My Style CV

29 October 2009

It's tag time; inspired by a post at Charade, I decided to profile my style in a simple CV  (résumé) style format, that forced me to think about my fashion choices throughout the years.  I guess with the end of the first Noughties decade approaching (now that sounds scary), it's interesting to think about how my style has changed over the years, and where it might be going next.  The task involves lots of Polyvore collages, which are surprisingly relaxing and probably quite revealing of what I might wear if I were a billionaires daughter and had a lot more time to get ready in the morning.  Seriously, I have probably worn less expensive versions of these collages and they illustrate the elements I use to create an outfit. Be prepared, I'm going to write it in third person, Craig David style.

Never wanting to appear too smart, a chunky cardigan is chucked over a floral dress, and ripped leggings are layered over plain grey.  The bag adds a flash of colour.  Details here.

Personal Statement:
Kristabel.  Slightly eccentric knitwear student living in London and preparing for 6 months of mass consumption in New York. 

Key Skills: 
Mixing different trends and patterns with varying degrees of success
Buying silly amounts of casual clothing yet somehow making them more 'dressy' for nights out
Managing to wear a combination of hoarded wardrobe staples and newer high-street splurges in a way that is true to herself, staying comfortable yet quirky 
Buying everything at some sort of discounted price

Four sets of random earrings are included for many ear piercings, as nothing is ever supposed to match.  The Mulberry bag is on an eternal wishlist.  Details here.

Style Summary:
pre 2000: Dressed by her mother in weird 90s ensembles, which often came in packs of two for maximum versatility.
2000-2001: Starts to become jealous of (male) cousin's wardrobe of designer sportswear.  Considers saving up for some Addidas tracksuit bottoms.  Hates the 'grunger/skater' style that some friends are adopting.  Has a real Burberry check scarf.
2001-2002: Begins to adopt the previously loathed 'grunger/skater' style.  Camden Market is visited weekly and Slipknot are style icons.  Jeans are flared and constantly trailing the floor.  Hates skirts.

Leggings are a main part of the wardrobe, and are often tucked into shoes to give a tights-like effect.  Bracelets are always worn on the left wrist.  Details here.

2002-2005: Gets first part-time job, making monthly Covent Garden H&M visits a necessity.  Slowly starts to develop a love of mixing and matching colours and patterns.  Sometimes attempts to look preppy/androgynous. Buys first skirt from Topshop, a bizzare denim mid-calf style.
2005-2007: Eyes opened by art foundation course and seeing some more extreme ways of dressing, and slowly starts to take a few risks.  Buys many more skirts, dresses and the first  pair of skinny jeans. A new job at Topshop and lethal discount card helps to expand the wardrobe rapidly.
2007-Present: University living brings shops within walking distance and a love of receiving things in the post.  Has gradually realised that she likes many things, from leotards to loafers, tartan to tapered trousers, and although not entirely sure she dresses her age, she doesn't really care.

Never afraid to be a bit covered up on an evening out, a bodysuit is layered under a dress to create a unique look. A vintage bag seals the deal.  Details here.
Constantly inspired by fashion blogs, slightly intimidated by Lookbook, distracted by eBay and fuelled by magazines. 

Ok, third person rambling over; this tag appealed, as I'm always reminiscing about fashion disasters of the past with friends, in a time where fashion trends were a bit muddled and we didn't look half as 'cool' as some of the younger people today. All of the dodgy styles I have adopted have helped to shape the person I am today, and even when I was wearing baggy jeans, bright yellow gypsy skirts and crazy t-shirts, beneath it all was a love of colour and texture and all things random.  It's taken me quite a few years to refine what I like to wear and even now I still like to pick and choose from a lot of different styles and trends and I'm always changing my opinion and opening my mind to new possibilities.  I guess that is my 'style'; fluidity and indecision.

Can you define your style and how it might have changed during this crazy decade?  Feel free to do this tag and go a bit Polyvore crazy like I did (I'm fully converted now).

Further reading: An interesting post on when too many styles take over your wardrobe and how the kids aren't how they used to be.

Confessions of a Tightsaholic

23 October 2009

Some women buy lipsticks in a recession and others might buy boxes of chocolates, but  when faced with a slightly dodgy wage slip, I buy tights.  I can't sing the praises of this stretchy yet fragile form of legwear enough; they make legs a little bit more interesting and a personality shine through when wearing the most understated of outfits.  My first act of rebellion was sporting aubergine coloured tights at school amongst the sea of regulation black.  At first, I was annoyed my Mum had bought them for me just because they were reduced, but I guess they provided a talking point and proved that I like to do things a little bit differently.  An inexpensive way to update a wardrobe, they are the purchase that I've been frequently making this month, so here are my recent confessions.

Apologies for the blurry picture quality, my camera is pretty suicidal at the moment.  Slightly better photo here.

One thing that I'll be doing a lot of this season, is layering up different kinds of tights.  Most of the 'fashion' styles are rather sheer, for example this cobweb pair from Urban Outfitters are practically non-existent, and my Mum was somewhat bewildered as to the £12 price tag (they've now gone down to a fiver in the sale, which is just my luck).  Undeterred, I teamed them with some plain grey Pamela Mann tights, which are warm enough at 50 denier and wore them for a chilly day at work. Unfortunately I did manage to snag them at the back, but who's to notice?

These Asos Side Net Tights were part of a random Friday night spree, an afterthought to try and qualify for the free delivery threshold, which I didn't end up reaching anyway.  When the order arrived and I teared open the package like an excited youngster, I couldn't imagine why they weren't the reason for the order in the first place. They are pretty similar to the Mark Fast freebies that some lucky fashion people received and remind me of the good old loops of knit structures. The layering possibilities are endless, and I quite like the Op-Art effect of your eyes going a bit funny if you stare at them for too long.

All from eBay; Black and White two-tone Jester tights, think Chanel gone a bit wrong; Mary Quant sheer spot tights; Pamela Mann map of France tights just in case I get lost.

Somehow the idea of spot tights subliminally entered my mind.  Methinks the Balenciaga A/W 2009  collection had something to do with it earlier this year, but also some fellow fashion bloggers such as Flying Saucer and Diamond Canopy, resulting in me wanting a pair but not quite knowing why.  Now I've had time to think about it, sheer tights have always seemed a bit saucy to me, as they usually have the seam down the back and seductress connotations, but the added polka dots add a cute/fun factor that fits in with my personality.  I bought my first Charnos pair last month, but after a heavy eBay browsing session I noticed a vintage Mary Quant version for £3!  They are even better quality than the Charnos pair, with a reinforced toe and a nice sheen, so at least I know I have a back-up just in case  I fall over and end up ripping them.  The black and white jester tights were another fun find, inspired by Yishyene and I bought the Pamela Mann Map of France tights for pure comedy value.  I think this is the best way to increase your eBay feedback rating, in fact I've just found another pair while writing this post, hopefully taking me closer to the elusive turquoise star.  Off to the tightsaholic's asylum I go...

 This is my solution for storing tights and accessories, though this organiser thingy is almost at full capacity and will probably fall of my door any minute now.  I had hoped to organise by colour, but that's gone out the window...

On another less fun note, I failed my driving test again after totally messing up my usually perfect parallel parking manoeuvre.   The moment you realise that you've definitely failed during the actual test is a difficult one; I wanted to give up there and then and get the bus home.  Each time I've been tested, I've had a fairly nice male examiner (this one kept calling me poppet, obviously not a good sign as I'd failed by this point) and a straightforward route, so next time I'm expecting lots of hills, reversing around the corner and a grumpy examiner named Mabel.  Hopefully it'll be third time lucky, and my vision of driving my friends to Bicester Village can become a reality...

Follow on bloglovin...

Get your Knits out...

20 October 2009

How about a controversial and slightly naff pun as a post title?  I thought it was particularly apt, as the temperature in England has plummeted and made me realise that Summer has officially left the building, meaning knits, layers and sensible outerwear is needed.  No longer will just a denim shirt suffice.  The lack of a decent neck covering made me determined to produce this circular scarf as soon as possible and many hours were spent frantically knitting while watching back to back episodes of Glee and good old X factor.  In total it took 4 days to make unlike the lost original, which took months due to forgetting how to purl and running out of supplies. I had to compromise on the yarn, as my budget didn't stretch to super soft alpaca at £12 a ball, but I'm happy with this wool mix meaning that I got the four balls I needed for around the same price!  American Apparel, eat your heart out...

 I know I go on about knitting quite a bit...

Let's hope I don't lose this one; I shall be holding onto it for dear life.

The first project that most people start with is a scarf; I remember that my first offering ended up ridiculously long and somehow grew wider and wider! If anyone's interested in knitting this one, I could post a tutorial, as it's a really nice shape that keeps you warm in silly temperatures.  Maybe a bloggers knitting group is in order?

It's still 68 days until I go off to the States, but I'm already thinking about packing and how to edit my wardrobe. Buying new things really doesn't help...

Speaking of knits, Uniqlo has some really tempting pieces that are simple yet easy to make your own and layer up.  I know I shouldn't be doing any major shopping before moving to New York, but I feel like a slightly more sophisticated look is in order (short hemlines may not always be appropriate in the office environment) and this J+ Jil Sander cardigan would be perfect to smarten things up a little.  I'm not sure which neutral tone to go for, either dark grey or navy.  Any ideas?

Still looking for a coat!  I'm a bit too fussy...

Follow on bloglovin...

What I want you to know...

18 October 2009

It took a few days, well, weeks to figure out, but I finally have an official domain!  The 'it' and 'blogspot' have been banished for the foreseeable future, and I'm now a .'' to reflect the Britishness (and because '.com' was taken).  It also means that the business cards I had printed don't have to be binned due to me giving up on all this techie stuff.  Update your link lists for:

I'd be grateful if you'd subscribe using the new feed here to keep the stats vaguely correct, though the old one should still work if you don't. Take this domain name change as a sign that I'm committing to blogging for the long haul, and hopefully there will be more adventures to come! I apologise if my posts are a bit sporadic; I don't really have a schedule or anything and I can be quite indecisive with my writing, so bear with me.  Hopefully all of my reasonably priced internet purchases will have arrived by next week, and I can share them with you then...expect some tights.

P.S If anyone needs help with changing domains the long way round, (i.e not doing it through Blogger), I'm sure I can point you in the right direction.
(another) P.S And I appear to have lost all my links....ooops.  Wish I'd known that changing a domain name deletes all existing links for no apparent reason.  I have tried to reinstate most of them, but if yours was there before, and it's now not, let me know.  Also If anyone wants to be immortalised on the right, let me know, I'm in a link building kind of mood.

Follow on bloglovin...

This Aussie Angel is now a Pampered Princess

13 October 2009

A few weeks ago, I let you know about my first Aussie Angel experience, which involved discovering the location of the Australian Embassy and receiving some lovely smelling products to try out on my hair, plus a long gone Topshop voucher (well, maybe it has 23p left).  Last Saturday we got our second Aussie fix; a pampering evening at the plush Adee Phelan salon (of The Salon fame) in Covent Garden, complete with champagne, brownies and yummy Pret sandwiches.  Now being a kind blogger, I decided to take my Mum as my guest since I didn't let her hijack fashion week with me, and I guess I owe her for all the cooking and stuff.

The lovely ladies of 1000 heads (and Adee's miniscule dog Rocky)

London salons have some funky decor

Tor was also there; I have no idea what I might have been saying
This looks like the kind of mirror that might respond to any 'Mirror, Mirror, on the wall...' enquiries

How the barnet gets transformed, there are more unsuspecting photos here

I also brought Reena along with me; her hair is pretty darn fantastic anyway, but I thought a fellow blogger would appreciate the experience.

My Mum and I; She's quite like to feature more on this blog, but I'm not so sure about becoming a slightly more affordable version of Sea of Shoes

I'm quite set in my ways when it comes to my hair, as it took a lot of Facebook chat conversations to decide whether to get the Alexa style full fringe 18 months ago, so I just asked for a better version of my normal hair do.  The stylist Gary wasn't what I'd expected, but he fully knew how to deal with relaxed hair, and blowdried it really straight in small sections, before straightening it to perfection.  Only the Aussie shampoo and conditioner were used (as well as a few styling products) so I was really impressed with the result (and smell) of my hair. Plus, he asked me to be a hair model and since I never get asked to be a hair model, this is quite a milestone for me!

Afterwards, we went to a nearby bar for some lovely cocktails, where my Mum and I got chatting to Nicola and Rachel for a good few hours.  Now I wasn't sure about the whole 'Mum in bar' thing at first, but in the end it worked out fine (and I wasn't too embarrassed).  She was dishing out her motivational and shopping advice and now wants to start a blog of her own, so watch this space.

