I have a… treat for you this week. My utterly fashionable and very well-read workmate, Emily, did what I wouldn’t couldn’t – she read this book:
She’s kindly written a wee spiel about it for us, so read on and conquer!
Confession: I’m addicted to cheap fashion. Despite an otherwise strident sense of social justice, I’ve tended to block off the part of me that worries about where my clothes are coming from in favour of snapping up bargains.
It was with a sense of trepidation that I picked up Elizabeth Cline’s Overdressed, nervous that my worst fears would come true. Cline explores the dangers of the way that we shop, exploring the phenomenon of fast fashion, dwindling quality of construction, conditions for garment workers and the afterlife of our charity shop donations. Conversations about cheap fashion are hard, often coming across as preachy and striking fear into the heart of those, like me, who relish the fun and creativity that comes with clothes. Overdressed isn’t going to make you feel good. At first. But Cline manages to turn a dour subject into something of a manifesto for the ethical fashion enthusiast, acknowledging the fun that comes with dressing well even as she addresses the problems with our taste for ever-cheaper goods.
There are too many scary trends highlighted in the book to recount in detail but the most striking point for me was the huge slump in quality in modern clothing. Amazingly, a bargain basement woman’s outfit at the turn of the twentieth century was around US$200. In today’s money, a huge investment! Well into the 1960s and 1970s clothing prices for the everyday outfit strike the modern reader as staggeringly expensive. Modern clothing has ditched the sharp tailoring and quality fabrics that make the outfits of Mad Men so covetable in favour of simple, synthetic pieces with pretty shoddy sewing. It’s not just the planet, workers and retailers who are getting a rough deal from modern fashion, it’s the fashionistas themselves. Future generations will begrudge us the gorgeous quality vintage that we can snap up now when we leave behind a legacy of raggedy, polyester clothes.
The good news is that Cline’s recipe for becoming a more ethical shopper doesn’t involve the dire commandment to build capsule wardrobes stocked with crisp white bamboo shirts and tailored pants. Here are some tips that I picked up and (hopefully!) want to put into practice:
• The most important point! Get a feel for quality. Next time you’re shopping take the time to feel fabrics, check out buttons and seams and read labels. I had a neurotic trip to the mall after reading Overdressed in which I madly felt up clothes all over the place, it really helped to curb those impulsive spends on cheap, throwaway items. Set your own benchmark and don’t settle for the barely sewn on buttons and seriously flammable looking polyesters.
• Work out roughly how much you spend on fashion each year and figure out how you could make the same amount of money go further on items from quality retailers and secondhand or vintage buys. Stores like Savemart offer secondhand gems without the pricetag.
• Shop what’s already in your wardrobe and have fun experimenting with outfits and unusual combinations. Organising your wardrobe into shirts, skirts, dresses etc will help reduce the “I’ve got nothing to wear” panic that causes constant shopping trips.
• Think carefully about charity shop donations as they receive a lot of broken and flimsy donations that are no good for anyone. Repair any flaws in the garment, try it out in different combinations with your other clothes or offer to your friends before donating.
• Learn how to sew! Girls in the past would alter most of their clothes to get that perfect fit whereas now we tend to accept clothes the way they come. Our library is full of guides for the absolute beginner. Learning how to repair and alter your wardrobe is a huge asset and Overdressed already has me lusting after my own sewing machine. If you’re not into DIY sewing look out for alteration services.
Get your stitch on!
The moral of the story: something needs to change pretty soon but ethical fashion doesn’t have to be uninspiring. Face your fears and give it a read.
Do you read The Times? Neither. That’s why I was pre-tty happy when my workmate drew my attention to four full pages of fashion sites! They have shortlisted (I say ’short’listed – there are 50 items on the list!) the very best fashion sites. Soooo, I took it on myself to check them all out (the sufferance) so I can give you a rundown of the very best; the creme de la creme of those 50 sites. An actual shortlist!
I recommend, in no particular order:
♥ asos.com, who needs absolutely no introduction, was voted number 1. Word. Up.
♥ shopstyle.co.uk is decribed as being like Google but just for clothes shopping. I tried it out and it is indeed pretty whizzy. A search for ‘fluffy jumper’ brought back 63 results, all from a huge range of retailers worldwide. Many of them do international shipping. Definitely a good resource if you’re on the prowl for a particular item.
