Monthly Archives: October 2009

>Thrifty Thursday


After my weekend adventures at the mall and Target, I’ve been hankering for a slightly more diverse and quirky way to fashionably spend my dollars and today I hit gold, in the form of thrift stores.

For the uninitiated, the common thrift store is an American version of a charity shop or vintage boutique. Thrift stores have grown in popularity in recent years, thanks to the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker and Scarlett Johansson championing vintage on and off the red carpet.
I’d been to a few of these quirky stores the last time I was in New York and the look focused very much on leather, denim and retro inspired t-shirts – much akin to the young, hip vintage boutiques in Bristol and London.
Naples is a frustrating place for fashion: the majority of locals are either rich, old, or both, which means that fashion comes in the form of boutiques and exclusive department stores. Great for designer finds, not so great for my wallet. This is why the thrift stores are perfect as all the old people donate all their designer labels and there are plenty of Granny Chic finds to be had!

Gucci pumps, Escada blazers and a stunning pair of nearly new Docle & Gabbana brogues, above, for $75… there are some amazing finds to be had if you’re prepared to rummage, which I always am! Along with high end designers there were the more obscure American and Italian brands along with the likes of Ralph Lauren and Levi denims.
I visited three shops this afternoon, all just five minutes from the house that I had never noticed before. The lovely ladies at The Rose Garden and some gorgeous vintage jewelry and gave me a map with all the thrift stores of Naples on it (the Holy Grail of my fashion hunt so far). Their shop was divided into open plan rooms with menswear, accessories and womenswear, along with furniture and bridal gowns. All the staff were really helpful and super nice, even pointing me in the direction of other store I might like using said map.
Options and Audrey’s Attic were next and both were full of treasures. Options was where I found the D&G shoes, photographic evidence of which will be posted soon. A lot bigger than the other stores, Options supports a local domestic abuse charity which one of the employees told me draws a lot of contributions from the community. There was a real mix of clothes here and although one would need to rummage to find good clothes, accessories were displayed on tables and clear perspex units making them easy to locate and identify.

Audrey’s Attic is a ‘for profit’ thrift store and as a result it looked like more money had gone into the decor and the quirky vintage layout. The collection of vintage upstairs was simply stunning and the shop is run by a British couple who were very helpful when I paid them a visit! The vintage on sale spans from the 40s through to the 80’s with some amazing lace wedding gowns and 50s prom dresses, see photo above. There were treasures aplenty and I will definitely be going back next week and taking E with me – she is a label lover and I’m sure I can lure her in to my way of thinking with some vintage Gucci and Chanel!
Stay tuned for accompanying photographs…

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Filed under Adurey's Attic, America, Dolce and Gabbana, granny fashion, Gucci, Naples Fashion, The Rose Garden

>Stateside Shopping

>I find it hard to believe but since I landed in sunny Florida over a week ago, I have only got around to exploring some of the shops and ‘the mall’ this afternoon. The biggest difference I’ve noticed so far is that, unlike in huge cities like New York, all the shops are contained in malls or plazas and are not particularly easy to get to on foot.

Like everything in America, the malls and shopping centres are big, big, big with a mix of high street and high end shops inside. Today I paid a visit to Marshalls which is just like an American version of TK Maxx as it sells high end familiar and obscure brands at low prices (normally due old season lines or unsuccessful sellers).

I managed to pick up a wicked pair of New Balance grey and red running trainers, which can now replace my accent Nikes, while my friend picked up a cute pair of Emporo Armani sunglasses for $10 – bargain!
Next stop was Target which I always thought of as an US version of Primark – cheap clothes and there for lower quality. The only time I heard of this popular American store was when Sarah Jessica Parker designed a (poorly received) womenswear line for it back in 2007. I was surprised then, to find not only far more than clothing on offer but that it offers regular seasonal designer lines, and this time by Anna Sui. The collection has been inspired by the TV show Gossip Girl and featured trademark Sui design features such as lace and fringing, like this gorgeous grey t-shirt, above.

The collection looked like it had been inspired by the wild west, with nostalgic saloon tassels and lots of high-neck cream and black blouses. Although I’ve never seen an episode of Gossip Girl I’ve been informed that each of the 19 pieces in the collection has been influenced by Sui’s favorite characters. Talking to Target press Sui said of the show; ” [Gossip Girl] is such a phenomenon and so fashionable, so I really wanted to create a collection reflective of the four main characters.”

