Balmain Barmy

Having been promoted by worldwide fashion elites from as early as May this year, it came as no surprise that the H&M x Balmain collaboration was going to be the most popular one to date. The collection not only put fashion lovers in a spin for months on end hoping to bag a Balmain bargain, but also those that wanted the chance to feel part of the exclusive ‘Balmain Army’ living life as “#squadgoals.” There is no doubt that many shoppers took inspiration from Kim Kardashian West, who is an avid wearer of the brand, and good friend of designer, Olivier Rousteing. Along with advertisement from the rest of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, as well as a music video and various catwalk shows, the build-up contributed to it being the fastest selling HM designer collaboration, selling out online and in-store (to many people’s dismay) within a couple of hours.

The intricate women’s collection featured 69 unique pieces, consisting of an array of heavily embellished dresses, faux fur leather jackets, beaded blouses and blazers, velvet trousers, and gold costume jewellery. Using the distinguishable Balmain black and gold colour scheme, Rousteing also sleeked up the collection with monochrome, hints of red, navy and dark green. A few products also slightly mirrored colours that were used in the 2013 Versace x H&M collaboration, including the pink beaded dress and silk blouse, as well as the neon green sequin dress. Despite minor criticism over stock volumes and technical difficulties online, Olivier deserved every success with this extraordinary, incredibly detailed women’s collection, and in the opinion of many fashion writers, has exceeded former designer partnerships by miles.


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In previous years, I haven’t been totally invested in the H&M collaborations. I can appreciate the designs, and hard work that must have gone into creating such a thing, but nothing got my bones rattling unlike this batch of Balmain. So in preparation the night before the big release, I set my alarm in anticipation for 8am, giving myself plenty of time to be up, ready and raring to log on to the H&M website. My subconscious must have been working overtime as I woke up immediately at 5 in the morning, anxiously eager to get a head start, and sign on to the website early. I was able to access the page and became almost certain I’d be able to bag the black blazer and devoré scarf that I had been dreaming about for so long. But at 15 minutes to 9, the worst happened, and I was redirected to the ‘try again’ page for no reason at all, which according to various Twitter posts was happening to many customers. From there on, it started my long and extremely agonising wait to try and get back in (much to my neighbours annoyance, there was a lot of screaming). I ended up with four tabs open on my laptop, one on my home computer, and the H&M app on my phone. It is safe to say that if I had earned a penny for every click I made on ‘try again’, I could’ve purchased the whole collection. After an hour solid of refreshing, I accepted that there would be none left for me, so I decided to move on with my life, and went to watch the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, dreaming of the day where I could afford official Balmain.

At around 11am, I thought I would try my luck one last time, this time around checking the H&M website on my phone. Through nothing other than sheer luck, I was directed straight through to the Balmain page. I had excitement in the pit of my stomach like a child searching the Argos catalogue at Christmas, especially when I saw the products I wanted were still available! Unfortunately, by the time I got through to the checkout my blazer and scarf had sold out, which is no surprise considering their great value, but at this point I had accepted it was unlikely on getting the blazer. Nevertheless, I was lucky enough to purchase my other favourites, consisting of the black and white ribbed skirt, black velvet T-shirt, and bottle green suede clutch.



Fast-forward to this week and my products arrived, and I couldn’t have opened the box quick enough! The skirt is insanely gorgeous; any dream of getting a Kimmy K hourglass shape and booty has become a reality. It fits me like a glove, pulling in at the waist and ending at a flattering length just on the knee. The fabric is high quality, and in all, is of great value at £39.99. The clutch, priced at £24.99, is exceptionally reasonable for real leather/suede. It is a lot smaller than I anticipated, but I guess it would be the perfect size for Christmas parties, with more than enough space to fit money and makeup in. The top is also a great purchase, and again, very reasonable at £24.99. From what I could tell by the website, this product and the white T-shirt were extremely popular and sold like wildfire, especially to those that didn’t want to spend too much on the colab, but wanted a piece of the collection. It’s simple with just the brand embossed across the front in velvet, but it can easily be dressed up or down, depending on how you feel. I love love love them!


Balmain T Shirt

One thing that should be mentioned is how truly disgusting it is that many were able to purchase products, only to get them straight onto eBay within minutes, and selling for triple the price. Those kinds of people are awful, greedy human beings, and it is so unfair for those than genuinely wanted something from the collection. I really do not understand how some sellers managed to get an array of products, and in each and every size going – it should be against the law of fashion! For those that didn’t get their hands on any, my heart goes out to you, #firstworldproblems right? I will thoroughly enjoy my items, and can confirm I will not be wasting them by putting them up for sale on eBay. They are classic pieces that I can keep and enjoy for a long time.

It’ll be extremely interesting to see what designer will be in the line up for next year’s partnership with H&M. So far rumours are flying around that it could potentially be Moschino, Saint Laurent, Chloé or Marc Jacobs. My money would be on a Jeremy Scott takeover, but it would be amazing to see a Saint Laurent stint in stores, we will just have to wait and see once the hype of this has died down. But for now a round of applause, and huge congratulations to Olivier Rousteing for such an amazing, and beautifully designed collection. Here’s looking forward to next year’s collaboration!

The good, the bad, and the golden

As dawn approached in England this morning, pictures started to emerge of the red carpet fashion from this years Golden Globe awards. I was awake all night as I kept dreaming about buying furniture after a day of hell at IKEA, so I decided to use my time wisely and have a long look at some amazing and not so amazing dresses. No, I may not have an extensive knowledge about the fashion world, and I don’t really have any place in saying what isn’t great, but I have devised my top five favourite and top five least favourite looks from the night. Unfortunately, due to copyright issues I am unable to publish pictures alongside, but if you are unaware of who I am talking about, then give it a quick Google and you will soon see.

1) To begin with, despite what most people seem to be thinking, my absolute favourite outfit of the night was Emma Watson strutting her stuff in Christian Dior. I think she looked totally incredible, and I loved the quirkiness of the outfit with the backless bright red gown, the black trousers and navy heel. By the sounds of it, Emma seems to have hit the bottom of the best-dressed list over in the States, whilst fashion worshippers over the pond love her unique style, and I agree. This would be a prime example of an outfit that I’d personally want to wear if I was to ever hit the red carpet, although I would never look half as good!

2) My second favourite outfit was the stunning Sofia Vergara in an equally stunning Zac Posen floor length, black ball gown. It accentuated all her best features, including some ridiculously toned arms! Despite changing for a GG after-party, (I don’t know why she did, if I ever wore that dress I’d never take it off… ever), Sofia looked just as amazing in a revealing Zuhair Murad metallic fishtail dress.

3) In third place is the gorgeous Maria Menounos in Max Azria Atelier. Opposite to Emma Watson, it seems that the reaction to Maria’s dress over here is not as great as it is in America, however; I completely beg to differ with us Brits. The cheeky cutouts on this beautifully shaped dress creates the perfect ratio of daring to darling in this look. The colour suits her so well and the simple ponytail does not take anything away from the dress, keeping the whole look elegant. I just think she looks completely gorgeous and I need this dress in my life.

4) Zoe Saldana takes forth place in my ranks out of last night’s looks. With everything going on, this fitted Prabal Gurung dress should technically be wrong, but it is so incredibly right. The highly detailed embellishments, the contrasting pink off-the-shoulder silk straps, and the transparent skirt all add to the uniqueness of the outfit, which has been paired with Louboutin heels and Lorraine Schwartz jewels. For some strange reason, I could just imagine Carrie Bradshaw/Sarah-Jessica Parker wearing this dress in an episode of Sex and the City.

5) My final favourite look was from 12 Years a Slave star, Lupita Nyong’o, wearing a totally unique caped, red Ralph Lauren dress. Personally, I would never wear this dress because I wouldn’t have the gonads to do so, and it is made for Lupita so perfectly; but I appreciate how extremely well designed this dress is. (I know Ralph Lauren would be so pleased to have my approval). Matched with her short hair and simple gold jewellery, this girl looks so effortlessly beautiful.

Now for the bad bit – my not so favourite looks. I hate to say negative things about the outfits because I’d never even be able to afford one of these dresses – but I’m speaking as if I had to go to a red carpet event, and these would not be any of the dresses I’d wear. Sorry!

1) I haven’t heard of Girls until recently, but even so Lena Dunham’s bright yellow Zac Posen dress is pretty heavy on the eyes. She admitted to not exactly dieting in the run up to the big show, stating that she actually ate a thick patty of hamburger meat like a cavewoman, which probably isn’t the greatest idea before putting on a tight bodice. For someone that is supposed to be BFF-ing with Victoria Beckham at the moment, she clearly hasn’t picked up any style tips. If you want to do yellow justice, then wear a gown like Big Bang Theory’s Melissa Rauch’s dress made by Romona Keveza.

2) I really do hate to say it because it’s Dior, one of my all-time favourite designers, and also Jennifer Lawrence, one of the best actresses on the planet right now; but this really does not work in anyway whatsoever. It looks like someone attempted to kidnap her with Gaffer tape mid-wedding, but failed to do so, leaving a very unflattering wedding dress. Unfortunately, social networkers are already mocking her internationally, taking pictures of themselves in a rolled-up duvet. For someone like Jennifer with a lovely figure, it seems a shame to hide it behind a frumpy, shapeless dress, but I suppose she does like to bend the norm, so if she likes it, then kudos to her!

3) My third choice is utter bullocks, (sorry I couldn’t help myself). Sandra Bullock has done extremely well so far in the ranks of awards, and is set to win many more, but this Prabal Gurung dress is not going to win in my charts anytime soon. It’s a bit too ‘try hard’ different, so much so, that it doesn’t work in any shape or form – probably because the dress has neither. Also, the poor design and colouring of this dress looks like something that could have been made in my A-Level Textiles class, but then again that would be an insult to us. Despite this, I do love her hair and makeup, and admittedly, she looks incredible for her age.

4) Paula Patton comes forth in her white Stephane Rolland dress with ruffled draping. It’s not the worse dress in the world, but for someone with such an amazing body, she could wear so much better. The dress would look miles nicer if it didn’t have that draping down the right-hand side. Her jewellery is gorgeous and she genuinely looks stunning, however; this dress is a no.

5) In fifth place is Drew Barrymore with her Monique Lhuillier gown, which to me, alongside the baby bump, flowers and long trail, slightly resembled Kim Kardashian’s Givenchy’s dress at the Met Ball last year… no comment. But hey she’s pregnant. If I ever look that pretty whilst up the duff then I’d be extremely happy.

Overall, my views on some particular designers like Christian Dior, Zac Posen and Prabal Gurung seemed to vary. Nevertheless, there were hundreds of lovely outfits seen last night and were very few terrible outfits – even some of the dresses mentioned above aren’t hideous, but just not up there with the standards of some other gowns. This is only an opinion and I guess everyone will think differently, as everyone has their own unique style.

Let me know if you agree or disagree with anything in this post!

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House of Halos

This Tuesday brought the Bloggers Love event for the upcoming, innovative accessory brand, House of Halos. Located eight floors up at the Penthouse London in the centre of Leicester Square, it was the perfect opportunity to display various – and very stunning – jewellery and accessory designs, created by couture hair accessory art designer, and owner of House of Halos, Arlene Barclay.

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View from The Penthouse London

Having 24 years expertise within this market, it was clearly an overwhelming situation for Arlene seeing so many beauty and fashion bloggers and people from the fashion industry supporting the event and the products. “I was unbelievably nervous and at the end when everyone was taking all the photos I was shaking like mad with fear and trying to hold back the tears, very, very grateful to everyone. What an emotional and special moment”.

At the young age of fourteen, Arlene’s love of accessories emerged and she started crafting her own jewellery, however; her passion was heightened at 23, when she initiated her first company, “Angel’s Halos”, after being disappointed by the lack of formal hairpieces on the market whilst trying to find her own bridal accessories. With great success and numerous bridal designs being featured in all major Scottish Wedding Publications and various Northern England exhibitions & catwalks, Arlene decided in 2012 to end Angel’s Halos on a high, and start a new chapter in her life – House of Halo’s, which brings us to the current day.

The latest designs from House of Halo’s sees a variation between couture; such as the eccentric feather head piece seen in picture four, and classic; including the chic pearl necklace worn in picture two. Despite the quirky designs, there are definitely some vintage inspired pieces that could be worn on a day to day basis, or on special occasions, including the pearl and crystal encrusted headband and bracelet seen in the Ocean collection (see below).

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Photos taken by me @ Bloggers Love event

Past the intricate designs, however; Arlene wants to use these designs as a platform to help make a difference in the world – you could say she wears a halo of her own. “Why should the younger youth inherit such a mess? It’s time for a change“, which is an extremely refreshing mindset from a designer.

What is incredible and highly unique is that the majority of the lines in the brand have their own name in regards to what the proceeds will go towards; for example, the ‘Peace’ design, which is going to help support charities like War Child, the ‘Ice’ designs – which will help with the results of global warming in the Arctic and Antarctica, and also the ‘Ocean’ line which will support marine life issues.

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Peace Designs – Picture from Twitter @HouseofHalos

These three jewellery pieces have a definite goth/Victorian inspired twist on an otherwise, fashionable look; especially the choker necklace, which has been seen exclusively on number one selling artist – Emili Sandé.

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The Ice Designs – photo’s taken by me @ Bloggers Love event.

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Ocean Design – Picture from Twitter @HouseofHalos

Arlene maintain’s the slogan “a genuine desire to exceed client expectations“, which she has always been determined to exceed. This could definitely be achieved, as the first design she wants to release is the Peace collection. These pieces could definitely be added to any outfit to add an edge.“I think this will be a good initial design because it is on trend and a timeless fashion design, but also the fact of personal satisfaction in knowing by making their purchase they could be helping children less fortunate in this world. Things have to change and I’d be honoured if I could start a change just by a little necklace or bracelet.”

After 15 years at a professional level, Arlene has set herself high ambitions of making House of Halos a global success and the current aspiration is to see her products stocked in Selfridges and Harvey Nichols. However; in order for this to happen, Arlene needs an investor who will help, along with her passion and fortitude, to create a brand that is world-wide established. Therefore, it is highly important that everyone passes the word around about this company!

So with certain motives of not only creating stunning pieces that would fill a huge gap in the market, but wanting to help make positive changes within the world, it’s only fair that this kind, and incredibly creative lady gets an investor on board so we could see these products in our stores as soon as possible.

Please do take a look at her website to check out the portfolios and photo galleries, and make sure you show your support by following her on twitter!

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@HouseofHalos

Facebook: House of Halos

Models in these photographs are seen wearing dresses designed by Kevin Freeman of Renaissance Couture, and Isabelle Randall.

Spring Tag!

Seeing as Spring is really in the air, I’ve decided to do another beauty and fashion tag – dedicated to this season! Feel free to use this tag, and reply with a link to yours, would like to hear your answers!

Favourite spring nail polish?

As you may know from my previous tag that I 90% of the time wear shellac nail polish, just because it keeps my nails stronger, and lasts longer. I’m absolutely loving pale colours on the nails at the moment (makes my hands look more tanned!) and the one I’m currently using is a mix. I’m using the Bluesky 40526, which is the white from the French Manicure set, mixed with the Bluesky Pastel Blossom. You’re probably wondering why I mixed these colours but I accidentally ordered 2 French Manicure sets of Amazon, so instead of wasting one, I decided to make a pink/white to use during the Spring/Summer months. Ta-da!

Bluesky

What is your must-have lip color this spring?

I’ve got two favourites that I purchased quite recently but cant stop wearing.

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First of all is the gorgeous burnt orange colour from Topshop and it’s called Hedonist and it was £7. Unfortunately, it is not on the Topshop website but they may have it in store. If not they have plenty of other beautiful orange colours in lip paints, tints, bullets and crayons, such as the Lip Bullet in Heartbeat.

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The second is an Accessorize lipstick in Love Struck. This is a very bright colour, I don’t think the pictures do it justice! But it’s a bluey pink, therefore teeth appear whiter! I think this will be absolutely amazing in summer for both the day and nights out. This was only £4.50. This has been around for quite some time now, so it’s not online. I have seen it in Superdrug and Accessorize stores, so it is a case of searching. If not there is a similar lipstick which is the Sleek True Colour Lipstick in Loved Up.

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What’s your favorite flower?

At this time of year my favourite flowers are daffodils. It just reminds me that its Spring and the heat is on its way! Also I love the fact they come out of nowhere, and they’re just so colourful and pretty!

Favorite spring scarf/accessory?

I don’t actually own any spring scarfs at the moment, mainly because I haven’t found one that I like enough. But I am absolutely obsessed with 2 accessories at the moment. The first is my black and white bow from Topshop. I have worn it pretty much every day I’ve had it, and cone be worn in so many different ways. It’s so cute and girly.

Secondly, is my new Prada sunglasses. I’ve been wanting a pair of cat eye sunglasses for ages. And I really wanted to treat myself to a nice pair for summer, seeing as in the house fire that happened last year (you may know this if you’ve seen my other blog), all my nice sunglasses were binned – and I had a lot! Hopefully these ones will last a lot longer.

They both make an appearance in this fashion feature:

 https://fernbalch.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/4-looks-one-pair-of-treggings/

What spring trend(s) are you most excited about this year? (Makeup, fashion or both!)

Kimono’s. Especially floral one’s! I have recently just bought a Zara one which looks amazing with jeans and a coloured camisole underneath. I’m going to keep it a secret though as I think I’m going to be using it for my next fashion feature!

Favorite spring candle?

I’ve recently purchased loads of Spring/Summer candle ‘tarts’ from Yankee Candle to replace my winter ones. I’m currently burning Waikiki Melon which smells amazing. I tend to alternate to keep my room smelling different so that I can actually smell it, otherwise I’d get used to it! The melted pink one at the bottom is Pink Dragon Fruit, and then I have Fluffy Towels, Strawberry Buttercream and Sandalwood Vanilla. 

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Favorite body spray/perfume for spring?

Always has and always will be Armani Diamonds for Spring. It smells very sweet and fresh, just like this beautiful season. I also use Ghost Anticipation which is now discontinued! In winter I love using Dolce & Gobanna Light Blue.

What is spring like where you live?

I live in Bournemouth in the UK which is a lovely seaside town. The first sneak of sunlight we see is my favourite time of year. Everyone is suddenly out of their winter clothes and into some shorts and sandals, all in a good mood and smiling – it’s great! Plus we have the beach which is perfect for BBQ’s and walks.

What’s your favorite thing about spring?

The fact that it’s a reminder that Summer is just around the corner. Also my birthday is in May, which I think technically counts as Spring – so what other reason do I need to have!

Any plans for spring break or an upcoming vacation?

No vacay’s on the card at the moment, just revision, revision, revision. I need to pass my first year at University! I’m going back to work soon so hopefully I can save some up and get away.

Hope you all enjoy your Spring, and let me know what your thoughts are!!

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4 looks.. One pair of treggings!

Ever since I bought these two weeks ago, I have become completely obsessed with these ‘leggings’ from Topshop. I’ve always been a lover of patterned leggings, and I especially love the aztec tribal design on this pair. They just seem to match everything, and they look great; either dressed up for a night out, smartly for a job interview, casual for day to day wear and as a casual/smart look.

They retail at £28 and what’s great about this product is that Topshop stock them in all the ranges, including tall, petite and maternity, so anyone can get away with wearing them. They are just as comfy as leggings due to the Elastane, but because of the Ponte material and the side zip, look more like a pair of skinny leg trousers.

I understand that they are quite bold for some people’s tastes but here are four different ways I’ve styled these for various different occasions..

Click to enlarge all photo’s!

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Style One.. The job interview

These trousers add a bit of vibrance compared to a normal interview look. I paired them with a pink pasha camisole, a simple black blazer, white pointed toe stiletto’s, a black and white handbag and cat-eye sunglasses. The pink camisole makes a bit of a statement and adds a hint of colour amongst this otherwise monochrome look. Apologies for the football in the background, a tad un-classy!

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Pink Pasha Camisole @ Topshop, H&M Black Boyfriend Blazer, White Pointed Toe Stiletto’s – Boohoo.com, Handbag – Fiorelli for TK Maxx, Sunglasses – Prada at Sunglasses Hut.

Style Two.. Casual day to day look

For this style, I kept it really simple with a plain black t-shirt, Primark sunglasses and a black pair of Converse. Jazzed it up with a leather jacket!

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River Island Black T Shirt, Black Converse – Office, Sunglasses – Primark and Leather Jacket @ Topshop

Style Three.. A night on the town

I pulled the trousers up a bit in order to make them high waisted, and tucked in a simple white boob tube. I paired it with a studded belt, black leather waistcoat and suede black wedges for a night out. I also added the black and white bow to the hair to make the look more girly. Definitely 80’s inspired!

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White boob tube – Primark, H&M Studded Belt, Waistcoat – River Island, Black Wedges – Missguided.co.uk and Hair Bow @ Topshop

Style Four.. Out and about smart/casual

This time I paired the trousers with a green pasha camisole to add colour once again to the look. I added studded accessories to this look to rock it up a bit, such as the studded bracelet, over the shoulder bag and Kurt Geiger sandals.

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Green Pasha Camisole @ Topshop, Studded Bag – Primark, Studded Bracelet – Topshop and Kurt Geiger Sandals

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These are definitely my four favourite looks, but the possibilities are endless. I could easily mix and match the accessories, shoes and tops in each style to make a numerous amount of other outfits. It’s all about trial and error!

I definitely think it would be a great idea to invest in a pair of bold print trousers/leggings for summer. Here are some of Topshop’s greatest S/S13 styles:

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Websites of clothing mentioned:

http://www.topshop.com

http://www.boohoo.com

http://www.hm.com/gb/

http://www.sunglasshut.com/uk

http://www.tkmaxx.com/

http://www.riverisland.com/

http://www.office.co.uk

http://www.missguided.co.uk

http://www.primark.co.uk/

http://www.kurtgeiger.com/

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Fantasy Shopper…

Fantasy Shopper does exactly what it says on the tin. It is an online shopping market where females (and males!) that are obsessed with fashion and shopping can create their fantasy outfits, whether it be designer or high-street, without spending the huge price label that comes along with it. It is perfect for many kinds of people including those who spend their days browsing different sites for clothes, or an outfit they would love to buy but never can afford (that would be me) – or for the people who can’t help but spend their money online, but don’t want the guilt!

With an excessive wardrobe that holds thousands of different pieces for boys and girls, Fantasy Shopper provides a platform for users to pretend that they are a top stylist where they are able to design any outfit they like, without the judgement of others. And it’s just fun to get away from the stresses and strains of life by doing so!

With regular competitions, users are also able to have the opportunity to win (real money) vouchers for a variety of stores, simply by designing an outfit specific to a theme. What can seem easier than that?!

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Click to enlarge a photo. This outfit is designed for the latest event – Country Chic. I thought I’d take a different approach to this look by adding a punk/rock edge to the outfit – however kept the fringing and studs which is always a key part of a Southern look. 

What I think is great about this website is that it is a big community filled with people from all over the world, each one having a unique and individual style.  Each time someone uploads an outfit, they can be sending inspiration from different countries to someone who is in need of trying out another style to add to their wardrobe, but wouldn’t necessarily know what to choose, or maybe someone that is completely clueless of what to go for.

There is also a part of the website called ‘Style Assist’, where a user can ask for the assistance off others, whether it be if they’re not sure what dress to buy and want some help deciding, or wanting to know what kind of top to pair with an A-line denim skirt. The list is endless but the way users are able to communicate is great.

People are able to follow, like or comment one another, which makes the social interactivity of this website perfect.

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Click to enlarge a photo. This was my styled outfit for the event Snow Style and came in at a whopping £479.00 (was mostly the Michael Kors bag!) It was my first look I made and I got 19 likes which I thought was impressive!

Another great thing is that if someone was tempted to buy something but not sure what to pair it with, they can find the piece, or something similar in the online wardrobe, and try out various outfits before going out and actually buying the piece of clothing. This way they can figure out whether they want to buy it or not.

I log on a couple of times a week, yes for competitions, but also because it’s just fun. You can spend half an hour just making up crazy designs for the fun of it, and it doesn’t make you depressed like you do when browsing online stores when you know you can’t afford to buy something.

So if you fancy pretending to spend some money, want a bit of fun, or to have the opportunity to win some great cash prizes then log on to Fantasy Shopper and don’t forget to follow them on Twitter, it’s so worth it!

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http://www.fantasyshopper.com/

Twitter:

@fantasyshopper

@fernbjournalism