& Other Stories.

I have fallen in love. With a store.  Based abroad.  Who doesn't ship to the United States.  DAMMIT.  Star-crossed fashion lovers.  I came across & Other Stories in last May while I was visiting London and I was immediately taken.  If Zara and COS came together to create an affordable and insanely cool line, & Other Stories would be it.

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Their physical store is amazing.  Their online shop has photography that is lovely but doesn't quite showcase how amazing the products are.  Zara falls victim to this on the regular and it's a shame to see it here.  But if you get yourself into a shop, be prepared to spend hours there.  Their designs are couture level type s**t.  Their fabrics and construction are stunning.  And their prices are beyond reasonable.

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The most excellent of all the excellent news is that this place has been started by the brainiacs being H&M and...you ready for it...THEY ARE OPENING A SHOP IN NYC THIS YEAR.  Thank you, Fashion Gods, for looking down on me with this one.  You are truly great and powerful.

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Anyway, browse the site and, if you have the chance, get yourself into one of their stores...it's worth the price of the airline ticket, straight up.

(All images c/o & Other Stories)

Winter Hat Magic

Here's the thing...there was this winter hat trend hitting pretty hard last time the cold weather came around and it took everything in my power to not invest any part of myself in it thinking that it was just a 'one hit wonder' and I would regret it. Yesterday I got an email from one of my all time favourite and trusted establishments, Liberty of London, and guess who is sitting proudly under a 'new in for autumn' headline?  Last year's One That Got Away...

Sigh.  Swoon.  And so on.  It has returned.  The veiled bobble hat.  Thoughts?!

There is also this lovely little thing that I feel would potentially make me look like a cat...which I am totally ok with...

Vintage at Southbank

My review of the Vintage at Southbank festival that ran from Friday through Sunday this past weekend is that it needs to be a permanent fixture  :)  Yeah...I loved it.

I was lucky enough to be invited to the press preview of the event on Friday and was welcomed by smiling faces and a world of exciting events and exhibitions.  My day began with a short talk by Wayne Hemingway who, in partnership with his lovely wife, are the brains behind the whole event.  As part of the Festival of Britain celebration, in collaboration with Mastercard, Wayne proved that this really was a celebration of the country I have grown to love so much.  While describing his excitement in the takeover of the Southbank and involving all possible aspects of vintage, these are a couple of quotes that have stuck with me:

'Being able to do Vintage here warms the cockles of my heart'.

'If you find a better vintage market, I'll show my bare ass in Woolworth's window'.

I thought it would be best, instead of writing one massive post about Vintage at Southbank, to break it down into the different parts that I experienced through the day, which included fashion, music, food and art.  There are so many different people to highlight in each of these sections that deserve a big shout, so I want to make sure they get it.

I am not sure yet if any decision has been made about how the Vintage festival will be set-up next year, but no matter where it is, please go see it and take part.  And if it is at Southbank, you'll have a total ball, you can't miss it!

A Celebration of Vintage

Shopping for vintage, to me, is a bit like a treasure hunt.  It's a move away from the same old, same old of the high street (though don't get me wrong, I still love a good high street find!) and an exciting way to think outside the box when it comes to fashion.  I love to wander Brick Lane and Notting Hill on the look out for that perfect find, so you can imagine my excitement when I heard that vintage was coming to the Southbank Centre in London this month!

Part of the Festival of Britain celebrations sponsored by MasterCard, Vintage at Southbank is a three-day event running from Friday, 29th July through Sunday, 31st July with all things vintage music, fashion, film, art and design.  Basically, one big, gorgeously dressed party  :)  Catwalk shows, make-overs and a marketplace with over 250 sellers.  Yeah, I'm pumped.  You can buy your tickets here...maybe I'll see you there!

Shopping for vintage is a skill, and one that I am still working on myself.  So I thought I would share some tips for shopping vintage:

- Know your measurements.  Vintage sizes on labels tend to fit much smaller than sizes today so best to know your measurements and get the actual measurements of the piece you are looking at.

- Be impulsive.  The fun of vintage is that these are unique pieces that you (probably) will only find once.  If love something, get it because chances are you won't see it again!

- Learn about vintage clothing and styles.  The better versed you are, the more you will get out of the experience and that kinds of things that you will end up buying.

- Check garments THOROUGHLY.  Do zips and hooks work?  Are there any stains (always check the armpits)?  Are there any odors?  Pulls?  Tears?  Holes?  Fraying seams?  If they are things that you think you can fix, try to negotiate.  Otherwise, let it go, it's not worth it.

- Allow time and have patience.  Vintage shopping, like I said, is a bit of a treasure hunt.  There is a lot of digging and looking beneath the surface.  But that is part of the fun!

- Get creative!  Use your imagination when shopping vintage.  Take time with a piece you like and think about how you would style it.  That always helps me to decide if the money is worth spending.

- Don't forget accessories...and even home decor!  Vintage isn't just about clothing.  Some of the most amazing jewelry and bits for your home are vintage as well.

- Buy big if needed.  If an item of clothing is worth it, it can be taken to a good tailor and fit to you.  But don't forget to work that into the overall price.

Etsy is one of my favourite places to hunt for vintage.  Here are some of my top picks:

Lucy In Disguise Original Collection

I love Lucy In Disguise.  I love Lily Allen.  And I LOVE the first range of vintage-inspired clothing that Lily and her sister, Sarah Owen, have designed to support their lovely shop.

If you haven't yet had the pleasure of visiting their Covent Garden location, you are really missing out.  It's a brilliant concept.  Vintage items (everything you could want, from daily wear tops to gowns for a ball) are hand-picked and available to essentially play dress-up in  :)  You can purchase the items to build your own beautiful wardrobe or you can rent pieces for a special evening out.

If that wasn't enough, there is a salon on the premises that you can hire and can even take part in packages (anyone up for doing this with me?!) where you can get ready with your girlfriends in a gorgeous dressing room with the help of a sales assistant to pick out the perfect outfit for you, enjoy refreshments and get your hair/nails/make-up did.

So to add to the magic, Lily and Sarah have launched their first original collection for the shop today and are available from Harvey Nichols and online at the Lucy In Disguise website.  After seeing a preview of the 18-piece collection, I am seriously impressed and seriously upset I am away from London for the launch...any of my London lovelies planning of giving me a much nicer gift than I deserve, here are some of my top picks: