Saturday, 12 March 2011

Inclusive at H&M

So my return to blogging coincides with a not half bad new range launched in selected H&M stores and, more importantly, on their website. Inclusive is a selection of feminine, directional fashion pieces - untroubled by high-quality materials but catching what's really current, and priced to be affordable. Which is what H&M do well. The difference here is that the range is available from a size 6, right up to a size 28 (although sizing can be skimpy with H&M). This means the range replaces the awful, drab, and impossible to locate 'Big is Beautiful' brand which has been disgracing H&M for years. Hurrah!

The dress at the top of this post is textural and feminine without being girly. It gives a nod to fifties influences, but it isn't full-on retro: that's key to the whole collection. It costs £39.99. It's not my favourite, though, perhaps because the strapless, straight-across neckline is more flattering to a slightly smaller bosom. What I do really love is this I really love this Leopard-print cardigan  £24.99. The detail here sells it: the hints of aqua in the print are picked up in the vibrant turquoise placket, and then the buttons are all different shapes of crystal flower. I shall definitely be getting one, despite vowing not to spend and money.

What to wear with it? Well, if you're less paunchy than me, you might go for this black and blue pencil skirt (£24.99) for a real sexy-secretary, va-va-voom look. Because of the colour combination, worn in isolation I don't think you'd necessarily recognise this as animal print - perfect for more conservative workplaces.

Don't like pencil skirts? This stripy peach skirt is £24.99, and more forgiving of a tummy - though it's well above the knee: I'd definitely want to be wearing tights or leggings with it. Yes horizontal lines add width, but with a full skirt, width is part of the desired effect, and because the stripes are in a different fabric but the same colour, the optical effect is less pronounced.

My last pick are these outrageous shoes (£29.99). I adore these but I won't be getting them sadly, because the real height of the heel is too high.  The platform is 4cm and the heel height is 11.5cm.  That still leaves a true heel height of 7.5cm, or 3 inches - and I'm just too much of a wuss lately.

So - it's a small collection, but it shows great promise, and I hope that more pieces will be added regularly, as they do with their mainstream lines.  Bravo, H&M!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

A New Look

When you don't do something for ages, it takes a special motivation to get you back in the saddle, and what better motivation than a request from the lovely @EatOrBeEaten, our motorbiking, New Zealand-dwelling, science-teaching, and now Roller Derby-skating regular reader?

I have a question! (and it's not about when the blog will be updated :P )

So, I cut all my hair off and now have a bitchin' pixie cut. I love it but I'm having a hard time dressing for my new look. Some of my more '50's style clothes (hello, stella doll dresses!) look a bit odd. I intend on keeping my hair this short for the foreseeable (I have no patience for long hair it'd seem) so I need to start thinking what clothes will go well with this look. Any ideas or suggestions? Body type is pretty curvy, so the full androgyne look isn't going to work... 

A sexy, cropped pixie cut does quite often go hand-in-hand with a gamine, boyish look. Think Jean Seburg in A Bout de Souffle (above). But it's not an exclusive relationship, and slim-but-curvy girls can really rock a crop with some stylish garments. I have three looks for our girl to pick and choose from.

If you're all about the action, jeans and a shirt can be more practical  than a dressy look. This still from the film We Are The Mods shows a shirt which would work for bigger boobs. The key thing is to look for a longer placket (the bit where the buttons and buttonholes are), one that comes down lower than the fullest part of the bust, and then wear it undone to create a deep V.  The body of the shirt should fit, but not be skintight. Team with black drainpipe jeans and a chunky belt.

My next look revolves around this shape of tailored jacket. Velvet for winter, and perhaps something lighter for summer - the shape is key. Single breasted, and one button or clip, fastening at the waist (perhaps even lower than the one here). Cut for a girl, the jacket should be nipped-in at the waist, otherwise with big boobs it will just make you look chunky. You can wear any neckline underneath, so long as it's a contrasting colour. Wear it with wide-leg trousers for work, and any kind of jeans, even really knackered ones, for a more casual look.

 For my last look, think Valley of the Dolls, Barbarella... that whole sixties, A-line minidress look, but worn with like a tunic.  The dress above is by Boden  (£71.10, sizes 6-22) - and it's a little on the long side - for this body shape and look, I'd take it up to a more retro, mod-ish, upper thigh level. Then we want some slim-fitting, cropped cigarette pants, like the ones Seburg is wearing in the picture at the top of this post. The shape of this dress is what makes it work with bigger boobs.  The notch-neck is more sympathetic to the sixties styling than a V neck would be, but there is a V shape, and the wide trim on this particular frock gives an important vertical line for the eyes to follow.  The empire line, meanwhile, flatters the hourglass waist, and the A-line flare, with a shorter length, accentuates fuller sexy hips and bum.