I think it’s been established thanks to my previous lust post that I’m a big admirer of Saint Laurent since Hedi Slimane took the helm. Saint Laurent’s SS15 collection was amongst the numerous ones to channel the 70s trend which has dominated the catwalks over the last few Fashion Weeks and has been responsible, along with a desire to dress like Sydney in American Hustle, for the contents of my wardrobe seeing a 300% increase in lurex, polyester and other no doubt highly flammable fabrics.
The other thing I love about the current Saint Laurent collections is that they’re also very easy to pay homage to on a budget. Now, this might not be considered a positive attribute for a certain designer or fashion house and it has made me think whether what I actually admire is Slimane’s ability to style his pieces rather than the pieces themselves. Yes of course they’re beautifully cut, use some gorgeous fabrics and a large part of the price tag is the ‘concept’ behind them but, being lucky enough to own a couple of pieces bought when sale prices have been slashed to ridiculous amounts, if I swapped the label for one that said ‘Topshop’ I’d challenge you to tell the difference. On the other hand, every season I lust after Miuccia Prada’s designs viewing them as exquisite works of art that, unless I can afford to purchase the real thing, I will never manage to convincingly emulate on a budget and any pieces I may end up owning will be treasured forever as relics of fashion history. Fundamentally, being a Saint Laurent girl is an attainable goal should you wish it. Being a Prada or Miu Miu girl is something to aspire to. Style versus substance in the most basic terms?
Fashion philosophising aside, having been a teenage fan of Pulp and Manic Street Preachers my wardrobe consists of enough glittery tops, velvet blazers and assorted accessories gathered from charity shops to be able create my own version of Slimane’s ‘Studio 54’ look. The top came from Peacocks many moons ago and sat languishing at the bottom of a drawer until I recently rediscovered it, deciding it was the perfect accompaniment to the vintage 70s denim hot pants that used to belong to my very stylish mum.
I think my favourite bit of the outfit however are the accessories. The leather and metal buckle belt is a charity shop find that I’ve worn so much as it goes with everything that I now live in fear of either 1) losing it or 2) wearing it so much it falls to pieces. The shoes are a recent sale purchase from Yoox and were created by the ‘Rock n Roll Cobbler of the 1970s’ Terry De Havilland for Anya Hindmarch’s AW12 collection and come packaged so amazingly that they will no doubt get their own blog post soon (it’s completely acceptable to buy shoes on the strength of packaging alone isn’t it?!). The necklace, another sale purchase, is part of Alex Monroe’s exclusive ‘Verity’ collection for ASOS and adds a finishing touch of sparkle.
Sadly Manchester is just a bit too cold of an evening for me to ditch the 50 denier opaques in favour of oh so fashionable sheers as I dance off into the night in search of the North West’s answer to Studio 54 but hey, there’s always room for improvement…
I’m not sure if an outfit can technically count as a ‘#TBT’ post if the first time I’ve actually worn it is today but my NYC inspired combo reminds me of the New York trip I had back in October so there’s my tenuous link!
Now I’m a girl who loves a) a good print and b) a bargain so when I found this Peter Jensen ‘Central Park West’ print silk dress in the ASOS sale just before Christmas, it seemed daft not to make it mine. It goes brilliantly with the Orla Kiely handbag I treated myself to which I’d been lusting after since spotting it at Orla’s AW14 presentation. It’s the most I’ve ever spent on a bag (even at 20% off) but it’s utterly perfect and been my constant companion through autumn and winter, giving a dash of colour to dreary days.
For finishing touches, I’ve added a colour pop of Sephora Cream Lip Stain in ‘Always Red’ and my amazing ‘NYC’ necklace by Virginie Millefiori. I’ve previously blogged about Virginie here (she’s the jewellery designer I Google-stalked and raced across NYC to find as I’d fallen in love with her pieces) and this ‘NYC’ necklace is my most recent purchase from her. You can choose from either the gold or silver plated brass version and the enamel detail also comes in a variety of colours (because choosing which of her pieces you want isn’t a hard enough choice already!). I love how the ‘NYC’ letters have been cleverly combined to create the Statue of Liberty’s crown, making this necklace the perfect souvenir reminder of my trip to New York whilst still being subtle and super stylish!
The question is though, can I get away with wearing a New York outfit in New York? As I’m currently in the process of booking a September return trip to NYC, I feel that’s another tenuous ‘#TBT’ post sorted come the autumn…
If you love Virginie’s designs as much as I do, she’s kindly given me a code to get 15% off her e-shop until the end of the year. Simply enter ‘HOLLY’ at the checkout to be the envy of all your friends…
…or not as the blisters on my heels will attest to.
I think in terms amazing/ amazingly daft things I’ve bought in the sales these complete and utter beauties have to be up there with the best of them. Since Hedi Slimane took over at YSL, or Saint Laurent Paris as it’s now known, I’ve been a massive, massive fan of the collections he’s produced. Possibly the underlying reason for this is his ability to create luxe versions of the contents of my late teenage/ early twenties wardrobe (which, let’s be honest, is still pretty much the main bulk of my current wardrobe) and, if I had the money, my wardrobe would consist entirely of Saint Laurent ‘upgraded’ versions of my previous loves. Sadly for me, my budget (or common sense) simply won’t stretch to shelling out nearly £1000 for a pair of boots or the best part of the deposit for a house on a dress, however OMGFHAVEYOUSEENHOWAWSOMETHISIS! they happen to be.
As a result of my fantasy lifestyle being faaaaaaaaaaar outweighed by the financial reality of the one I do lead (Oh hello electricity bill! And water bill! AND rent!), I’ve had to become adept at sale stalking and making sacrifices to the Fashion Gods in the hope that the planets may align to send me some wonderous bargain. Which brings me to the boots. Oh the boots. Look at their shiny, glittery wonderfulness.
*takes a moment to simply stare at the boots*
So, the boots. They’re pretty much identical to a pair I saw in Office about 5 years ago which I’m still kicking myself I never bought. My reluctance at the time was whether I could pull off a pair of 60s patent knee high boots without looking like I’d just stepped out of Austin Powers. I’m still not *entirely* convinced I can but it’s an awful lot easier to find the confidence to dip your toe into the water when something you’ve toyed with suddenly becomes the height of fashion (see also dressing like my mum in the 70s). Most of the footwear in Saint Laurent’s AW14 collection made it onto my lust list but out of all the styles (still holding out for the glitter Mary Janes btw if anyone wants to hook a gal up), the patent knee high ‘Babies’ seemed the most wearable. Sadly with a £900ish price tag, to justify a cost per wear it would have meant wearing them until the day I retired and so the sales stalking began.
Sales stalking mainly consists of me perusing various fashion retail websites sighing longingly at the sale items that, although 50% reduced, still cost more than my entire share of the rent for that month and silently cursing when something sells out in my size. On very rare occasions when I’ve been quick off the mark after final reductions have been announced I’ve managed to bag one or two lust items but in general, and especially with Saint Laurent, my size has sold out quicker than the winner of The Voice’s career. In Manchester however, there’s the added advantage of having branches of both Selfridges and Harvey Nics in the city centre and it was during a Selfridges lunchtime browse that I stumbled across THE BOOTS. AT 75% OFF. IN MY SIZE. Reader, I bought them.
I’ve still not worn them as much as I’d like as they still need breaking in and, as I feared, it’s tricky trying to find an outfit to go with them which doesn’t scream 60s fancy dress but, styling issues and blisters aside, I’m completely in love with them. Whilst £199 is a lot to spend on a pair of leather boots, it’s still probably cheaper than buying a full price, well made pair from a decent high street retailer. And they probably wouldn’t have glitter heels.
Most people when they visit New York probably have a ‘must see/ do’ list that includes icons such as Central Park, the Empire State building or the Statue of Liberty. My list however, whilst still including the utter *essentials* of New York site seeing (Grand Central – tick, Gossip Girl tour – tick, sitting on the steps of the Met giving my best Blair Waldorf face – MASSIVE TICK) also had, fairly high up too I might add, a trip to Orla Kiely’s NYC shop. Now I know what you’re thinking, why treck half way around the world just to visit the shop of a brand you could pop to in London?! Whilst in theory this is true, my visits to London over the last few years have been sporadic and so jam packed that by the time I’ve seen all my friends for a catch up, there’s barely time left to marvel at the wonder that is the Waitrose cheese room (trust me, it’s amazing) let alone cram some retail therapy in too which is why I was stupidly excited about *finally* getting the chance to visit Mercer Street and dive headlong into Orla’s world.
