Free Bird

Happy Sunday readers!
Here's another outfit post celebrating the return of warmer weather after a week of an extreme cold front from Cape Town. The most important thing to know about us South Africans is that we're warm blooded creatures who don't take to cold very well. 

This chiffon blouse with the dove pattern is also another find at YDE by local designer Reverse. Paired with long veld grass, the results of the photo shoot remind me of something quite Western in feel and look. I love the easiness of the blouse and how it feels and how it moves. Lovely! With the bird patterns, I was reminded about the song Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Listening to it, I'd say it definitely captures the spirit of this look and the photos. 

Free Bird- Lynyrd Skynrd

Outfit: Skinny Jeans- Sissy Boy, Blouse and Belt- YDE,
Necklace- Mr Price, Ankle Boots: Woolworths

I find doves to be quite symbolic and special to me.
There are various meanings for the dove which include; 
innocence, gentleness, faith, peace and constancy.
'Cause I'm as free as a bird now,' 
Comparing both YDE purchases, this blouse and the ObviousLeigh dress posted yesterday, it seems that my style appears to be unpredictable to say the least. I really enjoy that and being able to play and explore. It's funny but I can say that I love my style (whatever it is) and I honestly love my body and everything that comes with it. I never thought that I'd be able to say that! 
Gushing, and happiness aside, I'm now off to watch the Monaco Grand Prix, beer in hand!
Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

ObviousLeigh, Stripes are the In thing

I love finding a new South African designer that I can 'Ooh and Aah' over. I spotted this shirt dress a few weeks ago at YDE (Young Designers Emporium), a shop here that specialises in showcasing both established and new up and coming designers. While I wouldn't classify it as a favourite shop of mine, I do enjoy popping in to see what's going on in the design scene. I found this shirtdress hiding in a corner on the rack featuring designers of YDE's new Rising Talent Initiative, by designer ObviousLeigh. What a find...

This dress incorporates all of my favourite things; structure, tailoring, black and white contrasts and clothes that make a statement. This dress does just that and is so sexy in making that statement. It's definitely not your average preppy shirtdress and reminds me something Project Runways season seven winner, Seth Aaron, would make. Fab! 

I love  a designer who pays attention to the details. From the perfect points of the cuffs,
 the pink lining of the collar and the puffing of the shoulders, this shirtdress is beautifully made. 
It's no secret that I worship Steve Madden shoes. These are Mary Jane Shoes are my second pair of Steve Maddens. They were bought at a second hand store in Brooklyn,
NY for $14 in December, 2009
I'm planning on wearing the dress as is with tights and heels or boots. Or maybe for a more casual look, I'd pair it with jeans or tucked into a pair of loose black cropped capri pants.

Overall, I really love this shirtdress and how confident it makes me feel. Even more, I love finding a great new South African designer. I definitely hope to be incorporating more proudly South African fashion into my wardrobe.

Much love, 

I tried to make you see the wood from the trees

What a busy and wonderful week! I'm sorry for not posting sooner, but it's been a mad one with lots of good things happening and lots of things to blog about as well! Aside from handing my last essay for the semester on Thursday, I have been really encouraged by many things in particular the people in my life.

Last night I went to Tanz Cafe to watch Jesse Clegg and his band play some of their new music from their album. Jesse Clegg is the son of Johnny Clegg, a legendary musician in South Africa, but unlike his father, his genre is Rock music. I really enjoyed his set despite not knowing a lot of his music. His new album, Life on Mars, is a great combination of acoustic soulful ballads and lots of hard rock that leaves your ears bleeding. I love live music, especially music with a beat so loud I feel it in my ribcage. More than that, I really enjoy watching people who are visibly passionate about their instruments and music, which Jesse Clegg is. Maybe that's because my dad is a musician or maybe it's because people who are passionate about what they do inspire me. 

Jesse Clegg (centre)

One of my favourite songs by Jesse Clegg- Today. 
The title of this post comes from this song.

I love this song by Johnny Clegg- The Crossing (Osiyeza)

The concert was also great because of the people I was with. At the last minute, I decided to come along with the guys from my lifegroup. I always have a good time with them and being the only girl isn't a problem when you've been socialised with boys for most of your life. Yip, I can drink beer and talk cars with the best of them while looking as glamourous as any other girl. 

Speaking of glamour, I will be posting a few outfit posts soon! 


Beastly Knitwear

Good morning lovely readers.
As I predicted, I would be blogging this weekend as a reward for working well. Well.... this reward turned into an evening out with my sister. Whoops! But in my defense, a night out was well needed even if it was just to the movies. And from this evening out, a blog post has emerged! Talk about killing two birds with one stone. 

Even if it was just a movie date to see Beastly with my sister, I took the opportunity to really glam it up, just because. As it is getting quite chilly, especially in the evenings, knitwear is of course a major trend for Autumn and Winter. Personally for winter, I love beautiful soft jerseys, lots of layers and long scarves, all in a variety of textures and then paired with long boots. While Summer dressing is easier, dressing for Winter is a lot more fun and playful. At least to me! I suppose if I had to dress like this for six months at a time, I may feel differently. Luckily for me, even in the middle of Autumn, here in South Africa we have days like yesterday with gloriously warm and sunshiny days. Today looks to be another one! 

Enough about the weather and to the outfit. I paired my new jeans (which I'm obsessed with by the way) with my thigh high black suede and leather boots bought in America in 2009, with a long white waterfall cardigan, white t-shirt and a treasured black and white Trenery scarf. Accessorised with my favourite black Chloe Bag and large pearl chandelier earrings.

 I love black and white colour combinations and this outfit is definitely
one I plan on wearing a lot this season. 
Just outside Montecasino where we took the pictures.
The South African Music Awards (SAMAs) were held there last night,
making for a crazy atmosphere
And the movie? It was what I expected it to be, a typical cliche teen romance story. There were moments when it was clever and funny and believable, and others where the acting was superficial and sloppy. It did the original Beauty and the Beast some justice but didn't quite refresh it either. But I did enjoy it, despite having to suspend my disbelief ever so 'slightly'. Besides, Beauty and the Beast is my all time fairtytale, so it was inevitable that I'd enjoy it. 

But what I did think was fabulous about the movie was Mary Kate Olsen as Kendra, the Witch. From the hair, make up and the shoes, she was one super fashionable Witch. Every scene she was in she looked like she had stepped off a gothic, Avant-garde photo shoot in Vogue. 

And now, sadly I am off to go work on my essay on the patio in the sunshine. It could be worse, at least I get to enjoy being outside while I work. 

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Promises, swear them to the sky

After a week of being ill, feeling down and swamped with work at the same time, I decided to cheer up myself with a lovely day out. I've entered the academic stress period with the next month being full of essays, seminar papers and exams! But after that - it's the end of my first semester at Wits. Wow. I don't know where this year has gone...

Unfortunately dear readers, due to all this academic stress I don't foresee a weekend of exciting places and people. I have had to pull out of a number of things which included going to work with abused animals in Krugersdorp. Instead I will be wrestling with an essay for my Contemporary Feminist class focusing on the idea of terror as a form of social control and as an abuse of women's rights. Hectic stuff, but it's really interesting. I'll admit to being less than thrilled with Simone De Beauvoir and find the Second Sex incredibly frustrating. But the contemporary issues facing women (similar to the ones in my essay), I find so intriguing, so I suffer through the Second Sex for the sake of the course and my grade. I will however be doing some small outfit posts as a reward for myself and to prevent death by Feminism....It could happen. 

Despite the essay, I had a lovely day writing at Wolves with my friend Jono and enjoyed both his company and the peaceful vibe of this cafe. The library at university is too far away from home to go to everyday and I get far too distracted at home to work. So Wolves is my go to place when I have an essay looming.

We then went for lunch at Melrose Arch (just down the road from Wolves) which is a very wealthy fortress type shopping centre. I love it there and I'll be honest, if I ever wanted to find a wealthy husband with a Porsche/Ferrari/Lamborghini (or all three), this would be the first place I'd start to fish. The inside of Melrose Arch is similar to that of a European town centre, so to reel in a bite/wealthy man, you only need to sit outside outside a restaurant while the men drive up and down in a bid to catch your attention. I'm not kidding...

During the course of our afternoon, I was brave and got some skinny leg jeans. My first pair ever, and they're pretty amazing though ever so overwhelming. I never know how much to say on this blog without making myself completely vulnerable. But I have always struggled with my body image and never ever felt comfortable in jeans or shorts. For the longest time, I'd only ever wear dresses and skirts. So being confident to try skinny jeans and finding a pair which are pretty hot and flattering to my height and curves - well thats amazing. I hope I always appreciate being able to wear what I want. This year has definitely been one of pushing fashion boundaries and I'm reveling in being able to play dress up all the time. 

These pictures don't really show off the jeans but I loved the contrast of my boots, the dark jeans and the soft silk of my blouse too much to compromise for other shoes to show the jeans off. I am sure the jeans will make a proper debut soon. The photographs show a usual evening spent at home with wine, cats and a fire. While not too cold during the day, at night it's lovely to have a fire to curl up next to. 

Blouse: Jo Borkett, Jeans: Sissy Boy. Boots: Woolworths 
I don't wear green too often but I love the softness of this blouse. 
Especially in contrast with the dark jeans and the brown boots and the warm background. 
Our other cats, Ginger and Tia. Our house is a mad animal house. 

Earrings: Edgars. 

The title of this post is taken from one of my favourite songs Young Blood by The Naked and The Famous. I love them and I love this sort of musical sound.

I know that this is less of a focused post, so thank you for bearing with me and reading it regardless. Sometimes I just need to write and put my thoughts down for the sake of clarity. And when it's done with pretty pictures and a cute outfit, it's even better! 

Enjoy the rest of your evening. 

Someone Once Told Me...

This post was inspired by the website Someone Once Told Me. The concept of the site is that people send in black and white pictures with something that someone told them. I love the idea because I believe that we're all shaped by the things that people have told us. Words are powerful in the way that they fashion us and have an impact both through our relationships with the people and the weight and meaning of the sentiment. If that wasn't enough, they're all black and white photographs - an aesthetic that I love! The following pictures are inspired by things that people have told me. I've chosen only two messages because of their significance for my life now. 

Thinking before I speak and being kind in my responses to people is something that's really important to me. After numerous incidents I'm seeing more and more that with the way communication has changed it seems far easier to lash out without thinking and hurt people through text messages, emails, tweets and even Facebook comments. There seems to be less consideration for the person on the other side of the cell phone or computer and their reaction and feelings. I know that I'm just as guilty in speaking without thinking and hurting people for the sake of my pride and because I feel I've been wronged. But I want to change that not only because the idea of kindness is informed by my faith but also because I believe that kindness does more to build up both parties than momentary anger does for one person's ego. It's funny that since I've prioritised this attitude, I've been so challenged in my responses to people. Honestly it's hard to always be kind and to consistently respond with maturity and understanding of the other person, especially when they don't treat you with the same respect. But I really, truly believe that treating people with respect and kindness is better than hurting them for the sake of my own ego. 

"Tenderness and Kindness are not signs of weakness and despair but manifestations of strength and resolution"- Kahlil Gibran 

These words were spoken to me first when I was five years old by my mother when my school was considering holding me back in my preschool years because I hadn't developed like my peers. Miraculously I did, but I have been continually reminded of these words at crucial times in my life when it seemed like the odds were overwhelmingly against me. I know that I am a survivor and that I continually overcome my circumstances because of who I am and the potential that I know that I have been blessed with. The power of these words remind me of something Rob Bell wrote in Sex God. 

we "are essentially loved into our futures. Think of how many of us had encouraging or affirming or inspiring words spoken to us years ago about our worth, our value, our future, and how these words shaped us. We often carry these words of agape around with us our whole lives" 

Like Rob Bell writes, the words "You are a rising star", have encouraged me. Even more, the love and the relationships I have with the people who have affirmed me and loved me, are so precious and give these words more meaning because of their belief in me. I am so lucky to be supported and affirmed by my parents who continue to mentor me even now at twenty-one. 

Though that is a very personal message, I really want to encourage anyone who reads this to continue to believe those words of affirmation and love spoken to you, no matter the circumstances. Words of hope and wisdom would never have been spoken if they weren't true. 

With those two messages, I would really love to hear what people have told you either through the comment section of this blog or on the Someone Once Told Me website. They don't have to be as personal as mine, just whatever you feel! 

With this post I also want to share my outfit because I kindof love it. I've posted a few outfits featuring shorts and sure, shorts seem like no big deal. But to me they are, because before this year I couldn't wear them. But now that I do, they're an obsession of mine. Even as it gets colder I'm adapting my shorts with tights for the cooler weather. 
So to the outfit...

Blouse: Trueworths. Stockings: Woolworths. Shorts: Woolworths. Brogues: Zoom.
Necklace: Mr Price Cardigan: Mom's cupboard ;)

I recently bought this pair of gray tweed shorts. I love how they're reminiscent of school boy shorts and are so comfortable and chic. Paired with a silk blouse I've had for three years, the outfit is a mixture of interesting textures. My black brogues add to the school boy look but this whole outfit is completely feminine and fun.  

I had to add this picture just because of the Kerouac cat's sudden appearance.
He's becoming a permanent fixture on this blog. 

I think this is love...

From Twiggy to Nature Girl...

As promised here are some photos of our outfits from this afternoon's festivities. We had so much fun celebrating a family friend's birthday in true 1960's fashion. In the space of the last three days I've time travelled and gone from a 1950's pin up girl to a 1960's Mod Chick. I love dress up!  I tried to embrace Twiggy's Mod look which was tricky especially when it came to taming my curly mane. And those false eyelashes? I nearly glued my eyelids together. Who said looking good was easy? But overall I was pleased with the look and loved adding to it with more and more outrageous accessories like 1960's style panda sunglasses, a special vintage clutch bag and a paisley neckerchief. I love the stylised look of the 1960's and exaggerated poses, outfits and facial expressions

The jacket is from a consignment store in Louisville, KY and was about $13.
 Today was the first time I wore it properly.
The sunglasses belong to my sister and were a Deer Hunter find. 

This clutch bag is a genuine 1960's bag and was a 20th birthday present from a very close friend of mine in Ohio. Robin, I know you'll see this so, thank you again for such a meaningful gift. 
Attempting the very stylised poses of the 1960's.
Such fun! 
My beautiful sister, who is the photographer behind most of my pictures, took the more natural, hippie-esque look of the 1960's. Looking at these pictures I think Nature Girl by The Jelly Jam, is an appropriate song when it comes to Rach. 

She lives in her own little dream world
She fell from the family tree
And wants to see how it will be in effigy 

She... she is nature's girl

She's a mystery to all around her world


A little old world romance

Good afternoon readers, here is a little outfit post about what I wore to work. 
After the excitement and beauty of my morning spent at Abigail Betz, I felt inspired to play a little bit of dress up and make an effort over and above my usual work look. The main feature of the outfit is the lace top which belongs to my mom and was a find at Rags and Lace in March. I love the beauty of and intricacy of lace. And how just a simple lace top can bring a sense of vintage and old world romance. 

 Added to the look - simple black cardigan, loose pleated french style black pants, tan leather belt, chandelier earrings and my veldskoens (seen in Of Fashion, Veldskoens and Voortrekkers...)

And of course, the Kerouac cat makes yet another appearance on the blog. It's not my fault he follows me around! 

I am just about to and get ready for a 1960's themed party. Most will think Hippies and peace signs. But as for me? I'm going all out and channeling Twiggy and the Mod Look of the 1960's. So expect pictures soon! I'm excited! I've even got false eyelashes...


A return to the 1950's flower woman.

