Happy New You!

I recently met up for breakfast with my brother in my home town of Okehampton, West Devon. We met in The White Hart hotel, a 17th century coaching inn, now converted into a J D Wetherspoon pub and hotel.

The buildings history is tastefully honoured with a decent collection of nostalgic photos and paintings including the town and surrounding area. We were trying to pinpoint the year of a particular black and white street scene of Okehampton when I saw a lady in the foreground of the picture.

She was wearing a white buttoned up three quarter length dress, a neat collar and short capped sleeves with a fitted waist and a pattern around the hem. A pair of cream courts, a matching bag and her hair was styled in a neat flipped bob.

I shouted out ‘‘It’s the 60’s’’ like a crazed pub quizzer.

And then we saw the date. 1960.

What struck me, is that it took a dress and a particular time in fashion to pinpoint the age of the photo. Not from looking at the cars, buses or buildings, but a simple cotton dress.

Whether you were born during these times or not, most of us recognise something from the fashion eras of the 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and many of us will have a favourite style from those times. Any one of these eras is always a great excuse for a fancy-dress party too!

The styles of these times stood out not only for their individuality, but were clear signposts and maps to what was happening socially and politically in the country and around the world.

The wartime rationing of food and clothing in the 1940’s literally forced fashion into slimmer silhouettes using cheaper and less material. Tights and stockings would be a thing of the past as women learnt to ‘draw’ on their back seams or go without.

This all changed with the end of war in 1947. Christian Dior showed 90 creations to an audience in Paris. The skirts and dresses used huge amounts of material with equal quantities of netting underneath. It was the famous Bar jacket and full pleated skirt that epitomised what was coined The New Look. It marked the end of rationing and the doom and gloom of war and gave way to a booming time in fashion as well as in dance and music.

Fashion nowadays is a massed produced affair and there are few ‘stand-out’ moments when a new fashion season comes around and lets face it, there are only so many ways you can design another cotton t-shirt.

With charity shops in almost every town and city in the UK, it is not hard to pick up a bargain and a a complete outfit while supporting a charity or two and you will often find original pieces from way-back-when.

On top of that, you are helping to recycle the burgeoning clothes mountain we already have.

Would you like a new look?

Are you are overwhelmed or lost in the fashion jungle? Then get in touch with me today and find out how you can update your style, wardrobe and image in three easy steps!

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and stylish 2018!

Clem Onojeghuo

From Devon With Love!

Casa Magnolia is one of those gem like shops you sometimes hear people talking about, like it nearly belongs to them. Well this one is mine!

I try to visit whenever I stay with Mum in Devon. The shop is nestled in the beautiful town of Chagford on the edge of Dartmoor, South West England

We usually decide beforehand whether we are going to go in or not because once past the threshold, it’s nigh on impossible to walk away empty handed. If we decide not to go in, we take necessary precautions to avoid the danger zone and go in search of cake!

Shopping doesn’t always have to be about spending money though. On the contrary. It can also provide a valuable source of inspiration and ideas that fuel creativity in general and it is more than OK to window-shop and walk away.

photo 1

So what makes this shop stand out from the rest? To start with they have fabulous collections. Oska, Terry Macey, NYDJ, Clemente, Lily & Me, Quernstone and Joseph Ribkoff to name just a few. Having an experienced eye and always on the lookout for new labels keeps things current, interesting and buzzing.

Then there are the accessories. Supreme bags designed by Tissa Fontaneda create an entrance and you wonder, are they rubber or leather? (The answer is leather) Jewellery from Florence, bags from Argentina and hand crafted belts and boots from England.

Then there is the service. The dream team consists of Pam (the owner) Vikky and Adam. Any one of them will be waiting with a beaming smile and welcome. Creating an atmosphere and service that is friendly, genuine and relaxed. Combine this with passion and experience and you get a winning combination. Not something in my experience that everyone in retail understands. It goes some way to explain their loyal following of present and new customers alike.

On a recent visit, my eye was drawn to some gorgeous knitwear (shown) from the Serbian label IVKOA collection of high class knitted womens’ fashion and accessories. Ivko combine craftsmanship with state of the art technology. One look at the website will explain their motif handwritten emotions! you will get lost in their dream-like films.

Mum treated me to the cardigan which put a massive smile on my face (also shown) The cardigan does its (100% wool) job by perking up, and putting life into an otherwise dull outfit.

Visiting this shop reminds me that England (as the saying goes) is indeed ”a nation of shopkeepers” for that (and countless other things) it is always good to go back.

Now, where’s that cake!