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A letter from Jennie Mc Ginn to the topman at Topman. It follows an experience at the weekend in which two items were purchased after advice from the Sunday Times Style magazine to ‘check out the XS t-shirts in Topman’. Read the rest of this entry »

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Well looks like Oxegen was the bloated, muck-infested, swamp party we have all come to know and prepare for. It seems that rainmacs and American-tourist ponchos were the order of the day if you had your wits about you. Rachel – our roving reporter of the weekend – noted it was basically all about the cover up for the first two days. Covers ups, wellies, waders, galoshes, rainhats, hiking jackets, fleeces and muck. Pretty difficult to work those trends into something stylish, particularly when you are covered in a heavy veneer of mud. Howanever, we got some suitable candidates below who managed to work their own kind of festival fever. Read the rest of this entry »

The Great Swamp Dress?

So its safe to say I am vertically challenged. I have measured myself in countless pharmacies, gyms and against the wall at home and I have never managed to hit five foot three. So I will admit it I am five foot two. The size of the average 12 year old.

Now a lot of the time this is fine. I get told I am cute. People are often quite willing to carry me and I don’t take up too much room. My friend Aoife likes to pick me up to hug me and I have to admit it makes me feel special. However as we know from my rant on playsuits looking ridiculous on my short-ass legs it causes problems with my choice of fashion attire. Read the rest of this entry »

No, it’s not some dirty blog entry, you filthy-minded smut hounds. Rather, it’s a topic that is, literally, close to every woman’s chest – boobs, and the supporting of them.
From the day we girls have our first bra fitted, we are told how important it is to wear the right size bra. And yet so few of us do. I know that I’ve been guilty of breaking this cardinal rule more than once. It’s because Life gets in the way of keeping an eye on your chest size. I mean, we’ve all heard that one should be fitted every six months for optimum bra sizing. But let’s be honest, how many of us do. The simple fact is that if you get fitted and invest in some good quality bras, they should see you right past the six month best before date. That of course is assuming you don’t lose or gain significant amounts of weight. I myself haven’t been fitted for about a year, but I did have the cop on to buy some really good bras the last time I was fitted, and they’re still doing the job admirably.

Here comes the science bit

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Not Actually Me. But Could Be.

Usually I bemoan the painful lack of fashion in the office (the office that style forgot) or whinge at my colleagues’ abject refusal to appreciate my colour blocking or tribal referencing. But today I rejoice, nay worship, at the high temple of faded grey t-shirts and black cords. For today I am Spare Changed to the max. Spare Change is the nickname I have in the office for the odd day I will come in dressed down. And I don’t do things by half. Dressed down ain’t flat shoes and simple basics. Dressed down is tracksuit bottoms, a hoodie, runners and sometimes, just sometimes, a slept-in t-shirt. Like an off-duty sleb in Tinsletown, minus the glamour. There are usually a set of circumstances that contribute to a Spare Change day…like the alarm clock not sounding off, the washing not done, rushing from the gym, rushing to the gym or sometimes, just not being bovvered. 

Today however, has really taken the biscuit. The whole pack in fact. The circumstances leading to this accelerated Spare Change progression began yesterday. Specifically at 8.47am yesterday when I was involved in a ruckus with some muck. I was cycling into work, minding my own business, when I got a double whammy of muck to the face and the bum. It was the Day of Biblical Rain. By the time I arrived in the office, I had a trail of mud snaking up both legs, front and back, all the way up my back. I was completely drenched – outwear, underwear, the whole frickin’ package. And I stayed like that the entire day. Mad, miserable and mucky. A heady combination. 

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Msr Louboutin

Hello possums, Aideen here…

I read a very interesting article in Sunday’s Guardian. Hadley Freeman interviewed Christian Louboutin, and well let’s just say, she didn’t seem to be his biggest fan.

Great article, check it out here.

If you’re on yer lunch break and don’t have time, fear not! Here is your cheat sheet courtesty of moi!

Monsieur Louboutin, as one might suspect, eez a leetle beet hoity toity Fhrench.

