Scottish Designer Christmas Gift Guide

Gift GuideQuick! Christmas is on the horizon but there’s still time to pick up an exciting present from a local designer. As a fan of homegrown talent I’ve chosen seven unique gifts that are designed right here in Scotland. Why not share the love by supporting our talented independent designers this Christmas.

1. Bebaroque ‘Rebekka’ tights – £96

Where would we be without a little Christmas sparkle? Get your bedazzled fix with these beautiful embellished 120 denier tights by Bebaroque. Scatterings of crystals in tones of gold and black are used to create this seriously bold legwear that will see you through the new year festivities in style.

2. Joanne McGillivray ‘Elga’ skirt -£130

This eye-catching high-waisted skirt gets bonus points for being printed and manufactured in Scotland. The shape of the skirt will give you a defined waist and can be worn with a jumper and dressed up with heels and statement jewellery for the party season. Snap up one of Joanne’s designs at her pop-up shop within House of Fraser Glasgow until 30th December.

3. Chouchou ‘Julia’ hood – £150

Chouchou (aka Silvia Pellegrino) has an infectious passion for all things fashion. I know you’ll fall in love with every single one of her clever ‘hollyhoods’ but this particular design is my favourite. It’s made with 100% Italian wool fabric and fully lined in sumptuous black faux fur. Plus the black and gold fabric adds just the right amount of glitz to your Winter wardrobe. Wrap your hood around your neck, wear it as a collar or just keep your ears sheltered from the wet and windy Scottish weather.

4. Jane Gowans ‘JG Minis’ bracelets – £29-£39

Jewellery genius Jane Gowans has introduced two simple bracelets to her collection of contemporary designs. With a focus on affordable luxury the ‘JG Minis’ range comes in a choice of silver or gold vermeil and 6 colour options. Jane’s bracelets make the perfect stocking filler and can be bought in multiples and worn together for maximum impact.

5. Gilda and Pearl printed bra – £89 

Slip into something slinky and drop a little hint about this beautiful silk padded bra. It’s available in a great range of sizes and can be bought as a matching set with the patterned silk knickers (£49). Featuring Gilda & Pearl’s signature printed silk on the front and plain black silk satin on the back, this lingerie is guaranteed to make any girl feel spoiled this Christmas.

6. Karen Mabon ‘Midnight Feast’ silk scarf – £110

Edinburgh based accessories designer Karen Mabon is quickly becoming a firm favourite with fashionable Scots. This 90cm x 90cm silk twill scarf features a carefully illustrated fox and his funny bin-raiding friends. Karen’s reinvention of the traditional silk scarf impressed iconic department store, Liberty of London so much that they’re selling her latest collection in their famous scarf hall. This is a present that’s guaranteed to please!

7. Gillian Kyle Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cushion – £36.50

As a big caramel wafer fan I’m convinced no home is complete without one of Gillian’s famous Tunnock’s cushions. These patriotic presents are made from 100% organic, unbleached premium cotton, fluffy duck feathers and are screen printed edge to edge in bright ‘Tunnocks’ red. Nearly as delightful as the real thing!


My Post-Engagement Checklist

If you follow @FrockTrade on Twitter you’ll have spotted my recent blog posts for luxury jewellery retailer Laings of Glasgow. As some of you may know my other half proposed recently and I’m really enjoying sharing my post-engagement tips with Laings customers and fellow brides-to-be. Find a sneak peek at my most recent post below – read the full article here

Laings Glasgow

(Image above: photography-Hand&Rae, styling-Ann Russell, make-up-Ana Cruzalegui, model-Kristina@Colours)

November 1, 2013
He proposed! You’re engaged! You’re overwhelmed with excitement and can’t wait to tell the world. So what happens after you’ve said yes? Here’s our list of 10 things to do after he’s popped the question.

1/Share your happy news
Once you’ve recovered from the excitement of the proposal it’s time to share the news with your loved ones. Your parents should be the first to know (if they don’t already) so pick up the phone and plan a visit to show off the ring. It probably seems easier to send a quick tweet or post a status update but your relatives won’t thank you if they’re the last to know. Feel free to go online once you’ve had a proper chat with close family and friends.

2/ Get your ring sized
Try to get your ring sized as soon as possible. It wouldn’t be the best start to your engagement if the ring fell off your finger an hour after the proposal. Pop into Laings to have your ring size carefully measured so that your new sparkler fits you comfortably. The resizing process can take time so be patient and remember the most important thing is to have a ring that fits you perfectly.

3/ Get your ring insured
By now your ring should be sized and sitting proudly on your finger. Your next task is to get it insured in case bad luck strikes. If you have home owner’s insurance the best idea is to call your provider and add the ring to your policy. Ask your new fiancé to keep all associated paperwork in a safe place to ensure insurance valuations are accurate.

4/ Set an approximate date
If you’re newly engaged setting an exact date might seem premature so have a discussion about the time of year you’d like to get married so you can field date related questions. Something as vague as ‘We’d like a Summer wedding’ or ‘We’re hoping for the end of next year’ is enough to give people an idea of your timescales.

