Vintage Inspiration

Iconic Style - The Trench Coat

Always a fail safe for the British weather... a trench coat.

The trench coat was created as a means to keep mud off the uniforms worn in the trenches of WW1 - mostly must I add by the Officers. This would explain the epaulettes which we identify with the trench coat as they would have originally have been used to signify and to display ones rank. 

The trench coat has gone on to signify strong women esecpially in films such as A Woman Of Affairs and The Iron Petticoat. Further in time to Audrey Hepbrns' use of it for Holly Golighlty in Breakfast At Tiffanys - where it stops being a masculine statement and is in fact totally feminized by Audrey Hepburn - either way mascuijne or feminine the trench coat is a diverse garment that transeeds stereotypical sexualities to be something that is pure class. 


Below are a section of trench coats on the market today and which show the diversity of how the humble trench coat has involved. Including the amazing Valentino pink leather trench coat!


There are a mirage of reasons why January is the month that we are most likely to stay in doors - Christmas excess, dry January, cold weather...  

But there is a good reason to stay in or just have some simple time to yourself - The Age Of Glamour, a colouring book published by Thames & Hudson and with contributions from the Victoria & Albert Museum. 


A spot of doodling, one eye on the television can do wonders for switching off the brain. This colouring book defines the age of glamour, hence the name - full of images from the 1920s and 1930s, the fashions, the music, the style and grace - pure inspiration.


The Classic Wrap Dress


Created by Diane von Furstenberg in 1974, the DVF classic wrap dress is a classic - its easy to wear, can be dressed up or down. A dress that has lasted the test of time and today 2017 it is just as flattering / popular / versatile now as it was in 1974. However what I didn't know was that the DVF wrap dress started off as a wrap top and skirt. According to Diane von Furstenberg "I thouguht it would make a simple and sexy dress." 

Which certainly is true, as shown in press clippings of Diane herself...


Style Inspiration - Ava Gardner

As much as I love jeans - obviously, as I design and make them - and wear them - it is also nice to feel a tad glamourous.

Which is I love adding a little Hollywood glamour into an outfit - be it simply over the top earnings, leopard print, a silk blouse, a statement necklace or even (on very tired days) cats eye sunglasses! 


The simple stripe jumper.


The classic black swimsuit will never be out of fashion.


A perfect off the shoulder top or...

add a statement piece of jewellery (or both).


'Catseye' sunglasses anytime anywhere.


Walking the dog...

with glamour.


Simply a shirt,jeans and classic white trainers.

''If I had my life to live over again, I'd live it the same way. Maybe a few changes here or there, but nothing special. The truth is, honey, I've enjoyed my life. I've had a hell of a good time.” 

- Ava Gardner

The Beauty of The Breton Stripe

We think we know all about The Breton Stripe but do we...

Its a blue and white stripe top, generally with long or three quarter length sleeves and a boat neck.

Or is it...


The History of the Breton Stripe

The Breton stripe originates from Bretagne the french for Brittany on the North West coast of France.   A decree in 1858 on the 27th March to be precise - introduced the striped shirt as the seaman’s uniform. The stripes were white for 2cm and then blue for 1cm.  The style of the top was designed to be practical with the length of the top being intended to cover the lower back of the seafarer and the top was not too loose so as not to get caught on anything during work - pretty sensible to me - which to this day The Breton Stripe can be described as a practical item of clothing.

Somewhat ironically, the garment usually has a boat neckline.  The distinctive striped pattern made them easy to spot in the waves in emergencies.

The stripe pattern is so closely linked with Brittany that their flag, designed in 1923, also contains the Breton stripe pattern, albeit in black and white rather than navy blue and white.  The nine horizontal stripes represent the traditional Brittany dioceses

Its not hard to see why this became such a poplar and well loved item of clothing even to this day.

Whatever Happened To Wash Day?

As I look out the window its raining again...

and I think mmmm maybe that's what happened to having a fixed washing day. What did you do when it rained and your only means of drying your washing was a breezy, windy day?

I love washing by machine and hand. I find hanging out the washing relaxing and standing and assessing the fruits of my labour satisfying. I don't however like folding washing or putting it away.

I love the idea of allowing myself time to enjoy such some pleasures in life but with the humdrum of life jobs, responsibilities and the advancment of washing machines, dryers and a laundrette service - Wash Day has become a lost art. 

It only took a quick 'google' to see that historically much has been created washing our clothes such as river scenes incorporating washing, poetry and nursery rhymes.

I don't always have the time to stick to a fixed 'wash day' but given any opportunity I'm all for hanging the washing outside, nothing beats clean laundry dried outside even with London pollution. 

Wash on Monday Nursery Rhyme lyrics

Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Bake on Wednesday,
Brew on Thursday,
Churn on Friday,
Mend on Saturday,
Go to meeting on Sunday.

Or perhaps the more updated version

Wash on Monday
Iron on Tuesday
Mend on Wednesday
Market on Thursday
Clean on Friday
Bake on Saturday
Rest on Sunday

A Natural Flare


Originating from the Naval uniform in the early 19th century, The Flare went onto become one of the most adopted and popular style of trouser leg.

Popularised in denim it has become synonymous with the 1960's and 70's,, with cool, laid back culture. 

Its not hard to see why they are constantly coming back into fashion. Worn with heels or platforms they are leg lengthening, worn with sneakers they embrace an air of cool effortlessness. Not only do they look good but worn as high waisted jean and skimming the thigh they are one of the most comfortable styles of jeans to wear.

Which is why yet again I'v raided the back of my closet to pull out my old flared jeans and I'm back in them again - and yes I bought myself a Chopper bike. as the saying goes 'When in Rome...'

Mindfulness Denim

Being of 'mindfulness' is a current trend... 

Mindfulness colouring for all ages is a relaxing and enjoyable past time. Not only does it allow the creative thoughts to flow, it allows the brain to rest. 

Taking the concept and applying it to clothes is not something new - especially for children. There are many t-shirt and fabric pen combinations. So rather than update a pair of jeans by embroidery which quite frankly I don't have the time or patience for! I thought I'd try permanent markers - Sharpies. 

Wow! - Quick, fun, enjoyable, cost effective (way cheaper than the Gucci jeans I was lusting after!) and allowing a huge amount of 'mindfulness' and brain rest - I am addicted! 

All that is needed is a pack of permanent markers, I found Sharpies to be very effective. They don't bleed into the denim and hold their colour well. In addiction some old jeans and a piece of cardboard to be placed under the fabric you are working on to stop the colouring going through the fabric onto the table or through to the back of the leg for example if your working on the front leg. 

90's Revival

The wheel of fashion that circles us has thrown back up the 1990's.

So it's time to search the back of your closet and raid the bottom of the jewellery box in the hope we'll find treasure in the form of chokers, Doc Martin boots, crop tops, Donna Karen body-suits and literally anything 1990 DKNY.  

And... let us not forget "Disney', denim and dungarees, or in some cases all three! Roll up the dungaree legs, pop onside 'high price' kicks and embrace your in child.

Princess May - Car Boot - East London

Visiting car-boots sales can be an addiction.

The hunt, the delving into the unknown, the find - almost a primeval instinct over comes you...

The car-boot at Prnicess May in Stoke Newington is not dusty, fusty or even fussy. Its cool. Its easy to flit between young designers, vintage clothing, plants perfect for urban gardening, left over jewellery samples and a plethitude of design books. All in all - its a fashion thing!

Pre 9am is £3 entry and after 9am it's 50p - and worth every penny. Plus if the hangover can withstand or requires sustenance there's a great hot sausage sandwich stall! 

A perfect example of a young designer selling an up-cylced t-shirt - £3

A perfect example of a young designer selling an up-cylced t-shirt - £3

Re-working Denim

Vetements have taken re-cycling denim to the next level.

Highly prised and with great prestige their jeans are stunning but let this not deter you. No. In fact all you need is a sewing machine or a friend with one, even a local dry cleaners, two pairs of jeans and a sharp pair of scissors.

Literally all you need to do is cut both the pairs of jeans in half down the centre front and then by swopping the outside legs over and re-sweing them back together you can make two new pairs of jeans!

N.b - the re made jeans will be smaller so make original jeans are a good two sizes bigger than your actual size. 

In Vogue - Six Decades Of Fashion

I love a good book...

and so I was super happy to stumble upon a copy of Vogue - Six decades of fashion by Georgina Howell. It was first published in 1975, twice 1976 and again in 1977 by Conde Naste - which just show it was as popular then as it is now (to me at least). It can easily be described as a big, glossy coffee table book for followers of fashion. Trends and fashions are well illustrated, curated and photographed - creating a historical reference book starting in 1915 through to 1975.