A Vivienne Westwood Country Gent

DSC_3672

Vivienne Westwood ‘Savile’ jacket in tartan tweed,┬á with wool trousers and waistcoat. Velvet smoking slipper ‘Rocking Horse’ shoes, 1996. Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

A striking ensemble in the V&A fashion gallery. Classic Westwood tailoring featuring a ‘drunken’ tailored waistcoat and ‘Teddy Boy’ structured jacket. The tartan and velvet slippers for a real country gent look -with a twist!

This outfit always reminds me of my fabulous friend Chris as I could just see him wearing it. I also like seeing continued use of traditional tartans in Westwood work, the dark green, blues and greys have been a firm favourite Even this season the Menswear featured a stunning selection of suiting in the Black Watch tartan. The Smoking Slipper Rocking Horse shoe is not longer produced however the slipper style has been back with a bang this past year thanks to Mr Louboutin’s ‘Rollerball’ studded slipper. Westwood have produced the most stunning Union Jack printed slipper which would be the perfect finish to a dark tartan suit. I admit if they had come in smaller sizes I would have bought myself a pair. Good job I have so many male friends I can play dress up with!

DSC_3678

Do you ever dress up your friends in your mind? Or imagine who might have worn the clothes on display?

Why is it Never in my Size?

image_1356550031366468

Tried this gorgeous Vivienne Westwood Anglomania drape dress on in the Selfridges sale. It was a real bargain alas too big for me – it was all tucked up in the back of my belt. I will be keeping my eye out for a similar one though, I love red and it goes so well with the Union Jack tights. Hope the lucky lady that ended up with it enjoys it! Can’t really complain though I did get my share of bargains this season, including something extra special, a Vivienne Westwood Cupid tiara and a McQueen ring – will show you soon!

The Shoes I Wore 2012

IMG_9797-1024x682IMG_9780-1024x682IMG_9448-1024x682IMG_8044-1024x682IMG_7946-1024x681IMG_3930-2-1024x682IMG_0910-1024x682IMG_0507-1024x682IMG_0305-1024x682DSC_7464-2-1024x682DSC_7428-1024x682DSC_7156-1024x682DSC_6662-1024x682DSC_6852-1024x682DSC_6556-1024x682DSC_6014-1024x682DSC_5963-1024x682DSC_5488-1024x682DSC_5238-1024x682DSC_2955-1024x682DSC_2806-1024x682DSC_2742-2-1024x682DSC_2582-1024x682DSC_0037-1024x682IMG02128-20121116-1203 IMG02090-20121106-1212 IMG01698-20120725-1600 IMG01783-20120815-1100 DSC_86251-1024x683 DSC_31181-1024x701 DSC_8831-1024x682 DSC_8728-1024x682 DSC_7700-1024x682 DSC_7310-1024x682 DSC_6608-682x1024 DSC_5518-682x1024 DSC_3853-2-1024x682 DSC_4612-1024x682 DSC_4628-1024x682 DSC_2813-1024x699 DSC_1139-682x1024 DSC_6048-682x1024IMG02220-20121220-1716 IMG02139-20121117-1133

I thought it would be cool to take a look at what shoes I’ve worn over the last year. Some pairs I only wore once, others pretty much daily! My least worn shoes are the Louboutins, in fact the two pairs you see here are no longer with me. My inflammatory arthritis just got too bad and I could no longer wear them without being in pain. But hey when Christian Louboutin himself says “I try to make heels as comfortable as they can be, but my priority is design, beauty, sexiness. Comfort’s not my focus” you start to think maybe he’s a bit of a douche bag. I still have my toffee round toe Loubies but seems like their comfort was a bit of an accident! As always the comfiest shoes by far for me are Vivienne Westwood. This year I have worn to death my gold ‘animal toe courts’ and black ‘Bondage’ boots.

It will also be known as the year I finally trashed my red ‘Mary janes’, after 7 or so years of wearing them in all sorts of weather a torrential down pour in Northampton finally stained the toes forever. High street brand of choice goes to Zara for really well made shoes at cheapy prices, my purple and red sandals were a bargain at ┬ú30! The big shoe trend this year has been the wedge sneaker, I still have a hilarious tale of woe on that front – I was sent a pair, for review, only to be sent a pair with a 2cm heel difference, hmmm. So failing on that front the closets I got to the sporty trend were the Y3 ‘Torsion’ heels and the Vivienne Westwood ‘Tracey trainers’ who found themselves on loan for the Sneaking into Fashion exhibition.

