Fashion in Fiction

For the last 100 years or so, literature has brought us some of the biggest style icons that have inspired numerous trends and collections worldwide. Jay Gatsby, Holly Golightly, Patrick Bateman, Anna Karenina are but a few. It is therefore no wonder that fashion has become an incremental part of literature for years and years, whether it is addressed directly or merely reflected in the stories’ characters.

My favourite books tend to be American 20th Century fiction, mainly to do with the topics that they address, but also to do with the fashions that are explored.

However, as I am a big fashion lover, I do try and read a mixture of fiction and fact. Over the last couple of years I have come across some slightly lesser-known books, as well as some very famous releases, of books that directly relate to fashion. Here are just my favourites that I thought I would share with you:

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In The Mink by Anne-Scott James is a novel that was published in 1952. It is essentially about life in the fashion magazine world of the 1930s and ’40s. It is quite a stunning read, with huge amounts of descriptive narrative that gives you a real feel for post-war fashion. Although it is described as a novel, it is absolutely a memoir of her life. Scott-James graduated from Oxford and started her first job at Vogue and this story basically retells the moments that followed. Whilst the protagonist’s name has been changed, and the names of the magazines are slightly different, the details of In The Mink are far too alike to her own story for it to be a work of fiction. I would highly recommend this book to you if you are interested in reading about fashion of these times – it is truly reflective of what it would have been like to work in fashion journalism post-war, as a woman, and how fast-paced the industry was, even back then.

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For a book offering pictures and comments on the biggest style icons and It-girls and boys of the last couple of generations, then Alexa Chung’s It is perfect. Definitely to be a coffee-table classic, it is full of some really beautiful photography and will give you loads of classic and indie movies that you just HAVE to see. It is Chung’s way of expressing who her fashion inspirations have been throughout her life, whether from popular culture or big characters in definitive movies. Think Liv Tyler in Empire Records, Kate Moss, and The Spice Girls.

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The Fifty Things… series by Paula Reed is more of an educational course in huge fashion moments for every decade between the 1950s and the 1990s. Each book demonstrates what key trends defined those decades, who pioneered them, and what made them so popular. If you’re currently studying a fashion related degree, or are thinking about it, then I would highly recommend these. They’re fairly short and concise, and will give you an easy insight into what has driven fashion for the last 50 years.

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Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro is a book that we can all probably relate to (ignore the coffee stain, I bought this copy in a charity shop…). Unhappy with her life and her looks, Louise C is looking for help and she finds it in a second hand book shop. There she discovers a little fashion encyclopaedia entitled ‘Elegance’…. I won’t tell you anymore, but it is an easy read that  gives you some fun style advice throughout.

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Another more educational suggestion – Costume and Fashion, A Concise History by James Laver. This is slightly more difficult to read as it is more of a mini text book, but it is very interesting to read and will give you extra background into what has driven fashion choices over the years.

I am always on the look-out for new books to add to my shelves, so if anyone has any suggestions then please please do let me know!

COMB – The Latest Fashion App Review

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FINALLY IT’S HERE. The App that we have literally needed for so long, but kind of never realised how much we needed it.

Have you ever seen a really cool outfit on the TV, internet, instagram (wherever), and wanted to know where it was from? Well now that COMB has launched, you can now find out! Simply snap or screen shot the picture and, in theory, it will comb for items of clothing similar or identical from a catalogue of over 2.5 milliion items. Pretty impressive huh? Well, it all sounds perfectly dreamy, but lets test it out and see what we get…

So, first take a screenshot of what it is you’re looking for. In my case, I’ve used a picture from the movie Empire Records staring Liv Tyler who was a total 90s babe. If you haven’t seen the movie, you can watch it on Netflix now!
90s is a huge inspo for me at the moment, and I really really want to know where I can find this skirt. (Ps totally plugging my instagram account here. FOLLOW FOLLOW FOLLOW ME)

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You then upload it into the COMB app and crop the area that you are specifically looking for:

image (7)Click Next. And it will take you to this screen where you can choose what you want to find. This basically means that it will look for this same pattern but will match it to what you are looking for: be it a skirt, dress, jumper etc. 

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Once you’ve chosen the category, it will ‘comb’ through to find the best match. This is what it found for me:

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It looks like we have actually found a match! It might be £101 (which I don’t intend on spending on a tartan skirt) but it does, at least, prove that this technology works.

