Dedicated to Gooner gals and pals who love to don jumpsuits and smart jackets as they do their jerseys.

24 May 2012

Country Costumes: Poland

Country Costumes: Poland

It's almost a shame that it's taken us so long to feature one of the host countries of this summer, but shhh, we won't tell if you don't! Aside from automatically qualifying this year as one of the host countries, Poland have only appeared one other time in the Euros, four years ago in 2008, and did not make it out of their group. It'll be interesting to see what they can achieve this time on home soil, in Group A with Russia, the Czech Republic, and Greece as their opponents.

There are really only three Polish footballers (who chose to play for Poland) that I can immediately think of. Of course, as an Arsenal fan, the two Polish names that come to mind are our two Poles in goal, Szczesny and Fabianski. The third? None other than my favourite foul mouthed, corn-hating* crazy, Artur Boruc. Needless to say, I don't have much knowledge of the Polish team, or even Poland in general, apart from the fact that I find their names horribly hard to spell and pronounce.

It seems that every time I've seen Poland play, they're up against Germany and either stone-faced Podolski or Klose are the goalscorers. Not exactly the most flattering memories, I know. Ignoring those memories, I've chosen to use Poland's red and white as my main inspiration in assembling this outfit.

With simple black skinnies, a white clutch, and a draping white tank top, the loudest part of the set are the accessories. The swirling bracelet set with blood red crystals, silver pumps, and red teardrop earrings all serve to add a bit of glamour and sophistication to the look.

*speaking of course in reference to Dirty Tackle's weekly rage list parodies.

Tank top, Elizabeth and James, £125;
Jeans, Liberty, £165;
Pumps, Nine West, £50;
Clutch, Valextra, £842;
Bracelet, 1928 Jewelry, £15;
Earrings, Max&Chloe, £18

Country Costumes: Denmark

Country Costumes: Denmark (to be continued)
The Danish Dynamite may well be the dark horse of Group B this summer. Tossed in the group of death along with Holland, Germany, and Portugal, many have already written Denmark off as the bottom of the four. However, Denmark are a solid, competitive side - not every member of the team is as disappointing as Nicklas Bendtner - and, in my opinion, should not be underestimated.

Having one major title to their name, the European Championship of 1992 where they defeated defending champs Holland in the semifinals, Denmark have fared much better in Europe than they have on the world stage, with only 4 total appearances in the World Cup, having never made it further than the quarterfinals in 1998.

I had the pleasure of visiting Denmark last summer during a roadtrip of sorts that also included stops in the Netherlands, Sweden, and Norway. Sorry, Finland! It's a gorgeous country with adorable houses and lovely architecture in general, and has wonderful summer weather to boot. I've kept some details of my visit to Denmark, along with the national team, in mind as I put together this look.

Starting with a fun printed skirt, I've paired it with a simple black vest and a minimalistic handbag and wedges to keep from shifting attention away from the skirt. The accessories in the form of the spiked ring and lightning bolt earrings add some excitement into the look, an unsubtle reference to the nickname of the Danish Dynamite.

Vest, Ted Baker, £42;
Skirt, Marni, £203;
Wedges, Miu Miu, £402;
Bag, Phillip Lim, £478;
Ring, Tom Binns, £95;
Earrings, ASOS, £7

Country Costumes: Greece

Country Costumes: Greece

We probably all know Greece best for its lengthy history (I could go on and on about all of the beautiful art and architecture of years past in Greece, but I'll spare you the details), as an economic hot mess in more recent times, and football-wise, as the dark horse champions of 2004.

On the world stage, Greece has only made it to two World Cups, exiting after the group stages both times, and had qualified for the Euros only once, 24 years prior to becoming champions in 2004. Euro 2008, as defending champions, wasn't so great for the Greeks - they became the first defending champions to go home without having earned a single point in the group stage, losing to Sweden, Russian, and Spain, scoring a lone goal in their last match. It surely won't be hard to improve upon their last tournament this summer. (One would hope, at least).

There is one small detail I can't wait to see from Greece this coming tournament, and that would be their names on the backs of their shirts. Nearly every man on their team will be the Vennegoor of Hesselink of Greece. Aside from that, I can't really say I have much interest in their team and will wait for them to either surprise me, or prove me right in my expectations for them this tournament.

For this outfit, I've chosen a more neutral palette, focusing on the simple, yet elegant style of the Greeks. Pastel jeans are in this season and this pale blue-green pair is perfect paired with a floaty, nude blouse. I had to go with gladiator style sandals for footwear and delicate gold bangles and earrings as the accessories. A plain white messenger bag completes the look.

Blouse, Phillip Lim, £306;
Jeans, J Brand, £190;
Sandals, Steve Madden, £36;
Bag, Ralph Lauren, £539;
Earrings, Kenneth Cole, £20;
Bangles, J Crew, £20

14 May 2012

Country Costumes: Netherlands (Lia)

Country Costumes: Netherlands

There are four main details about the Dutch that come to mind when giving a summary the team. Conflict between the divas - with each other or their managers (Gullit vs Advocaat, Davids vs Hiddink, Van Nistelrooy vs Van Basten, Van Persie vs Sneijder), horrible penalty taking skills (Cocu's spooky ability to always hit the post), a permanently weak defense, and muscles/bones made of spun sugar (Van Basten, Van Persie, Robben, Vlaar to name just a few mainstays in the treatment room).

Look in the dictionary and you'll probably find a picture of Oranje under the definition of "(forever a) bridesmaid." We don't really like to count the number of times we've appeared in the World Cup finals (1974, 1978, 2010) and failed to win. Aside from being champions in Euro 1988, the Dutch side have little to show for their collective talents in terms of silverware.

There are of course at least two Dutch names that probably every football fan has heard of, the first being Johann Cruijff. Total football. Under manager Rinus Michels and led by Cruijff, the Dutch dazzled in 1974, defeating both Brazil and Argentina before falling to West Germany in the final. Anyone that's old enough to have watched that final still experienced the magic of Dutch football first-hand, with the Dutch scoring before a single German had touched the ball. The second name? Marco van Basten. His stunning volley against the Soviet Union is unforgettable.

