Lovely Surrey: Waverley Abbey

I was going through some old SD cards and I found this photo, which I took in 2012:

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It’s been edited so I must have done it on one of the photo editors on my laptop, and it brought back a flood of memories.

This is Waverley Abbey, near Farnham in Surrey. It’s the first monastery in England founded by the Cistercian order, and was first constructed in 1128. This picture is of the ruins of the lay brother’s quarters, which must have been seriously impressive before it fell into ruin. This part of the site was built in the 13th century so a little later than the first buildings at the location.

Here’s another photo of the site – this is the monk’s dormitory and is unedited:

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The whole site is fascinating and incredibly peaceful. The ruins have a lovely ‘vibe’ to them and you can really imagine what the site was like when it was full of monks going about their daily business. There’s also this awesome tree, and my friend’s dog Kira was having a great time posing on the tree roots for me.

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I can’t believe it’s been five years since I’ve been there, and also that I no longer speak to the friend who I went on this walk with. We fell out of touch and I suspect it’s because I stopped going online as much as I used to (I used to practically live on MSN messenger) and wasn’t physically able to do stuff as much. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2013, and a few months later we stopped communicating. It’s a shame because we got along really well, and liked going for these walks. I hope that Kira is still with us and healthy – you can see she’s a gorgeous dog. Very sweet, very kind and really friendly. I can see from the website that you’re meant to keep your dog on a lead at Waverley now – that’s a shame, because Kira really enjoyed exploring around the ruins and playing in this tree.

One other thing I do remember very clearly about this walk – we met a pug called Basil. Basil was the poshest pug in the world. The way he walked and the way he carried himself was hilarious, and brilliant. He walked as if he was marching in a parade and there was this aura of ‘look at me, I am Basil The Magnificent’ about him. And he was very sweet-natured as well.

We are so lucky in Surrey to have some great sites like this. I do love living in this part of England! If you are ever in this area, do take some time to visit Waverley Abbey and enjoy the lovely peaceful atmosphere. It’s very contemplative. Bring a sketchbook if you are so inclined, and definitely bring a camera. It’s somewhere you won’t ever forget, and I must visit it again soon.

What’s in my makeup bag!

I know, generic post, and I’m late to the bandwagon, so here’s what’s in my makeup bag!

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And it’s actually way less than I thought it was going to be, honestly. This is legitimately the entire contents of my makeup bag. I haven’t edited this at all apart from organising it nicely for the photo. I thought I had so much more stuff than this but apparently I don’t. The actual bag was a freebie from when my mum bought some Clarins products, and as you can see I am a fan of the Real Techniques ‘flat egg’, as I call it, beauty blender sponge. It’s so versatile.

I also have numerous brushes for eyeshadows and blusher and the like, but they don’t live in my makeup bag so technically I can’t include them in this post.

So, what is actually in this bag? Let’s break it down, starting with primer, concealer and foundation:

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That’s Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch primer, because I have fine lines and visible pores and this fills them in beautifully, MAC Studio Fix foundation because it’s the only one that doesn’t turn my skin into horrific dry fish scale flakes, and Benefit Boing! concealer, because I have pock marks and dark marks from medication-induced acne. It’s the best concealer I’ve found for my face, and it’s heavy duty so it really does cover everything. I’ve mentioned before I have dry skin, and these products don’t exacerbate the problem while still providing me with the coverage I need. I don’t use a powder over this, because those DO dry me out. Powder and dry skin doesn’t really go.

Blusher now:

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Old, faithful and well-used (and the only powder that touches my face because, well, it’s not actually touching my skin), this is the best blusher on the planet. It’s MAC Sheertone Shimmer Blush in Trace Gold. This is about my third palette of this now. It’s literally the only blush that suits me and doesn’t make me look like I’ve been got by the sun or am perpetually embarrassed. Dear MAC, never, ever, EVER stop making this. I do have one in storage ready to go when this one runs out but I live in fear of one day never finding it again. Maybe I should buy another one or two for storage, just in case.

Contour kit now, something I’m still attempting to learn properly:

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Barry M make the best contour kits. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it! I do suck royally at contouring, so the fact this was under £10 made me feel better about buying it. I should practice more, really…

Next, eye primer and dark circles concealer:

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Benefit Fake Up concealer is my choice for my dark circles. It’s nice and light and it moisturises a bit as well as covering up my lovely dark eye bags. As for eyelid primer, I’m in a transitional period between the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion and the Too Faced Shadow Insurance. I much prefer the Too Faced one for texture, and I find it makes my eyeshadow last longer. I’m really just eking out the Urban Decay tube – I should have finished it off before I started on the Too Faced one but we’re all guilty of starting new products before the old ones are finished, aren’t we?

Brow products, eyeliner and mascara now:

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The brow products are another ‘transitional’ set – I’m slowly moving from the Rimmel Brow This Way brow kit to the Benefit Goof Proof pencil. I much prefer the pencil, as it gives me more control over what’s going on with my eyebrows, and it’s a little more subtle. The Brow This Way set is still used on a night out, when I want a little more definition, but it’s not my daily brow product now. I’m also lazy and the pencil is far, far less hassle than the kit.

The Rimmel Scandaleyes mascara in black was bought as a panic buy when my regular Bobbi Brown mascara ran out and I was nowhere near a Bobbi Brown counter, but it’s quickly become a go-to for me. I actually prefer it to my old mascara – it’s a nicer formulation and it makes my eyes look really big. It just goes to show that sometimes being forced to buy outside your comfort zone can result in finding really great products! The Rimmel Exaggerate waterproof eyeliner in black is an old favourite. It’s the only eyeliner that doesn’t fall off my waterline and I will keep using this until they stop making it (please don’t stop making it, I don’t want to find another one, it took me long enough to find this one).

So, on to eyeshadow:

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I like palettes, as you can see. The big palette at the top is from Cargo Cosmetics and it’s their ‘Let’s Meet in Paris’ palette. The lighting in this photo is a bit shonky (actually it’s really bad, now I look at it properly – apologies, readers) but let me assure you, the colours are perfection. I adore Cargo, and it’s annoying that it’s so hard to get hold of in the UK. They make the best eyeshadows I have ever used, and quite honestly my trip to Canada in 1999 ruined me by introducing me to this brand because I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. This palette isn’t from 1999, it’s only a couple of years old and I don’t use it nearly as much as I ought to because I’m trying not to run it out! If anyone in the UK knows where I can get Cargo products (Debenhams don’t carry it anymore) please let me know!

The MAC palette with the horrible light glare on it (seriously what the hay, that’s terrible photo editing) is ‘Amber Times Nine’ and it’s my daily palette. Nice neutrals with a tiny bit of shimmer if I feel so inclined.

Then I have my little Max Factor single shadow in Feral Brown. I’ve not actually used it yet, even thought I’ve had it a while. I should, it’s a lovely shade. And then my Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Golden Bronze, which is another daily shade when I want something a bit different. It makes my eyes look really, really blue, which considering they’re more a grey-blue, is an achievement. I love it, and it’s almost run out so I will have to get another one.

Lipstick next:

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I honestly don’t wear lipstick much, so these barely get used except on nights out. We have Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Brown Berry, MAC satin finish in Retro and MAC lip pencil in Mahogany. That’s all I can say about these. I’m not one for lipstick, and I think it’s because I play the clarinet and learned a long time ago that lipstick on your reed is just asking for trouble.

And finally, to keep the whole lot in place, setting spray:

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Good old Urban Decay Allnighter. My makeup doesn’t budge if I spritz my face with this stuff after I’ve done my makeup routine. It’s the best setting spray I’ve found – I know some disagree, but different stuff works for different people. I tend to take ages to find something I like and then stick to it. It doesn’t make my skin dry and doesn’t smell weird, which some of the other setting sprays do.

So, that’s what’s in my makeup bag! What’s in yours?

(Please note I was not paid to review any of the products in this post. All opinions are my own.)

 

Dry skin saviours

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I suffer from dry skin. It’s not fun. It’s worse in the winter, but my skin is dry year-round. It’s caused by a medication I take, because I never had dry skin before I started taking this stuff. I used to have almost perfect skin when I was younger, with only the odd breakout caused by excessive chocolate consumption or stress, but certainly no dryness.

I have dry skin all over my body now, but this post is going to focus on what I use for my face. I will be writing another post about what I use for my body and most especially my feet, but that’s for another time!

Here’s a picture of the products I use for my face:

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I’ve already raved about the day cream I use in another post, so I have left it out of this one. These are the products I use at night, when my skin is (attempting to) repair itself.

On the top row, from left to right we have: Garnier Skin Naturals Softening Toner, Elemis Pro-Collagen Eye Renewal and Garnier Skin Naturals Softening Cleansing Lotion.

I use the Garnier products for cleansing and they work a treat. I cleanse morning and night with them – water and face washes make my skin really flaky, so I use these to cleanse and tone my skin before I attack it with moisturisers. They feel really nice on the skin and the Softening Cleansing Lotion is great at removing makeup as well. I find the best way to use it is to spread it on your face first, then use a cotton pad to wipe it off. It doesn’t work so well if you put it on to a pad and then wipe. It leaves makeup behind if you do that.

The Softening Toner smells fantastic and really removes any lingering traces of makeup. A splash of that on a cotton pad and a wipe over my face and my skin is totally clean. It feels clean as well – there is no stickiness or residue at all. And the best thing about the Cleansing Lotion and the Toner is that they’re really affordable as well – quite often they’re on a ‘buy one get one free’ offer in the shops but each bottle is under £10.

The Elemis Pro-Collagen Eye Renewal is an eye gel with a very ‘soft’ texture that has made the skin around my eyes nice and supple and not, for once, like dry parchment. I believe the term is ‘papery’, but this product stops all of that. It came in a gift pack along with the Pro-Collagen Marine Cream and the fact it was so effective was a pleasant surprise. I have found in the past that most eye creams just made the skin around my eyes feel slightly cool and did nothing for the appearance or texture, but this has really made a difference.

People have remarked that my eyes are brighter (under-eye dark circles, begone!) and I have noticed that my crows feet have reduced. I’ve been using the Eye Renewal for about a year now and until my skin changes again, I’m sticking with it. I will admit it is NOT cheap but if you suffer from dry eye skin or even fine lines, it’s worth the investment. Plus it lasts for ages – that’s a smaller size product and it’s only just running out.

On the bottom row of the picture we have: Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum and Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Nighttime Miracle Moisturiser.

I use the Estee Lauder serum under the Pro Collagen Marine Cream at night, and the combination of the two softens my skin beautifully. The Serum feels really nice and it absorbs well, rather than sitting on the skin like I have found with some serums I have tried in the past. Once I have let it absorb (about five minutes), I put on the Pro-Collagen Marine Cream. You really don’t need to use much of this, and it’s also absorbed well. Like the Pro-Definition Day Cream I reviewed previously, it’s made a huge difference to my skin. The dual-pronged attack of the Elemis day and night creams seems to be working and is taking my skin from ‘flaky’ to ‘vaguely normal’. Again, neither of these products are cheap but they are definitely worth the money.

The Elizabeth Arden cream is the ‘big gun’ in the attack against dry skin. If I am having a really, really terrible skin day, say if it’s the middle of winter and I’ve been out in the cold all day on a walk, I can slather that on after the Serum instead of the Marine Cream for a real overnight attack on dryness. It smells lovely too – slightly of lavender – and while it doesn’t get absorbed as much as other creams do, it definitely does the job in stopping me getting too flaky in the colder months. That’s my second tub of it, so it’s well-used and well-loved and again, it’s a bit of an investment but so, so worth it. I use it on my elbows as well when they’re being flaky, so it’s quite versatile!

It has taken me literally years to find these products that work for me. I’m not saying they will do the same for you as they have done for me, but I would definitely recommend them if you have dry, more mature skin. It’s easy to find cheaper products for younger skin, but being over 35 means that my skin has changed yet again and I can’t rely on some of the ‘drugstore’ brands to do the job. Some of these products are expensive but they last, and they do their job well. If you’re afflicted with dry skin, or have ‘mature’ skin, pop down your local department store and ask for a tester of these products. Especially the Elizabeth Arden cream. Oh lord. That is actual magic in a tub.

(Please note all views in this post are my own. I am not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned in this post and I was not paid for my reviews.)

 

 

Clothes, age and people’s perception of you: does it matter?

I’m not bragging, but I look younger than I am (thanks, parents, for great genes!), and depending on what I am wearing, and how my hair and makeup is done, people tend to age me anywhere between early twenties to mid-thirties.

I’m actually thirty-six, and I don’t mind being thought of as younger than I am, but it does get old being carded in shops that have a ‘challenge 25’ policy for checking ID when I’m buying alcohol. That’s when the cashier can ask for ID if they think you’re under 25, if you don’t know what ‘challenge 25’ is (I just realised I have readers who aren’t in the UK). This happens in bars too, and with the legal problems that can come with serving underage people, most of the ones I go to are really diligent about checking ID even if you’re a regular.

And most of the ID-checking incidents have been when I’ve been wearing a hoodie, jeans and trainers, with my hair scraped back into a ponytail and zero makeup on. The days I’ve been in full corporate regalia (suit, or smart dress with a jacket and my full ‘work face’ of makeup on) I haven’t been asked for ID.

So it’s pretty obvious to me, from my own experience, that the way you dress can really influence how old people think you are. How should I be dressing, then, if I don’t look my age? Can clothes make people take you more seriously, regardless of how old you actually are? Does it even matter?

There are rafts of articles out there on ‘what not to wear after *insert age here*’. This isn’t going to turn into one of those. I am a personal stylist and image consultant by trade, and although I am duty-bound to gently steer people away from Horrible Fashion Mistakes, age lines are starting to blur and what was once seen as a huge ‘omg no’ at age 25 can still work at age 30 or beyond. Just because you’ve hit a certain age doesn’t mean that you need to junk everything you own, and there are a lot of people who do look younger than they are and can get away with wearing things that were traditionally the preserve of the twenty-something while they are in their thirties.

There are, however, certain things that will ‘de-age’ you no matter how old you look and make people think you’re way, way younger than you are. Hoodies, actually, are one of these items, and I think mine will be gently but firmly ejected from my wardrobe when I’m done with this post.

Some items of clothing work across the decades – well-fitting jeans will forever be a staple no matter how old you are, although as the body ages and changes shape, the cut of the jean, the denim colour and the fit become more important. Low-risers, very light denim and artful rips are best left to those in their younger years. High waists and clean, crisp dark denim works better for those that are older – and dark denim looks much smarter.

Because of the work I do, the image I portray to people outside of the confines of my house is important to me. If I’m heading to meet a client, it’s usually dark jeans, a well-fitting solid coloured t-shirt or top and a blazer, with boots, sandals or flats depending on the weather, and some jewellery. I want people to look at me and think ‘she looks smart, she’s a savvy, self-made businesswoman’. I don’t want people to think I’m young, just out of university and have no idea what I’m doing. Looking young really does have its disadvantages sometimes, but I’ve found that if I’m wearing sharply tailored jackets, power heels and carrying a good, quality handbag, people tend to assume that I am at least close to my age – but quite frankly, as long as they think I’m over thirty, that will do!

If you don’t care how people perceive you, you can actually wear whatever you like. But in the world we live in, be prepared for snap judgements and assumptions – people can be cruel, and a lot of the cruelty is around how people look and what they wear. A thick skin is necessary in this day and age, where ‘shaming’ seems to be a trend and people don’t care if feelings are hurt as long as they can get a reaction on social media.

My aim as a stylist and image consultant is to help people feel good about themselves and what they wear. Styling is different to image consulting, because styling is more about what suits someone’s body shape and skin tone, and what fits them and their lifestyle. Image consulting is more focused – creating an image, a perception, usually for professional purposes. Think of some of the more ‘out there’ celebrities – I’d bet money that even the most flamboyant of pop stars mooches about the house in manky old yoga pants and a holey t-shirt, but they would never let their fans see that because it’s not part of their image. That’s why photos of celebrities looking less than polished are always labelled as ‘shocking’ in the trashier magazines. Everyone looks ‘shocking’ when they’ve just come from a workout. Show me someone who doesn’t look like a slightly exhausted beetroot when they’ve just been through kettlebell hell, magazines. It’s not ‘shocking’, it’s called ‘being human’.

So, does this all matter? It’s really down to personal opinion. For me, my image matters – I want people to view me in a certain way, at least professionally, so I dress in a certain way when I’m working. Casually, I wear pretty much what I like (you guys have seen my casual outfits on here). I have clients who do the same – one image for their professional life, one for their personal life. But equally, I have friends who couldn’t care less what people thought of them, either at work or at home, and I do admire them for having the confidence to go to work wearing bunny socks or a novelty tie. It’s really all about how you feel, and what you want from your wardrobe. As long as it fits and suits you, that’s really, in the end, what matters most.

 

 

Old faithful.

Let’s face it, there’s days when we all wake up and just think ‘nope’. Those days we roll over, slam the snooze button and pull the duvet over our heads. We don’t even want to leave the bed, let alone have to think about what to wear, what to make for lunch and, worst of all, work.

And, to cap it all, you’ve overslept anyway, like I did this morning.

Days like this (usually Mondays) call for an outfit that we literally do not have to use our brains for. Something we’ve probably owned for ages, worn more times than we want to admit and that we know just works.

This is mine:

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It’s a pretty simple outfit. Striped tee and dark bootcut jeans. If I was a video game character this would be my ‘default’ outfit on the character selection screen. This outfit has seen me through more than one ‘nope’ day, and it’s great because it works for all seasons.

For warmer days, I tend to wear it as you see in the photo – just the tee and the jeans, with some sandals or a simple flat in either cream or dark blue. For colder weather, a long sleeve white top can be put underneath the tee and a leather jacket slung over it as a cover up. Shoe choice for a chillier day would be either a pointed flat in cream or blue like before or, if it’s raining or we’re in the depths of winter, an ankle boot in tan or a dark brown. Brown boots and dark denim just work so well together.

The tee is from a brand called Seasalt. I discovered them whilst on holiday in Bath a few years ago and I was instantly a fan. Their vibe is very nautical, which suits me just fine (I love all things to do with the sea and boats) and the quality of the clothes and the pricing of the range is great. They are also consistent with their sizing – I know I’m a size 10 in whatever garment I choose. This is a small victory to have found a brand like this, because my size can swing between an 8 and a 12 in the same shop so to find a brand that cuts so perfectly is fantastic for me.

The one thing I dislike about them is that we don’t yet have a Seasalt store here up in Surrey, although there are a few boutiques that stock a limited range. I visit Bath once a year and the Seasalt store is often my first stop!

The jeans are just good old Marks and Spencer. They do good jeans. Everyone in the UK knows they can trust M&S for a decent pair of comfy jeans. And comfort is important when you’re having a ‘nope’ clothing day.

Shoes, too, are important on ‘nope’ days. I chose trainers today, more specifically my old blue and white Adidas Supernovas. I think they’re coming up for ten years old now, and I probably should replace them, but I can’t bring myself to because they’re like clouds on my feet. I suffer from back pain and there was no way I wasn’t wearing soft, squishy trainers today!

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. But it’s nice to know that there’s something in my wardrobe that I can grab to wear on days when putting together a full ensemble of ‘people clothes’ is too much.

(Please note: my opinions on the brands mentioned in this post are my own and I was not paid anything to promote them.)

 

Product review: Elemis Pro-Definition Day Cream

If you’re like me and you suffer from what beauty editors call ‘problem’ skin, you probably know how hard it is to find products that actually work for your skin type.

I’m cursed with very dry skin, a problem that’s made worse by the fact I’m on medication for a chronic medical condition and one of the side effects is that it dries out your skin, hair and nails. I’m also over 35, so not only do I have dry skin, I have what’s termed ‘mature’ skin. Fine lines on my forehead and a few developing age spots on my cheeks mean that my skincare needs have become rather specific. I can’t just walk into Boots and buy whatever face cream I fancy, I have to actually Think About It.

And it can get rather depressing when something I’ve tried doesn’t work. There was a point where I was convinced that the girls on the beauty counters in my local department store would hide when they saw me coming as I would be begging for testers – again – for another product that wouldn’t work on my weird skin type.

I was quite pleased when the tester for the Elemis Pro-Definition Day Cream landed with my copy of Harper’s Bazaar. I love when magazines give out tester size face creams – it means I haven’t got to trawl the beauty counters and I get a decent amount of product to give it a proper chance to work its magic on my skin.

This is it:

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A small but perfectly formed tester tube. It’s certainly appealing to the eye.

My first thought was ‘that’s really nice packaging’. Yes, I’m swayed by packaging. Who isn’t? I love Elemis packaging and products anyway (I use their Pro Collagen Marine Cream as a night cream and their Pro-Collagen Eye Renewal as well) but I hadn’t come across this cream before.

The day cream I had been using on a regular basis was an Olay one and it was running out, so it was a convenient time for the little Elemis tester to drop into my lap. I finished up the Olay one and started on this one about two weeks ago, and goodness me.

What a difference!

After two weeks of use, my skin is actually soft. It feels like there’s moisture in my skin now, and it doesn’t suck the cream up the instant I put it on. You don’t need to use much of this cream either to cover your whole face, so even though the full size ones are pretty pricey, they will last for a good long while.

My skin feels so much better after I’ve put this on. It’s smoother and I have noticed a difference when I apply my makeup after using this cream. My foundation has a tendency to flake because my skin is so dry, usually around lunchtime, but after using this cream, I didn’t start to flake until about 5pm, which is a real achievement for my skin.

I’m not sure if my fine lines have improved any since I’ve been using it, but I’m not really concerned with that. I’m more concerned with the fact that it actually has softened and moisturised my icky, dry, nasty flaky skin to the point where I don’t have to reapply my entire face of makeup after half a day. And it’s more astonishing to me that this has been achieved with such a small amount of product.

It also smells good. I know some people don’t like the smell of face cream but this one has a really nice, subtle scent to it. It’s a lovely texture as well – nice and light, which given the fact we’ve been on Heatwave for the past four days has been great. Heavy creams, which are what most people with dry skin use, belong in the winter.

So, yes, I rate this cream. Really, really rate this cream. I can’t promise it will work for you the way it has done for me (everyone is different, after all) but when the little tester tube runs out, you will definitely find me at the local Elemis counter buying a full size tub of this. It’s a gem. And when you’ve got problem skin, finding something this good is like finding treasure.

(Please note: this is my own opinion of this product. I have not earned any income from this review, nor am I affiliated in any way with the brand. I just love this cream and had to share!)

‘Too expensive, innit?’

I’m not normally one to take to the internet when I’m cross, but a conversation that keeps cropping up with people in my life is really beginning to bother me and I need to get this down on paper, so to speak.

And that conversation goes something like this: what is the point of paying a fortune for designer clothes when you can go down *insert high street store here* and get something for £10?

Usually tacked on to that statement is: what’s the point of fashion anyway? which is a post for another day.

Before I leap into content, here’s a lovely picture for you to look at. I styled this young lady as part of my fashion styling course:

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That’s one of my favourite images from my course. I think it looks awesome – I love the green of the kimono, the pop of the pink skirt against the background and the sass of the model, who was a lovely person to work with.

In keeping with the tone of this post, guess how much the outfit the model is wearing cost.

Hundreds? It must be some amazingly expensive designer outfit to look that good, or even be suitable for a fashion shoot. Not thousands, a fashion student doesn’t have that budget (much as we’d like to).

Totally wrong. The kimono cost £1 from a charity shop and the skirt was £39.99 from Next, and it’s one of my office skirts. I never paid more than £40 for an outfit for any of my shoots and now I wear a lot of the clothes I used for the shoots.

After that shameless bit of bragging about how cheap I can be, let’s get back on topic: why is designer fashion so expensive, and what’s the point of it anyway?

The fact it costs so much can be summed up in one word: exclusivity. A luxury brand, say for instance Hermes, charges the prices it does so that its customers feel exclusive. Look, the customer says, I have an Hermes scarf, I paid X hundred/thousand pounds for it. You don’t have an Hermes scarf. I am more exclusive than you.

The feeling of ‘look at me, I have a Thing that you don’t’ is what the luxury brands are aiming for, both with the designs and prices of their items. They’re not meant to be ‘affordable’, they’re meant to be coveted by those who can’t afford them. It’s not just fashion brands either – think of the luxury car brands. I recently test drove a Porsche and I did feel like winding down the window and yelling ‘where’s your 500 horsepower SUV, peasants?!’ but I didn’t. And stepping back into my Volvo afterwards felt like such a comedown. It’s THAT feeling, that you’re just that bit better than everyone else. That’s why designers charge the prices they do.

But what about those of us that can’t drop £2000 on a high end jacket? We can scroll through Instagram, sigh in longing and go and look for a convincing replica of what we covet on the high street. That’s why the ‘get the look’ pages in fashion magazines exist – they’re showing us how to recreate the look without the sky high price tag. You can have the feeling of being on trend and exclusive without making your accountant cry.

And then of course there’s couture. That’s really a league of its own, and the prices charged for those dresses because of the craftsmanship and the hours that go into them are entirely justified. I recommend everyone watches the ‘Inside Dior’ documentary that was on television earlier this year, if only to gain some insight into how couture works and the amount of hours that go into a dress. It’s fascinating. For those of you not in the UK, it should be available online somewhere. I think it’s still available on All4 for those of us in the UK.

Maybe that wasn’t too much of a descent into rage. I have a feeling I’ll have the ‘too expensive, innit’ conversation with people again before the week is out. I think it’s time for an iced coffee and a sit down! We are still on Heatwave here in Surrey. Send help!