Sunday, 25 March 2012

Go Team GB!

  So. London 2012. It's finally here, and the country is in frenzy over preparations and plans to ensure it runs smoothly. Lengths to make changes to Sunday trading laws, huge new builds nearing completion, and nationwide aesthetic changes occurring to make sure Britain looks its best (such as Coventry, but let's face it... it did need it.) This once in a lifetime occurrence has everyone excited; not only for the economy, but the UK as a whole and showing off what we got is a priority! As well as the obvious competitive aspect of the age-long occasion, it's kind of a huge display of "I'm better than you", and proving your country can be bigger and better than the last- i.e. bigger and better fireworks!
  Style-wise, the Team GB Olympic kit was launched last week, and I'm in two minds... Designed by Stella McCartney and created by Adidas, you can't deny that style and knowledge here is combined excellently to produce fashionable sportswear. The designs, however, are a bit hit and miss. 
"I wanted the kit to be British, but understated, not ridiculous," 
Stella McCartney at the launch of the kit at the Tower of London. 
  The launch was held in a humongous tent (see above) at the Tower of London, and saw well known, and slightly less well known Olympians and paralympians donning the new gear, from a variety of different disciplines. Stella McCartney has been working on these designs for two years, and with a brief of 600 athletes and 26 different disciplines to please, she had her work cut out for her! Getting the right look, correct balance of style and propriety of the sports wear is never an easy combination to collate, and pleasing all athletes was always going to be unlikely, however a majority of the designs seem nice- patriotic without being OTT.

"...the designs focuses on the Union flag, breaking down the iconic design and reconstructing it, creating a modern and contemporary twist.The result is a bold design that features on all items of the kit to ensure the British athletes stand out in front of the home crowd as a unified team." (Team GB organisers, Source: The Mirror) 
  Dislike and a somewhat disappointed feel for the designs, however, is present. Cyclist Bradley Wiggins tweeted: "Oh dear, the Olympic kit!!" and comments on Twitter mostly mention the distinct, perhaps dominant over-use, of the blue colour and lack of red colour. Twitterers even go as far as to mention looking  of French design?...  
  Anyway, despite the haters, I don't think Stella did too badly. She was never going to make everyone happy! Perhaps a bit more red would have been nice, but never mind. Here are some individual shots of the designs... 

 [All photos are from the Guardian photo story...]

  So, what do you think? Regardless of the design not pleasing everyone, I reckon the majority do appreciate the 2012 kit, and hope they'll see our athletes get as many medals as popular. GO TEAM GB!!
  Here's some links you might wanna check out for some more info/photos - Enjoy :)

Bea xo

Friday, 23 March 2012

Glad Rags

 Everyone's partial to a pair (or five) of gladiators when the summer season rears its beautiful sunny head. Whether black, white or my favourite (as seen below), tan, these badboys are key to any successful summer outfit. Worn with a maxi dress and cropped denim jacket, or denim shorts and tee, these versatile staple piece of your wardrobe will match everything, adding a summery something to your ensemble. 

1 - H&M suede sandals, £15 
2 - ASOS flat leather sandals, $32 
4 -  Low heels, €269 
5 - H&m shoes, £25 
6 - Roman gladiator sandals, $79 
7 - J.Crew j crew shoes, $98
8 - Steve madden shoes, $56 
9 - Bruuns Bazaar flat leather sandals 
10 - Wet Seal roman gladiator sandals, $20 
11 - Oasis strap sandals, $48 
12 - Oasis glitter sandals, $35 
13 - FOSSIL flat thong sandals, $78 
14 - Charlotte Russe ankle wrap flat sandals, $18 
15 - Mulberry flat shoes, $270
16 - Flat sandals, €89
17 - Topshop flat heels, $44

Here are two examples I made on Polyvore, of how glads can be worn...

1 - Wet Seal crochet hat, $18 
2 - Strapless dress, £21
3 - H&m sunglasses, £4.99 
4 - Dorothy Perkins wood bangle, $25 
5 - FOSSIL genuine leather handbag, $198 
6 - Wet Seal roman gladiator sandals, $20  
7 - Topshop t shirt, $40
8 - Mango square aviator sunglasses, £18
9 - Flower hair accessory
10 - Ksubi denim shorts, £150
11 - Bottega Veneta platform sandals, £329
12 - J W Hulme Co soft leather handbag, $370

 So get out and snap up some glads before all the good ones are gone! You can get some really nice summer sandals on the high street this year, including Topshop (no shock there!) but also Primark. Give them their due, they have some pretty nice glads in this year. Granted, they may not be the most long-lasting shoes you'll buy, but they sure are worth the money. And for £2.50 a pair of simple 'wear 3 ways' thong-type sandals, you can't really go wrong for some bumming around picnic-in-the-park gladiators!

