Sunday, 28 July 2013

Barratts Wish List - Shoes and Bags!

I'm so excited that this week I have been selected to be Barratts Blogger of the Week! To celebrate, I thought it would be the perfect time to explore the Barratts site and put together a little wish list!

As part of the questionnaire, I was asked to pick my favourite item currently on sale at Barratts and despite the hundreds of pairs of shoes available, it was one of their gorgeous bags that I settled on - the floral satchel (£30) was the one that caught my eye, so pretty and summery. It's only one of a great bag collection and I couldn't help but include the LYDC London Handbag (£45) in red too.

But it is shoes that they are most known for and they have plenty to choose from for all occasions - the floral ballet flats (£15) are so pretty, and the Dolcis Wedges Sandals (£28) are a perfect holiday shoe, while the fresh and fruity apple-print courts (£45) make me think of summer.

And unfortunately the summer can't be all about relaxing and having fun in the sun - I think the Hush Puppy Mary Jane's (£40) would be great anyone stuck in an office (like me), and if/when the weather turns sour again, the little pink ankle boots (£16) make a great wellies option!

What do you think of my choices?

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

WL Wednesdays: Zaggora Review

I did say a while back that I would start posting my weight loss efforts here in order to help keep me on track. I picked up the idea for weight-loss Wednesdays after seeing it on a couple of other blogs, so here is where I shall be posting any updates, ideas, and relevant reviews. Starting with a very important aspect of my work out outfit, my Zaggora Hotpants*.

I've wanted a pair of these for ages, even including them in my 'fantasy workout outfit', and they've fast become an integral part of my exercise sessions. Firstly, here's the technical bit about how they work: Zaggora's products contain 'celu-lite fabric technology', which increases your core temperature while you work out to help you burn more calories. When tested they were found to increase the metabolic rate of wearers by up to 18%. This essentially makes your work out sessions more effective so that those hard-worked for results come a bit quicker!

Can you see why I was so interested in them?

There were a couple of doubts in my mind about these before testing them out: Would they work? Would they be comfortable? Would they look ok? But I've tried them for a few weeks (I was originally going to do the 'two week challenge' - but injuries and holidays have stretched the two weeks out  over a long time!) and here are my thoughts:

Would they look ok? I normally wear quite loose fitting clothes to the gym as my body still needs a bit of work before I want to show it off too much, but these are not only skin tight (they need to be to work), but shiny too. They're made out of a thick, wetsuit-esque material so as well as showing more of my figure than I'm used to they make a bit of a 'swishy' noise, drawing yet more attention! However, I don't know if it's because they made me really feel like I was ready to work out, but I didn't feel stupid wearing them at all. I wore them with a longish and looser fitting t-shirt which I think helped balance it out, but essentially I didn't feel self-conscious about either the fit, colour, material or anything else, and that's a help. I'd even go further to say that the tightness and thickness of the hotpants helped to 'hold in' some of the more wobbly areas round my tummy which was really nice!

Would they be comfortable? Again this concern was partly based on the tightness of the products, and partially on the 'heat' factor. But I found them good on both counts - perfectly comfortable to wear throughout the workout, and though I felt hot (and I would have been hot working out no matter what I was wearing) it never got unbearable or even really uncomfortable. The other concert was if I'd have to spend the whole workout pulling them up, as find I often do if I ever have to run in tights (not my usual work out wear choice but if I have make a dash for a bus for example!). these look like thick tights, and I worried they'd slip as I moved around a lot but they were great at staying in place!

Would they work? Well, in many ways this is quite a tricky one to answer - I did lose weight, and inches, while wearing these. But I was also doing more exercise and eating less generally so it's hard to say for sure what aspects of that can be attributed to the hotpants alone. So I'll tell you what I can be sure of - these things make you sweat. A lot. I didn't even feel too sweaty while I was wearing them, but when you peel them off you know about it. It would be quite disgusting if it wasn't so cool. It makes me feel like I've really worked hard, like I've really earned that shower. If the levels of sweat correlate to calories burnt then they must be doing something! A weird unexpected side effect of this is that they make my skin feel so nice and soft too - always a bonus! Another thing they did was really motivate me to work out, even when I wasn't really in the mood - a sort of 'well I've got these, I really should' attitude mixed with thinking that if I forced myself to do it, at least it would be as effective as possible! That in itself in valuable!

And if you need any more motivation, check out this video from Zaggora, it's called 'women are awesome' and the awesome things these awesome women are doing really puts my 'half hour potter round the gym' to shame - I really need to step up my game if I ever want to reach this level of cool!

And I know just what I need to help me on my way,.... as well as the hotpants, Zaggora do a gorgeous range of hot tops and blazers that would really complete my workout outfit!
Have you tried these? What do you wear to work out in?
* These were provided to me for review.
** I did want to include photos of me wearing the Hotpants, but I had no one to take them for me and really couldn't manage anything verging on flattering my myself - angles all wrong! - so I have used images from the official Zaggora website.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

A Model Example - Guest Post

Todays post is something a bit different for Fantasy Fashionista, a very interesting guest post on prejudice in the modelling industry. There's a lot to be said on this subject, so I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
In the fall out from Jourdan Dunn being cut from the Dior Couture show, we explore the issue of discrimination and prejudice in the fashion industry today.
Earlier this month Jourdan Dunn, the 22-year-old British model, was unexpectedly cut from the Dior Couture line-up despite having spent the previous weekend being fitted for garments in preparation for the show.
The model revealed on her Twitter account the reason for her dismissal: ‘Ahahahahahahaha I just got cancelled from Dior because of my boobs!’
The mother of one took the news with a sense of humour and went on to tweet that she was ‘normally told I’m cancelled because I’m coloured so being cancelled because of my boobs is minor :)’.

It’s not the first time that Dior has been called out because of their choice of models. Dhani Mau, from, noted that ever since Raf Simons took the helm at the fashion house in 2012 the selection of models has been ‘almost exclusively white’.
James Scully, a casting director, said in an interview with that he felt the Dior show ‘is so pointedly white it’s deliberate. I watch that show and it bothers me - I almost can’t concentrate on the clothes because of the cast. And, recently, they’re changing from a very diverse, worldwide, multicultural cast to a very Germanic-looking white girl’.
In 2008 Dunn won the impressive, if dubious, title of being the first black model to walk for Prada since Naomi Campbell, 11 years earlier. This is an impressive feat for Dunn in some respects, although it is a shame that it took Prada so long to delve into the pool of hundreds of beautiful black models working in the industry over the past decade.
So was Dior’s issue with Dunn’s voluptuous figure really the reason for her sudden dismissal? Or was it a thinly veiled attempt to uphold the latent discrimination present both within the industry and the brand?
The London-born coltish beauty admits that it’s certainly not the first time she’s been on the receiving end of prejudice within the modelling industry. She told

The Times: ‘A few times I got excused by designers who told me, “We already found one black girl. We don’t need any more.” I felt very discouraged.’

Dhani Mau points out that the question isn’t whether prejudice is still present in the fashion industry, but rather: what is the industry doing to fix it? Runway shows are more than a vehicle to sell luxury bags and

high-end designer t-shirts – every detail represents the designer’s vision, and it’s disturbing when that vision only includes women who all look the same.

But it’s not just the colour of a model’s skin that can see them lose out on work. In 2009 the model Filippa Hamilton was fired from Ralph Lauren reportedly for being ‘too fat’. The company had previously digitally altered her image to the point where her hips measured the same size as her head.

Last year Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou, casting director for Victoria’s Secret, decided to comment on the Sports Illustrated cover star Kate Upton, stating that the brand would never use Kate for their show because she was ‘too obvious’ and looked ‘like a Page 3 girl; she’s like a footballers wife with the too-blonde hair and that kind of face that anyone with enough money can go out and buy’.

It seems that it wasn’t enough for Neophitou simply to not hire the model; she felt the need to highlight why exactly they would never work with her, commenting on her physical appearance with vitriol.

Less than a year after these remarks the brand hired Upton to model for them after her meteoric rise in popularity - despite her ‘too-blonde hair’ and footballer’s wife look.
Earlier this year Mike Jeffries, the CEO of the clothing chain Abercrombie & Fitch, came under fire when comments that he made in a 2006 interview, in which he explained that the brand was marketed to the ‘cool kids’ and that they were being purposefully exclusionary, went viral on social media.
‘That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores, because good-looking people attract good-looking people, and we want to market to the cool, good-looking people,’ he said. ‘We don’t want to market to anyone other than that.’

This absurd remark is indicative of an attitude that has landed the company with a number of hefty litigations. In 2004 it reached a $40 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit brought by Hispanic, black and Asian employees who were allegedly forced to work in the back of the shops.

The issue of discrimination is nothing new and the fashion industry is certainly not the only guilty party when it comes to prejudice. But what is new is the omnipresence of social media and its ability to bring experiences such as Jourdan Dunn’s - and long-forgotten quotes from an at-best misguided CEO in the case of Mike Jeffries - to public attention.

The public can now judge for themselves and, hopefully, speak out and play their part in changing the way the fashion industry objectifies women because of the size of their bust or the colour of their skin.

Guest post written by farfetch

Monday, 15 July 2013

Feel Good Fashion Blogger Competition

I spotted that Braintree Clothing were holding a blogger competition - by creating a holiday outfit from their line you can win your outfit!

This is what I came up with:

I know summer is a great time to experiment with different colours and bold patterns, but to me nothing says 'summer' like a simple whit dress. Lets face it, you really can't wear a dress like this in the winter - you need a decent tan for a start! On that basis, I chose this Adelaide Dress (£29.90) as the starting point for my outfit.

Of course, with the weather we have been having at the minute it's hard to remember that it's not likely to last! A jacket is invariably going to be needed and I thought that the Ivywood Jacket (£49.90) would provide the necessary warmth but with a fun hit of bright colour and a casual style perfect for those still-warm evenings.

The Frilly Carry-All bag (£9.90) seemed to be a perfect way of linking the two above items while being a practical and pretty way of carrying those holiday necessities.

And finally, to dress up a rather casual outfit, I included the Bibaka Bangle (£15) for a touch of sophistication.

What do you think?

If you fancy having  go yourself, all the information for the competition can be found here, and as an exciting bonus, Braintree are giving 10% off purchases with the code BLOGGERS10 up until the 21st July!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Love Moi Boutique

I was incredibly excited recently when the wonderful Love Moi Boutique offered to let me choose a bracelet from their collection to tell you about, and quickly set me sights on this unique Threaded Ribbon Box Bracelet.

They have a lot of gorgeous and interesting pieces on the site, but I'd never seen anything quite like this statement bracelet and I fell in love with the fun colours and chunky style.

The bracelet is essentially made up of three rows of gold box chain, threaded with different coloured ribbons. The clasp was easy to fasten, even with just one hand, and can be fastened at different levels to fit a variety of wrists. It's very comfortable to wear - I'd wondered if the boxes would catch on my arm/hair like those watch straps that do, but there was none of that at all.

As well as the blue/pink/red option I chose (pretty much my favourite colour scheme), this is also available in a very summery pink/yellow/orange hued bracelet. And even more good news, this is currently on sale, down to £6 from £8. Definitely check out Love Moi's website for loads more fun colourful jewellery!