Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

Accessories, Affordable Fashions, Contests and Giveaways, Department Stores, Events, Fashion Tips, Features, Spotted in London

Shiny gets styling with M&S!

By Daisy Buchanan on August 16th, 2013

Here’s what happened when Shiny Style were asked to help style competition winner Alec for a celebratory dinner in store at M&S…

 

Alex looking smart in his suit.

Alex looking smart in his suit.

Alec told us he wasn’t exactly a fashion fan, but as soon as we clocked his height and posture, we knew he’d be a dream to dress. We were tempted to steer him towards a very formal suit that he could wear to weddings and smart parties, but he told us he was actually looking for something a bit more casual and versatile, that he could wear with jeans on a night out.

We knew the range for him was M&S Limited Collection, which specialises in modern, slim fit cuts which look great on younger guys. Limited Edition pieces tend to start at a a fairly reasonable price point, so we had a bit more styling budget to play with – we even managed to find shoes for Alec.

It didn’t take long at all to find Alec’s dream suit – a dark grey two button number that set off his broad shoulders a treat. After trying a classic white shirt/red tie combo, we talked him into a very light lilac shirt  – because purple is for guys too…

The piece de resistance came in the form of a bright purple floral embroidered pocket square and matching tie. The pocket square gave the traditional pieces a modern feel, bringing the look right up to date while referencing a vintage, gentlemanly look.

The day was so much fun that we’re tempted to spend our weekends hanging about the M&S menswear department and seeing if there’s anyone there we can help out. Obviously, we would have been completely helpless if it wasn’t for the brilliant members of staff, who knew everything there is to know about fit and style.

Meeting Alec was a true joy – he should feel very proud of his achievements. We hope he had as much fun as we did, and that his partner enjoys the results during his special dinner.

Follow Alec @prozacprince



Contests and Giveaways, Department Stores, Events, Fashion Tips, Features, News

Shiny Gets Styling With M&S – Part One

By Daisy Buchanan on August 14th, 2013

tie 200At Shiny, we love a challenge – and to be honest, the usual ones we undertake are of the “I bet you can’t eat all these sausages!” variety. So we were thrilled when M&S asked us to undertake a proper, grown up challenge – being given a budget to style someone up in the best pieces from their ranges. And that person would be a man. It was to be our first major foray into menswear – and we’re keen that it won’t be the last.

We were asked to style up competition winner Alec, who had just graduated from his police training with the MET. His partner, had asked if M&S could find Alex the perfect suit so he could celebrate his achievements in style at a special dinner.

We knew that styling Alec would be exciting, but challenging too – and the biggest challenge of all would be listening to Alex and making sure our own feelings about fashion didn’t influence him too heavily, and that he ended up picking the outfit that suited his personality best.

Come back tomorrow to find out how we got on. Did we manage to avoid any Fast Show suits you references? Did we have to chase each other around the menswear department with tape measures a la Benny Hill? Were we allowed inside the actual men’s changing rooms? All these questions – and more – will be answered.



Fashion Tips, Features, Gallery, Knitwear, Opinion, Tops, Trend Alert

10 trends to get you excited about Autumn/Winter 2013

By Lauren Bravo on August 11th, 2013

All good things must come to an end, and that means summer. But it’s ok, because autumn is waiting in the wings and by golly, is she well dressed…

I’ve always felt that September is the real New Year. It’s that back-to-school feeling. Every summer I planned to arrive back for the autumn term transformed – new hair; new school shoes; new Ellesee rucksack.

Now that we’re grown up the September resolutions are still there, but it’s more about going back to style school – remembering how to put proper outfits together, after a summer of slouching about in increasingly creased cotton things and sandals like a beach urchin. Silhouettes become a thing to consider. Layering is an option again. There are exciting textures to play with, and exciting jumpers to wear on all those exciting nights in watching Downton with a blanket on your knees.

Autumn Winter 2013 is already looking mighty fine, and she’s not even here yet. Tartan, cocoon coats, mind-spinning animal prints, leather in shapes you’ve never seen leather before… here’s a preview of great pieces to keep your spirits up when the temperature drops.

The cocoons!

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If only all AW trends were named after the things you really want to do during autumn and winter. The 'blackberry crumble' trend and the 'duvet on the sofa' trend could join cocoon shapes in our wardrobe, and we'd accessorise with a hot water bottle hat. Until that day, we have coats like this one from ASOS to wrap up in - textured, cosy, and specially designed to leave room for extra pudding while simultaneously keeping the draught out. Plus, it's orange.



Beauty, Features, Opinion, ShinyStyle Investigates, Skin, Uncategorized, Yay or Nay

Fake tan without the smell: is it possible?

By Lauren Bravo on August 9th, 2013

Smells like teen spirit? That’ll be the DHA… Lauren Bravo investigates exactly what makes fake tan stink

Cocoa Brown 1 Hour mousse tan I remember when I finally worked out exactly what fake tan smells of. It came to me in a flash, like a song from childhood or someone’s name on the way home when you’ve spent an hour avoiding them at a party.

Everyone says it smells like biscuits, but it doesn’t. Not quite. After all, biscuits smell delicious. If I could douse myself in Eau de Custard Cream every morning I’m pretty sure I’d be at least 32% more successful in life. “Why, what’s that intriguing, crumbly musk?” they would ask as I wafted by. “She must be mine!”

