Tag 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 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 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.

Apr 01 2014

Noah: Jennifer Connelly’s Gorgeous Promo Tour

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I love a big film release, not only is it fun to see a blockbuster at the cinema, it also brings out the best red carpet fashion outside of award season and Cannes. For Noah, the epic biblical-inspired movie, I thought I would be gushing about Emma Watson, granted I have already and she has looked gorgeous, but for me this promo tour has all been about Jennifer Connelly, who plays Noah’s wife in the film, as she has looked sensational.

I have loved every look she has worn, from the exquisite floral embellished Alexander McQueen gown from the autumn/winter 2014 collection that she wore to the London premiere to the blush pink Givenchy Couture gown that she wore in Mexico, this gown was Oscar worthy and it was lovely to see her in it – the fuchsia jewels were incredible and it fitted her perfectly.

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Jennifer has also added a touch of sex appeal to her red carpet looks as well as statement floor length gowns, I really loved her in this gorgeous mint leaf-embroidered Giambattista Valli Couture mini – that ruby-embellished neckline totally makes this one knockout look. This Madrid look was also one of my favourite make-up looks from Jennifer as well – the fuchsia lip teamed with a slick bun really makes this one amazing look – both elegant and sexy.

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Actually ever detail about her Noah promo tour has been spot on – from the mix up of designers, which is nice to see, to the various hair and make-up styles that she has gone for, as well as her love of embellished and classic pieces – her stylist Leslie Fremar and glam squad really have done a great job.

It is hard to choose a favourite look, I love her classic custom Lanvin black velvet column gown that she wore in Berlin, because the thigh-high slit was classy and went perfectly with those Christian Louboutin heels and her hair styled in a tucked-under ’do is divine, but I think the pink embellished Givenchy Couture just wins out for me as this gown deserved a red carpet appearance.

Which of Jennifer Connelly’s styles gets your vote?

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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:

Feb 14 2014

LFW Diary: Day 1 – Dinosaur Jumper, Bora Aksu & A Nokia Skirt

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There is a calm about this London Fashion Week, maybe it is because it is like my tenth or eleventh season, I really have lost count, or maybe it is just with the rain I know there is less pressure on my outfits because lets face it I am going to spend the whole five days soaked.

Today, I most certainly got soaked, it poured all day, so no proper outfit picture, just a crappy one taken on my mobile inside The Apartment, but I just had to share as I love this stripy dinosaur jumper from ASOS. I promise that I will share this beauty in another outfit post soon.

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Day 1 at LFW has always been seen as filled with ’lesser’ designers or ‘emerging’ talent, and some editors and writers even miss it out completely, I am not sure why as the Friday schedule is always packed, and I love the mix of the romantic nature of Bora Aksu with the demi-couture vibe at Fyodor Golan, to the exquisite tailoring at Eudon Choi, and the outerwear chic you always see at Christopher Raeburn.

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Bora Aksu brings a touch of spring to AW14

Always a highlight for me is Turkish designer Bora Aksu, this season he presented a collection that was filled with his trademark femininity and a nod of nostalgia, with a line inspired by the letters his mother wrote while at boarding school. The uniformed school girl and the 1950s silhouette could be seen throughout the collection, which included Peter Pan collars, pencil skirts, high-necks and patchwork detailing. For the most part this seemed like a collection more suited to warmer climates than London, but it was nice to see girlie pinks and vibrant yellows alongside bold blues, oxblood red and monochrome. I can’t stress how much I loved this collection and I promise I will be sharing more images later in the week when I have edited them.

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Hair trend – Plaits

I know it is only day 1 but I have already spotted plaits on the catwalk, from the Heidi meets milk maid vibe of the ribbon plaits seen at Bora Aksu to the edgy braids at Fyodor Golan, which were hidden under sporty hats, and even Jean-Pierre Braganza sent his models down the runway sporting a braid with a white and blue painted strands. I wonder if this will continue throughout all of LFW.

