Little girl lost

My thoughts seem to be revolving around a central theme at the moment...wanting to join the circus or go to Paris...and now, following the progression, I just want to run away...or at least label myself as a runaway. Perhaps it's cabin the days get shorter (and colder) wanderlust tends to set-in. I want to put a toothbrush and a clean t-shirt in the "home for runaway girls" tote bag from the Louise Bourgeois exhibition at the Tate Modern in Karen Walker's runaway girl necklace around my neck...and hit the road...


Have you any wool?

As I was wandering around online I came across this picture and the text "Yarborough Stacked Alpaca Bangles - $65".

"Finally", I thought, "someone has come up with a cute, yet chic, relatively inexpensive, winter accessory." And, in my head, I started to create numerous outfits with the bangles. Then I clicked through and discovered that $65 is actually the price for one of the small bangles...and the cost of the collection of bangles shown in the image was around $350. Obviously a "Plan B" was needed...

Enter some leftover marled wool from my sewing basket and a bracelet that I no longer wear. After some wrapping, the end result was a pretty good facsimile of the original...or it would have been if I'd had a little more wool...which means a trip to the wool shop, and a few hours of twisting twine, is in my future.

Oh how I wish that I, like Susie Bubble, was off to Paris this weekend. There are, of course, many reasons for this, not least of which is that there's never really a bad time to visit Paris, but mainly because it would give me the opportunity to spend a night at the Hotel Everland...a one-room hotel cum art installation created by Swiss artist-duo L/B (Sabina Lang and Daniel Baumann). The pod-tel has spent time in Switzerland and Germany and is currently residing upon the top of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.

It's a bijou resting place, worthy of Barbarella, and comprising a bathroom, king-size bed and a room service, no lobby, no mint on your pillow...but you do get incredible, uninterrupted views of the Eiffel Tower, a fully-stocked mini-bar (which is included in the cost of your stay...try and find that at a regular hotel), and a record collection for a little entertainment (as if the scenery wasn't enough).

In fact, this could be the ultimate bed and breakfast for Marlene Dietrich types, i.e. those who "want to be alone"...but also want breakfast delivered to their door.


More of a bang than a wimper

As a Brit living in the US there are a couple of things that I need to find to make the Christmas festivities complete. The first thing is a Cadbury's Christmas assortment...even though you can get them individually it's somehow so much more exciting to open the box, pull out the plastic tray, and decide which chocolate bar will be your next victim.

Next up is a box of Christmas crackers. For those of you unsure about what constitutes a cracker, it's essentially the cardboard tube from inside a roll of toilet paper, wrapped in colorful paper and containing a paper hat, a joke printed on a piece of paper, and some kind of gift (preferably something plastic and incredibly a miniature pair of maracas). A snap device is fed through the cracker so that when it is pulled apart it emits a bang. Good, clean fun that I can usually track down for about $13 a you can imagine my shock when I saw the crackers below on The Conran Shop's site for $95. They're gorgeous (to the point where I couldn't bring myself to pull them apart)...hopefully stuffed with something appropriate to the increased price (though I doubt it)...and temporarily out of stock (there are obviously a lot of people who are willing to pay more than me to alleviate homesickness).

Before anyone says anything...I know...childhood regression...but isn't that what makes the holidays fun?


Trench love by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
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Buyer Beware

Even as I find myself turning more and more often towards the internet for clothing purchases there are two concerns holding me back (which is probably just as well...for sanity and credit card's sakes).

Number one, everyone's favorite...the sizing lottery. Let's face it, unless you know whether a designer's sizes run large or small it's usually just guesswork as to whether their idea of a medium agrees with yours. Admittedly, you can keep ordering and returning until you get a perfect fit but that takes some of the fun out of shopping...for me at least.

