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 

9 Fashion Tips To Help Define Your Trans-seasonal Style

How to fashion yourself now…

Jenna Lyons

For most, September is the hardest month to dress oneself. Of course this makes sense – it’s the time of uncertainty for dandies and fashion concerned clothes wearers. We have been so busy honing and compiling our summer wardrobes, taking to Pinterest and Tumblr for street style inspiration and then shopping accordingly, that we haven’t even given much thought to the 2014-15 autumn/winter catwalk shows that we watched back in February.

I personally feel like, just as I truly got into the swing of my fashioned summer self – lots of shorts, printed trousers, Birkenstocks, camisole tops and a general laid back Celine inspired approach – were the shops displaying winter garb too warm to wear and the magazines discussing new coat trends far too early to invest in.

Yet, in London, August just gone, it was far too chilly to be sporting shorts and camisole tops, however, not quite the season for tights and boots. And, here we are in September, the appearance of the sun is slightly unreliable, but there is a much warmer temperature than the previous month. Indeed, we have reached the time in the year when our summer wardrobes need to be adapted slightly to contend with the colder mornings and evenings and days that may not be as bright as they were in the height of summer.

It is the transitional seasons that I find to be the most intriguing in terms of fashion, particularly the summer to autumn as opposed to winter to spring. The glossies are fatter and more overwhelming than ever. The spectrum of styles and trends worn by street style icons varies more vastly than ever and the commuters that I see every day in London are a mash up of ankle boots worn with dresses, cut off shorts with kimonos, to coats with sandals.

The transitional seasons can bring about uncertainty because the season hasn’t actually managed to synch itself with the edits in the fashion magazines – there is no definitive fashion rhetoric stating that this is what should be worn NOW. The silver lining of this very short lived moment in fashion is, it is our time to shine – to wear whatever we want, to interpret the trends that we loved of the summer just gone and piece them together with the purchases we have made for the coming winter season.

My approach to defining my look and streamlining my wardrobe for this ‘in-between’ time is almost like creating a capsule collection of garments that include pieces from my summer wardrobe, pieces from my winter wardrobe and a few pieces that I have purchased specifically to hack these trans-seasonal dilemmas. I think the challenge is to feel as though you are dressed appropriately as well as fashionably and so far, these nine tips have been my solution…

1.Wear your mum jeans till you can’t wear them any more…

street style fashion spring 15 shows

When in doubt, don’t we all just opt for jeans? I know it’s not very creative, but this is the perfect time to really value mum, boyfriend and tapered jeans. I only wear these more relaxed fit jeans at an ankle grazing length and with heeled sandals, stilettos and shoes that tend to expose the foot as opposed to cover it. The combination of the shoe and a bit ankle on display helps to keep these relaxed fit jeans a little more sexy. I generally don’t enjoy wearing jeans in the height of summer and feel that these particular cut jeans are far too casual for my winter wardrobe, so the transitional seasons are perfect for ankle grazing jeans with stilettos. So I am wearing these mothers as much as I can right now!

2. Wear ripped jeans till the winter fairytale calms the distress…

ripped jeans street style fashion

The distressed jean is back – a little more refined than it was in the early noughties and maybe not as long lasting as it was in its last fashion reign. The 2014/15 winter trends are dreamy, sleek and refined, think shift dresses and long boots at Gucci, cinched waists and pencil skirts at Balmain and the Sicilian fairy tale at Dolce and Gabanna. It seems pretty that ripped jeans won’t be cutting it for much longer.

3. Don’t Cover Up to Soon…Hold off wearing tights and boots 

Leather culottes

My mother once told me, “Stay away from tights till October and boots till November.” I don’t always take her fashion rules on board, but adopting my respect for fashion and dress from her, I do like to consider them. Ankle boots, of course I will wear with a skirt or a dress throughout summer and autumn months, but I will not wear them with jeans and most certainly won’t wear my boots with tights – that’s far too much protection and coverage too soon. If it’s raining so heavily that a court shoe or a sandal is out of the question, I opt for brogues, driving shoes or slip on sneakers and if I can’t get away with wearing a skirt or dress without tights, then I simply go for a smart trouser.  I think a  wardrobe should change and transform as the seasons do. If we  start wearing tights in September, the likelihood is we’ll be wearing them till March next year and where’s the fun in that? With the midi skirt back in fruition this winter, who needs tights anyway?

