STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Purrfection Personified

Winter is not winter without a little fur to warm the cockles and add a certain something to a Fashionista's assemble — in the Northern Hemisphere, at least. Given the fact that opulence and glamour has been shunned for the more politically correct recessionista chic of late, any form of fur (faux or authentic) has been frowned upon…or has it? Fashion is not a dictate of the state, thankfully. Fashionistas this season are rebelling in the best way they can — in an anti-establishment show of luxury and power dressing. The coffers for the wardrobe might be waning but when has that stopped a real fashion aficionado?

So in the face of adversity, Fashionistas have pronounced their undying loyalty to the exotic and decadent. Leopard and cheetah print remain on the forefront of fashion because of the prints’ versatility to be worn delicately or boldly. The print works well in a variety of colors, keeping it fresh and modern for women of all age groups. From belts to bags to boots, designers such as Rebecca Taylor and 3.1 for Phillip Lim went into feline frenzy for fall. Blugirl went as far as sending head to toe leopard print looks down the catwalk. And it worked because whether it’s an accent accessory or a full-on statement, there was a leopard piece that appealed to a wide range of women thanks to the many styling options.

When it comes to exotic animal prints less is always more, so be sure to wear only one powerful piece at a time for a uniquely exotic fashion statement. If you can’t splurge on the real deal, you’ll definitely be able to snag a fab faux find. I suggest donning subtle accessories like a leopard print bangle, belt or shoes. If your style is understated, this is a very chic option to try without going overboard. You can choose to wear one bangle or stack them up on your wrist. Add texture and dimension to a solid color blouse and cardigan when you pair it over a leopard printed belt. Try rocking a spotted pump or leopard faux trim bootie.

Admittedly, we really do want to flaunt some fur for the festive season. Designers such as Zac Posen, Moschino and Custo Barcelona went for a youthful kind of luxury, dipping plush fur and faux coats in eye-popping hues that every Fashionista needs in her style arsenal. As this Fashionista shows, this look works well with skinny jeans and booties for a casually chic statement, or belt the coat with a simple black sheath dress and tights for a more sophisticated twist. 

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Gay Paris — C’est Nes Pas?

Yes, French women, and Parisian women in particular, have that certain "Je ne c'est quoi". When I visit Paris I think I spend more time people and fashion-watching on the streets than I do inside the renowned museums and art galleries.

This week's Fashionista has come all the way from the French capital and landed in the land of glitz and plastic fantastic — Miami. As the American city hosts its eleventh season of Art Basel: Miami, the fusion of continental chic and sparkly American glamour is even more pronounced. This week's Fashionista shows us how it's done whether by the Seine or Ocean Drive.

The sartorial colour palette in Paris tends toward neutral and earthy shades — black, brown, and grey are de rigeur. Too limiting? Add rich purples and blues to cut the sombre tone. Alternatively, add colour through scarves, shoes and jewelry. Or keep your wardrobe neutral but add a pop of colour with a pair of cobalt blue trousers.

Despite the need to be comfortable, you will never see a poorly dressed Parisian, male or female! Even walking the dog or picking up milk at the store is an occasion to put on a cute coat, swipe on some lipstick and wrap on a lovely scarf. For an easy weekend look, try a tunic paired with simple tights or leggings with leather boots, a well tailored coat and a hat.

In summer, ballet flats rule the streets, while in winter a stylish pair of long or short boots is a wardrobe must. Parisians dress for what they do. If they are not running or doing some type of sports, they will not wear running shoes. Stilletos are for elegant evenings and flip flops are for days at the beach.

An example of layering that you are likely to find amongst the Parisians and not the Americans is sporting a dress on top of a pair of jeans. This unique concept creates a distinctive style. If you get a little creative you can create amazing outfits using the basic clothing items that you already have in your closet for the purpose of creating a Parisian look.

Simplicity yet good quality is the defining element for true Parisian chic. This week's Fashionista emphasises that her attitude and style are the key features for achieving this look. She expresses an outward carefree stance and appears entirely at ease in her environment even when its not her native country. Parisians tend to be very meticulous about their sense of dressing. Their clothing reflects a sophisticated taste with various elements used in complementary fashion to add some chic to basic dressing. The use of jewelry is minimized in the Parisian look. Delicate and simple jewelry is preferred and that too in just one or two places. A pair of earrings or a bracelet would suffice.


One of the hottest trends for Winter 2011 are long skirts . It is the long skirt that famous designers are now paying a lot of time and attention to, as they are a kind of embodiment of beauty, femininity, style and practicality. The question as to what to wear with long skirts is constantly repeated so that this week I took a long hard look as to what the Fashionistas are saying.

