Friday, 23 January 2009

Preparing for Spring/Summer '09

Transitioning your wardrobe from one season to another can be a somewhat frustrating art to master. No sooner have we become used to the wonderful winter collections thrust into the shops along with sale rails begging to be browsed, it’s then a seemingly instant shift in trends and we are presented with a whole new collection offering new colours, styles, fabrics and designs!

With a bit of thought and good advice, dressing in style between seasons can be exciting. I’ve been out shopping in London and browsing the latest catwalk collections to put together some style advice and inspiration just for you, ensuring you are ahead of the game for the next few months whilst also being spring summer chic when the sun finally arrives.

I’ve identified a few key and exciting trends for this season such as bold colours, florals, harem trousers, jumpsuits, gingham, denim and more. You'd be right in thinking that none of these trends are new but they’re progressing this season and looking even better than before!

If cash is tight for you right now, remember that window shopping is a fashionista’s first ingredient to a wonderful wardrobe, so always keep an eye on the catwalks for inspiration and lookout for the styles that suit you best.

Bold colours
The most exciting theme that popped up on the Spring Summer Catwalk for me were the bold colours and prints. Bright blues combined with other strikingly bold colours led the way for Gucci in Milan.

View Gucci's collection here

Combining bright colours can achieve a stylish and unique look. Uniqlo, the increasingly popular casual wear retailer have also picked up on this colour blocking idea and turned them into a sensation for their new collection.

I like this little yellow Uniqlo cotton cashmere cardigan , £19.99 (perfect for a winter warmer or summer cover up). Unfortunately their online range is quite basic but if you live in England, you’ll find a huge of variety of colours in-store. Whilst shopping at their London Oxford Street branch at the weekend, I came across loads of coloured block items such as funky bright coloured cotton vest tops, pink and green skinny jeans and plenty more.

Gingham shirts
I also spotted an uber cool gingham shirt with a drawstring waist for only £19.99 at Uniqlo. Checked shirts were a massive hit in 2008 and are most certainly here to stay, at least for this summer.

I love Gingham shirts right now. They’re easy and comfortable to wear. There are loads of ways you can wear them, you’ll find neat, tailored or ruffled ones for smarter occasions and oversized ones for more of a thrown on look.

Mary-Kate Olsen in a cool Gingham shirt.

I really enjoyed Luella Bartley’s collection, she especially highlighted the floral favourite with her stunning dresses and blouses.

To view Luella's full collection on click here

Kate Moss identified the garden theme last year with her collection for Topshop making it an instant style statement.

If you’re looking for a transferable floral number to tide you through seasons, I found this beautiful ruffle dress at Topshop (£45). It’s sleek and chic with tights or very skinny jeans, and then going into Spring/ Summer it will look pretty and girly with a pair of sandals.

Mary-Kate Olsen looks fantastic in a beautiful floral dress.

Lily Allen has a gothic take on the floral theme.

A little tip... when wearing any cool colours or fancy florals, either keep it simple for a sophisticated look or mix it up a bit with some vintage prints or statement jewellery.

This Spring Summer update wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the fashion favourite that is denim. For years, jeans in their many forms (skinny, flared, boot-cut and high-waisted) have been a huge part of a woman’s wardrobe, updating season after season. The best thing about them is they go with almost everything and there is a style and shape for everybody!

There is only one basic rule for the jean phenomenon, that is, for a fuller or pear-shaped figure, a darker shade, flares or a boot-cut leg will have a slimming effect whereas a lighter shade makes a skinny figure appear curvier.

Beyonce on the other hand goes against all the rules; she is frequently spotted in skinnys and still looks fantastic, so there really are no absolutes. Skinny jeans do accentuate every curve and boot cut’s or flares hide a little more but as long as you’re comfortable and confident, that’s what matters most! If you’re experimenting with high waisted jeans, try a fitted top tucked in to accentuate that fabulous waist. Skinny belts also look super stylish with High waist jeans.

I know cheap chic is probably preferable right now to most, however a good quality pair of denims is always a great investment. They’re a wardrobe staple and if they fit you well, they will be your bottoms friend for years to come!

Let’s see how some celebrities ‘do’ denim:

Mischa Barton opts for celebrity favourite Sass and Bide, known for their great fit.
Check out their fantastic new denim collection at

These leopard lovelies sported by Fearne Cotton are a style not many can pull off, but if you dare to try, you’ll be bang on trend for Spring as the 80’s revival is on its way. If these aren’t your cup of tea, dig out an old retro pair that will definitely go with more.

Kelly Brooke favours the high waisted, flared and faded combo.

No two figures are identical so my advice is to spend a little time finding a pair of jeans that suit your own body shape perfectly. Here are two of my favourites, both priced under £50/$80 they don’t break the bank either!

I love these Iggy Vintage Wash Skinny Jeans from Asos, great with heels or flip flops.

With a slight “boyfriend jeans” influence, these French Connection 'Okayama' flares are lovely. This particular shape will flatter most physiques and the dark denim is versatile, as it’s suitable for smart or casual occasions depending on what you team it up with.

I thought I would give you a quick preview of the other Spring Summer trends which were hot to trot on the catwalks.

