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Frock Off and watch me on T4!

Still on major hiatus but continuously trying to find a pad that has internet access. Right now I'm in an internet cafe complete with babies and dogs, and a girl crying on Skype in a different language behind me. By far I'd love to be at a blog meet up happening in a cupcake shop today but I have no life, let alone clothes, right now and so I'm sorry to all the girls I could have met!

But you might have seen a few bloggers taking part in the show Frock Me on T4, and I'm one of them! Tune into Channel at 13.25 tomorrow where I'll be guest judging the Birmingham Frock Off. Frock Me is less Gok Wan and his waist belts, more super cool runway fashion with Alexa Chung, Henry Holland and the lady I got to meet, Gemma Cairney. When I was asked I immediately thought 'eek argh no I'd love to not have my mug on national TV', but you can't turn something like this down just because you are shy of looking like an idiot! So I said yesyesyes and found myself at the Bullring, Birmingham's major shopping centre, on a cloudy Saturday surrounded by crowds of shoppers. These crowds were certainly not for me of course, the amazing Gemma was doing shots in front of the entrance and many nosey people of the Midlands were hovering and asking what was going on. They probably would have stopped anyway because Gemma looked so eye catching and gorgeous in a little babydoll dress, tight high black stocks, and chunky red heels. I'd never really thought about presenting before until I was part of the New Look YouTube programme at the Paris press day, and saw the many, many takes and repeats. But Gemma had to stand there in the freezing, windy weather with people making faces at the camera and staring at her, and perform links to the camera like there was no one there! She even got on the bull statue, which if you haven't seen it, it's huge and climbing is generally banned due to many drunken injuries previously caused!

The team were exceptionally nice and had so many things to contend with, and I was chatting with the MAC makeup artist Naomi when girls were asking for Gemma's autograph. Thankfully she had a huge knitted, vintage coat to throw on as soon as the filming of each take stopped and she was lovely to all the teenage girls crowded around. Naomi gave them loads of makeup artist advise too, she was seriously cool and kindly sent me the face charts for the looks she did on Gemma. I should have asked what she was wearing as predictably she had amazing makeup, and a really cool top or jacket with a black lace hood.

For the Birmingham show (and any MAC obsessives out there), she used Smolder, Quarry and Contrast shadows on the eyes, Coygirl on the cheeks, Faux lipstick and a Smile dazzleglass. I heard they were filming since 8am and I only saw the lipstick being touched up once after a cheesy Wotsits break!

For the Bristol show she used Coral Crepe paint pot, Rule and Embark shadows, Dainty blush, and Vegas Volt on the lips.

I got to watch the filming for a while and meet the two girls who were doing the 'Frock Off'. They were given the theme Americana and £100, and had to beg, borrow and steal an outfit to catwalk at the end of the show. It was my job to judge the winner, eeek! I am the least competitive person ever and get more joy out of the other person winning than thinking they would feel defeated and sad if I won something, so ideally I would not have done this job! But both girls were lovely and got to keep the outfits, but it was still really hard to pick. I'm not sure how they'll edit the show but both had picked up some great stuff and had a different take on the trend.

In the other shows they don't feature the bloggers too much (yay!) but I had to casually walk past the Bullring a few times and stage a little blogging on one of the stone seats, not that I ever blog outside my house! I had a chat with Gemma to give my opinion on the trend, and while trying to speak normally and look subtly happy and cool, all you can think is 'actnaturalactnaturalactnaturalactnatural', and so I most likely looked a bit freaky deeky. We did it in one take too, so I guess they're stuck with my ramblings; oh well, all in the name of fun! The judging was done in loads of takes and both girls were so great, I felt really bad deciding the winner! But I'm sure the show will be great as the team were amazing and worked so hard ALL day long. I wore an ASOS maxi dress and my lace H&M jacket with wedges, and of course a hair bow! You can get more news on the Facebook fan page and check out the teaser video before. To international readers, I'll try to get the clips online somehow! Don't scroll down as the picture below reveals the winner, save the suspense until tomorrow!



