Category Archives: Preening my Feathers

Beauty and Fashion

What I Wore: Back to Front Frock

What I Wore (posh) headerb2f no jacket what I wore

I was scrolling through my phone and I found these photos from back in November of my birthday….so muchos apologies for the photo quality… it is entirely due to it being shot on my phone at Clapham Junction and not the fact that it was cheaper to buy posh fizz by the bottle than gin….

I was whisked to London by my wonderful husband and our friends to a burlesque club in the City. It was truly marvellous and of course, the actor in me wanted to feel like I fitted in…

I was most proud of this outfit because I wore the dress backwards…. and before you look at me like I’m a mental case…I do this quite often.

Sometimes I really don’t like the drop of a neckline or it’s too revealing for my taste and this particular dress that I bought in my first year of university has a SERIOUSLY low v neckline…so low that even in my uni days (*cough* 10 years ago) I used to safety pin it together else my lady front would actually be out on full view….and not even in a tasteful way.

b2f rear view what i wore

I unpicked the stratchy label and also folded under the pointless little sleeves to make them a more pronounced cap sleeve. I quickly secured them with a few stitches by hand to ensure they didn’t come unfolded during the evening. This actually changed the whole feel of the outfit and meant I hadn’t had to buy something new.

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I also got to wear my super towering high heels and feel glorious about it!

Have you ever tried wearing something the wrong way round? Intentionally of course!

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How To: shop for clothes at a car boot

When I challenged myself to buy no ‘shop new’ clothes until next August, I didn’t realise how good the pickings of second-hand clobber at car boots could be!

Car boot sales and selling your stuff quickly is actually quite attractive to a lot of people ranging in size and styles, and there is a lot of great stuff to be had. For me it beats eBay every time as you can touch and feel what you are buying (I’m a  feely toucher ok?!) and you can also avoid paying postage and gauge if it would fit you by eye, also it’s generally cheaper than charity shops.

Mums of Britain…there is a PLETHORA of fancy baby and children’s clothes and goodies being sold for 50p an item (and sometimes much less!!!) so get down there and have a rummage and save yourself a fortune! I cannot stress enough that any children I have in the future are going to barely have ANYTHING shop new, as the secondhand children’s market is blooming marvellous. I mean do people actually buy Moses baskets in the shops? I saw 8 last weekend….8 gorgeous Moses baskets for sale…. all for under £15 and in beautiful condition.

But what about adult clothing?….. I can already feel a few of you wincing at the thought of rummaging on a clothes rail in the middle of a field at 7am on a Sunday morning… but it really is painless…. and actually finding that bargain is one of my most favouritest feelings in the world…parrelled to eating something I have grown myself.

So here are my top five tips to shopping for clothing at car boot sales.

1 – Eye up the seller

The lady that looks like Wurzel Gummidge is very unlikely to by selling a sequin dress from Topshop, so cast your eye across the seller before you get on your knees and rummage to the bottom of the box of old dishcloths. This is also a good way to gauge the sizing of the clothing that the seller are trying to shift. This isn’t the be all and end all I might add, as there are a lot of bargains and lovely vintage to be had by people who are clearing out their wardrobes after 20 or so years. If you are after trendy stuff though, you want to aim for the 20 somethings who are doing the fairs with a friend or with their mums to make a bit of cash for the night out the following weekend.

2- Have a rummage

I once saw a girl literally dump a boot load of clothing onto a sheet on the ground and let people rummage through. £1 a piece she said, and oh lordy did I rummage. I came out with 5 gorgeous pieces, all from Topshop and River Island, all from the very bottom of the pile, threw my money at her and ran before I ended up buying too much (I was there selling at the time!). Rummaging is the fun of a boot fair. Rummaging doesn’t have to be hands on, I do a pretty good eye rummage now, but if something catches your gaze, be it a pattern or a fabric, pull it out and have a look, you can always fold it back up or hang it back up if it isn’t your sort of thing, people won’t be offended….honest!

Car boot finds floral

3 – What do you already own?

Now before you buy that black jacket…how many do you already own? Or will those zany neon hotpants go with anything else you already have? (Yeah… I know…they’ll go great with that rainbow sequinned boob tube you bought at the last table!)

There is no point wasting your money and clogging up your wardrobe with things you aren’t going to wear or that you have 4 of already (cough cough…grey cardigans…I have 3).

Car boot finds leopard print

I’m not saying go with a list, that’s the opposite of what you should do, but go with an open mind and a rough idea of what you DON’T need.

4- Know what it is worth

A Balmain inspired cropped Per Una lined jacket at £4 is an utter bargain. Yes…I know…to some of you I just put loads of words together and threw them in a sentence… but if you are really looking for the bargains, you need to know what you are looking at.

I have a basic working knowledge of fashion and clothing design, no more than the next girl who has watched Devil wears Prada. I do have the benefit of knowing about stitching from my time at my sewing machine and I have a good idea about fabric quality from my love of vintage fabrics and clothing, but most of it is about common sense and looking at labels.

Before you ask how much, think of the number that you would sell it for and think about what you’d be willing to pay for it.

When you ask how much, consider the answer and then have another look at what is in your hand. Before you hand over your money, is it worth what they are asking for it. Has it got any holes in the lining? Has it got any stains? Is the fabric all bobbley? My friends have seen me throw money and run as the item is well under what I feel its worth, and they have also seen me put it down and walk away to think about it as I walk around.

5 – Feel the fear and buy it anyway

I never never try ANYTHING on at the boot fair. I put things up against myself. I have even been known to take a tape measure with me. I have also just bought things because I think the fabric is beautiful despite it being several sizes too small….those things get made into home decor so I can look at the beautiful fabric forever!

Not sure a massive faux fur leopard print coat would suit you? They are selling it for £3…..feel the fear and buy that sucker…because you would look fabulous in faux fur…I mean who doesn’t!

I felt the fear and bought this frock anyway.

mint green lace dress £1 car boot sale

It cost me a £1 (from the bottom of the heap from the £1 an item lady) and it is like NOTHING I normally wear or I own. I wore it out last Saturday night and got so many compliments (in real life and via instagram!) and I felt great in it…. after an initial freak out before I left the house (“I look like an ice cream at a wedding!!”)…. and added more eyeliner and bracelets to rock it up a bit.

I would never have bought a dress like this from River Island at full price (£30 +), I wouldn’t have risked the colour (I like black…a lot) and I wouldn’t have risked the length (it’s a little on the short side…but as long as I don’t bend over I’m decent), but for £1 I had nothing to lose…expect maybe my dignity if it had been gusty out!

It’s the perfect opportunity to play with colours and styles that noramlly you’d be a bit frightened of.

Happy hunting!

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The jumper that bought the farm…

Regular readers will know that I LOVE an outlandish novelty jumper.

So imagine how extremely happy I was when Mama Pigeon presented me with this beauty this weekend, that had been languishing in a drawer of hers since late 1990’s. Oh god I love it.

Farm jumper

That’s right…there is a flipping FARM ON MY JUMPER…. A FARM!

Farm jumper back

And the back is just as cute!

This, my friends is why fashion sucks and clothes rule. Another disgusting jumper saved from landfill, another item added to my wardrobe for FREE. YES!

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Don’t Throwaway Threads

Fashion has become so fickle. And it’s boring the pants off me. Quite literally.

It’s looping and looping around,  and age-old ‘staples’ that I claim as fashion have slid back into the ‘popular’ stream, meaning that all the lumberjack shirts and leggings I’ve been wearing since…well since I pinched a couple of Papa Pigeon’s old shirts aged 14… are finally back ‘in’. I’m not saying the most fashionable bird around…far from it…I know that some of my clothing choices are down right ridiculous, but I like how they make me feel…and that my friends is what clothes are for. They are meant to work for you…not the other way round.

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I’m not saying that fashion is a bad thing, but we need to see this beast for what it is. A money-making churning machine. I am appreciative that disco pants came back in…I’ve been aching for a pair of skin tights shinys since I saw Sandy in that last scene from Grease as a little girl….I know…issues…but I’m not willing to buy plastic ‘futuristic’ see through high heels, when we all know that tweed and english heritage will be back in this winter… just you mark my words (EVERY YEAR!).

So to help myself step away from this big churny machine and to save pennies…I’m not buying any new clothes for 365 days. Don’t fret clothing hoarders… I will get some new-to-me clobber, but you’ll find me making it a mission this WHOLE year to only buy from carboot sales, charity shops, clothing swaps and to upcycle things I already have lurking in the back of my wardrobe. Women on average have over 3,000 items in their wardrobe (I think mine is about that…glup) and 60% of us whine about having nothing to wear for a night out…. that is insanity.

We also throw out soooo much fabric in this country and it drives me batty. NO fabric leaves this house in a binbag. All my old clothes are either shredded and used as stuffing for a multiple of things or the fabric picked apart at the seams and turned into housewares or items for my shop. I don’t actually think we have even thrown out so much as an old dishcloth… (they get boil washed multiple times and reused before I shred them and put them in the composter)… since we moved here….

So I’ll also be trying to show you what I do with all my old stuff that is honestly long past dead.

DOn't throwaway thread (1)

My biggest fear is basics and jeans. I already know that my black ballet pumps have had it and that I need another white vest, so they are going to be hard to find second-hand. Jeans for me are my holy grail. They have to be long enough and fit me both around the waist and the bottom…a seriously tall order that only Uniqlo has been able to fill recently…argh! My biggest weakness is going to be when all the jumpers come back into the high street….oh gawd I love a jumper. I’m however excited about trying out new shapes and things out of my comfort zone as I will have less choice.

Wish me luck!

wpid-signoff2013.pngI will be instagramming and tweeting with the hashtag #dontthrowawaythreads if you want to follow or join in! 😀

 

What I Wore: London Gathering

What I Wore bannerWhat I wore London rockabilly 50's summer (1)

When I left living in London after 18 months of pretty hardcore immersion and after living in pretty liberal studenty Bournemouth for 3 years, I quickly noticed how conservatively dressed people were living in the ‘burbs. Being a girl with a desperate love for ‘those’ trousers from the last scene of Grease (thank GAWD disco pants have come into fashion…my 80’s rock chick NEEEEEDED those bad boys…) and having a rather large collection of leopard print items, for the first 6 months of living away from the Big Smoke, I capsuled my wardrobe into more outlandish ‘London clothes’ and more introverted ‘Burb clothes’. Thankfully after getting closer to P’s friends, who I now count as my own, I wear whatever the hell I want wherever the hell I want…I think that confidence also comes with age and realisation that I don’t give two hoots.

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We recently high-tailed it back up to London for a friend’s baby announcement, which in hindsight felt quite mean…the mother-to-be sipping on a lemonade whilst the rest of us all got quite merry in the roof terrace of a bar. And this is what I wore…sort of casual rockabilly.

This will probably also be the last WIW with naked shoulder skin as I have an upper arm tattoo planned for my right arm next month…eeeeeeeeek I’m excited! Can’t wait to show you all.

What I wore London rockabilly 50's summer (2)

I struggle to dress for summer, I never want to feel too dressy during the day and a 50’s frock does that to me. Bring back autumn, I have about 30 flannel lumberjack shirts that need wearing STAT!

What I wore London rockabilly 50's summer (4)

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What I Wore: A bunch of flowers

What I Wore bannerbright floral midi dress boohoo

Being a lanky bird with a long body and legs, I find dresses particularly difficult to find. The cute short ones that I crave, and torture myself with by trying on, show lady parts….and I am not that sort of girl….or at least that one summer I was has past….

I discovered these comfy jersey midi length frocks on Boohoo last year and I ordered a heap for a batch of upcoming weddings I had that summer…..like this one. They feel like I’m wearing a big t-shirt and they are perfect for what I like to call the ‘home dog out dash’, where I race in from work, do an hour dog walk and then throw on an outfit before heading out to dinner. These seem to be happening g a lot recently…but hey…I’m not having to cook so who is complaining?

I love the bright floral of this frock…I know….florals in spring…how original…but I just can’t help it!

What is your go-to throw on outfit?

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What I Wore link

 

 

 

What I Wore: Canary and Studs

What I Wore bannerwhat i wore yellow suit jacket biker boots skinny jeans rock daytime look

I realise I haven’t done a WIW in a loooooong old time….since last summer in fact….mainly because my outfits this winter have consisted of wellies, filthy holey jeans, a thick ratty jumper and my BRIGHT pink coat….you know…dog walking uniform.

But this week, due to having days off in the week now and P taking a week off for funsies, we took a trip out to Ikea….because that is what cool kids do don’t you know… I was on the hunt for a new office chair and seeing as we could stop in Wing Yip on the way and do our annual top up of packet noodles (we buy ’em in by the box!) and sweet chilli sauce, Ikea was a good bet and it didn’t involve mud. WIN!

(Please note the mud up my shin though…I went to check the chickens just before we left…. DAMMIT!)

Jacket – H&M in the sale last year. I bought this baby for £5.

Top – Striped nautical number from Primark about 5 seasons ago. because you know…I am soooo right now…

Jeans – From my new love…Uniqlo. They do ALL their jeans in 33in inside leg which makes me VERY happy. They also do alterations for normal sized people for free.

Bag – River Island last year. I fell in love with this bag whilst looking for a ‘sensible grown up handbag’. It is massive inside and has like a million pockets, whilst looking cool. It satisfys my inner rock chick and my inner Nana.

Boots – Ohhh biker boots…how I love you soooo. These are from Tesco this winter because my previous ones died a death because I wear them to breaking point. I really need to learn to buy 3 pairs of boots I like and then rotate them so they last longer.

Right I’m off to look longingly at boots online….

wpid-signoff2013.pngWhat I Wore link