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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.



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.



Accessories, Affordable Fashions, Fashion Tips, Features, Gallery, Get the look, Jewellery, Trend Alert

Statement necklaces: the next generation

By Lauren Bravo on July 4th, 2013

They’re bigger, bolder, and your neck is going to be aching even more. Grab some Deep Heat and embrace the next generation of statement necklaces

If you’ve got a crick in your neck this summer, you’re not alone. As one of the most prevalent trends of the year, massive, scene-stealing necklaces might be taking their toll on the muscles but they’re still a mercy for those who, like me, use costume jewellery to compensate for the fact they’ll probably never be Mayor.

And the good news for chiropractors the country over is that necklaces aren’t shrinking any time soon. The next generation of statement necklaces will be just as big and bold, if slightly less brash – less adorning ourselves with items called “neon warrior”, more precious stones, interesting textures, and a divergence between intricate craftsmanship and things you could have glued together yourself after a rummage in that dusty shoebox you optimistically keep “craft materials” in.

Here are 10 we love:



Affordable Fashions, denim, Fashion Tips, Features, Festivals, Gallery, Style spotlight, Trend Alert

Go shorty: eight great pairs of shorts you can buy online

By Lauren Bravo on June 25th, 2013

Short and sweet, short and studded, short and stretchy and loud – we’ve got ‘em all, and you don’t even need to leave the house

Shopping is one thing. Shopping in summer is another thing, and shopping for teeny shorts in a 3ft x 3ft sweat box with fluorescent lighting that makes you look like one of the pasty boy scouts from Moonrise Kingdom is quite another altogether.

Which is why we’ve rounded up eight awesome pairs of shorts that you can buy online and try on in the comfort of your bedroom instead. Some classic denim, some beaded boudoir shorts, some print, some embroidered, one pair that looks like something the twins from Fun House might have worn for a big night out on the Skelter Belter.

The trick with shorts isn’t about the length or girth or whatever of your legs, it’s just about getting a pair that fits perfectly – no bunching, no pinching, no needing to stop every 30 seconds to fish them out from between your legs where they’ve ridden up like a theatrical curtain. I mean, we all know that the girl who “walks like Rihanna” in that The Wanted song is simply suffering from a bad case of disappearing crotch denim. So find a pair that hugs you real nice.



Affordable Fashions, denim, Fashion Crush, Fashion Tips, Features, Gallery, Get the look, Trend Alert

Eight pairs of dungarees you won’t look ridiculous in

By Lauren Bravo on June 12th, 2013

So you suddenly want to wear dungarees? Us too, don’t worry – here are eight of the best pairs on the high street. Buckle up.

It’s snuck up on us, the dungaree thing. A few months ago they were an outside contender, an unlikely style triumph compared to everything else summer 2013 had to offer. Though if my methods of trend prediction followed the same logic as my methods of betting on the Grand National (choose the one with the funniest name), I’d have been onto a pretty good thing.  Yes, dungarees are suddenly a thing we want to wear.

It happened almost overnight; I just woke up one morning a few weeks ago and shouted “dungarees!” cheerfully to the wall. But of course, woman cannot dress on concept alone, and there’s a potentially long path of trudging through shops and wailing in changing rooms and looking like Valerie Singleton and standing in returns queues before you reach the Cair Paravel of summer styling. By which I mean, rocking dungers (we can call them dungers, yes?) with no Playschool or Bob the Builder comments whatsoever.

To ease the process considerably, I’ve rounded up eight of the most wearable versions from the high street and the internet for you. Blue Peter badge optional.

 



Accessories, Fashion Tips, Features, Gallery, How to Wear, Opinion, plus size, Weddings

How to be the wedding guest everyone loves (and hates a bit)

By Lauren Bravo on June 5th, 2013

Never mind what to wear on your own wedding day – what the hell do you wear on everybody else’s? Luckily, we’ve rounded up more than a few ideas.

Weddings! WEDDINGS! ALL THE WEDDINGS! Wait, aren’t you meant to be at one RIGHT NOW? The sun is out and with it, thousands of twenty and thirty-somethings in suits and crumpled fascinators standing around queasily on railway platforms, picking marzipan out of their hair.

Far harder, really, than the question of what to wear on your own wedding day is the question of what to wear on everybody else’s. Are black and white still banned? Will sugared almond shades look adorably winning or like you’ve crawled out of Mothercare? Are floral head garlands pushing the Pinterest agenda just a BIT too hard?

Factor in multiple matrimonies in a single summer and you’d be forgiven for giving up and Skyping in your attendance from beneath the duvet. But let’s not lose our sense of perspective – there are free booze and profiteroles at stake, remember.

The way I see it, you can either be the guest everyone loves – tasteful, appropriate, elegant but not scene-stealing – or the guest everyone sort of hates, because you’re rocking an incredible outfit they never saw on their endless trips from Monsoon to Coast and back again, and the photographer keeps stealing you aside for separate photos, muttering “this will be really bloggable”. Or you can strive for a delicate balance of both.

