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

 

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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