Fab Fashion Finder

I’ve only gone and stumbled upon a seriously amazing website…

It happened quite accidentally whilst browsing my online shop of choice: ASOS, which is generally a daily occurence.

However, where the ‘Beauty’ tab used to be, there’s a new ‘Outfits and Looks’ tab. Where did this come from? How did I not notice?! Why on earth did they not inform me of these changes?! – I like t0 consider myself an ASOS VIP/fashion slave, seeing as I’ve been making monthly purchases from them since at least 2006.

Anywho, I was intrigued and clicked on the tab on to discover the ASOS Fashion Finder site. Essentially this is an ASOS social network for fashionistas/shopaholics like you and me!

I could go out on a limb here and suggest this may revolutionise our shopping experience, sway us into buying more (and more often), as well as keeping us totally up to date on what’s new.

Okay now I’ll stop going on about it and give you a peek (or you can click here and have a browse of it yourself):

You don’t have to sign up, as the site is viewable by anyone, but it’s more interactive if you do. In the top right corner there’s an option to sign in/sign up. Just put in a few details (name, username, e-mail address, password) and you’re ready to go!

So I’ll give you quick description of the tabs:

Trends: This features details on current/upcoming trends with pictures from the catwalk as well as outfit suggestions and look posts (further desciption of these below).

Outfits – These are outfit suggestions put together by site members which are a bit like mood boards. They can include anything from images of celebrities and arty images to quirky backgrounds and items from the ASOS site. Browse via the dropdown to see suggestions by Trend e.g. Americana/Seventies or function -Tea Party/Dinner date, Designer Inspiration – Chanel or Celebrities – Sarah Jessica Parker. I could literally be here for HOURS looking at everything!

Looks – This tab is much more geared at the community. Here you can upload pictures of your outfits and have them voted for. The more votes, the more popular and more likely to be seen by others. I think the concept is great for styling inspiration.You can also browse the Looks section by trend, celebrity or event (e.g. Fashion Week) but I love to see how real people respond to trends and style themselves.

SHOP: This pretty much takes you to the main ASOS site.

COMPETITIONS: These competitions encourage you to interact online by creating outfits or posting a look. Prizes include £300 to spend on ASOS as well as feature in their magazine. There’s an average of about 7000 entries in past competitions!

MEMBERS: Here you can browse the member list, see who’s new, popular this week, or in the Hall of Fame. Over time members get badges such as ‘Style Icon’ or ‘Fashion Hero’ while everyone starts off being a ‘Style Rookie’.

I’m still getting to grips with it but I’m loving it so far! You can check out my profile here. I know this will only feed my habit but you have to admit, recieving a large parcel of ASOS goodies makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

LDNshopaholic xxx

Vloggerific

Hello all,

As you might know I’m quite getting into the spirit of vlogging. So I have started researching for potential cameras rather than low-quality Photobooth which I currently use.

It’s kind of between a handycam like Sony’s Bloggie, a compact camera with HD filming e.g. Canon’s PowerShot SX30 IS, or a high end SLR such as Canon’s 60D. All of them have flip-out screens so would be quite well suited to vlogging.

There really is a lot of choice so is not something to impulse buy, particularly when the prices are pretty high. I do love photography and would be keen to take it up, which is why I’m looking at cameras as well as handycams. If any of you have got vlogging/photography experience, do let me know what you use and think is best.

While I’m deciding here are a couple more vlogs for you to take a peek at, please bear with the quality while I sort out my hardware ;-)

Screaming Mimi’s!

As promised I’m continuing to document my New York vintage shopping experience. This time it’s the FABULOUS Screaming Mimi’s which can also be found on the Lower East Side.

I couldn’t help but love this place from the moment I walked in. I mean who doesn’t love being greeted by shoes?

And I can’t help but mention the signed Manolo Blahniks they have on their site for $1800! Their selection of jewellery is amazing, and all colour coordinated:

There is pretty much everything you could ever want from a vintage store, from organisation by era, a great selection of designer pieces and even the odd top hat ($75):

I also loved the simple but effective decor in store, it’s actually pretty massive, and a real treasure trove:

Being the magpie I am, I couldn’t help but spot this sparkly suit (I think it was around $80), I would’ve snapped it up if I could think of the right occasion!

And I also found this gorgeous YSL scarf which was in superb condition ($150):

Kind of wish I’d bought it!!! But I was being very controlled.

As you can probably tell I loved this place. It also might have helped that I’d just eaten a yummy crepe and thus was in a really good mood, but I honestly thought the selection here was brilliant and the pricing was pretty reasonable. Also, the quality of most garments was excellent. I didn’t feel pressured by any of the staff, who offered help and were generally smiley. I’d definitely recommend you stopping by this place if you’re in New York, and do let me know if you buy anything!

Vintage on the Lower East Side

I’m a bit of a vintage junkie so I did my best to find vintage haunts in New York. My first stop was the Lower East Side, walking distance from where I was staying (how convenient!).

I set my sights on Edith Machinist, I’d read and heard a lot about it and couldn’t wait to get my mitts on the some vintage goodies.

