Red shoes, No knickers

Yearly Archive: 2018

Tuesday

13

November 2018

0

COMMENTS

What to do with all our stuff

Last weekend I went to Somerset to help my parents oldest friends clear out ninety three years worth of someone’s precious belongings.

Attached to the side of Terry & Judy’s beautiful cottage, in a hamlet near Yeovil, is an annexe where Terry’s mum Joy lived. She recently passed away and I was heading down to firstly play with the dogs and secondly to help decide what should be done with a lifetimes worth of stuff.

And Boy was there some stuff. Joy had lived and travelled in the far East for a large portion of her life so there were ornaments and artefacts from Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand. There was a whole flat full of furniture, so much crockery, cutlery, glassware. Photo albums, books, clothing, accessories, jewellery, paintings….The list went on and the clear out felt endless.

My job was in the bedroom where my wardrobe detoxing eye went straight into work mode. I immediately put aside what I knew would sell on Ebay. The tartan trousers, the houndstooth skirt, the mink coat, the Burberry Mac. The rest I suggested be sold at a car boot. Yes, I know it’s a hassle and things tend to sell for just 50p at the end of the day but something’s better than nothing, right? Waste not want not and all that? One persons trash is anothers treasure?

Terry and Judy had been sorting and distributing and organising for the past few weeks and were starting to feel the fatigue. They wanted the stuff gone. They wanted the flat clear so they could rent it out and they wanted to move on. Sifting through a family members belongings and revisiting old memories is hard and it’s sad and it can be exhausting. They didn’t have the time or the inclination to stand at a car boot and haggle over whether Joy’s Peacock mixed polyester blouse should be sold for £2 or £2.50.

Once family and friends have taken what they want. When they’ve left with what they deem to be useful or memorable what happens to the rest of the stuff? Where do we put it all? Stacey Dooley’s recent BBC programme ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’ revealed that in the UK alone we dump 300, 000 tons of clothing in landfill every year. Charity shops see a sharp increase of donations in January when we offload 73 000 tons worth of clothing. And that’s just clothing. That doesn’t include the rest of our stuff.

Oh God, STUFF! What are we doing with all this stuff? Why do we need it? If last weekend showed me anything it showed that we’re holding onto things so that someone else can be exasperated by having to wade through it all once we’re gone. Don’t get me wrong. I have stuff. I have boxes of photo albums, no doubt far too many clothes, old letters that I’ve read, books that I haven’t. I have a suitcase full of my teenage stuff still in my parents attic that, much to my Father’s dismay, I am choosing to ignore for the time being. The amount of stuff I alone have is overwhelming. And I’m just about to obtain more stuff this Christmas. A list has gone out to my siblings of things I want. More things I, of course, don’t need but do think I would benefit from because YES, a spoon rest for when I’m cooking is important in my kitchen at the moment. {See Middle Class Mockery}

I’m not immune to the allure of surrounding ourselves with items that bring us joy, are aesthetically pleasing or that comfort us. I’m also not disillusioned into thinking I’ll never buy anything new ever again. None of us are and it would be silly to suggest otherwise. But there are ways we can do it without contributing to more landfill and collating more stuff for others to deal with when we’re gone.

Tried and tested tactics include ~ One in one out. Bought a new coat/dress/pair of shoes? Lose something from your current wardrobe. Your wardrobe stays manageable and you start to become more aware of what you’re purchasing.

EbayEtsy, second hand shops, auction houses are where plenty of previously owned bargains can be found. Don’t like the idea of ‘vintage or antique’? That’s fine. New items or only lightly used items can still be found on the net. It takes time to find them but I know you can do it.

Freecycle! What a beautiful idea. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and neighbourhoods. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills.

Resell, recycle, regift ~ Have you exhausted every possibility of all that stuff you no longer want? Would a friend benefit from it? Can you rework it and make it into something else? Can you sell it and make money from it? YES! Just think about that. Cold hard cash in the palm of your bank account to spend on…..well, probably more stuff but you get my point!

Landfill is full. Charity shops can only sell so much. Recycling is happening but not as fast as we’re consuming. Your children/sibling/cousin/a stranger does not really want to wade through your wares so let’s start to rethink shall we? Let’s start to reduce, reuse, recycle, resell, regift….

I’m off to trawl through Ebay.

