Inspiration, Style

A Love Letter to: Chokers

I’m not big on trends. My dress sense is pretty boring; bar maybe two or three items of colour, my entire wardrobe is black and, at risk of sounding pretentious, ‘miminalist’. I prefer to stick to relatively timeless pieces and I flat out refuse to buy anything that will for sure be out of fashion in six months time – partly because I am economic with spending – but mostly because I don’t really care about how ‘fashionable’ I appear to others. (I promise that you will never find a here’s-what-I-wore-today post on this blog)

But I am a sucker for jewellery. I feel naked if I leave the house without a ring on every finger and count scouring Etsy for pendants as a weekly hobby. Therefore, a trend that I am personally really enjoying right now is chokers.

If you’d told me five years ago that girls would soon be donning those stretchy plaited tattoo chokers from the nineties, I’d have cringed and spat out whatever I was eating at the time. But sure enough, with the monuments resurge of nineties fashion, they became a staple in every sassy kitsch gal’s OOTD, along with crop tops, flatforms, flannel shirts, baggy denim and Adidas shelltops.

Believe it or not, a young Drew Barrymore wasn’t the first woman to model a tight band around her neck – there is actually an intriguing history behind the unassuming choker.

During the French Revolution, women began tying red ribbons around their necks as a tribute to recipients of the guillotine.

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In the 1800’s, a black ribbon worn around the neck was a signifier that the woman was a prostitute. In vast contrast, it was also popular amongst ballerinas. Pre celebrity, female royals were the fashion icons of their time. Alexandra, Princess of Wales, donned thick rows of pearls and velvet ribbons, reportedly to cover a scar on her neck. The Alexa Chung of her time, the popularity of ‘chokers’ sky rocketed, and elevated the trend to high society women.

A century later, chokers were prominent amongst the fashion icons of the 1960’s.

And then… along came punk. Chokers became A LOT more sexually suggestive with a not so subtle bondage connotation.

But the 1990’s was undoubtedly the peak of the choker. Personally, I see the standout 90’s choker as Mathilda’s in Leon: The Professional. 

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A close runner up being Nancy’s in The Craft.

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Honestly, I’m not a lover of the tattoo choker or the beaded variety. Maybe it’s because it sub consciously conjures memories of gel pens and school discos. But very recently, I’ve seen many a celebrity and party goer wearing thicker, plain versions.

 

First time around, I found the 90’s versions really unflattering. I remember my mum wearing them and thinking it ruined her previously acceptable (by nineties and early noughts standards) outfits. But somehow, these recent pieces are in contrast extremely flattering and in most cases, extremely sexy; maybe because of the s&m implication… Maybe because it takes confidence to wear something so restricting and harsh.

In fact, like my rings, recently I feel underdressed if I haven’t added a chocker around my neck. Instead of taking away from an otherwise girly or understated outfit, somehow, this simple accessory can completely elevate an outfit, act as a statement piece in amongst minimalism, and appear sophisticated as well as bohemian, depending on your styling.

There is even a sudden surge of thick neck ties connected to tops or dresses. They’re not yet in every high street store – the best I’ve seen while searching online are by BooHoo and American Apparel.

Even movie star Kate Hudson sported a dusty pink version at the the Golden Globes this week, elevating the trend to Hollywood and to the masses.

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But if this look is too bold for you, finding simpler chokers online is easy. And it’s so easy to make your own unique version. I have used black wool and a charm… Plenty of creative master minds are selling their own handmade pieces on EBay and, my favourite market place, Etsy.

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IN CONCLUSION. Chokers have a beautiful, long winding history, proving that a ‘trend’ can be timeless and unique to you and your own personal style.

LEO X

(ALL IMAGES FOUND ON WWW.PINTEREST.COM)

 

 

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Inspiration, Style

A Love Letter to: The Lob

My hair has endured the trials and tribulations of a Russian novel this past year.

The start of 2014 featured the remnants of ombre dip dye, after a high-profile hair job the previous summer, leaving me with an inch of now orange ends. Followed by blonde to the front and underneath (boring), all over ombre (boring – can you see a trend yet?)… Gradually I was going lighter and lighter until one day I looked in the mirror to see a blondie staring back at me. I actually enjoyed being blonde for a few months until the stress of black roots coming through three days after an intensive colour touch up got the better of me, and I succumbed to my natural colour. The end.

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Okay, that’s not the end.

Anyone who has had their hair dyed extensively will know the damage a whirlwind hair-mance leaves behind.

I tried to ignore it, styling my long hair into messy buns and plaits, missing the ability to straighten, curl or even blow-dry my hair without it feeling like straw. Until one morning, I had one of those eyes-open-sit-up-revolution moments.

Beauty = HEALTH.

Full stop. My hair may have been long and attractively cut, but it was unhealthy, therefore cancelling out the previous two attributes.

And that revelation applies to all aspects of appearance. Your skin is the most beautiful when it’s healthy, no matter your bone structure. Your body is most attractive when you’re healthy on the inside, no matter your weight or dress size.

Suddenly, I felt like I’d cracked the code. My dull, nudging insecurities (everyone has them) disappear in an instant when I remember this rule. No matter what you look like, the secret to ultimate attractiveness is ultimate health.

Queue a quick call to my hairdresser. Three hours later, I was sitting in a chair surrounded by clumps of dead hair, with scissors chopping gracefully around my ears. Voilà. My safety blanket has been snatched away. I flipped my head back and forth like Willow Smith, feeling light and free for the first time since I was about eight years old.

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Coincidentally, my hair epiphany came at just the right time: The era of the Lob (THE LONG BOB), a long a-waited rebuttal to the high-maintenance length and colour I’d been struggling with the past year. Simple, easy, drama free hair.

First seen in the 90’s, this style was a grunge rebellion against the super preened hair of the 80’s.

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Not surprisingly, the resurge of the 90’s fashion trend brought with it the hair.

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Without a safety blanket of Rapunzel like flowing tresses, the lob has a subtle way of showing off everything about your appearance BEFORE your hair. Your bone structure, your style, your laugh and ultimately your confidence.

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Advice, Happiness, Health, Inspiration, Interview

TUESDAY TALKS: Rudie McCree

MEET RUDIE: If you know anything about the London fashion world right now, you’ll know about Rudie McCree. This beautiful lady seems to be everywhere you turn your head; whether you’re doing some online shopping with Topshop, keeping up to date with catwalk shows or flicking through fashion magazines, her lion’s mane and pretty feline features manage to steal the attention away from the clothes she’s wearing without even trying. Envy inducing, right? Somehow, whether it’s in her fun, positive attitude, her passion for everything she’s doing or simply her inviting energy, you can’t help but fall in love with Rudie. I’ll have what she’s having.

NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE: Miss McCree is also a talented singer/songwriter with a debut EP in the pipeline. Patience not your forte? Here’s a clip from a few years ago.

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What is ‘beautiful’ to you?

To me it’s about love, the ability to love everything and everyone, it’s more of an aura than a look. Beautiful people are people who know how to love and find the joy in any moment. That’s the best way I can describe it.

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What’s your top beauty secret?

I would say just listen to your body, it has an amazing way of warning you when something’s not quite right, also meditation can increase all aspects of beauty. But if your looking for an actual product it would have to be coconut oil, it can be used as a moisturiser, for healthier and stronger hair, a makeup remover as well as a primer the benefits are endless.

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What do you love most about yourself?

It would definitely have to be my determination and self belief in myself. Once I set a goal I will not stop until I have accomplished it in spite of any set backs. And of course my hair, because why not 😉

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Advice, Inspiration, Style

A Love Letter to: Biker Jackets:

There are two things in this world that I am a self confessed sucker for: The former being a beautifully cut biker jacker made from excellent quality leather.

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The latter? Moody male musicians wearing them.

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How appropriate then, that the second offering of the ALL SAINTS Portrait Series, features “New York’s most exciting new bands, wearing men’s and women’s ALL SAINTS bikers.” They got me real good with that one. I had confirmed my order within five minutes.

