Friday

[Trend] The Stella McCartney Effect

Not sure about you, but ever since I saw the Stella McCartney collection for AW12 I've been craving cobalt blue jacquard left, right and centre...


At the weekend I dragged the boyfriend to buy my new leopard print loafers and stumbled upon an amazing collection by H&M.  Obviously Stella  inspired (although there is something equally Marant about them, no?) with the blue (hot look for AW12) and embroidery, I bought the jeans for a bargain £34.99 (that said, I went to 4 stores to hunt them down in my size).


Apologies for the terrible photos, my boyfriend is away so I can't ask him to do any better, but how good are these jeans?  I've popped a couple of shots of the Stella McCartney show to demonstrate the similarity.  There is also a white peplum top for £34.99 which I am pondering over, which is extremely like the Stella shirt below with it's colour tone and pattern.


The range doesn't appear to be online, apparently as they sold out so quickly!  I strongly recommend going to fetch them as they are absolutely gorgeous to wear, the pattern is quite flattering and they feel very soft on.  I absolutely love them and wore them to a My Wardrobe on Wednesday evening - go get them while you still can! (also, don't panic if you have to go a size up in them - I did, and the sales assistant said everyone she knows who has bought them have found them teeny weeny - phew)

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Thursday

[Sisters with Style] Kira and Fiona

This week on Sisters with Style are two ladies I have known for over 15 years.  Their grandmother lived the house next door to my parents' when I was growing up - and I was lucky enough to spend a couple of summers with their family in France, including attending Fiona's wedding which remains one of the most beautiful I have ever been to. 

Fiona and Kira

Fiona worked in London in the city for 15 years, and Kira has worked in fashion and design while following her husband around the world.  She launched her own brand of luxury leather bracelets and accessories, Owen&Savary, 3 years ago.  They describe themselves as 'more than just sisters, more than just friends,' and with their Franco-British background they have benefited a mixed 'style education' - their maternal grandmother embodied elegance, refinement and impeccable style, whilst their English grand-mother brought a touch of extravagance, quirkiness and humour (which I can vouch for myself, having been lucky enough to know her).

So girls, would you say you both have a defined style, or does it change season by season?
F:  for 15 years, I had to respect the strict rules of the banking world, sticking to formal business suits adding just a few feminine touches. When I stopped working to take care of my kids, all I wanted to wear the first year was jeans! I let my style develop and now I admit I thoroughly enjoy following the trends even if I am basically a classical girl. I just add a few trendy seasonal bits here and there.
K: I’ve always loved fashion and followed it, but I have never let it influence me if it’s not my style. I don’t think fashion should be taken too seriously. You can have fun with it but most importantly you should stick to what suits you. I started my business 3 years ago, I design leather jewellery and accessories and of course I’ve had to dive into fashion even more than before, but that hasn’t changed me, I am true to myself and only follow the trends I feel comfortable in.

Has your style changed over time?  If so, what do you think has driven that change? 
F: I’m lucky, I live in London where just walking in the street can be a daily fashion inspiration. What I love about this city is that you can walk around with a bin bag over your head and no one will care, in fact they’ll applaud it as something original. London is fun and lets you be yourself. After my banking years where I felt a little trapped in a certain style, I feel like my style has flourished and I can be myself now. I’m pretty casual on my daily school runs but love to dress up in the evenings.
K: I've lived in Paris for almost 4 years. It’s the capital of fashion, however, unlike in London, there’s no way you could walk around with a bin bag over your head! People would definitely think you’re mad! My style has changed so much over the years, I’ve lived in 7 countries in the past 20 years and have without a doubt been influenced by all the different cultures I’ve encountered. My many travels have given me a lot of inspiration not only for my own personal style but also for designing the Owen&Savary collection.

Do you think you influence each other's clothing choices?
F: We love shopping together. In fact, there are very few other people we like to shop with. We trust each other’s tastes. Working in fashion, Kira is always aware of the latest trends, she’s my fashion guru!
K: What I love about Fiona is her effortless sense of style. She doesn’t need to know about any of the latest trends, she instantly goes for the most elegant and timeless pieces. Never a faux-pas! I suppose we do influence each other!

Fiona - Sandro chunky weave summer sweater, Zara linen strappy tee, Prada sunglasses / Kira - Maje leather skirt, Les Petites linen tee, Zara ballerinas, Owen&Savary python cuff

When you do get to shop together, where are the first places you visit?
K: Our favourite cities to shop in are London, Paris, New York and San Sebastian. In London we usually head to Liberty’s, Dover Street Market, Topshop and the shops in Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, where Fiona lives. When Fiona visits me in Paris, we like to go to Le Bon Marché, Karine Arabian, L’Eclaireur, Merci, La Divine Parisienne and all the shops on my street, Rue de Courcelles, in the 17th arrondissement.

