Sunday Girl – Part 2

Extreme Editing!

Blue Suede Shoes

Lots has happened since my last post – my wrist has healed, I’ve been off galavanting in London and my Summer has officially begun! But I don’t want to leave any posts unfinished which is why I want to complete part 2 of my previous post ‘Sunday Girl Part 1’. Now I am at last physically able to tell of my attire and where all the pieces were sourced from I shall!

I bought the dress new, from Next, last Summer. Originally it was a light blue colour (giving the impression of being denim when it’s actually cotton) but I hadn’t had much wear out of it so back in April I decided to dye it dark blue, and since then I’ve worn it so much more!  The scarf in my hair was handed down to me by my Mum (so I suppose it’s vintage!) and the blue socks you can barely see were £3 from Topshop – one of I think three purchases I have ever made from that shop, to see why read my first ever blog post.

The beautifully crafted bag made from re-worked leather was a present and can be seen in more detail in my post from February entitled The Beauty Of Leather, in which the silk scarf tied around it also features. The blue shoes (which are suede – well spotted Roz!) were one of my best ever buys and I found them nestling in a corner in the Clark’s January sale. They were marked down from £60 to £15 and being real suede on the outside and real leather on the inside I just couldn’t resist! In fact, I love them so much that they were featured in their very own post, Blue Suede Shoes, in March.

Re-worked leather bag + vintage scarf

Re-worked leather bag + vintage scarf

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Sunday Girl – Part 1

This post is very different to what I usually write on the blog as I have managed to sprain my wrist which is now being supported in a splint (basically a sheet of metal strapped to my hand and lower arm to stop me from moving it). That being said, hand-writing is impossible and typing is proving rather difficult and painful. In case you were wondering, this splint is the reason my right hand and lower arm are hidden in each of the photos! So without further a do, here is today’s outfit. Normal (lengthier!) posts will be resumed as soon as my wrist is healed. Let’s call this post ‘part 1’, and I will elaborate on where each item was from and how I have styled it when I get rid of this splint…

The beauty of leather

Re-worked leather bag + vintage scarf

Re-worked leather bag + vintage scarf

Isn’t leather beautiful? Comfortable, good quality, practical and good to look at – it ticks all the boxes for the material of choice for shoes, jackets and bags. There is a particular leather bag that I want to tell you about today which was given to me as a lovely gift a couple of months ago. The bag in question is a mini-satchel style vintage shoulder bag – re-worked from its original shape into the beautiful dark brown leather bag it is now.

Most of my handbags are really quite bulky with big shoulder straps as when pottering around charity shops and buying little bits and bobs it’s easier to put them in my handbag instead of being given an extra little plastic bag. This way I can keep my hands free whilst saving the planet at the same time. However there are times when all I really need is a little bag or when a shoulder bag doesn’t really go with my outfit. This is when my beautiful leather bag comes in handy – just large enough to fit in my phone, keys, purse and lipstick it really is quite chic. Being brown it goes with most colour palettes and my new favourite way of accessorising bags is to tie a bright, silky scarf around the strap to add a bit of colour.

Explore Australia vintage scarf

Explore Australia vintage scarf

The scarf pictured is a huge map of Australia in bright yellow, with a deep turquoise border. Around the edges of the map are featured drawings of the native birds and animals of Australia. I found the scarf whilst rummaging through a huge case of silk scarves at a vintage fair before Christmas and with it being just £3 for two scarves I happily chose this Australian themed one for myself and another for my cousin (I think on hers there were maps of Germany or Austria). The scarf is so colourful that I’ve recently started tying it in a bow in my hair and it always brightens up any outfit. In fact, the only way I haven’t worn it is as a scarf! I suppose it’s because the scarf is a square shape which means the only thing I could do would be to tie it round my neck in a bow at the side. Maybe I’ll experiment with it this week!

