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The Musings of A Fashion Girl.

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New Season Hauls

My favourite time of the shopping season is transitional period between sale steals and new collections; the perfect opportunity to set up your new year wardrobe. Pastel separates, sportswear luxe and chunky heels are just some of the SS14 trends that have hit the high street early - a breath of fresh air from the ditsy florals and prom dresses we’re used to seeing.

Previously I had stated that I would be looking to revolutionise my style and create the perfect capsule wardrobe for 2014, going back to my roots and dressing the way that makes me happy. True to form, I persuaded my lovely, not-so-little sister to accompany me on a shopping trip to find my new apparel staples. Refreshing to have a female opinion (I haven’t been shopping with a girl properly for nearly 12 months!) and sure she would be completely honest, I managed to find some great style picks.

Zara is the quintessential example of transitional style; you enter the store to be greeted with sale, yet continue to the back of the store and you’ll find the great stuff - New Collection 2014. Structured crop tops, form fitting dresses and printed separates, Zara has a lot to offer for SS14. Two of my new year, new wardrobe (NYNW) purchases came from Zara, incidentally my most expensive pieces. The white Neoprene Dress (£29.99) is perfect for party occasions, a dress-up date night or just a night out with the girls! With a fab 70’s feel and flattering A-line skirt, this dress channels American Hustle glam - just need Amy Adam’s amazing hair to go with! My second purchase from Zara is the pastel pink knitwear tank. Love at first site, my pretty in pink top is classic, timeless and transcendent - a staple that will feature in my wardrobe for years to come.

On to my trusted favourites, H&M. Reliable, affordable and forward-thinking, I can always count on Hennes to update my wardrobe with stylish steals. Faux leather trousers, as above (£14.99), are a great capsule staple, and perfect for any last minute occasion or to add some glamour to your day look.

Forever 21. Now I have a love / hate relationship with F21; every time I go in, I either find loads and love it or find nothing and hate it. On this occasion, our encounter was a romantic love affair. Bursting with purse-friendly basics and unique fashion finds, the word on street was colour, statements and bodycon. I found, not just one beautiful piece, but TWO statement NYNW items; a bold green lace dress (£9) to add a splash of colour to my work wardrobe and a faux leather pencil skirt (£8) to spice up my date night attire.

So there we have it - my first successful shopping trip of 2014!

SAG Awards 2014

Awards season is definitely underway, and for fashion lovers such as myself, it’s my favourite time of year! Brightening up the January blues with extravagant gowns and dapper gentlemen, it’s the perfect pick me up for a dreary day.

Let’s get down to it then. Here are some of my favourite looks from this year’s Screen Actors Guild awards….

Isla Fisher

Isla has appeared in my favourite looks before, and is one of my favourite style icons; not least because of her beautiful hair. Dressing to suit her petite frame and colour, and favouring classic colours and styles, Isla simply does not put a foot wrong. Amazing gown, classic make up and statement accessories make this look a perfect ten.

Emilia Clarke

This may receive some criticism, but this dress is an absolute winner for me. Complementing Emilia’s complexion perfectly and highlighting her amazing curves, this gown is a one of kind for our favourite Khaleesi.

Lupita Nyong’o

The shining star of the awards circuit, Lupita stuns again in another brightly coloured gown. Fresh, sweet and bold; this dress ticks all of the right boxes of a style hit! I don’t think we’ve seen all what’s to come from Lupita’s wardrobe as of yet, and I wait with sartorial anticipation for the look she chooses for the Oscars.

Amy Adams

Not only has Amy featured on my favourite looks list before, this is the second time I’ve mentioned her for 2014! Again, putting aside my bias for a gorgeous redhead, Amy just knows how to dress. Now I’m sure they were stylists galore involved in choosing these looks, but I’d quite like to believe that Amy had something to do with this royal number; and it’s another just another winner for the beautiful Ms Adams.

Keep the beautiful looks coming ladies…….

Golden Globes 2014

So it’s that time again; awards season! Part of my new year mantra is to be much more positive, so here are my best looks from this year’s Golden Globes - rather than the worst!

