The Politics Of Wearing A Band Tee

"Why are you wearing a Michael Jackson t-shirt?" asked my boyfriend, recently, with as much disdain as if I'd been wearing a Cliff Richard one. "Huh?" I replied, proud of my thrifted find. I don't really wear t-shirts - I am yet to figure out why I find them more complicated to pull off than a pussy bow blouse - but this one makes me feel good. The vibe is definitely a homage to his 'Earth Song' phase. "I like Michael Jackson, I know his songs, it's about the only 'music' t-shirt I CAN wear" I replied. "But you don't LOVE him. You don't talk about him."

And there you have it: the politics of wearing a band tee and the arguable authenticity of the the wearer's relationship with the worn. I don't agree with my boyfriend that you can only wear a t-shirt featuring a band that you speak of on a regular basis. I find band bores unbelievably dull. There are obviously ideals when it comes to wearing a band tee. Inheriting it from a parent (good), knowing all the songs, all the word (good good), having the lyrics tattooed on your ass (triple good). That's the holy grail but of course most purchases are not made with this authentic trinity in mind. My Michael Jackson t-shirt only abides by the second of those ideals. 

But I've thought about this and there are, of course, some rules that should ALWAYS be obeyed. For starters, a band tee cannot come from the high street. A Led Zeppelin tee from ASOS (currently selling) feels faker than a relationship on Made In Chelsea. If you love Led Zeppelin, you owe it to yourself to find a second-hand t-shirt, that isn't also being worn by every 13-year-old in Romford. Secondly, never wear the t-shirt of a band you hate. I can very comfortably wear a Spice Girls t-shirt because I loved them and still love them and wish, oh wish, that I still had my SPICE crop top that I wore to my 10th birthday. Equally, I'd be OK in a TLC one. But The Clash? I am not allowed to wear a Clash t-shirt. I do not know, nor love, their work. To wear a Clash tee would be the sign of a dick. And frankly I like to be a little more opaque about that than giving it away with a t-shirt.

I think the reason why I love this t-shirt is because it's pretty ugly. I saw someone complaining on Pinterest the other day about how there aren't many pretty band tees. Well, Pinterest not everything has to be purdy 'n pinnable! I think you're missing the point if you're looking for a super cute band t-shirt. My Spice Girls crop top was gopping. This MJ one is pretty foul: orange and black isn't the most winning of colour combos. But it makes me happy. And it least it isn't fucking Justin Bieber. 


Print Clash

I styled the beautiful Zlata in clashing prints for The Debrief. Art direction by Anna Jay and pictures by the awesome Francesca Allen. Scroll to the bottom for clothing credits. 

Zlata is wearing an Again dress, Urban Outfitters hoodie, Adidas trainers and Janvier bag // Goldie shirt, Christopher Kane joggers, Topshop heels and her own necklace // Sandro Spice jumper, Free People shirt and trousers and her own trainers


Do The Curtains Match The Drapes?

Oh the limitless possibilities of the double entendre! The curtains and drapes that I speak of are not regarding a hirsute topper (and bottom), but my candy striper scrunchie (an essential when on holiday and in possession of Monica Geller hair) and the sun parasols of the Amalfi town. Like strawberry and cream sweets at the Odeon, the regimented perfection calling the sun-shy was an albeit accidental neat fit for a scrunchie that perhaps hailed from New York, perhaps the north of Norfolk, but who can remember nor care when holiday staples blur into one greasy go-to, piled in an increasingly filthy free tote. 

I'm wearing an ASOS Top, Zara Trousers, Jeffrey Campbell Boots via Free People and Earrings from i+i Jewellery.


Are We All Suffering From S.A.D.?

As we bemoan at length, the high street retailers have done nothing to ease us into the autumn gently. From early August, bikinis gave way to faux fur overcoats, cheesecloth to velvet and flippy summer dresses to flannel boy shorts. Like every other year preceeding it, this harsh change in stock was indicative of one thing: at some point, summer would be ending. Like all summers before it, those halycon days would end.

And like all summers before it, the fact that this one will soon be ending, is not something that anyone is dealing with well. Why is this? Well. Despite the fact that none of us are actually going back to school, that feeling that September marks the end of something, only seems to increase with age. Granted, you've probably taken your last holiday for 8 months, having really gone for it 'when in Rome' and will now be living in poverty until November, miserably wearing the same egg-stained scarf for 3 months on the trot, but it does seem that the emphasis on summer being the 'fun time' and the rest of the year being, well, not - has become more and pronounced to the point where it seems that many of us are suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Does the whole of England need a metaphorical lightbox?

