Monday, 30 April 2012

The importance of pyjamas

What is the point in dressing up nicely for lying all night under some covers, where nobody is going to see you? It never seems necessary to make much of an effort when you're alone, and at times it can be nice to escape any pressure. After all, when the week has been spent desperately trying not to wear the same thing every day, the only thing we want on the weekend is to do nothing and wear whatever.

That's all fine. But if you only own the kind of pyjamas and loungewear which are crumpled, faded and ominously stained from extensive weekending, what will you wear if you have guests over for a night? Or you need to leave a hotel room in the middle of the night to get something? Or have you ever considered the exquisite pleasure of knowing that you look completely glamorous, even when there's nobody there to see you? It's a certain kind of indulgence which comes from doing something for yourself and nobody else, and Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly demonstrates it perfectly.

In my opinion, we've lost some of the elegance which past generations used to associate with nightwear - you just have to watch Downton Abbey to see what I mean - and that's probably because the standards of what we wear during the day have become more casual. It is now acceptable to wear comfy hoodies and trousers in public, and while there's nothing wrong with this if that's what suits you, it has rather meant that pyjamas have become even less important.

So what is a girl to do about it? I wouldn't reccommend a Victorian lacy nightie, or going over the top with your nightwear in any way, becuase comfort is still the main order of the day. Perhaps the best thing to do would be to take a cue from Audrey Tautou as Coco Chanel and invest in a pair of fancy silk pyjamas. If you're feeling particularly posh, you might even want to get your name embroidered on it.

Well, now that we've studied how the two greatest Audreys do it, I'm sure you have plenty of ideas on how to glamourise what you sleep in. If you're still stuck, don't stress about it. I would recommend just looking out for a nice set of pyjamas which are presentable, good quality and which you can keep clean easily, then save them for special occasions. Whether that it going to a friend's house, or reading the paper to yourself in bed, or indeed singing Moon River on your balcony.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

The Best of Pinterest This Week

I don't know where this is, but I want to go there.

This pretty much shows the inside of my mind when I'm watching the British weather outside the window.

A Dior gown from 1954 - so very very beautiful

Orecchiette with Caramelized Onions, Sugar Snap Peas, and Ricotta Cheese - the recipe is here
Oscar seems to have been always full of eternal wisdom and witticisms. this is my new favourite inspirational quote, I think I might print it and put it above my desk... or in my wardrobe

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Media Moriarty

So yeah, I've been avoiding blogging because the new Blogger interface scares me. It's like a nightmare void which I can't escape.

Anyway, I just wanted to introduce you to my new Youtube Channel. 

It's a sort of little sister project to this blog, and came about basically because I discovered that my little digital camera has an HD video function. Then, over the Easter holidays, we decided it would be a good idea to decorate the tree we all hang around under at college. My friend Holly and I made some bunting in lovely spring colours - greens, yellows and a hint of gold - then went in the day before term started and strung it up so everyone would see it when they came in on Monday. I made a few short videos of us in the process and edited them together. It's mainly Holly who you can see in it, but I'm in there too briefly.

I'm not exactly an expert director, camerawoman or editor yet, but I have a few plans for short films which I hope to share with you soon.Until then, please enjoy 'Redecorating the Indie Tree'!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The best of Pinterest this week

I just love how the hazy layers of material in this dress create the effect of a blurred image. While I'm sure this delicate design took hours of thought and hard work, I can't help but wonder if i might be able to recreate the look with some leftover gauzy material which I have.

It's always funny to see behind-the-scenes shots of actors in full costume and make-up, especially if they're normally playing enemies (I'm thinking of those pictures of Dumbledore having a pleasant chat with Voldemort). This image of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy eating lunch made me laugh, not least because of Nimoy's open-mouthed expression!

Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller. I sometimes wondered why they even got married when watching My Week With Marilyn, but this picture explains it all. Just look at her loving expression! *sigh*

What lovely books and suitcases! I'm not sure what they're doing in that hole (which I originally thought was in ice) but whatever it is, they're doing it in a most aesthetically pleasing manner.

I was going to put up a picture of Emma Watson because it's her birthday today but got distracted by this. It made me laugh so much. Alan Rickman may be a serious and somewhat imposing figure, but he's also a comic genius.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

This will make you happy

Or at least it certainly made me feel happy. It's a video I cam across while listening to Grouplove songs on Youtube. This isn't the official video for the song, but I think it could pass for it. Anyway, enjoy!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Six Dresses for Spring

This business-like dress from Marks and Spencer was featured in the guardian Weekend, and subsequently sold out in most sizes online. I was struck by the interesting use of zip detail, which at the time won me over on its own merit. Since then though, I have seen many similar styles for sale from high-end labels and stores for a lot more than the relatively modest £49.50 of this one. Come on M&S, restock!

This lovely pastel number from Oasis claims to be merely following a trend. Let's be honest though, it has more than a little bit of resemblance to that Prada S/S 2012 collection. But I'm certainly not complaining, since this makes it possible to achieve the runway look for £65

This slip from Free People is clearly one to be worn with something underneath it, which makes it ideal for spring. You could style it as they have here, with a crop top and jeans/leggings, or if you have a nice but fairly plain dress of about the same length, you could add this to make it a little more exciting. As is normal with FP, the price reflects the Also, just in case you didn't notice, that's Karlie Kloss on the right. If you have time, check out her whole shoot for Free People. It's just perfect.

