Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Going cold turkey

You have been waiting patiently in line for the checkout when finally it is your turn to claim your prize, to hand over the cash knowing that one swipe later, the gorgeous must-have items that you have scoured from the rails will be yours. Yours to wear with confidence and yours to love and to cherish. But hold on a minute, don’t you already have tens of t-shirts like the one you are handing to the happily waiting cashier? Don’t you have two or three skirts to go with that fabulous chiffon blouse that you have not got round to wearing yet? Well, yes probably, but who’s asking?

Then suddenly as you are caught up in your very own catwalk moment while your card is being authorised, the now not-so-friendly sales assistant promptly and not-so-discreetly tells you that your card has been declined. DECLINED. Fashion fantasy over, finance reality is staring you in the face.

The trouble with shopping is that there comes a point where self control is the must-have accessory, never mind the hot new tasselled clutch that has just arrived at Topshop. Self control and the idea of putting sense before lust is something that I must learn and really put into action. This may involve just steering clear of the rails emblazoned with sale stickers and ‘just in’ logos but fundamentally it has to be about building up a wardrobe that I can be happy with for months and not feel the need to buy something to add to my vast collection of clothes at every retail stop I take.

It sounds drastic, I know. And as a student with little income and even littler disposable cash, I have decided that for now, going cold turkey is the answer, at least until my bank account sees the light at the end of the tunnel anyway. This means that over the next couple of months I will do my best to buy absolutely no clothes, zilch, nada. So my journey to becoming a more sensible shopper begins here and I will document my progress herein. I am not willing to be confronted by another sympathetic shop worker any time soon, but I can still allow myself to live in a fabulous, fantasy-ridden world of fashion, wish me luck.

Monday, 28 June 2010

It's a fact of life

Sometimes people slip up. Like a T-total alcoholic who stumbles for a sip of red wine, like a shoe obsessed shopper coveting the new season’s collection and like a woman who thinks she knows better and does what people (including herself) have warned her against for weeks.

It is a loop hole of life that we just have to accept, a fragment of reality that so often gets shoved in one’s face that it just isn’t funny anymore, if it was even humorous in the first place, which in most cases I am guessing it is not.

Eve bit the apple and mankind will forever make mistakes, the kind that are regrettable the very moment the glass touches the lips, the receipt is in the bag or the ‘return’ key on the qwerty is pressed. Yes, shoes can be returned and may provide an exception to the rule, but others just have to be dealt with. I would probably bet that Eve wished the moment that the perfectly crisp skin of the red apple broke and sweet juice ran down her porcelain skin that she could spit the damned piece of fruit out and reattach it to its core as if nothing had ever happened. However that is just a pipe dream and due to it not coming true we must learn to mobilise a little bit of self control; also known as listening to one’s friends/family.

Those of us who have stubborn moments and think we do in fact know better have to just put that aside for one sec and concentrate on what we really need. Do we really need to do this? Do we really need that sip of wine or pair of Kurt Geigers?Do we really need to test ourselves and our emotional stability? The list can go on and the answer remains the same; no. If you have to question it and when the answer is already laced with self doubt before it has even reached your brain, it is probably best to remove yourself from the situation and pretend like nothing ever happened. And if actions preceded thought, it is probably best to just forget that ever happened as well and sincerely promise yourself to do better next time.

This may all sound a bit vague and philosophical but I urge you to have a think, when was the last time you did something which you instantly knew was just plain wrong/stupid/destructive or just a general lapse in judgement? Have a good old think about it and please share any found wisdom with us girls who haven’t quite figured out how to play the T-total game to best effect just yet. Maybe we can settle this loop hole once and for all, or maybe not.

I've got the love, have you?

I can't deny that I am jealous of all those lucky souls who went to Glastonbury this weekend (some of whom I saw on the Tube this morning looking rather ragged I may add). Having tried and failed to bag myself some tickets for the 40th anniversary of the festival this year, I am religated to watching the footage on the BBC website.

