Thursday, January 31, 2013

Quick and Unfussy

The weather here lately has been pretty much a constant stream of bad weather's greatest hits: hail, driving rain, gale-force winds, cold, and gray. Not necessarily always in that order.  So despite the fact that it is still technically January,  I get a little restless looking at dark clothes, tall boots, scarves, long sweaters with leggings....look around you in winter and that is pretty much the uniform, myself included. But today, I was in a hurry, and more than a little fed up with the gloom.  So the pink coat came out. I love my pink coat.




I have had this shockingly bright coral-pink coat for a while now. Got it at J. Crew years ago and it has served me well. It really is just the thing when you want an uncomplicated way to do something interesting sartorially. Let's face it. 35 MPH winds like we are having today (yes, really) are not when you want to be wearing tons of flowy layers or a flippy georgette skirt. So something simple, unfussy, and classic, thank you very much. Even if it is probably a bit premature seasonally.  Added bonus: a great way to get dressed in a hurry, as I did today. A quick run to the shops in terrible weather? No makeup on? Choose colour! It covers a multitude of sins.




Shoes: Clarks, jacket: J. Crew, boatneck tee and jeans: New Look.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hell Hath No Fury Like My Cashmere Scorned....

So. My disappointment in the quality of sweaters just jumped up a notch today. No, I take it back. It jumped up about seventeen notches. Readers, I give you, Exhibit A:




This is my Equipment cashmere sweater. New season (Fall/Winter 2012). It retails on their website for $288.00. Thankfully, that is nowhere near what I paid for it. I have featured this sweater in a blog post, am absolutely in love with the colour, and was hoping that it would become a part of my forever pile that would gracefully age along with the other cashmere pieces in my collection. I have worn this sweater for a full day about five or six times, and only travelled with it once. Take note of the thinness of the weave. The pilling. The unstable-looking seaming. Now witness Exihibit B:




You will recognize this as the sweater that I featured in this past week's post. This is a sweater by Charter Club, Macy's brand of cashmere. This is a sweater that I got secondhand on Ebay. These days, I think that they run a little over a hundred bucks new, but you can pretty reliably get them on sale. I have no idea how old this sweater is, but I do know that I am not its first owner. Witness the denser weave of this sweater,  the lack of any significant pilling. I have worn this to death. It has been to the Alps (twice), to the USA (three times) and all over the UK. Although I can't be sure when this was made, I think its safe to say that this sweater has the upper hand in the quality of cashmere department.


Designers and Retailers,
What the hell!?
You are shooting yourselves in the foot. You might get someone to pay a ridiculously-inflated price for an inferior-quality garment once. Once. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that you are sourcing your materials and labor on the cheap. I strongly suggest you rethink your production quality if you want to charge these kinds of prices. Otherwise, it is in your best interest to sharpen your friggin' pencils and start charging for what you are actually producing, and not for what you think you can make the customer believe you are producing.  Best of luck Equipment, but I'm afraid this relationship is just not working out. It's not me, it's you.

Highland Fashionista

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fifteen Minutes of Fab

For somebody who writes a fashion blog, I am hardly ever dressed. It may seem like an odd statement, seeing as though you can scroll through nothing but image after image of me in various and sundry outfits here at Highland Fashionista HQ, but there it is. I rarely get to wear clothes. I have one of those jobs that requires a uniform of oversized medical scrubs....you know, basically a big pair of pajamas. I work for twelve hours at a stretch, and it would be really easy to just roll out of bed and into a track suit, or the same exact outfit I wore the day before. After all, I am only going to have said outfit on for about fifteen minutes at a time...just enough to get from the house to the car to the locker room and back.  And in-between there is probably a workout, so no real clothes there either.  While this pattern certainly eliminates the stress of having to dress appropriately for work, it is no less heartbreaking for someone who deeply loves to express herself with fashion.

So I get it where and when I can, in the in-between times.  Lets call it my fifteen minutes of fabulousness. I tend to gravitate towards what I call my "Scottish Uniform", something I have written about in the past as it tends to work well with the Scottish climate most of the year.  Skinny jeans, boots, cashmere, pea coat. I have many permutations of this look. Here's yesterday's version.  I brought the pants party with me to work yesterday. I felt I needed a bit of humour in my outfit. If you could see the weather here right now, you would understand why.

Before

Guess cropped pea coat (old), Calvin Klein cotton sweater (old), H&M pants,
Timberland boots (old. really old...and I deeply love them)

After

Stylin'

How much longer until I can wear real clothes again? 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Classic Cheapskate

In extreme weather conditions, I tend to gravitate towards classic clothing. Whether it be extreme cold (cashmere!) or extreme heat (shift dresses!), the classics sort of take away the insecurity that a tempestuous climate can bring. At least it does for me. That is why I have been wearing these acid green J. Crew corduroys for nearly the past week. And today I can actually get outside to take a picture of them....and....AND....the best part is, I got them secondhand on Ebay for $10. In fact, all of the clothes you see in these photos were obtained secondhand, including the shoes. Okay, excluding the accessories... but still.  So all together now ladies...say it loud....I'm cheap and I'm proud!


cashmere sweater: Charter Club by Macy's, cotton gingham oxford: Marks & Spencer,
corduroys: J. Crew Favorite Fit (in tall no less!), shoes: Bass Weejuns

watch: Vestal







Of course it wouldn't be a typical Highland Fashionista photo shoot without a few dog photobombs...






Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Today!

Another "green" project made from the wee ends of other bits of yarn that I couldn't bear to part with. 


on Etsy


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Something To Wear With Your Exfoliating Tee Shirt.....

Here's something straight from the WTF files, courtesy of Vogue UK. If you have not already heard the big news, Wrangler (yes, that Wrangler...of the classic cowboy jeans) is coming out with a moisturizing....that's right....moisturizing line of jeans this spring.


Elizabeth Jagger, presumably in her moisturizing jeans
photo courtesy Vogue UK

Apparently they come in three flavours (perfumes? essences? !!??): aloe vera, olive extract, and "smooth legs", whatever that is.

And the best part of all is that they will retail for 85 GBP. That's about 135 USD.

And you get a free tube of Monistat with your purchase.


Okay, I just made that last part up....that's a lie.  But it seems like a good idea to hand-out anti-fungal cream with a pair of moisturizing jeans, does it not?

Moisturizing jeans. Cool idea or gross marketing ploy? Discuss.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

An Ode To Spam

It was my hope today that I would launch into some spring fashion material now that I am at home and the sun here in Scotland is staying up until nearly five o'clock in the evening! 

But alas, the unpacking process is not going as smoothly as I would like. This is for two reasons. Numero uno is that the lovely bottle of Haute Savoië Mondeuse that we brought back form France decided to spring a leak in our ski gear bag. Oddly, our ski gear doesn't smell any different to when we are wearing it. Tee-hee. Snort.

The other reason is that we are currently renovating our kitchen, and my house looks like this.



So instead, I have decided to take a moment to pay tribute to the lesser-lauded giants of the internet; the Spammers. A while ago, I moved to a moderated format for my comments so that people didn't have to deal with the coded message robot when leaving a comment. What I never expected was the side-splittingly delicious entertainment that my moderator's spam folder would provide me with. So without further ado, I give you a new segment, created with actual comments sent to me by actual spammers....


The Highland Fashionista Responds: An Ode To Spam
First Edition
"I think that everything posted made a ton of sense. However, what about this? suppose you were to write a killer headline? I am not suggesting your content isn't solid., however suppose you added something that makes people want more? I mean "New Today!" is a little boring. You should look at Yahoo's front page and see how they create article titles to grab people interested. You might add a related video or a related pic or two to grab readers interested about what you've written. In my opinion, it would make your posts a little bit more interesting. Here is my weblog ... low price michael kors handbags." 
     - Anonymous (posted on a "New Today" announcement for one of my new Etsy items) 

Oh no you di-int!!  

My Dearest Anonymous, 

While I certainly appreciate anyone visiting my blog, perhaps the best way to endear oneself to the point of actually getting your "Michael Kors" handbags link up on my site is to not be such a bloody backseat blogger and keep your big nose out of my "headlines", as you call them.  Although I daresay I have a certain amount of appreciation for your unique blend of ESL sentence structure with more than a hint of contempt for the person you are pitching your product to.  Not to mention your creative use of punctuation. Not everyone can achieve this. Reading your comment is kind of like watching a baby take its first few steps toward you before it swiftly kicks you in the shins. So I guess what I am trying to say is...well done. Consider me grabbed interested. 

Respectfully, 

HF

______________________________________________________________________________

"Thanks in favor of sharing such a good opinion, paragraph is nice, thats why i have read it fully Also visit my website nfl shadow jerseys throw back nfl jerseys"    
                                                                                                                  - Anonymous
"Hello to every one, the contents present at this website are actually awesome for people knowledge, well, keep up the good work fellows. Here is my web site ... cheap nfl jerseys" 
                                                                                                                  - Anonymous 
                                                                         both posted to Hotel Room Yoga and Other Glamourous Endeavours 


sigh

Hello Again Anonymous,

It seems that we are destined to keep meeting in this way. While I am somewhat encouraged to see that you no longer appear to be internalising suppressed anger, I am less certain about your enthusiastic claim to have read my "paragraph" fully.  Although I would never dare to accuse you of not having done your homework, your greeting to "every one" of the "fellows" here at Highland Fashionista leads me to believe that not only is something lacking with your "people knowledge",  there also might be something seriously wrong with your eyesight. Please see an optometrist at your earliest convenience.

Concerned,
HF

_________________________________________________________________________________

"Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear." She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone! Visit my web blog - michael kors chain tote" 
- Anonymous (posted on another  "New Today" announcement for one of my new Etsy items) 


......

Anonymous.... 


I......

You....

Wow. Okay. Thanks for sharing. I trust you did not put the crab into your "Michael Kors" handbag. 

Sincerely, 
HF. 


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Glamourama!

Yep, I've been absent again. But I'm back now, and ready to resume the fight for all things pragmatically fashiony and of superior quality. And gray hair. And thrift store shopping. Maybe not necessarily in that order.....but all of these things, and more.

A brief word about this year's ski trip. The Alps are having a bumper year for snow. See below snaps for confirmation.

Another word about fashion and ski trips. The images of people sitting around the chalet in fur gilets, UGGs, and piles of diamonds while sipping an après ski vin chaud is (for a majority of us) somewhat of a fallacy. Yes, there are (mostly rented) chalets (yours truly stays in an apartment) and there is DEFINITELY vin chaud (glug glug), but most of us regular gals are likely drinking in our long underwear or maybe something Gortex, and a really tall pair of socks. You wear real clothes for about four hours a day, and if I walked into a restaurant in our ski village wearing the stereotypical aprés ski wear one imagines (from magazines and movies), it would be like that scene from Dumb and Dumber. You know the one. Plus, it's bloomin' FREEZING up there in January!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Swemergency!

Sigh.

It's official. The world as we know it is deep in the throes of a full-blown sweater emergency. A swemergency. Is there an equivalent of the World Health Organisation for fashion? I would like to report an epidemic.

The knitwear that is plaguing the high street right now is shocking. Insipid colours (or "peelie-wallie" as they say here in Scotland), cheap, flammable-looking fabrics, and with a hand that is (forgive me my use of this word) flaccid.

These items dig at my soul, especially when I remember the days when my Mom would bring me back a few wool sweaters from JC Penny; nice colours in a pure wool crewneck. Those old JC Penny sweaters look like couture when compared with the flotsam and jetsam that is currently washing-up on today's high street. These sweaters have all of the hanger appeal of the carcass of one of Hannibal Lecter's victims. Only I'm pretty sure that in one of these inferior sweaters, nobody would be lining-up to eat your brains...even with a side of fava beans and a nice chianti.

Am I being too harsh? You decide. Here's today's offering.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

An Open Letter to Marks & Spencer

I am always saddened by the downfall of a once-storied fashion giant. Department stores are suffering these days, there's no denying it. But this article that I found today in the Telegraph was not only well-timed, but right on the mark. AND...it prompted me to write one of my unsolicited open fashion letters to no one....and everyone. Click here to read the article.



Dear M&S,

I was just in your Stirling shop today, and was flooded with the same feelings I always am when I am in one of your shops: firstly, that at age 41 I am still way too young to be shopping there, and secondly, that you are selling the same, cut-rate, throwaway merchandise that the rest of the high street is selling. The racks and racks of black unlined polyester slacks and skirts I encountered near the door made me just about lose the will to live, let alone shop. And I don't even want to talk about the shoe selection. Okay, maybe for a minute. The words "clunky", "cheap", and "cankles" all sprang to mind. These shoes are discernable even by their sound on the tile shop floor...the sound of inflexible plastic soles meeting a hard surface.

I have lived in the UK for 6 years and have only ever bought underwear in M&S, which like the article says, is your strongest offering at present. M&S ...you have forgotten that a significant representation of us know and care what good quality, design, and fabrication is. Your fabrics are very obviously cut rate (some of your cashmere is ok....just ok) and from a design standpoint...well, the fashion situation there is DIRE. If you're listening, and I hope you are, take a step back and figure out what you want to be before it is indeed too late. I (and undoubtedly others like me) would love to see real fabrics, linings...less "stuff" on the sales floor and more fashion. You could pretty much half the size of your shop, fill it with quality, and likely attract fresh blood...even if the average price point was just a bit higher.

Bring on some young designers with ideas on how to spin the beloved British Traditional ethos into something marketable that still stands for quality. You might ask Ralph Lauren for advice...he did it for us "Yanks" all those years ago, and seems to have worked well for him. Try some capsule collections (take a page out of H&M or US retailer Target's book on this one). Make the inside your stores a little less reminiscent of an ASDA or Tesco, and more like a place a gal with style might want to buy a cashmere jumper or a tweed jacket. (Then sell some REAL cashmere jumpers and tweed jackets, for goodness sakes).

Today, I went to EVERY shop on high street looking for a traditional merino or lambswool jumper, and did not find ONE. Not a single one. Here is your opportunity. You are a heartbeat away from extinction, and it is sad for such a storied institution. Anyway, drop me a line if you want ideas from an erstwhile style blogger as to how win back the style savvy 30-50 year old gals who you are currently (unwittingly) turning-away in droves!

Love, Respact, and More Than a Bit of Worry,
The Highland Fashionista
Www.highlandfashionista.com

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hotel Room Yoga And Other Glamourous Endeavours

On the road again, this time to a work-related university-sponsored course. Four nights in a hotel room, with only a fraction of my "stuff". That's not to say I packed light. Oh goodness, no. Hubby is coming to meet me for some skiing at the end of it all, and since I made off for the week with our only car, I have ALL the gear with me. The people in the hotel look at me with a special blend of curiosity and outright fear. Like some sort of Alpine unibomber.

So it's probably just as well they can't see me working out to streaming videos here in my room (make that an Alpine unibomber in a leotard). Many years of frequent travel have made me very skilled at using even the smallest hotel room as a workout space. Today's lineup....floor barre and cardio yoga!

No space? No problem...no excuses.