Thursday, May 31, 2012

Let Every Eye Negotiate for Itself.....Hardly.

Aaaah, Shakespeare. But I'll get to that in a minute.

So yesterday, in the break room at work, one of my colleagues was surfing the net on her iPhone. She was looking at clothes online (which happens to be an official national pastime in my house). Being as nosy as I am when it comes to all things sartorial, I poked my head in, and noticed that she was looking at a shirt that was quite like this one.

Okay, it wasn't this exact one, but like it.
Karen Millen at House of Fraser 55 GBP

I commented on how much I liked the digital prints that have been floating about for the past few seasons, and said that her choice was very Mary Katrantzou. When she stared at me blankly, I realised that not everyone, like myself, is a complete fashion nerd, so I felt the need to explain the emergence of digital prints on the runway, and subsequently the high street, spearheaded by design houses like Alexander McQueen and Katrantzou. She replied thusly:

     "Oh, I don't know about any of that stuff. I don't really follow the fashion trends. I just like to wear
       things that are different,  for the real world, you know?"

And then I had a moment similar to this one. Thankfully, it took place only within the confines of my head.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

They Make A Capsule For That, You Know....

The designer capsule collection. Happiness and heartbreak. Love-hate. Yin-Yang. The light and the darkness. Such is my relationship with these designer capsule collections.

You know the ones I mean. The ones that we can't wait to see in stores, but that sell out in about four seconds, leaving you with nary a suggestion of a chance at scoring a cute piece of an affordable collection from a high-end label such as Versace (for H&M), Missoni (for Target), or Marni (H&M again). Giambattista Valli at Macys?  Sure, they have it... left in size double zero only (that's double zero. Is that even a size? After zero shouldn’t you start going backwards, like to negative one or something? Whatever).

The clothes that could have been (in my closet).
Clockwise from left: Missoni for Target, Marni for H&M,  Versace for H&M, Giambattista Valli for Macy's.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Gray Area - Digging Into the Lipstick Drawer

For those of you who, like me, have decided to let well enough alone and go with your natural silver, the ongoing quest of finding the perfect shade of lipstick beckons continually. Much is made on the net, and everywhere else for that matter, about the "right" and "wrong" shades to pair with your silver hair. Like so many things in life, I find that the reality of the situation lies somewhere in the shadows, lurking in-between what the blogosphere tells you and what you know to be true about your personal style.

Yes, I did have to toss a few things away as more and more of my silver hair came through. Mostly eye makeup though, brown eyeshadow and gold highlighters, for example. But your natural silver is such a personal thing, there is just no way to know what will really suit you until you get out there and try. So in this post, I am showcasing some of my lipsticks that "made the cut", so to speak.

I do however,  hasten to add that I perhaps chose the worst possible time to decide to do this blog post, having just returned from a tropical vacation with a tan that puts me a few shades past my natural skin colour, and having just stepped off the tennis court (frizz bomb hair). Think of it like reality TV, with less sleeping around and (I like to think) a higher IQ...even if it is lipstick we're talking about.  So these are some of my go-to's. Yours will be different. I am a medium to olive-complexion with salt and pepper streaks. You

So I started with a "clean slate" for this post. No fancy-schmancy eyeshadow, crazy brows, or anything like that, just a little foundation and powder to even things out so that you can see the lipcolor better.  Or in the case of this photo, the control group, no lipcolor at all....clear gloss. Here's the canvas.

Most likely Vaseline. Very glamorous, I know. I live the high life. And apologies for the tennis court least you can't smell it from where you are can't, can you!?
I am so annoyed that I still have that bit of brown at the tips of my hair! Argh!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Road Test - In Defense of Wipes

Greetings readers! Back from a particularly wonderful holiday with a renewed spring in my step, and the Scottish weather is obediently falling in line. I wore shorts yesterday. Yep, shorts. In Scotland.  Take that.

So. What I am going to be touting the merits of today (in a pretty thinly-veiled attempt to cram some vacation photos down your throat) are wipes. Yes, that's right. Wipes.

No, you did not misread. I did say, or wrote rather, wipes. Not very sexy is it? Even the word wipes brings to mind imagery of screaming potty-training toddlers, or perhaps acute proctological distress of a delicate medical nature.

But relax. I am talking about facial wipes here,  so get your minds out of the gutter and stop your snickering. This is science. Here. I want to show you my new favorite cheap-thrills beauty thing.

                                                 Yes To Blueberries Brightening Facial Towelettes 

Okay, technically they are facial towelettes...whatever.


Monday, May 14, 2012

From Thailand With Love

Sounds very James Bond, yes? Since a picture is worth 1000 words...

Fancy Pants....Mostly

I have always held fast and true to the notion that sweatpants are the anti-fashion. I’ve made it a part of my blog’s tag line, for goodness sake! But lately, I have been giving them a second look. Not all of them, mind you. Just certain ones. And not to go out in, mind you again. Definitely not to go out in. I still maintain that a sweatpant has absolutely no business outside of the home (how very misogynistic of me indeed!).

But these….these are cute.

both T by Alexander Wang

They are cut in a modern shape (although mercifully, not crotchedly-droopedly-saggy enough to be a harem pant), and look pretty cute with a boxy tee or, as in the photo, a tank with a chambray or denim shirt layered over the top. Perfect for a lazy day around the house, but fashion-forward enough for the occasional unexpected guest.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fringe Benefits

So these happened today.

La Redoute orange suede wedge-heeled sandals with fringe

I am not a person who likes fringe. Or, at least that is how I saw myself until I read that very sentence written down in my blog post preview. I now realize that this is not the first time I have dipped my toe, or my whole foot rather, into the fringy-footwear pool. So therefore I freely admit that the aforementioned statement might be just a little bit south of the truth. I mean look, I already had these in my closet. These are basically a variation on that same fringy theme.

Michael Kors sandal
MAN do I love these sandals...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Personal Style in a Small Town: Moda Italiana

As most of you will have gathered by now, Highland Fashionista is very much about the cultivation and curation of personal style, no matter where on the globe you may happen to reside. That is why it is my distinct pleasure this Monday to offer you a guest posting by Tamsin Hickson of Tamsin resides in Le Marche in central Italy, and paints an absolutely beautiful picture of coming into her own, style-wise, amongst the olive trees. 

When the Highland Fashionista generously said that she would love to hear my stories of living in a small town and how it has affected my fashion choices,  I was delighted. Italy, small town life,  and clothes are three of my favourite subjects (apart from my sons, of course).  But when I sat down to write, I was assailed by so many ideas that it was hard to know where to begin. After jotting down various ideas,  I realized that only two words came to mind, sex and style.

I was 41 when I moved here, and back home in the UK I’d begun to feel invisible. The Italian man’s interest in women is justly infamous world over, and the range of emotions this attention can inspire does not include feeling invisible. In our town of 4,500 inhabitants, we have a delightful elderly lady with a bright shiny bald head who walks into town every day to do her shopping, dressed smartly and with a colourful handbag tucked over her arm. She is watched and greeted with admiration by the long line of men who occupy the benches on the leafy main road: there is no giving up on oneself here, hair or no hair, young or old. After my sons were born I’d opted for a one piece swimsuit, but after several years of feeling cloned with the octogenarian ladies on the beach I’ve gone back to bikinis.

It’s liberating to live in a country with a sensual edge, surrounded by people who take obvious pleasure in the physical, no matter what shape or size they are, and I’ve learnt to celebrate my femininity, although not always in the local way. My closely cropped blonde hair is going white and I recently discovered that I’ve become an icon for women of a certain age in our town. Our very loud postlady, proudly displaying a similar cropped cut in a new radical white, called me over to join her loud conversation about her new hair style in our narrow cobbled main street. If Tamsin can go white, so can the rest of us!” she cried, tucking her arm through mine to show me off to two bemused elderly ladies with regulation nut brown helmet hair.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pack Thai

I am off to Thailand with my husband this Sunday for two whole weeks. We are so freakin’ excited about this trip we have hardly been able to function for the past week. But do not despair, I have scheduled some posts ahead of time to keep things going here while I am away, and there is supposedly WiFi at our various hotels, so I am hoping to check-in from the road from time to time. 

So Thailand. It is the place that we have always wanted to go. It always looks so inviting when you see it in those travel shows...


 ...and Thai food is my absolute favourite kind of food currently available on this planet. 


So in preparation for packing to leave, I have been obsessively following the weather reports there all week, and I have yet to see the mercury dip below 90 degrees Farenheit in Bangkok (where we will be for the first two days), or below 80 in Koh Samui (the island where we will spend the rest of the trip). Very. Excited.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Space Grrrl

I have been paging through my April edition of Elle UK again over the past few days, and have found myself pausing over editorial pages containing some very sleek, minimalistic designs with futuristic accents. I’m not talking about the Phoebe Philo minimalism of seasons past here; all beigey and silken and refined wools and sophisticated (although that is certainly lovely in its own right). This new futuristic minimalism has a bit of a bite to it; some humor injected into an almost retro simplicity (and you know how I like my clothes to have a sense of humor), and featuring out-there accents such as clear plastics and super-reflective metallics. Sort of a fusion between the sporty trends of this spring, the bold monochromacity of the 60’s, and the alien spaceship from Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks.

I love this look for summer, as I think that you have the ability to mess about with style a lot more when the weather is warm. I particularly like the look of metallic silver against a crisp white shirt, pant, or little white dress. Here are some of my picks:

Top left: Raoul cape at Shopbop, Norma Kamali bathing suit at Moda Operandi, Topshop parka
Bottom: Herve Leger dress, Mango tote bag, and Lynn Bann cuff at Moda Operandi

As with any trend that employs a certain amount of humour in its use of unusual and eye-catching materials, less is probably more. Perhaps that is why this trend lends itself well to this season’s footwear. When worn with simple elements (that you may already very-well have hanging in your closet), they transform a look without trying too hard.

From top left: Alejandro Ingelmo at Shopbop, all others Topshop. 

I also can’t help but notice that square-toed block heels are starting to elbow their way back into the fashion vernacular. While again this is likely another manifestation of the retro 60s space girl effect, I can’t help but begin to channel my 90’s self in those square-toed sandals with their chunky block heels and sturdy soles. My Seattle-living, Riot Grrrrl, Soundgarden-worshipping, soy latte-swilling,  90’s self.

But if we suddenly start seeing that 90’s dark burgundy-brown matte lipstick appearing again,

MAC lipstick in Diva

well, I am going to have to put my foot down. My silver-manicured, clear plastic ankle-strapped, metallic block-heeled foot.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Saving Lives in 3.1 Philip Lim

Warning: this post contains some briefly graphic descriptions of a natural event. Not for the squeamish of stomach. You have been warned.  Now don't be such a princess and read on...this is cool.

Last Saturday, it was a beautiful sunny day here in the west highlands, albeit a bit on the cold side in the wind, so I opted to take my brand spanking-new 3.1 Philip Lim sweatshirt out for a test drive.

Cut away shoulder sweatshirt

I love this sweatshirt.  Lightweight and super-comfy, and just a little bit edgy, its great for the transitional weather of spring, and you don't feel like a schlep because you are in your sweats if someone unexpectedly comes calling.