Wednesday, 4 May 2011

My ideal work uniform in a parallel universe

I have written before about 'uniforms', minimal wardrobes and practical dressing but as I potentially move into a job where I will be wearing an actual uniform, five days a week, I feel the need to distract myself from thoughts of polyester trousers, day-glo and teflon. To humour myself therefore, I have picked out my ideal summer uniform for patrolling the streets (note that I have said patrol, as opposed to walk, I managed to disconcert my mum by informing her I would shortly be walking the streets and it was much better paid than my current position).

First of all I would need a practical pair of heels for stomping my beat. Heels are essential, to give one a sense of power and authority and I would pick a wedge for maximum height and comfort. The weight of a wedge is also useful, as if you have powerful enough legs to lift them to testicle height at high speed (and my calf muscles are of wrestler proportions), they can be useful weapon when your authority is being questioned. These neon accented KG by Kurt Geiger wedges in animal print are an amazing statement and tick all the high-vis safety boxes while being perfect for the Urban Jungle...

 I have also recently been experiencing a delayed reaction crush on the jumpsuit. Now my one year old is whizzing around on his walker, the need for light and feminine attire that doesn't expose my knickers while battling the wind and racing around the park has meant I finally accept the the place of the jumpsuit in a practical wardrobe. A utilitarian style tailored jumpsuit would be also be perfect for my new job, belt loops and pockets being ideal for storage of pens, notebooks and other useful implements (sunglasses?). This version by Reiss looks decidedly Met Police Chic.

Now, although this is my ideal summer uniform, the British weather is notoriously unpredictable, therefore a light and practical cover up is essential. I am veering towards this highlighter bright Vanesso Bruno jacket, just for it's ability to inform the public I am there on the street.

I feel that for any officer on the street, a pair of standard issue aviators is essential. How else can you hide the fear in your eyes, as well as protect them from relentless sun exposure and potential missiles. This mirrored pair from Urban Outfitters are ideal for reflecting confused glances and aggression.

That was fun, now I must find something else to do to distract me from the thoughts of poloshirts and embroidered logos- yeuch!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Tan that does what it says on the tin

Anna Sui S/S 'll (

I love the British heatwave and I hate it at the same time. I am completely in awe of women who have the confidence to strip down to barely nothing, as soon as the sun pokes out from behind a cloud- they seem to make a miraculous transition from winter sexiness, to summer nubility- perfect mani/pedi, leg-hair free and with gently tousled summer tresses.

I seem to lack that particular gene and this, combined with cellulite, porcelain (translates as pasty) skin and a complex about my short legs, means that a heatwave gives me butterflies in my stomach of the most unpleasant kind. I started trying to layer up the fake tan two weeks ago, using dry tanning mist for pale skin every day to build up a bit of a glow. Today I switched to the medium-dark version, as two weeks of spraying has made literally no difference to my skin tone. Not only am I sun resistant (fortunately I don't burn either) but I'm stain resistant! I suppose I should be grateful that I'm not orange but I would like to look slightly less like a an extra from the 'Crimson Petal and the White'.

I haven't managed to have a successful professional spray tan yet either, last time I went for one, I got rained on and ended up on the bus with rivulets of dirty tea stain water running down my face and body, which was very amusing for the rest of the 390 bus passengers, but not for me. I used sunbeds for a few weeks when I was 19 successfully but self-preservation instincts, as well as deep-rooted vanity about wrinkles means that the risks associated with them long-term have stopped me trying them again, as I am older and wiser.

So what is to be done to overcome my wan appearance? Does anyone have any recommendations for a fake tan that isn't orange, isn't over £20 a tin and works? The fact is, everyone does look better with a bit of a tan but not everyone has the cash to blow on professionally applied 'sun-kissed' skin. Also, has anyone noticed that products like 'Holiday Skin' smell like fried potatoes? All the daily moisturisers with a tint, just make you smell like a holiday to Bognor Regis, hardly the desirable effect.

Anyway, if I don't solve this problem soon, the chances of me getting my legs out for more than 30 minutes in broad daylight are slim. I know I should be less vain and that half of beauty, is confidence and poise but I would like a little poise in a tin please, just to get me out the door in a pair of shorts (and so my baby son doesn't mistake me for a giant custard cream and try and eat me).

Monday, 18 April 2011

Bicycle Belles

The return of the trouser has been a welcome resurrection for those of us who favour the bicycle as a means of transport and for whom, thoughts of lycra and neon turn the stomach. However, interestingly, it is those that reference the belle on the bike as a source of inspiration, who seem to miss the mark the most, as to what is truly practical while whizzing along the road. I can only assume that male fashion designers aren't aware (or more likely are repulsed by the idea) that a) women sweat b) bike chains accumulate black grease c) wheels have spokes on them that don't mix well with flowing fabric and d) when you are on a bike, sometimes it rains. I know that fashion is about aspiration and luxury and therefore we should all aspire not to sweat and/or have armpit botox but I am still pretty certain that those who can afford to make a deal with the devil and ensure fair weather cycling in satin heels at all times, still wouldn't wantonly wear the below on a bike:

3.1 Philip Lim A/W '11
3.1 Philip Lim A/W '11
The 3.1 Philip Lim collection was inspired by sexy women who turn up at cocktail parties on bikes. I think that Philip Lim has never ridden a bicycle and might be confusing one with a Hummer Limo. Imagine the first dress, with two massive sweats stains and little ribbony bits where the fabric has got caught in the pedals and spokes. The second should be envisioned with a line of mud up the back from rain flicking up the wheel onto your bottom, (or dust, or pigeon poop, or paint, or beer). Also the snowiness of the white dress is an invitation for a bored child to throw their Creme Egg Mcflurry at you while you wait at traffic lights. I love both but I feel as if the designer was having a little smirk to himself in a room somewhere while he came up with his tag line?

I picked some more practical but still stylish options to inspire all you other bicycle loving clothes obsessives out there...
Basso and Brooke A/W '11- imagine this capaciously armed coat flapping in the wind, the pattern and colour means it would hide a multitude of spatters!

Holly Fulton A/W 'll- again, the cut of this coat and the fact it is tweed, which is brilliantly hardy, make it practical, while the colours are playful. The spikes on the trousers tell potential junk food assailants to 'f*ck off I'm a bit mad'

 Bodkin A/W 'll, these are the sensible options- trim trousers on an airy jumpsuit to avoid moving parts and granny shorts for modesty on the move

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Fantasy Outfit for Baby Boy's First Birthday

In honour of Baby Boy being a year old and to distract myself from the memories of the horrors of childbirth, I am fantasising about the ideal outfit for his birthday party this afternoon. This sartorial dream is necessary, because the realities of parenting mean that I have only just thought about wearing something lovely, as all my efforts have gone into cake making and instructing OH on why cut up bits of sausages are not a respectable offering at a party. Also, my wardrobe has been behaving very badly recently and I am convinced that all my best outfits are being hidden away in the style equivalent of Narnia. To recover these clothes would involve several days journey time on a sleigh to reach them and the only things in the front of my wardrobe, are the aesthetic equivalent of Miss Marple.

Therefore, after much day dreaming and web-adventuring I have decided that my ideal outfit would be colourful (so BB will like it), whimsical (so the mood is fun), comfortable (will need to crawl around on floor with BB) and washable at 40 degrees (no silks or satins).

I have decided therefore, that I could be children's party appropriate try and stylishly channel a clown and tick all the boxes, if I wore this jumpsuit  by and a pair of  Peter Jensen wedges, above, available at (like stilts you see, but super comfortable). I favour the culotte style, as I have short legs and never have time to get trousers taken up and although the colour blocking of the wedges might be taking it a step too far (brown leather wedges would look fine), they are beautiful!

(In reality, I will probably be referencing my inner clown by wearing peg leg jeans and smudgy make up from being cuddled by my cakey, sticky son. Love him!)

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Electric Blue in the Office

On  my return to work, I was pleased to find that the temp that had been covering my post while I was on maternity leave was actually so eccentric and fruit-loopy, that my bosses are probably going to be over-compensating in relief at my return for about three years. This gives me plenty of time to make lots of sleep deprivation mistakes, let my temper get the better of me, swear a lot and tell the truth without being immediately put on a series of disciplinaries (it still takes a long time to sack someone at a local authority, even if you defecated in a photocopier, Occupational Health would still write you a stress sick note and then management couldn't get rid of you- brilliant!). Long live lunchtime drinking and falling asleep in meetings (the temp, not me) by setting new lows in ludicrousness and incompetence, she has put me at a new high in mediocrity.

Now I don't want to be a complete bitch and I actually admired a dynsastyesque electric blue suit that she wore to work, so that's what this is really all about. I thought that her style choice was actually very astute bearing in mind the amount of electric blue currently blasting its way into fashion editorial as a Spring trend. I think that I will be secretly paying homage to my characterful cover by wearing more electric blue myself and by lurching around and repeating myself extensively with a baleful look in my eye. On my 'if I was rich' list, this simple dress by Raf Simons for Jil Sander. Let the colour do the talking (and not the shoulder pads).
Jil Sander S/S 'll

Monday, 10 January 2011

And some Baby Boy Style...

I had to buy this brilliantly inane looking cat top for Baby Boy today from 'Love It, Love It, Love It'. I was looking for birthday presents for a friend's baby's 1st birthday but this top by Liandlo caught my eye in the sale, I can't wait until he is big enough to wear it! Friend's baby is getting an equally gorgeous fruit and veg top by Duns Sweden.

If you can't choose not to work, choose your shoes to work for you....

I am fed up with being back at work already and although I am enjoying wearing all the lovely new clothes I have wantonly splurged my first real paycheck in nine months on, it is not compensating for being able to wear what I like, when I like and most of all, precious baby boy time. To make myself better I am going to audit my shoes, then I will know how many more shoes I am allowed to own and how often I can spend my lunch break browsing...

Drum roll...

....23 pairs of shoes (not including those I use to wedge open the bedroom door). That is actually hardly any shoes for a woman obsessed with style!

I feel positively saintlike about the three pairs I bought the other day. I think I can definitely get some more and still have a clear conscience. Ha!

I got these for less than twenty quid by the way:

And these:

I don't seem to be following my own rule about only 'hos and children being seen in red shoes but I suppose if Dorothy got away with it in Oz, then someone working at a Local Authority can.