Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Nothing to See Here

If there's one thing I love, it's an outfit that requires absolutely no bodily preparation. I grow weary of outfits that require me a depilate, buff or moisturise in advance. (Side note: Before we dive head first into this post, let me mention that I don't wince at the sight of another woman's hairy leg but I do choose not to embrace my own fluff. Each to their own follicular preferences.) 

The amount of upkeep that goes into being a standard, fairly presentable woman is nothing short of exhausting at times. Hair dying/styling/cutting, eyebrow shaping, skincare, make-up, waxing, shaving, plucking, exfoliating, moisturising, nail painting, toe nail painting, buffing, tanning, toning; all of these are classed as parts of a standard beauty routine. I consider myself to be fairly low maintenance but even doing a small portion of these things is like playing a never ending game of catch-up. Nails chip, hair grows and the cycle starts again. Sometimes a girl needs a break. Enter, long hems, long sleeves, high necks and the art of leaving absolutely everything to the imagination.

Blouse: H&M, Trousers: COW Vintage, Earrings: Topshop

This blouse called to me from the rails with its free-hand paint style bird print, high neck and flouncy front to back frill. It speaks to my love of all things flamboyant and, when paired with my new vintage corduroy flares, answers the question of how to cover 95% of my body without looking like I'm trying to cover 95% of my body. 

The flares were tucked away in a corner in a vintage shop, hidden behind another navy pair with an impossibly tiny waist that only surgery would have given me access to. Not only are they the perfect colour to match almost everything in my wardrobe but they make my legs look about 8 feet long. The super exaggerated flare, in all its leg elongating glory, makes them feel suitably dramatic but the corduroy brings them back to earth with a geography teacher spin.

Polo neck: H&M, Top: Topshop, Skirt: COW Vintage, Boots: New Look, Scarf: Blue Rinse Vintage, Earrings: Topshop, Cuffs: Vintage

Moving onto yet another piece of vintage, this blue skirt doesn't get nearly enough wear for reasons unknown. So seldom does it leave my wardrobe, in fact, that I put it on to discover it is now a good two inches too big for me (it's bulldog clipped at the back for photographic purposes - the most common stylist's trick). After a trip to the tailors I'll be making a concerted effort to wear it more because such a shade of blue deserves to see the light of day. The structured shape is particularly suited to being worn with a turtleneck, and the void of colour left by the abyss of black Lycra stretched across my torso left room for me to layer over a plisse leopard print top.

Onto accessories: The 'kerchief is my new favourite. Firstly, because how often do you really get to say 'kerchief? And secondly because it instantly improves any outfit tenfold. I've worn it with shirts, off the shoulder tops, t-shirts and now a turtleneck and it's never failed to provide exactly the finishing touch I was after. 

Despite the outdated notions of 'preserving modesty' that come with it, there's a lot to be said for leaving nought but your face and fingers on show. Some say leaving everything to the imagination creates an allure; I say it's a beauty regime shirker's dream.

Friday, 19 February 2016

5 Lessons to Take Away from NYFW

This time round, New York Fashion Week showed little progress and a steadfast dedication to current trends. Many shows were derivative to the point of being repetitive; not so much re-invention as simply re-doing. This isn't to say that it was completely disappointing; most of the existing trends which designers chose to carry over into AW16 are ones that I love and am happy to see will survive for another season, but fresh ideas felt thin on the ground. 

Thank goodness, then, for the likes of Marc Jacobs, Rodarte and Rosie Assoulin for stepping off the tracks and offering up a palette cleanser. For Marc Jacobs and Rodarte, gothic decadence was the over arching narrative. Jacobs tread the line between grunge and sportswear whilst the Mulleavy's favoured an altogether more feminine aesthetic; even sending bridal looks down the runway. Assoulin's pieces had their own sense of decadence but interpreted in a contemporary way. Her exaggerated silhouettes acted as the connecting thread but the variation from look to look showed her desire to free her designs from the shackles of a single theme or concept.

Marc Jacobs, Rodarte, Rosie Assoulin

There were other highlights among the New York schedule. Gypsy Sport's casting was inspired, reflecting the inclusive, positive attitude that permeates their collections, and casting in general felt noticeably more diverse. It's certainly not where it needs to be but it's a long overdue step in the right direction for sure. 

So, what can we take away from a fashion week that whispered rather than shouted? Despite the lack of any true new direction, there are lessons to be learned...

1. The new way to wear your bag is nestled snugly under your armpit.

Proenza Schouler, See by Chloe, Proenza Schouler

2. The 1970s still reign supreme. Flares and pussy bows aren't going anywhere.

Tory Burch, Saint Laurent, Beaufille

3. Lamé isn't lame.

Suno, Zimmermann, Jill Stuart

4. Don't wear one jacket when you can wear two.
All J.Crew

5. Don't tie up loose ends.

Public School, ADEAM, Proenza Schouler (all images Vogue.com)

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Peak Revival

We may have reached peak revival. The fashion world is currently under the spell of four different decades: the 70s, 80s, 90s and present. (The early 00s are starting to elbow their way in too, much to my dismay but that's a conversation for another time). Our reference points are all over the place but I kind of like it. Remember the episode of Friends when Rachel makes the trifle, mixes up the recipe and accidentally adds a savoury layer? It's a complete disaster but Joey still devours it because what's not to love about custard, jam and meat? Individually they're all delicious, so why not enjoy them together? (If I've completely lost you there firstly, we probably can't be friends, and secondly let me refer you to the scene I'm talking about.)

Cherry picking from different decades is a surefire way to get the best of both, or all, worlds. Sleek 90s tailoring perfectly balances out 80s excess; a current-season deconstructed shirt will sidestep any possibility of you looking like a 70s throwback when you don your favourite new flares; no-fuss straight leg jeans are the ideal partner for a high-neck ruffled blouse. There's no fun in restricting ourselves to one era per outfit when there's an entire history of fashion triumphs to call upon at any given moment. Much like Rachel's trifle, let's mix all those incongruous elements together with aplomb and a complete disregard for the rules. You never know, you might love it. 

Top: Vintage, Jeans: Monki, Boots: New Look, Earrings: Topshop, Other jewellery: Vintage

My wardrobe is a veritable smorgasbord of different eras, thanks to my fairly sizable, and ever expanding, vintage collection, so I can mix and match to my heart's content. Today's combination was an 80s crop top, found recently at a vintage kilo sale, 90s style jeans which I took a pair of scissors to and cropped, and white ankle boots which are a big SS16 look, thanks to Celine. Three very different reference points coming together in one very pleasing outfit. To paraphrase Joey Tribbiani, what's not to like? Crop top? Good. Bootcut jeans? Good. White boots? Good!