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outfits

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The Inevitability Of Turning Into Your Mother

I used to hate 70s fashion. Looking back at pictures of my mum in her 20s, resplendent in wallpaper prints and a not-insignificant auburn afro, made me thank my lucky stars that there was no way in hell that I would ever have to suffer the ignominy of bell-bottoms. The world couldn’t possibly be that stupid twice, I reasoned. A one-time plague of flares would have been enough to teach everyone a lesson, surely?

Olivia Phillips Alice & Olivia

Denim flares: Alice + Olivia, Top: H&M, Sunglasses: Quay at Etoile La Boutique

Call me a sucker, then, that not only have I fallen heavily for the turbo-flare, but I am also willingly committing photos of me in them to The Internets; out there 4 lyf. ‘Tis for good reason, though. Firstly, they make my otherwise-modest 5 ft 3 and an (important) half appear at least three inches taller (side note: this might also be the elephantine wedges I’m wearing underneath), but also, due to sheer bloody physics, the balancing act a flare provides means that if you’re a pear shape like me, the proportions work for you. Trick of the eye, mate. Can’t argue with science. And it looks like I can’t argue with my mum anymore, either. Dammit.

Olivia Phillips Alice & Olivia

Denim flares: Alice + Olivia, Top: H&M, Sunglasses: Quay at Etoile La Boutique

Olivia Phillips Alice & Olivia

Denim flares: Alice + Olivia, Top: H&M, Sunglasses: Quay at Etoile La Boutique

Olivia Phillips Alice & Olivia

Denim flares: Alice + Olivia, Top: H&M, Sunglasses: Quay at Etoile La Boutique

Olivia Phillips Alice & Olivia

Denim flares: Alice + Olivia, Top: H&M, Sunglasses: Quay at Etoile La Boutique

The Simple Life

Olivia Phillips Armani Exchange

Dress: Armani Exchange, Trainers: Adidas, Sunglasses: Salvatore Ferragamo

Even as a fashion editor, there are some brands which can sometimes escape you. Some brands which, through no fault of their own, fly a little lower under the radar than they deserve, and really need a bit of flag-waving and a hearty pat on the back. Armani Exchange is one such store, and not because it’s unlikely to be killing it in the sales department, but because, magazine-wise, it’s one of those shopping stalwarts that can get overlooked in the shouty, shiny fashion landscape in which we find ourselves currently residing. Back in the real world, however, it’s a never-ending pool of real-world clothing. Allow me to me elucidate…

Dress and bag: both Armani Exchange, Sunglasses: Salvatore Ferragamo, Earrings: Maria Black at dulaab.com

Dress and bag: both Armani Exchange, Sunglasses: Salvatore Ferragamo, Earrings: Maria Black at dulaab.com

In true Armani style (its older sister), AX is defined by its quiet elegance and dedication to quality, but with a really affordable price point which allows it to inhabit a magical land we fashion folk like to call ‘Contemporary’ or ‘Bridge’. Think Reiss, Whistles and Karen Millen – even your Sandros, Majes and Kooples are part of that clever club that we can’t get enough of. I remember when you could furnish yourself with an It Bag for £700; £500 if you were a Mulberry girl. *gazes nostalgically into the middle-distance* No such luck these days – you’re lucky if you can walk away with change from a grand and a half. Enter legions of Contemporary brands which perfectly reflect the philosophy of many a modern-day shopper. Hands up who wants to pay £600 for a top? Anyone? Anyone?? Didn’t think so. Add this to still-pervading normcore movement (the cult product of S/S16 was a DHL T-shirt. Just saying) and the genuine need for simple, chic clothing you actually want to put on your back, not just prance around in for an Instagram photo before flinging off 20 minutes later because it turns out sequins are really bloody itchy. AX always knew they were a winner – this is just a gentle, whisper of a reminder. Nothing too aggressive, though. That’s really not their style.

Olivia Phillips Armani Exchange

Bag: Armani Exchange, Bracelets: Monica Vinader at Boutique 1 and La Marquise

Olivia Phillips Armani ExchangeOlivia Phillips Armani Exchange

Armani Exchange can be found in The Dubai Mall, Mirdif City Centre and City Centre Deira.

Why We Still All Want To Be Cher From Clueless

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…not least of all, me. Wearing: Zara skirt, Mango top, New Look bag and Sophia Webster heels.

Today, I was laughed at for calling the film Clueless seminal. “Yes. Seminal,” I repeated, “Like Citizen Kane. Or Glitter with Mariah Carey.”

