Thursday, 30 January 2014

Chickens, Eggs and Turbans


Wearing:  MINKPINK Top, MINKPINK Shorts, Senso Shoes, Lovisa Fringe Necklace

It's a classic chicken-egg scenario.

Which came first, the wall or the outfit?

I like to think it was a simultaneous cognition.  That I was both inspired to bring this outfit to fruition by the street art and motivated by the conception of the outfit to begin seeing such a familiar, unextroadinary wall as the perfect compliment to all my sartorial dreams.

Either way, the combination of the two is a chromatic extravaganza.

I am of the irrevocable opinion that the print-clashing trend is one which will never plummet into extinction, although it teeters ever-closer to the precipice each time someone's fashion-misinformed Dad wears a Hawaiian shirt with coordinated printed board-shorts.  Tricky as it can be to pull off, it never fails to grant its wearer an instant surplus of happiness and confidence to take on the day.

Any excuse to wear a turban and any number of articles of floral clothing on my person at a time, and I am all in.

Photography: Deneale Sanders

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Easy Peasy

A guide to looking chic when your mind says pointed pumps and black blazers but your heart screams sweatpants and Cheetos-face

Wearing:  Bec & Bridge Top (Similar here and here), Steele Shorts, Nude Heels (Similar here), St&ard Jean Co Denim Shirt (Similar here), Vintage Jewellery

Summer holidays cause the days to yawn open; long, languid yawns accompanied by drooping eyelids and idle eyes.  Their prolonged gaping traps you in a state of suspense, as you stare into their enigmatic depths and await the time when they will inevitably collapse into an impenetrable prison once more.  You see their precarious, gravestone teeth above you, poised to plummet.  And you do nothing.  Scared to make even the slightest movement, lest it hasten the arrival of the impending avalanche.

On lethargic days such as these it can be tempting to neglect one's responsibilities completely and indulge in sluggish procrastination. You allow Sex In The City episodes to engross you so completely that whole weeks are annihilated before they seem to have begun and convince yourself that it is your absolute duty to sample each and every Ben & Jerry's ice-cream flavour for quality assurance purposes.  If you manage your time wisely, abiding by a strict lavatory schedule and moving the entire house's stock of junk food to the lounge to ensure maximum efficiency of access, you might even get time to watch a couple of seasons of Girls.  Such are the criterion against which a holiday is measured, in determining the effectiveness of its usage.

But soon enough the gloriously indolent days of Summer come to an end for all of us.  A completion brought to our attention by the sudden and shocking transition of life from colour into grayscale.  No matter how early we see it climbing tentatively over the horizon, our forced re-acquaintance with commitment and responsibility always arrives to an unprepared and inhospitable welcome.

I am no stranger to the Summer Mourning Period, the prolonged length of time for which one lives in denial following the forced conclusion of their freedom.  And I know I am not alone.

After years of suffering; jarring awakenings with the knowledge that the looming mundanity of worldly obligation awaits me in the day ahead and that I must don non-pyjama pants for the first time in a week, I have deduced a sartorial formula.  A guidebook to assist you in clinging to those sparse remaining threads of holiday slothfulness whilst maintaining the public appearance of composure and dignity, even if it is only through your attire.

Consult the following guidelines to ease your post-holiday sartorial grief:

1.  When the thought of contemplating the contents of your floordrobe and assembling it into a functioning ensemble threatens to send you fleeing back to Carrie Bradshaw & Friends, always opt to wear all white.  Like it's all-black cousin, all-white-everything lends its wearer the illusion of envy-inducing chic, with minimal effort required on the part of the white-clad individual.  Unlike all-black, however, all-white is fresh and clean (Read:  it will distract attention from the unwashed hair you're sporting, courtesy of an extra two snooze sessions that morning).

2.  A shirt around the waist is the easiest and most fail-safe way to accessorise, adding an instant je ne sais quoi to an otherwise somewhat bland outfit.  Pre-waist-shirt your outfit says 'I'm chic but sartorially unoriginal' but post-accoutrement your garb will be proclaiming your superior fashion knowledgeability.  By adding just a simple accessory you can up your style credibility by ten-fold.  Bonus points if you've neglected to iron it, the undone look is key to conveying a chic vibe.  Or so I tell myself.

3.  Finally, invest in details.  The interesting cut of this top, my choice to take the extra time to throw on some subtle jewellery and editorial decision to wear heels are all key to achieving a sense of refinement; conveying the notion that the outfit is well-composed, when in fact it required very minimal effort.  Having details like this on hand can instantly enhance the aesthetic of your outfit.  For evidence consult Image 2:  this is the longest my legs have and probably ever will look.  And it's all courtesy of the heels.  I'm telling you; it's all in the details.

With these few tips in mind, feel free to retreat once more into the embrace of your bed linen to prolong your oblivion for a precious few minutes more, secure in the knowledge that your sartorial choices are taken care of.

