#hitrefresh: A Re-Fashioned Life for New Beginnings

This weekend I spent three and a half hours sorting through my wardrobe, rearranging, colour coding, trying on and deciding what stays and what goes. It wasn’t so much of an ‘out with the old and in with the new’ type of activity. It was more of a preparation and organisation activity, for my new life – a better life.

You see, I have a new job! Not just any old job. For me it’s a life changing job, a game changer –  it’s my dream job. After spending ten years reading, writing, studying and blogging about fashion and living alongside my fiance and his fashion family, I will finally be working in fashion, an industry I have concerned and surrounded myself with for years.

So, although I am getting married in six months, my new life really starts with my new job, my first day just a week and a half away. In an ideal world I would have started my new job at least a stone and a half lighter, but what can you do? Rome was not built in a day. I am, however, starting healthier, happier and better organised!

Going through my wardrobe has helped me to identify exactly what new items I need to purchase for my new refreshed wardrobe. My purchases need to be sensible and well thought out, because the money I once used to shop every month is now paying for the wedding. I am also hoping that my healthier life will be a much lighter life, meaning I’ll be able to fit into some of the much loved clothes that hang in my wardrobe, reminding me of how young and skinny I used to be. It’s ironic how attractive old clothes become when you no longer have the option to wear them.

However, I need to be cut throat and realistic. No matter the memories made or the emotional attachment I may have – which there are many memories attached to the garments from my younger and skinnier years – any garment that’s a size 8 or hasn’t been worn in the last two years GOES. I have not been able to fit into a size eight in three years – it’s over!

The items I believe WILL fit me again, with my refreshed lifestyle, and that I would still wear today if they did fit, have been put into a box at the bottom of my wardrobe. I’ll try them on each month just to see how close I am getting to my goal. These are my favourite pair of black jeans, three patterned shirts and two tops, all from Zara. These items were the staple of my work wardrobe when I first started the job I am about to leave.  Indeed, change can be bitter sweet, which is why it’s nice to hold onto what you can, even though you must move forward to stay relevant.

I suppose, the sweetest moment of those three hours spent in my wardrobe was realising that many of the clothes I had been scared to try on from fear they no longer fit, actually did! I have been hiding away in black jeans the past month, trying to convince myself I am working the whole minimal chic look, because I have been dreading trying on the skirts, the dresses, the trousers and the shorts I used to wear in the winter to AVOID wearing jeans. Admittedly, a lot of them don’t fit like they did when I first bought them, but they are nowhere as far off as I thought they’d be.

Where am I going with all of this wardrobe talk? Well, I suppose my state of mind about my current wardrobe is a reflection of how I am feeling about my current approach to fashion. Fashion is not just about the clothes,  it’s about communication via our exterior and presenting to the world our best selves – before we’ve even muttered a word. Our actual bodies and body types are a communicating factor also – be it model slim Mirander Kerr, sexually curvaceous Kim Kardashian or strong and powerful Naomi Campbell – these women are all thirty plus and are fashioning their physiques, so to speak.

My concern is that I am not fashioning my physique. Although I wouldn’t be as dramatic as to say I have let myself go – I have lost a little control and it’s evident, because although I love fashion as much as I always have, I don’t enjoy dressing the way I once used to. Not currently feeling my best self, not at my fittest or my healthiest,  makes my approach to style and fashion merely a cover up or a disguise and selecting fashion items this way, as I have been doing of lately, just doesn’t feel like nearly as much fun as it used to.

So, I am on the #hitrefresh mode, for my lifestyle and my health, of which my wardrobe shall benefit! At thirty, taking pride in my appearance comes with a little more effort  than draping my body in the clothes I like. If I want to continue to enjoy the clothes I wear and continue to enjoy my appearance, I need to #hitrefresh on my entire lifestyle and start from within. Truth be told, buying new clothes doesn’t seem to be as rewarding or as enjoyable when I am doing it because I have gained weight anyhow.

So, my approach to fashion now, will be my reward for taking care of myself and making the necessary compromises and not simply dressing to disguise all that I should be doing, but am not, which involves sleeping and working out more, eating healthier and drinking less alcohol. This new refreshed mentality comes at a time when I need to be my best self to focus on my new job and I need to look my best for my wedding. These should both be enough to drive me and help me maintain my new-fashioned life!