Emma Roberts

This look for me is shoulders above the rest; not just because it screams of Auntie Julia in her red cocktail dress in Pretty Woman. Sleek lines, sweetheart neckline and simple accessories is what makes this outfit a hit. Rather than ticking fashion boxes, this outfit oozes style - and I’ve got a feeling 2014 will be a great year for Miss Roberts.

Amy Adams

After watching American Hustle at the weekend (fabulous film, take yourself along immediately!) this look is a perfect balance between modern style and 70’s chic. Beautiful two-tone, simple neckwear and a chic braided updo are the classic details that put Ms Adams on my list of favourite looks.

Margot Robbie

Starting off the year in one of the highly anticipated films of 2014 (The Wolf of Wall Street, if you’ve been living under a rock) Margot Robbie was clearly under a lot of pressure to deliver with her Golden Globes gown. This look has received a slight amount of criticism in the blogosphere; but I must disagree. Simple, stylish and sexy, this dress takes cream and makes it shines with it’s complimenting and contrasting green accessories. Love it.

Sofia Vergara

I’ve always loved Sofia as I think she’s elegant, beautiful and funny; everything every woman aspires to be. This outfit is pure Sofia as it ticks all of these boxes as a quirky, quintessential look. The statement necklace is clearly going to be something that will last for another year and this outfit proves why - as the turquoise gems bring this dress to life.

So there we go, the Golden Globes are done for a another year - see you in 2015!

New year, new wardrobe?

Another year has passed and we’re now in the foreign territory of SS 14; which for me isn’t something that would usually be so unknown. After a hectic year of fabulous ups and tragic downs, my mind has been slightly occupied, with me left feeling like I may have neglected my fashionista side quite badly.

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In the last 12 months I’ve lost quite a bit of weight, been on holiday and seen some of that loss slip it’s way back on; taken on a lot more responsibility at work; made the very adult decision to start saving for a house with my better half and tried to spend as much time as possible with the people who make my live worth living. This has not left much time for shopping, meaning my 2013 mismatch of a closet has mostly come from the furrows of online shopping.

Now I’ve always been a fan of online shopping; I wrote a piece over 18 months ago, speculating on the rise of a digital age in fashion, encouraged by tools such as Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram etc. I could go on all day about how fashion has changed and developed, become more disposable and accessible, how you can get the perfect outfit for Friday on Thursday at 1.30pm (and how I got all my Christmas presents bar one, online)…but I won’t. More important things to deal with right, me thinks.

The thing with online shopping is as much as I love it, I also hate it too. I am a huge fan of physical shopping, stalking the high street to find your new must-have bag or the perfect party dress. The reality is our busy schedules don’t allow this as much anymore, especially not as much as you need to keep up with such a dynamic marketplace. Shopping online allows you to check the fresh new items on a daily basis, as well as looking at matching items and great looks to follow. The thing is, I hate to say, over 50% of what I have ordered online this past year has been sent back almost immediately; which means I still haven’t achieved the new look I’ve been going for.

So if I have to have a new year’s resolution (I already have one, sort of, but I’ve broken it twice in the first 2 weeks!) it shall be this; I will no longer lust after the beautiful outfits on Pinterest and Tumblr, but instead shall persevere to find the right balance of high street and online bargains to create the perfect capsule wardrobe for leisure and work. And, to top it off, I’ll get a fab new DSLR camera to show them off to you perfectly. So there you go, my new goal for 2014; outfit blogging here I come!

Birchbox - My Beauty Adventure

I haven’t always been the biggest beauty fanatic, but recently I have become a bit of an obsessive about the products I use in my beauty regime. A friend of mine, a big fan of the beauty section at all department stores, recently told me about Birchbox UK and the sample service it provides. The only time I have ever used designer make up is while studying at university, and that was only because of the “free money” known as a student loan. When my life returned to normality (i.e. I graduated and had to get a job!), I realised I could no longer justify a £19 foundation every few weeks.

So for the past 5 years (coming up to 6, oh how time flies) I have been using our very own high street Rimmel’s Wake Me Up foundation, with my other beauty essentials coming from either the same range or one of its HS siblings. However the idea of signing up to a monthly box of treats (not a euphemism for the time of the month, I must stress!) was too good to resist, and 3 boxes on, I’m finding my passion for expensive beauty returning.

