Inspired Buys

A Lesson in Tux Dressing

Nobody does tux dressing like Janelle Monae (or funky moves for that case!)

And if this has inspired you, get the look from the high-street:

Tuxedo dressingJanelle MonaeASOS Marky Leather Brogues £35

YSL Le Smoking, Kate MossZara Studio Jacket £129

Coco ChanelMango Contrast Chiffon Bow Blouse £31.49

Happy Shopping!

Bunny Girl Inspired Buys


So beautiful they have to be drawn!

I want, I want………

Plumo Bunny Loafers £315

Alexander Wang Bustier, Netaporter £415

Inspired Buys – Boho Looks

Phew….I’m just going to get this post in before the end of the weekend.

Well, here is a selection of festival attire that I’m sure Pamela Courson would approve of.

indian print hippie dress, Etsy hippie dressIndian Print Hippie Dress, Etsy £149.14

fringed lurex jumpsuit, Manoush, festival chicBohemian Jumpsuit, Manoush, Vestiaire Collective £80.89

Plumo lace shrug, festival chicLace Shrug, Plumo £319.00

Flower garland, Asos

 Asos Summer Garland £10

Devore fringed kimono, Etsy

Fringed Kimono Jacket, Etsy £83.73

Asos lace dress, festival chic

Asos Crochet Lace Detail Tunic £45

I’m really lusting after the plumo lace shrug – how gorgeous would this look after a day on the beach?

Long live the girl who lives on Love Street!

Find Your Wings

Find your wings, greeting card designWhile researching angel wings for my greeting card “Find your Wings”, I came across this stunning collection of gold lace wings on a blog called Victorian Times.

You can see where I got the idea of hanging the wings on a coat hanger!

Gold sequin fairy wings, angel wings, Victorian Times

Gold sequin fairy wings, angel

Gold sequin fairy wings, angel

Gold sequin fairy wings, angel

Gold sequin fairy wings, angel

Aren’t they exquisite?

Now, the translation of the post into English was a little shaky, but I think I’m right in saying that these are original Victorian angel wings. Apparently, all the beading and sequins were sewn on by nuns, so that the wings could be used by children performing in church nativity plays.

I love the styling of the shots, the wings look particularly delicate against the distressed vintage mannequins. Wouldn’t they make beautiful wall hangings?

Well, wings are certainly popular as wall art and you can always get a pair from Graham & Green and Cox & Cox:

Graham and Green, Eros feather wing light

Cox and Cox carved angel wings

Just not as ethereal as the gold lace ones – so if you find any on your travels, do let me know (oh… and the victorian corsets and vintage mannequins)!

Spring Blush by Toast

I know I should be embracing the snow, but in London, it really is just a crime. This sludgy, slushy grey ice is just depressing and makes me yearn for spring

So it was so refreshing to get the February taster from Toast – it just gives you the inspiration to hold on until these grey days have passed. And guess what? This season there’s a lot of Vintage Pink!

As you know I have a real thing for this subtle blush coloured pink – hell – I’ve even started a new folder on Pinterest so I can keep the collection going. So I have a bit of “wishlist” with Toast and I even thought I’d get my paintbrush out to illustrate my new finds (which I’m ashamed to say I haven’t done in quite a while). So thank you Toast …….

Toast Spring Collection, Blush Pink spotted shirt, fashion Illustration

Polka Dot Blouse £119

Toast Spring Collection, Fashion Illustration, Olivia Heels

Olivia Heels £215Toast Spring Collection, Fashion Illustration, Ila SatchelIla Satchel £179Toast Spring Collection, Gena Coat, Fashion IllustrationGena Coat £225

Artisan Homes – Get The Look

Following on from my Lifestyle Lust, I thought it might be an idea to investigate some Inspired Buys.

Ok, so if you were really one of these creative ladies you would just happen to stumble across these treasures, no doubt from a skip or a backpacking trip up Katmandu – but if the skips round your way don’t elicit much excitement, you have a little cash to burn and you want it NOW………some ideas to ponder:

Ariele Alasko


Eiko Cabinet, Anthropologie £1198

Extendable light, Rockett St George

Extendable Light, Rockett St George £290

Emma Cassi

Leather Chair,

Maggie Club Chair, Anthropologie £1898

Lace cushion, Zara Home, Emma Cassi

Lace Cushion, Zara Home £19.99

Amy Butler

Bodie & Fou gaivota rocking chair, Amy Butler

Gaviota rocking chair, Bodie & Fou £1009.99

Barometer Floor Lamp, Ikea

Barometer Floor Lamp, Ikea £45.99

More lifestyle lust next week and also a post on DIY Veronica Lake…..

I’ll leave you perplexed – have a good weekend!

BTW – for you London vintage lovers, the Hammersmith Vintage Fair is on this Sunday.

Strawberry Daiquiri

Inspired by Emilia Wickstead’s Autumn Winter 2012 collection, today’s inspired buys are all strawberry flavoured.

Two colours which should be a no-no – pink and red, work gloriously – from the Mae West Salvador Dali sofa to vintage Audrey Hepburn. This is a vintage colour combination – think red nails and lips with a pale pink ensemble.

Clifford Coffin, Vogue cover

Salvador Dali, Mae West Lips Sofa

Audrey Hepburn, Funny Face, Pink and Red

Glamour 1951, red nails and pink

Emilia Wickstead, Red and Pink, Autumn/ Winter 2012

And some strawberry treats to tempt the purse strings – just in time for spring!

APC, red top

APC Top 180E

Plumo, Jackson Dress, red and pink

Plumo Jackson Dress – £215

Chanel No 5, Body Oil

Chanel N05 Body Oil – £60

Kurt Geiger, Red shoe, ASOS

Kurt Geiger Jemima Wedges from Asos – £130

Topshop, Pink Trousers

Topshop Pink Trousers – £32

Halston Heritage, Pink and Red Dress. My Wardrobe

Saving the best till last, I love this dress!

Halston Heritage from My-Wardrobe – £585

Vogue Cover – Clifford Coffin Conde Nast, Salvador Dali Mae West Lips Sofa, Audrey Hepburn Funny Face Poster, Red Nails – Glamour 1951, Emilia Wickstead Autumn Winter 2012 courtesy of

Fun with Dolly, Barney & Keith – A Retro Challenge

Sounds a bit dodgy doesn’t it – I can ensure you, however, it is all above board.

February half term is dog week in our family. We meet up with the rest of the family and head down to Cornwall – hence fun with Keith, Dolly and Barney.

This year I set myself a challenge, specifically for the blog. Could I keep up a retro look whilst cavorting in the sea and the mud with the children and dogs whilst taking a very limited amount of clothes.

I’m not one for head to toe vintage. I love it on other people but for myself I prefer vintage pieces otherwise I feel a little bit like I’m in fancy dress – rather than it being a style statement.

So here is the result.

An Inspired Buys all the way from Cornwall. I even managed to colour coordinate with some of the dogs!

Sunglasses – Asos, Scarf – (I got mine from Plumo but you can still purchase it) here, Jumper – Hush, Lipstick – Nars Cruella Velvet Lip Pencil

Vintage Coat, Striped top – Uniqlo, Jeans – Freddies of Pinewood

Shirt – I got mine from Uniqlo winter collection but you can still get them from American Apparel, T-shirt – American Apparel, Jumper – make your own, Jeans as before

Shirt – Ripcurl, Scarf – White Stuff

Cardigan – Hush, Vintage Blouse from Plumo – see similar, Vintage Dress Clip

Sunglasses – as above, Scarf – as above, Vintage Coat

Hope you enjoyed my little journey and got a taste of the delights of Cornwall.

Elegantly Lounging

>> Everyday Is Like Sunday, Morrisey

Pyjamas are back.

But for those of you not in the know, this is not for lounging at home, this is an everywhere , every way trend.

Asos Pyjama Party, pyjama trend

Just as the slip was in the days of grunge. Remember Amanda de Cadenet, Courtney Love and Kate Moss?

Amanda de Cadenet, Courtney Love, Slips

Kate Moss, Vintage Nightdress

Kate Moss, Transparent slip dress

I like the idea of pyjamas, I love the cut.

I loved the slip too – I had a black one, which was too big and I safety-pinned it at the back to give a more hour-glass shape. It must have looked ridiculous from the back, but I was young and at uni, so I guess it probably fitted right in!