I have to admit that up until a few years ago, I was only aware of Orla Kiely as the designer who put 60s style stem prints on a vast selection of homewares and didn’t have a clue that she also designed clothes too. At some point during the cold days of February 2013 however, whilst hitting up Google to keep updated with all things London Fashion Week, I stumbled across a couple of blogs carrying photos from her AW13 presentation (beautifully styled by the amazing Leith Clark) and fell hopelessly in love.
It’s probably no surprise that my love for Orla Kiely started around the same time as discovering Wes Anderson’s films (again, *very* late to that party) as both artists share the ability to create entire worlds around their ideas that are so appealing and considered it’s impossible not to be drawn in. Orla’s Fashion Week presentations (and supporting campaign films) are never merely just catwalks of clothes but instead feel more like snapshots of some wonderful retro dream that the viewer has stumbled upon. This sepia-tinged aesthetic extends to the New York shop where offerings from the AW14 collection sit alongside homewares in a faux-domestic setting that includes a kitchen, lounge area (complete with TV showing ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ – always a good thing in my book) and erm, caravan resplendent in Orla Kiely print.
After trying on a few bits and pieces from the current collection, I discovered a rail of sale items including a skirt from the AW13 collection I’d been lusting after and having purchased it, was brave enough to ask the very lovely sales assistant if I could take a few snaps of the shop interior to share on here (is it just me who gets slight sales assistant fear when I’m in shops that my budget wouldn’t normally stretch to?!?).
Thankfully my limited American budget meant that I couldn’t walk away with the whole shop (although I’m sure the little brushwood fox would look right at home in my flat…) but it was a lovely excuse to have a glimpse into Orla’s world and add one or two items to my every growing wishlist…
Following on from my *slightly* photo-heavy last post, no trip to New York would be complete without a spot of shopping. Despite the majority of my holiday budget being reserved for food, sightseeing and rather a lot of craft ale, I still indulged in a bit of retail therapy and whilst I managed to avoid any extravagant splurges (I’m not counting the skirt I bought from Orla Kiely as it was in the sample sale so, erm, technically a bargain it would be rude not to have bought…), I still came away with a few bits and pieces to serve as mementos of my trip.
As a massive fan of a good red lip, I’d heard people banging on about the wonders of Sephora’s Cream Lip Stain in Always Red for ages but, as they don’t have any UK stores, my New York trip was the first chance I had to get my hands on it. It dries to a bold, matte finish and whilst its classic red shade is darker than my beloved MAC ‘Lady Danger’ and therefore better for a more dramatic evening look, I can’t fault its staying power as it managed to survive an afternoon of burgers and beer in The Dead Rabbit without visibly shifting. The application can be a tad imprecise though so I’d definitely recommend using a lip liner to keep it neat and prevent feathering.
One of the joys of blogging is being able to bring designers I love to a wider audience and over the last year or so, I’ve written about a few of the jewellery brands I just can’t get enough of. Another name to add to the list is Virginie Millefiori who creates enameled pieces in brass, sterling silver and gold vermeil. I first stumbled across Virginie’s work at her stall in Chelsea Market on my second day in NYC but, as I was trying to be good and not blow all my spending money at the start of my holiday, resolved to return at the end of my trip and treat myself. Good plan had the stall not been part of a pop-up and therefore gone when I returned! Cue some frantic Googling (as I’d failed to actually write down her name!) and a dash across town on my last day to find a street market she had a stall at. Thankfully my quest wasn’t in vain and I managed to purchase this necklace (which reminds me more of a fox than a cat) which I’ve been wearing to death ever since. Next on my wishlist is this NYC necklace to go with the Peter Jensen Central Park print dress I picked up in the ASOS sale.
