Exposed at New York Fashion Week

I saw something in the news this week that almost made me cry. And while, I’m more inclined to cry when I see the news these days (since Brexit in June and Donald Trump’s inauguration) these near tears weren’t borne out of sheer despair at the state of the world (that’s another blog post), these almost weepies came as a result of something that happened at New York Fashion Week on 14th February.

While I may not look like I know my shit when it comes to fashion, I think it’s pretty fair to say that I do. I’m no expert but I sit at the sidelines of the internet and watch with interest as fashion shows unfold around the world. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to explore backstage and sit on the front row for a couple of shows at London Fashion Week and I was absolutely in my element. I know I’m not exactly a style icon. It’s rare you’ll find me out of my jeans and a baggy tshirt, especially in these uniboob days, but my love of fashion has been formulated by the fact that it was my sister’s first love. So I’ve watched as the shows have rolled out of New York over the last few days. I clocked “hot convict” Jeremy Meeks (aka Stockton’s most famous export) on the runway for Phillip Plein, I swooned at Oscar de la Renta’s utterly dreamy AW17 collection and I noticed the rise in “fashtivism” on and off the runway throughout the week.

I never expected to look to a NYFW catwalk and see myself looking back at me. I’m not disillusioned, despite my recent rendez vous on the catwalk for Breast Cancer Care – I know I am far from model material. I do not see myself in Gigi Hadid or Karlie Kloss. But when a bunch of incredible and awesome breast cancer survivors, over half of whom are living with metastatic breast cancer, took over New York Fashion Week in an alternative lingerie show, I saw myself. I saw my broken and scarred body in these women and saw that it could still be beautiful. I saw their confidence and I saw their passion and determination and I recognised that I carry that with me now too. Not always, and not often as clearly as these guys did on the catwalk, but I do. I think every breast cancer survivor does in one way or another.

I whooped when Ericka Hart stood at the end of the catwalk, holding her power pose. I had to hold back the tears when one of the models who spoke to the BBC said that she felt really powerful because she is “tired of feeling ashamed of having cancer”. I was overwhelmed with pride for these women.

I read a lot about race and gender and representation. I know that as a white, straight, cisgender woman – representation is not an issue for me. While I may not see people like myself on runways in fashion shows, I do see them everywhere else – on the tv, in magazines, on billboards, in newspapers, in movies – but I appreciate how important it is for young girls to see women of colour on their TV’s or in their magazines. I can understand how incredible it must feel for disabled people to recognise something of themselves in advertising campaigns and I had an even better understanding of it when I saw these powerful breast cancer survivors normalising the after effects of a disease which has impacted every.single.part of my life. I know that I have nothing to complain about when it comes to representation. There are far bigger fish that we need to fry on that account. But this show made me feel human again. And it made me feel like a woman again. And it made me feel that I can be sexy again and beautiful again, regardless of the fact I’m missing a breast, a nipple and the vast majority of my self confidence. It made me feel powerful again. For today at least.

Created by AnaOno Intimates, who specialise in mastectomy and post surgery underwear and curated by US designer, and breast cancer survivor, Dana Donofree, the show was a first for NYFW – never before have “real” women stomped their way down the catwalk and I’m pretty sure no women will ever do it in quite the same way again.

Donofree told Reuters: “It is a very important moment for them [the models] to get out there and experience something like this because breast cancer has taken over their bodies.”

And this isn’t just important for the models Dana. This is important for every breast cancer survivor everywhere.

So thank you.

Image taken from AnaOno Intimates blog.

 

ChattyFeet, I got those ChattyFeet…

If there’s one thing I’m known for amongst my friends, it’s for rarely wearing matching socks. It’s not just wasting the time to pair ’em up, I often feel like wearing two socks that are exactly the same is just a bit dull, whilst wearing black socks is pretty much against my religion. I express my personality every other time I put on an item of clothing, so why should my socks be bland and boring? You can imagine my delight then, when I stumbled upon sock brand ChattyFeet, who aim to stop socks from being dull.