The irony, of course, is that we haven't had a great summer (British weather, wahay!) It's bloody poured for most of it. And when it's been boiling - the French call such heatwaves a 'canicule' which translates as 'little dog' - we've droned on about how ineffective our fans are, how sticky our skin and fuzzy our hair. Yes, summer is for drinking rosé and cavorting outside - but you can do that, in the rain, all year round. I am proof positive that there is no seasonal cap on drinking rosé. I've long learned to ignore any side long glances as I sip it frozen, ever merry, in December. Ditto - bare legs. I don't acknowledge tights until around February and aim to shod them by March. A thick pair of socks and a good bottle of fake tan is all you need, my friends!

There is no doubt that the joie de vivre we all feel at the beginning of August is inexplicably gone by the end of the month. We fail to summon up those joyous clichés of autumn in the same way that we do summer. Why can't we get excited about matching knitwear, crunchy leaves and a sudden abundance of leaping labradors, in the same way that we do Mr Whippies, matching co-ords and salty sea-whupped hair? Don't fight it, guys. It's coming, whatever you do. Summer will be back with her sassy garms, unpredictable weather and gale-force hangovers before you even know it.

Ph. by me, wearing an ASOS dress and sandals.


Stone Cold

Prettiest much the posiest blog post I've ever put up AND you can see my ass cheeks. C'est la vie! It's Friday! It's not, but I'm going to France today so the end of the working week is in my face right now. Similarly in YOUR face is this whole scenario; but I can never ignore a Stone Cold Fox backless number. Everyone I know - getting married or otherwise - is obsessed with Stone Cold Fox's bridal line and their main line, sassy as hell and short enough to scare grown humans, is just as good. Oh Amalfi (where this was shot) how I miss you so.

I'm wearing a Stone Cold Fox playsuit via Free People and Brora Espadrilles


Life B.P (Before Paypal)

A version of this article first appeared on The Debrief.co.uk

Internet shopping is now 20 years old. 20! Happy birthday, big guy. It’s been emotional. It’s almost as old as you and me. Internet shopping can drink. It’s also changed immeasurably – and more importantly, so has have our attitudes towards it.

Here’s how:

Initially, internet shopping was only for the brave and intrepid

"You bought that 'on the web?'" people would coo, admiringly. "I’ll never share my bank details online", others would say sagely, not realising that the future would hit them smack in the face at some point. I bought myself a party frock from eBay nine years ago, for my sixth form ball. It was a blue See by Chloe slip dress and my first ever eBay purchase, that had required hours upon hours of meticulous scrolling up and down the same page. Who cares that it turned up two sizes too big and five shades too fake? Which brings me to my next point….

You totally trusted the way in which a product was sold to you

You can now see through an online product description like it’s Gisele’s thigh gap. Just because something is described on eBay as 100000% genuwin!!!!! does not mean that it is. As online shopping has gotten older, your trust has been eroded until you’ve become the sceptical motherfucker that you now are.

Once upon a time, you actually couldn’t buy your life online

Perish the actual thought. You’d spend all of Saturday looking for one present or kitchen gadget. Hollah Amazon! Now you can buy a car, a wife and all the coat hangers that you could possibly need online. As an online shopaholic, I buy 90% of my belongings online. It means you get a parcel almost every single day (let’s not talk about having to send it back) and when you buy coat hangers, they come in a parcel shaped like a boomerang, which is really fun for everyone really.

You used to take your wish-listing seriously

When they first came around, we thought online wish-lists were the cleverest things ever. Now they just host the relics of that hungover smash and grab that thankfully never translated into Paypal reality. 

Speaking of, you’d have to explain what Paypal was when using it in conversation

A bit like Bitcoins, we thought Paypal was. Imagine if Bitcoins had been around when we were getting our heads around Paypal? Heads would have rolled.

Patience has waned almost completely

We used to spend time on the payment process – much like when you shift from foot to foot at the Zara till, you’d be OK carefully signing up to a new retailer. Now you’re receiving 100 newsletters a day and you can’t be arsed to buy anything that comes with more than 4 clicks in order to buy. You’re lazy, but you’re winning.

Your phone was for making calls. How the hell would you be using it for shopping?

Now, of course, you have a dozen shopping apps on constant refresh. Even a bus journey to work can yield shopping from the comfort of a tiny phone which, let’s be honest, you can barely even see the dress on, let alone know what it’s going to look like on you - even with those shopping apps that give you exact holographic measurements.

