Buttercup's Frocks

Musings on personal style by a fatshionista of a certain age

  • 19th October
    2014
  • 19

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Forgive me, tumblr, for I have sinned. Work has hit me like a freight train and blogging has had to take a back seat for a while. Liverpool, Stafford, Brighton, Coventry, Swansea… It’s barely halfway into the current semester and I’m knackered already. What’s more I’ve somehow wound up teaching on a fashion (design and communication) degree course. Can’t complain though. It’s been good fun and I get to hang out with my friend Carol a lot.

I’ve not been entirely useless in what passes for my spare time these days though. I have continued to stockpile outfit shots, though the lighting in the shop has left much to be desired as it’s been rather overcast of late. 

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Say hello to my wonderful Australian earrings, made by Melbourne-based company, Erstwilder. I’ve been combing etsy and eBay for aeons trying to find a good pair of flamingo danglies, which in itself is entirely down to having seen an Oz blogger rocking a pair of these a couple of years ago. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon the very thing in Covent Garden’s Monday antique market. While they’re obviously not antique, the lady I bought them from also sells some vintage bakelite along with a ton of quirky brands I’ve never seen anywhere else, much of them French. I’ve been resisting her charms for years but finally cracked big time. I also bought an adorable pair of enamel squirrel earrings – plus a pair of tiny striped dachshund Erstwilder earrings for m’bestie’s birthday. (We are polar opposites when it comes to style. She favours discreet jewellery but she does love a dog or cat motif).

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Meanwhile I cannot tell you how chuffed I am to finally own this frock! I’ve been patiently waiting for Evans to reduce it properly for months. Every now and again they’d teasingly reduce the price from £60 to £48 but I continued to stick it out until they brought it down to £30. Much more like it in my book.

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I’ve been wearing it a lot. Although it’s more or less like a sleeveless version of my first Scarlett and Jo dress, it’s a slightly better fit and I feel less formal it because it doesn’t have the long, sheer sleeves. (Cats and long sheer anything is just an accident waiting to happen). I am, however, flirting with the idea of a black tulle 50s-style petticoat to go underneath for added fanciness,

Anyroadup, tumblr, that’s it for this evening. My bed is singing a siren song and I need my beauty sleep. 

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  • 24th September
    2014
  • 24
OMG you guys! My little blog turns four years old today. Therefore, I charge my metaphorical glass and raise my cartoon cupcake to you, my lovely readers, lurkers and fellow ranters. Here’s to another year of rule breaking, convention flouting and dressing how you darn well please. Cheers, m’dears!

OMG you guys! My little blog turns four years old today. Therefore, I charge my metaphorical glass and raise my cartoon cupcake to you, my lovely readers, lurkers and fellow ranters. Here’s to another year of rule breaking, convention flouting and dressing how you darn well please. Cheers, m’dears!

  • 20th September
    2014
  • 20

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Yo tumblr!

Remember when I said I had a stockpile of summer OOTDs? Well, given that the weather is threatening to change any minute, I thought I’d do a giant combo post before we in the UK are back in hats, gloves and knitted long-johns for the duration.

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Believe it or not I bought this terracotta broderie Anglaise number back in March. I had some Monsoon vouchers for my birthday, (my friends can read me like a book), which combined with a special everything-in-store-is-20%-off-day, resulted in my scoring it for half-price. Since I’d have had to wait till August for that opportunity otherwise I was well pleased. It fits beautifully and the colour’s great. 

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Also, it transpired, dead easy to accessorise. The shoes, which you’ve seen before, were from the Liberty collaboration Clarks did a couple of years ago, and my lobster brooch came from eBay. Bear with me while this shrug gets another airing…

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… this time with a Gudrun Sjoden frock that just so happened to be 40% off on a day Deanne and I happened to be passing. Since their sales are generally a travesty I’m sure you’ll agree it would have been churlish to leave it there. I only wish it had been available in my size in the emerald green and fuchsia colourway but this one came a close second. 

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Again, it proved a piece of cake to accessorise…

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I love these shoes because, unlike my Hotters, they don’t look especially orthopaedic. They actually pre-date my orthotics period and I often scour eBay for the terracotta version. I’m sure they’ll surface eventually. No idea where these tights came from; I think my mum might have given them to me because it would never even occur to me to purchase olive green hose. Oh, go on, have another one….

