Best shirt dresses of the moment

THERE is an old expression and it goes something like “Another day, another shirt that buttons up to your neck and falls at your ankles.” So maybe it’s not that old (or valid) an expression. But it’s true. The shirt dress is, in my very humble opinion, one of the most brilliant pieces of clothing ever made. An entire outfit in one garment, it’s feminine, varying hugely in length, colour, cut, structure, material and style – with just enough hardness thrown in by an austere, stiff collar. It’s the kind of piece that kicks butt in a boardroom and works well on the street.

Now, in my never-ending quest to validate how much time I spend online window shopping, I’ve compiled a shirt dress edit. It’s by no means exhaustive, and you might not agree with all of my choices, but as far as I’m concerned, these are the best shirt dresses of the moment. Some are too pricey even for a payday splurge, and some are much more affordable, but all are very, very covetable. Get shirty, pals. I’m all about the expressions today.

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BRIGHT AND WHITE

 

0211167003_0_0

COS

MANGO

UNIQLO

ACNE

ASOS

ASOS

TOPSHOP.COM

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ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL

TOPSHOP

TOPSHOP

ASOS

 

KATRANTZOU

TOPSHOP BOUTIQUE

TOPSHOP

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IN THE PINK

ASOS

MODA OPERANDI

THE WHITEPEPPER

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THE MONO-DRAMATICS

0204639002_0_0

COS

McQUEEN

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BACK TO BLACK

THE WHITEPEPPER

THE WHITEPEPPER

MONKI

BELSTAFF

You’re Strange and beautiful

I take issue with the frequency with which the word obsession is thrown about in fashion circles. It’s ‘the new bag obsession’ and every beauty editor is ‘obsessed’ with Chanel’s latest military-coloured nail lacquer offering, or ‘we’re like, totally obsessed with’ Zooey Deschanel’s latest quirky girl comedy vehicle.

The fact is, very few people are genuinely obsessed with things or people. You can’t call a nail varnish in the middle of the night and breathe deeply into the phone, while it cries on the other end and demands to know who you are, and you can’t sit across the road from a Mulberry Alexa’s home with a telescopic lense, night vision goggles and a scrapbook full of its pictures.

The reason I’m waxing about my distaste for the word is that I was nearly going to use it, in relation to one Miss Bonnie Strange. I may not be obsessed, but I can admit to a major fascination with the Deutsch-Modell and photographer extraordinaire.

Her style is very genuinely real, for one thing. Her clothes aren’t exactly high-fashion – her wardrobe is a mish-mash of H&M, vintage store Made in Berlin, second hand oddities and dress-up pieces. That hasn’t dissuaded her from inviting you to share in her ‘high-fashion’ life, however, and where the tags fall down, Bonnie lives up. The pointed vegetarian catalogues her escapades in a series of instagram-esque photos on her blog, both on her own and with moody, big-lipped boyfriend, Wilson Gonzalez. A seemingly inexhaustible stream of adrenaline keeps the girl going (along with cigarettes, alcohol, and some particularly foul-looking recipes involving chips, onions and ketchup) but she’s not ironic; on the contrary, she unapologetically flaunts what she loves, regardless of whether it can really be considered high-fashion or not. That said, she unquestionably has style.

One of the things she loves is hair dye. One of the lucky few as to be genetically predisposed towards beauty, Bonnie can look meek and sweet or ravenous and wild, with hair ranging from candy pink to sky blue, and always disarmingly pretty (I’m quite jealous of her suck-it-and-see attitude to dying her hair – it always works out for the best.)

You have to wonder at the veracity of her statements concerning her wild-partying lifestyle – one couldn’t look so fresh permanently and still be a dirty out-all-night, but maybe she’s managing it. And if she really is as positive, and has as much fun as she leads us to believe, then more power to her.

Legs eleven.

Jump into the cartoon

Tonight is the launch of the very fabulous Tabitha Magazine, produced with lots of love and elbow grease by some friends of mine, Louise and Una of Glamrocks. I’m just finished work, so I’m heading along now, hopefully you’ll be there, and if not you’ll be able to get your hands on a copy soon.

Unrelated, but here’s a strange idea from Jump From Paper – bags that look as if they were drawn. For the most part I’m not keen, but I’ve developed some pretty serious feelings for one particular bag – The Travel Bag.

