Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Warehouse Ladies: Adorn Yourselves in Jewels....

The brand new jewellery collection from Warehouse this Autumn will take a charming new chain journey collecting trinkets, charms and precious gem stones en route. Adapting street style trends and combining them with the iconic Warehouse handwriting, the range will not only be different from what other retailers will be offering this season, but will be a pleasant fashionable surprise for loyal customers too.

 Delicate chains are adorned with semi precious stones and street trend charms. Layer them up to create a bejewelled look that could outshine the decadent era of the 1930's.

 Key details include chain tassels in brushed metallic with precious stones appearing in amber; the longer you wear it the better!

 Bracelets are quirky with leather plaited straps and diamant√© jewels. Think bohemian glamour and pile them on around your wrists and forearms for everyday to night time luxe.

Probably the only similar pieces from the collection that we have seen before from Warehouse with their iconic rock n roll edge in the metallic chain and emphasis on tough layering.

 The gorgeous semi precious stones are sourced from Taiwan, making Warehouse one of the only brands to use these within their regalia. On trend, much?!

Left: Set of Two £15
Right: £8/£10 
Check out these unusual sparklers -set to be the starting point of any style conversation. I'm lusting after the first one with the unusual cluster of stones. Warehouse will be styling them stacked together for the ultimate in dressing up chic!

   These beauties are my favourites from the new range. It is a very different style and feel for Warehouse to incorporate more street rather than catwalk trends into their jewellery product; paving the way forward in regards to decorating your Warehouse wardrobe perfectly.

 The iconic bird charm has been a huge success within other High Street retailers, likewise with the fancy Love quotes too. However, Warehouse take the trend further by incorporating other lucky charms such as a diamant√© horse shoe and bejewelled crown for Autumn.

As most girls (and guys!) out there know, jewellery can transform an outfit from one look to the next. I, for one, can't wait to see these Warehouse pieces hitting stores ready for the Fall season and with price points this low, you can easily incorporate autumnal style into your current wardrobe....

Images from the Warehouse Jewellery LookBook

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

How to become a Visual Merchandiser

As a Visual Merchandiser, I am often asked by curious folk how I actually got into this exciting career path. Lots of people message me via my blog or on my twitter account (follow me @tattylittleboot) especially those who are eager to get into the world of Visual Merchandising themselves. I get asked so many questions, I thought why not answer them all in one place? So lets get started!

Do I need a degree?

I am constantly asked this question but in my opinion, for this career a degree isn't a necessity. Sure it looks good on paper, but are degrees really worth that much nowadays anyway? I think they have become too popular - anyone can get one after all (maybe not so much next year...) and so they have lost their value. What is rare, however, is that core work experience. Anyone can read books, research online and sit and be lectured on all things visual but because the role is so 'hands-on' it's the skills we want to see the most. If you have the actual job role under your belt, along with all the management skills you would learn along the way; you could go far in this field - degree or no degree.

Retail guru Mary Portas started her career as a Visual Merchandiser

So how do I get started?

I got started through working in retail from the tender age of sixteen. Not only did I learn all the usual retail work (tills, delivery procedures and stock takes) I learnt about the wonderful side of retail: visual merchandising. This combined with my retail knowledge ensures one thing that some vm's tend to forget, that old cliche: the customer always comes first. At the end of the day we can make things look great, but we are there to sell - to make money. So displays need to be inspiring, shoppable and appealing to your market. I think I would have misplaced the importance of the customer if it wasn't for my employment in retail itself.

But anyone can work in retail. I want to specialise in visual merchandising.

Then do it! It's no good wishing and wanting if you aren't willing to go out there and get the experience you want and need. I got myself involved in every aspect of VM whilst working on the shopfloor; everything from stock merchandising, window displays and mannequin styling. I took photographs of everything I did, afterall it's a 'visual' job so 'visual' evidence is a must have. Whilst I was studying for my A Levels, I seeked out work experience with visual display teams. I wrote letters, emails and telephoned companies until one was willing to take me on. It may take time to get a placement as companies worry about the safety of work experience with visual teams (there's lots of ladder climbing, tool using and all round riskiness of taking on someone ammature). But, if you're willing to give up your free time and they get to gain a free employee - it's a win win situation!

When a department store took me on I was over the moon. I got to experience every VM genre (home, beauty, menswear and ladieswear). Again, I took so many photographs and built a portfolio of anything and everything I did from mannequin styling, window installations, stock merchandising, promotional and events set up - everything!

Christmas is the biggest event of the VM calendar

What if I can't get work experience?

