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!

My Thing About Stilettos…

 

If you’ve picked up a Vogue magazine, scoured the Street Style pins on Pinterest or admired the spring summer 2013 ad campaigns of the major fashion houses in the last six months you will know that the stiletto is back and with a vengeance. These days you rarely spot the likes of Olivia Palermo, Kim Kardashian and the the recent addition to my fashion radar, Miranda Kerr, out and about without donning these ever so simple, ever so classic, yet suddenly ever so chic shoes. In my fashion lifetime, which consists of twelve years, defined by the period of time in which I have been a contributor and a consumer of fashion goods afforded by my own pocket as opposed to my parents – this is not the first time the stiletto has been coined ‘chic’. When I say chic, I am not referring to the days when the stereotyped Essex girl claimed this pointed heeled shoe in white leather. No, the stiletto has reigned once before within my fashion life, with a lot more fashion kudos than the Essex girl was rewarded, and if my memory serves me correctly, this was circa 2001.

I remember it categorically. It was about the time when I was studying Performance Art Management at the Brits School and dating a French man 13 years my senior. The pointed stiletto I owned a plenty, mostly from Faith, a few pairs from Ravels and one pair from Karen Millen, complete with matching handbag. I wore them to feel grown up, elegant and worthy of dating an older man. I wore them in pink with a wooden heel,  black mesh with a leather toe cap, silver with a metallic heel, monochrome with a white toe and black heel (which would have been perfect for the trends of the coming spring) and my very special pair from Dune, in gingham check red and white.  On their debut, I wore these shoes with an asymmetric little black dress from Miss Sixty. It was Monday night and I was at Ten Rooms. Indeed, it was about the time when Ten Rooms was the hot London night club and the ultimate place to be Monday nights. That particular night, the night I wore my gingham check shoes to Ten Rooms, John Legend was just launching in the UK. So fresh out of water was he that he required an introduction from the master of ceremony for his performance, which won over the hearts of me and my friends . That was the era – my era, when stilettos were the only shoes you wore.

However, if you weren’t a fan of John Legend nor a fan of the live music scene in London night clubs in the early noughties, then a better reference point to draw upon for any fashionista will be Sex and the City. In 2001 Sex and the City was into its third year. Carrie Bradshaw, my ultimate icon, idol, maybe even professional guru at the time, was flitting all about the streets of Manhattan in these delicate stilettos. And, like I said, she was my life coach, therefore I flit about the streets of London in stilettos too! During this period I wouldn’t have been seen dead without my stilettos, but like all trends, the day came when the pointed shoe was ‘so last season!’ And after becoming very mindful of getting my heels stuck in drains and in between decking and mastering the art of walking on my tip toes when visiting homes that boasted parquet flooring, the stiletto disappeared. In fact, the stiletto didn’t just disappear or slowly fade out, they were thrown out, considered hideous, unfashionable – those items that you’d look back and think, ‘God, I can’t believe I ever wore those’, and very quickly the world became adverse to the pointed toe, pointed heel and all.

Nothing quite confirms you’ve got a few miles on the clock like witnessing a trend complete a full cycle, however the stiletto is back, and in its second term in my fashionable life.  Although the world hasn’t gone stiletto crazy just yet, by Spring 2013 it’s likely that fashionistas will be getting their heels stuck in drains, sunk into grass and ruining parquet floors left right and centre. But, the stiletto uptake has been slow. Stilettos were on the shelves of high street stores as far back as 2011. That may not sound particularly long ago in real life, but in fashion years, two years ago is a long time. I remember because I bought two pairs of stilettos that year, a pair from Zara inspired by the Christian Louboutin Helmut shoe and a pair from Office with gold spikes on the back of the shoe. But I found I never really wore them and by 2012 I had forgotten about them entirely.

You see, nobody was really wearing stilettos around the time I purchased mine and although I’d delight in spotting a snap of Victoria Beckham or the occasional fashionite in a Tommy Ton photograph wearing their thin heeled shoes, truth be told, the stiletto wasn’t really making much of a presence on the high street and therefore I wasn’t enjoying them as much as I would have if they were totally on trend and all the rage. I’m not a fashion victim, at least I don’t think so, but fashion is a two way street and no matter how proud one might be to be fashion forward or fashion savvy, part of the reason we all follow fashion is so we can be in it. If nobody else is really getting it and nobody else is wearing it – then the trend doesn’t really work. So I hung up my stilettos…. but only momentarily.

Now I am keen to add to my stiletto collection – a leopard print pair, a nude pair, a red pair and a designer pair. I am wearing the stilettos I already own as and when I can, but let’s be honest, with the violent cold we have been experiencing in England and the recent downfall of rain, sleet AND snow, wearing stilettos is a major commitment that I cannot make at the moment. This is my thing with stilettos, you see, as excited as I am that I grabbed hold of this trend and have been donning these shoes before they become populace, I am only able to wear them on very select occasions.  Reason being, I can’t flit around town Carrie Bradshaw style in stilettos the way I once did. I have become way to accustomed to the support and protection a platform or a chunky heel provides.  I am not used to the ball of my foot being so close to the ground, I am not used to being able to make out a pebble beneath the sole of my shoe and I am not used to relying on such a thin heel to hold the weight of my body. In my late twenties I have also realised, I am not comfortable having any of my skin exposed to the harsh outdoors of an English winter, apart from my face of course, and this includes my feet. I wear boots and brogues and that’s as far as it goes.

I recently went to dinner with a friend who wore a pair of red suede stilettos with a metal cigarette heel. When she arrived I was a little sad that I had opted for a pair of black suede wedged boots instead of my stilettos and admired her commitment. Let me tell you about my friend – she’s tiny, about five foot tall and she wears heels relentlessly. Even to walk around Portobello Market she’ll adorn her feet in the highest of heels. However, as we readied ourselves to head home, she slipped off her red stilettos and swapped them for a pair of Converse. I was flabbergasted, a little disappointed even – but I got it. Stilettos are not a commuters friend and they are no walk in the park. If you’re jumping in a cab, driving or doing something that involves very little walking, dancing or time on your feet in general, then by all means opt for your stilettos, but these shoes will not see you through hard times, in fact they might create them!

So, I wear my stilettos as and when I can. I wear them when I am going for mid-week drinks or dinner and am driving or jumping in a cab. I wear them to the cinema – as just like drinking and dining, you do this sitting down. I wear them on house visits and I recently wore them at a work conference, (not to, because I carried them in my bag) which also involved lots of sitting down. They look spectacular with a pair of leather trousers, and with skirts and dresses stilettos really elongate your legs and give your feet that perfect ballet dancers arch (think Victoria Beckham’s feet in a pair of court shoes). If I’m wearing my stilettos in the daytime I generally tend to pair these very elegant shoes, which can be looked upon as particularly sexual, with a more casual look. As someone who isn’t a particularly casual dresser, but has desperately been trying to pull off the casual sporty winter trends, namely the sweatshirt, the stiletto has been my game changer. Since committing to my stilettos I have bought four sweatshirts and am feeling very proud! These shoes will glam up any sweatshirt and skinny jeans ensemble instantly and appear almost effortless.I say ‘appear’, because only you will know the effort you are making to wear these shoes. Whether it’s  paying extortionate cab fares to and from a location, driving on a night out, therefore compromising on the merriment of alcohol consumption and knowing, if the night kicks off and the crowd gets dancing, you’ll be spending most of it dancing with your bottom on your chair. 

So, for those like me, not braving the cold in stilettos just yet, I say we enjoy the spring in our step for the rest of the winter, come Spring 2013, we might not be able to. 

Victoria Beckham in stilettos

 

 

Stilettos
Tom Ford Black Pumps with Gold Lock #heels #shoes

Be charmed, stay inspired! x

Redefining A Love Affair with Dresses and Statement Separates

Perfection...

So, first of all I should probably start by saying Happy New Year to you all! So, ‘ Happy New Year’. I hope you all celebrated in style, adorned in your very best. I personally had a small panic attack selecting the perfect dress to make a first impression on 2013. Because I have spent much of my Christmas holidays writing my novel, I’ve had very little time to shop, so thought New Year’s Eve would be the perfect opportunity to don one of the many loved and forgotten dresses that hang patiently in my wardrobe awaiting their outing. After my said panic attack I opted for a Holly Fulton for ASOS black and yellow shift dress I bought a year and a half ago – which, in hindsight, is probably one of the most unique and expensive dresses in my wardrobe and pretty fitting for the occasion. But this dress was selected under the strict instructions of my ever changing body.

