Dumb Fashion Things I Like

One of the things I love most about Fashion People is the way they will unabashedly defend some really bad stuff just because it's been sent down a catwalk. The typical go-to lines they like to use include "it's art" (if you don't 'get' it then go off to read Heat Magazine like the uncultured peasant you are!) and "it's so conceptual!" What does conceptual even mean, am I right!?!

I'm not even going to touch on catwalk stunts here because, to be fair to Rick Owens' misfired attempt to glamourise the hell out of 69ing and the humble fireman's carry, fashion shows are all about generating brand awareness. Yes, just to clear that up: contrary to popular opinion, Fashion Week is not about selling clothes. It's about selling dreams. And if you want Fashion People to see your brand as edgy, cool and current, there is no better way to do that than by forcing your models to simulate oral sex on the catwalk. 

So, when I refer to Dumb Fashion Things I like, I'm talking about all the slightly weird, largely impractical stuff that fashion editors shove onto the shopping pages of magazines, knowing full well that their readers will lap it up and keep the advertisers happy. Despite being openly cynical about fashion and frequently going through phases of declaring I am 'over' shopping (lol), the fashion industry remains a fascination of mine. There are definitely days when I decide I want to go back to school and try to carve out a career in dermatology, but at the end of the day I don't know what I'd do without fashion in my life. For every part of me that likes slagging off Karl Lagerfeld, there's always going to be a part of me that justifies expensive purchases with the 'cost per wear' theory. Lame but true.

Now please enjoy an insight into my mind by perusing my fashion whims.

You know when you have a massive spot on your forehead and you apply loads of red lipstick in an attempt to draw people's attention away from the spot? I feel like Dion Lee's SS16 face jewellery – or any eccentric 'accessory' on the catwalk in general – is a similar distraction technique, but for hiding boring clothes instead of spots. Regardless, I am a big fan of this look, which basically says, "I am too glam to eat, drink or use my facial muscles." So. FASHION.

I was in two minds about posting this because I really don't understand why Phoebe Philo decided to take mink (ew) and then dye it baby blue when she could have just conjured up some fun faux fur to line these sandals with. In principle, however, these babies have the potential to be the comfiest shoes in the land. I have seen cheaper, faux fur alternatives on offer elsewhere – which I would totally buy , along with all the other ugly things I lust after, if I broke up with my boyfriend (sorry Dan!) – and I am just using this picture because it was Céline's SS13 collection, after all, that sparked the trend for weird trans-seasonal footwear.

Prior to last year, I would never have classed massive costume earrings as a 'dumb fashion thing'. I like wearing them with the most basic of outfits and pretending I'm Edie Sedgwick loafing about her New York apartment on a Sunday. To me, excessive earrings are the epitome of tacky glamour. However, today they make the list because one of my pairs of super-sized ASOS earrings once tore my earlobes a bit and I got some sort of infection from the cheapo metal. I will continue to wear them, though, because what is style without pain?

The Charlotte Simone 'Huggy' is beautiful, a bit daft and pretty impractical, so I fell in love with it immediately. The Huggy is described online as a "versatile snood", so you can obviously wear it around your neck like any other snood, but this one is superbly stretchy and seems to be best worn over the shoulders. This sort of fluffy upper-arm constriction automatically makes the Huggy very chic – like all of the best fashion pieces, it looks cute, makes women feel slightly inhibited and costs £350! ***Adds to mental wishlist***

Fluffy Dreams: A Chat With TDS' Lettie Pattinson

Confession time: I wasn’t one of the cool girls who got on board with faux-furriers TDS when they first set up shop. In fact I hadn’t discovered the brand until around two months ago, but I’m already very much in love. Like all good love affairs, TDS has certainly kept me on my toes. Instead of dangling their wares in front of us 24/7 like most other fashion brands in our ever-connected age, TDS drops a new, limited edition collection on their website every few weeks. And by ‘limited edition’, I mean that each fluffy bomber jacket is a complete one-off. As you might have guessed, these jackets sell out very quickly – think Balmain x H&M, but on a smaller scale, with nicer clothes – which means that, if you are lucky enough to grab one online, your TDS jacket feels very much like your baby (well, you basically fought for it after all) and you want to take it everywhere.

