The Return of the Mad Women

After Grey’s Anatomy and Sex and the City but before before Breaking Bad and Downton Abbey, there was Mad Men. Suddenly in our lives, filling the gaping sartorial hourglass shaped hole left by Carrie and the gang, were Don and Betty Draper, Peggy Olsen and Joan Holloway. I was on maternity leave, not my most elegant of times, and heard about it from my son’s father one lazy but routine filled summer’s afternoon.

Betty, Joan and Peggy of Mad Men

Betty, Joan and Peggy of Mad Men

“It’s amazing!” he said and when he added “And I think I’m slightly in love with Don Draper,” I decided to believe him, after all declaring feelings for a fictional character of the same sex based in the last century is not something one does lightly. I should know, I had a fleeting thing for Jessica Rabbit and Daphne from Scooby Doo.

£95 at The Pretty Dress Company

£95 at The Pretty Dress Company

£140 at Phase Eight

£140 at Phase Eight

Now I know Mad Men is not for everyone and I am the only member of my family to have stuck with it. My mum oddly decided to start with series 4, a huge mistake as I strongly believe you must do the fashions in the right order. Mad Men is strictly chronological, bar the flashbacks, and half the fun is anticipating the world events and changes in style, episode by episode.

More Betty, Joan and Peggy

More Betty, Joan and Peggy

Mad Men did for ladylike dressing what Friends did for flat shares. The characters make it look easy and the reality of living 24/7 in waist cinchers – or in the case of Friends, each others’ pockets – starts to look like the only way forward, even if in reality it would cause some serious health, not to mention, friendship issues.

£125 at Coast

£125 at Coast

£140 at Phase Eight

£140 at Phase Eight

The latest, and (sob) final series of Mad Men airing this month will be set in the 1970s. And oh how clever as here we are ensconced firmly in a huge seventies revival. We’ve already got our floppy wide brim hats and tassled handbags on the go so grab yourself a Harvey Wallbanger and an iridescent lipstick and get ready for the last lap. It’s going to be emotional.

The Mad Men and women of the final season

The Mad Men and women of the final season

Let’s not forget though, the influence of such stylish shows last long after the credits roll up the screen for the last time. We’ve already had a Mad Men collection at Banana Republic and now the show’s costume designer Janie Bryant has her own shoe collection ‘Shoes of Prey’ (of course she has) presumably so you too can buy into whichever season of Mad Men takes your fancy the most.

£25 at ASOS.com

£25 at ASOS.com

Reduced to £29.99 at Zara

Reduced to £29.99 at Zara

Personally I loved the first season’s wardrobe best but then I have a weakness for the glamour of the 195os with its nipped in waists, neat handbags and matching shoes. But also Mad Men has been a masterclass in how to dress well whatever the fashion of the day and whatever the body type. Actress Christina Hendricks has an incredible figure but va va voom curves aren’t the easiest to clothe without drifting into brassy territory. However the character of Joan Holloway has remained elegant and poised throughout.

We may be leaving Joan, Betty and Peggy to live out the rest of their lives on the great television in the sky, but the Mad Men style will thankfully linger on.

http://www.theprettydresscompany.com

http://www.asos.com

http://www.phase-eight.com

http://www.coast-stores.co.uk

http://www.hobbs.co.uk

http://www.zara.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Will You Shape Up?

The thing about the warmer weather is the clothes. They’re brighter and prettier and well,  summery, but they’re also skimpier, less forgiving and involve rather more exposure than your average coat and boots ensemble. Now I’m not the type to whip out the hot pants as soon as the sun appears in April (in Battersea alone I’ve already spotted flip flops, shorts, wife-beater tops and a sundress) but I do like to be prepared and so I am thinking about, if not actively doing anything about, body scrub and gradual tanner to get me off the starting blocks.

With all the tiny playsuits, billowing maxi dresses and knee length gladiators around, it’s an idea to whittle the summer 2015 offering down by working out what suits your shape and what doesn’t. This season there are a lot of contrasting styles in the shops – skinnies versus wide leg trousers, peasant tops versus cropped ones, huge statement platform sandals versus pretty little flatties – the answer is always what works with your body so that you feel comfortable, gorgeous and above all confident.

It’s easy when you know how and ultimately it makes shopping far less time consuming when you can zone in what works for you and ignore all the rest. We all have parts of ourselves we’d rather cover up but there is always a part you can show off, even if it is the miniscule area just below your collar bone or your thin ankles sweedie (sic)*.

For inspiration and a little reassurance that even rich, beautiful and advantaged women get it wrong sometimes (or a lot in some cases), look no further than these ladies. All very definite body types, all very different and all with either the services of a stylist to hand or an open door policy to designer boutiques all over the world.

