Competition: All I want for Christmas is a Kipling bag… do you want one?

Posted in Competiton by Nneoma Ulu on November 30, 2009

Do you remember Kipling bags? Those rucksacks that the geeky girls at school had with a little furry monkey keyring hanging off it, that were always red? Well it seems that those geeky days are now gone and Kipling has grown up and had a bit of a makeover at the hands of Isabelle Cheron. Cheron arrived at Kipling in 2006 and there is no doubt that she knows what she is doing, having worked at Celine, Chanel and Cerruti and the results are showing. Kipling is becoming more fashion forward and there is an obvious departure from the children’s rucksacks that it was once famous for. If Kipling isn’t on your radar, it should be.

As Christmas is approaching, Kipling have put together a holiday collection with a selection of their best bags for the festive season, so whether you need something for your Christmas party, New Year’s Eve or even a pressie for your girlfriend, there is no need to look any further.

YOU could be the owner of a fab Kipling clutch (above) from the holiday collection just in time for Christmas. Simply leave a comment on this post by 15th December and this sparkly clutch could be yours. Don’t forget to leave a contact e-mail address so I can get in touch if you win. The competition is open to UK residents only (sorry to my overseas readers) and the winner will be notified by 16th December. Good luck!

Time for Winter booties

Posted in My wardrobe by Nneoma Ulu on November 30, 2009

There is something very satisfying about finding the perfect winter boot. With the terrible weather we have been having recently, it seems that the time has come to start the annual search for the perfect winter bootie. I have quite a few high boots that are good for work and play but what I really need are comfy weekend boots to keep my warm and dry! These may seem as a bit of a departure to what you are used to reading about on twentyteneightyfour but a girl has to be comfy too sometimes!

Here are a few that have caught my eye…

These Lacoste boots could work. They are simple and look warm and toasty plus they’d work on the ski trip that I’m planning for next year. Perfect for walking the boyfriend’s dog in this horrific weather! Definitely a contender.

Lacoste winter boots

These Anna Sui boots for FitFlop are the ultimate in the multi-purpose department. They look like they’d keep my feet warm and their USP is that have the original FitFlop’s fitness technology that are designed to tone and trim your legs whilst you walk. What more could I need? Boots that keep me warm and keep me in shape. Almost sold!

Anna Sui for FitFlop

Or I could go down the Hunter wellies route? These are good for the rain, which we seem to be having a lot of of late, but not so good for keeping me warm. They do look good though…

Hunter wellies

I’m still torn on which winter booties I should go for… hopefully I’ll find the perfect match soon enough to keep my feet dry!

When good advice is bad

Posted in Celebrity Style by Nneoma Ulu on November 24, 2009

According to  The Guardian newspaper’s G2 supplement yesterday, this outfit worn by Chloe Sevigny to the Prada book launch in LA is their ‘Look of the week’.

Chloe Sevigny at the Prada book launch in LA via

Their reasoning behind this? Simple. Chloe provides us with a ‘lesson in how to style next season’s underwear trend’. Apparently this is an example that ‘a little flesh goes long way’. I’m afraid I have to to disagree with The Guardian on this one. This outfit barely works on Chloe Sevigny, who can pull off most things at the best of times. To be encouraging women that this outfit would be acceptable in their everyday lives and to go further to single it out as being exemplary is a bit far-fetched to say the least. Is it me or does Chloe look like she forgot to button up her top rather than providing a shining example of how to wear underwear as outerwear? I’m just not convinced. Furthermore, this Miu Miu dress, pretty as it is, retails at £2,950 and the bra comes in at a mere £110, hardly affordable for most of us. I understand that the ‘Look of the week’ spotlight is supposed to showcase celebrities who are getting the trends right. But isn’t also supposed to offer the everyday woman with some inspiration of how they can work the trends too? Chloe has managed to pull this look off without looking slutty, but most people wouldn’t look sophisticated in this get up. For me, the moral of the story is don’t believe everything you read in newspapers.

Zac Posen – Not Bespoke, Z Spoke

Posted in Uncategorized by Nneoma Ulu on November 22, 2009

I’m getting ready for my annual trip to New York for Christmas. Ticket is yet to be booked but should be this week. That can really only mean one thing – preparing my shopping list! There are always the usual things to stock up on, things like Carmex lip balm which you can get at the dollar store! Mac and Bobbi Brown for make-up (they are a little cheaper there because of the exchange), plus some good quality time in Sephora (someone please bring it to the UK!). Forever 21 and Century 21 are musts as well as all the usual department stores and little boutiques that make my shopping time in the Big Apple so fun and busy! Before my trip, I usually do a bit of digging to see what shouldn’t be missed. So far I’ve dug up a couple of things – Rodarte for Target (more on that later) and the new diffusion line from Zac Posen, Z Spoke.

Z Spoke is Zac Posen’s attempt to offer a more affordable line to customers and it focuses primarily on ‘sportswear’. Zac is not trying to market the 60 piece line as ‘Zac-for-less’ or as a sister line, it is about a different offering for customers at more friendly prices. The result – some simple typical Zac Posen pieces at a more affordable price (!) that will make healthy additions to any wardrobe.

Z Spoke by Zac Posen

I’ve always found Zac Posen to be very Gossip Girl-friendly. The pieces on Z Spoke will fit nicely in either of Blair or Serena’s wardrobes… or mine for that matter. The line will be available exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue for spring 2010. It’s a shame that it won’t be in the store when I’m there but more reason for an Easter trip me thinks!

Z Spoke by Zac Posen

The dumbing down of Jimmy Choo

Posted in High Street Fashion by Nneoma Ulu on November 19, 2009

My views on affordable fashion are changing. Last week, I was lucky enough to attend a VIP preview of Jimmy Choo for H&M with fellow blogger, mediacation. I had seen a lot of the collection online and in magazines with the aggressive PR push of Tamara Mellon ahead of the launch so more or less knew what to expect… not a lot. That did not stop the hoards of shoppers queuing and beating each other up to get to a cheaper version of the brand’s famous shoes.

Jimmy Choo for H&M via Daily Mail online

Tamara Mellon made an effort to create a full offering for H&M customers, including mens and womenswear alongside the shoes and bags that Jimmy Choo is more famous for. Her effort is commendable, the end products, however, not so much. The shoes looked cheap and not very well made and just didn’t have anything special about them ast all. This then begs the question – are people buying it because they like it or because it’s a cheaper version of the real deal? But with shoppers putting their purchases up on eBay and flogging them for double the price, it seems that the real deal is the better option.

Jimmy Choo for H&M shoes - cheap or chic?

I stand behind Christian Louboutin’s decision to turn down an H&M collaboration. It is not so much that it devalues the brand but it is more that there is nothing special about a watered down version of something that is supposed to be luxurious. Buying designer means buying high quality, long-lasting goods that can be treasured for years. High street is about disposable fashion – buy a trend, wear the trend, throw it away when the trend gets old. More and more it seems that the wonderful idea  H&M started off with in 2004 collaborating with Karl Lagerfeld has become a little distorted as designers have realised that it can be great for business and shoppers seem to buy into anything.

Karl Lagerfeld for H&M

With H&M collaborations in the past, there seemed to be some sense of exclusivity. The pictures were not everywhere.  The stock was limited. There was no in-you-face ad campaign. Just a simple belief from customers, that the designer would use H&M as a channel to provide their clothes to a wider audience. Karl Lagerfeld did a pretty good job, Stella McCartney did it very well, after that Cavalli and Matthew Williamson took a stab and that’s when things started changing. It seems that it is less about what the designer can do for H&M’s usual customer and more about what an H&M collaboration can do for the designer and for me, that is reflected in the clothes on the rails.

Next up for H&M is Sonia Rykiel, starting with a lingerie line next month, followed by a full line earlier next year. I am a little more excited about this having seen the ad campaign. I wonder whether Sonia will get it right?

Sonia Rykiel for H&M ad campaign via nitrolicious

Dear Santa, Luella’s been a good girl

Posted in News by Nneoma Ulu on November 16, 2009

Last week, the sad news hit that Luella had ceased trading after ‘a key financial backer had withdrawn funding‘. This news came as a real shock, especially as the day before, Liberty’s of London, the iconic and quintessentially British department store, unveiled their Christmas windows designed by none other than Luella herself. This weekend, I decided to go and check out the windows, seeing as this may be the last Luella-inspired thing that I see for a while.

Liberty's Luella Christmas 2009 via

I don’t need more reasons to love Christmas but if I did, these windows would be right up there. Christmas is a time when we watch things we shouldn’t like and eat in excess and these windows capture lots of those British stereotypes; it’s the perfect marriage of all things British – Luella and Liberty’s.

Liberty's Luella Christmas window via

Luella’s magical touch doesn’t stop at the windows, she’s also curated a list of Christmas must-haves that feature in the windows and are available to buy in stores and online.

I bet you Alexa Chung is holding on tight to her dress from Luella’s Spring/Summer 2010 collection that she wore to the after party of Luella’s show at London Fashion Week and I would be too. I am a Luella girl and I want Luella back! I have every hope that Luella will find the money she needs to get back up and running and provide beautiful dresses for girls like me to wear with big hair bows soon enough but in the mean time, here is my show of support:

Save Luella via

Who rocked those McQueen shoes first?

Posted in News by Nneoma Ulu on November 13, 2009

For those of you who thought it couldn’nt be done. The ‘alien’ shoes from Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 2010 collection have had the first proper outing thanks to Daphne Guinness. There is no doubt the dress is amazing and the shoes actually seem to be working off the runway. I’d love to see a video of her walking in them…. Daphne Guinness has amazing style and she is showing that she is ahead of the pack in this outfit. I just wish she would’ve toned down the make-up a bit or her signature hair do – it’s just a little too much.

Daphne Guinness in Alexander McQueen via bryanboy

Daphne Guinness in Alexander McQueen via bryanboy

As most people predicted, Lady Gaga was officially the first person to rock them in her latest video, Bad Romance. Wearing them in a music video is different from wearing them in ‘real’ life as musicians often push the boundaries and do and wear things they wouldn’t normally in their everyday lives, although Lady Gaga does a pretty good job of tottering around in them. So I  salute Daphne Guinness for wearing them and showing us that they can be rocked if the occasion calls for it… I wonder who’ll be spotted in them next.

Lady Gaga in Bad Romance wearing Alexander McQueen shoes

Lady Gaga in Bad Romance wearing Alexander McQueen shoes

What goes with a car?

Posted in My wardrobe by Nneoma Ulu on November 9, 2009

So as you may or may not know, it was my birthday last month. It wasn’t a landmark age in the traditional sense, but it was a number that required a present a little bit more special than the some of the ages I’ve left behind. It’s also likely that this is the last age that I will receive something special until I reach those big round even numbers that follow (yuck – no offence!). The day itself was pretty lacklustre, aside from a lovely dinner with the boy. I didn’t receive any cards or presents. [The boy is off the hook as he doesn’t give cards and his present was held up by Royal Mail.] My Mum however was the cause of much disappointment. No card, no money, no present. She did mumble something in the morning about an IOU, but parents don’t really follow up on those, in the same way that kids don’t when we borrow money.

Anyway, last weekend (12 days after my actual birthday), she invited herself over for dinner and asked the boy to come along too. She arrived and we drove round the block and they both jumped out of the car and shouted SURPRISE! Sitting in front of me was a cute little car… and it was for me! Pretty exciting stuff, I know.

My new set of wheels.. yet to be named

My new set of wheels... yet to be named

The only problem is I haven’t passed my driving test. In fact, I haven’t been learning since I was nineteen. However, I see that as a minor drawback because I do know how to drive, I just haven’t yet passed the test. So this week, after booking my theory test (yes, it is that bad), I started thinking what accessories I needed to enhance my experience behind the wheel. Sunglasses, of course!

I’m a fan of oversized styles, they are fun and make me feel a little celebrity-esque and Kate Beckinsale seems to like them too.

Kate Beckinsale in Oliver Peoples sunglasses via

Kate Beckinsale in Balenciaga sunglasses via

Nicole Richie usually has good sunglasses too. She single-handedly helped Christian Dior relaunch some vintage styles a couple of years back. Luckily, my Mum had a pair, so I’ve been rocking them for a while now and they are loyal to me.

Nicole Richie in Christian Dior sunglasses via

Nicole Richie in Christian Dior sunglasses via

Rihanna loves sunglasses – she is rarely spotted without a pair. Conveniently, we have a similar haircut so I had a look at some of the styles she has rocked and found two that will be top of my Christmas list for sure.

Rihanna in Gucci sunglasses

Rihanna in Gucci sunglasses

Loving these simple Gucci frames. They are functional, cool and chic. A slight twist on the traditional Ray Ban but I love it!

Rihanna in Prada PR 181S sunglasses via

Rihanna in Prada PR 181S sunglasses via

These would be my second pair. I love the shape of these sunglasses. They have a bit more character than the run of the mill oversized styles.

I guess the right thing to do would be to treat myself to one pair once I pass my theory test and then treat myself to another pair once I pass the practical driving test that way I’ll be more than prepared for the road when I get behind the wheel. Bring on the road trips!

Who is David Koma?

Posted in Celebrity Style by Nneoma Ulu on November 6, 2009

There is no doubt that X Factor is more than a British TV show. It’s an event. The judges know that every week on both Saturday and Sunday night, all eyes are on them just as much as the contestants. For Dannii Minogue and Cheryl Cole it means that every show is a catwalk opportunity and boy do they use the opportunity. There is no doubt that they have both upped their style game from previous seasons and last week saw Cheryl stepping out in a David Koma dress. Simon Cowell told her to sit up to avoid showing her assets to the nation – I’m sure she wasn’t pleased. The media reaction was less kind, with the Daily Mail referring to it as the ‘dustbin lid’ dress.

Cheryl Cole in David Koma via

Cheryl Cole in David Koma via

The show ended and all was forgotten. Until last night at the MTV European Music Awards in Berlin, when Beyonce came on stage to accept an award wearing pretty much the same dress. When I saw the dress on Cheryl, I thought – well done for experimenting, but I didn’t think it quite worked. When I saw the dress on Beyonce, I knew why.

Beyonce at the MTV European Music Awards in David Koma via myfashionlife

Beyonce at the MTV European Music Awards in David Koma via myfashionlife

Cheryl is known for her tiny frame and Beyonce is recognised as the fuller figured voluptuous woman. I think that Cheryl’s frame worked against her in the dress and she seemed engulfed by it. Beyonce filled the dress with her curves in all the right places and made it look like it could be worn by anyone. If I were Cheryl, I would’ve chosen another dress by David Koma, such as the one below. It would suit her size and frame much better and still give her a chance to positively showcase up and coming British talent.

David Koma A/W 2009 collection

David Koma A/W 2009 collection

David Koma is fresh out of the renowned Central Saint Martins and his talent has already been recognised by the industry. He is a Harrods Design Award winner and a Vauxhall Fashion Scout Merit Award winner too. It is always great to get celebrity endorsement but David must be well chuffed with getting it so early in his career and by two well respected and much loved celebrities. Go David!

Quote of the day

Posted in Inspiration by Nneoma Ulu on November 5, 2009

“Style is simply the bastion against the cut of uniformity. It is that quality in a human being that lifts the ordinary into the extraordinary, that ennobles the commonplace and everyday. It is that quirk of the human psyche which hopefully makes every millionth Chinese wear his Mao suit in a way that the other 999,999 had never thought of.” – Roy Strong, Vogue September 1976

A little bit of Thursday inspiration from the ‘Glamour in Vogue’ supplement that accompanied this month’s Vogue magazine.

A series of Mao suits by Chinese artist, Jianguo Sui via Nelson Kuniyoshi

A series of Mao suits by Chinese artist, Jianguo Sui via Nelson Kuniyoshi

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