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The 10 Worst First-Date Looks…

Last night I was struck by a strange realisation. It occurred to me that when choosing that perfect date outfit, my choices become more and more eccentric, experimental and… repulsive, if that dreaded feeling of first date cold feet sets in. Does anyone else get that, or is it just me?

I am known for being the most fickle person in the world, as far as my love life is concerned. It has to be said, it’s entirely true. I can wholeheartedly accept a man’s offer of a date one day, and within twenty-four hours, frantically spend a sleepless night trying to think of a genuine reason to cancel. Genuine, so that I’m not suddenly that bitch who lied to get away. It doesn’t matter how much I fancy the pants off of him, I get nervous about dates in the same way that I get nervous about job interviews, business meetings, dentist appointments and basically anything that requires me to behave like a grown up.

Somewhere along the lines, this ‘fear’ of first dates commitment has manifested into a strange inner Iris Apfel who pulls together the craziest outfits my usually conventional wardrobe can muster; a combination of stripes and spots, neon and print, over-sized and extravagant, all in a strange hope that it will send him running. It’s extreme, but it works like a charm. No man wants to date a glittering, glimmering, animal-adorning traffic cone who jingles with every step due to the sheer amount of jewellery stacked from fingertips to armpits.

I’ve spent my evening giggling as I ponder over which of the latest runway pieces would send any man running to the hills fastest…

1. Excessive amounts of fur/wool/feathers/general fluffiness.

If you walk into a restaurant wearing this scarlet Prada fur dress, for example:

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Prada

You could probably chase him out of the building so fast, you wouldn’t even have chance to ask about the specials. It’s no secret that men do not like fussy fashion, and while a fur coat can definitely be sexy, there’s fur… and there’s Muppet. Equally, while shearling lined jackets reappear every autumn, this fluffy blue item would have the same effect… wear the two together, and you’ll definitely not have to worry about stammering over his offer of a second date!

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Gucci

fur

1. Dolce & Gabbana. 2. Chloé. 3. Vladimiro Gioia. 4. Givenchy. 5. Chloé.

2. Sparkles

If he can see you from miles away, the two million hand-sewn sequins of your evening dress sending millions of tiny beams of light into the sky like Tinkerbell on LSD, it only means that he’ll have plenty of warning to make a run for it before you even arrive. If you actually like your date, a sequin skirt or a sequin-encrusted lapel on a silk blazer would look amazing (but not together – that would be too much), or equally, a crystal bracelet or necklace (again, just one) can really complete an outfit, but something like this…

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Marco de Vincenzo

…will probably a) blind him, and b) repel him.

sequin

1. Dolce & Gabbana. 2. Yves Saint Laurent. 3. Manish Arora. 4. Tim Ryan.

3. Glitter Boots

In the same strand as the sparkly, sequin coated garments of above, but these deserve a point all to themselves… they’re just so… disco.

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Saint Laurent

shoes

1. Saint Laurent. 2. Saint Laurent. 3. Saint Laurent. 4. Saint Laurent. 5. Saint Laurent.

4. Strange geometric patterns

The mysterious creature that is the human male is easily startled, confused and extremely judgmental. If you’re walking around looking like a walking set of traffic lights, a human puzzle set for children, or generally just like someone who is overly fond of your basic shapes, they will get spooked. Maybe it’s a lasting trauma of all of those hours that they spent stuck on a ‘peg-and-hole’ game at nursery (sorry.. kindergarten?)

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Chanel

print

1. Peter Pilotto. 2. Stella Jean. 3. Chloé. 4. Just Cavalli

5. Orange or Purple lips

Neon eye makeup (3)

I tend to stick to the two signature shades of nude-pink or bold red, and while I’m yet to meet a guy who doesn’t like red lipstick, I can still see that wary glance at my lips if every they have been coated in lashings of MAC’s Ruby Woo before they lean in for a kiss. Nevertheless, those glances only last a moment, but as soon as I step into experimenting with more daring shades; hot pinks, oranges, purples… no more kisses for me. It suddenly just isn’t worth the lipstick marks, and the strange explanations that would have to take place if anyone were to noticed that bright purple stain on his neck.

