Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Sale Shopping Guide

Right, Christmas is over, you've unwrapped your gifts, got your vouchers and money ready to spend in the sales, but how to navigate the unending piles of discounted merchandise, Where to begin? What to buy? DO I EVEN NEED ANY OF THIS SHIT?! 

I have a secret, I find shopping overwhelming at the best of times, the sales only make it worse. I did a cursory sale scout round sleepy Worcester on Boxing Day (having already checked out all the online sales on xmas day) and formulated a PLAN. You can use this plan too. It might stop you having a mental breakdown in Selfridges. 

1. Think about what you actually need. Perhaps your mum forgot to buy you perfume for xmas, or you want a designer leather bag in black. Get these first. 

2. Do your research. Look at the website first, that way you'll already know what is in the sale allowing you to edit out the crap quicker because you already have a vague idea of what is there, what you like, what you don't. 

3. Plan a route. Linked to 'Do your Research' you can't go everywhere and everywhere has good discounts. Department stores are my favorite- best discounts, lots of choice. House of Fraser, Selfridges and Harvey Nicks get my vote. 

4. Upgrade. If, like me, you fritter your money away on cheap tat the whole year round, stop. Don't buy the same tat but cheaper. Go up a price bracket- Cos instead of H&M, Whistles instead of Topshop, Selfridges instead of Debenhams. 

5. Don't buy clothes. The bargains are to be had on Make-up, Perfume, Bags, Shoes and Jewellery. Better discount, easier to find, less seasonal. 

6. If you do Buy Clothes Buy Classics, designer ones if possible. White shirts, black trousers, garments that fit. If its faux fur, fairisle or any other big trend from AW11, if you don't already own it, forget it, everyone else will buy mid Jan. 

7. Only buy it if you love it. Or if you considered it full price, if you thought it was ugly at full price, it is no less ugly because its only £20

8. Set a budget, stick to it.  

9. Outlet Shopping. Bicester Village boutiques have sales as does the Outnet. Yes. Go. (but remember the plan, this plan)

10. Ignore the sad looking sale and buy full price shiny newness. This is what I did on Boxing Day.  

Items that fit into THE PLAN and are in stock at the time of writing: 

Other make-up brands with fab discounts in all dept stores include Lancome, Guelian, Benefit and Estee Lauder (gift set of advanced night repair is reduced in HOF)

All boots fragrance gift sets have between £10 and £15 knocked off- as do everywhere else's. 

  Harvey Nicks has the best accessories sale I've seen. 

I wanted these full price, they fit, they are classic, they are cheap, I will wear them with a man's white shirt and red lipstick and look french.

I would also recommend buying a half price designer wallet- Mark Jacobs, Mulberry and Vivienne Westwood are usually marked down. Not that you'll have any money to put in them. 

Monday, 31 October 2011

Versace for H&M Wishlist

On 17th November I am taking the day off to go and get me some classic Versace courtesy of H and M. Here is my most wanted. 

                           Dress £79.99         or          Dress £79.00

                     Bracelet £19.99                 Necklace £29.99

As you can see my favorites are the ones that are instantly recognizable as Versace, the signature pieces. I don't love all of it, but no one will. The whole collection is over the top, unapologetically garish and a very brave move from H and M. 

See you in the queue. 

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Selfridges: Museum of Everything and The Shoe Galleries

The Museum of Everything forces you to confront questions that History of Art students have been pondering for a 100s of years: ‘What is art and who decides? And, Who is qualified to make art and what is it for?’  The space is laid out like a dilapidated old house, with peeling wallpaper and the walls crowded with work, the exact opposite of the open white gallery walls we usually view art on and the opposite of the shiny retail heaven that it sits within.

Many of the ‘outsider’ artists work is often (not here) displayed next to contemporary artists, this blurs the line between ‘outsider’ artists and regular artists challenges the viewer to make a distinction when both are displayed as equals, in the same context, the same space.

Ruby Bradford Print, £80, Selfridges

Tom Wagener Print, £80, Selfridges

Jean-Jacques Oost Print, £80, Selfridges

The same could be said of shoes (stay with me here) I left the Museum of Everything in a thoughtful mood, which invaded my shopping orientated brain. I started thinking about setting, how the context of objects affects how we judge them, the value we assign to them. The revamped Selfridges shoe galleries, which celebrates it 1st birthday this week, brings all its shoes, high street and designer, together in one fabulous place and in so doing makes it difficult to tell one from the other.

The biggest shock was River Island shoes- normally the reserve of 17 year old party girls- every pair in Selfridges seemed grown up, chic and very desirable. If it wasn’t for the neon sign, I would have put a 4 in front of the number on the price tag and might have mistaken some for Rupert Sanderson or Charlotte Olympia.  It was amazing- I wanted almost every pair and I don’t think I would if I’d seen them in a River Island store. My picks are shown below…but they might have lost some of their Selfridges magic online. 

If you would like to know more about outsider art or shoes you can visit the Museum of Everything Website or the Selfridges website 

Monday, 19 September 2011

In Love With Leopard

What is the first thing you think of when you think of leopard print? It could be punk girls in Camden, an over-the-hill perma tanned bar maid, a Russian millionaires on holiday, or a Saturday night girl wearing it skin tight. No other print straddles fashion genres so comfortably and can look mainstream, alternative or just plain wrong depending on who, when and where its worn. It can look expensive or cheap regardless of how much the item cost, or how rich or poor the person wearing it is.

Kat Slater to Catwalk (Dior Couture)

I have always loved it and worn it even when its not having a fashion moment (which, lets face it, is not very often). It is the LBD of the print world.  

This season the leopard madness has moved to accessories, last season it was all about the coats.  There has been a strong challenge to leopard's print crown by snake, zebra and dalmation prints but they will never have the versitily or durability of the humble leopard.  Here’s my pick of high street and designer items you'll wear over and over:

J Crew Edie Calf Hair Tote, £375, Net-A-Porter

Christian Louboutin Leopard Brogues, £653, Net-a-Porter

Adina Leopard Ankle Boots, £80, Topshop

Leopard Print Tote, £149, John Lewis Collection

I own (drum roll please) 2 pairs of leopard shoes (brogues and pumps), leopard print scarf, leopard print headscarf, leopard print boxy jacket, leopard print tights, leopard print dress, leopard print t-shirt x2, leopard print vest, leopard print mini bag, leopard body suit, leopard print umbrella…I think that’s it, I’m obsessed but insatiable I NEED more leopard in my life- on my wish list are leopard wedge boots, leopard leggings and another dress.  

I leave you with a small sample of my leopard collection.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Fashion’s Night Out

After much deliberating and not so meticulous planning I headed to Bond Street for one of my favourite nights of the year, Fashion’s Night Out.

I visited (deep breath) Browns, Whistles, Mulberry, Smythson, Miu Miu, Matthew Williamson, DVF, Nicole Farhi, Tory Birch, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, DKNY, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo and Moschino. The stores had gone all out with free drinks, canapés, DJs and a total party atmosphere. It was like being at a festival- the shops were the stages and the clothes were the stars. Everyone was treated like a VIP and there was so much going on that I wished I could split myself in two.

Highlights included Drinking gin punch from a teacup at Moschino, seeing Nicole Farhi chatting to Bill Nighy outside Nicole Farhi, the canapés at Tory Birch (best of the evening), nearly getting in the way of the band’s grand entrance at Burberry and seeing Matthew Williamson in Matthew Williamson happily chatting and posing for photos with customers. It was great to see the designers out supporting the event made it feel really special.

However, this year I was disappointed to see that some of the stores- Coach, Stella McCartney, Juicy Couture and Dior to name a few were operating a guest list only policy with clipboards and velvet ropes. These brands can have exclusive ‘fashion people’ parties for the next month in New York, London, Milan and Paris. Fashions Night Out is supposed to be for everyone, for regular people who love fashion and don’t get invited to those parties all the time. There were so many great parties at all the other shops along Bond Street that it didn’t matter to me, in fact, they made it easier for me to plan my route! It’s the principal really, I don’t want to see my favourite night turn into another industry only party.

Cupcakes at Smythson


Boots of my dreams at Miu Miu

Me admiring a Matthew Williamson Gown

The man himself

Gin in a teacup

The belt I have wanted since I saw it in The Face magazine aged 17

Dior taxi

Window at Alexander McQueen

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Trend: Trousers

Jeans are over, you hear me, over.  For once the boys are leading the way with this trend. These days you are more likely to see boys wandering around in sand coloured chinos than you are jeans, and be prepared for more of the same, cordaroy skinny trousers have just hit down in Topman and River Island- men in cords are marching on the horizon.

But I digress, all summer long coloured skinny jean-trousers have been popping up all over the high street slowly weaning us off the same old boring blue denim. For AW11 there is a plethora of trousers, proper trousers, to choose from in gorgeous deep colours. I like them tight, skinny and rolled up 7/8s then worn with brogues or creepers, but you can style yours however you want.

I have some black ones from M&S I’ve been living in for the past two weeks. They make me feel like Audrey Hepburn or Coco Chanel, sporty and effortlessly chic.

There is also a shape to suit everyone- Capri, Cigarette, Peg-Leg, Chino and Pleat Fronts all offer variation on the skinny coloured trouser theme.