Saturday, September 25, 2010

The future is orange


It's hard to get the Stickman to go shopping. He shops out of necessity and, well, me, I shop out of the need for retail therapy! So, when he mentioned he'd like some new T-shirts, we hit the high street fast, just in case he changed his mind.

Our first port of call? TK Maxx. I once found him a John Smedley jumper there that he loves, so ever since the store has become a mecca for the unexpected, and occasionally luxurious, bargain. (The Smedley - a black merino wool V-neck - was £19.99.)

My rule of thumb at TK Maxx is if you see something you like the look and the price of and it's in your size - well, it would be rude not to try it on. Which is how I came to be walking around the shop with a bright orange waterproof jacket.

Now, I don't know about you, but I have a wish list of things I'd like or hope to find one day. And on this list is a yellow fisherman's-style raincoat that I saw Jo Whiley wearing at Glastonbury many moons ago. So, while this one by Addict isn't exactly yellow, it's a happy compromise - especially for £19.99.

Practical (it's got a zip and velcro fastening, cuffs that shrink-to-fit with more velcro, double-use front pockets, a snug hood) but fun (beats a dull waterproof any day and there's even a touch of camouflage under the front fastening), it's going to be great for blustery walks on the beach with my friends and their dogs. Not sure it's going to go with my pink Hunter wellies though!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bargainista Fashionista hits the Fashion 100


Woohoo! Bargainista Fashionista has made it onto its very first top 100 blogs list! Most Wanted, the lifestyle magazine from VoucherCodes.co.uk, has created Fashion 100 - The Definitive List of the Most Influential Bloggers and Bargainista Fashionista is listed as one of the top 10 Up and Coming UK Fashion Blogs. So exciting!

Thank you Most Wanted!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The camel cover-up


It was a compliment from the BA cabin crew as I was boarding an early morning flight recently that reminded me to blog about this poncho. Because it is such a bargain. You may have already seen it in the latest H&M campaigns. Indeed, my friends Laura and Kelly have been rocking it for a few weeks now. And why wouldn't you?

In so-this-season camel, it's a mere £14.99. Yep, you heard me right. Plus, it comes in black and light grey, too. But H&M, if you're listening, a small request from my friend Hannah - could you do it in navy please? Thank you.

As to how to wear it, Laura's been teaming hers with T-shirts, shorts and clogs, Kelly with figure-hugging maxidresses or skintight leggings with hiking boots. Me, I've been wearing it with skinny jeans or over my Primark dress with an across-the-body bag and once-white Converse to eke out summer. It's the perfect cover-up right now when the weather's still mild enough not to warrant a coat.

Just follow the rule of revealing plenty of leg or keeping your bottom half slim and fitted to balance the poncho's generous one-size-fits-all proportions. After all, you want to look stylish as opposed to drowning in baggy clothes!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gap's premium pant collection


If you've been in Gap recently, you'll have noticed a little bit of black magic going on: namely its premium black trouser collection. There are seven styles from skinny to straight, curvy to cropped and bootcut to boy fit, with the seventh being my favourite: the perfect trouser (above).

A wide straight-leg cut that flares gently towards the bottom, its tailored silhouette hints at the 70s and Chloé's a/w 2010 designs. The perfect trouser is, well, perfect with my H&M leather tee. And, the best bit is, it makes my legs look über-long. There's more: it's created to flatter all shapes. Yep, that's endless legs all round! Not bad for £35. It's just a shame it's made of polyester.


A close contender for favourite is the relaxed crop (above). Ideal for the shorter leg, I'm pleased no alterations are needed. I love it's androgynous, slouchy vibe and the fact that you can wear it with flats; in this case, my Sam Edelman brogues (a £45 summer sale buy from Whistles, reduced from £125), along with an old Topshop tee. However, it is the most expensive style in the collection at £45 and, being a wool-mix, it's also the only pair that isn't machine washable.

As for the other styles, I've tried them all on so here's my round-up...

The modern boot (£35) is a great day-to-night trouser. It looks both sophisticated and sexy thanks to a slim cut on the hip and thigh which caresses your curves, before opening out into a boot leg.

