Saturday, June 29, 2013

Heartbreak & Off Court Chic

Photo courtesy The Independent


He's out of Wimbledon, and I am heartbroken. Inconsolable, really. But never mind that. In addition to being one of the greatest tennis players to ever breathe oxygen on this planet, Roger Federer is perhaps the only person on earth who always looks breathtakingly good both before and after a match. Consider this photo. He could set that racquet down and totally go out for mojitos right now and look completely at ease. But then, that's the Federer magic.

Photo courtesy Yahoo Sports

The rest of us are not so blessed. The rest of us walk off of the court with beet red faces and sweaty frizz sticking to out cheeks and little bits of clay court and yellow tennis ball fuzz stuck everywhere from our socks to our underpants. Speaking of underpants, once I had a pair of underpants fall out of my tennis skirt and land in the middle of the court in the middle of a doubles match. I couldn't figure out where they came from, as play ceased and we all stood and stared at the errant underpants on the court; like a bright  white flag of surrender (with little flowers) that I clearly recognised as my own. Tennis skirts all have built-in underpants, so how could mine have just….fallen off!? Turns out, the wayward underthings had been stuck up inside my tennis skirt, which I had hastily grabbed out of the dryer and put directly on my body before running out the door to go play. True story.

Want the look?   Try something designed in the spirit of the game, without having to resort to wearing your sweat-stained actual gear out and about.  Here are some doozys that are sure to please. Underpants not included.

Off Court Looks

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Touch of Tomboy

When the editors at Lucky Magazine put a call out for blogger contributors to showcase their tomboy style on the Lucky Community, I thought that it would be a no-brainer. But actually, I struggled a bit. You would have thought that I would have found it easy, having been an actual tomboy up until the age of about 30.

Okay, if i'm going to be honest here, I probably have to admit that I still am a tomboy, just one with a better understanding of style than the one I used to be. I used to get told that I walked like a jock (I am a jock). It just took me until my 30th year or so to realize that the gait you need for the tennis court is not the same as the one you need for your silk DVF wrap dress with metallic strappy sandals. What can I say? I'm a bit of a slow starter.

I also realized that I don't really have very many menswear-inspired pieces in my wardrobe at all. This Moschino Cheap & Chic waistcoat is one of the few pieces that I have that falls into that category. Perhaps it's because of my height (5'11'') or my build (sturdy) that I have always approached these pieces with caution…who knows? Luckily, age and blogging have emboldened my sensibilities, so I guess it's just a matter of time.  And shopping.  A matter of time and shopping. I would have really loved to have styled this look with a pair of menswear-inspired brogues. Hmmm….brogues….

The Stuff

Moschino Cheap and Chic waistcoat (old), similar for a steal
Tommy Hilfiger skirt (via eBay), similar - a serious bargain!
Converse One Star sneakers via Target
Judith Ripka watch (old)
Sterling bracelets & ring (from my collection)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Real Axis of Evil

I’m not entirely sure what brought this on, but this week I have been thinking a lot about the Epilady leg shaver. I know. Weird, right?  But you remember the Epilady, don’t you? And no, I’m not talking about the various and sundry new varieties of Epilady. No,  I mean the very first one. The old school one. This one.

In or around 1986 when the Epilady first appeared on the market, we got one. When I say we, I mean the women in my family. I used it once, as did my sister, and then my mother. We each used it once. Just once.

Why only once?

Because the Epilady hurt like a bastard, that's why.

The CIA is really missing a trick, what with its black hoods, waterboarding, and sleep deprivation. All you really need to do to interrogate a group of suspected terrorists is to pass around a basket of Epiladys and tell everyone to go back to their cells and don’t come out they have baby-smooth legs. You would have the name, address, and blood type of every suspected terrorist in the world in about four minutes. Job done. World peace.  I mean, look at the thing for chrissakes.

