Fashion Is Your Business

It is often considered to be fun, frothy and frivolous. The obsession of the young, those with disposable income, wanting the newest trends as quickly as possible. Yes, fashion often gets a bad press from those who consider clothes to be a functional necessity rather than an obsessive passion. Those who indulge, and indeed love fashion can be labelled shallow, but, in reality, there is so much more to fashion than simply getting a ‘look’.

The Fashion Industry is one of the crowning glories of the British Economy, with London Fashion Week now firmly entrenched amongst the most important in the fashion calendar. It has been estimated that more than 105,000 visitors attended the shows and off schedule events at last years Autumn Fashion week in London, and this, in turn generated an estimated 269million in revenue, making it second only behind New York in terms of profit. This is no mean feat in challenging times. Tie this in with the respect and veneration that some of our greatest fashion exports are held, the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Victoria Beckham, Giles Deacon and Marchesa are all British born talent, with Osman, Alice Temperley and Molly Goddard all generating excitement (and A list fans) as their products are displayed on red carpets all around the world. Clearly the fashion industry is more than fun and frivolous.

But as the fashion industry grows, the nature of the selling of High Street Fashion changes. We are seeing more pop up shops and collectives, as shop fittings for temporary stores become more affordable and portable, meaning they can be moved from place to place as small businesses move around.

Fashion is also becoming much more universal in terms of entrepreneurship and business. As the High Street continues to struggle, more and more individuals and independents are starting small businesses and online stores that offer something different from the general High Street fare. Ebay and Etsy stores are becoming increasingly popular, selling a range of fashion products from independent designs to trendy imports that tap into the market. It is becoming far easier to make online stores look attractive and professional, using acrylic display units for jewellery and accessories in order to market your products is now an effective way to add sales.

Plus size stores that avoid the usual cliches of tents and butterflies are also a new and attractive business idea, with the added help that companies like TNT, who consider fashion to be important, giving lots of sound advice on issues like packing your items for delivery, transporting items safely, and even hosting your own fashion show, all important ways of getting your own small business out there onto the fashion radar.

SJP Front row

Whether you look at fashion from a designer point of view, or from the point of view of an etsy store holder taking their first tentative steps into the industry, it is clear that far from being frivolous, fashion truly is big business. All this, and fabulously stylish too.

Styling tips for the older gent

It was Coco Chanel who said ‘…fashion only fades, style remains the same…’ and whilst I think she was probably referring to her own effortless, ageless style when she said this, I think this is true to everyone, male or female. As we get older we may become less fashion-forward with our choices, may not take as many risks, but we may discover our true style, and that is something that really lasts.

Men’s clothing brand Chums have recently been focusing on questions about men’s style, looking at whether you can comprimise to ensure that you are both stylish and comfortable. They asked me for my own style tips for men, specifically men who are no longer looking to follow fashion, but to achieve a real look combining style and personality. With this in mind, I’ve put together a few tips that might ensure sartorial elegance at any age.

Avoid looking at London Fashion Week Men

These looks are to be left on the catwalk, never to be spoken of again. Last week a friend informed me that Chanel says it is OK for men to wear head to toe yellow this season. It isn’t – over ripe banana is never a good look, even Eric Twinge added blue to the mix.


But do get inspiration from the celebs

Many of Hollywood’s best dressed celebrity males are now the wrong side of 50. A case in point is the delectable George Clooney. Clooney totally understands the rules of male grooming, he’s suave, smart and elegant. He also recognises the beauty of timeless pieces, a well cut blazer, a plain shirt, wearing black and grey together, and the fact that even on formal occasions, you don’t always need a tie.


It’s all about tailoring

One of the main comments made about Donald Trump in terms of his personal style is just how bad the tailoring is. Oversized suits, shabby loose cuffs, extra long ties, these all go to make one extremely slovenly look. Well fitted clothes make all the difference, trousers with slimmer legs, fitted blazers in a single breasted style, even a thinner, smaller tie can transform a look from a fail, to a pass with flying colours.

Step away from the Grecian

Men, you are so lucky! You are allowed to grow old gracefully and it is called distinguished. So step away from the Grecian 2000 and embrace the white and grey. Salt and Pepper hair is so sexy, just look at the aforementioned George Clooney, Richard Gere, Paul Hollywood, Philip Schofield, the list of silver foxes are just endless.  Think about it, would you rather be an ageing Elvis with ridiculous hair, or a suave stylish gent with a distinguished edge?

Richard Gere arrives at the UK Premiere of Arbitrage, at the Odeon West End, in Leicester Square, London.


Wallis Autumn/Winter collection – Up close and personal.

Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited to a very special press day for one of my favourite High Street stores. Wallis were keen to showcase the beautiful collection for Christmas 2012, and were also giving bloggers the opportunity to try on some of their favourite pieces. In addition afternoon tea was being served, complete with champagne and there was a great opportunity to find out more about the collection from the very knowledgeable Wallis team, and he chance to have your photograph taken by a photographer more used to snapping models for Grazia. All in all, a fabulous afternoon was promised.

I really enjoyed being photographed in some of my favourite pieces, although after spending the afternoon doing no less than six press days I was rather tired and windswept, and could definitely have done with Grazia hair and make-up too! I chose a really great jumper with zig zag sequins, which I teamed with a black snakeprint biker jacket.  I also changed my flat shoes for a great pair of ankle boots which were so comfortable that I didn’t want to take them off, and added a double row necklace for extra sparkle.

Black Snake Print Biker Jacket Was £58.00 Now £40.00 click to visit Wallis

Black Sequin Dogtooth Jumper Price: £35.00 click to visit Wallis

Black Stacked Sequin Multirow Necklace Price: £18.50 click to visit Wallis

Neutral Curved Heel Ankle Boot Price: £55.00 click to visit Wallis

I also fell in love with a beautiful faux fur coat in a leopard print. This was just so snuggly and cuddly, making you feel as warm as you felt glamorous. The lovely ladies from Wallis have said they are going to send me this coat (Yes!), and this will basically be my wear everyday, everywhere coat this Christmas.

Leopard Print Faux Fur Jacket Price: £75.00 click to visit Wallis

There were so many other items I loved – here are a few more to savour.

Black Animal Sequin Panel Dress Price: £50.00 click to visit Wallis

Grey Embellished Dress Price: £45.00 click to visit Wallis

Black Lace Maxi Dress Price: £65.00 click to visit Wallis

Black Printed Peplum Top Price: £26.00 click to visit Wallis

Black Sequin Front Jumper Price: £35.00 click to visit Wallis

Grey And Pewter Pointed Court Shoe Price: £45.00 click to visit Wallis

Black Quilted Bowling Bag Was £28.00 Now £22.40 click to visit Wallis