5/ Buy a wedding planner
Stay organised with a notebook, calendar or folder that you can fill with ideas, cuttings from magazines and wedding fair flyers that have caught your eye. When it comes to making bookings with suppliers you’ll have all the correct contact details in one place. Plus your planner will jog your memory if you’ve forgotten anything and help you visualise the overall theme of your big day.

Congratulations! Jane Davidson nominated for a Drapers Award


On today’s blog I’m giving a big shout out to my favourite local independent designer boutique, Jane Davidson who have been nominated for a Drapers Award.

Edinburgh Independent Retailer Jane Davidson have been shortlisted in the Premium Fashion category at the Drapers Awards 2013. The brand new Drapers Independents Awards have 15 categories covering a wide range of achievements in fashion retailing.

Scotland’s most exclusive independent retailer is owned by Sarah Murray, Jane’s daughter, and is based in a Georgian townhouse in Thistle Street. The store has expanded from one floor to four in the last 10 years and has introduced many high profile brands to Scotland including Jimmy Choo, Roland Mouret  and Victoria Beckham.

For Autumn/Winter 2013 Jane Davidson stocks Temperley London, Matthew Williamson, Roksanda Ilincic, Dries van Noten, Preen and Zoe Jordan exclusively in Scotland. Other key brands include Diane von Furstenberg, Theory, Escada, J Brand and La Perla lingerie.

The original shop was founded in 1969 in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh by Jane Davidson, now Jane Hall. The original boutique sold only British brands including Jean Muir, Ozzie Clark and Jean Varon and was attached to a church in the Old Town.

Good luck to the whole Jane Davidson team at the awards ceremony on November 7th at The Waldorf Hilton, London. Fingers crossed! In the meantime check out my coverage of Jane Davidson’s Pringle of Scotland event for

A Day Out at Pout Edinburgh

Who was at Pout Edinburgh this weekend?

I popped down to the Edinburgh Corn Exchange for quick browse of the fashion and beauty marketplace and was very pleased to see a whole room full of handmade delights from the Entrepreneurial Spark collective, a stall dedicated to the exciting new fashion app Mallzee and a wonderful selection of scarves from new Edinburgh retailer House of Hogarth.

I watched the catwalk showcase by Debenhams and ate free Luca’s mint choc chip ice-cream. It’s safe to say I enjoyed the ice-cream more than the fashion show but I was probably spoiled by the shows I’d seen at London Fashion Week the previous weekend. The canapes and wine presentation by Edinburgh School of Food and Wine was a highlight for obvious reasons (the Salmon crostini was much more sophisticated than the chips-n-dip I offer to guests at dinner parties).

Debenhams catwalk

Speaking of dinner parties I couldn’t resist snapping a picture of this amazing dress by young designer Joanne McGillivray. Her dresses are perfect for special occasions and if you’re feeling organised why not snap one up for your Christmas party before the rush begins. Alongside Joanne’s stall were some beautiful handmade accessories from fellow Espark business Bella Brilla who are launching an exciting new website this week and some elegant designer dresses from ethical online retailer September Street.

Joanne McGillivray

To find out more about Pout visit their website and sign-up to the newsletter to be notified about future events.

Fashion – Happy Birthday! WIN Dr Denim Jeans as seen on Mila Kunis

Drum roll please…..IT’S OUR BIRTHDAY! We’ve officially been bringing you the latest and greatest fashion news for 2 fun-filled years! To celebrate our favourite Edinburgh denim boutique ALC are giving away a pair of figure flattering skinny jeans as seen on MILA KUNIS. To get your hands on the best denims in town just LIKE these pages on Facebook and and share the photo. You have until midnight on Monday 9th September to enter. Good luck and here’s to many more years of Frock Trade fashion!

Dr Denim Competition

Fashion – Hayley Scanlan for Topshop

Collaborating with Topshop is a pretty big deal for any designer so I was really pleased to hear that Hayley Scanlan’s ‘Queen of Hearts’ collection went live in the Oxford Street store in London yesterday. Dundee designer Hayley was hailed as a rising star at the Scottish Fashion Awards in 2012 and has developed her label considerably ever since. The H.S x Topshop collection brings some of her signature styles, including digital print dresses, to the high street. London’s fashionistas will be fighting to get their hands on an H.S exclusive.

Hayley’s work is inspired by two of her style icons, Debbie Harry and Mary Queen of Scots so be prepared for cobalt blues, deep reds and a Prince of Wales check. She said: “Debbie Harry is one of my icons. I loved the idea of pairing someone like her with an equally rebellious heroine, Mary Stuart, the former Queen of Scotland. This is a collection that has taken me deep into the heart of my Scottish roots and represents a strong and feisty femininity.”

I’ll be checking out Hayley’s high street debut next week during London Fashion Week. If you’re in town make sure you drop by Topshop Oxford Street before 21st September to get your hands on the best of H.S. Alternatively follow Hayley on Twitter @HayleyScanlan for all her latest news and pictures

Hayley Scanlan Topshop

Fashion – In Pictures: Oliver Bonas

Oliver Bonas is the latest fresh face to hit the capital’s high street offering womenswear, furniture and home accessories. It has the sort of cutesy charm that’s impossible not to like and is merchandised in such a way that makes you want to part with hard earned cash. I took a wander around the branch at 45a Hanover Street, Edinburgh and here’s what I found….

