Posts Tagged ‘outfit’
standard day-at-home uniform of grey AA t-shirt, calvin klein jeans, random metal belt and boots becomes ..
lunchtastic! faux fur jacket purchased last weekend at the terrific fast and loose vintage in karangahape rd, auckland .. with tom binns flying skull necklace and obligatory shades (from karen walker) ..
.. to the out-and-out ridic, avec crown lynn swan bought off trademe. which i did not take to lunch, just in case you are wondering.
the rockstar wondered aloud if i might be addicted to shopping.i told him i don’t think it’s that exactly. actual shopping? that endless trawl spending endless money for things you won’t wear, just for the sake of acquiring something new? a “leisure activity” as i think it’s considered now in britain? no. okay, i am not disciplined like the rockstar is, identifying something he needs, searching out a piece that is exactly what he wants, getting things tailored to fit perfectly, etc. i already have more clothes and shoes than i could possibly wear out in a lifetime, so one could argue i do not have a need to buy anything and that any item i purchase is a pure want, a compulsion even. so from that point of view, i suppose, i can see how he might say that.
but. here was my process on this particular day in auckland. i had been looking for the perfect faux fur jacket for a while, because i think it’ll be a useful alternative to heavy coats and parkas during this wellington winter that’s creeping up awful fast. as always, i prefer to buy second-hand if it’s possible. vintage clothes that have made it this far are likely to have been made in new zealand, rather than being sweatshopped somewhere; they will be well-made, having survived at least one owner; and they will not be instantly identifiable as something you purchased on lambton quay (which a waspish shop assistant described to me the other day as looking “more and more like an australian strip mall”, lol). one big disadvantage of shopping the high street in NZ: it has relatively few outlets, so everyone goes to the same places and everyone knows where you got a particular piece and how much you paid for it.
anyway, the vintage stores here in welli-lala had yielded pretty much nothing so far. so when i saw this beauty smiling at me from the racks at fast and loose (and let’s face it; something is always smiling from the racks of fast and loose) i thought, hello lover! it wasn’t so much a random grab as the end of a search for the exactly perfect thing. and as we know, vintage shopping is like that. send out your wish to the vintage fairies and, with enough patience and searching, your wish will come to you.
(as for the crown lynn swan, well. it’s an icon of new zealand design. i know they’re a little played by now, but i still love this kind of kitsch ceramic stuff. i have a big collection of those cabbage leaf plates in storage, in case you doubt me. what?)
i don’t think i am addicted to shopping, then, but i might be addicted to fashion. my eye is constantly searching out the new, the inspiring. it tires quickly and its desire for inspiration needs to be fed. this is why i love thrift/op/charity shopping .. you never know what you’ll find. go with an idea in your head, as i did, or a totally open mind, and have fun. because, after all, fashion is deadly serious but it should also be fun.
so let’s term it that way. i might be addicted to fashion. but in the end, all that is is an addiction to inspiration, to beauty, to fun. and in any case, addiction implies something that is damaging. i think in my case it’s entirely healthy. it makes me curious, creative and appreciative of the fabulousness of simple things, like the perfect colour of faux fur or the elegant sweep of a swan’s neck. and that, dear reader, is a good thing. well, i think it is, anyway.
so i got dressed this morning but haven’t quite had the courage to commit fully to this outfit. i am wearing my wayfauxrers (couldn’t face putting my contacts in), a lazy oaf t-shirt which has “j’aime paris” written on it, a black miniskirt from glassons, grey tights and red russell and bromley brogues. i tucked in my shirt and felt like i was channelling alexa chung, a little bit.
but then i stopped and thought: is this outfit mutton?
mutton is a difficult concept for those of us in the latter half of our thirties and beyond. it basically means that you’re dressed age-inappropriately. i have a dear friend in london whose sister refers to him and his husband affectionately as “les moutons” because they wear north face jackets, worn jeans, trainers. i think my friend looks terrific .. he’s consistently one of the most stylish people i know. but in an era where hipster girlies at mighty mighty wear clothes that my grandmother might have considered too frumpy, where smart teenage boys wear clothes which hark back to music videos made before they were born, where the most stylish women i can instantly name — carine roitfeld, daphne guinness, amanda harlech — are all older than me and still rocking it really hard .. what does age-appropriate even mean?
