Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wrapping Up

BRR! My Christmas presents this year were bought with Massachusetts in mind and very temperature orientated: a snuggly Berghaus puffa (best tip if you're after the closest thing to a duvet-day on the go), some sheepskin gloves from my Gran, a pretty little thermal vest from Marks and Spencer from my Mum and a bobble hat bought by myself in that 'one for you, one for me' Christmas shopping patterns from the mens section in Urban Outfitters. 

I'm spending New Years Eve in Manchester, giving it one final big squeezy hug until I return in the Autumn. It's grey, it's wet, it's crap but it's Manchester. Yesterday I ate a homemade cheese and bolognese sandwich while standing in the rain, all wrapped up in my coat and hat and layer after layer, my fingers freezing and bread disintegrating and I still grinned like an idiot in love with the place. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A collection of thoughts on the Rita Liefhebber lookbook

Image of Wool Trousers  Image of Hand Dyed Ombre Collared Dress Image of Wool Double Breasted Vest Dress

I really like this lookbook for Rita Liefhebber, a Canadian designer completely new to me thanks to One Sleepless Night. It has extended the small consideration of colour which has been bubbling away in a corner of my brain just behind the bit that has been ignoring my alarm every morning for the last fortnight and slightly below my sense of humour. But I've been thinking more about colour recently and ways of incorporating it more into my wardrobe. I've never been a massive colour person, but recently I always notice if a person I'm with is wearing something bright. I feel like it's my brain telling me something. I haven't been able to stop thinking about the bright green Kermity wool skirt I saw in Cos when I was in London a few weeks ago and now these little red booties are irresistible to me in an alien way. I look at them and think 'Yes!' and then the other half of me whispers out of the side of my mouth 'Are you sure? They're a bit, y'know, Alison Mosshart and not very you.' When faced with an item of clothing available in a few colours, I'm often drawn to the safer colours; the navys or blacks or beiges not because I'm scared by brighter shades as such but because I always associate the plains as a more practical option 'I can wear it with more', I'll nod as I tuck it under my arm. (To go and pay for it, not because I'm about to shoplift and sprint.)  So flashes of colour are a good place to start, I don't think I'll ever be one of those people who 'colour blocks' and I like smaller flashes of something bright; some neon pink fingernails or a tangerine coloured jumper. Either way, the little red boots have signaled the start of my promise to myself to experiment with colour more. As close as I'll come to a new years resolution. Less of the dark knitwear! 

In similar revelations the ombre shouldered dress induces interested nods. Ombre shoulders! But of course! It seems like everything else in the world is ombre these days so I suppose why not shoulders too? It looks like the sort of dress that would be satisfyingly easy to recreate with some shocking pink or turquoise dylon and an empty afternoon. And hey presto, a flash of colour, hugging across the shoulders like a loyal pet cat.

And last but not least, in my 'Rita Liefhebber lookbook analysis', I really do love trousers with stripes down the side. I've been meaning to get classic Adidas leggings with the stripes down the side for an age but I like the idea of something more slouchy too, less Sporty Spice and more 'woman about town' in their tailoring. (Not that I doubt that Mel isn't a woman about town.) The sort of trousers that require a Katherine Hepburn, hands in pockets stance, a handbag probably full of really good stationary and an all-round nod to the classic Kate Moss and Mario Sorrenti 'his and her' suit look which will never cease to be a much returned to style reference in my book. The charity shops are calling.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Years Eve

These post-christmas days are my favourite part of the holidays. For me they lack the pressures of Christmas or Boxing day and I enjoy being able to graze the contents of the fridge in peace without having to force a smile every time a relative points at a random object and asks 'you going to blog about that? heh...heh...heh.' I can slump on the sofa laughing gently at You've Got Mail while feeding myself Jaffa Cakes sort of like a pasty self-service English equivalent of a Roman leader being fanned by palms and having grapes laid on his tongue. 

There is also time to do further indulgent things like 'mulling over New Years outfits' without worrying that the turkey will combust once you've stepped out of the room. Beyond the glittery nail varnishes here are my fantasy options.

