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December 2007

stop buying start living!


I was in H&M trying on the pink ombre skirt when I saw this big a4 sized sticker on the wall of the changing room. If you click the picture you'll be able to read the comments that people have added.

At first I wondered whether H&M had put it there but I assume it's part of an art project or movement. Some googling gave clues it would be from indy media who had a 'stop shopping, start living' fair but that was in Oxford? At any rate I was very bemused. I thought to myself, 'But you can't go out and live if you have no fabulous clothes!' and then realised that's exactly their point.

If blogging wasn't counted, I don't think I've got anywhere on outfits alone. Sometimes random compliments and setting first impressions are nice but apart from my own satisfaction, my clothes don't rule what happens in my life, I do. If I'm wearing a new dress to a club I may feel that bit better inside but the events of the night probably wouldn't change if I was wearing jeans and a tshirt. People shop to feel good about themselves and buy for nights out or normal days. Is there a difference to spending money on 'living' or spending money on clothes to 'live' in!?

Society may be debt riddled and I guess that is the message is. People who can't stop spending and drive themselves into trouble are the ones that sacrifice living for worrying and huge payback. But where would we be if shops didn't constantly drive fabulous items into store!

Clothes are just the accessories to your life!

natter away

The wardrobe game that was an attempt to produce some interesting outfits in the month of blogger's flu was not so successful. I already knew I owned all those clothes while laboriously photographing them and flicking through a file is really static. You need to act on a whim sometimes or be totally inspired. Today I pretended I was at Constance Billard but missing was a cute bow tie and stylish tag-alongs.

bleeding prada

A bad thing about reading Swedish blogs is that their H&M stores get all the stock in first so I have to wait a good month before I can nab their goodies. I've been waiting for the purple colour-bleed skater skirt for ages and even though I've described it a million times to the bewildered sales assistants, I spotted this pink one today right at the front of the store. I'm starting to doubt whether this was the skirt all along but I can't find the image?

It was too big so I'll keep my eyes peeled for different sizes and I already know what I'll pair it with. I visited home on the weekend and was sorting through the stuff I'd left behind and found some velvet shoes my sister gave me because she didn't want them. Bells tingled in my brain as I made that connection when you hit a future trend with a bargain, or in this case, free stuff! SS08 Prada showed mustard velvet shoes with turquoise ribbons and Queen Marie at KoS predicted they'd be a future need and possible DIY project. The flats are turquoise with brown ribbons yet with the right tights and the possible ombre skirt it can be a tribute and fusion of this season and next season's Prada at a teeny fraction of the price!

i'm with the band

Everyone is all over head bands around your forehead and from a comfort point of view I feel this facehunter lady's pain! They may look cool but in my experience they're too annoying to last half the day! As somethings right in the middle of your forehead, they make me feel quite self conscious and constant adjusting and checking as it rides up and down makes it puff up my hair and create a halo of frizz. A beehive was not the intentional outcome! It's harder with curly hair too as straight hair can look nonchalantly messy yet mine will look frizzy and unkept.

I abandoned head bands a few months ago after disastrous results but longingly admired them ever since. I got a new dress off eBay and even the model wore one for the photo, so I attempted another go and played around with a blue sequin strip. Then the seemingly obvious hit me, why not wear it under your hair? It may not give exactly the same effect, more of a 70s night fever look, but it stayed in place alot longer and there was no worry of it rouching up my hair at the back. I just put it under the top curls and behind my ears and it was fine. I re thought the idea when I found out there was a 70s theme in that night's club last week so went with a sequin heart instead.

you know you wanna gossip

There may some illegal you tubing involved when watching all the shiny new shows around at the moment but I figure that if I lived in America I could watch Gossip Girl on and it will probably pop up on e4 in a few months anyway. How could I not watch it, being a huge fan of the books and seeing so many spoilers on other blogs anyway!

