Dressing up for Spring

Tomorrow the temperature is forecast for 14 degrees!

(Yeah all you Southerns who scoff about Northern weather! Suck it!!!)

Over the past few weeks I’ve been biding my time, getting ready to unleash my inner lady. I’m looking forward to being able to wear dresses in the day, not just in the evening when the public love to throw JD and cokes on me (like someone did when I was wearing the white dress pictured below).

White dress, £22.99 by Forever 21, Bambi necklace also Forever 21

I had to wear this dress with a modesty-sparing nude camisole underneath because the fabric is so unwearably sheer! To protect my lower half I donned tights and a tutu that I bought from the kids section of H&M a few years back. It makes the skirt look huge, but I quite like how that takes the outfit from overly demure into something curious for the evening.

Bag from Tynemouth market, tights by Topshop

I also love the detailing on the dress. Lace is still big for this season, with coloured lace being tipped for popularity, but I like more interesting and/or subtle alternatives such as the netting on this dress (and this ‘teacloth pattern’ shift dress I own from Topshop, who currently stock an amazing array of shift dresses).

The only issue I have now is finding a slip short enough to go under the dress! M&S slips I’ve tried thus far have been woefully long so I’m considering a trip to BHS sometime soon. When I wore the dress before (to a Little Comets and Vinyl Jacket gig), it was with the tutu underskirt, biker jacket and lashings of smokey eye makeup. Next time I want to take the look in an entirely opposite direction, with a fresh face and girly accessories. (Tips for slips much appreciated!)

Today I took my first ‘Spring look’ out on the street, hitting the BALTIC in Newcastle to check out the new exhibitions by George Shaw and Lindsay Seers. I thought I’d match the everlasting Summer staples – florals and nautical inspiration. I also thought I’d cling onto the Mad Men trend before the hysteria dies down.

Rose silk alice band by Stone Bridge, sailor cardigan £10 by Primark, Bag from Tynemouth market, Dress and shoes by Peacocks. Necklace handmade by me!

I’ve done ‘Mad Men’ with the demure nude kitten heels and vintage bag, nautical with the cardigan and necklace (which I made from an old keyring) and florals with the dress and the beautiful rose silk alice band that I was sent by the lovely Melissa and Claire from luxury hair accessories company Stone Bridge. I wouldn’t normally throw so many things together, but I haven’t yet found a jacket to go with the dress so I settled for the cardi and thought I’d try and – in the words of Project Runway’s Tim Gunn – “Make it work”.

I’ve decided to try and get other people to take outfit pics for me when possible so I can get some shots outside – and out of my room. The other day my manager Kevin said that my tripod shot photos from my room ‘made me look like a kidnap victim’. Volunteer photographers out there get in touch!

Oh, thought I’d post this picture because it made me giggle. The BALTIC shop has tons of amazing cards, including designs by cult T-shirt shop Lazy Oaf (and some similar independent designs that the latter also stocks online).

Card, £2.50 from the BALTIC shop

Heehee!

Faceless.

I just watched Cycle 15 of America’s Next Top Model in two days.

This cycle was called ‘ANTM Elevated’ due to the incorporation of more top fashion houses (such as Versace and Roberto Cavalli) and a prize that included a spread in Italian Vogue.

Rather than ‘make like a model’ I thought I’d have a gleeful dig through my wardrobe and mix old and new bits and pieces together. I’ve been to the shops a few times since Christmas but haven’t found too much sales wise – I’ve still got Zara and Top Shop vouchers to splurge – but I’m biding my credit ’til I see something I “simply have to have, darlings!”

Trousers £14.99 by Zara, Shirt and shoes both by H&M

One joyous miracle happened recently on my 22nd birthday when I found a black version of my favourite camel trousers reduced in Zara to £14.99 from £19.99. Anyone who knows this blog at all will be aware that I’ve been trying to find ‘cigarette pants’ for an absolute age so to find them for such a bargain was rather pleasing! (Particularly as I used a Christmas voucher to buy them so it cost nada – thanks Tony!)

Jumper knitted by Deb, leggings 'freecycled', shoes by Dune

I borrowed this jumper from my Dad when I was cold at Christmas and his wife Deb gave it to me ‘because it suited me more’! I’ve wanted an oversized jumper for a while (thanks Deb!) but it doesn’t belt well so I have to wear with leggings to avoid looking too shapeless – I think it works though. The American Apparel style leggings were a free find at a Friends of the Earth Freecycle event I went to before I left Birmingham. Although I was primarily there to offload old clothes I couldn’t carry, I couldn’t resist these! The heels are also a thrift from my shoe hoarding mother. All in all a budget-free look.

