Red shoes, No knickers

Thursday

16

April 2020

2

COMMENTS

Quarantine Chic

{A 15 year old cardiganos, a stale nightie, some D.I.M.D.I vans and 5 day old hair ~ Quarantine Chic 2020}

 

How green is your catwalk? How sustainable is your vision? How circular is your economy?

 

These were the questions Vogue found dominating the Spring 2020 catwalks back in October 2019. They were legitimate questions and ones that once again will need answering. But not right now. Time, like fashion, changes quickly and these questions are no longer on everyones lips.

Having finally arrived in the Spring/Summer of 2020 a different crop of questions appear to have arisen. How long can I wear my tracksuit bottoms before I need to wash them? Is a common one along with Why bother with a bra? and Should I go grey?

The predictions for what we’d all be wearing this season have been thrown out of the window as ‘We the people’ take back our style. No longer will we be dictated to by large fashion conglomerates urging us to partake in this environmentally destructive industry. No longer will we be a slave to trends and a desire to fit in. The rules have been relaxed so much they’re taking an afternoon nap….And we’ve never looked better.

Here with correspondence from the front line are the ways in which we’re defying what was expected of us and creating our own Quarantine Chic

1. Comfy bums

Whether it’s an old pair of leggings that have seen better days, some tracksuit bottoms with stains on them or simply your TKMaxx workout pants ~ Bottoms are comfy AF. No restrictive waistband need apply for status during this time. Elasticated or ‘way too loose to be seen in public’ waistbands are what we’re looking for. Along with baggy knees and an unflattering butt. Comfy bums do exactly what they say on the tin but perhaps most importantly, with all this sitting around that’s currently popular, they don’t give you trapped wind. Winning on all levels.

As the weather heats up a random selection of shorts are representing Comfy bums.  They can be unattractive sports shorts, way too flimsy running shorts or simply inappropriate for public short shorts. Any will do they simply need to be accompanied by an unshaven leg and a severe need for a pedicure. Reports coming in from a nearly 40 year old woman in South East London, and I quote ~ ‘…My legs are so hairy right now as I was walking around my flat last night – legs out – I could feel a breeze in them..’

2. Underwear? Nowhere!

It’s a controversial trend but one I urge you all to embrace. Firstly lose the bra. Don’t even look at it. Let your baps be free. Give them time to unevenly swing and bob about with not a care in the world as to who’s checking out those sweet nippy titties. All the way over in Hove I heard whispers of individuals still wearing a bra simply for that feeling of relief when it’s whipped off come 5pm. Whatever floats your boat.

Speaking of boats, if you haven’t already, lose the under crackers too. Going commando is the new ‘wearing underwear’. It’s everywhere. I’ve never had such a low rota of washing clothes. Saving the environment AND airing your overgrown privates? What’s not to love about this trend.

3. Mixology

A personal favourite of mine that has spilled over from previous seasons. Mix and match has never been so prevalent. Put it all on together. Think more mixing and less matching. Actually forget matching altogether. Whilst standing in my local post office queue for 45 minutes the other day I felt particularly proud of my outfit. Some grey bobbly leggings paired with bright blue and yellow bermuda shorts. An orange puffer jacket was involved whereas a bra wasn’t. The cohesion of this outfit was immense. It reminded me of way back in mid March 2020 when I would pair a nightie I’d not bothered to change out of with some trainers and a winter coat just to take the bins out. Trés chic.

4. No Poo & No Slap

Trend forecasters may have predicted with the return of the roaring 20’s chic bobs and kohl lined eyes would once again be en vogue. It appears none of us have chosen to take up these styles. Instead we’re putting down the shampoo altogether and letting ‘natural oils’ style our dos. ‘What a state’, ‘So overgrown’ and ‘No, it’s just greasy’ are compliments often heard on the front rows of FaceTimes.

Whilst the majority of makeup is gathering dust on dressing tables the red lip appears to still be going strong. Stylistically, for me, it brightens a dry, sallow, zit riddled face.  It was spotted twice in that 45 minute post office queue and it’s also making a regular appearance at group Houseparties accompanied by raging insomnia and a pint of Gin.

5. 50 fades of Grey

The colour of the season? According to the projections of fashion weeks there’s never just one but this season those in the know went with Grey. Whether it’s old leggings, baggy jumpers or bottom of the drawer underwear. It could be your lover’s tracksuit bottoms, the colour of your society deprived skin or simply your roots coming through ~ grey is everywhere.

From slate to marl to Jaime Dornan’s acting this is a colour that needs to be embraced as well as revered for providing comfort and solace at this, what I would say, real moment in fashion history of great grossness.

As for accessories ~ Bags are so last season as are heels, boots, brogues, oxfords, wedges, mules…basically anything that isn’t a trainer or a slipper. Jewellery appears to be worn either not at all or all at once so it isn’t, like a large portion of the workforce, made to feel redundant.

Whatever style you choose to adopt this Spring/Summer be safe in the knowledge that it hasn’t come from the catwalks. No magazine or influencer predicted your chosen chicness. You did it all by yourself using the clothes you already own, a dearth of hair dye/clippers and a lack of interest in showering each day.

If you’re over on Instagram wearing your latest pristine Ganni dress whilst sitting in your flower filled garden, then good for you! Go for it. I, on the other hand, am bucking the trend of keeping it together and am currently on my South circular facing balcony wearing a pair of unflattering trousers I cut into shorts, a t-shirt I’ve slept in for 3 nights and roots Debbie Harry would be proud of. Once again, Trés chic….

Posted in Comfy chic, Fashion week, Inspiration, Inspire me, Mixology, Summer plans

Tuesday

15

October 2019

0

COMMENTS

Change needs to come

                                                                                                                      {Stylist magazine fashion feature. Oct 2019}

As a month of fashion weeks came to an end, at the beginning of October, for the first time in a long time I felt a little empty. I have always enjoyed New York, London, Milan and Paris’ extravagant showcasing of the future fashion trends. Much enjoyment is derived from working out what I’ll adopt into my wardrobe for the following season. I especially love seeing the street style peacocking of show goers entering the spotlight.

This year, however, it felt like no one involved got the memo. The memo that was sent out, quite some time ago now, was that the fashion industry is ‘pretty bad’ for the environment. So bad in fact it’s up there with cows….and we all know how unpopular cows are at the moment. Watching the relentless stream of catwalk shows, come directly into my phone, felt ignorant. Ignorant to the fact that everyone else appears to be on board with the problems facing the environment except the fashion industry. We’ve all been on board for some time now. The messages came through loud and clear and we’re all attempting to do our bit.

We’re VERY aware plastic straws are now a big no no. Viral footage has shown they’re going to end up the nostrils of a poor turtle.

We’re also aware of how we must recycle, cut down on single use plastic, reduce our air travel, put more plants in our bedrooms {very on trend at the moment}. We, the average Joes and Joannas of the world, know the lasting damage of our carbon footprints. Why doesn’t the fashion industry? Why are we still rolling out the red carpet, multiple times a year, for a month long party of 5-7 minute shows? Firstly the production involved in these shows alone cost an insane amount of money. But most importantly the continuation of supplying these clothes to the public ‘contribute to 10% of the global greenhouse gasses due to it’s long supply chains and energy intensive production’

According to the UN climate change organisation the fashion industry consumes more energy than the aviation and shipping industry combined. I mean that’s hardcore. That would give me nightmares. In the case of former Suno designer, Erin Beatty, it did ~

In 2016, everything changed. I was out of a job, 8 months pregnant with my second child, and deeply concerned for my country’s future. Something had shifted and I no longer believed in the way I knew how to work: designing, making and selling clothes. I knew there had to be a better way. Rentrayage {her new upcycling clothing label} is my effort to create something new, without the waste and heavy footprint that haunts me.

While a handful are attempting to change their ways ~ becoming more sustainable, promoting buying less and of a better quality ~ the majority seem to still be turning a blind eye to the memo. The blindness appeared especially prevalent on Monday 23rd September. As Gucci and Dolce & Gabanna sent their brand clad models down the catwalk Greta Thunberg gave her emotional speech at the UN climate change summit. Regardless of what you think about her speech {anyone want to discuss?} the message was loud and clear. ‘Time is running out. Pull your fingers out and stop spouting empty promises.’ Words to that effect.

CEO of luxury monolith LVMH, Bernard Arnault’s, response to Thunberg’s speech was disappointing. He said she was “indulging in an absolute catastrophism about the evolution of the world.” He also added “If we don’t want to go backwards, we still need growth.” An inevitable response coming from the second richest man in the world.

Does change ever come from the top though? Looking to those who have the furtherest to fall, for the drastic change we so desperately need, is like looking to the British Government to make a decision. {BURN!} The loudest voices over the past few years have come from the ground up. From the everyday people shouting passionately above everyone else. They’ve come from one girl who was shot in the head. One girl who survived when her classmates were gunned down. And one girl who decided to strike from school. From these young people large movements towards better education, freedom of speech, gun control laws and environmental activism have arisen.

In the early teens {Do we call 2010-2013 that yet?} the way the public consumed fashion week started to change. Much to the utter annoyance of the more established members of the fashion industry bloggers were beginning to take up the front rows of the catwalk shows. They would photograph every part of the show then run home and upload a blog post to thousands of their followers. No longer was there a days wait to find out what the upcoming trends were going to be. As technology advanced these bloggers and social media stars would live stream the shows to their now millions of followers. The mainstream media was being cut out of the equation and we had all the information we needed immediately.

If a bunch of self taught writers and photographers can so drastically change the way we consume an industry maybe we need to look to them? To start at the bottom when attempting to change the damage we’re so rapidly doing to our environment? Or maybe we can start here. With a monthly newsletter that’s sent out to 60 people…

Let’s take our inspiration from the catwalks and then go source what we want in a less harmful way. We need to buy less. That’s a given. Let’s ask ourselves whether we really need an item. Then, if it is a necessity, can it be borrowed, bought second hand or upcycled? Is the cheapest option available to us the best option? The environment is one issue being discussed here. Slave labour and human rights also need to come into play when thinking about buying fast fashion. Let’s start investing in quality over quantity and let’s carry on the conversation with a friend. We can be the change we want to see in the world.

Posted in Fashion week, Let's discuss

Wednesday

5

June 2019

0

COMMENTS

Summer Styling

Hey Guys!

Remember the Summer of 2018? Remember??!? It was…well it was 12 months ago. I remember it extremely well. There was so much sunshine my melasma stained face has only just returned to it’s regular colour of ‘Are you ok? You look ill’. I mourn the passing of ‘The Summer that was’ because whatever we’ve got masquerading as ‘a Summer’ in 2019 just doesn’t wash with me. ‘YOU SHALL NOT PASS’ I say! Obvs if you’re reading this in the US of A you’re perplexed. You lucky beasts get gifted a yearly Summer from the sensibly allocated time slot of May to September.

In Unit K, however, we rarely get the never ending heatwave that was Summer ’18. This year we very miserably have a piss poor showcasing of my favourite season and it means I’m struggling. I’m struggling because I’ve self diagnosed myself with SAD. But on a much more trivial level I’m struggling because I’ve got a wardrobe full of  bright, colourful clothing that simply doesn’t get worn. Let’s get down to the serious stuff here!

My beautiful & carefully selected garms hang in my closet looking back at me shouting ‘What the fuck?! PICK ME!!!! Do you not love me anymore?!’ 

The trouble is I do indeed still love these beauties but Summertime in the UK, and especially in a city, is not for a strapless dress I made out of material purchased in Zimbabwe. My Java print maxi dresses and Hawaiian MuuMuu’s look a little out of place on the Northern Line. And don’t even get me started on a flip flop at Leicester Square station. No. Sadly a crap city Summer needs a different type of styling and a whole rethink of one’s wardrobe.

The bright prints, the floaty skirts and the strappy sandals aren’t being discarded though. Don’t you worry. They’ll still be worn around the house and on that one really hot Wednesday we’ll get at the end of July. Also they’ll be accompanying far flung holidays where there is a lot more appreciation for them. But for now I’m looking to change things up a little and reinvent my seasonal style.

But where to begin I hear all the women reading this cry out?

Firstly divide your wardrobe up into sections. City Summer and Summer Summer. Summer Summer involves all our flimsy beauties. Anything brightly coloured, cut off tiny shorts, halter necks, sacklike crotch airing dresses and sandals that make a loud slapping sound ever step you take. City Summer, on the other hand, includes heavier materials and more muted prints. Longer skirts, sleeved dresses and a sturdier sandal. City summer is where I’m injecting some fresh ideas and I’m starting with linen.

 

 

Once a staple with the 50 plus woman who lives in the suburbs, the worlds oldest fabric has been reclaimed by the environmentally conscious. It’s breathable, stronger than cotton and most importantly more sustainable. 2019 sees me looking for midi skirts in double linen. Cool enough to float around in during the day but will keep my legs warm during those East London nights. Also a  vintage sweater plus a linen skirt looks #summerchicrealness

 

 

 

All hail the summer short! Whoop! Now I love a pair of shorts and love even more the fact that the shorts suit is back. Think smart, high waisted, crisp cotton/linen. Have them sit on or just above the knee. For evenings think silk boxers. Who cares if you’ve got to wear a long sleeve AND a jacket on top. You’re essentially wearing trousers….only shorter. Get it?

If like me you find it too hard to step away from prints and patterns then simply think smaller and less bright. Magenta and sunshine yellow hibiscus flowers scream Hawaii ~ Trailing petite roses in rust, olive and soft pink whisper English countryside. Choose a patterned dress with big sleeves as opposed to strappy thin ones. Pick something a little more fitted as opposed to loose and loungy. A classic print with more coverage of your body means you can seamlessly skip from a picnic in St James’ park to last orders in Soho.

How to house the trotter? A closed toe can feel restrictive when it’s 20 degrees outside but more often than not we’re wading our way through overcast, grey days. Thank God the open toed mule has made a return, right? A small enough heel to elevate our feet from the London streets and a suitable enough airing for our rarely seen pedicures. Leave the square toes in the noughties rather go for a classic shape. A mule can easily be worn with those linen skirts we’re dreaming of just as well as our newly purchased knee length shorts. Also, a loose, baggy jean and a heeled mule….Perfection.

Anyone else rethinking their Summer wardrobes? What’s on your revamp list?

Let’s discuss on Tooting common with a bottle of rose. I’ll bring the umbrellas….

 

Posted in Beautiful shoes, Inspiration, Inspire me, Summer plans

Wednesday

13

February 2019

0

COMMENTS

Oh for something new in fashion

Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. My heart is pounding and my breathing erratic. I take a large gulp of air and try to calm myself. I rack my foggy, sleepy brain for what could have awoken me so violently…..and then I remember.

Low rise jeans are making a comeback.

NOOOOooooooo!!! I mean COME ON! How much more do they think we can take? What with T**** in power, Brexit looming over our country and Beyonce forcing us all to go vegan I’m at my wits end. Now, as a 40 year old woman with short legs and a wobbly gut, you’re expecting me to wear jeans that skim the top of my ever present pubes? How dare you!

Within the safe circle of this newsletter I will admit that first time round I was a big fan of the low rise. I really was. I would go so far as to say I was one of the first people {no doubt in the world} to start rocking them. In 2000 I saw a picture of Mariah Carey in a pair of jeans where the waistband had been cut off. It was the simplest DIY ever and I took a pair of scissors to 90% of my jeans.

                                                             {Carey with not a care in the world}

Why not? I could afford to back then. I had an unintentional six pack and I was twenty two years old. As I tell all my Wardrobe Detox clients ~ Your twenties are for experimenting with fashion, your thirties are for honing your style and wearing what actually suits your body shape. Regardless of whether it’s in style or not. I was not honed at twenty two. I was always experimenting and I didn’t realise that low rise jeans made my already dumpy legs look even dumpier and my long body like that of a dachshund.

