Time for a Wardrobe Audit?

A clear wardrobe equals a clear mind. A messy wardrobe makes you lose visibility of what you actually own, causing you to buy more of what you have and reaching for favourite items that are on high rotation. And then getting stuck in a style rut!

When looking at a wardrobe, gaining clarity is everything. An effective wardrobe should reflect who you are currently – not you five or ten years ago. So many wardrobes I see contain items which are: shapeless, dated or just simply unflattering. And the fact that we only wear 20% of our wardrobe means we as a nation who are holding ourselves back massively from getting a wardrobe we do actually wear and even more importantly LOVE to wear!

Here are some startling facts to consider:-

– British women hoard clothes worth £285 that they will never wear but refuse to throw out the equivalent of 22 outfits each, according to research

– More than half, 54 per cent said guilt over wasting money made them keep the clothes while 41 per cent were planning to lose weight. And Impulse buys are being blamed by 45 per cent of shoppers for their bulging wardrobe.

– Jeans are a significant problem, with 88 percent owning at least one pair they would never wear, while 22 per cent hoard up to six pairs of shoes and 95 per cent of tops will never be worn.

– Men hoard 19 items worth on average £248, according to the poll of 1,200 adults for the shopping channel QVC.

Getting a wardrobe that works for you is just amazing and gives you a new lease of life. If you feel you could do with getting the wardrobe you have always wanted but didn’t think you could get. And want to know where the key gaps are in your wardrobe and where you should be investing your money wisely, then contact Personal Stylist, Katie Bowen via: www.styko-stylist.co.uk or mobile: 07855 754487.

Tips on Dressing to Look Younger

It seems that we all seem to want to appear youthful these days. Particularly, as when you approach certain milestones it is easy to lose your way and still dress like a student when you have a fully fledged career. And for some reason your style just hasn’t quite caught up.

Generally there is a tendency for clients to dress old for their age. And often their current wardrobe doesn’t match their status, personality or even really reflect who they really are today. Effectively being caught in a time warp! So dressing younger often helps you look and feel better too. It can be liberating and mentally you feel like you have moved on the next chapter in your life. Effectively having a wardrobe you love and all in all, a hugely liberating experience.

So if you want to inject some youthful vigour, into your current style that is done in a tasteful/age appropriate way. Then here are some of my tips:

Always pick the right bra as clothes to mould to your shape. A tighter band and fuller cup appears more youthful.

Play to your strengths by picking one area and choosing garments with features that draw attention to it.

Avoid washed out drab colours all over your body and instead make a colour statement.

Choose classic garments that are shaped with gentle tailoring to give a youthful silhouette, with vertical seaming giving a streamlining effect.

Have fun with accessories. Bags and statement jewellery are a great way to bring an up to the minute trend into your wardrobe and re-invigorate your look.

Avoid retro styles worn the old-fashioned way: below the knee skirts, bow blouses, pears – never worn together. These classics can be refreshed when you style them differently.

Avoid boring belts. Dark jeans work well with a thin belt in a contrasting colour. Wide belts are good for cinching in dresses, jackets and cardigans. Belts in brown leather, animal prints or a shimmery metallic help make someone appear current and youthful!

Avoid silk-scarf mistakes. Be careful as scarves can be very aging. A scarf in soft colours, lightweight and can be tied in different ways are the best multi-purpose ones.

Update your bag. Bags should be rotated and used for different occasions. A tatty worn out bag will just make you feel exactly like that. So treat yourself to a lovely bag that is wearable across a range of outfits.

Ditch dowdy shoes. Some shoes just look plain safe and boring. Some well chosen colourful/fun shoes can add that much needed zest to finishing off an outfit.

Cardigans can be very aging, literally adding years onto people. When choosing one, go for one with a little sparkle or with unusual detailing. This way, you will avoid the Great Aunt Maud look.

Pair down make-up. Overdoing the amount of make-up applied is often a result of trying to keep youthful looking when in fact this has just the exact reverse effect.

Don’t forget to wear UVA sunscreen everyday: this will help you from getting wrinkles, red and blistered. Sunlight even on cloudy winter’s day, overtime ages skin.

Image reproduced from blog.debenhams.com

How to Fix a Fashion-Challenged Boyfriend

Adrian Fernand – Australia’s seriously stylish agony uncle and creator of idobelieveicamewithahat.com – answers your questions on life, the universe and everything. This week, Adrian has advice on how to deal with a boyfriend’s wardrobe which needs to be raided by the fashion police!

Dear Agony Uncle,

After years of hanging out with well-dressed gay men, I find myself cringing at my new boyfriend’s fashion sense. He looks great naked but is it wrong of me to want more? Help me, Agony Uncle!

Fag Hag, Melbourne

Dear Fag Hag,

When someone’s clothes look better on the floor than on their person, presumably they would look absolutely smashing in a bonfire. Now, I’m not suggesting you go all Guy Fawkes by busying yourself collecting kindling, used newspaper and other assorted bric-a-brac, but I do feel that a ritualistic wardrobe cleansing is required. Meddling with a paramour’s appearance is never easy and that gentle remark about a pair of ill-fitting trousers can be perceived as a hypercritical verbal petrol dousing.

Start with a positive: compliment a piece of his clothing that truly suits him (and he loves), then suggest that he wears that particular item the next time you are planning to head out together. Instigate an impromptu shopping expedition—never plan one in advance for it will surely end in a break-up—and pick pieces for him to try that are inspired by the ‘one good piece’. Highlight how it suits him and why it’s reminiscent of what he already owns; and if all goes well, it’ll be in the (shopping) bag. Once he trusts your sartorial judgement, it’ll be a natural transition where he will refer to you for fashion advice, thus allowing you to influence his grooming and overall aesthetic.

Failing this, rely on your gays as an outlet for your paper doll, prêt-à-porter perfection, and your boyfriend for indoor exploits only. You said it yourself—he doesn’t need clothing to look his best!

Image reproduced from blogs.smh.com.au

Kinga Sektas Handmade Jewellery

Kinga Sektas

From fabulous feathers to sexy gemstones her new tantalizing exclusive range of original creations boast a larger than life beautiful array of authentic pieces guaranteed to get you noticed everytime no matter where  or who you are with! There is something to suit everyone’s style and budget in the comprehensive online stylish catalogue as well as the added bonus that all her jewellery is hypo-allergenic and made with only the safest products that are kind to your skin.

The brains behind the Kinga Sektas Magazine business, she prides herself on producing ethical as well as many attention grabbing pieces-rather like the lady herself! She insists on maintaining high standards of professional excellence and stringent safety standards using only nickel free and carefully imported materials to create her stunning designs. All her jewellery is made from either 14k gold, 925 silver, fine feathers, beads, authentic pearls, genuine gemstones, Swarovski Crystals and many more quality materials.

To celebrate and cope with the growth of her online jewellery catalogue Kinga Sektas is offering talented individuals the opportunity to join her team and help promote her top quality designs as the company’s mission statement seeks to “encourage all women to live empowered and inspired lives with style as we launch our new website and the first fabulous edition of our milestone magazine”. Ms Sektas message is  that if you are passionate, innovative, hardworking, a good team player and above all else, committed to providing outstanding consumer care then she wants to hear from you. She believes that as internet consumer experiences increasingly dominate and become more popular and shoppers more particular, the need for her to acquire dynamic company  sales representatives to act as the backbone and frontline force for her specialised services will continue to rise.  As reward for staff loyalty, sales

Representatives can expect to enjoy an extremely generous commission on sales and equally generous staff discounts that can be shared with family and friends so everyone benefits through the sale of the beautiful products. Kinga’s handmade designs can be found at www.kingasektas.co.uk

Happy Shopping!

The Stiletto Workout

A friend recently asked me if I wanted to do a stiletto workout for women who want to keep fit and put the glamour back in their lives. I’m all for a bit of glamour so I read the poster which claimed; ‘Girls can do what boys can, but we do it in heels!’ – I was intrigued. The poster also suggested that doing this workout would ‘bring my sexy back and coax out that hidden diva within’.

It’s been quite a while since I reached the dizzy heights in stilettos, I resorted to flat shoes a few years ago with the usual knee and hip pains associated with walking in high heels. Taking my past experiences teetering around in high heels into consideration – I had a sudden image of me wobbling around to Dizzy Rascal on 5 inch heels, bumping into someone and setting off a domino effect of other wannabe divas – I deliberated. Would a stiletto workout suit me? I reasoned that if I wanted something different to a gym maybe I should try belly dancing or Zumba classes instead, and googled a few in Cambridge and the surrounding areas. I was quite surprised at just how many dance and exercise classes there are.

