Friday, 11 January 2013

How to do the Designer Deal - Without Breaking The Bank

We all dream of owning that perfect designer wardrobe. Admiring celebrities enviously as we follow every outfit they wear and where each item was from - even though we know that we'll probably never be able to buy any of the things that they own. So, I have decided that I'm going to share my inexperienced thoughts on how you can almost achieve that semi-designer look on a not particularly high budget.

1. Buy something expensive - But make sure its the right thing.

If you have just a few key pieces that are designer, or really look so, then this creates the illusion that most of your outfit is designer and gives the illusion of that oh-so-sought after designer look.

Key pieces that work well are a nice watch - say a Michael Kors - its not ridiculously expensive, but still looks gorgeous and adds that extra 'designer' touch to your outfit.

Next, a nice, designer bag. Now, this will be expensive, but if you save up for a while, every month stash a little aside, then you will be able to make it. For example, this Louis Vuitton Speedy - the signature bag - costs around £450 - doable if you save £50 a month in under a year. But this investment will last you forever and really adds to the illusion of any outfit to make it look that extra bit 'designer'.

3. Buy the rest of your clothes from Primark

This may sounds surprising, but maybe 70% of my wardrobe is Primark/H&M. I buy all my baisics from there - they really do have some great things, you just need to go to a big enough store, and try not to go during peak times, so its a little emptier and you can look more carefully. But my outfits are generally built up from baisics, with a smart balzer, and then I'll add a slightly expensive bag, a nice watch, some interesting jewellery (which is from Primark of course), and a big scarf maybe, and done, a designer-esq looking outfit!

4. Look through magazines, wait a few weeks, and then look through the high street.

These days, high street shops are becoming increasingly efficient at adapting new season's trends straight from the catwalk. A while back, when Prada came out with their see-through shoes, a few weeks later I saw Primark with really similar looking see-through shoes. SO you can get the designer look at a fraction of the price!

When you look through a magazine, and see a trend or a type of clothing that you like, wait just a short while, and you'll see most items scattered across the high street.

5. Make sure everything else is flawless

You need to then ensure that your make up and nails look good as well. Make up is one of those things that you can purchase a cheap option, but as long as you know how to apply it - it will look great. Watch YouTube tutorials to find the most professional looks that you can do yourself, and you can purchase some decent, but cheap make up from places like E.L.F. Also, you can do your nails yourself too - give yourself a french manicure, some white tip nail polishes are inexpensive and great like Rimmel's Nail Tip Whitener, which works really well and is only about £5.

Friday, 4 January 2013

How to pick your outfit for the day quickly

Everyone has the problem of not having any idea of what to wear, trying on and throwing to the floor half of the contents of their wardrobe, getting frustrated and getting nowhere. Well, for everyone out there, I created one of those flowchart things, I made it on excel, however it turned out so tiny, its quite unreadable. Instead I thought I'd simply make a written version.

So, to narrow down what you need to wear, you basically need to ask yourself a bunch of questions, and based on your answer, you can decide on what to wear.

Are you feeling like wearing trousers or a skirt?

Is this for work, casual or evening?

Is it hot, cold or mild outside?

Is it going to be indoor, outdoor or a bit of both?

So, if you want trousers, for casual, its mild and your going to be indoor and outdoor then:

Dark Jeans, a cute jumper and matching brogues
Dark jeans, a white chiffon shirt, grey ballet pumps and a grey blazer

Trousers, work, hot, indoor and outdoor:

Grey chinos, light pink shirt, tan accessories (bag,shoes, jewellery)
Beige chinos, navy chiffon top, navy heels

Skirt, evening, hot, indoor and outdoor:

Dark pink maxi skirt, tucked in black tee, large silver statement necklace, black heels
Nude/light pink maxi skirt, cropped khaki t-shirt, long pink pearl necklace, brown leather clutch and heels

Trousers, casual, cold, indoor and outdoor:

Black jeans, sequin beige jumper, beige wedge boots, navy coat for outdoor parts
Black chinos, burgundy knit jumper, oxblood brogues, gold accessories

For more outfit ideas: Polyvore Clothing Sets (sets designed by me for some ideas, some are very evening, for more casual ideas, go to the earlier sets)

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

9 Wardrobe Essentials Every Girl Needs (okay its actually a little more)

I know that there are a million and one different articles about what you should have in your wardrobe. But I am yet to find one which encompasses everything I have in my wardrobe which I believe is essential. So these are the things I think every girl should have.

1. A pair of good straight-leg jeans in black and dark blue

Straight-legs are timeless, flattering and best worn in dark colours. With me, I always stick to dark blue and black as my essential. Lighter colours are nice also, but can't always be worn. Dark jeans can take you from day to night, summer or winter.

2. Light, plain (chiffon perhaps) shirts in black and white

Okay, so whenever I see a nice, plain, white or black chiffon shirt, I instantly buy it - you can never have enough. These are great, as they can be worn causally, or for a more smart look. I usually love to wear them under blazers, with a colourful scarf, layered with a jumper over them or even just on their own. Again, I'll wear a pair of my dark jeans with them usually. In winter, I'll pair a black shirt with a wooly scarf and matching boots, in summer I might pair a white shirt with light jeans and pastel accessories.

