Thursday, May 26, 2011

What I wore to work


Bargainista Fashionista is on's What ELLE Wears blog again this week! Not sure I look as cool as everybody else but, should you care, this is what I wore to work on Monday:

Charles Anastase for Matches T-shirt
Gap flared jeans (a £6.99 sale buy I've just discovered at the back of my wardrobe!)
Vintage bag from eBay
Marks & Spencer Autograph range wedge sandals

I totally recommend this season's trend for flared jeans – they make your legs look longer, which is always a good thing in my book.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What I wore to work – dissected: part 2

This is my vintage leather bag in last week's What I wore to work blog post. I got it from eBay for just under £30, including postage.

It was the gold panther that had me hooked. Not dissimilar to a Mulberry s/s 2010 design and a whole lot like Angel Jackson's pieces, I'll let you in on a secret: the bag is actually by a label called Chiltern. I'm guessing it's from the 1980s, so maybe it was the inspiration behind the Mulberry and Angel Jackson bags.

I like its boxy shape and satchel-like concertina sections. The strap is long enough to wear across the body and when I'm feeling ladylike I double it over, slipping it under the flap, so I can carry the bag in the nook of my arm.

I've seen similar Chiltern bags with a lizard on the front. And, right now, there's one on eBay sporting a cheetah. Click here for the auction page. The starting price is just £7.95, but you'll have to hurry if you're interested as the auction finishes tomorrow evening. Please note, I'm not personally recommending this seller, just pointing you in the direction of a similar bag, that's all. Good luck tracking one down!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Show Me Your New Look


Press days are a big novelty for me as I don't get to go to many, so imagine my excitement when I not only got to preview the clothes hitting the high street next season, but I also got to try them on and be photographed in them, too. Oh, and then appear on two blogs!

That's what happened when I went to New Look's autumn/winter 2011 press day a few weeks ago. Me and some of my fellow bloggers were shot by photographer Jackie Dixon wearing our favourite New Look autumn/winter picks. The results are up on the New Look blog and on Jackie's own blog, Show Me Your Wardobe, right now.

The paillette skirt was the most fun item to wear, the giant iridescent sequins making a melodic noise with every sashaying move. Sitting down is a bit of a no-no for fear of crushing the embellishment, but if you're looking to work next season's space-age trend, this is the piece to snap up. It's very Marc Jacobs, too.

For more delicate embellishment, meanwhile, the beaded cape details on both the sheer blouse and dress are really pretty. I haven't got any prices for these autumn/winter pieces, but as it's New Look you know they'll be purse-friendly. And, take it from me, I think next season is the high-street store's best yet.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Diamonds are a girl's best friend

If Kate Middleton, aka the new Duchess of Cambridge's heirloom Garrard sapphire and diamond engagement ring and borrowed-from-the-queen Cartier tiara have given you a taste for fine jewellery, then check out Travel Diamonds.

Launched this month, it offers bling that looks like the real thing - without the price tag. In fact, pieces start from just £20.

The range of classic earring, necklace, bracelet and ring designs feature 'diamonds' (OK, cubic zirconia) set in silver and plated in white-, yellow- or rose-gold.

My favourites are the limited-edition necklaces and bracelets inspired by the hamsa hand and evil eye symbols, peace and love (as pictured here). The latter reminds me of Paloma Picasso's love pendant for Tiffany & Co, but at a snip of the price. Delicate and understated, they're perfect for everyday wear. Here's the details...

Medium eye pendant in white-gold-plate, cubic zirconia and simulated citrine and sapphire, £45.

Love pendant in white-gold-plate and cubic zirconia, £75.

Peace sign pendant with tiny evil eye detail in gold-plate, cubic zirconia and simulated sapphire, £45.

Btw, don't you just love these paper dolls? As well as modelling the Travel Diamonds necklaces, they're in this season's prints from Whistles.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What I wore to work – dissected

So, this is the lace dress I wore to work on Monday. Back in darkest January, I followed my own sales advice and snapped it up in the final days of the French Connection sale.

It was a canny buy as:

1. I did shop with the new season in mind
It's easy to do – after a quick swot-up on the s/s 2011 show reports, I knew that the lace trend would still be going strong and that the little white dress would be a new-season key piece.

2. I didn't just shop by the size label
I couldn't find my size so I tried the next one up – and it fitted! (Maybe thanks to all the excess eating over Christmas!)

3. I did think about how I could alter a sale buy
I wasn't keen on the shoulder pads in the dress, but a quick glance at the lining revealed I could easily remove them, so they weren't a deal breaker. With a stitch picker, the job was done in a minute.

Oh, and it was reduced from £95 to £30. Bargain.

I like the pretty romance of this dress – it's innocently sweet and sexy without any bridal connotations. I also had spring/summer's coloured lace trend at the back of my mind. So, if I get bored of white, I can work Erdem's red or Christopher Kane's fluoro-pink lace with the magic of Dylon.

Marks & Spencer does a similar lace dress to mine for £59 from its Autograph range, while for more white and coloured lace dresses on the high street, try French Connection, Topshop, ASOS and Monsoon. Then just team with some layered chains like my Marc Jacobs I love you spinner and wishbone necklaces.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What I wore to work


Bargainista Fashionista is on's What ELLE Wears blog this week! So, this is what I wore to work yesterday:

Gap parka
French Connection lace dress and brogues (both January sale buys for £30 and £35 apiece)
Falke tights (a Christmas sale buy for £10)
Vintage bag from eBay
A new ring from my weekend jaunt to Paris (Thank you Stickman!)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Pierre Hardy for Gap's sweet Mary Janes: part 2

After suggesting the latest Pierre Hardy for Gap shoes would look good with this season's sheer pleated midi skirts, such as my Whistles Carrie skirt, I had to team the two up. Don't they work well together? I love the sugar-almond colours and ladylike elegance.

Plus, I like the contradictions in the shoe: the contrast of the sweet and the subversive. Take note of the Mary Jane's schoolgirl charm with its dainty side bow detail and velcro fastening. Look how it compares to the pointed toe which should belong to a stiletto shoe. Observe the actual heel, a chunky square that towers four inches high. Take in the soft suede sole – a luxurious touch. And, of course, there's no missing the opposites of demure grosgrain trim next to shiny patent-leather. All of which is bought together in the choice of two saccharine-sweet colourways: nude on nude or peach and grey.

They're available in selected Gap stores, but sadly not online. But at £79.95, they're worth tracking down – that's a fraction of what Pierre Hardy shoes normally cost.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fab find for a fiver

Sale bargain alert! This H&M cotton shirt dress was £19.99. Now £5. I like how it takes the classic man's shirt and moves it on a little with the pin-tucked bib front, the contrasting black buttons and the longer-length back.

Like it? It comes in white with black buttons, too.

Oh, and come autumn, you can team it with jeans and a round-necked sweater for a casual, preppy look.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Charlotte Ronson for Uniqlo

Remember last year, I blogged about Uniqlo's collaborations with Japanese labels for its Designers Invitation Project? Well, this year it's teamed up with two of them again – Zechia and Suzuki Takayuki – along with more home-grown talent in the form of Nine, Theatre Products, Double Standard and Tiny Dinosaur.

The project also includes collaborations with CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists Vena Cava (remember their 2009 collaboration with Gap?) and Costello Tagliapietra. But the biggest draw, surely, is New York designer Charlotte Ronson (aka musicians Mark and Samantha Ronson's sister), whose collection for Uniqlo launches tomorrow.

With on-trend ditsy prints (such as the fun and flirty dress below) and nautical stripes and motifs (above), pieces are priced at a reasonable £24.99. Easy-to-wear casuals never looked so good.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Super stripes: part 2

Here's the navy and white version of H&M's Prada-esque dress that I blogged about earlier this week. With its wide blue bands (much like Jil Sander's maxi version) and exposed back zip, I'm in a bit of a dilemma… I can't decide between the classic Breton stripes of one and the cheerful colours of the other. Which would you choose?

Of course, at just £19.99, it's tempting to have both. Especially as this shift dress is so easy to wear. My only niggle? I wish the hemline was just that little bit longer. Still, it's perfect for the hot summer days ahead. And, come autumn, both dresses will look just as good with tights.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Super stripes

Get Prada's ultra-bright bands of chunky block colour for just £19.99 with this cotton-jersey shift dress from H&M. Who'd have thought hoops of hot pink, orange, black and cream would work so well, but they do.

I like the retro 1960s vibe of the dress shape and I love how the exposed zip at the back gives a nod to 3.1 Phillip Lim. But the best thing about this dress, apart from the price? It's effortlessly fun, sexy and chic.

Plus, if the clash of colours isn't your cup of tea, the dress also comes in classic navy and white.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Monica Vinader's Japan charity bracelet

This summer, no wrist is complete without an armful of friendship bracelets. And, following the ever-popular plastic charity wristbands (such as the Help for Heroes one, as worn by Princes William and Harry) comes an up-to-date version in the form of Monica Vinader's charity friendship bracelet for the Japan Tsunami Appeal.

Produced in collaboration with Elle España, 100% of the profits from the £20 bracelet will be donated to the Spanish Red Cross to aid disaster relief in Japan.

I like the symbolic Rising Sun toggle in sterling silver and enamel. And the simplicity of the cord bracelet. Understated and elegant, it offers more longevity than its plastic predecessors while remaining just as significant. Show your support and get one now.


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