Tuesday, 27 October 2009

The Accessorista,

Accessories are a fab way of instantly updating the look of an outfit. Not only can you make casual outfit dressier; just by changing the shoes and bag, but you can re-work outfits you’ve had for years. Add a handbag in the latest colour or a pair of ‘must have’ shoes, and your outfit from yesterday will be brought bang up to date.

Accessories are becoming such an important part of every wardrobe and as a result, Kinder Bueno has spotted a new social group of young, fashion-conscious women, emerging from the economic downturn – the accessorista, women who accessorise and recycle their wardrobes with every season.

Kinder Bueno’s Vanessa Kennedy said: “The emergence of the accessorista comes as shoppers are becoming more conscious about revamping their wardrobe and instead opting to treat themselves with smaller, less expensive pieces in order to revamp their look. It seems to be working and having a positive impact on their confidence and purse. It seems a little bit of what you fancy is good all round! So we’re thrilled to be giving our consumers an opportunity to win their very own designer bag, an accessory we know they’ll love!

Kinder Bueno is offering you for 100 days the chance to win your very own must-have designer bag in a daily prize draw. Running until December 2009, participants simply need to log onto www.bueno-designerbag.com to enter the free prize draw and win a little bit of what you fancy!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Stylish Bath

Last month, Bristol and Bath based magazine, Folio, asked me to define Bath’s style. Quite a challenge you might say!

So what is Bath’s style? Is it unique, or is it the same as every other city? Immediately I conjure up images of stylish ‘ladies who lunch’, with Orla Kiely handbags, Seven For All Mankind jeans and designer sunglasses, but I know there’s more to it than that. I explored Bath’s history, talked to local retailers and put together my own outfit, to give you an insight into Bath style.
The city is packed with stunning historical architecture and tempting boutiques, all intertwined and set amongst beautiful, quintessential English villages. The cities boutiques provide locals with unique pieces and vintage items to create an effortlessly stylish and classic Bath look.
Bath has always been a ‘must-see’ on the tourist trail. Leah, of Pink Lemons boutique told me that “most of our customers are tourists especially in the summer season”; combining retail therapy with sightseeing.

In Georgian times, Bath was the fashionable place to visit. Rosemary Harden, Bath Fashion Museum’s curator, spoke to me about Bath’s history; she commented that “unlike London, Bath has never been a centre for the production of fashion.” She went on to say, it was however, the “centre for the procurement of fashion. Fashionable items and textiles were bought by visitors holidaying in Bath; their clothes would be tailored while they were there, and then worn in the evenings to show off. Bath was very much the place to see and be seen”

So is Bath style all ‘ladies who lunch’ and designer jeans? Walking around the city you’ll spot yummy mummies, twenty something fashionistas, and classically stylish Batholians. No different to other cities? However, unlike other cities which also boast universities, Bath’s style isn’t studenty; it is more sophisticated, individual, and boutiquey. Leah has another Pink Lemons boutique in Bristol and comments that “Bath plays a much more relaxed approach to fashion” unlike Bristolians who “tend to have a bit more of an edge in fashion and are more open to new things”.

My own ‘Bath style’ outfit would have to consist of individual pieces from the exciting boutiques. First I’d go to Prey, where I spot a Marilyn Moore ‘Moira’ dress in a fab floral print. Bang on trend for autumn/winter 09, perfect for dressing up and down, and so Bath. Next I want a bag, so onto Sassy and Boo in Margaret’s Buildings; a treasure trove of vintage items, and contemporary designers. The vintage snakeskin handbags take my fancy, as do a pair of large vintage sunglasses. Pink Lemons is my next stop, with their collection of funky shoes, bags and jewellery. I take home some coloured opaques to change the look of my new dress, and can’t resist a piece of statement jewellery that I know will transcend the seasons. All I need now is shoes. A pair of boots catches my eye in Lux, on Bartlett St. I also pick up some foldable pumps by Redfoot; they fit nicely in my new bag and are perfect for tackling Baths steep, cobbled streets, after a night out.

Bath a more relaxed take on fashion. Its style is individual and classic, contemporary and quirky, very much reflecting Baths own mix of old and modern architecture.

