Manchester music influence on fashion

 I moved to Manchester just under 4 years ago. I was running away from a broken heart and a dead end career. I moved in with a good friend, also from London and jumped into a model booking job and things just started to fall into place from there. I got up each day, went to work and came home to endless house parties and night outs. Oblivious to the world around me and this ultra impressive northern city. It was only when I stopped hanging out in my London bubble and started to mingle with true Mancunians that I realised how utterly cool this city and these people were. I think some southerners / Londoners have a negative image of the north of England, I believe some people still think anywhere north of Birmingham is still stuck in the dark ages, or maybe they think of endless green countryside, farms, factories and small towns. in a way, I too was part of the ‘naive few’. I grew up commuting in the fast paced city of London where life moved at 200 miles per hour, everyday. I never opened my eyes to the fact that cities like Manchester led the way in the industrial revolution and are considered to be an important roll in the global economic system. This city is huge, and I was about to find out why. Fashion is huge in Manchester, the famous Northern Quarter in Manchester brings in some of the coolest, bohemian, artiest people around, and not just media types either. It boosts photographic studios, vintage shops, record labels and huge internet fashion headquarters like boohoo.com and Miss guided all being on the doorstep.

 I always naively associated fashion in Manchester to be Parka coats and dark shades, arising clearly from the infamous Gallagher brothers of 90’s britpop group Oasis and the hugely successful ‘Madchester’ rave scene, which boasts band such as The smiths, The Happy Mondays and The fall, to name the bare minimum. But it is so much more than that. These people love their music and it totally reflects on their fashion. With such a popular thriving music scene behind them, no wonder these bands have inspired Manchesters fashion of today, and in general now Manchester’s importance to fashion is unquestionable.

 The men love their Fred Perry button ups (Fred perry started in Stockport, Greater Manchester) and their Clarks desert boots, made big by the Oasis front man Liam Gallagher, along with parka coats/macs, Military style jackets, Mod-punk revival-esque velvet blazers, windbreakers, Paisley patterned fabrics are also huge amoung both girls and boys due to so much of Manchester fashions also being 60’s inspired, think shift dresses, beehives and big lashes , with influential 60s bands like Freddie and the Dreamers and the Mindbenders forming in Manchester clubs in the city secured a base for new music and mod fashion.

Looking back to my awakening of this amazing city, I really did fall madly in love with the music and of course, the fashions around me. Dave Ambrose, a top Manchester record producer once replied, in question to ‘Why does Manchester produce so much musical creativity?;  “Because Manchester kids have the best record collections in the country”. Well if I may Dave, I would also like to add ‘wardrobes’ into this brilliant account of the Mancunian youth.

I, today, can definitely say;  Manchester cured my broken heart.

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Timeless VS statement

In a fashion industry so ever-evolving is it best to dress ‘Timeless classic’ or make a statement? Which category do you believe you fall under?

In brief, if you believe your style promotes a timeless classic feel, you are technically wearing items that have survived the test of time! Many people believe by dressing ‘classical’ you are steering clear of adventure and waiting patiently in the comfortable lounge. Ultra trend following fashionistas tend to think of; neutral toned shirts and some black trousers or a pencil skirt and simple fitted black blazer …The jist is right, but ‘the boring’ part is WRONG! When I think of classic I think of some fitted denim jeans, a breton striped tee, burberry coat and a fendi bag to top it off or a timeles A-line skirt and cute patterned shirt for those summer garden parties! It really is what you make of it, not only that, but it is also incredibly cost efficient in this day and age because unfortunately, like many others, you might be counting the rainy day pennies too! I know I certainly am.

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To the ultimate fashionista; You read every fashion mag word for word, then rush down to your nearest store and mix and match on some of the latest quirky fashions. Hmm, well not exactly but the basics are there. You believe fashion should totally reflect your personality, it should speak the ‘about me’ section on your CV for you, without using any words. You make the most of living in a liberal, free world where we can do and wear what we please. Your living outside the ‘safe(classic) box and running with the lions (slightly over exaggerated, maybe, but what can I say? I’m passionate.) You like to follow the latest trends but you always add your own twist.

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So, are you a Iggy Azalea of the modern world? Or a classical Kate Moss? Personally, I think Coco Chanel sums it up perfectly:

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”
― Coco Chanel

Surely that means theres no harm in taking inspiration from both, right? I agree.

The French do it so well…

laceThere is something so undestatedly chic about Paris. I have braced the city many times and have a reoccurring love for everything Paris when I arrive. Just like the language there is a raw elegance to the city and the city’s people.The fashion plays a huge part in this and the men and women always look effortlessly graceful. I’ve put together a few personal tips to follow in order to adopt the Parisian look.

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1.) Flats, riding boots, thin sandals and pumps are all appropriate Parisian shoes. 

Avoid trainers, flip-flops, or heavy boots 

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2.) Trench coats

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3.) Minimal jewellery 

One pendent necklace will add simple chic elegance

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4.) The fresh faced look.

All you need is powder foundation, red lips and mascara to create the perfect Parisian combination

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5.) Skinny jeans.

No rips or tears

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6.) The little black dress. 

Nothing too short or low cut, remember your in the city of chic.

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7.) Blousers/shirts.

Go for the neutral shades!

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8.) Knee length pencil skirts and A-line skirts.

Choose dark colours in winter and pastel floral prints in summer

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9.) Stripes.

I don’t just mean the classic french breton stripes, any stripes!

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10.) Leather Jackets.

The ultimate ‘paris cool’

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15 style tips EVERYONE should know…

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1.) Hide bra straps at all times! Bra straps really are an outfit ruiner. Strapless dresses/tops lose their elegance when bra straps are on show. Please note  see-through plastic bra straps are incredibly tacky and 90’s. Use strapless bras or breast tape for backless dresses.

2.) Invest in shape wear! Its not just for the slightly out of shape or older generation. Everyone should wear shape wear. It enhances your curves (even if you don’t have any!) Try and aim for black shape wear if you are going on a date, we’ve all seen Bridgit Jones…

3.) If you like to over accessorize, wear a minimalist outfit! Too many colours or layers of clothing with lots of jewellery will look too fussy.

4.) Choose between big earrings or a statement necklace, don’t wear both! Necklaces look great with small studs or lobe clenching mini hoops.

5.) If you are going to wear brightly coloured trousers or an eye-catchingly bright top, it would be an idea to make sure the rest of your outfit is a complimentary neutral shade.

6.) Find out which colours suit you best and DO NOT BE AFRAID TO EXPERIMENT! Colour is so important and can enhance everything from your hair to your facial glow.

7.) Dress for the season. My pet hate is a seasonal clothing clash. For example; do not wear  a yellow floral dress in the winter and try to avoid wintery fur collars in the summer. I know this tip is a bit of a no-brainer!

8.) Consider your shape before you wear horizontal stripes as they will sometimes make you appear larger than you are. If you do carry a bigger frame, try vertical stripes!

9.) A black blazer will save the majority of your outfits and can transform even the dullest. Invest in one!

10.) Experiment with waist belts! They can be incredibly flattering.

11.) Play off heavier fabrics against featherweight fabrics for a cute spring time get together!

12.) If you are wearing a baggy top or jumper – go skinny on the bottom. Visa Versa…

13.) If you wear black tights a lot, go for some slightly more expensive ones (think Marks & Spencers or Topshop) They don’t leave horrible fraying marks or bobbles after they’ve been washed. There is not a lot more I hate than tatty tights. They can ruin the prettiest of frocks.

14.) Always have a large rimmed pair of sunglasses at the ready! (…for those hungover mornings)

15.) Choose between exposing your legs OR your cleavage. Never both!

Totally mad for…

…Breton stripes! 

Originated in France in 1856. The blue and white striped knitted shirt became the uniform for all french navy seaman in Brittany. It later became popular amongst  breton workers due to its comfortable practicality. The 1950’s and 60’s saw in the beatnik community which furthered its popularity, but it was Coco Chanel who really introduced the classic pattern into the fashion world with her nautical collection in 1917. It was pictured on the likes of Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, James Dean, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. They all contributed to it’s rising popularity, be it in film, on the catwalk or in the art world. The top is still iconic in the fashion world of today and has been seen on the likes of Kate Moss and Alexa Chung. 

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 In my opinion it is the perfect item to team with a standard pair of denim jeans to create that effortlessly cool look. The top rules my wardrobe even today, practical and stylish- just what I need to create a timeless statement whilst running around getting mucky after my 19 month old son! (Who, also looks fab in breton stripes) 

Check out http://www.asos.comto view a great collection of breton striped tops! My personal favourites are as follow;

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£24.50  (ASOS Affordable classic)

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 £50 Fred Perry at ASOS (For slightly more expensive taste)

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£25 ASOS Mens  (…for the guys or the boyfriend)

Basic colour analysis

I can’t quite explain in words just HOW important it is to find the right colours for your skin tone! People tend to look more deeply into the style of their clothing rather than the colour. But the right colours can transfer your whole look! They can enhance the colour of your hair, teeth, eyes and facial glow. The wrong colours tend to completely wash you out. In my eyes there are two basic skin tones; cool and warm. In short, the veins on the underside of your arms (from your wrist to you middle arm) determine which category you come under.  If your veins appear blue, you’ve got blue or white undertones, meaning you’re a cool skin tone. If your veins appear green, you have yellow undertones and are therefore warm.

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Cool Skin Tone – Black, red, vibrant pink, navyraspberry, emerald greens, royal blue, plum

Tip: Additionally wear icy tones instead of pastels for a lighter colour. Cool skin tones should avoid beige, orange and gold.

Warm Skin ToneEarth colors, tan, deep yellow,  sage greens, gold, bronzes, monochrome

Tip: For a softer color try peach, apricot yellow.

Please note: This is a very basic skin analysis and only touches the surface. For a full colour analysis please contact myself and I can guide you through the next stages. I can also list a number of professional companies in the UK that you can book in with.

Mens trends spring/summer ’14

Are you ready boys? Are you ready to take on the fashion world of 2014? If so, by spring your wardrobe will be bursting at the seems with the items below. They say men are slowly adopting more femininity in to their everyday lives, well  it is really starting to reflect on their fashion! Personally I’m so very excited to see if the boiler suits really do take off…I’m sure there will be a lot of conflicting opinions where they are concerned. I can’t wait!

Boiler suits

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Block stripes

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Bomber jackets

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Floral designs

Menswear: florals on the catwalk at Prada

White/creams

Z Zegna, Menswear, Spring Summer, 2014, Milan

Tailored tunics

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Long coats

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Leather

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Camouflage

Dries van Noten