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”
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 Companyon 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’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?
As I sit here mulling over Beyoncé’s Homecoming on Netflix (which is pretty incredible if you’ve not seen it yet) with a cup of tea in hand; I’m in awe of how far this fantastical lady has come in her career and also her style. To put it simply she’s a powerhouse. But who else remembers those coordinated Destiny’s Child outfits, every 90s band had them! This got me to thinking about my own metamorphosis, even within the last year! We’re always changing and discovering new things about ourselves and when it comes to my own style (my goodness) this could not be more accurate!
It was more apparent when doing one of those 10 year challenges. 2009 I was a completely different person the woman I am now (believe me, ask my parents!). I was young, at a university where I constantly questioned (and was constantly questioned by tutors) whether I truly belonged there, in my first relationship and had a strong love affair with the movies and music of the 80s – which heavily influenced the way that I dressed…
Flash forward to today…
I’m definitely not young anymore (unless 30 is the new 18? Asking for a friend) by next year I’ll have been a graduate for 10 years (well, that’s not scary, at all). Although, I think it’s fair to say I’ve learnt more about my craft and myself in the outside world (yes, that’s me spilling the T) and I’m now in my second relationship (he’s bloody wonderful and here to stay).
Through all of this the one part of me that hasn’t changed whatsoever is that of my love for different eras. Before I’d fall in love with a specific point in time and stick to it like glue (the 60’s and Woodstock- the force was strong with this one)! Now I’m able to draw inspiration from different eras and refine them into what I feel my style has become.
You may have guessed already, I’m not exactly a follower of trends. I suppose I’ve always followed the beat of my own drum; which would explain my many (cringe worthy) fashion choices over the years.
Nowadays my personal style is heavily influenced by city fashion specifically Paris and New York, cartoons, classic Hollywood and Mad Men; I know that’s a lot to take in right? Let me explain fully!
I have no doubt in the next year, or even the next 6 months my personal style will change again! Only the other day I raided my (now abysmal) summer clothes and put 7 items in a charity bag! Luckily those were items I’ve been clinging onto for years in the hope that I fall back in love with them… Or should I say that the items fall back in love with me. But they won’t and I’m definitely ok with this break up.
As my adventure away draws closer I’m beginning to think
about what lies ahead at the places I’m about to visit! The excitement is
rather overwhelming and slowly bits and pieces are finally coming together.
So, I’ve mentioned previously that on the cruise I’ll be
heading to parts of Scandinavia- but to expand (and so you can fully understand
my excitement) I’m visiting Brugge, Copenhagen, Skagen and Oslo. I know, right?
This is my first taster of what Scandinavia has to offer and I already know
that in the future I’ll be planning to head back to some of these places, along
with some new ones! This is an area of the world I’ve dreamt about visiting for
so long and can’t wait to finally see it for myself. To hone in on one of the major
reasons I can’t wait lets discuss one of the greatest things known to man.
I am a MASSIVE foodie (which is rather hilarious coming from who used to be the pickiest eater. No, I’m not kidding. As I child I was the fussiest eater you ever did meet), and it’s pretty much the main reason I keep visiting Paris (I’ve been 3 times now… Not counting 2 school trips).
There’s just something spectacular about eating local cuisine;
whether it’s street food from a food truck, a sit down meal, food on the go
(like a good pastry) or eating 3 desserts in one day just so I can try them
all… Definitely haven’t done that (I’ve definitely done that).
My favourite meal in the entire world (sorry to betray you beloved pizza) is boeuf bourguignon (see tasty photograph to the left). It’s like a rich beef stew served with boiled potatoes and by god is it incredible! It’s one of those meals that is both extremely hearty and comforting, but also indulgent. Basically it’s just utter perfection. Now I’ll freely admit, I’m stubborn. So stubborn in fact that I waited years to try this dish, as I refused to try it at any of the restaurants in the UK. But I’m so glad I did as it was worth the wait and I eat it every time I visit Paris! However, I’m afraid to say I did the same thing with my now favourite desserts, Crème Brulee and Mille-Feauille. But remember good foods come to those that wait! That’s the saying right?
Where was I again? Apologies lovelies, my tummy just rumbled…
So basically, the hunt for the best Smørrebrød (Danish open sandwich), Rød Pølse (Danish hotdog) and Frikadellar (Danish meatballs) is on!! Not forgetting my sweet tooth (or should that be sweet teeth?) I’ll also be scouting out some delicious Belgian chocolate waffles and a Norwegian bakery in the hopes I can try KrumKake (honestly, google this delight… It sounds amazing!)
Have you ever ventured to this part of the world and know of fantastical foods that I simply have to try? Please contact me through here or Instagram, as I’d love to hear your thoughts!
When I say, “How about we go somewhere for some tea and
cake?” Where does your mind go to?
Could you demolish a cupcake with a pot of tea (for one,
of course)? A slab of cake, that’s four layers high with a latte to compliment
it? Or is it a case of “sod the cake; I’m going to be controversial and go for
a biscuit or a pastry”. Whatever your preference
I’m going to test out as many places in London that specialise in
tea/cake/coffee/all of the above! Why Quinn? I hear you ask. Well, my lovelies
I shall tell you. Whenever I have friends or family come to visit it’s the same
conversation every time!! Tell me if this sounds familiar?
“Where would you like to go?”
“Oh I don’t know,
why are you asking me? You pick, you live here”
“No, no! That’s exactly the point. I do live here. You
don’t, you’re visiting. It’s up to you!”
“Well, where’s nice?”
It continues like this until I one of us ends up in
I’m a habit I can’t break! I go to the same places; it’s
no doubt a Costa Coffee or Starbucks to make things easier on my guests. That
way everyone’s happy! Now don’t get me wrong- I love a Costa Coffee chai latte
as much as the next person (I really do. It’s my absolute fave). However, I feel
I need to expand my knowledge! So when that opportune moment comes where I have
to recommend a place I CAN without hesitation!!
To begin my journey, if you will, I thought I’d start at a place that seems to feature most heavily on my Instagram.
Oh my goodness. To say I was super excited to try this place is a MAJOR understatement and I definitely didn’t want venture here alone (although if you know me I’m all for a solo trip!) For this adventure I asked my darling friend Andy to join me, he’s one that really appreciates trying new places and it’d been so long since we had a good catch-up with each other. Put it this way, I greeted him by saying “Happy New Year”. No need to check your calendars I’m fully aware that it’s February. Like I said it’d been a while since we’d seen each other and knew this would be a great place for a chinwag!
Now From photographs this café looks like pure joy; as if
Glinda the good witch floated down to Belgravia in her pink bubble and created
a café completely based on her look and filled it with social media goodness.
That goes for the treats too.
Attention shoppers! There’s only ONE (singular sensation,
sorry, MT reference for ya’ll) Peggy Porschen currently. There’s a second
opening in Chelsea soon, but no date on the opening just yet. It’s a short walk
from Victoria station and even shorter from Victoria coach station. Believe me;
you can see it from the top of the street and as you walk more towards it you’re
met with this beautiful pretty in pink exterior which is absolutely covered in flowers! Honestly, it’s
truly gorgeous. It did start to rain, but it didn’t dampen our spirits and we
began to queue with the others who were also eager to try this chic bakery.
Just to forewarn you lovelies, Peggy Porschen is immensely popular and I would 100% recommend
visit on a weekday if it’s at all possible to avoid long queues!
Luckily we only queued for a total of 10-15 minutes. Personally I don’t think that’s bad, I’ve definitely queued longer in Primark (am I right lovelies?) but do beware you do have to queue outside, just in case you were wondering. However I reckon our queue timing could have been reduced if it was a sunnier day as they do offer outside seating. But queuing aside, it’s all worth it when the lovely front of house staff open the door to fetch you and bring you into a world of adorable pink Parisian chic (I didn’t even intend for that to rhyme!)
Hold the phone. You’re going to want to take some photos.
The décor is charming and absolutely adorable! Everything from the cute flower
arrangements to the light fixtures, and I haven’t even got started on the cake
yet (which is of course laid out beautifully, by the way!)
So let’s move swiftly onto what treats they had in store for us!
Andy and I both opted for a pot of tea for one (pfft, I was not sharing my tea with no one!) It works out slightly more cost effective buying a pot for two, but we really wanted to try a bit of everything. They have your traditional teas such as Afternoon and Earl Grey, but also teas for the more adventurous and I knew instantly that Andy would definitely opt one of those! So in the end I stayed quite traditional with the Earl Grey with orange and Andy selected the Sugar Plum tea…. SUGAR PLUM TEA!! I KNOW! Definitely one for those with a sweet tooth and who aren’t put off by brightly coloured tea (It was a very vibrant purple)!
Selecting a slab of cake or one of their deliciously, inviting
cupcakes proved rather difficult. Honestly the selection process was hard! It was
as if it was the literal Hunger Games and I had to choose one of those cakes to
go into battle (with my stomach) “may the odds ever be in your favour”. Every
single one of their flavours sounded heavenly and pretty traditional in terms
of what’s available at most tea and cake shops nowadays. No real wildcard
option, all quite safe options but by god did they all look and smell good! The
two flavours we (eventually) decided upon were salted caramel and the lemon, raspberry
and rose cake.
I’ll give it a second whilst your mouths are watering.
These cakes let me tell you were both WINNERS. They tasted beautiful and oh-so (apologies) moist. What I loved most about the salted caramel layer cake is that instead of a traditional buttercream sandwiched between each layer they used pure caramel. This BLEW MY MIND! It tasted rich yet light and fluffy, and I know how difficult that can be with that type of cake. But what they achieved was absolutely stunning! I can’t tell you how devastated I was once I realised that my plate was empty.
The lemon, raspberry and rose cake was such a kapow of flavours that I did not see
coming!! It arrives looking so delicate, matching in wonderfully with the décor….
Then you taste it. Wow. If you ever wondered what pink tastes like. IT’S THIS
FLIPPING CAKE!! You immediately get this rush of raspberry flavouring that’s
amazing and not at all tart (which I was afraid that might happen and it didn’t!)
As the cake is simmering down on your palette then the lemon flavour decides it’s
time to make an entrance; it’s almost like an after taste but a really good after taste. I honestly can’t
remember if I got much of the rose or not, but the cake tasted that good I genuinely
don’t care that I didn’t!
I must admit, I did have a few concerns that in coming to Peggy’s you’d be surrounded by people glued to their phones, constantly snapping photos for Instagram and such. But I’m happy to report that if you also had those concerns then I can put them to rest for you! Yes, people were taking photos (I mean c’mon, it’s unquestionably stunning both inside and out, why wouldn’t you?) but it wasn’t to the extreme where no one was enjoying themselves or being antisocial. It was a lovely atmosphere and we were all clearly very happy to be there! There were younger people, mothers and daughters, families, husbands and wives. Just anyone wanting a lovely afternoon in this quaint setting with a good cuppa!
Oh and me? Well I personally cannot recommend this place enough! I’m firmly on board the Peggy Porschen train and cannot wait to take someone else with me to indulge in the pretty chicness of it all.
If you know me you’ll know I’m obsessed (LITERALLY OBSESSED) with fashion. More specifically fashion from the 1950’s and 60’s. Flowing skirts aplenty, gorgeous tailoring, pinafores and polka dots. Oh my goodness. I’m going to have to stop right there and have a sit down. The ‘Mad Men’ fangirl within me can’t cope right now thinking about all these clothes.
So you can imagine my excitement when I got to visit the beautiful Swinging London exhibition this week. It’s currently on display at the Fashion and Textiles Museum, (a short walk from London Bridge station) and will be on display until June 2nd. It’s an exhibition that celebrates the British high street revolutionaries Mary Quant and Terence Conran.
Wait… I’m sorry. But did I just hear some of you just ask
me, “But dear Quinn, who are this glorious people you speak of?!” Well fear not
lovelies I will explain in a mere sentence (or two) that will save you scouring
Fashion designer and legend Dame Mary Quant (apart from having one of the most iconic bob haircuts ever) is the fantastic human you have to thank for the MINI SKIRT (I know. Right?) One of her favourite statement pieces that she’s ever designed is the ‘Banana Split’ mini dress; which I will show you later. But she basically revolutionised the British high street! – We have a lot to thank her for (THANK YOU MARY!)
Designer and restaurateur Sir Terence Conran is the man behind the beautiful home furnishing store we know as Habitat. He made stylish home decor available to the masses! His ethos was to make designs that would “grow old gracefully and slip seamlessly into peoples lives and give them years of pleasure”. (Side note: you may also think “Conran, now that rings a bell!” you may know his son’s work as one of the many designers at Debenhams- Mum I’m looking at you here!)
Now we’ve all had a history lesson, I shall move on. I
bought my tickets beforehand, but there were plenty of walk-ups so if you
wanted to head midweek I’m sure you wouldn’t have a problem waltzing straight
in! However if you’d like to be super organised and buy your tickets beforehand,
check if the 241 offer through Timeout London is still available as it’s an
Tickets purchased and dressed in all my retro glory, off we went for a jaunt!
It’s a rather condensed exhibition, nothing as vast as what you may see at the V&A; whom are also choosing to honour Mary Quant with an exhibition this year (Starting April 6th, if you’re dying to know). However it was super quaint and displayed with a lot of thought and care for the pieces.
The downstairs floor in particular is filled with some of Quant’s most iconic work including the banana split dress, which to this day still looks like a masterpiece. This dress will always be in fashion because of its shape and its simplistic nature and as Mary herself once said “you can make it as exciting as you want”. Pair it with some brightly coloured tights- as the lady herself would have done and you’re good to go my friend!
I would say if anything there could have been a few more pieces for the Terence Conran sections of the exhibition. As although there was a lot to see and was well integrated with the clothing almost into little scenes, my eyes were definitely more fixated on Mary Quant’s striking fashions.
However if you’re a fan of 60’s London, fashion history, furnishings, Mary Quant or you just simply want a lovely afternoon exploring whilst listening to fantastic soundtrack, then this exhibition is definitely a must-see!