Monday, 24 March 2014

Stumbling Upon Something Special

So last week I went on a glorious road trip around the whole of Wales and it was beautiful! Lots of stumbling across endless moors and rolling hills sandwiched between towering cliffs. Rocking up in small seaside towns where you could leave your car open, and everyone you walked past gave you a hello which often lead to a full blown ten minute conversation- or perhaps that's just me encouraging that!

There is something about the sunshine that really lifts us British folk, even when it is still as chilly in the air as January, we like to get our shorts out! Always the same, every time the weather gets nice...cider in the early afternoon, men forgetting their tops, less frowns, more relaxing air.

Driving from the South, after the motorways where I hit stunning countryside lanes and countless radio station swaps, singing at the top of my lungs and thinking deeply about life and general plans for the next few months, I have had time to sit back now at a cosy little Inn and fill you in on some gossip for your style and just some fun B-things too.

I have to tell you about this one spot I found, even though I want to keep it a secret! Portmerion. And a secret spot it really is. Driving and getting lost can sometimes be the most terrifying panicky experience but this getting lost turned out to be the most relaxing, inspirational and exciting thing. It was a warming treat after sitting for hours. I took a wrong turn and following signs which I thought were just to the next town, I found myself at the edge of a vast and intoxicating mini Disney World- without the rides and screaming over-excited kids and our favourite characters waving back! Asking the security guard at the gates, gold metal with mermaids crafted at the sides, she let me in. I wandered in this maze of secret gardens and quiet pathways littered with blossom trees and spring flowers. This palace of small joining castles sat on the side of a vast estuary, the staff calling it a folly.

It opened in 1926 by Clough Williams-Ellis. It was his idea of creating a village of peacefulness and tranquillity, a sheltered outlook over the sea with its airy position. He made every building a curve so that it was light and enveloping, a discovery of beauty on every turn. And oh my goodness. On such a peaceful sunny day, just looking out at the view made my breathing new in a way. As if the great calmness of the place was brought into you and had taken my worries or any subconscious things in my head away into the ocean ahead. Each part of every building has something re-used in its construction. From old boat masts to the mermaids at the gates, the recycled stories are endless. "Enjoyed by a celebrated clientele such as George Bernard Shaw, Noel Coward and Sir Kenneth Clark." This is such a little gem but I fear may be forgot. Somewhere where I shall definitely be visiting again and staying for longer. There's a beautiful hotel and spa with little crafty shops scattered about in caves and behind secret archways and rickety doors. Such a glorious treat.

And so I carried on......waving reluctantly goodbye to my palace of dreams. I would have loved to stay there that night however.....

I had already picked a quirky little pub with rooms situated in the middle of flipping nowhere and on a night that was just a white misty sea of deep duvet like fog! I left an afternoon of bliss, driving on curvy one car lanes and glorious fields draped in warm fresh sunshine with one farm miles from the next surrounded by little white lambs into that eeriness! 'Take me back to my palace,' I moaned!

When I first parked up I was slightly scared I was going to be the only one there and possibly attacked by a roaming sheep but these paranoid sillies were promptly quashed when I was met by a lovely lady with a mug of tea. Guided to my modest yet modern and clean bright room I closed the door to be greeted with a lovely jacuzzi bath. Thank you trip advisor!

Right enough of that, wouldn't want you to get jealous now.......

Onto my tips to the top this month.......

Layer it Luxe
Following on from last time's 'power at the office' and 'leaning in' fashion - the three piece suit, no longer reserved for wedding dates or school proms, has been transformed from masculine to ladylike. With a waistcoat not in sight, the high waisted pencil skirt has been its replacement. If you want my favourite look right now and take it to the office, layer a skirt over your trousers. I am obsessed with my floaty long jumpers and long flowy vests and tunics over either my trusted tight-at-the-ankle-but-still-baggy tracky bums or tight cropped jeans. I team a thin soft knit or ribbed effect jumper over that which only comes to just below your bust line and voila, you have a layered luxe look, lush! 

For us ladies who might not want the tightness on our waists, this is a perfect style as you still create a wonderful figure without pulling everything in, squidge! The over sized dress, skirt or tunic will flow swimmingly at the knee, leaving your middle free and comfortable whilst the short jumper will pull you in under the breast line creating an inward illusion. The shortness of the jumper will also hang just straight from your cleavage making it appear that you have bigger boobies! Win win! Dress the look down with trackies or your trusted leggings or boyfriend jeans and flip flops or ballet pumps, even your cutesy converse trainers or glam up and go out by simply swapping out the under trouser with a tight jean, leather look cropped pant or even go crazy and 'get those pins out' that we talked about! Finish the relaxed yet elegant look off into the night fun with your trusted stilettos. Done and done.

Fresh- Fab Fringe Appeal

Fringing is having a love affair with fashion right now. From Junya to Gucci and all the way to the high street, jewellery with loads of strings, threads, chains all pieced together is making it one of the trendiest and riskiest looks, let alone a bit annoying and dangerous at times. I borrowed my sisters necklace, tie dyed white to blue to black v shaped thread fringe necklace and note to soup eaters....tuck into your top before you slurp! Also any washing hands or looking closely in the mirror over the basin with drips....wet jewellery, not cool.

Really? Rucksack Revenge! 

And now for something I personally can't and won't get my head around...well for you London commuters and bike riders, and school children or young students, I shall make the exception, however the rucksack is back! And seems to be increasing in popularity. I am a girls' girl and I will always have my trusted leather handbags as my carrier and on my bent arm or dangled across my back but to sit on both shoulders? Hell no! Comfy yes, practical sure, I ain't arguing but for fashion. Please!!!! 

Keep it for camping, hiking, outside 'trying to do what your boyfriend wants as a fun excursion' activity but not for the high street or going out! Gone is it being the mainstay of the gum chewing gabbling teens waiting for...quite frankly 'life to stop being so eeeeurrrg' and the school bus, it's a big thing right now. (Grrrr!) Will you be getting your sporty, smarter, dare I say it, even chic reinterpretation of the rucksack any time soon? Check out some 'merely acceptable ones' at Whistles, Jerome Dreyfuss and Aldo.

Something For The Shoe

For high we have a mule with a practical strap in season. Team with ankle socks and be outrageously cool this Spring.

For low, the sling back is back with a micro-heel perfect for the runaround mum or busy office hopper and sales rep. Team with cropped slim trousers, ankle flashing jeans or puff skater skirts.

Medium is our Spring staple seeing block heels with a cute thin ankle strap and peep toe. Wear with your floaty dresses, skirts and rolled up trousers for a relaxed, effortlessly yet comfy and cool look.

And shop of the week to pop in to...

Wallis. I thought I would never say that but their limited edition accessory range out now is delightful for this season. Bold, electric shades mixed with softer pastel pops of colour are a hit with their satchel style and over sized shopper bags and ankle middy heels with bold buckles and animal print designs. Hot and sassy meets safe and sophisticated but with an on trend and 'be looked at' edge.

So my beauties, until next time enjoy the lovely weather, get to the beach and try find some love rocks....I found this set in the concrete and these other ones on my wave watching and sand beneath my feet strolling.

Warm( at last not rain)-est swishes,
B xxx
London Frock Exchange

Monday, 10 March 2014

Perfect Pins

Hot Off the Press and Runway!

I know I know, considering my past life, I should be talking about all the wonderful frocks worn at this years Oscars right? Blah, well there were, as always some stunners but us ladies in the real world being yummy mummies and trying our god damn best to get everything done don't usually have an Oscar-esque party to wear those designer gowns to, get drunk and tell each other how beautiful and fabulous we are Rah Rah Lah. So instead I thought I would give you some wonderful new trends for this upcoming Spring so at least we can ourselves feel and look glamorous whilst the A-listers have people doing it for them! I know its getting pretty chilly again but let's try and bring some sunshine into our daily outfits instead!

I read a great article the other day about how we are dressing for the office. Gone are the days of a boring grey suit with a white shirt. Power dressing or 'leaning in' fashion is all the rage right now and the talk of the town for SS14. Muiccia Prada calls it the 'be seen, be heard' approach to dressing. Nothing to do with baring those pins or flashing some cleavage to get noticed in the work place but about turning people on to your capabilities.

Fashion today is seeing a slow but constant move away from minimalism- not to blow my own trumpet but you know I have always popped on more with my outfits, be it doubling up on a necklace or a whole arm of bracelets, than less! Women nowadays don't want to blend in to mediocrity. We are being more creative, more colourful, more exotic and daring- our clothes are making us visible and feel good.

At Prada, colourful fur patchwork coats and frocks peppered with couture beading and arty prints donned the catwalk. Dior saw models dangling in jagged crystal necklaces and pencil skirts and dresses printed with slogans such as 'Ultraviolet'. Think boisterous, blasting into the office ready to get your idea heard, your new venture put out there. Let me tell you, if I can do it, anyone can!!!

If I am working hard in the Frock Shack, do I really need to get all dressed up- I'm not meeting with anyone, I am just with the frocks and at my desk...this is the wrong approach to your working environment. Yes a day working from home every now and again, slob out, endless tea drink however even popping on a vibrant splash of lippy or zazzing up your trusted white shirt with a funky tie or a blinged up ridiculously over sized necklace, it will empower you; make you feel sexy and popular and cool on the outside, getting all that confidence flowing and energy that you can do anything and achieve more from within. Get bright, be bold, get powerful...get it done!

My must haves this month....

Wrap up warm with a blanket shawl. Over sized yet elegant, drape one over your shoulders or fling around your neck and keep fashionista hot as seen by Christopher Bailey for Burberry. In several versions- hooded cape, the statement shawl and 'the pulled off the sofa' blanket, grab the thickest throw you can find- hobo hugs at the ready!

Straight from all lovely and cosy, it's also time to get shorty! Yup, the short is back with us- do we thank Pharell Williams for this me thinks? With lots of different styles we have the surf shorts- as seen on the Jonathan Saunders catwalk- team with a funky bomber jacket and booty Nike sneakers. Then we have the 'skort'- wear it as you would a flirty mini with a luxe long sleeved tee or cute thin wool jumper. 


You know how I adore the loose fitting, drapesy and over sized look....well I am so happy that the culotte is back! They are brilliantly practical for the skirt refusenik! Off-duty with a jumper or totally hot on the tiles with a shirt and blazer, they are fun, different and daring. Really comfy too if you're having one of those 'want to be in my trackies' days but have to leave the house!

This bell jar skirt oozes old school charm and a kind of vintage sex appeal. Anything with big side pockets gets me excited! Tuck in a fine knit sweater and killer heels and drape yourself in chunky jewels for a fit-and-flare look. Divine.

One skirt with another flare is the 'pepcil'. A new take on the classic pencil skirt, get those pins out understatedly at the office and be your powerful 'leaning in' self with one of these babies. Its design is pencil meets a peplum hem, coining spring's must have. It's pencil shape at the top then finished off with a frilled bottom. Catching our eyes at the Antonio Marras and Balmain SS14 catwalks and now being brought to us on the high street by Asos and Skopes at House of Frasier, nab your cult skirt now!

With all these looks in mind, don't forget to prepare your pins. I am a big fan of L'Oreal's Sublime Self-tanning Fresh Feel Gel. It doesn't smell anything like biscuits and leaves me with silky smooth legs and a light brown tan. Perfect practice to get our bodies all lush and beautiful for Spring and Summer!