♥ the-frugality.com is a blog about making smart (not cheap!) purchases. The idea is to make savings where you can so you afford some luxury, as well – the blogger gives save and splurge options for loads of different items, from hats to clothing to lamps to meal ideas. Check it.
♥ getthegloss.com is pretty much an online beauty mag. It has a range of features and articles, and gives loads of make up, health and beauty tips. They do refer to many rad products which aren’t available here in NZ (sob) but is still a great read with many interesting features.
♥ However, if make up videos are more your thing, I recommend you check out lisaeldridge.com instead. Her videos are really nicely put together and are full of tips for achieving particular make up looks (Marilyn Monroe, Hitchcock Heroines and Beach Brights, to name only a few. There are heeeaaaps).
♥ And I didn’t forget the guys! Of the 15 best men’s fashion sites which The Times listed, my favourite was valetmag.com. It’s full of tips about “style and grooming for the modern gentleman”. Swoon! It gives how-to guides on lots of topics, such as keeping white shoes white, abolishing bad breath, shopping for jeans and getting a date. Important stuff!
If you’d like to check out the full 50 top websites for fashion and beauty from The Times for yourself, you can come and read our copy. Monday January 28, 2013. Just ask at the desk on the 2nd floor of the central library and we’ll gladly help ya’ll!
Geek chic, or ‘library style’ (haha!) has been quite the thing for a while now, so I thought it was about time I showed some love for the stereotypical librarian wardrobe staples.
And, my goodness, there are so many nice ones!
This round-collared shirt started it all for me. I tried it, loved it, bought it and have been on the look-out for beautiful shirts ever since.
I think this is my fave of the ones I’ve seen lately; am in love with the slightly acidic pop of colour and the contrast of that with the sweet crocheted collar and pearl buttons. This is another fave, and I also really enjoy the slightly sweeter detailing on this one. This shirt is one of the cutest things I have seen in aaaages.
But what’s a shirt without a pencil skirt? I really like the Brit preppiness of this one and would like to see it with the acidic yellow shirt above. Love the tropical vibe of this skirt, and the yellowness! (Just in case you haven’t noticed, I very much enjoy bright yellow.) This skirt is a huge nod to the comic craze that’s hot right now. While I totally love it, I’m not sure that I could rock this.
Believe it or not, we do have books on this in the library! Yep!
The chic geek’s fashion, grooming and style guide for men / Marcus Jaye ; foreword by Paul Smith.
The geek look (casual, comfortable, and just a little offbeat) is in! And Chic Geek is the online magazine that teaches today’s geeks (and geek wannabes) how to achieve it. Marcus Jaye, men’s style guru for the magazine, takes the guesswork out of achieving geekness in this comprehensive guide, covering all matters of fashion and grooming for every occasion, from an all-nighter in the cube to a formal wedding. Includes up-to-the minute advice from leading designers, a Geekipedia (glossary of fashion terms), and lots of photos to show how it’s done. -Amazon
I realise this book is aimed at guys, but I totally recommend it for the girls as well. It’s a well-written and quirky read; and the pics are great.
The Spring 2013 collection from Valentino is feeling the preppy, geek chic vibe, too, with crisp, high-buttoned collars and prominent shirt cuffs. The pics below are from fashiongonerogue but you can view Valentino’s full ready-to-wear Spring 2013 collection here. (love it!)
So I do hope you’ve enjoyed this very quick guide to Library Style! Cardi, glasses and bun optional. (Although I vote you go for it!)
If you enjoy beautiful photos, impeccable outfits and a dash of vintage glamour, then I have a treat for you! Check here to visit my new favourite blog. I totally realise I’m more than a bit late to the party with this – after spending aaaages ogling the deliciousness on this blog, I decided to follow wishwishwish.net on EVERYTHING – instagram, facebook, pinterest, the lot. This talented lady has some serious followers - 1,645 on pinterest, 11,000 on instagram and 6,767 on facebook. Yeow! So clearly I’m totally late with this, and I apologise if you’ve been revelling in the awesomeness of this site for some time.
However! I totally recommend you have a look, it is beautiful. (Fair warning – be prepared to want stuff! This site inspired a serious shopping lust for me. Not necessarily a bad thing, but definitely something to be aware of.)
We also have some beautiful books here all about vintage glamour, and how to use it in your daily wardrobe. I recommend these in particular:
Wearable vintage fashion / Jo Waterhouse & Clare Bridge.
“Wearable Vintage Fashion presents desirable, affordable and accessible vintage clothing and accessories in a new and fun format. Covering the looks of the twentieth century from the 20s to the 80s, this insider’s guide will feature the clothing, accessories and styling to recreate the looks of each decade. By presenting timeless, classic vintage pieces, the items will always be stylish regardless of the era they came from or the fashion trend of the moment. The book will, therefore, serve as a visual reference guide to collecting as well as to wearing classic vintage clothing.” – adapted from Amazon.
Vintage menswear : a collection from the Vintage Showroom / Douglas Gun, Roy Luckett & Josh Sims.
Classic workwear, sports, and military apparel. Curated by connoisseurs of vintage clothing, The Vintage Showroom is a vast collection of rare 20th-century pieces that fashion designers and stylists pay to view, using the cut and detailing of individual garments as inspiration for their own work.
This stylish introduction to vintage fashion showcases the key designs and styles of the main vintage eras of the twentieth century. It includes photographs of film stars such as Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly modeling classic designs, as well as garment illustrations and authentic model photo-shoots from all eras. It will be an inspiration to vintage enthusiasts and general readers alike. – Amazon
Two things I wanted to share with you this week! Firstly, if you’re online and have some time to kill (or… you are in the mood to shop but have no money to actually do so; story of my life!) then I recommend you have a wee look here. If you join their Fashion Finder community, this site lets you submit your own photos of outfits you love, or even lets you create your own fashion spreads! They also run loads of competitions with sweet prizes. Or, if the process of signing up is all too much for you, you can simply enjoy the screeds of entries. I think it’s such an awesome way to get all the fashion inspiration you need, without leaving the comfort of your desk / bed / couch. Sweet!
Secondly, we have two fab new Bobbi Brown books in our collection. This first one is yet to arrive, but can be reserved now.
Bobbi Brown makeup manual
“This is the book that Bobbi Brown’s fans have been waiting for: her 25-plus years of makeup styling experience distilled into one complete, gorgeous book. Bobbi looks at everything from skincare basics to every aspect of facial makeup–from how to find the right color and type of foundation for any skin tone to how to apply every detail of eye makeup (Brows, Eye Liner, Eye Shadow, and Eye Lashes) no matter your eye color and shape. Of course there are never-before-seen tips on blush, bronzer, lip liners, lipstick, etc. And Bobbi looks beyond the face with informative chapters on “Hands and Feet” and “Body Skin Care.” Plus, there’s a groundbreaking section of the book that will be of special interest to women who’ve wanted to know how makeup stylists do what they do: the top beauty secrets only these artists know, essential equipment to keep on hand, how to break into the business, and how to work with photographers and celebrities. BOBBI BROWN’S MAKEUP MANUAL will be the only book any woman will need to look absolutely fabulous.” – adapted from Amazon
Bobbi Brown, pretty powerful : beauty stories to inspire confidence : start-to-finish makeup techniques to achieve fabulous looks / by Bobbi Brown with Sara Bliss.
“From best-selling author and global makeup mogul Bobbi Brown, this beauty guide presents Bobbi’s Pretty Powerful philosophy and inspires women to use makeup to be their best selves. With step-by-step application instructions, face charts breaking down the different looks, and personal stories from real women and celebrities, this book outlines the best tricks and techniques Bobbi has culled from her remarkable career in the beauty industry”. (Syndetics summary)
Perfect if you’re wanting to look your best for an up-coming Valentines date… ♥
We have some sweet new fashion books here at the library, which you are going to loooove!
As you may have guessed last week, I am quite the Project Runway fan. So imagine my delight when this book arrived! I love Tim Gunn; I want him to be my mentor. In anything, really.
Tim Gunn’s fashion bible : the fascinating history of everything in your closet / Tim Gunn with Ada Calhoun.
“Gunn (Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work) is best known for his role as the kind but frank mentor on the reality show Project Runway. Rich with photos, this book combines Gunn’s signature brand of sassy wisdom with a smart and entertaining journey through the history of fashion-no item in the closet is left uncovered: chapters include “Belts: Friend to Soldiers and Vixens,” “Dress Shirts: Prudery and Puffery,” and “Capri Pants and Shorts: The Plague on Our Nation.” Gunn states that “the primary purpose of this book is to give your clothes more significance.” In addition to his fun and informative survey of the past, Gunn doles out sage advice for the present, with sidebars devoted to helping determine the proper bra fit, listing the various categories of shorts, and explaining the proper way to shop for pants. Numerous cultural tidbits, fantastic images, and sartorial wisdom from one of fashion’s most respected gurus make this a must-read for “everyone who gets dressed in the morning, not just an elite crew in Manhattan.” Photos & illus. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.” (Publisher Weekly)
Hollywood sketchbook : a century of costume illustration / Deborah Nadoolman Landis.
In Hollywood Sketchbook: A Century of Costume Illustration, author and Academy Award-nominated costume design expert Deborah Nadoolman Landis opens the doors to the dynamic world of costume illustration, revealing the world’s most sumptuous illustrations, behind-the-scenes stories of the most beloved costumes of all time, and the deft hands, sweeping visions, and creative intuitions that brought them to life. Drawing on years of extensive research, Landis has discovered a wealth of never-before-seen, original sketches and full-colour illustrations from some of the biggest names in the biz, to the lesser-known but equally important pioneers. With a deluxe, oversized, luxuriously produced package, this book is a stand-out on the shelf and the perfect gift book for anyone interested in film, fashion, and costume design history. – adapted from Global Books in Print.
Speaking of McQueen! We also have this super-glam new book (yus!!). I haven’t managed to get my hands on it yet; am patiently waiting for my reserve to come through. Any day!
Love looks not with the eyes : thirteen years with Lee Alexander McQueen / by Anne Deniau.
“In 1997, fashion photographer and filmmaker Deniau met fashion’s notorious “bad boy,” Alexander McQueen, then 27, when she was asked to document the creation of his first haute couture collection for Givenchy. The two artists became close friends, and the designer gave Deniau exclusive backstage access for the next 13 years. In her evocative and elegiac introduction, the photographer remembers her dear friend and collaborator, and recounts striking moments from his oeuvre that she was able to capture on film. The images are sensual, spooky, and whimsical, playing up the drama of McQueen’s vision; like one of the designer’s fabulous garments, the photographs transform fashion into high art. The book is both an homage and a memorial; this celebration of McQueen’s vast, unique talent is also a eulogy for his tragic loss. 400 color and b&w photos. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved” ( adapted from Publisher Weekly)
And finally… I want to show you something. I was lucky enough to spend the last couple of weeks in Shopping Heaven Sydney, and scored the most amazing Alexander McQueen top…
I’ve never purchased McQueen straight from a store before (hardly surprising). I must have been looking super stoked with my purchase, because the shop assistant even offered me the coathanger to keep, haha. Score!
So! As you may or may not know, the very first details about Wellington Fashion Week 2013 have hit! There are 32 designer spots available during WFW, and so far WORLD, Trelise Cooper, Starfish, Kathryn Wilson, My Boyfriends Back, two WORLDS, Sabatini and Goodness have all confirmed their attendance and announced they’ll be showing. You can see the official release on the WFW page, and you can read a fab run-down here of all the news here.
While WORLD, Trelise Cooper, Sabatini and Starfish need no introduction, I thought ya’ll may like to know a little more about the other confimed labels…
Auckland-based Kathryn Wilson is a renowned footwear designer, whose label was launched in 2003. Featuring many leather footwear designs, the label also produces handbags, swimwear and men’s shoes.
Danielle Burkhart is the talent behind the label My Boyfriend’s Back. Fabrics are proudly sourced in New Zealand and garments are produced locally.
Label twoWORLDS is based on a sustainability ethic, as is proclaimed in the ‘about us’ section of their website. Well worth a read! I love a label with heart and twoWORLDS appears to have exactly that. Their pieces are made in New Zealand, using fabrics personally shopped for and woven in Bali.
Goodness is less of a designer and more of a shop… Based in Wellington with a store in the ever-chic College Street and another in Petone, the store is teeming with designer pieces from both New Zealand and international fashion labels.
For more info on some of the WFW designers, plus many more, I recommend this book from our collection:
So, you are now in the know and up-to-date on WFW 2013. You’re welcome!
Oh, and one more thing. Latest season of Project Runway started last night (for those of us who still watch tv shows on an actual tv). Excite!
What better way to enjoy the start of a new year and some long-awaited chill time than with… shoes! Some lush eye candy never goes astray, and it seems a shame not to indulge ourselves during the holiday period. Also, if you’re anything like me, your shoes are probably one of the few items of clothing that still fit properly following the Christmas festivities. Sigh.