Secondly is the unfortunate fact that the styling on some sites actually puts me off pieces. Even when it's something I saw in an actual store and know that I love...amazingly (and slightly terrifyingly) some sites can still manage to show it in such an unappealing light that I'm not even sure it's the same garment. Case in point, this Alice Ritter odd combination of cargo, puffball, and pencil skirts all rolled into least, it is on me...and it was in the store. Yet in the picture on Revolve's website it's a generic-looking skirt that I'd click right past.

Perhaps the truth is that, deep down, I'll always be a bricks and mortar shopper and not entirely happy unless I can actually play with the clothes before I buy them.

A word of warning if neither Revolve's styling or mine put you off this skirt...order a size larger than usual as this skirt runs small.


The Greatest Show On Earth!

At some point I think almost everyone gets a yearning to run away with the circus...yours may have occurred during childhood...or a little later, as mine did, at age nineteen...or you could still be waiting for it to come out of the shadows, lure you with cotton candy, and drag you away. And what's a better way to pass the time until circus fever strikes than by doing a jigsaw puzzle?

The only problem is that the majority of jigsaws seem to fall into the "chocolate box art" category and finding one that you actually want to finish so that you can see the full picture is something of a challenge in itself. Enter photographer Terry Richardson and his broken-down clown puzzle. It's a triple-threat...interesting artwork...a way to work off your circus demons...and all proceeds from the puzzle benefit RXart, a not-for-profit organization that provides fine art to health-care facilities.

Repeat after me, "I must unleash my inner clown..."


This way madness lies...

Paperbag waists...a definite yes.


A drop-crotch...probably not if I'm sober.

Paperbag-waisted, drop-crotch, suede jodhpurs...those whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad.


The streets are paved with...

I think we all have someone on our list who is impossible to shop for because they "have it all"...well, maybe not all...but they're certainly tough to shop for. Which is why I like the idea of this gold-flash plated, limited edition gold bar doorstop by designer Arik's marginally useful (everyone has at least one door they want to prop open now and again), historically significant (each bar is inscribed with the date in 1973 when women were finally admitted to the London Stock Exchange) and you can virtually guarantee that the gift recipient doesn't already have one.


All I Want For Christmas Is My Gold Front Teeth

I know that, in theory at least, it is better to give than to receive...but I also know that whoever is going to give me a gift worked hard for their money and I don't want them to waste it...which is why, even though in a perverse twist I love to give surprise gifts, when it comes to the receiving part I'd much rather let my giftgiver know exactly what I'd like.

Which is why I am 99.9% certain that Blood Is The New Black's "Gold Teef for Errbody" t-shirt will be under the tree this Christmas...because nothing says "Happy Holidays" like golden grills...


And his name was...Monkey

Back in the early 90's Channel Four television aired re-runs of Monkey...a rather surreal television show on which the protagonists (Monkey, Sandy, and Pigsy) battled demons, monsters, and bandits...and generally finished the episode having learned a valuable moral lesson....good, clean fun provided by men with strange facial hair.

No connection...except the strange games that one's mind plays...between the television show and this yellow monkey keyring (or, as I would use it, a handbag trick) from Quelle Peste, except that I was besotted by Monkey (the show) and am smitten by Monkey (the keyring).


“An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.” - James Whistler

Boredom in the checkout line at the supermarket meant that a copy of the December issue of US Vogue came home with me, something that hasn't happened in about six months as I tend to find American Vogue the dullest of all the Vogue family. However Christmas issues are always a fun read as you try to imagine who will buy the $250 Louis Vuitton baby sneakers or the 24K gold digital camera (with diamond-trimmed lens cap). The item that really attracted my attention though was the white canvas Fendi baguette which, for $5,500, could appear under a Christmas tree near you...along with a logo-embossed wooden box and 48 Pantone markers. It's certainly a cute idea but would anyone who wasn't a professional artist have the courage to take pen to bag?