It's not all bad though, I passed up Glasto and settled for Benicassim in two weeks and I simply cannot wait.

Until then I have reignited my love of Florence and The Machine.

Click here to watch her AMAZING performance this weekend, no Hunters required.

Clothes Show London (and a tour around the world)

I love London. And what a weekend to venture to the capital city. The hottest weekend of the year and that isn't even mentioning the abs on show at Clothes Show London, courtesy of the male models strutting their stuff down the catwalk at Earl's Court on Saturday.

So thanks to the said models and my dear PR-mogul friend who got us in for free (VIP much?), my weekend in London was rather enjoyable.

The second year of Clothes Show London took place at a venue most known for hosting the Brits, but this weekend it was filled with stalls, a catwalk stage and an array of tempting fashions for anyone's taste. Many vintage boutiques from the City showcased their stock as well as more mainstream stores such as Punkyfish. There were more than a few free samples to be had along the way too, including a cheeky Martini at 10am.

Father and son duo George and Larry Lamb hosted the show and presented performances from new band The Wanted.

The catwalk showed up and coming trends for Autumn/Winter 10 and took the audience on a journey around the fashion globe with stop offs in Tokyo, New York, Paris, Rome and of course London.

Hair and make-up was done by Benefit and Rush for Loreal.

Here are some shots from the show, more to come.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

No words needed

Somewhere over the rainbow sang by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

Ahhh the quiet reassurance of the paparazzi

We all do it and now it is the time to admit it. That moment when you flick through the pages of your weekly glossies and see uber-chic, super preened celebs looking, well, not so 'celebrity' is like a dose of self esteem tonic. Those unfortunate pap shots are ever so satisfying and confirm what we have speculated all along; celebs are just like us (minus the bumber bank balances of course, double minus for all you other students out there).

Admittedly, I do feel some remorse for the pap victims because the 'circles of shame' as seen on this website's gallery show malfuctions that all us girls have been guilty of once upon a time. Have a flick through and see how many you tally up and even if you don't want to admit it quite yet, just enjoy basking in the reassurance that so-called flaws are normal after all.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Hats off to the ladies

One of these days I'll be at the races in something other than a black pencil skirt and a dickie bow tie. Not my usual attire, but the requirments for race day staff, unfortunate. As the summer is in full swing, the racing season has peaked with the famed Royal Ascot. Now when we mention Ascot, we think of hats.

Ladies day at the royal racecourse is no less than a platform for fierce fashion competition and every milliner's dream. This year's event, held last weekend, was no different.

Rumour has it that men even joined the hat parade this year with one gentleman donning a swan shaped headpiece. Here are my pick of the best dressed from the chin up.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Curves are in

The time for figure 'normality' has finally come back around. The fashion world might not be embracing it as much as we may hope but progress is being made.

The average dress size for a woman in the UK is a 14-16. Yes, it is true and after a dreadful size zero craze, the time for curves to be more accepted may be just around the corner. In post-war times curvaceous women were admired; icon Marilyn Monroe was a size 16 and Jackie O embraced her curves in effortless style.

Louis Vuitton showed dresses to flatter the more voluptuous woman in their AW10 collections,.

Singer Alicia Keys, who has stormed back into the UK charts following her duet with Jay Z in 'Empire State of Mind', has also embraced what nature gave her. Let her curves and the curves of most of the female population be inspiration for many fashion seasons to come. Hooray.

Louis Vuitton AW 10

Friday, 18 June 2010

The weekend has begun

I do love a little bit of rhythm and blues. Tonight it came in the form of Al Green. The reverend himself performed live on Friday Night with Jonathan singing the classic 'Let's stay together'.

After a long day of pulling pints in an all black ensemble (black trousers and a brewery badged t-shirt - horrid, I know), Al Green was the perfect antidote and definitely the right note to start the weekend to.

