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New York Fashion Week: Day 5#

This has to have been, for me, one of the most eagerly awaited days of fashion week so far. Jenny Packham, Badgley Mischka, Naeem Khan, Rodarte, and of course, the glorious Oscar de la Renta… some of my absolute favourite lines (yes, I do say that a lot during fashion week, but can you blame me with so much talent before us season after season??), and they did not disappoint! I’ve seen a lot of 70s influences, colour blocking and I’m especially loving the origami-style details; folds, pleats and ‘what have the done to that fabric to get it to stay like that?’ creations… now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a wardrobe to redesign.

Narcisco Rodriguez

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ICB

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Oscar de la Renta

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Sophie Theallet

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Pamella Roland

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Naeem Khan

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Jenny Packham

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Rodarte

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Vera Wang

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Badgley Mischka

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Tory Burch

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Trend of the Season: Ponchos, Capes, and Really, Really Big Coats

While there are many great trends for us all to focus on during the frosty winds and rain of AW14, none have got me quite as excited as the oversized outerwear trend. Be it ponchos, capes, or coats, I swear each winter the size of our outerwear is swelling, and this year, it’s definitely a case of the bigger the better. That doesn’t, however, make puffy marshmallow coats ok. Ever. Even if some brands, such as Wood Wood and Stine Goya try to convince us otherwise. It is on the list of regrettable fashion choices, and so do not give in to it just because it may be a fad trend. Stick to capes. Capes are cool.

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However, as much as I’m sure most of us would love to be able to buy one of Burberry’s already iconic blanket ponchos (especially if we could have a monogrammed one.. please?), sadly, very few of us can afford to splash out the needed £900. Therefore, I have been scouring the internet for the best bargain buys, so that even if, like me, you can’t afford Burberry, you can still feel amazing in a big coat… because nothing feels quite as good during cold winter days as a really, really big coat. Best of all, I’ve stuck to a budget of £100, to show that anyone can look amazing in a statement coat this winter.

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Topshop: Checked Cape. £32.

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River Island: Camel Colour Block Waterfall Jacket. £70.

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River Island: Dark Brown Faux Fur Lined Waterfall Jacket. £85.

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ASOS: Cocoon Coat in Pink. £85.

Also available in camel.

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ASOS: Coat with Faux Fur Collar. £80.

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Beyond Retro: Vintage Wool Coat with Fur Lining. £54.

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ASOS: Cape in Black, Camel or Cream. £25.

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Free People: Sunset Hooded Ruana. £58.

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New Look: Cream Chevron Tassel Hem Blanket Wrap. £24.99.

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New Look: Green Check Faux Fur Coat. £64.99.

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H&M: Coat in a Wool Blend. £79.99.

Remember last year when we were all being told to choose a pastel coloured coat for AW13? Well, apparently that trend hasn’t died entirely, seeping through into H&M’s AW14 collection. While I haven’t been a pink coat fan since a rather disastrous pink puffer jacket fiasco of mine – yes, my earlier advice is based on personal experience – ten years ago, this one is a winner for me, and I think it looks to be worth so much more than £80… probably not the coat to choose if you have a ‘one-coat-for-every-look’ mindset.. pink is rather picky, after all.

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By Zoe: Cape with Fur-Lined Hood. £87.40.

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Very: Savoir Longline Shearling Coat. £89.

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Very: Rochelle Humes Fur Collar Wrap Coat. £99.

This one just manages to scrape into our £100 budget, sparing you a precious pound for your savings. It is a beautiful coat, from Rochelle Humes’ Very Collection, and once again harks back to last winter’s pastel coat trend. Oh, I want it so badly.

Also, while I know, this post has become a bit more of an ode-to-ASOS than I intended, for those of you looking for a great bargain (aka, all of us), you have to see this… ASOS is currently selling a range of beautiful Helene Berman capes for £98, reduced from £170, available in a range of colours. You’re welcome.

