Wednesday, 31 December 2008

You're a tiger, baby!

Hey everyone,

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I feel like i've gained at least 2 extra stone (that I definitely didn't need!) and have gorged and indulged myself in ways I didn't think possible. Life is definitely good in the Brierley winter wonderland:

For Christmas I received many wonderful gifts; much needed new straighteners, a sewing machine (the DIY begins here!) and these wonderful boots from my parents:

Just when I thought my love of hello kitty couldn't get more elabourate, they went and made ugg boots. Normally I don't even like uggs, but now I can't get enough of them: I love these shoes!!
I was also pampered by my sisters and the rest of the family with some lovely soap and glory products, pajamas, and so much more. My especially talented baby sister even made me a necklace!
On the highstreet fashion front though, I thought the gift you would all most like to see is the lovely new jacket my boyfriend bought me:

See how I work it? I'm a tiger baby, yeah!!
I spent today and yesterday hitting the sales, and frankly I'm exhausted! I will write up my exploits and begin my lengthy sales analysis tomorrow: I'm sure you wait with baited breath!

In the meantime, Happy New Year!
Love tor xxx

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Once more into the breach, my friends...

Firstly, Merry Christmas everybody!

Secondly, this afternoon I will be cramming myself into a tincan (also known as a train) and making the seven hour trip to my parents for the festive period. As they dont have the internet (it really is grim t'up north!) my posting will become more sporadic than usual for the next 5-7 days.

The January sales are almost upon us, and the media friendly scrum that inevitably follows. Well, just for you dear reader, I intend to face that Lions den.
Whilst my poor boyfriend works in the period between Christmas and New Year, I shall be wandering the streets of London with only one thing on my mind: bagging some bargains! And in each store I enter, I shall be trying on 5 beautiful things, all for your viewing pleasure.
So my question to you is this: other than my favourite usual suspects (yes topshop, i'm talking about you again, that will be a pound please!) where shall I go? What saley delights would you like to see?
Suggest your stores of choice in the comments box and your wish will be my command. Isn't it amazing the lengths I go to to keep you amused??
I hope you all have a truly wonderful Christmas, full of food and family and friends. Oh yes, and fabulous presents too!!
Big festive love,
Tor x

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Meat and Fashion?

Yesterday I said to my sister that I hadn't done any changing room posts for a while (I will be posting some new purchases later!) and we discussed what theme I should go for in my next changing room saga. Although I doubt i'll top my personal fav, the DVD (Dick van Dyke) look, I like to have a theme.

Amie responded: Well, I like meat. And I like fashion. Could we try meat fashion? Maybe dress in colours of meat or wear meat clothes? I dimissed her immediately, though I did suggest that I could photograph her with a steak on her head if it made her happy.
Aww, her very own meat helmet!!

Anyway, it looks like the last laugh is on me. For what did I see in the metro this morning but this:

Artist Nancy Wu has made a Chanel style handbag out of yummy beef jerky. Well, I suppose thats one way to deal with the issue of the mid-shopping trip snack! Even the golden chain has beef jerky strips feed between it. The sheets of jerky were hand sewn to create desirable fashion items. There is also a LV wallet thrown into the mix:The project provides a humorous take on designer accessories, whilst simultaneously making me laugh at the coincidence, and look like a fool!

I've obviously missed the trend, and my sister is the one with her finger on the pulse. Meat and fashion. It's where it's at!

Tor xxx

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Leaving no stone left unturned.....

When I read about mama was a rolling stone on the fashion tribes blog, I was excited. Billed as a one stop vintage fashion destination we were told we would find look books of celebrities and normal folks alike. A blog, forums, editorial insider stuff, and a fabulous shop.
And nearly all of this is true. The look books aren't completed (unless 10 pictures of Nicole Richie counts as a lookbook to you?) the blog, although well informed and fabulously well written, is super hard to navigate, and more like a very confusing online ezine. And it made my head hurt. And finally, noone has written on the forums (which is OK, as the site is new, but surely a good community manager should at least be stimulating a comment or two?)

However despite all these fatal flaws (I can't help it, it's the web editor in me) this is a great site! The store section is by far the best and what I love most is that Bryna, the owner, models all the clothes herself.

On the fashion tribe blog she says that ""I've been collecting vintage for years and it's great to be able to share that with others," she explains about the cool vintage threads, accessories and kicks from around the world that she stocks. "I'm just so excited to be doing something I love!" As she only sells things she would wear herself, it's like having amazing access to the closet of a stylish pal."

And you can really tell she cares about what she does. The quality of the garments look amazing, and although I would be stung hard on the import tax, if you're from the US, the prices are really affordable.

For the second time today, here's my pick:

All from the online store, and all between $60-$100.

I want to wear so much of these precious things, it's almost enough to make my head explode!
Do it for me, my American readers! Go shopping! (and send me pictures of what you buy!)

Lots of love,


Genius. Pure genius.

I heart In fact, I HEART Caplocks for emphasis.

This morning I was looking for the perfect T shirt dress. Inspired by my pvc leggings that I still haven't worn, but am determined to, I thought that what I probably needed was something casual (to counteract the killer heels) that was short enough to show off my leggings in all their glory, but long enough to cover most of the horror show that is my thighs. Enter then the T shirt dress. Answer to all my ills. All the usual suspects were attacked, and I found nothing that would make my boat float. In a bid of desperation I typed in my desire to google and they came up trumps.

Enter catwalk genius. Hundreds of beautiful covertable items at seriously affordable prices but made from wool and cashmere and luxurious cotton, rather than the cheap polyester of topshop for practically the same price (well, if you squint a bit and you cant really count!)

Here then are the things I covet:

Owl tshirt, Otswald Helgason, 177 euros.
Wow dress by JoJo and Malou, 94 Euros

Handcuff sequin jumper, Markus Lupfer, 227 Euros
Shark attack dress, Jojo and Malou 116 Euros

Dodecahedron necklace, Fred Butler, 383 Euros (First I saw Fred on Channel 4 making pin wheels, then I saw Susie Bubble wearing her necklace and fell in love. Oh how I covert one of my very own!)

These are my five favourite things, but there's so much more! And the real "genius" of the project (who am I to miss such an obvious pun?) is that the site enables young and new designers to sell there stuff at no risk, as well as giving users the opportunity to support them; you can buy shares in their next collection, and the site encourages you to spread the word about the designers you like (which I realise is exactly what i'm doing now!)

I still haven't found that T shirt dress of my dreams, but do you know, just for a moment, I think i've stopped caring.

Lots of love,

Tor x

Make do...Festive style!

OK, so this post is about to vear off the fashion path for a minute or two. But don't worry, i'm not about to ask you all to stop buying presents and start buying goats for the third world instead. As admirable a gesture as that would be, this is far too consumerist a blog for me to start pretending that I don't want any lovely gifties!

But there are some ways you can be environmentally friendly this christmas without sacrificing to the ugliness Gods. In fact your friends will probably be more impressed by how much effort you put in!

1. Wrap your presents in newspaper. This was something I first experiemented with when I was at uni. £1 a roll might not seem like much now, but back then.....

Have no fear, i'm not talking about tearing a page out of the london lite and throwing it over a gift! Pick a page from a newspaper or magazine with a really amazing image. A dress by their favourite designer, an advert from their favourite shop, even a funny article you read which made you think of them. Draw or write on top of the image, drawing attention to why you chose it, for an extra personal touch.
Similarly make the decorations a part of the gift. Badges, hair ties, simple jewellery (if you can afford it) even sweets and chocolate add an extra special present and could cost less than the yards of ribbon that gets torn off and immediately thrown away.

2. Photos make great gift tags. What do you do with gift tags? Read them and throw them away! Without sounding like a crazed eco warrior, can you imagine how many trees would be wasted if every single gift tag written was thrown away? And who remembers a "beautiful gift tag" anyway? Why not put a photo of the person you are giving the present to on top of the gift. Or better still, a photo of the two of you together. It does the same as a gift tag (says who the gift is to and from) but leaves you with something you can keep afterwards. And (to risk sounding like a hallmark card) a great memory of someone you know cared enough to make the effort.

What would you rather receive?

Or this:Exactly!

You can have the Christmas you dreamed of, full of nice personal touches, without having to spend any money on the wrappings and without doing any excess harm to that lovely green stuff we all enjoy so much!

PS - Whether you buy it from the shop or make it yourself from old newspapers and magazines, please please make sure you recycle all your wrapping paper. Giving your friends and family an amzing Christmas shouldn't cost the environment anything! Ahem. Ok i'm done. I'll climb off my soap box now.

Tor x

Monday, 15 December 2008

Getting my Deacon!

"You are gold (golld!) Always believe in your soo-oooul!" Yup, in my head i'm singing this is an elabourate karaoke-esque way! In fact, I sing it whenever I think about Gile Deacon's Gold range for New Look. Thank God it isn't that often!

I'm not normally overly enthused by the Giles for New Look range. Could it be the cheap fabrics, the mediocre designs, both? Who knows. It just doesnt excite me the way other designer collaborations have. It often doesn't seem too far removed from New Looks standard ranges to be of any interest. However, whilst browsing the New Look website I put together this outfit, all by Giles, and I love it! Metallic tulip skirt £35, Lace panel cardigan £30, Oversized clutch bag £25, Bracelet £5
Perfect for low key christmas parties with the family (grandmas love a little lace) the zip stops the cardigan being too frou frou, and the mock croc skirt is long enough to be trendy without being "you just gave uncle jack a heart attack" tarty. And I love the bag. My love affair with studs is definitely in full swing.

And i'm not the only one to covert that bag! The bag lady describes it thus; "The shape and size is functional and convenient yet fashionably on-trend while the studded embellishments add that extra 'zing'."

And who am I to deny anyone a little zing?

So maybe the gold range isn't as bad as I had first thought. But i'm still reluctant to give it my much sought after (ha!) seal of approval. It's just hard for me to relate the man who made these:

With the man who made these:

Shudder. I know there's a 200% difference in price and so on but still: studded hotpants?? In December??

I'm too shocked to write any more...

Tor x

Looking the dogs dinner...

...OK, well maybe not the dogs dinner, but certainly a nice Christmas one!

Street Eeek!

Is it just me, or has the quality of's street chic daily wear feature gone, well, really really down hill?

Now I know that style is subjective, and one woman's 'blah' is another woman's dream come true. But it seems like the criteria for being featured has stopped being "must be wearing a really great outfit" and started being "must have legs like a new born colt".

Take the following as prime examples each taken from this week; all nice outfits and i'm sure wonderful women wearing them (if this is you, please don't send me any hate mail!) but not exactly what you would call vogue worthy, fashion forward outfits:
I know isn't famed for its love of street stylings ala the facehunter, but that doesn't mean that season old styles worn in unimaginative ways should grace their site, does it? There are hundreds of women wearing these outfits heading in and out of my office every day, and i'm sure most of them don't give two hoots about fashion! (oh dear! minor bitchy moment it seems!)
Who knows, maybe, like me the vogue photographer hasn't quite got round to buying their new winter coat yet, and they're covering this feature guerilla style (straight in and straight out, as quick as you can!) until the sun comes out again. I'd rather believe this than that the fashion magazine i've trusted since my youth has started (say it quietly..) getting it wrong!
I just hope that doesn't mean I have to keep waiting for the quality of my daily fix to improve until spring, or more realistically if we're waiting for some sunshine, July!
Lots of love,
Tor xx

Friday, 12 December 2008

Shoes I can never wear.....

OK, bear with me a moment whilst I drag myself into the twentieth century, but how good is eBay!?

I've never brought anything from eBay before. I know, I know, this is shocking news! But it's been a quiet week at work, so I started playing on there and now I think i'm addicted! So far, despite placing about 20 bids, I am yet to win anything, but I am starting to get pretty excited that I might win these:

Marc Jacobs SIGNED (big for emphasis) pink crystal shoes. According to the blurb they were designed for Swarowski. They are are a limited edition (only 200 pairs have ever been made!!!!) and have sold previously for $1,800. They are in original shoe bag and box, and soon they will be mine!!
OK so realistically, someones probably going to swoop in at the end and pay a million pounds for them, but still, a girl can dream! They are in a size 41, and despite my size 39 feet, I. want. them.
I think this is what ebay does to you. Makes you competitively, agressively want things you probably never would've thought you wanted until you see that little thumbnail picture. Becky once went into a bid frenzy over some false teeth, which I believe she wanted to turn into a necklace. However worrying this is, because it means my obsession can only get worse, it does make me feel better about the fact i'm hoping to spend a weeks salary on a pair of shoes i'll never wear........
Love tor x

Thursday, 11 December 2008

The pixelated rose: coming to a wardrobe near you?

Those that you who read this blog regularly know that although my finances, and therefore fashion spending, has perked up over the past couple of months, I can't really afford to buy designer clothes. However, if I could have had anything this year, it would have been one of these Matthew Williamson dresses. I love the colour (on a black base, naturellement!) and the modern computer geekiness of it, juxtaposed with the vintage handicraft/homely nature of the original print. I loved this dress so much that I rejected the very good replica Mango did of it, because it just would have felt so inferior every time I wore it.
Imagine my joy then when I read that H&M has unveiled Matthew Williamson as the company's next guest designer, with women's wear and men's wear collections due for launch next year.
The Williamson revolution will begin with an exclusive women's fashion range in selected stores from 23 April next year. (bold for emphasis!) Further women's pieces, plus his first men's wear collection, will follow for the summer. These will be available from mid-May in all H&M stores around the world.

"Matthew has such a good eye and a way for working with prints that he mixes up in a new way," said Margareta van den Bosch, creative advisor at H&M. "When he combines these things, you get a very contemporary London look."
Mixing up prints in new ways? Please Lord let that be a hint that the pixelated rose print is coming to H&M alongside its inventor. I don't think i've ever crossed my fingers and my toes this hard in unison in my life!
Love, Tor x

Influential? Moi?

OK, I admit it. Sometimes I google myself. I like to see the articles i've written and feel in some small way that i've contributed something to the world.

Today, however, I decided to take this self obsession a step further. I googled the blog. And my was i suprised to find so much stuff! First I found the blog (phew!) the lots of other lovely people who link to the blog. I found the fabfrocks facebook group I set up many moons ago, and then I found something suprising! I found this. This, for those of you who don't want to click through (and who can blame you!) is a list of the 100 most influential blogspot blogs in the world. And there, smiling back from the grand old #72 spot, are fabfrocks!

Of course this is good news. But the phrasiology troubles me. Influential: describes someone or something that has the power to affect the making of decisions and the course of events. There's only one thing to say about that really: Ha! I dont even have to power to influence my hair through a brush without wincing in the mornings. Do I have any fashion influence? None, I work for an engineering charity and I would say that around 10% of the posts on this blog depict me in a changing room wearing something that doesnt fit or shouldnt be worn out even if it did. I have no insider knowledge. Half the time I don't even know who the minor celebrities gracing the pages of Hello! are....I just write about what I like and my random thoughts and hope that between my brain and the page coherency somehow happens.

So i'm not really sure how this blog is influential really. But the whole idea leaves me worried.

I really hope there isnt a collection of girls across the country walking around with their skirts riding up their thighs and their zippers gaping open. I assure you all, this was never supposed to be a fashion statement. It's just that sometimes these stores make their clothes too damn small......

Lots of love, Tor

I demand some answers!!!

Thanks for the questions guys! And now (as the bad cop in a dodgy straight-to-tv movie might say) it's time for some answers:

From KD: How did you and Becky meet?How long have you known each other?
Becky and I would both agree that we should've met alot sooner than we did!
Beckys now ex boyfriend Tristan and I took a class called "the comedy of the absurd" together in my second year at uni in 2003/4. He and I became friends during/after the class and I was aware of Becky as being around but our joint shyness meant that we never actually spoke. Then when I went back to uni to do my MA last year I bumped into Becky and Tristan in the street. She admired the leopard print fur i'd just made a purchase of. We arranged to meet later in the week. Several cups of tea later and the blog and a wonderful friendship was born. (did that sound cheesy? Damn you cheesiness!)

From Dressed and Pressed: What's your favourite colour?
Hmmm, interesting question missy! You see what should be a simple one word response throws up a lot of debate; my favourite colour to wear (or at least the one I wear most and am drawn to when I shop) is black. Black as night, black as coal, as the Rolling Stones would say! However in handbag type accessories I am like a school child when it comes to baby pink; I have a baby pink vera wang make up bag, pink hello kitty ipod, pink hello kitty oyster card wallet, pink hello kitty usb get the idea.

In terms of colours I am drawn to in fabrics for non wearing reasons I like red, teal, mustard and turquoise blue. All together if possible! Well, the colours got to come in somewhere.....

AmieDavid01 asked: If you had to wear the National Costume of any country which one would it be?

This is my favourite question! You really don't see enough National dress nowadays do you? and after I had a think about it, I realised that apart from London's pearly kings and queens perhaps, this isn't a concept that really applies to us Brits.

Initially my answer to this question was "Scotland". I love tartan and Vivienne Westwood, so it seemed like a natural progression. However, during a quick google search for "national dress" I stumbled across this image and totally changed my mind!

This is the National dress of Karpathos, Greece. How beautiful does this young woman look?? (oh dear, how much like my dad did I sound just then!?) I love the elabourate gold piece and the coloured robes and even the little red patent shoes. This, dear friends, is my national dress of choice!
Our final question comes from FashionJunkie via email and it is: what should I wear to my xmas lunch tomorrow? I want to look nice but not like I have made too much effort etc

It's a good job i'm not a meglomaniac FashionJunkie, because you're supposed to be asking questions about me!!
Office parties are so hard to get it right for arent they? Lunches are even harder! My standard play is safe option for any even is a black dress. But in this instance I would go for a black dress with sleeves; 3/4 sleeves so you could show off a bangle or two would be even better!
As for everything else, maybe go for a Parisian look? Fresh faced (so dont over do the make up!) with a black dress, black tights and ballet pumps. Accessorise with simple bracelet or bangle, stud earrings and a cute headband. You could either go for something simple with a tiny bow or use this as your statement piece and wear something colourful or oversized.
Mostly fashionjunkie, have fun! After you've eaten your overcooked turkey and drank half a bottle of cheap house wine, i'm sure you'll forget you were ever worrying about it!
Thanks for the questions and the interest everyone. I hope I told you everything you wanted to know!
Lots of love,
Tor xxx

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Animal Magic!

I realised, or at least it was pointed out to me yesterday, that I have a new obsession. Well, an old obsession but one that has only just permiated my consciousness; a love of clothing and jewellery, and anything tacky with an animal on. And i'm not even fussy about which animals; from my Frances Lui scarab beetle brooch to my topshop owl ring to that delightfully tacky t shirt with a horse on it, if it shows an animal, apparently i'll wear it.

And luckily for me, fashion seems to be with me on this one at the minute. Last year the snake bracelet was everywhere (I had a black and gold one in my stocking from santa last year. This year even more animals have entered the mix. And my heart desires all of them. (Click on the image for where to buy):
This years snake bracelet is much blingier (is that a word?) than last years!

Snake: limbless scaly elongate reptile; some are venomous.

Must have tiger t shirt! Perfect with shiny black leggings (which, incidentally, my sister says make me look like a hippo trapped in a bin bag) and shrunken black blazer.

Tiger: large feline of forests in most of Asia having a tawny coat with black stripes; endangered You have no i-deer (ha!) how much I love these mittens!

Deer: distinguished from Bovidae by the male's having solid deciduous antlers

And finally, a fella who never forgets....

Elephant: five-toed pachyderm
the symbol of the Republican Party; introduced in cartoons by Thomas Nast in 1874

Maybe it's time you let some four legged loving into your life?

Love and purrs,
Tor x

Monday, 8 December 2008

you know you want to know......

I don't do it very often (chortle!) but today I decided to jump on a bandwagon! All over the bloggosphere lovely fashion bloggers have been doing "ask me anything" Q&A type posts (Susie Bubbles in particular had me in giggles!) hell, you know its a trend when Catwalkqueen give it a go! (God love 'em!)

Never one to miss a trend, the disaster I had with the star print thing surely still being evidence and fresh on everyones minds, I thought this would be a fun thing to do!

So to start this thing off I'll answer 3 questions that I get asked all the time, and then if you leave me questions in the comments box or drop me an email, I promise i'll answer all of them (as long as they aren't perverse or grossly innapropriate, of course!!)

So, big inhalation, and here goes:

1. So, is this blogging malarky a fulltime thing or do you have a proper job as well?
I put this one first because its the kind of question I get asked by parents, friends parents, friends, and almost everybody all the time!
Firstly if this was a fulltime thing, the posts would be more frequent! No, the blog is just a hobby (and love!) but I do have a "proper job" as well. I work as a senior web editor for an engineering charity: not fashiony at all then, but when you finish uni for the second time with double the debt, you have to do something! One day I would love to make fashion writing of some kind a fulltime career move (me and every second girl in the country, I know!) but for now i'm happy writing my little blog.

2. Who is your favourite designer?

I think this is a stupidly hard question because I change my mind so much! Also, i'm not really ever obsessed with one designer for very long, more because I like different trends and so I like different pieces from lots of collections. I love Betsey Johnson (as I know I write all the time and it must get boring) but I find everything she does really young and fresh and quirky; all her collections have a Japanese "fruits" style which was what really started my obsession with fashion in the first place, and whenever I buy something of hers I feel like a happier more grown up version of the teenage me. I also love Vivienne Westwood; the way she cuts and drapes is amazing and her clothes fit to boobs and hips and curves beautifully. Oh, and does Primark count as a designer? (JOKE...or is it....!)

3. If you had to leave the house naked except for one thing, what would it be?
Have you ever heard the phrase "all fur coat and no knickers"? (or is that just something my nan says?) Well anyway, that would be me! I love fur (faux of course!) and hate showing any of my flesh (even when I go on a night out, it's a thing) so the floor length fur jacket would cover everything. And of course, make me look like a movie star!!!

I look forward to answering your questions (which most of the time I find more interesting than the answers!) I hope you can come up with something better than I did!

Lots of love,


Tuesday, 2 December 2008

boys, boys, boys.....

Only when the festive season approaches do you realise quite how ruddy difficult it is to shop for boys! And not always in the traditional sense (e.g. it's always hard to know what to buy for my dad because he seems to have everything, and anything he wants (usually new trees for his garden) he goes out and buys for himself anyway.) No, i'm talking about my beloved bf and our completely contrasting views on fashion.

See, I love fashion (it's kinda a prerequisite for writing a fashion blog) and I also love experimenting with new trends and styles and patterns. My boyfriend on the other hand loves jeans, logo t shirts, stripey jumpers and his leather jacket. Done. This doesn't leave me much scope for creativity in my present buying! Take his birthday, which is on friday, for example: he really needs a new coat and I said I would buy it for him. So off we traipsed around the stores until after trying on 30 coats he found a style he liked. This is the pattern I wanted to buy for him:

This is the pattern I got:

So the long and the short of it is, I need someone to lavish all these fabulous male gifts I keep wanting to buy on. And today, that someone is you dear reader. So below is a collection of all the

things I wanted to buy and didn't:

I hope when your fingers start itching for pattern and colour, your boyfriend isn't as resistant as mine!

Happy legitimate shopping (God bless Christmas!)