Got ink? ETA Got Ink!

I'm on my way out to make an appointment for my first ever tattoo. I've been thinking about it for months, and I've decided to finally take the plunge. 

It's in memory of a dear friend who passed away six months ago. We'd known each other since age 11 at school, and we'd been friends all our lives. She'd been diagnosed with cancer five years before she died, and she made those last years count. Yesterday would have been her 46th birthday. I miss her terribly.

She left me a leaving gift, a snowflake charm in memory of a boozy, snowy weekend we spent together in Warsaw. It was the best. 

I want to put the snowflake somewhere I won't loose it. I'm going to get it inked on the inside of my right arm, just above the elbow, so I can show it off or conceal it as I want to. I'm putting it here so that there's something online to show the shop when I go to make the arrangements. And of course, to find out your experiences.

Do you have ink? Is there a story behind it? Do you love it or do you regret it? Any pictures?

ETA: I DID IT! I'm now a tattooed lady, but don't you dare call me Lydia!

Props are due to the lovely Joey De Boer, a gentleman who understands the significance of personal style and worked with me to get the design just how I wanted it. 

And for anyone who cares to read it, I wrote about it on my blog (with a few mildly NSFW images).



Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →


3 days queuing for Kanye's Yeezy

I've just been chatting with a small cadre of young men who have gathered outside a tiny sneaker shop in Amsterdam's Chinatown, a few blocks from my home. They've been camped out in lawn chairs since yesterday, queuing for the very limited edition Yeezy Boost sneakers designed by Kanye West for Adidas.

Apparently, 12 pairs of this highly covetable shoe have made their way to Benelux and will be for sale exclusively in Zeedijk's tiny Patta franchise. These sneaker aficionados are camped out and waiting in line to part with €350 to add these rarities to their shoe farms when they go on sale tomorrow morning. Two of them had travelled all the way from Antwerp to wait in line. They assured me the eBay resale value was at least ten times the retail.

They declined to be photographed, but I did get a picture of their little campsite with me in one of their chairs. They were clearly having a good time. 

If you thought I was extreme for going to London for a pair of George Cox creepers (which I still haven't managed) you have no idea of the lengths some people will go to get their feet into the right pair of shoes. 

I think they are committed. Mr Edge says they should be.


WIW: styling the moto with jeans from the men's department

Thanks to the enablement of YLF I'm now the proud owner of a black leather moto jacket. I've resisted this style in the past because every time I've tried one on without fail they've made me look like I should be riding a motorcycle. 

I was hoping to avoid it with this one, but so far the end result has been the same. I really do look like I've just stepped off a Harley. Still, it's a classic look so I've decided to embrace it. I've layered it over an ultralight down jacket from Uniqlo for a bit of extra insulation in the cold, adding some bulk to emphasise the effect.

The jeans are from the small menswear collection that Isabel Marant did for H&M a couple of years ago. I figure if I'm going to wear so-called boyfriend jeans they should be actual menswear, and these fit as well as any jeans I've owned, fuelling a suspicion that when Ms M was designing for the boys she had half an eye on the girls as well. 

And another look with men's denim, this time oversized Levis with a belt by Ann Demeulemeester and a pair of vintage Docs, softened up with my Ma's cropped mohair sweater. I wore this last evening for drinks with a friend. Amsterdam's a very casual city, and this is a very casual bar, so I tend to dress down when I go there. Even so, I can't resist making a bit of a statement. 

By way of a footnote (pun intended) I'm limping around on a broken toe, so everything I wear right now begins and ends with whichever big boots I decide to put on. So, lots of menswear but no great hardship. 

What do you think? Too mannish? As ever, your thoughts and feedback are appreciated. 


Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →


Down the Kibbe rabbit hole

Thanks to threads by caro in oz, Gigi and links posted by Suz, I got sucked into researching the Kibbe archetypes and I wanted to record my thoughts here. Apologies if this retreads ground already covered in the other threads, as this is as much for my benefit as anything else. :)

I found basic idea and the archetypes themselves very useful. From an aesthetic perspective, it makes perfect sense to accentuate your physical proportions and attributes with whatever you're wearing, which is what I've been trying to do all these years, so it's interesting to read how these have been interpreted by stylists.

I did the quiz and downloaded the spreadsheet. I reached the conclusion that I'm somewhere on a continuum between Soft Dramatic and Flamboyant Natural with a touch of the Dramatic. This made a lot of sense, considering my preference for loose pants, sharp shoulders, graphic patterns and oversized pieces. So far, so good.

Where it all collapsed a bit was in the style inspiration I found on the Internet. This is terribly subjective and there are interpretations out there which read to me as extreme and/or wide of the mark, not to mention a load of things I wouldn't be seen dead in. :P It's not really helped by Kibbe's own instructions, which in spite of their wisdom are by now terribly dated, as others have pointed out. 

However, I did find a few things which resonated. 

First, this graphic, via Pinterest, which struck me as a very good representation in contemporary styling of how I understood the type definitions. I can see immediately from here the outfits which would suit me best. I could easily wear SD or FN as they are, and D would also work with a little tweaking.

I found some interesting commentary on Style Syntax, who approaches the system critically, albeit from her own FG/SD perspective. Being a huge nerd and a visualisation specialist, I really like this diagram. Yin-yang is on the x-axis, blend-contrast is on the y-axis. I can see exactly where I fit in here. 


