Friday, 29 October 2010

Holy (fake) Houlihans!

For those of you who have been dreaming of Houlihans but more realistically searching for a good copy, there's a new kid on the block and they do a pretty good job of imitating the real thing. The GAP skinny cargos are priced at £35 and come in three colourways. I have it on good authority that they are thinner than the real thing but given their price, I think that we can live with that. As an alternative to the GAP version, Whistles do a pair for £75 and Oasis for £45.

If any of the above come very skinny in the leg, they can be harder to wear, particularly if you tend to carry weight on your lower half. However adding some height with a heeled desert boot and adding longer layers which finish lower than your widest point will help balance your proportions. Adding detail on your top half, either in the form of jewellery or embellishment will draw the eye upwards. So, give the GAP ones a go and let me know how you get on.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Watermelons and Pumpkins

Style has well and truly escaped me this week. Take for instance the woolly socks with the jeans tucked in (very last of the summer wine) and the pink converse. Not v stylish at all but practical in many ways as I was going to go for a walk along the beach. The socks took up the extra space in the wellies, which, heaven forbid, were not allowed in the car in case I got sand in it; hence the converse. No, this week is all about kicking back, baking cakes, carving pumpkins and letting off fireworks. At the start of the week I tried to maintain some level of style with my sparkly vests, layering and animal print scarves but now I have thrown in the towel and instead am reading about those who would not be seen dead in anything but their latest finery, such as Anna Dello Rosso. I am not quite sure that I will ever feel comfortable sporting a watermelon on my head, as she did at LFW, but as for a carved pumpkin? Well, there are three gruesome looking ones staring at me as I sit outside on the verandah so you never know, I might just give them a whirl instead!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Stylish shoes and snowy bags

I have this list, a list in my head, of things that need doing.  It goes something like this: washing, ironing, collect parcel from post office, go to bank, get ribbons for daughter's ballet shoes, collect new tennis bag for son, do note for the cleaners, pack for the holiday, tidy up, empty the fridges and so on.  I really need to get our son's hair cut. He came home with his school photo the other day and I thought how much he resembled me at the same age.  Worrying on many levels but largely a) because he's a boy and b) it was in the 70's that I was the same age as him.  Poor chap.

Anyway, so what do I do?  None of the above jobs - they will all get done, somehow.  What I haven't done for a long time is create a new post on my blog -so here I am.  Children number 1 and 2 are playing on the Wii - a replacement for the one that was nicked in the summer when someone decided that it would be a good idea to enter our house in the middle of the night and relieve us of ours.  Child number 3 is having her nap but my minutes are limited so I should crack on.

I have had a fab but busy time recently.  Yesterday and the day before were spent in Harvey Nichols, styling models for an event that I am doing there on 4th November in aid of Birmingham Children's Hospital.  The models are all nurses from the hospital, which is great.  At one point I looked down and realised that I was surrounded by about £5 000 worth of shoes - Louboutins, Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Miu Miu - and none of it seemed real.  The security guard was kind enough to let me in before the store opened, so that I could get rails of clothes together.  It was eerily peaceful - just me on my own in Harvey Nichols selecting beautiful clothes.  I keep meaning to check with the Manager whether he is happy for me to wear something other than one of his brands on the night.  I hope that he will say no.

As for today - that's a different matter.  The children have broken up from school so it's back to the jeans, jumpers and converse.  I have to say that I am loving my new find - chunky jumpers - largely for the reason that - wait for it -surprise, surprise, they keep me warm! I have made two new purchases from COS but unfortunately I can't show you any pictures as their things can't be bought on line.  One is verging on the quirky side of naff as it is a cardi with snowflakes on it but I like it and it will work well with my Whistles utility trousers and heeled desert boots.  The other one is blue and white with a funnel neck which is very toasty.

So anyway, we are off to the land of warm, wet westerly winds in winter (as we were taught in Geography) otherwise known as Wales and I am sure that the chunky jumpers will come in handy when crabbing from the pier in the freezing cold.  One thing that I won't be taking with me, as much as I love them, are these....
the LK Bennett sledge court shoe. They are a recent purchase of mine, having initially been lent to me by LK Bennett to show at a style event that I was running.  I love them because not only are they comfortable but they are really versatile -  a kind of one evening shoe fits all type of thing.  I had the beige ones in the summer and they did a great job too.  However, I doubt that they are really that comfortable when walking up Snowdon.  However I might be taking one of these...

the M&S Aspen bag - because it makes me smile and I can fit lots of snacks in it if I do make that climb.

