90s suburban mom: the fashion trend that NEEDS to die

Now, I’m not entirely sure what this trend is actually called.  I have no idea why it has come back into fashion after over a decade.  But what I’m most confused about is who looked at vintage pictures of moms from the 90s and decided “yes, this is my aesthetic”?

I’m a pretty open minded person when it comes to fashion and I find myself appreciating most trends, even if I wouldn’t wear them myself.  But honestly, where are the positives of the ’90s suburban mom’ look?

First off, there are the jeans so baggy and ill-fitting it doesn’t matter what kind of figure you have underneath.  You just know that all of these models have fantastic figures: not that you can tell in these denim disasters.

Mom jeans

Then, there are the kinds of patterns and prints even my Mum wouldn’t have touched back in the 70s.  Honestly, what is with some of these shirts?  They’re utterly hideous.

Clashing patterns

Also, what the hell is up with the concept of cropped jumpers?  I know these aren’t strictly confined to the ’90s suburban mom’ trend, but honestly, they’re a fashion contradiction: keeping warm must be difficult if your jumper ends above your belly-button.  Some of the jumpers below would actually be really nice, IF they weren’t cropped.

Cropped jumpers

So, there you have it.  I’m well aware that I may have made a few enemies by dismissing this trend, but I’ve never before disliked a trend as much as I do the ’90s suburban mom’.

What do you think?  Do you, too, think this trend needs to die?  Or are you a die-hard lover of mom jeans?  Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

Currently listening to: NovocaineFall Out Boy

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Review: You Deserve This

Take a look at my latest review over at Scene Better Days!

Scene Better Days

Now, when I was sent this EP to review, attached to the email was the comment “Not sure it will be your cup of tea, but will be interesting to see what you think of it”. This immediately concerned me, and I spent a significant amount of time building up the courage to actually press play on You Deserve This, the debut EP from Liverpool pop punks JFK. What would have happened if I didn’t like it? What would I have written? As it turns out, those questions will remain unanswered, as I really enjoyed this EP from the first listen.

Admittedly, when the vocals of “Number 6 (1123, 6536, 5321)” kicked in, I was a little sceptical. However, even though the vocals have a rough, unfinished quality, I can actually understand the words of the song – something which I consider make or break when reviewing albums. The…

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Review: The Mindsweep

Enter Shikari
Photo Credit: macskapocs via Compfight cc

Now, if there’s anything that’ll get me excited to see a band live, it’s getting hold of new music by them.  With about three weeks to go until I see Enter Shikari live at Portsmouth Pyramids, I was extremely pleased to see their latest album, The Mindsweep, drop through my letterbox the other morning.  In all honesty, I forgot that I’d pre-ordered it, so it was as if Christmas had come all over again!

If you haven’t managed to pick up a copy yet, Shikari have made the album available to stream – isn’t that generous of them?

Now, if you’re an old-school Shikari purist who thought A Flash Flood Of Colour was crap, then the Hertfordshire lads’ latest offering will not be for you.  The Mindsweep definitely follows in the same vein as their previous album stylistically, with plenty of slower melodic elements and political diatribes.  However, their little nod to Sorry You’re Not A Winner in The Appeal & The Mindsweep II tells us that Enter Shikari have far from forgotten their roots, and there are plenty of hardcore breakdowns and screamo choruses to go around.

The Shikari lads have definitely worked out how to start an album; The Appeal & The Mindsweep I starts slow and electronic, building to the fast paced appeal from Rou, and then punching you in the gut with its scream of “I am a mindsweeper!”, crashing cymbals and heavy riffs.  To me this harks back to System…, the opener of A Flash Flood, which definitely does its job of getting the listener in the Shikari mindset.

Backing and accompanying vocals by Liam, Chris and Rob are brought more to the forefront in this album, especially in tracks like Never Let Go Of The Microscope and The One True Colour.  They definitely help to bring something a bit different to The Minsdweep compared to Shikari’s previous efforts.

Lyrically this album does not disappoint, with The Anaesthetist protesting the privatisation of the NHS, and The Bank Of England showing a middle finger to the wealthy elite in charge of our finances.  As long as Enter Shikari continue to challenge political norms in their lyrics and attitude, they’ll still be the same band to me.

With 12 tracks coming in at about 45 minutes in length, The Mindsweep is a significant album to get stuck into.  However, one criticism I have to make is, due to the tracks blending into each other, it’s a little different to work out where one track ends and another begins, especially during the latter half of the album.  Whilst this may make listening to individual tracks a little jarring, however, the overall package is excellent and flows really well.

Overall this album is a little more radio-friendly than previous offerings, if the success of singles Anaesthetist and The Last Garrison on stations such as BBC Radio 1 is anything to go by.  But is that a bad thing?  Considering a number of dates for their Mindsweep tour are already sold out with weeks to go before they hit the road, I’d argue not.

The Mindsweep was released January 19 in the UK, and Enter Shikari return to UK shores for the third leg of the Mindsweep tour on February 16 – my date in Portsmouth!  Having seen the lads perform at Leeds Festival last year, I know this tour will stick in my memory for a long time.

Highlights: Anaesthetist, Never Let Go Of The Microscope, Myopia, Torn Apart

Review: American Beauty/American Psycho

Fall Out Boy are like a gift that keeps on giving.  Less than two years after their hiatus-ending album Save Rock And Roll hit the shelves, the Chicago rock band have returned with a new sound: American Beauty/American Psycho.

Now, the lead up to this album was a mixed bag for me.  I immediately loved Centuries, and frankly the music video is a work of art.  Whoever it was that came up with the concept for this video, I salute you.

On the other hand, when I first heard the titular track, I was perplexed.  What on earth is Fall Out Boy doing, introducing techno/dance vibes to their music?  Honestly I was missing the guitar solos and riffs from their older albums, but then I remembered that these guys are a band reborn.  I admire them for experimenting with their sound, and after a couple more listens I grew to really like the sound of American Beauty/American Psycho.

The same with Uma Thurman, too; the guitar riff lifted from The Munsters theme song works surprisingly well alongside the up-tempo piano, and their nerdy Pulp Fiction reference made me smile.

Overall, American Beauty/American Psycho is a real feel-good album, and whilst Fall Out Boy purists may be frothing at the mouth about the sudden genre change, I can do nothing but admire a band that never does the same thing twice.

Make sure you pick it up when it’s released tomorrow, but until then, the entire album is available to stream on Fall Out Boy’s YouTube channel.

Highlights: The Kids Aren’t Alright, Immortals, Twin Skeleton’s (Hotel In NYC)

altrocklife’s wardrobe refresher: Christmas sale haul

As you will have seen from my post last Thursday, I did my fair share of post-Christmas sale shopping in 2014, as I decided that my wardrobe was in dire need of a bit of refreshment.

So, what better way to welcome you back to my blog for the year, than show you my final purchases of 2014?  Here goes!

DI V I N E D E N I M

Three pairs of jeans - one grey acid wash, one black, and one blue acid wash.I realised going into December that none of my old pairs of jeans fit properly any more, and one of the belt loops was coming loose on my pair of blue acid wash jeans.  These are their replacements, and at only £33 for three brand new pairs of jeans, my purse is also happy.  Plus, these new pairs open up a whole new world of outfit-matching: the grey acid wash go well with my new black boots (spoiler alert!), the black skinnies look awesome with my metallic purple Doc Martens, and the blue acid wash look lovely paired with my tan fur-topped boots and matching trenchcoat.

D A I N T Y D R E S S

Burgundy patterned wrap dress.

Even though this dress wasn’t on sale, I simply couldn’t resist it.  The silky material is soft and luxurious, and it has a tie waist which will help to define my figure.  Plus, wrap-front dresses look really good on me!  I can’t wait to style this dress for formal occasions, such as my cousin’s wedding next month, and for more casual wear such as my university’s student showcase on Thursday.

P E R F E C T P L A I D

Purple and black plaid shirt

Whilst I already have a lot of plaid in my wardrobe, I don’t have many purple pieces, so this shirt was a great compromise: inject more purple whilst satisfying my plaid cravings.  For me, button-up shirts are always a winner.

S P L E N D I D S H I R T

Denim long-sleeved shirt

I was in dire need of a new denim shirt, and I’m completely in love with this one.  It’s quite baggy on me, which means it’s easy to layer in outfits like this one I wore a few days ago:

Outfit of the day: denim shirt, wave-pattered t-shirt, black skinny jeans and a black Drop Dead beanie

B E A U T I F U L B O O T S

DSCF6790

These bad boys are my favourite festive purchase.  Though they have a fairly significant heel, they’re still super comfortable to walk in, and I now finally have boots which match my leather jacket, which makes me extremely happy.  Plus, at just under £20 from New Look, they were a bargain too!

So, what do you think of my Christmas haul?  Did you spot any items in the sales that I missed out on?  Or did you find some incredible bargains?  Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

Currently listening to: Asleep At The WheelBand Of Skulls

altrocklife’s Top 10 sale shopping dos and don’ts

Hello readers!  Hope you all had a fantastic holiday period – I certainly enjoyed my time at home during the Christmas break chilling with my family and drinking far too many cocktails.  I know you’ve probably missed my updates terribly, but never fear, altrocklife is back for 2015 with plenty in store for you lucky people.

First off, I’m sure I’m not the only person who clears old, outdated and ill-fitting clothes from their wardrobes in December, am I?  It makes sense to do this boring task in December, to make way for the inevitable tsunami of post-Christmas sales purchases.

I was out first thing on Boxing Day, and again on New Year’s Eve, to make the most of the gift cards and spending money gifted to me by my generous friends and family.  Although we’re now well into January, there are still plenty of deals to be had if you look closely enough!  Here are my Top 10 hints to help you get the best deals.

DO – try and wait until January to buy expensive items

If your winter coat is starting to look a little worse for wear, or your favourite boots are starting to let the rain in, try and hold out until January to purchase replacements.  I bought a new pair of boots in November for full price because my old ones had a hole in the sole so large I could fit my thumb through, but if I’d just made do with the shoes I already own and waited until the post-Christmas sales, I could have bought them for half the price.  It may feel like you need replacements for your worn-out items NOW, but it pays to be patient.

