'A ball gown is your dream, and it must make you a dream... I think it is just as necessary in a woman's wardrobe as a suit. And it is wonderful for morale...' Christian Dior

Monday, 28 March 2011

Good morning, Vietnam

I'm going to Vietnam on Friday on my own to try and 'find myself'... or something. I'm not sure two weeks is long enough to do that, but having never been abroad alone or away anywhere for longer than seven days before, it should be an adequate shock to the system. I'm already feeling quite daunted. Not about the long flight (I'm a grumpy little madam and quite looking forward to some time to myself), not about making friends with strangers or getting food poisoning, but about (if you haven't already guessed) the sartorial dilemmas!

The guide from the travel agent advises 'modest' clothing. Those who know me (and even those who don't) know that's not really a word in my vocabulary. I like wearing hot pants to work with brightly coloured tights, vintage jumpsuits I've squeezed into but that were probably designed for a doll, not a person, and my current favourite shoes are five-inch leopard-print wedges.

But, alas, it's going to be bloody humid and it is respectful in certain areas to cover your knees and shoulders. I don't want to freak anyone out, or worse, get thrown out for wearing a neon pink minidress, really, do I. An excuse for a new spring/summer wardrobe, if ever there was one...

 Discovered two things over the last week - that the British High Street is actually pretty great and that I love the seventies trend. I was looking for the perfect maxi skirt when I came across these wide floral flares in Miss Selfridge of all places. (£45) I always feel a bit weird going in there because I used to shop there when I was about 14,  but these were easily the nicest I came across (and there are a lot out there at the moment). They're really comfy and light too.

I bought a cream see-through blouse to cover my shoulders in said certain areas. Obviously I will wear a top underneath it at all times, obviously! It's longer at the back and post-holiday will look great with jeans or denim shorts (preferably with a cream/white camisole underneath). That was also from Miss Selfridge, £35. The hat is from TopShop.

It reminds me a little bit of the lady on the cover of 'Travel in Vogue' which I've been reading to give me inspiration in travel writing.

The latest in a very long line of jumpsuits. Strapless and ruffled, it's still fairly modest, no? This was from Henry Holland for Debenhams (£38) and it looks a lot more flattering in the flesh!

Love the ruffled detail. It's a really soft cotton that won't crease in the rucksack, either.

Dreaming of walking along a sandy beach, presumably. Never in a million years thought I would try on, let alone buy white shorts, but the shape of these (TopShop, £37) is really cute and flattering, even on milk bottle legs...

You can never have too many skinny belts either. This one would work wrapped around a pleated skirt or to nip in a summer dress around the waist, for a nice contrast to florals.

And for the flight... my first pair of Converse. If that's not modest, I don't know what is. At least I tried... Going to visit a tailors in Hoi An on the trip to have something made. Who knows what I'll be wearing in the next post. Ciao (or however they say it in Vietnam - I should probably look that up) for now.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Dirty Blonde

Last weekend I was in Madrid with an afternoon set aside for vintage shopping and I didn't find a single thing and this weekend, I hungoverly crawled out my flat down Stoke Newington Church Street not on the lookout for anything other than a big plate of hash browns and came back with a pleated cream midi-dress, a 1970s blouse, an oversized cashmere Betty Jackson cardie, a handmade necklace, a second-hand brooch, an antique desk lamp and a lampshade. Sometimes life just doesn't make any sense. And when I'm next in Madrid, I'll do well to remember not to go shopping in siesta hours... 

So this is the midi-dress, from Dirty Blonde, a welcome break from the norm (and unusually on trend for me!) as I live in sixties minis. The pleats are springy and perfect for dancing. 

Last night I teamed it with bright green heels and a vintage green scarf tied around my waist as a belt. I used to try and avoid pale colours because of my skin tone (not to mention white hair) but I've never been big on rules, and I think neutral colours work really well when broken up with bright accessories.

The only problem - the bane of vintage shopping - is the dress's size. It didn't bother me when I was squeezing the buttons closed in the changing room, nor when I nearly hyperventilated trying to take the thing off. It didn't even bother me on the dance floor when I couldn't wave my hands in the air (not that that's ever a good look). The moment the niggle kicked in? When the guy I was sharing a smoke with turned to me and said, 'I'm not being funny but what bra size are you? Your dress looks kinda tight.'