I receive compliments whenever I wear my TDS ‘Toya‘ bomber (see above for pics. Please excuse my use of my phone’s grainy selfie cam – I have laryngitis at the moment so am doing a lot of hanging out in the house on my own as I physically cannot speak). As someone whose style is very minimal, putting on my layer of faux fur cosiness every morning makes me feel like the Cool Fashion Girl I’ll never be. 

I spoke to Lettie Pattinson – one half of TDS’ mother-daughter design duo – about fun fur, social media strategies and the enduring appeal of bomber jackets. 

Céline pre-fall 2015

Today I spent my lunch break looking at Céline's pre-fall 2015 offerings, trying to cleanse my soul after seeing the monstrosities that were last night's Met Ball dresses. A few months ago I agreed to write an article about the red carpet trend for sheer, 'illusion'-style dresses, but I still don't understand why celebrities still continue to wear them despite the fact that their vibe is basically prom queen meets Strictly Come Dancing. Which – I imagine we all agree – is pretty weird. 


Although it may not fit in on the red carpet, Céline's pre-fall 2015 collection is welcome to hang out in my wardrobe any day. My favourite look is obviously the striped one (which could easily be copied right now if you pop into Zara), but there is so much goodness going on here. While I don't think fringed (read: frayed) trouser hems would translate well on anyone other than a model in a showroom, I've got a lot of time for the fringing elsewhere; even the dress with an all-over fringe skirt doesn't look too OTT thanks to its navy, knitted top half. 

Overall, another triumph from Phoebe Philo. The only misstep was a massive fur coat that looked outdated and vulgar in comparison to the rest of the collection's stripped-back modernity. Not a good look when it's 2015 and there are so many amazing fake furriers out there, like Shrimps and Helen Moore.

Lust list

xmas wishlist

High-neck striped top from Topshop
Stripes are essential. My boyfriend has observed that I "have so many stripey things it's hard to differentiate between them" – impressive, given the amount of time the average heterosexual man pays attention to what women are wearing. I have about 15 striped tops on rotation (as well as various striped dresses, skirts and accessories) but that won't stop me from buying another one. Like, this one has a different neckline and everything! Such a contrast to anything I've ever worn!
Coat from Topshop
As soon as autumn weather arrives, my sartorial fancies disappear and I spend a good half of the year wearing black jeans and mouldy jumpers from my mum. As a skint student, acrylic high-street jumpers are the only alternative to Mummy's wool and cashmere... so, for the sake of avoiding hypothermia, stylish high-street styles are ditched in favour of 'vintage' (i.e. outdated 80s) pieces from Hobbs and M&S. To cover up my lack of style, I rely on nice boots and coats to make me feel better about myself. As long as they're not bright pink or whatever, coats are timeless pieces that should be worn year after year. So it's worth investing in one that won't fall apart. I love this one from Topshop – it's expensive, yes, but oh-so beautiful. And textured!
Burberry scarf
Yesterday, the Sunday Times' Style claimed that the Burberry check "is back again after years in the wilderness". Well, either Londoners are a strange breed or the Sunday Times' writers are completely out of touch with street style. I constantly see people donning Burberry scarves and looking glam, and by 'people' I'm not talking about 15-year-olds sinking white cider after school. The 'chav' scene is over (or perhaps not, but it's at least graduated from Burberry). I happily wear massive gold hoop earrings now – something which would've had me castigated five years ago – so why not a Burberry scarf?
Shrimps coat
Reasons to love faux-fur brand Shrimps: 
1) One of Shrimps' ad campaigns last year featured a model wearing the Pallas coat and holding a fluffy dog
2) The designer, Hannah Weiland, once told Vogue that she came up with the brand name because, being a "small and pink" child, she was given the nickname 'Shrimps'. Cute.
There's something about faux fur that I love – the luxury, the infinitely flexible colour options and, of course, the cosiness – I wanted a Charlotte Simone Popsicle for ages, but real fur is gross.
Black cossack hat from Next
I love these hats. Last year I was unsatisfied with the Matalan cossack I'd been wearing – it just wasn't big or fluffy enough – so I went to Topshop and spent £25 on one from its SNO collection. I wore it to death and adored it. In December I went on my last 'uni' night out in Manchester, lost one of my shoes, came back to my flat, didn't sleep all night, hopped on a train to Leeds in the afternoon, had too much mulled wine at the Christmas Markets, got on a train home for the Christmas holidays... and left my cossack on the train. The shoe I lost on my night out didn't upset me, but losing the hat still upsets me. I want/need to get another one. 
Mondaine watch
It's 99% certain when you open your Instagram account on Christmas Day you'll be inundated with pictures of #my #new #Michael #Kors #watch. Could everyone ask Santa for an understated Mondaine watch instead, please, to make Instagram a chicer experience for everyone?

Thoughts on Hedi Slimane

NB: Going to get back into the swing of blogging as it's kind of a prerequisite for my university course. I don't have the energy to write anything new right now, so here is something I wrote a few months ago that has been sitting in my drafts folder. 

Something I never thought I'd find myself saying: I'm really feeling Saint Laurent's AW14 looks. Instead of just discussing the collection nearly a whole season too late, I thought I'd take a broader (and, admittedly, overdue) look at Hedi Slimane and his rebranding of YSL. 

Slimane is that arsey, apathetic guy in your secondary school maths class who slouched at the back of the classroom and took the piss out of anyone whose cheekbones weren't as sharp as his (read: everyone). In short, he's not really a likeable guy, and there are hundreds of articles online that corroborate this. Since taking the reins at YSL in 2011, Slimane has completely rebranded the iconic fashion house. Although this news still doesn't sit well with the more obstinate of the brand's die-hards, the rebranding has been a commercial success for the brand we now know as Saint Laurent (also known, in some formats, as Saint Laurent Paris and Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane, but the rules about which name to use in different situations are too finely-cut for me to explain). 

It wasn't just the logo that changed, though, as the YSL woman was transformed too – in fact, she became a teenage girl. Some of the big fashion brands, although gawped at by women under 40 on computer screens worldwide, thrive on designing clothes for an older clientele. It sort of makes sense, because the average 25-year-old's salary couldn't dream of accommodating the cost of a Chanel dress, but it consequently alienates a good chunk of the young fashion fans who find most of their labelled goods on eBay. Designer diffusion lines aren't the perfect solution, but they're a reasonable middle ground, providing a high fashion fix – usually with a younger aesthetic as well as a lower price – for rich kids and 20-somethings who are beginning to find their feet financially. Since Slimane started ripping Saint Laurent's 'exclusive' nature to shreds, you would be forgiven for thinking that the mainline clothes are diffusion line clothes. I maintain that his SS13 was simply an artful culmination of scraps from bargain bins in Lipsy, River Island and a fancy dress shop; a lot of the clothes looked like things you see misguided drunk girls wearing in Tiger Tiger, and overall it was very poor form from Slimane.

A lot of people booted off about Raf Simons when he started out at Dior. Being a massive fan of his work, I never understood it. When fashion critics bashed Simons for 'ruining Dior', all he was really doing was stepping back from Galliano's garishness (which, personally, I always hated, but I'm in the minority). When they bashed Slimane, however, for 'ruining YSL', it really did seem like he was ruining the brand. Before the rebranding, YSL catered for moneyed and elegant women, so it was difficult to see how these sophisticated ladies would be able to digest these tacky new pieces draped over doe-eyed, skinny-skinny girls. It wasn't just the existing clientele who Hedi alienated; it would seem that journalists are blacklisted by Saint Laurent (i.e. not allowed to the shows) if they show any inclination to not bow down at Slimane's throne, and runway critics, even if no longer allowed to write anything critical, have been pushed off their front row seats to make room for the designer's celebrity clique. 

Pretentious and stubborn he may be – and there's also the question of how long he can peddle his distinct, grungy 'I'm with the band' look before the concept becomes even more tired than it already is – but, even in the creative industries, it's the turnover that really counts. And Saint Laurent sells well. Although a lot of Slimane's stuff looks like it belongs in Topshop, about 50% of my wardrobe is from Topshop. And the fact that I can imagine someone wearing one of his dresses to a Koosday night, even though they're more likely to be worn to a black tie event, isn't exactly a bad thing; although he seems like the most arrogant personality in an industry full of arrogance, you could never accuse his designs of being pretentious. 

For further reading, I'd highly recommend this article by Cathy Horyn, in which she considers why Slimane, by offering clothes that are commercial rather than conceptual, might have had the right idea all along.


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