From The Editor Amanda

Someone told me it’s May. But it may as well be January here in the UK – it’s bloody freezing.

We can’t whisk ourselves away into warmer climes quite just yet, because we don’t know if we can fly anywhere and we can’t wear anything summery because it’s only about ten degrees at best. My heating is still on at home.

Fashion hasn’t quite picked up just yet, as we’re at that ‘in-between’ stage that straddles Spring and Summer. But one high street shop has released a new collection of clothing, much to the surprise (or horror) of many folk.

I’m talking Aldi. That’s Aldi and NOT Aldo.

Love it or loathe it – Aldi has caught up with the other major supermarkets on our high streets in the hearts and minds of UK shoppers.

Any Aldi fan will tell you that their “middle aisle” knows no bounds. Wheelbarrows, yoga mats, a random blanket you definitely don’t need. A sea of one-off household purchases sits in amongst the groceries.

And now, it looks like Aldi have expanded into a new realm: clothing.

Yep, Aldi have released their own line of sportswear and loungewear – the fabulously named Aldi Mania – and you can shop for it now. The range includes hoodies, pyjamas, underwear and socks.

If you think that rocking Aldi merch in public would render you certifiably insane, then think again, as Aldi have even got ex-Love Island Tommy Fury (Tyson’s relative) sporting their hoodie – and he actually nails it.

So, if you fancy getting your hands on an Aldi hoodie or some PJs, you can shop the Specialbuy range online now, with the merch available in stores too.

The hoodie will set you back £14.99, while the pyjamas are listed at £12.99, and boxers and socks cost just £4.99 and £1.49 respectively. They’re currently marked as sold out on the website though, so it’s worth checking back or getting down to a store later in the week if you’re desperate to get your hands on some Aldi merch.

Aldi merch. I never thought I’d be typing those words. But anything goes in 2021.

In this week’s issue, we investigate fashion trends which should NEVER return and while we’re still in beer gardens for another couple of weeks in the freezing cold – here’s what to wear to look good, keep safe and keep warm “down the pub”.

Fashion Trends Which Should NEVER Return

When it comes to the decades of fashion’s past, it’s easy to get inspired by the elegant silhouettes of the ’50s, the platform shoes of the ’70s, or even the distinct denim of the ’90s. But when it comes to the late 90s and early 2000s, I’m less eager to see key trends return. 

One celeb stands out from all others when it comes to terrible styling which should be cancelled and that’s Mariah Carey... amazing voice, awful wardrobe. Sack the stylist Mariah.

From ultra-low-rise jeans and belly chains to velour tracksuits, dresses over pants, and Ugg’s paired with denim miniskirts, there were some truly questionable moments. Here’s my selection of fashion trends which should NEVER return to our lives.

Patchwork Jeans & Belly Chain

Ultra-low-rise patchwork jeans, a belly chain, a cropped top, and a denim newsboy hat—Christina Aguilera combined all the major trends of 2001 into one hard-to-forget (but hopefully never repeated) look.

Scarf Tops

In an era when wearing anything but actual shirts in the style of shirts was a thing, Xtina embraced the trend with a scarf “top” and an ultra-mini denim skirt. (Don’t forget the signature newsboy cap.)

The Juicy Couture Velour Tracksuit

J.Lo made the “It” item of the decade—a velour tracksuit—even more 2000s by rolling up the leg to show off her high heels and throwing on a newsboy cap.

Asymmetrical Skirts

As Paris Hilton emerged on the scene, she brought with her the shipwrecked asymmetrical skirts, belly shirts, and an abundance of pink.

Uggs & Skirts

As Uggs became the must-have footwear choice, Nicole Richie et al paired the winter boots with ultra-short denim skirts. I love Uggs – but over jeans or leggings only.

Double Denim

The double denim trend took both the women’s and men’s fashion world by storm in the 2010s. Thankfully, that was then and this is now, and the fashion has disappeared.

Crossover Bum Bag

I’m not going to lie, I bought two Gucci bum bags, or ‘belt bags’ as I like to call them, in the past decade. But let’s face it, they’re fanny packs / bum bags, and the fanny pack has never been cool — ever.