lipstick

1. Mac Pure Heroine. 2. Bobbi Brown. 3. Dior. 4. Illamasqua. 5. Barry M.

6.  1980s

While I’m a 90s kid, I have always strongly believed that what happened in the 80s, stays in the 80s. They can keep their big hair, big shoulders, big, noisy, flashy clothes. They can keep bright leg warmers (but blacks and neutrals, however, are acceptable) and parachute pants and disco-gym gear, and they can definitely keep Madonna. We don’t need such nonsense here, regardless of what the trends tell me. It will only end if tears if we allow the 80s trends back into our lives, I can tell you. Are we so incapable of learning from our mistakes? Walk into a bar dressed as Bananarama, and he’ll be sure to make his excuses. Especially if you go for a matching haircut, but let’s not go that far…

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Chanel

80s

1. Fay. 2. Tsumori Chisato. 3. Topshop. 4. Mango.  5. Vivienne Westwood.

8. Monsters Inc.

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Schiaparelli

Do you suspect that he’ll prove to be particularly difficult to get rid of? Go couture, in the fluffiest sense of the word, and take a very large leaf from the Monsters Inc book for your evening’s inspiration. Seriously, what man would want to be seen walking down the street with a character of a Pixar movie?

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Schiaparelli

monster

1. Just Cavalli. 2. P.A.R.O.S.H. 3. Yes London. 4. ASOS. 5. Cédric Charlier.

8. Bag Lady/Homeless Chic

The clue is in the name with these two…

Most often known as the signature style of the Olsen twins, very few people can pull off homeless chic like they can. For one thing, drop the sunglasses – they are a vital part of making the look work, and you’re going for a look that is one step too close to actual homeless person.

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Vivienne Westwood

bag

1. Junya Watanabe. 2 Barbara Bui. 3. Brunello Cucinelli. 4. The Row. 5. ASOS.

9. The Walking Laundry Bag

While tartan is in, I had no idea that tailoring a plastic laundry bag into a dress or coat was acceptable? If you add a well-told tale about how this is your only outfit, because you had to give your clothes to a [insert ridiculously eccentric character here] on your way to the laundrette, he’ll disappear quickly enough. It brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘crazy bag lady’.

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Celine

tartan

1. Comme Des Garcons Vintage. 2. Comme Des Garcon Vault. 3. Vivienne Westwood. 4. Lavinia. 5. Comme Des Garcons Vintage.

Wear these five items together in a crazy mis-mash of tartan, and you’ll be somewhere close to the Celine laundry bag outfit.

10. Runway Beauty…

Runway makeup is all about art and extravagance, and therefore, as we all know that the average man’s understanding of makeup is limited to a more natural look, 80% of the looks that emerge on catwalks will chase any guy away…

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Alexander McQueen

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Yohji Yamamoto

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Vivienne Westwood.

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Trend of the Day: Turbans

Today as I walked down Brick Lane, ungracefully stuffing a freshly made, still-warm cream cheese bagel in my face, I found myself, as usual, admiring the wardrobes of the people around me, looking at what they were wearing, and how they were wearing it. After all, there are certain streets of London that are used as a public runway, and Brick Lane is definitely one of them – everyone consciously dresses for these public domain runways, myself included. There was one woman whose outfit struck me more than most.

She was wearing a turban.

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Behind the scenes. Prada SS 2007.

Remember when that trend first took off (in regards to 21st century trends, I mean), back in 2007, and then again in 2010? They first appeared on our runways, introduced to the trend pool with Prada’s spring show, followed quickly by Hermès (because of course, if there is a brand that are going to use turbans in their collection, it would be Hermès), and Jean Paul Gautier. Topshop swiftly brought Prada-esque turbans to their high street stores, while celebrity fashion icons such as Naomi Campbell and Mary-Kate Olsen were papped wearing them. Their reappearance in 2010 was a big part down to the Sex and the City sequel, and ever since, they have been a fairly frequent item to see on both catwalks and our local high street, reappearing every season since, paraded by everyone from Luisa Beccaria to Issa to Armani and Jason Wu. And it looks like they’ll be here to stay for a while.

