New Wave

5770735325_8a2e63b878_b5770735021_41342d471f_bI first did it back in 1987. It was a big deal then and strangely an even bigger deal in 2011.

Back then everyone was at it. Mum’s, daughters, rockers and to my eternal horror footballers. This time round the demographic has shrunk leaving grannies mainly and the odd maverick/oddball like myself. Yes indeed I am talking about perms people.

The longing for curly hair hit me some weeks ago. I pictured myself as a first series Carrie, all bouncy wild unruly curls that shake when she turns her head.  It returned and returned until I found myself seated in a fancy salon with sweaty palms and a head bound and trussed  in rollers, reeking of that strong-smelling lotion.

I mentioned to several friends that I was thinking of having it done beforehand. It certainly generated a buzz of some sort; a mix of vicarious anxiety  and excitement. Needless to say it generated  hours of reminiscing.

My appointment was scheduled for noon on a Thursday in a salon a safe distance from my neighbourhood. I felt invigoration as I took the tube into town. This gave way to giddiness, empowerment, mild panic and then ultimately shock when the legend was revealed beneath the towel. With grim desperation I made a crack about Kevin Keegan to a passing trainee. My reflection laughed half heartedly.

Many deep breaths later and after much loving attention by my stylist Anna my curls were dry and I was all set to venture forth with my new coiffure into the sodden London streets.

I couldn’t resist a quick dart into the ladies to consider the quiet reality of what I now looked like. No sign of Carrie yet. I pulled my hood down and as graciously as I could I thanked the staff and shuffled down the street into a unassuming sandwich shop.

I felt what I imagine many post op cosmetic surgery patients might feel like after a moderate adjustment. My reflection startled me for at least twenty-four hours but having matured a bit since my teenage years I did not resort to hanging towels over the mirrors.

I forced myself into a very glamorous ensemble, added  lashings of eye shadow and propelled  myself out the door mid afternoon the following day. A cheeky fascinator provided extra ballast in my hour of need.

I braved the Archway road with my head held high. By the time I reached the shops I had received at least one masculine indication of approval. The Archway road seems to bring it out in them, but on this occasion it was welcomed.

Over the past week I have grown to like it lots. It goes ever so well with my inner eighties child and adds freshness and fun to my outfits. It allows for play and experimentation which is always fun.

The time has come Ladies. Unshackle yourselves from the straightening irons and embrace the curl!

Originally posted in 2011. Slight Revamp.

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Angel At My Table

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I am a frequenter of greasy spoon cafes. I get it from my father’s side. What their fare lacks in dietary nutrition the social and communal offerings they provide more than make up for. I especially enjoy them in off peak times as it is then that they attract peculiar outliers like myself. People who crave a sense of community and normality but  in bite size portions. Who like to be with people but a distance.

The universal appeal of the greasy spoon is an excellent backdrop for observing  life’s sublime contrasts.

I met Angel at one of my favourite joints  in Archway, London. Our meeting was brief. We talked about clothes and style but what we communicated was something greater.

 

 

 

Short Hair, Attachment Theory And Finding The Right Stylist.

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In my second year at college I had my first real boyfriend. It was a a hugely satisfying and fun-filled relationship that lasted an entire 12 months. I learned about trust and intimacy from this person. I also learned that our bond of intimacy and attraction was a fine and delicate thing and that a mere chopping of my locks could threaten the union to its foundation.

My Transport Management studies (don’t ask!) was a shoddy provider for my vast and rapidly changing interests so I turned to Vogue. Within the pages of its glossy lovlieness, circa Feb 1992 I spotted the most exquisite and edgy short hair do. The quest began for a creator worthy and capable of its execution. There in the mirrored halls of Lunatic Fringe he appeared. A mythical beast brandishing a salon cape. The intoxicating blend of his insouciant manner, his quiet confidence and laid back professionalism put me at great ease. Inside of ten minutes he had achieved the seemingly impossible. With no muss and sadly little chat, his skillful hands had adorned me with the exact look I had requested.

It really, really suited me.

I returned to the same salon about four months later and there was no trace of him. Thus was born my overreaching some might say Freudian longing for a stylist that I could both admire and trust.

