Sweaty Betty Dressing (OOTW)

29 June 2010

Another post, another weather berating session.  New York is a city of extremes; I've been so cold that I've wanted to escape to the nearest sauna and so hot that Antarctica seems like a viable holiday option.  Now is the time of the latter, with 30 degree heat every day and a crazy, frizzy mess happening on my head.  This isn't just any dressing, this is NYC survival dressing.  At the moment I feel as if I'm lacking creativity, as my tights and cardigans are again redundant and I'm having to dress to avoid spontaneous combustion.  How do you cope in crazy heatwaves when creativity lacks?  I'm almost looking forward to going back to 'chilly' England and layering up again.

 Hows this for a new Bloggerism; pose like a Washington statue?

Tank - Emma and Sam via LF Stores
Skirt - Cheap Monday
Bandeau - eBay
Sandals - Steve Madden
Jewellery - Topshop

My Washington whistle-stop tour was a nice change to bustling New York, though the weather there was pretty much the same  (the Megabus air conditioning was such a relief).  I'm wearing the Cheap Monday skirt I featured on this post.  There wasn't much time for shopping, but I did pick up the bralet I wore the following day.

Bralet - Urban Outfitters
Skirt - Vintage via Urban Jungle
Belt - Vintage via Angels
Sandals - Steve Madden
Sunglasses - H&M
Necklace - Pema boutique
Bracelet - Topshop

I finally jumped on the maxi-bandwagon and wore the skirt I bought here.  I haven't yet found a maxi dress style to suit me, so the skirt and crop top combination is great as it creates some kind of illusion.  I'm not sure if it quite helped keep my legs cool due to the material, but it was strangely liberating having them covered.

Mesh tee - American Apparel
Shorts - H&M
Belt -Vintage via Angels
Sandals - Steve Madden
Necklaces - DIY, Tosphop
Bracelet - Stall in Soho

First outing of my new necklace and I showed it to my Mum on Skype.  Now she wants one!

Playsuit - Topshop
Belt - Vintage via Angels
Sandals - Steve Madden
Bag - Vintage via Brooklyn Flea
Necklaces - Pema Boutique & random flea vendor

Made a visit to the garden state of New Jersey for a company picnic

Dress - H&M
Draped vest - Vintage via Salvation Army
Sandals - Steve Madden
Jewellery - as before

I decided to revisit the Salvation Army store I featured in this post, as I hadn't returned since that chilly January afternoon.  Even though there were a lot less rails and a lot more people rummaging, I managed to pick up this draped vest for just $3. 

Top - Splendid
Shorts - H&M
Sandals - Steve Madden
Jewellery - as before
Bag - Vintage, via Brooklyn Flea

The penultimate Brooklyn Flea visit; I went in search of more cheap bags and came back with a new playsuit after some successful haggling.  Check back next week to see what it looks like...

Wow, Kb photo overload!  I know I'm no model, but if you fancy becoming one (I know you're a  rather delectable bunch) the Next Modelling Competition is happening again with a Select contract up for grabs.   Read my post about last years final here and let me know if any of you enter.  Now for some random photos of the week....

Now that's one way to store your teacups; seen in a bar on Union Square

I made a quick stop at the FIT Eco-fashion exhibition which was short and sweet; I'm extremely gutted to be missing the Japanese fashion exhibition that happens later this year

A random sculpture garden found in Washington

Gorgeous Herve Leger dress spotted in Soho

Finally treated myself to a Magnolia's cupcake.  No photos of inside the box as somehow the cakes, ahem, disappeared...

I also have an interview up on Qype; I have been a busy bee.  Have a great week!

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A Jewellery Update

25 June 2010

Long time no see/post!  With all the hectic happenings that a week brings, I somehow managed to finally finish my handmade necklace I wrote about previously.  There was some procrastinating, minor indecision and a lot of losing various the parts that I needed but I eventually decided to just try something simple and plait some random chains together.

30 degree heat = hair not so great

I'm pleased as punch with the result after trying something so simple and stayed true to form by layering it with my other necklaces.  Here's hoping it doesn't fall apart due to my questionable putting-together skills.

Another jewellery purchase was unfortunately not handmade, but still interesting nonetheless; a necklace/bracelet hybrid. I found it on one of the random jewellery stalls on Spring Street (near Broadway) and thought it was a unique, one of a kind thing, until I saw it on almost every other stall in the vicinity after purchase (slightly cheaper might I add).  Maybe you can find them in a city near you?  I'd never seen anything like it before, plus I liked the way it can morph and be twisted in numerous different ways.  At least I know where to go if I need to find another colour! 

Now here's another store model that needs to come to England (or perhaps it's already there, I'm really out of the loop with what's happening in my own country); the do-it-yourself jewellery store.  Brooklyn Charm is certainly prettily packaged and allows you to pick all of the elements of your own necklace or bracelet, from chain to charm and you can have as much or as little bling as you desire.  They can even put it together for you for a small fee and everything is easy to find.   

I will probably treat myself to a letter charm as Metalliferous has failed me on that front!

Does this count as a new hobby?  Certainly beats just putting 'shopping' on your CV/resume.  I intend to keep this up as I gain more and more inspiration and will stock up on some random bits just before I leave.  The above tray seems like a perfect start.

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Time is ticking

17 June 2010

Don't be surprised if every other post on here is a haul post; I officially have less than a month left in NYC and I seem to be coping by shopping in my favourite haunts.  I can already tell I'm going to be heartbroken when I leave Williamsburg with my five overweight suitcases (estimation), but hold your horses; I still have weeks left here which is more than most.  I have a list that mainly consists of eating/shopping/museums and I plan to take an insane amount of photos to show you how I'm spending the last twenty-something days.

New York, New York; where else can you find a crochet covered bicycle left in the rain?

Now onto the purchases; I had a free afternoon and a friend in town, so decided to show her the best of Brooklyn in a four hour time window.  After a crazy amount of lunch, we stumbled into Beacon's Closet, where you never really know what you're going to get (or who you're going to see, pretty sure I was in the presence of models, fresh from the Resort runways).  People cash their wardrobes in (after the scrutinisation by the staff for seasonality) and what with New Yorkers being a diverse bunch, you get a nice mixture of High Street, Designer and Vintage.  I even spotted some Primark in the midst and my first find is an example of items hotfooting it across the globe; a boxy shirt by the Swedish brand Weekday.  Methinks that some well-travelled and seriously generous person donated it, to allow me the change to indulge my love for Nordic chic.  This is desperate to be chucked over a body-con dress.

It's rather big, maybe it belonged to a man but I don't really care...

The next purchase were some full shorts, hastily picked up to try on with another item I ended up ditching.  Although I will probably belt them at the waist and tuck tops in for an easy option, I'm probably more a fan of the drop waist silhouette and will pair them with baggy jumpers come Winter. 

Damn that left on Ikea sticker, ruins the illusion of a clutter-free life

Isn't it funny that all the things I picked out were grey?  I fell in love with the unusual pockets on this skirt and plan to shorten it drastically, using the leftover material creatively.  For what exactly?  Answers on a postcard please.

This Cheap Monday skirt might not have hanger appeal, but it is an interesting take on the body-con skirt, with a draped outer layer. 

Yes, I'm aware my clothes could do with an iron...

Feeling slightly ashamed now, I've broken my six month Topshop ban.  In my defence, I knew I had to get this asymmetric hem tank ever since it appeared online months ago (Queen Michelle's ownership only confirmed the fact) as it was the perfect price for something, which normally comes under window-shopping territory in the pricier boutiques. I stalked the rails of the Soho branch for weeks, annoying shop assistants with my persistent questioning along the lines of 'Whadda ya mean you don't know what asymmetry is?'   On Sunday my prayers were answered and I managed to pick up the last one in my size just before closing time, and thus the ban was no more.  

Now for something a little less dull, more American Apparel nail polish!  Despite their store hiring policies you can't deny that colour variety and choice is the main reason to shop here (most of the polishes are matched to actual garments in the store if you really want to coordinate) and I love the fact that they don't just do the usual pinks and reds.  I tested out some pastel shades and decided within a few hours that they were for me due to the whole skin tone contrast.  They're slightly reminiscent of vintage cars and I am desperate for a pale blue to be added to the collection.

How's everyone's week going?  I just booked tickets for an extremely flying visit to Washington DC on Saturday; does anyone have any recommendations as to what to see, where to eat and cool areas to visit?  Hoping to cover a lot of ground in a very limited amount of time.

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One can never have too many magazines...

13 June 2010

One of the most interesting recent tasks was choosing some Japanese magazines to buy for inspiration and I went to Kinokuniya near Bryant Park to browse.  I know Winnie is a big fan of Vivi and regularly posts scans on her blog, but it was great to see these magazines in the flesh and to also browse some of the other titles the store offers.  I didn't get a chance to look, but there's apparently some cute Japanese stationery on the ground floor, perfect for all those exhibition doodles I create.  Think of the Japan Centre in London, but without the sushi (sobs).  

