Tuesday, 23 December 2014

NPG

So I've been decidedly reclusive again. Whenever art feels like a chore I tend to avoid it, because that's exactly what it shouldn't be. Last week I went to the National Portrait Gallery with my mate Stella. Every Friday at 630 they do an open drawing class. They supply all the materials and, though they do give you a task, you can draw whatever you want. The theme of the week was Grayson Perry. Sitting in the Early Stuart room we had to design a pot, either of our own self (portrait or otherwise), or of one of the characters in the room. I get strangely bored of my own self-portrait sometimes so decided to choose a delightful Dutch aristo and the Earl of Arundel.



This was the torso of the aforementioned Dutch aristo. I loved how the drapery practically melted off his shoulders.

Now for a few fashion sketches. I'm clearly out of practice...

I picked up this jerkin for £3 from a rather expensive Oxfam in Covent Garden. It's 100% Danish wool and is the perfect layering piece.

In an attempt to shake up the usual frontal poses I went for a different style in drawing my classic wool trench. It was the first item of clothing I bought when I got a summer job at 16 and it still fits a dream. The boots are from TK Maxx. I find it impossible to find shoes to fit my feet so I was willing to splash out £35 on these suede boots

I've recently had really good luck at my local charity shop, Octavia Foundation, in Tooting Broadway. A camelhair vest top, merino wool jumpers and this silk t-shirt, all for £5 or under each. I very very rarely wear red so the cropped style is perfect for pairing with high-waisted trousers.

Another item I've splashed out on is this black drill cotton dress from Gap. Supposedly a size 10 (vanity sizing...?) it fits perfectly and is so versatile.


Just a quick post there. When I finally get a break over Christmas I'm going to try to sketch a bit more, and I'll definitely be heading back to the NPG.

I hope you're all enjoying the festive period, I can't wait to head home tomorrow!

MMM
x


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

WEDDINGTONWAY.COM

A few weeks back I got asked if I wanted to contribute to Weddington Way's 'November Style Challenge.' I'm usually quite wary about these kind of posts as far too often people are surprised when I come out with an illustration instead of a photo, or indeed change my illustration for their own misrepresenting image.

Anyway the 'November Style Challenge' involved choosing a dress from Weddington Way's vast selection of dresses and creating a weekend style.

Of course there were challenges. Firstly, I don't really go out on weekends, and would much rather be curled by with Sex and the City in my pyjamas than putting on a floor length dress. Secondly, I am insanely picky about textiles. So after spending a good 20 minutes searching through the 1000+ dresses, I decided to choose the cotton textile option and came up with the Watters Daffodil in a navy cotton voile. Perfect, not too shiny and in my standard navy.


I liked the slight ruffle on the bust as it complements the swishing movement of the skirt wonderfully. I decided to team it with a blue patent leather, studded waist-belt, my navy Doc Martens and a vintage fur coat. The shocking pink lip contrasts the relatively neutral hue and the brown clutch carries your make-up for touch-ups. With the ruffles on the neckline, a high bun keeps the chest area uncomplicated.

So hey, there you go. It was quite fun, and definitely a challenge. There are some seriously gorgeous dresses on the site and some of the shorter styles are really versatile. They currently have a gorgeous green number on the first page...

I hope you're all having a wonderful week. I'm looking forwards to heading home this weekend and cuddling my dogs...

MMM
x

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

HELLO.

Once again I've taken a short hiatus from blogging. I haven't had internet for the last month and my weekends have been taken up with korfball games, farewells and visits. However I decided I would start blogging again because I do miss it, and no one at work wants to hear about my cashmere musings.

The following are all new-to-me purchases as I've been raiding the charity shops around London to help boost my much-diminished wardrobe.

 Both these dresses have been perfect for when I need to dress up a bit but just don't fancy a pencil skirt. The 1st is a dark grey with a pink check by People Tree. It is 100% fair trade cotton and its shape is beyond flattering- high neckline, elbow length sleeves and a nipped in waist. The 2nd is a silk number from Jigsaw in a subtle monochrome floral print. 

 I'm enjoying playing with shape and print at the moment and this outfit is an example of that. Striped pencil skirt with a striped lightweight merino wool jumper.

These trousers have featured before as a £1 steal from Ipswich and I'm living in them at the moment as the perfect alternative to jeans. The t-shirt is a wool and silk mix picked up in Tooting for a steal. 

