FASHION Haute Couture and Millennials

Haute Couture and Millennials

As the key buying force of the world, Millennials have been a target demographic for all fashion brands, high and low, for quite some time now. Their innovative spirit paired with the fact that their lives are intertwined with technology delivers a mixed bunch of shoppers who were once thought to never ever dip their fingers in the beauty that is haute couture. 

And yet, designers have found a way into the minds and hearts of Millennials, and their ever so complex relationship is still growing and developing. Brands have changed their catwalk ways to meet halfway with Millennials, who truly know what they want both from fashion as an industry and trends and their style preferences. Clearly, there has been an impact on both ends, helping reshape this bond into a new stage we have yet to experience.

Luxury embraces sustainability

 

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Photo by Caleb Lucas on Unsplash

So much buzz has been created around some of the most recent Earth-friendly movements, that even the highest-ranking fashion labels were bound to take notice sooner or later. Those who have responded to this Millennial need and call sooner have earned perhaps the most coveted spot as the top names Millennials will gladly wear. They see it as an investment, both into their look and authentic expression, and into the future of our planet, so the price tag is not a concern.

Although Millennials firmly believe that sustainability should not be a luxury in the modern world, they appreciate that it’s necessary for these labels to take a stand for others to follow in their footsteps. For example, names such as Stella McCartney are doing their part by introducing new sustainable policies. 

Trends that tend to last

Where does true luxury of fashion shine the brightest? At the fashion shows in the capitals of the globe, where the runways every season are brimming with new designer ideas waiting to conquer the world. And yet, luxury brands are looking to introduce a more durable way of making their seasonal outfits, so that they can be worn for years on end, both in terms of quality and trend-wise.

It’s no wonder then that luxury labels that make long-lasting items with timeless design in mind are much more appealing to Millennials than those who behave like a typical fad diet: they are exciting for a while, only to be replaced by another temporary mix. 

Emerging brand collaborations

 

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Photo by Hanna Postova on Unsplash

Utility paired with authenticity is something every Millennial dreams of in their wardrobe. When you examine a typical designer runway, you’ll see a plethora of garments not a single living soul would wear in real life. More luxury brands are switching to the more purpose-driven side of fashion, where wear-ability actually plays a significant role in design without sacrificing design ingenuity in the process.

Unconventional brand names such as Junya Watanabe join forces with utility and lifestyle brands such as the North Face to deliver a slew of products that are so much more than gorgeous. They perfectly reflect the values of every modern Millennial who strives to lead a healthy, fit life, explore nature and stay comfortable while doing so. These wonderful pieces belong both in your capsule wardrobe and in a collection of real-life wears that can never go out of style, as they are made to serve a purpose. 

Minimalist in nature

Millennials have reinvented minimalism to suit their innovative needs and style preferences. To put it in perspective, this fashion direction is no longer constricted into a predetermined set of garments that are rarely ever seen on runways. On the contrary, haute couture is finally letting the spirit of a true Millennial infuse their collections with rebellion and simplicity – without depriving them of flair, of course.

Although Rihanna’s Fenty Puma collection scream anything but minimalism, they have somehow become the staple of not only athleisure, but of essential statement fashion almost every closet will own sooner or later. Streetwear paired with high-end names delivers items such as simple black leggings, clean white sneakers that can be worn anywhere and anytime, but also a wide range of colorful heels, printed hoodies, and the like. 

Modernization of the oldest brands

 

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Photo by Dmitriy Ilkevich on Unsplash

On a final note, old brands have been stuck with their old ways for a very long time. They have persisted with their luxurious brick-and-mortar businesses, fashion shows, and a limited online presence, until the era of Millennials. 

Now, even some of the oldest stars of haute couture such as Gucci have embraced the changing digital landscape to accommodate their Millennial customers. Suddenly, you see them strutting their models and brilliant outfits on Instagram, boasting celebrity collaborations, and pursuing online engagement on many social networks out there. 

 

References:

https://www.vogue.co.uk/article/millennials-coutures-biggest-clients 

https://wwd.com/fashion-news/designer-luxury/millennials-luxury-spending-10417737/ 

https://vmagazine.com/article/a-millennials-contribution-to-couture/ 

http://www.noragouma.com/the-place-of-luxury-brands-in-the-millennial-approach-to-fashion/ 

FOLIO | FLASHDANCE FOR FUN!

Last night I was invited along to the UK Tour of hit musical Flashdance at the Grand Opera House, and was treated to a colourful array of 80s dance classics.

The Musical tells the inspiring and unforgettable story of 18-year-old Alex, an apprentice welder by day and ‘flashdancer’ by night, who dreams of going to the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy and becoming a professional dancer.  When a romance with the boss and background which isn’t straightforward  complicates her ambitions, she harnesses it to drive her dream. She is every bit the modern feminist, despite her dancing-for-bucks night job, or maybe because of it. The story is a tale of loyalty, love, jealousy and forgiveness as well as ambition and the timeless rich-versus-poor narrative - all peppered with catchy tunes and delivered by a fun cast.  

  I enjoyed the energetic performances by leads Joanne Clifton and Ben Adams (both dancers on Strictly at various times, among other previous roles) and I got to meet them before the show as the team had organised a Flashdance masterclass at Auora dance studios in Belfast (not much fun for me in my worky LBD and a pair of spanx underneath, but hey!)    Notable solos also by the nurse (played by Sasha Latoya) and also by Colin Kiyani as Jimmy.   Having grown up in that era, I remember dancing to some of the faves, like Irene Cara’s ‘What a Feeling!’ in the kitchen as they blasted out on the radio. And I especially loved the finale sequence, which had the whole Opera House audience on its feet (and swinging hips too I might add).   Tickets available now at:   https://www.goh.co.uk/whats-on/flashdance-the-musical/  and the show runs until 25 August

I enjoyed the energetic performances by leads Joanne Clifton and Ben Adams (both dancers on Strictly at various times, among other previous roles) and I got to meet them before the show as the team had organised a Flashdance masterclass at Auora dance studios in Belfast (not much fun for me in my worky LBD and a pair of spanx underneath, but hey!) 

Notable solos also by the nurse (played by Sasha Latoya) and also by Colin Kiyani as Jimmy. 

Having grown up in that era, I remember dancing to some of the faves, like Irene Cara’s ‘What a Feeling!’ in the kitchen as they blasted out on the radio. And I especially loved the finale sequence, which had the whole Opera House audience on its feet (and swinging hips too I might add). 

Tickets available now at:  https://www.goh.co.uk/whats-on/flashdance-the-musical/ and the show runs until 25 August

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FUN | WHITE WALKERS SIGHTED IN WESTEROS - WINTERFELL FESTIVAL, CASTLE WARD

Earlier this week, I sent our summer intern (and GOT fan) Laura Gilmore to The National Trust’s Castle Ward in County Down, where she was immersed into the fantasy world of the global phenomenon Game of Thrones ahead of the Winterfell Festival in September. Check out her story here: 

Having gained global recognition as the filming location for Winterfell, House of Stark, in series one of the popular HBO programme, Castle Ward is now the location for Ireland’s only Game of Thrones inspired festival. This year, Winterfell Festival will be held at Castle Ward on Sunday 16 September 2018, where the historic estate, cared for by the National Trust, will be transformed into Winterfell, home of the Stark family for one day only.

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I set off for the regal location from Belfast and was transported into a veritable fantasy land…. After being appropriately suited and booted in GOT attire, I had the pleasure of joining the Stark family at Audley’s Castle, on the beautiful shores of Strangford Lough, for a glorious banquet lunch.  Following this, we took part in a sword fighting masterclass and tried our hand at archery. Each activity was taken by a team of extremely talented and well-trained actors, fully dressed in costume and playing the part to perfection! In-between each activity, the Stark family also explained the intricacies of the set and filming, actors, costumes, and the fantastic tourist pull GOT has created for Northern Ireland. It was immersive and experiential at its best and I LOVED it!

Last year’s event drew thousands of people to the shore of Strangford Lough and this year’s festival has even bigger appeal with a gripping event story line that sees the residents of Winterfell living under a cloud of fear as White Walkers approach the wall.

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Through theatrical re-enactments, ticket holders will experience a Winterfell where tensions are high as tales of ancient peoples, once thought extinct, rattle the residents. Throughout the day actors will play the roles of central Game of Throne characters, recreating scenes from George R. R. Martin’s novels at various locations around the estate. Meet The Hound and learn how to wield a sword; see if you can solve Kimmick, Bard to Lord Stark’s riddles; watch Maester Luwin perform a medical demonstrations; hear King Robert regale tales of the Nights’ Watch and follow Jon Snow to Castle Black, avoiding White Walkers as you go.

Visitors can join the crowds and soak up the atmosphere at the King’s Tournament Games where skilled horse riders will perform enthralling film-set stunts and tricks fit for entertaining royalty. Full contact jousting, sword fighting and falconry will add to the atmosphere, creating an unforgettable event.

On the day you’ll experience the sights, sounds and smells of a medieval village and watch skilled blacksmiths, silversmiths, weavers and armourers at work. You will also have the chance to meet Armourer Boyd Rankin (Mikken in Game of Thrones) who will be showcasing a selection of the swords he forged for Game of Thrones.

  Day tickets for Winterfell Festival cost £25 with access to a full programme of events and entertainment including theatrical performances, live jousting, falconry, archery, a medieval village and Dire Wolves… Yes, you can meet the actual dogs who played Summer and Grey Wind in the TV show as they will also be making a special appearance.  The Starks’ Grey Wind and Summer are known as Odin and Thor in the real world and are the closest thing to real wolves you’ll ever meet!    Festival goers who purchase an additional ‘meet the actor’ ticket, will have the opportunity to join an intimate audience with stars from the Game of Thrones TV series. Details of the actors and the tickets for this additional element of the festival will be announced later this summer.

Day tickets for Winterfell Festival cost £25 with access to a full programme of events and entertainment including theatrical performances, live jousting, falconry, archery, a medieval village and Dire Wolves… Yes, you can meet the actual dogs who played Summer and Grey Wind in the TV show as they will also be making a special appearance.  The Starks’ Grey Wind and Summer are known as Odin and Thor in the real world and are the closest thing to real wolves you’ll ever meet!

Festival goers who purchase an additional ‘meet the actor’ ticket, will have the opportunity to join an intimate audience with stars from the Game of Thrones TV series. Details of the actors and the tickets for this additional element of the festival will be announced later this summer.

  Supported by Tourism Northern Ireland and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, the festival, promises an immersive Game of Thrones styled experience unlike any other, in an authentic filming location.    Tickets for Winterfell 2018 are now on sale - £25 adult, children £10 (5-16), under 5s free. Family ticket £65 (2 adults and 2 children).     Tickets to meet the actors will be sold separately and go on sale later in the summer.     For more information and to book festival tickets visit  www.nationaltrust.org.uk/winterfell       Please note - this event is independently operated by the National Trust and is not sponsored, endorsed or affiliated with HBO or anyone associated with Game of Thrones.

Supported by Tourism Northern Ireland and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, the festival, promises an immersive Game of Thrones styled experience unlike any other, in an authentic filming location.

Tickets for Winterfell 2018 are now on sale - £25 adult, children £10 (5-16), under 5s free. Family ticket £65 (2 adults and 2 children).

Tickets to meet the actors will be sold separately and go on sale later in the summer.

For more information and to book festival tickets visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/winterfell 

Please note - this event is independently operated by the National Trust and is not sponsored, endorsed or affiliated with HBO or anyone associated with Game of Thrones.

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FOOD | FITZWILLIAM STYLE FIZZ ON NATIONAL PROSECCO DAY

With National Prosecco Day just around the corner on Monday (13 August), the Five Star Fitzwilliam Hotel’s expert mixologist James O’Donnell has shared some of the chic hotel’s most popular prosecco cocktails, so you can upgrade your favourite fizz this weekend. 

No other beverage defines the Italian philosophy of la dolce vita, or the good life, quite like prosecco; and National Prosecco Day is all about embracing the remaining days of summer and embracing life’s everyday celebrations.

If you don’t fancy yourself as a master mixologist then you can also enjoy 2 for 1 cocktails any Friday between 4pm - 7pm at the Fitzwilliam Hotel’s award winning bar. Visit www.fitzwilliamhotelbelfast.com for more information.

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Prosecco Royale

Ingredients:

-        25ml Crème de Cassis

-        Prosecco

-        1 Blackberry to garnish

 

Method: Pour the Crème de Cassis into the bottom of a prosecco flute and top up with your favourite prosecco then garnish with a blackberry floating on top.  

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Fitz Fizz

Ingredients:

-        25ml Gin

-        15ml Elderflower liquer

-        Prosecco

-        Ice

-        Mint

-        4 Large Cucumber Slices

 

Method: Fill a gin goblet with ice, 3 cucumber slices and 3 whole mint leaves. Mix the gin and elderflower liqueur (or elderflower cordial) in a cocktail shaker and pour over the ice. Top up with your favourite prosecco and add sprig of mint and one slice of cucumber to garnish.

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Prosecco Rossini

Ingredients:

-        25ml Strawberry puree

-        Prosecco

-        1 Whole Strawberry

 

Method: Pour the strawberry puree into the bottom of a prosecco flute and top up with your favourite prosecco. Cut the stalk off the strawberry and slide the whole strawberry onto the rim of the flute to garnish. 

 

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Italian 75

Ingredients:

-        25ml Gin

-        10ml Lemon Juice

-        5ml Sugar

-        Lemon peel twist to garnish

 

Method: Mix the gin, lemon juice and sugar in a cocktail shaker. Pour the mixture into a prosecco flute and top up with your favourite prosecco. To create the twist to garnish your cocktail, use a peeler to peel around the circumference of the lemon and then using your hands create a spiral – the peel should hold this shape. Add to the top of the prosecco flute to garnish.

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FURNISH | IKEA CLASSICS

IKEA’s latest collection celebrates some of its most iconic products from the 50s through to the 00s.

There’s nothing like a 1990s product being called ‘vintage’ to remind you how old you are, but when it’s a design classic by Swedish design giants IKEA, it’s cool with me. In IKEA’s new vintage-inspired collection, the brand’s designers have looked to past collections and design history from the 1950s through to the noughties as inspiration for future products and they’ve brought back fan favourites, updating them for today and encouraging people to reimagine their classics and keep them forever.

  IKEA’s latest limited-edition collection embraces some of its most classic products including the KLIPPAN sofa (I have two here in the office!) and the LÖVBACKEN side table, which have stood the test time, in terms of both quality and design style, since they first came into the IKEA range many decades ago.      The collection will have three launch moments - August, October and December - each of which will re-introduce iconic IKEA products in the style and design of certain decades and bring fan-favourites bang up to date.

IKEA’s latest limited-edition collection embraces some of its most classic products including the KLIPPAN sofa (I have two here in the office!) and the LÖVBACKEN side table, which have stood the test time, in terms of both quality and design style, since they first came into the IKEA range many decades ago.  

The collection will have three launch moments - August, October and December - each of which will re-introduce iconic IKEA products in the style and design of certain decades and bring fan-favourites bang up to date.

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Launching this August is the first stage of the collection, inspired by a ‘50s and ‘60s look. Some of IKEA’s very first iconic products were produced in this time including the first flat-pack product, the LӦVET (now LӦVBACKEN) side table. Other new products this month include the GAGNET armchair – the handmade product which was launched in 1958 when IKEA’s first store opened in Almhult, Sweden. The famous POÄNG chair and KLIPPAN sofa also get a makeover in August, with new covers and accessories, a ‘hack’ for the classics.

In October, the ‘70s and ‘80s design trends return with the RÅANE armchair, which launched in 1983 and challenged the traditional design of the armchair with its mesh material finish. The KLIPPAN will get new covers in vivacious red, yellow and blue to match the rest of the launch’s style.

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The final stage of the “Re-imagined Classics” collection launches in December with the minimalist ‘90s and ‘00s, mixing untreated, blonde Scandinavian woods with graphic patterns. 

This was also the era when functionality came into play through hidden storage, for example with the IKEA PS 1995 storage bench for use throughout the home.

The “Re-imagined Classics” collection launches in three different stages from August to December and will be available in IKEA stores only. Check it out here:

https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/ideas/classic-furniture-designs-reimagined-1364644638945/

FUN | PAPIER x HOUSE OF HOLLAND

Fun-loving fashion designer Henry Holland is getting the party started with his new House of Holland x Papier collaboration. Using iconic prints from his archive, new season designs and the type of tongue-in-cheek slogans that made his name, the collection is a spirited mix of notecards, notebooks, sketchbooks, greeting cards, wedding stationery and party invitations. Having once shared a cigarette and a chat with him on the balcony of El Divino in Belfast many years ago, I can vouch that they are very much his style and I absolutely LOVE them.

From ‘Where’s my f*cking present?’ invitations to rainbow coloured wedding stationery, the collaboration delivers an uninhibited gaze into the kaleidoscopic, colourful and cheeky world of House of Holland. Teamed with Papier’s design ethos and obsession for premium printed products, it’s a high-quality collection that’s bold, playful and funny – just like Henry.

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Speaking of the collab, he said: “I have been using Papier for my personal stationery for a while now so I'm really excited to be collaborating with them on a full collection. We have delved into our print archive to bring together a really exciting collection of stationery and I’m extremely proud of all of it. The greetings cards are some of my favourites – I just hope everyone shares my crude sense of humour and enjoys them as much as I do. I’ve had several chuckles to myself during the design process!".

“Working with Henry Holland on a collection which takes you back to his first foray into fashion design with slogan t-shirts feels incredibly special. His design details and humour in the collaboration add something different to our offering at Papier. We hope that with Henry Holland taking the lead, more people will inject some fun and flamboyant energy into their choice of party invitations, wedding stationery, birthday cards and personalised stationery. I for one will be sending out ‘Taymoor f*cking Atighetchi’ notecards as my personal correspondence! ” Taymoor Atighetchi, founder and CEO of Papier.

All items can be personalised at www.papier.com

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THE BIG BOOB BLOG - FASHION TIPS FOR THE BUSTERISTA

BUSTY AND BAFFLED: Style Tips for Big Boobs

Blessed in the boob department? Chances are you’ll be aware of the typical advice for us booby girls, but I’m so over all the big-bust-style-advice which tells you to cinch in your waist or use minimizer bras. 8 out of 10 ladies with big busts these days are no longer the natural hourglass figure, they’re more apple shapes, and so cinching in of a waist that doesn’t exist is just non-advice! And some of those reading the advice won’t actually want to wear a minimizer, they want to celebrate their bosoms – and rightly so!

However, having a big bust shouldn’t mean a compromise in confidence or style. If you’re reading this because you’re busty and baffled, then bear with me and read on. I can’t say I have every solution, but I have seen enough to help me create my own set of rules and regulations which help optimise my ‘girls’ instead of them getting in fashion’s way.

Full disclosure: I totally love my boobs in the bedroom (or bathroom, or wherever I am naked) as they are pretty nice and pert it has to be said, but I have to admit that I don’t love them when I am choosing fashion. Big boobs and most fashion – in my opinion – are not great bedfellows. I mean, even in the 90s when boobs were what asses are today (thanks to the Kardashians), the only thing boobs really suited in high fashion was the original Hervé Leger bandage dress and the odd crop top with ultra low rise boot cut jeans – but these styles also required taut tummies, something which I, for one, no longer possess.

So I’m coming from a place of not really embracing my boobs if we’re honest, and I know that when I try to ‘hide’ my boobs, they look their worst – (peek-a-boob from a cool shirt or blouse anyone?) and so do the clothes I’m trying to use as camouflage tools; however I also know LOADS of ladies who are generously proportioned in the chest area, who embrace their boobies and dress them with pride and joy, so I will try to recognise the gripes & boasts of both types of big boob dresser in my TOP TEN TIPS for big boob dressing. Enjoy!

1.    BRA-VO FOR THE RIGHT BRA!

Let’s go back to basics and acknowledge that we can’t talk about dressing for a busty frame without addressing bras. But finding the right one — one that’s comfortable, supportive, and flattering — is half the battle. I mostly live in plain black or nude T shirt bras with NO EXTRA PADDING (why do so many brands ADD PADDING to bras for big boobs?!) It’s not like we NEED any more!  

A good bra should be one that covers the whole breast and gives your chest shape without giving it an additional boost (unless that's your preference). It’s important to invest in at least a few full-coverage options that will provide the most supportive base beneath all your outfits. Even if you are certain what size you are, it’s always a good idea to get measured by a fitting expert every time you purchase a new bra.

Thankfully, this doesn't require backpack-size straps and bland colours only. I got measured up at Boux Avenue in Victoria Square and went from wearing a 34DD to a 34F(!) after being measured properly.

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2.    V NECKS GOOD, ROUND NECKS BAD – BUT NOT ALWAYS!

One of the original rules for busty girls was always ‘V neck good, round neck bad’. But whilst V necks are super flattering on larger busts, (because of the triangulation from shoulders and the elongated line down towards the waist), I refute the claims that round necks are all bad. If you hove toned arms à la Michelle Obama and a slim enough waist line/obliques silhouette, then a fitted, round neck t shirt can be perfect, especially if you have big hips as well and you’re choosing to go wide or baggy on your skirt or trouser silhouette.

That said, we’re all for ‘if you’ve got it, FLAUNT it’ here at the F Words (FLAUNT does begin with an F after all) so we believe that displaying a bit of your well-endowed cleavage is every busty girl's right – and V necks definitely do it better.  But if you think a V neck is too severe, go for a scoop neckline, which is always flattering when it hits your chest at just the right places.

The same can be said of turtle necks and polo necks. If you’re busty with an hour glass figure, a polo neck over big boobs with a high waisted trouser or pencil skirt is classic and cool.

In eveningwear, a sweetheart, off-the-shoulder neckline a la Susan Sarandon creates the ultimate time to shine while swimwear in a plunge cut to suit your shape and size is also flattering.

 

3.    WRAP IT UP!

Whether in the form of a dress or jacket, a wrap silhouette complements every body type and bust size, and the natural V created from the wrapping is always super flattering, plus the tie belt goes just under your bust, usually the slimmest part of your upper waist. (Thanks, Diane Von Furstenburg!) Again, I’d suggest that you think of your overall figure before choosing the skirt shape in a wrap dress. If you’re short and apple shaped, I wouldn’t advise an A line or full skirted wrap dress, go for something straighter but a little bit shorter in the hem line and in the arm, to show off those slim limbs.  

Double breasted jackets fall most definitely OUTSIDE of this rule and can look really frumpy on busty figures as they tend to cross over right across the bust and not under it like a well fitted wrap dress. Plus, they move funnily when you and/or your boobs move to articulate your speech - or raise hands for any gesture. (Sleeveless tuxedo jackets are a good alternative if you want to feel suit-y).

           4.    PUSSY GALORE – Try a Pussy Bow Blouse

A high-neck pussy bow blouse makes for a flattering cut to style with high-waisted pants or a skirt—especially for those moments you want to hide your cleavage. Because of the elongated neck and the focus up there, this is an occasion when you can afford to go bulbuous on the blouse shape and not look pregnant, even if you drop your skirt/trouser waistline a little. I would also suggest shorter sleeves on the blouse, above the watch & bracelet line, to show off slim wrists & bring the focus to nice jewellery. (Don’t be afraid to use your local tailor or amendments shop to do this – sleeve length can make such a difference and I am forever asking my guys at The Zipyard to alter everything!)

**NECKLINE KNOW-HOW

On the subject of necklines, be careful to steer clear of too much detail – especially frills and ruffles - because they can make the bust look even bigger. It’s better to stick with simple colour combinations and clean lines.

 

5.    CINCH IT! – DON’T WASTE YOUR WAIST, USE IT!

If you have a waist, or the semblance of one, then take note from Ashley Graham and cinch your look at the waist with a corset, kimono wrap belt or a wide buckled belt. Instant hourglass! Every woman with a shapely figure has probably received a recommendation to cinch her waist as it accents the bust and creates a pinup-worthy frame instantly. I’m kind of tired of this advice, though; it feels overdone, plus a significant proportion of the female population is more likely to be apple shape these days, so cinching in a waist which doesn’t exist will create muffin tops – not hourglass shapes!

6.    USING YOUR WAIST #2 - Have A Bare Midriff Moment

Much like a corset belt, a hint of a bare midriff helps to create that hourglass figure—and draws attention to your waist if you have a slim enough one to bare it. I only discovered this trick in my forties and a cropped top which is cut just below the bust but above the slimmest part of the waist will create a trompe d’oeil – drawing attention to the waist and away from the bust. I don’t actually expose any flesh personally (not intentionally anyway!) but I team a cropped top with a high waisted pencil skirt to very good effect.

 

7.    DON’T GET SHIRTY WITH YOUR BIG GIRL’S BLOUSE…

The Peek-A-Boob is real. Yes, that occasion when your button-boob combo fails you and your shirt buttons gape (or pop out entirely) to reveal your boobs and/or bra (not always your prettiest). Of course with Sod’s Law, it’s usually when you’re speaking to a stranger. Or presenting at work. Or out with a new date. Often we’re told to go up a size in the blouse to avoid this, but that just creates extra fabric elsewhere and adds to a silhouette which (on me anyway) doesn’t need extra inches added by loose fabric. If I do have to do that, I end up getting the blouse altered. But here’s my advice – get the blouse that fits and take it to your local alterations store (I use The Zipyard) and ask them to add in a couple of strategic popper buttons between the regular ones. IT WORKS! It takes a bit of a pull to pop the popper buttons and they reinforce your own buttons, however pretty or practical they are.
 

8.    COLOUR & PRINT

A more subtle way to create a similar effect is to use dark colours as belt equivalents.  A dark shade across the torso will give the impression of diminishing a body part's size, while light or bright hues draw attention to an area. Colour blocking is a clever way to balance out proportions. With a black top half and colour block hem, a two-tone dress will minimize a larger chest and draw attention to your bottom half. Colourful seaming and piping can also help, so remember that colours and wide stripe prints can completely define your shape without any additional buckles and belts. But on that note – another tip is to learn to STRIPE RIGHT:  Wearing vertical stripes on your top half will lengthen your upper body and slim your torso therefore making your chest appear smaller.

Prints are by no means out of bounds - opt for smaller style patterns or, if you want to go bold, a black background to florals, polka dots etc will stop you looking heavier up top. Use a strategic placement formula here too – if you want to distract from your chest, wear them on the bottom, if you want to flaunt your bust, vice versa.

9.    THE DRESS VS THE SEPARATES

If you’re boobie, you’ll know that changing room feeling of trying on a dress and experiencing relief when the zip glides up past your waist AND bust without a struggle. Stretchy fabrics can be flattering because they fit a greater range of body shapes, but if you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard, or you’re an extra at a hen party in Vegas, so choose fabrics and sleeves/necklines to suit too.

We often need to go up a size to accommodate our widest measurement which can create a bit of a potato sack syndrome where the dress is tight at the bust and hanging loose and smock-like all over. Unless I’m pre-menstrual and bloated or going for an eight-course tasting menu and need the extra room, I dislike this shape. But on those few occasions, this kind of loose, hanging style is actually liberating and, if you choose the right fabric/shape, you can totally rock an androgynous look, (a look which usually looks much better on women with a straight-lined frame) especially when you’re no longer worrying about defining your waistline.

Choosing to choose separates over a dress allows you to accommodate different sizes on top and bottom. It also allows you to play with print and pattern. (see Point * above). A nifty trick is to create the illusion of a dress with co-ordinated block colour tops and bottoms. When choosing tops for a big bust, make sure they’re sufficiently long, as having a big bust can shorten the length, and pop any buttons. And if you’re a T shirt kinda gal, I hear ya! Anyone with big boobs knows that T-shirts are hard — the slightest V-neck can give you cleavage overload, and anything baggy looks like you're wearing a tent. But the solution is all about what you pair it with — a loose, crew-neck T-shirt still looks cool when it's tucked into a slim skirt. Remember length and fit is important too, so crop it or knot it if you have to/want to!

One of my go-to dresses for work in summer is the shirtdress, which will nip you in at the waist before flaring out to balance out your bust, but I often get extra buttons added (see point 7 above). Unbuttoning it as low as you can go is another option. As is adding a statement belt. Just remember, it’s important to highlight your waist, more so if you are petite.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to play with playsuits and jumpsuits. I have found that they are one of the most flattering and easy-to-wear silhouettes for me and my boobs - but not every style, so it pays to play with shapes and styles here too.

 

10. THE JACKET DILEMMA

Biker style jackets are brilliant for big busts because the lapel design ensures the jacket actually lies over your boobs when open instead of just falling off to either side. This cleverly makes your chest area appear smaller. And don’t worry about being able to zip it up - we guarantee you’ll rarely want to wear it that way. Also, the cropped length of most motorbike jackets helps make your top half look smaller and more proportional, especially when you're not super tall.  The same ‘wear it open’ rule applies to blazers – don't worry about buttoning up. Wear them open with crop tops and high waisted bottoms or wear wide belts over clean-line tops underneath for best effect. In short, when it comes to most jacket styles for big boobs, remember one thing: single breasted and slightly open is your friend.

 

 

 

 

FASHION I SAY YES TO YELLOW!

We know it’s the colour of our blog here at the F Words, but YELLOW is also the hottest (and happiest) colour to wear this summer. Whether you are a lemonade and lime punch type, or you're a more full-bodied colour kinda girl, and prefer a rich egg-yolk hue, there is a shade of yellow for all skin types.

This week, I tasked our German intern Nikolina Baulch with finding her faves, from bananas to buttercups and sunflowers to sweetcorn. Here are her top picks of the bright cheery colour that sweeping insta with sunshine

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Rhianna who sets the yellow trend wearing a yellow twinset by Oscar de la Renta.

Here are some of our fave yellow items right now… Click on the pict

   



 

FOOD | PORK TO FORK - MY NI PORK COOKING EXPERIENCE

As many of my regular followers and readers know, I don’t eat a lot of meat (maybe only twice a week), but when I do, it has to be local and fresh and I like to know its provenance. 

So recently I took part in a cookery challenge with NI Pork and their ambassador Andrew Smyth of Great British Bake Off fame - and when I say I took part, for full disclosure, I must admit that I joined the entrants at the beginning for canape making and a pork cooking techniques workshop with Andrew and then opted out of the actual competition as I had to get home to mummy duties… But that said, I did cook up the salad, and the Parmesan crusted pork chop recipe at home using some of the ingredients supplied by NI Pork on  the night (see all recipes below) and they were delicious! You might recall Esme Hogget’s line in the movie Babe, when she said ‘Pork is a nice sweet meat’ - and it really is, especially when enhanced by marinades and paired with great vegetable and fruit accompaniments. 

 I was joined by fellow bloggers on the challenge including:  Jayne aka @lifewiththedempsters, Hama aka @indianblonde, Lynne aka @eatingideas, Zoe from @belfastlive and of course Andrew is at @cakesmyth. Check them out on Insta!   

I was joined by fellow bloggers on the challenge including: 
Jayne aka @lifewiththedempsters, Hama aka @indianblonde, Lynne aka @eatingideas, Zoe from @belfastlive and of course Andrew is at @cakesmyth. Check them out on Insta! 
 

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The NI Pork logo on a product means that the animal has been raised locally as well as being processed here - plus, the quality is really optimal. We have some great piggeries and pork companies here, and it is always good to support local farmers. 

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It turns out I was supporting local farmers before I even realised it, but in another way. I remember when I was a little girl we’d have a large bucket out the back for food scraps and wastage which ‘Billy the pig man’ would collect once a week to feed the pigs on his small farm. I remember putting cooking apple and vegetable peelings in as I helped mum prepare Sunday lunch, and breakfast toast crusts & egg shells in there on busy school mornings. My mum was so organic and green back then and I didn’t even appreciate it. I know some of you will criticise this for health & safety reasons, but I wish we had more Billy-types now instead of knowing the incredible amount of food waste that exists across Western society. One way of avoiding waste and food miles is to shop for local pork, and you can find NI Pork branded products across all Spar, Tesco and LIDL stores in NI.

NI PORK RECIPES

 

 Pork Flatbreads with Mediterranean salad and minted yoghurt

Pork Fillet
Flatbreads
Tomatoes
Red Onions
Natural Yoghurt
Mint Marinade
Olive Oil
Lemon
Garlic
Thyme
Oregano

Salad

Leaves
Olives
Feta

Steps

Mix marinade ingredients.
Slice pork into chunk.s
Pork into marinade bowl.  Mix.
Skewer pork.
Onto griddle.  4 mins each side approx.
Yoghurt – into bowl, chop mint. Mix.
Assemble – flatbread. Pork. Onion. Tomato. Yogurt.
Assemble Salad and serve.

Lemon, Basil & Parmesan Pork Chops

4 pork loin chops
Olive Oil
Bunch of Fresh Basil
4 garlic cloves, minced
50 ml lemon juice
1 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)

Salad

Leaves
Avocado
Bacon

Steps

Mix Olive oil, basil, garlic, lemon juice and salt in a bowl.
Combine well. 
Griddle pork chops few mins each side.
Spread chops on baking tray.
Place herb mix on top of chops – sprinkle parmesan cheese   on top to cover.
Grill for 10 mins until cheese is golden brown.
Serve with salad (griddle bacon, slice avocado, assemble)

Pork medallions with pistachio crust and sauteed apples

2 slices pork tenderloin
2 tbsp pistachio nuts, shells removed, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ Bramley apple, cored, cut into 3 wedges
1 tbsp olive oil
15g/¼oz butter
100g/3½oz sweet potato, peeled and chopped

Steps

Place the pork loin between two pieces of cling film.
Flatten out the pork with a meat mallet or the end of a rolling pin, until 1cm/¼in thick.
Place the chopped pistachios onto a clean flat surface.
Press one side of the pork onto the pistachio nuts, to coat, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan, add the pork, apple wedges and the sweet potato and fry until the pork is golden-brown on the underside.
Transfer the pork to a baking tray and place into the oven to roast for five minutes, or until completely cooked through.
Meanwhile, continue frying the apples and sweet potato, until cooked through and golden brown.
To serve, place the pork in the centre of a plate with the apples and sweet potato arranged around it.

 

FACE | Dad’s The Word - The ultimate gift guide for Father’s Day

This Sunday we’re celebrating Dad. From being there through all of those big, life-changing moments & standing by your side through every little thing in between, there’s no doubt about it that the best dad deserves the very best gift this Father’s Day.

But men can be hard to shop for, I mean with no ‘Saved for Later’ baskets or Instagram #inspo to direct us, coupled with the fact they seem to have absolutely everything along with a disinterest for dropping any sort of hints (or perhaps us ladies just make gifting too easy…) - it is safe to say that finding the perfect gift for dad (or husband/baby-daddy) can often be a tall task.

So to help get you started, we have chosen some of our favourite gifts to make saying thanks this Father’s Day that little bit easier…

First up, are these super-luxurious Clinique gift sets which include a trio of products at a great price. And if that isn’t enough, all of Clinique’s products are also allergy tested and 100% fragrance-free, so even the most sensitive of skin can feel the benefits.

Clinique Daily Hydration Kit £26.99

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This trio of daily face products includes Clinique For Men’s Charcoal Face Wash (50ml), Cream Shave (60ml) and Moisturising Lotion (100ml) and is perfect for men with drier skins. The customised formulas will keep skin feeling super smooth and comfortable whilst the smaller size makes it the perfect travel companion.

The Charcoal Face Wash draws out pore-clogging dirt and excess oil, while the Cream Shave provides a rich buffer against razor drag and nicks - ensuring dad gets the perfect shave each and every time.

The full-size Moisturising Lotion delivers weightless, all-day hydration leaving skin super healthy-looking and revitalised. For something a little bit extra, another alternative to this would be the Clinique Daily Intense Hydration Kit £36.99 which swaps the Moisturising Lotion for a full-size ultralight Maximum Hydrator which delivers a 179% moisture boost for instantly plumper skin.

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Clinique Daily Oil Control £26.99

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This set of customised formulas keeps skin clear and shine-free. As well as the Oil Control Face Wash which thoroughly cleanses and removes excess oil and the luxurious Cream Shave you also get a full-size Mattifying Moisturiser which delivers lightweight, oil-free hydration – plus, it helps skin stay matt all day long. 

Also from Clinique is the Daily Age Repair Kit £33.50, which includes the Charcoal Face Wash, Cream Shave and full-size Anti-Age Moisturiser. This trio works together to combat lines, wrinkles and dullness to deliver a younger, revitalised look.

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Next up, we head over to Lab Series which does great skincare for men. Their best-selling High Performance Duo set (£37.00) includes the Multi Action Face Wash (100ml) and the PRO LS All-In-One Face Treatment (100ml) which work together for powerful results – everyday skincare has never been easier – perfect for dads that are always on the go!

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Another top pick is The Grooming Oil 3-IN-1 Shave & Beard Oil £27.00 which is a triple-blend grooming oil that delivers an all-in-one solution for shave and beard care. Sea Buckthorn Oil, Jojoba Oil and Sweet Almond Oil blend with vitamins and hydrators to tackle each grooming need including; pre-shave, shave and beard, improving manageability, smoothness and shine.

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Why not help dad stay protected this summer with the brand new Day Rescue Defense Lotion SPF 35 (£31.00)? This lightweight, invisible daily moisturiser with SPF and Hydra-Endure Technology helps combat the visible effects of sun, dry climate, and pollution – environmental damage that can lead to dehydrated skin and premature aging. The product is also suitable for use on bald heads.

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So, now that you’ve found the perfect gift, it’s time to get gifting! Happy Father’s Day!