To read the full article; ‘A style history of Bath’, pick up a copy of the October issue of Folio magazine

Monday, 24 August 2009

Swish 'n' Swap 'n' be stylish

Wednesday was the first Swish ‘n’ Swap swishing event at the Ashton Gate Stadium and I was invited to speak about image and dressing for your body shape before the swishing began. The event was held in aid of the Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal Charity for the Bristol Children’s Hospital and the organisers, Grace and Vicky, raised £400!
As Grace said; ‘The idea behind the event was to show dedicated followers of fashion how style and glamour does not necessarily have to be compromised by ethical shopping and bargain hunting! We also hope to give everyone that comes along a really good time!’

For those of you who don’t know; Swishing is essentially clothes swapping. It’s a fantastic opportunity to de-junk your tired wardrobe and add new items that will update your existing outfits. What can be better; you get to re-home the unworn items that are clogging up your wardrobe, and swap them for something fabulous that you will actually wear. There’s always an eclectic mix of items to choose from so swishing is the perfect opportunity to try something a bit different and experiment with your style.

People started arriving at 7pm and the first half hour was spent hanging the items on the rails according to size. It was great that there was such a good amount of each size and so much choice. Then at 7.30pm, it was my turn to entertain the ladies. I talked to them about body shapes and how to dress to suit this. I really wanted the swishers to take home new items which would suit them and their body shape; rather than adding to the unworn items already in their wardrobe.
After about half an hour, the clothes were viewed, but not tried on. Then the countdown began; people shuffled towards the clothes they hoped to grab, some naughtily close to their desired item, and then.... all go. I stood on the sidelines, on hand to help with decisions as everyone grabbed what they wanted and rushed to try it on. There was no pushing or hair tugging, but it was frantic all the same!
The event came to an end at around 10pm with only a few items left swinging on the rails.
It was great fun and the evening left most of the women making their way home with some fab new additions to their wardrobe.

If you want a new outfit but don’t want to pay out, then swishing might be for you, you never know what you’ll find, just think; one lady’s junk is another lady’s treasure!

Visit their website to read more and find out about the next event! http://www.swish-n-swap.org.uk
All images courtesy of Grace Porter (Thanks Grace!)

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Primark has landed!

I went down to Broadmead this morning to witness the opening of Primark’s largest store yet.

The queue snaked round the store and was buzzing, Primark staff were handing out balloons and Starbucks were giving away free mini coffees. Although the fuss wasn’t as huge as I’d expected, the girl’s queuing up didn’t disappoint as they let out excited screams on their way into the store.

The store is huge, so big in fact, that the vast space swallowed up the droves of people who’d waited patiently for it to open. Once inside, they seemed to disappear and it felt more like a regular shopping day.
The store was immaculate, I’ve never seen Primark look so tidy – T-shirts and jumpers were folded with military precision, a far cry from the chaos that normally hits you as you walk in.
There were a handful of protesters, pushing their placards’ in the faces of the young girls as they went in and out of the store. Primark has always had a fragile relationship with the public due to their inexpensive, fast, throwaway fashion. Many believe that the people making the clothes are paying a high price for our cheap fashion fixes. The police were on standby to defuse any problems with them but it didn’t look like this was going to happen. The shoppers certainly didn’t seem to be affected by the placards as they came out with armfuls of bags!

There’s about 100,000 sq ft of space housing menswear, womenswear, childrenswear and homewear and the store has created 500 jobs for the people of Bristol. Many people hope that the opening of such a large store will increase footfall back into Broadmead, which has noticeably dropped since the opening of Cabot Circus.

Bristol already has a fantastic range of shops catering for all budgets, tastes and needs. Primark has just added to this, and it seems that Bristol has welcomed them with open arms.

Were you there? What did you think?

Wednesday, 29 July 2009


It’s nearly time! The new film Coco Avant Chanel, starring Audrey Tatou as Coco Chanel, is showing in cinemas from Friday and I can’t wait!

Chanel is famous for the little black dress, the tweed suit, and the quilted leather handbag.