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Technology Meets Fashion

Technology and fashion always seems to collide during fashion week, whether its Google glasses on the DVF runway or Burberry filming their show with iPhones, it seems everyone wants a piece of the fashion pie. Well this season, Fyodor Golan pushed the boundaries by creating a skirt made out of 80 Nokia Lumia 1520 Smartphones. The design was really cool to see as each mobile was broadcasting its surrounds so it looked like the colours fluttered when the model moved.

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Pink Isn’t Going Anywhere

One of most coveted items this autumn/winter has to be the pink coat and it seems pink it still on the minds of LFW designers, as it is only Day 1 and we’ve already seen it on the catwalk of Bora Aksu in a soft hue, as well as vibrant bold pink colours at Mark Fast and at Fyodor Golan who added a sports luxe vibe with this textured bomber jacket and baseball cap.

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Blue, Blue, and a bit more Blue

As well as pink, blue hues from baby blue to cobalt blue strutted down the catwalk. At Eudon Choi, the blues were bold, and seen on ruffled dresses and boxy knits, while at Christopher Raeburn the blue hue was more of a pastel share and looked more casual paired alongside khaki on chic outerwear. Dark blue was also used at Bora Aksu, for its cord two-pieces, as well as at Mark Fast for his knitted creations, while a sophisticated blue was seen on tailored pieces at J JS Lee.

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I will be back tomorrow with my Day 2 round-up, and fingers crossed a proper outfit post.

Feb 12 2014

Visual Diary: Pattern Hunting With Toshiba Encore

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A couple of weeks ago, when the weather was actually pleasant, no I am not lying I actually remember sunshine and everything, I went pattern hunting around East London with the guys over at Toshiba to test out their fab new Windows 8.1 tablet, Toshiba Encore.

It was a fun day, not only did I get to wander the streets snapping my patterns with my tablet, enjoy the company of my friends and discover the fab Maison Trois Garcons, I also got to learn all about pattern design from the gorgeous girlies of Patternity, Anna Murray and Grace Winteringham, who have just done an amazing collaboration with Clark’s. If you love patterns, prints, and design you should check out their website and Instagram – filled with lots of inspiration.

East London is home to so much inspiration, but it was a little daunting finding my very own pattern that could be made into a T-shirt produced by YrStore, but what surprised me the most was how the simplest of things could make the greatest pattern when it was transformed into black and white, flipped, rotated and generally manipulated.

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It was hard choosing which photo to go for, I was torn between the dotty railings, as polka dots are always chic, and the crumbling paintwork that I spotted on a window frame. In the end, the Patternity girlies convinced me that the paint chips would look amazing, so my one-off tee went from this photo above, snapped on my Toshiba Encore,  to this striking T-shirt that I can’t wait to wear. Now it has been flipped and rotated it kind of reminds me of a tree bark rather than a painted window frame.Toshiba encore 1 Visual Diary: Pattern Hunting With Toshiba Encore %tagToshibaencore patternity 10 Visual Diary: Pattern Hunting With Toshiba Encore %tag

The Toshiba Encore did impress me for such a little thing, it is a similar size to the iPad mini, and it did shine taking pictures up close on the Patternity tour with its 8-megapixel camera. It is also a perfect handbag size, which I found handy using while shopping, it is great for doing to-do lists and keeping my recipes on for baking.

However, its size also makes it a little hard to use, for instance it comes installed with Windows Office, which is great, but I found the device a little too small to type Word documents or work on spreadsheets. I think this device is more about the social elements – it is great for Twitter, Facebook, browsing the Internet and playing games – I am addicted to the Microsoft Solitaire collection.

Overall, I found this tablet easy to use, the Windows platform is better bigger than when you use on a mobile, but I think to get the most out of this device you need to use alongside something like the Windows Surface 2 or a desktop computer and use the SkyDrive to store documents and pictures so you can easily switch between the two.

The Toshiba Encore costs £249.

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**All pics taking with the Toshiba Encore, which I have been testing for the past month, except the pics featuring the tablet of course!!!**
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