4. Throw some black trousers into the mix…

Black trousers street style

If you’re opting for a little more elegance than jeans can offer, but are also avoiding tights, like myself, how do you stay warm and tasteful? Tailored trousers! Like jeans, a pair of simple black trousers are trans-seasonal, but they have a slightly more mature edge on jeans. They look sexy and sleek paired with stilettos and smart and androgynous worn with loafers and brogues.

5. Smarten up your maxis….

olivia palermo stye

You can call them maxi skirts and dresses I suppose – but something about the word maxi reminds me of summer and floatiness. Full length skirts and dresses paired with a chambray or denim shirt or a simple round neck jumper lengthens the longevity of a garment mostly associated with the sun. Biker jackets naturally toughen up this typically feminine garment. Wear these full length skirts and dresses with heeled strappy sandals, peep toe heeled shoes and even boots – Olivia Palermo has nailed this look to a T!

6. Replace your camisole vests with tops that cover your decolletage…

Miroslava Duma

As versatile as those camisole tops were for the summer, it’s time to phase them out. You’ll find yourself needing a jacket or a cardigan to cover up wearing these thin and strappy tops – which can be unnecessary fuss, unless of course, your cover up is adding something aesthetically to the style of your ensemble. Never underestimate the good of a great t-shirt to tuck into jeans, culottes, midi skirts or a pair of tailored trousers. And if you’re looking for something a little more pulled together, opt for shell tops, sleeveless or short sleeved. These tops and tees won’t expose too much of your décolletage, therefore you can wear them without a jacket or scarf during the early months of autumn, but still have your arms on show whilst trying to hold on to summer.

7. Don’t be all buttoned up just yet – opt for a casual shirt…

Miranda Kerr in double denim

On the days when it is slightly cooler, maybe too cool for a short sleeve, I opt for a casual shirt. My first choice is denim, but chambray and oxford and even my fiance’s shirts will make the cut. I pair these shirts with skinny jeans and a strappy heeled sandal or stiletto. I know in the midst of the winter I will head to Zara and purchase myself a shed load of smart, sharp and will-dress-up-any-ensemble- Celine-esque shirts and blouses and I will wear them right through till March. However, in the warmer months I like to keep things a little more relaxed than my winter wardrobe.

8. Show off your waistcoats This is a waistcoat’s prime time…

Olivia Palermo Waistcoat

This is a waistcoat’s prime time! In the colder winter months I will wear a waistcoat over my shirt and beneath my coat, which is great for those that see me indoors and coat-less, but not so much when I am running about outside in the cold. If you want to give your waistcoat, which is a seriously cool garment, some serious airtime, now is the time to do it. For me, it is still too warm to wear a leather jacket and I feel too stuffy in a blazer. I am still flitting around London in short sleeve tops and tees without any outerwear at all. But if I want to add a little something to an ensemble, I pull out my waistcoat and throw it over over a shift dress or a shirt and jeans ensemble. Never have I worn it so much!

9. Say goodbye to flippy sandals…

birlenstocks

Stop wearing your strappy flat delicate sandals and opt for a heeled sandal, a heavier and chunkier sandal or Birkenstocks. Strappy sandals are just a little too easy breezy for this transitional autumn period and boots are too wintery, so now is the time for peep toe boots, ankle sandals and shoes in colours or material you fear to wear in the winter. I say wear your Birckemstocks now and keep wearing them till you go off them – if you haven’t already. I think I have already gone off mine!

 Be charmed, stay inspired!

Gucci a/w 2012-13: The New Direction…

Source: gucci.com via Ayesha on Pinterest

Whilst the Fashion gliteratti celebrates the collections of spring summer 2013 the civilians amongst us are still very much in 2012, feeling the weather growing colder by the day. So…the research for the amalgamation of my winter wardrobe has begun. Before I head to the high street or make any major purchases, I get a feel for the key trends and the overall tone for the season by  going straight to the source – the catwalk. So let’s start with Gucci – because I always do.