Knitted star jumper, Miss Selfridge / Metallic pleat skirt, Topshop / Novelty Beer Sunglasses / Miss Sporty Sparkle Nail Varnish / Tortoiseshell hair comb, Asos / Platform Shoes, Office / Hubba Bubba for blowing bubbles at midnight.

At Home with Chloe Sevigny: Part Three

Here we are, the third and final part of Chloe Sevigny and her wheezy, wheezy laugh in the 'At Home with Chloe Sevigny' series by Opening Ceremony.  In which she sits at her dressing table and takes us through an album of holidays with ex-boyfriends* and a prom photo. Note to self: must update personal photo albums.

*I remember reading about Mischa Richter in one of those profiles in the contributors section of Vogue when I was about 15 and thinking he was the sexiest man alive and that I was so clever for crushing on a man who wasn't a big name. Shame for me, he was Chloe Sevigny's first boyfriend.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Wears

What I wore yesterday (A Christmas Day special):

Vintage shirt from Uncle Sam's, freshly unwrapped American Apparel High Waist Jeans  (I always used to tut at the price tag but I'm not going back, ever; nothing will make me return to that Topshop denim department which lacks anything truly high waisted and only ever leaves me weepy and uncomfortable and marginally self-loathing in their dusty tumbleweed strewn fitting rooms) as well as my super glittery and favourite ever new Barry M nail varnish in 'Hologram Hexograms' which sounds like the name of the brilliantly shit band you might have been in when you were 15. 

I ate, napped, guffawed at the Downton Abbey Special and performed my annual 'custard undercut' on my Granny's christmas trifle-the bountiful custardy layer is the best bit and you really have to scoop under and cunningly steal more than your fair share for the full impact. It's a given that by the end of Christmas Day the trifle will always have collapsed in on itself and I'll be lying in a supine position on a sofa, satisfied and slightly dying after three portions.

Easy Listening

Two fantastic songs I recommend you listen to: Garnett Mimms's "It Was Easier To Hurt Her" and Adrian Younge's "Gloria (Zodiac Lovers)". I'd never heard of Adrian Younge until an acquaintance posted this song on Facebook and it popped up on my feed. I know very little about him (there isn't a go-to Wikipedia page for swallowing a factually dupious biography and regurgitating but you can read this over at Flea Market Funk) It's really worth having a listen to 'Something About April', the album he released this year as well as the soundtrack he produced for Black Dynamite, a blaxploitation spoof film made a couple of years ago. The two albums merged into one as I've enjoyed the last of Christmas Day with a couple of slices of bread slathered in turkey and mayonnaise and new reads (like Ned Hepburn's recommended by Kirstie) and new music. I'm now going to listen to Venice Dawn, Younge's debut album which has been released and offered up on the world wide inter web for free by his record label. Yeah!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Venetia Scott for Self Service

Brilliant editorial shot by Venetia Scott for Self Service Fall/Winter 11/12. See the rest here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Blue Jeans and White Trainers: A How-To

Big! Christmas is the perfect time of year for rewatching old favourite films, guffawing not because they're hilarious but because they were when you were younger and your belly laughs have grown loyal to the memory of previous viewings. Who hasn't at some point wished they lived in an loft apartment decked with trampolines, drinks machines and enough floor space to simultaneously skateboard like Farrah Fawcett and slurp milkshake through a straw? Pretty jammy then for Tom Hanks's Josh Baskin who spends his days doing exactly that, just, you know, in a man's body. He is also a stellar rapper and pulls off his teenage-boy-dopeyness in a loveable way. Most importantly (though he is technically still 13 years old) he is ripe for enrollment into what I like to call 'The American Dad' brigade, a member of the 'Blue Jean and White Trainer Club', if you will.

It's a look that is very precise and I shall be your tongue-in-cheek tour guide in all things American Dad. Firstly, the jeans. It all comes down to a particular shade of blue and a perfectly proportioned leg. The jeans should be the same shade all the way throughout the fabric, no stonewashing or fades, and certainly no dark indigo-these should be a 'light to medium' blue. (The exception to this rule being these jeans from Cos because what they lack in 'Medium blue' they make up for in 'Relaxed Fit') And in terms of the shape they should be snug not skinny, straight at the ankle and not too baggy around the bum. 