more fashionable minds than me have considered this question; indeed, it’s a staple of the glossy mag to run “age issues” where they look at style through the lens of those in their 20s, 30s, 40s et cetera et cetera, pass the ambien. the 20s are always represented these days by alice dellal, whose fearless style i admire; the older women, well, it’s the usual array of your helen mirrens, your mary quants, your duchesses of devonshire. all, in their way, fabulous. none, with all respect, that helpful when it comes to interpreting rules for ordinary women.
i used to have quite strict rules about this stuff, purely for myself. no midriff. no short skirts. no upper arms on show. no bikinis outside latin america. oh you know, i was quite the self-editor. but then i realised something. none of this made me feel more confident about the inevitable process of getting older, the unavoidable slide into what is (for women) the uncomfortable invisibility of middle age.
like any person who’s nearly forty, my body is showing the signs of a life well lived. my pale skin shows the tracery of veins beneath. i have scars, laughter lines, freckles (or, as a dermatologist would probably term them, permanent sun damage from living half my life in the southern hemisphere). i fail the pencil test. but you know, i feel better about myself now than i did when i was a skinny, tanned, neurotic little thing of 17. on the whole, my body’s holding up pretty well. what’s disintegrating as we speak is my ability to give a toss what people think. i don’t think i’ll miss it.
as i have grown older, my confidence in my taste has grown. i am not afraid to wear clothes that are a little challenging. that call attention. that the 17 year old me would have rejected as too weird, not attractive to boys. glasses? in public? are you crazy? i squinted for years because i was too shy to wear my corrective lenses outside of darkened lecture theatres. now, i don’t care. maybe boys would think i was a nerd these days. but i’m not interested in those boys now.
so a pox on my rules, such as they were. just as the term “middle aged” loses its meaning as one approaches its ambit, the words “age-appropriate” might need to be banished to the charity shop pile of language.
i’m not saying that there should be a free-for-all. at least, not for me. there are certain things that a woman of my age should avoid, i think. barbie pink. any outfit that would look adorable on my super-gorgeous four-year-old niece evie. any t-shirt with a slogan that says “princess” or some such. egregious embroidery of hearts. cartoon characters, no matter how ironic.
there are some overall styles that don’t work, either. the gothic lolita style, much as i think it’s cute, isn’t for me. if i went for the feral tank-girl look, i would not look sexy; i would look like i need to be put on some kind of watch list. the preppy-princess look so loved by blair waldorf just looks matronly on me; i will never be the kind of girl who can wear a chanel suit, but my credit card will be the better for it. and i think too much skin, in a setting other than the beach, is just a little tacky. if i get my legs out, i cover up the rest.
but you know what, ladies? those are my rules. they’re not necessarily anyone else’s. if barbie pink makes you happy, wear it. if you feel good in cutoff jeans and a midriff top, who cares if you’ll never see 40 again? pair them with a flannel, cowboy boots and a stetson and i think you’d look pretty rocking, to be honest. if you’re wearing dreads and combat boots and it makes you feel cool and powerful, then i bet people turn their heads in the street to check you out. be confident. work it. pick things that suit your body, pick colours that make your skin glow, the rest is up to you.
so, then. i am not sure that i’ve added much to the debate here. but i will walk out into this beautiful summer day in my mini-skirt and brogues, head held high. no mutton today, not here. not ever.
because my dear darling chuck taylors are pretty old and full of holes, and they let in water. where i am going (brasília, in a week, in the rainy season) that ain’t good.
okay, so they’re not a brand new pair of loubs (stifles yawn) or a funky pair of vintage somethings. but i tell you what: these bright green kicks make me very happy when i look at my feet. and you can’t ask for more than that from a shoe, really.
