Trick or Treat?

Here I am playing with textures like I said. The choice du jour? A black lace A-line pleated skirt from Topshop (with my trusty Topshop boots, which I actually found by accident as the salesgirl brought me the wrong box which contained a better pair of boots than I was after) and a slightly over-straightened fringe. 
To make the effect of the lace better the lining only hits mid-thigh...on normal people. But when you're pear-shaped with a long torso things tend to hit a little..higher than intended. Black tights were of course essential. In the summer this will be perfect with a white t-shirt, bare legs and strategic sitting. 
Despite the heading I actually wore this on Monday for my review; I find dressing up a little is empowering when you need to make an impression. Did I get the result I wanted?


Wide on top

My thinking here was an alternative way to wear a leather pencil skirt without feeling self-conscious/being required to wear stupidly high heels/just being a little different. Plus I was trying the trick of making your bottom half look slimmer by widening the top half. Not sure if it worked. 
But I like it anyway.


An ode to Natasha Khan

I love Bat for Lashes. I mean, I'm a huge fan of flailing, wailing-type female musicians in general (Stevie, Kate, Florence) but I think my love for Bat for Lashes, aka Natasha Khan, runs a little deeper than that.
Firstly, because her newly released third album, The Haunted Man, is possibly one of the best records I've ever purchased and is one of the few records that doesn't have a track I don't like on it. Seriously worth buying too as one of the best tracks - the spooky, festive Lumen - is a bonus track. But if not, listen to the title track and Winter Fields until Spotify blocks it.
And secondly, because Natasha herself is one of those brilliant stars who manages not to be a star, while saying all the right sort of empowering things demanded of a true icon. As an extensive and insightful interview with Pitchfork (which is worth a click to marvel at the gorgeous presentation) reveals, following the world tour to promote her second album Two Suns, she returned home to her Brighton flat alone and single. But unlike Adele and her ilk who turn their heartbreak into beautiful yet bitter records, Natasha took the time and put in the effort to transcend heartbreak and produce an album of incredible power and scope. It's got the blistering, raw and epic power of a truly awe-inspiring creative soul, and showcases what you might expect from a person who, instead of forcing themselves halfheartedly through the creative process, has sat down quietly with themselves, and themselves alone, in a dark room, until they were happy to emerge, hand in hand with themselves, and come crashing back into the world with the best album of their career to date. 
And also, because she says stuff like this about her appearing naked on the album cover. 
Update: I went to her gig last night in the HMV Forum, Kentish Town. Absolutely mind-blowing. She has incredible energy and never missed a note, even while dancing energetically to every song that wasn't 'Laura'. If you get a chance, see her live - a performer of the highest order.


And now for something completely different...

I've never been a huge fan of Alexa Chung, but by golly that girl wears clothes well. Her two ELLE UK covers and shoots perfectly encapsulate her demure yet sweetly sexy girl-boy style. Sort of the British equivalent of the manic pixie dream girl. Where the US has Summer Finn, we have Anna Gardiner (the protagonist in Like Crazy, who loves Paul Simon, writes poetry and wears vintage). And Alexa is the tribe's queen. 
(Alexa Chung for ELLE UK November 2011 and March 2012)
So when I spotted this ASOS dress that combines the simple androgynous cool of the first look and the elaborate collar of the second, I jumped at it. 
And while I don't have Alexa's terrifyingly skinny legs on enviably flat stomach, I think it works well with a cute little bob haircut. 


Autumn colours

It's been a beautiful autumn day in London, so I went for a walk on what actually turned out to be a still very green Hampstead Heath. There's a definite chill in the air though - no repeat of the heatwave we had last October. Suits me nicely. 
I proudly declare a season my favourite every time a new one comes in, but for the scenery autumn definitely beats the others. Dramatic colour contrasts of the leaves, from green to gold, red and brown with cold sunlight cannot be beaten. For someone with a flair for the dramatic, it really is the perfect season. Also makes me want to watch Hero again. 
I know I said that I would be sticking to a blue, black and white colour palette for AW12 but I was desperate to wear quite possibly my favourite dress again - a mustard-coloured A-line beauty from ASOS that I've worn and washed so many times it's got a bobbly texture. Then while trying it on I happened to catch a glimpse of my then-ice blue nails against it, which coupled with the need for a jumper resulted in a stunning colour clash. 

Et voila - perfect autumn-winter colour combination. I'll make sure to try this jumper with my mustard 3/4 length trousers.


The Moran fiasco/why you should never tweet your heroes

In the aftermath of the Caitlin Moran Girls interview debaucle (though debaucle is putting it mildly) I did a lot of reading of blogs and tweets to try and formulate a response to it and adjust my view on the show, the media, privilege, racism, feminism...you name it. And while I'm no way near close to forming a response to that yet, I did have some thoughts about how this incident reflects on my perceptions of Moran and others I idolise. I initially submitted it to popular feminisn-lite blog The Vagenda, but it was shot down (I imagine the milidly inflammatory remarks about certain journalists the member of the team I dealt with wanted to impress, along with suggestions that we form our own opinions independent from internet influence, came into play). So I will publish it here.

Everyone has heroes. Like the modern equivalent of gods for the largely athiest public consciousness, a hero is someone to steer your life by, to map your goals through, and to act as a handy cultural fingerprint for who you are. As a hero, the way you behave is inextricably linked to how you are perceived as a public figure - see the backlash Rihanna faced, and now the ridicule attracted to Leona Lewis when she suggested Chris Brown would be an excellent choice to play Christian Grey. 

But you are only human, of course. It's a truth universally acknowledged that everyone, at some point in their lives, will behave in a totally cuntish manner. From extra-matiral affairs, making the joke that you should never make or answering truthfully when the person you don't really like gets the person/job of their dreams and asks the rhetorical 'are you happy for me' question, everyone will, inevitably, on a small scale or in front of a massive audience, be a total cunt. 

Ignorance is bliss, especially when it comes to heroes. In the same way that the deluded Republican member of the US government's science committee proudly proclaimed that he believes the Big Bang Theory is a lie made in the pit of hell, looking too closely at something you idolise can only end in tears. Look at all the disenchanted formerly religious kids and the students-turned-graduates who hate the Liberal Democrats. Like religion before it, the modern-day pop culture icon has only a faint shroud between it and the prying, inquisitive deductive reasoning powers of a crowd fascinated with it. Like Greek gods on pedestals, we study these idols, fascinated, but if we get too close, we see cracks. 

(Moran - a feminist, yes, but still makes mistakes)

I try not to dig too deeply into the back stories of my chosen idols. I feel sad that I can no longer fancy Michael Fassbender knowing he beat up his ex-girlfriend (yes, sorry everyone, Google it) and I know I crush dreams when I raise the point that John Lennon and Steve Jobs were really not very nice men. Witnessing the crushing of your idol, seeing the gilt statue come crashing down, is always a sad experience, and one we meet with more and more as we get older and start to have to accept that we don't live in Narnia or Never Never Land, that the world is a nasty place and that people can be horrible. Especially on the internet, the unerasable time capsule that can give us an up-to-the-minute account of when the gloss came off our idol. And, what's worse, we can see it happen for ourselves. 

You've probably figured out by now where I'm going with this - last week, following the publication of an interview with Girls creator Lena Dunham, Times columnist, new-wave pop feminist figurehead and all-round legendary nutter (edit: see the comments) Caitlin Moran caused quite a storm by, flippantly and in keeping with her usual off-the-cuff style, successfully alienated a large proportion of her fanbase, namely those who aren't white middle class women. From a flippant response to a single tweet from the type of Twitter user who treads the fine line between making a point and looking for a fight to a full-blown block-unblock segregation shitstorm in a matter of hours. Other journalists (similarly from the white middle class area of society that seems to breed journalists) crowded round to mock the growing numbers of women (and men) taking offence to the handling of the situation. The gods, high on their broadsheet pedestals, mocked the little people and poured their distain down from Mount Olympus, their self-congratulatory glasses of Prosecco mixing with the lonely tears of their fans. 

Overly poetic and silly, yes. But as someone who has met, liked, laughed with and idolised the work of Caitlin Moran from wide-eyed studenthood to still-wannabe journalist, my heart bled for the de-glossing of my idol, joining an ever-growing collective of those with but a thin veil (often as thin as a piece of printed journalism) between us and them who feel the veil is unpenetrable and who behave badly behind it, often at the expense of their fanbase.  Professor Green publically mocked a bipolar fan of his because the fan dared to challenge his appaling treatment of a writer who gave him a bad review. Leigh Francis (the man behind the caustic comic creation Keith Lemon) blocked every single film journalist who tweeted a bad review of his film. Grace Dent threatened to have fired the writer who made a derogatory comment about her on Twitter, forgetting that the PR firm he worked for had her on their books. Do not mock the gods. 

