Before Spring

30 March 2011

Is anyone else not quite ready for Spring?  I was getting rather used to wearing multiple pairs of tights, discrete thermals and chunky circular scarves, thank you very much.  We've had a few sunny days recently, which have caught me by surprise and made me feel slightly too layered for comfort.  It's a tricky transitional period, sandals and shorts seem slightly too eager and a bad decision once the sun disappears.  I've stockpiled a few outfit photos from a few weeks ago to say goodbye to chillier times, whilst I figure out how to combat the confusing weather.

asos peter pan red tights doc martens

red tights doc martens

Dress - Asos
Belt - Angels Sale
Tights - Uniqlo
Socks - Topshop
Boots - Doc Martens

The Peter Pan collared dress returns in yet another guise, with my much loved bright red tights.  I decided to team it with Doc Martens to toughen it up a bit and added the Fairisle socks just for lols.  Wow, I never say things like that. Seriously, sometimes I like to add a random touch to an outfit that looks too safe whether it's ankle socks or chunky boots.  I think it's a reflection of my need to overcomplicate things.  This dress is always a challenge to style but I'm hoping the next time I wear it, it might be warm enough for bare legs a la Alexa.

apc t-shirt next pleated skirt

nine west boots polka dot socks

Top - A.P.C
Skirt - c/o Next
Tights, socks - Topshop
Boots - Nine West
I'm not normally a logo person, however there are certain brands I could make an exception for.  A.P.C doesn't necessarily scream 'Notice Me' like some brands and stands for a more classic, pared down aesthetic.  I don't mind when a logo becomes part of the design and is tweaked in some way, so I love this take on an old college t-shirt.  Again I hold my hands up to copying Elisabeth; I had to hunt this top down after seeing it on her and eventually the last one in the sale at My Wardrobe.  It's a menswear style so perfectly loose and I'll probably always wear it with skirts to counteract the casual perception.

vintage cardigan striped top denim shorts

striped top cream cardi

Cardigan - Charity Shop
Striped Top - Pimkie
Shorts - A&F
Tights - Calzedonia
Socks - American Apparel
Boots - Doc Martens

Ripped denim shorts seem to be ubiquitous in the blogging world but I tend to favour baggier styles which are slightly longer on the leg.  I bought this pair using a gift card I was given back in Ohio to try and push the boundaries a little more.  They are quite short and technically put my proportions off balance, but I feel like I need to make the most of my twenties and wear an item associated with freedom and nonchalance. I'm not sure if I'll ever brave them without tights or a cardigan, but Charlene and Sarah have given me a few more ideas for comfortable styling.

lace shirt topshop skirt

pink tights tie dye socks brogues

Shirt - Beacons Closet
Leotard - Asos
Skirt, tights, socks - Topshop
Brogues - Office
Ring - Forever 21
Nails - Models Own Nude Beige + Barry M Nail Effects
 
I'm not usually a pink person, in fact I avoid the colour like the plague.  I don't have pink pyjamas, socks or bedlinen and it's not really a part of my life unless it's used sparingly within a print. For some reason I was attracted to these tights in more of a dusty rose kind of shade, I'm not sure if I'd ever wear clothing in this kind of colour but I like these as a contrast to anything duller I wear.   My nails also seem to match in this light. During my Topshop mini-spree I also picked up some tie-dye ankle socks, which will no doubt be a fave when I have to ditch the tights altogether.

How are you handling 'Spring' dressing?  I've brought some more appropriate clothing and sandals from home and am looking forward to working them into my wardrobe, though the rain today hasn't given me much hope!  I've found a new blog for Summer inspiration and gradually my Tumblr is getting a little more weather-appropriate.

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The Random Answers

26 March 2011

giveaway winner

You might remember that I held a giveaway a while ago, received over 50 questions and have been trying to answer them ever since! I think I underestimated how hard it would be to pick a winner and what exact criteria I would use.  It's really hard to explain, but I had to pick the question I instantly connected with (and that even inspired a blog post).  There is so much inspiration all over the Internet, but how can you not get overwhelmed by it and make it work for you?  Behold, the winning question and answer...

Floral skirts and tea parties asked: When you save inspiration pics and post on tumblr, do you end up transferring this into your daily/real life outfits? I get really guilty of trawling through endless blogs thinking oh that's a great look, I should try something like that but never do if I feel I have nothing similar in my wardrobe.

Through blogging I've learnt that I have an appreciation of various different styles that don't seem to have any particular sort of theme or common look. Each image is so different and so attached to a personality, that it would be impossible to replicate in the exact same way.  Sometimes I attempt to channel a look I might have spied on the internet, but no matter what I do, it'll never be a direct copy.  This is a good thing! I think that style is inherently individual and can never really be lost, I may try attempt something minimal a la Dead Fleurette but will always end up putting my own spin on it with crazy tights and too many necklaces.  I think the thing to take from these looks is the mood and the feeling, and not to recreate it entirely, but to see whatever you already own in a new light.   I love  finding new ways to project my personality.  If you see someone wearing a denim dress, brogues and hat and you don't own any of these pieces, maybe combine a denim dress with a skirt or find a blue dress that is a similar colour and pair it with your favourite shoes.  It's all about playing with the key elements of a look and making it work for you.

Congratulations Floral Skirts and Tea Parties, I will be e-mailing you shortly.  Now for the rest of the questions, it's a bit of an epic read!  Probably best to make a cup of tea...

Click here to read the rest of the answers

Midlands Masterclass

21 March 2011

topshop blogging masterclass

It's pretty much a dead cert that most fashion related events will take place in London.  It's as if anywhere above the M25 doesn't exist (I was guilty of such thoughts before I came to University) and automatically becomes The North, far away and not worthy of a visit by PRs.  It's also tricky to get invited to things in a city you consider home before realising that you're not currently there and would need to book a return train ticket that seemingly increases in price every hour.  Luckily the tide is  turning; I was most surprised to see that there would be a blogging masterclass in Topshop Nottingham (my old place of work) featuring Susie Bubble and Stevie Mackenzie Smith.  They're both blogging heavyweights who I have been 'following' (sounds creepy I know) for quite some time and I wanted to find out how they've dealt with being the pioneers for this new form of media.  Quite happily, I abandoned my knitting and made my way to the shop sharpish, breaking my 7 week Topshop avoidance in the process and was pleased to see a crowd forming in the middle of the store.  I'd originally found out about the event on Twitter, but I know that not everyone is as addicted as me, so it was interesting to see how far the news had spread. In the spirit of Blog Life vs Real Life, I also brought some friends with me in the hopes that they could understand my Internet obsession a little more. 

susie from style bubble and stevie from discotheque confusion

I've been blogging for just over two years now and although the journey hasn't been perfect, I've pretty much figured out most things as I've gone along, so I wasn't necessarily looking for tips at the event.  Being a social media addict, I welcome any experience which allows us to leave our laptops and see blogs in their offline form, understanding more about the person first hand.  I'd read a lot about Susie before via various sources but I was looking forward to hearing more about Stevie's perspective; it really was an inspired pairing as both had very different approaches to blogging but shared the common need to document fashion in a personal way.  I wasn't planning to film the masterclass but it just seemed like the best way to capture the evening and retain information.  Unfortunately I didn't film the whole hour or so (my arm was pretty knackered from all the knitting and my memory card needed a bit of a cull) but hopefully you can get a sense of what the event was like.



What I took from the evening was that blogging exists as a new way to consume fashion and can run alongside, rather than replace traditional media.  It's not merely just having the information but what you do with it and it's important to share the way you personally experience fashion, whether by shooting outfit posts or viewing collections up close yourself.  Don't do what magazines can do better,  but instead play to the strengths of being an accessible and interactive resource.  Susie came across as very honest and grounded, stating that she treats Glamour's Young and Posh as a freelance writing job and as a way of bringing her blog to a different and perhaps less understanding audience.   She also insinuated that if you start to believe your own hype, it can only go downhill and even referred to something as 'just for lols' showing that she really knows how to connect with an audience.  I admired Stevie's use of webcam photos in her bedroom, which stand out in a sea of bloggers using cameras larger than their heads and posing in glossy locations.  Of course there's nothing wrong with this (after all I'm slowly saving up for a Canon DSLR myself) but it's great that she's doing what comes naturally to her blog and sharing quick photos for an intimate feel. It really shows that the message trumps the medium and you don't need fancy camera skills to inspire an audience.  Maybe the DSLR can wait?

