10 Sixties Chic Fashion Items Inspired by Mad Men!

Mad Men's Megan DraperOver the Christmas I became a box set night owl and watched endless episodes of Mad Men back to back over the holidays. Funnily enough it was the Gucci Autumn Winter 2015 collection that inspired me to take up watching Mad Men, which centres itself around a New York advertising agency set in the sixties. It dawned on me one day, when putting together an ensemble to wear for drinks with the girls on Christmas eve, that the culmination of Gucci’s modern mod and the wardrobes of Donald Draper’s ex-wife, Betty Francis, and his current wife, Megan Draper, has given my recent ensembles a distinctive sixties feel. One of my favourite ensembles at the moment is a retro print shift dress from Primark, patent knee high boots from Dune and my hair styled with a deep side parting, a la Megan.

Although my ultimate favourite era will always be the Roaring Twenties, I have recently discovered a new found love for sixties fashion. I love shift dresses, mainly for their versatility and their ease to wear. But as I love to wear statement jewellery, the shift dress’s simplicity offers lots of styling opportunities. Ironically, as I enter my early thirties I have also rekindled my relationship with shorter hemlines and A – Line skirts, which comes just after my affair with midi-skirts. The advantages of the shorter hem lines and skirt shapes of the A – line are three fold; Firstly, they allow me to enhance one of my favourite features, which are my legs. Secondly they add a youthfulness to ensembles, a considered factor in my styling since turning thirty. Thirdly, because I enjoy piecing together ensembles and will always opt for skirts and separates over dresses.

I am sure it won’t be much longer before I am once again of the belief that I am far too old for mini-skirts and dresses, but for now, these are the fashion items I am loving!

See the items I am coveting and the Mad Men ensembles I love!

1. Gucci Leopard Print Sleeveless A-Line Dress available at Flannels

Gucci Leopard Print Dress

2. Lanvin Iconic Love Ring available at Net-a-Porter

3. Victoria Beckham Lace and Cotton Dress

Victoria, Victoria Beckham Dress

4. Planet Pale Blue Double Breasted Coat available at John Lewis

Pale Blue Planet Coat

5. Valentino Garavani pumps from Valentino

Valentino Pumps

6. Orla Kiely Sixties Stem Embossed Handbag from Orla Kiely

Orla Kiely sixties style handbag

7. Givenchy Vintage Door Knocker Earrings from Farfetch

Givenchy Door Knocker earrings

8. Stella Jean Pussy Bow Blouse available at Farfetch

Stella Jean Rosella Blouse Top and Clothing 

9. Black and Grey Large Dogtooth Print A-Line Skirt from Matches Fashion

Carven Houndstooth skirt sixties fashion

10. Oscar de la Renta Gold Statement Necklace from Net a Porter

Oscar De La Renta gold plated disk necklace

Be Charmed, Stay Inspired! x

The Only Boots You Need to be On Trend This Winter

Miranda Kerr in over the knee boots

The winter season does not pass without me purchasing at least one new coat and a new pair of boots. If you’re reading this blog, you’re likely to be the same. How could one possibly miss out on the opportunity to add to our wardrobes items almost as powerful as the handbag, but so much more protective? We don’t!  Today, I want to talk specifically about boots.

I love boots. I am guessing I own around twenty pairs. Most are black, a few tan and brown, some wedged, Chelsea, studded and over the knee. Ankle boots and booties, knee high riding boots or edgy biker chic -you get the picture. Nonetheless, regardless of how many boots I might own and how many varieties I might boast I have the option of choosing from, it recently became very apparent that the majority of the boots in my collection lack the true fashion clout one needs to demonstrate the attitude of the boot this particular winter season.

I realised last Sunday whilst preparing my ensemble for a Monday in the office. I was keeping it pretty simple in a jeans and shirt ensemble – as you do on a Sunday, but was desperate for a pair of boots to ramp up the edge, bring the fashion know how and the bang on trend-ness to what I was wearing. So, I began slipping my feet into the boots all  lined up in my dressing room slash walk in wardrobe (yes, in my new home I have one of these now!) and I realised, I need to step up my boot game at least five fold!

