Thursday, 29 March 2012

Cream & gold

Cream and gold is always a winning combo in my book, especially for the summer. It works for weddings, the races, garden parties, hen-do's - the possibilities are endless.

A little chazzing expedition at the weekend unearthed these two cream and gold numbers.

The dress is actually culottes - very cool, and a real saving grace on blustery days when you're event is outside. Am pondering with the idea of turning it into a skirt though, as the dress is a little see-through and may need an underskirt (unless I can find an "under-culottes"?). And I may change the original buttons from white to gold. And add a gold belt. As I said before, the options with cream and gold combos are endless - it's the "go with anything" pairing - especially a tan.

{not a skirt - they're actually culottes}

{made in France by Galance}

{gathered detail on shoulders}

And the bag is in great condition, and an excellent size - I often find clutch bags way too small. The label inside shows that it's made by Saxone - a long-lost hero of the British high street. And the quality is great - lovely leather, with an embossed pattern.

{cream leather clutch bag, with gold clasp}

{it's made by Saxone - 80's flashback...}

These two finds look good together, so I think I may have stumbled across an instant outfit here. Good work.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

A shirtwaister dress

{on the catwalk at Daks}
{shirtwaister dress}

These photos struck a chord with me recently, and started me on a quest to find something similar. And then when I was in Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago, I heard they'd opened an Anthropologie - I was there in a flash. My love for this shop is strong. And there I spied this navy dress - there was an instant attraction - and it's been on my mind ever since.

{shirtdress, £138 Anthropologie}

There are loads of vintage dress patterns out there, for anyone clever enough to make their own, or if the thought of that is too much, I found a few other alternatives below. I ordered the GAP dress in grey, for 19.99 in the sale, and am very pleased with it... although my heart still belongs to the one from Anthropologie.

And the GAP dress has excellent pockets, which always earns extra points with me. Sleeves can be worn rolled up (perhaps with a long-sleeved stripey t-shirt underneath) and with heels or flats. All in all, a very versatile dress. I might replace the buttons though, to something darker.

{grey GAP dress}

{pockets - bonus!}

Some vintage dress patterns...

{belted shirt dress, £65 Warehouse}

{spiraea shirtdress, £138 Anthropologie}

{sahara dress, 85 Monsoon}

These last two dresses look a bit safari-esque, but replace the belt with a more formal, leather style, and it'll nip that look in the bud before you can say "lions and tigers and bears, oh my". 

Monday, 26 March 2012

Shades, bins, gigs

In other words - sunglasses. The weather is on our side, and yes it is March, but yes, it's sunglasses season already. Happy days.

I am very happy with my trusty Ray-Ban aviators, which Popeye brought back for me when he was in the States with work, but in the UK now they cost a small fortune. And the thing with spending a fortune on sunglasses, is that these fellas are the easiest thing to lose, and when you've spent a fortune, the loss seems all the harder.

But, having a peruse of the sunglasses stands in Accessorize, Boots and the like this weekend, the sunglasses just look and feel cheap - the creaky hinges and bendy, scratchy plastic are not the most comfortable thing to wear. So I moved on to Jigsaw, Whistles and the new accessory range by Kurt Geiger, where for a bit more money, you get solid, smooth plastic with a secure hinge, and a good choice of styles. I like these three below.
{black ultra cat's eye sunglasses, £45 Whistles}
{Frances mirror sunglasses, £60 KG}
{Holly sunglasses, £45 Jigsaw}
But the best option by far is TK Maxx - there's always a good choice, any time of year. I found this Loewe pair below for £19.99, and after enough scrabbling around, also located the matching polish cloth and case. And the advantage over the aviators is that you can push these onto your head without the nose supports getting into an almighty tangle in your hair.

No more squinting - get out into the sunshine.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Pink nails and Tunnocks Tea Cakes

I've taken a day off today, and the sunshine has prompted a bright pink nail - bring on the summer brights! This nail varnish is Max Factor's Disco Pink, and was a freebie when I was buying their brilliant Masterpiece Mascara a few months ago. I've only just got round to using it, and may I say - Max Factor, well played.

{mug from Gillian Kyle}

{nail polish by Max Factor in Disco Pink}

And as a reward for all my hard nail-painting, I had a little treat - Tunnock's Teacakes have featured on this blog before, and are still my snack du jour. Enjoy.

{dark chocolate Tunnock's Teacake}

{time for a tea break}

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

What's the sketch?

Eveline Tarunadjaja is an illustrator living in Melbourne, Australia. Her illustration style is lovely - check out her shop, where she sells her original art work and prints.  She decided to set herself the challenge of illustrating her outfit each day, like an illustrated fashion diary. Her wardrobe clearly shows what she terms her feeling of "stripe affection" - something I can certainly identify with. It's a good example of how to dress for those transitional times of year, when the weather is unpredictable, and Eveline also masters the elusive art of putting together a capsule wardrobe - have a browse, and learn a few tricks.

Here are some of her sketches below, or have a look at her Daily Diary to see more.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Tangerine Tango

So, I've done a post on blue, and also green, and now it's time for orange. Many people think that perhaps it's a difficult colour to wear, but I think that's more in theory than in practise - try it, you might like it... not least because it's a key colour of SS2012. Pair with navy to keep it looking chic. But if you're not convinced of its top to toe suitability, there are plenty of orange accessory options to buy into. To encourage you further, here are some pics of ladies who have got fully on board the tango train, and look rather fabulous.

