Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kate Moss for Topshop

Remember the Poppy Liberty-print dress by Kate Moss Topshop that I mentioned at the beginning of March? Well, here's a sneak previous of Mossy herself modelling the sexy strapless number. It's £65 and goes on sale this Thursday.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I can't believe it's not butter-soft leather

This is for my friend Liv (and others like her, such as Stella McCartney). It’s a faux-leather bag. Yes, can you believe it really isn’t made of leather? Me neither. It looks and feels so realistic that I had to do a doubletake in Zara. It was only when I clocked the price – a bargainous £39.90 – that I knew it to be of the non-leather variety. But the quality makes its feel far more expensive.

I love the weave. I love that it can be carried in a multitude of ways (thanks to the fold-down opening and a detachable chunky woven strap). I love that it's so roomy. And I love that there are three inside pockets to keep my wallet, mobile and travelcard from getting lost at the bottom of the bag. Most of all, I love it because it looks luxurious without the price tag. And Liv, it comes in cream, too!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gap sale

Do you remember that sweet little red Gap cardie that launched the beginnings of this blog? Well, if you were smitten with it, too, I've got bargain news for you - it's gone into the Gap sale and is now only £24.99!

Its heavier knit may seen somewhat cumbersome now that the sun is out and March is proving to be so mild, but, oh, isn't it worth buying for those cute bows alone? And, if the colour - what I'm now terming Rykiel red - doesn't do it for you, well, get it in chaste cream instead.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lara Bohinc sample sale

I love sample sales. Designer items at hugely reduced prices? It's a bargainista fashionista's dream! So when I heard about the Lara Bohinc sample sale (on today and tomorrow) - with reductions of up to 90% - I was there bright and early.

I have to admit, I'm not actually a very good sample-sale shopper. The sheer amount of bargains to be had often overwhelms me. This sample sale was a case in point. Even with jewellery from £50 and heavily discounted wallets and handbags, nothing particularly screamed 'buy me, buy me' enough for me to part with my money (my friend Marina got a beautiful black patent bag with chain straps for £180 though). Instead, I ended up delving into the £5 bargain box and walked away with the five pieces of 'tat' (as the Stickman called them when I showed him my treasures) pictured above.

They may seem like 'tat' to him, but to me there's potential in these broken pieces of jewellery. For example, the rectangular item is a cast-off piece of belt. I'm picturing it as a brooch or maybe a belt buckle. And the broken bracelet in the centre? I'm all for mending it some way, somehow! So, watch this space and see what magic I can work. I've already turned the piece in the top left corner into a necklace...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

COS I love it

With bursts of yellow popping up everywhere as clusters of daffodils and branches of forsythia, it wasn’t surprising that my eye was drawn to this citrus-bright skirt in COS. The zingy colours and the textured silk make it such a standout piece and one that I want to celebrate spring in. Plus, it works this season’s block-colour trend perfectly. The elasticated waistband means I can twist the skirt around to wear the coloured panels as I like – I'm thinking the side lime patch would work well at the front for one look and at the back for another. I can’t think of a better buy to liven up my wintry blacks and greys. And, at £45, it’s a luxe buy that will take me gently from tights to bare legs.

I love COS (aka Collection of Style). I love the understated designs, the cut of the clothes, the fabrics (soft combed cotton, fine-gauge knits, silk, cashmere, leather...), the quality and the price (very good value for money given the aforementioned pluses). And I love the fact that because there's only three UK stores at present (at London's Regent Street, Westfield Shopping Centre and Covent Garden), it retains that exclusive factor... for now.

As H&M's upmarket sister store, COS launched last year with a brief to offer classics with a contemporary edge, focusing on fabric, fit and finish. Well, it does that in spades with simple, chic clothes that are well designed and well made. COS makes your wardrobe basics feel sophisticated and stylish; it offers contemporary classics at their best. Which, by my book, makes it a hidden gem for bargains on the high street.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Seen in the shops THIS lunch time

My friend Em and I were wedding-outfit shopping today when we spotted this gorgeous clutch in Topshop. Its combo of florals and snakeskin (faux, I hasten to add) made us instantly love it. Taking turns to model it in the shop, we agreed that it’s definitely a head turner and one that will garner much admiration. All for just £25.

