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Fashion tips for the real world

Hello! If you’ve ever looked through fashion magazines and thought that you can’t dress in the same style because of your size, then think again. I’m not a fashion insider, just an ordinary girl, but I know that you don’t need to look far to create what you see in the fash mags. You just need confidence and a little imagination.

Take a look at what I’ve put together based on actual fashion spreads and also a few innovations of my own. Hope you like what you see and that you’ll have a go yourself!

Tight Fit Girl x

One blog post, two trends, for A/W 2013

Model on the runway at the Saint Laurent A/W 2013 show

Grunge girls at Saint Laurent

In the fashion world, they’re probably already thinking about Spring/Summer 2014  and musing on their next ‘cruise collection’ (or something!) But for us mere mortals, it’s time to haul out the knitwear and get ready for the cold weather.

I really love Autumn – it’s when the weather starts to go cold but it can still be sunny and clothes turn from whispy, pastely and sandaly  to substantial, richly-hued and booted. (I probably just invented a few new words there, but never mind.)

So being greedy with my style blog, I am looking at hitting two trends in one:  fluffy knits reminiscent of Hitchcock heroines and the hot colour for this season: burgundy.

I’ve gone for a slightly preppy look, with a cream polka-dot blouse that has a peter-pan collar (Topshop), a cream angora cardigan (New Look), burgungy cords (Very) and black leather loafers (Clarks).

A small detail are the cool black sparkly socks I got from Urban Outfitters recently, a bit more interesting than normal socks and a bit less granny-ish than the dreaded pop-socks!

Burgundy cords and fluffy knit

Burgundy cords and fluffy knit

I got these cords a year or so ago and it actually felt quite daring to wear colour on my bottom half, as I normally live in black and navy trousers or jeans. I regularly wear them with heeled ankle boots and the occasional bit of tweed (jacket) and it gives you a really nice dandy feel.

I practically live in these now, so it’s been good to try them out with something new by wearing them with this lady-like knit. It’s soooo soft and I like the idea of mixing up a delicate angora cardigan with tough cords.

Everyone from Hedi Slimane at YSL to Valentino are fans of fluffy knits at the moment.  The Saint Laurent look is classic grunge, with long, droopy cardigans teamed with huge leather boots, while the A/W Red  

Fluffy cardigan at Red Valentino

Preppy, fluffy knits at Red Valentino

Valentino collection featured neater, preppier cardigans like mine.

The wonderful Lena Dunham was featured on the cover of Marie Claire recently and the fashion spread featured Dunham in cool smudgy eyeliner and a fluffy YSL cardigan, which I love.

To add to my crush on burgundy, I have my eye on these amazing burgundy brogues from Clarks – my friend has a pair and now I am hooked on the idea of owning them too!

Fierce florals for Autumn/Winter 2013

Dramatic reds at Roberto Cavalli

Dramatic reds at Roberto Cavalli

It’s time for me to get my grunge on, with winter florals and boyish boots for Autumn/Winter.

This dress is easily my favourite buy of the year so far, as it’s just the kind of dress you can throw on for either a day at the office or for going out for a drink, and it will just work!

I’m breaking one of my closely held style rules, which is ‘if you’ve done a look the first time around, you shouldn’t repeat it’. But the combination of darkness and romance  in this midi dress from ASOS, combined with my favourite battered brogue ankle boots (also ASOS) is proving difficult to resist. Floral dress

I’m a sucker for wearing a dress and taking the potentially ‘girly’ edge off with a pair of grungy boots. The fit of the dress is so great, it makes you feel good as soon as you put it on – I like the tailored, fitted, design at the top and the swishy midi skirt below, making it super comfortable.

‘Grown-up grunge’ is proving popular as a catwalk trend right now. Roberto Cavalli

has embraced deep reds printed on sheer fabric, which fit well with his typically dramatic signature style.

Over on the Givenchy catwalk, winter florals are mixed with tartan and leather, to create a luxurious take on this grunge trend.

I hate to say that Kurt Cobain would probably be turning in his grave at the idea of ‘luxe grunge’ but if grunge has inspired designers to create looks like this, it’s hard to argue against it!

Luxe grunge at Givenchy

Luxe grunge at Givenchy

I can see through you: sheer trend for S/S 2012

Sheer navy blouse

Sheer navy blouse

It’s taken me until now to move past the January blues and get inspired to do a new blog, but here I am! After having a run of ‘sensible’ purchases (leather loafers, navy wool coat) I was pleased to get my hands on something not so practical.

This month I’m getting hot under the collar about my new sheer navy blouse from… Tesco! Yes. Tesco. Not exactly the most glamorous of shops, but after scouring various sites online I came across it and it was perfect. Slightly masculine in style (buttons to the neck, proper cuffs), a great colour and with the nice extra detail of a dipped back hem – not usually the kind of detail you get on cheaper clothes.

Lou Doillon in Maison Martin Margiela

Lou Doillon in Maison Martin Margiela

I’ll admit that I have been lazy by using a photo taken before a recent night out to a themed club night (Girls dressed as boys and vice-versa!) but the outfit isn’t far off something I would wear normally. I’ve used a lot of dark colours all together and gone with my usual theme of ‘relaxed tailoring’. The bow tie is probably the only thing that gives it away as a bit of a fancy dress look!

The jacket is from Dotty Ps, the cocktail trousers are from Very and the bow tie is vintage from Pop Boutique. I’m also wearing tan brogue shoe-boot heels from Office. I’d say that the best way to do sheer is to go for layers, darker colours and if you’re daring to show your underwear go for something plain so that it stays classy (but that’s just my humble opinion!) If baring all is a bit much then maybe just go for sheer sleeves, like in this photo spread about sheer looks for Spring/Summer 2012.

So who else is getting into sheer styles at the moment? Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer collection is all about pastels, froth, girliness and transparent white dresses and Givenchy is taking a more masculine direction but still staying with white.

Sheer photo spread, InStyle January 2012

Sheer photo spread, InStyle January 2012

In celeb world there have also been plenty of variations on the sheer trend. It Girl Lou Doillon was photographed rocking a cheeky sheer jumpsuit by Maison Martin Margiela at a Paris Fashion Week party last month and various famous fashionista faces (Chung, Meester, Palermo) were picked out for their sheer outfits in January’s edition of InStyle. Even Toni & Guy have used a sheer look  in one of their London Fashion Week adverts – LFW kicks off this Friday 17 February.

Step out in sheer… you know you want to.

Toni & Guy advert for London Fashion Week 2012

Toni & Guy advert for London Fashion Week 2012

Faux-fur collars for Christmas parties…

Gucci 1940s fur collar, Autumn/Winter 2011

Gucci 1940s fur collar, Autumn/Winter 2011

Now that a few people know that I have a fashion blog, it means I do get random requests for fashion advice! This has so far ranged from “What cover-up should I wear with this dress for a wedding?” to  “Which denier of tights should I buy so my legs are covered enough?” (Er, this is the kind of thing you should either know by now or should be asking your Gran about.)

Some are easier to answer than others – but I got a question recently that was a no-brainer: “Shall I buy this leather jacket with a detachable faux-fur collar? I’m not sure if it’s me…” To this I was able to say a resounding “Yes. Buy it immediately, it will go with everything.” And that, is basically the theme of this blog post.

Miu Miu 1940s dress, Autumn/Winter 2011

Miu Miu 1940s dress, Autumn/Winter 2011

It’s about now that we start to think about the dreaded ‘C’ word, realise we’re all skint and that we’ll have to fish out the same dress we wore two years ago for the office Christmas do. Nothing much wrong with that if it’s a little black dress, but let’s face it, it would be more fun to get something new.

Fear not. The faux-fur collar is the answer and will become your best (furry) friend over the next 4 weeks if you choose to tie one around your neck. It is the easiest way to make an old dress look like new and is very ‘now’ as it will be a firm nod to the 1940s trend that has been championed by Miu Miu and Gucci for Autumn Winter 2011.

Faux-fur collar from ASOS

Faux-fur collar from ASOS

Mine is from ASOS and was a tenner in the sale. (This feather one from Miu Miu will set you back £440.) I’ve added it to a dress I bought a few years ago from Dorothy Perkins, which has a lace panel at the top. It seems that black lace dresses are standing the test of time – they are still all over the high street right now. I think this gives the dress a cheap and cheerful update and strikes just the right balance between demure and glamorous.

You can also wear the collar over your winter coat on the way to wherever you’re going, updating your coat at the same time. Then when all the Christmas fun is over you can wear it over a cardigan or jumper on chilly days in the office. You can really get a lot out of it!

I also have to tell you more about the shoes. They are possibly the most beautiful shoes I’ve ever owned. Purchased as an early Christmas present, courtesy of a family donation, (cheers parents!) they are also the most expensive I’ve ever owned at £89.99. But boy are they great. Burnished gold snakeskin platforms – the classy 70s kind, not the stripper variety – with a satisfyingly clunky heel. What’s not to love?

They are from the most un-cool shoe range ever: Mary Portas for Clarks. But I DON’T care…they even have a cushion inside for ultra-comfort. I’ve tried them out doing some samba dancing at a wedding and they were great (but that’s another story….)

Gold shoes from Clarks

Gold shoes from Clarks

Boy meets girl – making the androgynous look work

Masculine-inspired looks

Masculine-inspired looks

Hello again, it seems I have neglected to update my blog since April – where has the time gone! To be honest though, summer fashion always passes me by a bit. If I go abroad I tend to do breton stripes, capri pants and other attempts at ‘off duty Coco/Bardot’ – regardless of what is supposed to be the trend of the time. And if I stay in the UK? Well, let’s just say I still manage to wear my brogue boots and black tights every other day, in accordance with our clichéd British weather. My only nod to S/S 2011 trends have been the previously mentioned pleats, some nude/terracotta coloured items and a midi-skirt that I know will see me through the Autumn (with those tights again!)

So now we’re all talking about Autumn/Winter 2011 and what trends do the designers have in store for us for the next few months? This season we’re looking at a mash-up of fetish from Louis Vuitton (buckles and leather harnesses anyone?), 1940s revival gear in glorious jewel hues with lashings of (faux?) fur from Gucci and the ‘androgynous’ look,  which is what I’ve been trying out recently. Dolce & Gabbana, usually known for their ultra-feminine and figure hugging dresses, have given this a go as well – featuring chiselled models with quiffs and braces. All rather ice-cool.

Malene Birger Autumn Winter 2011

Malene Birger Autumn Winter 2011

But you know the score by now. We need to work on this a bit! What can you do if you want to try this look but don’t have a boyish figure or simply find it all a bit starchy? How can you loosen it up while also fitting it around a rounder shape? Fabric. In my view, it’s all about fabric! Swapping a stiff bright-white shirt for a buttery vintage silk blouse is a step in the right direction. Then replacing flat-fronted, suit-style trousers with a pair of cocktail trousers in a slinky fabric (a curvy peg shape from 2010, if it matters) means I’m almost done. Not bothering with the constraints of jackets and waistcoats that designers insist on will only succeed in making it look all the more effortless – always a good thing. (Just think: ‘What would Coco do?’)

Boy meets girl

Boy meets girl

So, to break it down – my silk blouse is from a local vintage shop and was a dream purchase not least because of its (faux!) pearl encrusted collar. The velvet ‘tie’ is a length of ribbon from ebay (or cheat and get a clip on one from asos), my trousers are by Love Label and the tan brogue shoe-boots are from Office – they are my favourite purchase of the year so far. I wore this out to a museum opening recently and it was cool to feel dressed up without wearing a dress for a change.

If all that is a bit too much for daytime then simply choose a shirt you like, perhaps with some polka dots, as then you’ll be hitting two trends at once. Win!

Pleats to meet you – a ladylike trend for S/S 2011

According to last weekend’s Guardian style section, now is the time we should all be putting away our black opaque tights as the good weather is finally here. Sorry guys but you’ll have to prise mine away from my cold, dead, fingers. I have tried the ‘pale is interesting’ bare leg look for a wedding, with a midi-length dress and lashings of porcelain foundation in place of fake tan – my top tip for pale ladies! But otherwise, it’s tights-a-rama for around 50 weeks of the year for me.

Navy pleated dress

Navy pleated dress, Love Label

Anyway, this month we are looking at pleats. I find them to be delightfully prim and ideal for when you are having a ladylike moment. Marie Claire have listed a dizzying array of different varieties of pleats, including box pleats, knife-edge pleats and accordian pleats. If anyone knows the difference between an accordian pleat and a knife-edge pleat (or if anyone cares) please leave me a comment!

My dress is by Love Label (from Very.co.uk) and has quite crisp pleats. Thankfully it is made of the kind of material that keeps its shape perfectly even after washing, which is essential for any pleated purchase I think. You don’t want to have to iron them back in or something! I like the long, sheer sleeves and the pussy bow detail, which is demure in spite of the shorter length. I am also addicted to navy – this dress would look a bit funereal if it was in black, for example. I have added my own belt as it was a little loose on the waist, which is from my local vintage shop. I obviously have on my trusty tights and black ankle boots from Office. Not terribly Spring-like, but did you see the hailstones the other day?!

I was going to include a photo of a dress from the Henry Holland catwalk show for Spring/Summer 2011, but I got so distressed by the extreme thinness of the models I saw when researching that I couldn’t bring myself to include the photo here. Instead I’ve linked to it here, as it is a lovely dress anyway. Instead, here is a rather cheeky looking model wearing a good example of a cool pleated skirt, from the Asos Curve range. It hits two trends at once as it is also midi-length, so that’s a big win in my book. Also check out Elle’s street style feature, for examples of dressing down pleats by teaming longer skirts with Converse trainers or brogues.

Bring on the brights…

Brights spread in February's Marie Claire

Brights spread in February's Marie Claire

Yes, yes, yes, thank you D&G for stating the blindingly obvious! Florals for spring? Sigh. Even Meryl Streep’s magazine editor character (Miranda Priestly) in The Devil Wears Prada said: ‘Florals? For spring? Ground breaking.’ And I’m inclined to agree.

Although some of the brights and colour blocking  that are going to be massive this spring/summer are a bit eye-watering, at least they’re interesting. Technically, I think colour blocking should include a couple of clashing colours worn at the same time (red and green? yellow and purple?) but it’s probably better for us mere mortals to choose just one bright colour and keep the rest simple.

Some glorious examples from the runway include Dior’s South Pacific-inspired collection, with beautiful peacock blues and hot pinks and Gucci’s slick jewel colours.

Jewel colours - Gucci Spring/Summer 2011

Jewel colours - Gucci Spring/Summer 2011

My outfit for this month is definitely one of a kind! It started life as a vintage 1970s floor-length cocktail dress with long sleeves. I bought it in Sao Paulo from a brechó (vintage shop) housed in a disused church and decided it was ripe for a bit of upcycling. I removed the sleeves and cut off the bottom in quite a haphazard way, as I wanted to wear it onstage for a gig with my band (therefore it needed to be a bit punk/messy). As a result I wouldn’t want to show you the back of the dress as it has been hacked up, pinned back together and generally customised to within an inch of its life!

I love the colour – green is such an under-used colour and more blondes should definitely give it a go. I’ve kept the rest of it fairly simple, with black tights and kitten heels (ankle boots would also be great, but mine are currently at the shoe doctor) my bashed up leather jacket (Pop Boutique), plaited belt (Urban Outfitters) and gold chain necklace. I toyed with the idea of red wedges but decided in the end it wasn’t for me. Bright red lipstick is totally me though, so I say add some extra colour that way if you don’t feel too brave.

Lighten up a grey day with a bright dress

Lighten up a grey day with a bright dress

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