Shirt from Oxfam, skirt from Cow Vintage, headband £1.25 (sale price) by Peacocks and boots by Melissa for Anglomania

I held out all holiday season for these boots by Anglomania (one of Vivienne Westwood’s diffusion lines). They arrived as a last present miracle from my fabulous sister Charlotte. Weirdly enough they smell pleasantly fruity so I lay around with my nose in the boots for an alarming amount of time! I shortened and hemmed the skirt so it was of more wearable length but accidentally burned a hole in it… oops! And I’ve not yet worn the shirt out of my room, so I should probably start getting more use out of it!

Dress from PDSA, heels by Office

I got this shift dress for about £3 in 2008 when I was doing work experience as a BBC Blast reporter. I had no money but a desire to spend it, so the PDSA charity shop was a good place for me to browse! The heels were my extravagant purchase from my short spell acting at Birmingham’s MAC theatre during a break from University. They are rather high so I don’t wear them out much, although I wore them for graduation. There were concerns that I’d fall over in front of everyone, but actually it was my oversized mortarboard hat that caused the issue.

Now… to the Top Shop sale! (Suggestions of what to buy, anyone?)

The perfect LBLD?

I’ve always dreamed of finding that ‘perfect Little Black Dress’

I thought I found it for a mere £9.99 in H&M today but when I got to the dressing room it just didn’t fit right.

I had places to be so had to leave the strapless, shiny black pleated bargain behind with the shop assistants. Feeling down I moved to leave the shop but stopped in my tracks near the exit… By Jupiter! I had found it!

It was wrinkly, not in my size and made of fake leather! I had to buy a size up but it means it will be perfect for casual winter layering (for the Amazing Radio office) whilst not being a too tight and ‘fetish’ looking. Once off the hanger and on my body the wrinkles disappeared and gave an almost smooth look.

Faux leather dress, £14.99, white shirt both by H&M

Faux leather dress, £14.99, white shirt both by H&M

It’s the perfect day-to-night dress too. Here I toughen it up a little with my Peacocks grey hiking boots.

Boots £20 by Peacocks

I quite like it with my red heels too; there’s plenty a pair of shoes that would work with this dress which is why I adore it so.

I have a gig with The Union Choir in support of The Winter Hill Transmission’s single launch next Friday (19th November) and I’m not sure if I should wear this or the Primark dress below…

Dress £15, by Primark

The flash of my camera has made the underskirt of this dress look a lot shinier than it actually is. It reminds me of a Peacocks dress I saw in a magazine (but it’s a lot nicer in the lace detailing department and £8 cheaper.) I have to wear it with a belt because the empire line design into the full skirt is so unflattering I was tempted to take it back. The swift addition of the belt made me have a sudden change of heart.

I think that the leather look dress might be better for The Union Choir gig, and the crochet dress for my first Get Frank gig on the 25th November – but again, I’m not sure.

Help me out? Which one for which occasion?!

Crazy for Peacocks

Regular readers of this blog (and people who know me) will probably know that I’m a massive Peacocks fan.

I often look online to check out for new products (and am a regular in both the Gateshead and Newcastle stores.) I recently bought these loafers in brown and these Victorian boots that I’m itching to wear more.

Pearl Lowe's new Christmas range for Peacocks, released November 14th

I’ve been indulging in X Factor and Facebook this evening, and earlier on noticed that the Peacocks Facebook group was getting active over the fashionable side of X Factor. It was then than I noticed that preview pictures of Pearl Lowe’s new Peacocks collection had been revealed and a few new bags. The picture above has really excited me… I am obsessed with the dress on the far right. It’s beautiful! I hope that champagne colour will suit my skintone… I also really hope I’ll manage to get my hands on one. I have some purple 5 1/2 inch Irregular Choice heels that will go perfectly with it! Fingers crossed.

 

The Beatrice bag... arriving mid November

This bag is also on my wish list. I absolutely love the colour, the fake ostrich texture and the clasp – the perfect Mad Men inspired bag combined with this season’s ‘it colour’ of red (check out Jess Cartner-Morley’s Guardian article here). I haven’t really got any ‘little’ bags so for me I have an excuse to run out and grab it the day it hits the stores…

I really am obsessed aren’t I?

On a music/fashion note I’m looking for band T-Shirts to start ‘styling up’ for this blog so if you’d like me to write about your band and wear your t-shirt then please get in touch!

Leather bum

Apparently it was all about winter shorts on the front row of the recent ‘fashion month’ which got me wondering… what makes a pair of shorts ‘wintery’?

The Observer’s weekend magazine solved it for me quite quickly just this Sunday as I read their article on dressing for one’s age. Accompanying the article was a page of high street picks (by catagory, i.e boots.) Apparently, as a 21 year old it is my destiny to wear black leather shorts throughout winter (and pay a hefty sum for the privilege).

