But I have nothing to wear!

So sorry for my sudden disappearance lovelies!

I recently visited my parents back in my Northern hometown. This means I’ve been drinking all the cups of tea I can muster (the water is marginally different; any Northerner who lives down South will tell you this!) Eating from my favourite takeout place and spending time organising our mother/daughter holiday (or holi-yey, as I tend to refer to it).

I’ve been basically helping my mum put together outfits that can lend themselves to both day and evening wear. Then there’s the dreaded formal wear (dum dum duuuuuuuuum), this I think I’d like explore in another post. So for now let’s stick to prospect of day wear. As I’ve said before I love putting outfits together… Sorry, I don’t think you heard me in the back, I LOVE putting outfits together!! I know some find it easier to purely keep on buying clothes because of the “I don’t have anything to wear” syndrome, and don’t get me wrong we’ve all been there. But I only have so much wardrobe space (yey for city living) and for this holiday I only have one case so I have to think on a small scale.

So for those that do wonder how I put my own outfits together, I’m going to tell you how I do it. Personally I find it makes shopping a much more enjoyable experience and weirdly if the idea of shopping freaks you out a little; it makes it a slightly quicker experience too. These aren’t original ideas, just things I’ve picked up from other stylists along my journey, Trinny and Susannah (for those that remember “What not to wear”), Gok Wan and more recently Lori Goldstein.

Firstly, know your body. For me, this was a crucial life lesson. Like probably a lot of you I’ve spent years hating parts of my body! But it wasn’t until probably the ages of 18 that I started to really get to know what my shape was, even if I still was nowhere near 100% comfortable with my figure yet. I began to learn (over time) what the good parts were (and we all have good bits!!) Then it was a case of what could I do to extenuate those and disguise the parts maybe I wasn’t so happy with. I’ll be honest with ya’ll- my boobs are fairly small and my bum could probably rival Kim Kardashian. Most times I really don’t feel in proportion and the top half of my body feels too petite for the bottom half. Plus I really don’t like my legs, I never have. Ok, now the good bits. This is the hard one right? But if I can bare my soul, so can you! I really like my hair- I know one seems like a cop out, but your hair is your BIGGEST accessory. How your hair is styled can really impact on your outfit choices! My does for sure; having such a severe haircut like a bob can change your whole aesthetic and for me it helped shape the look that I have today. I really like my neck and collar bones- now I know you’re thinking “collar bones? That’s a little weird, no?” Yes, perhaps it is a tad! But again, that space between your neck and chest area can lend itself to so many different necklines. The only one I’d say I honestly dislike on myself is the v-neck (due to my severe lack of breasticles). But when having photographs taken way back in 2010, I had my collar bones compared to that of a Tim Burton movie… This was literally the most amazing compliment you could have given me. So I ran with it!  

So I’ve bared my soul a little and breathe. If you’ve never had the confidence to do this before, why not give a little try and if you’re not ready don’t worry! But like I said before, we all have good bits of our body (even if like me and it’s the slightly quirkier parts); and we all deserve to give ourselves self-love!

Now onto my little shopping trip tips!

Wearing all black is never the answer: I went through a phase of wearing nothing but black. My entire clothing collection was made up of black outfits…. And honestly? I’ve found other colours and even some patterns more slimming on my figure.

Create a mood board or a Pinterest page: this is great if you have an idea of the types of clothes or silhouettes you’d like to be wearing; but haven’t quite made it to the shopping stage yet.  

But if you know exactly what you like to wear- hunt for it eBay: If it’s cheap, you won’t lose anything by trying. I know this seems obvious, but eBay is such a great tool; if you’re not so keen on the whole changing room idea.  

Inject a vintage bag: This tip is for those that might not ready to try vintage clothes shopping yet, but you kind of want to give it ago. Why not go for an accessory instead? It’ll inject some originality and individuality into your day to day wear. I hear those thrift stores, charity shops and eBay calling your name!  

Scenario- you’re going away somewhere and have no idea what to pack: Why not check out with the local fashion is, the locals might give you some inspiration especially when it comes to the year-round weather!

Don’t be afraid of mixing patterns: Honestly, I live by this rule! I genuinely believe you can find patterns that can complement each other. Even if it’s the same pattern in different colours. Don’t be afraid to experiment- fashion is meant to be fun!

Do remember lovelies, these are just little guidelines by and I hope at least one of these can help you in your next shopping venture.

I’m here for all your queries, questions and qualms you may have m’dears, if you think I can help send me your fashion woes and let me help in any way that I can like a Fashion Fairy Godmother!   

Looking Ship Shape

God dag lovelies!

Now that’s just a little hint there of where I’ll be venturing off to soon- but more about that later!

One aspect I’m really enjoying about all this cruise prep is looking at outfits and seeing what clothing combinations I can put together (a capsule wardrobe, if you will and yes I learnt that from Gok Wan). If you know me, you’ll know I absolutely adore fashion (understatement of the century) and that over the years I’ve not been afraid of changing things up and experimenting with my look (apart from the bob, that goes nowhere). I love looking at where I’ll be travelling to and finding outfits that complement the place beautifully. I basically like to bridge the gap between stylish and functional! But I’m chockfull of personal style and can sometimes find it exceptionally difficult to just shop at one store.

Do you feel that way too? It’s really frustrating isn’t it! It just equals more tea and biscuit breaks, if you ask me.

I can however pretty much shop anywhere from Primark and H&M (their basic tee’s are an essential and a lifesaver!) to thrift stores and Lindybop for my key retro or vintage pieces. It takes longer to build a wardrobe that way then I care to admit. However it’s the simple matter of “you like what you like”.

However one person I know who struggles with this is my mumsy. I know over time she’s struggled to walk into a store, pick up more than one item of clothing and then proceed to walk out of that store with said item(s). I think it’s fair to say that unless you can afford designer clothing (Ah, Chanel), my mum’s age is simply not catered for.

I hear some of you exhale slowly, like I’ve just (ever so slightly) crossed over a line. But it’s just something I’ve observed in my many (30) years on this planet.

These extraordinary ladies want to look as stylish as say those in their 20’s and 30’s, and they absolutely deserve too (I mean, look at ladies like Cate Blanchett and Kristen Scott Thomas)! But without the worry that their dressing like their daughter, niece or insert younger relative here. I must admit, as someone who’s been on countless shopping trips with their mum I have seen the high street dwindle (over the years) when it comes to everyday fashion that it almost terrifies me at the prospect of getting older!

Lovelies, if this conversation screams you then please get in touch with me and tell me your fashion agony! Let me see if I can help anyway I can… I say this like I know what I’m talking about.

Now my mum is pretty classy woman (I think she’d be cool with me saying that). She knows exactly what suits her body type and has amazing Marilyn Monroe-esqe curves! However, I’m fully aware that although we both have similar body types she probably wouldn’t wear some of the things that I have in my wardrobe. I think it still astounds her when I can thrift a vintage dress or skirt and walk (aka strut) down the street in it like its Paris Fashion Week. She’ll always respond with “Now if I were to wear that I would just look old”. To clarify my mum does not look old and dresses exceptionally well despite what the high street has to offer.

So my dears I’ve been scouring the internet trying to find clothes and maybe stores that are solely online, in the hope that I find at least one store that provides exactly what women my mum’s age are looking for (that shouldn’t be too hard, right?) It seems such a shame that if you’re over a certain age shopping becomes less fun and more of a chore.

I just want my mum to feel absolutely amazing in whatever she’s wearing (even if it’s a paper bag), because truth be told she is.      

If any of you lovelies have any suggestions of places we could look that maybe we’ve never tried before please I’m all ears (not literally, of course).

Or maybe the answer to all this is “sod the high street Quinn and make your own clothes!!” In a kind of Mel Gibson Braveheart type manner… I mean it is International Women’s Day after all “FREEDOM!!!”

Mary Mary Quant Contrary

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.

Sir Terence Conran and Dame Mary Quant
Source: Fashion and Textiles Museum website

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 google.

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 utter bargain!!

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.

My favourite ensembles in the exhibition.
I’ll take them both in all colours. Thank you muchly.

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!

Apologies for the horrendous quality!
Photos are allowed but do remember to turn off the flash
(you don’t want to ruin the fabric)

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!