Monthly Archives: November 2010

Weird Trend of The Month: two-tone hair

two tone hairThere I was, browsing the pages of Look magazine on my lunch break and what did I come across but a luxurious looking fashion shoot featuring a model with striking, two-tone hair, above. Compare that to the barnet I’m sporting, below, and I think we could we could be twins no?

It’s strange really, because although I respect the fact that model looks stunning, with a gorgeous lean figure and strong features, her hair just makes me want to shout a tirade of abuse at the page. Surely the poor thing can’t be that out of pocket that she can’t at least by a packet of Garnier Nutrisse from Boots?

Alexa Chung and Drew Barrymore have being among the many celebs to road test this two-tone look in recent months but I’m pretty sure they can both afford to touch up their roots. I’d wager that I’ll have hair like that but look far less cool in approximately five months if I don’t book myself in for a haircut soon…

Above: My root-tastic hair and I on a night out, with my friend, A, looking not quite sober

Dispatches: Fashion’s Dirty Secret

I’ve just come back from a romantic trip to Venice and I was planning on putting up a few outfit posts and general holiday snaps but instead I thought I would write about what I’m currently watching, which is arguably more important than me prancing around in front of the Rialto bridge.

After getting back from the airport minus M, who has gone off on a business trip to Germany, I thought I would catch up on some telly when I came across Dispatches: Fashion’s Dirty Secret. The documentary, which aired last week, investigates the working conditions in UK factories that supply the likes of New Look, Topshop and Peacocks (these links will take you to the ethical polices for each brand).

From what I’m seeing the main issues seem to be subcontracting within approved supply chains and while the point of the documentary is to be ‘hard hitting’, having seen documentaries like this before, I am not as shocked as I should be that this kind of labour is taking place in Britain.

Most savvy shoppers will have seen the likes of BBC Three’s Blood, Sweat & T-Shirts and be aware that cut-price fashion can come at a cost. I wrote a post about cheap frills myself earlier this year and have become increasingly aware that in the fashion industry, words like ‘ethical’ and ‘organic’ are bounced around with little care.The shock factor with this film is that the long hours, poor working conditions and barely-there wages are happening to workers in Leicester.

Most of the brands approached for a comment either denied all knowledge of the work and/or agreed how it contravened their ethical trading policies. It’s hard to love high street when a programme like this shoots down brands such as New Look, which I had always naively assumed was sounds its fashion responsibilities.

Take a look and see for yourself what the real cost of a £25 jumpsuit or Breton t-shirt is and have a read of Ethical Trading Initiative website where there are details on New Look’s reaction and response to the film.

Don’t Get Your Knickers in a Twist

reveal kinckers article

I opened a recent copy of Reveal magazine yesterday to be confronted by a pert looking bum in a pair of frilly tangerine coloured knickers. The headline ‘Knickers Can Improve Your Mood’ and the subsequent article made me, in the style of Carrie Bradshaw, begin to wonder… just how important underwear is to British women?

I’ll hold my hands up and say that as I read this I happened to be sporting some old, slightly sporty grey kickers with a mismatching pink and green bra. I couldn’t help but tug at the bottom of my skirt when the article revealed that a survey by Always found that 56.3% of us wear sexy underwear in a bid to feel more confident.

I for one am a big fan of decent underwear – quality cuts, soft fabric, matching sets and even clashing colours. I also believe that a decent pair of kinckers really can improve your mood – yesterday I was all over the place, late for work and generally a little down, which I blame on the aforementioned grey pants. As soon as I picked that pair out of my chest of drawers, I just knew my day wouldn’t be as good as if I had plumped for the green and pink ruffled pair that matched my bra.

Now I’m not one for matching all the time – I happen to like clashing prints and colours – and what I wear on a day to day basis has nothing to do with what the boyfriend likes, but I do think most of us could do with an underwear overhaul. I recently wrote a post on owning too many clothes for Running in Heels and I think that wardrobe chaos, along with greying undies, can play havoc on your mood.

You may not believe me but I bet if you started every day opening your knicker draw to sets of fresh clean matching underwear you would have a smile on your face before you even sat down for breakfast.

 

Above: M&S underwear - proof that you don't need ruffles and lace to have great looking underwear

Regardless of your taste or budget, make time for your underwear and your life will be better for it. Get rid of anything with sagging elastic, moth holes or washed out – if you save these for laundry days then at least shell out a few quid on some cheap cotton knickers that fit well – try LaSenza, M&S or Toshop.

For the top draw stuff, and perhaps some Christmas stocking fillers, head to Harvey Nicks in Cabot Circus or Oyster:Me in Clifton, or try St Nicks Market for some handmade cheap frills.

This post shouldn’t feel like a lecture, and if you don’t think your underwear has any effect on your mood, confidence, sexiness or sass then pay no attention, but tomorrow morning pick your favourite pair. Throw on a matching bra and take solace in this; even if your mood doesn’t improve, if you get hit by a bus you’ll look fabulous… ; )

Welcome to the Garment Quarter

Garment Quarter Bristol

Cabot Circus/Quakers Friars welcomed a new boutique to Penn Street last Thursday, in the form of Garment Quarter. My partner in crime and I were lucky enough to attend the launch party and have a natter with the masterminds of this high concept, service-with-a-smile designer boutique. Oh, and I’m now in lust with a pair of Vivienne Westwood ‘Melissa’ shoes…

I’ve been a bit naughty as I should have typed my ramblings on GQ up on Friday but instead I headed up to Doncaster to see some very dear friends – who don’t have the internet. Coming from a city where I am hooked up to the net as if intravenously, I struggled with not having Google at my beck and call and developed some major withdrawal symptoms, especially on the train home yesterday when a businessman with a laptop sat next to me and started playing online Solitaire.

Anywho, I digress. The purpose of this post is to say what a genuinely lovely time we had on Thursday, and it has very little to do with the champagne and sushi we knocked back, and more to do with the lovely chaps behind Garment Quarter, who were kind enough to chat with us about their new retail empire.

As a former buyer for fashion franchise Herviea, owner John Reid decided to take his merry band of merry men south from Manchester to our very own Bristol. Drawn by the quirky sensibilities of the city and a gap in the market Garment Quarter was born. Cabot Circus was an obvious choice where the boutique is already proving to hold its own against the likes of Harvey Nichols, drawing in a wide range of customers it’s first two weeks.

Ship-Shape had a natter with John and his colleague Patrick who told us why they think GQ will suit Bristol shoppers. “The focus is on providing individual, tailored service to all our customers. We’re already seeing return customers and beginning to get to know and anticipate their needs for the coming seasons.”

Although the boys have been working solidly on Garment Quarter since moving to Bristol a few weeks ago, they have still been able to squeeze in a little down time and experience Bristol’s infamous nightlife. Both the boys have been pleasantly surprised at how welcoming the city’s inhabitants have been; “I thought with Bristol being down South that the people would be a bit unfriendly” commented Patrick “but everyone we’ve met have been really nice and relaxed”.

While S gave Patrick tips on the house music scene in Bristol, John gave me a hint of the kind of customers that have been frequenting the store. “The location is great and we’ve had lots of Saturday shoppers come in, as well as students and local footballers looking for something special. What we’re offering is pretty unique to Bristol and with the range of labels there is something to suit everyone”.

Naturally Vivienne Westwood’s Red Label and Gold Label lines are present, as is Twenty8Twelve, Alexander McQueen (just men’s underwear at present but hopefully more to follow) and emerging designers such as Ashley Marc Hovelle, who attended the launch.

Already there is talk of expansion and Patrick hinted that GQ could soon be setting up shop in neighbouring Bath. My fingers are crossed for John and the boys – all the stock in Garment Quarter has been handpicked and the focus is on individual care and customer service, something that while shine in its high street surroundings.

Garment Quarter, 25 Penn Street, Cabot Circus.

 

Garment Quarter opening

My partner in crime, S, and the lovely Patrick

 

 

Vivienne Westwood 'Melissa' shoes

Why hello, Melissa...

 

 

DJ, champagne and jelly shoes set the theme

DJ, champagne and jelly shoes set the theme

Vivienne Westwood Red Label takes pride of place...

Vivienne Westwood Red Label takes pride of place...

Vivienne Westwood loafers

Bristol's best dressed men have been snapping up these plastic lilac loafers