Cover-loving & Colour-blocking

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Get used to this cover because you will be seeing it a lot the next few months. I’m really excited about reading this book and this cover brings together some of my favorite colours, and provided me with a template for an outfit.

I am currently obsessed with a few things actually, but a nice grey unstructured winter coat is very high on that list. Or like why don’t I have a grey cashmere kimono jacket already? That would also work really well for me. Or both. My grey in the mix was my big old grey scarf that has been taken out of storage and been used a fair bit because the mornings have been on the cold side. I did not have red trousers (although I have had some in the past and contemplated many more.) Pink blouse? Check. Although falling to pieces because of poor quality and intense “wearage”. And then that green!! Love it! This jacket is one of my fave pics of clothing and I swear, it goes everything. The skirt you see me wearing in this rather unflattering  photo (but still the best of the ones I took: I only go into Zara to take sefies nowadays) is made of an old dress that a friend bought for a fancy dress party. Welcome to my life; where friends ask me to help them make thrashed second-hand dresses into outfits and “pay me” by letting me have the outfit when they have thrashed it some more. IMG_4492

A totally fair deal by the way. Some of my best pieces of clothing has been made of fabric people intended to throw away. This has got a bit of shimmer to it, gold speckles.

In addition to preaching the usefulness of an absinth green jacket I will also tell you that I have found that a red necklace is a very useful accessory. I say the more ethnic looking, the better. I had one for years, it was painted wood and I literally had to touch up the colour on it (with nail polish) from time to time because it wore off I used it so much. Then one day it gave up. This is my replacement for now. I need something a little less dazzling and a bit chunkier I think.Over all this outfitr had great colours, and they looked excellent worn together like this.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to me, or anyone, that this combination of colours got me going.

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Exhibit A: I’ve had this on my wall for like to years now and I bought it for a reason. I have one dress that I made before buying this that I have already showed you. Now that it’s a bit colder I’ve brought out another crazy creation in the same colour scheme, but this has a bit of wool in it so I only wear it fall/winter.

Exhibit B: This dress also has purple in it so it goes with everything. The red is really a tomato red, same as with the skirt, but oddly enough it’s a shade that works for me. So the dress, again sorry for the bad picture, is pretty basic three-quarter arm, it’s got pockets because when I make dresses and skirt I try to make them with pockets when I can. This fabric is very nice and soft, something that my mum found in a drawer somewhere. It may come from a flea market. What you cannot see in this pic is that there is a 10 centimeter trim on the bottom, in the same fabric but flipped around so the pattern goes against the rest of the dress which is a very nice contrast actually. I should wear like a pink coat with this dress is what I’m thinking now, or a pink cardigan. I always need a cardi.

So yeah, a lot of crazy colours going on. In patterns or individually, I just bring it to the max with these ones,  and I have a feeling that some of this might actually be trendy right now, like pink and red together, I saw that in Vogue. I need a pair of red trousers, I think tomato red culottes would look awesome on me. I also kick myself for not buying the tomato red Filippa K dress that I tried on a few years ago. I have regretted that many many times. I also need to go out and buy a new  pink blouse because I don’t know how to dress without having one on hand. The light grey coat might happen. Although mostly I’m excited that it’s gotten a bit colder, I have shifted the items in my closet and some of my dearest dresses are back in rotation. I’ve missed them.

-Suss

 

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Friday & Feeling like Jackie O.

I have a few unlikely style icons that I look to for inspiration, and a few that are the same as the rest of the world. Like Jackie O during the editor years(and a bit). So we are talking 70’s and early 80’s, an era I love in general. Bianca Jagger, Jerry Hall, a lot of what Yves Saint Laurent designed and what Loulou de la Falaise wore ( who was Saint Laurent’s muse). Pictures of Charlotte Rampling of that era are the kind of thing that gets me salivating, and I can look of pictures of Ossie Clark dresses all day if I had the time.

But back to Jackie. I did a quick search online and the web has a lot of iconic photos of her out and about. You have probably already seen them before, they are often brought up. What have I been wearing this week then?

None of these outfits are exact replicas of hers, but I feel they are very much in the spirit of her style.

