Saturday, 31 August 2013

"Hacking to the gate"

Necklace: Clothes Show Live
Vest: Cameo Rose, New Look
Cardi: Les Folies, TK Maxx
Shorts: New Look, DIY
Tights: New Look
Boots: Clarks

Hello, high-waisted shorts. Most of the time I'm in a dress or skirt, but inspired by Makise Kurisu of Steins;Gate I've tried to embrace shorts and tights more. Next to tartan, polka-dots is my favourite pattern and I really went nuts with the spots with this outfit.

This is the last weekend before us school students sink back into studying. Enjoy it!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

X/Y Pokémon trainer

Are you excited for the new Pokémon X/Y in October? Since I've hardly got my head round the funky all-in-one Pokémon centre/shop and the 3Dness of Black/White (which my sister is playing at the moment) I'm in no huge rush for the next generation.

When people ask who my style icons are, I never really know what to say. I often steal ideas from female Pokémon trainers in a sort of secret cosplay which is never really a cosplay because I only steal one part of their outfit, but if I could go the whole way, I would.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


Melia on DeviantART
I finally bit the bullet and finished Melly from Xenoblade Chronicles, my second favourite after Dundun. If you just glance at the painting it looks okay, so as usual, don't look too carefully because then it will be apparent that I have no idea what I'm doing with Paint Tool SAI and I totally half-arsed the clothes.

Melia - tragically beautiful or beautifully tragic? I reckon she's both. All the crap happens to her and she has so much responsibility on her shoulders, but she stays strong.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Frilly socks tutorial

When I 'made' my frilly ankle socks I didn't do a full-blown tutorial on it, but this time round I remembered to take some pictures of the process.

Just a few ways to wear knee-high frilly socks
 I started with some blinding-white knee-high socks from the children's section at Sainsbury's. They were on sale for something like £2 for three pairs or something, and were for size 3 feet, but are stretchy enough to fit on size 5. If you are looking for these holey kind of school socks and your feet are bigger than mine, I am sure some shops will sell them for larger feet. Again, try supermarkets.

The lace trim I used was gathered already, because it was just what I already had at home, but you can use flat lace trim to get the same effect.

I wanted some cream-coloured frilly socks so I dyed all my materials with coffee. (I got bored of tea from the choker tutorial.) I reckon dying the stuff first before sewing it together is better, because the lace is usually some man-made material while my socks are cotton, and cotton dyes easier.

Boil some water and half-fill a cereal bowl with it. Chuck in about half a teaspoonful of instant coffee, though adjust depending on how dark you want the colour. A swig of vinegar apparently helps set the colour, though I'm unclear as to the effectiveness or the mechanism of this. But it won't hurt, right? Unless your olfactory senses are easily offended, that is.

Leave the materials in the coffee for five to ten minutes. The man-made material lace may take longer than the cotton socks. When you take it out and give it a wring, it should be darker than you want it in the end, as it will dry lighter.

Turn the socks inside-out before dying. Turn them back the right way round after they've dried and you'll find that the dye is a lot more even.


Once everything's dry, stick a 15cm ruler into the sock as shown to stretch it out evenly. Just check that 30cm of the lace will fit round the widest part of your calf, and if the length's long enough, go ahead and sew it on. I did mine really messily with massive stitches so it looks really awful until it's half-stretched out on my leg, when I think it looks passable. I hope you agree!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Links à la Mode: 22nd August '13

How are you this evening? I've had my breather these few days, staying at home and doing a little DIY, which you'll be seeing of - everything from frilly socks to bargain shorts cut from jeans, to some gorgeous tartan ribbon boot laces inspired by some boots I saw in a Doc Martens shop while shopping with friends. I also picked up this lacy frilly Spin Doctor shirt from British Heart Foundation for a fiver. Not bad.

