so I thought this outfit would work well!  I love this pencil skirt, my only wish is that it was a little longer, because it hits just above the knee, which isn't quite long enough for my taste in pencil skirts, but it's never indecent!  The cardigan is from my recent trip to the newly-opened Primark in Guildford.  I said to myself that I wouldn't go, but my housemate took me (on the above mentioned shopping trip) and I couldn't resist this cardigan! It's just lovely!



I start my job on Sunday, I'm really looking forward to it especially after my induction today.  Everyone seems really nice, and the floor manager I met today seemed to indicate that they understand that everyone makes mistakes when they first start working there, which is good, because some workplaces are very unaccepting of mistakes from their new employees!  I also get an allowance - 75% off clothes & accessories for my uniform for a certain amount of money, then the rest is 25% off (for an unlimited amount), which is definitely yummy. I am going to enjoy working there I think if nothing else but for accumulating all these lovely cheap clothes! :)

Hope you're all having a lovely week!

Currently listening to: Crazy little thing called love by Queen

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Style Icon Series: Charlotte York

Charlotte York, Carrie Bradshaw's classy co-star in Sex and the City.  I love her classic stylings, out of all the girls, she is always the one whose outfit I like the most, and find the most wearable.  Some think her style can be a bit 'cute' or preppy, but I disagree mostly with those labels.  I think classic and feminine would be better labels. I find Carrie's wardrobe wonderful inspiration, but I could never take something off the hanger and copy what she wore - I'd look like a clown.  Whereas with Charlotte I feel that I could just take something out of her wardrobe (even though we're different sizes, I'm playing imaginary dress up here, give me some artistic license!) and I think 90% of the time it would look ok and wearable.  We don't all live on a catwalk!  So, here's to Charlotte York; classy, feminine and wearable inspiration!

Hope you're all having lovely weeks, sorry I've not been posting as much, life has been very hectic and it's all catching up with me rather quickly - I have a sore throat today, so I'm getting an early night tonight!

Currently listening to: Walk on by, by Dionne Warwick

Friday, 10 September 2010

Friend Friday: New York Fashion Week

Every week, Katy from Modly Chic asks a bunch of bloggers a bunch of questions.  Previous topics have included things like size, copycat fashion and privacy.  Go to her site to see all the previous topics and what everyone else has said about this week's topic!

Katy has set this week's topic as New York Fashion Week.  Not living in New York, or even the US, I thought this might be a tricky one to answer, but in fact her questions are universal for everyone, no matter where they live :)

Fashion week began yesterday in NYC at its new venue of the Lincoln Centre, and it's only a week until the excitement comes to London.   So, let's get started:

1) Do you pay attention to the show during Fashion Week?  Which designer's collections are you looking forward to seeing?
I do pay attention to fashion week, only in as much as I like to see pretty clothes.  It's unlikely you'll ever catch me going into a shop and saying 'oh that looks so much like a miumiu s/s 08 rip off', cause I just don't follow the runway shows that much. However, I'll always be interested in a bit of YSL, Chanel, Burberry and Prada.  I'm actually quite interested to see where they're going to go after such beautiful A/W '10 collections.

2) Where are you getting your Fashion Week news from?
Like most people's answers I've read so far, I'll be getting my news from Twitter and other people's blogs.  So many blogs I follow are going to LFW this year, so I'm really excited to see everyone's news! I would like to go in person at some point, but that might have to wait for another couple of years...

3) Over the years, the runway has become more than just models displaying the creations of a designer. They are now spectacles.  Do you think this adds or detracts from the fashion?
I've always thought of fashion as a kind of 'art with cloth' kind of thing.  Therefore, I'm really in favour of having all this other stuff going on while the clothes are going down the runway.  It means that the show is just that, a show.  It also gives the designers a chance to put their clothes into a context, be that a context of their inspiration or a context of what/where they'd like to clothes to be.  It also means that there's less of a focus on the models, which I'm not sure what I think of, but I think I like it.  It means they're part of the show, rather than being the focus of the show.

