Thursday, 5 December 2013

All I Want For Christmas... Is To Be Carey Mulligan

Carey Mulligan is the incredibly elfin face of Hollywood characters such as Daisy Buchanan (The Great Gatsby) and Kitty Bennett (Pride & Prejudice- currently on my 'to watch' list!). She exudes a natural grace that makes her perfect for impersonating such literary heroines, but recently she has really come into her own. As well as transferring the classiness of her on-set wardrobes to her own off-duty closet, Carey is quite the one for risk-taking; a feat for a young actress who is constantly in the limelight.

Woodland romance with a digital spin
    At twenty-eight, Carey has stamped an enduring mark on the fashion industry; she’s nabbed two Vogue covers, been named by Harper’s Bazaar as the best dressed woman of 2010 and she was handpicked for the privilege of donning Miuccia Prada’s 1920’s-inspired, crystal encrusted, flapper frocks in May 2013’s The Great Gatsby. Lanvin, Erdem, Victoria Beckham and affordable US label Target remain her faithful sartorial friends, while her go-to silhouette is a cinched-in waist and high neckline. Carey’s wardrobe is split between the witty gala gowns she makes headlines in on the red carpet- she concedes to liking ‘mad things’- and a set of very demure, relaxed yet effeminate separates for daytime. Each of her looks are very case in point- classic, block-coloured pieces do most of the talking, while the odd statement jewel, pretty peter pan collar or slick of red-rose lippy are lessons in how to merge accessorizing with simplicity. 

In a Nina Ricci bustier, trousers and T-bar heels at one premiere of Gatsby
Carey has really caught my eye these past few months, especially with her gorgeous array of Gatsby premiere outfits. Though I appreciated her elfin locks for their simplistic, vintage vibe, I adore her now cocoa, feminine waves even more. Ultimately Carey has taste, modesty and to top this off, a winning personality. This is the girl who claims: "'It Girl' is such a weird term...It implies I go to parties and drink champagne...". She still holds a refreshing grasp on the reality of being a young woman, admitting that getting glammed up for events is definitely not her favourite thing to do. She looks just as assured in skinnies and a leather jacket as she does in a Valentino beauty. Carey’s obvious passion for a retro-progressive dress sense is made extra special by her dedication to donating worn outfits to Oxfam. Outside of acting and dressing up beautifully, Carey is an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society, intent on raising awareness and research funding for the illness. Her outlook on the disease is heart-warming: "Those with dementia are still people and they still have stories and they still have character and they're all individuals and they're all unique. And they just need to be interacted with on a human level". 
If there are three key things I’ve learnt from stalking Carey, it is 1: that elongated hemlines equal effortless sexiness, 2: that it is possible to embrace various styles and stay true to your image and 3: that A-listers too can have colossal hearts. Oh, and one more: it's impossible not to admire this girl. Soak up her gorgeousness and indulge in some girl crushin’.

In a Harper's Bazaar shoot
In Kazuo Ishiguro's 'Never Let Me Go'

Thursday, 24 October 2013

I'm in Grazia!

I was ecstatic to open Grazia magazine this week and see my name and comment on the lovely Carey Mulligan's Erdem dress in You The Fashion Jury! What a nice surprise! I can't express enough my adoration for Carey's look here; she looks stunning doesn't she?! Her divine chocolate coloured locks are even tempting me to change my hair colour, and I would kill for this beautiful dress- it's so individual while at the same time exuding a timeless allure, what with its fifties collar and etherealness.
A close-up on Carey's houndstooth frock with a digital twist, and those enviable cocoa waves
As for the other three featured A-list outfits in this week's issue; here's what I thought! Laura Carmichael's 'rib cage' effect dress had me perplexed. Despite wine being one of the 'it' colours of this season, I find it really unflattering on Laura. Though the Kane boots would look ideal with my trusty leather jacket, toned-down, elegant sandals and a soft up-do would have elongated her figure in such a clingy frock. I gave this 2/5!

Laura Carmichael in Christopher Kane
   Rita Ora's Moschino tartan suit was an eyesore to say the least! Now, I love a bit of plaid like everyone else but tartan should be worn in moderation; I would have stopped at the cutsie bow tie! The emblems on Rita's suit for me look tacky, and the boots look more suited to a climbing expedition. Top marks for bravery but the catwalk girls did it better- head to toe tartan should be for performance purposes only. 1/5 for Rita!

Finally, Grazia put Katy Perry's holistic outfit (worn for her appearance on the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show last week) up for slaughter. While I respect Katy for her ever playful dress sense, the schoolgirl look is a bit much. The contrast of a religious motif with shiny leather and biker boots is edgy enough without the knee-highs. I say ditch them and the pigtails for sure. I'd say 2/5 for the potential of the tee (actually liked it with the lilac, python skin pants on the H of H runway!)

House of Holland Spring 2014

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The Possibilities of the Parka: Fresh Magazine

Sienna Miller wears a traditional green parka
while out and about in the city
You may have noticed I have recently been expressing my admiration for parkas on Twitter, on my 'about me' section of Vintage Beauty itself and in my 'Fragments of Autumn' post. It's fair to say I have a thing for them! Here is my latest piece, published in my university magazine, 'Fresh', on the versatility of this essential autumn/winter coat! 