However, the following day I read an article in the Daily Mail (Saturday October 6th) about Bristol Clinician Martin Bell’s ‘Perfectly Poised’ class, which involves filming clients walking in their heels. He then analyses their walk and, as well as encouraging them to stand straight and avoid slouching, gives them exercises to help strengthen weak muscles and ease pain. The part that interested me was that Mr Bell doesn’t advocate women ditching their high heels entirely. He claims that they just need to walk in them properly. This was good news. Most short women, like me, prefer to wear high heels. They not only give extra height and make me feel sexy – I always felt more confident in high heels.

The Stiletto Workout has been featured on Gok Wan’s ‘How To Look Good Naked’ tv programme and is getting rave reviews. With Christmas fast approaching and the need to lose weight, shape up and get fit I rose up to my full four feet ten inches and decided that the Stiletto Workout would make an interesting change from pounding away on a cross trainer once a week.

The Stiletto Workout instructor, Gemma Lisa Wingrove, aged 24, has been dancing since the age of nine. She has undertaken a number of fitness training courses including Fight Klub, which uses free standing punch bags and some ‘wicked tunes’ and is also a mentor for a healthy eating food plan called ‘Danceloss’. Gemma explained that the 60 minute Stiletto Workout session included conditioning exercises designed to improve women’s ability to wear heels comfortably and confidently, a seductive dance routine, a catwalk runway and a finale performance to unleash the newfound diva. Ever one to rise to a challenge I signed up for the introductory class – after all, I have nothing to lose except my balance, a spare tyre and a couple of stone.

Fun Festive Fashion


Pull your tents out as the summer festivals have finally arrived. It’s all about getting us fashionable festies together to share our qualities with the rest of the world. We don’t want to feel out of place, but we do want to catch the superlative kind of attention.  Luckily our high street shops have pulled a great deal weight off our shoulders by creating their festival collection.

It is evident aztec prints were truly created for festivals with daring bold colours which allows you to be seen from miles away, and the unique  patterns available in various styles. However, it is becoming more common that people are wearing it as their casual outfit. Indeed there is no fault in wearing aztec print as festivals are unpremeditated  however the real flare is spicing it up with a more safari, African styled look. It still brings that exotic distinctive excellence that aztec-styled clothing brings, yet looks somewhat fresher.


It may seem  inevitable that you may find someone who so happens to have the same outfit as you, but being unique and knowing what best suits you is what takes you a step further. Tie dye has the “it” factor painted all over it right now, and what better time to show your originality than by tie dying your own shorts. It may sound like a lot of work, however you are saving money and expressing your creativity. Just You Tube  the style you want to pursue and the rest is all up to you. It is better to use white short,s as you can create various shades. You can even cut up your own shorts with jeans you feel are no use to you anymore- creating the messy, rebellious but effortless look.

For those rough days

A rain check is necessary this summer as it  is showing unpredictable weather, so we must be pro-active because no rain is going to bring us down. Fashionable raincoats are available at a great price. In New Look they’re just £19.99!  The floral print rain coat available in New Look brings that jolly festival vibe, keeping you and others in a good mood. However, if you do want to keep it simple, the Khaki coloured parka is your best option, it is not too dull as it glossesnwith edginess. Wellingtons are great for treading during bad weather.  They don’t necessarily have to be knee length but they need to serve its purpose and be stylish. The maria bow style wellies show just that for just £15.99 from the online store, daisy street.

Maria Bow Wellington Boot Red Bow

Maria Bow Wellingnton boot £15.99 – www.daisystreet.co.uk/footwear/boots

Happy Birthday Alexander McQueen

On 17 March, City Connect pays tribute to the birth date of the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen, CBE who sadly committed suicide on 11 February 2010. Alexander McQueen was a British fashion designer and couturier best known for his in-depth knowledge of bespoke British tailoring, his tendency to juxtapose strength with fragility in his collections, as well as the emotional power and raw energy of his provocative fashion shows.

Alexander McQueen in 2009


Alexander McQueen left school at 16 with one O-level in art, going on to serve an apprenticeship with Savile Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard, before joining Gieves & Hawkes and, later, the theatrical costumiers Angels and Bermans. The skills he learned as an apprentice on Savile Row helped earn him a reputation in the fashion world as an expert in creating an impeccably tailored look.

McQueen graduated with a Masters in fashion design from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. His entire graduation collection was bought by influential fashion stylist Isabella Blow, who was said to have persuaded McQueen to become known as Alexander (his middle name) when he subsequently launched his fashion career.

Icelandic singer Björk sought McQueen’s work for the cover of her album Homogenic in 1997 and she also persuaded McQueen to direct the music video for her song “Alarm Call” from the same album.

Bjork wears a McQueen design on her Homogenic album cover

Alexander McQueen’s early catwalk collections developed his reputation for controversy and shock tactics (earning the title “l’enfant terrible” and “the hooligan of English fashion”), with trousers aptly named “bumsters” and a collection titled “Highland Rape”. McQueen was also known for his lavish, unconventional catwalk shows which included a recreation of a shipwreck and a human chess game.

McQueen’s “bumsters” spawned a trend in low rise jeans and was what some said defined McQueen. The designer also became known for using skulls in his designs. A scarf bearing the motif became a celebrity must-have and was copied around the world.

McQueen's Skull Scarf

Alexander McQueen has been credited with bringing drama and extravagance to the catwalk. He used new technology and innovation to add a different twist to his shows and often shocked and surprised audiences. The silhouettes that he created have been credited for adding a sense of fantasy and rebellion to fashion. McQueen became one of the first designers to use Indian models in London.

The president of LVMH, Bernard Arnault, caused a stir when he appointed McQueen head designer at Givenchy in 1996, succeeding John Galliano. Upon arrival at Givenchy, McQueen insulted the founder by calling him “irrelevant”. His first couture collection with Givenchy was unsuccessful. Alexander McQueen toned down his designs at Givenchy, but continued to indulge his rebellious streak, causing controversy in autumn 1998 with a show which included spraying paint over white cotton dresses and double amputee model Aimee Mullins striding down the catwalk on intricately carved wooden legs. McQueen stayed with Givenchy until March 2001, when the contract he said was “constraining his creativity” ended.

Some of Alexander McQueen’s accomplishments included being one of the youngest designers to achieve the title “British Designer of the Year”, which he won four times (1996, 1997, 2001 and 2003); he was also awarded the CBE and named International Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers in 2003.

December 2000 saw a new partnership for McQueen, with the Gucci Group’s acquiring 51% of his company and McQueen’s serving as Creative Director. Plans for expansion included the opening of stores in London, Milan and New York, and the launch of two perfumes. In 2005, McQueen collaborated with Puma to create a special line of trainers for them. In 2006 he launched McQ, a younger, more renegade lower priced line for men and women.

McQueen became the first designer to participate in MAC’s promotion of cosmetic releases created by fashion designers. The collection, McQueen, was released on 11 October 2007 and was inspired by the 1963 Elizabeth Taylor movie Cleopatra. Models had intense blue, green, and teal eye make-up with strong black liner extended Egyptian-style.

McQueen's MAC Fall 2007 make-up

By the end of 2007, Alexander McQueen had boutiques in London, New York, Los Angeles, Milan and Las Vegas. Celebrity patrons, including Nicole Kidman, Penélope Cruz, Sarah Jessica Parker and Rihanna, Björk and Lady Gaga have often incorporated Alexander McQueen pieces in their music videos. By wearing his designs, celebrities such as these have further increased the notability of the McQueen brand.

McQueen’s death was announced on the afternoon of 11 February 2010. In the morning, his housekeeper found him hanging at his home in London. Paramedics were called and they pronounced him dead at the scene.

McQueen’s funeral took place on 25 February 2010 at St. Paul’s Church in Knightsbridge, London. His ashes were later scattered on the Isle of Skye.

His memorial was held at Saint Paul’s Cathedral on 20 September 2010. It was attended by Björk, Kate Moss, Sarah Jessica Parker, Naomi Campbell, Stella McCartney and Anna Wintour amongst 2,500 other invited guests. On 18 February 2010, Robert Polet, the president and chief executive of the Gucci Group, announced that the Alexander McQueen business would carry on without its founder and creative director.

McQueen had reserved £50,000 of his wealth for his pet dogs so they could live in the lap of luxury for the rest of their lives. He also bequeathed £100,000 to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in South London in addition to leaving similar sums for three other charities.

After his death, many tributes were paid by the likes of Lady Gaga, Björk, Kanye West, Courtney Love, and Katy Perry. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City hosted a posthumous exhibition of McQueen’s work in 2011 titled Savage Beauty. Despite being open for only three months, it was one of the most popular exhibitions in the museum’s history.

The Alexander McQueen brand continues under Gucci ownership with his long-term assistant Sarah Burton as the creative director.