Would you pick the same things out?
K: It’s funny, we can separate in a shop and come back holding the same piece in a different colour. So, yes, I’d say we do often pick the same things! And then we strike a deal to share them!

What would you say are your key wardrobe must-haves?
F: A good pair of jeans, cashmere sweaters because I'm always cold in winter, comfortable boots and my favourite Bottega Veneta handbag.
K: A well-cut leather blazer, a pretty silk blouse, skinny jeans, an Owen&Savary cuff and lots of fun shoes and bags to change your style.

Are there any particular pieces or an outfit that make you think of each other?
F: Kira loves leather, when I think of her I think of leather jackets and low boots...
K: Fiona cannot live without chunky cashmere knits and silk mandarin collar shirts!

If you were to be dressed by one designer for the rest of your life, who would you choose? 
K: We’d both be unable to choose just one designer – we’d hate to be stuck with one style and have to miss on the others. Both Fiona and I love mixing and matching designer brands with high street, it’s the best way to create your own, individual style.

Do you have any particular ‘fashion memories’ with your own (or your sister’s) style?
K: I have loved shoes since I could walk! When I was 6, I remember going to school in wellies which I hated. I spotted a girl with really cool cowboy wellies and somehow I managed to convince her we should swap. I honestly don’t know what I said to pull that off but she agreed and I went home with very trendy wellies. Of course, my mother was horrified and I had to return them…
F: I remember dreaming about satin trousers during the Grease craze, Olivia Newton-John was my idol for a while there! I’ve never had a pair but I haven’t given up on my dream!

If you could get away with it, what items would you pinch from each other's wardrobes?
F: Kira's gorgeous Maje leather skirt and one of her Owen&Savary python cuffs!
K: Her Free Lance biker boots and her Louboutin black patent pumps. I know, I’m an incurable shoeholic…

Finally, what trends do you think you'll adapt to for Autumn/Winter?
F: Military! Works perfectly with my kids’ military timetable!
K: I love burgundy as you will see from my A/W Rock Collection, so I’m really happy to see that colour everywhere! I’ll probably also add touches of baroque and gothic to spice up my existing wardrobe.

Huge thanks to Kira and Fiona for making time to do this piece.  Please do have a look at Kira's gorgeous leather accessories at Owen&Savary, and have a look through our other Sisters with Style interviews here.


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Wednesday

[Trend] Tartan Blues

This is a post I've been debating over writing for a while; tartan is an obviously big look for the up coming season but I wore a tartan skirt as part of my school uniform. I have instant flashbacks to the 90s and inability to look remotely cool/hot/fashionable in it whilst all the other girls looked like Britney Spears in her infamous video (that was a good look for 1998 believe it or not).  Honestly, if I'd had blue paint on my face I could have been mistaken for Braveheart, not cool.

McQ by Alexander McQueen AW12 / Clements Ribeiro AW12
I blogged about the trend's emergence at London Fashion Week in February - here -  and last week over lunch with my sister at the Book Club (new fave hang out on Leonard Street, Shoreditch) she showed me a gorgeous checked suit from Warehouse's upcoming AW12 collection (below).  I was sold.  The print is identical to my old uniform, but this way of using the check got my pulse racing.  I then was sent over the Hobbs AW12 look book and low behold they have a similar idea (below right) with their Elm Top, £89 and trousers £119.

Warehouse AW12 / Hobbs AW12

I faced a similar ordeal last year, when Alexander McQueen started their McQ line and that dress was on everyone from Emma Watson to Rihanna (below) - I loved it and hated it in equal measure - loved the idea, not so much for colour;  red tartan is brave - bold and screams a confidence that I just don't have.  I love this dress from New Look below, much more sedate and office-possible...



I stumbled on a really good tartan dress bargain too on the ASOS website - Whistles did a great dress last season, which is now reduced from £225 to £67.50 online... Really gorgeous, I tried this dress on at full price and was very close to buying it, good job I didn't!

Whistles Dress via ASOS, now £67.50

Keep am eye out for tartan pieces, if you find any more then please let me know - am itching to jump on board with the trend - I just need to figure out which piece to buy!