How many pairs of new shoes did I get this year? I dread to think but two pairs which made a huge impact on my collection were the vintage VW ‘Elevated platforms’ and the vintage red ‘Heart Buckle’ stillettos – bartered for whilst running around a hospital car park trying to get reception on my Blackberry, with a iffy email account and my even iffier French! I wasn’t entirely sure until they came what I had bought. Those are the highs, what about the lows? Well this year I wore a fair few pairs of flat shoes, my trusty Chanel ballet pumps took a back seat as I stomped around in Air Step furry boots, VW ‘Roman 3-Strap’ sandals, VW ‘Pirate boots‘ and even a pair of Keds.

What other shoes are memorable this year? Well I can’t go without mentioning my burnt gold LK Bennett pointy stilettos. A serious bargain from TK Maxx these saw me through February’s London Fashion Week and many more occasions. The brand itself being thrown into the limlight thanks to mega fan Kate Middleton and I can see why she relies on them for style and comfort. I am not sure I could truly call a favourite pair but if I had to I would say the red VW┬á ‘Animal toe Mules’ take a top seat. Why? I really have no idea, they are a funny looking shoe and for years I hated the style. I wouldn’t even have tried them on if not for me being at a private sale type thing and they were there in my size. I originally wanted the regular court shoe (and still do) but figured I might as well give them a try. I did and I fell in love with them. The only pair of red ‘Animal toe courts’ they had left were in a size up, so I took them home for my mum – and yes I have tried stuffing them with insoles and parading around the house in them, and no I can’t get away with it ha ha! But they are definitely on my ‘save up for’ list.

There you have it, a year in shoes. Up next a year of my favourite outfits.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!

Cinderella Stories

Christian Louboutin

Versace

Two designers interpretation of the Cinderella fairy tale for the Harrods windows. Christian Louboutin used cream lace over tulle studded with sparkling Swarovski crystals and applique butterflies (top). Versace went for a modern pointed stiletto in clear PVC, accents of metallic pick used on the heel and the brand logo. Both houses choose court shoes in their design. Accompanying a shimmering full skirted strapless gown. On the street outside a huge clock face is projected, the hands almost at 12 midnight.

cinderella

Walt Disney (courtesy Disney)

The Cinderella story we are all most familiar with today is likely to be the Walt Disney version, where the handsome Prince rescues Cinderella from her cruel step-mother and awful step-sisters. The presence of the glass slipper is pivotal to the story, had the girl not lost her slipper, the Prince would have had no means of finding her again. The fact that the slippers are crafted from glass makes no sense, a real pair of glass shoes could never be worn, the material would be unmoulding preventing the foot from flexing and of course it would be dangerous, at risk of shattering. Why is the the slipper being made from glass important to the story? The material itself is not at all malleable and┬á prevents the anyone but the true owner from fitting into the shoe – securing the Prince finding it’s rightful owner. The unrealistic nature of the shoe also lends further magic to the fairytale. The tale itself however can be traced back for many years and across many countries. The main theme of the lost shoe is retained however the shoe comes in the form of leather sandals, fur shoes and even gold slippers.

Maison Martin Margiela (courtesy of MaisonMartinMargiela.com)

Throughout my childhood I often wondered what a real pair of glass slippers would look like. Maison Martin Margiela created a beautiful glass version, purely for show of course. For all practical purposes a material such as transparent perspex would work giving a similar illusion to glass. Only trouble is when you mention a perspex shoe most people will recall the traditional stripper shoe! High fashion has created many stylish variations such as my personal favourite Prada SS10 and the recent reinvention of the Maison Martin Margiela perspex wedge for H&M. So perhaps we can all be modern day Cinderella’s.

Pole dancing shoes (courtesy hotstrippershoes.com)

Boxing Day Sales Buys & a Mini Rant

Untitled3

 

Look 1: Vivienne Westwood Gold Label ‘Loden Dangerous Animal jumper’; VW GL ‘Gablel Union Jack trousers’; VW vintage elevated court shoes

Look 2: VW GL ‘Fur Bolero’; VW GL ‘Money vest’ top; VW GL kilt, VW GL ‘Sack’ boots – with attractive bruised knees from ice skating

I snapped these photos just after getting back from the sales with my swag. I only took them to show some friends on facebook since they were heckling me (love you guys) and wasn’t going to put the outfits up on the blog until I had time to go outside and take some decent photos. Then I got a bit annoyed with the pressure bloggers are being put under lately, pressure to produce photos which are magazine quality. I started this blog with a pocket camera, taking self portraits in the bathroom mirror at work so I’m pretty sure my photo quality wasn’t the main selling point. Sure I love having time to create gorgeous outfits with lovely back drops, but I don’t write this blog full time, I have a job to do, on top of being sick a lot of the time and don’t always have time to set up photos, let alone find someone to help me do it. So I am flipping the V at the blog snobs because it goes against the fundamental purpose of blogs – the freedom to post whatever the hell you like!

I found the sales a bit rubbish this year – good on one hand since I don’t need the temptation but not particularly exciting. I’d had a few things from Vivienne Westwood on my wish list and was surprised to see them go to 50% right away. Since it was such a big discount I picked up the things I really wanted rather than wait until the final mark downs. My favourite thing by far are the union jack print trousers, they are just so wearable and of course I had to have something in the money print – the ‘vest’ is actually a long sleeve hi-low top. On the practical side (cough, cough) I got the ‘Animal’ jumper – always need more jumpers, and the bolero which is going to be perfect over sleeveless dresses. I have been swooning over the LOVE necklace all summer and was delighted to get this, the crystals are a very pale green which is a nice touch. Huge kiss to my mum for aiding and abetting the VW addiction- she is just as bad as me I swear!

DSC_4340

Hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and so treats in the sale!

Outfit: How to Wear a Crop Top!

Wearing: Vivienne Westwood Gold Label ‘Wild’ jumper and lace skirt, Vivienne Westwood Limited edition ‘Bag’ boots.

┬áThis is the second part to my last outfit post, revealing what I wore beneath my sweeping cloak … it’s a crop top! Oh yes, I can’t say I would ever have been convinced that my 31 year old self would ever wear anything that could be called a crop top. When I was 14 I wore crop tops and mini skirts all the time alas I’m not a skinny little thing who doesn’t feel the cold any more. What I do like however, are very high waist skirts and trousers, the higher the better – but not quite as high as Simon Cowell. What goes well with high waists? Crop tops as it happens! The trick is, to just have the top sit on the waist band, so only half an inch is bared. You can even wear a body underneath for the same effect without baring any skin – essential in colder months. If like me you don’t have abs of steel, try layering another, looser layer over the top too such as a shirt or coat. Or vise-versa, wear the crop top over a longer top. Another way to try the look is to go for an asymetric or hi-low jumper, anything which hit at the natural waist. Autumn Cashmere have some perfect hi-low knits, whilst Moschino do some cute cropped cardigans.

I bought the top and skirt in World’s End, the top is called the ‘Wild’ jumper, its beautiful soft mohair and from the current Gold Label collection. There is a dress version too which Dame Vivienne herself has been wearing, here she wears it to receives the Harper’s Bazaar ‘Inspiration of the Year’ award accompanied by husband Andreas. The skirt is from a few collections past, it is gold lace over black wool so pretty as well as warm.

 

The Wild dress and jumper on the runway, AW 2012.

Worn by Stella Tennant in this seasons campaign.

Do you crop top? Bare all or bare an inch?

You can check out my Pinterest board for some crop top inspiration!

Trends: Ways to Wear Watches

I’m not a watch person, never have been. I had a Pop-Swatch when I was in High School, more for the fashion accessory of being able to attach the face to my jumper than the purposes of telling the time. It has pretty much been that way ever since, I had a beautiful gold watch similar to the one above but smaller which I wore stacked with two gold bangles and a fist full of gold rings through out my teens and early twenties. Loose fit of course and worn well past the life of the battery. Cherished because it was a gift, little used for it’s actual purpose. The watch above is the only one I have now, I bought it for a couple of dollars in a Target in the US whilst at a conference. Why? Because I appeared a bit rude and distracted pulling out my phone to check the time when running a tight schedule. I wore it stacked up my arm with all sorts of bangles or just with one other slim gold one. Again loose, never fitted, clanking around my wrist. That was over two years ago now and the watch has been sat in my jewellery box ever since. I’ve seen lots of people embrace the watch as accessory, artfully piled high, stacked up, watches upon watches, watches over sleeves, watches worn the wrong way around. They look great, arty even.