Autumn is Coming

By Jennine Jacob

In August, autumn often looms over us like Winter does in Game of Thrones. You know it’s coming but it still seems so far off. Personally, I’ve already snagged my boots for the season, and jacket too! While bloggers are curating their fall wishlist, you can’t help to get a little bit excited - the lush fabrics, the layers, the sophistication of the season. This week’s round up has links that will help you squeak the last days of summer as well as get you prepared for autumn. So find a nice sunny spot to enjoy the weather, relax and read these links!

Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup

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Monday, 19 August 2013

Makise Kurisu

My sister and I are still completely obsessed with Steins;Gate. I got so used to fifty-episode-long anime like Gundam SEED and Fullmetal Alchemist so I'm not used to the standard twenty-four episodes. But it's okay - I've still got the Steins;Gate manga to read!

Child genius neuroscience researcher Makise Kurisu is quite easy to cosplay with ordinary clothes. Her weird off-the-shoulder cardigan is very inconvenient though - trust me, I've tried.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Post-results shopping

Two nights ago we did some evening shopping at a retail park to get my friend S her physical birthday present, but also found some sweet stuff for myself too. Just like Sainsbury's, Matalan has a gorgeous range of kids' clothes for girls who are twelve years old or younger. As soon as they start designing for fifteen year olds (basically, the clothes I am more likely to fit into) it's all dodgy magenta leopard prints and tacky pop star tributes.

Vest: eBay (mine: Primark)
Boots: miinto (mine: Safiya)

Luckily, however, they have this adorable green floral skirt that just about fits me. It is a tad short for my liking but it's nothing a bit of clever layering with my tiered lace skirt can't fix. I'm planning to get hold of some wide cream lace to sew onto the skirt's lining so I don't need to do the bulky layering which might get a bit hot in summer.

It's a little odd to be wishing away warm weather, but I can't wait 'til it gets cooler and I can break out the chunky cardigans, long socks and beloved boots. The clothes pictured above are what I own myself, and where I can't find exactly what I have, I've found an image of a similar item.

At New Look I also found the closest I'm going to get to a non-cropped bustier. It's just a lace vest sort of thing by Cameo Rose, but it's of decent quality and is full length, which is what I wanted.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Lost Soul: Carolyn McGraw

What is so refreshing about Carolyn is what I can only think of as a sort of style infidelity. Far from being a bad thing, her versatility and ability to look amazing in practically anything is what made me notice her. I think we should all step out of our comfort zone now and again and try something we were scared of before, because no one says you have to dress in a certain style, talk in a certain way, or be anyone other than who you want to be.

'Rockin' Ribs' on LB

Hello, Carolyn! What are three things we should know about you?

Hi! Well I guess I’ll get right into it – and make it easy. 1. I like to look good. This means that even if I’m just going to the grocery store to pick up milk, I still want to look relatively put together, and certainly clean. You will never find me in sweatpants out of the apartment. I am not the type to slip on flip-flops because it’s 'easy'. I think I went out of my room in PJs once in my time in college (which most people here consider their sloppiest time) and felt like a lazy slob. I think you get the point. 2. I always choose ridiculous over practical, especially when it comes to shoes. 3. I guess I should say something that isn’t about my clothes – so I’ll say that I’m forever a lake girl. My heart is in the Adirondack Mountains.

Your style is incredibly varied and versatile. How do you decide how to dress each day?

I usually pick out what I am going to wear the night before, especially if I have to get up early. My mind moves pretty slow before work, so I can’t waste time standing in front of my wardrobe! I usually will want to wear a specific item (maybe a pair of shoes or a certain shirt) and try and plan something around that one item.

'Help me lose my mind' on LB

How has your style developed into what it is now?

My original desire for my own personal look blossomed in my teens when I went to an all girls' private high school. Everyone dressed very similar back then, and I didn’t want to be just another preppy private school girl (we didn’t have uniforms). I wanted to be different, so I became the only girl in the student body with unnaturally-coloured hair. That hasn’t changed much! I think I dress better than I did then, but improvement is where it’s at, and my desire for independence is still strong. Though I’ve never really found one 'style' like so many others, I revel in being able to change from one look to another very easily.

