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If Only: Outfit of the Day 29#

Is this a going out outfit? A day wear outfit? I’m not quite sure yet, but I know that I love it, and I would happily wear it day-in, day-out… it just looks so comfy, and yet, throw on a pair of amazing heels, and it’s perfect for a night of dancing wildly… even if replacing slippers with heels does make it a bit of a contradictory statement…

8-sep

1. Toga Satin-Trimmed Crepe Jumpsuit. £340. Available here.

2. NastyGal Runs Deep Crop Top. £23.38 £6.98. Available here.

3. River Island Beige Bow Front Leopard Toe Cap Slipper Shoes. £25. Available here.

4. Diesel Likke U S Fur Shoulder Bag. £470. Available here.

5. Wallis Gold Cut Out Cuff. £12.50 £8.75. Available here.

6. Chloé Triple Stone Ring. £250. Available here.

7. ASOS Snake Chain Necklace. £15. Available here.

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5 Things That Ought To Come Free With Clothing…

Clothes are complicated. More specifically, wearing clothes is complicated, and the dressier, the more complicated getting dressed becomes. How often do we spend a day searching high and low for that perfect night-out dress and matching shoes, only to get home and realise… ah, actually, in order to wear this outfit I’ll need boob tape, nipple flowers, a whole new strap to alter my bra, plasters for the inevitable blisters, gel pads to protect my feet as much as possible, and lots of sellotape to remove every. single. speck. of. lint. Of course, then there’s always something missing from your secret ‘getting dressed fixer-upper’ box, and so back you go to the shops. Repeat as necessary for each additional look-perfecting item you remember to purchase. Some shops are considerate (and sneaky) enough to place these magical products near either the garments for which they will be required, or near the checkout area as a tempting last minute purchase. Wouldn’t it be easier though, if clothes came with the items that perfect them? It makes sense, I think; most other products follow this general rule. My camera came with a (pretty useless) cleaning kit. My flat pack office furniture came with a (very utterly useless) toolkit. Why don’t we sell clothes with those additional items? I’m not saying that models should start parading down the runway with a plastic sandwich bag of clothing-maintenance supplies tagged to their bums, but hear me out, you know that shopping for a night out would be much simpler if shops offered a freebie essential with certain items of clothing… for example:

1. Shoes & Plasters

I can think of a list of things that ought to be sold along with shoes… sandpaper, gel pads, wet wipes, those little scuff-removing, shoe-polishing kits that they sell in pound shops and on the end of supermarket aisles… the ones that probably don’t work. However, if there is one thing that really should come free with all shoes, it’s a big, fat box of plasters (or band aids, for my lovely American readers).

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Shoes: Nicholas Kirkwood. £395. Available here. Plasters: Available here.

2. Handbags & mini-vacuum

Like those tiny little desk hoovers that are usually shaped like a mini Henry Hetty. I’m tired of having to empty out my bag every week and turning it upside down to bang out the mass of biscuit crumbs that have accumulated on my tube journeys, most often also losing the spare change/USB sticks/spare house keys/favourite lipstick that were also hiding in the one nook/cranny of my bag that I did not check – or I realise (on turning my bag upside down over a bin, that one of the inner pockets was not zipped up).

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Marni. £1,050. Available here. Mini Hetty Hoover. Available here.

3. Fur/wool/feathery/fluffy garments and a lint roller

There are certain high street shops, such as H&M, who have long had the clever idea to place a cart of lint rollers strategically close to the checkout, and more than once they’re doing so has reminded me, just as I reach the front of the queue, that yes, I do actually need a lint roller if I’m going to wear this fur coat this winter. I think they should take it one step further, however, and start selling pocket-sized rollers with the garments, tagged to them alongside those little plastic pouches with spare buttons that get lost almost immediately on removal. Call me crazy, but it has to be done, because I always buy a lint roller… and then after a quick swipe of my outfit in the morning, I’ll leave it at home… and then by mid-afternoon, I look like I’ve been trampled by a thousand malting cats.

