Tuesday 23 February 2010


So, this is my final post before the bi-annual holy grail of all things fabulous that is Fashion Week - or rather, before it's over, and Chic Cheat begins its foray into all the new trends.  Worry not, dear readers, for I'm not too far out to sea to know it's already started...and this time, with a new twist in the tale of fashion's ever-unfolding story.  As The Global Herald...erm... heralded, on Saturday in its Google-search-topping article, the "New Digital Era Spells Trouble for Fashion Bloggers". Now far be it for me -being but a humble fashion blogger, myself - to embark on a debate regarding the finer points of semantics, but read the article and I think you'll agree it's not the bloggers facing said trouble, but the journalists and editors who find themselves competing with them.  Hundreds of them.  Thus, the resounding sentiment felt by all those from the official, printed press, was one of concern.   And with the sheer amount, and pace, of media available, it has every reason to be - though I could only guffaw when the author wrote "quite clearly, we can’t go on running out of Danish pastries as a result of the presence of hundreds of bloggers " as if those are going to be the only pies their new-found competitors will be trying to dip their fingers in!

Needless to say, I can't wait to give LFW's gems (whether or not of the Swarovski variety) the Chic Cheat treatment.  But first, as promised, I must hie with haste to my Chic Cheat ode to Balmain's Spring/Summer '10 collection - on the double!



Think I'm going to put this one down as so-so, where level of difficulty is concerned.  It's generally straightforward, but has its moments, namely when it comes to assembling and attaching the epaulettes.


A day or two's work, most of which can involves idle gluing and stitching, and can therefore be done in front of the telly!  Good times!

You will need

The following customising ingredients, available from all good haberdashers.  Here's what I paid for mine, and therefore round about what you should expect to pay for yours.  Prices may vary and could well be significantly more in London:

  • Olive green military-style jacket.  I got mine from H&M, at a cost of £25, and struggled to find anything cheaper.  However, I came across black and navy jackets for about £10 at Primark, so it's worth a look to see if your local branch has one in green.

  • Bead and fabric glue - £1.75 bottle, Creative Beadcraft (www.creativebeadcraft.co.uk , 1 Marshall Street, London W1F 9BA , Tel: 020 7734 1982)

  • Needle and golden brown thread to match gold trims and adornments.

  • 1metre of black fringing, with a drop of 10-15cm

  • Scissors.

  • Sewing machine (optional).

Total Cost

Mine worked out pricey by Chic Cheat standards, owing to how elusive the style of jacket proved to be.  I think it came to about £44, however...

Save It!

...It's better than parting with $9000 (about £5844 if my computer's currency converter is to be believed!) the approximate asking price for one of the originals.  That's a saving of £5800!

And now, to soldier on...

First of all, you need to get the quasi-braided look along the neckline and about 26cm along the middle of each sleeve, starting at the cuff. Glue your gold braided trim to your fabric in the pattern below.  Make your pattern about 4cm wide and copy the following steps:

Now, for the epaulettes.  Cut out two of the following shape in your flat foam wadding and four of the following in gold lamé.

Place your wadding on top of a piece of lamé, in the centre, so that you have 1cm's seam allowance all round.  Then place another piece of lamé on top, mirroring the first, so that the wadding is in the centre.

Stitch the two layers of lamé together, 1cm from the edge, ideally by machine.  You can do it by hand, but make sure it's tight and secure.

Repeat this process with the remaining piece of wadding and two pieces of lamé.

Cut away some of the excess fabric around the edge.

Cut out two sets of 40cm of your fringing and fold them back on each other, so that you have two double-thickness sets of fringe 20cm in length.

Cut out as many 15cm pieces as possible out of your gold and brown leather string. Glue or stitch down at fairly regular intervals along your fringing.

When your glue has dried, stitch the top of your decorated fringing along the wide, round end of each of your epaulettes.

Stitch your gold trim around the edge of each of your epaulettes and over the side of the fringing.

Stitch your epaulettes along the shoulders of your jacket, with the fringing covering the top of the sleeves.

Left-right-left- right- left-and pose-and strut-and exude- and sparkle for the camera, darling- because there's no daily battle you won't be able to face in this simply chic solution!

Charley's Final Thought

Check out Balmain's whole collection, and you'll notice they brought Napoleonic wartime finery into the 21st century with a new take on epaulettes, straying, in some of their catwalk creations, from the confines of bristle and fringe normality to incorporate leather and chains.

Why don't you try....


No need to spend way into the double digits on a whole skin, rather trawl your local leather and suede-monger for gold, bronze or brown offcuts.  Then, simply, patch the leather pieces around your wadding, to cover it, and dangle some strips from the round part.

If you're lucky enough to call London your stomping ground, good places to look are:

JT Batchelor, 9-10 Culford Mews, London, Tel: 020 7254 2962

Alma Leather, 12-14 Greatorex Street, London E1 5NF,Tel: 020 7377 0762

Borovick Fabrics, 16 Berwick Street, London W1F 0HP, Tel: 020-7437-2180

Walter Reginald, Unit 6, 100 the highway, London E1 W2BX. Tel: 020 7481 2233


Even more straightforward, this one.  Invest in a pair of shoulder pads from Klein's for £2.50 (www.kleins.co.uk, 5 Noel Street (in London's Soho)  W1F 8GD , Tel 020 7437 6162 ).

Cover your pads in gold lamé, or leather - you can even use fake leather for this one - and simply stitch some chains to the edge.

You can buy chains in gold and silver by the metre at Hobbycraft.  Find your local store at www.hobbycraft.co.uk

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