Sunday, 31 May 2015

Dress Codes De-Coded

With all those wedding/red carpet/royal garden party invites piling up on our doormats at this time of year... no? Well, OK, me neither, but a little knowledge can still go a long way in preventing a dress length/tie colour faux pas when you are required to go "formal", so it's worth genning up on your key need-to-knows:

White Tie

White Tie
Make the most of your Fred and/or Ginger moment


Extremely rarely, for the average Jo(e), unless you happen to entertain heads of state, or attend very formal weddings, balls, banquets or galas post-7pm on a regular basis. Usually specified on the invite as "White Tie" or "Full Evening Wear". So, if you're off to the ballet/opera, do yourself a favour and leave the top hat at home - sad as it may be, you'll probably feel a little silly if the person sitting next to you is in top-to-toe denim.


For guys, you guessed it, a white bow tie is crucial, teamed with matching waistcoat, shirt and wing collar, plus a black, single-breasted tailcoat and, traditionally, double-braided trousers. Shoes should be black and, traditionally, lace-up and shiny-as-you-like.

For girls, full length and fabulous is the order of the day. Shorter dresses or, quelle horreur, trousers, are big no-nos. Tiaras are traditionally restricted to married women, but other forms of statement jewellery are equal-opportunity-friendly.

Black Tie

Black Tie


When you need to go formal, but not "seated next to the Obamas" formal - sometimes specified as "dinner jackets", "dress for dinner" or "cravate noir".


For guys, this is tuxedo territory - a black, single-breasted suit blazer with silk peaked lapels and matching single-braided trousers teamed with white evening shirt, black bow tie, and those shiny-shiny black shoes again. Waistcoats and cummerbunds are both optional - but please remember this is an either/or situation - don't double up!

For girls, fancy dresses of any length go (provided you exercise a certain degree of decorum), and wide-legged evening trousers such as silky palazzo pants are also an option. Costume jewellery is encouraged, but I'm afraid you'll have to leave the tiara at home this time, whatever your marital status.

Cocktail Attire

Cocktail Attire


For the least formal of formal occasions (such as, er... the Oscars and the Met Gala, according to these maverick male celebs) - it's time to get a bit more creative.


Guys should wear dark-coloured suits and ties, but avoid black. This is your time to shine in patterned ties and, if you're feeling brave, coloured socks - you still need to polish those shoes, though.

For girls, cocktail dresses traditionally hit just above or below knee level - the LBD is always a safe bet, but brocade cigarette pants are a bolder (and Sam Muses-endorsed) alternative.

Here endeth the lesson. Go forth in formal wear.

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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Style Steal: Rosie Fortescue

High Neck Side Split Midi Top, Sleeveless, AX Paris, Roll Neck, Polo Neck, V London, Silk Joggers, H&M, Snake Print, Boohoo, Paisley, Side Stripe, Sports Luxe, Lace-Up Heels, Sandals, Shoes, Style Inspiration, Outfit Ideas, How to Wear, SS15, Sam Muses, UK Fashion Blog, London Style Blogger, Stylist
Rosie:- Top: AX Paris, Trousers: H&M, Shoes: Valentino, Necklace: Vintage Chanel, Bag: JustFab, Photo: Anna Sandul

I first saw this ensemble back in March, over on Rosie's blog, At Fashion Forte, falling in lust at first sight with her knockout new take on sports luxe - instant bookmark material! I deliberated a while over investing in her silken snake print lovelies, but ended up plumping for this paisley pair from Boohoo instead - at £10, it seemed rude not to! Then... today... what should I see gazing at me from behind the glass of an anonymous shop window but this roll-necked side-split slice of serendipitous scrumptiousness... £8? Don't mind if I do... (Now, I've had a little hunt around and couldn't dig up an online stockist for you, but Rosie's cowl-neck AX Paris version is still available for a really-quite-reasonable £18). I am going to have sooo much fun experimenting with this (A midi top? My mind is boggling), but, for starters, an homage to my inspiration was in order...

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Top: V London, Trousers: Boohoo, Shoes: Matalan

What do you think of Rosie's style?

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Monday, 25 May 2015

Cannes Style on Trial: My Frocky Highlights (and a few Horrors)

Natasha Poly Cannes 2015
Natasha Poly
Left: I die. '70s-style glam milked for everything it's worth in Michael Kors. Right: Erm... the ultimate beach-to-red-carpet look? Just... T...M...I.

Naomi Watts Cannes 2015
Naomi Watts
Left: Oh dear. Whilst I love the graphic silhouette of the frock on the left, its bra-style neckline really isn't doing anything for poor Naomi's B-cups, and its unrelenting black washes her out and betrays quite a few more of those 46 years than we're used to seeing... Right: This feathertastic Elie Saab masterpiece, on the other hand, not only shows off her figure to perfection, but makes her classic "Summer" complexion positively glow by virtue of its soft grey hue... As well as simply embodying amazingness in dress form. #CinderellaMoment.

Cate Blanchett Cannes 2015
Cate Blanchett
Left: Pure goddess material in Armani Privé's dress of dreams... And Right: Proving that being 46 is not, in fact, always a barrier to pulling off head-to-toe black or, indeed, looking smoking hot in a sheer Alexander McQueen number, I don't think Cate put a fashion foot wrong over the last fortnight, switching from edgy to ethereal with applause-worthy aplomb.

Fan BingBing Cannes 2015
Fan Bingbing
Left: Love this Marchesa look... Fairytale opulence which somehow manages not to teeter into the realms of cartoonism. Right: '50s poise perfected in Ralph & Russo Couture... it's just a shame that the shoes are kinda saying "I have a second job as a stripper".

Sienna Miller Cannes 2015
Sienna Miller
Left: Classic red carpet style in Ralph Lauren, topped off with red lips, no fuss hair and serious flair. Right: Erm, a sheer star-print maxi with matching cape? This shouldn't work on so many levels, but there's something about the unapologetic playfulness of this Sonia Rykiel number that I really, really like...

Diane Kruger Cannes 2015
Diane Kruger
From Prada to Anthony Vaccarello: another masterclass in shifting seamlessly between classic and contemporary dressing (and, coincidentally, another dose of star print) c/o one of my long-term style icons.

Adriana Lima Cannes 2015
Adriana Lima
Left: The ultimate hourglass curve-hugger, exquisitely crafted by Ulyana Sergeenko - sometimes you just can't beat the classics. Right: Er, case in point. Less: not necessarily more.

Poppy Delevigne Cannes 2015
Poppy Delevigne
Left: Something about this Chanel dress feels a little "beachy" to me? And the make-up and jewels seem to belong to a whole other look.. Right: But this green Burberry Prorsum gown is the stuff of fantasy - and look how beautifully necklace is working with neckline this time - echoing, complementing, but not overpowering... perfection.

Rachel Weisz Cannes 2015
Rachel Weisz
Left: Whilst Rachel undoubtedly boasts a figure many women half her age would quit cupcakes for, Prada's stretch satin is a step too far for all but the most Twiglet-torsoed among us. Right: But this super cute '60s style Chloe shift is an unarguable win - who would have known those legs were hiding under that bias cut?

Miranda Kerr Cannes 2015
Miranda Kerr
Left: One of my favourite Cannes dresses - this Ungaro beauty is stunning in its simplicity. Love the pillar box lip/candy coloured frock clash too. Right: Quite a nice "daytime" look, but I would have loved to see her up the edge factor of this David Koma dress in terms of hair/make-up/accessories.

Lupita Nyong'o Cannes 2015
Lupita Nyong'o
Left: Despite some stiff competition, Lupita has to be my overall winner. For managing to make me covet a Kermit-green gown, and for her outstanding efforts in maximisation of twirl potential, I bow down (although, yes, Gucci are probably also due some credit for the creation of this one-of-a-kind (grr!) vintage-style vision of wondrousness). Right: And her "off duty" style ain't bad either: from '70s siren to '50s fox in the swish of an Oscar de la Renta skirt (and she even got the shoes right).

What was your favourite (or least favourite!) Cannes combo?

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Friday, 22 May 2015

In the Red

Colour-based identity crisis averted! With 6 weeks to go until I next submit myself to the hands of the professionals (and re-embrace my multicoloured 'fro), I decided to take matters into my own hands and nix my rapidly fading "Fruit Salad" sweet packaging look... a gamble which, thankfully, paid off! I used Schwarzkopf Live Color XXL in Red Passion to finally land my dream red shade... Despite mum's (unfounded) fears for the bathroom tile grouting, the process was remarkably easy and fuss free (although the "river of blood" effect during rinsing was somewhat disquieting for a lifelong blondie)... In anticipation of the notoriously difficult task of combating fading, I'm planning to keep some Scott Cornwall Colour Restore Toner close at hand, but, one wash in, my colour's still blazing!

Review, Red Home Hair Colour, 43, Sam Muses, UK Beauty Blog, London Beauty Blogger

I love, love, love this shade, but it does throw an interesting light onto some of the colour questions I've been considering recently... Going for such an intense, vibrant hue has massively amped up my "contrast levels", making my skin appear shades paler, creating a need for far greater levels of definition in terms of make-up (= excuse for new lipstick)... and making dusky pink dresses (the whimsical blonde's failsafe) a laughable no-go. Something to bear in mind if you're considering a drastic colour change: you're going to have a rock solid excuse for a make-up bag/wardrobe shake-up.

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21 May 2015
Top and Skirt: Boohoo (Past Season), Shoes: Primark 

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