Pear shapes

Kim Kardashian - too much bulk on her bottom half

Kim Kardashian – too much bulk on her bottom half

Kim Kardashian - smooth and so much better

Kim Kardashian – smooth and so much better

Although there’s no denying Kim Kardashian likes to show off her voluptuous body, by wearing a ruched skirt with fabric draped like festoon blinds over her hips, she is making her hips rather than her bottom look HUGE. This is all very well but by adding a flattening, flesh coloured, high necked top, she looks very pear shaped, not to mention topless.

Petite shapes

Kylie being swallowed whole by a pair of flares

Kylie being swallowed whole by a pair of flares

Kylie Minogue is lucky that she can get away with a lot of shape5looks many women her age could only dream of getting away with. She is tiny but also has a boyish figure meaning she can wear high necks, double breasted jackets and floaty styles. To create the illusion of more curves she should avoid being swamped by too much volume. These jeans are all wrong for such a petite frame and by wearing a boxy jacket she’s making the silhouette even bigger.

Triangle shapes

Rebecca Adlington - AAAGGGHH!

Rebecca Adlington – AAAGGGHH!

Athletic shaped bodies are the opposite side of the coin to the

And breathe... phew, this is soo much better

And breathe… phew, this is soo much better

pear shaped. Broad shouldered and with narrow hips and shapely legs, halter or strappy styles should be avoided while a little extra bulk on the hips will give a more balanced look. Rebecca Adlington’s choice of bodycon dress with wide open neckline is about as wrong as she could get making her top half look ginormous while the bottom half disappears into a point a bit like a genie coming out of a bottle. The long sleeved, more covered up evening dress however looks gorgeous and elegant and your eye is drawn to her fabulous legs rather than her shoulders.

Hourglass shapes

Kelly Brooke - too much fabric, too many patterns, too much

Kelly Brook – too much fabric, too many patterns, too much

Enviable yes, but not without its pitfalls, the hourglass shape

The dress she was born to wear!

The dress she was born to wear!

looks best in fitted styles that don’t suffocate the bust and show off the waist. Polo necks and double breasted tops are a no-no while scoop and v-necklines work are ideal. Extra bulk at the bust or hips is simply not needed with an hourglass shape like Kelly Brook, so the circular skirt and baggy t-shirt makes her look way bigger than she is. A belted dress that hugs the curves and leaves the neckline open is much more flattering.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If You Buy One Thing…

Have you decided how to look this summer? Will you be Stevie Nicks, Debbie Harry or Audrey Hepburn? Or a combination of all three depending on how you feel when you wake up? There are some clear front runners in the trend stakes and not only are they very wearable, you might just find you can wear them right now. I know! Right now in the wind and the rain and the hair-frizzing gloom. If you’re as bored of your winter wardrobe as I am, get spring summer 2015 off to a flying start with one of these lovely updates. One clever purchase and you’re done – all these pieces will work with clothes I guarantee you already have in your wardrobe.

Suede

Suede skirt at Zara £159

Suede skirt at Zara £159

Suede top £40 at ASOS

Suede top £40 at ASOS

It’s everywhere. Except where it isn’t because it’s sold out before it’s even hit the shop floor (Google ‘that skirt’ if you haven’t heard about the M&S hit of the season). Suede might seem at first glance, a little heavy and well, ‘cowgirl’ for 2015, but think again because how perfect is it for this awful in between weather? It’s warm and pretty much age-proof. It’s not cheap but it’s cool and I bet you’ll get your money’s worth. My mum still has her suede jacket from the early ’70s and it has never in all those years looked naff.

Stripes

Heels £24.99 at New Look

Heels £24.99 at New Look

Dress £24.99 at H&M

Dress £24.99 at H&M

Stripes are never really not in but this summer they are popping up in more unexpected places – your old Breton t-shirt is not going to cut it this time. Even Victoria Beckham – not known for using prints – featured a bold striped maxi dress in her summer collection. I spent years avoiding horizontal stripes because I thought the rule was they made you look wider. This isn’t true and if anything a stripe can be very flattering. Give them a go, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Obi Belts

Leather belt £20 at ASOS

Leather belt £20 at ASOS

Oh I love a cheap and cheerful instant wardrobe update! I am lucky enough to have a kimono style belt that I stole from my mum years ago but have never quite known what to do with it. Well, this season, the question is more what NOT to do with it. Floaty blouses, structured shirts, dresses both short and long, jackets and coats all look modern with a wraparound belt slung on. If you can’t steal one from a family member then buy one (or make one!) and start experimenting.

Asymmetric

Vila dress £38 at ASOS

Vila dress £38 at ASOS

Dress £79.99 at Mango

Dress £79.99 at Mango

This look will date very quickly so get involved as soon as possible and don’t spend too much on it. Asymmetric hems in pleated skirts are particularly now but this look is by no means restricted to skirts and dresses. Trousers, jackets and tops have all been slashed to wonky proportions by someone somewhere so be brave. Just try to avoid the asymmetric fringe, a hairstyle my sister and I modelled for most of our childhood, which is where it should remain.

