SLIDER

What Is Fashion Week Really Like?

25 September 2016


Fashion week is a strange environment. This was my first season ever, and before going into it, I already expected that it was going to be different. Different to what, I can't quite pinpoint. Usual brand events, maybe, or press days. Or maybe different to the representation of fashion week that bloggers and reps and all other fashion "insiders" kind of have to give. It's all in-motion strutting pics, BTS shots of exclusive events and "i'm so tired but really looking fab and being so fashurn" coffee captions. But what is fashion week really like? Is it all free mojitos and macarons, or are those brightened Insta shots only for the likes?

Waistcoat - ASOS
Culottes - ASOS
Boots - Zara (similar//similar)
Bag - Zara (similar//similar)
Jacket - Missguided



Well, LFW is an absolute Insta-playground, so a lot of it is for likes. Every event you go to is set up exactly for that reason - brands and PR reps know what they're doing. All of the events I went to were beautifully decorated, with everything from blow dry bars to free champers and personalised perfume bottles. It's all very exciting, and for a 5 foot chubby girl from a nondescript town in Suffolk, makes you feel pretty fucking special. Most of the events are to showcase new season pieces and products, and a lot of the time you'll find yourself leaving events with 'swag bags' - gifted bits and bobs, basically.

But when it comes to events, unsurprisingly brands and reps want the most exposure possible and to be associated with the best and biggest bloggers. This means that at certain times, you can be subtly (or not so subtly) excluded from certain things. I went to one event with a brand which took place inside a blogger destination of sorts, and basically because I wasn't invited to that place (even though I was already there with the other brand) I couldn't go in some rooms or take part in some fun stuff. It was a bit like "these are the people *big enough*, and you can spectate until you get there". Bit weird, but not all events can be as good as each other and there definitely is an quiet elitist undercurrent to everything you do at LFW.




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Being short, chubby and with eyes that tend to go red due to contact lenses, I also felt *just that bit out of place* at everything I went to. Whether that was me being self-conscious or simply being aware is up for debate, but whilst fashion week isn't just filled with 5'11 tanned models and Gucci Dionysus bags, those upper echelons of beauty, clothes horsing and style are the only kinds that anybody really gives a shit about. Which, don't get me wrong, is fine with me; the last thing I want is some rando capturing 15 motion shots of my double chin. But, again, that 'elitist' fashion ideal is always there.

It's also super busy - just as busy as we all love to "complain" it is. I made a schedule before I travelled to London on Friday, and about two of the five things I had planned for the day actually materialised because everything takes longer than you expect. After the endless moving from spot to spot and downing Starbucks like coffee beans have gone out of circulation, you feel surprisingly exhausted and especially guilty for it. "I was plied with too many free doughnuts" is not the best excuse to be tired, but hey, LFW fatigue is legit a thang.

Have you been to fashion week? Or do you want to? What perceptions do you have of the week long fashion bubble, and what do you think lies beyond the 'Instagrammable' facade? I'd love to know your thoughts! Pop them down below or find me on Twitter and Instagram with the handle @chloeplumstead.


When To Splurge on Expensive Items

15 September 2016


Shopping on a budget is something I know all too well. When I began blogging I was a poor teenager, who then became an even poorer student and finally, a poor graduate. Now that I work full-time and I'm starting to pull in some really amazing opportunities from blogging, I've moved from tesco value baked beans to Heinz spaghetti. That's to say, I'm still fucking poor (a Gucci bag is a world away, although in a moment of madness, I did nearly buy the loafers), but I'm coming to terms with the fact that bulk buying at Primark is not the best strategy for building a wearable, timeless wardrobe.

On that note, I've been thinking more about investing in key pieces. Spending more and buying less has become my new mantra (although, in reality, it's more like spending more and buying more). This, of course, is easier said than done. It's not often that us lowly peasants have hundreds to spend on a pair of shoes or bag, but when the opportunity does prevent itself, how do you know what to go for?


Top - ASOS
Trousers - Topshop
Bag - c/o Karen Millen
Boots - Zara (similar//similar//similar)




OUTFIT




BLACK BOOTS








In my opinion, the three pillars of spending big are shoes, bags and coats. These are staple items that you're going to return to season after season, and they're also pieces that can transform an outfit and so are worth the extra dollar. My instincts are to always go classic - the Jordaan Gucci Horsebit Loafers are a perfect example. They're chic, effortless and endlessly versatile. They're never going to go out of style, so you won't find yourself a year down the line, head in hands, weeping about your many bad decisions.