This dress was an absolute bargain at £4 as every other dress in the shop was at least £15. It's a silk skater dress and fits a dream. One of the best things about losing weight is being able to find a whole variety of things that fit instead of just settling what you can squeeze into.


I recently moved into my own flat so I can finally decorate how I want. And so I have taken to drawing on the walls...

This rabbit is by the front door.

This pair are above the sofa in the living room (you can see the sofa for size.) It is a copy of Ramon Casas' mural at Els Quatre Gats. Ever since studying it in class two years ago I've wanted it in my house and I'm so pleased with how it turned out.




Hope you're all having a good week and I apologise for my long silence.

MMM
x

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

#NIFTYTHRIFTY

I have no excuses for my month long absence. I wish I could say that I've been working hard, or travelling the world, or simply learning a new hobby. As it stands I have been at home most days, sorting through a collection of magazines stockpiled since 2005 and enjoying doing literally nothing, while baking in the crazy heat wave we saw in the last month. Bizarrely I have lost all desire to paint, draw or play the piano so haven't posted because I have just lost interest. I blame the hot weather and, through inadvertent weight-loss, none of my clothes fit as they used to. I have spent the last month avoiding all situations that will involve more layers than shorts and a vest top and therefore have had nothing interesting to show you.

In two weeks I'll be packing my bags and moving to London for the foreseeable future to start an internship, which is a little terrifying, but hopefully I'll be able to keep the blog going, probably with a more corporate theme...

Anyway the title of this post relates to the YouTube tag #NiftyThrifty which is used to describe your best thrifting experiences through a series of headings. I love watching Thrift Hauls (check out Salamanda, Veronica Anne and Thrift Thick) so I thought I'd transfer the tag across from YouTube to Blogspot... (For UK readers, thrifting is the equivalent of charity shops.)

The most expensive item bought from a charity shop.
I bought these DAKS camel wool trousers several years ago for £30 which is a ridiculous amount to spend on an item that I hadn't even tried on. They are a very soft wool and in pristine condition. Luckily I now fit into them so they'll be perfect for my working winter wardrobe.

Least expensive/best deal

The least expensive item I've picked up from a charity shop is this string of jet beads for 20p. Apparently the shop keeper thought they were plastic. I have several strings of jet beads so I appreciated the addition to my collection. The jacket is a recent purchase and I'm considering it one for the best deals I've found. It's a 100% cashmere blazer that was discounted to £2 for unknown reasons. It fits a dream and is the perfect lightweight blazer for my new life in London.

Favourite Item
 The best thing I've ever found is this 1970s cashmere coat in mint condition. To justify the £20, I originally bought it for my sister who (sadly) was too small for it. Several years ago it got covered by a biro explosion and was confined to the back of my wardrobe. That was until my wonderful mother managed to remove the stains. Six years later it still fits me perfectly.

Most regretted
I don't actually have an image of the most regretted item I ever bought because I genuinely can't think of one. I rarely spend over £5 on an item unless I think it's really special, so it's hard to regret something that only cost me a couple of pounds max.

Favourite Charity Shop
No one from Stowmarket reads this blog, however my favourite charity shop is Elizabeth Hospice in Stowmarket. I rarely come out without something as the prices are incredible. Unlike most charity shops where prices are often dearer than the high street, you will be hard-pressed to find something above £5. Just last week I found a pair of leather loafers for £2, you can't really complain about that.

Weirdest item
Once again I have no picture, but there was definitely a time when I bought a PG tips tea cosy and then proceeded to wear it round town...

Most worn
The most worn item I own is, without a doubt, the massive camel jumper I bought for £1 a few years ago. I've worn it so much that it has lost all elasticity, yet it maintains the perfect slouchy fit. 

Longest owned item
The navy M&S coat was the first item I ever bought with my own money while out shopping with my mother. Which may sound like a strange memory, but I always think of it when I wear this coat. I like to wear it with a brown leather belt taken from The Mother's collection.

The final theme is your favourite thrifted trend. For me, can it be anything other than heritage? It's a trend that returns year on year and that rarely looks dated and allows for incredible quality at a low price. As you can see from reading my blog I often pick up silk shirts, cashmere jumpers and tweed jackets for minimal cost to suit my own personal style. I'm currently planning a blog on thrifting the trend if anyone is interested...


