Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Basic staples

I have recently been on the quest for more wardrobe basics so that I have pieces that I can use for more versatility in my day to day wear. I wanted to smarten up and as much as I love my jeans but mostly I enjoy looking more put together.

I have been going through a lot of sale sections and picked up some lovely items, such as nice slim cut black trousers and the same cut but patterned. I am all for embracing new things so I thought I would try a more relaxed and tailored look.

It has been working so far and I am enjoying it, this is be
cause I am getting the benefit of a new look and get to wear something more reflective of my age I guess.

I wanted to do this because I wanted to have options that are easy to throw on and go out in. If I have an unexpected invite out or I change my mind. I like choice to be simple and easy sometimes.

It started with a blue shift dress with an exposed zip I bought for my birthday. It is electric blue and always makes me feel better because it's a bright colour and looks good on. It fits and is so easy to dress up and down. It can be very feminine and smart or relaxed and funky. I bought it initially for the striking colour, as blue is my favourite colour though usually I prefer warmer more tropical and jewel tones of blue.
It is why I dyed my satchel navy because black is to much.

I wear the shade of black far to often it is good to get out of old habits. Black is a great and classic thing but it is good to embrace colour. They have to be bold and bright, not neon but jewel tone and saturated!

This dress started me thinking about how nice and simple it was to wear it and how easily I could change it around.
Versatility is something I am always looking for in anything I buy. I wear most of my stuff all year around and add or take away layers when needed. Dresses can be layered up with t-shirts and shirts and with tights and leggings or boots so that they can be worn through summer and winter. This is something I learned from working in fashion retail. the key looks and trends that were in we were taught to be able to talk a out and how to change looks according to the customer.

I know it is an easy thing to talk about if you know what you want to do with your clothes and I know accessories are almost as hard.
I enjoy beautiful satin high heels and have a big soft spot for suede shoes. Sadly these fabrics are impractical good leather shoes are hard to find at a affordable price. I am lucky I found riding style, black distressed boots from Top shop.

Light cardigans, leggings, brogues. Things that are simple but effective, I need things that can be worn for work and in my usual everyday. I would encourage investing in good basics because they always serve you well and can be highly interchangeable.

You don't need to have a capsule wardrobe just a solid base to work from.

I feel like in doing this I am getting more wear for my money. (Sad as it sounds!) I don't see the point in spending money on stuff I rarely wear.

I love shopping but my habit is starting to get a bit silly. So instead I have been making more use of what I already have.

Give it a try and see what you find :)
Stop shopping and look in your wardrobe and see what you have.
Stuff you rely on and is your staple what else could you pair it with? new shoes? a new cardigan?
I say this because mostly as a nation of women we don't make the most of what we have and I know I have previously mentioned this but I have been thinking long and hard about it.

I have been in a new job only a few weeks and have yet to wear the same thing twice and I have not even made a dent in what I own wardrobe wise. This is a tad scary to think a person can own so much, hence giving up the shopping habit for a while.
(We can't all have a Hollywood hills mansion closet to store it all in!)

If you are looking for key pieces think about what you want, what would you wear it with and how would you wear it? Think about this next time you look at a coat or a cardigan.
Think about your summer stuff can it be converted through layering of tights/leggings/tops so you can make use of them for a while longer?
Or change accessories for an updated look?
I think that sometimes a simple approach to dressing is easier and less stressful. It leaves time to ponder other things and gives you the choice of just throwing anything pretty on and off you go!


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Making the bag worth it!

I previously posted about dying my handbag a different colour. Originally I bought this bag earlier in the year. I have been searching for a cute satchel style hand bag that was leather or suede that was not to expensive. I found one for £20, sadly it was not in the desired condition, and someone had bought it then returned it. When I got it, the strap was broken and the suede was quite dirty. I bought it because I loved the shape. I sewed the strap up and used it for a few weeks a few other things on it broke as well. The colour had faded and started to look drab and stained. I did not want to find something new so I looked into having it dyed. I was told it could not be done. So I looked into doing it myself. It was originally a stone lavender colour, so it was easy to dye because I chose a darker colour.

I wanted to do it because I loved the bag straight away even though I was disapointed in the codition it was such a great little bag and it a classic! I am happy to spend hours sewing or doing stuff up simply for the pleasure of making something last little bit longer or make it prettier.

I researched how to do it and what dye I could use. I found Dylon suede and Nubuck dye. They also do great dye for cottons and stuff. I decided on a navy blue. I decided on Navy because I have to much black and I already ahve a brown leather hand bag. I do not usually go for it as a colour because I finid it can be to dull for my liking. I loved the final colour because of the contrast stitching and lining and the silver fixtures on the bag really stand out!

I bought the due from Timpson's usually one bottle is enough for one pair of shoes but because it is a bag I had to use about four bottles, for an even deep colour. It had to be painted on in layers and allowed to dry it came out really well I then sealed it with suede protector.

I found out that it did not seal fully after some of the dye rubbed off on my clothes. It washed out though. I decided to put the bag through a short wash.
(I would not recommend this) I did it because I wanted the bag to be hardier and I was not bothered about maintaining a soft finish the bag got slightly hardened in the dying process because it gets wet.
I really enjoyed doing it and I also learned it can be done with leather but it is a longer process. It was a great idea and it as nice to have a project that I could do and that turned out well. I get to enjoy my lovely bag and it is a one off. It was orth all the hard work and time becayse it is leather and that I have put the time in to make it something really lovely to be enjoyed.

It is nice to feel proud when you get to see the outcome of your hard work and time.

