How to wear a statement jacket

Today I decided that a wardrobe refresher was well overdue.  So, I went into town and realised that my student loan is far better spent on clothes.

While I was out I nipped into New Look and picked up a gorgeous statement jacket.

Trying on a jacket in the New Look changing rooms
Don’t you just love a good changing room selfie?

I spent a long time umm-ing and aah-ing in store, as I wasn’t sure how to style the jacket.  After a bit of thinking I realised that this kind of item is a capsule wardrobe essential.  You can work them in so many ways!

Here are my Top Three statement jacket looks: casual wear, office smart, and evening glam.

1 – C A S U A L W E A R

How to wear a statement jacket: Casual wear

Crop top

Quiz blue jeans

Black boots

Forever New choker necklace
£10 –

A patterned jacket can make even a plain top and jeans look like you’ve made an effort.  Paired with a low chunky heel, you’re ready to tackle the day.

2 – O F F I C E S M A R T

How to wear a statement jacket: Office smart

Blue skirt

Dorothy Perkins black shoes
£16 –

There’s no need to stick to monochrome in the office.  Add a splash of colour and you’re sure to turn heads.

3 – E V E N I N G G L A M

How to wear a statement jacket: Evening glam

Topshop white top
£31 –

Boohoo golf skirt
£3.23 –

Charlotte Russe strappy sandals
£16 –

Panacea chevron necklace
£13 –

Unfortunately it’s still pretty chilly in the evenings, so an extra layer won’t hurt!  Plus, most statement jackets are light enough to wear in warm venues.  No need to pay for the cloakroom next time you go clubbing, bargain.

What do you think of my outfit ideas?  How would you style a statement jacket like mine?  Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

Currently listening to: My HeroFoo Fighters


News: The Blackout to launch kickstarter for final farewell

Anyone who follows me on Twitter will remember my sadness when The Blackout called it quits last year.

News of the split was accompanied by a series of farewell tour dates.  Below are the list of dates, but beware, some of the dates have already sold out!

  • 23/3 – Birmingham Asylum
  • 24/3 – London Koko
  • 25/3 – Manchester Academy III
  • 26/3 – Glasgow King Tut’s
  • 28/3 – Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre

The Welsh rockers funded their final EP, Wolves, via a Kickstarter campaign.

Now the six-piece have decided to go down the Kickstarter route again to fund their final farewell.  This comes in the form of a live DVD and documentary spanning their 10-year career.

For anyone who’s followed The Blackout for any length of time, the prospect of a live DVD and documentary is exciting.  It’s something the band has never done before.  I can’t wait to look behind the scenes at how their best albums were created, and backstage at some of their live shows.

I’ve followed The Blackout ever since I saw them support My Chemical Romance in 2011.  They remain one of my favourite bands, and this documentary and live DVD is a great way for them to end with a bang.

(Apologies for the tedious We Are The Dynamite reference. I couldn’t work out where else to fit it in.)

The Kickstarter campaign will be launched right now, at 6PM GMT, if all goes to plan.  Keep an eye on The Blackout’s Facebook and Twitter pages for information about where you can pledge.  I’ll definitely pledge, as opportunities for projects like this don’t come around often.  I hope I’ve encouraged some of you to pledge as well!

Currently listening to: Panic Station – Muse

Review: Smoke + Mirrors

As you may remember from my review of Imagine Dragons’ performance at Leeds Festival, I am a massive fan of the Las Vegas four-piece, so I was extremely excited when news of a new album began to circulate.

Smoke + Mirrors is the band’s second full-length studio album, and their gamble at self-producing definitely paid off.  After just one listen to the album’s first single, I Bet My Life, it became obvious to me that Imagine Dragons are becoming an unstoppable force in the music industry.

Their full-length debut had more electronic roots, with songs like the immensely popular Radioactive influenced by electronic rock and dubstep.

Smoke + Mirrors is obviously, from the first listen, far more rock ‘n’ roll than their previous offering, with more guitars and more authentic-sounding drums throughout.  If their last album was too pop or electronic for you, then this latest effort should be more up your street.  Check out I’m So Sorry, one of the heavier tracks on the album.

Whilst the band have obviously matured after months of touring in 2014, writing their latest album along the way, Smoke + Mirrors is still unapologetically Imagine Dragons.  This band demonstrate effortlessly that it is possible for a band to mature between albums and remain easily recognisable.

