Sunday, 26 February 2012

Andre 3000 meets a Regular Girl at the English Seaside, in Winter

Remember when Andre 3000 rocked bow ties with loud coloured shirts and mismatched trousers. Imagine Andre 3000 became a real person, by the English seaside, in late winter/early spring.  My look seems a bit in that spirit- it's geeky, it's odd and slightly show-off-y, but still feminine.

What do you wear to the seaside? A polka dot bikini? A sundress? What do you wear on a late winter/early spring day? A shirt might not be the most obvious choice, but it was mine.

Requisite shot on the pier with the sea and windswept hair? Check.

Outfit: Hot pink shirt, Joe (a Canadian clothing line, similar to Sainsbury's); tassle earrings, Tallulah Tu; hair clip worn like a flower bow tie, Accesorise; dress, Warehouse (5 years ago).

I wore my brogues all weekend and felt the polka dots and blues were a little nod to the sea.

Outfit: Blue shirt, Mark's Work Warehouse (Canadian shop); polka dot skirt from a wicked Oxfam in Torquay; shoes, Asos.

Do your clothes celebrate spring yet? I'd love to be wearing pastel prom dresses, but alas, the temperature and my pregnancy may yet prevent this.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Lana Del Ray Album Review

Critics often like a subtle record. Lana Del Ray's 'Born to Die' is the opposite. It is operatically dramatic in a kind of 'Notice me, I'm an inch from your face,' sort of way. It tells the story of the kind of love that will either tragically kill you and immortalise you, or bring you redemptive, everlasting life. The love she writes about will be familiar to any 15-25 year old feeling like their love is simultaneously the most intensely wonderful and painful experience of their life.

Appropriately, my copy of 'Born to Die' cracked only two days after purchase.

In my head, in an interview, Lana Del Ray would come across as some sort of contemporary hybrid of Jane Birkin and Edie Sedgwick: enigmatic, tortured and knowingly sexy. I'm sure Lana Del Ray (or Lizzie Grant) would be pleased with this vision, working hard to craft her own contemporary Lolita. Unfortunately, when I actually heard her in interview, she had little of this fascinating ambiguity. She sounded Taylor Swift-like: having that all too positive, no sense of irony, young female popstar quality: niceness. Fortunately, her music is far more alluring.

'Video Games' is representative of the rest of the album, lyrically and sonically. The album is dominated by her forlorn, stylised voice over top of lush orchestration and darkened electronic production. Half of the songs, like 'Video Games,' are slower numbers, reminiscent of Portishead or Goldrfrapp. The other half are more dance-y club tracks, ready for remixing by Samantha Ronson in an L.A. club.

At times, her 'I would do anything for love' persona is grating, insofar as the man she seems willing to do whatever for, seems largely undeserving. However, ignore the lyrics or just accept that they're pop melodrama that conveniently rhymes ('You were sorta punk rock, I grew up on hip hop/But you fit me better than my/favourite sweater' is a particularly terrible example), and you'll be devoured by her sumptuous sing-along melodies.
Summary: Lana Del Ray has received so much hype, you might wish to ignore her album, assuming it's just another unjustified media explosion. However, you would miss what is an incredibly catchy album that will result in numerous other girls trying to copy her style, and fail miserably.

4/5 Stars. It's memorable and striking.

Have you heard her album or any of her other songs? Do you believe the hype, like I do?

Monday, 6 February 2012

Fashion for 8 Year Olds

All too often the girls section leaves me wishing I was smaller.

Then I discovered Marks and Spencer and realised that some things in the girls section were big enough for a grown-up, who hasn't really grown-up in taste.

Much of Marks and Spencer's 'Older Girl' range is in sizes up to 16 years old. These aren't for tiny little girls either. I wear a size 8-10 in UK sizes (about a US size 6-8) and often find that the 13-14 year old range fits me fine. The faux fur coat and sequin skirt I wore for New Year's Eve (seen below) are both a size 13.  I'm more than double this age.

I bought the coat over a year ago, thinking it to be very Marianne Faithful, circa 1964. There were similar ones that looked more like a snow leopard or a Yeti this year.

In shoes, I wear a UK size 5-6 (US 7 1/2-8). In girls Marks and Spencer shoes, I wear a size 4-5. The bedazzled ballet flats below are looking forward to being worn with summer dresses and jeans and were £14. There are a non-bedazzled version on the website, if you find the bling tacky.

Why should you consider the childrens' section?
1. It's about 30-50% cheaper than an adult range.
2. The quality is just as good and often slightly better than the adult range. Kids clothes and shoes are made to be worn by children running in mud, climbing trees, never ironing them and generally ruining them. However, these same children are bought these items by parents who want the items to last. Manufacturers often use slightly thicker fabrics, reinforce the seams and generally make sure that the quality is good with children's clothing.
3. If you don't like to reveal too much skin, head to the girls section. Most parents don't want their daughters looking like a pop star. 
4. Even if you're not small enough for the clothing or shoes, bags aren't any smaller because they're in the girls' section.

It's true that a lot of the clothes in the childrens' section are designed for the tastes of an 8 year old. But a lot of them are also designed for the tastes of their parents or a slightly older child.

If I go into any clothing store, chances are, there are maybe about one or two things and often nothing that I might actually consider buying at some point. It's not really any different with the kids' section.

This is obvious, but I should mention that the selection is vastly superior in a big store and is much more extensive than what is available on the website.

Do you buy anything from the kids' section? Any kids' sections that you recommend?

P.S. This is not a sponsored post. I've just enjoyed items I've purchased from the girls' section at Marks and Spencer.