But as the winter draws in, the summer days of bare arms are long gone and trying to tug down a sleeve over inch thick bangles starts to seem fussy and impractical. A new trend is emerging, people are now wearing simple watches that perfectly match to their outfits in an elegant, uncomplicated way. The humble watch itself becoming the focus again rather than the armfuls of tinkling gems. Watches still have than status symbol of luxury and I think we are heading back to that time when a classic watch was celebrated for what it was. Victoria Beckham, fan of stacking Hermes cuffs around her watch, has stripped back to a tiny gold chain, best to let her Rolex do the talking. If you needed any more convincing Emanulle Alt, queen of understated dressing, shows  a glint of her simple, leather strap wrist watch as she tucks her hands into a cocooning grey over coat. It is incredibly chic, no?

How do you wear your watch?

For more wrist watch inspiration take a look at my Pinterest board

(Emanulle Alt image via Sixfeetfromtheedge.com)

Winter Coat Rules, Shopping & Wardrobe Reorganising

Out with the summer, in with the winter

I think by now we have figured out that my ‘taking time off to rest’ only resulted in me being bored witless. I can do the stay at home in the warm part, but can’t seem to stop working, well it’s only a few little blog posts not like I’m hauling bricks around a building site. With my first day off I ended up trawling the internet for hours, I mean seriously I now have a mental encyclopedia of all this seasons new stock. Then of course the browsing leads to the obsessing and the obsessing to the erm major buying! Every winter I really do like to have a new coat, no I don’t need a new coat every winter but I just really like to get one. It gets me in the mood for the season and brightens up my old knitwear. Since I will be wearing it pretty much every day it has to be something┬á I am head-over-heels about.

Vivienne Westwood Anglomania ‘Rac’ coat

Last year I went for a gorgeous Navy Anglomania ‘Limpish’ coat, which I still very much like but for some reason I have it my head that I need a red coat this season. I initially eyed up this ‘Rac’ coat also Anglomania, the perfect shade of cherry red with big gold buttons. But I wasn’t sure if the length was quite long enough. Hunting around I found this ‘Just-au-corps’ coat, in the same cherry red but with a longer flared hem and the added bonus of a hood. Since it was on Yoox.com it was also on sale, win! It was the last one in red, the gorgeous soft grey is still available, and a size larger than I would usually go for so hoping it will fit ok. The model only seemed to have a thin top on underneath and I like to wear massive jumpers so fingers crossed it will be just right. I really love Yoox, it is a bit like TK Maxx and The Outnet in that it sells past season designer items as discounted prices and you know I love a bargain. The site also accepts Paypal, woop, no more struggling to get that annoying Visa Verify thing to work – have you tried it lately no more passwords now a series of bizarre questions – and nope it still doesn’t work. In fact no need to even move from your sick bed to go get your purse. Now with Paypal your shopping can easily be paid via mobile too, perfect for my eBay addiction. I just don’t see why more online shops don’t use it.

Vivienne Westwood Anglomania ‘Just-au-Corps’ coat

When I’m looking for a new winter coat for everyday wear I have a check list I make sure it fits with:

-Must cover the bum (because otherwise it is really a jacket and wont be warm enough, I live in Manchester, its cold up North)

-Must be a style which works with both heels and flats (I’m 5’2 I don’t want my coat trailing in the snow if I have to switch to flats)

-Must be warm (sounds daft but some coats look warm but actually don’t retain the heat so you feel the wind right through it)

-Must have pockets (I mean seriously who designs a coat with no pockets)

-Must fasten (edge-to-edge coats look amazing yes, but really they don’t keep the cold and wet out)

Ok so yes I am a certified old lady these days but coats aren’t cheap so I want to be sure I buy one that is going to last. I have a few coats in classic styles which haven’t dated even though they are years old now. I really liked this Harper’s Bazaar coat edit, helpful if you want some inspiration about what style of coat to go for. I also picked up an amazing shaggy faux-fur jacket in TK Maxx which I can’t wait to wear. This week I’m going to finish off switching my wardrobe over from summer to winter. Hey, if we have to be cold we might as well look chic!

