Tuesday, 26 June 2012



I am so excited to show off my first piece of Wildfox! I can't explain why I am suddenly so obsessed with the brand - unless it's airborne and I caught it from meeting the Style Rawr - but I have not felt this way about a clothing company since I was thirteen and demanded everything I owned was Nike. Nike Air Max Triax, Nike trackies (yeah I wore trackies), and this enormous Nike coat that I insisted on having despite JJB only stocking a size much too large for me. What a brat I was.

Anyway, I digress. I'm totally obsessed. Everyone and their dog has blogged about the brand, I realise, and I'm still trying to pinpoint exactly what makes Wildfox so special - maybe it's the dreamy lookbooks featuring models we all want to be, or their positive web presence that is just so right for now. We're all craving a little escapism, especially in these frugal times, and Wildfox provides just that.

Admittedly their price point is not ideal for a frugal purse, however much I love it, but dig through the many sales on right now and you'll find some bargains. This vest was from Harvey Nichols and is now sold out online, but is also available through Alexandalexa.com for £39. ASOS went into sale yesterday too, with lots of Wildfox at reduced prices.

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I'm wearing:
H&M kimono
Oasis pleather jeans
Love Label boots
Tunisian market bag
Vintage (mum's) necklace

What do you think of Wildfox? Are they just overpriced t-shirts, or are you taken in by their ethos?

Sunday, 24 June 2012



We have arrived at the time of year, dear reader, where you may decide to pitch a tent in a muddy field, drink beer, and dance like a loon. Many happy memories will be made at this time - dependent on the amount of beer consumed, of course. Sadly, I fear my days of festival-going are over, until I can stay in a luxury hotel for the course of the festival, being ferried to and fro each morning, freshly showered. The majority of festival fashion blog posts are not quite as realistic as Hello, Terri Lowe: whilst in my hotel-staying fantasy I could wear practically whatever I want, Terri cites a kagoule and wellingtons as your most important items to bring along to your festival outing.

I, however, am immersed within this luxurious festival fantasy, and my ideal festival kit is slightly more ridiculous. Keep your muddy mitts off my Versace! Don't let your wellies near my Wildfox! The tee is quite apt as Woodstock would have been my ideal festival to visit: three days of peace and music is right up my street.

(Hunter wellies are available from Daniel Footwear, and the very fabulous Sheree is currently giving away a pair at Glitz & Grime)

But worry not, readers, I haven't always had such delusions of grandeur. I've been to many different festivals over the years - my first Leeds festival I spent entirely in a t-shirt and shorts, and at Gatecrasher in 2008 I wore about three coats and tracky bottoms all weekend due to the horrendous weather. Funnily enough the best festival experience I've ever had was when my little home town of Northwich held Whatfest in 2009.  The only band of note playing were Dodgy, but that didn't matter - because all of my friends were there, the beer was reasonably priced, and actually if you got too wet you could just get your mum to bring you home for a shower and be back on the festival site within the hour. Perfect.

Sadly the festival made a loss and hasn't been held again, but I will always have the memories of the fantastic weekend, and the photos of the quite frankly bizarre outfits I chose to wear. I think the best rule of festival fashion is that if you can't have a bit of a chuckle at your outfits when you get home, then you didn't do it right.

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Friday, 22 June 2012


Menswear is the hot topic on everyone's lips at the moment - what with the first menswear-dedicated London Collections showing some truly innovative collections, and the ever fabulous Pitti Uomo currently running in Florence. I can appreciate a well-cut suit and will happily steal one of Chris's t-shirts if the outfit calls for it, but my knowledge goes no further: subsequently I take every opportunity to expand my awareness.

Of course, if this involves looking at male models for an extended period of time, it's something I just have to suck up and get on with. This was the case at the DKNY store on The Avenue on Thursday - part of Spinningfields' /Series of events. Funnily enough it was mainly ladies in attendance - young ones at that - and I am sure they were going through the same anguish of beholding the models filling the clothes at DKNY's fashion show.

If I were a male discussing female models I would surely be accused of being sexist, so perhaps it's time to move onto scrutinising the clothes. The Avenue's DKNY is solely a menswear store (womenswear is available in the standalone store on King Street or in Harvey Nichols), specialising in smart-casual and business attire. Considering the label's prestige the prices are reasonable: you can expect to pay in the region of £300 for a suit. An excellent suit is the antithesis of women's fast fashion turnover. They are worn on many occasions for many years, so it really is worth investing a few pennies. The recent womenswear trend for mismatching seems to have extended onto men's suiting (see above), which is an interesting and low-cost way of updating the look.

