Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cheese wedges

We all know how big wedge shoes are this year and this summer there’s no escaping them. I myself now have enough to wear every day of the week, and recently became the proud owner of espadrilles. Espadrilles! Ratty string on your shoes! And somehow I love them. But I’ve also noticed a disturbing style of wedge infiltrating the stores. I call them the cheese wedge. Let me tell you of the horrors…

The “cheese wedge” is a very silly thing. It’s a bulky, unsavoury-looking beast that has no purpose but to make you walk awkwardly and look like a mong. I name it the cheese wedge because when you boil it down to the essence of the shoe it looks like you have taken regular sandals and gaffa’d a 1kg block of Colby to your feet. In fact, to save yourself some money, I would suggest that that is the road you take if you want to step into this (shudder) “trend”. The fact that I have to shudder AND double quote Trend alerts you to the fact that this is seriously bad.

So, you have your sandal cheddar strapped on, and you’re feeling a good 2 inches taller than usual. Great, you might think, what’s not to love?

What’s not to love?? Let me count the ways.

1. The purpose of heels (whether stiletto, cone, wedge: all the goodness) is to elongate the leg. It creates an illusion of the leg continuing into the masterfully angled foot. The cheese wedge does none of this. Your calves remain blissfully unaware that you are in “heels” and maintain their original (and less desirable) flat-footed position. Your feet do the same. Yes, you have elevated yourself 2 inches, but you are gaining nothing more than just that. You might as well be wearing an oversized hat.

2. You know those people who have one leg shorter than the other or some kind of club foot? You see them walking the streets in an unwieldy fashion, unless their doctor prescribes them one platform shoe to even them out. This is what you are getting. But for both feet. You’ve essentially club footed yourself right into the world of the less fortunate, and you’re shoving it in their awkwardly lopsided face.

3. Remember the 90s? We’re still all about them. But the thing about fashion cycles is that you take the best of an era and remaster it and leave behind the cheese. I once owned a pair of platform jandals. Yes, jandals. Much like regular jandals, but the rubber sole was a good two inches thick. They were terribly hard to walk in. Not only were they heavy, but the flip-flopping action of a 2-inch cast of rubber was enough to trip you up on a regular basis. The shoe makers might have added a few more straps to mitigate the flip-flop, but the weighty and cumbersome sole is still there.

4. Walking like a robot might be cool on the dancefloor (if only for its reminiscent and kitch value) but doing it on the street is a whole other ball game. Everyone knows the key to a perfect heel-wearing walk is the rule of heel-toe. Heel toe heel toe. Simple right? Well, try it with these cheesy babies on. Your platform, due to its weight and width, does not allow for a ladylike walk. Instead, you are forced to stomp flat-footed at each step. If you try a bit of heel-toe you will quickly find that the cheese wedge propels you forwards. And don’t even think about walking uphill in them! I’ll let you just ponder that one for a moment and let the imagery do the work.

Ever the optimist, I will hit you with the good news. If you are so enamoured with a cheese wedge, and you find yourself purchasing these red herrings of the shoe world, you will at least have made a solid investment in footwear. I reckon it will take about 10 years to wear those silly things down to a reasonable sole. In the meantime, enjoy the stank of off-fashion.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mullets all round!

Apologies for such a quiet November! I don’t think I’ve ever missed a whole month before, but as you know the end of the year starts to fly and I’ve been preoccupied with being occupied. Job hunting takes up more time and mental effort than the jobs themselves. But, thankfully, with a new direction and position lined up I’m ready to rip into December.

In the back of my mind throughout November was the ever-gaining presence of the mullet skirt. That’s right, it’s mullets all round this year. Just not on your head, please. Mullet or drop-back dresses were a huge feature on red carpets at the start of the year and it certainly divided the ranks of fashion commentators.

Love it or loathe it, it’s in your shops and has been quickly taken up on the streets. You can’t escape the mullet.

I’ve never been a fan of asymmetrical hemlines (or asymmetrical anything for that matter. Order Please!) I must say that this season’s hottest trend is more favourable to me than the old diagonal cut across the legs look. There’s something a bit glamorous about the party in front, business in the back skirt that mirrors the thigh-high slit in red carpet dresses. It’s sensible with splash of sexy. Glamour and fun all rolled into one. And if you’re like me and still not on board the maxi train, it gives you the leg show you so desperately desire, while keeping up with the cool leg-covering kids.

So it’s a bit wishy-washy, but an easy fix if you’re not sure which movement to follow. Kill two trends with one skirt I say. (Although, as it stands, I only say, I don’t yet do.)

There’s gotta be some bonuses to having all that extra fabric hanging around too. Like, scratchy bus seats or super-hot metal benches are no longer your worst enemy. AND, you’ve pretty much provided your own picnic blanket for impromptu trips to the beach! Huzzah!

However, on the super-no-no please-god-don’t-let-me-catch-you-actually-doing-this side, some (hopefully smart aleck) retail assistant at Supre had fashioned the long hem up between the legs of some poor unsuspecting dummy and tucked it under the belt to make some niftily terrible poo pants. I’m pretty sure we got past that one ladies. Please don’t attempt to drag it back from fashion hell. Maybe it was just a friendly suggestion as what to do if you want to kick your feet around in the surf. One can only hope.

Also on the downside, in places like our dear windy capital, your skirt is bound to be wind-swept at least once and tangle between your legs causing some awkward mobility fail moment. Not cool wind. Not cool.

So there are literally two sides to what I suspect will become one of summer’s “must haves”. And take it or leave it, you’ll be seeing it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Houndstooth: fashion with bite!

Just as we’re heading for spring amidst a wash of floaty florals, that coveted northern hemisphere is pumping out a multitude of bold fall styles. That means something to look forward to in six months’ time and, unless you’re a regular on US fashion blogs, you can say you heard it here first.

Houndstooth has re-emerged as a must have for the colder seasons up north, and I must say it’s a trend that I could certainly take on. It takes confidence and finesse to wear it en masse, but in small doses it can be the win in an otherwise dreary off-season outfit.

I will forever associate houndstooth with Gwen Stefani. She’s incorporated it into her signature style ever since the days of No Doubt, and then introduced it as attainable fashion for the world through her L.A.M.B empire.

Whether you’re a fan or not, you can certainly see it makes a bold statement if done with taste, and a blurry-eyed can of crazy if you take it to the extreme. But what more would you expect from the Gaga? Both KK and Gaga are rocking Salvatore Ferragamo’s Fall 2011 dress – and like the Miu Miu swallow print, the pattern is the feature of the entire fall line. However, I would suggest working one element at a time – unless you’re looking to jump on the insane Gaga bandwagon. The ad shows you all the pieces together, but that’s not necessarily how anyone in their right mind would stomp that out in everyday life.

Evan Rachel Wood does it nicely here, making the houndstooth shoes pop as a feature of her androgynous suited style. Similarly a flat clutch against a plain black (or white) backdrop would ooze old-school glamour and fashionista prowess. Or for a more subtle look, a pair of houndstooth tights carry over some fashion factor to an otherwise plain outfit. I’ve seen some sweet ones in Farmers with the pattern in dark purple and black, and I’d say you could find some in other muted colours like grey or blue, if you didn’t quite want the contrast of black and white but you otherwise like the look.

Monday, October 10, 2011

the "new" animal print

Forget leopard spots or zebra stripes. The new animal print is less sexy vixen and more shout out to geek chic. Ever since the ubiquitous Miu Miu swallow print entered the frame in 2010, swallow silhouettes have been rampant on anything from handbags (equally lovely) to giant platform shoes (insane!).

Of course with the trickle-down effect to the southern hemisphere, the swallows have infiltrated (and inundated) copycat looks over our winter 2011. But there’s a new print in town, and I suspect it’s not going to stop there.

In the same week, Kourtney K and newcomer (with a fabulous name I just want to keep saying) Jayma Mays were spotted wearing different, but much the same, horse print clothing. It’s casually cool, you’re not going to see it on the red carpet, but for street outings and, y’know, regular people, this is accessible fashion at its best.

It’s the amount of clear fabric or negative space that creates the relaxed look. All over prints can create an uptight, fussy feel, and I think that’s why they can be misread as tarty or NSFW. Whereas this is a look you could just as easily pull off tucked into a pencil skirt for the office as you could wearing it over pleather leggings for a night out. Adaptable fashion at its best.

Back in the day (actually just a few years ago, but how our lives can change in such a short time) my friend had this charming fitted coyboy shirt with blue and green (correct me if I’m wrong friend, you know the one I’m talking about) reindeer printed all over it. It was quirky and cute, and just so Her. About the same time I bought a Rip Curl or Billabong “vintage look” tee that had a similar deer pattern. (I say “vintage look” in quotes because it was this kind of off-white colour, fawny even, and was quite thin material, obvs made to look like you hadn’t just pulled it off the shelf at the nearest surf/skate shop. But my bf, then still in the wooing stages, asked me at a later date why I would wear a raggedy old top to his house for dinner when I had so many other “nicer” clothes. Read, he thought it looked like shit. So perhaps the vintage appeal wasn’t quite on the money) Anyway, these tops were completely different and I thought nothing of it at the time, but perhaps deer were the beast du jour.

Then there was owl sensationalism, gracing every necklace, purse, and t shirt in town. Don’t get me wrong, owls are freakishly cool things – they’re basically flying cats if you ask me – but the motif was SO overdone, it became reserved for unashamed fashion bashers such as teenage girls. Like a song you used to like, until they played it 100 times a day on the radio and then when your young friend asks you to turn it up you defiantly turn it off instead because you will not be associated with such popularity. This is why I don’t listen to the radio.

So! What will be next? I can’t see hippos becoming chic anytime soon. It seems it has to be some kind of beautiful and mysterious creature, gentle and kind with a touch of magic. Something Beatrix Potter-esque perhaps? I’d like to say foxes. And thanks to someone knowing my not-so-secret penchant for them, I will be well ahead of the game.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Kardashian Kollection at Hannahs

As an avid watcher of the Kardashian Klan, you can imagine my delight when I heard that Hannahs were going to stock the Kardashian Kollection handbags! And unlike other let-down designer brands working with cheap retail stores (hello World Made Me Do It for Number One Shoes) the girls actually present an affordable and totally cute range of handbags for all styles.

Way down here in good ol Aotearoa we usually miss out on major US brands, or, much like TV shows, we get them all too late. This time we’re on the receiving end only a month after the Kollection was launched, and it’s available in stores that aren’t just in Auckland! Huzzah!

Remember my excitement when Topshop clothes were going to be stocked in Karen Walker in Wellington? That was just for a high-street brand. And truth be told I haven’t been in there since the opening. The selection is hand-picked, seemingly to match the high-priced items that fill the rest of the store, and rotated so often you’d have to run down there on the morning it is changed over to get any item you want. But how would you know? It’s not obvious on the website. So unless you’re running in there week after week, possibly for nothing, you might find yourself disappointed and purchase-free. That is no condition to leave a store!

What I love is that the handbags are readily available on the Hannahs website, they show all the colours and the entire range, AND you can sign up for updates on incoming items! How great is that? They’re practically doing the shopping for you! Just sign here : )

The Kardashian Kollection (the whole shebang, not just handbags) was made for Sears, and it’s supposed to be affordable and accessible. And the range does not disappoint. The (slightly Gwen-esque) Bale clutch (I just about wrote “Klutch”) is only $70. The Anaconda satchel bag is (totally cute and on trend and…) only $80. The one I want is the Tots handbag and it will only set *you (*me) (*my holiday savings) back $100! Brilliant.

Don't even think about it, this one's mine!
Like commenters on the Topshop post noted, this is not “high fashion”. These aren’t Hermes Birkin bags. They are not even Guess (although I would suggest that Guess long ago lost a whole lot of style credibility while maintaining their high price). But these girls are right up there with the glitz and glamour of L.A and they know good fashion. They’re not just selling these bags on their name (which, when it’s that big, would be easy to do) – have a look for yourself and see how cool the range is.

This is fashion for the masses, with a hint of extravagance. Love it!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

a shot of chartreuse

Colour trends have been going off in 2011 and the latest to take over the red carpet and runways is chartreuse. For those not in the know, chartreuse is a fairly disgusting spirit which some people are crazy enough (or uninformed enough about decent-tasting but still strong alcohols) to shot the foul stuff. It’s greeny-yellow in colour and in my mind will always be the colour of bile – that stuff you throw up when there’s nothing left in your stomach to chuck.

