Scouting for Bargains

So, you want designer chic without that eye-watering, gut-wrenching behemoth of a credit card bill flopping onto your doormat come the month’s end like an A5 bête noire mailed direct from the festering bowels of Hell? Welcome to my world where the pinched penny is King: it’s time to get down to some hardcore worship at the shrine of fast fashion (leave your petty prejudices at the door people…label-phobia is so noughties).

Lets talk sugary-sweet Sunday Best in cotton candy pinks and powder puff blue a la Christopher Kane’s gingham girlies…

Christopher Kane s/s 2010

New Look’s lookalikey: fifties-bustier, over sized check…softly, softly pastel-pink…£20

Lipsy: check halterneck £50 (love the button detailing – totally kawaii!)

Miss Selfridge’s red version £35 (for those out of love with muted hint-of-a-shade pastels)

Ways to Wear…

Think fifties pin-up meets Lolita on a lazy day in the country and look for straw hats (wide-brimmed or classic boaters are the most versatile trend-wise), oversized gingham checks and prissy retro cuts…if you want to take it super saccharine a pair of heart-shaped sunnies is a must

ASOS: straw Boater with coral band £15

Toughen-up with a biker jacket and stacked heels for a punky twist. Style-savvy shoppers should look out for a/w’s ankle boot cannily ventilated for s/s with peep-toes and sexy cut-aways…did I mention they’re set to be hot for a/w 2010 too? (As is the sock-sandal combo – good news for toes on those chilly autumn eves!)

Office: Morse Zip Bootee £40

Or why not rework the look adding faded denim micro shorts, tan leather accessories and a pair of prairie scuffed boots to gingham and lace and nail the urban cowgirl trend Daisy Duke style.

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The Cat’s Out of The Bag at Zara

If – like me – Miu Miu makes your knees weak – but the price makes your bank balance blanch then check out this cute little number from Zara’s summer collection…

Pretty-prints...shirtless collar...Deja vu?

Yes, Zara’s design team have jettisoned the gorgeously overwrought detailing for the cheap-chic simplicity of the play suit, but the (virtually identical) cat-print on an inky blue-black backdrop leaves no doubt as to who is being channelled.

Say what you like about knock-offs, this is one high street hero that’s sure to send any bona fide bargain-hunting recessionista purr-crazy…

To view the rest of Zara’s summer collection head over to nitrolicious

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Sassy Shades: Summer’s must-have style-staple

Moschino

Lets face it, walk of shame or no walk of shame sunglasses are the perennial morning-after-the-night-before style superhero; a sure-fire way to lift those alcohol-fogged spirits (and hide the dreaded ‘didn’t quite get my 8-hours’ eye-baggage).

Whether you have a hankering for some fifties-starlet glamour, want to relive nineties grunge or are searching for an investment classic, this summer offers more choice than you can shake a stick at, so shelve those excuses – it’s all-aboard for sunny-town and boy does it look hot.

Prada

As a certifiable retro-holic my money would be on 50’s-inspired wings and cats-eye frames as worn by Olivia Palermo, Scarlett Johansson, Nicole Richie et al…sweeter than cherry pie and just a little bit sexy…

FYI! Cats-eye sunnies were also all over the fall runways (see Prada for a master-class in quirky panache)…this fabulous pair from Norma Kamali takes super-chic to the max – timeless with a dash of kooky-flair – a definite wish list contender.

Norma Kamali

Of course, for classic kitsch it’s all about heart-frames…cute, fun and very Lolita…

Moschino

Click through to check out some high street alternatives over at Topshop and Newlook (pretty much every style you could dream of and prices that won’t make your mascara run…phew! Shops away!)

Back to Basics: Costello Tagliapietra for UNIQLO

NY fashion-house virtuoso meets THE basics go-to-brand…time to prepare for the latest crush-worthy offspring  from Planet Fashion to descend on the high street.

14 fabulous dresses, a perfectly pitched spring palette (including a sure-to-be-hot mustard yellow number), knee-weakening prices…20th May. If you want me I’ll be in the queue…