Inside the Man’s Mind

Why is it that whenever we women try our damned hardest to impress- with bright colours, flattering shapes – our men fail to appreciate our efforts and instead think of the practicalities? Most men do not, and will never understand female fashion. In fact they are so oblivious to our personal style that they either don’t notice when a special effort has been made, or they vocally complain because what you’re wearing isn’t ‘normal’. Every man is different, they have different dislikes and irritations, but ultimately it is impossible for a woman’s wardrobe to completely satisfy a man’s aesthetic needs. The underwear drawer is usually the only happiness he’ll find (but sometimes men even have issues with your lingerie- honestly!)

 

My boyfriend, Rory, and I have daily disagreements over my style choices. Rory is an athletic chap who rarely “dresses up” and spends most of his week in his sports gear. In my case each day is a fresh opportunity for me to express myself visually, and I tend to indulge far too much in patterned clothing that reminds me of my childhood. Excessive jewellery and clashing colours are other faux pa’s I enjoy. Rory has actually admitted that if given the chance he would happily “burn” some of my attire, including a blazer he calls my ‘Abba Jacket” and another favourite of mine, the “Harry Potter cape”.

 

With the assistance of Rory and his friend Paul I have compiled a bewildering list of female trends that men despise. And I am not talking about silver jumpsuits and balaclavas here, ladies, oh no these fashion statements are much worse (apparently!). Unbelievably what they find hideous are items that we consider “wardrobe staples”. Prepare to be blown away.

 

Number one on their list is Uggs. You know, the sheepskin boots made by that popular Australian brand? Harmless, right? Wrong. In fact Paul has forbidden his partner from wearing these “unacceptable” shoes. He describes them as being “clichéd…oversized, expensive slippers that are impractical and people seem to think they go with everything.” I would have to agree that in some cases Uggs don’t work (like with a pencil skirt!) but ultimately there is little else that are as comfy.

 

Rory is similarly aggrieved when it comes to footwear. But his problem is with wedges. He finds them desperately unattractive. He says “It is like someone couldn’t be bothered to make the heel so just stuck a lump of wood in its place.” I tried to explain that they are much easier to walk in compared to a stiletto, but he dismissed this and yelled ‘hideous!”.

 

As I mentioned earlier, underwear doesn’t always make men happy, and this is the case for Paul. He absolutely hates thongs! Come on! – what could be sexier? Apparently “the sheer nature of thongs is a turn off – they sit far too high.” He much prefers the classic Frenchie – so I guess less isn’t always more?

 

Paul and Rory both agree that flaunting yourself is not a hot look. The underwear as outerwear trend is clearly not appreciated, and neither are leggings. Wait what? Leggings? Apparently so. Rory describes his frustration with women wearing leggings without covering their bottoms. “It looks like they’ve forgot to put their skirt on – they are too clingy and they leave nothing to the imagination.”

 

Other things they want us to avoid: fur coats “unless you want to look like a walking rodent”; dangly earrings because “ear lobes freak [them] out in the first place”; and waist-cinching belts because “it makes you look like you are in a fun house mirror”. The list goes on and on….

 

Now, I know what you are probably thinking – why are you telling us this? Do you want us to change our style to suit our guys? No, quite the opposite. Don’t dress for your man, dress for yourself. If you feel hot, then you’ll look hot. Confidence is your greatest accessory. This Valentine’s Day treat him to an outfit you know he’ll like, but never compromise your individuality. I have to laugh when Rory criticises my outfits, because his responses are so creative that he deserves it. I will continue to wear things that are far too “crazy” and he will continue to tease me about it. But really, who cares?

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The Underwear Blues

It’s a deliberately annual and frustrating occurrence. You see this impulse charging at you. You cave.  Surely not again? Surely you have not just spent even more money on Valentine’s Day underwear? Are you…a Fool?

Moments later, you’re standing in front of your bedroom mirror, examining, caressing, posing, wriggling and huffing whilst you try to convince yourself that it was the right choice. The black lace teddy looked vital as it hung there in Agent Provocateur’s window. So why is it now that you are home this familiar feeling of guilt fills you? The answer lies in your underwear drawer. You peek at the many once-worn sexy outfits that have built up after years of anniversaries, birthdays, Christmases and of course, Valentine’s Days, and you realise that this was a step too far.

This is the scenario that greets me every year as Valentine’s Day approaches. I have not fluctuated in weight, I have not out-grown my clothing, underwear is timeless so is still “in fashion” – there is absolutely no excuse for my continuous overspending when it comes to lingerie. It is pure greed. I have argued that I do it for my partner in the past. I want to surprise him with new visual delights. But he doesn’t care, and in fact he is the one who diagnosed me with my illness when he turned around and said that he didn’t mind if I wore knickers more than once. For him to notice such a thing really is worrying.

But I am not the only one who suffers from this curse.

Apparently the average woman spends more than £20,000 on underwear in her lifetime, compared to £1,200 for men. The difference in expenditure is shocking, but not surprising. Emily Bendell, founder and CEO of Bluebella, a social selling lingerie company, says “Wearing fabulous lingerie makes a woman feel confident – it’s just like having a beautiful new handbag or pair of shoes and yet so deliciously secret too!”

Emily created the Bluebella brand because she wanted to treat UK women to “beautiful products that celebrated their sensuality” and she was “shocked by the lack of choice”. She decided that a social selling model would work for her company, as it offers women a “relaxed and informative shopping experience” where they can purchase “high end design and style” for affordable prices. Women have the chance to become Underwear Consultants and host parties selling this beautiful lingerie.

When brands like Bluebella exist, with their elegant designs and feminine structures, it is no wonder that so much money is spent on feeling glamorous underneath. Underwear as a gift is becoming more popular as well. And nowadays it is not uncommon for men to treat their partners to sexy underwear when Valentine’s Day arrives. There is usually a spike in underwear sales figures around February and men are now turning to panties instead of pansies.

But why do we spend so much more money on underwear than men do? Forget the 50% of men who wear their undies for two days running, and the huge commercialisation of barely clad females – ultimately nothing feels nicer than the soft fabric of new knickers. You feel fresh, presentable and weirdly, content. Cute underwear makes you feel feminine. Whether you’re a size six or 16, Keira Knightley or Jennifer Hudson – you can look and feel hot in a flattering bra and pants.

It is the obsessive, compulsive buying that needs to stop.

Let’s take some advice from a real underwear expert. Calvin Klein once said that what he found sexy was “a woman wearing her boyfriend’s t-shirt and underwear”. So this Valentine’s Day raid your man’s wardrobe and find the most ridiculous underwear you can (I’ll be going for the classic ketchup-bottle print “I’m Saucy” boxers). You’ll be saving yourself some pennies and his reaction will be priceless. Who said romance is dead?

Bluebella are currently recruiting Consultants to host Bluebella parties which gives you the perfect chance to work from home and in your own time. If you want to join the Bluebella team, apply online at www.bluebella.com   

 

 

Skull Bracelet

I have found a fetish! Feast your eyes on these little babies.

 

This from 8.L.A and is called Cece – priced at £46. I love the Pirates of the Caribbean feel it has and how it subtly rocks!!

 

                                                             Second favourite is from Amanda Marcucci’s range and it is so cute that the goth association of a skull totally vanishes. Priced at £27 it is the cheaper of the two and the colour is especially brilliant. It comes in several different variations so I say pile them on!

 

 

Peace xx

 

Forties Glamour is Making a Winter Comeback

You only have to take a look at this year’s A/W catwalks to realise that forties fashion is this season’s hottest revival. From pussy bow blouses and fedoras at Gucci to fur and pearls at Donna Karen and feminine florals at Miu Miu, elegance is everywhere. And with a new generation of young actresses embracing the femininity of a forties silhouette, the look has made a modern comeback.

From Scarlett Johansson’s side-swept Hollywood wave hairstyle to queen of the hourglass Dita Von Teese’s entire wardrobe, forties glamour is no longer confined to pin-up magazines. Madonna, Diane Kruger and even pre-pubescent model Elle Fanning are also indulging in sophisticated shapes, sporting longer hem-lines and whimsical forties-inspired dresses by designers including Marc by Marc Jacobs and Milan fashion house Vionnet.

This season the look is a key feature on the high street too, with Miss Selfridge and Warehouse mass-producing forties-inspired accessories like faux-fur collars and long leather gloves. Statement midi skirts take to the streets and prove that covering up can be sexy too, especially when coupled with a sheer blouse or heeled loafers.

Of course, the revival of forties fashion did not arrive suddenly, in fact the circumstances of WWII created trends that are now seen as wardrobe staples – everything from female suits, a-line skirts, shoulder pads and wedges. Katherine Hepburn shocked the nation when she constantly wore trousers and used her defiant femininity to create a new kind of sex appeal. Long, rolling curls have always been on the Hollywood red carpet ever since Veronica Lake tried out the hairstyle in the early forties. Christian Dior created his voluptuous New Look collection and changed the shape of fashion, delivering soft shoulders, tiny waists and billowing skirts to his ‘flower women’ as a way for them to accentuate their curves and try something new after years of war, brutality and hardship.

Paul McCracken, head of ladieswear at Rokit, a true vintage clothing brand, admires the fashion of the forties. “Women still managed to look glamorous in spite of everything happening in the wider world, things like wartime brides making wonderful wedding dresses out of recycled parachute silk, tea staining their legs and painting seams up the back to imitate hosiery!” Rokit sells both original forties treasures – mostly tailored pieces like jackets and dresses – and pieces which are inspired by the forties, like the Rokit Designer’s Guild occasional hats, handcrafted by Bee Smith using forties patterns and trimmings.

Paul says that; “Throwaway fashion seems to have had its day; I think many people see vintage as the antidote to mass production both ethically and aesthetically. By buying something second hand you are not contributing to environmental damage caused by the fashion industry and as an added bonus you know you won’t be seen in the same outfit as anyone else.”

The torch for ladylike forties glamour is being carried by a tribe of committed vintage fans. “The early 1940s was a creative period for women due to the era’s military issues and there was (and still is) a lot from the period to take inspiration from. says Bella Stefani, the owner of retro-fashion site Rag and Magpie. “I love a 1940s style day dress. It’s easy to slip on and makes you instantly feel feminine and glamorous.”

“Men, women and children [from the forties] in retrospect appear much more glamorous in contrast to today’s tracksuit or jeans culture, living a vintage lifestyle or dabbling in it can be seen as escapism.”

To escape from today and achieve the forties revival trend invest in a flirty tea-dress like the vintage shapes designed by Fearne Cotton for Very, accessorise with a ladylike bag and Mary-Janes to truly embrace a classic look. For the less daring add a subtle touch of Hollywood glamour by pairing a faux-fur stole or pearls with last season’s coat for an automatic ‘40s revamp – you’ll scream Gucci.

Hair Dilemma!!

I know I haven’t blogged in a very long time, and I feel like such a failure of a human being for not doing so, BUT I am having a serious meltdown. I turn 19 on Saturday and I feel so bummed. It will be my last year as a teen – it sounds Waaayyy to responsible and frankly, I don’t think I can handle the pressure. On top of that I am getting my haircut tomorrow and I have no idea what look to go for. For about four years now I have had the same hairstyle. Dark, curly, long with a side fringe. As much as I love my just-rolled-out-of-bed, scruffy hair I really think change is good.

So the question is what should I get? Three and a half years ago (when I met my boyfriend) I gave up the right to have a short, straight hair-cut – Rory loves my long, curls and would cut my head off if I cut them off – so basically I have little options available. What I can work with is fringes, layering and volume. Change of colour is even a no-no, Rory is a brunette type of guy! Some friends have suggested that perhaps I should go for a straight centre score and work the beach look. Others tell me I could pull off a full fringe. But I am so worried that it won’t suit my face shape.

This is me on the right.  

I have been looking at various hairstyles and these are the finalists.

I need some serious help! Any suggestions??

x

x

PS. I know this blog post has been particularly over-dramatic, and yes I am a huge exaggarater (if thats a word!) I am not a vain, deluded person it is done for effect. Pinky promise.

x

What is with all these HUGE perfume bottles?

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed how big perfume bottles have been gettingpeace-love-juicy-couture-fragrance-daria-strokous-by-steven-meisel? But it has left me wondering why.

Whilst lazing about the house today, I couldn’t help but notice several TV ads with gigantic merchandise. I then flicked through this week’s ‘Look’ mag and again I was blown up and away by these freakishly large containers. I decided to do a little online research.

These bottles actually have a name. They are known as FACTICE perfume bottles. Which is literally translated from Latin as ‘fake’. These bottles are purposely large, but do not contain the real fragrance. Oh no, they are merely for show. Collectors can buy these ‘dummies’ to add a touch of glamour to their household, apparently. 3680_hero

It all seems a little strange. Reasoning behind the sudden enlarged advertisements does not exist. This craze really has taken over it seems – but I can’t work out why. Is it to make clear what the company are selling or is it to give a helping hand to short-sighted people?

So, size zero for the catwalks but size giant for the merchandise. Sounds different. Hm. 

Another thing – I wonder how heavy these bottles are?  Hopefully the skinny little things pictured above don’t hurt themselves.

Men are at it as well. Perhaps the big bottle is compensating for somBang Mac Jacobs Ad 3ething a little smaller. Although most girls wouldn’t complain if this ripped male arrived as an added extra with their purchase. To be quite honest I missed the aftershave first time I looked at this picture. I wonder what distracted me?

I suppose the idea of factices is a good one. It made me stop and wonder, which made me notice the product. All in all PR and advertisers, confusingly, job well done! I suppose.    

The biggest of them all?? large_juicy%20couture%20fragranceHaha!

It’s Not Granny – it’s Chic!

I can not deal with ANOTHER man telling me; ‘I think my granny’s got that’ when referring to an item of clothing that I am currently wearing. Why do most men not understand the concept of fashion? Or creativity? Or of not just wearing jeans, t-shirts and trainers all the time? My brother, Charlie, is at that stage in his life where, to take out his aggravation with his own life, he makes it hard for everyone else to enjoy theirs – AKA 16. So with it nearly being the winter season and all, I decided to do a little light (*ahem*) shopping. I usually like to experiment with new styles, and some work out for the worst, so I decided I wanted to stock up on chunky knitwear and faux fur accessories galore – to keep me nice and cosy of course (as well as making me look a lot better).

As a student, and having recently recieved my SAAS money and a £500 overdraft, I decided that New Look would be a safe place for me to shop. Nice, fashionable clothing, but unlike Urban Outfitters and Topshop, I don’t end up overspending too much.

Mission one: a jacket.

Even though I do already have a Wallis purple felt jacket, I decided I wanted to try an aviator style jacket with a faux fur lining. This jacket was right up my street, not too bulky, a soft light texture and was able to zip up to save me from the cold. Of course when it, and me, arrived home, my mum was giving it all – “it looks a bit short”, “is it waterproof?”, “its not got a hood”! Lord save me from my overly practical mother! Well, anyway I was pretty chuffed with my buy, and thought it looked better than nice, so I decided to make a bit of an effort and go visit the lovely boyfriend. No sooner had I stepped two fProxy-Connection: keep-alive
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Jeremy Clarkson’s jacket?” slip from Rory’s huge mouth. I saw red. Firstly, this is fashion, not some opinionated old guy’s jacket. It’s not cracked leather, it’s not brown, and it’s not sick. Secondly, if Jezza was to wear something as cool as this, I would have great respect for him. Strike one on purchases.

To go along with the old man’s jacket, that doesn’t have a hood, and won’t keep me warm in the coming months, I decided to get a new, suitable bag to carry all the university books that kill my shoulders. Mission two: The Holdall.

Now this baby is something that made me smile. As a huge Mary Poppins fan, even more so now, I fell in love with this carpet-looking, tapestry holdall. It is huge, so fits everything in it, maybe not a lamp but oh well. It is practical (wey hey mum), with it’s across-the-body strap and option to carry using the handles. And it is so chic. So believe my disgust when my brother, my mother and my boyfriend all commented that this bag could belong to their grannies. I honestly could have cried (well maybe not). Fair enough, the floral design looks vintage, and could be mistaken for an old lady’s purse, but the structure, design and size, make this bag very modern. I don’t care what anyone says. As this bag is also New Look, I don’t know how long it is going to last me, but if it does collapse, I am definitely going to buy another one just like it – to spite them all. They cannot take my Disney character dream away from me. It just brings back horrific memories from when I was teased profusely for wearing my favorite Eeyore back-pack to school, all that glitter, all that blue – well I was in sixth year, but it still hurt. *Weeping*

So as you can probably guess, buying chunky knitted jumpers didn’t really get a much sweeter reaction. More granny comments. Ha ha ha. I have absolutely had it with trying to be original, I am going to stick to joggers and vests – be a Plain Jane. Have a personality that reflects a dull style – no humor, no opinion – just plain, bland, fake Julia. Well, maybe not. But if I did surely everyone would hate it. Serve them all right. Well, I am away to cry about my oh so difficult life. Oh yeah, next project: getting my grandma to knit me an oversized, long, dress-like, cream, open-knit cardigan. Back in my day……….

Julia xx

If you want to be a granny like me; here is how to do it.

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