The colour trend is wide ranging because the colour itself is hard to define – but somewhere from a slightly sick-looking yellow to a brighter pistachio green falls into the category. Not only is it hard to define, but it’s extremely hard to wear, and if you don’t have the right skin tone and hair colour I wouldn’t advise trying it. Trends are not compulsory!

I remember back in the late 90s when chartreuse was around, as were a lot of other pastel-type colours (which are just no good for me, but I wasn’t aware that people couldn’t wear certain colours back then). I had this favourite outfit which comprised a (what I called lime green but would totally fall into the category of) chartreuse zip-up polo and (what I still believe would be) a super-cute dark blue denim pinafore minidress. Despite the fact that the only colour-blocking I could have imagined would have something to do with Lego, I was totally working a contrasting colour block and I have very fond memories of thinking how modern, grown-up and fab I looked.

I probably wouldn’t go near chartreuse now, because I know yellow isn’t my colour and pastels (or “baby” colours, as we called them back in the day) wash me out. I can imagine it would look quite nice in contrast to my hair colour, but in between clothing and hair I would just look seasick. And nobody wants that.

Down in our part of the world we still seem to be working with burnt orange and mustard yellows, but it won’t be long before there’s a shot of chartreuse in the shops. Perhaps just in time for spring? But if you have any sense, before diving into this pool of colour hold it up to your face and take a good hard look in the mirror. If you suddenly look rather sick, I suggest you put it right back on the shelf. If you positively glow in this hue, I would think you have started working on the pre-summer tan, or are lucky enough to have a caramel skin tone, because that is where this colour is going to shine.

If you’re still tempted, play around with some cool accessories that don’t live next to your face, like a belt, handbag or clutch, or some daring heels.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rocking the Socks (good things take time)

After months of ownership, and a few too many tryings-on and takings-off again, I finally got around to wearing my over-the-knee socks.
Not only has the cold weather hampered my stepping out in the long socks, but as always I’ve been keeping an eye on the streets and so far it seemed that this was a fast-fashion trend for the young. Maybe I was right, and it is one for the youth, but I think done right it can add a bit of sexy prep and it oozes fashionability.

I had wondered for some time if the answer was to wear them over stockings – not black of course as that would defeat the purpose (the socks are black). So finally, after thinking I had the perfect outfit and opportunity to wear them, and subsequently taking them off again, I thought “No! Persevere!” so I tried them on over a pair of silver/grey patterned tights that I rarely wear.

It totally worked. I instantly felt less slutty and more fashion-forward. Plus the vagueness of the grey tights did well to give the there-but-not-there feeling I wanted. The almost-dowdiness of the stockings also took me away from looking a bit “too FASHION” considering the environment to which I was heading. I do like my friends to think of me as a bit of a trend ambassador, someone who’s willing to try out something new, when it comes to clothing. But there’s a difference between “tryer” and try-hard. So a win on all fronts.

I had considered trying them over my fire-truck red tights, but then I think perhaps the “look at me” slutty feeling I was trying to avoid could have become heightened. It would also mean sticking to a black dress on top (because what else can you wear with red that doesn’t clash or compete?) and the particular black dress I had initially wanted to wear turned out to be a bit too long.

There’s a certain type of dress you need to work the socks without feeling like the high-school skank. It has to be short enough to emphasise the sock. It can’t detract from the sock as the feature of the outfit. And it’s not definitely not tight. The tight on bottom loose up top rule prevails. Socks or stockings are equal to pants, and they are exceptionally tight pants at that. A tight dress with those bad boys is a crime against both fashion and good decency!

Next step, exchange the brogues for a heel. That’s right. Open heels with socks. Shock horror! I know that too was once a fashion crime, we’ve even discussed it right here, but the times they are a changing. But search the window displays – even better, search the runways – and there you will find the socks with heels trend firmly set on the fashion-forward foot.

nailed it!

I was once a terrible nail-biter. Perhaps I still am, in the same way that teetotallers are just on-the-wagon alcoholics. I still have bouts of nervous or boredom-induced biting, but I have managed to find relief in nail polish.

It’s the simplest of answers, but it was not easy to get started. When you have stumpy, ragged fingernails from years of biting, the last thing you want to do is draw attention to them by painting them in brilliant hues. I suppose you could ease your way in by starting with clear or a neutral colour but I have never been one to do things by halves. I was also somewhat bullied into fixing my habit by the bf, who thinks nail biting is a filthy habit and took it upon himself to smack my fingers away from my mouth. (Not in an abusive way – more like how you might swipe a cat’s paws away from your newly upholstered couch.)

So I started buying more nail polish and it opened up a fabulous world for me. Cheaper than clothing and make up, nail polish is a quick fix for my other habit – fulfilment via purchase. There are a million shades to suit your mood, outfit, skintone – whatever – and it’s easily interchangeable provided you have about an hour in which to sit still.

This is probably the hardest part for me. I’m a bit of a fidget. Or someone will pull out a bag of chips and however delicately I try to remove a tasty treat I’ll always end up smudging colour across the bag or studding my fresh nails with chippy crumbs. I have also been known to make the fatal mistake of doing my nails to close to going out, in a last-minute ditch for perfection, in which case you promptly smear or scuff one as you perform the outfit-change frenzy dance. But the worst scenario is the sudden need to go to the toilet 5 minutes after you’ve finished. Guaranteed destruction of at least one hand, no matter how delicately you pull up your pants. It might humour you to know I once called for bf to come and do it for me. Ahhh couple life. Nothing is sacred.

I must say I take a lot more notice of people’s nails these days. There is this woman who gets on my bus who is one of those “not particularly attractive but makes up for it with a perfectly preened appearance” types you sometimes have to admire. But then she was standing and holding on to the seat in front of me and I noticed her nails! They were bitten down so far past her fingertips the skin appeared to actually be growing over the top of the nail. Disgusting! My opinion of her quickly changed. She might be able to keep up the charade up top, but as soon as you caught a glimpse of her hands any admiration was out the door. How vile! I thought. And then I realised that once (albeit to a lesser extent) that could have been me.

So now it’s a part of my regular routine. I have a cupboard full of colours (many of them ridiculously similar in shade, as I am often drawn to the same colours but seem to think if it’s a different brand it might somehow be different). The other end of the routine however is to pick it all off a few days later. Usually while bored at work. If you get enough layers you can just about peel the whole nail off in one piece and it is OH SO satisfying. Probably not the best for the integrity of the nail, but I soon get it covered up with the next shade. God forbid that I do not fix things up within the next 24 hours, because a bare nail is prone to inspection, picking, and eventual biting.

This season’s colours are essentially springy, mostly pastel shades and with quite a matte finish. It certainly stands out. I’m normally one for a darker colour, but I have found a fondness for bright oranges – perhaps because it is a colour I wouldn’t wear in any other case. It’s all brightness and fun and spring/summer ready, so leave the winter hues behind and make a splash in pastel!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

reality bites

I don’t usually like to talk too much about my endeavours to lose weight because it’s a subject that can be offensive to some and seen as self-indulgent to others.
I’ve been struggling around the 60kg mark for a few years now. The problem was first discovered in my Brougham Street flat in 2005, I was no longer 55kg. I had never been on a diet. I had never used scales before until curiosity got the better of me and there happened to be some in the bathroom – a remnant from a flatmate passed, probably completely off-balance, but they quietly informed me I weighed 57kg.

I promptly joined the gym.

I had been dancing since I was 6 years old, the equivalent of two-thirds of my life at the time, and I had never watched what passed through my lips. A massive fan of McDonalds, sweets, and positively mad for bread, I am prime candidate for what the Americans call the Freshman 5. I left dance behind in my hometown and started uni - a life of late nights and drinking, strangely scheduled bain marie meals and an endless supply of lollies at the hotel where I worked night shifts, and a habit causing late-night baking binges and trips to the dairy. I gave in to every craving that momentarily popped into my head.

Aside from the burgers (walking past KFC on the way home for 4 years didn’t help – I swear they actively pump the smell out the vents to lead people zombie-like into their lair), I have, for the most part, eaten healthily. I don’t eat red meat and I knew how to cook, so it’s not like I was living off steaks or 2-minute noodles. But the accumulation of lifestyle, lack of will power, and social influences brought me to the 2kg over what I knew as my ideal weight. I thought if I can just lose that 2kg and get back to 55, I will be happy. A great lover of food, I wasn’t going to actively diet, I just started working out 4-5 times a week.

You’d think that would work. That’s more than some people would work out in a month. But as that ‘lover of food’ I think I compensated and the ‘just work out’ method has never done anything for me. Still, I carried on that line for a few years. I have never seen the needle stop at 55kg since.

The next milestone was about 2 years into a long-term relationship. I now had a good job and expendable income and a partner to halve the guilt of poor choices. The long-term relationship is also widely blamed for putting on weight. We exercised together, which made it easier to get along to the gym, but we also indulged together. The other problem of having someone who loves you and thinks you are desirable is having them tell you that. I hit 60kg. I wanted to lose weight. But my wonderful man kept telling me I didn’t need to, he thought I was sexy, to stop being silly. As nice as that is, it wasn’t helpful. I would be better off if he was agreeing, saying yes, you could lose a little, because it is very easy to take the compliment and continue on your path.

This is where things get tricky. At this point, some of you are pissed off, thinking 60kg, what is this bitch on about? So let me be clear. I am in no way saying 60kg is “overweight”. I am not about to starve myself. Your weight is a totally personal thing which is relevant only to yourself. I made the mistake of explaining why I wasn’t going to have any fries with a drink after work the other night in front of someone who is a lot bigger than me. It offends people because the instant reaction is “if you think you need to lose weight, you must think I’m a fucking pig”. But it’s really not like that. I’m talking in terms of MY ideal 55. I couldn’t care less if my friends are big or small – it’s not my place to judge or interfere. If people are happy let them be happy. If they want to do something about their weight I am not the kind of person that says “Noooo, you’re perfect the way you are.” If that’s the way they feel then let them have it. Unless they’re just digging for compliments, in which case my reaction will come as a shock, if a person genuinely thinks they need to lose weight they probably have a good reason for feeling so. So I said to this person “you don’t see me naked, so you’re opinion doesn’t count”.

As good a comeback as that was, it was something of a lie. It’s not the naked me that has me worried. It’s that my clothes don’t look as good as they used to. I spend so much longer trying on my wardrobe full of lovely fitting dresses for a night out and finally resort to my trusty black skinny jeans. There was the shoe-throwing incident earlier in the year. When your clothes aren’t fitting right, it’s time to do something about it – and not just start buying a larger size. I did that when I went from an 8 to 10, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to start buying size 12s on a regular basis.

I moved house at the start of the year – in with my bf and away from my gym. I didn’t go to the gym for about 3 months and I have never quite gotten the hang of serving appropriate portions for me and my partner as opposed to equal portions.

When I started back at the gym about a month ago the scales loomed. They were those big industrial and therefore accurate-looking dealies. I don’t know what I was expecting. Perhaps to still be sitting around the 60 mark. Not ideal, but I couldn’t expect too much after my sabbatical, and besides, my peers kept insisting that I look great. An enviable body. The scales told me otherwise. I did not feel enviable at around 63kg.

I usually only talk about weight and stuff with a couple of friends. Those that understand the relativity of it all, but none of them are as big as me. It’s hard when everyone around you is smaller, no matter what your size is you’ve always got someone to compare with where you come out worse off. So I was at a party and chatting to a girlfriend, telling her my woes. Anyway, this friend, bless her heart, said you me “you’re crazy, what are you like 55kgs?”.

HA! I laughed in her face! Perhaps I still looked good in my carefully chosen clothes to her, but I knew better. It also made me realise that if she guessed I was 55, and she is so much smaller than me, she must weigh around 50kg. And then I was too embarrassed to correct her.

At this point I had started back at the gym, forgetting that that hadn’t worked for me at 57, so I don’t know why I thought it was going to make a difference now. I was still indulging the slightest craving, probably eating more than ever. I had somewhere introduced another meal into my day. Morning tea had become sandwich time, and then lunch had become relatively bigger. I knew what I was doing, but the constant reassurance from my partner and friends had made me complacent. Maybe I could just do whatever I wanted and still look good in their eyes.

But it is not their eyes that count.

I knew I wasn’t happy with myself. I knew I needed to do more. And last week, after talking to the only other person who is as straight-talking as me, I decided to do it for myself.

First step: portion control. I do not need to eat as much as my partner and I do not need a whole sandwich or muffin as a “snack”. Just working out obviously doesn’t cut it for me, so I need to reduce my intake – simple as that. Second step: pace. I eat like a mad woman. I have loaded my fork before my mouthful is half chewed. I love food, yet I shovel it in without savouring. Third step: introduce coffee to my diet. Not the healthiest of options, but the morning tea rumble is now non-existant. And don’t tell me I need fuel to burn. Last week I went to the gym and played netball on respective afternoons on a piece of toast and a coffee, and rather than feeling lacklustre I felt invigorated!

So, controversial? Yes. It’s only been a week so far and I’ve already hit a couple of obstacles. On Sunday we hosted brunch. I couldn’t resist the array of delicious foods and why should I? Like I said, I’m not starving myself, I’m just being highly aware. So I decided I could have what I wanted, within reason, and just not have another meal that day. At dinner time I was a little peckish, but I seriously think the brunch could have seen me through the whole day, I was going to just have a miso soup or something similarly small and healthy but bf went out to get some takeaways. So I tagged along and got a soup from there. Healthy, yes. Too big a portion, yes. But I could save some for my lunch I told myself.

I got down to the halfway mark and sat there. Finished. But I didn’t take the crucial action of removing it from the table and hiding it away in the fridge and then, before I know it, I’m tucking in again and suddenly it’s all gone. Soon after I have a bread craving. I’ve already stuffed up, I’ve gone this far, so have your bread I thought. And I did.

The lesson is: I have very little control once I’ve let go. If I hadn’t partaken in the brunch, the soup would have been fine. But I did, and it set off the food radar like mad. If I had stuck with my original plan and had the miso for dinner, I wouldn’t have had the bread. I would have felt like I’d had my indulgence at brunch without having to worry about failing, that I had maintained control.

So, back on track today. I am not going to weigh myself yet, there’s little point in seeing no difference and getting despondent about it. I’m not trying to crash diet, so a week is nothing. I’ll let you know how I go.

Also, let me know what you think about dieting and weight issues. I try to make the blog as honest and upfront as I can because that is the way I am. I’m not seeking compliments or reassurance; I’m just letting you know how I feel and what I’m doing about it. Sometimes I think it’s harder to talk about weight when you’re in the middle – not overweight in the traditional sense, but over what you want to be. Like I say, I think I could get away with continuing on the way I was and still look good, but ‘good enough’ is not enough. I don’t want to just accept what I’ve (now) got. I strive for the best in everything else I do in life, so why should I be happy with mediocrity for this?

Friday, August 19, 2011

show us your mullet (shirt)

With leggings, jeggings, and super skinnies sticking it out in the style ranks, ladies can at least praise the fashion powers that be that they’ve come up with something better than a crop top this season. While the cropped look remains, and I must say I re-embraced the look in a subtle form with waistband-touching singlets and cropped jumpers over dresses, this season we’re at least covering the bum with mullet-style garments. I’m not a fan of the mullet dress, which has been rife on the red carpet recently, but this is one trend that adds practicality to a bit of fashion whimsy.

One thing is for sure, this is an item you need to try on with the clothes you are going to match it with. You might not need to take your chunky heels in tow, but at least wear the leggings or skinnies you would wear a mullet shirt over. I made the mistake of trying on a mullet shirt with heavy tights which I happened to be wearing under a dress. I thought I’d at least be able to get an idea of the look – after all, they were footless tights and not just stockings and I thought they would potentially emulate the leggings look. I was wrong. I was confronted with too much crotch and it was essentially distracting from the whole look of the shirt.

There’s nothing like a strong hint of camel toe in a changing room mirror to put you off a purchase.

There is a lot to go wrong with the look and I suggest trying on a few items from different stores before taking on the mullet. Some brands are sloppy with the cuts and you end up looking like you’ve just attached an apron to your bum if the mullet starts from the side seams and drops immediately into the longer curve. It’s not that noticeable on the rack, but when you get it into the changing room the tacked-on feeling becomes quite apparent. What you want is a clean sweep from front to back, even a slightly raised crop in the front leading down to the mullet, where the side seam is not prevalent because of a sudden increase in fabric. And beware the uber crop. This is not a tummy-bearing trend. The front hem should skim your waistband at least. Unless you’re sending your internal organs off to charity in a cooler bag, keep your kidneys off ice for another month. There’s nothing cool about looking cold.

Wear your mullet shirt in the same way as a loose-fitting boyfriend shirt and you’re bang on for a casual cool look for spring. As always, loose on top means tight on the bottom, so pair it with a mini (and tights at this point in the year – no one wants to see your untanned pins just yet) or leggings/jegs/skinnies for the perfect “no-effort” (but casually I spent an hour putting this together) styling.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Spring must-haves: long-sleeve dresses

As spring is notoriously colder than winter in some cases in NZ, I am pleased to see the upcoming spring trends are not jumping into both sleeveless and mini straight away. Trending alongside the ladylike midi, gorgeous 60s-inspired long-sleeved dresses are gracing the racks and bodies of the fashion forward.

It’s a beautiful fashion that remains practical, as long as you go for a cuffed princess sleeve or batwing rather than ‘the wizard’ (which has the potential to knock wine glasses over with any casual gesture of the hand and drag through your soup. How uncouth!). It’s decidedly feminine and modest, and following good fashion principals, is mixed with the flesh-flashing mini to counter its demure demeanour. Good news for those of us who feel a bit nana if we’re not showing a little something either up top or bearing a bit of thigh.

There’s a nice range within the look, but common themes prevail. A princess sleeve is often the same colour as the dress, but made of translucent material, creating that airy fairy feeling. A batwing will of course be the same material, because it’s generally all one cut, and will often be in a heavier fabric, causing the nice drape effect. The last thing you want with a batwing sleeve is it flapping in the breeze like an old lady’s chicken wings. A wizard-style or gypsy sleeve, imo, is best left for Halloween. Rejoicing Morticia Adamms’ fans please skulk back to your coffins, there is no place in this hazardous world for metre-long trails coming from your arms. I have enough trouble tripping over my feet without adding to it with unnecessary sleeve trains.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Throw-away fashion

I had a bit of a throw-out recently – mostly stuff that had been stowed away in boxes for the last 8 years of my flatting life but I previously hadn’t had the nerve to discard, lest I suddenly have use for it or should anything come back in to fashion.

I hesitated on one item only – a pair of once beloved shoes. Probably the first pair of high heels I bought for myself and most likely where my obsession with owning unnecessary and impractical things emanated.

At the time they were the height of good fashion. Massive 90s platforms with the giant square heel, with a multitude of crossover straps in black suede. Probably not the easiest thing to dive into when you’re learning to walk in heels, but perhaps that throw into the deep end is what started my life as an accomplished walker in heels.

We’ve been experiencing the 90s flashback for the last few years now and I wondered if maybe I should hold on to these towering beauties, still in perfect condition save a few cobwebs amongst the straps. But common sense prevailed. No, I thought, fashion reflection is about renewal of the previous trend, not an exact emulation of it, these shoes will look like you have saved them since you were 15 years old.

During the last 6 months however, I have watched as heels have become chunkier and squarer. Stiletto is a no-go. The fashion savvy will at least be sporting a cone heel, if they haven’t already re-embraced the 90s chunk. My lamentation of the throwing out of my once precious shoes began spawning as window displays started to reflect the 90s look.

Then, last weekend at a dinner party, a recently returned fashion-loving traveller from London arrived wearing the most 90s shoe I could imagine. Albeit in an updated colour, these suede strappys had a heel so large the front was a good inch shorter than the back.

Hasty! I thought. Reckless! How could I have been so thoughtless as to send my shoes to the charity shop along with too-small singlets and wide-leg Doosh pants? I saw the signs! And I disregarded them as reminiscence and my latent hoarding tendencies. After all, if I hadn’t found need to re-run those babies yet, what could possibly make me pull them out now.

The fool and her now lost shoes.

In my defence, I do always say I try not to follow fads too closely because fashion is often fleeting. If the shoes really had the longevity, I would have reinstated them to the wardrobe before now. My shoe stand is brimming with classics that, while trendy, will be able to remain so for years to come. Don’t see any relegations to a box under the stairs in the near future. I just hope that the woman who picks my lost beauties appreciated the find. Either that, or that the current styling is fleeting and all was not lost after all.