I'd be interested to know your thoughts on the workshop (there's another great post about the evening here) and what recent reflections you might have been having about fashion blogging.  It was certainly an insightful evening, which definitely made me think about the direction I want to take with this blog once my degree is over.  Hopefully I'll be back in London before there's another similar event within the M25, but it'd be great if they could take this to even more cities around the country with a variety of different bloggers.  I really love how everyone can take an individual approach but still contribute and become a vital part of this new way of experiencing fashion.

topshop ss11 wishlist

So now I've entered a Topshop store, I'm prepared for all hell to break loose.  My staff discount is no more so I have to now face the harsh reality of their prices and really be sure before I commit to a  purchase.  Like this skirt.  Through the magic of the internet, I saw it on the lovely Elisabeth a few days ago (I am forever copying her wardrobe) and decided to buy it to counteract all the midi-love.  Not content with store visits, I have also been browsing the website to see what their Spring offerings are like.  I really love the Erdem inspired dress but at £48 (minus NUS) it will take some serious consideration.  What have you been loving in Toppers recently?

Speaking of all this blogging talk, I was pleased to see that I Want You To Know is number 3 in the Ones to Watch category of the Most Wanted Fashion 100!  I really like how they've included such a variety of blogs and am thrilled I've made the cut!

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Let the Spots see the Stripes

16 March 2011

Pattern lovers, reveal yourselves.  You can probably tell I've been watching a bit too much Take Me Out on a Saturday evening and adapting the catchphrases for everyday scenarios (which mostly involve knitting).  Although I have been known to wear all sorts of patterns and prints, somehow  I always gravitate towards a stripe or polka dot pattern.  I love their clean and simple nature and they are the perfect mood lightener for the months when anything floral seems a bit too optimistic.

polka dot collar

Top - Comme des Garcons for H&M

I somehow failed to take a head to toe picture of this outfit that I like (my hair has a tendency to stick out at the most random moments) but I had to show off this collar detail.  When I bought the shirt almost a year ago little I didn't really have Miu Miu in mind, but when wearing a jumper over the top, the collar shape resemblance is uncanny.  I think I may have to wear it more often now.

topshop shrug motel polka dot shirt

forever 21 horse necklace

Shrug, shorts - Topshop
Shirt - c/o Motel
Belt - Battersea Boot Fair
Necklace - Forever 21
Tights - American Apparel layered over Topshop
Brogues - Office

I am a bit of a magpie, always collecting things of a similar nature.  Not content with owning several polka dotted items already, I had to go for another when Paula contacted me and offered to send me something from Motel (the code iwantyoutoknow gets you 15% off so shop away)! Grey is one of my favourite colours and a bit of a dealbreaker for me; if it comes in grey it will be bought and added to the murky sea of items I already own.  I love the pocket details of the shirt and can't wait to layer jumpers/cardigans on top to show off the collar detail a little more.  I also finally had my hair relaxed, which always cheers me up. I pretty much always go for the same haircut each time and can't really see myself changing the style drastically in the near future, I just love a full fringe!

h&m cargo jacket alphabetights

red cable forever 21 cardigan striped dress

luxxor vintage necklace

Jacket - H&M
Cardigan - Forever 21
Dress - French Connection (swished)
Belt - Battersea Boot Fair
Tights - House of Holland (laddered, oh dear) over Topshop
Brogues - Office
Necklace - c/o Luxxor

I've pretty much avoided all shops apart from Tesco (and even that lunchtime obsession is getting somewhat worrying) but after seeing my friend sporting this army/cargo style jacket, I knew I had to have one.  It's a nice and lighter alternative to my Barbour-ish jacket that I've been wearing solidly, and I love having all the useful pockets to cart around even more junk (as well as the screwed up Tesco receipts).  The lovely Sarah at Luxxor sent me some jewellery to try out and I've been loving this necklace recently.  I really loved buying vintage jewellery when I was living in New York so it's great to find an online store that will deliver the same sort of thing back to the UK  Speaking of the good old US of A, the Forever 21 cable cardigan is another Ohio buy; I went for the red to brighten up my sea of cream and grey knitwear, though as ever I am tempted to buy the cream and grey if they appear on the UK site.  I must admit I am a fan of 'wrong' shopping and thinking outside of the box; the cardigan is from the men's department and the jacket is a size 16 (and apparently now in the sale, sheesh).  What are your favourite things to buy from the 'wrong' sections? 

finalcollectionyarns

So if my posts appear scarce over the next few months, then this yarn is the reason.  These are the colours I've chosen for my final collection and over the next few weeks (calculating the actual number scares me somewhat) they will be knitted up into six different outfits. I promise not to moan about it too much on here but be aware the yarn is taking over my life!

aussie hair balloon

It's not every day you receive a balloon through the post.  It's as if those people at Aussie read my mind and knew I'd need something a bit random to brighten up my day.  They are giving 10 bloggers the chance to become Aussie Angels and it's an experience I'd highly recommend where I've been able to meet some amazing people and discover alternative products for my hair, so let me know if you enter!  I can't wait to see what's in store next...

Still haven't had my Pancake Day fix yet, oh dear....

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Loose Ends

12 March 2011

Ahhh what I wouldn't give to be back at Somerset House!  The date of my graduate show looms closer and closer but lets cast our minds back a few weeks ago (the magic of blogger drafts means this post has been brewing for a while) to the time of year that has probably inspired many a blog post in your feeds.  You might be dreading seeing another post bearing the LFW acronym, but I just had to share a few more pictures I took back on my sole day within the cobbles.  The exhibition holds so much more than a few pieces on a rail; it's these accessible offerings that will assist in setting the tone for the final months of the year.

newgen scarf installation

jw anderson boiled wool knitwear

IMG_3035

topshop is a bit fancy

angel jackson bag

felicity brown

jean charles de castelbajac
Newgen scarf installation, J.W Anderson boiled wool knitwear, some Heikki Salonen boots I need to own, Topshop gets all high-tech, an Angel Jackson bag to covet, the obligatory rail of Felicity Brown's latest offerings, Jean Charles de Castelbajac's take on the peter pan collar

I had ambitious plans to visit every single exhibition stand in Somerset House, On Off and Vauxhall Fashion Scout in one day, but in reality what with negotiating busy streets and cobbles and getting sidetracked by blogger sightings, this really wasn't possible.  What I needed to consider was quality over quantity and I'm glad I managed to spend more time seeing the stands of fewer designers and really getting to grips with the brands.  Sometimes there are embargoes in place, meaning I can't really post the pictures until a certain period of time has passed (Tatty Devine is a good example with some excellent stuff coming later this year) but you can't help but feel excited that you know what will have a hand in setting the trends for next season in contemporary stores. Above are a few of my favourite things I spied on the stands and the Heikki Salonen pic in particular has fuelled my need for even more lace up footwear.

yang du

cheeky pig

elizabeth lau
There are more of my fashion week snaps on my Facebook page

Another great thing is that many of the designers are in residence by their stands and you can have a good old natter with them and understand their inspiration directly without any PR middlemen.  I remember seeing Yang Du's cheeky knitted accessories last season and loving her taken on graphic knitwear.  I'm slightly more convinced I could carry off one of her bright n' baggy motif jumpers now after seeing the designer sport a similar style herself.  It was also lovely to catch up with Elizabeth Lau and I'm even more certain that I need to somehow own one of her cute slogan jumpers and team it with some grey jersey.  Have you seen her AW11 lookbook yet?  It's a really cool concept featuring bloggers as models and I love how each personality shines through.

mulberry toadstools

mulberryaw11

mum at mulberry

mulberry aw11 dress

mulberry fox mask

Unfortunately I wasn't able to go to the Mulberry show due to my Ohio endeavours, so I sent my Mum in my place to see the whole fashion week experience for herself.  I gave her step-by-step instructions on how to use my tiny ancient camera and what to look out for, but even I never expected that she would end up right in the middle of the press pit.  What I love about Mulberry is how they take a strong theme (this season it's the mysterious inhabitants of the countryside) which comes across in all the show paraphernalia yet is never too literal within the collection.  The very English theme brought back a few Luella pangs, but ultimately this brand offers something a little more pared down with cosy styling details with the knee high socks and tartan scarves.  My Mum had a great time seeing the show before her eyes and dressed accordingly wearing the Holly Fulton for Asos dress that I almost sent back before she intercepted it.  She does want to start a blog of her own but hasn't quite got around to it yet, hopefully this will give her the push she needs!

tights at the train station

The final loose end I had to tie up was this last photo, taken on my way home after a long London-filled day.  I'm no street style photographer but I've vowed to snap any details that catch my eye rather than regretting it months later when I'm racking my brains trying to recreate a mental picture.  I loved this lady's tights (I think she said she bought them in Italy) and would love to find a replica somewhere, can anyone help?  Failing that I can always get some fabric paints and go crazy with a plain Primark pair!

I think I underestimated how long it would take me to answer some of the questions for the giveaway, but don't worry as it hasn't been forgotten and the prizes are still safe!  In the meantime here's a taste of what's to come in a few interviews I've managed to do for Alex and Bee.  I'm also hoping to somehow take some more outfit pictures this week before I leave at the crack of dawn for Uni, luckily Spring is on its way!

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Up to Date

2 March 2011

I am always going against the instant nature of blogging by posting things a while after they've occurred.  By the time I've selected the right pictures, formulated a post and figured out a title, a week seems to have passed.  If there are deadlines in between then one week easily becomes two, then three and posts can disappear to that great big draft folder in the sky.  Sheesh.  Luckily certain musings won't date so quickly (expect AW11 fashion week posts in September) so here are a few random things I've been saving for later.

topshop pleated skirt and tee

topshop pleated skirt and tee 2

close up jewellery

Top, Skirt, Bracelet - Topshop
Belt - Battersea Boot Fair
Tights - Urban Outfitters
Shoes - Jeffrey Campbell
Jewellery - Brooklyn, Forever 21

I have worn this Topshop pleated skirt a fair few times since its purchase so the cost per wear is now somewhere in the Primark region.  This was taken a few weeks ago and I probably won't be doing any more living room outfit photos until my deadline is over so wish me luck!

Anthropologie letters

anthropologie changing rooms
They write your name on the fitting rooms at Anthropologie, how sweet!

shopping

pancakes for room service
This crazy room service breakfast could feed about five people

mac wonderwoman haul

shopping trip

Jacket - Topshop
Scarf - American Apparel
Top - Oak NYC
Playsuit - Brooklyn Flea
Cardigan - Franny and Roey
Tights - Target
Socks - Primark
Brogues - Office
Satchel - Tom Brown

So I randomly went for a job interview in Ohio last week (which ended up unsuccessful, but that's another story for another day) and broke my vague shopping ban with a vengeance.  Even though the rates aren't amazing, I still managed to justify spending many dollars at Mac on eye make-up and some of the new Wonder Woman palettes.  I also ended up spending quite a bit at Forever 21 as my denim shirt ended up being scanned twice by accident but they were reluctant to refund me so I ended up finding a lovely cabled cardigan in the men's section to 'swap' it with.  The two pairs of cords are some Levis bargains via Macy's at $16 each and my first Madewell purchase is an unusual necklace I will share with you soon...

blogging lecture

I can now add public speaking to my repertoire; the day after I arrived back in England I somehow managed to give a lecture on fashion blogging to a few dozen 2nd Year students (although the photo makes it seem like I am embellishing the truth somewhat).  It was somewhat cathartic to discuss my experiences and answer some questions because I'm usually quite a lone blogger in Uni-land.  After some quick thinking I suggested that the students bring their laptops so it was more of an interactive experience (and that my gaps in speaking could be filled with plenty of Googling).  At the end I had a chat with everyone suggesting blogs for people to read and even helped to resize a layout; I guess I take for granted all of the things I've learnt in this two year period and it was great to share it with others.  It's quite a change from when my blog was a somewhat guarded secret when it started and I completely forgot to explain this in my lil speech.  These posts have made me reflect on the subject of Blog life vs Real life; it all seems to be mixed together at the moment!

jamie's italian

Glad to have finally made it to the Jamie's Italian restaurant which has just opened in town after quite a buzz on the blogosphere.  It was a bit like one of his cookery books come to life with 'pukka' decor and every little detail thought of.  I have no pictures of the food but demolished my scallop and squid ink pasta accordingly though as ever, I wish there'd been more of it.  Definitely wouldn't mind a second visit though!

Are you a bit behind on your blogging? I have 19 drafts lurking and fashion week posts still to write!
 
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