Monthly Archives: November 2009

The Hamilton House Fashion Bazaar

Ah, I wish I were in the country for this one! If you’re making a start on your Christmas shopping and are looking for fun, creative gifts, or just a place to avoid weekend shoppers while indulging in a little fashion voyeurism for yourself, then head down to Hamilton House in Stokes Croft for the first ever Fashion Bazaar.

Presented by the Bristol Fash Pack, this free one day event promises stalls, customising workshops, a fashion parade, a clothes swap and a clothing auction, the proceeds of which will be donated to the collectives’ two chosen charities; the Bristol-based Malawi Education Project and Cancer Research.

Fash Pack is an all female line-up of local fashion designers and shop owners including Shop Dutty and Madidas Harissa, both of whom featured in the Stokes Croft Fashion Show back in October. The group are looking for volunteers to help out with the event so if you’re interested then please get in touch via their Facebook event page.

The Bazaar kicks off at 1pm and carries on till 6pm, with the fashion parade and auction happening at 5pm. All the action happens in the event space above the Coexist Canteen – see the Facebook page, link above, for more info.

A fashionable event that supports charity, local designers AND has t-shirt customising workshops sounds like a winner to me so make sure you go and check it out this Sunday!

Black and Blue: Black Friday from a Brit’s Perspective


In the US there is a Thanksgiving tradition known as ‘Black Friday’, which happens the day after Thanksgiving (which always falls on the last Thursday of November).

But Black Friday is not where families come together to relax after the stress of cooking a big meal, it is in fact the day when they choose to venture out at 5am (!) to shop like crazy in the ridiculously priced pre-Christmas sales. Events take place everywhere from superstores to thrift stores and last the weekend, but all the best sales happen first thing on Friday morning.

Naturally I wouldn’t dream of getting up so early for any of the January sales, but as I’ll probably only be here once for this time of year I figured I might as well partake with the rest of the country. In a bid to be clever and out-smart my body clock, I decided to join my cousin (and what seemed like half of Florida) in going to Miromar, one of the largest outlet malls in Florida at midnight.

There were queues from the highway, queues to get into stores, queues to pay and even queues to get back out again! Luckily I was just on the hunt for a few Christmas presents and succeeded in getting most of the things on my list, but my cousin had to queue to get into her favourite store, Juicy Couture, only to find nothing of interest and left empty handed!

One of the things I love about shopping is the thrill of the chase; the rummaging the looking high and low and the satisfaction of walking out the store with my purchase. Last night I practically had to beat off old ladies with their own walking sticks just to get near any of the stores I was interested in*, and I had to put up with the scary, bleary eyed looks of shoppers desperate for a hit of ‘40% off’. Not an experience I intend on repeating but I’m glad I gave it a try. Now, off to bed…

* No old ladies were harmed in the making of this post.

Oh So Sui!

Yesterday I went back to Target, primarily to get a memory card reader for my camera, but got a little sidetracked first by the Anna Sui for Target collection that I mentioned in a previous post.

The collection had been on sale when I first visited the store at the end of October but there was an even bigger sale on yesterday (I don’t think the older generation of Naples appreciate this hip New York look), so I couldn’t help but have a nosey through what Target had to offer.

Most of the gems I found were from the Anna Sui range, although sadly not in my size. I found a gorgeous retro woolen mini skirt in brown, cream and mustard shades which would have looked great with a pair of plum tights, along with a black lace Wild West inspired dress, both of which were too large. I often find pieces like this and convince myself that I’ll take up the hem or whatever but in reality they all just sit in a pile on my desk (for weeks at a time) so I figured I should leave said items behind.

What I did find however was this delicious blue smock with a black print and pussy bow collar, see above. The dress comes with a waist cinching belt but I’m not sure if I’ll use it or not as I quite like it as is, even if it does make me look like a French abstract painter… As M would say, ‘it just hangs there’ and is not in the slightest bit figure hugging but I just love that print over such a unique blue colour.

Perhaps it is being in a sunny climate but I seem to be attracted to brighter things at the moment. Hopefully an occasion will arise where I can wear it here otherwise I’ll have to fit it into my already bulging suitcase. By the way, after a an hour of rummaging and trying things on I did eventually make it to the photography department and am now the proud owner of a memory card reader, hurrah!