The black dress is made out of an old dust ruffle I was given. Why someone would have a black dust ruffle I do not know. Summer is usually all about the white and light summer dresses, and for good reason, but a black summer dress is not a bad idea. This one has pockets in the front and has no zippers or anything. Very good at the beach(without a belt it’s like a tent so very good for using as cabin to change out of a wet bikini) but a nice belt and some bracelets and earrings and I look smart enough to go out to dinner.

I love flared jeans and striped sweaters. Very little to add to that. These are items that I have bought. The jeans are old H&M and the striped top is from Other Stories (two years ago?). And my birch bag is is use all the time now. I must learn not to stuff it full of things because then it will break. Must read small books on the commute!!

Same sandals. A skirt that I bought second hand and is a great colour and quality actually, it’s a heavy cotton. When I’ve worn out the elastic on this it will probably become another skirt. And further down the line possibly pillows. This pale green is a colour I love and the details are hot pink and orange so it really did scream my name. And then just a long sleeve black t-shirt with that. As noticed I do love a boat neckline.

Summer style aside, all of these pieces (with the exception of the sandals) are stuff I use in winter too. I pull up the skirt a bit so not to get it wet and then wear it with black boots and a cashmere sweater. Jeans and top is look that has no season but all of them. The black dress is great with a big grey cardigan and a chunky necklace for that weekend bohemian vibe. Will remember to to take pics and show you when winter comes (which is probably next Tuesday. I live too damn close to the wall).

Have a great weekend everyone!

-Suss

7 ways to customize a sweater(or any other fabric)

So let’s say, hypothetically, that you have a grey sweater in jersey. That very comfy, excellent fit kind that you really love. And that suddenly there is a stain, like a blueberry stain that’s impossible to get out. What to do? You don’t need to throw away the sweater, you can use it as a canvas for your creativity. All of these ideas can used on other items of clothing (I have) or fabric used in the home (I’ve done that too). It doesn’t matter if you are so called “up cycling” or trying to create something original from the start, these are applicable.

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1. Go all Jackson Pollock on it. Paint spatter has a long history, spatterware is actually a thing. You have to have a little bit of space to because you are flinging fabric paint on fabric (in this case) but the results can be very cool. It’s not more difficult than that.

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2. Do the dab. Whether you are using just a paint brush or one of those little round fabric sponges you can create a patter of sorts by a series of gentle applications. If you make dots with a fabric sponge you are basically creating a Damian Hirst painting. He doesn’t do the dots himself you know. If you use the brush and make marks in black paint on white fabric it will look like you have dressed yourself in a dalmatian. Cruella de Ville wasn’t wrong in wanting to do that, it’s how she went about it that was always the problem in my view. Fake dalmatian, fake snake and fake leopard is so much better then the real thing.

3. Stamp it. Fabric stamps are good stuff. You can get a ready made one or one of those “carve it yourself kits” but then you have every possibility of doing a very exact and nice print. Maybe one heart in red on one sweater, a multitude in blue on an old dress and why not make a couple of pillowcases while you are at it. My experience in this tells me that once you start, it’s difficult to stop.

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4. Iron on some letters. Here I’ve just used some left over Q’s from when I’ve been making shirts with witty captions but just randomly ironing on letters all over the from of a sweater is gonna be hella awesome. I’m sure that if I search my memory I have seen it done somewhere, or maybe I have just been thinking about doing it loads. I do have a lot of rarely used letter laying around. I got these from the craft store. You could obviously cover up a stain by just adding a cool phrase using these kinds of letters.

5. Applique s’il vous plaît. If you go to a good haberdashers you will find a range of applications that are ready made and only need to be either stitches on or ironed on. Getting a set of them, adding several over the front at regular intervals is all you need to do. Small embroidered flowers can look tragic using just one or two but a dozen of them? There is style in numbers I always say, meaning that there is safety in numbers. It looks like a thought. There are tiny patches with sequins that I’ve seen and that sort of thing would also look good on most clothing items. This technique is also very good for covering small holes and tears in items.

6. Batik is chic. Tie-dye has a bad reputation but I do love it. What you need to do to avoid that hippie vibe lays mostly in the styling. And having a cool tie-dyed sweater with just a pair of leather trousers and some heels, or just a skirt with a white crisp shirt works just fine. My bleached jeans were more ska-skin then hippie and I loved those. Either have one tie-dyed item in amongst some very classic pieces or go all in by clashing a batik shirt with some batik trousers. Indigo(or other colours) can be bought at the crafts store and then follow the instructions on the packaging.

7. The last draw. My final solution would be to get fabric pens and draw free hand. The great thing about these is that they don’t need to be fixated with an iron, not stitched on, no nothing. They just need time to dry properly. Drawing freehand can feel intimidating but obviously you can use a template.

-Suss

Tuesday & Transformations

A few of the things I’ve been wearing lately, things that started out as something else. My clothes, or indeed all sorts of fabric that comes into my realm, lives through several incarnations.

Mandarin coat used as a dressing gown, turned into a top:

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The coat or shirt was bought second hand but was a lovely big Chinese style thing in black silk with embroideries, big sleeves and a mandarin collar that I used (mostly) as a dressing gown. It wasn’t in great knick when I bought it and I wore it a lot. When seems and fabric started to give up I used the good bits to make this top that, true story, ripped in the back later in the day of this photo. Good bye and thanks for all the good times. I used the top a fair bit so no hard feelings. Will probably cut out the good bits of this and try to use those again. I do love the embroidery on this.

Halterneck dress turned into a skirt:

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Not the best photo but this skirt started out as a halterneck dress bought on sale from H&M and I have lived in it for a few summers, with the result that the ties gave up. The easiest remedy, and a chance to have this lovely print still in my life, was to cut it along the waist seam and turn it into a skirt. Took all of 15 minutes with the little sewing(zigzagging the edges) that was needed. Very happy with the results. I’ve used this trick several times, if a dress has a defined waist that is an excellent place to cut it when making it into a skirt, and I often do. Sleeves and armpits are the first thing to go on most dresses in terms of regular wear and tear.

Chair cover turned into a dress:

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This IKEA fabric was purchased to make a cover for a reading chair that I used to have that was beautiful but also on the point of disintegrating. It lasted for a while longer but when the chair gave up the fabric was still good, and so this dress happened. I use this all year round, it’s such a brilliant floral print but with dramatic colours. If the photo looks familiar it’s because it’s from my feed on IG, and old one but more fun than the one’s I had taken recently.

-Suss

Blue Monday & Mirror selfies

I do not have a crew or even a measly assistant to snap pictures of me wearing my clothes, or someone else I can dress in them so that I can take the photos myself. And I forget to ask friends as I want to talk to them about things that actually matter(books, bacon and what my cat has been up to. Oh and their lives, because they actually have them).

It’s just me,myself and my iPhone, and at this point, a good knowledge of where big mirrors can be found throughout my day. This is some of the things that I have worn lately as I try to use all the clothes that I have, and that is furthermore of my own make.

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Patchwork denim skirt; I went through a big patchwork phase this winter and and at the same time my favorite jeans, a pair of bleached ACNE jeans in the model Hex, fell apart. They got a second life mixed up with other scraps of denim from here and there. I’ve been using it now either with black sandals and a simple kashmir sweater or on the weekends with my beloved Stan Smith sneakers and a white t-shirt.

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Patchwork kimonojacket; Ignore the smudge on the mirror, and possible forget my skeptical face. I made this around the same time as the skirt. This jacket however has proven to be a surprisingly good summer cover up. It looks very good like this with denim but also with a simple dress underneath for an easy evening out or with trousers and a silky top. It has reminded me that I really really need a simple navy blue evening bag.

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Tablecloth to clothes-skirt; This fabric was woven by my mother actually. She made two different settings on the loom, alternating the colours and was intending it as tablecloth. However she never used it and so I snatched it up and used it to make a skirt. It’s linen so very comfortable to wear on warm summer days. Great with this denim blouse or as with everything else I wear;a white blouse and a black cardigan. I wore this a lot last summer with gold sandals and a white silk blouse.

Wearing blue/navy during summer is about as groundbreaking as florals for spring but whatevs. It should also be noted that I do smile, just not in photos.

-Suss

Schiaparelli & sound advice?

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The other week I read Shocking life-the autobiography of Elsa Schiaparelli, and I’d like to return to it once more. As I noted on Instagram I felt there was some great stories in this book but the designer’s instance of referring to herself in the third person made it a less then thrilling read. I wish an editor had stepped in at some point.

On the next to last page there is a list of The twelve commandments for women. This does ring a bell, I vaguely remember a Swedish magazine or possibly a radioshow bringing them up at some point, but then again as they are well known what I have to say about them is probably old hat, but here they are. These commandments were written in the 50’s and based on her experiences as a couturier but how do they hold up?

1. Since most women don’t know themselves they should try to do so.

Agreed. Knowing yourself, what suits you and what you need are probably vital for putting together a useful closet.

2. A woman who buys an expensive dress and changes it,often with disastrous results, is extravagant and foolish.

This is still good advice. But there is a certain pleasure in being extravagant and foolish, and buying an expensive dress might get you qualified as that to begin with.

3. Most women (and men) are color-blind. They should ask for suggestions.

I don’t think she means actually color-blind but rather bad a knowing what colours suit them and which go well with one another. Asking for advice is a good strategy.

4. Remember-twenty per cent of women have inferiority complexes. Seventy per cent have illusions.

Really? I would say nowadays the numbers are reversed.

5. Ninety per cent are afraid of being conspicuous and of what people will say. So they buy a grey suit. They should dare to be different.

Supposedly by following commandment three that should be sorted. And a grey suit can be a good base for some wonderful accessories. I wouldn’t mind having a grey suit actually, mixing it up with some chartreuse blouses or a raspberry red t-shirt(long sleeves).

6. Women should listen and ask for competent criticism and advice.

This list isn’t well-written, this should come before number three and then the piece of advice after that should specify  “in particular when it comes to colour”. It’s all very anti-Chanel who’s palette was very much about neutrals. They were enemies of course, Coco once(allegedly) put Elsa in the pathway of a burning candle and she caught fire.

7. They should choose their clothes alone or in the company of a man.

I prefer shopping alone as if I’m out with someone else I will spend more time on helping them then looking for myself. And if women should ask for competent advice, can staff be trusted? Not everywhere, a well-chosen friend is probably better. Personal shoppers can be hired, might not be a bad idea for some.

8. They should never shop with another woman, who sometimes consciously and often unconsciously is apt to be jealous.

Disagree. I’m an excellent shopping partner, and I know other women who are as well. And the women you can’t shop with because of jealousy will probably be like that in other areas of your life too, and maybe that’s not a relationship to invest in or maybe have an honest talk.

9. They should buy little, and only of the best or the cheapest.

This actually sounds rather cool. Still valid. But remember that “fast-fashion” is cheap because the price doesn’t reflect the use of common resources and sub-standard working conditions and is in reality very costly for the environment. Go vintage or second-hand. Swap with friends.

10. Never fit the dress to the body, but train the body to fit the dress.

I’m all for women making time to exercise as it’s vital for a good health but don’t do it to fit into a dress. And in this day and age of prêt-a-porter the clothes are made for theoretical body types. I still have to get stuff fitted for a nice silhouette as I’m between sizes and losing more wight would not be the solution.

11. A woman should buy mostly in one place where she is known and respected, ad not rush around trying every fad.

This is good advice. Establishing a personal connection with sales staff with get you better service and advice.

12. And she should pay her bills.

Schiaparelli herself obviously had a problem because her customers didn’t always pay for the clothes in time and despite being a huge commercial success she wasn’t so financially. But always pay your bills, late fees is a waste of money.

-Suss

Bruises and Batiks

 Most startling of all, a splendid dark cartoon of a black eye was stamped in a ring on my eye socket, in the richest ink of Tyrian, chartreuse and, and plum.

Earlier this year, when I was rereading The secret history by Donna Tartt, I did say that I wanted a dress in the colours of Richard Papen’s bruise. Et voilà;

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Of course this is not chartreuse, it’s yellow, but that’s as close as I’m gonna get I think. I do love a good batik or ombré but I always wear it in the same way; with a black cardigan, black shoes and plenty of lipstick (which is how I wear most things frankly). Must avoid looking like a hippie at all cost.

The fabric came from Mum (as so often), it was an old tunic with matching scarf that had been bought at some point but never used. Well now that the weather has improved I’m wearing this loads.

Things mentioned in this post;

My thoughts on The secret history

-Suss