Friday, 31 May 2013

3 Dresses: 3 Ways to do Sixties Style

If you're a regular reader, it probably won't have escaped your notice that I have a soft spot for sixties style. Although it never seems to drop off the fashion radar for long, I decided to take advantage of its current ascendance to invest in a couple of new vintage-inspired beauties, and resurrect an old favourite...


Dress: F&F at Tesco (Available Here)

The "Sixties Barbie" F&F frock that I just couldn't get out of my head once I'd seen it, even though my 7 Days of Summer prize fund had already been spent on these lovelies - see, I told you I was rediscovering my love of pink! Very cheeky-Marilyn, although I went a bit Bardot with the styling... The cut and quality of the tweed is amazing for the £25 price tag, especially considering the fabric's lack of stretch, and the dress should fit a variety of shapes - I was a little worried that, as an E cup, the under-bust piping might come up too high, but it settled perfectly in just the right spot! If you're smaller, the line will simply sit a little closer to your waist, as in some of the model shots floating around, which also looks fab. My one small complaint is that, while supremely comfortable to stand/strut in, the lack of give in the lining can make bending over/sitting down feel a tad dicey, though I've managed to avoid any mishaps so far - occupational hazard for those of us whose hips are definitively intent on channelling their inner Marilyn in preference to Twiggy!


Dress: Missguided (Available Here), Hair Band: New Look, Jacket, Shoes and Bag: Primark

Although we tend to associate the sixties with Twiggy-tastic thigh's-the-limit hemlines, the mini skirt didn't actually go live until the middle of the decade, with the below-the-knee pencil silhouette (and Audrey-esque fit-n-flare - see my trusty take about 6 shots into this post) still going strong. I couldn't resist the classic shape of this Missguided number coupled with its bold monochromatic polka dots - the simplicity just made it all the more striking. A few Grace Kelly-inspired styling touches were all the additions necessary - beehive, ladylike handbag, DIY cape - done. It would have been nice to have a few more sizing options besides S/M and M/L though - if the waist was a little more nipped in, it would be perfection.


Dress: Primark (Past Season), Shoes: New Look (Past Season)

The piece I've always thought of as the quintessence of sixties style: the (ironically twenties-inspired) A-line mini shift. This is actually a Primark dress I picked up on eBay 4 years ago, but what could work harder at channelling Twiggy circa 1966 (and miraculously subdue your inner Marilyn as required)?

What do you think of sixties style? Are you harnessing your inner mod/society gal/vintage vixen this season? 

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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Peplum Shirt + Mixi Sale Bargains 4 Ways...

Since peplums and mixi skirts definitively crossed the line into TOWIE-land, my ardour had begun to wane... until I saw these visions of amazingness in the Miss Selfridge sale - illuminating a path away from those ubiquitous neoprene peplum mini and wrap-around drop-hem styles, and toward a renewed sense of elegance and sophistication - aahhh...

My first investment was in their cream peplum blouse, reduced from £32 to £22, and then to £17.50 in the Debenhams Summer Spectacular. I'd been after a peplum shirt since last year, and this incredible sheer version, with a feel more Victorian than eighties, or even forties, could have been plucked straight from my dreams. The peplum is generously sized within normal ranges at the front, but drops to tush-covering at the back in a beautiful waterfall-esque manner (oooh - just realised that it's actually a mixi peplum - fancy that!). It goes with sooo many things, but I happened to be wearing my floral lantern midi when I picked it up, and loved the ladylike combination of cream tones, statement prints and vintage shapes.

Shirt: Miss Selfridge (Available Here), Skirt and Necklace: Both Primark, Shoes c/o F&F at Tesco

By the following week, the black version had joined its sister on the sale rails - after a 5 minute debate (of which, if I'm completely honest with myself, I always knew the outcome), it too was mine. Visions of gothic splendour were already crowding my mind - leather skinnies and pencil skirts, floor-sweeping maxis, rock chick jewellery, killer heels and, of course, disco pants... Even if, for once, it was really far too hot to try out any of the above combinations, I made a valiant effort with the help of my trusty standing fan!! I can confidently say I foresee this piece featuring rather prominently in my AW13 wardrobe...

Shirt: Miss Selfridge (Available Here), Disco Pants: Daisy Street, Boots: Boohoo, Earrings: Primark

On the same day I discovered the black shirt, my eye was also caught by some intriguing peach ruffles - the average mixi might have been more likely to turn my stomach than my eye at that moment, but this was something else... there was something about the Victorian nightie vibe that I just couldn't help but adore! I couldn't resist pairing it with my newly acquired cropped mint knit and sweetie-style gem collar for a pastel-powered shot of candy goodness...

Skirt: Miss Selfridge (Available Here), Top: Tokyo Doll at New Look, Collar: Dorothy Perkins, Shoes: Primark

Meanwhile, mum came up with the so-crazy-it-was-actually-genius idea of wearing my mixi peplum and mixi skirt together... and something about the deconstructed-Edwardian-aristocrat-meets-hippie-chick vibe just seemed to work - thanks mum!

Shirt and Skirt: Both Miss Selfridge, Hair Band, Necklace and Shoes: All Primark

The skirt and both shirts are currently still in stock on the Miss Selfridge website, and you can also nab the shirt in a variety of pastel colours, and the skirt in black if you so wish... amazing bargains to be had in any case, so have a squizz!

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Monday, 27 May 2013

Regatta Chic - Oxford University Summer Eights

Anyone else over average height with fairly well-functioning limbs have a "hey, maybe I could still get an Olympic medal" moment whilst watching the rowers (some of whom hadn't been training since they were in nappies) last year? Mine was relatively short-lived, faltering substantially once I heard tell of pre-6am all-weather training sessions, and biting the dust once and for all when I discovered that even University-level sailors train use sandpaper to improve their grip - ouch! My cousin Martina (of How to Wear Shirts and Blouses and Afternoon Tea at the Savoy fame), however, decided that a Masters at Oxford wouldn't be complete without an appropriate number of gruelling hours spent propelling herself through a river in all temperatures, and set about transforming herself into a First VIII rower for her college within a matter of months.

Invited to witness the final races of the year this shockingly sunny Bank Holiday weekend, my Scarlett O'Hara-meets-Toad of Toad Hall ensemble was planned days in advance - well, where else are boater hats not only acceptable but virtually de rigueur (for both genders)? Clearly, this was the moment my £3 Primark number had been waiting for since 2011.

Dress, Hat, Belts and Cardigan: All Primark, Skirt (Worn as Petticoat): Coast, Wedges: New Look, Blazer c/o F&F at Tesco

L-R: Me, Dion (my "step"-cousin), Uncle Roger (caught attractively mid-gurn), Nana (caught mid-gleeful chortle re: the prospect of mum - our camerawoman - stepping off into the river behind her), Uncle Martin (Martina's dad)

Martina = 2, second from back - apparently known as the position of the "Raging One" in rowing parlance

Despite having lost both their boat and cox to a savage collision the previous day (it's a brutal sport, y'know!), the St Hilda's first team managed to avoid being "bumped" (overtaken, or literally hit, by any of the boats behind them), which, in the world of college rowing, is apparently cause for unbounded merriment, showering in champagne and (for a lucky few) bathing in the river, the last of which Martina thankfully managed to avoid. I'm pretty sure a well-timed exit in favour of Prosecco cocktails, pizzas and mini chocolate and espresso tortes (or a maxi chocolate sundae in her case - fair enough) with the rest of the Afternoon Tea Crew made for a more pleasant end to the day!

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Friday, 24 May 2013

Review: The marc b. Lottie Handbag - Vintage Chic for Modern Chicks

Last week, Christmas came early when a long-coveted marc b. bag came into my life. You may have come across/drooled over the brand's broad range of styles in Topshop, but, since I first came across them, I've been obsessed with their vintage-alike lovelies - I'm sure Grace Kelly would have ditched her Hermes at least occasionally in favour of a Lottie...

Coat, Skirt and Shoes: Primark

The version I chose is a gorgeous camel/light tan shade, with stunning "ostrich"-effect trimmings in a delicate nude with a hint of dusky pink - perfect with other neutrals, pastels, brights, metallics or prints for a summery feel now, but won't feel inappropriate come autumn either. Its gold accents complement the overall ladylike-luxe feel, complete with little metallic heels (OK, "feet"), to keep it off the floor - genius!

Aside from its wondrous beauty, my initial reaction was one of awe at its sheer size (OK, I didn't read the measurements first... or the "oversized" bit in the product description - it was so pretty it could have been matchbox-sized for all I cared!), followed by marvelling at its structured, hardbacked sides - it may look delicate and demure, but don't be fooled, it's an armoured behemoth of a bag! No doubt a blessing, at least for me - I tend to ruin smaller bags by forcing my "essentials" in any which way possible - come on, you're playing Russian Roulette if you ever venture out without an umbrella in this country!

Once I'd clocked its impressive stature, I did have hopes that it might double up as a particularly stylish laptop carrier, but the opening wasn't quite wide enough for my widescreen version to make it in - I'm sure you could get away with a netbook though, and certainly an iPad (or, perhaps more importantly, pretty much any pair of shoes you may own).

A4 folders, files (aside from the super-thick ringbinder kind), portfolios etc slide in easily, and the hard sides help to keep loose papers from getting creased if you're not that organised. There are 2 medium-sized zip pockets, one on the back and one inside, along with a standard-sized phone pocket (which makes a great bolthole for a Kleenex Pocket Pack if you've already joined us in the 21st century), and a larger one which will easily accept an iPhone plus case.

On first impressions, it does feel quite heavy, what with all the scaffolding, but, testing it out on my standard weekly shopping spree, carrying my usual essentials (purse bursting with change for parking machines, phone, umbrella, keys, Evian) didn't aggravate my already-bowed-and-beaten bag-carrying shoulder, and it was just as comfortable (possibly more so in fact) as any of my less robust pieces of arm candy (well, for me - I may have unintentionally buffeted a few more unsuspecting shoppers than usual). I DID use the detachable adjustable shoulder strap though - godsend!

You can pick Lottie up on the marc b. website here, along with her brand new younger sisters, re-fashioned in black and tan quilting - super versatile, but faux ostrich will always hold the key to my heart.

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