Oliver Bonas EdinburghRetro telephone Oliver bonasRetro Armchair Oliver BonasWork hard Oliver BonasMoose Oliver Bonas
Oliver Bonas Edinburgh

Fashion – 5 wardrobe essentials every woman should own

Recently I’ve been asked about essential clothing and more importantly how to create a capsule wardrobe. Here are the 5 items every woman (regardless of shape or size) should own….

1/ A Little Black Dress
Sounds obvious but this really is essential item number one. No matter your shape and size there is a black dress out there to suit you. Your black dress will take you from a working day straight to a party at night, it will save your ‘I have nothing to wear’ dilemmas and it will always look elegant if you want to look like you’ve made an effort. The best little black dresses are those that aren’t too tight, are cut in a flattering shape and dont reveal too much chest or leg. That way you’ll feel comfortable wearing it everywhere from work functions with heels too family bbq’s with pretty pumps.

2/ A White Shirt
White might not seem like the most practical colour but it truly is a wardrobe staple and can be worn with almost anything. Throw your shirt on with a pair of indigo jeans for a fresh, polished weekend look or wear with a skirt to work. Longer cut white boyfriend shirts also look great with simple black leggings and suit all ages. Keep a couple of white shirts in your wardrobe and alternate between the two to keep them looking bright white.

3/ A Well-Fitting Pair of Jeans
There’s nothing worse than poor quality jeans that dig into your waist or have to be adjusted all the time. The best way to buy jeans is to visit an independent shop where they have specialist knowledge of different cuts and will be able to identify the style that best suits your body shape. Skinny jeans might be in fashion but that doesn’t mean they’re right for you. Those in the know buy their jeans from ALC on Thistle Street in Edinburgh, a boutique dedicated to fitting women with jeans to suit their specific shape.

4/ A Pair of Pumps
One of the best decisions you can make before a night out is to slip a pair of pumps into your handbag. Your feet will definitely thank you for it! Flats are a weekend staple if you wear heels to the office. They give your feet a rest and always look great teamed with a casual shift dress or relaxed denims. Try and buy flats that have a proper sole. Some cheaper pumps have very little support and will leave your feet feeling sore, which defeats the purpose really!

5/ A Lightweight Cardigan or Jumper
When you live in Scotland you have to prepare for constant changes in the weather. Even though we’ve been having some lovely sunny days recently I always throw a lightweight cardigan or jumper into my handbag incase clouds appear. It’s a good idea to have a neutral cover-up in your wardrobe for colder summer evenings or to wear under a coat in colder months.

Fashion – Designer Sample Sale in Edinburgh and Glasgow

Did you make it to the Designer Sample Sale in Edinburgh this weekend? Bargains were to be had at the Radisson Blu Hotel on the Royal Mile. The sale featured designers like Belstaff, Ralph Lauren, Equipment, Calvin Klein, See by Chloe, Moschino and Armani as well as accessories and footwear from Tod’s, Burberry, Aquascutum, Gucci, Jimmy Choo and Valentino. I was best placed at the front of the queue ready to grab some bargains. I spotted a pastel green sleeveless summer coat by Paper London, a summer dress by Love Moschino and a beautiful floral pattern top by Aminaka Wilmont. There’s still time to bag your own designer bargain. The sample sale team are at the Mercure Glasgow City Hotel at 201 Ingram Street in Glasgow until tomorrow.

Love Moschino
Aminaka Wilmot
Paper london

The lovely Elaine Foster-Gandey, the founder of Designer Sales UK (DSUK) & The Real People Catwalk shows, subsequently invited me to put together a photo shoot showcasing her beautiful range of designer clothing. Elaine has been running sample sale events for over two decades and has appeared on national television and radio shows to talk about fashion. I’ll share images from the shoot with you soon. In the meantime, join the Designer Sales UK mailing list to receive newsletters and invitations to future designer sample sales. The Designer Sales UK team will be back in Edinburgh on 21st and 22nd November and in Glasgow from the 23rd to 25th November 2013.

Fashion – This is not just Marks and Spencer

I’m a huge fan of their food (Percy Pig anyone?!) but have never proactively shopped for anything other than tights in Marks and Spencer. I’ve been known to venture into store on the hunt for parents birthday presents or Christmas wrapping paper but I cant remember the last time I bothered to look at their ladies clothing with the intention of buying something for myself.

Admittedly I realised recently that I wrongly tarred M&S ladieswear with the ‘older generation’ brush and am happy to concede that the Limited Collection in particular has some funky finds if you look hard enough (Yes mum you were right!). Maybe this new appreciation of Markies is a sign of my own advancing years or an act of rebellion against the increasingly minuscule clothes found on the high street? All I know is that Marks and Sparks has turned a fashion corner in my book and here are four pieces from the current limited collection that I’d very happily wear in public. What do you think?

Marks and Spencer Limited Collection