If you Quant it, Flaunt it!

Her clothes appealed to both ‘duchesses and typists’.

Her fashion was described as kooky, mad and way out.

Mary Quant – role model for the working woman.

If you’ve read my first ever blog on here, then you’ll know it was all about this lady! To those that haven’t (not to worry), in a nutshell I managed to visit a scaled down Mary Quant exhibition last year at the Fashion and Textiles museum; it featured not only Quant but Terence Conran (the man behind the store Habitat).

The recent exhibition at the V&A museum however was all about Quant and her legacy. What made this exhibition unlike any other I’d visited was that the majority of the collection was on loan to the museum from owners of original Mary Quant pieces. They were displayed beautifully alongside a placard detailing whom the item had come from, where/when they may have purchased it and how much for (honestly it was such a sweet idea!) They then proceeded to display how much the item in question would be worth now and heed my advice when I say this, if you have an original Mary Quant garment lingering about in your loft or your Grandmama’s wardrobe then for heaven’s sake hold on to it!

Or you know, sell it to me so I can at least wear it…

I guess you could say Mary Quant has always inspired my look, from the clothes I wore growing up to the hair on my head. Her whole ethos on why she designed clothes to look a certain way and how she wanted women to feel wearing her pieces, it definitely had an impact on my own wardrobe when forming my own personal style.

She’s quite simply put a revolutionary and a rebel! Apart from celebrating her 90th birthday the day before I visited this exhibition, I might add. Her belief in her own designs extended its way onto the red carpet when visiting Buckingham Palace to collect her OBE. She decided to rock up in front of the world press wearing her own brand from head to toe! This included makeup, tights and even underwear (apparently), all of which could be purchased directly from her store- the ultimate business lady and a badass! See, isn’t she amazing? Not to mention you have her to thank for the mini skirt and waterproof mascara, things you could say we take for granted.

Although her clothes were still expensive, above all she wanted them to be affordable. So she wasn’t quite Primark, but she wasn’t Chanel either!

Walking around the exhibition I see an array of clothes I would still wear to this day. They’re classic and even now they’re edgy! Every pinafore, collared dress and monochrome pattern I see my mind screamed “I simply must have this in my possession!” and if you thought this happened upon viewing the entire collection, then yes you’d be right…

I find the exhibitions at the V&A are always well thought-out and presented beautifully and this one was no exception. I spent a good 2 hours here and if it was a little less crowded I could have easily ogled for a bit longer. Instead after the exhibition (and raiding the store for any goodies I could get my hands on…) I decided to have a jaunt to Kings Road in Chelsea to have a peek at where Mary Quant’s store Bazaar would have stood back in 1955.

Mary Quant. Thank you for sitting in your bedsit designing and creating quirky dresses, tackling the class system and being unconventional!  

As you put it best, “We knew we had to do it ourselves, or nothing would happen at all”      

“Just call me Aunt Teek!”

When looking to plan a perfect day out and about; for me it would be a morning moseying around local antique and second-hand stores, a stop off somewhere for some tea and cake (or a cheeky chai latte, if it’s on offer) preferably at a quaint café where the cake is homemade, then an afternoon wandering little side streets with another coffee to walk around with.

Now I’ll be honest with you all the antique stores in Shoreditch are quite simply not my cup of tea. I think they’re overpriced and Shoreditch itself I find to be rather stressful!

When antique hunting in London I find it best to scour the internet first instead of hopping straight to Shoreditch and some of the best places I’ve found so far are in the SE London. Crystal Palace antiques and Love Atomica which has a space Croydon are fantastic, if you’re looking for vintage furnishings! Maybe you’re looking for a tea set just like your Grandma used to have and you remember it from your childhood, or a funky 1960s Mad Men style bureau. Places like this are really worth taking a look round and they won’t have you forking out so much money that you end up thinking – “was it just worth buying something similar from Ikea?”       

My favourite haunt as of lately is Mabel’s Five & Dime, in Sydenham. Now hold onto your seats kids it gets better, there’s also a cute little café next door… I know right?

However Mabel’s is only open Thursday through Saturday, but this should just further the urgency to go and visit!

It’s such a perfectly sized store and is curated beautifully. The owner handpicks everything that goes into Mabel’s (by the way if you’re curious Mabel is a cute little pup) and the way everything is displayed instantly made me personally want to spend a lot of time there, just to make sure I didn’t miss a beat. The store stocks everything from furniture, china, books, toys, clothes/accessories and plenty of vintage fabric. Even better, if you do see an item of clothing you do have your eye on there’s a changing room!

I knew as soon as I entered that I’d be walking away with something and that I did! Now would you honestly believe me if I told you that these finds came to £24 altogether? I know right! I didn’t think they would either to be perfectly honest. But it just showed me what vintage and antique stores can be like once you venture away from Central and East London, and I’m eager to find more to visit.

If you know of any fantastical vintage/antique stores on the outskirts of London that I simply must go and give some love, then please do send your recommendations my way. Or if you know of any around the country, I will make it my mission to go visit those too!

Wardrobe Woes

Well my friends it’s that time of the month. Oh my goodness, no! Not that!

…That was a stellar introduction to 2020 on my blog wasn’t it? Ta-dar! You’re welcome!

The time of the month I’m referring to being “it’s January – time to have that break up chat with your clothes again”.

Basically around this time of the year, every year (without fail) I have my annual ‘try it and style it’ routine; taking my entire wardrobe and trying literally everything on. Now I don’t ever go in with the notion that I have to get rid of something, it just always works out that way! My main rule (that I try and stick to as much as possible) is – that if I’ve not worn an item of clothing in the last year then there’s no doubt that it has to go, again it’s not attempting to get rid of stuff, but if I’ve not worn it a year am I going to wear it in the next? Probably not! (Hence the “sorry we have to break up” part)  

Doing this allows me to rediscover my love for items of clothing I might have forgotten about, or maybe my body had decided it was going to grow out of it for a time and now miraculously it fits again!

We’ve all been there haven’t we? Just me then…

Now I know I may sound like a neat freak by saying this (and that’s because I am, and proud!) But I actually love having a wardrobe clear out! Although it can be a lengthy process; in helping to make way for space in my wardrobe it also makes way for space in my mind. I find it extremely therapeutic and calming; I’ve always felt that way about cleaning and tidying though. How about you lovelies? Am I alone on that one too?

If you’re wondering by the way I filled two shopping bags! A good mixture of blouses, dresses and even a ballet skirt (yes, you read right). These I will split between the charity shops in my area and (an attempt to) sell some pieces and I’ve never tried selling my garments before, so this for sure will be an interesting experiment.  

But being among chums I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been noticing my anxiety has been on a downward spiral over the last few months, slowly beginning to channel depression-like symptoms. However last month I decided enough was enough and I made the decision to go back to therapy. It’s making a massive difference and I can already tell the leaps taking to get myself back to where I should be; which is good that I can notice that. Normally I’d be so quick to judge myself, doubts would instantly set in and I’d feel completely hopeless. So channeling my negative energy into activities such as this I find really help and also helps my creative soul when putting new ensembles together.

My anxiety will always be a part of me, I may as well style it out the best that I can!

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