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6 Things I Envy About Other Women

13 Oct

Yeah, what are you looking at….?

I came across this hilarious fashiony feature the other day from a great American blog called Narcissista.me. Something to make you chuckle on a Saturday morning! Hx

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I don’t like thinking of myself as an envious person.  But it’s when I catch tiny glimpses of things I realize I will never have, that I take a deep sigh and longingly wish, even if just for a minute or two, about what life is like on the other side.

What can I say, the grass is always greener and I have desires, I am weak.  So if you’re having a bad day and find yourself with one of these qualities here, just know that if you cross my path, I’m wanting a little of that magic you’ve got.

 

1) Tiny waists that showcase the perfect belt.  Even over bulky things. I’m too short waisted for this to look good and for the love of God, can’t even think about bulky sweaters with or without the belt.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t try;  I have about twenty of them hanging in my closet – neon, animal print, sequined, gold — unused but not unloved.  Thankfully, this trend, which peaked in 2010, is waning, but it would be nice knowing I could get away with this if I wanted to.

Photo credit: AP

2) Legs that can wear shoe booties and ankle straps. Oscar de le Renta is a cruel monster for designing these shoes that I don’t understand yet desperately want but will never be able to wear.  While my legs usually work in my favor, I’ve learned after years of being 5’2’ that there just isn’t enough body real-estate to carry this off without looking like a well hoofed pony.  I will forever be serving a life sentence of leg lengthening stilettos in nude, black, metallic or leopard.

Photo Credit: Mario Testino, British Vogue 2011

3) A great back.   There is nothing sexier than restraint coupled with the element of surprise and this case that means revealing a swath of skin that no one sees coming. On a woman with a great back, people are left glancing, staring; on me they’re left with “I think you forgot to zip your dress up”.

It’s one of the most elegantly sensual looks a woman can sport, but not everyone should.  Now my back is just fine, it doesn’t hurt, it holds me up, but it’s just kind of there.  A woman with a great back has length, shape, muscle tone and great skin.   It’s actually a tough look to pull off well, but one of the most under-estimated assets a woman can have.

I actually think back is the new butt.

Photo Credit: AP

4. Naked arms.   If I had great arms, my closet would be crammed with sheath dresses in every color.  I would make full arm gestures in meetings.  Every day would be an arm party.   A great arm isn’t too skinny (looking at you Angie) it’s not too muscular (hey Madge), it’s shapely and supple like Michelle’s or Halle Berry’s.  Mine offset narrow shoulders and tend to be a fat magnet, so if I’m 5 pounds over my fighting weight or haven’t planked in a month (who am I kidding, I don’t really plank) they resemble little Jimmy Dean sausages.

The test of a really great arm?  Being able to hold your arms high and wave without having your upper arms do the same.

I dream.  Or maybe I should just plank.

5. Women who can wear creamy beige neutrals.   Colour is my prison.  While I am a huge advocate of colour and think it’s one of the easiest ways to look prettier, for me it’s my only choice, especially as I’ve got older.   Largely it’s my skin tone.  I’ve got that Irishy, freckled thing going on with yellowy undertones that drown in creams, beiges and just about any neutral.  And neutrals look so sumptuous, and rich.   Don’t even get me started on the glories of a white crisp shirt worn with nothing at all.

None of it can be mine in this lifetime, I will forever be dressed like a rainbow.

6. Women who look great in wear stripes.  There is no sign of this trend going away, especially if you’ve seen the collections from the spring 2013 NYFW.  And why should there be?  Stripes are awesome and classic.  But no matter how many interpretations of the Breton shirt I’ve tried, they just look terrible on me (see arms above).  I wrote about my stripe lust over the summer after yet another failed attempt to wear stripes.  But for you girls who look wonderful in stripes; enjoy them, love while I live my striped fantasy life through you.

Ironically, when telling my mother-in-law (she who all things South American beauty savvy) about this post, she said,

“You know what I envy?  People who really don’t care about what they look like”.

Well said MIL, well said.

FASHION: Designer labels, high street prices. Allelujah!

5 Oct

Vintage & Couture in Beaconsfield. Sorry for the glary photo but you get the idea

I saw a beautiful Joseph shearling coat yesterday. Turned the price tag. £1300!

That kind of money on a coat feels crazy in times like these. What seems much more sensible is designer vintage – all the quality, and none of the buttock-clenching as you hand over your wimpering credit card.

I’ve been out and about a fair bit recently and I keep stumbling across brilliant pre-loved designer boutiques, so this post is just to shout them out to you in case you’re in the mood for buying . Vintage & Couture in Beaconsfield Old Town has been open for less than a year but my goodness, it really does stock the tippety top gear, including almost as new shoes from the likes of Jimmy Choo, below.

The day I was here there were Hermes leather gloves, a McQueen skull scarf, and some gorgeous pieces of jewellery.

Vintage Couture interior

The Alexander McQueen scarf

Vintage & Couture has a really slick website where you can search by brand, so if you can’t make it to Beaconsfield, it’s a really good starting point. One way or the other check it out. I’ll eat my hat if you don’t find something worth buying in there.

