Summer inspiration in the coolest of shades
Stay fresh in these upcoming, milder months in the only colour that subtly shouts summer. Classic tailoring, Broderie Anglaise styling or your everyday T-shirt in this pristine hue, will promise you remain cool, calm and collected with minimum effort. Keep trousers loose, shirts sheer and dresses floaty, with only slides and shades to finish off your all white ensemble.
Mango's new Summer collection, fronted by the beguiling Werbowy and set in Nevada-esque desert surroundings, is everything the minimalist slash monochrome fiend could wish for. Open knits, suede two-pieces and clean cut trouser suits are among the line up with the additional 'Island' collection offering Isabel Marant lookalikes in the form of printed tunics and linen shorts. The clothes are as beautiful in store (seen personally yesterday) as they are on the models. Bravo Mango.
Today is the March Equinox, so despite the glimpses of sun and legs out, tops off enthusiasts of the past couple of weeks, we can now rejoice that Spring has sprung. If you live anywhere outside of the UK, Spring dressing would possibly be quite an enjoyable venture. Brits however will be well aware of our hormonal weather mood swings. Ray of sunshine accompanied by a not so mild breeze, topped off with, if you're lucky, a refreshing spring shower. Begging the question, what the heck do you wear during these temperamental months?
The answer is so see-through. Sheer please. This trend is cutely coquettish without being too feminine and is so versatile that following the trend won't look or feel as if you're merely jumping on the bandwagon. Here are some of the reasons why I, and all the rest of you, need some sheerness in our lives. I love the idea of showing some skin but in reality tend not to, seeing as I'm only a darker shade of pale for 2/3 months of the year. I would categorically, never wear anything that reveals my belly button and currently I am in love with anything lace-like, especially brassiere wise. All of this can be resolved by going sheer.
A Calvin Klein esque Tee that bares skin but at the same time covers any flaws, Zara have nailed it with this look-a-like, or layer a sheer slip dress over a long sleeve for day, then swap with a lace bralette after dusk, trusty ASOS for this one. Whether you sheathe yourself in a a translucent top or gauzy skirt, you can work this trend over and over again, being as flirty or as covered up as your mood takes you.
As Paris fashion week drew to a close, the Chanel supermarket of dreams and a python print, Givenchy clad Kendall Jenner, were surprisingly (because dare I say it I’m an avid Keeping up with the Kardashians fan), not my most searched Pinterest phrases. Instead, French street style was at the top of my list for some new season, need some Spring/Summer clothes in my life, inspiration. It’s safe to say that French women are in a class of their own. Especially, when it comes to pulling off the real life ‘I woke up like this’ and ‘Oh I threw on whatever I could find’ looks. Their typically tousled manes plus barely there makeup are matched with undoubtedly, Europe’s best dress sense. So, I’m sure we’re all asking the same question, how do they do it??
Native Parisian’s, such as actress Clémence Poésy and French Vogue Editor-in-Chief Emanuelle Alt, lead the way in what can best be described as effortlessly, elegant Parisian style. Whether it’s ankle grazing, boyfriend jeans sexed up by a pair of on point stilettos or a silk shirt layered with a mannish, belted blazer, the French have understated, androgynous styling down to a tee. The secret to their flawless fashion? A strategy (yes, shopping can be super serious when it wants to be) that has been coined the ‘5 Piece French Wardrobe’. Basically, the idea is 5 staple items, in your wardrobe, each season is the basis to better outfits and fingers crossed, less spending. After some ‘research’ into this ‘strategy’ the Spring/Summer wardrobe foundations for any wannabe, French femmes, have been decided upon.
I'm a habitual silver necklace, rings, bracelet wearing girl but unashamedly the slightly brighter days are making me yearn for summer months and with that comes gold layered necklaces teamed with bronzed skin. Sounds ideal doesn't it? Might have to wait 4/5 months for the naturally tanned part, but I like to plan ahead. Selection from H&M and Topshop.
So the calendar has flipped from February to March and out of the black/grey (navy if you were feeling particularly happy) fog that has been most women's winter wardrobe, spring is about to make a tulle layered, floral extravaganza of an outing. Never has there been so many winged creatures or delicate bouquets adorning the catwalk as in Paris this week, courtesy of Valentino. The dresses are so beguiling, personally I can't stop fantasising about them. They are everything that I would never wear but at the same time something you wish you could wear every single day. Realistically though, I don't have the social diary for a dress anywhere near that elegant and intricate, so for now will make do with creeping out of my black skinny jean comfort zone and adding one flower, butterfly or hummingbird motif at a time.
Here are my favourites from the Italian dream along with some real 'ready to wear' inspiration...
High waisted, wide legged and ankle skimming are some elements of the elusive culotte. Flattering? This may not be the first word that comes to mind but bear with me. The fashion mags are hailing the culotte as an essential, spring/summer 2014 purchase, while my Pinterest and Tumblr (see photos below) have most definitely been paying homage to this style of trouser/shorts/skirt/who knows what it really is. The street style paparazzi have captured this trend coming to life just as designers such as Alexander Wang and Proenza Schouler envisaged. The age old rule 'wear full trousers/skirts with tight fitting tops' should still apply for culottes but personally I think it can be relaxed to encompass looser fitting jumpers and coats as demonstrated below (love those looks!) The only imperative, understandably, is a pair of good heels, flats aren't going to do anything for anyone in these ankle grazers.
Here are a few picks; Topshop, Labour of Love, Boohoo , New Look
Since Boxing Day I had managed to avoid the sales completely. I adore shopping (stating the obvious, I know) and so charging through the shops alongside hundreds of bargain hungry enthusiasts is far too much effort for me. I love clothes, I just don't love them that much. However, last week I wandered into Zara with my flatmate for a bit of midweek 'window shopping', we all know how that ends up... Safe to say I did not leave empty handed and instead left with two super sale finds.
The grey cashmere/mix knit sweater would have been a justified buy even if it hadn't have been in the sale. It's one of the 5 classic, staple items for your wardrobe and as I've been style stalking all forms of layering recently its the ideal piece for just this (inspiration via Man Repeller and Pinterest) I had been keeping an eye out for the perfect one since before Christmas and was assuming that it would be Gap or Uniqlo where I would find it, but Zara saved the day and at £12.99 it really was a saviour.
After I picked up the jumper I must have been on a grey mission because I spotted these heels of the same hue. I usually admire stiletto heels from afar, preferring wedges and block heels, even though I can barely walk in those either... but these suede, cut out heels are far from painfully high and looked too good with black skinny jeans to leave them on the shelf (the identical price tag to the sweater didn't hurt either).
Lastly, on a bit of a side note from the previous two bargains, I had originally set out to purchase a new lipstick and a new lipstick only, oops. After browsing a couple of beauty blogs (Lisa Eldridge and Tanya Burr) I decided to go for the Mac Girl about Town, fuchsia pink. Mac lipsticks I consider a bit of a treat, you can always find cheaper, but it was the exact colour I was looking for and wanted it to be long-lasting as I wore it for a wedding at the weekend, would recommend.
Shu Eumura Beauty Oil Fresh
Diptyque Violette Candle
Jo Malone Lime, Basil & Mandarin Cologne
Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser
Sleek Face Form Palette
Sara Happ Lip Slip
January is the time of year when many new beauty rituals begin. You've been gifted with all sorts of lotions and potions at Christmas and using them signifies a new you for the new year. So, here are some of the beauty buys I have acquired over the past month, which I am certain will stay within my possession throughout the whole year.
The Shu Uemura cleansing oil has become a cult beauty product. After being recommended to me by my mum (fountain of knowledge for most of my skincare buys), it has been a permanent feature in my daily routine. Some people may be slightly dubious of using an 'oil' on their skin, especially if they're prone to breakouts. Typically I have combination skin so was among this wary group. However, Shu Uemura have specifically created the beauty oils for all skin types and its light formulation cleanses and removes makeup and dirt extremely effectively, leaving your skin feeling silky soft and grease free. The glorious, pastel pink version (Fresh), for younger, T-Zone skin, is my favourite so far.
I never thought scented candles would be high on my wish list but once you've had a sniff of any of the intense Diptyque fragrances, such as Violette or Feu de Bois, you're hooked. The same goes for Jo Malone colognes. I received the Lime, Basil and Mandarin scent for Christmas and although for me it's more reminiscent of spring/summer months, I've worn it every day (helped by its handy handbag size) and look forward to trying out other favourite scents such as Pomegranate Noir and Blackberry and Bay.
Another cult beauty range comes from Liz Earle. Her Cleanse and Polish is one of the most loved and recommended facial cleansers on the market but it's the moisturiser from the range that I have fallen for. This is not a recent discovery, I've been using the Skin Repair Moisturiser for three years now, switching only a couple of times to other brands (not out of choice but for ease or money purposes), and will never let it leave my cosmetics case again. Its rich texture but fast absorption, along with the subtle fragrance and calming effect it has on the skin are some of the reasons this moisturiser is a beauty essential.
Lastly, two treats for your make up bag. My go-to bronzer, for as long as I can remember has been Mac Mineralize. This natural powder is ideal for an all over hint of colour but too light a shade for contouring, hence why I picked up the Sleek palette from Superdrug. Choosing either dark, medium or light the compact comprises of three shades to create the perfect contour, highlight and blush. The colours have great pigmentation, are neither too matte nor too shimmery and at under £10 it's superb value. Colder weather months are not kind to your lips and mine are very prone to chapping, so when I received the adorably packaged Sara Happ Lip Slip as a gift from family friends across the pond, my lips were instantly grateful. This little tub of sugary sweet lip balm is super glossy, hydrating and feels like you're slipping something very comfortable onto your lips.
Pursuing and persevering with New Year resolutions are never easy. Whether it's declaring your body an alcohol free zone for the month of January or assuring yourself that exercising at least 5 times a week is doable, resolutions are renowned for not being that enjoyable. Along with these already noted promises that most women make every January 1st, I have also opted for the slightly less arduous, I will read more in 2014. Typically I read a lot as a student, textbooks, articles, journals etc etc. However, this New Year resolution is about reading more of what I love and in this case all the books I have featured are fashion oriented. Luckily I have accumulated a lovely array of stylish reads which are filled with fashion stories, histories and images;
- Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange
- The Little Dictionary of Fashion by Christian Dior
- The Sartorialist by Scott Schuman
- Style Feed: The World's Top Fashion Blogs by William Oliver and Susie Bubble
- Man Repeller by Leandra Medine
- British Fashion Designers by Hywel Davies
From anecdotal, real life experiences courtesy of the one and only Man Repeller to wardrobe and lifestyle advice from a former French model, these books are perfect for someone, who like me, is enthralled and never exhausted by clothes and the stylish people who wear, create and capture them. Happy reading!