4) Twice a year, as models begin to strut the catwalk we see articles about model size and body image.  Do you think the super thin models are offering an attainable goal to the public or are we immune to their looks?
Often a controversial topic, this one.  I think people are starting to lose interest in this debate.  Every season, a few designers have a few 'normal' women walk down their runway, as an exception, and usually just as a publicity stunt.  Additionally, I don't think the models have that big an impact on everyday women.  Unless you spend your days looking and pouring over runway pics, then you're not going to be exposed to these tiny models in everyday life on a daily basis.  More concerning is the size of the models used in catalogues, online shopping, etc. because that's what most women see more regularly.

5) If you could sit front row at any show, what would you want to see?  And which celebrity would you like to sit next to?
For LFW, it would be Burberry. Across all Fashion Weeks, I'd choose Chanel, though.  I always like 90% of what goes down those runways (I draw the line at yeti boots from the A/W '10, for example) and I love the spectacle that goes with it: Icebergs etc. Fabulous!  As far as a celebrity to sit next to, I'd probably pick Emma Watson, because she just seems like a nice girl, nice a relaxed about the entire thing.

Hope you enjoyed this week's Friend Friday, as always, any ideas/replies on what I've written, leave a comment :)  Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Sparkles and curls and tights, oh my!

Last night, I curled my hair in pincurls using the tutorial at the bottom of the page as a guide (although I already have my own little setting pattern in my head).  I slept in it with a silk scarf over my head, which is never particularly pleasant, although much better than rollers it must be said, I've done that once. Never again, people. Anywhoo, this is pretty much what I looked like when I woke up this morning:


I mean, it's not terrible, but not the look I was going for.  Really, my hair's still too short for it to turn out the way I want.  So I ended up just sticking it up.  Also, I'm trying to grow out my fringe (or bangs, whichever word you prefer) so curlyness is pretty good for masking the growout. So I ended up doing a sort of updo pinned look, which I'll show you all another time.  I've actually got quite a lot of eyeliner on today, but you can't really tell, and the lipstick isn't anywhere near that red, silly photo, eh? (Also, my face isn't really a different colour from my neck.  more silly photo business, that.)



I don't know if you remember, but a couple of years ago M&S were celebrating 125 years of being a shop and they released a load of vintage-style dresses to commemorate each decade in the C20 that they'd been open?  Well, that's where I got this little beauty.  It's the most expensive dress I've ever bought in a shop, no lie (but it was less than £100, so don't panic!).  It's more flattering than the picture lets on, actually.  The only thing that lets it down is that it's dry clean only.  I handwash it carefully, but it takes FOREVER to dry because it's quite a thick fabric.  But hey ho, that's what you get for having a very pretty dress :)

Pincurl tutorial from Hollywoodnoirmakeup:

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Style Icon Series: Marilyn Monroe

A lady featured on probably everyone's 'style icon' list.  Nevertheless she's a huge inspiration to me.  I often come across films that she's in on a random afternoon on itv4 or similar channels, but I never quite manage to watch them all the way through!  I love her clothes in all the films she's been in that I've seen (I don't profess to be a huge fan, I've seen bits of about a handful of films), and I love the clothes I see her wearing in pretty much every photo I see of her.  Her life was marred by personal problems, and by the end of her working life, she had a reputation for being enormously difficult to work with.  However, her films are very enjoyable, and I could just look at her all day....

Hope you're all having a lovely week so far!  I handwashed my underwear and tights etc today! TMI? Well, it's all part of my mission to not go through stuff (tights & stockings in particular) as quickly as I do, so I thought handwashing might help them not get ruined in the machine! Fingers crossed, I'll let you know how it goes.

Currently listening to: Them Heavy People by Kate Bush.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Paris days 2 & 3

So, here is the 2nd installment of my photos of Paris.  Just to reiterate so that you don't expect miracles: I am not a photographer in any way, and I cannot afford a super posh camera (SLRs are totally out of my price range) so we're left with whatever my little camera can do.
Anywhoo, so, here we go!

On the morning of day 2, we walked from our hotel in the direction of the musee d'orsay (more on that later...) and went past a few rather nice sights.
This is the church of St. Madeleine, really pretty.  But we couldn't go inside for some unexplained reason, it said it should be open, but it wasn't. Ah well.


Meanwhile, we poodled on down a rue and went past the mothership: (can you tell what it is yet?)