Weddings are costly enough, without you having to buy a pile of pastel polyester that you’ll never wear again. So forget the nuptial standards and just choose something wonderful instead – you’ll look so much more comfortable than you would in identikit pastel pink Reiss. Go loud, go proud, and then go home after the Grease Megamix.

 



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Nominate us for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2013!

By Daisy Buchanan on May 29th, 2013

If we’ve made you laugh, smile – or, well, shop – recently, we’d love it if you nominated us for this year’s Cosmopolitan Blog Awards…

(It would give us an excuse to put a nice frock on and get our hair did)

Nominate here – in the Established Fashion Blog category

Cosmopolitan Blog Awards

Thank you!

Lauren and Daisy

XXX

 



Accessories, Affordable Fashions, Fashion Tips, Features, Footwear, Gallery, shoes, Style spotlight, Trend Alert

The greatest summer sandals on the high street

By Lauren Bravo on May 28th, 2013

Blister plasters at the ready! The sun is out (well, it was yesterday) and we’re stocking up on sandals

We’re all wincing this week, right? The first properly sunny weekend of the year is like a siren call to get your toes out, and so we dutifully fish last year’s sandals from the bottom of the wardrobe and prepare to limp our way around town until the buggers have stretched themselves comfy again.

But once the wounds have healed it’ll all be worth it, because sandals are really great this year. From totally flat to modest block heels and wedges, from space age perspex and clear plastic straps to fully earth-mother buckled leather styles, there’s a world of casually chic padding about to be had – and flip flops have never looked so mediocre.

So free your toes from the thong and let them wiggle freely in a pair of these strappy delights.



Affordable Fashions, Fashion Tips, Features, Gallery, Swimwear, Trend Alert

I like big briefs and I cannot lie: Five great high-waisted bikinis

By Lauren Bravo on May 21st, 2013

The temperature’s rising (well, any day now) and so are the waistlines. Here are the best high-waisted bikinis on the high street

High-waisted pants will always be a great divider. Like the spreadable yeast extract of the top drawer (I am sorry for saying ‘yeast’ there), you either appreciate the sultry, structured charms of the high-waisted silhouette… or you just don’t.

“I think it’s creepy when I can’t see your bellybutton,” my boyfriend admits. “It’s like, you might not even have one.”  Which is discriminating against the navel-less, for a start, and also futile because I don’t care a fig – I love big pants. I love their comforting hold-you-in-ness, I love the way they never disappear into places and require hoiking out again behind a post box, and I love the way they admiringly trace the whole shape of my hips, rather than cutting them off in the middle.

Once you’ve gone high-waisted, it’s hard to go back. Which is why I’m also thankful that this season, swimwear designers aren’t skimping on the fabric either. There are high-waisted bikinis to be had all over the high street, and they’re not all the same tired retro knock-offs – there are tribal, tropical, neons and animal prints to add to my bobbling collection of polka dot lycra, plus some seriously great structured bikini tops to go with them.

Sorry, bellybutton. Maybe next year.



Accessories, Designer Fashions, Gallery

Shiny Gallery: 60s-influenced looks… yep, more Mad Men

By Ashley on May 19th, 2013

It’s a decade full of timeless looks, which means it’s never too far from our high streets – but let’s face it, will Twiggy ever look uncool? From monochrome shifts to paisley and patent pumps, the clean-cut chic 60s look is big news this season, with fashion’s continued love for all things retro. And what’s not to like about striking a passing resemblance to anyone off the Mad Men set? (style icons and sex appeal in equal measures).

Here’s our top 10 items channeling the 60s look.



Affordable Fashions, dresses, Fashion Tips, Features, Gallery, Get the look, How to Wear, Trend Alert

Boom! The loudest prints on the high street

By Lauren Bravo on May 10th, 2013

Still waiting for your prints charming? From tribal to tropical and even a touch of tie-dye, we’ve rounded up the loudest, proudest patterns around

Long gone are the days when ‘print’ meant a polite little floral or a prim polka dot. This summer we’re pretty much being commanded to bedeck ourselves out like our Nan’s conservatory sofa, so it would be rude not to go prints all the way (before they become ‘the art formerly known as prints’ and we have to cover ourselves in symbolic squiggles instead).

As a rule of thumb, if it would look good on a plastic cafe tablecloth then it’ll look GREAT on you this season. ‘Aztec’ and ‘tribal’ are still hanging about like an enthusiastic gap year student at a house party, but there are also ‘tropical’ (think Carmen Miranda), tie-dye (if you’re lucky you’ll still have the stuff you made at Brownie camp) neon paisley (think PG Wodehouse at a rave) and photo prints, which are like wearing an entire landmark destination on your arse. Not that your arse isn’t already a landmark destination, of course.

So here are our pick of the loud, the proud and the really rather busy. Extra marks for clashing them. Points deducted if you apologise for being “a bit bright”.

