With summer finally here, I thought I’d share my ‘Top Three Fashion Finds’ for this season. When it comes to fashion, I stand by the rule that that there are no set rules. If you feel comfortable and confident with yourself and how you look, you’ve already won. And if you can help to bring that comfort and confidence to others, even better! With that in mind, I also think we have an obligation to share our best finds. Here are mine:
- Mineral Makeup- A few weeks ago, I accompanied a friend to a complementary spa day and makeover. It was meant to be a glamorous experience, where professional beauty experts would work their elusive brand of magic and we would emerge butterfly-like from our cocoons as ‘new women’. But as the day wore on, I found myself growing itchy and uncomfortable thanks to the pounds of makeup that had been caked onto my skin. At the first opportunity, I snuck away and furiously scrubbed it all off. It got me to thinking, though: isn’t it a strange concept of beauty, to hide ourselves away behind a thick mask of pore-clogging chemicals?
Now, I never thought that I’d be one to shun traditional cosmetics such as Yves Saint Laurent or Dior in favour of their greener counterparts. After all, I had a part-time job during art school at Sephora, the stateside Mecca of cosmetics junkies everywhere. I have a perhaps too fond memory of the first time I purchased the perfect shade of red Chanel lipstick. Still, there is something uniquely satisfying about putting cosmetics on your skin that are actually good for it. And it is particularly during the summer, when traditional makeup melts away faster than the Wicked Witch of the West in ‘The Wizard of Oz’, that all-natural makeup really holds its own.
Mineral makeup gives exceptional coverage, while still allowing your skin to breath and be seen. More amazingly, you genuinely can’t feel it at all. Sometimes I will actually forget whether I’m wearing it until I catch site of myself in a mirror and notice the airbrushed effect.
Furthermore, Its natural mineral content provides substantial protection from the damaging effects of the sun, and preventing wrinkles is a whole lot easier than trying to treat them. Finally, it’s good for sensitive and problematic skin (I should know, as I’ve been blessed with both). I use Lily Lolo, for their competitve prices and very generous sample sizes. I’m also happy knowing that I’m supporting an independent, local business. www.lilylolo.co.uk
- ‘Spare Pear’ Ballet Flats- One of the best things about summer, in my opinion, is the shoes. Delicious wedges, strappy sandals, kitten heels, and towering platforms are everywhere. Buying shoes is a bit like my Everest: the journey is endless, there are countless factors to take into consideration, and there are many points where I seriously consider giving up. But every year, I eventually find the perfect pair, the kind that insights waves of envy in friends and strangers alike. On my commute to work, I catch the lusty gazes of other women as they try to determine where I bought them, and try to pluck up the courage to ask.
Inevitably, they also turn out to be highly impractical creations; devices of complete and unimaginable torture. Far from coveting glances, I hobble home at the end of the day to looks of total pity. My poor feet bleeding and covered in plasters, I curse the very moment I laid eyes on the beautiful, wretched, agonizing things. Usually, I end up buying some cheap, ugly, even more uncomfortable flip-flops to wear for the rest of the way and then promptly throwing the whole lot into the bin.
It’s after a lifetime of such crises that I have discovered salvation. ‘Spare Pear’ is a totally ingenious American brand which creates rollable ballet flats compact enough to fit into even the smallest cluch. They also come inside a lovely cloth bag which is perfect for toting the monstrosities which landed you in this horrible mess to begin with. At the dirt-cheap price of only $22.50 US, and with reasonable rates on international shipping, you will look stylish and clever. So clever, in fact, that no one will suspect how much money you wasted on utterly useless shoes. www.sparepear.com
- Liberty for Target Dresses- The last time I was in the States, I stopped by the middle-class, middle-America institution that is ‘Target’. Much to my delight, I found that they were featuring, for a limited time, design specialties from Liberty of London. I love Liberty, love wandering through their gorgeous store on Great Marlborough street and taking in the array of colours, fabrics, and scents. Liberty is a bit like a fashion museum, though. While I thoroughly enjoy looking at the collection of Monets in the National Gallery, I have no intention of buying one myself. So, too, it is with Liberty. Even if I had a spare £1,000.00 in the bank (which I definitely don’t), I doubt I could convince myself to spend it on just one dress.
When I realised, then, that these gorgeous Liberty for Target concoctions were only $30.00 US a pop, I couldn’t resist. I snapped up as many as I could cram into my suitcase and then threw in some sumptuous cropped cardigans as well, just for good measure. I’ve been wearing them obsessively ever since. My favorite is an A-lined, knee length, tiered dress in their Isis patern (a gorgeous array of burgandy, teal, and lemongrass peacock feathers on a dark green background). I wear it with a lime green, cropped, ¾ length cardigan and chocolate, leather platforms. Then I walk up and down Great Marlborough street and chuckle to myself at my own good fortune/ dumb luck. Liberty is currently stocking a selection from their Target collection in store and on line, but at greatly inflated prices. Still, it’s makes for a substantial bargain if you consider what these things normally retail for. Better still, pop in for colour and pattern inspiration, and then hit the high street instead. www.liberty.co.uk
(c) Megan Hunter