Gowns and Heels

Author - Maria

The “Jeanius” Secret to Finding the Perfect Pair!

I don’t know about you guys, but I find shopping for jeans a nightmare with a capital N! For me, they’re either too tight across the thighs, too baggy around the waist or way too long in the leg, so trying to find something that fits all three requirements is near on impossible. What I do know though, is that once you have found a shop, designer, brand etc. that miraculously sells your ideal pair it is like finding gold at the end of a rainbow.

Finding the perfect pair of jeans does not need to be a completely random mission. Knowing what styles suit your body shape, how to measure yourself properly and for what purpose you intend to wear them can all make your jeans shopping experience a lot more stress free. So, here are the Gowns and Heels key secrets to finding the perfect pair of jeans:

How to measure yourself for jeans

First and foremost, by far the most important thing you need to do is measure yourself properly to ensure you know what size jeans you should be aiming for. Accurate measuring is keyYou might think you’re a size 10, but as we all know one shops size 10 is another shops size 12, so it’s always best to work out your exact measurements in the areas that matter. That way when you go shopping you can have a more accurate size guide when choosing the jeans you want to try on. Try not to worry about what the dress size on the label says, it is only a number after all and what’s much more important is that you find a pair of jeans that fits perfectly, rather than stressing that you’ve gone up a dress size.

Most jeans come with a waist and leg measurement that is in inches and will be labelled something like this, W30, L32.

Waist – To take an accurate waist measurement wrap a soft tape measure around the slimmest part of your waist.

Hips – Standing with your feet together, wrap the tape measure around your body at the fullest part of your hips.

Jean jargon

You’ll come across lots of different words when you’re buying jeans and it definitely helps if you know what it all means! Take a look at our jean jargon dictionary to help you on your mission to find the perfect pair.

  • Inside leg – This is the measurement taken from the crotch down to the hem. Some women’s jeans will come in Short, Regular and Long sizes rather than a specific inch measurement, so if you’re not sure which would work best for you either try a couple of different lengths or ask a shop assistant for help.
  • Rise – This is the measurement taken from the bottom of the crotch up to the top of the waistband, which affects whereabouts a pair of jeans will sit on your waistline. There are three different types of rise: Low, Mid and High.
  • Low Rise – Low rise jeans sit on the hips making them a great choice for those of you blessed with fantastically toned tummy and who want to show it off with cropped tops. For a look that is more classy than trashy make sure you don’t have any underwear showing, because there’s really nothing worse than being able to see someone’s thong poking out when they bend down. Low rise jeans generally sit about 2 inches below the naval and the rise measurement is approximately 7.5 inches or less.
  • Mid Rise – Mid rise jeans are pretty much flattering to all body shapes and, for that reason, are generally the most popular choice. These jeans sit on the hip bone and the rise measurement is between 8 and 9 inches.
  • High Rise – High rise jeans are also incredibly flattering because the extra coverage smooths out the silhouette and offers extra ‘sucking in’ power to boot. The rise measurement is approximately 9.5 inches or more and will sit above the naval. If you have a longer torso than the length of your legs, a high waist is great for creating the illusion of longer legs.

What style should I go for?

Many of our style choices are heavily influenced by what is currently fashionable, however when it comes to finding the perfect pair of jeans you should forget all about the latest trends and instead concentrate on what is most flattering to you. What style will suit you?Skinny jeans are still a very popular choice, but as I know all too well, they do not suit everyone. Never try to convince yourself you look good in a particular type of jean just because it looks good on the model wearing it in a shop or a celebrity you’ve seen wearing them in a magazine. Be completely honest with yourself, look at yourself from every angle and ask yourself how comfortable you feel. Jeans should be comfortable and if you’re hoiking them up every 5 minutes or walking like a cowboy, then your jeans are definitely trying to tell you something.

Straight Leg

This is a very classic style of jeans, but can often be viewed by some as a bit boring and frumpy. On the contrary, the straight leg jean can be incredibly flattering to certain body shapes and is a fantastic solution to balancing out broad shoulders. Straight legged jeans are so named because they run straight down from the hip to the ankle.

Choose this style if:Straight leg jeans are classic.

  • Your shoulders are wider than your hips.
  • You have an upside down triangle body shape.

Avoid this style if:

Bootcut

Bootcut jeans have a close fit over the thighs and then flare out at the knee right down to the ankle, creating a wider look at the bottom. They look fantastic with heels, in particular heeled boots.

Choose this style if:Bootcut jeans

  • You are a pear shape.
  • Your hips are wider than your shoulders.
  • Your bottom and thighs need balancing out.
  • You want to accentuate slim thighs.
  • You want to add shape to an athletic or straight up and down figure.
  • You want to draw attention away from your tummy.

Avoid this style if:

  • You are short. Bootcut jeans can shorten your leg length and make you look shorter.

Boyfriend

This relatively new style of jean is for those ladies who like a more casual, relaxed fit to their jeans. The fit is generally tighter around the waist and bottom with the legs being somewhat baggier, although this depends on season and brand.

Choose this style if:

  • You are lean and athletic.Boyfriend-Jeans
  • You want to add volume to your body.
  • You want to disguise a larger tummy.
  • You want to draw the eye downwards.
  • You want to balance out broad shoulders.

Avoid this style if:

  • You are curvaceous – these will make you look bigger than you actually are.
  • You are petite – you risk being swamped by the extra fabric and looseness.

Skinny

As the name would suggest, skinny jeans are the tightest style of jeans and will fit exactly to your figure, which means you can’t hide anything! Tight all the way from hip to ankle, these can generally be worn by most body shapes, but must be styled in the correct way, worn with flattering pieces and most importantly of all worn in the correct size so as to avoid unsightly fashion disasters such as muffin top and sausage legs.

Choose this style if:Skinny jeans

  • You’re body confident.
  • Your legs are your best feature.

Avoid this style if:

  • You have broad shoulders – skinny jeans will make you look even ore top heavy.
  • You don’t want to accentuate a straight up and down body frame.

When you go shopping for jeans there are a few key points you should remember that will help your shopping experience.

Ask for help

Shop assistants are there to ‘assist’ so make sure you take advantage of their knowledge and experience by asking them for their advice and suggestions of what type of jeans are likely to suit you. Many shops offer personal shoppers whose job it is to give you a personal shopping experience and when it comes to something as tricky, but also as important, as buying a new pair of jeans, it may well be worth paying for a personal shopper. Make sure you are open to trying styles, designs and colours that you may not have chosen yourself. You’ll probably find that these are the ones that suit you the best and serves as proof that sometimes you need to think outside the box to find the solution.

More often does mean more!

As much as I love a bargain, when it comes to jeans there’s no getting away from the fact that the more you spend on a pair, the better the quality, the better the fit and the longer the life of the jeans. A good quality pair of jeans should last you a lifetime and if you look after them well, don’t over wash them and stay the same shape it is worth the investment. In fact, if you find a perfect pair of jeans, I would suggest you buy a few pairs, in different colours.

Size matters

One of the biggest mistakes we can make when buying jeans is buying them too big, which ends up looking incredibly unflattering, isn’t as comfortable and after a wash can make them look saggy, baggy and tired.Jeans Jeans need time to relax to your body shape so if anything they should be bought tighter and yes it should be a struggle to get them on! Fashion consultant, Clinton Kelly says, “Unfortunately, there is no universal sizing chart for designers to abide by. You may wear a size 10 in one line of jeans and a 14 in another. Don’t stress about it! Keep in mind: Women very frequently have a range of three sizes when it comes to the different items in their wardrobe.”

So, next time you need a new pair of jeans, arm yourself with these words of wisdom, be prepared to get hot and flustered in the dressing rooms, clench and squeeze your way into denim and be confident you will find the most flattering, most comfortable, most hard wearing and most enviable jeans ever.

And finally, here’s a bit of jeans nostalgia with the famous Levi’s TV advert from 1985, enjoy!

How to keep your clothes looking their best!

As nice as it is to go shopping for new clothes, there will always be that one pair of jeans that fit your body perfectly or that one top that always gets you compliments and goes with everything and trying to replicate this with new garments can be near on impossible. We’re sure many of you have a piece of clothing that you couldn’t live without and we know all too well what it feels like when that perfect piece shrinks in the wash, loses a button or gets a coffee stain down the front of it; it’s devastating!

How can life continue without the comfort and reassurance of that ‘wonder garment’?

Well, guess what?

We are just about to let you into some top tips and secrets that will not only keep your clothes looking great for longer, but will also mean you need never be separated from your favourite, most cherished item of clothing again.

We are good to you aren’t we?

Quality v’s Quantity

There’s no question that if you buy from a reputable designer or fashion house you are investing in a higher quality garment that should naturally last longer, because of the better quality fabrics and the higher degree of workmanship. But that doesn’t mean your wardrobe should only contain designer pieces; you just need to know when to buy designer and when to buy high street. Creating a capsule wardrobe will help you make the right decisions and will enable you to have key, quality pieces combined with the cheaper, on trend pieces that you are more likely to get bored of and will go out of fashion before they even reach the end of their lifespan. As a rough guide, the following items of clothing are well worth spending a little bit more money on so that they stand the test of time:

  • Two-piece, tailored work suit
  • Classic trench coat
  • Shoes
  • Jeans
  • Button-up shirts/blouses
  • Well-fitting, supportive underwear

You’ll notice that the above items are generally the clothes we wear most frequently, which means they have to put up with a lot more wear and tear and need to be constructed of higher quality materials. These are also the items we need to provide us with the most comfort; cheaper shoes are never going to be as comfortable as shoes with a higher price tag, no matter how high the heels.

Storage

How we store our clothes is a key element in their longevity. A cluttered wardrobe, which has to be shoe horned open every time you need to get something in or out is far from the best environment for your clothes.

These top tips will not only help you organise you clothes and make it a lot easier deciding what to wear each day, but it will also keep your clothes looking their best.

Coat hangers

Never, ever use those thin, wire coat hangers that you get from the drycleanersThey offer no support to your clothes at all and will quickly result in misshapen shoulders and loss of shape. The ideal coat hanger should be wooden and be the right shape for the item that will be hanging on it, for example strappy tops should be hung on hangers with special notches to secure the straps and shirts should be hung on smooth armed hangers. Never hang knitted items because they are too heavy and will lose their shape when hung, plus there is a risk the hanger may get caught in a hole of the knit.

Shoes

Shoes should be stored in boxes to keep them dust and dirt free. You can buy clear shoe boxes, which make it a lot easier to find the right pair when you need them or you could use any box and put a photo of the contents on the front. Boots, especially longer length styles, can easily lose their shape and become baggy if they aren’t stored correctly. Invest in some boot shapers, which fit inside the boot and help the structure remain at it’s best. A cheap tip is to stuff shoes with paper to also help keep the shape.

Space

Clothes need space to breathe and to remain crease free so it’s important to keep some degree of space within your wardrobe. If you can’t get something out of your wardrobe without pulling half a dozen other things, then your wardrobe has too much stuff in it.

wardrobeYou have two options:

  1. Accept you have too many clothes and use this as an opportunity to have a sort out, or…
  2. Buy another wardrobe!

Wardrobes should provide a dry, cool environment for your clothes that allows them to remain mould and moisture free. Suits, occasionwear and seasonal clothes should be packaged in breathable, hanging canvas bags. Don’t, however, keep garments in the plastic bags that they come in when they are returned from the dry cleaners. These bags are purely for transportation and short term purposes and if they are kept in them for too long it is likely the fibres in the clothes will sweat and start to break down.

Knitwear

Knitwear should always be folded and stored on a shelf, not hung up. This way they will keep their shape and therefore last longer. You might even consider keeping categorising by colour, heaviness of knit, occasion or season, which will make getting dressed a lot easier as well as looking really nice and organised.

Fastenings

Buttons, zips, poppers, embellishments etc. all have the potential to damage other garments. Always make sure garments are fastened once they are on hangers and consider storing heavily embellished garments in specific storage bags to stop them catching or snagging on other things.

Cleaning

Cleaning clothes in the correct way will extend the life of the garment and the following tips will help remind you of some of the things that we’re sure you already know, but when you’re in a rush you may well forget to do.

Read the labels

It sounds obvious, we know, but there are a lot of people who don’t read clothing care labels and for those of us that do, it’s not always 100% clear what the symbols actually mean. The picture on the left shows you just what the symbols do mean and they are there for good reason. If an item of clothing is labelled dry cleaning only, it really does mean dry clean only and not following these guidelines will almost definitely result in some kind of damage to your clothes. After a while, you’ll get used to kncare labelsowing what type of clothes and fabrics need which type of wash, but whenever you buy something new, always check the label before its first wash. Most delicates, such as underwear, will either need to be handwashed or placed in a special mesh bag, but you can also place them inside a tied up pillow case and it works just as well. Certain knitwear, especially cashmere, needs to be treated extremely delicately. Only ever wash by hand with a mild detergent or baby shampoo, wring out as much water as you can and then allow to dry flat on a clean towel so that the excess moisture can be absorbed. By doing this it will not only clean the garment, but also keep it soft, in shape and will prevent shrinkage.

Stains

Stains are unfortunately virtually impossible to avoid, but if you treat them early there’s a chance you can rescue your clothes. If you spill something down yourself like coffee, red wine or any other strong coloured substance, once you’ve got over the shock you need to get yourself to a sink quick. Blot away any excess liquid with a paper towel and then, if you’re able to, soak the stained area with cold water. For more information about how to treat different types of stain after this point, read our article ‘Don’t let Stains be a Pain – Top Tips for Stain Removal!!‘. Stains on suede can be removed with an un-dyed eraser, as if you were rubbing out pencil marks, just be careful not to rub too hard or the surface fibres of the suede may damage.

Frequency

We can sometimes end up washing our clothes more often than they need, which is a sure-fire way to decrease the life of them. Jeans-dryingUnless something has visible dirt, has been in direct contact with the skin or smells then chances are you could probably get another wear out of it. Jeans, especially, require very little washing, in fact Mary Bruno who is head of design at J Brand advises, “Almost all jeans have been washed as part of the fit process. If you are buying a rigid or raw jean, wearing them in from a rigid state is the best way to get them to form to your body.” Washing a pair of jeans too often can result in colour fade and unless they are dirty they should ideally only be washed after roughly five wears.

First wash

As mad as it sounds, some people recommend that clothes are washed as soon as you get them home from the shops and certainly before wearing them for the very first time. We know, it seems crazy, why bother washing something that is brand new and won’t be as crisp and fresh looking once it’s gone through the washing machine? But, a leading professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center, New York makes a very good point: “I have seen cases of lice that were possibly transmitted from trying on in the store, and there are certain infectious diseases that can be passed on through clothing”. Pretty gross right, got you itching just thinking about it? How many people may have tried on that dress you’ve just bought, how many people have handled it from factory to shop floor…yep it doesn’t bear thinking about and add on top of that the fact that most clothes are treated with various chemicals that can cause rashes and itchiness, a quick wash doesn’t sound like such a bad idea now!

Fasten up

In exactly the same way that buttons, zips and hooks etc. can damage your clothes if they’re not fastened when you store or hang them, they can do the same, if not more, damage in your washing machine. Zips, in particular, can catch on other fabric and snag it, causing runs, holes or even damage to the zip itself. To avoid this, make sure you fasten everything up an then turn the garment inside out, which will also have the added benefits of preventing colour fade, wear and tear and bobbling on your knits.

Drying

Tumble dryers are an amazing invention, especially in the winter when it’s harder to find a dry, SWEATER-520x347warm enough day to get your things out on the washing line. However, tumble dryers will age your clothes a lot sooner than if they were to dry naturally. To slow the ageing process down, make sure you set your tumble dryer to a low setting and decrease the time ever so slightly. It’s always better to take clothes out of the dryer when they’re still ever so slightly damp and finish the drying process off by hanging them on an airer. This will help garments keep their shape, prevent shrinkage and fading and will also help lower your electricity bill!

Maintenance

There are simple things you can do aside from how you wash and store your clothes that will help you get more wear out of them. Perhaps the easiest one, although arguably the one most of us are guilty of, is to get dressed after you have done your hair and makeup. We’re guessing your thought process would be pretty much like ours in that of course you’d get dressed before doing hair and make up, otherwise when you go to put on a top it’s going to mess up your finely styled hair and smudge make up all across your face and probably the top too. But in actual fact your doing your clothes a much big favour by getting dressed after you have done your hair and make up and here’s why. The chemicals in cosmetics and hair styling products can stain and fade clothing. Hairspray in particular is a big culprit and we’re sure that quite a few of you have a final spritz of hairspray before heading out the door, right? Not only will it fade your clothes, but it is also likely to leave a coating that will gradually build up over time and age the garment as well as affect how well it washes up. Buy a lightweight scarf to put over your head when you get dressed and that way make up will stay on your face and off of your clothes and your hair will stay nicely in place. Another culprit is deodorant, which if not left to dry properly can cause unsightly yellow staining.