Then again, I now see a flaw in my idea – like the spare buttons, I’d just remove the lint roller, use it, and leave it at home… huh.

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Bottega Veneta. £6,690. Available here. Lint roller. Available here.

4. Blue jeans and dye fixatives

I have a pair of dark blue jeans, which I bought, oh… two years ago now. I know the drill. Always wash out the excessive amounts of dye before wearing new jeans, unless I’m going for the smurf look. However, they have been through the wash what must by now have been a few hundred times, and they have been washed with dye fixative a dozen times, and yet, you can guarantee that I will have to spend a week after wear scrubbing my legs each night with as many exfoliating products and mitts as I can lay my hands on, and having to awkwardly reassure anyone who sees me in a skirt that no, I do not have a circulation problem… they’re just stained blue. I’ll be stuck in a constant loop of scrubbing my legs until they look red, rather than blue, and therefore convincing myself under the overly-flattering lighting of my bathroom, that the stains have been buffed away. Only the following morning, as I step out confidently in a mini-skirt do I realise that actually, no, still smurf.

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Frame Denim. £235. Available here. Retayne.

5. Coats or Suit trousers from Primark and scissors

I promised myself when I graduated university that never again would never again purchase any clothing from Primark. The only Primark products that are allowed are those ‘tips and tricks’ items like boob tape, gel inserts for my shoes and BOGOF wet wipes that are all so much cheaper than at Boots. I’m not a student anymore, it was time for a high street upgrade. And I’ve stuck to that plan, but this one still deserves a spot on this list, because it always drove me crazy while I was at university. I don’t care if its done as ‘tailoring’ to create a neater silhouette, if I buy an item of clothing with pockets, I expect to be able to use those pockets. I don’t enjoy having to awkwardly pick away the stitches when I get home. Why would they bother with making lined pockets if they’re then just going to sew them up? If they’re going to insist on such madness, we ought to be given the scissors to free our pockets, because you can guarantee that mine have always gone missing.

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Primark Trousers £16 (not available online). Scissors.

This may seem like madness, but I swear it’s the direction that our high street shops should take… then again, it is also 1 o’clock in the morning…

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If Only: Outfit of the Day 1#

Like most girls, I have for years enjoyed wasting hours of precious time on various Fashion blogs, or perusing Lookbook.nu, perusing with green-eyed envy the carefully styled outfits of the globe’s most glamorous bloggers, photographers, models, students, graduates, interns and general ‘average Joe-anne’s; those in the same boat, it seems on the surface, as myself, (recent graduate, recently moved to London, pushing, like everyone else, for that big career break), and yet they are magically able to somehow afford what constantly appears to be immaculately designed, sweeping white-walled apartments and bottomless Narnia wardrobes.

I know that bloggers carefully design their public persona. Some may spend a week completely redesigning their entire work area simple for a quick ‘what’s on my desk’ post, while others swap and borrow from a long list of friend and family members’ wardrobes in order to constantly appear to have been on the shopping spree of the century. The more well-known bloggers may get sent free stuff, or take home goodie-bags from a range of events that their magical spot of the internet grants them access to.

These past few months, I’ve fallen in love with blogging, in the same way that I love my photography. It’s become very much a part of who I want to be, professionally… though I’m still figuring out the logistics of that. However, I do not have an immaculately designed, sweeping white-walled apartments, nor do I have bottomless Narnia wardrobes. I moved here to London in June, with one 10KG, carry-on sized suitcase… partly because I did not realise at the time that I would actually be moving to London, rather than simply passing through on my travels… that decision rather hit me like a ton of bricks. Therefore, 90% of my wardrobe remains locked away in my Dad’s spare bedroom in Derbyshire, waiting for my return. Not to mention that last summer, I decided in a stubborn fit of nomadic wanderlust that I would be living indefinitely out of that same suitcase, and so I had the clear out to end all clear outs. Yes, yes, I know. Silly, silly me. My wardrobe is calling to be built back up to its former glory of all colours, all fabrics, all designers.

