Monday, 30 May 2011

Sugar Solid Styling - Eckart Wessels

On the 8th of May, Eckart Wessels, Gillian Chambers and I decided to make magic.  Eckart is a 20 year old model from Richards Bay who’s decided to use his looks to make enough money to travel the world.  Modelling wasn’t his dream job but he’s using it to make his real dream come true, I think that’s a great idea.

He approached Gillian and me a few weeks ago and both of us jumped at the chance to showcase his gorgeous ginger hair (I have a thing for ginger hair).  As a newish model, he worked beautifully, smoothly transitioning into each new look or mood and we captured some great shots for his book.
Here are three of my favourites from the day’s work:

The important thing for Eckart's book was to get in a few sultry, fashion looks to illustrate his ability to showcase fashion items.  Dying ivy growing on a wall in Gillian's courtyard worked perfectly with his warm colouring.  The dying leaves had gone orange, perfect for his hair, while the surviving few emphasised the green in his eyes.  The final look came out very Ralph Lauren with an "American boy next door" feel.
I wanted to show a manlier side to Eckart's look by channeling Grant Wood's American Gothic.  I've always been a fan of the painting for many reasons (from growing up on a farm to watching too much Courage The Cowardly Dog) and thought we could modernise (modelise?) it.  It's probably my favourite shot.

A little bit of eccentric exploring of Annie's Wardrobe produced the final look of the shoot.  This gorgeous shirt brought an ethereal feel to Eckart's look with the angelic light surrounding him perfectly.

You can find more images from this shoot on Gillian Does… and Eckart’s full portfolio here.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Turn Headlines

I'm sorry for the horribly corny post title but that won't be the last of it, so prepare yourself.  I'm not the manicure kinda girl and I absolutely suck at sitting still so my nail's are generally natural or textured*. 

textured adj.  The unattractive appearance of polished nails after having been smashed up against many surfaces during the drying stage.

Because of this, I'm not a big nail art person.  It sounds like a lot of effort, especially if whatever I try will just end up looking like road kill.

BUT. . . I found this last night - a newspaper print on your nails by cute polish.  It's really simple, quirky and subtle enough to go with any outfit (another problem with nail art). One could even describe the look as cute-icle (I did warn you)!  I'm so trying it later, I'll just have to get someone to tie me down long enough for it to dry. 

You'll need:

  • Some rubbing alcohol (available from any pharmacy)
  • Gray nail polish
  • Base coat
  • Top coat
  • Scissors
  • Newspaper (That stuff you keep in your cupboard for accidents)

And that's all! Let me know if you tried it, would love to see some pictures or read some reviews. Hope you manage to nail it. . . Okay, I'll stop now.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

5 Things You Should Stop Wearing

It’s difficult enough trying to figure out what’s still in fashion, what’s going out, what’s a trend and what’s a fad.  Because it can be hard to keep up with all the do’s of the season, here are some don’ts that should help relieve your morning dressing dramas (and my judgemental eyes).

Boob tubes

Boob tubes had their time but it’s over now, so stop it.  There’s no doubt they’re cool, comfortable and easy to wear in summer but the silhouette just isn’t in anymore.  No, it’s not just because it’s winter and you’d be silly to expose your shoulders in this weather.  It’s because the vintage, nostalgic and predominantly wistful feel to the season just doesn’t have room for the unflattering cut. If you are planning on going strapless though, opt for a sweetheart cut instead.

Chandelier Earrings

Don’t be depressed ladies, they had their time and it’ll be back soon, just not right now.  Once again, the silhouette is wrong for the season.  We’re not looking to overindulge this winter, we’re looking to entice.  Less flashy, quirkier earrings like small studs, bold buttons or brooch-like earrings are the more mysterious option for the season.   Think Audrey Hepburn


As I’ve discovered, gloss is a b*tch to wear in Cape Town. With all the wind, your hair is almost guaranteed to stick to your lips and as a woman, I find it surprisingly hard to be suave with a moustache.  Gloss was huge three years ago and beyond, a quick and easy way to glam up a look without much effort or thought.  Now, eh, not so much. Matte matches the maturity of this season’s look so stock up on stains and lipsticks rather than gloss.

Rose Rings

I know, you’re shocked, “Florals are so in right now?!” They are and they’re gorgeous, but the rose ring thing was overdone. I totally fell for it too, they’re adorable and add an awesome splash of colour to your wardrobe but they don’t make the cut this season.  Don’t regret the purchase, they weren’t expensive and can sit at the back of your jewellery box till the next rose revolution.  Here are some rose-alternative options for the diehard fans.

1. Rose Ball Ring – Diva 
2. Summer Cluster Flower Ring – Accessorize 
3.  Flower and Pearl Look Stack Ring– Top Shop (they deliver to South Africa!)

Designer Sunglasses

Branding should never be the main reason behind any purchase.  Just because it says “Guess” or “Hugo Boss” on your sunglasses does not make it a good choice.  Both men and women find themselves being more adventurous with sunglasses and their colours today, opting for cheaper, no-name brands. It’s hard to keep up with the colour trends or your outfit changes when your entire eyewear budget has been blown on one designer pair so stock up with loads of colourful or neutral pairs in different shapes instead.  It’s also great for the forgetful types (one in my bag, one in my car, one at my mom’s, etc. . .)

P.S. Just in case you never got the memo, here are three things that were never in:

Monday, 23 May 2011

Modernized Nostalgia

It’s my first winter in Cape Town and as far as I understand, every day should be like today – overcast, raining, windy and cold.  When I’m engulfed in weather like this my first instinct is to wear gray.  Although gray is an awesome colour that goes with everything, don’t let your winter be colourless.  Colour should be celebrated this winter and it comes to us in a reinvented vintage.  With the world ending, the economy crashing and natural disasters happening every other week, people are yearning for the simplicity of the good ol’ days.

In conjunction with the brilliant people at Pantone, these are my top three colour schemes for this winter: Burnished Nectar, Champagne Royale and Lipstick Topiary.

Burnished Nectar

Pink has been at the top of everyone’s colour list for the past few seasons and it’s not moving down anytime soon.  Windsor Wine, Pink Nectar and Burnished Lilac erupt in memories of my five year old self shuffling around my grandmother’s house in her heels and scarves.  The feminine colours have an elegantly grounded feel to them, making it easy to go girly or be boyish.

Champagne Royale

Gentian Violet, Port Royale and Champagne Beige exude nothing but royalty this winter.  Don’t be fooled by Royal Blue, purple is the imperial colour of the season and it demands the attention of your subjects.  Depending on your personality, dress top to toe in the regal colour or accent with accessories.  Either way, make sure to include your champagne, be it the colour or the drink.

Lipstick Topiary

Garden parties might not be ideal in this kind of weather, but hot tea and biscuits are always in season.  Lipstick Red, Garden Topiary and Gunmetal emanate attitude and are essential for any occasion.  For a safe look, accent a gray outfit with green accessories and a bit of red lipstick or go bold with gray only making an appearance as your jewellery.

Whether you decide to go for colour blocking or subtle accenting, enjoy winter this year with a bit more personality.

Images used for colour palettes sourced from We Heart It.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Geek Gone Chic

T shirt design by threadless

The Geek trend is not as strong this season as it was last but the style is still being integrated into our current trends through a more delicate use of accessories.  I have a thing for geeky boys and the modest use of these items help communicate parts of your personality such as intellect, a love of computer games or your complete Harry Potter book collection.