A trip down Memory Lane…

As I wondered round the sprawling mall the other day, taking in the stores and swarms of angst ridden teenagers, I found myself travelling back through the years when my love affair with the (at sometimes questionable) fashions of the good ol’ US of A began as a teen. My aunt would give me Old Navy clothing for Christmas and birthday presents that I would wear religiously – the shining American beacon in my boring English wardrobe.

When I came to visit my aunt for the first time in New Jersey, at the age of 14, she took me to Manhattan for the day where I experienced Abercrombie & Fitch for the first time. Taken in by the all-American charm, I walked out of there with a maroon fleece zip-up hoodie that had navy piping and a small navy ‘Abercrombie & Fitch’ embroidered on the sleeve. The day ended with a makeover at Saks Fifth Avenue. A song out at the time called Summer Girls featured the line; “I like girls who wear Abacrombie & Fitch, I’d take her if I had one wish…” I wore my new American hoodie with pride for the rest of that summer and for many months that followed.

I was around 17 or 18 when I went to the west coast for the first time, with my friend L and her parents, spending time in California, Nevada and Arizona, hanging out in Vegas and riding around on the back of a Harley Davidson for the best part of three weeks. Cult shows and fashions were on the agenda and L introduced me to a store called Hot Topic. The chain of band t-shirts, cult clothing and comic books was like a revelation in my teens and I remember finding a Hello Kitty t-shirt and a Rainbow Brite bracelet, both of which were unattainable in England and that I treasured for years until the t-shirt became faded and the bracelet broke.

I don’t know that cartoon/logo tees are really my thing anymore but I love this ‘Nerds Need Love Too’ shirt that I saw in Hot Topic. It is just the kind of thing I would have worn in my teens, when Hello Kitty was, or perhaps just felt, more underground and ‘cult’ then it does today.

I’ll try and dig out some photos of my American adventures, pre-Florida, in fact I still have a pair of jeans I bought from American Eagle Outfitters from the California trip. Straight in the leg and plain blue in colour, they were the jeans I biked around Europe in a few years ago and that I wore so often I got the all-American rips in the knees that I had always wanted, but refused to pay for.

This I think, is one of the reasons I find it so hard to give up old clothes – clothes which have so many memories woven into them that I treasure too much to part with, despite stains, rips and general unfitting-ness. This is why I’m trying to enjoy what I have, using and wearing it now rather than waiting to ‘save it for best’, see excellent post by LLG.

Absence makes the wallet grow smaller…

Since I took leave from Bristol my other half has been keeping himself busy by going to an art exhibition, cooking lots of fish and playing on his new PlayStation 3. On the other side of the Atlantic I have been consoling myself with two of my favourite things: shopping and cake.

The cake was getting a bit too calorific for my liking so today I went to The Mall instead, which turned out to be a bit lethal on my purse.

First stop was the department store Macy’s which was a little lacking compared to the one I visited a few years ago in NYC, but with a store-wide sale I thought it would be worth a look. Before I knew it I was walking out with a Calvin Klein grey plaid shirt dress with a yolk neckline, and a charcoal coloured leather jacket by Sugarfly, an American brand I’d never heard of before.

I’ve always liked leather jackets on other pretty young things, such the Olsen twins but found them a little boxy looking when actually trying any on, so I can only conclude that one of two things has happened. Either I’ve found the perfect leather jacket for me or, as a suspect may be the case, I’ll wake up tomorrow morning and be desperate to take it back – time will tell I guess!

Above: an ill-advised purchase? Sugar Fly leather jacket.
On the search for some reasonably priced Converse I came across Old Navy, a subdivision of Gap which is full of quirky prints and retro advertising. I have a bit of a thing for pyjamas and fell for some yellow flannel boxer shorts covered multicoloured deer, above.

Image courtesy of Fab Sugar

I love all the trashy, cartoon emblazoned pyjama sets and bottoms that seem to be so popular in the US, possibly due to watching too much of Clarissa Explains It All when I was younger, I managed to find a hideously wonderful pair of bright pink bottoms covered with birthday cakes, which I think are fantastic, especially since they satisfy both my clothing and cake needs.

Like I said, in the light of day I might feel differently but for now I’m quite pleased with myself!