Sunday, 25 September 2011

Footwear Buzz

Like Carrie Bradshaw and her cohorts I find that few things bring more uncomplicated pleasure than the purchase of footwear.  I particulary like a fine boot and so with some unspent John Lewis vouchers hanging over from my birthday I got these lovely items which I hold to be stylish, versatile and comfy.

The boots are by Fly London who describe themselves as providing "The footwear of universal youth culture" .  Someone should have a word with them about this. Fly is wildly popular with Guardian reading middle-youth types, I could bank on the fact that every time I attended a parents day at my son's school last term I'd see either one of the teachers or another parent wearing a pair of their ubiquitous wedges.  I bet you recognise these too

Fly have lots of interesting styles on their website with prices around the £100-£150 price range. I think their stuff is just as distinctive as the higher profile Camper and they are less ubiquitous than Clarks. There is a nod to Punky/New Wave influences in their distressed leather and buckle-heavy collection which makes them perfect to spice up sober daywear.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Just Cos

Inevitably I have discovered Cos The cool, trendy cousin of H + M which is currently expanding throughout the UK with branches in Birmingham, Brighton, Manchester and Glasgow as well as the usual parts of London.

The layout of this shop is aspirational, lots of blonde wood and single items displayed on plinths without anything so vulgar as a mannequin on display. The clothes themselves are for the most part gorgeous with lots of greys, navys and cream tones enlightened by the occasional streak of vermillion or ochre.

Clothes for women, as far as I was concerned. fell into two distinct types: structured and non-structured. The structured were absolutely no use to me at all although some of the dresses I would describe as the end result of Mad Men's (obligatory fashion mention) Joan Holloway going into a convent run by Ann Demeulemeester;  they were very pretty but severe.

The unstructured stuff however is very curve forgiving and there is a good range of choice here to put together a number of different looks by spending no more than a couple of hundred quid. I bought a green jersey dress for £55 which is very drapey and falls into forgiving folds to the knees. There is plenty of room for movement and I think this style would work on someone even a couple of dress sizes bigger than me, maybe up to a UK 24/26.

Unfortunately Cos's website maddeningly concentrates on the structured stuff which means I can't post   images of the many knits and jersey pieces I thought would go well together. That's just one of the many irritiations of the brand. Sizing seems to be a big secret with nary a mention of what range they stock on the website or in store. There are a couple of notices dotted in the shop telling you to ask the staff if you need any help, however you'd have to find a member of staff first in order to do so and I failed to do so even after three circuits around.

Also bizarrely the H & M connection is echoed in the clothes being crammed too close together on the rails to browse through which seems especially odd given its minimalist vibe.

However Cos is a welcone addition to the range available on the high street especially if you are a fan of designers like Jil Sander, Comme des Garcons, or the aforementioned Ms Demeulemeester and her Belgian ilk.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Where I am and where I want to be

It's summer and I have no clothes that I like in my wardrobe, so obviously I need to run out to the nearest shop and buy, buy, buy. Finding myself in Dublin last week on a wonderfully sunny weekend I ran enthusiatically in the direction of Forever 21, an American Store which has the novelty value of not being available anywhere near my hometown and also of offering a huge plus sized range and so I filled my basket with all manner of vest tops, printed tops and a grey bejewelled sweatshirt which you can see me wearing in the photograph below.
I do like this top and I'll wear it a lot but looking at this picture I do have to ask myself why is a 45 year old woman still channelling Madonna in her Desparately Seeking Susan phase? Also my wise and rational husband questioned why I was so keen to purchase from a store which puts biblical verses on their carrier bags.

So come the "fall", as we fashionistas like to dub it, I'm thinking that I really need to grow up a bit and start thinking about clothes more suitable for a lady of my advancing years. Turning to my favourite blogs for inspiration I read an interesting post from That's Not My Age which focused on colour, (in this case vivid golden tones) and prompted me to think about what colours could I wear comfortably and use as a sort of signature.

I've always liked navy, its neutral, not black and looks good in lots of different textures and combinations and to go with this a warm tone of green. Black Watch is after all easily the most wearable tartan.  I found this absolutely stunning blouse from Stella McCartney which shows exactly why I love navy and green together.
I've never shopped for Stella before and was amazed to find that its available up to a UK size 18, which is just about do-able for me. I might need to start saving.

Also as no piece of fashion related writing can legally appear on the internet in 2011 without a mention of Mad Men style I felt I had to shoehorn a reference to my favourite character and current inspriation into this post. Watching the stunning series four earlier this year I was really struck by the clothes worn by marketing exec Faye Miller, played by Cara Buono. Faye is roughly the same age as Joan and Betty but she dresses in a more mature way, bravely channeling a style that is businesslike and feminine. Time and again she turns up wearing what looks like a Chanel type collarless jacket over a printed shell top and matching skirt. I was really struck by this as it is exactly what my mum was wearing in that period and indeed continued to wear into the seventies, at any formal function she'd draw out one of her four or five suits that were variations on this theme and she always looked the business.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Recent purchases

I wish that I had the foresight to plan a seasonal wardrobe. Most of the time when I go shopping I don't even know if I want a dress/skirt/shoes and end of wandering the High Street looking for inspiration.

In this respect the web and some of my favourite blogs have helped me a fair bit so oftentimes I at least go shopping with some ideas of things to look out for that will transform me into a beautifully coordinated, on trend dresser.

Evans got me interested in their clothing again recently when they launched "The Collection" a capsule range of "Modern Classics" promising better quality and more directional clothing than their usual smocks and leggings lines.  There is a stunning advertising campaign featuring US plus-sized supermodel Marquita Pring and the fashion blogging community were rightly all over it.

Inspired by this lovely photograph the first thing in the range that I went for was the dress. It is a really unusual design, grey jersey top and "nude" (beige) pleated skirt joined by way of a black satin ribbon waist. A true day to evening item from which I hope I get plenty of wear. But unfortunately there is no sign of the pretty biker jacket to go with it and my criticism of the range is that it is bitty, with few opportunities to put together finished outfits.

Also from the range I bought this minimalist top.£35  but a true wardrobe classic in fantastic fabric, well-cut which hangs (and washes) beautifully. It does however look a bit boring in this photo

So here's my third and last purchase from my Evans shopping trip, which I'd pitch as being both classic and fun. Its a black, spotty "prom" dress
I'm gratified to hear that this item has now sold out. i think of it as more WI summer fete than prom dress (well I am 44) but it is a cute, feminine swishy thing that makes dressing for work bit less of a chore. It also well with my H&M inclusive cardigan featured in this earlier post.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Guest Post : British Beauty Scientist-Are Magazines Making You Fat?

After my last blog post which reviewed three new online fashion and lifestyle magazines aimed at the the  plus sized market I was asked by the writer of Colin's Beauty Pages if I would like to feature a post orginally published by him in February this year.

As a long time admirer of his blog I had no hesistation in taking him up on this generous offer, the blog is always and entertaining and authoritative read which often makes me think about my relationship with cosmetics in a new way.

I would like to make clear that this post represents the writer's own viewpoint rather than that of Fashion for Aliens and I may not be able to answer any questions or queries that result from this.

Are Magazines Making you Fat?

I have been trying to write up a significant article from The Biologist for a while now. 
As a piece of writing it commands respect but isn’t all that easy to read or to explain clearly.  It was written by Dr Aric Sigman FSB a psychologist who has taken a great interest in how the media affects the people who consume it. He has gone to a great deal of trouble to provide all the necessary references to back up what he is saying and to go into the details of how it all works.
This pleases a scientist because you can see exactly how strong his case is and form your own judgment about the conclusions.  The trouble is, it makes it hard to read.  It took several attempts to get all the way through it.  But he has some important stuff to say, and I’d love to see it reaching a wider audience.  But it proved to be a hard article to summarise.
I was on the point of giving up but a couple of beauty blog posts inspired me to give it another go.  The first one I don’t want to give a reference too, but was a young woman saying she felt like a fraud writing a beauty blog when she herself was not only not beautiful but also overweight.  (I doubt she will ever read this, but if she does and recognises herself please don’t give up on your blogging, I really appreciate it and I am sure others do as well.)  It seemed really tragic that someone would consider stopping doing something they enjoyed because they weren’t happy with the way they looked.
The other one was by Oxford Jasmine about a cookery book – I’ll come to that later.  Thanks to the impetus these gave me I have gone back to have another go.  I have decided I am going to do what I usually hate most in science journalism and engage in a bit of hand waving,  by which I mean I am going to make assertions and expect you to trust me.   My excuse is that I simply don’t have the skill to write an article that is both easy to follow and gives all the details.   I have given the reference to the original article below if you want more background.
So what has Dr Sigman to say?  His point is basically that the proliferation of images of slim women in the media is distorting women’s self image. We feel less attractive around attractive people.  In particular, we feel fat when we see people who are thinner than us.  I think we knew that already, but do we realise the power of the effect?  Television arrived for the first time on an island in Fiji in 1995.  Before, Fijian women were untroubled by their figures.  Dieting and eating disorders were unknown.  Within three years everything had changed.  Faced with the images of slim American women two thirds of the girls had started dieting, and 11% of them were regularly inducing vomiting in an attempt to lose weight.  This had never happened before.  They  said openly that they were trying to imitate the women they had seen on the television.
We have had television for quite a while now, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that things aren’t changing here.    To quote Sigman
“Twenty-five years ago, the average fashion model was only 8% thinner than the average woman. Today that figure has risen to 23% (Derenne & Beresin, 2006). During this time dissatisfaction with body size and shape has become so prevalent among girls and women that it is being described as ‘a normative discontent’ (Grogan, 2007).”
So if these images are indeed having an effect, the effect is probably growing.
So what’s the effect of being surrounded by a media full of images that hardly any of us have any hope of achieving?  Not a good one.  In the UK there are currently 1.4 million women with some kind of eating disorder – an astonishing number.   Of those 140,000 have anorexia according to a study by NICE.  That is some pile of misery.
Huge numbers of us, and huge numbers of women in particular are not happy with our bodies. Even girls between the ages of three and six are worried about being overweight.
Actual anorexia is really only the large tip of a very big iceberg.  In a sense  continually trying and abandoning different diets is also an eating disorder. You may not think so, but your digestive system might beg to differ.  It, after all, has to cope with the varying stuff you are eating, requiring it to radically change the kinds of enzymes it needs to cope with what you are feeding it.
A quarter of adults in the UK are trying to lose weight most of the time.   Is it doing them any good?  Not much, at best.  In fact all the evidence is that diets have only a temporary effect, if that.   Any weight lost is put straight back on again.
Dieting is probably positively harmful and one of the factors leading to our steadily increasing weight.  It could well be that by restricting your food intake you are simply suggesting to your digestive system that you have fallen on hard times, and in response it becomes even more determined to hang on to every bit of fat it can.  (The mechanism of this is interesting – I will do a blog post on it when I have time)
If obesity were simply a question of appearance you might be able to simply adopt a stoic approach that whatever others thought, you are not concerned.  Brain scans indicating that reactions to body shape images are deep rooted and subconscious suggest that this would be a tough approach.  But being overweight has some pretty serious downsides apart from not looking as good as you might. The extra weight on your joints sets you up for arthritis.  The extra strain on your pancreas makes you more likely to succumb to diabetes.  You are also at more risk of a heart attack or stroke, and a whole list of other undesirable conditions.  You really want to be the size nature intended you to be – not as small as the media is suggesting you should be, but not as big as processed food and fad diets tends to make you.
The situation is bleak.  The more images of thin people you see the more you feel dissatisfied.  If you diet you will only get a temporary respite if anything.  The chances are that you will end up fatter.  If you have paid for special diet products you will probably be poorer too.  The world has created an ideal of beauty that you cannot hope to achieve and that the harder you try to, the more miserable will be the results.
So what can be done about it?  If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them.  Legislation would  be difficult.  I don’t think it is possible to dictate to the media what images they should or shouldn’t show.  And any editor will point out that they are simply following what their readers want.   If people didn’t want airbrushed pictures of size zero models in their magazines it wouldn’t take long before the publishers noticed and changed what they are serving up.
Are there any steps you can take as an individual?  This is a tough one.  It is nearly impossible to avoid the media and the images it contains.   But maybe it is possible to reduce it to some extent.   Forewarned with the knowledge of the potential harm, you can at least give some thought to avoiding the airbrushed photoshopped self esteem destroyers.  Maybe switch to paperbacks instead of glossy magazines.  And take care with what you let small children see. It may well be more important than what you let them eat.
Although going on a media diet might help you feel better about yourself, shouldn’t you be going on a food diet to improve your health?
Well I suppose if you have iron will power and are overweight that makes sense.  Though if you have iron will power you won’t have become overweight in the first place.  Most of us suffer from a chronic inability to keep to dietary rules, especially for a prolonged period of time.  It simply doesn’t work.
That diets don’t work would be bad enough news, but we have sen that  they are positively harmful.  So what can be done?  This brings me to the blog post by Oxford Jasmine.  This is a review of a cook book.  It isn’t a diet book, just one that explains about nutrition.   I haven’t read the book, but I was intrigued by what she had to say.  She doesn’t believe  in prescriptive diets and instead concentrates on eating and enjoying good food.   This is just such a sensible approach.   (I have never met Oxford Jasmine and I have no idea what she looks like, but she at least is happy enough with how she looks.)
At first sight, this sounds like simply ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away.  But I think it might be just the opposite.   It could that if we take more interest in the food we eat as food that we will have less of a problem with it.  Have a look at France.   There are some overweight people in France, as a quick wander around Paris will show.  And obesity is rising in France, as it is everywhere.  But nonetheless the French are not as overweight as the English despite having pretty similar economies.  Why is this?  It certainly isn’t because the French generally have a Spartan diet low in fat or carbohydrates or whatever.  On the contrary they enjoy their food immensely and linger long on it.
Could the leisurely approach the French take to their meals be what keeps them trim?  I was visiting a supplier in Brittany once and had to get away to catch the ferry.  As a result we had to finish our dinner after only an hour and three quarters.  My host was most apologetic at having to rush me so.
The consequence of taking your time is that your pancreas has plenty of opportunity to produce the insulin needed to cope with the glucose entering your blood stream.  It then sends messages to your brain telling you that you can stop eating now.  Compare that with a sandwich and a packet of crisps that enable you to get about a third of your daily energy requirement into your stomach very quickly, about a quarter of an hour in my case.
The other thing that undermines our body’s hunger feedback mechanism is the availability of highly processed energy rich fast foods.  A microwave curry can be prepared in less than ten minutes.  And eaten in about the same time.  The brain monitors the energy impact of what you eat and trains you to subconsciously seek out the things that have a big impact on your blood sugar.  Ever wondered why all the things you like eating turn out to be unhealthy?  That is the reason.
So I have come to the point where I have to make some suggestions.  I don’t know the answers and I am not sure that I really know any more than anybody else.  But these are my ideas – feel free to ignore or dismiss them if you like.  I don’t issue them as commandments.  See if they work for you.  If they do, then great.  If they don’t, then hopefully you will have learnt something from trying them that will be help you find something that does work.  We are all different.
t is said that it takes about 30 days to build a habit, so why not see what trying one of these suggestions for a month and see what it does for you.
1. Stop reading glossy magazines and watching films that have lots of images of slim attractive women in them.  Keep in mind that the average dress size in the UK at the moment is 16, so you are getting a really distorted view of the world from most of the media.
2. Decide that you are not going to go on any more diets.  They do more harm than good.  Simply making that decision might well reduce your stress level.
3. Don’t try to radically change your diet over a short period of time.  Your enzymes won’t be able to cope.  Make small changes and make them stick.
4. Have an appetiser before your meal, preferably about 20 minutes before.  This sounds really counter intuitive, but it might mean that when you sit down to your main course you already have enough insulin in your blood to cope with what you are eating and you are less likely to overeat.
5. Don’t let yourself get too hungry.  Hunger should be something that makes life more enjoyable.  When you have been out for a long walk or done a lot of gardening, it is a real pleasure to sit down and really enjoy a good meal.  But don’t deliberately starve yourself for hours on end.  All that will happen is that you will get to the end of your will power and have a binge.  Snacks throughout the day are a good idea so long as you make sure that they aren’t calorie rich.
6. Eat as much raw food as you can.  Fruit and raw vegetables are the least processed and so the most natural components of our diet.  Something like a carrot is going to take a lot longer to eat than a bar of chocolate and also takes a lot longer to get broken down into its component parts.  This is a good way of keeping your blood sugar levels even.
If you simply can’t resist temptations like chocolate, try and get into the habit of say eating an apple at the same time.
I have tried eating a completely raw diet for a couple of weeks.  I found I had a lot more energy and slept much better.  I didn’t lose any weight, but several people commented that I had.  It isn’t really practical to go this far, but I think the benefits of increasing the amount of raw food you do eat will be noticeable.
7. Eat breakfast.  Going out into the world of readily available high calorie snacks first thing in the morning with an empty stomach is like going into a medieval battle wearing a dressing gown and fluffy slippers.  Prepare your defence well by not starting the day hungry.
8. Buy a good cookbook and take an interest in what you are eating, and whenever you can cook your own meals.  I haven’t read it myself yet, but the one Oxford Jasmine talks about sounds like a good one.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a health orientated one.  The most conventional cookbook will not call for the high levels of salt, fat and sugar you get in processed food.  So a home cooked meal will be both healthier and taste better.
9. Don’t judge others’ weight.  Women in particular can be very judgmental of overweight women.  If you are inclined to be so, try to stop.  I am not sure exactly how this might help, I just have a feeling it will.
Concentrate on living a healthy life and enjoying healthy food, and above all enjoying life.  The less stressed you are about your weight you are, the more fun you will have, and probably the more chance you have of losing weight.
Dr Aric Sigman A Source of Thinspiration The Biologist Vol 57 No 3 October 2010

Monday, 18 April 2011

Read all about it-as long as you're online

There are now three magazine titles published in the UK aimed at the plus-size market, all are available online which is probably the only feasible way to do so successfully nowadays.  A few years ago there was a US magazine called MODE (This was in the days before Ugly Betty) which was a wonderful, properly glossy treat that was available on import and which was filled with wonderful empowering images of beautifully styled clothes that were completely unavailable in the UK.

These days the only time that you will see a larger sized model in one of the high fashion mags is in one of the increasingly popular novelty issues: Elle, V and Marie-Claire have all tokenistically featured "size" or "body" issues which might feature Beth Ditto on one page and Kate Moss on the next accompanined by copy asking befuddled readers to compare and contrast standards of beauty, rather than just pointing them in the direction of something nice to buy, which is supposed to be the whole point of these things.

So what I want from a magazine is  just some ideas for something nice to buy, recommendations of retailers I don't yet know, styling ideas I might want to copy and a wee chance to loose myself in escapist consumerism for an hour or so.

So to the first and so far as I'm aware the oldest of the three contenders Just As Beautiful Magazine which is the only one that charges for download £2.50 or it can also be ordered in hard copy for £4.75 per issue. It describes itself as the "UK's No.1 Lifestyle Magazine for Curvy Women" and features cover interviews with  celebs like Ruth Jones and celeb chef Paul Rankin.

This magazine is improving all the time and I do like its ambition to sell print copies in newsagents. However it suffers from a somewhat pedestrian layout and there is an ongoing obsession with plus-size beauty contests which can dominate the editorial copy.

The second choice is Evolve Magazine which for me has a slightly more modern, urban feel; however its very first fashion layout turns out to be a sexy lingerie special which is a bit disheartening- you get a lot of sexy lingerie in plus sized fashion which can border on the fetishistic and which perhaps more to the point would just not happen in the same way in Glamour or Marie-Claire, mags with which these should be competing for readers. Again the layout could do with a bit of glamming up but these are niggles and I would happily continue to download and read this every month as the editorial content is fairly strong.

The final magazine is the most exciting; it is called Slink and has just published its first online edition. I like it for the simple reason it is most like a fashion mag, a mixture of designer and high street stuff and with layouts that are at least in the same orbit as Grazia, see pic below
I was particularly drawn to the layouts on pages 19-22 which are colourful, beautifully composed shopping suggestions  for summer trends. I'd simply never seen this done in a publication aimed at the plus size market before and it truly lifted my heart to see something so lovely. The editorial team may be interested to know this approach worked for me already   as I've pursued a couple of items featured which I'm now intending to buy

I definitely recommend tracking down all three of these mags, esp the two which are free. Also they have Facebook pages and Twitter feeds which I think will mean they are responsive to their intended readership and hopefully they will feed off the incredible energy in the "fatshionista" community.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Debenhams new Edition range

It's great when something comes along clothes wise that seems exciting and new. Just a week or two ago I was overcome with clothing blues, unsure that I'd ever get exercised enough about any range to blog about it again. But then abracadabra and Debenhams announce that they are producing a diffusion range called Edition featuring the work of some fairly edgy young British designers including Preen, Jonathan Kelsey and my favourite Jonathan Saunders whose gorgeous fluid colour-blocked columns I'd been ooh-ing over in the glossy mags since he emerged with his own line around 5 years ago.

I'll never be able to afford, nor fit into, mainline Saunders, so this is my big chance to sample the designer magic. I got a good look round the range which has just gone on retail and online sale this week and I think nearly everything in it is wonderful.  My first purchase was this dip-dye cardi
Its maybe not the most outre thing in the world and dip dye knits have been done to death by the high street already but this one is in a lovely fine viscose and the colour graduation is really subtle.  I will be perfect for workwear and summer evenings and will take place with other more statement-y pieces from the range as I add to them.

There is a good selection of superfine knits all based on the same graduations from light grey and there are sequined t-shirt dresses for those who like that sort of thing, but I'm thinking my next purchase will be this blazer, which will be getting cocktails spilled over it all summer long.
My biggest disappointment with Edition is that the sizing stops at a UK 18. Debenhams have always been faultlessly democratic offering even designer diffusion ranges like Betty Jackson Black or Rocha John Rocha up to a UK 22 with petite and tall options. They do seem to cut clothes "big" and although I'm normally a UK 20-22 I could fit into the Saunders clothes pretty well. However there is plenty of demand for larger sizes and I trust that as the popularity of ranges like this grow so too will its availability for all shapes.

I should mention that I also liked the Preen clothing I saw on sale today (alas there were no Kelsey shoes in the store I visited) there were some pretty edgy and I think quite funny pieces on sale including this grey cardigan which is similar to your standard grey cardigan as sold everywhere, apart from a row of satin cord fringing added to the back. A lot of the Preen stuff looked as though it would easily accommodate larger bodies with lots of drawstring waists and draping. 

Monday, 31 January 2011


I discovered by chance today that Primark are now selling woman's clothing up to a size 20. This takes me just inside their orbit and naturally I wanted to celebrate by purchasing something.

So I discovered-shopping in Primark is really hard. There is so much stuff and it's all budged together with none of the carefully edited lines that you might find in Jigsaw; and it is all so cheap: nothing I saw today after my first serious Primark browse was over £20, so it makes it difficult to choose what to go for. Also from a practical point of view the ladies size 20 was brand new in this week and not available in many stock lines as yet so I had to hunt for something wearable. In the end I went for the nautical look in this cotton/polyamide blend sweater, mine today for £8.

It's not bad, is it? Gold buttons on the shoulders and turn backs on the sleeves and,whilst the fabric is fine its not spit-through fine and the handling feel is not noticeably worse than other high street knitwear. 

Now that's I'm a fully fledged Primark shopper I can join the clamour of customers asking them to carefully monitor their ethical trading policies and support the redoubtable Mary Portas in her campaign to improve customer service in the "fast fashion" end of the retail sector. Although I have to say that "Gail" who served me today in the Glasgow, Argyle Street branch was most friendly. 

But perhaps the most relevant campaign should be for Primark to expand its size range way higher that 20. The blogosphere is way full of women looking for fashionable clothes in sizes above a UK 16 ( just look to your left for some links) and this is a market which a profit hungry seller like Primark should be going all guns to entice. So please support your local fast-turnover, multiple retailer and show them that selling in larger sizes makes good business sense.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Thinking about wearing less

Its January. I've been wearing boots  and opaque tights for about 90 straight days now and I'm getting sick of the sight and smell of them. And who wants to shop at this time of year when there's only the fag ends of the sale in the shops and everything is getting dearer?

So its fantasy shopping only this month. But I've been inspired enough to put finger to mousepad and report on some things coming up that will have a place in my wardrobe in the spring.

H&M have been the retailer with the most interesting wares to offer thus far. Two recent press releases from them have perked me up a bit. The first thing I'm excited about is their Inclusive range which will be sold online only from early March. The range is available in a much wider range than their normal sizes 32-54 (or 6-28 in UK sizing) and is a wee bit Mad Men-ish with feminine party dresses and floaty skirts. This outfit in particular is lovely and exactly what I would want to buy for wearing in Mar-Apr time

H&M have made things very easy for me this spring by also offering a collaboration with Swedish eco-friendly, clog makers HasBeens which will be available from 20th April in 150 stores. All the shoes in the range previewed on the website are gorgeous, easy to wear and still foot flattering but this style below would be the very dab to wear with my Inclusive cardi and skirt 

Actually just typing that bit above about the range only being available in 150 stores has gotten me a bit worried, am I going to have to have to join a mad Lanvin-style queue in order to get these lovelies? How exciting!

Now I'm happy anticipating my H&M purchases I really am. However if I suddenly had access to a bigger bank account I might be thinking instead about picking up a couple of pieces from this Spring's marvellous Dior Couture collection. This is one of the loveliest and most wearable shows I've seen in a long time and is fantasy fashion at its best. Clothes that cover and swathe around the body but that still make sense in the real world and the colours are just sublime.  There are more images at which I definitely commend to you