Hard to do when you find that you’ve suddenly (a madly, willingly) gone from the luxury of nomadic travel, in all of its rent-free, bill-free, other-‘settler’-related-bills-and-taxes-free glory, to… rent, bills, other-‘settler’-related-bills-and-taxes. I find myself constantly asking where my money has disappeared to, checking my bank statements in a panic, convinced that I’ve been robbed, only to realise, ah, of course… it was rent day yesterday.

It’s been a shock to the system, to say the least. The past twelve months have spoiled me. However, from this came the ‘If Only’ series; an insight into my personal fantasy land, where I can live a-la-Sabrina-the-teenage-witch (you remember? She wore a completely fresh outfit everyday with a zap of her finger, because she could), and wear whatever I want; a completely fresh outfit everyday. Go on, indulge me. It will be so much more interesting than anything in my actual wardrobe.

11-Aug

1. Kate Moss for Topshop Jumpsuit. £90 £50. Available here.

2. Valentino Embellished Suede Cape. £10,440 £6264 . Available here.

3. Guiseppe Zanotti Fish Embellished Sandals. £640. Available here.

4. Reed Krakoff ‘Mini’ Atlantique Tote. Available here.

5. Love Moi Black Gold Triangle Statement Necklace. £17. Available here.

6. Links of London Diamond-cut chain necklace. £110. Available here.

7. Assad Mounser Swarovski Crystal Chain Necklace. £400. Available here.

8. Venna Crystal Pendant Spike Chain Necklace. £485. Available here.

9. Venna Crystal Spike Pearl Necklace. £435. Available here.

(7, 8 and 9 twisted, twined, quite possible taken apart entirely and worn, reassembled, as bracelets)

10. My Flash Trash Bronze Six Grill Ring. £48. Available here.

11. Saint Laurent D-Frame Acetate Mirror Sunglasses. £195. Available here.

12. Alexander McQueen Resin Skull-Handle Collapsible Umbrella. £330. Available here.

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Kate Moss for Topshop

Everyone with an even remotely fashion-minded blog is talking about Kate Moss’ new Topshop collection, and of course, I felt it only right that I join in. It’s been eagerly awaited since it’s announcement last year… probably longer in fact, as I think many die-hard fans have spent the last three and a half years with cramping crossed fingers for a return of their favourite fashion model-slash-designer. Thinking about it… has it really been seven years since her first Topshop collaboration??

One thing that I have noticed, however, is that my personal ‘top picks’ from her long awaited new collection, seem to differ from the top picks of most bloggers. It is a gorgeous collection, for sure, but no matter how many fashionista models or designers try to persuade me otherwise, I won’t be joining in with 2014’s cow girl trend. Not even Chanel can convince me otherwise. Nor am I a fan of seventies inspired fashion. I’m just not one for fringe.

Kate Moss Topshop collection 2014 preview

Kate Moss Topshop collection 2014 campaign

Nevertheless, it is a stunning collection, and no doubt it will remain on rails for all of five seconds. I think I’ll have to avoid Topshop for a while unless I wish to be trampled to death. I’ll stick to online shopping for my favourites. Maybe I can just about squeeze the gorgeous black jumpsuit into my suitcase.

My Topshop Top Picks:

Also, who was the photographer for her collection?? Brilliant.

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Bypassing Airline Limits

It’s fair to say, no matter how much I cut down the contents of my suitcase, no matter how strict I am with myself or how many hybrid items I buy (note, an IPod Touch and all-in-one makeup have saved me so much space and weight), I always struggle to remain within the 10KG weight limit of certain airlines.

The reason is simple: I’m a photographer. If I were not, I would not have a bulky camera, with its heavy lenses, and those little items that build up fast; chargers, spare batteries, blah blah blah. If I were not a photographer, I would drop the laptop, and all of the extras that go with it – again, charger, external hard drive, mouse (how some people can use Photoshop sans mouse, I don’t know). I could get by with a tablet – an IPod Touch, even. Camera – check, access to WordPress – check, email – check, the ability to show off to the world via various social networking sites – check. Kindle’s app – check. And then I swear, my travelling ways would be much simpler. I would not have been forced to swap a backpack for a suitcase to save myself from having to carry my life with my limited upper body strength… by limited I mean, barely existent, it seems.

