…or not as the blisters on my heels will attest to.
I think in terms amazing/ amazingly daft things I’ve bought in the sales these complete and utter beauties have to be up there with the best of them. Since Hedi Slimane took over at YSL, or Saint Laurent Paris as it’s now known, I’ve been a massive, massive fan of the collections he’s produced. Possibly the underlying reason for this is his ability to create luxe versions of the contents of my late teenage/ early twenties wardrobe (which, let’s be honest, is still pretty much the main bulk of my current wardrobe) and, if I had the money, my wardrobe would consist entirely of Saint Laurent ‘upgraded’ versions of my previous loves. Sadly for me, my budget (or common sense) simply won’t stretch to shelling out nearly £1000 for a pair of boots or the best part of the deposit for a house on a dress, however OMGFHAVEYOUSEENHOWAWSOMETHISIS! they happen to be.
As a result of my fantasy lifestyle being faaaaaaaaaaar outweighed by the financial reality of the one I do lead (Oh hello electricity bill! And water bill! AND rent!), I’ve had to become adept at sale stalking and making sacrifices to the Fashion Gods in the hope that the planets may align to send me some wonderous bargain. Which brings me to the boots. Oh the boots. Look at their shiny, glittery wonderfulness.
*takes a moment to simply stare at the boots*
So, the boots. They’re pretty much identical to a pair I saw in Office about 5 years ago which I’m still kicking myself I never bought. My reluctance at the time was whether I could pull off a pair of 60s patent knee high boots without looking like I’d just stepped out of Austin Powers. I’m still not *entirely* convinced I can but it’s an awful lot easier to find the confidence to dip your toe into the water when something you’ve toyed with suddenly becomes the height of fashion (see also dressing like my mum in the 70s). Most of the footwear in Saint Laurent’s AW14 collection made it onto my lust list but out of all the styles (still holding out for the glitter Mary Janes btw if anyone wants to hook a gal up), the patent knee high ‘Babies’ seemed the most wearable. Sadly with a £900ish price tag, to justify a cost per wear it would have meant wearing them until the day I retired and so the sales stalking began.
Sales stalking mainly consists of me perusing various fashion retail websites sighing longingly at the sale items that, although 50% reduced, still cost more than my entire share of the rent for that month and silently cursing when something sells out in my size. On very rare occasions when I’ve been quick off the mark after final reductions have been announced I’ve managed to bag one or two lust items but in general, and especially with Saint Laurent, my size has sold out quicker than the winner of The Voice’s career. In Manchester however, there’s the added advantage of having branches of both Selfridges and Harvey Nics in the city centre and it was during a Selfridges lunchtime browse that I stumbled across THE BOOTS. AT 75% OFF. IN MY SIZE. Reader, I bought them.
I’ve still not worn them as much as I’d like as they still need breaking in and, as I feared, it’s tricky trying to find an outfit to go with them which doesn’t scream 60s fancy dress but, styling issues and blisters aside, I’m completely in love with them. Whilst £199 is a lot to spend on a pair of leather boots, it’s still probably cheaper than buying a full price, well made pair from a decent high street retailer. And they probably wouldn’t have glitter heels.
Most people when they visit New York probably have a ‘must see/ do’ list that includes icons such as Central Park, the Empire State building or the Statue of Liberty. My list however, whilst still including the utter *essentials* of New York site seeing (Grand Central – tick, Gossip Girl tour – tick, sitting on the steps of the Met giving my best Blair Waldorf face – MASSIVE TICK) also had, fairly high up too I might add, a trip to Orla Kiely’s NYC shop. Now I know what you’re thinking, why treck half way around the world just to visit the shop of a brand you could pop to in London?! Whilst in theory this is true, my visits to London over the last few years have been sporadic and so jam packed that by the time I’ve seen all my friends for a catch up, there’s barely time left to marvel at the wonder that is the Waitrose cheese room (trust me, it’s amazing) let alone cram some retail therapy in too which is why I was stupidly excited about *finally* getting the chance to visit Mercer Street and dive headlong into Orla’s world.
I have to admit that up until a few years ago, I was only aware of Orla Kiely as the designer who put 60s style stem prints on a vast selection of homewares and didn’t have a clue that she also designed clothes too. At some point during the cold days of February 2013 however, whilst hitting up Google to keep updated with all things London Fashion Week, I stumbled across a couple of blogs carrying photos from her AW13 presentation (beautifully styled by the amazing Leith Clark) and fell hopelessly in love.
It’s probably no surprise that my love for Orla Kiely started around the same time as discovering Wes Anderson’s films (again, *very* late to that party) as both artists share the ability to create entire worlds around their ideas that are so appealing and considered it’s impossible not to be drawn in. Orla’s Fashion Week presentations (and supporting campaign films) are never merely just catwalks of clothes but instead feel more like snapshots of some wonderful retro dream that the viewer has stumbled upon. This sepia-tinged aesthetic extends to the New York shop where offerings from the AW14 collection sit alongside homewares in a faux-domestic setting that includes a kitchen, lounge area (complete with TV showing ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ – always a good thing in my book) and erm, caravan resplendent in Orla Kiely print.
After trying on a few bits and pieces from the current collection, I discovered a rail of sale items including a skirt from the AW13 collection I’d been lusting after and having purchased it, was brave enough to ask the very lovely sales assistant if I could take a few snaps of the shop interior to share on here (is it just me who gets slight sales assistant fear when I’m in shops that my budget wouldn’t normally stretch to?!?).
Thankfully my limited American budget meant that I couldn’t walk away with the whole shop (although I’m sure the little brushwood fox would look right at home in my flat…) but it was a lovely excuse to have a glimpse into Orla’s world and add one or two items to my every growing wishlist…
As classic colour combinations go, red, white and blue takes some beating. A good chunk of my wardrobe seems to consist of variations on a breton theme and I’m always on the hunt for the perfect stripe. I love nothing better than teaming these timeless tops with some dark denim and colour popping accessories to create simple, stylish looks which can be worn pretty much anywhere. The above outfit consists of an H&M top which has been a wardrobe staple for many years and is as close to perfect as any I’ve found on the high street (to the point where I repeatedly chastise myself for not buying in bulk!) and a Topshop denim skirt that I bought at the end of last year which looks equally good with tights as with bare legs and has also been worn to death (and it has pockets which I LOVE!).
In my head this look is ‘classic with a twist’ so I’ve tried to keep the colour palette fairly restricted so that the hints of red really ‘pop’. My beautiful barrel bag gifted to me by Cut Make Trim (which I’ve raved about before here. Still haven’t learnt to not overload it though…) is perfect for this outfit as its timeless shape and colour compliment the neutral base pieces of the outfit.
My red Lotta From Stockholm clogs are another piece I’ve previously blogged about and I love the pop of colour they bring to the outfit and the leather ‘buckle’ detail on the toes echo the shapes found in the barrel bag.
If there’s one word that I can’t stand when it comes to fashion it’s ‘kooky’ and even just typing it makes me shudder and want to vomit in my mouth a bit. I’m all for having fun with fashion and injecting personality but for me, ‘kooky’ conjures up reductive connotations (see also ‘adorkable’ and ‘anything recommended by Zooey Deschanel’) that only serves to belittle and infantilize those it is applied to. Thankfully, Tatty Devine’s creations although whimsical, never manage to cross into this territory. Their ‘Dog On Wheels’ necklace whilst cute, is simple enough to be extremely wearable without crossing the line into the dreaded ‘K’ word (and dachshunds are definitely in this season if Orla Kiely AW14 is anything to go by…).
Finally I’ve added slick of MAC’s ‘Lady Danger’ lipstick (could there be a better colour for making you looked a bit more with it when you really can’t be bothered?) and a couple of coats of Barry M’s ‘Coral’ nail polish to pull the whole outfit together.
As a bit of a reader treat (it’s Bank Holiday weekend, what else is there to do but a bit of internet shopping?!), the lovely people at Cut Make Trim have offered a 15% discount on their beautiful bags to the first 50 readers who enter ‘highheelsandrecorddeals’ in the voucher code section of the shopping basket on their website (oh and they do free delivery too!).
A combination of watching Moonrise Kingdom one too many times and being completely in love with Orla Kiely’s entire SS14 collection (well being in love with everything Orla Kiely in general) has resulted in my own outfit homage which I can only really describe as ‘Seventies Safari’. I’m very lucky in not only having a mum and aunt who can sew but who also both have wardrobes full of handmade vintage lovelies that they let me raid. This dress was originally my mum’s which I permanently ‘borrowed’ a few years back and has been a summer staple ever since. I love the pattern (and amazing pattern matching), the blue accents of the fabric and the slightly OTT collar plus the combination of cotton and a full skirt makes it perfect for keeping cool in the current heat wave.
My life seems to be one long endless search for the perfect summer shoe and I’ve been wearing these off-white lovelies from Clarks pretty much non-stop since I bought them a few months back. Granted, you might question the wisdom of 1) buying shoes with cut out bits when you live in rainy Manchester and 2) buying shoes of such a light colour when you live in rainy Manchester but so far my feet have (for the most part) avoided being drenched and any grubby bits have generally been seen off with protector spray and a bit of a wipe with a damp cloth. Plus they’re possibly the most comfortable shoes I own to the point where I’ve already bought a second pair in the sales for when I eventually end up wrecking these a few years down the line and I’m currently busy eyeing up Clarks’ AW14 offerings…
I’m one of those people who will happily stalk items over many, many months until they eventually end up in the sale at a fraction of the original price. I spied this box bag from & Other Stories in a magazine at the start of the year and really loved its colour and utilitarian shape but couldn’t justify spending nearly £100 on it so I patiently waited until it ended up at 50% off in their summer sale and finally became mine.
Finally to complete my safari theme, I’ve added a vintage belt (Must. Remember. To. Replace. Slightly. Grubby. Elastic.) with a gold tiger clasp that I picked up in a charity shop back when I was a student which mirrors both the gold hardware of the bag and the off-white of the shoes.
Whether or not I’ll stumble across any wildlife that exotic whilst lazing in the park is debatable but should the need to safari suddenly occur, I’m all prepared! Now, where did I put my binoculars…