Candy Cane Stripes

I know what you're thinking and I'm sorry but yes this is another post about stripes. However stay with me because these stripes are a little different from my beloved usual navy and cream combination, these stripes are in a plethora of colours and well, for want of a better word, they are just a little bit jazzy!

Striped Knit with Matching Neck Scarf- ASOS
As Above- ASOS
So awash the seventies trend sweeping the high street and pages of most magazines at the moment, there has also come with it the seventies spin on the stripe using a rainbow of colours. In bright or contrasting combinations (albeit sometimes a little garish, but we're OK with that because seventies pretty much invented garish) and with just a hint of glitter here and there... Think disco fever meets the jumper your Nan knitted you for Christmas. And the majority are knitted, which I love. Who ever invited glittered wool was a great man/woman and I thank you. May our jumpers forever sparkle like Ariel's dress at the end of "The Little Mermaid" (yes I did just reference a Disney princess, no I am not a basic bitch).

The inspiration for me is as vast as the colour coordination's used. For one, I love the glam rock, kinda tacky and ostentatious vibe of it. There's bright, clashing colours which speak for themselves and stand on their own in an outfit, all you need as good pair of skinny jeans and ankle, block heeled boot and you're channeling The Rolling Stones all the way and what could be more glam then that?

But then there's combinations of really soft, girly colours in sun bleached tones like peaches, mustards and blues that has a seventies, dreamy sundazed California vibe to it. I particularly love this "California Dreamin" sweater from Stoned Immaculate. Wear whilst listening to The Beach Boys, with your scruffiest pair of Converse high tops and a skateboard in hand (Beach Boys and Skateboard optional).

"California Dreamin" Sweater- Stoned Immaculate

 I'm in love with the stripes used in Gucci's Cruise'16 collection, lavish purple and green tones good enough to print on a sweet wrapper. And using bell sleeves and midi length skirts to give the overall look a more elegant, sophisticated feel. I have this photograph of my mum in the early 80's which for me encapsulates what I love about this trend, just like the Gucci collection she's wearing candy coloured bold stripes in a feminine midi cut dress and unbeknownst to her the outfit just looks so aesthetically pleasing next to her surroundings. A retro style front door and wooden window frames painted in cream and sky blue, on a typically English red brick terraced house, stood beside a bright pink kitsch climbing rose. Today that set up would make the perfect fashion shoot. It's a mixture of colours which don't work on paper but put together correctly have a nostalgic, dreamy feel which just makes you smile.

Both Pictures Above- Gucci Cruise'16
My Mum killing it in 1981
I feel like I'm rambling now. You get the idea. There are no rules to the colour combination and they can be as girly or boyish/ glam or laid back as you like. Here's a couple of my favourites around at the minute and how I wore them... Oh word of caution- Glittery knitwear is itchy, no exceptions, it's itchy. But that's a small price to pay for being sparkly.
Sophia X

Striped Turtle Neck Knit- Zara
Striped Knit- Zara
Cord Pinafore- Topshop Boutique
Striped T-Shirt- Zara
T-Shirt- Zara
Denim Dress- Topshop
Striped Knit- Urban Outfitters
Beret- Next
Knit- Urban Outfitters
Cord Dungarees- Primark
Glitter Knit- ASOS
Cord Skirt- Urban Outfitters or similar in Topshop

The New Favourite Blouse

I've mentioned in previous posts my recent struggles with roll necks. Don't get me wrong, I love them dearly however for a start they are not practical in summer unless you're going for the red faced, melting make up, going to pass out any second from over heating, dear god get this thing off me sort of look. And a bit like jeans I find they can be a safe bet, they're that item of clothing you know can be a quick fix to an outfit. Not sure what to wear under a pinafore? Or with an a-line mini? I know why not stick to the same old formula as always and add a roll neck. The roll neck and mini combination is in every shop at the minute. It's been done and personally I was starting to get a bit bored with it. Enter the Victorian blouse. Quite possibly my favourite discovery this year! Discovery is probably the wrong word, the Victorian blouse is a pretty timeless classic worn by Jane Birkin and Francoise Hardy countless times in the sixties and it has always been a favourite of mine. However up until recently it's been difficult to find a suitable one unless you were prepared to trawl through eBay endlessly, praying the perfect vintage Laura Ashley Victorian blouse of dreams would show up and for less then £50 (never happened, if you want a good one you have to be prepared to dish out the cash). But this year someone finally heard my prayers and there's been Victorian blouse a-plenty on the high street. 

It's such a nice little break away from your every day samey shirt or a standard roll neck. It's usually high necked (like my good friend the turtle neck), collarless and buttons at the back not the front, making it clean cut and perfect for under a pinafore because its not too fussy or messy. But then on the other hand it can also be dainty, feminine and sometimes on the frilly side with embroidered or pin-tuck detailing, so it can be worn tucked into a skirt or trousers as the focal point of your outfit. Am I making sense here? If not please see the below photos of how I wore mine this summer. 

Pin Tuck Victorian Blouse- Topshop
Denim Skirt- AC for AG Jeans
Crochet Detailed Blouse- Zara
Denim Playsuit- New Look
Crochet Detailed Blouse- Zara
Floral Skirt- Vintage

I recommend taking a trip to Zara as they seem to have got the Victorian blouse down to a fine art and have managed to make their blouses ruffley and frilly enough without looking garish or cheap using crochets and Broderie Anglais. Dahlia is another label doing this kind of blouse proud at the moment, keeping them feminine and dainty in sheer or lace materials with embroidered patterns. I've got my eye on this Dahlia number, aptly named the Hayley Victoriana blouse... Santa Claus take note please. 

Hayley Victoriana Blouse- Dahlia

This kind of blouse also works really well in winter. Maybe not in the day, because it's way too cold and it's time to welcome back knitted roll necks with open arms. But for a night time look, a Victorian style blouse is a nice addition to your outfit. One of my favourites is this ruffled Zara blouse with smock detailing on the neck and cuffs. It's got a seventies, slightly over flamboyant kind of look to it which I'm in love with! I've been wearing it with either a vintage black velvet a-line mini oooor most recently the Topshop forest green treat pictured below. Any jewel coloured velvet and you will pretty much always have my attention, I just think colours look so much more vivid and rich when done in velvet. This particular shade of deep green, along with the matching belt (comes with the skirt, hooray!) give the skirt a retro feel which helps carry through the seventies/vintage (admittedly slightly Austin Powers) style of the blouse, so you'll never look more ready to party like its 1979 or 1899 or 1999... 
Sophia x
Sheer Smocked Blouse- Zara TRF
Velvet A Line Skirt- Topshop
Blouse- Zara
Velvet Mini Skirt- Vintage

Double Deniming

My outfit of the day consists of doubling up your denim! Eek! A combination of denim jeans and a denim shirt feared by many but loved by a few and I am definitely included in that minority. As a self confessed fan of dressing like a boy this look is right up my street. Yes ok, there is the small risk of looking like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake circa 2001 if you get it wrong BUT if you get it right it can work so well! Super effortless, a little boyish and a tiny bit chic (eurgh I've already used that word in a post before and I hate it! It sounds so naff! But it fits in with the point I'm trying to make so just try and over look the naffness for now please)!

As per pretty much every single one of my outfits and I'm so sure you're probably sick of hearing it by now, this look is vintage gold inspired by the seventies love of all things indigo wash denim. So sorry because I'm about to fan girl on you here but my biggest inspiration with this look and my whole wardrobe in general if I'm being perfectly honest is The Beatles. In particular we're talking say... late sixties kinda Abbey Road era when they'd stopped caring about a wholesome image and their styling seemed more relaxed, casual and a little more cool. And maybe even solo career John Lennon era where the vibe was Americana with denim jackets, denim flares and a white tee. They worked it well and if it's good enough for George to wear on the front of the Abbey Roads album cover then it's good enough for me.

To do this look right I wore a classic cut denim shirt in quite a masculine loose fit with a pair of high waisted vintage look jeans. The loose shirt gives the outfit it's boyish charm whilst the high waist of the jeans gives it a bit of femininity, I'd recommend the Topshop Mom jeans which are super high rise and taper down at the ankle. Try and go for denims in the shirt and jeans which are around the same shade as each other not exact but similar, extreme stone washed teamed with dark indigo is not a good look (unless of course as mentioned previously, you're named Justin or Britney and its 2001). I chose to wear a thick belt from ASOS with a western style buckle, nothing to fancy just something to separate the two pieces of clothing and help me avoid looking like I'm wearing a denim all in one. I wore my hair undone, admittedly this is partly because I'm lazy but also partly because I felt wearing curled hair or an up do and I'd be one small step away from sporting white cowboy boots and joining a rodeo. To finish off I wore my all time favourite, never ever failed me before coral lipstick from Mac called See Sheer just to give my outfit a more modern feel. If I was super brave I'd have gone for a baker boy hat also for a true George Harrison-esque vibe, but I'm happy taking baby steps for now. Hope you like. 

Sophia X

Shirt- ASOS
Belt- ASOS
Jeans- Topshop
Details from ASOS

Pick (n Mix) Of My Week

This week I've fully taken on board the most wise of words "treat yourself" and rolled with them. Debatably maybe a little too much but in my defense there are so many amazing pieces out there on the high street this season and I'm only human. There's only so much self restraint I can have before enough is enough and I just have to have it all! Yes ok I probably can't have a social life for the rest of the month but at least I'll be dressed well whilst I sit at home watching Netflix and eating baked beans on toast for the sixth night in a row...