(blazer stella mccartney for h&m, old and much loved; t-shirt that says “j’aime paris”, lazy oaf; goat’s skull necklace, comfort station; jeans, uniqlo; shoes, chucks. of course.)
this used to be my uniform, this outfit: jeans, chucks or high heels, t-shirt, blazer. i used to wear it, or a variation of it, a lot. it’s kind of perfect in some ways: easy to throw together, comfortable, funky but a little bit smart (that’d be the stella). work-wise, it was suitable for all but the most formal of situations. it became my signature.
i’ve diversified a bit since then. a desire to push boundaries has come upon me, a desire to break out of the cliches we build for ourselves. a new-found confidence makes me realise i don’t give a toss if people stare .. in fact, that harry winston quote about how people will stare and we should make it worth their while .. i’ve taken that a bit more to heart. i no longer want to dress safe. right now, i’m the happiest i’ve ever been in my life and that’s showing in how i put myself together. every day is a new adventure and every time i open my wardrobe i feel inspired to create something new.
regardless. some days, jeans-blazer-good-shoes is all i want to wear. and today in wellington, it felt right. the rockstar said i looked “very cosmopolitan”. pois é.
anyway. happy weekend, y’all. i shall be spending mine going to a friend’s gig, the farmers’ market, possibly the new dowse gallery .. and prowling around wellington in my new green shoes
not actual marni; are you kidding me? no, this dress is sort of marni-esque, i think. it was a lucky score from the “vintage” rail at the recycle boutique and i think that, paired with a grey cardigan, grey woolly tights and silver shoes, it has a sort of faded-floral glamour that makes me think of consuelo castiglioni. or is that just wishful thinking ..?
but the true star of this outfit has to be the necklace. it’s absolutely kick-arse gorgeous .. made by the lovely and super-talented leora of leoravon.
it’s a .303 bullet, reclaimed and inset with a tourmaline crystal .. transformative, as leora says .. “it takes something that was once destructive & violent, now dead and spent, a symbol of fear, and gives it a new meaning”. i really like that. and i really love this piece .. i can’t tell you how many compliments i’ve already had, and i’ve only had it a few days. leora even sourced a nickel-free chain so this allergic delicate flower could wear it and that’s the beauty of etsy: lovely vendors selling beautiful hand-made things and who really care about their clients. thanks, leora. you rule
some days are so beautiful, all you can do is rent a car and take off to the beach. yesterday was like that. so that’s what we did.
(sunglasses karen walker, sweatshirt uniqlo, black skirt self-made, tights can’t remember, karen walker runaway girl necklace and charity shop bag covered in studs by your humble reporter. not shown, wicked-cool russell and bromley brogues ..)
(ah, there they are. they’re a luscious cherry red.)
the rockstar rockin’ in the free world. he’d never touched the pacific ocean before. how adorable is that? so we went down to the water’s edge, and ..
.. the tide came in, very quickly.
it was a lovely day. how did you make the most of it?
(photo taken by the rockstar)
ah bless, sometimes men just don’t get the whole fashion thing. the rockstar is extremely stylish and works a suit better than practically anyone i’ve ever met. but he doesn’t quite (yet) get that it’s not so easy for us chicas to pick appropriate outfits. in packing my suitcases for this one-way trip, i had to pick clothes that would be suitable for two weeks in nearly-winter london, a month in nearly-spring new zealand and a month in definitely-summer brazil. not easy, but i think i did a pretty bang-up job. what i did not do, however, was anticipate that three days after arriving in wellington i would be attending a wedding. the rockstar’s best friend’s daughter was getting married and both she, and her husband-to-be, are evangelical christians. a little heads-up might have been helpful.
looking through my wardrobe, i realised i had very little that wasn’t (a) black, and therefore possibly unacceptable; (b) over-challenging fashion-wise, and therefore possibly unacceptable; (c) a bit too boho, and therefore possibly unacceptable; (d) skin-tight and short, and therefore definitely unacceptable. this beautiful jaeger dress came to the rescue.
i love jaeger. my mum used to save her pennies to buy pieces of it when she was a student. i seek it out in vintage stores because a lot of people have not yet come to appreciate the utter awesomeness of their 60s and 70s ranges. in fact one of my most treasured and most-commented-on vintage coats is a gorgeous apple-green jaeger number picked up for a tenner at a carboot sale. okay, so later on the big j became very boxy and very unflattering, the kind of stuff that ladies-of-a-certain-age bought because that’s the brand they’ve always bought. for a while there was a collaboration with bella freud which did okay but was screamingly expensive and didn’t quite hit its target market, i felt. but with the breakout a/w 2007 jaeger london collection — of which this dress was a part — the venerable old lady stepped once again into the spotlight, making everyone remark how god-damn sexy she is, still, after all these years. witty and modern shapes, beautiful fabrics and finishing and the ultimate accolade of a kate moss photograph .. and this perfect dress. pretty, styley and just that bit unusual, it was perfect for an early-spring wedding. no thunderbolts were forthcoming, so i musta did good.
(not that you can see in this photo, but i wore the dress with seamed stockings, my comfort station goats-head necklace and my karim rashid for melissa wedges. hey, i figured i’d already made some concessions to the occasion ..)
you’re not supposed to take photos in the newly-reopened wellington art gallery, but i didn’t read the gallery advice thing properly so snapped a couple of quick pics at the yayoi kusama show. a nice lady came over and said i shouldn’t take photos. i said to her “oh i’m sorry i didn’t know .. would you mind if i kept that one, though? you can’t really see the work, it’s just the reflection i like”. she smiled and said it was okay. so here is myself and the rockstar, reflected in one part of an installation which is all about — ta daa! — narcissism. kind of apt, really?
(oh, and what i’m wearing, just so i can pretend this is an outfit post: battered chuck taylors, battered diesel jeans, customised uniqlo cardigan which you can see better in this post. oh, and my wayfauxrers. i have been a bit slack on the style thoughts and outfit documenting, but i’ll get back on that, promise promise.)
quiet round here, no? you’ll have to forgive me. no, you will. i am about to pack up my entire life and entrust it to a moving company who (i hope) will put it on a boat so that it will arrive intact on the other side of the world in a few weeks. i have to be ruthless and get rid of piles of stuff. i have to assemble a capsule wardrobe that will see me through a fortnight of northern hemisphere winter (with bonus trip to sweden), four weeks of new zealand nearly-summer and then a month in brazil — and which will fit in two suitcases. and in amongst all of this i have a high-profile project to produce and deliver. mama is busy, in other words.
but because i love you (yes, you) and because i still manage to get dressed in the morning, some pictuuuuures:
this was meant to be an outfit photo, but it turned out a bit more arteriffic and i can’t see, or remember, what i was wearing. that is definitely a very, very old karen walker coat (it has zips all the way up the back and is amazing) and goat-skull necklace from comfort station, though. i took this beside the ladies loos in “the village” in westfield, which is not really a village at all, you’ll be surprised to hear. whatever will those crazy marketing peeps think of next?
yes, you can insert your own show-us-your-growler joke here. i am in the changing room at uniqlo. should i be concerned that both these photos are taken at westfield? probably, yes. wearing cardything from m&s, yeah bitchez i rock markies; ricochet scarf; the ubiquitous christopher-kane-for-topshop dress which i still love because it is sick/fierce/etc; uniqlo denim leggings and boots of awesomeness from solea again. i am wearing them a lot because i need to get the price-per-wear down to something that doesn’t make me feel faintly ill when i think about it ..
well yes, as a matter of fact, i am. minidressthing, karen walker runaway; tie-dye circle scarf, AA; grey leggings, uniqlo; boots, solea. hair, 100% gen-u-wine bedhead. yep, i did get a bit of stink-eye for wearing a minidress on my local high street, but .. *shrug*.
1. frozen pão de queijo. this is the brand i get, from my local budgens — heaven in your freezer.
2. waking the dead .. and the post-mortems with my pal emily at work the next day.
3. the xx! amazing dreamy music.
4. sore tummy muscles from hooping
5. my new camera, the amazing panasonic lx-3. man, it is sick, and i am totally in love with it.
oh, and the rockstar. he is, was and always will be an extremely good thing. i’m sticking around for a few more days in london to finish a big project but i miss him and those days will drag. drag. draaaaaaag.
out the front of my lawyer’s building, there is this really rather fantastic sculpture. it’s this spiral of shards of mirror. and, well, i had my d90 with me, and so .. it would have been rude not to.
outfit details: band jacket vintage (amazing! from traid in hammersmith), t-shirt and jeans uniqlo, boots of fabulousness solea, red bag from marc jacobs, shopping tote from zambesi in NZ. yep, i do the two-bags thing, pretty regularly in fact. it’s mainly because i don’t want to overload my main bag and completely kill my poor shoulders.
whatelsecanitellya. it is raining very hard outside, keith floyd and patrick swayze r.i.p., the tattoo on my foot is nearly photo-worthy and i’m going to do some sewing tonight. there is leatherette, black charmeuse and leopard print chiffon, though not to use in the same garment. obviously. but now that i mention it .. hmm ..