Thursday, 25 June 2009

Fitting rooms and tea parties

This is a dress in Zara. I know this is ripped offa some designer, but who is it? Do you know?

I actually really like Zara shoes -- mostly their sandals. These beige ones were weird but sort of charming at the same time.

Despite my recently proclaimed ban on high street shopping, I might have got the white dress if they'd had it in S. In the picture I am wearing XS, but it is too small for me really. There was some energetic tummy-sucking-in going on.

After my wander around the shops I went for a vintage tea party with Sue!

As usual, Sue looked classy and I looked dorky.

Sue was terribly chic today. I love the note of white lent by her cute summery peep-toes. I don't know where those are from, but the bag is vintage via Rokit and the jump-suit is from Oasis.

While having our rose grey tea and Victoria sponge, I spotted a girl in a lovely flower necklace. I knew I'd seen a DIY version on the Internet, so I came home and Googled it. And sure enough, the Internet knew!

It seems fairly easy to do, but ... where would one get a lei?

- Zen

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Reuse, reduce?

The day before my last exam

Necklace with unidentified poultry pendant - market stall at the Curve
White top - New Look
Puffy shorts - Primark
Socks with faces - Topshop
Beautiful oxford wedges - Stephanie Kelian

I will never get sick of the aerial view of my feet in these shoes.

People kept doing double-takes at my feet. It was pretty funny.

The day of my last exam

Elephant necklace - gift from CK
Fuschia patterned dress with gold beaded fringe - charity shop
Flip-flops - F. O. S.

The shoes don't match, but I don't have any nice sandals.

The dress is a new acquisition. It'll be nice for the summer, though it does not allow you to take long strides -- totally a downside. I'm a city-dweller; I like walking super fast with a grumpy expression on my face!

I've been wondering of late whether I shouldn't restrict myself to shopping at charity shops. I'd still buy some stuff new -- I'd buy underwear new, obvs -- but all just-for-fun shopping would have to be done at charity shops (and maybe flea markets). It is cheaper than the high street, it's more ethical than Primark (though is secondhand Primark less unethical?) and it might stop me buying so much stuff. I've been thinking about this more especially since seeing The Uniform Project (link via dlittlegarden).

It is supah cool! Girl wears the same dress every day for a year. She only started in the beginning of June so I guess it's early days yet, but I'm impressed by how she can make the same item look so different and fresh.

I think it would be really good for me to make myself do this sort of thing, rather than to buy new stuff all the time. I'm actually quite happy wearing the same dress over and over again in exactly the same way -- I also don't mind eating the same meal day after day; I am a creature of habit. But then I start to feel like I'm repeating myself too much and then I want to get new things. It's quite bad!

The main obstacle is that I dislike wearing lots of things at the same time. This is why I like dresses so much. You can just put one thing on and forget about it. If I wear accessories, I tend to start fiddling with them and I take them off and put them on and oops where has that thing gone now???

But this year has seen me start wearing scarves, which is a thing I never thought I would do. So hey, it might happen. Maybe I just need to get over my mental block!

I could start with this ...

sev[en]circle by Kirsten Johnstone

I did start knitting it in mint green cotton, but it looks rubbish. Time to frog and start again, now with renewed vigour!

- Zen

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Day -2

Yanking out Disgruntled Panda made me want to wear it.

Purple jade necklace - gift from parents
Disgruntled panda top - some shop in Harajuku
Tiny pink shorts - H&M
Black canvas jazz shoes - F-Troupe

I actually also wore grey argyle knee-high socks because I was worried it wouldn't be quite warm enough to wear such short shorts out. (It wasn't, but also it was. Ah, Britain.) But the socks spoilt my vision of the outfit so I have taken them off.

The purple jade necklace isn't adding much either. This outfit is a metaphor for how we are distracted from the fierce simplicity of our inner vision by inconsequential whims, and so allow the clarity of our dreams to be muddied by the unnecessary messiness of desire.

I once sat on cow poop in these shorts, but I promise I have cleaned them enough that they are OK for wearing. My policy from now on is to sit exclusively on non-cow-poop things when wearing these shorts.

- Zen

Saturday, 20 June 2009


It's like mood-lighting, but with clothes.

Grey dress - unbranded via charity shop
Purple tights - Dorothy Perkins
Oxfords - River Island

I'm not sure about this dress, but I try not to dismiss things just because they're not conventionally flattering, if I have good reasons for liking them. You know how fashion advice is always "don't wear this because it won't hide your tummy", "don't wear that if you are short because it will make you look like you have short stubby legs". That's all very useful and sure, I would hesitate before buying mid-calf-length capri pants. But I always wonder: what if I want to look like I have short stubby legs? What if I want to accentuate the roundness of my face, rather than artificially lengthen it? What if I liked my tummy and wanted it to disturb the line of my dress?

I don't really like my tummy, I would like to pretend to have long legs and I try to avoid looking too round-faced if I can help it. But it's a thing to think about.


A new style icon:

Image via Advanced Style

This is how I want to dress when I am of a Certain Age. The appeal of this outfit is that you could easily imagine her doing kung fu in it. She looks like she likes pretending that she is Wong Fei Hung.

- Zen

Friday, 19 June 2009

Stuff from Oxfam + blather

I feel convinced that if I stare at this long enough, the pattern will eventually resolve into a face.

BRILLIANT. It somehow wouldn't be quite as fantastic if the brand weren't called Droopy & Browns.

I am actually terrifically tempted by this. The other two are great, but neither of them are my size or really my style. I suppose this isn't really my style either, but it's so colourful! And sequined! And I like the grid.

I would wear this skirt with my disgruntled panda T-shirt/sweater



and pretend to be a circus.

And here are some shoes. You can wear them and pretend to be a French gentleman circa 1801.

It's in the buckles.

OK, so these would not let you feel like a French gentleman circa 1801. But you might as well wear oxfords as much as you can before they go out of fashion. It's strange to think that I might some day regard oxfords with the visceral horror that grips me when I see crop tops.

Image from ASOS

Speaking of ASOS, what about that cage dress on the front page, eh?

I'm not sure if this image still comes up when you go the website, but it was on there yesterday when CK tipped me off to it. (Hi, CK!) The first thing I thought of was Susie Bubble's post about Bordelle, but she's definitely not the only fashion blogger to be into cages -- just Google "cage dress" if you don't believe me.

The thing that strikes me about the ASOS version (apart from the fact that I was unable to find it anywhere on the website, despite inputting as many cage-related keywords as I could think of) is that it seems completely to miss the objective of the Bordelle-style cage/strap thing.

This is, in a word, squeeziness.

Image from Bordelle

So ASOS's spin on the cage dress craze seems to be
1) Hey guys wouldn't it be great if you had cage dresses only they were totally loose with all the attendant loss of sexiness?
2) BTW we're not actually selling this cage dress. We're selling the white vest underneath. It's a good white vest, though!

Well, why not?

- Zen

My Shoes Were Tight But My Feet Were Loose

My outfit today was a strange contrast between the windy looseness of the top and the fierce constriction of my feet.

Lilac shift dress with puff sleeves - COS via charity shop
Black plastic bead necklace - somewhere in Malaysia
Purple jade bead necklace - gift from parents
Purple socks - probably Jaya Jusco
Burgundy oxford wedges - Stephanie Kelian via Oxfam online

I have just taken the shoes off. My feet are tingling from the renewed flow of blood.

If outfits were like lawn mowers and I were doing a product review of my outfit for you, dear reader, who might conceivably use the same product I am describing some day -- this is what I would say.

- The shoes are not actively painful even for someone whose primary use for heels is adoration from afar. They are not comfortable. (Honesty.) But they are not obtrusively uncomfortable. (Rationalising.)
- I am not sure this dress is supposed to look ratty and crumpled, but that is what happens even if you iron it lovingly in the morning. Probably there is some kind of skill to wearing it so that it remains flawlessly smooth the whole day long. Perhaps it helps to be French. Anyway it is not a dress for novices, unless you are a novice who does not mind looking unsleek because your dress has more wrinkles than Jabba the Hutt's bum.
- I did feel like I'd just wandered out of a hospital. Something about the pale colour and the looseness.

Next up -- stuff Zen thinks you should buy from Oxfam because she's been spending too much money so she can't! I don't think anyone actually finds my posts on Oxfam clobber interesting or amusing, much less useful. But it interests and amuses me to do it, so why not.

- Zen

Thursday, 18 June 2009

The pleasures and sorrows of not-work

I've been having pretty good luck with charity shops lately. You know how sometimes you go and it's just a sea of old lady shirts and sandals? Though I shouldn't be snarky about old ladies' clothes -- I've been cooing over Advanced Style lately. It is a blog featuring old people street style! 'Old people' sounds derogatory but it shouldn't be, any more than 'fat' should be. The photos on the blog have been making me think about how women's fashion and men's fashion differ and how central sex is to women's fashion in particular ...

But that's a post for another day. Anyway, as I was saying, you know how some days you go charity-shopping and it's just a sea of hideous shirts and funny-smelling beige trousers and the occasional bizarre kitschy porcelain ash-tray shaped like a clown? Boy have I had those days. But shortly after I acquired the super tat lui, cute and sturdy Karlen Törbel shoulder bag, I've been enjoying a series of neat charity shop discoveries.

This dress being one of them.

