Outfit: Doubling Up

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Today I’m wearing: Vivienne Westwood- Gold Label Argyle suit, beloved red Mary Jane shoes; Red Label tartan jacket, Swallow necklace; Wendy Brandes Little Woolfe necklace.

Quick little update today, wanted to share this outfit I wore when I went to Bath, making use of this beautiful mirror. Can’t beat a tartan clash! Also wearing my lovely swallow necklace, it’s quite an old piece now I guess.

Really looking forwards to the Vogue Fashion Night Out on Thursday here in Manchester. My top picks will be Bobbi Brown, Guerlain at House of Fraser, TK Maxx, Vivienne Westwood and Armani to name a few! Hope everyone who can makes it has a fab night and do stop to say hi if you see me!

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Outfit: Vivienne Westwood Inspirations #3 – Like Superman

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Today I’m Wearing: Vivienne Westwood – Gold Label Prince Charming AW10 collection shirt, Yourself tshirt;Worlds End boxers, John Bull hat; Tartan shoes AW11; lips necklace.

When you’re 5.2″ posting photos of yourself next to 6ft+ glamazonian beauties isn’t generally the best idea but hey the things I do for fashion. Canary yellow tights, I’m not gonna lie, wouldn’t usually be top of my list of flattering items either. So the fact I’m doing all this wearing just a pair of boxers with tights over the top a la Superman just about put the cherry on the cake for today’s escapades. I had to do it though, out of all of Westwood styling tricks I’m going to say this is the most erm eye-catching :/

It looks undeniably amazing in the ad campaign and as it has appeared numerous times on the runway. Exposed boxers were also a big feature for SS09 where they were worn with loosely strung, crotch slit trousers. Dame Viv famously took centre stage at the Paralympics closing ceremony and later for the finale of her SS13 Red Label show, wearing the look to unveil her Climate Revolution campaign.

Dame Viv can basically wear anything she wants and make it look cool, although on a positive note she is closer to my height. Either way there was no denying this was going to be really difficult to pull off so I decided to just go for it wholeheartedly, tights, boxers, hat, crazy make up the works.

The verdict? It’s not one I will be wearing, but it is stunning for the runway and of course Dame Viv. It was really fun to try and in the next Inspirations post I will share how I made it more wearable which you might like to try yourself.

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Worldwide Woman AW11 campaign

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Dame Viv herself storms the runway in her war-paint after the Red Label SS13 show

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Runway Do It Yourself SS09

(Image credits: VivienneWestwood.co.uk, Getty via DailyMail, Style.com)

PFW SS14: Vivienne Westwood Gold Label

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‘Everything is Connected’ SS14

New Vivienne Westwood Gold Label collection, new shopping list for me! Eagle eyes aside, our Viv had an important message for the collection:

I am going to call the show ÔÇ£Everything is connectedÔÇØ because that is the main message of the Climate Revolution and it means that everything each one of us thinks or says or does can make a difference.
Shakespeare saw the disaster we were heading for. In the quotation below itÔÇÖs useful to know that glass means mirror, the picture it gives us is of man holding up his own image to challenge God.

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But man, proud man,
Drest in a little brief authority-
Most ignorant of what he is most assurÔÇÖd.
His glassy essence- like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As make the angels weep.
-Shakespeare

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Now that our World is at the chaos point I want to know more about the order of the medieval community. My interest in these people deepens. A couple of years ago I went with Andreas to Canterbury. There was a service in the cathedral and we werenÔÇÖt allowed in to the splendor of the nave and alter. IÔÇÖm so glad because instead we gained another experience; we explored the cloisters and vaults within the environs of the building and I felt all along that I was wandering in the presence of ordinary people who lived in a different world to mine and I thought of the specialists- the alchemists of those days who aspired to become more spirit than flesh because they believed in a divine order of things.
Our medieval pilgrims on their journey must be austere, serious and festive each wearing her most important clothes.’

