That 70’s Show

Tom Ford SS15

Ever since Tom Ford’s ridiculously sexy SS15 catwalk show, I have harboured the strongest of desires to rock a khol eye, shaggy fringe and huge flares. But then came Christmas and all that having to think of other people malarkey, so the flares have been stuck on the wish list until the end of a January that has been leaner than Tara Reid on a detox.

And then I remembered…about 5(!) years ago I bought some flared jeans in Tesco for the princely sum of £12. They fit in the way only flares can, making your legs look 10 inches longer and your thighs look 2 inches slimmer. But I never wore them. Fast forward 5 years and I’m frantically searching through my jeans trying to find them. And find them I did. And fit they do (massive bonus as they’re a size 10 and I’m a perennial 11). God, I’m excited.

Anyway, with flares found I popped over to Pinterest for outfit inspo and came across this little lot. Why oh why did we ever start wearing skinnies?

Flared Jeans Leather Jacket
Image from Pinterest
Flared Jeans Fur Coat
Image from Pinterest
Flared Jeans Outfits
Images from Pinterest
That 70’s Show

Here’s To Wearing The Other 95%

10 leather pencil skirts (plus 4 minis)

7 sequin pencil skirts

12 Breton striped tops

9 grey jumpers (12 if you count cardigans too)

11 LBD’s

I could go on and on and on…

This is the reality of my wardrobe in numbers. An infographic if you will (minus the pictures and exciting bits people actually want to see), resulting from a wardrobe cleanse of epic proportions and created from the realisation that I may actually be addicted to shopping.

Sunday night started like any other. Bored rigid after enduring 6 straight hours of football, American football and even darts (Phil Taylor is an arse and darts is for old men), I left the boyfriend spooning the remote control and decided I would tidy my wardrobe. Now, let me first make it known that my wardrobe is actually the box room, converted with shelves for shoes, rails for clothes and drawers for stuff. My suitcase sat in the centre of the room, unpacked and deserted since I returned from New York last year (that sounds worse than it actually is, it is only January and I only got home on the 29th December. Plus I had emptied the worn stuff out on my return so I was basically just using the case as extra storage space really). I knew I was in for a hoot but similarly had no idea that the mammoth task would present me with a worrying realisation…

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My name is Rebecca Martin and I am a shopping addict.

A few weeks ago, my manager suggested we all fill a charity bag with unwanted clothes. UNWANTED CLOTHES! I think he sensed my outrage as he never raised the subject with me again. See, although I love shopping, I hate throwing shit out. Case in point – a multi-coloured lame blazer. Now, I don’t ever intend on presenting an 80’s gameshow, nor do I expect Studio 54 to make a comeback and demand those attending wear authentic 80’s attire. But I bought the lame and I treasured it, and I felt real pangs of emotion when I finally let it go to the charity shop bin liner tonight. Same with the neon yellow blazer (tags still on), purple and blue geometric patterned trousers (tags still on there too) and leopard print hotpants (tags off, never worn). Gone, all gone, bye bye, woohoo…see ya (to quote the great Buzz Lightyear).

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Three charity shop destined bin liners, one rubbish bag and one ‘give the sister’ bag later, and the wardrobe is finally cleansed. The grey, leather and sequins are sticking around, as are allllll the shoes. And I have well and truly realised that I do not need to do ANY clothes shopping for a long time (how unblogger-like, I know). The thing is, I absolutely needed and could not live without every single thing in my wardrobe at some point. Yet I wear the same 5%, day in day out, wear-wash-wear…over and over. While the rest sits there, feeling dejected and gathering dust.

Here’s to wearing the other 95%

Here’s To Wearing The Other 95%

New York I Love You…but I love your shopping more

Christmas in New York never gets old and the only thing more magical than larger-than-life Christmas decorations and icy walks through Central Park is the sales that start the day after Christmas. While everyone at home opted for turkey sandwiches and online shopping, I slipped into my comfiest boots and braved the cold city streets in search of the best sales New York could offer. And boy was I in for a treat…

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From top left: Sequin Dress (Urban Outfitters), T-Shirt (American Apparel), Dress (Nordstrom Rack), Free People Dress (Sample Sale – Chelsea Market), Sequin T-Shirt (Urban Outfitters), Joie Silk Dress (Nordstrom Rack)

Sequins all round at Urban Outfitters, where an extra 50% off sale prices left me facing an eight hour flight home in a sequin dress, thanks to an already full suitcase. The American Apparel T-Shirt isn’t my usual thing but it was my last day and I blame Soho for making me so goddam sad to be leaving.

