Monday, December 13, 2010

Looking back on a fab week

Hi kids. Apologies for my lack of blog activity over the last week. I can assure you it was nothing personal...I was merely catching up with some of my own favourite bloggers – do check out my blog list sometime its fabulous.  I was also attempting to finish off the Christmas shopping, which I have to admit is not going well. There is only so much one can buy when one has inquisitive little people demanding rainbow biscuits every time I make a move! Thankfully I had no such trouble in the style department. In fact every time I ventured into the smallest-wardrobe-in-the-world I came out looking like a pin-up girl for the latest flashy mag (if I don't say so myself) and I didn’t have to consult with the SATC 2 almanac once. Yay for me. Must have been my brush with Prada-on-a-budget the week before that ignited the latest fixation because suddenly I would accept anything less of myself than looking like a glamazon albeit in Sussan.

This was the first memorable outfit of the week. I wore it on Monday. I’d been somewhat mildly depressed over the demise of my favourite pair of jeans – the DKNY’s rom Filene’s Basement that I couldn’t bring myself to throw them out. I also really wanted a pair of knee length denims but promised Dr Love I’d make a concerted effort to pay off the credit card. Eep! So with the obligatory pair of ‘good scissors’ (every household should have one) and a needle and cotton I set about re-inventing my fav denims into the much wanted capris without having to spend a cent. The batwing top is somewhat of a shift in convention. I brought it last year during the post chrissie sales from Sussan. Usually I’d go with a block colour but every so often something flashy catches my eye and I have to have it. I love the shape of this blouse and the way it floats over all the bumpy bits making them disappear. The gold isn’t an exact match to my colour wheel but its close enough to get away with it. The shoes, would you believe spent nearly two years in a non-descript shoe box buried deep in the SWITW. I brought them from this amazing little shoe shop around the corner from Macy’s in New York. Can’t remember the name of the shop because I was too distracted by the quality of the sale inside. Full price Steve Madden for under $100!! These aren’t Steve Madden BTW but I love them anyway. The little wedge is perfect when you want a little bit of extra height. And the red picks up the colour in the blouse. Top it off with my favourite bangle combo – beige resin and black wood and I’m right to go.

Remember this ensem? I posted this photograph last week as part of the Vogue January review because it was the inspiration behind what I wore on Wednesday. Well actually it was the necklace that initially sent me leaping into the smallest-wardrobe-in-the-world because I have one that is very similar. It was only by pure coincidence that by the time I’d finished working my magic that I realised I’d practically recreated the entire look only without the spots. Not that I mind spots. I quite like them actually but the SWITW is severely lacking in the spot-slash-dot department and I had no inclination to beat myself up over incidentals. Although Forever New was the initial inspiration for my look, I decided to do a Prada and channel Chanel for the day. I’d not long seen the flick, Coco Avent Chanel and was mildly obsessed. I brought the dress from a Jacqui E clearance sale for $50 a couple of months ago and yes, it’s black. But it is a classic and worn as a statement piece so it’s allowed. It’s probably a bit higher in the neckline than the E cups would like, but the empire waist and pencil skirt compensate nicely. My gorgeous orange shoes are new - shhhh! I brought them from the Nine West clearance store for $40.00. Every time I went outside however, I had to swap them for my flats – Chanel inspired of course, because it was raining and I didn’t want my flashy new clogs to get wet. What can I say, I hadn’t water proofed them yet. I topped it off with a cute bling ring – which I managed to get caught under baby cub’s car seat the other day and nearly tore my finger off, and my cut-priced Lucca bag from Strand Bags.

It was a tad cool on Sunday so it was a good excuse to show-off this gorgeous drape cardigan from Fenn Wright Manson that I brought at first site from the House of Fraser, and we all know how much I love the House of Fraser. I’m not kidding when I said I brought it at first sight, although I did have enough forsight to try it on first...then it was love at first sight. Whipped out the credit card without a second thought and haven’t looked back since. I teamed it with a pair of dark blue denim skinny jeans from Sussan that I picked up for $39 and a singlet also from Sussan. I topped it off with Chanel inspired flats and a pair of cute ear-rings I secured for $2 from an accessory store at my local shopping centre.  Will admit my fabulous sister-in-law did enquiry as to my head-to-toe palette of neutral and psuedo neutral colours considering my recent anti-neutral rants, but what can I say?  I don't mind wearing it from time to time, I just don't want to walk into every second store on the local shopping strip and have nothing but neutral for choice.  Know what I mean?

OMG I love looking good. Wonder what this week will bring?


Monday, December 6, 2010

It's been a while, but the review is back! Vogue...January 2011

Compared with the December edition of Vogue; a cracking mag of over 270 pages of fabulous fashion fantasy and finds albeit completely out of my price range, I was a tad disillusioned by the January publication and for a split second considered not spending my hard-earned on a magazine that could barely scrap together 184 pages. It should be said however, that one should not be so hasty as to pass such severe judgement upon first glance and should instead sit down quietly over a cup of tea and peruse its contents before mouthing off. This gloss-pot boys and girls turned out to be a perfect and delectable example of quality over quantity. I really enjoyed immersing myself in perfectly presented pictorial montages and well-written prose and it wasn’t long before I was searching the net for a floor length silk caftan-style-cape in sky blue as worn by the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire on page 171. Sadly, couldn’t find one, which wasn’t an altogether blue? Not really my colour.

A pregnant Miranda Kerr on the shiny new jacket was in my opinion a brave move. It stimulated a number of interesting arguments on the Vogue forum, which yours truly took part in for the very first time (long time reader, first time poster...can you believe I actually wrote that?) I will admit, I nearly didn’t recognise the latest edition owing to its foray into unfamiliar territory on the front cover but as one poster pointed out ‘pregnant women want to look glamorous too’ and let’s face...when it comes to Miranda Kerr you’ve got the best of both worlds. Personally I reckon I could have given her a run for her money when pregnant with the oldest of my little people. There was not one swollen ankle in sight. Not so with baby cub...I spent the first 18 weeks huddled over a toilet bowl and the next 22 trying to avoid it.

Will admit, when you break it down, I wasn’t so impressed with the individual pieces of apparel on display. Aside from the obligatory swim wear and odd sunglass, I couldn’t help but feel as though the fashion team had picked up the least wintery pieces from the Autumn/Winter catwalk collections and passed them off as high summer. Who knows, perhaps it was the rich shades of caramel brown that dominated the pre-winter scene in the UK and Paris or the plethora of long-sleeve, trench wearing celebs that tipped me off to the dilemma. The ‘anything goes’ spread on pg 150-156 did a reasonable job at hinting at what one might wear when one is scorching but on the whole lacked that summer feel. ‘Spose it is a bit hard when you are trans-seasonal to the fashion world and household names like Muiccia Prada who along with her esteemed friends made this gloss what it is, are whipping out the wool when-ever they get the chance. For my mind, the December edition did a much better job at capturing the current temps if you have a chance at a back copy.

Not that I didn’t find a treasure trove of inspiration for the coming months...I did and in the least expected places. The full page advertisement for Forever New (still not a good fit as far as advertising goes for my mind) had me running for the smallest-wardrobe-in-the-world for a complete outfit that I intend to wear on Wednesday. Something I am going to have to get used to yet again now that I have decided to stop...gulp...spending for at least...sniff...four months. Please don’t say anymore...the credit card has spoken and I’ve already gone through one box of Kleenex in sympathy with myself.

In closing, if you can get over the questionable fashion finds then this is a great little publication in which to put up your feet and enjoy. The beauty, life and entertainment sections are all good reads and there are number of ripping articles to keep you well entertained. Vogue doing what it does best...only without the usual dominating pages of high priced fashion that those with a mortgage can only dream about.

I’d buy it. Oh wait, I already have...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Shop Your Own Wardrobe Pt 7: How to recreate Prada without really trying

I have completely fallen in love with this Prada dress featured in the latest edition of Vogue – which, btw, is a ripping publication and quite worthy of a review if I ever get around to it. Now, I don’t know about you but Prada isn’t exactly something that is readily available or even optional within my budget. Rather than sit around in a snit for the next ten months because I can’t covet what I adore however, I decided to take a step back in time and shop my own wardrobe.