I thought that was a good find, but on my way home I stopped off in Great Missenden and walked passed a pair of glorious Marc Jacobs shoes (below) in the window of Vintage Rose. So wanted to buy them. Why haven’t I got any money?! Arrrgggggghhhh!

Oh God, sorry about that.

This shop is tiny but had some fantastic designer bits – not all vintage, some contemporary too, and an eclectic feel. Great Missenden is definitely one of those places that seems to pack a punch with its creative independent boutiques. I’m going to go back for a more leisurely snoop in the next few weeks.

Then finally, in Amersham yesterday I dipped into Labels with my mum and came across a pair of screamingly cool black Prada knee high boots for £100. Size 5.5 and with your name on them if they haven’t already been snapped up. Labels caters for a broader mix (quite a few mother-of-the-bride hats) but there are definitely gems to be found.

Let me know if you make it to the boutiquess, and most importantly, what you buy!

Not in your neck of the woods? No problem. See my previous post on second-hand boutiques here.

Vintage & Couture, 11 Windsor End, Beaconsfield, HP9 2JJ. Tel: 01494 671150. www.vintageandcouture.com

Vintage Rose, 59a High St, Great Missenden, HP16 0AL. Tel: 01494 863088. www.vintage-roseboutique.com (the webpage doesn’t seem to work at the mo though- maybe a temporary glitch)

Labels of Amersham, 12 The Broadway, Old Town, Amersham HP7 0HP. Tel: 01494 728 333

Eek! Here’s a 25% discount from Whistles until 9 October!

4 Oct

Cheer up, you’re eligible for a discount.

 

Oops. I had written this post and put it on the blog, but somehow the blurb got lost along the way.

Though it’s 12.45am and I’m half cut I can’t leave the blog floundering like that, so here goes again….

Basically, I was in Amersham today having a fantastic meal (but of that another time). After lunch my mum and I popped into the always fabulous Whistles and the lovely girl who works there, who I know a little bit, told me that it’s 25% off in Whistles if you bring in a voucher from Grazia magazine until 9 October.

So we trotted off for a Gracia and then my mum bought a grey woollen zipped dress (mother, you are rocking that look!) with £30 off the usual price. A discount worth having, don’t you think?

I have to say, I absolutely loved the leather goods in there today, really gorgeous ankle boots, and lots of fab slouchy tops and jumper dresses to take you into Winter. So if you’re in the mood for fashion, check out your local Whistles – Oxford, Marlow, John Lewis Milton Keynes, House of Fraser High Wycombe (any I’ve missed out?) – and spend 25% more than usual!

www.whistles.co.uk

WHAT’S ON: The Muddy Guide 28 Sept – 4 Oct

28 Sep

Village Hall sale, Toast, Central Oxford, Thursday 4 – Friday 5 October

Oh joy! Muddy Stilettos loves nothing more than a designer bargain and here comes Toast with a whopper 70% off its gorgeous range of clothes and homeware on this two day stop-off in Oxford.

If you’re not familiar with Toast, it’s all about comfort, individualism and quirky style. Loads of cool knitwear, slouchy PJs and cashmere socks, lovely bedlinens and country style (but more log cabin than tally ho if you get my drift).

The sale starts at a rather civilised 10am each day but knowing how popular the brand is, I wouldn’t leave it too long to saunter in. I’ll have been around twice by then.

Free entry. The Newman Rooms, Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy, The Old Place, Rose Place, St Aldate’s,Oxford, OX1 1RD

Thame Food Festival, Saturday 29 September

Ah, Ambassador, are you cooking at the Thame Food Fest this year?

The Thame Food Festival on the Bucks/Oxon border, now in its fifth year, seems to be growing at an exponential rate and has gained a reputation as one of the best food fests in the region. Raymond Blanc’s patronage as ‘Ambassador’ (quick, whip out the Ferraro Rocher) doesn’t harm of course, but there are also celebrity chef demonstrations, expert talks, kids workshops, food-making stalls and of course loads of exhibitors to buy from. If you’re not familiar with it, the centre of Thame is a charming location – wide streets, thatched and perod properties –  and if you’re bringing kids, there’s an excellent play park and Cuttlebrook woodland walk just off the high street at Southern Road recreation ground in the unlikely event that they get bored of sampling anchovies and olives.

Free entry. 9am – 5pm. www.thamefoodfestival.co.uk

Starbucks coffee machine, from Oct 2

The ‘Verismo’. Nice machine, shame about the name.

I meant to write about this yesterday but, you know, I had one of those days where I sat down to write in the evening and headplanted into the keyboard with fatigue. No doubt what I needed was a double shot of coffee from this rather fabulous Starbucks coffee machine, ready to take on Nespresso in an all out caffeine war. The new single-serve machine makes your favourite Starbucks drinks, including caffe lattes and filter coffee in 60 seconds or less and though Nespresso have it on the colour choices, you have to admit it – this design sure is perdy.

£149. Available only in Selfridges London, Birmingham & Manchester, and online from 2 Oct. www.selfridges.com
The Big Bang restaurant reopens, Castle Quarter, Central Oxford, from 29 September

Oxford institution The Big Bang (bangers and mash extraordinaire) was without a home when its lease expired in the Jericho area last year and students, trendies, and cool purveyors of local sausages sobbed for months. From Saturday it has smart new home in the Castle Quarter in central Oxford, with BBQ terrace, live jazz and a whole lot of sizzlers. The owner, Max, also runs the acclaimed Oxford Jazz Festival so you know that your tenner to stay around and listen to music after your meal will be well worth it.

42 Oxford Castle Quarter, Oxford Ox1 1AY. Tel: 01865 249413. www.thebigbangrestaurants.co.uk 

WIN! £275 Designer bag from Juicy Couture!

17 Sep

OMG. This bag is heaven on straps

See, I told you that my next comp would blow your cotton socks off!

Coco Marie my favourite fashion shop in Amersham, which also happens to have the most lovely staff on the entire planet, has kindly offered this handbag to a Muddy Stilettos reader.

Shall I tell you a bit about it? Well. It’s big. Perfect for magazines, baby wipes, dossiers, morning newspapers and whichever kitchen sink you need to take with you to work or play. It’s suede with leather base, tassle and straps. Juicy calls the colour grapefruit, but I think it’s acid yellow and so superfunky I do not want to give it to you!

HOW TO ENTER (I’m presuming you want it):

Do any or all of the below. Don’t forget, the more ways you enter, the more chances you have of winning.

1. Register to Muddy Stilettos by entering your email address into the ‘Register here’ tab (top right of the homepage). You’ll be entered into all Muddy Stilettos competitions, plus you will receive my electrifyingly useful posts straight to your in box. You can unsubscribe at any time.

2. Follow @CocoMarieUK @muddystiletto AND RETWEET BOTH NAMES with #This should be my handbag because … (and your reason here please!)

3. ‘Like’ Muddy Stilettos on Facebook by following the link here

Cassius wants to draw this prize, so that means the fourth one out of the hat is the winner 30 September. Sorry, but what can I do? The child likes to eat paper.

FASHION: Gentlemen, this one is especially for you

12 Sep

Simon Carter in Wendover. I know, his parking’s terrible.

Well, hello!

There I was, wandering around the lovely market town of Wendover the other day (about 15 mins south of Aylesbury), when I came across a shop that had just opened its doors for the first time – none other than the fantastic Simon Carter, purveyor of supercool cufflinks, menswear, leather goods and other man-essentials.

Darwin Lacewing jade cufflinks, £75

If you don’t already know the brand, Simon Carter is a London (and international) success story that’s now developing stand-alone stores outside the capital. Aside from the new venture in Wendover, there’s also a shop in Great Missenden and apparently one in the pipeline for Yorkshire. Quintessentially British, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, allowing blokes a flash of personality at work without resorting to horrific novelty ties.

Half newspaper delivery boy, half cool Soho satchel and all in this season’s supertrendy blue. Love it! Canvas/leather, £100.

I had a quick gander around the bijoux store in Wendover.  It stocks mostly shirts, luggage and accessories – so perfect for picking up a business flourish or a present for a difficult husband. Yes husband, I’m talking about you.

So there you have it. Always delighted to stumble across something new and splendiferous, and relieved that one of my readers Ricky will be placated – he’s been on at me for a bloke’s fashion feature for ever. There you go, my old china, this one’s for you.

Simon Carter, 6 South St, Wendover, Bucks. www.simoncarter.net

WIN! Gorgeous £140 new season leather slouch bag from Mint Velvet

6 Sep

Work that bag, lady.

Need another handbag to see you through the autumn?

What a daft question. Of course you do. Especially when it’s slouchy and zippy and soft 100%  leather and suede and all round gotta-have-it gorgeous like this one from my superfave store Mint Velvet.

It’s also available in a cool slate grey (see below) which I love just as much.  If you win the comp, I’m happy to provide in either colour. It depends on stock levels though, so don’t kill me if I can’t get the one you prefer! You have to admit, they’re both goddam beautiful.

Zip and suede detailing on the sides of the bag

WANT TO ENTER? You betcha!

Do any or all of the below. Don’t forget, the more ways you enter, the more chances you have of winning! Please note: the twitter entry is different this time to previous competitions so take a moment to read it through.

1. Register to Muddy Stilettos by entering your email address into the ‘Register here’ tab (top right of the homepage). You’ll be entered into all Muddy Stilettos competitions plus you will receive my electrifyingly useful posts straight to your in box. You can unsubscribe at any time.

2. Follow & RT @mintvelvet @muddystiletto, and tweet about what you can’t live without in your handbag.

The ‘compose a new tweet’ box should look something like this:

@mintvelvet @muddystiletto #icantlivewithout… babywipes for the kids

@mintvelvet @muddystiletto #icantlivewithout… my killer red lipstick

etc

Please note: you need to put in the hashtag #icantlivewithout bit so that I can count your entry into the competition

3. ‘Like’ Muddy Stilettos on Facebook by following the link here

The winner will be drawn from my top hat on 14 September.   Best of British to you!

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