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My third dress is a bit more of a Marmite affair.

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Admit it, it’s not often one sees a floaty chiffon muumuu. It came with a crappy tie belt that’s supposed to go around one’s hips Gatsby stylee – something that suits me fine well as long as I only stand up. I still love it though. With the sheer sleeves and the cut-out neck detail it makes me feel demure and sexy at the same time. (Well, just a tad).

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Those nails, eh? All gone now. Sadly I can only avoid busting them for so long. I had fun painting them a variety of antisocial colours while they lasted mind.

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  • 11th September
    2014
  • 11

Yo tumblr! As from next week I have some part-time gainful employment! It’s miles away and it will cost a lot to get there but I can’t tell you how relieved I am.

This is my Brave Little Toaster face. Hopefully there will be additional part-time work to come. Together, they will make up for all the hours I’ve lost at the uni I’ve been teaching at for the past 8 years. I’m still waiting to hear back on various other projects which, with any luck, I’ll be able to do concurrently. However, I’d best warn you now I’ll be knackered with all the travelling, so it’s likely I won’t be posting as often. Though I’ll still be taking pics in the shop for as long as I’m working here.

(I’ll certainly miss all the handy, beautiful props once it’s sold. My bangles may only be cheapo but they look very lovely on this gilded leaf).

This, incidentally, is the outfit I was wearing when my photograph was filched off flickr and used to illustrate fat-woman-attempting-to-camouflage-her-fat-with-a-fugly-print-instead-of-wearing-something-“flattering” – on a supposedly plus-friendly fashion blog. Bleeding cheek. 

Needless to say this only makes me love it all the more. 

  • 30th August
    2014
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So here’s another outfit from my summer stockpile as the weather grows ever more autumnal. And you’ve seen it all before though not in this particular combination. I first featured this frock three years ago, though my early photographs scarcely did it justice. I was quite shocked to read how much I paid for it though I suppose, from a cost-per-wear perspective, it wasn’t that bad a deal. And it’s not falling to pieces yet which is always a plus.

I can’t help thinking in the light of my mock-flock frock, (my goodness, I enjoyed writing that), and my Sadie-inspired number, that it could probably do with four inches off the hem and a big tulle petticoat underneath. (Why didn’t I buy one from Taking Shape when they were a paltry £15 back in the post-Christmas sale? Why?!) 

For some reason I forgot to credit or photograph my 80s bangle – it was 79p from a charity shop in Southgate many moons ago.

In case you’re wondering how the search for gainful employment is going, the answer is slowly but a couple more possibilities have been brought to my attention. Nothing set in stone yet because everything depends on funding. And in art education my subject is frequently deemed less worthy than other disciplines. So we’ll see. Rest assured you’ll be the first one to know if and when anything good happens. 

  • 24th August
    2014
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Hey, remember when I said I had a whole lot of outfits stockpiled to post? Well, I still haven’t posted them all yet and now Autumn appears to have arrived a month early, so i thought I’d better get a move on. I don’t know what it is about this time of year, (my biorhythms probably), but, come September, my life almost always undergoes some kind of drastic change – and this year will be no exception.

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For reasons that aren’t mine to disclose, Lynne’s going to be selling the shop and moving to pastures new, so as well as my erstwhile regular teaching contract being a shadow of its former self, my days at the shop will be numbered, hence the aforementioned work related hysteria. But…I’ve made some phone calls and sent out some emails and there are glimmers of hope in the gloom. Plus there are many more phone calls and emails scheduled for after the Bank Holiday, and a workshop proposal to write, so watch this space and keep the positive thoughts a-comin’ if you’ve a mind to. 

In the mean time, here’s a tee shirt dress with a Pucciesque print that I hadn’t worn in an age. Irritatingly the moths have had a pop at it in a couple of places, despite my wardrobe reeking of lavender and enough noxious chemicals to fell an Atlas moth a hundred paces. But you can’t see ‘em here so I’m not demoting it to a sleep-tee just yet. 