There's always something along the lines of VM you can get involved in. Why not volunteer at a charity shop and get involed in creating exciting window displays or have a go at remerchandising the stock? This would be a challenge what with the mismatch of clothes but atleast it would show on your CV that you're thinking on your feet and your eager to develop your visual skills in regards to future employment.

What else can I do?

I always take photographs whilst I am out and about of anything in the retail world that excites or inspires me and I've built up a hefty portfolio of bits and bobs that I like. Not only does it give you awareness of competitors but it helps to influence your own creative skills and ideas which would be valuable to any future employer.

But where are the jobs?

Most brands have a visual team whether it be a field team or instore team. Instore teams are normally in department stores such as Debenhams, House of Fraser, John Lewis and Selfridges although Topshop and H&M are known to have instore positions too. They do everything from window displays, mannequin styling and conduct sale and promotional set ups. Field teams belong to brands such as Next, Miss Selfridge and River Island. They travel from one store to the next implementing the latest window displays and advising on merchandise layout. Job sites specific to the retail sector such as Retail Choice and  InRetail advertise popular high street brand vacancies. Or try specific brand career pages on their official websites for more positions.
It is also worth sending out your CV and cover letter to enquire individually to stores as some don't advertise online to cut costs.

What should I take to the interview?

All of your creative evidence - work experience photographs of anything visual merchandising, art work such as things you have made or drawings and paintings. Make sure your presentation is high as this is a visual aspect that will be taken into consideration. Dress to impress - go fashionable and show off your prospective styling skills.

A mannequin will be your new best friend if you want to be a Visual Merchandiser!

I can't wait to make things look pretty!
A huge wake up call to all those that think this is the 'pretty pretty' side of retail - it ain't. It's hardwork! Be prepared to have bruised sore knees from constantly working on the floor; have no nails from using tools, picking off vinyls and breaking them from carting heavy objects such as mannequins around all day; getting hot and sweaty in those windows when the sun is blaring through the glass at you; using lots of cleaning chemicals to keep up those high visual standards; to work toward tight deadlines in a high stress level job. Still interested?

Follow my own career path:

Retail Job > A Level Studies > VM work experience placement > Full time VM job


- Seek work experience during busy periods in the visual diary: January>February = Christmas take down, Spring window/scheme set up, Valentine's Day promotional events, May= Summer windows
August/Sepetember/October = Autumn windows, Christmas set up period
- Do your research about specific brands as the VM role is different between each company
- Speak to VM's instore if you ever see them - ask advice and build contacts
- Be determined; it won't happen over night but you will get there eventually.

Good Luck!

All information given here is in relation to my own experience and knowledge of Visual Merchandising

Image 1 taken from
Image 2 taken from

Karen Millen Celebrate 30 Fashionable Years

Karen Millen is a high street brand that sensationally paves the way for design-led collections. Fantastic quality driven items providing attainable luxury fill the ultra modern stores and concession departments. With impeccable attention to detail, the brand is known for their professional suiting cuts, glamorous dresses and stunning leather pieces.

Being the first global design-led fashion brand to emerge from the UK, celebrating 30 years of success this Autumn/Winter 2011, their upcoming collection doesn't cease to disappoint. Hot on the trail of the mixed texture influences that we saw on the designer catwalks, Karen Millen puts their unique spin on one of winter's most sought after style trends.

Top £85 at
 As we all know (and are possibly fed up of hearing about it right now!) animal prints were all over the catwalk. What I love about this Karen Millen top, however, is the combination of textured ruffles that add a different dimension to all of the prints we are seeing from lots of other brands.

Blouse £105 at
 This blouse, to me, infuses the good old Victoriana theme that comes out every Fall. Envisioning the designer catwalk's dominatrix essence with sheer material and accentuating the womanly shape with a corset-inspired chest makes this piece a great investment for Autumn/Winter.

Skirt £105 at
 One of my favourite things about Winter is lovely textured skirts with thick cosy tights! The texture mix on this skirt is wonderful, with contrasting inserts that give the iconic pencil skirt a modern twist. I'll be wearing mine with maroon coloured tights and furry ankle boots - lust!

Coat £265 at
 The ultimate winter staple outfit piece has to be; you guessed it; the coat! To think you will be wearing it day in day out for months on end (given what our British weather is like!) it has to be a landmark fashion piece. But don't panic, as Karen Millen have designed this one with you in mind. Hitting three trends in one; we have the military look with the large buttons travelling down the coat's lapels, the texture mix with tweed and woollen mohair and of course that boy-girl trend the fashion journo's are going wild for; this coat will be a saviour to your winter wardrobe!