Please find photos of the bag!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

I have been thinking about various ideas and projects lately.
Buying cheap clothing and customising it, turning a to small t-shirt into a handbag.
Also making necklaces from silver chains and glass beads.

I love sewing and making things, I always have random ideas going on in my head but over the last year I have not really given time or thought to them.

I have been inspired but haven't made the time to give these ideas breathing space.

There is no excuse I have just been getting on with my life instead of indulging in the things I love.

It is sad that I haven't sat down for a while and taken my time to create stuff, it's a waste of skill if it's not used.

So I have recently made a beautiful necklace consisting of a fine sterling silver chain and 8 faceted iridescent glass beads. I made a full string of sapphire blue beads on a silver chain.

I have bought a cropped t-shirt I intend to embellish with sequined salvaged from a t-shirt.

(I cannot wear the t-shirt because of the sequins it leaves loads of cuts on the upper arms from where they are placed which is why it's rarely worn!)

I am also going to make my old fender guitar print t-shirt into a tote bag because I cannot bear to let it go and love the style of the print to much to give it away!)

I am hoping with having a new job that is only a short commute rather than over 2 hours away I will now make the effort to create the things I want and enjoy them!

I may even get an Etsy account and start selling stuff I don't require so that I can enjoy the project and then simply sell it on.

I have not decided yet. Wish me luck and I hope these things turn out well :)

I will post pictures of these after I am finished and when I have made enough I will set Pink and Pink Ink back up on facebook!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

The subject of this post is how much is too much?

I once read an article from Alexa Chung complaining about her lack of clothes because they were always heaped about and hard to find so she was always on a quest to get something new. This is something I suffer; it is hard not to always want something new and to fail to be satisfied by what you already have. To own beautiful and amazing things and not appreciate them because you are so busy looking for the next trend, key piece or classic you swear , you will wear to death when in fact it sits in your wardrobe unloved and unworn.

I have things I literally wear everyday like my Topshop navy leather biker jacket that I have had for nearly 4 years. I love shopping because it is something I do when I actually have some free time I am always trying to source this or that and forget about stuff I used to love. Moving house recently greatly helped because it helped me rediscover some of them gems in my wardrobe that had been stowed away for over a year from living with my family whilst saving for my house.
I spent most of last weekend going through shoes, hand bags and the cases and bags of clothing organising it into a system where I can actually find everything. I rescued so many things from the charity bags because I had bought them and rarely worn them so I committed myself to start doing so and I am actually beginning to enjoy things I have had for such a long time.

It seems rather obvious when you think about it, when watching stuff like Gok Wan shows and stuff makes us think about what we own and what of that we actually wear. I am restricted to smart but casual at work, though I do get away with a lot.
I enjoy experimenting a lot and try to be daring and quirky. I am not trying to be unique or individual just myself as I am an offbeat and kind of odd soul. I like things lots of many different ideas and cultures and inspired by people, are, and the narrative that goes into a collection. People think this is weird, I like many facets of fashion, the final product isn't just about that and how it is worn. I want to know what inspired the idea.
What has gone into it what was discarded? I enjoy knowing the processes of things and I apply this to my way of dressing. I like to be confident and know what I am talking about when asked why, I wear what I do and where does the inspiration come from?

So this is why I am trying to make do rather than keep buying. Though it is important to add things to update and help adapt my wardrobe so that I can mix it up. This is why I love sales in the summer it means I can get great things for the fraction of the price, I have long given up full price stuff, I prefer to scour charity shops, eBay, Topshop & clearance because I can't afford a lot after the house. I still enjoy looking good though! I as I have said already I do not really follow trends; I prefer to make something from them I like into my own.

Like the new 1970s trend I have a few pieces scavanged from my older sister who was once obsessed with the era, I have an original shirt, and shaggy coat. I bought a wide brimmed wool hat for £3 from a chrity shop it is the style that is going to be big for A/W11 and my boyfriend has kindly knicknamed it the death hat owing to the black colour. It looks great paired with my pleated sheer skirt, or panelled leggings and a print t-shirt. It is nice to give life to something old.

I did this a few months ago when I found a vintage salmon pink long sleeved maxi dress in Urban outfitters. It was literally falling a part at the seams and had required a few hours of tlc and sewing up. I have also rescued a tan satchel style handbag from the same era from a vintage fair last year. Four hours of leather cleanser and polish made it look beautiful. I know some people may think what is the point? Why not go buy something new from Primark it won't matter if it is ruined or out of style. To me all of these things are beautiful treasures that need to be loved and given a new story to be lived and I like that they are original not reproductions that everyone else is going to be wearing. I don't live my life by vintage I just enjoy finding unusual treasures to love and enjoy. I have done the same with new stuff from sales I enjoy the challenge and project of repairing stuff.
Recently I bought a satchel that someone had bought broke and taken back I was silly not to look at it properly and paid full sale price and had to repair it as well! I love the bag though because I have put that effort in to repairing it and making it useable. It has become some what stained and battered from weeks of constant use. The colour is greyish lavender and is made of suede so instead of getting rid of it I decided to dye it another colour. I spent two week researching it and looking for dye and decided on navy and went for dylon.
It envolves painting it on in thin layers letting it dry running a damp cloth over to remove excess dye and then seal it with suede spray I am happy with the results so far!
It got me thinking as someone who enjoys creative things why not apply the idea more to my wardrobe! Customising is not something I am new to I have many lovely items I have changed to suit my requirements but I always do it for the project rather than actually enjoying them after I have finished it.
So enough of shopping except for new ideas of what to adjust me already have and to inspiring others to do the same as I have at work!

It has been a worth while thing to learn.