Bucket Hats

The bucket hat has seemingly been on trend again in 2020/2021. Every fashion outlet has been talking them up as the new “It” summer accessory. Bucket hats have recently been seen among the crowds at London Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week for men and women alike. I have just purchased a Gucci bucket hat but it’s still plain ugly. Think Kevin & Perry.

Spray on Jeans for Men

For the ladies, yes. For Men? Hell No. I get it, you like to work out and you want to show the ladies what you’ve created. FYI, most women will probably find it repulsive. This trend is one that I hope dies a fiery death and doesn’t ever rise again from the ashes.

Harem Pants for Men

Aladdin’s pants of choice make my list of the worst fashion trends of the 2000s. Even the usually stylish Justin Bieber wore them and looked shocking. But I think women look pretty dreadful in the hippy get-up too, even on the boho beaches of Ibiza. They’re oddly shaped and make you look like you’ve done a huge poo in an adult nappy. They’re simply not a good look.

Cycling Shorts

Just NO.

Beer Garden Essentials

Beer Garden Essentials

Coronavirus restrictions have loosened and socialising is now back on the table. But until May 17th, it’s a case of outdoors only.

Regrettably, temperatures are not yet warming up. It is very nippy in the evenings, but don’t let the May chill put a dampener on your long-awaited fun.

From coats that warm up by themselves to cushions that can transform into quilts, here are the essentials you’ll need to stay toasty during your beer garden and al fresco dining dates.

Women’s Voltera Loft Insulated Quilted Hooded Heated Walking Jacket Black

Best for: the till-last-orders sesh

Your reservation has been hard won and now you’ve got a table, you and your crew are staying put all night long. But to withstand late spring’s terrible temperatures, you’ll need this secret weapon whilst all around you succumb to the chill.

Regatta’s heated jacket plugs into rechargeable battery packs to keep you toasty until last orders. It’s waterproof, with a light synthetic filling that feels like down. to help keep you insulated. The hood and elasticated hems and cuffs also work to keep the cold out. It feels like something out of a spy thriller, so if you’re looking to stay warm without being swaddled in layers of woolly accessories, consider this a mission accomplished.

M&S Collection Quilted Jacket

Best for: a speedy round before the match

In circumstances where the jubilation of seeing your mates is conflicting with an impending kick-off time, you shouldn’t need much in the way of outerwear, if you’re only out for a quick bevvy. M&S’s quilted jacket will keep you snug without weighing you down, and there are plenty of pockets for modern day essentials like hand-san, a mask and your wallet.

Maje Checked Poncho

Best for: throwing on

Perhaps it’s the fact that the entire Ugly Betty back catalogue is available to view on Disney+, but I’ve warmed again to the humble poncho. And the fact that it’s perfect for spring’s transitional weather makes a poncho our hot ticket purchase for beer garden boozing, and beyond. With a vampish red and black check which reminds me of an ultra chic picnic blanket, it manages that fine balance of keeping you warm whilst looking cool.

Angel Woven Throw

Best for: reinventing granny chic

Your Grandma had the right idea bringing a blanket on trips away; this practical item is a lifesaver when the weather turns. Choose one stylish enough, like any from the collection at Fy, and it can double as a scarf or wrap over your coat if it’s particularly cold out. Arty and unconventional, the Angel Woven Throw is a head-turner and offers another delicious layer to keep your catch-ups lasting longer.

Row Pinto Rainbow Stripe Hot Water Bottle

Best for: a hot ticket to long warmth

Yes, I’m absolutely serious about taking a hot water bottle to the pub. There’s nothing worse than feeling cold, and I’m willing to be the mockery of my mates if it means keeping chill at bay. I went to the pub last weekend and we literally waited in desperation for the gas man to arrive with fresh canisters to re-light the outdoor heaters. You’ll probably keep your secret hot water bottle a “secret” for a bit longer with Row Pinto’s bottle. Wrapped stylishly in a rainbow-striped lambswool and cashmere jacket, it’s as far from looking like a traditional hot water bottle as one can get.

Get this extra long hot water bottle (£45) which you can wrap around you, leaving you to socialise hands-free.