No, it isn’t biscuits. What it smells like is: the milk at the bottom of a bowl of cereal. When you’ve finished your Crunchy Nut Cornflakes and there’s just a puddle of lukewarm, grainy beige milk left, that’s the smell. A bit sweet, a bit wheaty, a bit lactic, a bit sour, a lot cloying. We’re basically walking round wearing the equivalent of a week’s breakfast remnants rubbed over our limbs, and then we wonder why no one wants to sit next to us on the bus*.

But of course, if tanned is your look of choice then honking like a Frosties factory is still a million times preferable to skin cancer. And with each year bringing new, better bronzing formulations in every conceivable format – no streaking, no orange eyebrows, no mucky bedsheets – sometimes it feels like the smell is now the only obstacle.

So when Marissa Carter’s Cocoa Brown express tan mousse landed in my inbox, claiming to give a deep brown tan in an hour with “no fake tan smell!”, I leapt on it. I had high hopes. At best it would live up to its promise, at worst it might smell of Nesquik instead, which would be a nice change.

Nose factor aside, the colour is fantastic. Despite the name sparking what I believe is known in the business as “RossfromFriendsaphobia”, it was actually very subtle – golden, building up to a warm nut brown if left to develop longer, without a hint of orange or sallowness, and it lasted well. Going on, it smelt pleasantly of Tahitian gardinia (or ‘flowers’ if you’re not reading the back of the bottle). I waited. I rinsed. I sniffed. Same old pong.

It seems to me the weird thing about fake tan isn’t the smell, it’s that so many brands are in denial about it. “This smells of apricots!” they tell you. “This smells like the exact meadow Laurie Lee romped through in Cider With Rosie!” And they do, when you’re applying them – then three hours later, WHOOMP. There it is. I suspected this might just be a non-negotiable, so I did some research (*asked on Twitter) and found out I was right.

“The active ingredient in self-tan is DHA (dihydroxyacetone), which reacts with the amino acids in the very top layer of skin to create a “tan”.  It is this chemical reaction that produces the distinctive “fake-tan smell”, the intensity of which can vary from brand to brand depending on the quality of the DHA used, and, to a certain extent, from person to person.”  says Dawn McDaid in a refreshing burst of brand honesty. She’s Marketing Director of Britsh-made St. Moriz Tan, which in four years has become the UK and Ireland’s biggest selling self-tanner.

So the smell is actually the thing that’s tanning you. It can be masked, it can be less strong if you’re using the good stuff, and it varies from person to person according to whether you’ve lucked out in the pheromone lottery – but basically it’s a keeper. It’s the price we pay for a yacht-fresh glow without the UV damage.

Now I’ve made my peace with the truth, I’m willing to forgive their gardinia-addled delusions and give Cocoa Brown another go, because it did a bloody good job. But come winter, when my limbs have returned to their natural off-blue, the only food smells about me will be the ones I spill down myself at the Rib Man pork truck.

@laurenbravo 

*Of course, I am perfectly happy never sitting next to anyone on the bus. One day I might go the whole hog and empty a Kellog’s Variety Pack into my lap so I can read my book without Elbows McGee getting up in my personal space.

 



Affordable Fashions, dresses, Features, Sleeves of the week, Trend Alert

Sleeves of the week! ASOS tartan shirt dress, £35

By Lauren Bravo on August 6th, 2013

Autumn will be here before you can say ‘pac-a-mac’, so embrace the new season’s bonniest print now…

ASOS tartan shirtdressAs I was sat yesterday, watching rain sheet down the office windows like the deluge from a less-fun log flume, I had a pang. A pang for autumn. “In only a couple of short months,” I thought quietly (because people clobber you if you say this stuff out loud), “I’ll be wearing a coat and eating custard again.

“I’ll stop getting messages that say things like ‘Hampstead Heath! 30 mins! Bring inflatables and a portable volleyball net!’ and we will all simply stay in with a blanket on our knees and watch X-Factor and have a snooze. I’ll stop moisturising my armpits like the Dove adverts tell me to and have time for important things, like finding out what this season’s snood will be and affixing kooky brooches to my hats.

“There will be new prints to embrace, ones that don’t involve flowers or flamingoes. The magazines will tell us that elbow-length leather gloves are going to be big, the way they do every September, and maybe, just maybe, this year they actually will be.”

The new print I have chosen to embrace first – because the Edinburgh festival is now in full swing, and Scotland tirelessly proves itself ahead of the fashion game year after year by being cold enough for A/W trends months before London finally shakes off the smell of overheated crotch – is tartan. ASOS is going fully Westwood for tartan this autumn (that’s Vivienne, not Tim) and I’ll be following along in their wake like the lovechild of Malcolm McLaren and a thickly carpeted chain hotel just off the M73. Heck, even the Queen’s at Balmoral.

This sheer shirt dress is a nice way to ease yourself into the richer colours of autumn without sweating it out in a jumper just yet. Team it with bare legs, big necklace and clumpy shoes, then wait patiently for leather glove weather to arrive. It won’t be long now, kids.

Available end of August

 



Beauty, Features, Gallery, High End Department Stores, Opinion, Perfume, Reviews, Skin, Uncategorized

The ultimate oils, scrubs and moisturisers – get thighs like Maria’s circa 1999!

By Daisy Buchanan on August 5th, 2013

I am still obsessed with Mariah Carey for these three reasons:

1. All I Want For Christmas. The huskies, the sled, the red velvet cape that was cute and winsome and in no way suggestive of a festive prostitute doing a photo shoot for a December special offer.