– He never wanted to be famous, he just wanted to make shoes.

– He doesn’t own a TV but people tell him Sex and the City is “good.”

– He has in the past, told Oprah Winfrey to fuck off.

–  He did in fact utter the following words: “There is a heel that is too high to walk in, certainly. But who cares? You don’t have to walk in high heels.”

– He is mighty disdainful of feminists.

– He told Mattel to make Barbie’s legs thinner cos he said she has fat ankles.

What a cock!

Anyway the whole article got me thinking about Germaine Greer and other feminists’ arguments that wearing high heels is something men have forced upon us and in some weird way is kinda like the foot binding that is known to go on in the Far East.

I spent years in fuck-off high heels in school. In college, I wore the student footwear uniform of sneakerdom (Adidas Gazelles and oohhhh how I miss them still). And cut to 2010 I am back in massive heels and frankly I’m loving it.

wholly amazing runners i wore for six years

wholly amazing runners i wore for six years

I know it’s not good for my health (I actually do feel a little twinge in my back on the days I wear these shoes) – but there’s just no denying that I feel hot-to-trot when I hoick myself up a few inches. When I’m in the office, I feel more worky and… well I’ll be honest… “powerful.” It’s that whole suited and booted feeling, I’m sure you know the one.

I know where this comes from. I’m short and baby faced. The heels make me feel like I look the part of a professional broadcast journalist – not the giggly, shit-television-watching young ‘un that I am a lot of the time.

And feck it, heels are sexy. They just are. Whether that’s a male-imposed construct or not. That’s where we are today.

It’s kinda the same argument that gets trotted out over body hair. Sure, it was the porn industry that brought bikini waxes to the masses. And men didn’t want excess hair on women’s bodies so we duly obliged and began plucking, waxing,veet-ing and shaving with gay abandon.

But, I don’t like hairy legs, pits, bushy eyebrows or ahem, an unattended ladygarden. That may be anti-female but listen, there it is. And I know I’m not alone!

Well apart from Mo’Nique:

sufferin' jaysus!

sufferin' jaysus

So on the heels…

Christian Louboutin designs impossibly high footwear that he doesn’t expect us to wear – but we do and we suffer for it. (Although I have to stand up for myself here, no pun intended. If shoes are stupidly sore, or I cannot walk in them, I won’t wear them. I take frickin’ public transport for god’s sake.)

i would never be THIS stupid

So if I know that technically heels are a ‘male’ aesthetic ideal imposed on women, but I am self-aware and wear them anyway, does that vindicate my standing on tippy toes?

Or am I just pure daft?

Actually don’t answer that.

Lady GaGa wearing art, not shoes.

I did not ever imagine I would have such difficulty in writing a piece for the blog. This is my fourth attempt and its been as arduous a task as childbirth*. I decided I would write about Cycle Chic. I’ve recently become the proud owner of a new bike and I figured (quite arrogantly) that this was a sufficient credential for me to write on this topic. Ha! As if. It’s akin to me assuming I’d be a whiz at dental surgery simply because I brush my teeth every day.

I had heard of the concept of Cycle Chic, but had done little to explore the topic, until this opportunity presented itself. And almost immediately I was awed at the sheer scale of what I’d undertook. Cycle Chic is MASSIVE! IT’S EVERYWHERE! How have I not realised this until now?

A quick go on the google box brings up two amazing blogs that trade solely on Cycle Chic, the first being http://www.copenhagencyclechic.com/. This was started by the man who is rumoured to have developed the phrase “Cycle Chic”, and has been described as “The Sartorialist on two wheels” by the Guardian – heady praise indeed. A quick peek at the site and you’ll be greeted by photos of lots of really cool, fashionable people, on really cool, fashionable bikes, looking fabulously cool and gorgeous. It’s enough to make you sick. In a good way, of course.

The second blog worth mentioning is http://londoncyclechic.blogspot.com/. This blog appears to be a bit more fashion based. The blog entry for 16 March is solely about a range of gorgeously cute helmets and this leads me neatly to my next section.

After viewing just these two blogs, I realised just how out of my depth I was as a commentator of Cycle Chic. So after much faffing around, and some very, VERY bad writing, I decided to get very egotistical and just talk about Cycle Chic as it relates to me.

I started using my bike again about two years ago when I was living in Dublin. I’d grown weary of public transport, and yet was far too impatient to walk anywhere. So I decided to take my old bicycle out of the shed in my parent’s garden and get back in the saddle, so to speak. I had no pride in the bike, it was merely an object to take me into work and home again. And because of the lack of consideration for how my bike looked (it was a rusty piece of crap), I therefore had absolutely no consideration for how I looked while on it. Even now I shudder when I remember the state of me. Like many other Irish cyclists, I wore cycling clothes while on my bike and changed once I got to work. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this option and I’m certainly not trying to put down people who choose to do this. My problem lies solely with myself and how truly terrible my cycling clothes were. Grubby old tracksuit bottoms tucked into socks (so they wouldn’t catch in the gears – the horror, THE HORROR!), an old t-shirt and a rainjacket. Throw in the obligatory hi-vis vest and awful, AWFUL helmet and you’ve got a sight for sore eyes.

But things have recently changed for me. I’ve gotten a new bike. A shiny, happy, sexy beast of a bike – the mere fact that it’s mine, makes me cooler. And since getting this bike, I’ve started to pay a lot more attention to how I dress when I’m cycling. And I’ve become aware of Cycle Chic, fairly succinctly defined (by Wikipedia, who else) as the culture of cycling in fashionable clothes.

It appears that I am way behind the times, and that cycle chic has already gained a niche in Ireland. November 2009 saw the second Cycle Chic fashion show in Cork City, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a third in 2010. The website for the 2009 show still lists all of last year’s exhibitors and a quick look through some of the websites left me coveting a few choice pieces.

My absolute number one must have include this incredibly cute helmet from www.cyclechic.co.uk

Sexy Safety

There are also lots of other sites with fantastic clothes for cycling in, cute baskets and bicycle accessories, not to mention amazing bikes. Definitely worth checking out.

As for me, this will certainly not be my last entry about Cycle Chic. I’ve unleashed a fashion monster with this topic so be sure to stay tuned to the blog for more.

* (a slight exaggeration)

Do you remember the time when you would arrive out on a Saturday night* and hear the squeals of ‘Oh My God’ (pre- OMG or LOL) – hairdresser hair! You would turn around in a fit of hair-lust see the shiny straight hair of the new arrival to the group.

Then Babyliss arrived on the scene and crimpers became straighteners. However forty minutes with one of those babies would barely make a dent in long, frizzy Irish hair. And within 30 minutes of leaving the house, the damp in the air would turn your bonce back into its usually wavy, frizzy, not-curly-but-not-straight, natural form.

Then the whispers began. Have you heard about the GHD? You can only get them in England… they are £150! (circa 2000 this was about €250 euro and we were still in school with a monthly pocket money of about €100)

Then IT happened. My best friend’s older cousin purchased one while in London. I arrived up to her house that Friday and every Friday thereafter. Down in the local pub we were greeted time and time again with a chorus of Oh My God-Hairdresser Hair and we sniggered at our ingenuity. Of course our day in the sun was not everlasting. Soon our secret was out as the GHD hit the Irish market.

Every night out for the next five years was spent with a good two hours of firing up the GHD and all the girls beating their lovely hair into submission. Sweaty and with sore arms, we would be ready to go eventually with not an ounce of volume among us. I look at photos from my university days and see picture after picture of flat haired clones.

Then the backlash began and my thick, wavy surf-girl hair became an item of lust. These days at the bathroom sink, the girls can be seen backcombing their hair to add volume and everyone’s hair is different – its now curly, wavy, straight, full of volume or shaved (best left to Amber Rose and Mel C I would think)

So with a seven year itch I am divorcing my GHD. It’s been loyal, but after numerous horrendous burns and too-many-to-count drunken panics as to wether I have left it on (and the house is about to burn down), it’s time to part. From now on, it’s a bit of backcombing with my fingers and out the door.