Every stylish girl needs a stylish boy to accompany her and thankfully I’ve found one who fits the bill perfectly. As a girl, I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to fashion but my other half bemoans the lack of decent, independent retailers selling affordable accessories for men and resents having to wait until Topman delcare dapper men ‘on trend’ in order to pick up the odd pocket square. New York however proved to be a treasure trove for the discerning gent with Chelsea Market offering cufflinks from Churoncalla as well as lapel pins and multicoloured shoe laces from Curated Basics. We also made pilgrimage to Fine And Dandy in Hell’s Kitchen, an Aladdin’s cave of stylish offerings where we picked up this cocktail inspired pocket square based on an original 1960s design.
New York shopping certainly caters for all budgets and is brimming full of big name department stores (I had a brief trip to Bloomingdales to pick up a NYC themed Christmas decoration as a gift), high street staples, pop-ups and quirky independents to suit all tastes. Sadly I didn’t get enough time to explore the vintage shops I’m told the East Village is brimming with but hey, a girl needs to leave something to do on her next visit doesn’t she?!
If you love Virginie’s designs as much as I do, she’s kindly given me a code to get 15% off her e-shop until the end of 2015. Simply enter ‘HOLLY’ at the checkout to be the envy of all your friends…
As classic colour combinations go, red, white and blue takes some beating. A good chunk of my wardrobe seems to consist of variations on a breton theme and I’m always on the hunt for the perfect stripe. I love nothing better than teaming these timeless tops with some dark denim and colour popping accessories to create simple, stylish looks which can be worn pretty much anywhere. The above outfit consists of an H&M top which has been a wardrobe staple for many years and is as close to perfect as any I’ve found on the high street (to the point where I repeatedly chastise myself for not buying in bulk!) and a Topshop denim skirt that I bought at the end of last year which looks equally good with tights as with bare legs and has also been worn to death (and it has pockets which I LOVE!).
In my head this look is ‘classic with a twist’ so I’ve tried to keep the colour palette fairly restricted so that the hints of red really ‘pop’. My beautiful barrel bag gifted to me by Cut Make Trim (which I’ve raved about before here. Still haven’t learnt to not overload it though…) is perfect for this outfit as its timeless shape and colour compliment the neutral base pieces of the outfit.
My red Lotta From Stockholm clogs are another piece I’ve previously blogged about and I love the pop of colour they bring to the outfit and the leather ‘buckle’ detail on the toes echo the shapes found in the barrel bag.
If there’s one word that I can’t stand when it comes to fashion it’s ‘kooky’ and even just typing it makes me shudder and want to vomit in my mouth a bit. I’m all for having fun with fashion and injecting personality but for me, ‘kooky’ conjures up reductive connotations (see also ‘adorkable’ and ‘anything recommended by Zooey Deschanel’) that only serves to belittle and infantilize those it is applied to. Thankfully, Tatty Devine’s creations although whimsical, never manage to cross into this territory. Their ‘Dog On Wheels’ necklace whilst cute, is simple enough to be extremely wearable without crossing the line into the dreaded ‘K’ word (and dachshunds are definitely in this season if Orla Kiely AW14 is anything to go by…).
Finally I’ve added slick of MAC’s ‘Lady Danger’ lipstick (could there be a better colour for making you looked a bit more with it when you really can’t be bothered?) and a couple of coats of Barry M’s ‘Coral’ nail polish to pull the whole outfit together.
As a bit of a reader treat (it’s Bank Holiday weekend, what else is there to do but a bit of internet shopping?!), the lovely people at Cut Make Trim have offered a 15% discount on their beautiful bags to the first 50 readers who enter ‘highheelsandrecorddeals’ in the voucher code section of the shopping basket on their website (oh and they do free delivery too!).
A combination of watching Moonrise Kingdom one too many times and being completely in love with Orla Kiely’s entire SS14 collection (well being in love with everything Orla Kiely in general) has resulted in my own outfit homage which I can only really describe as ‘Seventies Safari’. I’m very lucky in not only having a mum and aunt who can sew but who also both have wardrobes full of handmade vintage lovelies that they let me raid. This dress was originally my mum’s which I permanently ‘borrowed’ a few years back and has been a summer staple ever since. I love the pattern (and amazing pattern matching), the blue accents of the fabric and the slightly OTT collar plus the combination of cotton and a full skirt makes it perfect for keeping cool in the current heat wave.
My life seems to be one long endless search for the perfect summer shoe and I’ve been wearing these off-white lovelies from Clarks pretty much non-stop since I bought them a few months back. Granted, you might question the wisdom of 1) buying shoes with cut out bits when you live in rainy Manchester and 2) buying shoes of such a light colour when you live in rainy Manchester but so far my feet have (for the most part) avoided being drenched and any grubby bits have generally been seen off with protector spray and a bit of a wipe with a damp cloth. Plus they’re possibly the most comfortable shoes I own to the point where I’ve already bought a second pair in the sales for when I eventually end up wrecking these a few years down the line and I’m currently busy eyeing up Clarks’ AW14 offerings…
I’m one of those people who will happily stalk items over many, many months until they eventually end up in the sale at a fraction of the original price. I spied this box bag from & Other Stories in a magazine at the start of the year and really loved its colour and utilitarian shape but couldn’t justify spending nearly £100 on it so I patiently waited until it ended up at 50% off in their summer sale and finally became mine.
Finally to complete my safari theme, I’ve added a vintage belt (Must. Remember. To. Replace. Slightly. Grubby. Elastic.) with a gold tiger clasp that I picked up in a charity shop back when I was a student which mirrors both the gold hardware of the bag and the off-white of the shoes.
Whether or not I’ll stumble across any wildlife that exotic whilst lazing in the park is debatable but should the need to safari suddenly occur, I’m all prepared! Now, where did I put my binoculars…
Now I’m not generally one for overly themed outfits (dressing like you’re a character from a Wes Anderson film doesn’t count) but as a Yorkshire lass, I couldn’t let the weekend pass without a homage to ‘Le Tour Yorkshire’ which is dominating the TV this weekend and showing the world exactly why Yorkshire is the best place on Earth!
People may criticise the disposable nature of ‘fast fashion’ but I very rarely buy things that I only plan to wear for a season and so even when buying at the cheaper end of the high street, I try to pick pieces that have longevity. I purchased this bright yellow Primark dress several years ago (and in several colours) and it’s still a wardrobe staple that can be worn with bare legs in the summer and a pair of black opaques when it turns a bit cooler. Primark can be very hit and miss and when buying from there I tend to stick to natural fabrics such as cotton or wool as they tend to last longer than man made fabrics and not look ‘cheap’.
I’ve teamed the dress with cream Topshop heels for a 60s vibe and I’m keeping the yellow theme going with Barry M nail paint in ‘Lemon Ice Cream’. No celebration of ‘Le Tour Yorkshire’ would be complete without some snacks and a limited edition bottle of Yorkshire’s finest sauce, Henderson’s Relish, is the perfect accompaniment (it’s seriously good sprinkled over popcorn).
Although I’m not the biggest cycling fan, the last two days spent watching the race travel through some of the most beautiful countryside in England has made me very proud of my home county and for those of you not familiar with ‘God’s Own County’, I definitely recommend a visit – Vive La Yorkshire!
I’ve always thought of myself as a shoe girl and if you were to see the floor to ceiling stack of boxes in my wardrobe, you’d probably agree. Over the last year or so however I seem to have switched my allegiances (or run out of shoes to buy…) and my collection of bags has grown at quite an alarming rate. I think my initial hesitance towards bags stems from my dislike of the whole ‘It Bag’ craze which swept through the fashion world in the early noughties as I’ve always been the sort of girl who once I’ve found something I love, I tend to wear it to death and the thought of spending extortionate amounts on a piece of arm candy (or buying a high street copy) which would then be deemed ‘unfashionable’ a season later just seemed a bit daft. Thankfully the need for statement bags seems to have abated and for those of us who like our fashion to last longer than one A/W or S/S season, the decline in all things ‘It’ has coincided with a renaissance in mid-price, classic, well made bags from British companies. When one such company, Cut Make Trim recently got in touch to ask if I’d like to road test their bags and new website I jumped at the chance.
Based in London, all of Cut Make Trim’s products are made by a small team in their Dalston workshop and their new website is another milestone for the growing brand who also have a stall every Saturday and Sunday at Covent Garden’s Jubilee Craft Market (which is now firmly on my ‘to visit’ list the next time I’m down in London).
The company currently offer three styles of bags on their website – the Satchel (which comes in three different sizes), the Saddle and the Barrel – and each of these come in a myriad of colours including fluorescents and pastels along with more traditional shades which makes it a little hard for the indecisive (i.e. me) to choose which of the gorgeous bags is best! As you might be able to tell from previous ‘OOTD’ posts, I tend to favour an 11″ satchel when it comes to bags (as I think anything larger looks a bit too big on me) but this does mean that I generally have a cloth bag with me too for any overspill. Whilst CMT’s satchels are all very lovely indeed, the style which really caught my attention was their Barrel bag as despite its classic shape, it’s not a style I’d seen elsewhere and I also had a sneaking suspicion that with its 220 x 310 x 190mm dimensions, I might just be able to leave the cloth bag at home. I opted for a dark tan version as I realised recently that I don’t actually own any bags in ‘classic’ colours and as the Barrel bag has such a striking shape, I felt that it didn’t need a bright colour to show it off (plus in my head it reminds me of an old fashion doctors bag and the dark tan will look great teamed with my brogue boots). The website is very user friendly (once you’ve decided on your style and colour options – decisions, decisions!) and delivery was both free and super speedy! I think my only criticism would be that at the moment there is no embossing service offered which is a shame as the chance to have items initialled does make them feel that little bit extra special.
The bag itself is made of gorgeous leather and sturdy enough that the bag won’t lose its shape over time. The gold hardware of the buckles beautifully compliment the warm tones of the dark tan and it comes with a detachable shoulder strap which makes it comfortable enough for day to day wear but also gives the option of turning it into a more ladylike handbag for the evening. Size wise, I possible should have ordered the royal blue version to reflect its Tardis-like properties! At the last count it’d not only managed to fit my everyday essentials (keys, money, lipstick) but also the book I currently have my head buried in as well as a small umbrella which is an essential when living in Manchester. My cloth bag days are definitely a thing of the past!
The quality and choice of Cut Make Trim’s products along with their easy to use website are a winning combination and I’m completely in love with my new bag. With a shift back to quality rather than quantity in the fashion world and a growing desire to know more about the ethics and origins of the pieces we buy, there is a resurgence for British made products and Cut Make Trim are definitely a name to watch out for.
*The Barrel bag was gifted to me by Cut Make Trim for review purposes but as ever, all opinions, words, spelling mistakes and photos are my own!*
The Easter weekend is upon us and aside from stuffing myself with chocolate and generally enjoying not being in work, I also thought I’d take the opportunity to share some of my Easter themed favourites with you…
I loved these Illamasqua nail polishes when they launched last spring and to be honest, I’m still pretty obsessed with them an entire 365 days later. I remember being struck by both their prettiness and distinctiveness and whilst other brands have launched similar polishes in the last year, I still don’t think you can beat the originals. The blue shade, ‘Fragile’, really pops on the nail and the pastel colours are perfect matches if you’re after an ‘I’ve got mini eggs for fingernails’ look (granted on paper it sounds like a slightly sinister look. A bit like that advert where everything the man touches turns to Skittles. But I digress…).
After waxing lyrical about my love of Luella Bartley in my previous post, it seems only fair to also lavish some attention on the other half the duo who in 2013 were appointed Creative Directors at Marc By Marc Jacobs. Katie Hillier has not only created accessories for brands such as Victoria Beckham, Luella and Stella McCartney but also launched her own label, Hillier, in 2010 and her distinctive ‘paperclip’ jewellery designs have been on my wish list ever since. Sadly for me, they’ve always been slightly over my budget so you can imagine my excitement when I spotted the ‘Bunny’ necklace in silver on Zalando at a pretty hefty discount (plus an extra £10 off thanks to a lovely discount code!). It’s super cute without being twee and in my mind a definite modern classic! Now let’s see if I have as much sales shopping luck when it comes to the duo’s first Marc by Marc Jacobs collection for AW14…
I’m now off to eat my way through the M&S Easter eggs which I ‘invested’ in to help style my photos. It’s a hard life…