What’s sweeter still, in those three hours spent in my wardrobe trying on, I styled three new skirt ensembles to debut at the new job and I didn’t need to spend a penny or even leave my wardrobe! Good-bye black skinny jeans.

Who knew a sort through an old wardrobe could be so inspiring! 

My eBay Items

Zara skirts
Shop these Zara skirts on my eBay

New Recipes I’ve Tried…

(null)

Chicken breast with sliced nectarines, wrapped in prosciutto with butterhead lettuce and feta cheese salad

 

(null)

Lentil Stew, made with Jamie Oliver’s Lovely Lentils. I added some chorizo, chicken, tomato paste and a chicken stock cube and some courgette slices for some greens. Best healthy meal yet!

 

(null)

#Breakfasttoast, found on Buzzfeed, with seven seed bread toasted, avocado, halloumi and pommegranate

What I am Coveting 

LARGE.jpg

The New Job…!!

Farfetch Card

Be Charmed, Stay Inspired!x

10 Sixties Chic Fashion Items Inspired by Mad Men!

Mad Men's Megan DraperOver the Christmas I became a box set night owl and watched endless episodes of Mad Men back to back over the holidays. Funnily enough it was the Gucci Autumn Winter 2015 collection that inspired me to take up watching Mad Men, which centres itself around a New York advertising agency set in the sixties. It dawned on me one day, when putting together an ensemble to wear for drinks with the girls on Christmas eve, that the culmination of Gucci’s modern mod and the wardrobes of Donald Draper’s ex-wife, Betty Francis, and his current wife, Megan Draper, has given my recent ensembles a distinctive sixties feel. One of my favourite ensembles at the moment is a retro print shift dress from Primark, patent knee high boots from Dune and my hair styled with a deep side parting, a la Megan.

Although my ultimate favourite era will always be the Roaring Twenties, I have recently discovered a new found love for sixties fashion. I love shift dresses, mainly for their versatility and their ease to wear. But as I love to wear statement jewellery, the shift dress’s simplicity offers lots of styling opportunities. Ironically, as I enter my early thirties I have also rekindled my relationship with shorter hemlines and A – Line skirts, which comes just after my affair with midi-skirts. The advantages of the shorter hem lines and skirt shapes of the A – line are three fold; Firstly, they allow me to enhance one of my favourite features, which are my legs. Secondly they add a youthfulness to ensembles, a considered factor in my styling since turning thirty. Thirdly, because I enjoy piecing together ensembles and will always opt for skirts and separates over dresses.

I am sure it won’t be much longer before I am once again of the belief that I am far too old for mini-skirts and dresses, but for now, these are the fashion items I am loving!

See the items I am coveting and the Mad Men ensembles I love!

1. Gucci Leopard Print Sleeveless A-Line Dress available at Flannels

Gucci Leopard Print Dress

2. Lanvin Iconic Love Ring available at Net-a-Porter

3. Victoria Beckham Lace and Cotton Dress

Victoria, Victoria Beckham Dress

4. Planet Pale Blue Double Breasted Coat available at John Lewis

Pale Blue Planet Coat

5. Valentino Garavani pumps from Valentino

Valentino Pumps

6. Orla Kiely Sixties Stem Embossed Handbag from Orla Kiely

Orla Kiely sixties style handbag

7. Givenchy Vintage Door Knocker Earrings from Farfetch

Givenchy Door Knocker earrings

8. Stella Jean Pussy Bow Blouse available at Farfetch

Stella Jean Rosella Blouse Top and Clothing 

9. Black and Grey Large Dogtooth Print A-Line Skirt from Matches Fashion

Carven Houndstooth skirt sixties fashion

10. Oscar de la Renta Gold Statement Necklace from Net a Porter

Oscar De La Renta gold plated disk necklace

Be Charmed, Stay Inspired! x

Life…The Beauty is in the Detail

life

If blogging is an art form and this is art, then in this case, art imitates life... 

It’s been far too long since my last blog Dandies and I have been longing to get back here so I can do what I love to do the most – write. I am glad to say that what has kept me away has all been good stuff! The past few months have been crazy, productive and somewhat life changing. In fact, it’s nice to have been so occupied with my life for productive  reasons, so that I can now sit here and write this blog feeling one hundred times more content than I did the last time I wrote for Charms of a Dandizette.

Of course, I am always in a pretty serene and constructive place when I am writing my own blog.  However, the last time I blogged I wasn’t completely immersed in these two very significant projects; the planning of my wedding and the design of my new home. Indeed, I am feeling very adult at this juncture in my life, but mostly I am feeling really proud and very happy.

Finding someone that makes you genuinely happy, whom you want to spend the rest of your life with and whom returns the feeling is indeed one of life’s many challenges, but creating and designing a wedding and building a home that represents your journey and your life together is a creative challenge that I am relishing at the moment! I have assigned myself the role of creative director and have found myself exploring design forms other than fashion. Admittedly, not all will approach a wedding like I a creative project, and at times I do feel even a little guilty for referring to my wedding as a ‘project’. But I can’t imagine that any fashion concerned being would look upon the style of their wedding or the presentation of their home, be it grandiose and glamorous or small and simple, any differently to the way we style ourselves, create our blogs or throw our parties. Every opportunity is an opportunity to be expressive and my wedding and my home are offering me endless creative opportunities.

My partner and I have worked so hard to get to this point and I want to love and cherish every moment and every single last detail. So, I am putting that love into these two amazing life projects I am so excited about. At any one day I could be admiring white orchids – which adorned  scenes from Baz Luhrman‘s Great Gatsby so heavily, or selecting chiavari chairs (Italian of course) in white or gold. The next day I am studying layering techniques in interior design and figuring out how I might create a nook in my bay window which leads out to my balcony.

I am finding the designing and styling of my wedding far more natural to me than that of my home. My love for fashion, my love for an exquisite party and my obsession with the 1920s has made this project a glamorous one. Indeed, glamour is also another of my passions. Can you be passionate about glamour? I think so!

However, my approach to the style and interior of my home is very different. As a writer, space is important to me. This will be the space that I write in, that I need to calm me from the crazy, to lure me in even when there’s so much going on outside. I don’t want my home to be glamorous, or even to sleek. Unlike my fashion, my wedding or the hotels and bars that I love to hang out in, I want my home to be soothing, the sort of home that gives you the biggest hug once you’re inside. I am thinking light, airy, welcoming and inspiring.

See what’s charming and inspiring me…

www.dandizettecharm.com
Some of the charms from my Pinterest Boards inspiring my home and my wedding

Be charmed, Stay Inspired! x

Cold Front by Laura Welsh – Inspiring

A year after its release, I have found, have become completely charmed and inspired by and will now treasure Laura Welsh’s song ‘Cold Front’ and its visually stunning video for these reasons…

laurawalsh

Last night, in bed, willing the hours, minutes, seconds of a Sunday night not to pass too quickly and for Monday to stay as far off in the distance as possible I stumbled upon something that moved me.

I was watching Season 2 of ABC’s Mistresses, my new guilty pleasure that I  have been watching the evenings I spend home. Admittedly, Mistresses is more engaging than profound, more escapism than thought provoking, but it’s addictive and it’s all about women, sex and relationships – so therefore I kind of like it for whine down time.

In the getting to know each other phase of a hot heterosexual couple, possibly the most heated of scenes in Mistresses thus far, this song (unknown to me at this point) starts playing. The man, an artist, with a body so perfect it’s a work of art. The woman, April, who has agreed to make art with him, to be his subject, his object, his canvass and his paint brush. I am aware I sound a little Fifty Shades of Grey – ish here.

As red paint is dipped, poured and traced across bodies, the most haunting song filters in and the hairs on my arms lift and I am completely taken in by this scene playing out on my screen. The moment the song fades out and the scene cross fades to the next I am skipping back to replay, to re-watch and re-listen. And I do this again and again, the lyrics at the beginning of the scene  filter in ‘Don’t want to think about it, don’t want a picture of it, we’ve travelled enough…’

At this point I am inspired, excited, proud that the writers, music editors, creators of Mistresses have managed to create a scene that has completely and utterly moved me, ignited me. As I watch and replay I frantically type the lyrics of the song into my laptop, determined not to lose this song and so desperate to hear it in its entirety.