Money woes aside, I have three pretty amazing buys to share with you. All sixties inspired, sorry to keep beating you over the head with sixties trends but you cant really escape it in shops at the minute and also, hey why break a habit of a life time?

Dress- Moto At Topshop
Jersey Shirt- Urban Outfitters
Skirt- Zara
Firstly I've got to talk about this Zara skirt! What an absolute dream! It's made from a pin cord fabric and comes with detachable braces so should you prefer, you can wear it more as a pinafore. I personally feel like the skirt itself is a statement enough without making the outfit even more fussy with extra straps. The colours on this skirt are just perfect! Deep green and mustard were pretty much made for each other and are easily worn with a whole host of other rich and rusty tones which should make deciding on a top to match easy work! The print itself could be mistaken for genuine vintage, inspired by prints from sixties fashion labels like Biba and with a slight William Morris kinda vibe to it. There's quite a few sixties skirt options out there on the high street but this is definitely my favourite so far! Aaaaand at £19.99, they are practically giving it away.

Yummy Skirt- Zara

This photo and the one above- Twiggy in Biba
George Harrison in William Morris print
Next on my pick list is this burgundy, thick cord pinafore dress from Moto at Topshop. I have to hold my hands up now and admit I needed another cord dress like I needed a hole in the head, however for me this is the best one yet! It's got a zip fastening up the front which looks like you could have bought it straight out of Mary Quants boutique Bazaar back in 1964. What I really love about this dress is the belt around the waist, another sixties inspired detail but also really flattering! I'm just going to put this out there, I love cord pinafores but sometimes they can look a tiny bit like you're wearing a sack and aren't exactly complimenting, this dress however is the complete opposite. The belt squeezes you in at your waist and gives things a slightly more dressy take on the usual cord pinafore. Team it with a roll neck in the day and a printed shirt in the night, it will work and you'll be happy with your investment. See how I wore it this week below!

Cord Dress- Moto at Topshop
Mary Quant in her Icon Zip Dress- 1964
Dress- Moto at Topshop
Paisley shirt- Urban Outfitters
My last pick is this jersey shirt in mustard from Urban Outfitters, also available in burgundy it was a tough call deciding between the two colours. It's a great addition to any outfit and can be mixed with my other two picks no problem. Great for wearing under a dress or tucked into a skirt. It's still got that sixties feel but it just gives you a break from a roll neck, I love roll necks but sometimes I think they are an easy choice and you can find yourself stuck in a rut with them. This just makes a nice change and who can argue that! 

Shirt- Urban Outfitters
So there you have my three treats of the week! Hope you've enjoyed and hope I've encouraged you to go shop like me (if just to make me feel less bad about my spending overload, sorry in advance). 
Sophia x

My Autumn In Pictures

I have a bunch of photos I've taken over the last two or three months which I thought I'd put together in one post, sort of like a mini photo diary. The photos are all just the little things that inspire me, make me happy and kind of sum up what I've loved from the last few months. The majority are just taken around Manchester and are some of my favourite details from around the city... Oh and there's a little bit of Belgium and Holland thrown in there too! Hope you like. X

Ever since I was a little girl I've always loved this little alley way leading to King Street in Manchester, a little more rough around the edges these days but those umbrellas always make me smile.

Restaurants on King Street are my always a treat to visit! A lot of them have kept the original features from when they were once banks and they are b-e-autiful. I would happily wear the glass roof in Zizi's as a dress pattern. The photo in Jamie's Italian is one of my favourites. Partly because it features one of my favourite people, my boyfriend Joe and partly because the ceilings in there are a dream! The colour scheme reminds me of a Wes Anderson film, sweet pinks and powder blues. It's a yes from me.

I've already featured this photo in a post but I adore it because it perfectly sums up Salford in Autumn. The only time of year the city looks vibrant (sorry Salford, I love you but sometimes you just aren't kind on the eyes).

Northern Quarter buildings. They're underrated. In particular these stain glass windows along Dale Street. 

This for me was a pretty unreal photo to take. It's my boyfriends gig at Ritz Manchester. The crowd were totally amazing and I don't think I've ever felt so humbled, proud and overwhelmed all at once. Super happy memory. 

Bonfire night at Brabyns Park in Marple! One of my favourite times of year, in one of my favourite places. Marple is my home town, so it's always super nostalgic to go back there and I don't do it enough. I had my sheepskin mitts on and a hot apple cider in my hands, I was in absolute heaven. 

The train from Amsterdam to Antwerp. What. A. Dream. It was like walking into the seventies. Red and yellow walls and burnt orange seats, again the retro vibes on this train completely reminded me of a Wes Anderson set up. Why oh why aren't the trains in England more like this? 

Amsterdam, lovely Amsterdam aren't you a pretty little thing! I wasn't there long but I adored it. The squashed up houses brought to mind battenburg cake, tiny squares in pastel colours. My number one favourite was the marzipan looking building in my last photo. Totally inspiring!