Sunday, 29 April 2018


Colourful wardrobe


I know I'm very guilty of looking in my wardrobe and thinking this thought, sometimes even shouting it out loud. I've seen all these clothes before and I've worn them what feels like a million times. At this stage it can be hard to feel inspired and that's when the temptation to buy new things starts to creep in. There's no getting around it, buying new things is fun - I know I always get a little rush when I make a new addition to my wardrobe. And sometimes a new item can be required - I just discovered holes in two separate pairs of trousers, in spots that are very difficult to repair. But a lot of the time there actually is plenty in my wardrobe and I really don't need to go out and add more fashion waste to the world! 

Dressing for the blog can definitely add some pressure to always be wearing something exciting and new but that's not how things work in daily life. I'm constantly wearing things to death (see previous mention of my trouser situation). Plus, that feeling of buying something new can be more than matched by the feeling I get when I find a new combination from things already in my wardrobe.

When I started reading blogs there seemed to be loads of three ways to wear posts and projects like the Uniform Project. I always really enjoyed reading these and took a lot of inspiration from them. Since reading those I've always thought about adding something similar into the Wardrobe Conversations mix. Well, after having a look back through the archives (there's nearly 5 years worth now!) it turns out we have been doing it all along without even realising. Take a look at this little lot...

Tops - 3 ways to wear polka dot tops
3 wears to wear polka dot tops

Bottoms - 3 ways to wear patterned skirts
3 ways to wear patterned skirts

We've even made good use of that trick of swapping clothes to make it feel like we have something new....
Swappin dresses with friends helps to feel like you have something new

Fashion Revolution Week always gets me thinking about who made my clothes but this year I've also been considering the problems with fast fashion and what I can do to fight the urge to buy, buy, buy. Kimberley shared some different ways people are reusing and repurposing clothing, textiles and more (which are all AWESOME) but sometimes just discovering new combinations and making full use of what's already there in my wardrobe can be a step in the right direction and I feel like this post is a great way to remind me that I really do have plenty to wear!

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Fashion Revolution Week: Creative Ways to Reuse, Restyle & Repurpose Clothes

Fashion Revolution: creative ways to reuse, restyle and repurpose your clothes including visible mending, vegan leather and customising
This week is Fashion Revolution Week; a very important date in the fashion calendar to commemorate those who lost their lives in the Rana Plaza Factory collapse and ask brands the question, #WhoMadeMyClothes? We have done a lot surrounding this in the past 3 years, including giving a workshop at last year's Edinburgh event. Unfortunately, we couldn't be involved this year but you can find all the details here.

Now, while we want conditions to improve for women in these factories, the last thing we want you want to do is throw all your fast fashion out in disgust when the energy has already gone into creating them. Instead of discussing #WhoMadeMyClothes again (because our last set of info was pretty darn good already!), we thought we would look instead at creative ways to give new life to those items you've already bought and really make them count. Some of these are inspiration for DIY and some are just brilliant innovations already being implemented by brands:

