Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Trend Report: Scarf Print.

With a nod to the classic Hermes scarf, D&G's last collection before it's incorporation into the main Dolce and Gabbana line, sent out a collection of gloriously bright and fun silk scarf prints which will make a vivacious and fun alternative to the ice cream colours which are proving very popular for spring and summer.  But it wasn't just the Italian design duo who embraced the trend with Versace, Carven and DKNY all providing the classic silk scarf element into their spring/summer collections.

No matter what your age, this is a trend that can be embraced by all, and the High Street are already offering interpretations of the trend at very reasonable prices so take a look at my top picks and start adding a dash of silk scarf chic to your wardrobe.

Print Dress £42. Turquoise Tunic £38. Blue Scarf Blouson £35.

I've noticed for the last few seasons that Wallis have been offering homage's to designer collections, with last year seeing great interpretations of both Stella McCartney and Prada, and this season does not disappoint if you are looking for High Street prices and trend led pieces for the more mature fashion follower.  The classic jersey wrap style dress requires very little styling, just team with great shoes and a clutch.  I adore the tunic and the blouson because I live and die in jeans so they would both be perfect additions to my spring wardrobe and could be worn with flats for day or heels for evening.  I don't really wear skirts, but both tops would look just as good with your classic black pencil skirt as they would adding a pop of colour under a tailored jacket for the office.
Blue is undoubtedly the colour of the season, which gives me another reason to fall in love with these pieces.

Versace Mini Dress £465.  Silk Shirt £745. Silk Twill shirt £745.

DKNY dress at my-wardrobe £237. DKNY silk vest at NAP £250.

High End or High Street, will you be wearing scarf print pieces this season?

Monday, 30 January 2012

Style Icon - Sarah Jessica Parker. Stripes and Prints.

I don't think I have posted about SJP since the beginning of December when she seemed to have a particularly manic few weeks of nights out in New York City, so I was pleased to see her back on the red carpet and on the arm of husband Matthew Broderick for a night out to the premiere of new Broadway show "Smash".

Despite not actually starring in the show herself, SJP was the evenings main attraction wearing a Tory Burch sequin dress from her S/S 12 collection and with all my recent talk of breton stripes and leopard print, I was pleased to see Sarah Jessica putting a new spin on my latest print obsession for evening, by teaming her wavy, navy, white and taupe striped dress with a cute leopard print bag. 
Just like her alter ego, Carrie Bradshaw, if there are fashion boundaries to be pushed and unwritten style rules to be broken, we can always rely on her to test the fashion waters for us, but always in an age appropriate manner.

Tory Burch Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear

What do you think of SJP's print combination?

Shop for 2012 dresses at Bloomingdales.com

Friday, 27 January 2012

Something for the weekend - buying, wearing, sharing.

For today only (Friday) you can get six Nails Inc nail polishes for the bargain price of just £15! This is an absolute steal when you consider that they usually cost £11 each! (plus £3.95 p&p) Its a lucky dip, you don't get to choose your own colours, but its a great way to add some new shades to your nail lacquer collection. www.nailsinc.com.

Many Sales are still ongoing but most, having started before Christmas, and are now coming to a close.  If there was something you had your heart set on, but that sadly sold out, I always advise that you should keep checking back as returns are being made all the time, so you never know your luck!

Isabella Oliver 365 and maternity collection sales will come to end at midnight on Sunday.  It appears the cowl neck jumper I had been lusting after all season, did sadly sell out before the brand made their final reductions, just my luck, but this is a great brand for quality core pieces, so do check them out if you haven't already. www.isabellaoliver.com

This week I'm loving....

£1,195.00 from Matches.

Coleen Rooney's Louis Vuitton scarf and Yves Saint Laurent Bag.  It is always about the "arm candy" with me and this one also makes it's way onto my "if I win the lottery" handbag wishlist, it is divine and I haven't had a red handbag for years, so I obviously deserve this and a new scarf to match!!  My brown LV scarf is such a treasured possession, but there is plenty of room in my heart for another colour.

I keep wearing it with any one of my four breton tops!  This one is an A Line style from Juicy Couture, which skims the tummy nicely thank you!

I can not possibly let the weekend begin without mentioning the immortal words "Chanel" and as the brands Couture show took place at the Grande Palais earlier this week in a setting depicting the inside of an aircraft, I soon realised this was one aeroplane I wouldn't have needed to get drunk or take half a dozen valium to get on,  I would happily have gone to 30,000 feet on this baby!