Walking down the stairs everything looked so well organised, I felt I was in a boutique rather than a vintage store:

There was a particularly brilliant selection of shoes, bags and belts. However, I missed the ‘rummage’ and the joy at finding something at the bottom of the $1 basket. The boutique-ness of it meant the prices were inflated (in my opinion) and I kind of felt like the sales people were watching my every move, and I felt a little pressured to buy something.

I tried on a few pairs of boots but luckily (for my bank balance) didn’t find anything in my size. I totally fell in love with these bad boys though!

To be fair, they were selling rather a lot of vintage designer which might have been why the prices were a bit more than I’m used to. I really liked this Jean Paul Gaultier dress, but just couldn’t justify the $180 price tag:


I’d say if you’re looking for a particular vintage piece, or have a lust for designer vintage this would be a great place to go. It’s also a good place to go for design/styling inspiration. But if you’re more of a jumble sale veteran/bargain hunter this isn’t the place for you.

Take at least $100 if not $200 (£60-100), if you’re on the hunt for something here… it could be well worth it if you find a vintage Dior dress or Chanel sunglasses.

There’ll be more vintage from the Lower East Side coming tomorrow fellow shopaholics! xxx

The Whistles Carrie Skirt is MINE!

O.M.G. I only went and bought myself THE Carrie skirt!

I’d pretty much written it off, I’m MEANT to be saving for travelling, I’d never track it down in my size/the coral colour I wanted etc. It just wasn’t meant to be (the logic I like to use when something I really want cannot be had for one reason or another).

But let me start from the beginning….

I decided to pay a visit to Whistles on Saturday afternoon, just to see whether they had the skirt… to see what all the fuss was about… (I mean, I hadn’t paid enough attention to it on the Whistles staff member I met at the Westfield Golden Ticket Event as the free beverages had got the better of me!). So, I stepped in the store and had my very first Whistles shopping experience. And it was nice!

I know I know… nice? In my years of studying English, I’ve continuously been told that nice is a word that should never be used… but this is the only word I can think of to describe it. The store is ever so light and airy. There’s pleasant music filling my ears. Just the right amount of stock is on display to make me want to look at everything and not feel overwhelmed at all.

A sunshine yellow, coral pink or highlighter blue skirt would jump out at me… so looking around the small-ish store, I’m sad when it’s clear they don’t have any. Instead I decide to go and fall in love with the Coral Angora Jumper (£85). Turns out its the same one in the picture I posted of the Taupe Carrie Skirt (only just realised this).

I take it off the rack… size 10 (it’s meant to be oversized right?!), it feels ever so soft against my skin and the colour is lush. The fitting rooms are amazing with these thick curtains and expensive furniture. The jumper comes up a little too oversized… so I head over to the till… politely asking the sales girl: ‘do you have this in a size 8?’, off she goes… ‘No, sorry’ is announced on her return, which results in a sad yet relieved face from me (it’s just not meant to be).

Seeing as I now have her attention, and they most definitely don’t have the skirt (it would be out on show surely), I ask: ‘Have you had any of the Carrie skirt in?’…. ‘We have one in’ she responds quickly…. My jaw drops. ‘We didn’t actually get any but Someone JUST returned it, she ordered it online thinking it was the shorter version!’ She takes me over to where it is…. but there it is not, resulting again in a sad yet relieved expression (’twas not meant to be).

‘I think someone’s trying it on’ she says kindly (again… not meant to be)…. I want to see it (just see it…. not buy it…. definitely NOT BUY IT) so I linger…. the lovely attentive sales girl asks whether I want her to ask the woman trying it on if she wants it…. my head is saying no, but my heart is saying YES YES YES! I accidentally nod my head. Totally accidental.

SHE. DOESN’T. WANT. IT. And then I see it for the very first time… in its glorious beauty… the coral colour, the pleats, the layers of fabric mingling in the soft light…..

‘Do you want to try it on?’ lovely sales girl asks politely. It’s a size 6…. definitely not going to fit me (sad-yet-relieved-it’s-not-meant-to-be expression once more). Suuure why not spend a few more moments in the company of the IT skirt of the season.

I step into the luxurious changing room, take off my Topshop skinny jeans and black leather boots. ‘It’s fine… it’s not going to fit’, I say to myself. I try doing it up… and the zip gets STUCK….. the beautiful sheer layer has caught…. no no NO NO! Lovely sales girl is sneakily eyeing me up semi-naked in the fitting room spotting my difficulty asking, ‘how is it?’. ‘IT’S STUCK!!’ I yelp. She comes to the rescue and sorts the problem out presto. IT FITS. IT BLOODY WELL FITS!

It’s okay, as I have the boyfriend with me, who doesn’t comprehend ‘weird’ fashion trends (his words) such as the midi pleated skirt. He will definitely say I look AWFUL… and that with £110 he could buy some really good headphones or something….

So I step outside, waiting for a guffaw or eye roll. But there he is sat on the expensive furniture smiling. SMILING! He only goes and says I look elegant and how I need to find the right occasion to wear it (occasion… who needs an occasion?!?). I think he must be joking… but no, he actually likes it. And how often do straight men like trends that don’t involve bodycon dresses and hooker heels?!

