26 February 2013

Oscars 2013: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Last Sunday - 24th February - was the night of the 85th Academy Awards (known as the Oscars).

Just to clarify, the title of this post refers to the dresses of the females that attended the ceremony - not the actors/actresses or films nominated this year! I haven't yet had the opportunity to watch all of the films in the Best Picture category, but the ones that I have seen (Silver Linings Playbook, Life of Pi and Les Miserables) were spectacular!

I watch the BAFTAs and the Oscars every year, as I love it when two of my biggest passions (film and fashion) collide.

There were some fabulous dresses at the Oscars this year, and some not so fabulous. However, it can not be disputed that the efforts made were unbelievable, so I wanted to write a little post sharing them with you!

I've split them into three categories - the 'good', the 'bad' and the 'ugly' - and chosen three for each!

The Good

Jennifer Lawrence in Dior Haute Couture

Although Jennifer's trip on stage was the talking point of the night, I was more interested in her gorgeous gown! This is one of my favourite looks of the night simply because Jennifer looks like a princess.

Jessica Chastain in Armani Prive

Another J who gets top marks! This figure-hugging bronze number reminds me of Old Hollywood glamour, and compliments Jessica's skin tone and hair colour beautifully. The fact that she finishes it off with a slick of red lipstick just about equals perfection!

Amanda Seyfried in Alexander McQueen

This is my final favourite - as Amanda's lilac frock with silver leaf embellishments is classy and demure,  although it has a modern halterneck twist with the cutout detail. She keeps her jewellery to a minimum and lets the dress do the talking - and it clearly has a lot to say.

The Bad

Amy Adams in Oscar de la Renta

Oh, Amy - I admire your efforts! And you would have been able to pull off this dramatic Oscar de la Renta number if it wasn't as pale as you are - and didn't have so many ruffles! 

Jennifer Aniston in Valentino

This Jennifer seems to have got the dress code all wrong on the night. Let it be known that I love Jennifer Aniston - and I love Valentino - he is magnificent. But I'm sorry, but there's something about the metallic sheen of the dress that makes her look like a Quality Street.

Zoe Saldana in Alexis Mabille

Zoe's dress makes the 'bad' list for one reason - that belt. It draws you away from the neckline and hem detailing. The rest I can just about deal with (just).

The Ugly

Kelly Rowland in Donna Karen Atelier

This is the point where I can feel my fashion blood boiling. Kelly - what are you doing? You're a beautiful woman but I just don't think that you understand the dress code. The Oscars scream elegance and glamour - not 'feel free to cheapen our name with dodgy dress proportions, a thigh slit that's too high and material that looks like it's been stapled on by Year 9 Textiles students'. Also, I was always jealous of your hair when you were on The X Factor - but the up do and fringe combo doesn't suit you.

Kristen Stewart in Reem Acra

Kristen, I always stick up for you when you come up in conversations. I normally adore your red carpet outfit choices - and this looks great from the chest down, until you reach your knees. The netting material at the bottom makes you look like a mermaid that has been electrocuted - and don't you think you should have done something more with your hair? This isn't a walk in the park.

Dame Shirley Bassey in Isabel Christianson

Dame Shirley looks great for her age (76, if you were wondering) but not in this dress. The lace neckline, sheer arm material and tassles on the bottom do nothing for her. I admire her ambition to keep it simple and classic with a black dress and silver accessories - but it's just not right. Sorry, Shirley.

Even though I've only picked three for the 'good' category - I feel like I should mention that I could have chosen a lot more! Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry spring to mind. Furthermore, I acknowledge that I've been harsh with the 'bad' and 'ugly' categories - but that's just because I'm so passionate when it comes to fashion! I want to reiterate that I respect all efforts that were made and I love the women that I've featured in this post - just not always their outfit choices.

(What do you think, do you agree with my choices for each category? I'll be interested to know! Katie-xo)


20 February 2013

Under the Spotlight: The Rework

Good morning, lovely readers!

I don't know about you, but I just love discovering new fashion brands and products - especially if they're unique and edgy.

Step forward, The Rework.

I only stumbled upon this brand a couple of weeks ago, but I have fallen head over heels in love with it!

The Rework is a local fashion retailer run by fellow Wakefieldian Michelle Jones, who invests in vintage pieces and - as the name suggests - reworks them to make them current!

I caught up with Shel (modelling the clothes in the first two photos above) to find out more!

Me: Can you describe what The Rework is and how it began? 

Shel: The Rework is a brand which, I feel, brings individuality and affordability to the fashion world! I think that, in comparison to the high street shops, we offer unique, individual items at reasonable prices for the quirkier individual. The Rework first started out on eBay, where I would buy and sell vintage items which are customised or 'Reworked' - and that's where the name came from!

Me: Where is The Rework based? 

Shel: The Rework is based in Wakefield. We don't have a physical store, we mostly sell online, but we have a stockist in Leeds - Audere Couture. They stock primarily menswear for us.

Me: How long has The Rework been in business?  

Shel: We started out in the summer of 2012.

Me: Who is The Rework customer? 

Shel: We have a wide range of customers, aged from 10 - 40! Our more adventurous items appeal to the younger and braver - but who doesn't love a pocket tee!

Me: What is your professional background, as the founder of the brand?

Shel: I don't have any background in fashion, other than being a girl who loves to shop! I am actually a qualified Accountant!

Me: What are The Rework's hero pieces, or best sellers?

Shel: The top sellers are the beanies and the acid wash logo tees.

Me: How would you want your customers to describe the brand?

Shel: Unique, Quirky and easy to wear.

Me: Also, what's next for The Rework?

Shel: We are in the process of getting some amazing new logo tees printed and, for the summer, we will have a lot of bright colours - along with some more weird and wonderful fabrics for the patches and pockets!

Me: Finally, what tips would you give to any young business entrepreneur starting out in the fashion industry?

Shel: Stay true to your own style and don't let other people get in your way!

Inspirational words there - thanks, Shel!

When first I discovered the brand, I couldn't help but buy into it. The pieces are great - particularly for street stylers! I recently purchased one of the dip-dyed tees and was then sent this amazing gold cross ring, as a gift:

Look out for these pieces popping up in a future blog post! I would like to wish Shel all the best, and believe me when I say that The Rework is going to go far! Take a look at their products, for yourself, on their website (which can be found here).

(Note: the information and images in this post are courtesy of Michelle Jones and The Rework.)

17 February 2013

Debenhams Wedding Event

This weekend was the weekend of Debenhams' Wedding Event in store. This is where couples can come in and see what Debenhams has to offer for their big day, through consulting with staff and local wedding suppliers who set up stalls to demonstrate their services.

In the Debenhams where I work (Leeds White Rose), yesterday was the main day of the event (Saturday 16th February); however, we have been promoting it in store all week through posters and flyers. It has also been advertised on local radio stations.

On Friday, a few of us were asked to promote it further through dressing up in potential wedding outfits as we continued with our duties in store, in the hope that people would stop and ask why we were dressed so glamorous on an average working day and generate WOM.

I jumped at this opportunity as I love to wear pretty dresses (what girl doesn't?) and got to pick out my own dress from the many lines that Debenhams sell at the moment.

I chose a gorgeous light gold appliqued diamante flower number, by designer Jenny Packham, which could be a potential bridesmaid dress or a guest wedding outfit (find it here). I then paired it with my, recently purchased, gold wedges for the ultimate party outfit!

Dress - No.1 by Jenny Packham, Debenhams
Wedges - New Look

I also had the opportunity to get my make-up done professionally by beauty concession Urban Decay. I'd never had my make-up done by someone else before - but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience! Ahmed, my Beauty Consultant, really knew what he was talking about and gave me some skincare and make-up tips during the process.

He said he wanted to go quite subtle with my face make-up, to give the appearance that I wasn't wearing any make-up (when really I was - rather a lot of it!) and then accentuate my eyes through using gold tones to co-ordinate with the dress. He then used a lip plumping gloss, which tasted like After Eight mints, and this would have lasted all day if it wasn't for me being such a food monster at lunch.

I really liked the result...

...It was very glam - and everybody else seemed to like it too!

I actually really enjoyed the day because I just felt like a princess every second that I was wearing the dress, and I've never received so many compliments on the way that I look in such a short space of time!

The promotion aspect of it was definitely successful as well, as I had so many double-takes by customers who then asked why I was dressed up and I was able to explain the reason fully to them and promote the event. It was a good idea by Debenhams, in that sense, and also a nice little reward for their staff for working so hard!

Thank you, Debenhams!

(Did you like my dress and make-up? Have you ever dressed up at work before? Comment below! Katie-xo)

14 February 2013

Casual Love

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! :)

As a homage to this special occasion, I thought I would share with you a Valentine's-themed outfit that you can rock during the S/S 13 season - complete with heart prints and femininity!

This look is very casual, and would be perfect in warmer weather for a day date or meeting friends.


Firstly, I chose my lilac top with a black heart printed on it, as pastels are going to be huge for S/S 13.  The arms are very low cut, so I wore it with a white bandeau underneath to avoid any unwanted bra flashes!

I then teamed the top with high-waisted floral print shorts, as I wanted to make this look ultra girly and fun - and who doesn't love floral prints for the S/S season?

Afterwards I added heart print socks, to match the love theme, heart-shaped jewellery and my Topshop heart-shaped handbag. I chose white plimsoles for footwear to lighten up the colour palette of the outfit, and also add a super casual feel to it.

The final touch was the denim jacket, as light blue is going to be a key denim trend of S/S 13.

Top - Topshop
Bandeau - New Look
Jacket - Vintage
Shorts - Topshop
Bag - Topshop
Plimsoles - H&M
Socks - Topshop


I kept my make-up simplistic and natural, using only concealer on my skin. However, to draw attention to my eyes, I used my Benefit mascara; this also added volume and definition to my lashes, which upped the glamour.

I then added my MAC pink lipstick in the VIVA GLAM GAGA range (Lustre A60) to continue with the pastel theme.

And there you have it! A Valentine's Day special.

(I'd just like to say a huge HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY to my boyfriend of almost one year - Kane Basterrechea! Unfortunately we can't spend the day together - but I'm thinking of you!

UPDATE - This look has been featured on Look magazine's 'Street Style' section of their website, which can be found here.

What do you think to my Valentine's-themed outfit, lovely readers? Comment below! Katie-xo)

10 February 2013

S/S 13 Menswear Trends

Good afternoon, my lovely readers!

I realise that I've been neglecting the men lately, as in the past I have posted about menswear trends as well as womenswear, and it's probably been a good few months since I wrote about anything menswear-related! Therefore, my apologies to the men :)

This is my way of making it up to you, through a detailed guide of the menswear trends for the upcoming season of S/S 13. Ladies, it's worth a read - so that you know what to buy your other halves, male friends and family members for their birthdays and special occasions! Let us begin.

A/W 12 introduced a new nautical theme to men's fashion, called ‘The Cruel Sea' (which I posted about in detail here), as well as new smart casual look through ‘CafĂ© Society Smart’, which involved teaming formal shirts and blazers with jeans and chinos. This season, menswear will experience a turnaround – from serious to playful - through ten key themes:

1. Metallics.

The metallic trend could be seen on S/S 12 designer catwalks, such as Bottega and Neil Barrett, but in small doses. This season it will be out in full force in the form of tailored shirts and trouser suits, according to designers Lanvin, Versace, Margiela, Neil Barrett, Burberry and Gucci.

2. Monochrome.

Guys, don't be put off by the fact that this trend is huge in womenswear at the moment. The ladies might be rocking it in the form of stripes and geometric prints, but the menswear monochrome trend is much more simplistic. Designers, such as Jil Sander and Lanvin, showcased their monochrome looks by teaming a white to with a black trouser - or vice versa.  Then Phillip Lim, Rick Owens and Raf Simons used layers to add more depth to the look without going overboard.

3. Summer sportswear.

Summer sportswear is making a comeback for both men and women, from last S/S 12. Although, again, menswear has a different take on it. Women will be dressing it up to make it look luxurious, whereas men will be going back to basics and using sportswear to introduce a fresh, new concept to the meaning of street style in the form of casualwear. This comes from the fact that baseball shirts, neoprene suits, sports vests, skateboards, utilitarian trainers and sporting jackets could be seen representing the trend on S/S 13 catwalks such as Astrid Andersen.

4.  Graphic prints.

New pattern textures have been introduced this season to update the bold and colourful prints of ages past. Invest in scorched surface patterns, that give unstructured tailored jackets a casual look, and cracked-earth prints, for a unique and edgy twist to a standard shirt.

5. Broken checks and stripes.

Designers have decided to mix checks and stripes, on different scales, for S/S 13 - in order to produce an original take on the usual check and stripe combos. Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Daniele Alessandrini, Agi and Sam, Nicole Fahri and Dolce & Gabbana showcased some interesting striped pieces in pastel colours.

6. Neon.

Neon might have popped up here and there on the womenswear catwalks, but it was absolutely everywhere on the menswear ones! It varied from showing a hint of a neon hue in an outfit, to going full blown neon with every aspect of an outfit. Hot pink was the most popular shade, especially at Topman, through bright jumpers, blazers and graphic prints. Stripe details could also be seen at Sibling, as well as patterned trouser suits at Meadham Kirchoff.

7. Denim.

Denim is always a popular choice for S/S. But this season, it had to be THE material that was seen on practically every catwalk! A variety of washes and cuts were showcased, but the most popular was dark blue denim a la Bill Tornade. 

8. Volume.

Designers, such as Dior Homme, Etro, Lanvin and Yohji Yamamoto, played with proportions on the catwalks by showcasing loose tailoring, in the form of unstructured trousers and jackets, against slim-fitting separates. Don't be shy, guys. Be dramatic with volume!

9. Pastels.

Pastels is another key theme seen on womenswear catwalks first, however the specific colours of washed out lilac, mercury grey, tender yellow and blush pink dominated the menswear catwalks – with bold mid-tone highlights of arctic blue, vetiver green and burnt sienna at Qasimi.

10. Loungewear.

Finally, loungewear could be seen through vertical stripes and silk fabrications, on mostly designer catwalks in Milan and Paris. Pyjama-style trousers showcased the trend on catwalks such as Damir Doma, Costume National Homme, Gucci and Acne, with a stylish twist being put on them through voluminous and dramatic fits, relaxed slouching and illustrative patterns. Ann Demeulemeester had the most exaggerated styles, teaming them with long robes and slipper inspired footwear.

Basically this S/S 13 is about being daring with your clothing, guys. If you're afraid about trying one of these new trends, simply buy a piece that represents it and then style it down with simple separates until you get used to it. Alternatively, if you're feeling brave, go all out and dress in one of the trends head-to-toe! Or mix a few of them together. You'll never know if you'll like something without giving it a try. And most importantly, have fun! Fashion is supposed to be playful.

(The content of this post was originally published in an article that I wrote for IDEAL magazine, which you can read here. Please note that the images are not mine, but the words are - aided by various sources, including WGSN.

Feel free to check out my other articles that have been recently published for IDEAL:

Let me know what you think! Katie-xo)

6 February 2013

Sexy Mono

In part one of my trend report for S/S 13 (which you can read here), I talked about how monochrome and stripes are going to be huge next season after being seen on designer catwalks such as Marc Jacobs and Versus.

Well, I found a certain sleeveless shirt in my wardrobe - from last A/W 11 - which consists of horizontal, monochrome stripes of different thicknesses. I haven't worn it for a while and, to be honest, I'd forgotten I had it (does that ever happen to you?!) but I decided it was about time for it to be worn again!

Not long ago, I answered some questions for my friend Taroneh's dissertation on Pretty Polly tights - and she needed a photo of me in them - so I decided to pair the shirt with high-waisted denim shorts (always a winner, no matter what time of year) and the tights.

As the tights are quite provocative, mimicking suspenders, I thought I'd team them with my black peep toe wedges with studded straps and dress up the look for a smart casual occasion. I then added a studded belt, to co-ordinate with the studs on the shoes, and fancy silver jewellery.

Sleeveless Shirt - Topshop
Denim Shorts - MOTO at Topshop
Tights - Pretty Polly
Wedges - New Look

The result was Sexy Mono, proving that different styles and trends can be mixed and still look fashionable together.

I've said it before, but I do love experimenting and clashing trends that you wouldn't normally put together. Try it - you might find that you come up with something really interesting!

(UPDATE - This look has been featured on Look magazine's 'Street Style Fashion' section of the website here.

What do you think to my Sexy Mono look? Katie-xo)

1 February 2013

Motel Rocks!

There’s a brand that’s gaining more and more recognition lately, amongst bloggers and streetstylers, as the one to watch for edgy, trend-driven pieces.

Motel has been around since 1999, after an American road trip inspired the designers to bring back timeless pieces from vintage and second hand stores dotted up and down the California Coast, and make them accessible to British women. The brand has since progressed with the vision to ‘deliver garments that adhere to the nuances of the female form while keeping up with the mainstream trends’.
When I think of Motel, I think of bold, statement looks through prints and figure-hugging dresses. This means that Motel must be applauded for its ability to stand out in the mind of their consumer, and craft an image that is cool and reputable.
This image has been crafted carefully over the years, through a series of marketing techniques, which I believe are now starting to pay off.
Motel is so ON IT with social media, which is exactly what brands need to do when they’re trying to target the younger, technologically-savvy generation born in the Digital Age. They post regularly on each of their social media channels as well as their blog, with their confident and sassy personality, to keep up communication with their consumers. 

This is then a given invitation for consumers to interact with them and establish a more personal connection, therefore enhancing their loyalty to the brand.

Motel also introduce regular competitions to reward consumers for their loyalty, which is very effective for creating WOM and digital conversation online.

Furthermore, Motel has recently introduced the ‘Motel Street Team’ which is a clever way of getting fashion bloggers to spread the word of the brand, and of their products. Bloggers sign up, and are approved, before given a unique discount code that people can use at the checkout to get 20% off Motel. Bloggers will then receive commission on the order.

I recently became a member of the street team because I am growing to love Motel and their gorgeous, affordable pieces for our age group – and I am happy to share that love with fellow bloggers!
These items are currently on my wishlist:

POW! Long Sleeved Top - £30
Red Off Shoulder Skater Dress - £38
Sleeveless Playsuit in Vertical Square Print - £35
Turtleneck Crop in Square Eyes Print - £22
Sequin Plunge Back Dress in Iridescent Green - £58
Long Sleeved Off Shoulder Dress in Midnight Blue - £32

The ‘POW!’ long sleeved top is extremely cute, and I love the mono prints on the playsuit and turtleneck crop (SO on trend for S/S 13). The dresses are lush for nights out, too!

The purpose of this post was to express my appreciation of the brand, what it’s doing in terms of marketing and its product offering. All that's left to say is - keep up the good work, Motel!

You can visit Motel’s website here www.motelrocks.com and receive 20% off on your order through using my code ‘ispytrends’.

Do you shop at Motel? What’s your favourite piece from my wishlist? Katie-xo

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