IKEA FÄLTMAL Quillow

Best for: the belle of the beer garden

The clever cookies at IKEA have done it again with a new product which I’m sure will achieve cult status by summer’s end. Behold (literally) the FALTMAL, a cushion that unfurls into a sleeping bag/quilt. It’s sheer genius for weekend camping trips, as well as nippy nights at your local. Made with 100 per cent nylon, the innovative wearable quilt features two sleeves, buttons down the back, and a deep fill pocket at the front to take care of the essentials. Let them stare: we love every utilitarian inch. It’s brilliantly ugly – perfection in bad taste.

Rechargeable electric hand warmer

Best for: no fuss heat

No water, no batteries and up to 90min warmth from a three-minute charge, this hand warmer is the eco-friendly accessory you’ll want close to hand when you’re out and about. The double-sided ceramic plates are explosion-proof, radiation-free, shockproof and anti-scald, making them suitable for kids too. What’s more, the built-in intelligent protection system provides effective protection against over-charging, over-heating, over-discharging and short circuit.

Haan Hand sanitiser – set of five

Best for: staying safe on the move

Let’s face it, pub and restaurant hand sanitiser chemicals are some of the harshest around, stripping our skin of germs, yes, but also of our natural hydrating oils. Put some kindness back into your hands with Haan’s hand sanitiser, which comes in a slim spray design that slides easily into pockets. The formula vanquishes 99.9 per cent of bacteria and viruses, and 20 per cent of profits go towards supporting African water projects.

A word from Amanda

IT’S ANOTHER INSTALMENT OF AMANDA ZIPS IT UP.

Welcome to end of April and (almost) the end of lockdown.

As more and more businesses re-open, many of us are starting to head back to the office. And for guys in suits, it’s time to tuck that shirt in and smarten things up again, after a year in jogging pants.

The slender suited man has always tucked his shirt in, but what happens when it gradually becomes untucked due to a bit of a belly going on. Nobody wants to look tatty or unkempt,

Guys, your answer is right here, in the shape of Tucked Trunks or the “Men’s All-In-One bodysuit”.

The bodysuit has been around for girls for years but this is especially for guys. The all-in-one will give you a slender frame with zero fear of becoming ‘un-tucked’.  But beware when you need a pee – they are buttoned at your ‘area in-between both’ – a bit like a Babygro. You’ll have to use a cubicle and not a urinal.

If that scares the hell out of you then try these strappy ‘Tucked Trucks’ which look like old fashioned suspenders.

Yes, these are right out of good ole USA, of course. I’m guessing they appeal to the ‘older gent’ but they’ll definitely work if you want to remain ‘un-tacked’ back in the office. You might get some odd looks in the urinals though.

On to this week and we check out Yeezys for this summer, Reebok’s new Collab and The Face Gym lands here in the UK.

Enjoy.

Cardi B & Reebok

She’s my fave rapper, ever, and Cardi B has teamed up with Reebok to release her first apparel collection, which is perfect for summer 2021.

It was released last weekend through the Reebok website and follows up their 2020 collaboration on the Club C Cardi and Club C Double sneakers collections.

The new ‘Summertime Fine Collection’ features cropped hoodies, leggings, body suits and new colour options for the Double sneakers, with red and black and lilac versions being released.

Each piece has been tried and tested by the rapper, with Reebok noting that nothing has hit the shelves until it’s had Cardi’s stamp of approval (i.e. wearing it, I guess…)

The collection has been inspired by the 90s and in particular the summers spent with her friends on the Coney Island boardwalk.

She told fans a little more about the new collection on Twitter, saying: “I want to let y’all know these Reebok fits are designed to snatch you in. They are really tight around the stomach to try to give some shape. Also the tights are made to smooth out Cellulites. I love a nice figure so I try to make something happen no matter what size you are.”

Cardi B also teased that two new colours of the Club C sneakers are coming in May, but that they’ll be the last ones before the release of a brand new design.

The collection will range from sizes XXS to 4XL to “make every body look amazing,” as Cardi herself says.

To shop the Summertime Fine Collection is available now on the Reebok website.