One of my greatest discoveries from my beauty adventure is Laura Mercier; a brand I have always been aware of due to my sister’s fondness, but not a range I have ever physically used. In my second box, I received the LM primer in Radiance, and was presently surprised by its results. Not one to believe in the power of a primer, this product has knocked my socks off (figuratively, rather than literally)! Giving a great glow and holding my base in place, this wonder-tube is something all girls on the go should have in their make up bag.

My other must-have item from my Birchbix love-in is Egyptian All Purpose Magic Skin Cream, a honey based solution that feels both luxurious and luscious when slathered on your skin. Light a candle, close your eyes and let the smell take you to a faraway land, this healing oil will give you baby soft skin with a touch of holiday glow. My top tip is to put a generous layer on before bed, giving your skin enough time to soak it all up and boost your morning beauty regime.

So if you want to treat yourself, rediscover some amazing products or just are a beauty obsessive, the Birchbox subscription is perfect for you.

Winter Wonders from H&M

H&M’s A/W 13 drop is an extra special collection of leather luxe, fluffy knits and statement tops, fronted by the ever-beautiful Gisele Bundchen. I have always been a huge fan of H&M, preferring its purse-friendly and forward thinking designs to the other trend-hoppers on the high street, who’s original collections are starting to seem repetitive and (dare I say) boring! However this year seems to be extra special for good ol’ Hennes & Mauritz, providing us with stylish separates and opulent one-pieces to see us through the colder months.

As I get older and more confident in my style, I find I can envision my seasonal wardrobes long before the time arrives. For example, I’ve been planning my winter fluffy pullover with a faux croc mini since the first warm days of June, and was more than happy to find both of these at said store for less than £30 (£29.98 to be exact)!

Said store have also made another troubling shopping experience of mine a doodle; the dreaded work awards ceremony. Representing the company and wanting to look amazing are two emotions that usually add up to an expensive and show-stopping solution - frustrating when said show-stopper may only ever be worn once and once only. However much I love eBay, I like to invest in pieces for longevity and prefer to find something breathtaking but affordable, that I may be able to style up for another occasion. Lo and behold, H&M saves the day again with a sheer number from their Paris collection - which luckily for me, is only available online and in the London & Manchester stores (ensuring a minute chance someone else will be wearing the same gown, phew)!

One of the transcendent features of H&M is the different levels of attire they have on offer. From the young fun of Divided, catering to the needs of disposable on-trend fashionistas, to the ‘is that designer?!’ pieces featured in the Trend department, I dare any woman to go into a flagship store and not find a section specifically speaking to her needs.

Having already put a huge dent into my bank balance so far, I’m sure H&M will be reaping the profits from my winter-lust this A/W. However with a bursting wardrobe and an outfit for every occasion, I don’t think I shall be complaining much either. Go shop…. now (25% off any piece of ladieswear online, until 27th September).

The thing I never thought I would do…

is buy (and wear!) a pair of Nike Air Max 1 trainees. TRAINERS. I’m not kidding. This happened. And I’m not quite sure how…

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So my boyfriend introduced me to deep house nearly 12 months ago; albeit not in the normal way. We’re both huge fans of music, fashion and going out, and have always had strong opinions about what we prefer. We’re both eclectic in the music area; my tastes ranging from the Spice Girls to Daft Punk and his from The Smiths to, well deep house. 

Where the normal guy might say: “Oh darling, would you like to hear this new melodic ectasy that I think you might enjoy?”, M played a Marc Kinchen set at far too many decibels. Dancing around his bedroom like a lunatic and pulling a face, which can only be described as a self-inflicted gurn, this was the epipheny I had been waiting for. M had finally lost it.

So anyway, enough about that. Eventually I came around to this “new” genre of music (realising it was just a harder version of funky house, something I have always loves) and decided to embrace the party scene. We raved in house tents at Parklife, practised our raving moves at home as well as cruised the 4 hour drive to Norwich with nothing but SoundCloud sets filling our ears. Then last week, we took our moves on down to Gorilla to see Amine Edge. This is where shit got serious. 

