Fashion

3 Ways To Wear It: PVC Pencil Skirt

Once again I find myself having to apologise for being a rubbish blogger and making promises that I just have not delivered. Some time in the Spring I made a big song and dance about the return of 3 Ways To Wear It. I managed, ironically enough, just three; a leather skirt, classic J Brand drainpipes and neon jeans then failed to do another for a good six months. Well this time when I say it’s coming back, I mean it! In future I’m also going to focus on more trend led, stand out pieces. After all, swapping ballet flats for stilettos with the same pair of dark blue skinnies is a bit dullsville. A pink, PVC pencil skirt on the other hand, is a lot more fun.

topshop pink PVC pencil skirt

Topshop PVC pencil skirt, black, navy and camel versions still available here

As I’m sure you all know sexy chic made a glorious return to the runway for AW13 (I did a post on it here). PVC, leather, latex, peek-a-boo detailing and other saucy styles appeared on the catwalks of Jonathan Saunders, ANTIPODIUM, Prabal Gurung and Jason Wu to name just a handful. Hell, even Burberry got in on the act with Christopher Bailey channeling sixties seductress, Christine Keller. Despite my penchant for all things blousey, bow trimmed and otherwise manrepelling I couldn’t wait to try a little fetish fash for myself. It was merely a matter of when, how and what the hell would I wear it with. Part of the answer to this conundrum presented itself in August. I was both completely broke and hopelessly late for a meeting when I saw this baby in the window of Topshop and stopped in my tracks. I first wore the skirt at the Belstaff bash during London Fashion Week and, while I adore it, haven’t managed to give it another outing since. You see, a pink PVC pencil skirt is pretty eye catching. It’s a conversation starter, but you don’t want it starting the same conversation with the same people at a bunch of different events. So I challenged myself to make it work 3 distinctly different ways, in the hope that my much loved (if seriously bloody uncomfortable) shiny pink number could have life in it yet.

Casual 

pvc pencil skirt

PVC pencil skirt

PVC pencil skirt

PVC pencil skirt

Worn with Chinti and Parker cashmere sweater (similar here), Whistles satchel (similar here) & Russell & Bromley Vixen pumps (available here)

Firstly I just have to clarify that my “casual” doesn’t usually look much like this. If I’m working at home, hitting the library or under the weather (read: hungover) then no make up, skinny jeans, breton tee is my can’t-be-bothered recipe. I probably won’t be swapping this fail safe formula for squeaky PVC anytime soon but I wanted to prove that it is possible to make such a garment vaguely daytime appropriate even if actually attempting to run around town in it would be a frustrating experience to say the least. I initially attempted operation dress down with the addition of my Kenzo cloud print sweatshirt and leopard print slip ons. Then I realised I was quite literally a walking (well, shuffling), talking, tweeting parody of a fashion blogger and decided to change toute suite. Instead I went for my beloved Chinti and Parker heart sweater with co-ordinated grey tights and a mini satchel. The pony tail was meant to make up for the fact those Russell & Bromley pumps are totally not casual… Kind of works, I think.

Preppy

PVC Pencil skirt

PVC Pencil skirt

PVC Pencil skirt

PVC Pencil skirt

Worn with Le Monde D’Ines blouse (similar here), Anne Bowes Jewellery necklace (available here), L.K. Bennett pumps (available here), Wilbur & Gussie clutch (available here), Accessorize ring & hairband (similar here

It’s official, I’ve found my calling in life, to make potentially sexy clothes deeply unsexy. Somehow I’ve managed to transform a wiggle-tastic, pink, PVC pencil skirt into a bottom half cover-up that your average Sunday school teacher would consider tame. Am I embarrassed for having turned a garment consisting of a fabric predominantly worn by strippers into the kind of get up one might reserve for meeting the boyfriends conservative and elderly parents? Hell no! If anything I feel this particular prep-over is among my greatest sartorial achievements to date. Whether boys actually find pink, PVC pencil skirts appealing or they’d prefer their lass in jeans and a fitted, V neck sweater is a whole other story but 99.9% of the men in my life don’t swing that way so I’m probably not qualified to comment. With Peter Pan collar and pumps in place I decided to really push the prep factor with the addition of a hair band. PG13 transformation complete.