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Tuesday

[Win] £300 Tegan Fashion Vouchers

Hello there!  I hope you had a wonderful long weekend and work isn't too much of a struggle for you today! My weekend was filled with meeting friends, wondering around Covent Garden (including picking up a copy of the Opening Ceremony Annual, in which Lopez is a model with tennis player Laura Robson), eating too much Thai food and drinking far too much Pimms.


Now, what better way to get over bank holiday blues than to win a £300 shopping spree?  I'm not usually one for giveaways but when the lovely team at Tegan Fashion got in touch with me a few weeks ago about running one with South Molton St Style, I knew it was something you lot would enjoy.  Some of you may remember when I blogged a couple of months ago about a gorgeous peach and white silk dress by the brand from their summer collection, and I've been a huge fan ever since.


Their AW12 collection is even better - I was seriously impressed with some of their pieces, fantastic for 'work time to play time' outfits, and everything is tailored so, so well.  I've picked out a few of my favourite pieces in the pictures in this post; the wine coloured dress is perfect for autumn (read my trend edit from the February shows here), the grey lamsbwool shift dress is so versatile, the blue overcoat is fab (and cobalt blue is huge for this season) and finally a camel coat is probably one of my biggest 'must haves' in a capsule wardrobe.

Want to own £300 worth of Tegan's fabulous stuff?  Well you can thanks to their lovely team!  I'm trying to make this as easy as possible for everyone, as a blog reader myself I know how annoying it is to have to 'follow this, follow that' in order to apply - so - to be in with a chance of winning simply email me with your full name and age here with 'Tegan Competition' as a subject.  

For an extra little helping hand, if you're on Twitter please do tweet about your entry (including my Twitter handle @SMS_Style).  Winners will be selected at random on the 11th of September at midday.

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Monday

[Outfit] Sunday Sunny Strolling

Jacket; Monsoon Fusion, Top, H&M,  Necklace; Tiffany & Co, Sunglasses; Ralph Lauren, Watch; Michael Kors

Two outfit posts in as many weeks... My blogger favourite girlies are clearly turning me! Namely Dearne, Briony and Sarah who I am very excited to see for lunch next Saturday - making use of the rare occasion that all of us are in London at the same time.  On Sunday we went for a stroll around our little part of town in the sun and here is what I wore... (Lopez managed to weasel his way into the pictures, as soon as a camera comes out he appears...).

Jacket; Monsoon Fusion, Top; H&M, Trousers; Gap, Shoes; Pretty Ballerinas, Sunglasses; Ralph Lauren

The jacket is from Monsoon last year in their sale, in fact I blogged about it here almost exactly a year ago!  It's done me well, even though I suspect my Mum thinks I look a little like a gypsy in it... I bought it as it reminded me a little of the Isabel Marant embellished one every one (except me) had last season. I love it and it's short enough to show off the peplum tee which is new from H&M. You can't really see in the pictures but it is a gorgeous silk with paisley swirls on - lower at the back and sleeveless. 

Shoes; Pretty Ballerinas, Dog; Not for Sale

The trousers are from Gap, I have them in about 4 colours.  Perfect alternative to jeans for the weekend, and I've worn them with heels before and an oversize shirt for Sunday lunching.  I'm also pretty obsessed with anything khaki at the moment.  The ballet flats are from Pretty Ballerinas. I AM IN LOVE WITH THEM.  They kindly sent me them this week with a couple of other pairs (for an upcoming post, stay tuned) and I've been parading them ever since.  I love the studs, completely mixes up the idea of flats being cute and girly...

Rings; Monica Vinader, Nails; Louise Gray for Topshop and Essie, Watch (just seen), Michael Kors

Take a firm, underlined note of the rings too, by Monica Vinader.  I am without a doubt the biggest jewellery snob in the universe, and Monica's stuff fits the bill for me - massively.  I absolutely love the yellowness of the gold one, and the silver one is super, super shiny.  I'm now coveting one of her stamped/initialled rings - fab alternative to those daft family pinky rings that everyone (who isn't very posh enough for the real thing) is donning in London at the moment.  She has a really cool part of her site that you can customise your jewellery too, have a peek here.  The nail polish is a mix up of a new Essie find a few weeks ago, and a sneaky Louise Gray for Topshop glittery purchase yesterday in Knightsbridge.

Jacket; Monsoon Fusion, Top; H&M, Trousers; Gap, Shoes; Pretty Ballerinas, Sunglasses; Ralph Lauren

The sunglasses are from Ralph Lauren and I am so happy with them.  I tweeted a couple of weeks ago that I'd lost my favourite pair and low and behold the Sunglasses Shop got in touch offering to find me a new pair.  I only gave them a brief criteria and couldn't believe how 'on the money' the pair they sent were - never thought of buying sunglasses online before, but given how great they were I certainly will in future.  