2. Cribs. Tommy Mottola era Mariah’s shoe room was a totem of excess and irresponsibility. Her fondness for black velvet and lucite made 16 year old me fall straight down the stairs of Bournemouth’s Bar Med while wearing what I believed to be  an homage to her glamorous sex worker style. I tripped in some bad shoes and then I walked with a limp. It made my subsequent post GCSE summer kinda lame. Hers were Gucci, mine cost £17 from an establishment called the Shoe Shed, and I later learned they were enormously popular among the transvestite community of the South West.

And finally, 3. The cover of Rainbow. The thighs. I would give up all my worldly goods (a three year old MacBook and some Roja candles) to rent those thighs for half an hour. If ever I see a picture of Beyonce in a maxi skirt, I think she’s been Google image searching 1999 pop culture for a bit, seen Mariah and thought “Huh, I give up.” I challenge any human being, whatever their gender and sexuality, not to look at those thighs and long to lick them for a solid calendar month. And not February, either.

Obviously the thighs have been honed and toned with some sort of strenuous exercise routine. (Which begs the question, which one? What did people do after Jane Fonda and before Tracy Anderson? Even Davina didn’t really exist as an exercise guru in 1999 – I think she was still wearing pleather with a split fringe.) Also, I’m sure the image is “digitally assisted” – not because I’m a horrid jealous bitch (well, I am) but back then she was Columbia’s show pony, and the lady artists of the era were all Photoshopped to look like sex cartoons, unless they were with MCA.

But the thighs are immortal because of their gleam. They glisten like the azure sea on the brochure of the sort of high end resort that gives guests actual Veuve, not prosecco, at the breakfast buffet. They shimmer with the ferocity of a thousand 99p Spangle nail polish bottles. They’re so milled and smooth and golden and impossible that they must have a threadcount. You long to throw yourself at them, not knowing whether they’ll yield like lobster butter, or bounce like the most expensive mattress on the John Lewis website. I will never have thighs as magical as Mariah’s, but I have rounded up the most fabulous oils, butters, exfoliants and lotions so that we can all have thighs that feel* like Mariah’s. (*thanks to a cease and desist order filed in 2002, I have been advised by my lawyers to state that I have not actually felt Mariah’s actual thighs.)

Noble Isle Summer Rising Cornish Hedgerow body lotion and bath and shower gel, £38 for the set

Noble Isle is my swaggiest discovery of the summer. Even if it made your skin drier than AA Gill believes himself to be, I would recommend it because of the painfully subtle sexy scent, which evokes 5pm on a 28 degree day in a deserted garden with a cool camomile lawn. If you’re anxious about oil and you like to wash and go, the lotion absorbs into your skin in seconds and locks in the heavenly fragrance of the shower gel. But your legs, arms, and anywhere else you care to apply it will feel like satin all day long.

Jardin D’Eden Detox Heavenly Butter, £30, and Detox Body and Bath Oil, £20

If you fancy filling your bathroom with the sort of products that will trick visitors into thinking you’ve got a ludicrously high end spa in your house (and if you don’t, there’s nothing for you here and I’m not entirely sure why you’re still reading) Jardin D’Eden is the brand for you. The scent is clean but heavy with geranium, which undercuts the rose and keeps it feminine but not too girly. The body butter contains Hawaiian Kukui, which is new to me, and I suspect it’s the ambergris of the smoothing community. (WHAT? That’s a thing.) The grapefruit in the oil is energising and reviving  – a potenially life saving property for all you bath nappers.

Elemis Japanese Camellia Body Oil Blend, £29.50, and Fragipani Monoi Salt Glow, £36.50

If you put nothing else on your body all year, including clothes, you’re going to need Camellia oil. Slather it. Beslicken yourself with it. Pretend Joe Francis is pointing a camera at you, and it’s his birthday. (Well, don’t, because The Patriarchy, but it seemed as appropriately nineties a reference as any.) The oil will turn your skin into something formed from petals. You will feel and smell so much like a flower that you  might want to avoid garden centres, for safety. Camellia is the scent of courtesans, famous for making people want to have sex with people who wear it. Be warned. The only thing sexier than you, oiled, is you scrubbed and oiled. A little Salt Glow in the shower, before the oiling, will make you forget Maria’s thighs, because you will be so enraptured with your own.

jd-body-butters

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Behind the bag, Behind the bag, Designer Fashions, Features, Uncategorized

Behind The Bag: The Cath Kidston Nappy Bag

By Daisy Buchanan on August 1st, 2013

CathKidston 190“I will never be that dude, dude,” is what Carolyn said to Alexa the first time they went to Mothercare together. They planned to embrace parenthood on their own terms – Hackney baby raves, A.P.C. baby clothes, and absolutely no free Pret Babyccinos. Twee was the enemy – and after their distressingly modern friends Lara and Lou started dressing their newborn as the Doily Infanta, they knew they had to guard against it at all costs.

The Cath Kidston nappy bag was a tease. Alexa bought it for Carolyn online because she didn’t want anyone to spot her going into the shop. Carolyn opened it and laughed for seven solid minutes. But it proved a source of distraction at breakfast. “It’s so capacious,” murmured Carolyn, stroking the lacquered cotton and counting pockets.

Now that baby Wollstonecraft has been born, Carolyn is rarely seen without her virulent floral case. She’s a brilliant Mum, quietly and confidently capable – but she’s still the wickedly bitchy giggler Alexa fell in love with. Alexa adores parenthood, but she misses nights out, nights in, and her partner’s Eau de Nile Sophie Hulme, which had to be retired after Wolly was sick in it. Still, she has big plans for the nappy bag. It’s the perfect thing for storing and selling laughing gas at Bestival. Carolyn thought that was another joke, at first, but she’s coming round to the idea.



Beauty, Celebrity gossip, Designers, dresses, Fashion's biggest myths, Hair, Perfume, Uncategorized

Happy Royal Baby!

By Daisy Buchanan on July 24th, 2013

crown thumb.jpg

An approximation of what may or may not  happened in the Lindo Wing yesterday, based on several press releases I have received

“Mmmmm,” murmured Kate, looking around the room sleepily and reflectively. “I’d really like some chips. Really greasy ones, with loads of vinegar.”

“Sure thing, Duchess,” grinned Will. “How about I go to that place on the Edgware road?”

“Do be careful out there!”

“I’ll be fine – I’ll use the escape hatch. I’ll be quick!” Will wanted to get back to his beautiful bride and baby as soon as possible. He also wanted to make sure Kate wasn’t left alone for too long, lest she sign anything confirming the baby name as Princess Consuela Bananahammock. He had thought she was joking, but then, she was still feeling the effects of gas and air.

“Chips! CHIPS! No time for chips! How will you ever lose all that baby weight if you eat chips?” The mysterious, disembodied voice seemed to boom and trill simultaneously. It belonged to a man who, at first glance, appeared to be Karl Lagerfeld. He wore a onesie adorned with tiny Union Jacks, each formed from thousands of miniature Swarovski crystals.

“Um, hello, are you with the hospital? Don’t think we’ve met. I’m William.” Will grinned sheepishly as protocol kicked in.

“I am Davide. This is Sebastian – grooming. And Katya – hair setting. Alice – hair polishing. Ivan for nails, Ben for face make up, Sydney for eyelashes and Sidney for eyebrows.” A line of people stood waiting, each clutching a silver attaché case bigger than the last person’s silver attaché case.

“I, ah, um, er, may I get you something to drink?”

“NO NEED!” shrieked Davide, flicking the locks on the most enormous attaché case of all to reveal many, many cartons of Vita Coco.  He directed his attentions at Kate. “First,  the hair. You had hair that once made the editor of Figaro cry! Hair envied by Kim Sears, girlfriend of Andy Murray, and World No 2 in the world of hair! Now it is your hair that looks No 2. So lank! So greasy! What happened?”

“Well, you start to sweat really heavily when the contractions begin, and…”

“SILENCE!” whispered Davide, visibly shocked by the concept of a perspiring woman. “It is OK. We restore you to loveliness with Shu Uemura Cashmere Shampoo, £27 for 100 ml, and Frederic Fekkai Jasmine Shaft Serum, available from Space NK. ”

“What about a leave in masque?” suggested Katya, timidly.

“THERE IS NO TIME,” rejoined Davide.

As the magical hair and beauty elves set to work on Kate with Giant Sleep Rollers, as worm by Mollie from the Saturdays, Davide started talking wardrobe.

“I have this – classic,” he said, holding up a vintage midnight blue Roland Mouret Galaxy dress. “The same that Winslet wore to the Oscars. A good dress, if you are British and your name is Kate. But obviously, you will need shapewear.” He tossed her a pack of Spanx Punishers, eyeing her belly with disdain.

Kate drew herself up to her full 5″10. “That’s very kind of you, but I’d prefer not to…oh, William, TELL HIM!” Davide’s face said he wasn’t going down without a fight.

Will set his jaw to its most diplomatic jut. “We both talked about this – all of this – and we decided that we wanted it to be fairly low key. My wife has just had a baby. No-one expects her to have a tan and mascara and whatnot. She was just going to wear this.” He gestured to a dark, shapeless garment hanging on the back of the door.

Davide felt the material between thumb and forefinger and sniffed. “A Topshop beach dress! From Spring/Summer 2006? Purchased, if I’m not mistaken, in the sale!?” Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no.” The ball was in Davide’s court. With a flourish, he pulled a pretty blue polka dot Jenny Packham dress out of his sleeve. Kate fell upon it.

“No Spanx?” she frowned at Davide.

“No Spanx,” he smiled, crossing his fingers behind his back. “William, we have a blue shirt for you, too. We need you to match your wife, to show unity.”

William was reluctant. He had become quite attached to his grubby t shirt. It was covered in baby drool. It made him feel like a proper Dad. “We’re showing the world a baby we have had together. How much more unity do you need to see?” Still, he threw it on over his t shirt and started buttoning with a minimum of bad grace.

Kate was beginning to unwind. She watched in the mirror as her chestnut locks, glossy once more, were pulled into undulating curls. “God, I’ve become one of those totes blow dry dependent women,” she thought to herself. “Maybe I’ll get an organic Brazilian style treatment, available from hair salons nationwide! After all, I am a cash rich, time poor new Mum!”

Davide’s work was nearly done. “Go get ‘em, princess,” he grinned, spraying Kate with Illuminum White Gardenia Petals and motioning for her to step into a pair of classic black LK Bennett courts. William and Kate exchanged a look. “At least they’re not Manolos,” comforted William as he helped the mother of his child into the shoes.

***

Later that day, Kate kicked back with a massive saveoly. Baby Princess Consuela Bananahammock was fast asleep, and Kate spoke quietly so as not to wake him. “Mum,” she said to Carole. “You were right. Thanks for sending stylists and things. Davide was really nice.”