I decided that if destiny had started making my style choices, I might as well have some kind of influence on how things panned out (without completely ruining what fate had previously decreed via the pages of OM Magazine.) Thus I headed to Zara, where I had seen these shorts on a previous trip.

 

Top £16 by Topshop, Shorts £29.99 by Zara

 

So yes, apologies for the dim photo, but my ‘twist’ on fate was to choose brown shorts (some might say the colour of ‘Leatherface’ from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but that kind of felt relevant due to Halloween being on the cards!) I’ve tucked the slubby breton Topshop top into the shorts in the above pic, although it’s quite short and deliberately oversized which means it particularly goes with slim cut cigarette trousers (I’ve yet to find the perfect pair…sigh).

 

Shirt £7.99 by H&M, Scarf £3 by Primark, Boots £25 by Peacocks

 

Aside from shorts being very much in vogue with the fashion editors at Paris fashion week, they were reportedly worn with bare legs (eek!)

 

 

Vintage jacket from Cancer Research (customised with Tiger Balm logo applique)

 

Ok so there’s a lot of brown in the last outfit, (and it’s not even shade-of-the-moment-camel-shock-horror!), but I do love this jacket. I got it four years ago at a Cancer Research charity shop in Maidstone from their ‘retro rail’. I took out the shoulder pads and stitched on a Tiger Balm appliqued logo that I’d rescued from a hemp tee that had gone wrong in the wash. I might wear this more as a winter-to-spring get up, although time will tell what the seasons will bring weather-wise! On a more realistic side of things I believe I’ll be teaming this shorts up with a creamy opaque pair of tights and these boots, or roughing things up with some tall, woolly tights and my canvas boots (with the bouncy rubber heel that I pray people never notice.)

On a slightly different ‘style’ note I need to find something to wear for a band photo shoot with the new Get Frank lineup – ideas much appreciated!

We’ll be heading into the studio at the end of next week to record our first EP – we’ve made light work of my back catalogue and are ready to go. There’s more of a freeform improvisational feel to some of the tracks and I’m very excited to finally get some proper recordings circulating (I’ve never had any at all so these will be the first). We’re looking for gigs in and around Newcastle too so ideas are again very welcome!



Too young for Mad Men, too old for Rydell High?

I finally have shoes!

My dad and his wife finally made it up to Newcastle so I have shoes and dresses once more… hurrah! Most of the dresses are meant for evening, but there’s a few skirts including the Topshop full circle skirt in the following shots.

Skirt by Topshop, shirt by H&M, belt by Zara

Shoes and socks both by Primark

Headband by H&M, Necklace by ladyluckrulesok.com

I bought the scallop patterned skirt last summer whilst interning at Channel 4 for a bargainous £10. I’ve not worn it too much because I’ve never had a top to wear it with… until now. The full skirt is very much in vogue at the moment, with Mad Men taking the fashion world by storm. I feel the softness of the peasant style shirt and brown belt softens up the look slightly, whilst the just-above-knee length makes the look younger too (more Grease than, say, fifties secretary.)

Although the shoes are difficult to see, they’re a navy bow detailed pair I got from Primark a couple of seasons ago. I wouldn’t necessarily team them with pink socks, but I want to make the most of getting away with summer before it gets truly cold outside. I might really go for colour as it gets colder with this look and go for bright tights (such as a sheer red, or maybe even a yellow),

I’m very excited about my shoes too as my Dad brought a load up. There weren’t as many has I had originally as I had to have a bit of a clearout… I haven’t counted how many I have yet! I did pick up a new pair of amazing Victorian style boots from Peacocks today for £25. When I saw them online it was love at first sight… In the shop today I went dizzy trying to decide between brown and black but went for brown because I think they’ll be wearable right into Springtime that way… although I’m severely tempted to get the black colour too!

Boots £25 by Peacocks, Socks £2 for 3 pairs from Primark

This is really more of a springtime look, but I figured that I could team this with tights, a cardi/jacket and a wooly beret to keep the look cosy. (Roll on springtime!)

The boots fit perfectly so I’m pondering attempting the walk to work in them. My only worry is that I’ll wear into the heel too quickly… most of my shoes need reheeling as the nails are all exposed at the bottom. I must be pretty tough on them!

Shoe porn is on it’s way soon, I promise!

How I wish I were a fashionista

When I was younger I hated shopping.

Maybe it was the freedom of a student loan, but once I hit uni, I became increasingly interested in clothes and fashion. It’s a growing obsession that sees me spending my lunch break on high street store websites and on fabulous blogs like Selina’s Flying Saucer.

I’d love to start my own fashion blog, but aside from the fact that most of my stuff is still in Kent (I moved from Birmingham to Newcastle with a suitcase and a supermarket ‘bag for life’) I’ve mostly been getting odds, ends and essentials from the shops.

I was wondering if my blog should focus on adapting pieces I already have to new trends, or combining new and old pieces, I’m not too sure. I don’t have a camera or a tripod at the moment so I’ve had to stick my macbook on top of my wardrobe to get the following shots…

High waisted trousers from Zara sale, 'Kenya' lion tee from Urban Outfitters sale

High waisted trousers from Zara sale, 'Kenya' lion tee from Urban Outfitters sale

This picture, for example, consists of old and new.

The tee is from an Urban Outfitters sale. I got it a few months ago for a tenner and I really love it. It’s long enough to go with jeggings or leggings without swamping me.

The high waisted Zara trousers were lusted after by me for ages. I’d been looking for a ‘paperbag waist’ style for ages and happened to come across them on the Zara website. After work that evening, I was off to the Metro Centre like a shot!

I’ve teemed these with pink Primark brogues (£12), and a small copy of Mulberry’s ‘Alexa’ satchel. It was a bargainous £16.99 from Internacionale. I love that it doesn’t swamp me and can be easily mistaken for something of greater marketable worth! A friend recently did a double take in a nightclub… and I had to reassure her it was a desperate fake!

I’m still umming and erring about whether I can go out in public like this however! The trousers have not left my house yet since their purchase, due to the fact that I worry about how unflattering they might look. I bought some low waisted chinos too that have had a couple of trips, but because they sit lower on the hips, they don’t risk so much of a ‘belly bulge’ look. On the other side of things, I’m not too big (about a size 8-10) so I figure that if I do look bigger than normal, I still won’t look larger than your average person (and that can’t possibly be a bad thing… could it?)

Bag by Internacionale, shoes by Primark

Bag by Internacionale, shoes by Primark

You can probably tell that I’m in desperate need of a tripod… and also a proper wardrobe! I’ve just moved house and the wardrobe doesn’t have a rail in it. The bottom drawer of the chest in the background is also knackered!

Because I’ve been dealing with rent situations I’ve been a bit cash strapped recently, although I did some work in May that I’m awaiting pay for. Once that comes through I’ll hopefully shed myself of outstanding debts (student loan excluded of course!) and get myself a tripod and passable camera.

Whether people will want these posts from me is another thing… I don’t know if I have an audience for this blog, let alone a fashion loving one, so I’ll keep the clothing posts occasional, unless there is a demand for it.

In other news, I cannot wait for the Zara online shop to arrive! It’s coming on September 2nd, and as there isn’t one in Newcastle town centre, I’m guessing it’s going to become one of my most visited sites! I just love their clothes. I’d definitely choose Zara over Topshop, every time! Aside from Zara, I have to admit that my favourite store is Peacocks!

Parka, dress and shoes all by Peacocks

Parka, dress and shoes all by Peacocks

I got this dress a few months ago, even wearing it to my graduation. It was £20 with my student discount, and I absolutely love it. Clearly it can be dressed up with heels but easily worn with more of an edge, like in the picture on the right. My favourite way to wear it is with a pair of mid heel, tan coloured New Look brogues that I got from a charity shop for £3 and a pair of grey/brown hiking socks (my first lot were from Primark, but I can’t find them in there anymore… gutted!)

The parka was £25 and the heeled boots were £20 (mine are grey.) Both items are ‘this season’ but for some reason I can’t find the jacket online anywhere. (It was sold out in the Newcastle branch so I had to get mine from Gateshead. I have a feeling that it’s been rather popular.)

Peacocks parka, £25

I really did want a jacket like this months ago, (pre Glastonbury in fact). I searched all over Birmingham but couldn’t find anything so I was ecstatic when I found this.

Although someone told me it doesn’t rain much in Newcastle, it’s been torrential rain for most of August so I’m glad I found this jacket in time! My Primark pac-a-parka was just not doing anything for my rep in the Amazing Radio office!

The boots might raise eyebrows, especially when I tell you that they have a springy rubber heel – however I figured that rubber and shoes are both the subject of fetishes, and together they kind of cancel out their own fetishisation! This is extremely twisted logic. But this is also fashion. Maybe.

Peacocks 'Bella' boots, £20

So that’s pretty much it for my first attempt at writing about fashion. Hopefully I’ve been the opposite of elitist, and easy to read!

I do find it kind of strange taking pics of myself and posting so many up, but I guess it’s in the name of fashion! Plus, my angles are out of necessity rather than that very ‘2005’ Myspace fad.

So if you think I should stick to writing about music/radio, that’s cool – and if you like what I’m doing then also please say so. I’ll still be writing about my career and work experiences for 4Talent’s blog… which I really need to do again sometime soon!

So until next time darlings…. goodbye!

Frank x

(p.s Lipstick is Lancome’s Le Rouge Absolut in Caprice, 132 with Body Shop lip liner in Red, 007.)