I know this blog post is a bit of a movement from the norm, I just need to get back into my groove. I also need to stop buying camel pieces apparently...

I hope you are all having a wonderful week and are enjoying the final few weeks of summer.

MMM
x

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

GRADUATE.

Almost two weeks ago I graduated from the University of St Andrews with a degree in Art History; it is incredible to think that four years have gone by so quickly. I've spent the last few weeks manically packing, cleaning, saying goodbyes, driving home from Scotland and finally culminating in my sister's 21st birthday party by which point I was so exhausted I was drinking tea to stay awake around 8pm. I've finally managed to sit down and actually get some drawing done so here is what I wore to Graduation and Grad Ball and a couple of my favourites from the week...

 For the ceremony we had to wear a white shirt and black skirt to go under the black gown and pink hood (no mortar boards sadly.) The ceremony itself combined tradition and modernity in the way that only St Andrews can. Because we had a set uniform I wanted to represent myself as one of the few art historians who injected colour into their outfits or who had ever turned up to lectures in sports gear. I decided to go for a retro theme with a below knee pencil skirt and a quiffed up-do with pink lipstick. I accessorised with a studded Pepe Jeans belt, a black pearl necklace and black pearl earrings that I received for my 18th and 21st respectively. As someone who rarely uses accessories I loved how this outfit came together.
I wore this to the Grad Ball the following evening. I recycled a dress which I had worn for New Years Eve and the Korfball Awards. It's a navy lace overlay on a nude base that I picked up from TK Maxx and fits a dream. As I'm still patiently waiting for my hair to grow after it was butchered a few months back I put it in a messy braid and teamed it with a dark red lip.

 My friend Jenny is gorgeous anyway, but she looked beyond stunning in this blue dress. It was a really simple style (high-neck and sleeveless), but the thigh-high split and vibrant blue gave it a modern twist.

 There were a lot of sparkly dresses there that evening and Karoline's was no exception. I feel that the sixties beehive teamed with the heavily-embroidered gold had an element of Blake Lively to it, which I always appreciate. I also liked that the nude under-layer stopped at the knee which made the dress more youthful.
 I loved Lizzie's dress; she looked absolutely stunning. It was a pale coral with scalloped beading on the exterior. As I am unable to wear spaghetti straps I'm always jealous of someone who can. The whole look was very high-glamour.
 I promised Rachel I'd include her in my Grad Ball round up. But I actually wanted to because I always see her in wonderful woolly jumpers or sports gear so it was great to see her all dressed up. The strong monochromatic chevrons contrasted with the simple necklace and sleek up-do perfectly.

 I saw this girl walking down the street while I was at the ATM. She had hoicked up her sparkly pink ball gown to reveal black combat boots whilst striding down the highstreet. I thought it was great and looked a lot more comfortable than the sky-high heels most people were wearing.

A general theme among the dresses was jewelled tones. However a number of girls wore dresses that would have been just as appropriate walking down the aisle as they were wondering around the grounds of St Salvatore's chapel. This girl in particular had a heavily-embroidered bustier mini-dress with a sheer train. It looked stunning when the tent was half-full and she could show it in its full glory, but otherwise I think the train spent most of the evening draped over her arm.

It was a really great night. Everyone was dressed up to the nines and there were several emotional goodbyes. St Andrews is such an international university that there is really no way of knowing when you'll see some people again...

I hope you're all having a good week. I'm enjoying being home, eating garden-grown vegetables and watching Sex and the City with the sister.

MMM
x

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

KIMONO.

In two weeks time I will be leaving St Andrews behind. It's a very scary concept because, as bored as I can get of this tiny town, in the past four years I have spent more time here than anywhere else. Fondly known as the Bubble, it's very easy to become completely unaware of the outside world and, as exciting as change can be, it comes hand in hand with stress and worry about the future. It's very hard to get your head round...

A few days ago I was contacted by Raise.com to write a piece of my favourite summer pieces. Raise.com are a gift-card marketplace that allows you to sell unwanted gift-cards, but also to buy them at a discounted price. As a broke graduate I'm always looking for ways to save money and gift-cards are a fantastic idea if you have a tricky friend to buy for.* They're running an interactive campaign called 'Closet Swap' to showcase how bloggers transition their own personal style through from Spring to Summer. The campaign will be running until June 20th, so if you want to get involved now is your chance!