Every tournament comes with two certainties. A stunning goal that's a contender for goal of the tournament, and tears. Van Persie's free kick against Côte d'Ivoire in 2006, Robben's goal against France in 2008, and Van Bronckhorst's long range shot against Uruguay in 2010 that silenced Jabulani critics for half a second are forever etched in my mind. I also remember the tears clearly, but of course they're not nearly as nice to discuss in this case. I've infused a tough edge to the traditional orange, represented by the clutch and heels, with a lion printed tee along with zipper detailed jeans, chained wrap bracelet, and a spiked headband. The drop earrings bring just a touch of delicacy and balance to the outfit.

Tee, Dorthy Perkins, £13;
Jeans, J Brand, £223;
Heels, Hervé Léger, £143;
Clutch, Givenchy, £795;
Bracelet, Pret a Beaute, £82;
Earrings, Macy's, £68

Country Costumes: Portugal

Country Costumes: Portugal

I have to say, Portugal is a team I love to maturely make faces or pretend-gag over every time they're mentioned. Every time I think of them, I get flashbacks of that match - dubbed the Battle of Nuremberg - during the 2006 World Cup and have nightmares of drowning in grease, courtesy of Cristiano Ronaldo and his love for hair products.

Having first qualified for the World Cup in 1966 and the Euros in 1984, Portugal have made five appearances in each tournament, having won in neither. Portugal have a rather tumultuous early history in terms of results in the time between forming in 1914 and their first qualification for a major tournament. Between the two World Wars all but putting the sporting worlds on hold and overall lack of experience and consistency, it wasn't until the 1990s, with the help of Portugal's golden generation (think of names like Figo, Couto, and Costa), that they became a more difficult team to face.

The closest Portugal have come to glory was back on home soil in 2004, where they lost to dark horse and eventual champions, Greece, in both the opening match of the tournament and the final. Following 4th place in 2006 and being eliminated in the quarterfinals in 2008 and round of 16 in 2010, they started off their Euro 2012 qualifiers poorly, drawing with Cyprus and falling to Norway. However, they survived the play-offs, winning 6-2 on aggregate against Bosnia and Herzegovina, and were placed in the group of death along with Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark, which will surely provide for some entertaining football at the very least.

With many different civilisations having influenced Portugal's culture for thousands of years, it can be said that Portugal is a melting pot of of culture. They have a great appreciation for the arts - music, dance, theatre, painting/sculpture, so I chose to compile an outfit with a relaxed, artsy feel. With the asymmetrical maxi skirt as a centrepiece, I've paired it with a nude zippered vest, white flats, and a two-tone clutch. I've accesorised with accents of green, bypassing the Christmas-on-steriods look of the Portuguese flag for a more subdued one, with only a simple green and gold ring and a cluster necklace with different shades of green/grey.

Vest, Warehouse, £16;
Skirt, Romwe, £16;
Flats, Topshop, £20;
Ring, Astley Clarke, £47;
Necklace, Econe, £93;
Clutch, Phillip Lim, £252

13 May 2012

Country Costumes: England

There's a feeling of both being choked and humiliated all while attempting to nurse a mad hangover when one thinks of the English team. You don't know whether to cry or laugh, cringe or scoff, and worst of all - they're not even your team. A part of you wants them to do well because you follow the league, your team is English, you have an assortment of players that you rate who are English and oh yeah, they invented the sport. But then you turn the channel to England vs. whoever-it-doesn't-really-mattter-they'll-screw-it-up-anyway and you have that nagging thought in the back of your mind that even you could do better than that. They hold on to their sole 1966 World Cup win and have a tendency for the attitude that they have the God-given right to win everything in football*.

Now I'm not one of those England haters without a reason, but after an arsenal of off-pitch horseplay (i.e. John Terry) you can't help but wonder why they still have the loyalty of their fans. Their performance in South Africa left an unbelievably bitter taste, drawing 1-1 to United States and losing 4-1 to Germany. Their abysmal campaign caused the nation to more or less abandon their own team. They lost the financial backing of Nationwide, Carlsberg, and National Express with only chocolate giants Mars left as their sponsor. Manager Fabio Capello was forced to resign but stayed on as he refused and the FA had no choice but to keep him as the Euro 2012 qualifying was too soon. And so England carried on with having little more than a glance from the country and ended their "worst season ever" losing 2-1 to historical rivals France in a friendly as the players were booed off the pitch by its fans.

The England national team is joint oldest with fellow home nation Scotland in the world of international football. They played their first match in 1870 which ended in a draw and it was not until November 1872 that their first FIFA-recognised match was played which also ended in a draw. There is no doubt that the English team has a long, rich, and often turbulent history. In 1938, the team played their first European tour match against Germany in Berlin. The team was ordered to make the Nazi salute during the German national anthem and while the dressing room exploded in uproar, the team had no choice but to obey. The order had come from the British ambassador as relations between the two countries were shaky. The match ended 6-3 to England. A year later, England declared war on Germany.

England entered their first World Cup in 1950 which saw their infamous 1-0 defeat to the United States. They exited in the quarter finals in 1954 after being eliminated by defending champions Uruguay. While the country hopes for success in the 1958 World Cup, the Munich air disaster ended those hopes as the incident took the lives of their most important international players. Bobby Charlton, then future English and Manchester United legend survived the crash after being rescued by teammate Harry Gregg. In true English style, their 1966 World Cup win was not without its drama. (West) Germany today still protests on the issue of whether or not Geoff Hurst's goal crossed the line. Nevertheless, the goal was given and Bobby Moore became the first and only English captain as of today to lift the World Cup.

England's record in the continental stage is rather poor. They have yet to reach a final, and we all know what happened in 2008. Nothing.

My own thoughts on the English team is largely unsure. While I truly have so much respect for their history, the team of today leaves little to be desired. The team are filled with prima donnas and their form is inconsistent. Their focus is rocky and off-pitch gossip fills their campaigns (see WAGs in Germany). So I chose to ignore England of today and focused on the Charltons, Moores, and Greaveses. Passion wins the game, and while England has a hoard of skills - their guts are empty of spirit. To pay tribute to the 1966 team, I chose a sharp outfit with historical references. A peplum top with rich velvet patterns, sleek leather pants, and a tailored blazer brings a strong classy look. Finish with a simple black clutch, army green scarf to beat the windy English air, lion ring, and bold red pumps.

*As said by Johnny Haynes, then England inside forward after their elimination in 1958.

Trousers, Burberry Prorsum, price unavailable
Top, Alexander McQueen, £1195
Blazer, Stella McCartney, £943
Clutch, Mulberry, £450
Ring, Alexis Bittar, £137
Scarf, Mulberry, £225
Shoes, Charlotte Olympia, £595

Country Costumes: Croatia

I have always respected Croatia and see them as a strong side with a lot of potential. I believe they deserve more recognition as their debut in the 1998 World Cup for the first time as an independent country saw them leap from the 125th spot to the 3rd in the World rankings (they also reached 2nd upon beating Germany in the semis). The dramatic leap saw them winning their second FIFA Best Mover of the Year award after winning their first in 1994. Their French campaign was certainly captivating to watch as a small Soviet bloc breakaway took the competition by storm, gunning to third place as they defeated tough sides Netherlands and Germany in the process. Davor Šuker also bagged the top scorer award that summer.

It has been 19 years since Croatia gained membership in both FIFA and UEFA yet they can still be considered newcomers in the continental stage. Both their pre-Yugoslavian and Yugoslavian records are nothing but a starting point as the new Croatian team sought to make their own history. While they have yet to show the same class as their 90s Golden Generation, each upcoming competition becomes a chance for Croatia to find their initial success once more. Their last Euros appearance saw them exiting in the quarter finals to Turkey in a penalty shootout and the nation certainly hopes in making it further this time when they attempt to garner attention as they did in France 14 years ago.

The arrival of Slaven Bilić in 2006 certainly had the ball turning in the invigoration direction but it has been six years since and only this year's Euros can tell whether the now dubbed 'Bilić boys' deserve the credit. Despite their poor form in the 2010 World Cup, Bilić remains in charge and brought them to qualify for this year after a 3-0 revenge on Turkey in the qualifying play-offs. I believe Croatia is about revival, potential, and hope. Taking this into consideration, I decided to create an outfit that takes inspiration from the Balkans as a melting pot of the cultures of Christianity, Islam and Greco-Roman civilisation. A strong Hungarian and communist influences also exist.

The skirt is a take on the elaborate baroque style that became prominent in Croatia after reunification of the country with her occupied parts. The colour black and white is representative of the coat of Dalmatians, which hail from the country. The top is structured, in a soft blue-ish hue reminiscent of the ocean. A statement necklace of feathers, wool knots and other trinkets is a tribute to the rich culture of the Ottoman Empire. The clutch and shoes are by Croatian-born designers, representative of modern Croatia while the ring is a fun take on football and art combined.

Top, Carven, £180
Skirt, Balmain, £5395
Necklace, Dior, price unavailable
Bag, Lei Lou by Aleksandre Dojčinović, £267.20
Ring, Trina Turk, £43.40
Shoes, Damir Doma, £512

11 May 2012

Country Costumes: Germany

Country Costumes: Germany

Ah, Die Mannschaft. Traditionally one of the most successful teams on an international level, Germany have three World Cups and three European Championships under their belts. I don't have very strong memories of the team until 2006, when they played on home soil. Although the first time I'd watched them play was back in 2002, I was barely 9 at the the time and the only memories of the final against Brazil I have are both of the latter side. I only remember Ronaldo's strange hair and the nickname we Chinese had affectionately given him - Alien. (And of course their performance at Euro 2004 was less than impressive).

Starting from 2000, Die Mannschaft have had a bit of a rollercoaster ride in the major tournaments - crashing out in the group stages of Euro 2000, reaching the World Cup final in 2002, and again crashing out in the group stages of Euro 2004. Their talent has finally seemingly reached a steady level with third place in 2006, second in 2008, and again third in 2010. The newest talents like Müller, Özil, Kroos, and Badstuber came in and melded almost seamlessly with the first wave of new talents that had arrived a few years earlier in the form of Podolski, Schweinsteiger, and Lahm, together phasing out the aged (or injured) "old guard," as I like to call them.

I found myself pulling for Germany in the third place match back in 2006, deeming it the lesser of two evils as I was bitter as hell over Portugal having knocked my precious Oranje out of the tournament. Everyone probably still remembers the Euro 2008 final, where a lone goal by Fernando Torres (what is he up to beside flopping like a fish out of water these days anyways?) was enough to bring Germany down, and of course Spain again triumphed over a psyched out Germany in the 2010 semifinals.

In recent years Germany have morphed from a nation that once played effective, boring football to one that plays beautiful, effective football. I remember being shocked by the change in the group stages of 2010, as I watched Germany take apart Australia's physical side with little effort, bleary eyed in the early hours of Beijing. I've taken this shock into account with the white printed dress, the black print resembling a chaotic field of wildflowers and paired it with red pumps, a red clutch, and yellow retro shades, much like the standard German kits of white accented with yellow, red, and black. Accessories include the asymmetrical white and pale gold two-toned bangle and eagle charm necklace, a reference to the DFB eagle.

