Fashion Editorial and the Digital State of Mind…

This blog was supposed to be about Tumblr, but then I found myself staring at my magazine collection, which has remained untouched for months, and realised this is so much more than Tumblr – it’s my digital state of mind…  

There are still many a people out there that simply choose to reject social media.They refuse to create a Facebook Page, deny how powerful Twitter is,  have never heard of Pinterest, they are likely to hate Fashion Bloggers and still do all of their fashion, music and lifestyle reading in print! As a writer before I am a blogger, I respect anyone that still picks up a print magazine and takes pleasure in displaying them in bookshelves and coffee tables – I do.  However, as a fashion lover, I will be as bold as to say – anyone that is still yet to embrace social media cannot be deemed a true fashion devotee – they are missing out on the whole damn thing.

It makes sense that fashion and social media walk hand in hand together. Fashion is an industry that finds its foundation in change and trend – a creative expression of human behaviour. Social media is the tool that documents the change, picks up on the trend and is the platform that displays the behaviour. Admittedly, as much as I love the two,  I struggle to keep up! Fashion is quicker, social media develops at lightening speed, trends change almost weekly, my personal likes and dislikes change almost as fast. One week I’ll be in love with Celine’s lux interpretation of the Birkenstock and can’t imagine having my feet in any other shoe, the next week I’ll hate them, consider them ugly and un-sexy and then it’ll be another shoe, another trend, another hashtag and a new fashion blogger to follow!

At least, with a print glossy, you can take your time, refine your shopping list, shop it and feel satisfied for a whole entire month. And that is exactly what I used to do. But, I have developed a digital state of mind. I consume 99% of my fashion editorial via online content. My magazine subscriptions have subsided and each night before I go to bed, I routinely check the weather on my BBC weather app and then flick through Pinterest, Stylecaster or Who What Wear to research the ensemble I will adorn myself in the following day. I absolutely hate to say it, but a Vogue magazine doesn’t seem relevant in terms of style any more. I say style as opposed to fashion, because Vogue is chiefly fashion focussed; if you’re concerned with runway trends, designer’s inspiration and the opinions of big wig fashion  journos and those in the industry then Vogue is indeed your fashion bible.

However, if your love for fashion is more about manipulating and interpreting trends, piecing together ensembles, finding new and interesting ways to wear your clothes then  there’a whole world of Street Style Fashion out there that changes daily and that should not be missed. Imitating Runway looks is too cliche and for most of us, runway looks aren’t usually suitable for our lifestyles – of course Anna Dello Russo would tell you differently.

And since having to sadly make a conscious decision to stop buying fashion magazines, after realising that I just never read them any more, I have noticed my dress changing. I will always have my own inherent style. I will always be the girl that wears lots of gold and costume jewellery – a little less now since I have my beautiful 1920s-esque diamond cushion cut halo engagement ring -I will always love long Naomi Campbell hair and still love being made up. But with so many trends, so many different styles, so many social media platforms and so many different fashion bloggers so readily available and easily accessible at the swish of an iPhone, the way I am fashioning myself changes from one day to the next.

My daily website reads:

Stylecaster.com

Once you start reading StyleCaster you literally won’t be able to stop! There are endless style concerned posts – many written in list formats, featuring images of Street Style bloggers and icons. The StyleCaster’s editorial style is easily digestible with posts like Ten Ways to Wear the Denim Shirt, Ten Ensembles to Copy, Ten Emerging Street Style Bloggers etc. This is the perfect read on the train to and from work, in the hairdressers or the nail salon. Check out StyleCaster for wardrobe inspiration – I do!

StyleCaster image

Mr. Blasberg

Fashion writer, Editor at Large of Harpers Bazaar, Editor of VMan and Vmagazine and too many other credits to mention, Derek Blasberg is fashion’s ultimate Man About Town. He parties with Naomi Campbell, Giselle and Marc Jacobs, he travels endlessly and writes lengthy blog posts accompanied with the most tantalising of pictures with the most beautiful human beings wearing the most beautiful of clothes for his website Mr Blasberg.com. Derek Blasberg’s success and career is very inspiring for any writer that loves fashion. If you don’t mind spending some time online reading then check out Mr.Blasberg.com. However, Blasberg’s website is less street style concerned and more into displaying the world that surrounds fashion, the parties, the travel, the people – most of which emerging fashion bloggers won’t have access to. I check out Blasberg for an instant insight into the fashion world from a perspective that I quite like, although a little envious.