One of my all time favourite songs. What a legend and apparantly he is touring the UK. Now all I need is a nice glass of rose. I'll be by the bar, see you on the other side.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

I flagged the dress and I liked it

Katy Perry has gauged a positive reaction. The kooky soon to be other half of Russel Brand has finally won me over with a combination of her music (check out her latest California Gurls featuring Snoop Dogg - wearing a suit emblazoned with a cup cake motif I might add) and her great and again kooky style.

I always liked her style really, the sweet forties influences, the bright lips and eyeliner-lined eyes and quaint, ditsy florals, playsuits and cute vintage touches. Pair that with her ability to turn sweet and innocent into Wonder woman-like vixen at the fall of any red carpet event and you have yourself a lady to really keep a watchful style eye on.

The 'I kissed a girl' singer even made the 2010 World Cup into a fashion statement by donning a figure hugging rubber UK v USA flag dress for her appearance on a TV chat show. The flawless make-up and those killer eyebrows make for style kudos all round. Even reminded me of Geri Halliwell's iconic Union Jack dress back in the day.

Watch Katy's new vid here

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Oh Alejandro

She's done it again. Twitter and Facebook went mad for it and mixed opinions came all around but Lady Gaga has got us all talking. Her latest vid for 'Alejandro' could easily challenge Christina Aguilera's 'Not myself tonight' (which by the way is alleged to be a sattire of Gaga anyway). The eight minute long video is if nothing else, strange. But it is strangely engrossing and the extravogance of it is just one talking point.

The alien like mechanisms, the fashions, the bra that could challenge Madonna's John Paul Gaultier one (I said could), the wigs and the sex. That's not to mention the stilletto-wearing men in trunks, eyebrow-less Gaga and the bondage. I do love the black waistcoat and trousers combo, very early Friends in the 90s.

I do wonder where Gaga can go next though. It's not like she can turn her back on weird and wonderful and do a run of the mill mariah-esque vid. The Gaga social networking will continue but I will let you decide for yourself; is it a step to far or are these Gaga-isms the future of music?

It should come with an explicit material warning though, that must be said.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Hello babe what's happenin', you called?

When Professor Green spoke about that girl who had priorities other than him, he made a very good point. In a girl’s world this is exactly the kind of thing that would satisfy. Don’t make someone a priority when they only make you an option, as the saying goes.

When I heard Prof Green’s single earlier today, it reminded me of the Sex and the City episode where Carrie tries out dating like a man. In other words walking out on a man after a one nighter, playing the field and making light of a thing women like to call commitment. I’m not talking marriage or long-term plans here, just simply about a polite level of respect between two people.

But I wonder, can women really disconnect themselves that much? Maybe there’s more to Green’s lyrics than meet the eye, maybe some men get more attached than others and maybe the others (the majority?) don’t. It takes a certain type of female to date like a man, a one who can disconnect all feelings and emotions when required, only switching them back on when appropriate distance between the man and herself is reached. But even so, emotions will chase you down and the brunt of the actions will be felt sooner or later. Whether this is the same for men is a mystery, but the female complex dating agenda and innate connections made both physically and emotionally are always there, whether buried beneath the pretence of ‘male dating’ or out there for the world to see.

Maybe the challenge isn’t the style of dating, but rather the style of emotional mapping. Can a man walk out of a bedroom, shut the door and never turn back? Never wonder what could have happened? Whether they can or not, what remains true is that women can’t. There will always be something, even if it cannot be named, it will be there. Again, I’m not speaking of the illusive ‘One’ or plans of long term relationship, but the nurturer that is a woman will always feel something (of course the feelings can quickly change into something where the aforementioned distance couldn’t be far enough).