The line came out in August so before I found my way to the shops it had already been put on the sale rack. Personally I’ve fallen for the grey t-shirt with black fringing as it it is simple but feminine – a classic Anna Sui look. As soon as I work out the bus system I’m going back to buy it!
More Ship-Shape and Florida Fashion updates and pictures to follow so watch this space…


Filed under America, Anna Sui, Florida, mall, Marshalls, Target

>Posh Swaps Hit Bath

>If you’re looking to find some new treats to fill your wardrobe but are strapped for cash or concerned about your carbon footprint, you might be interested to know that a Posh Swap event will be taking place in Bath at the end of November. I love swaps such as this as you never know quite what you’re going to find and the hunt for something new is far more exciting than just picking something off a rack.

This event will be the first swap that the West Country based company is putting on and founder and fellow fashion blogger Ceri Heathcote is looking forward to the event; “We wanted to create a place where people could find affordable and sustainable clothing. Looking stylish is not about following the latest fashions; it is about wearing quality clothes to suit the wearer’s lifestyle, personality, colouring and body shape. These clothes make people look and feel great without the guilt of causing unnecessary environmental damage.”

Above: A shopping frenzy at a recent Posh Swaps event.

I couldn’t agree more, which is why, as I’m all the way over in sunny Florida at the moment, I’m giving away a pair of tickets to the event – that really is guilt free shopping! To enter this giveaway simply email with your contact details by 12th November. The winner will be picked at random and sent a pair of tickets in the post.

Below is the who, what when where…

When? 24th November 2009 7.00 -9.30pm
Where? Brunswick Room, Guild Hall, Bath
How? Just bring along 3 items of clothing that someone else would be delighted to own
Why? It’s fun, it’s frugal and it’s eco friendly, plus a great chance to refresh your wardrobe!
Cost? £10 in advance, £12 on the night including…
entrance to the swap party and our fashion and beauty market, a glass of wine and nibbles
the chance for one lucky person to be styled by Personal Stylist, plus a reusable goody bag with fashion and beauty goodies

Further information and tickets can be found at here.

Images courtesy of Ceri Heathcote

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Filed under Bath, clothes swap, environment, Posh Swaps

>Blog of The Week: La Petite Fashionista

>Seeing as I’ll be stateside for a couple of months I figured I should search for the best fashion blogs in the US, and of course Florida. This week’s BoW is La Petite Fashionista, a 20 year old college student based in Florida who is ‘obsessed’ with fashion.

The writing on this blog is young and fresh – Lauren obviously adores fashion and this passion comes across in her writing. From what I gather she is studying fashion merchandising and often blogs about her coursework, work experience and college life, such as this post below.

The blog is very well presented with lots of info and fun bits such as Lauren’s own personal collection of inspirational images not to mention comments and opinions on fashion editorials and new designers. Images and collections are often arranged and designed to look like the pages of a fashion magazine or a mood board, which is shows off Lauren’s creative streak and takes me back to my own fashion student routes of sketchbooks and presentation.
This blog is a fun stroll down memory lane for me and it is great to see a student blogging about fashion while still at school – a quality that will no doubt give her the edge over her peers when it comes to getting a job in the fashion world!


Filed under blog of the week, Florida, La Petite Fashionista

>Ship-Shape and Florida Fashion

I’ve jetted across the pond to Florida for a few weeks. Sadly not in the name of fashion, but I will endeavour to source out the best fashion America has to offer and blog about my findings as much as possible!

So far in the depths of Florida all I’ve seen are shorts, baseball caps and suspicious looking Hawaiian shirts but I’ll find some fashion worth blogging of somewhere in this state! At the same time I’ll do my best to keep up with you fashion forward lovelies in the South West so feel free to comment on up coming Bristol based events…

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>Ship-Shape in the local press

>Slowly but surely I’m starting to get this blog ‘out there’ into the big scary world of the press and public. As this is all still fairly new, it is still exciting to see Ship-Shape get a mention. So follow the links below to see Ship-Shape in all it’s glory, on the Bristol Evening Post website and on the Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft

Stokes Croft Fashion Show report on the PRSC blog

Bristol Bloggers Directory on the BEP

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Filed under Bristol Evening Post, press, prsc

>Blog of The Week: Liberty London Girl

>I found the musings of LibertyLondonGirl after reading a very interesting piece on IFB that she wrote regarding recent changes in US law that effect bloggers; a must-read for any American bloggers who receive freebies and samples from PR companies.

