Monday, 28 November 2011

Knit Wit!

I truly wish I had persevered in learning to knit well - handknit sweaters are very much 'the thing' right now - be it from the thrifty 'make do and mend' perspective or because of the influence of one 'Sarah Lund' in The Killing!
the new Gudrun and Gudrun 'Sarah Lund' sweater - 240 Euros

There is something very comforting about a homely knit of the homespun variety - it immediately conjures up images of misty autumnal walks, crumpets by the fire and a reassuring cosy feeling. A comfy knit also feels very British somehow and very timeless.

I might try and join a knitting class - John Lewis have some good ones around the country along with a new course called - appropriately enough - Make do and Mend!

Meanwhile I will content myself with this gorgeous sweater from Lands' End which has the right feel and comes in a beautiful Red and has a very similar look to the much more expensive Gudrun and Gudrun original at only £70!

- also just because they are so impossibly cute I will be buying this tree ornament!

If I was still a lilttle girl I would want this for my dolls wardrobe!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Stockholm Style

Just prior to the hideous tonsillitis attack I was in Stockholm on business - what a beautiful city it is! As one arrives at the airport there is a walkway lined with huge pictures of famous and influential Swedes whose home town it is - it struck me as I walked past Abba and Bjorn Borg et al, that 2 of the women I would consider to have been most stylish in cinema history have been Swedish - Greta - The Divine Garbo and Ingrid Bergman and Lo! there they were on said walkway in all their beauty!

There is something very classic, pared down and natural about the style of both these women - they were not showy, ostentatious or glamorous in any obvious way - relying more on a simplicity of style which is timeless and disregards fashion. Garbo shared much in her personal look with Kate Hepburn ( who as you know already I adore) - mannish trousers and coats worn with noncholance and elan. Miss Bergman was more traditionally elegant and feminine but never fussy in her look. This style philosophy seems very true to Stockholm - a city of very well dressed people - but never fussily so!

The Divine Garbo

Once again a crisp shirt comes into play and I love this scarf tied scout style!

Miss Bergman in a trenchcoat!
Another clean pared down look!

The perfect three quarter sleeve crisp shirt can be found at Lands' End - with a very simple pinafore style dress or a well cut wide leg trouser this fits the bill for Ingrid and Greta, Stockholm inspired style! You could even try that Scout style scarf for an interesting variation!

Oh - and so's you don't think I have totally lost my thread - I think both these women also qualify, in their own way as pioneering and inspirational!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Feisty and Fearless Females!

Having been ill in bed with a dreadful bout of tonsillitis I am back to the blog finally! Continuing my thread about pioneering women I spotted a potentially very interesting mention for a book in November issue of Easy Living in the 'This Month we're reading' section by Beatrice Hodgkin!

How to Climb Mont Blanc in a Skirt - by Mick Conefrey looks right up my street and very topical given my recent fascination with those pioneers in petticoats! Must get hold of a copy!

I think part of why I find this subject so inspiring is that I am far from fearless myself being terrified even of cliff walks if they are a bit steep!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Pioneers in Petticoats

Yes - I know Amelia Earhart was hardly a petticoated heroine, but the spirit is my focus rather than the actuality! Women pioneers have inspired and astounded through the generations - that they had to fight harder for their adventures is beyond doubt and when one imagines climbing the Materhorn in full Victorian or Edwardian dress one is genuinely in awe!

Amelia is one of the most well known of aviation pioneers and had a distinct and decidedly modern style which translates very well today - a soft khaki trouser, a white shirt - either in crisp cotton or, my preference, a relaxed silk and a leather jacket and you have the essence of Miss Earhart's look - totally wearable and accessible for every day!

I would add a silk scarf tied neckerchief style and a pair of ankle boots or a knee high riding boot with trews tucked in or left out - whatever your preference!

 I really like these soft combat/cargo trousers from Lands' End - they have the right slubby relaxed quality to them!

I would add a great vintage jacket - Rokit Vintage is a good source but many vintage fairs and online retailers will have something similar!

Chocks Away Chaps!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Grasse Widow

My poor Blog has been sadly neglected for the last few weeks due to illness and, more enjoyably,  that much anticipated holiday in the South of France! My blog has been a grass - or more accurately Grasse Widow!

Glorious sunshine - yet not too hot - I was able to lie out by the pool ( albeit slathered in factor 50) without burning. Bliss indeed!