There is also a handy feature which enables you to share your findings with your friends, get their opinion, and can even take you straight to the website so you can buy the product. It has completely changed the way you can engage digitally with fashion, and may even take over from Pinterest in this regard. Bold statement, I know.

I then tested it on a cute T-Swifty outfit and then changed the category to get a real feel for how far their range can stretch…

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It ended up finding some really great items that, whilst weren’t identical, were similar in colour and style. My favourite piece that it found for me was this fluffy powder blue kimono. £45 seems reasonable for my Valentine.

My Valentine is me. I love me.

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Now, for all you fashion savvy people out there, you will know that Fashion Month is almost here! Day 1 of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York begins tomorrow showcasing the Fall/Winter 2015 collections.
This app will be so amazing during this period – if you spot something a blogger, model, or designer is wearing that you want, you can find it using COMB. If Charlotte Ronson comes out with another fun print (last season’s polka dots were adorable), then you can snap the print and see what’s already out there for you to get your hands on!
I’m lucky enough to be working over fashion week as the company I work for livestream the runway shows, so my eyes will be firmly fixed to all the coverage of New York and London Fashion Weeks and will definitely be putting this app through it’s paces.
I can’t wait to start using it properly. If you love fashion then it is one of the apps that you absolutely have to have on your phone.

The COMB app is available for FREE on Android and iPhone.

Check out their Facebook page and their YouTube video demo of the app!

S x

Pay Day Purchases!

Having been 7 weeks since my last pay day (I won’t bother trying to explain why it has been so long), I have been desperate to get back onto the high-street and grab myself some new bits and bobs. I couldn’t even take advantage of this year’s Zara sale (which was incredible by the way) because I had more adult priorities like rent to pay and Oyster cards to top up.

Shopping, for me, is like doing an hour of yoga or taking half a gram of MDMA (whatever floats your boat)- it just makes me so  happy and at peace with the world. I have been bloody miserable not being able to have a sneaky shop, which is also why I haven’t been blogging as much that recently.

So let’s get started…

This first dress is from the AX Paris range in New Look. £25. The black and white geometric pattern really stood out to me, and the swing dress style is very flattering for my shape. I wore it out to dinner last night and received more than one compliment, so I’m taking that as an absolute win.

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This silver necklace was in the New Look sale for A POUND. Any simple dress should be accessorised with a statement necklace, and silver is ideal for any monochrome look.

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I’ve paired my M&S little rucksack (as featured in a previous blog post) with this dress. It’s probably still a little cold to be sporting this outfit without a jacket, so I’ll keep this on file for Spring.

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This next little beauty is another New Look number coming in at £24.99. The black and white gingham is perfect for work and can easily be dressed up or down taking you from the office to the bar.

 

 

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Okay so this next piece I have lusted over for about 2 weeks. River Island send me emails every so often alerting me to their new and latest collections. I saw this and absolutely knew I needed it. No no NEEDED. At only £30, it was an abso steal.

It probably doesn’t take a genius to work out that 1992 is the year I was born, as well as other great things that happened that year – Bill Clinton became president of the United States (not sure how ‘great’ that was, I just googled it), Disney Land Paris opened, and Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You was Number 1 in the UK charts. So…you know…WHAT A YEAR.

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This jumper is, again, something I would wear for work as it’s simple black and white colouring makes it smart enough to do so. Pair with black skirt, leggings, or even jeans – it is pretty versatile which means it’s pay-per-wear will be very low. Woo!

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So here is a landmark moment in the fashion history of Sophie. I have bought trousers.

I haven’t worn a pair of trousers or jeans since it was my parents buying and making all my fashion decisions. I’ve always hated them, and resented the fact that in order to buy a really nice pair of jeans, you have to be willing to fork out about £40-50.

However, after trying these babes on, I couldn’t resist. Their slim cut and tailored look for a mere £19.99 in New Look was irresistible. With my Jaeger fur stole, and these shoes, I think it updates my wardrobe a huge amount. Very very happy with these.

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With a black leather jacket, this is a really sweet outfit addition and I cannot wait to wear it.

I should be uploading a few more posts this week so please do make sure to come back!

Hope you’ve enjoyed these few new bits!

S x