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However, while I did give the look a try once, they’re a tricky thing to pull off… the amount of confidence that I think a person must have to wear a turban.. it’s a bold look, wrapping a scarf around your head, that’s for sure. My style of turban was a knotted scarf (a clumsy version of the Carrie), with my at-the-time Rapunzel hair pinned up, with lots of carefully plucked strands falling around the back of my neck and framing my face. While I remember walking around self-consciously, in my defense, this was while I was living in Derby – a city that will garner stares if you were anything more daring than a floral tea dress. I think I will have to wait for my hair to grow before I try that same knotted style again, here in fashion-friendly London. Visible hair with a turban is pretty much a must, after all.

The woman on Brick Lane, however, looked incredible. Sadly, she denied my asking to take a street style photograph, so I can’t share just how incredible she looked with you. It wasn’t simply a scarf wrapped around her head and dubbed a turban, nor was it the sleek, neatly knotted, optionally pre-tied turbans that line the high streets; the most common style of wearing it, a la Carrie Bradshaw. It was a big, messy, clumsily wrapped mass of cocoa coloured fabric, teamed with a coffee woolen wrap cardigan that skimmed her ankles, black boots, black jeans, black tank.. honestly, I’m starting to wish I hadn’t been polite enough to ask for her photograph, and instead gone for the old snap-and-run.

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Milly SS12. Issa SS11.

A few of my favourite turban looks of the moment:

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Priscila Diniz.

2

Maja P.

3

Samii Ryan.

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As for this lady, I hope I look as cool as her when I’m her age.

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June Wish List

It’s that  time of year when I am thinking about holidays, and while I now days always venture further afield than what good old England has to offer, I do love spontaneous road trips to out lovely seaside-resorts with my friends… when I stick around for long enough to arrange them, of course. For those of you who have never stopped by an English seaside town, all of the picturesque stereotypes are true: colourful beach huts line the sea front, from whatever spot of the beach you stand on, I can guarantee that you’ll hear an ice cream van singing merrily, and seagulls will try (and usually succeed) to steal your ice cream/fish and chips/mug of coffee. Here in England, we’re mad about pinstriped deck chairs and colourful wind shields (a necessity here, I’m afraid), and as lovers of beach-side co-ordination, these colour schemes can’t help but seep into out clothing, our accessories and the unnecessary clobber that we simply must take to the beach with us, in case we get bored (or is that just me?)june-wishlist

1. Sunnylife Ipanema. Beach Towel. £39.95. Available here. A great place to start on the beach-side wish list, is of course, a beautiful beach towel. Because yes, it really does matter just how cute and fashionable the piece of sand-covered fabric on which you lie, is. Most of the time, your choices are either bland, bright or childish printed towels, or those striped wicker mats that cut into your elbows when your trying to read on your front. It’s nice to finally stumble across something pretty that doesn’t scream ‘I’m a beach towel’, because of course, no one wants that.

2. Preen by Thornton Bregazzi. Flo Stretch Dress. £940. Available here. Again with the yellow… it seems to be my clothing colour of choice lately (though I wear it surprisingly rarely). This is a beautifully cut dress is so flattering for big-bummed, small-boobed ‘pear shapes’ like myself (always a challenge.. no one wants to balloon the pear!), accentuating a tiny waist.

3. Topshop. Red Square Stone Studs. £6.50. Available here. These earrings would look great with the yellow Preen dress above, don’t you think? Unfortunately, I have never been lucky enough to find a metal that does not cause a reaction if worn in my ears (not even gold, sadly), and so earrings are a big no no for me, but perhaps… they could be turned into clip-on’s? I think I’ll have to start searching Pinterest for that particular DIY blog post… or of course, I could risk failure and attempt to figure it out for myself? Hmm…

4. Dune. Celia Peeptoe Wedge Court Shoes. £59. Available here. A beautiful pair of elegant, sleek white wedge shoes. These can be worn with any summer dress, which I adore (and in terms of packing your suitcase, it’s so much more practical). Not ideal for walking along sandy beach fronts, but stick to the esplanade and you’ll look great.

5. Kate Space. Cuba Street iPhone Case. $45. Available here. Kate Space… one of my favourites. Get your phone ready for the beach (and have planned a carefully sand-and-sea-free environment in which it can enjoy your holiday) by ‘dressing’ it in this illustrated ‘Cuba Street’ phone case.

6. Prada. Cat Eye Acetate Sunglasses. £230. Available here. This year, sunglasses trends are all about colour, pattern and drama, and Prada are, of course, leading that trend with their stylist new collection, my favourite being these cat eye, red-and-tortoiseshell glasses. Great for adding a touch of old Hollywood to your look. Think of Marilyn Monroe’s beach style.

7. Michael Michael Kors. Hamilton Saffiano Leather Shoulder Bag. £218. Available here. New wish list, new handbag. Usually, I prefer for my handbag to go big – out of necessity, obviously (is it just me who can’t read the word ‘obviously’ without Alan Rickman’s Snape temporarily commandeering my usual brain voice?). I generally need a bag that can hold my camera, laptop, kitchen sink, several layers to accommodate for our fickle weather, make up supplies, pen and paper, and other ‘essentials’ of a photographer/writer/art-and-gadget creative, but when there is sand involved… no. Key, phone, a novel (which can be tucked under my arm, along with my beach towel), are all I need… ok, slight lie, there is always the canvas tote beach bag, but that doesn’t mean that there is not also room on my shoulder for this little red Michael Kors bag.. you know, for my house key and phone. And literally nothing else.

8. Newgate Clocks. The New Ritz in Sleepy Blue. £25. Available here. Perfect for that seaside wake-up call at the start of a long drive (if you’re from the Midlands), to the sunny south coast. Or that was a typical start to the annual seaside holidays of my childhood, anyway. I’m a grown up now. My parents aren’t going to drag me out of bed anymore – not that they ever had to, as far as a holiday was ever concerned.

9. France-Tastic Voyage Travel Bottle $34.99. Available here. I know that flasks are more of a winter travel necessity, but for me, as a coffee addict (it’s been two hours since my last cup of coffee.. the cravings are strong), the need for a constant supply of caffeine is very real, and so road trips and long drives (short drives, a nip to the corner shop, crossing my hallway.. anywhere, really) without a drop is simply impossible.

10. James Read. Gradual Tan for Body. £24. Available here. I’ve never really been one to delve into the world of fake tans, being far too fearsome of the dreaded Tango TOWIE look to try, but I’ve heard good things about James Read’s Gradual Tan collection. Great for those who, like me, can’t sit still for long on a beach and would prefer for their skin to remain pale and therefore healthy, youthful and melanoma-free.

11. Mischa. Continental Wallet. £85. Available here. An alternative to the tiny Michael Kors handbag, I suppose (a house key could easily fit in a wallet… but a phone?), this gorgeous blue and white print purse would look great used either as a wallet or, when possible, a clutch bag. Imagine, this purse with the Dune shoes and yellow Preen dress… it works, yes? Or the dress, shoes and red Michael Kor bag, for that matter… choices, choices.

12. Zara. Blue Mini Skirt. £35.99. Available here. This skirt would look so cute with the white Dune wedge sandals and Prada sunglasses above… though a shirt would of course have to be found to complete the look. I should have added a shirt to this wish list.

13. Urban Outfitters. Berlin Boombox in Pink. £60. Available here. When I was about six, I wanted a pink boombox almost identical in my imagination to this one. A few years later, I wanted one of those stereo bags. I never gave into either of those desires (or rather, my parents never did), and I’m quite glad about it really. I mean, they are both equally ridiculous inventions. Nevertheless, this one is adorable, and so a small part of me can’t help but think that maybe I could somehow make it work… no, no, definitely not, but it’s here nonetheless.

14. Chan Lu. Wrap Bracelet. £128.73. Available here. Nothing screams backpacker chic more than a wrap beaded bracelet. Especially if they are handmade. I can guarantee, however, that no true backpacker would ever be seen wearing a £130 bracelet when one could be made from a bit of twine and some plastic beads instead… imagine just how many hostel nights could be paid for with that money! Still, it’s beautiful, and I would wear it all summer long… probably forgetting to ever move it onto the other wrist, resulting in unfortunate wrap-bracelet tan lines.

15. Hope & Greenwood. Tuck Box. £40. Available here. For £40, this is an overpriced extravagance if ever I saw one, but being an item on sale at Selfridges, I suppose it’s to be expected, I suppose. Still, there’s plenty to go around, so shared between a group, this could become a cute little addition to any beach-side summer picnic. Just throw in some Pimms, and your picturesque English picnic is complete.

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Oscars 2014 Fashion

Firstly, I think it’s sucky that the Oscars are not aired live in the UK – unless you have Sky. Maybe the feed could be found somewhere, buried in the deepest depths of the internet, but unfortunately my hours of searching brought me nothing.

So instead, I’ve had to turn to Vogue Online again. I won’t lie, I don’t pay too much attention to who won what Oscar (frankly, the various voters have made too many questionable choices over the years for me to trust their judgement). For me, it’s all about who wore what. I think that’s the most important part of the Oscars to most of us, really – the fashion. All images are sourced from Vogue.co.uk and eonline.com

The Best 10

Lupita Nyong’o’s Prada dress was made especially for her, teamed with Fred Leighton headband and jewellery. Most photos that I have seen of her in this dress involve her swishing it, and I can’t blame her – I would be doing exactly the same were this my dress – it just looks so amazing!

Show us a twirl: Lupia seemed particularly pleased with her gown, which she revealed had been made especially for her

I’ve seen this Gucci dress on a few ‘worst dressed’ lists because of the ‘armory’ detailing, but personally I love it. It’s a gorgeous touch of detail on a classically cut dress.

Cate Blanchett’s Armani Privé dress actually took a while to grow on me. Or rather, the dress of 90% instantly gorgeous – the sheer, uber pale, colour-match fabric. It was the embellishments that took some getting used to. It needs something of course, otherwise it would have just looked… ‘is she wearing a dress or just foundation with a skirt?’ blandness. There’s just something about these particular… what are they, exactly? Pearly, flat, round… coins? Discs? They just remind me a little too much of barnacles and other weird anthropods and mussels and… sea stuff. I think I’m probably the only person in the world who sees that though, so let’s just ignore that weird little comparison. I do, however, love the sleeves.

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Worst Dressed

This could have been a great dress – Giambattista Valli – if Penelope Cruz had just ditched the weird drapey shoulder scarf thing. Though I’m not keen on the pastel, faded-bubblegum colour, either.

A bit too 2001 glitz rather than 2014 Gatsby.

Wacky wallpaper: Zooey Deschanel donned a very busy floral and polka dot strapless number to the Vanity Fair party (left), and Nikki Reed looked ready for bed in her bathrobe-style boho gown (right)

Lace overload: Fashion darlings Karolina Kurkova (left, in Elie Saab at Elton John's viewing party) and Diane Kruger (right, in Valentino at the Vanity Fair after party) both opted for over-the-top lace looks

Bin bag dress, anyone?

Disney Media co-chair Anne Sweeney. wore an oddly structured blue Armani Prive dress, which opened at the waist to reveal a bright red silk accent

The ‘Almost There’s…

This Vera Wang dress just doesn’t quite… work. The fabric looks a bit cheap, a bit too t-shirt-y.

Lady Gaga, Oscars 2014

Chuck the chiffon around-the-neck wrap, and the ugly Gaga shoes (yes, I am aware that Gaga is not Gaga without Gaga shoes), and it’s a yes. The dress – Lorraine Schwartz – is beautiful. I’m not a Gaga fan, but all in all, she looks much better than when she wears her usual crazy outfits.

If it weren’t for the weird thigh-split detailing on the skirt (and that random layer of fabric above her leg), this J Mendel dress would be a yes for me.

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