Friday, 28 November 2014

Black Friday - catch yourself on, petal

Last time I checked we folk in the Great British Isles (you too Scotland) were British. Yet as the Black Friday hype enveloped Social Media this week and more and more retailers promised Black Friday discounts, it appears we have gone all American. Black Friday is a day of sales following the Thanksgiving holiday in America. Yet like proms and Twizzlers (Twizzlers are ace, though) Black Friday has found its way to our shores and we have jumped on it like a bouncy castle and bounced until we have our monies worth.

But are we getting our Black Friday monies worth? Two other Conscious Style Pioneers whom I mightily respect think not and I agree. A Thrifty Mrs dispenses wonderful advice today:

Catch yourself on, petal

Meaning just because something has a name which authenticates it, doesn't mean you have to join in with it. And over on Antiform's website they are saying NO THANKS to Black Friday and have closed their online shop for the day, boycotting the mindless consumption that Black Friday brings.

I'm all for a bargain, I love finding the perfect item at a reduced price BUT Black Friday is akin to one HUGE sale to me, and I know how many people go to pieces in a sale:

"It was only a fiver"

"I'll get loads of wear out of it."

"It looked great on the hanger."

The average British woman has £71 worth of unused SALE ITEMS in her wardrobes.

Before you make a clothing purchase this Black Friday step away from the mindless confusion of the sale shopfloor today. Breathe. Is the garment you are holding:

A) Worth the price tag - seriously, even at 30% off is it worth it?Will you wear it?
B) Something you need and have been looking for for a long time?
C) Are you buying the price or the garment? Get the two confused and you'll end up with a wardrobe full of reduced price tags that you can't wear.

Finally, is the garment YOU - is the garment YOU? Does it truthfully and authentically represent YOU, your style, your visual signature? Nope? Catch yourself on, petal. Better leave the shop.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Allium B Get Dressed (again)

The second Allium B dress I styled was Flora. This was really testing my mettle - I don't 'do' florals - but as a stylist and Image Consultant I see a lot of clients who do. And I can't go shoving my dramatic style into all the wardrobes I see - we are all individual after all!

Flora got the same treatment as Sophia last week and got a makeover for Going Out, Casual and Wedding Guest:


Running Left - Right we have....

Wedding Guest - I wanted to give the guests behind me in the congregation something to look at so I used a Silence and Noise jacket with a cut away back. Then blocked all sights and sounds with a massive satellite hat and 80's patent clutch. Heels from Office. 

Casual - I paired Flora with my Safari jacket, Harry Hall riding boots and a massive scarf from Gap. Leaves supplied by the trees. 

Going Out - Faux Fur for all! ASOS came up with the goods and the necklace is from Topshop. Leopard boots are Kurt Geiger's finest. 

If you love the look of Allium B but love 20% off even more please use the exclusive code 


to receive 20% off your chosen Allium B dress. Click here for the website. 

Monday, 24 November 2014

Allium B Get Dressed

I've lost count of the number of Wardrobe Angel clients who ask for dresses which are "long enough" (ie they won't flash your pants when you are scooping a child out of a sandpit), have sleeves and pockets. It was a tall order which often proved fruitless. Until Allium B

With the strapline "Grown Up British Design for Women" I was entranced by the small but perfectly formed, timeless collection of dresses...with sleeves and pockets. An email exchange and a phone call later and 2 of their wonderful dresses, Flora and Sophia, were winging their way to lucky old moi. 

You know I bang this drum often but no matter how much a dress costs me I want to be able to wear it to a few different functions, styled a few different ways. The Allium B dresses hover around the £100 mark so for that I wanted to show each dress dressed up and down. I decided to style each dress 3 ways: Going Out, Casual and Wedding Guest. This week feast your eyes on Sophia:


Running Left - Right we have....

Casual - I paired Sophia with my vintage leopard print scarf, IL2L leather biker, Mulberry Effie Tote and Topshop ankle boots. 
(I thought that was an alright picture but it looks like I've wet myself !!)

Wedding Guest - So as not to upstage the bride I wore Zara snakeprint heels, a faux fur wrap, vintage purse and a Laura Aspit Livens hat worn as a broach

Going Out - Gold was the order of the day. Vintage sequinned jacekt, vintage gold box clutch (my mum's no less), Topshop necklace layered over vintage 3 strand pearl necklace and D&G heels. 

If you love the look of Allium B but love 20% off even more please use the exclusive code 


to receive 20% off your chosen Allium B dress. Click here for the website. 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Tis the season to be sequinned

Christmas always means extra magic and sparkle to me - magic and sparkle in the sequin sense. One of my wardrobe staples, I err on the side of sequins on a regular basis but ramp up the sparkle come Yuletide. Most of my vintage sequinned pieces have come from….wait for it….charity shops! The quality of the vintage sequinned garments far surpasses anything I've found on the high street. With some high street sequinned garments the sequins shed – this is because they are sewn on in a sheet. Vintage sequins normally would have been individually hand-stitched so you won’t leave a trail of sequins behind you on the dance floor!

I found a cracker of a sequinned top in a charity shop in Holmfirth last Saturday, made even more special due to the fact that it is a bit of a designer steal! Oleg Cassini no less! Not heard of him? He worked for Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox and dressed Jackie Kennedy no less:

I think I've got a faint whiff of Debby Harry here!

Not getting swayed by the designer label I've found most charity shop vintage sequinned numbers, including Oleg’s offering, come with a few downsides....

Massive issues with massive shoulder pads

1.    The shoulder pads – you can see from my face the shoulder pads have scared the bejesus out of me. If you are small of frame, don’t fancy looking like a transformer and don’t want to be mistaken for an extra in an 80’s film then it may be worth removing said pads of horror and inserting smaller ones. I turned the top back-to-front and found that the deep V took the attention away from the pads and gave the top a softer line.
2.    The weight – man are they heavy! These designers and dress makers certainly didn’t skimp back in the day! Get ready to heft around your glitter ball outfit!
3.    They can look old fashioned – and they can look very square. You have to put your own modern twist on them. I wear one of my sequinned tops with a denim shirt underneath. I paired the top I bought on Saturday with bright lime heels, to add a pop of colour, and wore my Jamie High Waisted jeans from Topshop. You could try wearing leather leggings, culottes or layering over dresses.

And like a nice brew, turning the top back-to-front has made everything better!

The great thing about having vintage sequins is that they make your party wardrobe truly unique – no one will look like you; you won’t have the style death moment when you enter a party and see someone wearing the exact same high street dress as you. Party on!

Monday, 10 November 2014

How to Shop at TK Maxx

I have a  TK Maxx horror story I'd like to share with you. Picture the scene....

It's 2007 and my wardrobes, much like my life, are in a constant state of free falling chaos. It's the day before one of my best friend's weddings and I am in the Hammersmith TK Maxx in London town frantically searching for a dress. I return to the fitting rooms again and again with arm loads of dresses that don't fit, require adjusting, look hideous.  And all because I wanted to look 'different', I don't end up with a dress, instead I end up with a scarlet red hat that wouldn't have looked out of place on Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. 

Fastforward 7 years and I'm still reticent to set inside the doors of TK Maxx due the cold sweat which breaks out every time I go near the place. I've managed to bag a Lucas Jack ring from the one in Leeds but believe me TK Maxx is a place of bad fashion memories as far as I'm concerned. Once bitten twice shy -  the last time I was in the TK Maxx at Crown Point in Leeds I nearly had a panic attack because I couldn't find the exit! 

It seems all taste goes out of the window when I'm in there - I can't seem to differentiate between what's awesome and what's s*%t. Lucky for you, one of my clients can. Everytime I send her a bespoke shopping list of bits and pieces she can buy to make her wardrobe work even harder after a Wardrobe Update she responds with - "thanks! I've found most of it in TK Maxx!" Whaaaaaat? 

