A Sunny Afternoon

(Wearing: Vintage dress, clutch and necklace, Vivienne Westwood tights and shoes)

It was randomly super hot on Sunday and I ended up in one of those I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR tantrums, the ensuing closet massacre is still all over my bedroom. I decided to raid my shop instead, where I pulled out this dress. I had originally bought it for myself but got it home to be gutted the length was so short, I really only like knee length or longer dresses. Not that I have hideous knees or anything and I can get away with shorter lengths they just don’t feel quite me. I have been looking out for some lace trim slips to solve this kind of problem, but remembered I had these crop tights which I tried it with, they seemed to work ok.
I’m still not sure if I should keep the dress or let it go to another home.
Any tips on solving the length issue?

Power Dressing

Me aged around four wearing snow ‘moon’ boots and fly net ‘veil’ with my summer dress

This article brought back some fond memories:

Power dressing

You want her to wear the red dress to playgroup; sheÔÇÖs insisting on her mermaid costume. These days, the ÔÇ£youÔÇÖre not leaving this house looking like that!ÔÇØ battles start young.

For many mothers of daughters, one of the best bits about having a little girl is the opportunity to dress her. Mothers of sons lament the lack of lovely clothing available to boys, and coo over the pretty womens dresses and adorable styles that reflect the sugar and spice that girls are, as tradition would have it, made of. And then thereÔÇÖs the question of colour, with girls clothing being available in everything from lolly pink to smart navy, while the hues of boysÔÇÖ clothes tend to be a little more limited in range.

But thereÔÇÖs a flip side to the joy of dressing up your little dolly (and letÔÇÖs face it, thereÔÇÖs almost certainly an element of this when it comes to clothing your female child) ÔÇô and thatÔÇÖs when she starts exerting her independence and making her own choices about what to wear and how to wear it.

The perfectly conceived ensembles that youÔÇÖve bought for her get mixed and matched with other items; clothes from the dress-up box are worn, with staggering confidence, for a trip to the park or supermarket. Tutus and welly boots? Shorts over leggings? A sudden refusal to wear anything that isnÔÇÖt pink; a sudden aversion to anything that isnÔÇÖt at least a little bit princessy?

Sure, you can put your foot down. But should you? ItÔÇÖs worth remembering that her interest in clothes has probably come from you anyway, and that itÔÇÖs important for children to feel and demonstrate a sense of autonomy. Letting your daughter express herself and her independence through her dress sense is one safe, healthy way that you can allow her to achieve this ÔÇô far better in its visibility, surely, than more covert behaviour, which canÔÇÖt necessarily be monitored.

As long as she is making choices that are appropriate for her own safety and wellbeing (ie ÔÇô not provocative, and suited to the temperature) then the fact that she perhaps looks a little odd should probably be endearing rather than embarrassing or annoying.

One way to limit struggles over her clothes is simply to ensure that she doesnÔÇÖt own any item of clothing that you donÔÇÖt approve of in itself. That way, even if she wears it in a way thatÔÇÖs less than what youÔÇÖd consider aesthetically pleasing, at least itÔÇÖs not revealing / sparkly / emblazoned with a slogan ÔÇô or whatever your personal dislikes happen to be.

By giving her licence to dress herself in her own combinations, youÔÇÖre giving your daughter the chance to think for herself, build her self esteem and exercise her creativity. You may even be creating a budding fashionista to boot ÔÇô and doesnÔÇÖt every woman want a lifelong shopping buddy?

Cheap Tricks

(Wearing: Vintage skirt, Primark top and belt, Prada faux fur stole, Chanel shoes, Mulberry clutch)

I bought this vintage navy pleated skirt from eBay for about ┬ú1, however it was miles too big around the waist. Since I had paid so little for it I didn’t then want to have to pay for it to be tailored so I got a bit creative.

Nail colour Mimosa by Chanel

I made two slits in the waist band and threaded a thin belt though, I then ruched the skirt along the belt so only the end and the buckle were visible. This allowed me to cinch in the waist.

I decided I liked the look of the tan belt with the skirt so I cut out two sections along each side to reveal more of the belt. I also chopped off a few inches from the hem, the fabric being strong enough to cope with a raw edge.

The belt on the sides

The belt from the front

The raw hem

I added a mani/pedi in bright yellow to contrast the pink and navy, shame it doesn’t show up too well in the photo’s. I love it when a plan comes together, believe me the amount of DIY roadkill I have created would make you weep.

