Monday, 27 February 2012

Prettiest In Print

I’m a textile designer at heart so I have a bit of a soft spot for prints and am delighted to see them making such an impact this season.  They’re bold, and I mean BOLD!  From tropical to geometric to paisley and floral (giant, tiny and painterly) you won’t be able to get away from them, but why would you?!   
Mary Katrantzou
Holly Fulton
Christopher Kane

Proenza Schouler
Stella McCartney

Images thanks to

With such a variety of prints to choose from this season, you may find it hard to decide what to go for, or how to wear it.  If you love prints like I do, then jump in with both feet and try a pair of printed trousers.  If you prefer to take it steady, then there are plenty of gorgeous accessories that will hit the spot.  A printed bag, or pair of floral pumps will nod to the trend with very little commitment.

Here are some of my favourite print pieces so far…
1. Hawaiian print skirt from Zara
2. Floral hair band from Primark
3. Jumpsuit from Dorothy Perkins
4. Leather jacket with shoulder detail from Miss Selfridge
5. Floral vintage look dress from Zara
6. Floral skinny jeans from Dorothy Perkins
7. Shoes from ASOS
8. Jacket from Zara
9. Shorts from ASOS

Images from PRshots, Zara, Oasis, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins

I love to mix my prints up, stripes and floral prints work brilliantly together, but I also like to throw leopard print into the mix too.  It's a great way to pull together your own take on the trend.  You need to be confident with your choices, sometimes it’s the prints that clash that make the best combination so wear them like they were meant to be together to avoid looking like you got dressed in the dark.  
  • If one colour features in both prints, this will help tie them together.
  • It helps if one of the prints is bolder than the other, otherwise they will compete for attention, and it’s unlikely to work.
  • Adding a belt in a colour that is featured in both prints is a great way to ensure they tie together perfectly. 
  • Try mixing different textures together; I like to mix silk and knitwear together for a different look.
  • Make sure you don’t get lost in the print, if it’s too bold for you, they’ll wear you rather than the other way round.
Here are some ideas...

Whether you like to mix it up or prefer to keep things simple, the choice is huge out there.  I’m convinced there’s a print for everyone. 
How will you be wearing prints this season?  Have you have spotted or bought something awesome recently that you think should know about?  Please share it by commenting below!

Spring/Summer Trends 2012

I’ve spent most of January and half of February sorting out clients wardrobes for spring/summer but up until a couple of weeks ago, I’d been putting off taking them shopping.  I refuse to take clients shopping until the spring collections start to make a real impact as it’s just not worth it.  But it’s safe to say that the new collections are in.  
I love the start of a new season; it can’t come around quickly enough for me.  After four months of regular shopping trips I’m generally pretty tired of seeing the same stock over and over.  So as soon as the new collections start to make an appearance, my love for style is reignited, I’m inspired all over again and can’t wait to get back out there styling people!

This season’s trends won’t disappoint, in fact the mix is so great that there’s something for everyone.  I love it when the trends are so full of variety; it’s great for building on your personal style and pulling together a look that’s totally you.

Now you all know that I don’t advocate rigidly following fashions, that’s far too easy, far too boring, SO expensive and often results in unflattering mistakes.  I prefer to adapt the trends to suit, developing a style that’s up-to date, and that reflects you.  So, with that in mind, I’ve pulled together my favourite trends of the season with suggestions on how to make them work for you and illustrated with my fave picks from the high-street so far to help you develop your own take on the trends.    As I mentioned in my last post, I’ll be uploading a post for each trend over the next couple of weeks.

First up is Print.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

It's Time To Shake Up Your Wardrobe

The sale stock has almost disappeared (well except for a few sorry looking items lingering at the back of the stores) and the spring collections are starting to make an appearance.  I love this time of year, spring is on it’s way and it’s time to pull my spring/summer wardrobe out of hibernation and send my winter wardrobe packing. 

But before I hit the shops for a spot of retail therapy, I always re-asses my wardrobe from last year and remind myself what I have.
Photo taken by the fantastic Sean Malyon
This might sound a little boring, but while it might be nice to buy a whole new wardrobe each season, it’s not necessary.  In fact it’s a crime to ditch a whole load of clothes that fit and look great, just because you think they’re out of fashion.  You know as well as I do, that the trends we see season after season, don’t change that radically (tribal prints anyone?)  So you’d only end up replacing what you bin with something really similar.  Isn’t it better instead, to add some new different pieces to your wardrobe and to constantly build and develop your style?   
One of my trend boards from S/S 2010
The other reason it’s a good idea to do this first, is that we’re creatures of habit, we all have our favourite shops and are drawn to the same style of clothing again and again - including me, remember this?...

