Sunday, 27 June 2010

Feather Skirt

 Jason Wu Lassie Ostrich Feather Skirt - Image from Net-a-Porter

Here is an example of my fashion neuroses.  I love feathers and I think feather skirts are very cute even though I am probably way too old to be wearing one.  Last winter I bought a nude feather skirt from Topshop in the spirit of the Jason Wu one featured above and the very same one Gok Wan featured in one of his winning runway challenges against Brix Smith Start on his Fashion Fix series.  I thought I ended up looking a little too much like an ugly signet from Swan Lake rather than someone working a sophisticated fashion forward choice of evening wear and couldn't for the life of me figure out what to wear with it.  So I returned it.

Instead of learning my lesson a short time later a black ostrich feather skirt with a beaded waistband from Topshop came home with me - the reasoning being that somehow black in something as outrageous as ostrich feathers would be more wearable.  Hey didn't the black evil swan Odette win the battle against the more saccharine-clad pink and white swan for the prince's affections in the end?  Well despite that it has remained unworn to this day.

There is hope though, feather skirts have still featured in several designers collections for Spring Summer 2010.  Including this one with a beaded waistband from Adam pictured below which was recently featured on WhoWhatWear.  My much cheaper Topshop one is almost identical to this skirt!  Now given that the Topshop one came out last year who is copying who?  I think that my Moises de la Renta for Mango embellished white t-shirt will be just the thing to go with this skirt so it may finally get an outing!

Image from Adam

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Preen Power Dress

Image from Preen

Behold the Preen Power dress.  Been lusting after one of these for a while so when I saw this satin trimmed version on sale online at seventy percent off I ordered it.  It arrived today and guess what - even after losing weight and ordering a size up it is still too small around the torso!  And yet despite me being a pear shape with a bigger backside and hips than torso it fits around my bottom half perfectly.  Aaaah!  I thought this was supposed to be the corsetry miracle of the twentieth century that gave you a waist and boobs at the same time.  What gives?  I am a UK size 8 and the small doesn't fit me?  Who the hell are these dresses made for?  Complete sticks no doubt. 

With help from boyfriend squeezing into this was just short of having the whole works of stays, lacing and whalebone applied.  I still think that would have been more effective than the exposed zip trying to hold the corserty elastane together.  Once in and zipped up it is clear my boobs and shoulders are too small and would be swamped by the next size up as the top is falling down off me and no - still no boobs.  Yet the zip pops right open if I move.  Very puzzling design.  Preen - please explain!

Monday, 21 June 2010

Summer Prints

I've got a thing for dresses and skirts in prints in the summer.  After an eternal winter of navy, black and grey when the sun starts shining your soul screams out for high definition colour!

Summer Prints:

Orange red wrap dress with brown, grey and white pansy print by Kate Moss for Topshop
Multicoloured digital print dress by Oasis
Purple, black, grey, white and olive art deco and floral printed kimono dress by Mango
Periwinkle, purple and grey mosiac printed silk skirt by Mango
White column maxi dress with purple, violet, aubergine, blush pink and black floral print by Tokito

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Cropped Tux

Cropped Tuxedo Jacket by Acne, image from Polyvore

I love a tux jacket and have been in love with the cropped version for a while. The luxury version by Acne was recently modelled by Jess Cartney Morley on the Guardian's How to Dress series which I always catch on a lazy Saturday morning.  I wasn't convinced by this tux when I saw it on My-Wardrobe until I saw it worn in this video where on Jess it looks elegant and edgy at the same time.

There have been some great versions on the high street of a cropped tux at more accessible prices but ones sporting the traditional contrasting satin peaked labels as found in a traditional men's tux have been harder to come by.  The satin peaked labels lend it a bit of that circus ringmaster vibe which some people find too theatrical but I actually quite like. (Hell I own a vintage top hat!)

I bought this cropped version with three quarter length sleeves from Mango.  Via some sharp tailoring it has been pieced and stitched together to give a rather clever impression of having lapels where there are none.  It has structured shoulders and shoulder pads which balances out the proportion up top in relation to the nipped in waist.

I have five tuxedo style jackets, three of which are cropped, mostly in black.  I'm thinking a white one would be a nice addition.  Also I have yet to one with a contrasting satin peak lapel.  Hmmm - the Acne one is currently on sale...

Monday, 14 June 2010

Embellished Tee

A recent purchase from Mango I have been getting a lot of wear out of lately.  Popping this on solves the problem of dressing up a casual look without having to make too much effort.  The black velvet devore patterning and gem embellishment is reminiscent of Victorian jet jewellery.  Its stark contrast against the cream cotton serves as an alternative to wearing a statement necklace and the rest of my outfit can be kept simple to let the tee shirt be the focal point.

The fit is loose and it has a slouchy neckline, lending it a more casual feel, and it is just long enough to pair with leggings.

It has however been the choice of uniform for the sales assistants in the local Mango flagship store.  I discovered  this when I made the mistake of wearing it into the shop when they were all wearing theirs, so I had people approaching me on the shop floor constantly asking me for other sizes in the stock!

I wore this on the weekend with a cropped tux (also from Mango) and my Black Rats leggings.  I've also found it works well with bleached grey jeans and my Karen Millen lace jacket.

Oversized cream cotton T-shirt with black devore and jet gem embellishment by Mango

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Topshop AW 2010

Image from A Fashion Tale

Nooooo! Damn you Topshop! Just when I thought my bank account was safe!! First Kate Moss' Spring Summer collection and now this! How is it that someone (normally living) in London and who religiously checks for updates on Topshop has not until today clocked this collection and someone in Scandinavia already has?

The shearling coat and cape cut trench have Burberry written all over them and the tan leather shorts are reminiscent of those featured in the Celine and Wang Spring/Summer collections only more wearable and affordable. I'm dying to get my hands on that grey suede gilet and those scallop hem chiffon shorts.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Summer Sandals

I bought these sandals a month ago in Zara during a heatwave when wearing closed shoes was finally becoming unbearable.  I was desperate for something that could span day to evening without having to change but still comfortable in the heat and on cobblestones.  I went for embellished sandals for a change from gladiators.  If I can't wear heels to dress up an outfit than why not flash a bit of foot jewellery to up the glamour quotient on wearing flat shoes.  Straight after buying them it became uncharacteristically cold and they remained unworn.

Now that the days are very hot again I am finally getting to wear them out.  I like the combination of the large creamy white faceted gems framed by diamantes against the tan leather.  They have been very versatile too - I've been wearing them with my new suede shorts from Kate Moss, denim, my nude leather jacket, summer whites and summer dresses.

Tan Leather Sandals with Gem embellishment by Zara

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Ripped Tee Shirt

Photo from JakandJil

Who would pay for a ripped tee shirt?  Lets face it we all probably have one lurking somewhere in the closet and it probably got that way without having to pay a hefty Balmain price tag for it.  Think combination of age, moths and catching on sharp objects rather than artful placement by Christophe Decarnin and team.  Want to give a formal jacket an edge?  Or imbue some rock and roll into a basic but otherwise boring blazer?  Here's a good way to do it - combine with a ripped up tee.  But having said that your old rag probably doesn't quite do the trick either - see above pic of Emmanuele working the look for the effect I'm thinking of.  Notice it seems to be equally battered as it is pristine white and luxuriously soft. 

Balmain's version of a ripped tee must be sending every fashionista running for their local army surplus store to pick up one in authentic army green in order to reproduce this trend at home for a fraction of the cost.  Quite right too - with all due respect I am sure there are better ways to spend £860 than on this.

Image from Net-a-Porter

While I'm not a fan of army colours like khaki, I do like the rock and roll feel of a ripped tee in either straight up black or white and one like Emmanuele's has been on my shopping list for a while.

Topshop obviously has its style advisers on the ball having produced this near lookalike to Emmanuele's tee copied down to the smiley slash along the neckline.  For me it's close but no cigar.  Its cropped cut makes it suitable for teenagers with washboard stomachs only.  More crucially the holes are a little too regular in size; the edges are too clean, hinting at the mass produced stamping process that was no doubt employed in production - which all combines to make it look a bit contrived.  There is a fine line between looking like a slice of Swiss cheese and a tee shirt.

Image from Polyvore

Herein lies the great irony of grunge trends - you want something that looks like you picked it up after hours of trawling through a vintage store or market, a one of a kind garment that has lived a few exciting lives before reaching you, a piece with history and a story to tell - not something trussed out with an identikit pattern.  If you aren't able or willing to spend the time on this kind of hunt for authenticity but don't want to be seen in the very same tee every teenager in London will be sporting this summer what option do you have?  You have to cough up truckloads for the design of something only a privileged few can afford and which you feel you could achieve with a pair of scissors, which subsequently generates outrage at the price of designed vintage.  It is a vicious circle.

The question begs as to why I haven't made one myself.  I actually spend a great deal of time in old tees customised with scissors but nicks and holes suggestive of natural wear and tear are hard to fake well  (puncture jersey with a pair of scissors you'll see what I mean).  By the time I wait for my new white tees to decay to the state of Emannuele's they will probably be yellow with age and the ripped tee may or may not have came back round to grace fashion.

While I wait for time to rework new tees into vintage ones I have found a reasonable compromise in this black ripped tee shirt for six euros in the Spanish high street chain Pull and Bear.  It has just a few well placed rips with gritty edges on one shoulder, so it looks less like someone took to it with a machine gun and more like someone randomly stubbed a cigarette out on it.  Plus it is a decent length.  The semi sheer fabric has a subtle devore animal print and the diamante trim on the shoulders adds a touch of glamour to offset the grunginess of the holes.

While I wax lyrical about a few holes in a tee shirt you can't expect everyone to get grunge. I wore this out last night to a local gig with my boyfriend with bleached grey skinny jeans and a strong shouldered single breasted black jacket. When we got home he asked me in a slightly concerned voice if I had realised that my tee shirt had some holes and that it looked like moths had been at it!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Weddings Andulasian Style - Lunares

Every good Andaluza loves her polka dots.  I marvel at how these ladies walk on the cobbles here with heels as high as these and I am a heel addict.

A nineteen twenties style headband with either floral or feather embellishment seems to be all the rage at weddings here this year.  Note the additional accessory that you would almost never require at an English wedding - a wooden fan in a lacquer that matches your outfit to keep the heat at bay.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Beach Days and Breton Stripes for Boys

Its hot.  Damn hot.

At least I am close to the coast so after a half hour drive I can be taking a dip in the sea to cool off.  I like wearing shorts to the beach and my uniform for beach days has been double denim over my bikini and a bright beach towel.

I was lacking proper beachwear basics until a couple of days ago.  My favourite turquoise bikini I brought over with me had to be ditched as I found the fabric on the ties was melting into a disturbing black goo which was threatening to stain my clothes.  Apart from the bikini I had arrived in Spain without most of my normal beach paraphernalia (flip flops, sarong, beach bag etc...) due to weight allowance.  I thought I would pick up some new ones cheaply in the local shops.  For the first few trips to the sea I was relying on my new espadrilles and shoulder bag to take me from town to beach as I didn't have time to shop around before a heatwave descended.  Luckily the Spanish fashion magazines have come to my rescue with a big beachwear giveaway at the moment.  My beach read and my beach wear sorted!

For yesterday's beach trip I swapped double denim for my new Kate Moss suede shorts along with a white tee, a freebie turquoise bikini which came with Spanish Elle and a pair of badly needed freebie flip flops which came Spanish InStyle.  I'm sure some other magazine must be giving away a beach bag and sarong and then my freebie beachwear look will be complete!

My boyfriend has been working a marine look lately.  I found this off white and navy Breton stripe v-necked tee for him in the menswear line HE by Mango.  It reminded me of the one the male models wear in the Jean Paul Gualtier perfume ads.  He has barely been out of it since.

