Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Casual Sequins

It's taken me about two hours to write this post. Jane Eyre is on TV, and I keep getting sidetracked by Mr. Rochester's waistcoats, breeches and early Victorian gazes of longing.

Today's effort, in lieu of a corset, petticoats, and that awful center-parted, pulled-down over the ears hair that the women of the 1850s walked around in, I decided to go with this. Casual sequins, flat loafers, and a faux leather and denim skirt. It's New Year's Eve after all. Instead of going all-out glam, I'm taking a more casual approach this year. Yes, there's bling, but it's undone bling. I like that it's not trying too hard. In fact, it's practically passing for normal. Happy New Year everyone!

La Redoute top (old) last seen here, similar / River Island skirt (last season) last seen here, similar / Bjorn loafers (old), similar / Gemporia cracked quartz ring / cat eye frames

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Looking the Part

This is what I wore this year for Christmas. While it's not a full-scale Tactical Christmas Jumper Assault, it's my version of a "festive sweater" look. Festive sweaters seem to be enjoying a second coming, which it fine with me, because I do like a well made fair isle sweater. I hasten to add however, that I do draw the line at things with Santa heads, actual bells (and whistles), pompons, tinsel, or for the love of God, anything that lights up. That said, all of the employees of Tesco this year wore tacky Christmas sweaters on the lead-up to Christmas, and it was hilarious. There is something quite droll about watching two guys having a super-serious discussion about the safest way to move a massive pallet of under-ripe mangoes while wearing Frosty the Snowman sweaters.

This is one of those looks that people tend to associate with life up here, as if we were living in one big L.L. Bean or Boden catalog or something. While there's no arguing the fact that woollens and tweed work well up here, this is not the gathering wood, walking the dog in the rain, picnicking on the moors, firewood gathering outfit of choice.  The reality of that outfit is far less glamorous than the heritage tweed that is usually pictured in the catalogs.


See what I mean? Not nearly as camera-ready.

Really, this fair isle and tartan woollens look is one that I don't often wear all at once. I'll wear the sweater with jeans or the skirt with a black leather jacket; overall I usually like a bit more edge. But every once in a while, the occasion suits. This year, I not only went for the look, I also made pies. Hey, if you're gonna do it, do it right and fully commit.

Ralph Lauren sweater (old), similar / Ann Taylor Loft skirt (old), similar / Timberland boots (old), similar

This post has been happily shared with Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday

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Friday, December 26, 2014

Meaningful Wee Treasure

This is my Christmas present. It's a 14k sea life bracelet. Not the newest or most innovative of jewellery designs, but after wanting one of these for the better part of twenty years, I finally had the opportunity to pull the trigger when my husband decided to let me pick my present this year while on our recent holiday.

Here's the backstory. Back in the 90s, I used to work on cruise ships. Everyone....and I do mean everyone I worked with had one of these bracelets. I lusted after one, but never got one for myself. I have no idea why I never got one for myself, as it would have been well within my reach at the time, but I have a few theories.

Theory No. 1: I had not yet gotten to the point in life where investment pieces were a part of my vocabulary, and could not imagine spending a significant amount of money on something so small. Ironically, I didn't buy my first nice piece of jewellery for myself until much later, when I was in the Air Force and couldn't wear much jewellery at all. It was a pair of Australian opal studs set in 14k that I got on sale for $60 (steady on, big spender). I still have them, so I suppose that is when the "investment piece" penny dropped.

Theory No. 2: I was in the band. I made a living as a professional musician for years, and was always sitting in the middle of a big group of guys in some sort of female version of a tux.  The chick sax player - my identity was very wrapped up in what I did. I never thought of myself as a "girly girl" in those days, even though I enjoyed clothes, makeup, etc. I hadn't yet had the epiphany that you can like pretty things and be one of the boys...these things aren't mutually exclusive. You just can't effectively play alto sax in a big band in a miniskirt. Not really.

Theory No. 3: I'm originally from the Midwest, where "oh I couldn't possibly" and "don't trouble yourself on my account" are a part of the unspoken tapestry of life, whether you are aware of it or not. We don't want to be the extravagant one, the one who appears to be getting a bit too fancy. One minute it's a piece of jewellery, the next minute you're snapping your fingers and screaming at the servants to bring you another G&T.  Clearly I've gotten over that. Snapping your fingers at your servants is just so gauche, and anyway I find that withholding food and bathroom privileges is just so much more effective.

