Wednesday, 31 October 2012

OOTD - London Times Part Uno

Jacket - Charity Shop (£8), Snood - Primark (£5), Sunglasses - Primark menswear (£1), Leopord Shirt - Tatty Bon (£14), Jumper - H&M (£8), Trousers - H&M (£10). Boots - New Look (£22), Bag - Primark (£3)

Anyone who follows me on the old twitterbot will know me and the boyshape made a recent saunter on down to London town. We booked ourselves a flat via airbnb so scored ourselves a penthouse out in Seven Sisters - so it was super easy to get about plus we had all the room in the world. Perfect for those nights of snuggling up with a munch and the X-Factor. 
It was my first time to London since I was 10 (went with the Brownies...naturally) and as expected completely in love with the place. We arrived early on the Friday morning so did all our touristy things (House of Parliament, Emmeline Pankhurst monument, Big Ben) before grabbing ourselves some tickets for Wicked (which is everything people say and more, One Short Day made the internal jukebox.)
Saturday was the first day we were actually human so a wee Morrisey fanboy trip to Sloane Square (where everyone seems to wear sunglasses) before heading to the Saatchi for the Karl Lagerfeld Little Black Jacket exhibition. Defo one to catch if you can. This was followed by a trip to Camden, a saunter in to town for the massive Topshop before have a good old explore round Soho. We ended up finding the most amazing mexican between a sex shop and massage parlour which sold the most amazing wet burritos and made margaritas every which way. Dessert ended up in Scoop for some gelato. Dark chocolate sorbet may have actually been the best thing I've ever tasted. I was ready to up and leave the boy and run off with it right there and then.
It's starting to look like all I did  was eat and shop - which to be fair isn't that far off the truth.

Where we went:
El Camion - make your burrito wet. WORTH IT.
Scoop - The best gelato I've ever had. I'm pretty much ready to replace every meal with the dark chocolate sorbet
Little Black Dress Exhibition - Till November 4th. One of my favourite things.  There is also an amazing market right outside the Saatchi, one guy was selling the most amazing goats cheese ever. Also nearly spent all my money in Taschen because RESPONSIBLE.
Wicked - Just so you know, on the day of the show they release 24 stall seats in the front row for £27.50 (48 if a matinee day.) There was people camping there at 7 in the morning when we arrived. We did however arrive at the box office at 10 to 10 and when we were served there was one left so worth chancing it.
Airbnb - Never using hotels. Ever again.
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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

A foray in to my sartorial past - and what style means to me

Finding your own personal style is always messy. It's a constant process of trying different things on and seeing what fits. I've always had slightly gothic leanings and frequently make jokes about "I'LL WEAR ANYTHING AS LONG AS IT'S BLACK" - but really over the years my taste in clothes has been - shall we say - more colourful. Mismatched coloured leopard print, candy-striped beach dresses and blue and white striped 50's dresses were some of the looks from Claire of the past. I never really have been aware of my style changing and I've always felt that there has been a common feeling of me-ness throughout - and while I would still wear underskirts with bright pink lipstick and pinstripe skirts in a heartbeat - I also feel a lot more comfortable in what I like.
Sheer skirts and corsets aren't for me - but fishnets, slouchy bags and a good fugly shoe are. I've went from a devoted dress wearer to trousers 60% of the time but still wear too much eyeliner and think everything looks better with red lipstick. And I definitely miss my hat phase (berets and badges everywhere, turbans for everyone) it just wasn't something that stuck.
With that said, I'm 24 and while I feel a bit surer of what I like and what I don't, I still look forward to looking back in 10 years at my sartorial dos, don't and dear god whys.
Milly over at Mini Adventures did a post talking about style and you would describe it so I thought it would be worth a shot. Nothing like a little bit of mid-week navel gazing right? Style has always been very important to me and I could get in to a whole load of academic wank about identity building and subcultures, but the heart of it is it's a form of self expression and I'd love to know what other people's though processes are behind finding their own style. Let me know if you do it yourself so I can have a swift creep.

How would you describe your style:
Classic with a gothic sensibility. I spent my teens at a skate park and up Cockburn street. I have fond memories of picking plaid shirts out of bargain bins and acquiring friends bits and bobs. As one is wont to do. A bargain basement queen who feels everything is better with black and gold.

