Styleaholica

This is How I Procrastinate.

Posted in london calling by bluewellesleyblue on November 8, 2008

Though I managed to do a little bit of academic work today while sipping on yet another Gingerbread Latte, I spent most of my afternoon ogling planners for the year 2009. Due to severe sophomore slump for the first part of the year, I’m admittedly more than a little ready to put 2008 behind me, though my summer ended up being low-key but productive and study abroad here in London has been eye-opening. The only sad part of rushing through the last two months of 2008 would be leaving London, but I think I’m finding that one semester away from the land of Wellesley is enough. I’ll miss my wonderful, lively, and diverse group of flat-mates, but I’m also re-energized and fully prepared to take the year 2009 by storm. Anyway, I’m the type of person who needs to write out and plan everything, hence my fondness for planners. I ended up splurging a bit on a day-by-day planner even though I wasn’t able to effectively use one in the past. I’m hoping it’ll inspire me to be intense enough to fill most of its pages.

butterfly-diaryI ended up buying a very plainly designed one though there were many classy and colorful ones available at the local bookstore. The Paperchase line from borders offers a lot of cover options, and both their weekly planners and day ones are quite nice. I really liked this weekly planner with a sort of Asian-inspired embroidered butterfly print.

Ultimately, though I went with the slightly hefty Moleskine day planner. My attachment to the cult of Moleskine grows every time I need to buy a notebook. Admittedly, it was a bit pricey – I paid 15.50 GBP which is a bit more than the Paperchase equivalents were going for – but it sure feels as if you get what you pay for when you write in any Moleskine. Since the planner starts with January 1, 2009, I won’t be using it much yet, but I’ve been happily filling in next year’s vacation days, reading period start and end times, and so on so forth. All of this is so that I can procrastinate just a little bit more.

But hey, I deserve it. It’s reading week, which still kind of counts as a vacation.

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Shopping in London Part 1.

Posted in london calling by bluewellesleyblue on October 31, 2008

Its Part 1 because it is almost inevitable that there will be a Part 2, whether I post on it or not. For the most part, I’ve kept my indulgences to the weekly espresso-based beverage, but eventually I won’t be able to resist something at Uniqlo or H&M. Or maybe I’ll get a really loud and colorful corset at Primark for costume-ing purposes. There is a certain moderately notorious Wellesley social event that demands such attire, after all.

Bag from New Look, Blue chain headband from Accessorize, Everything else from Markets.

I’m leaving out the clothes because all of those are from places that are hardly London exclusives by any stretch of the imagination. Granted, pashminas and little paisley scarves are available everywhere, as is the cheap-y jewelry that gives me hives if I’m not careful. The bracelet suffers from the natural consequence of “you get what you pay for” and costing a fair bit less than one quid. The necklace can be worn with turtlenecks.

Oh, and New Look is an European high street chain that has pricing a bit below the USD equivalent of Forever 21. I have very mixed feelings about the clothes and accessories there, but for very simple basics, it works out well. I kind of violated my personal “all bags must be worthy, rare splurges” rule, but I needed a small bag for my tourist excursions.

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My Not-so-Lazy Longchamp Sunday.

Posted in london calling by bluewellesleyblue on October 26, 2008

I’ve mentioned my fondness for the Longchamp Le Pliage large totes before. Yes, they are so common on my home campus and amongst the young women of the greater Boston area as to be a cliche. Yes, the only reason why they aren’t as common in central London seems to be because they’re considered to be nothing better than a glorified and pricey grocery bag. Seriously, I was waiting in line at a Waitrose supermarket – an upper end supermarket chain here – only to see the well-dressed lady in front of me pull one out from her purse for her groceries. Still, two years after first meeting the Longchamp Le Pliage tote on many of my college classmates’ arms, I still haven’t been able to shake my vague desire for one. It’s just so elegant in it’s simplicity. If only it weren’t an $150.00 nylon bag. But today, I took the plunge and picked one up – legitimately – for 58 GBP. With the current exchange rate, that’s roughly $92.

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Come With me to Camden…

Posted in london calling by bluewellesleyblue on October 10, 2008

Just one part of the immense Camden markets. Photo from livejournal.

I have the day off on Fridays so I headed off to Camden because I’d heard good things about the market there. It’s definitely one of the major tourist attractions in the London area, and for pretty good reason. There are tons and tons of stalls selling clothes, jewelry, and decorative items. A lot of the fashion here tends toward the alternative, with many stalls and stores dedicated to gothic, elegant gothic lolita, ethnic clothes, and rave clothhes. It is a bit of a tourist trap: most of the stalls with more conventional clothing offer the same selection of fairly overpriced tops and dresses that would be at home in a Taiwanese night market selling for much lower prices.

Still, the whole area is quite a sight to behold, and there are a lot of independent, local jewelry designers and quirky shops that are unique and very much worth a visit, though it takes some searching. There are a few vintage stores here, but in keeping with the ethos of a major tourist area, the prices are nothing to sneeze at and the goods are not that interesting.

I’ll do a post later with my recent purchases.

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Accessorize!

Posted in london calling by bluewellesleyblue on September 24, 2008

Since classes have yet to start, I went over to the Oxford Circus shopping area yesterday. Supposedly, Oxford Street is the busiest shopping avenue in Europe, and I can believe it! There are more than four major department stores in the area, though I didn’t step into a single one since I knew that there would be precious little I could afford. Between the shops and the way everyone here seems to be so effortlessly stylish, I’ve been especially interested in updating my accessory collection.

Very Blair-like hair accessories!

One store I really like so far – though I don’t know for sure if it’s considered a decently priced area to buy fashion jewelry and headbands – is Accessorize. When I translate the prices into a rough estimate of USD (by doubling the price in GBP), I find that their things are decently priced, though I’ve kept from buying anything because I feel as if similar things would be cheaper in the US.

I don’t think I’ll end up buying any of the hair accessories since I already have too many. I will most likely give in to my shopping urges when it comes to cocktail rings. I’ve been intrigued for quite some time by the idea of a large, chunky, maybe slightly over-the-top ring to be worn with my casual outfits. I was especially charmed by the ring at the left when I tried it on at the store. My suite-mates who are from the UK assure me that street markets are much better places to find some things like scarves and some jewelry, so I’ll try to look elsewhere before I go back to this particular store.

London Time!

Posted in london calling by bluewellesleyblue on September 20, 2008

I arrived yesterday morning local time – it is now 3 AM, I’m a touch jetlagged – and have settled in a bit at my dorm for the fall term. They don’t have doubles here, at all, and in my building, all of the single rooms have small bathrooms included. So far, it actually doesn’t feel that different though the city streets here in central London are set up slightly differently and the stores are different. It’s not until I focus on the noise of the crowds that I realize I am definitely a foreigner here.

Some little details I’ve noticed:

1. They do not seem to wear flip flops here, even on a very sunny and warm day like yesterday. I’ll probably wear mine anyway, if the weather permits. Still, I was looking around while walking a couple of blocks looking for a Marks and Spencer to grab a cheap set of bed linens, and I did not see a single pair of flip-flop-wearing feet the whole time.

2. They have Uniqlos everywhere! I saw three within two or three blocks near Oxford Circus, which I gather is a fairly prominent shopping area here? With the exchange rate, the pricing is not quite as exciting as it is for people shopping at the Uniqlo in New York. Still, I thought it was interesting that they have so many. I hope they eventually come to the Boston area.

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Blog Spotlight: Those Stylish, Sassy Brits.

Posted in london calling by bluewellesleyblue on August 23, 2008

As my semester abroad draws closer, I’ve been on the lookout for good fashion blogs based in the UK that also appeal to my sense of style. I’ll admit to not being very familiar with the foreign blogging scene in general. As of right now, I’ve only been reading a tiny handful of British fashion blogs, one of which is so well-known that I’m certain everyone else interested in fashion blogging has already encountered it! If anyone has any recommendations for British fashion blogs, I would love to hear it.

That ultra-popular, and rightfully so, blog would be the one and only Stylebubble. Susie Bubble always puts together very exciting, original outfits and writes on inspirational though less well-known designers. I adore all of the pictures she posts, and even if her style is a lot more original and edgy than mine, she come up with a lot of things that appeal to my more conventional sense of style. One of my favorite posts of hers is this one, where she has put together some creatively re-imagined school “uniform” ensembles a la Gossip Girl.

One of the only other UK fashion blogs I now frequent is Kirsty’s That’s Just my Vibe, based in London. Her outfits seem deceptively simple at first glance, tending towards a lot of black and gray lately, but hey, those are some of my favorite colors in clothes and they work for everyone. I really like her sense of style, and could easily look to some of her outfits for inspiration. She also writes a lot of very introspective posts on how she views and relates to fashion (as does Susie Bubble and well, most other fashion blogs I count amongst my top favorites), and those are always very interesting to read as well.

I would love to hear if anyone else has any suggestions for UK-based fashion blogs, so I can get an early start on fashion inspiration derived from my study abroad!

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