"Cabin Crew, Doors to Manual"

The collection embraced every shade of blue imaginable, from the deepest midnight to cornflower, with Mr Lagerfeld explaining that this was his "blue period" and that the colour of his cats eyes had been the inspiration that had set him off on this particular journey. It is certainly one "mile high club" I wouldn't mind joining!

A few days later saw the release of the Karl Lagerfeld collection for net-a-porter, "Karl".  There isn't really anything that grabs me to be honest, not something I expected to be saying! It is all a bit young and monochrome for my liking but have a peek here and let me know what you think.

Meanwhile don't forget that the NAP sale is still live and has even more new additions and further reductions if you are still on the lookout for a last minute designer bargain.

You've got to be in it to win it and this weeks featured competition comes from My-Tights and gives five lucky winners the chance to win a complete set of Pamela Mann opaque tights, that is all 27 colours! So head off over to the website here to enter for free.

So have a great weekend my lovelies and don't forget to let me know what you have been loving, lusting after or buying this week.


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Over 40's Red Carpet Glamour at the National Television Awards.

Sadly I missed all the Red Carpet fashion fun last night because I went to my first ever Zumba class!  It was actually more fun than I could have imagined and I really enjoyed it, even though my arms and legs may not agree, due to the fact they found it quite difficult during certain sequences to both go in the same direction at the same time, but this was of course, a case of much hilarity to my friends, even though exactly the same thing was happening to them as well!  Lack of co-ordination must be an age thing!

I have to confess I was tempted to give it a miss and stay in to watch the National Television Awards, I find it hard to resist a look at celebrity glamour, especially from the more mature attendee's, so here is my round up of "yeh" and "neh" looks worn by the over 40's at last nights event.

Where do we look? Carol Vorderman fronted up to the National Television Awards at the O2 tonight in a very revealing dress

Carol leaves me speechless, yet again, when it comes to her red carpet looks.  Beautiful dress but more suited to a bride, and a bride with a somewhat smaller bust at that!  Even if you have great "assets" at the age of 51, nobody actually wants to see your tits heaving out of your frock in my opinion.  Verdict: I would die for your figure Carol, but not your wardrobe.

Burns night bonny: Lorraine Kelly stayed true to her roots in a full-skirted tartan dress

Tossing the Kyber for the Scottish contingent was the darling Lorraine Kelly. I know it was Burns Night but seriously Lozza, what the hell?  Verdict: Being patriotic is fine but tartan heels or a clutch would have looked far more chic.

Sleek: Elle Macpherson showed while she is still The Body in a figure-hugging charcoal dress

Elle McPherson looked absolutely stunning in my opinion and rarely puts a foot wrong in the glamour stakes.  Verdict: Hair is a tad too severe for my liking but totally adore everything else.

Pink ladies: Kate Garraway and Michelle Collins chose different shades of the evening's most popular colour

Bringing a touch of Hollywood Glamour to the event was Coronation Street's resident landlady, Michelle Collins looking utterly stunning in Merabi by Nadine
Pale blush shades were seen in abundance at last weeks Golden Globes and last night proved that this popular and flattering colour choice will no doubt continue throughout awards season.  Verdict: If I could choose any celebrities outfit to borrow for a red carpet event, it would be Michelle's. 

Do you think the over 40's gave the younger celebrities a run for their money? Who was your best dressed on the night?

Bastyan Designer Clothing

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Monogrammed Madness.

I say "Madness" because a recent post I read regarding Monogrammed Designer goods sparked a bit of rumpus between the author and those commenting on the Blog concerned.  I don't know how or why a discussion about such items would cause any bad feeling, we all have our own opinions on such accessories and at least it made me have a good think about my own LV monogrammed possessions and get them out for a well deserved photoshoot.

Personally I think that lots of people see the Louis Vuitton monogrammed range almost as a stepping stone into the world of luxury bags and accessories, being as you can actually still get a good quality handbag for less than £500 and it is fine for those who can afford Chanel and Hermes to sniff at mere mortals who may be over the moon with their first LV purchase but we are all individuals and everybody has a budget of some description.

My first designer handbag was Gucci. I was 21. This purchase was closely followed by a highly sought after Louis Vuitton which I carried proudly to the office.  My boss told me "that bag will last you a lifetime", I used it everyday for about 6 years. It didn't, but it was the start of a love affair that was to continue for a very long time.