You used to have to pay through the nose for next day delivery

It was very spoilt, that was. You wait your five days, love. Not any more! With retailers like ASOS allowing unlimited Next Day Delivery for just £10 a year, you can keep your nose payment and get a near-instant fix, too. 

eBay has become like Marmite

You are either an eBay person, or you are NOT an eBay person. It’s that simple. My friend explains:

"I thought I could be an eBay person, but then I realised I couldn’t, after many failed bids. I didn’t fail by losing the bids. I failed in that I won the bids but subsequently realised what bad choices they were.

"I got into big trouble and taken to eBay court after winning an ugly bag called ‘COOL NEW RAVE BAG NU RAVE SPLATTER WHITE COLOURS’, but refusing to give my address for it to be sent or pay for it. Another time I got into a big argument with a fraudster in Italy who sold me a fake Ralph Lauren polo shirt.

"Eventually, I realised, I am just not an eBay person. I can do so much other stuff online. I’m hardly a Luddite, but I’ve just realised: I am not that person."

ASOS was just an acronym for ‘as seen on screen’

And it sold Truffle Shuffle T-shirts that Paris and Nicole wore and props to pimp your house out like Friends. We never thought it would turn into the insane online warehouse that it is today. 

Your mum definitely did not shop online

Now your mum spends both her life and pension on Amazon. Last year, not one present came from IRL spending. Less time in shops = more time for Mum to watch Eastenders = happier Mum. Winners all round.

You had to enter your card details every time you shopped

Now if a retailer doesn’t have the option to pay via Paypal, you’re out of there like a cat on a hot tin roof. Take that you Paypal-less fools!


Postcards From Amalfi

I recently returned from the Amalfi coast and can confirm that it really is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been (up there with Big Sur and the highlands of Scotland) filled with mooning newlyweds and rich American families (I considered starting an entire Twitter feed to chart the excellence that I overheard, including an 18-year-old who dropped down to the deck and started doing press-ups, whilst booming "Instagrammed some gelato this morning. BOOM. 80 LIKES") and I wanted to share some of the pictures that I took there, with you here. So, herewith. Starting with a birds eye view of the beach in Postiano // wearing  a Stone Cold Fox playsuit on the terrace of our first apartment in Atrani.

The pergola restaurant at the Bellevue Syrene in Sorrento// view of Amalfi// wearing Kiini Swim and Sarah and Sorrentino scarf on our balcony at the Bellevue. 

Atrani centre // wearing a kaftan from LA and bespoke cotton bag from H&M in Amalfi// crockery in Ravello centre.

Wearing a vintage Anna Sui smock, ASOS Fairy sandals and a Bimba y Lola clutch in Atrani// Amalfi beach// wearing a Juliet Dunn dress and Le Specs Macarena sunglasses in Postiano.

Palazzo Avino in Ravello// wearing a Missoni bikini and Le Specs Macarena sunglasses on the beach in Positano// the beach of Bellevue Syrene in Sorrento// fruit stall in Sorrento// wearing Mr Bob hat via Beach Flamingo, Isabel Marant Etoile blouse, Sarrah and Sorrentino scarf and vintage Levi's shorts in Atrani

Palazzo Avino, Ravello// wearing a Reformation dress and ASOS Fairy sandals at the Bellevue Syrene// waking up (duh) at the Bellevue Syrene// Aperol Spritzes

Ravello centre// the sea in Sorrento// wearing Mango dress and Jeffrey Campbell boots at the Bellevue Syrene, Sorrento.


'Effortless Dressing'? It's A Pile Of Bullsh*t

A version of this article appeared on The Debrief.co.uk

You carefully finish applying your eyeshadow, check your tailored trousers for creases and lace up your Flyknits just so. Then, when everything is gloriously and faultlessly neat, you chuck your head back and forth like an ageing rocker, smudge your mascara so it goes a little bit Carine Roitfeld meets Kate Moss (well you can try, yuh?) and insouciantly untuck a shirt tail. Finished distressing your look? Then and only then are you good to take on the day.

If we can track the ‘effortless’ movement back to one phrase, it would be this: ‘Oh, this old thing? I just threw it on.’ Decades of women ‘throwing things on’ has led to what is now an all-encompassing obsession with effortlessness, that spans the breadth of Gisele’s effortlessly tousled locks to Cara’s effortlesslycrumpled jogging bottoms and lack of high heels (very important) to Miley’s, er, effortlessly glittery camel toe. Normcore and the obsession with looking casual and practical, definitely hasn’t helped. 

In short, we are in trapped in a mindset where the coolest thing is to claim that you don’t GAS*. We are subjected to endless online galleries about how to ‘nail’ effortless style – with utilitarian props like backpacks, skateboards, baseball caps and boiler suits causing us to muse on what we should buy next while scrolling in a way that is surely counter-intuitive to the effortless cause and sort of says everything you need to know about the validity of a trend attempting a minus existence. Perhaps Alexa Chung best summed up the uniquely British obsession with effortless earlier this year in an interview with US beauty site Into The Gloss. ‘The culture in England is such that it’s really not cool to look like you’ve tried so hard. [In England] It’s seen as very self-indulgent... In America, if you’re pampering yourself and getting the blowout and the rest of it, you’re seen as doing really well and it’s celebrated. In England, it’s the opposite... [we’re into] not looking like you’ve made too much of an effort.’

For French-born blogger Camille Charriere (those Parisian women in their chambray shirts, breton tees and make-up free fizzogs justbreathe effortlessness, right), her provenance of bed-head hair and skate shoes has lent her the label of postergirl for the ‘effortless’ movement in London, where she now lives. But it’s something she has mixed opinions on. ‘I’m the girl with a wet patch on her back on the bus in the morning from non-blow dried hair, with the crinkled shirt straight out of the dryer. So in that sense, the “effortless” tag is pretty accurate,’ Camille says. But on the other? ‘There is no such thing as “effortless dressing”,’ says Camille bluntly. ‘French women wouldn’t know effortless if it hit them in the face. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t care about what I wear. I think most people do.’ Camille argues that it depends how you define effortless. ‘I don’t think that being “effortless” should mean that you don’t care, rather that you don’t strive to look like Kim Kardashian slash a fashion editor on their way to a show, on a daily basis.’

There’s certainly an element of low-maintenance to the movement and there’s no denying that some women – Katie Hillier, Cara Delevingne, Isabel Marant – are the definition of such. But at a more dangerous level, it celebrates the #ijustwokeuplikethis and #nomakeupselfie, which insinuate that women who perhaps don’t feel confident enough to snap themselves when they’ve just woken up like that, or indeed look like that sans make-up after six hours sleep, are somehow inferior.

Debatably, the most worrying message about this force d‘effortless is that it derides the ‘fake it till you make it’ routine that gives so many girls that initial surge of confidence. Let’s be honest, most of us looked horrific aged 16, but with enough studious homework – who are your icons and what style feels comfortable for you? – you ended up looking if not beautiful, then at least historic. Imagine being a teenager again and being laughed out the park if you admitted you spent hours planning your outfit? You might never have had the confidence to find your niche. 

There shouldn’t be any shame in admitting that the way you conduct yourself – whether it’s through your wardrobe, your lifestyle choies or your ambition at work – takes effort. If you’ve put work into something, why not let it goddamn show? As Camille says, you don’t have to make an effort to look like Kim Kardashian – your preferred aesthetic may be a vintage Spice Girls shirt worn with your dad’s chinos – but girls should not be discouraged from aspiration.

Cara may look effortless, but she didn’t just roll out of bed into a multi-million pound career, in the same way that Isabel Marant didn’t skulk, make-up free, into being one of the most powerful brands in the fashion industry right now. Looking effortless suggests that your career is also effortless – and that’s as de-motivational as much as it is insulting to women. The notion that all the cool girls out there aren’t making any effort, whatsoever, is redundant. Wear the tracksuit bottoms and the egg-stained T-shirt, sure. But please don’t do it just because you want to look like you really haven’t tried.

Ph. from becariadelamoda.com


Mincing With Monaco

It's the small words that matter; namely, here, the with rather than the actually in Monaco. Though I did go on holiday and haven't actually got over returning, yet, these photos were taken around Redchurch Street - my absolute favourite street in East London - rather than the millionaire's playground that is Monaco. Shoreditch's Redchurch Street is about to gain a new Club Monaco men's store, so I minced around my favourite locations whilst wearing my favourite pieces from the brand, in celebration. You can see me coching outside the Labour and Wait store, The Albion (the spinach bake and tumblers of rosé I can highly recommend) and just one of many really, really sick walls that have been graffitied in the area. I'm a sucker for a brightly patterned wall. What can I say. 

I'm wearing a Club Monaco scarf, waistcoat, skort and espadrilles and a Free People granddad shirt. 

Photographs by Domanté Kaminskaité