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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Collar I.D

Good afternoon luvvies!

It feels like forever since I’ve posted (I know, I said I wouldn’t do that again. Oopsy!) But I couldn’t be happier to be back. I’ve had a lot of up’s and down’s since my last post. Don’t worry! I’m not going to go into details about the down parts, simply because I’ve let my anxiety hash it out and to type it out I feel would be inviting all that negative energy back and that’s a big no-no (bye Felicia!)

With arrival of autumn (hey babe, I’ve missed you!) The heating is finally going on, knitwear and plaid trousers are making their way back into my wardrobe again and my tea consumption is through the roof. If you can’t tell (or you’re new here “hellooo”) it’s my favourite time of year. Let’s reminisce to a few blogs ago, where I’m trying to find my way with summer fashion. Fair to say I was struggling! Now you’ll discover when it comes to the matters of ‘autumn/winter fashion’ I have zero worries. Bring on the jumpers, I say!

I. AM. THRILLED!

Now there’s one major fashion staple that pretty much helps assemble my everyday outfit choices that I feel deserves talking about, especially at this time of year: the false collar.

Something that would seem so simple, yet takes my autumnal outfits to a whole other level.

I first decided I wanted to make these an addition to my wardrobe a few years ago, but I was confronted with a series of collars from amazon that had some pretty sketchy reviews and all looked the same. There was just nothing that popped and had zero personality; until I came across Magnus Clothing Company on Instagram. The girl just understood exactly what I wanted!

It’s as if she took a peek inside my brain and said “girl, I got you covered!” If her store wasn’t enough- she is just an absolute dream! Personable, adores fashion and to say she works incredibly hard would be an understatement. Her business attracts quirky instagrammers and fashion forward people alike from all over the world, including myself. Through her store I’ve not only met other like-minded people, but created some wonderful friendships through the power of social media… All because of the magic of ‘the collar’!! 

In addition to the collars that Magnus creates, she also offers useful tips and what she calls the ‘crew neck closet’. Here is where she thrifts shirts and dresses that would fit her collars perfectly, which you can also purchase from her store so you’re never in doubt of how to pair your collars and also encourages buying sustainable fashion. Believe me whether you live in the US, UK or Australia, what she offers is worth the extra postage to get these items to your doorstep!

What I personally adore most about the false collar is the power to completely transform your old t-shirts and tired jumpers. They’ve given my wardrobe new life! Through supporting a small business, I now have a whole new love for some of my older clothes as I can simply change them up day by day.

At this preset time I own 6 collars and I will never stop adding to my ever-growing collection, remember #livecollarfully !

I’m nerdy & I Know it!

Afternoon darlings!

Now something I’ve not really gone into detail about on this blog (yet) is that I’m a MASSIVE nerd (and very comfortable with being called such) and right now one of the greatest annual events known to humanity is currently taking place, San Diego Comic Con (SDCC for short). I do realise that by just simply stating I’m a nerd that it can sound quite generic, as I geek out about many things! Fashion, musical theatre, movie scores and Liza Minnelli – just to pick out a random few! However, my love for comic book/sci-fi/fantasy nerd culture is something that’s been deeply rooted in my soul for as long as I can remember. Watching classic Wonder Woman with the iconic Lynda Carter and discovering my love of Patrick Stewart as none other than Jean Luc Picard with my mum, my utter obsession with The Goonies and Beetlejuice (both of which are still going strong by the way, thank you for asking) and as I got into my teenage years I fell head over heels in love with The Lord of the Rings.

(Not to mention everything else, this is merely the cusp of my geekiness!)

But I know what you’re thinking “Quinn, are you feeling ok hun? You seem to have left Star Wars off the list” Heck no! It’s common knowledge that I bloomin’ adore Star Wars.

As always I digress! As I was growing into an image conscious teen, I don’t know about you but I began to notice the lack of clothing options available especially if you were like me and knew you were different. At this time (as you may recall me mentioning) I was an alternative teenager with a penchant for Tim Burton inspired stripes and a severe lack of colour within my wardrobe. I had to make do with jeans (with the widest legs I could find) from Tammy Girl and an array of HMV t-shirts that were extremely ill-fitting and although unisex definitely weren’t meant for shapely hips like mine (do remember that in the year 2000 there was no Primark m’dears!) In my hometown the only other option was a shop called Kinda Majik, and no there’s no spelling mistake. This was your goth/alternative store, and I frequented here as again there was not much else available. A case of needs must!  

