Thursday, 18 September 2008

It's Cool to be Comfortable!

Knitwear is set to be massive this season, with designers such as Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane and House of Holland showcasing their best knitting skills on the catwalk. The look this season is all about comfort and layering. Think chunky turtles necks and fine knit dresses. As Teen Vogue’s Fashion Director has sighted: "It’s ‘cool to be comfortable’ this season".

Forget knitting being reserved for your Gran and badly fitting cable knit (well fitted cable knit actually looks fab and is a definite 'must have' this season!) Knitwear has infiltrated most aspects of our wardrobes as of this autumn. From skirts to dresses to capes, the High Street is full of knitwear!

Normally I would advise not to ‘over-do’ a trend but that’s out the window this season! Wear knitwear head to toe, in combination with another big trend this season, layering!

Stars from Peaches Geldof and Hillary Duff to supermodel Claudia Schiffer have adopted the look.

As usual, Topshop is amongst the early adopters of this trend with a wide variety of knitted products on offer. From this knitted cape at £40 to this great knitted gilet at £38.

Go to Cape on Topshop website

Topshop Knitted Gilet

Go to Gilet on Topshop website

If you are heading out on to the High Street then I strongly suggest you pay Mango a visit. Mango’s latest collection is full of greys, deep purples and of course a spectrum of knits. From cable to fine knits, you will find something that suits you. H&M have also just launched their Autumnal offer, complete with cable knit skirts, and hot tipped product of the season, jumper dresses.

On the web, my two favourite e-tailers, ASOS and have chipped in to help knitwear become one of the biggest trends this season. I love this Chanel-inspired cardi at £45, just like style icon Alexa Chung.

And can just imagine snuggling in this cosy cream cable knit option from Oli at £45.

Go to item on Oli website

Knits don’t have to be reserved for cardigans and jumpers, this season we are seeing them turn up in skirts, dresses, capes and of course accessories so this trend is really open for you to interpret! Try to layer your knits, and don’t be afraid to experiment...
remember if you look cosy, you’ve got the trend spot on!
Post By Alexa Gilbert
London Institute of Fashion

Friday, 12 September 2008

Jackets & Coats for Fall 2008

When your outfit and accessories are all covered up, then you need to make sure that jacket or coat is extra-stylish!

The bad news is that the colours instore and on the runways are not very bold this season, with most ranges sticking to black, navy and grey tones. The designers are however pushing some major style boundaries with Varying prints, Big prominent bows, Victorian influenced ruffles and shoulders, Tailored leather jackets with mid length sleeves, Back gatherings, Extreme long length and Man-suit influenced tails (my personal favourite!).

These days, it's not even uncommon to be able to find a stylish and well fitting Jacket in a lower end store such as Primark or Target with some items even being featured in Vogue and Grazia magazine. Unfortunately the fact remains that you do get what you pay for, hence the quality will not always be up to scratch, but I see nothing wrong with a little budget shopping, mixing and matching.

I've done a little browsing for you - and found a handful of gorgeous jackets that are selling online and in-stores right now. Be it to show you where to buy the best styles or to offer you some quality fashion inspiration, have fun looking. If you're sitting at your office desk and can't get to a fashion show, then this really is the next best thing!

This Belted Waterfall Jacket from Topshop (selling at £65.00) is my favourite. The designer has been rather adventurous with the use of Ruffles, a huge Bow and checks but its definitely a winner - a perfect combination that really works. The tailored fit accentuates your body in the right places also making it versatile enough for office, street or a night out. Click here to buy

This next one is a really unique, a superb fitting jacket also from Topshop. The satin style fabric makes it perfect for a night out. I particularly like the gathering at the back which does wonders for the figure.

Go go to item

I also found this interesting coat (at Topshop). Again the designer is experimenting with a few styles - military buttons, semi-tailed, Victorian influenced shoulders, feminine detail to sleeves and bow style detail at the back. I think its a fantastic coat, perfect for a really cold day when you still want to look great!

Click to go to item

This is a beautiful Vintage inspired coat by Sienna Millers collection Twenty8Twelve. The coat is called: L41523 Clyde Mink, go to the collection's website for stockists.

All Saints Fasrill Jacket (£110)

I love the neckline on this Jacket made by All Saints. Perfect for a night out, looks like it's come straight off the catwalk.
All Saints website

This coat by Principles uk is really stunning, the sheen fabric makes it perfect for a night out with a dress, though it can be worn during the day too.

Click here to buy item

'Bloomingdales exclusive' Bow Jacket at only $98.