Bea xo

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Hi to the Tops

 So I've given in, and decided to blog about a trend that has appeared in amongst glossy magazine pages for the last month- hi tops. Whether they're branded Nike or Converse, or from highstreet shops like River Island or New Look, the sport luxe feature footwear item is becoming all the rage for this summer, and we're all loving it.
 High-tops have been around for years- popularity starting with old style high top Converse. Since then, brands have been recreating their own versions of this shoe (some nicer than others!) and the Sports Luxe trend just isn't complete without a pair. 

1 - Nike sneaker, $116
2 - High top sneaker, $52 
3 - Nike sneaker, £67
4 - Converse sneaker, £45
5 - ASOS high top sneaker, $63
6 - Adidas sneaker, £67 
7 - Nike shoes, $120
8 - KG Kurt Geiger high top sneaker, £90
9 - Gucci sneaker, £230 
10 - Dc shoes, £63 

And it isn't just us who are loving on the hi tops, all the celebs are rocking them too!... 
Little Mix loving their 'tops (Image:
 Whether paired with ankle socks, denim shorts and a festival tee, or finishing the cool and edgy look with blue skinnes and a band tee, hi tops are definitely the staple of an effortlessly cool look.

 Summer is the perfect time to purchase a pair, so get down to your local Schuh or Office and check out some of what they have to offer. Alternatively have a flick through Company's April edition or their High Street Edit, for an awesome selection! 
Links to check out - 


Bea xo

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Buzzing Off!...

So I'm now a fashion blogger for the fashion site and I'm buzzing!! Tellusfashion is an awesome site, promoting new and up and coming designers. It isn't only that, though! It has a blog, a shop to buy the pieces created by their designers and their Fashion Network lets passionate individuals seek exposure into the fashion industry. It works as way of uniting lovers of fashion, through amazing photos and writing.
I would definitely recommend you take a look... it's just been re-vamped, and it's better than ever, so get browsing here!!

Bea xo

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

How Young is TOO Young? The French Ban on Under-Age Models

 A French report titled 'Against hyper-sexualisation, a new fight for equality' is calling for a ban of under-age models after a contentious shoot in VOGUE, depicting a 10-year-old French girl in somewhat provocative clothing, and inappropriate make-up for a child her age. An increase in the production of children's lingerie, padded bras, mini sizes of adults clothing and high heels for young girls are on the rise, and it poses the question of whether or not this is just another phenomenon, popular in social discourse, of sexualising young girls. 
 Thylane Loubry Blondeau, the 10-year-old who featured in the photoshoot is seen to be using lipstick, most obviously not for children, and posing provocatively in ladies clothing and shoes.
"The Vogue cover sparked controversy in the US before igniting debate back in France; where 84 per cent of French found the photos demeaning, one poll found" (The Telegraph)
 The author of the report and senator, Chantal Jouanno, mentions reverting back to school uniforms in primary schools to combat rivalry  regarding clothing, and banning of the use of under-age children under the age of 16 from appearing as 'the face' of any further advertising campaigns. This is in the hope to avoid any psychological damage, created by the media and their social discourse on appearance and what is 'deemed' attractive. Jouanno also comments that 'this precocious sexualisation' can be irreversible and even cause mental disorders, including anorexia. 
"Today, children are shaping their identities on declining gender equality and the return of stereotypes slipped into music videos, toys and reality TV." (Jouanno)
The Telegraph
"The government report, published on Monday, criticised the marketing of padded bras for eight year olds, thong underwear, make-up kits, and leggy dolls, all aimed at pre-pubescent girls under the age of 12." (The Telegraph)
 The ‘hyper-sexualisation’ of young girls has been an on-going topic of discussion. Pageants specifically for young girls have been popular, especially in the US, for decades, and their popularity and attraction doesn’t appear to be stopping. Toddlers and Tiaras ( is a reality TV show that follows the story of families who choose to enter their children into these shows. With spray-tanning, hours in hair and make-up, and near provocative clothing, these girls, sometimes as young as three, are dolled up for the ultimate pageantry display. Are the parents who dress up their children for such occasions really just grasping for the childhood they didn’t have? Or are they actually trying to satisfy the need for congratulations and attention through the exploitation of their children.
The Guardian 
 As an older sister of two young girls, aged seven and five, I feel very strongly about the apparently increasing ‘sex-ing up’ of children. I have no issues with sharing my make-up with them occasionally, bit of lipstick here, blusher there, but to dress them up and parade them in clothes and make-up totally inappropriate for their age group is just irresponsible. Like there wasn’t enough pressure on young girls of todays’ society to conform to the ideal of ‘beautiful’ as depicted by the media! Do we really need to introduce the idea of competing using beauty to such young children? To continue this, I feel will not only create a further stigma for young girls regarding appearance, but reinforce ideas of gender inequalities the objectification of women.

