Sunday, June 28, 2009

Turn back time

I was looking through the Vogue archives and stopped at this Arnaud de Rosnay shot of Cher, taken in 1967. I absolutely love it, probably because I've been searching everywhere for a pair of oversized aviators just like those. Cher borrowed that pair from Sonny. Maybe he wouldn't mind if I snagged them next?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Limited time offer

I didn't want to waste precious suitcase space on paperbacks to read while I'm over here. So instead, I've been buying up magazines to flip through during my down time.

As I was perusing the newsstand, I noticed that most of the major magazines come packaged with free stuff. Novels, lip gloss, chocolates, body lotion, tote bags, even Benefit mascara! The kind of stuff you would ordinarily get [a crappier version of] with your ordered subscription in the States. But over here, they lure you in right at the stand.

Is this how the UK is saving the printed publication? Is the US doing it too, I'm just not noticing? Granted, I'm subscribed to enough magazines at home that I haven't been to Barnes + Noble in awhile to buy new ones. (I wait until the September issues come out for that.) If they aren't, maybe they should try it out. Sales obviously need a boost and, after all, who doesn't like free stuff?

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Terrifying: A bunch of Topshop employees at the Oxford Circus location (the real big one) tested positive for the Swine Flu. While the store is staying open for now, I'm thinking the quilted purse and turquoise sunglasses I wanted to buy can wait until they've cleared everyone. I can hear my wallet (and immune system) breathing a sigh of relief...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Head over heels

Meet Nacho Figueras, my latest crush. I fell for the Ralph Lauren model a few weeks ago while watching him in action at Polo in the Park.
Imagine my envy when I read this interview that the Elle News London correspondent got to do while he was in town for the match.
So, so jealous.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Aux Naturalle

"When I was a child, my mother always told me that you could wake up in the middle of the night and be deathly sick, so you always have to be impeccable. I laugh about it now, but I think everyone should go to bed like they have a date at the door."

As much as I wish I went to bed looking gorgeously radiant, I do not. I have blond eyelashes that make me look like an alien when not doused with 18 coats of mascara. When I first had roommates, it took me months to build up the courage to take my eye makeup off each night--I was too petrified to let anyone see me in a natural state. (Ultimately, I decided I'd prefer looking like crap after 10pm than deal with the side effects of sleeping in cosmetics.)

Lately, there are many [see: Katie Holmes] far braver than I--opting to head outdoors with a bare face. CoedUgly blogger, Kristine, did a great post about this a couple weeks ago. To these confidant souls, I applaud you.

Minor Celebrity

So I went to Brick Lane today, and passed this guy crooning away amongst the market chaos. Then, I was scrolling through FaceHunter, and saw him photographed! How much of a loser am I when I admit that this excites me?

What's in my bag

The other day I plopped this yellow monstrosity down at the checkout counter of the grocery store. The guy ringing me up gave me a weird look and asked, "Is that a bag or a purse? You girls always carry so much around." I laughed, agreed, and threw my yogurt and carrot sticks inside my combination bag/purse.

I'm fairly certain I'll acquire scoliosis before I return to the states. The long list of contents pictured below probably explains my constantly aching shoulders.

(From bottom left):
-Camera+ map: Saves me the trouble from telling people I'm a tourist.
-Wallet: from Urban Outfitters
-IPod, wrapped in a handkerchief: Doubles as a dirt-free place to sit when I'm chilling in Hyde Park
-Granola bar, Fanta Zero, aluminum water bottle: Keeps me going during long days of shopping and strolling
-Magazine: I always need something to read; Company is my new favorite.
-Notebooks: I usually have at least two, if not three, in my bag at all times. What can I say, I like making lists.
-Sunglasses + Umbrella: When in London, you always need both with you at all times.
-Cosmetic bag from Target: scottie dog mirror, Oyster card, C.O. Bigelow lipgloss, Neutrogena age shield hand lotion, hand sanitizer (I really don't want the swine flu), Charmin' To-Go (thank you to my caring roommate Erika for sending this to me before my departure), gum
-Tons of random tickets, brochures, flyers, receipts: It's impossible to step a foot in this city without someone thrusting a piece of paper at you. And unlike Pittsburgh, they seriously make you take it.