It has a Mister Men solid look about it – it reminds me of shows like Angela Anaconda that I watched as a kid, and latterly, with enhanced production values, South Park. It has a very simple appeal, if that makes sense – a fundamental shape with precise lines – perhaps playing into the ‘graphics’ trend that’s supposedly all that and a bag of chips.

You could definitely fit a weekend’s necessities into it anyway.

Filmic delights

 

With the birth of broadband, fashion and style commentary changed completely, and so did style marketing. The internet is, for obvious reasons, a cheap, fast method of sending a marketing message to countless potential consumers.

It’s so easy to disseminate information using the internet, in fact, that any schmuck with a Facebook or Youtube account believes they can do it, and do. Some opportunistic types even model themselves as social media marketing experts, but deliver little more than teenager with a Twitter app.

And it’s simple really – if the message is going to be effective it needs to have the same careful design sensibilities it would traditionally have in a different medium. It needs, in fact, to be better. With a constant stream of imagery we’re used to being constantly amazed and wondering at the technological and photographic skills of people younger than us, more imaginative than us, in countries we rarely think about, if ever.

They’re not marketing professionals, nor are they ‘professional’ stylists, models, photographers — they don’t have any qualifications as such, but they’re turning out work of such beauty and mastery of the art that they’re far surpassing what established artists can. They’re convincing and make you want more in a way that doesn’t seem intentional. It’s not even experiential marketing. It’s just a pleasing experience.

It’s really refreshing then when a company doesn’t go an entirely commercial route in promoting their clothing and produces something much more akin to art, focusing on the aesthetic and the conceptual. It lends to the idea that you’re not just buying an item of clothing, but buying into certain ideas and philosophies. If you’re spending money you worked hard to earn then you don’t just want a jacket, or a pair of trousers — you want something that represents your personal style, and when you talk about style in personal terms, you’re talking about how you want to be perceived by the world.

This video is incredibly effective: It’s not just clothes, but a story, beautifully and imaginatively shot. Like a moving editorial in a lot of ways — in terms of scenery, setup and styling, as well as lighting and the shapes Kate Bosworth makes with her form. It represents more than clothing — it’s a lifestyle, a romance. (It’s certainly emotive and worth watching in fullscreen.)

LØV from Vanessa Bruno on Vimeo.

Then there’s something which again, looks at the clothes as more than just garments, but as a trip through a perverse and lonely suburbia. Harmony Korine was behind this particular sales video (or as Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCullough called it, sales deterrent) but it’s certainly another way of doing something similarly evocative in the same medium, but wholly different.

Parisian Style… in a book?

 

Ines de la Fressange former and recurrent Lagerfeld muse has only gone and written a book, hasn’t she? It’s about the concept of Parisian chic and is appropriately titled Parisian Chic, because if you can’t do imagination, you might as well do succinctness.

To be honest, I find this particular incarnation of “Parisan style” a little boring, especially if the preview (below) is anything to go by. I’ve always thought infallible Parisian fashion existed more in the mind of the kind of person who’d read Eat Pray Love and thinks a summer in Yorp comes with a pre-packaged tall dark stranger called Fabio, than on the backs of Parisian women. TRUE LIFE FACTS: If you wear heels all the time, you’ll get bunions and being thin, especially past your teens, is not a state in which every French woman permanently resides. Very thin women who tell you they eat like a horse are lying. Perhaps to themselves, to be true, but none the less, this concept of the starchy, snarky, wine, cigs and jambon-fuelled gamine is a little out of the average person’s reach. To all those natural Girls from Ipanema: maybe stay out of photos involving me. I am ja-louse.

Et maintenant, pour quelque-chose completement differente: la photo-hoarding.

 

Nefertiti/Ben Trovato

 

Hipster Spiderman

 

 New York pillows

 

Alexandra Sophie

 

Dima Hohlov

 

Shanay Hall by Seth Sabal for Fashion Gone Rogue

 

Diego Diaz Marin

 

 

Carlos Herrera

 

Don Draper Portrait 

 

 

Mia Wasikowska

 

Zac Steinic

 

Bicycle Poster

 

Guy Shields

 

Anna Higgie 

 

Relax

 

In the play room

 

 

Matta – Release The Freq from Kim Holm on Vimeo.

Have a laffly easter. I am off to overindulge.

Today in “Oh, well … That’s terrifying”.

