Christmas Belle – Kim Wilde

This year’s entry in my annual Christmas Belle’s series is Kim Wilde. It seems this series, which looks at a female singer of a fab Christmas hit who also happens to be a bit of a style icon, is firmly entrenched in the 1980s, with previous entries including Kate Bush and Chrissie Hynde. Kim Wilde was one of the biggest, British female stars of the 1980s, with a career that stretched the whole decade. She was also a sex symbol and a bit of a style icon, with a style that stretched from sexy to tomboyish.

Her entry in the Christmas hit parade came courtesy of a fun charity version of the Brenda Lee hit, ‘Rockin around the Christmas Tree.’ This was a number 3 hit in 1986, with Kim duetting with comic legend Mel Smith. Featuring a hilarious video filmed in kitsch 50s style, the record was a big hit and has proved to be a perennial favourite ever since.

Kim was also no slouch in the style stakes. In the early 1980s she was likened to Bridget Bardot, with her blonde hair and beestung lips, but I loved the fact that her style was often classically androgynous – black skinny jeans, stripy Breton style tops, tuxedo style blazers, leather biker jackets and leggings. That didn’t mean she was boyish, far from it, and she could do the little black dress like no other woman in 1981, but Kim always seemed to remember that her audience included little girls (Kids in America was one of the first songs I ever got), as well as teenage boys.

This Christmas is therefore dedicated to Kim Wilde, a Christmas Belle who showed that home grown glamour and talent could definitely compete with American stars (I believe she actually had an American Number One in 1986 with her version of ‘You Keep me hanging on’). And with her Christmas hit, she ensured that she will be celebrated every festive season, but Christmas hits never die or fade away.

Kim Wilde Style

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Where to find vintage fashion and accessories

Vintage fashion, and shopping for vintage fashion, just happen to be two of my favourite pastimes. This post is dedicated to sharing some of the best places for finding vintage fashion, along with sharing some of my favourite vintage pieces.

Where to shop for Vintage

Charity Shops

Admittedly, I don’t think charity shops are as good for rich pickings as they were in the past, but many charity shops, for instance, Oxfam, do have areas of their stores that are dedicated to vintage. Charity shops are good because they tend to be cheaper that specialist vintage shops, and yet they can be full of real bargains. I have recently found vintage Clarks shoes and M&S St Michael label pieces, both were less than £3.

Vintage M&S St Michael label skirt.

Vintage M&S St Michael label skirt.

Vintage skirt £2 from Age Concern shop

Vintage skirt £2 from Age Concern shop

Vintage Shops

There are now lots of proper vintage stores popping up, selling beautifully curated pieces that are often in perfect condition. Shrewsbury is one of my favourite places for vintage stores, with both Maggie Mae’s Vintage and Vintage being two shops I love to visit. I also love the town of Machynlleth in Wales, a treasure trove of junk and antique shops. I found a great 1950s faux fur in The Emporium, and wore it to death last winter.

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Online Vintage stores

Online vintage stores are also growing in popularity and interest levels. These websites have already taken all the legwork out of vintage shopping, and have wonderful curated collections ready to buy. Shpirulina is just such a site, offering free worldwide shipping and a 30 day money back guarentee. The Shpirulina website is brilliant in that it is arranged by both item and size, and also by decade, with ranges that go from the 1950s right up to the 1990s – am I the only one feeling old that youngsters now class that as Vintage?

The pieces from the Shpirulina online vintage store arrive clean and ready to wear, and are in great condition. I was recently sent a stunning dress that is a perfect example of how the 1980s stole from the 1930/40s era. With this season’s pleated skirt, sleeves and a beautifully pattern almost etched in the silver fabric, this dress would be a standout piece for a special occasion and is definitely trans-seasonal. I styled the dress with a vintage box bag and an old pair of wedge shoes, both in a red shade that I thought would look stunning against silver.

Vintage style from Shpirulina

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Vintage Fairs

Vintage Fairs can be a fab day put. They often have entertainment, afternoon teas and demonstrations as well as vintage clothes and accessories. Prices can vary, but you can pick up pretty clothes and accessories, as well as homewares too. At the last fair I went to, I got a dress, jumper and skirt for £7 – bargain!

Skirt £2 from vintage fair

Skirt £2 from vintage fair

Car Boot Sales

I love car boot sales. I find them to be a brilliant place for finding vintage paste jewellery (especially large brooches) and 1950s style bags (all boxy shapes and gold clasps.) I have also found some great items of clothing –  got a lovely 1960s crimplene pencil skirt for just 50p and have worn it loads since.

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1960s Crimplene skirt found for 50p on a car boot sale

 

Car boot sale bag - love this one!

Car boot sale bag – love this one!

The Carrie Diaries – The first look

When Anna Sophia Robb was crowned as the new Carrie Bradshaw, we wondered how she would fit the role. After all, SJP left some pretty impressive Manolo’s to fill.  But with the first publicity shot released, and with a host of other images from on set also leaked to the press, it seems all our fears have been allayed. Because Anna Sophia Robb is most definitely a recognisable young Carrie.

With a headful of corkscrew curls, a sequined prom dress teamed eclectically with a colour clashing cardigan and gorgeous red stilettos, we are being treated to the clashing style of Carrie Bradshaw at her best. There are lovely nods to the iconic series, the tulle underskirt is definitely reminiscent of Carrie’s tutu worn in the opening credits, whilst the stripy belt shows this is a young Carrie, not yet the fully formed heroine who kept us enthralled for six series.

I do wonder how close the film is going to be to Candace Bushnell’s novel. In the book Carrie is a cash strapped teen who customises her clothing, including the handbag featured on the front cover. The customised handbag is definitely there, the rest of the clothing looks more designer than thrift store.  And whilst I am loving the super chic outfit with the pussybow tie blouse and city shorts, it is a very modern look, rather than the Madonna-esque 1980s look revealed in Sex and the City 2 movie. The red and black dotted dress has a more 80s feel, reminding me of short-lived duo Strawberry Switchblade who were usually seen drowning in a sea of polka dots. And that rather large blazer gives the impression that even young Carrie had a Mr Big figure in her life…

Anna Sophia has also shown a rather chic style in her off camera moments too.  I love this beatnik styled striped jumper and skinny jeans that made me think of Kate Moss’s classic styling.