Fashion

Current favourite kicks from Kurt Geiger

Out and about and online I see reems of shoes I love, but in comparison to many, have a fairly small collection. I’d love to be able to expand on what I’ve got, and current season Kurt Geiger have many a piece that has caught my eye.

It’s the Carvela collection that I think offer most in the way of mid-heel ankle boots that will be perfect come autumn and winter. These are my three favourites:Carvela  kurt geiger agnescarvela kurt geiger solero

carvela kurt keiger swapThe first is the Agnes boot and, a sucker for a toe cap, I love that this detail is featured and combined with the cut out side. This cut out design is one I’ve seen elsewhere, but here I think it’s done to perfection. The second is the Solero boot. The tassels make the boot causal, whilst the suede keeps it chic. I also love this colour boot for paring with white or dusky pink skinny jeans. The last ankle boot seen here is the Swap. This is the most unique of the three, with a chunkier design and heavier detailing – these boots could really set off a simple outfit.

Next up, these are my picks of the courts.
Carvela kurt geiger ashcarvela kurt geiger adara
KG Kurt geiger bastilleThe contrast colours on the Ash courts, as well as textures, makes these really exciting. The cobalt blue could add a flash of colour to a monochrome outfit or be paired with other brights. The black Adara courts were clearly designed to be more serious, but definitely in a sexy way. Again the contrast in fabric makes these shoes stand out, whilst the metallic touches add a feisty feel. The last court is, with out a doubt, fun. I love wearing colour as much as neutrals, and these Bastille courts could compliment many looks. With a lower heel height they’re also more wearable day-to-day, but promote a playful mood too and could be great for a night out.

Finally, my favourites of the loafers or slippers – a style that became big a year or so ago and looks as though it’s here to stay.
carvela kurt geiger larkCarvela kurt geiger later
kg kurt geier lexie

The first of the these, the Lark studded loafers, get me excited. I love detailing and I love the shape of slipper style loafers, so this pair tick my boxes. I also love the pattern of the studding, as it moves these shoes away from grungy and makes them oh so covetable. The next pair – suede, toe-capped and a wine/burgundy colour – I actually already own. I saw these Later slippers whilst out shopping and there was no going back. The toes are actually more pointed than the picture shows, which for me made them stand out from the crowd. This last pair, the Lexie slippers, would fill my craving for a colour-pop nicely. They do say to me ‘summer shoe’, less than ‘will transcend through the seasons’, but there’s no reason why these couldn’t provide a much needed colour injection to early autumn. I think they would produce a fun and causal look, as well as a smile.

I hope you liked my picks of Kurt Geiger. Let me know if you’ve spotted a pair that will get you investing. 

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Fashion, Fun

A December delight that’s seen me through to summer

DSC01917Last December I decided to trade in the usual chocolate or picture (usually chocolate) advent calendar, and instead gifted myself with a calendar packed full to the brim with nail varnish.  As soon as this offering from Ciate caught my eye there was no going back, I had to have it – a new colour every day – what could be more exciting? And it certainly didn’t disappoint. Not only was there a wide range of mini nail varnish colours (and the bottles not as tiny as you might think), but Ciate had also included a variety of their Caviar Mirco Pearls. DSC01922

The colours weren’t all winter themed either. Yes, there was a very sparkly red, which I wore for Christmas day, but there were colours to transcend all seasons. What I also love about the range provided, is that someone could keep up with nail colour trends throughout the coming year if they wished to as well, such was the potential of this selection.

I think, though, that I have come up with a favourite. Perhaps it is the summer sun that has influenced my decision, but I can’t get enough of a coral tone called Speed Dial. I’ve been wearing it on my toes since the weather started dictating sandals, and whilst I’ve picked other colours occasionally, I always seem end up back at this one. It’s true that come winter I might revert back to a much loved deep red from Jessica, but for now Speed Dial is the go to shade for me. 

DSC01920 DSC01908

It was a while until I tried out the Caviar Mirco Pearls, and when I did delve in, I painted both mine and a friend’s nails, which made for a fun and exciting experiment; and I did think the results looked great: really exciting and different.aman & holly nails However, these were let down on longevity. They would catch on things easily and ping off, and many just rubbed off while sleeping. I think I could engineer slightly better staying power with a thicker coat before sprinkling on the pearls, and pushing them down with more conviction to embed them further, but I don’t think they’ll ever be a particularly practical option. But then again, I don’t think they were designed with that in mind – they were designed for fun and unique nails, and this they most definitely achieve. 

I’m chuffed to still be enjoying last year’s advent over 7 months on, how can next December possibly match up?!
DSC01918

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Fashion

The Bag

Having had mixed feelings about & other stories in the past, the brand has finally won me over. It was this bag that did it:

& other stories two-tone shoulder bag & other stories two-tone shoulder bag 2 & other stories two-tone shoulder bag 3

I recently said goodbye to two much loved ( but old, tired and worn out) handbags after they both broke in quick succession. This meant that I had to buy a new one. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?! So the handbag search began.

My budget was never going to stretch to Mulberry (but maybe one day!), therefore the high street would be my stomping ground. Staying true to my unusual fashion, the internet was my first port of call. I headed onto a website called Shopstyle (on which you can search for various items across many websites) for some inspiration and to gauge what was on offer, but from this in general felt very underwhelmed. I wasn’t sure quite what I was looking for – it was going to be an ‘ I’ll know it when I see it’ purchase, and it couldn’t be any old bag, it had to feel like the one.

After trawling Topshop, a glance at Urban Outfitters, pawing over Zara, and scrolling through many others, I had made no progress. None of these bags were ‘it’. I wasn’t getting excited. So I turned to Asos Marketplace in the hope of something more individual. There were some well priced, reasonable looking, handmade leather satchels, but I do own the most beautiful of 15″ Cambridge Satchels, so these slouchier versions for me just didn’t compare. I should probably mention at this point that I wanted a small bag, but had to be just big enough to fit a 10 inch tablet (I do hate having things like size specifics when shopping, but it certainly narrowed things down!).

So, feeling disheartened and having searched almost every retailer I could think of, I wracked my brain for where else i could look. &Other Stories – now there’s a thought! Their collection of bags had always been both fairly extensive and with the attention to detail which I wanted to win me over. No further than the second row of bags on their website and I was sold. The Two-tone Shoulder Bag was unique, high quality, the perfect size and had that extra something that i can’t quite put my finger on. It took me all of 24 hours to be in the store to see it for real, and another 15 mins of ‘just making sure’ deliberation before I was on my way home, new bag in hand.

& other stories two-tone shoulder bag 4

The last time I wrote about &Other Stories I wondered if it was mine or the brand’s fault that they never stuck in my mind as a ‘go to’ retailer. I feel now that it might have been me who was missing out. The bag has had many compliments already and I can’t stop admiring it myself. If you’ll excuse the pun, &Other Stories I think you might have bagged yourself a more regular customer.

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Fashion

My picks of Mink Pink

mint velvet grey fur gilet

Last year I discovered Mink Pink for the first time and bought a fur gilet. It’s one of my favourite items and I love how I feel when I wear it. I’ve never looked back.


This season they have a similar gilet, but in grey tones instead of the white of last autumn/winter. But this is certainly not the only new season piece to lust after. My favourites include the Ivory Pleat and Lace Blouse, as well as the Charcoal Waterfall Front Jacket, and the Wine Leather Pencil Skirt.

mint velvet ivory pleat blousemint velvet wine leather pencil skirtmint velevet charcoal waterfront jacket

The collection of intricate blouses continues with the Ivory Embroidered Blouse, also available in black, which definitely deserves to go on my wish list. I’m also taken by the Black Buckle Long Boots, particularly as they remind me of some I used to have but wore out, so I’m certainly in the market for a new pair in this style. Plus, their Shell Pink A-line Jacquard Dress is a really unique design, and would be a lovely one for autumn.

mint velvet pink shell a-line dressmint velvet ivory embellished blousemint velvet black buckle long boots

I can’t wait to get my hands on some of these.

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Fashion

Lust Haves: Reiss AW13

reiss joanna zac trousersI’m always lusting over Reiss, and commiserating myself when I don’t have the funds personally to go beyond coveting their collections. Last season it was a certain royal blue jacket, which nipped in perfectly at the waist and lay beautifully at the back, that had me yearning. Alas, I couldn’t part with that much money.

New season has now arrived, and AW13 at Reiss features a lot of work-wear inspired items, these particularly in duck egg and royal blues, as well as some chic accessories, and some noteworthy winter coats.

reiss montage 1 I love their Brina Asymmetric Court Shoes as a new take on the classic court. I’m not a big heel-wearer day to day, but I think I’d make an exception for these. And, as a sucker for a soft, light-weight knit, and for powder colours, I can’t resist the pale blue Lewes Crew Neck Jumper. I particularly like wearing knits tucked into waisted items  – my favourite Reiss offering on this front are their Rosie Geo Print Silk Shorts. The Liza Embossed Croc Shoulder Bag also caught my eye.

One of my particular favourites from Reiss this season is the Sophia Lace and Silk Shirt. It’s intricate and sexy, and the design strikes me as having a certain uniqueness when seen against others on the high street; and the Joanna Zac Straight Leg Trousers in soft neutral could provide a nice pairing. These also come in Cobalt Blue, which I’d love to wear to brighten up the winter – perhaps whilst cosy and wrapped up in the Board Large Collar Overcoat.

reiss board coat Reiss sofia shirt reiss joana zac trousers

And then for the evening? I’d pick the Mia Contrast Fit and Flare Dress with Jolene Cross Body Envelope Bag. I love the mixture of textures here, as well as the feminine silhouette. Plus, the dress would be great for swing dancing (a favourite past-time).

reiss mia bress reiss jolene bag

So, on a very big budget, Reiss has the coming season sorted.

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Fashion

Abercrombie & Fitch – staff wanted – ‘7’s not considered.

There’s a man walking past outside wearing a Hollister shirt. “I know how to fold that shirt. Even looking at him makes me angry.”

This is what a friend capriciously revealed to me during a catch up over coffee, having been employed by Hollister for three months. The day of being scouted to work in the store whilst casually out shopping must have been a great one – everyone knows they only hire pretty people – but the reality of working at a shop in which only appearances matter turned out to be something quite to the contrary of pleasant.

What struck me the most was the way in which she had been confined to the stock room, with the ‘front of house’ jobs reserved apparently only for those possessing a true ‘Abercrombie’ look; this is despite her eye-catching beauty and stunning smile. Perhaps in the eyes of her employers she was a ‘7’, and it is alleged that managers could get “called out on conference calls for putting a ‘7’ in the front room”. I can confirm she at least an ‘8’ or a ‘9’. This leads to a realisation that maybe a more visible role was denied her due to her Iranian heritage.

Not only do the Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister and Gilly Hicks brands employ based only on appearances, it has further been revealed to me that staff welfare is of next to no consideration. There is described a cliquey playground superiority complex among the ‘front of house’ staff towards those in the stock room, and beyond worker relations, the company’s constant hunt for ‘new faces’ sends shift patterns awol. Once a position has been held for multiple months some staff begin to be phased out, offered less and less hours. It can’t possibly be ethical to discriminate both before and during employment in such a shallow way.

The result? An attractive, but fragmented and often unhappy, body of shop assistants, given a sense of rank based on physical differences opposed to training or experience. Couple this with overpriced clothes; a dark, loud and almost painfully over-fragrant shopping experience; and a distinct lack of awareness in fashion, and one wonders how the company can continue to grow.

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Fashion

Has ‘& other stories’ been a one story brand?

With the promising launch of ‘& other stories’ in March they were looking to become a new high street fashion favourite. So why then have they fallen off my radar?

I checked their website regularly at first, intrigued and interested, but then this faded out. Not only did ‘& other stories’ not make it into my regularly viewed websites, such as Topshop, Zara and ASOS, it occurred to me that I haven’t heard anything about the brand in the press since its launch!

I wondered whether this was due to a lack of awareness on my part or to the brand’s lack of exposure. Taking to the internet I discovered an article on Vogue News from May about a collaboration of ‘& other stories’ with US-based artist and illustrator, Alyson Fox. The pieces shown of this collection in Vogue’s gallery were devine.
‘& other stories’ -1, Holly-0.
But as I looked further all I could find were articles from March 2013 written around the initial launch.
I think that brings the score to 1-1.
A more directed search at Look and Grazia magazines told the same story. Of course, this isn’t to say that ‘& other stories’ pieces haven’t featured in these and other similar magazines, but I don’t believe that awareness of the brand would be this narrow had they achieved more coverage.

So, onto their website I go. ‘& other stories’ – show me what you got.
The first thing to strike me was that either I directly recognised a lot of the items, or it all looks the same. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as I do admire their basic pieces (although a couple that I tried on in store a few months back did not see me a fan of the fabrics. I’ve never been too keen on polyester or viscose). It took some searching, though, to unearth some new favourites.

Sleeveless Top £29 Silk Scarf £29 Denim Shorts £29

My first pick was the Sleeveless Top. I would have been tempted by if this if wasn’t polyester, but overall I was pleasantly surprised by their use of cottons and silks in many items, so long as you select carefully. I own a silk scarf, bought from the store a while back, which I adore, and a couple more have now caught my eye. And, as scouted by Vogue, the Alyson Fox pieces, scarfs, shorts and skirts, are punchy and exciting.

Alyson Fox Cotton Shorts £39 Alyson Fox Silk Skirt £45 Alyson Fox Geometric Print Scarf £39

I also liked their basic denim shorts and the choice stock of some Nike trainers, as well as a few pairs from their own shoe collection.

Overall though, I still don’t think I’ll find myself gushing to others about ‘& other stories’. There are a few choice pieces, but also a lot I could scroll past without batting an eyelid. What I would say however, is that if I don’t  occasionally check in for new items, I think it’d be my loss. So that leaves the tally at a draw, one all. I think you’ll have to up your game ‘& other stories’ if you want to be a winner.

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