For those of you with children, enjoy your half term break.  For those without, enjoy the peace on the roads and steer clear of the shops!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Chic Knits

You know you have those items in your wardrobe that really should be worn only either a)when you are indoors with loved ones or b) if you are going out but not liable to see anyone?  Well, I have one of those and it's not a pretty sight.

When I was on my Personal Styling course last year, I was told that I should always dress in a way that was either "inspirational, aspirational or both".  Ha!  The item to which I refer does not fill either of those criteria. The only "fill" that it deserves to be in is landfill.  This item is a navy blue boyfriend cardigan from Oasis.  Minus the bobbles it is actually quite nice and it is certainly warm - which is why I was wearing it when I was out yesterday evening.  It had been a cold and exceptionally wet day.  Against my better judgment I had run in the rain (again), despite knowing that I was likely to be in for a cold. This realisation hit me at 5am when seeing to our youngest and I noticed that my throat felt scratchy.  She was demanding her usual kiss and cuddle before going back to the land of nod for another couple of hours.  All right for some.  "Fabulous." I thought "Up at 5am, scratchy throat, unlikely to get back to sleep and about to go running with seasoned half marathon runners. Bring it on!"

Anyway, I became even more aware of the shortcomings of my cardigan from a style perspective when I got chatting to another Mum whilst out yesterday evening. Saying that I was out is really an exaggeration and makes my trip sound much more exotic than it was - all that I was doing was waiting for my son and his friend to finish their tennis lesson whilst simultaneously entertaining children numbered 1 and 3 at what is really a very tricky time on a Friday evening. 

So, there we were, chatting about the Style Event that I am doing this Thursday.  I was explaining how I would be assisted by 7 models, that I would be covering the trends for the season and doing sections on a capsule wardobe, new brands and so on.  I don't know what it was, and I may be wrong, but I felt that she was perhaps taking a glance at what I was wearing and frankly why not.  You can't hold yourself out as someone who knows about these things and not expect to be scrutinised from time to time.  After she had gone I too looked down and noticed the bobbles and not only were they bobbles but they were big bobbles.  I doubt that even John Lewis sells a comb big enough to deal with those babies!

So, reluctantly I came to the conclusion that I would have to buy some new knitwear.  I am sure that you can only imagine how distraught I was about that.  Fortuntately, having spent many hours in Kew this week for one reason and another, I had a pretty good idea what I wanted.  As an aside, I have to say that I think the knitwear in Kew this season is some of the best on the High Street.  So having established in my own mind that I needed three pieces, grey, navy and cream, this is what I came up with.

The grey cardigan costs £79, the navy one also costs £79 and the cream one costs  £86.  The cream one fastens with a pin, so it can be styled differently to how it is shown in the picture.  Now whilst they are not cheap, they should keep me warm.  Whilst I love layering and fine knit cashmere etc nothing beats something as thick as a blanket when it comes to warmth and these are stylish with it.

Of course during the course of my travels this week I have also come across these other items which I love.  I have to say that I have invested in the grey boots, which are from Dune and cost £155, simply because having put them on, they were far too comfortable to take off.  OK, well there was a bit more to it than that, but not much.  The top of the boot also folds down to reveal a sort of grey sheepskin look - so not only are they practical (check out the sole on those) they are also versatile. However I have also just spotted these lovely tan ones, also from Dune and also £155. It was really a pair of tan boots that I was after this season so now what do I do.  Maybe style someone else in them so that I get the pleasure from them vicariously?


The final items that I have my eye on are all from Reiss -  a navy pea coat (£225), a bracelet (£35) and a bag (£265).  The coat is the perfect fit for me - many are too large but this is neat and feels lovely and heavy.  The bracelet goes brilliantly with the seasons minimalistic look and the bag is just gorgeous.  I prefer the bag in black but it doesn't seem to be featured on the internet.  The bag  comes in two different sizes and the largest one is big enough to carry a baby and all of its equipment in so on the whole, good value really - if you have a baby.

So anyway, that's what I have been up to this week.  Hours in the shops styling my models for the event on Thursday and inevitably, spotting those things that I would also quite like for myself.  Can't complain really!
Have a good weekend