Friday, 30 March 2012
The last few days in Barcelona have been almost summery during the daytime hours (so naturally this weekend I'm headed to Germany where it's 10 C and raining, bah. Summer is by. far. my favourite season of the year, both socially and fashion-wise, and though I'm not the first to post some of these summer inspiration looks, I wanted to weigh in with some fashion-related inspiration.
By far my favourite Summer collection and lookbook this year is Family Affairs' S/S line "Les Vacances." I always feel as though their pieces weave a delicate and considered path between adult and youthful, retro and modern, and I think this collection is their best to date. I'm not normally very into models or lookbooks either, but there's great ease and charisma to the stylings, and I realy can imagine wearing all of these clothes on the scorching days and balmy nights I'm waiting for...
Lazarri was a new brand for me (thanks Ale for alerting me to them), and well, they have a whale print. Although I feel like I want to move in a slightly more simple and "acting my age" direction this year, those whales are not helping in the least. The collection is also rife yellow, my favourite summer colour.
I preferred last years Sessùn summer collection, which had a perfect, sold-out white dress, but they are always masters at a cheerful brithday-party aesthetic, and I find myself visiting their website just to listen to the summer mix-tape they've put together....
...and last but not least, I'm loving Alexandra Grecco at the moment. It's not about any specific collection or year, but aspects of all of them. I love the easy marriage of 20s-style silhouettes, hints of the 60s and Mexico, and a pared-back Brooklyn cool. The below video by Celia Rowlson-Hall is a few years old, but I think it does a wonderful job of capturing not only the clothes, but a free and easy lifestyle that is synonymous with summer. I'll be having sliiiightly less sugar in my coffee though!
Monday, 26 March 2012
My favourite decades for style are probably the 20s through the 40s, and here I was definitely trying to channel a bit of a 40s factory worker look. I've definitely said it before, but I prefer these kind of working class looks and include clothes that you actually had to do things in... and although I certainly don't work in a factory myself, I definitely need all of my clothes to allow me movement, and to hold up to the frequent wear and occasional abuse of my traveling lifestyle.
This skirt, although it seems the height of practicality, is actually quite annoying... it sticks to my tights and is a size too big (which is my own fault for buying it anyway). I'm always on the lookout for basic skirts to go with all my various patterned tops, but I'm incredibly picky and only have three skirts (and ironically the one I wear most is yellow and covered with a birdcage print).
"No cuts" reads the graffiti behind me. We're gearing up for a general strike this week... I took these pictures in Parc de L'Espanya Industrial, the site of a former factory during Barcelona's industrial past.
blouse: Oysho (2010), skirt: Boutique by Jaeger, headscarf: vintage, thrifted, shoes: Fly London, tights: gift
Thursday, 22 March 2012
Landscape plays an interesting role in blog photography. So often I end up in places that look to be deserted; like I'm the only girl on the street, or here, as though I'm in the country somewhere. Frequently this is just a logistical issue: for those who take their own pictures, there are few things more uncomfortable than having an audience, and even for those of us who have photographer-slaves (at least sometimes), there's generally the issue of people wandering un-scenically through the background. It can also create a sense that we're all country lasses however! I actually love urban backdrops on blogs, but maybe just because I love cities in general (my Masters was in Urban Studies).
Anyway, although it looks like I'm a tree-nymph in a country churchyard here, it's actually just outside a church in a residential neighbourhood of Bonn. There was no issue of people wandering into the shot on this particular day, because everyone who wasn't a style blogger or her long-suffering boyfriend was sensible enough to stay indoors (and we sensibly went and stuffed ourselves with Wiener Schnitzel in a warm restaurant immediately afterwards).
Perspective is everything..
Photos by Albert
dress: Nadinoo, tights: Betsey Johnson (via the Christmas sales at Winners), shoes: Camper
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
I was thrilled to receive a copy of the Audrey Grace Magazine in my inbox a couple of days ago. Put together by Jaclyn Bethany in support of her pop-up boutique by the same name opening in New York this Friday, it's a delightful hommage to all things candy-coloured, or sparkly, or romantic (with the occasional prom-worthy dress thrown in). I adored Jaclyn's beautifully styled editorials (such as the one featuring a sherbet-haired Hannah Metz that I'd already been drooling over on tumblr). The magazine also features original art and interviews with designers, photographers, artists and bloggers--including me! I can't even say how thrilled I am to be keeping company with Alexandra Grecco, Erin from Calivintage, Rosalind Jana and well, everyone else.