Now the thing is, I’ve been lusting after a cheeky pair of whips for quite some time, having already dipped my toe in with a pair of white hi-top Converse (staple, boring but enough to wet my appetite). Perusing Office, Foot Aslyum, Foot Locker and Selfridges with my sneaker-obsessed M, I have noticed my eyes drawn to a particular pair of baby pink Air treads. Now at £95 a pop, I knew this wasn’t a decision to take lightly. I mean, I could get a bag, a pair of heels, a jersey top and a statement necklace to match from Missguided or Asos for that amount of money, things I actually need, rather than just want. So I came home with an empty heart and an empty hand. 

Then I made the fatal mistake of telling my mum about them - in passing. Then I showed them to her. Then I told her approximately 100 made-up places I could wear them, sticking in obligatory “and they’re so comfy!” every now and then for dramatic effect. What I should clarify here is that my mother is my most favourite person in the world, and my hero. She’s where I have inherited my shopaholic side from as well as my penchant for pretty things. Safe to say, it took only slight encouragement from my beloved mother and now the Air Max in my closet. Ah well, it’s only money isn’t it? As my Granddad used to say; “you can’t take it with you when you go…” - except if I can be buried in these, I think I’ll feel quite a bit better about my unhealthy bank balance…

Festival Fun

This year, I will be venturing to my very first festival and I think I’m more excited to plan my  wardrobe for the weekend than the music itself! Now I’m not a lover of camping or mud, so I decided my first furore into the festival world would be Manchester rave weekend Parklife. Held in the middle of the June, the weather can (hopefully) be relied on to be slightly sunny or at least dry, which mean it’s a perfect time to try out some fun accessories but still layer up against the chill.

For me, 2013 is all about how you accessorise - a bold shoe, a quirky clutch or statement necklace can be the difference between ‘you look good’ and ‘wow, you look amazing!’ As I get older (every day unfortunately!) I find my wardrobe is slowly becoming both simpler and cleaner, which means my fun and quirky style is being channelled into my accessory drawers. Fashion is all about fun and shopping should never be a chore. For me, dressing up is still magical and finding the perfect bag or a great pair of shoes will be the finishing touch to whatever I’m wearing.

So after much consideration (and many reminders from my beau that I can’t take a large bag!), my festival outfits will consist mostly of American Apparel disco pants, slouchy tee’s, denim shorts and dip hem blouses with my trusty black quilted wellies. My finishing touches will also be my festival life-savers; a garland headband to keep my hair looking fresh, my trusty cross-body bucket bag filled with make-up, lip salve, tissues etc and a statement necklace to keep my outfit look rich - even in a field full of mud! But my most prized accessories at the weekend will be the ones I can’t buy from a shop - my lovely beau and our crazy friends! Just a few more weeks to go…..

GG 2013 - My Best Dressed - Isla Fisher

Now I’ve pretty much girl-crushed on my Golden Globes choices.  All the ladies are gorgeous, confident and stylish, and are strong enough to choose pieces that will guarantee their place on the ‘Best Dressed’ list.  Here is my last choice and I hope you have enjoyed these looks and are inspired to write about yours - rather than the ones you hate!

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Isla, Isla, Isla.  I have loved Isla since I was young schoolgirl watching Home and Away, wishing to be just like the gorgeous redhead on the screen!  Now this dress may not be your favourite out of the 4 I’ve chosen, but I think it’s timeless and special and deserves a special mention.  The fit, the colour and the length are all perfect for Isla’s flame-haired curls and petite build.  Not a bad choice for Ali G’s wife…

GG 2013 - My Best Dressed - Marion Cotillard

As someone who likes to blog about fashion, it sometimes takes me a while to find a topic I feel passionate enough to write about.  Sometimes I just want to type up something silly or simply tell you about something I like.  Don’t fret - this post IS a proper one.  But seeing as we’re talking about the wonderful Miss Cotillard, I feel this is an appropriate time to sneak in a un-fashionista fact.  You ready? I.  Love.  Batman.  That will be all.

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Marion often features on my ‘Inspiration’ board on pinterest because her choices are always classic, chic and courageous.  She’s the quintessential French woman; equipped with glossy locks and a red lip.  This outfit sums up all that is right with Marion’s style choices.  The vibrant colour, the flattering cut and the timeless waist-cinch are all signs of a fully fledged fashionista.  Colour-coordinated stilettos and jewels give this look the polished finish we’ve come to expect from MC.  Dix/Dix.