Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Friday Night Sketching

Wow! Hasn't the weather been amazing today?!

Gorgeous blue skies and bright sunshine. The temp on my car was showing 34 degrees C when I was driving home. It seems summer has finally hit!

So this is a quick post before I head out to enjoy the last of today's sunshine. 

Last weekend started off quite slowly with a quiet Friday night in at home. After dinner and a movie I was still wide awake, so got out my sketchbook. Something I haven't done in well over a year or so. Don't get me wrong I've sketched clothing designs quite frequently but it's been a long time since I doodled anything that wasn't fashion related! 

I thought I'd start easy and stick with pencil & paper. I didn't look far for a model and picked my faithful toy Tramp* dog as I knew he'd sit still without complaints!

* The same Tramp from the Disney classic Lady & the Tramp!

I'm very proud of this sketch as it came out so well, particularly as I haven't sat down to draw anything in such a long time. It's really sparked my confidence for drawing and painting again.

Who knows, maybe next weekend I'll be getting out the watercolours!

Until then, I'm off to enjoy the rest of the sun!

Em x

Friday, 26 June 2015

Coletterie - Wardrobe Architect: Week 7

So onto another post in the Coletterie Wardrobe Architect Project that I'm taking part in.

This week is Week 7, which is all about exploring solids and prints. The majority of clothing I used to wear was printed. But in the past few years that majority has shrunk in favour of richer colours and more interesting textures. I still have a fair few prints in my wardrobe so I guess it's more of an even half prints half solids now. I will normally wear one item of printed clothing as opposed to clashing or combining prints. 

I like a mixture of large and small prints, mainly depending on the item of clothing. So I would normally choose a smaller scale print for a top and a larger print for skirt or jacket. As we've discussed before (here and here) I like strong, rich colours so my eye is always caught by prints in these colours. I love tonal prints, but again they would normally be in stronger tones. I normally go for floral, tribal/aztec, abstract or cute conversational prints. I like geometric or tile prints but I'm not as drawn to them. Here are a few prints I have in my wardrobe that I love!

Dark Floral Print Skirt
I love the combination of the bright pinks with dark moody tones in this skirt

Tonal Tribal Print Shirt
Gorgeous turquoise, blue & purple colours

Neon Palm Print Capri Pants
How could I not get these workout trousers?! Funky neon print? SOLD!

Abstract Print Top
It was definately the print that pulled me into buying this top. I think they work so well together.

Digital Floral Print Jumper
I love the smokey grey tones & peach highlights of this jumper.

Blurred Floral Print Skirt
Again, lovely purple and blue colours that really stand out against the black base.

In my job I work designing prints everyday so I'm constantly looking at and designing all types prints. It's really opened my eyes to the wide range of styles you can get in prints and how different they can be. One of my favourite things I have been looking at and working on is something that at my work we've called 'Surface Interest Prints'. So things like, scratchy spots, hand drawn stripes and prints that look like textured fabric. It's very new and can be as subtle or as bold as you like!

As always I've updated my Pinterest board with some prints I love, I think the prints I've chosen fit into my five style words pretty well which is good! (Comfortable/Quirky/Fun/Easy/Detail if you were wondering what they were!) 

Check the board out here. 

I also use Pinterest a lot at work so I have lots of other themed print boards so have a look at those too.

Until next time!

Em x

Monday, 22 June 2015

The Return!

Hello again!

I'm back from two amazing weekends away. One was a very rainy, very muddy festival weekend, and the other was a very busy, very funny reunion with some university friends. Both were fantastic, laughter filled adventures, although I'm glad to be eating and drinking normally again, as well as sleeing in my own bed! I'm not however, sold on being back at the daily grind... can't I spend all my time drinking, dancing and hanging out with my friends?!

However, being back in a normal routine also means, back to the blog! I'm really enjoying writing this blog, I've dabbled in blogging over the years but it's never really stuck before. For some reason this time it is! So I hope you find some enjoyment in my posts too!

For this post I thought I'd share with you a little known place that I adore and that is definately worth a visit.

Whilst I was at university I completed a work placement at a place called Hope House Costume Museum in Derbyshire. Hope House is a costume museum and restoration workshop run by a lovely lady called Notty Hornblower, who collects vintage & period clothing, accessories, books, toys... basically anything and everything you could think of! I think the oldest piece of clothing in the museum is a dress that dates back to 1700! I went back to Hope House at the weekend to say hello to Notty & brought along one of my girlfriends who completed the work placement with me. 

This is the view from the museum - with my lovely friend Rachel! 

The museum itself is tucked away in Derbyshire and I forgot what a beautiful place that part of the world is, there are lovely views all around the museum.  All the displays at the museum have been updated, and there are so many things on show I never saw while I was there. All the photos you see here are from my time at the museum a few years ago well as the visit over the weekend. 

Notty has a fantastic collection and is very knowledgable on fashion & costume history, running period specific shows and talks, as well as selling vintage clothing and running tours of the museum.

I learnt a lot during my time there and I have some fantastic memories of working at Hope House. Being able to get up close and handle vintage clothing was brilliant, although I have to say I was more than a little nervous restoring Victorian dresses the first time! 

I saw such a variety of vintage and period pieces across mens, womens and childrenswear. It's hard to believe how some pieces over 200 years old, yet are in such a good condition! 

Would you believe this is a period Victorian dress?! The colours are so beautiful and vibrant!

I have so many photos from my time at the museum it's hard to chose what to show you!

So if you're ever in Derbyshire make sure you give Hope House Costume Museum a visit so you can see for yourself!

Find out more information about Hope House at the website

Have a good week!

