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Brides, Mothers and Smart Occasions

It’s been a hectic first few months of the year with February seeing the launch of our new bridal service. We’d been approached by a number of ‘grown up’ brides looking for something different for their ceremonies, and most specific Bridal - Rita Dress & Lauren Jacket  from Jane & Marilynthat they didn’t want ‘the full gown’. Our dresses work beautifully as sophisticated bridal wear in soft ivories or pearl greys. We can even add extra bling with crystal or pearl buckles, buttons and embellishments. And the added bonus is that a Jane & Marilyn bride can easily wear her dress again afterwards, so it’s excellent value too!

We attended an exclusive wedding fair in Kingston upon Thames at the beginning of March.  Warren House, a stunning 19th century Victoria Mansion nestled close to Richmond Park. A beautiful backdrop for weddings and civil partnership ceremonies, Warren House is set within four acres of landscaped grounds and boasts a lavish ballroom for wedding ceremonies.

As well as showing our Premiere and Silk collections (perfect for mothers of the bride and wedding guests), we also showcased our bridal service.

Veronica-hatWith the Season’s events drawing closer and ladies looking for dress code friendly pieces, we held a series of ‘open house ateliers’.  Ladies were welcome to drop in without an appointment, have a glass of something bubbly and view our collections and hats.   Samples were available to try and we were on hand to discuss modifications to the designs and run through colour swatches.

We are currently helping a number of ladies achieve their perfect Ascot look, in addition to working with mothers of the bride who want to look glamorous, but appropriate for their special occasion.

Most popular style choice of the moment is the Rita dress and jacket – a J&M Open Day 018reflection on the dreadful weather no doubt – always helpful to have the option of a jacket!

Stay glamorous X

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Grown up and glamorous party makeup

So it’s the party season so we thought we’d share some tips for grown up, glamorous festive faces.

Foundation is essential to even out imperfections. Choose a light diffusing one  with a satin finish. Too matt is ageing and shows every wrinkle, too shiny and it just won’t look ‘finished’.  We like Bobbi Brown’s illuminating foundation.

We thoroughly recommend using a foundation brush, but trial and error has taught us that the best way to apply it is firstly with the fingers. Press a little foundation into the skin all over the face but focussing more on the central panel where uneven colouring and pores are more likely to be a problem. Using fingers warms up the foundation so it glides on smoothly and you’ll use less than you would if you apply with a brush. Once you have completed the application, take your foundation brush and brush all over your face to even it out, ensuring there are no heavy patches, and creating a soft, cashmere finish.

Blusher (we prefer a cream one) should be applied to apples of cheeks, on the temples, the tip of the nose and chin and thoroughly blended. This will give a more contoured effect and you’ll look healthy too!

Depending on your skin type you may like to add a little powder, it creates a wonderful finish but you have to be careful as too much powder can be ageing and settle into wrinkles. Pressed powder applied with a pad can set too matt but loose powder can look flour-y.  We have a tendency to shine on the T zone so we always use powder and have found the best approach to use a pressed powder (we like MAC) but to apply it with a large powder   brush.

Shiny eyelids Use a highlighting eye shadow (MAC does an excellent one called ‘Nylon’) and just dab your ring finger into it and touch it onto the centre of your eyelid and the inside corner of your eyes so it lights both the top and bottom part of the inner corner. Using fingers rather than a brush or sponge applicator keeps it subtle – you want to see the effect (which is spectacular) not the eye shadow.

Elongate eyes and create a feline look with false eyelashes attached to the outer half of the eyelid. Use individual lashes to build volume, or cut a regular pair in half (the added bonus is that you get two pairs of eyelashes for the price of one)!

liz_taylor_brows_budget  A nice pair of groomed and coloured brows   frames the face and also adds vintage        Hollywood allure. Threading is our eyebrow grooming technique of choice, and having them tinted also means less work is required with your eyebrow pencil.

Lipstick is of course essential. Marilyn Monroe would use multiple lipsticks to create that famous full lipped look. You can achieve it too with some cunning tricks. Firstly, use a nude lip pencil to line your lips, taking it just outside your natural lip line and correcting any imbalances as you go.  Use a subtle highlighter such as Touche Éclat300px-Marylnn-monroe lips and apply along your upper lip just above your new lip line and under your nose. This will create a more ‘pouty’ upper lip. Apply one coat of your favourite red lipstick, blot thoroughly and apply again, this will give it staying power. Finally apply a dab of lipstick in a pale pearly colour in the middle of your bottom lip to create a fuller looking lip. Note – don’t be tempted to add lip gloss – a satin finish is the most you should aim for, with a strong red lip colour gloss just looks too much like jam!

