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Monday, 28 July 2014

FOUND -Normcore? Bore Me Some More



I found this jacket, part of a French paper firm's uniform, at a tiny vintage shop in Deal on the Kent coast. I think it probably qualifies as 'normcore.' Normcore is what the Fashion Fluffs are calling the trend they've started that entails anonymous, 'normal' dressing. White gym socks and plain trainers with jeans typify this look. Apparently it's a way for super fashion insiders to disguise their ultra-knowing style sense by cloaking it in threads that send no discernible sartorial message. I'm tempted to celebrate this self-obsessed trend if only because I switched off to messages from the mainstream Fash Pack a few years ago. With normcore they've stopped sending messages? Three cheers for normcore! But the patronizing absurdity of it leaves me once again disappointed in an industry that never fails to wear its contempt for its audience on its sleeve. I add a bright coloured pocket square to this jacket and call it work wear with flare. Normcore? Snore. The jacket was £28. 

Sunday, 27 July 2014

TRY THIS - Thanks, I'm Just Looking


This is my mate Joe in Amsterdam, a man who introduced me to the honest simplicity of mid-Century modern design, among other things. I'm thankful he appreciates my love of colour and more colour, otherwise he may have never sent me this inspiring photo. I often find window shopping - just looking - the very best, inexpensive way to train the eye. The defined space of a window, combined with the urban activity of the street, creates shapes, lines and combinations that tell a secret story for the viewer alone. The colour pop of the hats against the brown-grey of the cobblestones encourages me to enliven my winter woolies with a slash of orange or peach. I'm keen to re-evaluate fashions I've previously dubbed 'summer only.' Could they have a winter style-life? Next time a shop assistant says, "Can I help you?" remember it's fine to studiously reply "No thanks, I'm just looking."

Saturday, 26 July 2014

FOUND - Go West Flapper Girl


I found this little hand-thrown pottery bowl in the Covent Garden Jubilee Hall Market. On Mondays the central London space is given over to antiques, and along with brica-braca expect a smattering of vintage clothing and masses of old jewellery. I love finding interesting ways to store and display fashion and beauty items so this sweet thing appealed instantly. It feels Art Deco but turn it over and you'll find the line "Desert Image Arts by Renee." It's in fact a piece inspired by the aesthetic of the American South West. Turns out Flappers and Native Americans would find common ground around the subjects of art and design; a small world discovery that is both comforting and exciting. This hand-made time traveller cost £3.

Friday, 25 July 2014

FOUND - White Walks the Walk


I found these vintage heels at the Fara charity shop on Bond Street in Ealing. The brand, AM Ashmore, is elusive - research has uncovered nothing about it but they are marked 'Made in Italy' and boast leather soles. Quality, full stop. When I was young, growing up in small town America, the fashion rulebook said one should not wear white dress shoes before Memorial Day (late May) or after Labor Day (early September). The fictional fashionista Carrie Bradshaw in the TV series Sex in the City  - an avid wearer of white heals any time of year - helped to loosen up the tight white restriction. Today, shoes of any hue 'Made in Italy' have extra cachet and we've Salvatore Ferragamo to thank for it. He landed in Hollywood at just age 16, setting up a shoe shop that stars the likes of Greta Garbo flocked to in droves. Later he returned to his native Italy and built a shoe dynasty. While these are not Ferragamos, they are bellissima! I wear them with rolled-up Levis. They were just £7.    

Thursday, 24 July 2014

TRY THIS - Lens Case of Double Vision


I found this camera lens case at the Oxfam in Ealing. Currently the Flippin' Fashion Industry (FFI) is advocating a 2-handbag-at-once style. In street shoots and fashion editorial, the double bag look is being pushed on us like grandma's meatloaf. Of course the FFI wants us to carry 2 expensive handbags at the same time; more bags, more sales, more profits, more more. Next season will it be three bags, or four, or even better, will the FFI decide we should sport a double-dress look or a triple-top style? While I don't like being manipulated by a multi-billion dollar industry that's occasionally guilty of demeaning the women it claims to serve, I do actually like the look of a modified double-handbag. So -- I attached this gorgeous little leather lens case to a beautifully woven over-the-shoulder number I already had in my collection. The lens case features a bright red corduroy interior and is now home to my loose change. I think it's a cool customized look that's, as they say, bang on trend. The lens case was 99p. Hey FFI, how's that look?        

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

TRY THIS - Fox is Back in Fashion


Lately I've become obsessed with foxes, urban foxes mostly. All around my Ealing home, these long, lean beauties prowl about, sometimes in broad daylight, to the dismay of many. While I occasionally worry for them, it seems my fear is unfounded. There's a big boy fox in the area who looks like he's eating for a family of 4. I half expect to see him up on 2 legs in the local Tesco buying a 6-pack of pork pies and sleeve of custard creams. When I was in high school the boys referred to good-looking girls, girls they liked and longed to date, as "foxes." Never foxy - that was old school - just fox. "That new girl who moved in on Woodhaven Lane is a fox." I'm determined to bring this descriptive term back into fashion. Gradually I'm referring to stylish women as foxes. "She's a fox in that sun dress and shades," and so forth, as needed. I wonder what 'style' describer you'd like to return to the lexicon?

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

TRY THIS - Styled by the Book


Huntress in her natural habitat - a seaside salvage yard. Vintage rattan frame, £1.50, found at the Children's Society Charity shop, Pitshanger Lane, Ealing. Visiting family in Florida I couldn't resist re-purposing an architectural finial as a hat. But this goofy head shot is really all about the hair. The near perfect bob has been my calling card for a decade however it didn't come easy. For years I tried to grow my hair long and luxurious but never achieved more than mid-length and stringy. While living in LA, Long Hair Capital of the World, I re-read F Scott Fitzgerald's short story 'Bernice Bobs Her Hair' and my look was born. Today my bob's best friend is hair expert Bea, find her in Ealing, www.zerozerohair.co.uk. I wonder if your style has ever been inspired by literature, art or music? 

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