Culottes

Culottes £135 at Reiss

Culottes £135 at Reiss

Culottes £36 at ASOS

Culottes £36 at ASOS

I swore I wouldn’t and sold the only pair I ever bought on eBay last year. But I’m coming around to this quintessentially ’70s piece because it can actually be rather flattering and stylish. Culottes. Are they a skirt? Are they trousers? Who cares, the point is they are the most up to date version you can wear of either currently   and actually rather versatile. While it is still cold wear culottes with long boots and a polo neck and when it warms up, go for platform heels and a little t-shirt or bandeau top if you dare. Just make sure they are a good fit around your hips and waist to avoid unnecessary bulk.

It’s daft to say if you only buy one thing this season because who does that? But if you only buy one thing this week, then make it one of the above. Or get all five and hide four of them under the bed. It’s Easter, knock yourself out.

http://www.asos.com

http://www.reiss.co.uk

http://www.hm.com

http://www.zara.com

http://www.mango.com

http://www.newlook.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Spring Style at a Steal

Timo Weiland Spring 2015

Timo Weiland Spring 2015

It’s March. The clocks are about to go forward and the Easter holidays are almost upon us therefore it must be Spring, right? Well, the temperature has only done the time of year justice a handful of times and then only briefly, so it’s not quite time to banish boots and crack out the cropped tops yet.

Pleated skirt £120 at LK Bennett

Pleated skirt £120 at LK Bennett

I don’t know about you but I’m growing bored of coats and was so uninspired by all my scarves last weekend that I dipped into my boyfriend’s

Cropped top £8 at Miss Selfridge

Cropped top £8 at Miss Selfridge

collection just for a change. And the poor old high street has gone into mid season sale mode before we’ve even had a chance to start the new season – the build up is killing me I tell you!

Diane von Furstenberg Spring 2015

Diane von Furstenberg Spring 2015

The answer is to be prepared so this week

Top £35 at Miss Selfridge

Top £35 at River Island

I’ve picked out some gorgeous catwalk looks and their more accessible alternatives. That way when the bank holiday weekend suddenly turns

Shorts £30 at Miss Selfridge

Shorts £30 at River Island

out to be blisteringly hot and you’ve not so much as shaved your legs since September 2014, there’ll be one less thing to do.

My sister-in-law is talking BBQ and cocktails for Easter Sunday so there’s obviously a rumour flying about that some sun is on the way. Having said that, we can huddle around the BBQ eating burnt sausages on the patio while the kids hunt for eggs, we’re British after all.

Paul & Joe Spring 2015

Paul & Joe Spring 2015

Dress £29.99 at H&M

Dress £29.99 at H&M

One of my favourite looks for the summer is the matching top and skirt / top and shorts combo. I’ve already snapped up a

Hat £14.99 at H&M

Hat £14.99 at H&M

lovely blue floral organza skirt version from Miss Selfridge and now they have shorts in too. It makes getting dressed very easy – just add accessories – and then the pieces can be mixed and matched too for a more dressed down look. I can’t wait to wear mine.

Chloe Spring 2015

Chloe Spring 2015

If you want to rock the seventies look then H&M have some very strong pieces in this area, the maxi dress pictured here is in stores currently and it’s a good ‘in between’ dress as it can be worn with boots and a jacket now and then on its own with sandals when the weather improves.

Playsuit £24.99 at H&M

Playsuit £24.99 at H&M

Pleated skirts are still around, this is their third summer now, (who’d have thought it?)  so if you don’t have one already in a sorbet shade, then perhaps now is the time to invest. They look modern with a t-shirt but it doesn’t have to be cropped as at Timo Weiland, a light knit top will work just as well if your 21st birthday is but a distant memory.

Isabel Marant Spring 2015

Isabel Marant Spring 2015

Look out for tops with ties at the waist as this trend is huge for summer. Either wrap it judo-style or add a belt to a longer length lightweight top already in your wardrobe. I bought H&M’s blue Conscious Collection v-neck version a month or two ago and wore it for the first time at the weekend. It was a simple update to old jeans and will look just as good with a summery skirt for Isabel Marant’s more girly take on it. Feminine and flattering.

Top with tie £130 at Whistles

Top with tie £130 at Whistles

 

Failing all that, or if you prefer a more clean silhouette, then the fifties style dress is still around and is a trusty and elegant option for everything from weddings to picnics. You can never have too many in your wardrobe. Just add shoes and a clutch and you’re good to go.

Victoria Beckham Spring 2015

Victoria Beckham Spring 2015

Oh and maybe add a blanket and hot water bottle if you happen to be invited to my sister-in-law’s on Easter Sunday.