So those are my theories. I suppose that they are all a little bit true, but now I can tick that one wee thing off of the bucket list. I like that this piece came from a Caribbean port that I used to sail in and out of regularly (albeit it is virtually unrecognisable from it's 90's self), and it's nice to wear a piece that you've taken twenty years to obtain, no matter how big or small. I suppose that is the jewellery experience at its best, when it's more than just a bracelet - it's a meaningful wee treasure.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Getting Back to Reality

I've had a fantastic few weeks off, and am now in the process of getting back to normality. I've come home to some seriously dreary weather, a pile of unfinished writing assignments and dirty socks, and some jet lag that makes me want to stay in bed until 11 in the afternoon. Here's wishing you all a safe and fantastic festive season, and I'll see you back here in a few days time (there is simply no hope of an outfit post until I can get this laundry done). Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Vacation Uniform

This is my latest vacation "uniform" for casual warm-weather holidays, and it also happens to be 100% thrifted. Okay, except for the shoes, so let's say 90% thrifted.

I used to always wear sundresses on holidays, as I felt that shorts were just too risky for getting caught-out feeling underdressed. I still feel that way if I'm travelling in some parts of Europe, but in recent years I have relaxed my own rules about shorts and given them a second chance.

None of these pieces are particularly expensive, but they have a nice, easy fit that is both comfortable and looks kind of slouchy-chic. The blouse is literally indestructible, and I find myself wearing this outfit again and again when I need something easy that I won't feel either over or underdressed in. Easy is good.

thrifted Merona (Target) blouse, similar / thrifted Ann Taylor Loft shorts, similar / H&M Sandals (last season), similar

Monday, December 15, 2014

I've Got Crabs

I'll probably not be the first person to come home with crabs after a vacation, but I'll be one of those rare types that loves it and isn't trying to get rid of them.

Behold, the latest edition to my ever-growing tunic collection. I found this Gretchen Scott crab tunic in the sale at Sandpiper Clothiers when I was out wandering around the neighbourhood today. Those of you who have been around a while will already know how much I love a tunic. Add to that a likeness of an animal...well.

I've got crabs.

Gretchen Scott tunic / JAG jeans (old), similar / River Island sandals (old), similar

Friday, December 12, 2014

Neon & A Wee White Bag

Greetings all, and welcome to this, the super bright sunlight, vacation edition of the blog. Yes, as you an see I'm still chillin' on vacation, squinting into the sun, trying my hardest to make the best of it (snort). Apparently yesterday Scotland had such a big storm that they had the biggest waves on the planet. On the planet. Sometimes, you just get get lucky.

Another lucky break...I found this vintage Coach cross-body bag on Ebay this week, and had it delivered to the holiday house. Isn't it cute? I have a bit of a thing for these vintage leather coach handbags. This is my second one (here is the first), and it's absolutely perfect for vacations and nights out where all you really want to take with you is a lipstick, a phone, and a credit card. That's twice lucky in one week by my calculations.

French Connection top / J. Crew skirt (old), similar / Enzo Angiolini sandals (old), similar

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Trench Coats in Paradise

I have the good people at UK retailer extraordinaire JD Williams to thank for today's post. JD Williams is the UK's leading direct home shopping experience, and they provide one of the most comprehensive range of sizing options on the web. When they contacted me and wanted to send me this Fit and Flare Mac from their Lorraine Loves collection, I leapt at it. A classic trench coat (or Mac for Macintosh, depending on what part of the world you hail from) is one of those things that should probably be in every fashion lover's closet, and I admit that it was a rather conspicuous void in mine.

This version really is perfect for what I like in a lightweight coat. I find the shorter length to be more convenient and much chicer than the longer, more traditional designs that can sometimes look shapeless and dowdy. This coat is fitted through the (double-breasted) torso and flares at the hips, to really accentuate the smallest part of the waist and give a bit of feminine flair. I also like that the fabric belt is a simple tie, and doesn't have any of the traditional hardware buckles on it. I've always found that hardware on trench coat belts ends up clanging against things, scratching the finish on anything it comes into contact with, and weighing the belt down to the point where it slides out of the belt loops when you want to wear it untied. This one stays put, and that is a revelation for me.

JD Williams was also kind enough to throw-in this Joanna Hope faux fur stole, which is So. Much. Fun.  It almost adds a sort of 1920s vintage raccoon coat vibe to the look without having to slay any creatures in the process, which is good. As much as I love fashion, I do not do real fur.

This jacket arrived the day before we were leaving for the Gulf Coast of Florida to meet my family for a holiday, and it turns out it is the perfect travelling piece. This very lightweight coat folds-up nicely in the overhead compartment of the plane or fits in a tote without ending up looking crushed, and it gives you a really polished look that is always a bonus on a travel day. It's also water resistant, making it the perfect jacket for those warm weather holidays where you might need something a bit warmer in the evening or if it rains, but don't want to bring anything heavy that might take up space that could be used for that 9,000 kilos of Oregon Pinot Noir and American hot sauce that you are planning on bringing home to the UK. An American girl needs her American hot sauce.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Acid Accent

I love this colour. I love it so much that I didn't bother to press the wrinkles out of this merino cardigan before I put it on, but we are going to pretend that's not happening right now, got it? Great. It's good to know we're all on the same page.

What's great about this colour is that you don't need to work very hard to make a sartorial statement with it, it sort of does the talking for you. My affinity for this colour has been somehow genetically passed down to me by my mother. She loves this colour so much she has a VW bug, a several coats, sweaters, a hoodie or two, and I think at least one hat all in this colour. I'm not quite so bad. I only have three things.

No, wait...four. I have four things. accessories count?

Tahari lightweight merino cardigan (old), similar / Apt. 9 leather skirt (gift), similar/ 14k gold leaf necklace (old), similar / Dune booties (old), similar

this post has been happily shared with Mis Papelicos' Share-in-Style

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Winter Boot Season

These are my new winter boots. They just arrived today, and I'm in love with them. I finally retired my old pair last year, after nearly eight years. As a result, I had been looking at boots for weeks, lusting after some of the tall, industrial-looking Sorel and Timberland boots, but here in the west of Scotland, we get very little snow, so for my needs, that type or arrangement would be a little OTT. Not that you don't see people wearing them, but its just not really what you need here. My boots basically just need to get me over a dusting of snow with the occasional snowstorm thrown in, and to get me from the car to the ski lift and through the village when we go on ski holidays. And they have to be really waterproof. This is Scotland, after all. But that's basically it. So my rule for shopping for my new pair was that if something looks like it would fit an outfit that featured a length of rope, an ice axe, and maybe a St. Bernard, it's probably OTT, and would look silly, no matter how cool I thought they were.

That approach served me well, because I ended up with this pair of Hi-Tec Talia snow boots. These boots are part snow boot, part duck shoe, and part sneaker. Perfect, and a great deal too, I might add.

Looking for boots? I already know the answer to that if you live in Wisconsin, Minnesota, or anywhere along the eastern seaboard up until about the Carolinas (hey, I watch the news). Here are a few cool picks for you, from lightweight "barely snows here" boots up to the mother lode.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Maestro Jacket

I found this interesting little jacket-thingy while thrifting with my mom and sister when I was in the States. It's by the Macy's brand INC, it's super-lightweight, and has all sorts of weird and wonderful detail on it. It's made of ultra suede, and has a draped jersey back. I've decided to call it the Maestro jacket because it reminds me of a conductor's jacket with tails...I guess all those years of sitting in bands and orchestras have informed my view of things. 

I had originally wanted to pair this with a skirt or maybe a pair of shorts and tights, but I tore a hamstring on the tennis court yesterday (old injury, I'm a bad at stretching), and apparently I have to wait a few more days before I am able to balance on one leg long enough to put on a pair of tights (I got them up to my knee, then had to abandon ship). The skinny jeans were challenging enough. I kind of wish I had taken some video of it though, because it was actually a little bit hilarious. You know how much we love all things hilarious here at the blog. 

Thrifted INC jacket, similar / Mango Elektra jeans / Chinese Laundry shoes (old), similar / Honora baroque pearl necklace (old), similar / Judith Ripka key pendant (old), similar / Sterling status link necklace (old), similar / Judith Ripka ring
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