Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Liberty plaudits

I was thrilled to get a great write-up on the Liberty blog after my hat-making workshop there on Saturday. It's always a real boost to feel that people have enjoyed themselves and learnt something new. And with the  Christmassy atmosphere in the store, it was a great start to the festive season. Read all about it on the Liberty website. Just click here.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Men of substance

Now you may have noticed that I don't often mention men on my blog - apart from the rather suave looking chaps in the Toast catalogue of course. It's not because I'm immune to a well turned out man, it's simply that I honestly don't see much to inspire. However this weekend, I spotted a chap who cheered my spirits. How's about this for some natty dressing? It's country chic meets urban  street. I love this drama student's frayed tweed jacket teamed with a striped formal waistcoat. Then there's the kerchief, the casually knotted scarf, the sew-on patches, and the combination of battered leather straps and worn canvas bag slung across his chest. The bike is a good accessory too (not that he thought of his bike as an accessory of course - that's just me being a shallow fashion-type). I so loved his look, I just  had to stop him and ask if I could take his picture. The jacket isn't home-made, but there's no reason why you blokes couldn't adapt something you already own. Get out the scissors, do some fraying and find yourself some sew-on patches. Go on...you know you want to really!

Deptford comes up trumps again

There's a new haberdashery kid on the Deptford block. An excellent stall which will be at Deptford market every Saturday. A great selection of trims, beads, lace, and other exciting finds, plus lots of essentials. Not cheap cheap cheap, but not bad either. Some good finds to be had.

My new winter shoes

For the first time in years I recently decided to splash out and buy some decent winter footwear. It's the sort of thing my Mother was always telling me to do. It's only taken 43 years for me to realise that she was talking sense! I've become sick and tired of walking around in fabric shoes from Primark that look cute and wear well-enough in the summer, but for winter they're no good at all. No ankle support, wet, and if it snows...well, they'll be useless. So here are my two choices both purchased from Author, a relatively new shoe shop on Charing Cross Road in London set amongst all the splendid second-hand bookshops. It makes for some fine winter evening shopping.

First up are these excellent leather boots. They're a bit like a dark brown Doctor Martin and the tops are lined with shearling, so they're really cosy. You can turn the shearling bit up or down. Even better, they're flat - so I can actually walk! I know that sounds like an obvious thing to be able to do in shoes, but believe me, it's not always something I take into consideration.

My next recommendation is these fabulous traditional ghillie shoes made by Loake in Northamptonshire. The company has been going since 1880, and I can't tell you how happy it made me to purchase this pair of traditionally made (traditionally male) good quality shoes made in the UK. At £95 they cost more than I would usually spend, but compared to lots of designer shoes they're a bargain. I love the design, and they'll look good with trousers too. The only trouble is that the leather is quite stiff so I'll need to wear them in a bit before they're truly comfortable. Can't wait to team with a pair of fair-isle socks! Winter holds no fear for me now!

Monday, 8 November 2010

The dress that's much in need of love

So this is the dress I found at Greenwich market the other day for £60. It doesn't fit me - but I just had to buy it because it's so beautiful and was looking utterly neglected stuffed in a plastic bag under the stall.  It's an original Frank Usher from the '50's/60's I imagine. But it's in a bit of a bad way. At some point two pieces of boning have been removed from the bodice - thus its lopsided appearance, and it's had red wine chucked over it too by some CAD (I am taking liberties here of course - the owner herself might have done it, or indeed, perhaps a friend borrowed the dress and ruined it, thereby destroying a friendship which had lasted since girlhood). The question is...what can I do to bring it back to its former fabulousness? I can replace the boning I'm sure, but can a dress like this be dry-cleaned? Will the red wine come out? Help please!