Another trend which has sauntered into style on the spring breeze - & one of my all time favourites - is colour blocking.
With influences acquired from the East, clashing collections of jewel colours create striking spring outfits.
This is an effortless & eye-catching look, so now's the time to exploit your love of all things vivid & vibrant to mix up your make-up & unite your knits & enjoy this colour clashing craze!
Splash the Clash
Orange & Green is fit for a Queen...
Purple Passions & Pussycat Bows
If total blockage is slightly too intense, why not break it up with arty accessories...
There's different ways to make them.
1)cut out some circles of fabric in a few sizes of circles. I did alternate layers of grey jersey and black net. Sew together, screw up a bit and twist and pop a few more stitches through to keep it all in place.
2)Make a running stitch through a ribbon or strip of fabric starting a couple of inches from the end of the ribbon (will form a bow at the end), pull tight. It should start to look like a flower. When you've pulled thread through enough to make a circle shape sew it closed. Do another one or two then sew them together. Shape the unsewn ribbon into a bow. I added some extra ribbon and a button in the middle.
The jumpsuit is not exactly a hot fashion tip having been featured in every magazine and (apparently, it’s a long time since I’ve been in) every high street shop. And normally I’m not keen on trends that are so ubiquitous but the jumpsuit is a fashion band wagon I want to jump on! They look cool, and either glam, or devil may care and just different from the everything else I’ve been wearing for the last year. This is the first time in a long time I have felt annoyed that I can’t rush out to the shops to get myself a fashion fix or found our year of only buying second hand a proper pain. To be fair, there are some on Ebay and, I am reliably informed, in Oxfam Originals in Manchester. Part of the problem is my expectation of how much clothes should cost has changed, I’m so used to being able to get a fabulous outfit for almost nothing that I have become a cheapskate.
I managed to find a really simple, glam jumpsuit from ebay for £22. I was all excited and happy to get it until, seeing the airmail packaging, it finally crossed my mind that my jumpsuit is one of the least environmentally friendly items of second hand clothing ever. Being from one of ebay’s international sellers it was flown over especially for me. I don’t have a photo of me wearing it either because jumpsuits very definitely need heels and a bit of dressing up; in the past month both my social life and my bank balance have been too poor to take me anywhere worthy of dressing up.
My ebay buy.
Jumpsuit love has also just made me bid on a very brave (or will that be downright disgusting) blue and silver vintage number. With bat wing sleeves. It could be incredible or just incredibly wrong. Watch this space.
This might seem an odd topic in the middle of the coldest week this year when spring seems a long way away (I am in fact writing this from under my duvet). But I’m bored of winter now and, hey, sweetie, in fashion terms S/S 09 is well and truly here. And also, more to the point, it’s good to get ideas and inspiration...if you’re doing without a trip to buy new clothes you have to be a little more imaginative. It also he1lps to be willing to think outside of season and buy the beautiful sheer chiffon top you see, even if it is barely 2° outside.
Designers and fashion magazines are the obvious place to get ideas but you can find inspiration anywhere.
I love the colours and patterns in oriental patterns. I went to Chinese New Year celebrations and had a fantastic day out, and got inspired (plus got a paper dragon and my name written in Chinese, always a winner!)
Dressed purely for warmth...I can't wait until that isn't my main consideration with choosing clothes (Although the jacket is actually quite a cute -if hidden here - retro denim jacket which cost less than a fiver from a charity shop.)
Designers Basso and Brook do some beautiful fabrics, with stunning colours. I love the combination of Japanese inspired design and more geometric shapes…I shall be looking out for anything I can find along these lines.
Wide belts and obi inspired styles was a look a few designers featured which is perfect for diy fashion…I wrapped a red leather belt around a dress, followed by a silk scarf, finished with a ribbon I bought from Paperchase a while ago….I think with a little adjustment this (or something along these lines) would work.
I really like the hair accessories some designers put on their models, and again I think it would be easy and fun to do yourself. You could try feathers, lace, anything you fancy for an interesting, done up hair do. Plus keeping it informal will stop you looking like a bridesmaid.
Staying with my floral, eastern theme I’m going to try to do something with these hair clips by ‘Jonny loves Rosie’ (which I found still in their box from Oxfam for £2.99) and these beautiful butterflies (which I think are meant to be decorations for your house since they have both magnets and clips on them.)
As I meander through the cheerful charity shops of Chorlton, I often speculate that I think they could make more of their window displays to convert pondering passers-by into potential patrons.
As I enjoy all things involving clothes, colour & creativity, I thought I should offer my services to my favourite CCS, Age Concern, & so last weekend began my first session as charity VM.
Initailly a little apprehensive - keen to exploit the shop’s offering to it's full potential - I soon got the buzz, running around like a busy little merchandising bee for looks I thought would entice more south Manchester’s shoppers.
