Friday, 25 March 2011

The Shoes of Summer

This post might seem unreasonably unseasonable (say that ten times fast) but as I've just been lying in the sunshine in the garden, I felt it was appropriate.

This year, more so than any other before, Toms shoes seem to have really exploded onto the high street. They are adorable and, big thumbs up, very charitable. Comfortable, lightweight summer shoes that give to charity? Tell me that isn't the ultimate in feel-good footwear.

Toms Womens Classics in Red

If the cost of Toms (prices start at £33) seems a little steep for canvas pumps, then espadrilles are the way to go if you want an alternative to sandals during the warmer months. River Island currently have a fantastic range starting at £9.99, with ditsy prints, stripes and rainbow brights meaning you can have a pair to match every outfit.

Alternatively, these grey striped pumps from Dorothy Perkins have a subtle nod towards the espadrille trend but offer a more traditional ballet pump style that creates a much longer leg visual than the traditional closed espadrille.
Dorothy Perkins Grey Stripe Espadrilles

As far as sandals go, I have always been a big advocate of the extreme comfort and long wear that you get out of Birkenstocks. Notoriously clunky and hippy-ish in the past, styles are now becoming a lot sleeker and easier to wear without looking like you're about to spend the summer living in a forest to protect wild voles.

Birkenstock Gizeh in Black Patent

Ever since the great gladiator sandal influx of 2005, ankle-fastening styles of sandal have been everywhere, reminding me more of my white, Clark's school sandals than anything else. To avoid this comparison, look for slim soles, colourful beading and metallic details for your summer sandals.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

El (n)Ombré*!

The biggest hair trend of 2011 is hotly tipped (excuse the pun...) to be the ombré style of high-lighting. Often confused for dip-dying or even grown out high-lights when seen on its celebrity advocates, the name ombré comes from the french verb ombrer which means 'to shade'. The clue to the concept is truly in the name; hair that is graduated from a dark shade to a lighter colour at the ends.

Celebrity fans Leighton Meester, Drew Barrymore and Jessica Biel

This look is a perfect combination of laid-back beach style and romantic, flyaway glamour. It's a look that grunge queen Alexa Chung has been sporting for several years to glorious effect, but it was with Drew Barrymore's dramatic roots' first red carpet appearance that really interested me in the look.

Due to work, laziness and an exploding dog I haven't had my hair cut and styled since December. Waking up to my first day off this week to glorious sunshine and unseasonal heat this morning, I knew that today was definitely the day to take a step towards this low-maintenance look.

My hair this afternoon: Vague non-colour, fringe with no
shape, ends quite dry.

VS Post-Hairdresser Hair: Chocolately roots leading into
lighter brown and finally  blonde tips

I am so, so happy with it! I was worried that I would end up with trashy looking, brassy streaks at the end of my hair but it's so soft and subtle that I am absolutely delighted. It was the first time I had ever been to the hairdresser that I used but she instilled me with so much confidence, referring to celebrities with the look I desired and taking time to discuss the colours I wanted.

This is also the best blow dry I have ever had, too! Normally I either get huge nineties blow-dries that end up having the straightening irons taken to them or looks that are just too straight for my liking. The technique that they used was very simple but left my hair looking sleek yet wavy at the ends.

Thank you to Hanna Richards and the team at Hanna's Hair Salon (no website, sadly, but contact numbers available online).

*For non-UK readers, El Nombré was a mexican mouse that helped us learn mathematics. A quick YouTube search will explain better than I ever could.