It was about the time when everyone was watching The Hills, and I was not only obsessed with my weight, but very much in control of it and a very happy size eight, when Heidi asked Lauren Conrad, ‘Have you been working out a lot?’ and Conrad responded with something along the lines of, ‘No, I just wear dresses’. Immediately I scribbled into the notes section of  my That Extra Half an Inch by Victoria Beckham, ‘wear dresses to look skinnier’, this new fashion tip was added to the bottom of my never ending list of how to dress myself skinny. It doesn’t take Karl Lagerfeld to know that black is slimming, so with this in mind and in the light of my newly acquired Lauren Conrad fashion tip I bought myself six black dresses from ASOS all in one pop – it was 2007, my partner was living in Sicily and I was partying frequently. These six little black dresses was merely just the beginning of a frenzied episode in my life where I purchased nothing but black dresses. They were draped or backless, prom or puffball, bat winged or off the shoulder, short or even shorter. I partied attired in black dresses for four years – never wearing the same twice out to a big night out and if so, rarely was it documented on Facebook.

The black dress was my thing, at least I thought so at the time. Occasionally I’d worry whether I had gotten too predictable – friends used to comment that I always wore black dresses, but I was convinced that this was my style and that I was very lucky to have found one – a style that is. I suppose the colour black in itself, although slimming, refined, classic and elegant, can also be associated with being boring, safe, Gothic and worst of all – death. So, one summer I made a conscious effort to invest in a whole array of poptastic brightly coloured dresses in canary yellows, warm corals, floral, striking oranges, emerald greens and a rainbow of prints – even though I love a black dress on a summer evening. So, albeit my effort to rid myself of the black dress, I had moved away from black, but was still very much wearing dresses. I wore dresses to mark occasions, I wore dresses to look glamorous and mostly I wore dresses to feel dressed up – because surely only a dress can do all of these things in good and proper form without each and every time.

After a 2011/12 winter spent dressed in a variety of black midi dresses, by summer 2012 my affair with dresses died officially died. It was around the time that I had split up with my partner – a Sicilian man ten years older than me, a workaholic, very rarely seen without donning Cartier shirts and Hugo Boss suits, who has the utmost appreciation for formal dress. My black dress fitted into all occasions suitably and complimented his formal attire. However, when we split up I began hanging around in Peckham, a setting more art chic than and far more quirky than what my wardrobe was used to. The affair ended also about the time that I started using Pinterest ardently, pinning street fashion photographs by Tommy Ton, admiring the manipulation of garments and  the styling of an ensemble and falling completely head over heels in love with Olivia Palermo’s ability to dress. Magazines were featuring articles that celebrated statement separates as opposed to the statement dress and suddenly the black dress felt so irrelevant. It felt boring.

I wanted to be more interactive and involved with the way I was dressing – I wanted a challenge. I started with skirts and lots and lots of tops in different materials, cuts and colours. I had emerged from the Victoria Beckham-esque dress and was completely inspired by Olivia Palermo and the thought she put into creating one ensemble. It involved the pairing together and experimenting with colours, fabrics, silhouettes, mis-matching, prints, layering, accessorising and most importantly, being brave enough to be totally unpredictable. I had opened up a whole new approach to fashion, which very quickly managed to empty my bank account and burst my wardrobes. I was enjoying a more youthful approach and it wasn’t about being classic or timeless – it was about being fun. My skirts rose from midi-length to short and I purchased a selection of shorts, short shorts, in wool and twill, leather and silk. It was a very special moment when I purchased myself a pair of denim Topshop shorts! I’ve worn them three times now and each and every time I do I have to mentally coax myself into doing so.  Denim shorts have always been my biggest fashion no-no for anyone above the age of twenty four and four years senior, I am prancing around Garage raves adorned  in denim shorts. Oh the irony!

So, after the best part of a year piecing together separates and implementing my new unpredictability styling technique, I was especially looking forward to being plain old and predictably glamorous -stunning dress, skyscraper heels and a clutch bag. The art deco style Holly Fulton dress I ended up wearing on New Years Eve went up against a red peplum dress inspired by Lanvin’s peplum, frilled sleeve dress from the Lanvin Spring Summer 2010 collection and a black midi dress with a sheer decolletage embellished with polka dots inspired by the remarkable  dresses from Stella McCartney’s autumn winter 2011 collection – you know the ones that took the world by storm. Ultimately, I was most excited about wearing the red dress – I hadn’t worn it in at least two years –  it’s hot, it’s sultry, it’s powerful and when I previously wore it to Kensington Roof Gardens the compliments were endless. Let’s just say this dress makes me feel special. Or, more aptly, made me feel special. When I modelled my very special red dress in the mirror yesterday afternoon, during what I like to call my ‘dress rehearsal’ or what my partner calls ‘Ayesha’s catwalk’ I was getting ready to look and feel the most dressed up and glamorous I had felt all year – all for my first meeting with 2013.