You Don't Need To Be Fashionable

Coming from the middle of nowhere (kind of) in Sweden to one of the fashion capitals of the world, aka London, it's a bit overwhelming in terms of fashion. Going from nearly a year of just going to a few classes or the supermarket and then maybe popping into the one H&M, to helping out at a major fashion desk and travelling around London each day means I don't have the routine or wardrobe to deal with it. The routine I settled into in Sweden made me feel guilty over every purchase (which resulted in £80 overweight baggage fees anyway!) and I only needed to dress warmly anyway. The Uni I went to was far more fashion orientated than the Textiles school in Manchester, mostly because my course there is more retail based. My classes in Sweden were very small though and were all international students, who had a range of styles but only the Asian students really followed fashion and dressed uniquely. It was really cool to visit the canteen each day at the 10am coffee break, as classes always ran 8.30 - 12, and see a sudden sea of tall, blonde girls in all black with over-sized circle scarfs and lace up boots.

Now I'm almost back to the routine when I was in Manchester where I had to go to lectures every day, but in London while I'm interning I have to go to work each day, and that's a different kettle of fish. I don't live here so I had to bring a week's worth of clothes with me, and on the first day I had no clue what to wear! I planned out loads of outfits but didn't know if it would be a more formal environment or if everyone would be walking around in sky-high, designer heels. In the end I wore my newest thing, but that's a different post, and over the week had to hit Oxford Street to stock up on skirts and flats. Half my tasks are packing and posting out samples, and there was even an exciting (for me!) visit to the 'cage', which holds loooads of bags from every shop you could think of full of samples ready to be sent back. So a little dress and heels isn't appropriate when you're moving and sorting through bags full of shoes or rummaging through a cupboard full of lookbooks, and it's more about getting the job done well than sitting pretty.

But a month like this is what I've always dreamed about; waking up in London and travelling to work in fashion with people who love fashion too. Sweden was a different time but when I'm in the UK mostly at Uni or home in Birmingham, I'll buy new stuff all the time. The reality is I could go to lectures in a hoodie and uggs, but I dress up each day, or at least where 'nice' clothes. About once a week I'll have one of these days where you really think about your outfit and wear something maybe new or part of a future trend or something a bit different. Then you kind of think, well who am I trying to impress? I dress for myself, but say if I'm wearing a £30 foundation each day, is that a waste of money if I'm just going to a lecture?

If there was any time to invest in clothes and makeup, it's when you're working at a top publication or company (if only for a short time!). When you're faced with dressing for a certain occasion or time though, you can get really overwhelmed by your wardrobe and think what am I going to wear?!?!? Especially when it's over a series of days or weeks, it's a chance for everything in your wardrobe to get a wearing. But I get 'dresser's block' and set out in the the morning wearing things I like, but I tend to be quite meticulous and can pick out fine points to doubt myself.

I feel very lucky to be doing work experience where I am and walk out of the building thinking 'wow,  just spent a day there!' There is nothing more fun than sitting in the canteen and hearing people around you dictating articles that thousands of people will read, or hearing a buzz across the office when there's a sudden election announcement. It's really cool when the people at the fashion desk start having a conversation about Sex and the City or discuss a magazine cover; it's so cool to reinforce that people who work in fashion aren't scarily discussing obscure labels and designer friends, although they work damn hard! I love living in London for a bit and getting the bus or tube around, as there's so many faces and places that it doesn't matter what you wear as no one has time or the need to judge you. In my local high street at home, people may pass about ten girls around my age a day, but in London there are thousands and if you see someone wearing a different outfit, you just assume they have a place to go to where that outfit is damn cool and they could be very important.

So if I'm in a place where anything goes, and the people at work have incredible fashion knowledge and appreciation, it's a time to wear whatever you want and have no second thoughts. You should wear what you want all the time, but for me it's more about the thing I'm doing that day, and the fact that I don't normally need to look fabulous if I'm going to a lecture and then to Lidl! It's not sustainable and I don't have the time to wear and choose incredible outfits every day, and of course I don't have the funds to spend on loads of on-trend, amazing clothes constantly. I am only a student after all!