 I'd been reading on the blogosphere about the magazines/lookbooks that certain designers produce in Japan, often with a free gift, but I never thought you could get them anywhere outside of the country.  Might just have to go back for the Eley Kishimoto umbrella to replace my battered old brolly

I chose Vivi, Jille, Scawaii and Sweet; would definitely recommend these for some fun inspiration

It's hard to put my finger on what makes fashion in Asia streets ahead and able to interpret current and future trends swiftly. For example, many of these magazines also serve as catalogues and with my limited (scrap that, non-existent) understanding of Japanese, I could see that many of the items were available to purchase online.  There is an overwhelming amount to choose from, with every style and possibility covered (in six handy colours), a total contrast to Western magazines where you're just left to fend for yourself in locating the items.  It's also nice to also have a mixture of celebrity, designer and blogger inspiration. 

 There are quirkily styled photoshoots galore

Sections guide you on numerous ways to create outfits; I wonder whether these magazines are responsible for the kind of street style seen here, or whether they were more of a response.  Chicken and egg situations aside, I quite like the layering possibilities shown here though you do run the risk of looking very similar to a fellow Vivi lover.  If step-by-step outfit creation wasn't enough, there's also beauty guides, hair tutorials and even diet tips, providing a reference point for every part of your lifestyle.

And lastly, a whole page devoted to lace!  Though these magazines can be quite pricey due to import prices, they're are a lot cheaper than visiting the country itself, so I'll perhaps be making do with Jille for the time being since it was a rather reasonable $8.  Of course this is part of a bigger plan; I've managed to find a Korean-speaking buddy to help me tackle Gmarket, where they sell similar fast-fashion in endless combinations.  I've figured that most clothes sold and marked up in shops are pretty similar to those sold on these sites, so I'm going to try and find things at a reduced cost.  This is my solution to getting my Far East fashion-fix until I save enough pennies to go!

Cute little purse freebie

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Weekend Delights

9 June 2010

I can find inspiration in all kinds of places.  Take the Bronx Zoo for example; as well as indulging my inner child on the Bug Carousel with friends and falling in love with the 'ickle baby monkeys, I snapped away at anything that caught my fancy.  Think elegant peacocks, enchanting butterflies and the rustic yet worldly setting of the park.  Most of the time animal prints tend to veer towards the leopard or zebra variety, but methinks there is an untapped market just waiting to be discovered.  Butterfly print leggings, anyone? Some of the best colour combinations are those that appear naturally.

These creatures were rather difficult to capture, though I'm pleased I got a decent close-up

If you're coming to New York for six months, then here's a tip; don't leave your visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art until the fifth month.  I don't know why I put off coming for so long; I  perhaps didn't find it as interesting on my first visit seven years ago as a moody fifteen year old and needed the American Woman exhibition several years later to kickstart my enthusiasm.  It's situated in the Upper East Side on Museum Mile and was deservedly packed out on a sunny (and later stormy) Sunday afternoon.

The Screen Siren section was simply breathtaking, with clips of movies featuring the likes of Greta Garbo playing in the background

I later found that the put photos of most things online, but without the dramatic setting and fancy wigs

The exhibition documents the many guises of 'The American Woman' which continued from where the European ideals left off, in capturing the attention of the mass media.  I'd already seen the related exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, but this showing of their collection was decidedly more atmospheric, due to each room having a certain theme to reflect the clothes displayed.  As you walk through the exhibition, you can clearly see how the role and ideals of women changed, with a special section showing the militaristic dress of suffragette movement (random fact, I was named after Christabel Pankhurst). I didn't get as many snaps as I would've liked due to the dreaded 'No Photography' rule, but was transfixed by much of the exhibit nonetheless as the Met had really gone to town in the props department with sparkly wigs and antique furniture.   Even though I don't have a photographic memory, I know that I want to flit between being a liberated 20s flapper and an artsy bohemian in my day to day life due to the intricate nature of the dresses.  Geometric beading was prevalent on most of the designs and I won't be able to help having the images above in my mind whenever I'm next thrifting.

This vid shows more of what I've been haphazardly trying to explain...which is your favourite era?

Amazing ropelike structure by Liza Lou

Eroded White Flag by Jasper Johns

Wish I could actually find an envelope for all those letters I never write; Untitled by Andrew Bush

I guess my lack of Met experience meant that getting lost was pretty much inevitable, however this turned out to be a positive thing as I discovered random works of interest as I tried to work my way around the confusing layout.  Whilst in search of phone signal, I ended up seeing some imposing modern pieces and challenging photography.  Which envelope do you think is real?

Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to see the Big BambĂș sculpture on the rooftop as the heavens decided to open, but I did discover the Picasso exhibition instead.  Although I had 30 minutes until closing, I used the time wisely to understand more about his life and how it influenced his work.  Methinks that the BBC needs to devise a three-part adaptation of his life and I wanted to know far more than just what the plaques explained. 

More photos here; most are blurry due to an unsteady hand...

Have you ever been to the Met before?  I definitely will be making up for lost time and cramming in a few more visits to this and other museums before I leave.  I also want to take a Gossip Girl style outfit photo on the steps!

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