Images reproduced from Wikipedia Commons, starstlyeinc.com and david-toms.blogspot.com
Biography text reproduced from Wikipedia under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License

An A-Z of New Season Style

There are many people out there who feel that a new season means a completely new wardrobe.  Indeed, this is one of the main criticisms of the fashion industry, in that it promotes mindless consumerism.  However, I don’t believe that this is the case.  It is for the designers to come up with brand new collections several times each year, and it is for us to look at what we can pick and choose to insert into our existing wardrobe.

With this in mind, here is a brief synopsis of this season’s key trends.  Happy shopping!

A – Androgyny.  Each season this trend takes on a new guise, and this time round it’s all about slick tailoring teamed with slick hair.  Keep it feminine with a touch of red lipstick and colourful shoes.

B – Bomber jackets, the new must-have piece of outerwear.  Boots are also an essential item for anyone’s autumn/winter wardrobe.  This season sees the classic knee-high take centre stage once more.

C – Capes.  Wear with skinny trousers and high heels for a longer silhouette.

D – Dresses.  Whatever the weather, find one that makes you feel like you never want to take it off.

E – Evergreen.  Pine-needle green works as a great alternative to black for work wear.  Try it in the form of a blouse or court shoe.

F – Florals.  Usually the reserve of spring and summer, floral prints have made an unseasonal appearance.  Think less ditsy Liberty print, more big and bold statement.

G – Gold.  Whether it’s your accessories or clothing, it’s time to get your shine on.  Just be wary of turning into a bad 80s throwback.

H – Hats.  Arguably the must-have accessory of the season, hats add that little bit of drama to an outfit.  Fedoras, cloches, caps… the choice is yours.

I – Indigo.  Nails, bags, shoes or suits: all suit this versatile colour

J – Jewellery.  Autumn colours are naturally a bit more muted, so make your jewellery do the talking with bright splashes of jade, turquoise, silver and garnet.  Layer chunky necklaces for a modern update over workwear.

K – Knitwear.  Chunky knits, cable knits, slim silk knits… they’re all for the taking.  An elegant piece of cashmere is the perfect way to dress down a silk maxi skirt for day wear.

L – Legs.  Yes it’s getting a bit colder, and our summer tans have worn off, but that’s no excuse to hide behind trousers for the next six months.  Get your legs out in an array of brightly-coloured hosiery to set off that brand new pair of boots.

M – Men’s shoes.  If heels are a bit of a struggle, then why not try some brogues, Chelsea boots or loafers?  Best worn with skirts to keep the look more ladylike and less ladylump.

N – Neoprene.  The surprisingly successful fabric of the year.  Don’t go all out and wear a wetsuit; keep it subtle with a clutch bag or shoes.

O – Origami.  Structured shoulders, peplum waists and cocoon silhouettes are all key looks this season.

P – Pencil skirts.  This is not just for those sitting behind a desk.  When teamed with an embellished top and a pair of killer heels, a pencil skirt makes ideal evening wear.

Q – Quilted jackets.  Available at every price range, there’s nothing cosier than snuggling down into a padded collar and soft sleeves.

R – Regal.  You’d be hard-pushed to find a brand that hasn’t got something with a crested breast pocket or mini crown motif.  Tongue in cheek required.

S – Scarf.  So long summer silk, hello winter woolliness.

T – Trousers.  Yet another season of different shapes is upon us.  Palazzo pants make a great alternative to maxi skirts, and you can hardly move at the moment for the glut of seventies-style flares in ochre, plum and teal.

U – Umbrellas.  A true British staple, not to be left at home.

V – Velvet.  This fabric makes a comeback each year.  My personal favourite would be a velvet body teamed with cigarette pants.  Understated glamour at its best.

W – White.  How to convey luxury and glamour in one item of clothing.  Just watch out for buses and large puddles.

X – X-rated.  The fetish trend was going strong on this season’s catwalks.  While feather dusters and bondage boots might not be to everyone’s taste, there’s always room for a little lace or leather in your winter wardrobe.

Y – Yellow.  Less sunshine, more mustard.

Z – Zoo time.  Animal prints are still everywhere, albeit in a slightly more subtle way.

This is a Man’s World

There is a common misconception that the fashion industry is run by bitchy harridans with ferocious nails, immaculate blow-drys and walk-in wardrobes.  Ask the average man what he thinks of fashion, and he will generally reply with something similar to ‘well, it’s for girls isn’t it?’.  Given that the majority of the male population seem resigned to this view, I wonder if they’d take more of an interest in the fashion industry if they knew that it is, in fact, the men who run the show.

Giorgio Armani, Tom Ford, Roland Mouret, Roberto Cavalli, Dolce and Gabbana, Alexander Wang, Ralph Lauren… I could go on.  These are all designers at the top of their game, all of them dictators of style and taste, all of them hugely successful, and all of them are men.

Man’s man Tom Ford has enjoyed success as the creative director of both Gucci and YSL, creating the TOM FORD brand in 2005.  Here is a man that really understands how to enhance, flatter, and dress a woman’s body, with SJP, Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman amongst his celebrity fans.  But Mr Ford does not only design womenswear; he has his own line of sunglasses, skincare, make-up, and fragrances, as well as a menswear range that won him the 2008 CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year award.  Ford is a man of many talents and a key player in the fashion industry.

There are of course the female heavy-hitters of the business: Phoebe Philo, Stella McCartney, and Miuccia Prada to name but a few.  But the past decade has turned up a flurry of fresh designer talent, and it’s the guys who have come out strongest.  Take Christopher Kane for example.  Even before he left Central Saint Martins in 2006, he had worked for Giles Deacon and attracted the attention of Donatella Versace.  From his debut collection in September 2006, Kane has gone strength to strength, winning the BFC British Designer of the Year in 2009.  Another bright young thing is Prabal Gurung, who saw his first solo collection go down the catwalk as recently as February 2009.  Since then, he has dressed the likes of Michelle Obama and Demi Moore.  Similar stories are found with Thakoon, Mark Fast, Bora Aksu, and many others.  It’s now the girls who are fighting to be recognised in a world that’s supposedly run by women.

And what of the old establishment?  Seasoned experts like Giorgio Armani, Dolce and Gabbana, and Marc Jacobs are still at the top of their game, producing up to six collections a year for womenswear alone.  Chanel, probably the brand that is most synonymous with femininity and women, has now had Karl Lagerfeld at the helm for over 25 years, showing that yet again a man is behind one of the most successful and creative fashion houses in the world.

Over at the business end of fashion, there is even more male dominance.  Bernard Arnault is CEO of the world’s largest luxury goods conglomerate, Louis Vuitton-Moët Hennesy, and is chairman of both LVMH and Christian Dior.  The House of Chanel is owned by brothers Alain and Gerard Wertheimer.  PPR, another French holding company that owns Gucci Group and other luxury brands, has François-Henri Pinault as its chairman and CEO.  Everywhere you look, it’s the men who hold the power.

On the high street and in the world of online shopping, menswear is finally coming to the fore.  Websites such as ASOS and Matches play host to a huge array of clothing and accessories for men, whilst February saw the launch of Mr Porter.  Brainchild of net-a-porter.com’s founder Natalie Massenet, Mr Porter is the first online luxury retailer aimed exclusively at men.  Away from cyberspace, the size and number of menswear departments and exclusive stores on the high street has been steadily increasing.  Topman alone now boasts over 175 stores worldwide, and is well on the way to catching up with the 400+ stores of its sister brand, Topshop, launched 14 years earlier.

The high street may be a bit slow on catching up with the male trends of the catwalk, especially when compared with how quick the turnaround is for womenswear, but it certainly seems to be adapting to the high demand for on-trend menswear.  The perception that the fashion industry is nothing but lipstick, stilettos and hairspray is seriously outdated, and both men and women need to work equally hard to modernise how this powerful and influential world is viewed by the general public.

Image reproduced from millionlooks.com

Summer Loving

It’s that time of year again – hemlines come up, necklines go down, and the opportunities to hide our lumps and bumps under thick and forgiving fabrics become more and more scarce.  So, what are our sartorial options this summer?

My personal favourite is the decorative day-wear trend that was prevalent at Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana and Prada.  Dresses with lace overlays, embellished lightweight coats, and floral prints in abundance all give daytime dressing a smarter sheen.  Think ladylike as opposed to girly, so choose glamorous accessories such as gloves or a chic hat.

Pastels were on every catwalk for this season, and designers have finally succeeded in creating clothes in sugared hues that don’t look like wither nightwear or something from the bottom of a seventies bargain bin.  Through use of fine fabrics such as silk and lightweight cotton, dressing all pale and interesting just got a whole lot easier.  Pastel pink is a suits-all shade, whereas minty green is slightly harder to work with and should generally be avoided by those with a complexion similar to Casper.  Various grades of blue and aqua look great when teamed with metallic accessories, and if you can’t decide which bit of rainbow sherbet is your favourite, then there’s always colour blocking.  A lot of detailing can go into pastel colours without looking ostentations – lace appliqué, feathers, embroidery… with a neutral background, these delicate additions can go a long way to making an outfit go up a notch or two.

On the subject of detailing, it looks like the peplum trend is here for at least another season.  I personally am a huge fan of this – what better way to show off your waist and conceal your hips?  The key with peplums is to keep things simple.  Think colour blocking, minimal patterns and detailing – let that flare do the talking.

Of course, you could go extreme in terms of simplicity and adopt the all-in-white look that was seen at Celine, Calvin Klein and Jil Sander.  Whether you go graphic or girlish, this is a high-maintenance look that won’t tolerate spaghetti Bolognese or smeared lipstick.  The appeal is in staying as fresh as possible, so low-key hair and makeup are a must.  It might also be an idea to get the St Tropez out in order to avoid the all-in-white look extending to your limbs.  Just don’t use the instant stuff – trust me it’s a nightmare to get off fabric.

A slightly more avant-garde trend that graced this season’s catwalks is the one for high-shine fabrics such as lame, PVC and leather.  Perhaps opting for Chanel’s plasticised swing coat and trousers isn’t quite what one might do on a rainy day, but a glimpse of glistening silk organza will go a long way to updating an evening outfit.  And then there’s what the magazines are calling Vintage Americana, which seems to pop up ever four years or so to remind us how great the fifties were, not that any of us can actually remember them.  Cat’s eye sunglasses, rich and glossy leather skirts, nipped in waists and retro prints all make dressing up an every-day activity.  For the slightly more daring, there’s the option to expose an inch or two of (preferably toned) midriff by teaming together a high-waisted skirt and a pretty bra top.  Now where’s that drive-in movie?

A/W ’11 – Wardrobe Pieces To Buy

This season is all about forties glamour, the return to the seventies, tartan, continuing with colour blocking and of course prints!

If you don’t fancy being a slave to fashion but would like some key pieces that are sure to spice-up your current wardrobe for the coming winter, then I recommend the following pieces:

1. A watch
A good watch is a classic fashion statement. As an accessory, they can make a simple but bold style statement. Often over-looked, so many watches I see today are middle of the road and just plain dull. Instead, why not make a style impact by looking at the ladies watch range from Michael Kors. It simply will not disappoint – it’s such a strong range that you are bound to find something to suit your taste.

2. Dress
A lime green belted dress, at £60 from Julien MacDonald at Debenhams adds a touch of 70’s to your look, and is set off by the gold metallic belt. This dress has lovely detail: the bow, the button down shirt and long sleeves with fitted cuffs.

3. Polka Dot
A shirt in polka dot is such a snazzy look. It’s both classic and very up to date. I like the Polka Dot shirt from Zara at £39.99. You can easily wear this shirt under a gilet or boyfriend blazer jacket. Alternatively, opt for a simple black and white polka dot tshirt, with black dots. Such a strong look for this season and can be worn off-duty and on – how you wear is up to you!

4. Blouse
Mint Velvet has some lovely blouses that are good for updating a wardrobe, making you feel very feminine. These are so soft to wear but also have the added benefit of covering your arms, whilst being see-through. This is a grown-up sexy look that a lot of my clients absolutely love!

5. Shoes
Kurt Geiger has the ultimate shoe selection for when you can’t find anything. I adore these Sooty boots, £190. They are good for elongating your legs with jeans, dresses or skirts.

6. Colour Blocking
Wallis do a lovely violet tier tunic that is on sale currently for a bargain price of £20. This is lovely item to wear with a purple bolero, as this colour combination is very striking! Worn with a pair of skinny jeans and pumps and you will have perfected the effortless day-time chic look.

7. Pencil Skirt
Lastly, invest in a classic black bandage skirt, from Mint Velvet at £79. The pencil skirt is the epitome of 40’s glamour. It is not only beautiful to wear but is hugely complementary on almost anyone. My clients love wearing this skirt and it really is the best pencil skirt I have seen in a few years! If you go for this, you won’t regret it, as it’s a good investment piece too.

Enjoy getting key pieces to update your Autumn Winter wardrobe? Buying less and getting it right is essential for getting a wardrobe that works for you. For any style questions or queries regarding getting a wardrobe that works around your current life then contact Cambridge-based personal stylist, Katie Bowen at www.styko-stylist.co.uk or on 07855 754487.

Images reproduced from debenhams.com, zara.com and wallis.co.uk

Fashion at the Races

Katie Bowen – fashion writer and Cambridge-based personal stylist – offers fashion advice for the racing season and gives style guidelines on perfect Ladies Day outfits.

Going to the races is not just about the horses of course, it is also about getting dresses up and having a glass of champagne or two. Ladies Days at Cheltenham, Aintree, Epsom, Ascot and Goodwood are all big dates in the British racing calendar. If you are lucky enough to be attending you will want a stylish Ladies Day outfit to wear.

Etiquette and Dress Codes

There will be different dress codes and etiquette for each event, race course and type of ticket that you have. When picking an outfit, ignore trends and go with what suits you. If you are going to go for a particular trend in terms of your outfit, it needs to be worn in a classic way.

Generally Ladies Day Outfits and dress codes for bigger events call for a more formal style of dress. Some tickets allow for a casual dress although you definitely won’t look out of place if you want to get dressed up. To be sure, you should check the race course website well in advance of the day, therefore giving you plenty of time to plan your outfit. Some race courses don’t allow bare legs, anything above the knee or uncovered shoulders. So do look into what the dress code is.

Race Day Dresses

This beautiful necklace halter neck dress from Warehouse highlights a slim waist, with wrap effect at the bottom adding a touch of glamour.

The dress is made from lightweight yellow silk and the floaty hem sits just above the knee. Accessorize with matching heels and a clutch bag.

For a simple and bold statement, this neutral bravo dress from Coast is a perfect choice but is not for the shy and retiring.

The a-line ivory spot dress is a stylish 1950’s inspired piece. Beautiful silk taffeta is cinched in at the waist to create a flattering silhouette. Fully lined and with a concealed side zip detail, the dress is 50% silk 50% polyester.

If you would prefer to wear more than one colour then a maxi dress is a good choice, whilst keeping your accessories simple. For inspiration, see below for the maxi dress that Coleen Rooney wore to the races in 2009. She teamed her colourful maxi dress with matching gold accessories.

Hat or Fascinator?

Generally for a more formal racing event, a hat is required but a fascinator is also acceptable. Structured fascinators are increasing in popularity. For a timeless look opt for a classic wide brimmed dress hat.

Race Day Accessories

Generally speaking a ladies day outfit will not require very much in the way of accessories as you will already have one statement accessory with your hat or fascinator. Usually it is best to keep with simple with perhaps just a necklace.

Finally, a good deal of walking is done on any racecourse, so you maybe it’s best to avoid the new popular trend of wearing sky high heels. After all, no-one looks good when they are unable to walk properly!

Images reproduced from myfashionlife.com, dressesfortheraces.com, look.co.uk and lovetheraces.com

Autumn/Winter 2013/14 Trends

The bright colours we have seen over the summer  have cooled down for winter and designers  have created new trademarks that are unleashing into the retail stores as we speak. The development of winter pastels have caught the attention of many to keep this winter sweet, while daring biker coats are available to look like a snug rebel this winter. There is something for everybody this winter, and these are just small examples of the autumn/winter trends.

Oh so Velvet! There is something about velvet that reminds us all of winter. Perhaps its the thickness of the fabric that warms us up when we wear it, or the luminosity it brings when it is exposed to the winter light, that reminds us of the festivities that happen during this season. Velvet is already a rich fabric so it’s best worn to a minimum-one item of clothing within your outfit is enough  to create that all winter outfit. To avoid the velvet piece from clashing with the rest of the outfit, try to choose similar colours or compliment with minimalistic colours such as black, navy blue or white. Topshop’s lookbook is a great example to show us how to wear velvet in style.

Clash of the Tartans Just like Velvet, tartan can be overwhelming when deciding how much is too much. With this trend it’s all about being able to complement the material- as tartan checkers range from soft to bold. The most common colour with tartan is red to act as a signal to Christmas. Don’t be afraid to mix checkers together as this creates a modern look- so long as they are the same colours or same texture. To create an effortless look, simple colours such as navy blue, wine red, black and white will do the trick.