Now if you know me, there’s a chance you’ve heard me banging on about ChattyFeet over the last couple of months. You were also likely to get then as a Christmas gift (my entire and extended family were all gifted a carefully selected pair – I think I ordered 12 pairs in December!) but they are created by the former senior designer from my office, Humber-toe and his partner-in-crime Gil. The duo were sat together a couple of years ago when they decided that being a grownup can be a bit of a humdrum sometimes and they wanted to inject a bit of fun back into adult life. Then ChattyFeet was born!

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With the likes of Brad Feet, Professor Brian Sox, Yoko Mono, Commander Awesome, Venus and many, many more, there’s so much choice when picking out ChattyFeet socks. Making sock drawers across the country more exciting, these are the kind of socks I can get on board with wearing a pair of, which I’m sure will delight my good friend Andrew.

From today and for the next week, ChattyFeet are giving away 10 sets of socks for Valentine’s Day – with a men’s pair and a women’s pair in each set. Enter ChattyFeet’s Valentine’s competition here to be in with a chance of winning one of five sets of Sandy & Danny (pictured up top) or one of five sets of Commander Awesome & Venus (above, middle). The competition runs from today (1st Feb) until midnight on the 7th Feb. Winners will be picked on 8th Feb.

If you’re not lucky enough to be a winner, ChattyFeet are available over on their website or on NotOnTheHighStreet. Here’s a glimpse of the other styles they’ve got available.

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Good luck!

Disclosure: I received two pairs of ChattyFeet socks (Kate Middletoe and La Diva – LOVE!) to share this competition with you  – but the other four or five pairs in my house have all been purchased because I think they’re awesome.

Fabulous Fashion – Brand Love

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Every once in a while, a fashion brand crops onto my radar that is right up my street. The most recent of these has to be the awesome Keep it Bright. As seen on the likes of Ella Eyre,  Misha B, Ed Sheeran and the guys from Bastille, this “positivity movement, clothing brand and way of living” has come out of Manchester and landed right on computer screens across the globe with powerful messages and touches of brightness.

Not only do Keep it Bright show off creative typography on lust-list worthy garments, they’re a brilliant way to remind us to check ourselves if we’re feeling a little down. Without sounding like a total dork, I can’t imagine ever pulling on the “life is beautiful” sweat (my favourite) and not feeling enveloped by it’s positive vibes. Plus the detailing around the neck on that little number is just divine. I’m a huge fan of pretty typography at the best of times, even when it’s not splashed across clothing in the form of a motivational message.

keep it bright Life is Beautiful Sweat | Choose Happiness Sequin Dress | Be the Change T-Shirt | Count Your Blessings Sweat

With clothes for both men and women, there’s plenty of Keep it Bright love to go around, and if you’re not enamoured with the sweats, tees or sparkly dresses, there’s a glorious selection of accessories (including some loooooovely bunting necklaces) to feast your peepers on.

Another brand I’ve been raving about for weeks is the super cool House of Jam. If you’ve seen any of my chattering over on the brilliant London Beauty Queen blog, you might have seen me banging on about them before. Selling original and handcrafted designs alongside vintage beauties, their collections are always incredibly quirky and often unique. When I saw this zig zag bat wing dress last week I fell in love. I don’t recall having seen anything like it anywhere recently.

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 Zig Zag Batwing Dress | Silk Pussy Bow Dress | Green Tartan Dungarees | 80s Cross Front Playsuit

As many of you will know, I love a pattern. Or two. Or three. I’ve been known to wear as many as four at once – though I did get dressed in the dark that day – so it’s pretty easy to see why House of Jam is my bag, especially when combined with vintage shapes and cuts. I’d happily don any of these tomorrow for work, though my recent luck with jumpsuits might mean the dungarees might not be super happy on my frame.

The thing I love about these two brands is just how different they are, especially without smashing any budgets to bits. They’re quirky, stylish, empowering and bold – the four things I look for whenever I’m shopping for clothes. Keep it Bright, House of Jam, I salute you and aim to continue filling my wardrobe with your styles.

