A charming bit of bling

29 April 2009

I wasn't always a necklace kind of person, but over the last few years I've grown to love them and accept them as part of my daily wardrobe. They make an outfit extra special, jazzing up higher necklines etc, and the quirkier the design, the more I like it. My favourites includes a pocketwatch, cameo necklace and a zipper, but I'm always on the lookout for anything unusual. I'd been wanting this purse necklace from This Charming Girl for a while, and it finally came back in stock the other day. I placed an order straight away using funds raised from Ebay, and it arrived literally just minutes ago.

It all comes packaged in a nice little box, perfect for putting my earrings in.

I like that they have the most random things as necklaces, such as bicycles and watering cans, but they still manage to be pretty and whimsical. They are mainly constructed from vintage bits and pops, so some designs are nicely aged once you get them. Here's what I have my eye on next.

This birdcage has been out of stock for a while, am constantly checking the site for it's return.

This hot air balloon makes me think of the Wizard Of Oz and places far away. Also out of stock, therefore far away from me.

242 days until I go to New York, what a mission! I will make sure I have this in time for my departure, along with my seven suitcases...

The art of doing nothing

24 April 2009

The sun is still shining, and I'm still procrastinating. I've told myself the first week back at Uni 'doesn't count', so have spent the week spontaneously hanging out with friends in the park and eating ridiculously unhealthy food by the canal. Even though it's boiling, I've been trying to break in my Docs, a very time consuming process. Shame you can't really see them, but you can see the manky student sofas, oh the joys of self timer!

As yet, I've managed not to succumb to the lure of Polyvore, as I would probably become obsessed and never leave the site except to eat and sleep. There's an awful lot on the site to play with, and as I get easily overwhelmed, I know I'd end up with a cluttered mess of a 'set.' However, a quick browse led me to Eruca, a site showcasing Japanese, as well as international brands. I can't quite decipher anything, but the prices seem to veer from Topshop towards the All Saints price bracket. I guess it's a one stop shop for all things quirky.

Ah why don't I speak Japanese? I can't work out how to order anything from the site, and whether they even deliver to the U.K, but this is probably a good thing as I probably don't have enough yen for all this lot. Untill I figure this out, I will carry on admiring, and wasting hours of my life. I guess this is the moment the Polyvore addiction begins...

I've also discovered Wordle, which turns your blog into a cloud of frequently used words (it seems I talk about Topshop a lot). Anyway, I now need to pack for my flying visit to Leeds, and weekend of further procrastination. Next week is when all the work shall start. Hope you all have a good weekend!

Summer's decided to pay us a visit...

22 April 2009

It seems that all the bloggers are basking in sunshine at the moment, wherever they are in the world, so it's nice to have something in common, even if it's only for a few days. Instead of sitting out in the sun yesterday, I spent practically the whole day getting my hair done. I'm so glad my fringe finally got a trim, it seems to be the only part of my hair that seems to grow.

Here is my vaguely summery outfit, in a very un-summery setting, I wasn't quite ready for bare legs yet. Hopefully I'll brave it soon.

Even though the weather's hot, I still can't stop buying legwear. I picked these babies up in the ASOS sale. £3! Bargain!

Also jumped on the denim leggings bandwagon, though you can't beat £9.60 at New Look. Still in search of the perfect longish top to wear with them.

The arrival of summer means my second year of Uni is almost over, which is slightly scary as I still don't have a placement sorted for this summer, or a general plan. I guess I need to be more proactive and motivated, and stop waiting for things to come along, as the recession's made it pretty difficult. Some compromise is in order. I also have to sort out all my work for the final deadline in May, and prepare for my driving test (the date shall remain secret, but inside I'm freaking out as I easily get confused by roads). It's a strange uncertain time. Here's some summery images I'm currently distracting myself with, have no idea where they're from.

Also thanks for all your lovely comments! It's great to know that people actually read my ramblings! I've been fiddling around with the layout a bit, trying to simplify things, and reworked the logo so everything's more clear. I thought that the tagline 'A stream of fashion consciousness' summed everything up, as this blog has a bit of everything (mainly due to me being indecisive). Let me know your thoughts, I wish layouts were simpler to figure out, took me ages to try and resize my header.

Free Shoes!

