Mad Men’s Groovy ’70s Style

I’ve been on hiatus off from the blogging world for few weeks but I’m now back.

Let’s talk about ’70s’ fashion. I’m watching the 7th and final series of Mad Men at the moment and loving it! The office ladies are all about showing legs. Everything is short; short dresses, short skirts and top dresses.

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Mad Men Season 7 cast

What I like most is not the shortness of the ladies’ apparel but the colours they use and how they wear them with such panache. These days, I find most office attire is all about blacks, browns and other safe colours but wouldn’t it be so much more cheerful to see a lot of vibrant, bright and beautiful colours in the office.

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Sola Bamas as Shirley in Mad Men _ Season 7, Episode 2

Scientific research has shown that brighter clothes make you happier and I can prove that people are more likely to notice and make comments when you are wearing bright colours and that, in turn, can boost your mood and help lift the spirits of those in your environs.

I know it’s not warm yet to wear short attire but there are always stockings to save the day and they come in all colours. So ladies, lets bring a lot of cheerfulness and smiles into the office with some colour!

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Is Valentine’s Day too commercialised?

There has been some memes doing rounds on social media lately of guys temporarily breaking up with girls just until Valentine’s day is over then make up again. These are just social media jokes of course but one would wonder if there was some truth in that!

imageIs there pressure for loved ones to be extra romantic on just one day of the month just because the world is telling them to do so and they feel obliged?

Valentine’s Day is everywhere and there is no escaping it. TV ads are all over, restaurants are over booked, every retail shop is adorned in red hearts, teddies, chocolate boxes tied in pink ribbons and cards with love poems which makes it hard not to think about it.

It’s nice to celebrate love but in reality it has become a very commercialised day. They say love and happiness doesn’t cost a thing but in this generation, it is an expensive thing and we have no control over it.

imageValentine’s Day is about love so to those in love, enjoy  time with your loved ones and to my single friends, spread the love with family and friends. Let love be in the air everyday not only for one day. Happy St Valentine’s Day!

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Warm-up your winter wear with Tweed

As the days continue to be short, dark, wet and cold, we are all bringing our knits and woollens out but behold, there is a fabric that is rather rich and has a varied history you might need to add to your winter wear – Tweed!image.jpegPhoto: Courtesy of Vicky Garnett Photography

As soon as you hear ‘tweed’, your mind might have raced to the royals, Dr Who, nerdy professors, Sherlock Holmes, politicians or those aging men in Harris or Donegal tweed hats in your local pub. Whatever your associations with it, tweed redefines the complex history of gender, class and fashion from the 19th century until now. It had functional characteristics that were attractive to 19th century gentlemen and aristocrats who had an interest in virtually every sport and adventure activity – shooting, hunting, fishing, golf, cycling, motoring and mountain climbing.image                                             Dr Who in tweed jacket

In the 1890s British tweed became popular when it was included in ‘tailor made’ garments for women which consisted of a jacket and long skirt. They were warm, functional, durable and were the ‘power dress’ for contemporary office women.

By the 1920s Coco Chanel was simplifying fashion with her innovative forward looking ideas on female clothes. She borrowed items normally worn by men and transformed them into pared down stylish female apparel, for example simple jersey and tweed suits.114822515.jpgThe Time Lifestyle Magazine – 1960s Chanel tweed suits 

Although tweed might be associated with old-fashioned values and upper-class country sportswear, fashion houses have made it popular again by adding new lighter tweed weaves that are perfect for modern street wear.imagePhoto: Courtesy of Vicky Garnett Photography

It might look like an itchy, stuffy and heavy fabric but tweed is practical, warm, versatile…….and classically stylish. Perfect central heating for those winter walks!!

Pygama Pants? Let’s go back to the 1930s

Mo, you’re still wearing your pyjamas!” That’s what a male friend, with a big smile, said to me this week at work. I looked down at myself, as if for the first time ,and I had to agree that the colourfulness and width of my trousers may have led him to mistaking them for pyjama bottoms………but it didn’t rattle me, I adored them!

image.jpegLess than a century ago it was daring and rather scandalous for women to be seen wearing trousers. Wide leg trousers first began as lounge pants, becoming increasing popular as ‘beach pyjamas’ or resort clothing in the late 1920s. By 1930s the wide leg trousers took a more practical purpose as sports attire and women adopted this new set of clothing regardless of whether they played sport or not. Despite the popularity of the fashion trend, it was still unacceptable to wear them in public, apart from when playing sports or vacationing.

imageSource – Beach pajamas 1930s

imageBeach pyjamas featured in a German fashion magazine in 1931

Things changed in the late 1930s and 1940s thanks to actresses such as Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich, whose then-ridiculed outfit choices paved the way to women’s freedom to wear pants.

imageKatharine Hepburn posing in a pair of wide leg trousers in 1930 – Source

When I laid my eyes on these Roxy trousers for the first time, I fell in love. It was the only pair left in the shop. The discounted price was very enticing, the colours were dazzling and when I tried them on they were perfect fit. I was just like someone who have found true love, I felt it was only the best thing ever!!imageAs a break from my usual outfits made up of skinny trousers, dresses and skirts, I usually wear these trousers in winter as they are corduroy fabric. They are warm, comfortable, sleeky, easy to wear and they are so colourful that they cheer up the dark evenings. The colours also makes it easier for me to choose a top to wear them with. Every colour top goes with the trousers and that’s one less headache if you’re in a hurry.

If you ever decide to buy a wide leg trousers in the future, here are some helpful tips:

  • Wide leg trousers looks great when worn with heels and certainly look better when they slightly hide your high heels
  • For a classic look, wear them with a well fitted top as it creates a lovely silhouette….especially if you are ‘heavy on top’.
  • If you are short, wearing striped wide leg trousers can give you the look of longer legs and even add a perceived few inches.image

So while my friend saw my wide leg colourful corduroy trousers as pyjamas, I saw them as a ‘love at first sight’ fashion statement!

Christmas jumper revolution!

Since that scene of Mark Darcy’s ugly Christmas jumper in Bridget Jones Diary movie , I have never looked at Christmas jumpers the same way. Who would want to wear something so cheesy and hideous I thought? How I was wrong!! Walking on the streets of Dublin the days towards Christmas was like re-living that movie scene hundred times over.

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What is it that is making Christmas jumpers so popular each year? Fashionable, trendy or just people trying to be different? Most of the people I saw wearing Christmas jumpers were going to parties, so I would assume this is the new Christmas party look and a lot of people want to be part of it.

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I admire people who can rock those jumpers but here is why a jumper with Christmas trees, santas, reindeers, tinsels and lights won’t be on my shopping list anytime soon.

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Reason #1: I want to get my money’s worth. Why should you spend your money on a jumper you can only wear once a year?  I will be inclined to buy a jumper that is timeless and practical which can be worn off season too.

Reason #2: It’s nice to be different but great to look unique. It won’t matter whether your Christmas jumper is from Primark or John Lewis, what matters is that 10 or more people are also wearing the same jumper decorations as you, so it end up feeling like you are wearing a uniform!

It will be interesting to see how the Christmas jumpers revolution will do this year, as for me I will stick to my neutral winter jumpers.

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Wishing you a Happy 2016!

From São Paulo with fashion -Rhodia 1960s Fashion

São Paulo is a big and vibrant city. I only had two days to have a feel of life in this dense city with its skyscrappers. I was told the most encompassing way to absorb the essence of São Paulo was to explore around Jardins which is one of the most culture- centric and artistic area of the city. Lucky for me, my friend lives a block away from Avenida Paulista, ‘São Paulo’s Wall Street’ so it was easy for me to get around.

imageSão Paulo street art – Jardim da Luz

Few hours after my 17 hour flight and I was wandering around shopping malls and I also took a lap around Rua Augusta which is a hipster-esque area with colourful and vintage shops. I decided to escape the noise of the traffic for a bit and visit the Trianon Park which is just off the Paulista Ave. The fresh breeze and sound of birds chirping made me forget that I was still in a big city of near 12 million inhabitants.

imageOne of the highlights of São Paulo was the Museum of Modern Art (Museu de Arte de São Paulo – MASP). The MASP architecture is very interesting. Suspended from two large columns, the building hangs in the air like a large block of concrete – amazing engineering!!

imageI decided to check what was being exhibited and i was in total awe with what welcomed me. Yes, there were rows and rows of clothes!

imageFor the first time MASP was showing 79 pieces of its Rhodia fashion collection which featured clothes created through a collaboration between artists and designers in the 1960s. This collection in MASP is the only one still remaining.

imageI was mesmerised by the colourfulness of the collection. A mixture of afro print and a touch of Asian fusion gave the collection a very rich look. These two evening dress were my favourites.

imageThis printed palazzos were also amazing. They were well tailored and the fabric was well weaved. This could be a lovely evening wear if you are bold enough to wear it.

imageThis well presented collection showed that fashion certainly revolves, because what was fashionable in the 1960s is certainly unique and inspire creativity today. Judging from excited faces in the gallery, it will inspire creativity and boost current fashion system.

image.jpegMy trip had no fashion on the agenda but São Paulo unexpectedly brought history of Brazilian fashion to me. What an adventure!!

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The boardroom to happy hour dress code

Professional life is becoming a 24/7 norm these days. We are constantly running around from one business meeting to another. However, in all that hustle and bustle of work life, there remains a need to reconnect with our social side. Everyone wants time to just mingle and giggle to none work related jokes over drinks or dinner once in a while. We all need the happy hour!!

So, you have a business meeting out of office which will go for the whole day but you also have that overdue dinner, drinks or cocktail party with your friends or colleagues. You are so excited about the day ahead but you find yourself in a dilemma on what to wear. If you are like me, bringing a separate set of clothes is just excessive baggage – totally inconvenient, going home to change is time consuming and by the time you get to the bar, happy hour is over. So what do you do? One easy solution is to wear an outfit that can easily take you from day to night hustle free.

The Good Wife

Sheath dress– is something you can easily wear from work to happy hour. A well-tailored, full or quarter sleeved, not too tight, and not too short sheath dress can bring a lot of class and femininity in a business meeting that is full of suits. If the dress is sleeveless, then wear a blazer to accompany it.

imageThe Good Wife’s Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) is an inspirational example of how to power dress for the office and for the night out and her collection of blazers is to die for.

image                           Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick series THE GOOD WIFE

imageA pencil skirt – wear a pencil skirt with a crop top and throw a blazer on top and you are ready for that big business meeting, you take the blazer off when out.

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Black tights – Another accessory that can transform your outfit are black tights. Yes, you don’t really have to worry about the length of your hemline and you can look respectable and ladylike. After the meeting, you can bare your lovely legs again for the happy hour.

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Jumpsuit – is another quick fix to the day to night transformation. If you are not keen on blazers (why wouldn’t you though!) then wear a jumpsuit instead. It’s simple, quick and It’s easy to wear and you will look the part in both places.

imageAlways follow the business fashion etiquette, which is to dress classy but keep things professional even during happy hour!!

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‘Don’t look like me, look like you!’- Fashion vs Style

Flicking through the Guardian Weekend Magazine which my colleague had left on my desk, I came across an Amazon Fashion Advert with the caption: ‘Don’t look like me, look like you’ and it made me wonder, are we constantly trying to look like someone else?

Fashion magazines bombard us with how we should look. We are convinced that we could look just like those manicured models in magazines or catwalks if we dress like them and sadly, most of us tend to go this route when it comes to clothes! Imagine if we all look and dress the same? Well, I think that definitely would be a dull world. That’s why developing your own style makes the fashion world interesting!

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Style and fashion are different in some way. You express your individuality and uniqueness through your dress style and it’s your signature – it is the REAL you. Fashion, on the other hand, is about the look that is trending and popular at a given time and then it’s gone, that’s why we have weekly or monthly fashion magazines.

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Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe are still the style icons of all time. Why? They set themselves apart from the rest. Marilyn Monroe had the curves and personality to create that feminine, sexy image which she was known for.

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Audrey Hepburn’s style showed grace, class, sophistication and elegance. Her style suited her trimmed, slim and sporty body and her philosophy comes down to understanding what makes her feel comfortable in her own skin. I think acquiring your own sense of personal style gives you a sense of ownership and confidence while making you feel good about yourself!

imageDo not be swayed by the models in glossy magazines and fashion trends especially when you already have your personal style. Of course, fashion magazines are tools to complement your looks not to change who you are.

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A famous Greek Philosopher once said “Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.” – Epictetus

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Grace yourself with lace!

For most homes the classic white lace curtain window covering creates an enjoyable design experience. It evokes that feeling of relaxation in summer and in spring time. For a long time I used to associate lace with curtains. Then I started seeing some really amazing outfits and gowns and I never looked at lace the same way again.image“I have stolen your granny’s net curtains, and I won’t give them back!” – quote from this dancer at the Moulin Rouge in Paris in 1926

Lace is one of the most beautiful and feminine fabrics in the world. But just how long has lace been in fashion? Lace is known to have been first developed in Venice during the sixteenth century. It was always an expensive luxury item because of its painstaking, time-consuming production. Lace veils and lace bridal gowns became an enduring favourite for brides in the Victorian era and has been popular ever since with royals, brides, catwalks and even the high street.

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Lace masterpiece – American actress Grace Kelly’s elegant wedding gown in 1956

imageKate Middleton is ever elegant and stunning in lace dresses

Lace continues to enjoy a place in fashionable dress today. White crochet lace rules in summer, in winter a black or red lace party dresses get us into the Christmas spirit.

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If the lace look is too full-on for your personal taste, mix it up with contrasting textures. Don’t be afraid to experiment with lace. Whether it is a staple part of your wardrobe or for special occasions only, lace is an elegant and on-trend choice of fabric.

imageTo wear lace is to wear grace!!

Fifty shades of Green!

Across many cultures green is commonly associated with nature, growth, regeneration and fertility. In pagan times, the “Green Man” was a symbol of fertility . It was known as the colour of the heavens in the Ming Dynasty. In Ireland, it is a colour of luck and is popularly on St. Patrick’s Day or during international soccer or rugby games. It is believed that wearing green on any other day would be considered unlucky by the Irish ( I wonder about that one though!)
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Content with nature in H&M emerald green skirt

Green is everywhere around us but it is also associated with unflattering phrases such as “green with envy” or “the green-eyed monster” both in reference to people harbouring more than a little bit of jealousy. It’s no surprise then that green is not a common colour in the world of fashion.

Wearing green is not for everyone as it can be seen as loud and dominant. Green is also a rare choice at red carpets or other gala events considering the proximity to the red carpet and some celebrities can’t risk looking like a Christmas tree! However, some people can pull the colour very well as seen in these emerald green choices by Angelina Jolie Pitt, Mila Kunis, Elizabeth Moss and Catherine Zeta-Jones.imageLast year the autumn/winter collections were full of different shades of green from lush olive, emerald green, grass green, pea green, moss green to sage green making it an interesting colour to buy. I wore this lace dress to a friend’s wedding last year and it was a perfect outfit for the day as it blended very well with the lush surroundings. I wore it again this year to a different occasion with different shoes, bag and a different hairstyle and it looked new again.imageThis outfit is great colour for the autumnal look. The cocktail of green, white, pink and red colours give it a colourful autumn effect and it’s an outfit that can be dressed up or down.

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Forget about the green connotations! A woman in green isn’t the jealous type, rather she knows she causes envy in others. If you dare, get ready to spread the envy!!

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