Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Oh Velvet!

The title is for my Birmingham readers by the way- it alludes to a bar on Broad Street of the same name. My last memory of being in there was of me dressed as an alien for a themed bar crawl, staggering around half blind after drunkenly attempting to stick my big blue glittery falsies back down and inadvertently glueing an eye together. Ohhh velvet...

Anyway, enough of my misfortunes. I want to talk about velvet- the fabric that is. I'm dying to wear some this season, teamed with something black and lacey.

On the train back to Yorkshireland, I was reading Marie Claire's September issue (swiped from our neighbours on holiday by two of my, very naughty, friends) and looked like a bit of a lune to be perfectly honest as a had a bit of a chuckle to myself.

I was reading Anna Pursglove's account of this year's Autumn/Winter, entitled 'The Season Your Boyfriend Just Won't Get'. I laughed because it's so true, especially in my case (my man hasn't yet got his head around the concept of leggings- "so, you can wear them as trousers sort of? Aren't they like tights?")

This season, it's all about massive chunky knits, tweed and an overload of fur- a far cry from last year's thigh high boots and body con.

 Knitwear at D&G (trimmed with yet more fur)

Country chic at Rag & Bone

 Fur at Chanel

What a difference a year makes: Prada A/W 09

In the words of Ms.Pursglove, we seem to be in "the season that sex forgot". But all is not lost.

I'll be going all vamp at night. Lace, leather and velvet have made a few appearances- the indulgent fabrics are usually in there somewhere at this time of the year.

Ralph Lauren had some great velvet bits in my new favourite colour, like, ever. This vampy red colour:

Lace was big at Christopher Kane. I really like the little collars his stuff had going on too.

Givenchy's lace pieces were sexy too- no doubt about that.

So there you have it. Some hope for looking hot this winter! My inspiration? 

Morticia Adams- arguably the best vamp of all time

I can't find much velvet on the high street yet, Topshop haven't delivered the goods. Have you seen any great pieces? 

I think velvet might be a surprise thrift winner though. Velvet's had its moments in past years; I once had a bright orange velvet shirt in the 90s, no word of a lie. Old velvet clothing is usually pretty unwanted- most people think it's dated. I'll let you know if you find anything.

As for the lace, Topshop has redeemed itself as these are now on my shopping list:

Lace bandeau body, £20
Mesh and lace skirt, £20

I'm not sure how on earth I'd wear the skirt though, I'm not really partial to flashing my rear in public. Maybe some sequin hotpants?

Happy shopping x

Monday, 30 August 2010

Odds and ends

This post is a collection of recent random musings/observations/purchases that don't really justify an individual post so basically I've chucked them together here, like some kind of horrible junk-filled charity shop in a bad area- sift through at your leisure.

Spotted in This is England

So firstly, I was watching one of my favourite films the other night- This is England. I know a few people who dislike the film and feel it's overrated due to the amount of acclaim it's received; I however love it for what it is and the film's concept appealed to me from the moment I first heard about it.

I'm really interested in the skinhead subculture (the harmless kind of course) of the 60s, having grown-up listening to my Dad's extensive ska collection, so love the soundtrack in particular; not forgetting all things mise en scรจne too- the fashion, the northern 1980s council estate setting and general direction by Shane Meadows.

I was re-watching the film in anticipation of the upcoming drama series, This is England: -'86- following the group three years on.

Anyway let's get to the matter at hand- I'm now thinking I could've definitely justified an individual post for this! So I'm at the point where our main character Shaun goes off to a shop with his Mum to get himself a pair of iconic Dr Martins, and I suddenly got a pang of deja vu.

I'm sure there's an easier, more technically-advanced method of getting an image of this point in the film but being pretty dense, I thought taking a picture of the TV would be the best option!

Looking familiar? No? Let me cast your minds back to this post.

So yeah, this was a pretty obscure shop I found in Kendal, Cumbria not too long ago. Maybe This is England's one of their faves too! No Dr Martins in sight here; although some of the gear in the shop wouldn't have looked out of place on the set at Shaun's house.

Burgandy? I'll have a glass of red thanks!

Remember my questionably attractive burgandy shorts I crafted from some vintage deadstock jeans? (see here if not)  Well, well, imagine my surprise at the discovery that they are in fact not burgandy, oh no, they are wine.