I've been bonding with my Milanese bag, it's pretty perfect with lots of compartments for all my junk

I'm not sure if the photos best illustrate my hair do, but in real life it looks a lot thicker and even a bit wiggy (in the best possible way), and the cut looks more defined.  The above photo shows how it looked the morning after, just before I went for a family meal.  My aunt even grabbed a bit of it as she thought it was extensions!  I definitely need to save the pennies and go back, as I pretty much want my hair like this all the time, so a massive thanks to Aussie for this wonderful hair experience!

Follow on bloglovin...

Knitty bits

11 October 2009

Friday seems to be the day where I do all of my extra-curricular activities, resulting in another one of those creative/inspiration/knitting posts for you. I honestly didn't think the Knitting and Stitching Show (a massive craft fair, with a lot of grannies and baby knitting patterns) would be anything to write home about.  Although I'd been to the event last year and found some interesting yarns and patterns, I wasn't sure how an event popular with the older generation would appeal to me apart from a few interesting stands (there were even free samples of Wellwoman 50+ capsules at reception).  The main reason for going, was to hunt for the perfect black yarn to re-knit the circle scarf I stupidly lost in a bar earlier this year, as I had a very specific type in mind and wanted to visit all of the UK's yarn shops in one place.  Of course, with the amount of stalls there, it was easy to get sidetracked, and I just had to get a closer look at some giant, chunky knit dresses reminiscent of something Giles Deacon might create.

The bold colours of the giant Woolfish knits drew me to the stand; I was fascinated by the garments that are literally knitted by hand, meaning no needles are necessary. Simple yet voluminous shapes can be created, so anyone can try their hand (no pun intended) at being a wannabe Sandra Backlund.

I just had to try one on (I don't really know why my face is doing this expresion).  There is another picture floating around of me in the full ensemble, complete with hat and bag, which makes me look like a bright knitted creature.  Let me know if you want to see it.

This lady literally knitted a hat in 3 minutes. 

I tried to have a go at this 'hand' knitting.  Got totally confused.


Another thing I wasn't expecting was this small yet fantastic graduate exhibition, sponsored by Knitting magazine. I believe they are competing for one of three cash prizes, which is always useful after the crazy amount of debt a student course can rack up.  I think I'd previously seen some of the entrants work on Fashion 156 (and posted about a few here) so it was great to see them up close. plus sketchbooks.  Some of the students were even at the stands and available for a quick chat.  The above close-up is by Beatrice K Newman, who was inspired by the opulent Russian Royal family.  I remember reading the interview on Knitkicks, and being amazed by the amount of techniques that she used in combination to manipulated the knitted pieces.


I was also glad to see this installation of Georgie Strood's work, with all of the styling details included.  I think a knitted bracelet is something I should work on...

 Trent graduate Georgina Bavalia is also in the running her futuristic, LED infused designs

Harriot Smith's collection was inspired by teacups

Jenny Postle also did a placement at Cooperative Designs; I really liked the unusual shape of this jumper as part of her 'Illusions' theme

Te-Chien Chen looked at industrial landscapes

My small haul; I'm glad I have some new yarn shops to visit

As I write this, the show is almost over (though it's in Harrogate next month) and although it can be a pricey day out and a bit of a mission to get to, I'm glad I went.  I treated myself to only a few things, as knitting can be an expensive business (I seemed to naturally gravitate to the alpaca wool which was £11 a ball).  As a grey obsessive, I had to get the really nice wool mix that was £2 a ball for a future hat project and some Appliglue to embellish some (probably grey) tights with crystals, Doo Ri style.   I'm slightly regretting not buying a pattern for a really chunky cable jumper, but I do have a slight backlog of knitting projects, so will try and complete these first (the cricket cardigan is being knitted in all my spare moments) before attempting something new. Unfortunately the black yarn I wanted for my scarf wasn't in stock at the show, but I've ordered it online, so hopefully I can knit it soon and my neck will stay nice and warm this Winter!

Follow on bloglovin...

The V&A is my second home...

6 October 2009

Well, it's perhaps my third home after my local Topshop store. Seriously, the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington is somewhere I've visited for many years now, from when I was taken around by relatives as a (probably confused) child, to exciting adventures during my art foundation (seeing a Hardy Amies show). There's parts that stay the same and familiar, such as the Grecian Chloe dress that still fascinates me after many years, but also plenty of new exhibits that are gradually added to make the collection what it is today. I became aware of the Fashion Future Now Exhibition after reading Coco's Tea Party and it's a good thing I did, as I was unaware it had been running since May (though it's on until January 31st, so you all have plenty of time to visit). Not only does it display the work of 2008's Royal College of Art MA Fashion graduates, but it details the whole design process, splitting the work into the sections of Concept, Form, Technique and Detail. It was difficult to choose a favourite section, but I found the Concept section interesting, showing not only the garments, but the paper patterns and a brief outline of thought process and development.

My photos don't really do the collections justice, so make sure you visit!

From what I could gather, it seems like Siri Johansen likes to rethink knitwear, blurring the concept with the techniques used. The dot dash patterns on this jumper replicate knitted stitches in an abstract Fairisle pattern. The structure is also a new take on the men's jumper, with it's double layered sleeves a particular point of interest. There's also some fantastic knits in the rest of her collection, and a Google Search brings up some interesting results.

A new take on cables, also by Siri Johansen who machine knitted the torso and handknitted the sleeves, mixing old and new techniques

Another knitwear genius is Léa Carreño (her official site looks promising), who used an eclectic mix of inspiration to create her collection. The influence of the Modernism exhibition a few years ago seems apparent, but she also looked to Sonia Delauney and the Ballet Russes to create something truly unique. I loved the juxtaposition of fine and heavy gauged knit within a single garment; there's a film of the catwalk show on a loop so you can really see how much movement is added.

The perfect leather boot. The exhibition shows plenty of accessories that some of the designers collaborated with other students to produce. I stupidly didn't note down who created this boot, but really loved the plaited leather detail at the top.

I can find legspiration anywhere; really liked the button detail leggings by Jonathan Penn. It was teamed with a fur coat with an internal metal frame providing the structure and support. It can be better understood here.

Abbie Shaw collaborated with a fellow jewellery student to make giant zips for her collection,

fully taking control of her work.

Jenny Hortlund machine knits fine strips of jersey, assembles them on the stand, then hand stitches them together

Dresses by Elizabeth Borglin

I loved the way Gudrun Kloepsch manipulated a variety of different fabrics and textures to create a collage effect that just works, and doesn't look overdone.

I really liked the variety in the sketchbooks, as each one had a different style and gave an insight into the mindset of the designer. As they were inside a cabinet, it was only possible to get a glimpse of the talent inside but I'm sure it helps to understand the final conclusions a bit more. I'd definitely recommend coming here if you're a fashion student; I took endless notes about techniques and inspiration to get an idea of how best to approach a collection and it's got me excited about finding ideas for my final year.

I also had to explore the bookstore, which is my favourite part to visit before leaving. It is my aim when I eventually move out, to have a library full of fashion books (at the moment I have half a shelf) to peruse and inspire whenever I have a few spare moments. The bookstore is where I update myself on all the new books out and get a feel for them, before trying to find them cheaper on the internet (though it is tempting to pay the RRP there and then and to walk out with a shiny V&A bag). I definitely found a few books to add to the list, which I will be leaving at strategic points around the house come Christmas time. What are your thoughts on the V&A museum; have any of you visited when you've been in London? I'd thoroughly recommend going; not only is there fashion but the different rooms provide unexpected sources of inspiration such as Sculpture, Metalwork and Furniture. I'll have to make a return visit before this exhibition's over...

Bianca paid me back for something in cupcakes, which I'd love to happen again, despite the health implications.

I think a cupcake label needs to be added to this blog. After visiting the exhibition, I felt the familiar cravings I get after something fashion related, but knew that the usual haunts were too far away. Bianca had mentioned earlier that the Hummingbird Bakery had opened a branch nearby, but we'd thought nothing of it until we saw a lady with one of their carrier bags. Like a true interrogator, I demanded to know where she'd got it, to which she replied that the desired destination was around the corner. After some confusion, we found it and somewhat delayed our return journey to pick up some treats. It was well worth it; there wasn't much variety left as we got there at 6pm, but luckily my favourite Red Velvet speciality were there (also Madonna's guilty pleasure I hear). I was probably the most excitable person in the place, getting some strange looks after I took this picture, but I just had to share another cupcake emporium. Maybe I should get baking again, as this habit is getting a bit expensive...

P.S Sorry for any crazy formatting, I have been using a combination of two different Blogger editors!

Follow on bloglovin...