Who inspires your style:
People on the street, bloggers, friends, celebrities, film characters, models, costume designers I'm a total style magpie and like to pick bits and bobs from everywhere. If we're talking the fancy and the famous - Jane Birkin, Diane Pernet and Catherine Baba.

What are your wardrobe staples: 
A really good pair of 80dernier tights, mens shirts (the tailoring is infinitely better) and a really good pair of black trousers. H&M so a pretty flawless pair for just under £10. I always bulk buy them when they're in. Jewellery wise - the eternity ring my Gran have me for my 21st (it's over 50 years old and I never take it off) and if wearing a necklace I tend to prefer a chunky gold chain or something a bit simpler. I love the idea of costume jewellery but we've never really meshed.

What is the most expensive item in your wardrobe:
Without a doubt my underwear. Agent Provocateur is a real weakness of mine. Underwear is the foundation of any good look and it will always be something I spend money on. Red and pink silk underwear?  Sign me up please.

Favourite Designer:
Big name? Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy. I am however perpetually skint so I'm a grab what I can afford kind of gal. Locally I'm a big fan of Obscure Couture.

How much do you usually spend on clothes:
Not as much as you would think. 80% of what I get is from a charity shop or sale.

Where do you shop:
H&M, River Island, T.K Maxx, charity shops, vintage fairs, local designers, House of Frasers, New Look, Topshop and Urban Outfitters. The usual suspects really. My favourite pieces however are some of my vintage pieces (a 100% silk beaded dress, a black lace 50s style dress with detachable straps) and charity shop finds (£1 boys school shirt with super stiff collar, yellow blazer, blue velvet mini dress.)

What's your favourite way to wear your hair:
Big and to the side. Seriously I can't do anything with it so I just....embiggen and hope for the best.

What's your go to outfit for when you don't know what to wear:
A black silk wrap BCBG dress from TK Maxx if going fancy. Casual it's my blue skinny jeans rolled up with a loose fitting tee and Obscure Couture cardi.

One fashion trend you would like to come back and stay:
I'm kind of hoping for sheer ankle socks to be a bit more of a thing. Think they are super cute. Also anything that allows me to dress like it's Halloween 90% of the year. Can we keep midi length forever too?

What's your most prized possession in your wardrobe:
My Obscure Couture cardi that I wear all the time, any jewellery from my family and my slouchy stud bag that I take everywhere. It cost me £3 and the straps are broken but it is my everything.

What advice would you give to someone who is fashion conscious: 
Don't be. Don't be safe - be willing to experiment with your look and finding out what works for you. Fuck the rules. Colour head to toe, clash patterns, wear colour's that people say you shouldn't (black and blue/brown, pink and red.) Wear what you love - be it a fugly boot or a sky scraper heel. Also everything looks better with lipstick.
Except at the gym.
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Scottish Accessories Sample Sale? On it like a car bonnet.

I am convinced that this event exists solely to seperate me from all my money and leave me living on noodles and soy sauce for a month. And I think I'm okay with that.
Scottish accessory designers Bebaroque, William Chambers and Euan McWhirter have teamed up to bring a pop up sample sale to Princes Square in Glasgow. 2 days of sample shopping from some of the freshest and most contemporary designers in Scotland. Seriously what's not to love?

Bebaroque: The girls from Bebaroque almost need no introduction. Creating luxurious hosiery and bodywear Bebaroque's intricate beading and opulent designs have had them win Scottish Accessory designer of the year both in 2008 and 2011. They've been worn my Nicky Minaj, Katy Perry, Kelis and Emma Watson so you're in good company.  I love the Daryl Dress and Pricilla Knee Highs from their S/S 12 collection so I'll be looking out for sheer knee high socks for some effortless luxe for the Christmas nights out.
Euan McWhirter: Counting Kylie, Shirley Manson and Lauren Laverne among his fans, McWhirter's cool contemporary jewellery is feminine with a punk rock sensibility. Working with swarovskis, diamonds, acrylics and glass - McWhirter's creations have a neo-classic elegance. I've been after one of the Lucky Bitches rings since forever, and after missing his sample sale in his studio earlier this year I'm taking this as my second chance.
William Chambers: Worn by Kelis, Ana Matronic, Joan Jett and Roisin Murphy, Chambers creations are always in high demand. From Royal Ascot to couture stage pieces, his designs are always inventive and has scored himself Scottish Accessory designer of the year in 2010 and 2012. My favourite pieces are his latex flowers which feature heavily throughout his designs. Fingers crossed there is some laetx goodness on the day.