In an environment like that, there really are only the extremes of conforming or rebelling, but it takes some bravery to rebel. Non-uniform is always such a lie, because students always create their own uniform!

Which of your looks is your personal favourite at the moment?

For the summer season, I’m a big fan of shorts, boots, and a tank or blouse. Boots will forever be my most comfortable footwear – since underneath, my ultimate favourite of looks is anything layered. However, the heat this season is keeping me from doing that often!

I like summer's warmth, but as a fellow lover of boots and layering, I have the same problem. Sometimes I go out wearing way too much and end up boiling.

'Chaos' on LB

What do you think are the best and worst things about having short hair?

I don’t think there are any bad things! Cowlicks aren’t my friend, but that’s only an occasional problem I can cover with a scarf or hat. The best part is that it’s both easy and stylish – I don’t have to spend hours with it in front of the mirror. I use a negligible amount of product if I feel like spiking it, and sometimes I may not. Even when it grows out a little – it’s still cool. I don’t find the upkeep horrible, as it never takes me much time compared to when I had much longer hair. No straightening or curling like I had done. Takes two seconds to dry. Don’t have to use a pound of conditioner any longer. Looks good even after a day in the wind. I could go on!

'A day for pastels' on LB

Who are your fashion icons and inspirations?

You know, I never really had any of those. The country club town I grew up in certainly didn’t lend any fashion mentors I wanted to listen to, and even when I cared enough to follow trends and blogs on the internet (beginning mostly when I discovered Lookbook in early college), I could never pick out any specifics. I think that comes from growing up around name-droppers and flashy brand lovers – things I’d dismissed in my unconscious for years until I understood why I dress like I do. It doesn’t stop me from admiring the styles shot in high fashion European magazines, or the day-to-day looks from many Lookbookers – but I couldn’t tell you that I really followed anyone closely. I like to say my style is a conglomerate of learning how to mix and match from the high end to the low brow, and from many different individuals who dress very differently than I do.

Actually, it makes sense that you don't really have any particular fashion icon. You seem far to free a spirit for that.

'He throws big parties, and I like big parties' on LB

Where do you like to shop?

Online shopping is addicting! Anywhere and everywhere. I was very into eBay vintage for a long time, and browsed almost every day. Currently, I love Black Milk and sport quite a collection of printed clothing (which as a photo person has always appealed to me). My typical shopping centre visits are stores like H&M, Forever 21, and Anthropologie should I have a gift card. Other than that, I am nearly considered a regular (or at least recognisable figure) in many of the second-hand shops in both my area and my parents' area. In reality, I could try and find something anywhere. I like taking the challenge of picking something out in a store I might normally dislike!

What do you think of the street fashion where you live?

It’s an entirely mixed bag – I live in Saratoga Springs, which is in upstate New York. Right now, street fashion is full of large hats for the racing season, and a diverse amount of sandals and sun dresses. Some of them are wonderful, some of them are awful, but I do really love the hats. When autumn returns, the student population returns. They tend to be a little more with it in terms of interesting style, since the horse crowd is otherwise an older and more uninterestingly-styled crowd to me (and also very expensive; we frequent different boutiques in town). We are technically a 'city' – just not a very big one, but a growing one, and I think the fashion is growing with it. However, I still definitely get looks when I wear something a little more 'loud' (spiked hats, suspender leggings, etc.)

'Zombie Time!' on LB

What do you see yourself doing, and where, in seven years' time?

Living in a larger city I hope, but based on recent talks with my fiancé, we could really be anywhere! Planning has never been my forte – I can barely see a week ahead of where I am now. All I can say is I hope to be somewhere more populated and a little more cosmopolitan, hopefully in a higher positioned art job (preferably photography related). It’s hard to say, but not in a bad way at all!

