I’m beyond excited at the moment because my good friend and ‘style guru’, Lizzie Griffiths (aka The Girl Who Cried Fashion) has agreed to collaborate with me in up and coming style and health posts (we’ve got an amazing vintage style special planned in October) and she’s here for a chat today. So, come and meet her!
Hi Lizzie! Great to have you on the blog today. Can you tell us a bit about yourself: how did The Girl Who Cried Fashion come into being?
I’ve always been a lover of fashion and style. I grew up on musicals and classic films, and was influenced and intrigued by the glamour of the onscreen starlets such as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Katherine Hepburn. Women who had their own unique style that flattered their figures and promoted their personality rather than following particular trends. This has always stayed with me and as much as I love keeping up to date with the latest trends, I also always try to stay true to my own personal style, and most importantly, what suits me and makes me feel amazing.
I thought I would start the blog so I could express my passion for fashion. Friends and family then started seeking my advice for their own personal fashion dilemmas… Such as, ‘what do I wear to this wedding?’ ‘Does this dress flatter me?’ So I thought I would also start a Facebook page where friends and readers could post their own wardrobe dilemmas to me and I could reply with some online options.
I get the biggest thrill out of helping people who don’t have as much confidence in their style and themselves as they should and will therefore pick clothes that covers them up rather than enhance what they do have.
What is the one essential item in your wardrobe you couldn’t live without?
I have always been a dress fiend so I would definitely say you can’t go wrong with a classic cut dress, such as a shift or 50s style fluted high waist dress. Anything that flatters your figure!
But an essential item… It would have to be a really good beige Mac ala Audrey Hepburn in the final scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It can be worn over dresses, jeans, leggings and ballet pumps, and is so iconic it will never date. Up date it with a chic little silk scarf or switch the belt for a brightly coloured skinny leather belt for a bit of fun. It’s also essential for the awful Winter into Spring period when you have no idea what to wear and the rain never ends!
What is the one essential item in your beauty bag you couldn’t live without?
I am a big fan of make up. I currently am very tanned from a holiday to Portugal so I’m barely wearing anything on my face apart from my signature black winged eyeliner and a bit of lip gloss.
Apart from mascara ( my favourite is the pink and green Maybelline Great Lash which is a fiver – bargain! ) I would recommend to every girl out there to invest in Chanel’s Universal Bronzer. It’s a little more than I would usually pay for a beauty product but it lasts for so long and all it calls for is a sweep under your cheek bones and on your temples and under your jawline, and your face will be instantly lifted. It is also fabulous on a hangover when you need to pretend you don’t have a hangover!
What would be your most important style advice?
Always be true to yourself. Don’t be misled by frivolous trends because the glossy mags are telling you MUST buy a peplum dress or neon leggings… Find a style that suits you and your figure, which makes you feel good. You can always be influenced by trends, such as particular colour trends and update your wardrobe accordingly. Just little touches here and there will bring you up to date immediately without having to buy a whole new wardrobe. For example, buy a clutch bag in the season’s colour or buy the seasons latest jacket to put over your dresses and jeans.
Who is your style icon?
I think Marilyn Monroe is my ultimate style icon, although I’ve been influenced by many. Me being a blonde, curvy woman, I’ve always identified with Marilyn’s glamorous yet chic style. I want her confidence she exudes in those beautiful formed 50s dresses and the way she moved just showed she was comfortable in her skin and there is nothing sexier than that!
I also liked how she stuck to her iconic beauty look and never strayed from the red lips and dark brows.
How have you developed your style?
I have been many clothes sizes and that has helped me really get to know my body and know what suits me. The key is to love what you have and to make the most of it. When I was at my biggest, size 22/24, I was still always glamorous with a full face of make up on and dress that would showcase my rather large bosom! I yearned to be able to wear a simple jeans and top, which I think can be just as glamorous.
Now I am a size 12/14, I still more or less live in dresses but I also love to wear a nice pair of jeans and a sexy top. It was always my aim to be able to wear this and feel good. Lots of people at work would say ‘Wow, I’ve never seen you in jeans before!’ When normally it’s people being shocked to see someone in a dress!
I would describe my style as glamorous with hints of Bohemia… God what do I sound like? Let’s just say, in the words of Oscar De La Renta, I don’t do casual very well.
Do you prefer vintage, high street or designer?