We went via Le Place de la Concorde, but for some really odd reason, I didn't take any photos.  Anyway, from there we then went to the musee d'orsay.  This is me, outside, just hanging out with my mate Vincent:



It's a really beautiful building, I was surprised.  I think I would've enjoyed it more had I been allowed to take photos inside.  I kid you not, it was the only place in Paris that forbade photo taking.  You couldn't even feign ignorance there were signs everywhere, on penalty of death! (I might've made that last bit up, but there really were signs everywhere, and security guards patrolling to make sure no sneaky photos were taken.)  I felt like it was such a shame, because there were some beautiful pieces of art inside and I couldn't take any photos and now I don't remember what they looked like :(  Anyway, enough moaning, from outside the musee we caught one of those batobus things.  Probably the best thing since sliced bread, because they let you sit down for an hour (depending on where you're going, of course), while taking you to places of touristy interest, with a lovely view.  We went under le pont des artes, where if you put a padlock on it and throw the key into the Seine then you're supposed to find love or something. There must be lots of rusting metal in that little bit of the Seine. But it's a cute concept, right?


We also went past Notre Dame (I watched film yesterday. It's pretty good, although I still intend to read the book, I just love Disney.  In my little blinkered world, they can do very little wrong!)


Paris has a reputation for being full of beautiful people.  I wouldn't have said that every person I walked past was a stunner, but I didn't see one Parisian wearing tracksuit bottoms or anything. Lovely. These 2 were on boat and particularly well dressed. I would've married either of them (not true, but how many men do you see these days wearing 2 toned brogues?!) :


Pont Alexandre III:


And finally, le tour Eiffel:


I've walked up it before, so decided to skip that bit and get the lift.  Also, my knee was giving me a bit of pain, I think from all the walking, so I don't think it would've taken kindly to 1000000000 stairs (again, slight exaggeration, but I've done it once, so I'm proud, the end).  Some views from the top, le Trocadero:



Then, we decided to walk home, via Notre Dame. For me, it's one of the most beautiful sights in Paris.


I particularly love all the statues.  During the French Revolution, they de-faced all the statues on Notre Dame, because they seemed to regal and kingly.  They stayed all de-faced until the early C19 when most of them were restored.  They left a few without faces, probably to remind everyone of how they used to be?? Maybe.


Then, it had been a long day with a lot of walking, we went to bed.  The next day, we went for another long walk, to l'arc de triomphe, which I'd never been 'inside' of before.  We didn't go to the top, didn't see the point and it was expensive.  But we stood in the middle, and it was really cool.  At one end, the view stretched all the way to la Defense, where you could see le grande arche (misnomer in my opinion, it's a bloody square!), and in the other direction, all the way down the Champs-Elysee. There was also a memorial to an un-named soldier of WWI, in whose memory the arch was built, I think.  (Please correst me if I'm wrong on any of my historical facts!)


Then we walked all the way down the Champs-Elysee, which is deceptively long. Especially on a Sunday morning when none of the shops are open to browse in on the way down :(  (Turns out no shops are open on a Sunday, except on the Champs-Elysee, so that was a bit of a bummer, and half of restaurants aren't open either.  Which coming from Britain where everything's open 7 days a week was quite a shock to the system!)  Anywhoo, we walked all the way down there, through le Jardin Tuileries to le Louvre.


However the queue to get in was about 100 miles long, and because all of us had been in before, and James doesn't much like art anyway (he hated the orsay!) we decided to give it a miss.


For the rest of the day, we poodled around a bit, and then we had to walk back home via the Champs-Elysee again because some idiot *cough* didn't bring enough clothes to wear and had no top to wear on the way home. That was the biggest detour ever, and we were all very pleased to sit down and rest!

Hope you're enjoying having my holiday snaps inflicted upon you all (this isn't even half of them, I got a bit trigger happy!) and this is inspiring you all to go to Paris!! (I want to go again already!)

Currently listening to: You're so Vain by Carly Simon (did you know Mick Jagger is a backing singer for this song? Listen, he has a really distinctive voice, you'll hear him a mile off! Sort of)

Friday, 3 September 2010

Friend Friday: Copycat Fashion

Every week, Katy of Modly Chic comes up with a topic that a group of bloggers discuss. I missed last week's due to being away, but if you want to catch up, head on over to her page. Also, be sure to head on over anyway, to look at what everyone else has said about this week's topic!