That evil eye staring back at you like the white-hot center of Hades is the epicentre of an evil rotating spring metal coil. That my friends, is the real Axis of Evil. The coil would catch the hair and rip it out by its roots…by its roots, thereby delivering the promise of smooth, hairless legs for weeks on end. Like with wax, you were supposed to have at least a quarter-inch of growth on your legs (gah!) before using it. Supposedly this gave the evil coil something substantial to hold on to, making it easier for it to grab hold of your soul with its cold, vicelike grip and tear it out through the hair follicles of your legs.

My Dad still jokes about sitting downstairs in our old house and listening to our blood-curdling screams as each of us, in turn, persevered with the thing, placing our vanity well ahead of our epidermal integrity. The result? Well...for me, all I ever managed to achieve was chicken skin.

Okay, so this is not an actual photo of my legs, thank God. This is technically a photo of a condition called  keratosis pilaris, but it is a nearly exact likeness of what my legs looked like for days after my date with the Axis of Evil. To add insult to injury, I had a pool party to go to the day after I used the Epilady. I was a teenager at the time, so you can imagine how that went down. There is nothing so scarring as having to endure the worried looks of fellow swimmers as they mentally calculate a safe swimming perimeter from your infectious looking chicken skin legs.

Years later, I was working on a major cruise line. My roommate, a fellow cruise staff member from Holland, had been a supermodel in the 80s. And I’m not just saying that. She was a no-shit supermodel who had the same hooded Aläia dress that Grace Jones had because…get this... Aläia let them keep his dresses after the show. I know, right!? She had stories about Bowie and Iman and had been in a bunch of films. All the ship's officers went into some sort of seizure state when she walked into a room.  She was also a wonderful person, full of life experience and wisdom and good energy and advice. She was the perfect roommate in a profession where such a thing rarely existed, and I worshipped her. So you can imagine my horror when one day I flung-open the door to our shared crew cabin and found her perched on the edge of the only chair using the Epilady. She was just, using it. Using it in that sort of detached, languid way that you see in the women in body lotion commercials, where you just want to shake them from their trances and yell “what are you doing!? You’re not even really rubbing that in!”

I stood there transfixed. I wanted to run to her, rip her from the jaws of the beast and throw the thing on the ground and stomp on it, thereby saving my roommate in a true act of heroism.  But I didn't. I just stared.

When I was finally able to speak well enough to register my concern with my roommate, she just threw back her beautiful head and laughed, still running the evil tool over her legs without missing a beat. Then she declared her undying love for the thing, saying that she would never dream of using anything else to shave her legs. My twenty-something year old self justified this by deciding that I just wasn't sophisticated and European enough to be able to take the pain. I was a girl from Wisconsin after all, and I used a Bic for men that I would fish out of the yellow plastic valu-pak when the old one was no longer sharp enough to make my knees bleed in the shower. For a brief moment, I even thought about trying the Epilady again. It was a very brief moment.

But as it turns out,  there are many others like my roommate out there, because I checked, and they still make the thing! Not only do they have a whole new line of (probably infinitely more tolerable) Epilady products,  they still make the original.

The Axis of Evil is still in production.

Weapons of mass destruction are real, and they are right now, at this very moment,  being marketed to you under the name Epilady Classic.

Epilady photos courtesy Epilady USA
Keratosis pilaris photo courtesy Clarisonic

Monday, June 24, 2013

Shapes and Shorts

I think that summer (or "summer" as we know it here in Scotland) is a great time to play with shapes. I am finally getting over my whole fear of voluminous clothing thing, and actually finding that pieces with a bit of drape and volume are actually quite handy wardrobe extenders. Take this blouse. It has an almost smock like quality to it that at one time might have looked like a non-starter to me, but somehow now seems fresh and modern. Sure, you do have to think about balancing more voluminous pieces like this, but that is where "summer" comes in. The weather is just right for a cropped cardi or a pair of shorty shorts; they all balance the volume of the top by letting bits of body peek out, without being overly sexified or underdressed. And the best part? It's really comfortable!