I am influenced by designers and yearn to be able to wear their pieces but finances mean I have to recreate their beautiful looks in my own way. That way is vintage…. I am known at work as being the one with second hand clothes and I love it!
As well as being ecologically sound, vintage means you won’t be wearing the same dress as the girl standing next to you at the bar. My absolute worst nightmare! In a world of fast fashion and dresses knocked up quickly, vintage clothing really stands out to me. The dresses are cut so well and are made to flatter a woman’s figure. It’s really hard to find that nowadays unless you’re prepared to pay.
My favourite era and what suits my figure is the 50s and 70s… I fuel my glamorous side from the 50s and my bohemian side from the 70s.
My friend Lisa owns an online store FatVintage on Etsy and she has really fuelled my love for vintage. She has an incredible eye for finding incredibly well made dress that are still in excellent condition. I think I have nearly 20 pieces from Lisa and my wardrobe is now mixed with high street and vintage, and they go so well together. Don’t be afraid, give vintage a try…
You’ve lost loads of weight recently, can you tell us how you managed to do it and how you stay slim?
I grew up always being the big girl and, as I said, at my biggest I was sometimes a size 24. I guess I gave into the fact that I would always be big and this was my lot. I covered up my insecurities and low self esteem with my humour and bubbly personality and never spoke of my weight with anyone. If I didn’t speak about it, it wasn’t an issue.
I slowly began to realise I needed to get healthy, not just to reduce my clothes size but to be there for when my niece and nephew grew up into adults. It was kind of a wake up call.
So I began to walk for an hour every day and reduced my meal sizes and cut out things that didn’t make me feel great I.e bread, potatoes, fizzy drinks…the usual suspects!
My weight really started to shift when I joined my local gym and I haven’t looked back since. I have set myself little aims and I’ve met them and that has spurned me on to keep going. My diet is 80% good 20% naughty and I find that balance works for me. I do weight training and circuits rather than hours on a tread mill. I cut out cows milk and avoid starchy carbs, and eat sweet potato when I need a carb fix. I try to eat as simple as possible and regularly so my metabolism keeps on track.
As soon as my clothes start to feel a little tight I know I need to avoid the booze for a few days!
Enjoy food and enjoy the exercise you do – it’s a lifestyle change – diets only work in the short term. Love yourself and you’ll only put in your body what makes it feel good!
Tell us a bit about your corner of the world. What do you love so much about living there.
I currently live in Birmingham. It’s really come a long way over the past five years even. I work in a trendy part of town, Digbeth, doing marketing and PR for a quirky wedding and conference venue. There are also offices there and everyone is creative and good fun, it’s a lovely community to work in. The area offers cool bars, vintage shops, pop up exhibitions, street food nights, art galleries and club nights. You’ll also love the street artwork that is praised rather than seen as just graffiti.
Birmingham itself has a bad rep but it’s a fabulous city full of authentic and stylish restaurants, independent bars, fantastic shopping centres including the newly refurbished Harvey Nichols store at the Mailbox. And yes, there are lots of canals which are lovely to have a drink next to in the summer.
Can you explain what first brought you to the Algarve and what keeps bringing you back?
I came to Burgau in Portugal one summer to work in a bar with my best friend. We’d never been there before and didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into! Nine years on, I just keep coming back and one day hope to settle down and raise a family there.
I worked three summers in the bar and got to know the wonderful people of the fishing village as well as the holiday makers who come back year after year. The village has a stunning beach, which is my ultimate happy place, and is filled with friendly bars and delicious restaurants. There is a strong community, growing up in a city I never really experienced that as a child.
I think the people, the beach and the laid back lifestyle are the strongest pulls for me to book that plane ticket.
Describe your perfect weekend away: where do you go and what do you do when you get there?
I love Paris for a weekend break, my best friend lives there so he knows all the cool places to go to. Once you have done all the tourist attractions, I love nothing more than just strolling around the city of chic, stopping off for a coffee (ok, wine!) and nipping into a gallery or quirky boutique. The city also has incredible flea markets which you could spend hours delving into.
My favourite bar is Bar Rosa on a Sunday night where Monday morning definitely doesn’t exist!
If you could time travel, where would you go and why?
I would go back to the 1920s jazz age and be the ultimate flapper and sing in a jazz band!
Lizzie, it’s been amazing having you here today and I can’t wait until you eventually get your butt over here again! xox