The High Street

Sneak peek: River Island AW16

Call me a genius or call me cheeky but I recently had a brilliant idea! I could do with buying a few new work outfits and I really need an awesome new bag but I have no idea what to buy! I had a quick browse in the shops a week ago and was SO overwhelmed with the sales, especially in Zara where it seemed the entire store was on offer. Woah! But really we only have a few weeks left before AW16 takes over so there's no value in investing in trends of the moment, and we don't have long to wear summery things! I have my festival outfits just about sorted but I'd rather save my money now and wait to buy things I can wear for the next 6 months...
 
The September magazine issues usually give an overview of upcoming trends so you can scope out the first autumn drops right away, and fashion week in September is the perfect time to scout street style from editors and bloggers. I've browsed catwalk trends but by the time they hit the highstreet, they've been moulded and shaped into something much more wearable. I want to know now! So I had the brainwave of stalking the #AW16 hashtags on Instagram and thanks to the lovely people that managed to attended the press days and also the in-house designers behind the ranges, I've grabbed a few snaps of the upcoming collections! And let's start with River Island because they seem to channel trends in the most wearable yet desirable styles, and unlike Topshop, you don't see someone in the same outfit at every turn. The quality is top notch too.
 
Now I can't WAIT until autumn! There are so many things I love below, from the continuation of this season's retro patch trend into bright embroidery of florals and slogans. I'm definitely going to invest in more denim and upgrade to a pair of seriously statement ankle boots. I fancy taking my bomber jackets of this season and learning how to embroider a slogan onto the back or customise with the perfect patches, and I'm SO drawn to that pink puffa coat! 
 
PicMonkey Collage4PicMonkey Collage5PicMonkey Collage6PicMonkey Collage2PicMonkey Collage3
PicMonkey Collage1
Credit: notjustanoutfit, its.reb, georginameehan, romydfonseca, itsdaniellehunter, elle_nl, emthomp7, rhiannonvwhyles, ashleyveraart sachabelle, deepalipatel, clemfieldsend, nadyia.stylist, bobbleheadmo, stellamagazine, fashcatherine, ajr1987


coats that came and went

I'm getting a little panicky. The perfect suits everything, wearable with camel, not too scary, fresh new coat has not appeared. Really I want something to go with longer skirts so maybe I should start looking at jackets? That way it will be cheaper and wearable right away. I went into town on Thursday (after work, hence the jeans) to run some errands and check out coats. I walked in one side of Topshop and walked straight out the other because I wouldn't get a coat from there as I don't think the quality is great for the price and I'd worry someone else would probably have it. I attend lectures with about 150 girls and guaranteed they all shop in Topshop! I find things from there stand out so much that they're harder to camouflage into your own style. I checked out H&M and saw that cape I posted below, but as someone commented, it is really orange in real life and very thin. I tried on one of the androgynous over-sized camel coats but they don't suit me at all!

I made a beeline for River Island because of my discount and saw this coat I'd spotted online. For some reason it's not there anymore though and I can't imagine it sold out! There was almost one of every size in store. I really love this coat as it has a sort of Icelandic feel which reminds me of Scandinavia and it has the best flared skirt but is still short. Also I LOVE pom poms!! But if the whole point was getting a coat to wear over 50's style high waisted thick skirts and maxi dresses, this wouldn't be a good investment and I'd be back to square one! Also it's a little bit too different and thus attention grabbing so I wouldn't be totally comfortable wearing this every day. There's some styles like child's dresses and 70's wear and sailor stuff that feels so natural that I don't think twice about wearing them at all, but if it were a day when I just wanted to go about my business quickly or didn't feel great, I wouldn't pick out this coat for that day. The same thing is with my purple Reiss coat but because that's such amazing quality, I try to remind myself it's just the colour that some days makes it feel a bit too noticeable, and a colour is a colour, no big deal!

 

I think I'd get that coat if it wasn't totally different to what I'm looking for. I had an incredible coat from Zara a few years ago and wore it for two winters, and would wear it again! It's 60's A-line with a peter pan collar and cropped sleeves, in a subtle black brocade print which has now seen better days. The lining is ripped to shreds! Back then in about 2006 it was only £89 but I tried on this creased, plain coat that day in Zara and it was £99!? I really liked the sleeves and the huge belt at the back but the creases made it seem such bad quality for the price. I also realised I won't be getting a camel coloured coat. The main reason is because I think it's too many of the same tones with my hair already being an orangey/tan colour! In some ways it could work but I'd rather be able to buy a few camel coloured things, and I already have a camel coloured bag.

Ah the search continues, not cool! Maybe I'll start scouting jackets.


help! can't accessorise!

I'm really, really bad at accessorising. I just can't do accessories! I don't really understand how you accessorise well. If Coco Chanel said you should remove one piece of jewellery before you leave the house, I would be wearing -1. All my clothes are so different and an accessory like a necklace, for example, seems to need to be the right length and style to go with each single top or dress, and how can you own an accessory for everything?! I may be generalising but if I put a certain necklace with 95% of my wardrobe, it won't look great, and then there may be one outfit that it suits. I just can't accessorise!

 

When I shop I always have something in mind and it's hard to aim for an accessory because they're all so different. When browsing the accessory section of a store, everything seems so fancy in it's own right that nothing jumps out as something I could continuously wear. The high street often only seems to offer bronzed, boho or retro, plastic stuff, which I can't imagine wearing. When I put together an outfit, to me it looks fine without accessories because all the elements are enough for me, but I can see how amazing jewellery can make or break one. I do think really eye-catching pieces boost an outfit into a really well thought-out and cleverly styled area and I can see they're like the cherry on the cake. Jen Brill's wrist bling totally makes the outfit above by adding a lux and glamourous element to an otherwise edgy outfit. I love overly girly, pimped out styles with loads of makeup and big hair and bright heels for going out at night, and I would love to wear some fab extras to make an outfit more fun. 

 

Models don't really wear accessories in photo shoots and on the runway unless it's a highly edited piece that the outfit wouldn't be without, and I'm trying to get my head around how I can emulate that. Often you see major statement pieces out there, especially by Freedom jewellery which I always check out in Selfridges as the concession in much bigger there than in Topshop, with a better sale too! You know the humongous necklaces you see out there in every collection? They're something I'd never buy because it feels like the outfit built around requires a delicate balance. I always forget the accessories I own and it's a bit time consuming to check everything out and untangle chains. I'm going to hunt on eBay for a ring box like the one above! Belts and scarfs? Forget it! In my mind it's an impossible task to comb stores for the perfect belt. Maybe it's because clothes are generally unique when you buy something original and exciting, but every shop has tonnes of accessories and I'd feel I'd have to check it allll out before buying one thing. I used to impulse on cheap jewellery when I used to shop in Primark but I don't anymore and the novelty of my buys wore off so quickly that I'd hardly every go to wear them.

 

It's my aim to get better at all this and it won't be hard in the next few months as I have to wear a uniform t-shirt with jeans for work and so have free reign over shoes and jewellery. To tempt myself I'm going to try and wear rings all the time. The more mis-matching, the better with rings it seems! I hate things jangling around and basically hitting me when I walk like giant pendants but I can do a few bangles easily enough, and maybe some earrings? It's my summer resolution! I picked up these rings in the sale today and may injure myself with this major knuckle duster bling but nothing makes you feel more elaborate and even delicate than a huge ring. I'd love an over-sized, misshapen crystal ring but they all seem quite pricey online, but the amber heart is one step in the direction. The bracelet wasn't in the sale but it matches Lady Gaga's Viva Glam MAC lipstick perfectly, and like my friend Ellie said, wearing it makes you feel cool by association! The triple ring is a little big but I just thought of getting a teeny, clear plastic hair tie and wrapping it just above the ring on a finger a couple of times to create a barrier? Hopefully by the end of the summer accessorising will be more natural as 95% of the time I leave the house with NO jewellery at all, even when going out at night! Do you find it easy to wear accessories? Do you pick them at random and throw them on and go, or spend time selecting the best ones to suit your outfit?

 

Pics from To Love With Studs, Dirty Little Style Whore, Jewellery from River Island.