Carole sat bolt upright on the sofa. “But darling, we didn’t send anyone! You told us you wanted to be left to get on with it! Who’s Davide?”



denim, dresses, Fashion Crush, Fashion Tips, Features, Get the look, Movie fashion, Nostalgia, Opinion, So you want to look like, Television, Uncategorized

A guide to New York style, by someone who hasn’t been there yet

By Lauren Bravo on July 21st, 2013

I’m going to New York! I’m going to New York! Bring on the marching band! Pour me a chocolate malted and put a bagel in my face! But what in the name of Gunther do I wear?

I have never been to New York before. I’ve never been to America, in fact. I’ve only got as close as Canada, which as telly would have you believe is about as close as going to Luton airport and saying you’ve seen Big Ben. So because I’ve been waiting a full quarter century of my life to finally take a bite from the Big Apple (and by ‘apple’ I mean ‘baked goods’, and by ‘big’ I mean, “is that a doughnut or a dinghy? Oh well too late I ate it.”), I’m putting a lot of pressure on my outfit choices.

Of course, all of my New York style fantasies until now involved tailored coats, snow, maybe an enormous fur hat or two – I didn’t imagine I’d be schvitzing my way round the concrete jungle in 30 degree heat. But air con-willing, I’ll still be able to reference some of my favourite New Yorkers from TV and film – and not a Manolo in sight.

 

The Elaine

Elaine Benes

balck and white Dune brogues

£69 Dune

We will truly know that fashion, like childbirth, erases painful memories to allow for its perpetuation when the 90s revival makes us start wanting to dress like Elaine from Seinfeld.

I’ve already felt the first twinges – fancying a pair of black and white platform brogues, poofing up the front of my hair into curly brown halo, craving a Big Salad despite barely liking small ones – but maybe this holiday is the time to really let rip. I could buy a floral-sprigged skirt and enormo-shouldered suit jacket, or a suede waistcoat to wear with some stonewashed Mom jeans. But I’ll beware the lying mirrors at Barney’s, naturally.

 

 

The Working Girl

Working Girl

Primark zebra earrings

£2.50 Primark

 

I recently watched Working Girl for the first time, and I’m not sure how I ever lived without it. I want to ride the Staten Island ferry across the Hudson with the wind in my perm while Carly Simon sings Let the River Run with a gospel choir. I want to apply purple eyeshadow up to my eyebrows and be best friends with Joan Cusack. And while none of those things are likely to happen, I can at least rock a pair of vaguely terrifying drop earrings like these, £2.50 from Primark.

 

 

The Hannah

Hannah Girls HBO

Topshop aztec playsuit

£44 Topshop

As we’re staying in Williamsburg and it’s basically the only show in my arsenal that makes New York look fun in the height of summer, Girls will be my primary reference point. I’m aiming for a strategic blend of 50 per cent Jessa, 20 per cent Hannah, 15 per cent Marnie and 15 per cent Shoshannah (entirely hair doughnuts and croissant purses).

The biggest regret of my chaotic pre-holiday packing process is that I haven’t had time to find a pair of shorteralls like Hannah Horvath’s. After all, nothing says ‘summer in the city’ better than a confident crotch-to-leg fabric ratio, and I never could resist draping myself in a nice portmanteau. Ideally I’d want them to be flimsy cotton in one of those prints that look like flowers, then when you get close-up you realise it’s actually tiny alligators, eating their young – but failing that, this Aztec playsuit by Goldie at Topshop will do the trick nicely.

 

The Diane

Annie Hall

 

white shorts Missguided

£21.99 Missguided

Diane as in Keaton, one of the finest actresses ever to grace a pair of wide-legged slacks (see also: Katherine Hepburn). Were I going in cooler climes, I’d be running round London right now trying to find tweedy Oxford bags and a tie to create a look I’d lovingly think of as ‘Annie Hall: the busty years’. But as it is I’ll have to be content with her tennis outfit, crisp white shorts, shirt with turned up collar, topknot, socks. That and hunting out Kate Spade’s La Dee Da bangle on request of my co-editor Daisy.

I’ll also state for the record now, when it comes to hair I will be channelling Meryl Streep in Manhattan for as long as I can… before it all sticks to my neck like a merkin in a steam room.

 

 

The Rachel/Phoebe/Monica

 

Friends season 1

Friends was not a clothes show. It was a hair show. We all know that. Never has a feature on the caffeinated sixsome started with a breathless, “the outfits!” followed by a treatise on Monica’s v-necked t-shirts, and it was probably all the better for it.

BUT, cast your mind way back to the early seasons and there are a few gems to be scavenged. Rachel’s crisp white t-shirts, jeans and tennis shoes; Phoebe’s penchant for crushed velvet smocks; Monica’s leather jackets… ok, no. It was a hair show.  I’ll just shut up now and start packing.

@laurenbravo



Beauty, Features, Reviews, Uncategorized

The ultimate guide to skin primers

By Daisy Buchanan on July 17th, 2013

The fabulous Lottie O’Connor is an arts editor extraordinaire over at www.pinch.tv but she also knows aaaaaall about stopping foundation from sliding off one’s face…

The Cheat’s Guide to Skin Nirvana

In theory, I am currently basking in that magical, brief in-between stage: too old for teenage spots, too young for the dreaded wrinkles. I am in skin nirvana, waking up every morning looking like Miranda Kerr, minus the weird bendy selfies. Except I’m clearly not. Twenty-something skin comes with its own annoyances – shine/deathly pallor/general unevenness – usually depending on what has occurred/been consumed the night before. Add a bit of sunshine and a packed tube platform, and it all goes a bit Dawn of the Dead.

So, what to do?