I've really enjoyed reading about why your style is what it is, and I just love seeing you in my LB feed, so thank you for talking to me, Carolyn!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Links à la Mode: 15th August '13

I hope my fellow peers are recovering from the trauma of this morning, and know how and where to go from here. Offers met, offers missed. I've still a little way to go until I get to that make-or-break stage, but with five 'A's, it's going well so far. I have to keep it up.

Naughty Nineties

By Jennine Jacob

It was Halloween in 1988, I decided to dress up as a hippie. A woman said something I have never forgotten… “You know you’re getting old when kids start dressing up like you did as a teenager.” Well, this is the year it’s really happening to me. As someone who loved alternative chic in the nineties (a little grunge, a little goth, a little punk, a little ska) it’s nice to see some of those styles 'coming back' for nostalgia if not for anything else. While I personally will take a seat back, having already lived it before, this week’s links have all kinds of nineties themes to them. From Michelle Williams (hey Dawson’s Creek hit in '99) to St. Laurent’s grunge inspired collection, to the ten alternative fashion blogs to watch, it’s there, so just click!

Links à la Mode: 15th August

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1. Read the clarified rules and submit your links on this page: Links à la Mode.
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Wednesday, 14 August 2013

T. rex catfight

Yesterday was the birthday of my Friend in Science, S. I don't know how I ended up sat next to her in chemistry and biology but if I hadn't, I would have died by now. She's the perfect kind of crazy and we just sit there trying to soak up the Science and drawing dog faces on each other's work.

I think it was in biology one Monday afternoon quite early in the year when we thought about what T. rexes would look like if they had a catfight. I promised I'd animate it in summer. So I did.

Monday, 12 August 2013

"The ocean opens up to swallow you"

How is your evening going? I've still got another week of work experience to get through but I think I'm doing alright. My current obsession is time-travel harem anime, Steins;Gate. It's as good a time-travel story you're ever going to get. It's hard differentiating between actual important mysteries and the nonsensical rubbish Okarin spouts, but it soon gets really good and everything is tied up in the end, which is more than can be said for some anime. Oh yes, and the opening song, Hacking to the Gate, is just awesome.

Necklace: DIY
Cardi: mum's wardrobe
Bag: 'Made in Italy', mum's cupboard
Dress: Yumi, Clothes Show Live
Socks: Sainsbury's
Boots: Safiya, China

I just love it when my mum pulls out something nice from her seemingly bottomless clothes stash. It means I get something new to style and integrate into my own wardrobe, without spending a penny. The material is quite weird but I love the texture and pattern of the knit. Because of its holeyness and pale colour, it's perfect for summer. I have almost no work clothes so I dress very boringly for work experience, so I'm looking forward to freedom, when I can wear whatever I like. Like, a lab coat...

Friday, 9 August 2013


As you may have noticed, I'm a bit of a Tim Burton fan. Coraline was advertised and a children's film, and I suppose it is, but it's the creepiest kid's film I've ever watched. Her voice may be annoying, but getting past that, I quite enjoyed her clothes.

Firstly, blue hair. Not enough people have that rich midnight blue for a hair colour. You can spot her signature dragonfly hairpin in all of her pictures, too.

The raincoat is not the most glamorous of outerwear, but the unapologetic shade of yellow, and matching wellies, looks really quite good. Starry jumpers and lime green tights with pink trainers are also included in the list of things Coraline can pull off.

What I'm wearing right now are pyjamas from Tesco which I got for something like £6 or £7. They were in the children's section and the top is a rather blinding shade of magenta, but it's warm and fits me and isn't falling apart, like the pyjamas I've worn for the past six or seven years of my life. But, if I could have any pyjamas ever, it would be Coraline's orange polka-dot ones.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Paris 3

So this is sort of what my face looks like, if you're generous like Valentino, an artist in Place du Tertre near Sacré Coeur.

