Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Comfort Zone

A wise man (Lao Tzu, to be precise) once said: "A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar", which is all well and good, but doesn't translate too well into the modern world in my opinion.

In many ways, I have always been in the "no pain no gain" school of style. Not that I'm willing to torture myself but I tend to make an effort. When I'm at uni though, engaging in scholarly pursuits of my very own, I'd be an absolute fool not to highly rate comfort. I don't even do a great deal of walking around campus but comfy shoes are a no-brainer.

For me, there are only two options for comfy flats:

Bloch Ballet Flats

Good enough for dancers, good enough for me. Every colour under the sun, and a world of comfort. Effortless class.

Here's my completely over-worn (but still standing and still very much adored) cappuccino-coloured pair:

Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Melissa Flats

Comfy, adorable rubbery goodness. Surprisingly versatile. And who doesn't want a pair of shoes that smell like bubblegum? Yes, really. (P.S. They're also available at ASOS)

These are my very own beloved pair of the 'smoky orb' style, but a fair few of the others (particularly the beige buckled) are on my wishlist:

Stay comfy, it doesn't make you any less of a scholar in my eyes.

Ciao for now,

Monday, 12 September 2011

A Good Vintage

The problem with my blog... (or at least, one of them) is that you only get to see a couple of aspects of my style. It's a lot easier for me to write about high street and designer items than it is one-off pieces, like those I've accumulated from sample sales, fashion shows, thrift stores, charity shops, vintage shops, boutiques and pop-up shops, my travels, and inherited items.

However, we live in the age of have-anything-any-time. Vintage shopping takes on a whole new dimension when you can access it via your trusty laptop. It's hard to know if an item has the right 'feel', the right look, the right fit, but there's no harm in browsing, and the beauty of vintage is that you never know what you'll find!

My Vintage is a site that seems dedicated to making vintage as accessible as possible. It gives you the option of searching by colour, era or size and has a range of designer and non-designer pieces and therefore a whole range of prices too. I love the 'Search By Era' option, and personally find the jewellery on offer to be particularly beautiful - I'm especially partial to a nice vintage brooch.

 Art Deco Handmade Stained Glass Crystal Swallow Brooch Handmade Reproduction Baroque/Rococo Swarovski Crystal Cameo Bracelet Reproduction Round Green Stained Glass Art Nouveau Brooch

Vintage Reproduction Silver Swarovski Crystal Lizard Bracelet  Monochrome Enamelled Dragonfly Vintage Style Brooch  Classic French Vintage Style Framed Cream Enamel Brooch

For similar finds in the real big wide world (well, in London at least), I head to the legendary Portobello Road Market (also my personal purse and clutch heaven), or to the antique shops and stalls on Islington High Street and Camden Passage (just off Upper Street, detailed in this link).

Rokit have been a staple of any London vintage shopper's list for quite a while. I personally visit their Covent Garden and Brick Lane outlets most often. Little did I know, trawling across the big smoke is no longer an issue due to their presence on the good old worldwide web. I will always love Rokit most for its leather goods - in particular bags, belts and shoes (below: Chanel, Bally) but more recently, for their astonishing array of leather shorts. Yes sir, there is indeed such a thing as an astonishing array of leather shorts - see for yourself.

In both the real world and the virtual one, I also visit Absolute Vintage for pretty dresses and cosy jumpers, and Beyond Retro for, well, everything. I got one of my favourite vintage finds - a cream satin and lace pencil skirt - from their branch just off London's Oxford Street.

Granted, these are some of the more 'commercial' vintage outlets (hence their web-readiness) and so can't offer the same bargains that smaller outlets, charity shops and thrift stores can, I know. They also sometimes deal more in 'reclaimed' garments than genuine vintage finds, but if you have money but no time (I have neither, boo-hoo), these are a great option as they minimise the trawling through endless rails (the most fun but most time-consuming part of any vintage adventure).

So take a trip to the past using the technology of the future and really upset the space-time continuum. I'm off to perm my hair, watch Back to the Future and crush on Marty McFly.

Ciao for now,

Saturday, 10 September 2011

The Night Shift

It's pretty common for me to notice patterns in my outfit choices. Firstly, because even I have to admit that I don't deviate much from what I like (note to self: take more risks), and secondly, because I think I have one of those brains that really just likes noticing patterns.

