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Monday, 18 June 2012

There's more to life than pleasing men?! What a revelation, Cosmo...

I'm a total magazine junkie. I guess with doing whatever it is that I do it is important to keep up to date with what is going on with these things. I have pretty much encyclopedic knowledge of high-brow popular culture (if there is such a thing) and current fashion trends, which may or may not ever come in useful. Apart from my weekly Grazia  and monthly Glamour, any extras that I buy will be due to either the cover star, or the free gift. Or on a particularly lucky occasion, both. This therefore explains why I purchased July's Cosmopolitan as it was a double word score with both an awesome free gift (aviators and bubble gum) and my girl crush of the moment Zooey Deschanel was on the cover.

So far so good yes?

But then this is where things started to go slightly awry. A good magazine hit for me usually compromises a humorous roundup of current goings on, glamourous and exotic photo shoots, an interview with an inspirational and/or interesting celebrity, a few tips on how to look/feel good/dress for the season and maybe a few letters from readers, discussing a mutual topic from the previous issue. Throughout these issues, in my experience there is usually very little to no mention of 'how to please a man' or 'a man's point of view of what looks good on women' and this is just fine. I'd always been under the apparently naive impression that these magazines were by women, for women and whose primary purpose was to create a supportive community of intelligent, witty, style-conscious independent women who have no interest in 'pleasing' men. 

Bearing this in mind, you can appreciate my surprise when flicking through the above issue of Cosmo and an overwhelming proportion of the content was centered around men, and their opinions on women's fashion, what looks good and what they like. Here are some examples that I picked out of just one single issue of a regular copy:

So 'men' is now a competitive sport is it?

It' not very clear here, but the bit with Daniel Radcliffe is a little Q&A of 'what men find attractive' amongst other little tips on how to attract a male, all under the genious title 'Manthropology.' Whoever thought of that little beauty deserves a pay rise. 

Yet more information about fashion trends that men like. 

And the icing on the cake came in an interview with Zooey Deschanel, where 'there's more to life than pleasing men' is declared as if it is some sort of revelation that we have all been waiting for. I'm not sure about you but I'd managed to work that one out on my own. 

So there you have it. What do you guys think? Do you generally find that a  lot of female-centred media is geared towards how to attract a man, or is this issue of Cosmo just an anomaly? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. 


Thursday, 14 June 2012

Getting a Job Don Draper Style

So my lovely job where I basically get adoring compliments showered on me and unconditional love and occasionally even cake, is coming to an end and after a fun-filled summer of frolicking around I'm actually going to have to get a real job. I know, I'm petrified. I feel like my career is something that is so important to me and holds the key to such a large proportion of my happiness, yet no one is going to give me the chance to fulfill this void in my life unless I go out and get it for myself. And this is where it causes problems. I hate asking for things but I'm slowly learning that generally if you don't ask- especially in the world of employment- then you don't get. So naturally in scenarios such as this, I turn to my moral compass and spirit guide for all things life-related and watched some TV. Now maybe I am setting my expectations a little high given that my Grey's Anatomy and Mad Men role models all have fairly successful careers, but Don Draper certainly taught me a thing or two about chasing your dreams.

What would Don Draper do?

Over the course of the series, we have gradually been able to piece together how DD made the momentous transition from depression-era-Illinois-farm-boy-son-of-a-prostitute to the most suave man you will ever see. I think we can all agree that that is no mean feat, and a large proportion of this success can be attributed to the fact that he has some serious nerve. Now I'm not suggesting that I (or anyone else for that matter) should get a prospective employer indecently drunk and then turn up at their office the next day pretending that they offered you a job (though if anyone ever does do this, I'd love to hear from you) but I think we could all take a leaf from Don's book. He knows what he wants, makes it his mission to get it, and he gets it. So from this I am going to assume that anyone who ever tries to do anything will eventually get it if they have the nerve or work hard enough, because if Don, a fictional superhuman, can do it, then so can anyone, right? Good, I'm glad we can all agree on that. 

So over the next few months, over the course of my job-hunting mission, I am going to  channel my inner Don Draper and go and get it. Peggy and Joan certainly know what they want, and they certainly get it. Peggy has pretty much clawed her way in, then acted like she belongs there, and no one has questioned it. And as for Joan, well, you find anyone who dares say no to her and I'll be one impressed woman. 

Another thing that may be something of a hindrance in my search for employment is that no matter how sparkling my application is, there will always be some do-gooder who is only 21 and has, like, found an alternative energy source or wiped out world hunger or something, when my greatest accolade is being able to relate every single thing ever to something that happened in a TV programme. 

So if I do ever pull a Don Draper, then I wouldn't mind having this girl's job 

I know her boss was horrible, but I'm still convinced that I could have done a better job than her and then I would've become Miranda Priestly's prodigy or something and it would've been awesome. 

Or I would work for either of these guys:

So what do you guys think? Are you a go-getter? (and has this worked out for you?) or do you prefer for your work to speak for itself and hope that people notice? And does anyone know of any jobs where it is the primary goal to just relate all things ever to a TV programme? Because if so, those guys need me. 


Monday, 28 May 2012

Get Your Aztec On

I bloody love aztec print stuff. I mean what is not to love? Funky, bohemian geometric patterns with a tribal feel  that instantly jazzes up everything ever. I'm really pleased that it's still big news this season, especially since I'm travelling and festivalling this summer, I will be flying the aztec flag proud and strong.

I do feel like aztec is definitely one of those trends that, in 10 years time when you're looking at old pictures, people will find hilarious and you'll act all embarrassed muttering 'what was I thinking?!' but deep down you'll know that you looked fully awesome. Don't be ashamed of the aztec. These days are ours and in my opinion, the more people you see in aztec, the better.

The good thing about this trend is that you can wear it a zillion ways. T-shirts, cardigans, leggings, skirts, headscarves; the world is your aztec oyster (I actually do own all of these items).

My absolute favourite at the moment are my aztec print leggings that I know in a few years I'll be like 'har har, yes I wore aztec print leggings, how hilarious I was' when I really know I look super cool and edgy. So here they are, on me:

Denim Shirt- forever 21, Grey vest- h&m, aztec leggings- Urban Outfitters, plimsolls- Fred Perry

I don't have pictures of my various other exquisite aztec items, but here are some of my favourite ways to wear it:

For all my ramblings, I'm pretty sure that boho/tribal is my favourite look. I just love the effortless cool that it emits and it's a really fun summer trend that is a dream to accessorise. What do you guys think? Is aztec a yay or a nay? What are your favourite ways to wear it? Share all.


Monday, 21 May 2012

Bare-Faced Lies: Before and after make-up and instagram

Regular readers of 22&tt will know that I'm not much of a take-pictures-of-myself type of blogger, and this is due to the fact that I'm generally pretty terrible at taking pictures, but also because despite all my ranting and telling you all about the 'latest thing this season,' I mainly just wear leggings and cardigans on a day-to-day basis because looking after three kids all day isn't as glamorous as one might think... But this week I got to thinking about the small phenomena that is make-up. I wouldn't care to estimate how many billions of pounds the cosmetics industry is worth, but (to quote Carrie Bradshaw) I couldn't help but wonder if it is all it's cracked up to be. I have no doubts that women appear more polished and poised when fully made up, but to those of us who don't have our own make-up artist, I wonder if it's a combination of things, of which make-up is only a small part, that contribute to the appearance of being polished and confident.

I'm not one of those girls who can't go and buy a pint of milk without having a full face of make-up on, but I definitely wouldn't rack up to any kind of social event bare-faced. I'm not sure if to the outside world there actually is as much improvement as I think there is, but I certainly feel 1000x better about myself when I'm donning a bit of Benefit's finest. Make-up companies know what they're doing, because we all know that when we feel more beautiful (i.e with make-up on), we act like we're beautiful and we therefore look more beautiful. Bearing this in mind, I thought I would do a little experiment. Below, you will see a series of five photos: me completely bare-faced, then the products I have used, then me looking what I feel is 'my best' with full make-up, then the tool that I used next, and then the end, full, all effects, as-good-as-can-be-without-airbrushing-and-personal-make-up-artist final result. Scroll down to see this unfold:

Completely bare-faced: me in all my imperfect glory. 

Then I just added this small selection of products. 

And I ended up looking like this.

Then I used this.

And ended up looking like this.

So what's the verdict? Is make-up worth the massive expense, time and effort that we put in? I was very surprised to see what little difference there was between the before and after make-up shots, and I'm still convinced that the photos lie, and I actually look much, much better avec make-up. In future, if I ever want to impress someone without actually meeting them, I will just instagram the shit out of myself and let it speak for itself. Though I do feel that that is cheating somewhat. Also, given I went to all the effort of a full face of make-up for this post, I admit I probably could have done something with my hair. But hey, hindsight is a wonderful thing. Share your thoughts below- I think I have come to the conclusion that in real life, it's make up all the way, but in the crazy social media world that we live in, a little instagram goes a long, long way. 


Thursday, 17 May 2012

A Very Vintage Affair

After deciding to collaborate with the divine vintage retro shop in Camden market Mero Retro, I got to thinking about all my favorite vintage looks and trends. Vintage styling is something that is always going to be top of the chic stakes, and creates such an individual and unique look. When you go vintage, you never run the risk of spotting someone else in the same outfit as you, and a good vintage find will be a timeless wardrobe staple for years. Vintage doesn't have moments; it is consistently the chicest of the chic. As with all styling, it is of the upmost importance, especially with vintage, that you choose a vintage look and style that compliments your body type. Not a day goes by where I don't wish that I could pull off bleached, frayed denim hotpants with an androgynous button-down, but alas my thighs say otherwise. So for me, it is all about fifties and sixties silhouettes with an updated hemline, or even a cheeky eighties cropped top with a bodycon mini.

Yeah I love Mad Men. Betty Draper may be the world's worst mother, but damn, she knows how to put an outfit together. 

And of course my ultimate style icon, and the main reason I sort of wish I was alive for more than a measly two weeks of the eighties:

Fifties is also big, big news this season, as I have talked about here, so expect to see a lot of vintage-inspired pieces in the shops, which can be dressed up or down in loads of fun ways.

I love everything about the vintage look and connotations, with everything from a whimsical print to a to a full-on hair-make-up-sunglasses-bag combo, or insisting on wearing a hat wherever you can get away with it. 

Vintage-style bralets and bikini tops are also major news this season, and I'm loving it. I'll definitely be picking up a cute fifties inspired bikini ready for my time travel this summer. 

This picture is just divine. 

What is your favourite vintage style/era? And which of these trends will you be wearing this season? Share all below.


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

'These Days Are Ours'- a book review

Books, books, books. There is nothing more wonderful than getting lost in another world, created by words and imagination alone. I like to keep the characters and their adventures in my handbag and take them with me wherever I go, and explore a little bit of their world whilst I'm on the tube surrounded by the ordinary, or on a rainy afternoon with a blanket and my dog. The power of a book means that you can be transported into these characters' lives, whilst the people around you have no idea what is going on in the world that, for that moment is yours, and yours alone.

Recently, I read a book called These Days Are Ours by a lovely lady called Michelle Haimoff. It follows the life of an impossibly rich twenty something in a post-9/11 New York who is struggling to find her path after university. One thing that struck me right from the off was how many similarities there are between this girl's life: her hopes, fears, expectations and frustrations, and my own. The book is extremely successful at describing a world which, to me (and many other readers) is a million miles away from anything I will ever experience, yet also describing in prefect detail the kinds of things that all of us have experienced and can relate to. The world in which Haimoff puts her characters is full of fifth avenue penthouses, doormen and swanky bar-hopping, but also perfectly captures how so many of us twenty-something girls feel about what lies ahed: finding a partner, getting a job, making a mark on a city that already has more of us than it could ever possibly need. Haimoff skillfully describes the exact feelings one might experience when you've had one too many vodka tonics and trying to pursue the man you are convinced you'll one day marry, or the anxiety bordering on desperation you feel when you've applied for fifty jobs and you don't get so much as a call back to say you haven't been successful. It is also very clever in the way that these girls appear to have everything, when in fact they have nothing. It's like they're a forgotten generation who are viewed as only good for spending their trust funds, and are trapped by their own wealth. It takes the appearance of a sweet guy from humble beginnings for our protagonist to realise what life is really about, and that everything might be alright after all.

This book very much (to quote Lena Dunham in Girls) speaks for a generation, and speaks frankly about what it is like to be us, but on the elegant backdrop of cocktails, canapes and cartier, which always makes things seem a little other-worldly. The book also has numerous Judaism references which may be lost on the gentile population of the UK, but also adds to the allure of a world that many of us will never know. I may be a teensy bit biased, but it is hard to be a twenty something trying to make it in the big city, and it is nice to see this acknowledged and addressed in literature.

Have you read it? does it sound like something that would interest you? Share all below.


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Voice UK- What happened to the stylists?

I'm not usually (read: never) one to fall in with these reality talent contests, but The Voice UK has totally got me captivated. It's so, so refreshing to see a talent show that celebrates excellence and where people are nice to each other. The 'coaches' are a hilarious bunch of colourful characters and it's really nice to see contestants on the show who have real, raw and unmeasurable talent. There's a diverse mix of contestants who have made it through to the live shows and it's shaping up to be a pretty interesting show. I don't know where they find these people but man can they sing. Personally, my favourites are country duo Matt and Sueleen (they're interesting, and not the usual talent show fodder) angst-ridden teenager Becky, and bleached-hair-and-guyliner soul diva Vince.

All that said, there is one thing that is missing from the show, and that's the styling. Just because these guys have talent, doesn't mean they've got style. Maybe it's just me being shallow but I do enjoy a good feast upon the eyes, but the good old beeb seems to think that these people can be left to dress themselves, and so we are left with a questionable variety of outfits. Some of the world's greatest performers have said themselves that to put on a good show, the styling is a huge part of that. Look at Gaga, Perry, Jessie J (ironically) and even Nicki Minaj if that's your thing, they all give it their all stylistically as well as musically, and that's what makes the whole package.

 These guys were among the worst offenders, with Indie/Pixie sporting some sort of mullet dress, and Becky is just a disaster in actual American tan tights. Such a shame.

The guys on The Voice have done the hard part; they've got the talent, so it would be nice if the BBC matched their efforts and gave them all a quick consultation with a stylist or an up-to-date issue of Vogue. I'm not saying they should kick this whole thing X Factor style and give them all scantily clad backing dancers and a spray tan because this show is actually about talent, but it just seems that they are let down a little by looking like they're going on a night out in Cardiff.

I quite liked what Kate was wearing, she pulled off hipster chic quite well, but poor Frances really needs to up her game now that she's in the live shows.

And Ruth clearly has no clue and could've looked so much better if she'd gone for a chicly put together ensemble instead of this '90s teen/Primark disaster.

To conclude, this is an amazing show with people with real talent and charismatic judges, they just need to polish the whole thing up with some proper styling, and if anyone from the BBC is reading this, I will gladly offer my services...   

Thursday, 19 April 2012

If it has 'girl' in the title, I'll love it

In lieu of a social life, I tend to watch a very large volume of television. And from this new found hobby, a little pattern has emerged: if it has 'girl' in the title, then there's a pretty strong chance that I'll love it. I suspect that this says a lot about my tastes, since these programmes are always some sort of tale of the love, life and friendship between girls.

The newest on this circuit, which you may or may not have heard of, is simply titled Girls (which caused all the inevitable quips when I 'liked' the facebook page.) And, for those of you not in the know, it is kind of a tongue-in-cheek homage to Sex and the City, but where the characters are young, poor and wear clothes which are considerably less chic. I've only seen one episode so far, but I look forward to seeing how it develops, and particularly enjoy the friendship of the main character and her BFF-roommate (I've written about my love of fictional TV friendships here). I also enjoy how the portrayal of girls in their early twenties in the big city is kind of realistic. I mean, it is still TV, so their problems are rich white girl problems, but I think it is reflective of the times; depicting the characters' struggle to make it in a world where no one seems to want to pay anyone to do jobs that someone else is willing to do for free, so the show is telling the story of what it is like to be one of these girls, trying to find her way in such a world, which I, like I'm sure many of you, can relate to.

New Girl is going from strength to strength, and the Shmidt-Cece dynamic is the most hilarious TV relationship I have seen in a long time, whilst Jess and Nick are still hanging in the will-they-won't-they balance that is just so delicious at this stage of a new show. Plus, I want all of Jess' clothes and her hair. 

Gossip Girl is sadly dying a slow and painful death, but I can't bring myself to stop watching just yet. There is something about the escapism about the whole thing that makes me still tune in every Tuesday (it 's a few episodes behind on UK TV so I have to watch online on the tuesday after it airs in the US), even though the story lines are the most convoluted thing since Hot Tub Time Machine and Dan Humphrey's hair is more disastrous than The Titanic (that may be a little far, I am still a little emotionally delicate after re-living the whole thing in 3D last week, but nonetheless, Dan's hair needs some serious attention.) So even though it certainly isn't what it was, and may no longer even be my favourite girl-titled show, I will remain loyal a little longer. 

2 Broke Girls is also fairly new, and to my knowledge it doesn't even air here (correct me if I'm wrong, I don't own a TV) but is a nice little 20-minute pick-me-up with some very funny popular culture references that are so now that in a year's time they will be completely meaningless. The writing is witty, but the '90s-esque canned laughter track and the predictable story lines mean that it will never find its way into my heart in the way that many other Girls-titled shows have. 

And of course I couldn't go on here without mentioning the flawless Gilmore Girls, but sadly it is now only a figment of our collective nostalgic memories and e4 midday reruns, but it was a key player in establishing my love of all programmes with girl in the title, and for this I will be forever in the debt of Rory and Lorelai. 

What about you guys? Which is your favourite Girls programme? or do you hate them all? Or is there one that I missed out? Share all below. 


Monday, 16 April 2012

Kelly Kapowski: the Ultimate Style Icon

So I totally don't understand how this girl isn't more people's style icon. I appreciate that I am several decades too late, but, as the banner says, fashion goes out of fashion, style never does. Again, I appreciate that this sentiment may not necessarily apply here. But you get the drift, Kelly Kapowski ('Saved by the Bell' for those of you who've never watched late '80s teen television) was the idol of a generation of now-twentysomething girls, and she kind of makes me wish that I was alive for more than two weeks of the eighties. I feel that amount of time wasn't sufficient for me to fully appreciate the fashion delights that were on offer at the time. Though I guess if I was a teenager in the '80s then I would miss out on the delights of drawsomething, netflix and florence + the machine, so I can make my peace with this.

So here is a visual demonstration of why Kelly Kapowski is totally my style icon:

What's not to love?! Florals, cropped tops, high waisted denim, and killer hair. In this grand old age of 2012 I still aim to look like this, so, for now, I will be taking my fashion cues from a twenty-year outdated American teen sitcom. Problem?

What do you guys think? Is Kelly Kapowski's style a 'yay' or a 'nay' for you? Or were you more of a Jessie or a Lisa? Or, I know this is a longshot, but do you follow the trends of today rather than a twenty year old TV show? After all, when fashion is concerned, anything is possible....

Share all below


Thursday, 29 March 2012

California Dreamin'

So this week I made a series of fortunate or unfortunate decisions which resulted in a total overhaul in my plans for the summer. I am, however, more excited than ever for the season of hotpants and ice cream, and I am hoping that my summer may end up looking a little something like this:

Those of you out there who are from the US, I would like some vague indication of the realisticness of my perception of what my stateside summer is actually going to be like. That said, if I do not attend a least one beach party and have at least one encounter involving a yacht, I will be disappointed. I am beginning to think that the America I want to visit this summer actually ceased to exist in around the year 1960, but a girl can dream hey?

In other news, I do now have the perfect hat for attending all these events:
I bought it yesterday at Camden market before proceeding to wear it for the rest of the day. From now on, this is going to be my signature hat. I don't know about you guys, but I never feel fully or adequately dressed unless my head is adorned with some sort of decorative item. Be it a headscarf, flower, headband or hat, it really finishes off an outfit. Given that 99.9% of things that I attend are very informal, I feel that a little quirky head adornment goes a long way in the style stakes. 

I also fell in love simultaneously with a dress, a shop and a way of life. Which resulted in me buying this dress:
It is from the most scrumptious vintage stall in Camden market and I really couldn't not buy it. I could have purchased multiple items, but that would have been an unwise economic decision, given that it would result in me a) never being abe to afford to go anywhere again, and therefore b) having no occasion to wear any of my new things, and c) not being able to afford to go on the aforementioned trip to 1960s USA (I hear time travel is pretty expensive these days).

So there we have it. What is everyone else looking forward to about the summer? And have you found your must-have items for the summer yet?