Monday, 25 February 2008

Oscars 2008: There's Always One Who Wears Upholstery...

This year it happened to be Gorgeous George's current paramour, Sarah Larson. I know nothing of her other than that she was on Fear Factor and is wearing Valentino.

*sigh* I know Valentino's retired now so was he looking forward to the stimulating surrounds of his future nursing home by ripping the curtains from Maud and Ethel's rooms and fashioning them into this curiously old fashioned 80s wanting to be 50s dress? Well?

Props for great skin, hair and the best accessory. Any outfit can be enhanced by the addition of Clooney. Maybe they could bottle him - Essence de Clooney - and sell it so that all men become as charming and witty and old school debonair but with a social conscience. The world would be a much better place.

Oscars 2008: Yummy Mummies

Don't let this lot fool you - being glamorous and pregnant is Hard Work. Of course if you have a team of people on hand whose sole raison d'etre is to make glamour happen then it is a bit easier. And it helps if you're as naturally gorgeous as Cate Blanchett in Dries van Noten and Jessica Alba in Marchesa (though that feather thing? Umm...)

Most importantly, check out the heel on Cate! Woman deserves an Oscar for that alone.

Oscars 2008: Why, For The Love Of God, WHY?!?

Ok, so I get that Tilda Swinton is all about being a 'serious' actress even if she did star in 'The Beach'. I get that she is actually a good actress. I get that she has some kind of bohemian lifestyle thing going on. That's all fine.

What I don't get is that she went to the Oscars a) claiming to have never seen them and b) without any make-up whatsoever and oh my god, did she not even wash her hair???

The Oscars!!! Without washing your hair!?!?! I currently have no hot water but I can still make the effort to wash my hair!!!!

She has succeeded though in causing most confusion. Is she to be applauded for not giving in and sticking to her no make-up au naturel look? Is she to be applauded for being "fashion forward" and wearing one of the most hideous things Lanvin has sent down the catwalk in a while? Or is she to be yelled at for those very same reasons? And for claiming not to have seen the Oscars. Seriously, what the freak is that all about?

I've been pondering this for, oooh, feels like forever. I'm emotionally drained. I'm offended on so many levels with this that I can't even bring myself to pinpoint what offends me most. I think it rests with the shoe boots...

The Oscars? Last Night? Endless Perusing Of Who Wore What? Oh, Go On Then...

The Writer's Strike caused a lot of anxiety - what the hell would I do without all the televisual output? No more Heroes? It seems so. More worrying though was that perhaps there would be none of the world's most important fashion show. I mean awards ceremony. Oh, let's face it, no one cares about the Oscars for the films - it's all about the dresses.

With the lack of Golden Globes and the Baftas being, try as they might, nowhere near as glitzy or glamorous, I think I was suffering from a severe Red Carpet withdrawal. Then, after Vanity Fair had already cancelled their legendary party, those sneaky writers said "Oh go on then, we love looking at the dresses as much as anyone else and we might actual win prizes too!" and lo! the Oscars happened.

They happened and were meh. You heard me - meh. Black? Red? Is that all you got? Really? The rumour was swirling that all the best dresses had been wheeled out at the Grammys seeing as no one knew if the Oscars would be the full on red carpet glamathon it should be. The Grammys passed me by seeing as The Rest Of The World (that's how America describes us on record sleeves - that's CD inserts or MP3 distribution rights to you kids - check it out if you don't believe me) doesn't really get excited by them. Rest assured though that I will be trawling the interwebs to verify this rumour, especially given some of the boredom on display last night.

Obviously I have some out and out loves and some out and out hates. Looking at all of the pretty and fugly and meh has taken the best part of a day. My eyes are starting to glaze a little but hey, who the hell wore what?!

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Monday, 18 February 2008

Friday, 15 February 2008

Shoe Of The Day/Week/Month/Year?

I've been looking at this sumptuous Prada floral heel for a few weeks now and I can honestly say they are possibly one of the most beautiful shoe designs I've ever seen. I *heart* them with a passion. Sure, they're deliciously impractical but oh, the joy your heart would sing with if you glanced down and saw them on your feet!

If you have a spare $590 kicking around, you can get them at Neiman Marcus. Don't worry, we don't hate you, just envy.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Battle Of The Fugly: Sweatpants v Leggings

Celebrities really have a lot to answer for. Not only do they take up an embarrassing amount of my time via the medium of E! or Perez, they're also responsible for crimes.

You heard me. Celebrities can be criminals.

They commit crimes against fashion. (I don't care about their actual 'legal' crimes - that's a whole other subject about how unfair the judicial system really is which requires a lot more thought and philosophising than I can cope with today. Maybe next week.) And the worst thing about these crimes? You'd think they were victimless but, Dear Reader, they are not. There can be no other explanation for the proliferation of sweatpants and leggings stretching and straining against the thighs and asses of the nation.

(For the purposes of this argument we'll leave out the Vicky Pollard influences - these girls know no better and it's not right to mock them for that.)

Sweatpants and leggings belong to an environment that is conducive to exercise - the gym for example. In these contexts, it is perfectly acceptable to wear such items. After all, that is what they were originally designed for. Letting them out on the street for activities such as shopping (I'm allergic to exercise, not allergic to shopping ergo - sorry ladies - shopping is not exercise) and, horrors, Going Out. But which is worse? Sweatpants? Leggings? Let's find out.

Sweatpants first. Sigh. Where to begin? Personally I lay the blame at the feet of Jennifer Lopez. Back in the day when she was hanging out with Puff Daddy/P Diddy/ Diddy/ Whatever-Delete-As-Appropriate and being all "J-Lo" on us, she pioneered the rise of the velour tracksuit, namely those made by Juicy Couture.

Velour, people. That's a freaking upholstery material. And there ain't nothing couture about a tracksuit made from bubblegum pink upholstery material. NOTHING!

It started off as a minor thing - random pap pics of celebs leaving the gym or yoga, places where you would reasonably expect them to wear such items. But then, like the plague or cheap ass margarine, it spread.

Hollywood became a casualty of Casuality.

Sweatpants are limited to being "off duty" despite the fact that it is perfectly feasible to be "off duty" and retain a sense of style and refinement. Therein lies the problem - there is nothing refined about sweatpants. Anything that you can wear to lounge around the house, watching 6 straight hours of True Movies, eating a family size bag of popcorn to yourself* is never, ever going to be refined.

Add to this the proliferation of Uggs as footwear of choice and it becomes quite clear that limited though sweatpants are, they are capable of merging with other members of the Fug community to create their own gang, sent to terrorise those still in possession of their sanity.

So are leggings any better? Lindsay Lohan seems to think so - the fantastic Go Fug Yourself girls have bravely taken it upon themselves to monitor LiLo's leggings odyssey. On the mean and grimy streets of Britain we've had La Moss and Sienna Miller championing their cause. Cue nation follows.

Leggings have been hailed as the catch all alternative to tights. Hang on a minute, since when did we need an alternative to tights?! I get that last summer was a literal wash out and it was colder than it should have been but feet still need covering and last time I checked it was the 2000's not the 1980's. Tights would do that job. Leg AND feet covering. All in one. Revolutionary!

The main issue with leggings is that girls have decided that they can get away with wearing long length tees as dresses. This would almost be permissible if they invested money in good quality super opaque leggings not the £1 a pair Primark ones. Which are 60 denier if you're lucky. That's kinda see-through when stretched across an ample behind.

If leggings are to be sold then they shouldn't come in "One Size" or anything over a Size 8. Harsh I know but "One Size" does not fit all. It is a fallacy and a myth that should be stopped once and for all. And honestly, anyone over a size 8 is too damn curvy to be messing around with showing the world their ass and hips in cheap elasticated material. None the less, I've seen a lot of girls wearing not nearly enough material to warrant the label "dress" and thinking that wearing leggings somehow makes it ok.

Let me make this clear - Leggings Are Not A Suitable Alternative To Actual Trousers. They Are Tights With The Feet Cut Off. (But then footless tights are a complete misnomer, they are leggings. Won't someone think of the semantics?!)

But surely, I hear you cry, leggings under miniskirts are ok? Extra coverage is good right?

In most cases, yes. Unfortunately, leggings cut the leg to a stumpy mess. No matter how shapely your calf, the sudden stop of fabric at any point of it immediately renders you stumpy and dumpy. You obviously need me to tell you this is Not A Good Look. Why wear something that makes you look shorter and wider than you are? Is not the point of clothing to enhance what nature gave us rather than agreeing with the shortcomings and emphasising those?

Leggings are also exposed to more variety. Nicolas Ghasquiére - in all other ways a genius - showed himself to have a streak of evil coursing through his fashion veins as he paraded, nay flaunted, gold metallic leggings down the Balenciaga runway. $100,000 leggings.

You'd think the madness would stop there. No. American Apparel and Topshop leapt right in there, flashing the lamé like we were back in the last days of disco. Thankfully, I've not seen anyone bite on this one. But then I've not hung out in Hoxton for a while.

So in a maelstrom of fug, what is the lesser of two evils? Leggings or sweatpants? Leggings may well be more versatile but they are more capable of causing blindness via inappropriate usage. Sweatpants are at least identifiable as trouser like and provide the necessary coverage. I conclude then that the winner is sweatpants.

Please be advised though that you should strive to achieve an "off duty" look that doesn't centre around sweatpants. They are for exercise purposes only.

* The only reason I know this is because I had to conduct such an experiment in the name of research for this post. Not that I regularly watch 6 hours of True Movies. No.

A Shoe In The Life. Part I: The Fuck Me Shoe

No matter how many or how few pairs of shoes a woman owns, one thing is certain. She will always own a pair of Fuck Me Shoes.

Fuck Me Shoes (FMSs for short) are those shoes that are a little bit too much, that would never see the light of day were it not for the correct alignment of the planets resulting in the awesome kind of self confidence that makes you look in the mirror and think "Damn, I'm hot!".

But what do FMSs actually do to a woman? How do they do it? Why do they work?

Firstly, let's take the physical aspects. FMSs are generally high heels - the height dependent on the wearer. High heels throw the natural posture out so that in order to balance, a woman's hips and breasts are pushed forward and her derriere is pushed back. Way to highlight those obvious areas! Standing like this also requires the stomach to be held in - no need for Bridget Jones knickers! Not to mention what they do for the legs and ass. Legs are lengthened purely via the muscle needed to sustain effectively standing and walking on tippy-toes, while the ass is rendered pert and shapely for the same reason. The leg and foot shape are important on a sub-conscious level - feet will point during orgasm.

You do the maths.

Then there's the mental effect. No, not that they send a woman crazy due to the possible pain inflicted by wearing such footwear. The mental effect is that FMSs empower a woman, allow her to be the woman who can have anyone she wants, no strings attached if she feels like it. They have the power to induce confidence in appearance, conversation, allow a woman to take complete command of a situation. Walking in heels requires some sway of the hips, makes a woman taller. Combine these with killer confidence and when the woman wearing them walks into a room, she feels like a star - all eyes turn to her. Hell, even if they don't, she doesn't notice because she knows she looks good. She FEELS good.

Those are some of the more obvious and general reasons why FMSs work. What man can resist the allure of a woman who radiates confidence, beauty, sex appeal? A woman who can bewitch with one look and one conversation borne out of these radiating qualities? FMSs allow a woman to be whoever she wants to be for the time she's wearing them in a way that no other shoe can do.

As for my FMSs? A four inch pair of black patent stilettos that cost me all of £10 (about $20). They're among the cheapest pairs of shoes that I own but they work every time!

This post was originally published here

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Unfortunate Fashion Mishaps: Part I - The Rogue Sock

So imagine this. You've decided to wear a pretty skirt with some chunky tights and your trusted knee high boots. Obviously over the tights you put on some socks to prevent chafing and bobbling of the tights. What you don't count on is that you forgot to take your boots in for re-heeling.


So you take off the boots and socks, bung on your trainers safe in the knowledge that your only other pair of shoes that would go are conveniently sitting under your desk at work. Off you go. No worries.

Except that would only happen to the shiny organised women who populate glossy magazines and chick lit books. What happens in the real world? This:

As above apart from when we get to the taking the boots and socks off. The Daughter is running around deciding to wear one trainer and one boot. I have to tickle-wrestle her to get her to wear a pair (we compromised on the trainers). She's all sorted and happily strapped into her pushchair cheerfully telling me that we're running late.

No shit Sherlock - we're always running late.

I hastily pull off the left boot and sock. Trainer on. Done. Right boot off. Trainer on. Done.

Did I mention I was wearing rainbow stripe socks? They kinda stand out against the inky black of my tights. Did I notice this?

No. Of course I didn't.

The first time I notice this? When I spot the cute guy I see in the morning walking back to my office having dropped The daughter off at nursery. He smiles at me as normal then scans down, eyes resting on The Rogue Sock. His flirtatious smile melts into a smirk. The horror of embarrassment threatens to make me blush. I have seconds to save this situation - my morning stranger flirtation depends on it.

Shiny hair. Shiny hair will always save the day. A quick swing of that, a slightly embarrassed smile and a brief shrug of the shoulders and I carry on, hardly breaking my stride. Until I get round the corner and hastily whip off the offending sock and curse my bad luck.

Damn that rogue sock...

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Quantity Or Quality? Or Do You Really Get What You Pay For?

I was recently presented with a bit of a dilemma. If I were to get a pay rise sufficient enough to cover the bills and leave enough left over to have some frivolous shopping excursions, how would I spend it? Clothes? Shoes? A swanky handbag? An awesome new tv?

I do ok without a swanky tv - my £15 behemoth suits me quite well at the moment (although it is getting on a bit and needs a good whack every now and then to behave). And I would consider that a necessary purchase rather than a frivolous one.

How about a posh handbag then? Honestly, I'm not that much of a bag person, especially those that are apparently the most desirable things since Johnny Depp. No, the only "It" bag I would willingly pay the earth for is a Mulberry Bayswater. The rest - kinda fugly.

Clothes and shoes then. This is where the dilemma crops up - would I go for quantity or quality? For example £45 spent in Primark would buy me at least 5 new outfits including accessories. £45 anywhere else might buy me a sleeve or one item. But do you actually get what you pay for?

I've been re-organising my wardrobes over the past couple of weeks with a view to streamline and get rid of all the stuff that I really don't wear, doesn't fit properly and can't be altered or has been worn to death. And I have a pretty random mix of origins for my clothes. They go from vintage eBay bargains, through the cheap bracket up to designer (ok, so they're eBay bargains too but that's not the point here!). The thing is, the cheap stuff has worn just as well, if not better in some cases, than the pricier items.

Are we all just being conned then? Well, yes and no. Most people are savvy enough to recognise the marketing sheen that coats most high end labels. The high street has got in on the act too. Topshop advertising in Vogue anyone? And this was happening before the famed Kate Moss/Philip Green love-in.

(Let's talk about Kate Moss for a moment as this tale tells us pretty much all we need to know about the aspirational cost versus actual quality story. At the first launch of "her" collection, I was genuinely interested to see what would be churned out. After all, this was a woman who could start and end trends like an egomanical dictator. For the prices that were being touted, I was expecting good quality fabrics and finishes on detailed designs.

How wrong I was. Cheap fabric, shoddy finishing and seriously, £35 for a vest top?!?! Yet, it sold out. Ebay prices shot through the roof, all because people wanted a piece of the lifestyle that was being tantalisingly put in front of them. A triumph of aspirational cost and marketing over common sense then.)

The key is to know when to buy cheap and when to pay that little bit more. Basic classics that will be worn time and again are generally worth that bit more. It is an average truism in this respect that you do get what you pay for. That includes casual clothes, not just smart stuff. For one season wonders then it makes sense to head straight for Primark or the like - they're busy running up passable imitations before the catwalk shows have even finished.

The best way to get the most out of any of your clothes though? Love them, love them like they were your children. Wash them properly, store them properly, get them mended or altered - either professionally or by yourself if you're clever enough (I envy you if you are!). Then you'll not only get what you pay for but you might even get a little more.