So here goes! Shoe love. Enjoy.
The crucifix takes on yet another fashion form in these… creative heels.
And def can’t argue with the Jimmy Choos.
Or the Louboutins, for that matter.
I can never resist colourful heels
I have been lusting after some blinged-out gold sneakers lately.
These are pretty dang sweet, but am soooo in love with these Michael Kors. (hint hint!)
Wishing you a stylish (oh, and happy) new year! I hope your year is off to a fabulous (read: fashionable) start. If not, these sweet new, ultra-glamorous fashion books should help you out:
Alexander McQueen : evolution / by Katherine Gleason ; epilogue by Simon Collins.
“From Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims, his 1992 graduate collection, to Plato’s Atlantis, the last show before his death in 2010, Lee Alexander McQueen was as celebrated for the exquisite tailoring, meticulous craftsmanship, and stunning originality of his designs as he was notorious for his theatrical–and often controversial–runway shows. Every show had a narrative and was staged with his characteristic dramatic flair. Illustrated throughout with stunning photography and liberally sprinkled with quotations from McQueen and those who knew him best, Alexander McQueen: Evolution is the story of the designer’s thirty-five runway shows and the genius behind them” – Adapted from publisher’s web site.
Stars in Dior / [texts, Jérôme Hanover ; preface, Serge Toubiana ; introduction, Florence Müller ; captions, Barbara Jeauffroy-Mairet and Vincent Leret].
“A love letter to the cinema from the House of Dior, featuring legendary screen actresses in signature Dior. Embraced by Hollywood and the iconic women who are its stars, the fashions of Christian Dior have been worn by the likes of Marlene Dietrich in Stage Fright, Lauren Bacall in How to Marry a Millionaire, Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and, more recently, Charlize Theron, Penélope Cruz, and Nicole Kidman. Well before the successes that were to propel Dior to the forefront of the fashion world, the master couturier put his talent to work as a costume designer for the cinema, collaborating with renowned filmmakers and creating timeless ensembles for legendary actresses. Combining fashion photography and rarely seen and never before published behind-the-scenes photographs, this gorgeously produced volume showcases Dior’s creations for film and the movie stars who brought them to life, and is a must for those who aspire to high style” – Adapted from publisher’s web site.
Kate Moss / Kate Moss ; edited by Fabien Baron ; Jess Hallett & Jefferson Hack.
Created by Kate Moss herself, in collaboration with creative director Fabien Baron, Jess Hallett, and Jefferson Hack, this book is a highly personal retrospective of Kate Moss’s career, tracing her evolution from ‘new girl with potential’ to one of the most iconic models of all time.
The king of style : dressing Michael Jackson / Michael Bush ; forward by John Branca.
“Dressing Michael Jackson is a fascinating look at the intersection of music and fashion, as well as an homage to Michael Jackson’s brilliant fusing of costume, personality, and performance to create his iconic image. This is the first art-driven book about the costumes, apparel, shoes, and accessories worn by Michael Jackson, including hundreds of lavish photographs and a behind-the-scenes look into the process of making his wardrobe, written by his long-time costume designer Michael Bush.” - Adapted from Books in Print.
Bottega Veneta / edited by Tomas Maier.
“The first monograph on the luxury house Bottega Veneta, renowned for its superb craftsmanship and understated, no-logo elegance. Bottega Veneta’s illustrious history reaches back to a time when the brand was known primarily for its soft, handcrafted leather handbags. Today, the house is renowned not only for its coveted leather goods but also for a remarkable range of luxury products. This beautifully designed and slipcased monograph, the first book to explore the world of Bottega Veneta, is the rich result of a collaborative effort between creative director Tomas Maier, designer Sam Shahid, and many of today’s leading lights of fashion journalism. This is the ultimate volume for the true connoisseur of luxury handcraftsmanship.” - Adapted from publisher.
Get in first! Reserve now!
I love the What I Wore Today trend. (Check here, here, and here for some fab ones). I really dig having a good gander at other people’s outfits and getting tipped off on where to buy beautiful threads. However, I didn’t especially fancy starting my own What I Wore Today thread… the pressure! So I went next best and started snapping gorg outfits I see when out and about.
Sooo… be nosey and enjoy!
Our model wears! Pants from Glassons, t shirt from Mexico. Blazer op-shopped, shoes from Kenneth Cole.