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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.