28 December 2012

Get the Gothic Look This AW12

First of all, I hope that all my lovely readers had a very Merry Christmas and Santa brought you everything that you wished for!

I went out for a Christmas meal recently with my parents, sister and Grandma. We went to a gorgeous little Italian restaurant called 'Bella Roma' in Wakefield. It was a special occasion, therefore I decided to dress up!

I've always wanted to experiment with the gothic look, seen on A/W 12 catwalks, and this was the perfect opportunity!


I'd just received my new top from Secret Garden Co (a slinky emerald green number) and I was dying to wear it:

I teamed it with a leather skater-style skirt, as I really loved the clash of fabrics - plus black leather just screams goth!

I then added crosses in the form of my belt and jewellery, sequins for a bit of Christmas sparkle and patterned tights to complete the look:

Top - Secret Garden Co
Skirt - Topshop
Belt - Urban Outfitters
Tights - M&S
Shoes - Next


Admittedly, I don't usually wear a lot of make-up. But I decided that, in order to rock this look to its full potential, my make-up had to be as bold and vampy as possible!

I used a grey pencil on my eyebrows to darken and define them, smoky grey eyeshadow, black eyeliner on my lower lids and, most important of all, dark burgundy lipstick. It's all about making a statement!

I'm still using Boots' 17 'New Black' lipstick to get this effect! I find that, if lipliner is used before the lipstick is applied, it tends to last for hours. And it was only a fiver! Bargain.

I felt confident rocking the gothic look and I think that it showed, as I received a fair few compliments! I felt fabulous and had a fabulous meal... Perhaps I should embrace my inner goth more often.

Until next time!

20 December 2012

Brand Spotlight: Interview with Secret Garden Co's Owner Nicki Silvanus

As well as currently writing for IDEAL magazine (see previous post), I am lucky enough to be working as Fashion Marketing Intern for Secret Garden Co.

Secret Garden Co is a small online fashion business which launched earlier this year. I primarily help with the social media and marketing side of things, however I also contribute suggestions to the other areas of the business and act as someone to bounce ideas off of!

To tell you more about Secret Garden Co, I have an exclusive interview with the founder - 21-year-old  Nicki Silvanus.

Me: Can you explain what Secret Garden Co is?

Nicki: Secret Garden Co is the exclusive lifestyle brand that specialises in statement fashion, jewellery and homeware pieces for women. We bring to our customers the most eclectic mix of cuts, colours, styles, must-have trends, vintage, shapes and designs for the perfect wardrobe upgrade!

Me: When was Secret Garden Co founded?

Nicki: We launched on the 1st of November this year but, previous to that, I decided I wanted to start my own fashion brand at the beginning of 2012. From a young age, I always wanted a 'glamorous' job - I was desperate for something more creative and fulfilling so this felt like the perfect solution!

Me: Where did the idea behind Secret Garden Co come from?

Nicki: The idea for Secret Garden came from what I call 'Wardrobe Moodswings'. We all get those days when you wake up and you only want to only wear black, or maybe you might be feeling the bohemian or the grungy vibe - or just want to throw on a girly dress! We don’t just want to appeal to one "genre" of women because we all vary and our style is always changing and evolving so we want to accommodate for that. We recognise that no matter what mood we are in, we women always want to look our best and be unique. For me, it's all about the statement pieces.

Me: What is your professional background?

Nicki: I studied Business and Economics, ICT and Textiles for my A Levels. At the time I had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, but looking back it really all just clicked into place. I started working for Miss Selfridge when I was 17 and then progressed onto Topshop and Topman. I never thought I would work in retail after leaving Topshop... Funny how things change! But it was a brilliant experience to see the different job roles that go into making a fashion brand work. Apart from that, I've had plenty of experience from a number of different jobs. I never really had a problem finding jobs, but my attention span is very limited and I just got bored of them! I learnt I needed a job where I could be inspired every day and not have a set routine - that would drive me crazy!

Me: Who, would you say, is Secret Garden Co's core customer?

The Secret Garden girl is fresh, innovative and not afraid to try new things. She is found in the supermarket, on the street corner, in a cocktail bar, in the park. She represents the UK street style where a new era of pop culture is starting. She wears fashion that is a true reflection of our culture, influences and lives. She represents self-expression.

Me: What current trends are Secret Garden Co loving?

Nicki: For Autumn/Winter, we definitely love the grunge look! It's probably due to all these rainy days. Brushed silver and gold is a great look - check out our Gold Spiked Ear Cuff. Burgundy is definitely this season's colour and leather is the material! Leather jackets, skirts, trousers, detailing, buttons! It's everywhere. We can't stop wearing the iconic Levi's cutoffs - vintage, coloured, cord, ombre or studded - we can't get enough! We have a limited edition range in at the moment. Wear them through the winter months with thick tights & boots.

Me: What is Secret Garden Co's long term goal?

Nicki: In the long term, we are looking to expand our ranges through to market stalls, boutiques and festivals. We want to be interactive and available for Secret Garden girls - keep your eyes peeled!

Me: And finally, what advice could Secret Garden Co give to young business entrepreneurs starting out in the fashion industry?

My advice would be to follow your dream - as corny as it sounds! And persistence is key; there are many highs and lows that come with any career but, if you are passionate about what you are working for, it makes the difficult times worth working for. Never stop learning and don't be afraid to ask for help!  

Nicki is an inspiration; she handles both  managerial and creative direction for the company and is constantly coming up with innovative ideas to drive the business forward. The company has a lot of very exciting projects coming up so it is an absolute pleasure to be working for them.

Secret Garden Co's products are available to buy and can be found online at: www.etsy.com/shop/SecretGardenCo. Here's a flavour for those products, showcased through their A/W 12 look-book photographs - featuring the very beautiful, musically-talented Shannon Saunders.

I want all of these outfits!

'Like' Secret Garden Co on Facebook - or follow them on Twitter @SecretGardenCo - to read my updates on their fashion and product news, as well as any exclusive discounts, competitions and giveaways.

(Note: the information and images in this post are courtesy of Nicki Silvanus and Secret Garden Co.)

18 December 2012

Writing for IDEAL Magazine

I have always had a passion for writing, from a young age. Recently I have reignited that passion through blogging about fashion.

I have been enjoying it so much that I am, wholeheartedly, considering fashion journalism as a potential career path. However, I want to broaden my skills and experience first - so when the opportunity came up to be a fashion writer for IDEAL and contribute three articles per week, I jumped at it!

What is IDEAL magazine?

IDEAL is a women's online magazine that delivers information-rich content on a variety of topics - such as fashion, beauty and body, lifestyle, travel, relationships and shopping. They also feature regularly contests for readers.

Check it out here.

Who created IDEAL?

The magazine was founded by three girls with a passion for all things media; they come from diverse backgrounds in publishing, journalism and PR.

Hayley Samela is the Editor in Chief:

Rachel Stevenson is the Editor:

And last, but certainly not least, Victoria Clifford-Sanghad is the Managing Director:

Where is IDEAL based?

It is based in London.

What have you written for IDEAL so far?

I have written numerous articles; however, only two have been published so far.

1. Peach Pink London: The Launch of a New Handbag Label.

2. Get the Look: Nicole Richie.

I'm loving being able to write for IDEAL and thankful to be given the opportunity. Watch this space for future publishings!

(Note: this post contains images and information courtesy of IDEAL magazine which can be found here.)


13 December 2012

How to Wear a Parka this AW12

The parka has to be the most versatile style of coat. A lightweight option for Spring/Summer, or worn with knits and layers during Autumn/Winter, a parka is a solid investment that can be utilised all year round. It is waterproof, comfortable, durable and practical, as well as fashionable.
If you invest in a parka coat, you invest in a timeless classic – but how can you make it current for A/W 12? Here are three different ways:
1. Pile on the layers.
Layering is usually imperative during the cold winter months; even more so this season due to designers – such as Daks and Chloe - using layering to showcase the heritage trend on their A/W 12 catwalks.

Dig out your flannel shirt, Fair Isle jumper with corresponding elbow patches, corduroy jeans and riding boots to replicate English countryside chic – then add your parka. This look will ooze quintessentially British style and yet feel cosy and warm.

2. Give it some glamour.
Another trend of A/W 12 is rich and regal, which involves using sequins and sparkles to emanate opulence. Why not wear your parka coat to your Christmas party, over an embellished dress or top and metallic skirt? Then, to complete the outfit, add tights and a fierce-looking pair of heeled shoes or boots.
3. Tailor it.
It has been said in the past that a parka coat can look baggy, but the key is to balance it out by wearing a garment that is slim fitting on the bottom half.
Sharp tailoring has been showcased by designers - such as Burberry Prorsum and Giorgio Armani - this season.
To keep your proportions in check, and convey a smart casual look, wear your parka with a decorative shirt or jumper on the top half, then a pencil skirt - or cigarette trousers - on the bottom half.
Finally, as a general rule, a parka coat will tend to hide your waist. Don’t be afraid to belt your parka to redefine your waist and create a balanced silhouette; however, try to choose a belt that will suit the style, texture and colours of the entire outfit.

(Images courtesy of Pinterest.)

8 December 2012

My Personal Style: When Grunge Meets Glam

The following is a guest post that I wrote for www.goodgollymisshollie.com, which can be found here.

Everybody has a personal style. Whether you're style-savvy, passionate about all things fashion and keen to dress in the latest trends, or more of a laid-back individual, who'd rather dress to suit their own taste and disregard seasonal advances - everyone has their own distinctive look. 

Personal style is the way we build outfits, the mood and feel of our wardrobe and, most importantly of all, the way we wear what we wear.

I've been trying to come up with a short phrase that sums up my personal style. Here's the few that made the short-list:

1. Girly with a hint of grunge.
2. When grunge meets glam.
3. Girly grunge.
4. Glamorous grunge.

I decided that number two is the most appropriate; allow me to explain!

At Uni, my style used to be so laid-back (out of laziness, if I'm honest). I love my rock music so I started going to Rock City on a regular basis, getting involved with an alternative crowd, and my style, as a result, evolved to include hints of grunge 

I wore a lot of black, and darker colours in general, and my chocolate brown Doc Marten-style boots had to be included in almost every outfit!

But I also loved florals and pretty, girly looks:  

Towards the end of Uni, when nights out were few and far between because of the workload, I used to really enjoy getting dressed up and making more of an effort with what I wore. As I grew older, my style adapted again. 

I still have my grungy days, and I still have my glamorous days... But, most of the time, I'm a mixture of the two. Hence, my personal style: when grunge meets glam.

I have to say, I'm one of those people who tries to keep up to the latest trends. I love using fashion as an extension of my personality. 

Another thing that I love about fashion is its ability to be ahead of time. For instance, there are garments that are currently being sold on the high street which encapsulate S/S 13, meaning that us fashionistas can buy into the trends early and set an example for the other fashion followers out there.

The other week I bought a dress that showcased the following aspects of S/S 13 trends: 60's, flower power, stripes and pastels. 

This outfit demonstrates my personal style nicely! The grunge aspects of the outfit are the studded belt, the black tights and the leather jacket. The glam aspects are the dress, the curled hair, prominent make-up, sequinned heeled shoes and sequinned jewellery.

I predict that my style will change and evolve in the years to come, like it has done in the past. But, for now, I'm happy with my look. I'd like to think it's a little bit unique, different and individualistic!

(What I want to know is: how would you describe your personal style? 

Share your thoughts below!)

3 December 2012

What to Wear to an A/W 12 Wedding

I told you that this post would be coming! And here it is, at long last.

When news of my cousin's wedding initially reached my ears, the first thought to enter my head was: 'I've never been to a wedding before, WHAT ON EARTH will I wear?!'

Thoughts of potential dresses in my wardrobe flashed before my eyes and, for a moment, I felt assured knowing I only had to pick a dress, some shoes and throw on some accessories to tie it altogether. That would be all well and good for a summer wedding, but then it dawned on me... The wedding would be in November.

slsfdkfjsdlfjsfldflsf! *Cue major panic*

'It's going to be freezing, I can't just wear a dress... What am I supposed to wear on top of it, I refuse to just sling on a coat that doesn't match... How am I supposed to make my outfit look dressy if I have to wrap up warm... Oh dear, finding the right outfit is going to be a mission...'

Luckily, I needn't have worried. A day trip to Leeds, plus a visit to the new Topshop on Briggate, and I was sorted. It was as simple as that.

In the end I decided to invest in a dress that would transcend through to next season. In a previous post, where I declared my undying love for Topshop, I mentioned that a key trend of their current range is Galactica; this trend consists of metallic fabrics, layering, graphic prints, futuristic asymmetry, shimmer and glam. Then, in another previous post, I talked about key S/S 13 trends and how fashion would soon enter the space age after sci-fi themes could be seen on catwalks such as Markus Lupfer, Alexander McQueen and Antipodium. Therefore I picked out this little number:

Trendy and ahead of time, as well as being glamorous enough for the Debenhams staff Christmas party, this dress is individualistic and ideal for what I wanted for the wedding.

To solve the issue of wintry weather, I teamed it with a dark floral blazer that consisted of soft grey, green, blue, orange and yellow hues which seemed to compliment the silver tone of the dress:

Then I decided to 'up' the glamour to maximise the dressiness of the look, with the wedding being such a special occasion, through sequinned shoes and accessories:

And my A/W 12 wedding look was complete:

I wasn't cold at all throughout the day! Then I removed my blazer for the evening do to develop the look from day to night and allow the dress to shine on its own.

A fabulous outfit for a fabulous occasion. I loved every minute!


29 November 2012

Oxblood: The Key Colour Trend of AW12

It cannot be argued that the colour of A/W 12 is red. For menswear, the shade of the season (mentioned in a previous post) is berry. The womenswear equivalent is richer, darker and more seductive... Say hello to oxblood obsession!

Whether it is teamed with leather or velvet for a dressed up Christmas party look, or denim or jersey for a dressed down casual affair, oxblood is the ideal shade to contribute to the dark romance of the gothic trend of A/W 12.

High street retailers are loving it, with Asos declaring a whole page to the colour:

And Topshop merchandising it to perfection on the 'new in' page of their website:

It is an excellent take on the traditional red of the Christmas colour palette.

I bought myself an oxblood velvet skirt and decided to mix the smart casual look of it with a dressed down Christmas jumper, as Christmas knits are in such high demand right now.

The result? It looked like Christmas, and A/W 12, had thrown up on me... But I adored it.

Skirt - Topshop
Jumper - Red Herring at Debenhams
Shirt - River Island
Tights - M&S
Shoes - Next

Don't be afraid to experiment with different looks and wear more than one trend at once. Have fun and be creative! Fashion is an art, after all.


20 November 2012

Brand Spotlight: Topshop's AW12 Range

...Someone asked me the other day what my favourite brand is. It took me a millisecond to reply, because my favourite brand is, and has always been, TOPSHOP.

They then asked me why. I said:

“I admire Topshop; not only their ability to keep up with the latest trends and constantly deliver a product range that reflects their consumer's wants and needs, but also their ability to develop their brand and image to be one that continues to innovate and build a reputation as the best on the high street for young, fashion-forward consumers.”

When I was a student, my friends argued that the brand is little bit too expensive for our target age group, but I don’t think that’s entirely the case. The price points are aspirational, which is the reason behind why Topshop is so successful. A lot of students cannot afford to shop there every week, so what do they do? They save up and then go on a shopping binge. And the fact that they get 10% student discount makes them believe they’re getting a great deal and receiving good value for money.

On my recent shopping trip to Leeds, I visited the new Trinity store on Briggate that opened last month. It is the THIRD largest Topshop in the country, behind Liverpool (#2) and London Oxford Street (#1).

It’s so impressive! The in store environment was dark with loud, quirky music playing and moody lighting. A sci-fi, futuristic theme could be seen not only through the VM, but the diagonal, neon strobes of light in the windows, along with the starry night sky backdrop.

This theme then translated to their product, with Galactica being a key trend of the range. This is also highlighted on their website, where they showcase it in more detail:

(Images courtesy of the Topshop website.)

May the fashion force be with you! (Ahem, sorry.)

To be perfectly honest, I would buy out the store if I could! But, unfortunately, I can only afford to buy key pieces every now and again.

I managed to get my outfit for my cousin’s wedding this weekend though (coming up in a future post), which I’m very excited about!

So the purpose of this post is to say: Topshop, I love you. You’re the best! And keep up the good work.

15 November 2012

The Best Thing About Winter is the Fashion

What I love about winter clothes is being able to snuggle up in comfy knits and layers.

Yesterday I went to Leeds to buy my outfit for my cousin's wedding (coming up in a future post) and also to start my Christmas shopping! It was cold, so I dressed for the occasion (shirt + jumper + cardigan + shorts + tights + boots = a very warm and cosy Katie):

Note: button up the collar of your shirt and tuck your jumper under it to rock the hipster trend of A/W 12...

...And for the final touches, add a wintry scarf and tan belt/bag to further enhance the rich tones of this season's colour palette:

Shirt - H&M
Jumper - Topshop
 Cardigan - New Look
 Shorts - Topshop
Tights - M&S
Boots - Asos
Scarf - Jack Wills
Belt - Topshop
Bag - Asos

Very Christmassy! And speaking of Christmas, I spotted my favourite tree in Yorkshire for the first time this year - in Leeds City Centre:

I love the festive season!


12 November 2012

Why The Snowman John Lewis Christmas Advert Rocks

I know that Christmas is coming when all the retailers' advertisements start to be broadcast on TV. For most people, the first sign of Christmas is seeing the Coca-Cola 'Holidays are Coming' ad featuring the usual moving, illuminated Coca-Cola lorry, excitable children and a jolly old Santa.

But my Christmas starts when I see the John Lewis ad. After last year's complete and utter gem following a young boy's impatience for Christmas to arrive so he could give his parents the present that he had lovingly bought for them (see it here), I didn't think the company could top it. Oh how wrong I was!