We have The Sun’s eerie attempt at guessing (and giving odds) as to who will design Kate Middleton’s wedding dress. The coverage to this point has been bordering on obsessive (and yet here I am, throwing my two cents into the swirling vortex of dress frenzied nonsense) but the canny Sun coverage really takes the biscuit. Following much the same theme as (what I seem to remember as) Kate Hudson’s character in How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days photoshopping her and her partner’s faces together to create possible babies, the Sun has obviously extended the long arm of the Graphic Design Department in creating these Kate-Dress hybrids. Toyota Prius and eighties Jeff Goldblum, suck it.

Tip for gambling fans: My money’s on Libélula. This is one of those few times in life a retailer can look at their downed website and think “Yes, I’ve made it!” Even if she doesn’t wear a Libélula gown I’ve no doubt this will be the making of this frankly rather sedate brand.

I have joined Twitter. I follow more than I am followed, and as I’m new to the whole Twitter business and still faintly alarmed every time I successfully post something I believe this is something of a faux pas, or at the very least suggests you are not “cool”. Obviously my Twitter coolness is deeply, deeply important to my sense of self, so follow me here for regular updates about sandwiches I’ve eaten, sandwiches I’m thinking about eating, and sandwiches other people are eating on the bus as I wildly guess their exact ingredients in 140 characters or less.

Update: Michael McIntyre is now following me on Twitter. Holy God. Knock me over with a feather. Etc.

Things what I should not have bothered doing this weekend:

I saw Scream 4. It is a film making a point about horror films, within a film making a point about horror films, within a film naking a point about horror films which is based on  a previous trilogy of films making a point about horror films. Everyone dies and it’s one big babushka doll of crap. I did let out a few shrieks, amusing my companion no end but I maintain that they were released in horror at the death of cinema before my very eyes. Do not waste eleven euro seeing it. Instead, waste five euro on a Coffey’s Coffee, a new favourite cocktail my bartender brother made me this weekend in Café en Seine. If you like an entire dessert in a glass full of alcohol combined with a shot of espresso this is the drink for you. High as a kite, I was. Ask him either for his take on a Strawberry Daquiri. You can’t miss him, he’s the tallest man behind the bar. I’ve never felt such a rosy glow of familial pride.

I have been listening to:

A lot of 8-bit music. I could never claim to be a music snob but a friend of mine definitely is (apologies, dear) and he’s recently introduced me to the likes of Anamanaguchi and The Flashbulb, who are very worth a listen and inspiring of no small amount of Nintendo related nostalgia. Also, not quite 8-bit, but we went to a Bibio gig there last week, which has me relistening to a lot of Boards of Canada and my new cycling soundtrack is WHY? There’s nothing like being nearly killed on Dublin morning roads to the sounds of some very chill trip-hop.

<3:

Via Love Forever

 

All via Me Against Them (Warning: This site can throw up some gems, but can also be very, very NSFW)

Sachin Teng illustrations

 

Gemma Ahern’s apartment and beautiful wallpaper via Design Sponge

 

Austin Power, “Self-Portrait”, Oil on Canvas via Béhance

Ooh, afterthought. My friend linked me to this page: The Rules. Sometimes you see a film, or read a story set in a different era, or one that’s not a million light years from our own, and consider the plausability of the content. This is one of those times I can scarcely believe what the hell I’m reading. If (like I would imagine are most readers of Neil Strauss’s seminal stupid man bible) you are single, it is not because you pay your own half of dates, or answer the phone when you’re called. My personal favourite rule was “Don’t tell your therapist about the rules.” Firstly, the assumption that everyone has a therapist is pretty awful, and secondly, if someone is telling you not to inform the person who aids you in steering logically through life that you are following a set of stringent rules then you should reconsider why that might be.

 

But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing – without a woman or a girl

I can’t help but love male silhouettes. I’m a big fan of straight leg pants and suiting materials – tweed, crepe, fine wools, silk, satin. I often think I’d like to dress like Janelle Monae all of the time, but as the kind of person who could likely undergo ten years of hypnosis and retain the frightening ability to repeatedly hit the sleep button on my alarm clock while still unconscious, it seems to me like a lot of upkeep. That and Dublin stares are the kind that linger – people here are remarkably comfortable commenting on your appearance (generally on public transport). Like everything else, you’d probably get bored eventually.

So it’s NY Fashion Week (and has been for a few days now) – I feel like I ought to have been blogging properly, show by show (I’ve spent enough time perusing, in what one friend has previously called a “click marathon”) but I don’t think I would do it justice, and in terms of what I would like to write I have to take things like eating and sleeping into account. I’ll do a breakdown of my favourites at the end (because God knows my personal favourites are important, right?)

