Friday, June 29, 2012

Adorned in Organics

For someone who prefers clean, uncomplicated lines in her wardrobe choices, my jewellery tends to trend towards organic, nature-based designs; things that are rarely uncomplicated, and look like they may still be dripping with primordial ooze, or perhaps have just fluttered down out of the sky to rest upon your earlobe for a breather. 

I am blissfully unaware of my reasons for this. Apparently I lack the depth of insight required to make sense of it, or maybe it's just that I'm not all that interested in finding a reason for everything. Some things just are, and that is fine.  

So speaking of things that are,  here are my top six (random number) favourite organic-inspired pieces that probably get the most play-time out of all of the pieces of jewellery that I own.  Discuss, reply, or just enjoy.  
Hagit Gorali sterling and pearl ring

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Icon Wear It On My Chest

 I am having ambivalent feelings towards a particular genre of garment. As I surf the net for new and exciting pieces to try/buy/wear/blog, I keep seeing this type of garment cropping-up. I would be reluctant to call this garment (and those like it) an actual trend…no, I don’t think it has approached fever-pitch popularity of that magnitude.  But nevertheless, there are constant examples presenting themselves before me.

Today, this one presented itself.

Boy. Band of Outsiders sweater
photo courtesy Moda Operandi

The lover of nautical-chic simplicity in me likes this sweater. It has clean lines, it layers, would work with just about anything, and the sailboat is awfully cute. I am drawn to it.

But… And it is a big but. (Insert your own “big but” joke here).

Apart from an almost childish quality imparted by the sailboat image, I can’t help but feel that the use of such a recognizable icon to convey the theme “nautical” is just a bit too literal of an interpretation of the genre to be chic. Kind of a self-styling cop-out, if you will. I know, I know…these iconic images are meant to be worn with a heavy spritz of irony, I get it. And so does Bill Blass, apparently.

Bill Blass Spring/Summer 2012 Colleciton (cute!)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Texture: The Fiber in My Sartorial Diet

This past week I was thinking quite a lot about creating looks from what already exists in my closet, but kicking it up a notch using pattern and texture. In art school, they used to always encourage us to push ourselves just that little bit further, to make a new choice, and not rely on the safety net of your ingrained habits and ideas.  I have decided to make more of a concerted effort to apply this philosophy to my daily wardrobe choices.

I hasten to add that I'm not talking about major neon pattern-mixing madness here. I cannot foresee myself in a pair of aztec print leggings paired with a fuchsia leopard blouse. No, I am simply taking something that I would normally reach for and kicking it up a wee a way that looks perfectly sensible from afar, but will make you want to look at it for a second longer than usual once the details become apparent. Like when you have to look at something for a minute to figure it out. But in a good way.  It may be that only you know that this sartorial deviation is even there at all.  Think of it like sprinkling flax meal over your cereal in the morning. You may or may not be able to see it, but you know that it it there, and it makes you feel good.

So. Texture.
Here are some of the week's experiments.

Tweeds! Stripes! Colour! Beads! Oy!
J Crew merino sweater with beaded trim, J Crew tweed skirt, New Look tee and belt, Naturalizer 
sandals, which have heels, but you can't see them because they are sinking into the stones. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Raising the White Bag of Surrender

So a few weeks, ago, and after an entire lifetime of resistance, I surrendered to an impulse, and bought a white handbag. I am just now getting around to taking it out for a spin. Okay...really I think it is "bone" and not white....

Dooney and Bourke pebble leather Colette shopper

I have never had a bone white handbag before. I’m not entirely sure how someone who loves both fashion and the breezy nautical looks of summer as much as I do could miss out on a white handbag, but there it is. I suppose it is because I have always been just that wee bit afraid…of myself really. Same with white pants. I must feel that deep-down I simply cannot be trusted with the red wine, the bolognaise sauce, coffee, orange juice, you know. Pretty much anything that isn’t clear. Or air.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Madras! Yesss!

I can't tell you how happily surprised I was to see madras popping-up in the Resort 2013 collections.

10 Crosby, Derek Lam

10 Crosby, Derek Lam
photos Moda Operandi

 Stella McCartney

I have arrived at madras a little later in life, having found it a bit too....boisterous (?) for my more self-conscious years. But as a forty twenty nine (ahem) year old adult, I feel like I finally get it. I get madras. And it gets me. We have a relationship now, and our relationship plays out much like that beach scene in From Here to so much as there is usually water, sand, and I'm tan when it is around. Yeah, that may not be much to base a relationship on, but then, madras is more of a summer fling, really.  More Mr. Right Now than Mr. Right.

I suppose the reality is more pragmatic than all that.  I came to madras perhaps mostly because I have been living in a cold and wet climate. When the madras comes out, it can only mean I am bound for a resort, sailing, a beach holiday, a barbecue, or a great many other warm-weather pursuits....the pursuit of fun....from here to eternity.

