… a word from the Editor & Blogger

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Welcome to this week’s ‘Bridal Special’ Zips It Up.

Following the OTT coverage of Pippa Middleton’s wedding last weekend, there’s no escaping this most romantic time of the year.

Most Saturdays from now until the autumn, will indeed be the best (or occasionally worst) day of many people’s lives. It can break the bank, just like Pippa’s – although I’m guessing Hello magazine might have contributed a few pennies.

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In true Zips It Up fashion, I look at the affordable options, to ensure this special occasion doesn’t become a debt-entangled nightmare.

Whether you run away to Gretna Green, The Little White Chapel in Vegas or go barefoot on the beach in Ibiza, I’ve found the best selection of reasonably priced wedding dresses.

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We also check out what wedding guests should be wearing too, because we’d hate to upstage the bride (or do we?) plus Balenciaga takes fashion inspiration from a certain Swedish Flat Pack furniture company, and I saw the first example of it just this morning in Hampstead, so it must be en vogue.

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With this week’s tragic events in Manchester, I hope this week’s blog allows a moment’s escape from the shock.

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The Designer Ikea Tote Bag

Remember the last time you lugged a bag of purchases around Ikea in one of their blue or yellow bags? Remember how, as the bag got heavier, the scratchy handles tore at the skin on your palms and turned your fingers blue? Well here’s some intriguing news from the world of fashion… your ‘lugging around’ was actually a big style moment.

Because Ikea shopping bags are where it’s at in 2017. The hottest name to drop right now is not Kate or Naomi; it is Frakta.

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Balenciaga – the most influential label in fashion at the moment – has released a tote that looks uncannily like an Ikea shopper, listed at £1,365 in the UK. With its shape, giant size and colour – a vibrant shade of EU-flag blue – the similarities are impossible to ignore. The double strap feature, with one long set of handles to hoist over the shoulder, plus a shorter set to be held in the hand, clinches it.

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The internet has exploded, of course, and Ikea has reacted cannily, issuing a handy guide to spotting a real Frakta shopping bag. Distinguishing features, according to its advert, are as follows: if it rustles, it’s real; it costs 40p in the UK; plus it’s easily cleaned with a hose.

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In the age of more permanent alternatives to the 5p carrier bag, this trend is going nowhere. For autumn/winter, Vetements is selling a version of the cotton mesh fruit and veg-style bags that were the original reusable shopping bags, long before Daunt Books produced an aspirational canvas sack. Indeed, loads of high-street bags have been influenced by tote bags and shopping bags; their open tops, long handles and fluid shapes look like an elevated leather version of the bag you use to carry oranges home from Sainsbury’s.

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As for me. Sceptical, to say the least.

The Wedding Guest

For those who have been under a rock, or at least ignoring the internet, this weekend Pippa Middleton, sister of Kate and the most famous bridesmaid in recent memory, married her fiance, James Matthews. This has sounded the church bells for 2017’s wedding season.

Many of us have one to attend this summer. But not all of us will have to negotiate a dress code that requires a different outfit for the ceremony and the reception, as Pippa required. Here are the answers to those burning wedding-guest-dressing questions. You’re welcome…

  1. What dress can I buy and wear again?
  2. yellow dress

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Holland hammered satin ballerina dress, £149, finerylondon.com

Yellow dresses are a thing. A dress like this one from Finery works because the neckline – with a spaghetti strap and cold shoulder – is a bit complicated, but in a good way. The fact that the rest of the dress is anything but means it is versatile, a dress that goes beyond the marquee to other dates in your diary. And a low cost-per-wear ratio is always satisfying, right?

  1. What do I wear if I don’t want to wear a dress?
  2. A trouser suit

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Floral jacquard suit, £110, topshop.com

Harry Styles is the patron saint of the jazzy trouser suit. Nearly two years after his black and white floral suit was compared to Ikea (again) bedlinen, the rest of the world has caught up (and in other Styles fashion news, Ikea is now a fashion reference). Trousersuits are huge in womenswear for 2017 – but they are not all “businesswoman” in nature. These ones work for Friday to Sunday, too – see this floral suit (above) from Topshop.

  1. Which shoes look glam but can be worn all day? 
  2. Mules

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www.missselfridge.com

For the wedding regular, a flip-flop on the dancefloor is a familiar but slightly disheartening sight – like a man in black tie on public transport. Mules are the Frow-approved, 8-till-8 hack to buy into here. The chunky heel doesn’t sink into the grass when you are summoned for the wedding photographer’s outside shot, and the heel doesn’t reach the kind of ambitious height that looks great throughout dinner but impacts fun a bit too much.