{at Milan Fashion Week}
{street style, Milan Fashion Week}
{at Paris fashion week}
And here are some high street options. Now the sun's out, it seems like a good time to go and invest in some citrus brights.

And then there's always the option of wearing an orange nail polish - a friend bought me the one on the right, from purse-friendly Barry M, and it's really rather good. It's my favourite of the three - it's number 301 Block Orange. The battered Chanel one on the left is called Tango - now discontinued, but a fab colour for the toes - looks pink next to the other two, but it's definitely a coralish orange. And the Leighton Denny one is Do Me A Flavour, and was free with a magazine - it's a bit no-man's land for me though - almost bright enough but just not quite there. Nice consistency and coverage though.

{selection of orange nail polishes}

Thursday, 15 March 2012

A boxy bag

I had the day off on Friday, and so took myself for a wander around the local chazzies (before I took myself home for an afternoon on the sofa with the Grey's Anatomy box set - winner).

And I found this cream leather and suede boxy number. For five of your English.

{perfect length shoulder strap - sits nicely under my arm}

{slimline and structured}

The label is a vintage St Michael's one - so I reckon this is a 70's number. Love it. It puts me in mind of these bags below.

{Tilary bag in canvas, £105.36 J.Crew}

Or get down to your nearest chazzy.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Meet Bill

{film poster}

Bill Cunningham has been photographing New York street style for the last 50 years. Well before the days of email, internet, and blogging, Bill was recording the outfits of stylish and well-dressed New Yorkers, alongside his career as photographer for the New York Times. This original octogenarian has inspired leagues of street-style bloggers and photographers, and a film documenting his life and pictures opens in the UK on March 16, 2012.

This film is a portrait of a man, who has produced a body of work more reliable than any catwalk as an expression of time, place and individual flair. Already receiving accolades at film festivals worldwide, Bill Cunningham New York is "a delicate, funny and often poignant portrait of a dedicated artist whose only wealth is his own humanity and unassuming grace". 

Click here for more information and screenings near you.

{Bill's photos in the New York Times, 1978} 

{Bill at work}

Monday, 12 March 2012

I'm blue

Bold primary colours are key for SS2012, and following on from my post last week on how adopt green into your wardrobe, here'a a post on how to be blue. The street style pics from the recent fashion weeks have shown fashion editors embracing this trend for their front-row outfits.

But this isn't just a look that works for day - blue works well for evening wear too.

Ever versatile, it works well as a strong flash of colour for your accessories, like the clutch bag in the picture below or this leather tote bag from John Lewis, or my blue sling-backs and jewellery seen here, but it also looks great as a top to toe outfit.

{top to toe blue with red lips
{shirtwaister dress}

{team with neutral accessories}
{wear with leopard print accessories}

{works well as an evening look}

{blue "wear with anything" clutch}

The key is to go for a strong, royal blue, rather than anything pale, or leaning towards turquoise. Here are some high-street options for you to embrace the look with.

7. {blue leather shopper, 69.99 Gap}

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Melting Cleansing Gel vs Melting Gel Cleanser

Elemis Melting Cleansing Gel was on my Christmas list, and Father Christmas delivered. And I'd been using and liking this product immensely, when I saw the posters for the new No 7 Melting Gel Cleanser. Hmmm, similar name. Similar product? Let's find out.

Well apart from the price, you get more for your money with No 7, which is a 150ml tube, vs the 125ml of Elemis. And the active ingredients are quite different too - Elemis brags about the super heroes organic argan oil, mattifying rice silk and purifying rosemary leaf, combined with powerful anti-pollution moringa peptides whereas No 7 contains rosehip oil (oil of the moment it seems) and sweet almond oil.

There's also a difference in appearance - in the photo below, the top product is No 7, and the bottom one is Elemis. Although I would definitely say that the texture of both products is very similar. What is very different  however, is the smell - the No 7 cleanser has a very strong smell, very sweet, like Turkish Delight. It's almost overpowering, and so if you don't like scented products, or a rose smell, then this is not for you. The Elemis cleanser has a soft, delicate smell, which is very pleasant.

The instructions on how to use each product are different, with Elemis asking you to massage the product into a dry skin, and the No 7 a wet skin. I've used both techniques, and found that both products worked better on a dry skin, followed by adding water to form an emulsion and then rinsing off. This way the product is fully massaged into the skin, because as soon as water is added, it starts to melt away, not giving the active ingredients a chance to work on the skin. It also gives the product more grip on the skin, helping to dissolve and remove makeup. The Elemis cleanser feels thinner than the No 7 when you're massaging it in, and I preferred the slightly thicker consistency of the No 7 cleanser, which seems to give more purchase when you're applying it. 

When you've added water, and the product has emulsified on the skin, I found that using a muslin cloth to rinse off the cleanser and help exfoliate at the same time really worked well with both cleansers.

No 7 Melting Gel Cleanser, £9 Boots}

{Elemis Melting Cleansing Gel, £17.46 John Lewis}

Both products left my skin feeling the same after using - cleansed, but not tight, and definitely smoother and softer. The Elemis cleanser is for all skin types, and the No 7 is for normal/dry skin, but I liked the way it worked on my normal/combination skin.

So the main difference? It's the smell, and it's the price - this No 7 budget cleanser is not one to be sniffed at.