Long skirts are advised to be worn accordingly (depending on the occasion): In the evening with a sweater or jacket and during the day – with a transparent blouse or T-shirt. This week's Fashionista has opted for the latter and pulls the look off beautifully. Accompanying the sheer peach maxi-skirt with a rockabilly t-shirt and studded black converse – this is one very cool cat. The main thing to adhere to, is an important rule: the bigger and more elaborate the long skirt, the shorter and less voluminous the top. For those interested, some trivia as to the origins of long skirts correlate to the 16th Century when nobility wore skirts which were longer than that of ordinary people to emphasise their position in society. That is, the length of skirt served as a form of indicator of their wealth status in society. Perhaps this week's Fashionista should be labeled the 'Queen of Cool' as a modern day response to what we value right now?!

Admittedly this week's look is not just focusing on the maxi-skirt trend but also the oh-so-popular incorporation of sheer fabric. Hot and sexy sheer skirts were all over the Autumn runways and now celebrities are wearing them at every red carpet event. No doubt, sheer fabric is one of the hottest fashion trends for 2011/12 and celebs are seen showing off their toned pins under the sheer skirts. I fully endorse this look as its a good way to give a more sexy overall impression without having to bear all in order to do so! 


There is a certain look that many Fashionistas across London have become keen on lately — preppy accessories and clothes. Chalk it up to high school nostalgia but back in the day we admittedly relished plaid, pleated skirts (reminiscent of Clueless), clog loafers and varsity jackets.

This trend, based on the uniforms from colleges and private high schools, has now once again found its way into the minds of greatest designers and their respective catwalks. The preppy trend (also called the college look) is spotted at Marc Jacobs, Paul Smith and Louis Vuitton. For bargain hunters you can find preppy pieces at inexpensive stores like H&M, Zara and Miss Selfridge, which will be sure to include this trend in their collection.

The most used colours are dark blue, khaki, tan, pink, green, dark red and grey. Use these colors with a modern color like pumpkin orange or mustard yellow for a “wow” factor. This season we see very classic skirts with tied up blouses. Loafer heels can play up a simple skirt or tailored shorts for school girl sophistication. You can give it an edgy side or more rock chick by adding non-traditional accessories. The best aspect about this trend is the knitted sweater and the blazer. A blazer will, no mather what, stay classy and elegant. While buttons may have not mattered in the past, it has become a important element in the preppy outfit — images or pretty symbols are often used. Anchors for the traditional preps. Skulls for the neo-preps. Use buttons to add your own flair to a blazer. Look to Alexa Chung, the perfect example for the preppy style, with her preppy outfits updated with her edgy or as a many a fashion blogger would like to dub it, the “Alexa touch”.

It is preferable to take one or two accessories and mix it with other trends. The new age Fashionistas aren't that traditionally preppy anymore, despite what their high school days would indicate so dressing head to toe conservative is not where this trend necessarily interprets. Who knows, though? Perhaps we'll find the perfect pair of oxfords and have no choice but to go back to the blackboard.


Even though the year isn’t over, most of 2011′s trends have come be to defined. As such, we can already get a good feel for some of the elements that we’ll carry through into next year as fashion trends. After the holidays and festivities you’ll find the beginning of a list of trends for the year ahead, including the elements that will come to influence their formation — Fashionista's take note.

Numerous fashion magazines and blogs have dedicated many a column space (including this one) to the hallowed "biker trend". Its dominance of the British high street is so apparent that it is impossible to avoid, yet the variations of this look are so vast that it would appear as an entirely different. The traditional view of biker clothing is that it should come in any colour — as long as its black. But as a current trend, that’s not the case, thanks largely to Burberry’s biker jackets and pants in shiny silver and classic taupe.

Why are we so intrigued with the taupe trend? It could be because we weren't quite sure what exactly taupe is. So (unsurprisingly), I looked it up and found this: "grey with a tinge of brown." First reaction: that sounds terrible. The reality is very different, however, as this week's Fashionista shows us. The trick is to vary the shades of taupe and complementing neutral shades. A blue/grey leather jacket sets off each item rather than dominate the overall look. A beautiful cashmere mix scarf with a delicate off-white print is a nod to femininity and provides a stylish addition to the ensemble. Colour is a simple way to update your wardrobe, so by following the Fashionista Trend Bible, we can adapt our current looks  with a few cool weather pieces in a popular hue will help you stay on-trend throughout the fall and winter.

Taupe will undoubtedly be über popular for the next two seasons. It's most popular variation is a pretty mix between a cool grey and an earthy brown, so that it’s pretty much the ultimate neutral colour. Pick up a pair of sturdy boots or some cosy outerwear in this hue for a trendy yet practical cold weather look.


It is without doubt getting colder outside and the biting wind needs to be kept at bay. We can no longer wear our short skirts without nylons. Winter steadily approaches. Yes people, it is time to replace our early Autumn clothing with a new and cosy winter collection. Do not forget to grab a Cable Knit sweater for yourself and a friend or your boyfriend, in the process…It is a must for any Fashionista worth their Marc Jacobs fur hat!
You are all perhaps familiar with the big trend for this winter – the cable knit sweater, a revival of the major trend from the 90′s. We can all perhaps remember having a cable knit sweater as a child, and now the trend is very much back in vogue. You can combine the cable knit sweater with the preppy trend or channel that all too popular mid west inspired outfit by adding a a lumberjack shirt. Try an oversized pastel-coloured cable knit sweater for a retro look. Pair coloured jeans with a brightly coloured sweater  for a mood-enhancing colour block scheme on a cold wintery day. Cable knit sweaters are cosy and comfy as demonstrated by this week's Fashionista. Being comfortable does not mean it’s not trendy as we can evidently recognise here.

Tweed, tartan, herringbone and plaid are all top of the list with this trend. For November 2011 the focus is on Barbour-style coats and chunky knitwear over jersey basics. Layering is key for that just stepped out of the countryside feel, finishing off the look with an on-trend cape that will keep you nice and cosy as the temperature starts to fall.

Leather elbow patches are no longer for boring professors and librarians! Incorporate them  into your outfit to infuse some preppiness into your outfit. If you are a DIY girl, add ‘em to your blazer or give your favourite sweater an extra bit of scholarly appeal…

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: The Art of the Trench

Trench Coats are an eternal classic coat style, highly visible on the catwalks in 2011 and a ‘hot’ item for Fashionistas with attitude this Autumn.

English heritage is synonymous with this garment as the trench coat originated as a military uniform worn by British and French soldiers during World War I on battlefields of France. It was developed as an alternative to the heavy serge greatcoats being worn at the time. This detail is perhaps not so relevant when considering what to wear right now…However a great deal of media coverage has emphasised this historical context which has informed military trends for the last three seasons.

The trench coat is intrinsic to the Burberry brand which promoted the social media video, 'The Art of the Trench' in 2009. Fashionistas across London are yet to let this prime example of on trend style go, and remains a firm essential in many a lady's wardrobe right now.

Trench coats continue to look great on women, regardless of seasonal trends such as changes in length or silhouette. This winter the Ladies Trench has been given a modern makeover. It is shorter, foxier and more casual, typically cut above the knee and is made of lighter fabrics than the originals.

As well as more traditional classic shades of black, grey, beige, navy or camel, a girl can also make more of a statement by wearing brighter shades such as red, coral, green, yellow or even a leopard print.

The sleeves are often worn rolled up, ruched or gathered. Some designs have sleeves already cropped. This week's style icon is channelling everyday, casual chic in the form of an autumnal black wool version, cinched at the waist with the ever-present accompanying belt. 


Fur hats, aka ushankas, are on-trend right now, or so this Fashionista would suggest. But why is there such an interest for these furry things of late? It seems like everyone is doing fur (real and faux) to shearling. This was seen at Chanel, Michael Kors, Paul & Joe and rag & bone among many other designers' collections. 

This week's Fashionista shows her dedication to the Russian ushanka, which the literal translation is actually "ear-flaps hat", but ushanka is a little bit more glamourous.

Ushanka is a distinctly Russian hat and are in fact a common part of the winter uniforms of police forces and militaries in temperate countries, such as Russia and Canada. Fur hats of similar design are common throughout China, Chile, Eastern Europe and North Korea. Ushankas are also seen in North American cities during cold winter months. Now, if anyone asks you the origin of your recently purchased fur hat, you will be able to impress upon them the importance and origin of why your fashion accessory is not merely just that!

In the spirit of the forthcoming festive season, indulgence is part of the course. Indeed for those luxury lovers who also like to keep it casual, the Gucci aviator hat is the perfect solution. The hat features the brand’s signature monogram all over in your choice of brown or black. Capturing the essence of Gucci while still being completely comfortable and boasting the ability to keep you warm, the Gucci aviator hat brings you the best of both worlds. It also has a buckle strap on the chin to add a classic equestrian feel. Complete with fur lining on the inside, it is every bit luxurious as it is cosy. So whilst me might aspire to Gucci, the present reality might be somewhat more frugal and in the spirit of economising, with which many a student are accustomed, high street has happily provided us with some wallet friendly alternatives. Accessorize has a fantastic product range which includes a faux version of the Gucci original, as does Zara and Urban Outfitters. Those wishing to invest a bit more will discover that Reiss and Ted Baker have some lovely ushankas varying from mottled brown fur to more outrageous maroon colour which has been the popular choice for this fall. 

This hat will not only keep you warm and dry but will immediately update your outerwear for a stylish take on this season's imitation luxury trend.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: What are You saying?

From its humble counter culture origins to its current status as a high street fashion staple, the slogan T-shirt has a noble history. The Fashionista has reclaimed the anarchaic item of clothing this season as Shoreditch hipsters lead the way in forward-thinking attire. Perhaps its the scent of rebellion in the air as protestors camp out in the CBD of the Big Smoke, or a satirical swipe at the rebellious youth which left a bitter taste amongst Londoners in August? Whatever the reason, this week we are seeing a return to the literal embodiment of what one really thinks.

Like jeans and the little black dress, the T-shirt is a fashion item that has gone beyond fashion. But trends in T-shirts do change and, right now, it's all about the message. Of course, the T-shirt has long been a means of telling the world what we care about. The first slogan T-shirts were sold by Mr Freedom in the '60s, a shop on London's Kings Road set up by Tommy Roberts and Trevor Myles. Its Disney designs, which included images of Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, were quickly snapped up. In the '70s, shock tactics prevailed; Vivienne Westwood and her partner Malcolm McLaren made political T-shirts to sell in their shop SEX with the most popular design featured a swastika and an inverted crucifix under the word "Destroy". McLaren called it "the ultimate punk-rock T-shirt". Westwood made the aesthetic available to a lot of people in the '70s and the D.I.Y ethos meant that many people made them at home. Interestingly this return to homemade and "craft culture" is rising predominantly as cultural trend extending beyond the confines of fashion. Yet the slogan T-shirt is a clear indicator of what's happening across all spectrums of culture right now.

Before now, the slogan's most recent catwalk incarnation came via Henry Holland. In 2006, he produced a series of tongue-in-cheek T-shirts aimed at the fashion industry: "Do Me Daily Christopher Bailey", "Cause Me Pain Hedi Slimane" and "Get Your Freak On Giles Deacon". They were modelled by his friend Agyness Deyn and worn by fellow designers Gareth Pugh and Deacon when they took their catwalk bows. High street stores from Topshop to New Look rushed to produce copycat versions. The current version is more tailored to the individual wearer. They are a reflection of what the individual wants to say to the world and is also reliant upon how much time you want to invest in customising or printing your own. This week's Fashionista is claiming her savvy status, partnering her slogan T-shirt with the ongoing punk rock image and the favoured ankle boots. Wham! is making a come-back perhaps.


The weather has finally figured out what month it’s in and turned from Indian summer back to autumn, as the fashion calendar ordained it as such. So, the predominant focus this week is back to the season’s more appropriate clothing, in particular the boot.

This year there is an abundance of ankle boots on high street in all shapes and sizes and, as Fashionistas — spear headed by celebrities such as Fearne Cotton, Kate and Pippa Middleton — demonstrate so nicely; they can be worn over skinny jeans, with cropped trousers or with dresses as one of the most versatile accessories of the season.

In the likelihood of wearing them a lot, the suggestion is to invest in a good pair. Office Nico platforms in tan are ideal to wear with skinny chinos.  The ambush leopard ankle boots can be found at Topshop with a wedged heel that are great for Fashionistas who want to run around while looking stylish in their boots.  But for killer stilletos, Verity by Kurt Geiger in black are particularly alluring.

In case you aren't convinced, the ankle boot is perhaps the most versatile item of the season. They were the definitive choice of the front row crowd at London Fashion Week. More edgy than a knee-high, not as formal as a stiletto, it's the footwear for those who want to channel a little rock chick into an everyday ensemble, à la Alexa Chung.

They come in all shapes and styles — two-tone at New Look, peep toe and lace-up from Miss Selfridge. The Pierre Hardy for Gap black leather version, anyone? Not only do they have a heel that's made for walking, but the high-quality leather means they should age well.

COS has provided us with a boot that is made for taxis and a lot of sitting down, but it's fabulous nonetheless. Last, if you are prepared to part with a lot of cash, look no further than Stella McCartney; the ribbed wool offerings will make you very happy. Why? Because first they are effortlessly cool and, second, because no animals were hurt in their making.

Establishing that ankle boots are a key feature for this season's wardrobe leads us to consider the numerous options available and to readily invest in more than one pair perhaps? London Fashionistas are all about playing with colors, prints and textures. Wedge and platform heels — the most comfy types of heels — are very big in all boot styles as well. Shoreditch is a particularly favoured stomping ground for the particularly fashion-forward and tend to lead where others follow. The ankle boot reigns supreme in their court, so it goes that we should take stock and act accordingly.