Monday, 30 May 2011

Holiday in style with Matalan

So the Bank Holiday weather has been nothing but rain and clouds, but why not make your way to Matalan this week and take a sneak peak at their summer swimwear range? With an array of bright colours, styles and key pieces for the beach, you will be just spoilt for choice!

Psychedelic prints, rainbow colours and a desire to stand out from the crowd, Matalan's bikini in this range are show stopping pieces.
(Coloured zebra top £8 and bottoms £5, Rainbow stripe bikini top £6 and bottoms £5, Coloured zebra monokini £12)

Florals are the seasons key trend and Matalan has perfected the perfect ditsy bikini for just £11. Add a staple straw hat for ultimate beach chic, £6. One of my favourite pool side cover-ups is the floral print jumpsuit, £10 and paired with a floppy oversized hat £8 and tortiseshell sunglasses £10.50 hits the designer 70's trend for just a snippet of the price.    
Make a statement and stand out from the crowd in neon colours. I adore the frill neckline of the pink swimsuit £12 and the zip detailing of the yellow bikini £11 adds a sexy dimension to the bold colour choice.

The tribal  trend comes along every summer but Matalan have updated this piece in the collection with a botanical leaf print. The playsuit is another great item in the swimwear collection and makes for a great beach cover-up at just £8.

Matalan want you to be "embrace the summer sun with our stunning collection of beachwear styles". So what are you waiting for? Ditch the British rain and head to the Ibiza sun - but dont forget to make a brief visit to Matalan to pick up some gorgeous beach ready swimwear!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

marks wants it spark back...

when you think of marks and spencer what comes to mind? frumpy? unfashionable? old? yep me too. but the brand is set to undergo a massive image overhaul both in its brand presence and fashion collections.

marc bolland, chief executive, has claimed the stores are not "inspirational" enough and i for one certainly agree. he also said the stores were "difficult to shop" and he would spend €€six hundred million pounds sprucing them up over the next few years.

also in his plans, a huge revamp of the stores own bought brands per una and autograph making them more accessible to the fashion savvy. rumours are also rife that the brands name will go from marks and spencer to m€ and s with sub brands m and s for men and m and s for women.

so if you could change good old marksies what would you do? as a visual merchandiser, i would have to start with the bland window displays, making them more contemporary and creative. it would be great for the brand to collaborate with freelance designers for a unique brand asthetic in comparisson to other stores within the market. the store itself would need to be remerchandised accordingly as it is currently merchandised in items as opposed to fashion collections i.e all t shirts together, all trousers together.
being able to see each collection would enable the customer to relate to the current fashion trends, making the shopping experience more commercial and appealing to a wider range of customers.

a new marks and spencer brand overhaul will prove an exciting trail of events and it will be interesting to see what changes will be made and,above all, if it will actually work. the brand has a much more mature customer base than most retail stores - i wonder how they will take to their favourite brands new modernisation...

Friday, 27 May 2011

Urban Outed-fitters

that's right, urban outfitters has been oited once again for stealing designs from underground and smaller designers. this repeat performance of the retail chain has caused much controversy in the past too with issues dating right back to 2006 and, more recently, in may 2010 when underground  designers from the brooklyn flea market who noticed some of their very own designs appearing in urban outfitter stores and online!

so what has led this retail giant to conform to 'stealing' other peoples creativity? has the brand just run out of it's 'urban' steam?

it is one thing to be inspired by multi-billion fashion designers and to make similar pieces at affordable high street prices. for example it is clear to see that this season karen millen has been inspired by prada's stripes and bold colour collection, but they have still put their own spin on items through their handwritten tailoring and exclusive use of material. but for urban outfitters to downright take an underground design is just plain nasty.

if anything, they should be openingly supporting smaller design businesses by collaborating with them and selling their stock via their own website, like asos tend to do.

the brand, in my eyes, seem to thrive a little too much in controversy dating right back to 2003  where they sold a "everybody loves a jewish girl" t shirt online, much to the industry's dismay. and, more recently, another tshirt saying "eat less" which was widely patronized and passed blame to the company for provoking anorexia.

urban has been quoted as saying "we do not buy products to provoke controversy..." er course you don't!

many people have claimed they will no longer be shopping with urban outfitters and i for one do not intend to either. i encourage you to join us in supporting underground designers as opposed to big-wig fraudster retail chains like urban outfitters...

research sources:

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Power to the Warehouse Flower

The sun is shining and everyone has now replaced their wardrobes with all things bright and beautiful and what else can inspire our Summer style but the RHS Cheslsea Flower Show. I hit the high street to see which store was blooming wonderful (get it?!) in the floral trend of the season.

Amid the smudgey blossom prints, the ditsy florals and the tropical abstracts, Warehouse stood out to me yet again like a rose amongst many weeds (sorry for the flowery puns!) Edgy, sexy and glamorous as ever, the Warehouse handwriting is as strong as ever in undoubtedly their strongest collection of the season.

Think vintage garden tea parties in the evening sunshine or picnics in the summer breeze - for every occasion Warehouse has a newly blossomed fashion piece just for you....

