Knits to Love

27 August 2010

It's been quite easy to forget that I'm still a knitwear student, what with all the foreign travel and online distractions.  A packed envelope sporting the University letterhead recently confirmed this and I will be back on campus soil in just over a month with a presentation to prepare and a new project to start.  I get so many weird responses when I tell people the nature of my degree, as knitted cardigans and jumpers have previously been associated with all things 'Granny' but gradually the mood has started to change.  Many people are intrigued by the extent of what can be created and as the catwalk images slowly filter down to the masses, I've seen the High Street produce some great pieces in all sorts of patterns and  shapes.   Even Topshop has a guide if you don't know your crochet from your cables and I've been envious of many a friend in a hand-knitted charity shop find. With another year of knitting-fun looming, I've created a compilation of things I'd quite like to make and wear in the near future.

Random fact: my most popular post on this blog is my Circle Scarf Tutorial and it's also that time of year where I think about knitting a sibling to join it.  It will probably be another circular style, but an updated shearling inspired version, to save the money I might have spent on this Acne jacket in an alternate universe. What's your view on knitwear for this season or just in general? Do you prefer cutesy cables or laddered destruction?  Make me jealous of your finds from a relatives attic!

I was also featured on Asos!

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Sweep the Yard

23 August 2010

Rising early is usually a necessity due to education and employment but every so often something shopping-related will allow me to make my cosy bed a distant memory on a Sunday morning.  It seemed the universe was working in perfect order; I had the 22nd off work, managed to catch the Overground in time and raised a fair few pennies before payday for the all important Yard Sale.  Surprisingly, I hadn't managed to come across such an event across the pond but I envisioned a small scale and slightly more philanthropic Brooklyn Flea.  After all, our clothes can evoke all sorts of memories and emotions and it can be hard to part sometimes even though practicality might win through eventually.  Even with the aid of Google maps, I did walk straight past the location (and could've blissfully ended up near the Arsenal football ground chatting with Kylie), but luckily confusion was realised and we were soon in the courtyard.  Even though we arrivied 30 minutes after the start time, there was already a determined crowd forming around Susie's makeshift shop; I was daunted.  I like a calm rummage at the best of times, but a few dozen fashion bloggers is another matter so I had to summon some sort of resolve and dive into the numerous bags to see what I could find.

 Shini managing her impeccably dressed stall

I completely forgot Kylie took this picture of me but obviously I was ready; witness the finds I clutched for dear life

My approach was systematic; I went through each bag in turn (though pounced on the Chanel books lying on't table), scrutinised shape and potential fit before indulging in a makeshift fashion show with Amy (sans mirror) to work out what to keep.  Then the moment of truth came; the price.  Fearing the worst, I marched up to Susie and after she did her calculations, everything came to the grand total of £12! Even though I had little idea as to what I looked like in the pieces, the prices were so low that I could afford to take a few risks and breach the comfort zone slightly.

A cut away shirt by Miki Fukai, worn by Susie here, that fastens around the front for £2.  Even though it has a faint floral print, it vaguely reminded me of Miu Miu and thus it became mine.  I'm also really pleased I picked it up from a construction point of view, as I'm now aware of an amazing designer that unfortunately doesn't seem to be making more collections (sob).

A Ksubi spot t-shirt that actually belonged to Steve of Style Salvage - £2.

Some Ksubi cycling shorts customised by Susie here for £2;  I must seem like a right stalker with links and whatnot, but I was curious as to the origins as many items seemed familiar.  I wonder how she feels about her clothes being dispersed all over London/Earth and the possible outfits that will be created as a reflection of the wearers style?

A draped maxi skirt with optional legroom, just in case - £2.

Chanel 3-book set detailing her life, perfumes and jewellery for £4.  I can see a lot of well-deserved good karma coming Susie's way due to her generous pricing.

Also popped over to Geisha Rock's wares and bought this colourful Urban Outfitters blouse for a fiver.

Blazer, tank, skirt, bracelet - Topshop
Lace trim shorts (worn underneath) - H&M
Boots - Ebay
Bag - Brooklyn Flea
Hat - Frou Frouu
Necklaces - random NYC and DIY
Picture - Kylie

Sunday 22nd of August 2010 was also the day I became a hat person, after many indecisive trying on sessions back in Forever 21.  I've been wanting to branch out from my usual berets to something more structured to complete my look so was happy to buy this straw trilby from Frou Frouu for £2.50.
The eclectic wares of Fiona

Back to the sale; once I'd reached my rummaging limit, I hung around chatting to Fiona, Amy and Christina, comparing our finds and soaking up the general atmosphere.  The general consensus was that the event didn't seem like a moneymaking scheme to capitalise on the blogging trend of the moment and no ulterior motives were at work. For instance there was free homemade lemonade and sausage baps.

Fiona was also hosting a charity raffle, as well as being her fine self.  We are leather shorts twins now.

Lira was sporting the most fantastic bracelet by Yorkshire Pearl.  I could definitely take a break from my trusty Topshop bangle for one of these eclectic creations.

Kylie might have been reining in my extremely envious emotions (someone snapped up some Preen trousers within earshot) and kept me on the straight and narrow.  She scored an awesome vintage coat plus a KTZ dress and I expect some awesome pictures in the near future.  I'd also quite happily buy some of her stuff if she ever hosted a yard sale.

Loved how Vicky Riches was randomly sketching the surroundings

The general vibe was friendly and relaxed; I could have very well stayed all day and possibly annoyed everyone with my 70mph chatter.  Blogger yard sales (and the sharing of Susie's wardrobe) definitely needs to become a regular event but in the meantime, I'm considering a car-boot-sale sort of thing with some other London bloggers, to make room for the influx of new items.  Maybe a movement is starting?  Let's all make our blogshops a reality and add complimentary beverages to the mix; watch this space.

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19 August 2010

Went back to Ella's Bakehouse, nom nom
Dress - Motel
Leather Jacket - Topshop
Tights - Target
Shoes - Jeffrey Campbell
Belt, Bag - Vintage
Nail Polish - American Apparel 'Summer Peach'

If you have one curry in London, head to Tayyabs; the staff are a bit weird but that's all part of the experience!

Just a few recent birthday snaps; I guess I'm slightly less enthusiastic as the years go by but tried to make a bit of an effort with some cupcakes (duh) and Covent Garden wandering, before a tasty curry in Whitechapel.  I'm not quite sure what the year ahead holds (and I'm sure it'll go just as quickly), but hopefully more cupcakes, travel and a final year collection I'm not totally sick of.  Happy Birthday to any others born during this wonderful summer month! 

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Out and About

15 August 2010

I have been a busy bee in the past few weeks; what do cider, cupcakes and palmistry have in common?  The Jacques Townhouse of course!  You might have read Susie's description of the temporary world housed near Warren Street in aid of Jacques cider, which motivated me to try and wangle some free places.  In order to market their drink to the tough female demographic, they created an whimsical space with elements of the surreal (grinning staff with tally-ho British accents) and stylish (a dressing room filled with eye-catching vintage) with decorative touches  by the likes of Cordelia Weston.  There were palm-readings, makeovers, photoshoots and dozens of smartly dressed staff to attend to every need as you worked through the three floors of the house. As a result of a slightly lingering look at the striped blue and white dress, the stylist thrust it at me and found shoes and accessories to match before I had my picture taken.  It's interesting when people tell me what to wear; I'm usually quite set in my ways and hard to convince though this was a welcome surprise.  How do you feel when you are (perhaps inadvertedly) styled by others?  Despite the experience, I would love to test out a similar look at Vintage at Goodwood next year as I'm rather jealous of all the pictures I've been seeing. Maybe Jacques could introduce another pop-up there?

Typical Blogger pose; the photographer scared me slightly as when he directed me, I managed to misunderstand every instruction!  I thought years of Next Top Model watching would've helped a little...

Gorgeous pom-poms in The Forest of Dreams 

Delicious cupcakes, which were continuously replenished...I could've easily ended up in double figures

 Reena joined me for this evening of cider and frolics; super-clear pictures via Jacques Facebook page

Last Saturday Reena invited Maria and I to the Aussie Colour Tribe party hosted at the swish Kingly Club near Carnaby Street.  It was mainly an event to learn about how best to deal with coloured hair (mine is dyed red but only visible in very specific lights) and to socialise in the presence of fashion and beauty bloggers.  I knew there would be stylists creating new hairstyles on the night and I hadn't really come prepared with any ideas, but Amber talked me onto a sideswept style giving the appearance of the ubiquitous 'uppercut'.  Although unsure at first, I was rather pleased with the result and aim to vary my limited hairstyle repertoire with a little more research.  Lesson learned over the course of these two events?  It's okay to let others give you some direction with your appearance...some of the time.

My new 'do' courtesy of Aussie

I actually didn't recognise Maria when I saw her due to the success of the Karen Elson getup.  Guess what?  I'm actually meant to be dressed as Rihanna!  I quickly called myself 'Primark Rihanna' due to the shoddiness of my 'costume'. My excuse? I had to come straight from a wedding...

I also met up with Rebecca again in East London to help her with some street style spotting.  As I'm quite comfortable with randomly approaching members of the public (due to retail employment and the odd bit of flyering), once the target was spotted, I would usually run up to them like a lunatic and a calm Rebecca would take the photo. Despite our intentions, the weather wasn't quite on our side (it poured) and we had to seek shelter in a random Thai restaurant. though she luckily managed to take some outfit pictures of me before I became a drowned rat.  I feel I look slightly sceptical in this photo partly (as evidenced with the Jacques experience) because I never know how exactly to respond when others take photos of me.  I either break into a goofy smile or....break into a goofy smile.  I almost never have the public pout down.

Jacket - Topshop
Lace shirt - Beacons Closet
Shorts - H&M
Belt - Angels Sale
Tights - Topshop (found in the sale for £1 but pretty pointless as they are now ripped beyond repair)
Boots - eBay
Bag - Brooklyn Flea

My new eBay boots came just in time; I'm obsessed with stacked heels at the moment and luckily found a pair.  See the photos I managed to take of Rebecca here (almost pressed the wrong button on her camera).  And if it isn't obvious by now, these two photos are courtesy of Rebecca.

I've been visiting Brick Lane for around six years now and the amount of vintage shops in the vicinity  has increased steadily, all with similar and somewhat overpriced fare.  The trek to the East End Thrift Store in Whitechapel is normally worth it and it was interesting to discover The Assembly on the top floor with beautifully organised wares.

Of course organisation comes at a price and many of the prices were on the high side, with the cheaper, less workable pieces languishing downstairs.  I couldn't help thinking whilst looking through the rails, that charity shop prices would be considerably less for the same sort of stuff, albeit less easy to find, though I did see some perfect capes for AW10.  I guess the prices of this sort of 'elevated vintage' are now comparable to the High Street, which is a shame considering it's humble origins but at least there is the 'one-off' element that appeals.  There is a rummage sale next weekend as well as Susie Bubble's Yard Sale, so I'm sure I'll end up visiting at least one of these events hopefully for some unexpected bargains.

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Things to Make and Do

11 August 2010

It's no secret I have a habit of buying things I can't understand.  I have an ancient Russian Vogue, an incomprehensible Italian Marie Claire and a Wir sind Helden album from the GCSE days languishing in my room.  There is a good reason for my latest find though; after many a sleepless night back in the NYC heat, I decided to head back to Kinokuniya to purchase a sewing book I'd spied on my first visit.  The cover of Drape Drape 2 (yes, that's the sequel I bought first) excited me and the fact it's written entirely in Japanese didn't deter me.  I have always been fascinated by the kind of drapery that dominates the likes of anything from Helmut Lang to Complex Geometries (or even newly discovered Shin) and find myself on an endless quest to understand the construction.

One of the main reasons I'm rather fond of this kind of draping, is the illusion it creates by manipulating the body.  The book contains simply styled outfits using the fourteen total pieces you can make, highlighting the versatility using different colours and prints.  I am very tempted to decipher how to make the gathered bolero in the first picture.

The latter part of the book details how to put the pieces together and the sewing skills you might need.  Even with my limited linguistic skills, I can vaguely understand how the construction might work in these pieces and it amazed me to see the shapes involved in relation to the end result.  Although I might not be able to produce exact replicas, I can look at the diagrams and pieces to broaden my pattern making knowledge for the all important final year. 

A few more of the books spotted at Kinokuniya that I wish would be translated into English

I also picked up another copy of Jille, a failsafe inspiration guide.  As per usual, I couldn't make head nor tail of it but found many outfits to scan.  I can't wait to pick up a more Autumnal issue, though most of the layering ideas tend to work all year round.  For a more instant Eastern fashion fix,  click here. Are you fascinated by Japanese fashion as much as I?

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A Shiny, Diamond, Flying Clotheshorse?

6 August 2010

It's interesting to see your home city from the perspective of a visitor.  For me, London is a collection of various towns tightly packed together, with a thriving hub in the centre.  It is where school/college trips were planned to museums and ended up in Topshop Oxford Circus. It is where I sampled excellent curry in Whitechapel and pretended to enjoy questionable heavy metal in Islington. It is a place where all of my memories are scattered around the numerous landmarks, shops, restaurants and even methods of transport with many more to come as I see the capital with fresher eyes.  The two newest honorary Londoners were Rebecca from The Clothes Horse (visiting for a few days) and Kylie from Nice and Shiny (working for several months) and a meet-up was swiftly planned thanks to both Winnie and Selina (frequent visitors representing Birmingham).

The cupcake during happier times...

Of course there had to be cupcakes, it's pretty much a foregone conclusion during Blogger meet-ups (though I did miss the Crumbs sizing slightly).  We met at South Kensington and headed to the Hummingbird Bakery to discuss blogging, life and style for a good few hours before realising that we had a vague itinerary planned.  No trip to South Kensington is complete without a browse of the exhibits at the Victoria and Albert Museum, another place which holds many memories, the best was  watching a Hardy Amies fashion show in one of the galleries.  Of course some photo-taking was in order, using the well known blogger guidelines.  Firstly, some individual outfit shots.

Cardigan- Kensie
Top - Splendid
Shorts - Espirit via Beacons Closet
Shoes - Jeffrey Campbell via Nasty Gal
 Jewellery, bag - Brooklyn randomness

Note: This outfit consisted solely of New York purchases!  There's plenty more where that came from...

I loved Selina's bag

Winnie always works with patterns so well!

Rebecca was such a posing pro, Tyra would not be disappointed

Extra points for the 'I'm taking a picture of you, taking a picture of me' shot; meet Kylie

Ever wondered how many bloggers you can fit in a phone box?  It's four, by the way.

Oh, you were taking a picture of me?  I was just staring at the pretty flowers, but of course I'll oblige.

The world famous 'Wow-I've-just-realised-how-fascinating-my-shoes-are' pose.

Ever painted your nails on a train? It's not the best idea, but at least I could match the flowers.

I didn't take too many photos in the museum (partly due to a falling out with my ancient camera, I don't think it took too kindly to being replaced), but even if I did, I'd probably still be there now!  Being a fashion student, I tended to just mooch around the fashion and the odd special exhibition on previous visits, but this time we wandered to metalwork, architecture and even stumbled upon an intriguing theatre exhibition.  There was a section with old show posters (perhaps screen-printed), which I wouldn't mind adorning my walls.  I can't wait to go back and see what else is on.

I don't have any pictures of Topshop unfortunately, so you'll have to make do with leafy 'South Ken' instead.  Of course not all these photos are mine, you can probably tell (about seven to be exact), so I have to give credit to Kylie and Rebecca for the remainder.

Time soon sped up and it was onto the next destination and the destroyer of many overdrafts, Topshop Oxford Circus!  Unfortunately I had to leave after a quick glance at all the concessions, but afterwards I felt all warm and fuzzy inside after meeting such friendly and wonderful people (and being reunited with Winnie and Selina).  Although blogging is our primary shared interest, we had so many other areas to discuss and experiences to share, which I'm sure we'll continue through e-mails and tweets.  Until the next time...

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