I’m not a fan of the BB cream. Everything I’ve tried has essentially been a crapper version of my faithful Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser. No, I need something clever. I demand magic, illusion, wonder in a tube…

Step forward the primer. Not just any primer mind you – I’m not talking about those weird jelly textured things that make you feel like you’re being embalmed. I’m talking about the kind of primers that go under your usual makeup and create a magical version of you that has had 12 hours sleep and didn’t stop at ‘Royal Chicken’ on the way home. These are my top three. Between them they keep me looking vaguely respectable, even after a rush-hour tube scuffle on a hot day.

Skin Matte primerFor shine: Murad Skin Perfecting Primer, Matte £29

This is the best shine-fighter I’ve tried, and trust me, I’ve tried a lot. It’s tinted, goes on like a moisturiser and creates a veil of perfect matte that makes your makeup stick for the rest of the day.

Sampar glamour shot

For tired skin: Sampar Glamour Shot, £26

This plumps up, erases lines/pores and generally creates the kind of skin that you dream of. Pure magic. The bottle says that you should use it alone or over makeup, but for me it’s a perfect base – shove some tinted moisturiser on top and pretend you’ve had botox.

Clarins beauty flash balm

The old school all-rounder: Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, £29

This is the kind of thing you find in your mum’s cupboard aged 14 and proceed to steal periodically for the next five years. Sorry mum. A classic is usually a classic for a reason, and this is no exception. It’s like a power shower in a bottle – the perfect thing to help you wake up, sort yourself out and face the day.

Follow Lottie on Twitter @LottieOConor



Affordable Fashions, dresses, Features, Opinion, Sleeves of the week, Trend Alert

Sleeves of the week! Neon animal tunic dress, £38 Topshop

By Lauren Bravo on July 17th, 2013

Nightshirts are the new minidresses, it seems. But they have sleeves and look foxy so that’s a-ok by us

Topshop neon tunic dress £38Every time I’ve been into Topshop recently, I have touched this dress and gone, “ooh!”. Sometimes I pick it up. Once I even made it as far as the changing room, before the sight of my gleaming red face in the mirror told me I was already far too sweaty for a ridiculous full-scale exertion like lifting my arms over my head then bringing them down again.

(As a side note here, will Topshop ever learn that proper air conditioning in their changing rooms would drive up profits by about 500%? I’m no Alan Sugar, but even I have clocked that customers are more likely to buy a garment if they don’t have to wring it out for underboob sweat at 30 second intervals. I bet that’s on page one of the Business Studies textbooks: ‘Don’t make your customers perspire against will’)

But glands aside, I love this dress. It looks vaguely like a man’s nightshirt from the turn of the century, in kickin’ fluoro animal print – if Tommy Steele had been in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, this is what he might have worn. It’s also a far more accessible version of that mens-shirt-bare-legs thing that has only ever been successful for post-coital women in films, and it’s plenty flimsy and bright enough to look summer-appropriate but with sleeves that will see you right through the autumn.

@laurenbravo



Beauty, Fashion Tips, Features, Get the look, How to Wear, Nostalgia, Opinion

The rookie’s guide to liquid eyeliner (by a long-term lover)

By Lauren Bravo on July 16th, 2013

Eyeliner was introduced to the Western world in the 1920s with the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, and we’ve been getting in a tizzy over it ever since… Here’s how to do kitten flicks without looking like a dog’s dinner

Tutankhamun, early eyeliner icon

Tutankhamun, early eyeliner icon

I am in a make up rut.

I am the Marge Simpson of cosmetics – just the same wardrobe of Max Factor mascara, Garnier BB Cream, Bare Minerals foundation and L’Oréal Superliners in varying levels of crumbling dried-outness, stretching back ad infinitum. The rest of these items will get an upgrade every few years, or fall out of favour for a week or two while I play with something newfangled, but the one constant that always remains is the eyeliner.

Do you remember a time before liquid eyeliner? I do, dimly. I remember crayoning on khol, jabbing white pencils in my tear ducts to ‘brighten’ them, meticulously sponging on lilac shimmer up to my eyebrows – but it wasn’t until liquid liner made its triumphant comeback, around 2005, that I felt like I truly had eyes. Before that they were just plain, blinky holes in my face.

It all changed when the 50s and 60s stormed back into the present, kicked Dido into touch, and replaced the tedium of the early noughties with new icons like Karen O, Alison Mosshart and the queen of them all, Amy Winehouse. Women who gave great eyeliner. And because I was 17 and mastering a kitten flick seemed easier than trying to date someone from a low rent Brighton indie band, liquid liner became my hobby.

Eyes

These are my eyes.

Eight years on and I’m pretty sure my look has been relegated to the retro cast-offs bin for longer than it was ever fashionable (when Kate Middleton got married in sultry panda eyes, it drew a suitably thick line under eyeliner’s reign as an edgy make up choice), but I don’t care. It defineth my face. And I mean that literally because without it I have an incredibly oval head, like a boiled egg.

Every so often I’ll have a fit of spontaneity and ditch the liner, because it does make my lashes look twice the length, but I just end up squinting into mirrors halfway through the day wondering why there’s a pink balloon with a mouth drawn on, hovering where my head should be.

So like Coco Chanel’s red lipstick and Cindy Crawford’s mole, precision liquid liner is my beauty ‘signature’ – and unlike my actual signature, I’ve become quite good at it after years of practice. So good I feel qualified to lay down my liquid liner laws. Ignore them at your peril! Or just comment below and tell me I’m talking bollocks.