1) Which side do you take...Copycat designs are a way for the average consumer to stay current and wear runway styles without breaking the bank OR copycat designs take business from the designer and cheapen the value of their work. Explain.
I think that the copycat designs that appear in 'legitimate' shops like H&M, ASOS, Topshop, etc are totally harmless. They make these unwearable and totally unaffordable trends and pieces more attainable. In most cases, those who can afford to shop designer (and who have the inclination) do so, and those who can't, don't. I don't think they take business away from top designers because they both have different target markets.

2) Sometimes we do things, even if they are unethical or illegal (downloading music for free, watching full movies on YouTube). Do you think it is unethical for a designer to copy a vintage piece, make it current and sell it?
I don't think it's wrong for a designer to take inspiration from a design from however many years ago and recycle, rework or reuse it as their own. Fashion is so cyclical, especially these days, so I don't see the harm. As long as there is no plagiarism going on, I see no reason to mind it at all. It's like sharing. Kind of.

3) Would you buy an item that is a very well done copy of a runway garment if it fell within your budget?
Almost certainly yes. It doesn't bother me.

4) According to the fashion laws, at least in the US, apparel design is seen as too utilitarian to qualify for copyright protection. Would you think this is detrimental to the industry of beneficial?
In the first instance, and as a gut reaction, I would say it was detrimental. Everything else has copyright, why shouldn't clothes? However, by there not being copyright protection, then designers have to be sure that there clothes aren't easily copyable by super cheap high street shops, but also, I like the fact that cheaper labels can pretty much mimic anything (ASOS was founded with the intention of just recreating as closely as possible what celebrities wore - therefore usually copying a high end designer piece).

5) Own up...share the things in your closet that is a knock off. You know those things you got in China Town, on the streets of NYC or wherever.
In truth, I don't own any knock offs. Certainly nothing with a designer label that shouldn't actually be there. I own stuff that is supposed copies of runway stuff, but nothing that is a total knock off from a street vendor. Does this make me pure? (ha!)

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this week's topic, and you enjoyed my answers! Any comments, please leave them! If you think I'm wrong or whatever, feel free to say!
Have a good weekend!

Currently listening to: Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen by Baz Luhrman.

Links of the week

So, here's this week's installment of links I've found in the interweb this week. Because I was away for last week's, I decided to just amalgamate the 2 week's worth of things, because I was away for 4 days anyway, and I still have so much catching up to do! So, here we go:

  • Harriet has posted a load of pictures of OTK socks, citing them as the perfect autumn transition piece. I quite agree, but always struggle to wear them, so this gives me plenty of inspiration!
  • This blog Inside Out Style has body shapes explained (go down the Nav bar on the right and figure out which one you are). I'm an X shape, and the description fitted me perfectly! What are you? Did you learn anything useful from this to help you dress to flatter your body shape? (Of course, I'm a strong advocate of wearing what you want, regardless of what all these self help stylist people say, but y'know it can never hurt to wear things that look good on you!)
  • Une femme d'un certain age wrote about minimalist dressing. I'm definitely quite a fan of minimalist dressing, I've never been one to overload on clothes/accessories!
  • This journo writes about the things he's learnt from traveling around the world for three years.
  • Luinae (who's been featured on this list more than anyone else, I'd bet!) lists the things she likes and dislikes about being in generation X - growing up in the 21st Century. Very interesting read! What would be on your list?
  • A brief history of the corset. With some NSFW pics too (but nothing terrible, just warning you!) I've always found corsets sexy as hell, and this post makes me wish I owned more than one, or that I wore my one more often!
There have been loads more, but I just haven't had time to read everything properly yet, please forgive me blog-land! Hope you're all well, I'm packing to move back to uni tomorrow. It's amazing how much stuff one person has! Even down to the little things like tea lights and holders. It's not like packing for a holiday, that takes about an hour. This takes a day. I've done my clothes and most of my toiletries so far. I'd guesstimate that I'm about halfway through...:( Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Currently listening to: Talk Show Host by Radiohead