Creature Of Habit

I'm a creature of habit when it comes to my summer ssssssentials. And no habit is more expensive greater than my weekly Reformation hit-up. Plus, their new collaboration - with Framerican hottie and general model-of-the-moment Camille Rowe - is an obvious bonus. The clasher in me couldn't help but ruin/enhance (scratch out as necessary) it with a contrasting hat. Bring on the scoop-backed tan (actually bring on any kind of tricking tan.) 


When Does A Fad Become A Hobby?

My father has a new hobby: making smoothies. Forgive him for being late to the zeitgeist - smoothies may now be passé to the urban twenty-something, in favour of a sugar-free green juice, but he is neither aware nor bothered - and has bought himself a violently expensive Vitamix. For the last month, he has been busy blending his way through retirement, to infinity and beyond.

In the morning, he makes a berry-based breakfast smoothie - in fact, he makes gallons and they go in the fridge whereupon they turn into blancmange  curiously, within the hour - before segueing into a pre-lunch smoothie, an aperitif of sorts; which looks and tastes much like gazpacho but heaven forbid if you reduce it to common law gaz. In the afternoon - just because - he veers back from the veg to the fruit and produces vast quantities of melon-based smoothie. The Vitamix has become a symphony to my mother's ears - as ubiquitous a sound to the humdrum familial existence as the washing machine. Smoothies are all my father speaks of. We haven't had the heart to break it to him that all those punnets he's blending contain more sugar than a Yorkie bar. Why deny him this sudden interest in nutrition? And a sudden interest - for my overweight father - this is. One could almost call it a fad. In fact.... let's go there. It's a fad.

Which, in the most Carrie Bradshaw of thought patterns, got me to thinking about the notion of fads in general. When is a hobby, a fad? How long does it take for your irritatingly repetitive, compulsive instincts towards a person, place or thing to become augmented into 'hobby' territory? In 2014, I imagine this less and less. We have more fads than we have hobbies. We declare ourselves obsessed with something we had no knowledge of about 5 minutes ago. We largely lack the patience and dedication to turn things into hobbies, because there is always something new around the corner. No sooner do you make boxing your favourite workout discipline, then barré core, or disco unicycling (coming soon, surely) comes along. No sooner have you decided that the canon of contemporary American literature is your jam - your hobby, your creative bread and butter, your specialist topic - than you realise Scandinavian thrillers provide just the kind of sparse, salty read you've been craving like all year. 

Far more than my father's generation - which is why the smoothie fad is so entertaining - Generation Y are prone to fads. We think in pockets of time; long-term goals, long-term savings plans, long-term anything does not translate into our 'do it now/feel it now' ethos. A fad therefore suits us perfectly, before we segue onto the next pocket of time - that until it actually arrived, we hadn't really given a thought to. Over-stimulated, over-stretched and mildly confused at all time, a fad is the best way to sample tastes of everything popular culture now has to offer: a lot. My boyfriend's current fad is the 7 minute workout app - which involves him elegantly star-jumping all over the sitting room twice a day, whilst mine is sesame-based salad dressings. It's doubtful either of these will be sustained long enough to become full-term hobbies. But then who cares? They're your hobbies, and you can dress them up however you see fit. See you at the disco unicycle class.


Tassels and Ties and Titties 'n Tings

Who doesn't love an outfit with loads of dangly bits? Like dozens of curtain pulls or cloth-covered dongs (yuh, dongs), this smock is as suggestive as it is matronly. I especially love the fact that you can unfasten it super low and then do it up high on the neck, like an epic collarless granddad shirt. 

I find smocks problematic, mainly because they do not allow for any real circumference - you are more like an object gently wafting in the breeze with no discernible cut-off point. Which is why I added some cinchiness via this woven belt, which despite intense debating (could I really spend £40 on a woven belt, even if it was by Isabel Marant, when I had never knowingly bought a belt in my life? True story, for another day) has turned out to be one of my most useful buys this summer. With smocks, I've discovered the key is to give in to the motherly free-love bohemia - add some tie-up espadrilles or sandals to complete said look - but to give a nod to your fun-loving youth with a fist full of gold necklaces - with incremental chain length increases - and tons of gold hoops. A little leopard print never went astray. Oh and nor did a would-be almost swatch of cleavage. Shoulda, woulda, coulda... did.

I'm wearing a H&M Conscious tassel smock, Isabel Marant Etoile woven belt (similar here), Brora espadrilles (similar here), Topshop ponyskin handbag (similar here), RayBan Clubmasters, a Davina Combe Origins Necklace, Dogeared Circle Necklace, Alex Monroe scissors necklace (AW14 collection, coming soon) and earrings from i + i Jewellery and H Samuel


Does Moschino's Junk Food Collection REALLY Promote Obesity?

A version of this article originally appeared on TheDebrief.co.uk

Never has a designer collection been the subject of such sustained and vociferous debate. Despite the fact that Jeremy Scott's debut collection for Moschino was unveiled almost five months ago during Milan Fashion Week, the criticism rages on. On Sunday, The Observer reported that health campaigners had recently criticised the Italian fashion house for promoting an unhealthy diet. 'My problem is that if kids [are using these iPhone cases] they are buying into the whole fast-food concept' said obesity expert and GP Dr Ian Campbell.

Not to state the obvious but to state the obvious we're already surrounded by the 'fast food concept' and, as millennials, have been for our entire lives. A treat from the age of five was/is always a Happy Meal (Maccy D's was the historic site of my 7th birthday party), and I will always remember being allowed to operate the mini marshmallow machine in Pizza Hut (before chundering) with nostalgic relish. From teenage years spent salivating over Marissa and Summer’s perfect perma-tanned life in The O.C. – where near every meal was a burger and shake in the Pier Diner – to a high street which offers a KFC for the drunk, a Subway for the hungover, a seemingly guilt-free 500 kcal frappaccino in Starbucks - there is no doubt that fast food is everywhere….. regardless of what iPhone case we use.

‘Whilst the occasional McDonald’s meal is not a problem, to present it as a fashion is disappointing’ says Dr Ian Campbell. This feels a bit like saying that if you have a Budweiser iPhone case (well, you might) that you're going to get blind drunk on beer every day. Enjoying a rubberized packet of fries, in a time when kitsch 90s logomania is at an all-time high, is not going to make you crave a burger every day. You aren’t going to look at that iPhone case and go ‘I must eat a fry now. I see fry, I eat fry. I am fry.’ Unless you are eight, of course, without the wherewithal to know how to feed yourself properly - and then frankly your mother shouldn’t be buying you a £45 designer iPhone case anyway.

Sure, it’s ironic that an industry which traditionally celebrates slim-hipped women is so into junk food, but you could also argue that it’s ironic that politicians peddling family values sire children out of wedlock (hey Arnold.) We live in a deeply hypocritical world and trying to heap all this on one joyfully primary-coloured fashion show – which did wonders for injecting some fun into a haughty Milanese fashion scene – seems both inane and insane.

Fashion is an art form (though you might disagree) and with all art, comes a degree of social commentary and irony. Jeremy Scott is not the first designer to reference junk food in his work; fashion label Lazy Oaf currently has a sweater which has the word ‘pizza’ on it, jewellery label Goldie Rox sells gold-plated mini burger and fry jewellery, whilst hugely popular US e-store Shop Jeen has an entire range devoted to pizzas, hamburgers, cupcakes, donuts and their merry friends. And don't forget that Solange's infamous weapon of choice in the recent elevator-gate was Anya Hindmarch's crisp packet clutch. In 2009 Giles Deacon made a bespoke dress for Cadbury Caramel Bunny’s. In 2011, US donut chain Krispy Kreme teamed up with Glamour magazine to produce ‘fashion-inspired donuts’ for London Fashion Week.... the list goes on. Most iconically, who can forget Andy Warhol (an artist as entrenched in the fashion scene as he was the art world) and his hamburger print? 

Moschino isn't sexualising fast food here. We aren’t talking about McDonald’s-esque crotchless panties. There are no Ronald McDonald plunging jumpsuits with visible butt cracks and tits dipped in BBQ sauce. The entire collection is infinitely more fun and kitsch than it is sexually alluring - unlike the adverts of many fast food chains. Take US burger chain Carl Jr, whose singular mode of advertising is to celebrate a golden skinned, tawny haired model in the tiniest of dresses – variously Nina Agdal (below), Padma Lakshmi and Kate Upton – biting into a five-layer burger. If fast food companies can use fashion models to haul ass on their products, why can’t the fashion industry use fast food to haul theirs? 

