Tuesday, 29 January 2013

British Fashion 1903-28

Tomorrow I have my first history exam on Britain in the early 20th century. As a break from revision, I've been thinking about the fashion of this era. I really do think that fashion changed a lot in this era and not in a pointless 'oh, look, new trend' kind of way but in a way that changed social attitudes. There really is heaps of historical and social context in the clothing worn by women at this time.

In the early 20th century Britain was one of the richest countries in the world and still possessed a pretty hefty empire. This wealth meant that a lot of people had a higher standard living than people in other countries over the world and it has somewhat stayed like that ever since. The time between the turn of the century and the First World War was known as the Golden Age to the more than a million people who earned at least £750 a year (that was a lot of money then.) It was the age where, for the wealthiest families, no expense was spared. The houses were luxurious with gigantic chandeliers hanging above the heads of the well dressed men and women dining lavishly together.

Women had few rights and their clothing reflected this. Restricting corsets were still viewed as a necessity and it was unacceptable to show any ankle underneath a heavy gown. It was difficult for women to move around let alone with ease. The clothing meant that they could not do much more than sit at home all day whilst the men took care of more important business. It was this era of fashion that Coco Chanel was eager to abolish. Although grossly impractical and uncomfortable, it is difficult not to admire the romance that comes with this one hundred year old fashion. The rich spared no expense when it came to getting well fitted clothes in the best fabrics and dyes that had been imported from Britain's many colonies. 

However, actions were being taken to give women more rights. The Suffragists were formed Millicent Fawcett in 1897. They believed in passive protest in the form of peaceful marches, the distribution of leaflets and attending meetings. In 1903, Emmeline Pankhurst decided that more extreme action needed to be taken in order for the campaign to get anywhere so she formed the Suffragettes who believed in 'deeds not words.' Their methods involved chaining themselves to railings outside 10 Downing Street or Buckingham Palace, acts of public disorder and heckling anti-suffrage politician. The Suffragette's colours were purple for dignity, white for purity and green for hope. Although women did not yet wear trousers, The Suffragettes did not dress themselves in such heavy, inhibiting clothing.

A lot of developments were made in women's rights during the First World War. The Suffragettes put down their posters that demanded the right to vote and started fighting for the right to serve. As more and more men were going off to fight on the Western Front, more workers were needed so women took on jobs from munitions workers to bus conductors as well as nurses at the Front.

In 1918 the Representation of the People Act gave women over 30 who owned property the right to vote. By 1928 women had the same voting rights as men. During this time, the fashions reflected the developments in women's rights. Before the War women wore skirts and dresses that hung below the ankles, no questions asked. However, during the War it was realised that dresses and skirts were wildly impractical for certain jobs and from this, opinions and fashions evolved to make it more acceptable for women to wear trousers. By 1928, women were wearing trousers and just below the knee dresses. Yay =)

Saturday, 26 January 2013

If I Were a Boy {An Ode to Tomboys}

Androgynous Icons

Coco Chanel

Of course, Coco is my favourite style icon. She was one of the first women to embrace wearing trousers. In an era where women were expected to wear restricting corsets and skirts that left little room to move around in, Chanel fought against this and wore practical clothing whilst straddling horses at Etienne Balsan's house in what was deemed an unladylike manner. Chanel invited in changes in women's rights and she demonstrated this through her wardrobe choices which is totally awesome because it shows that individually we can all make a difference to the world, one new item of clothing at a time. I think you probably need some intelligence to back it up because otherwise you'll be all like 'I change the world with fashion. Heeeheee' and just reinforcing the fashion bimbo stereotype. The Man Repeller and Rookie as well as all the Rookie inspired blogs are probably the most modern interpretations of this movement. 

Annie Hall

I watched this film because it's always voted one of the most fashionable films of all time. I didn't care much for the plot or the film in general but I love Diane Keaton's outfits as the character of Annie Hall, especially that famous chinos, black waistcoat, navy tie and white shirt combo. 

Freja Beha Erichsen

Freja seems like such a cool, laidback kind of person. Her style is traditional off-duty model. It includes lots of black military style ankle boots, skinny jeans, black biker jackets and plain t-shirts. She is a very androgynous character. Erichsen has done a few topless fashion shoots where the androgynous look is trying to be achieved because she is so flat chested and her brown wavy hair can look kind of Mick Jagger-y. 

If I Were a Boy

Patagonia zip hoodie
£63 - patagonia.com


T By Alexander Wang leather t shirt
£62 - mytheresa.com

Striped t shirt

Tweed jacket

Black vest

Barbour wool coat

Dune wingtip shoes

TOMS navy espadrille

Converse sneaker
£35 - zappos.com

Adidas mini handbag

Snapbacks hat

Harry Potter | Pop Culture
£22 - hottopic.com

Real Guys Whose Style I Admire*

*when I say real guys I mean celebrities/fictional characters/ legends

Ezra Fitz in Pretty Little Liars: The Teacher
Smart, fitted trousers
Classic novels
James Dean: The Rebel
Leather jackets
Bomber jackets
Joseph Gordon Levitt: Classic Style
Fitted clothing
Mixing Patterns
Mixing smart and casual
Good quality
Jack Kerouac: The Beat Generation
Short sleeved shirts
Tanned skin
Morrissey: The Musician
Oversized shirts
Creating this post made me realise how little I actually know about menswear and male style icons so I am going to make this March Menswear Month. However, I have a French exchange at the end of March so I won't be blogging for two weeks and I will celebrate my blog's 2nd birthday around Easter time.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Liebster Award No.2

A few weeks ago Donna from Pretty Sparkly Things nominated me for the award. For the award I must do the following:

  • Post eleven random facts about myself and answer the eleven questions from the person who nominated me
  • Pass on the award to eleven other blogs (let them know that I've nominated them) and write eleven questions for them to answer
  • You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated you
  • The blogs you choose must have 200 followers or less

I thought that it would also be relevant to mention that Liebster is German for beloved or favourite which is sweet.

Facts About Me:

  1. I am obsessed with The Smiths.
  2. I would have loved to live in Paris in the '20s minus the racism/sexism. 
  3. At the moment there are no chai tea bags or biscuits in the house and that makes me sad :(
  4. I'm getting a Tibetan terrier puppy on 9th February. 
  5. However, I'm actually quite scared of dogs. I'm used to dogs I see often so I'm looking forward to getting a dog of my own and hopefully overcoming the fear completely. 
  6. Today, I was so tired I wanted to go to sleep in history class, which doesn't normally happen because history is my favourite subject and our teacher's really bubbly. 
  7. I'm a bit addicted to coffee. 
  8. I've hardly listened to any music other than The Smiths this month. 
  9. I just watched Trevor McDonald's Life on Death Row and it disturbed me quite a lot and I decided that I was against the death penalty when I saw the bed the criminals being killed get strapped down on before being given the lethal injection. 
  10. I love horror films but they do really scare me. 
  11. As I write this 11th fact it is exactly 11pm. 

Questions from Donna

What blog post would you write if you could do ANYTHING?  Pretend that you'd have money, great camera and lighting equipment (if necessary), as many assistants as you needed, you could be anywhere, and you'd look great in any type of clothing.

This is such a hard question but I think I would have to make it a really long post about fashion throughout the 20th Century. My assistants and I would travel to venues that fitted the theme for each decade. The 1900s one would be a really grand house with a huge chandelier and I would be in a big pink dress. The 1910 one would be taken inside a Titanic-esque ship. The 1920s one would be set in a New York City speakeasy. In the '30s I would stand outside Chanel's rue Cambon boutique in a Chanel suit. The 1940s one would be set in a Parisian cafe. 1950s in a classic car driving through a desert in America. 1960s would be standing by a white picket fence in a pastel shift dress. 1970s I would be sat in the middle of a field in a hippie-esque costume. 1980s would be outside the Salford Lads Club in Manchester dressed in a Morrissey inspired outfit. For the 1990s I would have to re-enact Cher Horowitz's yellow plaid suit from Clueless with the large mobile phone of course. Then I would accompany this with heaps of engaging text about fashion history and the historical context of it all. Hell, I'm going to do this post (minus the more extravagant parts.)

What color clothing do you have the most of?

On the whole, my wardrobe is quite colourful but the colour I probably own the most of is probably black. Cue meaningful quotes about wearing black: 'I wear black on the outside because it's how I feel on the inside'-The Smiths // Unloveable. All the lyrics in Johnny Cash's 'Man in Black.' 'Black wipes out everything else around'- Coco Chanel. Mostly I just own a lot of black because it matches anything else you wear.

Have you done any collaborations yet?

I have interviewed several other bloggers for various posts that I have posted. For the festive season I did a guest post for Jennifer at http://beautyconfessionsofabiggirl.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/guest-post-alternatives-to-lbd.html.

What are your hobbies?

Reading, writing, blogging, listening to The Smiths and Lana Del Rey, watching Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl, photography, guitar, tennis and running. 

What subjects do you like to read about?

Coco Chanel, history, fashion and the roaring twenties.

What are your favourite TV programmes?

Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, Some Girls, the Work Experience and Misfits.

What makes you the happiest about your blog?