I've recently noticed that my go-to outfit of choice for nights out seems to be a shift dress and nude heels. Not convinced? Allow me to elaborate. Presenting Exhibit A...

My friend Jeremy's 21st Birthday

This white chiffon shift with the embroidered neckline detail is just wonderful and was an impulse buy from the ever-trusty Topshop. The nude clutch is by Billy Bag. I also wore my nude court shoes from ASOS, featured in my post here. The facial expression is courtesy of one too many Cosmopolitans - shhhh!

And Exhibit B:
My 21st Birthday Outing, a few weeks later:

This black sequinned t-shirt shift was a last-minute panic purchase from ASOS, by Mink Pink. My word, am I glad I trusted my impulses on this occasion. I wore it with a pair of nude Balenciaga strappy platform sandals, which I got from a sample sale a while back.

Both dresses cost in the region of £35-£45 (I believe the Mink Pink one was reduced from around £90), so neither broke the bank - no wonder I could afford such a lovely holiday.

All in all, I think the moral of this sweet little tale is that a) impulse buys can be some of the best, and b) having a go-to style isn't always a bad thing. If it works for you, stick with it!

Ciao for now,

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

"the girls in their summer clothes pass me by"

Hello, hello. I'm back. In case you'd forgotten who I am (and let's face it, I wouldn't blame you), I'm apparently the worst blogger in the entire world. Just a quick note to say many thanks to the people who have still taken the time to check the blog over the past few months. I could give you a billion excuses but really, I just think your patience is commendable - I'd have given up on me long ago.

One of the many reasons I've been horribly absent is that I've been on holiday. The Mister and I made a somewhat last minute decision to stay at Le Meridien Hotel & Spa 5* resort in St. Julian's, Malta, and it was just perfect - here are a few pictures. I see this as a sort of last hooray for summer style, as Autumn has reared its actually-not-very-ugly head here in the UK. (Think conkers and falling leaves, as opposed to grey skies and drizzle, which I'm sure are just waiting in the wings for now.)

Frolicking in St. Julian's bay, wearing Topshop on Topshop
(forgive me o fashion father, for I have sinned.)

Faux-vintage bathing chic, courtesy of H&M
(robe) & New Look (bathing suit).

St. Julian's bay.
Streetlights and railings and quaint Mediterranean charm.

I don't know who Basil is, but I'll always
appreciate thoughtful street art.

Balluta Bay.
I really recommend the restaurant left of the arches - Barracuda.

The view from our balcony.
Just beautiful.

Me clambering over rocks in a much less ladylike manner than
the pictures suggest, at the blue lagoon, Gozo.

The bay. It was just so pretty,
I couldn't stop taking pictures.

The phenomenal blue lagoon.
I've never seen water so perfectly clear.

Other than that, the Summer just seems to have passed me by. I've had a very busy few months - I finished the second year of my degree, passed my exams, turned 21, went to Paris for the first time since moving there as an eighteen-year-old and whilst there, saw my first ever opera, and moved to Singapore and then moved back (a long, not-very-interesting story about graduation, job prospects, finances, etcetera etcetera). Later this week I'm going back to Leeds for my final year.

So, I guess my final request for this post is that you stay posted for more posts on all of the above. And in turn I promise to not use the word 'post' so much.

Ciao for now,

Monday, 23 May 2011

Fairy Tale Part 3:

You're Everything a Big Bad Wolf Could Want

So last month a new film was released based on Red Riding Hood, and starring Amanda Seyfried. I have no idea if it's any good or not, but I love the imagery and the story of Little Red Riding Hood in general. There's also an updated version of Beauty & the Beast coming out, but I consider the original Disney one an untouchable masterpiece so the less said about that the better!

Incidentally, Amanda Seyfried has done a cover of Sam the Sham and the Pharoah's ingeniously lyrical 1966 hit, which I somewhat unexpectedly love. Here it is:

Hope you like it!

Ciao for now,

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Fairy Tale Part 2:

That's Why It's Hotter Under the Water.

What little girl (or in some cases, boy) hasn't dreamt of being Ariel with her red locks floating around her while she swims up to that little hole that the light pours through, dreaming of the human man she loves?
Ok, maybe not.

But there's something so romantic and alluring about mermaids. Maybe it's the whole nothing-but-shells covering the breasts thing, but oh well.

So here's a few items that could build up a mermaid-inspired look:

 House Of Harlow - Fish scale platform pumps D&G 

Matthew Williamson Pre-Fall 2011 Image 1 of ASOS Suspender Cropped Corset Top

1. Topshop Premium Skeleton Maxi Skirt, $125, as seen on Olivia Palermo.
Image from
2. House of Harlow Fish Scale Platform Pumps, £225 @ Harvey Nichols
Image from
3. D&G Sequinned Cropped Jacket, £585 @ Net-a-porter
Image from
4. Matthew Williamson Pre-Fall Collection 2011
Image from
5. ASOS Suspender Cropped Corset Top, £30.
Image from 

And finally:

Disney Couture Little Mermaid Message in a Bottle Necklace
Little Mermaid
Message in a Bottle Necklace
by Disney Couture
£55 @
(Image from

And now for my favouritest scene from the Disney movie, with the rock, and the romance, and the splashing ocean, and the vocal, and ok, I'm sorry, I'll stop now:

For Part 1 of the Fairy Tale series of posts, click here.

Ciao for now,

Friday, 20 May 2011

Fairy Tale Part 1:

"Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale of all" - Hans Christian Andersen


As a perpetual daydreamer since childhood, I have always loved fairy tales. From Hans Christian Andersen to the Brothers Grimm to Goethe and later, to Disney and Tim Burton's imaginings, I think they're one of the most interesting cultural legacies that we have, particularly in continental Europe.

I've spoken before about combining styles in fashion and literature, and how important I think this is. This becomes relevant again because the beauty of fairy tales is in their combination of beauty and whimsy with the gothic, the surreal and the sinister. And how could that not be relevant to fashion?

It doesn't take a great deal of research to trace the links between fashion and fairy tale. From the Chanel No. 5 advert starring Estella Warren to Galliano's (is it safe to mention him yet?) princess-inspired catwalk designs at Dior, fashion and fantasy are intrinsically linked.

And, after some considerable scaling down (after all, we can't all dress like Paloma Faith and Lady Gaga in daily life), these inspirations can be relevant to your wardrobe too. I've already done a post on the seriously enduring peter pan collar, which you can view here.

I felt I should document some of the countless editorials in all the great fashion magazines that prove that these classic tales are a ceaseless and seemingly infinite source of fashion inspiration.

Tim Walker, The Snow Queen, featuring Caroline Trentini, for British Vogue 2009
  foto_decadent: The Snow QueenPhotographer: Tim WalkerMo

A selection by my all-time personal favourite photographer, Annie Leibovitz:
Alice in Wonderland, featuring Natalia Vodianova, for Vogue, 2003
KIMBERLEY CHAN » Annie Leibovitz, Alice in Wonderland Editorial  Alice In Wonderland Fashion Editorial by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue US | TrendLand -> Fashion Blog _ Trend Magazine
{ Rococo Vintage } fashion, fairy tales,   gin gimlets  { Rococo Vintage } fashion, fairy tales,   gin gimlets

The Wizard of Oz, featuring Keira Knightley, for US Vogue 2005
Emerald City - Annie Leibovitz Photo (6137519) - Fanpop  The Wizard of Oz by Annie Leibovitz | Who Designed It?

Beauty and the Beast, featuring Drew Barrymore, for US Vogue, 2005
Enchanted Serenity of Period Films: Drew Barrymore - Beauty and the Beast  quite contrary: its time

Though if anyone could rival my Leibovitz-love, it's this ingenious caballero:
Eugenio Recuenco for Vogue, 2006
.: Eugenio Recuenco :. Online portfolio  Eugenio Recuenco - Fairy Tales - Silent Storyteller
2009 August « de Roemer Blog  Im an Addict for Dramatics

Mert and Marcus, Into the Woods, featuring Natalia Vodianova as Red Riding Hood, Vogue 2009
A Visual Party.  A Visual Party.

Of course, when it comes to fairy tales, Disney have had something of a Monopoly since the 1950s, and - as a self-certified complete and utter Disney geek - I am not complaining one bit. In recent years, the Disney Couture line has become popular the world over, with celebrities and plebeians alike. Browse and buy from the collection on Zentosa and ASOS.

divinely tragic » tumblr  Princess Dreams

So take some time to add some fairy tale charm to your outfit, be it a bow in your hair, romantic lace and chiffon, or a beautiful piece of Disney Couture jewellery. Who says you're only young once?

Ciao for now,
(image source:

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

"Two drifters, off to see the world,
there's such a lot of world to see."

Happy birthday to the wonderful, timeless, graceful, elegant, beautiful, talented, stylish and radiant Audrey Hepburn.

Henry Mancini: "Moon River was written for her. No one else has ever understood it so completely."

...My grandfather's favourite song and the soundtrack to my life.

Ciao for now,

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Rule Britannia

I think it's super-duper important to support homegrown talent. This is relevant to all the arts - music, theatre, film, literature, the list goes on. The future of the arts in Britain looks like it might be somewhat compromised at the moment, but I'm not here to get political. I'm here to say I love fashion from all over the world, but I'm especially proud of British style. Historically, Britain is associated with both prim and proper elegance and raucous, anarchic movements and the style here tends to reflect these traditional yet forward-thinking values, much as it does in places like Tokyo.

Young British Designers is, unsurprisingly, a wonderful website that showcases the best of emerging British designers and raises the awareness and availability of these brands. Such a great idea.

Visit the website here, and follow them on twitter here. They're great to follow if you're at all interested in fashion, and actually run by real people and not weird advertising-bots.

But for now, here are a few of my absolute favourite items from the site. (These were admittedly tough to choose - sorry there's so many.)

Cortina Indigo Jacket Bubble hemmed Georgette Jacket Blue 3D Silk Jacket

Studio Nicholson Cortina Indigo Jacket, £299
Olivia Rubin Bubble Hemmed Georgette Jacket, £154
Jena.Theo Blue 3D Silk Jacket, £720 £350

Silk Feather Embellished Dress Tara Dress Cream, Peach & Blue Shirly Dress

David Longshaw Silk Feathered Embellished Dress, £450
Minna Tara Dress, £300 £175
Jenna Gibson Cream, Peach & Blue Shirly Dress, £950

Peach Short Layered Dress with Cut Out Panels Peach Pleat Fronted Trousers Silk Feather Skirt with Paint

Kirsty Ward Peach Short Layered Dress with Cut Out Panels, £375
Kirsty Ward Peach Pleat Fronted Trousers, £399
Simeon Farrar Silk Feather Skirt with Paint, £257 £110

Harry Vest Georgie Lace T-Shirt Navy Lace Billy Mini Skirt

Irwin & Jordan Harry Vest, £110
Irwin & Jordan Georgie Lace T-shirt, £225
Irwin & Jordan Navy Lace Billy Mini Skirt, £230

Dark Denim Merulina Shorts Black Leather Wrap SkortMini A-Line Skirt in 100% Wool.

Ada Zanditon Dark Denim Merulina Shorts, £190
Sykes Black Leather Wrap Skort, £499 £249
LP.BG Mini A-Line Skirt in 100% Wool, £320 £130

Brick T-Shirt Baseball T-Shirt Bold Shouldered Tailored Jacket

Olivia Rubin Brick T-shirt, £81 £45
Viking Wong Baseball T-shirt, £69 £39
Viking Wong Bold Shouldered Tailored Jacket, £695 £295

Navy Mabel Shoes Chantilly Lace Pump Mint Orient

Sophie Gittins Navy Mabel Shoes, £536 £336
Lislie Yeung Chantilly Lace Pump, £385
Sophie Gittins Mint Orient, £350

They also stock the already-infamous She Died of Beauty t-shirts and totes, featuring slogans like 'she died of beauty/individuality/love/perfection/kisses'. They're incredible and edgy and whimsical and tongue-in-cheek and so very, very British.

...and only £40.

Snap one up here. Don't say I never treat you, readers.

These aren't all the most affordable items if you're on a budget, but when you're owning a piece of fashion history, paying a small amount more than you would for a high street piece is more than worth it.

I'm not sure I can do YBD the justice they deserve, so here's a link to their 'about' page. Please take a minute to have a look at the site and see which pieces you love for yourself. I guarantee there'll be quite a few.

Ciao for now,

[All images from]