Dress £450 at
And not forgetting that Karen Millen work wonders with leather (bet they couldn't take their eyes off the Chanel  AW11 catwalk!) The metallic leather pencil dress has jersey side panels and metal back zip. Now that's an iconic Karen piece we all know of and love!

So here's to thirty years of success at Karen Millen - and most likely to another thirty too!

Images taken from

Saturday, 27 August 2011

One Day Fashion on Film

If you're anything like me you'll be very excited to go and see the romance film of the year, One Day, starring Anne Hathaway. Whilst sobbing unashamedly into your soggy tissues (I know it won't just be me...) be sure to revel in Anne's character Emma's fashion journey from a geeky teen to a sophisticated adult.

What's fantastic, is that some of her wardrobe choices are from the British High Street! Take a look at this vintage Karen Millen gown which Anne Hathaway looks stunning in as Emma. According to a source, Ebay has been scoured for by bidders in hope of locating this particular dress with film fan's willing to pay an enviable price for it! Do you have it hiding away in your closet?!

The lovely Anne Hathaway playing Emma in One Day wearing a vintage Karen Millen dress

The pale purple has an ethereal decadence and suits Anne's character Emma perfectly in the genre of this scene!

Also in the film, Anne wears a specially made Liberty of London shirt. Unfortunately, the item is not currently available to buy but a couple of similar shirts can be found on the store website. Or why not search your local vintage shops? The patterning on the shirt oozes early 60's style prints!

Anne's character Emma gets biker chic down to a T

I adore all of the lovely Oriental style dresses that make an appearance at this time of the fashion year! Anne Hathaway goes all Japonesque on us in the film in this lovely silk version. I found a similar one in Phase Eight for £98 in the sale! Put your hair up high into a messy bun for added edge.

Looking sultry in a silky oriental number in One Day

Get your hands on this similar dress from Phase Eight, £98

And whoever said nerds aren't cool didn't predict the geek-chic trend for Autumn 2011. Poor Anne Hathaway's character, Emma, is seen as the nerdy college boff - but take away the scraggly hair and unflattering glasses, you have yourself a pretty cool outfit. What do you think of my similar picks from New Look? Geeks are cool, right?!

Emma in One Day is a geeky college nerd - but I actually quiet like her outfit, especially the boots!

Denim jacket New Look £24.99

Floral Dress New Look £34

Boots New Look £29.99
So as everyone frets about Anne Hathaway's Yorkshire accent not been as accurate as it could be (I'm a Yorkshire lass and it doesn't offend me in the slightest - good on her for trying I say!) I'm more bothered about the fashion journey and, of course, the romance. Pass the tissues please!

One Day film images from:

Fashion images from:

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Visual Merchandising with Mary Portas

 mary mary quiet contrary, how is your new shop growing?! quiet wonderfully actually if the shop fit itself is anything to go by! i managed to take a few sneaky photographs of the fab visual aspects of the store! above is a wall full of shelves filled with some gorgeous accessories from the collection! the site is situated at the top of the main esculator and will be sure to catch lots of wandering customers attention! the shelves include shoes which are named after other famous 'mary's' such as antoinette etc - what a quirky idea!

another esculator site is full of funky patterned and boldly coloured tights which suit mary down to a t (ight)! the upside down mannequin is amazing and so attention grabbing! the orange hair screams only one thing - mary! well atleast we all know what she's up to when she isn't advising the retail sector...

the shelving aspect is repeated and full of shoes which aptly go with the tight selection, promoting great add-on sales through strong product merchandising. check out those sexy legs! the range of tights are said to suck you in where's needed making them one of the most flattering selections available on the market.

amongst the vast amount of shoes is another fab mannequin - i think its the "life-like" poses that make mary's mannequin choice so unique and quirky - not to mention those orange wigs!

ok, so those orange wigs - some say its uncanny others say its just plain vain! i however, think its both but used as a clever marketing tool to help drive the fact that it is the queen of shops who is fronting the brand, therefore it should be a trusting method of shopping. go on mary!
the department itself is so much bigger than i expected with each category catered for, from a handbag and accessory collection to shoes and then to your individual autumn themes and stories. make sure you have a nosey at her homeware collection which is quintessentially british and her coffee is flying from the shelves. a specific "mary" blend has been created just for her - check her out with her own shop and coffee! get yourselves down there asap!

It's All About The Collar

They're on shirts, coats, blazers and dresses, yet they're a stylistic feature which we don't often think twice about. Enter 2011. Collars are going to be huge (quiet literally!) so its time to invest in these ingenius clip-on ones to transform any outfit.

From butterfly to cape, from sailor to peter pan - all eyes are on the neck down...

ASOS have a fantastic range from quirky and bold to delicate and demure - take your pick at

I don't know about you, but I cannot wait to inject some autumnal textures into my wardrobe! That's why I love this faux fur clip-on collar for £15 at ASOS. I'm dreaming of snow and evening chills already...
Channel a touch of fall 2011 into your wardrobe fashionably early with this embellished clip on collar for £25
Or how about this faux pearl edge one which instigates that vintage feel to any outfit? Think Alexa Chung and team with a sleeveless shirt or cute LBD.

Peter Pan collars were seen all over the Autumn catwalks and features heavily in many High Street collections from Topshop to Matalan. Update your summer dress now with this leather collar in midnight blue or yellow for £15.

With all this dreary weather we're set to be having lets embrace our Autumn wardrobes early - and with only a click away, what's your excuse?

All images taken from

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Mary Portas Opens Own Brand Shop

Mary with her collection designs
Sophia Evans for The Observer
It’s what the fashion retail world has been waiting for with batwing sleeves rolled up and leather jodhpurs and statement jewellery in their eyes. It’s the Mary range for House of Fraser developed and launched by Mary Portas herself.

This morning, it was unveiled for the first time but rumors have been rife for the last few weeks about what it’s going to be like.

Will there be Mary-esque  mannequins? Complete with that striking ginger crop?

Mary inspired mannequins?

Will there be a private lift from the ground floor of House of Fraser Oxford Street straight up to Mary Land?

Will she have her own range of sex toys, first rumored to be gold plated, then to have her actual head on them? Erm, I’m hoping not to the latter…

Will she go back to her customer service roots and be mucking in on the shop floor?

And the ultimate, will she be there for the first few days going back to her roots and selling through good old fashioned customer service – well she has to practice what she preaches after all!

A photo Mary Portas tweeted in the week - what will the curtain reveal?
Although  I can’t wait to see the shop, the merchandising and the stock, I am hoping I won’t be seeing lots of mini Mary’s walking about my local supermarket on a Saturday afternoon! There’s only one mature lady who can pull off leather jodhpurs and thigh high boots and that’s Mary herself.  
Its open! Mary tweets this photograph on the grand opening day.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Wear Your Maxi Skirt With Ware-Style

The pleated detailing is an updated twist on the maxi skirt trend and hot on the trail is high street presence Warehouse. So whether you're channelling the boy/girl trend or slick 70's styling this season, there's a maxi skirt suited just for you....

For Autumn 2011, Androgyny is all about mixing masculine tailoring with a feminine edge. Stick to a black and white palette and soften with a silk blouse and a pleated maxi.

 The sharp collar and tailored shoulders on the above suit jacket make for a flattering fit. The nipped in waist celebrates the female form. Buy yours here for just £70
 A silky bib front blouse tucked into this black pleated maxi skirt connotes a strong yet seductive sense of style. It's boy meets girl the glamorous Warehouse way. Get yours online here for £45 and grab your skirt for only £35

A lady like chic take on the classic Heritage trend with faux fur, floral prints and elegant floaty textures. This faux gilet, £65,  exudes Autumnal style; belt in at the waist where your maxi sits for a flattering shape.

Don't forget to add a sheer floral blouse underneath your gilet, complete with on trend pussy bow neck tie for pussy bow neck tie for £45

Choose a subtle bright colour such as burnt orange or turquoise like the one below for £35 and tie the hem in a knot at the side for a casual street style.


Feeling brave? Complete your look with these adorable leopard print ankle socks and give passers by a peep with your knotted maxi.

Be inspired by 60's mods with an added twist of animal print, poppy red and leather details. This beautiful leather jacket, £160,  toughens up a feminine pleated maxi skirt perfectly.

Team with an an animal print shirt, £45 and button up to the collar for a nod to the classic mod look.

A poppy red pleated maxi , £35poppy red pleated maxi , £35 completes the styling (obviously). For added glam, choose a split skirt and channel the Warehouse girl's inner sexuality - meow!

70's goes psychedelic with dramatic prints in luxurious silks and satins. Make a bold statement in this zig zag print shirt £55 that nods to late 70's glamour.

Pick a skirt in a vivid electric jewel colour to stand out from the crowd. Clash with purples and hot pink or add fur for a touch of decadence! Try this colour out!

Shop online at
Images from