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

Recessionista Chic

It was the usual Friday evening at the South West London home of the green fingered photographer and ex London College of fashionstudent, Canterbury Parker. Protocol of gatherings at the Parker home are drinks, tortilla chips and humus dips, gossip, fashion pondering, wine sipping and drunken calorie burning dancing.Myself and vintage shopper and charity shop aficionado Kimmie Parker and her mother, Canterbury were sat in the garden, Kimmie and myself flicking through high fashion magazines and building mental wish lists, when I came to the conclusion that, ‘I need a new image.’
Looking down at my jeans and a vest top outfit I couldn’t help feeling slightly upset and annoyed by the fact that it had taken me almost two hours to select this ensemble – (surely an outfit worth two hours of trying on and taking off should be more…creative?)
‘A new image? That costs money,’ Kimmie Parker says, sucking on her Vogue cigarette.
‘It doesn’t have to. You can just style what you already have differently,’ Canterbury Parker advises, pulling weeds from one of the flower beds of her much loved garden.
Transform Primark garments into fashion history homageI was an expert of styling while being a student, I spent most of my time shopping in my mothers wardrobe, which is like fashion heaven, filled to the brim with vintage, classic and quality goods. When my much needed student loan arrived I would stock up on Primark garments and key accessories such as bags, jewellery and shoes. By the end of the semester I could transform Primark garments in to fashion history homage, cleverly styled, interestingly worn outfits.Since being employed I must admit I have become somewhat lazy, I am very proficient in taking myself to Zara or Topshop and buying myself a Catwalk look a likey whenever an event pops up. I can’t help thinking this is all too easy and a lot less fun!
Never fear, the impromptu shopping for occasion attitude will be over in the next few months. The coming months will not only see me considerably poorer due to heading back to university – but headed to FASHION university (the Gold winners of Graduate Fashion Week) some serious creativity and art will need to be applied to my dressing technique.
Now is the time for me to pull my finger out and get all Recessionista chique!

Outfits look great with a bit of vintage punctuation
Gok Wan says the key to dressing in high street and cheaper garments is to accessorise – often these garments miss out on detail.’ Kimmie says.
Sipping my wine, I concur. I am a true accessories practitioner – I don’t believe an outfit is complete until you have considered your belt, it’s buckle, your earrings, your necklace or chain, rings, bracelets, your handbag and shoes. If you’re a truly serious dresser you’ll even have a selection of watches!
The Sicilian always says, ‘A man can be wearing anything, but he will always be judged by his watch and his shoes.’
Accessories can speak volumes about your outfit, your style and your ability to dress – I believe all outfits look great with a bit of vintage punctuation, whether it’s a vintage belt, bag or shoe; vintage always puts you in a league with the connoisseurs. Accessories can easily get over looked or become a second thought, to some, maybe they are. In my case it would take me far longer to decide NOT to wear accessories than it would for me to pile them on.
My ears were pierced before I even knew what earrings were and since then I’ve never looked back. As a dancer in my late teens I would go as far as to pack a special pair of earrings to wear whilst rehearsing in the studio, once rehearsals were finished I would replace my dancing earrings with my statement earrings!
Many of my friends would die at the thought of leaving their homes without their earrings, particularly frequent flyer and bling – a – ling supporter, Angel Rae; in the six years that I have known her I am yet to see her without earrings big enough to pick up a satellite signal. It’s her thing and it works!
If and when you have to buy garments, buy them in black!
Accessories are a necessity, particularly for the Recesisionista Fashionista who doesn’t have thousands of pounds to rework their image, but still insists on being individual and stylish. I am not saying that everyone should go out and spend thousands of pounds on accessories, that would defeat the whole object. But if sacrifice and compromise happen to reside in your fashion styling technique, then instead of buying a load of clothes from Primark that are anonymous and more than likely not necessary or spending sixty pounds on a dress from Zara, that can only be worn once around the same group of friends, focus more on a pair of statement shoes, a killer coat, a broche or clutch bag. My key tip for Recessionista Chique is; invest in items that can transform outfits and can be worn continuously throughout the season. And if and when you have to buy garments, buy them in black!

Cont’d in Accessory Necessities…

Accessory Necessities

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

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

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

1 – Bags

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

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

2 – Jewellery

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

Gucci Ad Campaign ss 09

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

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

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

Marc Jacobs a/w 09-10 RTW

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

5 – Nail Varnish

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

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

7 – Scarves, Earrings & Sunglasses

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

Cindy Crawford, Vogue Paris 08

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

Kate Moss for Topshop

8 – Waist Belts

Marc Jacobs a/w 09/10

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

9 – General Belts

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

10 – Hair and Make Up

Gwen Stefani Elle USA


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

11- Forget the Rules

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

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