Thats all from my folks, check in tomorrow for the start of a fab competition... I'm now off to check out the Notting Hill Carnival, I live a mile away and can't believe the noise from our house!  It's going to be a loud one for sure...

Sunday

[Craving] Chloe Susanna Boots

As often happens in all things fashion, I am probably very late on the band wagon here - but I have just discovered Chloe's Susanna boots and if I don't somehow acquire a pair in the next couple of days I might just collapse.  These are just the most gorgeous boots, I'm in love.


Where on earth have I been?  A few days ago the penny dropped, and then for the remainder of the week I felt like they were following me - every single style icon of mine, blogger I follow and website I visited had picture of them up.  I collated up some pics and popped them on my desktop (a habit of mine, to aid the torture of not owning a pair) in the hope that the need would fade, but no...



But then bad news emerged, I expected them to be pricey but not... £850.  Eight hundred and fifty pounds, eighty five thousand pennies.  Erm, no.  That is just about level with my monthly rent, insane.  If you are lucky enough to be able to afford them click this link - and maybe buy an extra pair for me.  However, I'm not happy to wait on the chance of a millionaire stumbling onto my blog - so I've done a hunt for alternatives:


Thanks to Kelly, I discovered these gems from Office.  The Nighthawk boots are a dead ringer for the Chloe ones, and are a 10th of the price - less in fact at £80.  Buy them here.  There are a LOT of copies of these, Russell and Bromley do a version for £350, and Zara do them for £119 - that doesn't really help me out at all in my quest for affordable footwear.  The only other pair I've found worth raving about are these from New Look (new love for the store recently!) but for me, the Office ones win.  What do you reckon, to buy or not to buy? 

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Thursday

[Sisters with Style] Alice and Rebecca

This week on Sisters with Style are Rebecca and Alice.  These talented two founded LUXFIX - a members only fashion boutique - with a hugely useful experience-belt firmly around their waists having worked in investment banking and digital marketing between them.  



Probably two of the hardest working people I have ever come across, since their BETA site launched in 2011 they have partnered up with some of the hottest names in British fashion, either inviting them join their eBoutique, or providing an exclusive 'pop up' flash sale for members to enjoy.  I could go on, but they are raring to go:


Do you both have a defined style, or do you change season by season?
R: For me it’s more about a series of obsessions, which change every couple of months. My absolute go to at the moment are brightly coloured knits – with a particular pale grey with neon orange trim cashmere cardigan (from Jaeger) right up there. Last season I wore two black leather skirts (one very biker chick/Harley Davidson ho from Selected Femme the other one a bit more S&M Moneypenny from Swagga & Soul) to death.
A: I like to mix seasonal pieces with vintage finds.  I’m currently obsessed with beautiful printed silk blouses and dresses.  Top of my Want list is a dress by Mary Katrantzou, I need one in my life.

How has your style changed over time?
R: (sighs sadly) I think I’ve had to realise you do have to focus on your good points as opposed to just wearing exactly what you feel like… so now I would wear a Helmut Lang black dress with lace sleeves (SO flattering for the arms) instead of bearing my shamefully unsculpted upper arms.
A: I have definitely moved away from fast fashion to investing in key pieces.  I’ve been handed down some incredible vintage pieces and it’s really rammed home the fact that beautifully cut, exquisitely made pieces are crafted to last and never go out of style.  I like the idea of my wardrobe one day being a treasure chest for my grandchildren.

What influences both of your styles? Do you influence each other’s choices?
R: Oooo I think so a bit! We are both completely different shapes and sizes but that doesn’t mean I can’t seriously appreciate Alice’s accessorising. She is the queen of layering statement necklaces – definitely something I’ve tried to steal.  I take a lot of inspiration from the 50’s – interviewing Dita Von Teese on her style the other day was awesome as she takes 40’s & 50’s classic dressing to the modern day via clinched skirts, ballet shoes etc, both of which I wear a lot of.
A:  Definitely, imitation is the finest form of flattery after all!  Last season it was leather skirts and Rebecca got there first.