Now you’ll rival any screen goddess,  so  go forth and be glamorous!

Merry Christmas X


Jane & Marilyn Leading the field for Ascot 2013

Royal Ascot may be over for this year but the race is already on in the fasImagehion stakes for 2013 and Jane & Marilyn’s Katherine dress is leading the field.

Our gorgeous tailored dress in banana, from the Silk Collection, has been selected by the event’s organisers as one of the designs to feature in their promotional activity next year.  Teamed with an amazing Piers Atkinson feather hat it is the perfect outfit for the Royal Enclosure.

Our dresses have been designed with events of the season in mind, adhering to the dress codes.  Royal Ascot is one of the biggest events in the British social calendar and we’re delighted our Katherine dress has been chosen to represent such a glamorous occasion.

Stay glamorous X


Anna Friel and a touch of La Dolce Vita

We were delighted to see the gorgeous Anna Friel spotted in our  Grace dress (http://shop.janeandmarilyn.co.uk/grace-432-p.asp) on the set of her latest film, “Pavement Psychiatrist.”

Endlessly versatile, the Grace dress, available in soft pearl grey or black, offers classic lines with its boat neckline, bracelet length sleeves and niped-in waist.  From the back, the dress gives plenty of va va voom with its heavily panelled, fluted skirt.   Made from 100% soft, lightweight wool, it’s fully lined in pure silk  in our signature lipstick red. 

And it’s clear that Anna is a fan of the dress too – ‘I feel like I’ve just come off the set of La Dolce Vita,’ she commented.

Stay glamorous like Anna X


Jane & Marilyn on the catwalk

We recently ran two fashion events to introduce our new Silk ollection and showcase pieces from our Premiere collection prior to the summer season.

Our first event was held near Henley on Thames and the guest list included many local women looking for something special to wear for Royal Ascot and Henley regatta.

We put out a call for lovely local ladies to model for  us, and were spoilt for choice. We selected four gorgeous women with a variety of ages, and our makeup artist Jane Butler and hair styling team from Dorata in Henley ( www.dorata.co.uk) worked their magic transforming our models into 1950s glamourpusses!

We accessorised our designs with hats from our new millinery collection andjewellery by Stella & Dot.  Popular purchases at the event were the cartwheel fishnet straw hat, Rita and Katherine dresses and the Lauren jacket.

Our second event was held at the prestigious Naval & Military Club (now popularly known as the In & Out Club) in London’s St James’ Square. ‘Tea with Jane & Marilyn’ was held in their stunning King Harold V room,  an elegant, pale salon with glittering crystal chandeliers and grand paintings of European royalty on the walls; the perfect setting for our collections. 

 

Guests were treated to a sumptuous afternoon tea while our beautiful (size 12) models walked leisurely between the tables, stopping so guests could get a closer look and talking to them about what they were wearing.

After the show, guests were able to try the dresses and accessories and popular purchases included the Gina and Veronica dresses and the leather corset belt. We also had a number of requests for the dresses in special colours.

The shows were a great success and we were delighted to hear from many women commenting on how refreshing it was to see models of different ages and in ‘real women’ sizes.   

Coincidentally, while writing this, evidence presented to the All Party Parliamentary Group on body image has emerged suggesting that more than half of the public has a negative body image, and of most concern, girls as young as five now worry about how they look. Media images of unrealistic bodies were said to be largely to blame.

But we are committed to our policy of using realistic imagery – including women of all ages and sizes – to promote our label. Naturally we want our images to be beautiful and aspirational, but we believe they must also be relevant and something our customers can identify with.  

Stay Glamorous X


A Passion for Pashminas

Flying to Italy for a short holiday recently Jane was glad of her faithful Pashmina – why do planes always have the air-conditioning turned up so high? It doesn’t matter where you’re going or what time of year, it always seems to be freezing in the cabin – particularly challenging if you’re going on a summer holiday in August and dressed for high temperatures.

We got to thinking about just how versatile the Pashmina is. We bought our first ones years ago when they first became the cover up of choice, and they’re still going strong, but we’ve collected a few more over the years.

We’ve used our Pashminas in so many ways and we thought we’d share some of them.  For flying taking one in your hand luggage is essential. The warm, soft Pash is lightweight, doesn’t take up much space but boy are you glad of it when they turn on that aircon! If you’re taking a night flight and find the blankets aren’t plentiful, or warm enough the Pash makes for great supplementary bedding.

Whether flying or not we always travel with at least one trusty Pashmina, usually a black one – the most versatile.  Jane  remembers  staying in a very draughty hotel in Scotland; freezing in the night due to lack of heating, insufficient bedding and probably her own Sassenach softiness , she remembered her Pash she spread it on the bed – it made a perfect t bedspread and kept her cosy all night.