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac’s 2011 collection proves to still be in trend with his use of soft tartan material

Faithful Fur 

Fur will always continue to be a winter accessory and is manipulated in forms to keep up with the trends including a fur handbag  or it can be simply be worn as a hat or coat. The best thing about fur is that it is now affordable and with the right eye for quality it can still give you the same warming effect without stretching your pockets. Nothing spells cosy like a fur hat or headband. It is the best accessory to have especially if your constantly on the go- and they have become more inexpensive as well as warmer! Price ranges from £7.00 and vary in the length of the fur. Fur coats can stretch your pockets a bit but they are worth it. It’s best to save up and buy after Christmas as the weather usually becomes more cold around that time.

Buy John Lewis Faux Fur Head Band Online £15.00

College Fashion: Sixth Form Prep

River Island encourages warmth with fur and long draped jackets. This is an effortless look for sixth form.

River Island encourages warmth with fur and long draped jackets. This is an effortless look for sixth form.

Going to college means more independence as you wave goodbye to the boring plaque uniforms and say hello to the energetic clothes that were once hiding in your wardrobe. Even though there’s more flexibility with what you wear, in 6th Form schools you might find your choice of outfits are limited. With the imposed uniform rules it makes us automatically think we are expected to dress up like our teachers (with unflattering flared trousers and long sleeved shirts, week-after-week) when this is not necessarily the fact. This is the very reason we must be pro-active in thinking of the style we want to pursue for the next few years.

Common Uniform Code:

6th Form schools want to be differentiated from colleges, not because they think they’re academically above, but because the  a-level students are associated with setting an example to the younger years. This makes it all the more difficult in wearing our favorite high-waisted shorts… but with the 3 Rs we can get through 6th form with no problems:

  • Respond well to the rules- you’re already going into a new learning environment so don’t add more stress than necessary 
  • Respect the code- it’s not the end of the world- in fact- your are challenging your fashion ability rather than playing it safe by just wearing simple jeans to school
  • Replace the disapproved clothes with this years A/W trends, that encourage the “less is more” stamina. Such is shown in River Island’s collection- who promote the his-is-hers 2013 trends of oversized coats and hats, also pursued by designers such as Alexander Wang and Stella Mcartney.

It may be quiet expensive to buy a bulk of clothing from high street shops such as River Island or Top Shop, however their cosy collection offers quality over quantity that is sure to last you for a long time. Perhaps buying coats, bottoms and shoes from high end shops, while buying simple and affordable tops elsewhere such as Primark or Select will do you advantage.

Here is to wishing you the best of luck in your results and settling in 6th form!

Image reproduced from irishtimes.com

Fashion Experience in Zimbabwe

“This trip was planned for months” Eva Mutsago confirms as waking up every Sunday morning to buy and organise fashionable clothing for Zimbabwe, comes into the mind of my dearest aunt. She would carefully assess the garments before buying them, ensuring they’re are up to her standards. Then when she is satisfied, she would buy the clothing she believes will make her customers happy. Her collection ranges from River Island dresses for the Zimbabwean teens, to nicely polished suits for adults from NEXT.

The biggest worry that came to mind was how people would put the clothes from the Western World together. The trend in Zimbabwe seems to be colour-blocking which is not entirely far from what we have seen here. However admittedly they seem to abuse this term. Where we involve colours that are in the same colour wheel, in Zimbabwe they tend to wear colours that clash. Criticisms aside, their eye for fashion is progressing thanks to those who inspire people to be involved. ” I don’t wait for people to come to me,” Eva claims “I go to them because fashion waits for no man!”

Every day Eva would carry about 6 bags filled with Western fashion goodies ready to sell to Zimbabweans in Harare – which was 45 minutes away from her home. Eva already had loyal customers who would wait for her next arrival with outfits. They humbly take her advice on styling and look fabulous while doing so. “I love to look good for work, because then I feel confident in what I am doing” one customer tells  me, “by feeling good about your outer self, you feel almost invincible!” Eva’s customers also admitted as to how hard it is to find clothing in Zimbabwe. “There isn’t a lot of different styles here” one tells me, “so we have to wait for Eva to come around so we can harrass her to update us” and everyone was amused by this comment.

Eva Mutsago in her African home demonstrating colour-blocking

Eva Mutsago in her African home demonstrating colour-blocking

It was truly an inspiring moment stepping into Zimbabwe and witnessing it slowly emerging into the world of fashion. Even though it is evident that the economic crisis had affected the country, it has not prevented the people from having a burning desire to be kept updated on the latest trends. Eva Mutsago is just one case study of those who want to contribute in updating fashion in Africa as a nation. There are many people who are aware about bringing fashion cultures to both sides of the world, such as DeciMall, who are holding a massive event in showcasing modern African clothing mixed with Western trends. Look out for their fashion show which will be held in September!

Primark: SS13 Fashion Trends

For all you Primark Lovers, and I know you’re out there, we now have the Spring/Summer collection 2013 ready just for you to review. If you think Primark’s 2012 collection was the bomb – get ready to explode with the new trends from complimentary pastel colours to daring leather outfits. We’ll show you the real attributes to looking dapper this summer.

What are the differences between last year and this year’s collection? The advance in fashion conventions means that more floral prints and leather designs will hook the racks of our favourite high street shops. On the contrary, previous collections such as the skinny belts and high waste trousers will still remain in style but you can now mix it up with a more prevalent, contemporary look.

Baseball T-Shirt - £6

Baseball T-Shirt – £6

Primark has also taken the interest on the American-style baseball look, which is sure to hook our tomboy trendsetters. Meanwhile artistic fashionistas can express themselves with the new Aztec range including matching jewellery. The diversity in Primark’s new 2013 collection has attracted a vast amount of customers as reflected in the 118 reviews that Primark received; a rating of 4 stars out of 5 was recognised for the value for money category.

The quality of the 2013 collection is exceptional and this is great news especially for those wanting a classy but affordable look, such as the attractive white boucle blazer for an outing on a beautiful summer’s evening. And for our leather-lovers, Primark has a range of leather goodies, from short sleeved biker jackets (for those really hot days) to a long beautifully designed leather coat.

Styling this year’s collection is absolutely no problem as Primark is known for its ability to mix and match style. However here are two on-trend styling tips:

Printed Trousers - £12

Printed Trousers – £12

1. When wearing one of Primark’s printed items, be it top or trousers, wear a solid colour with it to help the item stand out. For example, try a white or a black top if wearing printed bottoms. This will do just the trick.

2. We all have our casual days and what better to express this by Primark’s new baseball style collection. You can pull the casual look by simple jeans and oversized tees and tank tops. Simple but effective.

It is definitely the season to put our best foot forward. Primark knows this and they have open sandals available for us this year to give our feet some breathing space. They’re not too heavy on the eyes and can just about go with any outfit you will be rocking. For a classy look, there are open heels that are super easy to walk in.

There is no better time than now to buy trendy accessories while they’re available. Nothing is more annoying than to hear your must-have item is “not available in stock”. Sunglasses are on the top of the list for essential summer needs. Trendy and affordable sunglasses are available now in Primark and they are already selling fast!

So Primarkers: ready, steady, summer!

While it is great to talk about the spring/summer 2013 collection but I would love to hear your opinions or predictions regarding the autumn/winter 2013 trends.

Summer Sales Secret Tales

Summer sales are hard to uncover, especially when they’re behind closed doors. The latest sales that will lead you to your trendsetting destiny will be unveiled to your satisfaction . From high street shopping sales, to online trends, the hottest sales will be brought for your eyes only and even styling tips on how to put them all together to make the best out of your money.

Forever 21 – OOTD vs OOTN Special

Forever 21’s sale covers all ranges from clothing to accessories, which is fabulous to create that complete head-to-toe “Outfit Of The Day” look at a generous price. The all-American brand offers the ideal going- out summer look. No need to worry about the clothes only appearing once from your wardrobe. The finest thing about Forever 21 is that it allows  you to make a combination of their styling with your own and no  fashion dangers are involved. After all, what better store to buy summer clothing than Forever 21 that is based on a pledge to keeping up with the trends. The variety of styles that Forever 21 has is perfect to make this season sweet, simple and fabulous.

Maxi Skirt £13.99 £28.75 For a sophisticated look

Damasked Crop Top £7.99 £10.50 Daring and sophisticated. Goes well with the neon blue maxi skirt for a modern look!

In summer, there is definitely an “Outfit Of the Night”. What happens in the day is different to what happens later on. Make that transformation from barbecues to a classy evening meal with friends/family. Polka dot shorts from Forever 21 shows the difference from the teared up casual shorts, to pristine and elegantly designed shorts. If you don’t want to show the legs for a while, the neon blue maxi skirt is also flattering to give you a look that’s pleasing to the eye, along with a damasked crop top to make it look more contemporary rather than just vintage.