19 April 2009

My friends say I'm the queen of discounts and offers; I rarely buy anything without some kind of student discount or voucher and seem to base my restaurant visits on whether it can be 2 for 1 or not. I don't mind putting in a little bit of effort to get my freebie fix, so when I heard about Dooyoo, writing reviews for Amazon vouchers, I was hooked. I started off wanting to save for Adobe Illustrator (necessary), but soon got bored of trying to reach the £180 mark, so started buying books and music instead (not quite so necessary). Then I realised that Amazon sold shoes, so decided to turn my Doc Martens fantasy into a reality.

I'd been admiring them for a while, for their ability to 'grunge' up a girly outfit, though wasn't sure how they would look with my gargantuan feet. There's so many colours and styles out there, but I decided to get regulation black for ultimate versatility.

Technically they were free, though I did have to send back a pair due to sizing issues, but the cost was still very minimal. I'm still trying to get used to them, they desperately need breaking in as they're feeling pretty stiff. Anyone have any tips?

I'm looking forward to teaming these with extreme shortness; dresses, skirts, shorts, whatever, and I'll let you know my findings. If any of you want to start getting review obsessed, (you can review anything from Topshop to toothpaste) send me an e-mail and I'll invite you (if you want to help me out, pointswise). My next target is an overlocker. Though I probably won't save for the full amount, I'd like to discount it by a huge percentage, to kickstart my clothing ambitions.

Vintage Voyage

16 April 2009

Finally, after weeks deeply buried in my overdraft, my loan went in, and I went out. Determined to buy something slightly more individual than the last time I did a major shop, I headed to East London in search of reasonably priced vintage goodies. It seems that lots more places have jumped on the vintage bandwagon in London, as I spied a few more vintage shops than the last time I went, with varying price ranges from shop to shop. Personally, I find the practice of shopping in these places a bit hit and miss, as I tend to want specific styles to suit my body shape, but end up seeing the kind of thing that would look great on certain individuals, but just not me. You have to take a bit of time to rifle found and consider things, and as I seem to always be in a permanent rush, I have to wait until I'm in the right kind of mood. My first stop was the Brick Lane Thrift Store, a smaller cousin of the East End version. After rifling through a rail of obligatory long and slightly lairy polyester dresses, I did manage to find a lovely nautical creation, which unfortunately was too small. Do you like it? It's 15 quid, it'll probably still be there, it's very small, RUN!

Found this cute little bag for £6 in one of the shops on the way to Beyond Retro. I often find vintage bags quite overpriced, especially if they're leather, but this one bucked the trend. Love the brown contasting trim around the edge. Now I just need to work out how to fit my worldly posessions into it...

I was slightly disappointed by Beyond Retro, and found their prices a lot higher than I expected. Even though they have a lot of choice, I didn't fall in love with anything there. Feeling slightly despondent, I began the trek to the East End Thrift Store, almost thought I'd got lost on the way until I saw a green poster-board on the street.

I was instantly overwhelmed as soon as I went in, there's definitely a better selection here, and I guess they prep the clothes more by shortening hemlines etc. I finally found the tweed blazer I'd been craving (saw this one on the Koopies the other day, which contuned my Euro hatred), I managed to pick up a nice quality version for £10.

Also here's my new replacement scarf, picked up for £3 in a charity shop. Makes it all look slightly nautical.

Also picked up a new dress, which instantly called out to me as I entered the shop. A match made in heaven, though I do now own two blue dresses. I keep telling myself this one is completely different, it has sleeves. The thing is, the shop proclaims to sell almost everything for under a tenner. Although this implies that there will be a few things over £10, I didn't expect to see the majority at £15 to £20, with only a handful of belts coming in at £7. It's still a decent price, though I do think they need to update their sign.

Somehow ended up in Topshop Oxford Circus on the way home, buying another pair of leggings. This is after I swore I'd never buy leggings again, and start making my own. Still, I am obsessed with crazy seaming on garments, and just had to have them in my life. Am still in search of long tops to wear with them, even though they're practically treggings, I still don't want my nether reigons exposed.

Also managed to finally locate a copy of Lula magazine in Borders, to see what all the fuss is about. Though I haven't had a proper look, I quite like the quirky aesthetic of the magazine, and look forward to a leisurely read on the train back to the Midlands.

Can't beat the market for cut price magazines, the Moda Couture Collections SS09 was £1 (RRP £45) and picked up some retro knitting books to inspire my future projects (the cricket jumper seems to have come to a halt, need to get back into it again).

Hope you're all having a great week! Now I face the prospect of packing all of this up for the return trip to Uni...