The best high-value items to purchase during sales are:

  • Handbags
  • Coats and jackets
  • Anything made of real leather
  • Footwear

DON’T – buy for the sake of buying

Yes, I know that it’s tempting to go overboard during the sales, but chances are you may end up buying items that you never would have purchased at full price, simply because they’re discounted or ‘seem like a good deal’.  When I’m out sale shopping, for every item I pick up I try to imagine two or three different outfits from my existing wardrobe I could wear it with – if I struggle to come up with ideas, I put it back.  Sale items aren’t a bargain if they stay scrunched up at the back of your drawer with the tag still on!

DO – have an idea of what you want before you hit the shops

Before I hit the high street on Boxing Day, I already had a mental list of items I actually needed to buy: black ankle boots, jeans, a denim shirt, a dress, and a handbag.  By the time I was finished shopping, I’d crossed four out of five off the list.  Just remember that half of the fun of Christmas shopping is the element of surprise, and it’s OK to deviate from the list if you spot something – or multiple things – you really love.

DON’T – spend too much on wardrobe staples

My best finds this shopping season were discovered by nipping into the denim section of Primark and discovering that their super skinny jeans were only £11 per pair.  I would advise going to cheaper retailers for items such as jeans, leggings, tights, socks and job interview clothes, so you have more to spend on higher value statement pieces.  I bought three pairs of jeans for £33, when my previous three pairs of jeans cost me over £50, so that £17 saving went towards my annual December sale HMV raid.

(One tip, though: make sure you try on Primark jeans before buying as they tend to run small, and I had to buy size 14 denim when usually I’m usually a 12.)

DO – spend gift cards first

I know it’s tempting to save gift cards for a special occasion, but if you’ve essentially been given a card with FREE MONEY to spend in a specific store, why would you choose to spend your own hard-earned cash there when you could spend that money in a shop you don’t have gift cards for?  I was the lucky recipient of two New Look gift cards this Christmas, which added up to a total of £70.  After my Boxing Day blitz, I only have £3.79 left on one of the cards, but I hadn’t touched any of the cold hard cash I was gifted.  On the other hand, my sister – who also received £70 of New Look gift cards – went Boxing Day shopping, forgot her gift cards, and ended up not being able to afford to buy items in other shops because she had to spend her actual money in New Look.

DON’T – buy online

This may seem like strange advice, considering my dependence on online shopping, but during busy periods I find buying online is more of a hindrance than it is convenient.  Often websites can’t keep up with how quickly items are selling, and there have been too many occasions where I’ve put an item I like in my basket, only to find it’s sold out of my size by the time I check out.  Plus, due to the sheer volume of orders postage takes far longer than normal, which means if you need an item for a specific day, there’s a chance it may not arrive on time.  Obviously for people who live in rural areas online shopping is the best option, but if you have the chance to actually visit a store and do your shopping the flesh, take it.  At least in a shop you know exactly how many of each item there are available, and you can try things on!  Which leads on to my next point:

DO – try everything on

I’ve already brought this up in two of my previous points, but I think it’s important enough to warrant a segment of its own.  During sales, many stores adopt different policies which means if you buy a sale item and then have to return it, you won’t get your money back – you’ll either have to hope you can exchange it, or get a credit note.  I know that the queues to the changing rooms can look daunting at times, but the feeling of satisfaction when you take your sale purchases home with the knowledge that they all fit perfectly is compensation enough.

DON’T – be tempted to buy items even if they’re the wrong size

Following on from the last point, have you ever been shopping and spotted the most beautiful item of clothing you’ve ever seen, but felt your heart shatter into tiny pieces when you realise there’s only one left and it’s not in your size?  I’ve experienced that tragedy too many times.  Sometimes people purchase clothes that are too small for them as an incentive to lose weight or tone up, which could work, but on the other hand it could also become extremely demoralising if you don’t slim down enough to fit into it.  Don’t run the risk of that beautiful garment gathering dust in the back of your wardrobe – if you truly love something, you must set it free, and hopefully someone else will give it a loving home.

DO – set a budget

I’ve left one of the most important points until last.  If you’re like me and you received a fair amount of cash for Christmas, it can be tempting to throw caution to the wind and spend EVERYTHING in the post-Christmas sales.  However, this could lead to problems later on – say your bag breaks in February and you need a replacement, or you urgently need to visit home and have to buy pricey train tickets, you could be left in an unpleasant financial predicament.  I always make sure to put at least 10% of all my Christmas and birthday money away in my savings account, which I’m currently using to save up for driving lessons and my next tattoo.  Every little helps!

DON’T – get into fights over clothes

Am I the only person still haunted by CCTV footage of this year’s Black Friday debacle?  I hope not.  My final point is a simple one: don’t take inspiration from Black Friday shoppers.  At the end of the day, it’s only clothes you’re buying, and believe it or not you can live without that exact shirt, so no need to rip it out of someone else’s hands.

What do you think?  Did I miss out anything obvious?  Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

Currently listening to: Let’s Talk About Your HairHave Mercy