The following lunchtime I showed up in the college canteen alive with the excitement and confidence that the new cut bestowed on me. Admiring glances and smiles of approval greeted me as I passaged through to our corner in the back. I did that thing: you know the rom-com move where  someone clasps their hands over their beloved’s eyes and then reveals themselves to heightened surprise. The initial look on his face said he didn’t recognise me, then came the the blunt truth that he delivered with Hemingwayesque  succinctness

“I don’t think I fancy you any more”

It was a surprise alright.

We managed to work through it with the employment of many a tight jumper and short skirt. Evidently these made up a little for the loss of my flowing feminine tresses. We broke up 6 months later when my commitment started to flag. Time and experience proved he was not the one.

On numerous occasions since I have cut my hair short  but the awareness has remained. The path of the short haired woman is a great but occasionally daunting one.

Second Hand Rose

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I had to photograph Aimee as she possessed such an exquisite femininity and old world beauty. Here she stands in her workplace The Vintage Emporium, Brick Lane. London.

I still frequent thrift stores but did so more in the past for many reasons. The trickle down economy may be a myth in the larger sense but its a fact for the second hand shopper. I made hay while the sun was shining which I would would say peaked in 2009. Thankfully I bought enough to last me several years and much of it I sold on.

I bought a lot of beautiful things as I had sense it would not last and I was right. Nowadays charity shops are filled for the most part with rows upon rows of de-tagged Penny’s and New Look fodder. I still come across the occasional gem and I keep my hunting instincts sharp by only making a purchase when my need is great.

The Thrill of Thrift.

Thrift shops include flea markets, charity shops, second-hand or vintage outlets. Thrift shopping is something I have a real talent for, it can not be denied! A woman said to me recently

you won’t be lucky to find something as nice as that in a hurry

referring to my snazzy sneakers. I guess not everyone is lucky in that way so I did not share the words of the voice in my head that said I find beautiful things for next to nothing all the time.

To get things rolling I shall start with a possible all-time favourite and aforementioned marvel; my ghetto fabulous, endorphin stimulating, pan-generational Cameo pants. Since unearthing these extraordinary leggings in a basket at the hugely popular Dublin Flea Market some two years ago I have received an endless channel of compliments, comments and enquiries all of a most positive nature. Last Thursday for example they were appreciated by two members of the fairer sex: one a pensioner the other a two-year-old.5706765756_39cf5eef6a_b

These could be the love of my life or at least a major affair and I can envision the day when I’ll recall them wistfully to myself. Either that or they go the distance and I am prancing about a la Westwood in them at seventy.

It is rare for me to get such mileage out of a piece of clothing and there are likely be many more words on the subject because as Michael Jackson quite rightly pointed out back in 1980, love needs expression.

Amphibious Dressing, The Hot New Trend for Summer 2012.

Exciting Evolutionary Advances in Summer Dressing.

I wrote this back in 2012 and think it is more than worthy of a post here. 5706765962_b9a4ccbb79_b

A new species of fashion elite has emerged from the swampy summer wilderness. Fluctuating conditions in the atmosphere have seen an evolutionary development causing experts and enthusiasts to flap wildly in their hothouses grasping frantically at headlines and theories to explain the development.
Rare sightings of the female fabulousia (bold and brave fashionistas renowned for their remarkable adaptability and striking appearance) have been reported sporting a hybrid of water and land apparel. Swimsuits have moved away from the shores and rooftop pools and have been cropping up in all kinds of unlikely environments. It seems the comfort and flexibility of a one piece bathing costume is now being celebrated on dry land in a manner experts never anticipated. A Spandex-clad torso provides the wearer with a form-fitting base enabling her to navigate the sartorial summer terrain with stealth and confidence. The swimsuit’s team playing amphibious attributes solves all manner of dressing dilemmas while providing a flattering bodycon silhouette that is advantageous in almost any situation.
Specialists are labeling the trend as Amphab.Teeming the bathing suit with non-beachwear has resulted in a contemporary aesthetic that is relaxed and athletic. I am in love with the contrasting textures of this ultra modern look. The return of the one-piece bathing suit is already big news this summer and it fits in beautifully with the seventies aesthetic.

The multi tasking nature of this look means it works equally well at night or during the day.  Rolled up blazer sleeves, high-waisted slacks and water friendly jelly sandals will ensure you don’t slip up in daylight!  Nocturnal fans can add a slinky tuxedo jacket, some gold bangles and wedge heels.