The dance of the sugar plum fairy

It’s pictures like this one of Diane Kruger at the Cartier International Day at the Guards Polo Club that make me long for a purple dress. Then reality sets in; less expensive dresses that I’ve seen in this color look a little...tatty. And I don’t want to spend a lot on a dress that has a finite number of wearings...after all, how many times can you wear a purple dress without being known as “the woman with that interesting dress”? Which, as we all know, is catty-speak for “God, she’s wearing that bloody dress again”.

So I’m settling for purple accessories. Some footless tights, which perk up black dresses and skirts to an incredible degree...maybe a scarf or some gloves once the weather gets cooler. Not ideal perhaps but I feel this is one of those times when discretion is the wiser part of valor.


What's in store?

Personally I love every part of the shopping process. From selecting the right outfit (easy to take on and off and in neutral shades that will work with whatever you take in to the changing room) the thrill of the chase, the purchase...and the satisfying swing of the shopping bags as you stroll around for the rest of the day. On rare occasions the store itself will add something to the experience but that takes...

Stores that are unique...almost art installations...Dover Street Market in London is one of this breed and, looking at some photographs on the Japanese website honeyee, Martin Margiela's Japanese stores appear to be others. As I don't speak the language I'm assuming the images are taken from several of the locations but if anyone knows otherwise please let me know. Whatever the case, the store design is beautiful. Unique...stark, yet rich...utilitarian, but with a feeling of warmth. Wandering through this store I would happily follow the whitewashed footprints wherever they may lead, a fashionable Alice being led astray in a wonderland.


Il faut suffrir pour être belle...or so they say

I really need to stop browsing newspaper sites...or at least stick to the actual news portions. My latest find was an article on The Scotsman's website called "Is your health a fashion victim?"

We've all heard the old saying regarding suffering in the name of beauty but this article takes it to a whole new level. From your skinnies giving you meralgia paresthetica (a tingling and burning sensation in the thigh) to an ill-fitting bra causing constipation to underwear made from synthetic fabrics creating a "damp environment"'s all some cases in rather too much detail.

What ever happened to suffering in silence?


The best way to ruin a good walk...

Depending on who you ask, figures as diverse as Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, and Oscar Wilde made the "ruin a good walk" comment in some form or other. No matter who said it, I have to nod my head in agreement. I have never, even when taking a short-lived series of lessons, been able to marshal the least bit of enthusiasm for the game of golf. I can, however, raise some excitement over some of the clothing...

Lyle & Scott, for example, has been around since 1874, when William Lyle and Walker Scott started a company to manufacture high quality hosiery and underwear. In 1926 they thankfully moved on to bigger and better things in the form of knitwear for golfers. A touch of high fashion was injected in 1954 when the company joined forces with Christian Dior to create a range in cashmere and in 1967 the firm's now famous symbol, the golden eagle, made its first appearance. Fast forward to the present, and their Vintage collection which is a very pleasing marriage of the traditional and the modern.

Striped crew neckLambswool cardiganVee neck



Yes, it's time for another game of spot the difference. In one corner, we have Lanvin's suede ballerinas with black pom pom detail and in the other corner, a pair of handmade Greek tsarouchi. Answers on a postcard please...


High School Sweetheart

I'm feeling a little sheepish about writing this post, mainly because I am neither in High School nor College and a website whose opening page features doesn't inspire me with the confidence that I'm going to find anything. But, once again proving that first appearances can be deceptive, a quick look though Delia's website uncovered three pieces that would be welcome additions to my closet, and all for under $100.

The Chelsea plaid top, I am a sucker for puff-sleeves and this would work on it's own or layered in a variety of ways. The Buffalo plaid bag, because it's an inexpensive way to get the lumberjack vibe that I was talking about last week. And (if I had any hopes of walking in them) the Maggie high-heeled brogues, an instant twist to a basic look.

Okay, maybe a little regression is a good thing...


Bang She Bang

Thank you New York Times for pulling together some advice for the bang lovers amongst us. Their article suggests a Beuy Pro fiberglass comb, Malin and Goetz peppermint shampoo, and a little bit of baby powder or a Bumble and Bumble spray-on hair powder at the roots. As my fringe issue is frizz related (and the situation's getting desperate in the heat and humidity of summer) I was happy to learn that spray-on wax would help me out. I know, I hairdresser could probably have given me this information...if only I didn't hate getting my hair cut to such a degree that I sit in silence during the entire process.

In fact, the only depressing part of the entire article was that a "good fringe is about commitment and maintenance"...two words which do not fit into my regular haircare vocabulary of "easy", "fast", and "but it's supposed to look this messy".


