Saturday 12 February 2011

Roses are red, violets are blue...

... I don’t want to give into commercialism
And neither should you.

The above sums up my thoughts about Valentine’s Day quite well. It’s a day where the card companies and the alike try to manipulate you into spending a fortune in the name of love. And make you feel damn guilty and a terrible boyfriend / girlfriend if you don’t. But let’s face it, you don’t need to spend a lot to show someone that you love them. Handmade cards are much cheaper than the soppy, heart infested ones you get in the shops. And they show a lot more time, effort and care - it wasn’t purely an impulse buy at the till whilst you were out food shopping.

I found some mugs on Cafe Press which I feel are a true representation of Valentine’s Day:

("Express your love when you want to, not when you're told to.
Down with Valentine's Day!")

("Chocolate makes me fat. Roses make me sneeze. I hate Valentine's Day")

 ("Happy commercialized holiday!")

Brilliant. But also slightly ironic. Many of us moan about the commercialism of Valentine’s Day but now there is a new market (the anti-Valentine’s Day squad and the singletons) which the companies can then make money from too. Terrible, huh?

I am loved up and have been for the last 5 years. We never make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day because if you love someone, you should love them all 365 days of the year – you don’t need one day a year to say / show it. We never go out or have a master plan. Firstly because restaurants are a total rip off at this time and secondly because the one year we did make a plan, I was insanely ill which ruined everything. And we don’t do gifts. But there have been exceptions to this rule. Last year, my boyfriend surprised me a gift and this weekend, we’re going away.

And the question lots of us face: what should I wear on a date? 
I feel like Valentine’s Day adds extra pressure on us to look good (another reason why I semi dislike the day). I have come up with some ideas for looks based on the sorts of things I would wear for each occasion. I hope these are useful / inspiring:

Staying in

If it’s just you and boyfriend home alone, dress comfortably but also add a little sexy twist if you can (he’ll thank you for it!). Try wearing matching lingerie or nightwear with a floaty cover up:

Tesco - babydoll

Topshop - teddy in "Berry"

Topshop - dip dye water colour kimono

Cinema / day time

Because of this seemingly “special” day of the year, you can get away with being a little bit smarter than usual. If you’re making a day of it, wear what’s comfortable - avoid tight fitting garments and high heels. Wedges are a good alternative as they give you a little bit more support and won’t kill your feet after an hour. Floaty sheer shirts, lace detailing and flowing skirts can all look very romantic.

New Look - beaded mesh top

New Look - chiffon gypsy top

River Island - 3D petal tunic

River Island - cream lace skirt

River Island - Peter pan shift dress

River Island - peep toe wedge boots

Topshop - abeline boots

Topshop - crochet lace vest

Topshop - silk shorts

Nice restaurant / night out

It’s up to the individual, but I would choose a dress for an occasion like this. If you are going for a many course meal avoid tight body con dresses and waist belts. Been there, got the t-shirt. You will feel mighty uncomfortable afterwards and in a body con number, your food baby will be quite clear. Try flowing dresses that skim over your stomach and team with a nice pair of heels:

Miss Selfridge - black lace V dress

Miss Selfridge - tan canvas heel

H&M - dress 

… and finally, a clichéd look

If you really love Valentine’s Day, you may want to wear your heart on your sleeve (literally). The High Street has so many options right now so you can wear head to toe hearts if you wish. Show The Love with this cute ASOS hearts cardigan which would look lovely slung over a black dress. Or alternatively team a sweatshirt like this with these gorgeous Topshop scallop shorts and patent shoes. You can even include your legs in the heart fest with these ASOS tights.

ASOS - heart cardigan

ASOS - heart sweatshirt

Topshop - scallop shorts

Topshop - "Kitty" black patent shoes

ASOS - heart tights
Hope all you have a lovely Valentine’s regardless of whether you’re single or loved up! 

Thursday 3 February 2011

The DOs and DON’Ts of layering

Not many people can carry off the layered look. Typically über tall, skinny minnies suit the look best. For all us non-super models - and mere mortals - successful layering can take some mastering.

I for one need some serious help when it comes to layering. When I layer, my primary objective is to keep warm. All fashion goes out the window. I throw on as many jumpers as humanly possible and trust me, it’s not a pretty sight. I go from thin arms and torso to obese city. Or should that be obesity? I become Mr Blobby. You know something is seriously wrong when you can no longer lift your arms…

In England you have to expect the unexpected. We rarely have sun but when we do, everyone gets a little too excited and dusts off their sunglasses / flip flops ready. Which then usually scares off the sun. But we won’t go there. It may be sunny, but step outside and it’ll be freezing. UK weather never makes any sense. Layering if mastered, can provide great security and versatility. You can add / remove layers as you please throughout the day. And if done right, layering can also help to balance out certain figures. Long torsos can be broken up. Larger hips and bums can be concealed. But be warned: Do not over do it if you’re not blessed with height – or you’ll risk looking even shorter. 

After a bit of research, I have learnt the DO’s and DON’Ts of layering:

  •  … use lots of thick, bulky layers – you’ll end up looking bigger than you are. And being able to move your limbs is kind of important…
  • … use too many colours – or you’ll look like a rainbow. And not in a good way.
  • … layer up in just one colour or you may appear blob like. A mixture of light and dark shades is a lot more flattering
  • … wear thin layers – use thicker knits and such on top only 
  • ... use darker colours on your outer layers and lighter colours underneath – this is more flattering for most body shapes
  • … layer your lower half too. Chunky knit socks look so cute peeking out of boots
  • … layer loose / floaty garments over fitted ones
What should I layer with?

The possibilities are endless:
  • Scarves / snoods
  • Vests / long + short tops
  • Leggings / tights
  • Blouses / shirts
  • Dresses
  • Gilets

There are lots of bloggers who do layering well but sometimes I question how warm their outfits actually are. The point of layering is to be warm after all!

With this post I want to prove that you can be warm and fashionable in these cold, cold times. You don’t have to compromise on style in order to keep warm. I think that the following people on Lookbook embody this fabulously:

1. I am the biggest fan of capes / kimonos / shawls

 2. A fabulous example of wearing thicker layers on the outer layers 
 3. This outfit looks so toasty. The cardigan pattern is just amazing

 4. In LOVE with the cardigan and chunky knit scarf. Great combinations of colour.

In (very) exciting news, I had an interview with the Gucci Group this week :) It was a true “pinch me” moment. I then received a call inviting me to a second (and final) interview later this week. It’s now between myself and one other person. Crazy huh? Keep your fingers crossed for me!