Monthly Archives: February 2012

Motel: Vintage dresses and sunshine

Motel vintage floral dress

Motel vintage floral dress

Last week I was walking down Park Street when I spotted Motel’s sale window, and I couldn’t resist popping in for a quick look. I’m pleased I did, because I found their £5 vintage sale rail and fell for this dress, above. As it was ‘£5 each or 2 for £7′ I thought it would be rude not to try on a few more vintage pieces, and didn’t find it hard to find another dress to take home.

I’ve been a huge Motel fan since I moved to Bristol for university seven years ago. Back then Motel’s shop on Park Street was called DNA and was the same brand, just a different name. At the start of every term, when my student loan got a top-up, I’d treat myself to a haircut from Toni & Guy and a dress or top from Motel. I loved the printed, loose tops and wore them until they were literally falling to pieces. Now Motel’s body-con prints are stocked in Topshops up and down the country, and the Park Street shop has shifted its focus to vintage and upcycled garments.

After I found these dresses I took them home to photograph, but my usual way of shooting in front of my huge windows just didn’t do them justice. And, since the weather was so glorious at the weekend, I thought it would be rude not to photograph them in the sunshine!

So, here are a few snaps of me in the garden, kindly taken by Mr Ship-Shape, who, despite a few initial protests, quite fancies him self as a bit of a David Bailey. I’m still quite new to being in front of the camera, so you’ll have to ignore my head tilts and hair covering my face, and instead focus on how gorgeous these dresses are! I love the floral print and cut of the first dress, and although the peach and white stripped dress (an old M&S number) is a bit large, it should be easy enough to take in at the sides for a better fit.

Motel vintage floral dress

Vintage floral dress, Motel / suede belt, vintage / grey knee high socks, H&M / tan cowboy boots, Primark

Peach and white M&S dress from Motel

Peach and white striped dress (originally M&S), Motel / black and gold belt, vintage / white canvas wedges, New Look

Peach and white striped Motel dress

Check out the blue sky - no Photoshoping required!

Rock The Week

Fashion related (and totally non-fashion related) things that have made my world go round over the last seven days…

fashion magazines

  • Magazine culling. I’ve written before about my love of magazines – not just fashion but food, photography, even the GQ (male) shoes supplement – if I like the cover, I’ll read it. I’ve been doing a bit of spring cleaning though, and this weekend turned my attention to my ridiculous pile of magazines. Plonking almost half my collection in the recycling box wasn’t easy, but it did mean I got to spend a good few hours reading old copies of ELLE, Grazia, Company etc and ripped out a few must-keep features and fashion spreads.
  • Daylight. Even before Bristol enjoyed a glorious weekend of sunshine and blue skies, I was ready to chat away about how awesome it is now that the slightly lighter evenings have arrived. Spring is almost here and not long after that comes pub gardens, afternoons in the park and bare legs – hurrah!
  • Six Items. This week I blogged about the Six Item Challenge, a campaign to highlight the effects of fast fashion through challenging fashionistas to wear just six items of clothing for the duration of Lent. To find out more and see how the participants are coping, visit their blog.

Clothes, Cameras and Coffee blog

  • Another ethical fashion post, not from me but the talented Roz, of Clothes, Cameras & Coffee., who discusses the merits of eco-friendly red carpet outfits, and her experience of the Fru-Gal Challenge – another way of confronting our increasing reliance on fast fashion and cheap clothing.
  • And finally… pancakes! Every Pancake Day ends with me lamenting that we really should try to eat pancakes more than once a year, because they are awesome. Every year, 12 months go by before I make another batch of pancakes. There’s no photo of my creations (served with the classic topping of sugar and lemon juice) because I was too busy eating them!

What has been rocking your world this week? Let me know by commenting below….

Six Items

Six Items Challenge

Raise your hand in the air if you’ve been on a cheeky shopping trip this week. Yep, me too. I love fashion and the thrill of finding a bargain on the high street, not to mention the speed with which catwalk trends appear on the rails at Topshop, H&M and Primark. A replica Marc Jacobs dress for £13? Yes please! A different outfit every day for a month? No problem.

My wardrobe is bursting at the seams and I have clothes on every available surface of my bedroom, yet I can never find anything to wear in the morning. If this sounds familiar, imagine what life would be like if you had only six items to choose from.

The ‘Six Items Challenge’ began this week, coinciding with the end of London Fashion Week and the start of Lent, and sees participants shrinking down their wardrobes to just six pieces for 40 days, in a bid to highlight our increasing reliance on fast fashion – and the sweatshops that help make our fashion whims a reality.

Organised by Labour Behind The Label, who work to support and fight for the rights of overseas garment workers, this campaign aims to highlight the unseen perils of our ‘throwaway fashion’ shopping habits. Ship-Shape met LBTL last year to find out more about their work, and the benefits of clothes swaps and buying secondhand, so it was great to find out about this fantastic and challenging campaign.

You can read the rules here, but in a nutshell, participants are encouraged to ‘re-engage with creating clothing identities with less’ by relying on just six items of clothing for 30 days (after this week’s initial Lent launch), which doesn’t include underwear, accessories or performance-related gear, such as work uniforms or gym outfits. The team will be on the lookout for 10 new participants every couple of months, and hope to raise awareness and donations through sponsorship and documenting the process on their blog.

While I’m not sure I could cope with only relying on six items of clothes for a whole month (not least because I am constantly spilling food over myself) I think this is an incredible idea and I hope you do to. Could you survive with only six wardrobe staples? What would you choose and do you think this would change your shopping habits? Let me know by commenting below.

The significance of spring cleaning

wardrobe stuff Polaroid

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks spring cleaning my flat, de-cluttering and generally trying to be a bit more tidy, which is harder than it sounds when you have as much stuff as I do! Books, cameras, clothes, shoes – half of which I rarely read/use/wear but can’t bear to part with – find their way into every corner of my life. I love rummaging in vintage shops, charity shops and jumble sales, and my finds are often shoehorned into wardrobes, drawers and bookshelves – if there is an empty space, I will fill it. With (almost) anything.

My recent spring clean, particularly that of my clothes, has been very therapeutic (my bursting-at-the-seams wardrobe is certainly grateful to have lost a little weight) but it has also been very emotional. This may sound strange, but I think there is more significance lurking in your wardrobe than you’d think.

I’m a natural hoarder. In my younger years that meant keeping stickers and envelopes with my name on, now it’s magazines, clothes and accessories. As I was sorting my unwanted clothes into piles last night (for charity, recycling and selling) I encountered many flashbacks in amongst the belts, shoes and dresses.

There was my first wide, waist cinching belt that came free with a magazine about seven years ago, a polka dot tea dress from Primark that I went on to buy in every available colour during my second year of uni, when Primark was split over two dodgy, dimly-lit shops in Broadmead (now Poundland and part of Cabot Circus) and the shoes I wore on my 21st birthday. There are also pieces I’ve clung on to for sentimental reasons; gifts from my mum, vintage belts and dresses from my nan, clothes I have grown out of, or that are now too big for me since I lost weight.

I’ve kept these items not because I wear them even occasionally, but because they hold a significance that I attach to most of my material possessions. You must have a song, book, or outfit that transports you back to a particular day or period of time. I believe our clothes have the ability to capture a moment, like a photograph, and suspend it until you decide the time has come to move on.

So far I’ve given three huge bags of clothes to local charity shops, kept some back for a future clothes swap, and put worn clothes into the recycling box. I can’t say giving away memories, disguised cunningly as clothes, has been easy, but it does feel good de-cluttering my life and knowing than someone else is going to get enjoyment from things I never wear anymore.

Do you have an outfit you can’t bear to part with? Or perhaps you’ve recently got rid of a piece of jewellery or clothing that you’ve had for years? Share your thoughts by commenting below…

Rock The Week

It’s a day later than usual as I spent a looong day in Birmingham for work yesterday, but here are a few fashion related (and totally non-fashion related) things that have made my world go round over the last seven days…

Burberry-Prorsum A/W12

Burberry-Prorsum A/W12 - want, want, want!

  • LFW coverage. I couldn’t make it to London and although I’m gutted I missed out on the buzz of shows, style-spotting and Somerset House, I’ve had countless sources of info to ensure I haven’t missed out. Namely The LFW Daily, jewellery designer Fred Butler’s blog and the fab Disneyrollergirl.
  • Stickified Goo Goo. I’ve mentioned this Rice Krispies delight on the blog before, and I made some again as an alternative birthday cake for a friend. Making it was a bit of a disaster but my friend was chuffed to bits, hurrah!
Stickified Goo Goo

Stickified Goo Goo

  • Latin American delights. Going out to Las Iguanas for a friend’s birthday meal was awesome, and not just because we took full advantage of the 2-4-1 offer on cocktails! I got to see friends from uni that I haven’t seen in yonks, plus I discovered the best venue in Bristol for sweet potato fries*, which beats my pathetic attempts in the kitchen, hands down.
  • Longest ever run. On Tuesday I took part in Sweaty Betty’s Get Fit For Free event up on the Downs and ran just under eight miles – my longest run so far. The Bath Half is only a few weeks away now, so every mile (or almost mile) counts!

*but if you know a better venue then fess up!

What has been rocking your world this week? Let me know by commenting below….