Because I did a summer post a few days back a friend (hey Emma...) suggested I write about a piece that has long been in my wardrobe, but that is also at the forefront of fashion today- The Kimono.

Seen across the high-street in New Look, River Island, Boohoo and Asos, Literally meaning 'a thing to wear' in traditional Japanese costume they have come to mean a t-shaped, full-length garment which is tied at the back by an obi. However in fashion today they can be a variety of lengths, fabrics and colours and are extremely versatile.

I personally enjoy wearing them for a variety of reasons. Firstly, they are an easy layer to throw on if it's too hot for a jacket but you still need a little coverage. Secondly, there is something wonderfully flamboyant about a kimono, especially a full-length one. And finally they have the ability to transform an otherwise dull outfit.

 The kimono in question here belongs to the aforementioned Emma who was wondering how to style it. It's sheer black with a velvet floral overlay and tassels, which sounds like the very epitome of opulence. To balance out the kimono I would wear an all black outfit- high-waisted denim shorts, a black cropped top and black Chelsea boots.

 This particular kimono has featured several times on this blog and remains one of my favourite pieces in my ever expanding wardrobe. It's a thick cotton so is cool to wear in the heat and stops me from burning. Due to its length it is perfect for throwing over a smart dress in the evenings, or for just bumming round town. I like to wear it with a simple base, like jeans and a t-shirt, but with a hideous amount of beaded necklaces that I've picked up over the years layered on top.

Whereas I'd usually recommend a sleek silhouette beneath the volume of a kimono there are always exceptions. This short kimono I picked up from H&M last year is the same length as my black skater dress and I love to belt it to emphasise the swish of the skirt. Make sure your kimono of choice has enough fabric as this could constrict otherwise.

I love the drama of a kimono. In this outfit the bright pink of the silk kimono contrasts with the rigid and perhaps conservative stripes of the dress.

The kimono is virtually weightless and so is ideal for summer layering if you don't want to live in vest tops and shorts.

I hope you're all having a good start to the week and enjoying the current heatwave...

MMM
x


*This post is inspired by the Raise.com 'Closet Swap' interactive movement. This company is only available in the States (despite living in the depths of Scotland I do have a few Stateside readers), but I hope they consider expanding to the UK soon... Naturally I am yet to try them out due to this but the reviews online are favourable and I think it is a fabulous idea... Though this is the first collaboration post I have done, I feel that marketing through the blogosphere is an innovative way  to advertise as recommendations are a key incentive in deciding to purchase a previously untested item.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

#FASHIONKIDS

Two posts in a row may be a rarity for me but, unlike most bloggers, I rarely plan blogs and instead post when the inspiration takes me...

Yesterday while scrolling through Instagram I rediscovered Fashion Kids, a wonderful collective of the most stylish children on the web. I was never this stylish as a child, hell I'm not even this stylish now.

Here's a few of my favourites.

 @jsuchil353
This is a perfect festival look- the fringed bag, the messy braid, the crochet. It's very Vanessa Hudgens. And I have serious hair envy.
 @kimberly_dodge
This is a summery look I'm definitely going to try to emulate. I love the fringed boots mixed with the fringed bag and hair braid, but all on a neutral base. It stops the look from becoming too costumey.

 @littlemissnaya
Black skater skirt, knee highs and a plaid shirt? So simple and a look that echoes some of the most seasoned bloggers.
 @luisafere & @gavinduh
I feel that these two would be right at home on the streets of St Andrews. Smart separates and beautiful tailoring, I'm loving the combat boots and skinny tie combo.
 @mybellepapillon
This look is so timeless and would be just at home on an elderly married couple as it does on this pair of twins. I love her spotty orange coat with the tweed underneath and I love his layered blacks and blues.
 @nikiln
I love the monochrome highlighted by the splashes of burgundy. The necktie is such a fantastic detail.
 @rubielovee
I genuinely wish I looked even an iota as cool as she does. Between the customised band t-shirt, the black beanie and the knee highs I actually can't get over how awesome she looks.
 @souzamaria
If I could wear dungarees I would wear this everyday as my appreciation for striped shirts with denim and a top knot knows no bounds...
I love how the all blue palette is broken up by splashes on colour in the trousers and the shirt. Now I've always loved a coloured trouser (see here) and the burnt orange is a great twist on the standard red.