When my eldest daughter was in the sixth form (6 years ago) she lost my large LV monogrammed purse after she decided to take it to school one day.  She had gone to Sainsburys to buy doughnuts, came back to the common room, ate her treat, went back to class and left my purse on the table.  Obviously we never saw that again.  I was so distraught, I don't know how I didn't kill her.  I had bought the purse myself a good few years beforehand and it was about £200 if I remember rightly, a lot of money for a purse back then .  OH went out and bought me the purse pictured above which remains in excellent condition, as does the key purse which is now about 11 or 12 years old.

I do still use my Louis Vuitton goods. The two purses on a daily basis, both years old now and I am not ashamed to say that when the "Neverfull" tote bag was released, it went straight on my Christmas wish list as I am a sucker for a huge bag that I can fill with everything but the kitchen sink!
I no longer use it on a daily basis as I did when it was new, but it makes for a great beach/poolside bag when on holiday and I also use it for shopping trips as its huge capacity means I don't have to cart loads of carrier bags around, naturally I requested the largest of the three sizes available.  I was at first worried that the thin straps would snap under the strain but OH had asked instore and was told that it had been tested to take a certain weight (neither of us can remember how much) which makes this bag extremely functional especially if you are a "mum on the run" with loads of "stuff" to cart around.

Although I recently wrote an article about fake goods, I never worry that people might think that my items are fake, because I know they are not!  Although I did have a client when I worked at the Salon a couple of years ago who walked in my room, saw my " Neverfull" hanging on the back of the door as she closed it behind her and said "oh you have the same bag as me, have you been to Turkey aswell?".  If looks could have killed, I swear mine would have sent her six feet under!

Many items in my LV monogrammed collection have been sold over the years and these are just the pieces that remain.  If they get too grubby (the base of my Alma was disgusting) and I know I would never use them again, then I get rid and it doesn't worry me, I don't feel sentimental about pieces that may have been bought as presents but I also understand why some people wish to keep hold of things they now never use on the basis that they were bought as gifts.

I also understand that people do expect these goods to be of the highest quality, but I have had a previous issue with Louis Vuitton over a bag with a broken strap which some of you may well remember, but for those of you who weren't reading the blog in the Spring of 2010, my husband took the bag to the Royal Exchange branch in the City, who promptly sent it off to Paris and after a couple of weeks, this is what we got back.  A note saying the bag was unrepairable.......
when any fool can see the strap has only come out because the stitching has come undone.....

I felt awful because I acted as though I didn't believe OH and felt that he could have done more, so I decided to go up to London myself and try the Bond Street store where it had originally been bought and I ended up thinking that I was going to get thrown out by security as my voice got higher and higher with rage and anger, as the manager told me that it was unrepairable, what a load of rubbish. 
If I took it to a cobblers they could stitch it easily so why the hell can't LV?  I don't want to lower the value of the item by getting the repair done elsewhere, so the bag remains upstairs and unused.  Sad really, as across the body bags are so handy when travelling or shopping.

So although my husband lives by the motto "buy cheap, buy twice" there will always be times when something of expense and quality will break, come unstitched, whatever. You just have to hope that if anything like that does happen, you will get a better response from the retailer/manufacturer than we did. 

So where do you stand on Monogrammed goods?  Do you think you should stop using them as you get older?  Or are you a younger designer goods lover who wouldn't be seen dead carrying something with a logo?  

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Something for the weekend - win bespoke shoes, extra 20% off sale items and what I'm loving this week.

This Weekend is all about the best competitions, special offers and further discounts, as well as a little peek into what I am wearing and loving this week!

The Best Competition - Upper Street Shoe Experience.

If you haven't heard of Upper Street Shoes, then its high time you were enlightened!  Upper Street are a bespoke shoe brand that allow you to design your perfect pair of shoes online!  Such a great concept for anybody who really can't find the perfect pair of shoes, in either the colour or heel height of their choice and to celebrate their 2nd birthday, Upper Street are giving you the opportunity to win an invitation for you and 3 friends to rub shoulders with the glitterati and join them to party in style at the W Hotel on 1st March.
The glamour will not end there as Upper Street will continue to spoil you by hosting a luxury shoe experience for you and 3 lucky friends at their beautiful design studio where you will all get to design and keep your own pair of bespoke shoes courtesy of Upper Street.  Their experienced style consultants will be at hand to help you indulge your inner design diva.
To enter this must-win prize, simply take a couple of minutes to register with www.upperstreet.com

This weeks best discount at my-wardrobe.

With many sales coming to an end, its a great time to take advantage of any further discounts that may be on offer.  My-Wardrobe are offering an extra 20% off of Sale items, using code SALEEXTRA at checkout. 

This now means that you can get these fab Bionda Castana shoe boots (already reduced by 70%) with the extra 20% off for a bargainous £152!