Posted in Chazzer Shazzer chic, Tricks of the trade, Wardrobe work

Saturday

3

November 2018

0

COMMENTS

They’re back y’all!

  

{Pandora SykesYours TrulyImani Randolph}

When I heard the whispers back in February I couldn’t quite believe it.

No way could they be making a comeback? Surely they can’t be cool again?

Oh how wrong I was. When the Autumn/Winter ’18 fashions started rolling in I saw them everywhere. Yes folks. They’re back. The cowboy boot has returned to our trotters and has been pounding the streets as if she’s never been away.

I say boot, I, of course, mean boots. The trend that has been hibernating for the best part of fourteen years didn’t return as simply one boot on one foot and an Adidas shell top on the other. I still can’t quite believe it. I never thought they’d recover from 2004.

Having always been a staple ~ with actual cowboys ~ in Southern America they entered our sartorial consciousness in the late 80’s & early 90’s. Princess Diana wore them to a polo match and everyone complained. Standard. Then Thelma & Louise arrived & these beautiful, kick ass women wore them with high waisted jeans, sleeveless t-shirts and Brad Pitt as an accessory.

The boots dipped in and out of fashion but took off again at the turn of the century. On a trip to see my Nashville family, in 2002, I purchased my very own pair. Oh Boy, was I chuffed. At the time they were the most expensive thing I had ever bought. They were made from the softest pigs leather & I went for a slouchy, pirate boot style. Along with every other twenty year old who loved to jump on a trend I couldn’t wait to show them off. We wore them with denim mini skirts, low slung enormously wide, incredibly unnecessary, leather belts. We paired them with low rise boot cut jeans, halter tops and A line skirts. I think I even wore them once with a felt cowboy hat that I owned. They were comfy. They were cool and I loved them.

Towards the mid noughties though they began to resemble a costume. They were hi-jacked by the Southern women of pop who glue gunned them to death with rhinestones and butterflies and wore them in garish colours. Britney Spears single handed managed to start the decline of the cowboy boot.DAMN IT! What’s a girl to do? I loved my boots so much and having spent a fortune on them was reluctant to give them away. I couldn’t imagine they would ever make a comeback but they were such a sturdy boot. I have now had them for sixteen years and have never once had them resoled. The leather got even softer and they can be worn all day without the faintest whiff of a blister. They reluctantly went into storage and have only made one brief appearance in Nashville for Thanksgiving circa 2011. Of course no one there battered an eyelid. I was wearing their state uniform.

Fast forward to 2016 and the whispers had started, turn the corner into Fall fashion 2018 and BOOM! Would you Adam & Eve it? The cowboy boot is BACK! Danish brand Ganni & Raf Simmons at Calvin Klein have managed to breathe new life into this seemingly dead &, let’s face it, tacky trend.

But do we actually like the return of this trend? Or are we just jumping on the fash band wag?

If you are thinking of heading back in for Cowboy Boot revival 2.0 you have to stick to the rules. They’re there for a reason and were written after Jessica Simpson shoved the boot so far down our throats we gagged. 

  1. Do not wear them with short denim shorts. Guys, I’m sorry but you just can’t. Simpson ruined it for all of us.
  2. No Little house of the Praire//Old school Laura Ashley style dresses. Too literal.
  3. While jeans can be tucked in they can’t be skinny jeans. A straight leg is as tight as we’ll allow. And by we, I mean me.
  4. Rack your brains for the complete opposite of Western and wear them with that ~ T~shirts, cotton workwear, blazers, sweaters, sportswear, ball gowns.
  5. White cowboy boots look the bomb.
  6. Never pair with check//plaid//tartan. We’re not in Texas.

And there you have it. How to wear your cowboy boots and not look like you’ve made any effort at all when really you’ve had to think about it loads so you don’t look like you’re off to the rodeo.

As for me I don’t really know what I think yet. All I know is my boots are out of storage and we’re off to Brixton market. Who’s coming with me?

…..Not you Britney. You’re not invited this time.

Posted in Beautiful shoes, Inspiration

Saturday

13

October 2018

0

COMMENTS

Can’t afford ~ Made my own

I grew up with nothing. Literally nothing.

Totally untrue of course but that’s what my ‘deprived’ teenage brain told me. It told me that I was at a disadvantage in the, seemingly, third world country I was living in as I didn’t have access to the things I so desperately needed. By third world I now mean developing, by things I mean the coolest clothes and accessories and by needed I mean wanted. SO BADLY.

Luckily for me the internet was merely a newborn baby foul just learning to stand on it’s own four bandy legs and so hadn’t made it to our conscious yet let alone our homes. If it had I would have been in a permanent state of wanderlust and withdrawel, walking my neighbourhood heavyhearted in the knowledge that I didn’t have all the great things other people did. Oh wait?! Isn’t that my current state now as a nearly 40 year old?

In the early 90’s, on a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean ocean, my want came solely from the Saturday morning magazine I saved my pocket money for and pawed over for hours. Just Seventeen {and sometimes More if I wanted to look at the position of the week and wonder when I’d be able to try that shit out} was what constantly gave me FOMO. Everything inside it was something I wanted. Everything was just so cool and so God Damn English. And England was the promised land. It had shops and adverts and concerts and rain and McDonalds and Monster Munch. These were things that I dreamt of and things I was dying to experience.

Lucky for me I went to England twice a year with my family. They were the highlights of my year and I would save those Cyprus cents {that my Father would exchange for us at a ratio of 1:1} so that I could head straight to Topshop, Miss Selfridge, New Look or Bay Trading Co {remember that old chestnut?}  and obtain the navy skinny rib scoop neck top I had coveted for months or the constantly asked for pair of black DM boots. My holidays in the UK where only Christmas and Summer though so if I wanted something in February I either had a very long and extremely painful wait or I had to do it myself, wouldn’t I?.

YES! I had to get creative and find a way to produce whatever it was that I wanted. One of my favourite examples of Did It Myself Didn’t I was when white Adidas shelltops became all the rage. Along with satin babydoll slips and pastel coloured mohair cardigans these pristine white trainers were the thing to have. Unless you took a flight out of the country to go and purchase these much sort after trainers they were not available to you. Well I REALLY wanted them so I found a way. I did have an old pair of Adidas trainers. Sadly they didn’t have the iconic shelltop but they did have the custom triple stripes on the side. In purple, green and yellow. No problem! I bought myself some black fabric paint and coloured those stripes in. I swapped out the laces for black ones {not sure why as shelltops had white laces?!} and voila! A new pair of trainers.

Another great example is when Take That burst onto our screens and into our pants. There was not a magazine going that Sister With Massive Laugh and her best friend didn’t buy that they were in. At the height of Relight my Fire one magazine photo shoot saw Mark doning an Antoni and Alison t-shirt. Antoni and Alison’s signature tops were {and still are} slogan t-shirts. We all wanted one. They were so frikkin’ cool. They were also so frikkin’ expensive and so frikkin’ far out of our reach. HEY! That didn’t stop us. No way, Josephine. I made three of my own Antoni and Alison style tops. I altered the necklines of old polonecks, chopped off their length, painted my own slogans and still to this day ~ 26 years later ~ wear one of them to bed. When I facetime Sister With Massive Laugh and Tiny Niece with one of my boobs hanging out the side of it she tells me I need to get rid of it and I ignore her. My Sister tells me, not Tiny. Tiny just points at my boob and says ‘Milk’

I am forever grateful for those lean clothing times of my life. Firstly I don’t believe that you should get everything you want because then we’d all be spoilt and it’s a known fact that spoilt people are bad in bed. Secondly it sparked my imagination. It made me creative and that Did It Myself Didn’t Istreak has never left me. I am still cutting up clothes and reworking them. I will not let a pair of shoes die on my watch unless I have exhausted all it’s potential possibilities. I have recently started wearing my Grandmother’s original Burberry trenchcoat {that I shortened years ago so that I would wear it more often} inside out. Ms.B Trench has a new lease of life and I have a new coat. Everyone’s a winner.

Don’t worry if you’re not an average to sometimes downright awful seamstress like my good self. You can always ask for help. If it’s too big a job for me I head to my local dry cleaners where I was lucky enough to find Moggi who is a seamstress superstar. When I needed to revive a pair of plain white open toe mules from Marks and Spencer my standard ‘superglue a pompom onto them’ wasn’t quite right. I turned to my friend Sophie Boustred of SGB Goods. She took my ideas and my screen shot collection of furry shoes. She cut up her varying colours of sample sheepskins and glued on strips to gave me my very own version of Rachel Comey style mules. Rachel’s cost over $300. Mine where the price of a two year old pair of faux leather M&S heels and £25 cash. BOOM. Mr. Tumnus eat your heart out! I’ve got a new pair of hooves.

