Category Archive: Fashion

Apr 14 2014

Wedding: I Have Said YES To My Dress

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It is a daunting task searching for ‘the’ wedding dress, I have to be honest the process scared the hell out me. I think it because you have lots of things running through your head – from excitement to dread, to the realisation that you are actually getting married, to worrying that you won’t find anything that fits or that makes you look beautiful.

The stress kind of drifts away when you actual get to the bridal boutique and spot a gown you love. Then questions like can I afford it, will it look good in 10 years time in the wedding photographs, will I be comfortable all day long, and will I still love it in 6 months time when it finally comes in – to be honest if you have to ask yourself these questions for too long, I don’t think you have found the ‘one’.

It is a hard choice, come on it is rare that a wedding dress isn’t pretty, OK sometimes it might not suit you, but never is it not beautiful, and wearing something gorgeous can make it hard to say no to. It is moments like this where your bridal salon really needs to step in and steer you in the right direction. I went to about 6 salons in total both in London and around the Cambridge area where I live and I have to say that half were dreadful. It is why I really need to stress don’t just do research on the dresses you like but also on where to shop, ask your friends where they went, who do your wedding venue recommend and check out reviews on bridal forums – trust me finding a great boutique will save you time, probably money and make it more enjoyable.

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I am not an expert in how to make wedding dress shopping perfect, but I can tell you a few tips that I picked up from my experience, which was probably a little more rushed than most brides-to-be as for some reason I didn’t realise that the lead-time was so long, some designers need up to 9 months to get your dress to you.

Underwear: Don’t try on dresses in full on Spanks, maybe you feel that you need it but most dresses come with their own support inside and if you are going for dresses that suit your silhouette you probably won’t need anyway. Just go for a nude strapless bra and comfortable knickers, I think a thong might scare the bridal assistant. I would also suggest going for a bra fitting before you go so you are wearing the right bra size.

Make-up: Don’t go overboard, try to go as natural as possible, while still feeling and looking pretty. This can be hard, it was for me, but some salons might ask you take it off so you don’t damage any of the dresses. I saw a bride-to-be who got fake tan all over a dress she was trying on and the salon was not amused. Unless you say yes to the dress on your first visit you can always return with a little more make-up and extra special hair to really get a wedding day feel when you try on your dress for the second time.

Honesty: If you don’t have a set idea on what you want tell them what you definitely don’t want. I felt like I knew what I didn’t want more than what I did and it really helped the consultant find me dresses that would work for me. Also be aware that your consultant isn’t going to be offended if you don’t like the dress, don’t just yes to them all, I found by saying what I loved, what I didn’t like, and what I wish it had really helped narrow down the selection.

Don’t Worry: This is hard, especially if you have tried on 10 dresses and not found anything you like, trust me if there is a dress out there for me, there is for you as well. I found that with each dress I tried on the more I realised what I wanted and I just needed to track it down. Worrying can also come with having a set dress in mind and it not looking good on, go in with an open mind, ask your consultant to pull something that she thinks would look good, and try to enjoy the experience.

Sit, Shimmy & Walk: This might sound silly but make sure that you sit down in your dress, dance a little bit, and go for a walk around the boutique. I found a great dress that I couldn’t sit down in and unless you are standing all day long it isn’t very practical. I also found walking around made me spot other things I loved or didn’t like about the dress, the way the sparkle caught the light, the detailing on the back, or that it felt too heavy, some dresses are uncomfortable to walk and dance in.

Price: Tell them your budget before you try on any dresses, trying on a dress way out of your price range and falling in love with it can be heartbreaking. Also take in to account alterations, nearly all dresses will need some adjustment whether the hem, the train or to nip in a little at the bust, ask the salon for prices. Also don’t be afraid to ask if there are any discounts, they can only say no, but the dress you like might be available at a trunk show at a later date so might be worth waiting. I would also suggest calling around to other stockists as I found my dress was priced differently everywhere I tried it on.