Click here to shop.

If you are still on the hunt for a great bargain, then don't forget to check out my "Best Bargains" page which has been constantly updated throughout the Sales season to bring you the most wearable wardrobe investment items with the biggest discounts and my top sale tip as the Sales come to a close, is to keep checking back online as returns are being made all the time, so your size may well be back in stock!

This week I have been loving.....

My new Chantecaille "Lip Chic" lipstick in Geranium.  I put this on my Christmas List and haven't got around to using it yet, so thought I would give it a try yesterday. It is lovely and soft to apply and quite glossy and is not as dark on, as it appears in the tube. The perfect shade for me to get away from a make-up bag full of pinky shades and I have to say I love this brand of make-up and skincare which is available at Space NK. Have you ever bought any Chantecaille products?


I also thought it was high time I used my Pug scarf by "Age of Reason" which I got for my December birthday.  Being totally "Pug" obsessed of late, this made the perfect present for me and I was thrilled to get it.  Age of Reason Pug scarves are available to buy online from matchesfashion. See the latest ss12 designs here.

So what have you been loving/wearing/buying this week?


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Wednesdays Wardrobe Staple.

Its been a long time since I did a "Wednesday Wardrobe Staple" post, purely because I covered what I thought were all the essential items to create the perfect capsule collection in a series of posts I did last year.  I featured the trench coat, the perfect Jeans, basic t-shirts, breton tops and the undeniably essential, little black dress, but the reason for this post is that there is one other item that most "Wardrobe Hero" articles seem to ignore, the denim shirt.

I pretty much ignored the "double denim" trend as seen on the Chloe runway back in 2010, fearing it was not a look for my age group but I starting looking at Denim shirts again when the "Made in Chelsea" series first started and I spotted one being worn by one of the shows stars, Caggie Dunlop.  I make no apologises for my love of trash t.v. and really got into the programme after the first few episodes and Caggie has worn her denim shirt on various occasions throughout series one and two.

Series 2 - The denim shirt is under the coat - honest. I watched it so I should know.

Then last week Sharon did a blog post about a recent denim shirt charity shop find which she teamed with some coloured jeans whilst showing a spread from that weeks Grazia featuring denim shirts, which I managed to forget to buy.  Then one of my friends turned up at the house wearing one that she had recently purchased.  I loved her daytime look so much I nagged her into letting me taking a picture of her standing by my front door as she was leaving, much to her complete and utter disgust!

My mate Marissa (or Minnie as she is known).

Whether you go for a loose oversized style or something slightly more fitted, dark indigo denim or paler lightweight chambray, this is one item that needs to sit alongside the classic white shirt in your closet.  You may not be able to wear it to the office,  but for casual looks it makes for the perfect fail safe option whether you team it with coloured cords or jeans, leather leggings (age and figure permitting), wear with flats or heels, shorts, or use it as a bikini cover up in summer. 

There is no doubt in my mind that the denim shirt is set to be big news this season and will be one trend that you won't mind investing in with so many ways to wear it and with its timeless casual appeal.

Kylie, Sienna and Alexa love theirs!

Fuelling the denim shirt desire further via Tumblr

So the denim shirt is making its way onto my spring wishlist, the only question remaining is which one to get and whether to go for a light or dark denim!

Huge bargain with the Textile Elizabeth and James at NAP, was £160 now £64. Dorothy Perkins £26.00. Lee £65.00.  Uniqlo £19.90.

Do you already have one? are you putting one on your spring and summer list of must buy items? Light or dark? Loose or fitted? Designer or High Street?


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Your a Fake Baby.....

I seemed to miss last weeks episode but I did manage to catch the very first "Fake Britain" on BBC the week before.  There was nothing else on at the time but I was glad I stumbled upon it, as it was a real eye opener!

I think we are all pretty much aware that if you go to Turkey you can buy fake designer jeans and Louis Vuitton goods and that there are now websites dedicated to selling fake Louboutin Shoes and Chanel handbags.

Yes you can pick up a fake designer Chanel handbag for about £250 but what seriously worries me is the fact that people purchase these and then go on to sell them on ebay for £1,000 + and I find this whole practice utterly disgraceful to be honest.

I have sold designer items on ebay for many years now and always find myself repeating over and over the fact that my item is "100% authentic guaranteed" because I know full well that it is, and it is one reason why I hate the fact that I haven't always kept the receipts for expensive items that I have bought in the past or that my husband may have bought for me, he is just as useless at keeping hold of such things!  Then come the annoying influx of questions about authenticity, which drive you nuts when you know your item cost you a small fortune and is in no way a fake!  This whole situation is a nightmare for genuine owners and sellers of high end goods.  If I buy my 11 year old son a pair of Armani jeans and a Ralph Lauren polo top (which I frequently do) I am very unlikely to be able to find the receipt when he has outgrown them, sometimes 6 months or even a year later, depending on growth spurts.