* after twenty minutes arguing with the bouncer over whether or not your fake ID was in fact fake.

Oh My God - Hairdresser Hair!


Old Skool Torture Device

New Skool Torture Device

Straight Hair Be Gone. Embrace The Frizz

Do you know when that one fashion trend hits the scene and you want to wear so much but you just cant make it work…………
My current fashion nemesis: colourful playsuits, rampant on the High Street. So cute, so colourful and everywhere I look. They should come with a toxic warning. Not to be worn unless you are over five foot eight, very slim and cellulite-free. I think that’s about 3% of the population then. I bought a fabulous one from ASOS recently; on the model it looked chic and cheerful. On my shorter, more rounded figure, I am fairly sure my ass became visible from space (and I am not a large girl). It drew attention to all of the bad places – my waist disappeared in a sea of excess material. It was dispatched post-haste to ASOS and with a net loss of €15 I hope I have finally learnt my lesson.
Being truthful, this was not my first attempt to try the playsuit. As a little person I thought it might lend me a cute vibe when worn with stacked heels. Not so. A colourful romper on a shorter lady just makes you look like you are re-living your youth in the crayola box. So this summer I will be gazing longingly at my tall friends parading around in their nice floral playsuits while funking up my trusty black one with some new accessories.

shorties need not apply. floral asos suit of crime

the safer option

I am very influenced by my environment. It reveals a great deal about my personality. In work, my desk is quintessential organised chaos – a cursory look at my space reveals 3 cups, twice as many tea stains, hand cream, plasters, a mousetrap, important files, mildly important files and definitely-not-a-priority files,  leftover Christmas decorations, jewellery I have to remove in order to type, and lots and lots of elastic bands (my top MacGyver office-essential). My car is a similar repository of equally important and completely unimportant things – croquet sticks, wellies, payslips, post-it notes, nail varnish (I like to multi-task). However, I have always believed that the state of my bedroom is the truest reflection of the state of my mind. Or to be more accurate, the state of my wardrobe is directly correlated to my wellbeing, sartorial or otherwise.
With regard to the organisation of my clothing, I have become a big fan of the fling-in-the-general-direction-of-the-wardrobe. This is one step away from the fling-everything-into-‘neat’-pile-on-the-floor, but a million miles away from the hallowed organisation system of trend-colour-price range-wearability that I strive for in my day-to-day wardrobe existence.  When I have my clothes organised in this superior system (it goes a little somethin’ like this: t-shirts, jeggings, jeans, dressy tops, casual tops, black items, colourful items, shorts, short skirts, mid-length skirts, work skirts, fun skirts, sexy dresses, trendy dresses andonandonandon) I feel on top of the world. No mountain too high, no river too deep as the wise 2-Unlimited once said. Last-minute dinner invite? I’ll just grab these harem pants with this ruffle shirt, those KG brogue platforms and bam! Good to go. Night on the tear? The black sexy dress with this leather biker jacket and the grey suede ankle-boots. Bring it on.

However, this wardrobe utopia happens approximately 4 times a year. The remainder of the time, it is in a state of permanent distress; gym clobber thrown atop of expensive shoes, clean and dirty clothes nestled together in blissful ignorance, tights hanging from shelves like forgotten party streamers. I’m too busy/too tired/too lazy to sort the damned thing out. Piecing something together is like wandering around Labyrinthe blindfold. Nip to the shops? Tracksuit bottoms, gladiator sandals, snood and checked shirt. Eh? Lunch in the pub? Shirt-dress, bumbag, white converse, cocktail ring. What? It’s a complete random lottery and the outfit permutations are endless. This then corrodes my sense of self. I don’t know my right from my left, my up from my down, my in from my out. I walk around in a fug of confusion and inexplicable anxiety. I become forgetful and absent-minded, flaky and confused. And all this because my dresses aren’t hung in order. It’s so hard being a woman.

A good day...things are on hangers...

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