Shopping Report

I'm not that into historical site seeing. Monuments and buildings generally don't mean much to me. Terrible, I know. I love going to modern art museums, but nothing quite acclimates me to a different culture like shopping. (And Mom, if you're reading this, don't fret. I did go around and see all the boring stuff too. And I've been careful about my purchases here, mostly because I wanted a chance to see as much as possible before I decided what was worthy of my poor old dwindlin' dollars.)
If you're lucky enough to be heading to London anytime in the near future, this is where I recommend you go:

1. The markets: absolutely the best way to shop over here. You can literally find anything, (including this really classy nurse uniform, as elegantly modeled by my flatmate in Camden) and its guaranteed to be unique and generally not too expensive. My favorite is Portebello Road [pictured above]; it has a great atmosphere and inspiring aesthetic. The cheapest (and craziest) is Camden Market--a good place to pick up souvenirs for friends. East London markets are a little more expensive, but spend a Sunday browsing Spitafields, Sunday Up, and Brick Lane markets and you're sure to find something.

2. The vintage stores: Londoners have great style, meaning their consignment stores are chock-a-block full of great stuff. East London has the highest concentration of vintage shops--Blondie, Absolute Vintage, and Rockit are the major ones. Pretty much every neighborhood has a range of second hand stores, stocked with everything from designer scores to stained tees.

3. The boutiques: I read through travel books, magazines, and websites and made a long long list of boutiques I wanted to visit while I was here. Honestly, I haven't seen half of them and don't really mind. It's impossible to see (or locate) all of them. The best thing to do in London? Take the tube somewhere, get out, and walk around. Fashion cardio. Wander in and and out of any store that catches your eye. Covent Garden, Notting Hill, and east London all have a dense population of cute places.

4. The chains: The greatest thing about European chains is that they carry trends long before their US counterparts. It's easy to find really cool stuff for really cheap prices if you shop around enough. My favorite inexpensive chains are Primark, Dorothy Perkins, Next, Topshop, H+M (I swear it carries completely different stuff than the American stores. Way, way better.), Zara, Office, Joy, and Uniqlo. So basically, every chain. I never want to shop at the King of Prussia mall again.

Regardless of how much you actually buy, wandering around the shopping areas in London are overwhelmingly inspiring. (at least the less-touristy areas. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT head anywhere near Oxford Circus on the weekends. You'll have an anxiety attack and regret it.) You'll get loads of style ideas from the store displays and other shoppers. So much better than flipping through a magazine or catalog. Though the UK has a reputation for bad customer service, I've found the people working in stores and market stalls to be incredibly friendly. However, this could just be because their intrigued by American accents.

As for my purchases, this is what I've gotten (not counting lots of souvenirs and such for other people): two dresses (a simple grey shift and a feistier leopard number), two belts (a white elastic one and a jaguar one), tortoiseshell sunglasses, charms, and a very gigantic black sun hat (that's the black thing looming in the corner.)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Graduate Fashion Week

This afternoon I had the distinct pleasure of checking out the London Graduate Fashion Week exhibition. I got to wander around exquisitely set up booths from all the top UK design schools and check out clothing and portfolios from all the up-and-comers in the fashion industry.

GFW started in 1991 as a cohesive way to present the country's young talent. It's helped folks like Stella McCartney and Christopher Bailey get their start, so being there you definitely get the sense that you're surrounded by greatness.
Here's a bit of what I saw:

I'll be spending the rest of my night digging through the big bag of business cards and catalogs I picked up--all gorgeously designed, of course.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

While I'm loving every second of London, I am a bit upset I'm missing out on two of my favorite summer events: The Lilly Pulitzer sample sale and the Devon Horse Show.
Luckily, I'll get to unleash my inner prepster this weekend when I go to Polo in the Park and the Epsom Derby. Naturally, I need to scout out the perfect outfits, complete with a ridiculous headpiece so I fit in with these trendy Brits.

I'm thinking along the lines of something like:

Derby/ Polo Outfit

Currently lusting over...

I'm completely infatuated with everything that British jewelry designer Ring Leader has to offer, but especially their rings and bracelets that double as stamps. Each piece comes with an ink pad, so you can literally leave your mark whenever and wherever the mood strikes.
The designs are at once quirky, edgy, and wearable: everything I look for in accessories. If it weren't for the fact that this city is depleting my bank account already, I'd totally want to splurge. Nonetheless, I'm planning on hunting Ring Leader down next week during London Jewellery Week, just to witness the beauty in person. (And yeah, that's how they spell jewelry over here.)