Fast forward to now, 2019 and nerd girl clothing is much more than just a galaxy far, far away! Most importantly we have brands such as Her Universe and Loungefly. These brands truly understand what it means to be a nerd, a geek and a fangirl (if you will)! You can be all of these things and do it in style; it’s exactly why the amazing lady behind Her Universe developed the brand in the first place. Ashley Eckstein is a wonderful actress both on screen and in the voice-over booth. Every year she holds the Her Universe fashion show at San Diego Comic Con unveiling new geek couture and uniting those that want to transfer their love of nerd culture and put it in their everyday wardrobe.

Like Her Universe, Loungefly is nerd chic through and through! However they specialise in accessories. I first discovered this brand in early 2015 (instantly fell in love, obviously) but soon learned I could only buy their items if I ventured to the US, which lucky for me I did and made my first purchase without hesitation! They basically had me at “Star Wars purse”. Their bags and purses are now available everywhere from Disneyland Paris and the Disney Store, and websites such as Zavvi and Truffle Shuffle. Her Universe has yet to make the bigger transition to the UK and believe me; I’m waiting for the day with my star wars purse in hand.

Its brands like these that can make you feel empowered and truly represented, because I believe how your able to freely express yourself is important. Although I identified as Goth and wore that very much on my sleeve… and the rest of my body for that matter, underneath that veneer was my true self bursting at the seams. I chose hide that part and lock it away in my teenage bedroom, where it was safe. Yet that’s the part of me that has always remained a constant, as the Goth exterior surely enough faded away as soon as I left high school and entered college. I suppose I hid that huge part of myself away to not give kids another hundred reasons to bully and tease me; especially when those ‘things’ meant so much to me and helped me to escape. Although teasing me for whom I was and things I couldn’t change hurt, weirdly I knew teasing me for what I had utter love and admiration for would hurt so much more.

Now I wear my favourite movie properties and cartoons as a fashion statement and a symbol of just how proud I am to be a nerd.

Chinwag time! Are you a little bit geeky about something? If so, let’s have a geek out together!   

Summer clothes make me feel fine

I’ll be honest lovelies; I really don’t care for summer.

From June until mid-September is a time of year I simply don’t look forward to. I mean, don’t get me wrong; I love the thought of staying out until late and yet it’s still light out, those days someone suggests having a BBQ for dinner (which is always a resounding “UM YES”) and days spent lounging in the park or wondering around central with gelato. But I have this love/hate relationship with the HEAT. Put it this way my dear readers, when I go on holiday my destination of choice is anywhere that’s 25 degrees or less… But when the UK does decide it’s going to get hot (which actually happens believe it or not. I’m staring outside right now and I see the sunshine, it’s there!) I’m always horrifically unprepared. Why am I always unprepared?

This is why. Now I’m going to give you a little insight into my wardrobe situation, (y’know, this is blog number 11 m’dears and we’re all getting to know each other now!) So the scenario is this… my summer clothes are abysmal!

Winter clothes dominate a solid 90% of my wardrobe. Now that’s bad isn’t it?

My “summer clothes” basically conclude of 2 skirts, 2 dresses and a mere few tops… I’ve been well aware for a number of years now that this has to change!

However I’ve been extremely lucky! I managed to win a prize (which never happens) with my absolute favourite online clothing store Joanie Clothing. If you’re listening to me ramble on wondering who on earth Joanie are? I shall explain my loves. Their tag line states “pretty clothes for nostalgic souls” – It’s feminine, chic but also fits my quirky personality. It was a brand I felt suited me perfectly and their clothes are extremely high quality. So you can imagine my excitement to discover I’d practically won a shopping spree, without the arduous task of leaving the house.  

It was here I set myself the challenge of actually buying summer clothes and I can honestly say I had a difficult time pick and choosing, as I naturally gravitate towards the long sleeves and those warm autumnal tones. It’s almost like telling me I’m not allowed to buy anything with polka dots ever again… It’s just not going to happen!

When I have bought summer clothes in the past they tend to be dresses that I can just simply throw on, with no effort needed. However these tend to be unflattering to my body shape and nowhere near reflect who I am or my personal style. What I like to call convenience clothing! These specific items are worn in the house and unfortunately that’s as far as they go. I just don’t feel my best self when wearing these items of clothing in public, no matter how comfortable they are. Do you have any clothes like that my dears? I’ll be honest, I have a fair bit.

But these pieces I’ve listed throughout this blog 100% show to the world exactly who I am and are also super comfortable, which is a huge bonus. What I basically wanted is a wardrobe that excites me to wear it just as my autumn/winter collection does. A wardrobe that looks as though I’ve put hours of effort when in reality all I’ve done is throw on a fabulous dress and my trusty mustard loafers (which I’m obsessed with!)

You can see why I’ve had such trouble putting this all together now, can’t you?!

Tell me your wardrobe woes my lovelies! Do you look forward to getting your summer looks together, or are you like me and try to live in your autumn wardrobe until you just can’t get away with it anymore?   

Here’s to a fabulous looking summer!    

I A-Dior You!

“In the world of today, haute couture is one of the last repositories of the marvellous” Christian Dior, 1957

This can be read on the wall as you make your exit from visiting Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, which currently resides at the V&A until September. It’s an exhibition that celebrates the life and career of the man that started it all and the 6 key creative directors that have followed in his footsteps. It’s exquisite, stunning and breathtakingly beautiful. For anyone who loves fashion and artistry, this is both an education and a history lesson. But not one that will put you to sleep! No no, quite the opposite.

With more than 200 dresses on show this entire exhibition basically became a shopping list of everything I can’t have, but would hyperventilate uncontrollably if I did.

From Dior himself to his successors; when seeing all the pieces displayed so perfectly together I felt there was one common theme that the Dior brand has stayed true too.

The essence of femininity.  

Christian Dior’s iconic ‘Bar Suit’ which he called ‘La Ligne Corolle’

This was first demonstrated with Christian’s ‘Bar Suit’ (designed in 1947 and made in 1955). This ground-breaking outfit embraced ladies curves (and believe me, from seeing this in person if you didn’t have curves back then you were guaranteed them just by slipping on this fantastic tailored jacket). Upon his first fashion show in 1947 where he debuted this design it was immediately dubbed the New Look. Fast forward to creative director John Galliano (1996 – 2011) bringing extravagance and theatricality to the runway and now to the present day with Maria Grazia Chiuri (Dior’s first ever women creative director, can I get an amen?) Chiuri stands for female empowerment and says with her way of femininity “the message, really, is that there is not one kind of women” (quote from Vogue.com).

Quite simply, whether we’re talking 1955 or 2019 – Dior know women and they know how to dress us.

All of us.  

Walking into the exhibition- from the first moment it felt as though it was lifted straight from the pages of a fairy-tale, almost like Disney’s Cinderella and Dior is your fantastical Fairy Godmother. As you turn each corner; almost holding your breath to see what might await you in the next room, the experience made you feel as though you were permanently in a dreamlike state. Honestly, it’s magical! Although not as emotional as Mcqueen’s Savage Beauty (V&A, 2015), It gave me a lot of the same feelings in terms of the thought and care that has clearly gone into each room.

I’ll be honest, there were so many garments in that exhibition I never ever thought I’d have the opportunity to see… that wasn’t just on the pages of a magazine that is (basically a lot of John Galliano- see the photos above for sheer perfection); and clearly from the literal “oohs” and “ahhs” that emerged from everyone else’s mouths around me I wasn’t the only one feeling that way. It was at a moment like that I realised we were all there for the same reason.

WE J’ADORE DIOR.

At £20 a ticket, honestly it was worth every single penny and more (and if you’re wondering, yes you could take photos!) If you are contemplating a visit, unfortunately lovelies the run is currently sold out however (like the Savage Beauty exhibition) they do release a limited number of tickets at the V&A itself. Also, do keep your eyes peeled online as I’ve noticed they have been releasing more tickets for museum lates!

Victoria and Albert Museum 
Cromwell Road
SW7 2RL
Nearest tube station: South Kensington