 Adorable floral mini shorts at just £35. A perfect purchase for your summer holidays with a light cami or pair with a denim shirt for a summer stroll...
 Beautiful botanic prints of birds of paradise and vivid flowers. Planting two trends in one - brights and florals - this is a summer must-have piece for just £50 - Warehouse loves? I love!
 Reminding me of 50's dinner dances and tea parties all that this dress needs is a well placed hair ribbon. Get yours now for £50.
I have a guilty conscience...I just had to have this adorable floral frock! Complete with feminine floral print and adorable bow detail, this dress is too cute to resist and for just a snip at £65.

If these flowery effots aren't enough to make you want to go all out on the floral trend and embrace the cutesy prints at Warehouse this season, then read again because you certainly will the second time round...


Saturday, 21 May 2011

Lady of Leather

Radio 1's Big Weekend last week kind of kicked off the upcoming festivals of the Summer and who was there to outshine every artist in the style stakes? The one and only Lady Gaga. Accompanying sexy dominatrix meets rock and roll star. Think leather, PVCN studs and tassle detailings.

Although only a few of you will dare to brave the PVC bra and pants combo, luckily for the rest of you I have picked out a few of my favourite high street leather jackets so you too can embrace the Lady Gaga leather look!

How beautiful is the tailoring on this piece from priced at £240. I love the feminine cut of the lapels that bring an air of softness to a normally tough looking leather jacket.

This leather jacket is a-mazing you have to check it out on because it has an awesome full chain detailed back! This is pure rock and roll not only with the chains but with the zip slashes also! I really like the zig-zag tailoring of the jacket's collar too. A great investment piece priced at £280.

Stepping off the leather radar just slightly for a moment here we have another jacket from, £50. I think the use of mixed fabrics here (suede and knit) creates a really interesting piece. The tassles give it an edge and the beautiful texture makes it an unusual wardrobe must-have.

Now I never normally use designer pieces as I like to aim my blog at high street retailers and vintage hunters alike, but when I came across this beauty hot from I just had to post it on here! Falling under the more tailored leather jacket this really is a statement oiece. Gorgeously soft leather, feminine finishing and an array of zipped detail give this jacket true style status. Priced at £2090, whoever has this in their wardrobe is one very lucky lady!

Leather jackets are one fashion item that never seem to go out of style; choose correctly and they are long lasting heirlooms that can be passed down from even your parents (I have a vintage leather biker jacket that was my mums!)

They are investment pieces as you can team them with anything from jeans to pretty day dresses, to maxi skirts and eveningwear. So splash   be prepared to splash the cash if you want a hard wearing jacket and you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Highstreet Hunt #3

So the fashion world was rocked this week after Cheryl Cole abominated the season's colour block trend. Donning wild bouffant-styled hair and a badly pieced together outfit, the fashion industry has been split in two over cheryl's catwalk outfit...

With badly fitted purple trousers, an awkwardly tucked in orange blouse and ugly aqua belt, the Princess of Pop looked more try hard than catwalk queen. The trousers needed to have more of a flare and an orange shirt would have been more fetching than the blouse - hitting the 70's trend on the head too. Cheryl's hair was way too wild to aid her styling, a slicked back simple do would have been more flattering. And with all the money she has, could she not have had her trousers taken up to the right length for her?! If the outfit was this bad, I wonder what the shoes looked like...!

But how would I do the colour block trend I hear you cry! Well, below are a few highstreet picks from my favourite highstreet stores of the week:

Hot from River Island this week, the colour block playsuit, £29.99, channels both the colour block trend and smashes the sporty look very Isabel Marant don't you think? Team with these adorable colour stripe shoes, £64.99, and clash the colours with the electric blue handbag £39.99. Keep colours bright and bold, but more importantly, ensure the colours cover a large proportion of the dressing to make a statement - get yet  it Cheryl?

How gorgeous is this jumpsuit from Warehouse, £70. I love the flare of the bottoms and the flattering high neck. Again, channel the 70's look into colour blocking by adding this bright blue oversized hat, £16 and subtly introduce other colour elements with the colour mix clutch.

So Cheryl, do you wish you took to the British Highstreet now? Hmm, thought so...

(Cheryl Cole image taken from
 River Island images taken from
 Warehouse images taken from

Homeware Vintage Finds

One of the perks to my job as a Visual Merchandiser is all the unique and quirky props we get to use in window displays and instore displays too!

So, at work when we had a big clear out of our ever expanding prop room, I couldn't resist these three vintage items.

 I fell in love with both of these vintage bird cages (one large one small) I'm planning on filling them with tea lights and hanging them in my garden when Summer sets in!

I have always wanted an antique mannequin bust form complete with wooden stand! I'll be wrapping my vintage silk scarves around it for an instantly chic bedroom update!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Who is your role model?

As teenagers from the UK mourn the first week without The Only Way Is Essex on ITV2 and wondering how they will get by without their oompa-loompa Amy Child's fix, or the reemness of Joey, it got myself thinking of my own role models.