But hang-on, this is to go out in, to party in.

Once upon a time, and not in my lifetime, these glamorous items were one a penny and were for the sole object of lounging at home, receiving guests and getting ready for an evening. It is a whole genre of clothing which just seems to have disappeared from our lives.

Are our lives so different or perhaps the track suit has taken its place – it seems a bit of a shame?

Browsing on my favourite So Vintage Patterns site, there is a whole category dedicated to slips and nightwear. You would be forgiven for thinking that you had clicked onto the wrong page.

The detail and the beauty of these designs are really something – housecoats, bed jackets, culotte pyjamas, slips, baby-dolls and that’s just for starters.

Anyone who has been to a vintage fair will tell you there are more slips and nightdresses than there are clothes.

Lounge wear was BIG!

So Vintage Patterns, nightgownSo Vintage Patterns, Housecoat

So Vintage Patterns, Midriff top, pyjamasSo Vintage Patterns, 1960s housecoat

So I can feel an Inspired Buy coming on.

With this pyjama trend being so current, surely we can unearth some treasures, purely for posing in our little palaces?

Here is a little selection:

Jean Harlow, Dinner at Eight, Jenny Packham, NIghtgown, Netaporter

Audrey Hepburn, Pyjamas, Anthropologie

Butterfield 8, Elizabeth Taylor, Negligee

Veda Pierce, Loungewear, Rosamosario, pyjamas

So loved ones, if you’re looking for the perfect Valentine’s gift – lounge wear is back and has longevity that lingerie just doesn’t have and style that flannel pyjamas lack.

(Not that I’m knocking flannel pyjamas, sometimes it’s all I can do from jumping into them.)

But be warned, purchase them now while they are aplenty, or they’ll disappear again for another 30 years!

A Touch of Tango

So we went to our Argentine Tango workshop at PUSH.

Wow, this dance is so much more complicated than I thought it was going to be. Watching it, you think it’s just going to be a bit of walking and flicking of the feet, but boy the intricacies and detail that goes into it, is way above and beyond any other kind of dancing I have done before.

To see it done at its absolute best (without a trip to Buenos Aires) take a look at the Sadler’s Wells production of Tanguera.

Click on the picture and it will take you to a great clip:


I was lucky enough to see it last year and it was incredible.

There is a scene at the end when all the ladies of the night dance in the Salon. They are all dressed in these corset/leotards with a flapper fringe around the cut of the leg – in murky greys, greens and blue, and obligatory fishnets.

The effect is stunning.

Tanguera, flapper outfit


From the workshop, I’ve learnt a little bit about the “etiquette” of Tango, which is fascinating in itself.

Argentine Tango is a bit like a language and there is a whole heap of sexual politics going on. The lead (which in traditional settings would be the man) is the one who initiates the moves, not through his feet but through the incline of his torso.

The follower (woman) is at the mercy of the lead who dictates the pace, and the style of the dance. As demonstrated very nicely by Jessica Biel and Colin Firth in Easy Virtue:

Initially I found this very hard, because it does take considerable effort to let someone else take control. I also found myself thinking, hang on, isn’t this just slightly chauvinist?

But, actually it isn’t a subservient dance. It isn’t a dance designed for the man to control the woman, it’s actually a dance designed to exaggerate the beauty of the woman.

It’s almost the woman saying – you set the scene and I will show everyone how fantastic I am and how lucky you are to be dancing with me.

In Frida, you get double your money with Salma Hayek and Ashley Judd both leaving very little to the imagination!

The slower the tango, the more opportunity the man gives the woman to add her own decorations, i.e. those little flicks of the feet.

It reminds me of the dance of the male peacocks, only the other way round! It certainly works for Jenny from the Block (perhaps not so much for Richard Gere in Shall we Dance!)

Now that sounds more like it!

So I’m completely hooked. If you’re a South Londoner, PUSH are doing a 6 week beginner’s course, which will of course be superb (and you don’t necessarily need to bring your man – as demonstrated by Salma).

So for the hot blooded latin-americans in us all – here are this week’s inspired buys – tango style!

Space NK, Netaporter, Tabitha Simmons, Agent Provocateur, Gotan Project

Oribe Impermeable Anti-Humidity Spray £37, Space NK, Passion Nail Varnish £11, Leighton DennyTabitha Simmons Chandelier Shoes £1,415, Seamed Stockings £25, Agent Provocateur, La Revancha de Tango, Gotan Project £6.49, Amazon, One Vintage Dress £1,745,  Netaporter.

The Madam of Monochrome

This week’s Inspired Buys refer to “Igor and Coco” – monochrome style.

Story wise, tThe Madam of Monochrome, Fashion Illustration, Coco Chanel, Carolynhe film is a little slow – in fact I recommended it to a friend and she fell asleep within 5 minutes – you know who you are!

However, the costumes and the interiors are absolutely incredible – a total visual feast, and I can quite easily watch a film and be totally engrossed in the style, rather than the story – so this is still one of my favourites.

If you love all things monochrome then this film is a definite must.

“Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.” Coco Chanel

Igor and Coco, hallway, black and white interiors, monochromeIgor and Coco, bedroom, black and white interiors, monochromeIgor and Coco, bathroom, black and white interiors, monochromeIgor and Coco, bedroom, black and white interiors, monochrome

I ended up purchasing the Massimo Dutti scarf from last week’s Inspired Buys. I hope there isn’t a trend developing here! Rather a dangerous road to go down.

Still, at least it wasn’t the Bottega Veneta handbag!

So here’s this week’s little selection:

Yves St Laurent tuxedo, bodie & fou, conran, colette, toast, massimo dutti

Clockwise from right: Designer’s Guild, Porden Wallpaper £38, Canvas Derby Shoes, Toast £175, 10 Digital CD, Colette59th Street Chair, Content by ConranBlack and White Star Scarf, Massimo Dutti £39.90,Tuxedo Jacket Yves St Laurent, Netaporter (in the sale £715), Typed Love Letter, Bodie & Fou £35.

And for the home-style hungry – some of my favourite monochrome interiors:

black and white interiors, monochrome

black and white interiors., monochrome

black and white interiors, monochromeNeisha Crosland, black and white interiors, monochrome

Elle decoration, black and white interiors, monochrome, figuresElle decoration, black and white interiors, monochrome, african figures

Elle Decoration, black and white interiors, monochrome, black ballet shoesElle decoration, black and white interiors, monochrome, bathroom

Black & White interiors, monochrome

House & Leisure, black and white interiors, monochrome, porch, verandah……that star scarf is winking at me!

Images from top: Gaelle Le Boulicaut (Elle Decoration July 2011), Heidi Lerkenfeldt (Elle Decoration November 2011), Claude Weber (Vivre Cote Paris Sept 2011), Happy Living Dk/House of Pictures (Elle Decoration 2010), Heidi Lerkenfeldt, Heidi Lerkenfeldt, Cushion Neisha Crosland, Sigurd Kranendonk (Residence July 2011), Warren Heath & Sally Chance (House & Leisure September 2010)

Sous Le Soleil

Hotel Costes 4, Sous Le Soleil>> Sous Le Soleil (Cuba Acoustic Mix) Hotel Costs 4

I’ve been thinking about doing an “Inspired Buys” post each week. Whether I can keep up with that and the monthly vintage recreation remains to be seen, but I’ll certainly give it a go:

Today it is all about the sun – how often do we Londoners get to say that? What a glorious winter day….

The Supremes, Love Child, yellow topFaye Dunaway, Bonnie and Clyde, yellow jumperJenna Lyons, home interior, JCrew

Take your pick from lemon zest and rich yoke, spring has hit the shops:

bottega veneta, bodie and fou, massimo dutti, orla kiely, not on the high street

Clockwise from right:

Shoes £60 Topshop, Harris Tweed Brooch £9 Notonthehighstreet, Scarf £39.90 Massimo Dutti, Small Storage Orla Kiely Jar £20 at Graham and Green, Shoreditch Industrial chair £125 Alexander and Pearl, Beastly Chronicles wallpaper at Bodie & Fou £75 per roll (featured in Kirsty Allsops Homemade Home), Bag £1,710 Bottega Veneta at Netaporter


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