Here are a few other handy tips you can do to make your clothes look longer:

Dye

You could be the most careful person in the world, but there will reach a time when an item of clothing can take no more and the colour will naturally start to fade. imagesBut, that doesn’t mean it needs to be taken down to the charity shop or chucked in the recycling bin, oh no, why not think about dying it instead? Jeans take very well to being dyed and can look as good as when you first bought them for just a few pounds. We prefer the dye that you can put in the washing machine, because it’s just so easy and as long as you follow the instructions we can promise you it won’t stain your next wash load. Have fun experimenting with different colours and before you know it you’ll have lots of, what look like, brand new clothes! One key thing to remember is to always check what materials the dye is suitable for and be aware that certain stitching and other embellishments may not soak up the dye. It can create a great effect, but you need to be aware that this may happen, so it’s not too big a shock when you see the end result.

Repair

It’s really not that difficult to replace a button that’s fallen off or sew up a hemline that’s come undone. Learning simple sewing skills will save you loads of money and mean you can wear your favourite clothes for longer. If you have never sewed before use this as the perfect opportunity to teach yourself by looking at some of the many online tutorials available on sites such as YouTube. And if after all that, you’re still not getting it, then consider taking your clothes to be repaired at a local tailors or even enquire at your dry cleaners, as some may do minor alterations and repairs. A handy little tip to stop buttons from getting loose and popping off is to coat them in clear nail varnish.

Tights

We’ve lost count of the number of pairs of tights we get through on a weekly basis; tightsladders caused by pulling them on in too much of a rush in the morning, snagging caused by jewellery and holes from when they’ve caught on a splinter or sharp edge of a chair, it’s incredibly frustrating and proving very expensive! But guess what? There are a few very quick and easy things you can do to your tights that will make them last that little bit longer. One thing you can do is to give them a light spray of hairspray, which gives them a protective layer and strengthens the fibres; it really does work. For more advice on how to protect your tights and get more than one wear out of them, read our article ‘Fed up of laddering your tights? Then read on…!

Good hygiene

Clothes that are in direct contact with your skin will look better and last a lot longer if your body is clean! Showering daily, using deodorant (that has been allowed to dry properly) and wearing clean underwear will all help keep your clothes in tip top condition.

Give it a rest

And finally, try to rotate your clothes and footwear so that you’re not wearing the same things all of the time. Quite simply, the more you wear something the quicker it is going to wear out and this is most noticeable in footwear, such as the shoes you wear to the office everyday or the trainers you go running in. If you wear the same ones all of the time, not only are they going to start to smell, but the heel will wear down sooner, the surface will get more scuffs and the shoe will start to lose it’s shapes as it moulds to your feet and style of walking. Try to set up a system whereby clothes that have just been washed get put in at one end of the wardrobe and clothes that have been in there a while go to the other end; the end which you should then choose from.

The UK throws away a staggering £25 million worth of clothes each and every year into landfill. More often than not, those very same clothes have hardly anything wrong with them and could have either been taken to a charity shop, donated to a homeless charity, recycled or have minor repairs done to them, meaning they could be worn for much longer. In some instances, clothes are thrown away simply because the person has got bored of them, yet is too lazy to out them anywhere other than in their rubbish bin. Pathetic, isn’t it?

We hope we’ve given you lots of helpful advice about how to make your clothes look better for longer. We would love to hear from you about any tips you have to keep clothes looking great or see some of your photos of outfits that you have upcycled in your bid to win the war on waste. Email us at info@gownsandheels.co.uk or contact us via the Gowns and Heels Facebook page.

The reasons why all girls should own an LBD!

The Little Black Dress, or LBD as it is more commonly known, is every girl’s favourite. Whether it’s for a party, for work, a first date or something for one of those *shudder* ‘fat’ days, the LBD really is our fashion saviour.

On my last count I had at least 10 LBD’s in my wardrobe, each with their own style, function and memories attached to them, and I’m pretty certain if you lot did a stock take in your wardrobes, you probably wouldn’t be far off that number, if not more! So, what exactly is so special about the LBD; a simple, classic garment that manages to defy the fickle status of what’s currently ‘in’ and what’s ‘out’ in the fashion world?

Where it all began

Prior to the 1920s, the colour black was kept for times of mourning and was associated with grieving widows, in fact if it was worn for any other occasion it was considered indecent and improper. After this time, however, society began to change, as attitudes began to relax and so too did the connotations of wearing the colour black. And, who do we have to thank for the infamous LBD…? Why, none other than Coco Chanel herself.

Coco ChanelIn 1926, Chanel published a picture in American Vogue of a calf-length, simple, straight black dress, entitled ‘Chanel’s Ford’ after the famous Model T cars and the editors used their fashion forecast to predict that the LBD would become the “…uniform for all women of taste.” Indeed, it was the one item of clothing that spanned the varying social classes, being both elegant, yet affordable at the same time. Something, which is still apparent to this day; you can buy an LBD for as little as £9.99 or pay well into the £1,000s.

indexMoving forwards through time, we saw designers offer their own unique takes on the LBD; Dior in the 1950s, Givenchy in the 1960s, Vivienne Westwood in the 1970s, Azzedine Alaïa in the 1980s and Yohji Yamamoto in the 1990s. And celebrities such as, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie O, Marilyn Monroe, Liz Hurley and Victoria Beckham all created iconic moments in fashion with their interpretations of the LBD.

Karl Lagerfield said, “One is never overdressed or underdressed with a little black dress” and indeed it is the one item guaranteed to make you feel confident, sexy, slim, classy and fashionable and is therefore an essential part of any wardrobe.

5 reasons why every girls NEEDS at least one LBD

  1. It’s versatile – you can dress it up, dress it down, wear during the day, wear it at night, in the summer, in the winter, you name it this fashion bad boy can be worn 365 days and nights of the year and will ALWAYS look good.
  2. It’s flattering – There’s no denying that the right LBD can literally take pounds off you and that ladies is a dress worth owning!
  3. It’s timeless – The LBD is NEVER going to go out of fashion, which means if you stay the same shape you will be able to wear it until it is literally falling apart at the seams, which makes it incredibly good value for money!
  4. It makes you feel amazing – No one can say they don’t feel good in their LBD and if you feel good you automatically look good.
  5. It’s easy – Running out of time before a big night out? Haven’t had chance to try on outfits, let alone think about what matches with what? Well fear ye not, because if you own the perfect LBD you will know that everything goes with it, you’ll know that it looks amazing on you, even on an off day, and you’ll also know that should you have one too many cocktails later on, you won’t have to worry if your mate accidentally spills it down you, because black hides EVERYTHING!

Ways to style your LBD

To get the most out of your LBD you need to be able to style it in different ways. The last thing you want is to get a reputation for always wearing the same dress, but if you’re clever you can accessorize it in such a way that all your friends will think you have a new outfit every time you go out!

All black

You need to be careful with this one, as the last thing you want to do is go out looking like you’re attending a funeral, but an entirely black ensemble can look incredible if done in the right way. Contrary to what you may have been told at school, there are lots of different shades of black (your teachers would have called it grey, but trust us black can come in different shades too!) and if you try and combine too many of these shades it is going to look messy, worn out and, well, just downright awful. So, the key to wearing all black is to play around with textures, for example, try wearing a black lace dress with a faux fur jacket, leather clutch and metallic jewellery.

Neutral tones

If you’re wearing your LBD in the daytime I would suggest wearing it with some neutral tones to soften the look. Tonal colours, such as greys, browns, nudes and whites make a classic combination when worn with black and is ideal for your work wardrobe.

Colour pop

Feeling confident? Want to stand out and be noticed? Then pair your LBD with as bright a colour as you dare. Neons, metallics and bright primary colours all look sensational against a black backdrop and you can have some real fun playing around with different looks. Whether it’s a pair of bright pink heels, a sequined silver clutch, an electric blue jacket or a vibrant red lipstick, an LBD will literally go with any colour you throw at it.

An LBD is perfect for the festive season, especially as Christmas means glitter and sparkle, which is perfect for accessorising a dress you already own or is a perfect excuse for hitting the shops and buying a new LBD with sparkly detailing. Here is the Gowns and Heels round up of some of the best LBD’s available in shops at the moment:

whistles-tassle-dress-black_03Whistles has this amazing statement Tassel Dress for £160 that oozes sophistication, but with a cheeky touch of flirtiness too. Made up of contrast panelling with asymmetric tassels, a sheer back panel, rounded neckline and a zig-zag hem this LBD is sure to get you shaking your booty on the dance floor in no time.

wolfdressWolf and Whistle is one of my all time favourite places to shop and these two LBD’s are high up on my ‘want’ list. Set up by two designers, Emma and Louise, in 2014 Wolf and Whistle aim “to mix creativity and utility to create unique garments that are easy to wear and that you will come back to season after season.  All our prints our designed in our studio in London so are unique to our collection. We have pieces that are great for work, special occasions and that you can throw on for a casual lunch at the weekend”. First up is this Lace Top Pleated Dress, which is currently reduced from £55 down to £45. wolfwhistleThe details in this dress is perfect for a night out with the girls or a fun way to liven up your work wardrobe. The fitted lace top meets the pleated skirt at the waits, which cuts an incredibly flattering and youthful silhouette. Or if you prefer a slightly more tailored look to your LBD, try this Black Tailored Crossover Dress at £55. The structured shape of this dress gives it an edgy look that can be toned down for the office or dramatised for the evening. It is fully lined with a concealed zip on the centre back and I think would look amazing combined with some bold and bright colour pop accessories.

coastThe Kimly Cocktail Dress from Coast is a classic example of the LBD transcending the decades. This dress manages to be timeless, sophisticated and completely and utterly show stopping, which for £169 is pretty much a bargain. The bodice has been contoured to show off the waist and the bow details adds glamour, whilst flattering the figure even more. The statement silver toned back zip adds a subtle detail, which can be accentuated with metallic accessories.

As seen on English actress Jodie Whittaker at the 2014 Baftas, this Embroidery Lace Dress from Yanny London is my personal favourite. With its funnel neck and cap sleeves, this A-line dress creates an interesting and flattering silhouette that is great for parties, dinners and any other special occasion. Priced at £160, which considering the detail is an absolute bargain, it comes complete with attached slip to prevent any revealing underwear mishaps. I love it, want it, NEED it!

If you are one of the small minority of women who don’t have an LBD in your wardrobe, then what are you waiting for? I officially order you to go out and buy one pronto, because it really will be the best investment you have EVER made.

You won’t believe what goes on sale tomorrow!

Guess what…?

The Balmain collection for H&M goes on sale tomorrow!!!

OMG, OMG, OMG we have been waiting for this day to come for like ever and tomorrow, yes TOMORROW, the lusted after collection by the luxury French design house goes on sale in just 9 UK stores. But fret ye not, because you can also shop online, if the website doesn’t crash under the weight of the inevitable high demand that is. Oh and we probably forgot to mention that you will be restricted to buying just one item.

If you want to be one of the lucky few who actually manage to get their hands on one of the gorgeous items you are going to need to be prepared, which involves

a) knowing exactly what key piece you want the most,

b) accept that you will need to be up at the crack of dawn and wait in a queue outside a store until the 9am opening time,

c) or risk RSI from continually hitting the BUY button on your laptop if you try to buy online.

We can’t guarantee that you’ll be one of the lucky ones, but we can at least help you by giving you as many details as we possibly can, so here goes:

The Key Pieces

The collection is awash with monochrome tailoring, rich jewel colours and opulent gold bead work and embroidery that H&M themselves describe as “French couture with urban chic and features the Balmain signatures of craftsmanship, strong silhouettes and covetable fabrics”. With menswear, womenswear, footwear and accessories choosing just one is quite frankly an impossible task, but there are some absolute gems that, for us, shine out amongst the others.

Beaded Jacket28CC02D400000578-3085715-image-m-36_1431908721013

Model and sister of the Kardashian clan, Kendall Jenner, first wore this longline beaded jacket at the Billboard Awards back in May. This was also the night the collaboration between H&M and Balmain was announced and Jenner was revealed as one of the key models to join the so-called ‘Balmain army’. Although this piece is actually a jacket, she chose to style it her own way and, presumably to also show off its versatility, wore it as a (very short) dress. It’s by no means cheap at £299.99, but the sheer craftsmanship an attention to detail makes it well worth it.

Green Sequin Dress

HM-Balmain-event-31LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this dress and how perfect would it be for the festive season? This plunging, sparkly picture of gorgeousness is what Balmain are all about; short, tight and plenty of bling. It will set you back £119.99, but we reckon for something as showstopping as this it is oh so worth it.

 

Thigh-high Boots

If you’re not so keen on flashing the flesh, but love a short dress then these thigh-high boots provide the perfect sexy cover-up. Thigh-highs are everywhere this season and Balmain’s stretchy, suede design with pointed toes and tortoiseshell-patterned heels are simply to die for! The best £199.99 you’ll have ever spent.

Striped trousersstripes-trousers-small

At a much more affordable £59.99, these monochrome block-striped jeans may look like you’re channelling Beetlejuice, but they are likely to be one of the first items to sell out. They’re bold and in your face so you’ve definitely got to have the personality to match if you want to pull them off, but combine with a plain t-shirt, like the Balmain t-shirt, £24.99, a leather jacket and some ankle boots and you are on to a winner.

Faux Fur and Leather Jacket

Balmain-HM-faux-fur-jacketsThis straight-cut faux fur jacket featuring soft leather details, a shawl collar with decorative stitching and a wide tie belt is the perfect statement piece to any outfit. At just £99.99, an absolute bargain in our opinion, this jacket manages to cover so many trends and tick all of the fashion boxes. Or maybe you prefer this shorter red version also in faux fur and leather with gold-coloured press studs for a slightly cheaper £79.99?

What stores can I buy it from?

There will be just nine stores in the UK that will stock the new collection on Thursday:

  • Bullring Shopping Centre, Birmingham
  • 41-43 Princes Street, Edinburghbalmain-hm-kendall-gigi-2-w724
  • Westfield Stratford City, London
  • Oxford Circus, London
  • 174-176 Oxford Street East, London
  • 234 Regent Street, London
  • Westfield Shopping Centre, London
  • 68-70 Market Street, Manchester
  • College Green, Dublin

Oh and by the way, there are rules, lots and lots of rules so listen up:

Yes you will have to queue; that is one of the only things we can definitely guarantee you. But, we’re not talking any old queuing, oh no, there’s a wrist band process. When you arrive at your chosen store you will be given a coloured wristband, which allocates you a set time slot to enter the shop along with 19 other shoppers. So, there will be no shoving and pushing…well other than the fight to get the best wristband of course. When you actually get in the shop you have precisely 10 minutes to purchase your item, which is why it makes sense to know exactly what you’re looking for and make sure you have some back up items in case your first or even second and third choices have already sold out.

As we mentioned before, you are only allowed to buy one item and that means one item tops. Don’t go in there thinking you’ll buy something for yourself in womenswear and something for your fella in menswear because it is one item, end of.

All we can say now is good luck and well, if all else fails…there’s always Ebay!

Let us know how you get on:

Did you get what you wanted?

What was your shopping experience like?

Send us a message on Facebook or email us at info@gownsandheels.co.uk.

How to have a Happy Halloween.

We LOVE Halloween!

Carving pumpkins, apple bobbing, all the sweets and goodies from trick or treating and best of all…the dressing up!

Normally we’d buy costumes not only based on how good they look, but also on how expensive they are, because let’s face it you’re only going to wear it for one night of the year, so unless you’re going somewhere fancy there’s no point in spending a fortune. However, after the tragic accident that happened to Claudia Winkleman’s daughter last Halloween, the safety of fancy dress costumes is very much a poignant subject and we will certainly be taking a lot more care and consideration when choosing what costumes to dress both ourselves and our children in this year.

claudia-winkleman-costume_646x363Sales of fancy dress costumes have soared in recent years and Halloween has become one of the busiest times for consumer spending. The increasing demand for cheaper costumes has inevitably resulted in costumes being imported from other countries, with the unfortunate result of lower safety standards, something Winkleman feels very strongly about.

Last Halloween, Winkleman’s eight-year-old daughter, Matilda, went out trick or treating dressed in her supermarket bought witches costume complete with hat, cape, striped tights and flowing skirt. As she brushed past a lit candle from a pumpkin, her costume burst into flames and resulted in her needing several operations to treat the severe burns she suffered. She is now recovering, but it has prompted Winkleman to question why Halloween costumes are classified in the same category as toys, meaning they don’t need to comply with the same rules applied to normal children’s clothing and therefore do not need to be as fire retardant.

This is now about to change!

Government ministers have ordered a nationwide crackdown on cheap fancy dress costumes, which will now be subjected to spot checks by trading standards inspectors. 4221396001_4561805024001_4561438090001-vsWinkleman, who hosts the popular BBC show Strictly Come Dancing, said  “We’re extremely happy the government are taking action on this and we’re so grateful to the supermarkets who are selling safer costumes.” and the business secretary, Sajid Javid, added: “My immediate concern as a father and a minister is that children wearing these fancy dress costumes are safe. It is unacceptable for any costumes to be sold that do not comply with safety standards. That’s why I’ve granted funding to trading standards to carry out spot checks as part of a nationwide investigation. Parents should feel confident that any fancy dress they buy meets required standards.”

Since an investigation into the safety of children’s fancy dress costumes, launched by Winkleman and the BBC1 consumer programme Watchdog, some retailers, including Tesco, Aldi, Asda, Morrisons, and Sainsbury’s, have even gone so far as to agree they will go further than the minimum standards to meet the same high requirements that are currently set for children’s nightwear. A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: “We have looked at every detail of our children’s dress-up range in creating our new standard and believe that it will be industry leading. This has not been a simple task, but the safety of children is our number one priority and introducing more rigorous safety standards for our children’s dress-up is the right thing to do. All clothing carries some fire risk, but we hope that introducing our own rigorous testing standards that test clothes as clothes rather than as toys will be the first step towards safer testing across the industry.”

This is all fantastic and a humungous step in the right direction, but as parents is there anything else we can do to ensure our children are as safe as we can possibly make them when they dress up for Halloween?

asda-halloween-costumes-1-2The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) advise: “All children’s Halloween costumes, masks and wigs must carry a CE mark, which means they comply with the European Toy Safety Directive and should they catch alight, the rate of burning is slow.” So, make this the first thing you check when looking at costumes either in store or online. If you can’t find the information online, either email the company for confirmation, or shop elsewhere. In terms of adult costumes, it is at present not mandatory for adult costumes to comply with the Toy Safety Directive, however many products will apply the same CE mark and it is definitely worth paying that little bit extra on a costume that does display this mark.

Here are our top tips for a safe and happy Halloween:

Flame resistant materials

Always ensure the costume you buy has been labelled with the CE mark and ideally choose one that is made from either polyester or nylon, as these are both flame-resistant materials. It is difficult to avoid flames and lit candles at Halloween, but if you are holding a party at home, think about swapping a candle inside your pumpkin for battery operated tealights. They are cheap, available to buy from many high street stores, they look great, last longer and most importantly of all they pose zero fire risk.

One material

mpsg_w_glow_skeleton_morphsuitOn a similar note, it is a good idea to choose a costume that is made of one type of material, as these tend to catch fire a lot more slowly than those made of a combination of different materials. The fabric should ideally be one layer of heavy material, rather than made of thin, frilly, layers, which are frequently seen on girls’ costumes in particular. Different materials react to a flame in different ways and flimsy layers only serve to fuel the fire even faster. Onesie styles costumes are the best option and clothes can also be worn underneath to provide an extra layer of warmth on a cold trick-or-treating night as well as giving an extra barrier between costume and skin.

Make sure it fits!

There’s nothing more hazardous than a costume that is too long and drapes all over the flaw. Not only is there a potential fire risk, but there is also a high possibility the wearer will trip and fall over. It is also important to make sure the costume isn’t so big that it makes it difficult to walk around in and isn’t so wide that you are unable to fit through doorways.  Costumes should be comfortable and if you try the costume on and it feels in any way awkward, scratchy or you’re pulling it down every few seconds, then trust your judgement and put it back on the hanger.

Know what to do if something bad happens

If you’re sensible and follow safety guidelines it is highly unlikely that anything bad will happen to you or one of your party when you celebrate Halloween, however accidents can still happen and it is worth knowing what to do should you be faced with one. Kevin O’Neill from the Fire and Rescue Service says that adults should teach their children the ‘stop, drop and roll’ drill – “Stop what you’re doing, get on the ground and roll. Allow the ground to be the means of suffocating a fire and not a person’s hands”.

Avoid accessories

It’s the one night of the year where we would advise you not to accessorise your outfit. Capes, broomsticks, wands, etc. all look lovely and give a costume that finishing touch, but there’s no need to take them out with you when you go trick or treating. Set a rule that all accessories remain at home, because not only do you risk losing them, but they can get trapped in doors, caught under foot and are definitely a fire hazard. Also bear in mind that children shouldn’t have anything tied around their necks, like jewellery, capes etc., as this increases the risk of strangulation.

Face paints

37-halloween-face-paintHaving your face painted can really make our Halloween character come alive, but some face paints are not so great for our skin, particularly the delicate skin of children. All children’s face paints should be FDA approved, have a CE mark and display clear ingredients in English. We would suggest you do an allergy test before painting the whole face, simply by rubbing some face paint on a small patch of skin. You should know within a couple of hours whether you are likely to experience any reaction or irritation. Oh and ALWAYS make sure you remove face paints at the end of the night. Aside from not wanting face paint smeared all over your bedding, it will do your skin absolutely no favours and will result in irritation and other problems.

Masks

If you prefer wearing a mask rather than smearing face paint over your skin, just make sure it fits properly. The eye holes should be big enough and positioned properly so that the wearer can see clearly at all times and there should be nose holes to allow comfortable breathing. Masks should also have a visible CE mark, so remember to check before you buy.

Shoes

Not many costumes include shoes, but some of the onesie style outfits will fit over the feet, so it is important to remember to put other footwear over the top when you go outside.  Soft fabric on the feet of a onesie definitely do not offer enough support or comfort when walking around the streets. You may think your outfit looks amazing with heels, or your little princess may even insist that she simply must wear her glittery heels as well, but now is the time to be sensible and literally put your foot down and rule trick-or-treating as a no heel zone. There will be lots of walking, sometimes up and down steps, or across lawns and we can guarantee after 5 minutes both of you will be wishing you’d put your Converse on instead!

80e0c91cc8f44a396f9668b4571b7527We hope that these tips will help you have a happy Halloween with the peace of mind that you have done everything you can to ensure the safety of your loved ones. It is a very serious topic and one that we, as do many, feel very strongly about, but we wanted to end on a lighter note and take a look at some of the best and worst costumes ideas we have seen on the web.

This group of girls came up with the very original idea of dressing up as Crayola crayons. Picking their favourite colour, they styled themselves brilliantly and not only have they managed to keep their long hair up and out of the way, but those outfits look like they’re made out of one material and have no loose frills or capes, making them perfect examples of what is safe to wear at Halloween.Kids-Halloween-Costumes Well done girls!

We couldn’t help but laugh at the look on this poor child’s face as he clings onto his three-headed pet. Dressed as Harry Potter he does however, manage to break some of the rules. sushi-halloween-costumeCan you work out what they are? 1. He’s got a scarf tied round his neck, 2. His outfit looks slightly too big for him and 3. That dog is stealing his thunder!

And, finally, anyone for sushi? This child’s parents were clearly hungry when they set about deciding what to dress her up as. It is without doubt a cleverly made costume, with intricate attention to detail but how, may we ask, is the poor thing expected to walk in it!? Aha hang on, we get it, she’s a sushi roll, so you’re meant to roll her, right? Not safe, not comfortable and oh how embarrassed that child is going to be when she looks back at the photos.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

 

8 Fashion Tips for 2016.

It’s the middle of October already and I don’t mean to worry you, but there’s only ten weeks until Christmas!

I remember as a child someone telling me that the older you get the quicker the time passes by. At the time I thought they were crazy, I mean how can time actually go any quicker, but now I know exactly what they mean. Whilst, there’s nothing we can do to control how quickly our days zoom by, it has got me thinking about next year and I’m already starting to plan my resolutions.

However, before I start worrying about trying to eat less chocolate, trying to exercise more and trying to watch less trash on the telly I thought it would be nice to think about something a bit more positive. And so, I’ve compiled some handy fashion tips that I’d like to share with you all that will not only make you look absolutely fabulous in 2016, but will also save you a bit of precious time.

 Tip 1 – Become a fashion designer.

Have you got a favourite jacket that you’ve had for years, but it’s starting to look a bit tired and your friends have seen you wear it like a million times? 1950s-buttonsWell, how about freshening it up and changing the buttons to give it a completely new look? Buttons can be bought online or from your local haberdashery and there are so many cool designs, shapes and colours out there. It’s cheaper than buying a new jacket and you get to pretend you’re a fashion designer at the same time! And why stop at buttons? When you start to get more confident you could add a ribbon trim to an old cardigan, patch up and applique worn through jeans, dye a top a different colour or add clip on ear rings to a pair of shoes to bling them up a bit. The options are endless and best of all you’ll have a one off piece that you can guarantee none of your friends will be wearing. Have fun!

Tip 2 – You can NEVER have too many scarves!

I love a scarf. It is honestly the most versatile accessory you can have in your wardrobe and can change an outfit in seconds. Whether it’s a silk scarf, a cosy cashmere wrap or a summer beach sarong the variations in which you can wear a scarf are literally endless. Don’t for one minute think that scarves should be reserved for sophisticated, stylish French ladies, I mean yes they ooze effortless fabulousness when they wear them, but you too could be that woman if you learn how to incorporate a scarf into your outfit. They don’t need to cost much; in fact you can buy them in places like Accessorize for as little as £10. The basic rule of thumb is this: wear a printed scarf with a solid colour block outfit and a solid colour scarf with a printed outfit. Follow this and you can’t go far wrong. I would recommend having at least 8 different scarves as part of your capsule wardrobe: 1 woollen, 1 cashmere wrap, 1 sarong, 1 pashmina, 2 printed silk squares and 2 plain silk squares. Take a look at this YouTube video for all the different ways you can tie and wear a scarf, you’ll be amazed at how many there are!

Tip 3 – Know your shape.

The best and most flattering thing a woman can do is dress for her shape. Designer Shohanna Guss explains, “Once you know which silhouettes flatter you, filter trends ruthlessly”. If, like 60% of UK women, you are a pear shape, then chances are you have fantastic waist. Take advantage of that and show it off with a belt that cinches you in and creates an amazing shape. Or maybe you have an hourglass figure, so show those curves off with a stylish pencil skirt and again nip in at the waist to fully accentuate what your mama gave you! Once you know your body shape and you buy clothes that suit and flatter this shape, you will never dress badly again.

Tip 4 – If it looks good…buy the whole rail!

Jackie O was known for her sheath dresses, Hilary Clinton for her trouser suits, Vera Wang for her tunics and leggings and Sofia Coppola for her button down blouses and ballet flats. Take a tip from the celebrities and find a ‘uniform’ that suits you. For instance, if you always get positive comments when you wear wrap dresses and you always feel amazing in them, then buy loads in different colours and wear one everyday.  Think how easy it will be getting dressed in the morning! hillary-clinton-pantsuit-600x450These, along with many other celebrities, have obviously got more than enough money to buy lots of different styles of clothes, but they choose not to for the simple reason that by having a fixed wardrobe it helps create an memorable identity for them. Fashion blogger Fiona Ferris explains, “What they’re telling us is to look to the trends each season, but what they’re doing is wearing classic shapes that suit their body and feel comfortable, and make them feel like them. I started taking notice of celebrities whose style I admired and sure enough, the same looks were cropping up over and over. They’re deliberately creating a signature look, and it’s a smart strategy. They will have thought about the image they wish to portray, what kind of person they want to come across as, and build their wardrobe accordingly”.  Another thing to bear in mind is, we all know that even though you may be a size 12 in one shop, you can go into another and you might be a size 14, or if you’re really lucky you’ll go into another and you’ll be a size 10! Our body shapes and measurements are all different, so if you do find a shop that sells the perfect fitting jeans for you, then go ahead and buy the whole rail.

Tip 5 – Declutter your wardrobe

I, for one, am a nightmare at hanging onto clothes, even if I haven’t worn them for a couple of years, telling myself, ‘Oh, but I might need it for such and such….”. index6As a result, my wardrobe is so packed full that I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Narnia‘s hiding at the back somewhere. There’s absolutely no point in me ironing anything, because the second I shoehorn an item back into the wardrobe, it’s wrinklier than an elephants trunk. I’m sure there are many of you out there, who also find yourself in the same position, so it’s time for us all to have a clear out. Drag everything out and separate items into three different piles; ‘love and wear all the time’, ‘haven’t worn for a while’ and ‘OMG what was I thinking!’. Your aim is to be able to see every single item in your wardrobe without having to rummage through it. And, you haven’t heard me say this but…it means’ there will be more space to fit in the new clothes you buy in the January sales. Shh!

Tip 6 – Create a Lookbook.

I’m sure most of you have a Pinterest or Instagram account, so why not start up your own Lookbook to keep track of outfits that you love and look good in and share, OK show off, to your friends. It will help you keep a stock take of your clothes, which will also help out with tip 5, and will make getting dress a whole lot easier as you’ll know instantly what looks good with what and when you last wore an outfit. Alexa Chung’s new app, Villoid, is a fun way of creating looks from items you don’t yet own and best of all most of the major online stores are linked to it so you can do your shopping at the same time.

Tip 7 – Be changing room savvy.

Next time you go clothes shopping make sure you’re fully prepared by taking a dressing room survival kit. No, I don’t mean a bottle of water, plasters, glucose tablets etc. but all the items you may possibly need to look your best. For instance, if your aim is to go out and buy a dress for a wedding or an evening function then turning up wearing scruffy trainers and messy hair is not going to give you a true picture of what you will look like when you come to properly wear the dress. So, by dressing room kit we mean; a hairbrush, some lipstick, control underwear and some heels. There, that’s more like it, now you can judge what the dress really looks like on you.

Tip 8 – Less is definitely more.

28500E1F00000578-0-image-a-96_1430816042579You don’t need to flash the flesh to look good, so remember the golden rule; if you’re showing off your cleavage, cover up your legs and if you’re showing off your legs, cover up that cleavage. Showing too much flesh off is, without doubt, the trashiest and most unflattering thing a girl can do and, rather surprisingly, men can’t stand it! Think about the areas of your body that you feel most confident with and show those off. Maybe you have amazing sculpted shoulders, so show them off with a halterneck or shoulder less top. Or maybe you’ve been working extra hard on your abs and want to show off your washboard stomach by wearing a cutaway body con dress. The answer to a truly stylish outfit is to look as though you have not had to work hard at it, even though you probably have!

I’m fairly sure I should be listening to all of this advice and will definitely be using these tips to freshen up my fashion in 2016, But, hey, we’ve got two and a half months yet, might as well make the most of it and well I probably need to start Christmas shopping soon, oh and whilst I’m there I could do with a new coat, oh and a new dress for all those Christmas parties, oh and… 😉

Check out the Gorgeous New Styles for Autumn/Winter 2015!

Dressing for autumn can be a tricky affair, especially if this week’s weather is anything to go by! Just as you pack away your summer vests and dresses, out pops Mr Sunshine and suddenly you’re sweating buckets in your woollen knits and thick opaque tights. The transition between seasons is never easy, but if you can at least keep up with some of the new season trends you are going to look amazing whatever the weather!

Here is our exclusive Gowns and Heels guide to the key trends you should be looking out for this autumn:

Fur, Fluff and Fuzz

medium_woodrow-dressWhether it’s curly sheep wool, statement shearling, faux fur or fuzzy felt, one key word for this season is ‘fluffy’. As long as you’re making a statement pretty much anything goes and the choices are endless. The catwalks were awash with thick maxi faux furs from Stella McCartney and Louis Vuitton, whilst Roksanda and Lanvin showcased colour pop shearling coats with huge faux fur collars; another key look.DS_7a13c3d627ced72e5db2928f4fae9487_0 If you fancy something a little less ‘out there’, the high street have some gorgeous, more toned down versions, such as this beautiful cream faux fur gilet from Marks and Spencer. This versatile piece from the store’s Indigo Collection is priced at a very reasonable £69 and is the perfect solution for when the weather hasn’t quite got cold enough to be wearing a full on coat. Combine with a floaty folk style dress for a boho vibe that is also another huge trend this autumn.  Two trends in one, now that is value for money!  For those of you who prefer a more classic look, try highlighting your outfit with touches of fur, such as a colourful faux-fur stole, like those from Topshop Unique and Roksanda, or perhaps a furry cuff around the sleeves or at the top of some ankle boots.

Boho Babe

We mentioned boho briefly above and yes it comes as a huge surprise to say that boho is back on our style list yet again! The glam rock boho we saw through the summer however, has been replaced by a softer, more romantic folksy look. Suede, fringing, tassels and patchwork knits are all key to this look and if you have a poncho, even better. Burberry_AW-15-16_USP_01Burberry, Chloe and Pucci all showed their interpretation of boho with soft velvet flares, waistcoats and patchwork clashing prints. Boho is about looking as though you have effortlessly put an outfit together, which, might we add, you are either someone who is naturally capable of doing so or you may be someone who has to put a bit of work in. One important thing to remember when attempting to pull off this look successfully, is to not over work it. Faux furs, denims, knits, motifs, patches and snakeskin can all be combined to create a superb seventies inspired style, but combine it in the wrong way and you run the risk of looking more fugly than fantastic (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as fugly fashion is a huge hit at the moment too!).

Acceptable in the Eighties

Ok, so we’ve got to admit we were slightly concerned about this one, I mean, the eighties was hardly a time of high fashion.  It makes us shudder at the mere thought of all those shoulder pads and friction inducing fabrics, so why on earth would we be looking for inspiration from this notorious decade of bad taste? aw15-trends-80s_1060x644It’s partly about trying to create some structure in your outfit, so the power shoulders are there but they’re less padded and more sculpturally striking. Other features include, ruffles, massive retro belts, polka dots, velvet, dodgy knitted prints and fierce leather. 2969272686_1_1_1Olivier Rousteing’s show for Balmain combined most of these in the one outfit, whereas Christopher Kane and J.W. Anderson offered their take on the ultimate eighties Christmas party outfit. Clothes should be big and baggy, but given shape and form with an eye catching belt, whether that’s down to size, colour or pattern, a belt plays a huge part in bringing this style together. Although this look may not seem wearable, in actual fact if you don’t go too tacky an over the top, it’s surprisingly flattering and stylish. Pleats are a safe place to start and there are loads of pleated skirts available in the shop at the moment. Zara have this dark maroon, perforated pleated midi skirt for just £39.99, which would look fantastic teamed with a printed blouson knit and……a perm.

a13908ecc50bbdc695536f04be369212Lady in Red

The colour red has been spotted all over the catwalks and there’s no escaping the fact that if you don’t include some shade of red in your autumn/winter wardrobe you’ll quite frankly look a bit out of place. You might not think you can wear red, but trust us there’s a shade for everyone; crimson, scarlet, geranium, poppy or even ketchup. Dior took the trend to the extreme with their red latex legging boots, a look that perhaps is more suited to the catwalk, or the bedroom!

Gothic Romance

Darker nights and the imminence of Halloween can mean just one thing in the fashion world; Gothic Romance. Imagine Wuthering Heights, Miss Haversham and a bit of Helena Bonham Carter and there lies your fashion inspiration. Alexander-McQueen-for-PFW-AW-15-5Dark layers of lace and mesh set against shades of deep berry create a dramatic, haunting look. Necklines should be high and ruffled and ideally you should look as though you have just stepped off the set of a 19th century period drama. Alexander McQueen has, in our opinion, captured this look best, with his striking poppy layered gown, complete with black lace neckline, a truly stunning statement piece. Accessorise with slightly crazed, flyaway birds nest hair, pale skin and deep dark blood stained lips.

Glamorous Geeks

INSPIRATION ‘The Royal Tenenbaums” 2001… Lacoste FW 2015||16 3Gucci have absolutely nailed this look, with their quirky, introverted librarian chic. Still can’t picture it? Margot Tenenbaum from Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums, should be the muse for all aspiring bookish geeks out there. Shabby fur coats, striped Lacoste tennis dresses and the obligatory hair clip are all major factors to get this look right. Ideally, you should emit an air of innocence and naivety and there should be not even an inch of flesh on show. Complete the overall look with some wide framed or cat eye glasses, a preppy satchel and a book or two under your arm.

Caped Crusaders

ab2b9ab9b4372216330f4587dddf61e2Our autumn/winter staple is, as it has been for a couple of seasons now, the hugely versatile, layering wonder garment that is the cape. It is the perfect transitional piece that almost everyone can wear, you just need to pick the right one, in the right colour and style it in the right way. If you’re petite, be careful not to choose one that swamps you too much; you don’t want to look as though you’ve gone out wrapped in a blanket. Likewise, if you’re more curvy, don’t hide behind swathes of material, accentuate those gorgeous curves with a belt and create a waist to die for. Valentino and Michael Kors are your go to designers for capes, cloaks, shrugs, blankoats, or whatever you want to call them! For those of us on a much tighter budget, Zara, Topshop and H&M all have a wide array in lots of different patterns, colours and sizes that give the designer capes a real run for their money.

Dreaming of Duvets

And finally, have you ever woken up and wished you could go to work in your duvet? Well, now your wish is about to come true, because wait for it, duvet dressing is set to be a huge trend this autumn and winter. Duvet-dressing-aw15-trend-autumn-2015The nights are getting darker, mornings are getting colder and we’re all fed up with eating salad, which means our expanding waistlines are desperate to be hidden beneath some winter layers. So, let’s all give a big round of applause to Fendi and Céline, who both featured duvet inspired quilted coats in their collections. OK, so we’re not entirely sure it’s a look that’s going to make you look your best and it’s definitely not going to make you look any slimmer, but put all that aside and just think how warm and cosy you’ll be when that first frost sets in.

I’m sure you’ll all agree that the fashion for autumn and winter 2015 is certainly very eclectic, but don’t let that put you off. What you see on the catwalk is always going to be fashion at it’s most extreme and how that gets translated across to the high street is completely different and very much more wearable. Personally, we think there’s a bit of something for everyone and many of these trends can be combined to create looks that reflect your own personality. Wear as little or as much of a trend as you feel comfortable with, but always remember to have fun with fashion.

We always love hearing from you so email gownsandheels@gmail.com or Facebook us your photos to show us what you’re wearing this autumn.

What is Fugly Fashion?

Hands up who knows what the word ‘fugly’ means?

Anyone?

For us, the word fugly reminds us of the infamous quote in Mean Girls by head mean girl herself, Regina George, “This girl is the nastiest skank b*tch I’ve ever met. Do not trust her. She is a fugly slut!”, but how exactly does this translate itself into the world of fashion?

OK, well let’s firstly take a look at the proper definition of the word. Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan from the popular blog Go Fug Yourself provide the following definition:

Fug/Fugly – basically, if you learned this word in college, you probably heard it as a contraction of ‘f**king ugly’. We prefer ‘fantastically ugly’, for sanitized purposes, and we define it as a self-inflicted state: the often terrible things celebrities adorn themselves with, or other flagrant crimes they commit against their DNA, in the name of fashion and beauty”.

So, it’s kind of like an extreme ugliness, but is by no means offensive to anyone as the ugliness is with complete man-made purpose, rather than through genetics. 11018361_419663828194296_706480774_nFugly clothes are mainly worn by confident, ‘out there’ fashionistas, who not only want to be noticed, but who are also expressing a large degree of irony and mockery at what constitutes high fashion these days. The Italian fashion label Miu Miu first alerted us to the fugly trend during their AW15 catwalk shows, in which designer Miuccia Prada showcased an array of clashing prints and colours. Miuccua explains, “Ugly is attractive, ugly is exciting. Maybe because it is newer. The investigation of ugliness is, to me, more interesting than the bourgeois idea of beauty. And why? Because ugly is human. It touches the bad and the dirty side of people. You know, this might have been a scandal in fashion but in other fields of art it is common: in painting and in movies it was so common to see ugliness. But, yes, it was not used in fashion and I was very much criticised for inventing the trashy and the ugly.”

Other designers inspired by this somewhat dubious fashion trend include: Alessandro Michele for Gucci, Massimo Rebecchi and Stella Jean all of whom presented a wacky collection of brightly coloured knits and garish prints. Celebrities are getting in on the fugly act too, with Lily Allen, Abbey Clancy, Suki Waterhouse and Edie Campbell all wearing their fugly outfits at the recent Love Magazine Miu Miu party to help promote the fashion label’s new collection.

That’s all well and good for the catwalk, but how does fugly fashion lend itself to day-to-day wear? Well, luckily for you we’ve rounded up some of the best fugly items from the high street, so you too can enter the world of fugly.

shoppingRuffled blouse

Imagine the flamboyancy of a new romantic shirt combined with the kind of print your nan would have had on her sofa back in the 70s and you’ve pretty much got it. The best example we’ve found is this fugtastic piece from Jolie Moi at Debenhams. This yellow sheer chiffon blouse in polka dot print with ruffled front captures the true essence of fugly fashion, mixing librarian chic with feminine naivety

Printed jumper

5054532368911To go with your printed blouse a gorgeously garish printed jumper is key to this look and there are loads of them out there. Put this floral monstrosity from George at Asda with the yellow blouse above and you have truly created a fugly masterpiece. The polka dot ruffle peeking out from the neckline, complimenting the yellow in the jumper will have fugly fashionistas bowing at your feet.

$_35Leopard print or PU skirt

Cheap and nasty are the key words for this trend and so rather than show you an example of each, we’ve only gone and found one that combines the two! OK, so it happens to be on Ebay, but have a hunt around your local charity shop and you are bound to find something similar. The key criteria is that you must channel your inner Scary Spice, make it tight, make it lairy and make it stretchy. Bung it with the printed jumper and blouse and boy are you on your way to making the fugly front pages!

 Buckled, platform shoes

Basically, if you want some so-called fugly shoes you need to be shopping at Irregular Choice. 7130-1-lActually, do you know what, I think we need to explain ourselves a bit here because Irregular Choice do make some absolutely stunning, albeit unusual items of footwear, but there are some shockers too and besides, someone who can truly call themselves fugly will be the first to admit that Irregular Choice is the fugly footwear aficionados. I mean, come on, look at these beauts! You’ve got buckles; tick, pattern; tick, and more platforms than Paddington. If that isn’t reason enough, if you buy these shoes, a pound of the sale goes towards Macmillan Cancer Support.

shopping1Tweed, leopard or textured coat

OK we need to add a bit of colour into the mix, as things are starting to look way too drab for our fugly liking, which is why have chosen this muppet-esque beaut from Avenue 32. Designer Hannah Weiland has created this Matisse Blue Faux Fur Gloria Coat as part of her Shrimps ’15 collection and it is the perfect layer to add to our fugly concoction. Allowing you to cross the seasons with the pastel colours, but the warmth we all need as the leaves start to fall from the trees, this coat is currently available at the sale price of £357.

11227646_5Quirky, lady like handbag

And finally, to complete your outfit, no fugly look is complete without a granny bag.  It must be roomy enough to be able to hold all your essentials, but also structured and ladylike; we’re not talking gargantuan sack here. Oh, and it must of course be made of some hideous textured fabric or have a multitude of clashing colours and prints. We think this Charming Pearl Decorated Pure Color Ladylike Handbag pretty much does the trick! You can buy it from Eric Dress for the bargain price of £14.81 and comes in 10 different colours, including yellow, red, blue and our favourite, peach.

Do you think you’ve got what it takes to wear fugly fashion? Are you brave enough to step out of the house looking like you’ve had a trolley dash through a charity shop? I’m not sure we are, but it’s certainly a look you could have lots of fun with!

We’d love to see photos of your fugly fashion, so please email them across to us at gownsandheels@gmail.com, or post them on the Gowns and Heels Facebook page and we’ll create a fugly fashion fan folder 🙂

Fab new ways to style your Trench Coat.

Ah the classic trench coat, synonymous with the cynical detective of Film-Noir, the dark anti hero from a gothic teen novel, the chic sophistication of Audrey Hepburn in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s‘ and how could we forget Inspector Gadget‘s camel trench filled with all his technological gadgetry.

It’s origins lie in the 19th Century where it was worn as military outer wear and has since evolved into a classic British staple that every woman should have in her wardrobe. index4But, what exactly is so special about this seemingly plain, unadorned formal looking coat?

Well, firstly for those of us that live in the ever changing weather system that is Britain, the trench coat is without doubt the best thing to have ever happened to us. We get lots of rain; FACT, but it’s nothing the trench can’t handle, as this sturdy waterproof cover up literally repels rain like water off a ducks back. Oh and best of all, it doesn’t look silly with wellies!

The unpredictable British weather means that one minute it can be hot and the next it’s freezing, but what makes the trench so versatile is that it can handle both of these conditions simply by being layered accordingly. The classic design means that it is NEVER going to go out of fashion, you just need to know how to style it in order to get the most out of this timeless wardrobe essential.

The Autumn/Winter 2015 catwalks were rife with unique takes on the trench coat:

Dries Van Noten opted for a dark, dramatic velvet number with rich Bloomsbury print, which would be perfect as an evening cover up and shakes off the association of a trench coat being confined to the workwear wardrobe.b1d80fa74daa82d6f8e076485d6593f8

Phillip Lim went for a short denim design with multiple layers around the shoulders to create a cape-like effect that could be just as easily styled up with some heels or styled down with some Converse.

High street stores Zara and Marks & Spencer have chosen more of a classic style in neutral shades of tan, cream and beige or for those of you that do want to wear a trench into the office, Reiss have a smart casual, wide lapel navy option that oozes professionalism.

The fashion house most associated with the trench coat has got to be Burberry. The classic Burberry trench coat has an unbeatable quality and craftsmanship that has made it the style icon it is today. 6dbe68d84c2fa46e5c16a592d1d3e1100683c22eIt is now over 100 years old and is still just as fashionable as ever with celebrity fans including Alexa Chung, Cara Delevingne and Emma Watson. With more than 180 hand-made stitches, the infamous Burberry check lining, epaulettes, gun flap, metal D-rings, storm shield and constructed from gabardine; a breathable, weatherpoof, durable fabric first invented in 1879 by Thomas Burberry, a Burberry trench may seem the obvious choice for some, but it will literally last you a lifetime and is an investment well worth making.  Our personal favourite is the Kensington, a short Heritage trench coat that gives a modern twist with it’s tailored lines and tapered waist. It is available in four different colours; Honey, Black, Navy, Stone and, our personal fave, Parade Red, and comes complete with buffalo horn buttons and the iconic check undercollar.

If you can’t quite stretch to the £1,095 price tag of a Burberry then here is our pick of the best trench coats available on the high street.

image1xxlRiver Island have this Leather Look Faux Fur Collar Trench Coat for just £95. Featuring leather look fabric, faux fur lining, oversized lapels, belted waist, zip fastening and twin side pockets this short length trench would look amazing with biker boots and some attitude.

H&M have a gorgeous softly tailored trench coat at the much more bargain price of £49.99. Made from beige imitation suede with buttons down the front, a wide collar, tie belt and patch pockets at the front this wardrobe staple is perfect for the transitional season.

51023562_06The pastel grey cotton blend trench coat from Mango has loops both on the shoulders and on the cuffs, with two side pockets and a belt buckle fastening. This is ideal if you fancy something more classic in style but want a fresher, less obvious colour.

And finally, if you are on a tight budget, New Look have a range of trench coats that offer something a little bit different. The dark grey contrast trench from featured designer First & I is priced at £35, but with contrasting detail on the collar and sleeve and a sophisticated simplicity it would suggest you are wearing a much more opulent coat. Also, from First & I and also priced at £35 is this rather unique rust version. The perfect autumnal tone to wear with a roll neck knit and skinny jeans. And finally, from New look comes this camel drape sleeveless trench coat, the cheapest of the lot at £24.99. The casual fit, open front design can be worn as a light cover up on warmer days or layered over a warm knit when the weather starts to turn.

So, you’ve chosen your trench now how to style it.

The trench coat is a style statement in itself, so it would be a shame to let it blend into the background. You either need to make it the headline act or in compliment with the rest of your outfit. Think about the colours you wear; do you tend to choose monochromes, pastel, tones or do you wear neutrals. green-asos-trench-coatThis will determine what colour trench coat you would be best suited to buying; the one that you are likely to get most wear out of. At Gowns and Heels we love brights and therefore love the idea of the ruby red, emerald green and bright yellow offerings that are out there at the moment, but equally there are fantastic benefits to owning a black trench that can be livened up with colour pop accessories. And with autumn on our doorstep there is much to be said about a beige trench coat that can be styled with rich earthy browns and burgandys. We say, if you’ve got the money invest in a couple of different colours, but if you can just afford one then you are best off choosing either black, stone or beige for complete versatility.

For a casual, street style daytime look wear your trench open at the waist with jeans, trainers and a crisp white shirt or t-shirt. Try also experimenting with sleeve length by rolling them up to create a student vibe. Trench coats can pretty much suit every body shape and simply by fastening the belt, anyone can have an hourglass silhouette. index5If you want to create a nipped in waist, but would also like to show off what you are wearing underneath you can tie up the belt but leave the coat unbuttoned. This is a modern way to really have fun with your fashion and to mix up different textures and patterns. The hem of a skirt peeking out from the bottom of a trench coat can look incredibly stylish and will add an interest to your outfit.  Alternatively, leave the coat completely unfastened to show off your outfit or even wear it slung over your shoulders to create a casual, effortless look. One thing you must be careful of is getting the length right. If you are a petite lady then it is advisable to choose a cropped trench coat as a full length design will simply overwhelm you and look as though you have raided your mums dressing up box!

If there is just one coat you buy this season make sure it is a trench. The shops are filled with every kind of style and colour available and the trench coat truly deserves a place in every woman’s capsule wardrobe.

We would love to see which trench coat you choose this season and how you style it.  We love hearing from you so please send us your photos or post on our Facebook page.

The Fashion App you simply can’t live without!

Model, TV presenter, fashion muse and quite frankly the girl we all want to be, Alexa Chung has just launched her very own fashion app, Villoid, and it is set to change they way you research and shop for fashion from the very second you download it onto your device.

tumblr_nud1xtlcR11uwl0g6o1_500The app tells us we can, “Express your unique style through style boards, follow your friends and other inspiring people, get updates of news and sales from your favorite brands, love products and build a love list (to share with your loved ones in time for Christmas…), and get notified when clothes get declared hot by the community. Then buy the things you love the most.” So, basically we’re talking a bit of Pinterest combined with a bit of Instagram muddle together with a bit of effortless Chung fashion magic. Sounds great, right?

The free app, which is available to download now from the iTunes store, features brands such as ACNE, ASOS, Chloe, Marc Jacobs, Burberry, Converse and, of course, Alexa Chung for AG. So, what else can you do on it?
You can:

  • Create style mood boards using photos and products.pic.aspx
  • Follow other style boards.
  • Connect with fellow fashionistas and friends.
  • Create “your very own endless dressing up box”.
  • Buy items from the affiliate sites on the app.

Chung is well, known for her chic, effortless style, often seen wearing jeans, blazers and branded or slogan t-shirts, and this is shown both in the design and look of the app as well as the products available to purchase. Whilst cynics may argue that an app that allows you to so easily, and perhaps even mistakenly, buy items at the mere touch of a button, we would argue that it is a revolution and a step in the right direction for the future of fashion shopping.

If you decide to download the app, trust us your life won’t be complete unless you do, then let us know how you get on with it 🙂