We  have also used Pashminas as makeshift nighties to preserve our modesty and as a sarong over swimwear for trips to the bar.  

But a word of caution here your versatile Pash is only versatile if it’s the real thing. Beware of imitations. There are lots of shawls and scarves  out there that look like the genuine article,  they may even be called Pashminas but they’re not.

Firstly it has to be the real Pashmina wool – a very fine Cashmere that comes from a special breed of goat called the Changthangi or Pashmina goat. This is what gives the Pashmina its exceptional softness and warmth. Then it should be full size 90cm x 200 cm if you want true versatility – and if you’re going to use it as a nightie or sarong and still retain your modesty. The real Pashmina isn’t cheap (which is another way to check for the genuine article), but it will pay dividends in terms of cost per wear.  

One feature Jane was delighted to discover was that whilst not waterproof the Pash is surprisingly shower resistant; at Royal Ascot last year she was caught in a positive monsoon while wearing the blue Peacock, pure silk dress. She wrapped her pashmina around the dress cloak style to protect it from the worst of the weather, and protect it it did. We have also used Pashminas as oversized headscarves and snoods to protect head and hair from the cold and rain.

But we do wear Pashes more conventionally too. They are the perfect summer companion to cover bare shoulders on cooler nights. For added dash we’ve started wearing two Pashminas at once to contrast or co-ordinate with our outfits, it not only keeps you extra warm but looks really stylish too. Just layer one on top of the other and fold in half lengthwise so the one colour can be glimpsed from beneath the other. We must be on to something here because a number of our friends have started doing the same thing!

Whatever the occasion we are never far from our Pashes, a wrap in summer, draped over a jacket or as an oversized scarf under a coat in winter we are as inseparable from our Pashminas as we are from each other!

If you share our passion for Pashminas and have found any other novel uses for them let us know, we’d love to hear about it. X


A grown up and glamorous Christmas

So it’s that time of year again and we all want to look our most glamorous, festive best for our Christmas events. It’s tempting to pile on the glitz but while we love some sparkle ourselves competing with the Christmas tree is not a good look.

With Christmas party dressing as with any other occasion it’s all about making a statement – and that means one statement not a whole chapter of them!

Choose  one traffic stopping dress  an amazing pair of statement heels or perhaps a substantial piece of jewellery and build your look around that – be dramatic by all means but do it with style.

Dresses are the ultimate in easy dressing and, if you’re going straight from work to event,  choose a simple design and dress it up for evening with some party shoes and accessories – you’ll look chic and sophisticated especially if everyone else is in lurex and lame!

Colour is a big story this season and it’s fun to be festive in a red, green or purple dress. And all these colours look amazing teamed with gold shoes and accessories.

If you’re going for black – and why not it’s still the most popular choice for evening wear by a mile – it’s the perfect backdrop for host of looks. Animal prints are very on trend right now and a pair of leopard print heels will dress up a little black dress a treat, beware of leopard overload though; shoes and perhaps a fur tippet or handbag will look dramatic but go furthest and you’ll veer dangerously into barmaid territory! Team with a chunky matt gold cuff or collar for an exotic effect. Black always looks amazing with diamonds, crystals or any kind of sparkle. Vintage dress clips can turn  asimple but dramatic dinner dress into something very festive.

Choosing  a more covered up style of dress – sleeves and a longer hem for example –  is not only practical for this time of year but it’s dramatic and sophisticated when the world around you may be in strapless micro minis.

And if you’re going to be doing a lot of dancing, choose some shoes that you can actually dance gracefully in, no point in ruining a fine pair of shoes (and your dignity)struggling in the wrong shoes however pretty they are.

Another tip for instant glamour is to add a pair of long leather gloves; black tunes in to the current ‘fetish’ trend but a rich jewel colour can look incredibly stylish teamed with a black or navy dress.

Of course it’s vital that your carefully constructed outfit doesn’t overshadow the star of the show – you. Clothes should never wear you; rather, they should be the setting, as with a fine piece of jewellery,  to showcase you as the jewel. 

Hair and make up play a big part in completing your look and emphasising your features. But when time is short one of the quickest and most effective ways to achieve a glamorous evening face is to apply some false eyelashes. For a slant eyed but subtle effect  we like to cut our strip lashes in two (added bonus – 2 pairs for the price of one) and apply to the outer half of our lids. Team with some red lipstick and even in the simplest black shift, you’ll look dressed up, grown up  and fabulous.

Have a glamorous Christmas X