Ask the Mannequins: winter warmth v winter chic

January 10, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’m off to New York and I hear it’s rather cold there at the moment. During the winter I tend to hibernate in jeans and jumpers. But what can I wear that’s also warm so those chic Manhattan-ites won’t laugh at me?

Erin, via text

Having just survived the Great NYC December 2010 Blizzard I can report that it is indeed rather cold over there. Most Manhattan girls are currently favouring the duvet coat and scary hardcore snow boots like these.

A hardy winter coat and warm boots are, of course, a must. But I find the devil’s in the details, and – especially in New York’s case – the layering. Once you get this right, it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing on top, because you’ll be snuggly underneath!

First some killer leggings – not just any leggings, but these rather lovely tuxedo-style leggings from M&S. Warm enough for wearing under jumper dresses and tucked inside your scary hardcore snow boots whilst trekking around Manhattan, but gorgeous enough to go with killer heels for the evening when you find a cool bar miles away from your hotel. See?

Tuxedo leggings, M&S

Next your head and ears. If you haven’t heard about The Hat Sandwich, then head over to Project Egghead’s website and brush up on Madge’s tips for using layering to keep your head warm. If you’re not a hat person (and many aren’t) then ear muffs are both a cute and functional way of fending off winter ear ache. I liked these from River Island as they’re uber-sweet and preppy.

Grey pearl ear muffs, River Island

Legwarmers were my staple during last weeks crazy NY weather. Worn peeping out of your boots exudes pampered-sloan-girl chic plus they’re soooo warm when trekking around a snowy Central Park.

Leggings, M&S

OK, so far, so straightforward, right? Here’s a secret I’ve been rocking since last winter. Grandma Badger got it right with her silky slips – and H&Ms basic body cons are the modern equivalent. They’re awful on their own if you have a bit of a pot belly, but worn underneath pretty much anything and everything, and they provide substantial warm layering and a smooth silhouette – something that’s tricky to achieve with a thermal vest tucked into your tights. Plus they prevent that annoying static cling that happens with jumper dresses and tights.

Black body con, H&M

Enjoy your time, and may I recommend going to 508 for the cheese fondue and lamb ragu; the Tirimisu cocktail at The View on top of the Marriot Marquis off Times Square (the bar rotates as you sit, so you take in a 360 view of Manhatten); Shorty’s 32 for nibbles and cocktails – and if you want something uber special and have the money for it, The River Cafe

PS Chic Manhatten-ites don’t laugh at those who are (in their eyes) sartorially challenged. Most of them are far too busy exuding an air of absolute boredom they barely have time to notice.

Five things: a Badger party look

December 13, 2010 § 3 Comments

Oh gawd. Until this evening I was all set over what I would be wearing to our work Xmas party. I’d found a dress a while ago that I thought about wearing to my headshave, but then decided to relegate it to the Xmas party and wear something slinkier (and less likely to get hair stuck in it – the things you have to consider when shaving your head are many, believe me). Two weeks of missing my bad-ass morning sweat-a-thon later (and therefore with an arse the size of a small African country), and I’m only 60% sure. I love the roushing, and the stunning back, but will it be OK on my pot belly – and can I lose half a stone in two days?

Anyway, assuming I man-up, shut up and just go for it, here are the five things I’m wearing this Wednesday. Argh, yes I know it’s only four things, but I’m going understated. Besides, I’m treating the buzz cut as an accessory it itself.

Earrings, River Island

Another tip for would-be baldies: big earrings are your friend.

Dress, Miss Selfridge

It looks like a posh frock but was such a bargain! And the back makes the dress sexy in a wonderfully understated, grown-up way.

Shoes, New Look

Option to switch to ballet pumps later, allowed.

Clutch, Topshop

Who says I have too many bags already?

So do you reckon girls with a bit of a belly can do slinky numbers? Or must one’s tummy be totally washboard to pull this off? I’ve seen some quite cute outfits like this where there’s a mini-pot, but I’m just not sure – would welcome opinions in the comments below!

Ask the Mannequins: what should I wear to a Janelle Monae gig?

November 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’m going to see Janelle Monae in December. What should I wear?

dawnhfoster, via Twitter

Normally the problem with picking a gig look is how to stay in the narrow bounds of the music tribe you’re going out to play with. Oh the long hours it took me before a Crystal Castles gig deciding which pair of skinny black jeans and which yes-I-am-a-bit-edgy-thank-you T-shirt to wear.

But Monae is a different matter. She’s got so many looks (and sounds) that you could miss the support act just deciding which style you wanted to copy. (See above, clockwise from top left.) She’s got ’70s psych-soul; vintage Stax look in tux and spats; flirty flapper; ultraglam diva; androgynous in an argyle and tie; and robot savior of a of a dystopian metropolis. Where do you start?

I’m going to rule out android straightaway, and then make a controversial bid to strike tuxedo from the list too. Look, I know it’s awesome on Jannelle – but she has the most astonishing hair in the history of hair. You could try it, but there’s every chance you’d come out looking like a magician.

Flapper and diva are both possibilities but a bit high-maintenance, which leaves the boyish Gap sweater look (too easy, all it takes is a trip to Gap) and my favourite, the afro-and-beads look.

Even without the afro, you can rock this. Key element: LAYERS. A tee, a printed shirt and a shearling waistcoat are the bare minimum, and a good solution to the freezing in the queue/broiling in the gig problem. You’ll also need a bunch of chunky necklaces and bangles. Oh, and to carry yourself with the uncompromising air of someone at the vanguard of social change – easy right? If that fails, I’m afraid you’ll just have to go with the cardboard and gold paint cityscape look. Sorry.

Enjoy the show!

With love, Dusty x

#24 Badger Madge

November 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

I love the vintage feel of this smock, but even though it’s two sizes down it’s still a bit tent-like on me, hence the belt. I’m also toying with red lip stains at the moment (this is Topshop, but I think it’s a bit full-on for me, being so used to nudes). The full-length cardi is a more flattering length with the smock than one that would fall at the hips, and the pearls make this evening ready.

What I’m wearing

Smock, Miss Selfridge

Cardigan, H&M

Belt, Topshop

Pearls and gold bracelet, Grandma via Mum

Studded bangle, Primark

Boots, Office

Slap #2

November 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

Clockwise from left: No7 Skin Illuminator, No7 Exceptional Definition Mascara, Barry M Shimmering Eye and Lip Crayon in Golden Bronze, Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal Eye Pencil, Maybelline Dream mousse Blush, No7 Stay Perfect Eyeshadow in Antique Rose, Too Faced eyeshadow in Cocoa Comet, L’Oreal Paris True Match Minerals Foundation, Garnier Caffeine Anti-dark Circles 2-in-1 Roll-on

This is my usual day face. The Barry M pencil with the Antique Rose shadow smudged on top gives a perfect goldy-pink colour. It’s also a good way of making the colour stay – liner with shadow over the top. Although, this shadow hardly ever creases, especially if I prime my eyes first with the L’Oreal powder. For evening I’d either smudge some Urban Decay shadow in Asphyxia over the black kohl, or add a slick of black liquid eyeliner, depending on what I’m wearing.  I’ve just changed to Exceptional Definition Mascara – annoying advert aside, its tapered wand and endy bits really are great for getting into the corners.

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