P.S Don’t forget to join me on Facebook, I have been adding lots of photo albums and look books and even the odd fashion quiz – this weeks is regarding what you want to read about during fashion week – show reviews? who wore what? Nothing at all because it is boring?? You tell me!

Budget Fashion: What is a Bargain Anyway? Ethical Fashion Part #2

From the heart felt response to my post ‘Can you afford to shop ethically?’ I realise it is an issue close to the hearts of many of us. We want to buy clothes that are fashionable – we do not want to buy them at the expense of another human beings suffering. It doesn’t sound a lot to ask does it? Someone makes the clothes, we buy the clothes – we earn our money so why not spend it all on new clothes if we please?
But life isn’t that easy. We have no idea where most of the clothes hanging in the shops are made, if the people involved in manufacturing them were paid and treated fairly, was the cloth produced from ethical sources? How about the carbon foot print of the garment? What does that company do with dead stock? The waste of plastic and card involved in production, is it recycled….You see even the definition of ‘Ethical’ means different things to different people.

(Failed attempts at an outfit post due to the dogs playing silly beggers! Wearing Vivienne Westwood for People Tree top, Topshop jeans, Vivienne Westwood boots)

There really is so much to consider, whilst we can all take steps to shop more wisely this is not an issue we can fix overnight. I think the main thing we can do is heed these wise words:

‘Buy Less, Choose Well’
Vivienne Westwood

If we put some thought into what we buy, try our best to only buy things we ‘need’ – OK ‘want’ but will actually wear! Try and shop in charity shops and buy vintage, try and shop places with an ethical policy in place, little by little it can all help.

There is no quick fix because there are so many knock-on effects of our actions. Imagine if the UK stopped buying from the high street, in fact imagine if everyone in the UK boycotted Primark, for example. Not one person would shop there and they had to close down the stores. Think of all the staff that would loose their jobs, managers, sales assistants, security, cleaners, head office. Think of the manufacturers workers, they would all be set free from their sweatshops? Would they thank you for this, to them is having a job and income even if it is not the best job, is it better than having no job and no money to feed their family at all?
Ideally the pressure should be on the companies to insist their manufacturers are ethical – none of this sub-contraction get out clause. We want to know exactly where the clothes are made, we want this information available in plain English, clear and simple.

To me a bargain isn’t defined by how much I paid, but by how valuable it is to me. If I buy something which I will wear often, is made well, that will last me for years to come, then that is a bargain. So my personal attempts at shopping ethically are this: to only buy things I will get a lot of use out of, to by second hand / vintage too, only buy quality goods and to buy things made in England to support our economy where I can.

(Sirius, Ruby & Simba getting in on the act)

There is a growing collective of brands which name themselves ethical such as People Tree, Ciel – who now has a collaboration with whistles and Kitty Cooper etc. But, and I really hate to say it, I don’t really like any of the clothes they sell. Well no it isn’t that I don’t like them but they aren’t quite my style, I have never bought anything from them as I have never liked anything enough if you see what I mean.

On the other hand some of the designers I do like already are making moves towards being more ethical.Vivienne Westwood designed a t-shirt for people tree which I loved (and am wearing in this post). Dame Viv has also just launched a new collection of bags made in Africa – more on that in a later post, one of which I want to buy. But I hold my hands up in all honesty and tell you I want these things because I like them and am not buying them just because they are ethically made – although I am extreamly happy about the fact they are. Also as many of you have pointed out in your comments these shops are very expensive and are limited in size ranges.

What you said:

I’d recommend People Tree if people are looking for decent, stylish, ethically produced stuff. They’re normally a bit out of my price range but the sale prices are really quite reasonable and they sometimes do mystery bags where it’s 5 items for ┬ú30 – bargain! I’ve got a few gorgeous things that way. Alex

in our consumer driven society it is very easy to trick yourself into believing that you absolutely have to have a new dress to go out in or a completely new outfit for an interview, I know I do it often enough. But in most cases this isn’t true, we have wardrobes with perfectly decent outfits but the shops, magazines and even our peers make us believe we need a new outfit for every minor occasion and should never be seen in the same dress more than a handful of times (at the most). Jolly Good

The tighter my budget I swear the better my outfits become, because I have to think about it and go outside of my comfort zone. Little Miss C

I don’t agree with the elitism of eco-conscious shopping either, and I don’t think that people with less money should be criticised for wanting to purchase things; wealthier people are lucky that they have the option, but they are no less ‘materialistic’. Mrs Bossa

The only thing we ‘need’ to do is clothe our body so we don’t stroll around naked, or in discomfort due to the temperature. It seems that we are now a society of rights – we believe we deserve new clothes and a constantly changing wardrobe. Roz

I think that it’s important to pressure retailers to clean up their practices, rather than blame the consumers.

There are so many amazingly insightful comments on the original post, these are mere excerpts, well worth going back to read in full.I also want to recommend the following posts on the issue:

Guardian – Linda Grant Cheap at twice the price (also has a list of ethical shop links)

Rosel – My ethical dilemma with fashion blogging

Emily – Ethical fashion vs fast fashion

Jen – Ethical fashion – does it work for you?

Jill – Prime Mark – I was intending on posting about this issue myself but felt Jill’s post summed it up really well. Jill kindly copied me in on an email regarding the legal battle Primark won after parts of a recent Horizon documentary were found to be falsified. This was enough for me to undermine the entire documentary if they had found actual evidence then they would have used that no matter how ‘undramatic’. I am not saying that totally excuses Primark, but it does clarify some issues. You can read about it yourselves on the Primark Website, which I have to say goes a long way to promote their ethical considerations.

I will be blunt though, what I would like to see is some facts and figures from Primark and all the High St retailers as to how they can afford to sell things so cheaply whilst paying everyone in the chain a fair fee and still make a profit. Actually, how about that, Phillip Green et al, should you have nothing to hide?

UPDATE: Just wanted to add this link on the problems met by ethical fashion label Edun, thanks Wendy B

Cardigan Weather

(Wearing: Zara cardi and skirt, Lanvin H&M t-shirt, Pierre Hardy shoes, vintage necklace. Excuse the woeful blogger post it was actually really windy and this was the best photo of the lot!)

Not the most exciting fashion item I know, but cardigans are having a moment. In particular ‘proper’ cardigans, you know the thick, knitted type your parents used to inflict upon you as a child, the ones your dad probably wears. Well all of a sudden they are cool again. You can opt for the traditional Aran knit, collage letter man style, thin jersey, basically the rule is if you would have rejected it for being untrendy last year, then this year it is in. Got it?
I don’t often wear cardi’s other than as an extra layer below my jacket, in fact I only had one until a few months ago – plain black, thin knit. As we have had such on/off weather lately though cardigans have become my new friend. Perfect for pulling out of your bag when it gets chilly unexpectedly and they don’t crease up like jackets.
As I have started to pay more attention to this much neglected item, I have been seeing them in a new light, there are so many different types. Yes, some for day but also evening cardigans with waterfall hems and even sequins.
Confess, is your love for cardigans secret or out and proud?

Man Wisdom: Shoe Saturday Statement Trainers

Kanye West and team

I thought it was about time I did a bit more men’s wear, I simply adore this photo by the Sartorialist of Kanye West and his friends. Have you ever seen a more stylish lot? Besides the fabulously co-ordinate outfit, personalised cases and chic headgear the stylish trainers really caught my eye. I think footwear is am easy way for the guys to experiment with colour and style. Here are my top hits for this summer:

Colour and texture from Onitsuka Tiger Fabre the tweed toe is genius, Nike Vandal present the perfect example of neon with neutrals.

Whilst safely sticking to monochrome the Gola Zenith is far from ordinary with this sleek high top design, whilst the Gola Harrier takes on colour popping.

(Image credits: The Sartorialist, Mens shoes Spartoo)

How to Look Cocktail Fabulous in 5 minutes

Want to know how to look cocktail fabulous in 5 minutes?
My answer – Throw Some Sequins at it! For real, should you want to say ‘Pearl cocktails in 5 minutes’ I will be there in a flash. I can grab a number of sequined garments and with a slick of lippy be at the bar with a Harvey Wall Banger before most people have even opened the wardrobe door.
I haven’t always been this good, in fact any event that required me to wear something other than my everyday attire would have me hurling myself on the floor with sobs of ‘I have NOTHING to wear’!!!!! I know I am not alone in this and I know it surprises people when I confess too that evening wear gets me frazzled. Granted most of my daily outfits are OTT enough for evening anyway but it is the properly dressed up part that gets me. Well it did until I discovered my friend the sequin. Dresses are of course the easiest thing as it is pretty much the whole outfit in one, but I do love a sequin top too with a simple black skirt or trousers.

(Wearing: Vintage dress and clutch, Chanel boots)

(Wearing: Vintage top and clutch, Vivienne Westwood skirt, Christian Louboutin shoe)

Because I know how annoying it is when someone says ‘oh it’s vintage’ as that means hours searching around, check out Very’s gorgeous cocktail dresses. The have a huge selection of sequined numbers some very vintage in style, here are a few that caught my eye whilst having a quick browse.

Love Label £75, Fuse by Preen £17, French Connection £82.59

What is your party trick?

Budget Fashion: Orange Blush #3

This is the final look in my TK Maxx Summer fashion series, 3 outfits for ┬ú50 each (See Look #1 and Look #2). TK Maxx had literally hundreds of beautiful summer dresses any style, any colour and pattern you could ever imagine. The first thing that caught my eye about the dress I chose was the colour, orange has to be the ‘must have’ colour this season, there is no denying it is everywhere. I also wanted to see if I could get something designer into the challenge, I was surprised to find that part really easy. Where else can you get designer for ┬ú50!

As I had come in under budget on the first two outfits I figured maybe I could get away with being a tiny bit over budget with this one.

I am wearing:
Dress by Luella RRP £545 reduced to £54
Hat from previous outfit Look #1
Jacket and shoes my own
Total £54

As with all the pieces I have chosen in these posts this dress is a really versatile piece. Dress it up with pretty heels, down with sandals and denim.
We decided to create each look with an LA summer style theme, to me Kate Bosworth is the ultimate LA girl. Her outfits are always so perfectly relaxed yet there is always a specially tailored or unique aspect to them. She is a huge fan of orange too. I have uploaded some of the inspirational images I used for this shoot on to my face book page for you all. Check out the TK Maxx Facebook page too, they are always having giveaways.

Budget Fashion: Leopard Rock Look #2

Here is Look #2 in my Summer Outfits for £50 from TK Maxx (See part #1 here if you missed it). This look was inspired by the the casual cool, slightly rock chic vibe of Nicole Ritchie, Sienna Miller and Kate Moss. I chose this striking leopard print chiffon blouse for its beautiful floaty style, a versatile piece you could dress up as much as I have dressed it down. The trilby style straw hat was a must for that nonchalant laid back edge. Finished off with a glam pair of sequin sandals.

I am wearing:
Blouse by TNFC London RRP £39.00 TK Maxx price £19.99
Hat by French Connection RRP £35 TK Maxx price £12.99
Sandals £6.99
(Jeans & bracelet my own)
Total Price: £39.97

This would make a great outfit for going on holiday, you could travel in it paired with jeans, wear the hat and blouse over your bikini for pool side chic, or loose the hat and add some heels for cocktails on the town. Budget and light packing in one!

Don’t forget to check out my facebook page, I have uploaded a new inspiration album for this post,

So Jackie O

The fabulous Jackie O

The people over at Mister Spex said to me, Pearl tell us which pair of sunglasses on our site are your favorite? Sure I said but before I tell you which ones I chose I will tell you a secret. Well maybe it is more of a delusional fantasy, but when I put on a pair of sunglasses I want to feel like a film star. Perhaps it is due to the fact that living Uoop Norf we rarely see the sun so it is a special occasion every time it decides to grace us. Or maybe it stems from my love of dressing up, who didn’t don their dad’s sunglasses as a child and jump around pretending to be a rock star? Anyway I like sunglasses, I love all the different styles, colours, designs around. Each summer there is an ‘IT’ pair and I really feel each style has its own persona. Like aviators for that cool cowboy style, Wayfarers for the indie chic, Prada perspex for the futuristic fashionista and of course the big, black frames for the glamour puss. It is the latter that I always turn to when it comes to choosing sunglasses. I like to hide behind their huge lenses, almost like a mask, I could be anyone, how mysterious. So you can imagine my delight when I finally decided on these Ray-ban’s, to see the model was called ‘Jackie O’, fate I would say!

Ray-ban Jackie Ohh

Will prance around in them for you once they come!