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Love, Lust and Links.

August 7, 2010

Well this is a new weekly feature I’ve been wanted to start for a while. I know a lot of blogs that do this or something similar and it’s always a nice read. I’m hoping to do a post like this every weekend of my favourite things  this week!!

1. Rollercoasters

I am a massive rollercoaster junkie. Massive. My actual dream would be to be one of those people who just go round the world going on rollercoasters!! I went to Alton Towers yesterday and had a really fun day but I came home absolutely exhausted!! I really want to go to some of the other theme parks in the UK- I really want to go to Thorpe Park!! I hope I get a chance to go to some theme parks next year- I read there’s a great one in Ohio. We managed to get on most of the big rides yesterday- 13, Rita (one of my favourites), Nemesis, Oblivion and probably my ultimate favourite, Spinball Whizzer. Alton Towers is such a great day out!! Thank you Ed for our free tickets!!

2. Leopard Print

(How cute are these little baby leopards?!) I am obsessed with leopard print at the moment- dresses, bags, shoes, scarves… everything!! I just think it’s so subtley sexy but so fun. I just need an excuse to wear my new leopard print dress!!

3.  Red bags

I don’t know what it is about red bags, I just really want one!! Bags are my downfall wardrobe-wise. I have a couple of standard black ones, a brown one, a green one, a yellow one and a nude one and that’s about it!! I’d love a red bag to brighten up a simple outfit or as a great complement to a blue outfit.

4. Skinny trousers

This could be a sign that I’m growing up but I really want a really simple pair of black skinny trousers. I just think they’re really simple, sleek and sexy. I think I’m starting to get really into formal wear. Am I a grown up now?

5. Tartan

I don’t know if it’s catching up on Gossip Girl (I’m so behind!!) or my anticipation about Autumn/Winter, but I’m back to my yearly obsessed with tartan. The actual picture I wanted was from Gossip Girl- The Debarted, where the new It Girls were all wearing tartan skirts, jumpers and blazers and looking unbelievable. I really want a couple of new tartan skirts- red, green, blue… perfect winter wear!! I’m hitting up ebay!!

6. Scarf-tie-ing

I am awful at looking cool in a scarf, but I absolutely love this chart- especially the 2nd and 4th tie styles!! You can read more about it here.

7. Trying to be a Brilliant Woman

Courtesy of this link!!

8. The Vanity Fair Best-Dressed List

Of course!!

9.  The beginning of the month

For me, the beginning of the month means one thing- new magazines!! I’m really looking forward to my favourites- Glamour and Cosmo, and of course, the September Issue of Vogue! This chart is a great guide to the September issues.

10. Bret Easton Ellis

I started Imperial Bedrooms last night and oh, Bret, I love you. I don’t think I quite love him more than Chuck Palahniuk yet, but he is such a fantastic author. Dissertation inspiration perhaps?

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siobhan mckenzie.

August 5, 2010

Well hello there!! Sorry I’ve been a bit quite the past few days!! I worked on Sunday and Monday and then I had a great day with my mum on Tuesday. We went to see my Grandparents which was lovely and then walked into the local village which is lovely for a spot of book-shopping and lunch!! Lunch was amazing- I had a butternut squash and goat’s cheese quesadilla and we shared an eton mess. mmmm :]]] Book shopping was equally amazing. My mum treated me to Imperial Bedrooms which I haven’t started yet, but I’ve heard it’s very disturbing so I hope Bret is true to his usual form!! When I’ve read this I will have read all seven of his books- yay. I also, I have no idea how!! managed to get the Teen Vogue Guide to Careers In Fashion from her, even though I insisted she just remember it at Christmas. I’ve wanted it for ages since seeing it on amazon and instantly adding it to my wish list!! I’ve only read a bit so far but there’s a decent chapter on fashion writing and editing so I’m very excited to get reading it!! I also showed her the £30 fashion book I want for Christmas!! I think I’d just like fashion books this year!!

dress- courtesy of siobhan mckenzie tight- top shop boots- office jacket- h&m

This fabulous dress, and the other which will be on some of the photos later in the post, was personally tailored and sent to me by Siobhan Mackenzie. We’ve been corresponding for a while and she chose these two dresses for me and tailored them especially for me. They’re both absolutely gorgeous and made so beautifully. I’m writing a piece on her for Student Fashion Blog so watch this space- I’ll pop the link up when it’s posted up, which should be sometime today or tomorrow. The dresses are both gorgeous quality and fit (although do not wear either after eating- the food baby look is majorly not cool in such a fitted dress!!) and I love the beautiful lining of the Ziggy Mini Dress. They’re both perfect for day or night, but unfortunately I had nowhere to go in my Ziggy dress!! Thank you so much Siobhan!! Please go check out her site!!

Speaking of writing, the second part of my 20 Classic Pieces is up at College Fashion so you should go check that out!! I’ve also just finished my now-fifth piece for The Fashion Buzz. I am absolutely loving all this writing, it’s such great experience!! I’ve also just written another piece for the local magazine that I’m writing for. It was based on one of the interviews I did back in May but the lady who I interviewed sadly lost her battle with cancer last month, so it was an emotional piece to write. Apparently I made my editor cry, hopefully in a good way!!

dress- courtesy of Siobhan McKenzie shoe boots- charity shop earrings- gift

I seem to have so much to sort out for my year abroad. First stop, health insurance!! I was reading through all the International Students information last night and it’s all so much to take in!! I feel more excited now after reading it all. It’s all starting to feel real but there was lots of advice for international students that I found really helpful. I also got really excited reading about all the different student groups at the university. I’m definitely going to get involved in the newspaper and definitely dance, but I might get back into theatre and there’s a literature discussion group that I think I’d love. Is it bad I saved the link about being a cheerleader? Oh come on, it’s every girl’s dream!! No-one really cheerleads in this country, well they do but it isn’t as much as a big deal. Oh it looks so fun!!

Yesterday was a bit of a rubbish day but I managed to get quite a lot done in the end. I wasn’t sure if I was working so I sort of spent the day waiting to see if I was going to get a phonecall so ergo I spent the whole day in the house. Like I said though I got the article written for my local magazine and got these photos taken (the ones in the black skeleton dress were taken on Tuesday) and watched Masterchef. My plan for today was to get the piece written for Student Fashion Blog, which I’ve done, write my next article for The Fashion Buzz, which I’ve done, and update my blog, which I’m doing so I might spend the rest of the morning reading and drinking cups of tea!! I’m meeting my best friend Shaunagh at 2.30 before I have work at 5- I haven’t seen her in about 4 months so I’m really excited to see her for coffee and a girly catch up!! Then I have work 5 until 10 but I don’t think it’ll be too bad tonight.

the lovely lining of the ziggy mini-dress

But tomorrow is exciting Friday!! I’m going to Alton Towers tomorrow!! It’s going to be crazy busy and I don’t think we’ll get on many rides but we went for my birthday a few months ago so I don’t mind if we don’t get on everything (even though I am a massive rollercoaster junkie. Massive. I will go on anything. And not hold on.) especially because we’re going for free because one of my best friends works there (HI ED!!) And then I think we’re having a sleepover at my other best friend’s which should be great fun!! And then I think I’m working a lot next week but it’ll be nice to get the money together for going away- especially as everything is looking like it’s going to be crazy expensive!! I do plan on going to Birmingham on one of my days off next week to see one of my best friends Briony and say goodbye to my favourite city for a while :[[

Well it’s 11am- I think that’s time for a cup of tea!! I’ll probably squeeze a post in on Sunday- sorry I’m so busy!!

Have a fantastic Thursday!!

Charlotte xxx

Woman in Uniform.

August 3, 2010

Both my post for Rosie (below) and starting work again has had me thinking about uniforms. Partly uniforms in terms of things we have to wear; school uniforms, work uniforms etc. but also in terms of our every day uniforms- day wear, evening wear, what is and is not appropriate. In school, in the UK anyway, we are taught that wearing a uniform stops jealousy and competition; we wear a uniform so we’re all the same, so we aren’t divided by the labels on our jackets and price of our jeans. It encourages conformity, but also stunts our self expression. My school was particularly strict about uniform and as a sulky teenager I tried to push the rules as much as I could- badges on my school blazer, short skirt, wristbands and eye makeup. Although I left high school over 4 years ago now, I am now back to working in a uniform. My uniform on the counters section of Asda is made up of a white and green shirt, Asda black trousers, a lime green tabbard, hair net, net trilby hat and plain black shoes. I cannot wear any jewellery or nail varnish and my hair has to be tied away in a hair net. There is no place for self expression. This is entirely practical.

I find this understandable, of course, but incredibly frustrating. There is no part of my uniform that I can customize. And often it kills my self expression for days. Occasionally the fact that I live in this uniform means that I cannot wait to dress up on my day off, but more often than not it kills my creativity. Clothes become boring and practical. Clothes lose their fun.

I have more freedom of expression with my other uniform at my bar job. Our only compulsory item of uniform is a black polo shirt, which I find a fantastic challenge. I’m always testing out new ways to feel unique in a uniform where I look like everyone else. Bandage skirts, shorts and floral bubble skirts break up the standard uniform of jeans and ballet pumps. My uniform gives me a chance to express myself while still representing my company. I don’t feel constricted at all, in fact it’s inspiring and liberating. Often a sort of variation-on-a-theme outfit is a great challenge.

But my Asda uniform is frustrating. Even my bright pink hair, my trademark, is covered up under a hat and hair net. I hate blending in, I hate looking like every body else. This was something that never really bothered me at school- I looked forward to own-clothes days to really express myself and the weekends, and enjoyed not having the agonizing decision over what to wear that I heard was frequently the morning ritual of girls in American high schools.

Some sociologists argue that uniforms are unnecessary and “demean and humiliate the working-class” and “It is another subtle way for the ruling class to assert their power over the working-class: dress them up in clownish clothing”. While I don’t believe a uniform can possess this much power, it is interesting how some jobs (usually the lower paid jobs in the service industry) have set uniforms and others do not. Yet, is a shirt and tie “business casual” not a uniform in itself?

Perhaps there is a time and a place for self expression. Perhaps this is the reason why more creative industries seem to demand less of a uniform, and the service industry requires less as there are lots of people doing the same job.

Some days I appreciate the fact that I don’t have to think about what I have to wear the days when I’m working, but I do miss feeling nice when I leave the house in the morning and knowing that I’ve put something unique together myself. I guess I’m just one of those people who likes to express myself through my clothes, and I find having that liberty taken from me distressing but interesting. A uniform forces me to express myself in a different way, and self expression is new ways is always a great skill to learn.

Style Advisor- Work wear

August 3, 2010

I had a request from Rosie:

“Hi Charlotte! I’m a size 10 top heavy girl (hey, its alright sometimes!) thats just started a new office-based job… Can you recommend me an outfit for the office for £100 or less? I want something professional but modern!”

Rosie has a fabulous job working for Mulberry (I know, how jealous am I?!) and has a really cute, edgy style that I really wanted to incorporate into her outfits. I’ve picked four outfits for her which can be easily made up from high street staples, and of course a couple of gorgeous Mulberry bags (I just couldn’t resist!!) Work wear is notoriously hard. While it isn’t quite as restrictve as a uniform (something I plan on writing about now I’m back at work), but there are still certain rules you have to bide by- it can be difficult to feel yourself and express your own personal style. But that is what work is all about!! Especially in a creative industry like fashion you can have a little more freedom while still looking professional.

shirt/waistcoat/shoes/bag/trousers/tie

This first outfit is sort of classic workwear with a modern twist brought in by the oversized bag and stand-out red shoes. The skinny trousers help the look to feel modern and wearable without feeling too school-uniform and the sexy red shoes manage to be sexy and stylish to work against the masculine feel of the menswear-inspired waistcoat and tie. I love this look- I think it’s probably the most business-y of the outfits I’ve chosen, probably best saved for meetings rather than every day, but I love this grown-up classic love and the adorable shoes!! The bag is obviously out of most people’s budget but it’s Mulberry, of course!! There are tonnes of high street copies. All the items in this outfit can be easily found on the high street.

lace top/bandage skirt/bag/ring/necklace/shoes

This outfit is a little more casual and on-trend but can still be smart and work appropriate. Bandage skirts are fantastic for work as they combine the work wear staple of the classic pencil skirt with some a little more modern and trendy. They are unbelievably flattering and effortless- they literally go with everything. I’ve paired the skirt with this gorgeous little lace top and slouchy nude bag. Nude shoes are another great investment as they go with anything. You could also add a trench coat for winter and grey, black or nude tights or even ankle socks if you were feeling daring (H&M and New Look have some great lace ankle socks that would look fab with this!!). The jewellery is your choice, but I thought the ring was perfect (though a little pricey) and I thought a little gold pendant necklace would be great while avoiding over-powering the lace detail of the top. Pearls would also be great with this. As before, similar items are all over the high street at the moment.

dress/bolero/shoes/bag/necklace

When first asked about modern work wear this kind of outfit was the first thing that sprung to mind- the perfect little shift dress. Oasis have loads of these on sale at the moment in lots of different colours, but I thought Rosie would love this bright vibrant red. A bright shift dress like this is perfect for office day into drinks after work to night on the town. It can be worn with black tights in winter or bare legs in summer. And who doesn’t have a great pair of little black heels? Shoe boots would also be fantastic with this. I also adored this little zebra bag!! Animal prints are going to be huge next season. I decided to keep everything else in the outfit neutral to let the dress really stand out- the key to looking smart is to keep it simple, but bright flashes of colour keep it young and modern.