  1. Which bag doesn’t look weird, plus allows me to hold a glass of fizz and bring the essential keys, money and phone?
  2. A silver wristlet 

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www.johnlewis.com

As everyone in fashion knows, silver is a neutral. Buying a silver bag, therefore, is a money-saving move. As for the wedding-specific problem of a bag that looks vaguely dressy, frees your hands to hold alcohol/canapes and also allows you to carry more than a 10p piece, the wristlet is your friend. Just try not to spare too much pity for fellow guests with clutches crammed into their armpits.

The High Street Bride

It’s wedding season – as Pippa reminded us boldly last weekend. However, unlike the ‘Middletons’, most earth dwellers’ weddings are set to the backdrop of a budget. And if yours is best described as ‘shoe string’, then look no further than the trusty high street.

Before you shriek in horror, the high street has really upped up its wedding season game, from bridal dresses to Hen Do accessories.

From the tongue in cheek Hen Party trinkets, gifts and wedding night lingerie range at www.Primark.com , to purse friendly wedding dresses from Toppers, ASOS, to Self Portrait, there’s an affordable option for most brides. And the good news is that some of it is available to buy in store right NOW.

Here’s my pick of the best. Once all of this is taken care of, your only concern should be the weather on the day.

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1. Bride-to-be cami set, £4.50 (available early June)

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2. Bunting, £2

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3. Team Bride night t-shirt, £4

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4. Ivory robe, £10 (available mid June)

Finding the perfect wedding dress needn’t be a nightmare. Look at these high-street gems for your nuptials. It really is possible to find elegant options without breaking the bank or going bespoke. If you prefer the unconventional, you can always look towards more ‘out there’ designer offerings for a dress that doesn’t scream “bride”. From flowing silk and embellished lace to vintage-inspired styles, here are the most beautiful, affordable wedding dresses available now.

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ASOS

Bridal trumpet hem maxi dress, £160 at Asos.com.

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Satin tie shoulder dress by Topshop Bride, £350 at Topshop.com.

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John Lewis

Raishma leaf embroidered gown, £450 at Johnlewis.com.

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Whistles

Theodora dress, £599 at Whistles.com.

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Needle & Thread

Embellished gown, £850 at Needleandthread.com.

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Self-Portrait

Backless lace gown, £650 at Selfportrait.com.

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Ghost

Satin dress, £225 at Ghost.co.uk.

… a word from the Editor & Blogger

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Welcome to Mid-May Zipsters.

It may be raining in London, but the temperatures are soaring in the Balearics.

I’ve been researching summer wardrobes and this caught my eye for the guy’s summer options.

I’m a sucker for the ‘playsuit’. I find them super cool and comfortable as well as practical and flattering.

You probably thought they were strictly Ladies wear only. But nope, in typical Zips It Up fashion, we’ve discovered the Playsuit for Men.

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The ‘RompHim’ looks like the garment from hell and the thought of going to the loo is just too much for men to bear.

You may well have seen this trend before?

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Sean Connery AKA James Bond nailed the look back in the day, of course.

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It comes in shades of pink, blue or ‘splatter paint print’ chambray.

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The dudes behind this project are friends from business school who came up with the idea after a few beers. Ha!

They will be available from August and have been shown at Madrid Fashion Week, so I fully expect to see blokes rocking it on the dance floors of Ibiza and the beach bars of Mallorca.

On an equally cringey note, this week is all about the Colonic.

We check out the best Spanish fashion designers and how to cheat wearing super high heels.

The Schuber Trend

The Shuber. AKA; shoes so uncomfortable, you’ll need round-the clock-Ubers.

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Stupid stilettos are back, unfortunately.

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Just as I have adjusted to flats, the new heel trend is the ‘Shuber’. We can now all forget about crushing our feet into the pointiest of pumps or balancing on platforms. Let me introduce ‘Skinny Strappy Sandals’.

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Where once a ‘driver at your beck and call’ was reserved for the rich and famous, we can now all feel like Posh, with Uber and Hailo, and jump in a nearby car in less than two minutes.

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Sandals by Stuart Weizman

So voila – no need to walk – and those incredibly lean heels needn’t be a problem. They just need to look pretty. They’re not practical, especially as they need to be super high to make the look work. But they are versatile and can be worn with everything, including jeans.

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Sandals by River Island

When choosing a pair of killer heels, go for a good FIT, as all plasters will be on complete show, I’m afraid. And to matters even worse, your feet will be utterly naked and exposed, so an immaculate pedi is a must, and hard skin, hairs on your big toe, bunions and blisters are a no-no.

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Sandals by New Look

We do torture ourselves, don’t we?

The Colonic

It’s a treatment that can be traced back to ancient times, with very modern celebrity fans, including Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt and Elle Macpherson.

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Even Princess Diana was a huge devotee.