Em x

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Coletterie - Wardrobe Architect: Week 6

I only posted Week 5 of Wardrobe Architect the other day (read it here), but as I'm away this weekend I thought I'd get a head start and get going on Week 6!

This week is about organising the colour palette I came up with last week into the following smaller categories: Neutrals, Near Neutrals, Statement Colours, Metallics. So it should be easier to see what colours I need more or less of, and how to use these create small seasonal palettes. Coletterie also advises adding more colours if you feel you need to.

First up, just to recap. This is my colour palette from last week...

And here's my colour palette separated into categories:

So you can see I don't have that many neutral colours, just Black, White & Light Grey, but I think my 'Nearly Neutrals' make up for that, as they're quite verstile and I would probably wear more of them anyway. I separated some of the lighter colours (Lt.Pink/Lilac/Coral/Mint) that I wouldn't normally wear as a dominant colour into their own 'Accents' category. As I mentioned last week, I like these colours but they work better for me as highlight colours. I've stuck to my original palette and haven't added in any new colours but I'm happy with what I already have, I don't feel like I'm missing anything. My palette definately leans more towards statement colours than it does to neutrals but I'm not surprised at that. I do love bright colours!

When I'm back it's on to Week 7!

Have a good week!

Em x

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Style Icon: Converse All Star

As I was walking through my local shopping centre today I popped into Office in the hope they would have one of their great sales on and I could bag my self a bargain*, failing that I could drool over some beautiful shoes and imagine myself being able to walk in every single pair without my feet hurting at all! 

*a lot of my most loved footware over the years has been a bargain buy from an Office sale!

Unfortunately there was no sale and I had to settle for shoe longing instead, but as I left the store I spied some amazing Converse on display by the door.

How cool are these?!

Apparently Converse and fashion brand Missoni have collaborated to create a collection exclusive to Office, "Converse X Missoni". Apparently this collaboration has been going on since 2010?! Who knew?! 

The current range is priced from £69.99 to £84.99, you can view it here
I've got my eyes on these beauties...

I just love the colours of that iconic Missoni print, quirky but feminine!

I was actually already wearing my own, much loved, pair of Converse when I saw the collection, which got me thinking about what an iconic shoe the Converse has become. While I'm my third pair, I still have my first two pairs in my wardrobe! One is a pair of once black & pink low tops that are so battered and discoloured they are reserved for festival and gig wear only, I mean what's another beer stain really?! The other is a pair of the classic black high tops. I remember saving up for these when I was about 14/15 and going through my grungey faze. I was so happy to finally have saved enough money to buy a pair of Converse to call my own, I loved them and wore them constantly. I haven't worn them in probably 5+ years but I just can't bring myself to throw them away, they even have the beads I thread onto the laces back then!

We all know Converse as a fashion statement now, but The Converse Rubber Shoe Company launched the Converse All Star basketball shoe in 1917, but it was the version with the changes suggested by basketball player Chuck Taylor, "most notably the patch to protect the ankle"*, that became the icon that we know today. Although Chuck's name wasn't added to the product until the 1930s and the classic hi-top was only available in black until 1947.

Now you can by the Converse in a rainbow of colours, prints and fabrics; You can even buy 'own brand' versions of the sneakers in most high street retailers. I think the reason they've become such an iconic style is their versatility. They're easy to throw on with a pair of jeans, even with a dress or skirt for a cute skater girl look. They're comfy and easy to wear all day, god knows my pairs have seen some mileage! 

They also have a versatile look in that they can be worn by all types of people. They don't fit into an image stereotype the same way perhaps a pair of DM's do. They're not restricted to one "type" of fashion. They're collegic, rock and rap all mixed in one. People wear them in their own way, change the laces, draw on them and make them their own.  They've been worn by the biggests stars (Elvis Presley & Kurt Cobain anyone?!) and the everyday man, woman and child.

Not bad for a shoe that was simply designed for basketball!

Em x

*Quote from "Icons of Men's Style" by Josh Sims, page 80
*Image from "Icons of Men's Style" by Josh Sims, page 81

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Coletterie - Wardrobe Architect: Week 5

Week 5 of Wardrobe Architect is about colour.

"... Some colours just make you happy, some feel exciting, others make you feel calm and peaceful. What we're going to do is start collecting those colours... For now, just think about what you love and what you wear"

- Coletterie

Wahoo! I love colour, nothing makes me happy quite like seeing things in bright, beautiful colour order! Sad, but true!

So, I pulled together colours I associate with the descriptive words I came up with and my inspiration pictures from previous weeks. Then I added colours I already have and wear in my wardrobe and colours in my GIANT fabric collection. The Coletterie article for Week 5 also talks about considering what colours make you feel really good when you wear them.

I used Photoshop Elements to pull together my colour palette, which you can see here.

So you can see I like quite bold, bright colours that I can wear with one another. However, saying that I do normally pair them with a neutral col metallic cardi, so either a light gold or silver.
I don't really wear many light or skin colour tones, I always feel like they wash me out, and I find them a bit sickly. I like colours that are rich and intense. I've included the lighter cols or coral, mint, light pink & lilac in my colour palette too, but these are normally my highlight or accent colours. So while I wouldn't normally wear clothing that is predominently one of these colours, I love them in prints, jewellery or accessories... shoes included!

I love shades of turquoise and teal, they aways make me feel good. They can be bright and airy or be rich and have a lot of depth to them. I'm constantly on the look out for clothes in those colours!

Next week is about incorporating your colours into your wardrobe, so let's see how that goes!
We actually had a charity bag dropped trhough our door this morning, so maybe the wardrobe spring clean will start sooner than expected!

Anyone else following Wardrobe Architect? Or finished it?

Let me know!

Em x