Dress, Dorthy Perkins, £43;
Pumps, Steve Madden, £50;
Clutch, Lanvin, £860;
Necklace, Lanvin, £1120;
Bracelet, Marni, £249;
Sunglasses, Mango, £20

Country Costumes: Spain (Lia)

Country Costumes: Spain

Kay and I felt it would only be right for us to both create our own looks for Spain, as they are defending champions of the Euros. Although the fans that are lucky enough to attend the matches in person will be having the times of their lives and have beer coursing through their veins, I will most likely be streaming the matches silently during my Organizational Behaviour and Management lecture, trying to pretend I'm paying attention to the course.

Like Kay, I still remember the heartbreak of the World Cup final like it was yesterday, although I was watching from my living room instead of the stadium. I still remember crying at Gio van Bronckhorst's substitution, and of course again at the final whistle. But most importantly, I remember the hurt etched across the face of each and every Dutch player, reflected across every Oranje fan's face, including my own. I respect Spain as a talented side that plays beautiful football, but that doesn't lessen the hurt.

I honestly can't come up with much outside of football when I think of Spain. I can't even pull up any personal memories, as Spain is one of the few countries in western Europe I have yet to visit. I can't paint a very complete image of the country, as all I have are past World Cups and past European Championships to go on.

Ashamedly, as even my knowledge of Spain's history is spotty, I took the easy way out in creating this outfit. I've focused mainly on the Spanish flag, and as an extension, the easily recognisable Spanish kits. Casual, comfortable outfits are the staple of my daily outfits so I started with a pair of bright red skinnies. However, instead of a yellow top, I've chosen a simple white silk tunic, cream flats, and a cream tote to avoid that horrible ketchup/mustard combination. I've accessorised with a simple yellow bracelet with gold spikes and a pair of ruby and gold crown earrings, similar to the crown on Spain's coat of arms.

Flats, Otte, £164;
Tunic, Hôtel Particulier, £89;
Jeans, Paige, £221;
Earrings, Butler & Wilson, £52;
Tote, Prada, £1150;
Bracelet, Ettika, £23

10 May 2012

Country Costumes: France

Les Bleus was my first love. I watched them lift the World Cup as a bemused 7-year old who stayed up until the early morning with her older brother to watch Brazil and France go head to head 7 hours behind our time zone. Being young, I didn't understand much, but I did remember a player that went to pave his way as a French legend and soon became a household name, Zinedine Zidane. His head was still full of hair back then... not so much Fabien Barthez. Though at the time I've yet to discover my love for football 8 years later, I remembered the summer of 1998 to be exactly in three colours: bleu, blanc, and rouge. 

France's 0 - 3 win against favourites Brazil in Stade de France cemented their place as the top footballing nation entering the new millennium. In true French style, they greeted the summer of the year 2000 by winning the European championship in Belgium. They went to win the Confederations Cup in 2001 but followed with a disastrous campaign in South Korea as they exited in the group stages of the 2002 World Cup having been predicted a contender. Collecting another Confederations Cup in 2003, their less than attractive performance in the 2006 World Cup had no one believing they were going to reach the finals.

Everybody certainly remembered the dramatic end to France's hope of winning a second title. One incident overshadowed the whole event: Zidane vs. Materazzi and a little move called the headbutt. Though Zidane was clearly wrong to rise to the provocation, everyone, especially France watched in agony as Zidane walked out the pitch, passing by the trophy he once won almost single-handedly. This would be the last time the world watched Zidane play football professionally as he announced retirement afterwards.

France fell to what I call a post-Zidane syndrome afterwards. They exited in the group stages of both the 2008 Euros and the 2010 World Cup. They were criticised for holding on to ageing players, but when the younger players came to offer their services - a generational conflict unfolded led by the two headed demon, Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri. Stories of unrest within the French camp filled their South African campaign and the players went into what the Frenchman does best: a revolution.

Unlike 1789, 1830, and 1848 - this coup had obvious results: punishment. The squad was suspended, the instigators fined, and the captain questioned by the president. The team regrouped from the drama and managed to qualify for the 2012 Euros. As someone who has a tiny piece of her heart reserved for Les Tricolores, I'm looking forward to see a much-refreshed French squad. With that in mind, this look invokes new beginnings in a parisian chic packaging. Simple, strong, clean lines with classic French icons such as the Hermès Kelly bag and Chanel clip ins. The outfit itself is understated yet packs a punch - burgundy trousers, floral top, and a luxurious smoking jacket. Add a tough minimalist sandal to show that you're here with a point to prove and you might just be ready to win something.

Trousers, Isabel Marant, £195
Top, Vanessa Bruno, £280
Blazer, Balmain, £653 (on sale)
Bag, Hermès, price upon request
Earrings, Chanel, price unavailable (vintage)
Shoes, Givenchy, £636 

Country Costumes: Spain (Kay)

With the Euros looming over us in less than a month, the Colney Chic is shifting gears for the duration of the competition in bringing you looks and features inspired by the 16 teams that will be fighting for the title of Head Bitch In Charge - boots polished, kits pressed, sexual abstinence and everything. The fans will be front and centre, lager in hand, hair dyed and face painted. While the Euros are rather young (established in 1960) in comparison to the World Cup, it certainly doesn't lack the passion and sense of togetherness that its global counterpart envisions.

With the European continent being at the heart of the game, the Euros is sometimes used as a prerequisite in predicting the World Cup contenders. This was certainly true for the Spanish football team, whose success in the 2008 competition cemented their true potential in reaching their first World Cup win. And win they did, as Italy handed down their crown to La Roja in the cold Johannesburg winter. I attended the match myself, and while I blanked out and fell to tears after witnessing my team (Netherlands) lost in such an unforgiving manner I did remember the red fireworks surrounding the stadium when the world was at Spain's feet at that night.

I could never truly forgive Spain, and neither could my mother. She complained about Spain's undeserved win, arguing her case passionately for months. (To this day, she still talks about the obnoxious Spanish fans she pretty much drove out of the Holland box we were sitting in). However, my bitterness can't overwhelm the fact that I respect Spain as a team. As defending champions of the Euros, it's only right that we kick off our Team Togs special, dubbed 'Country Costumes' with the Tiqui-taca enforcers.