1.)  Boro Clothes Mending
A fantastic mending technique that is popping up everywhere is the Japanese boro mending technique, where mismatching denims are bound (i.e. patched). A fun part of this is sashiko stiching. Instead of hiding any repairs as you'd normally imagine, this style aims to point directly to the imperfections and turn it into art itself. Some of this is simply bold contrast colours in the stitches used, while other examples create elaborate designs on top to create a whole new look. Some are really incredible- it's a far cry from elbow pads! Design Sponge has a great tutorial for 3 ways to try it out and we love the collection of glove visible mending by Collingwood-Norris.
Fashion Revolution: creative ways to reuse, restyle and repurpose to make it last longer
2.) Repurposing fabrics
Clothing donation points might be rising in high street shops but unfortunately it comes at a time when African countries like Kenya aim to drastically reduce the amount of clothing accepted (in order to boost the local production economy- hooray!) This means that well-intended recycling by us may end up just being reduced guilt dumping. However, there are lots of designers using repurposed fabrics to create something new that can go back into the UK economy for a fresh spin. One of our favourites include Thrifty Little.
Fashion Revolution: Thrifty Little repurposing fabrics to create new accessories
3.) Recycling into fabrics
Taking upcycling one stage further, some designers are attempting to reduce plastic consumption by recycling it into usable materials, so that it becomes something totally different! This is very important because plastic isn't recyclable in the way that glass etc is, to be reused in the same format. The quality really varies and degrades in the recycling process. In the past, recycled fabrics were used by niche brands that weren't exactly... stylish...In come hero brands like Batoko swimwear, whose textiles come from recycled waste materials such as carpet and fishing nets. We are also fans of Matt & Nat bags, who cleverly synthesise leather with vegan alternatives and line their bags with recycled plastic bottles. For more info, Brit & Co has a brilliant list of some other fashion brands recycling materials in this way.
Fashion Revolution: creative ways to restyle your old clothes to make something new
4.) Replacing elements
One of the things that inspired this blog post was an instagram story by my old University residence neighbour @lizzie_garthwaite,who wrote to Denman brushes to ask to replace only the bristle/rubber part of her old hairbrush (and reuse the handle). It's a clever idea - and they sent her one for free! It's tempting to think that you might as well replace a whole item rather than parts, unless it's the usual repairs, like shoe soles, buttons or zippers. One thing I often do is remove straps from bags when they wear through (or sometime just because I don't like them) to make a clutch bag, or add a new chain or fabric strap. Helen is a total wizard at this type of repair. We are in need of some inspo for this one though- send us your recommendations!
Fashion Revolution: creative ways to upcycle your clothes
By the way, if you'd like to learn more about sustainable brands in UK, we really recommend that you follow @EthicalHour and join in the #EthicalHour chat on Monday evenings. We don't dip in as often now but we've met lots of new people on it and the community is enormous now!

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Top 5: Edinburgh Coffee Stops

Edinburgh best coffee shops Machina Espresso for #CoffeeWeek

Top 5 coffee shops in Edinburgh Cafe Noir
I've been meaning to share my favourite Edinburgh coffee stops since I mentioned them in my foodie interview with Talor Gilchrist last year. Although I have had this in the works for a while, Ive just realised that it's #UKCoffeeWeek, so that works out nicely! I spend a lot of time in coffee shops, as my boyfriend is obsessed with finding the best one (I'm not exaggerating- we visited 4 in one day while on holiday in Brighton). There was just one problem- he didn't agree with my picks! So, I have enlisted his help to offer you both the best coffees and atmosphere you'll find in Edinburgh (in no particular order):
Top 5 coffee shops in Edinburgh for #UKCoffeeWeek The Pastry Section, Cairngorm Coffee, Castello and co, Brew Lab

1.) Brew Lab
Ian's fave pick, I'd describe this as a hipster's haven. It's got the exposed brickwork, mismatched furniture, filled doughnuts and pour over coffees made at the brew bar. They put a lot of care and attention into the roast selection and equipment- they even offer coffee courses so that you can up your home brews with latte art and the like! Ian feels it was one of the earlier third wave coffee shops in Edinburgh (est 2012) and has the full coffee house aesthetic. For a while they featured Ian's favourite cappuccino (until he stopped rating his cappuccinos and started rating flat whites instead. He's odd.) It is always busy, so sometimes difficult to get a seat.

2.) Cafe Noir
A really lovely coffee shop that both of us enjoy. Me for the aesthetics, which is all brass, parquet flooring and plants, and Ian for the actual drinks. It describes itself as a patisserie and the cakes are delicious (not GF though). The staff are always well-informed about the coffee being served. It's more laid back than the other coffee shops, based in the West End near Haymarket, and has a quieter vibe. It's also less student-y than some of the others.

3.) Machina Espresso
This is our latest find. We recently visited the Tollcross one (its sister cafe is on Nicolson Street). I found the coffee quite strong, which is usually a sign that Ian will like it. As well as selling drinks, they sell coffee machines and beans to help set you up at home. We last went on Easter Sunday, when it was quite chilled and quiet but Ian tells me the Nicolson one can be busy.

4.) Castello Coffee
We often visit the tiny one on Castle Street. It's a cosy and relaxed stop if you're tired of shopping on Princes Street with friendly staff and good coffee (but could do with a toilet FYI). If you are nipping in for a takeaway I would definitely choose this one over others. The new one on Bruntsfield Links is much more spacious.

5.) Cairngorm
Cairngorm Coffee has two shops, each with a different aesthetic. The first one (on Frederick Street) has a more industrial feel, while the Queensferry Street one has a cleaner look with science lab stools and beakers. I'm personally offended by their tea served in glass beakers but everything else really works. Ian is especially fond of their club sandwich and normally buys his coffee beans here so we pop in regularly.

Best coffee shop in Edinburgh Cairngorm Coffee Queensferry Street

Special shout out to The Pastry Section and LOW DOWN for their cakes and friendly staff, because I couldn't squeeze them into my five but we visit both frequently.
Best coffee in Edinburgh latte art
I'm sure caffeine addicts will  have a lot of opinions about these choices- let us know your favourite Edinburgh coffee shops over on Twitter @WardrobeConvos! Ian and I are always on the look out for new spots.

With thanks to Ian Finlayson for his photos and coffee shop knowledge. If you like puns and photos of food and coffee, follow him on Instagram!

Monday, 16 April 2018

April Wishlist

1.) Dinosaur Sweatshirt | Tee Party
I've been having a go at embroidery recently, after many years of meaning to get back round to it. It's having a bit of a moment on clothing and this neat and petite design is on the money.

2.) Rainbow Earrings | Happy in Finland
Just another adorable pair of earrings that I need, need, need. I'm also in love with the 50 other variations and colour combinations- nearly two for every day of the month ;)

3.) Giddy Up Shift Dress | Sister Jane
Sister Jane is a brand that I don't know much about but I feel like I've heard of it a number of times. I accidentally found myself perusing the website and loving so many of the items. I think a couple of items will be slipping into my shopping basket very soon...

4.) Rude Matisse Inspired Brooch | Liv and Dom
I really enjoy Liv and Dom photos popping up on my instagram feed. The rude little nude figures are adorable and just a bit naughty. This is the only wearable item but I recommend taking a peek at the other ceramics.

5.) Krilling It! Clutch | Eat.Me.Do
I could swear that I'd featured this bag on a wishlist before because I have looked at it online so, so many times. I'm not sure why I love shellfish as a pattern so much when I really don't like to eat them but I think it's because they're so quirky. And pink.

1.) Indoor Cat Sweater | Stay Home Club
It's true that I spend most of my time indoors, and I also love cats - making this sweater a perfect fit for me with its cute Satoshi Kurosaki illustration. I also love the colour (you can probably tell by it's abundance in this wishlist), it's such a lovely sunny shade.

2.) Seagull & Chips Necklace | Sugar & Vice for National Maritime Museum
The weather is getting better (I even went outside without a jacket on at the weekend) and this necklace just makes me think of sunny days trying to eat chips outside without being attacked.

3.) Yellow Rainbow Cat Earrings | I Like Cats
More cats! Even if this wishlist didn't feature my name, the double dose of cats would certainly give it away as mine. I Like Cats have recently added a whole range of awesome acrylic cat jewellery and this colourful pair are my favourites, followed closely by these rather wonderful Cat and Sword earrings.

4.) Citrus Wreath Plate | Natalie J Woods
I love this plate! The illustration is super fresh and those oranges look good enough to eat! Of course, I'd probably end up putting cake on it rather than something healthy like the oranges it depicts.

5.) Pointed Toe Brogues | ABO Shoes
It's been quite a while since I wore a brogue but I think I need to start wearing them again, especially if they come in such pretty colours and with such dreamy laces!

