I think it is a fair assumption to make that none of us are putting much thought into our outfit choices right now. If we don’t need to put on trousers for a zoom meeting, what’s the point of even changing out of our pyjamas? Comfort is more important than style in my day to day, but I have started to miss creating an ensemble, of putting more than 3 seconds of thought into what I’m going to put on in the morning, and honestly – I’m bored.
So yesterday, instead of donning my usual leggings and worn t-shirt, I decided to play dress-up.
Alongside my trusty straight-leg jeans – which are admittedly pretty comfortable – I pulled on a white ruffle shirt that Cher Horowitz would be proud of for a Clueless inspired outfit.
I found the shirt in the weeks pre-lockdown at a vintage kilo sale, and so obviously haven’t had chance, or reason, to wear it since. It is a vintage Ralph Lauren number, and despite it being too big for me, it was too dramatic a piece for me to pass up – and coming in at around £3, I would have been mad to leave it hanging on the rail!
It’s nineties-esque sleeves have been staring at me ever since, and so armed with a new camera that I still needed to learn how to use, I took a few very posed photos (read – over 500…) whilst ‘working from home’.
I had a lot of fun just playing around with my camera, and I am really happy with how the photos came out. This whole exercise just reminded me why I love clothes, and putting a bit of extra effort in to what I wear, as well as why I purchased this camera to begin with – to take some nice pictures!
So expect more of this going forward, because I’m fed up of pyjamas!
Today Réalisation Par released a limited edition collection in collaboration with Sir Elton John – which is possibly one of the most random partnerships I have ever come across – and naturally I had a little peruse of their site to see what’s what, and pick out my favourite pieces.
A graphic tee is always a sure fire winner in my opinion, and this Pegasus adorned baby t-shirt is sure to be the big sell out in my opinion. For one thing, it is the cheapest item of clothing on offer (if one can call £65 cheap…), but it is also the most versatile piece in that this can fit into anyone’s wardrobe. It looks very vintage inspired with its slightly snug fit, and whilst the print is loud, it feels far more relaxed on a white t-shirt rather than the dress with a similar motif. I think this would look great paired with the electric blue Jets skirt – that colour is everything I was expecting from this collection when it was announced, to me this is the colour of Elton John!
The Tiny Dancer dress (fabulous name) is the late 90s in a piece of clothing – the colour, the jacquard, and the spaghetti straps! Whilst this is one of the subtler pieces, it is so very pretty, and is the item calling me the most right now. Just imagine it with the Hercules t-shirt (or another graphic tee of your choosing) styled down for the day, and then glamming it up in the evening with strappy heels and a bag so small you can’t even fit your phone in… It is heavenly! Speaking of heavenly, this cherubic cloud print Amoreena dress is also incredibly whimsical and romantic with its mix of light blues, bell sleeves and button up front. Judging by the fact that most of the sizes appear to be sold out now, this one has clearly been favoured!
The snow leopard printed Little Jeanie dress is another more subtle piece that caught my eye. The pared down animal print looks very rock n roll, and I can imagine it looks great worn with an oversized leather jacket and Doc Martins, contrasting perfectly with the floaty silhouette. Finally, the Honkey Chateau scarf is the perfect 70s inspired piece for this collection. The embroidery is beautiful, and I love that it can be worn as a scarf or a belt – multipurpose pieces always pull me in!
Overall, I have to say this collection is a lot tamer than I expected, and whilst I really like a lot of the pieces, not many of them scream Elton John to me. I wish there was more of that vivid blue throughout, and that there were some new shapes and silhouettes used rather than their pre-existing styles, but the items mentioned are definitely tempting enough as is and I do think this is an exciting (if a bit bizarre) collaboration overall!
“Anything worth living for,” said Nately,
“is worth dying for.”
“And anything worth dying for,” answered the sacrilegious old man, “is certainly worth living for.”
(I definitely thought I had pressed publish on this months ago…) We’ve reached the final day of this shoulda-been-on-Facebook-but-I-wanted-to-waffle-on-here-instead book thing, and clearly, it took a while to collate my thoughts on this one. So, for my final book I wanted to share my favourite novel of all time, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. Having re-read this novel at least five times, it never fails to impress me; in fact, I find each re-read more rewarding. So you can imagine my excitement when the miniseries recently came out, and if you’ve also read this book, my crushing disappointment with the adaptation once it was finished. So rather than gush about this novel, I want to have a little chat about why the series didn’t work for me.
