Sparkle in metallics this season for under £150

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I love a bit of metallic at the best of times, but I reeeeally love indulging my love for all things that sparkle, during the festive season, and that includes my passion for champagne too! What with the bubbles and reflective metals, it makes me feel all misty-eyed and wrapped in a lovely warm glow.

So, I couldn’t resist a little retail therapy by selecting a few keys pieces for you to shop, and that will ensure you shimmer during the Christmas party season:

I’ve kept this look on the low-key side, by mixing just pewter and rose gold, then balanced with black jeans, cape and clutch, but you can build-up the effect with metallic nail varnish and eyeshadow.

I often find myself going from work to drinks and/or dinner, and so I would wear this look to the office, but swap the sandals for a stiletto boot or a metallic pump, and pop on a little knitted jacket or a blazer. And then, when you’re ready to go out – pop on the necklace, sandals and cape, then put all your essentials into the clutch purse (don’t forget phone and house keys!), and leave your ‘day’ bag at the office. If walking in heels is not your favourite pastime; then pop some little plimsoles into the clutch, so that you can change for the journey home.

Happy shimmering!

Zx

Tweed just got rather interesting…

My recent interview with BBC Radio on a new sensation in women’s underwear…(click the link below to find out more)

 

I guess in desperate times, it calls for desperate measures. Well, maybe not desperate, but a departure from the normal avenues for money-making. Step forward English farmer, Oliver Day, 36, who runs Blackers Hill Farm near Chilcompton, Somerset, and who has turned his hand away from churning milk, to a slightly more novel and unique way to make a profit, with tweed underwear.

This savvy farmer got so fed up with the demise of the farming industry, that he has found a different source of making money, and he’s tapped into a totally new trend.

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I hasten to add that this is not ‘real’ tweed, but tweed-effect, as the fabric is rather heavy and slightly corse, so not comfortable wearing right next to the skin. Of course, there are plenty of tweed influences within fashion, but none, that I can think of, that have made it onto women’s lingerie.

Anyhow – it’s made me think a little on the subject of underwear and how much of an intriguing and enticing subject it can be. Considering how very few people are ever likely to see our underwear, how important is it really?

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It makes sense that there is a strong psychological element in wearing nice underwear, which is as simple as making us feel good because we’ve taken a little time and care over ourselves, and despite being under layers of clothing, it can have a powerful effect. Any woman (and man) knows that when your underwear is top-notch, it can put a spring in your step and give you an added confidence, which is perfect if you have an important meeting, interview, or date!

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So, are you sold on the idea of tweed, or will you be sticking with more traditional styles of underwear?

As you can see from the photos, the range consists of bra and brief & French knicker combos, in pastel pink, fuchsia pink and a teal blue. A somewhat limited range, but I’m sure would expand if and when the company grows. However, if you are desiring of a set for yourself, then it appears that you will have to wait a little, seeing as the company website (trading under the brand name, Holloa) is not yet up and running, although it mentions Facebook page (Holloa Clothing) that the website will be open for business in the busy lead-up to Christmas.

So, in the meantime, I’ve curated a selection of the latest and highly desirable items of lingerie, in-keeping with the interesting and decorative styles above, and that I’m sure any girl would be grateful to discover under the Christmas tree.

 

Zoe Doodler

I’ve always had a love of drawing and doodling, and see it as a way of jotting my thoughts onto paper; rather like the visual equivalent of a diary.

I particularly enjoy handwriting. I used to spend hours at my family breakfast table, writing my name in different styles and fonts, just to see what looked prettiest.

I’ve noticed that my passion for personal styling has brought out a desire to share my convictions about style and dressing through my doodling, and I’ve started to create, what I call my ‘power slogans’, to inspire and uplift, and to make you stop and think.

Now I’ve set up an Instagram account, dedicated to all my quick sketches – @zoe_doodler 

Here’s one I made earlier…”What We Wear, Is an Expression of Who We Are”. I hope you like it. 🙂

 

Zx
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Interview with BBC – What to Wear to the Office?


140px-BBC_Radio_logoIt appears that many companies nowadays, are re-visiting their policy on office dress code. Even banks like JP Morgan, who made a global announcement in the summer, that they were prepared to scrap the formal suited and booted look, over something more informal.

Click the link to hear my interview on office dress codes, with Elliott Webb on his BBC Radio breakfast show

However, there are still some companies who insist on maintaining a strict dress code, so much so, that it resulted in a recent court case regarding a receptionist who took a well known company to court because they had insisted that she had to wear heels, due to the business dress code policy, and when she refused, they sent her home.

I’ve had many clients over the years who have all struggled with balancing the need to look professional and yet, appear stylish. It’s a bug-bear, and can be tricky, particularly for women working in make male-dominated environments, of walking the tight rope of wanting to be seen as feminine, yet, powerful, strong and confident. I’ve featured some of my previous clients and looks that I’ve pulled together, to demonstrate that being stylish, and smart enough for a corporate environment, is achievable:

 

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before-and-after

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Wearable Cling Film – whatever next?!

Talking revolutionary fashion, with the lovely Malcolm Boyden on his mid-morning BBC radio show:on-airMy recent radio interview on regional BBC station Hereford and Worcester, talking about a new fabric that has been created by a bunch of lovely scientists, which is basically cling film for the body. Intrigued? Have a listen below.

Recent interview on BBC regional radio, talking about how we could soon be wearing cling film, as clothing!

Zx

To ‘IT’ bag, or Not…

 

For those of you familiar with the first Sex and The City movie (God, I LOVE that film), you will remember Carrie’s savvy Personal Assistant, who, when asked how she could afford a designer handbag by Louis Vuitton, divulges her secret, and explains how she’s ‘renting’ it off a website, and proclaims to ‘stick with her, and she’ll hook her up’.

I was delighted to be invited to speak with my lovely (on-air) friend Malcolm Boyden during  his morning radio show on BBC Hereford and Worcester, to give my thoughts. Here’s the interview:

 

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Louise, Carrie’s PA in Sex and the City Movie, who introduced the world to the concept of ‘renting’ your designer bag

Victoria Beckham’s Hermes bag collection

In recent years, I’ve seen more of these types of sharing/renting/borrowing (whatever you want to call it!) websites of designer items popping up, as people (mainly women, I’m guessing) are seeing the advantages of saving thousands by simply, ‘renting’ and not buying designer pieces. I guess it’s a smart move, when you consider that a well-known ‘it’ bag (are we still calling them that? Are we?) can be a small deposit on a house. If the rumours are true, then Victoria Beckham could probably buy part of Park Lane – and could give Imelda Marcos’ shoe collection a run for its money in the process – with her collection of Hermes ‘Kelly’ bags (although these days she’s more likely to be seen with one of her own pieces of arm candy from her eponymous fashion brand), but for mere mortals, then, might this just be the jack pot?!

 

Victoria Beckham with one of her and handbags from her    extensive collection of Hermes bags

 

What’s In It For Me…?

Well, aside from earning yourself around £60 -100 per month (every bit helps), depending on the type of designer bag you wish to rent out, you could be putting that money towards owning another high-end accessory, and then rent that one out, and voila- a booming little bag rental business takes flight…you can give up that day job after all!

If the thought of strangers with their paws on your favourite Prada give you the heebie-jeebies, then maybe this isn’t right for you, or perhaps rent only to your friends, who you trust with your life and who you know will return your cherished bag in the manner to which it was given. 🙂

However, if you’re a serious dedicated fashionista, and you have a bit of cash to throw around, then this might be a great way to keep your look up-to-date – you can choose from an array of designer bags, depending on your mood, and outfit. Also a great idea if you have big events coming up, where the right bag is going to make or break the outfit; wedding, christening, interview, date…you get the picture.

I’m always harping on about the fact that it’s the details that make all the difference when it comes to dressing really well; shoes; watches; jewellery; handbags..and so the smart woman knows that the right bag, can make or break an outfit. Focusing on little things like accessories can make all the difference from turning an outfit from WOAH!! to WOW!

 

My Favourite Arm Candy

Having perused some of these sites, I can’t say I’m that impressed at how user-friendly they are. The sites look a little dated, and dare I say it, all seems a bit..passé…..I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. There’s clearly a gap in the market for a cool & slick looking site that actually works (when I tried to click the dates on one of the sites, literally nothing happens).

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Leather Bucket Bag by design duo, Mansur Gavriel

Having the latest designer bag on our arm is a very quick and smart way to elevate an outfit, yes, I get that, but if you really want to look modern and contemporary, and less “designery” then please have a look at the beautifully crafted and stunning understated pieces of Mansur Gavriel. The beauty of their designs is in the simplicity of shapes and high quality materials. Certainly nothing like an ‘it’ bag as we have known before, but in my opinion, oh-so-desirable. I can’t see any of these across the designer bag rental websites, so you’ll need to go out and buy one. Prices start at £400, so certainly not inexpensive, but in MHO, a real modern classic, worth the investment, and that will stand the test of time.

 

Zx

 

 

Is Fast Fashion Good or Bad for Us?

 

Zoe talking with Caroline Martin on BBC Radio WM on the subject of

FAST FASHION

 

Caroline Martin very kindly invited me onto her radio on BBC WM, to allow me the opportunity to give my view on this worrying modern day trend, which inspired my little blog post.

(radio interview here – Zoe talking recently on BBC Radio about the effects of disposable fashion in today’s society:

 

We live in an age now where we are obsessed with shopping. When everything is so readily available at the click of a button, how could it be any other way? The advent of ‘fast fashion’ has only made us more hungry for the next high fashion items at low cost prices – and with social media on our every trail – what is a girl to do, but keep buying and buying, to ensure that, (shock-horror), we are never photographed more than once in the same outfit!

Really?!

I just cant see the sense in this. Not only does it mean we are playing into the hands of social media, but it’s incredibly wasteful, and not just a little vain too..

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Far better to invest in quality, which stands the test of time, and be able to enjoy our purchases over and over again.

I mentioned to Caroline that I have a dear Aunt – pictured below – who is in her 90’s and still wears the stylish items she bought when she was in her 50’s. 40 years later, they still look great. She really is proof that you can be stylish at any age, and that quality really does prevail.

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Zx

 

 

Shell Suits are BACK (apparently…)

 

 

With the advent of ‘athleisure’ or ‘sport luxe’ (however you like to refer to this new style movement), Elliott Webb invited me onto his breakfast radio show, on BBC Hereford and Worcester, to discuss the comeback of that 80’s favourite, The Shell Suit, which, apparently, is having its own ‘fashion moment’…

 

The Interview

Are you really going to buy one?

If you’re desiring of a shell suit to relive your 80’s all over again – or perhaps you hadn’t even been born when it was in fashion the first time around and want to know what the fuss is all about – then I’d highly advise on giving this some serious thought. Firstly from a simple matter of, ‘taste’, but secondly, and rather more importantly, from a safety perspective. After a short spell of moderate exercise, you’ll feel like you’re wearing a boil-in-the-bag, and unless the fabric has advanced with the technological age, it is highly flammable! You’ve been warned.

Here’s a much better option

Far better to invest in something a little more understated. I’ve found a nice stylish & sporty number from good old M&S, which will earn you some serious style points, and you’ll be working the athleisure/sportluxe look too. It’s a mere snip at £19.99.

Open back top from M&S is your little take on the sport luxe trend ;-)

Open back top from M&S is your little take on the sport luxe trend 😉




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Zx

My latest interview with BBC Radio

ZOE TALKING WITH RADIO PRESENTER MALCOLM BOYDEN ON BEING CASUAL VS DRESSING SMART

zoe-hawkins-profile picMalcolm Boyden

Here’s a recent radio interview, talking with my pal Malcolm Boyden on his breakfast show on BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester, about how our approach to dressing has changed over the years to become far more casual than ever before. Malcolm asks if being smart is a thing of the past..click the link to hear my take.

I have to give a massive shout out of thanks to the wonderful Ian Edwards, who has kindly taken the time to help me with uploading this mp3 file, which, for some reason, was causing me a whole heap of problems to upload. Ian – you are a superstar – thank you!

Zx