dress/blazer/shoe boots/bag/bangles/necklace

Ah this is my favourite!! While more suited to a media or fashion environment, this is actually perfectly acceptable work wear if you keep it neat and pulled together. My mum has little little floral dress and it’s just gorgeous- but I have a total weakness for florals!! As with the previous outfits this can be worn in winter with black tights. Because of the bright pattern of the dress I’ve kept everything else quite professional and simple- black blazer, black shoe boots and this gorgeous (but a little over-budget!!) black bag. The black jacket keeps it looking business appropriate (for a more casual look the heels could be substituted for flat ankle boots or ballet flats and the blazer for a denim or leather jacket).

I hope that’s helpful Rosie!! Thank you so much for my first Style Advisor post- it’s been a lot of fun!!

Do you want any help choosing an outfit for a special occasion or even just for every day? Are you thinking of changing your style but don’t know what you want? Do you want some advice on what to be buying now for next season? Drop me an email (girlnextdoorfashion@googlemail.com) with your question and a few ideas of what you want and the style you like and I can pick some outfits out for you!! Any question, big or small, just let me know and I will tailor-make 3-4 outfits to your liking.

Let me know what you think, has this been helpful to you in your workwear decisions?

Charlotte

31 days.

August 1, 2010

Today is the first of August.

I leave for a year in the United States in a month.

My flights are booked, but I am far from ready to go.

I don’t feel excited, I don’t feel nervous. I don’t really feel anything.

Everyone else feels more excited than me. I just feel numb.

I don’t feel ready for this. It’s too much.

There’s just too much to sort out. Too much to think about.

And I’m scared to leave the life I’ve perfectly built up behind.

I’m scared nothing will ever be the same after this.

xxx

oh we’re so miserable and stunning.

July 31, 2010

it’s been a long week.

Sorry for the lack of updates. I don’t know where the week has gone. These photos are from last Friday, I just haven’t had a chance for outfit photos this week. I’ve not really had time for anything.

Well I’ve finished my work experience now. It was interesting and fun to be in a proper office environment which I’ve never really experienced before. I now know a LOT about silk!! I’m looking forward to earning some money though- it’s been a long few weeks not working and having a job at home and a job at uni it’s something I never really have to deal with!! I splashed out on this little beauty a few days ago though!! I just need somewhere to wear it…

I wish I’d had some time to take outfit photos this week cause I could show you my other purchases this week- most of which are leopard print!! I don’t know what it is but I’m obsessed with leopard print at the moment- I just think it’s so cute and sexy if done well. I’m looking forward to getting my leopard print coat out come winter!! I’ve rediscovered my leopard print tights (which I love with a little black or grey dress) and now have both leopard flats and heels and I borrowed a leopard scarf off my mum which was great with jeans and a black top :]]]

Outfit posts may be few and far between the next couple of weeks though because I am back to work tomorrow!! An 8am til 5 shift on a Sunday is not ideal (especially as I’ll have to be up at 6 because my work is a good 45 minute drive away!!) but earning again is going to be fantastic, and I’m looking forward to having my time filled. I’ve loved being out of the house and doing something the past few weeks!! But the other thing is it also means I’m back in my lovely Asda deli counter uniform- white shirt, black trousers, lime green tabbard and a mesh trilby hat and hair net!! Definitely not an outfit I’d like to appear on this blog!!

This week has been good though. I have another post up at Student Fashion Blog here and don’t forget to check The Fashion Buzz tomorrow for my weekly post!! I also went to see one of my editors yesterday about another couple of articles I have to write and I’m now published in a real-life magazine!! On real glossy paper!! It’s only a free local one but it’s pretty exciting!! The only bad thing this week is that I had a bad day on Tuesday; I was feeling really rubbishy and run down so I had a day of work sleeping and recovering and felt much better the next day. I read a whole book that day though!! I’ve finished 4 books this week- I hope I can keep it up!! I finished both Bret Easton Ellis’ Glamorama and Lunar Park, Douglas Coupland’s Generation X and Chuck Palahniuk’s Lullaby ( which I’ve had forever but never got round to reading). I’m now about to start Lolita and then I have Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City to read and then Chuck Palahniuk’s most recent two novels; Pygmy and Tell All. Reading for pleasure is such a novelty when you’re a literature student!!

Sad as it is, I plan on having an early night tonight with my book!! I know it’s saturday night but everyone I know was busy tonight and now I’m working tonight I’m glad of the time to rest. My best friend came over for a catch up earlier though which was nice. Today I’ve just been clearing out old clothes, unfortunately my mum lured me into keeping a lot of what I’d planned to throw away!! I’m just awful!! I do throw things away I never wear but I’m always so scared of throwing something away and regretting it!! I have a lot of bags and belts to go to the charity shop though which I’m glad about.

trench coat- top shop tights- primark shoes- next denim hair clip- top shop

I realise you can’t actually see my outfit at all on these photos, but do not fear, it was intentional!! What is underneath is pretty much exactly what I wore here just with the addition of these gorgeous nude lace tights which I just fell in love with. And only £1!! I also got a fab giant nude bag from Primark too for only £9!! This coat is my spring/summer baby though. It was a massive splurge but it’s just beautiful.

Right I’m going to go be sad and go to bed now!! I probably won’t have chance for a post tomorrow- not an outfit post anyway!! but you never know :]] Hope you’re having a fantastic weekend and not going to bed at 9.15pm after a gossip girl catch up!!

I would love to hear what you think :]]]

Charlotte xxx

The art of getting dressed.

July 28, 2010
tags:

I am a worrier, an over-thinker, an analyser. Even the simplest of tasks are dissected and deelpy considered. To put it simply, I think too much.And I often wonder if other people think as much as I do. Here goes.

What goes into your decision over what you wear each day? Do you just throw on the nearest thing to you (a decision in itself), or does it depend on your mood? Is it an impulsive choice made as you hop about trying to put on your tights while brushing your teeth and keeping your eye on the breakfast news, or is it all carefully laid out on your bed the night before and hung up ready for morning? Does it depend on your mood, or something more than that? Does it not feel like a decision at all? Do you convince yourself that you don’t care and that you’re far superior to the shallowness of people who think their clothes matter, and does your choice of clothes, as hard as you try, reflect that? Do you think your clothes show your non-conformism, while conforming in the same way that everyone else does?

This… ‘stuff’? Oh… ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. You’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff.

– The Devil Wears Prada

For me, numerous factors go into my daily decision of what to wear. What I have planned for the day is a major one; am I going to be out and about? Who am I seeing? Will I have time to take photos of my outfit for my blog? If I don’t have time and I have no-one to impress, I often try to avoid what I consider “wasting” an outfit. Often, if I have something new or recently rediscovered I’m desperate to incorporate it into an outfit as soon as possible. I’m somewhere between planning the night before and haphazard. I’ll often have the elements of the outfit decided but leave the rest to spontaneity.

I’m quite an organized person. I like lists, I like order, I like routine. I know my clothes. I know what goes together, thanks to costant lists of outfits for the days I feel uninspired. I go to sleep thinking about possible outfits for the morning, planning things together in my head which don’t always work in reality. When I buy soemthing new I have to ensure it will slot easily into my wardrobe.

Some days I like to play dress up. School girl is a favourite. Geek is another. Army chic is also fun. Girly girl. Edgy chick. Laid back prepster. Business woman. Clothes become fun as a child, becoming different people. Clothes are like theatre. I still embrace that. It keeps life fun. It keeps clothes interesting.

Physical factors are also detrimental. Surprisingly though, I never look out of the window in a decision over what to wear. The weather is never an issue. The colour of my nails, though, my makeup, whether my hair is clean, whether I’m naturally pale or golden from a bottle, whether my glasses are giving me a welcome break from my contact lenses, is. My look, my personal style, is about looking put together. If the outfit I want to wear requires a jacket and it’s too warm to cover my arms, the outfit will not be selected. If it requires shoes that are inappropriate for the day in hand, the outfit comes to a similar fate.

Inspiration plays a big part. If something I’ve seen has paricularly inspired me, I will probably go to sleep giddy with the excitement of trying it for myself. Sometimes I’ve forgotten by morning, too fatigued when the throes of inspiration arrive to write down my ideas. Other times the idea seem much less appealing at a sleepy 6am.

It also depends on how much time I have to decide. Too little time and I feel pressured. Too much time and the choice over-whelms me and I get bored and frustrated.

I feel the urge to wear things in new ways, often requiring new items to be added to my wardrobe. I constantly strive to get my money’s worth, price-per-wear. I try to wear things in new ways, inspired by new things. It doesn’t always work, and sometimes pipe dreams turn into 4 outfit choices before breakfast, usually ending with me settling on something that feels not-quite-perfect or settling into something I know and trust.

Perfection is key. Or close to. Bags, shoes, jewellery must all match. I’ve been known to get upset over the slightest difference between a peachy-nude and a pinky-nude. Or a slightly mismatched bag.

Some people say I think too much.