The smart-casual attire is fashionable without being vulgar, with even Manchester's very own Fashion Boy buying into the brand with a cobalt blue pair of chinos, as seen in the fashion show.

I love an androgynous look and enjoy mixing a button-up shirt with a floral skirt, but I do think DKNY is definitely one for the boys. Could you see yourself mixing these pieces into your wardrobe - or would you keep them for your boyfriend?

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Tuesday, 19 June 2012


Whilst Goldfinger may have had to wait a long time for Mr Bond to tie dye anything (that man never has any downtime; plus I'm not sure it sits so well with the suave look) I have been rather keen on dying, bleaching, ripping, cutting, and studding my clothes as of late. It's mainly because I've been craving a fresh look without the budget to match, but also it's a whole lot of good clean fun. 

So a request from Lois at Carrot Top couldn't have come at a better time: Dirty Fresh Laundry wanted to send me a brand new t-shirt, then I was to customise it in any which way I could. YES. Basically a licence to go crazy. 

When it arrived it looked like this:

The t-shirt is of an excellent quality, totally opaque, and the print is the sort that will age pleasingly. Just a heads up on sizing: I'm a 10-12 on top and this is a men's small. I ordered in that size as I thought I'd have a little extra fabric to play with but it's quite fitted, so just a warning for when you order.

First things first - protect your bath, or wherever you choose to tie dye. I don't want any mums or landlords after my guts! The binbag in my bath was fairly futile but it did help a little, and whenever I got dye on the porcelain, floor, or anywhere, I cleaned it up straight away - you just don't know how it will stain, and you're better safe than sorry, no?

After that I prepared my t-shirt. I followed Shannon's advice - holding the tee in the middle, spin it around so it's like a coil. Tie bands or string around to keep in place. The tighter you tie, the more white space will be left.

You can be as creative as you like with this - when researching tie dyes I found this page and loved all the different dye shapes, so since my boyfriend has been nagging for a tie dye tee for a while, I decided to experiment a little with the shape of his.
Now it's time to make the dye. Glove up! Again, the dye might stain your skin, or worse - you might be allergic to it. Be careful.
I could only find Dylon machine wash dyes (is it me or are dyes harder to find now? In my teens I'm sure I could pick them up from the supermarket or my local chemist. Anyway, I digress) in Flamingo Pink and Ocean Blue, so I made them up in bottles with sports lids (another great tip from Shannon). I only had one sports lid bottle so carved a hole in a normal lid. Again, be careful! I used one part salt, one part dye, and four parts warm water.
Then I attacked my tees with the dyes. I began gingerly but ended up throwing the two full bottles over two t-shirts. I unravelled them to check how I was doing - the long, thin patterned one looked amazing how it was, but the spiral one needed a bit more colour. I opened it out and added more colour to suit.
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Leave your tee for at least an hour. I left mine all afternoon, conscious of the fact I'd used machine washing dye! I don't have any space in my flat to hang them - especially due to our cream carpet - so placed them in buckets. Use this time to clean the bathroom, think of outfits to wear with your tee, have a brew, daydream about Michael Fassbender.. you get the picture. Then rinse, using a little bit of fabric washing powder or liquid.

After waiting all afternoon I couldn't wait any longer so bunged them in the tumble dryer after they'd drained for ten minutes. My brief from Dirty Fresh Laundry was to customise this tee in any which way possible, so a few knots and studs later, my tee was finally finished.
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This tee will almost certainly be most at home on my next trip to Ibiza.. but until then will make the perfect layering piece. I really think the key here is to have a go - I haven't tie dyed since Brownies and even then I probably wasn't responsible enough to do any of the process. Admittedly I like the pattern on my boyfriend's tee better - I will have to get him to model it - but the beauty of tie dye is that you're not completely sure how the pattern will work out. Let me know if you do try, and send me pictures of your dye pattern!

Saturday, 16 June 2012



Walking home from work on Thursday I accidentally tripped and fell into Harvey Nichols, so seeing as I was there anyway I thought it only polite to check out the sale since I managed to contain myself so well on launch day.

Rails of We Are Handsome swimwear, a huge DKNY section, and a huge rail of clearly very old sale at absolute bargain prices made practising self-restraint extremely difficult. The sale in-store was far superior to the online offering and of course it's much more difficult to say no when you have a physical piece in your hands. I found myself picking up and putting down a Wildfox bikini top numerous times (y'know.. that one); eventually it remained on the rail, but had it been the pink version there would have been big trouble.

I couldn't resist checking out a box full of shiny sale jewellery, and it was in this box that I found my new obsession. The perfect balance of tough and elegant, this BCBG Max Azria ring hasn't left my hand since I bought it at the bargain price of £19. I can't find it online - like much of what I saw in-store - so it's really worth going into your local Harvey Nicks, especially if you're looking for an investment piece at an excellent price.

An online order may have (read: definitely has) been placed, so watch out for some bargain Wildfox pieces featured on the blog very soon..

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Sneaker Weakness


Yeah, so I totally caved in on my longing for sneaker wedges. WHAT CAN I SAY, I have very little willpower when it comes to matters of the sole. I perused my options online like I was choosing a fine wine, but ultimately my shortlist became more like choosing cheap fizz from Aldi; I predict these shoes will reach fash-saturation point soon so I didn't want to invest too much (as much as I craved the Isabel Marant pair). 

This pair are from Boohoo; initially I didn't want carbon copies of the Bekkets but these were the pair I was drawn to the most. I love the colourway, and these shades go with most items in my wardrobe. At work today I received reactions from "those are AWESOME!" to "I like your little boot things, they're.. er, different". A day's retail work is the real test for any pair of shoes and I'd give these 7/10 for comfort. The wedge heel posed no problem but they are fairly narrow, so ended up rubbing my little toe at the very end of the day.

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I've been leaning towards a slightly tomboyish, slightly hippy style lately, and I'm happier with my look than I have been in a long time - I'm tired of slavishly following trends and trying to stand out. I've been busy routing through stashed away clothes to re-style them and customising, too - these jeans started out life as Oasis Cherries. Being a denim despiser I was not impressed last year when I was told at work I needed a pair of jeans for uniform, to coincide with Oasis's relaunch of denim. "Jeans just don't fit me!", I protested.

Well, I hadn't tried the Cherries. These are the best fitting jeans I've ever tried and I'm now a convert with three pairs; the personal shopper at work says he only sells Oasis jeans, and I've met so many customers who swear by them too.

These were the pale denim wash which didn't really suit my style, so I attacked them with bleach, a sponge and a pair of scissors. 


I wore these to go into the city on Saturday and felt a little self-conscious; did I look a bit too 1990s retro? In the bad way, of course. I remembered the Wardrobe Angel telling me about dying a pair of trousers black with the result of them coming out grey, so I thought it wouldn't hurt if I put a light wash of Dylon grey through them. How wrong I was! They are now near enough black. Don't be surprised if they don't soon have another run-in with the bleach to make them more mottled once again.

What has this denim-related episode taught me? Absolutely nothing. I will carry on bleaching and dying as if I've never bleached or dyed before. That's the fun of customisation!


If you would like to try your own pair of Oasis jeans - or perhaps raid the sale, with tops starting at £9 (I KNOW RIGHT) I have a £30 Oasis gift card to give away to one lucky reader, plus a mascara and lipgloss kindly donated by Clinique Selfridges Exchange Square.

** This competition is closed, sorry! **
And you're DONE! If you don't have a Bloglovin' account let me know and we can work something out. Your email address is just so I can email you if you win - there's no adding to any email address lists here.

This competition closes on the 20th June at 7pm, and the winner will be contacted shortly after. Best of luck to you all. You could even come and visit me to spend your voucher in my store!


Monday, 11 June 2012

Contain Yourself

The term "LOL" gets bandied about on this 'ere internet rather a lot but it is rare you will find me genuinely laughing out loud at my computer screen. Tonight I actually did a belly laugh after sitting at my computer and finding an email informing me of the Harvey Nichols sale, beginning Wednesday:  following on from their controversial Christmas Walk of Shame video - which was discussed by everyone from the Mirror to the New Statesman - Harvey Nicks delight and disgust with their new sale imagery, loosely based on Pretty Woman's infamous line "it was so good, I almost peed my pants!"

Well, actually, the Harvey Nichols sale is good enough to ruin a perfectly good pair of Ackermann-esque trousers. Or so they would lead us to believe. Nothing a dry clean won't fix, eh? My LOL was almost certainly from sheer shock of seeing a once-stuffy, high-end retailer advertising their sale in a deviant fashion. They are clearly trying to distance themselves from the older market and appeal to those who are happy to drop thousands in one visit on cool, up and coming brands they stock like Carven and The Row.



However you feel about Harvey Nicks's sale campaign, there's no denying it gets people talking, blogging, and ultimately visiting the retailer. As I write I am watching a conversation unfold on Twitter about whether the adverts are tasteful, or whether Harvey Nicks have even taken the theme far enough. Should the models look more pleased with themselves? Or a bit more insolent? Is this just too far? People's opinions will saturate social media over the days preceding the sale, helping to get the hashtag #ContainYourself trending.

Sadly I'll be working when the doors open, so I'll miss the inevitable scuffles over the last Alexander McQueen bag at 70% off. When the dust settles I will pop my head in to see if any scraps have been left over - only then we will see who has really had the last laugh.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Swimwear Trends On Trial

Going on holiday wasn't all play, no work, you know. Oh no. I was working hard for you, dear reader, putting this season's swimwear to the test: judging comfort, style, and the tanlines produced. Hopefully you feel as I do, too: I'd rather see pieces on a normal person before I buy than an airbrushed model!

Swimwear has been much the same for the past ten years or so, especially on the high street. A nice floral print, a triangular top, a tie-string pant. If you're lucky you might've gotten a somewhat unflattering cut-out side detail, but that's about as fashion forward as you got. Being thoroughly immersed in fast-moving fashion media you are exposed to beautiful high fashion swimwear, and I thought it bizarre that despite all the catwalk-inspired pieces and fresh design talent being employed on the high street swimwear hadn't followed suit, so I decided to delve deeper into the high street's offerings, certain that directional pieces could be found at reasonable prices if you looked hard enough.


Image style.com ¦ Swimsuit Matches
I'll begin with my most lusted-after designer collaboration for this season: Peter Pilotto x Lisa Marie Fernandez scuba-inspired swimwear. Design duo Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos's abstract underwater prints worked perfectly with the neoprene-style swimsuits Fernandez had been producing since 2009. The former stylist predicted sporty styles last seen in the 1990s would be big, and after spotting a gap in the market she started to produce them herself. She is now known as quite the neoprene expert, and the silhouette and styling of these suits are perfect for this Olympic year.

Sadly you are unlikely to find prints as laboured over as these on the high street, nor neoprene - it's a specialist material. However, H&M currently stock a bikini in a similar silhouette with a wetsuit-inspired front zip detail. 

The sporty shape is perfect for me as I am athletic on top, but I was conscious of the top digging in at the back as it was quite tight. I would definitely not wear this if I were fuller on top as it didn't offer much support and I didn't dare to swim in it due to fear of damaging the metal zip - however I did feel super glam parading around the pool in it! 


Image my own ¦ Swimsuit Rumpus Resort
The one-piece is a trend that has been bubbling under the surface for quite some time now, never quite breaking into fashion stellar territory. I think it's difficult to cast off the slightly frumpy connotations but with this season's photographic prints looking cool is no longer an issue. We Are Handsome are the definite go-to brand (I love anything with tropical birds on, so their Toco print is my absolute favourite) but Wildfox's pony is something special, too. 
I did struggle to find good photographic one-pieces on the high street (Ted Baker has some lovely pieces but the prices are not exactly purse friendly) though ASOS have come up trumps with this cool palm print suit. My pre-holiday pennies were running low at this point so the only suit I had to try out for this trend was a Cath Kidston one-piece my parents gifted me a few years ago; I love to wear this to swim at home but on holiday it just feels a little too covered up - I want to get as much sun on as much of my body as I can at all times. Still, it's nice to look a little different to the other bathers in teeny-weeny bikinis, and I'm sure that in the right place in the right context a one-piece is the perfect sartorial choice.


Image style.com ¦ Swimsuit Mara Hoffman
Cutout swimsuits are another trend that seems to have been around for ages, but I feel this one has never quite worked because the cutout details are never in the most flattering places - who wants suits to dig in around their hips and tum? I certainly don't. The difference with this season's cutouts is that they range from being straps to wide bands, not exerting that much pressure on your skin. Mara Hoffman's suits add a bohemian details without digging into your skin, making for a much more flattering cutout. 
I found a H&M bikini top with fabulous detailing on the sternum - not much chance of digging in around there. These straps did pose a bit of a tanline problem, but I made sure I applied sunscreen, and also the strap can be undone at the back of the neck and the swimsuit will stay up as a bandeau for sunbathing. H&M sell their bikinis in two parts - thankfully so, as I bought the top of this suit in an 8 and the bottom in a 14. That's a spectacular difference, even for H&M's sizing. Definitely try before you buy!

How about you? Do you favour a bikini or a one-piece? Will you be wearing fashion forward swimwear this summer? Will we even get a summer this year in the UK? 

Answers on the back of a postcard, from a much, much sunnier clime, if you please.