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Biker jackets have been considered cooler than the flip side of the pillow since the God Daddy of cool himself, Marlon Brando, rode into Hollywood as Johnny in ‘The Wild One’  in the early fifties. Ever since, it has been a firm favourite of bad boys, punks and supermodels alike.

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Johnny Depp And Kate Moss

Anyone that has ever visited London (or even watched a Richard Curtis film) knows that the whole weather thing really is not just a figure of speech. It’s a tragic turmoil that haunts me everyday. Although, there is a silver lining in this never ending rain cloud: the one item of clothing that survives with me through an abundance of London weather, from Sunny Summer days in Sloane Square to Torrential Tsunami’s in Tottenham is the LEATHER JACKET, and there is never a wrong time to invest.

Here is a carefully compiled list of why it deserves to forever reign as Queen of the outwear Kingdom.

1. It will (probably) never ever ever go “out of fashion”

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The leather jacket will never be a nostalgic item. Even the padded, overly belted variety of the great 1980’s could be pulled off today if worn with enough confidence. It’s a classic. Period.

2. It adds a punch to the sweetest of sugary outfits.

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The leather jacket and I are now so bound to one another that If I’m wearing anything that isn’t black leather I feel grossly girly and weak. Like Samson after his haircut. I could be wearing a picnic dress, ballerina pumps and pink lipstick – slip a leather over the top and I go from Bubblegum Princess to Badass Bitch in five seconds or less.

3. It’s all-weather resilient (IF you invest in good quality)

Don’t believe me? Rain is completely rejected from your body as if you’re snuggled inside one of those plastic pram covers from your earliest memories. And if you’re not a fan of the layering/bag lady look, there are plenty with a thicker leather, fur or even inside padding, while remaining light and looking amazing. Lucky enough to be getting some vitamin D? Throw one over your shoulders in the evenings like a tomboy Gilda.

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These are my three very favourite investment pieces from the ALL SAINTS A/W14 collection.

Hainton Jacket – £698

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This is definitely as investment piece. I know it’s at the higher end of high street prices this can truly be worn season after season for years (granted to take good care of her). The British Merino sheepskin gives a good ol’ classic a little edge while keeping you cosy on those dreary winter days in London.

Range Leather Biker Jacket – £398

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Now I really hate to go all nineties DIY girl on you but… THIS JACKET HAS REMOVABLE SLEEVES. So you’re basically getting two jackets in one – one for winter, and one for spring/summer, and hopefully staying with you for a good few seasons. Perhaps not as long as a pet dog, but at least a small rabbit…

Bayes Shearing Leather Jacket – £698

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Echoing the masculine-feminine style of the original feminist fashion icon Amelia Earhart, the traditional biker design has been interpreted through a fresh, modern eye. Another investment piece (I have expensive taste, what can I say?), it’s fur is peeeeeerfect for the cold months, and also has detachable lower arms so that you can roll up your sleeves come summer.

What A/W 14 pieces are on your leather jacket Christmas List?

Check out the ALL SAINTS Portrait Series Part Two HERE.

(No images shown above belong to THE LUCKY LEO; all were taken from Google and Pinterest)

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Advice, Happiness, Health, Inspiration, Interview

TUESDAY TALKS: Maddie M

MEET MADDIE: There’s definitely something about Maddie… At 5’11 she is a long legged gazelle of a woman with a face so cute it could have been drawn for a Disney film. And yes, she may look and sound like a Scandinavian sex siren, but don’t be fooled in assuming that all you’d get from the magnificent Miss M is a glistening smile and a few girly giggles. When I’m having a down day, she’s the first person I go to for a confidence cleanse. Maybe there’s something in that Swedish air… Whatever it is, we could all learn a thing or two from this lady.

NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE: Maddie is one of the smartest women I’ve ever met and as driven as a golf ball; she is in her final year at Cass Business School, studying Business Finance with hopes of going onto grad school. How’s that for Girl Power?

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What is ‘beautiful’ to you?
I know everybody says it is what you hold on the inside but I really believe that is true. When it comes to modelling you learn how subjective beauty actually is and how everyone sees you – and your looks – differently. At the end of the day it is what you have on the inside that counts.
But I must confess I have always had an extremely weak spot for guys with nice cheekbones…

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What’s your top beauty secret?
Well except from eating healthy and not smoking it is training. And when I say train, I mean actually train, not walking with an incline on a treadmill. You know what they say – skinny girls look good in clothes but fit girls look good naked 😉
Except from that it is my gradual tan facial moisturiser, it makes me look so much better haha. Some girls can rock the pale look, but unfortunately I am not one of them.

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What do you love the most about yourself? 

My abs and my brain. I really make an effort to work out and maintain my muscle. It’s not easy but the results make it worth it!

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Advice, Happiness, Health, Inspiration, Interview

TUESDAY TALKS: Melise Williams

MEET MELISE: Originally hailing from sunny Sydney, Australia, Melise Williams is a true globetrotter; she has shot with the best photographers and walked the runways of NYC, LA, Milan, Paris, Dubai, Turkey and New Zealand (to name a few…). Lucky for us, she is currently taking London by storm with her elfin features and Aussie wit.
NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE: Miss Williams is a passionate foodie, and keeps followers up to date with ‘THE FOODIE ADVENTURES OF A TRAVELLING MODEL’ on her Instagram. She is also a talented actress in training, so watch this space!
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What is ‘beautiful’ to you?
What is beautiful to me is not what’s on the outside but what you hold on the inside – your energy! I can’t put my finger on it but it’s when someone radiates a vibrant, beautiful energy. It’s catching almost! That’s what beauty means to me.
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What’s your top beauty secret?
My secret is honestly healthy living: eating well, sleep well, get rest, and be positive and keep believing in yourself. Also I love putting pure rose water on my skin (a little tip from my amazing grandmother) Also WATER WATER WATER. And if you want to treat yourself, do. ENJOY LIFE! You only have one!
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What do you love the most about yourself? 
My determination I think. Even though sometimes I can’t see the light, a little voice inside me says keep going because everything is going to be okay. And if it’s not okay, it’s not the end!
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Advice, Happiness, Inspiration

Girls: why do we fight over men?

It’s not easy being a women:

We bleed for a week a month for forty years straight.

Western society makes us shave our legs every two days.

We have to force a bowling ball (a really big bowling ball) out of our little lady parts… Sometimes more than once.

And that’s without the everyday negative energies surrounding female relationships, our perceptions of each other and the subtle, yet brutal, ever present war within our own gender. As little girls, when our minds are tiny sucking sponges, fairy tales within books, movies or fables force us little girls to witness the beautiful Princesses as targets of bitchy behaviour. The ugly sisters wreck Cinderella’s gown to prevent her from impressing the Prince. The mermaids literally attempt to drown Wendy because they are jealous of her relationship with heart throb Peter Pan. Snow White’s step mum poisons her. Already, when the thoughts of dating, sex and marriage are yet to conquer our minds, we are taught that women must compete against each other, more often then not stemming from the interests of impressing and ultimately “winning” the men.

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Thankfully, I’ve never been physically bullied, drowned or poisoned by anyone over the affections of a male. But I have experienced far too much hostility, whether first hand or merely as a witness. Whether we admit it or not, whether it be environmental or deep rooted somewhere in our cave woman instinct, there’s something in us as women, that sees danger in other women.

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Granted, there are some women out there – actually, no, there are some humans out there – that aren’t very nice at all. Some are even evil. But I’m talking about the victimising of women that haven’t actually done anything wrong.

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Such as, 1. Your ex boyfriends new girlfriend.

If you haven’t at least once stalked your ex boyfriends new girlfriend’s Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, either I need your secret to contentedness, or you’re lying. It’s human nature to be intrigued, of course. But what about when those subconscious questions come into play: is she an upgrade or a downgrade? If you aren’t over him – does she deserve him? If he was awful to you – why is he treating her better? I can’t remember ever hearing of a girl that has recently discovered her ex’s new girlfriend and has subsequently come away with a positive perception of her. You never hear her say, “Dan’s new girlfriend is so pretty, I hope they’re making each other very happy”, unless she’s being sarcastic, or untruthful. More often than not, what you do hear is, “Dan’s new girlfriend looks like such a slut/bitch/insert derogatory term”. The only reason explanation I can think of for this kind of analysis is that the friend in question feels threatened/insecure. But my guess is Dan’s new girlfriend is probably a nice girl and probably unknowing of the details of your past relationship with Dan. So she hasn’t done anything wrong and doesn’t deserve your hostility. Instead of attacking this girl, take a look in the mirror and ask yourself why you feel this way about her. Maybe there are some issues you need to address when it comes to your ex boyfriend or your relationship. And who knows – more likely than not, she’s also virtually stalking you, experiencing the same territorial emotions as you. Which brings me to case point two,

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2.Your current boyfriends ex girlfriend.

Again, we’ve all done it (can you see a pattern, yet?) – stumbled across a social network and somehow landed on the girl who loved your man before you came along. We feel the same range of emotions we do about the ex’s new girlfriend. The same wondering, the same comparison. Only this is worse, because you’re currently so loved up with your boyfriend that the thought of him loving someone else before you makes you want to scream/cry/be sick/maybe strangle her. All of which are reasonable, territorial emotions to go through (except maybe the strangling. Don’t do that). But look at it the same way as example 1: she had him before you, yes, but she doesn’t have him now. I doubt they still want each other, otherwise, wouldn’t they be together? There is absolutely no need to feel hatred towards her. If he is a good boyfriend to you, chances are that’s down to his experiences with her, so she’s done you a favour. And even if she treated him badly, affecting how he deals with things like trust, remember: there are always two sides to every story. I’m not saying be best friends with this girl, that may be a little weird (especially when you start trading stories about your boyfriend… Ew), but give her the benefit of the doubt, and stop breeding negative energy in your own being by hoarding negative feelings about her. The lesson in these two examples is be confident within yourself so that you don’t feel the need to put yourself up against someone that is not in the same race as you. Also, try not to lurk – you know you’ll only see thing that you don’t want to, so why torture yourself? Work on your own life instead of wondering about a strangers.

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3. The girl your boyfriend cheated on you with.

This is probably the trickiest situation for us girls to deal with. Being cheated on is an absolutely awful feeling (For those that have been lucky enough to escape it, imagine having a hand rip open your chest, pull out your beating heart and putting it in a blender: that doesn’t come close to the feeling of being cheated on.) Of course, naturally, our first natural instinct is to hate him, and hate the ‘other girl’, because we’re angry and hurt and upset, of course. But take a minute to think about it – it is completely and utterly, 100% your boyfriends responsibility and not the girl he chose to cheat on you with. She could have absolutely no idea that the guy inside her has a girlfriend. As far as she is concerned, he’s single and willing. She is not a ‘slut’ or a ‘whore’ – she is free to enjoy sex with whoever  she wants. This example changes considerably if the girl knows he has a girlfriend, or worse, knows you personally. That is what you’d call a bad friend. But I can’t help but feel that girls get a worse deal in these situations than the man. A girl I knew from school had been with her boyfriend for two years when we had sex with her best friend. She banished the friend, but easily forgave her boyfriend. Why inflict hatred on her, yet forgive your all knowing, entirely responsible partner?

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And finally,

4. The girl who has the man you want. Whether you like it or not, you can’t run away from the fact that the reason you dislike this girl is because you are jealous. The sooner you admit it, the sooner you can put to bed these negative emotions. There isn’t a lot you can do in this situation, apart from appreciate the fact that they like/love each other and let their relationship run it’s course. What’s meant to be will be, so if it’s supposed to be you that he chose, he may eventually do so. But don’t hate on his girlfriend while you wait for him to make up his mind.

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I would LOVE there to be a wider sense of sisterhood among women in our current time and place in history. We can understand each other while men cannot begin to even try. I can empathise with the examples above because I have experienced them in the past and know many girlfriends who have or continue to.

Instead of merely siding with friends against other girls, competing in this mindless invisible war, can’t we all be on the same team?

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