In a way, it reminded me of a faux-Fendi that I made (based on a beaded and embroidered tote bag that had caught my eye in a magazine). Weeks of work...which filled many a winter's night...only to come to the conclusion that I didn't actually like the bag...and it certainly didn't fit my style. I was lucky that my mistake was relatively cheap (fabric, beads, and embroidery wool...blood, sweat, and tears) but to feel out of sync with a bag that had cost around six thousand dollars (once tax was added) would be a very bitter pill indeed.


Well suited...

I must be seriously out of touch with menswear...I hadn't realized that Paul Smith had done one collaboration with Burton (of snowboard fame)...let alone two. Better late than never though as this hacking jacket is one of the most perfect collaborations I've seen in quite a while...the traditional cut and pattern meets Burton's technology, in the guise of waterproof fabric and taped seams. The best of both worlds, if you will.

And in the current climate of, in my opinion, rather ugly outdoor wear...where people seem to feel the need to look like they're in the middle of a triathlon, even when all they're doing is going shopping for groceries...I find this jacket rather comforting, the knowledge that utilitarianism and style can co-exist. In fact, if it wasn't a bit more than I was planning to shell out this holiday season I would snag one for Mr. Hebden.

Much more affordable, but equally acceptable, as gifts for the well-dressed man...copies of The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men's Style and the ABC of Men's Fashion by Sir Hardy Amies...the latter is a re-issue of the original classic from 1965 which contains lines such as "A man should look as if he has bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care — and then forgotten all about them".

The well-dressed and well-read man...another intriguing combination.


The answer is blowing in the wind...

Even though it tends to make a person very unpopular with gardeners, blowing dandelion seeds into the wind is one of those simple pleasures that make you feel that you are not completely lost in a sea of commercialized fun and can still enjoy some naive, childish pastimes in our modern world.

As soon as I saw Tom Binns' Swarovski crystal embellished cuff I had visions of dandelions dancing in my head (which makes a nice change from the conventional sugar plums which are de rigeur at this time of year). Unfortunately the cost of the cuff takes it out of the "childhood pleasures" category and places it firmly in the "I need a sugar daddy" category...


Babar Goes to the Hairdresser?

If asked, I probably would have said that elephants didn't have hair, or at least not enough for practical purposes...and I realize that it initially seems unlikely that I'd ever have found myself in a situation where the question arose...which just goes to show that you never can tell, because I just came across this elephant hair ring from the 1820's.

I think that, for me, the main attraction lies in the fact that only the wearer of the ring will truly appreciate either the story behind it or the materials it's constructed from. It's a uniquely personal item which, having browsed through numerous websites of rather ubiquitous sale items today, seems very appealing.


Walk this way...

I bought these checked, flannel flats the other day from Old Navy but didn't have the chance to write about them. I was going to say "look how cute and cheap they are...and they're not even on sale"...but I just visited their website, and they are on sale. And, for $15, they're a nicely jazzy take on a classic pattern.


Buy Me...I'll Change Your Life

It's strange...given my shopping addiction...and my love of a bargain...but I can't gather any enthusiasm for tomorrow's "day of discount" aka Black Friday. Perhaps it's the barrage of emails that I've received in the last couple of days offering me 40% off. Perhaps it's the fact that retailers seem to assume that I'm going to get up in the middle of the night to do my shopping...let's face it, at 4am I can barely function, let alone make lucid decisions.

Or really, isn't it my frugal inner core which has concluded that if retailers are this desperate in November they will be frantic for my business come December?
Image by Barbara Kruger


It's here...

For everyone living in the United States...or expats living somewhere else...have a great Thanksgiving! For those of you struggling to cook a turkey...undecided whether to slow-roast, fast-roast, or's an alternate suggestion...


"Blow, blow, thou winter wind" - Shakespeare

It could be due to the unappealing knowledge that I need to start buckling down and getting the house in a fit state for Thanksgiving festivities but I'm having a hard time right now believing that anyone can get excited over a vacuum cleaner. And yet, the newest entry to the "strange designer collaborations" list is the Issey Miyake and Dyson Limited Edition vacuum cleaner.

To paraphrase Holly Golightly, as these things go it's certainly a very handsome vacuum cleaner but...