Controversial Cracking Curves
 According to the Daily Mail, the average weight of a British woman is now 11 stone. In 1991, Miss Average weighed in at 10st 5lbs, but in thirteen years this has crept up to 11. But is this really a problem? Obesity and related health issues have been, and still are, at the forefront of societal health issues. Awareness is probably the highest it's ever been, so is this country-wide weight gain suggesting disregard  for universal health advice and information amongst the women of the UK, or a more universal satisfaction and acceptance that not all women are size 6?
 This is such a current phenomena, isn't it? This much contested issue of women's size, and the size which the media portrays and dictates to the women, teenagers, and even children is 'beautiful' plagues newspapers and magazines weekly. I am totally confident in saying that majority of girls from the ages of... 11 up perhaps, have and do think about themselves and how they look in a manner of comparison to what they see in the media. 
A report in The Independent from 2000 from a survey carried out, states that in a decade, average national dress size increased from a 12 to a 14. David Rowlinson, who co-ordinated the survey, said:
"Modern women are taller, with bigger frames, larger hips and breasts. There's nothing wrong with being a size 14, it's just the way most women are."
  In 2010, the average dress size was 16, and height is 5ft 4inches (Daily Mail)
  If we rewind to the fifties, (think Marilyn Monroe,) fashion trends, models and designers were all different. After WW2, Christian Dior's designs were at the height of fashion; embracing a very much hourglass figure. Moulded around the chest, and cinched in waist-wise, the clothes were very much exemplifying women and what the epitome of femininity was represented by. The hourglass, aptly named, where the waist comes in more than the hips and chest, was the most common body shape at that time, and Dior took advantage to create feminine pieces.
 The picture below shows the changes in female stats from 1950s women, and 2004 women...

But why is this? Development in food production and consumption is one of the main ways suggested a general growth in body size has occurred, with increased advertisement and accessibility to fast food. It would seem, however, that if more health and wellbeing information and support is available to people now, why are people getting bigger?

 Personally, I despise how society dictates what is, and isn't beautiful. It's the sad truth that looks often count for more than personality. I mean, on a first impression, seeing someone from across the room, you instantly see their appearance first, before their personality. And nobody can deny that this is the truth.  I think, and it sounds cliché, but so true, that confidence is a very attractive trait. You have to love yourself before you can comfortably let anyone else love you.. And the photos we so constantly see of stick-thin models make this self-confidence forever more difficult and distant.
Tara Lynn for H&M
 Tara Lynn, an American plus-size model, headed up an advertising campaign for H&M, broadening the audience and scope of the fashion store. This, as well as refreshing, exemplifies the reality of the size that is the average UK woman. I think that stores often miss out on sales, because not only do they advertise using models unrealistic to that of the average female consumer, but often the actual designs and items they produce do not allow for larger women. Even mannequins are often a size 4/6 to show off latest fashions. These are creating unrealistic goals for customers, creating a negative self comparison. (Dressing yourself accordingly to your size, however, is another blog post completely!)
I believe that all women, and men (albeit the situation slightly differs there), should, regardless of size, deserve to feel good in their own skin. Regardless of what the masses have been fed is 'attractive'. 
More recently, the 'curvier' members of society today have been praised for their approach to size and attitude to body size. For example, Adele, whether you love or hate her- nobody can deny the amazing talent she has for singing. And her confidence in her abilities and that's explicit from her voice, matches her seeming confidence within her own skin. She may not be a size 8, but she always looks beautiful- and this is regardless of her size. 
The issue raised by health campaigners and the NHS is the idea of staying fit and healthy. You can still be a size 18, and be healthy. A healthy diet and lifestyle is important to anyone, but a worry is often bigger people in general, (not just women) are 'comfortable' in their own skin, which is fantastic, but who somewhat bypass that it is still necessary to respect it by leading a healthy lifestyle. If you are a size 24 and you're happy with that- fine. If you're a size 14 and you want to work out because you're unhappy with that- fine! Your happiness and wellbeing is the important point throughout this.
There is a fine line between disregarding this healthy lifestyle, and claiming to be comfortable with your body, despite perhaps being overweight. I think the concentration of wellness campaigns should not be to aim to look like a celebrity, because after all, they're just people too but they're just famous- people just know who they are, but to be physically fit and healthy. Eating healthily, drinking plenty of water and getting exericise- even if it's just walking instead of getting the bus, are all steps which can be taken to help with healthiness. 

Ultimately, if you are happy, then that's what matters. If you are comfortable and love your skin, whether size 4 or size 34, then that's fantastic! People aren't generic. We're given bodies to characterise and make our own, and body shape is just another feature of how we create our personality. Despite this, however, it is worth making the point that leading a healthy lifestyle, whether you believe it or not now, will make you feel better in yourself, regardless of size. 
Here are a couple more links you might find interesting, with more stories and info on body-image, Tara Lynn and other plus-sized models and BMI...