I can't compare the show to the books though, as Vanessa doesn't have a shaved head and Dan isn't a poetic emo boy and Serena isn't a dazzlingly fashionable it girl. Infact those characters are so dull I fast forward the scenes most of the time. The real stars of the show are Blair and Chuck who literally ooze so much style and naughtiness that they've totally overshadowed the original main characters, Serena and the extremely dull Nate and Jenny. Also I really don't care about the annoying adults and their problems! It all about Blair's headbands and Chuck's hotness.

It gives a whole new meaning to preppy, good girl when Blair teams hair bows, blouses and knee high socks with her mini tartan school uniform which is way better than the brown jumper and cream shirt that I had to wear! Ebay always has a huge number of vintage pinafores and now I'm hankering for a tartan one to wear with stockings and a puff sleeve shirt. Finally someone with curly hair! In the books Jenny has a mass of brown frizzy curls but sadly in the show she's just a mini Serena. We don't want perfection. It's the fact that Blair could look like a plain jane but the glossy hair and fab outfits, that could be put together by anyone with a little effort, and some ribbon is really what makes the show popular.

The books are still under rated for the detailed, absorbing and creative blast of NYC they deliver but the show has hit Blair and Chuck perfectly, though he's originally way more camp. Just like in writing, their characters actually have some depth. If only all characters were as hot!

hammer pants

Harem pants have got alot of stick over the few months they've been popping up but I'm finding them a nice alternative to jodphurs. Maybe it's because I've only not worn a skirt or dress once in the last 4 months, mainly because I sewed my high waisted jeans so tightly that they cut off my circulation and predict some deep vein thrombosis! Trousers seem to feel more comfy and secure than skirts, and being winter it's nice to be cosy some days without having the heart renching decision of which tights to wear?!

At the start of autumn I waxed lyrically about tapered trousers yet never found any that didn't bunch up at the front and make my legs look stunted. But Mel's Shoppe, a vintage store on ebay, has a plethora of 'hammer pants' that are every inch cool hipster chic. But I'm not sure these looks belong anywhere other than on the pages of the cobra snake. The peachy pink pair draw my fancies in to be worn with turquoise and a leopard print strapless top but actually I'd rather not fall into the 80's and look like I'm about to get on a cruise to the Seychelles and play bingo.

Also, one major factor has put me off. The back view...

I already had to hide behind a long cardigan once I saw by back reclection in high waisted jeans but these take the biscuit! I do have a booty and these would never do it any favours! So some super low harem pants that would billow in the wind and are probably as comfy as jim-jams will be hunted down and tried on and maybe they will make it into the big wooden 70s box that is my wardrobe. I just need a mirror behind too!

you just got famous

U.K. readers will remember Skins, the TV show about teenage students who openly did alot of drugs, had alot of sex and wore alot of very cool clothes. And I'm sure you heard 'standing in the way of control' ALOT. At the time it spawned a whole trend of nu rave kids and headline making parties, but I was never really taken with the unrealistic story lines or the dodgy acting.

Nearly Famous is being hailed as the new Skins with not half the advertising, but has still generated a whole load of hype. It follows students at a prestigious stage school and instantly attracts me because for one things it's alot like Uni, and for another, the style isn't the typical 'indie/nu rave/emo' kid for the girls (not so sure about the boys though...) The first episode where they didn't know anyone and had to nervously tag along with everyone else and try to talk to as many people as they could was much like my first few days.

Sadly one of the main characters, Lila, is a blatant rip off of Cassie from skins. Her dreamy, scatty personality is heightened by her clashing clothes and strange, modelesque looks. I'm all for bringing quirky dressing to the masses.

But my favourite character is Kate. I think her more mature attitude better represents 17/18 year olds now than the babyish Lila and timid Joe. Her gold sequin headband is the object of my affection and anyone who wears red hot pants with knee high socks and a vintage floaty shirt to class is my idol!

Have you seen this show? As  I don't have a TV so can only watch it on 4od, what has the advertising been like? The characters may not be as hardcore as the Skins crew but does the more realistic plot grab you or do you want some dirty action and a neon painted party?

photos from nearly famous blog

the vint stint

Vintage stores are a-plenty here but I never end up buying anything. I'm not really into knitted tank tops or polyester prints. I walk out feeling a little... dirty?

As I trekked to the library I noticed one of 'Ryan's' vintage stores near by, which was a bit strange anyway as it was hidden in a precinct that's has about 5 cafes and 1 bank. I combed the whole stores and found absolutely nothing, and it's not exactly empty. Clothes 30 years old are never going to be pretty but the reality is that big hauls of bin bags from countries like Russia and Poland are stored for years in dank warehouses before making it onto shelves. A vintage store is a little haven of memories and original finds, but second hand stores that are now 'vintage' stores make a bundle and I'm starting to avoid the predictable ones.

Shoes and bags are fab but I have a million shoes and bags. It's the actual clothes I can't get my head around. £15 for a dress with stains, a grandma smell and scratchy material. £10 for shoes that need re healing, have strange coloured insoles and scuffs to the max.

I'm not exactly picky. When I get a vintage dress off ebay, if it doesn't have a musty smell I don't wash it, if charity shop bags are dusty I just brush them off a bit. My Nan thought I got frost bite on my baby toe from wearing previously owned shoes (when infact it was from wearing Primark flats in January when they are blatantly just made from cardboard!) Paying pittance is ok, but paying £££ for the stuff in a shop doesn't float my boat. It may be ethical to wear second hand clothes, but is it really safe? Some Sherlock investigating into Ryan's vintage showed everything that didn't make it into the normal vintage shops went to the £3 second hand store that I coveted when I came here. None of the few things I bought from there I have worn because I can't get the smells out! Half of the huge shop behind the clothes rails holds about 500 black bin bags ready for sorting. Did people die in these clothes? I don't really like to think about that!

I was lusting after these rare bright orange shoes and the two tone suede pair but the poor quality and run down insoles put me off because I knew they'd only get a few wears before they broke down, and I reminded myself that someone stomped round in these once upon a time. I'm vegetarian because I can't help connecting meat to a living animal, and now I think I've poisoned my mind to think back to the previous owner!

Shop quality doesn't really matter but the plastic bag above just sitting at the front of the store made me wonder how much they pay for a bag full of at least 20 items that would soon be hung up and marked at £10 a piece. Charity shop prices put me off vintage shops but you never know what they might have. Obviously everything can't be in perfect condition but my stretched budget questions the value of something that's travelled more oceans than I ever have. The vintage stores that I have been in where everything has been carefully selected and cleaned up show it's possible but you usually pay for the privilege. The attraction of no-muss-no-fuss stores is the ability to rummage and hunt but for the prices they can charge nowadays, is it a total rip off?

take a step back

While TypePad is a perfectly fine host, they very inconsiderately suspended my account for a week because I may have missed a few payments! They should consider what living on £57 a week is like!! It was my fault really but I had to wait until they cleared the payments and sit on my hands longing to post. I've been moaning for ages about the 'bloggers flu' thats going round, symptoms being lack of inspiration, drive and creativity. But a dose of positive compliments and the realisation that some people do appreciate something different was just the antidote I needed and I'm back in business! Well, more like anti-business because I am very poor.

So I turned blogging loves into photography and stalked everywhere with my camera this week in hope of a look into life here. It may help the people who've emailed me about Manchester Uni too...

Most importantly, what have I been wearing? Errr clothes? In one week I went to three fancy dress nights- sailor, nu rave and super hero. I had suspicions that cutting up the comic strip dress really wasn't a good idea but went ahead anyway and then it turns out the 'bop' night was heros and villains theme. Woops. I fashioned the bottom bit into a skirt and used a million safety pins to tack it onto the dress. As for the pink afro, I don't exactly know who this guy is?? Sometimes I get flash backs when I walk past people and I've made too many 'best friends' on nights out but kind of fail to remember who they were...?? The jelly was my vodka jelly which was the WORST idea EVER!! A litre of vodka was used up on 2 bowls and 2 cups so we worked out the each spoonful was at least a shot... ewww. In the afro picture I look marginally ok but I woke up in the morning still fully dressed with shoes on and so many holes in my tights they barely existed?! Turns out I was chucked out the bop for some reason?? I think it was because I fell over the metal barrier. Ouch. My room was 10 seconds away so all was ok (apart from the bruises) I also don't advise making punch, as last night my friend was so ill we went straight into the club toilets and straight back out to a taxi, we didn't even get to the bar let alone the dance floor! Also the toilet attendant hated me because I tried to use her makeup brush holder as a cup to get my friend water. Woooops. So apart from dressing up I've just been wearing the usual. I may start daily outfit posting again?