Blank face.

“It made waves!” I continued, loudly. “We ALL still reference it. ALL THE TIME!”

Dawning, ‘oh God she’s serious’ realisation.

“It’s an IMPORTANT FILM!! Important! It had an electronic wardrobe in it! And Turk from Scrubs!”

Awkward silence in which he looks for the toilets.

I then sit, quietly seething, in an unspoken stalemate with my under-educated companion. I know it’s seminal and you know it’s seminal but unfortunately, dear reader, there are some people out there who didn’t get the memo. Feel free to quote any of the below at them if you’re ever faced with a similar predicament when called on to defend the best film of the Nineties (you can tell them I said that, too)…

LIFE LESSONS GLEANED FROM CHER HOROWITZ

1. The right outfit can make or break you

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The real reason that Cher failed her driving test? Clue: it had nothing to do with her near-miss with a cyclist, or hitting a parked car as she passed it. It was because she couldn’t find her white collarless shirt from Fred Segal; her most capable-looking outfit. Cher understood the importance of a sartorially good first impression, but more than that, fashion’s innate ability to just make you better at stuff. I used to get waaaay more done in my freelance years working from home when I’d put a blazer on over the top of my pyjamas. Empirical proof that tailoring fixes lives.

2. What looks like a perfect life to others may be very far from the truth

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More pertinent now than ever, Cher’s observation that “Okay, so you’re probably going, ‘Is this like a Noxzema commercial or what?'” was quickly followed up with, “But seriously, I actually have a way normal life for a teenage girl.” Underneath the Calvin Klein dresses, Beverly Hills mansion and ridiculously swooshy hair, Cher was keen to remind us that she was just like you and me. She still worried about boys, grades, popularity… still got held up at gunpoint in an Alaia dress, had a wildly inappropriate relationship with her ex-stepbrother and made an embarrassingly full-on play for someone who was very obviously gay. I don’t know about you, but that’s my youth in a nutshell, right there.

She did have a point, though. In our current Instagram-frenzied society, life through a very flattering filter has become the norm. It’s easy to think other peoples’ existences are nothing more than the perfect snapshots they choose to share with us. Spontaneous, Valencia-tinted choreography has reached a dangerous peak. We’re standing on chairs to take pictures of our Special K and pretending we pack a different Diptyque candle in our gym kit every day. Noone owns that much Feu de Bois, trust me.

3. Have standards

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Saving yourself for Luke Perry? Your cultural references might need a bit of an update grandma, but I like where your head’s at. Cher’s unapologetic status as ‘a virgin who can’t drive’ made her the poster girl for not settling for anything less than the very best. Not only did that mean for boys (to be fair, Elton wore a brown suede bomber jacket, I don’t care how devastating his smile/ who his father was. And neither did she), but also for her family; encouraging her dad to be healthier, for her outfits; never trusting mirrors, only polaroids, and for her friends; with Tai’s makeover stretching far beyond some Wella plum mousse to include ‘something good for mankind or the planet for a couple of hours.’ Inspiring, really. Now if you need me, I’ll be with Marky Mark persuading him to plant a celebrity tree…

4. Often, the darkest hour comes before the dawn

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Darkest hour [dahrk’est ouuh] adj., n. Also known as an overwhelming sense of ickiness. Cher’s tidy world might have been upside down, her newly-made-over best mate turning into a monstrous mini-me, spectacularly failing her driver’s test and quite possibly screwing up her dad’s million-dollar litigation case, but what did she do to remedy it all? She went shopping! Problem solved.

Ok, actually there may have been more to it than Rodeo Drive. We’ve all been in those situations where nothing seems to be going right, but Cher taught us that sometimes you need to hit rock bottom before things can begin again. Joking aside, Steve Jobs once gave a speech where he said, “you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” I’m preeeeety sure he was referencing Cher’s iconic meltdown-turned-redemption when he wrote it. Nice one, Steve.

5. Having a touch-screen wardrobe is, and always will be, the greatest accomplishment in life

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SIGH. It’s been nearly twenty years. I mean, surely someone could’ve done a better job at inventing this by now? In much the same way that it pains me that they haven’t produced the hoverboards from Back To The Future 2, I regularly lament that Cher’s computerised wardrobe isn’t available on the app store yet. Science people! Stop growing human ears on the back of mice! Stick a pin in the large hadron collider (just for the time being. You can get back to it after lunch), and concentrate your efforts on this! Points one to four are made totally redundant if we have to dress ourselves in the morning for any longer without it. Cher would want it that way.