I hope you're all having a good day.

MMM
x

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

SUMMER.

Summer has finally come to St Andrews. That said, it is beautiful and baking until two when it suddenly decides to piss down with rain till the evening. As I've no doubt mentioned in previous summer posts I struggle in the heat and this transfers to my fashion choices. Below are a few of my current favourite items.


 I bought both the shirt and the bag on a rushed town trip dodging the rain. I'm loving linen items as they let me 'breathe' and in charity shops they are usually incredible cheap in comparison to their retail prices. The leather backpack was bought on a whim after seeing several vloggers on YouTube picking them up at thrift shops. Little bit in love. Going to pair them with my burnt orange corduroy shorts and Docs.

This H&M dress has been a staple in my summer wardrobe for a few years. A thin cotton, it covers my bra which is rare in high street pieces and sits just above the knee. It's super flattering and I love pairing it with my fringed cowboy boots. I'm also loving Milkmaid braids this summer as they stop the humidity getting to my hair.

 I love pairing these thick cotton All Saints cropped high-waisted trousers with cropped t-shirts for a more masculine summer look. I like to give a feminine twist with a silk scarf in the hair. My current favourite is a small Liberty print I picked up when I was home.

 In an attempt to cool down I like to get my legs out whilst covering up with a large shirt on top. Over the years I have acquired several of my father's Thomas Pink shirts with ripped collars or tattered cuffs. I love wearing them with a slicked back bun and a neck-scarf. Docs toughen up a relatively sleek look.
This look is a combination of a raspberry Hobbs linen cropped shirt that I wish I had bought and a pair of high-waisted satin shorts from French Connection that I picked up from TKMaxx. Unlike most high-waisted shorts these actually reach my waist and have wonderful frills on the pockets. I would wear this with my Topshop wedge shoe-boots. 

The following images are people I saw on my trip back up to Scotland a while back...
 This elderly woman's entire outfit was in shades of green. She looked adorable, but my sketch turned out more akin to a Peter Doig painting... As someone who would ideally only wear blue and camel I loved her dedication to a colour.

Similarly I loved this all black outfit. This girl looked like a band groupie with her perfectly worn leather jacket, Jack Daniels t-shirt and skinny jeans. The matching black leather holdall just bought the whole look together.

I hope you are all having a wonderful day. I struggling to pack four years worth of hoarding into boxes...

MMM
x

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

CFDA

Despite my best intentions to post I've struggled to find the motivation to sit down and draw but this morning the photos from last night's CFDA awards appeared and I had to get a few sketches down.

 Blake Lively in Michael Kors- She looked every inch the 1960s siren in this gorgeous minidress and satin headband.
 Coco Rocha in Christian Siriano- This looks a little like an illustration of the Ascot scene in my Fair Lady. Something about the ensemble didn't quite make sense to me, it may have seen the deconstructed hat that clashed with the graphic flow of the skirt.
 Emmy Rossum in J Mendal- I loved the fit and colour of this dress. The cut-outs, the contrasting black and chartreuse, the asymmetric hem; there was a lot going on but it came together well.
 Lupita Nyong'o in Suno- Most websites seem to have this look on their Worst Dressed. However I like that she chose a cropped top and trouser combination instead of the slightly tacky gowns worn by other attendees (sorry Heidi Klum...) I also love the colour scheme and stripes, especially because she teamed it with vibrant blue eye shadow and glasses.
 Marion Cotillard in Dior- Despite several actresses being criticised for unflattering wardrobe choices, no mention was made of the winged attachments on Cotillard's Dior dress. They sit slightly too low on the chest to flatter the bust, yet sit too high to flatter the waist. However I love her and she is one of the few actresses who manages to wear quirky outfits without looking overpowered by the garment.
Rihanna in Adam Selman- Rihanna rocked up to receive her Fashion Icon Award in a crystal encrusted turban, white fur stole and very sheer dress. I find it odd that there was a surprising lack of backlash over this, but at the same time I'm glad. That said, I'm sure if Miley Cyrus turned up in this the media wouldn't have had the same reaction...

I'm spending today enjoying my final month in St Andrews and attempting to sell some hand-painted cards. I have the time to take commissions, so if you're interested either email me at missmillicentmae@gmail.com or comment below...

Have a great day!

MMM
x