This year's John Lewis Christmas advert has to be the best yet - titled 'The Journey' (see it here). Not only is it fantastically put together but it also features some of the most beautiful scenery as it was shot in New Zealand. The narrative is incredibly heart-warming, telling the tale of a determined snowman who will brave the elements, travel across the country and do whatever it takes to get the right gift for his snow-missus. It celebrates the extra mile we all go to at Christmas to find the perfect present.

The narrative is coupled with new artist Gabrielle Aplin's piano-led version of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's 'The Power of Love', which is very powerful. The story, combined with the editing, the scenery and the soundtrack makes for a truly emotional and astounding piece of film-making by creative director, Ben Priest.

It cost six million pounds to make in total, but is it going to do its job of driving traffic to John Lewis stores?

I look forward to seeing the advert every year because they always do an amazing job, but it doesn't make me desperate to shop at John Lewis for Christmas (granted, it's always due to the fact that I cannot afford to). However, I read that last year the campaign with the young boy increased their festive sales by 9.3%, so no wonder the company is spending so much money to guarantee the same this year! And they might do even better, as this advert is even greater.

I've seen it a few times now, and every time that I watch it I just want to cry! I adore the snowman character.

'We never set out to make the viewers cry', insists Ben Priest. 'But we have a responsibility to create something special.'

And that they did, that they did. Good job, John Lewis.

(Note: this post contains images and statistics from The Independent online.)


10 November 2012

SS13 Key Womenswear Styles

Following on from the S/S 13 trend report in the previous two posts, I just wanted to discuss key styles that will be in fashion for women next season.

So, the first is the bomber jacket. Whether it’s a sporty and simple version similar to Charlotte Ronson’s, floral and decorative like Loewe’s, or more fun like Phillip Lim’s neon pink version and Henry Holland’s psychedelic tie dye version – this jacket is the style of choice this season.

Then there’s the pencil skirt, which goes perfectly with the bomber - from the structured Oscar de la Renta version to Louis Vuitton’s checkerboard version, or even Erdem’s textured floral numbers.

Oversized lemon tailoring will also be a best seller; especially the blazer seen on Topshop Unique’s catwalk, or Michael Kors’ and Calvin Klein’s structured dresses. If you’re feeling brave you might even want to try a Galliano-style cape!

Finally, trainers were all over the catwalks - neon-bright Nike Air Max at Moschino, Reebok Classics at Ashish or even space-age trainers… So ladies; it’s time to dig out those old pairs at the back of your wardrobe!

What will you personally be wearing for S/S 13? Comment below.

(Note: this post contains original artwork and copy by myself and information and images from Vogue magazine.)


SS13 Trend Focus: The Story of Now

This is an extension of the previous post, just because I had so much information and images that I didn't want to bombard you with it all at once!

The second key trend focus of SS13 is The Story of Now:

This trend is influenced by technology, architecture and all things ‘now’ like the name suggests. It’s about new realism and universal, functional and practical principles - almost like going back to basics, but making the old new - with the colour influences being duller and more industrial.

How did this translate to the SS13 catwalk?

Volume was a theme that was seen repeatedly through oversized tailoring; this involved bigger sleeve proportions, accentuated hips and huge shapes by designers such as Chanel and Jil Sander:

Miu Miu also showcased this through oversized coats that just seemed to be getting bigger and bigger as they went down the catwalk:

Simplicity was also a theme. Designers such as DKNY and Calvin Klein sported it through stripped back looks that were basic yet incredibly modern. Furthermore, sheer, metallic fabrics and draping were key details showcased by Lanvin and Missoni, relating to the architecture principle of the Story of Now.

The minimalistic theme of the 90’s could be seen through collections like Celine which was controlled yet feminine in the looks. There was an element of purity and practicality, which brings me onto the next key theme of sports luxe:

 DKNY had a cool laid-back vibe on their catwalk, with Tommy Hilfiger also having recognisable sports silhouettes and backpacks with trainers - highlighting next season it is fashionable to be functional.

In terms of colour palette, white was everywhere (Topshop Unique, Robert Cavalli and LaCoste) bringing a fresh and universal look to the catwalk. Pastels could also be seen in the form of spearmint, fondant pink, violet and baby-blue shades on catwalks such as Erdem, Calvin Klein and Mulberry:

They are definitely making a comeback from last S/S 12! Lemon was a huge hit, too, and definitely the shade to invest in for next season!

This trend is definitely more relaxed and controlled compared to Wonderlab. However, there’s no reason why you still can’t have fun with it. Play with volume, emphasise your femininity and get sporty in a luxurious fashion!

(Note: this post contains original artwork and copy by myself, with information and images from Vogue, WGSN and Pinterest.)
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