I am a very lucky and blessed girl. Truly. 
About 6 weeks ago after attending Ballet meets Betz, I entered a competition to win one of 5 R2000 vouchers for the Abigail Betz House of Couture. I honestly didn't expect to win one and was delighted when I found that I had. As timing would have it I haven't had the time during the last few weeks to go all the way to Houghton to pick the voucher up -until today. I had the day off class and perfectly, it was the last day of the 50% off sale. So with this, my mother and I trotted off to the House of Couture in eager anticipation.
I've mentioned before that I love the 1950's for the ultra-feminine hour glass silhouette and the sense of everyday glamour. Well,the Winter collection of Abigail Betz was heavily inspired by the 1950's featuring dresses in the typical silhouette but in unusual suiting material (typically a wool cotton mix). I love the counterpoint that this fabric gave the very girly style. 
My Mom commented that this looks like a picture from a Women's journal that my
grandmother used to read in the 1950's. 
So this was the first dress I tried on and was completely enamoured with it. I love the structure and weight of it and how like a typical 1950's style dress, it really suits my body shape. Though petite, I am still curvy so the structure of the bodice plays up my curves beautifully, making me feel so feminine. 
As a second thought, I tried on a lighter gray dress (as seen below) which was less heavy with more movement because of the pleats (all done by hand!). As soon as I put it on, it immediately brought out the blue in my eyes and enhanced my skin tone and hair colour. Win! Unlike the other dress, the little brown belt breaks up the fabric, drawing attention to my waist. It was easy to see that it was the better dress of the two for me. 

 It's quite funny that these dresses were originally worn by 5'10, rake thin models and I was able to put mine on straight away without adjustment. I guess I should be very grateful for such a little waist! And some little heels will definitely help with the length but I quite like it with the flat brogues I'm wearing. A little bit of a 1950's school girl look, perhaps?

Love the petticoat! It adds so much drama to the dress which
 would be fantastic for an evening look. Think volume with high black heels, sheer black stockings, red lipstick and hair swept back with a dramatic pair of earrings.
Pictures courtesy of Kerry Botha.

A while ago, someone asked me when next I'd wear that beautiful Pascual dress from Rags and Lace again. For me, both the Pascual dress and this dress are similar both in shape and reference to the 1950's, but they're also very special to me because they're exquisite pieces that are real finds. In the case of this one, I'd never be able to afford it without saving for a while, so the voucher was a real gift. They're also both special because they are designer pieces, making them both rare and quality pieces that fit me perfectly. They're ones I'll keep for years to come. So where would I wear them? Expectedly, I'd wear these dresses to a fancy function like a ball. Or like Carrie in Sex and the City did, I'd wear them on a really, really special date to a very fancy resteraunt. Over the top perhaps? Maybe. But I don't understand why it should be. And I don't understand why more women aren't more daring and really embrace their femininity. One thing I feel that culture today lacks is the 'everyday' glamour and femininity. And that's one thing a 1950's woman understood - glamour. So when the time comes I will be bringing out my collection of these dresses for something and someone special. 

So how much did I pay for that exquisite gray dress priced at R4500? R250... That my dear readers is smart shopping, good timing and a lot of luck! But honestly, I feel so overwhelmed to have been practically given this dress. I am so blessed and taken care of, not just through these clothes or this blog, but in my life overall. I am so grateful. 


P.S The title is in reference to the fabulous designer, Christian Dior and his New Look design aesthetic in the late 1940's and throughout the 1950's. 
"I have designed flower women" - Christian Dior

My Bucket List

Driving back home from university after an incredibly stressful last few days, I felt inspired to blog while curled up with a glass of wine. As always my mind was churning with ideas, but instead of an outfit post I thought that maybe I'd share something that says a little about more who I am. Then I thought about sharing my bucket list of things to do before I die. Before this post, it hasn't been a definitive list but like anyone I have ideas and dreams of travelling, seeing beautiful things and sharing them with people who I love and that inspire me. So I hope some of these will inspire you and if nothing else, you'll see I'm a dreamer and I'm longing to "lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

10. Travel India by train. If you've ever seen The Darjeeling Limited, you'll remember the romance of the landscape and the diversity and colour of the people. For someone who loves people, new cultures and is fascinated with India I think this  would be an amazing way to experience it all. 

