The Licentiate on Red Radar

ImageWhen I was asked to write a post about something I had upcycled, I was really excited.  I’m a creative person, right?  In my mind, my wardrobe was bursting with recycled gems, old ballgowns shorn into minidresses, cutlery warmed and bent into bangles, old bookends make with driftwood from the beach. Right?  Right?

Wrong, as it turns out.

But, while I don’t have a lot of upcycled items, I have bought a lot of upcycled items.

This is a reworked silk scarf that I bought from an Irish online vintage boutique.  What was already a nice scarf has been updated with the sewing on of beads and buttons and, to top it off, a beautiful silkscreen of a girl and a deer has been lovingly sewn into one of the corners.

Read the rest of this post on the RTE Two Tube website…

Fashion, Inspiration, The Reading List

Inspiration: Daiquiris and Denial

Collette from Daiquiris and Denial is not a fashion blogger, she’s a personal blogger.  And she’s my oldest friend (20 years in September, yo!).  In my opinion, a) she needs to blog more and b) more people need to read her blog. Stat.

When Sarah asked me to write a guest post for her, I was initially delighted. Then the panic set in. What would I write about? You see, this is a fashion blog, and I’m not in the least bit fashionable. In fact, the very word brings me out in a rash. I’m pretty much clueless. I don’t follow trends. The designers I can name I could count on one hand. I spend the majority of my week in a uniform for work, sans makeup, hair scraped back. To be honest, I am possibly the last person you’d look to for for good quality fashion talk. Still, I accepted the challenge, and here I am before you, a virtual cretin.

Through my panicked haze, I remembered my little saviour. “How To Walk In High Heels (The Girls Guide to Everything)” and “A Girl for all Seasons (The Year in High Heels)”, two books by Camilla Morton, gifts I got many moons ago. Okay, so they are highly cheesy, but they have been an unlikely source of guidance. I’ve used them to *blag* my way into pretending I know more about fashion than I actually do at one time or another. Some might call it cheating, I think it’s the perfect solution for me. I don’t necessarily want to learn about fashion, but I don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb either.

“How To Walk In High Heels” is like a self help book for those who want to do everything with style and grace. From tips on getting ready for any impromptu occasion in less than five minutes, to the perfect wardrobe to pack when going on holiday, this book has it all. It also has little articles from well known figures in the fashion and celebrity worlds on topics like picking the perfect hat and enhancing your finer assets (written by the one with the pert bottom, Kylie). I’ll admit, before reading this book, Manolo Blahnik was just a name that was referenced in in every second sentence in Sex and the City. Now, thanks to his guidance, I know how to pick the perfect pair of shoes.

“A Girl For All Seasons” takes a different approach. The book is divided up into months, which guide you through culture, fashion, history and so much more according to season. Wedged between each chapter is a “Foot Note”, Morton’s anecdotes about the history of different types of shoes. Yet again, this book is chock-a-block with helpful hints and tips for the modern woman, from caring for your pearls to “doing” haute couture to being “festival chic”. My favourite part of the book is the “Muse of the Month” section, with mini bios on ladies such as Ella Fitzgerald, Cleopatra, Frida Kahlo and Audrey Hepburn.

But the real question is, do I think these books are inspiring? Frankly, yes. They might be some of the cheesiest things I’ve ever read, but at the same time, they’re filled with a wealth of knowledge. I’m quite stubborn and set in my ways, but after re-reading these again it’s time to shake things up a bit. At the moment, I wouldn’t know Penneys from Prada. With the help of these books, I can talk the talk, but I haven’t quite mastered to walk the walk. I can pull off pretending I know about fashion, now maybe it’s time to actually step out of my comfort zone.

Daiquris and Denial on twitter.

Fashion, Inspiration

Inspiration: Rose Tinted Uncertainty

Today’s guest post comes from Rhona of Rose Tinted Uncertainty. As a graphic design student and an all-around stylish lady, she’s got a finely-tuned visual sensibility that makes her posts unique to her and a serious treat for the eyes.

Isn’t it great when you discover something completely by accident, or without realising? Isn’t it great when you give something a chance and get blown away? This is exactly what happened to me over the summer when I discovered one of my new favourite bands, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside. I discovered them on my Facebook page of all places via NYLON. I confess I was bored and had nothing better to do so I delved a little deeper and listened to a few of their songs. I fell in love instantly. Their music is so quirky, so cool. Kind of like fifties rock, but with a twist. Their songs were seriously stuck in my head for weeks; there was such a vibe about them that stayed with me.

And then I saw them. I saw Sallie and her sound outside; and they really matched the vibe I was getting from their music (which I was delighted about). I was amazed by Sallie most of all. She is lead vocalist and she plays the guitar, and, well there is something so awesomely quirky about her and her style. She pairs her horn-rimmed glasses with vintage tea dresses and leather ankle boots. Lace tights with cutie pie curls and fur coats. There is such uniqueness about her, something so very different, reminding me of a librarian who chews gum and strums her guitar while at work (if there is such a thing). There is strength in her look, its effortless, its comfortable, and its fun. I just want to spend the day with her, sipping coffee in the cold with our fur coats and cowboy boots on and singing while she’s strumming her guitar on the front porch.

Can you tell I’m in love?

Rose Tinted Uncertainty on facebook.

Fashion, Inspiration

Inspiration: S-oh S-ew!

All you really need to know about Jo is that she is frustratingly, face-punchignly, effortlessly stylish and cool and incredibly nice.  Vogue loves her streetstyle.  We all love her blog.

As fashion inspiration comes there are all sorts; the sleeve on an album, the opening to a book… The Sweeney was a programme I watched as a tot and its fashionable allure has hovered over me ever since. For those of you that don’t know The Sweeney, it’s an early 70’s cop show. Set in post flower power inner-city London our two boys, Regan and Carter, race round the metropolis lobbing themselves over walls and through warehouses in pursuit of the city’s scum. It’s gritty and rough and the punch lines are full of ‘Oi!’s and ‘You’ve been nicked ! ‘. It is brilliant. What’s also brilliant is the fashion. The whole feel of the show is a very brit-rock; think Kate Moss and Rolling Stones and a time when it’s still deliciously sexy to smoke. It’s a grainy look, a yellowed tinge on every frame of the episode.

Regan and Carter are always suited up – shirt, tie, tweed- no matter how ruffled and tumbled they get in the thick of the chase the suit jacket is impermeable (although the tie may be loosened and taken off back at the station for questioning). Juxtaposing the bill the bad guys don jeans, bomber jackets and the occasional cowboy hat. Genius. The good guys always in powder blues and navy, the bad guys in cheap beige and gaudy checks. The women are deliciously groomed in jewelled toned polo necks, fleeing the scene in kitten heels and swathes of suede, all cropped hair, cigarettes and faux fur. The cars were as much an accessory as the guns and one liners – I still hope and dream I’ll own a copper brown’ Mk1 Ford Consul GT someday.

The series impressed upon me the importance of a rough edge to an outfit; pairing a delicate tea dress with tough ankle boots, the importance of lipstick with skinny jeans, the feminine with the distinctly unfeminine. It’s a look that has been reborn throughout pop culture and will continue to do so because it’s just so damn cool. And that is what The Sweeney boils down to. It is effortlessly cool from the very swagger and snarl of our two boys, the contrast of shoot outs against the backdrop of London Bridge and useless coppers, wailing sirens and those crisp shirts and a tie blowing in the wind.


RTE Two Tube Post: Aztec Nail Tutorial

Let’s face it, keeping up with trends is hard to do. It’s expensive and when you’ve got to wear a uniform or stick to a dress code, it can also be pretty difficult to express yourself or stand out from the crowd.

Nail art is a great way to play with fashion. It’s easy, it’s cheap and lots of fun – especially if you get a few friends around to pool polish colours and help with unsteady hands. Chuck in junk food and a DVD and you’ve got a proper girls night in.

One of the most popular nails to do right now is the Aztec nail. For this you will need:

  • A light-ish base coat.
  • Nail art pens in black and white (you can buy these from Model’s Own in Boots or generic pens from Argos or eBay. If you’re stuck you can use normal nail polish and an ultra-fine brush or a toothpick).
  • Nail polish in a contrasting colour.

Want to read the simple steps to getting the Aztec nail? Check out the rest of the post on RTE’s Two Tube website.

Fashion, Film, Inspiration

Inspiration: Red Lemonade

When pop-culture sensibilites were being handed out, Red Lemonade and I probably had a ‘Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill’ style catfight over the same one.  We both like comic book characters, guilty pleasure, feminist icons (in the kicking-ass sense), burlesque and 80’s cheese cartoons. 

The woman is far too fast for me though.  I once published a post on Kiki de Montparnasse.  Red Lemonade had done one like TWO YEARS before I did.  I was writing a post on Catwoman.  Boom! Red Lemonade published a far superior one.  I spent the day watching Jem on Youtube and aimlessly humming the theme tune and before the seed of a post idea could germinate, a post had gone on Red Lemonade.  BLAMMO!  I kid, I kid… Here’s Red Lemonade’s Inspiration.

As someone who has a soft spot for cult films, it’s safe to say that one of those particular spots is reserved for the bonkers 1995 comic book adaptation and commercial flop Tank Girl. Fans of the comic book were (and still are) annoyed at how watered-down their punky anti-heroine appeared, as she’s a much brasher, cruder and more violent character in her original form. All that aside however, what nobody can deny is that Lori Petty 100% looked the part for the film, her myriad costume changes and hairstyles perfectly capturing the frenzied militaristic and messy feminist warrior Tank Girl aesthetic that was required.

Saying that though, when I first watched it as a twelve or thirteen year old, it really bothered me that her hair seemed to flip flop between being all but shaved off one minute and there being enough of it to be twisted into long blonde plaits the next. The odd thing is that I was fine with the whole genetically engineered kangaroo/man hybrid soldiers thing (not to mention the weird inter-species tomfoolery, seeing as she hooked up with one of them) and yet I couldn’t get on board with her hair changing so drastically throughout the film. Since then, I’ve learned to appreciate the fact that this doesn’t actually matter in the slightest, and while the film itself is admittedly manic, silly and a bit all over place, (that’s not to say that I don’t love it though) what really stays with me is Tank Girl’s ferocious, haphazard sense of fashion.

Ripped baseball socks worn as sleeves, candy necklaces, army surplus gear, steampunk aviator goggles, patch-laden denim, Droog style bowler hats accompanied by drawn-on eyelashes and chequered rocket bras that would put Madonna’s gold Gaultier cones to utter shame are all in a days work, or wardrobe as the case may be, for Tank Girl. There’s something delightfully nineties about her future-punk look and her lipsticked snarl as she flippantly back-talks her way through the story.

A common movie trope seems to be that in any futuristic post-apocalyptic situation, people are guaranteed to dress like punks. Desert punks at that. But I can assure you that nobody does it with as much style or swagger as Tank Girl.

Be nice and say hi to Red Lemonade…

Red Lemonade blog

Red Lemonade twitter

Red Lemonade facebook