Dress £195 at Whistles

Dress £195 at Whistles

http://www.lkbennett.com

http://www.riverisland.com

http://www.missselfridge.com

http://www.hm.com

http://www.whistles.co.uk

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I Love McQueen

This weekend saw the opening, finally, of the much publicised exhibition Savage Beauty, which celebrates the work of the late British designer Alexander McQueen. Like most people, I haven’t seen it yet so this isn’t a critique, but I did rather cleverly ask for and was given (thanks Mum!) a membership to the Victoria and Albert museum for my birthday this week, meaning I might be able to avoid the inevitable queues.

McQueen 2008

McQueen 2008

This exhibition comes four years after New York’s Metropolitan presented one of a similar nature. I was disappointed to have missed that much lauded show, so am thrilled that this one – bigger and better reportedly – is in London, the place of McQueen’s birth and the place from where he found most of his inspiration.

McQueen for Givenchy haute couture

McQueen for Givenchy haute couture

Brought up in Lewisham in South East London, McQueen was the youngest of six and left school at sixteen. He eventually studied fashion at Central St. Martins but not before he had worked at the costumier Angels and Berman’s where he learnt the art of sixteenth century pattern cutting and razor sharp tailoring. This experience would provide the backbone to much of his work. The historical references in his couture collections for french fashion house Givenchy for which he became chief designer just four years after graduating from St. Martin’s, to the dramatic lines of his more own brand pieces.

McQueen for Givenchy 1998

McQueen for Givenchy 1998

Alexander (more commonly known as Lee) McQueen pushed boundaries and it is that for which he will forever be revered. For all the flowers and feathers, there were the dark gothicky collections, for every feminine, delicate gown, there was a sharp masculine jacket. If a shoe could not possibly be any higher, he removed the heel completely. Hipster jeans as low as is decently possible?

The McQueen heelless boot

The McQueen heelless boot

McQueen made them indecent, thereby introducing the bumster. And then there were the skulls, skulls on everything – who hasn’t got a piece of jewellery or a scarf with a skull depicted on it in their wardrobe today? Very few of us, whether we are aware of it or not, remain unaffected by the imagination of this talented yet troubled designer. Alexander McQueen made clothes in classic shapes that flattered the female form accentuating angles and curves but always with an unpredictable twist. Despite the quirks, many of his pieces are timeless, his tartan Givenchy suit (pictured above) a case in point. McQueen’s designs could be fun but often dark and sinister too. Perhaps he put more of himself into them than we can possibly know.

Drew Barrymore in McQueen 2009

Drew Barrymore in McQueen 2009

Alexander McQueen would have been 46 this Tuesday. His death, all too soon in 2010, has left us to wonder what he might have come up with next. In his own words, “That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but keep the tradition.” A rule breaker with a passion for the traditional, his vision is missed but lives on; God Save McQueen.

McQueen silk skull print scarf - a modern classic, £165 a Liberty

McQueen silk skull print scarf – a modern classic, £165 a Liberty

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

JEANS – How will YOU decide?

Jeans.

The only things you don’t have to feel guilty about having more than one pair of. The only things which are better unwashed. The only things which will go with just about all your shoes. The only things you can rip or get bored of and then turn into shorts. The only things you can match with your boyfriend/Mum/toddler without appearing to be as bananas as a Kardashian. The only thing you’ll happily and justifiably spend over £100 on and still reduce the cost per wear to minus figures in the first year.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

'Mom' look jeans £40 by Moto at Top Shop

‘Mom’ look jeans £40 by Moto at Top Shop

I could go on. It’s funny though how jeans and indeed denim have become the most indispensable items in our wardrobes despite such humble beginnings. In the 1500s they were worn by Genoese sailors – their name taken from the French expression ‘bleu de Genes’. Then a few hundred years later along came a Mr. Levi Strauss who decided to add rivets to this workers’ garment to make it even more hard wearing and produced them in twilled cotton (denim)  instead of hemp for comfort. For a long time jeans were seen as something for the working classes, certainly not for women, a really rather rebellious statement even for a man. As recently as the 1980s I can recall my granny, a very stylish and elegant lady who never wore trousers, laughing at how my mum always wore jeans because they were so “manly”. She found the fact that they had a pocket slapped on each buttock hilarious. And actually when you think of it like that, it is rather. You can imagine her horror when I started to wear oversized, ripped, secondhand jeans. She laughed – she had a good sense of humour, my granny – but looking back I think it was probably because to her I might as well be dressed as a plumber.

Debbie does Double Dip

Debbie does Double Dip

Faded jeans £29.99 by Diesel at TK Maxx

Faded jeans £29.99 by Diesel at TK Maxx

So here we are in spring 2015 (go with it, after all it’s a few degrees warmer this weekend) and the denim offering has never been more huge. If you thought you had it pegged with your beloved dark blue skinnies, then you may want to think again. Because while dark blue skinnies are still perfectly acceptable and a very good choice for almost every body type, there are now so many other styles, fits and rinses out there, it’s little surprise that the terrifying double dip look has resurfaced once again.

