Autumn Layering with Gap

Fashion

Autumn – the time of year where everyone pretends that pumpkins aren’t gross – is upon us once more.

As the nights draw darker and the trees begin to jettison their leaves and we all finally embrace the fact that winter is indeed coming, we can at least take solace in the benefits of autumn style. Namely – the return of layering.

At Gap where I work, we love a good layered look. And as any good mother will tell you as she forces yet another jumper over your head – layering keeps you warm and toasty.

Wandering around our beautiful city, I asked some of the team at Gap York to talk me through a few of their favourite layers from our fall collection. (We call it fall not autumn because Gap is run by American infidels.)

A massive thank you is in order to the ever-talented Luke Porter (he genuinely outdoes himself every time), to the stunning Teajuanas café for letting us shoot there, and of course to our lovely models – Josie, Callum and Courtney.

So hold tight to your overpriced seasonal latte because once again, ladies and gentlemen, we are approaching the station. Please mind the gap.

CALLUM

What do you like about the clothes you picked?

I chose the knitted jumper because of its versatility. Its neutral colour means it goes well with most things in my wardrobe and it’s great to throw on for an extra layer before leaving the house on a chilly morning! The fit is very snug and comfortable to wear which is very important for me. I like to feel relaxed and cosy in my clothes as winter approaches.

I love the sweatshirts we recently got in at Gap which are a great twist on the iconic Gap logo hoodies. I chose the navy blue one today but I also have it in green. I enjoy the detailing on the sweatshirt, with “original” stitched in red over the bold “Gap” branding. I think they work well in any outfit and are a really nice statement piece; they definitely remind me of the Gap hoodies I used to wear in the early 2000s!

I am also obsessed with the marbled effect buttons on this check shirt. I think they’re a really nice touch that make it stand out from the many other check shirts I own.

A denim jacket is a classic staple piece everyone needs somewhere in their wardrobe. I’m incredibly picky when it comes to choosing a new jacket and usually just settle for vintage (I like denim jackets to look a bit worn and distressed) however I love this indigo wash Gap jacket. I wore it with a pair of black skinny jeans and, though I’m not brave enough to go full double denim (think Britney and Justin at the AMAs circa 2001), I would definitely wear it as a layering piece.

How would you describe your style?

I would describe my style as simple yet smart. You can usually find me in my favourite pair of  black skinnies (Gap Sculpt True Skinny jeans really did change my life and I have never looked back!) paired with a sweater/t-shirt and jacket. The lack of bold colours and patterns in my wardrobe means I can throw together an outfit quickly without too much fuss. I also like to add a few accessories to jazz things up a bit.

What’s your favourite thing about autumn?

My favourite thing about autumn is seeing the seasons change! Watching the leaves fall, dark evenings, switching from air-con to heater, and getting to wear super comfy winter accessories like snoods, hats and gloves.

Look 1: Callum wears the shaker stitch crew sweater and Sculpt true skinny jeans. Hoodie and jacket, model’s own.

Look 2: Callum wears the standard fit plaid shirt, icon denim jacket, logo crew neck sweater and Sculpt true skinny jeans.

JOSIE

What do you like about the clothes you picked?

I picked the burgundy swing dress for several reasons. I love the shape as it hides a multitude of sins! It’s also a great material (softspun cotton) which is comfortable and I know it washes well because I’ve bought other things in this material. It’s versatile so can be worn on its own or with a belt like I did for the shoot. It’s great for a day-to-night outfit too – just by changing the accessories, you can go from a more casual day style to a dressed up evening style.

A parka jacket should be in everyone’s wardrobe for the autumn/winter months. This one has a detachable hood so it can look like two different coats in one! That said, the fur is my favourite bit so I leave it attached most of the time! I love all the small details like the elbow patches and the lower hem line at the back which give it that added edge. It’s a good size too, so know that I can add layers underneath when it starts to get even colder. Plus it has toggles inside the waistline so it can be pulled in to give you more shape.

How would you describe your style?

My style is quite simple really. I like to be comfy so most of my wardrobe is comfortable stretchy dresses and leggings. Because of my shape I prefer the A line or skater dress/skirt style. I love clothes that can be casual but then I add some accessories and it looks like a completely different outfit! Accessories are definitely my thing and I have a ridiculous collection of jewellery. I don’t wear too many prints and go for the darker colours (my wardrobe holds a lot of black) but I love a bold statement accessory to give my simple outfits the added edge and style.

What’s your favourite thing about Autumn?

My favourite thing about autumn is those early, fresh and cold, but sunny mornings where you get to wear plenty of layers – chunky cardigans and warm wool cable-knit scarves). I absolutely love the deeper and darker autumn colours in fashion. Especially because the burgundys, khaki greens and mustard yellows all reflect the colours of the leaves on the trees!

Josie wears the softspun long sleeve swing dress, 2-in-1 quilted parka, and super opaque tights.

 

COURTNEY

What do you like about the clothes you picked?

The combination was smart with the stripy tee and the pinstripe twill trousers, but I wanted to add some edge with the black denim jacket too. I wear the jacket all the time and it goes great with pretty much anything, whether dressed up or dressed down.

The trousers are actually for men, but I like the slightly looser fit for a relaxed vintage look. The light pinstripe is a nice touch that you don’t notice at first glance, but it makes them a little more special. They look great in a casual outfit like this, but can easily be dressed up by replacing the t-shirt with a white shirt, for example.

Also, I’m a big fan of comfort and these items feel great, especially the trousers which are really soft while still looking quite smart. I definitely go for practical clothes for day to day wear so comfort is a big rule for me.

How would you describe your style?

I would describe my style as basic with elements of clashing patterns. I’m all about simple essentials as the foundation of my outfits but I like to play about with size and proportions – oversized t-shirts or jackets, high-waisted trousers etc. I also like to experiment with different patterns, colours and fabrics.

I live for vintage and you can always find me in charity shops hunting for a bargain. I especially love vintage denim and leather which always have a slick retro vibe.

What is your favourite thing about autumn?

Layering. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to wear more than one layer on top. In the summer you get to hot, but autumn is great because you can layer up. I love the feeling when you first start to feel the chill in the air and bring out your jacket that’s sat at home all summer.

Courtney wears: twill trousers and the icon black denim jacket. T-shirt model’s own.

 

Callum and Courtney wear the logo crewneck sweater. Josie wears the logo zip hoodie.

 

Courtney, Callum and Josie all picked their outfits and styled themselves. It was great to see how they put their own personal spin on things whether it was Josie’s colour-coordinated hair, or Courtney’s rolled up trouser hems, or Callum’s jewellery.

One thing I love about Gap is that you are able, or rather encouraged, to do your own thing and make it work for you. Courtney opted for men’s trousers because she enjoys the comfortable and relaxed fit, while Callum went for women’s skinny jeans as the men’s jeans aren’t as tight as he likes them. For the logo shot, they all threw on men’s hoodies and sweatshirts for a relaxed casual vibe. As you can tell, Courtney went extra large for a vintage oversized feel, while Callum and Josie preferred a more fitted look.

Once again, it is worth pointing out that Gap are very liberal with the dishing out of discounts. At the time of writing, all regular priced items in store are 35% off ticket price, while online you currently get up to 30% off full price and sale styles. Keep up with the offers by joining the mailing list here.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a pumpkin spice latte with my name on it… albeit misspelled horribly by the barista.

@ediadegbola

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How to Dress for a Wedding Part II

Fashion

Every friendship group has that one friend who is really good at giving advice, and that  one friend who never takes good advice.

Somehow I often end up doing both. Looking into the lives of others, I find the path of what to do is always exceedingly clear, but when it comes to me, I find it incredibly difficult to do what I know that I should.

Not long ago, I wrote some tips for how to dress for a wedding. I recently went to a wedding – and obviously wore clothes so I thought it would be interesting to put my outfit to the test and see how good I am at following my own advice.

I actually bought this Topman suit as a matching 3-piece (trousers, blazer and waistcoat), but due to the perils of online shopping, the trousers didn’t fit properly. I can just about squeeze into them, but they are very tight and definitely not appropriate to wear to a wedding. Or anywhere there might be children.

Instead I have substituted the trousers for some black chinos that cost me £7 in H&M’s sale. Normally I would have chosen some more formal ‘proper’ suit trousers, but I really couldn’t turn down that price.

Rationalising my cheapness, I decided to style it out as a rustic suit separates look – not unlike pop/folk band Mumford & Son’s iconic tweed-and-chinos style.

So that’s the outfit, but how does it measure up?

Taking the 5 tips from my post, let’s see if I practise what I preach.

 

Keep it simple.

Right off the bat, I’m wearing a jacquard patterned blazer and waistcoat. So far, so outlandish. But you’ll notice that I’ve gone for plain black trousers underneath to tone down the impact of the jazzy top half. The same can be said of my shirt and shoes.

Finally, I opted for low-key accessories – a burgundy bowtie and pocketsquare – which bring an understated pop of colour to the outfit. I toyed with the idea of adding a subtle lapel pin from Topman to the mix, but it snapped the first time I tried to put it on. (The same has happened with lapel pins I’ve bought from River Island too, so I’m going to avoid high-street brands from now on. Or maybe I’m the problem…)

Serendipitously, the poor quality lapel pin did me a favour in the end, as this outfit is loud enough without it, and simply doesn’t need anymore accessories. The suit speaks for itself.

Simplicity – 3/5.

 

Have fun.

Where I perhaps fell short in the last section, I definitely succeed here. This look is nothing if not fun. The playful jacquard pattern projects a level of bubbly confidence (that you don’t necessarily have to feel yourself!)

I enjoy the colourful accessories, especially the bowtie. I thought about wearing the more conventional necktie, but this burgundy bow stands out a little more, and it makes me feel like the Eleventh Doctor which is always a plus.

As discussed above, the rest of the outfit is as simple as possible but I do love these brown brogues, which are definitely eye-catching. Finally, I decided to go “sockless” and roll up the legs to show off  a little ankle. Saucy.

Fun – 5/5

 

Be practical.

For me, fashion has to be functional. As slick as it may look, if you’re not comfortable or can’t move in it, what’s the point?

On the surface, wearing a three-piece suit to a summer wedding in a marquee perhaps doesn’t seem the best idea, but I rather like having the layers. If you’re hot, you can take off the blazer, and you can put it right back on as it gets colder towards the end of the night.

Another thing I like is to wear an undershirt which addmittedly might seem counter-productive to some, as it means adding yet another layer. On the contrary, this layer soaks up the sweat (and doesn’t feel noticeably hotter), meaning that you can hold up your arms carefree and sweatpatch-free, whether you’re raising a glass in toast, or tearing it up on the dancefloor.

Practicality – 4/5

 

Make sure it fits.

Fit is probably the most important part of fashion. The way an item sits on you can be the difference between an awful outfit and an amazing one.

Being unnecessarily lanky, I often struggle to get clothes that fit my long arms properly. this time I think I might have just got away with it, but I’m definitely cutting things fine.

And to be honest, you’re just lucky I didn’t talk myself into wearing the inappropriately tight trousers!

Fit – 3/5

 

Don’t let your shoes let you down.

This is my favourite pair of shoes so,  unsurprisingly, I think I have done quite well here. The brown shoes stand out a little from the black footwear that is often the formal go-to for men, while the broguing detail brings some eye-catching elegance.

Similarly, the sockless and rolled/cropped trouser look is rather on-trend and, once again, stands out a little from the crowd. Plus, it’s nice to have your ankles out in the summer! (Though I have no idea why mine look so veiny…)

Shoes – 5/5

 

Overall I scored 20/25 points which equates to 80%. That’s a first class honours in university terms.

Nicely done, Edi.

But actually, I wrote the post on wedding outfits and I put together this outfit to wear to a wedding. So surely anything less than 100% is a failure.

Awkward.

On the plus side, this can serve as a timely reminder that, when it comes to fashion, style, and taste in general, rules are made to be broken. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable and confident in yourself, not what some sartorial rulebook says.

Even if that rulebook happens to be called Edication.

Bare Essentials

Fashion, music, places

Instagram has a lot to answer for – roughly 90% of my procrastination, for one thing – but one of its great benefits is that it helps us come across people and brands that you would otherwise never discover. One such brand is Bare Vintage, and such people are its founders, Lauren and Gus.

Bare is an independent retailer of handpicked vintage clothes. Available on their website, as well as on social shopping app Depop, Bare’s ever-changing collection offers pre-owned branded and designer picks. A selection of one-offs, their aesthetic lands comfortably in mid 90s sportswear territory, alongside the occasional kitsch pop culture find.

Imagine the coolest person you’ve ever met was selling all of their clothes on eBay and you’d be somewhere close to what Bare Vintage is. Fittingly, that is basically how the brand got started.

“When we began we had no idea what it would become, we were just selling some of Gus’s vintage pieces that wouldn’t fit in our tiny apartment!” admits Lauren. Two years on, it’s safe to say that things have taken off, though not without difficulty.

“The biggest challenge has been trying to find time… We both work full-time, and everything we’ve done for Bare has been evenings and weekends. It’s our dream to be able to pursue it full-time eventually and have the time to try and focus on all the projects that at the moment are just ideas.”

Aside from expected streetwear/vintage fodder Reeboks and Nikes, the Bare collection is also littered with names like Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger – the quintessential duo of preppy turned sporty turned hip-hop turned vintage style.

The team really have an eye for spotting unique finds too, whether it’s a burgundy varsity jacket or a sweatshirt embroidered with Looney Tunes characters.

“Every single item we sell is hand picked,” they announce proudly. “When we choose an item, we ask ourselves ‘Would we use this piece in a photo shoot?’ which keeps the standard high. A piece has to be great quality, unique design and you shouldn’t want to put it down!”

I had the pleasure of visiting their pop-up shop in Manchester a few weeks ago to take a look at their collection first hand. For the London-based brand, it was their first venture up North, but any apprehension was unfounded as the response was unequivocally positive.

“We are both still absolutely amazed at the turnout we had at our Manchester pop up,” Lauren and Gus confess. “There was a real sense of community up there and we can’t wait to come back again!”

The event took place at The Grey Shop, housed in Jutah Studios – a boutique streetwear space in Manchester’s Northern Quarter (past readers will know I’m a big fan of the Northern Quarter). Over some pulsating beats and a few gin and tonics (clear liquids only to minimise damage to the clothes in case drinks spill during particularly passionate skanking), I had a peruse of the collection.

Two standouts for me were a couple of varsity jackets – one in a golden hue and the other a Lakers branded number in mustard yellow. Definitely not for the faint-hearted, I quite enjoyed the obnoxious yet undeniable cool of the pair.

So, what’s next for Bare Vintage? I ask.

“Our next pop up is 25th – 26th of this month (August) in Birmingham! Neither of us have ever been to Birmingham, so it’s another adventure for us. We plan to host more events across the U.K. and beyond, so keep an eye out.”

A good place to keep an eye on Bare Vintage is on Instagram where they post choice items and snaps from their photoshoots. Having already amassed just under 15,000 followers however, you might have to join the queue.

 

@ediadegbola

Wide Open

places

August is my favourite month of the year.

A lot of this has to do with the fact that my birthday comes right in the middle of August (it’s the 15th, presents are encouraged and expected) but this year, another thing I’m looking forward to is Wide Open – a new retreat for Christian creatives.

Retreating is something I often struggle to do. Just to take some time to stop, relax, think, contemplate, and spend some time with God. Set in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, Wide Open is the perfect opportunity to do just that. A place to reflect, to learn and to connect with God and each other, this gathering is intimate and interactive, limited to just 40 spaces.

It takes place from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th August and looks set to be a feast for the heart, soul, and spirit (as well as the stomach!) Based around being outdoors, it will be a joyous weekend of forest feasts, campfires, workshops, and loads of time to soak up nature.

With a diverse selection of workshops and sessions from the likes of photographers to singer-songwriters to stationary creators, it really will be a celebration of creativity in all its forms.

wide open 3

To get know a little more about the heart behind Wide Open, I had a chat with Beth Webber – Wide Open’s founder.

What made you want to start Wide Open?

Forest Found [Beth’s outdoor events company] is all about creating opportunities for people to come together and spend time in beautiful green spaces. I’d had a vision for a long time of organising a gathering for christian creatives that would offer them the time to be with like minded passionate people, to spend evenings round the campfire engaging in rich conversations and to hear from and be encouraged by people who are trying to live out their creativity through their work and lives in a way that glorifies God and builds the kingdom.

What are you hoping people take away from Wide Open?

I hope that the people who share in this weekend will encounter Jesus in deep and authentic ways. I hope they build rich community with new people.  I want people to leave having unpacked some of the things they wrestle with as creatives, to leave with truth emblazoned on their hearts-that their identity is found in Him and through Him and with a strengthened faith that God is good regardless of their successes or disappointments as creative sons and daughters of the King!

wide open 4

 

What makes it different from other camps out there?

There are some amazing offers out there and I knew I didn’t want to organise another conference or retreat.  I wanted it to be weekend in the outdoors, full of fun, feasting and being honest and vulnerable with one another. The opportunity to spend time with a small collective is really exciting and the intimate nature of the weekend will, I hope, enable people to really share their journey and creative practice with us, to be prayed for and affirmed individually. The connections made over the weekend will inevitably spill out into real life and continue to encourage and build up the creative settings people go back to.

It’s about being real with what it’s like to wrestle with humility and self-promotion, it’s about being realistic and hopeful for what God has planned for our creative giftings. It’s also all about filling our lungs with fresh air, hanging out in hammocks and soaking up creation.

What are you most looking forward to? 

Meeting some incredible people who are on fire for Jesus, stargazing, campfire conversations, deep worship, sharing our stories, amazing workshops, inspiring speakers. So much! Wide Open belongs to the Lord – I’m just his hands and I am so excited to see what he is going to do in our hearts and lives over the weekend.

More details can be found on the website and feel free to ask me any questions.

I genuinely can’t wait! Roll on summer

 

@ediadegbola

 

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How to Dress for a Wedding

Fashion

I love weddings.

You get to witness friends or family make a beautiful commitment, and there’s cake, and there’s dancing, and cake, and food, and cake, and everyone dresses up nicely, and there’s cake.

So many reasons to love a cake… I mean wedding….

Aside from baked goods, one of my favourite things about a wedding is the opportunity to wear a sharp suit. I don’t get many opportunities to dress up really so I always take advantage of a good wedding.

That said, the world of wedding tailoring can be a confusing place for even the most fashionable of men (let’s just thank God that we don’t have to buy a new dress, shoes and bag for every event!)

To help you out, here are my tips for making sure your wedding outfit is definitely one you’ll want to say “I do” to.

Keep it simple.

Coco Chanel once said “When accessorising, always take off the last thing you put on”. More often than not, the last thing put on is my right shoe and I kind of need that, so I try and go by the maxim “less is more” instead.

Basically, try and avoid overkill. You don’t need the bright shirt and the patterned tie and the braces and the pocket square and the collar bar and the tie clip and the lapel pin and the pocketwatch. Perhaps pick one or two. If your suit has a striking pattern, go for a simple, plain shirt and tie. If your suit and shirt are more austere however, add a drop of excitement with some accessories – a good watch is always a great place to start – or perhaps add some colour and pattern with your tie and pocket square. Tie clips, cufflinks, lapel pins, and the like can be great additions, just don’t over do it.

Have fun.

Despite the above tip, a person’s wedding is probably the biggest and most expensive celebration that they will ever hold. It’s not another day at the office and it’s definitely not a funeral. Your outfit should reflect this. The typical black suit can get a little stuffy after a while, especially for a summer wedding.

When in doubt, try a slim fit two button suit in a navy or grey paired with a white shirt and burgundy slim (not skinny) tie. Instant classic. Or stand out from the crowd with a check suit – Prince of Wales and windowpane are my favourites.

You can also play around with colours and textures – try tweed or houndstooth. Or go for an interesting tie, or maybe try a bow tie. You could alternatively go tie-less and open-necked or try the ‘air tie’ (tie-less but with buttons done up).

Mix and match, pairing suit separates like grey trousers under a navy blazer or dress your blazer down with chinos. Try a three-piece suit, or on a hot day, eschew the blazer and just go for the waistcoat.

There are so many sartorial options for men nowadays so there’s no excuse for wearing the same black suit every time. Unless you just really like your black suit, in which case, you just do you.

Be practical.

It should go without saying, but it can be easy to forget: make sure that whatever you’re wearing is appropriate for the occasion.

What is the dress code? Is it outdoors or indoors? What’s the weather going to be like? Will it get colder towards the evening? Can I dance in that suit? What are the groomsmen wearing? Am I going to sweat too much? Are my shoes comfortable? What is my plus one wearing?

These are the type of questions you should be asking yourself to make sure you’re able to sit back and enjoy your friend’s special day without worrying about sweat patches or uncomfortable shoes. If it’s a hot day, try a light linen shirt or even a linen suit. Poplin is a great summer suit material too. Alternatively, tweed or wool will keep you warm on the colder days, as will a waistcoat.

Make sure it fits.

Once again, you’d think it wouldn’t need saying but fit is where a lot of men fall down when it comes to tailoring. With my lanky figure and unnecessarily long limbs, even I fall afoul of this sometimes.

If you don’t already know what your sizes/measurements are, a good trick is to go to fancy suit shops and let them measure you, which is often a free service. Then just buy stuff you can actually afford from other shops, once you know your size.

I’d recommend a slim fit suit – sparingly cut, but not as tight as an indie band in 2009 would wear – you’ll probably want to be able to breathe. If you need any pointers on fit, the boys at Esquire.com have you covered with an easy checklist.

It’s also important to maintain the shape of your suit, so avoid over-stuffing your pockets. Thankfully suits tend to have loads of pockets so you can stow your wallet, keys, phone and emergency tissues (no…? Just me? Ok, cool…) in different pockets without ruining the sleek silhouette of your suit.

And by the way, unless it’s a single button suit, never fasten the bottom button of your blazer or waistcoat – it’s basically just there for decoration. Leaving it undone looks slicker and, more importantly, gives you more freedom to move.

Don’t let your shoes let you down.

Shoes can often be an afterthought to an outfit – just something you throw on before you leave the house – but a bad pair of shoes can ruin a look, while a good pair can absolutely make one.

I’d recommend a good pair of brown brogues – they’ll go great with a navy or grey suit, while it’s best to pair a black suit with black shoes. It’s also worth thinking about your socks. They can add a fun pop of colour or pattern to your outfit or you could alternatively go sockless with cropped trousers for a more contemporary look.

Lastly, make sure they’re clean and polished – another thing that can be easy to forget until  the moment when you’re late to the event and have no time to do anything about it.

Finally…

Whatever you do, don’t turn up in a white dress! There will probably already be someone there wearing that. And one of you will have to go home and change.

@ediadegbola

Mind The Gap

Fashion

I’ve worked at Gap for over a year now. As you can imagine, I’ve spent it consistently making variations on a poor joke about it being my “Gap year”. These jokes are never well received.

Despite people’s unfortunate inability to appreciate my humour, I’ve grown to love Gap and their clothes. Now past their 90s heyday, Gap has perhaps fallen a touch out of favour with millennials which I think is a shame.

While keeping its finger on the fashion pulse, Gap generally goes for lasting style, rather than fleeting trends. By way of an example, I remember seeing a selection of men’s capes at Topman a couple of years ago. Safe to say Gap never got on board with that particular trend.

Gap clothes are, for the most part, good quality and they have a simple, understated cool to them that, I think can be underrated in today’s fast fashion market.

And believe it or not, I’m not just saying all this because they pay my salary.

For today’s outfit, I picked some of my favourites from this season at Gap. I styled them a couple of ways to show how versatile some of these items can be. All pictures are from my incredibly talented friend Luke. Take a look at some of his work here and read some things he’s written here.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are now approaching the station.

Please mind the Gap.

 

Look 1

I based the first look around this vintage style ringer tee. I really enjoy the rings on the arms and neck which is a nice sporty touch. Coupled with the ’69 slogan, they make me think that this is what you would wear in old-timey gym, throwing around a battered leather medicine ball and wearing unnecessarily revealing shorts. 1980s Bruce Jenner and the Village People know what I’m talking about. (You need to click on that link. Thank me later.)

While this outfit is mostly new stock, the chinos are currently £14.99 in the sale. I like this particular pair because of the pleats, which is something I’m quite into right now. It’s a nice little detail that makes the look stand out a little. Usually my trousers have a 34inch inseam (the distance from your crotch to the bottom) but cropped trousers are having a moment right now, so this time I went for a 32inch instead. I also helped them out a little by turning up the hem a single time, once again adding a little detail that makes it a little more personal.

This denim shirt is a really easy layer to throw on and bring a some instant cool to an outfit. It looks great dressed down like this or dressed up as we’ll see later on. I rolled up the sleeves  a little which makes the outfit look a bit more chilled and relaxed.

A big fan of denim, I’ve thrown on another layer. I love this indigo denim jacket which brings some darker tones to the otherwise rather bright outfit. Double denim can be dangerous territory. Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake found that out the hard way in 2001. Never forget.

An easy way to avoid that sort of turn of the millennium madness is to go for differing tones of denim. Here the darker jacket stands out from the lighter shirt so the outfit doesn’t look too matchy-matchy. As you get more confident in your denim mixing skills, you can start to play with similar tones for some more retro-style looks.

I’ve done this a little this time by adding this embroidered denim cap. Trading heavily on Americana influences, it’s quite a fun, casual piece and I think it really brings the outfit together. Embroidery is popping up in all kinds of places recently (last year’s souvenir jacket trend probably had something to do with that) and so is distressed denim. This piece gives a tip of the hat to both trends. See what I did there?

Look 2

Keeping things classy, this second look is a little more put-together than the former. Holding on to the denim shirt, I threw on a light sweater for a relaxed but less casual look. In a slightly washed out navy blue, this jumper is the perfect summer layer to add as the evenings start to get a little chilly, while the denim jacket is the perfect summer layer to add is the evenings start to get even chillier. Let’s be real here, people.

Trousers and shoes are of course the same as last time – my incredibly cheap chinos and my trusty white sneaks (my shoes are from Boohoo, not Gap).

Where possible I have added online links to the items in this post. Unfortunately the tee shirt and the hat are unavailable online at the time of writing, but should be available in larger Gap stores. Often items can be cheaper in store than online so it’s always worth popping in anyway.

Finally, I’ll say that Gap are incredibly generous with sales and discounts. At the time of writing, there is 25% extra off sale prices online and instore. Those chinos, for example would cost £11.24. You can keep up with all the discounts by joining the mailing list here.

Just to clarify, Gap haven’t asked me to say any of this. I just genuinely think they make some good clothes which can be very competitively priced if you come at the right times.

I’ll leave you to fill in the gaps.

Masterpiece

Fashion, places

Living in England, rain is just something that you have to embrace.

If it’s not tipping it down, then it’ll be the typically British, mournfully sombre, scornfully threatening, instantly disheartening overcast sky. And even when it’s actually sunny (as it has been this week), you find yourself unable to appreciate it for fear of the inevitable rain that you know is coming sooner or later (generally it tends to be sooner).

The setting for today’s outfit ultimately results from the rain and its effortless ability to disrupt the best laid plans. A good friend of mine is a photographer (check him out here. He’s incredibly talented!) and we had planned to do some shots out and about in York. The rain had other ideas, so instead, we ended up wandering around the York Art Gallery instead, as it is somewhere I had wanted to visit for a while.

Inspired by the creativity surrounding us and with classic and contemporary art as a backdrop, we ended up taking some photos and I thought I’d turn them into an outfit post.

Let’s make a masterpiece.

 

It’s probably wise to start off with the  standout piece of today’s outfit – these striped trousers. They’re roomy at the top but taper down towards the ankle, keeping things looking slick and tailored while winking to the wide-leg trend that’s taking off at the moment.

If you look closely, you’ll notice that they have pleats on the front, a nice retro flourish that has been criminally underappreciated over the last decade. I’ve seen pleated trousers pop up more and more over the last few seasons – a look back to the more relaxed and spacious tailoring of the 90s, a time before Hedi Slimane foisted the irresistibly ubiquitous skinny suit upon us.

 

When you’ve got a statement piece like these obnoxious trousers, as a rule, it’s generally best to keep everything else as simple as possible. Here I’ve gone for an oversize grey  t-shirt. Nothing fancy, I just bought a couple sizes larger than I usually wear to get that baggy 90s style.

My black denim jacket is from Gap (bought in the sale, naturally). Unlike the more relaxed, baggy denim jackets I normally go for, this one is more fitted and contrasts nicely with the looser tee and trousers.

 

 

Keeping up the monochrome theme, I’ve gone for grey sneakers and white socks.  No colour for me, thanks. I’ve also got my trusty grey cap, which pairs nicely with the grey tee, helping tie the outfit together.

Finally, my bag is from Topman and cost me £1. Yes, £1. I just got lucky one day and managed to turn up when they had loads to get rid of. I really enjoy its neutral colour palette as well as the leather touches that make it stand out.

Truly a work of art.

Photos by Rob McConkey

 

Covent Garden

places

There are few things I enjoy more than discovering new places.

I love a good wander, but more than that, I love being shown around by a local – seeing the city from their perspective.

A couple of weeks ago, I had some time to kill in Covent Garden so I met a couple of friends for coffee, wandering etc.

After rambling around the piazza and St Paul’s Church, carefully avoiding eye contact with street performers, I stopped for a quick bite to eat at Whittard’s Tea Bar. It was lovely, though victim to the smaller than expected portions and inflated prices that we’ve come to expect from London. I’m not complaining – they have high overheads, I get it. On the plus side, the sun was shining and it was lovely eating al fresco on such a glorious day.

Hands down, the highlight of the day has to be the visit to Crosstown Doughnuts. The more perceptive among you will probably have guessed what they sell there. (Clue: it rhymes with ‘slow butts’.)

I went for a lime and kiwi flavoured number which admittedly sounds quite odd, but was fantastic. These guys seem to be all about the details – even the jam had what appeared to be kiwi pips in it to give it the proper kiwi feel.

A tiny little shop, Crosstown’s interior is a monument to minimal and monochrome style. Black and white masonic floor, black furnishings, doughnut-shaped stools, neon signs and a live Instagram counter (oh, what a time to be alive!) accompany the selection of doughnuts. Outside, they’ve decided to brighten things up a little more with a deep purple hue.

One of his favourites, my friend also took me to Magma – a magazine/bookshop. You might remember from a previous blog that I visited the branch of Magma in Manchester some time ago, but if you have any semblance of a life, you probably don’t. Anyway, this Magma was bigger than its northern counterpart and filled with even more magazines, books and odd trinkets over two floors.

My friend also took me to Reality Church – a relatively new community that meet in an art gallery in Covent Garden. I loved it there. The people were great, really friendly and welcoming, the teaching was relevant and well-delivered, and the music was beautiful.

In the evening I went for some food and cocktails at a Latin restaurant/bar called Salsa. Perhaps a little on the nose with the name there, but nonetheless their Sunday deal was surprisingly cheap so we gorged ourselves till we could eat and drink no more while a Latin dance workshop took place on the dancefloor a few metres away. It was kind of like being at a bar or a wedding party where the DJ is a little too talkative and keeps stopping the music to say something or other. Except, this time, what the DJ is saying is actually helpful to people, and he is from South America instead of Hull.

After dinner we went for a stroll through Hyde Park and up past Buckingham palace. Having recently watched The Crown on Netflix, I couldn’t help but imagine Clare Foy wandering around looking burdened and pensive while Matt Smith moans about something.

The palace and the London Eye looked stunning reflected in the water of the Serpentine – a beautiful was to end my day in London.

Stingily Vintage

Fashion

I’ve always been notoriously, unashamedly, almost evangelistically, stingy. I just hate paying more for something than I think I should.

That said, I spend roughly half of my income in coffeeshops and around a quarter on various sweets and pastries, so this parsimony is basically the only way I’m able to fund my addictions.

This instinctive sense of entitlement to the finer things in life contrasted with my chronic unwillingness to part with my money can be a struggle. But savvy clothes shopping can do a lot to ease the tension.

As it goes, today’s outfit is a penny-pinching triumph, costing me just under £5 altogether.

Stinginess. It’s a talent.

 

Let’s start off with this vintage sweatshirt. For the record, “vintage” in fashion is just a fancy way to say “secondhand and somebody probably died in this”.  I really enjoy the nautical feel of this jumper and its oversized, worn-in style. I bought it from a shop in Belgium for €3. Bargain. This is a great one to throw on with some jeans or maybe chuck it over a pair of shorts as sunny summer afternoons turn to breezy summer evenings.

Subtotal: £2.61 (€3)

My slouchy denim jacket used to belong to my mum and I basically just stole it. I have zero regrets. Over the years, this light wash denim has become my go-to outerwear, seeing me through spring, summer and autumn, but doesn’t quite cut it during the harsh northern winter.

Subtotal: £2.61

You can’t really see it but, underneath the sweatshirt, I’m wearing a white tee with a sporty elasticated ringer neck. I got this from Boohoo.com and it cost £4 with one of the 50% discount codes that they send out quite indiscriminately. However, last year I won a competition that gave me a free £500 to spend on the website. So in actuality, it cost me nothing. Begrudgingly, I have to admit that this one can’t be blamed on my shopping skills, this was purely luck!

Subotal: £2.61

While giving a nod to the incumbent 70s trend, my corduroy trousers still keep things contemporary in a slim silhouette. I got them on sale for £2 at Primark a few months ago. That’s a rather heavy-handed reduction, even for Primark, so clearly they had overestimated the demand for corduroy trou as there was a table completely full of these bargain cords.

Subtotal: £4.61

Finally my white sneakers were another find from Boohoo.com. I think they cost £10 with the 50% off (honestly, never pay full price on Boohoo, just wait for a discount!), but like the tee, they cost me nothing in actual money.

This brings the grand total to a measly £4.61, having actually paid for only two of the five items.

Eat your heart out, Ebenezer Scrooge.

As I look back over this post, searching desperately for some sort of conclusion, it would appear that my budget fashion tips are as follows:

  • Trawl vintage shops and discount bins
  • Steal
  • Be lucky

Words to live by.

Things I’ve Learnt Over the Last Month Volume VII

musings

I can tell that you’re all itching for one of my classic brain-dumps where I throw a pile of subjective opinions at you and pretend it’s fact. You know, like a newspaper.

Well here’s the latest edition.

  • Human beings are capable of unthinkable evil.
  • Human beings are also capable of great resilience.
  • If we’re honest with ourselves, the English, as a people group, are not built for warm weather.
  • A Magnum ice-cream is an incomparable experience.
  • I’m also going through twin obsessions with raspberry sorbet and clotted cream ice cream. Summer is not good for me.
  • The wide-leg trend is great for warmer weather as it gives your legs room to breathe. Skinny jeans on a hot day is a form of modern torture.
  • Being a tourist is all well and good, but there’s nothing like seeing a place from a local’s perspective.
  • Nothing revives you quite like spending quality time with good friends.
  • Befriending people who are in positions to give you free coffee is essential.
  • The whole ‘summer body’ thing isn’t exactly going to plan, and summer is just going to have to take what it gets at this point, to be honest.