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

20.5.14

A foolproof way to be stylish. Everyday.

If you're anything like me, then you'll be all too familiar with having a wardrobe filled with too many clothes. Now, I hear you say, "Laura, don't be so ridiculous, you can never have too many clothes!" But I beg to differ.

So, you've heed my advice on conducting a wardrobe purge and condemned 70% of your wardrobe to the charity shop - but you still find yourself scratching your little fashion noggin. Whenever you open the wardrobe now, you are overwhelmed with feelings of disorientation and are forced to either take several hours to pick an outfit or settle for the same old day in, day out combos you've been hiding in for years.

Yes? I thought so. Then you need this intervention.


Scottish Bitches
Finally, I have struck the happy medium between dull and mental style.

The problem I generally have found with style is that people (myself included) tend to invest in trends without much regard to the basic wardrobe. In the past, I was textbook case of first under dressing, and then over dressing, but as I progressed through my career as a fashion photographer, my style grew alongside with me.

At the very beginning of my style journey, I stuck to very safe choices - poor fitting band t-shirts, low-rise jeans, converse - you get the drift. Then, virtually overnight, I completed a 360 turn and was walking out the house looking like I was due to audition for a remake of "It" - as Tim Curry. Neither were good looks. Through an awful lot of trial and error (and some truly awful fashion mistakes) I eventually hit upon the ultimate style formula.

Ready to reset your wardrobe? Then I challenge you to put this formula to the test.


Preparation

For the purpose of this post, I've created a glossary of sorts to outline what I mean when I use key terms.

Statement or Trend pieces: These are the in-your-face pieces. Wear them loud and proud. Printed trousers, bold colours, extreme silhouettes and boisterous textures - such as patent PVC.

Classic pieces: Blazers, jeans, cigarette trousers, trenchcoats, shirts. For a full list, check out previous posts from the Fashionpillar series.

Neutrals: Including modern day interpretations of neutrals, this includes black, grey, white, navy, brown, beige and nude shades. Gold and silver can also be applied here.

Accessories: Glasses, jewellery, scarves, belts, etc. Shoes and bags are not included in this category.


The Formula

1 Statement/Trend + max 2 classic neutrals + max 2 accessories + neutral bag + neutral shoes = Style win.

or

1. Select one statement or trend piece.
2. Select up to two classic pieces in neutral tones. 
3. Team with a maximum of two accessories. 
4. Team with neutral shoes and bag.

Don't believe it works? Have a look at these very different but stylish ladies.


Scottish Bitches
Image courtesy: http://www.thelittlemagpie.com/2013/12/mrs-pomeranz.html

The midi dress is arguably one of the hardest pieces in the history of fashion to pull off. Traditionally cutting off at mid-calve, it is famous for its frumpy connotations. However, the lovely lady above pulls it off effortlessly. Working with her embellished midi dress, she pairs it with a black leather jacket, court heels, a belt at the waist and some dainty jewellery. Breaking it down, her formula runs like this:

An embroidered midi dress (statement) + a black leather biker (classic, neutral) + belt and a delicate necklace (2 accessories) and court heels (classic.)

Whilst she dresses with the accent of leopard print in her court heels, it is relatively downplayed by the neutral elements of the outfit, meaning that she passes with supreme style. J'adore. 


Scottish Bitches
Image courtesy: http://lolobu.com/set/44179

Casual tailoring can be a tricky little jobby to get right. But, if you play around with the right silhouettes, the pay off is well worth it. The trick is to keep in line with proportions. Wearing high-waisted trousers? A cropped blazer is the perfect accompaniment. This lady wins our hearts with her carefree mix of basics with a stunning pair of palazzo pants. Her style formula:

Palazzo pants (statement) + white cami (classic neutral) + nude blazer (classic neutral) + jewellery (1 accessory.)

A simple outfit, perhaps, but never is the saying "less is more" truer than in this instance. Parfait.


How to be stylish
Here I follow my own rules - Statement trousers, 2 classic basics, shoes and bag in neutral tones and 2 accessories.

