Mince pies, mulled wine and pleated collars.

November 29, 2010 § 4 Comments

So everyone’s talking about the weather, and I say If you can’t beat them – join them!  Technically I didn’t say that, but it was said nevertheless.  I, sadly, had to forego a pre-planned trip to Anstruther  – a wee Scottish town by the shore – because of the snow and missed out on freshly caught fish & chips, mid-afternoon beach walks, a half-pint with friends by a roaring fire and the prospect of finding a local charity shop full of goodies.  Boohoo, but everyone has their own snow related sob story.

As well as transport cancellations and salt shortages, suitable attire and slip-proof footwear poses a bit of a dilemma at these times.  Personally I have embraced the chill.  Freezing temperatures allow for new clothing ventures – hit or miss, but fun regardless.  I have enjoyed wearing my ridiculously oversized Russian hat and faux fur coats, and found that layering a heritage blazer under an open camel coat is a great take on winter layering and helps to give your over worn winter must a much needed freshen up, as well as keeping you cosy of course.

Moreover, layering up to the max means you can let your mince pie middle hang out!  Yes I’ve had a few boxes already and no I won’t turn the mulled wine off.  Although I think I need a bit of practice in that particular culinary department.  As one of my flatmates pointed out, “surely frying the wine burns off the alcohol”.  Ok, so the pan was a bit hot, but a mulled wine or two warms the soul and makes it that bit easier to walk in three inch heels. Scoring the soles of your shoes with a grater or serrated edge of a knife helps too but please be careful!  Legwarmers are a good investment at this time or year, worn over knee high boots or with ankle boots and woollen tights.  These chunky cable knits can also double up as arm warmers when worn with a drafty cape!  Everyone has their favourite Fair Isle winter knit and luxurious leather lined gloves but I have something entirely different to shout about.

I have also stumbled upon my winter 2010 wardrobe’s saving grace.  Here it is… take note and get one in your life…are you paying attention… how’s my grammar… ok sorry this must be getting annoying.  The article which has revived all winter coats from 2008 to the present day is none other than a double layered, softly pleated camel collar. Astounded?!  But in all honesty, I didn’t realise just how much I loved it until we were separated on Saturday night for a fleeting moment.  Without realising, I dropped the collar on the dance floor as I was leaving a club!!!  Panic set it when I’d discovered it was gone and my knight in shining armour ran back into the abyss and five minutes later returned, proudly wielding the collar.  Phew, that was close.  I don’t plan on letting it out of my sights again anytime soon.

A friend told me recently that she too lost a much loved glove (she still has one thank goodness) to a bin bag containing dog poo, thus it couldn’t be rescued – at least not without a pair of gloves.  The collar I very nearly lost was purchased from an independent boutique in Lisbon, so It may never have been replaced!  Mind you, the cost of a Ryanair flight to Portugal’s capital would probably be equivalent to the article in question.  If you don’t fancy going any further than the internet for your own collar then there are many alternatives for sale on eBay and a beautiful one at New look which would look great with a bold blue ladylike pea coat.  If fur isn’t your thing why not visit the Antique Lace Place for a vintage variety.  Rather than buying yet another coat this season, invest in a collar or two to revive your existing outerlayers, and save the extra cash for a bottle of mulled wine and a box of mince pies!

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The thrill of the hunt.

November 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

For an avid charity-shopper such as myself, the word ‘vintage’ has become mildly irritating. It has changed the entire concept of my favourite pastime, increasing price-tags and fuelling tempers. It infuriates me to see prices as ridiculous as £7.99 for a bobbled cardigan or £28.00 for ‘vintage’ boots in need of a re-heel, a good polish and perhaps a trip down to the bowling alley for a freshen up. Were those boots £2.80 however, I would snap them up in a second. And why shouldn’t they be fairly priced? Stock is entirely donated (equating to a 100% profit margin), employees volunteer their time and business is surely better than ever. Never before has second-hand shopping been so socially acceptable. Charity shops also serve the purpose of providing good quality clothing to those who can’t afford high street prices, right? As uncharitable as I’m beginning to sound, the point I am trying to make is that just because an item of clothing is worn – thus deemed second-hand – and sent off to a charity-shop it does not entitle you to classify it as vintage Mr Banardo! And cutting out the label won’t fool me into thinking it is a genuine vintage article either! I feel privileged that in and around my home town there exists a plethora of charity shops which haven’t followed the disheartening trend of sectioning off a vintage area, and where you are still treated to superior customer service from a 70-something old dear. Mary Portas I love your work, but please leave the O.A.P’S alone – it isn’t a fair fight!

Less is more

November 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

For the past month I have been living somewhat of a nomadic lifestyle. Before moving into my beautiful new flat, I spent one month with friends and family alike living out of one trusty suitcase. It was liberating. I have since reclaimed all of my belongings from various locations. As I unpack bag after bag of clothing, and come to terms with all that I have hoarded over the years, I can’t help but feel utter shame. So, in my quest to compile the perfect wardrobe I have decided to de-weed and downsize my own. I have always enjoyed the less daunting prospect of a compact wardrobe that a suitcase provides. Of course, I enjoy the other benefits that usually come with a suitcase; travel, warm weather, new & exciting cultures and delicious treats to tempt the taste-buds! I’m a Taurus, and was recently informed by my colleague that this particular star-sign is motivated only by the senses. In this instance I would have to say I agree! Not only do I love living out of a suitcase, but I also love collecting them. I hope to one day own the complete Louis Vuitton luggage set but until then I’m happy with my vintage finds. Not only do these suitcases make for the perfect travel companion, but I also use them to house belts, clutches, hats and gloves – they are a perfect storage solution and look great piled up at the end of your bed.

Needle in a haystack

November 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Welcome to the world of the wardrobe weeder. I am here to help with all your styling needs! Being a great believer in style over fashion ‘fads’, I would rather a classic white shirt than the new all in one adult babygro from funzee – even if Rhianna does own one, even if they do cure a hot toddie hangover and might just get us through the 65mph winds expected in and around Edinburgh and beyond this coming week… ok so funzee is an exception in this case! I’m putting it on my Christmas list right away! I apologise for mentioning Christmas on the 8th of November, it won’t happen again. Although I did have my first mince pie last week and felt all warm and tingly inside… But the point i am trying to make is that ‘fads’ are the fashions we aren’t supposed to wear. They have a limited life expectancy and are swiftly pushed to the back of our wardrobes and the back of our minds in a flash. 1:0 to style. Style will always comfort us in times of need, support us through our toughest wardrobe crisis and be there for us on our first date in the form of a classic LBD (little black dress to those who are still learning!). A fashion ‘fad’ is the enemy, the frenemy, the office bitch who taps her watch as you arrive 2 minutes late for work the week before your appraisal and that long awaited pay-rise you had in mind to buy the latest ‘fad’. Don’t. Invest in a classic. ‘Fads’ creep up on us when we least expect it, mess with our heads then disappear as though they never existed. And they did exist, as much as we’d like to destroy the photographic evidence. Avoid fads at all costs. If you own a crop top, harem pants, bloomers or bumsters and don’t have the fashion credentials or confidence to pull them off … Im talking to YOU! I’m not saying don’t have fun, because while i’m a great believer in style, I appreciate it in ALL forms. From the psychedelic punk to the grim Goth – I take inspiration from all walks of life. Everyone has something to offer. I’m just a needle in a very big haystack, but boy am I determined to sew my way to the top and find those answers you’ve been looking for!

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