When I think of Spain, I think of conquistadores, paella, and Philip II. I think of the long nights I slaved away in front of my laptop writing about the often misunderstood, though undoubtedly fanatical Spanish king for my professor. I think of painting my faces in the German colours as I sat down with my housemates in the common room rooting against those darned Spaniards and waking up our housemistress who in turn, yelled at us to go to sleep. The point of all these anecdotes are collective memories. A country is a bank of memories, full of stories and experiences that may be sweet or sour.

Coming to terms with the idea of memory - especially repressed memory - Spain comes to mind with its blackened history post-Civil War. Taking off from a heavy topic, I thought about the histories that do remain - memories that are more fiery than it is cold and dark. The team is called La Furia Roja for a reason and my take on the Spanish look is represented in the spirit of Spain and its iconic red. The bustier and skirt set with chilli peppers as a print is a fun take on vintage summer dressing. Think lunch on the deck in Lake Como. We pair it with modern items such as a red-hot python envelope clutch and black chunky gladiator heels. Accessories are more traditional, using a gold rosary to represent the strong Roman Catholic tradition in Spain to wrap around your wrist, a cocktail ring based on crown jewels and Catholic iconography, and to finish a retro yet modern cat-eye shades to fight that summer sun.

Bustier, Dolce & Gabbana, £535
Skirt, Dolce & Gabbana, £580
Bag, Lanvin, £825
Shoes, Elizabeth & James, £217
Ring, Virgin Saints & Angels, £138
Rosary, Heather Gardner, £217
Shades, Miu Miu, £225

One True Look: Cesc Fàbregas/Gerard Piqué

One True Look: Cesc Fabregas/Gerard Pique

To my horror, Kay insisted I do an OTL of the anomalously* popular "Fabrique." Although I must have accidentally-on-purpose forgotten about this assignment at least three times when we discussed our to-do lists for the blog, it would be safe to say that it never slipped her mind. So here I am, still grumbling about having grabbed a straw so short that it's in danger of permanently popping out of existence, but having accepted my fate. You may think I'm saying this like it's the end of the fashion world - well, it is.

I admit I don't even know much about the much hyped Fabrique. Now, I'm not one of those disillusioned Gooners that declared undying hatred for both Cesc and Barca once he made his transfer back to Barcelona (although I do think he could have handled the entire situation a bit better, the media is a hard pack of drama llamas to control), so my aversion to the pairing really has no standard explanation. The only impressions I have of Piqué are his (to me) donkey-like appearance and his unfortunate habit of bleeding more easily than Sharpie through printer paper, and the only memory I really have of him is of him and Puyol pulling a Barcelona shirt on then-Gunner Fàbregas. Not a very popular overall view of him, to say the least. On the other hand, I know everything from Cesc's love for doughnuts to his almost irrational aversion to mushrooms.

Pluck any five random Spanish footballers out of a line and what will they have in common? Horribly greasy hair, the belief that they've got impeccable taste in clothes while actually having an abomination of a "sense" of style. Gerard Piqué and Cesc Fàbregas are no exceptions to the rule, and I would be lying if I said I wasn't initially stumped over what route I should take for their outfit. I avoided searching the Fabrique tag on tumblr like it was the plague, so I eventually settled on choosing the exact opposite of what I thought would match within the outfit. Pretty much the equivalent of closing my eyes and pointing at a random article of clothing or piece of jewellery from their respective piles.

I started off with the fringed fading sunset cropped tee - something, along with the brash "sexy" ring, only a fashion-challenged Spaniard could  pick up thinking they could rock it, and paired it with standard boyfriend jeans. Add a hipster mustache tote and braided bracelet and they'll think they're keeping up with the trends. A pair of distressed wannabe-biker boots rounds off the mismatched look.

*Sorry, my maths is showing. 

Tee, Monki, £16;
Bracelet, Emanuele Bicocchi, £159;
Jeans, H&M, £30;
Tote, Etsy, £7.50;
Ring, Deb, £7;
Boots, Pierre Balmain, £944

Team Togs: Hertha BSC

Team Togs: Hertha BSC

Back again to the Bundesliga! This time we’ve headed over to the German capital and are bringing you an outfit inspired by Hertha Berlin. Although some of the first things that may come to mind about Berlin may be the Berlin airlift, the fall of the Berlin Wall and reunification of Germany, or JFK’s iconic “Ich bin ein Berliner” gaffe to name just a few iconic events, we’ve forgone the rich history of the city in favour of the equally action-packed history of the club.

Hertha were an inaugural member of the Bundesliga back in 1963 but the decade following was less than memorable, wrought by a bribery scandal that resulted in relegation and being several million euros in debt. The 70s brought a fair amount of success (bar a match fixing scandal) but more than half of the next 20 years were spent in the II. Bundesliga. Fast forward through some more debt and countless ups and downs and you've got a pretty good summary of the past 60 years for Berlin's favourite football team.

After reading the quick sparknotes version of Hertha’s recent history and still keeping in mind their origin of being named after a steamship by one of the founding members of BFC Hertha 92, we just couldn’t resist creating a slightly insane look with sailor-inspired elements. Think of it as something you could put together if someone put you in a shop after you've had a few beers.

There's no true centrepiece to this outfit, just individual elements that come together to create a whole. We've paired an anchor embellished pullover with nautical-striped pants, two strong sea-inspired elements but not quite overboard*. Add a bright blue bag and chained black trainers and we take the look up another notch. We accessorise with only a chunky seed bead bib, further enhancing the strong presence of blues in this outfit.

*Please don't sue us for any injuries inflicted from facepalming over our brilliant punnyness.

Pullover, L'Eclaireur, £78;
Bag, Givenchy, £1500;
Necklace, Charm & Chain, £60;
Trainers, ASOS, £113;
Pants, AX Paris, £30

9 May 2012

Team Togs: West Ham United FC

A friend of mine or shall I say an unpaid advisor on our beloved Colney Chic has harassed and threatened me to writing about West Ham since a conversation we had about West Ham's underlying paedophilic sub-text. Before I'm jumped by some Frodo-looking punk from Green Street*, let me redeem myself by saying that I wasn't the one who appointed Pedobear as your bloody mascot, and named him Bubbles out every darned choices in the world. Don't even try and turn this around on me by calling out on how ignorant I am. I know I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles. By heart too, bitch what? You're forever blowing Bubbles. Never took West Ham fans for furries but hey. 

Then came the new mascot, an anthropomorphic... hammer. Hammerhead, you call him. Shaking our heads forever in your direction, West Ham. Bet we know where you'd like that hammer -... well, let's scrub things a bit cleaner here and move on to the fashion before I scar you girls for life. The friend had mentioned on using West Ham's poor excuse for a mascot as inspiration and the only thing that came to mind was lolita-inspired fashion but feeling sorry for the team, I decided to go to an entirely different route but thought I'd start with that mental image for you ladies. 

Known for its hooliganism that started in the 60s and escalated in the 70s to 80s, West Ham United are still infamous for playing a significant part in organised football violence. A history of violence and racism are also well known in Upton Park. While it's irresponsible to pay tribute to this disgusting display of 'loyalty' - I did want to concentrate on the history of West Ham being associated with the iron and shipbuilding industry. Added with the hooliganism culture ever present in the Hammers' reputation, an anarchy-inspired outfit came to being. 

Our look is all about accessorising, the outfit itself consists of a simple nautical striped tee, coloured denim shorts and a structured biker waistcoat. We toughen up the look again with black studded biker boots and a statement necklace. Pile up some arm candy with different strand-based bracelets with charms associated with ships such as anchors and compass arrows. We finish the look with a claret-coloured throw around bag that can hold both your knuckle duster and Jack Daniels. Throw on a pair of 50-s inspired shades and you're good to go to fight those rotten Millwall tools. 

*A/N: In all honesty, Green Street Hooligans was a great movie. 

Tee, Nicole Farhi, £75
Waistcoat, Givenchy, £925
Shorts, Current/Elliott, £96
Bracelet (Red & blue), Alex Woo, £59.06/each
Bracelet (Yellow), ASOS (sold out) 
Bracelet (Black), M. Cohen, £108.20
Necklace, Jean Paul Gaultier, £674
Boots, Ash, £280
Shades, Dior, £430
Bag, Givenchy, £876.54 (colour not available) 

One True Look: Christoph Metzelder/Sebastian Kehl

Back to our much-loved One True Look, and we decided to stick to our safe and classic route now that we know the many hits we've had for the Gerrard/Alonso look. Because we're hit whores like that, truth.
No, really - for all the bromances/fuckbuddies/huggingmates/grindingfriends we've seen in the fandom, it's those that have survived multiple transfers and the birth of questionable new pairings that deserves the spotlight. For those girls who has been football fans prior to the 2006 World Cup, we all remember there was a time in the fandom where Germany was today's Spain. Fangirls were springing from here to there riding on the Die Mannschaft wagon - many thanks to the now divorced "Schweinski".

One of the pairings frequently mentioned was "Metzelly" - a colloquial word that the girls came up with that combined Christoph and Sebastian's nickname: Metze and Kelly (Kelly was a nickname given by Chris to Seb). The two were (at the time of Germany '06) both playing for Borussia Dortmund and were both called up to the national team to represent in the World Cup. Vocal about their relationship off-field, they were frequently interviewed together and came to create a charity that raised awareness for child abuse. Both a practicing Catholic, they also had the opportunity to meet the late Pope John Paul II together as the face of German Roman Catholics in the footballing world . Other small, minute, unnecessary details includes Kelly's announcing of Metze sleeping naked while they were roommates in Dortmund and writing blogs dedicated to each other...

The two are quite known for their clean-cut, put-together, sartorial dressing, especially Christoph Metzelder, who had been voted as one of the top 5 best dressed footballers by GQ alongside David Beckham and Thierry Henry. To stick with the look that are identical with the two, we created a Casual Friday work look that is still fashion forward but not forceful. We start with a stretch-cotton trousers in khaki, pair with a simple white pocket tee and cover with a structured leather jacket that has still a relaxed appeal. We accessorise with a luxurious tote in black botox-treated python, stacked cocktail ring, and yellow sling backs to add colour. The black and yellow is also tribute to Borussia Dortmund's colour.

Tee, Rag & Bone, £65
Trousers, Etro, £220
Jacket, Haider Ackermann, £1700
Bag, Zagliani, £1942
Shoes, Jimmy Choo, £553
Ring, Repossi, £358

Team Togs: FC Bayern Munich

Another trip to the Bundesliga*, and it's only understandable that we tackle the biggest club to come out of Germany: Bayern Munich. Though they're that classic team you love to hate much like Manchester United and Barcelona, there's no doubt they're big for a reason. Their domestic success is reflected in their record for holding the most Bundesliga wins (21 titles) since the league's creation in 1963. Success and fame has easily lined them up to be one of Europe's football powerhouses. Their presence in the Champions League is expected and while their last winner's medal was over ten years ago, there's no doubt they still deliver in the European stage as they came out as runner ups in 2010 against Inter Milan. 

Being a team hailing from Bavaria, it was only necessary that we infused the proud Bavarian culture into our look. (After all, the team's crest bears the Bavarian flag in it). I thought about the turn of spring into summer, and after slight contemplation I wanted to focus in the important tradition of the maibaum in Germanic countries. The Maypole is erected in Bavaria on either the 30th of April or the 1st of May to celebrate May Day. It has often been debated as one of the most significant remnants of Germanic paganism that survived Christianisation. 

The image of Spring festivals is often filled with young girls in white dresses and floral crowns dancing around the maypole and we wanted to take that ethereal, airy, spiritual, almost fairy-like quality into our Munich look. It is also a modern take into an ancient festival that has been going on for centuries and we think football is exactly the same, it's face is changing but the traditions and passion is all the same. The traditional colours of Bavaria and Munich are used as accents though there is a tendency for their away colours of white. 

We start with a modern spin on the traditional white dress, a thigh-high split dress in beige that we cover with a beautiful lace waistcoat to add texture. This dress is both comfortable, easy to wear, and at the same time edgy for a festival day. Pair with crystal-beaded sandals to give the illusion of wearing nothing but jewels on your feet. Accessories are symbolic, the traditional home-made floral crown in the Munich home colours of red (with infused burgundy) and a blue and white checkered ribbon to tie around your wrist to pay tribute to Bavaria. Finish with a handy wristlet in a pyramid shape for another modern representation.

*ETA: Kay's brain has forgotten we had covered Borussia Dortmund before. 

Dress, Stella McCartney, £237.50 (on sale)
Waistcoat, Biba, £55
Sandals, Antik Batik, £140
Bag, Jil Sander, £315
Ribbon, find all kinds of ribbons wholesale at Renaissance Ribbons!

8 May 2012

Safe Hands: Hot, Hot, Hot

Bright red nails have always been popular, no matter the season or occasion. Red nails with a black evening dress? Gorgeous. Red nails with jeans and a simple tee? Low key with a hint of glam. Red nail varnish is simply timeless compared to its brothers and sisters that look tacky when they're used outside of their respective time-lines.

Today we're (finally!) back with a fun twist to the ever-classic candy apple red shade. Two coats of of NYC's Big Apple Red Creme followed by a swipe or two, depending of course on how much glitter you want, of Wet'n'Wild's Wild Shine in Kaleidoscope are all you need for sparkly red nails vaguely reminiscent of ruby slippers right out of the Wizard of Oz.

3 May 2012

Team Togs: Tottenham Hotspur FC

When we first started this blog, the Tottenham question came to discussion more often than it should. As fashion bloggers who are partial to the boys of Highbury – trying to create both a wearable outfit inspired by our bitter neighbours down the road seems more agonizing than leggings worn as pants. At first we resorted to the ‘quick as a band-aid’ route but we had other ideas piling that the cockerels were the last thing on our minds. The next was the pretend-we-forgot-and-hope-nobody-notices option which we agreed until I made the mistake of giving Lia the task of Ajax AFC, which as a die-hard Feyenoord fan was equal to stealing her first-born.

I felt distraught, angry, lost, betrayed and most of all – confused. It felt like she had grabbed the insides of my being, devoured them and hurled back into my mouth for me to consume. Imagine – sitting down and giving your time to Spurs! Does she think I was all the twelve Olympians combined into one super-god? Surprisingly after much cursing, mumbling, and yawning when I started my research, I came across the history of their name and crest that proved to be very valuable.

Sir Henry Percy, the son of the 1st Earl of Northumberland owned much of the lands in Tottenham in the 15th century. He was nicknamed ‘Harry Hotspur’ due to his reckless and quick-tempered nature. He had a hobby for cock fighting and spurs were fitted on the cockerels’ legs. The team was named after him, and bears the cockerel as a tribute. Another thing to note was his attempt to overthrow Henry IV with his uncle but as a result died in the rebellion.

Using this fact as the basis for my look – I put together an outfit that is sartorial-heavy with hints of country living. I went for a streamlined, no-nonsense off-duty drab that Phoebe Philo could be proud of. We start with an ombré-dyed silk pants and a simple navy tee then we cover up with a tweed equestrian-inspired jacket. We keep the accessorising to a minimal with a sterling cockerel-design ring and a structured no-fuss bag in burgundy and navy - colours the team used in the late 19th century. We finish with chunky glitter sandals to represent Harry Percy’s bold personality. 

Trousers, Topshop, £75
Tee, Vince, £100
Jacket, Day Birger et Mikelsen, £162 (on sale)
Shoes, Givenchy, £629
Bag, Burberry, £1355
Ring, Dark Mode, £614.40

Beauty Break: Products I Regret Buying

Following up on Kay's video, here's my version of the products that I regret buying. Enjoy! x

One True Look: Steven Gerrard/Xabi Alonso

Look at Lia taking all the weight on her shoulders to keep this blog alive! I can only apologise for our lack of posts these past two weeks - I've been down with the flu and now I've been away in Canada. With the enviable skills of persuasion of a friend, she made a good case that it's now or never so here I am posting an idea that's been sitting on the drafting table for quite some time now. After leaving the colour-blind Spanish twincest, we decided to go down a more classic route with a rather old school yet still endearing pairing of none other than Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso. 

The thought of combining a well-dressed Basque and a truly passionate Liverpudlian makes my heart flutter as my brain quickly whirs to overdrive, knowing exactly what I wanted to go for. Knowing that Spaniards can't dress even if they were to undergo multiple makeovers, I can save my "Lord Jesus, have mercy" knowing Xabi is more Basque than Castilian. Looking like the man has stepped out of a GQ shoot most of the time, it's easy enough to combine with a man who seems to be responsible for climate change when he steps out in a suit. 

This look is inspired by a mixture of things - I'm thinking your 60s-Lennon-McCartney-chasing-school-girl-groupie with an urban cool spin. In my head, 'Strawberry Fields Forever' was constantly playing and paying homage to the Liverpool-originated band (or rather, brand) - I came up with this look. It keeps the spirit of both men and their friendship alive, which was always charming to witness even if you aren't a Liverpool fan. It sticks to the classic yet throws rules out of the window with playful accessories.

The uniform-esque white blouse and black skirt is a blank canvas for the rest of the look. The denim jacket downplays the seriousness that comes with uniforms, and the retro-print scarf and bright bag allows for colour into an otherwise safe outfit. We take it even further with mint-coloured chunky platform sandals and a bracelet with strawberries as its charms which I added to my own amusement due to the song. 

