Are Bricks and Mortar Stores a Thing of the Past?

A common consideration which has emerged in recent years is the effect online shopping has on traditional bricks and mortar retailers. There is no question that online shopping has made buying more convenient for more or less everything. From fashion to furniture to food we have all dabbled with online shopping at some point but how does it really compare to shopping in a store?

Global online sales are growing consistently and are estimated to make up 8.8% of total retail spending in 2018, interestingly the United Kingdom top the list of most E-Comerace sales at 18% nearly 10% more than the global average. Furthermore it is unsurprising that 37% of individuals aged between 30-39 shop online most frequently (at least once a week), as I suppose that these are the individuals who at large are balancing work, family and a social life and therefore seek the most convenient method of shopping.

I speak to people all the time who hate buying online. They complain of not being able to try things on or test the quality or simply because they prefer the thrill of going into a store, picking something up, buying at the till and swinging their shopping bags as they saunter through town.

I must admit I am in the other category of shopper. Whilst I wander in and out of the shops on the high street (what else is there to do on a lunch break?) I predominantly purchase everything at the click of a button. It could be the convenience or the ease or the fact that you don’t have to physically witness the monies dwindling away but really I think its the feeling of sheer excitement I experience when coming home to a stack of deliveries.

Don’t judge me when I say stack but that is no exaggeration let me tell you. I happen to be on first names basis with the Royal Mail delivery guy (Gareth), the MyHermes guy (Ralph) and the DHL guys (note the plural as they tend to vary). Every time I open the door I give them the ‘yes me again, don’t judge me’ look, but I don’t spend beyond my means so its not a problem. Right? View Full Post

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Polka- Dot Galore

Well it has been a while hasn’t it. There is no excuse other than I have been off, being extremely busy and the latter half of 2017 seems to have came and gone in a flash. As we all do I have made a New Years Resolution to be more proactive and consistent,  so here I am, back and ready and very excited for what 2018 will bring.

Over the years our appetites have been fed with many weird and wonderful textures and prints but this winter it is safe to say that it is the unambiguous polka dot that is making a comeback in a very serious way.

Polka dots have been spotted sashaying down the catwalk at Balenciaga and Loewe, lining the rails of our high street favourites such as H&M, Zara and Mango and of course filling our Instagram feed of street style stars who naturally put their own sartorial twist on it.

 

You can keep this print ultra feminine without paying homage to the 1950’s housewife and keep it refined and simple to prevent the ‘Cruella De Vil’ image when you enter a room. Or to give this classical print the va va voom it deserves consider pairing it with another clashing print such a bold stripe- primary colours will work best with these vivid prints.

 

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What Is Wrong With Being Overdressed?

I am a great believer in the saying ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have’. The job of my dreams is in Vogue, in a pristine office, with my favourite iconic magazine covers framed on the wall behind my desk, which houses my Mac, a stack of Vogues and a skinny flat white. Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it, well this is a world away from where I am at the moment. 

Regardless of this, every day I wake up and I take time to consider my outfit. I carefully select my shoes and accessories to accompany my outfit with the intention of always looking my best. 

For the past couple of years looking well groomed and ‘properly’ dressed has been one of the biggest faux pas one could make. Suddenly the ‘it’ look was to appear as if you had rolled out of bed and put on whatever garments were scattered on the floor. Dressing up became outdated, uncool and most definitely too much effort. It is as if a refined exterior is a waste of time, and this more relaxed approach suggests “I am far too busy doing things of actual importance to care about what I am wearing”. After all, aren’t we all far too busy trying to climb up the career ladder and make ourselves more interesting on social media?

        

Since starting University four years ago I have constantly noticed that it is now totally looked down upon to be overdressed. However what I do not not understand is why. Personally I stand by Oscar Wilde, in stating that “you can never be overdressed or overeducated” and I display this with pride everyday. 

So where did this ‘care-less’ trend really start? In recent seasons things have gotten particularly messy, starting with the coat-over-shoulder-look (thank you Anna Wintour), things have since progressed to jeans which look like they have scarcely survived a violent encounter with a lawnmower and handbags no longer being carried over the shoulder or on your arm but rather shoved under your armpit making the strap entirely redundant. No matter what any fashionista will claim, trust me it is a lot more effort walking along on a blustery day in winter with your coat fashionably draped over your shoulders, I’ve been there, done it and eventually reached peak frustration and given up. As for sticking your bag under your arm, I am not talking about a tiny clutch bag you save for carrying your lipstick on a Saturday night, I mean your everyday bag, equipped with a makeup bag, laptop, spare pair of shoes (heck throw in the kitchen sink). Yep stick that under your arm and see how far you get. I can personally guarantee that you will not look as slick as Victoria Beckham who has the walk from her lobby to her car out the front. Now are you starting to see my point? Effortless has most definitely become too much effort. 

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NI Bloggers Brunch

This morning I had the opportunity to meet with fellow Northern Irish bloggers and influencers at the Permit Rooms Belfast for great good and even better company.

In Northern Ireland there has been a real void in terms of networking events for individuals like myself. We see on instagram daily bloggers across the UK mainland, in particularly London supporting each other and meeting up for social occasions, sharing stories and helping each other fulfil their goals and ambitions. I have regularly noticed this and felt envious of this support network, which we have lacked in NI –  that was until today.

The lovely Cathy Martin (CMPR) had noticed this also and decided to use her influence to bring individuals together to network, learn from each other and hopefully build friendships. Cathy launched the NI Bloggers Brunch this morning to fill this void and bring together groups of individuals with similar goals and interests. Having never been to an event like this, I didn’t really know what to expect and to be honest I did feel pretty nervous. The nerves however, didn’t last long, as everyone was so welcoming and the atmosphere was so inviting that I felt I knew everyone simply at ‘hello’. 

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The Handkerchief Hem- A Metaphor for Current Affairs?

         Coco Chanel once stated :

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.

The idea makes sense, a lot of us use the way we dress to convey how we are feeling, without even realising it. The ‘ so-called’ Hemline theory goes back decades. Pre 1920’s when women were merely treated as a belonging of the husband, their rights limited and therefore their confidence most likely was also, skirt lengths conformed to one length: long. Contrast with more prosperous times of the 1920’s and 1960’s when skirt lengths got shorter with social progression and enhanced freedom. It could be said that this theory has somewhat fallen apart in recent decades, as one can buy any length or style of skirt just about anywhere- never mind that the idea that a woman skirt length demonstrates the state of the financial world, is profoundly unfeminist.

Despite this, it is hard to believe that the higgledy piggledy hemline of this season is a mere coincidence. The world has arguably been shaken more in the past year than ever before. In November, the world gasped as Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to become US President, prior to that we were hit with Brexit, which as of last week has forced the UK out of Europe, and as all this has been going on the pound continues to depreciate as inflation continues to rise. 

All these startling news stories do have one thing in common: uncertainty. No one from politicians to academics to us ordinary folk know what the future holds, the media fills us with so many conflicting opinions that it makes it difficult to ever fully understand what the hell is going on. Thus in true form fashion designers have demonstrated this notion of uneasiness through their collections that march down catwalks and end up reflected in the pieces we purchase from high street moguls- all hail the handkerchief hemline. 

From shirts to dresses, to even tops and shirts this uneven hem line has dominated trends this season and will continue to do so next season also. Aside from the embodiment of this trend it also stands out as being practical, fashionable and suitable for all body types-  in fact this may be the most transferable hem to ever grace the catwalk. I happen to love this hemline, its cool but it alludes grace and class- rather than walk you glide, with your skirt swishing behind you. I like this style worn oversized as long as you work with proportions, for example for a dress or skirt need the waist nipped in to enhance your shape and to work with the fluidity of the hemline.

A look I am particularly fond of if the handkerchief shirt, especially when the hem is asymmetrical. it is best paired with slimline cigarette trousers, and heeled stilettos or pointed flats. Keep the rest of your hems sharp to let the shirt do all the talking. 

This lumberjack style dress is my favourite purchase in a long time. Not only is it incredibly on trend but it is also so comfortable and versatile. I have worn it with roughed up, laced flat boots for a daytime look and then vamped it up with these silver boots for a transition into the evening. I am still waiting on the arrival of my Gucci belt, but I plan on wearing it with this dress (and everything else) to fully nip in the waist. It already has a drawstring waist which is perfect for keeping it casual but if like me you prefer a more defined waist then definitely belt it up.

This style of skirt or dress allows us to focus on the clinched areas of our bodies. Think sculptural accessories, such as chunky bangles, jeweled earrings, a statement necklace or a fabulous shoe.

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