gold bangle

SINGLE GOLD BANGLE

My favourite piece of jewellery is a single gold bangle. It goes with everything- a white t-shirt, oatmeal cashmere jumper ro grey marl sweatshirt (sleeves always rolled up) and of course, a black dress. I love to wear mine on its own to make it more stand out. The Cartier “stack” has been all over Instagram in the last year yet I think it’s the single piece that whispers of understated luxury and chic.

silk shirt

SILK SHIRT

Doesn’t this shirt look just fabulous? It’s lustrous and luxuries yet utterly wearable. You could pair it with a nude skirt in luxurious suede for added sophistication or with jeans for more relaxed yet polished style.

I’d love to make a shirt in bamboo silk I saw the other day. Lustrously white, like a marshmallow or sophisticated in a luxurious hue of toffee or cappuccino.

tweed suit

TWEED SUIT

In a previous post I was talking about a tweed suit as part of capsule wardrobe, which would go with different separates. A skirt would look amazing with bare, bronzed legs and Hermes style sandals or 90’s style dainty heels and simple t-shirt, or black, men’s cashmere jumper with rolled up sleeves. A jacket would be great with both jeans or leather  trousers.

overdressed at a party? Here is what to do

OVERDRESSED AT A PARTY? HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO IN SECONDS

You’ve been thinking what to wear to this party for the past two weeks. It’s a big one, the one who got away is going to be there and you want to look your best.  Your outfit from Net a Porter arrived on Friday and your friends all agreed you are going to look just fabulous. On the day you get a blow dry and manicure. You spend an hour priming and contouring until you have Kate Moss cheekbones. You know you are looking gorgeous and you are discreetly surveying the crowd, checking if your ex has noticed you yet when suddenly you see her…

She is leaning casually against the piano,  holding a glass of champagne. She is wearing a tuxedo jacket, her hair look as if she’d lost her hairbrush three months ago and her red lipstick goes a dream with a subtle, golden tan. You spy a single ring on her finger. She looks like she has someplace better to go afterwards and you suddenly wish you could swap places with her.

What do do if you find yourself overdressed at an event or simply want to look more effortless (not casual)? There are three things you can do immediately:

  1. Take off your make up. I mean, sure you want to leave the foundation and perhaps swipe a bit of bronzer on your cheekbones but I would leave Kardashian inspired make up well alone. A red lippy and maybe a tiny bit of bronzer is all you need.
  2. Muss up your hair. Glossy, bouncy blow dry a la Kate Middleton says “I’ve been getting ready for the past 8 hours”. Batiste dry shampoo from your corner drug store is your friend- gives your hair volume and texture, and that bedhead, nonchalant look.
  3. Swap your stilettos for flats. Whether they are sneakers, ballet pumps or Hermes flats (especially Hermes flats), they have the ability to make your outfit look  little more nonchalant and carefree than a pair of killer heels.

And if you can, grab your man’s jacket and roll up the sleeves. Ready to party? 🙂

 

Sustainable fashion

THE REAL COST OF A £30 DRESS

I have a guilty pleasure- I follow an account on Instagram where the creator often shows her mood boards and fashion finds on Instagram stories. She does it very well- you first see a well put together, inspirational mooboard and then, once you feel sufficiently inspired,  you can simply swipe up to purchase an outfit you’ve just seen on the board. An added bonus- the clothes are rarely more than £30.

Despite watching her Instagram stories almost religiously, I’ve never bought any of her recommendations and I never will.  I simply cannot buy a £30 dress because I know that the cost- to everyone else but me, would be much, much greater.

First of all, there is a human cost. We all remember Rana Plaza disaster yet do you know that after a while, things came back to almost the same way they were before the death of over a 1,000 of people? The main factor driving this is a price. Everyone says things like “fair trade”, “fair pay” and “sustainable” and then go to a fast fashion chain and purchase trousers for a few pounds. When customers demand cheap fashion, the simple equation is that to keep the proces down, the workers must earn a pittance.

The other factor is the fabric.  Polyester is cheap to manufacture so if you check garments from fast fashion companies, 98% of their clothes will consist of 100 % polyester. Here, the cost to us is twofold. Firstly producing polyester uses a tremendous amount of fossil fuel. Secondly, polyester is just plastic, heated and forced through spinnerets into fibres. Not only is not biodegradable but when washed, it released tiny microfibres which are too small to be bought by any filters, and travel straight to our rivers and oceans.

I cannot get on board with this and I think we have no right to use the planets resources in this way.  My dad is a politician and he had always thought of himself as a “keeper” of the town he governs. He plans (along with others), invests, thinks about the future of the town and next the next generations of inhabitants. I think we should think of ourselves in the same way- we are keepers of the planet for people who come after us. We can use the resources responsible but we cannot mindlessly plunder everything in sight and abuse others in the process.

shopping style

WHAT KIND OF SHOPPER ARE YOU?

Last Sunday my friend and I went on a shopping expedition. Nothing out of ordinary- girls exchanging plastic for clothes. Weekend reality. But it got me thinking about what kind of shopper am I? What kind of shopper is my best friend?

We don’t shop together much because our shopping habits are completly different. Apart from occassional impulse shoe purchase, my friend approaches shopping like a woman on a mission. If she needs a pair of shoes or a dress, she consults me and a few glossies, draws up a plan (or demands I do it since I tend to know the layout of most shops inside out) and then executes it with military precision. By the end of the day she will have bought exactly what she was looking for.

I’m used to be an eternal wanderer. Save from a few specific purchases, I used to go in to the store to see what’s new in the name of research. I hardly ever planned to buy anything yet if there was an item that was calling me name, it went home with me. I was that girl who was excited about upcoming “buy it” Instagram feature whilst simultaneously reassuing my bank mamager it was going to be all right. My habits have changed in the last couple of years and from eternal wanderer I also became a women on a mission. I must admit that it saves me tons of money (but I miss my afternoon at Selfridges :))

I’ve identified a few different kinds of shoppers based on girls I know and myself. Do you recognise yourself in one of them?

@ Loyal shopper– she’ll buy anything from a brand or a store. If they sell it it means it’s cool. Here a brand or a store takes on a role of celebrity on social media. You know, if X, Y or Z (insert your own one because de gustibus…) is wearing it’s enough validation on the cool front. I must admit I’m guilty as charged. Why, Selfridges of course followed closely by Liberty are the offenders…They provoked me, Your Honour.

@ Impulse shopper– she’s just got paid and the money’s burning a hole in her pocket. She went to get a t-shirt and returned home with a pair of sunnies, a bracelet and a key ring. She didn’t really need them but they are fun and that bracelet will fit perfectly with the boho trend. Anyway, it was cheap. Only, she just realised that she just spent £50, in addition to another £50 she spent two days ago but she already forgot what she had bought.

@ Bargain hunter– if somewhere, anywhere in the entire digital sphere that pair of shoes she wants can be bought with 3% discount, she will find it. She’s a queen of vouchers and a die hard fan of Groupon. In her eyes value of an item is inversly proportional to it’s bargain price.

@ Woman on a mission– she will plan her shopping trip and execute it with military precision. Like a remote- guided missile, she will ignore distractions and go in straight for the target. She keeps her eyes on a prize.

@ The researcher– she needs a bag. An investment bag and that means she won’t rush out an buy it before debating pros and cons of a particular model, comparing the hardware and checking internal compartments. She’s became a regular on Net-a-Porter where she conducts her research. After a few months she might buy the bag. Possibly. But if she buys it, what on Earth is she going to do on the train to work or at lunch in the office?

And you- what kind of shopper are you?

 

EFFORTLESS STYLE- THE SECRET

Or rather- effortless style secrets 🙂 If you ever wonder how do they do this, those girls who seem to pick up a first thing from their closer (pile of a chair ;)) and look amazing. Oh, and they seem to have lost a hair brush some time ago…

I’ve always wanted to know, ever since I went to Paris and for the first time, consciously noticed what the women were wearing. They seemed to have an easiness abut them, effortlessness and certain nonchalance.  The outfits didn’t look laboured. What was their secret? Of course, the grass is alway greener on the other side fo the fence and it took me a a long time to notice that women in London were cool and effortless just as much.

The eureca moment happened to me one day when I was getting ready to go out. I put on a pair of favourite trousers, a silk St Laurent shirt (I was hankering after it for ages and one day found it massively reduced on  The Outnet :)), grabbed a bag and put on my favourite mules on the way out. I was ready. Deciding on an outfit used to take me hours and now it was now taking me about a minute.  I think you’d need to ask yourself if:

Do you clothes go together? By which I mean- if you were to dress in the dark, would you still look good? Or do you work on outfits, laboriously putting pieces of puzzle together? In my opinion, this is the most important factor.  Styled outfits can look amazing of course but it’s a far cry from true effortlessness. In my previous posts I put together a capsule wardrobe example. You could pick out any two items from the list and I can guarantee you that they would go together.  When I was putting together my wardrobe, I often looked up to Isabel Marant collections for guidance. Her clothes are super expensive and not always up my street, yet the way she designs them is exactly what I’m talking about- you can pick out any two pieces and they would go together like a dream.

Do you have an uniform? That’s something that really helps to achieve true effortlessness. Did you notice that most stylish people often seem to wear the same thing? I’ve got a girl crush on Barbara Martello- look her up and see how she wears slim jeans, silk shirts and well cut blazers most days. She is one of he most effortless, stylish women I know of.  Tried and tested formula helps to forget about the outfit so we can get on with life- whilst looking fabulous.

Do you own it? Is it you? Do you feel comfortable in it? Does it make you feel great? You cannot look effortless unless you really, truly own the style you are sporting. I gave you examples of what rocks my boat but it’s not just one and only formula. My mother has amazing boho style and is copied my many other women. Yet, I would never look truly effortless in her clothes (even through they are great) because I just don’t feel it’s me. So find your style (I know, sometimes its a tall order), build a wardrobe around it, forget about trends and own it.

How to build capsule wardrobe

HOW TO BUILD A CAPSULE WARDROBE PART 2

Last week I was talking about the principles of building a capsule wardrobe and today I wanted to talk about it in more practical terms. What are the building blocks of a capsule wardrobe and can I avoid the white shirt cliche? We all know white shirts are amazing but really, how many of us wear them on the daily basis?

So what are the building blocks of a capsule wardrobe? Without further ado, let’s start:

  1. A cashmere jumper– a real wardrobe hero. I would recommend cashmere because it’s thin enough to wear in spring and on summer evenings, yet so warm you will wear it in the winter. They go with everything- skirts, jeans, leather trousers…I would recommend you buy one in grey and one in black or navy. My favourite cut is a crew neck from a men’s department because of its stunning, sharp simplicity. Roll the sleeves up one your wrists for added style.
  2. White t-shirt. There’s rarely anything more stylish than a white tee, a pair of blue jeans and aviator sunglasses. It’s an epitome of cool. It looks great peeking from under your grey cashmere jumper.
  3. A shirt– although there is no need to buy a white one. You could try black, blush or nude. Silk would be a great option of you can afford it (Everlane does great ones). A well cut shirt is a hardworking wardrobe hero and will take you from office to a dinner in the evening. It can look elegant, effortless, nonchalant (if you undo this extra button :)), chic- depending on how you wear it.
  4. A suit– but not the City banker type. My favourite ones are tweed, Chanel-esque type (LK Bennet does good ones) because you can wear them separately as well.  Jackets would be perfect with jeans or leather trousers, too and any of the above tops. The same goes for the skirt. If you can afford it, make sure it’s made of wool rather then polyester. Apart from environmental impact, polyester will make you sweat. A lot.
  5. Slightly oversized wool blazer, Isabel Marant style- this is your autumn and spring jacket. I must say that a trench coat never really worked for me as it’s too thin for these autumn or early spring days.  A blazer makes you pulled together an adds nonchalance if you pair it with leather trousers.
  6. A robe style coat– an absolute classic which goes with everything in your wardrobe. The beauty of it is that it’s elegant to wear to work, yet not structured like for example a double breasted coat, so you can wear it with jeans and leather trousers. It would be great if you could invest in wool or wool and cashmere blend, not acrylic. It’s pricey but you would wear it for years to come.
  7. A pair of leather trousers– I don’t think hat there’s a single, more hard working piece in your closet. A cut and shape will depend on your figure and what flatters your body. I’ve been wearing mine since 2012 and unless I put on weight, I’m planing on wearing them with everything for years to come. Leather trousers, white tee and cashmere jumper is my go to uniform.
  8. A pair of jeans– need I say more? It doesn’t matter what’s in fashion (unless whatever is in fashion happens to suit you)- it’s best to go for a cut that makes you look and feel great.  They look best sightly worn so you may want to try a vintage pair.
  9. A black dress- I would recommend a simple, versatile, no fuss midi, made of slightly stiffer fabric. It can be worn in the day to the office, dinner or a party in the evening. It would make a great impact with simple flat mules, Manolo style.

Would you add anything to this list?

How to build capsule wardrobe

HOW TO BUILD CAPSULE WARDROBE PART 1

I’m forever seduced by a single rail of clothing on Pinterest. Would’t it be wonderful if this was my entire wardrobe?- I ask myself. Better still, how would I do with a suit, cashmere jumper and just a single white gent’s shirt? A capsule wardrobe- every minimalist’s dream.

Of course I know it’s rather unrealistic because gym for example? On the other hand, just a handful of times are what I’m wearing on a daily basis, with an addition of leather trousers and a coat (or two) in the winter.

Having got rid of mountains of clothes (I’m too lazy for eBay so I just donated all the items that looked nice and were in good condition) on one occasion, I went into editing frenzy, constantly taking away from my closet but not really adding anything new for a while. I wanted to identify what I really needed in my wardrobe before shopping (yup, you’ve guessed, lunchtime Zara addiction is long gone).

The first step for me for to really think about my lifestyle. In my twenties I was a girl about town and had a closet full of evening dresses- Versace halterneck, DVF red slip, you name it. I remember once scouring the while of London for a replica of Eva Green’s purple dress she wore in Casino Royale (I found a similar one in Pandora dress agency). After I changed my lifestyle from a party girl to business owner 😉 for a while I still kept buying cocktail dresses and complaining that I had nothing to wear. Duh.

So the first principle of building a capsule wardrobe was for me to evaluate my lifestyle. I may be forever seduced by Instagram accounts of eternally sun seeking girls but I live in cold Britain so we all know where this is going 🙂

Second principle of building capsule wardrobe may be obvious to me now, but again, it wasn’t so obvious when I was in my twenties. I shopped as if I had a body of a 6 foot, super skinny model, and then complained I didn’t look good in my clothes. I mean, it sounds incredible silly now but I wanted to be this tall, tanned girl with no belly fat and long legs and I shopped for her and not myself.  I kept buying tops that only looked good on super flat chested girls and was annoyed when my breast kept escaping from the tops,  right, left and centre. Now I know that if I wanted to hide my breast, I should have got a well cut shirt. I know how to make my legs look longer and arms slimmer and it doesn’t involve supermodel clothes but I least I look much better than before.

Third principle was to learn what I feel comfortable in. I learned it the hard way, spending money on clothes I thought I needed to wear. Do you remember when everybody wore the Galaxy dress by Roland Mouret? I’m sure the original version was comfortable and well constructed, but the knock offs on the high street were anything but. I worked in a law firm and everybody wore it so I kept squeezing myself into the dresses, even thought I felt like I was in prison. I remember one particular trip to Bicester Village where I bought a more expensive version of the dress and a jacket, which seemed appropriate for the office, but I felt like a frump in it. I hated both. I should have spent the money on a silk shirt and an A-line skirt and I would still wear it today. I hope someone bought them in our local Oxfam and had better use of them them. Even though it was merely 3 years ago I would never make this mistake again. Nowadays I don’t really compromise. If I can’t find anything I like, I leave it. The right thing will eventually turn up.

Minimalist style

OUR BRAND AMBASSADOR

Ladies, meet Kush- an activist, women’s right champion and a fabulous woman all around. We met when I posted an advertisement for brand ambassadors. to be honest, I first chose her because her her beautiful cheekbones and shiny hair, and of course the fact that she fits the bill for a petite model (Sascha & The Boys was founded with short women in mind).  Only wen we were chatting I discovered that she left her high flying job to work for a non-profit, teaching women business and financial independence, and fighting against women trafficking. In her spare time she studies fashion supply chain. We could ave chatted for hours about our dislike for fast fashion and the prevalence of plastic in our lives, from supermarkets to our closets.

I love that she is so courageous, leaving society admired job to create a life of her dreams. She is passionate and intelligent and I think you can really see it on the photos. Unfortunately, current format of this site does not allow for more photos so I’ve put more of them on my other blog, www.champagnegirlsabouttown.co.uk.

Kush is embodiment of everything Sascha & The Boys stands for- courage, passion and integrity. I also love the fact that she is over 30 because her face is not only beautiful but also interesting and full of emotion. I’m looking forward to working with her on future shots- she is a women I want to make clothes for- a woman who had the courage to follow her heart.