Monday, 22 February 2010

Comfort vs. Style

From top: February wishlist - images courtesy of and Topshop
Sports luxe at Alexander Wang, Spring/Summer 2010. Source:
Shirts galore at Viktor & Rolf. Source:
Since I started working for myself in October 2009, I have spent the vast majority of my working days in my office at home. As painful as it is for this girl to admit, I have really let my standards slip when it comes to putting together stylish yet comfortable looks for everyday, instead being lured by the pull of what was once my style nemesis: the sweat pant.

When I worked in a company office, everyday was an opportunity to dress up, and I favoured a kind of deconstructed Mad Men style: a classic pencil dress with ridiculous heels and clunky accessories; a strapless prom dress over a shirt, all cinched in with an elaborate waist belt. Essentially classic office basics with a twist. The look still managed to be conservative and office-appropriate, but it was edgy enough that it satisfied my need for expression (a favourite example was after the House of Viktor & Rolf exhibition, where Al and I were so inspired by the shirt above that we vowed that our outfits the next day would comprise a minimum of two shirts and basically as much V&R craziness as we dared brave!)

When I was 17, my friends marvelled at the fact that I didn't own a single pair of jeans. My early style definitely pulled inspiration from the Old Hollywood films and trashy 80s TV that I used to watch with my Grandmother: Katharine Hepburn-refinement mixed with Joan Collins-glamour (Joan gets credit/blame for my love of over-the-top costume jewellery) This was the late 90s, and I found that casual dressing was almost a step too far: that it was almost too difficult to work out how to make my friends' core pieces of t-shirts, jeans and Converse work in a way that spoke to me. I have long since given in to the pull of denim, but my latest project is to find a new home-working wardrobe that marries those two apparent opposites of comfort and style.

Clockwise from top:

1. L'Agence Black Jersey T-shirt dress
2. Tapeet Crochet Sandals
3. Vionnet Cuff
4. Falke Knee High Socks
5. Topshop Oversized Grey Jumper
6. Michael Kors Mini Short
7. Alice + Olivia Striped Skirt

Sunday, 21 February 2010


From top: Balancing the model at Viktor & Rolf, Spring/Summer 2010. Source: Dominique Charriau,
Isabel Marant, Autumn/Winter 2009/10. Source: The Fashion Spot

After a particularly hectic week at work (read: furious report writing and 3am finishes), I started to think about how achieving the perfect balance has such a profoundly positive impact on my state of mind. A balanced life for me isn’t necessarily one that is divided equally across different things, but one that has just enough of everything to keep me smiling.

After several seemingly endless months of searching, Peter and I finally found the most perfect Georgian flat in my beloved Crystal Palace (pictures will follow soon). Georgian architecture encapsulates all of the features that, for me, create the perfect home: high ceilings; huge windows with lots of natural light; symmetry and a general sense of harmony. The style somehow manages to strike the ideal balance between grandeur and comfort, and I am already researching interiors and counting down to April when we move in.

When it comes to fashion and style, balance represents something else entirely: it’s the need to offset a voluminous cardigan with the skinniest jeans; the most daring heel with the simplest dress; or about pulling together lots of pieces to create something so crazy or so simple that it just seems to work: basically fashion yin with fashion yang (for this in extreme form, see Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb Spring/Summer 2005 - two completely contrasting concepts rolled into one show). Those are the outfits that make me happiest. Above are looks from Viktor & Rolf and Isabel Marant. Whereas the latter manages to create that quintessentially, slightly 'off', relaxed French style, Viktor & Rolf show the need for balance in a characteristically extreme and whimsical form!

In life, it’s about offsetting the everyday with the escapist, and that’s how this blog was born. I hope that through reading this, you’re inspired to find that perfect balance in your life, whatever that may be.