The Inner Voice

The other morning, as I tried to "multi-task" i.e. finish waking up and get dressed at the same time, I heard a voice saying "you need a necklace with that outfit". I looked around. Was it the fashion fairy perched on my conscience berating me over the number of necklaces I own...was I simply hearing things? No, actually, it was my husband.

Now, from conversations with friends, I don't think this is a usual (or generally welcomed) occurrence. Personally I enjoy receiving a male perspective (especially from Mr. Heb who, I must say, has rather good taste) and I liked the collaborative end-result of a "kissing cousins" necklace, silver skull link necklace, and strand of antique amber. It did make me want to throw put the question out there though? Do you get fashion advice from your "significant other" and (more importantly) do you actually listen to it?
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Knit one...purl one...

Though I have self-confessed "issues" with knitwear (i.e. I don't seem to be able to stop buying it) I do recognize that some sweaters can add mass where it may not necessarily be appreciated. That's why I love this bulky, yet curiously un-bulky, cardigan from McQ. Of course, the WWI military feel of it doesn't hurt either...


As the Usherette said...

Michael Rennie was ill
The Day the Earth Stood Still
But he told us where we stand.
And Flash Gordon was there
In silver underwear,
Claude Rains was the Invisible Man.
Then something went wrong
For Fay Wray and King Kong;
They got caught in a celluloid jam.
Then at a deadly pace
It Came From... Outer Space.
And this is how the message ran:
Buy me!

Yes, even though I'm normally not a huge Jeremy Scott fan this bag from his newest collection caught my eye. As a lover of old B movies it's hard to resist a bag that brings to mind "Cat Women of the Moon"..."It Came From Outer Space"..."Creature From The Black Lagoon"...and all the other 3-D classics...


Play me sweet music...

Much as I love my iPod I have issues with the majority of the docking stations currently available...either I am a supreme klutz (always a possibility) or there is a flaw in the design. I say this having paid a hefty sum for an alarm clock/iPod dock combo which was supposed to easily accommodate the various sizes of Pod...a concept which worked well for about 3 months. Now, in order to listen to music, I need to insert my iPod into the some buttons...swear at the system...remove the the iPod...jiggle the iPod around...remove it from the dock...and start again from the beginning (aka the iPod Hokey Cokey). After about fifteen minutes, if my patience lasts that long, I may get a song to come out of the speakers. It may not be the song that I wanted, but if I try to change it I'll lose the tenuous connection that I established between iPod and dock and be left in silence again.

Obviously, for my sanity, this is not a good let's welcome the Attic radio...retro-classic style and no dock...could anything be sweeter?


“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.” - William Blake

This is why I love Winter...courtesy of the facehunter comes a timely reminder that it is possible to look cute and be bundled up at the same time (and not the combination of the Goodyear blimp and Randy from A Christmas Story that can happen on occasion).

And the icing on the cake? The wonderful anachronism of the modern headphones with the vintage coat and 1920's silent film star face.


“Serpent!” screamed the Pigeon.

Though serpents have a vast and varied symbolic usage the first thing that comes into my mind when I hear the word is Alice's conversation with the pigeon in Chapter V of Alice in Wonderland...which probably says something terribly detrimental about my education.

Be that as it may, as you can tell from my previous post, I am in the mood for all things snake-y at the, of course, I have fallen for this Dries van Noten sequined and embroidered snake scarf. Tied so that the snake peered out from an open button-down shirt it would look luxuriously venomous...


Style and Substance

I've been experiencing a hankering for a little snake skin in my life for quite some time now...the closest I came to quieting my urge was this cuff by Martin Margiela which was almost, but not quite, right.

I may have found what I was looking for though in these Rattleback bicycle tires from Sweetskinz...high quality and reflective after dark...the definition of style and substance. And, if snakes (or their skin) aren't your thing, the tires come in three other designs.
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A Winter's Mourning...

