Man Friday

29 January 2010

There's something quite inspiring about menswear; even though it is said to lack the creativity of women's fashion, I love how it is often understated with clean lines ripe for mixing with other garments.  Being stuck in a permanent wintery state, I have noted down all the elements of the Fall 2010 (see I'm getting Americanised already) mens shows that need to translate for the opposite sex. I promise I'll post more summery things when the random snowstorms stop.

You know I'm obsessed with finding the perfect coat, may not have had this problem if I were a bloke; l-r Junya Watanabe, Prada, Pringle, Maison Martin Margiela, Paul Smith, Burberry. 

There has been a lack of knitwear on this blog recently (I hope you'll be pleased to see the Knit of The Week feature back in the sidebar) so I'm spoiling you all with the techniques I'd love to see more of.  l-r; Pringle, Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Iceberg, Burberry, Y-3

This was all the random stuff I liked, print and shape-wise, I feel like I need a whole new kind of blazer.  l-r etro, Maison Martin Margiela, Paul Smith, Alexander Mc Queen.  All images from

Y-3 AW10 preview in Paris, the theme is 'Tradition vs. Future'; can't wait to see more!

Speaking of Y-3, I've managed to secure a standing ticket for the show at New York Fashion Week!  I'm so excited, and it should be interesting if the above Paris preview is anything to go by and I can't wait to see what the womenswear is like.  I'm also going to try and go to the Independent Fashion Bloggers Evoloving Influence Conference on Feb 15th, as I'm 99% sure I have the day off, so let me know if any of you are planning to go.

I've now been in New York for a month and am looking forward to what February holds, even if the snow does gets crazier; Fashion Month is coming!


Closet Adventures

26 January 2010

You might be able to tell from the title of this post that I finally managed to go to Beacons Closet, a store to buy and trade every kind of clothing, but not the utter mission it was to get there from my  new hairdressers in a far flung area of Brooklyn.  My geographical knowledge somehow convinced me that Williamsburg and Flatbush would be near each other (I guess this is like thinking Wimbledon and  Romford are close, purely because they are both in London) and after a long walk down Bedford Avenue, I finally arrived all the wearier, yet eager to start shopping.  This place is not your typical vintage store, à la Beyond Retro, as the way they select their clothes means there are  endless possibilities on the rails.  I saw an assortment of recent high-street, vintage and the odd high end piece, meaning the mix is always eclectic.  Being a first time visitor, I was eager to get rid of some wardrobe duds, so I left them in the selling area to be assessed while I shopped (you get 55% of the value as a trade and 33% cash) hoping that I could make some cold hard cash from my two items.

Saturday is a pretty frenzied day for the seasoned Beacon's closet shopper.  I saw many a pro going through rails systematically, with amazing looking items annoyingly kept in their arms as they browsed.  I thought the store was quite crowded, what with all the circular rails and people trying to get past, but eventually I managed to get into the swing of things, seeing many items that had potential and all were pretty reasonably priced.

 Some of the items I tried on but didn't have much luck with; I'm still searching for the perfect vintage dress and beaded cardigan

Here's the new hairdo that made me so delayed, American hairdressers have worked wonders with my hair giving it a look once achieved at the Aussie event.  It was rather strange asking to have my 'bangs trimmed' instead of saying fringe...

I guess after such a long journey, I wasn't in the right frame of mind for this kind of shopping but I did manage to find this draped tartan waistcoat kind of thing with layering potential, previously from Urban Outfitters (with sale tags still attached).  You see, I'd only managed to sell one of my items (I thought my chunky cable jumper would've been right up their street) and there wasn't much point in getting a few dollars cash, so I took the higher amount and my waistcoat worked out as being free.  I'm sure I'll be back, as I really like the concept of this place, trading clothes for money/store credit (like a permanent, less hit and miss swishing party) and getting rid of all the eBay hassle but I wish the setting were a bit more user friendly.  Perhaps I'll be back on a quieter day and I'll definitely bring a map to avoid any further geographical confusion!

Thanks for all the feedback about the new layout!  It's still being worked on, so continued apologies as most pictures are still looking weird but I shall be fixing it in due course.  Also, my internship has been quite busy recently, so my blogging and commenting is still a bit sporadic but I'm trying to work out some kind of schedule so I can keep things ticking over.  Hope you are all well!


Work in Progress

21 January 2010

See the background in more detail here, it's all of my favourite things that will change from time to time.  Brownie points if you know what they all are!

Apologies but my blog may look a bit funny while I fiddle around with the layout.  A new decade means a change is needed and I have decided to make the look of the blog reflect 'me' a bit more, so I'm trying to create the new look (with the help of a few template sites) I envisioned a few weeks ago.  Hopefully I can sort it all out in the next few days and the blog will reach a new kind of normality.

