So I rarely ever condemn things as ‘fashion don’ts (the phrase itself perplexes my minute brain….), but unfortunately, after a terrifying night of seeing The Orphanage (El Orfanato), directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, produced by Guillermo del Toro (of Pan’s Labryinth fame… a must-see!), I’m going to have to ban grey/chambray smock dresses with peter pan collars.  Without giving anything away, the film involves dolls, creepy bespecled old ladies, dead children and an orphanage uniform that could have been viewed as cute at first but by the end gives you jitters.  It was quite corny/amusing how the whole audience I was watching it with jumped/shrieked at all the right moments and that hasn’t happened to me in a while.

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Actually, just any dress even nudging towards that smocky peter pan collared direction like these ones from eBay are off the wardrobe palette too.  I’ll be sad to see that Charles Anastase/Erin Featherston element go out of the wardrobe but alas, El Orfanato has now been imprinted on the brain… fans of the Peter Pan collared dress beware…

Vintage Nurse Uniform // Secretary Stripy Dress

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I only wish I could capture this on camera because it’s quite hard to be eloquent/succint when talking about what I have been witnessing.  In the last week or so, I’ve noticed a number of women (4 to be precise…) wearing their blazers, loose, single breasted and slightly wrinkled, smacking of the early 90s’ and most likely found in the charity shop and high waisted trousers that are wide at the top and taper down, with some of them rolling them up at the cuffs, with a loose t-shirt tucked into the trousers and some square toed or driving flats.  The look was saying ‘competent, successful casual career women of the 90s’ which should all be a bit wrong but somehow, it looked really right and refreshing, as the wearers had spot-on accessorising in the bags/sunnies or the t-shirts were a bit luxe looking or they, the people were just making it all work.

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YSL SS08 might have been a contributant factor but some veered to a rather zany palette with one example wearing a dusty pink blazer, a sherbet yellow loose t-shirt and large red gingham-patterned trousers, with the shape as described above and a pair of grey square toed patent shoes.  So together and wonderful, this outfit looked that I stood gawping for about two minutes and was tempted to lock her down and get her email address so that I could implore The Sart to hunt her down and snap her (my ropy camera work wouldn’t do the outfit justice…).

Whilst I muse on this welcome and emerging trend, alas, for me to embrace it would require the trouser hunt which is the bane of my life, hence why you see me wearing so few trousers on this blog…. but for those who find the trew hunt a doddle, I’d say go forth with the polished daytime ‘Vivian Ward’ from Pretty Woman look… semi-illustrated by this image from Wonderland Spring 2008 magazine.

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(‘Dungaree Dolls’, shot by Ben Weller, styled by Anthony Unwin)

It’s not often that I have to find myself eating my words, knawing and taking big bites, but with COS (Collection of Style, H&M’s higher-end/quality, minimal store), I have seasoned those words to perfection and I’m taking bites with gusto.  From being skeptical, to easing myself into it, to downright loving it, I’ve done a complete 180 and though I don’t go in as often (blame the Regent Street location – AS nightmarish as Oxford Street I find these days so I’m hoping an online store will come our way soon…), going in today had me touching and stroking and basically wanting everything in the store. 

The irony of it is that I just don’t look like a COS customer at all.  Wearing a blue floppy hat, ruffly cuffs and collar and sheer shimmer tights, tasteful Jil Sander/Dries Van Noten-clad Parisians/Belgiums in the store were probably aghast that I was even touching the clothes…

I think their SS08 campaign imagery shows the versatility of COS pieces though, in that because of their simplicity, allowing the all-important details to come forth and be highlighted, adding the odd styling touch such as the red bow, the various net skirts, works favour of the pieces.  Translation for Susie, paying the Topshop-prices for COS, is a better investment in the end as the opportunity to play them up up up are endless and of course wearing COS au natural, has joys of its own.

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I spy a bow and structural corset top (it’s actually a double layered top….)…

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A black netted skirt is adding to the tulle ideas but this one is of a more simple yet effective nature…

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Bare and unadorned works too…

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Times UK has coined a phrase ‘masstige’ (as in prestige for the masses…. yes… it sounds stupid but works as a label…), makes COS fall into this category and whilst the article is championing the rise of the Jaeger/Jigsaw/Aquascutum/Reiss ‘Go Brits!’ lot, if I am going to be joining the supposed ‘middle market’ because I’m now getting older or quivering my boots about the recession and supposedly spending my money in a wiser way (these are all general trends that are supposed to be happening to us ppl…or so they say…) I’ll be getting my fix of ‘masstige’ from COS.

COS I want it, COS I want it… (hopefully no one else GOT that Bille Piper song reference…)

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Please do ignore the slight feeling of ‘Sadako’ from The Ring, in these images of Seiko Taki’s SS08 collection.  They just happened to prompt me to go on a search on Yoox for odd tulle pieces because for some reason, Yoox, with their seasons old stock consistently harbous many tulle confections from various Italian designers that I haven’t encountered in reality.  Enough of the browsing action though, because as soon as I get the all clear from the BBC weather forecast, I’m going to go on an all out binge to acheive a long tulle skirted, wedding cake effect on the bottom with something quite tight and minimal on top, finished with satin flats.     

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This is to be achived with a mix of mesh leggings, skirts by Missotten who seem to excel at the long skirted tulle creations, possibly with the addition of a dress by Haute or Gianluca Capannolo (no, I’m not firing out names in a knowing fashion… I haven’t a clue either but just go with it….) and the easy vintage tulle crinoline skirt options from Rokit/Beyond Retro and the like.  I demand wedding cake on the legs, and I’m not going to hold back on the number of tiers, ruffles, shades of peach/nude I go for.  This all probably sounds terrifying but I guess when wedding cake-stylee tulle skirts take over your brain, you would get a little posessed (see girl in the image above – totally entranced/hypnotised by Seiko Taki’s tulle/chiffon creations….)   

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