Having said that, God loves a woman who tries and so do I. In a time when women are more sexually active than ever, and more importantly at a time when promiscuity is more accepted, a woman who tries and fails is not a failure. More like a try before you buy phenomena try it, if you like it, good for you – you are part of the small percentage of women who can have sex like a man. Or more likely, try it, like it, hope for more, over-analyse every second of your encounter with said man, get let down and spend remainder of the day questioning what is wrong with you. By all means have sex like a man but if you can’t stand the heat, as they say, get out of the kitchen, and get out fast.

So maybe Professor Green’s top 40 hit ‘I need you tonight’ made a point that men fall victim to lust more than first thought and a woman can do the no strings attached thing if she treads with total caution. However the notions of traditional values relating to mutual respect, intimacy and some sort of the initial connection between two people are held even by the liberated ladies of today, most hoping that the “hello babe” call is that man you swapped numbers with the other night. Romance may be dead, but effort certainly isn’t.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A Twilight fix

Putting the world's excitement for the third vampire movie in the Twilight series, Eclipse, aside, Stephanie Meyer has dosed her Cullen addicts with a new fix of blood-sucker heaven.

June 4 saw the release of a spin-off short story 'The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner', a novel about young vampire Bree who was part Victoria's vampire army in the third book.

I bought mine today and will soon be immersed in it I'm sure. Watch this space.

'The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner' is available now in all good book strores.

Longing for Pixie

That awful mid-length, between styles hair do has finally been and gone. From pixie crop (which just kept getting shorter and shorter) I decided to return to ye old faithful bob. I loved my pixie and I love my bob, but I'm having a bit of a mourning moment; i miss my pixie.

This isn't something I have come up with out of the blue, no, it is all because of Ginnifer Goodwin (He's Just Not That Into You, Big Love) She is as of recent sporting a lovely cropped do with an edge.

The rough texture of her cut is modern, edgy and still chic. She looks absolutely fab. And she is not alone, Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, Amber Rose and Agyness Deyn have all joined ranks in the barely there style. See their styles here.

I must defend my bob though. It is comforting to know that I can just about manage a teenie tiny pony-tail and it is versatile and still in style. Katie Holmes and Alexa Chung famously rock the bob and even Posh has returned to her roots (get it?!).

Journey into No Man's Land

When it comes to men, there are times when women think they have it all figured out. Then realisation sets in. The realisation that all along they didn’t have the foggiest idea of what was going on in said man’s head; what he wanted, what his intentions were and why the hell he was making such an effort (which subsequently has dwindled). Admittedly, if there was a woman who knew the answers to these dilemmas, the answers would probably have changed a fair few times by now, totally unpredictable.

It happens all the time, not just to me, but to women everywhere. As much as they may deny it, women are obsessed with trying to figure men out. Well, it seems that the tangled vines of the male brain is much like no man’s land. It is a place where women who dare to go will never understand the real goings-on.

I have heard the rumours, I’m sure you have too; men are simple. There is (apparently) no need for the over-thinking, the analysing, for thinking about all the worst possible scenarios and most of all for the self doubt that women put themselves through. In some experience it may be these things that sends them running for the hills. Rule number one must be to be covert. Women who are guilty of over analysing, must be covert about it. By all means, tell your girlfriends about it, but do so with caution, never going beyond enemy lines. He will run.

It is all fair and good saying all this and vowing a bout of female empowerment, but girls will be girls after all. We will always turn to our friends and ask for their opinions and we will forever more talk about relationships, sex and men, sharing circumstances and dosing out advice on each. The advice may be cruel and kind, but in the majority of cases it will be farcical, complete with a mandatory happily ever after. Rule Two: this also has to stop. Yes, hope is good, but hanging on to hope’s every last string can be emotionally draining, the days of waiting by the phone are from this day over.

The writers of He’s Just Not Into You tell women to take things as they are, simple and at face value. If he’s not speaking to you, not texting you, not instant messaging you, emailing you etc etc, he is probably Just Not That Into You. Forget the cherry blossom details, put you first and move on.

As hard as it may be, a woman has to be strong, liberating herself from the controlling powers of male seduction. No matter how fit you think he is, if he’s gone awol, he just isn’t worth the effort.

There are other rumours too. These are about 21st century dating and they are something which the modern women love to fall back on. “Why should I have to wait around for a man? This is the 21st century, I can make the first move.” Yes, I do agree with this (taking a leaf out of Samantha Jones’ book, I’d say) but when you are making the first, second, third, fourth, twenty seventh move, it’s time to realise a failure and abort the mission.

Yes, this may be the 21st century, a time where women’s liberation has created new grounds for women everywhere, but along with equal rights must come equal sense of self. In order to really take power and control of our emotions (put ‘do not text’ reminders next to the man’s name in your address book if needs be) the quest to understand a man must take a back seat. The chances are that men don’t really understand what is going through their heads anyway and this may well be demonstrated through their unpredictable actions. But they are not alone. Show me a woman who fully (and I mean fully) understands the occurrences in her noggin and I will willingly admit defeat.

Monday, 7 June 2010

It's a maxi thing

From a small recurring trend dating back to a few years ago, the maxi trend has finally found its rightful place in SS10.

From a hemline that was previously restricted to formal events and red carpet extravoganzas, ankle skimming dresses are the quickest and easiest way to summer style this season. The high street has taken on the trend with such abundance, pioneering all types of prints, colours and fabrics and found boho a home.

The trend is set to make its way well into Autumn, accoring to style.com so snap yours up now.

My recent maxi additions include a tribal printed embellished version from River Island and a jersey striped long vest style from New Look. Online fashion emporium asos.com has some very tempting options and Topshop has come up with a beautifully crafted chiffon dress. I have my eye on another chiffon one at Dorothy Perkins.

Not only are maxi dresses a firm fashion fave this season, they are perfect for holidays. Pop them in your suitcase and make from the beach to the bar in one fell swoop. Gladiators, sunnies and a satchel. Lovely.

All that's left to ask is: are you a Maxi-nista?

L-R: New Look, £18 / River Island, £39.99 /  Dorothy Perkins, £45 /Topshop, £60 / New Look / Vera Wang, $750 / AW10 catwalk

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Sex and the Abu Dhabi

Sex and the City 2; Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, Charlotte, you did me proud.

Having read Polly Hudson's review of the second SATC film, I was a little apprehensive about my reaction to the sequel, but just like a Carrie cosmo, it went down a treat.

The clothes, the luxury, the sex, the celebrity appearances (I never thought I'd see Liza Minelli singing single ladies) and the funny one-liners all showed that there is some sex left in the city, even after over ten years on our screens. Although, the girls spent most of the film in Abu Dhabi, escaping the stress of their lives and rediscovering aspects of themselves along the way, the plot, the morals and the power of love and friendships were all heart-warming and testiment to the true love for SATC.

Some of the film's plot was a bit far fetched and there were parts where disbelief spawned, but that's what it is all about really, isn't it? The foursome escaped their own lives and we escaped with them.

Camp went even more camp as Carrie's and Charlotte's best gay friends tied the knot, Miranda learned the real value of being a mother in the smaller things that she does for Brady, Charlotte also learns a lot more about motherhood and feels like she got more than she bargained for and Carrie and Samantha, well are just good old Carrie and Samantha; sex, sex and more sex, oh and oh so great clothes.

The clothes were fabulous. The fashions were different and more extravagant than the first movie blockbuster, but there was a certain lacking in 'wow' moments. The girls wear a lot of Halston vintage, some old classics like Carrie's vintage Dior tabloid dress and Charlotte's Chanel accessories and the film even features them wearing full black burkhas.

The birth place of the show, New York City didn't really feature much and the escapism to the Middle East came with hilarious consequences (including a camel toe and an arrest for inappropriate sexual behaviour). Liberated and modern women may have toyed with Abu Dhabi but I think I do prefer the thrills and drama of the Empire State. For me, sex can definitely stay in the City.