Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday night review (it's back!)...Shop Til You Drop, June '10

The June edition of Shop Til You Drop is all about shapes and sizes, which when you cop a look is really rather apt. It appears that the good people at ACP Magazines – home of the famed STYD have trimmed down this fabulous little fashion bible for the financially challenged into a smaller and more convenient version of its former self without compromising on style. Fantastic news for those who are guilty of regularly attempting to stuff our latest glossies into oversized handbags that constantly bulge with the can’t-live-without-daily-must-haves. Of course, I very nearly missed it when perusing my local supermarket shelves earlier this eve...not that it would be the first time...those magazine racks make hundreds and thousands on a fairy-cake look organised. But once found, twice excited not only for the $35 Samantha Willis gift card (have you seen the gorgeous turquoise ring on page 36 – talk about must have!) but also for the content. As we all know, I’m big on shape and better on sizes and this edition is jammed packed with advice on how to dress your shape and show-off your style regardless of your size. Now, I’m not going to lie to you ladies and gents, despite my excitement at the fashion forwardness of this latest gloss-pot in catering to those of us with the beginnings of bingo-wings and bums, the featured fashion is not what I would consider to be among its best. The Love That Dress feature (pg46 – 55) and La Dolce Vita spread (pg59 – 65) for my mind where both a little bland (and excuse me for saying so, a little ill-fitting!!) and definitely did not have me scrambling out the door blowing kisses to BB1 and BB2 en-route to the latest sale. The sound advice and savvy style sense for every shape and size that is woven throughout the full-colour images of subsequent pages however, are true testament to the well known adage – forgive and forget, because by the time you flip over to page 69 and the infamous ‘How-to’ feature you are well on your way to fashionista fantasy. This section is a cracking read and offers a bounty of fabulous suggestions and recommendations at realistic and easily affordable prices for every, silhouette, dimension and occassion – even if you do have to layby! Never one to be drawn into the hype around celebrity style icons, I found myself desperately wanting to look exactly like burlesque beauty, Dita Von Tesse (minus the black t-shirt) on p77 then nipping into the bedroom and reworking the smallest wardrobe in the world to replicate the capsule collection over the page (p78). While you are in the vicinity, check out the jersey dress from Big W on p80. Who would of thought! Although word of warning girlie girls...if you are tempted by a fitted jersey then you absolutely must ensure you are wearing the right underwear...if not then walk away! Trust me, jersey dresses and VPLs are not the way to go.

Now that the cold weather has knocked the sun aside for the most part you will not want to go past the Winter Warm-up shopping spree (85-94) for toastie solutions for your fingers, feet, head, neck and legs. My fav pages are those that titillate with gorgeous scarves (p90, but seriously why would you want to go past Sussan for a fabulous scarf. Even better at a fraction of the price) and sexy tights (p92 – where were those red Ambras when I needed them last week. They’ll look gorgeous with my purple Leona wrap dress and new suede peep-toes from Betts). Not to be outdone pg98 – 104 offer 50 steps to style confidence beginning with a not so subtle suggestion that one may want to nip down to the nearest Borders and pick up a copy of Trinny and Susannah’s The Body Shape Bible, while pg 106 – 111 tell you how to shop for your shape without breaking out into a sweat. Pgs 115 – 117 introduce us to a lively little piece entitled one dress fits all which is followed by a must-read size guide for buying on-line. The Cheap & Chic feature on pg129 – 135 should be cut out, laminated and stuck to your wardrobe for future reference (Oh please can I have that Katherine coat on p130!), and just in case you missed it on the first read, flip back to p32 of the Reporter section and have a squiz at the must-have options for your intimates. You and your own Dr Love will not regret it!

To buy or not to buy is always the question, but for my mind this is one edition that you really should not go past. Not for its guide to the latest essentials (let us not forget the Samantha Wills ring and Katherine coat however), but for its smart, savvy and oh so extraordinary advice on how to look, feel and smell fashion forward regardless of whether you are a buxom babette with smouldering E cups or a elegant waif that send the rest of us into an insane spin of envy. For the most part, the June edition turns back time and offers a greater selection of affordable fashion for those of us with too much to buy and not enough means to spend. Who needs Yves Saint Laurent when you’ve got Betts?

Check it out:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

14 hours and counting and I still haven't packed

Going interstate for a four-day conference tomorrow and I haven’t packed yet. Oh my god, the pressure! It’s like being crushed by a container of latest Prada handbags...what a way to go! This 300 people plus soiree calls for nearly every dress code known to man, I mean woman (let’s face it, men can do anything with a well fitted shirt and good pair of pants). I’ve found myself staring at the smallest wardrobe in the world on more than one occasion convinced it was smaller than usual, which if you tossed out all the colours that no longer fall into my fabulous colour spectrum, it probably is. Sadly for me, I have neither the means nor the time to replace them – 14 hours until take off - and besides there is nothing a good scarf can’t fix right? Hmmm, maybe I can fit in a quick trip to the shops if I....!! Milla stop it!

Ironically, I recently participated in a “travel light” interview series with my fabulous fashionista friend ‘An Affair With Fashion’ (check it out) where I strenuously advocated planning around a capsule wardrobe to maximise space and minimize the chance of frequenting your local physiotherapist because you put your back out lifting your suitcase into the car. What a shame I can’t take my own advice. I’ve had months to plan for this shindig and yet, here I am sitting in my dressing gown convincing myself I really do need three dresses, four pairs of pants, a pencil skirt, three shirts, six pairs of shoes and four clutch bags and avoiding the whole thing! Not only that, BB2 is coming with me so BB1 can spend some quality time with Dr Love and I haven’t even begun contemplating her wardrobe yet. Luckily for me her attire is far less complicated. Help!

Milla’s hot tip: So, it’s just you and your suitcase, glaring at you as it dares you to fill it full to the brim with endless possibilities and yet, you still have nothing to wear. What do you do? Start with an outfit that you simply cannot live without and then build a wardrobe around it. I have a gala dinner on Monday night, so my starting point will have to be a champagne gold George Ermis dress I brought for $50 from a clearance store at DFO South Wharf (Its pictured above with accessories worn to a wedding a couple of months ago). Ok, so it’s an occasion dress but I have decided to team it with a new pair of purple suede peep-toe shoes that I recently picked up from Betts for $30, which indecently will go very well with my black tuxedo suit from Cue. Because I’m not supposed to wear black around my face, I can team it with an ivory camisole with a pretty frill around a scoop neck and purple three-strand bead necklace I saved from a potential Mother Fox garage sale. Actually, if the weather is warm, I can substitute the black jacket for my short sleeve charcoal jacket also from Cue, which looks fabulous with my charcoal pin-stripe pants, which in turn looks simple scrumptious with my new long-sleeve teal top with the cowl neck I just got from Diana Ferrari. Lucky I picked up that funky black hip belt from Sussan this arvo. Righto girlie girls, now we are on a roll! I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 7, 2010

To buy or not to buy...that is the coat.

So. I had completely psyched myself into a major spend this week in the form a woollen Charlie Brown trench. I was fresh from my colour session and completely confident that I could nail this colour kaleidoscope on its techno-tinted head. The coat was a purple beacon under bad lighting and every part of my stylish senses screamed that I had to have it, even if it did cost $479. After a fortnight of doing sums and dropping unsuccessful hints in Dr Love’s direction I had almost resigned myself to the fact that the coat, like the gloss-pot favourites in the latest Instyle mag were way out of my current league when BAM it hit me in the head like a Prada swinging hissy-fit...30 per cent off! But not only that, Charlie had also added another colour to his already vivid collection, one that was more suited to my colour wheel of choice, caramel. Suddenly, my dream coat seemed easily justified as a smart investment less a few dollars because it would look absolutely fabulous with my ancient nemisis, the freckle! I headed for the first full-length mirror I could find and tried it on. Blinded by the price it was love at first sight albeit a little tight. I quickly arranged to have the next size put on hold for me so I could return later that evening , then made a bee-line for the exit.

By the time I returned to Myers later that evening, I was practically skipping down the mall in delirious delight singing “I am getting a new coat, yay for me” when I danced past Sportscraft and was seized by indecision. There in the window was another coat. Very similar to Charlie but this one single breasted, not double and therefore more friendly to the E cups. Oh oh! Banishing all thoughts of the stylish wanna-be from my mind, I marched determinedly toward Myer as planned. The next size up was too big, so I quickly revisited the caramel in 12 but my previous excitement had flown the change-room and the double-breasting suddenly seemed to inflate my chest toward a whole new frontier. Visions of the other coat danced in front of my eyes. Apologetically, I raced into Sportscraft, but the guilt of cheating on Charlie was too great, so I raced back. This coat was everything I had been searching for over the last two years and surely the uncertainty over the seemingly more enormous than usual E cups were akin to an unsure bride on the night before her wedding day.

Hardening my resolve I took it up to the cash register and handed it over. In one short swipe of the credit card it would soon be mine when I saw a pull in the fabric at the back of the skirt. Noticeable to anyone with a couple of eyes and fabulous fashion sense. Sensing a loss in sale, the young and perfectly lovely sales assistant who probably shouldn’t wear black dutifully ran off to ring her friends in the city and secured me another size 12. It would be here Sunday would that be OK? Yes it would. Slightly disappointed at not being able to parade my new purchase in front of Dr Love, I continued about my business with an unfamiliar thought nagging at the back of my mind. By the time I hit the check-out with a bunch of bananas and latest copy of Vogue light dawned in shades of blue teal and gold. I didn’t want it! The coat that is not the bananas! I had been so excited at the prospect of finding a coat in one of my colours and having the means in which to buy it, I had totally compromised on the cut. I’d turned a blind eye to a situation so obvious that it was very likely that I would put that coat onto its wooden hanger in the smallest wardrobe in the world and it would never see the light of day until I decided to sell it on eBay 3 years later. So, I did the only thing that seemed right. I walked away! Oh my gawd...can you believe it?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Excuse Me? Do you have this in eggplant?

Eggplant, teal blue and banana gold! Who would have thought that the average, freckled faced-mother of two from the burbs who truly believed she looked ghastly in yellow would emerge beaming from a colour spectrum that included not one, but three signature colours from a kaleidoscope of delicious tints and shades that had me positively drooling over my sparkly flats. Hello nice to be back...again. As you all know I was off to have my colours done a couple of weeks ago. I was ridiculously excited almost to the point of foolishness. Not only had I stopped shopping – yes, stopped shopping! But I was insanely jealous of my wonderful friend Mel simply because she was having her colours done a week before mine. Unbelievable! I psyched myself up for the big day by deliberating on what I was going to wear. I wanted to make a good impression and live up to my expectations as a stylish, in-the-know-fashion queen who could navigate her way around an apple green. The pressure to perform was immense, and if I was completely honest absolutely ridiculous...I was about to spend an hour with an expert colour consultant who could not only identify a peach melba from one hundred feet, but then explain the psychological attraction to only wearing it on a Sunday! She was going to correct my past mistakes – of which there have been many, and fix me up with a good-looking purple. What did she care if I turned up looking like a pumpkin? It was her job to transform me into a magnificent coach whereby the magic lasted well beyond the last strike of midnight (forgive me, BB1 is obsessed with Cinderella and after proofing that sentence, it appears, so am I!). Anyway, after some minor deliberation – apparently my natural hair colour or what you could see of it (thank goodness for regrowth!) contained a decent amount of ash, a colour usually associated with cool tones and not the warm hues previously identified during the group session - it was confirmed. I am indeed a ‘warm’ or to be more precise ‘dusty warm deep’, or if you prefer late spring to mid autumn. I can wear anything bridal – as long as it’s not to minty, pink or blue, which is fabulous news considering I spent a fortune on everything peach from country road’s autumn collection last year, and all the lush muted shades of a warm autumn day in the park – teal blues and greens, eggplants, aubergines and burgundies, terracottas, raisins, cocos and greens – moss, forest, bottle and olive. I can even wear grey as long as it’s charcoal, green-grey, muted grey and grey flannel. Thank goodness for that...with all that charcoal grey in their winter and autumn collections I reckon Jacqui E and Sussan thought they’d nearly lost their most valuable customer. Ha, no chance although Veronika Maine might give them a run for their money – I want that Ocean Mist coat!

In addition to identifying my colour wheel and handing over 48 colour tags all within my range, I also learned what colours brought out my eyes, made my skin glow and hair shine. I also learned how best to apply eye-shadow, what colours to build my wardrobe around, and what to use as accents and accessories. What I can’t wear, what I must stay away from and what I have known for some time but chose to ignore is black and well to be quite honest, says Angela colour consultant extraordinaire. Why would I want too! Why indeed...clearly she hasn’t seen the brand new tuxedo suit I just purchased from Cue. What do I now do with that???

Milla’s hot tip: If you have been considering or not considering having your colours done then I have only this to say...“GO!” GOGOGOGOGO! DO NOT STOP. DO NOT COLLECT $200...actually, if you can collect $200 then do it because I can guarantee you, the first thing you will want to do when you walk away from what will be the most liberating experience of your shopping life, is go shopping. You are practically guaranteed to make your money back on the first day.

Check it out:
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