Arcadia AW10 - Topshop

 

I think the collection everyone was truthfully checking out the Arcadia press day for was Topshop, even though I'm not the fan I used to be. Before, I'd check their new items daily on the site and knew exactly what was selling well, but now TS just isn't a place I long to shop at. The things don't often fit me well and the quality means that after the first wear, items just never look as good. When I met up with a Taiwanese friend from Sweden in London recently, I took her to Topshop and couldn't resist a maxi dress. I had a major debate with myself in the changing room as it was more expensive than some you can get on the high street and I knew the quality would deteriorate. True to form, after a few wears it's stretched and baggier, and where I have my bag on my shoulder the fabric has bobbled. Not unexpected but a bit disappointing. Still, their designs and huge range is what attracts people and they seem to set fashion trends all of their own. Years ago I'd look to their trend reports to see what was in fashion. Before you read on, at least in the showroom, there were no prints or retro things. The heart print jeans and bow back dresses were all pushed away and there won't be anything to tempt your cute radar.

Topshop was right at the end of the route around the showrooms and it was a huge room with one wall covered in leaves and foliage with a light up sign. Not sure what it was meant to convey as the green was more springy than wintery, but it was lovely and again transported you right into Topshop, so it didn't associate with the collections just a room away. This was also where all the canapes were coming from; even teeny bowls of pasta! I was told here that I couldn't take photos but a Japanese team nearby were pulling out and photographing every single thing so I carried on, I hope they're OK to be here!

 

It started quite nicely with nude and chiffon pieces that could be part of current collections, but everything had a bit more of a twist. For example this sheer dress was so delicate and unique, I was told everything is going into production but I can imagine this being a stand out piece!

 

All boots are fur lined, will you be adding fur to yours from last year? I'll definitely consider it for mine! I find these nude and sand colours quite hard to wear as the basis of my wardrobe is solid black, but I'm trying not to buy anything totally black any time soon to allow for some variety in winter.

 

Clog boots? The embellished pair in the glass cover were so high, I hope they come in other colours!

 

I'm keen to wear leather but not so much if it's real, so I hope there's some synthetic pieces out there. I wear leather shoes but if you are wearing something that you're constantly touching and it used to be the skin of an animal, that's a bit creepy! I love the skirt though, definitely looks like something that would stay the same shape after a few wears.

 

The leather continued with this insane hat. Wearing this down the street would be my worst nightmare! But maybe someone else's wildest dream?

 

I've never had a substantial cardigan, mine are all mini and cropped. Maybe before you start wearing coats, a huuuge cardigan would be really cosy. Never had a cape either, interesting! Not sure what I think as you only need one major coat so I wouldn't get a cape on top of that, and I'd probably never buy a cape alone.

  

The only printed thing I found was this over-sized duck print top which literally channels the heritage, earthy vibes. A cheap way to channel the trend would be to sew elbow patches on old things like this jumper. 

 

This is another example of something I could never pull off in a million years. A holey jumper? Even grey jersey would look odd on me.

 

Miu Miu-esque crystals are always good in my book! Wouldn't you love to put this on day after day? If they crystals didn't fall off that is! I just bought the MOST AMAZING crystallized things, will stare tomorrow.............

 

These totally appeal to my magpie side, gems and nudes are lovely. It's all about investing your money in things you're excited to continuously wear, and you couldn't tire of something shiny!


 
 

Gold chain mail... woah!

 

Metal bra... woah!

 

God, these shorts are gorgeous. They look so buttery!

 

And these!

 

Topshop sometimes annoys me a bit when they always have lingerie inspired stuff. Like I know it's popular and people love it but when I see another slip skirt or bra top I'm just thinking same old, same old.

 

Haha imagine if I came home with this one day?!

 

Topshop always do a great feather pieces and this is the ultimate. Unless you were super fierce you might be verging on costume territory but I bet it feels amazing to stroke.

 

This is just about as far into the whole studs area that I would venture, and that's if I buy anymore flats. I'm so fed up with flats, they're so unsupportive and unethical and just plain rubbish, so annoying that they all stretch and break. I'm fed up of constantly buying pairs.