As a general rule, this is a great base formula to work from to establish style. However, that is not to say there are exceptions to the rule. As you begin to develop your personal style, incorporate a little bit of experimentation - perhaps choose to clash two statement pieces to effectively print mix. I'll bet that within weeks, you'll be Bill Cunningham worthy of a street style feature.

What are your top style tips? 

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut.

L x


15.4.14

Crush of the Week: Boohoo Boutique Bird Brocade Trousers

I really do have a penchant for a good pair of patterned trousers. For some people it's shoes, for others it's bags, but my little heart never fails to flip at the sight of shapes and squiggles embossed in fabric. When printed joggers, harem pants and high-waisted palazzos hit the high street last year, I was off on a rampage - I had to have them all, I had to have the title as SS2013 crazy print queen. Needless to say it is much to my delight that prints are back this season, which makes for the rare opportunity to recycle and restyle last year's wardrobe.

This week's crush comes from online retailer, Boohoo.com, with the Lacey Bird Brocade Trousers from their limited edition boutique range. The boutique range features pieces made with higher quality fabrics in addition to Boohoo's standard line of clothing and accessories.


Scottish Bitches
Lacey Bird Brocade Trousers by Boohoo, £25.00

Coming in at the price of £25.00, these trousers are marked at the lower-end of the Boohoo Boutique price range. The truth be told, I tend to find Boohoo's boutique range fairly uninspiring and overpriced, but from time to time a little gem like these brocade trousers does emerge.

The trousers sell themselves on a few key points - first being the straight cut and ankle-grazing length -  fitting in with the SS2014 micro-trend of cigarette trousers. This is further supported by the high-rise waistline - there is no longer the need to suck in all the excess winter tummy podge - these bad boys will cuddle it for you and streamline your figure. Last but not least, the winning factor has to be the rich print. Broken up with panels of navy and white, the floral and bird detail makes for an oriental vibe - I highly suspect the designers drew inspiration for these trousers from the Willow Pattern Plate story


Scottish Bitches
Image courtesy: Thepotteries.org - The Willow Pattern Plate

Whilst I am dubious about the majority of the Boohoo boutique collection, I do feel these trousers are truly gorgeous in design and at the price of £25.00 would make a great addition to the SS2014 wardrobe. Due to the vibrant nature of the trousers, I'd look to pair them with neutrals - perhaps a black cami or grey boyfriend t-shirt teamed with a tawny trench-coat, similar to mine below.


Scottish Bitches
Team a tawny trench to accentuate printed trousers.


What do you think of the brocade trousers? How would you style them?

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut. 

L x

10.4.14

How to conduct a Wardrobe Purge

Do you have a wardrobe that is about to burst open like a victim from "Alien?" Do you often cry in despair and utter the words "I have nothing to wear!" whilst sitting in front of a stuffed closet of clothes? Do you also have a floordrobe and have forgotten what the colour of your own bedroom carpet is? Are you unable to remember the last time you wore a pair of matching socks?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then unfortunately I have to tell you, your wardrobe is the place clothes go to die. It is the graveyard of fashion and no number of half-price sales or buy-one-get-one-free promotions are going to resuscitate it. 

The good news is a wardrobe purge might just do the trick. 


Scottish Bitches
A snapshot into my wardrobe. This lucky lot made the cut of my most recent purge!

Around a year ago, I conducted my first wardrobe purge. I'd been holding on to a ridiculous amount of clothing down to sentimental value and as a result, it was practically impossible to move about in my bedroom. Honestly, if you had seen it, you would have thought I was destined to appear on Extreme Hoarders. However, sense was talked into me, and I eventually conducted my first wardrobe purge.

Wardrobe purges are essential in order to maintain consistent style. By saturating your wardrobe with purchase after endless purchase without removing something in the process, it makes for a cluttered mindset. Believe me when I say, there really is such a thing as too much clothing. Not only does an overflowing wardrobe create space issues, but it can also knock down your confidence and lead to a frumpy, downtrodden and downright depressing sense of style.