We missed the annual Jasmine Festival which, if you have never been, is absolutely glorious. I happened to be there in early August some years ago and will forever treasure the memory of streets strewn with Jasmine flowers, and dashing Pompiers spraying jasmine water onto the crowd from vintage fire trucks.

I have drunk more than my fill of Provencal Rose, consumed obscene amounts of smelly cheese and made some fabulous new friends as well. One of these is a wonderful lady who was one of the first women to be involved with the motor racing fraternity in the 60's - possibly one of the least inhibited women I have ever met and brimming with fantastic stories of the goings on when she was a driver, she has inspired me to want to write about the fashion style of adventurous and pioneering women!

Amelia Earhart shall be my starting point and I will see where she takes me.........................

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

What Katie Did!

I shall do too! Kate Hepburn that is.......

Miu Miu dresses aside - yes I am still obsessed - and given I have a good collection of forties dresses already, I am thinking that taking my inspiration from Kate Hepburn for Autumn/Winter will address both the forties trend and the boyish tailoring in one fell swoop!

A great pair of mannish tailored trousers in a herringbone check or a subtle tweed, a relaxed shirt and a comfy brogue or penny loafer will fit the bill - I have never been one for a crisp White shirt - great on other people but I shall go with a drapey silk style or a tie neck blouse instead.

I have always loved a boyish shoe though - practical and stylish - these penny loafers from Lands' End will work perfectly!

Lands' End also have some fabulous trousers coming in for September which I must keep an eye out for!

I think that little grey jacket will come into play here as well!

A true exponant of relaxed dressing and champion of the trouser - Kate was a truly original woman with her own uncompromising style - one which is well worth working for the new season!

With all the talk of Kates - Middleton and Moss in particular I know which Kate is my style icon and it is surely the inimitable Ms Hepburn!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner

That I love London the song says!

Our city may be overpopulated, dusty in the heat and depressing in the rain BUT it is still one of the most vibrant, diverse and exciting cities in the world, and like any Londoner worth their salt I  have been horrified at the events of the past week. It doesn't seem possible that this could be happening in my city - the city I love and which is home!

I feel driven to post images of some of the places I treasure most in our capital - these along with the cheering sight of all those volunteers wielding their brooms in defiance of the mindless greed and violence of the minority lift my spirits!

Little Venice - close to my flat!

The glorious sight which is Sir Christopher Wren's St Pauls!

The elegance of a Nash terrace!
The tranquility of Regents Park!



Friday, 5 August 2011

A Mitford Moment

All that talk of Nancy Mitford heriones has me wanting to re-read ( for the umpteenth time) one of my all time favourite novels - The Pursuit of Love - always enchanting and uplifting! The book that is adored by Linda - the central character - is The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgsen Burnett which I recently read again when confined to bed due to a horrid summer bug. I have now been on a book misson with Amazon as a result of my musings and find that there is a follow up - The Methods of Lady Walderhurst - ordered it at once!

It is always a wonderful surprise to discover a book one hasn't read by a much loved author - on the same mission I have seen that 2 of Nancy Mitford's early novels - Christmas Pudding and Pigeon Pie are to be re-issued in October - can't wait!

Christmas Pudding
Pigeon Pie

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Sweater Girls

Although we have been basking in hot sunshine this week ( hard to believe it looking at today's driving rain) I have been thinking about my Autumn wardrobe of late. I have already mentioned my obsession with the new season's Miu Miu dresses - I had my nose pressed firmly against the glass of the Bond Street store yesterday ( much like an urchin gazing at cakes in a bakery - and with the same longing!) looking at one of them, the embroidery is absolutely exquisite - maybe I could take an extension on the mortgage? Back in the land of reality I am thinking a tweed pencil skirt with fitted sweater or elegant blouse will be a more accessible look - there are some fabulous inspirations I can draw on from the original 'sweater girl' Lana Turner to the neat cashmere and pearls of a Nancy Mitford heroine...........

Lana looking fab!

One of our Lands' End classic short sleeved fitted sweaters was used by Grazia recently - worn with flamboyant pineapple print fitted trousers - this same sweater comes in an array of colours and will translate very well to an elegant retro look - it also has a matching cardigan to create a twinset worthy of any Mitford character! Grey Frost Heather and Wild Cherry are my favourite shades and I will be wearing mine with an Agnes b tweed skirt from a couple of seasons ago!

love her twinset!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Grey Matter!

Still on the trail of the 'dust coloured' jacket - I was watching Mildred Pierce at the weekend and found myself thinking ' Mildred is just the sort of woman who would have appreciated the practicality of such a thing' - now it may be worrying that I am considering what a fictional character would or would not wear, but nonetheless.................... 'dust coloured' could be anything from grey ( which is how I envisage it) to putty, taupe, beige or stone - and lo! when I watched the remainder of the last episode last night there was Kate Winslet as Mildred, wearing a grey suit - she looked bandbox smart and her ensemble showed no ill effects for having been travelled in - all down to the dust coloured jacket I say!

This is not the same outfit as I could not find an image BUT here she is again in a grey jacket - add it to your list of 'must haves' along with the little black dress and those key pieces fashion pages always recommend!

I did love the series by the way and now have a keen desire to watch the Joan Crawford film again ( Joan giving the part her all!) AND read the original novel!

Joan Crawford

On looking for the novel - by James M Cain - I found this selection of his stories - I didn't realise that The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity were also written by him ( just know and love the films) - buying this for sure - that is my holiday reading taken care of!

That will keep MY grey matter ticking over!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Dust Jacket!

Talking of Auntie Elsie - she was a big fan of a neat little waisted jacket, often in Grey as she always said it was the most practical colour for every day. Now I am not referring to those which books have when I called this post Dust Jacket - I recall reading somewhere ( it may have been A Guide to Elegance by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux) which stated that every elegant woman should own a 'dust coloured' suit for travelling! How marvellous - I think today a jacket will suffice for this rule!

This close up shows that filigree basket brooch I talked about a couple of posts ago on the lapel of a beautiful vintage Grey jacket very similar to one I recall my Aunt wearing - this one was purchased at one of the Frock Me Vintage Fairs held at Chelsea Town Hall

Here is my favourite  Lands' End Canvas Collection jacket which is very waisted with a real 40s feel, adorned with 2 brooches ( I like the idea of wearing more than one at a time) it takes on a ladylike air very much in tune with this Autumn's catwalk styles - talking of which I am positively lusting after the Miu Miu dresses this coming season - beyond beautiful and with a real grown up glamour - would that my budget ran to one!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Travels with my Aunt!

I have just been enjoying a few days off - some of which time has been most productively spent having a sort out! Forgotten clothes have been found in trunks, suitcases and storage boxes all over my flat - many will stay and a few will go - one or two which suddenly feel fresh and new again will be given an outing and may appear here anon!

I have also been going through boxes of old photographs and found these fabulous shots of my aforementioned Auntie Elsie - travels through time with my Aunt would be more apt!. From a tiny girl trussed up in almost Victorian clothes, through the 30s when she looks as though she had just walked off the set of Poirot (very Miss Lemon), and then in the 40s at a wedding looking incredibly chic - I would love to own both of the outfits she is wearing as an adult! I do have the dress she wore to my mothers wedding which is sublime - Black Grosgrain with beaded and sequinned net - watch this space for that one!

Renowned throughout the family as always looking like a fashion plate she never married and ran a clothing and habadashery shop in Exmouth Market in Clerkenwell!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Fascinating Women!

Having mentioned the Duchess of Windsor - Wallis Simpson brooch wearer extraordinaire - in my last post I must tell you about the biography of her I am currently immersed in! I love a biography or autobiography - a window into another life - and this one is very absorbing..............

A fascinating insight into an extraordinary woman - not particularly likeable it has to be said, but clearly blessed with an immense presence and charm when she chose to demonstrate it - well worth reading!

And my goodness did the woman know how to dress!

If this inspires you to want further reading matter about fascinating women in the early part of the 20th Century I can recommend these 2 treasures - glamour, intrigue, scandal - they have it all -

The Life of Idina Sackville

The Life of Alice De Janze

The stories of these two extraordinary women are entwined so reading both books really gives an insight - if you find yourself gripped you could then move on to watching the 80's film White Mischief in which they both feature (Alice memorably played by Sarah Miles) - worth it for the clothes alone - although I will never quite recover from the sight of Charles Dance in an evening gown!!!! Really!!!Hilarious and slightly disturbing!