Yes wine, one of the new must-have colours for A/W if you take notice of that sort of thing. I believe I said something along the lines of 'they might look alright come Autumn'- did I predict it or did I predict it ey? Yes okay, one might argue that I could have easily looked through photos for the A/W '10 runway shows by the time I wrote that post; however being a mere mortal (and having a slight tendency to be lazy), I don't have time to trawl through pictures as soon as they're posted online, I usually just wait for the all-important September issues to hit the shelves to find out what's going on.

Don't look too shabby in this new climate do they?

No comments on my appearance please, your author was very hungover and in desperate need of a good shower

 A mosey around Settle

Ahh the small North Yorkshire town I call home. You may have cottoned-on to the fact that I'm back up here for a few days.

Firstly, as I mentioned here, I decided to go check out my main local charity shop (Age Concern- not yet making the switch to Age UK in these parts!) in my quest for a fur coat.

Now, with no disrespect, my local Age Concern has a pretty ridiculous policy on fur/ faux fur coats- in my opinion anyway.

Basically, the upstairs of the shop is quite unusual. It's quite an extensive 'dressing-up' area, in which clothes and accessories can be hired for around a pound an item- to the best of my knowledge.

It's a truly amzing place to be. Genuine garments from every era conceivable; some pieces being very quirky and rare. Heaven you'd think? Absolutely not.

Why? Because you can't buy anything! The staff at the shop are so committed to stocking this area, that any unusual, vaguely old wearable items entering the shop go straight upstairs- never to see the light of day again (unless of course they're hired out, which isn't all that often).

Tis a tragedy of shakespearean proportions. Just my luck then that EVERY SINGLE fur coat making its way into the shop is considered 'fancy dress'. One of the volunteers looked baffled when I explained that I wasn't attending some pimps and hoes affair, I actually just rather wanted to buy one. "You mean for everyday wear?" she questioned. Believe it or not sister, people sometimes wear these things for reasons other than jest.

Anyway, the volunteers are relentlessy loyal to their policy of not selling anything from the 'fancy dress' section and I was told that the only way I could have a coat is if, by some miracle, there were any that hadn't made that final journey to the top of the stairs. PRAISE THE LORD! behold, three fur coats hadn't yet been exiled to the top room. Unfortunately they were ugly, too big, too long and brown- Miss Fox didn't approve. And so it was that I walked away empty handed.

I also visited the 'All sorts Market' held at the Victoria Hall. I was just passing and thought 'all sorts' might include some fabulous bargains for me- it didn't, and I left 50 pence out of pocket from the entrance fee, boo!

As I was nearby, I also popped accross to the small weekly car boot to see my lovely Gran who has a stall there every Saturday.

I came away with these cool earrings:

They were 50p-a-pair. The black ones are clip ons and the gold ones are studs. Excellent additions to my collection!

Happy Birthday Nanna!

To round off an utterly thilling morning, it was my Great Nanna's 90th birthday- I hope I'm still throwing parties at that age (not that I'm likely to get that far at the rate I'm going).

She showed me up by quaffing champagne whilst I stuck to the J20s- suffering from the night before!

Wow that actually turned out to be a rather long post ey? Still, I've decided to keep it all together; I haven't the heart to uproot the different little sections, not after they've bonded and got to know each other- that's unethical.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Oh Clitheroe...

I was very excited today to be visiting the car boot sale at Clitheroe Auction Mart. I haven't been since I was a wee nipper and can't particularly remember enjoying it so much; but nowadays car booting is like treasure hunting for me!

The auction mart is also where the livestock market is held so it isn't the best smelling or aesthetically pleasing place to shop but it's definitely a rewarding experience!

A quieter part of the car boot sale

I actually didn't end up buying much (more to do with a lack of funds than anything!) but among the few things I bought, I saw old tapestry bags/cases, vintage trunks, big chunky kitsch cardigans and quirky 80s jewellery galore!

Item number one is this black leather purse with gold fastenings for 50p.

The lovely old woman who sold me it told me that it she'd been given the purse as a gift and it had sat in her drawer for years- so perfect condition!

Bargain of the day, I would have to say, is this black faux fur coat which was a mere 3 English pounds!

As you may have read in this post, I've been seriously lusting after a fur coat. I decided I didn't particularly want a black one but at £3, you can't really afford to be fussy!

This one is from C&A; which, seeing as the company left the UK in the late 90s, must be over 10years old at the very least. The label states 'made in the UK' so I assume that the coat isn't from one of the company's current international stores.

If anyone can guess the age from the label, please do!

In a size 12, it fits me really well- just a hint of over-sized, er, ness.

Mummy and Daddy Fox also found me a sewing machine, something I've been after for an age! It's pretty old (my Dad reckons 60s/70s) and is pretty basic, technically speaking, but I'm a (very) basic sewer so that's okay- plus they bartered it down to a fiver!

I literally know nothing about sewing machines nor much about sewing, but the thing works and has all its bits and bobs intact as well as the original instruction manual and even a guarantee! Pretty sure it's expired by now but it's the thought that counts ey?

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Especially fur you...

At the moment I'm obsessed with the idea of owning a vintage fur coat.

I've been looking for one of the faux variety, but that got me thinking, would I ever toy with the idea of owning the real deal?

Fur has been a touchy subject for some time. Since the launch of PETA's "I'd rather go naked than wear fur" campaign, which has been fronted by supermodels such as Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Elle McPherson and Cindy Crawford as well as many more celebrities to date, the issue of wearing real fur was brought to the fore.

PETA supporters still protest at catwalk shows featuring fur- as many high profile designers still use real fur in their collections.

The imminent Autumn/Winter season has seen the rise of all things furry. Especially this year's insanely popular flying/aviator-style jacket. Burberry Prorsum's jackets are flying off the shelves (excuse the pun).

 A selection of Burberry's aviator-style jackets (complete with REAL shearling collars and lining)

Among the increasing list of designers opting for real fur in their designs this season, Chanel showed that faux can be fabulous with their snow storm-themed runway.


 Furry offerings from Chanel

The use of real fur appears to be becoming more acceptable. I personally disagree with killing animals solely for their pelts; though I do wonder where vintage fur fits into the debate.

On some level I think that it's fine to wear vintage fur- no more animals are suffering; however it does convey the notion that wearing fur is still fine and perhaps supports the current farming of it. I also don't fancy the thought of being doused in red paint by an angry animal rights campaigner- so might stick to the faux coats.

I have a significant lack of money at the moment but will probably be investing when the good old student loan goes in.

I got a tad excited earlier because I received a message from Urban Village, Birmingham about their approaching summer sale. I wasn't excited about the summer sale; more the mention of new Autumn/Winter stock which included fur coats.

I tried on a gorgeous grey one in the shop a few weeks ago and nearly bought it. The kind I'm looking for (faux fur, medium length) were around the £30 mark in Urban Village, which isn't bad at all. 

 Some furs in Urban Village

I originally wanted a black or leopard print one but I've changed my mind. With my black hair, I think a black fur would be a little too gothic (not that goths are particularly partial to fur or anything) and I'm not sure I could carry off a full leopard print coat- I might look a little too Bet Lynch. So grey is just perfect (I'm not really into any sort of brown clothing either before you ask).

The high street have some pretty good faux furs,with Topshop leading the way naturally. At the prices though, I'd rather get something more authetically vintage. This minky-coloured Topshop one is £95!

I'm watching this faux fur grey coat on ebay, it currently has no bids and starts at £4- result! (I won't give you the link because I don't want a bigger bidding war on my hands than I'm prepared for!)

I'd of course much rather be able to feel the quality of the coat and try it on (it's a UK16 so may be pretty big considering I'm a firm 10) but if I can get it cheap enough who cares ey?

I'm also going back to Yorkshire tomorrow so may pop into the local charity shop at some point and ask if they have any that I can take off their hands.

Oh, and another thing...

Speaking of ebay, I'm selling the floral Salad by COW dress I featured in this post. Here's the link to the listing if anyone wants to take a look. Please comment if you have any questions about the dress :)


Monday, 23 August 2010

Vintage at Goodwood

Such an exciting event. The first vintage festival of its kind. I wasn't there.

Yep, as much as it pains me to say it, I was enjoying a very uncultured break in Kavos, Corfu at the time (also the reason I haven't been so hot on posting recently).

The three-day festival in Sussex, celebrating all things bygone, looked fabulous and I'm insanely jealous that I couldn't be there.

That said, there's been quite a bit of bad press about the festival. The mock vintage high street wasn't apparently all it was cracked up to be, a no-show by a pregnant Lily Allen, complaints of general disorganisation and "too many retail opportunities" according to the Guardian's review- sounds alright to me!

From the pictures I've seen, it looks like it was worth going just for a spot of people watching/ style inspiration.

Love the fur cape

This lady looks amazing!

The hair and makeup sported at the festival was stunning. I'd love to be able to do pin-up hair myself but it's definitely beyond my capabilities (my hair usually resembles a bird's nest), so I'd have loved to indulge in the hair and make-up tents on site.

I was also sorry to miss Pearl and Daisy Lowe's runway show. This showcased Pearl's new vintage-inspired collection in collaboration with Peacocks.

 The stylish mother-daughter team at their catwalk show

Now, I've always steered clear of Peacocks. Yes it's cheap, but I've never found it to be particularly stylish- neither the clothes nor the clientele (cheap highstreet clothes shops definitely attract plenty of undesirables). 

Despite my prejudice against Peacocks, there are however a few stand-out pieces that I really could see myself wearing.

 This ditsy floral print collared dress (modelled by none other than the gorgeous Daisy Lowe, naturally) is only £7! It is in the sale mind (was £30), but I'm not sure why as it's definitely one of the nicer pieces.

This floral playsuit is gorgeous too, and only £15 down from £30.

The 50s-style polka dot dress above is also a bargain at £12- this wouldn't have looked out of place at Goodwood either! I'm definitely going to have to reconsider my views on Peacocks...

Pictures from marieclaire.co.uk, vogue.co.uk and peacocks.co.uk

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Something for the boys...

Today's post is something that the males can enjoy- hopefully!

Now, don't be scared fellas, but I'm going to talk about the MANBAG- oh yes.

I'm not talking about some kind of unisex, glorified handbag-esque thing (we've all seen that episode of Friends yeah?). Nah, this variety of bag is one which any diserning male can proudly carry around- the sports holdall.

My lovely boyfriend has recently been the object of my amusement for his reluctancy to get himself a decent bag.

He already owns a messenger/record-style bag which is only really suitable for trips to uni or similar. At the other side of the scale he has a medium-sized suitcase. This means that if he comes to visit me for two or three days, he's lugging a mainly empty suitcase around- not so practical.

Like many men, I'd imagine, he wasn't too keen on the idea of getting a 'bag'. After suggesting a sports holdall, he agreed that this may be an acceptable form of, er, transporting equipment.

(why slapping the word 'sports' on something  makes it okay I'm not quite sure)

This is what he ended up with:

This vintage Puma bag was £12 from Urban Village, Birmingham- which I think is very reasonable.

For around the £15 mark , I reckon you're better off buying the real vintage deal; although the current trend among most of the iconic sports brands is retro reproductions.

Here's my pick of the bunch:

For me, Adidas' Originals range has always led the way in retro-inspired sportswear- takes me back to my classic canary yellow/sky blue silky polyester Adidas tracksuit I cherished in the 90s...

Anyway, this adicolor 'Teambag' is a great bit of retro arm candy. At £55, it's a bit steep but definitely my favourite of the lot. The garish 80s-inspired green colour (or in Adidas' words, 'Fairway') is my favourite but it's also available in Black and Gold for a more subtle look.

I've always been a big fan of Fred Perry and the brand's heritage. They do some great retro pieces and this contrast barrel bag is one of several in the range. At £40 it's not too expensive and best of all it's classic, a real investment of a bag. This particular style also comes in an array of colours including blue and orange.

Now let's talk about Fila. In my opinion, they've never really jumped out as being the coolest of brands. Recently though, I've been seeing the brand paraded in various shop windows, looking better than ever before.

It seems that this is down to their launch of the 'Settanta' range earlier this year. The range comprises "the most legendary pieces from the 70's and 80's Fila archive".

While there are no bags in the collection, pieces of interest include this track top:


This is Fila at its best. At £65 it's a pretty pricey bit of clothing, but the original versions of this track top have been known to go for up to £600 on ebay! Doesn't seem so expensive now, ey?

Sadly there are no bags in the range; though the regular Fila range seems to have had a bit of a makeover too and as a result isn't looking too shabby either. Here's one of their holdalls:

Some other brands which do good vintage repro bags include Dunlop and, of course, Puma who have their own Originals range alongside other collections including an Alexander McQueen collection- definitely worth checking out!
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