Photography:  Deneale Sanders

Monday, 20 January 2014

Japan, fragmented.

A photo diary.

Japan offered me both an overt mimicry of my expectations and a blatant refusal to be reduced to such a synopsis.  It embraced me in an unconditional welcome and yet kept me in a chronic state of arms-length isolation with its exoticism.  It concealed its secrets from my greedy-tourist eyes yet allowed me to garner enough morsel-like glimpses of its resplendent culture to ensnare me in a state of unquenchable intrigue. 

My trip to Japan was an ellipse of waif-like snowflakes; a saturation of all things outlandish, kitsch and innovative; a heightened exposure to the contemporary and futuristic; a gentle and organised chaos. 

Japan was Wonderland and I was Alice, chasing a myriad of Geisha down streets laden with the crippling weight of their neon-light-adornments, lead by fleeting glances of bright, technicolour kimonos peaking cheekily through the throng of Winter-imposed monochrome.  The insistently trilling rabbit of the metaphor was the ever-bustling crowds; their calm urgency perpetually evocative of a sense of ones own tardiness. 

Never have I seen such an overwhelming concentration of sugary foods molded into such adorable approximation of animals at any one time, as when I was in Japan.  Never had I witnessed such peace and tranquility in a city, as I did amongst the intensity of Tokyo. Never have I seen such a harmonious juxtaposition of historical and contemporary culture, as exhibited by the many oxymorons of Japanese life.  Temples and skyscrapers exist as courteous neighbbours in the confined quarters of Tokyo city.  Geisha run errands amongst the consumeristic exhibitionism of Kyoto grocery store aisles, still clad in their traditional garb. Men make nonchalant adornments of wild animals, as they display a domesticated monkey atop their shoulder whilst purchasing a ticket for one of the world’s most state-of-the-art subway systems, all the while toting a Louis Vuitton carrier for their exotic pet. 

Upon anticipating my visit to Japan, I had expected an abundance of all things contemporary, ingenious and technologically advanced.  I had braced myself for a bombardment of kuwaii and nauseating colour.  I had foreseen a strong undercurrent of tradition, reverence and delicate majesty.  And upon visiting the country, it had provided all of these things in copious amounts. 

But there is so much more to the Japanese culture that cannot be defined.  There is a complexity to the culture that urges you to want to be a part of it. 

The Japanese culture is infectious and upon exposure, incurable.  It evokes a yearning inside its victims to continue uncovering its intricacies.

Fortunately for such victims, such a rich cultural excavation is a task worthy of dedicating a lifetime to.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Peace, Love And Some Light Philosophical Musings

Wearing:  One Teaspoon Jumpsuit  (Sold out online- Similar here and here), Vintage Kimono, Roxy Hat, Senso Boots

There are times when I contemplate giving up on fashion altogether.  

Sometimes it seems all too exhausting; the endless scrolling and analysing, documenting, battling to conform to each insubstantial trend before it slips from our grasp into the 'uncool' once more.  Sometimes it seems so fickle.  So competitive and superficial and consumeristic.  

Every season we regurgitate a subtly different take on an old, stale trend and proclaim it's brilliance to the masses.  We dole out tokens of mass consumerism without thought or justification, hoping that 'just one more hat' or 'that perfect LBD' might finally serve to satiate our ravenous, materialistic greed.  

Sometimes I think about the true nature of fashion, the reality to my gratuitous addiction, and I feel intensely, incurably tired.  Tired and bored.

And it is true, fashion is all of these things; fickle, consumeristic, superficial.  Yet, no matter how deep a state of disregard I find myself in regarding fashion, it always finds a way to renew my faith.

During my most recent descent into fashion-skepticism, it was this kimono that revived my sense of sartorial wonder.  I discovered it upon a trip to a flea market whilst in Kyoto, Japan.  The market was a treasure-trove of antique curios; vintage teapots, intricate geisha hair accessories belonging to a bygone era and Japanese children's toys, now relics of decades past.  All of these things encased within a silken shroud of vintage kimonos, a kaleidoscope of elaborate patterns; claustrophobically clustered on racks and sprawled in mountains on the dusty earth, under the scant shade of tents.  

To browse the market felt like a jaunt into the past.  In running my fingers over the soft-leather of an antique camera, nestled comfortably in its case, or the well-worn suede atop a 1950's top hat, too wise for vanity after baring witness to decades worth of human error, I was able to feel a genuinely deep connection to Japan and its history.  A connection that would have been unachievable through only perfunctory exposure to cliched tourist sights and hastily purchased gift shop souvenirs.  

I struggled to decide on a mere few mementos to take with me as keepsakes from the marketplace; limited by a very finite budget, luggage weight limit and a nagging sense of practicality.  Each of the antiques held an irresistible sense of enchantment, their battle scars signs of lives that had past and stories that could be learnt from.