Maybe neither should do either - which is a much more informed and fruitful scope for debate than focusing on a single collection by Moschino. And rather than blaming a fashion collection for an ever-increasing and long-existing epidemic such as obesity, why aren't we educating the younger generation about how to eat healthily - which will be far more productive than obsessing over which iPhone case they choose to buy. 

Anyway, like the occasional McDonalds you'll enjoy when hungover, no-one is going to legitimately kit themselves out in Moschino’s entire AW14 collection anyway, except perhaps Anna Della Russo. And if you find the whole thing too garish and obvious by half, I wouldn't worry - it’s expensive and like all ‘it’ collections, it will age quickly. So really, the health experts need not worry. Because in a year’s time those kids will have jacked in their french fry iPhone covers for a transparent one with a live goldfish inside. We'll check back in with you then.

Ph. from herworldplus.com and Carl Jr burgers


Liberace's Camel Toe

As any regular peruser of my blog/Instagram feed will know, I am a geekily devoted fan of all that the LA label The Reformation does. Most of my money goes on custom and import duties (damn you hard, international borders) and for the summer, there is no label I love more. The 90s, grunge steeped aesthetic with very modern windows of flesh (low backs, cut-out sides, split skirts - etc) is worked into unique, wear everywhere duds.

At least, I want to wear them everywhere, but a totally backless back isn't really work appropriate - except on the very hottest day (is it blazing? I hadn't noticed) - even for a girl who wear cut-offs and crop tops when in her meeja environment. My most joyous solution was to layer in a pussy bow blouse. I never thought I'd be into pussy bow blouses, but this polkadot one won me over. I love the extraordinary meeting of vibes that is a cropped pantaloon-flaring backless checkered jumpsuit, with a prim 70s pussy bow and some grey suede courts. Essentially, if you can't summarise my look via a checklist of trends, then I am in the happy place.

I'm wearing a River Island blouse (similar here), Reformation Birchwood Jumpsuit and Kurt Geiger court shoes.  


The Yearn To Swipe: My Sadness, As A Tinder Virgin

I know this sounds really X Factor sob story but I can't hide my yearn for Tinder any longer. I've been in a relationship the entire time Tinder has existed, I don't even know whether or not you swipe right/left to 'like' someone and my one chance, my only chance, given that I don't intend on flying solo anytime soon, is a Tinder threesome. Which, let me just clarify now, is not going to happen. I can see it now, a tabloid trauma: 'My Tinder Threesome Went Horribly Wrong.' It would be like the sexual equivalent of a jumpsuit: ill-advised, never-ending and hard to extract oneself from in order to go to the loo.

But that doesn't top me from wanting in. It's like I'm near a club full of piña colada penises and I can't gain entry. It's a Tinder 18-30 but I haven't even touched down in 'Luf. And I know that sounds disgusting, but I just want to see it, if only to run in the other direction whilst screaming. Tinder does feel like a partly fun, majorly crass club, where you have an excuse to text people all day long (I love texting) and drop loads of puns (I love puns) and your wittiest bonmots (I LOVE BONMOTS.) Every so often my boyfriend and I execute Tinder takeovers (sometimes dual, sometimes alone) with the utmost glee - and by that I mean we will steal your phone and chat to lots of people and it will mainly be puns that we and only we will find funny. Don't give me your phone if you want to marry this man. Do give me your phone if you want him to think that you are mad. 

Before you wave your remote control at me and kick me off X Factor please let me clarify that I know Tinder is not a bed of roses. You are more likely to be offered a bed, so I gather, than a bed of roses. It can be soul-less, with a swipe becoming a mere automatic reflex. The conversation can also be compromised by the fact that lots of people just want to get a bone in, asap. I've never seen a duller/creepier collective of conversations than on other people's Tinders. It's like the new damnyouautocorrect, but not nearly as funny - because these are supposedly real people and not robotic and therefore justifiablY emotionally redundant iPhones. I've also seen the legions of cock selfies; and heard about the somehow-witty-on-text-but-really-dull-IRL Tindees who buy you one drink and then expect you to French Kiss like a 13-year-old.

But I want to swipe right! I want to swipe left, too! I want to engage in witty repartee, and chat to 15 different men/women/animals at the same time, without having to leave the comfort of my chair. Pow, pow pow! I want to attempt to knock someone off their iPhonical perch just by being me. Because really, what this is all about, is an exercise in narcissism. I've convinced myself that being on Tinder somehow leads to enlightenment and tons of new admirers, rather than kebab on your face and an ache in your heart. I've heard that the grass in greener, but this isn't me wanting out of my relationship. This is just me, feeling like the only one who isn't allowed to play pop culture's most lucrative game of Monopoly. I'm Colonel Mustard and I'm stuck in the library. If anyone needs me, I'll be reading Dickens.


Green Eyed Monster

Wall matches my sunglasses; dress matches my trainers. You can tell I am a simple symmetrical soul. And no-one does Marantachic better than Mango.


Pussy Galore

Oo-err Vicar, there's a nice double entendre for you to jive with, on a Monday morning. But kitten feet they are - leopard of print, low of heel, they are reason alone to check out a hitherto unknown (to me) excellent shoe department at River Island. I also got another pair of flatform mules, about which four people have commented so far, with escalating eyebrows, "River Island, you say?" So yeah - great shoes. Great prices. 

These heels are just the ticket with a simple but favourite combo of denim bermudas and a granddad shirt. Worn in isolation, perhaps with the ubiquitous pool slides, something would have been missing; but with a neckerchief and leopard print, I feel like me. And on a Monday, my friends - you've got to feel like yourself. That shit [i.e. Monday - Monday is always 'that shit' unless clarified otherwise]  is hard enough to deal with in the morning, as it is.



Geographical Fomo: It's Totally A Thing

We are so au fait with fomo that it's almost counter-intuitive for me to smear my words with its loaded promise. But wait! She cries, grabbing desperately at your swiftly departing shirt tails. What about in a different context? What if it doesn't concern festivals, aperol spritzes and your best friend's missed-out-on BBQ? What if it came down to the weather - and your GPRS.

Yup, I'm talking about geographical fomo - when your friends are in sunnier UK climes and you picked the dud county of the weekend. The weekend looms and I find myself faced with the choice of remaining in London - a hot mess of a blazing sun and alternating rain - or my parents' house in Essex, or perhaps my boyfriend's parents in Wiltshire. This weekend, rain is a'coming for Wiltshire. But London...? Boiling hot sun, people! I played the geo game wrong and I dropped the ball.

It was during a discussion at work yesterday that my geographical fomo came into play - a colleague commented longingly on her desire to get out of London and I felt smug about the fact that I was - until we fiddled around with weather gauges and suchlike and I realised I was gravitating towards the anti-summer weather. When I so badly need some sun, to brown my skin and remedy what feels like stress-laden SAD, I am moving towards the place of shitty weather. The roles had been reversed. Whereas I should have been envied for my urban to pastoral retreat, I found myself fomo-ing all over my keyboard because I was missing the sun. And for a sun-chaser, that felt about as much fun as teabagging.

I'm not sure the weather really is as dismal as this post might be suggesting (just clouds, really.) But I had demanded from the sky, 27 degree sunshine this weekend. I had realised it was July and I was still as pale as a ghost, had missed all of the World Cup and Wimbledon and needed to get my temperate butt into gear. I had assembled my reading materials, my crochet belongings; expectations, accordingly, were high. But I am sad that the urban motherfuckas win this weekend. Georgraphical fomo: you heard it here first. Check your iPhone's weather app before making any locale-changing plans this summer. It's the only way to avoid it.


Palazzo Queen

I'm not sure I've ever worn a pair of palazzo 'pants' before. I'm short and I gats me some hips, so it never seemed the logical decision. But these striped ones from Free People might just be the sassiest pair ever. Especially when paired with my new favourite off-the-shoulder (I can't really look at a top unless it's off-the-shoulder right now - which is only a mild exaggeration) crop from Reformation, which has flared, frilly bell sleeves and, as The Reformation say, is '"pretty much a fiesta in a top."

I know, right! Flared 'n frilly bell sleeves plus palazzo flares the size of dinner plates equals so much flamboyant fun. Now where's my party piñata?

I'm wearing a Reformation Clover Top, Free People Palazzo Pants (similar here) and River Island Flatform mules (similar here)