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Unlikely Style Icon: 90s Nickelodeon - Chuckie Finster from Rugrats

Scottish blogger Helen from Wardrobe Conversations takes style inspiration from Rugrats
Colourful style inspired by Chuckie from Rugrats featuring vintage glasses and retro Sugar & Vice
Scottish street style inspired by 90s cartoon character Chuckie from Rugrats
Red haired costume inspiration - Chuckie Finster from Rugrats
Colourful Play Purse beaded bag matched with bright Topshop boots

It's 90s Nickelodeon week! Kimberley's already shared her awesome Clarissa Explains It All look (with all the layers and double denim that entails) and now it's my turn. I decided to add another Chuckie to my Unlikely Style Icon repertoire (you can see my Chucky from Child's Play look here), this time I went for the fabulous Chuckie Finster from Rugrats. They do both have a similar look, going for bright colours and sporting some fabulous ginger hair - that's definitely a style I can get on board with!

I didn't actually have Nickelodeon growing up (we were a 4 channel household, well until 1997 when they introduced channel 5) but I do remember watching Rugrats. I'm not sure which channel it was on but I remember really enjoying it. Of course, Chuckie was my favourite character and it wasn't just because of his sweet style - I also related to his tendency to worry about things and be a complete scaredy cat. Both are traits I possessed as a child and still kinda do: I'm constantly running through worst case scenarios in my head and am always sprinting back to my flat to make sure I locked the door, even though the door locks when it closes! I'm sure I worried about different things when I was a kid but you get the idea.

Red haired scottish blogger dresses as Chuckie Finster from Rugrats with vintage glasses and Sugar & Vice planet necklace
Colourful street style infront of an orange wall

For my Chuckie look I went for a whole paint box of colours, and even tried some shades I don't normally wear. Hello blue and jade! The jeggings are one of the first things I've bought from M&S that isn't underwear. I never think to visit the ladies department but I've been seeing people share a lot of great items online so I decided to give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised - they have a lot of great stuff in there, in a whole array of rainbow colours! I will definitely be going back.

For the rest of the outfit I mostly stuck to my usual colours with lots of splashes of orangey red. I opted for these red boots, rather than Chuckie's un-tied sneakers look, (they're more fashun after all) and added this awesome space necklace instead of the planet motif on the jumper (though I was tempted to DIY it in glitter fabric). I bought this necklace as a gift for my sister years ago (see her weaing it in her guest post). Sugar & Vice have changed the look of the design since then and while I love the new version, I'm glad I managed to bag the original - not least because it looks ace on top of this jumper/shirt combo. I added my new Play Purse bag, mostly because I just wanted to wear it. It's super small and completely impractical but I do love it so! It's not exactly a Chuckie accessory but it totally reminds me of the time when I was watching Rugrats. These beaded purses may have originated earlier but they definitely had a come back in the 90s. The final finishing touches were these thick vintage glasses and a few drawn on freckles. Overall, I think it's a pretty good look for me.

Putting this look and post together has been a lovely trip down memory lane. I spent a rather enjoyable evening watching early Rugrats episodes and it was way more fun than I thought it would be. I was really surprised by how much I remembered from the episodes and the theme song just transported me right back to the days when I would get up early at the weekends so I could watch cartoons. Those were the days!

Jumper | H&M
Shirt | H&M
Jeans | M&S
Boots | Topshop
Necklace | Sugar & Vice
Bag | Play Purse
Glasses | Vintage

90s Nickelodeon inspired outfit

So there you have it, another Chuckie look in the bag. Are there anymore Chuckie/Chuckys out there that I should add to my Unlikely Style Icon list?

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Unlikely Style Icon: 90s Nickelodeon Clarissa Explains it All

90's Nickelodeon Clarissa Explains It All DIY costume 90's style by blogger Wardrobe Conversations featuring dinosaur handbag 90's Nickelodeon Clarissa Explains It All style with blogger wardrobe conversations easy halloween costume: 90s Nickelodeon show Clarissa Explains It All with only 5 items
Let me open this by saying that Clarissa Darling has been the biggest style inspiration in my life. Literally. At age 10, watching her on TV opened my eyes to personal style, choice and pattern. Hold on to your hats for this homage!