Denim jacket by Sass and Bide
Ombre fringe tank by Kate Moss for Topshop
Distressed Denim Shorts by Zara
Espadrilles from local shop
Blush bag by Zara
His Breton striped tee by He Mango

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Kate Moss for Topshop Spring Summer 2010 Review

The pieces I ordered from the Kate Moss Spring Summer 2010 arrived a couple of days ago.

The sequin cape proceeded to sprinkle a trail of sequins from the package to everywhere I carried it in the flat - quite disappointing really but fairly common with high street sequined garments.  The sizing seems a bit small too.  The sleeves are very tight on the arms which isn't helping on retaining the sequins when you have to wriggle and tug to get the sleeves on.  I have pretty skinny arms as well.  I would trade up a size but it has sold out!  Once it is on it does fall nicely from the shoulders and the contrasting floral embroidery is very pretty - very nineteen thirties - but I wouldn't want to take it off again for a while to spare more sequin loss!

The off-white wrap lace maxi dress has a lining that is very, very short, the objective no doubt being to allow your gorgeously long tanned legs to peek enticingly through the lace.  If either the state of your legs or having to sit down without showing your underwear is a concern than a rethink of the lining may be required!  The lace itself however is gorgeous.  It is like a thick creamy macrame spun with a cotton thread and falls into a little train at the back.  I think the black cotton ribbon belted around the waist is a bit lacklustre given the quality of the lace but it could easily be changed for something more luxurious from your local haberdashery department.

Curiously the piece I love the most ended up being the "khaki" suede cutout shorts.  I wasn't expecting to be this pleased with them.  The colour was a bit of a worry as I don't generally like khaki - nasty images of army greens and combat gear come to mind.  I was convinced that someone in Topshop had mislabelled them as they looked more like they were a pale grey online.  So I took a gamble and ordered them as I really liked the cutout design on the pockets and waistband.  They have turned out to be more like a rather pleasing tint of pale sage green.  But then perhaps I am pandering to that psychological trick of changing the name of a colour from an ugly word like khaki to something that sounds much more palatable (just as Jess Cartney-Morely recently pointed out on in the How to Dress Series when she renames khaki "olive")

Ms Moss usually cuts her hot pants so short that most mortals can't get away with wearing them so I bought them a size up and wear them on the hip to cut a bit of sympathetic slack on length over the tops of my thighs.  The laser cutout pattern is very well done and almost looks like lace.  As it has been in the low to mid forties in temperature here they have already had a couple of outings with a simple white tee.

Thursday, 3 June 2010


Fashion seems to be having a purple moment.  Whether the magazines are touting it or not as the shade to be seen in I seem to be seeing a lot of it on the street lately as well as in the shops.  It has been a while since you could find a lot of things on sale in shades of purple.  Now it seems to be everywhere in all its possible incarnations.  How can you relabel purple?  Let me count the ways - violet, plum, lavender, lilac, puce, thistle, orchid, mauve, magenta, royal, amethyst, wine, pomegranate, eggplant, mulberry.

I was quite suprised when I investigated a little further into the meaning of the colour purple.  I didn't know that it is identified with passion, romance, sensitivity, imagination and creativity or that it is the color of mourning for widows in Thailand.

Recently Jess Cartner-Morely featured this asymmetric draped dress by Vivienne Westwood in a dark royal purple as part of her video tutorials on the How to Dress series by the Guardian.

I had been eyeing it on my-wardrobe for a while.  Jess Cartner-Morely looked fabulous in it and the deep but vibrant colour was such a welcome change to black for an elegant draped dress.  Nothing is kinder to womanly curves than some draping by Madam Westwood.  Not long ago when the good people at my-wardrobe offered me a twenty five percent discount I caved in.  I wore it to dinner recently for my birthday and felt very grown up wearing it.  As you get older you need more sophisticated options in your wardrobe!

Purple jersey draped dress by Vivienne Westwood Anglomania


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