Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Today I'm wearing: pastels and patterns

There's a reason why I don't post a lot of photos of myself on this blog. And that reason is because I'm not photogenic at all. I'm like that episode of Friends with the engagement picture where Chandler's face keeps doing weird things. So ignore my pose (it was an accidental one taken by the boy as I was putting my jacket down) and look at the fabulous flare on that skirt instead.

The skirt was an amazing River Island sale bargain (£3 instead of £34.99!) in that lovely flared cut they've had in for the past few seasons - it's kind of a high waisted, knee length deal. Very flattering, easy to wear and well worth a look for next time you're in store.

Top, Miss Selfridge; Skirt, River Island

Monday, 26 March 2012

Bargain of the week: New summer bag from Mango, only £9.99

Ahhh summer. You're finally here. Time to ditch the scarves and don a maxi dress. I've been lugging round my faithful Fenn Wright Manson slouch bag for months now and feel like it's time for a change. I want out of the boring navy and have been looking for something suitably summery to brighten up my wardrobe.

So when I came across this messenger bag, I almost jumped in excitement (luckily, I didn't actually jump or my handbag fund would have quickly become my laptop fund!).

A Mango messenger bag for only £9.99 at John Lewis? Yes please!
This cute cross body bag is perfect for squeezing in all your summer essentials and is pretty much guaranteed to add a burst of citrus to any outfit. Leave the holdall behind and opt for a light, bright bargain!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Today I'm wearing: wonderful wayfarers

Primark, £1
These tortoiseshell wayfarer lookalikes were an absolute steal at £1 from Primark! Perfect for vintage dressing this summer.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Bargain of the week: Mary Katrantzou prints at Primark

Mary Katrantzou's SS12 floral suits
Missed out on the Mary Katrantzou/Topshop collaboration? Well, don't fret, I think a good deal of us didn't get a look in on my favourite designer's work (in my case it was mostly down to the prices: £60 for a scarf? I don't think so!)

First it was Pramark, now it's Pri-Mary: good old Primark have come back with a high street alternative to Mary's fantastic looks. Now some of you may be up in arms about this rather blatant copying but I'm going to succinctly say I don't care. I love Mary but her designs are completely out of my price range and this suit just allows me to pay homage to her work. If I could, I would spend a lot of money supporting young designers but for a many of us fashion followers, it's just not feasible. In the meantime, I'll be telling everyone I know about how my fantastic high street jacket was inspired by one the best designers out there.

Jacket, £25, Primark; Trousers, £16, Primark

What do you think of Primark's copy-catting? Good for High Street fans or bad for the fashion industry?

Today I'm wearing: a touch of urban style

 Lace high tops, £6, Primark
Tapered pyjama pants, £38, Topshop

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Bargain of the week: the £12.99 floral solution

Florals are huge right now, we all know that. But the things is, some of the high street flower patterns have left me a little bit disheartened. The key to SS12 is the whole digital, pop out look: this is not the time for ditsy little daisies. We want big, bold and beautiful. So that's why this week's bargain comes in the form of these ankle length wonders from H&M.

Trousers, £12.99, H&M
I love love love these trousers. They're just this beautiful mash up of Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, a water colour painting and a little bit of neon - and they're only £12.99.

Psst...think you've seen these somewhere before? Well, you probably have - look at how similar they are to this Warehouse version!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Friday fashion tip: Colours to put a spring in your step

SS12 is, I think, one that you either love or hate. Pastels, florals, 50s dresses - it's all the girly loveliness that I adore but I know a good few of you are mourning the loss of winter's dark textiles. So a few weeks back I got in touch with image consultants Colour Me Beautiful to find out what different colours they could recommend to give your style a little pick-me-up for SS12.

Wearing colour is a great way to lift your spirits and boost your confidence. Bringing a current shade into your wardrobe will update your look instantly and you don’t have to buy a whole outfit, a new top or accessory will do the job. What’s more, you will get the best effect if you wear shades that flatter your colouring. So rather than forcing yourself into unflattering pastels, try one of our top three colours for Spring 2012: red, green and tangerine. 

Red is not a typical spring colour - we instinctively look for lighter shades at this time of year, but it’s great to wear at any time. Red is the ultimate mood booster, symbolising vitality, heat, love and passion.

To get the best out of your red pieces for Spring, make sure you find a red that flatters your skin tone. If you have cool, pinkish undertones to your skin choose a blue-red, if you have warmer skin tones then go for warmer reds. Darker colourings can wear deep scarlet, a lighter geranium red works well for blondes, redheads can wear warm, tomato or orange-red. So, boost your confidence and turn heads in red this spring! 

Green has become more of a wardrobe staple rather than an accent colour, so you will find it in separates and dresses and accessories - in fact, pretty much everything. We often associate green with nature and new life so it’s a lovely uplifting shade to wear for Spring and worth investing in as a change from a safe grey or navy. 

Do take care if you wear it close to your face, green does contain yellow so the wrong shade can have a draining effect, which is the opposite of what you want. The best greens for lighter colourings are apple or peacock green whilst darker colourings carry off the rich pine or bold emerald shades. Moss and yellow-greens look great on redheads. 

Orange (like yellow) can be tricky to pull off, especially if you’re not confident about your colours or if you have a cool skin tone. It hasn’t always been popular, but orange is making a comeback and there are some super shades out there for Spring. It's definitely a very fun and uplifting colour that gives an instant shot of sunshine and warmth to any outfit.

Just make sure you choose the right shade for your colouring and take care how and on what part of your body you wear it. Deeper oranges and rust shades will work for darker colourings, blondes should be careful and stick to more subtle apricots, redheads can go the full gamut from terracotta to bold tangerine.

Although cool skin tones can’t take orange shades, they do suit pink. Subtle or bold, whichever pink you choose it will make you feel feminine and fabulous. Anything from a light pastel to hot fuchsia works for cool skin tones. While deep cyclamen will look great on dark colourings and blush pinks will flatter fairer colourings. 

What do you think of Colour Me Beautiful's recommendations and what will you be wearing for SS12? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Beauty Wednesday: Latest in Beauty's little beauty box reviewed

So I decided a little while back to delve into the world of mail order beauty boxes. For those of you who don't know about these marvellous things, you pay a certain amount and get a box of beauty samples in the post every month. Prices vary by company and so do product sizes and brands - ELLE have done a round up of all the bigger companies doing the boxes, worth looking at if you're considering subscribing.

The not that little beauty box
Anyway, I signed up for the cheapest one out there, Latest in Beauty's Little Beauty Box and the more expensive Glossybox (which I'll be doing a full review on next week). As soon as you register with Latest in Beauty, you have to complete a beauty profile on your skin type, hair type, preferences etc. Great - or so I thought anyway. With Latest in Beauty, you get to choose three samples from their suggested products. Unfortunately, being a 24 year old with pretty decent skin, this meant that I kept getting directed to anti-ageing samples. Yup, that's right, 24 is old now.

Okay, so that being said, that's pretty much the only annoyance I found with the Little Beauty Box. It arrived really quickly and you pay the £1.50 fee using your mobile. The packaging isn't the most glamorous in the world but it does mean you aren't paying any extra costs for a cardboard box.

Latest in Beauty's little beauty box, £1.50 for 3 samples
What I chose
So out of all the options on offer, I had 4x 10ml sachets of Nicky Clarke Volume shampoo and conditioner (just the right amount for two hairwashes for me); 2x 0.5ml sachets of Super by Dr Nicholas Perricone Bright eyed flawless cream (again the right size for two uses) and an Elemental Herbology skincare trial kit (one 3ml sachet each of Cool and clear facial cleanser, Soothing oil free facial hydrator and Facial glow radiance peel). I'll be honest, I'm haven't had a chance to try the products but I do have to say, with the exception of Nicky Clarke, I probably wouldn't have picked up these brands without the Little Beauty Box.

The best thing about the Latest in Beauty Little Beauty Box has to be that these are just sachet samples. The thing with bigger beauty boxes is if you've got a 30ml sample of, say, hand cream, and decide you don't like it - what do you do with it?

So far, so good with the Little Beauty Box. I loved that you could choose the samples and am pretty sure I'm going to get along with them. Being able to choose what you receive may take the surprise out of things but it does mean if you have sensitive skin like me you can tailor things just right.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Bargain of the week: Goody double wear hair accessories

Can you believe it, this week's bargain also marks my 100th post on Chic & Cheerful! Thank you for being faithful readers and sticking it out - here's to 100 more.

This week I'm loving these Goody double wear elastic bracelets. I'm terrible for keeping a million hair bands around my wrist but with these clever little things disguise themselves as jewellery. They're great with other fine bangles and friendship bracelets - or do as I am, grab a few packs and stack them up!
Goody double wear bracelets
Available from Boots nationwide now, £3.79 for a pack of three.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Friday fashion tip: spring trends to flatter your shape

This week's fashion tip comes courtesy of Saisha Potts, who has written a lovely little piece on what spring trends to wear to flatter your shape. Let us know what you think of Saisha's advice in the comments below!

It might not feel much like it yet but spring is just around the corner and that can mean only one thing – yep, it’s time to get your head around those spring/summer 2012 trends. The style reports were full of everything from pastels and florals, to flapper dresses and neons – so what will really be in once the sun comes out and who should be wearing what?

Keeping on trend and dressing for your body shape can sometimes be a tricky business. If you’re definitely an apple but the catwalks are full of crop tops then it’s perhaps wise to stay firmly out of fashion on that one. Similarly if the catwalks are screaming cleavage but you’re on the boyish side of slim then you’ll struggle to stay on-trend.

But don’t fret, luckily there’s always more than one look per season and this season’s catwalks saw more trends on show than ever.

For example the Chanel spring/summer catwalk was a tale of two lengths – long or short, and that means there’s something for everyone. There was no in between length wise and that makes things very simple indeed. We have to be honest with ourselves ladies; a la Twiggy minis always look best on boyish figures. Luckily though maxis are more versatile and will suit all but pear shapes, just add extra height if you’re a shorter apple or hourglass.

With Baz Lurhman’s take on The Great Gatsby due for release later in the year, lots of the catwalks were full of flapper dresses, headbands and long beads. Ralph Lauren and Gucci were particular fond of this floaty, feminine trend. This sassy look is great for apples because the drop-waist of the flapper dresses will skim your body while adding in a defined low waist. It also works perfectly on boyish figures and will really show off that slim physique. Pear and hourglass ladies should avoid flapper dresses though because they will hide those fabulous curves and make you look as big as your widest part.

Georgio Armani and Vivienne Westwood both showed off their take on the one-shoulder number for this season. Pear shaped ladies rejoice – this look is made for you. The eye is instantly drawn to the one-shoulder detail and the rest of the dress can simply skim over those troublesome hips.

The return of hit drama Mad Men meant the 1950s look was another hot look on the catwalk. This look is smart, sophisticated and just downright perfect for hourglass, curvy ladies. It emphasises your womanly curves and if you add a contrasting belt then it will show off that itty-bitty waist as well. Just stay away from highly patterned prints as they will make you look bigger.

The Chanel catwalk was full of 3D florals – a tricky look to pull off. They work best on an extra slim figure and can add curves when you want them. If you want a floral look but don’t feel you can pull off 3D then both DKNY and Christopher Kane went for simpler floral prints, while Stella McCartney went for paisley patterns. In both cases boyish girls can go for bold prints while curvy girls should wear a smaller print where possible.

Universal looks on the spring/summer catwalk included pastel shades; Louis Vuitton in particular was a big fan. The only really rule here is to wear the bright shade on top if you’re a pear to draw the eye away from your hips, and to balance the colours if you’re an hourglass lady.

Saisha Potts writes on behalf of www.cafelamoda.co.uk, the social fashion site.

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