Kate Moss

Kate Moss

Flared jeans £38 at Miss Selfridge

Flared jeans £38 at Miss Selfridge

There was a time when if you were in anything other than red tab Levi 501s, there was every likelihood you’d be arrested. The mid ’80s were a dodgy time style-wise but you couldn’t go wrong with a pair of faded Levi 501s. God forbid you be seen in a pair of Wranglers. And of course supermarkets didn’t have clothes ranges in those days so there was no temptation to pop a pair of £14 jeans into the trolley along with the tampons and potatoes.

Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart

Skinny grey jeans £24.99 at H&M

Skinny grey jeans £24.99 at H&M

Denim stormed the catwalks and is now all over the high street for Spring/Summer 2015. There is a definite backlash against ‘low rise’ / muffin top look with the high waisted ’70s style dominating. The 1970s is proving the strongest influence with the return of not just the flared leg but the bleached out look too. At my nephew’s first birthday this week my thirty something sister and brother and my seven year old nephew were in a pale jean – shocker – seven year old Curtis is a preppy dresser historically so this was a big statement from him. Last month both my sixty something mum and I bought dark blue high waisted flares from Miss Selfridge. Meanwhile I am sitting writing this in a pair of Ralph Lauren stonewash boot cuts. The whole family is in denim disarray, it’s madness I tell you – MADNESS!

Victoria Beckahm in her own label jeans

Victoria Beckahm in her own label jeans

Made in Heaven jeans £29.99 at TK Maxx

Made in Heaven jeans £29.99 at TK Maxx

It’s not fun buying jeans, I know that, so you are absolutely right to stick with what you know and the style and fit that flatters and makes you feel most comfortable. All I’m saying is take a moment to consider something new because denim technology and jean design improve constantly and what didn’t work on your juicy teenage bottom may very well hoist it and boost it where needed in 2015. Remember, not so long ago skinnies seemed appropriate only for Kate Moss and now they’re more commonplace than Ant & Dec. Keep an open mind and you may just be pleasantly surprised, as I was with my ’70s slasher flick flares. Even my boyfriend (who the moment I said ‘flared’ simply said, “NO” without turning his head away from the computer) changed his mind. Time heals all wounds. It was after all only last year that I roared with a mixture of confusion and horror at a Daily Mail piece that announced “Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly take a stroll in New York in double denim!” The accompanying pictures showed this very attractive couple, (Paul is one of my son’s godfathers so I admit I’m a little biased) sporting what was, in total, quadruple denim. I’m now thinking they were ahead of the game.

So the moral of the story dear readers, is don’t judge a man ’til you’ve walked in his trews.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wardrobe Malfunction Alert!

Inspired by the horrific mishap suffered by Madonna during what was supposed to be her triumphant return to the BRITS stage after twenty years, this week I am looking into the first world problem that is The Wardrobe Malfunction.

Madonna and her dreaded cape at the Brits

Madonna and her dreaded cape at the Brits

We’ve all been there and for once this isn’t an issue confined to womankind alone. For every skirt tucked in knickers story, there’s a willy caught in zipper one. Who could forget poor old Judy Finnigan standing up at that awards ceremony only for the top half of her dress to fall off revealing a huge unsightly flesh coloured bra? Almost as infamous but far more entertaining than Judy, is an old school friend of mine who in his role as best man at our mate’s wedding, posed for the bridal party photos shortly after returning from the loo. A blob of wee on the front of his trousers is clearly visible in every single picture.

Judy Finnigan and that bra

Judy Finnegan and that bra

Have I shared my broken heel story? It starts with an inauspicious walk of shame from north to south London one Tuesday morning shortly before my dreaded 30th birthday. Dressed in nightclub black from head to foot and with last night’s make-up blotted onto my face, I hadn’t got much further than the end of Abbey Road (I’ve put the address in to make it all sound a bit more cool) when my spike heel simply broke off.

Dilemma.

Call a cab? No, too expensive.

Bus to Oxford Street and buy a cheap pair of flats? No, too early.

Style it out and bank on the fact that if you walk as if you have a stiletto on each foot then that is what people will assume?

Shortlived bloke with whom I’d been out the night before wasn’t ever going to come to my rescue (no room for feminism here), he laughed at the spike heel in my hand, exclaimed, “I thought that only happened in films!” and hotfooted it off down the escalator to catch the tube to his Berkley Square office. He couldn’t get away from me fast enough and when I discovered he had a girlfriend, I realised why.
So the third option is what I plumped for, to style it out being the cheapest and quickest solution. The bird’s nest which when I left the house twelve hours before had been my carefully straightened hair style, helpfully distracted attention away from my feet. I spent three years in drama school and it wasn’t all wasted apparently because my little improvisation worked like a charm. That is to say, no strangers approached me saying, “Excuse me, you have one stiletto heel missing and yet you don’t appear to have noticed?”

Janet and Justin at the 2004 Superbowl

Janet and Justin at the 2004 Superbowl

I think Madonna has actually come off rather well from the Brits incident. She recovered magnificently from what must have been a really painful fall and her performance, which by the way was sung live, was largely unaffected. And there was absolutely no question that it was an unfortunate accident. Unlike the 2004 Superbowl when Janet Jackson supposedly suffered an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction which saw her right breast come face to face with Justin Timberlake. The immediate backlash that followed questioned why, if this was a genuine mistake, did she have such a bizarre and unnecessary piece of jewellery attached to her nipple? No publicity is bad publicity folks. And that right boob must have really needed the publicity badly.

Lady Di - Oops!

Lady Di – Oops!

So-called wardrobe malfunctions make front pages and are really nothing new. Remember the picture of an innocent Lady Diana Spencer posing with two toddlers in a nursery garden?Photographers don’t miss a trick and while I’m sure the Queen was none too pleased, it earned Lady Di a few supporters and had newspaper editors rubbing their hands with glee. In later years, Princess Diana certainly used her wardrobe to her advantage and although she would be careful not to be caught out again, it wouldn’t be the last time she showed off her legs to ensure media coverage.

I’m a die-hard Madonna fan so I’m pleased that she’s fine and has ultimately gained respect for her ‘show must go on’ attitude because whatever you think of her, she didn’t deserve to be pulled backwards by the neck down steps. It’s all too easy to appear quite by choice in a transparent dress without any underwear as Rhianna did last year (pfft, Madonna’s been there and done that) but in the end it’s your recovery and dignity in the face of potential humiliation which is most revealing.

Kate Middleton and the heel that got stuck in the grating

Kate Middleton and the heel that got stuck in the grating

As for me, despite the ungallant behaviour of my date I made it safely back to my flat in Clapham Junction with just the one heel, and aside from one sore calf muscle, I was just fine. Shoes and date went in the bin shortly afterwards.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Raining Oscars!

It must be a bit of a bummer if you’ve spent the whole day getting ready for the Oscars only for it to rain the moment you step onto the hallowed red carpet. Tonight, reporting from my brown carpet in Battersea, I am almost relieved to be in my Primark pyjamas because my hair is disastrous in the rain, no matter how much hairspray is involved.

The Academy Awards is the climax of award season and this year there are so many Brits involved in the main categories that it feels somehow fitting for there to be rain involved. Perhaps it’s a sign, let’s hope so.

 

Rosamund Pike

Rosamund Pike

I’m struck already, by how many actresses have pulled it out of the bag for this occasion. With the arrival of Rosamund Pike in surely one of the most stunning dresses of the night, red and strapless, so elegant and such a great colour on her, I feel like I can relax now because she’s been a bit hit and miss this year.

Dakota Johnson in YSL

Dakota Johnson in YSL

Melanie Griffith

Melanie Griffith

Red is proving to be a popular colour choice this year, along with simple neat hair and the one shoulder look and one of the first to arrive, Dakota Johnson, ticked all three boxes with her sophisticated Yves Saint Laurent number. She brought her mum as her date and for once Melanie Griffiths doesn’t look bizarre, she looks stylish in a perfectly shaped dress.

Felicity Jones in McQueen

Felicity Jones in McQueen

There’s a lot going on with Brit Felicity Jones’ Alexander McQueen gown. It has a hint of the Elizabethan era about it and although the colour washes her English rose complexion out rather, I love the high embellished neckline and corset.

Lupita Nyong'o in Calvin Klein

Lupita Nyong’o in Calvin Klein

 

Lupita Nyong’o wowed last year every single time she set foot on a red carpet so it was always going to be hard for her to follow up such a great start. I’ve been a little underwhelmed by her choices in 2015 so this Calvin Klein gown embellished with 6000 pearls is a showstopper. Can you imagine how much it must weigh?

Julianne Moore in Chanel

Julianne Moore in Chanel

Julianne Moore has also gone for embellishment and her custom made Chanel gown has an unusual twenties vibe to it. I’m not wild about the colour – she usually does lovely rich jewel tones which are more flattering – and this off white doesn’t do her very pale skin any favours.

oscar10

Reese Witherspoon in Tom Ford

 

From the intricately jewelled to the sublimely simple, Reese Witherspoon has done it again with this lovely Tom Ford monochrome column dress, I love it and she’s one of the few ladies tonight who has left her hair flowing naturally.

oscar11

Jennifer Aniston in Versace

 

Keira Knightley in Valentino

Keira Knightley in Valentino

But my favourite of the night, and thankfully with her trademark hair left as we love it, has to be Jennifer Aniston who looks absolutely gorgeous in Versace. Thumbs up (again!) to pregnant nominee Keira Knightley, like Ansiton in in a nude shade, her lovely fairytale gown by Valentino.

Marion Cotillard in Christian Dior

Marion Cotillard in Christian Dior

Lastly and least I’m afraid, and unusually, is nominee Marion Cotillard. She’s taken a risk in Dior Couture but it’s a little odd. At the front it looks ill fitting and from the back it looks like a maternity dress worn back to front. Love her hair and earrings though.

So that’s the 87th Academy Awards done and dusted for another year. Oh wait, they haven’t actually handed out any awards yet… well never mind, it’s now 1.45am and it’s back to school tomorrow so I’m off to bed. Fingers crossed for Eddie Redmayne!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The BAFTAs 2015 – Who was your favourite?

The first thing to say is that I am sitting at home wrapped in two oversized cardigans and I’m still feeling a bit chilly. Those poor souls on the BAFTA red carpet in Covent Garden this evening have little choice but to walk the red carpet into the Royal Opera House without the luxury of H&M knitwear. I interviewed on that walkway in 2007 and I was shivering in my Karen Millen frock most of the night. You know when you are so cold your jaw freezes and it’s hard to get your words out coherently? That was me. A little like being drunk only without the warm feeling. Secondly, it’s a good turn out at the British equivalent of the Oscars this year. My brother worked for several years behind the scenes so I know only too well that the organisers are never quite sure until the very last minute who will actually put in an appearance on the night so this evening they must have felt rather pleased with themselves. And hey, at least it isn’t raining. Here are my thoughts on the great gowns and the frightful frocks as they happen tonight in London…

Rosamund Pike - at last!

Rosamund Pike – at last!

I have to start with Rosamund Pike who one way and another I have given a very hard time to so far this award season. She has taken some risks or maybe she’s been ‘having fun with her style’ – which reasoning do we admire most? I don’t know, but either way for the most part, the looks haven’t worked. Tonight however she has chosen a far simpler column silhouette by none other than Roland Mouret and he is of course the master of sculpted dresses. Although with her fair colouring I’d rather have seen her in a colour instead of black, I love the twisted halter neck and the overall look is sheer sophistication. Let’s hope she goes with Mouret for Oscar night too. Kristen Scott Thomas is someone who is rocking the black. Her dress is exquisite, looks slightly warmer than most of the others and is age appropriate. Love.

Kristen Scott Thomas

Kristen Scott Thomas

I’m also going to give some love to Keira Knightley (I know, unheard of, what’s come over me?) because I’ve been a bit perturbed by her pregnancy wardrobe thus far. Well, despite the 3D petals which add volume that no woman heavy with child needs, this Giambattista Valli midi gown looks just lovely. And it’s haute couture for flip’s sake; when I was pregnant I wore a big Primark thing to the Sex and the City 2 premier. Different world I tell you.

Keira Knightley - bloomin' lovely in Giambattista Valli haute couture

Keira Knightley – bloomin’ lovely in Giambattista Valli haute couture

You can rely on Amy Adams – nominated three years in a row now so she’s well rehearsed – to look gorgeous at these occasions. She’s in a white Lanvin column dress this year and while I like it, I can’t pretend I didn’t think for a moment there that she had some kind of ammo around her middle. They don’t need that kind of security panic on the red carpet.

Amy Adams in Lanvin

Amy Adams in Lanvin

Reese Witherspoon is supporting British talent in a Stella McCartney number and this purple one is a more daring one with a very booby neckline I can’t decide if I like. Ultimately, this is such a fantastic colour on her, I’m going to give it the thumbs up. Also, I want her hair please.

Reese Witherspoon in Stella McCartney

Reese Witherspoon in Stella McCartney

There are a few reds popping up and Julianne Moore’s cut-out long sleeved (oh how sensible) Tom Ford gown is a winner but then isn’t Julianne always? It would be great if she was finally recognised by winning an award for once too.**

Julianne Moore in Tom Ford

Julianne Moore in Tom Ford

Finally, I love the lilac of the very elegant gown worn by Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Her hair and make-up are immaculate and her beautiful posture is a lesson to all. Or maybe she was in fact rigid with the cold.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Not so fabulous in my opinion, and it is with a heavy heart I say this, is Patricia Arquette whose dark Pamella Roland red frock is ageing and looks ill fitting. The neckline is too high and isn’t the best style for her shape. I’m cross on her behalf that she’s been stuffed into that old thing – sorry but I named my cat Alabama after Arquette’s brilliant character in True Romance so I’m a bit emotional. I wouldn’t mind only Patricia herself doesn’t look all that thrilled either.*

Patricia Arquette in Pamella Roland

Patricia Arquette in Pamella Roland

*Patricia Arquette has just won the best supporting actress BAFTA – excellent, I’m genuinely thrilled. Bet she wishes even more she hadn’t worn that particular dress though… **Hooraay Julianne Moore has her BAFTA at last!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Who’s Wearing the Trousers Now?

Ever since new poster girl for feminism Emma Watson rocked up at the 2014 Golden Globes wearing trousers under a skirt, the jury has been out on this edgy take on red carpet fashion. It helps that Emma is young, successful, petite and fashion savvy, she rarely makes a mistake and so this look, despite the doubters, was no different. Being British she has fun with her clothes, fun that most of those in Hollywood are simply too busy having armpit botox and vitamin transfusions to have time for. But would others dare to follow in her footsteps? Well, fast forward to the Globes in 2015 and the answer it seems, is a resounding yes.

Emma Watson blazing a trail with her trews in 2014

Emma Watson blazing a trail with her trews in 2014

With the BAFTAs and the Oscars still to go, we have seen the stars of the silver screen throwing caution to the wind and it’s not just the young and hip actresses who are wearing the trousers. First up, was the gorgeous Emma Stone – always one to watch for her sartorial choices –  who appeared at the Golden Globes in a strapless jumpsuit by Lanvin. With its large bow at the waist and jewelled corset top, it was chic, feminine and yet because it wasn’t a gown, still slightly risque. Again, it doesn’t hurt to be a stunning twenty-something redhead but this was a look that could be worn by anyone of almost any age and shape, I loved it.

Emma Stone in Lanvin at the Golden Globes

Emma Stone in Lanvin at the Golden Globes

At the Critics’ Choice Awards, Jennifer Aniston went for something so far removed from the rather disappointing black sparkly number she wore to the Golden Globes that it was almost shocking. Her dark red Gucci trouser suit was the perfect shade for her autumnal colouring and while the suit was androgynous, by pairing it with natural free flowing hair and a completely bare decolletage, Jennifer got the balance just right. God only knows what would have happened if her name had actually been announced and she’d jumped up too quickly in her race to the stage.

Jennifer Aniston in Gucci at the Critics' Choice awards

Jennifer Aniston in Gucci at the Critics’ Choice awards

Julia Roberts has been attending award shows for many years now so she marches to the beat of her own drum style-wise. Being an acclaimed actress in her forties, she has nothing to prove, looks way younger than years and has the height and figure to carry off almost any style. For the Screen Actors’ Guild awards last week she chose an understated, sophisticated jumpsuit by Givenchy in which she looked utterly comfortable. Now as you know, I have always been an advocate of the ‘all in one’ piece and bar the terrible shoes Julia accessorised with (the foot would have been much better covered to keep the look sleek) this particular jumpsuit is a great example of one that will be done brilliantly by the high street so if you haven’t already, go get yourself one now!

Julia Roberts and her Givenchy jumpsuit last week

Julia Roberts and her Givenchy jumpsuit last week

There’s no getting away from the fact that the trouser suit is big news for Spring 2015 although of course it’s nothing new. In 1981 actress Sissy Spacek picked up her Oscar in a black and gold jumpsuit, a daring statement for a nominee, even in this day and age. Michelle Pfeiffer then turned out in a navy Giorgio Armani trouser suit at the 1989 Oscars.

Michelle Pfeiffer in Giorgio Armani in 1989

Michelle Pfeiffer in Giorgio Armani in 1989

Thankfully, in 2015 the cut is sharp and flattering without being punctuated with the huge shoulder pads or massive fussy buttons of the ’80s. This is a look which will work in the office or equally well on an evening out, with the added bonus of the trousers and jacket being useful as separates too.

Jumpsuit reduced to £49 at Coast

Jumpsuit reduced to £49 at Coast

My sister in law and I have both already homed in on the fabulous navy tux style suit at H&M (as always ridiculously well priced and decent quality too), luckily neither of us get out much and are rarely together in the same place so we should be safe in that respect.

Jumpsuit new in at Reiss £195

Jumpsuit new in at Reiss £195

There aren’t many of us who will choose the bra-less look under a one button jacket either for aesthetic reasons or purely due to lifestyle – I for one can’t sit still for long enough, quite aside from the fact I’d need gaffer tape rather than just tit tape for any semblance of decency. A bandeau or corset top would be an on-trend option for a dressy take, a soft silk blouse (try Thomas Pink) or cashmere knit (a staple at Joseph) would be ideal for daytime.

Tux style jacket by Whistles at Brand Alley reduced to £55

Tux style jacket by Whistles at Brand Alley reduced to £55

H&M is a very good place to start for a trouser suit and they have plenty of choice so you can mix and match without breaking the bank. You could go for the navy I mentioned earlier but don’t wear it out with my sister in law Lucy because not only will she not thank me but neither will you as she has ridiculously long skinny legs with which you won’t want to compete. Or alternatively how about this amazing seventies influenced belted number? Far less risk of your boobs falling out of that one.

Jacket £34.99 at H&M

Jacket £34.99 at H&M

Jacket £49.99 and trousers £39.99 at H&M

Jacket £49.99 and trousers £39.99 at H&M

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments