Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Beauty, Features, Opinion, ShinyStyle Investigates, Uncategorized

So you’ve bought a Clarisonic…

By Daisy Buchanan on May 30th, 2013
The ultimate electric toothbrush for the face.

The ultimate electric toothbrush for the face.

It’s Sunday, and you read that India Knight thinks everyone should buy a Clarisonic. It emerges that  she used to have frequent facials, but the Clarisonic was better. In fact, her regular facialist accused her of cheating with another facialist ever since she started using a Clarisonic. You google “buy Clarisonic”. You see they are sold out on the John Lewis website and decide it is a sign. You must have one immediately.

They are £120. You feel your pulse quicken with the certainty that they would not be allowed to cost £120 if they were not very, very good.

You do not have £120.

You count up all the cigarettes you have never smoked, all the magazines you do not subscribe to, all the forty poundses you have saved on cabs while waiting for piss soaked nightbuses in the pissing rain. You think about that time all your friends drunk-booked flights to Thailand and you didn’t, because that internship that never happened might have happened.

You have now mentally saved over five grand. You trot to Selfridges in a grasping, gasping state of excitement. The embossed numbers on your credit card have now burrowed their way onto your palm. You resolve not to shake hands with any fraudsters who know mirror writing.

The woman tries to sell you the £250 one. You shake your head like an octagenarian who has just been offered an ‘inclusive’ quad biking session on a Thomas Cook holiday. You’re so full of missionary zeal that you even manage to convince her you don’t want the pink one.

You gallop home. On the tube from Oxford Circus, you analyse everyone’s pores and feel sad for them.

You burst through your front door and collapse on your bathroom floor. When your boyfriend cries “Are you alright? Do you need a change of knickers?” you yell “NO, IT’S NOT THE GASTRO THIS TIME! I HAVE BOUGHT AN ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH FOR MY FACE! I MUST TRY IT OUT!”

You rip the packaging open, you pour the special facewash into your upturned hand, and read the instructions. You must charge it for 24 hours first. You blink back tears.

You go to sleep, wake up, go to work. The Clarisonic is all you can think about.
You get home and head for the bathroom. You ask your boyfriend if he would like to watch you try it out. Your boyfriend stares at you as if you have just suggested a threesome with the weird neighbour who is always trying to sell you surplus eggs he buys from Leighton.

Alone, you find absolution. Salvation. The brush is gentle but firm, penetrating your pores, shifting the blackhead you always thought was a freckle, washing the corner of your soul that you believed to be forever black after you stole a tin of Licorice Allsorts from your little sister during Christmas ’94.

You rinse your face and look in the mirror, expecting to see Jesus. You see you. You look like your 12 year old self after a Sunday night hairwash.

You do this for a few days. You notice your serum seems to be doing something. You realise serum has a point and isn’t just another expensive, paranoid making myth. Your face is smooth to the touch. You almost wish you’d only washed one side of your face, to get a full before and after effect.

You find yourself resentfully, methodically, washing your face every single night so as not to waste the £120. You drink slowly and carefully, even at weekends, determined not to get so wrecked that you pass out without washing your face. Sometimes you pass out in your boots – but you’re always clean from the neck up.

A few weeks in, you bump into an old friend from university. “Oh my god, your skin looks AMAZING. UH-MAZE-ING. What moisturiser do you use? WHAT DO YOU USE?” they shout, shaking you slightly. They never got this animated during discussions about Gawain and the Green Knight.

You smile, tilt your head and start to walk away. You are Gwyneth. You are made of kale. “Oh, thanks. I got a Clarisonic,” you reply.

award show fashion, campaign, Fashion Tips, Gallery, News, Uncategorized

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



Fashion Tips, Features, Nostalgia, Opinion, shoes, Trend Alert, Uncategorized, vintage

Five 90s trends we would welcome back (and three we really wouldn’t)

By Lauren Bravo on May 27th, 2013

Cropped tops and tie-dye are all over the high street – so here are five more 90s trends we’ll be welcoming back with open arms

Studded bumbag, George at ASDA

Studded bumbag, George at ASDA


For years now, bumbags have been the sole preserve of paranoid tourists in too-short slacks and giant Reeboks, denied as a bonafide fashion item for anyone with an ounce more personal style. But when I worked on a stall in Camden market, I was obliged to wear a bumbag (black leather, pockety) and I quickly came to love it.

They’re hands-free, but unlike a rucksack don’t give you the look of a world-weary tortoise, plus they’re the ultimate defense against pickpockets because it would take a pretty brazen toerag to go for an iPhone you’re carrying just above your crotch. Opt for neon, metallics or studded leather and wear with warm-bellied pride.


Skirts with shorts attached underneath

So you can do handstands without showing your knickers! And a host of more practical reasons, including standing on air vents and avoiding hot weather thigh chafing. Also, they looked pretty rad when I was six.


High ponytails Clarissa Explains It All still

There are ponytails, then there are high ponytails, then there are ponytails so high that your hair hangs down either side of your face like a spider plant. These are probably the best kinds of ponytails, because it’s almost like just having your hair down, except three inches shorter and with a big ol’ scrunchie perched on top like a cherry.

Clarissa may have explained it all, but she never taught us the secrets of the high pony. Luckily we worked it out ourselves – flip your hair forward and tie it up at the point on your head where it stops looking like a unicorn impression.


Waistcoats (especially velvet)

When I was six, my birthday party outfit of choice wasn’t a frilly pink dress. Oh no. It was a pair of black velvet trousers, a white shirt, and a little velvet waistcoat in mottled shades of burgundy and bottle green, with gold embroidery. I looked vaguely like Little Lord Fauntleroy, but I thought it was the bomb. It was also much more practical for soft play adventure parties and jostling my way to musical chairs victory.

Sweet Valley High Season 1 dvd

Sweet Valley High: The Complete First Season, Amazon

I’d happily herald a return to waistcoats, because they are the ultimate unisex fashion item. Like all the best trends they’re ultimately pointless, unless you’re especially keen to keep your kidneys warm, but they show a certain flair for dressing that can’t be achieved with a humdrum jacket. As for the velvet, I’m sure I’ll meet little resistance when I say that it truly is the fabric of kings. To quote George Costanza from Seinfeld, “if it was socially acceptable, I would drape myself in velvet.” And hopefully soon it will be.


Coffee shimmer lipstick

Our Beauty of our Youth series has already tackled Spectacular glitter and 17 Twilight Teaser lipsticks, but there was another shade gracing the grown-up kissers of the 90s that is well overdue a revival.  We called it ‘Sweet Valley High lipstick’ (we also called snogging ‘Sweet Valley High kissing’, such was the Wakefield twins’ influence).

It was not quite gold, not quite beige, but occupied a gleefully metallic spot between them on the spectrum. It was a bit reminiscent of the icing on coffee and walnut cakes, and applied just as liberally. Given we’ve worked our way through every rosy, peachy and berry shade in Boots over the last 15 years, isn’t it time we rediscovered a coffee shimmer pout? We’d have to call it ‘soya macchiato’ now, of course.


And three we really wouldn’t…

Heat-sensitive colour-changing t-shirts

Hey everyone, look where I’m sweating! You’d think just pits, but it turns out lower back and between-boob too, ain’t that grand?


‘Spice Girl’ platform trainers

They were giant, they were rubber, they came in either black and white or denim and white from Shoe Zone, and they were the only acceptable addition to your stretchy back bootcut trousers and Kappa top. A few months ago they might have made it onto the list above – but since Viva Forever flopped so resoundingly, our zig-a-zig-ah has jumped ship.



In a world where the oneside has been so thoroughly roadtested and vetoed, we simply have no need for the fleece. Carry on hikers, by all means – but the fash pack ain’t joining you.

Beauty, Fashion Tips, Features, Hair, Opinion, Opinion peice, Uncategorized

Fully tressed: why are we so obsessed with long hair?

By Lauren Bravo on May 22nd, 2013
woman with very long hair

This is not me. (image: blablab

I seem to be suffering from a sort of hair-based dysmorphia.

Just about reaching mid-way down my back, it’s currently the longest it’s been in years – probably my whole life – but it still isn’t long enough. “It’s SO LONG,” friends tell me, with face you use to tell someone they’ve had enough and should probably get a taxi now. “No,” I say. “Just a few more inches. Maybe another foot. I want it LONGER, damnit, and you can’t stop me.”

One of these days I fully expect to come home and find them all gathered in my living room, bearing scissors and deep conditioning treatments and doing creepy, soothing smiles. “This is a nice hairdresser,” they’ll say, gently putting a towel round my shoulders and sitting me down. “He’s going to give you a little trim and it’s aaalll going to be ok…”. Then I’ll scream.

Why am I so obsessed with having long hair? Why are any of us? The UK hair extension industry is worth an estimated £45-60m, and demand is only growing (despite the many dubious back stories that go with them) while the Duchess of Cambridge and Kim Kardashian’s swingy manes still top most-requested polls at the hairdressers. Despite all the liberating pixie cuts, bobs, Meg Ryans and Rachels that have been embraced over the last century, there’s still a very narrow, culturally-biased  ‘long hair = good, short hair = crap’ mentality prevalent to some extent in the West. A ‘hairarchy’, if you will.

One school of thought says it’s evolutionary, tied up like so much else in the idea that men should hunt and women should nest – cropped hair so much more practical for toiling in the fields, long hair better for using as a scarf when the icy winds of the patriarchy blew through your ivory tower.

But I know all that is bollocks, and I love short hair on girls – yet, right now, I still want mine to look like something out of a Pre-Raphaelite painting, or Marcia Brady. Maybe it’s a comfort blanket, something to hide behind. Maybe because I’m top heavy and have always felt that without lots of hair around it, my head looks like a pea balanced on a potato.

Maybe it’s because, if I’m going to be honest about it, I can’t shake the idea that past a certain age having super-long hair will start to look a bit unseemly. A bit Donatella Versace. A bit mutton.

This is a terrible, ageist notion, I know – plenty of women (and men for that matter) look wonderful with acres of hair well into their autumn years, and what does it matter what anyone else thinks anyway, if I like it? I could be one of those cool ladies with the grey streaks who makes her own pottery. I could wear it in a big plait woven with ribbons and dance through fields singing Kate Bush. Or I could do none of those things and just steadfastly carry on with my curtain of gradually-coarsening locks until I die, and they could write on my gravestone “hair today, gone tomorrow” and everybody could chuckle and it might be nice.

But despite knowing all of this, I still have the nagging feeling that right now, in my mid-20s, is my Last Chance for really long hair. I mean, even Susan Kennedy off Neighbours cut hers short eventually. And everyone knows that if you have kids, you must immediately get a dowdy ‘mum’ cut because otherwise they will try to swing from your hair like it’s play equipment.

So this is my final fling. My personal project, to see how long it will go. And I don’t just want it long – I want it thick and lush all the way down too, not tapering into straggly ends like a Cheese String. I want it to be the kind of hair that becomes its own accessory, so you pull on the plainest of outfits and swish it around and feel like you’re sufficiently dressed for anything. Sufficiently tressed, even.

To achieve all these impossible goals, I’m on a devoted regime of Mane ‘n’ Tail horse shampoo (it’s a thing, I promise), conditioning and more conditioning and heat protecting, and giving it teeny trims every time the ends start fraying. I’ve never managed to keep a plant alive longer than a week, but I think I’m tending to my hair pretty well.

And when it’s finally long enough and I’ve ridden a horse naked down Muswell Hill Broadway to prove it, I’ll have it cut to a sensible shoulder length and leave the super long locks to the youngsters. Or then again, maybe I won’t.

Beauty, Beauty of our youth, Nostalgia, Opinion, Style Icon, Uncategorized, vintage

Beauty of our youth: The signature scents

By Daisy Buchanan on May 20th, 2013

Writer Janina Matthewson remembers her search for a perfect perfume…

In my life I have so far had two “signature scents.” Not rich person, custom designed signature scents, of course; that’d be cray, but perfumes I Quite Liked and bought multiple times.

Signature Scent the First

Janina effectively had no nose. But her spidey sense told her Provocative Woman was the one...

Janina effectively had no nose. But her spidey sense told her Provocative Woman was the one…

When a girl first realises there are smell options other than Impulse body spray there is just one place she turns: The Body Shop. For the portion of my teenage years in which I thought I was a grown up, I was committed to their Dewberry fragrance. It was the name that first caught me. I didn’t realise dewberries were an actual kind of berry and, firmly convince that it was a whimsically made up name, I loved the combination of the most delicious of all the fruit categories and a natural phenomenon that, although it’s a pain in the arse in real life, is romantic in imagination.

When they discontinued the line, amid dark rumours of animal testing, I was sure would never find anything to replace it. I would be forever destined to just smell like a human.

Signature Scent the Second

My second favourite fragrance (chronologically speaking) was altogether more difficult to discover.

I was heading to Australia with my family and we had big plans to go to a bargain perfume shop, a thing unheard of in little Christchurch.

The first sign of trouble was on the flight over. My ears popped to the degree of excruciating pain, a sure sign of sinus issues. Within few hours I was in the grips of the most violent cold ever to rock my feeble human body.

We delayed our shopping trip day after day, waiting for my nose to unblock, until we were a mere twelve hours from our taxi ride to the airport and home.

“It’s fine,” I said. “We’ll still go, I just won’t get anything this time,” but I was overruled. We would triumph, it was decided.

So I sat in the middle of the shop while my mother (something in Elizabeth Arden) and sister (that Calvin Klein one Scarlett Johansson advertises in The Island) waved little strips of cardboard at me trying to describe what they smelt like and why they suited me.

Eventually we settled on Provocative Woman. Fortunately when my cold abated, I was a fan. All that’s left to regret is that I finished my last bottle before I met the man I now habitually provoke.

Follow Janina on Twitter @J9lf

dresses, Ethical Fashions, Fashion Crush, Fashion Tips, Features, Opinion, Sleeves of the week, Uncategorized

Sleeves of the week! People Tree ‘Lauren Sweetpea’ dress, £65

By Lauren Bravo on May 18th, 2013

Fairtrade, eco-friendly and frankly, fierce – this week’s sleeved dress is giving Laurens a great name

Lauren sweetpea dress People TreeYou don’t get a lot of Laurens in fashion. Lauren Bacall was pretty much flying the flag for stylish Laurens by herself for several decades, before Lauren Hutton joined the cause in the ’70s and Laurens Goodger and Conran (they’re probably friends, right?) took up the torch in recent years. But on the whole, Laurens don’t have a whole lot of representation out there – even with Lauren Bush Lauren nobly taking taking husband Dylan’s surname to raise awareness twice over. Of course, myself and all the other Laurens in the world held our breath for her to go the whole hog and just be ‘Lauren Lauren’, but you can’t have everything.

Anyway, this is all by way of introducing our latest Sleeves of the Week, which is this frankly awesome frock by People Tree. It also happens to be called ‘Lauren’. With my wonderful co-editor Daisy Buchanan never more in vogue thanks to The Great Gatsby, it seemed fortuitous that the loveliest dress in my inbox this week also has my name. BUT ENOUGH ABOUT THAT.

If you haven’t yet discovered People Tree, it’s definitely time to. The “pioneers of sustainable and fair trade fashion,” they’ve been making clothes in partnership with farmers and artisans in the developing world for over 20 years. Everything’s made with fabrics and methods that bare minimal environmental impact – and they’ll have maximum impact on your wardrobe because the designs are damned nice too.

This jersey number has my second favourite sleeves, bracelet-length (balloon sleeves are my first favourite) and a beautifully flattering fit in a print that manages to be both fresh and springlike, but also suitable for the steeliest of grey-skied days. It’s also got that rarest of things, a high-but-not-too-high neckline that won’t squash your boobs into an unfortunate lump.

Basically, it would almost be unethical for you NOT to buy it… but then, I would say that. It’s a Lauren thing.

Beauty, Features, Health, Innerwear, News, Opinion, Reviews, Uncategorized

Dr Brandt’s CC Cream reviewed – Nothing to CC here – just clear skin

By Daisy Buchanan on May 16th, 2013

I confess that I would be much, much more comfortable if we all just used foundation. It’s all got so fiddly. There’s special primer for your eyes, now. We have to clean our faces with giant electric toothbrushes. We’re romping down the alphabet, giddly inventing more problems, more solutions, more stuff. Our bags, bathrooms and bodies are crammed full of products, teetering islands of cosmetic torture glistening under Radon.

Dr Brandt CC Mat, £34, available exclusively from

Dr Brandt CC Mat, £34, available exclusively from

But when I calm down, take a deep breath and stop riffing on Daisy Steiner’s Ode To A VCR, I realise some stuff is invented to make our routines simpler, not more complicated. And so it is with Dr Brandt CC cream. I do like a BB cream, but they can be a little lightweight for me. (For what it’s worth, esteemed coeditor Lauren Bravo swears by nothing but BB cream and a little powder, and she has skin like a duchesses’ freshly plumped peach satin pillow case.) Dr Brandt was the CC cream pioneer – stop laughing, that’s a thing! – and invented an all in one, oil free, mattifying formula created to even out your skin tone, so you can look as smooth and evenly toned as someone in an advertisement.

The cream feels quite heavy – hardcore BB fans might be alarmed by this, but I loved the fullness of the coverage – it was reassuringly textured, like an enevelope full of birthday money. And as well as instantly mattifying your skin, the formula reduces oil production over time, so you’re investing in future non-shininess. (Obviously we are PRO Shinyness – but no-one likes face shininess). It’s perfect for summer as it has an SPF of 30, and it has staying power – you could probably wear it during Bikram and it wouldn’t slide off your face.

Beauty, High End Department Stores, Opinion, Reviews, Runway to Reality, Uncategorized

“You have such beautiful eyes!” Meet Chantecaille Bio Lift Concealer

By Daisy Buchanan on May 16th, 2013

I LOVE spendy skincare like I love drinking wine and watching The Simpsons in bed. Throwing money at stuff for my face is a hobby. A pricey one, but no more so than smoking, gambling or attending the live tours of prime time reality shows. And as a splurging hobbyist, I bring you good news of a high end concealer that is worth dropping dollar on.

Chantecaille Bio Lift Concealer

Chantecaille Bio Lift Concealer

Chantecaille’s Bio Lift concealer (£57, Space NK) protects your skin and moisturises, concealing wrinkles and stopping them in their tracks as it contains the alluringly named botanical Squalane. I’m beginning to notice the very first signs of ageing (I’m in my late twenties, but I’m a giggler, a grimacer and a face scruncher) and the area around my eyes definitely looks a little smoother and more polished, giving me the expression of someone who rarely raises her voice and eats a lot of kale.

But the best bit is the way it makes your eyes pop. Like many ladies I’m a long time Touche fiend (even though the YSL people rejected my marketing slogan “It’s like Tippex for the face!”) and like many people I’ve talked to, Touche kind of stopped working for me. It was as if my skin decided it was cheating and decided to stop playing ball. But, perhaps because the Bio Lift is good for your skin, my under eye area has really taken to it. It lights up my eyes like the insane recessed, reclaimed Venetian glass bulbs lit up that kitchen in Grand Designs the other night. The one where the people in it were so posh that they didn’t have to live in a caravan when their house was being built. That’s what fifty quid concealer does.

Beauty, Nostalgia, Opinion, Opinion peice, Top Five, Uncategorized, vintage

Instant Sex Appeal, Bottled – What To Wear To Make People Want To Get Amorous…

By Daisy Buchanan on May 14th, 2013

Some days, you just want everyone to want to want you. To see you storm the street with a bounce in your step and your head held high, and not to think “I bet she’s going to an important business meeting!”, but to have a sudden flash of you with your mouth open and eyes closed, hair piled on a pillow. To make them need to imagine you screaming their name because they have forgotten it. To make them forget that any other woman has ever existed – even if it’s for less than a second.

This is why we wear perfume. Everything else we put on our bodies might give a very cerebral message about our lives – an astronaut’s helmet here, a “world pie eating championships” sweater there – but perfume is pure sex and sensation. Never try to smell “like a meadow” when you could smell “like having it off in a meadow”. Scents react differently to everyone’s skin, and a really awesome fragrance will only warm and enhance the pure animal musk coming out of your pores – isn’t that the most carnal thing you ever heard?

But how, I hear you ask (which is odd because I have very poor hearing), how will I know that the people smelling me will be thinking ‘sex in a meadow’ and not ‘used condom thrown in a field’? Because if a perfume is doing its job, it will make you want to have sex with yourself. If you get a waft of something lovely on your shoulder and immediately have to throw your coat over your lap for some crafty self sufficient time, you’ve got a good thing going. Making strangers crave you is a hollow and meaningless exercise if you’re not already engorged with desire for your own genitals.

Here are some fragrances that will make you want to throw your knickers out of the window and lock your bedroom door for a week:

Marc Jacobs Femme

Marc Jacobs Femme

Marc Jacobs Femme

This is the one to put on when you’re wearing nothing but white broderie anglaise, and you’re at the mercy of someone else’s wandering hands in a verdant, deserted park. This smells like cool cotton sheets on sunburn and kissing that went too far. This is what Nicole in Tender Is The Night would have worn during her affair with Tommy. It’s the gardenia. Gardenia is what good girls smell like the moment before they fall.

Hermes Kelly Caleche

Hermès Kelly Calèche

Hermès Kelly Calèche

It’s the scent of a girl on girl teen MILF porn trope, albeit one with very high production values. There’s a powdery hardness to it – it’s all a bit gilt and marble, ‘do me in the Trump Tower’, but when it stops just sitting on your skin and yields to it, there’s a sensory rainstorm. You might smell it on your best friend’s mum’s scarf as you lean in to kiss her cheek, and then spend the rest of the day squirming with guilty, horny confusion.

Versace Bright Crystal

Versace bright crystal

I suspect this is what Marissa Cooper was wearing when she lost her virginity to Luke in The O.C. You know, before she went massively emo and probably started wearing something manly from Creed, or motor oil. It’s joyfully, trashily, irresponsibly adolescent, sparkling and smouldering simultaneously. If you’re giving your first blow job at your boyfriend’s parents’ beach house, spritz some on your hairband before you tie your ponytail. Use your Jersey trust fund dollars for multiple bottles you can keep in your car, bag and any bedrooms you wind up in.

Thierry Mugler Angel

Thierry Mugler Angel

Thierry Mugler Angel

This is an odd one. On me, it smells like a Magic Tree that has been hidden in an old trainer for reasons that probably seemed sensible at the time. But on some ladies, it’s a superpower. A force of nature.

During my first term at university, I befriended a girl called Alison. I thought we’d be pals because we both had our Reading wristbands on, and she decided I was a good prospect because I was carrying a bad pink Dior handbag. (I was wearing Pink Crystal at the time). Alison had attended a very minor public school and thought she was posh, and inexplicably spoke in a high pitched fake Australian accent. Despite claiming a connection with the Rothschilds, she had the most suburban highlights I’ve ever had the misfortune to lay eyes on. Anyway, after about three days of misery I decided to distance myself from this whiny, human chihuahua, but bumped into her at a social event and ended up snogging her. All night. (I’m pretty much straight, and I wasn’t doing it to impress any boys – we were locked in a cleaning cupboard.) She was wearing Angel, and it was as potent as LSD laced MDMA. It made her irresistibly fanciable. If this one works on you, it could be someone else’s Kryptonite.

Fashion Tips, Features, Festivals, Get the look, How to Wear, Opinion, outerwear, Sleeves of the week, Trend Alert, Uncategorized

Sleeves of the week! Topshop tie-dye kimono £60

By Lauren Bravo on May 11th, 2013

Topshop tie dye kimono

Ahh, the cover-up. A far less exciting term when it’s applied to clothes than to TV murder cases, cover ups are the maiden aunt of summer fashion – cumbersome and not much fun, but if you don’t invite them to the party you know it’ll end in the cold shoulder.

When the vast majority of all spring/summer frocks are frustratingly sans sleeve, the cover-up suddenly becomes your goosepimpled arms’ only refuge post-6pm. Or, let’s face it, anytime after the flush of your morning dash-about has cooled and you’ve remembered it’s only actually hot enough for bare arms in the UK about 3.5 days a year, half of which you’ll spend leaning over a freezer cabinet in Londis trying to extract the last un-melted Twister.

And so on you plod through the endless parade of cardigans and blazers and denim jackets, feeling dowdier and a bit more like Lorraine Kelly with every one, until autumn arrives and you can put a proper coat on again.  Unless, that is, UNLESS, you find something dazzlingly awesome and build your outfit around it instead – less cover-up, more ‘I guess convention dictates I wear something under this, but gee, do I have to?’

Enter the kimono. Voluminous, fringed and tie-dye, this Topshop number is both a scene-stealer and a multitasker supreme. Belt it over a black jersey maxi, throw it on with rolled-up jeans, make like the model on the website and wear it over a bikini or just swap it for your dressing gown and lie around on a chaise lounge all day smoking cigarillos and talking to everybody in a Marlene Dietrech voice.

The tie-dye print even makes it look a bit like a thundery British sky, which is fitting. Last year’s bobbly cardigans will tremble in its wake. Cover-up: covered.

Beauty, Features, How to Wear, Nails, ShinyStyle Investigates, Trend Alert, Uncategorized

ShinyStyle tries: Ciaté Chalkboard Manicure

By Lauren Bravo on April 29th, 2013

The latest trend in nail art has come out of the salon and back to the schoolroom. Wannabe sandwich board artist Lauren Bravo has chalkboard nails nailed. Sort of. 

Just when we thought nails might have got as avant garde as nails are ever going to get (leather! Velvet! Hang little tassles off them! Make them play a tune!), along came a talon trend to get us excited all over again – blackboard nails.


Apparently the look is “couture classroom chic”, which as far as we knew until now meant scribbling on them with highlighter pen when you were meant to be revising the Treaty of Versailles. No longer. Now, we’re all street artists. Or at least, the person at a café who gets to write the specials board.

Chalkboard Manicure is made by innovative polishmongers Ciaté (they who brought you the caviar manicure, because ‘pilchard hands’ didn’t quite have the same classy ring to it), and exclusively available at Selfridges for £25 – which isn’t at all bad considering the endless design possibilities you can get out of it. The set includes a wonderfully matte blackboard-effect polish, four ‘liquid chalk’ pens to draw on it with, and a matte topcoat to seal your artwork once you’re happy.


My blackboard nails, pre-doodle

So, to doodle! Inevitably my immediate impulse was to draw a big willy. Once that was out of my system and swiftly erased, I tried an eclectic approach – hearts, stars, stripes, dots, a lightning bolt and manic squiggling – then went on-brand and wrote ‘Shiny Style’ across them. You say nails, I say free ad space.



Endearingly messy, yes?


I don’t know what the ring finger one’s meant to be

The liquid chalk pens aren’t the easiest to handle at first, and sadly not all of them wash off with water as they’re supposed to – but once I’ve mastered their flow I feel like a regular Penny Crayon. And the effect is great, playful and eye-catching with a nice bright 90s-esque colourway.



Plus, unlike other DIY nail art, it’s completely acceptable for this one to look a bit smudgy and amateur. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Ciaté Chalkboard Manicure, £25 from Selfridges. Follow them on Twitter @ciatenails.

Beauty, Beauty of our youth, Fashion Crush, Nostalgia, Opinion, Opinion peice, Retail News, Uncategorized, vintage

Beauty of our youth: Boots 17 Twilight Teaser

By Daisy Buchanan on April 26th, 2013

Writer Becca Day Preston remembers when the coolest girls had frosty faces…

Yes, it was really that purple.

Yes, it was really that purple.

I don’t remember exactly when my makeup love affair began. It was a trickle effect, with a couple of eyeshadows pilfered from my mum’s makeup bag here, a freebie lipgloss or glitter gel from Mizz there. Without mascara or eyeliner, I was essentially a taupe-lidded, sparkle-cheeked, grease-gobbed monster. I didn’t really see the appeal, but I slapped on my make-do go-tos for school discos. And then, when I was 14, I went into Boots to stock up on Natural Collection Vanilla Musk body spray and there it was, the Boots 17 stand, resplendent in navy blue and silver packaging.

Not for me the American Girl sheen of Maybelline or the pre-Kate Moss Rimmel. And certainly not for me the mumsy maturity and sky-high price tag of No.7. I was firmly, hopelessly devoted to Boots 17.

Until I stumbled across this beacon of teen beauty that day, my only experience with lipstick had been the deep purples, bright reds and confusing browns on my mum’s dressing table. She was so enamoured with that particular 90s makeup palette that I never even realised there was a whole other palette out there. The palette of the 90s teen girl: all pale this and frosted that. Oil-eliminating pressed powder. Sparkles in everything. Lilac eyeshadow. I don’t want to be melodramatic, but the day I first slapped on Twilight Teaser lipstick was truly momentous.

It was followed by other items in the Boots 17 line: glittery pale pink eyeshadows, a rather too zealous application of blusher from their Pot Of Rose (blusher balls, basically, but to me they were MAGIC BEANS or something), clear mascara for the brows, concealer in beige, yellow AND green, and of course a thick black mascara to fully tarantula-fy my lashes. All those items had a place in my black and pink makeup bag, but it’s Twilight Teaser that still has a place in my heart.

Would I wear a mid-mauve lipstick shot through with enough ‘frosty’ sparkles to fill a snowglobe now? Of course not. But then, I wouldn’t wear clompy court shoes and fill my Rachel ‘do with those weird hair springs nowadays either. Twilight Teaser wasn’t so spectacularly important because of what it was, but because of what it represented: growing up and making my own way in the makeup world.

I am now 26, I don’t have a Rachel ‘do, and I enjoy a full-time, committed relationship with makeup. Oh and I never leave the house without my lippie. So, thanks, Twilight Teaser. You taught me well.

Follow Becca on Twitter @Becca_DP

dresses, Fashion Crush, Fashion News, Features, First Looks, Opinion, Sleeves of the week, Trend Alert, Uncategorized

Sleeves Of The Week! Monsoon Eddie Embellished Dress, £119

By Daisy Buchanan on April 26th, 2013

Right at my core, there is a complex and unwinnable battle. Deep down, I know that to be chic is to be low key. I’ve seen too many pictures of Jackie Kennedy not to believe that the secret of style lies within the well cut. Supple silks and tasteful tweeds will take you everywhere. If you are understated, you will never be underdressed.

Monsoon Eddie embellished dress, £119

Monsoon Eddie embellished dress, £119

But then, the other of me is a MASSIVE GLITTER MONSTER who wants sequins and chiffon and shine, who always wants to look like Lady Gaga closing a show for Tom Jones in Vegas, if there were a Manumission in Vegas. And this Sleeves of the Week selection has somehow reconciled my yin with my yang, bringing me fashion serenity and inner peace. (Oh, come on. Did you really think I was going to get there through yoga?!)

The Monsoon Eddie dress is a bit Queen Elizabeth, a bit Bianca Jagger and a lot 1964. I reckon you could get away with it at a wedding, either as a guest or as a bride. (If you’re the guest, do check – don’t upstage anyone.) The sleeve and neckline detail is pretty blingy, so although the frock is over £100, you’ll save an absolute fortune on the many elaborate and expensive jewels that you’d normally rush out and buy to complement a new outfit. If you must accessorise, all you need is pearl studs and a sturdy chignon.

Steve Coogan’s Paul Raymond biopic, The Look Of Love hits cinemas this weekend. If you leave the screen with a thirst for the mod luxe, this is the perfect dress for channelling Imogen Poots.

Beauty, News, Opinion, Opinion peice, ShinyStyle Investigates, Uncategorized

The great anti ageing debate and the skincare that works

By Daisy Buchanan on April 22nd, 2013

I am old, I am old. I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled.

I’m ambivalent about being 28. Well, I’m only about seven weeks into it, to be fair. And I definitely prefer the latter stages of my twenties to the first part. My professional and romantic lives are fulfilling, and no longer resemble a high concept practical joke fuelled by fluids (including but not limited to white wine, semen, urine and tears, in both areas). I now have access to a bathroom that is improved with the use of a Diptyque Gardenia candle, not a deep breath and a pair of flip flops. I’ve learned you get more use out of one beautifully cut dress that costs £70 than ten £7 dresses that turn your tits into ever expanding comedy beach balls and show your knickers when you cough.

Me at 22 - not doing that again.

Me at 22 – not doing that again.

I wouldn’t be 22 again for a million pounds – although part of the problem with being 22 was that I was poor as a church mouse who could well be the subject of a Children In Need style telethon event in which other church mice were being asked to donate. (“Just one dropping a month could save Daisy’s life.”) A million quid would have improved things significantly. But I don’t miss spending four nights out of seven smoking in the doorway of the now defunct Metro and then choosing between the vomity nightbus and the stabby nightbus. I don’t miss going out with boys that I spent hours analysing, analysis that invariably ended with a wailed “I just want to know whether we’re actually going out or not!” I don’t miss doing jobs that paid in fabulousness, and going out to swaggy parties covered in free glitter knowing I was over my overdraft and there was a good chance my debit card would get declined when I tried to top up my Oyster. And I don’t miss my fresh facedness. In my early twenties, I had yet to grow into myself. Plump, unlined, dewy skin is all well and good, but I looked like a MAC’d up Cletus The Slack Jawed Yokel. At 28, I don’t regard my unmade up face as a doughy horror show. I think that’s a little bit because age has defined my features, and a lot because I finally have some healthy perspective.

But I’m old enough to know that I’m no longer young enough to sleep in my make up. That it’s probably time for a bit of a regime change. The Roi de Laissez Faire may be pretty chilled out and undemanding as long as you keep everything clean and moisturised, but he’s not really up to the job in the long term. It’s time for Kaiser Knuckledown.

As a skincare term, anti-ageing puts the willies up me. It’s anti feminist. It’s why Prof Mary Beard was treated so appallingly. It’s a buzz phrase for an industry that sometimes seems bent on disrespecting our experience. It wants us unlined and unformed, for maximum sex appeal – which is a ridiculous idea, as anyone who has ever forced Susan Sarandon to stand next to Miley Cyrus will testify.

Then again, I don’t want my face to look like a relief map of the Lake District in 10 years. I don’t want to not age, ever. But if regular, gentle product application can keep everything smooth and supple, I’m going to do it. Which is why I have fallen on Radical Skincare like an ant discovering a melted Calyppo. It’s beautifully made, effective stuff for lazy people who are happy to spend a bit of money in order to look their age, to stop themselves panicking and spending thousands in order to look their shoe size in years to come.

Radical Skincare is a word of mouth, A-listery phenomenon founded by two sisters who were looking to do something for their rosacea and newly lined post pregnancy skin (That’s face skin – no giggling at the back.) And their father, a non cosmetic plastic surgeon, had a lab, and the space and expertise to help them develop something tailor made. And their friends loved it, and their friends loved it, and there was enough demand to develop the brand which has just launched in the UK. The surgery element sounds scary, but there’s a strong focus on antioxidants, and all the products are paraben free – it’s science and nature coming together like Hall and Oates.

Radical serum 200 8287301_fpx

I am in love with the Youth Infusion serum  – it’s a lightly scented, silkily textured insta-brightener that is absorbed by your skin faster than Mo Farah (if he were to temporarily take the form of liquid, a la Alex Mack). After three days, my skin tone is brighter, fresher and evened out. It’s as if I’ve been getting regular, sustained amounts of top level sleep – and I’m the worst sleeper in the world.

A hundred and twenty bucks is definitely the higher end of high end – you do get what you pay for with Radical, but if the bulk of your cash is for rent and gas bills and bailing out Wayward Old Uncle Aloysius, the range starts at £30 – and the Instant Revitalizing Mask(£40) is facial-in-a-bottle good. It crackles on your skin, which is slightly disconcerting but not unpleasant, like a very gentle Space Dust for the face. In three minutes, it delivers that smooth, rested, erm, revitalised look – you could swear in court that you’d been drinking spinach smoothies for a fortnight and the jury would be unanimously convinced.


If you’re in your late twenties or early thirties, and reluctant about dipping a toe in the anti ageing pool (you think you saw Cher’s old scab covered Elastoplast floating near the filter) the Radical On The Move set is a good way to start paddling. It includes miniature versions of their four best sellers – the serum, Restorative Moisture, Eye Revive Creme, Hydrating Cleanser and Age Defying Exfoliating Pads for £39. For the price of a two way Speedy Boarding upgrade, you could look like you spent two months at Bono’s place in Barbados without Bono being there.

Think of anti ageing as a bit of a due dilligence thing. You can’t stop yourself from growing up any more than King Canute can throw his hands up and halt the progress of a Splashdown wave machine. But a little care and attention now will pay off in the long run, like a pension. As long as you’re not getting skincare advice from Robert Maxwell, you’re going to be alright.

Beauty, Beauty of our youth, Celebrity Style, Movie fashion, Style Icon, Uncategorized, vintage

Beauty of our youth: ‘The Rachel’

By Daisy Buchanan on April 16th, 2013

Writer Janina Matthewson recalls her relationship with the most coveted hairstyle of the nineties…

Janina's "Rachel"

Janina’s “Rachel”

Summer drew to a close. The new school year approached. I, a new teenager embarking on that mysterious era known as “high school,” was getting my first real haircut. 

I’d had my hair cut before, obviously, but it had always been a trim of the two existing lengths: “long” and “fringe,” so I didn’t resemble a child of the brethren. But now it was to be different. I had chosen a “style.” I had chosen “The Rachel.”

Not since Farrah Fawcett had a hairstyle been so universally desired, and nothing’s matched it since. Jennifer Aniston’s hair for the first season of Friends was where the proverbial “it” was at, and I wanted it all over my head.

Why It Was A Bad Idea For Me To Get The Rachel:

Reason One: I come from a Large Family and my parents had government jobs. That meant we were bulk buy, home brand, budget option people.

Reason Two: I have wildly precocious hair. It’s unpredictable, it gets everywhere, it’s practically sentient. In all my life it’s been successfully blow dried twice; if I go to a costume party all I have to do to it is nothing, and I’ll be a raven haired Hermione.

So I turned up at Mr Snips to get my ten dollar haircut from the latest graduate of the hairdressing school Old Man McCutty runs out of his basement, a beam just all over my face. “I’d like The Rachel,” I said, blithely. The hairdresser blinked. Her scissors wobbled. She hadn’t heard of the most popular haircut in twenty years.

Even then, I was unafraid. I was young, I was optimistic, I’d never been burned.

I explained the haircut carefully, and she said she could do it. I sat in the chair, watching ribbons of hair fall away, revelling in the new lightness, feeling the ends swish against my neck.

It wasn’t until I was home that I really took it in.

My first “layered” haircut had precisely two layers: a quite thin one, that stopped just short of my shoulders, and a very thick one, at the bottom of my ears.

My head looked like a mushroom cloud. Or indeed, like a mushroom.

Obviously I cried.

We went back, explained that it was all wrong, and they did their best to fix it.

They couldn’t, obviously, it was a complete disaster, but they tried.

And they gave me a mullet.


Follow Janina on Twitter @J9London

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