The Stuff

DVF wool trim cardigan (old),  similar
H&M blouse (old),  similar
Forever 21 shorts, similar
Kelsi Dagger shoes (old), similar
Stretch natural pearl bracelets (old), similar
Judith Ripka silicone watch

This post has been happily shared with Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday and Plane Pretty's Sunday Style

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Guest Post: H&M + Isabel Marant

Having just learned about the upcoming collaboration between H&M and Isabel Marant,  the timing seemed right when Laurren from Farfetch emailed me asking to do a guest post about it. Naturally, I said yes.  Enjoy!

H&M is no Harrods. It may be the go-to store for six packs of ankle socks and cheap cardigans - but it isn’t somewhere you would automatically associate with high-end designer fashion.

But the Swedish chain has been slowly building itself a reputation as an industry connoisseur. Over the past decade the high-street store has collaborated with some of the fashion world’s most celebrated designers, including Karl Lagerfeld, Lanvin, Donatella Versace and Stella McCartney.

This month H&M announced that its newest collaboration will be with Isabel Marant, the quintessentially Parisian designer and queen of laid-back cool. Marant is the woman behind the perfectly dishevelled-chic aesthetic so beloved by models and actresses. All those amazing off-duty models who look like they’ve just rolled out of bed and thrown on the first thing they saw? That’s not down to good luck; it’s down to Isabel Marant.

If you’re not already aware of the designer’s instantly recognisable uniform, you’ll find it regularly featured on any street-style blog worth its salt. It typically comprises skinny jeans, a flatteringly oversized tee and a pair of slouchy ankle boots, maybe with a fringed shoulder bag thrown in for good measure. It’s an ethnic, bohemian mix, without the bells and whistles, which makes it incredibly wearable. 


Although details of the impending collaboration have yet to be released, we’re expecting to see the usual mix of peasant blouses, Navajo-inspired patterns, feminine bomber jackets and Marant’s iconic hidden-wedge trainers.

Marant said: ‘I’m flattered by this collaboration. H&M works with the best designers and this invitation is an exciting honour. I aim to create something real, that women want to wear in their everyday lives, with a certain carelessness, which I think is very Parisian: you dress up, but you do not pay too much attention and still look sexy.’

Marant has always been fiercely loyal to her French roots and a perfect example of the je ne sais quoi that makes Parisian women look so effortless. It is clear that she aims to translate this into her new line for H&M. ‘The collection is infused with this kind of [Parisian] easiness and attitude,’ she said. ‘Everything can be mixed following one’s own instincts; my take on fashion is all about personality.’  

One thing that has surprised the fashion industry about this pairing is Marant’s outspoken opinions regarding high-street knock-offs of her designs. She spoke to The Telegraph about her frustration over her iconic wedge trainers being copied by high-street stores: ‘Everybody who has the wrong one looks quite bitchy, very vulgar, when mine are not at all.’

But the collaboration makes a lot of sense, too, as previous designer unions with H&M have enjoyed huge success. Marant clearly recognises what a huge global name can do for a high-end brand like hers. Now, instead of cheap knock-offs, Marant will have control over the end result. Although the prices are guaranteed to be a little steeper than usual for H&M, the final product will be much better quality and more luxe.

Margareta Van Den Bosch, the creative advisor at H&M, told ‘We are excited to have Isabel Marant as a guest designer for H&M. The way she mixes different elements in her collections, creating a style that is effortless and urban, makes her very contemporary. She has a fantastic eye for ethnic detail and the rare ability to create something that people really want to wear.’

In the past decade the company has worked with some of the most influential and exciting designers in the industry. We take a look back over H&M’s fashion liaisons:

March 2007 – H&M collaborates with Madonna on a collection with a strong workwear aesthetic that includes a lot of monochrome, pencil skirts and parkas.

May 2007 – Kylie Minogue launches a swimwear line with H&M with printed kaftans and metallic one-pieces.

November 2007 – Roberto Cavalli presents men’s and womenswear collections that include draped animal-print dresses and sequined, fringed slips.