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Tips of the Trend:

1. Silhouette should no be abandoned entirely. While this is a trend that revolves around baggy, oversized garments, give a moment to think about your silhouette. You want to find a coat that still nips in slightly at the waist. A fur lapel will help to create a natural hourglass figure. A defined silhouette also prevents the oversized look from becoming frumpy-hobo. It’s simply more flattering.

2. The same rule applies to what you are wearing underneath. For example, when wearing a blanket cape, your outfit will be visible, and so don’t swamp your figure in a shapeless, oversized shift dress, unless you’re deliberately going for the maternity chic look…

3. It’s all about the details. Toy with chunky waist belts over a blanket cardigan, pin a fur lapel to your coat, sew (with tiny tacking stitches) a statement necklace to the plain neckline of your poncho to really give your outerwear the same wow-factor as the rest of your outfit. Just because you’ll be taking it off the second you arrive at your destination, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t look amazing. You never know who you’ll bump into in the street, after all.

4. If you are going to break the silhouette rule, show of your skinny pins with a great pair of heels, and avoid wearing anything that sits below the knee.

5. Have fun. Experiment with colour, patterns, fur… try things even if you’re not sure that it will suit you. That’s the great thing about shopping for outerwear – you don’t have to queue for hours like cattle to be hurried into a stuffy, generally quite dirty dressing room (unless you can afford the champagne-inclusive luxuries of design houses, of course) – every shop includes a scattering of handy mirrors around the shop floor, and so you can just try on every option right there, between the knicker aisle and the wall of hats.

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New York Fashion Week: Day 3#

You know the routine by now. I spend an evening drooling over the runway live feed, getting far too excited over the beautiful pastel shades, the pops of royal blue, coral, emerald and mustard, spending a month’s earnings on lottery tickets in the hopes that I can stock up my wardrobe with AW15 beauties. Today was no different. From the Japanese print-esque fabrics of Tibi to the linear details of Ralph Rucci… I fall in love all over again.

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Dion Lee

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Jill Stuart

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Prabal Gurung

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Rebecca Taylor

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Ostwald Helgason

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Mara Hoffman

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Ralph Rucci

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Herve Leger

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Tibi

Tibi’s accessories were certainly interesting… while I adore the collection, focusing in particular on their skirts and dresses, I have to say.. please, I beg you, lose the hats… awful, awful, awful.

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Altuzarra

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Parson’s MFA

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Christian Siriano

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Alexander Wang

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New York Fashion Week: Day 1

It’s here! It’s begun! New York Fashion week has finally arrived for SS15! I’m literally quivering with excitement.. or, judging by the pounding heartbeat, I’ve drunk one coffee too many, too quickly. While there are still a few more shows to go before the day is up, I couldn’t wait any longer to share a few of my favourite runway looks.

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Creatures of the Wind

That second outfit… can you not picture Keira Knightley wandering around Canonbury in that? She has baggy, high waisted paper-bag trousers to perfection, after all. Though I’d change the shoes. I’ve seen too many 50+ citizens limping down high streets in similar. There’s ‘granny chic’ and then there’s…

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Honor

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BCBG Max Azria

My evening’s inspiration.. tomorrow I shall be experimenting with karate-style fabric belts, that’s for sure.

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Tome

This is hands down one of my two favourite shows of the day. Tome have done well for me, fixating on beautifully cut silhouettes, silks mixed with lace details, modesty mixed with flashes of skin.. all the things I love most about fashion at the moment. And the combination of navy’s and blacks, with creamy golden pastels works wonderfully together.

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Nicholas K

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Tadashi Shoji

Ok, so I may as well have dedicated a whole separate post to Tadashi Shoji’s latest collection… when I would ever have a chance to wear most of these outfits, I have no idea, but my god, they are beautiful – the detail, the colour pallet, everything is just so intricate and perfect…

I’m already noticing a trend that I’m particularly excited about: that of draped, billowing fabrics which fall into wonderfully feminine, flattering silhouettes with cinched in waists. Yes, yes, yes!

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Emmys 2014

Let’s face it, who doesn’t love to watch to see who’s wearing who and who looks great and who looks… not so great, at each red carpet event? There are certain big star events that will always be top of the list, such as the Oscars and the BAFTAS, but when it comes to TV, it’s the Emmys. As ever, I found myself caring more about the beautiful dresses than the wins. Not that I was entirely oblivious – I just don’t watch all that much TV. I was especially chuffed (is that not the most English word ever?) to hear about Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, and Jim Parsons’ wins (though as for the latter, how many consecutive years has he won an Emmy for best comedy actor now? Six? It’s a wonder they bother going through the nominations at all anymore!)

But anyway, I’m here to talk about the fashion, you’re here to see the fashion… here are a few (slight under-exaggeration) favourites from last night.

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Allison Williams in Giambattista Valli Couture

My love affair with the colour yellow continues, it seems. For such a dramatic dress, it’s really so simple; the yellow sash is the final touch that brings it all together and ups the drama by about 1000000000x. Very elegant but fun… I can’t help but see it as a modern take on a Grace Kelly design? Does anyone else see that?

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Betsy Brandt in Olivia & Alice

This dress should be too much, but it works so well. The blue/purple shoes are also a great choice – it can be tricky deciding on a shoe to go with such a canvas of colour as this, and I think most would have made the mistake of black or white… or red. I have such a clear image in mind as to how I would wear this dress; I’d wear it with a simple, fitted black jumper, a white bead collar necklace, and black suede kitten heels (yes, I know that I just stated that Brandt teaming black pumps with this dress would have been a mistake but just go with it…). It would look amazing.

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Camila Alves in Zuhair Murad

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Kate Walsh in Stephane Rolland

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Claire Danes in Givenchy

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Heidi Klum in Zac Posen

 Even though I doubt I could really pull off this colour, this is probably the dress from last night that I would love to see in my wardrobe most! In fact, no, forget it being in my wardrobe! This is the dress that I would most love to see on me… but you know, in pretty much any other colour but this one. It just wouldn’t work. On Heidi, however… wow.

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January Jones in Prabal Gurung

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Keke Palmer in Rubin Singer

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Teyonah Parris

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Lizzy Caplan in Donna Karan Atelier

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Lucy Liu in Zac Posen

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Michelle Dockery in Rosie Assoulin

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Natalie Dormer in J. Mendel

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Sarah Hyland in Christian Siriano

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Zooey Deschanel, channeling Marilyn-meets Audrey in Oscar de la Renta. I know it’s not the first time, but I still can’t get over just how different she looks without her fringe/bangs. She looks beautiful, but… ordinary, and then suddenly, the bangs are back and it’s such a ‘wow’ look in comparison. I’ve never seen so much power held in one fringe before.

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And the ones that missed a beat for me:

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Kelly Osbourne in Honor

Very few people can pull of this hair colour as well as Kelly Osbourne, and I love that she frequently incorporates similar violet-grey tones in her wardrobe, while the rest of us are still thinking about what works with our hair. Red heads should avoid pink (though I think The Little Mermaid proved that rule to be completely unnecessary), and stick with blues and greens, brunettes look great in any colour, and no one works pinks and reds better than blonds, etc etc. However, here, there’s too much lace. When your hairstyle is so out there, you should tone down the embellishments to an absolute minimum. Perhaps this would work on the right celebrity… but even then, I think a bodice would look much better, rather than this high necked, 3/4 sleeved top.

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Sarah Paulson in Armani Privé

The 1980s were a well known disaster, and it scares me how revived it has become in recent months on our runways. The spotted, tulle prom dresses were among the worst, and to see that one has managed to reemerge like this… do people never learn?

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Julianna Margulies in Narciso Rodriguez

I’ve seen dresses like this hanging in numerous charity shops; ill fitting, cheap fabrics, causing general confusion among staff and customers as to whether it ought to be displayed in the dress section, or the nightwear section. As for the visible bra straps at the back, it just makes the whole look tacky.

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Lena Dunham in Giambattista Valli

There are no words. I get that Lena Dunham is a big deal, especially in America, I get that everyone adores her for challenging celebrity stereotypes, especially regarding the ideal female figure, and good for her – so she should… there are too many dieting sheep in Hollywood, all conforming to the same rules, all fighting to look just the same as each other. She’s talented, she’s gorgeous, she’s humble and intelligent. However… far too often she just gets it so, so wrong, and this one is a doozy. The hair and eyebrow contrast, The weird grown-out bowl cut, the tattoo, and not to mention, that dress… which, by the way, looks amazing on the runway. Here, however, it’s frumpy, ill-fitting, unflattering, contrasts horrendously with that over-bleached ‘do, and basically gives her the appearance of someone who’s attending a halloween party dressed as an animated Pixar character… the story of a workaholic bird of prey, or something. I’m getting a bit bored of seeing her frumpy red carpet fashion again and again, if I’m honest. I’m just going to focus instead on her talents: acting, screenwriting, directing, producing… please, can someone take over her wardrobe, because Lena Dunham does not have a talent for fashion.

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Mayim Bialik in Oliver Tolentino

Mayim Bialik wrote for her official blog over at Kveller.com that she hoped that this year’s Emmy dress balances between ‘hot and holy’… while it’s not a bad dress, and I admire her for her strict rules on modesty in a world so set on showing as much skin as possible to gain attention, it just doesn’t… quite work. I feel like there’s too much lace (I’m sensing a pattern among the fashion police victims this year), which makes the whole thing too fussy, and tied in with that neckline, it’s all just too much.. way too much. The colour looks amazing on her though. Had she opted for satin, or something sleek, then I think it would have worked. I’d also love to see her with a sheer bateau neckline and sleeves, but would that be sticking with her modesty rule? Or is sheer fabric out?

(*Update, having just found this dress, I can confirm that she looks great with sheer sleeves and a wider neckline. She. Looks. Amazing.)

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Katherine Heigl

 I don’t know who Heigl is wearing here, and I have very little to say, except that it’s just too.. old.. too motherly.. too matronly. Much better things could have been made from this fabric.

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5 Things That Ought To Come Free With Clothing…

Clothes are complicated. More specifically, wearing clothes is complicated, and the dressier, the more complicated getting dressed becomes. How often do we spend a day searching high and low for that perfect night-out dress and matching shoes, only to get home and realise… ah, actually, in order to wear this outfit I’ll need boob tape, nipple flowers, a whole new strap to alter my bra, plasters for the inevitable blisters, gel pads to protect my feet as much as possible, and lots of sellotape to remove every. single. speck. of. lint. Of course, then there’s always something missing from your secret ‘getting dressed fixer-upper’ box, and so back you go to the shops. Repeat as necessary for each additional look-perfecting item you remember to purchase. Some shops are considerate (and sneaky) enough to place these magical products near either the garments for which they will be required, or near the checkout area as a tempting last minute purchase. Wouldn’t it be easier though, if clothes came with the items that perfect them? It makes sense, I think; most other products follow this general rule. My camera came with a (pretty useless) cleaning kit. My flat pack office furniture came with a (very utterly useless) toolkit. Why don’t we sell clothes with those additional items? I’m not saying that models should start parading down the runway with a plastic sandwich bag of clothing-maintenance supplies tagged to their bums, but hear me out, you know that shopping for a night out would be much simpler if shops offered a freebie essential with certain items of clothing… for example:

1. Shoes & Plasters

I can think of a list of things that ought to be sold along with shoes… sandpaper, gel pads, wet wipes, those little scuff-removing, shoe-polishing kits that they sell in pound shops and on the end of supermarket aisles… the ones that probably don’t work. However, if there is one thing that really should come free with all shoes, it’s a big, fat box of plasters (or band aids, for my lovely American readers).

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Shoes: Nicholas Kirkwood. £395. Available here. Plasters: Available here.

2. Handbags & mini-vacuum

Like those tiny little desk hoovers that are usually shaped like a mini Henry Hetty. I’m tired of having to empty out my bag every week and turning it upside down to bang out the mass of biscuit crumbs that have accumulated on my tube journeys, most often also losing the spare change/USB sticks/spare house keys/favourite lipstick that were also hiding in the one nook/cranny of my bag that I did not check – or I realise (on turning my bag upside down over a bin, that one of the inner pockets was not zipped up).

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Marni. £1,050. Available here. Mini Hetty Hoover. Available here.

3. Fur/wool/feathery/fluffy garments and a lint roller

There are certain high street shops, such as H&M, who have long had the clever idea to place a cart of lint rollers strategically close to the checkout, and more than once they’re doing so has reminded me, just as I reach the front of the queue, that yes, I do actually need a lint roller if I’m going to wear this fur coat this winter. I think they should take it one step further, however, and start selling pocket-sized rollers with the garments, tagged to them alongside those little plastic pouches with spare buttons that get lost almost immediately on removal. Call me crazy, but it has to be done, because I always buy a lint roller… and then after a quick swipe of my outfit in the morning, I’ll leave it at home… and then by mid-afternoon, I look like I’ve been trampled by a thousand malting cats.

Then again, I now see a flaw in my idea – like the spare buttons, I’d just remove the lint roller, use it, and leave it at home… huh.

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Bottega Veneta. £6,690. Available here. Lint roller. Available here.

4. Blue jeans and dye fixatives

I have a pair of dark blue jeans, which I bought, oh… two years ago now. I know the drill. Always wash out the excessive amounts of dye before wearing new jeans, unless I’m going for the smurf look. However, they have been through the wash what must by now have been a few hundred times, and they have been washed with dye fixative a dozen times, and yet, you can guarantee that I will have to spend a week after wear scrubbing my legs each night with as many exfoliating products and mitts as I can lay my hands on, and having to awkwardly reassure anyone who sees me in a skirt that no, I do not have a circulation problem… they’re just stained blue. I’ll be stuck in a constant loop of scrubbing my legs until they look red, rather than blue, and therefore convincing myself under the overly-flattering lighting of my bathroom, that the stains have been buffed away. Only the following morning, as I step out confidently in a mini-skirt do I realise that actually, no, still smurf.

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Frame Denim. £235. Available here. Retayne.

5. Coats or Suit trousers from Primark and scissors

I promised myself when I graduated university that never again would never again purchase any clothing from Primark. The only Primark products that are allowed are those ‘tips and tricks’ items like boob tape, gel inserts for my shoes and BOGOF wet wipes that are all so much cheaper than at Boots. I’m not a student anymore, it was time for a high street upgrade. And I’ve stuck to that plan, but this one still deserves a spot on this list, because it always drove me crazy while I was at university. I don’t care if its done as ‘tailoring’ to create a neater silhouette, if I buy an item of clothing with pockets, I expect to be able to use those pockets. I don’t enjoy having to awkwardly pick away the stitches when I get home. Why would they bother with making lined pockets if they’re then just going to sew them up? If they’re going to insist on such madness, we ought to be given the scissors to free our pockets, because you can guarantee that mine have always gone missing.

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Primark Trousers £16 (not available online). Scissors.

This may seem like madness, but I swear it’s the direction that our high street shops should take… then again, it is also 1 o’clock in the morning…

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Co’s Fashion Week Lookbook

I’m a little fixated right now on Co’s amazing photo shoot for their new collection. I’ve always loved painterly photography; dim, almost crepuscular lighting, dark tones and deep colours contrasting against a model’s pale skin. Photography aside, I love the silhouettes of this collection.

 Co’s SS14 collection is available here (EU) and here (US).

Also, I’ve just discovered their Film page on their website. They’re a talented bunch, the Co-collection team.

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