After Dark

PVC Pencil skirt

PVC Pencil skirt

PVC Pencil skirt

PVC Pencil skirt

Worn with Whistles embellished blouse (similar here), Swarovski snake ring (similar here), Anya Hindmarch clutch (available here) & Kurt Geiger stilettos (available here)

I suspect my after dark take on the PVC pencil skirt could technically come under the preppy category but the elements of black chiffon and sparkle make it, I hope, the most late night of the three. I bought this top in Whistles at least two winters ago and on a cost-per-wear basis it’s paid for itself at least ten times over since. The shoes too have proved hard workers, pulverising my toes during London and Paris fashion weeks and at countless parties since. The Stephen Webster for Swarovski snake ring is possibly a little too badass for the rest of the ensemble and possibly me in general but it’s so glittery and generally cool that I couldn’t resist. I’ll definitely be working this look over the Christmas period, possibly even for New Years Eve…

I hope you’ve enjoyed the return of 3 Ways To Wear It! Which look would you pick?

Love Ella. X

Images by Lea Salomone

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 5 Comments

Kenzo x Liberty London

I’m not sure whether I actually need to wright anything at all for this post, the title kind of says it all. But you know me, I can’t resist rustling up a couple anyway. Fashion collaborations can be tricksy. I’m not going to name names but sometimes they just don’t work. On other occasions however, the sartorial stars align resulting in a brand match made in heaven that causes normally sane shoppers to queue for hours at the crack of dawn. Kenzo x Liberty London is one such collaboration, and then some. The classic, British purveyor of the world’s most iconic florals and  a brand so goddamn awesome their sweatshirts sell out in seconds, how could this possibly be anything other than awesome?!

kenzo x liberty london

Liberty London’s Persian inspired “Tree of Life” print has been adorning the necks of elegant women since the seventies. In theory, combining this time tested, intricate motifs with graphic tiger stripes sounds nothing short of criminal. With a sprinkle of Kenzo cool, it’s genius. I have a serious weakness for Liberty print (it has, on more than one occasion, almost persuaded me to buy trainers!) but haven’t invested in a scarf because I feel I’d look as if I raided my mother’s wardrobe. The Kenzo version solves all that. Straight on the Christmas list it goes…

The limited edition Kenzo x Liberty London scarves are available TODAY so get thyself to Oxford Circus pronto or check them out online here.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Leave a comment

SUITCASE Magazine: Making Waves

SUITCASE Magazine Issue 5 cover

Oh I do have some ridiculously talented friends. Just the other week I shared the second print issue of James Joseph’s mag, Stylenoir and now I’m about to tell you about my fashion month partner in crime, Serena Guen’s latest triumph. As you probably know, Serena is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of SUITCASE Magazine. What you may not know however, is that Serena and I were at school together. Between work, life and university, I hadn’t seen Serena since some time during 2008 and then four years on I began hearing a lot of talk about a fantastic new fashion and travel tome and it turned out she was behind it! Not only that, but she somehow managed to launch and run said glossy, global mag while doing a Masters degree at NYU… I know. I’m not going to labour that point as over thinking it would make me feel deeply inadequate. Instead, behold the fifth issue of SUITCASE Magazine, Making Waves.

suitcase 1

suitcase 1

Awesome, right? Well mes amies, you haven’t seen the half of it. SUITCASE Magazine: Making Waves includes travel features ranging from biking around Amsterdam and sun seeking in South Africa to eating jerk chicken in Jamaica with Savannah Baker and hanging in Honduras with Paloma Faith. On top of that there are editorials a’plenty and I’m kind of obsessed with these pics of Whinnie Williams and the one and only Eve. I would strongly advise, nay insist, that you go get this mag! Not just because I’m pals with some of the fabulous folk behind it, but because it truly is a brilliant read.

suitcase 3

suitcase 4

SUITCASE Magazine is sold in 30 countries so any decent newsagent should have it plus WHSmith, Selfridges and Harrods in London and Barnes & Noble in New York.

Love Ella x

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 2 Comments

WIN Whistles Resort 2014

whistles resort

Yup, you heard me right. The fabulous folk at Whistles who I stalk mercilessly (sorry guys) have decided to give away an entire, top-to-toe look from their Resort 2014 collection as part of their annual Advent Calendar Competition. This time last year I teamed up with them to offer you a sneaky peeky at the personalised varsity jacket one lucky so and so would be receiving in time for Christmas. I’m sure you’ll agree it was a pretty bloody brilliant prize but, dare I say it, this year’s is even more spectacular. And not just because it involves more stuff, although that is obviously awesome. What really sets this treat apart is the calibre of Whistles’ Resort 2014 collection.

whistles resort

Whistles re

Pastel hues, A-line skirts and ice white accessories provide a tantalising teaser of what Spring has in store while razor sharp cuts, mannish outerwear and androgynous attitude stop things from erring on the side of saccharine. Even I, someone who has no problem with styles so sickly sweet they should come with a health warning find this Céline-meets-Carven chic impossibly compelling. I want to be the messy haired, devil may care girl who rocks bubblegum pink knits and printed leather dungaree dresses with equal nonchalance. But this post isn’t about me, for once, it’s about YOU lovely lot and how to get your hands on the aforementioned ensemble.

whistles

To recap, the prize is the WHOLE outfit from Whistles’ Resort 2014 collection pictured directly above; powder pink coat, tailored trews, monochrome heels, the lot. And all you have to do to enter is “like” the picture on Facebook here. Sounds too good to be true? Well, it’s not. Good luck…

Love Ella. X

Ps) If you don’t get lucky this time around, no sweat, there are 19 more chances to win some Whistles online here

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 2 Comments

#YOLO: An Acronym To Live By?

YOLO

Thanks to the title of this post and the above image you’re probably thinking WTF right about now but please do bear with me. If you’ve so much as glanced at a magazine or turned on the television over the past six months then you’ll know there’s been a hell of a lot of debate over the illusive “work/life balance.” How does one achieve this most coveted of states and indeed, is such a thing is even possible? Maintaining a successful career, family and some semblance of a social life without taking spa weeks on the regular or having a complete breakdown… does this exist? I’ve been thinking a fair bit about this conundrum recently. Partially because I read an awful lot of magazines, but also because of the many emails I received after my feature in Look Magazine a couple of months ago. The piece was entitled “I go from lectures to Louis Vuitton shoots”, a sentance I hasten to add was paraphrased, and presented me in the extremely flattering, if not necessarily accurate, light of student-slash-jet-set-uber-blogger. After it was published I received numerous lovely emails, many of which asked how I balance everything. The truth? Badly. I suck at the work/life/play balance. Case in point, last week. Many months of burning the candle at both ends and in the middle finally took its toll and I ended up not working on my thesis, charging around town to meetings or attending fabulous events but stuck in bed at my parents house with a mouth full of ulcers and a system full of antibiotics. Finally feeling sufficiently human to venture outside, I decided to take the dog for a walk and bumped into the postman a few minutes in. Once we’d both recovered from the embarrassment of my mother’s small, ridiculous looking Norfolk terrier attempting to chase him what struck me was how darned happy the fellow seemed. Was he pacing along, reading the “to do” list on his iPhone attempting to answer emails, reschedule appointments, tweet, Instagram and chase up invoices simultaneously? Of course not! And did he seem like the desperately sad, shell of a human I become every time I lose my phone or come down with a cold, have to take a few days out and subsequently get behind on the aforementioned to do list? Not a bit of it, the man was genuinely whistling! Ordinarily and to my shame, I might have felt superior to the jolly postman, perhaps even pitying him for being so far removed from fast paced, ambition fuelled city life. Admitting that no doubt doesn’t show me in the best light but what the hell, I’m sure many of you’ve experienced such thoughts too. On this occasion though, I wondered, did the postman have it right? Does the work hard, play hard, you only live once (#YOLO) so you’d better make it great mentality actually make us happy or just perpetually tired, stressed and dissatisfied?

I’m slightly playing devil’s advocate here because I’m a total subscriber the #YOLO mentality (yep, new phrase coined by your’s truly). I feel incredibly lucky and grateful to be working in an industry I love and to get up each, ok most, mornings excited for what the day will bring. I completely and utterly adore the frenetic, not-stop, adrenaline-and-champagne fuelled fashion industry but that doesn’t change the fact that this fellow really made me stop and think. Would life be that bit better, calmer and just generally easier if those of us that strive for the impossibility of perfection and across the board achievement just, well, lived? Or in a metropolitan, digital driven world where we’re available on email (or countless social media platforms) at home, on holiday, in bed and professional competition appears to be at all all time high, is the very concept of contentment extinct? Perhaps the jolly postman can strike a work/life balance but would it ever work for me? And if I’m wondering this at the tender age of 22, what the HELL are people 10 years older and 100 times more successful feeling!? Once again, this post poses many more questions than answers. I want to know what you lot think…

Love Ella. X

Ps) I’m not about to quit the whole fashion malarky in favour of becoming a postman. Although it is tempting, I must admit… And his uniform was pretty chic.

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 4 Comments