LLG is “an English fashion editor in Manhattan” blogging about “life, love, fashion, design and food” and appealed to me as she ticks the boxes in terms of interests and her job. As I’m also off to the US soon (sadly not for journalism related purposes) there are posts such as What Beauty Products Should I get in the US?, below, that could come in handy!

There is always something quite appealing about the nature of anonymous bloggers, particularly those in the field of fashion so I was intrigued to read more of LLG’s blog and I think it has a good mix of lifestyle and fashion related content – a balance that many fashion bloggers can loose sight of from time to time.

LLG’s refreshingly honest attitude to life and her move to the US is fun to read ans recently she commented at her surprise at her most recent accolade considering that “this blog, which was originally my letters home to London from New York”. A little helping of English wit, honesty and self-depreciation gives this blog and edge and LLG ticks the boxes as a good blogger – pro active, community focused and keen to respond to comments and posts – a perfect read!

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Filed under blog of the week, Independent Fashion Bloggers, Liberty London Girl

>Stokes Croft Fashion Show

>Bristol’s best-dressed flocked to Metropolis tonight to see the first ever Stokes Croft Fashion Show. The bar was stocked, the models were preened and entertainment was in full swing as revelers celebrated the best of local and independent fashion design, including the likes of Dutty Girl, Avalaan and Spunky.

The Cheltenham Road venue was the perfect setting for this intimate show, where supporters included local press, models, designers and entrepreneurs including George Ferguson of the Tobacco Factory. As the girls and I squeezed along the front row into our seats, we cooed over the cute orange goody bags while waiting for the show to start.

At 8.30pm sharp burlesque mistress Ophelia Bitz, below, took to the stage to host the show, looking stunning in an emerald green Gilly Woo corset and mandatory clipboard, introducing each label and singing some show tunes to kick the evening off.

Before the model graced the catwalk, PRSC chairman Chris Chalky took to the stage to thank the crowd for attending and supporting local designers, commenting on the recent arrival of Primark and the necessity of encouraging creativity and regeneration through ethical fashion choices.

Next up was the beautiful burlesque artiste Lily Belle, who literally gave audiences a sneak peak of her interval performance with a traditional fan dance (pictures of which are at the bottom of this post).

First to grace the catwalk were Avalaan, a collaborative label with a shop on Gloucester Road, inspired by art, music, sport and design. Skiwear and and the skater look were both key themes, with men in graphic print tees and illustrated hoodies, while the women wore beanies, sweatshirts and brightly coloured t-shirts layered over leggings and ski pants.

Ben’s Sister used models styled in simple blue shirts and black tights to show off their range of leather bags, including a rather tasty oversized gold union jack clutch. The designs were simple but elegant and a peak at their website confirms that these gorgeous well-made bags can be customised and made to order, hurrah!

Madidas Harrisa, aka Maddie Harris, is a local designer who specialises in recycled fashions and reclaimed fabrics. Her outfits used flashes of gold, blue and pink lycra to hug the models’ bodies, taking the form of leggings, dresses, tops and skirts. Floral prints oddly complimented monocrhome strips while gold and animal prints gave the streetwear an on trend 80’s look. Big hair and Nike hi-tops accesorised the look perfectly.

Dutty Girl bourght the first half of the show to a close with a diverse mix of men and womenswear from the range of labels stocked in their Dutty Shop across the road. The artistic and musical influences were clear in their urban streetwear, dresses and men’s knitwear, with blakc, purple and gold featuring heavily in the colour schemes.

Lily Belle was welcomed back on stage during the interval in what started out as a 1950’s outfit to perform a saucy salsa with a giant lime wedge and oversized salt shaker that dusted her with glitter. Soon she was down to her sparkly tangerine underwear and the girls and I agreed how brave the buxom Lily was to strut her stuff on stage, nipple tassels et al!

After a tantalising performance the audience were refreshed and ready to see the second half of the show, kicked off by South-Blessed, a label specialising in logo tees and hoodies. Next up were the independent t-shirt company, SP:UK (Spunky) who are based in London and Bristol. The label has been praised for it’s originality in inviting illustrators to send in their best t-shirt designs for production. Tonight their section consisted of new and old designs alike, including ‘Crows’ and my favourite, the ‘Yes No’ design by The Boy Fitz Hammond. Menswear and womenswear made appearances to the sound of Dizzy Rascal, with the crowd cheering the models as they danced down the catwalk.

Gilly Woo finished the night with a stunning collection of coresets, dainty dresses and evening wear. The diversity of this label was wide, with dresses inspired by the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Prints and colours were bold while the shilhouetes themselves ranged from figure hugging bodices to A-line skirts. The girls and I fell in love with a spectacularly decadent strapless dress covered in gold sequins, though we were disappointed that we didn’t have any occasions to wear it to!

Despite an early exit, it is a school night after all, I am assured that DJ’s played on into the night and many drinks were consumed. The show itself was a missive hit for me and I hope the designers and models enjoyed the event as much as we did. With such an emphasis on ethical practices and recycled fabrics, the event was a refreshing event after a week of slightly more commercial fashion shows: I can’t imagine Cabot Circus allowing burlesque performers to grace the stage!

As Chris Chalky said in his speech “the future does belong to you”. We need to support our local labels and events such as this so that Bristol retains it’s cultural value and doesn’t become yet another faceless city. The links on this post all contain contact details and locations for these fashion designers so pay them a visit next time you’re out shopping, and purchase a part of Bristol’s Cultural Quarter.

Lily Belle performs a burlesque favourite; the fan dance

Avalaan model sporting Buggs Bunny inspired headwear

Gorgeous red and white hoodie from Avalaan

Close-up shot of green men’s hoodie, Avalaan

Love the bright body-con in this Madidas Harrisa outfit!

Lily Belle gives a zesty half-time performance, above and below…

Dutty Girl models in reworked and vintage inspired outfits – love the Adidas dress

More from Dutty: illustrated sweater, menswear but I think it would be cute on girls too

Spunky tee is modelled with attitude

Beautiful Gilly Woo corset, which reminds me of Wedgwood pottery of all things!

Super sparkles as gold Gilly Woo dresses finish the show


Filed under Avalaan, Ben's Sister, burlesque, catwalk show, Dutty Girl, Gilly Woo, independent fashion, Madidas Harrisa, prsc, Stokes Croft

>Not So Super Market @ Start The Bus

>Today was the ‘Not So’ Supermarket event at Start The Bus and my first attempt at selling my homemade wares. A and I got there early to secure a spot, set up our stall and selling everything from videos and fairy cakes to button hair grips and fabric brooches.

Bringing A’s rail this time was a stroke of genius as it gave the punters a chance to skim through our unwanted clothes and vintage bits and bobs, and it wasn’t too terrifying to put together either. We used old scarves as a table cloth and tried to arrange everything to be as eye catching as possible, see pictures above and below.

Events such as this and the Jumble Sale are great but they do attract some cool shoppers and sellers, which sadly we were not! Once again we were very excited, even more so this time as we had both made lots of accessories. Everything, from setting up the stall to having customers comment on (or even touching) or stock was exciting, and ha us in fits of giggles, as did a poorly constructed paper plane!

Taking a peak at other stalls, A and I agreed that our table/rail look like one of the best at set to work trying to lure shoppers in with smiles and cakes. After a slow start A’s old clothes were soon flying off the rails and I sold a pair of Hong Kong coin earrings and a treasured Breakfast Club video.

Sadly I didn’t sell much more than that, except for my pink fairy cakes which were very popular as they were undercutting the competition by about 60p (something I didn’t realise until I noticed the owners of the other cake stall giving me evil looks).

Lots of people were interested in the plectrum earrings and button hair slides but unfortunately many wanted something slightly different to what we had with us. A couple of people also commented that they might try making their own which was frustrating but understandable; after all, that’s how I found myself staying up till 1am sewing buttons onto hair grips!

Even thought I didn’t sell that much I had such a great time and both A and I are really into the idea of having a regular stall once I’m back from America in December – a great opportunity to sell some of our handmade bits and bobs as potential Christmas presents.

If you can’t wait till December then check out the next Jumble Sale on 18th October and the next ‘Not So’ Supermarket event on 1st November.

Above: Our stall in all it’s glory.

Above: A selection of hair grips and earrings, including my faves: the Barbie shoe earrings.

The bestseller of the day: vanilla fairy cakes with pink butter cream icing.

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Filed under buttons, coins, handmade, jewellery, market, Start The Bus

>Whistle While You Work…

>Ahead of the ‘Not So’ Supermarket on Sunday, here are a few sneak peaks of how I’ve been spending my evenings. I have stabbed myself with needles, pins and and scalpels far too many times than should be necessary for a budding jewelery designer! Fabric rosettes, barbie shoes and buttons are making an appearance in this debut, ramshackle collection…

Coins and buttons and shoes, oh my!

The treasured box of buttons, courtesy of good ol’ Nan!

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Filed under buttons, coins, jewellery, Start The Bus