WIW: Home couture and styling an orphan

In the post that prompted the epic thread about personal style versus fashion, Suz talks about "the type of person who sews all your own clothes from old patterns".... Well, hello YLF! That would be me.

OK, so it's not all my clothes and I most definitely look at fashion. But neither  of these models are new by any stretch of the imagination. I've also updated patterns from the 1940's and could bore you rigid about the classic tailoring from that era. But I digress.

The first is adapted from a pattern from around 1992. It's a very simple model with some rather subtle tailoring. The original was a hip-length tunic with long sleeves. I lengthened it, shortened the sleeves and added a separable zipper in the back. I like it a lot, it's really warm and great for the winter, but there are some issues with the lining ease in the hem so it's bagging a bit. Firecracker, Diane G, should I satisfice or pick it apart? Also not sure about the polka dot base layer, which was the thing that came to hand that morning. 

The second is from the late aughts. It is a different animal altogether, a challenging piece of couture sewing by Ralph Rucci that is as much about the making as the wearing. There's a piece about it on my other blog. This is why I sew. 

And I have to ask about the boots. These are a wild card turned orphan, Italian bench made and super comfortable. They look lovely benched on my shoe rack but they aren't getting the love they so richly deserve. I've worn them quite a bit with tapered pants but that's not working for me this year. How do they look with a dress? I'm thinking of trying them with more A-line styles in the spring.


Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →


WIW: layer upon layer of seasonal confusion

I couldn't resist one more post before the weekend, because I'm enjoying today's outfit so much. 

As I predicted, the faux leather skirt is getting lots of wear in the cold weather. I'm particularly happy with the extra definition at the waist with this cropped mohair sweater layered over a merino wool polo neck, which makes me feel weirdly New Look by Dior.

In a highly unusual move I decided I had to wear open-toed shoes in sub-zero temperatures. But don't worry, I'm not completely insane. I reached for a pair of SealSkinz waterproof sports socks over the top of a pair of regular wool socks to keep my toes warm and dry. They bookend the blue of the sweater and the grey of my sleeveless coat (layered over an alpaca hoodie belonging to Mr Edge) very nicely.

No, YLF, I am honestly not trolling you. This really is how I dress. Have a lovely weekend!


Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →


WIW to trudge through February

It's hard dressing for February when you're no lover of down jackets. I'm awed by E's example of gorgeous winter style, and feeling the frustration of Suz when she rails against the tyranny of the freeze. 

We have no choice but to love our cold weather clothing. As I pointed out in the other thread, I think mainstream fashion does us no favours by defaulting to performance gear at this time of year, when sumptuous layers of wool offer such a classic natural alternative. 

So I'm back in my vintage coat. This is not my only winter coat, but it is definitely the warmest. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to buy boiled wool of this quality any more, which is why I bought it when I could have bought a new coat for the same price (it wasn't cheap) and why I keep wearing it year after year. 

Worn with my all-time favourite winter jumper by Pringle 1815, and my new possibly-Comme culottes layered over leggings. Comfortable, comforting and warm as toast.

ETA: And I forgot to ask about the difference in length between the coat and culottes ... was that a faux-pas?


Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →


Gimme five... adjectives!

I had a little breakthrough on reading Suz's post on style evolution

I've never been able to describe my style with much clarity. I tend all over the map in terms of presentation, a result of buying and wearing things I like rather than trying to get this or that look. What I realised today was that my style is in fact a result of what I aim for in my shopping and wardrobe management strategies, so I should just find five adjectives to describe those. 

So here are five words that apply to my philosophy:


Simple, classic execution in garments. When in doubt, I default to quality, craftsmanship, artistry. This goes for buying both new and vintage. There is also a retrospective element to this, insofar as I've held on to pieces for years that fulfil these criteria. 

Unique pieces, distinctive styling, originality in design and personal authenticity. I like wearing things I won't see on anyone else in a way nobody else would wear them.

Diversity in looks, silhouettes, combinations and personae. Varied sources and cultural reference points. 

An androgynous interpretation of womenswear. Anything from menswear head to toe to assertively ladylike but never girly. A more accurate way of describe this might be gender-bending.

No fuss. Simple execution, functional details. Weather appropriate!

Where is this heading next? I've seen others using these descriptors as a means to move forward. What are yours, and how do you use them?


WIW: Vintage Glam

I've posted this 80's vintage Kenzo Jeans jacket here before, which I fell madly in love with at first sight. Everything about it - tailoring, material, print, construction - is amazing, but there was never any doubt it would be a challenge to style. My instinct is always to dress it up with other statement pieces because I think it can look a bit dated and underdone with more subdued garments, but there's always a risk of pushing things over the top. 

Rewinding another ten years to the inspiration for today's outfit, I've made no secret of the fact that I like to borrow from the boys and if there was ever a boy that every girl wants to be it has to be David Bowie. When I pull on a pair of gold pants, Ziggy Stardust is never far from my mind, but seldom with so literal a reference as a pair of lace-up boots. 

So tell me ladies, did I pull it off? Or is this just too much Vintage Glam for your Monday?

(Note to self - get a haircut.)


Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →