Saturday, 26 February 2011

A stranger in my own city

The past few days, I've been with my cousin who is visiting from Australia. I don't know what you do when you have visitors, but given my city's long history, we're kind of obliged to take them around the tourist trail. I have recently begun to appreciate the architecture and history around me, but I haven't been sightseeing for a long time. It was really good to rediscover the museums, attractions and especially the cathedral. They charge you admittance now which seems a little off to me, what would Jesus have to say about that? He'd go in and throw their admittance counter over, I suppose. Anyway, it was worth it to look around again after all this time, and I would definitely recommend a romp around your own home town if you have the time. Try doing each of the following for a good day out pretending to be a tourist:

1. Go somewhere with a view. It's always good to see the place from a different angle so search for a tower, hill or something where you can go to the top and look down. Obviously not everyone has something like this, so just try and find a tall building, maybe a shop or cafe, that you're allowed into which has windows looking out onto the city.

2. Take advantage of free stuff. I don't think people really use the various offers of free admittance and events to their full extent a lot of the time. If you know of somewhere you can get in without paying, try it! If you only know places with admission charges, check that you actually need to pay, as some places will give special offers for students etc. Failing that, you can look out for events which allow you to go where you couldn't normally.

3. Try a new cafe or restaurant. I have a favourite cafe, it's called Cafe Monde and I have been there 4 times in the last week! It seems that I need to get out of my rut, which is why I was pleased to shake it up a bit and go to Patisserie Blanc, which was completely different. If you're ever lucky enough to go there, the mushroom croissant is gorgeous! Anyway, the point is that by sampling  the cuisine of a new place you can discover somewhere you love.

Just an end-note: I've now joined! You can find my profile here

Thursday, 24 February 2011

LFW: Stylish Men

For those who read my post yesterday, you'll know that I had a mosey around London Fashion Week yesterday. You may also know that it was a day specifically for menswear, so I'm guessing that the high ratio of men to women which I saw was not the average day at fashion week. There were a lot of stylish businessmen, ground-breaking bloggers and even a group of guys on motorcycles sent in to advertise Mr Porter. All in all a fantastic day and several very nice suits!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

London Fashion Week

I love her style so much!

This was the team from cool new mag 1883 who were shooting interviews. I managed to nab a copy which someone had abandoned on one of the tables - it's really good!

Check out this guy with his pose matching the model behind him! What do you reckon? The next male supermodel?

The sign you can't really see to the right here says 'PRESS ONLY NO FOOD OR DRINK'

First thing's first. I wasn't invited. I know, shock horror! But just because nobody wants you in the shows doesn't exclude you from just hanging around Somerset House, having a macchiato, leafing through The Daily and people-watching. I often see articles about fashion events with the subtitle 'An Insider's View', but these photos are just the opposite: 'An Outsider's View'.

I saw so many stylish, beautiful people, some in outfits I didn't really understand and just two rather confused looking women in late middle-age, who seemed like they'd just been looking for somewhere to have a nice cup of tea. Today was especially for menswear so there was an excess of dashing, well-dressed guys around but I'm saving the photos of them for tomorrow when I'll do a special 'Stylish Men' feature.

Seeing Fashion Week up close, but not really personal, has re-inspired my desire to work in fashion. They say you should set yourself high targets to make you work harder for things, so here's my target: I'll be back to LFW within two years, and next time, I'll have an invite.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Style Icon: Kate Middleton

I can't speak for anywhere but the area of England I live in - but royal wedding fever is taking over. We're in the process of accepting Kate, speculating about her relationship with the royal family, comparing her to Diana and analysing every move she makes in hope of gleaning another detail concerning the rings, the cake and, most importantly, the dress.

I've picked her as a style icon now because I think her clean but modern style is the perfect illustration of how to transition gracefully from Winter to Spring. She's a little bit typical boarding school girl, but she's got an amazing track-record of stunning outfit after stunning outfit, without losing a sense of heritage and class.

If you want to follow the example of our future queen and cross that tricky time when it starts to warm up outside with some Royal decorum, then read on. I have devised 3 simple stages for you to use as a guide.

Stage 1: Cold. The depths of winter, which I'm sure some of you are still in, are harsh. In the good old days, a lady would never leave her house without gloves year round! Today, we've conceded that the practicalities of this could be too much, but that is no excuse to be negligent when there is the chance of snow. Kate would probably also have a whole rack of perfect, tailored coats for facing the elements. You needn't have more than one flattering, well-covering coat which will keep you warm on a winter walk. Other things you may want would include a thick pair of equestrian-inspired boots (a look which Kate works extremely well, despite being allergic to horses), a woolen scarf and a snuggly, oversized jumper. Preferably in the colours of your school/university/family crest.

Stage 2: Rain. On one hand, the temperature is up. Yay! On the other, that means it's now not cold enough to snow, and you know what that means. As I mentioned in London's Calling, the most essential accessory at this point (or basically any point when you're in Britain) is an umbrella. Don't cheap out on one from Primark which costs £6, invest in a sturdy, well-made one which will last the madness of wind, rain and hail in quick succession over about 2 minutes. Kate wouldn't let bad weather put her off dressing well though, in fact, now might be the time to begin your transition to Spring's colours and prints. A floral dress on it's own would be insanity at this time, but with a light coat, cardigan and a pair of woolen tights, it keeps you warm and dry and pulls off the layering look. This is another important item: tights, tights, tights. Buy them in every colour, every material, throw in some over-the-knee socks for a variety (but try not to look like you're form St Trinians). The key to 'keeping-it-Kate' is using earthy tones and classic brands like Barbour to make it look like you're heading out on a country walk, rather than a trip to the shops.

Stage 3: Sun. There may not be much of it, but that makes it all the more important to take advantage of it while you can. Now is the time to go wild with florals, lace, colour and sandals. You can take on any persona you like. You could be the smart attendee of a garden party, sipping champagne while wearing white shoes with no heel so as not to sink in to the grass, a flurry of roses daisies printed onto a babydoll-cut dress and a string of antique pearls. Or maybe you could be the off-duty Wimbledon player, with a tennis-inspired cream dress worn alongside strawberry red killer heels. But then maybe you'd prefer to be the perfect wedding guest, in a bright colour you wouldn't normally wear like pink or yellow. Make sure you find the most ridiculous, feathered, lacy fascinator you can - how often do you get to wear things like that?
Kate has the spring/summer look down. She certainly knows where to find a good floral dress, for day and night. Her poshness allows her to wear varsity-inspired pieces without looking tacky and her choice of sunglasses is perfect for looking good every time a paparazzo snaps a shot of her.

At last! A right royal style icon, whose seamless method of moving between England's odd seasons has everyone wanting a piece of her look (the dress she wore when they announced the engagement sold out on within hours). I have no doubt that whatever dress she has on her special day will be just magical, as a princess' should. And if it's not? Oh well, I still get a day off school!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Sous le Ciel de Paris

Happy Valentine's Day!

I saved the best until last, non? Paris style is fairly simple, often basic, always elegant and sophisticated. They say it's the city of love, so romance is always at the forefront of the sartorial Parisian's mind. This is obviously an evening look, but the dress can always be dressed down with, perhaps, the leather jacket from Milan and worn to something less formal. The necklace can obviously accompany anything, as long as it's chic.

Dress: Madam Rage at New Look
Pashmina: Um, the nice lady with  the market stall?
Shoes: Miss Selfridge
Necklace: Accessorize

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Milan, darling

Unfortunately, Milan is also on my list of places I still need to go. However, I have been to Italy, and have even done a post about Italian style. This outfit is not supposed to be the classy Milanese woman who luncheons with friends and goes shopping then to the opera in the evening. This is more about the teenage girl who gets a ride home from school on the back of her classmate's moped, then spends a lazy afternoon drinking granitas in the plaza before going dancing.

Jacket: Pimkie
Camisole: Primark
Jeggings: Clockhouse
Shoes: Liberta

Saturday, 12 February 2011

London's Calling

How do you define British style? Speaking as a British citizen, I'd say that there is no set definition. However, there are certain elements which have worked their way into our culture and iconic styles which still come and go today: punk, military, formal, garden party, sporting etc. It all comes down to a few fundamental ideas.
  1. Stick it to the man - By ironically dressing in clothes reminiscent of school or military uniform you are making fun of, even rebelling against the system. It's important to have a sense of humour about what you are wearing, but at the same time making a statement. That's what I've gone for here with my military jacket and the tiny Oxford University brooch.
  2. Keep heritage in mind - This links to the military stuff, but there's so much more history to choose from. We're also still obsessed with our royal family, hence the current royal-wedding-fever, which I think has affected the way we still revert back to the poshness of floral dresses and cricket jumpers.
  3. Always carry an umbrella - It's a bore, but even in our best weeks of the summer, you can get caught without one and it will ruin your make-up. Take one everywhere. If you want to tie in with the whole royals thing, make it a Fulton like this one. Apparently that's the brand the queen uses!
Jacket: H&M
Shirt: Primark
Tights: Primark
Shoes: Vintage
Umbrella: Fulton
Brooch: Oxford University

Friday, 11 February 2011

Her Name Was New York

So, I promised something special for Valentine's Day and here it is. Every day from now until 14th Feb, I'll be posting an outfit which you could wear on a date or going out with friends. Each one is inspired by a fashion capital of the world, in order of when each of their respective fashion weeks is.

To start with, it's New York. If you're wondering what my T-shirt says, it's 'City Never Sleeps', which is of course appropriate to the big apple. I'm afraid I've never been to New York, so forgive me if I've got the style wrong, but I decided to go for a baseball jacket and skirt to channel stereotypical High School and the darker T to add urban edge.

Come back tomorrow when we're in London!

T shirt, jacket: New Look
Necklace: Accessorize
Skirt: Zara
Sunnies: Primark
Shoes: Miss Selfridge