The snake in the grass...

You see before you a woman in shock. Okay, imagine that you see a woman in shock...eyes wide...deer in the headlights expression...the whole bit.

And why? What made my worlds collide on this Saturday morning?

Well, I've found a Coach handbag that I like...(scratch that) love. To put this in perspective, this is like spending your life hating fish, only to try some salmon and discover it's your favorite food. This just shouldn't be happening. Their logo fabric makes me feel like I'm taking a style-themed Rorschach test and the overall vibe of their bags has always made me think high school rather than high fashion.

That is, until I saw their Camilla Printed Python Large Hobo and, as previously mentioned, Mars and Venus went out of alignment. True, the baby blue version is a crime to humanity but in chocolate it looks incredibly rich and luxurious. Add to that the fact that the bag is at least 50% less than any similar bags and, ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.


A total eclipse...

The Miller sisters' clothing line, Twenty8Twelve, debuted at a party last night at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York. Judging from any pictures I've seen the clothes look...okay...not great, but not as bad as celebrity lines can be. I can't say I got any vibes that said “An Anthology of Rebellion”, which is the name of the collection, but I guess rebellion is what you make it.

What I did love, however, was Sienna's shopping outfit during the day. It's that whole "chic in black" thing I mentioned earlier today. Except Sienna does a laidback version which makes it more attainable for those of us who don't do coiffed well.


Made In England

As a transplanted Brit who's lived in a couple of different countries I've come to appreciate the pro's and con's of being an expat. These range from the small...for every new food you get to try there's always a part of you hankering for some fish and chips or a spree in an M&S food the large...the opportunity to experience different cultures is wonderful but you will always be an outsider, a voyeur who is never fully part of the overall picture.

There's also the strange fear of losing your national identity...the part of you that makes you British...or French...or German. My main regret is that my accent is diminishing; in Britain I am told I sound American but in the States I am told I sound British. I imagine this puts my accent somewhere mid-Atlantic. I am, quite literally, lost at sea.

Perhaps this inner turmoil is why I am drawn to Jen Tozer's "Made in England" necklace and ring; they're a tongue-in-cheek way to remember who I am.


Happy Talk

Happy talk, keep talking happy talk
Talk about things you like to do
You got to have a dream, if you don't have a dream
How you gonna have a dream come true?

- South Pacific

For all my talk of muted colors and envy of women who look chic and pulled together in black there will always be a part of me that loves a really garish pattern. Something so bright and jazzy that just looking at it perks me up. When I saw this girl on Blog Sorbeta my first thought was "happy dress". I mean, is it possible to have a bad day while wearing this? From the collar to the pattern to the draw-string waist...everything comes together and defies you to not have fun while wearing it.


On Pointe

As I've said, time and again, I am a die-hard flat shoe girl. And, as a f.s.g., I've lusted after Repetto's ballet shoes for quite some time but, as the consensus seems to be that they run small and my only option is to buy them online, I've yet to add a pair to my shoe collection.

However, as of September 1st, another option will pop-up...quite literally...when Repetto opens a 90-day store-within-a-store at Earnest Cut & Sewn's in New York. And what a plethora of choice there will be; with over 70 styles in 350 different finishes...exclusive styles...and one-off artist-signed Repettos.

What more could a f.s.g. ask for...apart from a plane ticket to New York, of course?


In the jungle, the mighty jungle...

Though it brings to mind paintings on velvet, Capa De Monte lamps, and plastic sofa covers I'm strangely drawn to Doucette Duvall's Cooper Dress. It's just on the right side of tacky and currently on sale, marked down from $348 to $87. Sadly not my size but I thought I'd share in case anyone else wants to take a walk on the wild side...


From Russia With Love

I thought that I had reached a saturation point with celebrity ads...jaded beyond belief at yet another picture of Scarlett Johansson (or insert other celebrity name here) trying to look moody/playful/innocent/sexy but never quite pulling it off. I don't know about the rest of the magazine reading population but these advertisements don't inspire me to buy, if anything the majority of them put me off the product completely. Give me a model...whose job it is to make clothes look good...and I'm like one of Pavlov's dogs...slavering and ready to shop.

The reason for this ramble is that I just saw Louis Vuitton's new campaign with Mikhail Gorbachev...last leader of the Soviet Union...the man who helped to end the Cold War...Nobel Peace Prize winner...and, now, schill for Vuitton's a strange world. The thing is, I actually like the photograph...I just find the whole thing a little odd.


Who's that girl? What's that bag?

I love looking at streetstyle pictures for inspiration. The only downside is that I see something that I would love to add to my closet and I drive myself crazy trying to track it down. Case in point, the girl below...two cute outfits, one wonderful an over-sized Pierre Hardy...the grey and orange a perfect color combination.

So now I'm on the hunt. I thought I'd tracked it down when I found Mayle's Tigretta Tote. Close, but no cigar...and the leopard print, though interesting, doesn't appeal as much as the dual-color combo of the the hunt continues. Tally ho!


Don't have une vache, man!

What do you do after you've had a fashion spread in Harper's Bazaar? If you're The Simpsons, your next step is for one of the lifestyle shops in the world to pay tribute. Yes, Colette has put together a celebration of Homeric sneakers, Pez dispensers, dinner plates...a very well dressed Marge and Lisa to welcome you into the store...and twenty interpretations of Bart created by French artists.

My favorite? The DIY Bart, man...


Faster than a speeding bullet...

As a non-driver it takes something really special in the vehicular line to really get me excited. But when a friend sent me a picture of their recent purchase, a vintage Vespa with a sidecar, the sheer beauty of it made me gasp.

I’ve yearned for a Vespa for a long my daydreams it was chocolate brown and that it matched my Louis Vuitton damier crash helmet, you understand. The fact that I could only ride it for a few months of the year (coupled with my severe lack of balance) meant that the moped remained purely a fantasy item but the longing has always been there.

Now it's rekindled, except this time I'm in the sidecar...a kind of Quadrophenia Grace Kelly...


Once bitten, twice shy

Every so often I feel the need to do a Public Service Announcement...and this is just such a time. The makers of the ugliest footwear ever created (yes, the Croc) have decided to launch a new line this Fall called "YOU by Crocs". I imagine that they realized that there are just some months where it's impractical to wear plastic clogs...and for those non-Croc moments YOU (sorry, they capitalized it and I couldn't resist) can add to your Croc family with the styles below.

The thing that really struck me from all this, however, was a quote from their site..."It is our goal to make you care about how your shoes look", a change in philosophy from the aforementioned Croc then?


Somebody put the kettle on...

If anyone’s looking for the tea-cosy, it’s on my head...and though that statement should either get me locked up or laughed at derisively I don’t care. I’m cosy-ed and proud (insert maniacal laughter here).

I was wandering through Urban Outfitters when it caught my eye. Part old lady’s knitting project...part Ali McGraw in Love Story...part’s that for a combo? And yet, instead of running the other way I was drawn to it like the fire-loving moth who knows it’s going to get its wings singed.

Overall, as long as I don’t start singing “I’m a little teapot...” when I wear it, I think everything should be okay.


Timber! Or how to release your inner lumberjack...

I'm getting a decidedly outdoorsman undertone from some of the fall collections. Alexander Wang's Buffalo cardigan, Philip Lim's jacket and bag, and APC's duffel are all giving me an overwhelming urge to head outside and chop something down.

If I can overcome these feelings I can see definite possibilities from adding a little country to an otherwise urban ensemble...


Protect me from myself...

Sad but true, I can be a little clumsy sometimes...and just plain accident prone at others. A perfect example happened last night. A surprise picnic party with friends, good conversation, me throwing my hands around to illustrate a point...and managing to knock a glass of wine over my Vivienne Westwood bag. Luckily it was white wine and the tsunami only hit the bottom of the bag but, even so, I couldn't help feeling like a massive klutz.

So, as you can imagine, when it comes to laptop cases I'm always on the lookout for something...spillproof. These designs from Barry's Farm are a little cute-sie for me but, on the plus side, they're made of vinyl...useful for life's beverage based emergencies.


Navigational Aids

In a sea of sweatpants and casual clothing more suitable for the gym or doing laundry it's refreshing to see someone actually looking good whilst travelling.

Kirsten Dunst's recent look at London airport is, to me at least, absolutely perfect. All of the colors complement each other and it manages to combine a laid back, comfortable vibe with an essential chic-ness.

In my mind, she's not checking any luggage and, instead, has an equally perfect collection of mix-and-match pieces in her Goyard suitcase.


Spot the difference

I'm not sure why there's an homage to Anna Wintour in the August issue of French Vogue but the images, styled by Carine Roitfeld and shot by Mario Testino, do look disturbingly like the real thing. Now we're left to wonder if there will be some kind of reciprocal arrangement in US Vogue...


A little something for the weekend...

Once again, the nice people at Yoox are offering readers of this blog free standard delivery on any purchases made on weekends, starting tomorrow and running until August 26th. Just insert the promocode, happyweekend@yoox, in the YOOX CODE space found on the first page of the shopping basket and press new total.

Another barrier removed from me getting my hands on this Marni cosmetics bag, a.k.a. a really cheap evening bag.



On orchids.."A Eurasian genus Ophrys has some species that look and smell so much like female bumblebees that male bees flying nearby are irresistibly drawn in and attempt to mate with the flower".

I have a pet peeve when it comes to handbags...when bags that are otherwise useful have absolutely no closure. Why would anyone want a handbag that leaves their wallet exposed? I may be overly paranoid but it seems like hanging a welcome sign up for pickpockets.

Case in point, Phillip Lim's orchid bag. The leather is soft, but's a great size for everyday use...but the top flaps around like a flag in a stiff breeze...

(Yes, I spent too much time in Lim's section of the store...I promise to take a deep breath and change topics.)


Baby did a bad, bad thing

I just got back from a shopping expedition and felt the need to do a Phillip Lim update post. The leather jacket that I had my beady little eye on was in the store, and in my size...though it turns out this is a style you really need to buy one size up. When it "fits" there's a definite biker vibe...instead of the swingy, girl-about-town feel it has when it's slightly oversized. Of course, they didn't have the next size up (in any of their stores across the country) so this is a theoretical discussion. Having tried it and had mixed feelings I wouldn't feel safe ordering it online.

Though I didn't see it on the racks, I asked about the yellow rain slicker. Of course, because (as you may have noticed from my original post) I was trying to talk myself out of buying another raincoat they not only had the one of the jackets "in the back" but also had it, you guessed it, in my size. My inner voice tried all the arguments it could come up with but the jacket managed to subdue the i.v. by being incredibly well cut, with great details...schoolgirl cute...seaside cute...60's French movie cute...

Final score: inner voice - 0, coat closet - 1.


Falling, yes I am falling...And she keeps calling...Me Back Again

It had to happen eventually, I just didn't think it would be now. A new APC collection usually gives me a feeling akin to that of a 5 year old on Christmas morning. Yet when I visited their site just now I came away feeling distinctly lukewarm about almost everything. It's like I put my foot out to take a step only to discover that someone had removed the axis is spinning.

Not that there's anything wrong with the clothes you understand...I can just look at so many pieces and say "I have something similar" that there's no rush of excitement. My credit card is happy but the rest of me can't help but feel a little sad. My one glimmer of interest is towards the marled wool granny scarf...but a trip to the wool shop and a few weeks of knit-one-purl-one should ease that sensation.


Lim-itless Possibilities

It's time to break the piggy bank and dig down behind the sofa cushions...because, depressingly, I seem to want/need most of Phillip Lim's Fall/Winter collection. I don't have any plans to go to New York in the near future so I'm not going to be visiting Lim's new store in Soho. Which is a shame because I really want to see the jewelry display cases inspired by Wonder Woman's invisible jet. I realize my inner nerd is showing here cool is that?

But, back to the clothes...I've been looking at leather jackets for a while now but I haven't found one that, in Goldilocks' words, was "just right". I think this may be it...the swingy cut, knit collar, and numerous details elevate it beyond the rest.

I've been doing the dress/tie-neck shirt combo for a while now so in this case, while I can enjoy the eye candy, I don't have to worry about how much the darned things cost. The yellow rain slicker on the other hand is a different matter. I love this coat. The fact that it is one of the most impractical raincoats every created is not dampening my enthusiasm. My practical side is screaming out that a large portion of your body would have no rain protection whatsoever and that this kind of fabric tends to create a tropical jungle effect (intense heat and moisture) when worn. My impractical side is limiting it's argument to "but it's so cute" and pouting in a corner.

The plaid dress is just so multi-purpose it hurts...I could wear it to work, on the weekends, or to go out at night. The cardigan/skirt combo is, once again, something which I essentially have duplicates of in my closet. So I can breathe another sigh of relief and enjoy the bag and shoes that have been teamed with them.

I've never met a stripe I didn't like...'nuff said. The element that grabs my attention from the second look is the diamante brooch used to pin up the wide sleeve. It's the perfect counterpoint to an otherwise casual, though beautiful, look.

All of these looks combine to make a dream shopping list. Realistically, one (maybe two) pieces will hopefully make their way into my closet...the rest will be kept in my mental rolodex for inspiration purposes. The great thing is that, as I typed this post, I realized just how many similar items I own...the black & white vintage Ralph Lauren lumberjack jacket...the chunky, grey Edun cableknit cardigan...the APC smock dress. I really need to "shop" my closet before I hit the stores.

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