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A good friend of mine swears by a Colonic and has one every 6 weeks, year after year. He claims that his love of bread often tends to bloat his tummy and rather than drinking four glasses of prune juice, which is “disgusting” (he yells), and waiting days on end to see the results, he feels instantly lighter after the 45 minute procedure. And the ‘intimate area’ in question, doesn’t phase him in the slightest.

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But the term colonic irrigation – not the mention what the procedure actually involves – is far from glamorous. So in an attempt to make it sound (slightly) more appealing, the treatment has been rebranded as ‘colonic hydrotherapy’ with spas offering the ‘cleansing detox’ popping up all over the country.

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The practice, which involves flushing the colon with about 60 litres of water via a tube inserted into the rectum, is said to promote health and well-being, by ridding the body of toxins. For around £90 a time, the idea is that people can have their digestive tract cleansed and purified, leaving them feeling fresh, with a flatter stomach and full of renewed energy. Supposedly it’s all a great help in the context of a detox. But despite its fans, re-branding, and claims at being good for you, there have been no studies that prove a scientific benefit.

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In fact, some studies have revealed it could do more harm than good. There are fears it can flush out ‘friendly’ bacteria needed for a healthy immune system and damage internal body parts if not performed correctly. There are several major risks to colonic irrigation, the first being perforation of the bowel wall, infection from the water or unsterilised equipment and disturbance of the balance of minerals in the blood.

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That said, there are devoted fans, who swear by a Colonic.

Anything that results in a flatter tummy is worth a try, isn’t it? But are you brave enough?

Best Spanish Designers Right Now

London, Paris and Milan are cited as fashion capitals of the world, The Spanish fashion scene has, in the past, been a runner-up in trend-setting stakes. But this is beginning to change with the help of luxury Spanish fashion houses like Loewe, Delpozo and Manolo Blahnik, as well as Queen Letitzia of Spain also doing her bit to help push Spanish style to the forefront of the fashion psyche.

From the sleek style emanating from Madrid, to the chic, laid-back aesthetic unique to Barcelona, and the cool, Mediterranean bohemian as seen in the likes of Ibiza and Formentera, Spain boasts a wealth of sartorial signatures.

Spain’s fashion is strongly affected by the sea. The Mediterranean has a powerful influence on everything the Spanish do, from the food to the clothes.

Here are 7 Spanish brands you need to know about…

Sunad

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Gobi burgundy stripe shirt, £113.73, Sunad

The low-down: Sunad (which is ‘dunas’ spelt backwards – the Spanish word for dunes) is a collection of gorgeous shirts and shirt dresses designed by two friends Ana and Palmoma, who are inspired by the colours of the desert.

Best for:  Slouchy shirts and shirt dresses in neutral tones as well as floral and striped patterns, and the odd tie-waist jumpsuit, all made from natural materials and priced between £100 and £120.

Nice Things Paloma S.

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Tie-back dress, £119.12, Nice Things Paloma s.

The low-down: Nice Things was launched in 1995 by Paloma Santaolalla and Miguel Lanna, and taken over in 2012 by their daughter, Paloma Lanna, who is upholding her parents’ pledge to create clothing for women of all ages, and allow  the company to grow organically over time.

Best for: Printed shifts, waist-tie and and slip dresses that will look great over jeans as well as on their own, very wearable patterned tops and blouses, loose-fit shirts and wide-leg trousers. The brand also does very well in the jacket department, offering up an array of great transitional cover-ups, from kimono-style jackets, to embroidered coats and light-weight parkas.

Bimba y Lola

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Coral flounce sweater, £170, Bimba y Lola; Roman sandal, £140, Bimba y Lola; black trousers, £98, Bimba y Lola

The low-down: The brain child of two sisters, María and Uxía Domínguez, Bimba y Lola was launched twelve years ago as an accessories brand, intended to rebuff trends and created quirky pieces with a touch of irony. Fast-forward to 2017, and the brand boasts 226 stores in 13 countries and has added shoes, bags and read-to-wear to its repertoire.

Best for: Prints, on prints, on prints. Fabulous dresses (from £115), trousers, skirts and shirts (all from £120) that are equally as suitable for a spring event as they are for work, interesting knitwear, brightly coloured bags, and footwear that’s the perfect mix of playful and cool. And of course jewellery – from unique earrings to chunky cuff bracelets – that’s perfect for pepping up your more neutral pieces.

Cortana

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Pablo long dress, £521.81, Cortana

The low-down: Spanish designer, Rosa Esteva, takes an artisan approach to creating beautiful dresses and jumpsuits in relaxed feminine silhouettes, for everything from daytime galavanting to after-hours soirees. Even Esteva’s simplest check and gingham pieces withhold a certain luxury. It’s all in the cut.

Best for:Romantic evening dresses, dreamy water-colour prints, linen tops and and trousers and sleek denim. Pieces start at around £115 for a top and £270 for dresses. Estava also creates ethereal bridalwear.