 

And you thought you'd seen it all?! Good Lord this could have your eye out. Imagine if you accidentally put it on inside out haha!

I've never had a leather jacket either, just don't like the feeling of real leather.

  

Now this is lush, denim and caramel and camel and orange. I'm trying to build up my non existent camel wardrobe with non existent funds. Oh.

 

Hello leather tee. Synthetic? Hell yeah, come to me!

 

This made me look twice, a sailor coat! The one thing that I thought would suit my style, but it's quite worn and tarnished so it's a bit too vintage looking.

 

Winter picnic anyone? 

 

Now imagine if one of these coats was your winter coat, how fab would you feel all the time!? They're so on trend so not too versatile but they're all gorgeous.

 

This was the only thing that was remotely printed or cute, and I'm sure I've seen it before? Maybe I'm imaging it but this would be great over a really bright bra.

In the corner was the Unique section and this stuff is amazing! There wasn't as much impact as on the runways with the hair and makeup but the hats were just enough and they had the show playing on a TV in the wall.

     
 

They speak for themselves right? The Unique things at the moment are quite minimal so it's interesting to have different colours and textures along the way. I've got my eye on the maxi dress above!

I had a sneak peek at Topshop makeup too but I'm sure you've seen it by now! I've heard great things about the cream blushers but when I bought an expensive £8 lipstick, it looked orange in store but matte red outside so I'm a bit disheartened to try any more!


Arcadia AW10 - Evans

Home for the summer wooooooooo!! I've been storing these photos for far too long though, and is it just me or has all this hot weather brought on Autumn thinking? I'm not planning on buying any more summery things because I've already got loads and I'm not lucky enough to have any holidays abroad booked. It also feels like the countdown to going back up to Manchester for my final year which judging by all the news from my friends completing their degrees, it's just about the worst year ever! But what with the growth of blogs and general competition in the fashion and retail industry, next year needs to be super focused and fashionable. Time to start planning!

So when I hit the Arcadia AW10 press day, I didn't pass up the Evans area; of course I had a mooch everywhere and I wasn't just there to look for myself but to share. And it definitely exceeded every expectation I had. I'm signed up to every store newsletter including Evans so I knew they create some on-trend stuff and I bloody love Crystal Renn, but I wasn't expecting so many great things one after the other, making for a seriously strong collection.

I've never been the biggest maxi dress fan before and now I've got three; I'm sure maxis are insanely good this year. All the Arcadia brands had winter maxis and I'll be wearing mine this autumn I hope. They look the best with jackets rather than coats and Evans had an amazing shearling jacket that you can see poking out in this photo, but the single photo didn't turn out. The head designer told me they modeled it on an air fighter pilot jacket found at a flea market in America, which is pretty cool for a plus-size retailer.

They had a load of lingerie but I'm just not much of a lingerie buyer? I don't need to invest in expensive bras and prefer cute stuff anyway so lace and satin makes me glaze over. However I did like the little tee that was almost like secret lounging around, slob wear but hot!

 

I have no idea how the first collection went down in terms of sales but they've officially got Beth Ditto back on board to design another collection. 

 

These are examples of key things that I didn't think Evans were quite fashion forward enough to stock, but considering they're the sister of Topshop, Miss Selfridges and Dorothy Perkins, it's no wonder.

 

I really liked the boots, especially the knee high pair. Some I got in Sweden are almost the same but the laces are at the back.

 

This coat was very inviting as it was dusty purple, especially soft, and the fur was even twirled into roses. Every time I see these pics it gets more and more attractive, and if this was stocked in Topshop you'd probably think twice. Come winter I might take a closer look at a small size.

 

The coat on the left is actually a rich navy blue with bright red buttons, and you can just see the sleeve in the bottom corner in the true colours. Loved it!

Was also eyeing up the duffel coat in plaid as there's so many woodstock and hippy vibes all around. I need to invest in some hair tongs for some huge waves pronto!


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?!?!


Arcadia AW10 - Dorothy Perkins

Hello, hello! I'm back from Paris and have had interviews all week; is there anything worse than a group interview? But last week the day before my flight (woo, no ash!), I went to the Arcadia AW10 press day in London! I don't really have the time or the funds to travel all the way and get around London for each press day but Arcadia houses Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Wallis, Burton and Topman, so that really is value for money! Haha well it is such an honour to go to an Arcadia event, especially as I study retail and all that jazz, so an opportunity to mingle with the pros is amazing. And of course I love checking out press day posts (often the Topshop one on Style Bubble) to spot things I might nab and to get a bit organised for the future. When you go shopping you can really think, 'hmmm I'm totally not going to be wearing this in four months, it's not worth the impulse.' If you plan your wardrobe direction, you'll be sorted when the time comes and can eeease into Autumn Winter.

I didn't know of any other bloggers going as there was a postal invite so I went round myself the whole time and it was beyond what I expected! I'd been to some shows during London Fashion Week at Victoria House (well, two out of three shows haha), so I hopped on and off the tube and sauntered in past the posh security guards and into the basements down the marble stairs. When you walk in it's just like walking into a huge Primark; you don't really know where to look first! I was going to make one huge post on all the stores but realised I've got a million pics and it would be insanely long. So I'll split up each brand as they really deserve their own blurb. 

 

I felt a bit sorry for the other stores as Topshop got their own room whereas the other women's shops were in one big room. This wasn't a problem though as each corner was transformed and as you wandered around you were totally into each store. In the end I didn't sample any of the champagne or food that was being constantly offered; they even has mini muffins and little bowls of pasta! As I was alone I felt a bit weird tucking into a plate in a room full of clothes so I always politely declined, and will try find another blogger to go with next time and tuck right in!

 

First I've got to note that these aren't the best photos as it was quite hard to snap and browse. It wasn't busy but there was always people browsing around you and in most places there were spotlights, so some things were harder to capture. I went around 1pm so I assumed most people were on lunch breaks. At each brand they had a visitors book and I had a little nose at where others were from and previous messages were from TV shows and magazines! As with fashion week, I had no idea who the other attendees were but always wondered who they could be and assumed everyone was very important!

 

As you walked in you turned the corner and were faced with Dorothy Perkins first. I didn't understand the layout and thought it was a circle but in the end you had to go back on yourself after Topshop so I ended up admiring the DP models a LOT.

 

Each brand had a different way of customising their section of the room and Dotty Ps put their efforts in these amazing mannequins with huge crimped/afro hair and burnt orange lashes! I really want a crimper. Seriously.

In the beginning I felt a bit weird browsing as it's not like you're shopping and not everyone is taking photos. There were many people schmoozing with drinks around the DJ in the centre of the room and people milling around each section. Turns out not only the press team were there but the actual collection designers were at each stand. In fact I'd assume all members of the Arcadia team were there. After all, it would be a key event in the calender and most were dressed very well with false lashes and all! It was a real privilege to talk to the designers of the clothes that thousands of people wear, and for most, what appears in the stores is what sets fashion trends. I wasn't asking too many details and didn't write anything down but I asked what were the key things for each store and what themes they were channeling. If you can't be bothered reading the future posts, there will be a LOT of fur, tonnes of leather, all things gothic, and new directions for military; less marching band and more pilot jackets and army prints. Yep, army print! Hello 1996.

I got into the swing of it and started flicking rails and getting distracted by all the new clothes here, there and everywhere. First thing you will want and need is a shearling jacket. If you followed the AW10 runways you will already know this (see Burberry Prorsum), but if not, here's the memo: SHEARLING WILL BE HUGE! It's all about aviator chic. Isn't it funny how you can add chic on the end of everything and it becomes a fashion term?

The DP shearling coat was my first encounter, with a lot of cowboy flavour. I wouldn't fully take on this trend with a coat as it wouldn't withstand time enough, but I'll be wearing beige and tan definitely, and will try to get a shearling scarf or some soft fur on a jacket. It's about huge collars.