I have a straight full fringe (well, I am supposed to) and I wear glasses all the time because I am getting blinder by the day. I have Mulan's eyes, Gok Wan's nose and Hermione's front teeth in The Philosopher's Stone before they were shrunk.

We didn't buy any physical souvenirs on our adventures in Paris except this drawing, which took half an hour. I had to inhale a cigarette's worth of smoke and my face hurt from being neutral and still afterwards, but it was worth it. My mum is now on a mission to frame it up.

That's all from Paris! Maybe I'll get back to the fashion blogging next post. Meanwhile, have a lovely evening.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Paris 2

Day two of my little trip to Paris we devoted to the Louvre. You hear that it's a big mistake to spend less than a day there, and it's absolutely true. But like yesterday at Versailles, we spent the cooler hours of the morning walking by the River Seine. I say 'cooler' - it was still 30°C! 

When the temperature soared to the mid thirties at noon, we were inside the comfortably air-conditioned museum. We browsed until almost nine o'clock, and had only explored the south wing! But I like to leave places unexplored so there's something new to look at next time.

On the third day, we took a river cruise from the bottom of the Eiffel Tower. If you've got one hour and €13, a river cruise is a perfect way to spend it. By the third day it wasn't so unbearably hot any more, and the river breeze and sunlight was just perfect.

I didn't take many photos on the last day when we visited Sacré Coeur, but there is one final thing I would like to show you, which I haven't got a photo of yet. So maybe you'll get to see it in the next couple of weeks.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Paris 1

Last week I found myself on a very, very last-minute holiday with my mum to Paris. Though we just did all the normal touristy things, we had a great time. Each day we went to a single place so we had all literally all day, every day, so we could really laze about and enjoy ourselves rather than rush around and look at absolutely everything for about five seconds.

On our first full day, we went to the beautiful Versailles. Because we knew it would be 34°C by noon, we went to the gardens first while the sun was still bearable. The scale of the place is just breathtaking. 'Jardin à la française' is all about imposing order upon nature, so everything is very neat and defined. It's funny when the corners of the hedges are more right-angled than a set square.

 Inside the château was even grander. You know I love looking at old country houses so I really enjoyed the inside of Versailles, despite the crowds and the heat. French royals really love their gold paint on everything!

So I just came back yesterday and all this week I have work experience. I would really loved to have a day off to breathe, laze around and do my blogging, but I haven't the luxury, so I'll be editing each day's photos bit by bit. Come back tomorrow for the Louvre!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Houndstooth and other tessellations

I distinctly remember tessellations as the highlight of year eight maths, because it involves colouring, and pretty patterns. In simple terms, tessellation is tiling, where the tiles don't overlap and there are no gaps between tiles. Look at the ground while you're on a pedestrianised road - often, there's a pattern of interlocking bricks. That's a tessellation. Next time you're in a church, have a look at the tiling underneath your feet.

A semi-regular tessellation (using more than one regular polygon) on the floor of a Spanish church
From Wikipedia

The pattern of four-pointed shapes that make up houndstooth is a translation tessellation. Just scroll down to find out more about the types of tessellation. When the shapes are quite large, houndstooth makes for quite a busy pattern, so try to tone down the rest of your outfit. But if you're feeling brave, try mixing and matching a smaller houndstooth, which is quieter, with other patterns and textures.

There are three kinds of tessellation: translation, rotation and reflection. To show you these, I've used tessellations by M. C. Escher, a Dutch artist known for his maths-inspired works, like impossible triangles and circular waterfalls and upside-down sideways right-way-up staircase labyrinths.

Translation: each scarab beetle is identical, and are neither rotated nor flipped.
By Escher
Rotation: the fish are repeated but rotated. Look at where the noses of four fish meet, which is also where the tails of four opposite-coloured fish meet.
By Escher
Reflection: all the white riders face one way, but the orange riders face the opposite way - they're reflected.
By Escher
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