3. A boyfriend blazer in which ever colour is opposite to your general wardrobe colour palette  (or just a black)

I say "A" blazer, but in actual fact I have quite a few. Also, I say a boyfriend blazer, because I find that these are much easier to wear casually and more smartly. I wear blazers on a day-to-day basis, and it looks smart, but not too formal like a fitted blazer would. You can wear anything with blazers, be it a nice chiffon shirt, a plain white top or a graphic tee. In terms of what is opposite to your 'wardrobe colour palette' I mean, look at your wardrobe, do you have lots of neutrals? dark colours? bright colours? If you have dark colours, I'd go for a bright blazer, maybe in a royal blue. If you have neutral colours or bright colours, a grey or black blazer would go nicely. Having an opposite coloured blazer just introduces something new to the outfit and makes the blazer look all the more statement without being too much.

4. A comfortable, everyday bag - THAT IS NOT BLACK

Everyone has some sort of black bag that they often use, but that just gets boring. If you're looking to buy a new bag, get something different. GET RED. This may sound a little odd. How can a bag that is everyday, be, well, red? Well, if you really think about it red actually goes with so much: grey, white, navy, nude, black, blue. Plus, it gives your outfit a kick, but can still look extremely stylish and elegant. And for everything else, get a grey bag.

5.  A colourful scarf

So not necessarily a wooly scarf, just a big, patterned, colourful scarf in a light-ish material. This is perfect for wearing with any of your plain tee's, shirts or blazers. It's great for wearing in all seasons and whenever you're having a boring, wearing-all-dark-colours day, just add a nice scarf and you. Are. Done. I have a gorgeous red scarf with a chain pattern which I wear all the time. It looks great with a grey blazer and white tee.

6. Shoes

Okay this one is quite hard. But if I'm really stripping it down to the utter basics  you probably need just 4 pairs of shoes - and that is MAJORLY cutting it down - (any guy will beg to differ and say you only need one, but they don't know what its really like).

So numero uno, you will need a pair of cute ballet flats. Easy for everyday, in probably either black, tan or grey (whichever one goes best with your clothes).

Next a pair of either flat or wedged shoe boots/brogues. I love brogues, casual, but still nice, and they keep your feet relatively warm when its a little nippy outside. However, if you like a little height, go for a pair of wedged shoe boots. They're comfy, easy to wear and in an easy colour like black, go with everything.

Thirdly, I do think that everyone needs some tall boots. Its up to you whether you prefer flat, heeled or wedged ones, but make sure they're quite tall to keep your legs nice and warm. Suede always looks nice, but really isn't that practical for when it rains or even snows, so go for leather in again, black, grey or tan.

Finally, you are definitely going to need a pair of high heels, or, if you have trouble walking in them, a pair of high wedge shoes. Now I love high heels, but to be perfectly honest, I've found that it is so much more practical to have just high wedges instead. There's much less chance of falling over, you walk more elegantly if you're in a rush and they still look great. My favourite pair are white leather with a cork wedge. I've worn them when shopping, at dinners and even at a wedding.

7. A gorgeous watch and ring

Well I say a watch, but there are many who don't do watches, so you can just skip these next few sentences, but for those who do, a watch is a very important piece. First you have to think about the style. Do you like small discrete watches? do you like square, round, rectangle faced? Do you want a big statement watch? A traditional style? A modern look? Think about your preference. Next think about material. Do you want a leather strap, or do you prefer just metal? Finally, think about the colour. If you're going for metal, which type? Gold, silver, or the now ever-more-stylish - rose gold (which is what I have at the moment - a massive round faced, rose gold Michael Kors). So depending on how you answered those questions, you can now venture out to find your ideal watch.

In terms of other jewellery pieces, although I have a wide array of accessories that I choose from, rings are my number one.  For those of us that don't have an engagement ring, its nice to always decorate your hands with any nice ring. My favourite is one that is a very small bow with little crystals. I bought it in rose gold and always wear it on the same hand as my watch to match. I do also love statement,         ma-husive rings, but those aren't essential, so they won't go on this list.

8. A coat

I almost forgot this one - which is surprising since living in London - I almost always wear coats. So, choose a coat which has a nice fit, something that is a little tailored, in an easy black, navy or grey colour that goes with everything. I personally wear long-ish knee-length coats and generally wear them open as I like to wear scarves around my neck. If you usually keep your coat closed, make sure that closing the coat is not a long process, as having to do up 3 buckles on your coat every time you go out is a little tedious.

9. A maxi skirt/dress

This is a great piece which can be worn summer or winter. In summer pair with a tucked in tee and statement tribal jewellery  in winter pair with a jumper or with a leather biker jacket and scarf. You can get any colour you like, I personally quite like grey or khaki maxi skirts, but buy maxi dresses in bolder, more flowery colours for the summer.

Final Random Tip for Your Wardrobe

Okay, this is just random, but - when you see a new colour that is suddenly in fashion, this is an easy way to incorporate it into your wardrobe to update it a little every season.

So for example, recently, burgundy has been a big colour for autumn and winter - so I decided that I wanted to wear more of it. All I did was simply to buy a pair of £20 heeled shoe boots in burgundy, a £7 skinny waist belt in burgundy, an £8 scarf in a burgundy leaf design and a £5 bag in burgundy. Instantly I included this colour into my wardrobe, matching it with all of the above essentials and bam, I was right on-trend in one shopping trip and having only spent £40. And this doesn't only create one on-trend outfit, it creates a whole bunch!

I hope that this has all come in useful for someone out there.