What does recycling mean to you? For many, it conjures up images of compost bins or newspaper and bottle collection days (and possibly a seven in the morning dash because it wasn't left out the night before). However, it's a word that applies equally to styling the clothes in our wardrobes.
I've never been able to understand the behaviour of some affluent individuals who can afford to buy something and parade it once, before discarding it again. For me, part of the joy of dressing is discovering new ways to style long owned items. It's not for nothing that articles are written about ‘versatile’ pieces. The term doesn't refer only to classic LBDs and white shirts that we all know are a ‘staple’ of any wardrobe, but also encompasses anything that can be worn time and time again (constantly being recycled and re-used) – like my vintage dress styled above.This is the third outing for the sixties silk beauty on my blog. No longer a blushing debutante; this dress is now secure in the knowledge that it is well-used and loved. (Is there a term, like anthropomorphism, that could be used to describe the personification of clothes? If so, I feel I'm in danger of using it). The dress’s Erdem-like abstract flowers have been previously dressed up with granny’s turquoise string gloves and silk stockings; and the print has also bloomed alongside a vintage seventies belt and Laura Ashley hat. It has appeared at the back of the Sunday Times Style Section, and now – in its biggest appearance to date – has been lucky enough to grace the pages of the newly published ‘Style Yourself’ blogger book.
I was ecstatic when, last year, I was asked if I would like to appear in the Weldon Owen published book 'Style Yourself' alongside fashion blogging luminaries such as Style Bubble and Style Rookie. I hastily agreed, and then forgot all about it, as recovering from surgery took precedence. So imagine my excitement when I found out that it was published – and there was a copy winging its way to me from the United States. Now that I have the book in my hands, I can see other favourite bloggers – such as FrouFrouu, Louise Ebel and Barbro Anderson (alongside many, many others) – all featured in gorgeous and varying spreads. My own two pages come under the ‘accessories’ section, which features some images from ‘Wrinkled Silk Stockings on a Blustery Sunday’, presented with a very British ‘Tea Party’ spin.
All I can say is that whoever had the bright idea to create this book was very smart indeed. Blogging is still a relative toddler in comparison with other industries, but it is growing faster than Jack’s beanstalk. These 95 bloggers presented have a collective 500,000 visits a day (thanks to Barbro for that fact!) – Hundreds of thousands of people logging on to see what their favourite bloggers have styled and written about. Cumulatively, that is a pretty large voice.
The book itself is beautifully laid out and structured – full of tips and hints on styling – with ample inspiration. Whether you favour eighties Grace Jones style looks, or dress according to the landscape around you, there is something for everyone. However, one of my favourite aspects is the pages given over to the technical terms for every clothing-related item under the sun. Did you know what a fishing creel bag is, or what a Watteau dress looks like? (I didn’t, but I do now!) Or perhaps you’d like to discover the wonders of a zouave jacket? There’s something quite addictive about pinpointing exactly what type of shoes you are wearing (are they Oxfords, Brogues, Jazz or Saddles?), and learning the exact dart shape used to create the dress hanging on a mannequin. It’s this level of detail, along with the delicious design, that left a huge grin on my face after I had ripped the packaging open.
On this excursion, I styled the dress with coral pink shoes from a flea market stall, a Jaeger belt from ebay (second hand), and a green silk belt-tie worn as bow. The tiny vintage leather saddle bag and the lace top (worn under the dress) were both from my favourite local charity shop. These photos were taken about an hour ago, on the hottest day of the year so far. Yesterday I was sheltering from the rain and wind, and today I have been hiding from the heat.
This dress is recyled in more than one sense - as I originally rescued it from a £1 basket, and took it home to patch up the rips in the fabric. With a now shortened hemline, it is an item that has been given a new lease of life with the aid of a sewing machine...
Now, in a final (magician’s) flourish, Weldon Owen has offered to send a copy of ‘Style Yourself’ to one reader of Clothes, Cameras and Coffee in a giveaway.
I would like to open up this giveaway to bloggers and non-bloggers alike (as sometimes it just seems that only bloggers get a look in), with the same criteria. To enter, please answer the following – if you had to choose one item of clothing you own that sums up your style, what would it be, and why? (Eg – mine would probably be my sixties green and blue St Michael’s mini-dress, because it is vintage, immensely versatile, was bought in a charity shop and represents my love for all things whimsical). If you are a blogger, could you please comment with your answer and email address. If you are a non-blogger, I’d appreciate it if you emailed me with your answer, and ‘Style Yourself’ Giveaway in the subject line. I can’t wait to read some entries. Oh, and even better, the giveaway is open worldwide! The closing date will be the fifth of July.
The book can be easily ordered from local independent bookshops (to help support local business – see Alexandra Therese’s The Demise of the Local Bookshop). However, it is also available on Amazon here.