Thanks for all your lovely comments and to my 128 followers!  Very exciting!


Things to love about America #1

19 January 2010

I haven't yet shelled out for the matching cheque book... 

1. Creative banking
It amazes me that you can get a Hello Kitty debit card!  In the UK you would have to pay for any kind of customisation, but here there's a whole book of options including Betty Boop and the 'I heart NY' logo. Sure it has a blurry picture of my face on, but the cuteness of the card makes up for it and it is far nicer to look at when I'm constantly bankrupting myself.

Images from fashionologie, collaged by yours truly

2. Target collaborations
As I totally missed out on the Rodarte collection, I'm giving myself plenty of time to figure out how to get to my nearest store to snap up the Zac Posen bits in April.  I love the clashy print of the bow dress and am willing it to somehow suit me, but I have plenty of back-up options like the casual chambray number and trompe l'oeil bodysuit. In case II get lost trying to find a Target, there's always the Rag and Bone diffusion line to covet.

3. Crazy snack packs
I seem to have adopted a weird obsession with these.  Trail mix doesn't sound particularly appealing but it's extremely more-ish, a mixture of sweet and spicy.  I also love my Reeses pieces, similar to M&M's but with peanut butter inside and was delighted to find a supersized version that you can't get in the U.K.  Both packs have severely reduced in size since this photo was taken.

 The heart mirror and keychain were impulse buys, it's like a sweet shop

My ten dollar necklace to mix in with various others

4. Cheaper bits and bobs
I queued up for the Marc by Marc Jacobs store on Bleeker Street like a crazy person, and bought a random selection of items in the frenzy.  I've wanted the retro USA bag ever since I wandered into the London store after my visa interview but thought I'd best save myself until I could go where it was cheaper, at least I think it was.  I'm trying to think in dollars now to stop myself freaking out constantly at seemingly inflated prices but I can't help the odd conversion at times.  The mystery* tax added at the till also doesn't help but I've realised that clothing/shoe purchases under $109 are tax free in Manhattan, giving me the excuse to buy more clothes and nothing else.

I love the neat little packets

I also think Uniqlo works out slightly cheaper, though I had to get my tights fix from there regardless of price; I've never seen so many colours!  The Soho store is amazing with so much stock and a great buzz (there was a constant queue for the +J collection, so I didn't get a look in), in a futuristic kind of setting.  I picked up another HeatTech top, bringing my total to 5 and I'm tempted to buy a parka for this sort of look when the chill starts again. 

I didn't really have a picture to go with this point, so I decided to put up another photo I took of an external staircase. I'm getting quite obsessed and inspired by them...

5. Accent adoration
I never thought my South London tones were particularly interesting, but over here I get constant comments about my accent, bringing about random subway conversations and me moaning about the lack of the word 'queue' to anyone who'll listen.  I guess in the U.K, we are so used to American accents because of tv and film, that we don't really bat an eyelid but here I guess there's a novelty element.  It's quite easy to pick up the intonation at times but I'm confident that I won't be returning with a Peaches Geldof style transatlantic twang and will stay a Londoner at heart. 

More photos added to the Facebook page, including my Topshop despair, glorious mussels and some more staircase action.

*I call it mystery tax because I fail to work out 8.75% of anything and am constantly surprised.


Lazy days across the river

15 January 2010

My US geography has been somewhat lacking at times (I used to think New York was a city in New Jersey, this made some work colleagues laugh) but in the two-and-a-bit weeks I've been here, it's all making a lot more sense.  For those of you that may still be confused like I was, Manhattan is  basically an island where most of the tv shows and movies are set, with bridges leading towards the outer boroughs.  I remember Brooklyn being described as a whole world away in the Sex and the City episode where Miranda moves there, but in reality it was a surprisingly short journey to see a different kind of vibe.  I managed to negotiate the seemingly foreign subway route with a friend and before we knew it, we were wandering the quieter streets and seeing a more relaxed pace of life.

Swallowed by a scarf

Another fashion book I want to add to my collection 

Is it strange that I'm fascinated by external staircases?

Being the spontaneous yet forgetful people we are, we didn't bring a map, yet somehow headed towards Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg where there were plenty of boutiques and quirky shops  to amuse ourselves for a few hours.  It's pretty residential here, yet there's everything you need scattered around and gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline by the riverside. 

This shop was like a more reasonably priced APC with a decent sale, stupidly lost the business card I took; will definitely try and go back

Bought this quirky tree necklace in another random boutique

I'm looking forward to another weekend filled with more exploring and of course some shopping; I  guess my weeks are forming some kind of pattern now.  The weather is also not  too bad; in comparison to what I've experienced, the 6-8˚C degree weather we're expecting feels like a heatwave!  It's nice to be in positive figures again...  I'm loving any suggestions you may have  as to where I should go (I'd especially like to know of decent restaurants or bars) so keep them coming!  I shall be your virtual tour guide.

Have a great weekend!


In Search of Soho

13 January 2010

New York is the perfect setting for any movie and we see so much of the city on screen, so it's understandable that we all arrive with our own pre-conceived ideas in mind.  I myself felt like I'd been transported into some kind of reality show the minute I landed, after hearing so many American accents, seeing copies of Us Weekly at the newstands and a fleet of yellow taxis. I had an extremely vague idea of the areas of New York, mainly through watching programs like Gossip Girl and reading  blogs but it is another thing to truly see and understand them for yourself.  I'd been hearing good things about Soho, so made it my mission to visit the area on Saturday; however I may have got a little distracted along the way.

I am in no way any kind of NYC expert, but I get the idea that you can find little gems by altering your route on occasions.  I decided to head Downtown via 8th Avenue and managed to resist temptation walking past the numerous shops, until I saw a massive Salvation Army Thrift Store.  It was like the Super Size Me of charity shops, rails and rails of items varying in quality, but definitely worth sifting through.  The main vintage items I'm after are chunky cardigans, embellished tops and floral dresses, so I kept that in mind while rifling through every rail.  There were many things I saw that weren't quite for me (such as baggy jumpers) yet had potential for the right kind of person.  The sequinned top would have been perfect were it not for a massive rip in the back.

I bought an oversized floral top to be worn with leggings and a denim shirt or just acid wash skinny jeans.  For $2, it has already got me excited for Spring...

Another distraction was a bigger and far superior Forever 21 store by Union Square (no doubt to cater for the many students around).  Although hectic, the clothes were far more spaced out and the staff were more abundant to help find items (bizarrely things placed on mannequins were nowhere to be seen near the actual displays).  I managed to find a skater dress (something I've been after for ages and was considering breaking the Topshop ban for) for the equivalent of £12, plus a few tops, a skirt and a unicorn necklace.  The whole point of my visit was to find some cheap, yet detailed leggings,  but I guess this place has The Primark Effect, meaning you end up leaving with something completely different.  Not that I'm complaining.

Really wanted to find these tights but they were nowhere to be seen in the store!  Disappointed by the lack of a designated hosiery section... 

I took many purchases to the fitting room; you have to be very alert as the shop assistants will constantly be checking whether your room is free.  If I were slightly half-asleep, who knows what might have happened...

My new stripy skirt ($6), beaded vest ($18) and skater dress ($22)...

Gorgeous edgy top ($20) and cute unicorn necklace ($4).  Forever 21 is definitely my new Primark

By the time we'd actually reached Soho (via the very interesting Hollister store full of dancing girls and semi-naked men) it was getting late and time was limited due to evening plans.  However I was amazed at how the relatively unassuming streets could hold boutiques such as Prada, Chanel and Marni. I only had time to go in a few shops, but I took a few pictures of the window display so that you can get a feel of things.  I definitely want to come back during the day to see this area properly and window shop a little more.
Really want this shop to have a sale, $300 jumpers with quirky pockets have never been so appealing...

LF Stores sells lots of lovely Jeffrey Campbell shoes, I can feel a collection coming on...

Now that is how you sell a rug

I guess the predicament I'm in is wanting to invest is some better quality, more unique clothes full of quirky design elements but forever being tempted by the cheaper stores.  Being a natural cheapskate, I will always love a bargain, so will try and look out for more sample sales and outlets so I can buy something really special.  Thrift shopping is also something I want to put a bit more effort into, so I'll definitely be going back to the Salvation Army.  Wish me luck.

Added more photos to the Facebook page!


NYC Essentials

8 January 2010

A new internship means a chronic lack of posts (and increased nocturnal internet shopping) but all I can say is that it's definitely a learning curve.  Of course the hours are long and the day can be filled with the tasks internships are made for, but it's best to think about the bigger picture (I was never going to get anywhere by sleeping in till 1pm every day).  Exploring New York will be confined to the odd evening and weekends, so until then, I thought I'd share some of my random US purchases, the most exciting being my new camera.

The obligatory camera self portrait, shame you can see all my crap in the background.  This also masquerades as an outfit picture; Topshop dress and cardigan, Uniqlo Heatech top (worn underneath) and Asos tights

I'm not much of a camera buff and a DSLR is not yet within reach, but I've been reading good things about the Canon Powershot range and thought it'd be the ideal stepping stone.  Camera settings are confusing enough for me, but this beauty seems to just adjust to wherever I am, so I guess I'll muddle through until I can be bothered to dissect the manual.  The price was also about £50 cheaper than in the UK, so I'm pleased and determined to look after this one, rather than repeatedly dropping it on the floor like my older model.  Expect more outfit posts when I can find a more scenic corner of my room to take photos.

I wore this to work; Joy Mbym Cardigan, Uniqlo Heatech top, Topshop shorts, vintage belt and Calzedonia tights (two pairs, of course)

A transatlantic move hasn't stalled my obsession with receiving things in the post one bit; as soon as I'd memorised my U.S address, I was off ordering bits from various places. I'd seen these Corley boots in the Macy's Steve Madden concession and I was disappointed to see they'd sold out, until I found them online at a significantly cheaper price (thirty-something quid depending on the indecisive rate).  They are slightly higher than my favoured ankle style, but I'm getting used to the variation and I'm looking forward to teaming them with my scaled-down leggings collection.  The next pair on my boot hit-list?  These Aldo bargains.  I love sales!

Crazy shop, with obstacles at every corner

Despite not exploring many shops, I've somehow made it to Forever 21. The store is crazy, messy and the frantic pace reminds me of Topshop Oxford Circus but there are plenty of gems instore.  I just can't always find them.

You can just about see me wearing this here

I did manage to buy the most impractical jumper in the world, a meshy slouchy style that will obviously have to be layered over something thermal.  I found many of the clothes appealing but once I'd tried on, the fit wasn't as expected (especially with the crazy amount of cropped styles). I wasn't always impressed with the fabric quality but the prices are definitely low and I'm sure I'll definitely be going back for random trend items (and some new leggings).

You may know of Eyes Lips Face in the UK, but their orginal site is slightly cheaper and with the addition of a discount code, these bits cost me $14!  I'd seen these eyelash applicators featured on Moonbeamstarlight and decided to splash out due to my temperamental skills (no one wants to see an eyelash on your cheek halfway through the night) as she makes it look so easy!  The make-up brushes are to aid me in similar beauty blogger style endeavours and to help experiment a little. 

The last item is my new phone, please don't laugh.  When coming to the US for such a short period of time, there's no point in splashing out as contracts are pretty much pointless. and I'm wary of unlocking phones.  I haven't really bonded with this T-Mobile phone and it takes me about half an hour to text, but it does everything it needs to.  However, I think any phone this old should really have Snake as a consolation.  The Blackberry will have to wait.

Hope you all had a great week, especially if you're in the UK as I understand the snow is pretty relentless.  It's not snowing here yet, but it's still cold (what I thought was chilly in England back in December, now seems like ideal Spring weather) and I'm sure that the white stuff is inevitable.  Perhaps I'd be better off investing in some wellies?


A new city, A new decade

2 January 2010

New Years Eve can often be called an overrated night.  Most of the time I've found that my plans have gone awry (last year saw me spending the countdown in the cloakroom queue) and yesterday could have also gone down the pan in a spectacular fashion.  I'd had a spot of food poisoning and spent much of December 31st asleep, before realising that I was not going to let anything ruin my first (and perhaps only) New Years Eve in New York city.  Eventually, I managed to drag myself out of bed and figure out an outfit to wear to an all American bar, to see in the next decade.

 I hope for some better and more frequent outfit posts in 2010, getting a new camera and tripod soon!  Sure beats balancing my battered Casio on a suitcase...

New Years Eve deserves a glitzier choice of attire, so I decided to finally wear these sequinned leggings sent to me by the lovely Ceri at Blue inc and my new Jeffrey Campbell boots.  I also wore various shades of grey, in the form of a New Look lace skirt and basic Topshop vest plus a vintage bag borrowed from my Nan (she hasn't asked for it back yet).  The layered necklaces were only £2 each in the Topshop sale and I'll certainly miss finding unidentified sale items when customers come to the till.

The first day of 2010 saw a visit to Central Park, walking through the parts often seen in movies and marvelling at the romanticism of it all.  It was great to go somewhere new, as I am still slowly getting used to everything and had previously only been up the road and around the corner. My main shopping haunts so far have been K-Mart, Walgreens and the 99c store to get household bits, which is slightly annoying.  After reading numerous blogs and researching so many interesting shops to visit, I want to tackle them all immediately (and probably empty my bank account) but I know I should pace myself as I'm sure I'll find time to fit everything in. I did however manage to make my first ever Forever 21 purchases (the store is crazy) and I've also got my eye on some boots in Steve Madden.  A more comprehensive shopping post is inevitable; let me know if there's anywhere you think I should visit and I shall add it to the list.

Let's hope that this new decade is the one where I finally sort my life out!  Of course 2009 was an exciting year, what with this blogging hobby getting a little more interesting, so here's a few of my favourite posts from the past year:

A new year means some developments on this blog, which I am trying to work on in my dwindling free time.  A Happy New Year to you all and I hope that 2010 is everything you hope it to be!