So…. with everything coming together in such a way…. I decide maybe this time…. it is meant to be. Stepping towards the till, I say I’m going to get it. It’s a little long on my petite frame but what the hell. I WANT IT… no! I NEED IT! Then MY skirt gets wrapped in Whistles tissue paper and put in a fancy Whistles bag. I feel special, out of all the women trying to track it down… the Carrie chose me!

The Harlequin Tea Room and Curios

I feel a shopping blog post is well overdue, so today I’ll be blogging about one of my favourite places in the whole world, The Harlequin Tea Room and Curios in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. It’s a bit of a trek from London, I know, but well worth it and you can visit the beautiful Cotswolds while you’re at it (and there are loads of great charity shops in the area too!).

This unique little shop is full of weird and wonderful goodies, it’s got vintage, it’s got foreign, it’s got character AND it’s got tea, cake and sandwiches! What more could anyone want?

Enticing you in, the shop window has all sorts of eccentric items on display from cake stands to vintage fabric and leather goods. Stepping into the store you’re greeted by an array of cushions, knick-knacks, clothing and memorabilia.

For those curious (pardon the pun) about what exactly a curios is… the definition of a curio is: A strange and interesting object which invokes curiosity or something (as a decorative object)considered novel, rare, or bizarre. So my understanding of a curios is the either: more than one curio, or a place where curios are kept.

As you can see it’s a bit of a treasure trove! In their glove basket I found some really cute brown sheepskin mittens for £7.50, a bargain compared to ASOS’s pair (£36 now £21).

The cabinets display beautiful ornaments and jewellery, I particularly liked some art deco drop earrings priced at £20, and the soldier bottle opener made me smile.

They have a good selection of vintage pearls (my personal favourite), and also stock kooky vintage/retro glasses (the ones below are £50, a little steep, but cheap compared to a designer pair).

They also have various pieces of vintage clothing, from a pink coat with a leopard print trim and baby blue lace cape to Victorian nightdresses and Indian sari’s. I’d say prices equal London vintage shops, but here you’re getting a unique shopping experience to go with.

What tops it off for me is the ambience. There’s 40′s music playing, each table and chair is different and unique, as is the crockery (their collection of teapots is unbelievable!). I feel like I’ve been whisked off to another era, where factories don’t exist and craftsmanship does. It’s cosy, homely and… fabulous!

We ended our visit with a pot of tea for two and a slice of cherry shortbread. We were so keen that I forgot to take a before picture, so here’s the after! An afternoon of fun for only £5.60, not often you get that nowadays!

Want to visit The Harlequin Tea Room and Curios? You can find it at 270 Cheltenham High Street (near-ish The Brewery). You can contact them on 01242 252 933 if you are looking for a particular Curio, or just want to know their opening hours.

Bring out the Ballerina…

Have you recovered after seeing The Black Swan yet? No, I’m not sure I have either! For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s an Oscar-nominated psychological thriller (verging on twisted horror), based on a ballerina’s rise to become Swan Queen in Swan Lake.

Natalie Portman in THE Black Tutu Credit: The Telegraph

The drama surrounding the costume design has been heavily discussed since the film’s Oscar nomination for best costume design. The use of costumes, by various designers rather than just one, means that Amy Wescott would, controversially, receive the Award rather than Rodarte, aka Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who created forty costumes for the film, including the black tutu featured on the official poster.

Original Drawing by Kate Mulleavy for Rodarte Credit: The Telegraph

Nevertheless, I found the costumes truly inspiring. From the leotards and wraparound cardigans, to the feather embellished tutus and tiaras. It’s what every little girl dreams of and has now filtered into mainstream fashion.

I found myself eyeing up a ‘strap detail body’ from ASOS a few days ago, and ended up buying it in both black and pale pink (it’s surprisingly flattering)! Paired with a black tutu skirt I bought 5 years in H+M, I feel every inch the ballerina. For a more wearable look, team with jeans, ballet pumps and a cardigan for a subtle hint of the trend.

Strap Detail Body at ASOS

Was £15 now £12

Other ballet inspired pieces include:

Lipsy Tutu Skirt Ballet Slip Dress at ASOS

Was £70 now £31.50

ASOS Asymmetric Hem Tutu Skirt (also available in the CURVE range)

Was £34 now £21

One Teaspoon Leather Bandeau Tutu Dress at ASOS

Was £230 now £161

Vibrant Ballet Pumps (In a range of colours) at Topshop

£16

Frilly Tutu Skirt at Topshop


£35

Glamour magazine has also noticed this trend and included a feature, which has some great pieces including this one:

Tutu Strapless Dress at Rare Opulence

£165

MovieScope magazine has a great article on the costumes featured.

The Ballet Blog also has an excellent interview with costume designer Amy Wescott.

Whether you were traumatised or enthused by The Black Swan, don your ballet flats, tutu and leotard, and you’ll embrace your inner ballerina. Girly, graceful and elegant, I hope this trend is here to stay!