It’s only natural and can be a good thing, but not when it prevents us from trying something new and broadening our horizons.

Taking a look at your current wardrobe should help you to not only indentify the gaps, but to spot your repeat purchases, the things you end up buying, when you were really looking for something else.  Once you’ve identified these, you can gently nudge yourself out of your comfort zone.  Re-assessing your wardrobe may sound like a boring exercise, it’s actually a fantastic way to add some new, different items to your wardrobe that gently push you to develop your style! 

Do you revisit your wardrobe each season, if so, what tips do you have?  Let me know by commenting below, Niki x

P.S.  Over the next week I’ll be regularly uploading posts featuring my take on the trends for the season, with suggestions on how to make them work for you and illustrated with my fave picks from the high-street so far so don’t go away!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

A couple more shots from yesterdays post

I just wanted to share these with you.  Hendrix is so much more photogenic than me...

He also likes kisses!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Three Ways To Wear a Simple Black Lace Dress

Lace dress from Oasis.
I meant to post this last week, but I was in India for the week and didn’t manage to get round to posting it…I’m not sure that the Wi-Fi in the hotel would have coped any way.  I'll tell you about India in another post, there’s lots to share with you so watch this space…

I love wearing dresses, don’t you?  They’re so comfortable and super easy to wear.  You don’t have to think about what to put with what, you just put the dress on and you’re ready to go.  This black dress is something I bought at the beginning of last season and I’ve worn it loads.  It’s a great one for dressing up and down – I’d definitely call it one of my wardrobe staples.

When I was pulling together the looks I was amazed at how many combinations I could pull together, I may have to do another post using this dress another time.  

Outfit 1.  Zara shirt, Vintage bangles, KG pumps, Zara studded bag
Outfit 2. Zara jacket, vintage belt, Angel Jackson bag, Miss Selfridge scarf (I WISH it was a MQ), Dune pumps, Vintage necklace.
Outfit 3. Monsoon fusion top, Topshop belt, Mulberry bag, KG heel, Accessorize ring.

For the first outfit, I’ve teamed the dress with a leopard print shirt.  I’d love to wear it tied like this over a pair of jeans but I don’t think I’ve got the guts to do that.  Tying it over this dress is far more wearable and makes the dress look more casual. 

My second outfit is definitely one to save for when the weather warms up (and for tanned legs!!) but it would work well with black tights if I wanted to wear it now. ..or maybe some floral tights!  Think I may have to get some.  I tend to wear pumps or flat shoes when I’m wearing dresses, I spend most of my time running around the shops for clients so heels just aren’t practical and I sometimes feel too smart if I wear heels for everyday, although I love the look on others.  I always wear scarves so you’ll often see them tied to my bag in case of emergency.

This third outfit is a smarter look (hence the heels).  I’ve added a lace top under the dress…I love the two laces together and have tied a tan belt round my waist to break up the sea of black. 

What do you think?  Would you like to see more outfits with this dress?

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Have you been to Bath lately?

I know this blog is called Hip Shapes and Bristol Fashion but sometimes I can’t help blogging about other great places to shop.   Bath, is only a 15 minute train ride from Bristol and it offers a great shopping experience, it’s one of my favourite cities for shopping, along with Bristol of course. 

The great thing about being a totally independent personal stylist (by which I mean that I’m not tied to a shopping mall and am not expected to take X amount of money per client..I work completely independent of anyone) is that I will take my clients to the shops that suit them best; this means for their shape, size, style and budget.  And more and more, I find I’m taking clients shopping in Bath. 

Bath was the place to go for fashion and pampering in Georgian times and today, things haven’t changed.  The city is home to the brilliant Fashion Museum  and offers shoppers a fabulous selection of independent boutiques and delicious cafes to recuperate in, between purchases.  Culture, stunning architecture, fabulous style and great food all within walking distance, it doesn’t get much better!

Over the last few years Bath has held a weeklong event ‘Bath In Fashion’ celebrating fashion and style in the city, it’s a great way to discover what Bath has to offer, and this year’s event - Sunday 25th March to Sunday 1 April 2012 - looks to the best yet.

Guest celebrities from the world of fashion include shoe god and Bath resident  Manolo Blahnik, who will be in conversation with Iain R Webb at the Holburne Museum, Tuesday 29th March.  The Holburne Museum will also host master milliner Stephen Jones in conversation with Sarah Mower MBE, contributor to American Vogue on Friday 30th March. A special retrospective exhibition at the Holburne of Stephen Jones’ work will also be a fashion highlight. 

Don’t miss out on a seat at the catwalk shows from Spring/Summer ’12 Collections paraded at the glittering Guildhall and designer fashions at the Assembly Rooms. Bath in Fashion 2012’s guest designer, Amanda Wakeley will be bringing her show directly from London Fashion Week, to the art deco Ballroom at the Forum.

Julian Roberts will be presenting a Subtraction Cutting Masterclass on Saturday 31st March demonstrating his unique approach to pattern cutting. Karen Nicol will be running a workshop, sharing her enthusiasm for embellishment showing techniques for cutwork, pleating, sewn strip, sequins and tufts.

Biba fans are in for a treat with a screening of “Beyond Biba” at the Little Theatre Cinema, Wednesday 28th March. Barbara Hulanicki who created the brand will be flying in from Miami to introduce the film. Sir Christopher Frayling, former Chair of the Arts Council is to introduce the classic film “Funny Face” starring screen legend Audrey Hepburn.

Other speakers include Roger Saul who created Mulberry and has now established a designer outlet centre, the Kilver Court Emporium as well as Matteo Alessi. The week culminates with Vintage Sunday on 1st April with a Vintage Fashion Fair and The Secret Tea Party at Green Park Station with best dressed outfit chosen by Pearl Lowe.

There are so many talks, workshops and catwalk shows featuring the best of Baths local boutiques…you really won’t want to miss out!  To find out what’s on and when, click here.

Are you planning on going?  What do you just HAVE to see?

All images thanks to Nicky Hancock

Friday, 3 February 2012

Three Way's To Wear...

This is something that I’ve wanted to do for a while now and I hope it will become a regular feature on Hip Shapes and Bristol Fashion.  I came up with the idea when I was pulling together the post about this maxi skirt.   I mentioned then, that I will only buy something new, if I know it will go with at least three other items I’ve got back at home.  Well ‘Three Ways’ to Wear’ is an extension of this.   Some weeks I’ll illustrate three ways to wear a key item and others will focus on a particular trend.  I love the challenge of pulling together looks and outfits using the same item of clothing and proving to you that you don’t need to have an extensive collection of clothes to create countless outfits…just some imagination and a pair of fresh eyes.

As a personal stylist I’ve been through so many wardrobes and while they’re all so different from each other (one of the many things I love about my job is the variety), there are a couple of things that I see again and again.  The first is there are always at least three or four items hanging in the wardrobe un-worn with the labels still on and the other, is that some items are only ever worn a few times and in the same way.  

I want this regular feature to inspire people to experiment more with their wardrobe, to be more creative and not to be afraid to try something new.   As well as this, I’m hoping it will force me to put the time aside to regularly look at my own wardrobe, something that I’ve enjoyed doing with the challenges I’ve done, but that normally comes last after all my clients wardrobes. (On that note, I still want to do more challenges, so if you have one for me, then get in touch!).  So, what do you think? 

Well, if you like the idea then here’s my first post...
Three ways to wear a blouse.

1. Blouse from Monsoon, jeans from Donna Ida, shoes from NW3 and vintag broach
2.Blouse and jeans as before, shoes from Ash, vintage belt, cardigan from Hennes.
3. Jumper from Zara, skirt from Joy, shoes from Dune.
I’m a huge fan of blouses; I find them such a versatile item and perfect for layering.  This one is from Monsoon Fusion, a make that’s recently caught my eye.  I love the colour and the cute heart print (which surprises me as I’m not normally drawn to clothes or jewellery with hearts).  The first outfit is fairly simple, I’ve paired the blouse with a pair of skinny jeans and heels.  I love the shape of the top so I’ve kept the rest of the outfit fairly simple.  I really like the collar and the little bow round the neck so thought I’d try to make a feature of it by adding the broach. 

My second outfit is much more of an everyday look.  It’s a bit blurry, but I’m wearing my leather trainers by Ash with jeans and have tucked the top in, finishing it off with a studded belt and cardi.

And finally, I’m wearing the blouse under this crochet jumper with a skirt and flats.  The collar works quite well around the neckline of the jumper and I like the way you can see a little bit of green through the holes.  I think my favourite look is the middle one, what about you?