Jessica Hart merges tomboy chic with her casual parka
Looking for that perfect coat to tide you over for autumn and winter? Look no further than the ultra stylish and functional parka jacket. The parka proved its appeal on the A/W ’13 runway circuit, with colour-popping quilted styles appearing at Miu Miu, and long-line striped and camel (hot colour of the season) versions stepping out at Max Mara. The parka is a multi-tasker- as well as ensuring you’re toasty on those chilly Richmond Park walks, its utilitarian feel can add an urban twist to the sweetest of outfits and even work for eveningwear. Basically, it is a firm favourite of mine in the outerwear stakes. 
     On first glance, parkas are classed as tomboyish, but this can work for the most girlish of girls (it does for me; the pastel queen!) Take it from Jessica Hart, above, who’s emphasised the masculine roots of her green jacket with bags of monochrome yet maintained an effeminate aspect. Jess has stamped her inner femme onto the ensemble by adding a leopard print scarf, the embellishment on her cross-over bag and large framed, studious glasses. Jess’s key outfit pieces can easily be swapped for others- if there’s one vital style rule Coachella festival has taught it’s that jean material looks good underneath a khaki or coffee-hued parka. Swap Jess’s black skinnies for an indigo pair, or try out a denim shirt on top for a laidback vibe. Brown lace-up or Chelsea boots are a trusty equivalent to black bikers and your colour palette can be mixed up in an instant with circle scarves and bobble hats, beanies or fedoras galore.

Olivia makes earthy tones street chic
If you take pride in the sophistication of your wardrobe, Olivia Palermo may be your city-chic icon. In an earth-toned leather-sleeved short jacket, white blouse, co-ordinating pants and courts, she demonstrates how to dress up the parka. A tailored parka like Olivia’s with accents straight from the catwalk will have you feeling en vogue in even the harshest of weather. To make the most of your parka from day to night, throw a honey-hued version over a floral blouse and pencil skirt or an ethnic-patterned frock and finish with daintier ankle boots or pumps. There are endless ways to channel the versatile parka and endless models to pick from on the high-street. If you can afford to splurge, then Zara’s combination parka at £59.99 with its zip detail and cute toggles is irresistible. Its slimming structure combined with a Breton tee would add a touch of Parisian class to military mien. However, if you tend to think with your head, not your heart, this £25 fur trim parka from George at Asda would look gorgeous with a woolly knit, checked scarf and ribbon-tie wellies on damp days.

Zara Combination Parka £59.99

George at Asda's Fur Trimmed Parka £25

Friday, 4 October 2013

October's Recipe: Baked Peaches

I have always wanted to try out baking my own peaches, ever since I had a nibble of one at a wedding I was helping to cater at. I still remember the sensation in my mouth- it was incredible. Definitely on par (as a fruity version) with a warm-you-up hot chocolate! So, last week I decided to go for it and bought a four pack of peaches, thinking- "I've got four takes at this- one's got to turn out yum!" As it happened, baking peaches could not be simpler!! Here is my recipe below, and you could of course try substituting for other fruits! I will be!

Peaches, (up to you how many- I find two at once very filling!) sliced in half and de-stoned
2 teaspoons brown or golden caster sugar
1 tablespoon of butter
Optional: A handful of raspberries, a handful of flaked almonds, clotted or double pouring cream or vanilla ice-cream, a few squirts of honey or golden syrup!

How to:
Place the peach halves in a small oven dish (on foil to save washing up!).
Sprinkle with the sugar, and dab on/lightly spread the butter over the flat tops of the peaches. Don't worry if the butter is slightly lumpy, it will melt in nicely!
Sprinkle over almond flakes and drizzle with honey (a nice combination!), or solely add raspberries for an extra fruity kick.
Bake at 200 degrees Celsius/gas mark 6 for 20 minutes.

On the side: Spoon clotted cream into the peaches/pour cream over the peaches, or alternatively eat with real vanilla podded ice-cream!


Vanilla pods.
My baked peaches: butter and sugar for me
Peaches with an almond crust: courtesy of Tumblr

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Fragments of Autumn

I often receive shocked looks when I admit to getting a little fed up of summer, but in fact, I adore the chillier months and all the cute things that comes with them! Now the rain and darkening evenings have started to return, I have put together an Autumn-themed post. I know I am anticipating some aspects a bit early (the roaring fire for one!) but September is the start of the run-up to- dare I say it (my boyfriend will kill me!)- Christmas, and that in itself is exciting. This post is a snapshot of everything I love about the fall in a nutshell- the only thing missing is an ultra snug cable-knit jumper in olive or plum (and my labradoodle pup wrapped up in her basket!).
Steaming mugs, literature and cosy cushions by the fireside

 L'occitane Conditioner- Dry & Damaged Hair £15

Moody Romance: Topshop Floral Playsuit £50
Pots of tea and warm teacakes with butter- go to Rye by the way (!) which is where
 this beautiful old-fashioned tea parlor is located
Coffee table books to flick through on rainy days:
Stylists: New Fashion Visionaries by Katie Baron £30
Add a little mystery to fall dressing with dark shades: ASOS Kitten Cat Eye Sunglasses £12
Fail-safe footwear: Boohoo Alice Suedette Elastic
 Insert Flat Chelsea Boots £25

Your new handbag-sized best friend:-fill with a fruity warmer-upper: Not on the High
Street 'Why Not' Hipflask £19.95

Auburn leaves
For showery shopping sprees: Zara Combination Parka £89.99

Romantic lighting: Live Laugh Love Heart Cup Candle Holder £3.95

Herringbone checks are in: Topshop Lilac Check A Line Short Skirt £36

Oven-baked pies and pastries
Autumn, for me, brings endless rounds of marmite toast:
Emma Bridgewater Polka Dot 2 Slice Toaster £165
Hair Ribbons: From £1 per metre at Hobbycraft
Costume Jewellery: ASOS Teardrop Earrings £6
Fall Fruit Jams: £4 at New England Preserves