January Lust List

I know I’m not the only one saying this but January really is dragging. It seems like a decade since I got paid last, and living in the wake of an overspend on Christmas presents has meant that I’ve certainly been keeping an eye on my bank account over the last few weeks. But the end is almost in sight.

Pay day is peeking it’s head over the horizon like the reappearance of an old friend and after a month of such restraint, I’ve certainly been spending a bit of spare time daydreaming about spending the entirety of this month’s pay on a wardrobe overhaul. We can but dream. Anyway, here’s a couple of things I’ve got my eye on.

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First things first, this cape coat from ASOS (£45) is currently making my life. It’s painfully cute (in a good way) and the tartan lining fills me heart with joy. When the return of a playsuit I recently bought – I am the wrong shape for a playsuit which makes me very sad – processes at ASOS, I’m aiming to get my hands on this bad boy. It’s perfect for the transition from winter to spring and I can’t wait to try it on.

Ever since I bought my Tatty Devine Pegasus wings which I pretty much live in, I haven’t been able to take my eyes off their website and these lovely little swallow earrings (£25) are just gorgeous. As is pretty much standard, I’m in desperate need of a pair of new boots and after wearing a pair to death last year, I’ve been waiting to get find another pair of brogue style ankle boots for the turn of the season. Enter these bad boys from Office (£68).

I’ve also been lusting after a dress with a Peter Pan collar since they first started cropping up, but this is the first one (Fashion Union – £28) I’ve really, really liked. I love the contrast of the lovely maroon-y colour and the sharp white collar. I can totally see this under a lovely chunky knit jumper and it’d go perfectly with the above dreamy boots.

I vowed I’d wear more lipstick in 2014 and so far I’ve just succeeded in wearing a lot of red. I’m planning on experimenting with hues over the coming months, up next this luscious berry colour from Lord & Berry (£13). Lastly, if I’m gonna be rocking a collar, a statement necklace is essential and I’m a big fan of the geometric shapes in this one (Oasis – £12). Probably not with the swallow earrings as that might be a bit much but I can certainly rock the two separately.

What are you going to be blowing your dollar on when the bank manager’s been appeased at the end of the month?

Above us only sky

So it might be a cold, grey, October Morning (just about) but I’m feeling quite perky this morning.  I got to take advantage of my sisters staff card yesterday, and she treated me to a lovely, lovely stripey autumn/winter jumper.  I’m paying her back in monthly instalments for the next three months.  Times are hard.

I love Autumn and Winter.  I consider the stunning golds, reds and oranges of the autumn leaves that gradually fall from tree to ground, leaving the brittle bark exposed to the elements as winter comes around, to be true natural beauty at it’s absolute best.  I even love the low, bright winter sun, that seems to shine more than in the unpredictable summer months.  And despite the occasional and inevitable gray day (made more gray if you live in a city, I’ve found) and the ever increasing cold, the autumn and winter months are by far my favourite of the year.

And today would be John Lennon’s 70th birthday, so after listening to the magical Imagine, I put on a cd of The Beatles which is definitely keeping the smile on my face.  I never used to be much of fan but you can’t dislike The Beatles in Liverpool for long.  I probably lasted until the third year, but then, as I almost expected, I came around to Liverpool’s heroes – and I’ll never look back.

It’s strange to think about what John Lennon might have done, had he not been killed on that fateful day in 1980, and it’s something which is playing on my mind a bit today.  I don’t pretend to be a Lennon expert, far from it, but I wonder how much of chance peace would have been given if he’d still been around to encourage it.  I don’t know how much of an impact his beliefs had before he died, and I don’t know what impact they would have now, if any at either stage, but I think the sentiments of his beliefs will always have resonance.

“Imagine there’s no countries, It isn’t hard to do, Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion too, Imagine all the people, Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one, I hope someday you’ll join us, And the world will be as one.”

I wish I was in Liverpool today to see what’s going on.  But it would be a break in tradition for me to be there when something big was going on.  I always seemed to be elsewhere when there was an anniversary, or a memorial in Liverpool.  I guess today, and the future will be no different.