It’s been some months since I set about recreating a look from the contents of the smallest-wardrobe-in-the-world. Then again the post-holiday, pre-Christmas credit crunch means a drastic cut-back on new acquisitions so I had little choice. If I wanted Prada, I was going to have to think Kamikaze and seriously get over myself. The beauty of using a high-end design straight out of the pages of the latest glossy is this:

1. The chances of procuring said high-end design are basically zero so it’s easy to look at it as an inspiration rather than an acquisition, and

2. I’m ripping it straight from the pages of the very latest and quintessential glammie mag, which means it a modern must-have and bang on trend.

Like our previous expeditions into our own wardrobes as enthused by the SATC 2 almanac, re-creating a look from a latest gloss-pot means taking into consideration all the various elements of your chosen best and adapting them to suit your shape, your style, your wardrobe, and in this case your season. This little frock is part of Prada’s latest autumn-winter collection and clearly for those of us living somewhat south of the equator the sun is well on its way to reaching its zenith. But here again lies the beauty of knowing how to shop-your-own-wardrobe. You not limited by the position of the sun or the occasion and can still be stylish without even trying.

For this project, I took into consideration the total look – printed dress with fitted bodice and full (or in my case with my thighs, A-line) knee-length skirt, classic pumps in a contrasting colour with a high heel and detail and co-ordinating head band with upswept, bee-hive hair as well as the lady-like silhouette of the glamorous and stylish 1950’s housewife.

Here is how I did it:

Printed dress fit fitted bodice and full knee-length skirt: What luck, I have a knee-length printed dress in hues of blue albeit in a floral design rather than geometrics. I brought it last year from Kamikaze for $100, but between you, me and your local Prada outlet any colour will do. I substituted the long-sleeve fitted bodice with an empire seam under the bust and thin shoulder straps because it was already in my wardrobe and its hot at the mo. The trick to recreating a look out of season and one which is more conducive to your body shape and wardrobe is not to get too caught up in semantics. The cut of the MFS substitute while not authentic to the original look still creates the same slim, feminine silhouette achieved by the archetype.

Contrasting yet classic heels: The heels in this look are burgundy patented leather with a black bow and diamante feature. While I do have a pair of merlot coloured patented leather mary-janes in a very similar style that I purchased while abroad, they feature a leopard print motif and will be a bit too busy for this ensem. This look calls for a simple but elegant pair of heels that add to, but do not detract from or confuse the overall appeal. Or in other words my fabulous fashionistas...block colour with a little bit of bling. I have choosen a pair of purple suede peep toe shoes with a chrome coloured buckle at the sides, which I brought from Betts for a ridiculous $27.

Headband: As we have already ascertained in a previous shop-your-own-wardrobe post (SYOW part 2: From Halston to Diana Ferrari; how you can do it too), I can’t do full head head bands because I have a flat head and they keep falling off. So I’ve substitute with a half band with black and silver bling that I brought a few years ago from a Myer sale for $5. I knew it would come in handy one day.
Tights: It’s hot so I’m not going to bother although if I did I would go straight for Ambra’s peeptoe pantyhose in nude which you can pick up from any major department store for $12.95.

Accessories: For this look, I would keep it simple. You really want the silhouette of the outfit to make the statement not the accessories. Add a classic but simple handbag in a neutral – in my case my new Lucca that I purchased from a Strandbags clearance sale for $14.

And there you have it...another guide to re-inventing your wardrobe and your style without spending a single cent. I love this so much, I’m wearing it work tomorrow. Bye MFSxxx

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Memoirs of an English (and French) adventure...and then I shopped

Ted Baker in Paris
Now that the great shopping drought of the holiday abroad was broken (ah the memories of the Selfridges shoe galleries) I was on a roll.  We were one day away from spending five days in the most beautiful and stylishcity in the world so I was damned if I was travelling 40 meters under the English channel seabed looking like a tourist.  I had a cunning plan that involved a carefully constructed list and whole lot of restraint.  Unfamiliar territory for me really when I’ve got a wad of cash and credit card burning a hole in my back pocket.  Anyway, prior to the big adventure and post pre-holiday hissy-fit over what I was going to buy (read more here), I did a reccie of the smallest-wardrobe-in-the- world and taking into consideration the sorry, dated and stretched state of numerous occupants, together with my current lifestyle needs – skinny jeans and pair of runners,  I came up with the following list:
  • One, if not two pairs of jeans in a straight and/or bootleg cut
  • A good winter coat with a decidedly UK flavour
  • A new trench in a colour other than grey
  • A cashmere cardigan in ahem...neutral
  • A pair of navy blue converse runners;
  • Several pairs of shoes; and
  • A hand full of new tops
Now, it would have been completely irresponsible of me to purchase everything at once – refer to the pre-holiday hissy-fit for further information, so I decided to break it down into absolute French necessities and made a bee line for the Ted Baker jacket from my local John Lewis store that I’d been obsessing over for the past six days.   As I've already blogged about it, you can read about it here. 

My funky new runners...not that I run.
Next stop was the converse sneakers.   I’d been considering procuring myself a pair of converse sneakers for some time now and was absolutely delighted to find they were a fraction of the price – I paid just $50 for them even with the exchange rate.  As I’m rather partial to dark denim skinny jeans, then navy converse sneakers were my funky trainer of choice.  I have no doubt that there are many stylists out there in the fashion jungle who will tell you that those of us with curves probably shouldn’t walk around in a pair of skinny jeans as they have the potential to make us look like Colonel Sanders southern fried chicken legs.  I, on the other hand believe in making (some) current trends work regardless of body shape (thank you Gok) and always wear mine dark with extra length so the bunching around the ankle works to lengthen the leg and therefore make those problem areas magically disappear.  Eat your heart out Harry Potter.  Has anyone seen Hermoine’s new hair style  by the way.  She looks amazing.  Anyway, by adding a sneaker in a similar shade I’m simply adding to the overall length of the leg making them appear ten foot long rather than the obligatory three!  Who would have thought after 11 years, Dr Love not only noticed my shoes, but commented on them too.  Well done Dr Love.  

My jeans were Ralph Lauren, and although I didn’t set out to purchase Ralph Lauren no matter how many times I had dreamed about it in the past, once I tried them on – four days earlier, there was simply no going back!  They had spoiled me for choice.  In fairness to myself, I did attempt to find a suitable alternative for a much lower price – they were £90 pounds (eep) but nothing compared to cut or colour.  It was as though they were made for me...the perfect denim dud with the much sought after but never previously experienced suitably straight leg.  The dark denim (the flash on the camera makes them look lighter than they really are) and wisping around the zip and upper thigh is just perfect for girlie girls carrying their curves on their lower half.  It breaks up the colour, which in block format could have the potential to make us bigger than we really are (see here for my past post on finding the perfect pair of jeans) and really, who wants that?

Girl about Paris
The last purchase for the day was a purple trench from Hobbs, another of my new favourite obsessions.  I mentioned once before that Hobbs was a good comparison to Veronika Maine only with more purple and there is no doubt that it was the colour of the season.  Lucky for me it is also smack bang in the middle of my colour wheel!  Never be frightened to buy multiple items in the same colour or shade boys and girls if that same colour or shade makes your skin glow like the glossy cover of the latest Vogue and your eyes pop like diamonds.  And no, black does not count!.  Buying multiple pieces in the same shade shows that you know exactly what to do to make yourself look smashing and colour coordinating your wardrobe just got a whole lot easier.  Take my favourite holiday outfit for example – Ralph Lauren jeans, converse sneakers, teal blue Stella top with empire waist/tie and blue looks fabulous with the Ted for a sophisticated but slightly edgy glam look, as well as the Hobbs for those days when I just want to be classic and quiet girl around town...Paris town. Au Revoir

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