Look to the cinema of the 1980s for referencing purposes. Coming of age films, buddy movies, and family comedies should be your port of call. Look also to the Kings of the brigade-Steve Jobs was of course an original leader. And Steve Martin's George Banks in 'Father of The Bride' who is so dedicated to the look that he owns his very own sports trainers factory and manufactures his daughter a shiny white pair of 'bridal' trainers to wear down the aisle at her wedding. Commitment. Vinyl baseball bombers and baseball caps are acceptable accessories to this look, or sports kits-an old college hoodie with your alma mater emblazoned across the front implies to daughter's boyfriends that yes, while you may currently be 'chilling' in relaxed clothes, you have the intellectual capacity to destroy them in a game of Scrabble. Some white shorts for 'shooting hoops' with family members (extra points if the shorts err on the side of inappropriate shortness) are also a useful go-to for the American Dad. The key to the American Dad look is that something should be 'off' but in a subtle way with a serving of thoughtlessness. Outdated without being garishly 80s. Socks can help here-a wedge of thick white sports sock between the trainer and the bottom of the jean which should be about half an inch away from ankle grazing is perfectly 'off.'

When it comes to the trainers, brands and models actually aren't of significance, as long as the shoe is at least a Size 10 (if you're not buy bigfoot anyway, it's off the utmost importance) and you're going for a Nike or a New Balance or any old running trainer that looks similar, you're good to go. Equally, though I have indeed classified this the 'blue jean and white trainer' look, there is plenty of space for light greys, off whites and blues that perfectly echo the shade of the jeans. Remember, thoughtlessness is key! These trainers should look like they were chosen by a 50 something Dad who is called Henry and mostly grey and who scratches the insides of his ears with the end of his car keys and just wants a pair of trainers that will protect his feet and 'do the trick' when he goes for his weekly Sunday run. 

I'll leave you with a couple of those 'guffaw' scenes, because they are silly and good. And also the 'Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Pop' rap because deep down, I'd still love to learn the words.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Have A Nice Dahlia

My Stepdad designed this awesome t-shirt! He's a gardener at the Botanic gardens at the University of Bristol and has come up with a load of 'plant pun' t-shirts to raise extra money for the Garden. He brought a couple home to show us and I've now claimed this as my own, proud to wear something created my Stepdad, King of crap jokes and now rather unexpectedly..T-shirt design? Yeah!

A Magazine curated by Rodarte

Elle Fanning looks like a real-life, walking, talking pastel-bathed Californian Mermaid in the latest issue of A Magazine curated by the Rodarte sisters. The magazine has just gone on sale and is a 200 page typically Rodarte-esque ode to all things West Coast, inspired by their Santa Cruz childhoods and with a wealth of photography, interviews, and editorials. Go-to muses Fanning and Kirsten Dunst of course feature (the former is photographed by the fantastic Bill Owens), as well as (my personal favourite idea..) a tribute to the extinct California Grizzly Bear from the National Geographic archives. Look how he sits, so perfectly chilled, warming himself in the mountain sunlight on the cover of the magazine. Good bear. I'm adding this to my pile of New Years reading, a perfect portal of dreamy Cali-porn.

eBay Time

Heads up! I'm doing a big clear out and selling a load of things on eBay. Dalmatian loafers, a Ralph Lauren polo jumper, 1961 issue of US Vogue and lots of old Topshop all starting at 99p. Have a peruse, I'll be adding a couple of sheepskin jackets later in the week too..

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On George Clooney's shirt and au naturel make-up

Today I received this fantastic Burberry shirt from Sarah at Edie Mac; she has fantastic memory as she'd remembered me featuring something similar in this 'Style Notes for the Guys' collage at the start of the year. Now I may spend my days drifting about feeling sexy like George Clooney in One Fine Day. Yeah!   

In news that seems in a way significant to the blog; I am now the owner of a Macbook Pro! Cue just about repressed shrieks on my behalf while my clammy hands tap away at a gloriously shiny new machine and I venture into the world of blogging from the Mac camp after 5 years on Team PC. The laptop is an early 21st birthday present from my super generous Granny-sort of apt seeing as how over the past 5 years she's been a bit of an honorary figure in the background of the blog; forever my cafe visiting comrade and all-round influencer.

For the last week I've stopped wearing mascara and it feels really good. The sans-mascara look is something I always thought was reserved for other people. I'd read profiles of people on Into The Gloss in which they'd profess their au naturel approach and I'd usually retort with a cynical wave of my hand "Bullshit, you're half-french and beautiful, of course you don't need to wear make up, but some of us aren't so lucky.." Well, that in turn is also bullshit and was all down to my own approach; toning things down make-up wise is liberating and I like that it's one less thing to think about in the morning that actually benefits me in that I no longer associate mascara as some kind of 'confidence tool'. In other words I don't feel 'naked' without it. Instead I'm extra dedicated to eyebrow brushing (yes, it's true, I brush my eyebrows in the morning with an old toothbrush..) and a bit of lipstick as my skin is always at it's palest and most in need of colour this time of year. After wearing my Mac in Morange more over the autumn, I've returned to my more punchy and faithful Chanel Rouge Allure in Passion which was my first ever red lippie and is just about holding out, with the tower of red a smidgen lower every time I twist it from it's fantastic gold case.

Friday, December 16, 2011

On My Way

I'm moving on again! The tedious packing process continues in my little house Manchester, as I box away my room, take down my pictures, roll up my clothes and fob left over food cupboard essentials onto my friends. ("Guys, guys? I have half  a packet of falafel mix and some frozen lamb neck on offer, who wants them?" "........") While I do grown up things like 'hand in the keys' and 'scrub the floor' and move back home to Bristol for a month until my move to America, have a listen to Dean Parrish's Northern Soul classic 'I'm On My Way', which I've been listening to all week-I recommend it five or six times in a row at least. I also have a new Manchester based sponsor (hurrah!), vintage site Edie Mac if you fancy having a peruse for some last minute Christmassy gifts. I'll be back shortly!

Monday, December 12, 2011

bright white

A uniform I wouldn't mind: These little white dresses worn with tan tights and bright white shoes at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. I also really love the boxy jackets with the back to front Peter Pan collar details and the dress in the top picture makes me think of a more 'work friendly' version of the Versace Versus dresses. From Alistair Cooke's 1972 'America' series.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Clockwise from top left: Baseball cap and long jacket, Emelie Johansson shot by The Sartorialist/ The object of my current desire: Nike Air Vortex Vintage/ New (and until now) unpublished photographs of Kate Moss shot in 1994 for Vibe Magazine-read more here/ Really love this Ophyr ring set by Estelle Deve after seeing them worn by the brilliant Fashion Polish/ Young Steven Spielberg via Marshall Matlock/ Street Bauble 'Oui' ring/ The Surf Lodge in Montauk, shot by Vanessa Jackman/ The lovely shoes of this girl shot by Mr Newton.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

xmas gift guide #3: for the guys

Compiling gift guides for men is just as much fun as dreaming up gifts for women, though it always seems to be the case for most male gift guides across the board the formula goes something like this: shaving brush, hard liquor, good socks, TECHNOLOGY as if they're the hallmarks of masculinity and strictly 'not for the ladies.' My own guide doesn't veer that far from said formula but it should go without saying that I'm not a guy but I would be a very happy bunny to wake up with any of these presents on Christmas Day. Those Nikes!

Friday, December 09, 2011

At Home with Chloe Sevigny

Chloe Sevigny gives Opening Ceremony a tour of her overwhelming wardrobe in part one of 'At Home with Chloe Sevigny', the sort of title that is synonymous with a excited sigh and rubbing together of hands.

She also laughs about that photograph taken with Kate Moss backstage at a Miu Miu show in the 90s and how she was "totally nerdy, uncomfortable and out of place" standing next to a sexily posing Kate. I'm also fascinated by Chloe Sevigny's ability to hoard so much when she must have collected lots over the years-clothes and newspaper cuttings and invitations and all of those miscellaneous objects that find their way into our homes-check out the masses of shelves as she walks down her stairs, like a cave of storage or the storeroom in the back of an old shoe shop which would require ladders and a great memory in order to navigate.

And a word on the new haircut-it's not my bag but another example of how much better it is to take risks and try to new things especially when it comes to hair. It's always interesting to chart how different hair styles  can affect the way others perceive and react to you and in turn how this impacts on your own behaviour. 'The psychology of hair', if you will. Plus, I'm convinced that being a bit braver about changes in appearance and stepping outside of your comfort zone is simply 'good for the soul'.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

More fisherman love

Yeah! Fisherman coats in the January issue of Vogue Nippon.

On a similar note, I've signed myself up to a class next semester called 'New England Maritime Culture 1620-1840' because yes, I find myself surprisingly curious to learn about the history of 'whaling, fishing and shipbuilding' and amazed that such niche sounding courses even exist. I'll probably need to get over my slightly goofy Peter Griffin-esque 'guys, guys, I'm doing a course in Maritime culture haw haw haw!' approach by the time January comes around, but until then..

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Dalmatian Loafers for sale!

It pains me to do so, but I'm selling my lovely Dalmatian loafers because they are too small! I bought them on Etsy and I may recreate the ugly stepsister shoe-squeezing scenario as many times as I like but it won't change anything. 

So if there are any takers with UK size 6-6.5 feet, email me at and let me know. I'm selling them for £25 which is a few quid less than I originally paid but I'm open to haggling. Posting and packaging will depend on your location and payment through Paypal.

You can see the more detailed original listing here which contains the exact measurements of the shoe. Hopefully these will go to a good home, it's such a waste having a pair of such rad shoes gathering dust.

Practically Cool

Top: An unidentified Berghaus puffa and the Moncler advert Fall/Winter 2009 by Bruce Weber.
Second top: Arsene Wenger in the Football Manager look and Spring/Summer 2011 Moncler ad by Bruce Weber. Middle: The famous get-ups in East 17's 'Stay Another Day' music video and Penfield Summit puffas. Bottom: Supreme puffa (see similar here) and a trusty Uniqlo Ultra Light Men's Down jacket.

Yes, it's cold. It's cold, it's cold, it's cold. It really is bloody cold. But that's old hat and not enough to warrant the 'snow causes disruptions' headlines that plague British news channels year after year. Although perhaps because the bitter breath of winter is once again breathing down our necks, I've been looking at puffa jackets in a whole new light. I have realised that sensibly swaddled Football managers, and, well East 17 are the surprising key holders of the wisdom of keeping warm. Of course, there are lots of things that can keep you properly warm but they're not always the things that we might like to wear. Puffa jackets used to belong in this league for me. They were something I didn't think much about, by no means a 'rare' un-traversed item of clothing-loads of people wear puffas-just something that maybe I associated with school children or Italian men and not myself. But the quilted down, the voluptuous Michelin-man curves have an new appeal because my semester abroad in America is now just around the corner and I've been looking to Bruce Weber and wise on-location Directors because they are exactly the people to know about riding out a severe chill of which I'm to expect in Massachusetts. 

There is unsurprisingly a wealth of variety when it comes to puffas, do you like them nipped in at the waist or bulky and 'turkey fat'? There are those that graze the knees-not much my bag as then it really does avoke the 'child eaten by coat' look as seen at school-or boxy ones that hit just under the hips to avoid muffin top breezes. Brr. In my book the most important decision probably comes down to the fabric. The Moncler type puffa is flashier with it's super duper shine while it's more matte, waxy counterparts suggest that 'Director getting a job done' practicality which is exactly what I like about puffas in the first place. The idea of wearing this type (see the Supreme one in the collage) with a stubby pony tail, a sliver of green boiled wool skirt (see Cos) maybe a Dries Van Noten gold hair band and some leather boots or Nikes is to me, the holy image.

Although that doesn't sound too unpalatable an outfit, I suppose the Puffa is also an extension of the other geekier items that have wooed me over the last couple of years and which read like a list of Dad memorabilia (if such a things exists) Fishing jackets, dungarees and teva sandals move over, for the Puffa! Or just love each other in a brotherly way, united in your common purpose. The common purpose of being Practically Cool. In which practicality ever so slightly limits the end result and that in itself is is what makes it not only snug but slightly smug-the wardrobe equivalent of a nonchalant shoulder shrug 'It's cool, I'm warm in this.'