Days 4 – 10 #EdisXmasCountdown 2017

christmas, EdisXmasCountdown, music

We’re well into December now and Christmas is very much on its way. I have already bought two secret Santa gifts and am looking forward to my work Christmas party i.e. my only opportunity to wear a suit until wedding season rolls around next year.

I love this time of year – the cold winds, the over-excited children, the dangerous hazard of icy roads. Ok, those definitely aren’t the best things that the season has to offer, but maybe below I can suggest seven of Christmas’ finest products.

If you didn’t know (literally, where have you been?), for advent, I am compiling a list of some of my favourite Christmas songs. I’ll be counting down to the big day with 25 of the best Yuletide tunes – old and new, Christian and secular.

Check out all the action on Twitter and follow the playlist on Spotify which I will update daily. And if you just can’t get enough, listen to last year’s playlist and read some of last year’s blogs too.

Ok then, let’s get started. Here’s what the last week has sounded like for me.

 

Day 4

Can You See – 5th Harmony

Taking a break from the almost aggressively sexual output that we have come to expect from them, here 5th Harmony sing a beautiful R&B ballad about a Christmas star that leads the way spiritually. (In case that was too subtle for you, this particular star is called Jesus).

This song was written for the soundtrack of The Star – a children’s film about that night in Bethlehem, told from the perspective of the nativity’s unsung hero: the donkey. Yeah sure, the wise men brought some expensive gifts, but try walking for 80 miles with a pregnant woman on your back.

It’s nice to see a modern Christmas song that talks a little about the meaning of Christmas, rather than just presents and snow and festive feelings, not that presents, snow and festive feelings don’t have their place.

Anyway, this song got me in a Christmassy mood when it was released in October, so I’m sure it’ll do the same now it’s actually December.

 

Day 5

All Alone On Christmas – Darlene Love

It really wouldn’t be Christmas without Darlene Love having a musical meltdown of some kind. Last year we had her crying on the doorstep pleading with her man to come home. This year it appears that said gentleman did not return and now she’s facing a lonely yuletide.

Jokes aside, this emotional song reminds us that this time of year can be very lonely for some people. Here is a woman who is so lonely that she is writing a letter to Santa Claus asking him to stay with her a while when delivering her presents. It’s safe to say she’s had more than a few brandys at this point.

I love the vulnerability in this song and her previous hit Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) though it’s worth mentioning that, aside from the honesty, both tracks also share an undeniably similar tune.

 

Day 6

2000 Miles – Tom Chaplin

For day 6, we have an updated cover of The Pretenders’ hit 2000 Milles. Not to be confused with The Proclaimers’ 500 Miles, or Vanessa Carlton’s A Thousand Miles, this song has become a Christmas classic since its release in 1983. Who knew geographically themed music was so popular?

In today’s cover, former Keane frontman Tom Chaplin breathes new life into the ditty as part of his new album Twelve Tales Of Christmas.

Sadly, this beautiful song isn’t about separated lovers as the lyrics suggest, but was actually written as a tribute to the Pretenders’ original guitar player who died of a drug overdose the year before tit was written.

Nevertheless, this gentle melody has brought a sombre joy to Christmases over the past few decades and, no doubt, this cover and the original version will continue to do so for many more.

 

Day 7

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – Noah Cyrus

The lights are up, nutmeg is in the air, and shoppers are becoming increasingly stressed and irritable: It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas. Today, Noah Cyrus brings us into the one week mark with a surprisingly beautiful cover of this quintessentially festive song.

Best known (let’s face it) for being Miley Cyrus’s little sister, Noah’s burgeoning music career has so far delivered a slew of competent, edgy and surprisingly mature pop singles for a 17-year old. Today’s track however, goes in a more traditional direction.

Being a middle child, I am aware of how annoying it is to constantly be compared to one’s siblings but I can’t resist sharing this video of Miley’s Christmas 2008 performance when she was just a year younger than Noah is now.

2008 truly was a simpler time.

 

Day 8

California Winter – Bonnie McKee

Having written for the likes of Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Taio Cruz (Dynamite was a massive tune, don’t even try and deny it), Bonnie Mckee is responsible for some of your favourite pop songs. Her own musical career however, has been a little more bumpy after releasing an unsuccessful album and parting ways with two record labels.

Unperturbed, she decided to go it alone as an independent artist and has produced some incredibly slick pop and fantastic music videos over the last couple of years that are, in my opinion, woefully underrated.

Today’s song is a retro-styled romp as Bonnie sings of how her lover makes her feel warm inside, like a California winter. So far, so cliché, but the cute lyrics and creative single-shot video make this catchy song stand out that bit more.

For more exciting festive goodness from Ms. McKee, check out her California Winter Extravaganza Christmas special here.

 

Day 9

Ave Maria – Frank Sinatra

Full disclosure: this isn’t technically a Christmas song. The melody was written by Schubert almost 200 years ago as part of his Opus 52. Over time, the tune has been borrowed to go with the Catholic prayer to the mother of Jesus – Hail Mary, or in latin, Ave Maria.

So, not really a Christmas song per se, but Mary kind of had a big role to play in the  whole nativity story, so I’ll allow it. And despite not understanding any words in Latin other than ave and Maria, I love Sinatra’s strong, yet gentle voice on this tender ode to Jesus’ mama.

Day 10

Humbug – Owl City

Owl City. Now there’s a name we haven’t heard for a while. After his huge single Fireflies and some follow up hits like Good Time with Carly Rae Jepsen, Owl city (real name, Adam Young) has quietly plugged away, continuing to make music in his trademark electro-synth autotuned style.

I stumbled upon this track a few weeks ago and, despite its under-produced album art,  it resonated with me. Taking aim at the over-commercialisation of Christmas, Adam sings about the stress of finding the ‘perfect’ Christmas gift for his significant other. Eventually, he decides to give her the only thing of real value – his love. This is either a beautiful romantic gesture or a massive cop out. I’ll let his girlfriend decide.

Oddly, both the melody and message of this song remind me of James Corden’s The Greatest Gift song from Sainsbury’s cute claymation advert last year. Unlike Owl City however, the supermarket were very careful not to suggest that people don’t buy presents, merely that they should do so whilst also enjoying time with family. They are  a  chain of shops after all.

 

So that’s it for another week, friends. I’ll see you next week, same time, same place.

 

@ediadegbola

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Days 1 – 3 #EdisXmasCountdown 2017

christmas, EdisXmasCountdown, music

Can you believe it’s that time of year again?

Christmases (or should that be Christmi?) come around faster and faster each year.

The loyal readers among you might remember that, for advent last year, I did a countdown of my favourite Christmas songs, imaginatively titled #EdisXmasCountdown. The disloyal charlatans among you won’t remember that, but I forgive you. Christmas goodwill and all that.

So here’s the deal: every day, instead of scoffing a morsel of poor quality chocolate before breakfast, I will share one of my favourite Christmas songs on Twitter and my Instagram story. Then each Sunday, I will share a blog post, saying a little more about that week’s songs and what they mean to me.

This is the first of those posts.

I have tried to gather a mix of secular songs and carols, old and new music, as well as interesting covers of classic songs that you might not have heard. Hopefully there will be something for everyone, but perhaps it’s more likely that there will actually be nothing for anyone who isn’t me, seeing that this is a list of my favourite songs.

The Spotify playlist will be updated daily and last year’s playlist can be found here. Finally, all previous blog posts are available here.

Now that all the housekeeping is out of the way, this is what the last few days have sounded like to me.

Day 1

The Light Came Down – Josh Garrels

Our first song is a charming piece of indie folk. A slow, atmospheric start leads into gentle vocals from Garrels who sings us through the meaning of Christmas. The harmonies are stunning, the strings are cheerful, and the message is beautiful.

This is what Christmas is about.

I wanted to include this song in last year’s countdown but I discovered it too late and had already run out of space on the list. Regardless, I loved the song so much that I have been listening to it all year round, even though I know that enjoying Christmas music outside of November and December is illegal.

Worth it.

Day 2

Santa’s Coming For Us – Sia

Day two definitely steps things up a notch. This is the lead single from Sia’s new Christmas album Everyday Is Christmas. Seasonal albums are always a bit of a risk. On one hand, you’re limiting all purchases/streams of your music to the two aforementioned legally prescribed Christmas music months; but on the other hand, if you’re lucky, you can score a goldmine like All I Want For Christmas Is You which reportedly earns Mariah Carey £376,000 every year!

I don’t think Sia has anything to worry about because this upbeat pop track is an instant classic. Singing about the joy of indulging in clichéd yuletide things like hot chocolate and writing letters to Santa, this song taps into an excitement that I haven’t felt since I was but a young lad. With it’s irresistible beat and star-studded video, this catchy tune will have you bopping all the way to Christmas.

Day 3

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams

Despite its unnecessarily long title, this track is an absolute staple of Christmas season. Basically just a list of things we do at Christmas, this cheerful song sounds like it was written exclusively to play over montages of Christmas preparations in movies. How many Christmas films (of varying quality) have you seen that open with this song playing in the background while people put lights on trees and wrap presents? I can already think of three.

Like literally every song that is even vaguely Christmas-related, Michael Buble has done a popular cover of this song, but today we’re going for the original.

Take it away, Andy.

That’s it for now, I’ll see you next week for some more festive tunes.

 

@ediadegbola

Header photo by Caley Dimmock on Unsplash

Christmas at Gap

christmas, Fashion

Christmas is all about family.

It’s an incredibly tired cliché that is trotted out year after year in film, music and television, but it’s true. Christmas is for coming together and enjoying (or enduring) time with each other, whether you’re Kevin McCallister’s criminally negligent family or a teenage mother giving birth to an illegitimate child in a stable full of animals, shepherds and Eastern men.

The thing is, family doesn’t just have to be the people who share your surname. Sometimes family are your friends, neighbours, colleagues, or the barista who always gives you extra whipped cream on your gingerbread latte (God bless you, Trevor).

That’s why I was delighted to get some of the team at Gap York involved with this Christmas/family themed blog shoot. And I was even more delighted when I found out we would be joined by some extra special little helpers!

A huge thank you is in order to one of the most creative people I know, photographer Luke Porter. Check out his fancy new website here. Another big thank you is definitely owed to our models. The big ones were Jon, Darcy, Jen and Rachel; while the smaller, cuter and, frankly, better ones were Massey, Aami and Isobel.

At the time of writing, all of the items were available in the Gap York store and I have included online links of the pieces or similar ones where possible. Ladies and gentlemen, we are now approaching The North Pole. Please mind the Gap.

Pastel Paradise

I have a soft spot for pastels. Baby blues, mint greens, heather greys, pale pinks, I love them all. While winter often brings to mind many deep, bold colours like bright reds, greens and burgundys, there’s a gentle simplicity to lighter, paler colours this season.

The standout for me has to be this pink faux fur coat. Darcey looks almost indulgently comfortable here, pairing it with  a cableknit sweater and some velour jeans, both in cream.

Isobel’s sweater dress and sparkly tights, and especially Massey’s Chewbacca jumper also go some way to stealing the show. The boys’ Star Wars collection is full of fun, cute and witty pieces like this, and quite frankly outstrips anything that adult men are wearing this season. Sorry lads.

Jen and Rachel both went for long-line roll-neck sweaters and partnered them with complementing shades of velour denim. On top, Rachel’s wool coat borrows the clean lines and minimal design of Scandinavian style, while Jen’s oversized ribbed cardi is the perfect layer to wrap yourself up in and keep warm.

Jon’s pink hoodie is right on the money – pink shades have been huge for men over the past few seasons. We butched things up a little with the distressed denim jacket, and duly un-butched things with his ladies’ skinny jeans as Jon prefers the more snug fit.

Aami’s shirt plays around with classic patterns and proportions, contrasting different sized checks, but still keeping the same colours for a sense of uniformity. Both he and Massey look great in the grey biker jeans that, if nothing else, provide an extra layer of protection to the scuffed knees that young boys seem unable to avoid.

Altogether, with the soft candy tones and the snuggly, cosy materials,  I can’t think of a better uniform for the season of peace and goodwill to all men.

 

Crazy Christmas

At Gap, these rainbow stripes come out every Christmas season (though we call it ‘holiday’ season thanks to the politically correct and non-denominational Americans who run Gap). Though perhaps a little much at first glance, I have come to love these quirky patterns and kooky colours. Most of these items come in a set of similar-coloured pieces so, if you were so inclined, you could deck out your entire family in matching (read: clashing) stripy or fairisle knitwear from head  to toe.

Naturally that would be too much for most reasonable people, so for the rest of us, it’s nice to mix and match with simpler pieces.

Rachel has definitely earnt her stripes here with the rainbow jumper and scarf. Gap also offer some stripy leggings but I think we can all agree that sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. Underneath, she has on a pair of distressed slim straight jeans – a modern take on the 90s destroyed denim trend.

Jen has taken a leaf out of Rachel’s book by adding a matching scarf to her fair isle jumper, stopping just shy of overkill. The Scottish knitting pattern is a Christmas classic  and immediately makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And outside.

Speaking of which, her legging jeans are lined with brushed cotton which means they feel as comfortable as your favourite pyjama bottoms.

Darcey’s jumper is a little more reserved than the others, restricting the stripe motif to the heart on the chest. Her gold puffer jacket however, is far from reserved, bringing a little bit of luxe to the colder months. Finally her otherwise simple hat delivers a burst of colour with the fluffy pom-pom at the top.

Aami’s long sleeve tee pokes fun at the questionable jumpers we get given at Christmas (sorry, Grandma). but his blue striped snood and hat set bring a less ironic sense of Christmas cheer. My favourite item however, is Aami’s varsity jacket. Effortlessly stylish, this jacket will keep you feeling warm but looking cool. I just wish they did it in adult sizes.

On the other hand, Massey keeps things classic in his stripy sweater and gilet. You’ll notice that the shades in the boys’/men’s stripes are subtly different to those of the ladies/girls, but I like how the patterns tie together.

Isobel is wearing all things bright and beautiful, but her denim jacket breaks up the otherwise overpowering patterns. The fingerless glove and woolly hat set look great paired with the stripy dress and leggings and, coincidentally, her hair braid.

And finally, Jon might be having a Blue Christmas, but his spirits definitely seem high in his jumper and gilet. Pairing burgundy with blue, the navy cable-knit scarf finishes off the cosy outfit.

Styling and directing these guys was so much fun. Being a family themed shoot, I decided to put everyone in matching outfits, like on a cute family Christmas card – you know, a cute family Christmas card sponsored by a multinational retail corporation.

For this shoot, I was inspired in part by the #DGfamily campaign and in part by the multi-layered drama of a renaissance painting. I wanted to get shots that reminded me of my family – dysfunctional, but happy. It’s all about everyone coming together in the mess that is life, whether mucking around with a scooter or giving your mum a cuddle.

It was great fun having the kids involved. I really wanted to give them a chance to show their personalities, so I asked them to bring in their favourite toys. Expecting three fidget spinners, I was pleasantly surprised when Aami arrived with a scooter, Massey, a Star Wars book and Isobel, a cuddly toy. Even in something as simple as that, it’s clear to see their differing characters.

In spite of their differences however, it was great to watch all of the gang messing around and joking with each other. Most of these guys don’t have modelling experience (though Isobel could run circles around Naomi Campbell) so, although I tried to get some slightly more staged shots, none of them looked as good as the natural ones.

The genuine smiles, the uncontrollable laughter, the occasional squabble.

That’s family.

img_8106.jpg

And yes, it definitely is too early to be saying this, but…

Merry Christmas from all at Gap York!

 

@ediadegbola

 

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Fashion, places

One does a lot of growing up after university.

And I can say from experience that adulthood is a bitter pill to swallow. As inevitable as it is unpleasant, growing up is something that you immensely look forward to as a child, and then realise the true extent of your erroneous thinking more and more with each passing year.

Adulthood – the mistake you somehow keep on making.

One thing that I have personally noticed about ageing is that I have started enjoying things that I didn’t like when I was younger. I used to hate alcohol but over the years I have reluctantly had to tick cider, wine, beer, rum and, most especially, gin off the no-drink list. Whiskey is my only holdout because it literally tastes like paint stripper, but I can only assume that within a few years, I’ll be sinking it down with no regard for my health or tastebuds like a middle-aged hedge fund manager.

I also enjoy tomatoes, spinach, granola and tonic water, even though I know for a fact that none of them taste good. But worst of all, I now have a predilection for Supermix Haribo – a flavour that is objectively and undeniably inferior to the classic Starmix or  the exotic Tangfastics.

God, have mercy on my soul.

On the plus side, among maturity’s other consolations, I have recently discovered the understated joy of wandering around stately homes. This discovery has led me to succumb to the only thing that ages a person more than male pattern baldness: I signed up for National Trust membership.

Like a sort of MTV Cribs for baby boomers, visiting a heritage property offers a glimpse into an unattainably lavish lifestyle – a peek into what could have been, had I not been born to parents of such humble means.

The younger me would have scoffed at the thought of spending a day in an ancient mansion. But the younger me wouldn’t have able to afford it even if he wanted to, so he can pipe down.

It is for this reason that, whilst visiting the property some weeks ago, I decided to do an impromptu blog shoot in the grounds of Castle Howard – one of the grandest houses in the country.

Home-ownership might be looking less and less likely for millennials, but a boy can dream.

Borrowing the neutral shades and minimal feel of Scandinavian style, today’s outfit is simple but packs a punch. So let’s start of with today’s statement piece – my dragon print shirt.

I bought this at a vintage shop in Belgium. I love being able to say that, it makes me feel fancy and cosmopolitan. What sounds less fancy and cosmopolitan is the fact that it only cost €3.

A simple off-white shirt with a Cuban (or revere) collar, the pattern elevates what would otherwise be quite a basic item. The ‘oriental-style’ print hints at the Chinioserie trend that has been popular over the last few seasons. East has met West time and time again in designs from Maharishi to Gucci, culminating notably in the popularity of  last year’s standout item – the embroidered souvenir jacket.

Fortunately, my printed dragon evokes the aesthetic, whilst costing me considerably less than Gucci would have me pay for this embroidered shirt.

You’ll notice that I am wearing a white tee underneath my shirt. This is for two reasons:

  1. It provides a casual, yet put-together look that also offers an extra layer of warmth
  2. A button fell off the dragon shirt the first time I wore it and the hole
  3. would expose more of my midriff than I feel comfortable about.

Annoying as that is, you really can’t complain when you paid €3.

Below midriff level, I have gone for the beloved favourite of hygge-loving hipsters and middle-aged piano teachers alike, beige chinos. When you literally have a dragon emblazoned across your chest, it’s best to go low-key with the rest of the outfit.

These guys were my go-to trouser of the summer and I love the simple, relaxed style. And, as you may have noticed if you have read this blog before, I continue to be physically unable to wear trousers without rolling up the hems.

Bringing a little colour to an otherwise plain and neutral outfit is my denim jacket. Another gift from the thrifty Belgian vintage scene, this oversized outerwear is a great layer to throw on for an effortless retro look.

Finally, on my feet are some sport socks (bought purely for aesthetic purposes, I rarely play sport of any kind) and some simple plimsolls from Primark. Try saying that last bit 3 times fast.

Having now spent 6 years as a legal adult, and 2 years out of university, I have to admit that some days I really do wish I was a kid again.

But aside from the changing tastes and the having to go to work like every day (what’s that all about?), if adulthood looks like this, maybe it’s not so bad after all.

 

@ediadegbola

 

Is fashion art?

Fashion, musings

Is fashion art?

This question, undoubtedly asked by many a fashion designer clamouring for a sense of legitimacy to their craft, has probably existed for as long as the two disciplines have.

Of the creative arts, fashion is perhaps seen as the most frivolous. Fine art has a centuries-long legacy of appreciation and academia, as do music, creative writing, and theatre. Even film and television enjoy a populist endorsement that leaves their existence immune to interrogation.

But despite its ubiquity – most human beings wear clothes, most of the time – fashion can  often be seen as a superficial younger sibling.

But this all rides on the titular question: Is fashion art?

The creation of fashion definitely mirrors the process of making art; from conceptualisation, to sourcing of materials, to the production of the piece. Other than salary, what is the difference between the person who produced these paint-splattered Levi jeans and artist Jackson Pollock creating his iconic “drip-style” artworks?

That said, as Alice Rawsthorn notes for the Guardian, it could be said that fashion and art serve different purposes. Fashion is for expressing beauty – a duty that art, especially contemporary art, is often unconcerned with. Art’s function is to explore the complexities of life and to (at least attempt to) make meaning of the world around us; any beauty that comes from that is merely a by-product, Rawsthorn argues.

I, however, would suggest that perhaps our question is too simplistic. There is still much debate in creative communities over what does or does not constitute art, as well as many line-blurring and line-transgressing works, from performance art to street art to art installations. If we can’t even say for sure that art is art, surely we will struggle to agree on whether or not fashion is.

Regardless, over the years, fashion and art have in fact walked hand in hand. In the 1930s, Lola Prussac’s Hermes handbags wore Mondrian’s cubic aesthetic – as did Yves Saint Laurent’s dresses in the 1960s. Fast forward top the 21st century and Alexander McQueen has collaborated with Damien Hirst, Marc Jacobs with Daniel Buren (displayed, of course, at The Louvre), and even self-proclaimed genius Kanye West accepted help from performance artist Vanessa Beecroft’s when launching his Yeezy collections.

Art and fashion’s give and take is well documented, but the growing popularity of fashion sketches from the likes of Hayden Williams or Richard Haines is a perfect example. Are these drawings fashion or are they art? Or both? Or neither?

It’s difficult to say. But this lack of definition doesn’t make them any less beautiful.

Photo by Rob McConkey.

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

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