For those of you in New York, you should certainly drop by the pop-up shop, which is taking place starting Friday on the Highline! If you want to attend the launch you can RSVP here. It looks set to be a fun event, with wine and a band. The shop itself is running through to the 28th of March. If I could go, I'd almost certainly be purchasing my one-item for March there...
Click to see the whole magazine
Jaclyn also writes that if you wish to buy a hard copy of the magazine, you can contact her at jbethany(at)fordham(dot)edu
Sunday, 18 March 2012
I just spent a lovely weekend in Bonn, riding my old vintage bicycle (unfortunately a few sizes too big though, I'm a bit unintentionally kamikaze on it) up the Rhine in search of a hot chocolate.
I was expecting my new white tights to be shining in the springtime sunshine, but instead it was a cool and misty day... still I think they went well enough with the washed-out landscape!
My usual penchant for ballet poses resulted in plenty of giggles all round. : )
Photos by Albert
dress, sweater and vintage scarf: thrifted, tights: Calzedonia, shoes: Liz Claiborne sales circa 2009, sunglasses: TK Maxx, pin: the Sherlock Holmes Museum in London
Friday, 16 March 2012
The coffee houses of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were hotbeds of debate and discussion on all manner of subjects by the learned, artistic, and famous folk of the day. As such, coffee and all things associated with it came to invoke eloquence and quick thought.
So read the little card that came with this coffee pot necklace (with a lid that opens and closes--gaah!) that my mom bought me as a New Years present. It couldn't be more perfect, since I am always escaping to cafés to work on my book (getting away from the internet is worth all the money I've spent on coffee these last few years and more). Usually, my requirements for a café/hideaway are simple: I like big windows, cheapish coffee, and plenty of ambient noise, but preferably no power ballads or gaming machines. Occasionally though I take myself somewhere a bit fancier, such as Els Quatre Gats, the historical-treasure-cum-tourist-trap, where Picasso and his artist friends used to gather. It's only a theme-park version of its former self these days, and frankly, the no-name place around the corner doing breakfast seemed to have a better atmosphere, but I like to roll in every few months anyway.
Does your town have cafés that keep discussion and debate alive? It can be a hard balance to hit actually. Barcelona probably has more café/bars than anywhere I've ever been, but I find myself eliminating many of them for one reason or another: too expensive, bad quality, too noisy, too quiet, clientele too posh, clientele too dodgy, revolting croissant, terrible music, staff-insist-on-speaking-English-to-me or whatever. Still, going out for coffee here is one of my favourite passtimes, and I think I like Els Quatre Gats now and again for the historical context. I feel that the ubiquity of free wifi and Macbooks has kind of killed the best part of café culture in North America this (says the girl with a Macbook who's often to be found anti-socially clacking away), but there are always little oases of public space tucked away here and there...
Tuesday, 13 March 2012
So this makes my second post title named after a Flavia de Luce book (the other one was "I am half-sick of shadows," and yes, I know that's also a line from Tennyson). I'm completely in love with these mystery books, featuring an eleven year old girl sleuth in the year 1950. Flavia reminds me a bit of myself as a child, except that I wasn't a precocious amateur poisoner. And I didn't live on a country estate--I just pretended I did. Anyway, this post had to get the title of the third book, which has a plot point turning on a statue of Neptune (and just look who's chilling behind me). And another plot point rests on fish, and just look what I randomly found by the artificial lake in the park at 8 am on Saturday morning when I went to take these pictures... eww and wtf?
In other news, I'm trying to think of other, more interesting ways to wear this blouse, but so far I'm not having much luck. Maybe due to the complete lack of skirts in my wardrobe... any ideas?
shorts: H&M Wateraid Collection, blouse: Desigual (gift from Albert), beret: very old, shoes: ebay, jacket: H&M, bicycle pin: gift from my mom, pile of dead fish: eeewwww.
Saturday, 10 March 2012
Last Saturday when Kallie was here we took a little daytrip to Sitges just down the coast from Barcelona. We were all kind of the walking wounded from being up until 4am the night before, and I was practically comatose from cold meds as usual (this is seriously the winter of the constant drip for me; not pictured: my Kleenex) but we still had fun wandering the sunset beach of pretty Sitges. I don't think these photos are very representative of the town, which in summer is a Mediterranean paradise (if you can ignore the throngs of people) of azure sky and stark white buildings, but the tawny and later pink evening light was certainly lovely.