In the same vein, this Karen Millen bag is a classic. (As a disclaimer here, I was gifted this bag, but it has started a slippery slope into designer purchasing so stay with me.) With a clean cut, black leather design and statement gold chain, it's the perfect bag to make you look as if you should be hailing a taxi on the streets of NYC, coffee in hand and too busy for the mere mortals around you. Practicality wise it's ideal too; there's enough space for the giant iPhone 7 Plus you undoubtedly just sold your soul to buy, as well as your camera, purse, millions of receipts and old lip balms. If you're going from work to the bar, this doubles up as the perfect AM to PM bag too.




You can transfer the 'quality over quantity' mentality to not so expensive items too. For me, this has just meant trading in my Primark hoarding for a lesser degree of Zara and Mango hoarding. It's also meant paying more attention to the boutique collections from the likes of Topshop and H&M, instead of instantly bypassing them for the sale section. I've reinvested in my basics, picking up staple tees from the likes of Whistles and quality denim from Nudie. I feel like the more you spend on items the more special you feel when wearing them, and a boost to your confidence is always a welcome extra.

What has been your favourite investment piece? Please let me know in the comments down below or over on Twitter and Instagram - no doubt you'll end up influencing me and your suggestions will find their way into my wardrobe, so please be kind to my bank balance (*or*not*).





The Little Things That Make Me Happy

10 September 2016



The most enjoyable aspect of blogging for me is being able to share different parts of my life, documenting the ups, downs and in-betweens as I go along and having a diary of sorts to look back on and enjoy (or cringe at, which is more likely).  There have been super happy moments – like when I went to Budapest in June and hadthe best time ever – and not so happy moments, like my recent frustration-filled post about movingout and the “renters judgement”. I like having something meaningful to write, and that’s why so many of my posts are centred around feminism or trying to carve out your own business whilst holding down a 9-5. These posts are where I find I'm most in my element, because above all else, I’ve always been a writer at heart and sharing content that I’m passionate about is when I feel most rewarded. That being said, I’m not always furious, frustrated or fun-filled. Most of the time, I’m plodding along, fuelled by coffee and cake, just looking forward to going to bed at 9pm *rock’n’roll*.

On that note, I thought it time to take it back to basics. Rather than discuss a hot political topic or the best in latest Gucci dupes (ah, how those two polar opposites have been so beautifully married together by blogging), I wanted to share with you the little things in my life that make me happy. And keep me going, more often than not.

Macbook Case - DessiDesigns






Coffee, good surroundings and my favourite café


A favourite café – we all have one, it’s undoubtedly at least a 7/10 independently hipster and we might as well donate 30% of our wages before pay day because it’s going to end up there anyway. My favourite café – Applaud, in Ipswich – is my go-to everyday. A mere 10-minute stroll from my workplace, I always head to get a smoothie for a quick break from the office and a good dose of fruit and honey. And, realistically, cake.

Inside, the interior is shabby chic meets quaint and quirky, and with there always being a number of delicious vegetarian lunch options, it’s no surprise that it quickly became my fave local haunt. Particularly good for drinking coffee, working on your laptop and looking like a total hipster belled.


Keiran


Well, this one is self-explanatory really. Fucking fantastic human being. 




Reading


Funnily enough, for a short while my English Lit degree had ruined reading for me. Speed-reading a 300 page book in two days? Yep, that will take the pleasure out of it. All of a sudden I’ve rediscovered my love for a good book, and I’m back into the habit of reading before bed and ditching the phone – which really does help with achieving a better night’s sleep, by the way. I’ve just finished The Vegetarian by Han Kang, and I’m now tackling a world classic that I surprisingly have never read – To Kill a Mockingbird. Romance novels, thrillers and murder mysteries aren’t really my bag; in reality I’m a total book snob, and with there being so many greats that I have yet to conquer, I’ve set myself a wish list of the classics to discover what I like and what I love. (By the way, you know the term ‘Mrs. Robinson’ that is used to describe a cougar-type-woman-of-sorts? That comes from The Graduate! Cool, huh?!)

I’d love to know what simple things make you happy, and how those little moments can make a big change to your day. Feel free to pop your comments down below (and please do, I’m really interested!) or find me over on Twitter or Instagram with the handle @chloeplumstead.


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