19.9.14

Primark x Harris Tweed - A catastrophic collaboration?

On the 15th of September, 2014, high-street mega brand, Primark announced a menswear collaboration with revered heritage brand, Harris Tweed. With each yarn being handwoven in the Hebrides, Scotland, from pure virgin wool no less, it seems utterly baffling combination that HT has teamed up with the brand that reinvented the term "fast-fashion."

With Harris Tweed blazers typically retailing at around the £200.00 mark, Primark plans to bring luxury to the masses with their genuine HT blazers retailing at just £85. Perhaps a mark of current credit-crunching times, this move seems counter-intuitive given only in 2008, former chairman of the Harris Tweed Authority Board voiced his concerns in an interview with national paper, the Telegraph that the HT industry was becoming quickly unstable due to tweed fabric selling at "Primark prices." 

Scottish Bitches
What are your thoughts on the Primark x Harris Tweed collaboration? Image courtesy: Primark.com

It's certainly not the first time we've seen high-street brands team up with high-end manufacturers and designers, but one has to wonder with the budget-friendly stigma attached to Primark, by engaging with the brand, could Harris Tweed be potentially damaging the historic fabric further? A change in the HT marketing strategy and target audience is certainly unexpected. Will the customer-base of a brand built on selling bargains really achieve target sales of £85 a piece? (Primark) Or is this indeed the beginning of a revolution, where the public base are trading in quantity for quality? Who knows? Only time will tell.

With prices beginning at just £30 and being sold in selected stores across the UK, we're holding out judgement until the end of the season. Watch this space. 

What are your thoughts on the Primark x Harris Tweed collaboration? We want to hear from you! 

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut. 

L x



25.8.14

Normcore or Normbore?

Do you often wish you could blend into a crowd and go unnoticed throughout your day? Do you shy away at the prospect of engaging with the public? Do you deliberately choose to avoid making awkward eye contact with the bus driver in the morning? Introverts, rejoice! Normcore is the new black.

Scottish Bitches
Normcore or Normbore?

If you like to keep a finger in the metaphorical fashion pie, then you'll without a doubt have heard the terminology "normcore" pop up within the past season or so. Derived from a combination of "normal" and "hardcore", the term Normcore is used to describe a fashion movement characterized by insipid blandness. In an industry where standing out is the objective, Normcore has thrown a surprising spanner in the works, with its sole focus being placed on "fitting in with the crowd." Perhaps, a reflection on our current social media indulgent era, could Normcore be a physical manifestation of the public desire to feel accepted by simply dressing as one of the flock? Is it cleverly staged ironic in-joke by the fashion industry? Or have we simply just had enough of dressing up in gimmicky commercialized outfits? (See: Moschino AW2014.)

Fashion blogger, Helen from the Love Cats Inc gave her opinion on the matter, "I don't mind the Normcore trend. Simple dressing is my favourite! It allows for the previously ordinary to become a style of its own, where simple pieces take centre place." 

It's not just the street-style savvy bloggers jumping on board with this trend - high street chain stores such as Zara, Gap and Mango are cashing in on the "boring" bandwagon. Providing staples to the normcore fanatics - namely, classic cut t-shirts, jeans and over-sized jumpers, there is evidence to suggest that at long last consumers may be turning their backs on fast-fashion trend-led budget brands such as Primark and New Look and swapping out five-minute-fads for mid-range higher quality pieces.

I consulted style guru Claire from Bee Waits on the matter, "My eyes can't begin to roll back fast enough at the mention of Normcore. It reeks of special snowflake syndrome - the 'I'll be the most different by dressing in an ironic way.' The thing is I don't so much hate the style but people should dress however they want. There's no need to give it a name."  

Jennifer from Glasgowfashiongirl expressed apathy towards the generic trend, "Each to their own, but I don't see it as a fashion trend as such. After all, it's just normal, basic wear." 

It does seem rather ironic to us that a fashion community can be so divided about a trend that takes its fundamental principles from apathy. It remains to be seen if the Normcore trend is a fad, but can simple basics really go out of fashion? 

What are your thoughts on the Normcore trend? We'd love to hear from you. 

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut. 

L x.
 

18.8.14

Beauty Lessons from a Fashion Photographer

When I began my career as a fashion and beauty photographer at the age of 18, I had some pretty firm opinions on beauty. As far as I was concerned, it came in the form of a lady with impossibly long legs, hair with enough extensions to rival the coat of a highland cow and of course, perfectly symmetrical features. Over the years as I progressed on my journey, I came to realize that not only was the job not quite as glamorous as everybody else thought it was but it also acted as mentor, bestowing wisdom on the topic of beauty that I had previously been so naively sure of.

Growing up in an age where actresses and pop stars alike are frequently over-sexualized, it is hardly unsurprisingly that by the time I had reached 18, I had a pretty superficial concept of what true beauty was. From sleeping on an airport floor at 4am to watching a puppet show on the metro between runway shows - as a working fashion photographer, I found myself in some pretty surreal situations. It became 'normal' to rub shoulders with celebrities and the elite. I ate, danced and dressed like a queen. I shot 5,000 frames a day. A four hour sleep was a lie-in. A soak in a bath became a rare luxury in a fast-moving industry. I made friends like no other. But, above all else, my job gifted me with the meaning of true beauty.


Scottish Bitches
Scottish Bitches yet again proving that a sense of humour is far more important than the latest Mac lipstick.



A bad attitude is a fool-proof recipe for instant ugly. 

For some unfathomable reason, in an industry based on looks, from time to time you will undoubtedly work alongside people with an over inflated sense of self importance.  A lady can be done up to the nines in enough make-up worth the equivalent of a small fortune, but the instant debeautifier is that of treating others with disrespect. If you personally think back to an individual who has treated you poorly or disrespectfully in the past, do you view them as beautiful? My guess is probably not. To quote the the age-old saying, treat others as you would liked to be treated yourself. Nothing shines brighter than an individual who is respectful of others, their culture, choices and heritage.



Too many people base their value and self-worth on their physical beauty.

It's 7am. You rise to the bathroom, brace yourself for the day ahead and bleary-eyed look in the mirror...BAM! Massive spot. The day is ruined before it has begun. Of course, in reality, it is likely nobody will so much as notice your spot, but throughout the day you will have feel like the human personification of an out-of-date bag of Monster Munch. In a world where according to the media that beauty equates to success, not enough focus is being placed on immeasurable qualities such as intelligence, kindness and compassion to name a few.

Self-worth is increasingly associated with dress size as well, with often substandard diffusion "plus-size" ranges made available by major retailers to ladies of a curvier disposition - giving the impression that these voluptuous ladies are not worthy of the same style as a lady of a slender figure. Personally speaking, as a lady with the grand height of 5 ft 3" and a fully fledged UK size 12, I often feel baffled as to why friends close to me feel ugly as a result of their curves. Often, I ask my friends to place themselves into my shoes and look at the world through my eyes - do they find friends with similar body builds repulsive? No, they think their friends are beautiful - and not just because of their body shape, but indeed also by their morals, actions and personality.


Imperfections are what make beauty.

It is said that we are our own worst critics, and I happen to know this to be true. I recently stopped bang smack in the middle of chastising myself for putting on a few pounds. It occurred to me that I was indeed not only my own worst enemy, but a hypocrite. If a friend or loved one was in the same position, I'd more than likely see them as beautiful, feminine and kind - not the grotesque monster that exists purely in my own personal mind mirror. All too often we treat ourselves worse than we would ever dream of treating our worst enemies.

Imperfections - be it freckles, snaggle teeth or scars are what help to define our beauty. Without imperfections, how would we notice striking eyes, plump lips or even cute little snub noses? If somebody offered you the operation of a lifetime to completely change your body and face, would you really feel comfortable waking up to an alien staring back at you in the mirror?



Beauty comes from within.

Fundamentally, all of these lessons come with one connecting moral - that beauty comes from within. No matter how genetically blessed a person may be, that person has to make the choice to consciously become beautiful through their actions. Beauty is not defined by a lipstick or mascara or whoever has the longest lashes, but by the decisions a person chooses to make and their approach to their day to day life. 

How do you define beauty? 

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut. 

L x


6.8.14

Trend Report: Brace yourselves - AW 2014 is coming

We're barely out of July and already I have the colour swatches at the ready. Being a true Scottish Bitch through and through, winter is my natural habitat - and life just doesn't feel right unless I'm wearing at least 40 layers. For too long has the sun stayed (approximately two weeks) and my shoulders are looking suitably lobster-like for a Glasweigan. A bit early to the game perhaps, but already we can see A/W key collections slowly but surely trickling into high-street stores. Here's a look at the key trends to invest in this season -


scottish bitches
Are you ready for "art in motion?"

Light and Heavy Hues

About as groundbreaking as pastels were for summer, our favourite palettes of wine red, deep blue and camel tan are back in business - which of course bears excellent news for my entire wardrobe. This season the staple colours are being coupled with those of a lighter hue - a technique excellently executed with the use of layering. Take cue from Chloé's A/W2014 show, and where a mixture of both tan and mustard formed the perfect not-quite-but-almost monochromatic look. Notably, industry players Louis Vuitton and Givenchy followed suit with this tactic. This means that if we play our cards right with our styling, there's a good chance our pastel collections of the summer may not have to be exiled to back of our wardrobes next to Narnia for a while. 

On the note of Louis Vuitton, this season we saw Nicholas Ghesquière take over the reigns of the brand from our beloved Marc Jacobs, stripping back the runway to its fundamental basics - a catwalk with models. If there was any speculation that Ghesquière was going to follow in the whimsical steps of Jacobs, without a hint of doubt it is now time to say goodbye to the notion of magical carousels and train sets. However, with a definitive return to a focus on clothing, we're intrigued to see how Ghesquière pilots the brand into a new era. After all, fashion is an ever-changing beast.


Scottish Bitches
Forget orange, red is the new black.
Red is the new Black

Ranking as my favourite colour of all time, my delight at the return of red to the runway resulted in just a little touch of hyperventilation. A notable mention to fashion royalty Prada for the effective use of an entire fur jacket (look 41) in rouge. The combination of statement texture and raunchy colour did have the potential to be tacky but actually made for a surprising and iconic look. Designers Stella McCartney and of course, Dolce and Gabbana drew inspiration from a fiery palette too, using fur, volume and layering to execute the look.

Simone Rocha, daughter to design icon John Rocha, has increasingly garnered favour amongst fashion editors and bloggers alike in the recent seasons. Her use of red checks in her A/W2014 collection was undoubtedly a tribute to her heritage as a designer and brought an element of personability to her brand - something rarely conveyed in the recent times of fashion. 

Art in Motion

By far, this season's breakthrough show came from Burberry Prorsum for the use of oriental print and layering - a far cry removed from their trademark tartan lined macs. The show was packed with kimonos galore - proving that the kimono trend is far from over and not only limited to the airy summer months. The collection itself bore statement prints that would not look out of place on an museum canvas. Billowing silhouettes stood out, roped back into feminine hourglass figures with belts secured around the waist. Whilst not completely sold on the accompanying hand painted tote bags the models sported, this was without a doubt one of the most colourful and innovative use of layering we've seen on the runway for a number of seasons. Classy birds, indeed.

 Black Widow

Predictable? Yes. But what would a great autumn/winter season be without a touch of Gothic romanticism? Providing longevity to the summer monochrome trend, designers Lanvin and Alexander McQueen brought structured statement pieces to the runway. Again, the use of layering techniques was prominent and skirts kept in with the lady-like trends, finishing no higher than an inch or so above the knee. It's an oldie, but a goody - and it fills a hole in my heart where the whimsy and magic of Louis Vuitton used to reside.   


scottish bitches
Don't put away those pastel leathers just yet...

Ice Cream...Winter?

If you happen to possess any sort of cognition whatsoever, then you'll be more than aware of the pastel sensation that has gripped the fashion nation this summer. Unsurprisingly, with the likes of Zara's now-iconic pastel biker leading the way on the high street, ice cream hues have had their lifespan extended by the likes of Miu Miu and Dior for the winter. Just be sure to wrap up with the appropriate accessories - you want to look like an ice cream, not be one!


So last season.

Bleh. Sorry Moschino, I want to adore you - I really do, but whole slogan/fast food/cartoon thing is so spring/summer 2014. For a brand with a reputation for being zany and entrepreneurial, this collection really did seem like a bit of a cop-out. It simply wasn't original, nor was it enticing - does anybody really want to be a walking advert for a multi-million pound chain corporation promoting an unhealthy lifestyle? This might seem a tad controversial coming from a blogger who abides by the tagline "live by the catwalk, die by the donut," but really, I'm not lovin' it.


Scottish Bitches
Sorry, Moschino. Make it up to us in September?

All in all, I'm feeling pretty stoked for autumn/winter 2014/15. The lack of leather on the runway certainly suggests we're moving further away from the dominatrix trend and into ladylike silhouette. Come this time next year we will likely see everybody and their aunt prancing around the local park like a Jane Austen visual celebration art installation. A considerable improvement on the micro minis for sure. Yeah, I'm ready for winter.

What trends are you looking forward to most? What autumn/winter shows let you down? 

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut.

L x

30.7.14

Trends I'd like to see die: SS2014 Edition



As we cycle deeper into the summer of 2014, the awesome and truly awful trends have established themselves along high-street and designer stores alike. With the return of florals, pastels and festival delights, the summer has brought many trends that have resulted in sincere contemplation of stabbing my own eyes out with a clothes hanger. 

 
Scottish Bitches
Image - http://www.pinterest.com/pin/498140408757249853/

Jelly Shoes

I covered this in the 2013 round-up of awful trends, but much to my despair this novelty has only grown in momentum, with just about everybody and their aunt sticking their sweaty toe sausages into this sorry excuse for a pair of shoes. Unless you are dressing up as Lolita for a fancy dress party or are perversely inspired to attempt "toddler" chic, then you need to back away from these monstrosities. Plus, do you really want to smell like a giant rubber beach ball all summer?


Scottish Bitches
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/29695678767688405/ - Note: She totally pulls it off.


Smock dresses

Keeping running with the toddler theme - why is everybody intent on wearing these awful sacks covered with daisies? If you're anything above a C-cup and wearing one of these, you look practically pregnant! Whilst, yes, Alexa Chung totally carries them off with panache, the majority of us are not style icons with twigs for limbs. Go back to the skater dresses, please and stop dressing as though you're going to the creche instead of the club.


Scottish Bitches
Image - http://www.pinterest.com/pin/381750505885607414/ - This is how a slip should be worn. Keep it classy.

Slip dresses

I totally get the 90s revival. I totally do. Bring on the plaid, the velvet, the grunge, the band t-shirts, the mom jeans. I can cope with that. But a slip dress? Does anybody actually remember what a slip dress is? It's an undergarment to be worn under dresses to preserve modesty and smooth out silhouettes! Plus the fact, it essentially is just a bit of fabric held up by two strips of material - can you get anymore boring than that?!


Image - http://www.pinterest.com/pin/545357836098285632/ - Lazy days - yes, partying, no.

Jogging bottoms

I'm all on board with the sports luxe trend - after all I'm quite partial to flinging on a great pair of trainers to grunge up an outfit and stick a sports bra on underneath transparent shirts, but really, why have jogging bottoms become common place to see people wearing around everywhere? Only a year ago you would have been knocked back from several entertainment establishments for just wearing trainers, but now people are walking in with joggers covered in sequins? Keep it for the gym, ladies!


Image - http://www.pinterest.com/pin/304133781058626057/ - Be careful how you style these.

Birkenstocks

Do you know that thing that happens maybe twice a year where you randomly retch for no reason? That was my reaction when I saw these bad boys were back en vogue. Sure, I can understand the irony - the same way I can understand the stylistic irony of novelty jumpers, mom jeans and geek-chic glasses. Birkenstocks do have their place in our wardrobes, but not with the rest of the Hipster uniform. Can we say walking fashion cliche? 


 What have been your pet hates of SS2014? Let us know in the comments below!

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut. 

L x


26.6.14

How to dress with abdominal pain.

Abdominal pain. Whether it's period pains, a tendency to be prone to bloating, the menopause or even just a dodgy sandwich from the corner shop, us ladies tend to be well versed in the curse of abdominal pain.

About three years ago I was diagnosed with a particularly nasty little gremlin called Interstitial Cystitis - otherwise known as painful bladder syndrome - which, as the title suggests is a chronic pain condition that affects the bladder. The condition comes in "flare-ups" of pain - which can be pretty aggressive, not to mention the oh-so-fun side effects of bloating, often resulting in a 9-month-due-any-minute phantom food baby. The diagnosis led to several major lifestyle changes in diet and exercise regimes, but little did I know it would also grow to have great impact on my sense of style too. With tight, figure-hugging pieces suddenly off limits in the midst of the bodycon trend, I had to adapt my style to reflect not only my inner fashionista, but to be mindful to my physical well-being too.

Style Fashion Help
Image Courtesy: http://now-here-this.timeout.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/hot-water-bottle.jpg

Regardless of whether your pain is a monthly occurrence when mother nature pays a visit, or like me something that is a permanent part of your life, my guide below offers tips and tricks to stay as pain-free as possible without compromising your style.

Go high-waisted or go home (and lie in bed in agony.) Personally, my pain tends to land just below my gut, which makes anything mid-rise or low-rise completely off limits during a flare. I have been known to actually seek out shops in the middle of a date to purely buy a pair of trousers due to discomfort. The trick is to select trousers and skirts with a high-rise or high-waist - and then go up a size. Sure, they may be a little baggier than you're used to, but trust me when I say you'll be thanking your lucky stars you did come 6pm in the evening. Going up a size can be beneficial in hiding the obvious appearance of bloating and instead of trousers and skirts looking like they're about to burst from your new beach-ball inspired stomach, the piece will simply look like it fits well. 

Skinny jeans are the enemy. They may feel great and look even better on, but trust me when I say you do not want to be caught in skinnies when abdominal pain strikes. Whilst the introduction of stretch technology is a welcome addition to the textile industry, denim still remains the stiffest of fabrics to wear, outside of thick leather. If you're a fan of the skinny fit but need more room to account for pain and bloating, look to cigarette and peg-leg trousers. Benefits of wearing cigarette trousers include a super streamlined figure, a more forgiving fabric not to mention ultimate style sophistication. Swap out your summer crepe trousers for wool when the season changes.

In times of abdominal pain, are pyjamas your only solace? Good news - pyjama dressing is on trend. Even if I did not suffer from consistent pain, I'm pretty sure I'd still be completely and utterly in love with the pyjama trend. Identified by it's boxy, oversized silhouettes and flowing fabrics, it's pretty much the ideal trend for anybody who wants to retain supreme style during a flare up.

Elasticated waists are your new best friend. You might cringe and think "but they're for grannies," but the truth is your health has to come first. There is nothing "chic" about hospital gowns which is probably what you will end up in if you don't listen to your body. Don't forget, elasticated bands can be covered up with cute belts and some strategic layering, so don't fret it. 

Bin the control pants. Pronto. They're pretty much designed to squash your stomach and its contents into as compact a shape as possible. Get them binned - they're going to cause nothing but pain for your poor tummy.


Scottish Bitches
In this photo, I'm wearing trousers two sizes larger than I usually wear - can you tell the difference?

Having abdominal pain is never fun, but it's an inevitable part of being woman. Remember, if your abdominal pain continues over an extended period of time, it is important to visit your GP. Similarly if you experience a sudden onset of severe abdominal pain, seek medical attention immediately.

Do you have any tips for dressing with abdominal pain? Share them with us!

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut.

L x

17.6.14

Crush of the Week: Zara Pastel Biker Jacket

There is no denying that powder blue is the breakthrough pastel hue of the season. As predicted by the fashion authorities, the pastel trend has taken the summer by storm (yet again) and bloggers right, left and centre are proudly sporting shades that put us all in the mood for a scrumptious ice cream sundae. 

This week's crush of the week is possibly the most coveted piece by bloggers alike this year, coming from high-street chain store Zara - the baby blue faux-leather biker jacket.


Scottish Bitches
Image courtesy: www.zara.com

Safe to say this little number doesn't come cheap - raking in at £69.99, but as the price tag suggests, it does promise great quality and composition. The piece sells itself on the basis of a boxy structure - a silhouette that has proven popular this season. Embellished with silver metal zips, buckles and gentle ribbed detailing, it offers the perfect combination of femininity and rock chic. The major downside is obviously the challenge of wearing a leather jacket in the warmer weather. Whilst pastels are most typically present in the summer, I believe this jacket could be a fairly wise investment for autumn/winter this year. It may take a bold lady to pull it off, but it would certainly introduce an edge to the winter season - which is famed for its darker palette.


zara pastel leather jacket
Image courtesy: www.zara.com

If you're not quite willing to part with the £70 price tag on faux-leather in the summer, rumour has it Primark have an excellent dupe currently in stock at around the £25.00 mark.


How do you feel about the pastel/leather combination? 

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut. 

L x