The realisation you will be colour blocking red all season

Any winter must-haves you are lusting after?

Ways To Wear Vivienne Westwood Sack Boots

I always get asked loads of questions about my Vivienne Westwood Sack boots. The style isn’t as well know as the Pirate boot but it stretches right back to the start of Westwood history too. First seen as part of the Nostalgia of Mud collection (AW 1982/83) on the feet of the ‘Buffalo girls’ worn with oversized skirts and lots of layered knits. Admittedly they sure look unusual and yes they do attract some funny looks. But with their low heel and padded insole they are actually really comfy and easy to wear. As I am short I tend to wear them with more fitted clothes such as a short skirt or shorts with tights, as I feel I need a higher heel to pull off baggy clothes. ┬á However I adore the Buffalo girl look and think they look amazing with a full skirt and loose trousers. They are such fun shoes as you can tied them so many ways, which is the most common question I get asked by fellow Westwood fans… how do you tie these boots? Basically you can tie them any way you want!┬á The original boots were wore pulled up, with the lace tied around the ankle, but you can fold them down, wrap the lace under the sole or around the heel. It is just something you need to sit any play around with. Above I have tied them in some of the easiest ways. Below is Vivienne wearing her own personal pair, she favours them tied around the heel.

Vivienne Westwood wearing her own pair of Sack Boots to meet Cherie Blair (image via Rex)

Vivienne Westwood & Malcome McLaren ‘Nostalgia of Mud’ collection

What to Wear to a Garden Party, Taking Tips from Kate Middleton

Kate and her Prince stroll the grounds

You don’t need me to tell you how much of an impact Kate Middleton’s style has had over women world over since she wed Prince William. Debates have been divided, but no matter if you think her look is perfectly chic or just a bit boring we can all take a few tips from her.

The one thing Kate is a dab hand at is dressing for garden parties. We might not all be invited to the polo or to stroll the grounds of Buckingham palace but I am sure we will all find ourselves at an outdoor occasion such as weddings, BBQ’s and picnics this summer (my post for wedding guest outfit ideas). The easiest thing to wear to this kind of event is a simple tea-dress, it will be comfortable and elegant – should you need to sit on the grass, whilst also keeping you cool. A light jacket or cardigan is the perfect accompaniment should it get chilly in the evening. Pashmina’s are popular but personally I find them fussy as you constantly have to adjust them to keep in place. Your choice of footwear however is the key to your look, forget the heels either go for a flat sandal or a wedge, there is nothing fun about spending all day with a heel stuck in the turf!

LK Bennett ‘Zella, Belle by Sigerson Morrison ‘Wallis’, Melissa ‘Patchuli’

In the shoe department Kate is famously known for her love of two styles, nude shoes and the wedge. Wedges are the perfect shoes for summer garden parties, they give you the same lift as your heels but will keep you firmly on the ground. Here are three of my top picks. First up is Kate’s personal favourite the LK Bennett ‘Zella’ available in nude and black patent with an espadrille style heel. This is such an easy shoe to wear and will go with any outfit. For girls who like things a bit more edgy the Wallis from Belle by Sigerson Morrison are a great option, they come in red with pink heel trim or blue with green trim. The vibrant colours and pointed toe add a real pop with attitude! These would also look great with a wide leg trouser if dresses aren’t your thing. I just had to include the Melissa ‘Patchuli’ a peep-toe wedge which comes in grey, black and my personal recommendation royal navy. If you aren’t familiar with Melissa shoes, they are all made from bubble-gum scented rubber which means they are waterproof, perfect for damp grass and summer showers. Now all you need is that party invite!

Kate stays chic whilst her friend battles a rogue pashmina

Are you a wedge girl? What are your summer style tips?

(Kate images courtesy of Grazia, shoe images courtesy of Zalando.co.uk)