I have every boot you could ever need for whatever the occasion, smart, running around, evening drinks, dressed up drinks, boots to go food shopping in and boots for clothes shopping. Boots that can’t be worn in the rain and  boots to keep you warm. Every single boot, apart from the boots I have decided I need the most, the boot for complete and utter frivolity. 

This winter, boots are on trend in a big way. The same fashion kudos we once got from wearing black stack heeled, round toed ankle boots with a pair of black jeans no longer applies. The shape, the heel, the height, the length, the colour and the entire attitude of the boot has changed. This winter, the approach to wearing boots is to build your ensemble from the feet up, making your boots the major player. And if the boot is the star of this show, then they need to be perfectly on point!  Here’s the boots on my radar for winter 2014-15…

The Over the Knee Flat Boot

Olivia Palermo flat over the knee boots

The over the knee boot literally defined my early twenties. I purchased a pair from Office in the winter of 2009  and wore them throughout the entire winter. Five years later and they are back again! If you want to change up the standard, go to ankle boots and jeans  ensemble, opt for the over the knee boot instead. I recently purchased a new pair of these boots and will only wear mine specifically with black jeans only, as my thighs aren’t exactly pin slim and the length of these boots naturally draws attention to this area of the leg. No need for me to tell you why I absolutely love black. Opt for your over the knee boots black leather as opposed to suede and not only do you get a cleaner and sleeker look, but you’ll love be able to wear these boots come rain or shine.

Black leather over the knee boot

The Heeled Thigh High Boot

Olivia palermo wearing thigh high boots and shorts

In 2010 the world was crazy about the ‘V’ boot. Also known as the Vagina boot – I too was crazy about this boot. They were long, tall and creeping way up our legs till their tops disappeared beneath the hem of your mid-thigh length skirt or worn with trousers, barely showed any of your thigh at all. They were slightly reminiscent of a dominatrix, powerful, commanding and overtly sexual – like many a shoes if this fashion era were. Fashion has refined itself significantly since and the thigh high boot isn’t so eager to make it’s way up to your nether region.

The key to wearing a heeled pair of thigh high boots is, make sure they fit close enough to the leg and ankles. The likelihood is that you’ll want to wear these boots with a midi skirt, another big trend of the season and in my humble opinion long clean lines beneath a midi skirt looks neater and is more slimming. Of course Alber Elbaz’s Fall 2014/15 Lanvin collection says differently. Opt for your heeled thigh high boots in suede to take the sexual edge off, which you are likely to get from a pair of long leather thigh highs and to add extra style kudos, why not avoid black completely and go for a soft grey? I am quite inclined to opt for these boots in berry red – once I find them! Wear these boots in the evening with a shift dress or a pair of high waisted leather shorts or wear with jeans during the day.

Miranda Kerr in thigh high boots

The Knee High Boot

Gucci knee high boots

Well, there’s not much to say on the knee high boot that Frida Giannini hasn’t already said on the Fall 2014/15 Gucci runway. This Gucci catwalk was almost a master class of every which way you should wear the the knee high boot this winter. First and foremost, the boot must sit directly beneath the knee, it just doesn’t work drifting between calf and knee, and  again, they must be slim and close to the leg to create those clean lines I just love Gucci for. Wear these swinging sixties, mod boots with an A-line skirt, a shift dress or a mini dress and select them in any colour, from powder blue or cream snake skin, berry red, nude or black with a barely there heel for the day and a thick high heel for the evening. Wear these boots instead of a loafer or brogue and wear just as Frida has demonstrated, with above the knee hemmed dresses and skirts. I just adore this entire collection.

 Jessica Alba in knee high boots

The Ankle Boot

Ankle boots street style fashion

Let’s face it, it’s not everyday that we’ll want our pins completely wrapped in leather, so the ankle boot still remains the quick go to boot. However, the shape of this fail safe boot has evolved somewhat. To be completely and utterly on the nose, the ankle boot is just a little longer, sitting slightly above the ankle as opposed to on the ankle. The toe of the boot is slightly more elongated and more pointed. The result is a much sharper, maybe even slightly rockier look, than that of the smart casual feel of the round toe Chelsea boot. The difference in the actual boot is only subtle, but what it will do for your jeans ensemble is massive. I can’t wait to get my hands on a pair of these!