Paul and Joe, the growing Parisian label mixes two key trends with this cute floral jumpsuit making flowers and all-in-ones suddenly very wearable. To check out a slideshow of their full range including lots of floral items click here.

As I’ve mentioned before, accessories are so important. I was extremely excited to see fringed accessories making their way into the high street giants for this season.

This Black Pyramid Stud Clutch from Miss Selfridge ticks both boxes with fringing and clutch bag qualities, and a snip at £25.

Ruffles are still going to be huge, both on clothing and shoes. Baggy Harem trousers are a new biggie too, I've spotted a few celebs sporting Harem trousers recently.

Dianne Kruger in cream short Harem's

Ashlee Olsen in black Calvin Klein Harem trousers

Naomi Campbell pictured with Andre Leon Talley in black sequin Harem's

Maggie Gyllenhaal in Proenza Schouler Harem's

Nude palettes and heavy metals are also going to be huge (metallic jewellery is the easiest way to tap into this trend).

Whatever your mood, style or price range, I hope you have found some inspiration to update your Winter wardrobe and take you into Spring looking gorgeous!

Post written by Katie Powell (Fashion PR and stylist)

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

New Year, New Wardrobe!

So it’s the beginning of January ladies and I’m sure we are all feeling the cold as well as the credit crunch pinch, but there really is no need to fear, as the fashion news for 2009 is finally here!

This month is always a tough one for keeping up to date with trends and different style notes given the madness of Christmas and the need to economise.

Luckily for us, this January it's all about refashioning and personally customising your existing wardrobe using key accessories. This is great news as accessories can fit any type of budget and become staple members of any fashionistas apparel. Refashioning is not a new phenomenon though, the working women of the 1940’s had to do it when their men went to war by transforming their daywear to nightwear, casual wear to work wear and so on. A new style along with a sense of individuality has always been achieved by recycling old outfits and looking at them in different ways. So, below I find the best of the best (accessories) and the rest is in your wardrobe.

Hats are always a winner for winter weather, but this year they are back with a bang! No more excuses needed for those bad hair days, just take your pick of beret, bowler or beanie and away you go.

The beret hat was originally French but has since become a favourite for designers and celebrities everywhere. Vera Wang’s ‘Lavender label’ 2008 collection shows the beret in its original style……….yet Fergie, Hilary Duff and Rihanna highlight the versatility of the French beauty and how it can be worn in many ways and on many occasions.

Although wearing a beret or beanie in a slouchy style seems to be the trend at the moment, be sure to pick one that suits your individual style.

Rihanna is on the ball with her grey embellished hat. Embellishment is huge this season and it can take you from day through to night. Why not try accessorising your own hat with some sequins or a pretty brooch? This stunning Pansy Brooch from Banana Republic is a real beauty and would transform any regular hat into a vintage find.

Brooches are a great investment as you can also wear the same brooch on a plain Jacket making it a little more interesting. Victoria Beckham's brooch works well with her black Jacket.

Of course if you do need to update your hat collection, then ASOS have treated us with this gorgeous oversized knitted beanie in three colours (Black, Navy and Cream) all retailing under £8/$12.

Fearne Cotton shows just how cool she really is in a Charlie Chaplin style bowler hat, this again is a great hat choice for a relaxed shopping trip as Fearne highlights but it would also look fabulous with a fitted tuxedo jacket (hot for 2009), skinny jeans and those favourite killer heels.

The other main player in the accessories department is jewellery. The most significant style for early 2009 is layered necklaces; these offer an alternative to trying to find a fancy, detailed top as well as adding that extra glamour to your Little Black dress. Never wear huge earrings and a statement necklace as it can often look too much and the charm of one can be lost.
I simply love this Vintage inspired medallion layered necklace from ASOS retailing at £9.97 / $19.94. Its gold, it’s chunky and its metallic which is also a mega must-have for 2009.

Kate Moss opts for a more casual look with her Medallion Necklace and it still looks great.

I also found this beaded vintage looking Ralph Lauren necklace ($78 at Bloomingdales), a great piece of jewellery that would liven up any outfit, day or night!

My final pointer to set you on your way into January is the idea of reinventing your current winter coat or an old one. I know the thought of the miserable weather continuing can seem bleak but I see no sign of it disappearing just yet and that means we have to keep cosy but cool for maybe one month more.

As discussed earlier, embellishment is on trend along with big flowers and this is also perfect for pinning a flower or brooch on the collar or trim of a jacket. Another quick and easy way to customise your coat is to cover the buttons and turn up the cuffs to reveal some different fabric on the inside of your coat. This can make a real difference and totally spice up an otherwise plain coat; I’m sure most of us have at least one sitting in the wardrobe, some not having been worn for ages!

You can buy covered buttons from any haberdashery store for next to nothing. Simply replace the old ones or if you’re feeling confident you can choose any material you wish and cover the old ones yourself! This is such a fun idea which anybody can do and adding your own personal touches will most certainly ensure that nobody else has the same coat as you.

A few simple changes really can make all the difference so start rifting through that wardrobe and get creative this January!

Post By Katie Powell (Fashion PR and Stylist)

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