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Fashion Chic: handbag trends for spring / summer

Summer is within sight. Before you know it you’ll be ditching your pea coat and leggings and going bare legged and bare armed with open toed shoes, sunglasses and sun hats. The season’s fashions look delectable and almost good enough to eat. From a pastel rainbow seen at Prada and Chanel to shimmering metallics and sequins at Armani and Alexander McQueen. But we all know that it’s the accessories that make the outfit, right? So cruising right past the jeans, dresses, jackets and blouses we take a closer look at all the new trends in handbags and purses. Here are our top picks.

Tropical clutch

Clutches are the only way to go when you have your glad rags on. Full on handbags are a little too much to deal with and detract from your outfit and generally get in the way of looking fierce. This season the best way to party is Hawaiian style; so look for emerald, turquoise, canary yellow and gold as your colour palette. One of our favourite clutches of the season is available from the wide range of designer handbags at House of Fraser. The Head Over Heels Beauty H Rouched Bag in green – pictured below – is cute and sassy, but ladylike too. Plus at £35 it’s a real bargain.

Duffle Bags

Fashion designers seem to have been inspired by the impending London Olympics and have come over all sporty on us. We just love it. The chance to mix sporty fabrics with fashion styling is a challenge we relish. The perfect bag for this trend needs to have its own sporty style and duffle bags are the way to go. However, you can never let your fashion guard down and that’s why we love the Dune D Luffle Quilted Duffle Bag, another one of House of Fraser’s designer handbags. The cream colour, luxury leather material, gold metal detailing and plaited strap give this a sport-luxe look.

Pastel Purses

Pastel shades of lilac, dusty pink, mint and lemon bring a healthy dose of ladylike charm to summer’s brasher trends. What could be more ladylike than a click-top fastening purse. Straight out of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, although in much softer shades, these feminine purses are delightful. Our favourite pick from the range of designer handbags is Ted Baker’s Kassady Purse in baby pink. The cute bobble fastening top and patent leather is in total harmony with the girly pastel trend.

Nautical Totes

Hello Sailor, nautical fashion is back. Think boat shoes, Breton stripes, chinos and white jeans. We are loving Blake Lively’s look here, and you too need to get a nautical-esque tote to work this trend. Of course navy will work best, but red or white and striped versions can also look great. Nine West has gone all out with its One Stop Large Shopper Bag, with sailboat design and blue and white stripe. We love it and think it’s the perfect addition to any nautical outfit. A red and white striped version with anchor design is also available.

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Eco Chic: is fashion getting greener?

How Fashion is Going Green

When the average person considers eco-friendly clothing options, they may have images of the wardrobe from The Matrix (not the cool trenches and skintight pants they sported inside the Matrix, but the unfinished, no-color sacks they wore on the Nebuchadnezzar).  But green fashion has come a long way from the rough, un-dyed, homespun garments of yesteryear.  In fact, you may not be able to tell the difference between textiles that have harmed the planet at every turn and those that have done very little to increase your carbon footprint.  Thanks to changes in the industry that have turned an eye towards the future of fashion and how it relates to the environment, green fashion has grown.  Here are just a few ways in which the clothes on your back may be getting a little greener.

Schooling

The crossover between green living and the fashion industry starts with education and the new batch of designers entering the field.  This is why it’s awesome that so many fashion schools are now offering courses that explain the goals and possibilities where green fashion is concerned, as well as offering instruction in how to make eco-friendly clothing and accessory.  Even well-known schools like the Fashion Institute of Technology have embraced the possibility of greener clothing options by hosting exhibits and offering seminars and courses in eco-fashion.

Textiles

Organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, eucalyptus, and plenty of other plants are all being used to create fabrics that are free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, doing less harm to your body as well as the environment.  And peace silk and organic wool are gathered humanely so that no animals are killed to give you the shirt on your back (which is good for your conscience as well as the animals).  In addition to the many environmental benefits that come with these textiles, you’ll be happy to hear that they’re good for your wallet, too.  Although they may be a bit more expensive initially, they can last up to ten times as long thanks to the fact that no chemicals are present to break down the fibers prematurely.  And many designers are now opting for these fabrics in their lines, thus supporting the organic farming movement.

Manufacturing

If you knew how many chemicals went into producing a garment (bleaches, dyes, flame retardant, stain-proofing, and even formaldehyde, amongst other things), you might not be so keen to put them on your skin.  And in addition to the potential for bodily harm, the processes used to manufacture textiles for clothing are a source of pollution and waste.  But concerned designers and manufacturers are beginning to seek ways to reduce the damage caused by clothing creation, from using natural dyes and skipping chemicals to recycling scrap cloth left over from the production of garments.

Accessories

You can’t have a fashionable ensemble without a few accessories, and while some green changes are obvious (faux leather belts, shoes, and handbags, for example, or accessories made from recycled materials), others may be things you never even thought of (fair trade precious metals and gemstones for jewelry, shoes that can be recycled to create playground surfaces, etc.).  Many companies in the fashion industry are finding creative ways to go green not only with clothing, but with accessories, as well.

Designers

Perhaps you haven’t heard of up-and-coming eco-designers like Casey Larkin, Kizzy Jai Knight, and Ada Zanditon (although you should definitely check them out), but you’ve likely heard of Stella McCartney, who espouses eco-friendly fashion along with her vegetarian values.  And with more and more designers going green, it won’t be long before some of your favorite fashion houses start offering clothing options that will make you feel as good as you look.

Carol Montrose is a writer for www.tshirtprinting.net where you can create your own custom tshirts, hoodies, and much more.

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If you love fashion and tech: www.evesapple.com

Eve’s Apple a premier online boutique for women with a love of designer fashion announced a first-in-industry collaboration with Adobe Scene7, purveyor of outstanding technology in online imaging. Eve’s Apple is pioneering the “autospin” model, where a visitor is immediately greeted with a 360-revolution of the designer item in question.

You are able to zoom to 10,000 pixels and revolve the product at will, rendering the piece in three-dimensional detail. In working with other industries, Adobe Scene7 has measured a startling uptick in conversion rates, owing to its industry-leading image renderings.

“Thanks to Adobe Scene7, we are now able to deliver stunning 360-degree fashion photography that captures each intimate, alluring detail of the items we sell. Every exquisite piece tantalizes and taunts,” elaborates Eve’s Apple co-founder Sari Turner. “Like a virtual dressing room, the enchanting, interactive technology brings these high-quality images to life, inviting visitors to zoom, spin, choose color options and play with their own beguiling style. Shopping from the comfort of your own home has never been so fun, so free-spirited or so personal.”

 The e-boutique offers the latest in woman’s designer fashion, shoes, and accessories by classic names like Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, Catherine Malandrino, Guiseppe Zanotti, and Anna Sui, plus new favorites from House of Harlow, Nanette Lepore, Mara Hoffman and many more.

 EvesApple.com is the brainchild of long-time business partners and Louisiana boutique owners, Sari Turner and Michele Percy. It provides an online shopping experience that exudes both style and state-of-the-art design — both in the realms of fashion and e-commerce.

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Shopstyle: how to never leave your house again!

As you might guess from the name, ShopStyle is a shopping app. It’s available on the iPad and iPhone and Nikki blogged about it when it first came out. ShopStyle is one of my favourite apps, here’s why…

ShopStyle has access to a great range of different clothing (and shoes! and accessories!) brands from economical basics to designer extravaganza. Starting from A some of the brands available are: Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang, Agent Provocateur, All Saints, American Apparel – hopefully you get the picture.

The products, diverse in the extreme in terms of price and quality, appear side by side in the app by default, which is slightly surreal. To tailor the view to suit your personality (and budget) you can filter by Brand, Store, Size, Colour, Price, Sale and custom Keywords.

The app is in the classic iPad design and features a short description, price and lovely pictures for each item. The layout, speed of search and quantity of items make this a much nicer experience than using the shops’ own websites.

To purchase an item you are taken to the shops’ own site, meaning you have to set up several accounts and can’t make cross-shop purchases in one go. However, although this is irritating, as an IT professional I understand why they have structured the site this way – they’re reusing the existing stock systems that the shops have already invested in. If ShopStyle had decided to track each store’s inventory directly, this would have taken so much effort for each shop that the app would never have got off the ground.

There is also a small bonus for iPad users, as the current system means that ShopStyle must therefore have checked that the websites work with Safari on iPad (unlike some other big brand sites!).

ShopStyle is an absolute life saver for me and means that I actually have some clothes, when I wouldn’t have time to go shopping otherwise!

If you haven’t tried it, please do give it a go. Even if you don’t buy anything, you can now window shop from the luxury of your own home/iPad/iPhone whatever your gadget of choice is!

www.shopstyle.co.uk

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Fashion Chic: Chiconomise Launch

What chick wouldn’t like to save 80% on Prada, Marc Jacobs and Chloe this season? What about up to 90% off pampering? Or a £60 shopping voucher for just a tenner. Me, me and more me!

Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry along with her business partner Vicky Zadeh, are set to launch their new business www.chiconomise.com , the one-stop shop to save girls money on all the things we like –  fashion, beauty, lifestyle and home.

With so many sample sales, high street sales, online sales and private shopping clubs, it can all get a bit much and mind boggling!  With so much choice, saving money can be a full time job, and for Chiconomise that’s exactly what they do, they do the hard work for you.

They trawl through every private fashion shopping club, all the sample sales and the new online saving concepts that not enough of us girls know about. They weed out the ones with the catches and explain what the deal is with the others.  They even work with some fab boutique brands to offer their readers exclusive deals on items guaranteed to get people talking.  Perfect!

For more details check out www.chiconomise.com

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