Velvet Crush

Topshop’s Velvet Crush boutique is currently killing me softly. I’m always a sucker for a lush slick of velveteen, and the Deco-meets-grunge undertone of the collection is oh so Stevie Nicks (Lord knows I have a considerable thing for Fleetwood Mac,too).

Midnight blue velvet brothel creepers, velvet short shorts and ruby red lace ups? My very own Gypsy-era dream.

Mary Katrantzou x Topshop

I spied this epic collaboration between high street honey Topshop and the inimitable high priestess of print play, Mary Katrantzou, on Style Bubble this weekend and it was like a little hit of adrenalin.

The collection will consist of 10 pieces and will be released in February 2012, with frocks like this tulip-shaped belle retailing for £350 – pretty much as close as us civilians will ever come to caressing a Katrantzou.

Start stockpiling those pennies, ladies!

Gilded.

Desirable new beauties by local jewellery designer Oh Dear Megan. I like the balance between the delicate chain and the chunkier geometric pieces, as well as the play on symmetry and assymmetry. Available in silver and gold from Mungo & Jemima.

Mooi.

#21stCenturyGirl: Amber Jones

Here we go – the next installment of #21stCenturyGirl!

Meet Amber Jones (if you don’t already pore over her fabulous blog), another fashion-obsessed local with a leaning towards the digital and an accessories fiend after my own heart.

Read Amber’s lovely blog / Follow her on Twitter

Teddy Girl.

My penchant for mixing masculine and feminine styling recently led me to the so-called Teddy Boys; a subculture of rebellious young Britons that emerged in London in the 1950s as a form of post-war expression. The Teddy Boys or Teds, as they are sometimes referred to, married the stylistic dandyisms of the Edwardian period with strong ties to American rock ‘n roll. The Teds became the first group of youngsters in the history of England to differentiate themselves in this way, and as the movement gained popularity, it gave way to a lifestyle characterised by rival gangsterism, sharp dressing and music culture.

The Teddy Boy getup centered around the iconic drape jacket, often bedecked with velvet collars and pocket detailing, drainpipe trousers, exposed socks and skinny ties paired with gleaming Oxfords, chunky brogues or suede brothel creepers – the exact kind beloved by fashion forward culprits like Susie Bubble today. The Ted coif – the iconic duck’s tail – was another hallmark of the era, and this symbol of rock ‘n roll attitude remains the choice of dapper modern gentlemen today.

The girls, of course, were not to be left out. Teddy Girls, or Judies, as they are also known, worked the look in drape jackets, sleek pencil skirts, cuffed jeans, cameos, espadrilles and jaunty clutches. Their style later evolved to incorporate the American influence of full circle Pink Lady-style skirts, sassy ponytails and toreador trousers. Typically of working class descent, the Teddy Girls were factory workers who spent their time making their trademark clothes and rejecting the conventions set out for them by the time.

In the 70s, and again in the 80s, rockabilly music and a resurgence of Teddy Boy styles was fueled by the likes of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, who added a little more glam rock to the look. Ted revivalists continue to pay homage to the original trappings of the 1950s style, in some cases driving 1950s cars, wearing only 1950s clothes, and stockpiling 50s-era collectibles.

I find the Teddy Girl style particularly alluring. I love the unapologetic stylisation of the look, and the confident statement that the women that wore it were making. I find myself incorporating various aspects of the Teddy Girl and later rockabilly styles into my look – a letterman jacket here, a neck tie there, and of course, my perennial devotion to rockabilly staples: red lips and cat’s eyes.

Over the past year or so the influence of the Ted movement on street style has been marked – duck tail coifs, drainpipe pants, wingtips, creepers, neck ties and dandy styling are all visibly popular, from Seattle to Seoul.

As blogger Cartoon Heart observes in her Resort 2012 round up below, the Teddy Boy style holds as much influence over the masculine as it does over the feminine. With unisex footwear and clothing on the rise, and the irreverent mixing of traditionally gender-specific clothing items, it seems the Teddy Boy androgyny was way ahead of its time.

Fascinating to novelists, musicians and filmmakers since the movement first came about in the 1950s, Teddy Girls are still inspiring styling today. I love this aptly titled editorial, Teddy Girls, which was shot by Liz Ham and styled by Jolyon Mason for Oyster Magazine in 2010.

It’s modern and old all at once.

All vintage Teddy Girl images by Ken Russell

Old Faithful

In my first week at college they made us do all manner of awkward ‘icebreakers’ and get-to-know-each-other exercises. You know the kind: say your name and three things no one else knows about you, or even more cringeworthy, state your name and accompany it with an action that best illustrates your mood. So 90s.

One such exercise involved us each filling a shoebox with personal articles which would then be handed over to someone else in the group to deduce things about our personalities. This particular exercise actually had me interested – sure, you’re going to put in a couple of wanky things that make you look suitably cultured and interesting, but it really is telling to note the things that people want you to know about them.

The shoebox that I received contained a single, beaten up old trainer – scuffed, with worn down soles and fuzzy laces. What did it say about its owner, Johannes? That he was unpretentious, outdoorsy and not too concerned with fashion. ‘You got everything right,’ said Johannes, ‘but you missed one thing.‘ What was it? The fact that he is extremely loyal. He had been wearing the same pair of shoes for years and had no plans of swapping them for a new pair any time soon. I’ve never forgotten that.

My own old faithfuls, my suede Country Road ankle boots, have reached a similar stage of character building. I have officially worn through the sole of the right one, right down to the ground. The veneer on the heels has been superglued back into place, the buckle straps, I lovingly refurl into place on a regular basis. They’ve been to huge rock concerts, interviews, dinners, on dates and to festivals. I’ve worn them so smooth in the sole that I routinely avoid near-spills in public places. During winter I lusted after a pair of Chelsea boots which were to become their replacement, so I thought. Not the case. Now, just before their official first re-soling, they remain my first choice.

I feel proud to be so invested in my old faithfuls. I still routinely wear a pair of low-heeled leather Crayon wedges that I bought when I was 17, despite friends and family telling me to chuck them on a regular basis. I see a good, solid shoe as something that is hard to come by. When you find them, with a little love, care (and possibly, a sense of humour), they will last you a lifetime.

Bow Peep

I allowed my blue velvet bow tie its second debut (it will be worn many times, and each time will be known as a debut) to Woodlands Eatery for dinner on Saturday night.

The blue lushnesss was paired with a vintage polka dot shirt (which has the most unbelievable cut for a shirt: full in the sleeve, tight in the cuff, slim in the waist and sexy around the hips), cuffed indigo skinnies, bondage heels, my new soulmate bag and Show Orchid by MAC lips (a touching farewell gift from the amazing girls at 36Boutiques).

I look pretty smug in this photo – I blame it on the bow tie.