As for lectures, I'm missing more than I should be and not understanding anything to do with accounting, textile science or applied production processes, which is basically everything on my course. It's actually a BSc so it annoys me when people deem it only an 'unreal' course because they think it's all about fashion. I wish! Most of my lectures are in a big building at the very top of the campus so it's quite quiet and eerie.

This is the library and one of my lectures near the start. At the beginning of term it was hard to find a seat but now there are empty benches all the time. Almost all mine last 2 hours, but once it hits 45 minutes I can't keep my eyes open and often have a little snooze.

My halls weren't exactly the height of perfection to start with but now they get more scummy by the day. The fire alarms have nearly all stopped after warnings we would have to move out but even this week the door window was smashed up and on Monday morning there was a trolley on the first floor...?

On nights when I don't end up going out like tonight I try and do the million essays from hell I've had but end up leaving them until waaay too late. Halls next door still get fire alarms and every night there are screams, bottle smashing and singing. Last night someone gave a nice rendition of high school musical at 3am??

So thats the week lost in the blogsphere black hole. Not being able to post made me realise how much I love the flying saucer world, and now I've got a big backlog of fashion posts that should surface within the next few days!

inspo for a salad bar world

I'm not so sure what I mean by this title. When I was trying to think of something that sums up my day to day life the salad bar that we frequently substitute for the withered, under cooked vegetables in the canteen came to mind. I have tried to source my sudden and abrupt shock of fashion damp to my messy, unclear wardrobe and lack of money, but it digs deeper than that. No matter how many magazines or blogs I look at, nothing arouses the fashion lover inside. She has gone away. Yesterday I actually had the urge to step into my laptop like you see people stepping into tvs in movies, just to experience a fast paced fashion world. It's not where I am right now.

It made me think of how the world around you affects how you dress. Here I go to lectures, come home, eat dinner, do blogging/work, go to a club and sleep. That's it 24/7. When I had my interview I wandered round and thought how amazingly cool the clubs and retro scene seemed, but all I ever encounter now is students. Students students students. Much like American college movies like American pie and road trip, everyone wears normal stuff and we are all the same. I'm just a student who's part of a student population in a student city. At home I went to clubs and knew no one and everyone was daring and wore vintage and danced to electro, but studentville is different. I don't really go to indie clubs anymore, and for the fact that 'indie' stand for individual (though maybe it's not so individual nowadays...) people dressed a little different.

It is said that you should always dress for yourself, but your environment definitely influences the effort you put in and the appearance you want to convey. If you're going to a gig or just going to class, there are different degrees of how hard you try to look your best. Now it doesn't matter if I'm travelling to lectures on the crowded bus, sitting there taking notes, then travelling back, because I only encounter sleepy students who I've seen around campus a million times.

Maybe this is a good thing? If  I put on my fash-head and get things together, it could be a good thing that other people don't really care that much- will they care if I wear something a little strange? Next week I'm going to test boundaries every day. Promise. I guess everything is affected when you move or start something new, and every time I visit home I get out my vintage dresses and heels again, but here I find whatever is clean. How do you get out of a fashion rut? Absorb as much inspiration as you can or wait until next season? Another lacking prospect is the street style around uni. I don't really see anyone who I think 'wow, I'm so copying that!' I feel bad for not blogging what I'm thinking because I know there will be nowhere I can sport ankle bracelets or leather fringing. This week I will find the fabby people and places from Manchester looks and jump right back in.  I will NOT waste this season. I've already crashed a fashion subject for their trip to the clothes show hehe. It's also hard to feel your best when there are 60,000 girls around you and you live with 500 of them. A way to challenge your confidence a bit.