A Beth in my bonnet

Beth Ditto annoys me on so many levels. But not for the reasons that many might at first assume. She is a larger than life creature with the ability to make a catchy tune and make every designer fall over themselves to make a Beth-sized copy of their usual size 0 clothing.

She's just championing the rights of a real woman say some. I completely disagree. Gemma Arterton, with her recent weight gain, even Kate Moss and her new 'curves' play a bigger part in the self esteem game than Beth. At a guess I'd say she's morbidly obese, and although she doesn't care, it is this cartoon-like quality which has garnered her so much popularity. Like a fat anti-barbie doll, in the year that Barbie comes back into prominence, she poses a challenge to designers, to actually use that much fabric and still have a product that is recognisably theirs. She's a fun, crude, lesbian who must be a nice break from the usual skinny clones, but she's a novelty not a statement.

Yes she was on the cover of Love magazine, yes somehow she got into an Herve Leger, this just further goes to prove that her image is not that of a role model, currently she's just a model. She has been cleaned up and dumbed down, no longer a rock rebel, but a fashionista. With the fickle industry that is the fashion world, it won't be long before she's just another fat girl who needs to lose weight. Does anyone remember Sophie Dahl?



"Not even in Texas could you find a shirt like this!" exclaimed an American girl (I'm assuming Texan?) in the changing room cubicle next to me in Topshop. This made me smile for a few reasons, not only because of the way that Americans say things and make them sound inane, but because Topshop is obviously reaching new heights of world domination.

It seems that they can sell the proverbial ice to the Eskimos... or in this case, checked shirts to the cowboys. The fact that Topshop is now the go-to place for all your worldly purchases, from stetsons to vintage makes me worry that one day the high street will no longer exist. It will be a row of identical Topshops as far as the eye can see, catering for your every whim. Gone will be the boutiques and the joy of finding something one-of-a-kind, instead we shall endeavour to look just like everyone else in our own unique way.


Weekly dose of bitchy

Stylista, the latest American reality offering from the makers of America's Next Top Model is bitchy heaven. Set in US Elle it gives us a supposed insight into the glamorous world of a top fashion magazine. I have to say, having worked at the British counterpart, if it is really like that, UK Elle is really in need of a face lift.

Tyra Banks' production company is behind this latest endeavor and it doesn't fail to give the audience what they want. Glamour, fashion, the idea that winning an editor position at a magazine can be done by dressing mannequins and fetching breakfast for a woman who wishes she was Anna Wintour.

Despite the obvious exaggerated truths and characters, it packs more punch than the current season of ANTM where the girls are all so nice to each other, it makes for very bland television. They all do the washing up, say please and thank you and support each other, so Stylista gives us that little pop of bitchiness that a girl needs.

With wonderful lines like "She's so annoying, I just want to drop kick her in the face" you're compelled to keep watching. It is an awful idea, and you don't really care what happens to the contestants but I think thats the main draw. We're laughing at them not with them.

Taste the rainbow...

Yesterday I went to London Fashion Weekend, and as is usual with this event that I attend twice a year without knowing why, I came away empty handed and disappointed. There was one exception however in the form of Peter Jensen's beautiful rainbow jumper. It was a great price, as I discovered later - a quick Google search showing me that you can't get it anywhere apart from on one website for £159 - a full £106 more than yesterday's asking price.

I have conceded my loss here, and as it was pointed out to me, I actually don't have the money to spend on clothes at the moment. But this got me thinking about rainbow patterns. Any internet search will come up with the usual associations that we all have with rainbows: hippy, hempy jumpers with dreadlocked ladies as models. This summer we are told, will be all about colour, clashing, combining, trying new shades by looking at Panetone pallettes... what about wearing them all at once?

It is my belief that Rainbows can be worn stylishly, but I don't think I have the fashion kudos to pull it off without looking like the love child of a Carebear and a 1970s gay rights activist. Had I bought that jumper, I might have been on the right track though. It takes a confident person to wear bright colours, and rainbows require that much more, but they are perfect for making you stand out from the crowd.


People Tree

Fair trade clothing often has a rough deal. Despite trying its best to distance itself from the idea of unshaven women wearing hessian sandals and hemp sacks many in the fashion world still turn their noses up at the idea of buying fair trade.

The fashion world is one of fast turnovers, with many highstreet shops releasing new stock once maybe even twice a week. People Tree, whose aim is to actually bring about a difference to the textile workers in Bangladesh and India just can't compete on a real scale with the high street so they deal in classic looks and cuts. Not outrageous shoulders or colours but no potato sacks either.

The designer collaboration always brings in beautifully designed pieces which, contrary to expectations don't actually leave you too out of pocket. This wonderful drape dress designed by Bora Aksu is the perfect blend of casual cool which restores your moral balance at the same time; and at £78 its not going to break the bank either.


The baggy clothes conundrum

Baggy clothes on skinny girls make them look thinner, baggy clothes on big girls makes them look huge. Think Trinny and Susanah and Gok going on about defining waists and displaying bangers. What about us middle of the road girls? The ones that would be told by Tyra that we aren't small enough to be models and aren't big enough for plus size.

I have a fear of showing off my less than perfect body, and as the weight has slowly crept up on me, my clothes have got that little bit more diaphanous. I suppose the rule should be, if you are doing it to hide something then you shouldn't be doing it at all, but I see an oversized shirt and I can't help but want it.

This isn't the only reason though. I love casual wear, given the choice I'd buy a pair of flats over heels any day but I am beginning to worry that when the time comes (whatever that time might be) I shall be completely inept at dressing to show off, having become so used to dressing to conceal.

Lucky for me then that baggy is the dish of the day this season. Hareem pants, oversized men's shirts, boyfriend jeans. Not only will this see me through spring and summer, grunge is going to be huge in autumn, which means teaming it all with dirty hair and chains (if you like Charles Anastase).

To tackle this trend it is important to keep it feminine. If you aren't a rake, make sure that you exaggerate the girly under all those layers. Wear leggings to show off your legs, wear a belt, a waistcoat, killer heels, a pink scarf - anything that will stop you looking like you're halfway through a weight-loss programme and you're still wearing your old clothes. Its not a crime to want to conceal the bits you hate, goodness knows what I would do without empire lines, but remember to accentuate the bits that you like. Accessorise with perfect nails, lipstick maybe even a hat and it will be obvious that baggy is a statement not a last resort.

Fancy a bite?

Courtesy of the wonderful jewellery website these lovely quirky fangs by Perks and Mini are a one of a kind in jewellery design. Available in a variety of lengths and in silver, gold and black they range in price from £230 (above) to £1220. Maybe a touch on the expensive side, but as far as buying an investment piece of statement jewellery goes, these are it.

When to say no....

How many internships can a person do before they either:

a) Get a job?
b) Realise they're being exploited?

I really wish that option a were true, but i'm beginning to think otherwise. There are many positions available on a variety of different publications, from the prestigious to Tug and Salvage magazine, for the journalism student with a passion for, well tugging and salvaging. Where do you draw the line? How on earth do you get that amazing portfolio which will proudly showcase all your bylines? In all honesty I suppose there's no easy answer, growing some balls and pitching things to magazines and papers should be a start. I am sick to death of being unemployed and only employable in the eyes of the media world as an intern.

Maybe another change in career is in order...


Irrationally wanting one of these...

Vintage look, chain handled and gorgeous faux snakeskin and all for £6... Yes it's Primark and possibly very inherently evil, but it is lovely and in these cash-poor times I think that I might be able to overlook this fact just once. If there is only one thing you buy from Primark this year it should be this bag. Although the fact that 20,000 other girls will have it does take the edge away somewhat...
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