However, I quickly realised that the ‘wear dresses to look skinnier’ style tip that I had been swearing by for the past four or five years no longer applied. The very garment that I have always gone to to make me feel protected and safe, glamorous and womanly, refined and special no longer made me feel either of the above. To put the realisation into context, imagine really looking forward to wearing your favourite pair of jeans that you haven’t worn for a while, you know the pair that suck you in, lengthen your legs and go perfect with your favourite pair of boots or stilettos, only to realise they no longer fit or are no longer flattering. Neither my Lanvin or my Stella McCartney inspired dresses, or any of the dresses in my wardrobe for that matter, could hide the fact that in my new found youthful approach to dress, I had also been eating like I had  metabolism to match. The dresses clearly displayed the pounds that I have piled on over the months and have been covering up beneath my statement separates without even knowing it.

 As much as I have enjoyed piecing together separates, and as much as this has become my new go to look, the irony of fashion would have it that I am now eager to look and feel just as confident   being refined and glamorous in my dresses as I feel confident being fashionable and stylish in separates. Fashion isn’t all about dressing ourselves skinny, it’s mainly about feeling good in our clothes. On the other hand, life is about balance and you can get too much of one thing; whether it’s junk food, partying, work or even black dresses. The black dress and the denim shorts are indeed metaphors for the two extremes of my personality and my approach to life. My desire to now find balance in my life between the two extremes and redefine my affair with dresses may be enthused by the rekindling of my relationship with my partner. Of course I am not about to let go of all that I discovered in the four months I was single and I am not going to take away from the great moments that I had playing around in my denim shorts, but I cannot deny my affection  for the black dress, the respect it commands with its elegance and refinement and how powerful, yet safe and protected it makes me feel. With some balance implemented into my life, less junk food consumed, less nights spent partying and a lot more time exercising I’ll get excited about wearing the black dress as a means to show off as opposed to covering up, because let’s face it, there’s no fun in dressing up if it’s just to hide lumps and bumps anyway!

So, to all of us planning to shed those extra Christmas pounds, working to fit into a favourite pair of jeans, trying to tone up to look stunning in the perfect party dress and whatever less fashion concerned ambitions we might have for the coming year – here’s to embracing a challenge and never losing sight of our goals for 2013!

Of course, till the pounds are shed – I’ll still be opting for the stylishly fashionable in street chic separates.

OliviaPalermoLondon FashionWeek
Olivia Palermo

 

London Fashion Week #StreetStyle #Fashion #LFW #LondonFashionWeek #OliviaPalermo

...

OP

Olivia Palermo - Monochrome

Be charmed, stay inspired. x

Goodbye to the Maxi and Summer 2012…

An Ode to the Maxi skirt and summer 2012…

Source: via Ayesha on Pinterest

As the mornings remain darker for longer and daylight leaves us that bit earlier the unfortunate fact is looming…summer is over and out with it goes the summer wardrobe. This summer I fell in love with the maxi skirt, a white linen shirt and maxi skirt ensemble became my go to look for the season, to mix up the look I even took inspiration from my ultimate style icon Olivia Palermo and wore my maxi’s with heels. I will be sad to pack away my super comfortable, effortlessly glamorous maxi skirts and even more so to say goodbye to Summer 2012..But whilst the temperature remains in its double figures in London and it’s just warm enough to don my maxis I will…

Here’s my ode to Summer 2012 and the Maxi Skirt…

 

 

Source: trendtation.com via Ayesha on Pinterest

Be charmed, stay inspired. x

Inspired By: Stylish Thoughts…

Inspired By: Stylish Thoughts…

I’ve been thinking about style a lot of lately, possibly because I have been shopping excessively and going out at just as much – requiring the styling of many new ensembles for many different events, locations and situations. When I studied fashion two years ago I was lucky enough to truly discover exactly what it is exactly that beguiles me about fashion. Beyond the delight I find in dressing and dressing up, what I am so curious about and so deeply intrigued by is simple…it’s style. STYLE! That simple one syllable word that has such a weighty significance in terms of self expression. We all know the famous fashion quote ‘Fashion fades, style is eternal…’ But do we truly know how to define it? We know it when we see it -‘That’s stylish, she’s stylish, he’s got style etc.’

We all generally tend to have a universal understanding of who and what is stylish, hence why the world covets and henceforth creates style icons. And style icons vary from classic and sharp Victoria Beckham, to masters of the glam rock chic Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, preened to perfection and always neat Olivia Palermo  or forever casual and cool in a leather jacket, skinny jeans and boots combo Kate Moss.

But asides from using the word to identify a form of dressing, Classic, Casual, Trendy, Sporty etc, what constitutes as style and how can we identify what it looks like?

I like to define style as fashion’s cousin, her much cooler cousin and a trend is fashion’s sister, possibly even twin sister. Without going too deeply into semiology and linguistics, fashion is the object – the signified and the trend is formed by the signifiers, in this case the consumers (us), who with our consumption of said object  eventually make the object fashionable or/ and trendy.

Style, I refer to as fashion’s cooler cousin because it’s more expressive and offers more of a personal communication. If we could all afford to wear runway looks straight off the catwalk of the season’s most coveted look, regardless of how fashionable and on trend it might be, we’d all look like clones, or the alternative terminology, fashion victims. Style is not the possession of, or the monetary strength to, own and dress in fashionable items.  Style is the dance between conforming and rejecting, between being predictable, ironic and unexpected.

We can all wear a runway look and be fashionable, but  we’d have no credit to take for our ability to dress, because the look has already been packaged and parceled by another stylist. In fact, the only thing we might express dressed head to toe in a runway look is our undying love for fashion and our ability to keep up with its capricious nature. Ask Anna Dello Russo, Fashion Editor and Creative Director at Vogue Japan, who’ll tell you ‘I don’t want to be cool, I want to be fashion’. I have never seen a woman wear so many runway looks, in fact so fashionable is the passionate fashionista that she has been described by Helmut Newton as a ‘Fashion maniac’.  Anna might be considered ironically cool, like wearing nineties patterned  Moschino in the twenty first century or a black woman wearing a t-shirt that reads ‘Blondes have more fun,’ but too much irony or too much of one thing is never good.

So, back to this dance of conforming and rejecting. Style is a personal interpretation of the signified object – the fashion item, it’s the way in which we  choose to hangout with fashion’s sister, the signifiers, the masses that form the trends and its how we choose to reject it, by refusing to wear it, altering it or manipulate it. A white shirt might be fashionable, neatly buttoned down and tucked into a pair of jeans, we conform to the trend by wearing the white shirt, but we reject it by tucking only the front of the shirt into our jeans and leaving the back out, wearing the first three buttons undone or placing a statement necklace around the collar and so on and so forth.

In my humble opinion, ‘styling’ is the way in which we manipulate fashion. The most stylish of people in my belief are those that always have their eye on fashion but have the ability to manipulate, to innovate, to be unexpected but respectable, ironic and predictable and know exactly when to conform and when to reject.  Style is formed once we develop a particular method towards the way in which we approach dress, over a period of time this will form a motif which eventually becomes our own unique style.

Here’s to some of my personal style icons at the moment…

Carrie Bradshaw Sex and the City
Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City movie wearing pink cut out dress and black studded belt.
Carrie Bradshaw
Carrie Bradshaw – Sex and the City
Victoria Beckham wearing DVB Jeans
Victoria Beckham wearing DVB Jeans
Victoria Beckham
Victoria Beckham dressed in grey
Rihanna dressed in pink and orange
Rihanna dressed in pink and orange
Olivia Palermo in pink
Olivia Palermo wearing pink lace at the Valentino Couture at Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild
Olivia Palermo in black and navy blue
Olivia Palermo in black leather peplum top and navy blue shorts with pointed wedges
Kourtney Kardashian casual in flats
Kourtney Kardashian casual in flats
Kourtney Kardashian
Kourtney Kardashian dressed in blue patterned dress
Kim Kardashian wearing black and grey
Kim Kardashian wearing staple skinny jeans, heels and waterfall jacket. Dressed in black and grey.
Kim Kardashian dressed in leggings and longline blazer
Kim Kardashian dressed in leggings and longline blazer with statement necklace
Kourtney Kardashian dressed casually in flats
Kourtney Kardashian dressed casually in flats and brown hat

Be charmed, stay inspired! x

Inspired by: Being Over Shopped or Under Paid!