Yeezy Sliders

Yeezy Bone slides

When you’re laying by the pool, the last thing you want is a distraction with uncomfortable shoes. It’s a good thing these beige foam Yeezy Bone slides from YEEZY are your saving grace. Just in time for your next holiday. Featuring an open toe, a flat rubber sole, a slip-on style and a ridged rubber sole.

I personally think they are as ugly as Crocs.

But look at the prices…

Yeezy Bone slides 

But these ARE the slides for summer 2021.

Too expensive? The Yeezy Slide Core is a stunning colourway of Kanye West’s popular Yeezy Slide that is highly sought after. They are crafted from a single piece of synthetic foam material designed to slip on and off with ease. The one-piece strap rests across the top of the feet to keep them firmly in place when worn, and adidas branding is kept very minimal in the form of a logo debossed onto the footbed to maintain its minimalistic touch.

Beneath the feet, the soles are cushioned to an insane amount for a cosy feel. So whether you’re wearing them out and about or around the house, you will not want to take these off. 

Finally, the toothed outsoles provide the signature look we all know and love from the Yeezy Slide and complete the legendary design.

The adidas Originals Yeezy Slide Core is surrounded by a significant level of hype by adidas and Kanye West fans alike. If you’re looking to buy some online and you’re not sure how they fit exactly, make sure you use a size guide as they come up small due to their moulded shape.

£50

They are available in Men’s, women’s and kid’s sizes.

Just google ‘Yeezy Slides’ to see most fashionable footwear this year.

The FaceGym

Who’s been to a ‘FaceGym’ in London?

The clue is in the name, FaceGym is a workout for your face, rather than a facial. Just as in regular exercise you would flex, stretch and tone the muscles in the rest of your body, a warm up, cardio and cool down into your gym session, FaceGym is all about applying a similar ethos to your face.

FaceGym is the UK’s only gym studio for the face. The FaceGym face trainers perform a range of lifting and sculpting workouts designed to train the 40+ muscles in the face. Results are amplified with high performance skincare products and non-invasive technology.

With an advanced menu of treatments, combining facial exercise and aesthetic technology, there are FaceGym Studios all over London, but at the top end of the scale is the studio in Selfridges, a private room one-stop destination for discreet advanced machine lunchtime face-lifts.

How can you do a FaceGym workout at home?

If you don’t have time to visit the FaceGym treatment room in Selfridges, then it’s time to go DIY with your facial exercises.

There are easy at-home exercises you can do. Some simple chin exercises performed in the morning and evening every day will help, but you have to be consistent with them. Do each of the following exercises 10 times:

Chin Press Up x 3

  • Make a V with your hand and rest your chin in the V.
  • Pull your lips over your top teeth, hold for 5 seconds and repeat (do this 10 times).

Move the hand to either side of the chin with the length of your fingers covering your ears, and make Cheek Burpees

  • Place your right hand on the right side of your face. Lightly use your hand to pull the
    cheek’s skin back.
  • Now, breathe out forcefully toward the left for ten reps. Try as hard
    as you can to work against the stretch created from your hand!
  • Now bring your left hand to your left cheek and repeat the same exercise for ten reps.
  • Say the sound Eeeee with your mouth x 10.
  • Put your ring fingers inside your mouth on either side, pull the skin to the side and use your jaw muscles to bring the fingers back in to touch your teeth x 10.

Hey Smiley

  • Smile by pulling the corners of your mouth outward, don’t grimace, or crinkle your eyes.
  • Imagine you are saying the letter ‘E’. The rest of your face should be totally still.
  • Keep holding this position. It may feel like you are doing very little but you are actually targeting exactly those small muscles around your mouth and working them to help avoid any sagging at the corners.
  • Release for a few seconds and smile again.
  • Stretch the mouth to the sides like two hooks were pulling them out. Hold for at least ten seconds, then release.

FACEGYM Selfridges London

400 Oxford St · In Selfridges, Oxford Street · 07387 672185

FACEGYM Coal Drops Yard

Unit EY10, Coal Drops Yard, Stable St · In Coal Drops Yard · 020 3976 5265

FACEGYM St John’s Wood

41 St John’s Wood High St · 020 7586 5568

FACEGYM Notting Hill

London · 020 7792 1401

From The Editor Amanda

Welcome to the week I never thought would arrive. The week when the High street re-opened, celebrated in this week’s special Amanda Zips It Up.