So I am happy to sell on ebay but personally I am not so happy to buy, well not designer goods anyway and wouldn't dream of purchasing a Chanel bag or similar without a receipt, as another huge problem is the fact that the "fakers" are now so sophisticated that they can emulate holograms and care cards with ease, I was also once asked whether my receipt was genuine as you can apparently get "fake" receipts, but I am still astounded by the fact that certain individuals are fuelling these businesses and providing sellers with an income of £700 + plus with each Chanel bag they purchase.  If somebody has a thousand pounds to spend on a fake item, surely it would be better to save another similar amount and purchase the real thing? If I was going to purchase such an item from ebay I would be looking for a used vintage item rather than new without receipt, but again, they go for so much money, you may as well save the extra and get a new one.

Apart from the obvious fakes, the ciggies and booze (yes its true, never buy cheap knock off, it probably isn't real, fake fags will kill you quicker than proper ones!) I was amazed to see that High Street clothing brands are also being copied by the "fakers".  Karen Millen was a brand that featured and this completely shocked me!  I could never imagine buying a Karen Millen dress or a pair of shoes on ebay and finding out that they are not authentic, it seems that every brand is at the mercy of the "fakers" who make a fortune out of vulnerable purchasers who may not be able to afford to shop directly from the retailer in question and honestly believe they are getting a bargain!

Karen Millen did mention the programme on their blog and are currently trying to reassure buyers that they are doing their best to put a stop to this situation as are ebay, but I wouldn't let any ebay statements give you reassurance to be honest.  You can view Karen Millens information on the situation here where you will also find a link to the programme, which I highly recommend you watch.

Meanwhile you can read Pearl of "Fashion Pearls of Wisdom" advice on counterfeit goods here and if I can just take the time to remind you that Chanel can be bought from Harrods, Selfridges and any Chanel store and Louboutins can be bought from similar outlets but also online at high end retailers such as net-a-porter, matches fashion and browns fashion.  The outnet also have a Louboutin sale once or twice a year, so sign up for email alerts as you will need to be quick as they sell out within minutes of the sale going live although I was lucky enough to snag a pair in 2010!

The Louboutins I can't walk in.

As for the buying and selling of designer goods on auction sites, my only advice is to always keep your receipts so that you can send them to your purchaser but do remove any personal information, I usually cut this out with a small pair of scissors rather than just scribbling out with a pen.  You will also probably find that if the buyer has confidence in your item then you are more likely to get more money for it.  As for buying, be very wary.  Ebay is great for furniture, vintage goods and other clothing but when it comes to buying designer goods, have a look at the sellers previous history.  If you looked at mine for example, you would see that I am a family who sells boys designer clothes from my son along with a mixture of high street and designer items from a man, a woman and a couple of teenage girls.  Always check a sellers feedback and look at what they have sold previously.  If a seller has previously sold 5 pairs of Louboutins, chanel bags or Karen Millen dresses and they are all brand new with tags - avoid them like the plague and refuse to become a part of "rip off Britain".

If you are fully aware that you are buying a copy and you pay a price accordingly, then that is up to you. One lovely blogger I know bought a fake handbag as she felt she would never be able to afford the real thing and I have to confess it looked great in her photographs. This is all a matter of personal choice, the most important thing being that she knew what she was buying and was not ripped off.  I won't go into child labour, money laundering, or drug barons who are all associated with counterfeit goods, as that would make for a lengthy rant but people need to be aware of the individuals who are very often behind these businesses.

I've learnt my lesson with losing receipts and keep the Alexander Wang Rocco one in a small zip pocket on the side of the bag that I never use, just incase I ever need to sell her.

I may never get my 2.55 but I don't wish to carry a fake, ever. I'd rather go without.

What is your take on "Fake Britain"?  Do you think this culture has grown due to the recent recession and the sheer volume of people out of work and in receipt of benefits, or is it just that we all get a thrill from a bargain and people are naive enough to think they are getting the real deal?

* Chanel do have a website but you are unable to purchase from it. Louboutin also have a website but an ecommerce site only exists for the US.  Lets hope that these global brands realise the importance of selling their product range online in the very near future, France needs their economy boosting at present and I am sure this would help.

Browns Fashion