Gucci’s a/w 2012 collection is sensuous, decadent and opulent. It’s a collection to fall in love with, if it were music it would be the perfect soundtrack to an intense winter romance. Regardless of how different this collection might feel to the clean and sharp lines we are used to seeing at Gucci, Frida Giannini never disappoints…

Source: gucci.com via Ayesha on Pinterest

Source: gucci.com via Ayesha on Pinterest

Source: gucci.com via Ayesha on Pinterest

Source: gucci.com via Ayesha on Pinterest

Gucci a/w 2012 -13 Ad Campaign

Gucci a/w 2012 Runway Show with commentary

Bellissima…x

Spring Bling – Gucci’s Spring Summer 2012 ad Campaign

Gucci is yet another fashion house that joins the blinging spring summer ad campaign trend!

True to form, Gucci remains sleek, sharp and sultry…but most importantly, shiny. There truly is something aestheitcally pleasing about cold polished gold against black…gold buttons on black coats, gold hardware on black leather bags, a gold tie clip slipped across a black tie clip… It’s classic, simplistic, instantly glamorous and looks expensive, the perfect boxes to tick if ever in doubt.

Gucci’s spring summer 2012 ad campaign features Abbey Lee Kershaw, Karmen Pedaru and Greg Nawrat, shot by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott.

Gucci-Spring-Summer-2012 ad campaign shot by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott
Gucci-Spring-Summer-2012 ad campaign featuring Abbey Lee Kershaw, Karmen Pedaru and Greg Nawrat

Gucci spring summer 2012 ad campaign

Gucci Spring Summer 2012 ad campaign


Love Gucci, love black and gold!

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Jazz Baby – Inspired by Gucci Spring Summer Collection 2012

Jazz Baby

by Ayesha Charles

Gucci dress from Gucci spring summer collection 2012
Gucci summer collection 2012

Trumpets drone and Jazz music plays

Flappers flick their legs, with a martini haze,

They tap their T-bar shoes as they jiggle and shake

In slinky tube dresses with low slung waists,

Feathers and sparkles show opulent taste

And bejewelled cloche hats illustrates an impertinent face,

With lined doll like eyes that ignite the night

They dance the Charleston with no end in sight,

They embrace a gathering as it were a surprise

And celebrate being a Dame like receiving a prize,

Seeking attention from a Slicker’s roaming eyes

They roll nude stockings half way up their thighs,

They work the party like an actress on stage

Wisecracks and sharp talking like their reading from a page

These little flappers never fail to amaze.

It’s 1920, it’s the prohibition, it’s the Jazz Age.

Gucci Spring Summer Collection 2012

Never has the drop waist dress looked so fabulous…

Gucci SS 2012

When people who work in fashion ask me who my favourite fashion designer is, I always say Balmain or Azzedine Alaia, however, the truth is it’s Gucci. It always has been and as long as the likes of Tom Ford and Frida Giannini are behind the design it probably always will be. I say Balmain because Gucci sounds so cliche. There was a time when everybody and their neighbour owned a Gucci wallet, Gucci trainers or a Gucci bucket bag and I should know because I happen to own all three, so I say Balmain to sound a little bit more fashion savvy.

I hold Gucci very dear to my heart, it has sentimental value. My first pair of designer shoes and my first designer handbag were Gucci. Gucci made me fall in love with high fashion and since this love affair began a Gucci collection has never failed to have my heart beat racing and always inspires my wardrobe choices. The Spring Summer 2012 Gucci collection is especially special to me as it is clearly inspired by my absolute favourite era, the Roaring Twenties.

Nicole Phelps at Style.com mentions The Great Gatsby in her Gucci catwalk report, which naturally excites me even more so. The collection features a gorgeous new take on drop waist dresses that literally make me want to go back in time to live that infamous Jack Clayton Great Gatsby party scene, dressed in one of those mirror embroidered drop waist dresses. Amidst the shimmering dresses are a myriad of statement jackets, some with frog latches, some with art deco prints and others inspired by equestrian dress. The collection is a stunning, typically Gucci glamorous and powerful one that will definitely inspire the wardrobes of those of us who work hard but like to party even harder.

Vagina Boots – The ‘V’ Word in Boot Camp

All hail this season’s supreme and essential boot for the winter rain or feline predator, coined the V boot by fashion bloggers, the V indeed refers to the woman’s genitalia. Could the vagina be any more à la mode?

Propped on the top of perforated, studded, patterned, matt faux or real leather, Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli and Gucci models strutted down the runway with their legs wrapped in black, oil slick leather climbing way up their legs. Over the knee boots are so last season, winter 2009 the new boot is Vagina high and proud. With our second Christmas in the recession, 7.8% of the work force unemployed and no prediction of employment increasing anytime soon, the nation’s strength and confidence is vulnerable. Designers kick the recession in the teeth with these strategically powerful boots, although the Gucci V boot is priced at £1560 these boots will definitely pay for themselves – over and over again.
Last year the high streets saw a surge of flat over the knee boots, it was protocol on Oxford Street to do your Christmas shopping donning these, at that moment markedly long boots. But as if that boot wasn’t ferocious enough, the V boot has upped the ante; the heel significantly higher, the leather tighter and the boot longer. Dress would have it that the more flesh the woman reveals the more sexual she appears, this would suggest the more she covers up the more modestly dressed she is. Strangely, this rule doesn’t seem to apply when women adorn their pins in boots – women’s boots hit the top of the sexual radar the closer they edge to the Vagina. Let’s be fair, this boot personifies sex, they’re definitely not for the faint hearted or coy. The V boot is for the woman who has no qualms displaying female sexual power.
Beyonce, Rihanna and Lady Gaga, perhaps the most influential of the dress and music world today have already been seen executing sexy moves in the V boot. The masses may not have submitted themselves to the sexual prowess of this boot just yet, but it’s not a long time coming. There’s always a distinctive ripple in the fashion ocean when a certain Spice Girl is papped wearing a catwalk key item and like clockwork Victoria Beckham, dressed for a night on the town replaced her uniform YSL court shoes for a pair of the towering boots.Unafraid of the force of these boots, Topshop, Aldo and Asos have taken them from the catwalk and bought them to the high street. The uptake appears to be slow, maybe these epic boots don’t belong on the streets for the average woman, but in the wardrobe of Trinity from Matrix or in the bedroom of a dominatrix herself.
However, the only accessory needed this season is the confidence to be overtly sexy. Commanding? The V boot most certainly is, but designers have it that sexy no longer discredits sophistication. This winter is a special one where women can be sexy, classy and most importantly empowered – employed or not.

 

I Heart Winter 09 – Deadly Serious Fashion

 

Marc Jacobs RTW a/w09

We finally say goodbye to Sicilia and summer holidays. Summer was all about being FABULOUS, this winter it’s all about being SHARP. The sharper the better equipped you are for this season’s approach to fashion, which i can only translate as ‘Dressing to Kill!’ It’s time to get seriously fashion once again and right now, fashion is deadly serious!
In my Reccessionista Chic entry I advised fashionistas to stick to black for winter and although I wear black regardless, I was so thrilled when doing my catwalk research to find my favourite designers of the a/w 09/10 had dressed their models head to toe in black.
Black often is considered safe and boring, but true fashionistas will know the impact of black; sharp, timeless and instantly sexy, even if it is just a black t-shirt and black jeans – I love it!
For this season the only accessory you’ll need for your black outfit is lots and lots of sex appeal! How exciting!
Fashion seems to be taking a nostalgic reminiscent turn for women, taking us right back to the eighties – hard shoulders and cinched in waists. If you are not focusing on extending your shoulders then make it all about the legs this winter -it HAS to be one or the other! Throw your jeans out and get in with the tighter than a skinny jean fitting leg wear whether it be leggings,
tights or trousers and if not then….
Gucci and Roberto Cavalli have made THE boot of the season; the thigh high boot currently coined the ‘V Boot!’ The V standing for Vagina – the higher up the leg these boots go, the more of a fashion superstar you are!

In my opinion these are by far the most exciting item on the catwalk this season (next to a Marc Jacobs crimson red cape) and I have already begun my research into purchasing a pair. Winter dressing always excites me, but this is a special winter where women can be classy, sexy and most importantly empowered.

Gucci RTW a/w09

It’s time to get serious, fashion lovers and there is nothing safe about this black…

A Sicilian Winter Visit…

A visit to Catania Sicily and the handbag trend…
 
Emma Watson Burberry Campaign
 
I once wrote a poem in a poetry class at University about an evening out with my girlfriends, I wrote about the drinks we drank, the men issues we discussed and the Gucci bags we carried. My teacher asked me, ‘What do these Gucci bags symbolise?’ Typical poetry teacher question, I thought to myself and explained to her that they symbolise nothing, ‘They are just bags.’ She then said to me, ‘If they are just bags, there is no need to state that they are Gucci bags. Let’s be honest…,’ She continued, ‘these are little tokens of status.’
Five years ago when she made this statement I would have agreed – ninety nine percent of the reason I bought the bag was because it was Gucci and I definitely would not have purchased it had it been the exact same bag not designed by Gucci or another high end designer. Prior to my visit to Sicily I had proudly developed the attitude that high end designer bags were no longer of such importance, the key factor was the design of the bag. I very rarely carried a designer bag and when I did it wasn’t because it was Gucci or Dior, it was because I simply liked the design of the bag, it complimented my outfit and most importantly, it was already in my wardrobe. I happily carried beautiful leather bags from TK Maxx and never felt less stylish or fashionable because it wasn’t designed by a high end designer.

In Italy high fashion designer bags are in abundance – it’s almost a sin not to have one. Women swing their designer hand bags like a brownie sticks their badges to a sash. The bag is really that serious in Italy and bottom line is – it must be designer. Many of the times I have visited ninety nine point nine percent of the time I would not have been carrying a high fashion designer bag. I hoped that people would think I was dressed so impeccably well they’d naturally assume that my bag was designed by a high fashion designer or they’d just think that I was alternative and too cool to carry a designer bag. However it would seem that if you want to qualify as the fashion concerned, stylish woman in Italy there are a few things you have to get on board with –and carrying a designer bag is definitely one of them. As they say, ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!’ I suppose fashion is not a race that I’m prepared to lose and the Italians are way way up there with the true tasteful sense of dress – so adopting their style can’t be so much of a backwards move… or can it? Part of me can’t help thinking that it is!

In Sicily it’s not just about carrying a nice high fashion designer hand bag – the Chloe Padlock bag or the YSL down town bag, huge in London – wouldn’t have survived a second in the places I frequented in Sicily. These are up to the minute, beautiful, sexy bags, far more beautiful than a Louis Vuitton Monogram printed canvas speedy bag or a Burberry Check mini messenger bag. However, drinking on a Thursday night in Central Catania Sicily in a club that is essentially a designer bathroom show room by day and a club by night I stand with my partner and take in the Sicilian fashion trend. Now, this club is hosted by one of the top hosts in Catania, he also owns Studio 54 (which is a club I frequented during my summer in Catania) – he is the host of parties, wine bars and clubs to a relatively selective crowd – The London equivalent would be China Whites on a members night. China Whites on a members night would be inhabited by two kinds of women; the modestly dressed after work woman and the woman out for a night out, spruced up and sparkling. The difference between the two, aside from those that I have just mentioned, aside from the suit, strappy shoes and alcohol consumption would be, of course The Handbag.

A woman out for a night out in London does not carry a hand bag – she clutches a clutch, the tiniest, most impractical of bags for any woman; some may be embellished with jewels, some may be expensive, others may not, some are vintage, some are satin, some are bright others are black, very few are covered in a Logo’d designer print and almost always they are worn to compliment an outfit. Studio 54, The Bathroom Show room – a designer bag hung from every woman’s body – whether it be held by handles in their hand or slung over their shoulder. These were not the tiny, impractical China White occupants’ bags – No. What were these bags? They were ‘Status Tokens’, Louis Vuitton Monogram and Burberry Check everywhere, almost mimicking the attitude of a chav (of course the style of a Sicilian woman ‘logo or no logo’ is far from anything remotely close to resembling that of a chav). And if the bag wasn’t plastered with a Logo all over it, you could assure it had such a huge featured logo that Stevie Wonder could identify the designer!

 

These are not the bags that you see carried down the Catwalk, these are not the bags that a Londoner would particularly boast about. In London we go crazy over ‘IT’ bags; a snake skin Hermes Birkin, a Croc Kelly bag, a Fendi Spy bag, a Gucci Tassel bag or the Miu Miu Matelasse bag– I couldn’t help thinking that in Sicily bags were desired just because they were a designer bag with a logo. Let’s put it into context, the bags I have just listed are high fashion bags, you know these bags not because you like to look nice and like to go shopping, but because you have an interest in fashion. The bags I have listed are almost double the price of a Louis Vuitton Speedy bag (which was the most prevalent of all the bags carried) – so, is it worthwhile to invest in a high end designer bag that you want everyone to know is a high end designer bag without the obvious Logo print?

Probably not.

I was in a bar called Tinkite (Sicilian for ‘everything’) in Siracusa, with my partner, his friend, the manager of Papini and a girl who we had met in the bar. She told me a story about her visit to a high end fashion retail store. She said she walked in the shop carrying a Pollini (logo’d) bag – she told me that in Sicily it is very normal that when you shop you are fussed over by sales assistant’s, Papini’s manager agrees, filling in; this is the way Italian’s like to shop. The girl carries on to say that she couldn’t have got an assistant’s attention if she’d of whistled. She goes on to say that she returns to the shop a few days later carrying a Channel bag, the sales assistants, she says, flocked to her like sheep to a shepherd. She believed it was due to the bag she was carrying. Can bags have this much impact? Part of me, ashamedly understands that they can.

I have tried to analyse the attitude of the Sicilian Logo bag carrying woman – surely she does not go into Burberry and buy a Burberry check bag because it’s the nicest in the shop. And then I realise – there is no Burberry in Sicily, there’s also no Emporio Armani, Fendi, Louis Vuitton or any other high end designer store. What they do have in Sicily are shops that have the mandate to sell designers in certain regions of the island, so it is probably almost never that you would walk into a shop in Sicily and see a designer’s full season, instead what you get is a selection of goods that the buyer for the shop knows will sell well. Secondly – it would appear that the majority of Sicilian’s, both men and women are concerned with elegance and class. They are not worried about frills, golden buckles, jewels or tassels – my senses tell me they prefer a simplicity; a classy and sophisticated look. They are never dressed overtly sexy, but nevertheless always carry themselves with a sexy, rich, elegant style. Point being, with a look that is almost timeless and definitely classic they needn’t worry about purchasing an up to the minute ‘high fashion’ bag. The bags they carry are the bags that Louis Vuitton and Burberry will stock season through season – the staple bag which never goes in or out of fashion. If it is for this reason that the Logo Bag Carrying is the trend, then it’s a technique I like and definitely a trend I would recommend to any fashion loving, ordinary waged person. I don’t necessarily like the fact that it ‘needs’ to be logo printed – but definitely agree it should be classic.

I enter Papini, a high end fashion retailer, with the mandate to sell Gucci, Fendi, Prada, Miu Miu, Balenciaga and many others I may not have noticed. I was undecided between two bags – one with a logo print and the other with a statement huge gold buckle (I am a sucker for gold trimmings). ‘I prefer the logo bag,’ the shop assistant says, she says something to my boyfriend in Italian, he translates, ‘She says if you’re only buying one bag then go for the logo one. You can grow tired of the buckles on the other bag. This one (points to the logo’d bag) is timeless.’
In the end I bought myself the bag the sales assistant had suggested (a plain black logo’d Fendi bag) and a Balenciaga wallet, ‘You can use these for life,’ my boyfriend said to me and to be quite frank that was exactly what I wanted to hear. I’m an average girl on an average wage – I can’t afford to spend the money I’m spending on a bag that’s only going to last me a season – Logo or no logo!