Nevertheless, I am a photographer, and while my ‘kit bag’ is way more limited than so many that I have seen on the road, being an equipment minimalist, I did the maths last night, and the results were scary. I calculated exactly how much weight my camera, lenses (and extra snappity-snap related bits) and my laptop (and extra clickity-click related bits) take up alone.

My basic equipment comes to a grand total of 4.5KG. 4.5KG – that weight comes from a grand total of the following list:

1x 5D MKII

1x zoom lens, e.g. 24-105mm

1x 50mm prime lens

Camera charger

2x batteries

Several CompactFlash cards

A couple of filters

Camera bag

A teeny tiny cleaning kit

My Dell Ultrabook – aka – the working man’s MacBook Air.

Laptop charger

External Hard drive

Mouse

Laptop sleeve

IPod touch

IPod charger

Phone

Phone charger

Portable charger (because something always loses charge just at the wrong moment)

Various camera-to-laptop, laptop-to-screen, charger-to-blah-blah-blah cables

And that 4.5KG total is not including the bag in which I weighed it all. Had I included my tripod, the total weight would have included an extra 1.8KG. So that’s 6.3KG out of 10KG used up on equipment alone.

That doesn’t leave much for clothes, even if I do try to select the lightest fabrics, and minimalise my makeup bag.

Sure, I could merge my IPod and Phone and just get an IPhone – I know that that’s the obvious choice, but I’m not about to pay for an insanely expensive phone contract, nor do I want to buy a PAYG IPhone. Most of the time, I’m seriously considering just leaving my phone behind entirely, I use it so rarely.

I’m getting off track… so I’ve given a lot of thought over the years as to how to sneak through airport security with much more than I ought to be carrying. I’ve looked into the recommended methods of others, for example, Benny Lewis of Fluent in Three Months has made a few videos talking about ho he carries more than the weight limit. There are jackets and cargo trousers and magic handbags that turn into cardigans with seven-thousand hidden pockets, such as the Jaktogo, and if you want to go for that method, great, good for you. It’s definitely a clever design, as are the many other similar products, but I’m just… I guess, if I were to be honest with myself, I’m too vain to walk through any airport wearing something that resembles a Mr Potato Head fancy dress costume. Nor am I about to buy an old jacket just to tear a ‘pocket opening’ into the lining and strut through the terminal with a Kim Kardashian bum and boobs because I’ve stuffed the lining with my possessions.

Filling my pockets with items would be my go-to solution, but I don’t really buy clothes with pockets very often. My winter coat has sewn-up pockets for detail only, my jeans are jeggings… I have one fairly new trench coat with pockets, one jumper with pockets, and one cardigan with pockets… that’s about it. Ooo, and my new chinos! Ok, I guess the number of pockets in my wardrobe is growing. If pockets are available, stuff them with as much as you can.

Next – and quite obviously, I think – I layer. I wear as much of my wardrobe as I can get away with – as much as can be worn as an outfit without looking like this:

tumblr_lipq93vsmA1qd150io1_500
I’ll also make sure that I wear my bulkiest item of clothing – my favourite pink skirt, with its 100 layers of tulle. Not only does it take up a lot of space, no matter how carefully I roll or fold it, but it’s quite heavy, so I almost always fly while wearing it.

I also realised that a waist belt over a baggy shirt can be a great way to hold a few items. Purely by chance – this is the sort of discovery one makes while juggling my passport, boarding ticket, wallet, a novel, my IPod/IPad, my camera, and whatever else I’m trying to carry all at once. The waist belt makes a nice little pocket of space, and I’ve been known to shove a few things in there discreetly… though of course, emptying your shirt in the middle of airport security would be rather annoying.

These aren’t my main methods for slipping past strict weight limits though. The combination of a knee-length trench coat and a discreet shoulder bag is my best friend when flying. I’ve learnt that when passing through security, no one questions how many bags I have – I can be carrying a handbag as well as a suitcase, and even if my boarding pass clearly shows that I’m flying with an airline that won’t allow two bags, I need not actually put the handbag away until I’m about to board. And then, rather than shoving it in my suitcase like I see everyone else in line doing at the last moment, I chose a bag with a ‘flat cut’; you’ll need something stiffer than a tote or canvas bag, which will just bulge out rather than holding the contents flat and upright. I bought my particular bag in a small boutique in Budapest, but you’d need something like these:

olivia-laptop-case_1334066454_4

Nette’ Leather Goods. Olivia Laptop Case. £185. Available here.
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LK Bennett. Karina mini leather tote. £225. Available here.


Wear it beneath your coat, and no one need know that it’s there. I use mine to hold my laptop, external hard drive, a novel, my travel journal, passport and wallet, which immediately removes about 2KG (1.37 being the laptop) from my suitcase. The second I’m in my seat, I see everyone else awkwardly opening up their suitcases to pull out their handbags, or trying to balance their wallets, books, IPads and phones on their fingertips while pulling along their case behind them. Instead, I sit down, take off my coat, the bag goes under my seat, and bam, done. As long as you don’t fill it with anything bulky, no one can see that it’s there.

I’ve heard people talk about stuffing possessions in their socks, bras, even using safety-pins to attach socks to the linings of hats or folds of scarves. Bypassing airline limits comes down to creativity, and just how silly you’re willing to look in public. But if you’re as vain as me, buy a flat shoulder bag.

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The Careful Art of the Capsule Wardrobe

Despite all of my talk last week about all of the beautiful midi skirts and satchel bags and kitten heels that I would love to throw in my suitcase, I am a slightly fanatic follower of the capsule wardrobe system.

My favourite and equally, most despised part of preparing for my travels is definitely putting together my travel wardrobe. As in, a few carefully selected items of clothing that all mix-and-match together perfectly. And figuring out what stays and what goes is always much easier if I sit down and think about all of my available outfit options – if something doesn’t go with anything else, it stays behind, stored away in my Dad’s spare room. No, I’ll never be nomadic in the sense that I own nothing but the contents of my suitcase. I love books, and I love clothes, and ridiculous as it is to buy clothing and books only to leave them to gather dust while I’m off on my adventures, I can’t help myself. I try to be strict about clothes shopping though. At least, I try to limit myself to a general rule of timeless pieces that aren’t going to go out of fashion within a few months. I tell myself that that’s a reasonable solution, anyway. Books can be read at any time, and I will one day – a few always join me on my travels, and I churn through them at lightning speed when I return home. You should see the Olympic-speed page turning on Christmas day. It’s impressive, if I say so myself.

I always pack more tops than bottoms. I think everyone does, right? A pair of trousers – I rarely jeans because they’re so heavy and slow to dry – shorts, a skirt or two and a few dresses. Mostly light tops, a jumper, a light coat. For shoes, I take a pair for rainy weather – a pair of waterproof, quality-over-quantity brogues – something a bit dressier but also so easily casual – black ballet pumps – and sandals.

The result is endless possibilities… well, I say endless. At least 21. 40+ if on a chilly evening that requires a cardigan or jumper. I’ve met girls who’s backpacks are about as tall as they are, who are carrying about 50 dresses, 20 skirts, 20 pairs of jeans and tops… and then I walk around, slightly smug, in a different outfit a day for at least the first three weeks of my travels, with a tiny case that doesn’t need checking in, that I can lift into the overhead locker all by myself (not that I ever decline any kind offers of help… who says chivalry is dead?), I have room to shop, and most of all, I can skip around from country to country without snapping my spine under the weight when it’s time to move on.

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No doubt I could cut it down further – cut down on tops, limit myself to one skirt, but I find that if I’m travelling for more than a few weeks, I really don’t want to be too strict with myself, even if there is a very likely chance that I will find myself lured into clothes stores and markets abroad… I am pathetic enough that I find myself missing certain dresses or pairs of shoes, so now if it’s one of my favourites, I take it with me. Even if it is a bit cumbersome – like the pink skirt that is made from about 1000 layers of tulle, but it’s my favourite.

And yes, my suitcase also matches my wardrobe. Happy accident. Red suitcase, red handbag, neutral wardrobe. It just works. The red dress that has recently become a favourite is questionable though, I’ll admit. Red on red on red on red? Too much red… I think I’ll have to save that to days when my suitcase is tucked away in a hostel, warm enough that the red cardigan is not necessary…

There’s always that one item of clothing that doesn’t quite merge as perfectly as the rest.

A great site for minimalistic-but-fashionable packing tips here.

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Not the best wardrobe for backpacking…

When it comes to fashion, I think the 1950s were the best time for travelling. How on earth they managed to so perfectly pack those huge Grace Kelly skirts without completely ruining them, I’ll never know… how they managed to find the space to pack anything other than those space-hogging petticoats and skirts, I have no idea. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve tried in the past to be ‘sensible’ in what I pack for my travels. Jeans were banned (in the summer, anyway), my love for big midi-skirts was ignored, and I’d stick to a boho, mix and match, Free People-esque capsule wardrobe; lightweight, fold-resistant fabrics that take up minimal suitcase space . You’re mocked if you’re a girl with a big suitcase (especially one like these), full of the latest trends, which is definitely flared or pencil midi skirts right now. People – guys especially – roll their eyes out if they catch you applying lippy, or straightening your hair (though that last ‘backpacking offence, I am entirely innocent of, despite the cowlicks). You’re supposed to wander around with a grubby backpack (been there) – something ‘serious‘ (aka, ugly), or if you’re fashion conscience, vintage and canvas, which therefore feels like a bag of bricks hanging from your shoulder blades (done that).

I prefer to step off every plane, train and bus like this:

Minus the pin-perfect curls. I really don’t care that certain people who I meet on my travels openly presume that I am a) rich b) spoilt c) a bimbo and/or d) ignorant to the reality of backpacking. I’m not about to climb mountains in a pair of stilettos! Especially as I can barely walk down a perfectly flat and even pavement in stilettos without falling flat on my face… needless to say, while stilettos are pretty to look at, I never take anything higher than kittens abroad.

Fashion and travel don’t always work well together, of course… take the second Sex and The City movie. There were some great outfits in that film – I love the Dior tshirt-and-big-skirt combo. But equally, sometimes it was like a car crash headfirst into the wardrobe department. For example:

Personally, I think people have become lazy when it comes to fashion when travelling. I get that when travelling, people don’t want to spend hours and hours getting ready each morning. It takes me half an hour. Bam.

I think this is an expansion on my RSS… my fashion style is definitely ‘settled and working in the big city’, while my passion is to keep on moving, moving, moving. I’m molding the two tough, into something that works well for me.

Now days, besides making sure that I have one or two practical outfits for things like rock climbing, long, long, long walks or anything else that can’t be done in ballet pumps and kitten heels, I pack whatever I want, and just keep my fingers crossed that it will all fall naturally into a perfect capsule wardrobe. I seem to repeat the same go-to fashion habits again and again when it comes to colours and patterns, so generally, my entire wardrobe works well together. I guess in a way, I’m not particularly imaginative.

Dior

Bottega Vetena

Rochas

Fashion week still fresh in my mind, I’ve been thinking about my packing wardrobe of the season… Yes, the skirts are staying, along with tuxedo jackets – buttoned and bra-less… or maybe a cute lace bustier…hmm…), big petticoats beneath midi-skirts, patterned pencil skirts and amazing shoes.

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Look One: BlazerPetticoatSkirt. Shoes. Bag.

Look Two: BustierTrouser. Bag. Shoes. Belt. Necklace.

Look Three: Top. Skirt. Shoes. Bag.

Look Four: TopSkirt. Shoes. Bag.

Basically, I travel Audrey and Grace style.

black and white animated GIF

old animated GIF

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