But in the end I decided on a kimono as my Japanese souvenir.  And in choosing a piece of clothing as my tie to Japan and its culture, I believe I have cemented for myself the greatest possible connection to the Japanese people.  

Clothing is, in my opinion, the greatest signifier of the beliefs and context of the society to which it belonged.  It is a statement regarding the identity of the individuals within this society and the influences which played a part in moulding this identity.  It represents both the personal choices of these individuals and the choices they were forced to make.  

In gently extracting each kimono from its spot amongst racks of a myriad more, I saw that each had a unique history inscribed inextricably into the pattern of the fabric.  I could imagine the stories of the women who had worn the garments before me and envisage what their lives might have held.

On encountering these kimonos, I was reminded of the power of clothing; as a universal language of personal expression and a documentation of history.  Frivolous and shallow as it can be, when done right it can also be a strong tool for capturing stories and allowing these stories to be heard across the abyss of time and hierarchal separation.  

And that's something even an occasional chainstore-junkie like me can see is pretty beautiful.

Photo Credit:  Deneale Sanders

Friday, 10 January 2014

On Sport And Other Such Agonies

Wearing:  Bec & Bridge Blazer, Stussy Mesh Tee (Similar here and here), Martha and Lilly Handbag,     Ellery Skirt, Senso Shoes, Lovisa Necklace

The sports-luxe trend began without warning.

It permeated the streets of fashion week like a colony of ants to an unsealed jar of lollies.

It's signifiers were everywhere.  Leather baseball caps.  Mesh shorts.  Mesh tees.  Heels with track pants.  Sun visors.  Jarringly contrasted with a blur of high-end designer garb.

Street style photographers glowed like flames amongst the swarm of newly emerged sportswear-advocates, smothered in moth-like fashionistas vying for a taste of the warmth.  Fashionistas hoping that the nuance that distinguished them from the other adopters of the sportswear trend would be enough to set them apart.

The vibrating fashion week crowd was a behemoth with a stutter.  Stammering with camera flashes.  Speaking.  In.  Fragments.  Punctuated by Nikes.  Nikes with dresses, Nikes with dress trousers, Nikes with skirts.

The new sports-luxe phenomenon was so easy to pull off.  So easy that everyone was doing it and looking chic in the process.  True innovation and originality seemed few and far between.

Unlike the majority of the sartorially-concerned, my eventual acceptance of the sports-luxe trend came with a great deal of resistance.  

Sports have never been my forte, as a result of my extreme lack of coordination and a propensity towards developing a facial shade and sheen to rival a tomato during any attempt to engage in physical activity.  It seemed to me that in outfitting myself in luxury sporting attire, I would be constructing an artificial persona for myself, conveying an inauthentic notion of my identity to acquaintances.  

Put simply, I imagined that in adorning myself in sporting accoutrements, I would feel like a phoney and be perceived as a wannabe.

So I abstained from acknowledging the sports-luxe trend.  I took a vow of celibacy against the allure of its materialistic embodiments, ignoring their seductive pleas that grew incessant within clothing stores.  I dismissed the trend as one which would pass quickly, its irony having lost its lustre of novelty.  And yet I couldn't help but notice the way a leather baseball cap seemed to finish off an outfit so effortlessly, couldn't resist admiring the witty juxtaposition that Nike's offer against an otherwise textbook-chic ensemble.  

Despite my self-control in resisting its allure, the trend had not faded from prominence in the year-long period since its emergence.  The fashion pack had not lost the taste for its ease, comfort and simplistic, contemporary aesthetic.  The daily bombardment of sportswear imagery on fashion websites and blogs served only to perpetuate my growing appreciation for any garment originally intended for physical activity purposes.  My willpower was waning close to depletion.  

And then The Skirt arrived in my life.  

I cracked.

I knew it would pair perfectly with my sister's mesh tee; their coupling an unrivalled demonstration of my much-bragged-about skirt's versatility.  The tee added a cool, faux-effortless edge to an otherwise prim, somewhat conservative outfit.

I allowed myself to dip a toe into the pool of sports-luxe and by taking a sample of the trend and interpreting it in my own way, I feel as if I have avoided much of the homogeneousness that can often accompany the conformance to fashion.  

Whilst you will never find my exercise-disinclined self clad in a pair of leather track-pants or an ironically-sported sun visor, due to my absolute certainty that the hyper-irony of such an outfit on such an individual would not be understood by others, I will be making use of the instant-cool nature of sports-luxe pieces to enhance my outfits every now and then.  No matter the nature of a trend, you can always make it work for you, whether by dilution of its general aesthetic to conform to your own wardrobe or simply extracting the elements that you feel comfortable adopting.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to extract my Nikes from their dust-ridden habitat within the fathomless depths of my wardrobe.  There's still so much irony to be had!

Photo Credit: Deneale Sanders