In the meantime, here are some lovely looks du male.

The Row RTW Fall 2011

 

Trias Fall 2011

 

Both above: Jason Wu Fall 2011 via Man Repeller

 

And now for something completely different:

 

I love socks. I love the bastards.

 

 

Anna Selezna lensed by David Vasiljevic for Numéro Tokyo (March 2011)

I recently bought over-the-knee socks in Topshop, but my legs are too long and they only came as far as my knee. Such is the tragedy of my life.

This video is gorgeous, just beautifully shot – take a gander.

 

Lovely times

 

I haven’t updated in a while, but it’s like overdue library books- the longer you leave it, the less you want to go back because you just know that one particular librarian is waiting to pounce on you. This is a piece by Carty Sewill, c’est cool, n’est-ce pas? I’ve been very busy these past few weeks- so busy in fact that I haven’t had time to blog (although I seem to have had plenty of time to come up with more and more trying  jokes about how I’m neglecting my personal life) and I’ve been doing a lot of “winding down” (read: eating sandwiches in my my pyjamas), but I promise I shall post more.

Last I was speaking to you cats, I was heading off to Belfast, and it was every bit as delightful as you can imagine – I’ll post some pics of all the lovely items I bought here soon. In the meantime, let your beValentined eyes alight on these beauties.

 

Andrew Zuckerman

 

Via Touchpuppet

 

I also recently got mah hurr did. It now looks like this (and I promise I will post a before and after pic when I work out how to take a picture of myself without looking like a complete dork):

 

 

Obviously, I’m now also the spit of Keira Knightley. All proposals of marriage to my email please.

 

Okay, well that’s quite enough blathering for one evening. This however, is quite worth a look, so please do.

 

1 Billion Hungry

 

G’night, G’luck and G’Valentines.

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t work Fridays

And yet, it’s one of my busiest days, probably because that personal life I’ve been neglecting is coming back to bite me in the ass. Today, I needs must:

Ring my bank and yell at them.

Work via email, and completely chop up an article to make it work.

Ring the shop I bought my laptop in and yell at them ( I mean, excellent aftercare is great. I just wish my laptop didn’t need so much aftercare)

Plan and pack my bags for Belfast, where I’m going for the weekend with my friend, Grace.

Research and article planning.

Drink lots of Lemsip. I’m terribly fluey.

S’okay though. I don’t know how I managed it in college, but I could look at that list and think,”yeah, I’ll get that done before lunch, or if I don’t I’ll stay up all night, fueled by red bull and panic until it is done. Now all I think is, sigh, I’ll probably have to do exactly this again next Friday.

The weather’s getting a little better every day (although in saying that, I think we were back into minus temperatures again last night).I gave up drinking and smoking for my health (that old chestnut) and I keep saying I’ll go for a run (now that I can breathe), but the paths are legitimately icy at the moment. I need new running shoes too, but I hate the look of those breathable, horribly functional, ergonomic types. These however are quite nice:

Image via Stella McCartney for Adidas

 

I’ve to give blood today too (I haven’t in ages), but I thought I’d save that so I could post this very cute advertising

campaign.

 

Images via Santa Casa Hospital Campaign

 

 

You really can’t fault the Irish Blood Donation system though, they do a stellar job, and they’re so positive in all their information, encouragement and advertising.

Lastly, I thought I’d share this image. I suppose it doesn’t require much explanation because there’s actually very little explainable about it, but it appeals to me greatly for some reason.

 

 

 

Image via UFunk

 

 

The world is all a-flutter with the chatter of free love

Any road, seventies is back for Spring (there were mutters of this last year, but I have good feelings this time). I have my covetous eye on this simple maxi from Asos, and overall I’m pretty thrilled. I can’t imagine myself in bell bottoms, but I’ve long been a proponent of the high waisted variety of trousers, and a little bit of paisley worn in a style you wouldn’t associate with the pattern cuts that line between “trying very hard to be ironic” and sweet. And god knows you can’t beat some hideous wallpaper patterns paired with simple socks and brogues, and pared down accessories.

Image via Asos

And for a heel and a half, Topshop’s got some fantastic styles.

 

Via Topshop

I have a fiendish plan however, to dye my hair grey. Well, not dye it myself, but regardless of who’s involved, I’m going grey, baybay, and I can’t envision the wintery trend so befitting of last season’s snow and ice to work well with Spring’s hazy hues. Sher we’ll see.