We ended up dressing kind of the same. I always seem to do that when there's another girl around to imitate! I wasn't initially very excited with my look (nor with having my fluorescent nose documented for posterity) but it's a good, basic, no-brainer outfit for me with a bunch of my favourite pieces.
Photos by Albert (except the two scenery shots, by Kallie)
Kallie's post on Sitges is here
My outfit: dress: River Island, sweater: vintage, scarf: The Hudson's Bay Company, jacket: H&M, shoes: ebay, bag: vintage, necklace: Les Jumelles
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
So, this isn't 100% what I wore to the Absinthe bar--it didn't occur to me to wear the star crown until later, but I did wear the rest of the outfit, and I'd definitely wear it again with the crown next time I go somewhere a little schmancy. I recreated this look on Sunday morning mainly because night out outfits tend to go undocumented, but also to show my sister that I do wear this dress, because she bought it for me. Thanks Shona. The star crown was made by moi over Christmas following this tutorial.
So, tomorrow's International Women's Day, I've been reminded. It usually passes me by, not because I'm not a feminist or anything but because I'm not very fond of marketing-friendly days (like Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, etc.) BUT while catching up on month's of Niotillfem the other day I came across this post and the linked documentary. You should all watch it if you haven't already! Now, women's day is about much more than women and fashion and low self esteem, obviously, but the documentary does make many valid points about the way that expectations placed on females contribute to a culture of inequality, violence, and "keeping us in our places." I really enjoy fashion and dressing up, and blogging about it for whatever reason, but I also hate how the expectations on women to keep looking "feminine,"-- largely hairless, flawlessly made up, slim, well-dressed, etc. etc. etc. are ultimately something I have to engage with outside of my sartorial hobby. Getting ready every morning is a major waste of time, for example. Why is it that men can have a full face, and chest of hair, but I feel like I'm letting the side down if I have a hair on my chin? Think of all the extra time I'd have for thinking if I didn't have to spend time doing my hair, or examining myself for rogue blemishes. To be fair, on a daily work day, I don't spend much time on my appearance, but if I had a more serious job I'd feel as if I had to. And frankly, days when I blog and put in an extra bit of effort show me what a colossal amount of time it's possible to spend, every single day and all to be considered acceptable to society when I step out the door.
Then there's the fact that by spending that extra time on blog days, in the interest of not looking like death warmed up, which is my usual Monday-Friday look, I am myself contributing to this need for perfection in females. Personal style blogs are refreshing because they feature real girls with real figures and budgets and so on, but at the same time, all of us, with our DSLRs and rotating wardrobes, seem to be trying to emulate the very magazines that alienate us. Aaaand, to take it one step further, I'd say that we do so because it works. I get more positive feedback when I do my hair and wear lipstick, because it photographs better. I get better feedback when I post pictures where I look thin and proportionate.
Bah. Ok, I'm off to go read a book now.
Photos by Albert
dress: gift from Shona, star crown: DIY, tights: Boots, shoes: Camper
Monday, 5 March 2012
By some happy chance, whilst we were enjoying a glass of wine on Friday evening, somebody saw fit to mention the Absinthe bar... and half an hour later we were there. Bar Marsella is a Barcelona institution, and The New York Times even did a piece on it a few years back (fun fact, the girl in the NYT picture is a friend of mine)!
It's a place I am drawn to and avoid in equal measure. The first time I went there I had two of their cloudy yellow drinks, rode somebody else's bike home, and was bravely emaciated and wishing I were dead at a job interview the following morning (this in my wild youth). Subsequent visits were rife with comedy and coincidence. It may be the only place I've closed down, as the irate staff cursed and mopped around me while I stood in the middle of the floor, refusing to leave until my friend came out of the bathroom. Absinthe itself is a fairly revolting drink, until you've finished one and the burn has worn off and suddenly it seems like a reasonable idea to order another one. And nobody deserves an absinthe hangover. Yet La Marsella is so damn atmospheric that it's pretty much a required stop from time to time. It's old, it's dusty, in fact it's greasy, but it manages to be all of these things in a way that isn't precious or self-consciously nostalgic. The staff are something else. The neighbourhood has been dubbed "the dodgiest corner in Barcelona." (nonsense in my opinion). It's grand fun!
We were actually well-behaved that night, and only shared one absinthe so Kallie could try it, but the place was just as yellow, and fumey, as ridiculous as ever...
Yes, random men, I am trying to take a candid shot of the bar, thank you...
P.S. I was wearing quite a cute outfit which I'll show you in more detail next time...
Photos 2,3,4,5 by me, 1 and 7 by Kallie, 6 by Albert