Who What Wear

Again, like StyleCaster, Who What Wear is addictive for anyone that likes to get a little creative when piecing together an ensembles for a Sunday Roast in the pub or needs some inspiration for a holiday wardrobe or wants to see what Olivia Palermo would wear on a rainy summer’s day – this is the site for you! I use Who What Wear to put together my work ensembles for the week, to see what wardrobe items I am missing or just to kill time whenever, wherever.    

 

ElleUK.Com

Needs no introduction, but the digital arm of this fashion glossy is just as successful as the print version. After subscribing to Elle for many years, I couldn’t get to grip with the new design they introduced last year and once my subscription ran out I never renewed it. But I am glad I can still enjoy Elle.com in digital form. The style section covers street style, models off duty and offers style advice. I think Elle have been really good at interpreting the magazine for online readers, so you might not get to indulge in the smell of a new magazine, but you still get the Elle tone of voice.

Having said all that…how could I not purchase the Victoria Beckham August Vogue edition?

Be charmed, stay inspired!x 

Ayesha @COAD

A Social Media – Existential Crisis…

she has pretty girl fabulous life social media syndrome

So today I woke up with a desire to write. I mean, I live with the dull ache to write, everyday.  Ayesha, why aren’t you writing that book? Leave Twitter and Tumblr and Pinterest and LinkedIn and Charms of a Dandizette alone – stop digitising and just put pen to paper and write that book. OK, so I am not putting pen to paper now either and I have turned to WordPress to pour out my soul this morning. But the beautiful thing about this digital world, which, ironically, is heavily dependent upon one of the greatest elements of the human condition, is how simple it is to share and self express. I am not talking about the over sharers whose only dealings with social media is to put cringe worthy or tasteless narcissistic posts on Facebook. I am talking about artists and illustrators, poets and playwrights, the – creatives that use social media as a tool to offload, as a platform to produce something. With a click of a button it’s published or posted, shared and exposed for the world wide web to see and just as quickly you have offloaded. Of course, there is using social media too freely, offloading a little too quickly, not employing enough thought and ending up with a Facebook page full of moments you wish to forget and posts that are far too personal to be broadcast on a ‘wall’ or alternatively, with a Facebook page full of ‘Hashtag look at mes’ and ‘OMG I am so fabulous’. I have two friends who fall into each category.

A friend going through a break up that documents the pain and heartache she is experiencing with posts written in riddles as cleverly as the Khloe and Lamar drama has been written into season 9 of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. This particular friend  thanks her family members, that she claims have  ALWAYS BEEN THERE for her on her Facebook wall, with responses like ‘You’re a strong woman, you just don’t know it yet’!! (I just threw up in my mouth a bit!)  Surely her family’s constant presence in her life would suggest she have their telephone number, their email address, their home address and should all else fail, what is so wrong with a private message? Surely that is the  level of respect these amazing people deserve! Surely that is the level of privacy such a PERSONAL issue deserves! That’s one friend.

The other, she works in Events and  has mastered the art of the Selfie. Of  course, since the digital camera we have all learnt how to position a camera and take photos of ourselves. However, at twenty nine I am not quite sure I will be adopting the term Selfie. It sounds like an alternative word for masturbation, rubbing one out, self pleasure and I just don’t like it. This friend’s Facebook page is full of HASHTAG Selfies and pictures of herself eating burgers, pictures of herself taking pictures of herself (not technically a selfie), pictures of her shoes, pictures of herself and her office dog, pictures of pictures of her in magazines, yes, with a caption ‘Oh there I am!’ feigning surprise. Surely she had enough time between the taking of the photo, to the printing and publishing process for the surprise to falter. I sound ever so bitter – but have you seen this Facebook page? Her posts are ultimately photos of her doing anything, captioned with hashtag #lovemylife #lovemyjob #myfabulouslife #myfabulousjob. She’s my best friend – it’s hard.

On Valentine’s Day just gone, she posted a picture of herself on Facebook with a beautiful red rose, the status read ‘Not sure what’s worse..not receiving flowers on Valentine’s Day or receiving a pity flower!!#FML’. Make of that what you will. I say she has pretty girl, fabulous life, social media syndrome and wants to show the world just how good she looks DOING EVERYTHING and how good EVERYTHING SHE DOES looks – even when she’s pretending to show real emotion beyond being ‘Fabulous!’. But the truth be told, aren’t we all a little too well versed in the likes of Facebook and Instagram and Tumblr  to be fooled by the best edits of life on a social media site? A site that also preys upon less attractive human traits, like vanity and narcissism. And isn’t she too old (29) and too well versed in REAL LIFE to think she might actually have the world fooled? It’s very hard to listen to your friend’s worries and their concerns, engage in deep, meaningful and frank conversations with them and then get an update on your Facebook page a day later #LOVEMYLIFE. So, who is actually being fooled here?

I am irked by my friend that uses social media to pour out her soul and deal with her sadness, although she is honest – lack of control of emotion in the public domain is generally unattractive and unrefined. Then again, I am also irked by my friend who uses social media in a far more contrived and strategic way – documenting the best times in her life, disguising the truths behind hastags and fabulousness. It’s not really a big deal how anyone uses social media really, is it? It’s not that deep, unless you work in content marketing or online communications and even then it’s not that deep. But I suppose I am more concerned right now, about the way I feel about social media and online communications, because I do work in the aforementioned fields and I am concerned about the significance of social media for my ultimate career and how it has and will continue to impact my dreams. The both needn’t be synonymous with the other.

Although I never document the lows of my life on Facebook – ever, I too am known to engage in a little of the bullshit from time to time. Pictures of me and my partner out and about on the town, with the general essence of, ‘Look how loved I am’, ‘Look how good we are together’, ‘Look how much fun we have’ blah blah. But I stop there and I am conscious of it. Why? Because I think social media used at its best are by those that use social media as a means to display creativity and any creative aspirations they happen to have. I used to use Facebook to share my love for fashion and promote my blog, but it turns out that Facebook users aren’t interested in anything that requires them to invest more than a second of their time to engage with. It just isn’t that deep.  It has to be funny, fabulous, inspirational, personal or depressing and it has to be any of those things quickly! That is it!

Indeed, blogging is also part and parcel of social media, however, I feel there’s more of a therapy to the whole thing. Especially for writers, that take to their blog as a means to put pen to paper, to offload or to share inner thoughts. Charms of a Dandizette is my solace. It allows me to continue to write the way I enjoy writing, on the subject matter that concerns me and it allows me to do something with all the inspirations and thoughts that I have. I can retreat to my blog and feel better about myself for knowing that I have done something productive and creative with a thought or  a visual that I had the other day. Admittedly – for the likes of J K Rowling, a blog post may well be just as significant or as insignificant as a Facebook post. I am sure a completed blog post is nowhere near as gratifying as finishing a novel – not that I have ever finished a novel. But I know what it feels like to finish writing a play or a short story and something just feels better about that than this.

But that needn’t undermine the therapy doing this gives me and millions of others. And those of you that usually read Charms of a Dandizette will know that this post is a little different than my usual posts, where I’d usually share my style notes, fashion stories or trend reports. Today, I just wanted to come on here and write from my soul, to try a little automatic writing – an exercise I was told to do everyday by my Creative Writing teacher all those years ago at uni, and find out what’s really going on in my mind without being contrived or strategic.

I realise, after the way I have written about my friend’s desire to take to Facebook to express her vulnerable and sadness, I appear a little hypocritical. And the truth of the matter is, I probably am. I think I am mildly undergoing some kind of existential crisis. Because right now, I am as conflicted as I have ever been.  It is in my character, my nature to be conflicted.  My personality is extreme. I want to read and write and be quiet and creative or I want to be dressed up in the latest trends, in somewhere glamorous and expensive and I want to party and spend loads of money till the party ends. All human beings are conflicted, right? Surely we all live with that quite murmur within us, with that feeling that at a moments reflection rears its head and says, ‘Surely there is more to life than this.’

For me, I believe there is, but I just don’t know whether I am brave enough to go out and get it. I suppose I am at a point in my life where suddenly everything feels like it’s up in the air and I am trying to figure out how much control I have over the things in my life I want to change or progress further in and whether I should change these things. Would I be happy in a high powered or well paid job? Or a job that is artistic and I am passionate about? I am trying to buy a house with my partner, but I am not sure whether I should be buying a house when I am hoping I will grow the balls to step out of the rat race and do what I love. I am not sure whether I should be buying a house with someone I am not yet married to, nor even engaged?

I am trying to figure out, with my thirtieth birthday approaching ever so rapidly, will I ever want children? And should I decide to have children, do I want them before or after I have achieved my ultimate goal – which is to complete my book? If I spent less time writing my blog, could I have completed my book by now? Should I start writing plays again, rework my short stories and start sending out my film scripts?  Should I stop blogging and write?Really write. And at what age do you stop blogging? When you no longer have the time? Why haven’t I found time to write creatively? Should I start going out less? Isn’t this my reward for spending eight hours a day in an office? Should I be working in an office? Should I be embracing social media and content marketing as much as I do? It’s my career, it’s my day job and I enjoy it, but  do I really love it? Is it a talent? Can it be considered creative? Is this the career I am meant to have? Should I be working harder? Am I happy with my work ethic? Am I settling in life? And is this ever OK?

My writing is my passion, my self expression, my form of vulnerability – its success, at this moment, dependent only upon me. My desire to conform, to acquire materials and wealth, is my protection, dependent upon my job and my current career. Do I want to be protected by Hashtags and Acronyms and Likes that have no emotional affiliation nor meaning ? Do I really want to hide behind the likes of selfies and these so called fabulous lives, so much so that it clouds my vision from reality and truth – from My reality and My truth.  When is it time to start being honest about the things you aren’t happy with and when is it the time to do something about them?

So, indeed, conflicted I most certainly am. On the brink of an existential crisis? Possibly. Feeling the pressures of turning thirty? Definitely. Needing to write that book? Yes, yes and yes. Feeling better about writing this blog today? You bet!

Be Charmed, Stay Inspired! x

Inspired by: Being Over Shopped or Under Paid!

 

Sometimes you really do just have to see the silver lining…or gold in my case! So here’s my story…

This month I have been fluttering within the realm of social media more so than usual. This of course is fun! It’s great to see what’s out there, I love to be inspired and it’s important to invest into the blogosphere, as I treasure it so dearly.

Au contraire to what internet phobes and pre-historic anti social media characters might say…there really is some good stuff out there and so inspired have I been that much of this months fashion purchases have been enthused  by fellow bloggers.

Most of my social media travels are concerned with fashion and style and I flit between blogs, Polyvore and Pinterest. On my journeys I discover new styling ideas and new looks that I want to try out…I pin them to my  Pinterest board, I blog about them on Charms of a Dandizette and then I look through my wardrobe to see how I can imitate, recreate or incorporate said style into my own life.

The problem, however, begins when in my wardrobe I can’t find the right print trouser, a top that sits the way I want it to or a shoe that says this about me rather than that. I begin to make mental notes, ‘I need to buy this, I have to   remember to buy that.’  Then I come back to Pinterest, to any particular blog post I have bookmarked, Shared or Liked and then I begin to write my shopping list.

The mid-season sales began this month so I made it my point of duty to purchase as much as I could on my shopping list, with a few little extras that weren’t, but were such a good deal that I couldn’t pass them up! As the weather in London has been generally atrocious I have yet been able to wear half the clothes I have bought, so they sit in my wardrobe, tags still hanging off, awaiting their debut!

On Wednesday, whilst listening to a Cafe Del Mar chill out set on YouTube and envisioning myself sipping cocktails on a beach on the continent or at a roof top bar (if I have to be in London) with the sun beaming its rays on me, a promotional email from Kensington Roof Gardens came through, boasting about the great weather this weekend and Roof Gardens being the place to be. Instantly I got excited, if its true, if the weather really is going to be nice…I want to spend the day in some swanky roof top bar, sipping cocktails that are super overpriced, just so I can finally get dressed up in something new!

This morning I woke up, the sun was shining a little, excitement grew a little more, I apprehensively checked the weather forecast, excitement surged through the roof  – lots of sun promised for the capital this weekend! Then I began to mentally plan what I might wear whilst logging onto my online bank account… ‘snake print trousers with purple top, no, black and white skirt with red top Olivia Palermo style, or…’

Low and behold, my bank balance appears on screen and excitement suddenly disappears so quickly it crashes through the floor. All possibilities of debuting ensembles, spending double figures on cocktails and maybe even squeezing in a purchase of a pair of Alexander McQueen wedges I spotted in the sale are out of the window!

As well as laughing at myself right now for spending so frivolously this month and really expecting to afford some glammed up weekend, I am also laughing at the irony o f  it all! Loads of fabulous clothes, nowhere fabulous to  go. Only a few months ago I wrote a piece about my new found love for the court shoe due to its versatility and suitability to my more ‘mature’ lifestyle. It was inspired by my partner who had said to me, ‘What is the point of your money hanging in your wardrobe when you can have it sitting in your bank?’ A comment he had made off the back of me purchasing party dresses and glamazon shoes, which are still boxed away or hanging in my wardrobe unworn because, truth be told, I rarely party!

Admittedly, I didn’t need to shop so excessively…instead of buying everything on my list and then some, I could have crossed a few things off! I put it down to the occupational hazard of fashion blogging and also to my predisposition of seeing the world through fashion tinted glasses.

My weekend is more than likely going to be less fabulous than I imagined…but, the gold lining is, I can stay at home, save on spending, be productive and write! The ultimate question is…can you consider yourself a fashion blogger without partaking in the accumulation of fashion goods?

Here’s what’s been inspiring me…Be charmed, stay inspired! x