For my opening offering, I went for a Bohemian folk look – easy to wear, diverse appeal & with an abundant supply of tweeds & knits at my disposal.
I happily heard this week, that the shop did very well from the display. Hopefully I can keep up some good work!
New threads & Old friends: Partying in Never Nether-land
I have been eagerly anticipating the return of my first-ever Manchester mate this weekend, from her current residence of Amsterdam.
To celebrate this special social occasion, we returned to the scene of our old stomping ground & to celebrate in style, some new threads were in order.
Now the trick to compliling clubbing clobber, I always find is the balancing of these essential elements: cool, casual, colourful & comfortable (without looking too much like a teenager)
When I stumbled upon this short stylish shift, I thought ‘just the thing’ - Breathable cotton & loosely fitted.
Citrus Shift: Barnardos, £5
In another stretch of luck, on my charity travels I found some equally suitable fashionable footwear – long to withstand the gail force storms, chunky heel to combine height with comfort & matching the shade of olive in my new dress
Olive New High Boots: RSPCA, £5
Always a little fickle with my fashion choices, I also got myself a back-up outfit, coming across these stylish seperates:
Deco bejewelled top: Oxfam, £4.99
Leather Mary-janes: Oxfam, £3.99
That’s two new oufits for under a tenner each, ethical & economical.
Next week I start a new job, requiring a work wardrobe overhaul. For about £40, I managed to find some suitably chic attire, to give my corporate collection a much needed update. Watch this space for next week for a full review x
What better way to see in 2009 than with a little DIY. Homemade hospitality chez nous & a hand-crafted canary yellow bubble dress made by yours truly.
With limited time this festive break, I decided to spend it constructing – rather than trawling for treasures within the local amenities. While most of Chorlton exploits their enforced leisure time, I figured finding a festive bargain would be ambitious – even for a seasoned pro like myself (well…keen enthusiast)
So here we have it….
Another little bonus to our New Year’s festivities was Manchester Make-up Queen, Nancy Spenser offering her sterling services for our little clothes swap (TBA at the Roadhouse, Manchester very soon…)
Nancy also offered some encouraging words about our humble little S&S venture, insisting that she now thinks twice about whether she really wants something by testing herself to see if she would go to the trouble of amending it, if she found it second-hand somewhere. Several times she would find she didn’t want it that much in the first place!
Inspirational thinking. We are, of course, very proud.
So back to the celebrations...
Happy New Year 2009 x
Sequins are the perfect thing for winter dressing up. Glamourous and intriguing, I like them best when the overall look isn't too polished. There's something so beautiful in the contrast between shiney sequins and dull sensible winter fabrics.
Scarves are a really easy way to do sequins.
Although surely much better is full on sequins, and its striped! I bid for this on ebay...42 pounds which I was happy with. I love the look of this and can't wait to wear it for Christmas parties. Was a bit gutted to google the dress to find out how much it cost new, (rrp 99 pounds) to see that ASOS sell it for half price.
In stark contrast to last week’s celebration of Fashion's current sombre palette, today I wish to celebrate the joy of checks.
Already firm favourites on this S&S blog, this delightful duffle & cute courts are the perfect pick-me-up.
With a classic LBD & black opaque tights, these accessories make the ideal attire for a Friday night in town with friends.
Tartan Duffle Coat: £12.99, Oxfam
Red Check Court Shoes: £4.99, British Red Cross
Top: £2.99, Age Concern
What a wasted opportunity it would be if I didn’t use this week's blog entry to pay homage to fashion’s abundance of gothic gladrags. The good, the bad...
Dress: £3.99, Mind
Belt: (Part of Dress), Age Concern
Platforms Shoes: £3.99, Oxfam
Scary Witch: Picked up in local bar
A selection of ethical options perfect for a night of magic & merriment. I wonder how many times we'll hear Micheal Jackson's Thriller & the theme from Ghost Busters before the weekend's out? I've counted 11 so far...
I am definitely not a domestic goddess – the last time I touched a sewing machine was in home economics at school. I made a stuffed and misshapen watermelon slice shaped cushion which I gave to my gran for Christmas. (She also got given a very stripy but again unusually shaped scarf; my one attempt to knit. Love her, she wore it for years.) My memories of sewing are of frustration, thread and needles inexplicably snapping, knots, and incorrect tension.
All this is going to change. I have customised my very first garment, and it was easy-peasy. My secret weapon? A hand-held mini sewing machine.
Find some nice fabric. (In my case an unflattering dress in pretty fabric I bought for one pound in Age Concern.) Chop fabric to size. Get ribbon. Make a plan, more or less. Pin everything firmly in place. (I didn't do this properly the first time and had to unpick a whole section as all the fabric had moved without me noticing.)
The mini, hand-held sewing machine I picked up (second-hand as it happens) is a proper old school one.Woolworths sell a mini but less hand-held version for 25.00.