April 2009 – Matthew Williamson launches a womenswear collection with bold colours, directional prints and sharp tailoring.

November 2009 – Footwear designer Jimmy Choo launches a 40-piece edit that includes clothes, shoes and handbags (think a lot of zebra print!)

November 2010 – Alber Elbaz, the artistic director at Lanvin, launches a range at H&M that includes everything from cosmetics to coats with prices ranging from £7.99 to £199.99.

November 2011 – Donatella Versace’s collection includes the luxury brand’s iconic clash of animal and oriental prints and bold use of colours.

December 2011  - In one of the lesser known collaborations, H&M partners with Trish Summerville, the costume designer on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, on a dark collection featuring leather and studs.

February 2012 – David Beckham’s ‘bodywear’, or underwear, collection launches in 40 countries worldwide.

March 2012  - Marni debuts its H&M collection with a wealth of feminine prints and cuts and a collection of bold accessories.

October 2012 -  Anna Dello Russo, the Editor-at-large for Vogue Japan, launches an outrageous collection of accessories, including everything from bracelets to clutches.

November 2012  - The directional and avant-garde label Maison Martin Margiela launches a collection of oversized coats and Perspex heels. The collection is well received by fashion connoisseurs, if not the general public.

Even following in the footsteps of some of the biggest names in the industry, the collaboration with Isabel Marant is one of H&M’s most anticipated partnerships yet and will doubtless delight fashion lovers across the world.

This guest post was written by Lucinda Bounsall at 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Blue State

When I saw this shift dress in the thrift store, I was ever-hopeful that it would fit me. And it did. I love the retro 60s feel to it; it has a bit of a political wife vibe going on. I would have loved to have styled it with a big pearl choker, white gloves, a hat, and a pair of Ferragamo mid-heeled pumps (Think Jaqueline Kennedy, not Barbara Bush), but I didn't have those things on hand, as this was shot while I was still in the States.  In the meantime, this is a great-looking, classic shift that will go the distance. It's roomy, so you can do all sorts of gauche, non-celebrity-lifestyle-type-things such as eat and breathe in it. I was at first skeptical of the loose fit, as drapey things tend to hang-off of those of us with a C-cup or greater in a bit of a tent-like fashion, but meh...who cares? If there are those who would be threatened by the spectre of what might lie beneath the vast yardage of material of my dress, let them wonder.  It can only add to my feminine mystique.

The Stuff

Thrifted Dress 
Calvin Klein neon coral pumps via TJ Maxx, very similar.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Black and Tan

As I packed-up my suitcase to return to the UK, I realized that (not counting all of the stuff I acquired while in the US) all of the stuff I packed for my week at home was either black, white, or camel.  Out of character for me perhaps, but it certainly made dressing for the week into a no-brainer. Sometimes, that is exactly what is required.

I have already bored you to tears with my love letter to tunics, so I will resist the urge to do so again. Okay, maybe just for a minute...ready? (Deep breath)  I love tunics and I got this Michael Kors beaded linen tunic on Ebay for like ten bucks and it looks really great with khaki or white and what's even better is that you don't have to mess with a lot of accessories because the beading sort of takes care of that for you and the wrinkliness of the linen keeps the whole thing from looking too formal but it is actually perfect for a warm summer's day and you manage to feel pretty while sweating it out in the heat and how often can you say that!?

(Aaand breathe....)

There. Was that under a minute? It kind of helps it along when you don't waste time with punctuation. 

The Stuff

Michael Kors beaded linen tunic via Ebay, similar sleeveless look here.
Jones New York khaki "cargo" skirt (old), similar here. 
Franco Sarto sandals, thrifted
Sunglasses thrifted.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Truly Unique: Bailybelle

While at the farmer's market on Saturday, My sister and I happened upon a booth that was displaying some really enticing earrings by Bailybelle. When I discovered that the artist is not only living and working in my old home town, but also attended one of my alma maters,  I felt it was necessary to do a wee internet shout-out. Her work is full of joy, and the prices very reasonable; to keep you coming back for more, which I will undoubtedly do. My sister and I both purchased the large button earrings. I liked the way the black and white worked with all of the graphic black and white I seem to be amassing, in both my wardrobe and my hair.  My sister went for the Chevron pattern to complement her auburn streaks.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Two Pairs. Two Stores. One Day.

No. Freakin'. Way.  Epic thrift score. It has to be seen to be believed.  

I found these two pairs of pristine Franco Sarto shoes on the same day in two different local thrift stores. The brown ankle strap pumps have never been worn. The black sandals are in mint condition. The Gods of Thrift continue to smile upon me. Long may it last.  

Friday, June 14, 2013

Family Thrifting Week Highlights

Things have been incredibly lucrative here at Family Thrifting Week.  Pictured here is one of the dresses I scored at a local thrift shop, and it is just the tip of the iceberg.  We all found some ah-maaazing pieces this week. Since you can be sure you will be seeing my own thrift scores scattered throughout the blog over the next wee while, I thought I would showcase some of my Mom and sister's favourite picks from the week's ongoing expedition, and have them share a little of their personal Tao of Thrift.


1. Thrift stores can be overwhelming. Do you have a strategy for shopping in thrift stores? 
    The only thing overwhelming to me is the thrill of the hunt, and my strategy is to go often.

2.  Are there certain things that you are always on the lookout for, regardless of season or trends? 

3. What is the best item you have ever found in a thrift store? 
A J. Crew red wool winter coat for $19.00, a Seiko dress watch, $17.00, a lambskin leather skirt (pictured above), $6.00, and one very well-hidden door to the ladies' room.

My Sister Laura

1. Thrift stores can be overwhelming. Do you have a strategy for shopping in thrift stores? 
    I always head for the shoes first. Usually if you hit really big at a thrift store, it's because you found a killer pair of boots or some other quality shoe. If I score in the shoe section, it gives me a rush of adrenaline that helps me power through the rest of the store. 

2.  Are there certain things that you are always on the lookout for, regardless of season or trends? 
    While I dread the pants section as much as anyone, I will always look there, because a pair of well-fitting pants transcends seasons.  I often lunge at dark gray semi-cargo pants. Especially if they're skinny-ish.  I have a pair right now from a thrift store that I will probably wear to death.

3. What is the best item you have ever found in a thrift store? 
     That is impossible to answer. Well, maybe not. A pair of Banana Republic gray leather boots.  I can't remember how much they were but it didn't matter because they were so great.  They were under 100 bucks, at least. Maybe 50. I've worn them to death, and I will get them repaired about 30 times before I'm ready to let them go.

The Stuff 

On Mom 
Look 1: Jacket and tank thrifted, pants DKNY, shoes Sofft
Look 2: Skirt thrifted, jacket Jessica Simpson, boots Ralph Lauren

On Laura
Look 1: thrifted
Look 2: thrifted

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My sister's thrifty boho style

I am hereby declaring the remainder of this week (as well as the coming weekend) International Family Thrifting Week.  As I am sure you are by now well-aware, the women in my family are dedicated, swift, and lethal thrift shoppers. We float llike butterflies and sting like bees wherever there is a well-made vintage garment to be found. To kick off International Family Thrifting Week, I present to you my sister, Laura.

Laura is a freelance writer, and as such, gets to wear pretty much whatever the hell she wants most of the time. The result of this is a truly unique, carefully-cultivated wardrobe of approximately 98% thrifted items that really solidifies her unique, modern-bohemian style...although technically,  I'm taking credit for the skirt she is wearing. It's a Trina Turk skirt that I purchased secondhand on Ebay, intending it for myself. Despite my best efforts, including recently hauling the darn thing all the way to Glasgow to get it taken in, it just never worked on me. It worked instantly on her. I guess sometimes you just have to know when to surrender.

The stuff

All clothing thrifted
Lapis pendant (her own)