After her husband died Queen Victoria went into mourning for forty years...her love was gone and could not be replaced. Depending on how you look at it this is either wildly romantic or depressing as hell. What can be agreed upon however is that it kicked-off a trend for elaborate rituals related to mourning...where to go, how to act, what to wear...

"A widow's bonnet should be of heavy crape, with white crape or tarletan border, and the veil must be worn over the face. At the end of three months she may wear the veil depending from the back of her bonnet. This deep veil must be worn a year, and mourning must be worn two years. Many widows never return to gay colors, and some wear mourning the rest of their lives.

Though the subject is a little morbid, a lot of the clothing and jewelry from that period is beautiful. Dark, structured...embellished with jet, beading and lace...and, in a lot of cases, of a very high level of quality and craftsmanship.

The reason for my funereal fascination this morning is that TopShop has added some pieces of Victorian mourning wear to its Archive section. My personal favorite is the mourning jacket, dating from the 1860's and satisfyingly sequined and pin-tucked (a pair of jeans and I would be good to go)...but the puff-sleeved mourning jacket and lace-trimmed and beaded mourning blouse are also very appealing. As Queen Victoria probably wouldn't have said, "We are most amused."


Splendid Reads for the Weekend

From the Splendicity community, comes the best posts of the week.


Style...a work in progress
discovers how Dr. Brandt's products stack up when applied to her beauty as architecture theory...and her face.
Take a look at Mineral Makeup's Graduation Picture FOTD.
Savvy Skin talks about Skin Care For Everyone.
Beauty Secrets Revealed shares a Blueberry Age-Defying Face Pack Recipe.
Viva Woman asks if higher SPF in sunblocks are better.
Spa Beautifully says Get yourself in the holiday spirit with some festive treatments.
Makeup Minute gets a makeover from Prescriptives.
A Girl's Gotta Spa! is in heaven with bobe Bath Essentials.
Aging Fabulous has the list of the Top Five Surgical and Non-Surgical Cosmetic Procedures.
Temptalia reviews MAC's latest collection -- Of Beauty, complete with swatches and photos!

Beauty and Fashion Tech
Reviews Nina Garcia's Little Black Book of Style.
Laya's Eye
shows us some Thoughtful Tee's.
Indie Style File find the perfect skirt for Tetris addicts.
Girls love Glamorous Gucci at Shoe Blitz.
takes a look at Jennifer Garner in lunch time chic.
The Petite Fashionista polls some of her readers. Come see what they had to say.

Chloe from Her Accessories has put together a drool-worthy list of suggestions for Christmas shopping.
Stiletto Jungle has found a huge stash of C&C California tops on sale for 75% off retail.
Diva's Deals found some great cashmere cami's for a price you won't believe.
All That and a tries on a new look for the site.
ShopDiary is obsessed with Gryson's fabulously au courant boots!
Shopalicious finds peace in this necklace crafted from recycled vinyl records.
NY $pender lists her favorite snow boots for this coming cold season.


Back to Black

Though my inclinations recently have been towards the shimmery, shiny, "throw your hands in the air and shout here I am" party dresses I'm experiencing a strong pull from this little black dress by New Zealand designer, Mala no small part because it appears to be a hybrid of the type of Givenchy-designed looks worn by Audrey Hepburn in Charade or How To Steal a Million and some of the structural elements of Balenciaga's Spring collection.

Modern...classic...perfect, if only I was suitably gamine to pull it off...


On the crest of a wave...

Having come to the nasty conclusion that, short of taking up bank robbery or some such endeavor, Balenciaga's clothes and my closet are two things that are going to remain separate and distinct I was rather pleased to find this crest badge. Admittedly, at £70, it is pricey but it could be worn in so many different ways...on the pocket of a a buckle on an impromptu ribbon belt...attached to a handbag...almost anything I own could be given a sudden Balenciaga boost.

And that's why I'm adding this to my list of gift's my "things I may not spend money on myself but would love to get as a gift" wishlist item.

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