 

Sometimes you really do just have to see the silver lining…or gold in my case! So here’s my story…

This month I have been fluttering within the realm of social media more so than usual. This of course is fun! It’s great to see what’s out there, I love to be inspired and it’s important to invest into the blogosphere, as I treasure it so dearly.

Au contraire to what internet phobes and pre-historic anti social media characters might say…there really is some good stuff out there and so inspired have I been that much of this months fashion purchases have been enthused  by fellow bloggers.

Most of my social media travels are concerned with fashion and style and I flit between blogs, Polyvore and Pinterest. On my journeys I discover new styling ideas and new looks that I want to try out…I pin them to my  Pinterest board, I blog about them on Charms of a Dandizette and then I look through my wardrobe to see how I can imitate, recreate or incorporate said style into my own life.

The problem, however, begins when in my wardrobe I can’t find the right print trouser, a top that sits the way I want it to or a shoe that says this about me rather than that. I begin to make mental notes, ‘I need to buy this, I have to   remember to buy that.’  Then I come back to Pinterest, to any particular blog post I have bookmarked, Shared or Liked and then I begin to write my shopping list.

The mid-season sales began this month so I made it my point of duty to purchase as much as I could on my shopping list, with a few little extras that weren’t, but were such a good deal that I couldn’t pass them up! As the weather in London has been generally atrocious I have yet been able to wear half the clothes I have bought, so they sit in my wardrobe, tags still hanging off, awaiting their debut!

On Wednesday, whilst listening to a Cafe Del Mar chill out set on YouTube and envisioning myself sipping cocktails on a beach on the continent or at a roof top bar (if I have to be in London) with the sun beaming its rays on me, a promotional email from Kensington Roof Gardens came through, boasting about the great weather this weekend and Roof Gardens being the place to be. Instantly I got excited, if its true, if the weather really is going to be nice…I want to spend the day in some swanky roof top bar, sipping cocktails that are super overpriced, just so I can finally get dressed up in something new!

This morning I woke up, the sun was shining a little, excitement grew a little more, I apprehensively checked the weather forecast, excitement surged through the roof  – lots of sun promised for the capital this weekend! Then I began to mentally plan what I might wear whilst logging onto my online bank account… ‘snake print trousers with purple top, no, black and white skirt with red top Olivia Palermo style, or…’

Low and behold, my bank balance appears on screen and excitement suddenly disappears so quickly it crashes through the floor. All possibilities of debuting ensembles, spending double figures on cocktails and maybe even squeezing in a purchase of a pair of Alexander McQueen wedges I spotted in the sale are out of the window!

As well as laughing at myself right now for spending so frivolously this month and really expecting to afford some glammed up weekend, I am also laughing at the irony o f  it all! Loads of fabulous clothes, nowhere fabulous to  go. Only a few months ago I wrote a piece about my new found love for the court shoe due to its versatility and suitability to my more ‘mature’ lifestyle. It was inspired by my partner who had said to me, ‘What is the point of your money hanging in your wardrobe when you can have it sitting in your bank?’ A comment he had made off the back of me purchasing party dresses and glamazon shoes, which are still boxed away or hanging in my wardrobe unworn because, truth be told, I rarely party!

Admittedly, I didn’t need to shop so excessively…instead of buying everything on my list and then some, I could have crossed a few things off! I put it down to the occupational hazard of fashion blogging and also to my predisposition of seeing the world through fashion tinted glasses.

My weekend is more than likely going to be less fabulous than I imagined…but, the gold lining is, I can stay at home, save on spending, be productive and write! The ultimate question is…can you consider yourself a fashion blogger without partaking in the accumulation of fashion goods?

Here’s what’s been inspiring me…Be charmed, stay inspired! x

Kim Kardashian – Kueen of the Kourt Shoe

Kim Kardashian jacket, jeans and court shoe ensembles

Denim skinny jeans
lipstickalley.com

My heyday, my early twenties, was a time of complete and utter frivolity – I suppose as it is for most. I had no concern for my health, no concern for my future and absolutely zero responsibilities. My main concern in life was how many new dresses I would need to purchase every month to go out dancing in, how long the fake hair I would apply to my own hair would be before I bordered on looking like black barbie and how few calories I could consume in a day to remain a size eight, to allow me to fit into the hundreds of Lanvin inspired party dresses I had accumulated but would never wear anywhere more than once.

During this period, which I always look back at with such delight, I had a number of completely impractical and ridiculous fashion rules. The kind of rules that nobody required to function in daily life could live by. My rules were, never wear black and white, to be fair I know a lot of people that implement this rule,  never wear flat shoes – possibly this one too, never wear jeans and never wear court shoes.

To be honest, I have been unable to shake the black and white rule. When I do wear black and white, it is indeed a conscious effort. I feel comfortable, even stylish, in a Breton striped t-shirt with black jeans and red lipstick ‘a la Chanel’ or a digitally printed monochrome pair of leggings with a black tunic and gold sandals. But pairing plain white bottoms with a plain black top, or vice-versa, I simply cannot allow myself to do. I associate the colour coordination too uniform, too predictable.

In regards to the flat shoes, barring intricate or shiny gold sandals and expensive riding or biker boots, I would refuse to wear anything flat on my feet…not even a ballet pump. In fact, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still find ballet pumps pretty generic, but since commuting for work I am now the proud owner of a pair of brogues, a pair of driving shoes and a pair of moccasins.

You see there’s a pattern here with the rules that I had stipulated for myself; I clearly had a desire to display a more put together, thought out and contrived appearance as opposed to an effortless and simple look. More Olivia Palermo and Kourtney Kardashian as opposed to Kate Moss or the Olsen twins. I would avoid wearing jeans because anyone could wear jeans, now I struggle to avoid wearing my jeans and blouse ensemble, because it is so easy, never fails to look sexy and because I don’t have the time every evening to prepare a fashion forward ensemble for the next day. It sounds terrible, but it’s true!

The last rule to finally be broken is my rule of the court shoe- a rule that was only recently broken. Amidst my shoe collection, that my partner refers to as a disgrace to poverty, are every kind of shoe you can imagine; multi-coloured,  wedged, laced, zipped, red, nude, Mary Jane, Miu Miu, Gucci, Cesare Paciotti, spike heeled, stack heeled, banana heeled, mirror heeled, too big, too small, too painful to wear – you name it – I have it somewhere. What I did not own, up until recently, was a pair of court shoes.

In my early twenties the only shoes I needed were the shoes that I wore when I hit the club. Most had heels bordering on the height of a stripper shoe and were as intricate and as elaborate as possible. Studded, strappy and extremely seductive. Victoria Beckham has always championed the court shoe, most predominately those wonderful almond toe YSL court shoes, and anyone who knows me will know that Victoria Beckham has been one of my most inspirational fashion figures, but I could just never get down with the whole court shoe thing. I knew my shoe collection was missing a very important shoe and I knew it was the court, but I couldn’t bring myself to purchase such a simple shoe when there were so many more exciting heels out there.

Kim Kardashian has helped me discover my love for the court shoe. Recently, I was idly clicking through pictures of Kim online, as you do, when I noticed that the reality star often opts to adorn her feet in court shoes, even when she’s attending an event. Court shoes would be the last shoe I would ever wear to a special occasion or event.  I associate such a shoe with work or business meetings, but naturally Kim looks fabulous each and every time she dons her court shoes, no matter the occasion or the outfit. And that’s when it dawned on me, court shoes don’t have to be boring or serious and they’re not a fashion cop out.

Indeed they are simple, but how they elongate the leg, enhance the foot’s natural arch and leave the ankle exposed, the ankle being an appealing and understated sexy part of a woman’s body, makes them the perfect balance between sexy and classic – which is just what you need as you approach the maturer end of the 25 -29 age box. So, all the reasons that I had  refused to wear or purchase a pair of court shoes beforehand are now all the reasons I now can’t get enough of them. I love their simplicity and, more than anything, I love their versatility.

As I don’t go out as much as I did in my heyday, I no longer need that elaborate shoe that I once wore clubbing, but I still need an edgy shoe for the evenings. I love that the right court shoe can totally transform a jeans and shirt ensemble for the day, but with a high enough platform, will still look amazing with a little body-con dress for a night out. I love that they’re classic and that they’ll still look super chic twenty years from now – even after fashion has changed, reformed and reacted. But what I would love more than anything, would be to have a court shoe collection populated with as many Christian Louboutin pumps (as the Americans call them) as Kim Kardashian’s. After all, surely it was Mr Louboutin that made the masses realise the fashion credibility of a court shoe!

As they say in life, never say never. And isn’t fashion totally emblematic of that sentiment? Gotta love it!

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!