Trust Your Own Opinion: Having friends and family with you to make the decision is great, they can really help narrow the shortlist, but at the end of the day you will be the one wearing it all day – your opinion, whether you a paying for it or not is the most important. I also think too many people makes it more difficult. I actually went just with my mum and shared a few pics with my closest friends, but in the end I made the final decision.

Surprise: When you have found the ‘one’ you will want to tell everyone which beauty you have picked, don’t, I think it spoils the surprise of the day especially if they are joining you on your special day. It is hard keeping it a secret, I am even keeping all the customisations to my dress a surprise for my Mum, I really want it to be a special moment when she sees it on the day. I promise come November when I get married I will share pics of my dress but for now all I will say is that it has an Old Hollywood glamour about it.

My biggest tip for wedding dress shopping is to enjoy yourself, it really is a wonderful moment, tiring and draining – those dresses are heavy, but the most fun ever and when you find the ‘one’ you won’t stop smiling.

Still looking for inspiration before shopping? Why not check out my wedding dress inspiration board on Pinterest.
Follow Fashionista Barbie Danielle Wightman-Stone’s board Wedding Dress Inspiration on Pinterest.

Apr 09 2014

Benetton Florals: Flower Arranging At Jaime Aston

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One of my secret passions is flower arranging, in another life I would love to be a florist, so when Benetton invited me down to a workshop at Jamie Aston’s flower school to make a hand-tied bouquet I couldn’t say no.

So armed with seasonal flowers from sweet peas to spray roses, ranunculus, hydrangea, hyacinths, and delicate forget-me-nots, as well as gorgeous green foliage I attempt to wrap and combine my blooms to create the perfect arrangement. My thinking was to have pops of baby pink standing out against the vibrant pink and purple-blue hyacinths – I think it worked to a point but I have to tell you it is a lot harder than it looks.

Sharnie at Jaime Aston’s floristry school was amazing, it was really interesting to learn about stripping down the flowers, the wrapping technique to secure the flowers together while making the hand-tie, the use of foliage to break up the bouquet, as well as having her helping out when the flowers became so big I could barely hold them. As well as arranging the flowers we also wrapped our bouquets with layers of tissue paper – I have to be honest I was pretty impressed with my floral creation after just an hour of trial and error.

As well as coming away with a gorgeous bloom, which I might add is still going strong a week later, I also got to pick one of Benetton’s ‘perfect printed shirts’ with their micro and macro floral patterns in shades of pink, lilac, blue and white. Of course I had to go for the hot pink one and I can’t wait to style it up in a future outfit post.

Have you tried out the art of flower arranging? I really enjoyed it and would love to learn a few more tricks to deck my house out in gorgeous blooms.

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My Style: Yellow print skirt, Peter Pilotto for Target via Net-A-Porter.com // Jumper, Primark // Necklace, Primark // Glasses, Retro54 //

Apr 07 2014

Store Loving: Inside Osprey London’s Regent Street Flagship

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There is something special about Osprey London, not only because it makes great handbags that I adore, or the fact that it really does champion British manufacturing and design, but because it is very much a family run business with founder and creative director Graeme Ellisdon at the helm, his wife Alex curating the amazing jewellery collections, and even his son Jack is on hand in the store’s Saddlery Cafe.

Much like the brand’s St Alban’s store, the Regent Street store utilises the amazing Grade II listed building, which was once a Barclay’s bank, to showcase the eclectic mix of leather accessories, jewellery, interior pieces, even knitted toys and food. Everything about the store interior is divine – from the solid oak doors at the entrance to the exquisite chandeliers and the stainless steel staircase and that’s without talking about the brand’s diverse selection of interior pieces such as gorgeous arm chairs, antique picture frames and a fun choice of cushions.

There is very much a “home” feel to the store, which is apparently the vibe that Graeme was going for, with the upstairs set out more like a fashion store with its walls covered with gorgeous leather bags and display cabinets filled with handmade jewellery, while downstairs brings a slice of the countryside into central London. I love that the store is a destination, I think I could have spent hours just picking up every last item, there is really so many things I didn’t even know I wanted for the house!!!