Class it up with these polka high waist shorts £8.40 £12.00 Looks fabulous with a white shirt, even the graphic tees

H&M – Beach Haven

H&M’s mid-season sale – up to 70% off its splendid summer outfits, including their famous “beach 2013” collection is sure to send our wallets driving. The eye-catching £10 bikini that’s on sale is undoubtedly a perfect start for a beach holiday . The attractive floral bikini suit nicely shapes up the body to give you that desirable figure. For those evenings then you’re dancing in the moonlight or looking up at the stars, you can keep warm  with a long Californian-style  tunic top in the summer evening for just £7.00.

Floral print Bikini Bottoms £4.00 £7.99
Floral Print bikini Top £6.000 £12.99
Available in H&M stores and online

Tunic £7.00 £14.99
Gives you that effortless finish after sun-tanning at the beach all day
Available in H&M stores and online

Dazzling Designers

For those who like luxury brands or want to meet the expenses of them to wear for the summer, there are great deals where you can recieve 50% off . You can never go wrong with designer accessories as they always compliment even the simplest of clothing. To give you that expensive finish detectable designer  sunglasses are a way forward. They not only protect you from the harmful rays of the sun but they keep you from looking overcast this summer.  Marc Jacob’s caramel Willow sunglasses are perfect to style with the prevalent trends. They look flattering with the yummy pastel colours, as well as with the all in rage fluoro makeup collections that are appearing in our favourite makeup labels. With a combination of these you create a  daring yet delicious summer dream!

Willow round-frame acetate sunglasses by House of Harlow

£60.00 £120
Enjoy Marc Jacobs designer glasses at 50% off online at outnet.com

Those special summer evenings can be made extra glamourous with a touch of designer jewellery and  the reduced price of them is the icing on the cake. An ordinary evening dress can be transformed into a one-of-a-kind with Noir Jewellery that creates an unforgettable look. For more designer sales, don’t hesistate to go online to outnet.com

£110.26 £245
Noir Jewellery is special for this summer as it contributes to a glamorous summer evening
Available at outnet.com

There is a lot of sales out there, we just need to keep an eye out for them.Make your summer different from the rest and stay fashionable!

First Date Fashion Tips

Valentine’s Day has been and gone but what happens if you’re still single after February 14? The prospect of first dates and meeting Mr Right is still very much on the single girl’s agenda. Personal Stylist Katie Bowen has some top fashion tips for first date outfits…

When you’re single, deciding what to wear for a first date can equal major fashion pressure. There is so much expectation. A romantic date can also be a time when some women feel the need to shift into overdrive, opting for cutesy heart prints in shades of red and pink.

Sorry, ladies, that’s “definitely cliché”. You should definitely show your personal style by adhering to your own rules instead of what you think you should be wearing. ‘Happy, confident, chic and sexy’ is about the right level you should be aiming for.

So for some advice on how to go about choosing your outfit…

What’s a great dinner date outfit?

Nothing is better than a little dress. I think you want to be seductive but also, you don’t want to scare the person. Wearing a mini-dress with heels can display confidence. Make sure you keep warm by wearing thick tights and a statement necklace – with bright-red matte lipstick to remind those looking of your lips.

What about a casual date?

For a casual affair, I would recommend dark jeans paired with a tiered top and heels. While creating a slimming effect, dark denim offers a chic versatility. A tiered shirt is both flirty and feminine and can really polish off your look.


Show off your style with your shoes. A great clutch is also a lovely finishing touch.

Can you paint the town red in red?

Red has always been a trademark colour of love, but I think it should be used in moderation. Too much red can be distracting. Instead, use as an accent colour to brighten up an outfit, like a black dress with a pair of red heels.

What should I avoid?

Avoid anything you don’t feel comfortable and confident in. A date is time to show your best self. Don’t try and pull off that trend you saw in the magazine earlier in the day if it doesn’t feel right. Stick with what you know.

For further style advice, contact Personal Stylist, Katie Bowen – www.styko-stylist.co.uk

Viva Vintage This Autumn!

The trends on the catwalk this season are drawing inspiration yet again from the past; from 40s glamour to 60s mod, so the high street is awash with reproduction vintage pieces. But why buy copies when you can have the real thing?! Shop ‘vintage’ and you can keep bang on trend, snapping up unique and original pieces rather than the mass produced copies that everyone else has, and save yourself some money in the process! Plus vintage garments have been made to last a lifetime and are great quality so they really are investment pieces.

There are some adorable vintage blouses in all styles out there – from pussy bow to contrast collar, from floral to polka dot, stripy to lacy, all colours shapes and sizes, they are so versatile. For a great day look tuck one into your high-waist shorts with tights or leggings, boots and cardi, or into wide leg trousers. For the evening add heels, a skinny belt and accessorise with some statement earrings and a tan leather handbag.


Reworked vintage highwaist leather shorts are a cheeky nod to the fetish trend. Snap up a pair soon and you can wear them with a cropped top or vest top and flat sandals for end-of-the-summer rock chick chic. Then in autumn pair them with a pair of tights, a pair of lace up boots, a top, and oversize cardi for a great day look or skyscraper heels and a sheer blouse tucked in for an edgy chic
evening look.

Leather handbags are also a great investment piece, if you can get your hands on a vintage one all the better, for that unique look. Leather, like denim, gets better with age. For weekends away and stylish travel a vintage vinyl or leather holdall. These bags ooze style and originality, with added strength for carrying all your weekend essentials!

Also leather and tartan rucksacks are a gorgeous and practical addition to any wardrobe. Tartan is another trend set to be big this season, and if you don’t fancy donning head-to-toe tartan, a rucksack is a great way to combine it into your wardrobe.

Knitwear is another trend set to be huge this Autumn/Winter. From fair isle to cable knit, navajo print to crochet knits, the high-street versions pale in comparison to the vintage originals.

Each one unique, they look great with skinny jeans or leggings for a cosy and comfy day look. The oversize jumpers and cardigans we stock are one of our best sellers, the quality and the originality of these pieces just can’t be found elsewhere on the high-street.

A great way to jump into the androgynous trend is to don a skinny tie with your buttoned up blouse, and adding a tweed flatcap – tweed is set to be another massive trend this season. Also vintage braces are a great look with a blouse and high-waist trousers. It’s all about raiding the boyfriends wardrobe for this look!

When choosing your autumn/winter staples my advice is definitely to buy vintage, it will last you more than just a season as it’s great quality, if you go to the right places it can be cheaper than the high-street alternatives, plus nobody else will have the same thing as you!

About the Guest Author
Jenny Skilton runs a vintage shop in The Grafton Centre, Cambridge. She absolutely LOVES all things vintage and loves sharing this passion with her customers. Over the last few years vintage trends have exploded onto the mainstream market, making  vintage more desirable than ever. Jenny’s mission is to bring the coolest and most unique pieces to the lovely people of Cambridge at the best possible prices. After studying Philosophy at Nottingham University Jenny moved back to her home town  of Cambridge and set up a vintage stall in the Fisher Hall, followed by Cambridge Market, and in April 2010 opened the shop. Jemporium Vintage is open every day and offers a steady stream of lovely affordable and wearable vintage clothing and accessories from the 50s to the 80s for men and women. Follow Jemporium – Twitter: @JempoVintage – Facebook:  www.facebook.com/JemporiumVintage

Emily’s Fashion Trends – Spring/Summer 2013

I think we can officially start moving on from the layers and winter clothing, albeit we’re in May now we can really have a bit of a trend-binge to make up for the lost weeks of strolling into spring. Before we sprint faster than Usain Bolt into summer trends it isn’t an ideal climate to be parading around in the bikinis just yet, but hey if you want to, then go for it.

ss13 SkirtTwo-tone, now I don’t know about you but I love my ska and own a plethora of monochrome garments and the mod checkerboard print has been a big fat check on the catwalks from the likes of Louis Vuitton and Roland Mouret taking a delightful twist with black and white colour patterns – wearable for top class nights out. Polka dot is also something to keep an eye out for, preferably white dots on deep blues, whilst it is popular at the moment you can take it down the 1990s grunge route ala Gwen Stefani or a big polka dot print circa 1940s/50s pin up.

ss13 suitFashion for men is anything but monochrome in terms of trends at the moment, whilst we all agree with Barney Stinson that the suit is always a great choice but a suit for spring/summer 2013 can be a delightful mix of quirky and preppy – your choice to do both at once, adding a pop to your suit with the addition of a retro or paisley print shirt, level of 1970s is optional with paisley prints, and now something so un-70s is the flat shoe-boot, to maintain that level of looking smart but tough have been clocked on the runway and is always a great addition to a gentleman’s wardrobe.

ss13 ShoeMonochrome often is the ‘boring’ choice but you can’t really go wrong as it’s super cheap and easy to reinvent items and it can be an open invitation to personalise your outfit of the day. With the invitation of monochrome back into wardrobes the 1960’s inspiration has followed suit, with the plus of using colours that weren’t as popular in the 1960’s giving a more modern twist on lush graphic prints on tight dresses – checks and psychedelic patterns – perfect to show off your figure, simple ‘random’ graphic stripes to vamp up an outfit and slightly mixing up with tribal prints to give a fresh new print style on clothing.

ss13 print shirtIt’s great to welcome more males on board for the tidy unusual, not the everyday print shirts – i.e. mini clouds – little patterns, the key here is to keep it small, compact and presentable, a fashionable take on fun. Speaking of fun fashion or fashion fun I’ve been seeing more men in bright jeans/trousers lately, not the neon nu-rave style but solid deep, fresh colours and if that’s not your bag opt for shorts, think on the lines of preppy again, pastel colours super suitable for those beach boys and team that up with some light denim, distressed or with a small graphic print and you have a day outfit that will take you right into the night.

ss13 fringe dressWhat’s fashion without the texture, like a meal, sometimes outfits just work when you mix up the textures of the fabrics, soft, fluffy jumpers have been on the radar for awhile and ideal timing because of the cold lately, these 1990’s jumpers are always another texture welcomed back on the runway was all the modern 1920’s fringed creations, using the fabric and even feathers, a perfect way to add movement to an outfit and create a showstopping look – including being seen on the accessories! No better time really for men as the perfect two-tone 1920s brogue as advertised by Johnston Murphy is a great choice for you gentlemen to welcome the summer, if you’re not into that try a nice tan leather (doesn’t have to be the real deal!) shoe.

Images reproduced from shoewawa.com, asos.co.uk, gq.com, houseoffraser.com and menvision.com

Fashion Update: Autumn/Winter 2012

With fashion – it just gets better, what with Marc Jacobs rolling in with models on a Louis Vuitton train at Paris fashion week, it really sets what were in for this season!

For women the shapes of the clothing seen on the catwalk this season are still between athletic and cute small curves, a line skirts and skater skirts are the main skirts seen on the catwalk this season and enhancing the waist by bringing it in ever-so-slightly by using wide belts/cinchers and wearing fitted blazers and peplum tops. The peplum style is massively popular with designers this season from Elie Saab to Lanvin the style has been covered or replicated by most if not all designers this season. Gentlemen this season suiting up was all over the catwalk, beautiful suits ranging from textured suits to glitter suits, Mugler had a fabulous range for the gentlemen this season!

The prints gracing the ladies garments this season is a refreshing change, think deep Gothic colours with brocade prints like a luxurious wall-paper, jewelled garments such as wearing jewellery on the clothes and in the hair for a quirky new accessory the catwalk has definitely taken a regal approach this season, lots of golds and silver and yes, lurex! Lurex tights have been seen on the catwalk by Chanel and I couldn’t be happier to see them again! Colours popular this season are Purple, Vermilion, Black – Purple being a definite winner for men and ladies. Military accents are on long jackets and jump-suits are popular in militant colours such as Khaki and light browns, a look that will surely make you scream don’t-mess-with-me when strutting around the high street! We are not with-out the sheer-garments, finally mixing sheer fabrics to make shirts and jackets are suitable for all seasons! Yes, sheer garments even for men too.

The catwalk wasn’t without it’s textures for men and women – PVC and jewelled garments donned the catwalk heavily this season, PVC garments were more with darker colours and khakis and the jewelled garments featured a lot on the creamy pinks, satin and soft fabrics are in a lot of high-street retailers at the moment and if you don’t like to look bulky with the PU leathers and adore the wet-look, grab yourself a pair of satin trousers, they are thinner and a lot more comfortable! Hippy chic is also another strong theme this season, the muted tones mesh well with the military themes happening so it’s a mergable style in regards to that, the prints are very 1970’s including making it’s way onto the shoes!

Light platform heels have taken centre stage too, I’m not talking massive platform but in the style of creepers but applied to pumps and dolly shoes which give outfits a cute Harajuku look! Other shoes to keep an eye out for is, and I take a deep breathe because these are my favourite shoes, platform Mary Jane shoes, actually Mary Janes feature a lot not just in terms of platform heels. Accessories to suit the military theme are the wonderful long gloves, these beauties bring a nice edge this season, team that up with a beautiful cape and you will look elegant and edgy! The men this season were also in brocade capes and textured fabrics Cuffs and collars are also a great way to change up the usual bracelet/necklace routine! Shoes for men are classic black smart shoes, one pair I saw were glittery and I adore these! Gents should opt for a pair of Matrix-esque glasses, these solid black glasses bring a touch of mystery to an outfit.

Image reproduced from vogue.co.uk<

Hot Fashion Trends for Summer 2012

City Connect welcomes Emily Kissock as our latest Features Writer on Beauty and Fashion. In her first article, Emily – an experienced make-up artist, model and fashion writer – takes a look at the hot trends this coming season and shares some key style advice on what to wear in Summer 2012 to stay fashion forward.

Emily Kissock – Style Writer

Summer is coming up and what better to challenge the dull weather than to introduce some light pastel colours into your wardrobe. Beautiful pastel shades are everywhere at the moment and the ability to wear different colours without looking like you’re about to hit the “nu-rave” scene is possible in these shades. Think 1960’s, geometric prints and pop art – yes, pastel pop art! Keeping in with the theme of pastel shades, sheer garments are a real winner right now too. It’s the ultimate ‘fashion oxymoron’ – sexy but innocent, perfect for any occasion and if you pick your sheer-shade right it will go with almost anything.

Little Mistress Embellished Waistband Dress – £50

If you like to go bold and the soft pastel-marshmallow hues just don’t do it for you then you must take a dive into ethnic prints – they are making waves again in fashion, don’t just think of the typical mass printed ‘Aztec’ & ‘Navajo’ as this time round there’s a multitude of mixed ethnic influenced prints available. H&M currently have a brilliant cause – it’s “Fashion Against AIDS” collection – and if you want to add a splash of bold print they will fix that craving and you get to help a great cause in the process.

H&M Fashion Against Aids Skirt – £7.99

Of course not forgetting those needing that touch of edge, denim is one of the on-trend fabrics. Think of it as a canvas and stamp your own personality onto it, for example what’s trending currently with the ladies and gents is to simply teaming denim with hoodies or, if you’d like to really make it your own, adorning it in studs and/or patches for that rock-out-loud look. Denim is such a versatile piece of clothing and wearable by all types of people. You could be as drowned in denim as B*Witched or rocked up like an old school metal head… you catch my drift here, it’s versatile.

ASOS Colour Blocked Denim Shirt – £30

If that’s still not tipping bold on your Richter scale, don’t forget that we have the Diamond Jubilee AND the Olympics in the UK this year and there’s a fabulous range of subtle to downright tacky Union Jack covered garments available! So if you want to show your support by being a walking flag (no pun intended) or just want that Ginger Spice 90’s Union Jack dress it doesn’t matter, stuff like this isn’t usually readily available so grab it while you can and have fun with it!

Religion Union Jack Body – £35

Finishing off today’s article in the same way you would finish off an outfit, let’s look at accessories. Get ready for summer and unleash those futuristic crazy sunglasses, enjoy the mouthwatering sweet colours mixing into the accessories – meringue whites and pixie stick pastels, and not forgetting the tribal touches slithering into those little rectangular clutch bags, big bangles and dangly drop earrings. Bags and shoes share the more than necessary strap look with chunked heels. Hats are dominated right now by big slouchy wide brimmed hats, straw hats and fedora hats. And with that I tip my hat to you and bid you good day until next time.

ASOS Wide Brim Straw Fedora Hat – £14

Images reproduced from asos.com and hm.com

Affordable Celebrity Fall Fashions

Clara Freeman, City Connect’s American correspondent, turns her eye from Entertainment to take a look at what the fashion world is offering Stateside this season. Whether you call it Autumn or “Fall”, get ready for some hot fashion tips from Clara…

Okay, I’m sure everyone who’s anyone made an appearance at many of the September Fashion catwalks extending along the street haunts of New York City to the cobblestone sidewalks of the Paris elite where designers got to show off their best models adorned in Spring fashion. A memorable fashion frenzy of glitz, glamour and glam!

But, what’s in store for frugal fashionistas this Fall?

Fall became official on Sept 22nd. Already, consumers are being bombarded with answers to what’s appropriate and what’s not when purchasing clothes for Fall. Fashion is a big deal worldwide and if you’re not a celebrity fashionista, come join my pity-party, because neither am I. You can start by scouring the numerous fashion magazines to find the latest fashion styles and compare prices. Some of my favorites include the fashionable Vogue, InStyle Magazine, Essence Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar.

But, that doesn’t mean we cannot live vicariously through celebritydom and at affordable prices to boot. If you follow fashion trends, you’ll know that many famous designer labels and big name Hollywood celebrities have their clothing placed with discount retailers where regular shoppers can get to feel like a celebrity, at less than half the price of a celebrity cost. Some of the designer labels include the following:

Missoni for Target – whose designs cost an entire website to crash during fashion week!

The Kardashian Dash Collections at Sears – can’t seem to get enough of those Kardashians.

Jennifer Lopez and estranged husband Mark Anthony recently unveiled individual clothing lines at Khols Department Stores.

Calvin Klein at Marshalls.

Isaac Mizrahi also at Target.

Jaclyn Smith offers age appropriate designs at Kmart and if you have a fetish for fab and affordable shoes, there’s Christian Siviano shoes and accessories at Payless Shoe Stores. The young designer has made a name for himself in celebrity fashion since winning Bravo’s Project Runway Fashion Design Competition during the show’s first season.

Now that you have an idea where to look for celebrity fall fashions that won’t empty your pockets, how about a few tips on what’s hot for fall and what’s not?

The look for fall includes everything from Polka Dot, Pastel, Navajo, Suede and leather, to peep toe booties. Some style mavens give a thumbs up to wearing summer pieces straight into Fall.

The emphasis is on creativity, pairing and knowing it’s ok to break traditional convention when it comes to wearing after season clothing. Some clothes given the green light to wear into Fall include:

  • Maxi dresses paired with chunky knit and belted at the waist.
  • Capri pants (fitted to the leg) worn with tall boots.
  • White trousers fitted with cashmere sweater and colorful elongated scarves.
  • White blazer paired with tweed fabric, printed blouse, or, leopard pants.

According to the fashion experts, the “it” top for Fall that every fashionista must have is the Turtleneck.

A true lover of gorgeous and age appropriate fashion, my motto continues to be: Have fun, think affordable, dress for comfort and look and feel like a billion bucks…

Is It OK to Recycle Your Wardrobe?

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about Kate Middleton and recycling your wardrobe. Follow Sloan Life Coach on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s Life Coaching website www.sloansw.com

Thank you for your question. When I first read your question it was slightly misleading as I thought you were referring to donating your clothes to charity. Although this was not what you were getting at I stress to your and other readers that if you are worried about wearing the same item of clothing on more than one occasion, there are many worthwhile charities that would happily accept donations. In the event this would pinch your pocket too much there is always the likes of eBay to resell your items as long as you follow their policies and classify the items as old or worn.

However as I reached the end of your question it became more apparent that your concern was more about peer pressure and what your friends at college would think of you for wearing the same outfit.

My advice to you is two-fold:-

1. It is a dangerous game especially from a young age to succumb to peer pressure. It is better to be a leader rather than a follower even if you have to make your own path and walk it alone. All schools have the popular girl who taunts others for wearing the same Alice band, shoes, jacket etc. but she’s just a big fish in a little pond. If you were to take her out of her comfort zone she would be nothing more than a little fish in a big pond. What you describe in your penultimate paragraph is very close to bullying and I would suggest that as you say you can’t speak to your parents about this that you at least seek comfort from the school counsellor.

2. On a purely fashion basis, celebrities have now made it perfectly acceptable to reuse handbags, shoes, leather trousers, shoes etc. and not worried about the paparazzi snapping them more than once in outfits that they like. In fact the latest demonstration of this was none other than the Duchess of Cambridge who only this month revamped one of her dresses that had been in her wardrobe for approximately four years and she looked stunning as usual. In addition she has a penchant for hats and wore the same one twice this month alone even though she has many to choose from. If that’s not enough to put your mind at rest she has also been spotted wearing her Jane Troughton coat on more than one occasion and the public still adore her.The Duchess of Cambridge, or K-Middy as many like to call her, has clearly paved the way for you to wear what you want when you want.

Good luck in wearing the same favourite outfits and gaining the courage to stand up to the bullies. If you want to be even more on trend accessorize with gold chunky jewellery and a dazzling smile.

I hope this answer has been of help to you. Please do feel free to comment further below and I also look forward to hearing comments from anyone going through a similar situation.

Image reproduced from mirror.co.uk

X-Factor 2011: Style Wars

It’s no surprise to UK viewers that for the last few seasons of X-Factor Cheryl and Danni have been playing a quiet game of battle of the dresses which luckily for us kept raising the fashion stakes. During the audition process I was sometimes mesmerised by the outfits rather than the atrocious off key wannabe hopefuls. As we got closer to the live performances, although the singing was fabulous, I and no doubt many others couldn’t take my eyes off the dresses, make-up and hair that Cheryl and Danni rocked each week.

Sadly these two fabulously gorgeous women have now left our screens and we have four new leading ladies entering the fashion wars. On the UK side we have Kelly Rowland, of Destiny’s Child fame and Tulisa Contostavlos of N-Dubz versus Paula Abdul (who needs no introduction) and Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger taking centre stage Stateside.

The sexy awards so far definitely go to Kelly who has been showing off her tiny waist and fabulous long legs in superb short dresses but respectfully with a high neck-line and Nicole who oozes sex appeal with bold colour choices and low cut numbers to envy Jennifer Lopez’s infamous Versace dress. It’ll be a close call as to whom Kelly or Nicole will win sexiest female judge.

No strager to the X-Factor, Paula Abdul keeps her spot on the American judging panel and although she managed to pull off chic, simple and occasionally very daring to pull off a mini prom dress, it is my opinion that her years as a X-Factor judge are soon to come to an end.

As for Tulisa, she has a hard road to follow as she is often seen in British high street labels and tries to keep on trend with animal prints and cute floral blooms. Her stylist really has a lot of work cut out for her to help her reach the standard of the old pros. We wish her luck but the only fashion item I have liked on her so far were her neon T-Bar Zara heels which detracted my attention from her Olivia Ruben dress.

I am looking forward to Sky +ing Saturday night X-Factor and reporting later in the series who was my overall style queen. It seems like an unfair battle as Nicole quite clearly gives even Cheryl Cole a run for her money when it comes to looking fabulous.

Images reproduced from meanmassive.com, mirror.co.uk and idolator.com

Minx Nails – Sassy Style Sure to Sizzle

Minx Nails are a glamorous nail treatment that lets you extend fashion to your fingertips. This latest trend will ensure that your nails show off some sassy style that’s sure to sizzle this season.

They’re funky, flashy, and super fashionable. First popularised by US celebrities like Lady GaGa, Beyoncé, Katy Perry and Rihanna, the Minx revolution has now gone transatlantic and UK stars such as Lily Allen have now been seen sporting this trendy sexy look.

So how does Minx work? Well, it’s not nail polish but a unique nail treatment. An adhesive acrylic film nail coating is individually applied and filed to fit the shape of each nail. There are dozens of ready made patterns to choose from – everything from bold colours to houndstooth (as worn by Scarlet Johansson in her fashion shoot for Glamour magazine). The amazing silver and gold metallics are a popular choice, as is the metallic leopard print. You can’t go wrong with the endless options available. Best of all, there is no damage to your nail, no drying time and no smudging. You’ll also be pleased to know that Minx doesn’t use chemicals for application or removal so there are no unpleasant fumes.

What is a Minx manicure like? Although you can have the film applied as is, I recommend having your nails tidied up first with a basic manicure as we’ve heard this will make the Minx treatment last that bit longer. You then choose your Minx from the wide range of designs available. The film coating is applied to the nails which are then briefly put under a heat lamp to set. A little heat is used to remove them too when it’s time to go for a new style. You can customise them too to match your favourite dress, purse or shoes. Prices are between £30 and £50 depending on what you have and where you go. The whole process takes just over half an hour. What you end up with are gorgeous catwalk-ready nails that will certainly get everyone talking.

There are a number of salons around the country now doing this exciting new treatment. Recommended London salons are Maximiliano Centini on New Kings Road and Percy & Reed on Great Portland Street. If you’re in Cambridge, visit the award winning Sun Studios on Cherry Hinton High Street to get the Minx experience. Minx manicures have a short shelf life so if you want something longer lasting, I’d recommend going for the Minx pedicure which lasts several weeks. Or for those special occasions, I’d go for a manicure and pedicure in a Minx design that matches your outfit to add sparkle to your ensemble.

Minx Nails – perfect for parties, holidays or whenever you want that glitzy Red Carpet look that will get you noticed for all the right reasons!

Please note – this is not a hard-wearing treatment and is more suitable for styling up your look at a special event rather than to wearing to do domestic chores. I recommend that you wear Minx nails when you want to treat yourself to a bit of celebrity glamour and when you want to be the envy of your girlfriends at a special party.

Image reproduced from Minx Nails