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The collection was an array of classics, the box jackets from SS13 were back, as were the wonderful Tudor cut corset jackets from AW13. I was overjoyed to see the blown-up lace from SS07 reinterpreted in beading and over-dyed printing, with lashings of tulle. There were corsets, capes and voluminous skirts, pieces which Westwood does best, in a light and breezy summer manner. By reminding us of collections past, Vivienne reiterated the message that everything is indeed connected.

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My personal favourite looks were the tartan jacket with lime green lace skirt and the baby pink peephole skirt with hooded white cape. What I wouldn’t give for one of the oversized lace jackets, but I would be surprised to see them realised for retail – one can live in hope. The cute vintage kitten prints were a fun touch as were the floral patch work pieces. Andreas’ favourites are the gossamer knits, which had a feeling of those from SS10. I have to agree I do love a summer knit:

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“P.S Dear clothes lover,
┬áThis season I would like to draw your attention especially to the knitwear. I am very fond of it, and if I were a girl, for sure it would be my absolute must have. Their fine netty yarns and burnt colours are perfect to show off your sun-kissed ÔÇ£super body!ÔÇØ When you wear them itÔÇÖs just like being naked- they will be a great friend on my next holiday. Most pieces are enhanced with recycled mirrored sunglass lenses cut into special shapes and motifs. Again, I can so very much imagine the sun reflecting on them and causing quite a stir at the beach bar. I love VivienneÔÇÖs sense for yarns and what she does with them- Thanks darling.

Your Andreas x”

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I’m still not enamored with the new shoe manufacturer. I very much like the pointed toe lace up boots we first saw last season in cherry red suede and again here in snow white. The rest I fear are a bit too ‘trendy’ for Westwood, the T-Bar style too similar to that Jessica Simpson / Jeffery Campbell shoe of the past few years. I rather like the gladiator sandals, I think these would be perfect for the summer and can see myself wearing them. I also think the red leopard print was a missed opportunity. Why not use the classic bright pink leopard print the brand is famous for? The fans would have gone wild for it and it would have tied in wonderfully with such a collection full of archive references.

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Carrie knows the pleasures of bright pink Vivienne Westwood leo print!

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(Images via Style.com / HBO)

Outfit: Vivienne Westwood Inspirations #1 – Corsets Over Volume

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I am often asked what kinds of things inspire my outfits, how I come up with ideas for styling and also what the hell am I wearing! I tend to divide my clothes into two categories: Westwood and everything else. I mix all my clothes up, designer with vintage and high street, Chanel with Zara. Everything except the Westwood. I just think Westwood clothes, no matter which label they are on, compliment each other better. I will occasionally wear a Westwood jacket or pair of shoes with ‘other’ outfits, but in the main I keep them separate. There is no real reason for this other than my own folly, I am just partial to the full on Westwood look.

I obviously wasn’t born with a hard-drive of Vivienne Westwood info, after I first discovered the designer I delved into the history and current brand, learning more and more. One of the things which really added to my love of the brand was they styling. I would go into the shop as much to see the the girls who worked there, styled to perfection, as much as too see the merchandise. This was far too many years than I care to admit too now, but at the time my three favourites all had really distinct looks showing how diverse the brand could be. The beautiful glossy look books produced for each collection really showcased the clothes, in the days before Style.com they were a much longed for glimpse at the runway shows.

In a celebration of Westwood and how I have been inspired by the wonderful styling I will be doing a series of posts featuring outfits based around lookbook images. The first is from Anglomania AW 2009. I have loved this corset to death since I bought it, I have it in plain black too. Dame Viv corsets are a signature of course, but what would you wear a corset belt with? A slim fitted dress perhaps? A blouse and pencil skirt maybe? Least likely a great big, poofy taffeta frock but that was the stamp all over Anglo AW09 and it is one I’ve been a firm fan of myself. The lookbook was quite restrained, using classic burnt orange tights and black heels as a back drop and letting the beautifully shaped garments speak for themselves. Here I decided to play it up a bit more and clash tartans and baubles for fun autumn look.

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Details: All Vivienne Westwood – Anglomania dress, Red Label tartan belt, Gold Label yellow leather Bag boots, Japanese license tights, old 90’s pearl drop choker, Pearly Queen 3D Orb, gold diamante bone brooch, AR badge.

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Anglomania AW 2009 Lookbook

Our Royal Highnesses

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Having fun in the sun on Battersea Bridge – you have to hold on to your crown in the wind!

Wearing all Vivienne Westwood of course my dress is the Gigot from Worlds End with Tracey trainers and squiggle socks, Rich is wearing Worlds End Seditionary boots  and Propaganda tee, Anglomania + Lee Denim jeans, MAN blazer. Clothes fit for having adventures in London.

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The crowns were part of the AW2010 Prince Charming collection, but you can have a go at making your own with the pattern on the Worlds End website.

Outfit: Tartan Corset

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Wearing: All Vivienne Westwood – Anglomania gypsy dress, Red Label Waspie tartan corset, Gold Label Animal Toe Courts; Agent Provocateur Snakes & Ladders stockings; Wendy Brandes Little Woolf necklace; Nicole Farhi sunglasses.

This is what I wore yesterday on what must have been the hottest day so far, needless to say I was roasting in a corset but hey you gotta do what you gotta do. I really like how floaty and romantic this dress is but the material is actually quite heavy and they dress doesn’t have much shape so needs a belt at the very least. I resuced this dress from TK Maxx’s reject rail, god know what happened to it but it looked like someone had tried chewing the underside of one sleeve, then colouring on it with a red marker! You can’t see the damage once it’s on and I figured nobody was going to be inspecting my armpit so I took it home. It was reduced to something silly like ┬ú20, I couldn’t leave it there could I.

Outfit: Harlequin

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Another one of my summer dresses which got to finally see the light of day this week! The harlequin print is one of my favourites, so bright and colourful. It is from the Vivienne Westwood Red Label collection SS 2007 collection- 6 years ago, wow how time flies! I also have the gold Squiggle print Vivienne Westwood shoes you can see below in the look book but they are skyscrapers so choose the lower heel of the Sunny court shoes. I think gold shoes are so great for summer, they work well with all colours. Then of course in winter they are the perfect party shoes, what more can you ask for in a shoe!

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Size & Style Mega Guide – New Vivienne Westwood Gold Label Shoes

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Top shelf, left – right: Sack boots black, Tracey trainers black, Seditionary boots red, Bondage boots natural, Animal toe courts gold and silver

Middle shelf, left – right: Slave Rocking Horse shoes white, black red; Ballerina Rocking Horse shoes white and black; Golf Rocking Horse shoes white, black and white, black

Bottom shelf, left – right: Clomper Slaves tea garden and brown/brown squiggle; Roman 3-Strap red leather (limited edition), grey suede, black; Clomer Slave mock croc, Regent sandals mock crock

Where do I start? After mentioning the new Gold Label Vivienne Westwood shoes now available at Worlds End, I got a bijillion emails about them. So I figured I best try and make a post with all the info that I have – of course you can call Lisa and the girls at the store for specifics.

New Materials/Colours:

Squiggle printed leather – Brown / brown squiggle; White/ red squiggle; Brown/ navy squiggle

Canvas – Grey, Khaki, Red, Green, Black

Special Prints – Green Mock Croc, Tea Garden

Patent – Black, Red

Kid Leather – Black, Red, Brown, (specials Gold, Silver, White)

Pirate Leather – Brown, Black, Yellow, Red Brick, Grey Suede

Suede – Black, Red, Grey, Brown

All straps will now be ‘aged brown leather’ instead of natural leather

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New* & Classic Styles:

*Clomper – Pirate boot – choice of

*Clomper – Slave sandal – choice of Mock croc, Tea garden (limited edition blue floral print), Squiggle, Canvas

Rocking Horse Shoes – Slave – Relaxed leather – White, Red Black

Rocking Horse Shoes – Ballerina – Kid leathers + White,

Rocking Horse Shoes -Boots – Kid leathers + White

Rocking Horse Shoes -Golf – Kid leathers + White; Relaxed leather – White, Red Black

Roman 3 Strap – Pirate Leather, Canvas

*Pirate Sling Back – Pirate Leather, Canvas, Patent

Pirate Boots – Pirate Leather, Squiggle

Seditionary Boots – Canvas with black leather; *plus special edition green canvas with tan leather

Bondage Boots – Canvas

*Elevated Bondage Boots – Squiggle

Elevated Court shoes – Suede, Patent, Squiggle, Special

*Elevated Regent Slave Sandals – Patent, Squiggle, Special

Bag Boots – Suede

Tracey Trainers – Black / Black patent trim; Natural / multi; *Gold/ Silver

Animal Toe Courts – Suede, Patent, Gold, Silver

*Animal Toe 3 Strap – Canvas

Low 3 Strap – Leather including specials, Suede, Patent

T-Bar – Leather including specials, Suede, Patent

Mary-Jane – Leather including specials, Suede, Patent

Wave bye-bye to – Sack boots, Piped courts, Sunny shoes, Animal Toe Mules, Elevated Gillie, Baby Rocking Horse and all navy blue leather

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Size & Fit

This can obviously only be my personal opinion, but most people I’ve spoken too seem to agree on this. If you can get to the shop then you are best to go try them for yourself, but I know many of you can’t so here you go. I am a UK 5.5 / 38.5 I usually find it hard to get shoes which fit, as most places don’t make half sizes, I also have a wide fitting foot. I am such a fan of Westwood shoes as I find they fit me perfectly in both width and length, as I’m a half size I find the shoes fit me perfectly so those of you who are a standard size may find they run a little big. With that I can tell you I take a 5 in all Gold Label shoes and low / flat boots except the Animal toe boots i.e Bondage boots and Bag boots. I go up to a size 6 and wear a padded insole in the high heel boots as I find the toe separations rub one of my toes, this doesn’t happen in my Animal toe court shoes so I take a 5 in those – I know this doesn’t make any sense since they are in effect the same style but that’s just what I find best! I also take a 5 in pirate boots, I find they fit generously however they can be a little tight where the stitching is around the foot until you break them in, leathers break easier than suede.

The Clomper boots and sandals I find a small fit, they are a nice wide fit due to the Clomper shaped sole however the part where you put you foot in (the vamp) is low down so there isn’t much room to move your foot. In these I go up to a size 6 which fits perfectly.

The Elevated courts are also a small fit, they have a narrow foot but are regular in length. Unfortunately for me this means I can’t wear them, the 5 is painfully tight and they 6 flops off my foot. The problem with court shoes is that you can’t do anything to keep them on your foot, they need to fit perfectly, the Gillie or boots would be better in my case as you can tighten the laces.

Clomper Pirate boots Brown/ Brown

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Mock Croc Clomper Slave Sandals & ElevatedCourts

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The sandals I am trying here are size 7 and the courts size 6, I think you can see that they are both far too big. In the courts I could get my finger down the back of my heel they were so big!

Strap Colour Evolution

Something really interesting is that the straps will now be darker. Usually the straps on Pirate boots and Bondage boots are left natural so they are a pale nude-pink. Over time natural leather will darken and take on a lovely honey coloured patina. Most of you I know are far too impatient to wait for this to happen naturally and want to speed things along, well it seems like Westwood have obliged and are now darkening the leather.

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Here you can see the pale pink of the natural leather straps compared with the new straps on my Pirate Clompers. On the right are straps from fresh natural leather, new version of the straps and two worn in straps one of around 18 months the other a few years.