Any young adults (say aged 14-20) love The Only Way Is Essex for the superficial look of the girls and guys who feature on the show. Don't get me wrong, I love the show and even more so to have a look at Essex fashion but to say I look up to them or admire them in any other way would be a no go.

This got me thinking about who my own role models in life are and how they differ completely in comparisson to young adults of today even though I am only just out of that age bracket myself the difference is still outstanding. Before the Amy Childs, Katie Prices and Heidi Montags of the world, before the fake tanning and false lashes became popular, my role models were feisty, natural and independent women...

My first role model is Mary Portas; a flame haired fiery business woman with a strong sense of style and presence within the retail industry. Her passion for her career and her confidence in speaking her mind are what I admire most about her. She inspired me to pursue a career in Visual Merchandising after I saw her final commissioned window display for Harvey Nichols - truly magical.

Next, Grace Coddington Creative Director for American Vogue. A previous model untila freak-accident led to permanent scarring on her face. Her strength and power are unbelievable and that uncontrollable red hair iconic (I must have a thing for redheads!!) But the way she stood up to Anna Wintour in the September Issue truly made her loyal to what she believed in and its that confidence that probably got her to where she is today...

Lastly, Kelly Cutrone. She first came to my attention after watching superficial reality tv show The Hills. I know, I know, I practically just condemmed The Only Way Is Essex earlier on, but atleast with these types of shows the maturer of the younger generation can pick out the brainiest, ballsiest character whereas the others can't or don't seem to want to admire a strong-willed business minded woman. Not necessarily because they don't look up to them, but because it is portrayed as 'uncool' by magazines and social media.

These three women taught me to be career minded, not to take bullshit from anyone and to be true to yourself and what is best for you. I am not saying its wrong to like TOWIE characters or to stop watching The Hills altogether. The key is to be able t differentiate the types of characters who are looks-obsessed from those who are achievement-obsessed. Which category do your role models fall under?

Friday, 6 May 2011

Hull Fashion Event

Set in the gorgeous Trinity Church, Hull Fashion Week kicked off last weekend with catwalks galore and treasure-hunting vintage stalls.

The aisle of the church was turned into a full length catwalk stage were some of Hull's most unique vintage boutiques and independent retro shops. It was a fantastic opportunity for not only them to promote their businesses but also for the city to ressurect the old town area and, more importantly, the historic church surroundings.

Another great opportunity for a few of the vintage market stalls to get in on the action by setting up a vintage market in the bottom quarters of the church. An ethereal setting hosted vintage selections from Dove Hospice. Still obviously in Royal Wedding mode from the previous day, I immediately was drawn to this stunning silk wedding gown. According to local sources, an annonymous donation of several vintage and antique wedding dresses were donated to the Dove Hospice who are now selling them for outstandingly reasonable prices! Unfortunately, I am not even close to tying the knot so I had to leave this beauty behind. (Apologies for the boyfriend holding up the dress!)

I adore the beautiful floral pattern on the silky material!

One of my favourite places to source vintage items is from a newly established business called The Magpie's Den which is held in Hull's daily Trinity Marketplace. The girl who runs it is so lovely and she has a great eye for amazing pieces. I previously featured the maxi dress below in a previous blog post, but here it is again seeing as I love it so much!

If your either from Hull or ever nearby in Yorkshire, why not take a visit to the Trinity Market in the city centre? And be sure to make a stop at my favourite market stall The Magpie's Den!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

floral wonderland

florals, brights, clashing; all these are key trends taken from the spring summer 2011 collections and reflected in all high street trends too. but combining them all into one window scheme? in writing it sounds impossible, in reality inevetible...

with fantastic use of commercial awareness by implementing the use of a bunting and truly embracing the royal wedding - all hail warehouse! 

as with all window displays the best part is normally the styling. warehouse have used some gorgeous pieces from their summer collection full of clashing florals and citrus blooms. one tweak i would make is to swap the use of pewter jewellery and swap it for gold or colourful beads to continue with the feminine feel of the dressing.

the window is so right for the summer season; fresh, bright and full of flower power. one of my personal favourite high street windows of the season so far...

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Vintage Hunt

A truly fashion filled weekend; first we have all of the fashion shenanigans of the Royal Wedding (THAT dress!!) then I attended the city of Hull's Fashion Week where there were catwalks gallore and more vintage stalls than you could shake a stick at!

My first purchase was this gorgeous printed silk maxi dress from a vintage stall named The Magpie's Den. The vivid green and purple floral pattern first caught my eye - I love the 60's hippy feel of the dress!

Obviously still in Royal Wedding mode, my next vntage find was a beautiful wedding dress with ornate rose detailing. According to the local newspaper, an annonymous donation of several perfect conditioned wedding gowns had been left with the Dove Hospice charity and this was one of those gems! Unfortunately, I'm not getting married so I had to leave this beauty behind:

Thanks to my mum being a bit of a hoarder, whilst rooting through her old vintage trunk I came across this unusual tan leather bag with flower imprint. I love the twisted leather detailing on the outline of the bag: