29.6.09

How Real Girls Wear...Printed Jeans

I have got my first skinny jeans fix, but now, as always, I want more. The season calls for the distressed, the ripped, the acid washed and the studded; the 80s demin explosion has re....exploded in the 00s.
But I want something different. Something bold, dramatic and heroic, as my favourite animated fashionista Edna Mode said. Oh yes, ladies and a few wayward gents, it's time for the bright statement jeans.
Back in the 70s, Vivienne Westwood and patrons of her shop 'Sex' were alllll about the tartan jeans. But nowadays, tartan is just about the most tame you can get, and as demonstrated by Miss Moss over there in her skinny red jeans, will add the punk to your look. If this is daunting, go for a simple and sweet pastel pair, the top pick of Sloanes and the continental trend-setters and also perfect for casual summer sophistication. Zara, Uniqulo and Topshop have a good crop of these, with H&M preferring to go for edgier darker colours as well. I found this nice montage of how much variety can be found in the acid washed jeans field alone...but I want something even bolder.
So, my patterned jeans quest continued. I drew inspiration from the punk trend, a neatened-up variant of which my esteemed fellow blogger brainsbeauty refers to as 'Rebel Rich'; 70s punk with the obligatory 00s polish. I may mess up my hair, but it's always clean, and my smudged eyeliner is smudged strategically.
But more on the punk look later. Currently, I was on a jeans mission.
And, just like that, the perfect pair fell into my hands. I was riffling through the H&M rails in search of that zebra-print jumpsuit that's been the face of all their ad campaigns (but do they sell it in shops? Apparently not!) when I found a pair of skinny-cut cotton trousers in zebra print. ZEBRA PRINT TROUSERS! Now I was excited.
As soon as I'd got my new purchase out of the shop, all sorts of questions started to make themselves heard in my head. Will I look like an extra from The Mighty Boosh? (probably) Will my friends laugh me back home to my jeans? And, of course, will my amazing new trousers do that thing all clothes do outside of the changing room and make me look fat?
But I know how to silence those doubts; three ways, in fact.
First, avoid mirrors.
Closely linked is the second, all-important component - CONFIDENCE. There's no point acting like a doormat when you're, erm, as colourful as curtains; a lack of confidence is certainly curtains for your look (sorry about that!) Hold your head high, smack on your favourite perfume or your go-get-'em makeup tricks and stride out without a care in the world.
And to make this easier, you have to have confidence in your look, so make sure you style up your trousers in a way that makes you feel both cool and comfortable.
Here are my three top ways to style this look. (No radiator in the black this time - I'm trying something new with my presentation! And partly because it's wayyyy too hot here to be putting skinny jeans on.)

This is called 'Letting Your Trousers Do The Talking', because the focus is right on them. Keeping it simple with a basic white vest-top, long or short depending on your comfort level, and some plain white pumps or gladiator sandals will allow the trousers to make the statement that they're meant to, and allow you to go a little bolder with your makeup and accesories, which is why I added this AMAZING River Island bag - looks like Vuitton for a miniscule fraction of the price!


Now we've got the tribal look down, it's time to punk it up a little. This time, I've added a longline pink T-shirt and my trusty black Converse. The trouble I've had with this look is that the pink T-shirt can swamp the body and a little bag won't help that, so to help balance proportions I've included a big bold black shoulderbag.


Then, for the boldest of dressers, there's this look, which is about as OTT as I can get! I wore this one to visit a friend at art school, and appeared to fit right in!
You might recognise that t-shirt from my McQueen article, and it's perfect for adding even MORE drama to the trousers! I also chose my favourite paint-splattered white boots to add even more drama and art-world cool.
Or just overkill. But hey, add confidence, big sunglasses and a good song or two on your MP3 Player, and you're away!

25.6.09

My wardrobe is holding me hostage!

Ahoy there blog fan(s - is there more than one?) Sorry that I haven't been blogging for a while, just got back from university and unpacking three years of stuff and three years of clothing and shoes is a time-consuming process! I'll endeavour to get back to the blog within the next few days, so please check back then - I've got plenty more content to come!
But for now.....I've got plenty more stuff to fit into my room.
With luck, it's going to go from that........
To this.......
Well, not Carrie's ACTUAL closet unfortunately, but soon my wardrobe will be less mess and stress, more....fabulousness!
Rebecca Bloomwood eat your heart out.

16.6.09

Name Drop - William Tempest

It's not often that a designer makes me go 'wow', let alone a new designer just starting out.
And then this guy came along.
The 23-year-old designer (his birthday is only a few days from mine, in fact - all the best people are born in December) has quickly become the toast of the town. His resume reads like a crip-sheet for making it as a young designer, with a first class degree from the London College of Fashion, where his collection being chosen to head Graduate Fashion Week, along with regular stints at Giles Deacon and being likened to McQueen (see left - I wonder why?) and Roland Mouret by a reviewer from Vogue (for more info, see his website, williamtempest.com)


And when trendy tweenster of the moment Emma Watson wore one of his designs to a film premiere last year, he became a far bigger blip on the wider fashion radar. I first fell in love with his designs through a feature in Grazia (as featured above), which featured a picture of Emma Watson in his dress and some pieces from his first collection. The collection was a perfect representation of his name; 'tempest' seemed an accurate way to describe the fitted bodices with their elaborate, swirling and full skirts. Tempest by name, Tempest by fashion nature and yes, this young man will soon take the fashion world by storm.

So why do I love the collection so much? I feel in love with the romantic drapery and Bronte-gothic drama of the early collections, as perfectly demonstrated by the black coat (above). It flatters every shape and adds drama to every wardrobe while being simple and wet-cut enough to remain classic. I'm saving up for one of those beautiful big-skirted corset dresses, but until then I'll stick to All Saints for similar, more affordable replications of the same flattering shape.

But who doesn't love a designer whose most recent collection was inspired by the Henrician age as written about by Philippa Gregory. (see above - is that a famous, many-wived face I spot among all those cuts of fabric?) Who knew that fashion would help with my history exams? Sort of. William Tempest is putting the fun back into high fashion, and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

11.6.09

Label Love - McQueen Mania

I had a bit of an out-of-body experience today. For the first time, I got my hands on a little bit of McQueen, in the flesh. Or rather, in the fabric.
Oh it was wonderful. I didn't care that it has been worn by my fashion nemesis (a certain Cheryl Cole, but I'm not here to bitch) or many other D-list stars. It was beautiful. It was what all the high street stores that have gone mad with skull prints (All Saints, Topshop, you name it) have aspired to.
I held it longingly, knowing full well that it cost £230 and to buy it would cripple my finances. Putting it down was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do...at least, as far as fashion is concerned.
McQueen's trend for decadence and sumptuous textures has fit beautiful with the bright colours of the collection I fell in love with. I was reading an interview with Davina McCall in which the smug BB-promoting TV juggernaught was wearing, oh yes, that fabulous McQueen creation complete with feather collar. Jealous? I was seething. From then, before my eyes, it seemed EVERYONE was getting their hands on a little piece; there was Camille Belle in a fabulous structured dress in shades of pink and brown (see below), and Princess Beatrice in the rainbow feather print I so coveted. McQueen certainly had feathers flying, so much that a recent Project Runway contestant was accused of copying McQueen for her semi-final piece; a dress consisting of a white bodice and a full white feather skirt. Yes, I could see the similarity there, but they do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
So, how to flatter McQueen? Thankfully, another hot pick of mine for summer fashion is the stylings of Natasha Khan, aka Bat for Lashes (see below), the hot singer-songwriter who wears feathered headdresses to her gigs and champions brightly-coloured eyeshadow. I have built up quite a collection of feathered hair accessories, tricky considering I have so little hair, including a fabulous imitation Indian headdress attached to a hairband. Oh Topshop, we love you. I also have a fab little feathered clutch that I foolishely bought in beige when it also comes in a bright blue, from asos.com. But more on feathered accessories later...
The fashion website du jour also brought out a short printed summer dress last year that had a pattern very similar to McQueen's. Unfortunately, due to it fronting their summer ad campaigns, I couldn't get hold of it for love or money.
But this season I was well prepared and in on the action earlier, and found them selling a lovely little 'shattered glass vest' that is as close to McQueen as I'll get; a longline white vest patterned with 'shattered glass' rectangles in colours similar to McQueen's distinctive t-shirt, but for a measly portion of the price. But I've managed to find the perfect little McQueen fix from none other than Warehouse - a longline t-shirt with a multi-coloured pattern that up close is clearly flowers, but from a distance could easily be mistaken for that fabulous print I so covet. and at only £35 it's a far more wallet-friendly option.And thanks to Grazia I found another fab little McQueen imitation from hot new brand Liquorish, a fitted peplum skirt for under £50.
Now, for a feather collar.....
UPDATED - Hyperventilate McQueen fans, Asos have replicated that famous t-shirt for under £20. Race you!

7.6.09

Film Fashion - Confess: Can This Shopaholic Dress?

As I trawl through my Sophie Kinsella book collection to kill time, I can't help but get excited about the next onslaught of fashion porn that will soon be added to my DVD collection. Oh yes, Confessions of a Shopaholic comes out on DVD at the end of the month, and boy, am I excited. The guilty pleasure of watching yet another Manhattanite wearing ridiculous clothes and fabulous shoes tottering from store to store to a pumping pop soundtrack is just too good to resist.

Note, I say 'ridiculous' clothes, as many in the industry believe that Patricia Field, of Sex and the City fame and stylist for the film, lost her touch and the plot with Becky's wardrobe. Having read the books, I couldn't help but compare their very British, Hobbs-wearing, Kurt Geiger-loving heroine to the Americanised multi-coloured bimbo that the producers transformed Becky into, and I have to admit that the comparisons to Carrie Bradshaw's later fashion are apt. 'Carrie's Little Sister', the glossy mags called her, and the Americanised Miss Bloomwood is pretty close.

But does her style work? The beauty of Becky's look is that it is an expression both of mood and personality - in an office she wears colour, but muted and co-ordinated with pencil skirts. But on the street, out shopping and to her best friend's wedding (see that pink dress above? Would YOU let your bridesmaid wear that?), Becky adds bold colour clashes, textures and styles to her look, all set off by her flaming red hair.

Could there BE any more colours in this look? Becky wears her trademark green scarf (or Denny and George scarf in the book) which clashes with the cute mini-skirt, which looks like silk and again contrasts with the purple belt and blouse.

She also appears to be carrying two handbags; the orange one suiting the jacket nicely but the yellow just contributing to the 'wow' factor that induces such polar opposite reactions. But with that flawless skin and those legs, it's hard NOT to pull off a look.

It's quite clear from Becky's style that the individuality and free spirit that categorises Field's handiwork - most of Becky's outfits could not be worn by mere mortals in real life But they do champion a mantra that seems to come across quite strongly with Field's costume choices - be yourself, find your own style, and anything is possible if you believe you can WORK IT! So work it Becky, because most of the rest of us couldn't.


But one thing I will always have in common with Becky?

A slight storage problem.
And wayyyyyyy too many shoes.

HOT

One day I will afford McQueen. One day......

How Real Girls Wear...Skinny Jeans

Remember that scene in Sex and the City where Miranda finally gets back into her skinny jeans? I've already got several pairs like that hidden away waiting for the day when my muffin top finally disappears - post-student diet here I come! But the power Miranda feels once she gets back into those jeans cannot be ignored - there's something incredibly satisfying about squeezing yourself into these tricky, unflattering yet fabulous jeans.
According to t'internet, the skinny jeans, or 'drainpipe' jeans, originated in the 1950s; they were all the rage among the rocker boys, with Elvis cracking them out on many occassions. The 70s and 80s saw different fabrics and washes being used among many glam rock and metal bands, and by the 00s all the cool indie kids are wearing them everywhere. Kate Moss made them cool again for women, and ever since, every fashionista worth her salt owns a pair, albeit without the high waisted style popular in the early days.


A little ripping works a charm at Balmain (does that jacket on the right look familiar? Paging Topshop....)

I'm a classic pear-shape, but I'm also at that age where all the fashion columnists say you can apparently get away with wearing anything, so a skinny jean and vest-top combination always seems like a great idea until I catch my reflection in a passing car, and realise no, this was not my best-laid plan, but am unfortunately too far away from home to go back and put on a nice long t-shirt. So all I can do is put on my big dark glasses and strut out, hoping to distract any potential audience with my strut and my legs so that no-one notices my rather sizeable behind.
This is the plan, anyway.
I succumbed to the latest demin trend and bought a pair of ripped distressed skinnies the other week, from the always dependable asos.com. Now, as my mother always warned me, there are certain things you shouldn't order from websites - shoes and tight trousers. But of course, I like to think I am in control of my own shopping now, so I took her advice as loosely as possible.
Before ordering the skinny jeans, I first took a look at the model wearing them. Unlike me, she was in possession of only moderate curves, and all unwanted fat had either been cunningly repositioned or conveniently airbrushed. Clearly, these jeans are not designed for a girl with a bit more junk in the trunk.
But we girls are still determined to wear them. So, reluctantly, I looked at the size guide. Ugh. Now I feel fat.
Online rule Number One - order a size bigger than you would try on in a shop.
The jeans arrived. With a big of jumping, wriggling and yanking, they fit, albeit long in the crotch thanks to my 'degree baby' extra pounds.


Mischa Barton rocks Asos' Iggy Ripped Jeans, which I now own! Yay! A piece of celebrity!
So, now I have them on, how do I style them?
Obviously, as mentioned before, the long t-shirt is the best friend of the larger rear end. I have my trusty Union Jack one which is perfect for the grunge look skinny jeans are synonymous with. Battered Converse are a pre-requisite, but let the jeans do the talking and keep them simple black or white, especially if your top is a statement too. For a more sleek grunge look, go for a plain t-shirt in monochrome, though block colour is also doable, so long as it provides enough of a contrast with the colour of your jeans. Keep accesories to a minimum as these jeans are the focus of this outfit combination. For nighttime, if you're going out to place that allows ripped jeans, just add a darker top and killer heels, or moderate heels if like me you're not so comfortable in them. But more on that later.
Today, I went for a black vest, black Converse and my trusty long black jacket. It's actually part of my old school suit, machine washable, from good old M&S. And thanks to my mum, it also has my name-label in it. Oh yes, I looked cool. Very Balmain (see above).
Here are my three top ways to wear this outfit:

1. Classic Daytime (see left) It's been pretty warm these last few weeks, so I teamed my jeans with a loose black t-shirt for a combination of coolness and minimum sunburn to my shoulders! To add a bit of edge, I go for Converse rather than pumps, topped off with big colourful sunglasses and an oversized handbag.

Which is easy to turn into....

2. Classic Nighttime (see right) To cool down in the clubs and bars, I swap the
black t-shirt for a long vest-top, and my favourite black gladiator heels, downgrade my handbag for a small cross-body bag, and add a black jacket to combat nighttime chills.

But to jazz it up, and to add your personality to anyone else's look, you must always wear it your way.

3. My Way (see left) Always Converse, but with a more exciting t-shirt, statement bag or abundance of bold jewellery. The first time I wore my jeans, I added salmon-pink Converse and a Pink Floyd t-shirt.

Apologies for the radiator in the back of the photos!

Of course, these are the most basic forms of the looks I actually take out of the door - I add a jacket, and tonnes of jewelry every time. But these are just the basic ideas, the bases from which I work out my looks. Like many girls (at least, I HOPE like many girls), I plan my outfits the night before. These are the kind of basics I come up with.

UPDATE - The jeans modelled here are now in the 'sale' section of Asos.com: £24 for those awesome jeans! I may buy another pair....

A little bit of fashion porn...

Every so often I come across a photo of a celeb, a photo from a fashion show, or an ad campaign that I love. When I find them, I'll post them.

Cheeky thing stole my look.
But I LOVE her.


Ladies, always have fun with fashion.



But never look conventional and always make an impact.

Welcome to the blog Part 2 - What's going on here?

So, having perused the internet a little bit recently, I have come to the conclusion that there are may, many blogs out there. So why should you chose mine?
My blog is going to be a combination of my own explorations of the fashion world; both first-hand, and through observation. I will try out any fashion trend that I like and can afford, try to make it look good on me if it initially doesn't and, with luck, have the good grace to know when a trend really isn't for me! I will also upload my thoughts on fashion in general, new trends, catwalk looks and the hottest designers OTM, as well as how you can re-create their looks for less. I also love to watch what's known as 'fashion porn'; tv shows such as Sex and the City and Gossip Girl, and films like The Devil Wears Prada, and I'll be doing regular breakdowns of filmstar looks, both on-and-off screen.
And then, over to you! I want you to comment as often as you can about fashion and beauty, as well as give your thoughts on my variety of fashion experiments, as well as pose questions, suggest trends of your own and above all, celebrate fashion with me!
New features will be added over time, along with polls, general photographs and other blogs and sites that inspire me.

6.6.09

Welcome to the blog

Hello and welcome to Redheadfashionista, my new blog. On this blog I intend to continue my efforts in fashion and beauty journalism, efforts that were begun at university and which I loved and contributed to consistently during my three years there.
So what do I intend to do with this blog? Well, as those of you who know me will know, I have been keen on fashion for quite a long time. My DVD collection is populated by Sex and the City and Gossip Girl, I love reading Sophie Kinsella and Lauren Weisenberger, and as for my wardrobe? It's chock full of every beautiful, wearable and just damn fantastic item I find on the high street, from my gladiator heeled sandals from Topshop to my beloved Ted Baker leather jacket, from my collection of long t-shirts to my precious Karen Millen dress. One day I will own William Tempest, McQueen, Chanel and Louboutin (if he ever makes heels that I can walk in!) but for now I'm working every and any look I can find.
And in my quest to find my true style, I invite you to join me. I will endeavour to keep my blog updated as often as I can with photos and details of the outfits I try, where I get my inspiration, and what's happening in the world from which I draw it. Whether it's just a picture of a particular star in a truly amazing dress, or a fully fledged feature on why I think jumpsuits are the way of the future, I aim to continue producing the writing that I enjoyed doing so much at university.
So pop by every so often, whether to laugh at me in my strange outfits, see what I think of the latest trend for hats, or give YOUR opinion on the latest celebrity outfit!
See you all soon.
RedHeadFashionista