To celebrate the designers have teamed up with a facebook competition where you'll have a chance to win a piece by each designer - lucky bitches ring from McWhirter, a headpiece from Chambers and some Bebaroque tights. Best. Prize. Ever.

The sample sale will on the ground floor of Princes Square next to Reiss and runs 2nd November till the 3rd, 10am - 6pm. Sharpen those elbows ladies, this  is one sale you don't want to miss.
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Thursday, 18 October 2012

That time I judged a styling event at Topshop Silverburn

Silverburn recently ran a competition in collaboration with Glasgow Caledonian University. The six finalists were asked along to Topshop to put together three pieces - a day look, an evening look and a going out look, using key trends - with the chance to win a £200 Silverburn Giftcard. I was invited along to be part of a judging panel with Sami and Lisa from Beauty Aesthetic. Each of the girls had really distinctive styles and was really tough to choose a winner.
One of my favourite looks from the day was the winner, Nicole's heritage inspired day look. Throughout the look there was lots of little leather details and it felt really cohesive and I loved how she thought about the different make up looks to go with her looks. I was also all over runner-up Amy's camo print with metallic red skirt combo finished with a mixed metal chain necklace.
Overall the looks the girls brought together were strong. You could understand the thought process behind each look and it was nice to hear each girl explain why she chose each piece. It was great to see the new trends - Factory Girl (lots of 60s tailoring and classic shapes) and The Witching Hour (leather, lace and all things witchy) and see how they incorporated bits from trends and the rest of the store in to their looks. The Witching Hour is pretty much made for me. I'm this close to buying this Horror Drip t-shirt from the range. Because I need more t-shirts.
I loved seeing Silverburn and Topshop team up with universities like Caledonian and was really impressed at the broad range of looks each girl through to the table. It's also always nice to reminded of Silverburn's late nights on the run up to Christmas. 10pm closing times? I will be keeping that in mind thank you very much.
The problem is now I want to buy half the things the girl styled. Guess I will be writing the Christmas list early then?
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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Truly Mattely Deepy: Matte Lipgloss in Jazz Review

 I have an infinite number of red lipsticks, none that actually manage to stay on my face. The boyfriend has frequently chastised me for the fact my lipstick always ends up all over him so the promise of a lip colour that wouldn't budge really appealed to me. Truly Mattely Deeply is part of Sleek's collaboration with PPQ and the gloss comes in two colours - Jazz - an orange toned red and Soul - a blue tinged pink.  The easiest way to describe it is the finish of MAC'S Ruby Woo, with the closest colour match to Lady Danger but applies like a gloss. I tend to hate lip glosses and find them overly sticky but this guy lives at the other end of the scale. It's a no budge matte finish gloss which is great - but it is also the most drying gloss I've ever worn. It almost feels chalky on the lips. If you can get by though the lasting power on this guy is amazing and it does have a lovely finish.
The packaging is sweet and it's priced at a pocket friendly £4.99, available from Superdrug. It's a no fuss way to don a red lip and as long as you've got a good lip balm to hand will last you through the day.
Has anyone else tried any matte glosses or any anything else from the PPQ/Sleek collection?
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Charity Shop Goth - OOTD Obscure Couture Fashion Film Screening

Dress - Charity Shop - £4, Jacket - Charity Shop - £8, Lion Belt - £3 - Primark, Jonathan Aston tights - River Island - £3, Flatform - New Look - £7, Clutch - Topshop - £28, 
Multi-coloured popcorn- Obscure Couture

I had no idea what to wear to the premier screening of Obscure Couture's fashion film "The Lithium Party." At one point I found myself lying in a heap of dresses wondering why the fuck I have so much clothes (I had a real strong case of the first world problems.) Luckily I have this wee vintage number I bought when I was up in Buckie earlier this year. It's drapey and just a bit witchy which is always nice. I'm not crazy for the waist detail or the sequins, it takes me in to a dark 80s territory I'm not crazy about, but nout that can't be sorted with a belt. The tights I am in love with. For years I've been 80d or bust but I kind of love the shape of these guys and at £3 in the River Island sale at the moment? Bangerang. The jacket I haggled down due to a missing button and the flatforms were from the January sales. The clutch is pretty much the newest guy and was bought with a birthday voucher. I've been meaning to get a clutch that isn't just covered in studs and sequins for a while (naturally I went for one covered in zips.) My favourite thing about it? The optional long strap. Swoon.
The launch was amazing and got to try some Willy Wonkaesque popcorn. The black glitter popcorn was my favourite (a safe toffee flavour) but they also included citrus, rum and strawberry in the mix. You can read my review of the film here but really you should really just deek it out for yourselves!

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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

QooQoo - Pastel Cats and Fairytale Vines

Currently my wardrobe is predominately made up of lots of black. I say currently. I mean always. I can however appreciate a good cat print (no duh) and liberal use of pastels. QooQoo - a Latvian label celebration between fashion and graphic design has been on my radar for a while with its mix of printed leggings and dresses, and the Lolita collection remains a firm favourite.
Of course I'm all over the use of pastel cats throughout this collection. Dresses, leggings - I can totally buy in to that. I love the vine print and just how everything is very cohesive and wearable. It's a fun youthful collection. It's total fashion candy floss - sweet and light.  The collections are all limited edition - designed, printed and sewn locally.
Prices range from 21 - 90 euros, selling notebooks, dresses, leggings, skirts and t-shirts. The Lolita collection is a favourite mostly because of the pastel cats but I have a real soft spot for the leggings. Navy Phantom is a mix of prison tattoos, sea creatures and alchemy signs , Of The Brave are extra long and have a felt tip design straight out of a sketch book including mushrooms, bubbles, swords and lightening bolts. I'm big on the fact they collaborated with Latvian band Triana Park to create leggings based on their album art. How frigging cool is that? I would actually kill for some Blood Brother leggings - Burn Piano Island Burn or Crimes artwork, on my legs? Get on my body right now. Can someone make that happen? Yes?
The styling is cute and whimsy seems to be pretty much the defining feature of the brand. QooQoo are definitely worth checking out.
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Friday, 12 October 2012

Smoke bombs and early rises: Behind the scenes with GUM

Monday morning and it's half 6 in the morning and I'm standing outside of my flat with a suitcase waiting for a taxi. No, I'm not going on holiday. I'm styling a shoot for Glasgow University Magazine or as it's more commonly known as GUM. I've got pegs, a steamer and tape somewhere at the bottom of my bag. I unpacked my bags, taped the shoes before being interviewed ("Are you a stylist?" "Um...no, maybe, sometimes?") before heading out. The weather was perfect although I did have a heart attack watching our model Lauren climb over the barrier on the bridge. I found myself making smoke inbetween fixing shawls and changing shoes. All in all I've had worse days and I can't wait for the shoot to be out. If you're based in Glasgow I'll be expecting you to pick up a copy.
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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Obscure Couture presents The Lithium Party (a preview)

Subtle isn't a word I'd use to describe Glasgow design duo Jenn Coyle and Lyndsay Pagan. But for the most party subtlety is boring, and Obscure Couture are anything but that. With the launch of their first fashion film at the GFT this Friday - "The Lithium Party" is a heady mix of hedonism, sex and glitter. Set over the course of a 24 hour party, The Lithium Party follows our frosted haired heroine through champagne highs, crystal splattered lows and an emotional redemptive climax in a church. 
We all know I am all up in fashion film, and it's amazing what Obscure Couture have pulled together on a budget of sweet fuck all and a team of mega talented Glasgow cats. Ana Cruzalegi of We Are Faux lashes pulls each look together seamlessly. Big colourful eyes, frosted lips, all the glitter - each different look perfectly reflects the mood from scene to scene. Teamed with Lou Clave of Hair For Heroes wigs the hair and make up design for this film is pretty much flawless. Sweet puffy eye candy. 
One of the best things about film is it gives you an idea how the outfits look and how they move. Obviously Laura McMonagle looks pretty flawless in everything, and really throws herself in to the role (champagne love ins are one thing but barging in to commuters around Central early morning - jeezo!.) The clothes look great and I am dying for the yellow suit though I am all about the metallics and pastels that dominate the collection. 
The Aperturists who made the film did a wonderful job - the film moving from sexy, dark, ethereal and tragic seamlessly. The music works great - it feels a bit like listening to your best friends ipod - moving from Die Antwoord to Nine Inch Nails which I'm pretty sure is something we can all get behind.
"The Lithium Party" is Obscure Couture to a tee - completely over the top, a bit mental, but fun, gorgeous and a good heap of sexy. They really have set the bar for short fashion films for young designers in Scotland.

The Obscure Couture Girls are having a wee competition on their facebook where you can win VIP tickets to the Lithium Party at the GFT this Friday. Sweet fashion and some glittery popcorn await. Fancy yourself in with a chance? Go like their facebook page and share this image for your chance of winning some tickets. See you on the red carpet ;)
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Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel Review

When Winter comes knocking at my door I become the kind of gal who likes to put all the things on my face. Don't get me wrong, year round I am all up in a fancy facial and a creepy wee bit of exfoliation but the second the temperture starts dropping my skin does all the bad thing. My lips begin to crack, my skin begins to feel tight and (through a combined effort from weather, festive drinks and festive eats) begins to look less than a bit fresh. I frequently jest about being a whiter shade of pale but for winter, well I'm just flat out corpse like.
Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel is a bit of a cult product - having won Harper's Bazaar Best Peel and was one Independent's Best Beauty Buys. It's been around for a while so when Pure Spa decided they could hook a sister up with a travel size to try out, well it was like the stars had bloody aligned.
First of all the texture is gorgeous. Unlike most masks I use it isn't gritty, more like a gel or serum. It is quite thick but applies easily and evenly and doesn't feel heavy on the skin. The smell is light and fruity and isn't intrusive. I left it on for about 15 minutes and washed it off with lukewarm water. Now usually I tend to like exfoliaters where I can feel the dead skin come away but this peel did leave my skin feeling and looking brighter. I expected to have to peel the mask off (a bit disappointed that I didn't) and it definitely feels more like a mask. I did only need a small amount so feel like it could last for some time. A solid 4 out of 5.
I can't really fault the product. It smells and looks great and I really enjoyed the texture and my skin did look much fresher after using it. It's not a game changer product for me by any means but it's something I would easily recommend or perhaps buy for the Mumshape for her Christmas. Which is kind of handy as they already have Christmas Kits in Pure Spa already with free delivery. Handy as.

Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel is available from Pure Spa for £29.50. I'll definitley be popping in to the Silverburn store soon!

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Friday, 5 October 2012

USC: Changing Perceptions and My Top Picks

Since pretty much forever I've always passed USC when doing my rounds of the shops on Buchanan Street. It would barely merit a passing glance from me. In my head it had been filed firmly away in the "Places Claire Will Never Shop" box. It was where people went for hoodies and trainers and it just always seemed a bit.....meh. Then I got an invite to a Ladies Night they were hosting to launch their new concession Lashes. It was right on my door step and there was promise of cake so I thought what the harm?
What I did not expect was to go in and find so many pieces that I flat out adored. Sure there was still remnants of what I thought of what USC was but for the most part was surprised by how many pieces I felt I need in my wardrobe...like yesterday. Chunky knits with leather panels and studs, gold laser cut skirts, panelled leggings, sheer high low hem dresses, baroque detailing on t-shirts, aviator jackets - where have you been all my life?
The truth is USC reminds  me of an ASOS on the high street. They have loads of great brands, including ones exclusive to them - yet without the same strong brand identity as ASOS. USC could easily be your one stop place for up to date fashion pieces, especially if you - like me - love trying things on before buying. The problem is USC still don't seem to know what they want to be and they need a stronger brand message about who they are. The store layout still feels quite tight and I felt I actually had to look for the pieces - and there is loads of them but it all felt very hidden away. USC are bang on trend when it is coming to product and the quality of the pieces they are getting in - their own label Abandon was a favourite of mine - but they still have some way to go on finding the right message to fit with where they appear to be going.
I do love finding unexpected places to pick up goodies and was really impressed by the stock USC had on offer - so here are a few of my top picks.


Abandon Bobby Box Top - £28. Nice shape, nice price, faux leather. In to my life please.
Lashes Dip Dye Dress - £42. My game changer dress. Green and black and sheer. Perfect for layering.
Reverse Stud Jumper - £48. Hot pink jumper with leather shoulders and black studs. DREAM.
House of Dereon Leather Look Leggings - £60. Nice and thick - I'm not going to get over leather panelled leggings any time soon.

It's not my typical high street shop - but in store and online they had some genuinely really gorgeous pieces and is the ideal place to pick up some nice on trend pieces without looking like you have had a good big old roll around Topshop or Primark. While USC is not quite on my regulars list - after finally giving them a chance it's safe to say I'm a convert.
Not your typical high street store but worth your time and your dollah.
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