Saturday, 31 July 2010

The Sheffield Summer Vintage Fair

I've just got back from Sheffield's summer vintage fair and boy is that place like Disneyland for me! Gorgeous vintage dresses, tops, hats, shoes and bags everywhere you look, throngs of well-dressed people and a stall selling tea and cupcakes - you can't go wrong.

As much as I wanted to stay in there all day, I also didn't want to drag my boyfriend around for too long, as sadly the menswear section wasn't particularly big (he's also quite a skinny man, so finds it really hard to find vintage clothes that fit him). With that in mind, I narrowed my (potentially millions of) purchases to two tops. One is a loose, dusky pink blouse in a pussybow style and the other is a white sweater in the style of a polo neck. They're both so gorgeous and I have absolutely no idea which one to wear to the street party tonight. Decisions, decisions...maybe I'll muse it over one of the fair's Fancie Cupcakes.

Monday, 26 July 2010

The Power of Shirt

(Sing the title of this entry to 10cc's 'The Power of Love'. Go on, you know you want to!)

I've spent most of my weekend wearing - and being in love with - the crisp, white men's shirt. Not only is it versatile, but it's also inexpensive and not very difficult to find. I swapped a t-shirt of mine (that was originally Tom's) for my brother's old one, as he said white shirts highlight his 'funny nipples'. After cringing at this excess of information, I set to finding ways to wear it. I think my favourite so far is tied in a knot at the front with high-waisted shorts or jeans, or a simple black dress teamed with brogues, which is how I chose to strut out on Saturday. I got lots of compliments on it and while definitely be trying it with the white shirt's denim and plaid brothers and sisters.

Well, if it works for Carmen and Liya...

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

She's Got The Look

For those of you that don't know, it's a website with impossibly beautiful women (and men for that matter) flaunting their fashionable wares. Some find it enthralling, some self-obsessed, but I look at it as a source of inspiration. All too often I'll be walking down the street, see someone with a great outfit on and immediately want to run after them and ask where they got it. With Lookbook, that is a thing of the past, as users also put up where they got each item from. Sometimes it's not possible to get the piece you might want, but it's also a great way to form ideas from your own wardrobe, which is what I shall be doing with some of my favourite looks today: "Streets of Norrköping" by Ebba Zingmark - Jacket H&M

I love the mix of preppy and geek chic in this outfit. I'd probably recreate it myself with my navy boyfriend blazer, red pashmina (which I use as a scarf), thick socks and this Topshop rock t-shirt dress:

I bought it for the festival season, but I think the straight shape and soft jersey feel would be a cool replacement for Ebba's grey dress.

Monki Wedges, H&M Flower Skirt, Viviennewestwood Accessory, Pretty Vacant Who's a Pretty Boy? // "Let's crash that Party ♪" by Mio Babylove //

If I could only wear one outfit in my life, it would probably be something like this. I have a skirt like that, I have big boots and ripped tights and I have my own handpainted t shirts with writing on them. I even have my beloved leather jacket, although I think I'd trade in Old Faithful for the beautiful jacket Mio is sporting. The lapels, studs and buttons are just fantastic. "There's some sweetness going around." by Coury Combs - Vintage Clogs, H&M Peter Pan Jacket, Urbanoutfitters Ruffled Shorts

This is just cute with a capital C. I adore the blue peter pan jacket and would probably try and create a similar effect with an oversized denim shirt. I adore the vintage clogs, although I probably walk like a prat in them, so I'd stick to Urban Outfitters clogs, which have a handy strap at the back. Weirdly, I have an alarmingly similar top to Coury's (I suspect she also got hers from Urban Outfitters), although mine has this 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' illustration on it:

Buy your own for £28!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Crazy for Camel

No I don't mean this:

Although HOW CUTE?

I mean the colour camel, currently tipped to be very big come Autumn/Winter time.

Now, I love fashion, but I'm not exactly a slave to trends. If I see something and like the look of it, I buy it, not really caring how bang on it is. It's not that I actively rebel against trends, it's just that I don't actively hunt them either. I don't care what anyone says; some trends do not look good on a 5'3 girl with a blow-up doll figure. Harem pants for example are best left to 5'10, runway-ready matchsticks and even then the prospect of a baggy crotch is not an enticing one.