Click here to buy item

This is a gorgeous Vintage style Leather Jacket by Julien Macdonald for Debenhams. I love the small frills down the centre. This is a perfect daytime Jacket, though it can be worn on a night out too!
click here to buy item

The Denim Jacket certainly hasn't gone out of fashion, and Abercrombie have delivered, with a really gorgeous one. The fit is feminine and colour is versatile (Vintage abercrombie wash), perfect for 2008.

Click here to go to Abercrombie's website

I adore the big prints on this coat by Tara Jamon, click here to buy click here to buy

This is a cover-all coat by designer John Rocha, exclusive to Debenhams, would go really well with tights and ballet flats or heels, screams Sienna Miller.

click here to buy

For more fashion inspiration, I've collated a few Photographs from the Ready-to-wear 2008 collections:

Christian Dior


Alberta Ferretti

Carolina Herrera



Friday, 5 September 2008

Layering for Autumn

As the warmer weather fast disappears, I deemed this topic to be quite appropriate. Layering is a great styling method for this season and through Winter!

When done right, layering your clothing creates an effortlessly cool look that's comfortable, unique and versatile. It's also a really great way to get more wear out of your favourite bits all year round!

I like to take inspiration from shots of a few 'old hats' who's efforts usually come out right, such as Mary Kate Olsen, Sienna Miller, Gwen Stefani, Kate Moss and even Kiera Knightley. You can also take some inspiration from the catwalks and layer your career wear too! We all know plain office suits went out a long long time ago, and seeing as some of us spend most of our time at work, why not spice up your office gear with a little layering?

I must warn you that even though layering can look fantastic - it can also go quite terribly wrong, resulting in a look that's mismatched and rather unflattering. So learning how to do it right is key.

I have 15 simple practical tips for achieving fantastic results when attempting this trend. We all have such unique features which we prefer to emphasize as well as varying body shapes and colourings, so you can take on board the tips which work for yourself. For me, fashion is all about retaining your own individuality whilst experimenting with new idea's and pushing a few boundaries. I don't believe in hard and fast "fashion rules" for all.

So here are my top 15 tips for layering effectively:

1) Work with a base of one or two simple key colours, then add a few bits that brighten up the outfit, such as a colourful scarf, cardigan, top, Jacket, leggings, tights, shoes, handbag, purse accessories or a hat

2) Remember black makes you look thinner and if you're wearing a few items, this can be helpful

3) Stick to skinny jeans, tights, leggings if you are wearing more items on your top half, this being to keep some of your shape in view. If you're wearing "boyfriend" style jeans, then keep the top half fitted with a vest, fitted cardi and perhaps a bomber jacket if it's chilly

4) Scarves, Pashmina's and wraps look great with layered clothing, especially if you can find some unique bold colours, designs and prints. Right now I'm loving animal prints

5) Different kinds of Hats can be pulled off easily with this look, so experiment a little

6) Dresses or long tops over skinny jeans look stylish

7) Smaller more fitted bomber or vintage, 50's style jackets retain a slender look

8) When going for a bigger jacket, try keep the rest of your clothing a little more fitted to ensure some of your silhouette is visible

9) The 'androgynous' style works when layering, but too much in this style will extract all femininity

10) Ruffles on tops, dresses, necklines etc are great eye candy and can be a perfect key piece

11) Remember too much is never a good thing, so if you're going for a really bold key item, then keep the rest a little more low key

12) Colours are exciting and get you noticed. Be adventurous, but use your common sense... some colours just don't go together!

13) As with any style - work with your own body, accentuate your best bits

14) Break all the rules if it looks good!

Last but certainly not least, and this may well sound like a cliche but I consider it a vital key to the success of any outfit:

15) Be comfortable, confident and like yourself in whatever you're wearing as that has a huge effect on your posture, walk, facial expressions and the overall look of an outfit. Never underestimate the importance and benefits of accepting yourself and loving you just the way you are.

Here are some examples of 'Layering' done well, with a few snaps from Paris Fashion week 2008 at the end, feel free to comment:

Mary Kate Olsen

Kiera Knightley

Rachel Bilson

Model Lily Cole

Kate Bosworth

Sienna Miller and Mary-Kate Olsen

Sienna Miller, loving the accessories

Sarah Harding

Kate Moss

Kate Moss

Giselle Bundchen

Paris Fashion Week 2008

designers Marithe and Francois Girbaud

Jean Paul Gaultier fashion house

Balenciaga Fashion house