Thursday, 26 April 2018

What to Wear to Paris Fashion Week?

Does this outfit look familiar? It should...I first back in March during Paris Fashion Week, which feels like a lifetime ago. I really wanted to shoot this while I was there, the bright and unapologetic yellow would contrast against the cool grey buildings of Paris beautifully. But alas, it wasn't meant to be. I was busy running from show to show, as captured in this image shot by Getty. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining in the slightest. I feel so incredibly fortunate and blessed that I'm able to travel to Paris for fashion week. I can't really say it's a dream come true as I didn't dare to dream that big! As a teen, I bought copies of Vogue with my pocket money and poured over each issue. Back then, I loved reading about the shows and designers but I never thought I'd ever go to any fashion week, let alone Paris. It's funny how life works out, sometimes you end up achieving more than you ever dreamed. 

While I'm not a huge fan of living in the past, I think it's important to look back to see how far you've come. I will never forget my first ever show at London Fashion Week. Truth be told, it wasn't even *my* ticket! The brilliant Laetitia of Mademoiselle Robot wasn't able to attend Ashish's AW09 show and asked me to attend and write it up for her. Naturally, I jumped at the chance. A London Fashion Week...are you kidding?! 

I had no idea what to wear and obsessed over it for weeks. I'm embarrassed to admit I even Googled "what do you wear to a fashion show". It was 2009, street style was just starting to take off and bloggers weren't really going to fashion week just yet. I had zero reference points. I eventually settled on a beautiful royal blue and black velvet dress from a vintage store. I was hideously overdressed but I didn't care. The show took place at Hippodrome and was a visual feast for the eyes, Ashish was on top form and his collection was a sequin extravaganza. 

Nearly a decade later, my attitude to dressing for the shows is somewhat more laissez-faire. I know a lot of bloggers call in pieces and pull together outfits to get shot in, which is great but it's not my MO. I started going to the shows to write about them and I see that as my job first and foremost. While I may care a little more about my outfit than an average day in the office, I dress for comfort and practicality in anticipation of a full day running around from venue to venue.

I'm slightly perplexed as to why street style photographers shot this outfit. If you disregard the colour for a second, I'm just wearing a jumper with tailored trousers and some heels that I've worn to death. But being fashion week, I went for tonal shades which are a huge trend, in yellow which is an emerging trend, and grounded the outfit with my beloved Max Mara coat. Acceptable for the shows but practical enough to be working with the odd patisserie visit between shows. 

What do you think of my PFW outfit? 

Jumper - Bershka
Trousers - ASOS (similar
Shoes - Miss Selfridge (similar

Shot by Adorngirl.


Thursday, 19 April 2018

Why You Don't Need To Wear Designer Pieces To Be A Fashion Blogger

It's no secret that I've always loved fashion. I've shared so many stories about how I discovered fashion as a kid and how thankful I am that my passion has blossomed into my career. A precocious child, I remember helping to plan my class' assembly once. As part of our segment, we were planning a little fashion show and of course, I piped up saying "we all need to wear lime green and orange, citrus shades are in". I must have been about 10 and I ended up raiding New Look, pulling together an affordable take on the trend with my pocket money. 

Over the years, as my disposable income has grown my tastes have also broadened and matured. As a university student, I remember counting down to Student Loan Day and spending a hefty proportion of my new riches on Oxford Street or Covent Garden in exchange for a new wardrobe for the semester. It always felt like a sound investment. A few years after I graduated I started my blog and this was during the golden era of vintage shopping. Blogs were littered with pre-loved treasures and customised pieces, I would spend hours rummaging around the best vintage stores in Paris to find the most incredible pieces for just €5. 

Fast forward to today; the vintage era is well and truly in the past (ba dum tish) and we are now in the designer era. A quick skim over your favourite blogs or Instagram feeds will showcase countless pieces which cost a pretty penny. A Gucci bag here, Balenciaga sneakers there and maybe a little flash of a Fendi print too. This is often discussed by the blogging community, many bloggers feel like they need to own designer pieces to be a blogger or be successful - I do not subscribe to this mindset at all and touched on it in my previous post about what it takes to be a blogger in 2018. Style is way more important than the brand you're wearing. Always. 

