Saturday, 25 April 2009

Aspire loves...anything with a bow on it

Dorothy gingham bow hairband available from LouLou Loves you £14.99
Image source: LouLouloves you website

We've been mad about bows for a few seasons, but our buying strategy of 'if it's got a bow on it, we must have it' has come to full fruition this season with the shop bursting with bows. Bows on handbags, dresses, shoes - you name it, I can show you it with a bow.

Not since the late eighties, when, with long hair I was able to wear my velvet bow hair slide atop my pony tail have I coveted bows so much. It's funny that - even if you were there the first time around and, the f ashion fever still gets you.

Here are some of our finest bow-adorned items:
Stone slouchy bow handbag (£55), also available in chocolate, purple & turquoise.
Poetic Licence sparkle bow flip flops (£49)
Yumi Jamika dress (£55) wit h diamante bow elasticate d belt

They are so pretty, so sweet, so girly. We hope bows stick around in fashion for a while!

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Monday, 20 April 2009

Springtime layers - getting creative with one dress

The weather her is gorgeous at the moment but as you bound out the door in your summer garb - you suddenly realise it's a bit chilly out there.... Fear not as this gives you an excellent excuse to indulge in some layering!

I love layering - why wear one item of clothing when you can wear at least 5? This is partly to do with the fact that I'm a sensitive soul and feel the cold and you need to be prepared in spring but also because with layering, you get to create even more variations of outfits with the same clothes...
For examply our Asturius dress (pictured above£69) is a perfect day dress for any season and would look great right now with a this M&S striped t-shirt (£7). Or it could work with a long sleeved white t-shirt (M&S £7) and a 3/4 sleeve cardi over the top (Oasis £35). It would really work with some gladiator style sandals like these from topshop. If your legs are feeling cold, leggings or our Pamela Mann footless tights (£4.95)would work well.

I not only layer with clothes - I've become fond of wearing multiple necklaces, a short pendant, along with a long bead necklace. This plastic flower necklace (£8.95) in pink would look great with the sweetie necklace (£8.95) - good enough to eat!

Anyway - enjoy your springtime layering!

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Some pictures used are not my own. They are from the M&S and Oasis websites.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Loving Mad Men and women's curvey 60s style

(picture courtesy of LA times - click here for more pics)
I didn't watch the first series so I'm a bit behind on some of the storylines but I love Mad Men! (BBC4). Set in the early sixties in an ad office it's full of men with pre-historic attitudes, chain smoking and women who, whilst all battling with the men in their lives exude corsetted but curvey style.

The women - particularly Joan (pictured in pink) must make skinnies tut in envy in the retro style which absolutely suits anyone with curves. Indeed it seems to be part of a back-lash against the rail-thin models of late, as discussed in This Sunday Times Style article.

As it says in the article - women with curves look best in clothing that skims their shape, rather than baggy modern styles so sadly smocks and dresses such as our Asturius dress (£69) are not ideal.

Fitted dresses are in fact a curvey girls' best friend as they elongate the body as well as accentuating all your best bits. Our Fever dresses are cut with curves in mind and all have a suitable Mad Men retro style such as the Fever Atlantis dress (pictured £69)

For more Mad Men info - this BBC article tells you about the lengths the program makers' have gone into to recreate the look, not only of the characters but their office and home surroundings.

Anyway, until next time


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Saturday, 11 April 2009

Oh no! We're wearing the same dress!

You've planned your outfit, skipped out of the door to work (thinking I look great!) and then you get to work and.... Gaagh!

When you work at Aspire there's always this mishap awaiting you one day! At least it offered me a good photo opportunity and shows how you can wear our Orion Peacock dress (£60) should you desire.

Daisy in the green version is wearing a black cardi, thick tights and slouchy boots - a bit like these from New Look or perhaps you could go for our punch hole grey boots £35 (pictured).

Catherine is in the white version, picking out the coral colour with a gorgeous cardi - a bit like this one £32 from Topshop and some wet-look leggings like Sass & Bide's Black Rats £93 from Net-a-Porter. Knowing Catherine and her eye for a bargain, you could get the same type of slight-shine leggings from Miso £12.99 or scour Primark for some! With these leggings you definitely need a heel to finish off and Catherine's Gladiator style heels like these from ASOS are perfect!

Until next time...

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Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Fashion Guru Romy on Michelle Obama's style

Introducing The Guru . . .

My name’s Romy and I work part-time in the Aspire Style boutique on Oxford’s High Street. The rest of my time is spent doing post graduate research at the beautiful Magdalen College, just down the road from Aspire. But as you can see from our facebook page I’ve also been dubbed ‘Fashion Guru’ of Aspire Style. In a solemn ceremony our manager, Lady Catherine of Aspire, tapped me on the forehead and shoulders with a coat hanger and then we drank a pink potion from an Orla Kiely mug. So now I think it’s high time that I lived up to my title and spread some guru wisdom . . .

According to ancient fashion guru laws, ‘you can only know yourself by knowing other people.’ It’s the fashion guru’s aim to pick out some stylish individuals in the public eye and explore their unique ‘look’. Now I need to stress that this is NOT a ‘celeb watch’ for the sake of highlighting unfortunately exposed underwear and the like. The Fashion Guru Blog is a Jody Marsh FREE zone! It’s also not about ’getting the look’ as much as ‘learning from their style’. You can certainly copy bits of other peoples’ looks, even try to recreate a whole outfit. However the key is to find ‘bits of you’ in other peoples’ styles.

Fashion Guru says: Experimenting with fashion brings empowerment, self knowledge and increased self worth . . . and it’s fun . . . and it means you can look hot! ; -)

So without further ado, Fashion Guru’s ‘Fashion Watch’, week one! It seems only appropriate to start with the First Lady, Mrs Michelle Obama! The wife of the leader of the free world is also the new darling of fashionistas worldwide! This week has definitely been Michelle’s week. If you’ve watched any news at all it can not have escaped you that Mrs O’s outfits have had as much coverage as G20 debate over the need for a greater fiscal stimulus. And quite right too in my opinion! Isn’t part of coping with a recession trying to inject some brightness into the gloom? Lifting the spirits also lifts the mind to see more clearly which path to take. That may be a quote from someone clever or I may just have made it up . . . clearly been drinking too much of that fashion guru pink potion . . .

Michelle Obama is a lady who knows her assets and knows how to work them. She has a favourite basic fashion piece that shows off her good points beautifully, the sleeveless knee length dress. She clearly loves dresses in general but she especially likes to show off her fabulous skin, toned arms and calves. GO for it, I say! Now Mrs O has a lovely statuesque figure with good curves, but she’s no waif. However a knee length dress, especially sleeveless, slims her figure through the strong vertical lines and by creating a column of colour. Michelle will also often select a dress with a fitted bodice style top and a full skirt

. The width at the bottom of the dress balances out her broad shoulders and the sleeveless bodice also slims them by drawing the eye down. This dress shape also gives her a nice small waist!

At Aspire Style we’ve got some dresses in the very shape that Mrs Obama loves! PLUS we’ve even got one that mirrors the classy monochrome she chose for meeting the Queen, dining at No. 10 and the Strasbourg Nato Conference Dinner! The Fever Lily Dress (pictured £59) would be ideal.

And if you want to plump up the skirt to make it look even more like Michelle’s stunning Azzedine ‘Paris legend’ Alaia dress, (see first photo above), then why not try a netted underskirt? Aspire has some in hot pink for the daring! But here’s a tip for petite ladies, to look taller choose a slimmer skirt. A very flouncy skirt can make shorter legs look a little stumpy.

I also love the way that Mrs Obama often adds a belt, (often her fave black studded Alaia!) to create a glamorous curvy look and to add a little extra detail to the outfit. We’ve got some great wide stretchy belts at Aspire with a silver butterfly clasp - £14.95!

But of course Michelle Obama also loves colour that says ‘look at me’! Bright colour is probably the best way to lift your mood and to make a statement about yourself. Neutrals can be elegantly soft but if your whole wardrobe is black, beige and grey then you should worry about your general wellbeing . . . You wouldn’t want your life to be represented by those colours would you?! Besides, I have yet to find a lady who didn’t suit a shade of pink or purple. It says ‘beautiful woman’ like perhaps no other colour. Find your inner princess....

Naturally at Aspire we’ve got a dress that’s perfect for that too :) (Also available in a blue and turquoise flower version!)

But don’t panic if you’re not that confident about your arms! Even Mrs Obama covered up for tea with the Queenwith a lovely black Alaia cardigan. You could put a red, pink, cream or brown cardi on the Moccoa Dress above – lots of choice! If you want to add volume to your top half, think bolero or cropped cardi, as well as chicken fillets ; ) This will also balance out your figure if, (like the Guru!) you’re a bit pear shaped. But if you’ve got enough va va voom on top, follow Mrs O and go for a slightly longer length. However remember to stick with fitted cardigans as you don’t want to swamp the dress and ruin the slimming effect.

Michelle Obama’s whole sense of style is a fabulous combination of femininity, sophistication and fun! Her dresses always show a flirty yet classy amount of leg. Plus the beady eyed amongst you will have observed that she likes to add to this sophisticated sassiness with pretty kitten heels and glam pearls. Now unfortunately we can’t offer you her ‘I want them NOW’ Jimmy Choos . . . but we do have a great range of kitten heels in our boutiques! I always think that the kitten heel is just perfect for feeling sexy without any crippling or hazard in walking :) You can also survive for most of the day in them, which is rather essential for busy working girls!

And if you like the idea of glamming up an outfit with pearls, at Aspire we’ve got PEARLS!!! Multi tiered or clustered, ladylike cream, romantic pink, sophisticated silver or rock n roll black - we do pearls justice!

So that’s it for the first ever Fashion Guru’s Blog! Thank you very much for sharing my thoughts on the wonderful style of Mrs Michelle Obama. Speak to you again soon.

Romy x

Monday, 6 April 2009

Baby Samuel - Aspire Style's new fashion follower

Aspire Style has it's newest addition to the company in the form of gorgeous Samuel Woodward who is the son of proud Mum and Aspire co-owner Emma. Until now he's been publicity shy, but at (almost) 9 weeks is pictured here making his fashion debut in our No Added Sugar Menace T-shirt. Not that you'd believe it from photo but I'm told he lived up to it whilst wearing this so Emma's now thinking of the Bobby Dazzler for reverse psychology!

Take care,

Aunty Sam
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Saturday, 4 April 2009

Aspire Style does Prom Fashion...

We had a busy week in Aspire style Stratford last week, with the girls preparing for a stall at Prince Henry's High School Prom fashion show. The girls at the school in Evesham organised the show themselves and approached us to borrow some of the clothes for the show. They chose the orange Loire dress (£65), teamed with our Ribbon tied pearl necklace (£19.95), The Yumi sequin bobble dress (£49), the Yumi Prima dress (£55) and a Traffic People red polka dot dress. The girls looked stunning as you can see!

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Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Feeling Parisian in Stripes at Aspire Style

Inspired by FifiFlowers virtual trip to Paris, I thought I would add some pictures of some lovely stripey numbers we have in stock at the moment and thoughts on how to wear them. There's the gallic-looking Yumi Anouk Dress (pictured £45) which would look very cute with some leggings and little ballet fats such as these from French Sole or perhaps some of our bow flip flops.

If you fancy something a bit more Nautical, we have the gorgeously retro-cut Fever Maisy dress (pictured £69) which has a fantastic full skirt in navy and white and fits like a dream. It would look really cute with some red accessories such as these red peep toes from Next and a red clutch bag from Browns (I wish!)

For a bold stripe, we have this St Martins dress (£49) which is in a cool cotton and would look nice with our sweet flower flip flops.

As we are talking all things Parisian, why not top it all off with our charm necklace, featuring the eiffel tower


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