While we’re in the confessional booth of Noughties nightmares I will also admit that I was not adverse to the showcasing of a whales tail. For the uninitiated amongst our congregation the whales tail was the uncouth styling of a coloured thong rising above the dangerously low sea level of your denim. I’m not particularly proud of this era but it was a hell of a lot better than the alternative which was exposing your ass crack to all and sundry whenever you bent down to pick up your dignity.

The cracks {pun intended} started to appear, however, towards the middle of the Noughties. My love affair with Britney’s favourite style of jeans* began to fade. I realised that with nothing supporting my stomach I wasn’t engaging my core when performing heavy lifting or simple general being. I started the incredibly bad habit of using my back instead of my core and I can tell you now the repercussions are STILL OCCURRING. Yes People, you heard it here first. Low rise jeans gave me a bad back and I have therefore deemed them a health hazard. They were uncomfortable, unforgiving and unflattering.

Now, with the return of the low rise jean must come the renaissance of the ‘going out top’. Again. DO ONE!!!

                                                                                                        {chain mail, repurposed pillowcases and a handkerchief}

Never been a fan. Never understood them, never liked them. Back in 2002 these so called ‘tops’ would often resemble a triangle on your front and a complicated macrame task on your back. We were inundated with crop tops of every incarnation ~ T-Shirts with Little Miss characters on them, satin boob tubes purchased from Monsoon and worn by reluctant, bitter bridesmaids. The tiniest of tops would sometimes come in a smart tweed or an elegant houndstooth fooling no one that they could be worn as office attire. There were off the shoulder peasant tops skimming the underside of breasts, chain mail, cowl neck halter tops that were freezing to put on and could only clothe those of us with nothing larger than a -A cup. Denim bustiers, sequinned camisoles and lace trimmed vests.

What other horrors are lurking in the shadows? What unflattering sartorial memories are waiting to pop up on the frame of a teenager and confront us all with our youth?

As discussed before the cowboy boot has returned but I think I’ve made my peace and I’m on board with them. The ever practical fleece is making a comeback but it never went away in my eyes so the rest of what was in fashion nearly two decades ago I think I can do without. The asymmetric hems, the wide belts and the micro bags. These things need to stay with the lost, thin girl who laughed at men when they weren’t funny, didn’t speak up when she didn’t understand and cut her own hair with blunt scissors.

The bubble skirts, the ballet flats, the rose coloured glasses and those bloody painful, unattractive, low rise jeans need to be left in their place of origin.

The Noughties….where nought really needs to be revived. Oh for something new in fashion.

 

 

 

 

*unlike me, Britney, who also owns short legs and a long body, has never moved on from the fashion crimes of her past. Like a lot of people tend to do she has stayed in the era she felt she looked the best. Google any picture of BS & note that the low rise will be her jean of choice for life. Bless her. May her extra long, tanned torso stay exposed forever. Not sure she’d be Britney without it.

Posted in Fashion week, Inspiration

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

Friday

22

November 2013

1

COMMENTS

Inspire me

colourme

{m&s cashmere joomp & heeled brogues, alexander mcqueen dress, tabio tights}

Last week I was very pleased with myself as I managed two consecutive days of outfit fabulousness SANS NOIR. That, for the non french speaking amongst us, translates into ~ without black. I’m not going to lie to you my Shoelets, it was tough. When it’s grey & wet & cold outside black & dark colours are so easy to hide beneath. They’re our comfort blanket, our cup of tea, our wine & cheese. Well, after reading a great article on dressing like a bowl of Lucky Charms this winter, over on The Man Repeller {see HERE}, I am putting it upon myself to attempt a predominantly Non Noir winter. To dispel the drabness, the bleakness & the pretty~much~draining~on~everyoneness that his dark materials can achieve & brighten our days with colour. Cold, crisp, ca~mazing colour. Watch this space….

Ps. There is a great counter arguement for JUSTE NOIR dressing here

Posted in Colour blocking, Inspire me

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