See? Fun. Hubby and me in Greece in 2010. He in a Ralph Lauren shirt, I'm in my Cape Madras mini with a Gap shirt. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Shoes, It's Your Time To Shine

It is Sunday afternoon as I write this, and I am in my uniform.

No, not that baggy green atrocity that you have seen in previous posts, but this one, you know...the normal one.

On a typical day:  J. Crew sweater, Calvin Klein jeans, Dune sandals
I recently did a post  on how the cropped pant is quickly becoming the new a cropped hemline and a showcased shoe are becoming to the first few decades of the 2000's what the long bootcut was for the 90's.  Naturally, as is the way when you write things down, I was then forced to have a wee think about my own closet, and sure enough, as you might expect, I have fallen in line.

The rolled-up slim jean has become the foundation for my everyday wardrobe. And more to the point, my shoes, only the pointy end of which ever got any glory back in the 90's, are once again getting a chance to have a shot at the spotlight.  Go shoes!

So today I have decided to give my favourite "everyday casual" heels a shot at the glory. These are some of my favourite pairs that I like to wear with cropped and/or rolled-up trousers on those days when you want/need (I use those two words interchangeably when it comes to fashion) to have just that wee modern tweak to your everyday look.

Today's strappy nude sandals by Dune. They go with everything and are comfy as hell. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Procrastinating With Brand Identity Boots

 So today is another of those pinch-me-I'm-dreaming beautiful days here in the highlands.

Sun and clouds, that lovely bright, then filtered, then bright again light.
The view from the front deck. 

I have good intentions today.  I am going to be useful around the house. Wash some clothes. Maybe clean some stuff.  I was just getting my motivation to begin, but I feel the nagging pull of the promise of a beautiful day. Having not yet turned-on the little red vacuum, my wee Orpheus's lyre to the siren songs of the Scottish weather,  I'm just going to drop what I am doing and allow myself to be drawn-out of the house.....just for a minute...

...definitely only for a minute,.... I'll just nip out here for a wee minute, then I will get back to work......

But first I'm going to water the fact, I should re-pot that zucchini plant.....

So that's finished, you know, now that I'm out here.... everything is blooming all around me,  maybe it's time to get the camera out again... maybe take some snaps...just, you know, for fun. Then I'll get the cleaning done. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Secondhand SALE

Highland Fashionista Secondhand has just slashed prices to get ready to make room for some more goodies later this week! Saw something you liked? Use the tab bar at the top, or click here to shop Highland Fashionista Secondhand!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Road Test - In Which The Highland Fashionista Tests Some Industry Insider Beauty Secrets, And Makes An Arse Of Herself (Again)

I do love a glossy fashion magazine. It's genetic. My mother always has a few subscriptions going at once), and whenever I go home to visit, a chunk of time must be allotted to perusing the back issues of these glossies, and drooling over the promise of the clothes and beauty products held within.

Perhaps one of my favourite things any beauty editor can run in an edition of a fashion mag is the little blurb that allows you an inside peek at the professional "bag of tricks" that industry hairdressers, professional make-up artists, and stylists use. For their July edition, Elle UK did just that; they ran a piece titled "Secrets of the Beauty Experts", in which the inside info was provided by the UK's leading make-up, hair, and nail artists.

Not being one to be able to resist the allure of a mundane household product being re-purposed into something that will make me fabulous, I chose three of the most accessible-sounding "secrets" to trial and grade (on the cutthroat pass/fail scoring system) for you here. Today. Right now.

For those of you who are subscribers and would like to follow-along, please turn to page 162 in your Elle hymnals now.

Okay...that sounds pretty straightforward, doesn't it? I started with a bare face (gulp), slicked-back dirty tennis-court hair (again), and a healthy dose of cautious optimism.

Oh good God. Did I forget to put sunscreen on the tip of my nose again?
This is my cautiously optimistic face, by the way.  

Now the application of foundation. I used my beloved Tom Ford Foundation Stick for the experiment.

Then the technical part of the application. I was to apply my foundation as usual but leaving an egg-shaped space over my cheekbone clear of foundation, blend-down the edges (I added my Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Bisque under my eyes), slicked some Rosebud Minted Rose Lip Balm on my lips, and voila.

Hmm. Nice. I like it. Its very subtle, though. Might be nice for work. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Another Variation on the Same Old Crop

I finally finished reading last month’s edition of US Vogue the other day, after toting it with me hither and yon for the better part of the past three weeks. In my Vogue, was an affirmation of something that I suspect will serve as a sartorial benchmark for future discussions of style as we enter the second decade of the year 2000. The message: the cropped pant is the business. And yes, despite the fact that I live and work in the UK, I continue to use the American term “pants” (which means underpants in the UK, for those who may be wondering), as opposed to the much more properly brought-up term “trousers”. To my British readers, I apologise for my crass American ways, but you simply cannot take the America out of the girl. Especially when the girl is forty. So though I have given-in to my British spell-check software and allowed my spellings to be infiltrated with superfluous u's and e's, my pragmatic heritage dictates that I always use the more economical term. So pants it is then. Pants, pants, pants, pantsity, pantsity, pants.

The Vogue article, which was aptly titled "Pants 101", confirmed my belief that the fashion world has been hanging-on to a certain silhouette for a while now, and that perhaps there is no end in sight: 

“The new thing is a bared ankle and a showcased shoe.”

And it’s true. The next time you are surfing the net, have a look at your favourite street style website, and take stock of how many uber-hip fashionistas are wearing cropped and/or rolled-up pants with a really funky shoe choice.

The rolled hems and swanky sandals of
Natalie Wansbrough-Jones, Elle UK
Senior Fashion Editor

But however fresh this ongoing trend may seem to be, it is not, as Vogue proclaims it to be, “the new thing”. I give you, exhibit A.

Louis XVI of France in his cropped pants
portrait by Louis-Michael Van Loo (public domain)

Of course, you can easily find a historical reference point for just about any fashion trend of any moment, so I will not bore you with my pedantic tendency to point out our lack of originality as artists and aficionados. No, instead, I will horrify you for the second time in a week with another not so new variation on the cropped-pant trend, also forecasted in "Pants 101", and also already being spotted on style-setter websites and fashionistas across the globe. 

They call them all manner of things: cropped wide-leg, short palazzo, flowy capris….I could go on and on. But those of us who rode the cusp of the seventies into our formative years….lets all band together and call them by name (and in your most withering tones, please)…....culottes.

Dear. God.
M. Missoni culottes at ASOS

And for the second time in just under a week, I find myself overcome with the vapours.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Might You Lend Me The Favour Of Your Bellybutton, My Lady?

So I've been watching a whole lot of Downton Abbey lately. All of it, in fact. I finished the whole of the first two seasons in about a week. I believe it to be period drama crack cocaine, and I am by far the twitchiest junkie on the block.

What I love best is how eloquently the characters verbally respond when faced with social faux pas, insult, or scandal. They respond in a way that would lead the author of the insult to believe that they are in fact thanking them for the insult, and have even been wishing for it for quite some time indeed.  For instance (spoiler alert!), take the Season II finale. There is a scene in which Sir Richard Carlisle (Iain Glen) insults his hosts, the Crawleys, by proclaiming (in the manner of the times) that he is too cool to play an after-dinner round of charades. "Do you enjoy these games, in which the player appears ridiculous?" he asks of the Dowager Countess (the awesome Maggie Smith), the matriarch of the family.  She replies, "Sir Richard, life is a game in which the player must appear ridiculous!"

That's right Sir get back in your box.

Sublime phraseology like this is such a contrast to the often cynical ridiculousness of modern living.  I'm sure that the escapism of it has everything to do with the success of Downton Abby. It tickles me to no end.  You can find more examples of this from days gone by (when insults had class) here. If you're like me, you will be secretly hoping for the day that you might actually get to put one of them to use.

This contrast of the sublime and the ridiculous has been appearing on my sartorial radar lately as well. I am almost reluctant to sully the aforementioned references to Downton Abbey with this next montage, but for the good of us all, I'm afraid I must.

They are actually trying to bring back the bare midriff trend. I find myself stricken with the vapours.

From Left: A wedding dress (!?!?) by Allure, Kristen Stewart on the cover of Elle UK, and Gwyneth Paltrow at the Emmys.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Wide World Is All Before Us

Here in the UK, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee festivities,  marking sixty years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, are drawing to a close. Unless you have been living under some sort of large rock, you will have seen, heard, or even attended some of the festivities by now. If you haven't, you can get caught-up here.

My husband and I attended a wedding, our third in about four weeks, this past weekend during the Jubilee.  It was a really festive event, and the atmosphere was sizzling with fun.  But the thing that really stole the show, despite every inch of free space being festooned with celebratory Union Jack bunting, some intensely fun and bruising highland dancing, and impromptu gatherings breaking-out all over the place......was the Scottish weather.

I know, right? How often are we able to make that claim!?

So without further ado, some snaps from our journey to Applecross, Scotland. First of all.....

Okay? There you go.
Map courtesy
So now you have a frame of reference. We drove from our house, which if you are looking at Fort William on that map, you can find us by tracing down the coastline along the loch, in a southerly direction, stopping right before it begins to split into islands and stuff. But whatever you do, don't be fooled by those straight-ish red lines. Roads here don't look like that. They look like this.