I’ve been out and about in my home town of London for the past few days, discovering the joys of shopping again after the darkness of the past year.

This is the statement emblazoned in huge letters on the side of one of the most famous department stores in the world, in Europe’s busiest shopping area – Selfridges on Oxford Street.

Over the past year, consumers have been forced to alter the way they shop, with many turning to online retailers. Now, as stores are allowed to reopen, what’s left on London’s most famous shopping street?

Walk the entire length of Oxford Street, noting down all of the defunct stores, and you will find that 28 out of 212 shops – over 13% – are either boarded up or their occupants have clearly left for the last time.

Topshop, at the heart of Oxford Street, is probably the most famous casualty. If you peek through the windows, you’ll see a few undressed mannequins – a far cry from Topshop’s heyday, when supermodel Kate Moss drew huge crowds to the store.

But Topshop is not alone: Debenhams and Evans are further brands that have closed for good. Many other companies have consolidated their store portfolios on the street – gone are the days where brands would have multiple outlets along the 1.2-mile (2km) stretch of road. Next, River Island and Boots have one flagship store, whereas before the pandemic they had two or three.

By comparison, the only shop boarded up on Regent Street is US fashion store J Crew, which closed before the pandemic. On Bond Street there are a few boarded-up stores, but mainly at the point where it connects with Oxford Street. The “luxury” end of Bond Street, full of fashion brands such as Chanel, Dior and Versace – it remains unscathed.

For the time being, shops in England will be allowed to stay open until 22:00, six days a week, the government has said.

So, get out there people and shop until you drop. We owe it to our beleaguered country.

Nike Air Force 1 & Air Jordans – Britain’s Best Sellers Post Lockdown

Why the Nike Air Force 1 Is & Air Jordan Is The Winning Team in 2021 

So, Monday 12th April signified that we could all get back onto the high-street and into the malls. I wasn’t as crazy as some shoppers, who queued outside Primark at 5.30am, but I did spend a few hours walking around my local big shopping mall, Brent Cross in North London.

It was packed everywhere. with the ‘new normal’ queuing system in full effect outside most shops. But the most astonishing line of all, bulging with hundreds of people, was outside JD Sports and Sports Direct.

Everyone seemed to be buying white Nike Airforce 1s or Air Jordans. These have been around for ages, so why are they still so iconic? Shoppers were that crazy for getting new pairs that they were literally changing shoes in the middle of the Mall after making their purchase.

It’s been almost 40 years since Nike introduced the iconic Air Force 1. The sneaker, which debuted in 1982, was an immediate hit with basketball players. Since then, it’s transitioned into the legendary lifestyle silhouette that transcends the sport, thanks to a versatile offering of colourways, collaborations and customizations.

So, perhaps it’s not a revelation that the Nike Air Force 1 is the one of the greatest sneakers of all time. Nevertheless, it is experiencing a major mainstream resurgence this summer. In particular, the classic Air Force 1 Low in crisp, all-white leather is becoming the must-have sneaker for fashion enthusiasts, especially women. And for the sneaker history buffs, Nike didn’t release this silhouette in women’s sizing until 2001.

So why now? With sneaker store shelves flooded with brands old and new, why is the Nike Air Force 1 the shoe to own?

1. Retro is in.

People are yearning for a safer, simpler, less hateful time. Retro feels warm and homely during the Covid era.

The rise in popularity is also down to Nike ramping up allocations for the Air Force 1 and other formerly “limited” shoes. Limited edition shoes have sold very well under Covid. This is likely due to consumers having less things to spend their money on, and more time on their hands to seek out something special.

2. Numbers talk.

The Nike Air Force 1 has almost always been in the Top 10 best-selling sneaker list. In 2020, it was No. 1 and is already outselling others in 2021.

 “Buy now, pay later” shopping provider Klarna comment that the Nike Air Force 1 is the most-popular shoe on the app, based on wish-lists created by customers.

But before you start Googling, the style also isn’t easy to come by right now. Many women’s and men’s sizes are currently sold-out across retailers.

3. Influencers are on board.

TikTok can’t take sole credit for the shoe’s recent success, however, its most-followed users are certainly helping, since the Air Force 1 has become a go-to in TikTok fashion.

And it’s fashion Influencers outside of the conventional sneaker world who are flocking to the classic style too. From Ariana Grande to Cameron Diaz, there’s more than one singular demographic associated with the style right now, making it one of the hottest trends of the summer across the board.

4. It’s versatile.

It’s a shoe that translates well to the masses because of the access, price, simplicity and “classic” essence. It has been successful with millennials due to its gender fluid aesthetic and minimalism. 

Over the last several years, Air Jordans have been extremely sought after too. Yes, Jordans have become the must-have sneaker because they are truly unique. In fact, many people consider them to be a form of currency.

WHY ARE AIR JORDANS SO POPULAR?

Jordans’ popularity lies in the fact that they offer a certain exclusivity level, incomparable to other footwear. They are manufactured with extremely high-quality materials, including full-grain calfskin and premium leather uppers, which scream “high-end product”. Besides, the shoes come in a wide range of colours and styles. The history of Jordans is intertwined with recognition by many popular actors, celebrities, athletes, and entertainers, emblazoned with the iconic Jordan logo on their feet. 

2021 looks to be another strong year for Air Jordan sneaker releases, with several hype drops including the Air Jordan 6 Carmine, Air Jordan 1 University Blue, Air Jordan 1 Hyper Royal, Air Jordan 4 White Oreo, and the Air Jordan 5 Raging Bull 2021. The Jordan 5 Raging Bull pays homage to the Chicago Bulls with a premium suede upper and red shoelaces. In addition, the shoe features a 3M silver reflective tongue. Currently, the sneaker is scheduled to be released April 2021.

Having recently watched and hugely enjoyed the Netflix series THE LAST DANCE, you can’t go wrong with Jordans. 

So, two essential questions. Nike Air Force 1s or Air Jordans? Also, which looks better – weathered and worn or clean and pristine? That’s another feature for another time.

KIDSTR BAGS

Now I know that lockdown has been mostly grim. However, some amazing and creative stuff has been produced whilst people have had so much time on their hands.

Imagine being pregnant during lockdown. For some, it turned out to be the perfect time to create something phenomenal and imaginative. So, meet Gemma, the founder of KIDSTR.

Gemma has produced and launched this super stylish range of accessories for kids during her maternity leave and lockdown. I grabbed five minutes to discuss her impressive collection and launch.

Gemma:

“My career began in retail and I have worked within the fashion industry for the past 20yrs designing and selling to our high street.

I have always had so many ideas (too many sometimes) about what I would like to do in terms of setting up a business but have always struggled to actually get it done.

Maternity leave has given me the opportunity to get my ideas down and make a start in creating something special.

Instead of ploughing into loads of different products all at once. I wanted to work on one thing and do it well. Then grow the brand through clothing and accessories for our kids.

Introducing KIDSTR Bags, for the cool kids.

Minimal, bold and made from natural materials. After having 2 boys and accumulating the number of toys that go with them. I wanted to produce an aesthetic and pleasing to the eye storage bag.  Toy boxes and tubs take up so much room, so the thought of being able to bag up toys and hang them up from the floor seemed like a great idea. Not only are they suitable for the toys but also great as changing bags, gift bags you name it. Versatile for all our children’s needs.

I design and print the graphics keeping them current with nursery & decor trends. I have been influenced by the Scandinavian vibe with the monochrome graphics, fonts and neutral tones.

I want the bags to be unisex, versatile, attractive and functional for modern day living.

I can personalise with names or initials and provide a choice of coloured tassels to compliment your theme.

This adventure is just the start, watch this space there’s more to come…

New products will be added to the range as time goes on such as kids hats, accessories and apparel”.

Prices will range from £20+ with additional cost for personalising etc… postage will be included.

Please follow KIDSTR.UK on Instagram/Facebook

DM for orders/enquiries/collabs