Monday, 17 July 2017

Outfit Post: Let's Talk About The 'Gram

I think it's time we settled down with a cup of tea and talked about Instagram. As one of the blogging elders, I've been on Instagram for more than half a decade and I've seen it evolve from a sea of Valencia-filtered snaps documenting the ordinary to its current airbrushed and editorial. Change is good, particularly when it means no more blurry Starbucks pics in your feed but Instagram has changed so much over the last few years, I can’t help thinking its current landscape is problematic for a few reasons. 

As a blogger/influencer/content creator (what are we calling ourselves these days?!), Instagram is arguably the most important channel to promote your work. Despite not being able to include links in posts, it offers influencers the opportunity to visually communicate who they are - after all, a picture is worth a thousand words. A quick scroll of someone's feed gives you a snapshot into their style, lifestyle choices last holiday and even what they had for breakfast. This is why its’ such a key form of social media for content creators, it's invaluable to promote who you are and who you stand for.

This is particularly important for fashion bloggers. Fashion is a visual form of self-expression, so of course, Instagram is vital for the entire industry, not just fashion bloggers. I work for a brand that uses Instagram to establish a visual identity, using obscure art references or archive imagery alongside current product images. This helps to build substance behind the brand, establishing a personality and point of difference - which is exactly what influencers seek to do on the ‘gram. 

Learning about Instagram and how to harness it to build an audience is all well and good until Instagram decides to rewrite the rules. This happened last year; the infamous algorithm change which saw the feed change from simply displaying images in chronological order to a feed which uses an ever-changing algorithm to determine which content is displayed and to how many people. The upshot is brands and influencers alike have struggled with plummeting visibility and engagement ever since. For people who make a living from Instagram, it’s been disastrous. 

Influencers have had to start taking Instagram "seriously". By that I mean the fun has gone and it's now become increasingly strategic, laborious and stressful to maintain a decent presence on IG, both in terms of engagement on individual posts and to grow your audience. For brands and agencies, it’s all about the numbers. First and foremost, they judge influencers on how many followers they have. Engagement on posts in a secondary consideration, mainly to ensure there’s no discrepancy to indicate that an influencer has bought their followers. 

From hashtagging to comment pods, influencers have tried various different tactics to increase engagement and attract new followers. Perhaps the most extreme act is to engage bots to comment, like and follow/unfollow people in a bid to grow your audience. This is problematic, as brands will engage and pay for bloggers' services based on false inflated figures it essentially boils down to fraud. But I think it’s important to ask why people resort to such lengths for social media.

The pressure on influencers is insane. When I started blogging there were a few dozen fashion bloggers, we all knew each other pretty well. Nowadays, there are literally thousands. Everyone is vying to be the best and partner with brands or agencies, who only see the numbers. Instead of valuing micro-influencers, who have smaller but much more engaged audiences, it’s only ever the huge bloggers who are selected by brands - which is exactly why there’s so much pressure on numbers Bloggers also perpetuate this issue by judging other bloggers on the number of followers. We’ve all become obsessed with chasing a number which ultimately means nothing in the grand scheme of things. And Instagram keeps changing the goalposts make it harder and harder to reach that number. Isn’t that crazy?! 

For a while, I was obsessive about the number of followers and likes each picture got. I was invited to a couple of comment pods, I focused on making my Instagram look prettier. And honestly, I was adding a bunch of needless stress and worry to my life. Instagram began to rule my life, it was ridiculous. I've now given up chasing numbers, trying to keep up with comment pods, being a slave to a theme and all the other needless stress. I'm so much happier for it. It's liberating to take a step back and not put unnecessary pressure on yourself to live up to someone's expectations. 

Tshirt - Theyksens' Theory
Jeans - Zara
Belt - Off White
Heels - Aquazzura

Photography by Adorn Girl

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Outfit Post: A Little Boho Never Hurt Nobody

It was the summer of ’04. Boho fever had struck and Sienna Miller ruled supreme as Queen Bohemia. Gorgeously undone hair, low-slung leather belts, teeny floaty dresses, grey jeans and the Balenciaga City bag were her style stables and the looks we all clamoured to copy. While her red carpet looks from the likes of Marchesa, Roberto Cavalli and pal Matthew Williamson were hard to replicate, subtler Sienna-inspired accents were all over the high street from Topshop to Zara.