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I forgot to mention that I scored the frock on eBay, brand new with tags, for twelve quid some years after if had been and gone in the store. Looking at it now I can’t believe it was too warm to wear matching coral tights and a cardi. 

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Toodles!

  • 20th August
    2014
  • 20

OMG, I may be a pescatarian who ate her last hamburger in 1991, but I would so wear these Honeyee stacking bangles, unashamed fatarse that I am. Well, y’know, if I had a spare ninety quid lying around, which I totally haven’t.

Work wise, things are looking a mite grim, playmates. The contract on which I depend to keep my head above water come the start of the academic year has been rather dramatically slashed. So I may not be around quite so much for the foreseeable, engaged as I am with wailing, garment rending, teeth-gnashing and trying to drum up work elsewhere. I’ve a few fingers in a couple of miniature Mr Kiplings but nothing’s set in stone. (Mix metaphors, why don’t I?). So keep your digits crossed for me, tumblr. I could do with some prayers and a break before September’s out.

Toodles!

  • 8th August
    2014
  • 08

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Tumblr, I am chuffed to bits with this recent score. To be honest I haven’t gone raving mad in the summer sales. Partially because, like so many of my fellow freelancers, I’m not exactly raking it in at the minute. Plus I just haven’t seen an awful lot I really want. There’s the Monsoon frock I posted a couple of months ago, which is sold out online and hasn’t been reduced in store – and a Scarlet and Jo number from Evans that’s scarcely been reduced at all. And the Taking Shape Dalmation dress, which I did buy because it’s currently £29 and I think it has some serious styling potential. But, other than that, nary so much as a shrug has caught my eye.

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I certainly wasn’t expecting something from BHS to give me a sleepless night, never mind fit me. For my non-UK based readers, BHS stands for British Home Stores which my mum always regarded as a poor man’s Marks and Spencer. (Apart from their lighting department which is near legendary). Growing up I wasn’t especially keen on either. In fact the only items of clothing I’ve ever purchased from BHS are a couple of half slips and a training bra, (size 34AA, which will give you some idea of how long ago that was).

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While it had dimly registered that they’d produced a range of full skirted prom frocks, I’d only seen a couple of designs and, being primarily a straight-size manufacturer, didn’t expect a BHS size 22 to accommodate my waist or my charlies. And, sure enough, none of the others I tried on (just for shits and giggles and because I’m an eternal optimist when it comes to clothes) came anywhere near to containing my magnitude. This one, however…

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Like a glove.

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It’s not actually flock by the way. It’s good quality, lined, heavy cotton with an incredibly full and swingy skirt thanks to a lorra lorra tulle. It was also missing it’s naff tie-belt, which meant I got it reduced by a further 10% on top of the sale price. I’d originally planned to wait and see if they reduced it even further but I cracked after a few days. And it was just as well as there were only two of these left and praise be the beltless 22 was one of them.

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Rest assured BHS will figure a little more prominently on my sartorial radar from now on. I feel like the bee’s knees in this.

Toodles!

  • 2nd August
    2014
  • 02

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When I was a bud, I used to have a loudly striped shift dress, dubbed The Deckchair Dress by my college mates, one of whom used to borrow it on the regular. For all I know I might even have bequeathed it to her when I attained full bloom as I’m not really built for shifts. Although I now think of this Monsoon number as my “current” deckchair dress, it’s seven or eight years old. And unlike its predecessor it’s actually seen its fair share of sand and shingle.

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Here I am six years ago with my dear friend and fellow writer, Miss Jude, facing San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, my camera precariously balanced on a wall crowded with seagulls. Jude was my first enduring internet bestie. We wrote to each other for years on end before we met in person, united, among many other things, by my love for her writing, (she’s a poet), and our mutual interest in the same actor. We had a particular interest in seeing him naked and, no, my lips are sealed. 

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Another time this dress and I ran away to Bognor for what turned out to be a truly idyllic day. My friends and I travelled via Littlehampton, where we ate delicious fish and chips in Thomas Heatherwick’s extraordinary East Beach Café. 