 

LAUREN’S LIQUID LINER LAWS

1.    Find your liner life partner

Eyeko Skinny LinerL’Oréal’s original Superliner (£6.49) has seen me quite literally through thick and thin. I love it because it has a flexible nib, somewhere between a felt tip and the flimsy brushes of yore, and because it stays put, but can also be easily wiped off during application if I mess up.

But if you feel more confident with a sturdier tip, Alexa Chung’s favourite is Eyeko’s Skinny Liner (right, £10), which is just like the felt tip you would use to do your famous bubble writing on school projects (bubble writing really was the social currency of the primary years, wasn’t it?).  The inky nib makes it easy to get right up close to the lash line and good for a really sharp flick. Shout out also to Eyeko’s mascaras – I’m in love with the Mascara Wardrobe (£21), which gives you lengthening, volumising and curling wands to swap in and out as you please.

2.    Thou shalt not rush.

Michelangelo didn’t do the Sistine Chapel in half an hour, and your liquid liner deserves the patience of a grand master too. But once you’ve got the knack, it’ll take no longer than shmooshing on a bit of shadow, I promise.

3.    Eyes open!

Yes, yes, we’re all scared of accidentally blinding ourselves. But screwing your eye closed while you apply is only ever going to leave you with a weird feathery line and a blackened tear duct. So eyeball fear in the face, learn not to flinch and keep them open – it makes it far easier to see how your liner is actually going to look when you’re awake, too.

4.    Diff’rent strokes.

One of the biggest myths people to seem to believe about liquid liner is that it needs to be applied in one complete sweep, from inner eye to outer, with no stops, no reversing and no do-overs, or else the make up police burst out from a cupboard and confiscate it in the name of Dusty Springfield and all things holy. NOT TRUE.

The best way is actually to start by using little strokes, bit by bit, to build up a line that perfectly follows the curve of your eyelid. Remember that school science experiment where you built a standing bridge out of wooden blocks? It’s almost, sort of, not entirely unlike that.

5.    To err is human

If you go wrong along the way, don’t just keep painting over the mistakes until you can barely see – stop and wipe off the wonky bits as you go. You can get fancy with a cotton bud and eye make up remover if you like, but my preferred method is spitty finger.

6.    Think thin – at first

Even if you fancy bold, felt-tipped go faster stripes, it’s best to start with a skinny little line right up against your lashes. You can always go back and thicken it afterwards, but drawing it halfway up your eyelid from the off is a sure-fire way to look like an Avril Lavigne tribute act (Avril Latrine).

7.   Keep to your zone

The bigger the eyeliner flicks, the more chance there is they’ll look a bit ropey, or rub off during the day. So as a rule of thumb, the tip of the flick should line up diagonally with the end of your eyebrow and protrude no further.

8.    May the best flick win

Now, you’re a busy lady. You’ve got stuff to do. You’re halfway through that PHD and the cat needs worming and Storage Hunters is on in a minute. You don’t have hours to spend with a protractor, checking the exact angle on each eyeliner flick. I get that.

But nothing undoes the power of a slick lick of liquid liner quicker (or makes your face look wonkier) than mismatched flicks at the end. So my rule is: may the best flick win. Freestyle as best you can, and if one comes out thin and spindly, the other thick and blocky, pick the one you like best, wipe the other off and try to recreate it so they match.

@laurenbravo



Fashion Tips, Fashion's biggest myths, Features, Opinion, Uncategorized

Fashion’s biggest myths: the summer special

By Lauren Bravo on July 11th, 2013

Summertime, and the dressing ain’t easy… so the last thing you need is false information. Lauren Bravo blasts the myths of hot weather dressing.

 50s models on the beach

 

There is such a thing as a ‘summer work wardrobe’

beige shorts Apricot

Apricot

There really isn’t. As far as we’ve been able to discern, summer workwear as a concept was invented for the same reasons Valentine’s Day and the Queen’s Jubilee were – to fill magazine, shift merchandise and be a disappointment to all involved.

Glossy mags love to talk abut summer workwear because for them, as for their papery cousins, summer is silly season. And it doesn’t get a lot sillier than telling people they need beige city shorts and Perspex-heeled mules and a fedora to go to the office in the morning.

What summer workwear really boils down to, of course, is not boiling down – it’s just normal workwear but thinner, lighter, and far harder to wear a suitable bra with. Safari suits, white trousers, silk jumpsuits with bits made of rope, like a poorly assembled parachute. These are not the stuff great summers are made of.

Besides, if you work in the sort of environment that requires smart attire, you probably also work somewhere that is air conditioned up to the hilt from March to October, and so what you need isn’t a summer work wardrobe. It’s a summer work jumper.

 

Nobody can tell you’re chafing

Model wearing shorts and crop top from Pilot

Pilot

Hey you! You there! Yes you, behind the skip, fishing your hotpants out of your crotch for the fifth time this hour – coo-eee!

We feel your pain. No, we actually feel your pain – in the words of The BeeGees, we can tell by the way that you use your walk, you’ve a denim pang, no time to talk. Lots of trends are cruel in their own way, but summer trends are especially cruel because where comfort’s concerned, they go for the jugular. Or the inner thigh. Or the blistered bit of toe that’s squeezing out, misshapen, from your directional wooden platforms.

Those shorts may look fly, those heels may be sculptural beauties and the vice-tight pencil skirt very Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, but when the overriding effect is “discomfort and intimate sweating”, it might not be worth the effort.

 

Just throw something on!