This week we are sharing unlikely style icons from 90s Nickelodeon TV shows and let me tell you- I saw my share of them. We had cable growing up, before Sky took over, and we had the coveted second box in our house so us kids could watch a different channel in our parents' bedroom. As well as watching The Lion King every day for a year and copying the WWF (now WWE) moves on our parents' bed alongside the wrestlers, we watched Nickelodeon.

My top choices were Sister Sister, Are You Afraid of the Dark- that late night scary viewing, hitting our screens at a spooky 7pm- and Clarissa Explains It All. And, of course, Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Clarissa Explains It All starred Melissa Joan Hart and was a sort of teen diary about Clarissa Darling, a young teen living with her hippy-turned-bourgeois parents and annoying brother Ferguson, who always had a side story of some silly get-rich-quick scheme. It had some surprisingly grown up themes around dating and sex, feminism and animal rights at an appropriate level for pre-teens. She was clever, outspoken and very cool. Her best friend, Sam, climbed into her bedroom through her window and she had a pet alligator named Elvis. She even somehow made custom video games to play out solutions to her ordinary teen problems, which featured the faces of her family superimposed on characters. Not bad considering it used floppy disks and she didn't even have dial-up.

What she was really known for was her fashion sense, which featured clashing everything. It was so different from everything I had seen before- and even the way other characters in the show dressed- and didn't seem to have any rules. Even so, she looked like she was free to do as she pleased and was just so damned cool. (Or, I thought at least, but some of my earliest attempts to mash up my outfits like her were really not understood by my primary school peers. Cycling shorts worn under patterned dresses, for example, although I still maintain that was a look and probably a precursor to the not-as-excellent skirt over trousers look of the millenium).
Veronica Dearly collection of motivational pin badges subscription box 90's Nickelodeon Clarissa Explains It All as worn by Wardrobe Conversations blog Wardrobe Conversations: 90s Layering Style with Clashing Patterns
Here are the main things to pulling off Clarissa's looks:
  • More is more. Pile on any kind of colours and patterns you can. Forget colour coordinating or scaling print sizes- just throw any combo on!
  • Layer for a youthful and modest look. On the bottom this means bright tights, leggings or cycle shorts underneath shorts and skirts. On top, layer loose tshirts with either a biker, denim jacket, or sleeveless version of these two. These basics are often unisex and oversized.
  • Clarissa's hairstyle is long and natural, with a fringe. She wears it either loose, in a high ponytail or a chunky French plait. Vital accessories include puffy hairband or scrunchie.
  • Speaking of accessories- wear everything at once. Bucket hat, scarves, hundreds of gummy bands, and rings on every finger? Go ahead! Patches, pins, chokers, statement earrings? You can have it all! Clarissa is also known to wear heavy black Buddy Holly glasses on occasion. She was ahead of her time.
  • Finally, the look is always finished with a heavy pair of black Doc Martens boots. Clarissa is cool and practical. Just remember to pair with garish socks.

I had an idea of how I wanted to put this together but I felt a lot of pressure to get it right.  It all started with this amazing Dreamland t shirt, which has been giving me Clarissa vibes since I got it. I knew it had to be paired with double denim, in the form of both shorts and jacket. The bright coloured legwear was the hardest, since I personally despise it on me (check out those rugby player quads). I think Clarissa would toughen it up with darker colours but I went against her rules to match the white from the top through the cropped leggings... because I can't help matching, okay?! I wore my entire Veronica Dearly pin collection and risked my bald patch showing with this awful hairstyle.

And of course, I brought my own pet reptile in the shape of Steve the Stegasaurus.
Scottish blogger Wardrobe Conversations: Clarissa Darling from Clarissa Explains It All Wardrobe Conversations: Clarissa Darling from Clarissa Explains It All 90s Nickelodeon TV style with The White Pepper and Dreamland Clothing
I had so much fun dressing up as my childhood hero for this photo shoot. 12 year old me would be squealing with delight right now, and I am a little bit too.

