Saturday, 3 July 2010

Beat the Sales.

The summer sales are now well underway with top high street stores offering up to 75% off on some of last season’s styles. Some of the biggest stores are literally giving clothes away, but part of me thinks; if no one wanted these clothes before and during the season, who would want them now? But let me tell you, the sales are a perfect chance to buy staple clothes for any wardrobe. Going away this summer? You can buy some shorts for half price from French Connection. Even though they might be from last season, you’ll still look stylish sitting around a scorching pool in the South of France.

Of course, there’s always the chance to shop ahead for upcoming seasons. Last year I brought an Armani coat with a price tag with £100 off. I knew that style of coat was style going to be in fashion next season and that I would be stupid to miss the opportunity. You can also buy (relatively cheaper) clothes you can customise without the fear of going wrong and messing up an expensive garment. Add materials, take in hems, tear off sleeves etc without worrying of wasting all that money.

Garments such as suits and shirts never go out of fashion and if you shop around you can buy some classic pieces with amazing discounts. Selfridges has (well, had) a numerous array of luxury designer shirts with prices starting from around £50 for a Hugo Boss shirt. The same goes for dress shoes. I bagged a pair of Kurt Geiger’s for an amazing price. And of course, for the ladies, classic shoes and evening gowns are meant to last forever so why not save a fortune and buy them in the sale? It’s pretty logical to shop in a sale.

However, let’s face it. Not all of us have a qualification in “shopping the sales”. A few lifesaving tips are listed below:

- Make sure you get in fast to get the best pieces.
- Shop online to avoid the mad hustle of the store.
- Know the seasons, really, ponchos aren’t making a comeback anytime soon so don’t get one.
- Know if you’re actually getting a good bargain.
- Know what you have already so you’re not just buying repeat items.
- Know what you’re looking for.
- Make sure you’re buying for a reason, not just “because it’s a sale”.
- Have fun... Sales are gifts from heaven.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Amanda Holden, Shrek the Musical, Drury Lane?

Rumour has it that Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden is to open in Shrek the Musical at the Drury Lane Theatre in London when the Broadway transfer opens in 2011.

(Remember you heard it here first!)

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Summer Trends: Jack Ups?

Jack ups, ankle draggers, ankle clingers, tramp pants, ankle swingers, whatever you call them, trousers that are too short for you will get you bullied. But is that the case this summer? Summer 2010 will see ankles being flashed by stylish men and women alike. Does this mean that this summer it's time to dig out old trousers too short for us? Well, not strictly, it's more about the "turn up" than the "jack up"; there's a fine line between looking trendy or trampy.

Fashionable brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Topman and Armani Exchange have all had models sporting a classic white trouser (or jean) with the bottoms turned up... It's all about showing a bit of ankle (NO SOCKS) and then a nice clean cut shoe, (it's all about the clean white plimsolls or deck shoes).

How to wear it:

For the white dress / linen trousers, it's all about wearing a white plimsoll with minimal detail, turn up the ankles of the trousers a few times creating a textured ruffle, about 2cm should do the trick but it all depends on individual height. A clean, tanned ankle looks best against the bright white background. For the more fashionable and daring look, use blue and white as the main colours and wear classic blue deck shoes (Office and Schuh are the best places to find these).

Top Picks:
Armani Exchange Linen Pant

Tommy Hilfiger Madison Pant

For the jean turn ups it's important to remember that this should only be done in casual situations. A slim leg raw look works best, but it all depends on individual shape. Inspired from the DKNY Jeans' urban feel, this trend is very "now" and very "young".

Diesel (at House of Fraser) has got the trend right with these Krooley Slim Leg Jeans
. Larger trainers make the image more urban and add a city vibe to the overall style. Wear the jeans witha turn up, showing no ankle, but a nice clean (and chunky) turn.

There we have it, the fashionable way to wear jack ups... Just be careful not to wear your childhood ankle swingers.


Sunday, 6 June 2010

Get the look: Simple Summer

Summer is all about looking stylish but making sure you feel comfortable. What's worse than spending a relaxing evening with a chilled beer and starting to feel the sweat cling to your clothes? Eurgh. No thanks. That's why I've compiled some great summer clothes to create the Simple Summer Look.

The Bottom
It's summer, which means it's shorts. This season sees the carry on from the spring with the denim shorts however, it's important to keep the "turn up" style of the summer. Thankfully Topman have come to the rescue and have brought us these lovely garments:


Topman's Denim Shorts.


For a small sum of £30, you can be rocking the look.

The Top:
For the top, polo's are always in style. But we want to stay away from those cotton / polyester mixes. For one, they're terrible quality and for two, do you want sun cream and sweat to be seeping out of it and sticking to your body? No? Neither do I. Thankfully, SoulCal (at Republic) have this lovely Grandad Tee, perfect at a price of £5.99 and it comes in their "2 for £10" offer.




Now, we've kept the main body simple and stylish so we need to accessorize accordingly.

For shoes, stick to some simple plain white plimsolls.
And for when you start to feel a bit chilled, throw on this Crafted scarf to add some texture to the outfit.

(Crafted Scarf at Republic.)


And there we have it. A Simple Summer look, nice on the wallet and nice on the eye.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Noises Off - A Classic Farce

I sat at the Birmingham Rep flicking through my programme and I immediately knew I'd be laughing hysterically for the next two and a half hours... Inside the programme for "Noises Off" was a programme from the play within the play entitled "Nothing On". My prediction was correct; the rest of the evening I laughed my socks off at the slick slapstick, outragious acting and the rib tingling dialogue.

The play features a bunch of - erm amazing - actors getting ready to put on a farce. But as the play progresses, there's more drama backstage than in front of the scenery. Complete with a million entrances and exits of misconfusion, missing sardines and stage managers that have to understudy for alcoholic actors the script is a perfect recipe for disaster (in the play within the play... Not the actual play.)

There were some stand out performances, especially from the half naked Djalenga Scott who acts as the diva "Brooke" and spends half of her time half naked on the stage. Her energetic, charming and cute performance had the audience in fits of laughter as she pranced about the stage during her "Nothing On" performance and strutted and tutted during the "Noises Off" section... If that makes sense?



The set is clever, the play in the play takes place in a nice country home and with high walls, many doors and a grand staircase the set helps to keep the slapstick giggles flowing. Then, in Act Two, we see the play from backstage, at this point the audience gets a true feeling for what it feels like to be backstage at a theatre: swinging doors create much humour, rattling staircases create energy and fake walls that actors must "duck" behind in order for them to get from one side of the pretend stage to other creates much laughter, especially when the "duck" joke is carried on into the rest of the play (and the play within the play).



Overall, it was a wonderful night out: with a wonderful script, fabulous acting and an amazing feel good vibe, "Noises Off" makes for a perfect evening for anybody of any age and any interest.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

West End News

The past few weeks have seen the London theatre scene buzzing with excitement: Danielle Hope is to be Andrew Lloyd Webber's new leading lady, Sister Act sees a cast change, Lee Meed joins Wicked and of course, Hair had it's closing notice.

It's a full range of emotions.

Let me tell you, Danielle Hope was definately the right decision for Dorothy, she had the charm, charisma and passion whilst the others seemed to lack the acting skills needed for such an iconic role - that is to say the other potential Dotties won't go on to great and wonderful things. For a start, many of them have been auditioning for shows and drama schools.

Sister Act had it's cast change which bids farewell to the great performers but I'm sure it welcomes some wonderful replacements... Shame it's set to close before the of the year.

In a similar fashion Lee Mead recently joined Wicked as Fiyero, replacing Lewis Bradley who was temporarily acting in the role whilst Lee finished other projects, Lewis has returne to his understudy position. Funny how they were both finialists on "Any Dream Will Do" and Lee won? Ironic? What's even more ironic is the fact that Rachel Tucker (the new Elphaba) was also a finalist on Webber TV talent search... It seems that's the only way to get into the industry these days.

And of course, the hippy musical Hair recieved it's closing notice recently. We say goodbye to the show on Sept 9th. Shame. Where else do you see naked hippies in London?

And there we have it... Highs, lows and the domination of Andrew Lloyd Webber in the West End...

Some fashionable products....

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Top Summer Beauty Tips for Lads and Lasses

We all know how the weather can play havoc on our skin, especially when you're trying to catch a tan so I've compiled a list of my top tips for summer skin...

1) Not a fan of sun tan lotion on your face? I for one hate the greasey texture it leaves behind, therefore, I use a moisturiser with built in SPF. My favourite ones are "Asda skinsystem: face" with an SPF 8 and "Boots Botanics Active Plant Extracts" with SPF 12. The latter is part of a general male skin care set that includes face wash and shaving gel. The moisturiser keeps your skin protected and hydrated during those long summer evenings.

2) Caught the sun but not a fan of those icky aftersun lotions? Use cocoa butter. It hydrates your skin taking away the redness, it smells so much better and they often have natural ingrediants. Plus it can be used as a general skin care product.

3) We've all spent fortunes on spot products over the years and we all know hardly any of them work. I've started to use TCP, yes, that's right, TCP. It works as an antiseptic and literally burns you spot away. Use sparingly and a couple times a week to get rid of those major spots. (Take precautions and read the label for this one!)

And there you have it. My top tips for lads and lasses for perfect summer skin.

What are your rituals? Are you a fan of the aftersun lotion or do you prefer cocoa butter? Leave a comment to share your tips!

Excuse my absense...

So recently I haven't been posting as much due to so much going on in life right now, however, postings will become regular once again over the following weeks...

I'm still on a mission to make socks and sandals work and I'm still failing.

I'll be reporting on the current fashion trends that seem to be hot for this year's winter.

I'll also be commenting on some of my favourite artists.

And most importantly, I'm looking for the input from my followers.

What do you want to see more or less of. Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Can socks and sandals work?

It's been known for many years that socks with sandals are the worst fashion crime ever... The thought of seeing a cotton covered foot strolling round in an open shoe makes me gag.

However, surely there's a way to make this style work? Some of the worst fashion crisis's have been turned on their heads, (Cheryl Cole has us all loving the chav-tastic braids a few years back, right?) So can we make this one of them?

It's my mission over the summer to find a way to make this look work!

Get in touch if you think there's a way to make socks and sandals work.

The Hot and Not World of Fashion


Major alert!!! A fantastic new blog has just been set up documenting the hot (and not) world of fashion! Get yourself over there, follow it, subscribe to it and comment it!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Gucci Men - PreFall 2010 Collection.

Summer has gone (well at least in the fashion industry) and designers are starting to advertise their Fall collection and Gucci is no exception. Laced with rich browns and chocolate tones, the collection features similar style features from the Spring 2010 collection.

Let's start with every Fall essential: the coat. Gucci is following the military style and features some luxury trench coats in rich tones and exotic textures. With coats ranging from cotton to leather, block colours to animal prints, Gucci really has a coat for every Fall occasion.

Staying with the clean cut style we can already see, Gucci has suits and jackets that are made to fit the body like a glove. No more loose fitting tops, it's all about slim fit and smart shirts. It's time to invest in a new shirt collection.

Gucci's trousers are also taking a turn in the upwards direction. Trousers are starting to get shorter, not necessarily ankle grabbers, but they're getting shorter and being teamed up with boots so they fall just below the ankle.

Heavily featured in the PreFall collection are reptile prints. We see crocodile, snake and lizard patterns on shoes, coats and even incorporated in ties. . . Not good for someone like me who has a phobia of reptiles. Great. Dark colours are also in; Gucci models have been flaunting chocolate brown over layers with navy blue under-items - something not seen so often.

The Gucci PreFall collection really does seem to going outside the box whilst staying in line with the rules of the Spring 2010 collection.



View the collection here...

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Wicked the Musical: Nik-Shaw Backstage.

Life as a standby in the theatre can be boring at times, never knowing when you're next on... However, "Wicked's" standbys fill their time by making us wonderful videos detailing life backstage in the West End.

Click here to see the first Nik-Shaw Video.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

West End Alert: Sister Act to close in London?

A few weeks ago I posted the following blog:
"As I was lerking around Twitter today I came across some suprising rumours... Sister Act the musical looks like it might close! (insert dramatic chords here)

However shocked I am it all seems to make sense... According to my inside theatre people, the London Palladium is set to house the new West End production of "The Wizard of Oz" (with the Dorothy that Andrew Lloyd Webber has been searching for) and Sister Act is rumoured to be going on a UK tour.

Complete bad times! The show has been open for roughly a year, not long enough at all in my opinion. However "Oz" isn't set to open until Spring 2011. Does that mean we might have Sister Act playing atleast until the end of the year?

Meh, that's showbiz. Remember, you heard it here first!"


Now it seems it's all true! (insert more dramatic chords here)

The show is to close 1st Jan 2011 and from the 31st May 2010 Simon Webbe (from boyband "Blue" fame) will be joining the cast as Curtis Shank.

In it's place at the London Palladium, "The Wizard of Oz" will commence it's run from 29th March 2011...

So, get your tickets for both shows before the Sister's make way for Dorothy!


Tuesday, 27 April 2010

"UNNATURALLY GREEN." One of the finest blogs I've ever read!

UNNATURALLY GREEN. My first job. My first blog.: FAQs and Coming Attractions

A blog for all those theatre fans, Wicked fans, blog fans, and just people fans! This blog is written by Felicia Ricci and details her life as a standby in the sit down production of "Wicked" in San Francisco.

The Summer Style starts to sweet stores...

Just as we've finally managed to get our spring outfits to perfectly match and coordinate with the weather, the shops decide to pull out the new summer collections. Thankfully, it's pretty much a smooth transition from the spring style, merged with hints from the last year's summer collections. We are seeing the return of the polo t shirt, mixed with coloured shorts to inject some "summer-ness" into your style. Trainers are out, boots are in. Sloppiness should be a thing of the past as your turn your look from casual to dapper, simply by changing a certain t shirt, you can turn your Spring look into a Summer style setter.



TOP BUYS FOR THE SUMMER 10 SEASON:



Number 1: A Summer Polo



A light toned polo shirt is a must, but this season they're becoming more fitted and less casual. Ted Baker has some great t shirts available (I especially like the button details on the collar).




Click Here To Purchase


(Remember to use lighter tones on top to avoid looking top heavy).



Number 2: Nautical Shorts

It’s hot, therefore we need shorts! Gone are the combat shorts, it’s all about looking smart! What’s a better way to look dapper than taking the style designs from navy personal? Light tones, or crystal white seem to be popular among the fashion houses this season. Go for yellows, light blues and (for the brave!) light pinks to create a clean cut yet casual vibe. Lacoste are big on the nautical shorts this season.

Number 3: Boots

Trainers are a no no, plimsolls are boring, shoes are too much. Therefore, it’s time to invest in a good pair of boots. Don’t bodge the cost and get a cheap(er) pair. INVEST! Go for trusted brands like Timberland. Not only can you wear them with shorts in the daytime, they will transition perfectly into in the double denim look of the spring for a night out, and they’re sure to carry on looking hot during the autumn / winter season.



So, with that in mind: get shopping! Get the style before your friends and colleagues do because before you know, you’ll be giving your wardrobe a spring clean for the autumn / winter season.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

A Fashion Song



This song is hilarious! A song dedicated to all the top label brands... Check it out.

(Thanks to John who sent me the link!)

Saturday, 24 April 2010

A quick quote...

Today I learnt a very important message.

"Aspire not to want more, but aspire to be more..."

I thought I'd share that with all my wonderful readers...

P.S. Remeber to smile today.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Birmingham - City of Culture?

Birmingham (the official second city) has been shortlisted for the City of Culture Award... (Insert cheer here). As I spend a lot of my time within the city, I thought I'd do my bit to chip in and express my feelings on how amazing Brum is.

My main praise I have for the city is the range of theatre events we have. From small street theatre events to larger touring West End musicals, Birmingham has something to offer for anyone from any walk of life.

The main theatre's within the city are the Birmingham Hippodrome, the Birmingham Rep and the Alexandra Theatre, whilst smaller venues include The Old Rep Theatre and the MAC. On top of that, there are many concert venues such as Symphony Hall, the LG Arena, the NIA and the 02 Academy. Whether you're looking for a major musical or an intimate gig, you can find so much going on all year round in the city.

On top of the venues, the city holds annual events such as the International Dance Festival Birmingham and ArtsFest where events and performances take place on the streets and inside some of the venues mentioned above.

It's also affordable. Many theatres and venues offer discounts for students, OAP's, families and schools with some theatre's offering FREE tickets using the "A Night Less Ordinary Scheme". The Rep has some of the best deals, if you're a teenager you can catch one of the major in house productions or a major tour for as little as £5.99 (and that's even for the best seats in the house) or if you join the "A Night Less Ordinary Scheme" you can get in for free. (Other venues also offer discounts and free tickets).

Whether you want to catch a mid week matinee or a light night concert, you're sure to find something for an amazing price and an amazing time.

Some interesting sites:
Birmingham Hippdrome
Birmingham Rep
Alexandra Theatre
A Night Less Ordinary Scheme


And most importantly...
Birmingham Culture

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Being Inventive With Fashion...

Ever had a day when you've nothing to wear (even though you have clothes literally falling out of your wardrobe?) Ever had a day when you just can't find the right item to make an outfit complete? Well fear not! Fashion is all about being inventive and creative, not just wearing what the shops tell us to!

People have been customising clothes for years, from tearing up shirts to using laces as hair bobbles - anything is possible. So you might not have a sewing machine but there's nothing stopping you from thinking outside of the box when it comes to dressing in the morning.

For example, the other day I was going out for a casual meal and had the perfect look. I was going for the casual nerd look, jeans, plimpsolls, a nice shirt and those fake glasses yet I could not find the right tie in my wardrobe... I wanted a skinny tie but couldn't find one in the right shade of blue I wanted. Black wouldn't go, white was boring... What could I do? I decide to look through my drawers and come across my old school tie; it was the perfect shade of blue. But surely I couldn't go out with my SCHOOL tie on? And besides, it wasn't even a skinny tie... And then I had a (genius) idea. Why not do my tie the other way round so the bit I usually took into the shirt is on the outside and the thick clumpy bit is on the inside? I did it... And yes, it looked amazing!

Another (and basic) idea I had was when I discovered my cut off jean shorts were in the wash and I NEEDED them to complete my summer look... It was too hot to wear jeans and I had worn all my other shorts a million times. And then it hit me, all that they are are jeans cut short and then turned up a little to make a "turn up". Why couldn't I do something like this? I found some jeans but I was not prepared to cut up my French Connection jeans. So instead I roll them up and make a more clumpier turn up. After sticking on a pair of plimsolls and the matching t shirt I was ready to go. (On a side note, it started to rain later that day and fortunately for me I could role them down again to keep me warm...)

Possibly my favourite idea I've had yet is when I was in desperate need of a tank jumper. I threw them all away when they started to die down last season, but I wanted to resurrect the preppy look for a nice summer afternoon. Therefore I found an old jumper and not being brave enough to cut off the sleeves on my own, I took them round my friend's house (who happens to live round the corner and used to study fashion) and got her to cut off the sleeves and tidy up the tear with a few minutes on the sewing machine.

These are just the few basic ideas... There are loads of ideal opportunities for everyone to be inventive when deciding what to wear in the morning.

Do you have any stories to tell about customising your outfits? Make sure to leave a comment about them!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Theatre Ideas.

http://theatreideas.blogspot.com/

An interesting blog about the role of theatre in American society, recent blogs about Next to Normal and it's nomination!

Next to Normal (Original Broadway Cast)

Broadway Openings

The past few days have saw the opening of two completely different musicals on Broadway. The first: a clasic revival, the second: a brand new rock musical. However different they appear to be, they have one thing in common: rave reviews. The two shows I'm talking about are "La Cage Aux Folles" and Green Day's "American Idiot" (respectively).

La Cage follows the story of Georges and Albin - who happen to work at a drag nightclub. George's son is ready to marry but first his fiancee's parents must meet George and Albin. Think "Meet the Fockers" and you've got the picture. This current production is a transfer from the West End and stars Kelsey Grammer as Georges
Douglas Hodge as Albin/Zaza. The show opened April 18th and has been getting some amazing reviews, including the all important New York Times review. The New York Times states “THIS VERSION OF LA CAGE TRIUMPHS!” (What more could a Broadway show ask for?)

As for American Idiot, the musical is based on the songs from the Green Day album (think Mamma Mia / We Will Rock You style). The show premiered at the Berkley Rep in 2009 before transferring to the St James Theatre on Broadway and opening April 20th. The musical follows Johnny, Will and Tunny going through the struggles of teenage life, throw is pregnancy and drugs scandals and you've got the picture. And what did the NY Times think of the show? Well, the title of the review sums it all up "Stomping Onto Broadway With a Punk Temper Tantrum". (Read the full review here: http://theater.nytimes.com/2010/04/21/theater/reviews/21idiot.html)

So, we gave Broadway La Cage, could Broadway be kind enough to lend American Idiot to the West End?

Each show is sparkling in it's own right, (La Cage has enough sparkles for all of Broadway,) and with Tony season just around the corner, who knows what could happen?



The People's Blog

After a few weeks of blogging I feel that this blog is finally starting to stand on it's own feet. I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who's read it and given me feedback. I'd also like to say thanks to everyone who's following the blog / subscribed to the RSS feed.

Now, if we could all spread the word: Twitter, email, word of mouth, linking it to other blogs etc it would reach a further audience making a real sense of community. So I'd be very grateful if regular readers could all spread the word!

Haven't signed up to follow yet? It's easy, you can follow by Twitter, google, facebook etc by clicking on the tab on the right hand side of the page. Also, for the more computer literate, you can subscribe to the RSS feed by your toolbar.

Lastly, leave comments! Comment on the posts I make. Do you agree with me? Disagree? Any suggestions for blog features or articles? Just let me know in the comment box and I'll listen!

So, make sure you follow, spread the word, comment and check back regularly!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

New York Daily Photo Blog

New York: one of the most interesting city's in the world. This blog has daily photo's the amazing city for your enjoyment... Check it out!

THE STYLE SCOUT - London Street Fashion: London Style: Love the Shoes...#links

THE STYLE SCOUT - London Street Fashion: London Style: Love the Shoes...#links


A link to another blog detailing street fashion, definately worth checking out for some creative inspiration!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Glee is back!

Tonight sees the return of the hit TV show Glee for it's UK fans... Reports suggest that the new series is even hotter than the original with entire episodes dedicated to Lady Gaga and Madonna.

Tonight's season opener sees Broadway and pop star Idina Menzel star as rival Glee club Vocal Adrenaline's coach. Rumour has it that we may find out that her character might be Rachel Berry's (played by Lea Michele) biological mother when they sing an acoustic version of Poker Face.

Johnathon Groff (once reported to be dating Lea Michele in real life) also makes an appearance in this series.

So, the big questions to be answered is: will Will finally get with Emma? What happens to poor Terry? and Will we find out who Rachel's mother is?

Tune into E4 tonight at nine pm as it all starts to become revealed...

Over the Rainbow

Every Saturday and Sunday night I find myself glued to my TV screen watching Andrew Lloyd Webber search for a new Dorothy for a new West End production of "The Wizard of Oz".

On the Sunday night show, the potential Dorothy's perform a "mash up"... I use the term lightly as from what I've always understood a mash up is not singing one song after the other, that's called a medley.

Come on BBC, sort it out! Either call it a medley or get a new musical director to actually arrange a mash up!

Ranting aside, I love the programme and am backing Lauren or Danielle.

Time for more ranting... What is the British public playing at? The past two weeks have ended up with the completely wrong girls in the "dreaded sing off". I'm worried that we're gonna end up with tuneless Emilie treading the boards in those Ruby Slippers!

One of my favourite parts of the show is the "Dorothy farewell" when the booted Dorothy is perched on a flying moon singing "Over the Rainbow"... Let's hope we see Emilie or the super tall one sitting on it next week.

Although, they better be careful on that flying moon with that ash cloud and all that...

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Saturday, 17 April 2010

The Battery's Down

Ever wondered what it's like to be an actor in New York City? Ever wondered what it's like to try and make it on Broadway? Well, thanks to "The Battery's Down" you can journey with a group of musical theatre wannabes as they overcome the troubles of trying to get their names in lights!

"The Battery's Down" is a musical web series created by Jake Wilson and features music from some of Broadway's biggest composers, as well as starring some of Broadway's biggest performers (Shoshana Bean, Michael Arden, Alice Ripley and Johnathon Groff are just a few to have made appearances).

The web show has two series both of which can be found on the official youtube channel (see bottom) and has albums from series 1 and 2 which can be brought from iTunes and Ghostlight records... The albums are a must for any musical theatre wannabe (or veteran).

This web show is *the* best web show out there, and is a must for anyone looking for some comedy or a bit of musical theatre. I mean, what could be better than a whole company of dancers arabesque-ing in Times Square?

Website: http://www.thebatterysdown.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/thebatterysdown
Youtube channel (to view series): http://www.youtube.com/user/thebatterysdown

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Created in Birmingham

Whilst doing some mid week shopping in the Bullring, I came across a shope called "Created in Birmingham" displaying lots of artwork, jewellry, crafts, books and much more created by people from the Birmingham area....

The shop sells some amazing artwork by local artists and I found myself wanting to invest in some pieces, these are artists definately to watch out for the future. Another display featured vases made from recycled books by a young designer by the name of Laura Cahill, let me tell you, her work is genius! You can check out her work on her webiste... (http://www.lauracahilldesigns.co.uk/) If recycled vases and modern art doesn't take your fancy, there's much more to choose from, whether you're looking for a nice greeting card or an eco - friendly tote bag, there's something for everyone.

Let me tell you, it's one of my favourite stores in the city now. I just think it's amazing how local crafts-people have the opportunity to showcase their talents and skills and have people appreciate it. The shop, situated on Level 3 of the Upper West Mall in the Bullring, is definately a store to check out and it's only there for a limited time, so be quick!




For more information check out:
http://www.createdinbirmingham.com/


Follow them on twitter:
http://twitter.com/createdinbrum/

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Double Denim

We all have a pair of jeans in our wardrobe, some of us might even have a denim jacket left over from the 80’s, but now it’s time to go all out with those jeans and jackets as the double denim look comes full circle for the Spring / Summer 2010 Season.

Not so long ago I found myself searching for my gag reflex at the thought of wearing double denim - it was possibly the worst fashion mishap I could endure, however, on the weekend I went out brought three outfits based on the double denim look... Yes, three outfits! After examining the trends of this season, it seems that the fashion houses are including the clean cut look into the double denim look with fitted shirts and fitted jeans. I must say, I am now a double denim addict.

So, I find myself asking “why”? Why denim? Why the colour? Why is it making a comeback? Well, the array of blue colours are perfect for the Sp/Su season giving off a more gentle aura than the browns of the military look, perfect for basking in the sun on the weekend. The dark and light blues are perfectly blended with the bright colours seen on the catwalks, making it a style to make you stand out from the crowd. If dressed properly, the DD look will also give you that vintage edge which is becoming more and more popular in today's society.

Who’s making us wear this style? All the major fashion houses had the DD look going on, mainly the Ralph Lauren and D&G collections, making it practically inescapable. Now, it has flooded down to the upper high street stores, namely French Connection and (even more prominently) Firetrap. Even the traditional British fashion lines (such as Ted Baker and Vivienne Westwood) have found themselves with some timeless denim pieces. And as for celebrities, everyone from David Beckham to Kanye West have been papped sporting jeans and denim shirts. Mr West has even been seen going for the triple denim look...

Now, it’s easy to make a mistake with this image: making you look more of an 80’s rock band reject than style icon. It’s important to stay away from black and dark colours (unless of course, you are an 80’s rock band reject). Use different shades of denim (of course, darker tones on the bottom and lighter tones on the top to make the most of your figure) and mix with bright colour t shirts and accessories.

My favourite summer look costs a total of £155 and includes pieces that can be mixed and matched with other styles.
A bright t shirt is needed for any Sp/Su look. This fitted “rocket red” piece from the DKNY Jeans collection is perfect for this summer. The picture really doesn’t do it justice, the real item has a much richer tone to it and looks amazing teamed up with the jean shorts.
(http://dknyjeansintl.com/collections/Spring-Summer-2010/men/Spring-Summer-2010--br-Look-18.aspx)

Now, a piece I fell in love with. This (once again following the clean cut trend) fitted denim shirt is a perfect item to throw on during those summer evenings. Wear with the sleeves half rolled up and one button fastened (or completely open if you wish) to give a casual sense to the outfit. Go for the stone wash rather than the indigo colour for this outfit.

(http://www.firetrap.com/Wicked-without-PRODFEAT71/)

As already mentioned on the blog, these Ted Baker shorts just scream “fashion” to me.

(http://www.tedbaker.com/men%27s/trousers_+_shorts/83068-dark_denim_turn_up_shorts/detail.aspx?pfm=browse)
With the darker tones, they’re perfect to team up with a brighter coloured t shirt and a lighter denim jacket. Mix with a pair of white plimsolls and white aviator sunglasses and you’re set to stun in the summer weather. Why not try wearing the top half with jeans and military boots for a casual evening look?

This look can include just the t shirt and shorts, or can include mixed and matched elements: it’s your personal style that will make any outfit dazzle. But, the number one rule for double denim? Make sure you get it right for your body type, there’s nothing worse than seeing an oversized middle aged bloke trying to pull off the look above.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Topman and Selfridges Blogs.

Two new blogs to add to your collection, perfect for keeping up with all the goings on at Topman and Britian's best department store - Selfridges:

The Topman Blog: http://blog.topman.com/

The Selfridges Blog: http://www.selfridges.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/WhatIsOnDisplay?pCategoryId=86946&storeId=10052&categoryId=103267&langId=-1&catalogId=12151

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Ted Baker / Style Birmingham Blogs.

Some great fashion blogs for men and women style icons!

Ted Baker: http://www.tedbakerblog.com/
A great source for keeping up with all things Ted Baker, definately one to keep an eye on.

Style Birmingham: http://www.stylebirmingham.com/blog/
Another wonderful source for all things fashion going on in Birmingham - the UK's Second City!

Starbucks: The Place to be This Season.

Any lad (or girl) about town will need the perfect place to take a breather in between major shopping, browsing galleries and attending the theatre. Any lad (or girl) about town will need the perfect place to meet up with friends, have a drink and a bite to eat. Any lad (or girl) about town will know that the perfect place for this is a classically contemporary furnished Starbucks. Let’s face it, there are a million coffee shops out there and out of all them, Starbucks is the number one place to be.

The tagline “your perfect coffee made just the way you like it” is 100% true, you can create vertually any beverage you want when ordering.

Now, for the first time “Starbucks-er” it might appear scary... Everything appears to be in a different language - it still baffles me that the smallest cup for a cold beverage is a “tall” and the biggest is “venti” (but I suppose the world carries on, doesn’t it?). But trust me, there is something in Starbucks for everyone. For the coffee lover they have super strong espressos, for the chocolate lover why not try a chocolate Crème Frappuccino®? Or if you want the best of both world take pleasure in ordering a white chocolate mocha? It may look daunting at first but in the end you're bound to find your perfect drink and then venture into the other "fields of coffee". You'll soon be an expert at speaking the language, these days I find it's pretty much self explanatory

Starbucks is my favourite place to meet up with friends, study, create, design, write, relax and eat. In most stores you can relax on double arm chairs whilst being given the perfect atmosphere to study, create and relax. (Hey, I got A*'s in Physics after spending weekend after weekend studying in Starbucks with friends... And believe me, Physics was hard!)

The barista's (people who make your drinks) are always friendly and are trained in the language of "Starbucks". Ask them for an "extra hot grande vanilla latte with room for cream and a sprinkling of chocolate to go" and they'll have it whipped up for you (freshly) within minutes. Plus, with the new Starbucks VIA™ you can take your perfect coffee home to make instantly with hot water. Still not satisfied? You can buy Starbucks mugs for use at home, there's nothing stopping you from creating your own coffee from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Now, as it's approaching Summer, an extra hot cinnamon latte might not suit your mood; thankfully Starbucks have catered for this by creating a whole range of Summer coolers. Swap your extra hot drink for an "iced caffe latte" instead and relax in the outdoor seating area many stores offer. Or have it take out (a Starbucks take out cup is the perfect accessory for any style icon!) and explore the city.

And let's not forget the range of snacks and meals there is to offer. Choose from muffins, cakes and doughnuts or fruit salads, pasta salads and porridge... Or even paninis and toasties.

Not wanting to have a buldge appearing over the top of your new trousers? Ask for the skinny option available in most drinks and some food. Using skimmed milk and sugar free syrups, it's the perfect treat for anyone wanting to stay in shape.

And let's not forget the relaxing, vibrant, cosmopolitan atmosphere... It's the perfect place to feel the excitement (or the escape to the peaceful corner of the room) of the city.

With wonderful art decor and stylish furniture, it's definately the place to be this Summer after a long day of shopping or to simply to read a book.



Useful links:
Download the Starbucks App for iPod Touch / iPhone: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mystarbucks/id331177714?mt=8

Visit Starbucks UK:
https://starbucks.co.uk/en-GB/
OR
http://www.starbuckscoffee.co.uk/

A Starbucks blog:
http://starbucksgossip.typepad.com/

myStarbucks Idea:
http://mystarbucksidea.force.com/apex/ideaHome

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The Dapper Look: French Connection and Ted Baker.

This season it’s all about looking sharp and looking dapper. Gone are the days where you can get away with throwing on a pair of jeans and a hoodie to stroll down the high street, this Spring / Summer it’s all about taking pride in your appearance. This look is definitely combing itself with the “military” style with collections using more neutral / earthly tones to create outfits that scream “care taken to dress this morning”. Two of the biggest high street brands that have always fused the clean cut style are French Connection (FCUK) and Ted Baker, for years they’ve always infused their collections with a dapper style giving off oozes of confidence.

As previously mentioned in an earlier blog post, the trench coat is a staple for any wardrobe. This season is the perfect opportunity to invest in a good quality trench coat as they appear dapper and combine the look of World War I military. For the skinnier man I advise in purchasing a trench coat with a belt to draw the figure in and add feature around the waist. French Connection has the classic black trench coat available for £150. I cannot advise how important this is for any stylish man's wardrobe!

(http://www.frenchconnection.com/product/Man+Collections/50AB3/Storm+Terry+Mac.htm)

For the (cough)larger(cough) male, it’s important not to have a coat that goes lower than the hips unless you definitely know how to wear it. (Otherwise that beer belly will just make you look pregnant). French Connection seems to be catering for all shapes and sizes and the larger male can look just as fashionable in their “Corporal Jacket”. Even though it does have a belt, the many pockets will allow the eye to be drawn away from the larger figure. Again, priced at £150 it definitely is a staple item for your wardrobe.

(http://www.frenchconnection.com/product/Man+Collections+Bestsellers/55AN3/Corporal+Jacket.htm)

A major mistake for the older man (anyone over the age of 25) is the “white trainers and jeans” look. There is nothing worse than see a perfectly dressed gent and them looking down to see a pair of shiny white trainers. No, no and no! Unless you’re a teenager or a student it’s should not be happening. It’s all about boots and shoes this season. French Connection have the perfect example of neutral boots. The “Arid Dessert Boot” can be worn with jeans (or for an edgier look, try them with flesh / cream tone shorts). For just £75 these suede lace ups can transform you from trainer teen to booty bloke.

(http://www.frenchconnection.com/product/Man+Collections+Shoes/TFAE3/Arid+Desert+Boot.htm)

One of my favourite ideas this Summer is to mix and match style with practicality. Therefore, it’s a good idea to mix a slim fit shirt with a pair of shorts and plimsolls or casual shoes. For an even more preppy look, add a tie and polo knit jumper to it, throw in a pair of sunglasses and you’re set to have heads turning.


Ted Baker’s neutral shirt is perfect for this look...


Mix it with these denim turn up shorts...


And throw on this tank top to give that preppy edge to your Summer outfit.

Ted Baker definately is the place to shop for shirts this season (and pretty much any other season). With their famous floral designs they are perfect for the working day and the nightlife partying. With prices starting from around £65, it's definately worth taking a trip to your nearest boutique.

And on that note, I leave you with one tip. Mix style with practicality for an infusion of fashion and individuality.

"Fashion Grub"

The City Dream blog is now listed on "Fashion Grub", an iPod / iPhone app available from the Apple App store for free. It's listed under the "Men's Fashion" tab.

Make sure you download the app and check it out!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Some links to other sites...

Doing a quick google search, I found a great blog on buying designer shoes, a good read and some great tips:

http://a-man-fashion.blogspot.com/2010/01/man-fashion-tips-how-to-look-for.html

Another great fashion site I also thought worth mentioning is "The Urban Gent":

http://www.theurbangent.com/

It has some style tips, check it out!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Bags for all Occasions

We've all been there, we're going out and we have a lot to carry; so much in fact that there's not enough pockets in the world to cater for your three wallet, Blackerberry, iPod, notepad, stationary, train tickets, tissues, chewing gum and every other piece of junk you own. There's always a slightly scary sight of anyone over the age of 12 with a turtle back rucksack and (in my opinion) they should be banned except for mountain climbers and little kids. Women have a million options for handbags yet us men aren't too aware of all the options we have. For one, there's the drawstring (perfect for the gym), the messenger bag (perfect for a casual day out), the pouch (ok, slightly chavvy but we can dress it up), the holdall, the newsboy's bag and (dare I say it?) the bumbag!

Now, bags don't tend to go out of fashion very quickly, I mean, look at the messanger bag, it's been around for what seems like centuries: therefore I highly reccomend investing in the more expensive bags that will last centuries in your wardrobe.

My favourite style of bag is the messenger bag, it is worn with one strap over the shoulder and then drapped around the lower back. It is very contemporary and can be dressed up or down to make for a laptop carrier at work or a day out bag with the family. Ok, what type of journalist would I be for running an article on bags and not mentioning the renowned Louis Vuitton? One of my favourite messanger bags this Spring is in the LV collection. Entitled "Roman GM", this bag is heavenly, made from leather and detailing the Louis Vuitton label across the strap this bag is perfect for the more sophisticated man wanting to ooze confidence, at a wallet deepening price of £1,190 not everyone's gooing to want to buy it, but after many hours searching the net and shopping in a million stores I genuinly can't find another similar bag that offers such quality. If you've found one, please do let me know! (Leave a comment, Twitter me, email me etc and I'll feature it and you!)

(Can be brought from: http://www.louisvuitton.com/web/flash/index.jsp;jsessionid=3QLBG3CQRTQ1KCRBXUDVAFYKEG4RAUPU?direct1=ebou&langue=en_GB&buy=1)

The next type of bag is appropriate for travelling, it's called "the holdall" and is pretty self explanatory. My favourite is available from Ted Baker for the small(er) sum of £55.


(http://www.tedbaker.com/gifts/men%27s/80238-micro_check_document_bag/detail.aspx)

This bag is definately for anyone of any style, the light grey tones really add a sense of Spring to any outfit and differ fro mthe usual blacks. Another bonus is that it definately doesn't appear to be a tacky holdall brought from a camping store. Top marks for Ted Baker for this bag!

Now, a bag for the students wanting to inject some colour into learning!


(http://www.tedbaker.com/accessories_+_shoes/men%27s/bags/80242-flight_bag/detail.aspx)

Drawing on the style from aircraft pilots this bag really screams "SUMMER!" to me. With the use of white and blue this bag really brightens up an outfit and can also draw the eye away from any disasters going on with a garment. Once again priced £55 it seems Ted Baker is the place to be for bag buying this season.

Similar styles (and prices) can be seen in FCUK and TopMan's collections:
http://www.frenchconnection.com/product/Man+Collections+Accessories+Bags/TBAA3/Airline+Pu+Shoulder+Bag.htm

http://www.topman.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?beginIndex=0&viewAllFlag=&catalogId=17551&storeId=12555&categoryId=172032&parent_category_rn=39002&productId=1480823&langId=-1

For any man going to the gym or doing any sort of sport, they're going to need a bag to carry equipment in. If a holdall is too big, we go to the "drawstring". Republic has some classic drawstring bags available for a small price. My favourite being this "gym sack bag" by Soul Cal for £5.99.


(http://www.republic.co.uk/Bags+Wallets/Soul-Cal-Gym-Sack-Bag/invt/78845)
What more can I say? Simple, practical, affordable. Get your credit card out and order it immediately!

Bizarrely it appears that male tote bags are becoming more and more popular, I'm not too keen on this idea (yet) but I suppose as more a more fashion houses bring them into their collections the idea might take off and be the next fashion must have (or an epic fail like male poncho's!)

(Check out TopMan's tote bag and let me know what you think:
http://www.topman.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?beginIndex=0&viewAllFlag=&catalogId=17551&storeId=12555&categoryId=172032&parent_category_rn=39002&productId=1619805&langId=-1)

I've had my fair share of disasters with bags in the past. Everything from snapping off my back and breaking, leather being scratched off within a week, buying overpriced bags then finding them in a half price sale the next week and overloading my bag to the point it looses it's shape. I don't want anyone to become a victim of any of these natural disasters, therefore I've included a list of rules.


Rule number one of bags: Bumbags need to be destroyed, they are not acceptable even if you are a tourist.

Rule numer two of bags: Never overload you bag, it'll loose it's shap and look bulky.

Rule number three of bags: Invest in a top of the range bag for long lasting and quality.

Rule number four of bags: Supermarket carrier bags are not acceptable. Sometimes designer shopping bags are. (Except JD Sports bags, come on, you're not a 13 year old chav plus they break easily.)

Rule number five: The colour of your bag should match the colour of your t shirt (if a jacket is worn) or the colour of your other accessories if not coat / jacket is worn.

Finally, rule number six: Think before buying. Is it a good price? Will it last? Can I fit everything I need to in it? Is it stylish? etc.

I hope you've enjoying my little "bags" artcile. Let me know what you think and share some of your bag disasters.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Home Decor Art.

After studying Fine Art for three years I'm always on the look out for pieces that are unique, tell a story and are attracting to the eye. People often think that "art" is for the more elite and that there's no way on earth they'd be able to afford some top pieces for their homes. After sourcing department stores and doing some internet shopping I've found some top pieces that will brighten up any room and add some style to a boring wall.

Now, I often find myself re-arranging furniture and art pieces to suit the needs of my own feng shui. I also can't stand looking at the same thing each and everyday with no diversity, therefore I find myself arranging and changing art pieces almost every fortnight. This doesn't necessarily mean buying expensive pieces every two weeks, I simply search department stores for quirky images on canvas and frames to change the style of rooms.



One of my favourite pieces can be found at John Lewis, it's very "Rauschenberg" inspired in use of the abstract nature and sense of "anything goes". The red and brown tones of paint applied randomly with white / cream highlights create a modern yet stylish piece. Entitled "Spiritual Painting" it costs £300, slightly pricey for those looking for a bargain and not to appreciate art. However, take a look at some of the work by "Robery Rauschenberg" and it's easy to see why his work (and pieces like "Spiritual Painting") are so popular and have the ability to attract the eye.

(Copyright and piece available from: http://www.johnlewis.com/230720451/Product.aspx?)source=46387



Another one of my favourite pieces, and slightly less modern is another piece avaiable from John Lewis. This piece entitled "Over The Top Print". This canvas print by Shyama Ruffell draws on influences from Hundertwasser in the use of bright colours and child-like image. A more cultural piece it costs £90 and is definately worth the price.

(Copyright and piece available from: http://www.johnlewis.com/230720465/Product.aspx?source=46387)



An interesting piece for the modern household can be bagged from Marks and Spencer's. This piece uses photography with a Pop Art (think Andy Warhol) influence to bring out the best of New York City's monuments. At a priceo f £39.50, this image is defaintely one to brought up quickly as the vintage styles of 60's peaks. Entitled "New York City Wall Art" I like the simplicity of black and white photos used to create a collage print.

(Copyright and piece available from: http://www.marksandspencer.com/New-York-City-Wall-Art/dp/B002I6F88I?extid=af_a_Content_79682)



Lastly, it's always nice to inject a sense of Britishness into any household with Britain always having that quirky and elegant feeling in all of it's decor. This quirky canvas print features the simplicity of limited colour in which the typical "red London busses" are set against the black background and white/grey outlines of London's momumental sights reminding the viewer of what makes Britain so elegant and characteristic. Definately a bargain piece (£19.99) for the type of person who likes to change their walls (like myself) to create different moods for the mood you're in.

(Copyright and image from: http://www.wallpaperdirect.co.uk/products/arthouse/buses/71885?siteID=0RpXOIXA500-oIH86sek4agkmVhGIv7YoQ)


And finally my favourite saying "art is what one wants it to be" means that you should never be restricted in the artwork you buy and how you arrange it. Pieces that clash can look stylish (if arranged correctly) or contemporary pieces can look classic if you want them to. When buying art, lead with the heart and you'll never go wrong.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

D&G Men Spring / Summer 2010 Collection: My thoughts.

Instantly logging onto the D&G Store website you see the words "Spring Summer 2010, Summer Tailored Mood". This tagline really sums up the new D&G collection as many of the catwalk outfits feature the suit and blazer look. After checking out the latest styles of D&G the main look I seem to be getting is the "stylish preppy with a tailored attitude". Blazer jackets, waistcoats and straight cut jeans seem to play a big role in this collection. The featured colours of this new collection are browns and pastel blues, completely contrasting with last year's rainbow colours.

The new collection definately feautres some staple wardrobe items, such as this "virgin wool stripped waistcaot":

http://store.dolcegabbana.com/item/store/DG/tskay/436A8784/rr/1/cod10/49113011NM/areaid//sts/ .

A definate investment buy as it features that all important tailored look yet has an aura of relaxment about it. This stylish piece can be worn for any occassion (that is, of course, if you dress it properly). Neatly matched with a shirt and straight cut trousers it can be the perfect look for the office, or if desired, dress down with a pair of dark toned jeans for an image ready for a casual night out with the mates.

The 2009 "Grandad" look still looks as stylish as ever, however, appearing in a more conformed style rather than the relaxed 60's look from last Summer. Knitwear plays a vital part in any man's wardrobe, giving off the more gentleman rather than caveman image. Branching off from the tailored image, D&G have created this 2 in 1 number:

http://store.dolcegabbana.com/item/store/DG/tskay/436A8784/rr/1/cod10/39159780JL/areaid//sts/

This piece can be worn by the larger male for a more casual outfit, however, still smart enough for the office. Although the piece is moving towards the tailored image of the new collection, I'd not bother in splashing the cash on an image that can be pulled off using items from last year's wardrobe.

It appears to be that the tailored look is best accesorised using eyewear. Many models seen in the Spring / Summer 2010 collection are decked out in the latest D&G glasses.

Sunglasses are a must for any stylish gent's wardrobe as they give off a confident and mysterious image (and sunglasses take many years to go out of style). Even when you find yourself not wanting to wear them anymore, they're sure to come back in style in 20 years or so. (Last Summer I found myself wearing Ray Ban's from the 80's). Some of my favourite sunglasses in the new D&G collection include the more earthy toned style.

http://store.dolcegabbana.com/item/store/DG/tskay/436A8784/rr/1/cod10/46150753HH/areaid//sts/
These shaded lenses give off style and confidence and will look good against any sun kissed skin in the late summer evenings.

On a side note, practical glasses seem to be edging into the smart cut image as well: with eyewear taking a more rectangular shape able to portray the perfect cut gent.

Gone are the days of chunky glasses lenses, along with the days of bright colours. This season's colours are the more earthly browns and the sky blues. In the new D&G collection it's all about smart, tailored and fitting clothes giving off the aura of a man who takes pride in his appearance. With this fashion line you're sure to have heads turning in the office and out of the office with the smart looks.

Monday, 29 March 2010

The Trench Coat

We see them in almost every shop, whether it's a high street store like Topman or a more luxury store like Burberry but wherever we look, we can't escape them... It's the single must have of every male (and female) wardrobe: The Trench Coat.

Time for a history lesson: originally made for practical reasons during the First World War, the trench coat was designed by Burberry for the use of Officers in World War I, over the time it was adapted to suit the needs of World War II and was soon seen in other countries. Since 1901 (when the design was first submitted) it has evolved into one of Burberry's iconic designs and has been developed by pretty much every other fashion designer in the world (atleast in the UK and New York).

After browsing trench coats from Daks to Jaeger, Topman to Burberry and Asda to H&M my personal favourites are in the lighter colours, however, they work just as good in the blacks and navy's. As we move into Spring it's advisable for a more of a "jacket" than a "coat", a perfect example of a navy jacket trench coat can be grabbed from Topman for £60 and is sure to keep you going for the next three or more seasons. (http://www.topman.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?beginIndex=0&viewAllFlag=&catalogId=17551&storeId=12555&categoryId=56915&parent_category_rn=38994&productId=1668004&langId=-1) Perfect for anyone looking for style but an affordable price tag and any male of any size. Definately for the casual look, dress it up with a pair of dark (but not black) jeans and smart black shoes you're ready to hit the swankiest bar in the city (plus it's perfect to wear to work over the usual office attire.)

Now, for those wanting to splash the cash you simply MUST have an iconic Burberry trench coat in their lighter colours, the creams work well to inject a bright atmosphere into those Autumn 2010 styles. For a price of £1659 you can grab yourself this magnificent number: http://uk.burberry.com/fcp/product/clothing-accessories/coats/single-breasted-ruched-leather-trench-coat/10000009835?colour=trench&lastcategoryurl=true . With minimal buttons, large pockets and cream leather this coat really gives off the "relaxed yet perky, stylish yet classy" look. However, not for the larger male as the belt will make that beer gut more revealing. Dress it with some Italian styled leather shoes and darker (try to stay away from black, keep to rich tones of brown) trousers this look will definately have heads turning as you grab your morning coffee for work.

These are just two of the coats that are out there, quickly walking Armani Exchange last weekend I noticed they were appearing in those windows. Topman always have an array of the jacket styles and Selfridges is always a good place to look (they have an affordable hight street section and an upper market design section).

Now, if you haven't got one already I suggest you hurry quickly to the nearest high street. You can easily nab one from GAP for £70 or for £60 from H&M. Not only is the "military" style becoming hot this season, your trench coat is sure to remain in your wardrobe for a long time as it provides a classic smart - yet modern look for any respectable gent living and/or working in the city. After testing and trying many trench coats I'd suggest going for one of the upper high street price ranged ones from designs such as Firetrap and Ted Baker, not only will you have it for the rest of your life (a good investment), the performance quality is much better than one grabbed off the rails at Asda, and the style / cut / material / overall look tends to be better when you splash the cash.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

DKNY Jeans - Spring / Summer 2010 Collection.

As a young male spending much time in the city, it's hard to escape the fashion life. (Plus I'd never be seen out looking a mess!) Now, I'm not one to go around in the haute couture fashions (all the time!), when I shop I look for classic yet contemporary, vintage yet modern and something with a twist. Recently I ventured into the DKNY Jeans store and had a browse at the new Spring / Summer collection and picked up some amazing pieces.

I've not always been a fan of DKNY, however, in recent times I've started to take turn to them. DKNY Jeans is the more affordable branch of Donna Karen New York, with purchases starting from about £50 for a t shirt. Dubbed as the "New York State of Mind" I enjoy their urban vibe yet still classic look. Not too Lady GaGa fashion, yet not too boring I've started to mix and match their collections.

According to the website: "The New York mindset: it's a sensibility, an attitude. Whether you're a New Yorker by birth or desire, the spirit of that city runs through your veins: raw ambition, energy, and courage with a streak of rebellion." This gives the fashionista much choice in what they want their look to be.

Now, the new collection appears to feautre a lot of demin and hints towards this seasons military look. A prime example of their New York inspired and fashion trend style can be seen in their use of military garments. Not too soldier-y, yet not too boring I'm definately enjoying their jackets and shirts in this collection. A personal favourite is thier "Short Sleeve Patch Shirt", (http://www.dknyjeansintl.com/collections/Spring-Summer-2010/men/Spring-Summer-2010--br-Look-17.aspx), the lapels and breast label create the military feel with an almost pastel colour giving it a Spring atmosphere. However, I do have a shirt almost the same as this in my wardrobe from about two seasons ago from one of the Armani Exchange collections - this is a prime example of the "recycling" of trends.


One of my favourite items is their "Slim Fit Jean, Rinse Wash" (http://www.dknyjeansintl.com/collections/Spring-Summer-2010/men/Spring-Summer-2010--br-Look-21.aspx) . It appears that the short jean style is making a come back in much darker tones this season. This is definately a staple for any wardrobe as we move into the Summer months.

Now, one thing I'm not too keen on, not just in the DKNY Jeans collections but in pretty much every other designer's collections is the graphic - print style t shirts. They never seem to suit me and I'd rather have a plain(ish) t shirt that I can dress up with accesories. (A typical example of my "classic style" buying).

Another note to make is that the "layering" style of last year has definately started to take a decline with DKNY Jean's collection with outfits appearing much simpler and less textured with much more detail in one colour than a mixture.

As my first fashion blog comes to a close I'll leave you with a tip: remeber, mix your wardrobe with staple items from top brand designers and dress them up with off the rail accesories from the cheaper high street stores.

Wicked the Musical - 2009 to 2010 Cast Review

So, last Wednesday I had the opportunity to see the last Wednesday matinee of the 2009 / 2010 West End cast of "Wicked". Having already seen the show numerous times before I knew what I should be expected: the fun "Popular", the spectacle "Defying Gravity" and the twists and turns of the story.

Among the theatre world many people often look down upon the show, saying that it's not well written and has a sloppy score. I completely disagree with these, I think the show is fun, has great songs and has a storyline that anyone and everyone can relate to.

The first time I saw Wicked was all the way back in 2006 when it first opened with Idina Menzel as Elphaba, this time I saw Alexia Khadime as the green girl. I loved her portrayal as the Wicked Witch, however, I wasn't too keen on her singing all the way throughout. She had some great belting moments, but during the softer songs she sounded very nasal-y. However, her acting skills definately brought up her marks. I loved her sense of vulnerability during Act One, helping her to grow and definately giving "Defying Gravity" a meaning behind the lyrics. Her rebelious side in Act Two can clearly be seen from the development of events during Act One. (In fear of getting eaten alive by the Idina Meznel fangirls, I shall refrain from saying "Alexia was better than Idina").

Dianna Pilkington played the role of the ditzy Glinda. Her comic timing was to die for and her vocal skills were definately top notch. Her rendition of "Popular" had the audience in stitches, definately something hard to do on a Wednesday matinee. My personal highlight of her performance for me was her performance during the song "Dancing Through Life", seeing her less ditzy and more intelligent side as she schemes to make Elphaba look a fool and get rid of her "stalker" Boq. Not giving her a horrible side but more of an innocent character unaware of her horrible doings.

The rest of the leads and ensemble cast were absolutely perfect! It was clear to see that the cast enjoyed the performance. One day I hope to play a role in this show! Probably the most suprising part of the show? When the audience gave a standing ovation! A rarity for a Wednesday matinee audience.

The new cast - Rachel Tucker as Elphaba and Louise Dearman as Glinda - definately have something to live up to! I'm interested in seeing how their interpretations differ from the previous cast.

The Start Up

So, today is the 28th March 2010 and I suddenly decide to start blogging. I ask myself "why?" and suddenly find my head spinning round in circles with a million different reasons. The first reason is: a hobby - which is great. The second reasion: for fun - just as great. The final reason: the spread my interests with everyone else on the world wide web and to see where it takes me... You never know these days, the internet's wonderful!

I then find myself wondering what I should blog about, I then realise that my life often evolves spending a lot of time in an amazing city in the UK - Birmingham. I find that my life evolves around the art, the dining, the music, the shopping, the fashion, the theatre, the culture and everything else to do with it! On a personal note, my favourite things in life are male fashion, the theatre and art and so, that is what I shall be blogging about.

All I need to do now is get some followers! So, spread the word of what is sure to be an amazing (or an epic fail!) blog.