Sunday, February 26, 2012

Uniqlo x Laura Ashley feat. Bargainista Fashionista!

Are you signed up to Uniqlo's newsletter? If so, you'll have seen me (yes, me!) in Monday's email with my styling tips on how to wear its new Laura Ashley collection (thanks Uniqlo!).

This latest collaboration offers T-shirts, tunics and scarves in Laura Ashley's iconic prints. It's a floral confection! With prices from £9.90, check it out in store and online now.

As for those styling tips on how to work Uniqlo x Laura Ashley florals into your wardrobe, see my previous blog post here. Yes, you can tie a scarf several ways to create a top or a dress!

And, if you need further convincing how pretty these florals are, these are some of the Laura Ashley archive prints available as T-shirts (above, £14.90 each) and scarves (below, £9.90 each). Anyone shopped the collection yet?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What I wore to the ELLE Style Awards

Don't the ELLE team look fashion fabulous? These are some of the gorgeous dresses that graced the red carpet at this year's ELLE Style Awards at the Savoy hotel in London last week. If you're signed up to's weekly newsletter, you'll have seen this picture in your inbox. If not, see who's wearing what on the What ELLE Wears blog at

My dress was from the high street (naturally). Remember the Sabina dress I won in the Whistles treasure hunt last year? (Click here to see my previous blog post.) Well, it finally had the perfect party to go to.

I swapped the bow belt for a simple black grosgrain ribbon and added my mirrored River Island clutch and faithful Chie Mihara shoes to work a monochrome look. It's a little bit Chanel and a whole lot chic, don't you think?

If you like my Whistles dress, it's still available in black at ASOS. And, even better, it's reduced from £295 to £148. It really is worth splashing out on as it's beautifully made – with its intricate pleats and beading it could easily pass for a designer dress.

As for my glam hairstyle, it's the B-52 that's offered at London's Daniel Hersheson blow dry bars. I highly recommend it.

Oh, and my secret tip is Marks & Spencer's open toe tights. Not as glamorous as the hair I'll agree, but at 7 denier they're sheer enough to look like you've got bare legs while keeping them warm. Well worth £4.50.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Uniqlo's Laura Ashley Limited Archive Collection

Uniqlo's latest collaboration is a bit of a coup. It's only gone and teamed up with Laura Ashley, the quintessentially British brand renowned for its pretty florals.

Using Laura Ashley archive prints, Uniqlo has produced a limited collection of scarves (£9.90), T-shirts (£14.90) and tunics (£19.90) – with the complete collection launching today.

It goes without saying, this collaboration couldn't be better timed. Florals are one of this season's strongest trends and you're spoilt for choice with the Laura Ashley prints on offer.

So, how do you wear them? Well, when Uniqlo asked me to style myself in its new collection, these are some of the looks I came up with...

1. Clash your prints. I've teamed the Uniqlo Laura Ashley Limited Archive T-shirt and scarf with my own flower-print skirt for a mish-mash of florals. Different sized blooms work well and you can either choose similar-toned pieces or go for a clashing flower frenzy. Tip: roll up the sleeves on your tee.

2. Use florals as an accent. A black jacket and trousers look fresh for spring teamed with the Uniqlo Laura Ashley Limited Archive T-shirt. This is one of the easiest ways to start integrating florals into your wardrobe. Tip: pair with this season's white/cream jackets, too.

3. Think outside the box. How else can you wear the Uniqlo Laura Ashley Limited Archive scarf? Well, as a halterneck top for a start – no sewing required. Hold the scarf around your back like you would a towel. Taking the top corners in each hand, cross the scarf over your front, wrap around your neck and secure with a knot. The scarf is quite sheer, so wear a nude strapless bra or a bikini top underneath. Tip: team with Uniqlo's coloured denim (£29.90). The pink jeans are my favourite, but the pastel blue ones (top picture) are cool, too.

4. Be creative. Turn the Uniqlo Laura Ashley Limited Archive scarves into a summery dress, again without any sewing. Tie the corners of the scarf's shorter edge loosely around your neck. Repeat with a second scarf so that you end up with one covering your front and the other your back. Overlap the scarves at your sides and secure in place with a thin belt. Drape the scarves over the belt to get your desired dress length. Tip: wear a bikini underneath. The sheer scarves mean this look is best saved for the beach... or pool party!

Have I inspired you to shop the Uniqlo Laura Ashley Limited Archives pieces? Let me know how you'd wear them.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Boohoo London Fashion Week giveaways

To celebrate London Fashion Week, online fashion retailer Boohoo asked me to pick my edit from its upcoming collections. So, here they are (for the whole story, see the Boohoo blog).

Coloured jeans are top of my list as they're the quickest way to ease yourself into one of spring/summer’s biggest trends: pastels. Team with a simple white tee for an effortless look.

And I love the scalloped edge on these shorts – they're so cute and a great way to work block colour. Wear with the simple, sleeveless blouse, statement ring and shoes for a smart, chic look.

Like my edit? Well, you can win it! To enter, leave a comment on the Boohoo Facebook page saying how you'd style my key items. The competition ends at midnight 22nd February 2012.

Wait up, there's more: Bargainista Fashionista is pleased to offer a £100 Boohoo voucher for one lucky reader. To enter this competition, become a fan of my Facebook page and leave a comment about my Boohoo picks on my Facebook wall. The competition ends at midnight on 4th March 2012. Click here to go to my Facebook page now. Good luck!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mary Katrantzou for Topshop + NEWGEN tees

Dress, £350, by Mary Katrantzou for Topshop
Shift dress, £150, and leggings, £40
T-shirt, £50, and leggings, £40
Dress, £180
Blouse, £80, and trousers, £130

Why Topshop, you spoil us. Not one, but two launches tomorrow! Yes, Friday 17th February, the start of London Fashion Week, brings one of the most exciting designer collaborations of the year: Mary Katrantzou for Topshop. Plus, Topshop's NEWGEN T-shirt collection designed by the cream of London talent goes on sale, too.

First, let's talk about Mary. Her prints have led the way on the catwalks to make this season's print explosion one of the biggest trends of spring/summer. You won't have missed her designs. Worn by Alexa Chung, Keira Knightley and Anna Dello Russo to name but a few, they're bright, bold and exquisitely beautiful, much like works of art.

And, like collectable artworks, they come at a price - her dresses are in the thousands. But, thanks to Topshop, you can own a piece of Mary Katrantzou for just £40.

The nine-piece collection is based on Katrantzou's a/w 2011 catwalk collection, inspired by objets d'art. As well as the items pictured above, there's also a strapless dress for £300 and a scarf in the same print as the trousers for £60.

But it's the limited-edition, boned, bowl-skirted dress (as worn by Poppy Delevingne at Monday's ELLE Style Awards) that is the star of the collection. Only a few have been made, so it's well worth the £350 price tag as you won't see everyone else wearing it. Not to mention it's a veritable bargain compared to Katrantzou's mainline pieces.

If you love her prints, look out for Katrantzou's collaboration with luxury accessories brand Longchamp, too. Her prints adorn the brand's classic bags - the canvas and leather tote for £315 is sure to be a sell-out.

Onto Topshop's NEWGEN T-shirt collection...

Mary Katrantzou
Jonathan Saunders
JW Anderson
Marios Schwab
Holly Fulton
Gareth Pugh
Christopher Kane

OMG, there's so many to choose from. Twenty in fact. Marking 10 years of supporting young British talent, Topshop asked its NEWGEN alumni to each design a limited-edition tee.

These include another floral confection by Mary Katrantzou, a lace-collared design by Erdem and a sexy T-shirt dress by Marios Schwab. All T-shirts are £30, with £7 from each sale going towards charity Centrepoint. So, which one(s) will you buy?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

From my-wardobe to my wardrobe

I've got a confession to make. I've bought a second pair of Grenson shoes. I couldn't help myself. I was so delighted with my suede and patent Eliza's I found my fingers typing Grenson into a Google search.

Which led me to the my-wardrobe sale. And, in particular, these Martha black patent brogues. I adore the tassel laces and the oh-so shiny patent-leather - it gives the classic brogue a modern twist. As to how to wear them, I'm picturing a chic black smock dress for a cool French sensibility. Girlie meets androgyny.

Martha was reduced from £170 to £85. Plus, I managed to bag myself a further 10% discount with a my-wardrobe sale code. So, all in, £4.95 postage included, it was just over £80.

The good news is, since my little shopping spree, there's been further reductions and these shoes are now £68. The bad news is, there aren't many sizes left. But, Martha also comes in gorgeous grey suede, in the my-wardrobe sale for £85.

Don't forget to look out for Grenson's second women's collection, too. For spring/summer, it's embraced the new-season pastels. Swoon. (Hmmm, the Stickman has just confiscated my credit card!).

Friday, February 10, 2012

The power of print


Florals are big this season and the high street is blooming, literally. Zara especially has embraced this trend, offering a colourful bouquet of flower prints to dress you from head to toe (one of the many ways to wear florals, matchy-matchy being another, a mish-mashed clash being the third and so the list goes on).

These Zara trousers are my attempt at embracing florals. At £39.99, it's not too much of an investment to make into new territory. You see, I love print but I just don't know how to carry it off. However, right now is the best season to experiment because, really, anything goes.

The pyjama two-piece (a matching top and trousers) is the most sophisticated way to work flower power. These Zara ones come with an identical-print sheer blouse for £29.99. Look out for the navy wisteria-print set by Whistles, too (£85 for the top; £125 for the trousers) - it's guaranteed to repeat the popularity of last year's Carrie skirt.

If match-matchy isn't for you, head in the opposite direction: go for the clash. Mix and match patterns from ditsy blossoms to giant blooms and create a riot. If it looks like it doesn't go, then it works!

Or take baby steps like me, and make florals a signature print in your outfit. Black and white is a good base to establish your florals, but they'll flourish with this season's brights and pastels, too. Take it from me, spring/summer is blooming gorgeous! So, will you being working florals?

Here's my outfit lowdown:
Sonia Rykiel for H&M jacket
Gap T-shirt
Zara trousers
Sam Edelman brogues - these were an amazing bargain that I got for £45, reduced from £125, at the end of the Whistles sale back in July 2010. They were an even luckier buy as they're a size smaller than my usual shoe size but I tried them on and they fitted! It was fate. So the nougat of wisdom you should glean is this: if your size is sold out, try both the smaller and larger sizes - you could be pleasantly surprised.

For more fashion inspiration, check out this week's What ELLE Wears blog at

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Grenson for girls

I first came across the shoe label Grenson while looking for some brogues for the Stickman last year. We noted the quality and workmanship that goes into making a pair of Grenson shoes (it takes around three weeks from start to finish), sighed at the prices (from £170 upwards) and though no more of this classic shoemaker.

Until the sales that is. Which is when I discovered that just last season, Grenson had launched its very first collection for women. Same styles as its men's line, but with a narrower fit. And now they were reduced. To half price.

So I snapped up this pair called Eliza from the Grenson website. A smart mix of grey suede and shiny black patent, it was down from £170 to £85. Now, you'd pay £85 for a pair of high-street shoes, wouldn't you? And these are so much more. They're made to last. And made with love. Right here in the UK. They don't call it 'the good shoe' for nowt, you know.

Which brings me onto the service. Fast, efficient and beautifully wrapped in brown paper. I was even allocated a one-hour time slot for delivery which sure beats waiting around all day. Grenson, I'm impressed (as if I wasn't already).

Monday, February 6, 2012

Vote in the Company Style Blogger Awards

With less than a week of voting time left in Company magazine's Style Blogger Awards, can I pester you again for your votes? Bargainista Fashionista has been nominated for 'Best Blog for High Street Lovers' and 'The Blog You Love The Most'. (Woop, woop!)

What's in it for you? You could win £250 of New Look vouchers for just a minute of your time.

Voting is quick and easy: simply choose one blogger from each of the 10 categories that you'd like to see win (and enter your email address if you want to enter the New Look prize draw).

Already voted? Vote again! You can vote as many times as you like, so if you heart my blog, say so! Thanks so much.

You can cast your votes until Saturday 11th February 2012. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Bargain spot: Cambridge Satchel for £20!

Remember the fluoro-pink bag from The Cambridge Satchel Company that I blogged about last month? (Click here to see my previous blog post.) Well, it was a pretty good bargain at £40 in the Urban Outfitters sale, reduced from £105.

Now, it's a steal at just £20! That's more than 80% off.

My friend Laura (owner of a gold Cambridge Satchel; another Urban Oufitters sale bargain, reduced from £95 to £40) spotted a whole stash of these pink beauties at Urban Outfitters in Westfield Stratford City yesterday.

So, hurry on down there. Or call your nearest Urban Outfitters to check if they've got any in stock. Happy bargain-hunting!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Need-to-know label: Elizabeth Lau

Bored of the sales and eager to buy into the new season? Well, let me introduce you to London designer Elizabeth Lau because, if you liked the Sonia Rykiel heart jumper I blogged about last month, you'll totally heart her quirky, cool knitwear and dresses.

For spring/summer 2012, Elizabeth Lau has used a pared-back colour palette of just black, white, red and blue to create a riot of spots, stripes and statement logos (from 'Big Spender' and 'The Guvnor!' to 'Life Saver' - in the obligatory shape of a lifebuoy, of course). And, with Olive Oyl for inspiration, it's easy to see why the collection has a playful, nautical vibe.

My favourite pieces are the Nipper cotton-merino mix intarsia stripe heart jumper and Bamboozle dress (above), available soon from Elizabeth Lau's website (for updates, follow her Facebook page). Now, I know that at £150 and £165 respectively, they are investment pieces, but definitely ones worth saving up for. What better way to work a chic yet sassy style statement?

And, if you need further convincing, take a look at Elizabeth Lau's s/s 2012 video. Set to April March's Laisse Tomber Les Filles, it features Annie Monroe of US indie girl band The Like, who works Lau's witty-yet-whimsical vibe perfectly. Also, read Amelia's Magazine's interview with Lau here. Trust me, she's a designer you'll love.


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