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The day before had been highly traumatic. Some roofers had done a royal botch job on the temperamental flat roof over my bathroom, which they’d sworn would put an end to the periodic floods I’d been having since moving in. Regrettably it had quite the opposite effect. During the sustained and torrential rain that preceded my flight to the seaside, the ceiling sprang multiple leaks, causing no end of structural damage. My downstairs neighbour and I just stood there, buckets and washing-up bowls in hand, tearfully observing that it was almost like there wasn’t any kind of roof there at all. Sunshine, Mr Whippy and the Bognor Music Festival restored me to the requisite level of sanity needed to get a new roof sorted the following week.

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The sea has restored me to sanity more times than I care to remember; from devastating break-ups to full blown panic attacks, wherever I’ve been in the world. It’s freaked me out on occasion, (just what was that Portuguese Man O’ War doing in the chilly waters of Pembrokeshire?), and gladdened my heart on others – witnessing a huge colony of tiny fiddler crabs coming out for their evening constitutional in Savannah Georgia is one of the most magical things I’ve ever seen. Likewise, catching a spectacular sunset in Blackpool out of season, not a soul on the beach but me.

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I’m particularly fond of the English seaside in all its faded grandeur and eternal kiss-me-quick tackiness. So it goes without saying I like a seaside-themed accessory or two. I’ve been cruising the interweb to gather some summery trifles for you, should you be of a similar bent. First up some vintage preciousss from Etsy. (Please forgive the lack of design continuity; I had to do one set on Polyvore and the other on Picmonkey on account of Etsy having no truck with Polyvore).

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I’m especially loving the 80s brooch and matching earrings on the left.

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The Bucket and Spade brooch (1) is from I Am Acrylic, priced at £15.00. 2, 4 and 8 are all by Tatty Devine: the anchor pendant is £15.00, the (I would-sell-my-soul) giant lobster necklace £150.00 – and the Breton Anchor brooch, designed for the Barbican in conjunction with the Gaultier retrospective, is a slightly less heart attack inducing £35.00. The ice lolly pendant (3) is from Les Néréides’ N2 diffusion line and is £29.00, while the adorbs little beach hut bracelet (5) is made by Karen Trezise, and is available on Folksy for £18.00. Also from Folksy are 6 and 7: hand drawn ice cream brooches are a fiver each from Lil Vintage and the boat brooch is £4.50 from Curly and Nibs. 

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  • 25th July
    2014
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Yo, tumblr! I’m feeling a mite snarly this evening as I’d just finished the original version of this post when something untoward happened with the ol’ internet connection and I lost the whole enchilada – pics, bon mots and all. So I’ll err on the side of safety and keep it brief this time.

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Cute Monsoon frock bagged on eBay for fifteen quid several years after it graced their stores. I’m iffy about contemporary embroidered items as I find they invariably start unravelling the moment you wear them and this one was no exception. But I do love it lots and folk often compliment me on it.

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It put me in mind of Wedgewood Jasperware, which given its quintessential Britishness and Victorian popularity, probably explains why I think it has a vaguely Lolita flavour. While I certainly wouldn’t go the whole hog at my time of life, it could definitely stand a crinoline petticoat or two, and I quite enjoyed pairing it with my cat bag. Ditto my new mother of pearl bangle, which I’m quite made up with.

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It was a goodly week in the charity shops. This was one of three bangular scores – another, wider mother of pearl job in pinks and greens, (£3.99), and a sage green carved number, (£2.00), that I happen to know retailed at over twenty smackers back in the day because I have one just like it in cream, for which I paid the full whack. I also liberated a very nice enamel 60s flower brooch for my ever-burgeoning collection for a princely £2.99. I flirted with a gold Mulberry bag and a Penny Plain dress with a dodgy neck but accessories reigned supreme.

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And that’s pretty much it today. I’m afraid I’m too knackered by this infernal humidity to apply my brain to anything more demanding than an OOTD this evening.

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  • 20th July
    2014
  • 20

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I’m afraid it’s a ranty one today, tumblr, and only tangentially related to my outfit. Four words: Linda Kelsey; Daily Fail. Yes, I know I’m more than a little fashionably late to this party and this piece has already inspired numerous scathing and satisfying take-downs. Nonetheless it’s been gnawing at my gusset and vent I must. Hold onto your hats, (or just look at the pictures, whatever tickles your pickle).

Ms Kelsey, a woman who battled severe depression for three years and who claims she has more compassion for herself and for others as a result of being hospitalised with it; yes, that Linda Kelsey… thinks we fat people aren’t sufficiently ashamed of our fatness – a fact she deduced by witnessing three young fat women not clad in sackcloth and ashes, wantonly sharing a packet of crisps at an airport. The nerve! One can only imagine the censure had they had a packet of crisps each. Still, she gave it a jolly good go.

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I don’t know what it is with sanctimonious fatphobes like Kelsey but there’s something about the fanciful hyperbole they employ when exercising their bigotry that positively borders on the salacious. One or two adjectives will never suffice to convey their distaste for bodies like mine; they have to use every synonym for fat in their lexicon. That they take pleasure in this is self-evident; and I quote: “bulging bellies”, “billowing pillows of back and shoulder stuffing, punctured by flabby arms and lardy legs”, “a super-sized sausage of overhanging belly”. It’s like poetry; lush, splenetic, deeply misogynistic poetry. Though, curiously, slender bodies don’t fair much better with her later references to “self-starving stick insects”, “Keira Knightley’s razor-sharp scapula and fried egg breasts” and “Victoria Beckham’s hand-span thighs and knife-edge hips”. I suspect she may Have Issues but I’m buggered if I know what they are beyond, “My eyes! Take these fat people far away from meee!”  But then that’s what articles like this always boil down to in the end, every single motherfucking one.

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Tirades like this are never about health; they’re about aesthetics and money. And not NHS money either; the untold buckets of dosh raked in by cynical moolah-grubbing wankpots who profit from as much of the populace fearing and reviling fat bodies as possible. Health, as Kelsey well knows, has a mental component that impacts directly on the physical, and comes with its own type of stigma. Forget the fact that her entire argument hangs on the spurious and reductive shibboleth that all fat people are fat because they eat vast amounts of junk food and never exercise; or that there have been several honest-to-gosh scholarly studies that prove categorically that weight based discrimination and stigmatisation not only threatens mental health but increases risk for obesity. What young fat women need, according to Kelsey, is a damn good dose of opprobrium to ensure they feel as worthless as possible. I would say the hypocrisy beggars belief but this is the Mail we’re talking about.

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Like the majority of fat bashing journos Kelsey has, by her own admission, never been fat in her life, ergo she hasn’t a clue that those of us who are have to suffer the same censorious rhetoric numerous times a day from multiple media outlets; that we hear the same sweeping generalisations and negative stereotypes parroted – along with the same patently bogus concern for our health – by every concern trolling knob jockey on the internet. Unlike me she has the supreme privilege of being able to tune it out.

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Frankly this article is so chockfull of ignorant supposition and prejudice I could write a ten thousand word dissertation and still not be done but, it’s the inability to make a connection between eating disorders, which are rising exponentially, and the fat hatred of which Kelsey is so repellently proud that grates my cheese the most. For someone who loves to bang on about personal responsibility, (and don’t they always?), it’s high time she realised that talking shit about fat women’s bodies negatively impacts on the self esteem of all women. It’s time she got off her high horse, stopped assuming she knows diddly about the lives of perfect strangers, and took some culpability for contributing to a toxic culture. Most of all it’s time she took her head out of her backside and realised that nobody owes her invisibility or shame. 

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 …which is kind of what this blog is all about.

Rest assured that thunderstorms permitting I shall be dressing like a brisk poke in the eye to the likes of Linda Kelsey on the morrow. And I very much hope you’ll join me in doing the same. 

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  • 18th July
    2014
  • 18

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Yo, tumblr! Just a quickie this time as I’m in the middle of writing a lengthy and more political post.

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Apparently London was “hotter than Honolulu” yesterday and, despite an epic thunderstorm I somehow managed to sleep through last night, shows no sign of cooling down or getting any less humid. So I’m very grateful for this cool little Evans number I bought a few weeks ago.

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At first I thought it was made of that really crappy viscose which goes like a rag after three wears and falls to bits after half a dozen, but no! It’s cotton, so I bought it as I have precious few items I can wear in this kind of weather. It also, by sheer luck, goes a treat with one of my recent Les Néréides spoils…

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Good grief I’ve got a lot of sun damage age spots freckles. 