Receiving comments from the lovely people who read it.

Do you have any pet peeves about blogs? Is there something that makes you decide NOT to read a blog post?

I like it when you can tell that the blogger is passionate about what they are writing. I think you can tell immediately if they have not enjoyed writing the post. However, this would not make me decide not to read a blog post because I know that it's sometimes hard to find the motivation and inspiration to put together a brilliant post and I sometimes see blogging as a chore.

What social media do you like best?

I find it really hard to grasp the concept of Twitter and have never got on well with it. For networking for my blog I like Independent Fashion Bloggers and for general procrastination I like tumblr. I also love snapshotting my life with Instagram.

Do you like reading about celebrity fashion? Why or why not?

There are certain celebrities whose style I admire like Alexa Chung and Zooey Deschanel because I think that their style is individual and fits their personalities but other than them most of my style icons are now dead or fictional. I dislike how celebrities can be 'best dressed' of the year when they have a stylist to advise them about everything and the stylist gets little or no recognition. 

Is there anything that you wish that you could do more of with your blog?

I wish I had the time and the resources to do more photo shoots and fashion DIYs. 

The 11 Blogs I Nominate

Rosie + The Wolf
Nymphet Lollipop Blog
The Lovelorn
Frugal, Flirty N Fab
Haute Inhabit
Flair Mavens
Mode of Style
Une Petite Touche
Hopeless Anorak
P For Pearl

11 Questions for these bloggers to answer

  1. Who are your favourite band of all time?
  2. Which blog/blogger do you look up to most?
  3. Who are your 5 favourite celebrities/famous historical figures?
  4. Who/what are you currently obsessing about/currently like/love a lot?
  5. If your life had a soundtrack what songs would be on it?
  6. What is your favourite movie genre?
  7. What are your favourite movies and why?
  8. What would be your dream job?
  9. What is your current occupation?
  10. What is your favourite high street shop?
  11. What album do you have playing on repeat at the moment?

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

I would go out tonight but I haven't got a stitch to wear

The Smiths, Live in Hamburg, 1984

I haven't been able to shake The Smiths concerts I watched on YouTube last night out of my head all day. Morrissey's dancing, his hair, his flowers, his voice, his shirts. And Johnny Marr's cool guitar playing and dancing with Morrissey at the front of the stage during Andy Rourke's solo. I particular haven't been able to get over their performance of Still Ill. Morrissey's dance moves are classic and I love the part where he lies down and tosses and turns in the chorus. Stiiilllll Illlll. The next time I'm ill for two days in a row and my mum comes in in the morning to see how I am, I'm going to sing this and toss and turn like Morrissey does on stage. Only I won't have Johnny Marr standing over me like 'Get well soon' whilst playing guitar awesomely. If I had a time machine and I could go to one place I would travel to the front row of on of The Smiths' concerts. No questions asked. 

After watching almost the entire concert on YouTube I started searching for oversized '80s shirts. ASOS marketplace has a fabulous variety but I found the one above from Trashy Vintage on eBay and I really want to get it and wear it in the summer with only the bottom button done up with a bandeau underneath. I might get some white fabric paint and put random dots all over it so it looks more like Morrissey's. I'd wear it either with jeans or denim culotte shorts depending on how hot/cold it is. I will then pick up some cheap flowers from somewhere and stick them in the back of the shorts. Then add some Moz style glasses because he looks cute in glasses and a pair of classic '80s Doc Martens and I'll be good to go. To the park. To force ask my friends to take some photos of me.

Seriously though, Morrissey was so good live in the '80s. He said thank you to the crowd after almost every song. In the Hamburg concert in '84 the crowd were cheering 'Morrissey, Morrissey, Morrissey' and he just said, "does anyone have anything intelligent to say? No? OK" and then started the next song. Another time he shushes the crowd in a way that suggests he is almost embarrassed that they are cheering so much. In one of The Smiths concerts in Britain, everyone is throwing flowers at him when he sings and he's waving a flower about randomly.

Morrissey in more shirts:

Oh yeah, and when you're in this super cool Morrissey '80s inspired outfit you need to dance around lifting up your shirt and pulling down the shoulders singing, "I would go out tonight. But I haven't got a stitch to weeeaaaar." Nobody will know that you specifically bought clothes too big for you and you actually have a wardrobe of fitted clothing at home...

Get the Look:

Get the Look: Morrissey

Topshop heart shirt
£40 - topshop.com

£195 - vestiairecollective.com

Dr. Martens black booties

vtg 80s 90s neon PINK STUD COLLAR TIP FISHTAIL OVERSIZED shirt blouse...

You can also add lots of beaded necklaces and paint your nails black.