Watching Moran's Twitter feed the day after the whole palaver, seeing her tweet messages of thanks to those who stood by her, uncharacteristically ignoring the criticism and reading her and her colleagues' jeering putdowns of the nobodies who dared to question them, was a sad moment in the continued shaping of my feminism. But, as with all these instances, it opened my eyes to two things. Firstly, that there is far more to feminism than just one (famous) woman's (humourous bestselling) perspective. She is still a brilliant journalist, and her interview with Dunham, though poorly researched, was excellent positioning. She is just, like us, sometimes not a very nice person. And while we can admire the writing, if we idolise a person we must, and have to, observe when they stray. And secondly, because of this, that there are no gods and idols among mortals. And we should never allow any people to have that much power. Take back the mob rule and make up your own mind. 


School Uniform

So back to the ol' style blog posts we go. 
First up, one from last week - I was recently (and still am) totally obsessed with a lovely little film called Like Crazy, which concerns the love story of two young people who meet one summer and then become seperated by circumstance, showing how their transatlantic love affair plays out over five years.
It's dripping with what certain corners of the internet would refer to as 'white hipster privilege' - the heroine somehow lives in a one-bed flat in Kensington (it isn't even ex-council) while working at a tiny indie magazine, and they are both mad keen on poetry and Paul Simon. Her parents are a plummy Surrey-based pair who dote on their delightfully hipster daughter. But nicheness aside it's a beautiful film - tender, sweet, beautifully shot and scored (seriously, listen to this) and the chemistry between the two leads is totally believable.
Anyway, I digress. I was a tad taken with the outfit worn by the heroine, Anna, in the final scenes of the film. Breton top and high-waisted simple black trousers - the go-to uniform of the off-duty hipster. So I went on a quest to create my own equivalent.
Almost? Well not quite, given that there's definitely a dress size between us. But I think rolling up the trousers   a tad in warmer weather and losing the jacket will make it better. 
Then, when I was at home this weekend emptying my old room of, well, stuff, before my parents move, I realised that during my last trip I had been a tad overzealous with my wardrobe clearout and had no tops at all. Except for this, my old school jumper. It still has a name tag in it. 
Not too bad in the end, eh? Especially when paired with a black leather skirt (see, I'm already all over this 'different texture' brief) and a little bit of bling. Excellent. It's great what you can find in your wardrobe. Though I draw the line at wearing my old kilt. 


Yay, I can wear black again!

I'm still alive! Yes, it is me and my dramatic fringe, which actually looks far less directional at this camera angle. I was in a hurry, hence the hasty shot in my back 'garden'. Just trying to get back into the habit.
Despite spending most of my time in black by default I'm making it official/like it was carefully thought out and declaring that my palette for AW12 is monochrome with accents of ice blue, and maybe a little navy. Or lapis. Or cerulean. Typically just as fashion decides to favour purple. 
I'm also planning to try different textures, too. Leather, and velvet, as well as chiffon and denim and wool. Juxtaposing a leather skirt with a drapey wool sweater or a chiffon shirt. Oh it's going to be all kinds of fun. 
I also finally found a pair of boots that can go halfway to replacing my beloved heeled Office brogues, that Office stupidly decided to discontinue just in time for winter. I KNEW I should have bought a third pair (yes I wore through the first pair) when they were suspiciously discounted...Oh well. Instead I have these Topshop ones, which are suitably more grunge, to pair with jeans and slightly 'angrier' looks, keeping the brogues for special occasions. Still hoping they come back.


Loving leather

Kinky, right? No, I've not come over all whips and chains much more than usual - still a bit fan of leather. But I AM enjoying just how much it has become adopted by the fashion elite and, more importantly, the high street.
Over All
(Clockwise from top: Balmain SS13 via Oracle Fox; my new Armani Exchange A-line faux-leather dress and winter staple - just add a black polo neck or a lace top; awesomely stylish lady in leather via Stockholm Street Style; ASOS leather dungarees...maybe a touch too far.)


Push and Shove

No Doubt are back this month after an eleven-year-hiatus with a new album. Aside from being in awe of their continuing radness, I have to ask:
1) How does Gwen Stefani still look so damn good?
2) Will Gwen Stefani ever not look good?
3) Can I look that good without a similar quantity of dedication, cool points and skills with eyeliner? Probably not. Sadface. Enjoy the tune!