Take it away Moyra:

" Why do I love shopping at TK Maxx? Because it really, really is worth it. The things in my wardrobe that I love most and wear often are usually from… TK Maxx. And it didn’t cost me a fortune. You can bag yourself a bargain – and I don’t mean a “at this price, it’s a bargain” kind of item. I mean something that is good quality, something that is special, something you really like.

At this point, you may be thinking - “ I can’t be bothered  – I haven’t got the time” or “It’s too confusing – it’s like a jumble sale in there.” So .. here are my top tips if you are short of time:    

  • You don’t need to browse through the whole shop. If you are really in a hurry, look at the clothes in the aisle displays, or the ends of the racks. These are the “best in shop” items.
  •  Or, you can just go and look for one particular thing – a cashmere jumper, or a branded leather handbag  – and ignore the rest
  • The best sections are – day dresses, party dresses, tops, knitwear, coats, accessories, handbags.
  • Definitely try things on – American and European brands may size up differently to your usual UK size.
  • If you like the look of an item, but isn’t in your size, then quick! check on the website. Free and easy returns to the shop.

However, if you have time to spare, and enjoy the thrill of the chase, here are some more tips:

  • Allow yourself plenty of time to browse, preferably not on a Saturday afternoon
  • Don’t be afraid to look at labels and styles you wouldn’t otherwise consider –maybe you’ll find something unexpected that really suits you.
  • So, be prepared to try lots of things on, and reject most of them.

And also, some advice on how to get the best value from those famous low prices…it is easy to get carried away in this permanent “super sale”!

  • Don’t be pulled into “sale mentality” – “at that price, I would be crazy not to buy it” – do you really like it/need it?
  • Don’t be swayed by the price differential between the “original” price and the TK Maxx price. Is it worth the price on the ticket– full stop.
  • There are some “labels” that are really TK Maxx own brands so beware. Again, do you like it? Is it worth it?

A wool Paul Costello coat that Moyra picked up from TK Maxx in Manchester for £70. BARGAIN!!

Happy shopping and I hope you will become a TK Maxx convert like me."


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Weighty Issues

I know, I know - my blogging has been terribly remiss of late. A house move coincided with my busiest and most productive month as The Wardrobe Angel to date which left me surrounded by boxes, dreaming of clothes and clinging to time drifting like a blizzard through my fingers. Apparently, buying a house and moving is one of the most stressful experiences you will ever  have in your life - I can confirm this is true. Half a stone lighter I feel less of myself but parts of me are more visible: my hip bones are jutting at an angle I'm not accustomed to; my jaw, sharper and more defined rests on wrist bones that are mountainously knobbly - no better word for it. 

A slighter example of who I used to be, I hosted my first networking event at Hobbs in Leeds last week.  "You look very thin" a colleague approached me and said. I replied, "I've just moved, it's been really stressful." When I get stressed my body takes it upon itself to chow down on my resources. It has always been that way. The most annoying thing it that this leaves you with clothes that don't really fit and a dilemma for your body to answer - do you buy more clothes in a smaller size to see you through or wait until the weight returns?  

I've done both. I've turned to fiercely belting dresses I already own (pictures to follow), wearing a leather A-line skirt with thick jumpers tucked in to fill the gap at the waist and celebrating my elastane filled pencil skirts which love me whatever my shape. I've ditched the boyfriend jeans (they drown my legs and frankly, don't stay up at the waist any longer) and donned my skinnies. I've taken to wafting around my new pad in a ballgown skirt I picked up in a charity shop when I lived in London - I love the heaviness of the material, it seems to fill me in where the weight has left me wanting. Buying a pair of GAP ultra skinny trousers in the sale proved a wise choice. They are wonderfully skinny, slightly cropped at the ankle and at £7.99 didn't break that bank. When my half a stone returns I can re-gift them or sell them on. 

I had a client last Sunday who had the same weighty issue - she had lost weight due to healthy eating and exercise and was asking "when do I buy new jeans?" I'd give it a month for your body to find its ideal resting weight - we all have one - the weight that our body recalibrates itself to after a while. Give me a month and hopefully I'll be back to mine.