The Collectif Anoushka Coat & Cape with Sue Phelps Photography

It is now April and the weather is certainly beginning to warm up. Some of you may have already started storing away your winter pieces for the summer months. I understand the reasons for this, I really do. For those with limited space it allows one the chance to make way for your summer wardrobe, and you can hang such items in a less crammed manner and it becomes easier to see exactly what you have. I, however, still stick firmly to the principle of working my entire wardrobe all year round. Make the most of what you have ladies! I truly believe it is possible to warm up summer dresses during the winter months. On the contrary, it is possible to rock your winter items in the glorious sunshine.

So, despite the warmer spring weather being upon us, when shooting recently with the lovely Sue Phelps of Sue Phelps Photography, I didn’t think twice about bringing along a piece which some may say should be reserved for Winter only. The item, you ask? One of my beloved Collectif Anoushka Coat & Cape sets!

Back in November I purchased the Anoushka Coat & Cape in black…and then came the Collectif 50% sale and the blue and white version was just screaming at me to come and live in my closet.

Collectif themselves even place the Anoushka exclusively as a winter item:

“No winter wardrobe is complete without a fabulous cape coat… Introducing the charming and wonderfully warm Anoushka Princess Coat and Cape! This style features luxurious faux-fur lined pockets, and a chic detachable cape. The built-in hood, and the cuffs are both trimmed in matching fur, for a truly regal piece of outerwear. Get ready to stand out from the crowd in this head turner!”

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Yes, the Anoushka Coat & Cape is fantastic in the winter months teamed with thick tights and winter boots. Back in December I wore the coat and cape together to visit the Bath and Winchester Christmas markets and I lost count of the number of times I was stopped by passers by to admire it and demand to know where they could pick one up themselves.

The Collectif website states that you should size up if you wish to wear plenty of layers underneath this coat, however I’m telling you now this coat is so thick and heavy and deliciously cosy, you really won’t need lots of layers underneath it to keep the chill out. Hence, I opted for my usual size. This was the right decision to make, as the coat doesn’t swamp me. Of course, this also means that should I wish to wear it during the warmer months, it doesn’t appear baggy over my thinner summery outfits! Spring forward to April and my shoot with Sue Phelps Photography and you can see this combination works just as well with bare legs and stilettos over a summer outfit. Perfect for a spring time stroll by the river I am sure you will all agree!

Because the Anoushka Coat & Cape can be worn in one of three ways; coat and cape together, or either of these on their own it really is a staple piece for your vintage wardrobe. You can create so many different looks from one simple purchase, and as I hope you can see you don’t even need to restrict it to the coldest months of the year. Looking back, Collectif appear to have released several versions of this cape and coat over the last few years and I would be lying if I were to say I don’t utter the occasional prayer that one day they will bring out a red and white version!

lastly, but by no means least, I wanted to say a MASSIVE thank you to Sue Phelps for taking these stunning shots! It was a shoot like no other (you can’t tell from the photos but throughout we were surrounded by absailing men, upside down cars, guys playing dead and a multitude of firemen). I very much enjoyed shooting with you and eagerly await future projects with both yourself and Papow!

 

 

The Right Trousers

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My relationship with trousers has always been painful and troublesome; they never quite sat right, too big on the waist but too tight on my hips – just a pain! Apart from my gym gear and pyjama bottoms, I’ve actively avoided trousers to spare me from this misery.

Then along came Collectif with their Franky swing trousers. I swear they are heaven-sent! As stated by Collectif,

The Franky Swing Trousers are a vintage inspired style. These are one of the bestselling styles in our collection. They are made from a heavy cotton drill to keep the wide leg shape. The Franky Swing Trousers feature a lovely high waist with a wide yoke, the wide legs feature stitched in place turn ups at the cuff.

The thickness of the material helps the trousers to hang beautifully as well as smoothing out lumps and bumps. I love how high on the body they come up as well – they really show off my waist and give me an hourglass figure without squishing my hips. I’m so grateful that vintage reproduction companies exist – my wardrobe would suffer without them!

I paired these trousers with my trusty black Converse and Vivien of Holloway Raglan blouse. Both the trousers and the shirt can be teamed up with lots of other pieces too.

My hair is just a wet-set with a rolled fringe and I am wearing my favourite Kat Von D liquid lipstick in ‘Outlaw’.

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I’m so glad I found these trousers – now I just need to find a navy pair in my size! What’s been your trickiest item of clothing to sort out? Let us know.

Lipstick and Curls Academy

Lipstick and Curls was set up in 2008 by Amanda Moorhouse after studying hair and make-up at London College of Fashion and working in the industry for 10 years. Lipstick and Curls is now made up of over 80 hair and Make-up artists that are trained in vintage, modern, alternative and classic styling. They travel the country offering their services at weddings, hen parties, corporate events, fashion shoots, private appointments, film, theatre and television. Previous clients include the impressive likes of What Katie Did, Benefit Cosmetics, Besame, Amy Winehouse and Dita Von Teese. Needless to say, Papow and I have been keen followers of Lipstick and Curls on Facebook and Instagram for quite some time and when we heard of their hair and make-up academy workshops, how could we resist?

We emailed immediately to reserve our places. Back in February 2015 we attended the hair academy and enjoyed the day so much that we then booked in for the make-up workshop in February of this year. We had such fun and learnt a tremendous amount at both workshops (not to mention consumed copious amounts of tea, cake and bubbly) that it would be rude not to share it with you!

Each workshop costs £144 and runs from 11am-4pm at the Rosemary Branch Theatre, in Islington. The day is held by Amanda herself and one other member of her team. A 50% deposit is required at the time of booking and the rest is paid the week before the event. Spaces on each workshop are extremely limited (there were probably only about 12 of us in total at each event). They are extremely popular and as you can imagine spaces sell out quickly. We highly recommend keeping an eye on their Facebook page if you want to keep up-to-date with future events…you wont regret it ladies!

Hair Academy

Back in 2015 Papow and I were complete vintage hair novices, and what an eye opener of a day this was. The day itself was split into two parts. The morning focused on the importance of the perfect set using pin curling (the basis of every vintage hair style). The afternoon involved brushing out the set and then creating vintage up-dos such as victory rolls, poodles, beehives, 1940s waves and adding those last vital finishing touches. At each stage of the process Amanda demonstrated the technique, then we had the chance to practice on each other and then get a bit more creative on our own hair. This meant that we could apply the techniques we had learnt to different hair styles and lengths. We have all watched hair tutorials on YouTube or read about a technique in a book, but believe me when I say the both of us had still never managed to grasp these techniques until we attended this workshop. Up until this point we didn’t realise where we were going wrong, but having an expert on hand to actually guide you while you give it a go yourself is such a blessing. Amanda tells you exactly what you can do to improve in a way that is best for you and your own hair. We learnt that simple things such as the way you hold your heated tong, or how you clip your pin curl into place can make such a dramatic difference to the finished style. As the group is so small, Amanda has plenty of time to spend with each and everyone there. She moves around the group as you work, sharing hints and tips that are tailored to your very own hair. I truly believe that had we not attended this workshop neither of us would have gained the confidence in pin curling, brushing out and styling. We certainly wouldn’t have come anywhere close to creating some of the looks we have been able to master over the past year.

Makeup Academy

By February 2016, I like to think that Papow and I had come on leaps and bounds with our vintage hair styling, but there is always something to learn and so we were keen to pick Amanda’s brains once again. This time: all things make-up! This day was split up into several sections the first being classic makeup application, then we moved on to smoky eyes and the use of colour.

Once again the day very much took on the format of observing Amanda’s demonstrations and then practicing ourselves, with Amanda and a member of her team on hand of help as we went. We each had our own station with a full range of brushes and a wide range of products to try. During the day, we both picked up invaluable tips on following:

  • Different make-up brushes and how to use them correctly.
  • Creating the perfect base using foundation, concealor and powder.
  • Neutralising the colour of under eye bags and spots rather than simply hiding them.
  • Determining the best product shades for your skin tone and eye colour.
  • Enhance your features with the use of highlighting and shading.
  • Building product gradually and blending in-between applications.
  • Different face shapes and the correct product placement in relation to your features.
  • The multiple uses of setting powder (from setting your base, to removing oil and aiding the blending process).
  • Using water to give a powder product a stronger look (enter the trusty shot glass on one’s dressing table).
  • How texture of a product determines its use and application.
  • Brow grooming techniques.
  • Choosing the correct shade of lip liner in relation to your lipstick and how to apply these.
  • Popular make-up styles and how they have changed through the decades.
  • Fake eyelash application.
  • And last, but by no means least, the perfect winged eyeliner technique (keeping the eye open, not stretching the skin, and working from the outside in – this is probably the greatest tip of the day).

I thoroughly enjoyed the make-up workshop and as you can see we both left will a range of new skills under our belts. Not only this but the day really gives you the confidence to go away and try what you have learnt at home for yourselves. In addition, because there were so many products and shades available to try on the day, we really got the chance to see what products would be worth while investing in rather than feeling the need to go out and buy lots of new makeup. Papow now has her heart set on the Noir Red Besame lipstick and I have my eye on the NYX Highlight and Contour Pro Palette contouring palette.

I really cannot recommend the Lipstick and Curls Academy days enough. Whether you are a complete novice, or an experienced hair dresser everybody can benefit from the workshops (trust me the skill mix was quite varied at both events). Check out the Facebook group and get yourselves down to Islington at the next possible opportunity. You are guaranteed to not only develop your confidence and technique, you are sure to meet some lovely like minded people and have an extremely enjoyable day!

Finally, Papow and I are always looking to improve our vintage hair and makeup techniques, so if any of you know of any events you think we may like, please do drop us a line!

 

The Dita Project: Month 3 Evaluation

You can read about The Dita Project here.

Month 3 of The Dita Project was all about perfume. Here is a brief round-up of how it went:

  1. Did you stick to it?

To be honest, no. I didn’t wear perfume that often.

2. Was it easy to fit in your daily routine?

Yes. However, it never really seemed important enough to stick to.

3. Did you notice any benefits?

No. I use perfume on special occasions and it just felt odd wearing it on a ‘normal’ day.

4. Were there any drawbacks?

Not really. Just something extra to remember in the morning.

5. Will you continue with this in the long term?

No. I wear perfume to make me feel special – if I wear it all the time, it loses the desired effect.

Month 4 is the month of clean eating – time to chuck out the Easter chocolate and eat more green stuff.

Hey There Kitty Girl!

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My Easter holidays started in the best way possible – with a HUGE vintage reproduction sale! Vivien of Holloway was having a three day 50% off extravaganza and it was so worth the train fare and early wake-up.

I came across the shop in the final year of my undergraduate degree. I fell in love with the vintage styles and the quality of the garments. I own a lot of VOH pieces and I have never encountered a busted zip or a dodgy seam. That’s the reason I keep going back for more…even if I don’t really need to.

I picked up quite a few pieces in the sale, one of these being a ‘Kitty’ dress. As described by VOH,

The Kitty has a cutaway collar, cap sleeves, lightly padded shoulders and lovely large pockets on her gathered skirt. She has buttons down the front and a side zip. What more could you want from a 50s style day dress!

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The navy gingham pattern was all that was left when I got to the rail but I managed to grab a size 16. In VOH clothing, I take an 18 for anything pencil-shaped (due to my ample hips). In other styles, I am between a 14 and a 16. I have another ‘Kitty’ in a 14, which is a little more close-fitting. The fit on this dress was still very flattering but a belt helps to cinch my waist a bit more.

I love how practical this style of dress is! There are deep pockets – large enough to keep your phone and some cash. The skirt is roomy but not overly poofy. I can see myself teaching in this outfit – it’s vintage reproduction without looking costume-like.

In this look, I teamed the dress with a sage-green elasticated waist belt, a red-cropped cardigan from Sainsbury’s and some brown flats.

For hair, I did my usual wet-set with bumper bangs. I did a traditional pin-up look with my make-up, using Kat Von D ‘Outlaw’ liquid lipstick.

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I’m so glad I picked up  this dress – it’s a definite wardrobe staple! You can pick it up at the VOH boutique in London or on their website.

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