9. Ride a hot air balloon over a beautiful landscape at sunset. Ideally as a romantic date with champagne and with someone I love. I remember that my mom used to read my sister and I a story about a great hot air balloon race. I loved the rich illustrations and detail. Even today, I think hot air balloons are so romantic and so old world. 

8. Visit Italy. There are many, many things I want to experience in Italy (including shooing away beautiful Italian men who exclaim, "Ciao Bella! Ciao Bella!". Hey a girl can dream!) But when I am there I want to visit the old ruins of both the Colloseum and the Augusteum. I was inspired to do this after watching Eat, Pray, Love where Liz goes to the Augusteum. She desribes it as follows; "Octavian Augustus built it to house his remains. When the barbarians came they trashed it a long with everything else. The great Augustus, Rome's first true great emperor. How could he have imagined that Rome, the whole world as far as he was concerned, would be in ruins. It's one of the quietest, loneliest places in Rome. The city has grown up around it over the centuries. It feels like a precious wound, a heartbreak you won't let go of because it hurts too good. We all want things to stay the same. Settle for living in misery because we're afraid of change, of things crumbling to ruins. Then I looked at around to this place, at the chaos it has endured - the way it has been adapted, burned, pillaged and found a way to build itself back up again. And I was reassured, maybe my life hasn't been so chaotic, it's just the world that is, and the real trap is getting attached to any of it. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation."
I really love the emotion and power of this quote and how a place has the power to speak through its history. I don't believe I'd have the same emotional response as Liz's, but I think there's something powerful in a building that has stood for so long and represents not only history but a legacy of survival as well. 

7. Watch Macbeth at The Globe Theatre in London. Macbeth is my favourite play and I have been reading Shakespeare since I was eleven. I still read him now and I continue to marvel at the imagery and poetic nature of his stories and sonnets. I have visited the Globe but never seen a play performed there. Any play would be amazing but seeing Macbeth would be even more special. 

6. Ride through Paris at night on a Moped. Paris is without a doubt my favourite city and one of my most special memories of this place involves my mom, sister and myself sitting outside a cafe just sitting and watching the lights and cars speed past us. Thats what's so special about Paris- people just sitting and enjoying one another and the scenery. I remember seeing people on Mopeds and thinking, 'One day I'm going to do that.' What better way to experience the City of Lights? 

5. Learn another language. 
He who does not know foreign languages does not know anything about his own. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

4. Paris again but this time to visit Coco Chanel's apartment at 31 Rue Cambon. This apartment where she worked has been left exactly the way she left it. I think I've more than proved my devotion to Chanel through both of these posts; A natural Counterpoint A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.

3. Design my own range of dresses just for fun. Or may be style an outfit for a magazine shoot.

2. Have tea parties with my future children. I know things like motherhood are seen as something natural and a given, but thats not always the case. I'd never want to take the privilege of being a mother for granted. More than that I never want to miss out on these simple moments of childhood play.

1. Marry someone who is my best friend. The person who understands me inside and out. Someone that supports me and inspires me. Someone I get to spend my life with and after our many adventures, the person I grow old with amongst the chaos of children, pets and a home built together.
Sounds simple, but there's nothing more special or meaningful.

It's funny how looking back I can see how so many of my dreams involve traveling but then the things I want most in life are the simple and often taken for granted things. There are so many other things I want to do that I couldn't mention, but I hope that I'll remember these things and achieve all of them. Somehow with my traveler's spirit, I think they'll happen.

In other news, I am happy to say that the paper I worked my butt off for and the one I spoke about in Sometimes it's not always about fashion, got me my first distinction of honours. While I'm really pleased because of the work I put into it, it means more to me than just a first. My lecturer is a bit of a battle axe which makes doing well pretty tough. If that wasn't enough competing with Master's students is overwhelming!

Tomorrow looks to be a blogging day as well as I have the day off from class and plan on spending my Abigail Betz voucher at her sale. I hope to find something pretty and affordable, that is if there's anything left! I'm also thinking about visiting Arts on Main on Saturday, something I've been longing to do since I came back home.

I hope this post provokes some thought about what's important to you in life. I loved thinking about the things I want to see and I hope that I can keep adding to the list.
Blog soon!
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