Tuesday, October 19, 2010

That's so...

Have you ever bought something just because it reminded you of someone’s style. Obviously a good sense of style that you would want to emulate – the problem is, people look good in things that you think “that’s so... them” because it is so them. Do you really think you can pull off their look? And get away with it?

While in Melbourne earlier in the year, I went into one shop which looked like it held stuff I could get at home. What the hell, I thought, it looks like pretty cool clothes and surely there will be some things New Zealand won’t get. I ended up buying this really cool Wrangler dress/top (shirty dressy thing). When I saw it I thought “that’s so kate*” and she always looks so cool. I’m totally going to buy this”. And I did.
*Kate's name is not actually Kate.

So I get back to Wellington, go to a party where ‘kate’ hangs out and lo-and-behold it wasn’t just a dress that looked like something she would wear, it was something she owned. That’s why it looked so her. What a knob! And as it turned out, she was jealous of my one, because I’d bought in a different colour, which was apparently much preferable to the one she already had.

Well that backfired. That’s a totally great “casual night out (but still looking good)” top that I can no longer wear to that particular haunt – and it’s a regular haunt, where I go to parties alot, so basically there’s a whole group of people that will never marvel at my lovely dress again.

Lesson learned.

Really? I think not. I’m always finding some new fashion muse who I think looks great and kinda quirky and edgy and therefore try to buy similar things. And that is where it fails. That person looks different. When people start trying to look like them, I bet they go right ahead and change their look – always one step ahead of the fashion game. It doesn’t matter if it’s a real person or celebrity – the reason they look so good is that it’s totally them.

I’m currently a huge fan of Alexa Chung. There are two problems with this. Alexa Chung is like a million miles tall and super super skinny. I am pretty average all round. Alexa Chung has shitloads of money to spend on designer clothes as they come out. I shop off the rack – six months after the British season. It’s never going to work.

Ok, so we can’t all be fashion pioneers. But there’s two ways to go about it. You can be a sheep. Follow fashion blindly and ignore that most things doesn’t actually work for everyone. Or, you can be a leader – embrace what is distinctly you and create your own style. Obviously you have to work with what’s out there, but mixing it up with vintage/retro pieces. Pieces with individuality. Pieces that are “just so you”.

What I wouldn’t advise is being too much of a leader. There’s only room for so many Lagy Gagas out there. When you’re wearing meat just to stay ahead of the pack, you’ve gone too far!

(Below I have shared some of my celebrity fashion muses – they're not always on the money and I wouldn’t wear everything they wear – but they're certainly ladies of great style that is their own.)
Rachel Bilson
Gwen Stefani
Kelly Osbourne
Alexa Chung
Chloe Sevingy

Saturday, October 16, 2010

This ain't the Wild Wild West

I was going to write this post months ago but somehow never got round to it. Thankfully, it's still relevant due to fashion trends being retarded! DENIM DENIM DENIM. It's everywhere! And it makes me want to run into the shops tearing up mannequins!

Denim belongs in one place - on the legs. Jeans - great. Denim cut-offs - sure. But anything beyond ankles or waist is just bad. There is one particular shop on Lambton Quay that I cannot stand looking at any longer, because the window display is advertising not only denim, but denim ON DENIM. YUK! And the irony is, the shop is Just Jeans. Well shop, I think you should do as your name suggests and rein in the meandering denim situation! Burn that awful full length denim dress! Melt down that tacky denim waistcoat!

Too much of anything is bad, we've said it before, so why is it suddenly ok to plaster yourself in stonewash?

Meet Woody. He is a (albeit fake) cowboy. But do you see any denim on denim action going on here?
I don't think so. So if the cowboy's aren't going there, neither should we.

I was somewhat freaked out yesterday while waiting for my fatty lunch to arrive. While flicking through an Australian Vogue, I stumbled across what is usually my favourite part of a magazine - the part where they take a trendy look and break it down so as to make it accessible to us plebs. But no, this was all wrong. 'How to work the cowboy look'. UGHHH. God forbid I ever see someone walking down the street in blue jeans, brown cowboy boots, denim waistcoat and a cowboy hat! And the tassles, well don't get me started, that's a story for another time.

As much as this 'trend' has featured this year, I haven't actually seen anyone (yet) committing such crimes. But summer is on it's way, which means a fresh new bunch of school graduates enjoying their new uniform-free lives. If you see any shredded denim scattered on the streets of Wellington in the following months, you'll know the fashion police (i.e me) have been on duty.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Confessions of a shopaholic

Wow, for a start here, I’m surprised that the word shopaholic is not posing any problems for Word – no squiggly red line – and we all know how Word loves its squiggly red lines.

Anyway, I’m very glad that summer is slowing reaching our shores. Not just for the stocking-free legs and leaving-behind of coats, but for the safety of my money.

I’m extremely averse to spending my lunchbreaks in the staffroom at my work. It’s an awfully small room with acoustics like an empty tin can (for really small people) – and then there’s the people. I have nothing against my colleagues, it’s the closeness of them in such rooms that I cannot stand. Well that, and there’s just some people that don’t understand “don’t talk to me” body language. Quiet lunch is not in this room’s vocabulary.

So what do I do? For a while there I took lunch at my desk – though this poses problems of its own. Not only does it mean another hour of sitting on your ass, it also seems to be an invitation for every moron that chooses to ignore the sandwich in your hand and come and give you work to do. So I like to go walking at lunch.
I generally buy my lunch anyway so I have to go out and find something to eat. This disposes of about 15 minutes including eating time (I’m a very fast walker and eater – perhaps slowing down would solve some of my problems). Wanting to take the full hour that I am entitled to I find myself wandering Lambton Quay. Not only is it under cover – vital on a wintery Wellington day – but there are things to occupy my time. Namely shops.

Herein lies the problem. I am a notorious compulsive shopper. I walk into a store thinking “I’ll just kill 5 minutes looking around”, but these darn stores! Stocking items I like and want! Being relatively affordable so I think, “owell, I can just get this and it will be no problem...”. $40 here, $60 there, what’s the difference right? I have disposable income.

I also have a wardrobe brimming with clothes and shoes. I can barely move the hangers anymore. There are dresses in there I forget about because they’re so closely hung, if there’s not an inch of material poking out the front it gets lost in the depths. We’ve discussed this before. But it’s so hard to see something totally cute and walk away from it!

Often I pick it up, totally kidding myself, thinking “if I just try it on it will kill another few minutes”. “Just try it on” is not in my vocabulary. Trying on generally means swiping card in my world. Only if it turns out that this item looks completely hideous on me does the effort of trying on go without clutching for wallet.

Wait! I suddenly think, maybe that is the answer – don’t take my wallet with me! Unfortunately I know myself too well – that will only result in a painfully drawn out purchasing process, where I anguish over the garment, the wanting increases, and I return the next day to retrieve the left-behind soldier. God forbid if it should be gone! What a fool I was, thinking I could leave a size 10 on the rack when there was only one left!

And so on. You know how the story goes. So summer! My dear friend! In summer I will happily take my lunch down to the waterfront or to some grassy green and sit there in the sun until it’s time to return to work. I can take a book or listen to my ipod and be quite content in a break well spent. As opposed to a break over-spent.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wellington welcomes Topshop

Six months after opening the doors (and quickly selling out) in its Auckland store, Topshop has finally made its way to Wellington. You would not believe my excitement when I read the news. Feelings of “bloody Auckland getting all the good shops mutter mutter” and “well it’s about time” were tsunami’d by excitement. Who can I tell? I thought. Who is at work at this time that will appreciate the news?
It didn’t take long to find someone! And after a bit of meercatting the news soon spread.

Topshop “opens” in Wellington on Saturday (16 October) as a line within the Karen Walker store on Wakefield Street. This caused three slight snuffs of the fashion flames that were a-burnin. Firstly, this means it’s only a selection of items. They will be selected weekly by Karen Walker. For me this says it will be some of the more expensive lines (in a Stuff interview, KW says it will be an “ultimate edit of the best of Topshop”. As I read that line, dollar signs began to replace the letters.

Secondly, a weekly turnaround is not a lot of time to get down there and get the things you want while they are in stock – will there be regular updates on the Karen Walker website? And then adding to this, the store is on Wakefield Street. This is relatively far away for me. I don’t care about the rest of you or where you work. This about me! I can’t get down to Wakefield Street and back in my lunchbreak. I work on the Terrace – my domain is generally Lambton Quay or maybe as far as Cuba for a special mission, usually on a Friday when my lunch hour is fairly liberal. This means a Saturday mission. The line is replenished on Tuesdays, I can get there on Saturdays... you can see my dilemma.

This weekend the store within a store opens and KW will be stocked with only Topshop clothes. I can only imagine something from a movie scene, crowds practically busting down the doors to get in, the racks emptied in a matter of minutes. I’m taking my heaviest handbag so I can smack some pushy fashion bitches down. Take no prisoners! This is war.

So, despite these things (most of which pertain specifically to me), this is a huge win for Wellington! Thank you Karen for bringing the greatness that is Topshop to my world. I’m sure you will all be hearing a lot more about it post-weekend fashion frenzy.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

investment boots

Why is it that when you say the words “investment boots” to a man they snigger as if there is some joke. Maybe they realise that they’ve missed the joke but still laugh in a naive attempt to cover up their lack of knowledge. But investment boots are a real thing, and no laughing matter. Any woman will nod approvingly, giving total justification to your (possibly) irrational spend-up. They know what you’re talking about. They know, because they’ve been there, seen the price tag, laboured over the decision for a day or so, and marched right back into that shop with credit card in hand.

Debris readers, I give you my investment boots. *satisfied smile*

Can you imagine my delight when I saw the style appearing in Vogue’s 2010 September issue. Not only did I get a bargain buying boots just before spring, but their inclusion in America’s fashion bible for the upcoming months mean they style is going to swing back into our winter next year. And I will be waaaay ahead of the pack. Ah satisfaction. And endorsement - from none other than Anna Wintour. I am the cat that got the cream.

I’m presently the cat that got the cream and found it so good it went right back to its day-old biscuits. These boots are so wonderful, so pristine and leathery-smelling that I’ve only brought myself to wear them four or five times. Of course now, the days are getting longer and hotter, and I can relax in the knowledge that my boots are waiting for me. Looking lovely, garnering jealousy from visitors I invite to gaze upon them. I have them. They are mine.

The look is something a bit different. I took some informants with me on the second viewing and the response from them was not what I had expected. Not the response you want when you’re about to spend over $400 on something. They weren’t so sure. Were they right for me, would they make my ankles look fat, wasn’t there something else I liked? I took in their words like a dagger through the heart. Maybe I wasn’t going to walk out of the store with my precious after all?

Fortunately, I came to my senses and bought them. It didn’t matter what the people said. I was in love. And the boots weren’t for anyone else. They were for me. And they are so me! (Something we will discuss in the not-so-distant future.)

It’s a hard thing, finding boots. I went to Melbourne with the distinct goal of buying some and I failed. I did buy some brown leather boots as planned, but they weren’t the right ones. I’d come to the end of my shopping tether and was damned if I was going to leave without buying brown leather boots in some shape or form. And my stubbornness saw them pawned off on Trade Me for much less than I paid for them – and therein lies the fail.

The other problem was the boots that they were meant to replace. I love these boots. They had served me well for two and a half years. How could I even think about replacing such loyal friends? And why can’t shoe stores just stock the same boots for a few years running? Or sell them in two packs for the forward-thinking shopper.

Unfortunately it had to be done. But the result was amazing. A True Investment. No sniggers allowed - Anna Wintour will not allow it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

rant on pants

I usually leave men’s fashion to the experts – their girlfriends (I kid, I kid!). Most guys seem to know what they’re doing but things have been going awry for more than a year now. There is an issue that must be addressed. It’s obviously something that is mainly affecting today’s male youth – already a bunch of skinny-jean wearing floppy-haired saps with questionable sexuality – but this one’s gone too far. Somewhere between winter’s skinny jean and summer shorts a fashion was born.

Like a mongrel cross-breed of bike shorts and denim, this gross miscarriage of fashion should never have occurred. And unlike many fashions that try and fail, this one has somehow slipped through to a second season. If you ask me, and many other readers, it should have been aborted long ago.

I’m talking about skinny denim knee-length shorts. Possibly the gayest-looking male fashion ever. And I don’t mean that in an unintentionally anti-gay “that’s so gay” way – I mean it in a “it makes you look like you are gay” way. Misguided gaydars are blipping all over town. So stop it. Stop the madness right now!

The uptake seems to be worse amongst youthful mods who think coloured plastic sunnies are the height of cool, synthesised voice makes the song, and Kanye is god. Even He’s managed to maintain a certain looseness and softness to the fabric of his short pants and I applaud him for it. Although that’s not saying much – these days I would applaud him for being any less of an asshat than his usual douchey self. But I digress. This fashion madness seems to be confined to those between the age of 15 and 25. If I saw it on anyone over the age of 25 I would be seriously concerned about their capacity for mental growth. We can forgive mistakes of the youth.

For some reason the worst case scenario is the light wash skinny variety, although I can’t give any credit to those slightly looser, darker and with the uber wanky upturned cuffs. Upturned cuffs are generally for when your pants are too long my friend – what are you doing out there? – wading through knee-high water all day? Why would you ever need to turn your cuff up at the knees? And if your shorts are long as to rub your knoees - buy shorter shorts!

And then there’s the general skinniness of them all. The whole point of shorts is comfort in the summer. A bit of breeze up the leghole that pants can’t offer. Do you really need your junk pressed awkwardly between flesh and unrelenting denim in the hot summer months? Why would you do that to yourself?

There is a recurring theme here people and it is “why?” Why? Why? Why? And why?