Heeled ankle boot street style

The Cut Out Boot

Balenciaga cut out boot street style fashion

 I shunned these boots as the most ridiculous boots ever created! I could NOT get my head around why a shoe worn in the winter, to keep feet from the cold, rain and snow would have chunks cut out of it? Surely the holes defeated the entire purpose of wearing a boot in the first instance? I was perplexed as to why these boots were ever even created. At least, that was my thinking was till I tumbled upon endless pics of the Balenciaga cut out boot all over Tumblr and could not resist how edgy they looked and how much they did for the most basic ensemble. So, naturally I bought a pair. It’s pretty simple really, wear your cut out boots with any and everything. These boots are all about attitude, so wear them when you are prepared to add a little fashion and frivolousness to what would be a typically practical and functional boot. Be warned though, some people still don’t get it!

cut out boots street style fashion

The Cleated Sole Boot

 Cleated sole boot

This boot sits in the same family as the cut out boot. Like Marmite, you either love them or hate them. Right now, I would say I hate them. Of course, I have once said the same about Brikenstocks and the cut out boots and own a pair both. In all fairness, the truth is, I do like the cleated sole boot, I just hate them for me. At thirty years old, I think this is a trend I am going to have to let pass me by. Admittedly, I also said the same about the cut out boot as well. But if you like the idea of stomping around town in the comfort of a cleated sole – it does sound tempting – this boot is indeed for you. Slightly less elegant, more fashion student and Tumblr chic, these boots are perfect for the youthful street style maven.  And if you’ve donned the cut out boots with absolutely no qualms last year, then the cleated boot is a natural progression. I don’t think you’ll be seeing the likes of Olivia Palermo or Victoria Beckham street styling it up in these!

Stella McCartney Cleated Shoes

Which boots will you go for?

My aim is to have them all…because, let’s be honest, I am likely to fall for the cleated boot pretty soon too.

Be charmed, stay inspired! x 

Bangles BoJangles

Wrist Divertissement…

…and Bangles in  Bojangles fashion…

WRIST OF THE DAY<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
The clang of metal bracelets is music to our ears.

I somehow acquired the name of Bojangles a few years back as I would insist on clanging about my life with heavy bangles adorning my wrists right up to my elbows! I took the inspiration from J-Lo‘s video Get Right (I am now pausing my funky house playlist to search my I-tunes for the Get Right track). A friend and I would laze around my parents’ front room watching MTV for endless hours, pausing, replaying and admriring the bangles that J-Lo showed off whilst gyrating herself on the bar in this particular video. The day our student loans landed in our accounts we headed to Selfridges costume jewellery department and bought an insurmountable number of bangles, sufficient enough to bangle ourselves up to our armpits total J-Lo style. For years it became my thing to wear bangles and if the blouse in question didn’t reveal my bangle collection creeping up my arms, then I simply wouldn’t wear said blouse! That’s how I acclaimed the name Bojangles!

I just had a quick look up of who or what Bojangles actually is. Aside from it being a famous American Chicken and Biscuits place, Bojangles was also the alias of a deep and dark prisoner who had been arrested in conjunction with a high profile murder case in the sixties. He shared a prison cell with singer Jerry Jeff Walker, who wrote the song Mr Bojangles. The song was isnpired by a moment whilst Walker and Bojangles were sharing the cell with a group of other prisoners, sharing stories and speaking on all kinds of subjects. Finally Bojangles told a story about his dog. The story turned out to be a pretty sinister tale, turning the mood in the cell dark. When asked to change the subject and lighten the mood, Bojangles took it upon himself to perform a little tap dance in the middle of the cell! (I just found this little anecdote so absolutely hilarious I had to share it!)

Indeed, my bangle obsession may have been my own tap dance to divert the attention away from my limited wardrobe fund whilst at uni! Today my approach to costume jewellery adornement more resembles Olivia Palermo as opposed to the ‘pile up as much as I can, wherever I can and make as much noice as possible’ approach. But the aesthetic I am truly seeking to achieve, but am still yet to master, belongs to the fashion set that we see so often photographed by the Sartorialist or Tommy Ton (my absolute favourite street style photographer)…

To create perfect wrist divertissement…

My favourite wrist diverissement below…I just love it!WRIST OF THE DAY<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
The clang of metal bracelets is music to our ears.