Warmest Swishes ladies,
B xxx

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The Secret behind your Dress

We all have 'that' memory of something that completely changed our lives. Whether it was a good or bad thing, these events often shake us up a bit and move us forward. I constantly harp on about the path we walk down and that sometimes we get thrown off into a different direction even if it feels bad at the time, but then it leads us to the path we should be on in the end...follow your yellow brick road!

When I talk to my clients, when I am sat with them looking over their wardrobe or gliding the rails in the shops for their latest styled outfit, they often pick out a few dresses that have a wonderful story attached to them.

I have three dresses I really can't get rid of, and a few I have swapped but it's been very emotional because of the sentimental value I hold with them. One dress I won't wear again but will keep- hopefully for my daughter or niece or goddaughter to have one day. It's the dress I wore to my best friend's wedding as her bridesmaid. I was living in Los Angeles at the time she asked me and she told me the type of style she wanted. Her wedding was very country vintage with beautiful flowers and pastel colours- her dress featured here (stunning) shows the theme perfectly.

This is for sale too! Message me if you want to know more details! 
I stumbled upon a quirky 1950s vintage store on Melrose and it just leapt out at me on the mannequin. Soft purple and sky blue floaty number, with two shoulder panels floating at the back and a net puff skirt. From the day of purchasing the dress, the story began of the run up to the wedding - all the things we did together as best friends and up to the actual day itself. What people said, the pictures, the dancing, the speech, the love and the emotions are all such fond memories, and I can just look at the dress hanging up in my bedroom as a feature like a painting, and all those lovely images and feelings come back to me.

Why not swap a dress with a story? Pop a note in the London Frock Exchange packaging and share the memories with us! If we each have a dress to give, we can replace it with a new one and therefore enhancing the story and the journey we take that frock on.  A sort of 'passing the love and good memories on' to a new lady so she can make her own memories and story.

B's Trend Watch this week......

Trotting Hot

Saw these 'oh so glam' brogues by Meandher at Aren't they scrumptious?! Worn with a trouser suit or even a cutesy Spring floral dress will look divine and effortlessly cool!

B's rescue remedy in one swoop!
Need a multi-tasking rescue for hair, face and nails? Why not try this exotic wonder balm- Butter London Backstage Basics Balm, £20 and available now! It nourishes split ends, cuticles and highlights eyes and cheekbones!

High on the Street
On the High Street- Check out the hottest affordable trends at our trusted H&M and Primark. With dazzling bright florals and block prints, add a dress over your trousers or a strapless number with a T-shirt underneath and you've blagged yourself the biggest style right now. The prices are delish too!

I Heart My Jacket
Invest in a collarless jacket this Spring. I am obsessed with my camel and white ones both from Zara. Not so practical when the chilly winds about but look at this stunner I snapped from H&M. With it being featured heavily at New York Fashion Week, follow celebs like Laura Whitmore and Amber Le Bon in yours! Love them why? The minimal neckline is ideal for covering up and layering with a pretty party frock, one can add endless bling with jewellery or even a faux-fur stole for extra pizzazz AND you can even throw it over a pair of your trusted staple jeans, knit jumper and heels for an instant, take me out, no fuss look!

Or why not try a short box version like this elegant jacket from Autograph at Marks & Spencer? Totally enhances your plane black jumpsuit and pumps!   

Just had a fabulous weekend on the Isle of Wight celebrating a dear friends birthday! Weather was superbly sunny on Saturday so got out on the water for some speed boat fun!

Spring is nearly upon us and I am loving munching on mini eggs right now. Plus all the primroses and daffodils are springing up! But look at my lovely Hyacinths! Makes for a peaceful yet pretty frock shack!

What have you got planned for this Easter? Why not have a bunny party! Hunt for the eggs! Glam up and have a tea party? I'll be bringing you some fun floral outfits so you'll fit right in this Spring! Hop Hop Hop to a glamourous fabulous frock!

Warmest Swishes as always,
B xxx