  

The teenage days of longing and envy have sadly managed to stay with me just on a much larger, lifestyle stage as shown {off} to us on Instagram. I’m ok with that though because the Do It Yourself attitude has also stayed with me. The Make Do and Mend. The I’m Not Missing Out Just Because I Can’t Afford It.

I’ve recently bought a hot glue gun and the world is my stitched-together-from-an-old-pair-of-jeans oyster. I’m off to make an outfit for my 40th birthday party.

Posted in Beautiful shoes, Comfy chic, Did It Myself, Didn't I, Inspiration

Wednesday

3

October 2018

0

COMMENTS

A fool every Fall

Autumn always manages to sneak up and surprise me.  I am constantly singing the praises of Summer. Waxing lyrical to anyone and everyone about how I feel more alive in the Summer. How my body is always more at ease with fewer clothes on, when it’s brown and when it’s not clenched and taut in order to fend off the cold. I spend as much time as possible outside riding my bike, swimming in open air pools, ponds and the sea. My legs are free, the sunnies are on and I am in my element.

As soon as the August bank holiday ends however I am officially in mourning. I’m complaining about the darkness creeping in, the cooler nights and the arrival of conkers. I lament about how much I love the long, lazy warm days of Summer and how I don’t think I will possibly be able to survive the next nine months.

Then I actually stop and look around me and I see the beauty in Autumn. This is what always catches me unawares. It’s a stunning season. I look up at the brilliant blue skies that somehow feel even brighter than a cloudless July day and realise that my sunnies are still being worn. I am in awe of the fiery red, vivid orange and toast brown leaves that either gather round my feet or shape the landscape in front of me. The crispness in the air means a change of clothing that, I am loath to admit, I’m actually ready for. A bare leg with an oversized knit. Cute ankle socks and heavy brogues. Sweatshirts and pencil skirts. Light coats that are part of your outfit rather than a necessity or a ‘just in case’. Then I look in the mirror.

Oh Jesus! What a frikkin’ state!

No. I can not do Autumn. I can not do in betweenness. I am all or nothing I’m afraid. I’m either a simple cotton dress and flip flops or seventeen layers, a cashmere scarf, an oversized coat and a hat kinda gal. This ‘is it warm/is it going to rain/or is it actually cold?’ malarky catches me out every year and I look a fool. That bare leg and an oversized knit? It just doesn’t work. My legs started to lose their colour due to the reality of them having not seen real sunshine since mid July and are now pale and motley.

My face on the other hand still has the malasma stains of too many summer’s spent with not enough SPF applied. This means my dirty face can’t take much make up and so a pillar box red lip is unable to distract from my uncooked chicken legs. The tube in October and November is far too hot for ‘the Autumnal sloppy knit that makes you feel cosy’. Also you can forget about heading down the tights route this early on. ‘Swamp ass’ is a phrase I’ve discovered recently and is also an unpleasant sensation I’ve discovered recently.

Florals are out of place, cashmere is too much. Boots are unnecessary and jackets aren’t enough.

I am sartorially lost in this tricksy season that lulls me into a false sense of security with it’s gorgeous changing colour scheme and it’s desire to start hunkering down in our homely on trend hygge.

Bring on a full-blown freezing Winter….Now there’s a phrase I never thought I’d say!

 ~ Some Autumn/Fall fashions I try to emulate each year ~

Posted in Colour blocking, Inspiration, Rise to the occasion

Monday

3

September 2018

0

COMMENTS

Same old, Same Old

{Top L-R ~ Walk of shame Moscow, Rennes, JacquesMus, Caron Callahan. Bottom L-R ~ Simone Rocha, Caron Carahan, Rejina Pyo, Rachel Comey}

I recently executed an enormous Instagram cull and un followed about 400 people.

Big news I know but this needs to be discussed.  Like the majority of the world I found I was spending far too much time on my phone and it needed to stop. Mainly to regain the hours I lost and redirect them to watching TV instead but also because I didn’t want a really big thumb. I hear that’s a thing and I don’t need a big thumb as well as big ears.