My poor photography skills don’t even nearly communicate just how amazing the cream Free People dress is (photographed from the back above). Part boho wedding dress, part Exorcist; total man repeller. I have no idea when I will wear it, but it was $35 in a sample sale at Chelsea Market and I couldn’t leave something so stupidly beautiful behind. I would almost consider getting married just for an excuse to wear it…almost.

Last time we visited New York, we came across Nordstrom Rack in Brooklyn and the boy has bored everyone with stories of his bargain Hugo Boss watch ever since. So then, you can imagine his delight (and maybe even mine) when we stumbled out of the Union Square subway and into the main Nordstrom Rack outlet on 14th Street. It was two days after Christmas and it was a Saturday, meaning the stars had aligned so that not only was it new stock day, but also that the post-Christmas sales were in full swing. While the boy boosted his watch collection with some Diesel, Michael Kors and Hugo Boss, I didn’t do too badly either.

Having successfully avoided the Michael Kors watch phenomenon that has been sweeping the western world, I finally had to cave when faced with this chunky timepiece at a price that worked out around £40 (I told you here that the place was a goldmine!). /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/32b/52477198/files/2015/01/img_4662.jpg

I also picked up silk dresses in maroon and cream (above) and some Sam Edelman suede boots; my black suede Ash Jalouse boots have been worn to death and these Sam Edelman Posy lovelies (below) are the perfect replacement to see me through the seasons.

Steve Madden is one of my favourite footwear brands and I always make a point of visiting the New York store. I picked up these flat leopard lovelies, sky high zip detail boots and bondage-esque strappy sandals (very 50 Shades of Grey, don’t you think?) – all for less than $100. American brands are crazy cheap in New York, compared to here in the UK, and althought the exchange rate of years gone by makes me want to sob at having missed out, there are still bargains to be had – especially in the sales.

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Finally, while resting my weary feet and nursing a coffee in the window of Starbucks, I spotted it across the street; Neiman Marcus Last Call. This place exceeded my wildest expectations! Alexander McQueen, Derek Lam, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Burberry, Balmain, Alexander Wang…it was heaven in Brooklyn. I kind of don’t want to give the secret away, but this place is amazing.

It was a Neiman Marcus Last Call that I found my favourite buy, perhaps ever. This ridiculously sexy rose gold Burberry watch is mine for keeps and I love it. It weighs an absolute ton and the quality is obvious. Retails in Selfridges UK for £1,195 – Neiman Marcus price? $305! God I love it – GOD BLESS AMERICA!

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My little sales binge sowed such sweet rewards. With 2015 finally upon us, I’m going to make the most of my new buys, avoid the high street for a while and save some pennies for an American encore.

New York I Love You…but I love your shopping more

Getting Lippy with Lulu Guinness

Just LOOK at this!

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When my sister said she was coming to bring my present two days early because she was too excited to wait, I knew it must be pretty good. And oh it is! I’ve wanted the Lulu Guinness Lips Clutch forever and now it is finally mine. I love it and if it was socially acceptable to use it everyday (I’m talking going work, nipping to Asda and other boring life instances) then I totally would. For now though, it is coming with me to New York, where we will have fun and festive frolics together fuelled by wine and pizza slices.

Best. Sister. Ever.

Getting Lippy with Lulu Guinness

Home Comforts with H&M

H&M has always been one of my favourites for clothes but just lately I have found myself pretty impressed by their homeware offerings too.

While their delivery is admittedly not the best, bits like these make the little extra wait worthwhile.

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Not completely unrelated because it is another H&M product…how gorgeous is this skirt? Definitely a hint of Balmain about this bad boy. I want it in my life.

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Home Comforts with H&M

New York: Why I Heart You

This time next week I will be walking the cold city streets of New York! For no reason other than to indulge my excitement, I thought I would put together a little city guide with all my secret haunts laid bare. We all know about Macy’s and the Ferris wheel in Toys r Us, but after visiting New York three times in the last couple of years, I sort of prefer to venture off the well trodden tourist path in search of something new.

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Speaking of the well trodden path, avoid Times Square at all costs. Yes it is a sight to behold but it is seriously, stupidly, ridiculously busy too. The restaurants are overpriced and unless you have a thing for body painted activists and blokes in questionable fancy dress, there really isn’t that much that warrants all the pushing and shoving your way through the crowds. There’s a reason New York natives don’t go near the place unless they have to!

First things first – THE SHOPS!

Century 21
I have a love/hate thing going on with Century 21. Love because it is a treasure trove of top end designer brands and the shoe section is epic (it was here that I was united with my $84 Oscar de la Renta loves). Hate because the clothes are so high end that they are still pretty expensive even with Century 21’s amazing discounts. If you have money to spend then this is the place to do it, with rails heaving with Lanvin, Miu Miu, Fendi, Chloe…the list is literally endless. The Downtown branch is the biggest but also the busiest, while the Brooklyn branch is smaller but seems to be a bit of a hidden treasure. As much as I always try to restrain myself, a trip to New York just isn’t complete without a visit to Century 21.

Nordstrom Rack
Located in Brooklyn’s busiest shopping area, Nordstrom Rack is another must visit if you are serious about designer names at teeny prices. We stumbled upon the consignment store on our way to the Barclays Centre and it is definitely worth a trip across the bridge.

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These Vera Wang boots came home with me for $119, while a pair of J Brand leather leggings almost joined them despite being 2 sizes too big – they were down from $995 to $100! Burberry heels in the most gorgeous wine hue were a steal at $189, and watches by Michael Kors, Hugo Boss, Diesel and tons more were massively cheaper than the same ones we had spotted in Macy’s earlier that day. Go, go, go!!

Beacons Closet

Almost as much of a Brooklyn native as the Brooklyn Bridge, Beacons Closet is an institution where vintage shopping is concerned. Head to the Greenpoint or Park Slope locations for the biggest choice. Channel Studio 54 in gold lame, sequins, fabulous heels and ever funkier faux-furs. It is practically impossible to leave this place empty-handed (and absolute sacrilege if you do!)

Forever 21 and Sephora are American-borne wonders, with Forever 21 having much lower prices in NYC than the UK. Sephora is another institution that has bloggers raving. I’m not much of a beauty girl, but there are very few products from very few brands that can’t be found in this glitzy cosmetic bazaar.

The only place NYC falls short is due to the fact that there isn’t really any such thing as a high street. Here in the UK, we can splash the cash at Selfridges, Harrods and on Bond Street, or head to our beloved high street for River Island, Topshop, New Look, Primark…the list goes on and the merchandise is fierce. In NYC this simply isn’t the case – high end shoppers will have a field day among the boutiques of Soho, and those looking for acceptable quality will find the odd cheaper stores scattered between the department stores, but a high street as we know it simply doesn’t exist. Topshop is every American girl’s favourite British fashion export, but prices are greatly inflated to those here in the UK. A knitted gillet I bought in the UK for £58 was over $135 in the Soho store – a big difference! I’ll never say a bad word against Topshop as it is a veritable mecca, but stock up here and make NYC your runway, rather than vice-versa.

With every visit, I come across more and more places to spend my hard earned cash. I can’t wait to discover more gems next week!

BUT THERE IS MORE TO NEW YORK THAN SHOPS, RIGHT?

Oh SO right. Think of the most random thing you may ever want to do, and chances are you can almost certainly do it in NYC. Here is my pick of the best ways to spend what never seems to be enough day in the city.

Highline

Only New York would think to convert a decrepid railway line into a stunning park complete with modern art and an amazing seating area that puts just a sheet of glass between you and the hustle and bustle of the city streets. I’ve walked the Highline in summer and in winter, and both are equally as pleasing. Chelsea Market is located so close you can almost smell the incredible foods that fill it, and the boutiques lining the streets below are the perfect place to get lost afterwards.

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Williamsburg

As areas of Brooklyn get more and more expensive, the cool kids and hipsters are being forced to move their awesomeness to more affordable parts of town; i.e. Williamsburg. To say Williamsburg is up-and-coming would be doing the place an injustice – it is already up and it is going places fast. If craft beers, master cocktail mixologists and endless menus of incredible gourmet eats without a hint of pretention don’t make you fall in love, the amazing vintage shopping and handmade wares certainly will. The Artists & Fleas Market is located at 70 North 7st Street and pretty much sums up the whole Williamsburg vibe. If I could choose a place to live in NYC (one day!!), then I would choose Williamsburg. Plus, I challenge you to find a better freshly-made snow cone in the whole of New York!

Staten Island Ferry

A pretty standard looking ferry, going from a pretty standard ferry terminal…but the views are incredible AND IT’S FREE! You won’t get closer to the Statue of Liberty without actually paying to get on Liberty Island, and if you time your crossing just right then you will be rewarded with hands-down the most beautiful sunset over the Manhattan skyline EVER! There’s nothing much to see on the other side, so stay on for the return crossing, where you will see the city lights begin to illuminate in all their glory along the way. I am oh-so-jealous of everyone who calls this their daily commute!

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Fifth Avenue Christmas Windows

Christmas transforms New York City and there is nowhere on earth better to spend the holidays (in my opinion). If you are in the city for Christmas, head to Fifth Avenue and prepare to be amazed by the extravagent window displays that stretch the length of the shops. Unbelievable designer gowns adorn suitably festive mannequins, faux-snow is abundant and every single window is gasp-worthy (sorry, cheesy word alert). I’m a master window shopper but never before have I spent quite so long doing so.

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Basketball

New Yorkers love their sports and we have watched both American Football (Giants at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey) and basketball. Having been to both a Knicks game Madison Square Garden and Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Centre, I have deemed myself a loyal Nets fan. While there is no disputing that MSG is an iconic venue, the whole experience at a Nets game is far less commercialised and a bit more urban. You can tell Jay Z is largely involved that is for sure. Merchandise in the shop is really cool and wearable, and the stadium literally appears before you as you come up the steps from the subway. Add to this that tickets are available from about $40 and the fact that you could spot Jay and Yonce on the front row, and you’re on to a winner.

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MY TOP TIPS

Travel 

Lincolns, limos and yellow cabs line up to take you from the airport to your hotel. Ditch them all and take the train instead. Routes depend on where you are staying and which airport you are flying into, but all are easily found on the Internet and most have you at the hotel within 40 minutes and at a cost about $15 – MUCH cheaper than the $60-70 that most other modes of transport will cost you.

I know Uber is all the rage, but there is nothing quite like getting a yellow cab on the streets of New York City. There, I said it. Soz Uber.

The New York Subway system is one of the best in the world and will take you pretty much anywhere you want to go. It’s also really cheap – $30 for a whole week of unlimited use. Use it, go places, see stuff, save money, thank me later.

Food

If you don’t eat at least one pizza slice when you are in New York then you are never allowed to go again. Maybe. In all seriousness though, the pizza joints might not look like the swankiest place in town but their slices are delicious. The notorious New York $1 slice usually only applies to Margherita, but for $10 you can get a couple of slices with more adventurous toppings and a couple of drinks at pretty much every corner of the city. Word of warning – don’t buy the whole pizza,no matter how hungry you think you are. We did so after a Knicks game, ate two slices each, remembered pizzas there are about 12 inches bigger than at home and rapidly fell into a food coma. Wasn’t half bad for breakfast the next morning though!

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Wolfgang’s Steakhouse – branches across the city but go to the one in Tribeca for amazing service and ridiculously good steak. Mashed potato is unreal, Jack Daniels and Coke are more Jack than Coke. My boyfriend has refused to eat steak anywhere else IN THE WORLD since we came back in September – and it was the place he booked to go for Christmas Dinner next week.

They better have crackers on the table or there will be trouble.

New York: Why I Heart You