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In the interest of full disclosure, these pics were taken last week, which is why I’m wearing tights and a cardi. (At time of writing I’m clad in a thin, short sleeved cotton maxi with no tights and no cardi). But while we’re on the subject of my tights, I dyed them! Unfortunately I did this by accidentally by putting a mixed, non-colour-fast wash on too high a temperature. While I’m not keen at all on what this did to either of my previously aqua bras, I’m delighted these previously  yellow tights came out lime as you can’t get lime tights in plus sizes for love nor dosh.

So, um, yes. That’s pretty much it this time around. But I’ll be back with a snarky response to a recent Daily Fail article soonly. In the mean time…

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  • 11th July
    2014
  • 11

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One of the reasons I invariably plump for a vintage looking frock is because, like many an impecunious teen before me, I discovered charity shops at a formative age. Around 15 to be exact. By that time I no longer received pocket money, but a modest monthly allowance, out of which I was expected to buy my own tampons and Clearasil as well as other teen essentials like Roxy Music singles and tickets to see Sparks at the Hammersmith Odeon, (Kimono My House era; oh yes). As you might imagine, this didn’t leave a lot over for clothes, but occasionally I’d splash out in Etam or Topshop. Even back then my preference was for dresses, and since style revivals take an estimated fifteen years to come around, and this was in the early 70s, they usually had a post-WW2/Utility flavour – though in truth I only knew this because my faintly bemused dad had told me. Hitherto they’d just looked like cute frocks to me; now, armed with the facts, I made a beeline for War On Want – where I discovered that a pure silk 30s dress with a print to die for could be had for 75p and a 50s royal blue swagger coat with a bow on the back for £1.50. I also started rifling through my grandmothers’ wardrobes. 

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Being of the Make-Do-And-Mend generation and fat to boot my nannas, Sadie and Sally, kept everything including the cocktail gowns they wore to my parents wedding in 1957, which were swiftly assimilated into my sartorial repertoire – I still have both sets of matching elbow-length gloves. However, given that Sally was more of a bottom-heavy hourglass and Sadie was shaped much like me, it was her gear I plundered the most. Two 60s shift dresses – one bottle green lurex, the other lime-gold poly sateen patterned with black leaves – became the winter staples of my art school years, usually accessorised with her lined beaded black cardigan, which I literally wore to death. She had a lot of skirt suits – emerald green knit, blue and white striped seersucker, gunmetal lurex, cotton with a jungle print in fab sludgy colours – all of which I purloined too. Lest you think I completely cleaned her out, I should probably say that by this time she strongly favoured a crimplene trouser with matching waistcoat generally made by her own fair hand. Though, speaking of waistcoats she had a great embroidered crepe one, which started life as a jacket in the 1930s. I inherited that, along with her crocodile handbag, after she died and wore it pirate-style over a cream silk shirt.

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Sadly, next to no documentary evidence of any of this exists, though here’s the younger me rocking a jumble sale find that’s pure Sadie. (There was wine in that cup by the way and it’s entirely possible it was Pink Lady).

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And here we are in the late 60s with her wearing an almost identical dress. I was about 9 or 10, sporting my natural hair colour and a ghastly camel cardi which, as you can see, is almost the same colour as my skin. Or why I wouldn’t wear Burberry if you paid me and haven’t seen my natural colour since I was 14.

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As you can probably tell from the Dame Edna specs Sadie was a big proponent of Ooh Shiny! and Too Much Ain’t Enough, (not least in her approach to home decor, which my appalled mother dubbed Early Jewish Renaissance, typified as it was by Venetian glass chandeliers, red brocade chairs with antimacassars, and crunchy gold nests of occasional tables topped with hand crocheted doilies). One of my favourite childhood pursuits was to go through the contents of the ornamental chrome caddy she kept all her bling in. She would upend it on the kitchen table and tell me stories about all the various bits and pieces while I untangled ropes of beads. I particularly treasure her dress clips, diamanté brooches and hat pins, all of which I still wear, and her gilded mirror enjoys pride of place in my boudoir. 

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(Apologies for grotty quality. This is an ancient shot I took before I discovered you can take indoor pics without flash even with a bog standard camera. Don’t roll your eyes; I’m old).

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While Sadie was more drawn to textures than prints she did like a stylised painterly floral. The only flared skirt I ever remember her wearing featured one though, being narrow of hip, she preferred a straight, non-flouncey silhouette. This one has plenty of flounce by the way, due to some integral tulle action going on in the lining; it swings like a bell when I walk. And it’s made of grosgrain, a lovely vintagey fabric if ever there was one. 

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I stuck it out till the January sales for this puppy, having tried it on in September of last year and losing my heart big time. I very nearly missed out too, visiting numerous branches of Monsoon in the vain hope of finding one in my size … only to spot this one from a moving bus as it sailed past the branch I’d tried first. And it was half price. I tell you it was the feelgood stuff of romcoms. I half expected the other shoppers to burst into spontaneous applause as I clutched it to my bosom. 

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The day I bought this I also purchased a gunmetal lurex skater dress, embellished with smokey rhinestones from Evans, again in the sale. I like to think Sadie would approve.

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  • 6th July
    2014
  • 06

Have you noticed that fashion blogs and ladymags are always banging on about finding one’s signature style? One of my very first posts here was a response to a similar meme that was making the rounds at the time, and recently I found myself thinking about it again. Much as I dislike uniforms, I seem to have developed one of my own over the years – retro-inspired dress, cropped cardi, flats, coloured tights, (depending on season), bright lippy and quirky jewellery. Only in my case it wasn’t so much a matter of finding my signature style but reconnecting, post Dress Drought, with a pre-existing one.

Some articles of clothing or embellishment are intrinsically more me than others though. I imagine that anyone with more than a passing interest in getting dressed has some ideal version of themselves. My bestie, for instance, aspires to timeless, understated French chic, whereas I’m never knowingly underdressed and err towards whimsy.

With regard to the latter it all started with this Fiorucci rain jacket:-

Let me colour it for you, tumblr: a shade of egg yolk so vivid it stopped just short of orange, the little skaters kitted out in scarlet, blue and loden green. It was basically a children’s Christmas tablecloth with sleeves and a hood; utterly ineffectual as rainwear goes, but it spoke to me. “Buttercup,” it said, (I like to think it sounded like Donald Sinden), “even though people will laugh and point, it is your destiny to become The Kind Of Person Who Wears Shit Like This. Don’t fight it for you know I speak the truth”. 

I don’t recall how much it cost but it necessitated saving several weekends’ pay from my student job at HMV on Oxford Street. (Why, yes, I was one of their legendarily surly but knowledgable sales staff. My specialism was Australasian rock). I scored the last one in the shop and am proud to say it’s still in the family. My stylist cousin guards it with her life.

I felt the same way when Les Néréides opened their London flagship store nine years ago and I lost my heart to a crazy lobster bangle. This necklace was the second thing I bought from them. When Dweezil was a kitten he brought me in a leaf with a tiny snail on it as a gift so of course it had to be mine – plus, like the tropical island-themed range that preceded it, it has an authentic vintage vibe. The whole range was inspired by little things that thrive in the forest unseen – fungi, molluscs, nuts, berries and birds. Imagine my delight when a ton of it turned up in the most recent sample sale I attended, again in the bargain corner. I bought a mushroom necklace, these earrings, an acorn ring, two brooches, (one of which is for Karen) and a gorgeous bracelet with blackberries on it. It’s a little autumnal though, so today I wore these Monsoon and thrifted bangles, all of which you’ve seen before.

Here’s a close-up of the earrings. I love that they’re not quite identical. I love even more that whatever metal the posts are made of, they don’t irritate my sensitive earlobes, meaning I can wear them a lot, which I fully intend to because they’re ace.

I don’t remember if I acquired the dress – now five years old – before or after the necklace, but I knew they were destined to be worn together. I usually have problems (proportionally speaking) with the John Rocha line for Debenhams, but this time the fit was pretty much perfect. The sweetheart neckline really shows the necklace off to advantage too.

         

Whenever I wear this particular combo I always feel just right; which is to say like my quintessential and authentic self: The Person Who Wears Shit Like This. Guess that’s my signature style then.