Eventually, boho reached saturation and 13 years later, it still hasn’t managed to cycle back. Aside from Chloe, but Chloe girls are always boho babes. I for one really miss the carefree boho days. Nothing says summer like like a pretty floaty dress, fuss-free locks, a stack of gold jewellery and soft tan accessories. Happy-go-lucky, easy and breezy.

This is exactly why I’m making a case for luxe boho to return. I spied this dress while hunting down some pearl-embellished jeans in Zara and it just reminded me of those chilled summers wafting around Covent Garden and Carnaby Street like a free-spirit. I just had to have it. I paired my dress with a blush pink Chloe bag and Seventies-inspired strappy platforms from Medwinds. The only thing missing was a studded leather belt picked up at the souk in Marrakesh. Oh and my favourite upside to channeling boho? The relaxed, floaty silhouettes are perfect for over indulging in gelato on a hot summer’s day. What more could you want?

Dress – Zara
Bag – Chloe
Heels - Medwinds

Photography by Adorn Girl

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Outfit post: Florals for spring, groundbreaking

Springtime, florals… cue ubiquitous and overused Miranda Priestly quote. I roll my eyes every time I hear this quote trotted out by anyone who has ever seen The Devil Wears Prada, ever. Florals are an inevitable spring/summer trend but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring.

This season, florals have been amped up. Less straightforward and pretty, they now pack a punch. Neon at Balenciaga and Rococo-style jacquard florals at Marques’Almeida, SS17 florals have an attitude. Pretty floral tea dresses still have their place, just look at Erdem, but I like the new punchier take on florals. It’s all about unexpected pairings, bold colours, abstract prints and a very much maximalist take on classic florals. More is more.

I channelled this high octane energy with this look. It’s a bit of a mish mash of boho paisley mixed with sheer, frills and florals. Pretty much every SS17 trend thrown together in one outfit. In a way, it feels like a very London look. London fashion isn’t polished like New York or super classic like Paris. It’s deconstructed, a bit messy and imperfect. It’s not inspired by the pages in Vogue or any particular runway look. Fashion in London has always been about self expression. And isn't that what fashion should always be about? 

Dress – Boohoo
Sheer tshirt - Zara

Photographer - Adorn Girl

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Top Five: Off The Shoulder Pieces

Forget flashing your midriff, fashion’s new favourite erogenous zone is the humble shoulder. Celebrities and designers alike have been making a strong case for shoulder baring for the last few seasons and the high street has finally caught up with everything from tops, dresses and even the odd jumpsuit. While the ‘cold shoulder’ look is great for winter, I love exaggerated off the shoulder looks – the type that looks like it’s about to slip right off. Here are my top picks from the high street:
  1. ASOS button through midi sundress - £32This pretty dress is the tamest off the shoulder look, with support straps in place to make sure you don’t feel too exposed. I love the nautical stripes, a subtle nod to the other ground-breaking trend that always appears in spring.
  2. Topshop cold shoulder bardot blouse - £42For me, exposed shoulders and big, flouncy frills are like a match made in heaven! This top obviously lends itself to be styled up with a pretty skirt for a feminine look but I think it would also look great with black culottes for a bold, minimal look.
  3. Zara off the shoulder printed top - £29.99Now we’re talking! This is my ideal silhouette, acres of bare shoulders and a top that looks like it’s about to slip off. Also obsessed with this pretty china blue pattern print.
  4. Kiss The Sky off the shoulder playsuit - £38This playsuit is essentially my dream summer wardrobe condensed into one piece. An easy, breezy playsuit and a bohemian embroidered detailing and huge fluted sleeves and the essential off the shoulder neckline. Perfection.
  5. Zara off the shoulder jumpsuit - £49.99
  6. I fell in love with this jumpsuit as soon as I saw it. It’s one of those pieces which probably wouldn’t look great on the hanger but as soon as you have it on and move, it’s a dream. I love the understated vibe and slight flamenco vibe. Obsessed.


Monday, 16 April 2012

Zara Lookbook April 2012

I absolutely love Zara lookbooks, the styling is always on point and inspires me. The April 2012 lookbook features the stunning Liu Wen looking easy breezy in cool whites with a sprinkling of pastels and prints. I absolutely love the printed Mary Katrantzou-esque dress and red peplum skirt. What's your favourite look? 


Monday, 15 August 2011

Zara autumn/winter 2011 campaign

Stella Tennant was the perfect choice to front Zara's mainline collection - dark, androgynous, beautiful and classic. I much prefer the Hailey Clauson modelled TRF range though, that may be the part of me that refuses to grow up and wear proper, sophisticated clothing though! The fun, bright collection is much more playful and eyecatching. The green woolen coat is an absolute winter wardrobe must! Which collection do you prefer? 


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The cute work outfit

I know, I wear this floral Zara skirt a lot and you’re probably a little bored of it but I’m not! I love buying a piece on a whim and realising that it’s one of the magical go-with-everything items that was missing from your wardrobe for forever. I really didn’t expect such a loud, bright, patterned item to be like that though. I thought the rule was to buy quality staples in basic colours and throwaway colourful trend pieces seasonally to accentuate your wardrobe for a short time. Rules were made to be broken though, and I would happily wear this skirt in a different way every day of the week. Ok, I’ll stop gushing about it now.

I paired the skirt with one of those wardrobe basics, a plain khaki tee. This one is from Alexander Wang and I’m a convert and believer in investing in quality pieces for your wardrobe. The fabric is really soft and silky, plus it just hangs so nicely. I tucked it into my beloved skirt to give my silhouette a little bit of definition as the skirt has a bit of a bell shape. I’m not sure if you can tell from the image, but the tights I’m wearing are actually blue. I have a billion pairs of very similar lace tights in black but opted for the colourful option. Which went down very well, especially with Alex Reid (Katie Prices’ ex), who complimented me on my hosiery. Not bad for a sale steal from M&S!

The shoes are absolutely gorgeous, aren’t they? My new favourite pair, I actually bought them to as ‘work shoes’ but they’re too pretty to be worn for work. They’re by Guess and from Sarenza, the leather is amazingly soft and they are super comfy. What more could you want from a shoe? The bag is my current favourite and a great, roomy everyday bag. I love the striking but subtle-ish gold accents. What a beaut. I’m glad I finally have some shots of my jewellery as I do love a shiny jewel but never manage to capture what I’m wearing properly. Details are underneath each picture. Super huge thank you to Susie from Take Out in Couture for the amazing pictures, definitely my best outfit post. 

Tshirt - Alexander Wang (from Net-a-Porter)
Skirt - Zara
Belt - Vintage
Tights - M&S
Shoes - Guess, courtesy of Sarenza
Bag - Michael Kors (from The Outnet)
Key necklace - courtesy of QVC
Ring - YSL (from Net-a-Porter)
Lion head bracelet - gift from Florence
Red and metal bracelet - COS
Spike bracelet - Joomi Lim (from Nyla Boutique)
Charm bracelet - Links of London (from Selfridges)
Bee charm - Peculiar Vintage (from Rokit)

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Everyone loves Prada stripes

The high street may have fully embraced (read: killed) colour blocking and brights, but magazines are going crazy for Prada stripes this season. The number of covers alone is fast approaching FIFTY, let alone editorials. International Vogue editions are absolutely loving the collection, featuring pieces with stripes as well as monkey and banana motif printed pieces. Here are my favourite of the 48 covers..and counting! Anna Wintour's WSJ cover definitely makes the cut though you can't see much of what she's wearing. I think that the fact that she chose Prada for this rare cover and interview speaks volumes. 

Looking beneath the bright jewel tones, florals and cool neutrals littering the high street, plenty of stores have been inspired by prada’s bright, punchy prints. They’re a bit sassier than block colours and the perfect bold antidote to pretty florals which are getting a bit boring and predictable in Summer. Head to toe stripes might be a bit much for some, so choose a statement piece like one of the gorgeous skirts and pair with either brights or neutrals. 

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Working pleats

For some reason, I don't think I've ever been into pleats. I think something about them just seems a little high maintenance, the thought of trying to get the pleats to lie perfectly after washing is a little scary. Even Issey Miyake's Pleats Please collection didn't tempt me. However, seeing this gorgeous little pleated skirt I just had to give pleats a whirl. I actually thought it would be a perfect work skirt, I think every woman needs a girly, flippy skirt in their work wardrobe. I threw on this slate blouse as I was in a bit of a hurry, I chose the shoes to brighten up the outfit. Do you have any pleats in your wardrobe? 

Blouse - Zara, skirt - Topshop, shoes - New Look

Monday, 15 November 2010

Jasper Garvida to the rescue!

Last week I had a problem. I was invited to a very fancy black tie charity dinner. The problem is I'm not really the ballgown/fancy dress type, I'm more at home in well, anything but a fancy dress! I checked out all the usual hotspots - Asos, Topshop, Zara et al but they all failed me. Thankfully one of my favourite UK designers came to the rescue! A couple of emails and a trip to see Hannah at his PR company and I had the most stunning dress from Jasper Garvida. I fell in love with the huge sequins, huge shoulders and the contrast between the shiny, hard top half and soft, fluttery pale pink chiffon and silk. I honestly felt like Cinderella that night. 

It wouldn't be Fashion Daydreams outfit if there wasn't any high-street in it. The dress is obviously from Jasper Garvida, the skinny gold belt is H&M, the bag is M&S and the fur jacket is from Zara. 

Friday, 22 October 2010

Backstage at BNTM live

Today was the big day, the first day of Britain's Next Top Model live at the Excel. As you may know, I was asked to help style a fashion show with five other super bloggers - Jenny, Frankie, Natasha, Alize and Matthew. Again, huge thanks to the guys at Motorola for this exciting opportunity. So being the big day, I was a bag of nerves. Not only was I one half of the high-street styling duo, I also had to go on stage to talk through geek chic fashion. Thankfully, the hubbub backstage kept me occupied. It was so hectic: briefing hair and make up, making sure our models were looked after, dressing and styling them up. 

Matthew playing hide & seek!

Here is my gorgeous model Paige ready to rock and roll. Doesn't she look like the epitome of geek chic? 

Cardigan - River Island, blouse - Zara, skirt - Topshop, socks and satchel - Miss Selfridge and shoes - New Look

For my outfit, I wanted to take key Autumn/Winter trends and give them a geek chic twist. Although flat brogues are synonymous with geek chic, I went for these New Look heeled loafers to be different. The colour is absolutely delish and the platform keeps them on trend. The camel skirt from Topshop was absolutely irresistible, the a-line shape and pocket details won me over. I paired the camel skirt with a silky slate blouse from Zara, the big bow adds a girly and feminine touch to my geek chic outfit. I've layered a patterned knit cardigan from River Island over the blouse, patterned knit is typical geek chic and I just needed this cardi in the outfit. I also had a lovely leopard print satchel which can be seen in the pictures below. 

How amazing do the high-street, high end and vintage models look?! Totally working the geek chic look. 


Wednesday, 29 September 2010

What I wore to London Fashion Week

One of the reasons I love London Fashion Week is I actually get to wear some of the impractical things I can't help but buy. Things like ostrich feather skirts, fluffy furry jackets and vintage fur hats. These are things I couldn't possibly live without but they don't really have a place in everyday life. Here's what I wore:

Day one

Jacket - Zara, floral top - River Island, velvet maxi skirt - New Look, wedge brogues - Bertie, Jewellery - Links of London, YSL, Roberto Cavalli, thrifted, holiday buys, H&M. Randomly decided to put on a mood ring I bought when I was about 15, can't remember what the colours meant but it was fun guessing!

Day two

Photo courtesy of Emerging Fervour, as I didn't take any apart from in the photobooth! I can't remember what we were doing or where we were going but I was hanging out with Kit from Style Slicker and Shini from Park & Cube. Yes, I had wardrobe envy. 

Fluffy cardigan - Monsoon, pearl top - New Look, laser cut silk skirt - Rare, Tights - Henry Holland, denim buckle wedges - Asos. The rosary is from River Island men's department, I've had it for years and love it even though a lot of the silver has rubbed off. 

Day three

Fur hat - vintage, fluffy jacket - Zara, silk playsuit - Topshop, patent cut out wedges - New Look. No idea about the tights I'm afraid! 

Day four

The ostrich skirt. I love this, wore it last season too. It's not even my size it's slightly big but I-just-had-to-have-it!

Cobweb knit cardigan - H&M, black lace top - New Look, ostrich feather skirt - Topshop, killer embellished heels - Miss Selfridge. 
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