The true straight (£35) is good if you want to look thinner. It was a bit shapeless on me, but for the curvier figure this will work wonders. It's all down to the crisp tailoring, with a straight cut on the hip and legs for a sleek and slimming style.

The curvy (£35) is perfect for the pear shape. Designed with curves in mind, it hugs in just the right places and skims the rest to really flatter your figure. One that will make you feel sexy and feminine.

The boy fit (£39.50) is for the tomboy in you. With a tapered leg and slouchy silhouette, it's like the relaxed crop but longer. Definitely one that's chic and androgynous.

The skinny (£35) is for skintight jeans converts. Stretchy and skinny throughout the leg, think Audrey Hepburn in cigarette pants. So elegant.

So, what else did I learn from this exercise? Autumn/winter 2010 is the season of the trouser for two reasons: trousers perform the miracle job of making your legs look longer. Plus, they make dressing for work a doddle. But, bar the cropped styles, heels are essential.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

H&M not S&M


Bar the odd jacket, leather clothing has never featured that heavily in my wardrobe. Too vampy, too S&M for my girlie sensibilities.

But maybe it's the Isabel Marant effect this season that's making me view leather in a whole new light. Her sexy-as-hell biker trousers certainly shake off my previous impressions of leather pants.

Maybe it's the colour palette, too. Done in rich caramel tones, leather takes on a totally different look from black. Less vampy, less S&M; certainly not more girlie, but definitely more chic.

Take this leather top from H&M - its toffee tones, butter-soft leather and minimalist, boxy design is sophisticated and luxurious. Think Céline s/s 2010 without the price tag. At £69.99, it's not far off this summer's £75 Wallis version, but it is real leather and it is lined, even if the leather doesn't go as far as covering your back (camel-coloured cotton makes up the deficit). Also available in black and dark grey, this top instantly smartens jeans and goes perfectly with pencil skirts and this season's trousers - choose slim or cropped styles for a neat silhouette.

H&M also offers a V-neck dress with the same leather front and cotton back for £79.99. Available in camel and black, there's also two hidden front pockets. Plus, the advantage of the cotton back panel is that the fit is more flattering and oh-so sexy.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bargainista Fashionista is in ASOS magazine


I'm one very happy bargainista. Not because I've found the perfect cape (more of that later), but because my blog is mentioned in ASOS magazine. The September issue has a feature called 'Top of the Blogs...' and mine is listed alongside 'The Establishment' blogs such as The Sartorialist and Style Bubble as one of 'The New Class'.

This is what the online fashion store's magazine says:

Frugal fashion queen
bargainistafashionista.com
Susie Stickgirl has more than a nose for a bargain, she has a blog dedicated to it.

Thank you so much ASOS!

And a big thanks again to everyone who alerted me to this lovely piece of press.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Caped crusader


My latest guest blog for the US fashion and beauty website The Style Glossy is about the cape. Click here to read my blog post - it's the one dated Monday 16th August 2010 (I hadn't realised it was up until now!).

I first blogged about this superhero piece back in April when I wrote about two capes bought on eBay. Of course, now they're everywhere on high street as, along with the shearling jacket and the camel coat, the cape is autumn/winter's biggest outerwear trend - and possibly the most versatile of the three.

For starters, the cape encompasses both shearling and camel in its many guises. You only have to look to Céline for its beautiful snow-white shearling version, and everywhere from COS to ASOS has interpreted the popular camel coat as an equally desirable camel cape. Then there are the military designs (Topshop, ASOS), the tailored pieces (Reiss, Whistles), the classic wool options (Jaeger, Karen Millen) and the casual knitted styles (Gap).

This H&M cape falls in the latter camp, as well as promoting the season's signature shade. I like how its two-tone colourway and gold buttons adds an instant air of class to its low-key look, while the large patch pockets and hood are comforting and cosy. Its simple design is perfect for teaming with skinny jeans or slim-leg trousers, both of which offset the cape's voluminous proportions. At £49.99 it may be a tad pricey for a piece of knitwear, but you do get two trends - the cape and camel - for the price of one. And it's a nice way to ease yourself into autumn without yet committing to a coat.

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