Nerd glasses are still seen being worn by fashion leaders in the streets.  Glassless frames are an easy way to brighten up an outfit or add a touch of personality.  Don’t feel embarrassed wearing glasses that serve no purpose other than to add to your wardrobe, you’re fashion forward, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Briefcase bags are also a great item to have this season. If you’re not too keen on a briefcase bag, remember that any top handle bag fits this trend too. Fill your bag with oodles of lipstick and blush if you’re a poser or stock up on sharp objects in preparation for the zombie apocalypse – they’ll never know.

Mixed prints used to be a faux pas, it was definitely a tip my mom raised me on: “Never wear two different prints in one outfit!”  That rule has been thrown out of the window this season.  Ignorance is bliss, so throw a few patterns together and have fun.

Remember that these trends are just a fragrance to your outfit, don’t overdo it by mixing them all together.  Let your inner geek out and have fun!
P.S. Speaking of being a geek, aren’t these just the coolest fridge magnets? And that’s coming from a BlackBerry addict. . .

Friday, 13 May 2011


Wedding gowns, every girl’s perfect dress! I’m not a huge wedding person (except for the open bars) but I do know that wedding dresses are traditionally white, there’s a big poofy part at the bottom and lace is almost always involved whether it be delicately applied to the skirt, lavishly to the shoulders or secretly to the underwear. What I’m trying to point out is, wedding dresses aren’t exactly known for their varying styles. 

The Daily Mail reported today that the Dutchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton’s, Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen wedding dress seems to be a copy of Isabella Orsini’s.  Isabella Orsini married Prince Edouard de Linge of Belgium two years ago in a gorgeous Gerald Watelet wedding gown.  The similarities are “startling” according to the article due to the lace appliqué bodice, the full skirt and the long train.  You know, I think they’re on to something here – they’re both white too! AhMaGash.

The dresses are quite similar, no doubt, but you’re not exactly spoilt for choice when deciding on a traditional wedding dress.  White or cream? Veil or no veil? Poofy or fitted? Lace or rhinestones? The lingerie is definitely the most exciting decision to make during the planning.

From the Victoria's Secret Sexy Little Bride Collection

Lace has been and still is a very strong trend, the high-waisted skirt is a must for the season, the long train is an understated version of Princes Diana’s dress and do I really have to explain why both to-be-princesses were wearing tiaras?

Granted, I am surprised that Sarah Burton and her team hadn’t picked up on the similarities while designing the dress but I’ll admit that I much prefer it.  The fitting of Sarah Burton’s wedding dress is much better than Gerald Watelet’s and the buoyancy was much better balanced with the smaller veil and elegant lace.

Isabella was very sweet about the whole matter though, telling Italian magazine Novella 2000 “It means Kate Middelton has good taste.” 

For more images, view the Daily Mail article here

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Censor Me Sunglasses

Those horrible creatures we call friends often celebrate our companionship by posting party pictures on social networking websites like facebook.  Yeah, we’ve all seen the pouting, the champagne drinking and the dodge looking cigarette in your hand.  Don’t worry, I’m not judging you.  It’s not like my nickname Sugar Solid Tush came from my degree of consistent sweetness. 

I’m here to help and so is Urban Outfitters.   These fabulous sunglasses act as a censor during any or all taboo moments that might end up online.   I know a few people that could do with a pair of these - Kate Moss, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan and of course myself.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

100% Koton

At this time of year, I absolutely hate being bombarded by gorgeous fashion magazine covers from England, Italy, USA, France and more with their excitement for Spring finally arriving.  Blah blah blah, the bastards, I want to be warm.  However, after having said this, I recently came across Turkish brand Koton and they’re totally on our side.  I’m in love with their Spring 2011 Collection which could easily work for the South African autumn.  Obviously, ordering from them isn’t in my budget, but if you have the resources, why not be as stylishly dressed as the rest of the world (while still being warm).

The collection unites the structured-flowing lines of the 70s (totally in right now), a defined silhouette and a pastel palette, which is thankfully still going strong.  I say thankfully, because this means I won’t have to get rid of half of my (now pastel) wardrobe.

Here’s a taste of some of their collection, with more shots available here

Monday, 9 May 2011

Let's Not Get Loud

There are so many television shows that tell you what you can and cannot wear, all dependent on your age, your sex and your position in life.  None of them, unfortunately, involve a person’s personality.  Apparently, no matter who you are or what you do, when you’re a woman over 40 you’re forced to wear synthetic fabrics that cut your boobs in half, have gathers that hide your tummy and are equipped with the all-magical capped sleeves – cool but still amazing at hiding chicken wings.  There you go, your world of fashion has been defined, compressed and packaged for your convenience.

Screw that, just because you’re at a certain age or of a certain sex does not mean you have to stick to a predefined formula of A-line skirts and froggie shoes.  There are much easier ways to dress the right way for your personality that is both flattering and tells the right story.  Fashion is all about what you’re trying to say and it’s usually pretty easy to read.

A paint stained shirt usually means you’re an artist, a black slipknot shirt usually means you’re a fan of metal and an unbelievably short skirt usually spells out tart.  It’s not that hard to interpret the subtle codes of dressing.  Clothes are usually described as ‘loud’ or ‘understated’ for very important reasons.

Clothes are loud when they scream something, anything, not just a bright colour or an annoying pattern.  Wearing all pink with your name as your necklace usually screams “I’M A GIRL!”  Too much makeup and sunglasses on your head says “I’M TRYING TO BE YOUNG!” While Ed Hardy just exhales “I’M A DOUCHEBAG WITH ABSOLUTELY NO TASTE!” We realise all these things without the blaring signs.  Your boobs point out the fact that you’re a woman, the talk about your latest boy-toy helps us realise you’re still “young at heart” and the fact that you’re personality was learned from WWE is obvious without the Christian Audigier uniform.

Screaming anything to anyone is painfully irritating, it comes across as attention seeking or needy.  As with any form of communication, this applies to fashion as well.  People enjoy the mystery and subtleties involved in getting to know someone.  Laying it all out there is never attractive.

Understated is exactly the rule people need to stick to when dressing.  Don’t say too much and never over do it, in short: “don’t scare people.”  When dressing, you have the opportunity to communicate who you are to other observers.  Statement pieces like a band tshirt, vintage brooch, wayfarers or a beanie are simple items that communicate your personality.  The important guideline to remember is that these items have the potential to show your personality without screaming them.  Onlookers have the opportunity to look at you, get a small sense of who you are and decide whether or not to find out more. 

If all this advice still fails you, listen to Coco:  “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory." – Coco Chanel

Thursday, 5 May 2011

That New 70s Show

It’s always riveting to see how fashion is re-fitted, revamped and revived for new use in a new decade.  This decade sees the revival of the psychedelic 70s.  I was hardly a twinkle in my mom’s puberty-stricken eyes during this time, but I’ve seen pictures - it looked awesome.

With my calendar jam-packed with arts and music festivals, I can’t wait to get my hands on some of the key pieces that make up the trend. See the return of flowing sheer blouses, midi and maxi skirts, denim shirts, giant hats, leather, high waists and patterns galore!

Yes, I said denim shirts. DON’T PANIC! I realise denim shirts usually spark up images of people of Walmart, but if worn properly, denim can be your best friend (once again).  Just make sure denim is an accessory to your outfit rather than a base, such as denim shirts worn as light jackets, denim waistcoats or jeans (preferably bellbottoms).  I wouldn’t go far as suggesting you unpack your long denim skirts (don’t…) but the fabric is making a reappearance in its most classic form.

Flowing blouses will be a go-to piece within this wardrobe, easily made feminine with floral patterns or a little more masculine when teamed with denim, waistcoats or belts. Opt for more streamline versions of the maxi or midi skirts to achieve a completely 70s inspired look, fuller skirts may be too 1950s for this look.

Accessorise this look with headbands, leather satchels, brogues and high waisted shorts - which should already make up some of your wardrobe – and enjoy!

Image © Jamie Nelson

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Just Lovin' Somedays

Australian brand Somedays Lovin has me all excited for the upcoming season I’ve been blatantly ignoring for the past few days.   The change to winter is never a smooth transition for me as I try live in denial for as long as possible, but brands like this get me packing my bikinis away and searching for my (faux) fur and cowboy hats (yes, plural).

Their Autumn and Winter lookbooks play on a sultry version of “Cowboys and Indians” (or Cops and Robbers as I knew it) with rich prints and earthy browns.  I absolutely love the collection and how the two seemingly contradictory styles complement each other so perfectly.

Somedays Lovin designer Jaye Leigo had this to say about the collection:

"My debut collection is a mash up of everything I’m loving, deep textural feather plumages, an obsession with vintage lace and a slight respectful nod to Slim Aarons who has the innate ability to capture divine private moments and then make them frozen in time."

Check out their Autumn/Winter 2011 lookbook here

Monday, 2 May 2011

Fashion 101

To some people fashion is nothing more than a cult that many blindly follow in order to call themselves elitist or chic.  This is understandable as most people with this point of view flick through the fashion channel once in a blue moon only to find stick thin models who could pull potato sacks off as Elie Saab.  Either that or Vivienne Westwood will be showcasing her latest use of toilet brushes as the next big fashionable accessory. (Don’t steal my ideas, Vivienne.) 

Well here’s a short explanation on why us elitists - I mean - fashion conscious people (FCPs) are not completely mad, blindly following some designer who obviously has a mental disorder. 
Through the eyes of an FCP, fashion shows speak to us personally, they describe the zeitgeist through flawlessly structured lines, elegant and fitting fabrics, and designs that perfectly illustrate the season and its moods.  

FCPs realize that fashion is about more than just covering up your body, hiding your large thighs or making sure you fit the dress code.  Fashion is the complete opposite, it’s here to show you off, not hide you – both physically and psychologically. Fashion is only here because we use it to communicate in ways or circumstances that your facebook status or tweet cannot. Yes, it’s that thing our parents used before the internet – personal interaction or something.

Many people, fashion conscious or not, find dressing each day a frustrating process.  Certain clothes make you feel too fat, too boring, too loud and some clothes just make you feel like that tall skinny assistant in the very expensive shoe store isn’t going throw a glance your way (bitch).  The beauty of fashionable outfits is that it doesn’t matter how they make your body look. The splendor of the entire ensemble should be the garment, your body almost doesn’t come into the equation (Yes, I’m being serious).

For example, some girls feel they shouldn’t wear ankle boots because of their build (cankles), however, when the boot is incredibly chic, what observing woman really gives a **** what your ankles look like in them? I mean, just look at those shoes! 

That shirt you’ve decided to wear tonight might be just a little too short to hide your love handles - God forbid people realize you have fat on your body!  However, when that shirt has an amazing print that just exudes who you are, no one’s going to be thinking “Woah, muffin top much?”  All they’ll be wondering is whether or not you’re as interesting as your shirt says you are.  Here’s an example of a shirt I’d wear regardless of what it made my hips do (because let’s face it, they don’t lie).

Available from Diesel Sweeties

Fashion, when used properly, can ensure that how you feel your body looks or compares to others is irrelevant. What you wear each day can be used as a wordless introduction to people.  Fashion gives us the freedom to communicate who we are, what we’re for and what we’re against without having to interact too much – let’s not be completely stone age and talk to people now.

 Suddenly the items that have always been on your “cannot pull off” list are available; your world of fashion has expanded and there are no boundaries, no restrictions and no rules. Well, maybe fewer boundaries, fewer restrictions and fewer rules.  I’m not going to totally bullshit you here.  It is this demand, rather than a mental disorder, that drives designers like Vivienne Westwood to what many may think is utter madness, but in reality is pure genius.