Do not fear! I am here armed with my top tips to help you conduct your very own wardrobe purge!


Scottish Bitches
Don't forget to purge bags, accessories and shoes!

Adopt a ruthless mindset. Do you really need that pair of holey pyjamas from four years ago because your boyfriend's gran bought you them? If it has holes, get it binned! There is no excuse for it, no matter what personal value it has.

Struggling to let go of sentimental pieces? For various reasons, we can find it hard to let go of articles of clothing that are sentimental to us. In this instance, if you never wear the clothing and it is in good nick, put it into storage. That's what attics are for! 

Categorize. Organize your sweaters, dresses, shoes and accessories into designated areas. This system of organization is particularly helpful if you are like me, and tend to prefer to spend an extra fifteen minutes in bed and get ready in the mornings at superhuman speed. Translate your wardrobe to your grab-n-go lifestyle.

Anxious about letting go of new goods? The chances are if you're debating about chucking out  clothes with the tags still on, you're probably never going to wear them. On my most recent purge, I found a pair of unworn shoes with the tags still on that I had owned for an entire two years. In this instance, a great thing to do is to donate to charity shops. Charity shops thrive off of donations, particularly of new goods. You get the extra space whilst helping those in need. It's a win-win!

Store away seasonal pieces. Going into Spring/Summer? It is time to pack up the wool trousers, heavy coats and boots for a rainy day. Out of sight, out of mind!

Filter the boring stuff. Pair socks together. Untangle tights. Conduct a granny knickers audit. Sorting out the mundane things can make all the difference.

Conduct purges frequently. I recommend conducting a wardrobe purge once every six months. As we move from season to season, pieces will gradually become irrelevant. Keep on top of the chaos by purging frequently. 


Scottish Bitches
Simple tubs like the box shown above are relatively inexpensive and perfect for storage!

Conducting wardrobe purges can be both mentally and physically draining, so don't be surprised if it takes more than one day to effectively categorize your wardrobe. The important thing to remember is, by cutting down a massive wardrobe, choice becomes more refined. To quote the saying, "quality over quantity" conducting these purges will help to draw out the truly timeless and fantastic pieces you have and eliminate poor quality and trend-driven fads from your wardrobe. Give your wardrobe the love it truly deserves.

Do you have any tips for conducting a wardrobe purge?

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut.

L x




7.4.14

Crush of the Week: F&F Daisy Organza Pencil Skirt

The tussle between pastels and monochrome for the dominant place of favoured SS2014 trend within my heart has been decided. Despite being a 365-days-a-year fan of my beloved monochromatic scale, the reasoning of pastels having a seasonal time limit, the jury votes ice cream shades for summer! Naturally, being a red-head, I have an uncontrollable compulsion to clash everything with my hair and what better juxtaposition than a good colour wheel of pastels. It is the most logical decision I have made all year. 

In our new feature "Crush of the Week", we'll be selecting one piece that simply melts our protective impulse-buy hardened hearts. This week's piece comes from Florence and Fred (F&F) - known primarily as the clothing line delivered by supermarket giant, Tesco.

scottish bitches
F&F daisy organza pencil skirt - £16.00


My pick of the F&F daisy organza pencil skirt may come as a surprise, given that it is no secret that I am a die-hard fashion snob (repeat after me: classics over trends, quality over quantity) however, at the super-low price of £16.00, I'm inclined to say that this is the one trend piece that can take the hit.

This piece wins on several fronts - with the leading factor being the shade of pastel blue - this season's breakthrough pastel tone. Any fashion-devotee just needs to take a look at the overlay of daisies to recognise the inspiration F&F have drawn from the Louis Vuitton SS2012 collection - a collection which most definitely made our hearts feel as dizzy as the the carousel the models stepped off of. These factors combined with the midi-length also helps to tick the lady-like trend box too.


Scottish Bitches
Image courtesy: beilovebei.com, Louis Vuitton SS2012

That being said, it is important to remember that as the price-tag is low, it is a purely trend-driven piece. Despite Tesco bucking up their style game significantly with some seriously cool pieces this season, it is only natural to expect the piece to come in a lower-grade of fabric - something for sensitive-skin ladies to be mindful of, particularly where organza is involved. However at £16.00, what do you really expect?

It is a playful trend-piece and if you're looking to have fun with this season's pastel trend and don't mind the shelf-life of a budget piece, this skirt could be a great way to go about it. If you're channeling the co-ordinate trend this season, the F&F collection do offer a complimentary top with the same organza print, however, I feel due to the lower-grade fabric, it is important to style things up with quality wardrobe staples. Personally, I'd approach the skirt with my powder blue blazer and a little cropped white shirt or pastel-toned jumper.



Wear Eponymous Scottish Bitches
A blazer of the same tone can be the perfect compliment to a trend-piece.


What do you think of the F&F pencil skirt? How would you wear it?

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut.

L x



1.4.14

SS2014 Trend Guide: The Pastel Arsenal

Good grief, is it really April already? As the better weather rapidly approaches, it seems our spring/summer wardrobes are no laughing joke. This year, pastels make an unsurprising return, and whilst probably the most predictable summer trend after floral prints, those washed-out shades really do hold a place dear in my heart. Most likely because they are a walking tribute to ice-cream.

I have curated my very own pastel picks essential collection to help you survive the summer heat in style. 

Scottish Bitches
Fluffy jumper, £13.99 at Missguided.

The Fluffy Jumper

With the re-emergence of the 90s in full swing, mohair-inspired pieces are popping up all over the shop. For some, this jumper may be a touch too sickly sweet, but pairing with neutral tones and masculine silhouettes will help to neutralize the vibrancy. This jumper is available at Missguided for £13.99.


Scottish Bitches
Tea-length skirt, £20.00 at Boohoo.

 The Tea-Length Skirt

If you're still sporting aztec-print bodycon every day of the week, then quite frankly, you need to sort your life out. This season focuses on a-line midi skirts in pastel shades. SS2014 is all about enhancing lady-like femininity, which incidentally is also incredibly flattering for curvaceous ladies. This tea-length pastel dream is available at Boohoo for £20.00.

Scottish Bitches
Shirt dress, £85.00 at Topshop.

The Shirt Dress

Be still my heart! I am all about the boxy-silhouette this season. Short-sleeved shirts styles are in, meaning we no longer have to swelter with the long-sleeved chiffon charade of last summer. Shirt dresses are a great way to combine the boxy and pastel trends. This style require little accessorizing for a minimalist chic approach. This shirt dress is available at Topshop for £85.00.


Scottish Bitches Wear Eponymous
Powder-blue blazer, £44.99 at Wear Eponymous.

The Tailored Blazer

Whilst a pastel rainbow of tones are leading the season, the breakthrough shade is most definitely powder-blue. Investing in a blazer of pastel tones allows for versatility - teaming up with basics such as black skinnies and a grey t-shirt helps to translate a look from autumn/winter into spring. This blazer is available at Wear Eponymous for £44.99.



Scottish Bitches
Pastel green coat, £89.99 at Zara.

The Statement Coat

No trend is truly complete without a statement piece. This season, avoid neutrals and style up your staple wardrobe with pastel toned outerwear. Look to invest in a few key pieces - after all, your coat is likely to be the piece you wear the most out of your wardrobe. This coat is available from Zara at £89.99.


Scottish Bitches
Barry M Nail Paint in Blueberry, £3.99 at Superdrug.

The Nails

Wearing an outfit without painted nails is like wearing a fur coat with no knickers. Often, many forget to pay attention to the fine detail which can make or break an outfit. My pick for this season is Barry M's Gelly Hi-Shine nail paint in Blueberry. As with many Barry M paints, one coat usually suffices and lasts up to two weeks. You can this shade at Superdrug for £3.99.

What are your pastel picks this season?

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut. 

L x