What are your wardrobe staples?
R: Clinched skirts and ballet shoes! Also long cashmere cardigans, men’s shirts in lovely coloured cottons to wear with leggings, and knit dresses. Last season I bought a lace kimono cardigan from Crumpet Cashmere (one of our designers) and I have worn it with everything. It’s awesome – geisha meets 18th century lace.
A: Accessories!  I’m a huge fan of upgrading an outfit with a beautiful handbag, statement jewellery, and a killer pair of heels.

What items of clothing make you think of each other? Is there a particular outfit that stands out?
R: It's accessories and shoes that make me think of Alice – no-one looks better in a statement necklace or pointed lace-ups.
A: When we’re in “work mode” it’s statement knitwear that reminds me of Rebecca.  Classic cashmere updated with a flash of neon.  Nobody rivals Rebecca for fancy dress though, she is the Queen of Costumes.  I don’t think anyone will ever forget she and her husband entering their wedding party in their 18th Century finery.

When you shop together, where are the first places you visit? Would you pick the same things out?
R: Well we only really shop online! No we definitely wouldn’t pick the same things out –  we would pick things out for each other though.

The LUXFIX website

If you were to be dressed by one designer for the rest of your life, who would you choose?
Who would you guess the other would decide on?
R: Interesting – it probably has to be Vivienne Westwood as she is just so wonderful for the errrm, curvy girl. Can I also have Alaïa? I’m still saving for that first dress but this would fast track things.  Alice I think would pick Temperley – she looks amaze in long 20’s/30’s silhouettes and she certainly has a soft spot for Alices.
A:  Ooooh, Rebecca is right I would definitely be loyal to my fellow Alice but we might have to fight over Alaia too.

Do you have any particular ‘fashion memories’ with you own (or your sister’s) style?
R: Yes! My first pair of Vivienne Westwood pirate boots. I didn’t take them off.
A: I remember those boots!  I was green eyed with envy!  For me it would have to be my first Chanel handbag, which was definitely the moment I realized the power of a good accessory.

If you could get away with it, what items would you pinch from each other’s wardrobes?
A: Rebecca has a beautiful caged crystal pendant from Lucy Hutchings, and every time she wears it I want it even more.

What trends do you think you’ll adapt to for Autumn / Winter?
R: Black leather with textures – I’m going to mix leather with thick patterned cotton jumpers from J Crew and also layering. I’ve just bought a divine silk embroidered kimono top from Yigal Azrouël which is going to go over everything. Im also buying a flash dance grey sweatshirt for hanging out at home and practicing my dance moves.
A: I’m going to invest in tartan from NY based Maggy Frances’s new collection of stylish separates.  It’s been a decade and I’m finally over being hung up over the school uniform associations.

Do sign up to Alice and Rebecca's brilliant site LUXFIX, they really do have some fabulous things on there - and are the only site around who get discounts on current season stock!  To read other Sisters with Style posts, or to find out how to take part click here.


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Wednesday

[Trend] Black, Leather and Lace


Amongst the bold and the beautiful trends for AW12 is a far more serious theme - all things gothic and dark as night.  I've absolutely loved this idea ever since the Mulberry dinner last Fashion Week when Michelle Williams wore one of the nicest dresses I have ever seen (above).  Stella McCartney started a black-with-peplum-and-sheer idea with her polka dots last season, and it's a trend that just grows and grows and has created a wave of leather, lazer cut and laced black pieces.

Isabel Marant Leather Laser Cut AW12 / Stella McCartney and Liv Tyler

I spotted an edit in Elle the other week (below), and instantly knew it was a trend I want to be wearing this autumn... I'm buying into it big time.  I didn't know how easily the high street would take to it (look at the intricacy from the Valentino catwalk, above) - these fabrics are difficult enough on their own let alone together.  But, I really should have more faith - as here they've proven me very, very wrong.


I've been desperately seeking a steal for this - ever more since a shopping trip with a friend where she picked up a Temperley leather dress for less than £100... Jealous much?  I want to do this look so badly, but my budget is teeny weeny after a spending spree at the beginning of the month.  So, here are the best high street finds I've discovered so far...


Old faithful have some brilliant pieces, this leather peplum is going to be a massive hit for Autumn / Winter.  Their Clarabell maxi dress has been a strong seller recently too, and fits the gothic-cum-romantic air to this look perfectly.  Zara come a close second for their efforts - I love the hauntings these to their collections... and that dress is one of the best finds EVER.


Other surprising appearances include a gorgeous black peplum leather and and lace top from River Island for £35, unfortunately I can't get a proper picture as it isn't on the site yet - but here is a snap from ELLE I took.  And finally, New Look has brought out this fantastic leather dress for £44.99 - erm, bargain!


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