That's why it's really hard to choose what to wear because I'm could essentially wear whatever I want, this is my time to shine, forget the inhibitions! But honestly, I don't need to. If I look around right now (I'm writing this in some spare time at work, FYI today I opened all the post and called high street stores for samples, so cool!), the fashion desk are of course all dressed amazingly. But it's not about wearing Anna Dello Russo or André Leon Talley outfits each day just because you can, it's essentially about wearing what suits you and what you feel best in. Well I would probably feel pretty good strutting around in Miu Miu swallow print everything right now but at work, you dress to get the job done. And really, you have nothing to prove. I always think that if I ever bumped into a reader on a normal day, they would be pretty disappointed as I don't wear heels and fierce outfits everyday like some bloggers. I'm not a daily outfit post blogger because I don't feel right and, like I said, I don't have the time or funds to strut around just to get a coffee and make my outfit incredible in loads of ways. In fact the stares would bug me after five minutes. At first I felt a bit rubbish that I was wearing skirts, tights and tops to work that I felt didn't particularly make people look at me and think 'wow, I bet she has a cool fashion job or at least is really fashionable.' Sometimes on the tube, as this is London, you get to see amazingly dressed girls and guys who just have cool style, and in a Snog, Marry, Avoid way (but totally different!), you couldn't imagine them not having that style as their whole look is cool. I don't think I'm one of those people, although I do always have certain outfits at every point in the year that are my super outfits that I'll wear to a press day or an event, because I've indulged my love of fashion and bought something I think is really cool. They're the outfits that really come together and you love to wear, do you have those?

It's almost impossible to wear those outfits every day, at least for me, so sometimes I beat myself up a bit about not being eternally fantastic and inspiring. But you don't need to be! You don't need to prove it, and you can have a huge love of fashion without having to be 'fashionable' yourself. If you love sports and are a sports expert, you don't need to be an amazing player, or if you are a music producer it doesn't mean you have to be able to play anything or sing. Like the women who wear trainers with their posh suits on the tube while they travel, you essentially need to get from A to B, and you could write an amazing fashion piece, yet sit at your desk in jeans and a tee. Like the ladies here, most likely amazing jeans and a lovely tee, but still nothing that screams out 'I'm so fashionable, you have to look!'.

There's no burning need to make people aware that you love fashion and I'm trying to remind myself not to feel bad if nobody would take a second glance at my outfit today, especially not in London, because I'm wearing things I like and trends that I feel great in. You could argue that the people out there who just look constantly amazing are more 'fashionable' as they have that edge and that natural talent to put together a whole look and effortlessly keep up to date with trends, yet embrace their own style (this is my dream to be!), but style and fashion are different things and you don't need to turn heads to love fashion. I put a lot of pressure on myself to try my best to make people at work think I was good because I looked the part, but straight away realised you prove yourself through your actions and not necessarily your appearance. I would like to say I dress purely for myself all the time but I am only 20 and probably don't have that total self awareness or confidence. Also when working or studying, isn't it impossible to change or adapt your style just a little? I look at some bloggers and know they would dress really amazingly in their stuff every day, but maybe as a 'normal' girl or a British girl, I feel normal in the fact that I don't always command attention with fabulous outfits and would choose not to wear something because it wasn't right for the occassion. sky-high designer heels to lectures? Ain't gonna happen!

Maybe we're too hard on ourselves (or maybe it's just me) as fashion is a measure of culture and wealth and everything that psychologically puts pressure on us as a human being. I was just in Pret for lunch and the cashier guy was like, 'Are you a model?? Ah you have that look!' and I was like huh? If realistically I'd got a picture of Abbey Lee and then myself and compared them, obviously I am not a model, but I cheekily said 'I do work in fashion!' (even though officially I don't work here or anything!), and he said 'ah I knew it, the compliment is true, see!' It might have been because he was an older Italian guy (and Italian guys love the red heads), but today I was only wearing my long flared jeans with wedges and a stripy top, and I would never be on a street style site. So it could be the measures we set ourselves against. I aspire to be like the people on street style sites and if I don't think an outfit would be featured on one, I don't think it is 'good enough' Can you ever be good enough in your mind? Maybe in those 'favourite outfits' that I usually have one of at a time, but no every day.

Finding your personal style is the hardest task and once you do that you won't feel the need to buy into every trend. When you look at fashion week, most people who work in fashion are dressed lovely yet comfortably, as they have nothing to prove, they've earned their job title. And once you totally satisfy your own tastes and ideas of the best trends out there, you will be the most fashionable person you know.


Hiatus Update

Hello! Anyone still out there? Apologies x a million, the place I'm staying at in London didn't have internet access so I've been stranded all week. No email, YT, blog, anything! Of course there are internet cafes but it takes about an hour to go through emails, two+ to go through blogs, and then about two to actually blog myself, so sitting in a cafe wasn't really possible! I'm on the computer at work atm and will abuse McDonald's wifi tomorrow as I can't last much longer, one week is enough! I'll be staying somewhere different next week but for now I'll write posts before and then go to a wifi spot to publish them. Last week was OK because I could focus on work experience and sort myself out in London, but my GoogleReader may explode at any minute and I have a bulging email account. Miss blogging so much! Speak to you all soon.

Arcadia AW10 - Miss Selfridge

 

Onto Miss Selfridge! As I said before, I was lucky enough to attend the Arcadia AW10 press day and it was superbly fancy and fabulous. I probably walked in some crazy directions as I visited each brand more than once and veered off the track straight away to check out Miss Selfridge. Their section of the room was a sublime forest, you totally forgot you were in a fancy white hall and felt like it was autumn rather than spring. It must have taken a long time and a very creative team to put up the trees, shrubs, and leaf-covered double bed in the centre. As the area was dark and spotlighted, some photos are a little more blurry than I'd like but hopefully you can see the new stock!

 

So all of the Miss Selfridge stuff was displayed on mannequins, so it really did feel quite special to wander around and gaze at the scenery rather than thumb through a rail. As you first walked in though, you encountered this questionable peachy/coral embellished dress, floor length with a cut out cleavage. This dress stood so sorely out from the realm of 70's fur and black that I was a bit surprised, but as these clothes will all make perfect sense in six months, you have to take a step back and think forward. Hmmm I'm not planning on wearing a stretchy coral dress just yet, but it definitely stuck in my mind and woke me up. 

 

The outfit on the left is an example of what should become the norm come winter- fur gillets or jackets. Fur still has a stigma of belonging to divas or lux wannabes, or at least I feel like a diva when I wear fur! I've only ever see fur on older ladies who strut around or vintage fur on younger people. But hopefully it will be more wearable next season and become a boy-friendly fashion i.e. become so mainstream that fashion confused boyfriends won't bat an eyelid. I often rate items on a scale of boy-friendliness. If shaggy fur becomes really mainstream, it leaves room to be really creative and wear it in different cuts, colours, and textures.

 

Fur bags again popped up in each store and this MS one was my favourite shape and colour, apart from the thin gold chain. A bit chunkier and less bling would be perfect.

 

The main focus of MS was maxi dresses in winter. MS seem to make their trade off key items, so they'll be throwing out long dresses as staples. I never impulse in there or buy little things, it always seems too expensive! Like clogs, if you buy a maxi dress this season that isn't only fit for over a bikini on the beach, you'll be good to go all year. They're bringing out a heavy 70's vibe with floral and native prints in purple, blue, brown, burgundy and orange. I love the 70's and will totally be wearing my flared high waisted jeans with fur jackets, and possibly some maxi dresses too. Once you find one at the right length, you will be an addict. I filmed for the T4 show Frock Me on Saturday (blog post to come, it was so cool!) and wore my ASOS maxi dress for the second time, and they feel so great! Not only do you feel tall and slim, but they're so comfortable because they hide so much and feel really relaxed. 

 

MS fuzzed up their clogs but added studs for an even more rustic, folk feel. Still don't know how you walk in them but maybe practice makes perfect! Next pair I see, I'm trying on.

  

If clogs aren't your thing, how about fluffy booties? It's really bugging me but I think in an old musical a girl is given a pair of slippers with fur around and they look really teeny and she puts them on and clicks her feet together like yaaay. Argh so annoying, what film is it?! I had a google and it just struck me, this is a bit weird but remember in The Little Princess and Becky is given some shoes with fur around? They reminded me of that! 

I lingered around these platforms for a looong time because I am a total mary jane girl, and I remember a time about four years ago when they didn't sell shoes like this in shops. Seriously! And I remember five years ago when they didn't sell ballet shoes or flats, and my friend got a gold pair and it was like, 'woah, you have flat little shoes in the shape of ballet pumps, insanity!'. Wow I sound old!

 

MS always has a great accessories range (and an even better sale at the end of the season!) so it wasn't surprising to see a chandelier of pearls and feathers  This is leading onto the next collection but I'd just like to point out the shearling jacket! You can't avoid them, they are coming for you! Warmed up to them yet?

 

Like Dorothy Perkins, MS has a gothic, Twilight-themed collection, with lots of little black dresses with velvet, lace and pearls. Sorry for the bad picture but I thought best to include this cute dress with the heart cut-out at the back with beaded fringing. Remember my post below on how far designers can take the Luella rip-off heart cut-out? I think this is a great example of being inspired but totally twisting the look on it's head and creating something new. Good work!

 

I loved this pearl collar too, reminded me of Carrie of WishWishWish!

 

As you rounded the displays, you went into a more lux version of the folk trend. The green, shiny dress shows things really will be earth toned and rich this autumn. Have you noticed there's nothing bright, kitschy, or printed yet? Say good bye to your retro, girly things of this spring because the direction in autumn will be so different! In fact in each collection at the presentation I didn't see anything flirty or in a funny print, so start contemplating that to save money later. Of course you wear what pleases you most but when the shops stop bringing out cute things and head off somewhere else, it's easier to consider it now and plan ahead than feel stuck with all the things you bought now that don't fit in with the new things you can buy.

 

It really is all about the dress and the coat, with this fur collared and cuffed jacket being one of my favourites. It's not a swamping coat that would hide your outfit but it's still warm enough to last through winter. Also loved this poofy prom dress, would love to have an excuse to wear this! 

 

Sitting on the bed was a mannequin in a heart printed hat, the only cute print I saw. And still all coats were furred up, so at least we will be warm in winter!

A main attraction was this maxi dress, which I couldn't photograph very well but it has a sheer, detailed back falling onto the sleeves too. This would be amazing for evening but so easily covered up during the day. A very 'Miss Selfridge' coat was this twee, ruffled one. This stuck out of the collection but it goes with the usual MS vibes or being quite Gossip Girl-y. They threw on a fur scarf but it still stands out! And as you can see from the first picture, where will be cute, little coats with double buttons. Overall, they've really homed in on the themes they wanted to follow and have a huge variation of the folk trend, but not forgetting their signature mini dresses and cute detailing.

I'll be posting Evans, Wallis, Burton, Topman and Topshop throughout the week, including accessories for all stores and a peek at Topshop makeup! I'm heading to London for the month tomorrow and I am really quite scared as I'm going to some very important places but I'll try my best to have the most amazing experience possible! Wardrobe planning is a nightmare though, why do all my things just make me look about 12?!?!


Blog Sale!

I've got a few things to sell on eBay soon, but a few things might be better up here...

I was just about to sell some more things but can't bear to part with them so I'll see if I wear them in the next month and maybe I'll do another sale! First is this dress from Nasty Gal that's still on the site here

They say: Totally Waisted Dress- Get ready to party in this fab textured black dress featuring cutouts at waist and hook/eye closures at front. Square neckline, fully lined. Perfect paired with bright over-the-knee socks and architectural heels! 

I say: Loved the picture and the way it had cut outs but wasn't slutty, but it's not for me. I must accept I don't possess the subtleness of the Nasty Gal girls as I can't wear studs or boots or anything like that well. It's a size small but I would say it's best for a girl with a small to medium bust as it's not the biggest across the chest. The material is lovely as it's light and brings down the tone again so it's very wearable.

I paid $76 plus shipping and I've never worn it, so I'll sell it here for £38 + £2 recorded postage to the UK, or email for postage elsewhere. First come first served emails to: jelibaby@hotmail.com. - RESERVED

Second is another Nasty Gal dress that's now sold out, but you can still see the selling page here.

 They say: Lady Lace Sweetheart Dress- Chic black mini dress featuring lace sweetheart bodice with dramatic draped pointed shoulders and exposed metal zipper at back. Shift silhouette with comfy stretch material; unlined. Awesome with a pair of oversized cross earrings! 

I say: I was disappointed with this dress, hence the low price. I got a $10 gift certificate when I explained the problem and said I couldn't return it as I'd already paid customs charges and had it sent all the way to Sweden. It has a little gap at the back near the top of the zip where the lace hadn't been fully sewed onto the zip, and a small tear in the underarm, about 1cm. These are repairable and no problem if you're wearing a jacket or cardigan as they won't get worse, but I'm not repairing as the dress doesn't fit! It's a bit too tight over my shoulders as mine aren't tiny, and it's very short on me (I'm about 5'5/6). I've heard a few tales of Nasty Gal disappointment as their own brand clothes seem to be quite cheaply made.

I paid $44 plus shipping plus customers (painful), so I'm selling here for £12 + £2 recorded postage to the UK, or email for postage elsewhere. First come first served emails to: jelibaby@hotmail.com.  SOLD

Erm, yea that's it!