Check out Sincerely Jules and LuLu Frost for perfect wrist swag!

Coveted Collars…

The Perfect Collaring…

Gold Louis Vuitton Collar with Gold Chanel Chains
The Perfect Black and Gold Ensemble. Gold Louis Vuitton Collar with Gold Chanel Chain

Designers, stylists and fashion enthusiasts have been paying a particular  attention to the embellishment of shirt collars for some time now. However, it would appear that the trend has evolved, in typical fashion manner, and the collar has now graduated from being a mere aspect of a garment, that when accessorised appeared fashion savvy, to being an actual accessory in its very own right.

Although the Peter Pan collar has been gracing the high streets with its presence for some time now, the rounded, almost cutesy collar climbed the ladder and reached critical claim amongst the fashion big wigs when Marc Jacobs designed his autumn/winter 2011-12 Louis Vuitton collection that featured a motif of the collar throughout the entire collection. Models walked the Louis Vuitton runway adorned in dresses, coats and blouses that appeared to have been designed with the Peter Pan collar as the leading stimulus.

The collar is absolutely huge this season, literally, and walks hand in hand with yet another trend of the season, the sweater. However you choose to wear your collar and which collar style you opt for is entirely up to you. I have found the collar to be the perfect accessory to revamp simple black dresses and sweaters. I have  been slipping printed shirts with classic collars beneath round necked jumper dresses, woollen sleevless dresses and v-neck sweaters. The classic shirt collar and the likes of the long pointed style collar, like Rihanna wore beneath her Alexander McQueen dress on the  X Factor UK 2011, can appear serious and buttoned up if not careful. However, Rihanna’s collar worked because of its complete unpredictability and frivolity.

The key to implimenting the new collar trend into an ensemble that  leans itself more towards fashion savvy as opposed to formal work wear,  is to keep it quirky and unpredictable –  particularly when donning the classic shirt collar.

Coveted Collars

Louis Vuitton Peter Pan Collar - Louis Vuitton Winter 2011 Collection
Louis Vuitton Peter Pan Collar - Louis Vuitton Winter 2011 Collection
 
Louis Vuitton Gold Collar
Louis Vuitton Gold Collar - The perfect accessory this seasonRihanna X Factor UK 2011 wearing Alexander McQueen Dress accessorised with shirt collar

Embellished simple shirt collar
Accessorised Sweater and Denim shirt collar
Louis Vuitton Autumn Winter 2011 CollectionA Collection of Collars

Costume Jewellery

Last weekend I watched X Factor whilst tweeting, shoe shopping and searching for that one piece of jewellery that is going to heighten my wardrobe for the christmas period. Florence Welch belted out her wondrous, thick and sweet, powerful and angelic voice adorned in a particularly unique off-white dress.   The dress in itself was probably phenonomenal enough to write about, but it wasn’t so much her dress that appealed to my own aesthetic tastes, it was the magnificent Art Deco embellishments that featured in the staging. I have been dying to purchase a pair of wonderful, dangling Art Deco inspired earrings for ages, but the fear that they’d only end up amidst the rest of my precious costume jewellery, that sits on shelves, in trinket boxes and overspilling vanity cases, looking pretty but with nowhere to wear them – I have always opted to save the money.

It’s pretty predictable of me to adore Art Deco design. All the opulence and drama, the glitz and glamour walk hand in hand with my love for the 1920’s, the Jazz Age and of course, the man I try to live up to every time I sit down to write my own novel, the stupefying F Scott Fitzgerald. I am not saying that I am glamorous or glitzy, but I have battled with my inability to be understated for many years. I am not sure I will ever master the art of understated chic, but I think I have finally found a balance. I find myself residing somewhere amongst, formal, classic, occassionally trendy, but always with a hint of glamour.

I express my love for glamour nowadays with my jewellery. My social life consists of dinners, gatherings, cocktails, going into the office or attending  meetings. Jewellery is  the only way for me to express my luxurious attraction to glamour  tastefully and practically.  I don’t go clubbing that frequently and unfortunately have never been invited to a red carpet event, therefore my life seldomly requires me to be dressed as glamorous as Kim Kardashian. Having said that, I’d take her jewellery, shoes and fur coat collection any day of the week.

For those who too love the 1920’s, whether it be for the Art Deco design, the feathers and the glitter, the mentality of the Flapper or simply the literature, I can’t think of a better time of the year to be extravagant and express the inner flapper than the next few weeks leading up to Christmas. There are many Christmas parties to be attended, copious amounts of alcohol to be consumed and lots of fun to be had. I am looking forward to Christmas so much this year I am almost combustible. I am looking forward to spending time with my family, I am looking forward to endless days of curling up on the sofa not having to worry about going to work, but what I am most looking forward to – is reverting back to being a child. And by child I mean, twenty one, without responsibilities and lots of opportunities to dress up.

Nothing shows a bit of frivolity like a stunning piece of costume jewellery. It’s all in the name, ‘costume’. It’s fantastical. One powerful piece can define an entire outfit. I am completely excited by the impact a statement necklace can have on a simple shift dress for example. My excitement is not only evoked by the aesthetic of the combination, it’s the actual communication. That necklace combined with that shift dress says, ‘I care just that little bit more than I need to.’ Granted, it doesn’t communicate anything particularly profound on the grand scheme of things, but its enough to tastefully nod towards glamour. Besides,  the way we dress and embellish our atire says plenty to the people that we want to communicate with.

That necklace worn against that shift dress could be vintage, that’s kudos from the vintage fiends. It could be Givenchy, that’s kudos from the designer divas. It could have been designed specifically for a Vogue shoot in the 1920’s (undoubtedly the average Jo wouldn’t be able to get their hands on it),  that’s kudos from fashion journos, editors and all the fashion big wigs. If you happen to come across a figure who embodies all of the above then all the more powerful a statement that statement necklace makes.

Lisa Salzer  of Lulu Frost says, ‘Jewellery is transformative.’ There was a time when my casual wardrobe consisted of little more than skinny jeans, long line vest tops and boyfriend cardigans. I dressed simply just so I could pile on my jewellery. Transformation through accessories has been my number one style tip since my parents stopped buying me designer clothes. My jewellery collection is vast and predominately costume. Unlike when I was younger, my collection now grows at a much slower pace. Having said that, my collection is far more powerful. Instead of buying ten pairs of earrings from Topshop and Accessorize at any one time, and having to replace them once they change colour, I am starting to invest sensibly in beautiful, admittedly more expensive, transformative pieces of jewellery.

I am now in search of one transformative piece of jewellery that I’ll wear proudly over the christmas period. My search has been dominated by chunky necklaces and chains, solid cuffs and bangles, broches and of course the art deco inspired earrings. I thought I’d share with you my findings and show you which designers, shops and jewels I am coveting to glamourize my christmas wardrobe.  It is to be noted that I don’t tend to wear many sequined or beaded garments on my upper body, so my jewellery preference is big, bold and strong!

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Accessory Necessities

With shops like Primark, Accessorize, ASOS, Claires Accessories, Topshop, Miss Selfridges DIVA range and Hennes you can get accessoried up to your eyeballs with scarves, hats, clutches, belts, hairbands, broches and jewellery. You can even pick up some vintage look a likes!

For some serious vintage jewellery at some unfortunately serious prices i will always recommend Portobello market, however if you can’t make it up to Portobello physically or financially, then Miss Selfridge is great for vintage homage.

So, if you’re doing Recessionista Chique for fashion purposes, for savings and sensible spending or just love accessories, here are my ten top tips before i Bling and GO!

1 – Bags

For shoppers, totes and general day bags it’s always easy to become attached to one particular bag – do try and mix it up a little and don’t be afraid to add some colour to your bag collection. If like me, you refuse to be adventurous with designer bags (all my designer bags are always neutral in colour) then i would definitely reccommend River Island, their bags have all the designer intentions and all the style, without the huge price tag!

Never under estimate the power of a clutch bag. Evening bags should be saved for the evening, but universal clutches carried during the day can look sexy. Quirky clutches are cool for drinks during the day and add that extra something to an outfit. ASOS is great for high fashion clutches with lots of detail, the last one i bought was £13 and is similar to the D&G envelope clutch. Never forget Accessorize for their trademark sequined embellished clutches – i was given a Union Jack sequined clutch from Accessorize for my birthday this year, it’s the perfect accessory for a white tee, jeans and a blazer.

2 – Jewellery


For those of us too scared to look too classic, but love the tailored smart looks that we’ve seen on Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo ss/09 wear an oversized ring, huge earrings or a statement bangle, this says that you don’t take yourself too seriously. Miss Selfridges is great for statement jewellery.

Gucci Ad Campaign ss 09

3 – How much is too much?
J-Lo and Eva Longoria front row Spring 09 DVF NYC

Don’t be afraid to over do the accessories from time to time. Fashion isn’t about imitating, it’s about innovating. There are rules, if you wear big earrings you can’t wear a big chain or necklace, or you can’t wear two statement rings at one time – forget this! Apply and don’t apply it when it’s appropriate. Sometimes accessories can be the main focal point of an outfit and you can pile them on like you would decorate a christmas tree.

4 – Colour
Louis Vuitton a/w 09/10 RTW

Marc Jacobs a/w 09-10 RTW

Colours do not have to match! I find that colour matching is too obvious – we learned the colours of the rainbow when were three years old – there’s nothing creative about wearing matching colours. It’s a given!
You don’t have to wear a ring the same colour as your top or hair band, your shoes do not need to be the same colour as your bag or anything else you’re wearing. Do not stress over colour matching – colours just need to compliment each other.

5 – Nail Varnish

Do not underestimate the power of nail varnish. Nail varnish is the perfect accessory and says loads about your style – pastel colours are more quirky and stylised, darker colours are sophisticated, bright reds and hot pinks are sexy.

 
Coloured rings and nail varnish shouldn’t clash in colour!

7 – Scarves, Earrings & Sunglasses

If you are a true fashionista you will notice the difference between a black tint or brown tint sunglass, i try to match glass tints with my outfits. Brown tints i usually wear boho, black i will wear with black or more sophisticated looks. I never wear black lenses with thick rims as i find them way too harsh for my face. For designer glasses i would always bank on Ray Ban aviators.

Cindy Crawford, Vogue Paris 08

If you love boho and ethnic looks then head scarves and oversized glasses are perfect – especially with a HUGE pair of earrings. Earrings can completely define your whole look and says loads about your personality and style!

Kate Moss for Topshop

8 – Waist Belts

Marc Jacobs a/w 09/10

Very rarely do i wear dresses without a belt to cinch in my waist. You should wear the belt at the smallest point of your torso to pull you in at your slimmest point. My favourite waist cinching belts are embellished with gold buckles and screws. I have one belt in four different colours from Primark – it’s one of my favourites for dresses and seldomly do i wear a dress in the evenings without one of these belts around my waist.

9 – General Belts

I never wear jeans without a belt – unless i am wearing a particularly long top. If you can see the top of my jeans then you will see a belt. The kind of belt you wear can define your outfit, for casual day time belts i tend to stick to chunky manly looking belts or vintage. If i am going for a rocky look i will wear a black belt with silver hardware, for a boho look it’s always brown and i always think gold compliments brown better than silver. For more sophisticated looks patent belts are nice with either a delicate buckle or a statement buckle.

10 – Hair and Make Up

Gwen Stefani Elle USA

 

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your hair and make up. Buy hair clips and pins, try new hairstyles and do your make up so that it compliments your face shape, your outfit and your hair!
Wearing a jump suit you might be tempted to wear back combed hair, bright eye shadows and dramatic blusher – tranforming the the outfit right back to the eighties! With a strapless dress you might want to elongate your neck by wearing your hair up. If i wear my hair up or off my face i pay particular attention to accentuating my cheeks and eyebrows – this helps to sculpt the face, giving your face more definition. My best buy for face sculpting is the MAC facial sculptor, however all you really need are some darker and lighter blusher shades. The trick is to brush a darker shade of blusher on the area of the face that hollows if you suck your cheeks in, this makes your cheek bones stand out more without having to put loads of red blusher on!

11- Forget the Rules

Apply and discard rules as you please, afteral they were made to be broken! The key is to experiment – if trying it out means getting it wrong – then, GET IT WRONG!

Of course the best accessory in life is the Joie de Vivre – without the Joy of Life nothing else counts!