 



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So you want to look like… Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby

By Lauren Bravo on May 3rd, 2013

Pour yourself a mint julep and swing those pearls – thanks to Baz Luhrmann’s new release, the 1920s are roaring straight back into our wardrobes

Zelda-dress-frock-and-frillAre you a flapper? Do you flap? Not the type you do when you’ve got hot food in your mouth, but the fashion type, currently dancing its way across the silver screen again – on Carey Mulligan, Leonardo DiCaprio and Isla Fisher in The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece of jazz age ennui.

Decadent, libertine and eternally gorgeous, flapper style is the smart lady’s fancy dress era of choice because it’s more original than the 80s, less polyester-flammable than the 60s and less restrictive than the 50s, all those roomy waistbands allow for far more fun at the buffet table.

In normal life, though, it’s a trickier one to integrate. Unless you work in the kind of office where kooky feather headbands are tolerated round the coffee machine, the look is a more obvious choice for evening, when you can drape yourself in sequins and hit up a speakeasy* (*Wetherspoons). It’s also not an ideal look if you’re prone to spills – pastels and muted neutrals abound, as does Daisy Buchanan’s signature summer white.

Plus there are two other big obstacles to pulling off the 20s trend, and they’re bobbing about on your chest. As Thoroughly Modern Millie showed us with her beads that wouldn’t hang straight, those drop-waisted dresses are friend to the flat-chested gal, but a couple of cup sizes can take you from the beautiful to the damned. Or at least the ‘damn, that dress be hanging off her like a valance sheet’.

But hey – we ain’t about prohibiting here. Just find an embellished deep-V instead, or flap it up with accessories. Mid-heeled T-bars and Mary Janes have a fashion ‘moment’ so often you may as well stock up now, and there’s no desk-to-dancefloor situation (we have those ALL the TIME, right?) that a sequined cape can’t solve.

We’re also rather taken with Gatsby style as bridal inspiration… but one thing at a time, yeah?



Designer Fashions, Features, Gallery, outerwear

10 Trench Coats for late Spring – ASOS, Boden, Uniqlo

By Ashley on April 25th, 2013

One swallow does not a summer make or so the saying goes. So before we get all carried vac-packing our coats away into hibernation (-what? just me then!), consider having a lightweight trench to take with you on your day out. Macs are always de rigueur in Spring fashion, and there’s nothing like a bit of military look to give you the edge!

So, collars up and waists belted sufficiently to take your breath away, here’s a collection of some mighty fine trenches for you to try.



Accessories, Affordable Fashions, Designer Fashions, Features, Gallery, Handbags, Opinion

10 fantastic bags you can actually afford. No, really.

By Lauren Bravo on April 25th, 2013

I’m currently suffering from something I like to term ‘Fash bag fatigue’.

Barely a day goes buy where I don’t open a magazine or click through a style site to be told, in no uncertain terms, that unless I’m saving up my council tax and muesli money for a tote I can carry a baby around in, I am missing a crucial fashion gene. It’s not that I can’t appreciate the quilty aesthetics of a Chanel 2.55, or a Mulberry tote, or even those satchels off the Google advert, but I’ve never managed to grasp the dreamy possibility behind the massive great throbbing price tag. Some see design and timeless craftsmanship – I just see a holiday or a Ford Focus swinging from the arms of the elite.

The Sunday supplements, bless their affluent hearts, have made it as far as realising that bags upward of a grand probably aren’t at the top of many women’s shopping lists, so they’ve started giving us bags for £500 instead. Which is marvellous if you’re one of those terrifying 23 year old hedge fund managers you occasionally read about in Vogue, or if your landlord has lapsed into a coma conveniently excusing you from paying any rent, but for the rest of us who don’t have a spare monkey in the bank yet still have to carry our stuff around, it’s not especially helpful.

So here, to prove they do still exist, are some seriously nice bags for under £100. Most are under £50. Some are under £30. Which, unless you plan to take inspiration from the late, great Nora Ephron, who announced that her perfect bag was a bright yellow and blue plastic MetroCard shopper from the Transit Museum in New York’s Grand Central Station (I Feel Bad About My Neck – And Other Thoughts About Being A Woman, 2007 – read it, it’s wonderful), is probably about the best we’re going to be able to do. But at least we can still afford muesli.

Note: I have included nothing from Urban Outfitters, because every bag I or my friends have ever bought from Urban Outfitters has always broken dramatically within three months. If you’ve got an UO bag that you’ve been lugging around unscathed for over a year, please do let me know.



Designer Fashions, Designers, dresses, Features, Gallery

Monochrome – gallery of this season’s hottest op art style

By Ashley on April 22nd, 2013

Monochrome – the evergreen fashion theme that keeps on giving – is back big time this Spring/Summer. From wide black and white humbug stripes and large bold colour blocking, through to the ditsy polka dot, it is everywhere now. This is fashion at its most democratic! This clean-cut, sharp 60’s influenced monochrome look can work brilliantly for anyone regardless of age, size and budget.




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