Kaftan dress, La Redoute

La Redoute

Just chuck on something light and breezy! Something ambiguous made of jersey! Something that might be a top or a dress or a skirt or none of the above! HURRY UP you have outdoor frolicking to do. Fun, yes?

The ‘throw it on’ myth stems largely from sycophantic celebrity interviews and passages in syrupy books, where people with golden skin like caramel are forever rolling out of bed, draping themselves in something charmingly sloppy and bounding out into the sunshine with birds’ nest hair and a winning smile to charm the world. It’s a lovely notion.

But what it fails to recognise is that summer involves a lot of drippy things. Sun cream, ice cream, ketchup, pulled pork tacos from whatever freestyle pop-up street food fandango has thrust itself into your face this week; it’s a time of gastronomic abandon, which means it’s also a time of mystery stains on basically everything you own.

Add to that the fact that summer also means keeping your clothes in a floor-heap because you’re constantly shedding them, snake-like, every time you get beetroot-faced on the walk back from the bus stop, and suddenly the lovely notion of rolling out of bed, pulling something on and bounding out into the sunshine means you’ll probably catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror later and find you’ve morphed into Billie Piper from that year she was married to Chris Evans.

But hey, if you’re cool with that then so are we.

@laurenbravo



Beauty, Confessions of..., Features, Nails, Opinion, Skin

Confessions of a beauty editor

By Daisy Buchanan on July 10th, 2013

broken lipstickI’m not quite sure what peptides are.

I keep telling people to use Bumble and Bumble Sea Salt Spray as if it has magical and or spiritual properties. It’s a good product, but it is just a product.

However, Kerastase Elixir Ultime really does have magical and or spiritual properties.

I have been putting my foundation on with my hands ever since I discovered mould on the brush.

In August 2011 I used six cans of Batiste and washed my hair approximately four times.

I would probably go without food for Chantecaille Petales, and I get grumpy if there is too great a gap between my first and second breakfasts.

At every beauty event I go to, I am convinced every PR I meet is thinking “You? The editor? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

One time I was going to shoplift a tester of some MAC Wonderwoman felt tip eyeliner, but my friend Amy wouldn’t let me. It was sold out and the queue was crazy long.

I like Hollywood waxes. They make me feel hot, and the patriarchy doesn’t make me do it.

I have a semi-sexual crush on the lady who waxes me. She dresses like a pin up girl and has the best tatts. This doesn’t make the wax sexy. In fact, I do my best not to think about the crush during the wax.

I always wear strong man deodorant. If anyone asks, it’s because I’m cool and androgynous. In truth, it’s because I get ridic sweaty.

If one more person tells me gel manis will “ruin” my nails, I’ll lamp them. I don’t want nice, natural nails – I want pretty, indestructible colours. One day I might want to climb a mountain or do some grouting, and then who’ll be laughing?!

I am in deep emotional debt to the Trish McEvoy lady who told me eyeliner should only really go on the inner part of your top lids.

Every time I light a Diptyque candle, I feel like Tom Hanks at the party in Big.

I’ve saved several hundred pounds since I completely gave up smoking, and spent it all on Molton Brown Gingerlily moisturiser and shower gel.

I don’t think I’ll ever find a mascara that I really, really love, that loves me back, just the way I am. And that’s OK.

Half the contents of my make up bag are Bliss Magazine covermounts, dating back to 2008.



Beauty, Features, Opinion, Reviews, ShinyStyle Investigates, Skin

Introducing our Shiny Man! Owen Jones reviews skincare solutions for boys

By Daisy Buchanan on July 9th, 2013

At Shiny, we have an equal opportunities, open to all comers, love, peace and Kerastase approach to beauty. We’re mostly women, the industry is mostly geared at women, but this is changing. There are more products for men than ever, and more men than ever who want to use those products, so it is with great pleasure that we introduce Owen Jones, a writer who is Shiny of spirit but dewily matte of face thanks to the regime he is about to discuss. 

Having the complexion of a puberty-ridden teenager when you’re twentysomething and attempting adulthood is a right kick in the kisser. It’s a curse that comes with none of the saving graces of adolescence. Back then, at least my spots were soothed by The Strokes still being a bastion of brilliance. I could even gleefully don my Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles backpack without folk thinking I’d thieved it from a whippersnapper. But now I’m supposed to be a grownup; The Strokes have got shoddy, my Turtles bag condemned to holdall heaven, and pizza-face simply will not do. 

Heroes in a half shell.

Heroes in a half shell.

 

Over the years, my hunt for a facial fix has seen me ransack Boots, try doctor-prescribed roll-on gunk, and even slather my mug with Aquafresh, but the only concoction to settle my raging skin has been a tag-team of products crafted by MD Formulations.

A small splodge of MD’s Facial Cleanser morning and night foams up to soften and smoothe your whole grateful face as it gently melts away the daily grime, but you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Their Skin Perfection Gel is the real zit-zapper extraordinaire. Dab it on any blemishes after you’ve dried your chops, skip to bed and then high-five the mirror in the morning with glee. It’ll have already begun to clarify those pesky problem areas like a boss, and you might even (whisper it) enjoy the aftermath of exfoliation – heaven forfend. Within a week you’ll have to stop playing join the dots on your noggin because beyond just clearing up, this stuff will stop any further breakouts too. It’s magic on a Paul Daniels scale. 

 Admittedly I still dress like a wayward urchin and my hair’s forever mourning the death of emo, but at least with these acne-pulverising saviours it won’t be pimples making me look like an eternal work experience kid.

Follow Owen on Twitter @OwenBowen




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