Set on a fictional Italian island during the Second World War, Catch-22 follows Captain Yossarian, a US Bombardier who is desperate to get out of the war. Whilst Yossarian is the focal character, the novel also details the lives of the men in his regiment, focusing on a different character each chapter. There are so many that it would have been impossible for the show to focus on each of them individually, so it largely focuses on Yossarian, with characters popping up briefly at the beginning of an episode, acting quirky in the middle, and then at the end they die. That is literally the plot of every episode from the mini-series, and it is ultimately the biggest problem I had with it, because other than it just being incredibly repetitive and predictable, it fails to understand one of the fundamental themes of the novel (in my opinion – obviously!)
I chose the quote at the top of this post for a reason. It is from a conversation Nately has in the novel, being one of the younger airmen on the base he is headstrong and proud and stupidly unafraid, even in the face of real danger. He is patriotic to a fault and continuously gets into arguments with an old Italian man who runs a brothel and who holds completely antithetical opinions to Nately. In this exchange they are arguing about the point (or pointlessness) of war, and why a country is (or isn’t) worth dying for. And here they reach a loggerhead. Nately declares anything worth living for would also be worth dying for, because that denotes its importance. But the old man disagrees, anything worth dying for is absolutely worth living for. Because life is important. Life is precious.
And that is the point of the novel. I can’t remember how half the characters die, honestly, outside of a few more memorable deaths. Heck, I didn’t even remember that Clevinger’s demise was in a disappearing plane! Because it was never more important than Clevinger himself, how principled he is and how utterly lacking in sense. I can’t remember how Nately dies, but I remember him as naïve, stupidly optimistic and hilariously smitten. In a story filled with instances where men in charge show completed disregard for the wellbeing of those under their command, viewing them as fodder to push them further up the ladder, viewing their worth in their deaths, it is hard not to read the long passages of back-and-forth conversation between two characters as important. To view their lives and opinions as important. To view them as important.
And that is what the show missed, in diminishing these characters down into just their deaths. That their only contribution to this story is to die, and that the only way to remember them is in their death, rather than in their life. It feeds into the same thought process as the fictional Generals in the novel. The TV series was Nately, arguing that death is what makes one worthy, whilst the book knows it is to live, in spite of it all.
“It’s good, to be seen past, as if you’re not the only one, as if everything isn’t happening just to you. Because you’re not. And it isn’t.”
For the penultimate day, I thought I would share my favourite book written in this century, seeing as all my previous picks were published in the 20th Century (I love a modern classic, what can I say?) when my current reading habits are a little more modern. So today I wanted to chat about Ali Smith’s How to Be Both.
How to Be Both is a novel set in two parts, one following a teenager in the modern-day grieving the death of her mother, whilst the other is a fictional account of the life of renaissance painter Francesco del Cossa. The two don’t sound related at all, and really, the string tying them together is quite thin but there are commonalities enough between the two, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a favourite.
When I first read this novel I didn’t think of it as one of my favourite books of all time, but after putting it down I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was like it gnawed away at my conscious, which I think is pretty apt given the themes present throughout. George’s story (the teenager) in particular just wouldn’t leave me alone, the stark image of grief and teenagedom and sexual awakening just stuck with me – I kind of wish the whole novel was from her perspective, but I get why it isn’t. Cossa’s dreamlike exploration adds a (literal) otherworldly element, written without punctuation in a poetic style, which happens to be one of my literary weaknesses – give me all the experimentation, dammit!
Even now, years after reading it, my appreciation for it grows and grows and my mind continually wanders back to it. It is the ghost that won’t leave me alone…
“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!”
For my fifth pick I decided to choose my favourite childhood novel, which is of course, The Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkien
I’m sure I don’t need to summarise The Hobbit, even those who haven’t read it will probably at least be aware of its successor, Lord of the Rings – but on the off chance, the novel is about Bilbo Baggins of Bag End (who lives in a hole in the ground… you know how it goes) who gets drawn into a wild adventure by a wizard and some dwarves to defeat a gold-hoarding dragon. Cue lots of excitement, a little mystery and a couple of battles (including one of wits) – it is a fun romp.
I remember my Mum and I reading this together at bedtime when I was young – it is one of her favourites too – and being so mesmerised by the incredibly imaginative world of Tolkien. I used to re-read the ‘Riddles in the Dark’ chapter over and over again because I thought it was so clever – I truly cheered for Bilbo. I love the Lord of the Rings too, and obviously it has become a cultural phenomenon, but it is so different in tone to The Hobbit, more serious and grown-up. There is so much whimsy and wonder in the children’s classic, and I’ll always appreciate that.