In the year 2000 I was eight. That is a very vulnerable age to deal with the start of a very bad fashion decade. I spent my time ordering from the children’s section of the Next catalogue before progressing somewhat to the ‘bad girl’ looks at Kylie and Tammy. Mainly I was just running around in a Bench hoodie that could zip over my head and pining for every piece of Juicy Couture inspired velour I set my eyes on. Belts were low slug, skirts were peasant and these trousers happened. For some reason there was also a lot of crochet. It was a dark, dark time. Admittedly things picked up circa 2004 when a branch of Zara opened up in my hometown and Sienna Miller hopped onto the scene and showed us how boho chic was really done. Still, it was uphill struggle and WAGs and It bags continued to dominate the pages of every trashy tabloid and fashion magazine. Even the current Queen of Chic Victoria Beckham fell victim to the botched boob jobs, dodgy hair extensions and Cavalli dresses – a look currently being revived by the ladies of Towie, but desperately being forgotten by the rest of humanity In the midst of Lizzie McGuire’s hairclips and Marissa Cooper’s polo shirts there was one saving grace throughout the whole shoddy decade. Her name, of course, was Kate Moss. Her confidence never wavered and her style never flailed. She didn’t even wear Cavalli ironically. While everyone else wore a horrific combination of ponchos, Uggs and cargo trousers, she brought us the yellow dress, the David Bowie Vogue cover and her Coco Chanel ads. Even now, her noughties rock ‘n’ roll chic remains the epitome of modern style and her classic blazer, skinny jean and boot combo is still the go to look of most Made and Chelsea girls. In the words of ultimate noughties queen Lauren ‘LC’ Conrad: 2000s, we want to forgive you but we also want to forget you. Except for you Kate, we should have blocked out the charms of All Saints’ Black Coffee and listened to you all along.
What to wear to a flat party? The age old question and the text millions of girls will be sending across the world to their friends on a Friday night. Jeans or a dress? Heels or flats? And are we going out afterwards? Will you take a bag? A jacket? Some serious planning goes in to a night that usually ends barefoot with a stain down the top you so carefully picked out your flatmate’s wardrobe.
The problem starts with some smart ass telling you the dress code is ‘smart casual’. Seriously, who came up with this term and what does it even mean? People seem to have pretty wide interpretations of the term, so even when you think you’ve nailed it; they’ll always be someone at the party wearing an ultra-fitting co-ords outfit with a body so good you immediately regret the crisps you had with your getting-ready-drink. Or vice versa, someone in an achingly cool pair of jeans and great boots, who’ll shrug off all complements with a ‘aw I just came straight from work’ and a slug of their beer. At least you won’t be the girl that interprets ‘smart casual’ as wearing a bindi.
Personally I always get a little too excited, especially if I’m hosting, and always fall way more to the smart side of the dreaded smart casual dress code. Being in your last year at uni where most of your evenings consist of pounding the Red Bull and late night visits to the vending machine, all I ever wanted was a flat party where I could wear lipstick, down some tequila and have a late night visit to the chippy.
But the struggle is over. Reformation, the American eco-clothing label, has total nailed the flat-party dress code. Though the clothes, made from recycled vintage fabrics, are a little more expensive than your average Topshop number, the cool fabrics and slick designs are sure to make zero effort dressing look easy, regardless of how many texts you’ve sent begging your friends to ‘bring more options’. Unfortunately until ASOS get on the case and start stocking these amazing dresses pronto us poor brit girls are left pining for them online. Stock up during sale time (now: http://www.refomation.com/sale) or make fast friends with that weird American second cousin you have.
These dresses are best matched with a low slug pony tail, barely there makeup, statement earrings and an incredible pair of shoes. Pick one of these and you’re ready for a night that ends down the pub, in a club or reclining on a sofa in a deep conversation about cheese with a bunch of art students. Now getting ready for that party can be as ready as A, B, C. No muss, no fuss and most importantly, no questioning what ‘smart casual’ really is as you stare drunkenly at yourself in the mirror as another party-goer pounds on the bathroom door.
I’ve already mentioned how suburban mum favourite Next has recently upped is shoegame. At the risk of sounding like a Next groupie (is there even such a thing?) I’m going to tell you all over again.
These shoes remind me of the kind that Carrie Bradshaw would lose it over, buy and then declare that she was broke for a month. Unlike those shoes however, these babies won’t set you back more than £60 so you don’t have to running around saying rubbish like ‘I bought the shoes because I felt they will feed me more.’ *
So treat yourself to a few new pairs – not to sound cliché but these heels will take you from boardroom to bar and everything else in between. They’re pretty snazzy and grown up, with just a hint of LK Bennett, but they’ll look good with everything from distressed denim to flippy skirts. Go forth and shop, after all it’s what Carrie would do.
Black Mule £55 |Laced Sandal £60 |Black Point Mule £30 |Monochrome Strap Point Toe Shoe £32 |Strap Detail Shoes £35 |Nude Metal T-bar Shoes £36
*To paraphrase CB. In all seriousness the more I watch Sex and the City as I get older the more I question it. Yesterday I watched the one where Carrie literally asks Miranda if she is turned on by a man dressed as a hot dog. Seriously, what was that about?
Let’s talk about Lauren Bacall. Continue reading
I really need to stop keeping up with the Kardashians. With more consistency than I’d like to admit, I always keep up to date with the who/what/wear of the Kardashian clan. Kylie and Kendall have undoubtedly upped the family’s fashion A-game (or K-game as I guess they’d prefer) with eighteen year old Kendall recently seen walking in Paris Couture week and dripping in designer garms for Givenchy’s latest ads, while I sit at home, a recent graduate the wrong side of twenty two, shopping low to high on bargain sites.
For now, it seems that my budget is more Red Stripe than Raf Simons but does that mean I’ll be going cold turkey on the fashion front? Hell no, couldn’t even if I wanted to. And although some girls are able to work thrift store finds, I have neither the patience nor the ounce of hipster authenticity that this pursuit requires. So for now it’s just about being sensible rather than stupidly ignoring the inevitable lure of the shops. Here’s what I’ve learned from being poor and and having a savings account that affords little more than a Red Stripe, never mind new Topshop’s new red sandals:
You are never too fancy for Argos.
Okay now, don’t roll your eyes fashion snob. I’m not advocating that you go all Jeremy Kyle and get your engagement ring here, but for low priced (real) gold you really can’t beat the big A and it’s gigantic catalogue. My new favorite guilty pleasure Niykee Heaton layers up her ghetto fab gold necklaces which she herself declares are from ‘ratchet malls’ and I can’t wait to follow suit and splurge in Argos guilt free. No maxed out credit card, no green fingers and no one needs to know.
H&M is a good as designer
Everytime I go into H&M I practically sprint past everything and head straight to H&M Trend, or what me and my friends affectionately refer to as Pink Label, the Holy Grail of High Street Fashion or just, em, Pink Label. It really is amazing stuff that looks like it was designed entirely for fashion fanatics and street style bloggers. I usually woose out and buy the safe stuff rather than the off the wall stuff that I really, really want but it’s all good, and most importantly, it’s all cheap.
You can do the Whistles look on an ASOS budget
As mentioned above premium lines from high street brands are your new best friend. ASOS White essentially rips of Whistles (in a really, really good way) and like H&M, it’s slightly more expensive than the regular ASOS stuff but is still cheap enough to add to your online basket with only minor pangs of anxiety.
Do some investigating, like a shopping Sherlock.
Superga is great. When I first started buying them they were only £25 – now you’d be lucky to get them for under £45 – buying trainers is daylight robbery these days. While Superga sales are great for bargains (£17!) their range of sizes isn’t always great. Don’t be afraid to look them up on Ebay. Just don’t make the same mistake as my friend did – if they are NWT and only £6 they are pretty much guaranteed to be children’s size, even if that’s not made explicit. ASOS Marketplace, similarly, is a great place to find what you want for less. I’ve picked up a few American Apparel pieces for next to nothing while my friend found a new season men’s Cos coat for 20 quid.
Unineed is my latest find. Admittedly a rubbish name for a site that sells heavily discounted beauty and fashion buys, but it’s pretty much like shopping duty free. While their fashion side of things is a bit dodgy, their beauty bargains are amazing – with everything from YSL Touche Eclat to Benefit brow kits being sold at a fraction of their usual price.
I’ve also been recommended to try Lyst – a comparison site that promises to be the shopping equivalent of Skyscanner.
Aspirational footwear in unlikely places
Zara and New Look are undoubtedly the reigning Queens of fast fashion footwear. Each season you can buy a couple of on trend shoes without feeling too guilty and/or strapped for cash. But may I also recommend shock contender River Island? A seriously cool girl was rocking silver flatform sandals under her robes at graduation and I was deeply jealous until I found them in the sale days later along with a few other gems.
The ultimate footwear surprise however has to the suburban mum superstore Next – I got some pretty great strappy heels from there – very Rhianna- that have taken me from nights out, to graduation, and then out to work the next day. Despite having a fair few cringe chiropractic looking shoes on offer, they also stock dead ringers for Birkenstocks (in a cool navy suede) , fashion forward clogs and a pair of low heels that would make Olivia Palermo squeal with jealousy.
M&S does it best.
So much more than the home of Two for Ten, national treasure Marks and Spencer have been trying to up their fashion ante for a while now. Despite pulling in the big celebs for the campaigns and an even bigger supermodel to design lingerie, Marks recently admitted to yet another slump in sales. Every time they announce a slump it honestly pierces my heart but shopping there goes far beyond my sense of british duty. Their stuff is actually really good. I’ve bought my ‘comfy’ jeans there for ages, you can’t beat their snazzy indigo denim jeans for only £17 a pop in the sale. Right now they are also absolutely nailing the humble jumper. These two remind me slightly of Hannah Reid’s enviable style and I reckon they’d look great with some high waisted vintage jeans when winter finally creeps in. Also worth mentioning is their cheap as chips cashmere (not really cheap as chips, but you know what I mean.) Spot a cashmere jumper on Net a Porter and it will cost you upwards of £300, in Markey’s you can get them for £30. Try the men’s section for oversized knits with a round neck and grab them in navy or grey. Perfect for wearing with a statement skirt.
Catch up with all that’s new in the world of celebrity and style news this week. From Kanye rants to Zac Posen’s opinion on hipsters, TASTE has got you covered.
Move over Olsens, fashion has a new ultra talented twin set in town.
As if their gorgeous looks and amazing vocals were’t enough, Beyonce and Solange have the wardrobe every girl wants to have this summer. Beyonce may have burst on to the Grammy stage earlier this year in little more than gaffer tape, some BeDazzled tights and a very elegant thong (and a vegan body to die for) but Queen Bey looked like she was taking style tips from sister Solange this weekend. Beyonce jumped on to the stage and joined her little sis in an impromptu dance off at Coachella, and both sisters rocked it out wearing clashing prints and matching wild curls.
Bold prints, crop tops and citrus colours – these sisters really know how to nail festival dressing. Look below and see how you can get the girls’ ultra stylish summer look and check out the video of them dancing along to ‘Losing You’ together at the bottom of the post.
|8. Sweatshirt, £19 by TWINTIP (zalando.co.uk) |9. Skirt, £38 by Topshop |10. Rucksack, £30 by Herschel (coogles.com) |11. Bra, £17 and briefs £7 by Other Stories |12. Sunglasses, £165 by Karen Walker |13. Suede clutch, £30 by ASOS |14. Heels, £35 by Topshop