If, like me it’s re-ignited your passion for all things Chanel, then here are some ideas for you to create that famous, chic look on the high street.

Miss Selfridge

Miss Selfridge



Phase Eight

Marks and Spencer


All images courtesy of PR Shots.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Clifton Rocks!!

It really does, thanks to the recent opening of fab new jewellery shop; Clifton Rocks. This is no ordinary jewellery shop, think, vintage mixed with contemporary. The shop looks beautiful, welcoming and stylish. Take a seat on the inviting leather sofa while you take it all in.
The owner Clare, who has been designing and making jewellery for ten years, has her studio in the back of the shop so you can watch her while she produces her own range. Claires collection sits alongside the other contemporary designers, which she sources herself. If that’s not enough for you, then she can make alterations, repairs and one-off commissions at the request of her clients.

Clare told me that the collection will be updated regularly so it’s worth popping in every now and then to see what’s new; I know I will be!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Boutique chic, or high street style?

Bristol is a great place to shop! We’re fortunate enough to have a great selection of shopping destinations; from high street shops, to unique boutiques. They may not all be within easy reach of each other, but don’t let that put you off! Time spent rummaging in the plethora of shops will give you a great wardrobe to style yourself with.

The Mall at Cribbs Causeway along with Broadmead and Cabot Circus, satisfy our high street needs and are fab for a quick fix. You’ll find every trend is covered from ‘neon brights’ to ‘nautical stripes’, there’s plenty to choose from.

Cabot Circus, courtesy of geoff. The Mall, courtesy of b*a*z*z*a* / Barry

Boutiques found in Clifton Village and arcade, Park Street, Whiteladies Road and Broad Street give us individuality, choice, and a truly enjoyable shopping experience. Most boutiques tend to stock a limited amount of sizes meaning that the chance of you seeing someone wearing the same as you, is very slim. Not only that, but it’s really enjoyable shopping, and is often a great way to find items by local designers.

Elsie riley, courtesy of Katie Riley and Bees and graves, courtesy of Miao.

Enjoy having a mixture of styles and makes in your wardrobe, so you can create a variety of looks to suit your mood; whether that's rock chick chicky rock, girly, or boho. Mix high street with boutique shops to get a really individual yet contemporary look.

Where do you like to shop?

I like to healthy dose of both. I’ll often buy my staples on the high street and then add unique pieces to my wardrobe from local boutiques and vintage shops. Accessories are a particularly great addition as you can see in these shots from Elsie Riley’s latest photo shoot, (courtesy of Katie Riley)

Don’t limit yourself to one look, use the boutiques and high street shops around you to create your own dressing up cupboard, and have fun!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Dressing for success

What your image says about you is so important, especially when you’re running your own business. You essentially become your brand. It’s important that you are visually projecting the person you want the world to see. When you get it right, the confidence you feel is fantastic. And ultimately, it’s the key to success.

I was invited to speak about this at the Business Inspired networking meeting on Monday evening.

Business Inspired is ‘a supportive business group created by Business Women and designed to support and inspire other Women in Business’.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself!

I talked about the power of image, and how to dress for success. I had a friend, Kate Parker (an Image Consultant in Cheltenham) to support me, and together we lined up a few activities and demonstrations so that the women could get involved and really learn something. Hopefully they took away some useful tips that they could start using right away.

Here are some of the ladies making the most of the accessories we took along:

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Pretty in Print

H&M couldn’t be more on trend following the launch of the Matthew Williamson Summer range.

This isn’t the first time H&M have collaborated with high end designers, they’ve previously colaborated with Roberto Cavalli, Stella McCartney and Karl Lagerfeld to name just a few.

The designer who’s popular with the likes of Sienna Miller and Jade Jagger, is famed for his fantastically colourful prints in an array of colours.

This collection is no exception. As soon as you walk into the store you’re taken to tropical rainforests and faraway places. Birds of paradise, tropical flowers and peacock feathers adorn the dresses, tunics, and bikinis. It’s not a girly, feminine collection; it’s edgy and punk like with studded waist belts to wrap around the neon concoctions.

Pictures courtesey of Sølve Sundsbø hm.com

H&M aren’t the only retailers offering high street shoppers the chance to get that designer look without the designer price tag. M&S are hot on their heels with a collection by Zandra Rhodes. Like Mathew Williamson, Zandra Rhodes' collection is bright and full of pattern, perfect for summer. However, it’s such a watered down version of the designers normally unique and beautifull designs, that the collection almost gets lost amoungst the Per Una range.
Folllow the links below to view the two collections:
Matthew Williamson for H&M
Zandra Rhodes for Marks and Spencer

What do you think? I think it's pretty obvious which collection I prefer; how about you?

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Juicy summer colours!

Block colours, clashing colours, acid brights, Eighties colours....

Shopping for clothes is like choosing which sweets to have in your pick and mix! Which colour to go for? They’re all fab.

A bright purple belt on a khaki dress is a nod towards the summer brights trend, as is a yellow Cardi on a navy dress, or a bold & beautiful necklace on a more subdued outfit.

Fashionistas are recommending we mix colours together for an ‘on trend’ look, but If you’re not sure which colours make a good clashing combination, and which a bad, then try putting just one bold colour with a nude background, Reiss do this fantastically!

Follow this link to view their ‘look book’.

Accessorising a bright outfit is often a struggle so consider using a nude coloured pair of shoes or handbag to finish the outfit.

I love the power of nude shoes. They go with any colour or any outfit and they make your legs look longer. What more could you ask for!
Try these ones from French Connection:

Or these for those of you that like a heel, try these from Carvella:

Friday, 3 April 2009

A busy sunny Sunday show

I spent Sunday at the Bristol Womens Show

How great! An opportunity to talk to the women of bristol face to face. I speed styled the day away; giving a group of women the chance to take home a goodie bag containing their own prescription sheet tailored to their shape, along with some of my top tips.

The show was such a success with the Bristol ladies coming through the doors in their droves. Such a great success with the Bristol ladies coming through the doors in their droves. Such a great girly day out.

To add to the excitement, the lucky ladies who watched the fashion shows put on by Drop Dead Gorgous and Bespoke finery, were witness to the WI, my husband and two friends' big debut on the catwalk!

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Jump into the Noughties in Eighties style!

Jumpsuits, head scarves, harem trousers & bleached denim.............

Looks like fashion is paying homage to Bananarama, Madonna and MC Hammer!

Have you noticed all the bleached denim that’s popping up in the magazines, the oversized earrings, one shoulder dresses, lace, oversized t-shirts and head scarves?

Don’t fret, if you’re not in the mood to go all out Eighties then here are some tips to update your long lost summer wardrobe.

A statement pair of earrings is a great way to add contemporary style to last year’s outfits. Either go all ‘bo ho’ with a large pair of hoops, or put strong jewel colours with a plain dress.

Bows are big this season, so, opt for one on a handbag or broach rather than in your hair.

Be careful with the harem trousers that are in abundance this season. They’re a fashion disaster waiting to happen! There are lots different styles out there so make sure you a variety before you take the plunge.

Likewise with the jumpsuits. There’s one for every shape out there, invest in the time to find the right one for you and you’ll have a staple summer piece for all occasions.

Enjoy creating your own style

Use the trends to update your wardrobe; by adding new key pieces each season, you’ll find you build a wardrobe that turns getting dressed from an everyday necessity into an enjoyable experience!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

A wonderful hotchpotch of sparkle, pattern and chatter!

I just love rummaging around in antiques shops and vintage fairs, so I was over the moon when I spotted a large vintage fair in Bristol last weekend. I spent almost 3 hours there having a good look at everything. I also made a few purchases.
Shopping vintage is always a great way to pick up something individual, something that no one else has. A fab vintage pair of boots for example, will make a great addition to your wardrobe. Fashions come round again and again ensuring you’ll pick up something that’s on-trend yet unique and yummy, if you know what to look for.

This season ‘forever pieces’ is a big trend. Invest in items which transcend the seasons, and work with lots of outfits such as a jacket. Where better to find that than at a vintage shop or fair?