 

In about 2002 I had a coat just like this with shaggy fur all around the hems, when jeans were flared and embellished, and coloured feather jewellery were cool. I'm not 13 anymore though and don't quite know if I can wear this again! The coat on the left might not be my Winter coat either as it's part of a gothic collection, basically due to all the Twilight/vampire stuff invading the whole world. Not for me! Other shops are inspired by this too as you'll see later.

 

I'm thinking if clogs would be a good investment right now as they will go right through to winter, but by then they will be all furry or woolly.  I really liked these but still don't understand how you walk in them? Especially with the platform? I don't know about other girls but there are cobbles, hills, stairs, and public transport in my life, and sometimes I feel the high street doesn't quite understand this...

 

Casing point! Fantastic shoes but who can wear these?

 

I do have a furry bag from River Island a few months ago but the chain is realllly long and you can just about squeeze a tic tac in there. There's lots of furry bag offerings and this one is quite sweet but too classic for me. I try not to buy a Chanel shaped bag until I can afford the real thing (in the far, far future)!

  

All the 'gothic' stuff isn't exactly too scary but it's not too ground breaking. I'd expect lots of lace and ruffle details on everything black.

 

These shoes were an outside brand but I was glad there were some sparkles and bling somewhere! And an onslaught of furry coats. Now they are all shaggy and full and eveeerywhere.

 

Lots of knitwear of course but it's very thick and light coloured, so it could almost be a bit twee or little house on the prairie-ish.  As a wedge boot convert, I was eyeing these peep toes too, although I might enforce a black ban. It's all about tan!

 

Unlike most, DP did have some cute details. I liked this extra fuzzy jumper and the blouse below with a cat print. Not many others will be producing retro prints anymore, be warned!

 

Also get ready for the leather tshirt in a big way. If you get one this season you'll be all set. I really want some leather shorts but haven't spotted any cheap enough on the high street. I've just been googling around and Oasis have a cool pair but they're £60. They would carry you right through winter but guaranteed somewhere else will come up with a cheaper pair.


dreams that glitter

Oh my Goddd, lash lovers of the world, there's new Girls Aloud lashes!! Yay! I just ordered 6 pairs.

Eeee! Now if you wear false lashes, you will know that when Girls Aloud were at their height last year, they released their lash range for Eylure, and they were GOOD. I assumed they'd be limited edition but they're still selling strong. My favs are Nicola's, which are super long and feathery, and Nadine's, which are full and curled. I've gone through so many pairs! They hold out about four wears for me but that's because I wear a lot of mascara and eyeliner with them too, so they could last even longer if you wear lighter eye makeup.

Student loans day is approaching for me and last night I happened to click on the Superdrug site to check out their offers, and saw Girls Aloud have released a new limited edition range of lashes!!! For some reason they're called festival lashes, and I can't see how anyone will wear these to a festival?! They'd be better with clubbing lashes, as the majority of people will wear them on a night out. They even come with a 'lanyard', which I think is one of those things you hang around your neck for your phone or festival schedule. They don't need the gimmick as the lashes were so popular before, and these will obviously fly off the shelves. Well, not every pair...

 

I got multiples of Nadine's because they look extremely similar to her original pair but with rainbow gems!

 

On the livejournal where I got these pics (linked at the end of the post), someone likened these to centipedes! It's true! Maybe in real life they're gold but I don't see why you would wear yellow lashes. I'll have to see them in real life but knowing Cheryl's popularity, they'll be snapped up anyway. Her original pair are quite pointy so only suit certain eyes.

 

These aren't so original as mini feathers have been done before. I have a feeling they would scare off guys as they do look like fly swatters when you're batting your lashes, but I love the spiky cut of them.

 

I always see original Nicola pairs forlornly left on the shelf. She's grown hugely in popularity since she ditched the fake bake and became really fashionable, I hope she gets an ad campaign soon! But her look is so original that it's hard to imagine imitating it and so most might go for the other lashes. This is a shame because hers are the best! They're very long so you might have to cut the corners but they're so feathery. So I'm very excited by her having top and bottom lashes!! They probably won't be part of my standard night out look but for a random night, bottom lashes could look so good! I think they'd be best with a really smokey eye or lots of eyeliner at least. And it seems they have glitter in them, even better! I wonder how much say they had in their designs?

Sarah's aren't for me as I wouldn't wear red on my eyes, but I bet they'd look great on really fair girls with dark hair. They look really black too which is important.

I just ordered mine online as a precaution encase they sell out in-store super fast. I love Girls Aloud and saw them in concert last year, but these lashes are fabbb. I only ever really buy these and then really cheapie lashes from poundland and use them with expensive glue. Maybe I'll do a youtube video on lashes. Thirty pairs and counting!

pics from livejournal


rip my heart out

Moral dilemmas all over the place here! First on the agenda are heart cut-out dresses. I am (was?) a huge Luella fan and the last SS10 collection was surely a prim and proper affair, but still in a sickly sweet way. I'd reduced the collection to bows and '50s dresses in my head and looking back it really was a good'un; what a shame it won't get the attention it deserves. But despite there only actually being 2 looks out of the 30 with heart cut-outs, those dresses were the most memorable.

The high street jumped on the trend though and the dilemma is whether to buy into it? Retailers are making money off Luella Bartley's creations and she isn't getting any return. Every high street trend is runway inspired but there's inspiration and then there's rip offs. The first examples are these dresses from Boohoo, the cheapie online retailer. They've hit a great market for fast fashion online at a lower price point, sort of the online Primark. But the models and the fits make me wonder about the quality, and quality worries usually mean ethical worries. The clothes being so trendy and so cheap probably mean they're made in Asia and as it's an online store, it's easier to scrimp on CSR policies. I'll email and hopefully find out how they produce. I'm not keen to spend money in stores that do not have sustainability practices and also rip off designs, which Boohoo might just be doing. I'm not pointing the finger of shame but their styles are certainly runway rips, and possibly too much so. Is it disloyal to Luella, a brand you admire and aspire to, to buy in Boohoo's copies? They are incomparable to the quality and cuts that Luella's dresses would have been and the low price does mean they'll come in synthetic materials or cotton. You have to think though, if you were a retailer, wouldn't you produce at least one item with a heart shaped cut-out, just because they're so cute and buyable?

 

My soon-to-be favourite UK high street store New Look is a great example of how to satisfy trends but respect designers. I did see a red dress with a heart cut-out at the front set for the teen department, and they've produced a number of women's dresses with heart cut-outs, BUT they're at the back. Ah ha! Inspired, not copied. They could have put the heart at the front but they chose the back, possibly making them more wearable and with better cuts. Some of the hearts on the Boohoo dresses seem to fit funny. New Look is also just as cheap and has good sustainability practices. I saw quite a few of these dresses at the Paris press day so I know they've been in production for a while rather than churned out quickly, causing more damage to the environment.

I'm really keen to invest in one of these dresses but I still don't know! I just think of Luella Bartley looking at girls walking past in dresses that are rightfully her design, from a company she put her passion into that's now gone (hopefully not for long). Of all the brands, Luella should not be missing, but we can't expect brands to survive when we invest in cheaper copies rather than the original. I've been waiting for the dress in the top left hand corner all season and can't wait to find it in store if there are any left! The cups look like they might sit strangely so I'll try before I buy, but the white floral dress is also gorgeous in real life. I spotted it on my trip home and it's made of stiff cotton so it sits well and looks more expensive.

In the end it will come down to a real life decision, although it's tempting to order online so I've got packages waiting for me when I go home. I'm thinking of coming in just two weeks! For good! That sounds crazy but I finish classes very soon and I can just hang around for a bit or save April's rent and come home. I can still travel to visit other Erasmus friends and work at home so it won't be a lazy five month summer; I've applied for lots of things that I'll hopefully be accepted for! There really are a lot of summer programmes out there, I didn't know my Uni offered so many, it's worth a look at. Leaving so soon is a bit unnerving as or one thing, I'll have to fit my whole room into 38kgs and I highly doubt that's going to happen. I don't know what to do with the magazines I've bought here; it's either be optimistic and try to pack them, or accept they'll account for way too much weight and cut them up to save the best editorials? I love to collect magazines so that will be a bit upsetting! Also I've collected a lot of 'crap', you know like the bits and bobs that you tack onto your wall as memories and even lots of beauty products,which all account for weight.

Along the theme of moral dilemmas, I'm a bit worried to leave so early before getting my course grades, as I need to make sure I've completed all my credits. The course I'm taking now is the course from hell, and after a group project including three reports, a final report and two presentations, then there's also a second group ten-page report and an online test. A girl in my group told me a few days ago though that she knows a boy who took the course last term and has the answers to the test, so you can get a least 80%. She said the test was impossibly hard and judging by the course so far, that's understandable. So if I take the test I don't think I'll do very well and I can't afford to fail the subject and have to take another course for two more months. And if I fail I can have no allowance because half the class will have done exceptionally well, so I'll just look like I didn't try hard enough. There's no way I'd use the answers because I'm only in a group with the girl and it's not fair on the rest of the class members if I join the people getting great marks, and also I don't take classes so I can cheat! I really don't want to be in the position of telling the lecturer people already had the answers though, they might have cheated but they didn't think they were going to get caught. Please tell me what would you do, it would really help! Sure I should sort my own problems out now but it feels like things like this will happen throughout your whole life! And what you think of the other dilemmas too, heart dresses are important in life too!


Procure Pink Pockets

When I was home last week, I popped into the Bullring with my Mom to check out what was left of the Sonia Rykiel x H&M collection, which was quite a bit minus the main jumper dress, and we hit Selfridges for birthday presents. I always buy my brothers boxers or some of the crazy American food from the Selfridges food hall like Fluff or chocolate covered ants. I wasn't ready for the full force of the high street after an absence of 6 months and my Mom's given up clothes shopping for the year (painful!) but I had to stop and swoon over the Paul's Boutique display of their new Barbie collection at the Selfridges second floor entrance. Oh my Godddd it's so good. REALLY good.

I'm not usually a Paul's Boutique fan, I always put them into the 'university student' category. I think their bags for girls who want to have the flashy logos of designer products but can't quite afford them so a Paul's Boutique bag shows you can afford a slightly more expensive bag and are super girly. But these bags are something else! Having a Barbie PB bag promotes the tackiness into a stratosphere that can only be good. It's like SO bright and tacky that it's somehow gone back round and it's OK again.

I've hearted my favourites as I'm not too keen on the major vinyl or the really big bags. I know a bigger big invites loads more things and I would end up carrying my life around! Right now I want a bag that fits enough stuff to be sorted for a day shopping or going to friends' houses but isn't so huge. I quite like the compact, small bags that remind me of ladies who might walk poodles on long leads, but my favourite is the pink and zebra print one. Pink and zebra print? What am I on?! It is just right though- so wrong that it's right!! I quite like the shimmery nude colour but I'm afraid that would get scratched, and I like the striped one but it's too soft. If you're going tacky, you gotta make it good!

Sadly there are two reasons why I'm not purchasing right now. One is that my sister was obsessed with Paul's Boutique bags over Christmas and was so smug to finally get one Boxing Day that she showed it to everyone and wouldn't stop talking about it and took it everywhere. So as it states in the International Code of Sisters, I would endure a lifetime of  'omg you copied me!!!' It's a bit like dating a boy your friend has, it's just not a cool thing to do. Also as if I have £80 to just spend on a bag. The thing with student loans is that yes, you have the cash right now, but then in a month you really won't! So if I buy now, I suffer later. Hmmm it feels worth it! What better way is there to celebrate Barbie's 50th birthday. Well I suppose you could buy a Christian Louboutin Barbie, now there's an interesting though....

Somehow though I've already had an influx of overly girly bags in recent months. The first is this ASOS Lipsy bag, where you can get the PB x Barbie stuff too. It was a sale impulse to add to an order and fits just the right amount of stuff inside for a night out, while having a satisfyingly heavy chain so you'd know if it somehow fell off or got swiped.

Also I was getting some bits from my local corner shop, Netto (ew), and I found this incredibly huge but incredibly amazing HK bag. It's enormous! Really, really wide too. I need to find an occasion to use this ASAP. I couldn't not get it!