Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Dresden Dressing

I have just noticed a pattern in my holiday posts - I always seem to title them with the name of a place, and people read them expecting a detailed tourist guide and photos of that place, only to be disappointed by photos of (mostly) me. I vow this is entirely coincidental, and promise I'm not as narcissistic as it may seem - although some may argue having a blog is a narcissistic thing in itself. Real life sees me pottering about with a halo of frizzy hair, and glasses (which I almost always take off for photos). People can pay me compliments about my clothes, but rarely about my appearance, and it is only through this blog I've found out I have "nice hair" and "lovely eyes" - two revelations I have been blissfully unaware of until recently.

Yes, there are people who genuinely take the time and effort to look impeccable every day from floppy hat to toe, but I doubt that all people who blog (since London Fashion Week I have developed a curious distaste for the word "blogger") commit to these ludicrous standards of "perfection" day-in-day-out. In their posts, they post photos of themselves at their best - a very natural instinct of upholding a certain image. This is a good and bad thing: bad because people who see those photos retreat to their bathroom floors and weep that they are not beautiful enough, and cake themselves in make-up the following morning; good because it means that there is a lot of stellar content to intrigue and magnetise the online reader.

To contradict myself slightly, I don't think of blogging entirely as a facade, but rather a 'heightened reality' of the author. In words or photographs, I think it is important to stay true to oneself, and wear/say things you think are right. Otherwise, you risk obtaining a Jekyll and Hyde-esque split personality disorder. But then, most wouldn't want to document mundane things such as loitering by the fridge in your pyjamas, or snuggling on the sofa waiting for Downton Abbey to start (with no shame, I confess to the latter unreservedly), either... Returning to Fashion Week at Somerset House - in a place over-saturated with avant-garde outfits, with colours and eye-wateringly expensive shoes, it was almost cathartic to spot Hilary Alexander standing in a corner after Daks, dressed in simple blazer, shift and comfortable flats. The important people wear couture, the very important don't give a flying cahootle - because they have slaved enough to be respected and adored for exactly who they are. And yet... the meandering steep career path one climbs to earn that respect naturally calls for a meticulous upkeeping of a certain false image - in other words dressing to look the part - before shedding your skin and becoming yourself when you get to the top. 

I don't claim that I know the ins and outs of the industry - I'd like to think what I'm writing is ignorant and not true, and that most people are entirely unswayed and stick to what they like when it comes to dressing no matter how high up they are. It is, perhaps, just an impression I got at Fashion Week, my eyes heaving in despair at the sight of yet another Topshop dress worn with that exact same "messy" centre parting... But it got me thinking about appearances in general; for instance, where does one draw the line between "tailoring" ourselves to the outside world to fit in, and the old saying that nothing in an individual is entirely his own but borrowed from people, thoughts, ideas and other influences that surround us? 

Sometimes, when I visit a certain place, I do like to dress up especially to fit with the atmosphere that I imagine it possesses. For instance: Dresden. It was a bit of a trek from the Czech Republic (well, only two hours), but I've been waiting for that trip all holiday because of galleryisms, and seeing the architecture again... I wanted my outfit to be distinctively "arty", so my whipping out my sketchbook at every other painting in the Old Masters' Gallery and The Albertinum would look slightly more justified. Normally, I'd never wear a skirt this long, but thinking about the outfit made me choose something I wouldn't normally wear, and thus not being myself actually brought out my tastes in a new light. So perhaps sometimes it's not so bad to step away from whom you define/are accustomed to as yourself, and bask in the spotlight of the spontaneous and unexpected! Being yourself is not as simple as it sounds, if your style is anything like mine and constantly fluctuates from granddad jumpers to turbans and forties dresses... Is it more joyous, after all, to be a multicoloured caterpillar, than morphing into a glorious butterfly that never changes its form?

Glasses, 3.1 Phillip Lim
T-Shirt, Aubin and Wills
Skirt, vintage
Belt, vintage
Clutch, vintage
Shoes, thrifted
Necklace, gift

Friday, 7 October 2011

Last of the Sunshine

I don't know about you, but here in England we have just had a tremendous week. The cause? Sunny, even hot, weather in the middle of autumn. It's positively endearing, this British habit of professing to the world through a loudspeaker about the weather, should they (or is it we? have I become one of them?) be fortunate enough to be blessed with even a few days' worth of splendid sunshine. Is there really nothing else to talk about, when the country is going into financial decline? Perhaps that's exactly what it is, some sort of escapism from the dreariness of hearing 'NHS this, reform that' on the news every day. Yet this country is one of astonishing wealth and beauty, with so many traditions and achievements that there is no need for doom and gloom. I will say this until my tongue goes blue: beautiful, beautiful Britain, how lucky I am to call you my home! 
Am I getting cheesier than a Mature Cathedral Cheddar yet? If so, let us swiftly revert to the original theme of this post and act like nothing happened (unless the last reference has made you disappear momentarily in the direction of the fridge). A walk to the local lakes on one of those blissfully perfect afternoons was the perfect reward for slaving over my university reading/application all weekend. Boater hat perched proudly on my head and flower garland on my sister's, old wooden badminton rackets in our hands, me wearing a vintage wartime-chic Laura Ashley dress in a liberty print with a lace collar. The only thing reminding us we were not in the 40s were the cars and dog-walkers slowing down to throw us a bewildered glance or two. What a difference to my post a year ago featuring the very same place!

Dress, Laura Ashley, vintage
Belt, vintage

A View from Krumlov

Having a bit of a whirlwind week, so here are some lovely summery photos to cheer up your autumn evening soon-to-be-morning. Isn't this always the way? Putting up photos from god-knows-when when you have truthfully nothing to post because all you've been thinking of is UCAS, personal statements, more UCAS, more personal statements, when can I watch the next episode of Downton Abbey as a reward... Anyway, I'll rant later, because right now, it is way past my bedtime. Behold Cesky Krumlov, a UNESCO-listed site, protected not only by the latter organisation but also by some lovely, lovely bears. It was one of those I-feel-like-I'm-turning-into-a-muffin hot days, but it was far too amazing to sit down and feel exhausted! Well worth the four hour drive from Karlovy Vary, oh yes...On the way back, I witnessed what could only be described as a skydome littered with stars. To say it left me quite breathless would be nothing at all.

Post to be updated with further photos upon awakening.

Boat print tee, River Island
Shorts, GAP, thrifted
Belt, vintage
Headband, Zara
Necklace, gift
Tote bag, Past Times
Handbag, thrifted

Monday, 3 October 2011

Holiday Film 5

If I am lost, I always like to wonder into the Greenhouse. The faceted glass panes reflect the light, obstructing me from derision. Carefully, I lift the leaves of the tomato plants to see if they are ripe. Not quite. Just like my own cheeks, they are only beginning to flush in colour, merely asking for permission to belong in this world. Why would they have such a petty ambition, anyway? It's a strange, dark place; much darker, at times, than the warm bed of soil they are still half-blanketed in. But sometimes, when you push and push and your round head surfaces from underneath the soil, after months of darkness, of failure, it feels as though life is worth living. I can't say I feel like a tomato in the slightest.