As well as buying gorgeous handbags and pieces for the home, the flagship also houses an informal cafe area in the style of the Saddlery Cafe at St Albans, think cute bone china tea cups, delicious cakes and one of the best hot chocolates ever. I also love that the sitting areas are situated within the former bank’s vaults – super cosy and I can’t wait to do tea and cake there soon.

If you are down the Piccadilly Circus end of Regent Street then trust me you have to pop by for a look, not only will you probably leave with a new handbag or necklace, but you will pick up lots of pinnable ideas for your home, I have my eye on a £5k multicoloured sofa.

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How cure is Boris? This beauty was knitted in the UK and I love how each one comes with their own mini Osprey London cross-body bag. I seriously need one of these beauties. osprey london regent st 12 Store Loving: Inside Osprey Londons Regent Street Flagship %tagosprey london regent st 3 Store Loving: Inside Osprey Londons Regent Street Flagship %tag osprey london regent st 1 Store Loving: Inside Osprey Londons Regent Street Flagship %tag osprey london regent st 18 Store Loving: Inside Osprey Londons Regent Street Flagship %tag

Love these metallic handbags – so different for the brand but they really do make a statement.

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Osprey London, 27 Regent Street, London (on the corner of Regent Street and Jeremy Street, opposite Lilywhite’s).

Apr 04 2014

Bag Loving: The Elie Saab Satchel

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I have really been embracing smaller handbags lately, from my bright yellow Rebecca Minkoff to my dinky Anya Hindmarch Tiny Tim, and I am always on the look out for another little beauty to add to my collection and I just spotted this gorgeous satchel style from Elie Saab with its chain shoulder strap. Everything about this mini bag screams classic elegance and when looking for a new designer bag I want something that will look modern past the current season, it is an investment after all.

These leather satchels designed with a floral palette tone for spring/summer 2014 are gorgeous, I love that even though there are only six styles each one is in a striking classic colourway from emerald-green to jasmine white. If I had to pick a favourite I think it would have to be deep raspberry, not only is the colour pure Barbie perfection but the piping detailing really adds a modern touch to a classic style.

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Apr 03 2014

Exhibition: V&A – The Glamour Of Italian Fashion

VA Italian Fashion 5 Exhibition: V&A   The Glamour Of Italian Fashion %tagWhen I think about Italian fashion, I think about how many gorgeous luxury labels there are, and the exquisite quality that they bring to the red carpet in-particular. You have the romantic and elegant vibe of Valentino, bold and edgy fashion covered by Versace and Dolce & Gabbana, you have fabulous tailoring and minimalism from Armani, uber-sexy glamour from Roberto Cavalli and pure femme fatale from Gucci – and that’s without mentioned the beauty of Prada, the fun of Moschino, the divine prints of Pucci and the knitted beauties by Missoni.

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The V&A’s latest fashion exhibition explores all their influential contributions to fashion, as well as the rich passion of the Italian fashion industry from the end of the Second World War to the present day in its beautifully curated ‘The Glamour of Italian Fashion’ exhibition, which runs from April 5 until July 27, 2014.

One of the most striking rooms within the exhibition has to be the array of modern-day pieces, these are the most recognisable – from the hand-painted Dolce & Gabbana ballgown to a floor-length romantic Valentino gown and accessories including the Fendi baguette bag, Gucci’s ‘New Jackie’ bag and Tod’s vibrant driving moccasins.

Just seeing the red carpet beauties up close, especially the gorgeous Armani Prive gown from the spring/summer 2010 collection, encrusted with Swarovski crystals was amazing to see – the craftsmanship is just incredible.

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But the most revealing section had to be the opening ‘Return to Luxury’ area of the exhibit, telling the story of the early ‘Sala Bianca’ catwalk shows in Florence held in the 1950′s and featuring couture designers including Simonetta, just look at her spectacular 1950′s evening gown above, and Capucci, who became known for his sculptural style with this intricate multi-layered scalloped ruffled cocktail dress presented with a silver velvet stole from 1957.

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Other highlights had to be this red tulle couture dress by Valentino from 1977, the dramatic colour and the ruffles is so synonymous with his romantic and ethereal work. As was seeing the Bulgari emerald and diamond jewellery that was worn by Elizabeth Taylor in 1967 to a masked ball in Venice, the iconic jewels just show off what Italian glamour is.

This exhibition is so much more than fashion, it is a history on how Italian fashion became such a fixture in the industry, the earlier couture designers, as well as the rise of the country’s luxury fashion houses. If you love fashion, Italian style and gorgeous dresses – you will love this exhibition.

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The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014, sponsored by Bulgari, runs from April 5 – July 27, 2014 at the V&A.

Mar 26 2014

Clothes I Love: Red Valentino Butterfly Print Dresses

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Spring is in the air, perhaps not as much today with the rain, but at the weekend I most certainly enjoyed the sun, I even went and visited the local farm to see all their adorable lambs, and it has got me think about wearing dresses without tights, embracing colour and sitting on the grass watching the world go by.

All that just equals Red Valentino, which I have only just found out stands for Romantic Eccentric Dress, and I call myself a fashion blogger!!! Valentino’s diffusion line is just pretty, always fun with a feminine edge of ruffles, great prints and classic styles. As well as doing amazing dresses I am also loving the handbags and shoes – everything about the label is just gorgeous.

The spring/summer collection is just divine, but the pieces that really stand out for me have to be the butterfly print dresses in vibrant pink and summery yellow – don’t they just make you want to have a romantic picnic with your man and enjoy champagne and strawberries?

My favourite has to be the pink one, which is technically not a dress, rather a pleated skater skirt with a matching long-sleeve shirt, but paired together it really does make a statement that just needs sunshine and great company.

Do you love the oversized Red Valentino butterfly prints?

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Love Red Valentino but looking for a more purse friendly price, well you need to check out the amazing selection on The Outnet with most of the pieces half price – here are a few of my favourites:

Mar 25 2014

My Style: Casual Affair In United Nude Trainers

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Trainers are having a moment, they have never been out of fashion, so it isn’t a revival, so I am going with a moment – we have designers embracing the casual shoe on the catwalk, we have unsporty types opting for pops of colour to spice up their day-to-day outfits, and we even have hard core fashionistas embracing the comfort of the flats over heels. During fashion week everywhere I turned people were wearing the Nike FlyKnits, paired with jeans, leather skirts and even dresses – it seems that dressing down is the way forward.

For me, wearing trainers is the ultimate comfort, more so than wearing fluffy-lined boots on a cold day, they are an item of footwear that really has the ability to go with anything, plus if you really want to you could also run a mile in them, I don’t – but the thought is always there!!! One thing I am loving about trainers at the moment is how fun they are – with brands going for prints, textures, clashing colours and best of all retro shapes.

These beauties that I am wearing here are from United Nude’s new Runner collection, aren’t they pretty – they kind of remind me of a pair of Kangaroo’s I had in the 80′s, yep I am an eighties baby. I love everything from the shape, I do the slightly pointed toe to the vibrant stitching and the striped pattern that makes them instantly recognisable as being designed by United Nude. They are just so much fun.

There are six different designs, these are the Petrol ones, but all of them are just as vibrant, fashion-forward and will make a great addition for any trainer collection. Mine are probably the most toned down pair, but I just adored the neon pink trim, the others called Rave, Paradise, Violet, and Bright Mix are really statements, and there is a monochrome pair called Anis. I actually love them all – they really do capture the architectural vibe of the brand.

What do you think of United Nude’s fashionable trainers? 

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My Style: Runner Petrol Rib, United Nude (c/o) // Ida by Donna Ida Jeans, Donna Ida (c/o) // Jumper, New Look // Glasses, Retro54 (c/o) // My Style United Nude 8 My Style: Casual Affair In United Nude Trainers %tag

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