Fashion - a way of life.

Fashion - Jeans:

To me the essential item of clothing are Jeans - In any way shape or form. Long short skinny flaired bootcut - whatever - a real must have. The have subtly changed over the decades but my first recollection of the magic jean was in the '70s. So groovy and the flaired style has now made a comeback. They really are slimming if you can get your hands on a good fit and the faded ones - now worn universally - especially the black ones looks smart - dressed up or casual and sexy - dressed down. I have so many pairs - in every style colour and even leather and suede ones!!!!!

They have come a long way since being used as work clothing way back in the '40s and 50's and will continue to dominate every new generation's fashion choice from babyhood onwards!The versatility of jeans is immeasurable as dressed up they are stunning and casual - necessary. Jeans have dominated street fashion since they first came on the scene and have remained firmly fixed there ever since.

For me the right way to wear jeans is with high heels. Cowboy style boots are the best but I have a rather sexy pair of ankle boots - black - that have the 8cm high wine glass shaped heel and typically pointy toes that are so European and the hems must almost touch the ground. My favourite pair of jeans cost E15 at my local market about 5 years ago and are still going strong. They are black faded down the front of the leg jeans from stretch denim and the material is quite thin. They look great and even if I'm a few ounces overweight make me feel sexy.I have a selection of black "T" shirt type tops made from elastan/cotton that fit like a glove and a few really nice belts to complete the outfit - making me feel like a million bucks when I wear it out!! The nice thing about black is that you can mix it with any other colour topwise and it looks great - so slimming too.

Black is also essential in the leather,suede, skinny and 3/4 length jeans - and you're set in the basic jeans department - wardrobewise.

The latest look in skinnies or leggings this season (winter) Is leather - leather-look (rubberised or plasticised) or leatherette (fake) leather skinnies. They are gorgeous and must fit snuggly - no 2 ton Tessies here! I've only seen them in shiny black but am anxiously awaiting a breakout of colour to invade the scene! I invested in a pair to wear on Xmas day and they duly arrived from the catalogue company, made By Lipsy - one of my favourite British fashion houses withe a pink ribbon attatched stating "feel amazing"! You do exactly that and they are so comfy to boot and if you are slightly heavy in the hip/thigh region,wear them with a long,snug tunic or jersey and they are great!  Another latest addition to the jeans family brand are the shredded or destroyed (destructed) jean - not swayed by them yet although I did say I wouldn't be seen in the spray on faded jean and now have a pair with a Gothic embroidered design on the back! Love em!

I'm not one for the 'orthopaedic' type jeans that promise to "push you up " or "pull you in" - tried them once and they promised to make me look at least 4lbs thinner. Not so - all they did was move the fat from the hips to the waist and ergo create waistline muffin tops. Joy. So with the acquisition of weight over the years due to 2 babies, emigration stress, kids leaving home, retirement and now the recession I invested in a "Leg Magic" machine, changed my eating habits to a much healthier diet, invested in cellulite pants (which I wear as much as possible) used in conjunction with a good cellulite gel (L'Oreal Laser works for me) and now about 18 months later, a whole lot fitter and healthier I look "great" (husband) in jeans and I'm so proud as I'm 54 this year - so I know a thing or two about the '70's jeans thing!

At the end of last winter I noticed 2 new fashion additions to look forward to this winter. The little black waistcoat with lapels and worn over a white top buttoned up and wait for it "WOODSTOCK" boots (Minnetonka) - yahoo - missed that fashion first time around in the '60's as I was too young and living in Africa - didn't see too much of the mainstream fashion at that time there sadly.I will however definately be investing in a pair of boots this time around though if only to celebrate 40 years of Woodstock and they look soooo comfortable! I have acquired several rather nice waistcoats over the years that still look new and in fashion except will be wearing them buttoned up and with jeans this season as I CAN now button them up due to weight loss - whoo hoo!!! Doing the rounds on the odd music video is - wait for it! - THE BROWN SUEDE TASSELLED WAISTCOAT!! - team that with a tasselled handbag and we're right back in the groovy 70's again - fashion all round this season is looking good!

These are my personal favs and they are truly the most comfortable boots I've ever worn.The best part about them is the leather is so soft (moose) and when you walk the tassels sway in such a sexy way it makes you feel - well just GROOVY! What more can I say! It is also imperitive to have a selection of Uggs this year as they have taken off here with a vengence! Albeit a small selection will do or even as I have chosen to do - invest in Fuggs (fake Uggs!!!) or F-ugglies as my daughter calls them - speaks for itself doesn't it! My Husbands contribution to this discussion is "The boots that walk next to you!!?!!"