Top of the crops

14 April 2009

First hareem pants, now crop tops are starting to end up in my conciousness, as I've seen really nice designs all over the place. Although I technically bought this one off Ebay, I never intended to bare any midriff, and always wanted it to look as if it was tucked into something high waisted. I thought the crop top was meant to stay deeply hidden in 90s childhood memories (girls at school used to wear ones adorned with words such as 'babe' and 'cute' - I thought this was the height of fashion on own clothes day), never to return again, until I saw some bloggers rocking the look.

Chictopia basically opened my eyes to this with their instruction post on crop top decorum. It's almost convinced me, no belly button is on show and any food that the wearer might have eaten is disguised by the strategic high waisted shorts. A blazer keeps the look respectable, and presto, a perfect day to day look.

I loved Yuka's Ninja take on this, which is a fun way to wear the trend. Again, it's mixed with something high waisted, and looks rather flattering. I think I'm getting the hang of this.

left, clockwise: Proenza Schouler, I don't like Mondays, Sportsgirl, Monki, Topshop, Topshop, Urban Outfitters, Betsey Johnson, Armand Basi One, House Of Holland.

Here are some crop tops I've been admiring/torturing myself with, a mixture of pretty and casual. I particularly like the floral Topshop bikini top, which I would rarely wear on the beach and the layered Armand Basi One take, with a structured, futuristic feel, and not a belly button in sight. I'm not sure if I've brave enough to bare some midriff, but I like the idea of layering up and playing around with the look to make it work for my figure. ASOS also has a few, my fave being the yellow Micheal Kors inspired number, with a surprising cross-back detail. How does everyone feel about this trend? Will you dare to bare? (Insert another crop cliché here). Let me know if you manage to pluck up the courage to raise your hemlines, and who knows, if it hits 30 degrees (Celsius) maybe I'll join you.

I don't mind cropping anything on the leg area, so I decided to attack a pair of old Levis to try my hand at some studding. My Mum bought me one of those JML Gem Styler thingys, which I immediately dismissed as having loads of tacky looking gems, but then I realised it also came with some credible Balmain-esque studs. Due to having a limited amount of each style, I went for a random assortment of different sizes. The Gem Styler does make it easier but there were some bits I still had to force through by hand, though I'm sure this will be the start of a long and beautiful studding friendship.

Finally going shopping tomorrow, can't wait!

Cultural happenings in London town

11 April 2009

After a few days of mooching around, I finally spruced myself up and went to the Hussein Chalayan exhibition at the Design Museum. Even though it was smaller than I expected, I couldn't fail to be inspired, and took a bit of time to check out the construction and fabrics of the garments. Luckily you're free to take pictures in the gallery, so no covert photography was needed (though a part of me was disappointed, as I love the risk element).

I loved this dress on sight, as the longer I looked at it, the more I realised there was to it. The construction was amazing, with intricate seaming detail on the bodice, and the skirt fabric was a patchwork of different patterns and material. I particularly liked the vents at the back and the deep pockets.

Deconstructed jersey at it's best. This piece makes me want to play around with materials more, and turn all my forgotten tops into something wonderful.

Upstairs there was another exhibition, the Brit Insurance Design Awards, and I immediately zoned in on this Louise Goldin dress. Now here's a lady who needs to have an exhibition, I would probably visit it obsessively on a daily basis until it was over. Knitwear fanatics should check out this excellent SHOWStudio series showing how her collection is imagined, created and shown on the catwalk.

I love the area in London where the Musuem is (a stones throw away from Tower Bridge) and would definitely like to live there if I managed to find about a million pounds. There's lots of trendy apartments with names relating to their former quayside uses, the importing of spices and whatnot. Wouldn't you love to live in Tamarind Court?

Future home?

Also managed to pick up a huge haul of fashion magazines from my local market the other day, which I'm trying to power through as we speak. This little lot would originally have cost £130, but I got them all for £6, which never fails to amaze me. I remember seeing the above editions of ShowDetails when I was in Florence selling for around €40 apiece, but I guess due to overstock they end up randomly selling for 75p in markets around the country. It's great to own something I couldn't ordinarily afford; it's unfourtunately too big to scan, but has runway thumbnails and extreme close-ups of the details on the garments. Does anyone else know anywhere else like this that sells out of date magazines? Definitely search around in local markets as you may be able to pick yourself up a bargain.

Hope you are all having a good Easter! Not long till the student loans come in, just need to get through a few more days...

The postman always rings twice

8 April 2009

I love receiving stuff in the post. Most of the time this is instigated by myself and is rarely a surprise, yet there's something exciting about a purchase arriving that you've forgotten about for a few days. I'm a massive fan of Asian fashion (I went to Hong Kong a few years ago and brought back 16kg worth of stuff, luckily wasn't charged for going overweight) and while in Paris, I spied the perfect book showing off a wealth of Eastern inspiration and innovation; then I found it cheaper online. Young Asian Fashion Designers documents some up and coming innovators in the fashion world, some of whom we're beginning to hear of now, such as Everlasting Sprout and Disaya, so it's great to see some of their earlier collections and humble beginnings. This book was published last year, but it's a great reference point for finding new designers as it sums up their design ethos. I've decided to single out out a few I hadn't previously heard of, and will definitely look out for again.

Gail Sorronda hails from Brisbane Australia and creates structured pieces using a variety of techniques, which always compliment the feminine sillhouette. The colours are neutral, yet these pieces would never fail to stand out.

Auckland designer Jaeha creates voluminous designs using draping and all kinds of other trickery, and appears to create clothes the wearer can play with and adjust. After looking at this website, the price points are vaguely within reach and although he does create statement pieces like the one above, there's also a lot of accessible fashion in his collection.

I'm a sucker for a quirky pair of leggings, these scalloped creations by Qiu Hao are definitely a fave. He has also used some inventive pattern cutting to produce his take on the traditional, such as gorgous looking blouse that appears to be made of petal shaped pieces. His website seems to be down, but the book contains more intriguing imagery.

I loved the layering of this Joseph Li piece, and this tends to be a main feature of his collections, combining and contrasting different materials with each other. There are some really nice colour blocked dresses in the book, reminding me of period costume, and giving me yet more DIY inspiration.

Realistic Situation aims to create new sillhouettes, and I really liked the unusual jacket on the right, with it's curved aysemmetry. They also like to play with clashing prints, which adds to the variety of their work.

LifewithBird was probably my favourite collection, with many looks I would wear in a heartbeat. It came out two summers ago, yet still looks relevant and it probably helps that the designers were previously stylists, as the pieces look cohesive and work so well together. Their website suggests they are still going strong, and it looks like they've inspired some high street fashion, as the leggings on the right look remarkably similar to the Topshop leggings I bought last month. Slightly cheeky, though they seemed to have moved on with even stronger 2009 collections. Add Australia to my list of fashion destinations to visit.

Another thing I received in the post was a nice ASOS package, containing their take on the Chanel two-tone tights. At £10 and sans Chanel logo, they are a few hundred quid cheaper than the original and perhaps I won't cry as much if they get a ladder. I also bought a grey New Look leotard, unfourtunately not from the web (though I did save 20% using a coupon making this baby £4.80) to complete the look. It's quite decent for that price, as it handily contains press studs at the *ahem* crotch area, so you can actually go to the toilet without having to totally disrobe. American Apparel and Topshop take note.


5 April 2009

So these two self-inflicted weeks at Uni are now over, and I'm now back at home in good old London town. I say I'm going to make the most of my two weeks in London, though I'll probably end up doing an equal amount of lazing around, but I know that I'll definitely make it to the Hussein Chalayan Exhibition at the Design Museum. I've always loved the way he looks at fashion and thinks outside the box and I can't wait to see it up close.

I also want to have a major thrifting expedition, and I'm determined to come back with something wild and wonderful. I read about the East End Thrift Store on Kingdom of Style a while ago, and a tenner max for most items sounds good to me in these credit crunched times. Watching Heathers on the train home also gave me lots of vintage inspiration (and distracted me from the random drunken chavs). The 80s is definitely one of my favourite decades, and much of the fashion in this film is still relevant today and wouldn't look out of place on Topshop's racks. I loved how quite often a character would wear just one striking colour all over (you'd certainly stand out in the red outfit below) and unlike today's teenage movies, the characters would wear the same pieces again, albeit in a different way. Plenty of oversized blazers, lace crop tops and bleached denim to be seen. If I could find similar bits to these in vintage shops, I'd be a very happy blogger.

I love the frill on the jacket in the bottom left hand corner, the little details make a difference.

By the way, I joined the masses and now have Twitter (if it's good enough for Alexa Chung, it's good enough for me). Still don't quite understand it, but I'll see how it goes. Also check out this amazing Alexander Wang-esque DIY, where this blogger cuts holes into t-shirts and literally just knits, yes knits (to my amazement), them together to achieve this rugged, knotted effect. I'm definitely going to try this.

Now I'm off to hopefully make a lot of money on Ebay! After being separated from some of my wardrobe for 5 weeks, I realise it's now time to let go of some of the dross I own, and turn it into some cold hard cash!