Blouse, Orla Kiely, £208
Skirt, Proenza Schouler, £295
Jacket, Notify, £265
Bag, Reed Krakoff, £4653
Shoes, Rochas, £550
Scarf, Mary Katrantzou, £325
Bracelet, Lauren G. Adams, £55

2 May 2012

Team Togs: AFC Ajax

Team Togs: AFC Ajax

On the evening of clinching their 31st title, we bring you an outfit inspired from the essence of Amsterdam and a loose history of Ajax. The streets of Amsterdam are certain to be packed with partying Ajax fans through all hours of the night, and we're sure there is plenty of beer involved - it is Holland, after all.

A more typical day in Amsterdam is likely spent walking alongside the canals, popping in and out of high street shops like H&M and the touristy shops that sell everything from the goofy, oversized hats that every hardcore Oranje fan seems to own to dick-shaped mints and lighters with coloured flames. Hungry? No problem - there are plenty of cozy cafés tucked away just waiting to be discovered, and it is almost obligatory to buy a paper cone filled with chips that have been drowned in mayonnaise. Boat and bus tours are also popular, if you need some time to relax while still taking in the view of an undeniably beautiful city.

We've forgone the general stereotypes in favour of a more accurate interpretation of daily summer life in the city. Instead of the ever-famous red light district, marijuana, and tulips being our inspiration, we've turned our attention to the breezy canals present throughout the city, the Amsterdam flag, and the first official kit of Ajax (which was later altered as it was nearly identical to Sparta's kit - the concept of an away kit had not yet been introduced).

Summer fun is definitely integral in assembling this outfit. A flirty, casual black dress perfect for a sunny day and patent red flats reference the all black kit with a red sash that Ajax originally played in, while the white bag completes the look as the third colour of the Amsterdam flag. Simple red and black and white bangles paired with cross earrings tie the outfit together with the flag theme.

Dress, Crumpet, £65;
Bag, Rebecca Minkhoff, £182;
Flats, D&G, £249;
Earrings, Kabiri, £74;
Bracelet (red), Kate Spade, £40;
Bracelet (black&white), Macy's, £24

1 May 2012

Beauty Break: AFC Fiorentina

Beauty Break: AFC Fiorentina
Two posts recommending our beauty must-haves based on Italian football in a row - the world really must be ending sometime soon! Today we're bringing you five products that we promise won't put you to sleep. I can't speak for Kay, but it puts a smile on my face to see a football team wearing my favourite colour, even if I'm not a supporter of them.

Although I swear by dirt cheap £1 bottles of nail varnish, there are just some colours you can't find a good dupe of. China Glaze has so many lovely shades, metallic, glittery, matte, you name it, they probably have it in every colour and colour combination you could possibly dream of. (If you love glitter, make sure to check out their Hunger Games collection, it took all I had to not buy a bottle of each!)

What can I say, I'm a sucker for purple-toned lipsticks and glosses. I think they look lovely on all skin tones (orange excepted), and I always have at least one grape-hued Clinique lipstick in my bag. They're a subtle hint of colour compared to the candy apple reds I also love, and are much more wearable on a daily basis. They glide right on and keep your lips moisturised and glammed up at the same time - what's not to love?

Scent-wise, I love everything berry. There's just something about the semi-sweet, natural smell that calls my name. This body splash is both light and refreshing, and isn't sickly sweet like some fruit-scented sprays tend to be. A few spritzes after you climb out of the shower is enough to wake you up and send you straight to raspberry heaven without burning your nose.

Out of all the toners I've ever used, this is the only one that I would (and do) repurchase. I wouldn't say I have particularly sensitive skin, but every other toner I've tried has dried my skin out to the point it sends me running for the nearest bottle of moisturizer at least twice a day. This toner tightens up your pores nicely without it looking like there's a snowstorm on your face.

I recently bought a few of these shadow pencils and I have to say I am in love with them all! They're super easy to apply - they glide right on and last all day with no glitter falling down into your eyes and blinding you. They also double as an eyeliner if needed and add a great sparkle to your eyes with minimal effort. I've already bought five of them and will definitely be adding more to my collection.

One True Look: Robin van Persie/Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

One True Look: Robin van Persie/Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

Disclaimer: I've been coerced into making this post by Kay. I am not responsible for any mental scarring that may have occurred upon seeing this Fendi bag.

We're continuing our One True Look series with two of our favourite Oranje boys, who are as different as, well, different can be. Think of clashing on Real Madrid-Barcelona or Arsenal-Tottenham levels. Ajacied meets Feyenoorder, inner city boy meets country boy, teetotaler meets functioning alcoholic, plaid meets bling bling (in the words of Per Mertesacker) - combinations that will always bring lots of drama. In this case, bringing together our favourite guido impersonator and our resident hipster truly does produce an, ahem, interesting combination for this outfit.

With Van Persie's penchant for not owning a single article of clothing that doesn't clash with everything else in his closet and Huntelaar's drunken farmboy antics, any outfit created with both of them in mind is bound to be just a bit out there, like a penguin in the desert.

The split between the styles of this set is rather clear - the oh-so-ironic "I like cats" sweatshirt a reference to Robin's Cheetah, and the eye-watering peacock bag bowing down to his preference for Ed Hardy tees and shoes and "dress" shirts that look like they've been attacked by kids armed with felt tip markers, while the beret, coloured skinnies, leather wrap bracelet, and converse all but scream "hipster (and therefore Klaas-Jan) alert!" Although the bag is of course the bane of any fashionista's existence, we feel you could rock this ensemble after two or three or five drinks. We've put a ring on the look with the stacked ring strangely reminiscent of Chinese finger traps.

Ring, Dorthy Perkins, £9;
Bag, Fendi, price unavailable;
Bracelet, Calypso St. Barth, £117;
Sweatshirt, Etsy, £16;
Skinny jeans, Ted Baker, £90;
Beret, Forever 21, £5;
Shoes, Converse, £68
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