Extreme editing shows the detail of the bag

Extreme editing shows the detail of the bag + scarf

Wool is well received

If truth be told (and no I didn’t write that deliberately to make everyone read it in a Gavin and Stacey esque accent), I’m rather obsessed with anything ‘wool’ at the moment. And I mean anything. Jumpers, cardigans, hats, gloves, scarves, skirts, dresses, hairbands, tights, socks, even capes! I seemed to spend my summer wandering round the shops in playsuits and shorts – buying knitted jumpers and tights! At the time everyone thought I was mental and told me I should be on the beach or in the garden “enjoying the sun”. Well since then it’s gotten much colder, wetter and windier in my little corner of England – and I am exceptionally pleased with myself and my clever planning in advance for Autumn. My purchases included an excellent multicoloured acrylic jumper from Cow Vintage, and a beautiful black wool cape (which I mentioned in my previous post “The Cape Comeback”) from Kitt’s Couture

Wool is, in my view, the most appropriate material for the September – April period. It is heavy and warm, comes in every colour and texture imaginable and doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. I write this from the perspective of both a keen knitter and a shopping addict. I source my knits from both the high-street and my own creativity – buying jumpers and the like from places like H&M and New Look, and making most of my own accessories. In recent times I have created: hats, scarves, snoods, neckwarmers, hairbows, cuffs and various other knitted accessories. My current projects are a pair of ’80s inspired legwarmers and a pair of Winter mittens. Knitting for myself means I can decide one day on my outfit for the next, and in the mean time knit myself an accessory to complete the outfit.

Today for example, I am musing about what to wear to a Drama rehearsal tomorrow, and have decided on an ’80s theme (yes I am channelling “Fame”!) This will consist of blue leggings (actual dance leggings worn in the ’70s), a black sweater worn underneath the aforementioned bright ’80s jumper number from Cow,  my trusty grey converse, a bright red patent shoulder bag and bright red lips. I think possibly my royal blue beret as well as there is quite a lot of blue in the jumper. I am reasonably happy with the prospect of wearing this outfit tomorrow, but I feel there is something wanting. That “something” is quite obviously a pair of legwarmers (in either bright red or royal blue – I haven’t quite decided yet) – thus completing the “Fame” look. I don’t actually possess a pair of these such leggings, so tonight I will sit down to watch the tv and knit a pair.

Simple.

Elementary my dear

 

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman aka Holmes and Watson

 

After Monday’s post on menswear I was delighted to watch Benedict Cumberbatch in his portrayal of a modern day Sherlock Holmes at 9 o’clock Sunday evening on BBC 1. Not only did it prove to be excellent viewing (and I recommend it to anybody who appreciates it when the BBC do something a little different) but I have to congratulate the wardrobe department working on the programme for Mr Holmes’ smooth, sopthisticated attire. I am not so much of a fashion geek that when watching tv I concentrate solely on what the actors are dressed in, but Mr Cumberbatch Esq. was wearing such a beautifully crafted black trench coat that I had a desperate urge to contact the BBC and find out who designed out to see if they could possibly rustle me one up for the coming Autumn/Winter.

I have always preferred trench coats to other coat styles but the BBC had really surpassed themselves with the one they had provided for Cumberbatch. Sleek, warm (obviously having been filming in Winter) and utterly sophisticated it gave Holmes all the necessary attributes to run around London being annoying clever and hilariously sarcastic in the process of finding a serial killer. What is great about this outfit is that it looks great and is really practical at the same time – exactly what it should be. Seriously, if you didn’t catch it, i-player it. There are two more episodes on Sunday 1st and Sunday 8th – 9 -10.30 pm on BBC 1. The wardrobe department also had the good grace to give him a nice knit scarf which toned in perfectly with the coat. If only his lovely shirt had been a tiny bit roomier; as the buttons were being slightly stretched – then the outfit would have been complete. Hopefully this issue will be rectified by next week.

As to Dr John Watson (played very well by Martin Freeman in a kind of understated-but-quiet-genius-at-the-same-time fashion), I wasn’t too impressed by his cream knit jumper and cords, but considering he was an injured Afghanistan soldier returned home I’m happy to let him off the hook. Hopefully now he’s living with Holmes, some of Sherlock’s style sense will rub off on him. Considering in the original Conan Doyle works it is Watson who is the dapper of the two and Holmes seems not to bother about his appearance it is interesting to see that the BBC have gone in for a bit of role reversal. Nevertheless I can’t wait for the next episode, and I’m secretly hoping Holmes might branch out into a nice hat and a pair of black leather gloves. Here’s hoping.

The pleasures of knitting

I have recently got back in to my knitting after a few months of my knitting bag being shoved at the back of my wardrobe. This bag only re-surfaces when I have some spare time on my hands, and now it has again seen the light of day I am determined to put it to good use. I have already knitted myself as long winter scarf in white wool, and yesterday I knitted a long ‘ribbon’ which I can wear, tied in a bow, as a headband. I love knitting. Not only is it a great way of showing your creativeness, but you can make things to wear yourself and gifts for other people. For me, it is a way of relaxing and as (if you become proficient enough) you can knit without looking – you can watch the tv or take part in a lively debate without being too much otherwise engaged with your creative activities!

Knitting

My recent knitting - I'm still in the 'scarf' stage!

If you want to take up knitting (and I really do recommend it) you first of all need to either: find someone who can teach you how to knit or watch tutorials on the web such as:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9hv44QwQ-A&feature=related

Which will teach you how to cast on and start your first row, and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgwi3xgZzlk&feature=related

Which will teach you the ‘knit’ stitch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqqaIgvohcI

Will teach you how to ‘bind off’.

Needles can be bought from any knitting shop quite cheaply, or ask around family and friends to see if anyone has some they wouldn’t mind you borrowing. Grandparents are great for this kind of thing – as they have the time and the patience to teach you and often have their own supplies of wool and needles. The best thing to knit first is a scarf – nice and simple and you only need to know one stitch. Once you can do that, head down to a knitting shop to buy a pattern for something a little more challenging – a hat perhaps or maybe even some mittens!

The web is a great place to learn how to knit, and I particularly recommend YouTube and Videojug. The best places to buy cheap wool from are (you’d never of guessed) charity shops! They often have baskets where you can buy 2 or 3 balls of wool for a couple of pounds. Cash-and-carry’s and thrift shops also sometimes have wool for sale. Specialist knitting shops are great for buying particular types and weights of wool in certain colours, but are very expensive – so if you are a beginner buy cheap and experiment.

5 ways to wear: a scarf

Versatility is a key aspect of fashion; it’s possible to wear basically the same outfit for a week if you know more than one way to wear each piece, and can accessorize the outfit differently every time.

So, here we go with my first “5 ways to wear” post. Today, it is ‘5 ways to wear: a scarf’.

1. As you would normally wear a scarf – wrapped around your neck with the two ends hanging down on either side at the front. Throw one end over the opposite shoulder to give it more of a “just thrown it on” look.

2. Wrapped twice around the neck and tied in a bow on one side. (Don’t try this if you have a short neck –  it’ll make you look like a wrapped up christmas present).

3. As a flowing headscarf. Place the scarf on the crown of the head just behind the fringe (if you have one) with equal lengths of scarf on both sides of the head. Take both ends down and tie just underneath the hair, at the back of the neck. If you have very short hair, leave like this and let the scarf trail down your back or bring the ends round the front. For long hair, follow instructions below for no.4.

4. As a headscarf with side bow. Follow instructions above for ‘flowing headscarf’ and after tying the scarf just beneath the hair, bring the scarf back up to tie in a bow on one side of your head.

5. As a wrist bow (for shorter scarves only). Wrap around the wrist as many times as will fit before tying in a bow.

The best place to buy scarves (as I have mentioned in previous posts) is in charity shops. I was in my local cancer research yesterday browsing the extensive collection of scarves that they have. Scarves are great to buy as they are cheap (only usually £1 -£2 in charity shops) and they can be worn in so many different ways. Build up a collection so that you’ll never be stuck without a scarf that matches your outfit’s colour scheme. You could always tie two scarves together and wrap them round each other (use clashing prints/colours) to give your outfit a more boho feel. As they’re so cheap you won’t feel bad buying in bulk, and make sure you buy some ones with unusual prints/patterns as you never know when you might need one to ‘make’ an outfit.

Oxfam Scarves
A selection of scarves available in Oxfam on Oldham Street, Manchester today. All only £2 – £4.