Before you hit the stalls it’s a good idea to make a list of some of the things you might be looking for; it’s so easy to be overwhelmed by the wonderful hotchpotch of sparkle, pattern and chatter! For example; I went along hoping to find a little snakeskin hand bag for next season, some jewellery that would also work in the summer, but that looked a bit individual and, of course, I was keeping my eye out for items that might work for some of my clients!

To see if there’s going to be any in your area follow this link to Blind Lemon Vintage’s website:
www.blindlemonvintage.co.uk they also link to other vintage fairs. If you can’t bare all that hunting on foot, why not take a look from the comfort of your home. Some of the stallholders who were there have websites so here are a couple to make life a little easier for you:

www.samayalingvintage.com - For great quality vintage designer items
www.sheenaholland.com - For unique headresses handmade from vintage jewellery

Some other Websites worth visiting:
www.myvintage.co.uk – A good selection of vintage pieces and a great place to buy new, retro t-shirts
www.stardustonline.co.uk – Great choice of accessories
www.candysays.co.uk - Vintage clothing and accessories
www.marthascloset.co.uk – Browse through the decades to find what you’re looking for, they also sell vintage fabrics and trims

So, there’s no excuse; get rummaging!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Hurrah for spring summer clothes!!

Saturday was a day of research (well, that’s what I like to call it).

I braved the snow and ice (I did, I literally ice skated down the road in my little car) and went to London. I spent the day with some of the other lovely Alicia Kite Image Consultants. We had such a girly day, drinking Lattes and talking about all the latest trends. We spent most of the day in the fashion Mecca that is Harrods. It looks like summer is going to be a great season for fashion, and I can’t wait. There’s something for everyone whether it’s floaty florals that take your fancy or you’re more of an eighties girl.

So, if you’ve started to think about what to wear when the sun eventually comes out then here are some handy tips before you part with your pennies:

Number one rule: Make sure you’re choosing items that work for your body shape. There’s no point in forking out lots of money for something because it’s deemed to be ‘the must have item’ for this season if it doesn’t work for your shape. Trust me you won’t feel good in it so you probably won’t wear it.

Try and focus on your positive attributes: Women spend most of the time trying to hide the parts of their body they don’t like that they forget to show off their best parts. If you’ve got a great waist then show it off!

Get out all your summer clothes from last season to remind yourself what you’ve got.

Does it go with at least two other things in your wardrobe? This sounds like a bore but believe me, if you want your wardrobe to work really hard for you then you need to be purchasing items that slot seamlessly into your wardrobe.

Is it the same as something you’ve already got? This is a mistake that a lot of us make. We get into a habit when we shop; do you find yourself shopping for the same things, in the same shops time after time?

Step out of your comfort zone a little and you might be pleasantly surprised!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Bargain shopping for spring/summer 2009!

It’s that time again to start thinking about the new season. With the sales still in full swing, it’s easy to get sidetracked and spend money on items that may only be worn for another couple of months.

If the items aren’t classics; pieces that are season less, then think about how often you’ll actually wear that piece. Is it something that will take you through to Spring Summer?

Quite a few trends will continue into the next season, so you could find yourself a bargain which will be in fashion next season too.

Here are hints on what to look out for:

· African, tribal trend – Look out for any animal print accessories or clothing in the sales; zebra, leopard, anythign goes! These will go brilliantly with your outfits next season.

· Following on from this trend, yet very much a trend of its own, is snakeskin – There was snakeskin on footwear and bags last season, so if you find any of these in the sale, snap them up!

· Statement necklaces – In all the shops this season and set to be huge again come spring summer.

· 80’s Revival - The 80’s is one of those trends that seems to linger in the background most seasons. This time round, however, it’s found its way to the fore front. Think oversized earrings, bold colours and prints.

· Denim - We all love denim and this season is no exception, every shade and every style goes, from jackets to dungarees and even shoes! Purchasing denim in the sales is always a good buy, but this time round it’s especially good.

Purchasing items in the sale needn’t be a waste of money. If done cleverly you can purchase a bargain which will take you through to the end of the summer! Saving money on these key items now, means more money left over to buy the accessories you might want to update your look later on in the season.