New Season, New Start? Get Our Fashion Advice

As the relentless grey months seem to be passing and the bright blue sky making a more than welcome appearance, it can be tempting to think about blowing off the cobwebs and making a fresh start in time for spring. To help you on your way, we’ve compiled a review of winter fashion 2010/11 hits and misses and a preview of what’s in store for the new season.

In tune with the more than usually icy climate in December, warm fur boots remained a firm favourite and long-laced biker boots make an appearance – a welcome alternative to high heels when it cam to trekking to work in sub-zero temperatures or standing in long snaking queues waiting for cancelled flights. 1950s schoolboy satchels made a comeback and are set to last well into the new season thanks to their versatility as gender neutral and large enough to carry your files and lunch without the need for a trolley! The so-called man-bag briefly set the fashion world against one another – trendy chic or last-year’s fad? David Cameron’s media man may have received mixed reviews but it looks like it’s here to stay thanks to a number of celebrity and high-fashion outings for the man bag including James Long’s fabulous collection at London fashion week.

The London Fashion Week was mired in controversy after Galliano’s unexpected racist outburst but this didn’t detract from the diverse high fashions on offer. From the dark, goth-like dresses of Craig Lawrence to the suave style of Alfred Dunhill, the week showed the panelled dress and fur to be this winter’s winners.

Heading into spring, we can expect to see a lot more colour. Bright block primary colours are making a splash, particularly when it comes to accessories – check out MyWalit’s range of rainbow purses, spot on trend! A bit of patriotic colour won’t go amiss either, leading up to the royal wedding in April. Kate Middleton’s style is certainly one to watch as well – check out her penchant for Australian hats. Harem trousers seem to be making an unfortunate comeback – perfect for those size zero models but less appealing for us mere mortals. Gypsy skirts are also a fashion to keep on top off – floaty, feminine and easy to pull off, no matter what your shape, this is one fashion that it’s worth investing in. (No need to shave your legs too!)

For men, matching leather is the way to go – check out Kenneth Brownne’s elegant range of leather accessories and gift sets, many matching in colour and style. Men’s fashions are set to get increasingly casual but make sure you team this with elegant and well-chosen practical accessories like leather wallets and matching belts.

Fashion Advice For the Modern Man – 10 Simple Rules Every Man Must Follow

When you step out of the house, your clothes advertise much about you. Along with your face and hair, you clothing is one of the first things people will notice and they will judge you quickly on first impressions. When you are at work and about town, it is important to present a confident and capable appearance.

One would think that today’s modern man would have good fashion sense already locked away in his brain, but one good look around will tell you differently. Every day, men are committing fashion suicide and this could be costing them at job interviews, meetings with the in-laws, or trying to get that all important phone number from Heather. Don’t be that man. Follow these simple rules:

1. Don’t look like you tried too hard. Unless you have a part time job as a clown entertaining at children’s birthday parties, keep your look simple by not wearing more than three major colors. Also, keep the jewelry count low. There is only one Mr. T and you are not him. A good rule is one ring per hand and one necklace only.

2. Take a friend. When you go shopping for your wardrobe, take a friend. Even better if the friend you take is a woman. You want an honest opinion of what looks good on you from somebody else’s view point.

3. Don’t overlook your shoes. I have heard that women will judge you by your shoes. I’m not sure how true this is…but why take chances. They seem to have a “thing” for shoes, as evidenced by how many pair they usually own. Check for dirt, scuffs, frayed laces, etc. Take the extra time to make sure your shoes are in top shape. Do not leave the house with ratty shoes.

4. Sandals are for the beach. Don’t wear them out of earshot of the surf. Nobody wants to see your ugly feet and toes. If you insist on wearing sandals and think you can pull off a slick look…please, please, please do not wear socks, with them.

5. Don’t spend too much. In other words, don’t buy an article of clothing just for the brand name or the logo. You can find other brands that are just as good for less money. You can further enhance your wardrobe with the money you save.

6. Keep the PJs in the bedroom. Do not ever wear your pajamas out and about. I don’t care if this is the latest fad and everyone else is doing it…you should not. Some women can get away with this…most women can’t. Men can never pull this off.

7. Hats. Seems every guy is wearing ball caps these days. Ball caps are fine…but take them off when your not “playing”. If you are not wearing shorts or jeans, you shouldn’t be sporting a ball cap. Also, remove your hat indoors. This is a rule that never goes out of style. Don’t wear your cap in a restaurant, movie theater, church, etc.

8. Look behind you. Don’t forget to check out your backside in the mirror. You don’t want to wear pants that give you a baggy butt.

9. Underwear should stay under. Nothing looks sloppier than several inches of boxer shorts sticking out of the top of your pants. Keep your pants around your waist…and your underwear in your pants. Wear a belt for crying out loud!

10. Dress for the occasion. You wouldn’t show up for a job interview in shorts and T-shirt, would you? Make sure that you wear the right clothes for the right occasion. When in doubt, it is far better to over dress than under dress. Where a necktie. If that makes you over dressed, you can take it off and stuff it in a coat pocket for a quick dress down.

You may not be a fashion model, but follow these simple fashion rules and you will not fail. You will look sharp and, in turn, you will feel confident…and that, my friend, is the point. Look better, feel better.

Beautiful Bakelite Jewelry

There is more to collecting jewelry than just focusing on precious metals and rare gemstones. A very popular market in the second hand market has sprung up and people are willing to spend fair amounts of cash to add these items to their personal collections. Vintage costume jewelry is a hot item. Specifically items made from vintage forms of plastic have become quite popular.

One of the most popular forms of old plastic jewelry sought after by collectors is Bakelite. Bakelite was a type of plastic used in a great number of household items ranging from flatware to telephones. It did not take long for it to catch on as a wonderful material for making jewelry as well. Earrings, bracelets, necklaces and all sorts of fashionable accessories were produced to take advantage of the plastic’s ability to show off amazing colors and stand up to daily use. Now these old relics are back in style and their sturdiness is paying off.

Many women who are in their later years already have a splendid variety of these now valuable baubles stashed away in jewelry boxes. Most probably do not realize how valuable their collections have become over time. Frequent visitors of estate sales know that one of the first places they should check when they arrive is the jewelry table. Vintage Bakelite jewelry gets scooped up in a hurry at these sales and is often resold on sites like eBay for a nice profit. The irony is that these items were first produced as a less expensive alternative for women during the war years of the 1940’s.

Bakelite was a welcome advance in the development of plastics. Earlier forms of plastic, such as celluloid were popular, but were also extremely flammable and less stable than Bakelite. This is not to say that Bakelite cannot be damaged. On the contrary, if you own any old jewelry made of this type of plastic, you should clean it with care and protect it as much as possible to maintain its wonderful finish.

Collecting jewelry is a great way to keep in touch with the past and celebrate fashion history. Vintage pieces of jewelry do not have to be filled with diamonds or emeralds to be valuable. Costume jewelry that has stood the test of time has earned a place in modern collections. Jewelry that has passed from one generation to the next can be especially precious to the lady wearing it. If you enjoy jewelry, take a look to the past. You might be surprised at the beautiful treasures you have been missing.