Masscob

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Cotton trousers, £204.87, Masscob; cotton shirt, £182.22, Masscob

The low-down: Headed up by coupleMarga Massanet and Jacobo Cobian, Masscob was launched in 2003 with the intention of reviving and respecting  artisanal values and finding ways to adapt new technology to respect these values rather than the other way around.

Best for: Folksy blouses, dresses and skirts that call on a warm Mediterranean-inspired colour palette of oranges, blues, reds and purples. And while floaty, boho pieces are what the brand is know for, Masscob’s outerwear is also not to be missed.

Valentina Garí

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Check trousers, £54.83, Valentina Garí; check top, £46.40, Valentina Garí

The low-down: Barcelona-based designer, Valentina Garí, worked in the fashion industry for several years before deciding to go it alone and launch her own line of clothes, featuring soft colours and fresh fabrics with a bit of movement, providing a simple collection of comfortable, easy-to-wear clothes.

Best for: Silky shirt dresses and separates, sweet gingham two-pieces that you can wear together or on their own, and floaty jumpsuits.

Formenteraguamarina

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Kaftan, £46.40, Formenteraguamarina 

The low-down: Dolores Luque launched a blog called Formenteraguamarina in 2008 as an outlet for her missing her home of Formentera while she was working in a bank in Palma de Mallorca. As her following grew, so too did plans to create a coinciding online boutique.

Best for: This is your one-stop-affordable-holiday-shop. Cool kaftans (from £30), basket bags (from £25), lemon and violet-hued espadrilles (from £65) and simple swimwear (look out for the berry, teal and navy swimsuits for £60).

… a word from the Editor & Blogger

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Greetings Zipsters

You can tell summer is coming, because I am now snowed under with fashion shenanigans. As well as writing for new luxe Ibiza website, ICON IBIZA, you’ll find me every week in The Ibizan on the white isle. Plus, you can hear me every Friday on Radio One Mallorca.

Phew.

People often ask where the best ‘go-to’ inspiration is, whilst researching fashion news, and of course the ultimate source is my own personal holy bible – Vogue.

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The June issue doesn’t disappoint, with one of my fashion icons, Alexa Chung, gracing the cover. In the British edition, Chung gives fans a detailed look at the long-awaited collection, which will be unveiled in its entirety on 30th May.

Accompanying the cover story, Chung’s collection receives further focus in a second shoot for the issue. Best friend Pixie Geldof models a multi-coloured crepe dress and leather heels from the Alexa Chung collection. Pieces that will undoubtedly be dominating fans’ shopping lists, as they gear up for the launch at the end of the month. Myself included.

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Chung, 33, a contributing editor at the magazine, says: “This is a moment in my life where I felt I could dedicate all my attention in one direction. Age has something to do with it … I’m young enough and excited enough to start something new, but old enough to think I could pull it off.”

I can’t wait.

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Available from May 31 at Alexachung.com and Style.com.

Onto this week’s issue, where we check out a new physique for men, re-visit the original girl band and talk denim, but not quite as you know it…

Extreme Jeans

Over two thirds of planet Earth’s population own a pair of denim jeans. Over and above all others, it’s the one garment best known and trusted by generations.

Sure, we’ve had colour and wash variations, and size and shape evolutions. Hell, we’ve even seen denim jumpsuits and dungarees, but get ready for EXTREME JEANS.

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While a pair of ‘skinnies’ or ‘boyfriends’ has been our go-to for as long as I can remember, they’re not cutting it anymore, apparently. Denim has had a make-over. Embellished, shredded and oversized, please take centre stage.

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Vetements kick started the re-think back in 2014 when they cut and pasted pairs of Levis for their collection. They were not only instantly identifiable but also super flattering, even if they did set you back a whopping £800.

They were a hit with the fashion set and now Vetements have advanced the concept a step further. The people who made the DHL T-shirt style item have customised their jeans and created the ‘Bare Butt Jeans’. They do exactly as they promise, thanks to a zip on the rear centre seam. Once again made in collaboration with Levis, they have a hefty £1,295 price tag.

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Bell kick flares, waistless dungers and even ‘single leg’ jeans. Perfect if you only have time to shave one leg.

Last month’s Coachella festival featured Rihanna in a pair of thigh high split leg jeans, worn with this year’s camel toe boots. Not keen…

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As usual, Rihanna takes everything to the next level and the high streets follow. But is taking jeans to the extreme practical? I can’t imagine many Glasto revellers enjoying these flapping around their legs, carrying half the field’s mud in tow, letting in all that customary rainwater?

My advice, get to work with a pair of scissors at home and destroy an old pair of denims until you have practically nothing left, and voila, your very own pair of extreme jeans.