Friday, July 22, 2011

My fashion evolution.

Hello! My name’s Roxanne and I am the fashion intern at Cleo magazine. I’m a Cape Townian living in Joburg and loving it, I’ll be writing about clothing, style and a most probably bit of John Travolta. 

Princess Diana’s ivory, silk taffeta and antique-lace gown with the near 8m train cascading down the aisle; Belle’s yellow princess dress in that unforgettable ballroom scene from Beauty and the Beast, and Marilyn’s white halter dress billowing seductively over a subway grate in The Seven Year Itch. These iconic moments, paired with their fabulous outfits, have made most girls want to marry a prince, a beast, or perhaps look promiscuous on the streets of downtown Jozi.

These moments got me thinking about the remarkable outfits that have shaped my own life. My first day of preschool, donning a DIY fringe and a gap in my excited smile where my milk teeth were; the dress I wore to my matric dance, paired with too much make-up and heels I had yet to master – they weren’t couture or de rigueur, but nonetheless, unforgettable.

In my life, it wasn’t only the outfits I wore, but the ensembles of my grandmothers and my mother.

My late granny Barbara was a comfort dresser. I recall fondly a trip to the bank in her car that always smelt of the cloves she kept in the ashtray. She wore a bottle-green tracksuit – one of those ‘sporty’ kinds. I think she had one in every colour Woolies had on offer. For a reason unknown to man, or clearly me at the time, this tracksuit later made its way into my closet. I wore it to church with my Power takkies, not Island Style sneakers like the cool kids had, but takkies. I cringe at the horror of this memory, but I smile when I think of how ‘cool and hip’ I felt.

My other grandma was an ‘outfit dresser’. You know those ladies who buy clothing in outfits? She would get her outfits specially made. In one of my favourite black-and-white photographs of her at her engagement party, she’s wearing a matching skirt and jacket suit, apparently in peppermint green. I remember being younger and wanting to wear lady suits. I wanted to look fancy. As my grandma married and had children (at the ripe old age of 19, as one did) she retained her immaculate dressing; although, looking through the photo albums, I think she went through a brief sabbatical around the time she and my granddad wore matching T-shirts with their names on them, and then had their three kids wear them too.

I don’t know why, but later in life (while I was still wearing my sporty tracksuits and takkies) my grandma threw out most of her outfits, along with an extensive hat collection and a fabulous white polyester jumpsuit. The only piece I managed to salvage is a bright blue party dress with smocked sleeves, which I adore, but have to be very careful to keep away from smoke – because where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and no more 100% polyester heirloom.

As kids, my big sister Jenna and I had a magical dress-up box. High heels, velvet hats and big clip-on earrings were always first choice. Most of our dress-up clothes were my mother’s once upon a time.

Being girlie girls who loved the finer things in life, as well as the dirtier, the heels were scuffed, hats stained and beads used as spaghetti while playing ‘cook cook’ in the birds’ bath. The few things she did manage to save were discovered by Jenna and I during our teen phase, which went hand in hand with DIY bad fashion. I cut my mom’s gorgeous maxi skirts into uncomfortable minis, and attempted to sew one half of a blouse onto another – only to realise half way through the project that it was a terrible idea.

I still have a lot of my mother’s scarves, which I wore throughout college around my neck and now around my hair. The first dress she ever made is hanging in my cupboard, a checked pinafore I love. My younger sister Adrienne is now wearing Mom’s school dresses to parties. There’s a beautiful white silk suit in the spare room cupboard at home, which none of us will touch; partly because we don’t want to be mistaken for the long-lost member of Duran Duran, but mostly because we haven’t reached that level of sophistication in our dressing. One day ...

I owe my career in fashion to the ladies in my life who showed what not to wear, and how to wear what you should be wearing. To them, and to my fascination with a career that seemed too pretty to be hard work. (I’m slowly learning that it is hard work making things pretty, and looking pretty doing it.) I aim to keep most of my clothes for my own brats one day, so that they can be the Carrie Bradshaw of the next generation. After all, I got it from my Mamma.

Friday, July 15, 2011

My top nail trends.

Hi Fabs!
Nail varnish has always been fashionable, and the colours and styles have really evolved in the last couple of years. French manicures and classic red nail varnish are no longer the only staples. These days, bold designs (even animal print!), neons and metallics are seen everywhere. Now your nails can be your accessories, too. So, here’s my list of my top nail trends I’m rocking right now. 

Nudes: The ultimate in sophistication. It’s understated beauty and is great for the office. The colours for this trend are soft – light pinks, browns, and creams. My favourite is this moon colour from Revlon for R89. 

Nail art: Katy Perry and Lady Gaga coined this trend, where you can get an actual picture embossed on your nails. Katy Perry has rocked nails featuring Russell Brand, and Oompa Loompas! Not for the faint hearted. Visit to check them out.

Darks: This is a daring trend that I just love; they’re edgy and cool. Rihanna wears dark nails all the time. I especially love the dark blue colour from Yardley, R45 at Clicks.

Mix and match: This is for the punk-rock Fab. Wear two different colours together, like yellow and green, on each nail. See Beyoncè rocking this trend in her latest music videos.

Metallic: Look out for metallic nails colours like gold, silver and bronze this spring. Try the bedazzled nail varnishes too.

Your nail varnish reflects your personality, so match them to your mood and your outfit, and you’re good to go!

Thanks Fabs!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Shopping downtown

Hi Fabs! 

I recently went on a downtown shopping spree with my BFF to find out what the fuss was about, and what I was missing out on. Turns out, a lot.

Living in Sunninghill, I didn't know about all the one-of-a-kind items you can find in the inner city. Now I know where my colleagues are talking about when they tell me the item of clothing I love on them is from “town”. We visited all the bargain shops and stalls from the Oriental plaza to China City and others in between.

The plan was to embrace our ‘cheap chic’ inner goddess. Our first stop was Commissioner Street, the hub of it all. We hit all the ‘boutiques’, and since most items didn’t cost more than R100, it was easy to go wild with clothes, accessories and food. We got scarfs for R12, pumps for R20 and trench coats you'd swear were from YDE. There are some of the cutest designer knock-offs on sale too. BFF bought a ‘Channel’ bag and I made out with a ‘Mike Jacobs’ bag, too (judge me later). Town really is a one-stop-shop for a girl on a budget.  

Downtown shopping tips:
Park at a central place and walking everywhere.
Carry a sling bag, and carry cash.
Leave your phone in the car.
Travel in pairs, or make it a girl’s day outing.
If you need directions, ask a woman to help you.
Wash your garments when you get home before wearing them.
If you have sensitive skin, buying the R5 earrings might be unwise.
Since most of the shopping attendants are foreign nationals, spend time speaking to them and take an interest in their lives, as it’ll help you with haggling for prices later.

So, if celebrities like Tyra Banks can have a ‘frugal’  days, then so can we! 
’Til next time Fabs, be street wise and stay fabulous!


Friday, July 1, 2011

Blazing hot

Hi Fabs!
Hate the season, love the fashion. And to avoid the winter Fashion Police, I’ve been rocking my blazer. Talk about a must-have item. The masculine trend comes and goes, but the blazer has stood the test of time. It’s a great investment because it goes with absolutely everything, formal or casual.  

Celebrities have received the memo, too –  local fashionista Noni Gasa was recently spotted at the Roberto Cavalli Vodka launch looking amazing in a tweed version. And style stars Kerry Washington, Ashley Olsen and Rihanna love the popular trend, too.

Since blazers go with anything,  I say, “If you like it, buy it in every colour”. Or in this case, buy it in every style –silk, tweed, and denim. I’ve been wearing my blazers every day this week. In summer, pair them with cocktail dresses, or wear a cropped version with a flower-detail summer dress. Try wearing a white blazer with jeans, a tank top and strappy stilettos for a night out. For a touch of quirkiness, why not get a school-inspired blazer from Jay Jays? Now that’s cool!
The prices are fair at YDE, at around R350, and Mr Price stocks the cutest blazer trends at around R159.  

’Til next time, stay fabulous!