Top | Dreamland
Stegasaurus bag | The White Pepper
Pins | Veronica Dearly
Boots | c/o Doc Martins
Rest of outfit | borrowed or old

Fun, Colourful 90s Outfits with Wardrobe Conversations
I hope you check out Helen's post later in the week- she has a really fun one too, from a different Nickelodeon show. Which one was your favourite?

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Styled by Kimberley: Yellow

Yellow is the happiest colour there is but I can hardly bring myself to wear it. And why? Because many moons ago I read a magazine article that told me not to. My skin is too waxen, it said. I was warned it would make me look pale, which is the worst thing you can ever be, according to noughties girl's mags. Funny, when you remember just how terrible fake tans were back then.

Nowadays, I couldn't care less how pasty my skin is. It's my skin tone. I enjoy having a light, healthy tan (and our collab with Bellamianta fake tan was one of my bet ever looks tbh) but if I sometimes have a blue hue then so be it. It's not one of the things that I find myself fixating on (and there are many, don't get me wrong). At the moment, I am mostly obsessing about how bad my hair is.

I think that bloggers are mostly recognisable by their hair. It's an important aspect of a woman's identity. And at the moment mine is... meh. You may have noticed that I have stopped dying my hair pink or wearing it in my favourite pin curls. The reason is not a lack of care or imagination... it's because my hair has been falling out.

I hardly had a glorious full mane anyway but with ill health last year I started to notice more going down the plughole. More over my pillow. More shedding every time I touched it. I quit the bleach, tried out hair masks and cut out the heated tools but nothing seemed to help. I started to worry that it wasn't ever going to end. It continued for months. I have never felt that my hair was my crowning glory anyway, happy to lop it off numerous ways just to try something new, but suddenly it felt precious. And it was disappearing. I spoke to a number of women and I realised many have gone through the same thing. It's very common in pregnancy and autoimmune diseases, and there are stories (myths?) about dry shampoos causing it, too. All the chemicals and bleach and heat we use makes it snap off and I know many friends who've had to take the chop to save their locks. All I know is that I have fine hair as it is and I couldn't afford to lose any. I was panicking.

I know now that it was caused by malnourshment. It turns out vitamins are actually important for hair health (who knew?!) and my nails and skin were were suffering too. As I got my health on track, I began to see lots and lots of baby hairs coming in. My hairdresser confirmed it- the amount of new growth showed just how much I had lost but also that it was over. Hooray! I thought. Now I just had to wait it out. I was a little self-conscious of my silly flyaways, sticking up like I'd bumped into a Van de Graaf generator, but they were here. And they were growing. I've been letting it dry naturally, and using specialist Nioxin shampoo to encourage the regrowth (I have mixed feelings about that). The layer of new hairs has grown out enough to lie flat(ish) now but I'm not quite back to my usual self. Yet. Things can only get better, right? In the meantime, I have accepted that my hair needs this rest, and instead of over-styling my hair I've stuck to pinning fun looks on my Pinterest board. It's an important lesson in patience. And it really isn't all that bad.

Anyway, back to my outfit! When Helen challenged me to this Styled By challenge, I immediately knew that she would be dressed full on yellow, on yellow, on yellow. In truth, I had to really dig around to put even this largely monochrome look together, but I'm actually pretty pleased with the pops of colour against the stripes (I was probably inspired by bumble bees, okay?) It's just what I needed with this ongoing winter we are having (although the photos took 3 attempts to take, since each time it was a drizzly and dark outside). This layering is maybe not one for April but it's perfect for actual spring time, and I'm especially loving longer length hems over trousers at the moment. It's a 90s trend I can get on board with! Adding in a brightly coloured vest top and matching nails was an inspired moment and pulls the look together. I have to say, now that I'm aware that a few yellow items have slipped into my wardrobe, I think I'll be expanding my banana coloured collection...

Dress | New Look
Vest top | H&M
Bag | borrowed from my sister
Shoes | Topshop
Name ring | c/o Bonnie Bling
Earrings | You Make Me

Thanks to Ian Finlayson for taking my photographs.