Normal, normal with fur and cardie Fuggs! I started wearing my Fuggs the winter before last as slippers around the house as I thought that's what they were originally intended for and just perfect for it until I saw more and more slippers out and about so I have invested in a few to keep up with the trend (must have that is!) Ahh - still dreaming about the day I will eventually own the REAL DEAL! By which time the damn things will have gone out of fashion!

Movin on up - Tops 'n hats:

I love the "T" shirt type tops in fashion at the moment and went headlong into the tunic style that hit us last year. I found a few that are tight fitting but still keeping the tunic style - very slimming and so comfortable. Hats - yeah - never got to wear the fashion style hat except to keep the sun off the face and oh so ho hum. The knitted cloche style with a big crocheted flower - remember those? - made a comeback last winter and invested in a few of them to as also missed out on them the first time around. Teamed with a matching crocheted scarf - lovely warm and so 70's ish. The cap is a very European fashion and is still worn today even by the young. The one I remember - correct me if I'm wrong - was called either the golf cap or the Andy Capp cap.(flat cap) Coats and jackets are also new to me as in Africa we only needed a jersey and even then we removed it at 12:00pm. So coats scarves and gloves have now become a major fashion accessory in winter - and love them!We are still into the short puffed "bum-freezer" style jacket with fur on the hood and have invested in a few full length coats as well!

We're moving into the colder season now and the strangest fashion has just hit us. I've seen these babies in a few catalogue pics but none actually on. Never thought they'd take off but today proved me wrong. They're the sock boot. A shoe with a cable knitted shaft attached and because it's a new thing I know they'll grow on me as I see more and in the streets. Ugg brought us the cardie boot last winter and I love them - they have now brought out a similar type Ugg cardie boot with cable knitted shaft except they have done them in rather large black or brown and white stripes - check out their site ( Aussie) and see what you think! I don't fancy the idea of walking around with my feet looking like giant bumble bees though! Will be interesting to see if they take off big time. Last winter but one,I saw a girl at our local mall wearing a rather unusual version of the knitted scarf - and I really wanted one. It was obviously Mohair and the scarf was tied in the usual fashion with the tassels coming over it under the chin like a waterfall - never saw them in the shops but just recently saw the idea in a catalogue internet shop and found out that the scarf has tassels on 3 sides so when you loop it around your neck the long tasselled side cascades over and it looks great. I intend to make one myself - so easy!

Bling versus street cred:

I have never ascribed to the big fashion houses - not because I can't afford it but I don't actually like the stuff they churn out and charge an arm and a leg for. I think they can make or break an image one is trying to create as you have to be careful not to look too streetwise! I find the fashion in the streets way more exciting and after visiting one of Italy's cities where a lot of the fashion houses originated from was horrified at the flimsy styles offered for sale and seen in the streets. It did not seem to reflect what the REAL world was wearing and the cost did not bare thinking about. For my money London and Amsterdam still rate tops in the fashion stakes and I love sitting at a cafe on a sidewalk (drinking cappucino!) in one of the smaller towns here in Holland just watching different interpretations on what's hot and what's not. The youth here have really embraced fashion to the extreme and carry it off so well. The best time to gauge what's going to be big the following winter is to time your street fashion scan just before the end of winter and every time you will notice the younger generation sporting a new soon to be popular idea! Such fun - so informative and an exuse for the partner to get in a bit of 'eye' time without having his head torn off!!!! It is a common passtime here in Holland and great to fashion scan without looking sus!

A noticeable trend is to see the young white dudes taking on the black fashion ideas and adapting them to their own style. Black westernised fashion to me is exhilerating almost has the same influence as the blues and soul music did to rock and roll. It's exciting and different and to have seen the westernised fashion in Africa of the black youth culture and compered it to the youth here in Europe is fascinating. Our African compatriots keep up amazingly well considering expense (poverty)is a major thing there and availability almost impossible.Hats off to you guys down in Africa - keep up the beat! I noticed the young guys at the end of winter here last year sporting the puffer style jackets with the seriously heavy fur hoodies - so cool and a trend taking on credence this winter as more and more of them invade the streets! Never did like the low slung jean look though and although my son is well over the age of that trend at nearly 30 it is still a serious item on the young fashion agenda.

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