Accessories are an easy way to work spring's floral trend and this clutch gives the perfect lift to a plain outfit (like this season's block colours and neutrals). The realistic-looking snakeskin gives the bag an expensive edge and it's roomy
enough for all those wedding essentials (confetti, camera, lipstick...). So, my advice is take a leaf out of the bride's book and carry something floral.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why I'm a skinny girl

I know it's all about the flared jean right now, but I'm staying loyal to my skinnies. They're a wardrobe staple. They go with heels, boots and trainers, they can look both dressed up or dressed down (depending on how you style them) and, if you get the right pair, they flatter your waist, bum and legs all in one hit.

This month, I’ve mostly been wearing my new blue straight skinny jeans from Uniqlo. I got them before Christmas when they were on offer for £19.99 instead of £24.99 and completely forgot about them until I found them under a pile of laundry (whoops!). I’m so glad I discovered them as they’re now my favourite skinnies. Not so leggings-tight or as dangerously low-waisted as my former faves (Topshop Moto Baxters in washed-out grey), they’re perfect for concealing any signs of a muffin-top, are the ideal length to wear with my Converse and – the reason why I’m practically living in them – they’re the softest and most comfiest of denims.

If you fancy getting in on the skinny, they’re on offer again! And, for spring, Uniqlo has expanded it skinny range to include a rainbow selection of 10 different colours (from white to pink to green to blue to purple to orange). These aren’t on offer, but at £24.99, they’re still a great price. And, if you get the April issue of Glamour (£2), there’s a 20% discount voucher!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Liberty prints by Kate Moss

Remember that I mentioned a few weeks ago that Kate Moss was collaborating with Liberty on her next Topshop collection? I promised to keep you updated, so here's the latest scoop. Mossy has reworked three iconic Liberty prints from the store's fabric archives and used them for her latest range, due to hit Topshop and Liberty on 2nd April.

Here's a sneak peek at Kate's new designs (her ninth collection for Topshop), with the Liberty prints 'Kate Nouveau', 'Lilabell' (named after Kate's daughter Lila) and 'Poppy' adorning a camisole, full-length gown and strapless dress respectively. See you in the queue on 2nd April then?

Seen in the shops THIS lunch time

It's all in the detail. Those extra elements that turn an ordinary piece into something special. Such as the delicate cobweb-like crochet around the neckline and cuffs, and the row of dinky buttons down the back on this sweet smock top. These finishing touches really luxe up a high-street item and makes it look more expensive. So, when you see the price tag's just £24.99, your H&M buy is even sweeter.

And take this H&M top in this season's neutral colour palette. It's the satin origami-style folds at the front that really sells it. Which is why it's a steal at a mere £14.99. Add a blazer and some peg-leg trousers and you're good to go.

There, I've just imparted one of my bargainista fashionista secrets to smart shopping. Details matter. So, to get the most out of the high street, look for clothes with finishing touches - detailing that turns cheap into chic. But, remember, it has to be the right detail: think luxe not tacky, classic not trashy.

While I'm sharing my shopping wisdom, here's another hot tip: versatility goes a long, long way. Clothes that suit a variety of occasions, which can be dressed up or down, or which can be worn a number of ways make a good-value purchase.

Which is why the H&M smock top is a clever buy. Wear it with the buttons down the back (as intended), with the buttons down the front, unbuttoned over a vest top, with a contrasting tee underneath so the colour peeks out between the crochet, or over a bikini when you need to cover up from the sun (yes, I'm already dreaming of my summer wardrobe!). Just taking you from spring to summer makes it versatile enough, but with a plethora of ways to wear it, you get a whole lot more wardrobe for your money.

Oh, and if summer's on your mind, too, you may like the cream version of the smock top. Let me know how many different looks you can get from it!


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