In the same vein as Night Visions, Smoke + Mirrors is a pretty hefty album, weighing in at almost an hour long.  And that’s not even including additional tracks on the deluxe version!  Say what you want about Imagine Dragons, but you can’t deny that their albums are consistently packed full of fantastic tunes, and well worth the money.

To conclude, if you loved Night Visions, then Smoke + Mirrors is a must-buy album for 2015.  If their debut album wasn’t your cup of tea, at least give it a listen, and you might find yourself nodding your head to the heavier tracks.

Highlights: Gold, I’m So Sorry, Polaroid, Friction

Review: Enter Shikari, Portsmouth Pyramids

My year of gigs started with a bang last night, thanks to Enter Shikari’s excellent Portsmouth Pyramids show.  Three diverse but talented support acts got the crowd excited for the main act.

Unfortunately I was unable to snap any pictures, but here’s my verdict on The Mindsweep Tour’s opening night.

The first support were Glaswegian four-piece Fatherson, and I enjoyed their performance a lot.  The vocals from lead singer Ross Leighton were on point throughout the entire set.  Their style reminded me a lot of Lonely The Brave, which is definitely not a bad comparison to make.  Check out the video for I Like Not Knowing, a track from their setlist last night:

Next up were allusondrugs, and whilst I’m not a massive fan of their style of music, I still enjoyed their performance.  All five band members were dripping with enthusiasm (and sweat), and frontman Jason Moules had plenty of attitude.  Blaming the crowd for the day’s rain may not have been a great move, though.  Check out the video for their track Nervous, one of the better songs from their setlist.

The final support act were Kent five-piece Feed The Rhino, and this is when the night started to get messy.  The pit opened up during this set, thanks to the band’s flawless performance.  I’d never heard any music by these guys before last night, but I’ll definitely be following them from now on.  Here’s the video for their track Deny And Offend to give you an idea of what their set was like.

Finally, Enter Shikari took to the stage.  They started the night with a mash-up of pop and dance remixes giving the audience a countdown until the start of the show.  I’ve never seen a crowd more excited with 10 minutes still to go until the main act appeared.  

They opened with The Appeal And The Mindsweep I, which I wasn’t particularly surprised about, but Shikari definitely have better openers.

Their setlist was fantastic for fans of their latest two albums, The Mindsweep and A Flash Flood Of Colour.  Old school fans may have been disappointed, as the only older songs on the setlist were Destabilise, Radiate, Juggernauts, Mothership and Slipshod.  I was also pretty gutted that I had to leave early to catch my train home and ended up missing Sssnakepit, one of my favourite Shikari tracks.

Their stripped-back version of Dear Future Historians, which included Rou playing an upright piano on stage, was a really beautiful part of the night.  I won’t forget it any time soon.

Although there were a couple of technical hitches, I think Enter Shikari smashed last night’s gig.  If the rest of their UK tour dates go as well as last night, they’re on to a winner.

Currently listening to: Chop Suey!System Of A Down

So far in 2015: the year of band break-ups

If you’ve been keeping up with alternative music news, you’ll know that so far, 2015 has been full of band members leaving or getting kicked out.

The controversy all started on January 22.  Asking Alexandria frontman Danny Worsnop quit the band to focus on his new project, We Are Harlot.

This break-up seemed pretty amicable, with little mud being slung.  A new vocalist has replaced Danny, but their identity will remain secret for now.  In future Asking Alexandria have plans to tour extensively across North America and the European festival circuit.

Following that, on January 26, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker announced Tom Delonge had left blink-182.  His aim may be to pursue solo music projects, including his band Angels And Airwaves.

This led to a bit of confusion, with Delonge writing on Instagram that he hadn’t left the band.

This was swiftly followed by another interview with Hoppus and Barker/  They slammed Delonge’s attitude and dished some serious dirt about their 2004 hiatus.  Talk about messy.

The band had originally planned to enter the studio on January 5 to start working on their next album.  However, this date has been and gone, so the prospect of new music from blink-182 does not seem likely at the moment.  Loyal fans will be keeping their fingers crossed, though!

Then, on February 9, Bullet For My Valentine bassist Jay James announced his exit from the band, which he has been a member of since 2003.  This split appears amicable, but with rumours of disagreements about what direction their fifth album should take, it’s possible that this fuelled his departure.

2015 hasn’t been a promising start for alternative music fans, has it?  Maybe it’s because of the lingering “new year, new me” sentiments left over from New Year’s Day.  Let’s hope that these departures lead to bigger and better things for everyone involved.

That’s all for today, and just so you all know, I won’t be posting my usual update on Monday as I’ll be at an Enter Shikari gig!  I’ll be posting my gig review on Tuesday instead – see you then!

Currently listening to: HolyPVRIS

Review: Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair Bournemouth, February 8 2015

Regular altrocklife readers will remember my excitement at attending Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair, held in Bournemouth’s beautiful Pavilion in October last year.  If not, feel free to refresh your memory.

Inside the Bournemouth Pavilion during Lou Lou's Vintage Fair
This building is so beautiful. Gotta love a bit of art deco.

Well, Lou Lou returned to the south coast yesterday, and my bank balance is still recovering.  As much as I enjoyed the fair there were noticeably fewer traders set up this time around.  On the plus side, it meant there was more space for the flocking crowds to browse, but the downside was much less choice than the fair in October.

Fliers and business cards collected at the vintage fair.

Even with the reduced number of traders, I still visited a lot of stalls and made quite a few purchases.  Take a peek at my haul, and please excuse my pirate themed desk-topper.  Maturity is my middle name.

Shirt: £25
Ring: £3
Necklaces: (Can’t remember if these were from Vintage Promise or Vintagelady, oops!) 2 for £10

I also picked a little something up from Sarah’s Victoriously Vintage, but I haven’t included a picture as it’ll be my Mum’s Mother’s Day present this year and I don’t want her getting a sneak peek.

Overall, I’d argue that I had an extremely successful shopping day.  Now I’m waiting for an excuse to wear my snazzy new shirt out, and I’ll be wearing plenty of blue so I can coordinate and match my new necklaces.

Currently listening to: I Am ElectricHeaven’s Basement

Double denim: the trend built to last

Double denim was first popularised in the 90s.  How could anyone forget this iconic Britney and Justin look?  It’s so iconic, people have been dressing up as them for Halloween ever since.

Not surprisingly, the popularity of denim died down a little after this – that is, until the autumn/winter season of 2014 rolled around.  I have found that there are a couple of rules that have to be followed when attempting the double denim look.

First, make sure the different denim pieces are different colours.  It’s much easier to get away with double denim if you’re pairing a blue shirt with black jeans, as demonstrated by yours truly.

Outfit of the day: denim shirt, wave-pattered t-shirt, black skinny jeans and a black Drop Dead beanieSecondly, layering is key.  If you want to go full-on 90s, chuck a sleeveless denim jacket over the top of a plaid shirt and Nirvana t-shirt.  Or, if you’re wearing a denim shirt and jeans, break it up with a chunky belt, block-colour handbag or statement coat.

Third, don’t put more than one denim layer on top of each other.  A denim jacket over a denim shirt is a complete no-go.

Like I said, this trend first emerged last year, but I can still see it being popular right up until the summer months.  Spring is usually an opportunity to start wearing some of the less bulky items in your wardrobe which makes it the perfect time to start wearing denim shirts again.  Plus, let’s be honest, denim is timeless.  As long as you follow my three essential tips, you’ll never make a denim-related fashion faux pas again.

Currently listening to: Broken GenerationOf Mice & Men



Review: It’s Not What You Need, It’s What You’ve Got (so shut it.)

Here’s my latest Scene Better Days review! Make sure you take a look.

Scene Better Days

When a link to this latest EP arrived in my inbox I was really excited to see it was from Oui Legionnaires, a punky, emo-y “yelp-core” three-piece from the South West of England, a.k.a. my neck of the woods.

It’s Not What You Need, It’s What You’ve Got (so shut it.) is an upbeat and infectious third EP from the Cheltenham trio, jam-packed with five tracks which are easy to nod your head and tap your foot to. One small criticism though: was “Dear Charlie, please write a hilarious title for this song, lots of love Chris” really necessary? The 47-second-long introduction to the EP seemed a little underdeveloped to me, and if I had listened to the EP without the first track, I probably wouldn’t have felt like it was missing anything.

The vocals are strong throughout, if a little rough around the edges, and they remind me…

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