I absolutely adore the high street, my university dissertation explored how high street stores use branding as a form of competitive advantage! Nowadays, I wear high street pieces with a sprinkle of high-end brands. This is more out of an appreciation of certain brands or designers rather than slavishly following trends. I invest in pieces which I'll cherish forever rather than buying the season's must-have item. I've always been a savvy shopper and will pick up something I've adored for a while either on sale or at a sample sale. There's an unwritten rule: no one who works in fashion pays full price. 

While I see shoes and handbags as a worthy investment, I'd much rather shop on the high street for clothing. High street retailers like Zara are so, so quick to translate runway trends into more affordable pieces. This is part of the fashion ecosystem; trends are meant to trickle down to the likes of Topshop et al, it's just happening a lot quicker now than it used to partly due to social media and the instantaneous nature of reporting for the shows. 

For AW17, the likes of Burberry, Acne and Gucci sent aviator jackets down the runway so it was a surefire sign that it would be one of the jacket shapes of the season. While these brands had all but finalised their collections by the time they were showing them to press and buyers in February, high street brands were watching and waiting to see which trends would hit. Just six short months later, aviators were seen everywhere from &OtherStories to Monki and H&M. The Zara iteration became ubiquitous in its own right so instead, I opted for a moody grey version from Missguided, for the princely sum of £28! 

I usually itemise each piece I've worn at the end of every post but I also wanted to share the cost of this entire outfit to show that you don't necessarily need to purchase designer pieces to look great OR be a blogger. Full disclosure: I am wearing a Miu Miu bag with the outfit, which I bought on sale and with a discount on top for £200. The rest of my outfit is from the high street and comes to a total of £279 including the bag. 

Jacket - Missguided
Dress - Tobi
Boots - LOTD
Bag - Miu Miu

Shot by Adorngirl


Thursday, 12 April 2018

Trend: Polka Dots

Despite its reputation for reinventing itself every 6 months, fashion can be very cyclical and predictable. While some things might be harder to predict, like the meteoric rise of Vetements, others are much easier to predict, like certain trends. In the immortal words of Miranda Priestly; "florals for spring, groundbreaking". I like seeing florals filter through to the high street, much like lighter mornings they're a surefire sign that winter is behind us. But it does seem like a formulaic signal of the seasonal transition. But this season, they're firmly benched and we're wearing polka dots instead.

I haven't given polka dots much thought for years. They always seemed far too cutesy for me. I don't have a signature style, sometimes I don a killer heel and other times I'll channel my inner tomboy but I will never go for something cute or sweet - which is what polka dots are to me. I guess I always equated them to Minnie Mouse or dresses I wore to parties as a kid. But I started paying attention last season when the likes of Jacquemus and Balenciaga channelling the print. Just one season later, we saw sheer polka dot skirts and blouses at Dior, supersized dots abound at Junya Watanabe and bold hues at Valentino. The message was clear, ditch the florals for the dots.

I have to admit, the polka dot pieces I've seen recently are much cooler than I remember. I've been drawn to sharply tailored co-ords, sexy low cut blouses and of course, pretty dresses. I'm a huge fan of Jacquemus so I've been on the lookout for a fun, contemporary take on the ubiquitous polka dots. I think I found the perfect high street piece. This blouse is deceptively extra, from the blown up prints to the exaggerated sleeves and contrasting monochrome. I threw it on with a pair of pearl jeans from last season...or perhaps the season before. The pearl detailing echo the polka dots, which I totally love.

Will you be wearing polka dots this season?

Top - Lost Ink
Jeans - Zara 
Heels - Miss Selfridge (similar)
Bag - Miu Miu

Shot by Adorngirl


Friday, 6 April 2018

A Lesson In Personal Style

Last night as I scrolled through my Instagram, I realised something. I've been working in fashion for way too long. How long is too long? Eight years, everywhere from start-ups to established luxury brands and even an eventful stint at an agency. And the indicator that I've been in my industry for too long? A feed which featured swathes of black, despite my natural aversion to fashion's favourite hue. My family are Indian, I'm naturally drawn to bright, vibrant shades but it seems that over the years I've slowly snuck more black into my wardrobe. I realised last night that I shimmy into black outfits pretty much every morning without even realising it! 

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with black. A perennial fashion favourite, it's bold, confident, understated and chic all at the same time. Riccardo Tisci describes black as elegant and "the most complete colour in the world" while Ann Demeulemeester calls it poetic. My favourite quote is by Yohji Yamamoto; "Black is modest and arrogant at the same time. Black is lazy and easy - but mysterious. But above all, black says this: I don't bother you - you don't bother me.". I think of black as a sartorial comfort blanket, it's always ambiguous and safe. 

While there's nothing wrong with black, I tend to veer towards colours and prints. I feel like they express who I am more than black does. It's also in my genes as I alluded to earlier, Indian culture is so rich and vibrant so it feels natural to gravitate towards different colours - if you've never been to an Indian wedding, they look like an explosion of Starburst! So when I realised my wardrobe choices had become a little monotone, I decided to make a change. 

They say you should do one thing every day that scares you. I don't think "they" were thinking about dresses when they said this but whatever. I was stuck in a little bit of a style rut and needed to challenge myself. So when I saw a dress that I loved and hated in equal measure...I was intrigued. Very 'Kim Kardashian at the Met Ball 2013' and an awkward length to boot, this dress just wasn't "me"...on paper but maybe it could pull me out of my 'all black everything' phase?

When it arrived, I was even more uncertain. The print was bolder than I remembered, the fabric not as nice as it looked in the picture and when I slipped it on, I was giving off some serious 'frumpy but trying too hard to be "cool"' vibes. I tried it with my Stan Smiths, channelling the nonchalant midi-with-sneakers look and it just wasn't me, I looked like I was trying too hard. However, when I slipped my beloved lime green snakeskin heels, the look started coming together. Once I slung on my (also beloved) Off White belt, I was set. I felt less like a pretender and more like myself. 

I learned two very important lessons from my little experiment which I wanted to share with you: 

I initially tried to style the dress in a way that looked great on others but just didn't feel right on me. My style is extra, not casual and breezy! Once I embraced that, the look just came together and most importantly, I felt comfortable in the outfit I styles.

While I challenged myself with a piece that confused the heck out of me, you don't have to. If you're not into this season's sartorial whims, skip it. 

The most important element of your style is you. Without your eye and creativity, it's just a bunch of clothes. Channel trends, stand out but above all else, do it your way. I'll end this post with a quote by Dave Grohl, "No one is you, and that is your power". 

Dress - ASOS
Belt - Off White (Orange, sold out in yellow)
Shoes - Brian Atwood

Photography by Adorngirl.


Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Evolving Beauty Ideals, Unrealistic Beauty Standards and Finding Self Acceptance

I feel fortunate that I was born in the 80s and raised in the 90s. While everyone thinks of their era as the "golden era", I genuinely think this was one of the best times to be growing up - in between the second wave of feminism and the digital revolution I experienced an empowering upbringing where the world was literally at my fingertips. Questionable fashion choices aside, it was a great time to be growing up as a girl! I could be anything I wanted and I had unparalleled access to the information to get me there. 

I don't think it's any surprise I ended up in digital and become a fashion blogger. Growing up with a pre-Windows PCs, dial-up Internet, forums and MSN Messenger, this generation was the first to experience communication without any boundaries and the beginning of media democratisation. I remember joining a couple of forums as a teen and discovering kindred spirits across the globe to discuss everything from niche makeup trends to Justin Timberlake. Books became less important as a source of research or inspiration as I had the whole world at my fingertips, instantly. 

I have a real soft spot for the 90s and it's funny looking back and seeing how far things have evolved in the past 20 years. The 90s is a huge reference point for the fashion world currently, I really enjoy seeing how everything from streetwear and slip dresses to crop tops and chokers are being reinterpreted by today's designers. This is the first real fashion era where I can instantly recognise trends from the first time around but despite this, it still feels fresh. It's an evolution of the looks I grew up with. 

While fashion may currently be recycling trends, today's beauty ideals couldn't be any more different to the 90s. Naturally, the meteoric rise of Kate Moss meant the waif-like look was one of the defining looks of the decade, but I actually feel like it was fairly diverse; Pamela Anderson is another icon of the 90s and she couldn't look any more different to Kate! With icons of the era ranging from Liv Tyler and Drew Barrymore to Aaliyah and Brandy, it was a fairly diverse decade. 

Across music, movie, TV and magazines, the one common thread I remember is seeing natural, accessible beauty. Sure, the super-waif Kate Moss aesthetic and the ultra-buxom Pamela Anderson look were unrealistic for most, they were two opposing ends of the spectrum. And yes, Pam had gone under the knife but it wasn't the norm for the majority of celebrities back then. Beauty was more understated and makeup tended to be pared back - Gwen Stefani and Aaliayh would rock a bold lip but on the whole, the 90s was an era of minimalism and the natural look. I didn't wear much more than a slick of mascara and lipgloss til I went to university. 

Fast-forward to today and beauty ideals couldn't be more maximalist. A quick scroll through Explore on Instagram shows me that more is more, from the 'Instagram brow' with accompanying 7 eyeshadow's blended to perfection to waist-trained, potentially enhanced butts. While I prefer to credit the likes of Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez for making a pert posterior covetable, it's obviously the Kardashians who have championed the dangerous, cartoon-like proportions which are influencing young women today. From suffocating with waist trainers and trying "detox teas" to going under the knife, I'm finding that I'm getting increasingly concerned with how far women are being pushed to fit into a a very narrow view of "perfection". Why aren't our bodies celebrated instead of being told we're not good enough? 

Looking back over the decades, women's beauty standards are constantly in flux. From the lean, athletic look of the 80s to the waifish 90s to the Victoria's Secret bombshell look of the 2000s, the "perfect female form" is a constantly yo-yo-ing concept which is a totally unrealistic long term. flexing between slim to curvey to slim as each decade passes means that inevitably we will never feel beautiful in our bodies. 

I'll use myself as an example, I have a naturally small build and high metabolism so I've always been slim without really needing exercise or watch what I eat. This was fine in the 90s but as the zeitgeist moved towards a curvier aesthetic I felt a little alienated and self-conscious about my lack of curves. I say "a little", I've probably wasted weeks of my life feeling down about it rather than celebrating the things that I love about myself. Isn't that crazy? 

I'm far from the only case though. Hands up if you've ever felt personally victimised by society's unrealistic beauty standards?! For women especially, the media and society are geared up to feed on our insecurities and make us feel like we're not good enough. You just have to walk past any newspaper stand and glance at the magazines either pitting one woman against another or pointing out "flaws" while someone is just trying to chill on a beach. 

These days, feeling confident in your own skin and at peace with your body is almost a radical thought, especially in a society which profits from our insecurities. We are bombarded with a plethora of things that can be wrong with our bodies from the shape and size to body hair, stretch marks and just about anything else which is actually natural. Women more than men are shamed for their bodies in one way or another while being provided with a list of products to buy to "solve" the problem. It's crazy. 

I've started accepting and loving my body rather than wishing it was something it's not. And you know what, it's so empowering. I'm channelling the women I grew up watching or listening to, the ones who were comfortable in their own skin and natural beauty. I'm more than channelling a little bit of Aaliyah with this look! I'm learning to love myself which is such a beautiful, rebellious thing. As Dr Gail Dines once said; "If tomorrow women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business"

Jacket - Tommy Hilfiger (similar)
Tshirt - Uniqlo x KAWS
Trousers - Missguided
Belt - Off White
Heels - Brian Atwood

Photography by Adorngirl. 

© Fashion Daydreams: UK Fashion and Lifestyle Blog by Reena Rai. All rights reserved.
Blogger templates by pipdig