This reminds me of a John Lewis dress I was in love with a while ago, though this one is a bit cheaper at £14.99 from H&M. It doesn't have quite the same tailoring, but maybe it's a good thing to be a bit looser for warm weather. Birds are quite a subtle print really, but more interesting than hearts or florals, so this can be worn with pretty much anything, but I'd probably go for a denim jacket.

It's bright yellow. It's made from sustainable materials. It will look great with plain wooden accessories. It will serve as the base for many different outfits. What more could you want? It's £65 from a Spanish brand called Skunkfunk, and you can find it on Fashion Conscience

I like the 40s feel of this Antipodium dress, which it achieves without going over the top with padded shoulders or eye-blurring florals. It's yet another hit for Urban Outfitters' choice of quirky brands. I can picture wearing this on a picnic, to a barbecue or even to work, with a formal-looking belt to smarten it up a bit. And all for only £270!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

I Want It! Kiku Cotton Kimono In Crane Waltz

From Asos

Well would you just look at this. I'm not often really concerned with how I look in my nightwear - after all, I'm just going to be rolled up in a duvet for most of the time I'm wearing it. But this kimono is making me rethink that. It could be perfect for when you're staying over at a close friend's house, and want to casually lounge around in your pyjamas for evening hot chocolate or morning coffee, but don't want to look like a slob. It also has a distinctly vintage flavour, putting me in mind of some classic Agatha Christie mysteries or episodes of Downton Abbey, when it would be shameful to appear out of your bedroom in anything less respectable than a lace nightgown and some sort of cover-up.

However, for the current price, I think you'd need to go to a lot of fancy sleepovers to make it worth it. In terms of cost-per-wear I don't doubt that you'd justify the purchase. But I always tend to go by a different measure: cost-per-compliment. And you'll need more than a few people to see the gorgeous crane print and exclaim how marvellous it is in order to make back the £60 you spent on it. I suppose you could always ring up friends with nice houses and tell them how long its been and how dearly you want to visit them!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Quantity or Quality?

Last week was gorgeous. The hottest March since records began, they say, and I think everyone's been pretty thrown by the sudden change in weather. I haven't even had time to pack away my woolly jumpers and all of a sudden the sky clouds over again and now we're in the midst of some predictably average weather. It's made me think about investment buys, because I was all ready to go out and buy a load of cheap summery clothing from Primark or one of the other fast fashion High Street sinners. Now that I've been forced to consider otherwise by the changing skies, I'm thinking it would be more beneficial to purchase one or two high-quality pieces which are suitable for all kinds of weather.

But what is the point? When we live in a world where cheap and stylish clothing is readily available and there is an emphasis on the thrill of shiny new clothes in shiny new bags - who has the time or inclination to build up a wardrobe of lasting garments? The benefits, however, are extensive. For a start, when you have to buy your clothes for a higher price, you really tend to take some time over the decision. I have personally been on the hunt for some mid-rise, straight-leg white jeans for a while now, and I'm feeling the advantage of the lessons learnt from my last pair. They were made in the style that the majority of denim seems to be these days - skinny and low rise. They didn't quite fit right, the zip never stayed up and they were only flattering if I wore a long top to hide the disaster at the top. More than that, the quality of the material meant they were never going to last long, and I probably knew that. But I bought them because they were cheap. It was a bad decision which I would have considered more carefully had the price been higher. So one advantage is that this approach can prevent reckless impulse buys.

The idea though, isn't just to accumulate a load of expensive clothes to wallow in and never wear. It is also to try to make responsible decisions and buy ethically made clothing. Now this can come in many forms: organic, vegan, fairtrade, home-made (by which I mean made in your own country rather than exported). It isn't always possible to achieve all these things in one garment, but just by thinking about where something comes from and what it's made of, you can decide what kind of consumer you want to be. Personally, I have decided that I want to support brands which trade fairly and ensure that conditions in the factories which supply the garments are up to standard. This decision was mainly made by reading To Die For by Lucy Siegle which alerted me to the problems with fast fashion and the impact it's having on people worldwide.

I don't mean to attack cheap clothing at all. Or at least, it would be pretty hypocritical if I did, because I have a load of cheaply-made and cheaply-bought shoes, dressed and tops. While most of them aren't particularly good quality, I have got a decent amount of wear out of them and I wouldn't say that they are all prone to falling apart at any second. I think that part of the problem is that whenever we buy cheap clothing, we assume it will be OK to get rid of after just a couple of wears because it won't last any longer than that. This has increased as standards in clothing appear to get lower and a culture of disposable fashion emerges.

I don't know how well I'm going to fare in my quest to build an ethically sourced capsule wardrobe, but I hope that by avoiding just going to the shops all the time out of habit, I can change how I find clothes. And let's not forget that there are so many other ways of finding affordable clothing - vintage, second-hand etc.

How do you feel? Are you always conscious of what you're buying? Would you like to change your shopping habits?

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The best of Pinterest this week

Shoes and cake. What more could you want? It's all very Marie Antoinette.

I like this quote as it motivates me to read and research as far and wide as I can, because I know that so much of education depends on what you do yourself, not what is said to you in the classroom.

Is it un-patriotic of me to be in love with the flag of a country that is not my own? I hope not. It isn't that I dislike the Union Jack, I just think that stars and stripes are equally amazing to look at. But just in case you think I'm being a little disloyal to Britain...

How amazing are these?? I have to admit, if I wanted the union jack on my footwear (which I do) I'd be more likely to go for the converses because they can be worn with more clothes and to a wider range of occasions. But these are just fantastic. I think the Prime Minister should wear them every day! Or at least to state occasions, then if they did some stars and stripes ones, Barack Obama could wear them and they'd do a dance together. Or something like that.