Anything else you want to know, just ask

How to Wear Vintage and Look Current

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Following way 2: Vintage 80s dress and belt, with vintage inspired Vivienne Westwood t-bar shoes, Chanel boucle jacket and brooch, Wendy Brandes Little Woolfe necklace and ONecklace name necklace.

Something I get asked quite a lot is how to wear vintage pieces and still look current and on trend. I had a think about how I wear my vintage and came up with three easy ways to wear vintage:

1. Just wear one vintage piece – the easiest way to work vintage into your wardrobe is to start small. Try adding a vintage necklace or blouse to one of your regular outfits.

2. Wear with modern pieces in vintage influenced styles – designer and the high street both are full of things inspired by past decades. You can use these as a guide to finding and wearing original vintage clothes. If you like the current 1920s influenced trends of drop waists, long necklaces and heavy beading; start looking at original 20s pieces and the styles should look familiar.

3. Look for vintage pieces which haven’t dated– there are some designs which can be decades old yet wouldn’t look out of place today. Think of classic trench coats, black pencil skirts and white button up shirts. These items may be tweaked with each seasons whims but the basic forms will stay the same.

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Following way 3: Vintage Chanel jacket in a blazer style which isn’t recognisable to a specific date, with Topshop jeans, Stella McCartney blouse, Prada shoes

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Following way 1: This Vintage Vivienne Westwood jacket is quite a 90’s statement so I wear it alone with modern pieces- Anglomania blouse and silk trousers, Gold Label shoes, Nichole Farhi sunglasses

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Following way 3: Classic vintage Burberry trench coat’s never date, worn with Vivienne Westwood Red Label dress and Vivienne Westwood pink suede boots.

Outfit: Where I Go Dressed As Pete Burns

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Wearing: all Vivienne Westwood – Gold Label sample dress, custom Gold Label Mary-Jane shoes, Lilac bag and Alex belt, green Cupid Tiara.

Cab driver: Are you in fancy dress?

Me: Sure if you want

Cab driver: I liked it, the devil right?

Me: Actually I’m Pete Burns

Cab driver: *Awkward silence*

This was what I wore and the ensuing conversation I endured en route to my friends wedding. I would usually explain they are Cupid horns but I was feeling┬á a bit obnoxious. I had been saving this dress and the one I wore last post by force of my BFF Rich. He made me promise to save them both for special occasions for their first outing and not wearing them randomly during the day like a usually would! Now they have been released from their contractual obligations I think I will wear this dress often, especially in the summer (if it ever comes back, sob). The other dress with it’s sweeping train might stay more for special occasions.

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The dress on the Gold Label runway, AW10 ‘Prince Charming’ collection

I confess to this dress filling many a childhood princess fantasy (even if mine were usually accompanied by Tank Girl boots). It’s poofy, it’s really poofy. So poofy you can’t help constantly scrunching up the skirt. The lace trim on the underskirt is exquisite, I have never seem such detailed lace. Even the inside of the dress is a work of art, you could wear it inside out it is so beautiful!

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The shoes I wore are pretty special too, a limited edition fabric Westwood created about 6-7 years ago. Same heel as my court shoes but with the Mary-Jane strap.Cream canvas printed with tiny red roses. I was mortified when I got caught in a torrential down pour on the way home. They took a bit of a soaking on the leather soles and there is a dirty smudge on one toe which I am trying to work up the nerve to tackle and try to remove. Had I know about the sudden turn in weather I think I would have worn my cherry red Melissa Lady Dragon shoes with big bronze heart on the toe, practical and fabulous.

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The dress featured on the runway in a few different guises, some of them do indeed look like the inside-out of my dress!┬á The neckline has a drawstring so that you can wear it ruched up as on the runway, or looser as I chose to wear it. Due to all the layers of fabric it is actually quite a weighty dress. My dress itself is only one of two created, the design wasn’t produced for retail so there is just the once I have and one in the Westwood archive. Makes me feel like the custodian of such a special piece.

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Gold Label runway, AW10