Dress - Et Vous via charity shop; socks - Artbox; black canvas jazz shoes - F-Troupe via TK Maxx

It's super cute right!!! Don't tell me if you disagree because I won't believe you. It came from the Oxfam online shop -- £10, which is not dirt cheap, but pretty good considering it was unworn and still tagged up.

Also considering it is the cutest dress ever! I love the buttons and the faux-belt buckle.

From the same source, new shoes! I have too many shoes already and will never buy shoes again. (I may breach this undertaking.) But these are so happymaking!

Stephanie Kelian - purple wedges

That heel is 3.5" but -- okay, I am having to exercise heroic restraint to stop myself from indulging in the cry of every shoe-infatuated, self-deluded girl: "It's really comfortable!" Let's be real: a 3.5" heel is never comfortable. The human foot was not made to be elevated in such a way.

But they're wedges, so they're walk-in-able, and they aren't as uncomfortable as some of my other heels. And they're really fucking cute. Will you just look at the twirly whirly punch-out pattern on the toe. Whenever my feet start saying "hey how come we're throbbing so much :(" I will just console myself with that pattern.

I got a couple of other dresses from Real Life charity shops, but I haven't memphotographed them yet, so that'll have to wait for another day. But seriously, I recommend Oxfam online. I suppose it is kind of cheating in a way, "I clicked through a bunch of links" doesn't quite have the same ring of "I rummaged through a rack of smelly old bathrobes while being eyeballed by the weirdo behind the counter before I emerged triumphantly with a rare vintage Chanel piece!" but it does make you click through several pages of fawn knee-length corduroy skirts from Marks & Spencer if you need that treasure-hunting thrill. And it has neat things at OK prices. Por ejemplo:

Amazing blue knitted jacket with weird gold decorations, £19.99

I ... what is this? Some kinda beaded top, £6.99.

I think this is weird but for that very reason think it would look awesome on somebody more avant-garde than me. Like, a real fashion blogger.

Hobbs apple print skirt, £21.99

This is kind of expensive for charity shop clobber, actually, but it is pretty cute and requires very little Ability to Pull It Off. I mean, I'd wear it.

Floral halter dress, £19.99

Grey herringbone trilby, £9.99

I would wear this with the beautiful floral halter dress and pretend to be Philip Marlowe trying to solve the mystery of how he became a girl in a beautiful dress.

Leather messenger bag, £24.99

Mind you, there is the occasional er unsuccessful purchase. Like this weird lace vintage dress, which has since gone back in the post.

Wow, that looked terrible on me!

- Zen

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

A Bag and a New Hairdo

Most Asians will know their counterfeits from the originals like, uh how they can tell Basmati from Jasime rice. A/AB grade counterfeits are usually found in street markets whereby one can easily tell it is a fake whereas A+ to ultrA to 1:1 grades are rarer as the grade increases. The same goes for the degree in quality. You would find some 1:1 counterfeits adhering strictly to the originals where for instance, a Louis Vuitton leather handle will be made from imported cow leather which will turn into a golden honey brown colour to 'simulate' a real LV bag as all authentic LV leather bags change colour due to oxidixation of the cowhide. Those come at a really high price as well and are not really worth the investment. If you are willing to go for a high grade counterfeit, why don't you save up a little bit more to get yourself an authentic one? Seriously, I think you think you deserve the real deal too if you want it so badly.


(From an Andy Warhol exhibition in Korea, quite brilliant don't you think?)

A/AB grade imitations can be pretty entertaining too. Just like this one.


A Vivienne Westwood inspired bag which I find really cute and pretty and wouldn't mind buying one myself. It's only 38,000 KRW (approximately £18) and it looks chic. Found here. The one thing I found real funny was how they gave the brand Vivienne Westwood a new acronym and logo.


For those of you who are not familiar with museums in London, the V&A logo is the official logo of the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington.


Well, to be fair the V&A is one of coolest museums around and also has a piece of Vivienne Westwood and Comme des Garçons in their fashion exhibition so I guess Dame Westwood would not mind.

Oh and one of the things that caught my eye today was this new hairdo craze in Korea which was inspired by Kim Nam Joo from
Queen of Housewives. (Pssst, it is a must watch!)


I can't quite explain the hairdo but have a look yourself.





Honestly, I didn't really think that that look could be done with a curler but on the contrary. I guess I don't really mind the look, I mean c'mon Koreans can pull off any type of faux pas but still look good, not that I dare say this is one of them because I really liked it on Kim Nam Joo. Whether I can pull that look off myself is another story but what do you think? Do you like it or hate it? It would be interesting to see this look on a friend one day. Hair should be more interesting anyways, I am kind of sick and tired of having the Just-Out-of-Bed look always in style or the other curls/straight/messy/why-can't-hairstyles-be-more-innovative-other-than-a-bob-or-a-fringe-look.

- Sue