And I am glad I am in possession and can listen to this song when I find what I learn to be Cold Front by Laura Welsh on YouTube. But it’s when I hit play and begin to watch the video that I realise I have found something special. I am stunned. The video is a visual masterpiece, featuring possibly one of the most spectacular, intricate and creative pieces of contemporary dance I have ever seen – ever, let alone in a music video. Taking me back to my days of BRIT school when I was a full time dance student, spending my days dancing eight hours and constantly being inspired, expressive and without a single care in the world, because I was doing exactly what I loved to do – what I thought I was born to do – I was reminiscent, longing for those yesteryears that could never be relived.

I watched the video another two or three times, sat in my bed, mesmerised – not knowing whether I should pick up a pen and start writing or just continue to appreciate the moment. The movement of the dancer, the strength of her body, her flexibility and the chilling interpretation of the music drew me deeper within. Blown away by the concept of the video and its complexity,  the manipulation of the dancer’s body controlled by shadows all accompanying a song that instantly I found haunting and provoking in the most welcomed way.

I was in need of something inspiring, something to pull me out deeper than the shallow waters that I have been wading – deeper than the Deep House I spend my days listening to to avoid conscious lyrics that antagonise me and more gratifying than after work drinks that I convince myself I deserve and the reason why my novel is still very much incomplete.

I found myself, gratefully, totally overwhelmed by how creative and talented we as human beings can be, overwhelmed by the power  our creativity can possess and anxious that I may never reach my full potential. I gave up on dance, but hopefully this moment, this song, this video and this blog will inspire me keep on writing and remind of the depths of the pleasure I gain from the things that move me in comparison to those that distract me.


Be Charmed, Stay Inspired! x

Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tender is the Night Book Cover
Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald

My readers will know that I have an undying love for F Scott Fitzgerald, his literature and the era he penned to perfection. The flappers,  the Charleston, Art Deco design and ‘the whole shebang’! It came to my attention recently that I have none of the Fitzgerald quotes that have been charming me for so long on Charms of a Dandizette…so I though I should share some.

It was my attempt to reread my Fitzgerald collection before the release of The Great Gatsby film starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Carey Mulligan. However, since finishing Tender is the Night I have been drawn to another book, the same book that possibly every other woman at present has been drawn to – E. L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey – there’s plenty to say about that but I shan’t digress. So, I began my Fitzgerald journey with Tender is the Night.

Tender is the Night is yet another of Fitzgerald’s devastating and gentle tales about the fall from grace, the wonders of falling in love quickly and uncontrollably – without reason, whilst falling out of it slowly and painfully with complete clarity.

I love to read Fitzgerald because I adore his capacity to write the human condition so well – regardless of whether he or any of his characters were ever able outsmart it.  Tender is the the Night paints the perfect picture or illusion for destruction.

I had to share my favourite quotes! x

 Tender is the Night Quotes

“Often a man can play the helpless child in front of a woman, but he can almost never bring it off when he feels most like a helpless child.”

“The strongest guard is placed at the gateway to nothing. Maybe because the condition of emptiness is too shameful to be divulged.”

“Well, you never knew exactly how much space you occupied in people’s lives. Yet from this fog his affection emerged–the best contacts are when one knows the obstacles and still wants to preserve a relation.”

“When I see a beautiful shell like that I can’t help feeling a regret about what’s inside it.”

“New friends can often have a better time together than old friends.”

“It is not necessarily poverty of spirit that makes a woman surround herself with life—it can be a superabundance of interest…”

“…The delight on Nicole’s face–to be a feather again instead of a plummet, to float and not to drag.”

“…To be included in Dick Diver’s world for a while was a remarkable experience: people believed he made special reservations about them, recognizing the proud uniqueness of their destinies, buried under the compromises of how many years. He won everyone quickly with an exquisite consideration and a politeness that moved so fast and intuitively that it could be examined only in its effect. Then, without caution, lest the first bloom of the relation wither, he opened the gate to his amusing world. So long as they subscribed to it completely, their happiness was his preoccupation, but at the first flicker of doubt as to its all-inclusiveness he evaporated before their eyes, leaving little communicable memory of what he had said or done.”

Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald, 1934

Google Chrome: Dear Sophie

Google Chrome: Dear Sophie, an Advert by Google 2011.

Because I love this advert just as much as I love Google Chrome!

You almost can’t help but shed a tear.

Be charmed, stay inspired. x

Analyze This

Analyze This 1999, starring Robert De Niro, directed by Harold Ramis….

I have spent the day recovering from my New Years Eve celebration watching films back to back. It started with Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Richie Rich, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ratatouille and now, one of the films I can never watch too many times, with the actor who never tires, Robert De Niro in Analyze This. Because I absolutely adore this film, and am always amused by De Niro’s right hand man Jelly, I just had to make a note of this quote.

Analyze This

Jelly: I’m gonna get a bite to eat. You wanna sandwich or somethin’?

Guard: What kind of sandwich ain’t too fattening?

Jelly: A half a sandwich.

The Help 2011

Tate Taylor’s film adaptation of Katherine Stockett’s novel, The Help

Tate Taylor's The Help Movie
The Help UK Release 26/10/2011

Yesterday, West India Quay’s Cineworld had a special screening of Tate Taylor’s film adaptation of Katherine Stockett’s novel, The Help. Queues backed out of the door and spilled onto the, now freezing, London streets. Thankfully I had already seen The Help and was, in fact, queuing to see Drive. However, considering I enjoyed The Help so much, I thought I should dedicate some time to write about it.

Set in 1960’s Mississippi, Emma Stone, who plays aspiring journalist Skeeter, has returned from University, where she studied a degree in Journalism. She’s inspired to write a piece that explores the relationships between white families and their black maids from the perspective of the maids, for the Jackson Journal. Skeeter, decides she wants to interview one of her friend’s maids, Abileen, played by Viola Davis.  A number of events occur, mainly stimulated by the callous behaviour of Hilly, played by    Bryce Dallas Howard, towards her maid Minny, Octavia Spencer,  that causes a cautious and dubious Abileen to speak out. It’s not long before Minny follows in Abileen footsteps.

The film takes an emotive angle, as opposed to a racial one, and reveals the relationships and love that develops between the maids and the children they care for. It’s ironic that these women and mothers trust their maids to feed their families and nurture their children, but refuse to share a bathroom with them. We are shown the struggle, the trials and tribulations the maids experience and endure in order to have the means to support their own families.

Abileen and Minny meet with Skeeter discreetly and divulge their stories working as maids. Soon enough, a troop of  local maids from Jackson Mississippi , get wind of this opportunity, which ultimately offers a chance for them to break free from their oppression, to vocalise their thoughts and express their humanity.

Skeeter’s desire to speak with the maids is of course threatening and dangerous, but the maids soon realise that this column offers hope and the possibility of change. These courageous women come together to risk their social status, their livelihood and the well being of their families to be heard and consequently to make a difference. 

The film deals with some sad and serious issues, but miraculously, unlike many other films that even remotely face racial issues, The Help doesn’t feel heavy nor weigh you down. In fact, never have I laughed so much during a film with racial concerns. It’s inspiring and uplifting.

Minny Jackson: Fried chicken just tend to make you feel better about life…

Minny: Eat my shit.
Hilly: Excuse me!
Minny: I said eat… my… shit.
Hilly: Have you lost your mind?
Minny: No, ma’am but you is about to. ‘Cause you just did.

Inspired by Leon: The Professional

Is life always this hard or is it just when you’re a kidLeon: The Professional 1994, written and directed by Luc Besson. Starring Jean Reno, Natalie Portman and Gary Oldman.

After returning from dinner last night, slipping into PJ’s and hanging out in the bedroom,  my boyfriend asked me, ‘What film do you want to watch tonight?’ This is the habitual question that one of us asks the other each night we spend at home. The other always answers,  ‘I don’t know – do you fancy something old? Something funny or…?’ It can go on like this for a while, till eventually one of us loses interest. Last night my answer was, ‘I want to watch something that moves me.’ 

And, well, I most certainly was.

‘Allora, come stai Leone?’ ‘Bene’ The opening line said.

Yes! Last night I watched Leon:The Professional and yes, ashamedly, it was the first time I’d seen it. Leon, starring Jean Reno and Natalie Portman was made in 1994, written and directed by Luc Besson. Those very first few lines hooked me instantly, but the second I saw a tiny Natalie Portman, sitting in a hallway smoking a cigarette, I was completely enthralled.

There’s something I’ve always found truly bewitching about Natalie Portman – I love to watch her. But this performance completely and utterly astounded me. She was a mere thirteen when she made this film, but her acting is absolute perfection. She appears to have mastered her talent, yet she seems so natural and believable. In comparison to someone such as Dakota Fanning, who I can appreciate may have honed her talent and be a brilliant actress – but in my opinion, doesn’t seem to possess that naturalness that Portman does at this age.

In Leon: The Professional Natalie Portman plays Mathilda, a daring, loving and intense twelve year old girl, and Jean Reno plays Leon. When I asked my boyfriend what the film was about, he described it as a story of a professional hitman, but this does it no justice. Ultimately it’s a love story. Albeit, it’s hard to decipher what kind of love grows between Leon and Mathilda. Initially it appears to be a fatherly daughterly love, but their relationship evolves and at times I thought the film may have been gravitating towards something more sordid, like Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita.

However, regardless of the age difference between Leon and Mathilda, strangely their relationship never seems quite as tawdry as Humbert and Dolores. In fact, I’d be lying if I said there weren’t moments in the film where I found myself wanting Leon to admit his love for Mathilda and, admittedly, for their love to manifest. Whereas in Lolita, I detested Humbert and the entire ordeal – as you’re supposed to.

The beauty of Leon is that you’re not quite sure what you’re supposed to feel. Throughout the film I longed for Leon to address their age difference, for him to tell Mathilda that they couldn’t love each other because it was wrong. Even when Mathilda has decided that she’s ready to make love to him, his only reason for not doing so is because he won’t make a good lover. This would have been the expected juncture in the film for Leon to express any form of concern he may have had about their age – but he doesn’t. 

I’m not quite sure if Leon ever officially confirms what kind of love he has developed for Mathilda. But this is what makes the film so beautiful and powerful. We all know that Leon loves Mathilda in the same way she is ‘in love’ with him, but we just want to hear it – so we can understand and decide how we, as the audience, should feel about the situation (‘should’ being the operative word). The fact that Luc Besson never gives us that satisfaction is sheer genius. Even as I write about the film this very minute, my unanswered questions still linger and I am still very much haunted by the fact that I wanted Leon and Mathilda to fall in love and ultimately – I shouldn’t have.

All the wonderful and beautiful moments from Leon

There are so many wonderful and tender moments in this film – and a lot of them take place with very little dialogue at all. It’s definitely the small details, such as the way Mathilda takes on the habbit of pouring Leon’s glass of milk for him or the way she tucks him into bed –  the only night they share a bed, that makes this film an absolute masterpiece. I’m tempted to say it’s the best I’ve ever seen.

The Trailer

“Please open the door…” Mathilda

Mathilda: I was more of a mother to him than that goddam pig ever was.

Leon: Hey don’t talk  like that about pigs. They’re usually much nicer than people.

Mathilda: They smell like shit.

“If you don’t help me I’ll die tonight. I can feel it.I don’t wanna die tonight.” Mathilda

“Let’s play a game.” Mathilda

” Leon, I think I’m kinda falling in love with you…” Mathilda

“I want love or death – that’s it…” Mathilda

“A girl’s first time is very important…it determines the rest of our lives actually…” Mathilda

 12 minutes in: “I’m sick of watching you sleep in your chair. We’re gonna share the bed.” Mathilda

You can’t love a film till you’ve seen Leon.

Leon: The Professional 1994

 

Related articles

Steve Jobs: Be Inspired

Today the world lost a creative genius…

Steve Jobs shows off iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worl...
Image via Wikipedia

R.I.P Steve Jobs – Paul Steven Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)

No words required. Just watch, take note and saty inspired.

12