What I came to realise is that what I was actually looking at, as I scrolled through hundreds of strangers images for hours on end, was essentially a variation of the same thing.  I obviously chose to follow similar brands as I have a certain style I like, right? Sure, That part I’m fine with. That’s simply personal taste. I like looking at houses full of plants and beautiful clothing that doesn’t look out of place on the set of Godless. I also like Streetstyle,bloggers I used to follow back in the naughties and Celine Dion {follow her and you’ll see why} The trouble is that following just one of these brands/people/pages is great to look at every once in a while. When you start to follow three or four of a similar ilk they all start to blend into one. They all seem to be influenced by each other and all seem, to me anyway, to just be posting the same thing.

Well, I’m over it. I need to see something new and something unique. I’m so bored of the monotony of these pages and their ‘same old same old’ images. I’m bored of straw hats, velvet hair ribbons, muted pastels and billowing white, cotton dresses. Of high waisted, wide legged pants and millenial pink walls. Of clay pottery, images of the ocean and gingham ruffles. Of pretty much my entire feed going to the ballet in Copenhagen all invited by and wearing the fashion brand Ganni. Don’t get me wrong I love these things. I really do but when I see them over and over again on page after page I think ‘Who started this and who’s copying who?’ ‘Why are we all posting the same thing?’ ‘Can we not think of something else?’ I understand that this life and fashion style is on trend with some people ~ Cotton workwear, white denim, black and white gingham, low heeled mules, oversized dresses, lilac, ruffles…. and if you follow Rejina PyoRennesRachel ComeySimone RochaWalk of shame MoscowCaron Callahan you’ll see all these images simply blurred into one.  But…but…How many times do I really NEED TO SEE THE SAME IMAGES!

I have followed the humerus fashion blog Manrepeller ever since it launched, back in 2010. It was started by Leandra Medine, a journalist major who, along with a team of writers, delivers good quality journalism on predominantly fashion based subjects. I like to read the debates some pieces provoke, in the comments sections, and often enjoy waying in with my say. My latest comment however made me extremely aware of my disdain for a life spent online….which, at it’s core, means that at 39 I’m just not getting it.

Leandra wrote a piece entitled ‘How to get more Instagram likes: A theory‘ Displeased with my intrigue I clicked on it and read an article about posting selfies, which gained more likes, as opposed to posting professional pictures, which didn’t. My reply to this useless piece of information came mid my aforementioned Instagram following cull and was as follows ~

Red shoes No knickers  7 days ago

For me I’d already seen and liked the first photo in my feed so when pretty much the same image comes up I didn’t need to like it again. It wasn’t a case of one looked better than the other it’s a case of what are we actually clicking and liking pictures for? For the sake of it or because we genuinely like it? Why would you need to do that twice?

It got six likes which was interesting but it also got the following comment ~

M Rae Red shoes No knickers  7 days ago

but this brings up an interesting point about the individual like-algorithms we all house in our own heads regarding what/why we are communicating via likes…is it purely selfish (i want more of this in my feed from the content creator and similar content on my discover page) or is it support (ill like anything leandra (sic) or MR post because i want her and the brand to grow forever and ever) or is it social (i want my followers to be able to see i already liked these) etc etc….

I agree with the majority of M Rae’s statement about algorithms and why are we communicating via likes but reading ‘I’ll like anything Leandra or MR post because I want her and the brand to grow forever and ever‘ prompted me to cull even more from my Instagram page. Liking images and content that people post just for the sake of it surely isn’t helping the brand evolve? How will that brand or person learn what works and what doesn’t? If everyone is clicking like after like on the same variations of the same big sleeved white dress simply because they want the brand to succeed how will that brand know if the work they’re producing is actually good/thoughtful/sellable? Also, if you’ve seen similar images elsewhere are you still enjoying looking at it or are needing a different visual stimulation?

For me it all boils down to the following questions…other than the four questions I just posted above. What can I say, I’m confused and I need some answers. Is the problem the people/brands I’m following? Is it what they’re posting? Or how often they’re posting? Or is the real problem how often I’m looking at Instagram?

I think I know the answer and it’s the same as what it is for everything at this moment in time. It’s to put my phone down and lift my gaze. To Engage, Listen, Dream and Think. I’m tired of looking at the same old things….I’m on the hunt for something new.

Posted in Inspiration, Inspire me, Let's discuss

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: