Dear Angelina

A polite request to Angelina Jolie:

We’ve never met. Nor are we likely to (thank God). But something has come to my attention which I feel I must share.

You are 36 years old. In other words, old enough to know better. Your partner was nominated for an Oscar and is widely considered to be one of the best looking men on the planet (I will confess, I don’t see the attraction myself). So it’s not like you’re looking for a bloke. You have children (many, many children) who will see these photos reproduced every time Oscar season comes around who will wonder “what on earth was she thinking?” and probably endure a certain degree of derision due to them.

More than any of this, you are a well-respected, Oscar winning actress and widely acclaimed humanitarian in your own right. You regularly top the sexiest women in the world polls run by lads mags such as FHM. So, why, please, why did you need to stick your leg out of what was a very nice (although somewhat dull) Atelier Versace dress like a ten dollar hooker?

Due to the split in the dress a certain degree of leg-flashing would be expected but to make sure that every time you stepped in front of the camera you were flashing your right leg (which now has its own Twitter account) was just tacky. In addition, whilst I understand that when working in the industry you do a certain degree of self-promotion is to be expected, to stand there when called to present an award, effectively saying “hey, look at my legs, I’m going to take up more of the press tomorrow than half the winners of these statues will” makes you look incredibly cheap.

So please, look up the word “elegance” in the dictionary. And next time you think about trying a stunt like this, remember it. PLEASE!

Thank you and I hope to never see so much of your right (or left, for that matter) leg ever, ever again.

Average Josephine

The land that style forgot

Vivienne Westwood has done it again. She has proclaimed that Britain is the worst dressed nation on earth and actually I’m not entirely sure I would disagree with her. Certainly if you look at the dresses on show at the Brits on Tuesday night they don’t exactly reflect well on the UK considering these people will have a significantly more to spend and thus a much more extensive range to select from than the ordinary woman on the street.

Jessie J seemed to have forgotten the bottom layer of her dress given that you could very easily see her underwear through it. I am absolutely not against flashing a bit of skin but given that the, erm, vital parts of her boobs were only covered by discreet embroidery, a more conservative bottom half would have made her look a little less like she’d stepped out in an Ann Summers nightie.

Jessie J at 2012 Brit Awards

Jessie J at 2012 Brit Awards

The definitive example of how the sheer look works best harks back to 2002 (I didn’t realise when I first thought about it that it was ten years ago) when Halle Berry wore an Elie Saab dress with a sheer embroidered top and voluminous silk skirt to collect her Oscar for Best Actress for her part in the film Monster’s Ball.

Halle Berry at the 2002 Oscars

Halle Berry at the 2002 Oscars

If you compare photos of the two, one looks classy and the other rather trashy and whilst Jessie J’s make up and hair are amazing, the dress seriously lets the side down.

As for the X factor competitors who have made it as far as being invited to the Brits, Alexandra Burke, Little Mix and Cheryl Lloyd… Oh dear, ladies, the only thing I can say is “why?!”

Little Mix, and, in particular, Jesy, have experienced a certain amount of backlash about how they look and their weight but the issue isn’t with their size. These aren’t big girls; they may be bigger than the average size 2 waif that passes for an actress these days but they are normal girls who just happen to be able to sing quite well. They haven’t been groomed by the industry that weighing more than your average 12-year-old is a fate worse than death and look all the healthier for it. Their problem is not their weight but their styling.

Little Mix at 2012 Brit Awards

Little Mix at 2012 Brit Awards

Working from left to right, the dress sense goes from “quite good” to “not too bad” to “oh dear…” to “what on earth were you thinking?!” Snake-skin leggings are only flattering on legs that actually need a bit of visual enhancement and whilst neon may be in, that yellow and black number may be designer but stylish, hell no.

Seriously girls, sack the stylist.

The final offender is Alexandra Burke and the problem with her dress is that whoever designed it (whoever you are, shame on you…) started with a draped, Grecian style dress in cobalt blue which, had it been left alone, would have been gorgeous. But for reasons best known to the designer, they decided to top it off with wooden armour plating over the shoulders. Whilst this is probably wonderful for the posture (not exactly conducive to slouching) it looks, quite simply, weird.

Alexandra Burke at 2012 Brit Awards

Alexandra Burke at 2012 Brit Awards

Ironically the sartorial highlight for me was Lana Del Rey who wore a simple, off the shoulder red dress which, by the size of her waist, had a pretty good internal corset going on. Looking at it, it could only ever have been designed by one person: Dame Vivienne Westwood. Whilst some of her clothes can be somewhat avant-garde and appear rather unwearable, when it comes to evening wear, she always pulls it out the bag. Beautifully cut and draped, her Gold Label evening dresses are on my list of “things to wear before I die”.

Lana Del Rey at 2012 Brit awards in Vivienne Westwood

Lana Del Rey at 2012 Brit awards in Vivienne Westwood

I’m not sure whether I would say that Britain is the least fashionable nation in the world but I think the least stylish is definitely up for grabs. People need to think more about whether they look good and whether an outfit actually suits their body type and less about what is hot off the catwalk as just because something is “in”, that doesn’t mean it will look good.

Would you call Britain the land that style forgot? And what do you think is the worst style faux pas?

Average Josephine x

Girls who are boys who like boys to be girls…

Andrej Pejic walking for Jean Paul Gaultier

Andrej Pejic walking for Jean Paul Gaultier

If, like me, you were a teenager in the 90s it is highly unlikely that you won’t recognise these lyrics as they come from one of Blur’s early hits, Girls and Boys from their ‘Parklife’ album. As a true Britpop girl, I had to pick a side; was I a Blur girl or Oasis? And there was only one answer as far as I was concerned. Blur, all the way. I mean, did you see Alex James?! Now, not so much but then?

What I don’t think Damon Albarn foresaw whe he wrote was the current situation where we have a male model being used, quite extensively, to model women’s clothes. The model is of course Andrej Pejic, who, when you look at his face, you’d never know he wasn’t female. This man is beautiful. He has slightly hooded blue eyes, high cheekbones, full lips… If you look at his face, surrounded by long, blonde hair, you wouldn’t guess he was male. His features are incredibly feminine.

Andrej Pejic_

Andrej Pejic. Source: http://www.browsebiography.com

And if he was being used to advertise beauty products, I wouldn’t have a problem. And I should make it clear that my problem isn’t with Pejic per se, he is simply taking advantage of the opportunities being offered to him. But when a man, who despite the work he has evidently put in to reduce his waist size, still has the broad shoulders and flat chest of a man, is being hired to advertise bras and bikinis, you have to wonder what exactly designers think women look like?

andrej pejic bra advert for Hema

andrej pejic bra advert for Hema. Source: http://www.mirror.co.uk

As a woman who has boobs and hips in abundance, I find it really kind of offensive that a designer thinks that his designs, aimed at women, will look best on a man. An oustandingly beautiful man, no doubt, but he still has a man’s figure. It’s bad enough that the majority of models have the bodies of pre-pubescent girls but to actually put a bloke on the catwalk? In addition, to have a man advertising bras is blatantly ridiculous. By writing about it, I have further achieved the company’s aims but I really feel strongly about this.

Women are under a ridiculous amount of pressure to look a certain way. Even before you take the body fat issue into account (because of the lack of boobs and hips their body fat is far lower than women’s) clothes will look different on a man than on a woman. The broader shoulders and smaller hips will make things hang differently and I think a lot of women are likely to consider how they hang on them as compared to Pejic, to be worse.

So to the designers out there, for the love of God, if you’re designing for women then use women in your catwalk shows and adverts. Why put clothes on someone who was never intended to wear them?

Would you buy clothes that you have seen advertised by a man?

Average Josephine x

Covered up

I confess. I regularly consult the Daily Mail as my source of gossip. I take anything that is actually written with a small mountain of salt as the paper seems to go with the “why let a small thing like the facts get in the way of the good story?” approach to journalism but you know what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words…

And unfortunately you can’t argue with a picture like this…

Alesha Dixon at BGT auditions

Alesha Dixon at BGT auditions. Source: Daily Mail

Girls, I have to ask, when did wearing a short, strapless dress in sub-zero temperatures become sexy? Seriously, you see girls wearing outfits like that out on the town every Friday and Saturday night, regardless of whether their dresses fit (a bit like the one Miss Dixon is wearing in this picture) or what they look like.

Sometimes covering up is a darn site sexier than exposing as much flesh as possible. Case in point, the guest judge for BGT while Amanda Holden recovers from giving birth, Carmen Electra. Famous for appearing in Baywatch and producing a series of aerobic striptease DVDs, you would have expected her to appear wearing even less than Alesha Dixon but she pulled a bit of a blinder. And she looks amazing.

Carmen Electra at BGT auditions. Source: Daily Mail

Carmen Electra at BGT auditions. Source: Daily Mail

I don’t know about you but I think she looks amazing! She looks classy, elegant and sexy. She has dressed appropriately both for the weather(as much as you can when you have to appear all glammed up) and her shape. There are no unsightly lumps or bumps. She looks like she has looked in a mirror!

You couldn’t put two women together who had dressed more differently for the same event. Unless one was wearing a gown suitable for the Oscars and the other was wearing a onesie. And I think so much of the difference is due to confidence. Carmen Electra comes across as a woman who is comfortable in her own skin to the extent that she doesn’t have to flash every possible inch of flesh to feel sexy.

But I don’t know to what extent BGT’s production team choose what the judges are going to wear so I may be completely over-analysing the situation but I do think that the translation to a nightclub on a Saturday night does apply. It doesn’t matter how much skin you show, if you don’t feel sexy, you probably won’t look it.

Who do you think looks better? And do you think that confidence, rather than clothes, is  what is more important when it comes to sex appeal?

Average Josephine x

Famous for the sake of being famous

I do try not to hate anyone but there is someone who seems to be high fashion’s darling, who can do no wrong according to every magazine you pick up, who I really can’t stand. I thought this was just me but a few comments on Twitter have shown that I’m actually not in the minority here.

The conclusion? Fashion designers may love her but Alexa Chung, I’m sorry but I really don’t like you.

Alexa Chung

Alexa Chung

My first issue is what does she actually do?! I remember her presenting some, frankly rather rubbish, music programme on T4 about a million years ago but since then has she actually done anything? Other than turn up to the opening of an envelope? There are a lot of jokes about celebrities who are famous for being famous, but Alexa Chung is famous for what exactly?

The second is that I don’t really see why all the fashion designers and magazines laud her as being this incredible fashionista! I’m no style queen and I don’t claim to be but I know when someone looks good and I’m afraid Ms Chung doesn’t. She looks scruffy most of the time and does she actually even know what a hairbrush is?! And as for the “ombre” hair trend? Sorry kids but I was rocking that look when I was at university… It’s called “I can’t be bothered to get my roots done”. She’s just lucky that her dye job was relatively close to her own hair colour or it would have been less of a trend and more of a faux pas.

Alexa Chung scruffy hair

Would you go to a Hollywood party with your hair like this?

And as for the Mulberry ‘Alexa’ bag? Unfortunately, I love it. Other than the name. It’s a bit vintage but without going overboard. An updated classic satchel. I just don’t get why Mulberry named it after her.

Mulberry 'Alexa' bag in oak buffalo leather

Mulberry 'Alexa' bag in oak buffalo leather

So to the magazines and the designers, I just want to say, she’s not all that. If you want a muse, choose someone who actually does something for a living and isn’t just a “celebrity”.

Do you agree with me or do you like Ms Chung?

Average Josephine x

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

The last thing I do before I go out is to check in the mirror to see if I look OK. I am not claiming that I ever look outstanding but to be honest, if I manage OK, I’m pretty happy.  And I thought that this was a fairly common occurrence, actually checking what you look like, I mean, mirrors are everywhere, it’s not exactly difficult!

But from looking at the photos from Tuesday night’s National Television awards it appears that I must be very wrong indeed.  After all, if you had looked in a mirror would you really go out looking like this?

Tulisa at the National Television Awards (c) Alan Davidson

Tulisa at the National Television Awards (c) Alan Davidson

There is only one thing that can be said… Tulisa, you’ve been Tango’d!

She really is orange and when you’re wearing a pink dress, that is not a good thing. There are colours you can and can’t wear, put me in orange for example and I look like I need to be in hospital for jaundice, and Tulisa really cannot wear this shade of pink.  Or rather she can’t wear this shade of pink with this HORRIFIC tan.

As for the dress, what do you say? The feathers are what you call overkill and I know ombre has been a big trend but I think this is a pretty good demonstration of how not to wear it. The back is laced up with what looks like string and her boobs are falling out.

As for boobs, Tulisa was not the only one in danger of doing a Janet Jackson and flashing the world. When I saw this, to say I was horrified, would be an understatement…

Carole Vorderman at the National Television Awards (c) Alan Davidson

Carole Vorderman at the National Television Awards (c) Alan Davidson

Carol, you’re old enough to be my mother, put them away! We get it, you’re in good shape but there is no need to flash your boobs all over the place. I would expect a dress with this level of exposure from one of the slappers from The Only Way is Essex but you’re a reasonably intelligent woman… Have some self-respect!!

Overall, the dresses for the night were shockingly awful and picking only two was tough but I think these might be the worst of the bunch. Even the normally stunning Elle MacPherson looked pretty ropey.  So, ladies, please, mirrors are your friend! Use them, for the sake of all of us. And a little self-respect would work wonders too.

Do you agree with my assessment of Tulisa and Carol’s dresses? Or do you think there was a worse one out there?

Average Josephine x

Happy feet

Like a lot of other women, there is an incredible amount of black in my wardrobe. There’s denim, navy blue, grey and whilst I have a fair few brightly coloured tops, the number is heavily outweighed by the number of black items in there. I go shopping and so many times I end up with more black to go in the wardrobe. And as for shoes, I love my Uggs, boy do I love my Uggs, but some days I long for something different to get me through this long dark winter month…

I was browsing through the Sarenza website the other day and I saw the shoes that would lift anyone’s spirits. Classic in shape, these shoes are anything but classic in colour!

Dune 'Hotty' shoes available from Sarenza

Dune 'Hotty' shoes available from Sarenza

Made by Dune these aptly named Hotty shoes come in two colour ways but for brightening up an outfit, the magenta is the only way to go.

With their bold orange stripe along the platform sole, the design has a distinct nod towards the highly publicised Pantone colour of the year, Tangerine Tango whilst the combination of magenta, orange and fuchsia echoes the colour blocking trend that has been so prevalent of late.

The bright colours mean that the style of the shoe should be clean and classic and this is exactly what Dune have done. A simple platform court, the style means that even with their bright colour, these shoes will be incredibly versatile whether worn with a pencil skirt, black trousers or skinny jeans.

The fusion of the funky, eye-catching colours and classic style makes for a pair of shoes that will remain a wardrobe staple for a long time to come, as well as making you smile every time you wear them.

Available from Sarenza, the even more amazing thing is that these shoes currently have 20% off so can you really afford not to?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I have some shoe shopping to do…

Average Josephine x