However, there's something really appealing about a camel-coloured trenchcoat to keep you warm in the colder weather, like this one:

As seen in Michael Kors Ready-To-Wear A/W10-11 show

I've also been getting slightly twee images in my head of wearing camel-coloured sweaters whilst kicking through the autumn leaves in my winter boots. Clearly a new addiction is in the pipeline, so without further ado, here are...

MJ's Tips for Wearing Camel
1) Don't Do All In One - Look up any runway photos and you'll probably see a few designers have kitted their models in head-to-toe camel. It looks very effective, but it's probably something best left to the catwalk, as in the real world you risk looking too 'try-hard'. Camel works best with other neutral tones, such as white, black and navy.
2) Do Take Baby Steps - Camel is a neutral colour, but no one's going to penalise you for not throwing yourself in at the deep end, particularly if you're reluctant to follow trends. A friend of mine said she was reluctant to try camel as she found it a bit 'old-ladyish'. If you're the same, why not try a camel bag (satchels are very cool) and then gradually build yourself up to a coat or dress?
3) Don't Be Afraid - If you want to try camel (or indeed anything), don't worry about what anyone else will think. The most important thing is how you're clothing choices will make you feel, so if you want to try something new and feel good in it, go for it!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Chronicles of Hair (and a really self-indulgent post)

Whilst nowhere near as bad as my mum (who punctured my childhood memories by looking like a different woman every week), I must admit to having a pretty short attention span when it comes to my hair. It all started when I was about 12, bored with my long mousy brown locks and unwisely deciding to go blue instead. The results were not too hot and I therefore resolved to go a tulip pink, which fared slightly better, but ultimately makes me cringe now. The image of a 13-year-old girl with pink hair and a dog collar WILL come back to haunt me.

I finally found my niche, so it seemed, when my mum suggested I go red. At this point, my hair was past my elbows and I spent most of my time wearing a parka and preaching animal rights. The parka and preachiness went, but the vegetarianism and red hair were still going strong through the latter half of secondary school. It was a bitch to maintain, but I loved my red hair. I decided to make it even more of a challenge by opting for a Mary Quant bob aged 16/17, which looked like this:

(Yes I am holding up the camera and posing on my bathroom floor - shut up, Myspace was big okay?)

I loved it, a lot of people did, but JEEZ it had to look perfect all the damn time. I remembered my days of long hair, where I could leave it looking a hippy-chic mess. Not so with the 60s bob - serum and straighteners became both my best friends and worst enemies. If it grew out the tiniest bit, the world and his wife could tell. Eventually (aged about 18, not long after I met my boyfriend Tom and with his encouragement), I cut all of my hair off - at least that's how it seemed at the time. I had been toying with the idea for months and finally decided to just go for it.

This was the result, more or less: long enough to play with and shorter on the back and sides (also, my boyfriend has gone through his own image change - hard to believe he had longer hair and no sexy stubble at all back then!).

It seemed I had found my style...had I? Nope, of course not. By the summer of 2009, I was sick of having to tend to my red hair. The colour would shine and pop for all of a week and a half, before it started fading. On top of that, after 5 or 6 years, I was simply getting bored. I toyed with the idea of going blonde - dirty, peroxide, Debbie Harry blonde. I'm nothing if not up for a risk, but to the hairdresser at Essensuals it proved too much of a risk, as he flat out refused to do it. My mum, who had plenty of experience with her own hair, said she could probably bleach it herself. It was VERY faded by this point and all it took was a few washes of medicated shampoo (remember that nit shampoo you had has a kid? Yep...) to convince her to try.

The first time I saw it, I screamed. Rather than the platinum blonde bombshell I envisioned, I saw Tweety Pie staring back at me. I was assured this could be put to rights with toner and hair dye and - sure enough - managed to tame my explosion in a yellow paint factory to this:

Much to my surprise (most people I had told of my blonde wishes cringed at the though), everyone aside from my Gran loved it. I feel like I've finally found my true hair colour (no jokes about my ditziness in the back!) and have been using silver shampoos to bring it to its full white blonde potential, even going shorter than short on the sides.

Only now - say it ain't so - I'm getting bored again. I've been toying with the idea of going shorter, like Mia Farrow shorter.

(For those of you that live under rocks)

I may go for a consultation and see what the hair-hacking professionals think. I have a really weird face, which I imagine means I could either go really wrong or right with this. On top of that, I really like the cut I'm sporting now and have always been of the 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' philosophy when it comes to other people's hair. Maybe I should finally take my own advice? Answers on a postcard, to the usual address folks!